Escaping the Rising Insanity

“There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.” – Issac Assimov

That was back in 1980, 40 years ago and since then, Assimov and many others have been proven right a billion times over. I’ve called it the Plague of Stupid in an effort to describe the incredible decline in cognitive awareness of the real world. Not the imagined world, not the fantasy world, not the fake and false world that so many are so inclined to promote and claim is “real” according to their “beliefs”, but the real world that exists around each and every single one of us. The world without ideology, political partisanship, confirmation bias and distorted ill-conceived opinions. None of this fluff actually matters, but it does take center stage and all the attention and we are all the worse off for it.

In many areas of life, incompetent people do not recognize  —  scratch that, cannot recognize  —  just how incompetent they are, a phenomenon that has come to be known as the Dunning-Kruger effect. Logic itself almost demands this lack of self-insight: For poor performers to recognize their ineptitude would require them to possess the very expertise they lack. To know how skilled or unskilled you are at using the rules of grammar, for instance, you must have a good working knowledge of those rules, an impossibility among the incompetent. Poor performers  —  and we are all poor performers at some things  —  fail to see the flaws in their thinking or the answers they lack. What’s curious is that, in many cases, incompetence does not leave people disoriented, perplexed, or cautious. Instead, the incompetent are often blessed with an inappropriate confidence, buoyed by something that feels to them like knowledge. – We Are All Confident Idiots

The Dunning-Kruger effect is a term that describes a psychological phenomenon in which stupid people do not know that they are in fact stupid. I run into this problem constantly. Stupid people spouting stupid things that are provably false, factually wrong and often irrelevant. It’s rather depressing because it is so pervasive and inescapable. You cannot go anywhere and have any kind of interaction with another human without running into this problem. Worse, they refuse to accept any advice or read the evidence, but perversely, they’ll accept the advice and the claims made by other like-minded people. This is a demonstration in cognitive bias, cherry-picking preferred sources of information to develop opinions and belief systems around.

It’s a very dangerous and incredibly stupid way to live. It’s not the least bit harmless either, a lot of people are now dying precisely because of this failure to actually read factual information.

The new-new-new COVID R1 variant is now gaining steam and it will in all likelihood kill even more people, especially those that still get their medical advice from unqualified utter idiots with no expertise in the fields they are advising others to follow. These “confident idiots” have already killed tens of thousands of people. We should all know this is coming, an even higher death toll, and even more rabid refusals to get vaccinated. These clowns are walking with their eyes wide-open towards their deaths. They’re gutting the Republican party and littering the corpse of this fascist movement with gravestones.

So be it. I’m not going to stand in the way. Nobody can. But in the meanwhile, they still have to be resisted and prevented from doing more harm to the country.

The other super-huge issue that will also effect every single human being on the planet, even those not yet born, is catastrophic climate change. The disinformation and deceptions that surround this critical topic, now unfolding in the real world, are absolutely enormous. Like COVID, climate change doesn’t care about politics, identity, borders, age, religion or your “belief” system. Climate change is a physical process that is now responding very negatively to human emissions. Catastrophic storms have already taken a heavy toll on entire regions and communities, who I am sorry to say, will “blame the weather” or even worse, still remain in denial while looking at the ruins of their former home.

It’s easy to say that such people could simply educate themselves and avail themselves of the publicly available information, but most of them won’t. The same could be said of most of American politicians who are in the party of denial (R). The disconnect from the unfolding reality now destroying human lives and the stubborn and incredibly stupid insistence that all these people cannot possibly be wrong is a huge disconnect from reality. They are clearly and obviously wrong but cannot even see it:

In many areas of life, incompetent people do not recognize  —  scratch that, cannot recognize  —  just how incompetent they are, a phenomenon that has come to be known as the Dunning-Kruger effect. Logic itself almost demands this lack of self-insight: For poor performers to recognize their ineptitude would require them to possess the very expertise they lack. To know how skilled or unskilled you are at using the rules of grammar, for instance, you must have a good working knowledge of those rules, an impossibility among the incompetent. Poor performers  —  and we are all poor performers at some things  —  fail to see the flaws in their thinking or the answers they lack. What’s curious is that, in many cases, incompetence does not leave people disoriented, perplexed, or cautious. Instead, the incompetent are often blessed with an inappropriate confidence, buoyed by something that feels to them like knowledge.

Which of course, is not knowledge, it is belief. Belief in false claims. Belief that even believes itself to supersede all other forms of knowledge, facts and evidence. This belief transcends any “facts” that can be presented and will go out of their way to reject established facts in order to support their belief. They cannot differentiate between belief and actual facts either, to them, they are one and the same, which of course isn’t true.

