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Countdown to $200 oil meets Anglo Disease

by Jerome a Paris Sat Jun 7th, 2008 at 08:41:53 AM EST

One of the more interesting things about yesterday's economic news was the very obvious connection between the unemployment number and oil prices. What links the two is debt, the defining feature of what I have called the Anglo Disease, ie the highly unequal economy whereby the rich and the financial sector (almost the same thing these days) capture most of the income but hide it by providing cheap debt to the middle classes so that they can continue to spend.

Oil has played a fascinating side role in my Anglo Disease series, allowing the debt bubble to go on for much longer than expected. But now, instead, it is accelerating the crash. Let me take you through the whole cycle.

Anglo Disease diaries
Countdown to $200 oil diaries


A good summary of what the Anglo Disease is about can be found in this diary, written up as an Op-Ed text, but let me take you through the concept again:

  • the name mirrors that of the "Dutch disease", which was coined to describe the impact of the rapid development of the oil&gas sector in the Netherlands on therest of the economy: the high profitability of the new sector captured a high share of investment, thus weakening other parts of the economy, which were partly neglected; in addition, the fact that it created a large boost to exports pushed the currency up, thus further making other industrial activities uncompetitive in what was a largely export-oriented economy. The "Dutch disease" describes that shrivelling of the rest of the economy as money flowed to oil&gas producers.
  • in today's economy, the cannibalistic sector is not oil&gas, but finance. Bankers, through debt, have the ability to convert future cash-flows into immediate profits. Such immediate returns attract more capital, talent and resources (which cannot go to other sectors) and impose an iron discipline on the rest of the economy: those that provide the debt want to ensure that the future cash-flows will indeed materialize, and move in to ensure a relentless focus, in the underlying activities, on profitability at the expense of all other criteria. The immediate contribution of the financial world to measured GDP and growth makes it a popular industry, thus reinforcing its influence - and spreading out its way of thinking, focused on monetary gains and financial "efficiency." So not only the rest of the economy gets squeezed for any extra drop of profitability, but the language of financial analysts becomes the dominant one of not only economic discourse but also political discourse;
  • one of the more attractive features of the financial world, for its promoters, is its ability to concentrate huge fortunes in a small number of hands, and promote this as a good thing (these people are said to be creating wealth, rather than capturing it). Making money, lots of it, is the ultimate arbiter of not just success, but also morality;
  • of course, the reality is that such wealth concentration is created by squeezing the rest, as is obvious in the stagnation of incomes for most in the middle and lower rungs of society. This is not so much wealth creation as wealth redistribution, from the many to the few. But what has made this unequality (the fundamental feature of the Anglo Disease) tolerable is that the financial world itself was able to provide a convenient smokescreen, in the form of cheap debt, provided in abundance to all. The wealthy used it to grab real assets in funny money, and the rest were kindly allowed to keep on spending by tapping their future income rather than their insufficient current one;
  • in a nutshell, the debt bubble hid the class warfare waged by the rich against everybody else, conveniently trapping those that could not or would not live within their means in the system, by making their livelihood increasingly dependent on not rocking the boat.
  • but the debt bubble was (duh) a debt bubble, and it is now bursting, as it inevitably would. What matters is how the pain is shared, and, right now, it does not look as it will be shared the same way the loot was on the way up. The whole cycle was just a way to permanently transfer wealth from the many to the few. It was wilfully created by the combination of ultra low interest rates as set by the Fed (thus my moniker of "Bubbles" Greenspan), tax cuts for the rich (Bush's helpful but hardly invisible hand) and the permanent propaganda for liberalisation, deregulation, "reform" and "freedom."
The outside world had a role in this bubble, because part of the squeeze on the working classes was made possible by the threat of outsourcing and offshorisation to China, India et al (which kept wages in check and workers tame), and a lot of the bubble was in turn funded by the surplus cash generated by these countries through their exports and their policies to keep their currencies weak (to maintain their price competitivity), which had them accumulate huge amounts of dollars which they then lent back to the US via the purchase of Treasurys.

This is where oil shows up for the first time in the story: the growing demand from China, India et al. started pushing prices up as this happened at a time when supply was suddenly become tighter.

Paradoxically, the oil price increases provided an additional boost to the debt bubble: while they started biting into consumer spending, they also generated a new round of cheap liquidity, as oil producing countries suddenly found themselves with huge amounts of money, in dollars, which they could not, or chose not to, spend right away - presto, these were invested into Treasurys, ie loaned to the US. This provided the liquidity to finance consumer spending in the US (including for gas) and kept the interest rates on long term debt very low (demand for bonds pushes the price for bonds up, and thus brings the yield, is the interest rate, down). This happened at a time when the Fed had finally decided to increase its short term rates as it could no longer justify the extravagantly low rates of 2001-2004 and created what Greenspan called his "conundrum" - that apparent disconnect between short term and long term interest rates. It was just the bubble going on afterburner, thanks to oil prices.

Effectively, the liquidity created by high oil prices hid for two years the fact that the bubble was bursting.

