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The Palestine Congress

The Palestine Congress

Thank God for the German Hate Police! Or heil … or whatever the appropriate salutation is for these unsung heroes. They just saved us all from “hate” again!

Yes, that’s right, once again, democracy-loving people here in New Normal Berlin and all across the New Normal world were right on the brink of being exposed to “hate,” and would have been exposed to “hate,” had the Hate Police not sprang into action.

You probably have no idea what I’m talking about.

OK, what happened was, some pro-Palestinian activists organized a “Palestine Congress,” and attempted to discuss the situation in Gaza, and call for solidarity with the Palestinians, and so on, right here in the middle of Berlin, the epicenter of European democracy, as if they thought they had a right to do that. The German authorities were clearly intent on disabusing them of that notion.

Early Friday morning, hundreds of black-clad Hate Police descended on the congress location. Reinforcements were called in from throughout the nation. Metal barricades were erected on the sidewalks. Hate Police stood guard at the entrance. The German media warned the public that a potential “Hate-Speech” attack was now imminent. Berliners were advised to shelter in place, switch off their phones and any other audio-receptive communication devices, and wad up little pieces of toilet paper and ram them deep into their ear canals to prevent any possible exposure to the “hate.”

Sure enough, minutes into the congress, the anticipated “Hate-Speech” attack was launched! A Palestinian activist — Salman Abu Sitta — who had written an article that allegedly “expressed understanding of Hamas,” and thus had already been placed on the official German “No-Speak” list, started speaking to the congress on Zoom or whatever. Or … it isn’t quite clear whether he actually started speaking…

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

U.S. Funds Ukraine Groups Censoring Critics, Smearing Pro-Peace Voices

U.S. Funds Ukraine Groups Censoring Critics, Smearing Pro-Peace Voices

American taxpayers are footing the bill for Ukrainian NGOs focused on smearing proponents of a diplomatic solution as “Russian disinformation” agents.

Ukraine’s American-backed fight against Russia is taking place not only in the blood-soaked trenches of the Donbas region but also on what military planners call the cognitive battlefield – to win hearts and minds.

A sprawling constellation of media outlets organized with substantial funding and direction from the U.S. government has not just sought to counter Russian propaganda but has supported strong censorship laws and shutdowns of dissident outlets, disseminated disinformation of its own, and sought to silence critics of the war, including many American citizens.

Economist Jeffrey Sachs, commentator Tucker Carlson, journalist Glenn Greenwald, and University of Chicago Professor John Mearsheimer are among the critics on both the left and the right who have been cast as part of a “network of Russian propaganda.”

But the figures targeted by the Ukrainian watchdog groups are hardly Kremlin agents. They simply have forcefully criticized dominant narratives around the war.

Sachs is a highly respected international development expert who has angered Ukrainian officials over his repeated calls for a diplomatic solution to the current military conflict. Last November, he gave a speech at the United Nations calling for a negotiated peace.

Mearsheimer has written extensively on international relations and is a skeptic of NATO expansion. He predicted that Western efforts to militarize Ukraine would lead to a Russian invasion.

Greenwald is a Pulitzer Prize-winning independent journalist who has criticized not just war coverage but media dynamics that suppress voices that run counter to U.S. narratives. “What they mean when they demand censorship of ‘pro-Russia propaganda’ is anything that questions the US/EU role in the Ukraine war or who dissents from their narratives,” Greenwald has observed.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Today’s Contemplation: Collapse Cometh CIII–We All Believe What We Believe…Evidence Be Damned.

Today’s Contemplation: Collapse Cometh CIII

Teotihuacan, Mexico. (1988) Photo by author.

We All Believe What We Believe…Evidence Be Damned.

The following contemplation is my comment on the latest Honest Sorcerer post that explores personality ‘types’ and how these contribute to why we tend to hold such different views of our world.

Very interesting discussion and does help to explain a lot. And, again, you’ve provided me a springboard to share my own thoughts…

Perhaps these inherent differences (not necessarily hard-wired since I can see that my own answers to many of the questions on the test — which I took many years ago as well since my employer at the time regularly discussed and explored such things — have changed significantly over the years; I seem to have ‘come to the middle’ in many areas) are a big contributor to why I’ve come to hold that we believe what we believe, regardless of evidence or well-reasoned, counter-arguments.

In fact, being who we are with our complex cognitive abilities, we fight off non-confirmatory thoughts/ideas to reduce/avoid the stress/anxiety that can arise when our beliefs are challenged.

One of those beliefs I’ve certainly encountered when discussing ‘collapse’ with others is the idea that our pursuit of the perpetual growth chalice on a finite planet is just fine, thank you very much; please don’t regale me with your data and/or pre/historic and research-based examples of societal decline and/or overshoot…I will not listen or I will list off all the evidence of human progress and problem-solving abilities — particularly with respect to complex technologies — to prove my perspective.

And, of course, it doesn’t help the attempt to counter this notion of infinite growth on a finite planet when the ruling caste who significantly profits from the pursuit (in both monetary and power terms) cheerleads and encourages it at every turn and opportunity. I hear nothing but propaganda about the benefits of human expansion and development from my local/regional/federal politicians whenever they open their mouths and rarely, if ever, discussion of the knock-on, negative impacts except assurances that they will be minimal and/or overcome — yes, we are constructing a relatively expansive community upon these wetlands in this ecologically-sensitive area above important aquifers, but we’re putting a butterfly parkette in to benefit the environment…

For anyone agreeing with the herd and/or deferring to authority, as most of us do, or simply sitting on the fence, then it’s next to impossible to break with the majority perspective. I’ve given up my attempts to raise or even discuss the topic with most family members and others in my social circle — unless I am directly asked for my input. They simply do not want to even think about such a ‘depressing’ subject. Better to discuss and debate whether you think the Toronto Maple Leafs will make it through the first round of the upcoming hockey playoffs…

We even see such opposing views within the ‘collapse-aware’ communities, such as the Degrowth Movement, where a major core seems to hold that with just the right tinkering, and then widespread adoption, of ‘correct’ behaviours and technologies, humanity can solve the problems at hand — never recognising that it’s an unsolvable predicament that we might, at best, be capable of slightly mitigating for some small percentage of people.

