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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Wide is the Gate and Broad is the Road to Destruction..

The Manic In Man.


 On Sept. 16:  Ice covering the Arctic Ocean melted to the smallest areal extent ever recorded, falling to 1.3 million square miles at its lowest point: that's less than half of the normal area covered by ice at summer's end.

Meanwhile, the only method that's being discussed to get the global economy from being flat on its back is to increase the burning of energy resources, commonly referred to as fossil fuels, which results in pouring more CO2 into an atmosphere that's already so besotted with it that even the oceans are becoming so acidic from absorbing it that sea creatures are having trouble forming shells.

Our response? Drill, baby, drill! Where? Why, in the Arctic, of course. The Chinese are already building ice-breaking container ships so as to use the Arctic Ocean as a transit route in order to cut down on their transport costs, which will have the effect, since smaller, broken up pieces of ice melt faster than a solid one, of increasing the rapidity of the rate at which the albedo effect disappears and the dark ocean waters can then absorb yet more of the suns rays, warming the Arctic even faster.

Because burning 90million bbl's of liquid fuels each and every day and, according to data from the just-released BP Statistical Review, doubling the amount of coal burned since the turn of the century (from all those coal-fired plants built in the Midwest to turn food into ethanol, burning fuel to create fuel that has 25% less energy-intensity than the fuel burned to create it), to 3,724 Mtoe (tonne of oil equivalent), is not enough to get the world's economy humming again.

It's plenty enough, though, to cause the total disappearance of the summer ice in the Arctic within the next 5 years (by which time those Mtoe's will have doubled again, if global economic growth goes as planned).

Yet, the only thing that the Presidential candidate from one of the Sole Superpower's major political party's, the one that's been taken over by people who fervently believe that Global Climate Change is a hoax, can wonder about, is why airplane windows can't roll down?

And since he cannot even mention the possibility of anthropogenic climate change being the culprit, the intractable nature of this problem will not even be discussed during the upcoming presidential debates. Because the rabid attack dogs of the Right are so vociferous and full of venom, his opponent doesn't dare to touch that particular third rail, either, essentially allowing a small minority of evil-minded, selfish, deranged psychopaths to dictate what can even be discussed on the national stage.

The assumptions we've lived with and now use to plan the future are fatally flawed. Yet, like gay men in the 80's who protested Mayor Dianne Feinstein's closing down gay Bathhouses in San Francisco, we insist on continuing down, what should be now apparent,  the path of self-destruction, as though nothing has changed, acting as if our behavior has nothing to do with the calamity being visited upon us. But what was true then, is true now. Ronald Reagan never even said the word AIDS, and the result was that a disease that may have been able to have been  limited in scope, was allowed to enter the very blood supply, just so the delicate sensibilities of his "moral  majority" (it was neither) base wouldn't be offended.

And like the financial crisis itself, the plan is to let the worst happen, and then bemoan our lot as we incredulously ask, "Who could've seen this coming?", even though the internet and print media have been warning about the very event that no one, supposedly, saw on the horizon. Instead of being thankful that someone's in the masthead shouting LOOKOUT!, we pelt them with stones until, that not being effective enough, we cut down the mast, though it assures the eventuality of us aimlessly wandering so that, unable now to chart our own course, we have rendered ourselves helpless to prevent our own destruction.

And this is how the world's greatest Democracy functions? This is the form of government we're stalking the world to impose on every country, demanding that they "Live Free or Die"?

The arrogance and aggressiveness of this Empire is as great a threat to our own future as it is to the rest of the world's, but like Hitler's Germany, the rest  of the world is ill-prepared to stop it. They can only depend on us to do that. And we still can ... I think. We are not Nazi's yet. But we would do well to remember that the Nazi's were never a majority in Germany. They were just so cruel and their methods so barbaric that it took the opposition's breath away, making it easier to push it to the ground and stomp it into submission.

America has become so besotted with militarism, testosterone-soaked worship of masculinity, and might-is-right philosophy, with a VP nominee spouting adolescent, Ayn Rand phrases that reveal a comic-book mentality, preaching hatred of the weak and urging destruction for the poor, that we are now too far gone to even notice that compassion has become something that is just too expensive.