But now, everything is aligned - in the wrong direction:

  • the debt bubble is bursting, as long announced by observers not blinded by greed or ideology, with all the expected pain: the real estate crash, the banking crisis, the foreclosures, and the coming inevitable recession;
  • the income capture mechanisms set up during the bubble have not been reversed, so the pain is falling disproportionately on the poorest, and the finance world (ie the rich) is being bailed out. The rescue of Bear Stearns may have inflicted pain on shareholders, but it saved bondholders, which is unprecedented and ominous. Public discourse is still largely about "reform", tax cuts and "letting the market" solve things;
  • and oil prices are still going up, and are biting increasingly hard into people's incomes. They are going up because of global trends (oil production from friendly regions are inconveniently declining now, after a couple of decades temporarily hiding the reality of global scarcity; the countries that piggybacked on the US debt-fuelled growth have prospered and are consuming more, oil producing countries are booming and using more oil themselves, and their growing prosperity makes them more assertive and less willing to listen to Western pleas to produce more and/or to let oil majors have access to their resources: thus, for a combination of political and geological reasons, oil supply is stagnant), and our own economic woes will not be enough to bring them down: they will thus worsen the economic outlook here;
  • an additional factor that comes in is that an alternative to the dollar exists: the euro. For the first time, the rest of the world has the possibility to store value elsewhere than in dollar-denominated instruments. The debt bubble was largely a dollar phenomenon, and the easiest way to deflate it is to lower the value of the dollar. Gold played that role in the past, but it's not that convenient a tool; now the euro is the perfect outlet to express skepticism about the value of the dollar. As this makes investors less keen to hold dollars able to actually do something about it, it WILL drive interest rates up in the US, after many years of flows the other way round keeping them down.
Yesterday was a perfect demonstration of these links. Beyond the bellicose words against Iran coming from Israel, what drove the markets yesterday was the announcement that the unemployment rate had gone up a lot more than was expected (to 5.5% instead of the 5.1% predicted by analysts). That announcement, in turn, made the markets brutally change their expectations about future Fed rate changes. They had been expecting increases in the coming months, to fight inflation, but increases are impossible, politically, at a time when unemplyment is going up rapidly. The expectation of lower short term rates in turn drove the dollar down (especially as this came the day after the European Central Bank said that it would increase rates itself this summer). The flight away from the dollar then pushed commodities up, and in particular oil. As speculators had been betting on oil prices going down, they were wrongfooted and had to abandon their positions brutally to avoid further losses, thus magnifying the price increase (an aside here: speculators were betting on oil going down not up).

So there you have it: wage stagnation (Anglo Disease) and oil production stagnation (the fundamental driver of the Countdown diaries) combining in a perfect storm. But hey, the financiers are still sitting pretty, and will say that more "reform" and "deregulation" and tax cuts are needed.

Maybe it's time to stop listening to what is highly self-interested drivel, and take back what they grabbed: it's not theirs. And maybe it's time to actually worry about using lots less oil (and gas and coal).

And, wonderfully, a programme to invest in housing and vehicle energy efficiency, renewable energy, and infrastructure, paid for by massive tax hikes on the rich, will help solve the current recession and the oil crisis.

Display:
http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2008/6/7/7755/26112/356/531537

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sat Jun 7th, 2008 at 09:05:05 AM EST
Have narrative, will travel.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Jun 7th, 2008 at 09:19:03 AM EST
Very astutely structured and drafted analysis.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin
by Crazy Horse on Sat Jun 7th, 2008 at 09:43:20 AM EST
The expectation of lower short term rates in turn drove the dollar down (especially as this came the day after the European Central Bank said that it would increase rates itself this summer).

Could you (1) explain what Kassel could possibly mean in the following, (2) comment on it?

Bloomberg.com: Currencies

``The ECB has made a monumental error in their attempt to contain inflation,'' said Matthew Kassel, director of proprietary trading at ING Financial Markets LLC in New York. ``While this is a big buy-the-euro story now, it won't take long for this to reverse.''

To me, this comment makes no fucking sense.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sat Jun 7th, 2008 at 09:45:53 AM EST
gives no arguments (at least the article provides none) so it's hard to know what his reasoning is.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sat Jun 7th, 2008 at 11:24:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Bloomberg articles are usually the worst examples of applying the pyramide structure dogma; in this case, that means the context gives no help in making sense of this too short quote.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Jun 7th, 2008 at 11:39:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As speculators had been betting on oil prices going down, they were wrongfooted and had to abandon their positions brutally to avoid further losses, thus magnifying the price increase (an aside here: speculators were betting on oil going down not up).

Case in point:

Bloomberg.com: News

``It looks as if the market is beginning to recognize the extent to which demand has been weakened by high prices,'' said Tim Evans, an energy analyst for Citi Futures Perspective in New York. ``The bloom is off the bull.''

[...]

Prices surged late yesterday, after the survey responses were collected [...]

The oil survey has correctly predicted the direction of futures 49 percent of the time since its start in April 2004.

This is worse than hilarious. They are beginning to look worse than throwing a dice.

Just for measure, the only time the analysts predicted a rise in prices in the last 22 weeks, two weeks ago, the price declined...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sat Jun 7th, 2008 at 09:56:31 AM EST
Oh, and yesterday we got past €88/barrel (and thus, in even more civilised units, €0.55/l), so we may yet reach €100 oil before the $200 one.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sat Jun 7th, 2008 at 10:08:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
H'mmmm.

Potential for an oil-in-$ to oil-in-€ arbitrage?

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Sat Jun 7th, 2008 at 01:40:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The question is: will China spend a good part of its dollars reserves to keep the home price for petrol low or will it do like India, which just increase the subsidized price by 10% and Malaya which upped it by a whopping 40%. That would automatically put the brakes on Asian oil consumption and stop the price rises
by pampero on Sat Jun 7th, 2008 at 01:47:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, I am not certain that putting the brakes on consumption is enough to stop the price rises - they may only slow down the price rises.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Jun 7th, 2008 at 02:22:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]

They are beginning to look worse than throwing a dice.

