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Why Is Russia Building 5000 More Nuclear Bomb Shelters In Moscow By The End Of 2012?

The American Dream
Nov 11, 2010

Russia certainly seems to be in a hurry to prepare for something.  RT is reporting that 5,000 new nuclear bomb shelters will be constructed in the city of Moscow by the end of 2012.  Russian authorities believe that these new shelters are urgently needed because the current nuclear bomb shelters will only hold approximately half the population and are quite outdated.  In addition, there are apparently very few nuclear bomb shelters for those living outside the city center at this point.  Officials want virtually the entire population of Moscow to be able to reach a bomb shelter within a matter of minutes.  But in this era when the “Cold War” is supposed to be over, why are 5000 nuclear bomb shelters such an urgent necessity?

The following is an RT video news report about these new shelters….

But it isn’t just Russia that has been busy building bomb shelters.

A few years ago, Shanghai’s Civil Defense Office announced the completion of an absolutely massive underground shelter.  It was reported that the shelter covers an area of over 90,000 square meters and could accommodate up to 200,000 people at a time.

But that giant shelter is not even as big as the “Underground Great Wall” that was built during that 1960s and 1970s.  It is estimated that the “Underground Great Wall” contains 19 miles of tunnels and shelters and could hold up to 300,000 people.  It reportedly has a munitions warehouse, a hospital, a theater and even a library.

So what about the U.S. government?  Are they building any bomb shelters for us?


Basically, Americans are sitting ducks.  Whether it is a rogue nation launching a nuke or a full-out nuclear war, Americans literally have nowhere to go.  In the event of a nuclear attack, most of us would be lucky to have enough time to duck and cover and say our prayers.

The sad truth is that the U.S. government considers the threat of nuclear war to be a thing of the past.

For decades, an overwhelming nuclear arsenal has been our primary protection against nuclear attack, but thanks to the last several presidents our strategic nuclear arsenal has been mostly dismantled.

Today, the United States has only 5,113 nuclear warheads in its stockpile, which represents an 84 percent decline since a peak of approximately 31,255 in 1967.

But that isn’t far enough for Barack Obama.  Currently, Obama is working on a treaty under which the United States and Russia would only be allowed a maximum of 1,550 deployed warheads.

So with nuclear weapons rapidly spreading throughout the world, and with the U.S. only having a small fraction of the nukes that it used to have, doesn’t that make a nuclear strike against the United States more likely?

Of course, but because the mainstream media tells Americans that we don’t have to worry about nuclear war anymore most of them don’t even think about it.

But Russia is obviously taking a different approach.  Building 5000 bomb shelters in one city alone is a massive undertaking.  Obviously they feel like building all of these shelters is important for one reason or another.

So are they just being paranoid or are they several moves ahead of us?


15 Reasons Why Barack Obama’s Debt Commission Is An Exercise In Futility – The U.S. Government Will Never Have A Balanced Budget Ever Again

The Economic Collapse
Nov 11, 2010

In a surprise move, the co-chairs of Barack Obama’s national debt commission released their preliminary proposals to the media on Wednesday.  The proposals are actually quite modest – they recommend that nothing be implemented until 2012 because of the weak economy, and their plan would not balance the federal budget until 2037 – but almost as soon as it was released Democrats and Republicans both started screaming bloody murder about how they would not support it.  The truth is that virtually none of our politicians are willing to make the hard choices that would be necessary to get the national debt under control.  Today, the U.S. national debt is rapidly approaching 14 trillion dollars and it is growing at an exponential rate. It is the single largest debt in the history of the world, and it has increased in size for 53 years in a row.  It would be very difficult to understate the true horror of the debt that the U.S. federal government has accumulated.  So what is the solution?  As you will see below, there isn’t one.  In fact, it will be an absolute miracle if our leaders are able to even slow down the rate at which the debt is growing in the years ahead.

The deficit reduction plan put forward by Erskine Bowles, a former White House chief of staff under Bill Clinton, and Alan Simpson, a former Republican Senator from Wyoming does not even have support from the rest of Barack Obama’s national debt commission.  There is no way that either most Democrats or most Republicans in Congress will ever accept it.  But at least the Bowles-Simpson plan is making headlines around the world and has brought the national debt back to the center of the political debate in this country.

In some ways, the Bowles-Simpson plan is a complete and total fantasy.  For example, it assumes that the U.S. economy is going to fully recover and will experience solid growth for many years to come.  That simply is not going to happen.  The prosperity of the last couple of decades has been fueled by the biggest debt bubble in the history of the world, and there is no way that is going to continue.  At some point the U.S. economy is going to fall apart like a house of cards.

But even if the U.S. economy could magically meet the projections contained in the Bowles-Simpson plan, it still contains a whole host of “poison pills” which make it completely and totally unacceptable to both political parties….

*The plan calls for deep cuts to U.S. military spending.  The Republicans will never go for that.

*The plan reduces Social Security benefits to most retirees in future decades.  The Democrats will never go for that.

*The plan raises the Social Security payroll tax cap to $190,000.  The Republicans will never go for that.

*The plan envisions a very slow rise in the retirement age from 67 to 68 by 2050 and finally to 69 by 2075.  The Democrats will never go for that.

*The plan includes a “less generous” annual cost-of-living adjustment for Social Security benefits.  Considering the fact that Social Security benefits are already not going to see an increase this upcoming year, this proposal is likely to upset a large number of seniors.

*The plan calls for the federal tax on gasoline to approximately double by 2015.  The Republicans would never go for that, and if that was ever implemented it would have a very serious negative impact on the economy.

*The plan would eliminate the deductibility of mortgage interest payments.  Millions upon millions of homeowners would be absolutely furious.

*The plan would tax health benefits provided by employers.  That would make millions of people very angry.

*The plan also calls for huge cuts in farm subsidies.  There are a lot less farmers than there used to be, but that would still be extremely unpopular.

But the truth is that hard choices need to be made.  The national debt is spinning wildly out of control.  The U.S. government is essentially bankrupt.

Unfortunately, the majority of the federal budget is made up of entitlement programs.  Entitlement programs are not subject to budget freezes or budget cuts – unless Congress changes the underlying laws.  But any change to major entitlement programs would potentially upset millions of voters.

