Sunday, March 28, 2021

Tverberg: "Headed for a Collapsing Debt Bubble"

Similar and/or related posts from Gulfcoastcommentary:

How the World Got to the Edge of the Cliff

We're Reaching the End of the Road

From Gail Tverberg's Post "Headed for a Collapsing Debt Bubble":

A $1.9 trillion stimulus package was recently signed into law in the United States. Can such a stimulus bill, plus packages passed in other countries, really pull the world economy out of the downturn it has been in 2020? I don’t think so.

The economy runs on energy, far more than it operates on growing debt. Our energy problems don’t appear to be fixable in the near term, such as six months or a year. Instead, the economy seems to be headed for a collapse of its debt bubble. Eventually, we may see a reset of the world financial system leading to fewer interchangeable currencies, far less international trade and falling production of goods and services. Some governments may collapse.

[1] What Is Debt?

I understand debt to be an indirect promise for future goods and services. These future goods and services can only be created if there are adequate supplies of the right kinds of energy and other materials, in the right places, to make these future goods and services.

I think of debt as being a time-shifting device. Indirectly, it is a promise that the economy will be able to provide as many, or more, goods and services in the future compared to what it does at the time the loan is taken out.

Common sense suggests that it is much easier to repay debt with interest in a growing economy than in a shrinking economy. Carmen Reinhart and Ken Rogoff unexpectedly ran across this phenomenon in their 2008 working paper, This Time Is Different: A Panoramic View of Eight Centuries of Financial Crises. They reported (p. 15), “It is notable that the non-defaulters, by and large, are all hugely successful growth stories.” In other words, their analysis of 800 years of governmental debt showed that default was almost inevitable if a country stopped growing or started shrinking.

The IMF estimates that the world economy shrank by 3.5% in 2020. There are many areas with even worse indications: Euro Area, -7.2%; United Kingdom, -10.0%; India, -8.0%; Mexico, -8.5%; and South Africa, -7.5%. If these situations cannot be turned around quickly, we should expect to see collapsing debt bubbles. Even the US, which shrank by 3.4%, needs a rapid return to growth if it is to keep its debt bubble inflated.

[2] The Inter-Relationship Among (a) Growing Debt, (b) Growing Energy Consumption and a (c) Growing Economy

When we are far from energy limits, growing debt seems to pull the economy along. This is a graphic I put together in 2018, explaining the situation. A small amount of debt is helpful to the system. But, if there gets to be too much debt, both oil prices and interest rates rise, bringing the braking system into action. The bicycle/economy rapidly slows.

Figure 1. The author’s view of the analogy of a speeding upright bicycle and a speeding economy.





Just as a two-wheeled bicycle needs to be going fast enough to stay upright, the economy needs to be growing rapidly enough for debt to do what it is intended to do. It takes energy supply to create the goods and services that the economy depends on.  If oil and other energy products are cheap to produce, their benefit will be widely available. Employers will be able to add more efficient machines, such as bigger tractors. These more efficient machines will act to leverage the human labor of the workers. The economy can grow rapidly, without the use of much debt. Figure 2 shows that the world oil price was $20 per barrel in 2020$, or even less, prior to 1974.

Figure 2. Oil price in 2020 dollars, based on amounts through 2019 in 2019$ from BP’s 2020 Statistical Review of World Energy, the inflationary adjustment from 2019 to 2020 based on CPI Urban prices from the US Department of Labor and the average spot Brent oil price for 2020 based on EIA information.
Figure 3 below shows the historical relationship between the growth in US energy consumption (red line) and the dollar increase in US debt growth required to add a dollar increase in GDP (blue line). This chart calculates ratios for five-year periods because ratios for individual years are unstable.
Figure 3. Comparison of five-year average growth in US energy consumption based on EIA data with five-year average amount of added debt required to add $1 of GDP.

 Based on Figure 3, the US average annual growth in energy consumption (red line) generally fell between 1951 and 2020. The quantity of debt that needed to be added to create an additional $1 dollar of GDP (blue line) has generally been rising.

According to Investopedia, Gross domestic product (GDP) is the total monetary or market value of all the finished goods and services produced within a country’s borders in a specific time period. Notice that there is no mention of debt in this definition. If businesses or governments can find a way to make large amounts of credit available to borrowers who are not very credit worthy, it becomes easy to sell cars, motorcycles or homes to buyers who may never repay that debt. If the economy hits turbulence, these marginal buyers are likely to default, causing a collapse in a debt bubble.

[3] Analyzing Energy Consumption Growth, Debt Growth and Economic Growth for Broader Groupings of Years

To get a better idea what is happening with respect to energy growth, debt growth, and GDP growth, I created some broader groupings of years, based primarily on patterns in Figure 2, showing inflation-adjusted oil prices. The following groupings of years were chosen:

  • 1950-1973
  • 1974-1980
  • 1981-2000
  • 2001-2014
  • 2015-2020

Using these groupings of years, I put together charts in which it is easier to see trends.

Figure 4. Average annual increase in energy consumption for period shown based on EIA data versus average increase in real (inflation-adjusted) GDP for the period shown based on data of the US Bureau of Economic Analysis.

Figure 4 shows that for the US, there has been a general downward trend in the annual growth of energy consumption. At same time, real (that is, inflation-adjusted) GDP has been trending downward, but not quite as quickly.

We would expect that lower energy consumption would lead to lower growth in real GDP because it takes energy of the appropriate kinds to make goods and services. For example, it takes oil to ship most goods. It takes electricity to operate computers and keep the lights on. According to the World Coal Association, large quantities of coal are used in producing cement and steel. These are important for construction, such as is planned in stimulus projects around the world.

Also, on Figure 4, the period 1981 to 2000 shows an uptick in both energy consumption growth and real GDP growth. This period corresponds to a period of relatively low oil prices (Figure 2). With lower oil prices, businesses found it affordable to add new devices to leverage human labor, making workers more productive. The growing productivity of workers is at least part of what led to the increased growth in real GDP.

Figure 5. Dollars of additional debt required to add $1 dollar of GDP growth (including inflation), based on data of the US Bureau of Economic Analysis.

Figure 5, above, is disturbing. It strongly suggests that the US economy (and probably a lot of other economies) has needed to add an increasing amount of debt to add $1 of GDP in recent years. This pattern started long before President Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus package in 2021.

To make matters worse, GDP growth in Figure 5 has not been reduced to remove the impact of inflation. On average, removing the impact of inflation reduces the above GDP growth by about half. In the period 2015 to 2020, it took about $4.35 of additional debt to add one dollar of GDP growth, including inflation. It would take about double that amount, or $8.70 worth of debt, to create $1.00 worth of inflation-adjusted growth. With such a low return on added debt, it seems unlikely that the $1.9 trillion stimulus package will increase the growth of the economy very much.

[4] Falling interest rates (Figure 6) are a major part of what allowed the rapid growth in debt after 1981 shown in Figure 5.

Figure 6. 10-Year and 3-Month US Treasury Rates through February 2021, in a chart prepared by the Federal Reserve of St. Louis.

Clearly, debt is more affordable if the interest rate is lower. For example, auto loans and home mortgages have lower monthly payments if the interest rate is lower. It is also clear that governments need to spend less of their tax revenue on interest rate payments if interest rates are lower. Changes made by US President Ronald Reagan when he took office 1981 also encouraged the use of more debt.