Perhaps they are using special dice, ones with the same number on several sides.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Jun 7th, 2008 at 11:09:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As speculators had been betting on oil prices going down, they were wrongfooted and had to abandon their positions brutally to avoid further losses, thus magnifying the price increase (an aside here: speculators were betting on oil going down not up).

Every time I hear one of those soundbites about how the price of oil "is back down" after recent "price spikes," I instantly get a mental picture of a cartoon dogcatcher with a piece of raw meat in one hand and one of those nooses on a pole in the other.

We all bleed the same color.

by budr on Sat Jun 7th, 2008 at 10:25:21 AM EST
Thank you for this masterful synthesis.  It is about time you introduced the pair.  Let us hope for fruitful issue.  I particularly like the conclusions:


Maybe it's time to stop listening to what is highly self-interested drivel, and take back what they grabbed: it's not theirs. And maybe it's time to actually worry about using lots less oil (and gas and coal).

And, wonderfully, a programme to invest in housing and vehicle energy efficiency, renewable energy, and infrastructure, paid for by massive tax hikes on the rich, will help solve the current recession and the oil crisis.

Sounds like a coherent policy plan to me.  The USA is in the greatest need of such a policy.  I think the most likely scenario for implementation would be to lay some groundwork during the campaign while maintain a discrete silence on the full nature of the program and hoping for much larger majorities in Congress that, combined with increasing economic pain provide the scope for implementation.  That is what I hope.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Jun 7th, 2008 at 11:24:07 AM EST
I assume your tutorial format was aimed at the Dkos audience, it seems to have worked well. The comments show that there is a segment who would like to see discussions of issues beside electoral personalities.

Unfortunately the mechanics of the site don't allow for sub audiences to form within the overall structure. This is Markos' fault, I don't know if he keeps his FIFO structure out of design or laziness. HuffingtonPost and the TPM empire have both figured out ways to be more magazine like. Both of them are run by experienced media people and it shows. Markos has gotten thrown into the deep end without adequate experience or a development team.

As for your main point, I'm afraid that things are going to get worse. There are two fundamental problems. The first is that the world leaders don't know how to deal with global resource shortages. They have no prior experience and lack the imagination to come up with new economic models. We have had a couple of discussion on this over the past few days, and I've seen more thoughtful comments then I've seen from anyone in a position of authority in either the US or the EU.

The second problem is that the infrastructure doesn't easily adapt to the scope of change needed. Let's take a trivial example - bottled water. If tomorrow there was some sort of international directive issued that prohibited the use of bottle water in any part of the world where potable water was available the trade would collapse. What would be the most visible result - thousands of people thrown out of work or seeing their incomes decline because they worked in the water distribution industry. The outrage over the lost jobs would be terrific.

Now try to extend this to something more central, like food distribution, or commuting to work. Any steps to change the dependency on liquid fuel will take decades to implement, assuming we have technological solutions. In my estimation the US has already decided how it will handle resource constraints. The one area that hasn't been spared is the development of the military means of international intimidation. The goal is to turn most of the world into a resource supplier. This explains the continuing rise in military spending, the existing plans for dealing with China and Russia militarily and the development of space-based weaponry.

I wonder how Europe will respond when they find that they are going to be tossed overboard along with Africa and Asia?

The American people implicitly support this agenda which is why there is never any discussion about diverting military spending to more productive uses. It worked for Rome for a few hundred years and the US has only had one century of domination. I see no good solutions.

 

Policies not Politics
---- Daily Landscape

by rdf (robert.feinman@gmail.com) on Sat Jun 7th, 2008 at 11:37:33 AM EST
except that I'm not sure how the US can 'toss overboard' Europe in any meaningful way.

Even if you start looking into war footing situation, I fail to see how the USA could deny Europe the oil and gas flows it gets right now, as these mainly come from Russia, North Africa or the Middle East via inland routes that the US will be hard pressed to control in a situation of hot conflict against Europe and Russian and the locals...

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sat Jun 7th, 2008 at 12:13:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Assume that the fuel suppliers to Europe decide not to keep supplying it. Perhaps they decide they need it for internal development, or they get a better offer from China, or the US intimidates them into keeping it in the ground until the US uses up its traditional sources of supply.

What recourse does Europe have? Is it going to be able to apply a credible military threat to the reluctant suppliers? The US not only has the means to do this, but now has an international reputation for an unhinged foreign policy which makes such threats seem possible.

I know all this is far fetched, but remember starving people don't behave rationally.

Policies not Politics
---- Daily Landscape

by rdf (robert.feinman@gmail.com) on Sat Jun 7th, 2008 at 12:22:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Europe's suppliers are Russia and North Africa and, to a lesser extent, the Middle East. Europe is absolutely willing to pay full market price for oil&gas (more than anyone else and, thanks to taxes and to a balanced trade situation, more than the US), so the only way to prevent that is for the US to deny it by force. Somehow, I don't see US ships in the Meditaranean or the Baltic sea - nor US troops in the Middle East if the Europeans really don't want them there.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sat Jun 7th, 2008 at 03:22:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Wait a second, are we contemplating a war between the US and the EU, here?

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Jun 7th, 2008 at 03:24:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sat Jun 7th, 2008 at 03:36:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
All I'm saying is that the US cannot prevail in such a war, thus EU imports of oil from their current sources are safe from the US.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sat Jun 7th, 2008 at 03:37:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The US could get into the Mediterranean through Suez even if the EU tried to block the Straits of Gibraltar. For that matter, they could use Morocco as a proxy to keep Spain busy and keep Gibraltar open.