Not that there are not other areas that could be cut.  Today, the average federal worker earns far more than the average private sector worker.  In fact, wages for federal workers have been escalating at a frightening pace.  In 2005, 7420 federal employees were making $150,000 or more per year.  Today, 82,034 federal employees are making $150,000 or more per year.  That is more than a tenfold increase in just five years.

15 Reasons Why Barack Obama’s Debt Commission Is An Exercise In Futility – The U.S. Government Will Never Have A Balanced Budget Ever Again The National Debt

But any major cuts to federal spending are going to really upset a lot of voters, and our politicians really, really like to get re-elected.  The kinds of cuts that are really needed will never get through the Democrats in Congress and the Republicans in Congress and signed into law by Barack Obama.  There are just way too many things that both major political parties consider to be “untouchable”.

Meanwhile, the U.S. government debt continues to explode.  The debt is already so big, interest on that debt is scheduled to escalate so dramatically, and we have made so many unsustainable promises regarding Social Security and Medicare that it is basically impossible to balance the federal budget at this point.  If serious attempts were actually made to balance the budget in 2011, it would likely create a financial panic, and suddenly sucking over a trillion dollars in federal spending out of the system would crash the economy.

The following are 15 facts that reveal just how obscene the U.S. national debt has become, and why it is now basically impossible to balance the budget of the U.S. government at this point….

#1 On average, the U.S. government accumulates about 4 billion dollars more debt each day.

#2 In just the last 30 years the U.S. government has accumulated 12 trillion dollars more debt.

#3 According to a U.S. Treasury Department report to Congress, the U.S. national debt will climb to an estimated $19.6 trillion by 2015.

#4 The U.S. government has to borrow 41 cents of every dollar that it currently spends.

#5 If the U.S. government was forced to use GAAP accounting principles (like all publicly-traded corporations must), the annual U.S. government budget deficit would be somewhere in the neighborhood of $4 trillion to $5 trillion.

#6 The Congressional Budget Office projects that the health care bill recently passed by Congress will add an additional trillion dollars to our debt over the next ten years.

#7 Approximately 57 percent of Barack Obama’s 3.8 trillion dollar budget for 2011 consists of direct payments to individual Americans or is money that is spent on their behalf.  Any attempt to reduce those payments will make a lot of people very angry.

#8 According to the Congressional Budget Office, in 2010 the Social Security system will pay out more in benefits than it receives in payroll taxes.  That was not supposed to happen until at least 2016.

#9 Back in 1950, each retiree’s Social Security benefit was paid for by approximately 16 workers.  Today, each retiree’s Social Security benefit is paid for by approximately 3.3 workers.  By 2025 it is projected that there will be approximately two workers for each retiree.

#10 According to an official U.S. government report, rapidly growing interest costs on the U.S. national debt together with spending on major entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare will absorb approximately 92 cents of every dollar of federal revenue by the year 2019.  That is before a single penny is spent on anything else.

#11 Right now, interest on the U.S. national debt and spending on entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare falls somewhere between 10 percent and 15 percent of GDP each year.  By 2080, they are projected to eat up approximately 50 percent of GDP.

#12 The present value of projected scheduled benefits exceeds earmarked revenues for entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare by about 46 trillion dollars over the next 75 years.

#13 After analyzing Congressional Budget Office data, Boston University economics professor Laurence J. Kotlikoff concluded that the U.S. government is facing a “fiscal gap” of $202 trillion dollars.

#14 At our current pace, the Congressional Budget Office is projecting that U.S. government public debt will hit 716 percent of GDP by the year 2080.

#15 Sometimes we forget just how big a trillion dollars is.  If right this moment you went out and started spending one dollar every single second, it would take you more than 31,000 years to spend one trillion dollars.  The U.S. national debt increased by more than a trillion dollars last year, it will increase by more than a trillion dollars this year and it is being projected to increase by more than a trillion dollars the following year.

We are literally drowning in debt.  We have been living beyond our means for decades, and most Americans do not understand that eventually that is really, really going to start catching up with us.

Already, the United States is fading as an economic power.  According to the Conference Board, China will surpass the United States and will become the biggest economy in the world by the year 2012.

That is just two years away.

So how did we get into such a mess?  Well, it all goes back to the creation of the Federal Reserve in 1913.  The Federal Reserve was created to enslave the United States government in an endlessly growing spiral of debt from which it would never be able to escape.

That is exactly what has happened.  Our money is actually debt-based.  That is why they are called “Federal Reserve notes”.  When the Federal Reserve creates more money for the U.S. government to borrow, it does not also create money for the interest to be paid on that debt.  Eventually the U.S. government is forced to borrow even more money just to keep up with the game.

Today, if you gathered up all of the physical currency from every bank, every business and every individual in the United States, you would not even put much of a dent in the national debt.  That is how bad things have gotten.

A lot of people got elected to Congress by promising to balance the federal budget and by promising to start reducing the U.S. national debt.  But those ships have sailed.  The U.S. government will always have a national debt under the Federal Reserve system, and things have gotten so bad financially for our government that it is now virtually impossible to even balance the budget for a single year.

In the 90s, the Clinton administration and the Republican Congress briefly balanced the federal budget by “borrowing” massive amounts of money from the Social Security surplus.  Using GAAP accounting, the budget was not even close to balanced at that point, but many point to that time as a moment when the U.S. government was at least somewhat fiscally responsible.

Well, the Social Security surplus is gone forever.  Now we have a Social Security deficit which is only going to explode in size in future years.

In addition, the financial condition of the U.S. government has deteriorated enormously over the past 10 years, and things only look worse the further you look into the future.

Meanwhile, the U.S. economy is falling to pieces all around us.  We are experiencing our longest bout of serious long-term unemployment since the Great Depression, 42 million Americans are on food stamps and the United States is being deindustrialized at a pace that is mind blowing.

As America continues to get poorer, the U.S. government is going to really struggle to raise revenue.  But interest payments and financial obligations are projected to escalate wildly.  At this point it is really hard to envision a scenario that does not lead to the eventual financial collapse of the U.S. government.

So do you think that you have a solution to this gigantic mess?  If so, feel free to post it in the comments section below….