A major concern with respect to today’s debt bubble is the fact that interest rates are about as low as they can go without going negative. In fact, the interest rate on 10-year Treasury bonds is now 1.72%, which is higher than the February 2021 average rate shown on the chart. As interest rates rise, it becomes more costly to add more debt. As interest rates rise, businesses will be less likely to take on debt in order to expand and hire more workers.

[5] Interest expense is a major expense of governments, businesses, and homeowners everywhere. Energy costs are another major expense of governments, businesses, and homeowners. It makes sense that falling interest rates can partly hide rising energy prices.

A trend toward lower interest rates was needed starting in 1981 because the US could no longer produce large amounts of crude oil that were profitable to sell at less than $20 per barrel, in inflation-adjusted prices. Lower interest rates made adding debt more feasible. This added debt could smooth the transition to an economy that was less dependent on oil, now that it was high-priced. The lower interest rates helped all segments of the economy adjust to the new higher cost of oil and other fuels.

[6] The US experience shows precisely how helpful having a rapidly growing supply of inexpensive to produce oil could be to an economy.

US oil production, excluding Alaska (blue “remainder” in Figure 7), rose rapidly after 1945 but began to decline not long after hitting a peak in 1970. This growing oil production had temporarily provided a huge boost to the US economy.

Figure 7. US crude oil production, based on data of the US Energy Information Administration.

Up until almost 1970, US oil production was rising rapidly. Figure 8 shows that during this period, incomes of both the bottom 90% of workers and the top 10% of workers increased rapidly. Over a period of about 20 years, incomes for both groups grew by about 80%, after adjusting for inflation. On average, workers were about 4% better off each year, with the rapid growth in very inexpensive-to-produce oil, all of which stayed in the US (rather than being exported). US imports of inexpensive-to-produce oil also grew during this period.

Once oil prices were higher, income growth for both the lower 90% and the top 10% slowed. With the changes made starting in 1981, wage disparities quickly started to grow. There suddenly became a need for new, high-tech approaches that used less oil. But these changes were more helpful to the managers and highly educated workers than the bottom 90% of workers.

Figure 8. Chart comparing income gains by the top 10% to income gains by the bottom 90% by economist Emmanuel Saez. Based on an analysis of IRS data, published in Forbes.










[7] Most of the  world’s cheap-to-extract oil sources have now been exhausted. Our problem is that the world market cannot get prices to rise high enough for producers to cover all of their expenses, including taxes.

Based on my analysis, the world price of oil would need to be at least $120 per barrel to cover all of the costs it needs to cover. The costs that need to be covered include more items than an oil company would normally include in its costs estimates. The company needs to develop new fields to compensate for the ones that are being exhausted. It needs to pay interest on its debt. It also needs to pay dividends to its shareholders. In the case of shale producers, the price needs to be high enough that production outside of “sweet spots” can be carried on profitably.

For oil exporters, it is especially important that the sales price be high enough so that the government of the oil exporting country can collect adequate tax revenue. Otherwise, the exporting country will not be able to maintain food subsidy programs that the population depends on and public works programs that provide jobs.

[8] The world can add more debt, but it is difficult to see how the debt bubble that is created will really pull the world economy forward rapidly enough to keep the debt bubble from collapsing in the next year or two.

Many models are based on the assumption that the economy can easily go back to the growth rate it had, prior to COVID-19. There are several reasons why this seems unlikely:

  • Many parts of the world economy weren’t really growing very rapidly prior to the pandemic. For example, shopping malls were doing poorly. Many airlines were in financial difficulty. Private passenger auto sales in China reached a peak in 2017 and have declined every year since.
  • At the low oil prices prior to the pandemic, many oil producers (including the US) would need to reduce their production. The 2019 peak in shale production (shown in Figure 7) may prove to be the peak in US oil production because of low prices.
  • Once people became accustomed to working from home, many of them really do not want to go back to a long commute.
  • It is not clear that the pandemic is really going away, now that we have kept it around this long. New mutations keep appearing. Vaccines aren’t 100% effective.
  • As I showed in Figure 5, adding more debt seems to be a very inefficient way of digging the economy out of a hole. What is really needed is a growing supply of oil that can be produced and sold profitably for less than $20 per barrel. Other types of energy need to be similarly inexpensive.

I should note that intermittent wind and solar energy is not an adequate substitute for oil. It is not even an adequate substitute for “dispatchable” electricity production. It is simply an energy product that has been sufficiently subsidized that it can often make money for its producers. It also sounds good, if it is referred to as “clean energy.” Unfortunately, its true value is lower than its cost of production.

[9] What’s Ahead?

I expect that oil prices will rise a bit, but not enough to raise prices to the level producers require. Interest rates will continue to rise as governments around the world attempt more stimulus. With these higher interest rates and higher oil prices, businesses will do less and less well. This will slow the economy enough that debt defaults become a major problem. Within a few months to a year, the worldwide debt bubble will start to collapse, bringing oil prices down by more than 50%. Stock market prices and prices of buildings of all kinds will fall in inflation-adjusted dollars. Many bonds will prove to be worthless. There will be problems with empty shelves in stores and gasoline stations with no products to sell.

People will start to see that while debt is a promise for the equivalent of future goods and services, it is not necessarily the case that those who make the promises will be able to stand behind these promises. Paper wealth generally can be expected to lose its value.

I can imagine a situation, not too many years from now, when countries everywhere will establish new currencies that are not as easily interchangeable with other currencies as today’s currencies are. International trade will dramatically fall. The standard of living of most people will fall precipitously.

I doubt that the new currencies will be electronic currencies. Keeping the electricity on is a difficult task in economies that increasingly need to rely solely on local resources. Electricity may be out for months at a time after an equipment failure or a storm. Having a currency that depends on electricity alone would be a poor idea.

Thursday, March 25, 2021

"Woke" is Black Hatred of White Civilization: Even "Half-Blacks" Bring Disorder and Chaos

The word "Woke" is from US black vernacular that refers to a perceived awareness of issues that concern social justice and racial justice. Already, you know you're in big trouble, because anything "black" (US version especially) means near total ignorance, failed thinking, lack of logic, a cultural collapse, and being wrong about everything.  

First of all, speaking in the black ghetto vernacular is already a huge problem in that it immediately announces yourself as a low-class, ignorant, low functioning individual with low social and economic status in the eyes (ears?) of their listeners. But they're proud of all that!  And Black rappers glorify "ghetto speak" (and criminality) as a badge of honor. US blacks worship criminals, thugs, and glorify losers.  They are total fools. Woke is hatred of the world's pinnacle of cultural achievement, ie., White Civilization as seen in Northern Europe, Scandinavia and their descendents.

If every US black spoke perfect British english, complete with a British accent, for instance, like some Caribbean and Bahamian blacks, their perceived intelligence and status would instantly change for the better. It can be done, but the pressure to conform would completely make this impossible in US black communities. Any black trying that might not even survive.

I'm reminded of a documentary about the late George Martin, the famed producer of The Beatles, also known as "the fifth Beatle." The documentary is a long and excellent interview with him about his life and included conversations with his son Giles. The most poignant thing that stood out to me was when he said that he was born and raised in London's less "posh" neighborhood and had a "low class" accent.  He said it was terrible. As a reminder, the Brits have always been very, very class conscious, so Mr. Martin decided to adapt the accent and speech of the BBC announcers which were considered "posh." He adopted "posh" speaking for the remainder of his life and it served him very well in his career.  This is what INTELLIGENCE looks like. This is also WHITENESS! Mr. Martin never worshipped any thug or their criminality either.