It’s a right pickle and reminds me of a quote from a Richard Duncan article (an electrical engineer behind the Olduvai Theory of civilisational collapse):

“…according to the Olduvai schematic, world energy production per capita will decrease…[then] there will be a rash of permanent electrical blackouts worldwide. Consequently the vital…functions — communication, computation, and control — will be lost.
…Mother Nature then solves for us the (apparently) insuperable problem of the Tragedy of the Unmanaged Commons, which the human race seems either incapable or unwilling to solve for itself.”[1]

If you’ve made it to the end of this contemplation and have got something out of my writing, please consider ordering the trilogy of my ‘fictional’ novel series, Olduvai (PDF files; only $9.99 Canadian), via my website — the ‘profits’ of which help me to keep my internet presence alive and first book available in print (and is available via various online retailers). Encouraging others to read my work is also much appreciated.

[1] See this.

Today’s Contemplation: And Now For Something Completely Different, Part 6

Today’s Contemplation: And Now For Something Completely Different, Part 6

February 16, 2023 (original posting date)

While I take a break from my Contemplation posts here is the sixth installment of chapters from the fourth book in my fictional novel series (that stalled a few years ago but have ready). I will continue to share some of these over the next little while. Here are the links to PDF files of Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3, Chapter 4, Chapter 5, and now Chapter 6.

The storyline: Flowing from actual world events, a damaged environment, dwindling energy resources, and a manipulated market-economy all come crashing together in this tale about the social and individual impact of stresses that overwhelm a precarious and complex global system. Supply chain interruptions, border disputes, increased fascism, growing protest movements, and mass migration out of rural areas into cities dominant the new normal.

Basically, this is a tale (set in Canada) about the individual (and societal) reactions to a breakdown of our complex systems. Life is proceeding ‘normally’ for most while a marginalised minority are increasingly concerned about the unsustainability of our way of life. Governments begin to clash with domestic populations while the machinations of some of the ruling caste, especially around energy systems, is exposed. Chapters trace the lives and experiences of a handful of people during the timeframe of about 3 months before to 3 months after a grid-down situation…

If you’ve made it to the end of this contemplation and have got something out of my writing, please consider ordering the trilogy of my ‘fictional’ novel series, Olduvai (PDF files; only $9.99 Canadian), via my website — the ‘profits’ of which help me to keep my internet presence alive and first book available in print (and is available via various online retailers). Encouraging others to read my work is also much appreciated.

Did Lockdowns Set a Global Revolt in Motion?

Did Lockdowns Set a Global Revolt in Motion?

“The intellectual parlor game is over. This is a real-life struggle for freedom itself. It’s resist and rebuild or doom.”

My first article on the coming backlash – admittedly wildly optimistic – went to print April 24, 2020. After 6 weeks of lockdown, I confidently predicted a political revolt, a movement against masks, a population-wide revulsion against the elites, a demand to reject “social distancing” and streaming-only life, plus widespread disgust at everything and everyone involved.

I was off by four years. I wrongly assumed back then that society was still functioning and that our elites would be responsive to the obvious flop of the whole lockdown scheme. I assumed that people were smarter than they proved to be. I also did not anticipate just how devastating the effects of lockdown would be: in terms of learning loss, economic chaos, cultural shock, and the population-wide demoralization and loss of trust.

The forces that set in motion those grim days were far more deep than I knew at the time. They involved a willing complicity from tech, media, pharma, and the administrative state at all levels of society.

There is every evidence that it was planned to be exactly what it became; not just a foolish deployment of public health powers but a “great reset” of our lives. The newfound powers of the ruling class were not given up so easily, and it took far longer for people to shake off the trauma than I had anticipated.

Is that backlash finally here? If so, it’s about time.

New literature is emerging to document it all.

The new book White Rural Rage: The Threat to American Democracy is a viciously partisan, histrionic, and gravely inaccurate account that gets nearly everything wrong but one: vast swaths of the public are fed up, not with democracy but its opposite of ruling class hegemony…

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Snopes Changed Fact-Check After Pressure From Biden Administration: Emails

Snopes Changed Fact-Check After Pressure From Biden Administration: Emails

A ’tough letter’ preceded the change.

The fact-checking website Snopes changed one of its ratings after pressure from President Joe Biden’s administration, newly disclosed emails show.

Snopes on Jan. 10, 2023, said that there was some truth to a claim that President Biden’s administration was planning to ban gas stoves.

Under a heading of “what’s true,” Snopes said that “The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), a federal agency, is currently considering a ban on gas stoves if they can’t be made safer, due to concerns over harmful indoor pollutants that cause health and respiratory problems.”

Under another heading, it said that the ban has not been put in place.

The article quoted Richard Trumka Jr., a CPSC commissioner, as saying that “any option is on the table” when dealing with gas stoves. “Products that can’t be made safe can be banned,” Mr. Trumka told Bloomberg a few days prior.
Pamela Rucker Springs, a spokeswoman for the CPSC, hours after the rating was published contacted Snopes writer Nur Ibrahim, the newly disclosed emails show. She said she it was “not accurate to say that CPSC is ‘considering a ban on gas stoves’ and that Mr. Trumka’s views ”do not represent official statements on behalf of the commission.”

The CPSC “is not currently considering a ban on gas stoves, though a commissioner said ‘anything is on the table’ if they can’t be made safer,” the updated article states.

Ms. Springs sent a link to the updated page to White House official Michael Kikukawa, the newly disclosed documents show. “Sent over tough letter to this writer yesterday when the initial claim was rated as ’mixed,’” she wrote.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Today Contemplation: Collapse Cometh CI–Theory Is Great, In Theory: More On Our ‘Renewable’ Energy Future

Today Contemplation: Collapse Cometh CI

February 13, 2023 (original posting date)

Monte Alban, Mexico (1988). Photo by author.

Theory Is Great, In Theory: More On Our ‘Renewable’ Energy Future

Quite often I get involved in online discussions with others about our predicament(s). Most of the time these are quite friendly in nature and a sharing of ideas and questions.

On occasion these turn into disagreements. And sometimes, unfortunately, these turn quite confrontational with me having to disengage from the dialogue due to the vitriol thrown at me — apparently I am not only anti-humanistic but a Big Oil shill, a climate change denier, and a fucking idiot/liberal/conservative/progressive/Malthusian, etc..

Once the ad hominem attacks begin, I usually just state we will have to agree to disagree and discontinue the interaction. I know people don’t want their beliefs challenged, they want them confirmed so if the interaction has gone sideways there’s little point to continue it. Few if any people change their beliefs due to a well-reasoned or evidence-based argument that runs counter to their own thoughts.