So far, I’ve managed to convince just one person to get vaccinated. Just one, and I’m hoping he actually did. He waited a very long time with a very compromised wife in his household to do this. She absolutely cannot catch COVID as she will likely die from it. His belief was fabricated by countless others – social media noise, right-wing connedspiracy claims and endless utter garbage from sites like Fox News other others. For years I’ve failed to get this individual to actually read factual information, but recently while speaking on the phone, he said he’d get this done after I explained to him what he was risking.

I shouldn’t have had to do that. Nobody should have to do that. The information and the facts are all out there, easily found and easily researched, but social media and disinformation website and fraudelent news channels are actively spreading complete and utter lies and passing them off as facts. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Donald J. Trump capitalized on this sordid mess and to this day, he is still seriously screwing with American minds. People who haven’t got the intelligence of a gnat and cannot break the chain of cult personality that he created. Their beliefs have led many to despair and even suicide, others have acted out in their violent fantasies and countless others have literally thrown their lives away for him and on his behalf. I know this sounds crazy but it’s all true. Since losing the Election, there has been an increase in Americans who believe the election was “stolen” despite NO evidence that actually demonstrates this.

What keeps on not happening is the rejection of provably (and endless) false claims. They’re all still with us. When challenged in sufficient amounts, they simply change their narrative and fabricate entirely new ones. It’s like a game of whack-a-mole, you can’t stop them from coming up.

Many Americans are absolutely exhausted over this dissension and with good reason. The entire country is grid-locked by the Plague of Stupid that has only grown since Trump left office and the gigantic mess he created. The internal divisions of the country are greater then ever, much more so then last year. While this blog has often concentrated on climate change and how this will affect us all, this topic gains almost no traction anywhere. Instead, a reversal of basic rights is taking place, with Texas and other States taking the lead. Governors are now dictating what school districts and businesses can and cannot do to protect their own staffs. Thousands of lawsuits have been filed in a knee-jerk response to litigate and rule against common sense measures.

The country is unrecognizable now. This isn’t America. This doesn’t even remotely represent the America I once knew. We’re now living out the dystopian fantasies of the reactionary idiots that are screwing everything up. I think quite a few of us had hoped this would just finally go away after Trump was deposed, but it hasn’t, not one bit. The rhetoric and whining has only increased and so have the connedspiracies. This toxic poison is going to quite literally destroy this country from within, and it will be at the hands of our fellow Americans.

Things are far from normal here now. I do not believe (without evidence) that “normal” will return to this country. A lot of people do, including a lot of politicians, authors and everyday kinds of people, but I don’t. I haven’t seen any evidence that we will be rid of the insanity that has poisoned the country. Nothing is really being done about it, which is why it is still growing. Countless laws and State level legislation has been passed to only make things worse. If I could escape this country and take my grand kids with me, I’d be gone because I believe the country is going to implode. Clear thinking people are getting harder and harder to find, I almost never hear from any. Instead, I’m treated to asinine connedspiracy theories, irrelevant comments, endless conjecture and utterly ridiculous straw arguments and false claims every single day. I now dread the telephone, and I won’t have anything to do with the unsocial media landscape of delusion and lies.

A psychologists would declare that Americans are mentally ill and deeply disturbed and they would be quite correct. So far, no cure has been found and I doubt very much that our present government will find one either. We’ve got HUGE pressing problems that desperately need to be addressed, but keep getting relegated off to the side as the endless bullshit and rhetoric screeches higher and higher. This is now at a deafening roar and social media outtlets, Fox New, Newsmax, OAN and many others are behind it. It’s pure poison and life threatening for the country.

I can’t leave but wish I could. I’ve told my kids that they should get out if they can, but they’re not really listening either. I know what is coming, the writing is on the wall virtually everywhere.


admin at survivalacres dot com

20 thoughts on “Escaping the Rising Insanity

  • September 22, 2021 at 2:36 pm

    Wow! So right.

    I have referred to the Dunning-Kruger effect since learning about it 8 years or so ago. And it applies throughout the world, especially in particular professions such as [orthodox] economists and so-called planners.

    If it’s any consolation, the plague of stupid is not confined to America, though it is particularly prevalent there.

    I have identified what I call a copy-and-paste culture. No I use copy and paste a lot in order to distribute information. But in the copy-and-paste culture, nobody does any actual thinking, and they simply take a piece of information or misinformation and repeat it. We see this is so much of the so-called planning: people take last years plan/policy and regurgitate it -however stupid it might be- perhaps with a slight adjustment to some of the numbers.

    I came across a severe instance of this just recently. The so-called plan for the region put out by the regional council. In the section of transport there in no mention of energy. Indeed, nowhere in the document is there any mention of energy. It is assumed that it will magically appear as required.

    Now the fact that conventional extraction of oil peaked in the 48-state US in 1970 and that Alaska peaked in the 1990s doesn’t get a mention. Nor does the peaking of UK extraction around 2001 get a mention. Idiots everywhere, including NZ, just carry on with their agendas of constructing infrastructure for vehicles that won’t have fuel in the near future.