You see, successful people do everything right: they show up to school, they do their homework, they save their money, they have the right ideas and attitudes, they think ahead about the future.  On the other hand, unsuccessful people, like most US Blacks and "poor" people of any color, do everything wrong, are unable to function in any civilized setting, can't bother to show up to school, never do homework and are full of bad ideas. And when their lives are shit, they are UNABLE to see that it's their fault (of themselves and their parents).  

Then, in true "loser think," they blame their failures on anyone but themselves. Blaming others for the problems that YOU create is the very essence of "Woke."  It's LOSER THINK.

You can throw all the money in the world at social programs for these people, but if there is laziness, addictions, bad ideas, bad attitudes and bad decisions, low intelligence, high criminality, little impulse control and high levels of violence, it will override any and all social programs. Of course the Left never wants to hear about personal responsibility.  They want to blame our economic system, take more and more of your tax dollars and piss that money away on programs that aren't working.

Black persons of any age will never be hired when they often can't speak right, they often can't dress right, when they often have no self-respect, no discipline, no education or have bad ideas or are racist against White people. This is the problem today, yesterday and 50 years ago. Who in their right mind would hire them?  No amount of money spent, no government bureaucrat and no bureaucracy can fix this.  Why don't we admit that we've failed?  

Why can't US Blacks admit that they've failed? Blackness IS failure and Un-culture. "Woke" is bullshit, hatred of Whites and White civilization and a failure to take responsibility of your own failure.  Instead, you get 100% denial, 100% blaming White people, then insults and a punch in the face, as they happily cash their SNAP payments, rent subsidies, income supports, etc., etc.  Talk about biting the hand that feeds you!


The Meghan Markle Fiasco Shows Even Half-Blacks Bring Disorder and Chaos


Speaking of failures, I can't help commenting about Meghan Markle and her disruption of British life. Even "Woke" half-black persons are poison for themselves, their communities and their countries. Everything they touch turns to shit. Meghan and her husband felt they had to flee the UK after their idiocy bought down a mountain of criticism upon themselves. You go woke, you go broke.  Now, she's bringing her destruction back to America.  Thanks alot you attention whore!! She's a whore for attention and a whore for money and status.

  Brendan O'Neill, the Republican editor of Spiked, wrote that Harry and Meghan's purpose was to "position themselves as the king and queen of victim politics."

Todd Starnes wrote, "Like a good woke American, Ms. Markle charged that the royal family was bothered by the skin color of her son. When you don't have a legitimate grievance, you always play the race card ... For Prince Harry to allow his wife to make such a scandalous charge without naming names is cowardly. But it's also very telling—I suspect the Mrs. was spewing fake news."  Meghan is poison.

Obama, another half-black and an extremely mediocre dude, was vaulted by affirmative action programs thru schools (supposedly)  into government and the presidency (probably as a CIA project). But he did nothing but divide and denigrate our country, failed at every policy both foreign and domestic, he started a race war and a war on police that continues to this day. Obama, steeped in African Marxism and Islam, had all the wrong ideas and was wrong about nearly everything. Obama disrupted US life in a major negative way, not unlike ungrateful Markle. Obama is poison

You see a trend here?

All of these Leftist/Marxist people want to wallow in the distant past, and wallow in victim-hood and keep "ancient" history alive to complain in an attempt to stay relevant.  The truth is that The Left is now entirely deluded, intellectually bankrupt, hysterical, irrelevant and entirely destructive. They can't move on. They have to keep dredging the past in a vain effort to stay relevant --- but they're entirely NOT.

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Normal American: An Increasingly Fragile Empire

From Normal American on Jan. 28, 2021. [Doug here: even though this post is 2 months old, it's still a very valid and timely summation of our country's predicament]

Our creaky, late-stage American empire is looking fragile. Texas is talking secession. Wyoming is paying close attention.

Everything looks brittle. Perhaps things will break. William S. Lind has been telling everyone who will listen that a legitimacy crisis is looming.

One would hope our ruling elites were prudent enough to lower tensions right about now. Perhaps Nancy Pelosi and “the enemy within” could retire to a secret chandeliered hideaway for a pleasant game of whist.

That is not happening. The Washington swamp is seething with anger and malice. Word has gone out that deplorables must not only be punished as domestic terrorists, but publicly humiliated. No tweet is too small to become a federal crime as needed.

The people pulling the levers to operate Joe Biden are doing their best to make things worse. So are the members of the ruling uniparty who identify as congressional Democrats. We are left to wonder what they have in mind for the deplorables if the planned deprogramming fails.

Tossing constitutional and political norms out the window is an excellent way to erode the regime’s legitimacy further. Therefore it is happening. We must acknowledge the possibility that our rulers are not terribly bright.

Exhibit A is a proposal to promote the District of Columbia to statehood. It was introduced this week by Sen. Tom Carper, a Democrat. It already has an astonishing 38 Senate sponsors. The House of Representatives approved it last year.

Even in normal circumstances this idea is risible. The District of Columbia is inhabited by party loyalists, tentacular swamp creatures and, in poorer areas, the regime’s dusky-skinned household servants. Their collective aim is to reprise this 1937 headline showing Stalin winning 100 percent of the vote. The best they have done in D.C. so far is 92 percent, but on the other hand the purge of Trump voters is not yet complete.

Exhibit B is the White House’s announcement this week of a commission to study Supreme Court “reforms.”

Normal Americans might suspect that the only “reforms” the Supreme Court needs is for Congress to limit the justices' ability to concoct things like new “trans” rights. That would be appropriate under Article III, Section 2 of the Constitution. John Roberts once endorsed jurisdiction stripping. So, for different reasons, did The Nation.

Naturally the only “reforms” the left wants are ones that cement its rule. We may reasonably conclude, along with Josh Blackman, that the only purpose for the commission is to justify packing the court. Politico noted that one member of the commission said in 2019: “I often point out to people who aren’t lawyers that the Supreme Court is not defined as ‘nine person body’ in the Constitution, and it has changed size many times.”

Exhibit C is a proposed federal law that would permit Americans to possess firearms and ammunition only if they “undergo[] a psychological evaluation” and purchase an annual “insurance policy” from the government for $800. If Americans submit to these measures, plus additional bureaucratic intrusiveness, they may apply for a license from the U.S. Department of Justice to possess firearms and ammo. The bill, H.R. 127, was introduced in early January by the intellectually gifted Sheila Jackson Lee and made available publicly this week.

The mandatory psychological evaluation must be “conducted by a licensed psychologist approved by the Attorney General,” and may include “a psychological evaluation of other members of the household in which the individual resides.”

This is where normal Americans should pray to their Maker that their ex-wives, ex-husbands, and anyone at work who hates guns will say only nice things. The psychological examination can include “any spouse of the individual, any former spouse of the individual, and at least 2 other persons who are a member of the family of, or an associate of, the individual to further determine the state of the mental, emotional, and relational stability of the individual in relation to firearms.”

Of course only conspiracy theorists and horned Q shamans would suggest that this “psychological evaluation” is intended to deny firearms to everyone but regime loyalists. Or that Trump voters would be automatically disqualified, if not sent to the camps.

Any such calumny would only be offered by ideologically-motivated violent extremists with objections to the exercise of governmental authority and other perceived grievances fueled by false narratives. Homeland Security knows what to do with them.

