REAL WORLD EVENT DISCUSSIONS

The big question for the year 2020 is simple: can America get its mind right?

POSTED BY: SIGNYM
UPDATED: Sunday, January 12, 2020 00:08
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Tuesday, December 31, 2019 1:24 PM

SIGNYM

I believe in solving problems, not sharing them.


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The Meta

The big question for the year 2020 is simple: can America get its mind right?

If the answer is no, we may not have much chance of continuing as a peaceful,

America was never "peaceful", at least not externally. I think what he means is: not in a state of simmering civil war
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functioning country. The era of the long emergency, as I call it, is of a piece with Strauss and Howe’s figurative winter in their Fourth Turning view of history playing out in generational cycles analogous to seasons of the year. Whatever you call it, the current disposition of things has had a harsh effect on our collective psychology. It has made an unusually large cohort of Americans functionally insane, believing in demons, hobgoblins, and phantoms, subscribing to theories that, in previous eras, children would laugh at, while contesting obvious realities and provoking grave political hazard.

The madness is distributed over many realms of American life, with the common denominator of a thinking class fallen into disordered thinking. The disorder is led by the information media and higher education with their crypto-Gnostic agendas for transforming human nature to heal the world (in theory).

It includes a grab-bag of delusions and deliberate mind-fucks ranging from the morbid obsession with Russian interference in our affairs, to the crusade against free speech on campus, to the worship of sexual perversity (e.g. the Transsexual Reading Hour), to the campaigns against whiteness and maleness, to the incursions of woke-ness in the corporate workplace, to the cynical machinations of economists, bankers, and politicians in manipulating financial appearances, to the effort to divorce reality from truth as a general proposition.

Amen. The transnationals have managed to manipulate us into a state where we are chasing after ever-smaller ever-more fragmented identity-victimhood tribes (Does being a black female bisexual give me more brownie points than a white trans female?) Insted of focusing in what unites us, we're fighting over some theoretical advanatge that is supposed to come to us as "victims". Which, btw, will never come, because were too disunited to make our common situation better.

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These diseases of mind and culture are synergized by an aroused political ethos that says the ends justify the means,
Hence, WISHY can't seem to see that being willing to kill 7 billion people would make her even worse than Stalin, and REAVERBOT thinks that punching a "Nazi" in offense is morally acceptable, and not just plain assault and battery.
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so that bad faith and knowing dishonesty become the main tools of political endeavor. Hence, a venerable institution such as The New York Times can turn from its mission of strictly pursuing news and be enlisted as the public relations service for rogue government agencies seeking to overthrow a president under false pretenses. The overall effect is of a march into a new totalitarianism, garnished with epic mendacity and malevolence. Since when in the USA was it okay for political “radicals” to team up with government surveillance jocks to persecute their political enemies?
Since people have totally lost their moral bearings and can't seem to apply their outrage and their own rules to ... themselves.

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This naturally leads to the question: what drove the American thinking class insane? I maintain that it comes from the massive anxiety generated by the long emergency we’ve entered — the free-floating fear that we’ve run out the clock on our current way of life, that the systems we depend on for our high standard of living have entered the failure zone; specifically, the fears over our energy supply, dwindling natural resources, broken resource supply lines, runaway debt, population overshoot, the collapsing middle-class, the closing of horizons and prospects for young people, the stolen autonomy of people crushed by out-of-scale organizations (government, WalMart, ConAgra), the corrosion of relations between men and women (and of family life especially), the frequent mass murders in schools, churches, and public places, the destruction of ecosystems and species, the uncertainty about climate change, and the pervasive, entropic ugliness of the suburban human habitat that drives so much social dysfunction. You get it? There’s a lot to worry about, much of it quite existential. The more strenuously we fail to confront and engage with these problems, the crazier we get.
Agreed. Fear combined with denial makes an ugly mix.

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Much of the “social justice” discontent arises from the obvious and grotesque income inequality of our time accompanied by the loss of meaningful work and the social roles that go with that. But quite a bit of extra tension comes from the shame and disappointment over the failure of the long civil rights campaign to correct the racial inequalities in American life — everything from attempts at school integration to affirmative action (by any name) to “multiculturalism” to the latest innovations in “diversity and inclusion.” In short, too many black Americans are still failing to thrive in this land despite fifty years of expensive government programs and educational experiments galore, and there are few explanations left to account for that failure, which includes black-led cities in ruin and high rates of black violent crime. This quandary harrows the thinking class and drives them ever deeper into their crypto-Gnostic fantasies about changing human nature to heal the world. The net result is that race relations are worse and more fraught than they were in 1950. And the outcome is so embarrassing that the thinking class avoids facing it at all costs (despite bad faith calls for “an honest conversation about race” that is, in actuality, unwelcome).
But the ultimate cause of this is the fact that in an economy managed by the elites FOR the eiltes, scarcity is the name of the game. If there were enough good jobs for everyone who wanted to work, every person of every race, sex and orientation would be able to fruitfully ensure their own future and contribute productively to society. This environment of diminished expectations is leading us to fight with each other over what little we have, like peple in a lifeboat fighting over water.

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Our country is caught in a matrix of self-destructive rackets and the common denominator is the immersive dishonesty we have given ourselves permission to practice. In ethics and daily conduct, we’re nothing like the country that came out of World War Two. Our national maxim these days is anything goes and nothing matters. That’s a poor platform for navigating through life on earth. After a decades-long clamor for “hope and change,” that’s one big thing we don’t talk about changing, and apparently have no hope for changing. America has got to get its mind right about lying to itself.

This is a forecast, after all, and I’m going to try to be as concise as possible on the particulars, which we’ll now turn to. Forecasts, you understand, are like jazz, an improvisational connecting of dots at a certain moment in time… or throwing spaghetti at the wall to see if anything sticks.

Election 2020

There’s an excellent chance that the Democratic Party will be in such disarray by summertime, that it may break apart into a radical-Wokester faction and a rump “moderate” faction. That would make the election somewhat like the 1860 contest on the eve of the first Civil War. The current crop of leading candidates — Biden, Sanders, Warren, Buttigieg — all look to me like horses that ain’t gonna finish. Michael Bloomberg could end up leader of the rump moderates, propelled by his inexhaustible bank account, but I doubt his appeal to the racial minorities and the new millennial voters Democrats depend on. I’m not sure he’s left with much else.