America’s Devolution Into Dictatorship

Paul Craig Roberts

Nov 11, 2010

The United States Department of Justice (sic) routinely charges and convicts innocents with bogus and concocted  crimes that are not even on the statutes book. The distinguished defense attorney and civil libertarian, Harvey A. Silverglate, published a book last yearThree Felonies A Day: How the Feds Target the Innocent, which conclusively proves that today in “freedom and democracy” America we have punishment without crime.

This same Justice (sic) Department, which routinely frames and railroads the innocent,  argued in Federal Court on November 8 that the US government, if approved by the president, could murder anyone it wishes, citizens or noncitizens, at will.  All that is required is that the government declare, without evidence, charges, trial, jury conviction or any of the due process required by the US Constitution, that the government suspects the murdered person or persons to be a “threat.”

The US Justice (sic) Department even told US Federal District Court Judge John Bates that the US judiciary, formerly a co-equal branch of government, has absolutely no legal authority whatsoever to stick its nose into President “Change” Obama’s decision to assassinate Americans. The unaccountability of the president’s decision to murder people is, the US Justice (sic) Department declared, one of “the very core powers of the president as commander in chief.”

The argument by the Justice (sic) Department that the executive branch has unreviewable authority to kill Americans, whom the executive branch has unilaterally, without presenting evidence, determined to pose a threat, was challenged by the American Civil Liberties Union and the Center For Constitutional Rights.

The outcome of the case will determine whether the neoconservative and Israeli stooge, president George W. Bush, was correct when he said that the US Constitution was nothing but a “scrap of paper”.

It is my opinion that the American people and the US Constitution haven’t much chance of winning this case. The Republican Federalist Society has succeeded in appointing  many federal district, appeals and supreme court judges, who believe that the powers of the executive branch are superior to the powers of the legislature and judiciary.

The Founding Fathers of our country declared unequivocally that the executive, legislative, and judicial branches were co-equal, However,  the Republican brownshirts who comprise the Federalist Society have implanted the society’s demonic ideology in the federal bench and Justice (sic) Department.

Today the erroneous belief is widespread that the executive branch is supreme and that the other branches of government are less than equal.

If Americans have a greater enemy than neoconservatives, that enemy is the Federalist Society, a collection of incipient Nazis.

Disagree with me as you will, but now let’s look at this development from another perspective. I am old enough to remember the Nixon years, and I was a presidential appointee, confirmed by the US senate, in the Reagan administration. For those of you too young to know and those who are too old to remember, President Nixon resigned to avoid impeachment simply because Nixon lied about when he learned about the burglary of the Watergate office of the Democratic party.

Nixon lied about when he learned of the burglary, because he knew that the Washington Post would make an issue of the burglary, if he launched an investigation, to defeat  his re-election.  The military/security complex and the black ops groups in the US government were angry at Nixon for smoothing US-China relations. The Washington Post, long regarded as a CIA asset, hid behind its “liberal” image to bring Nixon down. Woodward and Bernstein wrote thriller-type reports of midnight meetings with “deep throat” in dangerous parking garages to get the scoop on the date of Nixon’s knowledge of the meaningless burglary.

Let’s assume that I have it all wrong. The fact remains that Nixon was driven from office because of the Watergate burglary.  No one was harmed. Nixon did not kill anyone or claim the right to kill, without proof or accountability, American citizens.  If the dastardly President Nixon had a Justice (sic) Department like the present one, he simply would have declared Woodward, Bernstein, and the Washington Post to be a threat and murdered them by merely exercising the power that the Obama administration is claiming.

Nixon might be too far in the past for most Americans, so let’s look at Ronald Reagan.

The neoconservatives’ Iran/Contra scandal almost brought down President Reagan. It is unclear whether President Reagan knew about the neocon operation and, if he did, whether he was kept in the loop. But all of this aside, what do you think would have been President Reagan’s fate if he, or his Justice (sic) Department, had declared that Reagan had the power as commander in chief to murder anyone he considered to be a threat?

Instantly, the media would have been in an uproar, law schools and university faculties would have been in an uproar, the Democrats would have been demanding Reagan’s impeachment, and his impeachment would have occurred with the speed of light.

Today in Amerika, approximately 25 years later, the ACLU has to go to federal court in order to attempt to affirm that “if the Constitution means anything, it surely means that the president does not have unreviewable authority to summarily execute any American whom he concludes is an enemy of the state.”

In reply, the Justice (sic) Department told the court that murdering American citizens is a “political question” that is not subject to judicial review. The “freedom and democracy” government then invoked the “state secrets privilege” and declared that the case against the government’s power to commit murder must be dismissed in order to avoid “the disclosure of sensitive information”

If the Obama Regime wins this case, the US will have become a dictatorship.

As far as I can tell, the “liberal media” and most Americans do not care. Indeed, conservative Republicans are cheering it on.

Bombshell: FEMA Camps Confirmed

Jesse Ventura’s Conspiracy Theory Proves FEMA Camps Exist for American Citizens in New Episode that Airs Friday, Nov. 12 10 PM EST / 9 PM CST Only on TruTV

Aaron Dykes
November 11, 2010

Bombshell: FEMA Camps Confirmed  onepixel
Bombshell: FEMA Camps Confirmed  10conspiracy

Former Gov. Jesse Ventura and his crew at Conspiracy Theory have blown the FEMA camp issue wide open in a truly groundbreaking episode from the program’s second season on TruTV. The “Police State” episode proves once and for all that the feds have trained to take on American citizens, planned for riots and disasters and made preparations to maintain order at any cost. Tune in this Friday, Nov. 12 at 10 PM Eastern/ 9 PM Central and leave the denial at the door.

This powerful episode is the largest and most in-depth investigation into FEMA camps to date– and it is scheduled to air on television. Radio host and filmmaker Alex Jones returns to the series yet again, as the team takes you to confirmed on-the-ground facilities, confronts the legislators who authorized FEMA camps and breaks down the full-scale technologically-integrated police state that includes Fusion Centers, FEMA, the Department of Homeland Security and more.

At one of many real and verified FEMA locations, Jesse Ventura and Alex Jones approach a “Residential Center” run by Homeland Security in central Texas where they find locked doors, double-fences and escape warnings around the entire perimeter. Further inside the facility, they witness a playground complex, swings and slides for children. The crew walks up to the front door and attempts to get some answers. But the officials refuse to either confirm or deny the facility’s purpose, including whether or not American citizens are being held inside. However, our past investigations into this facility reveal that it has confined both children and adults, including immigrants, refugee seekers and American citizens.