This is only the beginning of the restrictions our rulers gleefully anticipate. H.R. 127 says that possessing AR-15s, FN FALs, and many semiautomatic rifles with detachable magazines requires an additional “military-style weapons license” that, one suspects, the hoplophobic managerial class who have seized power may not be quick to grant.

There is also an outright ban on possessing “large capacity ammunition feeding devices,” defined as magazines that can accept more than 10 rounds. There appears to be no grandfather clause. The only exceptions are for law enforcement and manufacturing for law enforcement.

The Democrat elites who encouraged street commies and their inner-city allies to burn down businesses last year embrace law and order when convenient. H.R. 127 says that anyone who possesses guns or ammo without a license “shall be fined not less than $75,000 and not more than $150,000, imprisoned not less than 15 years and not more than 25 years, or both.”

Our ruling elites do not seem to realize that these proposals, along with their affection for cultural Marxism, erode their legitimacy. Matt Bracken is right. There are no guardrails remaining.

If these proposals, along with an end to the filibuster, are enacted, the regime’s legitimacy will diminish further. Our rulers may be astonished to wake up one day and learn that they are viewed as illegitimate. They may not understand that a legitimacy crisis can lead to a sovereignty crisis. Texas will not be alone.

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Modern Civilization is at Risk: Status Report

From my September 2015 Post: Modern Civilization as We Know It is at Risk I laid-out a scenario of events that could occur as financial markets crash, government deficits soar, inflation emerges, world economies shrink. 

The final crash(es) have not happened, but multiple small crises have erupted with increasing regularity and severity.  I layed-out those events in my recent post The Economy is Nearing Collapse, Part 1, Exploding Government Desperation, I said:

Part 1 is a recap recent events that show just how fragile our rapidly inflating financial bubbles have become. Events are happening more rapidly as instability rises. We're getting closer and closer to a crippling, perhaps "terminal" financial crisis -the likes of which the world has never seen before since it's bigger and encompasses all markets---even the currency markets and money itself. It clear that the number of govt interventions are going parabolic in both frequency and magnitude. These latter points are the focus of Part 1--our exponential road to ruin.
So far Central Banks and Governments have forestalled an explosion of the "Everything Bubble." The "mantra" now is inflate or die.  So, instead, we have inflating bubbles in stock, bond and credit prices due zero rates, exploding government spending, government interventions, forebearances, fudges and helicopter money give-aways to a large portion of the population.

But as huge, and more frequent, support efforts are now being made to avoid financial and economic calamity, government interest rates are creeping up with inflation however. Expect more QE to control rates. The final straw might be where the Central Bank loses control of interest rates and they rise anyway due to a loss of confidence in these securities. Rising rates may be the pin to burst the everything bubble.

Below is what I said 6 years ago in 2015 in my post Modern Civilization as We Know It is at RiskIt points out the reasons for government desperation-- which is complete collapse.  I wrote it 6 years ago and it may take another 6 years to fully play out:

"It's entirely possible that the next financial crisis,will cause such huge disruptions to the financial system that virtually everything falls apart.

Stock and corporate bond markets will crash, banks or institutions will fail, economies will all shrink at breath-taking rates. Money will be "wiped out." Rich people won't be spared this time. Everyone will become poor. The only "winners" will be those whose lose less. But everyone will lose.

This time, there's no country to ride to the rescue of the world economy as China did in 2009 and 2010. Why? Because even China already has high debt levels associated with financial crises. In fact, China may be the epicenter of the crisis.

Global trade and payment systems cease to function as banks become widely distrusted or known to be insolvent. Bail-ins of depositor money, like that used in Cyprus, are used to help pay for losses meaning that your money in banks is at risk. Bank runs will cause panic and queues at ATMs.

Governments and central banks won't be of much help either. Interest rates are already zero in most countries, but they could be manipulated by CBs to go negative as they did in Europe this year, but this will obviously show how desperate the situation has become. Quantitative easing, although proven to hurt more than help, will still be used to the nth degree to fund governments as tax revenues collapse. Easing is the only thing CBs know how to do!  This means that governments (central banks) will buy most or all of their own debt ad infinitum.

But because global supply chains may break down, all of this gov't spending combined with a reduced supply of goods portend a period of high or hyper-inflation. inflation or hyperinflation could lead to a final collapse.

It may be so bad that you and me may not survive. It's possible that the world will not be able to sustain even close to the current 7 billion population -- maybe only sustain 1 or 2 billion. Naturally Herculean efforts by governments will be made to avoid collapse.

What we might expect as "modern" civilization collapses:

  • Global "total stop" of international trade that is more persistent than the "sudden stop" of global trade experienced in 2008.   Not Yet.
  • Central banks, using money "printing," will try to force government interest rates to near-zero so as to continue gov't spending at hitherto unimagined levels in a desperate and unsuccessful effort to maintain final demand. But lower quality corporate debt interest rates will rise. Many companies will go out of business.Not Yet.
  • Long tax holidays in the US (Not Yet.)will lead to $3 to $4 Trillion annual deficits paid by Federal Reserve debt monetization (where the Federal Reserve buys all of the debt issued by the Treasury so they don't have to sell the debt to the public market).  
  • Global banks will mostly fail due to blow-ups in the $1,200 Trillion derivatives markets and it's knock-on effects. No financial system = nothing functions. How can there be world trade when banks don't trust one another? Remember 2008 when world trade halted?Not Yet.
  • Governments will nationalize banks and absorb enormous losses and assume debts. Not Yet. But eventually, even government creditworthiness will become suspect, first in the weakest or peripheral countries.
  • All major countries will "print" vast amounts of money to fund government functions and pay government personnel to fund deficit spending, to pay for widespread bailouts of banks, pensions and insurance entities and to provide income support to people.  However, since global supply chains are not functioning, there is little to buy and prices of available goods may rocket higher for a time.  (think Venezuela)
  • When the financial system fails, trade stops, stock markets drop 90% and then close entirely. Vast amounts of corporate debt then sovereign debts fail (weakest goes down first).  No one has jobs because no one can be paid. There is no trade because no one has money. There is no international trade because the international payment system fails.Not Yet.
  • Revolutions will occur first in many countries including Saudi Arabia, China, Indonesia, and Thailand. Islamic terrorism will expand. The mass migration of Muslims out of the Middle East will worsen and overwhelm Europe. The European Union will dissolve and nation-states are re-established. Then revolutions will overturn governments. The current unrest in Malaysia and Brazil will spread. 
  • Russia will try to seize Saudi Arabia and Kuwait to get the oil. They just mobilized into Syria. Of course, this will trigger war with the US. Nope, Not Yet.
  • Starvation will force a mass migration of Mexicans and Central Americans into the US. Since the US has no wall or will, the US will be invaded by impoverished masses. Finally, huge protests will cause the military to control the southern border. Vast throngs of N. Africans and Middle-easterners will "invade" Europe.Not Yet.
  • The US government will seize large portions of the economy including energy production, banks, utilities, pension plans, IRAs and bank balances.  Cash will be outlawed.  Only gold will be "money."Not Yet.
  • Government will likely employ totalitarian methods to "protect" citizens. (After all, governments cause huge problems, then step-in to further screw-up the situation! That's what they do!)  The Constitution will likely be suspended or ignored. The military may take over parts of the country. Virtually all remaining economic activity may become part of the government. Production and prices will be set by the Gov't. The same thing will likely happen in Canada, the UK and Australia. And this might be the best case scenario!! Not Yet.
  • Global population will shrink dramatically as starvation and disease kill 100s of millions or even billions of people in Asia and the rest of the world.Not Yet.
  • Eventually, out of the ashes of financial collapse, the world will establish currencies backed once again by gold and a long march toward recovery can begin from a MUCH lower level of economic activity.  It will be a time of starting over.Not Yet.