    By the same token, these idiots declare that they take climate changed serious, and then go on to promote policies that severely exacerbate the predicament, i.e. to obsession with growth, both of population and consumption.

    Professor Albert Bartlett’s superb lecture ‘Arithmetic, Population and Energy’ should have put the nail in all this institutionalised stupidity. But it didn’t because the institutionalised idiots refuse to examine ANY of the evidence.

    I recall Albert Bartlett mentioning working on barges carrying iron ore as a young man and wondering whether anyone in the company had any plans when the iron ore ran out.

    Of course, the plan was to keep extraction and shifting iron ore until it was impossible to do so.

    And now we see the same thing in the energy sector. The plan is to keep sucking oil out of the ground (or from under shallow seas) until it is impossible to do so any more.

    I had a session with the CEO of the local council yesterday, and in our conversation he used the usual phrase of “That’s just your opinion” to defend the councils worse-than-useless planning processes and performance.

    No it’s not ‘my opinion. It is what the head of the UN described as a burgeoning catastrophe that requires a complete transformation of the way industrial societies function.

    Now I am no fan of the UN because is has a proven record of failure with respect to most of its operations and agendas. But Antonio Guateres is right on that point. A complete transformation of the way societies operate is required for mammalian life forms to have any chance at all of surviving more than a few decades.

    Well, we know there will be no voluntary transformation because all official systems are geared to protecting and promoting status quo; in other words geared to protecting and promoting dysfunction.

    And back to that session with the EO of the council, the matter arose of listening to one person versus appeasing the masses.

    I reiterated the Galileo story: Earth is not the centre of the universe….house arrest and persecution to death.

    And Semmelweiss, who suggested antiseptic procedures, and was vilified for doing so.

    So, does the CEO listen to to one person who knows what is going on and why? Or the 20,000 who have no idea?

    As I said the the CEO yesterday, if you have a brain tumour, do you consult an brain surgeon who is an expert in the filed, or go to see some fellow who has a box of carpentry tools and is good at making furniture?

    Never in the history of humanity have so many been lied to by so few. And never in the history of humanity have there been so many stupid people (kept alive on the teat of industrial food facilitated by oil-driven machinery).

    Somewhere between 6 billion and 7 billion people have to die over the next decade or so as a consequence of fatal ‘errors’ made decades or even centuries ago. It’s unavoidable.

    I first said that publicly in 2007. Like everything else, that message didn’t penetrate the brains of those who are deaf and blind to everything that matters.

    • September 22, 2021 at 2:53 pm

      America perfected the Plague of Stupid and infected the rest of the world. America is the center of the Universe!

      You’re exactly right. There will be no meaningful voluntary transformation – it will be brutal, ugly and unforgiving.

      Never in the history of humanity have so many been lied to by so few. And never in the history of humanity have there been so many stupid people (kept alive on the teat of industrial food facilitated by oil-driven machinery).

      Somewhere between 6 billion and 7 billion people have to die over the next decade or so as a consequence of fatal ‘errors’ made decades or even centuries ago. It’s unavoidable.

      I strongly suspect your quite right. It will be a staggering loss of life. I also think this is totally unavoidable due to the entrenched stupidity and denial of the physical reality unfolding right now.

      • September 22, 2021 at 7:59 pm

        Here is another really scary one for you, S.A.

        I decided to devote a bit more of my valuable time and energy to challenging official dysfunction today, and rand the regional council environment office to discuss the non-plan that the office has distributed as a plan.

        The lovely young woman I spoke with was totally clueless about energy and the environment -despite working for a supposedly environmental organisation- so I filled her in on a few details, such as that without energy nothing happens, and therefore any ‘plan’ for the next decade that does not detail where the energy to implement to plan will come from is not a plan. Went on to point out that conventional oil extraction peaked in 2007 and total liquids (including fracking, tars sands, condensate, deep-water etc. peaked in 2019. So to plan for road transport continuing (or dare I say it, expanding) is ludicrous.

        I also pointed out that atmospheric CO2 is around 420 ppm, 190 ppm above the 800,000 year average [of 230 ppm] and that all government policy is predicated on raising the 420 ppm to 450 ppm over the next decade….with catastrophic consequences.

        Of course the poor woman had never heard of Limits to Growth, or anything else relevant to our predicament.

        I feel sorry for these ‘youngsters’ who have known nothing but corporate bullshit and government propaganda all their lives.

        I pointed out to her that the system the environmental agency advocates and protects [instead of protecting the environment] in not only killing wildlife but is also killing people. And the plan is to kill even more people in the future via planetary overheating. In other words omnicidal and suicidal.