I’m convinced that Joe Biden is in still in the contest solely to avoid investigation. He’s already obviously not wholly sound of mind, and he’s not even in the White House yet. Think of how Bob Mueller looked testifying in congress six months ago, and imagine Uncle Joe in the White House Situation Room. The record of grift from Uncle Joe’s Veep days is vibrantly nauseating, and embarrassingly on-the-record in video and in bank statements. Similarly, for Elizabeth Warren: there are too many video recordings of her lying about herself. She’d never overcome an opponent’s political ad campaign replaying them daily. I’m sorry, but despite the crypto-Gnostic wish by many Thinking Class-niks to make the marginal seem normal, I doubt the voters want to see Mayor Pete in the White House with a “First Husband.”

Mayor Pete has the backing of the deep state. Don't count him out.
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Bernie Sanders has a shot of leading a radical faction this time — if he can overcome the hacks in the DNC — and only a dim shot at winning the general election. This overview leaves a pretty big crack in the door for Hillary Clinton to ride into a hung convention in Milwaukee on a paper mache white horse and try to “rescue” the party. I believe she’d be laughed out of the hall, making for a humiliating final scene in her accursed career.

One other possibility is that a figure currently off the game-board somehow flies in to lead the Democratic Party, but it’s impossible to state who that black swan character might be. That could also be something like a “smoke-filled room” scenario of a nominating convention, like the one that picked Warren Harding a hundred years before: the party poohbahs get together and just ram their decision down the delegates throats. I’d assign a 20 percent chance to that outcome.

Whatever you think of his style, manner, and policies, Donald Trump has one outstanding quality: resilience. As David Collum has remarked, Mr. Trump is anti-fragile (in the Nassim Taleb sense). The more he is antagonized, the stronger he seems to get. His weak spot is his ownership of the economy and the financial markets that are supposed to serve it. His destiny, which I described in blogs three years ago, is to be the guy left holding the bag when things economic start cracking up

I agree. Trump has good intentions, but even in the arena that is his purview: foreign and militry policy - he hasn't been able to get past the CYA/Stat Dept/FIB deep state and the neocons/warhawks in Congress, and he simply doens't have the power to re-invigorate manufacturing and repair our infrastructure, both essential for a sound economy
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— a situation I’ll describe in its own category below. The odds are not so good that the status quo of an ever-rising stock market will hold up until next November. And if it goes south in a hard way, that will certainly work against his reelection. It could also be the one thing that would permit the Democratic Party to stay glued together — but implies that a shake-up in markets and banks would have to happen by early summer, before the conventions.

Meanwhile, the attempts at impeachment have a peevish Lilliputian flavor. Keeping it up —bringing a threatened second or third bill of impeachment with extra charges — will only reinforce Mr. Trump’s anti-fragility. Second to the economic issues is the question whether the firm of Barr & Durham will manage to pin some criminal responsibility on the people who undertook the RussiaGate coup against Mr. Trump — a ghastly mis-use of government power now celebrated by Democrats, who, you might recall, used to be against police states.

Oh,but ethics and principles are apparently SUCH slippery things!
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A series of perp walks by the likes of Brennan, Comey, Clapper, and others could finally burst the bubble of credulity that the Mueller face-plant and the damning Horowitz report failed to achieve among the True Believers of Rachel Maddow.
NOTHING will burst that bubble. What will happen is a slow erosion of narrative, and that will take time. It will take years - literally, years (five more, at least) - before believers lose their faith, and the truest of the true believers never will.
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Of course, this matter has even greater significance for correcting the meta-problem of America chronically lying to itself. RussiaGate and its spinoffs was such a gargantuan edifice of malicious dishonesty that it must be deconstructed in the courts, or the mental health of the nation may not recover. It is the key to ending the regime of anything goes and nothing matters. Bottom line: if the markets or the value of the dollar don’t crash, Mr. Trump will be reelected.

However, I expect that his rivals will resort to Lawfare tactics to tie up the election process in a paralyzing tangle of litigation that would impede or deny a peaceful resolution of the outcome. These tactics may provoke the president to declare some extraordinary measures to overcome this climactic act of “Resistance” — perhaps a period of martial law while the results are re-tabulated. Yes, it could get that extreme.

Economy and Its Accessories

The shale oil “miracle” was a financial stunt using debt to provide the illusion that the nation’s energy supply was safe and assured long-term. It’s been an impressive stunt, for sure, with production nearing 13 million barrels-a-day now, but it is foundering on its Ponzi business model — the producers just can’t make money at it, and they’ve spent ten years proving that it’s a foolish play for investors.

"We lose a litle bit on every well, but we make up for it in volume!"
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The result will be dwindling investment in an endeavor that requires constant re-investment. Which means that 2020 is the year that shale oil de-miracle-izes and production falls. The bankruptcies have only just begun.
I think about five years ago I did some research into fracking and nat gas/shale oil, and with the exception of a few fields the yield drops off pretty drastically -loses about 90% in five years - and must constantly be "restimulated". SECOND can probably provide better background on this.

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The economy is really just a function of energy inputs, and these must be inputs that make economic sense — that don’t cost more than whatever they return. All our banking and finance arrangements depend on that. If energy inputs decline, or the cost in energy exceeds the value of net energy you get, then debts of every kind can no longer be repaid and the whole system implodes. From there the question is whether collapse is slow or fast. My guess is that it may start slowly and then accelerate rapidly to critical — and the process has already begun.

As a result of this energy dynamic, we’re seeing a generalized contraction in economic activity and growth worldwide, expressed in standards of living that will fall going forward.

I disagree. This isn't a "worldwide" phenomenon, but a western one. I keep hearing that the Saudi oilfields are played out, North Sea oil is dwindling, and American fracking is meeting its financial end, but there are still near-pristine oil and gas fields out there which have been protected (in a backwards kind of way) from exploitation by sanctions and war, such as Iraq, Iran, Russia, and Venezuela. There is also a giant recently-discovered gas field under the Eastern Mediterranean. Be prepared for the west (ie USA, NATO) fighting /destabiizing to try and gain control of these energy resrouces,
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The effects in America are already obvious and discouraging: the struggling middle-class, people living paycheck-to-paycheck, people unable to buy cars or pay to fix them. The hope was that America might reindustrialize (some version of MAGA) while the “emerging” economies kept producing stuff as the “engines” of the global economy: China, India, Korea, Brazil, Mexico and others. These places saw standards of living rise dramatically the past thirty years. Reversing that trend will be a trauma. These emerging economies are topping off and heading down because of the same basic energy dynamics which affect the whole world: running out of affordable energy, oil especially. The likely result will be political instability within China, and the rest — already manifest — and some of that disorder may be projected outward at economic rivals.
Nah ...