When market bubbles burst, much of the remaining predicted events may happen in short order. Remember, the Federal Reserve was unable to stop the stock market collapses in 2000 and 2008. (They however succeeded in March 2020 stopping a 30% COVID plunge in just a few weeks.)

Excess money tends to go "POOF" and to "money heaven." We could all be broke within weeks of market collapses.

What's Next For Dementia Joe -- Our First Crash-Test-Dummy Prez

Monday, March 22, 2021

Armstrong: The Big Media Traitors

From Martin Armstrong at Armstrong Economics:

Those in management at most of the mainstream media should be dragged from their offices and charged with conspiracy to overthrow the United States government and to eradicate the US. Constitution.

The Washington Post displays its motto “Democracy Dies in Darkness” and indeed they are at war against the United States just as Klaus Schwab and his World Economic Forum which is out to remove the United States as a superpower and transfer that status to the United Nations. Their reporting, along with CNN, New York Times, ABC, NBC, and CBS along with most others, are indeed conspiring to overthrow the United States and if they were put on trial using their own words, any unbiased jury would find them guilty.

The Supreme Court’s key decision in 1964 in New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, 376 U.S. 254 (1964), which has since protected many media outlets from lawsuits. It is time that it should be scrapped along with total immunity for vaccine companies. If you buy a car and you turn on the ignition and it blows up, is not the auto-manufacturer liable? In every other field, companies are responsible for the products they produce. Why is the media and vaccine companies have any immunity whatsoever? In that case, Supreme Court reversed a libel damages judgment against the New York Times. The decision established the important principle that the First Amendment guarantees freedom of speech and press may protect libelous words about a public official in order to foster vigorous debate about government and public affairs. To sustain a claim of defamation or libel, the First Amendment requires that the plaintiff show that the defendant knew that a statement was false or was reckless in deciding to publish the information without investigating whether it was accurate.

I believe that the deliberate bias in the media is historically the first step taken by any potential authoritarian or dictatorial regime is to gain control of communications, especially the delivery of news. The one-party control of the press and media in the United States and worldwide is a serious threat to a viable democracy and human rights. This is giving support for the unelected movement of Klaus Schwab and his World Economic Forum working with the United Nations to usurp control of the global environment without ever allowing the people to vote. The media is simply taken up the role of propaganda agent no different than Pravda during the communist days of Russia.

The First Amendment guarantees a free press to foster a vibrant trade in ideas. However, when the press is so biased, they are deliberately distorting the marketplace and the rights of the people. The media is advocating positions from unelected entities and denying any right to allow the people to vote. Hence the motto of the Washington Post “Democracy Dies in Darkness” is precisely their new objective--to kill Democracy. Since mainstream media has proven its eagerness to distort the news, it is profoundly unjustified in any legal foundation to provide any immunity whatsoever and they are deliberately engaging in treasonous conduct and should be hauled into court where ONLY a jury is allowed to decide the facts.

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Matt Bracken: The Left Has No Guardrails

From Navy Seal Matt Bracken at American Partisan on January 27, 2021:

America is entering a terrible period in its history at an accelerating pace, now that the Left has taken control of all the critical reins of power in the government, as well as the mainstream media, social media, big tech, Hollywood and academia. Unfortunately, history teaches with laser clarity that there are no guardrails restraining the behavior of the Left when it is so empowered.
Normative legacy Judeo-Christian values usually provide self correction against outrageous excesses from the Right. Even when conservatives have the power, they restrain themselves from, for example, committing full-on genocide. An example of this is seen in the late 19th Century, when it was completely within the power of the American government to implement a “final solution to the Red Indian problem,” but the government and the American people, then grounded in Judeo-Christian values, did not do so. (This is not to excuse the execrable and destructive Indian reservation system, but it was not genocide.) Likewise, America could have utterly destroyed Germany and Japan after 1945, but we did not do so. The harshly punitive Morgenthau Plan proposed by FDR’s socialist Secretary of the Treasury for post-war Germany came close in its intention, but it was not implemented.
By comparison, the secular atheist (and now frankly insane) American Left has no self-correction mechanism. (Examples of contemporary Leftist insanity: transsexuals welcomed into the military, biological boys ordered onto girls sports teams and in girls locker rooms, etc.) This Leftist insanity is anything but unprecedented. From the French Revolution, to the Paris Commune, the Bolshevik Revolution and through all the horrors of 20th Century Communism, the Left has proven that when it is unchecked, it will drive at full speed straight off the cliff of civilized norms of behavior into totalitarian systems of guillotines, Gulags, forced starvations, and killing fields.
In 2021, having figured out how to rig elections, and then ban any discussion of their election fraud, the American Left has taken full power. Conservatives are battling to preserve tiny free spaces that are being targeted and obliterated one by one. Even the former president of the United States has been silenced, and is about to be tried in a Senate impeachment kangaroo show trial. After the January 6 U.S. Capitol “Reichstag Riot,” Washington D.C. is left under de facto martial law and military occupation.
Today, U.S. military servicemen and women are being forced to take a new loyalty oath, swearing that they do not belong to any “extremist groups.” The definition of “extremist” will soon expand to cover any groups that are not explicitly “woke” and Leftist. Any resistance to this leftward lurch will be regarded as sedition, insurrection, and treason. The ending of the social safety valve of free speech will predictably result in violence, which will lead to more draconian crackdowns against the Right, and this societal death spiral will accelerate at dizzying speed.
The only three possible outcomes that I can see are:
1. The Left being stopped kinetically, as in Chile in 1973. This is not possible in 2021, because the military is fully cucked, “woke,” and tilting hard-Left. Battlefield warriors are being replaced by social justice warriors. Americans holding traditional conservative values are being intentionally driven out of the military. This is the true purpose of forcing the Left’s trans insanity into the military, transforming it into a hard-Left organization whose leaders and troops consider the Constitution and Bill of Rights to be obsolete parchments penned by white racist slave owners. Don’t look to the military to stop the current slide into Communism, they will be fully on board with it.
2. An eventual full-out Communist victory leading to a Stalinist “deep winter” end state like Cuba or North Korea. This is unlikely because A. the conservative Right is too well armed, and too well trained in military special operations to be defeated kinetically, and B. the federal government is too weak, with an American economic implosion looming as trillions of digital fiat dollars are created out of thin air. 
3. Economic implosion leading to a collapse of federal power, a breakdown in food and fuel distribution, leading to a civil war that will resemble Weimar Germany colliding with Former Yugoslavia and Rwanda at the same time. This new civil war, unprecedented in its horrors, might eventually lead to some type of pyrrhic conservative victory, but only on top of the ashes of the American constitutional republic, and at an enormous cost in lives lost and property destroyed.
My current vote is on #3, but the outcomes will vary greatly region by region. In any case, it’s very unlikely that we’ll still have all fifty states operating under our current constitution a decade from now. The best advice that I can give to anyone reading this is to move as far away as possible from Democrat-run cities, especially when these cities are located in Democrat-run states. There will be pain enough to go around, but it will be the worst in the suburban guerrilla warfare battlefields around our major urban centers after the food and fuel deliveries stop–and they will stop. History is crystal clear on this point.