This said, most of the disagreements are civil and the issue stems from a divergence in whether we can ‘solve’ the problem/predicament we are focusing upon. I’ve found that the vast majority continue to believe that we can address the topic we’re discussing via some complex technology — usually non-renewable, renewable energy-harvesting technologies such as those that harness wind or sunshine to produce electricity (aka ‘renewables’).

While at one time during my fall into the rabbit’s hole of Peak Oil and all the related issues, I held out ‘hope’ for humanity and our planet. Nowadays, more often than not, I am tending towards there being no way out of the conundrum we walking, talking apes have led ourselves into. Neither time nor resources are on our side it would seem. Salvation, as it were, has been lost to the sands of time.

Here is one recent example with a fellow member of a Degrowth group I am a member of stemming from an article of The Honest Sorcerer’s that I posted to the group.

LK: “Politics” is just a name for technology of resource allocation on a societal scale.

We’re currently using the 18th century technology based on exponential growth (investments are made to obtain money to make more investments), it’s called “capitalism”.

Degrowth is another technology of resource allocation, and the one we need, because exponential growth on a finite planet is not possible.

(Having said that, we still need to combine degrowth with all kinds of low-emissions energy sources like renewables and nuclear, and we need to work on extending the life of existing low-carbon energy sources for as long as possible)

My response:: While I agree that degrowth (and radical at that) is needed, the alternative energy-harvesting technologies to fossil fuels you suggest we need to pursue require huge carbon inputs for their construction (and in perpetuity), continue to contribute to the destruction of our biosphere via the massive mineral mining and processing necessary, and only serve as an attempt to sustain the unsustainable so end up making our fundament predicament of ecological overshoot even worse. We need to be pursuing a low-/no-tech future with one hell of a lot fewer people. It is increasingly looking like it will have to be Nature that takes us there…

LK: The science is quite clear, low carbon energy sources have much, much lower carbon intensity of energy generation over their lifetimes, and lifetime extension to optimise for energy production instead of returns on investment decreases that carbon intensity even further. And fossil fuels have an enormous mining impact.

This is the third line of defense of fossil fuel companies: first they were straight-out lying about climate change, then they were lying about whether climate change is caused by humans, now they are lying about relative impacts of fossil fuel vs low carbon technologies, and it apparently works.

Low-tech future doesn’t work, it’s just a lie fossil companies are telling us to keep burning fossil fuels. We’re a tool-using social species and we need tools to get out of the shit we got into by using tools.

We will have to agree to disagree.

First, it seems you are assuming a support for fossil fuels in my comment that is not present. One does not have to be in any way supportive of the continuation of our extraction and use of them to see that alternatives are in every way — upstream and downstream — still quite dependent upon them. In fact, if you look at the largest investors in support of ‘alternatives’, you will discover it is the large energy businesses (aka Big Oil). Why would that be? Perhaps because they know that fossil fuels are required in huge quantities for them.

Second, the view that only carbon emissions are important blinds people to all the other complexities concerning our predicament of ecological overshoot. Biodiversity loss, mostly because of land system changes brought on by human expansion, appears to be much more significant. A concerted push to adopt non-renewable, renewable energy-harvesting technologies will ensure continued destruction of our biosphere.

The current refrain seems to be “Complex technologies and human ingenuity will save us from our predicament of ecological overshoot and its various symptoms (e.g., biodiversity loss) because they’ve worked up to this point in our history”…except inductive reasoning/logic does not always work. Continual observations by the turkey of the farmer have provided nothing but overwhelming evidence and positive reinforcement that the farmer is a beneficent and thoughtful caregiver; right up until the day before Thanksgiving and the trip behind the barn to the killing cone.

You should look at the work of energy researcher Alice Friedemann and geologist Simon Michaux to understand better the limitations of the ‘solution’ referred to as our ‘energy transition’.

But you are correct that a low-tech future doesn’t work. It doesn’t work to support our unsustainable living arrangements but more importantly the power and wealth structures of the status quo…that is why the ruling caste is pushing ‘renewables’: to maintain/expand their share of a quickly-shrinking economic pie. And this is ultimately why we will pursue these complex technologies despite the impossibility of what their cheerleaders promise. The profiteers of our world stand to make one hell of a lot of money before it all goes to hell in a handbasket.

These images/memes perhaps sum my perspective up:

LK: There’s one thing that kills people pretty rapidly and effectively and that is the lack of energy.

You can either support low-carbon energy sources or you can support fossil fuels or you can support widespread energy poverty that kills a fuckton of people, and those will be mainly poor people in the Global South.

Degrowth is not anarcho-primitivism, it’s not about the remnants of humanity huddling in cold and without hospitals and sewage networks, it’s about building sustainable future around equitable use of energy for everyone.

But we need low-carbon energy, because climate change drives biodiversity loss, water crises (because rising oceans make a lot of areas lose their access to potable water) and other nasty third-order effects.

My response: Again, we’ll have to agree to disagree. Pre/history shows us overwhelmingly that the utopian future you imagine is not possible on a finite planet with 8 billion (and growing). It is denial/bargaining in the face of biogeophysical realities and limits. Ecological overshoot for homo sapiens will be, I am almost certain, dealt with by Nature, not us — particularly given all the claims/liens on future energy/resources in the form of quadrillions of dollars of debt/credit that currently exist and have been created to sustain our current arrangements with zero concern for the future from which the resources have been stolen.

LK: There’s a lot of research by degrowth theoreticians that demonstrates that we’re perfectly technologically capable of supporting 8 billion people on a finite planet, leaving 50% of it to wild nature. It just would be a different life than the US “cardboard houses in suburbia with 2,5 cars per family and 2+ hours of commuting daily, eating beef and flying regularly”.

It would require end of capitalism, though, which is why capitalists are promoting narratives of “we’re doomed, there’s nothing we can do, all alternatives are bad, I guess we’ll have to die off in the future, but so far, we’re bringing in record annual profits”.

My response: Theory is great, in theory. Reality is something quite different. Every complex society to date has perished/collapsed/declined — most before ‘capitalism’ ever existed. To believe we will do otherwise is, well, just denial/bargaining built upon a lot of assumptions and hope. We would be better to plan for a future much, much different than the one you paint. But, again, I think Nature is going to take care of this predicament for us.

After mostly finishing this contemplation I came across Gail Tverberg’s latest that provides some great insight into why the complex technologies many are arguing will help solve our energy dilemma will not.