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Europe has experienced plenty of blowback from its contracting standard-of-living as expressed in the Yellow Vest disruptions in France, the Brexit nervous breakdown, the gathering power of nationalist political movements in many nations, and the ongoing refugee crisis (largely economic refugees from failing third world places). The European banks, led by the sickest of them all, Deutsche Bank, suffer from a crushing burden of bad derivative obligations that are liable to sink them in 2020, and then there will be a scramble for survival in Euroland, with the recent refugees caught in the middle. I think we will see the first attempts to expel them as financial chaos spreads, violence erupts, and nationalism rises.
Quite possibly true

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The “solution” to the quandary of contraction since 2008 has been for central banks to “create” mountains of fresh “money” to provide the illusion that debts can be repaid (and fresh loans generated) when reality clearly refutes that. All that money “printing” has only deformed banking relations and the behavior of markets — the most obvious symptoms being asset inflation (stocks, bonds, real estate), the quashing of price discovery (the chief function of markets), and zero interest rates (which makes the operations of banking insane).

The bankers will continue to do “whatever it takes” to try to keep the game going, but they’ve run out of actual mojo to get it done. Interest rates can barely go any lower. The amount of money “printing” needed to sustain the illusion of a functioning, rational system grows ever larger. In the six weeks just before-and-after Christmas, the Federal Reserve is expected to pump $500 billion into the banks to stabilize asset prices. How long can they keep doing that?

Eventually, either asset prices fall (perhaps crash), or the increasingly desperate measures needed to prop them up will degrade the value of money itself. The catch is, that might not happen everywhere at once. For instance, China’s banking system, like Europe’s, is ripe for a convulsion, which would send money fleeing for perceived safety (while it can) into America’s markets, temporarily pumping up the Dow, the S & P, and US Treasury bonds even while other big nations crash. But US banks have the same disease and those birds of disorder will eventually roost here, too.

Jim Willie in his talks about "de-dollarization" ahd described a situation in which the realm of the dollar becomes smaller and smaller, even as it's value goes up and up. At some point, it will become useless for international trade. ("it will go up and up, and then disappear!")

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Also, the method of distributing fresh central bank money-from-thin-air will likely change going forward. The public will surely revolt at another bankster bailout. Instead, the folks-in-charge will turn to “Peoples’ QE,” otherwise known as “helicopter money” (as in dropping cash from choppers), or Modern Monetary Theory (MMT — print money until the cows come home), featuring “Guaranteed Basic Income.” The tensions in the contraction trap we’re in are such that disequilibrium in the debt markets can only play out in a hard default or a softer attempt to inflate currencies. Inflation could keep stock markets afloat and allow continued debt repayment (“servicing”) in currencies of declining value — a process that is never really manageable in history, always gets out-of-hand, and leads quickly to political mayhem. Remember, there are two ways of going broke: having no money, and having plenty of money that is worthless.
MORE AT https://kunstler.com/clusterfuck-nation/forecast-2020-whirling-and-swi
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Tuesday, December 31, 2019 4:54 PM

1KIKI

Goodbye, kind world (George Monbiot) - In common with all those generations which have contemplated catastrophe, we appear to be incapable of understanding what confronts us.


Well, I don't usually get into meta (or mega) trends because there're just too many vested interests with too many ways to game the system competing with each other. Even something like oil - which is a finite physical quantity - is evaluated in terms of cost of production (which MMT could rescue) v price of crude (determined by cartel v anti-cartel activity and national energy policies). And then there's the secondary effects of things like France's many nuclear power plants (what ARE they going to ultimately do with them), NORD Stream II sanctions, Turkstream etc, and what you mentioned - gas deposits in the E Mediterranean.

That said - I'll make few comments here and there.
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The Meta

The big question for the year 2020 is simple: can America get its mind right?

If the answer is no, we may not have much chance of continuing as a peaceful, functioning country. The era of the long emergency, as I call it, is of a piece with Strauss and Howe’s figurative winter in their Fourth Turning view of history playing out in generational cycles analogous to seasons of the year. Whatever you call it, the current disposition of things has had a harsh effect on our collective psychology. It has made an unusually large cohort of Americans functionally insane, believing in demons, hobgoblins, and phantoms, subscribing to theories that, in previous eras, children would laugh at, while contesting obvious realities and provoking grave political hazard.

When 'the usual' methods fail to deliver 'the usual' results, I think that reactions could be denial, doubling-down, war, internal strife/ dissolution, and the only thing that will ultimately work, which is an accurate assessment of the problem(s) and addressing them.

The basic problem for the US as I see it - after WWII the US was the last man standing among industrialized nations. National corporations were free to exploit the rest of the world as if it was colony (and our foreign relations were geared to supporting whatever dictators could guarantee profits). But over time the rest of the world recovered/ developed, leading to fewer places able to be exploited, and at the same time national corporations became international ones. For lack of external options, and as national corporate identity was replaced with a global one, the US became just another nation to exploit. The fatal flaw of capitalism - that you can't indefinitely suck profit at every turn of the production/ sale cycle - came home to roost. That's why we're now seeing HERE the deep slide in the common standard in living, and the concentration of more and more wealth into fewer and fewer hands.
Anyway, given that people are deeply tribal and so more likely to see problems as caused by the 'other' (instead of themselves or skewed systems), and that fixing the problem would require a national reset of identity (which is very hard to do even on an individual level), I don't believe that we're going to rationally address our problems.
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The madness is distributed over many realms of American life, with the common denominator of a thinking class fallen into disordered thinking. The disorder is led by the information media and higher education with their crypto-Gnostic agendas for transforming human nature to heal the world (in theory).

It includes a grab-bag of delusions and deliberate mind-fucks ranging from the morbid obsession with Russian interference in our affairs, to the crusade against free speech on campus, to the worship of sexual perversity (e.g. the Transsexual Reading Hour), to the campaigns against whiteness and maleness, to the incursions of woke-ness in the corporate workplace, to the cynical machinations of economists, bankers, and politicians in manipulating financial appearances, to the effort to divorce reality from truth as a general proposition.