Thus We are left, wandering "Between two Worlds": one dead, the other powerless to be born.














Monday, September 24, 2012





In this morning s post on "Some Assembly Required",  Mr. Michaelson's headline states that "The more money an American makes, the less actual work he or she does."

This shouldn't actually be news, as any new-hire in any business rapidly finds out. As a teller in the late '70's, it was hard not to notice all the Bank officers sitting on the platform, the assistant manager blowing bubbles while we counted our morning banks and prepared our cash for quick disbursement.

I never had a problem with this state of affairs. It seemed that although we did the actual brute labor for the branch, most of the risk was lodged in the responsibilities that came with being a loan officer, branch manager, and even new accounts rep. If it were true that everyone was promoted to their level of incompetency, the corresponding risk that one would lose ones job rose accordingly.

Of course, back then there was no competing industry in the shadows, hiding in doorways to say "Pssst", open their coat and show the wares they could offer at a steep discount to those of the bank. So the bread-and-butter revenue stream from home mortgage loans was sacrosanct and unassailable. Who else would offer a loan that took 30 years to be paid off?  Assuming that kind of stability required a Federal backstop on which no other industry could depend.

Meanwhile the hegemonic ascendency of the US was imperiled by a regime that had heretofore been content to do our bidding, as the Carter administration desperately tried to negotiate the release of the hostages taken in Iran.  Unbeknownst to whom the Reagan/Bush campaign was negotiating with them not to release the hostages until after the election, so as to ensure Carter's defeat.

That the grandson of President Carter should be the one to release the videotaped footage that would bring about the defeat of the man attempting to portray himself as another Reagan has a rather poetic ring.

And when you then consider, that the Republican candidate sits in his self-proclaimed, deserving center of the very shadow banking industry that brought about the  transformation that changed banking from the staid, conservative, cautious, unexciting business it had been for most of the century into the wild-west center of Ponzi finance and fraudulently-issued paper it has now become, it's hard for the blood not to boil as he exults in his ascendancy over the "moochers" and "entitled" electorate he wishes to place him in a position to complete their transmogrification into utterly dependent loan-burdened serfs.

Because, as the financial collapse demonstrated, the risk for which the banking industry's officers were compensated in reward for their stewardship of financing the housing industry, taken over by such companies as Bain Capital, was a risk that the entire nation was forced to swallow, yet it was only the privileged elite who were allowed to sit in their positions of entitlement and mooch in grand style off the actual work of the populace over which he now feels is his rightful reward to Lord over.

That the political Party most responsible for destroying the risk/reward relationship between position and accountability should nominate a party who considers the victims of that industry to be deserving of nothing but the utmost deprivation and Russian-like abandonment to their fate, all while running his campaign on a platform of fiscal responsibility, is testament to the total abandonment of justice for the smug, elitist mantra of "just Us".


















Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Flashback: Kyoto Quote a Pol


Climbing into the time machine, the way journalists used to, I found a Time article from 2002 quoting Christine Todd Whitman, another criminal ex-governor of New Jersey, when, as head of the EPA under the Bush Regime, she opined: "The Kyoto Protocol would put millions out of work and have a negligible effect" (on reducing emissions,  presumably).

At first I was struck by the absurd contradiction in her statement. Putting millions of people out of work would have a very positive effect, to whit (man): they wouldn't be driving around spewing their auto exhaust into the atmosphere. That effect alone is not negligible.

But more to the point, by following the very policies she protested for: full no-holds-barred development and growth, the Bush Administration brought about the very consequences Whitman was claiming would result from any attempt to cut down emissions, namely, millions of people out of work, and not only in the US, but around the globe. For the first time in modern history, the growth in US oil imports and energy use have not just stagnated, but reversed, losing 1.5% /yr, whereas all the hand-wringing in the world couldn't stop them from growing by 1.5% /yr before the calamity known as the Bush Debacle occurred.