There are plenty of similar arguments out there if one so chooses to discover them and the overwhelming evidence that ‘renewables’ are not in any way going to do much except: add to the drawdown of finite resources; contribute to the continuous overloading of planetary sinks; provide more profits for the industrialists, financiers, and well-connected elite; and, sustain the misguided belief system that all is well for the most part, and human ingenuity and our technological prowess can solve any problem that stands in the way of some utopian future where we all (billions and billions of us) live in harmony with nature. Transcending the biological and physical constraints of existence upon a finite planet is well within our reach…if only you believe.

See especially:

If you’ve made it to the end of this contemplation and have got something out of my writing, please consider ordering the trilogy of my ‘fictional’ novel series, Olduvai (PDF files; only $9.99 Canadian), via my website — the ‘profits’ of which help me to keep my internet presence alive and first book available in print (and is available via various online retailers). Encouraging others to read my work is also much appreciated.

Today’s Contemplation: Collapse Cometh C–Grieving: A Natural Response To Recognition Of Growth Limits

Today’s Contemplation: Collapse Cometh C

February 11, 2023 (original posting date)

Monte Alban, Mexico. (1988) Photo by author.

Grieving: A Natural Response To Recognition Of Growth Limits

Denial, anger, bargaining, and depression in the face of grievous reality is everywhere; and we all do it to some extent. Some move through the stages more quickly while others remain bogged down in one or more. And it’s not uncommon to bounce back and forth between different stages.

We don’t want to accept the unpalatable, particularly our (and society’s) mortality. Grappling with such thoughts can be debilitating, both physically and psychologically. I know my first few years of reflecting upon our various predicaments as I travelled down the rabbit’s hole that is Peak Oil was most difficult. My anxiety was, at times, through the roof; but being who I am much of that was channelled into physical activities, particularly constructing some elaborate food gardens.

Psychologists are fairly certain that moving to the final stage of grieving — acceptance — and engaging with reality in a more forthright manner (even when it is not what we wish or want) allows one to deal with the emotions in a way that helps us to validate them in a healthier way. But this is so difficult to do when we are grieving. Extremely difficult.

Accepting, for example, that our complex society and its relatively high living standards (thanks primarily to our leveraging of a one-time cache of photosynthetic-created energy) have an expiration date is a contemplation the vast, vast majority of us do not want to consider. We desperately fight to keep the negative thoughts out of our minds, thereby impacting the belief systems through which we interpret the world — its past, present, and future.

In a world that has experienced significant problem-solving success due to our tool-making abilities and this finite supply of dense and transportable energy reserves, it’s exceedingly difficult to imagine this trend of ‘progress’ is coming to an end. We subsequently weave a variety of comforting narratives to avoid such a disheartening reality.

“Complex technologies and human ingenuity will save us from any problem we encounter, including (place your favourite one here)” is one common narrative…except inductive reasoning/logic of this nature does not always work. Continual observations by the turkey of the farmer have provided nothing but overwhelming evidence and positive reinforcement that the farmer is a beneficent and thoughtful caregiver; right up until the day before Thanksgiving and the trip behind the barn to the killing cone, knife in hand.

Confronting the blinders imposed upon us by these comforting narratives allows us to view our world and reality differently, and very much more accurately in my opinion. Not perfectly, but more reflective of the limits existence upon a finite world brings to a biological species not very much different from all the others on this planet — except perhaps for its tool-making skills and denial of reality.

Alas very, very few want to do this. We would rather remain comfortable in our beliefs that humanity is not limited by its physical environment and stands outside Nature. To paraphrase Nietzsche: we don’t want exposure to reality because that destroys our illusions.

One such illusion among others that I’ve confronted recently is the belief that growth (be in economic or population) is not only inevitable but purely beneficial. It has been driving a significant construction ‘boom’ in my province and more specifically my town for a number of years. I’ve written about this before but I continue to see some rather misguided but quite common beliefs dominating the discussion among locals.

The following thoughts are what bubbled up in my mind as I reflected upon these conversations and what the significant majority of my fellow Ontarians appear to believe.

We need to reject the mythos that growth (especially economic but also population) is always and forever a good/beneficial policy path. It is not. Not only are the very real negative environmental/ecological consequences ignored or rationalized away in such a story, but the limits of what is possible and social problems that arise from it mostly discounted/minimized.

In addition, the tendency to assume such growth is inevitable completely overlooks the fact that it is a sociopolitical/socioeconomic policy choice, not a predestined path. We can stop or reverse it if we so choose.

Finally, little if any attention is paid to the reason(s) our ruling elite cheerlead growth. It is not for the virtue-signalling reasons they shout and market repeatedly. It is about sustaining a Ponzi-type economic system that supports status quo power and wealth structures. It is profit and prestige motivated. It must always be remembered that the primary motivation of our ruling caste is the control/expansion of the wealth-generating/-extracting systems that provide their revenue streams and thus positions of power and prestige. All other considerations are secondary/tertiary and ultimately are leveraged to meet their primary one.

The world is a complex nexus of geography, geology, biology, physics, and chemistry. And the stories told by our ‘leaders’ mostly ignore (or rationalize away) the physical realities of these fundamental sciences in favour of sociocultural myths that reinforce the idea that humans stand outside Nature — and their positions in our societies.

Significantly exponential credit-/debt-based fiat currency growth (thanks to the private financial institutions creating it from thin air and charging interest for its use in order to garner obscene profits, and which is what is feeding all this) collides catastrophically with the realities of existence upon a finite planet and its physical limits.

Given interest-bearing fiat is a claim/lien upon future resources — that we have encountered significant diminishing returns upon — and that we are several quadrillion dollars already in hawk, the writing is on the wall that we are totally and completely fubar. What is unsustainable cannot be sustained; no matter how much money we create. All we are succeeding in doing is stealing resources from the future and ensuring our planetary sinks are beyond repair.

The best option left is to prepare locally for the impending breakdown of the various complex systems that we have grown dependent upon, particularly the procurement of potable water, food production, and regional shelter needs. In addition, we should be degrowing our regions/communities, not making the situation even more dire and compounding its effects by continuing to chase growth — no matter what the profiteers from this perpetual-growth strategy are repeatedly telling us.

What I did say on one of the FB posts to try and keep it relatively succinct and simple:

Infinite growth on a planet with finite resources already encountering diminishing returns and using trillions of dollars of debt-/credit-based ‘money’ to pull them from the future. What could possibly go wrong? We are travelling in exactly the opposite direction of where we should be heading.

If you’ve made it to the end of this contemplation and have got something out of my writing, please consider ordering the trilogy of my ‘fictional’ novel series, Olduvai (PDF files; only $9.99 Canadian), via my website — the ‘profits’ of which help me to keep my internet presence alive and first book available in print (and is available via various online retailers). Encouraging others to read my work is also much appreciated.