They could also put a fleet in the Mediterranean before the start of "hostilities" and use Israel as a base.

It would be interesting to see which side Turkey and Britain would take if NATO were to fall apart into two opposing factions. Which brings Malta and Cyprus (both former UK protectorates) into the picture as well.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Jun 7th, 2008 at 05:51:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Mining Suez, Gibraltar, and the Baltic inlets is a piece of cake and the US Navy has practically no mine clearing ability. At least they didn't have it a few years ago. I don't think you want to take very big chances running the gauntlet in mined waters with carriers crewed by 5000 sailors and airmen.

And quite frankly, we're allies, remember?

Eventually the Americans will do the right thing, after they have exhausted all other options. I hope.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Sat Jun 7th, 2008 at 11:03:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
One of their options is to nuke a small ex-NATO nation to prove they mean bizniz.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jun 8th, 2008 at 03:03:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I guess the budgets of CEA and FdF should be inversely linked to the deterioration of transatlantic realtions...

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Sun Jun 8th, 2008 at 03:26:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The EU could always lob a few nukes back.

The US military robot empire is o-v-e-r. Iraq and Afghanistan proved that the US doesn't do effectiveness, and maintaining the biggest military in history is about to become unaffordably expensive. So there will be no rods from god - space war is just too damn expensive.

The US mainland is also wide open to an EMP attack and cyber war, either of which would cripple the country almost instantly. While Bush has been having wet dreams about himself as Commander in Chieferator, the real threats have been proliferating elsewhere.

I can't see a hot war between the EU and US developing for at least another couple of decades, and the US is unlikely to be recognisable by then.

I'd be more concerned about relying so heavily on Russian gas - it's a single choke-point, and even if Russian intentions remain honorably mercenary, it's not wise to leave such an obvious vulnerability so very exposed.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sun Jun 8th, 2008 at 07:09:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, and then the US would lob a few others.

JakeS and I were considering sailing to South America: nuclear fallout takes months to cross the equator by which point the most toxic part of it has decayed...

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jun 8th, 2008 at 07:13:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I've heard the Falklands Islands are - if not pleasant, then certainly inhabitable.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sun Jun 8th, 2008 at 07:48:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If they're worth a war, they'd better be.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jun 8th, 2008 at 07:56:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They've found oil offshore, so count on the place not staying terribly peaceful.

But I guess the Brits are looking forward to trying out their brand new HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales when they are completed in 6 and 8 years.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Sun Jun 8th, 2008 at 08:53:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I can't see a hot war between the EU and US developing for at least another couple of decades, and the US is unlikely to be recognisable by then.

You make it sound as if that is likely to be a good thing.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jun 8th, 2008 at 07:14:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The US military robot empire is o-v-e-r. Iraq and Afghanistan proved that the US doesn't do effectiveness, and maintaining the biggest military in history is about to become unaffordably expensive. So there will be no rods from god - space war is just too damn expensive.

Yes, and unnecessary, and too vulnerable.

I think there is a perceived (but false) time window during which the Cheneys and Feiths think tactical nukes can be used, and that they could change the equation in a way that could be used to rehabilitate their "place in history"--and toast some evil dooers.
Imagine a smoking crater somewhere in Iran with the remains of a few thousand centrifuges floating around in the cloud.

How might the strategic planning of the world's leaders- Europe at the head of the list- change?

Blair kissed the ring to share the loot. Oops. and today? The more thing change--

Sarko the same, I think. But he's a fool who runs on greed and elitism, so it's not so surprising there.

Berlusconi? Never saw a crook he wouldn't embrace.

Granted that to a rational mind, the nuke seems almost a weapon of self-immolation. But such a last-gasp gamble is not so unlikely for an administration that has sneered at "the reality based" thinkers for years- who believe the perception of strength and real strength are not usefully different, and who are themselves going up in smoke, and need a huge diversion.

I can't see a hot war between the EU and US developing for at least another couple of decades, and the US is unlikely to be recognisable by then.

War is unnecessary in the face of capitulation.
And isn't that the point? A nation incredibly altered--but in what way? It's already incredibly altered, and in a savage, self-destructive direction.
I've said it before- they'd kiss his ass in times square if the US were pumping enough oil from Iraq to keep their SUVs alive.
If it's a choice between the US pocketbook and the toy-based "standard of living", or the nuke or Europe-  don't count on the citizens to be a voice of restraint. The time window is pretty much the next few months, I think, for the resurrection of the nuke.
The golden arches (and all that they symbolize) are-or were- a hell of a weapon, but the soul of sweetness compared to the tools that remain to the  empire.

Sorry- this is getting to be a rant.
I'll shut up now.

Capitalism searches out the darkest corners of human potential, and mainlines them.

by geezer in Paris (risico at wanadoo(flypoop)fr) on Mon Jun 9th, 2008 at 09:48:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes. They have been in a state of concealed conflict from the first day. Before. The day the first president's daily briefing contained a convincing passage postulating the EU as a potentially successful competitor, someone tumbled to the fact that the old BS was failing- and the military option went back on the table. What Jerome and rdf discuss is just --it's growing more obvious.