        I now await the official response. But told Rachel I already know what will happen: everyone within the environmental agency will run for cover and look for someone else to blame for their roles in the generation of documents with glaring omissions, delusions and mutually-exclusive statements.

        ‘Interesting times’ just keep on getting more interesting.

        • September 22, 2021 at 9:09 pm

          They’re going to ignore reality, just like they always do. It’s all they know how to do – toe the party line, spew the same lies and deceptions (even if they believe them to be true), refute the actual facts and physical reality unfolding right now. They are TOTALLY out of their depth and understanding now. This is why we only see knee-jerk, half-baked responses – they have NO IDEA what needs to be done.

  • September 22, 2021 at 8:58 pm

    Here we go again! One of the prize idiots of the system tells us the way forward is via ‘green technology’ and that it’s not too late.

    ‘Cop26 must be a “turning point for humanity” in just 40 days’ time, Boris Johnson has urged in a call to arms to fellow global leaders ahead of the climate summit in Glasgow.

    Addressing the UN general assembly in New York on Wednesday evening, Johnson warned it was time for humanity to “grow up”.

    “It is time for us to listen to the warnings of the scientists – and look at Covid, if you want an example of gloomy scientists being proved right – and to understand who we are and what we are doing.”

    “The world – this precious blue sphere with its eggshell crust and wisp of an atmosphere – is not some indestructible toy, some bouncy plastic romper room against which we can hurl ourselves to our heart’s content,” he added.

    Johnson claimed the Muppets character Kermit the Frog was wrong when he sang: “It’s not easy being green.” He also offered a lengthy explanation of the Greek word deinos.

    “Sophocles is often quoted as saying that there are many terrifying things in the world, but none is more terrifying than man,” he said. “But what Sophocles actually said was that man is deinos and that means not just scary but awesome – and he was right.

    “We are awesome in our power to change things and awesome in our power to save ourselves, and in the next 40 days we must choose what kind of awesome we are going to be.’

    We already know what kind of awesome we are going to be: awesomely stupid, and continue to operate Ponzi finance and continue to extract fossil fuels and burn them.

    • September 22, 2021 at 9:12 pm

      We’re also going to be ‘awesome at failure’ – just you watch and see. We’re also awesome at self-deception. We’re awesome at killing, awesome at plundering, awesome at raping, polluting and destroying. We’re not so awesome about doing the right thing until it’s way too late, and we’re really lousy at identifying root causes and problems. COP26 won’t change a damn thing most likely.

  • September 23, 2021 at 7:38 am

    Where did these folks receive their degree, University of Donald Trumptard? The truth is out, no one’s talking about the complex relationship between disinformation and mental health, but it’s sure killing a LOT of people now. Conspiracy theories are a major mental health crisis. The mind a vast playground, be careful what you venture into…

  • September 23, 2021 at 2:16 pm

    Yesterday was a revealing day for me.

    As I mentioned previously, I tackled the regional environmental agency, Environment Canterbury, with regard to their fake Long Term Plan (which has no mention of energy or the consequences of using energy).

    The first person I spoke with had no idea about anything relating to the major issues of the times. But she did her job and contacted the Senior Strategist, who called me later in the day.

    So, I went through the whole thing yet again. And asked her why there was no mention of energy in the ‘Long Term Plan’ document, when without energy nothing happens. She couldn’t give me an answer, of course, and went on to talk about EC’s role in regulation.

    So, of course, I asked her what she was regulating and how. Again no real answers. But she did suggest I make ‘a submission’.

    I then pointed out that the ‘submission’ process is fatally flawed insofar as government agencies totally ignore public comment and do exactly what they intended to do before engaging in the pseudo-democratic submission process. I’ve seen it over and over again over a period of nearly two decades: ‘No change to plan recommended’.

    I pointed out the the NZ government appointed Climate Commission was headed by a failed lawyer-economist and that none of the members of the Climate Commission had any knowledge or expertise in climate science. And what is more, the recommendations of the CC are ludicrous to the point of insanity, e.g. proposing the use of hydrogen to supplement the natural gas supply and reduce carbon dioxide emissions when hydrogen is made from natural gas!!! And the lunacy of promoting electric cars when electric cars have a higher CO2 debt in their manufacture than petrol-driven cars and NZ is importing dirty Indonesian coal to generate electricity!

    I put it to Cecelia that no one I had encountered anywhere in the system so far had (has) any knowledge of the issues under examination, and that they were all part of a copy-and-paste culture of repeating garbage ad infinitum. Not only was the organisation deceitful and omnicidal but it was in breach of NZ Statutes. I suggested she look up the relevant part of the Act, which ECan are failing to comply with.

    I also pointed out to her that the entire system is on the brink of collapse due to overuse of fossil fuels and the severe disruption to geochemical systems that the overuse of fossil fuels had caused: the horrific depletion plus pollution predicament.

