Saturday, June 25, 2011

SAR #11176

Are we winning yet? Anywhere? On anything?

"When in the Course of Human Events..." We are about to witness the collapse of the European Union. The collapse is avoidable – it would be far cheaper for Germany and France to pick up the tab, convene a grand constitutional assembly and start over, but emotion has overtaken reason. The needed steps are as clear – a single tax system, a unified banking system, and a directly elected federal system of law and government - as they are unlikely. The problem is, and always was, the failure to back the idea of a single currency with an economic and political union. The collapse is signaled not so much by the problems of Greece, Portugal and Spain as in the collapse of the Schengen treaty. Protectionism, nationalism and fear of the neighbors foreshadows a return to times of economic strife, political posturing and war between the insecure. There first victims will be the poor, the unemployed and the 'foreigners'. Inevitably poverty, suffering and political unrest will follow. It is not the euro that is doomed, it is the idea of the euro. Maastricht is a vague memory. What is needed is a new Treaty of Westphalia. But there will not be one. The nationalist right and the global bond markets have won. There will be no rapture – just an end of days.

Shortform: Total US payrolls today are 131 million, less than in 2000 - even though the population has grown by nearly 30 million.

Break In Case of Emergency: At his confirmation hearing to become CIA director, General David Petraeus said that torture should not be used unless a detainee is thought to be withholding information that is immediately needed to save lives. Innocent survivors of the questioning would receive lifetime room and board in a deniable overseas prison.

Definition: Privatization is neo-liberal globalization's version of colonialism – extracting the wealth of the conquered nation for the benefit of the investors.

If... Then: If the industrialized governments will release oil from their stockpiles to drive down the price of oil, why not do the same with corn and wheat? Oh, their citizens grow the corn and wheat... And cheaper oil may put a few more voters back to work before the presidential elections. Is this another case of the free market working in favor of the self-designated free,  a reaction to the reality of peak oil?

Ten Years And Counting: Politicians are arguing about how long the US must stay in Afghanistan. I wish one of them would explain why we're there, using facts - not hand-waving emotional arguments.

Reformatory:A third of New Jersey's Democratic lawmakers have joined the GOP in requiring public employees to pay 40% more for smaller pensions after more years of work, while taking cost of living increases away from all state employees – even the retired. Now, having impoverished a generation of public workers, Governor Christie plans to decimate the state's educational system so as to impoverish the next generation, too.

Bailing Out: Do the EU plans for imposing their austerity program on Greece include extra funds for riot police and fire departments?

Wanting/Getting:Georgia officials who wanted to rid the state of illegal workers are dismayed to discover the state now has a shortage of illegal workers that has – as predicted - forced farmers to leave millions of dollars’ worth of crops rotting in the fields. The Governor suggested they use chain gangs hire ex-cons.

For Better or For Worse:  People with mortgages are staying married because neither one can afford the house payment if they divorce, the house isn't salable, and they have no other savings...

9 comments:

Bill Hicks said...

Combining your European story with your story about the strategic oil reserve releases, it was estimated recently in a long, in depth analysis by the Crash Watcher peak oil blog that by 2030 Europe will essentially have ZERO oil available for its use as its remaining North Sea production draws to a close and world oil exports cease as supplies dwindle everywhere.

The Eurozone is doomed no matter what they do.

CKMichaelson said...

Bill, do you think Europe's oil markets are any less global than Asia's or North America's? The problem is not the North Sea, it's the "as supplies dwindle everywhere." And it wont be just the Europeans in 2030.

But 2030 is so far in the future that many more immediate problems will divert our attention - especially in Europe at first...

ckm

Anonymous said...

Take a look at http://goo.gl/pHP7b

Bill

Anonymous said...

Please enlighten me as to 1 example of a peaceful, voluntary unified political solution that encompassed but a fraction of different cultures and languages as the European Union.

You make it sound so easy if not for the vast majority of "evil" nationalists. You're swimming upstream against a strong current called human nature.

You strike me as someone who doesn't compromise politically in the US, yet you seem disgusted that the European Union can't come together. Am I way off base, because it wouldn't be the 1st time?

Bill

CKMichaelson said...

First things, Bill: Don't confuse 'hydrocarbons' for petroleum. Nat gas and nat gas liquids are not interchangeable with the various petroleum distillates our economies depend on. And that handy dandy chart omits coal - the granddaddy of hydrocarbons.

ckm

CKMichaelson said...

Then there's this, Bill: Nowhere do I suggest that a United Europe would be easy - just that the euro would not work without the sort of economic, social and political conformity that would imply a UE. Easy? Ask a Scot about the English. Easy? Disgusted? Me? Look at how divided the US is. Have you forgotten that it took the Civil War to make this a working (but far from perfectly united) country?

A unified Europe is a pleasant afternoon conversation - but the one that's leading up to the breakup of Belgium is a more realistic reflection of the tribalism that exists - that's what is behind soccer riots, much less the fuel that the overlords tap to fight the wars they think they can win or profit from.

Europe has not done the work necessary for union. I doubt it ever will. Doesn't mean it is not the best solution.

ckm

Anonymous said...

I agree with you, but it seems encouraging from a BTU perspective, IF we could could successfully convert our diesel and gasoline powered trucks and cars to electric and natural gas.

I'm just trying to look at the glass half full. Perhaps I'm too optimistic?

Bill

CKMichaelson said...

Cause for optimism would sure be good about now, but how many cars are there in the US, trucks, tractors and so on? How many can we replace/covert in a year? How many years would this take? Where would all the money come from to do this?

Yes, electrics would help, so would centralized cities, public transport, walkable cities, water transport of heavy freight... and so on. How many years would it take? How many years do we have? How much would it cost? Who has that much money?

The glass may be half full, but I'm afraid it is just going to dribble down my shirt.

ckm

Anonymous said...

I hear you, and your points are valid, but where's the a way, there will eventually be a will.