Home » Posts tagged 'substack'

Tag Archives: substack

Click on image to purchase

Olduvai III: Catacylsm
Click on image to purchase

Post categories

Post Archives by Category

Sacrifice Zones

Sacrifice Zones

As our problems mount, more of Earth’s people will be seen as disposable.

Source: Encorenature.org


A “sacrifice zone” refers to when one community’s health is sacrificed for the sake of another, often for profit or maintaining a way of life in that more fortunate community. A sacrifice zone is often a community living in proximity to pollutants, contaminated water, or some other manmade hazard. People in these communities are often poor and seen as disposable or a “cost of doing business” by those who benefit from the situation.

One clear example is Cancer Alley in the state of Louisiana, in the United States. This area of Louisiana stretches between New Orleans and Baton Rouge, has a high concentration of petrochemical plants, and as a result, boasts cancer rates 50 times higher than the national average. For those of us enjoying the plastics, chemicals, and gasoline that come from this region, we are indirectly supporting this sacrifice zone.

There are plenty of sacrifice zones around the world that we tolerate because they make our lives more convenient.

Quintero and Puchuncavi in Chile are home to the Ventanas industrial complex that includes oil refineries, petrochemical plants, coal-fired power plants, gas terminals, and a copper smelter. David Boyd, the United Nations (UN) envoy for human rights and the environment, warned that Chile is facing a “frightening and interconnected environmental crisis” that is violating the rights of millions of people at the industrial complex known as the “Chilean Chernobyl.” People from the area suffer from respiratory and cardiovascular diseases at a disproportionate rate. Infant mortality and cancer rights are also much higher than average

Kabwe, Zambia: The lead and zinc mine at Kabwe closed in 1994 after operating for nearly 100 years. The site is still negatively impacting the population. Lead poisoning has damaged the internal organs and brains of the children who live there.

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

New Inflation Floor Will Be 3%: Mark Spiegel

New Inflation Floor Will Be 3%: Mark Spiegel

Mark’s updated take on the market’s valuation and his longstanding bet against Tesla.

Friend of Fringe Finance Mark B. Spiegel of Stanphyl Capital released his most recent investor letter on April 30, 2024, with his updated take on the market’s valuation and his longstanding bet against Tesla.

Mark is a recurring guest on my podcast and definitely one of Wall Street’s iconoclasts. I just spoke with him about 2 weeks ago:

Tesla's Robotaxi Is "Obviously Bullshit": Mark Spiegel

Tesla’s Robotaxi Is “Obviously Bullshit”: Mark Spiegel

I read every letter he publishes and thought it would be a great idea to share them with my readers.

Like many of my friends/guests, he’s the type of voice that gets little coverage in the mainstream media, which, in my opinion, makes him someone worth listening to twice as closely.

Mark was kind enough to allow me to share his thoughts from his April 2024 investor letter (edited slightly for length and grammar by QTR). This letter also contains positions his fund has on, both long and short.

Mark On Markets And The Economy

This month’s gain was due to a decline in the S&P 500 (which we’re short via SPY & VOO), partially offset by a gain in the price of our Tesla short position (despite that company’s fundamentally  disastrous April), accompanied by a drop in the price of our Volkswagen long position. I discuss VW and Tesla later in this letter, so let’s talk about the S&P which, despite this month’s slight correction, is still very expensive.

In the far-right column below from Standard & Poor’s are the 12 most recent quarterly operating earnings for the S&P 500 (with Q1 2024 estimated with 51%  of companies having reported) and, in the middle column, the price of the S&P 500 as of that date. (The S&P 500 is now at 5035.)

A screenshot of a data

Description automatically generated

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

Discovering Power’s Traps: a primer for electricity users

Discovering Power’s Traps: a primer for electricity users

In magazines like Mother Jones and Sierra Club, environmentalists who aim to reduce harmful impacts to public health, wildlife habitats and climate systems propose “electrifying everything.”

I don’t get it.

Already, most of our food, shelter, communications and transportation systems depend on electricity. Replacing vehicles, stoves, heaters, water heaters and money (mining bitcoin) with electric ones would require massive expansion of the power grid. We’d have to manufacture lots of new appliances and vehicles (and discard old ones). We’d have to manufacture and operate more substations, generators, transformers, power lines, appliances, circuit boards and batteries. Their manufacturing would require more fossil fuels, more rare earth elements, more water, more smelting and refining, more hazardous chemicals and more international shipping. It would generate more toxic waste and more electromagnetic radiation.

So would adding artificial intelligence (AI), solar PV, wind and battery systems to our technosphere. Electrifying everything would also require expanding telecommunications: more satellites, cell sites, data storage centers and computers.