    We may have a few years before Industrail Civilisation collapses but we certainly do not have 10 (the supposed duration of the Long Term Plan)

    And then we got to the crux of the matter: Environment Canterbury does not exist to protect the environment or the welfare of the people, but is a business-as-usual organisation geared to protecting and promoting the short-term interests of banks and corporations and opportunists.

    Again no answer from the Senior Strategist.

    So then I went on to ask if there was ANYONE in the organisation who had knowledge of climate science because I would like to talk with that person.

    I pointed out that we live in a post-peak-oil world undergoing meltdown (rain on the highest peak in Greenland because the temperatures were so high portends 7 metres of sea level rise, which will inundate Cecelia’s office long before the full 7 metres worth of ice melts), and EC’s so-called plan was a recipe for catastrophe. Indeed, Cecelia and the rest of the box-tickers are sabotaging not just the next generations future but their own futures.

    I thanked her for not hanging up on me during the hour-long lambasting.

    I await a sane response from someone at Environment Canterbury who actually knows what they are talking about.

    I think I will have a long wait.

    In the meantime we await the next environmental disaster (South Canterbury was brought to a standstill be flood no long ago, with bridges washed away, homes wrecked and agricultural land degraded).

    This morning I invented a new metaphor (did the Titanic more than 20 years ago) to describe government agencies:

    These clowns at EC (and everywhere else) are polishing the windows of a house that is on fire to make their reflections look good whilst thinking of ways to throw gasoline onto the fire.

    • September 23, 2021 at 2:35 pm

      They call this the “public comment period” here (and numerous other names), and the same stupid response happens. They totally ignore the public comments, their minds are already made up. I saw this happen first-hand during the toxic silicon smelter process that they tried to bring in here. They utterly ignored what information everyone dug up about the toxicity, carbon emissions and overall pollution this would bring to the town. Their minds were made up – but we defeated these bastards in court, it didn’t get built (yet, so far). The local Tribe also acheived a Class 1 air quality designation for the river corridor and surrounding area. There was no way they could build a smelter and trap all their emissions to meet a Class 1. I don’t know yet if they’ll make an end-run around the regulations, but we caught them lying, cheating, fabricating and likely greasing the skids with local “officials” (traitors to the people that live here). So I’ve got a little idea of what you’re running into.

      You will have a long, long wait (you’ll be dead before they figure out you were right).

  • September 23, 2021 at 2:31 pm

    On the matter of massive lies by governments, Tim Watkins pulls to pieces the phony narrative of Boris Johnson:

    ‘Believe it or not, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has every right to stand before the nations of the world and lecture them on climate change. Not that Johnson himself has done much to address the crisis (indeed, given that having children is the single biggest cause of climate change at this point, Johnson’s inability to keep his willy in his pants makes him an exemplar of much that is toxic in our culture). But as the current political head of a country which has done more than most to pursue the bright green vision of a world without fossil fuels, he has every right to ask others to follow Britain’s lead.

    They won’t do it, of course. US President Biden has already restated American motorists’ God-given right to cheap gasoline. Meanwhile, President Xi Jinping may be promising to cut other people’s access to coal-power, but China still consumes half of the world’s coal and shows no sign of curbing its own coal-fired growth. Germany talks a good Energiewende, but it still depends upon fossil fuels for two-thirds of its electricity, and is not pledged to end coal-fired generation until 2038.

    In fact, Britain appears to be the only developed state to swallow the Big Green Lie at face value: The claim that it is entirely possible to operate a fossil fuel-based industrial economy without fossil fuels. Starting with the smallest, and easiest to transform, sector of the economy – electricity generation – we were promised not only that a seamless transition was possible, but that it would be cheap and easy. Indeed, it was precisely the promise that wind turbines and solar panels were getting cheaper which persuaded the Blair government to sign up to a policy to generate 20 percent of the UK’s electricity from renewable sources.

    So here’s a question which few establishment media editors have allowed to be asked: If renewable energy is so cheap, how come energy bills are so high? It is a question that has a particular resonance in the UK just now. Because even as Boris Johnson was urging the world to follow Britain’s lead, the British economy was crumbling under the weight of a 400 percent increase in gas prices since the start of the year. A price increase that has resulted in the widespread failure of energy supply companies; leaving more than 1.5 million customers without a supplier.

    A German economist, Lion Hirth, answered the question in a 2013 paper. In a nutshell, wind turbines and solar panels generate too much electricity when it is not needed and not enough when it is. And in the absence of a viable storage mechanism, intermittency has to be balanced with fossil fuel generation which becomes increasingly expensive as the proportion of wind and solar in the electricity mix rises.