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Amen. The transnationals have managed to manipulate us into a state where we are chasing after ever-smaller ever-more fragmented identity-victimhood tribes (Does being a black female bisexual give me more brownie points than a white trans female?) Instead of focusing in what unites us, we're fighting over some theoretical advantage that is supposed to come to us as "victims". Which, btw, will never come, because we're too disunited to make our common situation better.
I think the thinking class starts with the think tanks - who have academic luminaries and leaders in their fields on their boards - who QUITE INTENTIONALLY and with malice aforethought determine what the intellectual and political themes will be (as an example see A Century of Self, but there are many others, from the selling of WWI and WWII to the American public to the completely artificial creation of the Cold War by Winston Churchill). Once the academic tone is set, it seeps down to learning institutions.
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These diseases of mind and culture are synergized by an aroused political ethos that says the ends justify the means,
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Hence, WISHY can't seem to see that being willing to kill 7 billion people would make her even worse than Stalin, and REAVERBOT thinks that punching a "Nazi" in offense is morally acceptable, and not just plain assault and battery.
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so that bad faith and knowing dishonesty become the main tools of political endeavor. Hence, a venerable institution such as The New York Times can turn from its mission of strictly pursuing news and be enlisted as the public relations service for rogue government agencies ... Since when in the USA was it okay for political “radicals” to team up with government surveillance jocks to persecute their political enemies?
There's too much packaged as generalities for me to try to unpack them as generalities. But as a description of our current state I'd agree with it.
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Since people have totally lost their moral bearings and can't seem to apply their outrage and their own rules to ... themselves.
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This naturally leads to the question: what drove the American thinking class insane?
I'm not sure if he means the American thinking class - which has ALWAYS represented the will of the TPTB, or the American pubic in general that willingly drinks the kool-aid. So the rest is somewhat inscrutable to me as addressing that theme.
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I maintain that it comes from the massive anxiety generated by the long emergency we’ve entered — the free-floating fear that we’ve run out the clock on our current way of life, that the systems we depend on for our high standard of living have entered the failure zone; specifically, the fears over our energy supply, dwindling natural resources, broken resource supply lines, runaway debt, population overshoot, the collapsing middle-class, the closing of horizons and prospects for young people, the stolen autonomy of people crushed by out-of-scale organizations (government, WalMart, ConAgra), the corrosion of relations between men and women (and of family life especially), the frequent mass murders in schools, churches, and public places, the destruction of ecosystems and species, the uncertainty about climate change, and the pervasive, entropic ugliness of the suburban human habitat that drives so much social dysfunction. You get it? There’s a lot to worry about, much of it quite existential. The more strenuously we fail to confront and engage with these problems, the crazier we get.
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Agreed. Fear combined with denial makes an ugly mix.
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Much of the “social justice” discontent arises from the obvious and grotesque income inequality of our time accompanied by the loss of meaningful work and the social roles that go with that. But quite a bit of extra tension comes from the shame and disappointment over the failure of the long civil rights campaign ... and there are few explanations left to account for that failure ... This quandary harrows the thinking class and drives them ever deeper into their crypto-Gnostic fantasies about changing human nature
... such as?
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to heal the world. The net result is that race relations are worse and more fraught than they were in 1950. And the outcome is so embarrassing that the thinking class avoids facing it at all costs (despite bad faith calls for “an honest conversation about race” that is, in actuality, unwelcome).
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But the ultimate cause of this is the fact that in an economy managed by the elites FOR the elites, scarcity is the name of the game. If there were enough good jobs for everyone who wanted to work, every person of every race, sex and orientation would be able to fruitfully ensure their own future and contribute productively to society. This environment of diminished expectations is leading us to fight with each other over what little we have, like people in a lifeboat fighting over water.
And it's why the DNC will never agree to a 'Fair Deal' platform.
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Our country is caught in a matrix of self-destructive rackets and the common denominator is the immersive dishonesty we have given ourselves permission to practice. In ethics and daily conduct, we’re nothing like the country that came out of World War Two. Our national maxim these days is anything goes and nothing matters. ... America has got to get its mind right about lying to itself.

This is a forecast, after all, and I’m going to try to be as concise as possible on the particulars, which we’ll now turn to. Forecasts, you understand, are like jazz, an improvisational connecting of dots at a certain moment in time… or throwing spaghetti at the wall to see if anything sticks.

Election 2020

There’s an excellent chance that the Democratic Party will be in such disarray by summertime, that it may break apart into a radical-Wokester faction and a rump “moderate” faction. ... I’m convinced that Joe Biden is in still in the contest solely to avoid investigation. ... for Elizabeth Warren: there are too many video recordings of her lying about herself. ... I doubt the voters want to see Mayor Pete in the White House with a “First Husband.”

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Mayor Pete has the backing of the deep state. Don't count him out.
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Bernie Sanders has a shot of leading a radical faction this time — if he can overcome the hacks in the DNC ... This overview leaves a pretty big crack in the door for Hillary Clinton to ride into a hung convention in Milwaukee on a paper mache white horse and try to “rescue” the party. I believe she’d be laughed out of the hall, making for a humiliating final scene in her accursed career.

One other possibility is that a figure currently off the game-board somehow flies in to lead the Democratic Party, but it’s impossible to state who that black swan character might be. That could also be something like a “smoke-filled room” scenario of a nominating convention, like the one that picked Warren Harding a hundred years before: the party poohbahs get together and just ram their decision down the delegates throats. I’d assign a 20 percent chance to that outcome.

So much for the democratic slate.
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Whatever you think of his style, manner, and policies, Donald Trump has one outstanding quality: resilience. As David Collum has remarked, Mr. Trump is anti-fragile (in the Nassim Taleb sense). The more he is antagonized, the stronger he seems to get. His weak spot is his ownership of the economy and the financial markets that are supposed to serve it. His destiny, which I described in blogs three years ago, is to be the guy left holding the bag when things economic start cracking up
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I agree. Trump has good intentions, but even in the arena that is his purview: foreign and military policy - he hasn't been able to get past the CYA/Stat Dept/FIB deep state and the neocons/warhawks in Congress, and he simply doesn't have the power to re-invigorate manufacturing and repair our infrastructure, both essential for a sound economy
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— a situation I’ll describe in its own category below. The odds are not so good that the status quo of an ever-rising stock market will hold up until next November. And if it goes south in a hard way, that will certainly work against his reelection. It could also be the one thing that would permit the Democratic Party to stay glued together — but implies that a shake-up in markets and banks would have to happen by early summer, before the conventions.
Deliberately crashing the economy has already been mentioned as a way to get rid of Trump if all else fails. It wouldn't take much, that's for sure.
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Meanwhile, the attempts at impeachment have a peevish Lilliputian flavor. ...
Second to the economic issues is the question whether the firm of Barr & Durham will manage to pin some criminal responsibility on the people who undertook the RussiaGate coup against Mr. Trump — a ghastly mis-use of government power now celebrated by Democrats, who, you might recall, used to be against police states. A series of perp walks by the likes of Brennan, Comey, Clapper, and others could finally burst the bubble of credulity that the Mueller face-plant and the damning Horowitz report failed to achieve among the True Believers of Rachel Maddow.