Despite hundreds of government documents identifying emergency and contingency plans, including plans to deal with mass fatalities, insurrection, internment and quarantines, Ventura and his team repeatedly encounter outrageous denial and avoidance by officials at every level. The mainstream media have avoided and downplayed these on-the-record plans for FEMA Camps and Homeland Security Emergency Facilities for years. Clearly, it is not meant to be a public relations talking point, and it is no surprise that members of Congress, including those who wrote the bill to create FEMA camps in America, are reluctant to discuss the matter.

So, Jesse Ventura, former Mayor and Governor, descends upon Washington to confront two important figures behind H.R. 645, the National Emergency Centers Establishment Act. Despite going through official channels, Ventura finds that Jim Gerlach (P-Pennsylvania) repeatedly “ducks” TV cameras and refuses to answer questions about H.R. 645.

Another Congressman who co-sponsored the bill starkly admits that FEMA camps exist, but rationalizes that they were put in place to deal with “happy children.” This bizarre admission is another confirmation that Congress and the leadership in Washington are out of touch with the oppressive measures that have been authorized against the American people.

Later, Ventura and Jones visit the Deep South and discover what appears to be an active cover-up to keep them from the truth. Outside the Atlanta, Georgia area is another confirmed location in FEMA’s disaster preparation network. They pay a visit to a facility storing thousands of plastic coffins where video has already confirmed the coffins in large numbers. Ventura and Jones discover upon arrival that a convoy of trucks has just left hauling away the evidence– thousands and thousands of liners the facility wanted to keep out of the way of cameras and public knowledge.

Various plastic coffin locations affiliated with FEMA, as well as plans for mass graves and large-scale fatalities, have been previously exposed and reported upon– including photographs sent by an Infowars listener of an Alabama facility in 2009 with thousands and thousands of plastic coffin liners. Why then would the officials in Georgia engage in such a desperate and hurried cover-up?

Further, the plans are already confirmed. DMORT and other divisions of Homeland Security have a contingency-structure in place to deal with mass fatalities and outbreaks in times of pandemics, natural disasters, terrorist attacks, national emergency or other disasters. Elements of these plans are in place on record, and coordinated via the 10 FEMA regions in the United States and via the “Fusion Centers” that are popping up at the Federal, State and Local levels all across the nation to spy on ordinary citizens.

Bombshell: FEMA Camps Confirmed  onepixel
Bombshell: FEMA Camps Confirmed  FEMA10

Concerned about the fact that these programs admittedly monitor ‘returning veterans,’ ‘Ron Paul, Bob Barr and Chuck Baldwin supporters’ and beyond, the TV show contacted a Fusion Center spokesman to find out more about why they are targeting ordinary Americans. Spokesman Lance Clem told the show point blank that these domestic intelligence gathering centers have no oversight. Clem shockingly admitted, “We police ourselves.”

The show’s producers have told Alex behind the scenes that this episode turned out to be the most exciting from its entire Second Season line-up. It not only confronts the FEMA camp issue head on, but uncovers significant reason to worry about the actions of Homeland Security and other agencies. At location after location, it is clear that its administrators are nervous to discuss what they are preparing, but it is clear from their records and public documents that they are preparing for something big. From TruTv’s episode guide:

“Police State” – NEW!
Premieres Fri, November 12 at 10P
It’s been said the government has a plan to declare martial law and round up millions of United State citizens into concentration camps. Jesse may have found a conspiracy in plain sight as he investigates the proliferation of law enforcement Fusion Centers around the country. And they may be connected to hundreds of detention centers ready to accept prisoners at the stroke of a Presidential pen.


There Was A Fed Chairman Who Swallowed A Fly

Nov. 9 2010 – 11:10 am | 1,147 views | 0 recommendations | 2 comments
Posted by Peter Schiff
WASHINGTON - DECEMBER 07:  Federal Reserve Ban...Image by Getty Images via @daylife

While it’s true that history repeats itself, the patterns should always be separated by a generation or two to keep things respectable. Unfortunately, in today’s economic world, it seems the cycle can be counted in months.

On July 24, 2009, just as the Federal Reserve unleashed its first quantitative easing campaign (now called “QE1″ – an echo of the reclassification of the Great War after still more destructive subsequent developments), Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke wrote an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal to soothe growing concerns about excess liquidity. He assured the public that the Fed had an “exit strategy.”

In a response entitled “No Exit for Ben“, I called the Chairman’s bluff. I argued that the Fed had no exit strategy, and that Bernanke was trying to fool the market into believing that quantitative easing was not debt monetization.

Just 16 months later, Bernanke is at it again, penning another op-ed to defend his second round of QE. Except this time, instead of feigning an exit strategy, he just outlines a path to expand the program in perpetuity.

In recent months, Fed economists have taken great pains to tell us how much better off the economy is now than it was in the first half of 2009.  Given this supposed good news, what prompted the current turnaround in policy? Could it be, perhaps, that perpetual easing was the policy all along?

Should we expect another op-ed in a few months in which Bernanke tries to reassure us that QE3 will not over-liquefy the market?  How much longer can the Fed play this game before the public and the markets wise up?

The reason I knew QE1 would fail, and that the Fed had no exit strategy (other than more rounds of easing), is because the remedy is totally flawed. If Bernanke’s predecessor, Alan Greenspan, had engaged in prudent monetary policy, we never would have arrived at the point of desperation that made quantitative easing a palatable option. However, we did, and Bernanke’s understanding of economics is so remedial that making the right choice is essentially impossible for him. Now, we are caught in a vicious circle of spending, borrowing, and easing.

In his most recent op-ed, Bernanke rather envisions a “virtuous circle” in which QE2 causes stock prices to rise, which then “boost[s] consumer wealth, and increase[s] confidence.” The wealth effect, in turn, “spur[s] spending and produce[s] higher incomes and profits,” which finally “support[s] economic expansion and promote[s] increased employment.”