    The reason we do not see this is that we tend to view individual forms of generation in isolation rather than as components within an integrated whole which – if we are to maintain an advanced industrial economy – must provide a continuous supply of electricity 24/7/365. The fact that we can install massive wind capacity – such as the giant, world-leading, arrays at Gwynt y Mor and Hornsea – may be considered a triumph of engineering (and, indeed, of the Chinese ability to use coal to manufacture non-renewable renewable energy-harvesting technologies – NRREHTs) but they are as useful as a chocolate teapot when the wind isn’t blowing – something that happens more often than their proponents care to admit. And adding more capacity to the mix solves nothing, it just means we have even more wind turbines standing idle.

    In Europe – where action has generally failed to keep pace with green rhetoric – there is sufficient nuclear baseload and coal back-up to iron out the worst effects of intermittency. But successive British governments made a rod for their own back by failing to invest in replacing Britain’s aging nuclear plants while announcing a ban on coal power from 2025 – an announcement which caused many coal operators to shut down early rather than continue to maintain plants which were being banned anyway.

    The consequence for the UK was that we became dangerously exposed to the international gas market, since not only do we depend upon gas for heating and cooking, but it is also an integral component of our increasingly NRREHTs-based electricity system. This did not seem to be a problem at the time the Blair government were discussing the pros and cons of renewable energy. In the late 1990s, Britain’s North Sea gas production was growing. And while a handful of academics were questioning how long it would be before production peaked, few politicians had even thought about the impact of declining supply. Indeed, politicians were more interested in energy prices. And here, the future looked rosy. As a House of Commons briefing paper explains:

    “Gas prices fell consistently during the late 1980s and 1990s, with the exception of 1995 when VAT was introduced. By late 2000 prices were one-third below their January 1987 level in real terms. The main reasons for the price falls up to 2000 were price controls set by the regulator, the impact of competition, and relatively easy supply/demand pressures…”

    The importance of the year 2000 is clear enough since it is the first year after North Sea gas production peaked……..’

    It was much the same everywhere. Find a fossil fuel source; get it out the ground or from under the sea, and burn it as quickly as possible in an orgy of overconsumption.

    And now we are fucked.

  • September 23, 2021 at 7:05 pm

    There is no escape from the energy crisis. None of the promises made have come true (and never will) despite the sea of ink being spent. They’re just going to double-down again as this is all they know how to do (tell more endless lies and empty promises, and fail miserably). It’s the same here.

    The next generation should be learning how to sustain themselves from the land without energy, and without a tolerable climate. Not sure this is even possible, but all the skills, experience and mind set to go with it is what should be their primary focus. Either that or buy 60 years worth of food and just wait until the end (don’t have children).

    • September 23, 2021 at 8:00 pm

      My efforts to promote exactly what you said -local food production without fossil fuels- largely fall on deaf ears. And this is a rural district of a nation noted for food production. Hmmm?

      As with most things there is a window of opportunity. And when that window has closed it’s too late. It takes 3 to 12 years to establish a fruit tree and get a good crop.

      I’ve said it before and am repeating; it’s like trying to persuade people on the Titanic to get a lifejacket or construct a raft from buoyant materials. Even though the Titanic is obviously holed and is sinking, they still won’t do it.

      With respect to the ever-worsening energy crisis, when people have no electricity or gas (or can’t afford them) things change very quickly.

      Waiting to see whether the Chinese government is going to attempt to prop up Evergrande, or let it fail. CHS has some interesting thoughts on that:

      ‘What’s actually happening in China isn’t Marxist or Capitalist–it’s plain old non-ideological human greed, hubris and magical thinking manifesting as moral hazard running amok.. Moral hazard– the separation of risk and consequence, as speculators make increasingly risky bets because they know any losses will be covered by the state–is effectively the new State Religion in China: everyone is absolutely confident that every punter, especially all the rich, powerful, well-connected speculators–will be bailed out by the central government.

      Greed knows no bounds when a speculator is insulated from risk, for people have an insatiable appetite for risky bets when the gains will be theirs to keep but any losses will be covered by the government.

      This is the fundamental story of Evergrande: the implicit backstop of the Chinese government enabled near-infinite moral hazard which then fueled an explosion of debt-funded speculation with essentially zero connection to real-world risks, sales, return on capital, etc.

      Both the U.S. and China have been a utopian Paradises of moral hazard for the past 30 years. In the U.S., the Federal Reserve would bail out any losses / declines in the debt-asset bubble orgy.

      In China, the implicit policy was that the structural losses in state-owned enterprises (SOEs) and the speculative excesses of rapid development would be tolerated as long as real growth in employment, wages, profits and lifestyles was strong. Creating vast amounts of debt-money was necessary to support growth, and that it also supported speculative excesses was accepted as part of the price of explosive progress, much like environmental damage.

      After 30 years, the equation in China has changed: debt in the official banking sector and in the informal shadow-banking sector has soared along with purely speculative excesses while “good growth” has stagnated. That’s the problem with incentivizing moral hazard: the profits from speculation, corruption and fraud far outweigh the puny profits earned by legitimate enterprises. So where do you put the borrowed billions? In Evergrande and other conglomerates of speculation.