When Trump Conservatives Became National Enemies

From Normal American on Jan 20, 2021

Dateline (UPI) — The White House announced today that the national purge of Trump supporters, the largest deprogramming effort in history, is nearing completion.

“This is our time to come together as one country,” a visibly moved President Harris said to cheering troops ordered to gather below the White House’s Truman Balcony. “We are nearing victory in this uncivil war that pitted red against blue. If President Biden were alive today, he would welcome this end to division. Tolerance can never tolerate intolerance.”

In a historic effort surpassing post-Civil War Reconstruction, Harris said, millions of domestic terrorists have been identified and remediated. Many have been outfitted with ankle bracelets and quarantined at home until successfully deradicalized though online reeducation and daily testing sessions overseen by Stacey Abrams. More extreme Trumpists have been relocated to temporary facilities established by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

“In the past year, we have done much work for the happiness of the people and for international peace,” Harris said, according to a transcript of her remarks. “I hope that in the coming year we will be able to accomplish even more.”

The U.S.’s political cleansing began with an executive order creating the Anti-Domestic Terrorist Task Force. Harris appointed as Task Force head James Comey, who presciently warned during the January 2021 inauguration that the GOP needs “to be burned down or changed.”

“The country needed to find a way to heal itself, and [President Harris] needed the opportunity to lead and heal us–both literally and spiritually,” Comey told NBC News.

It was John Brennan, the former CIA director, who personally persuaded Harris to turn America’s massive electronic surveillance apparatus inward. Eavesdropping technology and a Utah data center built to identify foreign enemies such as Al Qaeda was, in our time of national crisis, turned inward on domestic enemies. The National Security Agency moved in a “laser-like fashion to try to uncover as much as they can about” the pro-Trump insurgency that harbored “religious extremists, authoritarians, fascists, bigots, racists, nativists, even libertarians,” Brennan told MSNBC.

Under the leadership of Comey and Brennan, pro-Trump terroristic insurgents in the military were identified by analyzing their email, phone calls, web browsing, and social network posts. The FBI and the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command began cross-referencing those records with NRA and Gasden flags immediately after the January 6 insurrection.

“We regret the loss of life, but justice must be carried out against traitors to our Constitution,” Harris said at the time, referring to the firing squads. In an ironic twist, the Trump administration in November 2020 approved executions using “nitrogen hypoxia, electrocution, or firing squad.”

The most complete snapshot of America’s home-grown radicalism had emerged from records voluntarily provided by Google, Twitter, and Facebook. Search histories, social media “likes” and “retweets,” combined with direct messages and e-mails, amounted to a wealth of information. In addition, FBI agents had seized servers used by Gab, Parler, BitChute, Rumble, Minds, Telegram, and other platforms frequented by insurrectionists and Q conspiracy theorists.

At the start of this historic national deprogramming effort, law enforcement anticipated difficulty in identifying outwardly normal Americans allied with the nearly 80 million Trumpian terrorists. But within a few weeks, members of the Anti-Domestic Terrorist Task Force realized they had a different problem: They were drowning in data.

Silicon Valley came to the rescue. Led by a former top Facebook security official, and funded by an Israeli billionaire, a team of engineers devised a pioneering system that combined machine learning, pattern recognition, and predictive modeling to calculate domestic terrorist scores for every American. Later upgrades added a racial justice sensitivity score, with stiff penalties for anyone whose ratings fell below a race-adjusted threshold.

Not all domestic terrorists complied with lawful detoxification orders authorizing sequestration in FEMA camps, despite the Supreme Court upholding it as constitutional. During this time of national emergency, the court also agreed with President Harris' assault weapons ban and her executive order prohibiting public trials due to security concerns of judges and prosecutors.

History will record that the first drone operator to bring justice to a terrorist cell was a blind disabled transgender minority with extremely complicated pronouns, multiple learning disabilities, and a bad stutter. As the ACLU later said about the famous Mar-a-Lago military campaign, the extraordinarily diverse drone strike represented a welcome first step in dismantling “deep-seated system racism and inequities that are still woven into the fabric of our institutions today.”

Domestic enemy “journalists” posing as conservatives were not immune from criminal charges for their role in encouraging domestic terrorism. The FCC shut down terrorist-sympathizing cable news outlets including Fox News, One America News, and Newsmax TV, a move initially proposed by the far-sighted Washington Post columnist Max Boot. “Journalists” who waited too long to denounce Trump found themselves criminally liable.

“This is a triumph of diversity over domestic terrorism,” Harris said. “All that remains is to pacify Texas, Oklahoma, New Hampshire, Maine, upstate New York, Florida, the Rust Belt, the South, the Midwest, the Southwest, Alaska, the Sierras, Guam, the Dakotas, and the intermountain West. Then our period of national healing and reconciliation will be complete.”

Friday, March 19, 2021

PCR: A Brainwashed West is No Longer a Home to Freedom

From Paul Craig Roberts "I Have Outlived My Country"

"I was born in the spring of 1939....

I grew up in halcyon days. In those days a person did not have to be brilliant or have ruling class connections in order to succeed.  This fact seperated America from the rest of the world in popular opinion. Americans lived in a land of opportunity. And it was true, not make believe. 

In Atlanta, Georgia, 5-year olds could walk alone or with neighborhood classmates a mile to school and a mile to home without being molested or kidnapped.  Boys could have fights on the playground without being arrested. Parents together with teachers dealt with problems, which were few. Teachers were outstanding.  There was no such thing as education degrees. Teachers had degrees in English or other languages, mathematics, chemistry, physics, history. They were people who loved their subjects and conveyed that to students.  

Misbehavior, which was rare, was dealt with a note home that had to be signed by a parent and returned the next day.  The last thing any of us wanted was a note home. There was no CPS we could call to complain of being punished for our misdeeds.

We got along well with black Americans.  They were part of even lower middle class white households. In those days labor saving machines were unknown.  Clothes were washed by hand and hung on clothes lines to dry. Meals were cooked from scratch with real ingredients. If mother was not present, Carrie was the boss, not us “white privileged.”  Carrie dined with us at the table, and if Carrie encountered a financial problem she couldn’t handle, my parents and her other day employers would pool our scant resources to help her. 

I grew up in Atlanta, Georgia, with no fear or hatred of black Americans.  This is no longer the case in Atlanta.  Many white Atlantans are fleeing the city.

It is not only the relations between the races that have deteriorated.  Everything has.  America today bears no relationship to the American world that I grew up in.  Of course, today the reply will be that I grew up in “white privilege.” But actually, I grew up in a community in which people and genders had different roles, and a person was judged by performance.  Performance included moral behavior.  If you were a moral person who did a good job and your word was true, you were respected.  Period.

Today if you aren’t a “woke” person who objects to gender pronouns and you don’t believe that the white working class are “systemic racists,” you are deplatformed and cancelled. White people are now demonized by other white people, and the demonized are not permitted to object. Any “person of color” can destroy any boss, fellow employee, university professor or dean by claiming to be “offended.”

In America today there are very few free people.  Only those not dependent on employment and media approval are free.  Even the few free Americans are in jeopardy as the expession of dissent is being defined by the Biden regime as domestic terrorism.

The media speaks with one voice, and the voice is one of denunciation of all who challenge the ruling narratives.  In America today media protect the mistakes and avariciousness of medical bureaucrats allied with Big Pharma, and the media shield Establishment narratives from scientific experts who are silenced by being denied a forum. Consequently, the pubic is informed only by self-serving propaganda that enriches material interests and increases government power over citizens.

