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Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Kleindamnezra: The Game's not Afoot, it's Over.

Youthane, methane, we all inthane.

Like terms used by that investment pool of sharks, called investment newsletters, selling their pump-and-dump schemes and urging you to jump on board and "get in the play", the rhetoric, and brouhaha, stirred up by Ezra Klein's article, "7 Reasons America Will Fail On Climate Change" relegates the dire straits we sail in to the status of a game.

Whereas everything else in our war-a-day world for which we wish to stir the embers of conflict and protest are always referred to by naming them after our favorite past time of War: The War on Women, The War on Drugs, The War to maintain the terrorized peace, the War on the right, the War on the left, the War on the Middle class, but the War on Climate Change? Well, that's just a game, and apparently it's over.

That Ezra has taken on this topic, and the particular slant on that topic, that I've been feeling for the last coupla years, is something I feel encouraged about. Not that it'll change anything, mind you, but that the MSM is more and more breaching subjects in Amerika that for the last decade one would have to listen to RT, with its obvious bias, in order to hear discussed. And although obvious bias may sound derogatory, since our version of obvious bias is the laughable Fox Views and MSNBC, I only mean that term, in RT's case, in a salutary way, because hearing a view from a different country's perspective is refreshing, and important.

I go to a sketching exercise every week at San Francisco's Moby Dick Bar, and always appreciate, not only the different styles of the other artists, but at how different the perspective is from even just two feet away, which always drives home the point of how differently we all see the world and that only by seeing our model from all the gathered artists' inputs do we get, since they're situated around him in a circle, an entire picture of what he looks like, so too, only by listening to input from other countries' perspectives can we ever see a more complete, and therefore edifying, picture of our world.

So when the only thesis American media seems to promulgate on the subject of Climate Change is the one that,  "Well, Climate Science, it isn't really science, now, is it?", even as they spout economic prognostications as though Economics were one, then it does tend to make one weary and perhaps just a tad cynical, especially now, ever since that once-fun source of alternate reporting, "The Daily Show", has, for the most part, descended into plain buffoonery, although imbued with flashes of brilliance that are best seen via others' postings of them on the Internet, rather than having to suffer through Jon Stewart's increasingly tiresome muggings.

And since I'm been more pessimistic than Mr. Klein, I feel that he left out the three most important factors: one, every step we've taken so far as a purported effort to curtail Climate Change has in fact accelerated it; two, a growing number of people aspiring and attaining middle class status is inconsistent with the goal of lowering our burning of fossil fuels (somewhat akin to what happened with smoking. As the number of US citizens who smoke started plummeting due to our government's actions on second hand smoke, the ciggie companies just moved their sales efforts to Asia where they are now selling more than they ever did in this country, so the land allocated in this country, that's receiving federal subsidies to grow tobacco, has increased, not decreased ... see the similarity in dynamics?), and third, that the KKK that holds the West in its iron-clad grip is so heavily invested in a future of incendiary energy generation, that the economic system's bets are all on that side of the table. That means if they don't win, then, because of the derivatives and bond markets that depend upon those bets being good, and since the bonds are leveraged on the productivity of the underlying economic engines of the fossil-fueled economies of the world, it's rigged, jerry-rigged you might even say, such that, we all lose.

Bonds, insurance, and derivatives, which include MBS, ABS, and LBO's, the most prevalent forms of what Doug Noland refers to as "moneyness", in that they have come to represent wealth as though prospects of future wealth can be brought forward and used as leverage, ie collateral, as though they represent real wealth, locks the system into its merry-go-round of destruction, and is one of the reasons I refer to it as a Kamikaze Kapitalism Kultur. This is the exact means by which Enron was brought to its knees, only on the balance sheet of a Corporation, its was referred to as Mark-to-Market accounting, whereby you take the future profits to be derived from a contract and pull them all forward and include them in today's profits to make it look as though they're higher than they actually are.