Capitalism searches out the darkest corners of human potential, and mainlines them.
by geezer in Paris (risico at wanadoo(flypoop)fr) on Mon Jun 9th, 2008 at 08:45:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There was a story in the 1990's about some CIA document about how the EU needed to be undermined as a competitor. I put it down to knee-jerk anti-americanism on the part of the Spanish Press, silly me. I don't think I'd be able to dig it up if I tried now.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 9th, 2008 at 08:50:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not very well concealed conflict.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Jun 9th, 2008 at 08:59:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well enough to fool the European political class.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 9th, 2008 at 09:03:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not really, I suspect. They were the ones getting the threatening speeches made to them and so on.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Jun 9th, 2008 at 09:07:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes. I think there were a lot of people who tumbled to this early- in fact, the EU exists in part as an attempt to take what was billed as the laughable pawn of European unity, and queen it. It worked. Not an accident.

Capitalism searches out the darkest corners of human potential, and mainlines them.
by geezer in Paris (risico at wanadoo(flypoop)fr) on Mon Jun 9th, 2008 at 09:53:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sorry, I can't unwrap your metaphor. Does this mean the EU is a bad or a good thing.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Jun 9th, 2008 at 09:57:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Good, and subversive, and accomplished in Maastricht in 1992.

Which is why by 1996 the CIA was on the case.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 9th, 2008 at 10:07:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes.

Capitalism searches out the darkest corners of human potential, and mainlines them.
by geezer in Paris (risico at wanadoo(flypoop)fr) on Mon Jun 9th, 2008 at 10:14:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In a lot of the Anglo world, the idea that the "Continent" could cooperate on much of anything was laughable. Fortunately they were wrong.

It's an oversimplification that the CIA does things- or is "on the case", so to speak. More like a catfight than a company, then. Once, that was it's great asset- differing but well-informed perspectives.
Victor Marchetti wrote a book ("The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence") that illustrates the bitter conflict between the directorate of operations, (the  "Covert cowboys"), and the analysts. During the period of 1992 till 1998 or so, the jury was very much out as to whether to treat the idea of European cooperation (no one even spoke about unity, I am told,) as a threat, a  temporary aberration or as a joke.
Of course, the threat guys won, -more or less- but they were not the analysts, but ops.
Things to do! Stuff to break!

Capitalism searches out the darkest corners of human potential, and mainlines them.

by geezer in Paris (risico at wanadoo(flypoop)fr) on Mon Jun 9th, 2008 at 11:37:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"In my estimation the US has already decided how it will handle resource constraints. The one area that hasn't been spared is the development of the military means of international intimidation. The goal is to turn most of the world into a resource supplier. This explains the continuing rise in military spending, the existing plans for dealing with China and Russia militarily and the development of space-based weaponry."

Yes.
I've been dodging brickbats (and thinly concealed sniggers) around here for maintaining the same thing for about two years.

I claim no prescience or predictive acumen--just the ability to "Know a hawk from a hacksaw".

Rub, rub. (Rubbing it in).

Iraq was a testbed for phase two of "resource theft as a national strategy", phase one being using the economic weapons of neoliberal BS, market theology and stuff addiction. Problem is--they became so effective at parasiting the real economy--they nigh unto kilt it. As a weapon, neoliberal economic orthodoxy is damaged goods.
Thanks to brave and bright people like Jerome, more and more people will see this.
Time to loose the dogs of war.

But the Iraq test case is, so far, an incredible failure as a tool of empire. Conventional weapons and military tactics have failed for many reasons, but firstly because they are inappropriate weapons for urban warfare, and because their cost far exceeds their value as tools of resource capture. So far.

--Will this equation change with, for example, oil at Euro100?

I don't think so. I don't think conventional weapons and tactics will ever again be able to effectively supply the Empire. At least for this purpose, their day is over, rdf. This is why:

--An entire spectrum of improvised and very deadly weapons have emerged in the last five years. Our attack
-our Iraqi test case- has fueled a technological explosion in guerrilla tools and tactics, not the least has been the huge proliferation of the most intelligent and deadly bomb in existence- the suicide bomber.
There is no reason to expect this technological development to stop. A handful of box knives in fanatically brave hands have brought the empire to it's knees, and caused it to turn on itself.

--A quarter of US troops manage their day medicated.

--A fifth of them are psychologically broken. 20%-- that the DOD's tame scientists will admit to. What's the real number? Who in their right mind will enlist for--that? And word's getting out.

--Real US military budget, 95% of it for conventional weapons and empire maintenance is already more than all the rest of the world's military expenditures combined.
Balance of payments, deficit issues, the unavoidable costs to patch together neglected and collapsing infrastructure, and a crash in tax revenues will, like the concatenation of the elements Jerome enumerates, brutally limit new expenditures for mass arms buys.  

What will happen-- the only option left to the empire-, is the nuclear one.
What's the biggest bang for the dollar?
What do we already own in huge numbers?

Project ahead for the web of processes that already roll on over the landscape--policy, political and fiscal realities- and what does the future hold?
Before the fog of uncertainty sets in, I see deterioration in about every area, a closing off of alternatives for the empireists. Leaving that one.

From the point of view of the empireists, we need an event that will put the nuke back on the table as a tactical weapon, as well as a strategic one.
I rejoiced at the NIE that stalled the drive to blast Iran.
But the events of yesterday suggest a crisis point is coming, and soon.
Monday will be interesting.