Despite the devastation of the Fed’s previous burst bubbles (stocks in ‘99 and real estate in ‘08), Bernanke still believes in the virtue of pumping. His current policy is to inflate another stock market bubble to cure the recession that resulted from the bursting of the housing bubble, which was itself inflated to counter the effects of the bursting tech stock bubble. Does the story of the old lady who swallowed the fly come to mind? She eventually tried swallowing a horse, and we know how that ended. It’s hard to decide who is more culpable for the strategy: Bernanke for selling it or the country for buying it.

In the 16 months since Bernanke assured us that QE1 would not jeopardize price stability, oats prices are up 40%, concentrated orange juice up 45%, gold and rice up 50%, corn up 55%, coffee up 60%, copper up 70%, sugar up 90%, and cotton and silver up 100%! (The sluggish Dow Jones Industrials are “only” up 30%.)

Last week, Kraft Foods reported a 26% rise in third quarter revenue; however, because of steeply rising material costs, profits actually dropped 8.5% over the same period. If Bernanke is correct in assuming that consumer prices will stay low, the only way Kraft shares could go up would be for the market to assign much higher multiples to lower earnings. You can hope that will happen, but it’s not a wise bet.

Given that QE2 will also push down the dollar against foreign currencies, companies exporting to the US will face the same bind as Kraft. If foreign suppliers don’t raise prices, a weaker dollar will cut into their profits.

My guess is that neither foreign nor domestic companies will take the hit, but pass the costs along to consumers. Rising prices will soon became a daily occurrence on Main Street, not just in the stock market.

For all the wrangling over extending the Bush tax cuts, no one seems bothered by the continuation of the Bernanke tax increases. For the typical American wage earner, the inflation tax will more than offset the benefits of slightly lower income taxes. Savers and retirees will suffer the most as the interest paid on their assets continues to fall and the purchasing power of their principal is eroded.

In reality, quantitative easing will produce the exact opposite of its intended result. In the short-run, it may create the illusion of economic growth and temporarily add some service sector jobs, but once the QE ends, the growth and jobs will vanish. Then, the Fed will most likely try once again to douse the fire it started with another round of QE gasoline, creating an even larger and less manageable inferno. Let’s hope we can change policy before the whole economy burns to a cinder.

The Boiling Frog…Effects of QE2 On the Bottom 80% of the U.S. Population

Gonzalo Lira

An old metaphor: If you take a frog and drop it into a roiling pot of boiling water, it’ll jump right out, unscathed. But if you put that same frog in a pot of cold water, and then slowly raise the heat, that frog won’t move. It’ll stay in that pot of water, calm as can be, right up until it is boiled to death.

I’ve been arguing that the unpayable Federal government debt, coupled with irresponsible Federal Reserve policies, will inevitably lead to a hyperinflationary event and currency collapse. In order to prepare for a web seminar on hyperinflation in America, I’ve been looking at the issue of how to safeguard assets before a currency collapse, and how to identify opportunities in the midst of a hyperinflationary crisis.

But along the way – inevitably – it’s led me to consider the issue of the effects of hyperinflation on the American people. Not even hyperinflation – just regular old rising consumer prices: How will they affect the average household.

It’s disturbing

Even if you don’t buy my hyperinflation call in the least – and a lot of very smart people don’t – the recently announced Quantitative Easing 2 policy of the Federal Reserve has had and will have a profound effect on the dollar.

And a profound effect on the American people – especially the bottom 80%.

Bernanke’s stated purpose in QE2 is to spark consumer spending, and thereby reignite the economy. To do this, Bernanke and the Fed will pump $600 billion into the Treasury bond market, in monthly $75 billion increments – at minimum. According to the Fed’s statement, if more “liquidity” is needed, then by golly, more liquidity will be pumped into the economy.

QE2 is really the official start of a race-to-the-bottom debasement of the U.S. dollar.

No one doubts this – and no one would dispute that such a currency debasement will bring about upward pressures on consumer prices across the board. Indeed, this is the explicit purpose of QE2: The Fed is trying to induce inflation, as it believes that inflation will bring about a reignition of the stagnant American economy.

A lot of commentators have been discussing what QE2 will mean for equities and the various bond markets. People are talking about the Treauries’ yield curve – but not much about what QE2 will mean for the rest of the American population: The middle class, the working poor, the poor, and even the upper-middle class.

So let’s give it a go:

Taking Bureau of Labor Statistics data for 2009, which can be found here, we can put together this simple chart of household incomes and expenditures for last year, divided by quintiles:

Data, from Bureau of Labor Statistics, can be found here. Data in unadjusted U.S. dollars.

(A note on the data: Housing expenditures include mortgage payments or rents, utilities, and heating, including heating oil. Transportation data includes use of public transportation. Food includes “Food Away From Home” – a remarkably high proportion of expenditures, at 41% for the entire population, skewering to almost 50% for the top quintile, and almost 30% for the lowest quintile. The figure “% of Annual Expenditures” represents how much food, housing, clothing and transportation – the basic necessities – represents of the total expenditures of each quintile. The figure “% of Income” shows the basic necessities as percentages of after-tax income for each quintile.)

Now, it’s no trick to see that rising prices of basic necessities – as a result of plain vanilla Fed-induced inflation, and not the hyperinflation I am positing – will affect everyone: But especially the middle class, the working poor and the poor. It would be nice if we could quantify that effect. But we can’t just input a hypothetical inflation rate, apply it to the data, and come out with a number expressing how much each percentage point of inflation will affect each quintile of the population. We can’t because, as prices rise, people buy less of a necessity: Higher gas prices means people drive less. Higher food prices means people eat less, or less quality of food. Higher heating oil prices means people heat their homes at a lower temperature – or in some cases not at all. But although we can’t easily quantify it, we can comfortably make certain claims about the effects of rising consumer prices on the population.

The first claim I would venture to make – and one that I don’t think will be particularly controversial – is this: Any household spending more than two-thirds of their after-tax income on food, housing, clothing and transportation will suffer an immediate, negative impact from the Fed’s efforts at induced inflation. That covers pretty much the bottom three quintiles of American households. So 60% of the U.S. population will suffer an immediate effect of rising prices – the stated policy goal of Ben Bernanke’s QE2.

