Archive for the ‘C.O.A.T. – Plague’ category

Chronicles Of Depression 2.0: #478: I.D.

December 20, 2008

Premise: The rich will not be amenable to any solution that essentially reboots the entire worldwide economic system and leaves them holding a bag of shit. A bag of shit, mind you, that everybody else will also wind up holding.

Solving that is not easy …


… why don’t you try it?

Especially all you whiny crybabies who weep for “solutions.”

This is your cue. Go!

Chronicles Of Depression 2.0: #445: Zimbabwe 2

December 1, 2008

Soldiers rampage at Harare bank

Because of a national cash shortage, Zimbabweans can only withdraw small amounts of money every day – often barely enough to buy a loaf of bread.

The country’s economic freefall has been accelerating and the latest annual inflation rate was 231,000,000%. Just one adult in five is estimated to have a regular job.

Earlier, the state-owned Herald newspaper reported that water in the capital had been cut because of a shortage of purification chemicals, as authorities try to contain a cholera outbreak.

At least 425 people have died in recent months from the disease, which is spread by contaminated water.

The outbreak has been fuelled by the collapse of Zimbabwe’s health and sanitation systems. The disease is easily treatable but hospitals lack medicines and staff.

I didn’t even raise the point of communicable disease outbreaks in American Gotterdammerung.

Zimbabwe is one of our possible futures.

Previously here:

Chronicles Of Depression 2.0: #373: Zimbabwe

Chronicles Of Depression 2.0: #363: Hollow

November 3, 2008

Economy sinks as we save bankers

To review the point that I made in Chapter 7 of my book “Greenspan’s Bubbles” and in many columns: In the past expansion, economic growth was almost entirely about real estate. Gross-domestic-product growth, excluding mortgage-equity extraction, was almost nonexistent. In addition, when you consider that 30% to 40% of all jobs were real-estate-oriented, it’s clear how hollow the economy is liable to be going forward.

Emphasis added by me.

Is there anyone out there reading this who can confirm that statistic?

This is perhaps the most important statistic I’ve ever seen cited.

It explains a lot and ties into the next post I’ll be doing.

I need to give some background here.

One phrase I have heard over and over again in relation to various scenarios is this: Progress is automatic.

It’s been used to describe the future as depicted by the 1939 World’s Fair.

It’s been used to describe various aspects of Darwinistic beliefs.

It’s been used as the cornerstone of some beliefs in America.

It has, in fact, been the foundation of advocates of pure reason.

But progress is not automatic.

Human history testifies to the fact that civilizations deemed advanced have collapsed. Jared Diamond’s book, Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed, explores the factors that have wiped out past human societies.

The financial crisis we are facing — and are still heading towards — is one of those things that has a high probability of bringing on such a societal collapse.

However, that collapse does not have its roots in this recent round of financial rapacity and outright fraud. The seed for the true roots were planted with a noxious idea called deindustrialization. The wikipedia entry does not do the term justice (nor does the entry cite the seminal book on the topic!).

Deindustrialization falls under the foolish notion of “progress is automatic.”

That is, as a population becomes materially better off, it will also aspire to better jobs. Thus, at some point in the future, the population will become too educated to sustain a manufacturing base. Manufacturing is seen as labor “unworthy” of the educated.

There are several fallacies to that line of thinking. The most dangerous one is that it posits all of a nation’s citizens advancing educationally at the same rate.

We only have to look around to see that’s not true.

An additional error in that wikipedia entry is this:

Total industrial employment has been roughly constant at around 30 million people since the late 1970s (though there has been a steady decline since the all-time peak of 31.5 million in 2000).

Wait a minute. What about industrial employment before 1970?

Before 1970, this nation made its own televisions, radios, and more. Look at the back of any electronic device today and you’ll find Made in China. (The same thing for toys … and much, much more.) When it comes to employment, this is where economics devolves into “winners and losers.”

Free trade fundamentalists will argue that cheaper goods are beneficial to a nation. They ignore the fact that the cost of these goods comes at the expense of a nation’s workers losing their jobsand of potential future employees not having a job waiting for them.

Of what benefit are cheaper goods if the nation’s population can’t afford to buy them?

A devastating ongoing consequence of deindustrialization is a growing population of the discontented and discouraged. Facing a bleak future, their allegiance to the society as a whole is weakened and can ultimately descend into a dark mirror image of the sociopathology at the top of the society — a sociopathology based not on the “luxury” of monetary greed, but based on the overwhelming need to merely survive.

There are two factors today that disguise just how bad things actually are in America:

1) Safety net disbursals by governments (which still don’t prevent a persistent homeless population)

2) The shadow economy based on illegal drugs (which manifests itself in others ways; one being predation upon others)

If those monies — and “opportunities” — were subtracted from the American economy, what would be left as its primary engine of growth?

Would it be what the statistic above cites — real estate?