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NOTHING will burst that bubble. What will happen is a slow erosion of narrative, and that will take time. It will take years - literally, years (five more, at least) - before believers lose their faith, and the truest of the true believers never will.
After all, some people STILL believe there were WMDs in Iraq.
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Of course, this matter has even greater significance for correcting the meta-problem of America chronically lying to itself. RussiaGate and its spinoffs was such a gargantuan edifice of malicious dishonesty that it must be deconstructed in the courts, or the mental health of the nation may not recover. It is the key to ending the regime of anything goes and nothing matters. Bottom line: if the markets or the value of the dollar don’t crash, Mr. Trump will be reelected.

However, I expect that his rivals will resort to Lawfare tactics to tie up the election process in a paralyzing tangle of litigation that would impede or deny a peaceful resolution of the outcome.

That's another intriguing scenario.
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These tactics may provoke the president to declare some extraordinary measures to overcome this climactic act of “Resistance” — perhaps a period of martial law while the results are re-tabulated. Yes, it could get that extreme.

Economy and Its Accessories

The shale oil “miracle” was a financial stunt using debt to provide the illusion that the nation’s energy supply was safe and assured long-term. It’s been an impressive stunt, for sure, with production nearing 13 million barrels-a-day now, but it is foundering on its Ponzi business model — the producers just can’t make money at it, and they’ve spent ten years proving that it’s a foolish play for investors.

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"We lose a litle bit on every well, but we make up for it in volume!"
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The result will be dwindling investment in an endeavor that requires constant re-investment. Which means that 2020 is the year that shale oil de-miracle-izes and production falls. The bankruptcies have only just begun.
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I think about five years ago I did some research into fracking and nat gas/shale oil, and with the exception of a few fields the yield drops off pretty drastically -loses about 90% in five years - and must constantly be "restimulated". SECOND can probably provide better background on this.
There are too many moving parts for me to imagine one outcome over another.
Quote:

The economy is really just a function of energy inputs, and these must be inputs that make economic sense — that don’t cost more than whatever they return. All our banking and finance arrangements depend on that. If energy inputs decline, or the cost in energy exceeds the value of net energy you get, then debts of every kind can no longer be repaid and the whole system implodes. From there the question is whether collapse is slow or fast. My guess is that it may start slowly and then accelerate rapidly to critical — and the process has already begun.

As a result of this energy dynamic, we’re seeing a generalized contraction in economic activity and growth worldwide, expressed in standards of living that will fall going forward.

Quote:

I disagree. This isn't a "worldwide" phenomenon, but a western one. I keep hearing that the Saudi oilfields are played out, North Sea oil is dwindling, and American fracking is meeting its financial end, but there are still near-pristine oil and gas fields out there which have been protected (in a backwards kind of way) from exploitation by sanctions and war, such as Iraq, Iran, Russia, and Venezuela. There is also a giant recently-discovered gas field under the Eastern Mediterranean. Be prepared for the west (ie USA, NATO) fighting /destabiizing to try and gain control of these energy resources.
Quote:

The effects in America are already obvious and discouraging: the struggling middle-class, people living paycheck-to-paycheck, people unable to buy cars or pay to fix them. The hope was that America might reindustrialize (some version of MAGA) while the “emerging” economies kept producing stuff as the “engines” of the global economy: China, India, Korea, Brazil, Mexico and others. These places saw standards of living rise dramatically the past thirty years. Reversing that trend will be a trauma. These emerging economies are topping off and heading down because of the same basic energy dynamics which affect the whole world: running out of affordable energy, oil especially. The likely result will be political instability within China, and the rest — already manifest — and some of that disorder may be projected outward at economic rivals.
Quote:

Nah ...
Quote:

Europe has experienced plenty of blowback from its contracting standard-of-living as expressed in the Yellow Vest disruptions in France, the Brexit nervous breakdown, the gathering power of nationalist political movements in many nations, and the ongoing refugee crisis (largely economic refugees from failing third world places). The European banks, led by the sickest of them all, Deutsche Bank, suffer from a crushing burden of bad derivative obligations that are liable to sink them in 2020, and then there will be a scramble for survival in Euroland, with the recent refugees caught in the middle. I think we will see the first attempts to expel them as financial chaos spreads, violence erupts, and nationalism rises.
Quote:

Quite possibly true
Quote:

The “solution” to the quandary of contraction since 2008 has been for central banks to “create” mountains of fresh “money” to provide the illusion that debts can be repaid (and fresh loans generated) when reality clearly refutes that. All that money “printing” has only deformed banking relations and the behavior of markets — the most obvious symptoms being asset inflation (stocks, bonds, real estate), the quashing of price discovery (the chief function of markets), and zero interest rates (which makes the operations of banking insane).

The bankers will continue to do “whatever it takes” to try to keep the game going, but they’ve run out of actual mojo to get it done. Interest rates can barely go any lower. The amount of money “printing” needed to sustain the illusion of a functioning, rational system grows ever larger. In the six weeks just before-and-after Christmas, the Federal Reserve is expected to pump $500 billion into the banks to stabilize asset prices. How long can they keep doing that?

Eventually, either asset prices fall (perhaps crash), or the increasingly desperate measures needed to prop them up will degrade the value of money itself. The catch is, that might not happen everywhere at once. For instance, China’s banking system, like Europe’s, is ripe for a convulsion, which would send money fleeing for perceived safety (while it can) into America’s markets, temporarily pumping up the Dow, the S & P, and US Treasury bonds even while other big nations crash. But US banks have the same disease and those birds of disorder will eventually roost here, too.