QE2 is having the immediate intended effect of pushing up asset prices, bouying up the financial sector – but it’s also pushing up commodity prices, which have been rising ever since QE2 was first toyed with as a policy option back in the spring. Lag times may vary, but rising commodity prices inevitably translate into rising consumer prices for basic necessities on Main Street. QE2 is directly responsible for the rise in the last few weeks of all commodities. This will inevitably lead to higher consumer prices. This inevitable effect of rising prices for the basic necessities gives lie to the stated goal that the Fed has of helping the American people by way of QE2. The policy is not helping – on the contrary: A minimum of 60% of the population will feel immediate, unavoidable pain directly as a result of QE2. They will spend more for basic necessities than they spent previously for them. Or else, if they don’t spend more, they will consume less. This ought to be obvious: People who cannot afford to spend more on a necessity will instead consume less of it, be it food, gas, or heating oil.

So here’s Fed Lie Number 2: QE2 will not get the economy spending again – on the contrary, rising consumer prices brought about because of QE2’s pushing up commodity prices will insure that the population cuts back on consumption, even if in nominal terms they are spending the same, or even more.

The key assumption that I am making, of course, and which has to be made in any analysis of the effects of rising consumer prices across socio-economic groups, is that wages and salaries will either not rise, or will rise with a lag time of no less than six months. This is an easy assumption for me to make: Even in the best of economic times, wages and salaries do not rise in lockstep with an expanding economy. And we are currently not in an expanding economy.

It is reasonable to assume that, during a period of steadily rising prices coupled with stagnant economic growth, wages and salaries will not rise for at least six months, if not longer. And of course, if unemployment were to rise above the current U-6 rate of 17%, then obviously aggregate wages and salaries would contract further – which would further aggravate the effects of the rising prices of basic necessities on the bottom 60% of the population for sure. If unemployment continues to rise, then that bottom 60% would begin to grow into the bottom 70% or 80% – maybe even hit the top quintile as well.

Wages are key. If inflation hit consumer prices as well as wages in equal measure, the net effect would be zero – which is more or less what you see in ordinary expansion-driven inflation, the kind prevalent in healthy economies: There are price pressures on commodities, which eventually translate into higher prices at the supermarket – but there are also price pressures on wages, as the economy in toto is expanding, and therefore bidding up scarce labor as it grows. In an expanding economy, prices might be rising – but wages are rising too, so no complaints.

However, in a stagnating or contracting environment – such as what we are experiencing now in the American economy – there are obviously no pressures on wages: If anything, there are downward pressures on wages and salaries. So if commodity prices rise, people – especially the poor, the working poor, and the middle-class, but maybe even the upper-middle class – are really going to take a hit, as more of their after-tax income goes to paying for basic necessities.

Some people might think that the debasing of the dollar via QE2 will mean that the real cost of housing will fall, as rents and fixed mortgages will be undermined by inflation. They might think this is a good thing.
But this only makes sense if your earnings are absolute: If you ‘re boss is paying you in gold coins, or silver lingots. But if you live on a dollar income, especially a fixed income – as so many seniors do, let alone the average wage earner – even if your housing costs remain nominally static, rising food, transportation and clothing prices will still take bigger and bigger bites out of that dollar-based income. Please look at the last line of the above table – “Food, Clothing, Transportation as % of Income” – which I calculated precisely for this objection.     The only ones who won’t feel the pain of rising prices of basic necessities that bad is the top quintile – maybe. If they’re income comes predominantly from equities, maybe. If not, then they’re going to take the hit as well.

Way to go, Benny! Your QE2 is going to hit all five quintiles! Be proud!

As I have discussed in detail elsewhere, and which ought to be clear from my discussion in this post, Ben Bernanke and the fucking idiots at the Fed committed the post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy with regards inflation: They seem to genuinely think that inflation begets growth, rather than understanding that growth begets inflation. (I don’t buy conspiracy theories that claim Benny and the Fed Fucktards are deliberately creating inflation to save the elite’s bacon – I think Benny and his Lollipop Gang are simply and genuinely stupid.) So he and his minions have started up QE2, hell bent on creating inflation in the American economy.

He seems to be succeeding, too.

According to Producer Price Index numbers, grains have risen 33% year over year, oil 20% year over year (both figures September-to-September, link is here). Ever since the idea of QE2 was floated back in May/June, commodities of all kinds have been steadily rising. And as of last week, when Quantitative Easing 2 was officially unleashed, commodity prices have surged even more – and will continue to rise for the foreseeable future. Not just precious metals but grains, sugar, coffee, not to mention oil – they are all rising.

Anecdotally, there is increasing evidence that food prices at the supermarkets have been rising for some time. I do not live in the United States, but I’m in close contact with literally dozens of people, both friends and business associates. From casual conversations and long discussions, I’ve been hearing that supermarket prices are rising across the board, and have been rising since at least mid-spring – yet the price rises do not seem to be reflected in the CPI.

That’s because of how the CPI – the Consumer Price Index, the traditional (and official) metric of U.S. inflation – is calculated. It uses data from past years – currently the 2007 and 2008 consumer survey – to create a basket of products, goods and services, which it uses to calculate monthly price changes.

However, the CPI doesn’t slice the baloney fine: If a product-x that was sold in a 20 ounce package for $3.99 back in 2007 is now being sold in an 18 oz. package at the same price, CPI does not compute that there was an 11.1% inflation in the price of product-x. Rather, according to the CPI, there was zero price inflation in product-x – because it sold for the same price, regardless of whether the package was 10% smaller.

But this is exactly what seems to be happening in food, as well as in other categories of what one would consider basic necessities: Foodstuffs are being sold in smaller units, cotton clothing is now being sold for the same price, only made of synthetic materials, and so on. A recent blog post on Zero Hedge highlighted the specific case of coffee at WalMart, previously sold in a package of 39 oz. for $9.88, now being sold for $10.48 – in a 33.9 oz package. This represents a 22% jump in price. Cases such as this are common, and cropping up like mushrooms on the web – enough to confirm that stealth inflation is happening, without needing to stop by John Williams’ Shadow Government Statistics.

This brings the obvious question: If food, transportation, clothing and housing prices rise, but the CPI doesn’t measure it – was there inflation?

This isn’t a Zen koan or Berkeley’s tree falling in the woods – this is real. So my answer is obvious: Yes.

But according to the Fed and to most of the economic commentariat (except for a few notable and distinguished exceptions), since the CPI is not rising, there is no inflation. At least not in theory. In practice? That’s something else.