Given power outages’ increasing frequency, increasing our dependence on electricity now…makes no sense.

What are our goals again?

To reduce harms to nature: to reduce harms to public health, wildlife habitats and climate systems. To keep power reliable and safe.

Electrifying everything cannot accomplish these goals.

To reduce harms to nature, we need to manufacture less, consume less and significantly limit new infrastructure. We need liability-carrying subject-matter experts to evaluate every product’s ecological impacts from cradle-to-grave.

To keep power reliable and safe, we need engineers in charge of the grid.

To reduce demands

I understand that using fossil fuels increases global temperatures and severe weather conditions. Electricity, usually powered by natural gas or coal, accounts for roughly 20% of global energy consumption. Transportation (of people and goods), run largely on petroleum, accounts roughly for 25%.

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

There’s a Sniper on the Roof of the School Where I Studied Authoritarianism

There’s a Sniper on the Roof of the School Where I Studied Authoritarianism

On student protests and principled defiance.

There are snipers on the roof of the school where I got my MA.

There are police beating students at the school where I got my PhD.

At each school, I studied authoritarian regimes and how they brainwash people into believing that state brutality is not only expected, but deserved.

*          *          *

At Indiana University, I wrote my master’s thesis on how the government of Uzbekistan invented a terrorist group, “Akromiya,” in order to justify their killing of over seven hundred protesters in the city of Andijon in May 2005.

I wrote parts of my thesis in the Indiana Memorial Union: a student center where I would drink coffee and work. A student center where there are now snipers on the roof, their weapons aimed at students on the ground.

Indiana University calls the IMU “the lifeblood of IU Bloomington”. I wonder how much lifeblood will be spilled. Matt Pierce, an Indiana state representative, warns that IU could become the next Kent State.

IU students are protesting Israel’s massacre of Palestinians. Since October 2023, the Israeli military has killed over 34,000 Palestinian civilians, about half of whom were children. Some Palestinian children died in bombings. Others were shot in the head by Israeli snipers.

Doctors in Gaza have noted the wildly disproportionate death toll, saying Israel’s focus on children is unlike anything they have seen.

“This is not a normal war,” says Canadian doctor Fozia Alvi. “The war in Ukraine has killed 500 kids in two years and the war in Gaza has killed over 10,000 in less than five months. We have seen wars before but this is something that is a dark stain on our shared humanity.”

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

Do U.S. Presidents Matter for Carbon Dioxide Emissions Reduction?

Do U.S. Presidents Matter for Carbon Dioxide Emissions Reduction?

The answer is not what most people will expect

Rare glimpse of the Energy Policy control panel in the White House Situation Room

Pop Quiz!

Before reading on, please provide your best guesses matching the presidential administration with with the annual rate of carbon dioxide emissions reductions over each president’s term in office — dating to 2005, which is the baseline year commonly used to assess U.S. emissions reduction progress.

I’ll provide the answers after sharing some data. The figure below shows overall U.S. carbon dioxide emissions from 2005 to 2025 (with 2024 and 2025 estimated in April 2024, via the outstanding U.S. Energy Information Agency).

You can see that over the past two decades U.S. emissions have declined very steadily, with notable departures in 2009 (Global Financial Crisis, GFC) and 2020 (COVID-19 pandemic) only to snap back more or less on trend. The steadiness of the decline is remarkable given that these two decades saw two U.S. presidents who championed emissions reductions (Obama and Biden) and two who did not (Bush and Trump).

This raises a question: How much do U.S. presidents matter for the annual pace of emissions reductions?

To get a better sense of the answer to this question, let’s look at annual rates of changes in emissions, shown in the figure below.

The biggest year-on-year changes were the years of the GFC and COVID-19, and respective bounce backs in the years following. The overall growth rate is negative, which is why U.S. emissions have decreased since 2005. But of note, there is no trend at all in the rate of change in that decline. There is no evidence of an acceleration in emissions reductions, due to policy or anything else, and no such indication is expected in the data before 2026.

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

The Great Experiment

The Great Experiment

Is stratospheric aerosol injection inevitable now?

The retired aircraft carrier Hornet juts into the frame against a bright blue sky.
A government test of solar radiation management (SRM) was conducted from the deck of the retired aircraft carrier, Hornet, the first of its kind, on April 2.

“Desperate times breed desperate measures.”

~ William Shakespeare

Democracy has been referred to as the Great Experiment. As it teeters from the threat of Trump and “righteous” Christian Fascism, we must not forget that climate change is also an experiment that can topple democracy. Frighteningly, the two could easily work hand in hand as the realities of global warming create ever-increasing disasters from droughts and floods, force migration, create shortages, and drive systemic inflation. These conditions unchecked can lead to social unrest, military law, resource wars and dictatorship.