So, first, Peak oil production, then, Inevitable Inflation from the debasement of the currency that funding 2 Wars with debt while simultaneously cutting the income taxes on the very war profiteers who would rake in the most from the profligate spending that would result from a government at War, and thirdly, Global Warming, all required, as the cicitzens in the most energy-intensive country in the world refused to even acknowledge these problems existed, a worldwide global economic depression to rein them in.

And that's what, totally coincidentally of course, we got.

Petroleum use plummeted in exactly the country it needed to the most: The USA;
Inflation was tamed by the contractionary influence of a deflationary depression;
CO2 emissions, as a result, are much closer to being in line with the Kyoto Protocols than would otherwise have been remotely possible.

So while we listen to the upcoming debate next month, let's listen to what they don't debate, because that's where the problems lurk and the true dangers lie. Since they are intractable, these issues need to be solved by stealth in a Demokracy that's been completely overtaken by the atavistic forces of a reactionary, squabbling rabble of rabid racists and beguiled bureaucrats.

And the Republicans are even worse.












Friday, September 14, 2012

Ring around the Rosie




PBS has been airing the Met's Ring Cycle from 2011 all this week, with Gotterdammerung finishing off the series tonight. Coming, as it has, the week after the twin spectacles of the political conventions, it offers much food for thought.

In "Die Walkure", as Wotan ponders what his next move should be to try and extricate himself from the dire straits his financial shenanigans have landed him in, he holds the staff of The Wanderer, carved into which are the laws and treaties he has signed. Laws and treaties that limit the options open to him. Consequently, even as the ruler of the gods, and hence, the most powerful entity in existence,  he despairs that, "I am the least free of all beings".

As political leaders in Europe twist and turn under the glare of scrutiny, something no enterprise can tolerate for long, and the US announces its latest iteration of QE, designed to pump up asset values and commodities, and to push more people into the "You've been down so long, there's no getting up for you" category, pushing them off the unemployment lists to join the legions in limbo land, who, by the way, are now expected to live so long with no jobs or healthcare, that well, they should wait until they're 69 to collect Social Security. Unlike Wotan's, covenants drawn up with politicos are made to be broken, so let's use that revenue stream to flow back into the river Rhine:

Compromised collateral, now is co-promised as well, since the Rhine Maidens' gold is well, the Rhine Maidens'. Yet in order to bring Valhalla into being, Wotan's promised it to the construction crew, only it wasn't really his to give in the first place, but he was caught  in a bind since he'd promised initially to give them Freia. Yeah frickin' Freia of the "Apples of Youth" variety, without whom they'd all get old just like us mortals (the gods, not the crew, who BTW, are giants, so you don't want to squelch on that contract ... see how military might, or if you like, Power,  always plays a background (well, if we're being civilized about it) role in all business contracts?).

So, Wotan has, with the help of the god of mischief and fire, Loge, (the unacknowledged Muse of Central Bankers the world over) concocted the great idea of using the stolen gold that he steals from the thief (if it's already been stolen, it can't be wrong to steal it from the thief, now, can it?) to pay the giants off and keep the vital Freia.

So, to me Rhinegold is gold, and the analogy of using it to pay for various enterprises at the same time is the very essence of capitalism's fractional reserve banking. Defalcation is built into the system and its up to the Wizards of Finance to keep their balls flying through the air in an act of juggling that gets into ever and ever more precarious circumlocutions so that not a nanosecond goes unused, not an angstrom's-width of margin of error has been left in the name of efficiency. So the machine gets whistling so shrill it even deafens the gods.

Who, BTW, can't really take a whole lotta stress, being gods and all. Tonight's Gotterdammerung: Their Twilight. Is it also the EU's?















Thursday, September 13, 2012

Reality Bytes

mAlice grows when Banks don't fund the economy but become the economy.

European astronauts could hitch a ride into orbit aboard Chinese spacecraft before the end of the decade, a senior official at the European Space Agency said Tuesday at the agency's Paris headquarters. In 2003, China became only the third nation to launch a human into orbit after Russia and the United States.

Note that only countries with large centralized governments have the wherewithal to enable space enterprise. Neither Russia nor China are considered developed economies, as they are not included in the OECD. So the number two economy in the world (China) is considered a developing economy, although it is far ahead of most of the so-called "developed" economies.
  