Capitalism searches out the darkest corners of human potential, and mainlines them.

by geezer in Paris (risico at wanadoo(flypoop)fr) on Sat Jun 7th, 2008 at 03:08:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Agreed.  I think it would be a mistake to underestimate the atavism of Bush & Co.  They seem to feed off of the chaos they create.  Talk about bombing Iran should not be taken lightly.  They could do it just to wrong foot an incoming Democratic Administration.  I am not convinced they will go quietly just because they loose an election, either.  They will certainly see policy proposals such as JaP's above as threats to their very existence.  Getting them safely put away could turn out to be like the cops trying to subdue a heavily armed and armored Rambo on angel dust.

I pray that I am just a paranoid old geezer...

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Jun 7th, 2008 at 05:20:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
From one geezer to another--
I usually leave the praying to my wife, who is a catholic, and does that sort of thing.
But in this case- with the innocent lives at stake-- perhaps a wise man covers all bases, no matter how distasteful.
"Dear Lord (choke)----"

Capitalism searches out the darkest corners of human potential, and mainlines them.
by geezer in Paris (risico at wanadoo(flypoop)fr) on Mon Jun 9th, 2008 at 12:50:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This is NOT a comment knocking ET, just the opposite.

How soon can I expect to see Jerome et al on either Democracy Now! (Amy Goodman) or CountDown (Keith Olbermann)?  Is a broader audience called for AND DESERVED?

What the f do I know, right?

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Sat Jun 7th, 2008 at 12:05:02 PM EST
as to achieve this (by you or others) most welcome!

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sat Jun 7th, 2008 at 03:16:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Let me get to work on it; I'll be in touch.


They tried to assimilate me. They failed.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Sun Jun 8th, 2008 at 03:33:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Very well thought out article. Minor presentation nit: there seem to be some HTML crumbs in the right-hand column.



We're trapped in the belly of this horrible machine, and the machine is bleeding to death.
by davel on Sat Jun 7th, 2008 at 01:00:58 PM EST
The program you outline is the only possible.

massive infraestructure change is needed. As P. Krugman said... we need new infraestructure for ane xpensive oil world.

Either the state does it or private companies do it.

I like a mixture of both...a cosnensus investment. So we need new taxes on the rich and on the private use of cars (and gas) to get money....

There is also the know-how problem.. we have some real know-how problems regarding the ability to invest such a massive amount of money at the same time. Shortage of engineers, qualified workers, and so on. case in poitn, ligth trains.. there are not enough people who know how to do it if we want them in all European suburbs within 5 years.. there is just no way to spend all the money.

Basically, we need to tax some cars out of existence and tax heavily finantial sector. plus some kind of training program.. otherwise it will be a long long road to nowhere.

A short paragraph in Spain. Spain has the consensus but not the know-how or the will in one sector: transport. Who is going to fight the transprot sector when they cut highways? we are not going to invest on commodities train lines because, well we jsut don't.

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Sat Jun 7th, 2008 at 01:06:00 PM EST
Since dkos isn't providing the platform you need and since the oil drum is preaching to the choir, I think it might be worth a try posting elsewhere to reach a wider audience.

The TPMcafe site has been revamped so that unsolicited personal diaries now fare better than before. They get listed on the front page for awhile, they can get recommended and their is a daily "rescue" by one of the staff.

The site attracts many policy wonks, and has started to specialize in book discussions by authors of political and economic tracts as well as their fellow pundits.

Other sites in the group cater to things like the election and corruption stores, so you will not be competing for attention.
As far as I can see all you need to to is register and then post your diary. You might also add a bit of a bio as well to the profile page.

I would suggest using this essay as a trial and see what sort of reception it gets.

http://tpmcafe.talkingpointsmemo.com/

Policies not Politics
---- Daily Landscape

by rdf (robert.feinman@gmail.com) on Sat Jun 7th, 2008 at 01:17:05 PM EST
One small addition:

European Tribune - Countdown to $200 oil meets Anglo Disease

in today's economy, the cannibalistic sector is not oil&gas, but finance. Bankers, through debt, have the ability to convert future cash-flows into immediate profits. Such immediate returns attract more capital, talent and resources (which cannot go to other sectors) and impose an iron discipline on the rest of the economy: those that provide the debt want to ensure that the future cash-flows will indeed materialize, and move in to ensure a relentless focus, in the underlying activities, on profitability at the expense of all other criteria. The immediate contribution of the financial world to measured GDP and growth makes it a popular industry, thus reinforcing its influence - and spreading out its way of thinking, focused on monetary gains and financial "efficiency." So not only the rest of the economy gets squeezed for any extra drop of profitability, but the language of financial analysts becomes the dominant one of not only economic discourse but also political discourse;

Just as the Dutch disease was predicated on a "natural resource" in the ground, so the Anglo disease is predicated on an "unnatural resource" of historically super cheap money. Debt has always been a mechanism for turning future cash flows into current money, but historically since WW2 equity has been more important. Cheap money changed that equation and allowed things like the "private equity industry" to take off:

"Real Equity" is pretty well regulated, both from a taxation and a corporate governance point of view. Debt, in the form of "Private Equity" is most definitely not well regulated in either sphere and this enabled a lot of the massive wealth transfers...

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Sat Jun 7th, 2008 at 01:36:58 PM EST
As has been noted already, a lot of the current bubble was created by banks going around existing regulations to increase leverage. Hedge funds and private equity (and other such instruments set up by banks themselves, like SIVs) were ways to do that.

This is something that not many people realise - the past 25 years have not been a stock bull market, but a bond bull market. Debt, not equity, has been the problem.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sat Jun 7th, 2008 at 03:19:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Jerome, I need to thank you.
Over the last couple years, you have educated me in ways that I needed very much. The fact that I can read this diary and understand, comfortably, pretty much all of it, is a testimony to your ability to make a complex subject  comprehensible to the economically challenged.
So, thank you.