Quote:

Jim Willie in his talks about "de-dollarization" and described a situation in which the realm of the dollar becomes smaller and smaller, even as it's value goes up and up. At some point, it will become useless for international trade. ("it will go up and up, and then disappear!")
Quote:

Also, the method of distributing fresh central bank money-from-thin-air will likely change going forward. The public will surely revolt at another bankster bailout. Instead, the folks-in-charge will turn to “Peoples’ QE,” otherwise known as “helicopter money” (as in dropping cash from choppers), or Modern Monetary Theory (MMT — print money until the cows come home), featuring “Guaranteed Basic Income.” The tensions in the contraction trap we’re in are such that disequilibrium in the debt markets can only play out in a hard default or a softer attempt to inflate currencies. Inflation could keep stock markets afloat and allow continued debt repayment (“servicing”) in currencies of declining value — a process that is never really manageable in history, always gets out-of-hand, and leads quickly to political mayhem. Remember, there are two ways of going broke: having no money, and having plenty of money that is worthless.
MORE AT https://kunstler.com/clusterfuck-nation/forecast-2020-whirling-and-swi
rlin/


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Tuesday, December 31, 2019 7:07 PM

1KIKI

Goodbye, kind world (George Monbiot) - In common with all those generations which have contemplated catastrophe, we appear to be incapable of understanding what confronts us.


Since the article above mentions the Deep State's efforts to remove Trump from office, I thought I'd mention this here:

Just as an example of what I learned watching the Ukraine-gate testimony - among other things, I learned some of how the Deep State operates.

The Long-Term-People at the NSC, at State, at the Pentagon ... all know how things are 'supposed' to go. For example, Ukraine is a critical security partner: ”A strong and independent Ukraine is critical to U.S. national security.”

Now, the origins of this policy are murky, and the reasons are even murkier. But everybody knew it was true - from Fiona Hill to Alex Vindman to Philip Reeker (who? you might ask ... yes, they swept the floor getting testimony).

So, for example Vindman was in charge of writing a 'talking points' memo for the Trump/ Zelenky call, the contents of which, as I gathered from the testimony, weren't reviewed by anyone up the line. He was essentially writing Trump's Ukraine policy statement that EVERYONE was on-board with across all the agencies. It was supposed to reaffirm Ukraine's importance in US national security and commit the US to helping Ukraine militarily. And by the tenor of his testimony, my sense was that this was beyond being JUST a well-established inter-agency bible, it was deeply personal. Be that as it may ...

As I said, everyone understood what Ukraine policy was supposed to be. And that's why everyone was all aflutter when Trump didn't hop to it and give his hand in marriage to Zelensky in blessed nuptials on the assigned wedding date after Zelenksy's election ... or after his inauguration ... or after the parliamentary elections. In fact, Trump seemed to be a decidedly uninterested groom, trying to check out Zelensky's teeth and kick his tires first. But eventually the July 25th phone call date was set.

The Deep State had all gotten its relevant parts together, decided what needed to be, and literally wrote the policy script by the hand of Vindman, to be recited by Trump. And if Trump was any other president he'd have acceded to his assigned role as mouthpiece/ figurehead/ groom for the Deep State's policies.

Well, he didn't do that. According to Vindman, Trump completely ignored the talking points he - Vindman - had so carefully crafted.

I guess someone forgot to tell Trump that his role in setting foreign policy was only supposed to be cosmetic --- that he wasn't supposed to ... uh ... DO anything on his own.

Anyway, the testimony gave me a lot of insight into the specific workings - or should I say machinations - of that part of the Deep State; and how completely unelected and unaccountable people run the show.


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Thursday, January 2, 2020 5:53 PM

JEWELSTAITEFAN


In order to resolve the disconnect which jumps iout whenever I read some of your posts, please consider inclusion of a disclaimer that you are from California, which is why you are not part of the real world.


I do realize CA is the land of great business in signs, as long as they say Out of Business, Space for Rent, Space for Lease, Space for Sale. etc.

But in my lifetime I cannot recall hearing such a deluge of ads from employers begging for people to come work for them. Work for us because we are employee owned. We give $3,000 signing bonuses. WE give $5,000 signing bonuses. We are more centrally located. All these endless lists of reasons why everybody should come work for these companies.

Meanwhile, kids (in their 20s and 30s) who claim they are ready to work are all stoned, or can't be bothered to actually show up for work for 5 consecutive days, or cant be bothered to put away their gamephone while on the workroom floor.

I cannot imagine that anybody who does not actually want to work isn't employed.

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Thursday, January 2, 2020 6:28 PM

1KIKI

Goodbye, kind world (George Monbiot) - In common with all those generations which have contemplated catastrophe, we appear to be incapable of understanding what confronts us.


I'm not sure where unemployment comes into the picture in any of my posts ... but ...
I did a quick lookup. Overall, California unemployment tracks national unemployment. But unemployment isn't the whole picture, there's also the national labor force participation rate. (I don't believe there are figures for California.) In 1999 it was ~67%, slowly dropping to 66% in 2008, and then it hit the skids cratering to ~62.5% from where it hasn't significantly recovered. https://www.bls.gov/charts/employment-situation/civilian-labor-force-p
articipation-rate.htm


Despite the lower unemployment rate, the marvel of all the economist talking-heads is that wages haven't gone up. In fact, for most people, inflation-adjusted wages haven't gone up since the 70's.

https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2018/08/07/for-most-us-workers-r
eal-wages-have-barely-budged-for-decades
/

Now, as we all know - or we should - the CPI calculations are a load of crap, because they don't use a constant basket of goods, they use some fudged 'equivalent' - the switcheroo having been instituted in 1987 under dubya. https://www.bls.gov/opub/mlr/1987/01/art1full.pdf

So REAL inflation in probably higher, and that means people's REAL wages have been going down.

And that's despite a soaring GDP, which has (in inflation-adjusted dollars) gone up from ~ $5000 in 1970 to ~ $15,000 in 2019. https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/GDPC1/

Finally, a year or so ago I tried to find figures for the percent of people in full-time jobs, part-time jobs, temp jobs and gig work, and failed. But of the waiters I talk with (of both sexes), nearly all have at least two part-time sans-benefits jobs, and some are doing gig work on the side as well like GrubHub and Lyft. And that's despite the fact that, unlike federal minimum wage, the California minimum wage applies to food service workers and is $11 for small (<25 employees) businesses.


If businesses are serious about needing workers they need to pay an adequate salary, provide full-time work with benefits, and show that there'll be some stability in employment. Yanno, adjust to the pressures of the 'free-market'. If they don't do that, then imo they're just virtue-signalling whining.

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Friday, January 3, 2020 3:52 AM

SIGNYM

I believe in solving problems, not sharing them.


Quote:

Originally posted by JEWELSTAITEFAN:
In order to resolve the disconnect which jumps iout whenever I read some of your posts, please consider inclusion of a disclaimer that you are from California, which is why you are not part of the real world.

Why the unnecessary snark? I don't recall ever being snarky with you and I can assure you that California is very much in the real world.