Today’s Contemplation: Collapse Cometh XCIX–Energy Future, Part 4: Economic Manipulation

Today’s Contemplation: Collapse Cometh XCIX

February 9, 2023 (original posting date)

Monte Alban, Mexico. (1986) Photo by author.

Energy Future, Part 4: Economic Manipulation

In Part 1, I argue that energy underpins everything, including human complex societies. In Part 2, I suggest that the increasing need for diminishing resources, especially finite or limited ‘renewable’ ones, invariably leads to geopolitical tension between competing polities. Part 3 further posits that this geopolitical competition creates internal societal stresses that are met with rising authoritarianism and attempts at sociobehavioural control of domestic populations by the ruling elite.

Economic manipulation — mostly through the financial/monetary systems of a society, that the ruling caste controls — is part and parcel of addressing the societal stresses that arise as things become more complex (as a result of the problem-solving aspects of a society), competition with other polities increases, resources become more dear, and control of the population takes on greater urgency.

All of the activities to sustain a society require resources, primarily energy but also material ones whose retrieval and processing require energy of some nature. Any non-renewable resource, but also limited renewable ones, must be acquired to not only maintain human life (i.e., procurement of potable water, food production, regional shelter needs) but to support any and all activities — be they physical- or service-based.

The various production and resource-allocation/distribution systems are what constitute an economic system[1]. While there are differing opinions about the number and variety of economic systems, the common thread tends to be that it is a means of distributing goods/services to the members of a group/society.

Economic anthropology[2] for the most part is the study of the mechanism of exchange within a human society, be it a more ‘simple’ band or ‘complex’ state.

In less complex societies where little to no division of labour or occupational differentiation exists and production surpluses are minimal to non-existent, economic activities tend to take place within a framework of reciprocal exchange[3]. I will provide you with some of my current surplus knowing that at some point in the future you will reciprocate this behaviour. Relationships in such groups are primarily impacted by kinship ties and a sense of reciprocal obligation, and not economic ones as occurs in larger, more complex societies.

A complex society[4] tends to have a more complicated/multi-layered economic system, the basis of which is a financial/monetary system[5] that likely came into existence as a population exceeded Dunbar’s number[6] and as a means of helping to track the increasing number of reciprocal obligations that arose[7]. The ruling caste of a society tends to control the monetary/financial systems and evidence strongly suggests that they manipulate them, as they tend to with everything they touch, to their advantage in order to meet their primary goal: the control/expansion of the wealth-generation/-extraction systems that provide their revenue streams and thus positions of power and prestige.

While there is much written about the shift from a system of reciprocity-based[8] exchange to one of credit-/debt-based fiat currency[9], it is without doubt that the implementation of a fiat money system opened the door to the possibility of significant manipulation by those who control it [10]. I say significant because even with a commodity-based currency (e.g., precious metals), manipulation (i.e., debasement, rehypothecation) has been common[11].

Joseph Tainter’s thesis in The Collapse of Complex Societies[12] is basically based upon economics. He posits that as a problem-solving organisation, a society endeavours to solve the problems that arise in the course of meeting needs. These problems are addressed via organisational adaptations but also very much through material acquisition and redistribution. This is accomplished in the most economically-efficient way by accessing the easiest- and cheapest-to-retrieve resources first and foremost. This provides the highest energy-return-on-energy-invested[13].

Eventually, however, as a society’s demands/requirements increase due to growth and increasing complexity, the harder- and more-expensive-to-retrieve resources must be pursued. This results in diminishing returns[14] on the energy/resource investments made and the surpluses that existed during the early days are whittled away until eventually a society encounters a point where more and more people opt out of supporting the various systems as they are having to invest greater and greater amounts of personal energy/resources but getting back fewer and fewer benefits.

Diminishing returns eat into surpluses in order to maintain/expand complexities. With falling surpluses, there is less room for a government elite to fund their various projects, be they military expansion and/or legitimisation activities to assert domestic control — to say little of the wealth directed towards maintaining the elite’s living standards. One of the approaches by the ruling caste to offset the negative consequences of diminishing returns and deterioration of societal surpluses is through a manipulation of the economic system. Perhaps the primary means of such manipulation is to debase the currency with the intent to make it ‘go further’ and ensure the elite maintain/expand their portion of a shrinking pie. If this is done at a relatively slow pace, very few if any of the populace take note of the impacts — but they are there nonetheless.

One of the best documented and analysed instances of such manipulation has been during the history of the Roman Empire, where debasement of the Roman currency over time has been observed. This manipulation had many negative societal impacts and was one of the many contributing factors leading to the empire’s eventual collapse according to a number of analysts/historians[15].

Of course, such ‘money creation/printing’ invariably results in price inflation — and many times to hyperinflation — as more currency is chasing the same or more slowly expanding amount of goods/services[16]. This price inflation/currency debasement has a more deleterious impact upon the masses than it does those closest to the monetary creation/distribution system. In particular, consider the Cantillon Effect[17] where the ruling caste/insiders who first have access to the ‘newly-minted currency’ can use it prior to inflationary impacts[18]. But is also benefits the state in other ways, particularly the ability to ‘hide’ taxes within it[19] and allowing debtors (government being amongst if not the largest) to pay off debts more easily[20].

There have been a number of examples of more recent currency debasements, some hidden (i.e., coordinated efforts by numerous central banks to debase their currencies in unison[21]) and some quite obvious[22]. For the current world’s primary reserve currency (the U.S. dollar), there has been the gold confiscation during Franklin Roosevelt’s presidency[23], President Richard Nixon’s abrogation of the Bretton Woods Agreement[24], and, most recently, the phenomenon referred to as Quantitative Easing[25].

It’s not simply an exponential increase in the physical stock of ‘money’ that contributes to currency debasement and it negative impacts since government-minted currency makes up only a small fraction of the money creation, but it is the ever-expanding supply of credit-/debt-instruments. With the shift to a purely fiat currency free from any limitations to infinite expansion, the degree of manipulation possible is, well, limitless…except for one rather important impediment: physical resource finiteness.

So, as we circle back to the implications for our fundamental resource, energy, one must consider the observation that money/currency is when all is said and done a potential claim upon energy (even other resources require energy to be accessed and distributed). And, as energy analyst Art Berman notes in the tweet below, all the debt that we have created (currently several quadrillion at this juncture in time) is a “lien on future energy”.