The fact that you arrive at conclusions that Ivonne and I were groping for twenty years ago, when we first came to Paris, is another gift to us.
Thanks again.  

Capitalism searches out the darkest corners of human potential, and mainlines them.

by geezer in Paris (risico at wanadoo(flypoop)fr) on Sat Jun 7th, 2008 at 03:51:11 PM EST
My thesis is that the US is planning for a world where it extracts resources from other states to maintain the population's standard of living.

I postulate that this will be done by means of military intimidation. Whether this "works" or not is a separate issue. Notice that the record for military victory has not been very good since the end of WWII. The US was held to a standoff in Korea, failed in Vietnam and has not been successful in either Iraq or Afghanistan. This has not stopped continuing use of militarism as the primary foreign policy choice. Notice the disdain over Obama's mention of the willingness to talk to leaders of disfavored nations. The standard in the US is Bush's "bring them on" cowboy attitude. McCain is also still talking of "winning" in Iraq.

Jerome thinks that the US could not "win" in a war against Europe, but I don't think this is the plan. The idea is to intimidate states, only the foolish try overt warfare. Unfortunately the foolish take command in the US about once a generation.

I'm not an expert on military hardware, but various bits of information that have emerged over the past several decades lead me to believe that the US is planning (implementing?) space-based weaponry. Several projects which make no sense from a scientific or defensive point of view do make sense when viewed as a cover for space weaponry. This includes the international space station, a permanent station on the moon, and various missile and satellite tracking/destruction projects.

I've mentioned the "rods from God" project before. This uses kinetic energy weapons dropped from space. It is essentially undetectable and there is no way to defend against it. A perfect weapon of intimidation.

I don't want to open up the whole can of worms over the use of nuclear weapons against Japan, but just state that so far it has been only the US that has used them.

Can the US prevail when it uses intimidation? Can it "win" when it is forced to use actual military force? I don't know, I just think that this is the way the planning in the US is leaning. If you are going to grab resources why spend time on conservation or technological improvement? Actions speak louder than words and so far all the actions point towards an expectation of adequate resources.

Policies not Politics
---- Daily Landscape

by rdf (robert.feinman@gmail.com) on Sat Jun 7th, 2008 at 04:53:32 PM EST
but still think that it cannot work against Europe.

The intimidation you describe can only work if it is explicit enough, and with Europe, it would take pretty damn explicit threats or acts of war to be understood as such - and then you'd be in a situation of immediate conflict which the USA cannot win. I don't think there is that intermediate stage that does indeed exist with a whole range of other countries. Maybe I'm wrong.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sat Jun 7th, 2008 at 05:30:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Several projects which make no sense from a scientific or defensive point of view do make sense when viewed as a cover for space weaponry. This includes the international space station

The ISS wouldn't exist without Russia.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Jun 7th, 2008 at 05:37:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The ISS wouldn't exist without Russia.

True enough!  And Bush plans on retiring the Space Shuttle in 2010, when the ISS is complete.  Perhaps they will quietly "mothball" them.  The Orion replacement is not due till 2015.  I saw that an administration official noted that the ESA cargo module could be upgraded to deliver people.  What we have always liked about Russian technology was that it was cheap and relatively reliable.  We built hot rods like Atlas.  They built "the big, dumb booster."

However, it doesn't look like they are planning on using the ISS as a weapons platform without a US controlled means of accessing it.  


"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Jun 7th, 2008 at 11:07:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
My thesis is that the US is planning for a world where it extracts resources from other states to maintain the population's standard of living.

And that differs from the world the US has been living in for the past 60 years, how?

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Jun 7th, 2008 at 05:38:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Of course you're right, Mig--it does not.
In my comment above, I pointed out that what I call "phase 2", is just that- a forced reversion to raw force to extract tribute because the long-used, but less obvious weapons are failing. But it too has failed so far, and there just aint enough in the kitty to manage a wider squeeze without nukes. And Empires never say "Oops."

And, rdf, I have diaried the technology, the history, some of the politics and the players in the "Pax Americana" until no one wanted to hear it. And this IS my field.
Beginning with:

The Quiet Coup
and then

the Empire- Baseworld and Blackstar
and the most commented one,

The Empire's Last Big Stick

Why?

Cause it's one of several likely futures for us all, and no one wants to touch it, by and large. Till recently.
If you want to add your impressions, or correct mine, --boy, do I welcome that. Maybe a few more will do the same.
Then again, --perhaps it will all just fade away.
Perhaps Admiral Fallon, Pat Lehey, John Conyers, the recently ex-Secretary of the Air Force Moseley and his civillian counterpart Wynne, Lawrence Wilkerson, and a host of others will win their obvious battle to throttle the nuke nerds. Then you can join my Dingbat Discussion Forum.

 

Capitalism searches out the darkest corners of human potential, and mainlines them.

by geezer in Paris (risico at wanadoo(flypoop)fr) on Mon Jun 9th, 2008 at 08:27:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]

My thesis is that the US is planning for a world where it extracts resources from other states to maintain the population's standard of living.

I don't think they give a damn about the population except to the extent that is useful to their ends--continued power and continued self-enrichment.  This is, IMHO, of itself their ultimate goal and it is deeply pathological.

Their policies are criminal.
Their ideology is a social psycho-pathology.
They are, at best, a collection of sociopaths.