Bloomberg:  Fed Seen Starting QE3 While Extending Rate Pledge to 2015.

Washington Post Census: Middle class shrinks to an all-time low.

Bloomberg: Oil Trades Near Three-Week High on Mideast Protests, Fed Meeting.

These threee items are considered unrelated. But high oil prices, low interest rates on savings and the Fed artificially bolstering asset prices to maintain the stock market at an unsustainable level that in no way corresponds with the income-generating potential of its listed companies, while the middle class gets inexorably smaller, are all very much related.

Bloomberg: Shadow Bankers Vanishing Leave China Victims Seeing Scams.

Something called shadow banking, notoriously responsible for the free-for-all conditions that precipitated a global financial catastrophe, might involve scamming innocent citizens to skim their savings into the coffers of bureaubrats and tycoons? Who could'a seen that?

WSJ: IMF Official: Greece Will Need Third Bailout.

 Greece? or Europe?  
  
Uzbekistan is warning Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan that their plans to build dams on rivers upstream of Uzbekistan could lead to war.

zerohedge: we are amused by the media's narrative that an entire continent can suddenly come to arms against Pax Americana over a YouTube clip, we are confident that what some hate-mongering preacher has to say about Mohammed is about as relevant to what is happening in the Middle East today, as how the global economy performs impacts the S&P.


Pax? Shouldn't it be Bellus Americanus?


 Weary of Crisis, but Wary of Change
By JAMES KANTER and STEPHEN CASTLE:

A proposal to give the European Union more control over banking has stirred up dissent from countries that have doubts about the plan's practicality.


Wouldn't that be all of them?

Deputy Director of the Gulf Restoration Network, Aaron Viles, offered a pointed critique. “Isaac’s aftermath shows that BP’s oil is still in the Gulf, and that the Coast Guard should never have allowed BP to stand-down cleanup efforts along Louisiana’s hard-hit coast.”

Dean Baker, Research: “The excessive salaries of top corporate executives are not a just a problem because they pull money away from the corporations they run. They also set a pattern of compensation across the economy. It is now common for heads of universities and even charities (not to mention high-placed government officials, specifically lifetime generals who've never seen a battlefield) to get million dollar compensation packages, pointing out that they would receive much more if they ran a comparably sized company.”

May 25, 2012 – Robert Lowrey is a Reporter and Anchor for KQ2 News and joined the team in September 2011. Robert joins us from Cincinnati, OH  ... I wish they'd told me.

National Defense Authorization Act authorizes military detention for people deemed to have "substantially supported" al Qaeda, the Taliban or "associated forces." 

Does that include the US intelligence agencies that founded al Qaeda and supported them with arms, or the Bush Administration which, not 6 months prior to 9/11, entertained Taliban officials in the White House and gave $45 million to the Taliban?

*FED TO BUY $40B MBS MONTHLY, CONTINUE `OPERATION TWIST'

*FED TO BUY MBS, EXTENDS ZERO-RATE POLICY INTO 2015

 All to assure that the middle class continues to shrink, to keep the price of oil from getting too high while simultaneously maintaining the fiction of its abundance. No peak oil production here, folks. Just because every single one of the conditions predicted by those who warned of its ramifications is evident today. The only thing that obviated an actual shortage was a global economic depression and the resultant collapse in demand it precipitated.

WSJ: Footnote to Financial Crisis: More People Shun the Bank 

This will only get worse. They shun Ameritrade, and E*Trade as well, since, as MFGlobal proved: once in their hands, it's not your money, its theirs. And if not for the drug trade, and the fortunes they rake in doing Drug Tsars' laundry, banks would be in much worse financial trouble than they are.


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

1907: Financial Panic, 1914: The Great War; 2007: Financial Panic, 2014: ...


As the fumes from the Party conventions dissipate, leaving us with the certainty that no one knows what's going on, and that no one really cares to talk about the profound paucity of ideas, the realization dawns that, despite all the talk of the similarity of the current economic malaise to the Great Depression, the real similarity is to the less well-known, but even more devastating, Panic of 1907.

