Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Away from the madness

Thursday my lovely wife and I will be heading out to do some tent camping. Where are we going? Here's a hint, the area has terrible cell phone service . . . and pythons. We want one last excursion into the wild before heading north. It will be nice to get away from the news for a while.

Our political system has been reduced to name calling and bullying. If a five year old came into my house and acted like those politicians I'd have a talk with his parents. If a 14 year old acted that way he'd get the boot. One can disagree without becoming disagreeable.

The economy is of concern. It's impossible for financial bubbles to be forever replaced by even more impressive bubbles. Eventually it all ends in tears, and if we are lucky, bankers leaping from tall buildings. Will the impending troubles bring the whole house of cards down? Darn if I'd know. Logic and reason would seem to indicate that it should have all unwound by now.

Of course, for many the collapse is already here. Just ask a Libyan, or a Syrian . . . or someone from Detroit.

The petroleum age is coming to an end. I used to follow a web site called “Life After the Oil Crash.” It shut down a few years ago, when the price of oil was heading into the stratosphere. He made a good argument that once Peak Oil hit it would be game over. Apparently he wasn't 100% correct.

Don't get me wrong, this boom and bust cycle could be a symptom of Peak Oil. One of the reasons oil prices are so low is that so much of the world's economy is in slowdown. What is definitely unexpected is the rapid adoption of alternative energy. Prices have come way down and production and efficiency is way up.

Some claim that alternative energy investment is another bubble. It could be, but that doesn't bother me. Capitalism has a long history in over investment in the “next big thing.” They will probably over build the alternative energy system. By the time they realize that a lot of people will have lost money. Boo Hoo. That doesn't bother me and do you know why? While some investors will lose their shirts, we'll be left with a really extensive energy system.

We do have the good fortune of living in interesting times. There's no excuse for being bored.



  1. Definitely not boring. As for the politics they're all acting like kindergarteners.

    1. Really bad kindergarteners whose parents raised them poorly.

  2. May the best kindergartener win ...

    1. Wouldn't it be nice to have an adult in the room?

  3. Undoubtedly yes ... until the winning adult finally discovers the extent to which he/she is a seat-warmer for bigger, greedier kindergartners who pull the levers. I try not to watch the debates, especially Republicans. Makes me feel so ashamed of us collectively.

    1. I cannot believe that they are the "best" our country can offer. The system works against good people going into office.

  4. Interesting times is a mild way of stating the conditions of today's world. I just hope "interesting" doesn't turn to "scary" too soon or at all.

    1. Scary is interesting, but not a lot of fun.

  5. Cannot even watch the debates. No one is asking the really, really important questions and how our problems are or can be solved. It's a Saturday morning kiddie show.

    1. It's embarrassing, that's what it is -and a dirty shame.

  6. The elections are like a B- movie with spoiled brats staring. The economy is following Kunstler's book The Long Emergency .

    1. I'd hate Kunstler to be right as he can a bore sometimes, but dang . . .

  7. Although not really what this blog is for, we are on the topic of "madness", so if anyone would like to try to explain, please do:

    I understand the general and extensive negative feeling in the country about gridlock politics, stagnant recovery for most people, systemic inequality, etc. and the desire for something better. I share it.

    However, Trump is a blatantly puffed-up, nearly empty-headed egomaniac, who astonishingly has wide appeal on the Republican side. It is almost as if his supporters have no real grasp on what job he's interviewing for. Hillary is no prize either -- just a better version of bad -- but for the moment, that's beside the point.

    I can only see two possibilities for explanation of the high level of support for Trump:

    1. The sane among his supporters believe that we collectively are in such a desperate situation that only a "two-legged political bomb" would have any chance of initiating change.


    2. The average person, especially of politically conservative persuasion, is simply very stupid. Much more than I ever wanted to believe.

    At this point Trump isn't really the biggest problem. He is merely a symptom. I see our biggest problem being whatever exists in so many citizens to make them support such a man despite his monumental unsuitability and toxicity. That should gravely concern us all.

    Though nearly impossible to measure and determine, I'd be interested to hear thoughtful guesses on the explanation.

    1. P.S. - To the list of national problems causing widespread negative feeling, I should have added a couple of other major ones such as diminished national stature internationally, an ineffective immigration system, and others in that vein.

    2. I'm thinking we have a lot of the same energy, emotions and thinking that Germany had in the late 30s. Being told that they were special didn't work out too well for them.

      There's also a lot of energy for Bernie too, but he plays by the rules and the rules were written to keep people like him from being elected.

      Trump is writing his own rule book here. He's making up his own reality as he goes along.

      The US is feeling a bit crazy as it's perception of itself and reality have drifted far apart. Clever people can use that to their advantage.

      The MSM is just catching on that fundamental things have changed. It's only taken months and months of them being wrong to figure it out.

    3. Sixbears,

      There's a lot of insight in what you say, especially regarding historical parallels.

      "Trump is writing his own rule book here. He's making up his own reality as he goes along."

      Right, but the immediate problem lies in the fact that too many others are reading the "book".

      One specific case comes to mind. Knew someone well who was chronically under-educated, under-employed, struggling with insufficient medical coverage, barely getting by. Exactly the type of person with the exactly the type of problems that the best of the Democrats try to help, as a matter of course, and the Republicans care nothing about.

      Despite being the last person who should support the Republican platform, that person got sucked into the radical conservative camp, primarily via Fox News. And that happened without any awareness that such a party, not only would never do anything to help him, but routinely and actively works against his interests.

      Other than ignorance about larger issues, the only explanation I could ever understand was that this person was so consumed with impotent white rage that needed an outlet. Any outlet. And none more productive than radical political conservatism was available.

      "There's also a lot of energy for Bernie too, but he plays by the rules and the rules were written to keep people like him from being elected."

      Agree. Two astonishing things about his campaign to me so far:

      First, African Americans, one group who needs exactly what Bernie sells more than most, aren't supporting him.

      Second, no one in Bernie's campaign has gotten him to stand up, and in plain language, confront, explain, and defuse the "socialist bogey man".

      Americans badly need an education on that point, specifically about what it is (a social counterbalance to capitalism) and is not (communism), and the fact that the U.S. is already partly social democratic itself.

      Bernie sticks out -- positively and negatively --because he admits it, and not only doesn't apologize, but wants more along those lines.

      People fear and hate the label without even knowing what it is, especially in its modern form. Along the lines of all the conservative people who think the Affordable Care Act is OK to good, but Obamacare is awful. :/


    4. At one time it amazed me that so many people would vote against their best interests. Now I realize that all too often emotion wins over logic and reason. Rather than focus on all the programs that would benefit them, they focus on an emotional issue instead.

      They are also proud and want to get by without government assistance, yet fail to understand the government assistance that goes to big business and the rich.

      Right now the system is about as broken as it has ever been. We could rise to the challenge or go down an ugly road. Right now it doesn't look very good for the US. Giving more attention to my preps than ever before.