      Something else changed in 30 years of rapid development: inequality skyrocketed, and since inequality and corruption are mutually-reinforcing, corruption also reached new heights as inequality skyrocketed.

      A third factor emerged after 30 years of touting technology and speculation: the power of Chinese Big Tech and financiers began encroaching on the control of the Communist Party.

      All three factors inflated a debt-asset-speculative bubble of profound proportions, and President Xi grasped what the clueless Federal Reserve and other western central banks have not: Either pop the bubble when you still have some control over it or let it expand and pop when you’ve lost all control.

      In systems terms, when risk and fragility reach unstable levels in tightly-bound systems, there’s no controlling the supernova-like implosion of the system.

      Xi observed the skyrocketing power of Big Tech, moral-hazard-incentivized financiers and cryptocurrencies and concluded that the state must move decisively to crush these rivals, regardless of cost. This separates China from the American state, which is incapable of enforcing any sacrifices, limits or costs on the parasitic elite which dominates its economy and political order.

      Xi saw the danger of Big Tech and financiers being able to buy whatever influence they needed from corrupt CCP and state officials, and he realized that this is the crucial moment in history: either crush Big Tech and the financiers / speculators or risk losing control to their interests.

      Control is something the CCP and Xi want to retain, regardless of the cost to the nouveaux riche, the parasitic elites, the aspirational middle class and even the Party regulars who have supped too often and too gloriously at the corruption / moral hazard trough.

      Losses will be taken and sacrifices enforced on those who don’t understand the Chinese state will no longer absorb the losses of speculative excess. Those who don’t understand the reign of parasitic private-sector elites and excessively corrupt party officials in China is over might profitably ponder this Chinese proverb: “Whoever gets mixed up with garbage will be eaten by pigs.”

  • September 24, 2021 at 2:26 pm

    Here is yet another example of both mass delusion and opportunists making money out of non-solutions to the predicament:

    ‘Climate crisis: do we need millions of machines sucking CO2 from the air?
    From turning CO2 into rock to capturing the breath of office workers, a growing number of companies think the answer is yes’

    If you wade through the bullshit and get to the crux of the matter, the numbers are a complete joke.

    ‘It is also likely, given that CO2 emissions are actually still rising, that the world will overshoot the carbon budget for the internationally agreed 1.5C target. This also means CO2 is going to have to be pulled from the air. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change concluded in 2018 that billions of tonnes of CO2 a year may need to be captured and buried after 2050.

    “Unless affordable and environmentally and socially acceptable CO2 removal becomes feasible and available at scale well before 2050, 1.5C-consistent pathways will be difficult to realise, especially in overshoot scenarios,” the IPCC said. “Roughly, we need to take care of 10 billion tonnes of CO2 each year in mid-century,” says Wurzbacher.’

    Of course, the much simpler and genuinely effective strategy of not extracting fossil fuels and burning them hardly ever gets a mention.

    What a pity the Earth will be rendered largely (or completely) uninhabitable by 2040 when we have 2050 targets to meet. (Sarcasm intended.)

    The interesting thing about all this is that CO2 does react with silicate rocks and convert them into carbonate rocks and silica. The problem is, industrial humans are generating CO2 at orders of magnitude faster than natural processes can process it. According to one analysis, we are causing atmospheric change at a rate 25,000 times faster than occurred during the Permian Extinction Event.

    • September 24, 2021 at 2:37 pm

      Root causes are almost never addressed (or identified). Been saying that for a long time here, the focus is always on how to perpetuate this madness, vs. finally ending the madness. They can’t see it any other way, the show must go on, civilization must be preserved, even if it means losing the planet. It’s a bunch of psychopaths running the world.

      Those “millions of machines” would of course run on magic energy and make zero contributions to the bloviated carbon budget, while STILL ignoring the actual temperature rise unfolding. These people have their wires crossed, and keep getting this backwards. The obvious solutions to a) lower temperatures; b) end industrialized civilization; c) reduce consumption, population, energy; d) restore natural ecosystems; e) re-engineer civilization; are all lost of these politicians, leaders and supposed ‘experts’.

      Capturing a miserly 4,000 tons per year is virtually nothing. This is more proof-of-concept then a technology that can be efficiently scaled up. Decarbonization is another term that overlooks the fact that this too is disengenious and does not really exist. These articles are grossly disingenuous and continue to offer false hope (hopium, “we fix this with more technology….”). Yeah, right. Not while you continue to massively over-pollute and overpopulate you won’t. Not ever. THIS CIVILIZATION IS INCOMPATIBLE WITH A VIABLE FUTURE.

  • September 26, 2021 at 12:46 pm

    ‘Clean Green New Zealand’ -joke of the century.