That destruction was so comprehensive, the pillaging of the economy by a handful of manipulative speculators on Wall St., dubbed robber barons, so complete, that in order to stave off future collapses of the entire country's financial system, the Federal Reserve was created and fractional reserve banking invented.

Now, according to the only other Republican presidential candidate, besides Romney, with any following, Ron Paul, we're to believe that the Fed, far from keeping us from financial ruin, has instead, via its policies of encouraging the very financial speculation it was originally instituted to prevent, is so intertwined with the interests of  a small fraction of the population, known as Wall St., that Mr. Paul insists it should be, needs to be, abolished.

This prospect is so frightening, its implications so destabilizing, that it has relegated Mr. Paul to the backwaters of Party politics.  Like all gold standard advocates, his messianic zeal for the barbaric relic leaves his financial acumen somewhat suspect. Like abolishing the US military, no matter how attractive a prospect that might be, doing so would crash the economy ... period. The fact that the economic engine that would rise Phoenix-like from the ashes to replace it, would arguably be healthier, more robust, and far less dangerous than one that's based on an arms sales for all-war, all-the-time system that inevitably ends up in the hands of well-connected financial elites, it appears abolishing the current one would indeed be advantageous. But because the entire economy is completely leveraged on the back of "defense", even a reduction in War spending would plunge the US, and therefore the entire world, economy, into an intractable deflationary depression as artificially-stoked demand plummets. 

I would argue that abolishing the Fed would have the same result. Therefore, for the same reason, it too, will not happen.

Which brings us to the topic of this post, which is that, with all the wringing of hands about the end of the world being forecast for 12/21/2012, the much more auspicious date, to me, is August 2014.

Having previously believed that the New Millennium resembled the inter-war years of 1918-1939, I have come upon, usually by accident, several excellent books written about and during those times; not histories, but historical fictions such as Upton Sinclair's "World's End" series, or Richard Hughes' trilogy The Human Predicament (including "The Fox in the Attic", and "The Wooden Sheperdhess"), or  Anne Nelson's "Red Orchestra", and Hans Fallada's "Every Man Dies Alone ". Despite that, I've subsequently come to the conclusion that Alexander Solzhenitsyn's "August 1914" more closely describes the factors that will plunge us into another orgy of destructive madness. For, as the title of Sinclair's series suggests, just as the flip answer to "Is there life after death?" is, "Yes. Just not yours", the coming cataclysm isn't an Armageddon-imagined End of The World, but just the end of Ours.

Some of the reasons I believe this are because we're so different, some because we're now the same as the Russians in terms of our attitudes and geopolitical position in the world, ie, because we're so similar. For an example of the first, on page 12 Solzhenitsyn declares, "There was only one accepted attitude towards war: that it was a sin". You can see how different we are now. War is no longer considered a sin, so that it is no longer considered evil. This means that now, trying to oppose evil people, "you can't fight them, because evil people always support one another; it is a source of their strength", as is a citizenry that can be convinced that War is a Cakewalk.  "Evil, selfish  men are more self-assertive than the good and loyal ones; it is always they who try hardest to show off their false loyalty and their pretended abilities" (p530). Something that is never more true than when the ultimate act of evil is simply considered another "option on the table".

"The moral double standard of war ended as though a twist of the knob on a pair of binoculars had abruptly brought the situation into proper focus: war was something that was waged by two different sets of uniforms - total war would have exceeded the bounds of common humanity" (p312). Now, of course, it's the only kind of War there is: Total War, Total Evil. Shock and Awe campaigns explicitly target the civilian populations, because we no longer feel bonds of common humanity, even with our fellow citizens; we're not allowed to: "There's no such thing as Society" as Margaret Thatcher so churlishly stated. There is only Me.

Always, we also tell ourselves, "the Lord sees that we have taken up arms not from martial ambition or for the sake of vain earthly glory but for a just cause - to defend the integrity and safety of our divinely protected Empire ... ", or whatever raison du jour we  use to convince ourselves. Since, even as the strains of Empire threaten to dissolve our entire country, most of its denizens refuses to accept the fact that The US Empire even exists.