Quote:

I do realize CA is the land of great business in signs, as long as they say Out of Business, Space for Rent, Space for Lease, Space for Sale. etc.

But in my lifetime I cannot recall hearing such a deluge of ads from employers begging for people to come work for them. Work for us because we are employee owned. We give $3,000 signing bonuses. WE give $5,000 signing bonuses. We are more centrally located. All these endless lists of reasons why everybody should come work for these companies.

Near where you live? 'Cause I sure don't see that happening around here! Whar we have are McJobs.

Have you ever considered the possibility that your region may be different from California, especially considering the glut of cheap-labor illegal immigrants around here?

Quote:

Meanwhile, kids (in their 20s and 30s) who claim they are ready to work are all stoned, or can't be bothered to actually show up for work for 5 consecutive days, or cant be bothered to put away their gamephone while on the workroom floor.
You mean, where you live? Or are you now posting about CA? Or everywhere?

Quote:

I cannot imagine that anybody who does not actually want to work isn't employed.

What we have are McJobs. People may be "employed" but they can't actually make a living here because they're working 10-29 hours a week for $11-15/hr in a region where the median home costs something like $700,000.

This isn't a problem just in CA, western NY state (NOT NYC) has much the same underemployment problem, and it seems there is a lot of that going on in the Midwest too. Maybe you're trying to extrapolate a national situation from localized experience.

-----------
Pity would be no more,
If we did not MAKE men poor - William Blake

Happy New Year, WISHY. I edited out your psychopathic screed!

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Friday, January 3, 2020 9:08 AM

6IXSTRINGJACK

[/i]


Yup.

The job market is "better", but nowhere near what is being claimed.

I was getting jobs thrown at me for $11 to $15 an hour when I was 19 years old, and that was through a temp agency. Those office type temp agencies don't even exist anymore. At 40, I'll probably end up finding a part time job making somewhere in the same ballpark. With 20 years of inflation, that number should be $22 to $30 an hour to break even.

Do Right, Be Right. :)

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Friday, January 3, 2020 9:18 AM

SECOND

The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly


Quote:

Originally posted by 6IXSTRINGJACK:
Yup.

The job market is "better", but nowhere near what is being claimed.

I was getting jobs thrown at me for $11 to $15 an hour when I was 19 years old, and that was through a temp agency. Those office type temp agencies don't even exist anymore. At 40, I'll probably end up finding a part time job making somewhere in the same ballpark. With 20 years of inflation, that number should be $22 to $30 an hour to break even.

Do Right, Be Right. :)

$11 in 2000 is $16.43 in 2020 (Not $22, as you guesstimated)
www.in2013dollars.com/us/inflation/2000?amount=11

$15 in 2000 is $22.40 in 2020 (Not $30, as you guesstimated)
In other words, you were not as valuable as you believe you were.
www.in2013dollars.com/us/inflation/2000?amount=15

The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly

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Saturday, January 4, 2020 4:06 PM

JEWELSTAITEFAN


Quote:

Originally posted by 1KIKI:
I'm not sure where unemployment comes into the picture in any of my posts ... but ...
I did a quick lookup. Overall, California unemployment tracks national unemployment. But unemployment isn't the whole picture, there's also the national labor force participation rate. (I don't believe there are figures for California.) In 1999 it was ~67%, slowly dropping to 66% in 2008, and then it hit the skids cratering to ~62.5% from where it hasn't significantly recovered. https://www.bls.gov/charts/employment-situation/civilian-labor-force-p
articipation-rate.htm


Despite the lower unemployment rate, the marvel of all the economist talking-heads is that wages haven't gone up. In fact, for most people, inflation-adjusted wages haven't gone up since the 70's.

https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2018/08/07/for-most-us-workers-r
eal-wages-have-barely-budged-for-decades
/

Now, as we all know - or we should - the CPI calculations are a load of crap, because they don't use a constant basket of goods, they use some fudged 'equivalent' - the switcheroo having been instituted in 1987 under dubya. https://www.bls.gov/opub/mlr/1987/01/art1full.pdf

So REAL inflation in probably higher, and that means people's REAL wages have been going down.

And that's despite a soaring GDP, which has (in inflation-adjusted dollars) gone up from ~ $5000 in 1970 to ~ $15,000 in 2019. https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/GDPC1/

Finally, a year or so ago I tried to find figures for the percent of people in full-time jobs, part-time jobs, temp jobs and gig work, and failed. But of the waiters I talk with (of both sexes), nearly all have at least two part-time sans-benefits jobs, and some are doing gig work on the side as well like GrubHub and Lyft. And that's despite the fact that, unlike federal minimum wage, the California minimum wage applies to food service workers and is $11 for small (<25 employees) businesses.


If businesses are serious about needing workers they need to pay an adequate salary, provide full-time work with benefits, and show that there'll be some stability in employment. Yanno, adjust to the pressures of the 'free-market'. If they don't do that, then imo they're just virtue-signalling whining.

Does this help?

https://www.bls.gov/news.release/laus.t02.htm

They don't give the exact figure for Participation Rate, but that figure is Labor Force Divided by Civilian non-institutionalzed Population. Can you calcualte what you need, or is that information missing for you?

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Saturday, January 4, 2020 4:10 PM

JEWELSTAITEFAN


Quote:

Originally posted by SIGNYM:
Quote:

Originally posted by JEWELSTAITEFAN:
In order to resolve the disconnect which jumps iout whenever I read some of your posts, please consider inclusion of a disclaimer that you are from California, which is why you are not part of the real world.

Why the unnecessary snark? I don't recall ever being snarky with you and I can assure you that California is very much in the real world.

i apologize. My mind was being pulled apart by some mentions of no jobs, lack of labor articipation, high unemployment, while my radio has been deluged with 2 types of ads: (1) come work for us, and (2) buy diamonds from us. I don't think I was specifically addressing you, just whoever was posting about the lack of jobs, when there are 7 million Jobs unfulfilled in America right now.
Again, sorry.
Quote:


Quote:

I do realize CA is the land of great business in signs, as long as they say Out of Business, Space for Rent, Space for Lease, Space for Sale. etc.

But in my lifetime I cannot recall hearing such a deluge of ads from employers begging for people to come work for them. Work for us because we are employee owned. We give $3,000 signing bonuses. WE give $5,000 signing bonuses. We are more centrally located. All these endless lists of reasons why everybody should come work for these companies.

Near where you live? 'Cause I sure don't see that happening around here! Whar we have are McJobs.

Have you ever considered the possibility that your region may be different from California, especially considering the glut of cheap-labor illegal immigrants around here?