And the conundrum we face as resource extraction and processing encounter diminishing returns — and the elite attempt to counter this with ever-increasing credit/debt instruments — is perhaps best captured by the late Michael Ruppert’s simple statement in the documentary Collapse: “Infinite money growth collides with finite energy.”

With an significant exponentially-increasing amount of claims upon finite resources we seem to be left with the options of attempting to pursue perpetual growth to meet these claims, a debt jubilee or reset of the systems, or monetary/financial/economic collapse. Any or all of these choices are likely to be attempted to some degree or another; in fact, some argue this is already and has been happening.

Basically our economic system has become a gargantuan and complex Ponzi scheme[26] established by our ruling elite and upon which are all involved and dependent upon.

As I commented on a Nate Hagens video post: Our economy is for all intents and purposes a gargantuan, complex Ponzi scheme that we are all a part of and dependent upon to a great if not complete extent. We all (for the most part) wish it to continue, including the ruling caste for their power and prestige comes from sitting atop the pyramid. Given our cognitive abilities and biases, we are adept at all sorts of denial and bargaining to see it otherwise, and/or to craft comforting narratives as to how it can be transitioned to something sustainable and equitable. But, as with all such complex systems — especially one dependent upon perpetual growth upon a finite planet — it is fragile and will, given enough time, eventually collapse. There is no other path at this particular point given how far into ecological overshoot we are. When, however, is the unanswerable question. Human complex societies can go on for a long time before it recognises that things have changed significantly enough to be considered ‘collapsed’…

Given gdp’s (a proxy for economic ‘growth’ and thus living standards — not a perfect proxy, of course, given the perpetual changes in calculation and increasing financialization of the economy) almost perfect correlation with energy production[27], and that our future is certainly going to be one of declining energy resources, there should be little doubt that falling living standards is before us — particularly for those in so-called ‘advanced’ economies.

Our ‘advanced’ economies have a long way to fall to reach the level of many emerging ones and it is likely that we will continue to see energy/resources ‘stolen’ from the periphery to support the core — perhaps allowing time for the core to mitigate their decline somewhat, or perhaps as a means to sustain the core for a short time more before a sudden, Seneca-style fall appears as a Black Swan event. Only time will tell…

Please note, I have done my best to wrap my head around and understand this topic/issue. This has been one of the more difficult subjects to write about with any sense of confidence (and I am certain I have misunderstood/misinterpreted a number of things). I am neither schooled in nor worked within the economic realm. Despite this paucity of ‘training’, I do believe the warning of Henry Ford when he paraphrased U.S. Congressman Charles Binderup that “It is perhaps well enough that the people of the nation do not know or understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning”.

Perhaps it has been purposely designed to be excessively complex and incomprehensible, or this labyrinthian structure is simply the epiphenomenon of the ongoing attempts to ‘solve’ societal issues as they arise over time; and then become leveraged by some (many? most? in leadership positions) to take advantage of loopholes that are in turn addressed through changes and legislation, that leads to further complexity and the cycle continues with the original purpose/solution becoming ever more complex and serpentine… Suffice it to say, the system(s) are increasingly becoming more convoluted and fragile as a result with nonlinear feedback loops and emergent phenomena arising leading to increasing risk since these can neither be predicted nor controlled — only reacted to after the fact.

My growing sense is that if some unforeseen Black Swan event or geopolitical ‘accident’ doesn’t bring on a rapid decline in social complexity, then it will likely be a ‘mistake’ in the economic realm as it tends to impact significantly the various subsystems of trade, transportation, communication, etc. that the global, industrialised world depends upon for everything from potable water procurement to regional shelter need construction to food production and distribution, and everything in between.

If you’ve made it to the end of this contemplation and have got something out of my writing, please consider ordering the trilogy of my ‘fictional’ novel series, Olduvai (PDF files; only $9.99 Canadian), via my website — the ‘profits’ of which help me to keep my internet presence alive and first book available in print (and is available via various online retailers). Encouraging others to read my work is also much appreciated.

[1] See this, this, and/or this.

[2] See this.

[3] See this.

[4] See this.

[5] See this and/or this.

[6] See this and/or this.

[7] See this.

[8] See this, this, and/or this.

[9] See this.

[10] See this, this, this, this, and/or this.

[11] See this, this, this, this, and/or this.

[12] See this.

[13] See this and/or this.

[14] See this and/or this.

[15] See this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, and/or this.

[16] See this, this, this, this, this, this, this, and/or this.

[17] See this.

[18] Keep in mind that currency/money comes into existence in a number of ways; in our modern economic world it is primarily ‘created’ via the debt-/credit-disbursement activities of various financial institutions, especially the banking and shadow banking industry. It has been estimated that around 95% of our increasing money supply is created from nothing by financial institutions.

[19] See this, this, this, this, this, and/or this.

[20] See this, this, this, this, this, this, this, and/or this.

[21] See this, this, this, and/or this.

[22] See this, this, this, this, and/or this.

[23] See this, this, this, and/or this.

[24] See this, this, this, and/or this.

[25] See this, this, this, this, this, this and/or this.

[26] See this, this, this, this, this, this, this, and/or this.

[27] See this, this, this, this, and/or this.

Today’s Contemplation: Collapse Cometh XCVIII–‘Inevitable’ Growth: Helping To Keep the Profiteer Gravy Train Pumping

Today’s Contemplation: Collapse Cometh XCVIII

February 7, 2023 (original posting date)

Monte Alban, Mexico. (1988) Photo by author.

‘Inevitable’ Growth: Helping To Keep the Profiteer Gravy Train Pumping

The following are two brief comments (followed by a couple of shorter responses to others) I put out on one of my town’s FB pages regarding the ongoing conversation/debate around a proposed 18-story apartment complex along our main street. This is a very controversial plan given the fact that buildings have been limited to 6 floors for decades and brings to the surface the insane speed with which development has been occurring in our once small town with the moniker ‘Country close to the city’ — which most laugh at now given the ongoing loss of ‘ruralness’ once felt/observed. This community on the edge of the Greater Toronto Area has grown from around 13,000 in 1995 (when my wife, newborn, and I moved to a spot overlooking a kettle lake 10 minutes north of the built-up centre) to close to 50,000 presently with plans to continue expanding at a 5–10% per annum clip for as long as possible. For anyone who has ever seen the television series Schitt’s Creek, several of the buildings seen in the show exist along our main street (e.g., the veterinary clinic) and the main buildings are located in the town of Goodwood ten minutes east of us.