And whereas in WW1, the 1864 Geneva Convention on wounded stated that hospitals were to be regarded as neutral, that they would neither be fired upon nor captured, and were obliged to take in wounded from both sides; that hospital personnel enjoyed immunity and were at all times free to remain at their posts or to leave; that a private house which took in a wounded man was also afforded the protection of the Convention" (p393), one of the first targets in the invasion of Iraq were the hospitals. And anyone taking in an "insurgent" to tend their wounds was excoriated, along with their entire extended family. Even reporters were not safe. Indeed, if not embedded, were fair targets for elimination.

Now, how we are the same, is in the manner in which the populace is separated from those who make the actual decision to employ our "Warriors",  so whereas the Russian people felt that: "they should have just said a Requiem mass for that Archduke Franz Ferdinand, after which the three emperors of Germany, Austria, and Russia could have drunk a glass of vodka at the wake and forgotten the whole affair" (p72), they were instead plunged into a debacle so cataclysmic it changed their world forever.

For if  "the War Minister (or Commander-in-Chief) himself boasted that he had not read a single military textbook in the 35 years since he had left the university why should anyone else bother to exert himself?  What was to be gained by a show of zeal? The ladder to success was so arranged as to encourage the ascent of slow-witted men who did what they were told, rather than those with brains and independence of mind. If you ever were to think for yourself or acted on your own initiative, then you would be forgiven not even your successes, and if you failed, you would be eaten alive" (p122).

And the fact that "Russia was inexhaustibly strong, even if she was governed by a pack of fools" (p128), does not make one more comfortable about the US's hegemony of military muscle. Because,  "... only that closed fraternity of Gen Staff officers and perhaps a handful of engineers as well, were conscious of the fact that the world, and Russia with it, was moving invisibly, inaudibly, and imperceptibly into a new era; that the entire atmosphere of the planet - its oxygen content its rate of combustion, the mainspring pressure in all its clocks had somehow changed. All Russia, from the imperial family down to the revolutionaries naively thought that they were still breathing the same old air and living on familiar ground. Only a handful saw that the stars themselves had moved into a new conjunction" (p130), and that handful, because obedience is prized over intelligence, will remain relegated to the other side of the moat that protects the leaders from the citizens they represent.

But the most telling sign is the fact that the delusions of not one, but both sides seem to be part of the American psyche. So whereas we see the parallel to Germany in the fact that "the German army was the most powerful army in the modern world", the army it opposed was characterized by the statement:  "Plan!?" There was something un-Russian about the word. What plan?" (p256). Scarily, BOTH of these apply to the modern US.

We saw this demonstrated in Iraq, where, "Crackling, the smoke and flames consumed the abandoned wealth, the now useless products of  ingenuity and labor, and the fiery voices hissed and groaned. All was now lost, they said: chaos and hatred were come, and the old life was gone forever"(p352), yet, "our troops turned out to be not only oblivious of proletarian ideology but to lack even a spark of class consciousness. Even the most elementary economic slogans, calling forth changes that would be to their direct advantage, seemed incapable of penetrating their thick skulls. The stupidity and submissiveness of these men were enough to make anyone despair" (P383). "Men! Firm and decisive in war they might be, but in nothing else ... (p399), how well the army trained them in two years - and how surley it ruined them for the next twenty."

No. The almost innocent atmosphere in which the world strolled into WW1 is gone. Only the geopolitical and economic similarities are striking and foreboding. The ruling class, with a distinct distaste for the hoi polloi they lord over, don't realize that once "this is war, there's no way to shake oneself free of it" (p529). Instead they consider it a profit opportunity, and a possible boon to the economy. Separate from their countrymen, their fortunes safely stashed in foreign countries, and their chalets ensconced in what they believe to be safe global nooks, the current -day Ruling Class resembles that of the pre-WW1 Emperors more than they do the pre-WW2 rulers, who felt constrained by the sovereign state of which they were citizens. If anything they more closely resemble the infamous personage who's quoted as saying "L'Etat? C'est moi". What could possibly go wrong?
















Thursday, September 6, 2012

Electrickety: The Don of the Ion Age.