The Paris Agreement under heat

In 2015, the United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP 21 was held in Paris. Because of indisputable evidence of global warming from ice core sampling, ocean probes and satellite data, 196 nations signed a legally binding international treaty on climate change. That treaty went into effect in 2016 with the agreement to limit global warming to 1.5°C. To achieve that goal, greenhouse gas emissions must decline 43 percent by 2030.

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

Recession Watch: Why isn’t “inevitable” becoming “imminent”?

Recession Watch: Why isn’t “inevitable” becoming “imminent”?

Because “fiscal dominance”…

So that recession I keep whining about still hasn’t arrived. What’s going on out there to keep “inevitable” from becoming “imminent”?

It might be as simple as a government borrowing insane amounts of money and giving it to arms makers, banks, and AI companies.

This “fiscal dominance” strategy invokes some serious unintended consequences, including stubborn inflation and rising interest rates. New car loans, for instance, are now more expensive than they were prior to the 2008-2009 crash:

While bank credit is falling into pre-crash territory:

Offices are emptying out:

But unemployment is ridiculously low. With everyone working, how can growth possibly turn negative? Well, if everyone is working multiple part-time jobs and still unable to make ends meet, that might do it:

Meanwhile, lots of under-the-surface stats support the gloom-and-doom thesis. The next chart compares the stock prices of a major shipper and a major pawn shop chain:

According to financial analyst Danielle DiMartino Booth, we might already be in a recession:

Our Final Destiny: Catastrophe or Rebirth?

Our Final Destiny: Catastrophe or Rebirth?

Millenialism or renewalism?

The “Base Case” scenario of the first version of “The Limits to Growth” study, published in 1972. Note the shape of the curves: a slow growth is followed by a rapid decline, the typical “Seneca Shape.” Note also that the calculation shows a single cycle. Collapse, as seen in this scenario, is final and irreversible. Is it a “millenaristic” view of the future? Maybe, but we cannot exclude that the system will rebound in a farther future.

For decades after it was published, in 1972, the “Limits to Growth” was criticized with the accusation of being a “wrong prediction.” Remarkably, these accusations started immediately after the study was published, way before the main result of the calculations, the impending societal collapse, could be verified. It was a good example of the human attitude of thinking that what you don’t like cannot be true.

Today, more than 50 years later, the tide seems to be turning, and the study is being re-appraised; see, for instance, the book Limits and Beyond. Yet, we may be making the opposite mistake: turning a scenario into a prophecy and seeing collapse in the light of an unavoidable apocalypse for humankind.

It is not surprising. The history of human thought sees two attitudes going in parallel: “millenarism,” the idea that the world will go through a single cycle and then die, and the opposite one, which I might call “renewalism.” It sees death followed by rebirth in an infinite series of cycles, or at least a very long one.

The term “millenarism” is often attributed to Marcus Terentius Varro (116–27 BC), who said that Roma would last one thousand years. It is typical of the Jewish tradition as expressed, for instance, in the Book of Daniel in the Bible…

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

Economy Plunges into Stagflation with Both Feet

Economy Plunges into Stagflation with Both Feet

Talk about a one-two-three punch to the ground!

Stagflation came in perfectly on target for The Daily Doom’s predictions today. Real GDP is now falling much harder than was expected yesterday by two-faced Jamie Dimon when he spoke out of his second face, saying the economy is “booming,” backed by “healthy consumer finances.” He called it an “unbelievable” economy. I’ll agree with that part. I certainly didn’t believe it when he said it yesterday.

You see, only the day before, his first face said the economy looked like we could be heading into the stagflation of the 70s, which means a stagnant economy with high inflation. Those are diametrically opposite claims to my way of thinking. After he appeared to walk stagflation back yesterday when he said the economy was booming, today we all learned we are already in the stagflation of the 70s. (We’ve actually been in it all year, but it finally got reported.)

The official report on Q1 real GDP for 2024 showed the economy is stagnant, while the Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) price index scored its largest inflation gain all year (at 3.4% annualized). To be specific, GDP fell off to a 1.6% annualized pace (adjusted for seasonality and inflation), according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. That is a plunge to less than half of the 3.4% growth the BEA claimed for the final quarter of 2023 and the 4.9% in the quarter before that, and it even came in well below the 2.4% that was forecast recently by economists in a Dow Jones survey.