The consequences are varied and disastrous.  With Covid there have been needless lockdowns that have destroyed businesses and individuals.  In foreign policy antagonisms have been created that could lead to disastrous wars with Iran, China, and Russia.  The focus of the Biden regime on defining Trump supporters, all 90 million American voters, as domestic terrorists implies a civil war. 

What I find most discouraging about America is that after all the proven deceptions Americans  have endured—the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the assassination of Robert Kennedy, the assassination of Martin Luther King, the assassination of foreign leaders who refused to toe Washington’ line, the Vietnam War, 9/11, Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass deception, Assays’s use of chemical weapons, Iranian nukes, Russiagate, Russian invasion of Ukraine, the 2020 election, Trump insurrection at the Capitol—the list goes on forever—Americans continue to sit in front of CNN and the rest,  listen to NPR, and read the New York Times or Washington Post and, thereby,  continue to accommodate the ruling Establishment by consenting to being brainwashed. A people this insouciant has no possbility of survival.

A bainwashed America, a brainwashed Western World, are not homes for freedom."

Thursday, March 18, 2021

The Hydrogen "Economy"-- Un-Economical, Even Comical

Just a few points of fact for the discussion below:  

  1. Fuels are all about generating heating energy and converting that energy for mechanical work. Natural gas has a heating value of about 980 btu/ft3, hydrogen has a very LOW heating value of 290 btu/ft3  or about 1/3rd the value of nat. gas.
  2. Fossil fuels like gasoline and diesel (and coal) have really enormous heating values--much higher than natural gas for instance. Coal is right up there as well.  Nothing can compare the energy density of fossil fuels. That's why they fueled the rapid rise of civilization in the past 150 years.
  3. Hydrogen is generated by steam reforming of natural gas in crude oil refineries. Refiners use the hydrogen to bubble through crude and diesel products because the hydrogen reacts with sulfur in those fuels. This is done to comply with governement regulations on these fuels.  
  4. Steam reforming of natural gas also makes hydrogen, but it also makes some Carbon Monoxide and Carbon Dioxide for each volume of Hydrogen. The carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide are VENTED to the atmosphere, so 0it's anything BUT "green."  
  5. Hydrogen can also be made by using DC current to electrolyze water. But it takes a vast amount of electrical energy to break the H2O bonds. Hydrogen bubbles up from one electrode, Oxygen from the other.  The collected hydrogen, dangerously explosive, must be compressed and stored.  There is basically ZERO infrastructure for the manufacture, storage or transportation of hydrogen.  (On the other hand, there are 100's of thousands of miles of high pressure natural gas pipelines across our country.)
  6. Hydrogen production by electrolysis is only 75% efficient.

Ok, first,  if you've already generated electricity by burning fossil fuels (some 70%+ is generated that way depending on ur location), and you distributed that power on the grid, why would you then use that power to electrolyse water to create hydrogen??  You'd only be converting perfectly good electrical energy just to store it as hydrogen. And that's quite expensive: the cost of electricity, the facilities, the energy, the inefficiencies (only 75% efficient) and the cost to compress that gas. And hydrogen has no distribution infrastructure.  (Whereas, Electricity and Natural gas have truly ENORMOUS distribution networks- discussed below).  Also storing and using hydrogen is risky because, even though it has a low heating value, it's extremely explosive.

William Hoagland, senior project coordinator at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory's hydrogen program, told Time Magazine, ".....why would anyone invest in additional equipment to make hydrogen rather than simply putting the electricity on the grid."

If you're making hydrogen from steam reforming under extreme conditions of heat and pressure, it's very expensive to make, ie., costly.  But cost is not a problem for refineries because they use relatively small amounts of H2 to de-sulfurize their products, so it's just a cost of business. If you don't desulfurize, then you have no product--it has to be done.

The only reason that we're even discussing Hydrogen fuels at all is because of the ENORMOUS hype about it's possible use in auto engines  BUT, hydrogen has 1/3rd the heating value of natural gas and is VERY expensive on a BTU basis even before distribution (which doesn't even exist). You would probably need a special engine to burn hydrogen as a fuel because it's so low in heating value and so explosive (problem with early detonation in the cylinders?). I don't think that it's possible.  Maybe someone could comment on that for me?

Fuel Cell Hype

So people are left to get all excited about using hydrogen in fuel cells in automobiles---using expensive hydrogen gas to convert it to electricity IN THE CAR using a fuel cell. There's enormous HYPE about fuel cells!.  

Yes, it could be done, but think about the roundabout way to get there: 1) you generate electricity using mostly fossil fuels, 2) you distribute electricity on existing grids, 3) you convert AC power to DC power to electrolyze water to make Hydrogen, 4) you must compress the Hydrogen for storage, 5) then you must build an entirely new distribution network to get it to consumers, 6) then consumers have to buy a ridiculously expensive fuel cell/electric AUTOMOBILE, 7) then they have to buy a ridiculously expensive fuel (Hydrogen) whose distribution network doesn't exist.   If this isn't the definition of insanity, I don't know what is.  

The fuel cell process of converting hydrogen back to electricity is only 60% efficient,  Or, to put it another way, for every kW of electricity supply, you get 800W for a Battery Electric Vehicle, but only 380W for an Fuel Cell Vehicle – less than half as much. That doesn’t even take into account the fact that 90% of hydrogen is currently generated from fossil fuel sources.

Why not just buy a battery powered electric car and use cheap electricity that is already available and widely distributed----and skip all those other steps and processes????  But even electric battery cars are at least twice the cost of gasoline (or natural gas) fueled cars.

You'd be better off converting your car to CNG (compressed natural gas).  Now THAT is a very viable approach especially in the US. Most developed countries have widely distributed natural gas supplies. Natural gas in the US are among the cheapest fuels IN THE WORLD.  It's also cheap in Thailand. Thailand uses compressed natural gas widely for vehicle fuels in Bangkok for instance.  It's a very cheap fuel there and most cars can be easily equipped to use natural gas without major modifications (they have to add a Nat.Gas tank in the trunk). 

Hydrogen is Dangerous

Recently, a chemical plant producing hydrogen in Santa Clara exploded, leaving fuel cell vehicle users in California short of fuel, but just a few days later a refuelling station in Sandvika, Norway also went up in flames. This really brought home the truth that hydrogen can be a dangerously explosive gas..Car fuel tanks are now Kevlar-lined to protect against explosions!!  Not exactly a confidence-inspiring tale here.

In summary, hydrogen has specialty use only in refineries and chemical plants, AND NOWHERE ELSE in any kind of economic terms. 

Monday, March 15, 2021

Sunday Sermon March 14: “Alive Together with Christ”

Scripture Lesson: Ephesians 2:1-10 
The Fourth Sunday in Lent: March 14, 2021

Pastor Mark Wiesenborn
St. Matthew Lutheran Church, Houston, Texas

Grace, mercy, and peace be to you from God, our almighty Father, and from our beloved Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Dear friends in Christ, I have come to the inescapable conclusion that in some mysterious way (and to varying degrees) people must be SOLAR-powered. As someone with only a Bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering, I will readily admit the absence of scientific research and substantiated proof. But let’s at least consider some of the “empirical” evidence: 

  • First of all, there is an obvious correlation between the beginning of Daylight Saving Time every year and a large percentage of the population feeling rundown and lethargic. One Friday you are greeted by the sunrise as you head off to work and school, and the following Monday you begin the day in darkness. (By the way, people created this problem and could easily undo it.)
  • But second, and over a longer period of time, the combination of short Winter days and overcast, gloomy weather seems to drain us ALL not only physically and emotionally, but sometimes also even spiritually. And thus, there is credible evidence as Spring arrives that people must be solar-powered. For several days last week clouds all across Texas parted, and from that bright blue sky we felt the warmth of the sun beaming down upon us! And I am pretty sure that after the severe winter weather we experienced last month, every person and family that has been cooped up waiting for Spring Break quickly headed outside to recharge their batteries. (What are your plans for this coming week?)