So! What does this all mean?

It means that Americans are the frog in the metaphor. Between 60% and 80% of them – to be precise – are slowly being boiled alive. The bottom 60% to 80%, to be even more precise.

Because of QE2 in all its iterations – its rumor back in the spring, its announcement last week, its forthcoming implementation – prices for food, housing, clothing and transportation are rising, and will continue to rise as Bernanke’s policy works its magic on commodity prices, and eventually reaches the supermarkets.

The financial sectors might be pleased that their assets are being bouyed by this flood of money coming from the Eccles Building – but the rest of the population will be drowning.

It won’t be just the bottom two-thirds of the population that will feel the pain of QE2: The upper-middle class and even the top quintile will inevitably see more and more of their income going to pay for basic necessities, while their wages and salaries remain stagnant – assuming, of course, that they’re lucky enough to still have a job.

All the while, since the Consumer Price Index will be lagging or flat, the mainstream economists and the Fed drones will keep up a steady chant of, “There is no inflation! There is no inflation!” – even as a majority of the population feels the squeeze of rising prices for the basic necessities. It’ll be a lot like a bunch of cooks, standing around the boiling pot, saying to the poor frog, “It’s only cold water! Don’t worry! It’s still cold! Trust us!”

So like the frog in the metaphor, the bottom 60% of American households will be slowly boiled alive by rising prices –

– brought by QE2.

As I said, you don’t have to buy my hyperinflation call and currency collapse scenario to realize this effect of QE2. This effect of Bernanke’s policy is immediate, undeniable, and inevitable: QE2 will hurt a vast majority of the American population, while helping only a very, very few.

To this, I say: Yeay, Benny – way to help the American people. Way to fucking go.

The Doomsday Machine and the Race to Save the World: Geoengineering Emerges as Plan B at the 11th Hour

Jeff Conant

HAARP is an acronym for High-Frequency Active Auroral Research Program and is run by the Pentagon from Alaska. HAARP is really a SHIELD around the United States to protect it from a missile attack. A side effect of this macabre machine is the altering of the climate and is triggering earthquakes, tornadoes and hurricanes.

With the pending expiration of the Kyoto Protocol’s first commitment period in 2012, the widely decried failure of last year’s climate talks in Copenhagen, and the next set of U.N. climate negotiations to take place in Cancun, Mexico in less than six weeks, the U.N. Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), meeting this week in Nagoya, Japan, may be more tense, and more polarized, than ever.

One of the issues generating friction is the little-known set of futurist techno-scenarios collectively known as geoengineering. At the opening plenary of the Convention on Biological Diversity last week, the ETC Group – the same civil society outfit that led the charge for an international ban on Monsanto’s infamous “terminator seed” a decade ago – called for a moratorium on geoengineering experiments. The group’s new report, Geopiracy: The Case Against Geoengineering, argues the case for such a moratorium, calling geoengineering, “a political strategy aimed at letting industrialized countries off the hook for their climate debt.”

This emergent set of planetary-scale technologies is attracting millions of dollars in investment; it is high on the research agenda at the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the UK’s Royal Society; and it is being promoted by the scientists behind it as “the only practical way to protect biodiversity.” At the same time, the Washington Post has called it, “Playing God with the weather,” and a leading indigenous peoples’ organization called it “an assault on the sacred.”

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change defines geoengineering as, “The deliberate large-scale manipulation of the planetary environment.” David Keith, a leading proponent, gave the definition a touch more animus when he noted, “Climatic geoengineering aims to mitigate the effect of fossil fuel combustion on the climate without abating fossil fuel use; for example, by placing shields in space to reduce the sunlight incident on earth.”

The mental image conjured by “shields in space” begins to put flesh on the bones of what geoengineering is. Keith’s declaration that a key objective of geoengineering is to maintain the status quo of fossil fuel use tells us its principle intent, and begins to hint at what its critics consider to be the grave error at the heart of the approach. Faith Gemmill, an indigenous woman from Arctic Village, Alaska and Director of REDOIL (Resisting Environmental Destruction on Indigenous Lands) says, “Geoengineering is a way for scientists to remain in denial and for governments to avoid responsibility.”

The Shape of Things to Come

Geoengineering technologies fall into three categories: Weather Modification, Solar Radiation Management, and Carbon Dioxide Removal and Sequestration; each is already under intensive research, computer modeling and experimentation.

The first category, Weather Modification – generally covering “chemical cloud seeding” and “storm modification” (the redirecting of hurricanes) – is, conceptually, the mother of all geoengineering technologies, already practiced at significant scale in the U.S. and China. In the words of the ETC Group report, such techniques demonstrate “a classic ‘end-of-pipe’ response that addresses neither the causes nor the mechanism of climate change, but seeks only to alter its outcomes.”

The second set of methods is found even more literally at the end of the pipe: Carbon Dioxide Removal and Sequestration technologies attempt to remove CO2 from the atmosphere after it has been released. This is done either by mechanical means, through “carbon-sucking machines” (part of the arsenal deployed to put the “clean” in the dubious notion of “clean coal”), by modifying chemical cycles through “Ocean Fertilization” (introducing volumes of iron or nitrogen to the ocean) and “Crop Residue Ocean Permanent Sequestration” (dumping massive amounts of biomass into the sea), or by creating new carbon sinks through manipulation of species (GE algae) and ecosystems (burning biomass through pyrolysis and burying the resulting carbon, popularly promoted as “biochar”).

Biochar provides an interesting perspective on both the broad range of geoengineering proposals, and the appeal. Called Terra Preta de Indio by European settlers, biochar was invented as a soil conditioner in the Amazon centuries ago; its ability to sequester carbon was recently discovered by scientists. It is perhaps the least fantastic-seeming geoengineering approach, boasting supporters such as James Lovelock and Bill McKibben’s group 350.org, with a bright green image that appeals to the same demographic that, in principal, likes compost toilets. A precipitous rise in interest in the potential world-saving properties of biochar led to the recent establishment of the International Biochar Initiative, which is lobbying the UN for carbon credits.

While elegantly simple in theory – the direct introduction of carbon into agricultural soils – the factor that would give biochar its world-saving quality would be deployment on a massive scale; the biochar lobby proposes planting half a billion hectares of tree plantations, then burning them and tilling the resulting charcoal into the ground.