So, the two-faced Dimon should have stayed with what his first face said two days ago because GDP readings under 2% are usually considered borderline recession—far from “BOOMING,” which means the US economy is, in fact, stagnant with rising inflation, which means the 1970s are back … because …

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


The Lancet Publishes CDC Studies on Misinformation, Hoping You Forgot The Lancet and CDC Spread Pandemic Misinformation

The Lancet Publishes CDC Studies on Misinformation, Hoping You Forgot The Lancet and CDC Spread Pandemic Misinformation

Censorship academic Claire Wardle helps guide the journal’s descent into authoritarian, censorship hell.

Medical authorities and like-minded charlatans address public failure with several strategies. One method is to deny error, feign outrage at critics pointing to the screwup, and shroud yourself in the holy mantle of science. When caught lying about the science on masks and the possibility he funded a lab accident in Wuhan, Anthony Fauci famously deployed this strategy by first denying what he had said, and then striking back at his critics, “Attacks on me quite frankly are attacks on science.”

The second strategy science academics and kindred con artists deploy is to ignore their blunder, blunder onward while feigning expertise, and hope the public has the mental capacity of goldfish who forget their entire world every 15 minutes. After being humiliated several times for publishing COVID misinformation, The Lancet has landed on this second tactic, inverting reality to assert authority on misinformation—the very same topic they fucked up in the recent past.

But a few were not fooled. The Lancet’s announcement that they were publishing two papers warning about medical misinformation set off howls of laughter and merry disbelief on social media.

“You guys may want to sit this one out,” quipped conservative commentator, Tracy Beanz.

“Misinformation you say?” tweeted another, linking to news deriding a bogus study by a company called Surgisphere that the Lancet was forced to retract.

“By publishing falsehoods like the surgisphere fraud and the Lancet commission whitewash of lockdown failure and harms, the @Lancet was among the worst contributors to public misinformation during the covid era,” tweeted Stanford’s Dr. Jay Bhattacharya.

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

How Far Can The Yen Fall Before Japan Goes Bankrupt?

How Far Can The Yen Fall Before Japan Goes Bankrupt?

We may be about to find out

Japan’s ongoing march to national bankruptcy has been a recurring theme here. See:

Japan Is In That Box
Japan Takes Another Step Towards the Cliff
How a Country Goes Bankrupt, In 10 Steps

Now the death spiral has entered a new phase, with the yen/dollar exchange rate heading straight down:

To restate the “Japan collapse” thesis, soaring government debt will eventually cause the yen to crater and/or interest rates to spike. The Bank of Japan will then face an impossible choice: Support the yen with even higher interest rates and watch government interest expense rise to national bankruptcy levels. Or push interest rates down to keep a lid on debt costs and cause the yen to collapse.

As the above chart illustrates, the “cause the yen to collapse” part of the story seems to be happening. Interest rates, meanwhile, are now spiking in a mirror image of the yen’s collapse.

Decision Time

So it’s decision time for Japan’s leaders. What will they choose? And — more importantly — what happens when the global financial system realizes that it no longer matters?

Japan is a big country, so its impending crisis creates risks for the global economy. But it’s more important as a signal to the US, Europe, and China that we’re heading in exactly the same direction.

In other words, the Fed is in the same box as the Bank of Japan, and that box is shrinking with every new trillion dollars of debt.

This really is World War III

This really is World War III

It’s Team Tyranny vs. Team Freedom in the fight of our lives

I’ve seen some crazy things over the last few years but this is off-the-charts insane.

Last week, Michael E. Mann spoke at the EcoHeath Alliance: Green Planet One Health Benefit 2024. Just to recap who each of these players are:

  • Michael E. Mann is the creator of the “hockey stick graph” that has driven the global warming debate for the last 25 years.
  • EcoHealth Alliance is the CIA cutout led by Peter Daszak that launders money from the NIH to the Wuhan Institute of Virology to create gain-of-function viruses (including SARS-CoV-2 which killed over 7 million people).
  • “One Health” is the pretext the World Health Organization (WHO) is using to drive the Pandemic Treaty that will vastly expand the powers of the WHO and create economic incentives for every nation on earth to develop new gain-of-function viruses.

So a leader in the global warming movement spoke at an event to raise money for the organization that just murdered 7 million people and the campaign that intends to launch new pandemics in perpetuity to enrich the biowarfare industrial complex.

And then just for good measure, Peter Hotez reposted all of this information on Twitter, I imagine in solidarity with all of the exciting genociding going on.


Mann’s appearance at this event is emblematic of a disturbing shift that has been years in the making. Serious and thoughtful people in the environmental movement tried to address industrial and military pollution for decades. Now their cause has been co-opted by big tech and other corporate actors with malevolent intentions — and the rest of the environmental movement has gone along with this, apparently without objection. So we are witnessing a convergence between the global warming movement, the biowarfare industrial complex, and the WHO pandemic treaty grifters.