Of course, people are NOT actually solar-powered. But speaking now as someone with a Master’s of Divinity Degree, I certainly do believe that in some mysterious way (and to varying degrees) people receive strength, comfort, peace, and hope from the SON of God. Drawing near to the light of Christ’s Word and the Sacraments of his Church “re-energizes us” with these things. This is what refreshes and renews us for going out into the world – because the pain and suffering we encounter, and the stresses and frustrations that engage us, sometimes drain away the very last of our energy reserves. Sin is a universal problem; but thanks be to God, Jesus has come into the world to help us, defend us, and save us.

The Apostle Paul understood clearly how and why this had happened for the Ephesians. In his letter to their church, he rejoices in what the Lord God has done in their lives by his amazing grace. He knows that they always had physical life, but they were not always spiritually alive. Paul reminds them and us that we were by nature dead in our transgressions and sins. But just what does that mean?

It means that we were born without faith in Jesus. We were born spiritually dead, that is, with no spiritual life in us at all. We didn’t know God; we didn’t love God. In fact, we hated God, we despised him as our enemy, and we wanted nothing to do with him. Spiritual corpses – that’s what we were. To make matters worse, we could do nothing for ourselves in order to change our hopeless condition. No self-help rescue tools could pull us out of our spiritual caskets. Hopeless! Helpless! Lost! And condemned to hell! Paul writes:

“You were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience – among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.” [Ephesians 2:1-3]

Part of the problem is that many times in life we forget (or want to forget) that we have no spiritual GOOD before God. We struggle to consider that apart from faith in Jesus Christ, our caring friends and nice neighbors and helpful co-workers might have no spiritual good before God. That seems harsh, unkind and unloving. And yet it is TRUE about our neighbor just as much as it is TRUE about you and me that without faith in Christ we have no spiritual good. As we hear it declared in Hebrews: “Without faith it is impossible to please God.” [Hebrews 11:6]

Why are you here at St. Matthew Lutheran Church on this particular morning? You might say because you planned it, or because you always come, or because you are visiting with a friend. Maybe you are (or a family member is) a patient at the nearby Texas Medical Center, undergoing difficult tests and treatments. It is no accident that God’s Holy Spirit invades the spiritual wilderness of our hearts when we become impatient with our almighty Lord and King’s guiding; when we grumble against our Good Shepherd’s protection and provision; when we are filled with bitter anguish, and given over to self-centered thoughts, words, and deeds. Jesus is speaking to you and to me when he says, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” [John 8:12]

Your desire to do the LORD’s will is a credit to God alone, who in his great mercy invades the spiritual wilderness of our hearts NOT by sending fiery serpents that pursue us, in order to bite, poison, and kill us – that terrifying scenario in Numbers 21:6-8 – but instead with his amazing grace, in lifting up Christ Jesus. Look to him on the cross, believe in him, and have eternal life! [John 3:14-15] God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. This is the very Good News that has given you meaning and purpose as a child of God, with a future inheritance in heaven!

“God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ– by grace you have been saved – and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” [Ephesians 2:3-9]

God did the impossible. He breathed spiritual life into our spiritually dead bodies. “[God] made us alive together with Christ even when we were dead in our trespasses.” What an incredible and undeserved miracle that is! God uses the power of his Word to work this miracle. For most of us, it was the Word connected with the waters of Holy Baptism (as we celebrated last Sunday with the precious twins Evangeline and Sebastian). Or for others it may have been the same Word shared with you later in life. In either case God performed a miracle!

Why did he choose you? Why did he choose any of us? He chose us not because of anything good within us, but only because of God’s grace. As Paul declares, “For by grace you have been saved through faith.” Grace, pure grace, is the undeserved love of God for guilty sinners like us. Praise God that you, once dead in your sins, are a walking miracle, and you are now alive in Christ Jesus.

A well-laden dinner table is a symbol of the abundant grace God offers in His kingdom. Such a festive display reminds us of the abundance of the present and eternal gifts of forgiveness, joyful life, and salvation in Jesus Christ. Our Lord says, “The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son.” The invitation did not only say, “Come to the wedding banquet,” but also made reference to the sumptuously prepared dinner, “My oxen and fattened cattle have been butchered, and everything is ready.” [Matthew 22:4] God prepares a feast for us whenever and wherever the means of grace, his Word and Sacraments, are dispensed. This generally occurs in the church, supplied as it is with pulpit and lectern, baptismal font, and the Lord’s Table. Faith comes to all of us wherever two or more are gathered in Christ’s name, through hearing the Holy Scriptures taught and preached, and by pastors administering the sacraments. Faith is created in Holy Baptism, and confirmed and strengthened in Holy Communion – and thus the Holy Spirit fills us with saving faith in Jesus Christ.

This is how the Lord states His invitation:

▪ “Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost.” [Isaiah 55:1]

▪ In Matthew’s Gospel we are reminded of Jesus’ words of invitation: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” [Matthew 11:28-29]

▪ John writes in the last book of the Bible: “The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ And let him who hears say, ‘Come!’ Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.” [Revelation 22:17]

The Spirit extends the invitation and also transforms our heartsto accept it. It’s that simple. But sometimes we fail to see the importance of the daily life relationships in our families, schools and work places, and congregation. Through amazing acts of grace, God’s Holy Spirit daily and richly invades the spiritual wilderness of our hearts and brings life for a particular purpose. That purpose is so you and I might live our lives freely sharing the love of Christ with others who are also travelling through this wilderness, to the praise and glory of God!

These ten verses of Ephesians are so powerful for us in all our moments, days, months and years as the children of God. We are saved by grace through faith alone. It is a free gift from God, given generously. From time to time a person looking at the Bible as a way to earn their salvation might wonder where GRACE was in the Bible he or she grew up with as a child and young adult. They cannot believe that salvation is a gift of God. They had previously been convinced that we have to earn our salvation by works. But what works are good in the eyes of a perfect God? And how many of our works could ever be enough to satisfy him?

Beloved in the Lord, we have every reason to be certain of God’s loveand the purpose of our life in this world. We have every reason to be certain of God’s love no matter what house we live in, or if we live in a house at all. We can be certain of God’s love whether we have a job outside in God’s creation, or in an office, or work from home. We can praise God by what we do according to his will. Whatever we do as children of God according to his will out of love for Christ we do to praise him as our Father in heaven. Paul writes in the concluding verse of today’s Epistle:

“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”

What we look at as problems in life – like taking care of a sick relative, or tolerating a mean boss, or loving and honoring and cherishing a difficult spouse – God calls these opportunities to show our faith and trust and confidence in Him as our Savior by responding in love, joy, peace, and patience; exercising kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

Let’s return to the question about whether some people are SOLAR-powered– more specifically, those people whose hearts and lives belong to God’s SON, Jesus Christ. John writes about this radiance and beauty in the last verses of our Gospel:

“And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their deeds were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his deeds have been carried out in God.”

[John 3:19-21]

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.