I can only hope that they will be outmaneuvered.  Jefferson said: "The price of liberty must be paid in blood by each generation."  We have been paying the price but losing the liberty.  More people need to awaken, especially in the USA.

I agree with GiP about the value of Gerome's work, both to myself and others.  It is extremely cogent. I would like to see it turned into a stand-alone pamphlet or  small book that I could recommend and quote to my congressional delegation and to media representatives. This, of course, could be referenced to a hyperlink text version.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Jun 7th, 2008 at 05:47:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not an expert in military hardware either, but I know something.
For some sofisticated hardware, the USA depends on European technology.

| Barco receives new orders from Lockheed Martin for Q-70 console program

Barco has demonstrated innovative support of critical COTS management issues for the military market for many years. The recent orders comprise the delivery of
20.1-inch RFD 251S Rugged Flat Displays and AVS 5100 graphics generators, which will be integrated in a variety of Lockheed Martin AN/UYQ-70 systems installed in submarines and Aegis-equipped surface ships.

Barco is a Belgian technology company, their major R&D building is only 5 km from my house.
Aegis is the name of a US combat, control, and information system.

This is only one example, there are numerous other.
The US military is far more dependent on Europe than generally known.

If only our European politicians could realize this, maybe they wouldn't be so cowardly.

The struggle of man against tyranny is the struggle of memory against forgetting.(Kundera)

by Elco B (elcob at scarlet dot be) on Sat Jun 7th, 2008 at 05:53:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Just remember how quickly the US congress was willing to throw the "cheese eating surrender monkeys" under the bus before the Iraq invasion.

Joint projects with Europe (and Russia) are useful only as long as they are useful. Ties between the US/UK and Germany were close before WWI, but they managed to restructure quickly when hostilities started.

I don't think the ISS is designed for military purposes, it is useful as a way to gather experimental information to be used later for a space-based weapons launching platform.

I've been thinking about writing an essay on whether the US requires war or the threat of war to keep the economy going. One can trace this modus operandi back to the Spanish- American war and the Philippine-American war which followed it. Wikipedia has a nice article listing the American "wars" of the 20th Century, it's a long list.

When there aren't real threats the government invents them: anarchists, socialists, communists, etc. The economy has been so restructured since the end of WWII that militarism persists even during peacetime. The minor dip in the DoD budget during Clinton was insignificant compared to the changes after WWI and WWII.

As Madeline Albright said "what's the use of having an army if you don't use it?"

Policies not Politics
---- Daily Landscape

by rdf (robert.feinman@gmail.com) on Sat Jun 7th, 2008 at 06:36:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I've been thinking about writing an essay on whether the US requires war or the threat of war to keep the economy going. One can trace this modus operandi back to the Spanish- American war and the Philippine-American war which followed it. Wikipedia has a nice article listing the American "wars" of the 20th Century, it's a long list.

Or back to Polk and his Mexican-American War.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Jun 7th, 2008 at 06:46:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As Madeline Albright said "what's the use of having an army if you don't use it?"

But she was using the RW's argument against them to support a relatively low cost, high benefit intervention to stop the slaughter in the Balkans.  I can't see her using that argument to support invading, say, Venezuela.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Jun 7th, 2008 at 11:13:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I've been thinking about writing an essay on whether the US requires war or the threat of war to keep the economy going.

Yes--me too. Good subject, but a tough one, because it's been discussed, in one way or another, so many times. To read all the other work on the subject would take a long time, lots of digging.
Time triage--I'm too old, the rest did it too well.

Capitalism searches out the darkest corners of human potential, and mainlines them.
by geezer in Paris (risico at wanadoo(flypoop)fr) on Mon Jun 9th, 2008 at 08:37:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Great stuff.

If debt caused the problem, it can't be part of the solution can it?

European Tribune - Countdown to $200 oil meets Anglo Disease

And, wonderfully, a programme to invest in housing and vehicle energy efficiency, renewable energy, and infrastructure, paid for by massive tax hikes on the rich, will help solve the current recession and the oil crisis.

Do you advocate taxes on income?

And when you use the word "invest" what exactly do you mean?

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Sat Jun 7th, 2008 at 06:16:23 PM EST
Jerome,

And, wonderfully, a programme to invest in housing and vehicle energy efficiency, renewable energy, and infrastructure, paid for by massive tax hikes on the rich, will help solve the current recession and the oil crisis.

Yes, exactly! I don't know if you've been following Zander1's excellent Global No-Confidence Vote diaries over on Booman's side of the frog pond, but that's basically the point I've been trying to make in every single one. Yes, the oncoming financial collapse, the impending end of oil, could be catastrophic. But they could also, with the proper government policies, serve as the impetus for possibly the greatest economic revolution since the 19th century.

It seems to me that, when writing about these issues, it's far too easy to look at the state and policies of our modern right-wing governments and despair, and only write about the coming doom. I think this is counter-productive. Doom-and-gloom will only push people into the candy fantasyland spun by the right wing. What environmentalists and economists need to do is provide a down-to-Earth but appealing vision of a good solution, a green future that's within our grasp if we dare to reach for it.

by Egarwaen on Sun Jun 8th, 2008 at 11:37:16 PM EST
Edgarwaen, could you supply a link to the one of those diaries that you feel is most representative-or expresses the point of view the best?
I'm very interested.

Capitalism searches out the darkest corners of human potential, and mainlines them.
by geezer in Paris (risico at wanadoo(flypoop)fr) on Mon Jun 9th, 2008 at 01:18:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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