If that’s true, then indeed, “Now we’re sitting on the biggest bomb man’s ever made.”

And the true dimensions of this bomb have suddenly become greater than all past estimates.

See the next post for just how big.

Pandemic: Who Lives, Who Dies?

May 5, 2008

Who should MDs let die in a pandemic? Report offers answers

Doctors know some patients needing lifesaving care won’t get it in a flu pandemic or other disaster. The gut-wrenching dilemma will be deciding who to let die.

Those who go are:

People older than 85.

Those with severe trauma, which could include critical injuries from car crashes and shootings.

Severely burned patients older than 60.

Those with severe mental impairment, which could include advanced Alzheimer’s disease.

Those with a severe chronic disease, such as advanced heart failure, lung disease or poorly controlled diabetes.

Why is this important?

The end of the article:

“You never know,” Devereaux said. “SARS took a lot of folks by surprise. We didn’t even know it existed.”

Chronicles Of Depression 2.0: #065

April 28, 2008

Oh dear oh dear or dear.

I want you to know that I do make an effort to vet things before posting. But sometimes I get caught up in scams just like everyone else.

I came across a link about a new virus that destroys wheat and how this could impact world food supply. This was on a blog. I decided to read beyond that one post and was glad I did because it contained this “Get the hell away from me right now!” gem:

Bizarre as it may sound, rumours are circulating that this technology will be used for the up and coming fake ET invasion. At humanity’s lowest point the technology will then be used to project a vision of the reincarnation of the great religious leaders of this world. All part of a greater plan for control of humanity.

Cue Mulder and Sculley.

As it turns out, the virus itself is real.

Ug99 and emerging virulent stem rust race — that’s from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which states:

In a nursery in Uganda, Africa in 1999, susceptible type stem rust pustules (collection designated Ug99) were found on wheat lines known to have the stem rust resistance gene Sr31, a gene for which no virulence had been reported previously anywhere in the world.

In rather business-like language, it goes on to say:

Stem rust resistance gene Sr31 is widely utilized in wheat worldwide, particularly in the India subcontinent, China, Europe, and South America. From the CIMMYT report: Impacts of International Wheat Breeding Research in Developing Countries, 1966-97, developing countries planted 69 million hectares (~170 million acres) of spring wheat in 1997, of which nearly 80% were planted to CIMMYT-related varieties. Susceptibility of this material will provide little barrier to the spread of a virulent race (e.g. TTKS).

OK. Now if you want the Scare You To Shit version, here it is (not from that blog, by the way):

Killer fungus spells disaster for wheat

A WHEAT disease that could destroy most of the world’s main wheat crops could strike south Asia’s vast wheat fields two years earlier than research had suggested, leaving millions to starve. The fungus, called Ug99, has spread from Africa to Iran, and may already be in Pakistan. If so, this is extremely bad news, as Pakistan is not only critically reliant on its wheat crop, it is also the gateway to the Asian breadbasket, including the vital Punjab region.

Scientists met this week in Syria to decide on emergency measures to track Ug99’s progress. They hope to slow its spread by spraying fungicide or even stopping farmers from planting wheat in the spores’ path. The only real remedy will be new wheat varieties that resist Ug99, and they may not be ready for five years. The fungus has just pulled ahead in the race.

Emphasis added by me.

The link I cite is a full-length press release. One that was issued by New Scientist magazine, from an article.

And I will now hammer down on the importance of political will, because we damn well lack it.

The Chinese do not:

New Scientist has learned that China started a crash programme to breed resistance into Chinese wheat varieties last year, after an article on Ug99 in this magazine was translated into Chinese and circulated to top agriculture officials.

Emphasis added by me.

While we are thirty years later still begging our enemies to sell us oil.

The L Word

February 8, 2008

Get your mind out of that gutter.

The L word is Leprosy.

And it’s here in America.

Bingham says without cooperation, leprosy, which has no vaccine, and is transmitted through the air, will spread, and could easily become an epidemic. “People absolutely should be concerned. What I’m afraid of, is when people start thinking about it enough, it will already be out of control.”

Update: 2/10/08: Arkansas Dept of Health dismisses epidemic fear.

Bird Flu Has Popped Up Again

January 23, 2008

Over 2000 complain of fever, govt says ‘it means nothing’

Kolkata, January 22 About 2,324 cases of people suffering from fever have been reported from the Birbhum district — Ground Zero of the bird flu outbreak in the state — in the last five days.

“The West Bengal Government is failing to understand the gravity of the situation,” said Union Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare P Lakshmi, during a visit to Birbhum on Tuesday.

Lakshmi, who is currently in the state to get a first hand assessment of the culling operations, did not find adequate health infrastructure to combat the bird flu threat. She criticised the state government for acting irresponsibly and lacking seriousness to fight the disease.


Don’t worry too much about the economy. You could be dead next winter anyway.