A coaled future few shun.


AS posted in July: New Delhi (CNN) -- India suffered its second massive power failure in two consecutive days Tuesday, depriving as many as 600 million people -- half the country's population -- of electricity and disrupting transportation networks for hours.

That's almost 10% of the world's population.

In the US, just last year in San Diego, though few remember,  "The Great Blackout of 2011 gridlocked traffic, closed schools and canceled flights. Electricity wasn’t fully restored until days later, when the problem had appeared to be caused by a maintenance project gone awry near Yuma, Ariz.


The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the North American Electric Reliability Corp. (NERC) launched a joint inquiry into the lapse, which is common for major energy outages. Spokespeople for both agencies declined to speak for this article, but in a report released last month, the two agencies noted that a major power outage in the Southwest in February was caused by two main factors: unpredictable weather and the unreliability of the grid."

 It's come to pass that just as the only thing predictable about the weather is its unpredictability, the only thing reliable about the grid is its unreliability, never more so than when hit by an unpredictable weather event.

Yet even beyond that, the slowdown in the monsoon rains in India did not happen   overnight. It was days ... weeks into the unpredictable pattern that the predictable slowdown in the hydrological flow feeding its hydroelectric dams slowed so severely it curtailed the utility's ability to provide electric current. The current needed to drive India's businesses, so we have the impact of climate change directly channeling the slowed flow of current to the slowed flow of currency, as business output grinds to a halt, dropping the value of the rupee.

The currency depends not on the past, but on the current, current, see?

Proving that, like revenge, Electricity is best when served coaled.

Yet even as the supply and infrastructure for delivering the juice grows ever more rickety and unreliable, the utter dependance on it, especially as computers and the internet get woven into everyday habits, becomes more and more intractable, the possibility of existence without it, more unthinkable.

The lack of AC alone would kill millions in a year.

What this all suggests is that the way we've generated and delivered electricity in the past is not a good paradigm to follow for the future. As tornadoes and hurricanes get stronger and more widespread, as derechos completely take vast swathes of the country by surprise and rip up an installed base of infrastructure that was supposed to pay itself off over its projected lifespan of 20 years, but is gone in an hour, what we need to consider before rebuilding becomes more complex, and the chances that we'll get a ROI (return on Investment) worth the money invested becomes harder to fathom.

Risk is rising in all our systems, and their ability to transmit untenable stress from one system to another is the other thing that efficiency brings us. As Efficiency increases, the Robustness of a system decreases, leaving it more and more vulnerable to catastrophic failure. Increased likelihood of concatenating failure is built into the system as a weak link in one has repercussion on all dependent and interconnected sytems, bringing collateral damage that can be so severe as to impact the collapsing structure's ability to recover.

Fukushima comes to mind.

The method in which the satellite, Dawn, was powered to one of the solar systems largest asteroids, Vesta, was via an ion engine. Using electric fields to accelerate a beam of positively charged xenon ions, which shoot out of the aircraft at 90,000 mph, the spacecraft didn't have to carry but a ton of fuel on its 1.7 billion mile voyage.

This is what we need on earth. To look at he planet as more as what we're turning it into: a place inhospitable to stability and unsuitable for long range plans. By looking at the problems of our home planet with the same eye that we use to solve the dilemmas of interplanetary travel, the exigencies of our planet can be turned into the providers of our juice, such that lightening is harnessed, local solutions are implemented, backup systems are designed to be usable so that they can be used and abused on a periodic basis, so that when we need them they'll actually function.

Because the coaled truth is, we can't go on doing as we've been doing. Not from a lefty, feelie, don't hurt the plants, mentality, but from a hard-nosed look at the realities that are changing right before our eyes as the rug's pulled from under our foetus.

Cross-hatching is an artistic method whereby two sets of parallel lines are drawn such that they intersect each other at an angle. If you look at the diamonds formed via their intersection, you would be overwhelmed contemplating the complexity of drawing them all singularly. The diamonds are like the future we're faced with. What we lack is courage, leadership, insight. As watching the two political conventions reminds us,  the first series of lines is there. How we cross them is still up to us.