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

Pinning down climate change’s role in extreme weather

Pinning down climate change’s role in extreme weather and did climate change contribute to the flooding in Dubai?

In the wake of any unusual weather event, someone inevitably asks, “Did climate change cause this?” In the most literal sense, that answer is almost always no. Climate change is never the sole cause of hurricanes, heat waves, droughts, or any other disaster, because weather variability always plays a primary role in the genesis of the events.

However, climate change can make these events more intense and, given the non-linearities in the damages, this can vastly increase the damage and misery from extreme weather. So quantifying the role of climate change is therefore of great interest.

To do this, scientists turn to extreme event attribution studies. These rely on three separate lines of evidence. The first is the observational record: If you have good observations of the climate over a long enough period, the data set can be statistically analyzed to determine whether the event in question is becoming more frequent as the climate warms.

But correlation does not prove causality, so you need the second line of evidence: a physical understanding of why a particular extreme is getting worse as the climate warms. It should be obvious to readers of this substack why, in a warmer world, we expect to get more frequent heat waves. This physical understanding adds to our confidence that climate change is a factor in the occurrence of heat waves.

Finally, we look to computer simulations of the climate. The most common approach is to produce two different simulations of the climate: One simulation is of the real world, so it includes increasing greenhouse gases and a warming climate…

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

Forget the Black Swans; the Vultures already Circling us Are Bad Enough to Kill us

Forget the Black Swans; the Vultures already Circling us Are Bad Enough to Kill us

There is certainly more coming to eat away at your finances as infamous bankster Jamie Dimon laid out quite broadly and plainly this week.

gray and white bird on brown tree branch during sunset
Photo by Abhishek Singh on Unsplash

Jamie Dimon never saw a dying bank he didn’t want to eat. Yet, while I think that Dimon’s name should be pronounced less like the clear, crown jewel of choice and more like the horned fiends of Hades, he does often speak of things likely to bring down the banking world or the economy with more candor than any other bankers, including particularly his partners in crime at the Fed. And you can be sure he has his scavenger eye on those things.

Perhaps it is just because he has unparalleled confidence that he is untouchable like a serial killer who talks to police on the street about how sorry he feels that they have had no luck at all finding the serial killer. He’s just that confident his next big take from hauling in a failing bank at fire-sale prices is so certain, he needn’t worry that warning everyone of the coming failures will get in the way of his business. Thus, he can play the saint for warning us all, knowing the greedy will ignore his warnings anyway, and still wait in the wings for that Friday evening call from Fed Chair Jerome Powell that says, “We have another bank for you. Can we meet tomorrow morning to discuss terms and complete a weekend sale?”

Fitting right in with my theme for this weekend’s Deeper Dive for paying subscribers to be titled “The Apoceclypse,” The CEO of JPMorgan Chase warned the world this week that it faces “Risks that eclipse anything since World War II.” I, of course, couldn’t agree more, so I want to spend this article distilling the Dimon’s annual report down to the most essential risks:

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

“Degrowth” is a tough sell

“Degrowth” is a tough sell

We need positive language to work toward positive outcomes

The seeds of Big-seeded Biscuitroot (Lomatium macrocarpum), a traditional First Food of western North America. Photo taken in eastern Oregon, Aug. 15, 2022.

March 14th was “Earth Overshoot Day” for the United States. What that means is that, if every country in the world consumed at the rate of the US, the limit of the planet’s annual regeneration of resources would run out on that date. (At this website, you can see which countries overshoot and which don’t.)

I don’t know how they calculate their dates, and I’m sure folks could quibble over methodology, but we can be confident that it represents a legitimate warning about the status quo and its danger to people and planet. We need to use less. Far far less.

Personally, I would argue the solution is about systemic change not individual choices. If each person had a share to work with—that is, if the ownership of the resources of the planet were divvied up among everyone and our own decisions to forgo on any particular resource meant that resource would be preserved in place—then it would be all about individual choices.

But it’s not.

If an individual drives less, stops watering their lawn, or turns down the thermostat, then that water, fuel or power is not “saved.” Besides only being a drop in the bucket, it’s a drop that’s gobbled up by the machine some other way. There are other reasons to do these things, of course, such as getting more exercise, saving money on bills, and the value of being attentive to one’s own life. In the big picture, though, what we need is a two-pronged systemic approach…

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

Olduvai IV: Courage
Click on image to read excerpts

Olduvai II: Exodus
Click on image to purchase

Click on image to purchase @ FriesenPress