Everybody keeps going on and on about how we need to increase significantly the supply of housing to keep prices affordable but this is not at the root of this issue. That rather facile explanation is the one being leveraged and marketed by the profiteers (especially developers and banks, and facilitated by politicians eager to look like they’re doing something ‘positive’) to expand their cash cow of ever-expanding ‘development’ — regardless of environmental impacts and finiteness of resources.

These unaffordable prices are primarily the result of gargantuan money creation (i.e., credit/debt) by financial institutions (banking and shadow banking) to support (at least for a bit longer) the Ponzi nature of our monetary/financial/economic systems.

Much of this newly created ‘money’ is sloshing around in the system looking for assets with the best returns and what better avenue than parking it in housing — much of which is being bought up by the rentier class (especially the ‘investment’ industry who suck up most of the supply).

Take a look some time at the enormous exponential increase in debt/credit instruments over the past few decades — all of which are potential claims on future resources (particularly energy) that have encountered significant diminishing returns.

This will not end well…

The ‘growth is inevitable’ narrative that some are repeating here must be challenged. Pursuing growth is a conscious choice and one being made and repeatedly propagated by those who stand to profit the most from it: the ruling caste of society who market it as purely beneficial and ignore or rationalise away the negative aspects. This creates an Overton Window that limits our thinking and thereby beliefs.

Limits to growth and the significant negative consequences of such growth (e.g., ecological overshoot) are real. While such repercussions can be ignored/denied/bargained with, the very real biophysical impacts continue on and compound regardless of our beliefs or wishes.

The speed with which growth overwhelms systems is not something to wave away via denial or bargaining through magical thinking (i.e., some as-yet-to-be-hatched technology will ‘solve’ our resource woes and toxic legacies). While growth can be perceived to have some good intentions, as the saying goes “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”

We are putting at risk not just the overburdened planetary sinks that help to absorb and cleanse the pollutants created by our expanding industrial processes, but also the finite resource stocks — especially energy — that we depend upon for everything. Perhaps more importantly to sustaining a livable environment is the destruction of ecological systems in the wake of our growth. Biodiversity loss (mostly due to land system changes) over the past century or more has been off the charts and puts all species, including homo sapiens, in jeopardy.

And ‘building up’ to densify areas and prevent expansion onto farmland or environmentally-sensitive lands does absolutely nothing to eliminate the above issues. The sinks and stocks continue to be affected at almost the exact same rate. It is the continued growth that is the problem, not how we accommodate such growth.

For any that continue to believe growth in inevitable and can go on indefinitely (or, at least, for a lot longer before we must confront it), you need to watch the following presentation by the late Dr. Albert Bartlett, a physics professor from Colorado University, on the reality of exponential growth: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sI1C9DyIi_8.

You have fallen prey to the mythical narrative the governments, banks, and developers have created around supply and demand impacting house prices. This is not the primary reason. The fundamental reason is all the credit/debt ‘money’ created by the financial institutions and government (mostly financial institutions). This newly created money seeks return and gets funnelled into popular assets, sometimes good ones but oftentimes not (think Non-fungible Tokens, cryptocurrency, or many stocks). Housing is one of the very popular targets for all this ‘money’, most of it in the hands of the ruling elite/caste that buy up the housing stock and then rent it out. When well-off individuals/families and/or investment firms (what some have referred to as the rentier class) have millions/billions of dollars at hand to soak up assets, they sink much in real estate and land thereby driving up the price of these assets. The developers, banks, and other profiteers, however, leverage the rising prices to argue for more of their cash cow: development. They need more land, hence opening up the Greenbelt. They need to build more houses, thus the push to build ‘millions’ of residences. Despite the building binge that has been going on for decades around Toronto, prices have shot through the roof. It’s not about supply and demand.

Disagree completely. Growth is happening to keep our Ponzi economic system going for as long as possible…a bit of a misguided strategy on a planet with finite resources, especially energy. We need to be pushing degrowth, not growth.

Shaving it off at zero would be best. The idea that ‘growth’ is inevitable is another of those notions that needs to be challenged. ‘Growth’ is a choice and one being made by our ‘leaders’ (mostly because the ruling caste profits immensely from it). It is neither inevitable nor beneficial past a particular tipping point when it begins to encounter diminishing returns — to say little about the negative impact any and all growth has on ecological systems.

While ‘printing’ money is a tad inaccurate (the vast majority of new money is loaned into existence by banks and shadow-banking institutions), the primary reason housing costs have ballooned is certainty related to this as you suggest: newly created money is flowing into certain hard assets such as housing. If one includes the derivatives nightmare and other debt-liabilities, the world is drowning in quadrillions of dollars of interesting-bearing obligations. The issue around housing costs is multifaceted and supply/demand is but a very small aspect…but one leveraged as THE one by those who stand to profit from ever-expanding development; mostly the banks and developers. I am reminded of what industrialist Henry Ford stated (paraphrasing US Congressman Charles Binderup):”It is well enough that people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning.”

Anti-Science? Scientific Reporting RE: Covid-19 mRNA vaccines

Anti-Science? Scientific Reporting RE: Covid-19 mRNA vaccines

“Anti-Science” Accusations are Anti-Scientific

“By trying to reduce “science” – which, by definition, explores doubts, complexity, and is in constant evolution – to simple messages set in stone, scientists can become the worse enemies of science.”

Paul, Brown et al, “Who is anti-science”?

We now know that a wide range of psychological manipulation methods (PsyWar and Cognitive Warfare) were deployed by western governments since early 2020 to support false narrative scaffolds that SARS-CoV-2 is a highly lethal virus, that the deployed COVID genetic vaccines were safe, effective, and necessary to prevent widespread excessive death (ergo the incorrectly modeled 3.4% case fatality rate), and innumerable other lies. Multiple examples exist which demonstrate that governmentally deployed “nudge” technology, intentional “fear” messaging targeting both children and adults, and literally thousands of funded academic studies probing methods for overcoming “vaccine hesitancy” have been deployed against the general populace.

These methods and techniques were further amplified by established legacy/corporate media and their employees, who functioned as propagandists rather than serving as independent investigators and arbiters of truthful information. Furthermore, a wide range of weaponized terms were developed and deployed as intentional smears by government, non-governmental organizations and corporate media in an attempt to censor and delegitimize scientists, physicians, and others who dared to question these promoted false narratives.