Quote:

Meanwhile, kids (in their 20s and 30s) who claim they are ready to work are all stoned, or can't be bothered to actually show up for work for 5 consecutive days, or cant be bothered to put away their gamephone while on the workroom floor.
You mean, where you live? Or are you now posting about CA? Or everywhere?

Quote:

I cannot imagine that anybody who does not actually want to work isn't employed.

What we have are McJobs. People may be "employed" but they can't actually make a living here because they're working 10-29 hours a week for $11-15/hr in a region where the median home costs something like $700,000.

This isn't a problem just in CA, western NY state (NOT NYC) has much the same underemployment problem, and it seems there is a lot of that going on in the Midwest too. Maybe you're trying to extrapolate a national situation from localized experience.

-----------
Pity would be no more,
If we did not MAKE men poor - William Blake

Happy New Year, WISHY. I edited out your psychopathic screed!


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Saturday, January 4, 2020 4:18 PM

1KIKI

Goodbye, kind world (George Monbiot) - In common with all those generations which have contemplated catastrophe, we appear to be incapable of understanding what confronts us.


Quote:

Does this help?

https://www.bls.gov/news.release/laus.t02.htm

They don't give the exact figure for Participation Rate, but that figure is Labor Force Divided by Civilian non-institutionalzed Population. Can you calculate what you need, or is that information missing for you?

Oh - I was trying to compare

federal unemployment (available figures) : CA unemployment (available figures)

and for completeness

Federal participation rate (available figures) : CA participation rate (FIGURES NOT AVAILABLE).

Thanks for the help but I was trying to find CA state participation rate which doesn't seem to be available.

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Sunday, January 5, 2020 9:20 AM

SECOND

The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly


The Central Contradiction of Capitalism: r > g

The overall conclusion of this study is that a market economy based on private property, if left to itself, contains powerful forces of convergence, associated in particular with the diffusion of knowledge and skills; but it also contains powerful forces of divergence, which are potentially threatening to democratic societies and to the values of social justice on which they are based.

The principal destabilizing force has to do with the fact that the private rate of return on capital, r, can be significantly higher for long periods of time than the rate of growth of income and output, g.

The inequality r > g implies that wealth accumulated in the past grows more rapidly than output and wages. This inequality expresses a fundamental logical contradiction. The entrepreneur inevitably tends to become a rentier, more and more dominant over those who own nothing but their labor. Once constituted, capital reproduces itself faster than output increases. The past devours the future.

The consequences for the long-term dynamics of the wealth distribution are potentially terrifying, especially when one adds that the return on capital varies directly with the size of the initial stake and that the divergence in the wealth distribution is occurring on a global scale.

(One example: S&P 500 grew 29% in 2019 while the GNP of the USA grew only 2%. With 29% for r and 2% for g, it is true that r > g for 2019. That r > g won’t happen every year, but in the long term it does.)
https://countryeconomy.com/gdp/usa
www.investopedia.com/ask/answers/042415/what-average-annual-return-sp-
500.asp


The problem is enormous, and there is no simple solution. Growth can of course be encouraged by investing in education, knowledge, and nonpolluting technologies. But none of these will raise the growth rate to 4 or 5 percent a year. History shows that only countries that are catching up with more advanced economies—such as Europe during the three decades after World War II or China and other emerging countries today—can grow at such rates. For countries at the world technological frontier—and thus ultimately for the planet as a whole—there is ample reason to believe that the growth rate will not exceed 1–1.5 percent in the long run, no matter what economic policies are adopted.

With an average return on capital of 4–5 percent, it is therefore likely that r > g will again become the norm in the twenty-first century, as it had been throughout history until the eve of World War I. In the twentieth century, it took two world wars to wipe away the past and significantly reduce the return on capital, thereby creating the illusion that the fundamental structural contradiction of capitalism (r > g) had been overcome.

To be sure, one could tax capital income heavily enough to reduce the private return on capital to less than the growth rate. But if one did that indiscriminately and heavy-handedly, one would risk killing the motor of accumulation and thus further reducing the growth rate. Entrepreneurs would then no longer have the time to turn into rentiers, since there would be no more entrepreneurs.

. . . it seems to me that all social scientists, all journalists and commentators, all activists in the unions and in politics of whatever stripe, and especially all citizens should take a serious interest in money, its measurement, the facts surrounding it, and its history. Those who have a lot of it never fail to defend their interests. Refusing to deal with numbers rarely serves the interests of the least well-off.

More at “Capital in the Twenty-First Century” by Thomas Piketty
www.pragcap.com/thoughts-on-thomas-pikettys-capital/

The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly

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Thursday, January 9, 2020 4:30 PM

SECOND

The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly


Fewer than half the people surveyed across the income groups think inequality—seen as the income difference between the rich and the middle and lower class—is a serious issue. In fact, slightly more high-income people (42%) than middle-income ones (41%) think it’s a serious problem. And barely half the people interviewed think it should be a priority of some sort for the government to reduce inequality. The only bracket where the majority of respondents said the government should do more to alleviate inequality was those in the lower-income bracket (67%).

“People are having problems with their lives but are not blaming them on income distribution,” Blendon said. Despite so much political and academic focus on the subject, he said “it’s not as clear to people that inequality is an issue.”

Most Americans don’t really care about inequality https://qz.com/1780450/

The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly

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Saturday, January 11, 2020 11:50 PM

1KIKI

Goodbye, kind world (George Monbiot) - In common with all those generations which have contemplated catastrophe, we appear to be incapable of understanding what confronts us.



The big question for the year 2020 is simple: can America get its mind right?



When I think about, say John Bolton with his finger on 'the button', or Nixon, or Hillary, or Netanyahu, it gives me pause.

These are seriously unstable individuals with a already-existing bent to 'punish' or attack other nations. They have a whole raft of justifications, rationalizations, and calculations, for what is, essentially, an emotional response. My tribe. The other tribe. GET 'EM!

With great power SHOULD come great wisdom. And if it's not there, we teeter on the edge of annihilation.

So I think about any generic human. Who was the wisdom to consistently, without pause, wisely wield that power?

It's just a thought that while we've created powerful things, we're really just monkeys inside.

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Sunday, January 12, 2020 12:08 AM

WISHIMAY

THIS machine kills fascists- Woody Guthrie


Quote:

Originally posted by 1KIKI:

The big question for the year 2020 is simple: can America get its mind right?





As long as America's mind is nowhere near fascism and communism we'll be ok

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