    ‘Two-thirds of NZ’s rivers now too dirty to support insect life – report’

    Sunday is World Rivers Day but New Zealand has very little to celebrate.

    A new report details how nearly two-thirds of monitored rivers are ecologically impaired, meaning animals like insects – an important part of the food chain – aren’t living in them.’

    The same proportion of rivers are contaminated by E.coli.’

    Industrial agriculture is the cause. Along with industrial humans.

    Even the high rainfall and strong winds cannot cope with the amount of crap cattle and humans generate.

    And there are the invisible contaminants like CO2 and CH4 that go largely unnoticed.

    • September 26, 2021 at 1:13 pm

      Over fifteen years ago, I think it was, I investigate NZ as a possible new home. Since then, it has continually looked worse and worse. However, it’s also much worse here. The global decline has affected every country.

      I no longer believe that humans will prevent the collapse. I still believe we should try, so if this is cognitive dissonance, so be it. The reason I don’t believe we will is because we refuse to change. The reason we should try is because we should change. But there are too many obstacles in the way and too many people who will refuse to embrace meaningful change.

      It’s like the Plague of Stupid poisoning this country. They’re going to trigger the collapse of the United States. They won’t get what they want, they will get something far, far worse. They refuse to change. They refuse to see their own massive errors. They should change, but they won’t. There are now enough of them to cause enormous problems for the future of the country. If they act out their fantasies, we will collapse, implode from within. We’ve tried to change them, but they steadfastly refuse facts and evidence and embrace ridiculous connedspiracies instead.

      The point being, humans are a stupid species. Self-destructive, ignorant and willing to die for the wrong ideals, which is of course, suicide. Even willing to commit ecocide and eradicate all life on Earth for the wrong ideals. Yeah, a stupid, selfish, ignorant and arrogant species.

    • September 27, 2021 at 4:18 pm

      Things are shocking bad in NZ, made so by a succession of corrupt governments working on behalf of banks, corporations and opportunists. And consisting of saboteurs.

      But despite that, NZ is probably the best place to be to witness the meltdown of everything because:

      1. It was the last major habitable landmass to be discovered and still has a relatively low population density. Indeed, 1/3 of the population is crammed into one city approximately 40km radius and another 1/3 is crammed into other dysfunctional cities that have a grim future. So we can anticipate 2/3 pf the 5 million being wiped out or wiping each other out.

      2. It is surrounded by relatively low temperature deep water which does not heat on the surface the way that the water in the Mediterranean or Caribbean or North Sea or shallow seas of Asia heat up.

      3. The soils are naturally fertile, being very much influenced by volcanic activity (versus Australian soils which have been depleted of nutrients over eons).

      4. The topography tends to trigger precipitation and in many regions refilling of aquifers.

      5. Being remote from the sources of manufactured goods for most of its existence as a colony and pseudo-industrial nation, there is a culture of make-do and repair in the rural areas.

      The money-lenders, corporations and propagandists have been very successful in overturning the social cohesion and frugal habits in the big cities but not so much in the country areas.

      Despite many decades of looting and polluting, there are still natural resources. And nature will surely do some restoration once fossil fuel users get starved of that which they are addicted to.

  • September 27, 2021 at 4:23 pm

    This is worthy of a mention:

    ‘Paraguay on the brink as historic drought depletes river, its life-giving artery

    Severe drought that began in late 2019 continues to punish the region while experts say climate change and deforestation may be intensifying the phenomenon

    The Paraná River, which winds through Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina, has dropped to its lowest levels in 77 years as a severe drought that began in late 2019 continues to punish the region. Experts say the climate crisis and deforestation may be intensifying the phenomenon.

    The river experienced a temporary rise as Brazil released water from hydroelectric reservoirs for urgent electricity production but levels are rapidly falling.

    The drought has threatened water supplies in Argentina, driven up energy prices in Brazil, and helped drive rampant wildfires across the region. Paraguay, which has no coast and relies on its rivers for countless social, environmental, and commercial services, faces dire strain.

  • September 27, 2021 at 4:29 pm

    Alarm bells are clanging here, all over the country, but not for what matters. Despite the loss (again) in Arizona, Trump and his trolls are still claiming the election was stolen, millions are aching for a civil war, government is gridlocked, and a shutdown over running out of money (debt ceiling) looms this Thursday as I recall.

    Stupid Americans are fighting over stupid ideologies. It’s now gotten to the point where people are being punched in the face. You know what happens next. If we can hold things off for six months or more, most of these stupid fuckers should be dead from COVID. That might help defuse the insanity for a bit.

    Escaping the insanity does not seem possible. Not in this culture. Certainly not here. Going to have to ride through it, hopefully survive it. It’s just a guess on whether or not this is even possible, I certainly don’t know.

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