As a component of this propaganda campaign, a new lexicon was also developed and weaponized, including terms such as “anti-vaxxer”- which was quite literally redefined in Webster’s dictionary to include any who did not support vaccine mandates, as well as the notorious trio of misinformation, disinformation, and malinformation…

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The “Business” of Central Banking—Usury and Tax Farming

The “Business” of Central Banking—Usury and Tax Farming

real mandate of central banks

Central banking is “a great business to be in, where you print money, and people believe it.”

That’s what the head of New Zealand’s central bank said recently in an unscripted moment of candor.

It led me to wonder about the nature of this strange “business.”

Let me put it into the simplest and most concise terms.

  1. Central banks create fake money out of thin air and loan it to governments at interest.
  2. Governments use violence and threats of violence to extract taxes from average citizens to pay the interest on the fake money the central banks created out of thin air.
  3. Like the mafia, they can deploy violence to ensure there is no competition to their privileged racket.

That’s the unvarnished truth about central banking.

In short, it’s the business of usury and tax farming.

(To me, a more practical modern meaning of usury is “enslaving people with financial trickery.” Central banking clearly fits the bill.)

The central bank is a powerful wealth transfer mechanism that enables governments to harvest the productive efforts of their citizens efficiently and surreptitiously.

The central bank’s currency debasement transfers wealth from savers to those closest to the money printer, namely governments and their cronies.

The central bank’s real mandate is to transfer as much wealth as possible via currency debasement to the political class without causing alarm among the plebs. Ideally, it happens gradually so nobody notices, like a child taking only a little money out of his mother’s purse each day so she doesn’t notice.

However, sometimes their theft spirals out of control, and it’s impossible for the plebs not to notice.

Consider this.

The Federal Reserve—the central bank of the US—has printed more fake money in recent years than it has for its entire existence.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Staving Off Revolution

Staving Off Revolution

If the leadership chooses happy-story PR and toothless reforms for show in the hopes it will all blow over, these subterfuges have the potential to push dissatisfaction beyond the point of control.

Whatever else we might say or think about the leadership class, they tend to have a keen sense of self-preservation. The ability to issue optimistic visions of sunshine and unicorns with a straight face is valuable, to be sure, but so is the ability to sense that the BS is no longer working and something must be done to stave off a potentially career-ending collapse of confidence.

As a general rule, the ability to maintain a delusional confidence that it’s all going to work out just fine tends to end very poorly for the leadership class. However sincerely it may be uttered, let them eat brioche doesn’t resolve the extreme asymmetries that generate revolutionary disorder. Something more is required, something that either reduces the asymmetries of wealth and power or gives the appearance of doing so.

Staving off revolution requires some action that benefits those for whom the status quo is no longer working. While borrowing and distributing “free money” works for awhile, this profligacy generates its own destabilizing dynamics, and so eventually reducing the asymmetries of wealth and power requires the leadership to take a chunk out of the perquisites and spoils of the financial elite.

Since the leadership class is either beholden to the financial elite or has dual membership in both clubs, the leaders are quickly declared “traitors to their class” even as they are acting to stave off the overthrow of the predatory financial elite that pushed asymmetries to destabilizing extremes.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

IMF Prepares Financial Revolution – Say GOODBYE to the Dollar

IMF Prepares Financial Revolution – Say GOODBYE to the Dollar

Global reserve currency status allows for amazing latitude in terms of monetary policy.

The Treasury Department understands that there is constant demand for dollars overseas as a means to more easily import and export goods. The petrodollar monopoly made the U.S. dollar essential for trading oil globally for decades.

This means that the central bank of the U.S. has been able to create fiat currency from thin air to a far higher degree than any other central bank on the planet while avoiding the immediate effects of hyperinflation.

Much of that cash as well as dollar-denominated debt  ends up in the coffers of foreign central banks, international banks and investment firms. Sometimes it is held as a hedge, or bought and sold to adjust the exchange rates of local currencies. As much as 60% of all U.S. currency (and 25% of U.S. government debt) is owned outside the U.S.

Global reserve currency status is what allowed the U.S. government and the Fed to create tens of trillions of dollars in new currency after the 2008 credit crash, all while keeping inflation more or less under control.

The problem is that this system of stowing dollars overseas only lasts so long and eventually the effects of overprinting come home to roost.

The Bretton-Woods Agreement of 1944 established the framework for the rise of the U.S. dollar. While the benefits are obvious, especially for the U.S., there are numerous costs involved. Think of world reserve status as a “deal with the devil.” You get the fame, you get the fortune, you get trophy dates and a sweet car – for a while. Then one day the devil comes to collect, and when he does he’s going to take everything, including your soul.

Unfortunately, I suspect collection time is coming soon for the U.S.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Biden’s Inflation Narrative Dies as Price Growth Rises to a Seven-Month High

Biden’s Inflation Narrative Dies as Price Growth Rises to a Seven-Month High

“…we can expect the administration and the regime in general to continue gaslighting the public and claiming that greedy capitalists cause inflation.”

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ latest price inflation data, CPI inflation in March rose to a seven-month high, and price inflation hasn’t proven nearly as transitory as the regime’s economists have long predicted.

According to the BLS, Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation rose 3.5 percent year over year during March, without seasonal adjustment. That’s the thirty-seventh month in a row of inflation well above the Fed’s arbitrary 2 percent inflation target.

Month-over-month inflation was flat with the CPI rising by 0.4 percent from February to March, with seasonal adjustment.  Month-to-month growth had also been 0.4 percent from January to February.


The ongoing price increases largely reflect growth in prices for food, services, electricity, and shelter.

For example, prices for “food away from home” were up 4.2 percent in March over the previous year. Gasoline prices rose 1.3 percent over the period, but electricity surged to 5.0 percent. Prices for “services less energy services” rose 5.4 percent, year over year, while shelter rose 5.7 percent over the period.

Some specific categories were well above even this in year-over-year price inflation. For example:

  1. Car insurance prices: up 22.2%
  2. Car repair prices: up 11.6%
  3. Transportation prices: up 10.7%
  4. Hospital services prices: up 7.5%
  5. Homeowners’ prices (“Owners’ equivalent rent”): up 5.9%

Removing volatile energy and food prices from the index, we find price inflation nonetheless remains stubbornly high. So-called core CPI growth remains almost double the “two-percent target”—at 3.8 percent—keeping price inflation growth near thirty-year highs. In other words, core CPI is a long way from returning to “normal.” Moreover, March’s month-over-month increase remains at 0.4 percent, which is the largest increase recorded in any month since April 2023.


Biden Blames Corporate Greed 

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

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