What derivatives allow one to do is to perform that same monetary alchemy on the balance sheet (which is what the GDP of any Nation amounts to, in that it is used as the basis for the amount of Capital a Government can be lent and at what interest rate) for an entire Country, (which, BTW, is why I used to refer to BS Bernanke as Benron Bernanke). The mechanism is the same, the arrogance is the same and the intention is the same: duplicity, and it is totally dependent on an utterly compliant media and Academia's quiescence in churning out MBA's who have no understanding of this legerdemain, and therefore no compunction against using it and proselytizing to its clientele on its brilliance, as though, more than a decade later, the country were still in complete thrall to the egotistical ravings of Jeffrey Skilling, (perhaps because all the (Jonathan) Weils have come off).

Now anyone can see how this could only end in grief, as it did, yet everyone equally refuses to see the corollary when it is done on the much grander scale that the KKK has embarked on, and for the same nefarious reasons. But those reasons become moot, and the repercussions dire, when we realize that, as so eloquently demonstrated to us by GW's & Benron's characterization of the economy as "Resilient" even as its mountain of debt had instead rendered it calcified and rigid. Because once future investments that are made using borrowed money are bound and gagged via the mechanism of securitisation, and those resultant securities then mummified by being used as leverage, such that any future prospects of growth are precariously balanced on their successful repayment, we can see that the trillions of dollars already assumed to be rock-solid investment, like subprime borrowers were somehow assumed to be, then CDS aside, (just like CDS bought to insure against subprime failure, CDSs bought to insure against this magnitude of failure become irrelevant, as there is not enough cash in the world to pay against such an eventuality) any move to squelch carbon exhaust into the atmosphere means the current economic paradigm is built on a fulcrum of failure. There is simply not enough backstop at the CB's of the world to mitigate that scale of malinvestment. And ironically, because of that, the malinvestment keeps feeding on itself, stoked by the very institution that everyone in the banking industry thinks is the lender of last resort, the Fed, via its policy of QE, channeling the billions it churns out into the rivers of cash flowing into the fracking industry, which has turned out to be a methane monster of such mammoth proportions that it has turned the US, in a mere 5 years, into the largest producer of flared gas on the planet, surpassing the historical holder of that record, Russia.

And, speaking of Russia, those same oil companies that control much of the investment in the fracking companies, simply buying them up once they find they're successful, are lining up to bring that technology to Putin's Russia, which is champing at the bit for it to keep from sliding down the wrong side of peak oil, as it is precariously balanced to do in the very near future without it. No, where there's natural gas being flared, there's plenty more of it being leaked, and that leaked methane is adding to the already high output from mankind's ruminants and the Arctic's and Siberia's contribution, such that, as documented on Sam Carana's Arctic blog, is itself producing so much methane that not only has it immediate atmosphere spiked to unheard of levels since the fall of 2013, but has caused the rest of the globe's methane level to begin a creep upward heretofore unobserved.

So when I read Vox's  rebuttal to Klein's piece, ironically mislabeled, "7 Reasons America Will Fail On Global Warming" (global warming being the one thing America is surely not failing at), I couldn't help but notice that they mentioned not only none of the above economic reasons why Ezra is actually being optimistic, but that the author, Brad Plumer (seriously? Plumer? ... I wonder if he's seen the plumes of methane bubbling up from the Arctic seabed so fast they burst through the surface, churning it so vigorously it forestalls ice formation) apparently assumes that, even with the Arctic itself already producing more methane than all but three of the top methane-producing economies, it is no longer in our hands to keep the temperature from rising more than 2 degrees, or once we fail that, 4 degrees, and once we fail that, 6 degrees, etc., which is his thesis.

What we're observing up there hints very darkly that we've stirred a methane monster to life that'll dwarf our own climate-forcing activities and make any curtailment thereof, moot. This is what the so-called Climategate pseudo-controversy was about, the fear that if the public learned that, they'd just figure, well WTF? Might as well say just what Ezra did, "Game Over", anyway, so let's play. Which sounds contradictory, but life's like that, isn't it?

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