Even setting aside thorny ethical questions of patenting traditional indigenous knowledge, the scale of application required to have a global impact could lead, immediately, to a massive disruption of populations and livelihoods, quite possibly accompanied by large-scale violations of human rights.

The third category, Solar Radiation Management, evokes classic sci-fi through techniques such as “space sunshades” (trillions of small free-flying spacecraft forming a cloud a million miles above the earth), “space mirrors” (a superfine reflective mesh between the Earth and the sun), “climate ready crops” (some engineered to have a high-gloss, reflective surface), and “mountaintop painting.”

Altogether, the grandiose scope of these technologies evokes the scientific hubris of that ancient physicist Archimedes who said: “Give me a place to stand and with a lever I will move the whole world.” A more recent tinkerer in biogeochemistry, John Martin, echoed that phrase in an early description of “ocean fertilization” when he said, “Give me half a tanker of iron, and I’ll give you an ice age.”

While Martin’s comment, made three decades ago, was issued in apparent sarcasm, it belies an attitude, and a technological capacity, worth taking seriously. Indeed, the ETC Group took that particular technology seriously enough that it led the successful effort, beginning at a previous CBD meeting in 2008, to subject ocean fertilization to an international ban.

The Unlikely History of Climate Manipulation

In what seems like one of the little jokes of history, Bernard Vonnegut, the brother of novelist Kurt Vonnegut, was on the ground floor of geoengineering when he discovered in the 1940s that by seeding clouds with silver iodide pellets, you can – sometimes, under very unpredictable circumstances – stimulate rainfall. Since then, cloud seeding has enjoyed both agricultural and military uses, most notably in thousands of missions over Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh Trail and, more recently, to ensure good weather during the Beijing Olympics and to fill hydropower reservoirs in California.

The notion of heightening the reflectivity of the earth’s surface has been around since at least 1965, when President Johnson’s Science Advisory Committee suggested addressing global warming by spreading reflective particles over the oceans.

The notion is currently embraced by counter-culture icon Stewart Brand (founder, in 1968, of Whole Earth Catalog) and his close ally, Dr. Lowell Wood. Wood, the man behind Ronald Reagan’s ill-fated Star Wars program, and a protégé of the late Doctor Edward Teller (the real-life Doctor Strangelove and inventor of the hydrogen bomb) initiated another strain of the geoengineering lineage when he gave a provocative talk in 1998 called “Geoengineering and Nuclear Fission as Responses to Global Warming.”

Wood’s presentation captured the imagination of fellow researcher Ken Caldeira, who, as a 25-year-old activist in 1982 had helped organize one of the largest anti-nuke demonstrations in U.S. history; Caldeira initially tried to disprove Wood’s hypothesis, but ended up convinced of its potential for cooling the earth.

Wood and Caldeira are currently conducting joint experiments to mimic the action of a volcanic eruption by releasing sulfate particles into the stratosphere.

“The idea that you can tinker with natural systems to delay climate change seems entirely ludicrous,” said Pat Mooney, the Director of ETC Group, last week at the U.N. Convention on Biological Diversity. “We began to look at this issue in 2007, and the only reason, frankly, that we took it seriously at all was because there had already been experiments by governments related to ocean fertilization. And what we noticed was that it didn’t work, and every time it didn’t work there were more experiments saying, let’s just make it bigger next time to see if we can make it work then. At the same time, we saw the private sector getting involved with an interest in generating carbon credits. So we took the matter to the U.N.”

Plan B from Outer Space?

Like an example of existential satire from the mordant pulp science fiction of a Kurt Vonnegut novel, geoengineering might appear to those outside the scientific community like a strange, disquieting fantasy – technologies bearing the dimensions of a classic sci-fi doomsday machine, with the key difference that their prime directive is not to destroy the world, but to save it.

Climate science leaves no doubt that a dramatic urgency to “save the world” is fully merited. The UNFCCC negotiations have thus far resulted only in strengthening foundations for market-based climate policies that promise to balloon corporate profits while sinking small island states and coastal territories; there are no binding targets for reducing emissions; the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts that the Arctic may be free of summer ice within 30 years; and major ecosystems are teetering at the edge of tipping points from which there will be no return.

It is of course the very urgency of the crisis that forms the geoengineers’ bedrock justification for planetary-scale climate interventions. Last year the Royal Society, Britain’s equivalent to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, published a report called Geoengineering the Climate: Science, Governance and Uncertainty, which concluded that geoengineering “does not present an alternative to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, which should still be the focus of efforts to avoid dangerous climate change.” However,” says John Shepherd, chair of the group responsible for the report, “this is proving to be difficult.”

It is the apparent lack of political will on behalf of the world’s governments, and the apparent inability to “leave the oil in the soil and the coal in the hole,” in the parlance of social movements, that leads the Royal Society and other geoengineering proponents to argue the need to move quickly in developing what is being increasingly referred to as “Plan B for the climate.”

In a note to a climate science listserv this month, Ken Caldeira wrote, “Given the inertias in both the climate system and our energy infrastructure, climate engineering approaches may be the only practical way to protect the biodiversity of Arctic ecosystems.” In the same note, he launched an outright attack on the ETC Group: “At the upcoming meeting of the Convention on Biodiversity in Nagoya, Japan, the ETC Group is engaged in efforts to try to ban research on ways to protect biodiversity…. By being against research on systems that could protect biodiversity, the ETC group threatens Arctic biodiversity.”

Who Controls the Thermostat?

There is no question that technological interventions on a planetary scale should raise anxiety about global ‘side-effects’; risk of failure, and risk of accidents, are inherent to any technology, as nuclear disasters at Three-Mile Island and Chernobyl and the massive oil spills from the Ecuadorian Amazon to the Gulf Coast make frighteningly clear. Even a cursory look at more “human-scale” technologies like genetically-modified crops, agrochemicals, and waste incineration show that, once new elements are released heedlessly into the environment, they cannot be recalled, nor can the damage they cause be undone. But equally problematic are the factors that the Plan B approach so easily dismisses: the ethical and political implications.

The report from ETC Group points out that several international treaties could be violated by geoengineering, including the Convention on Biological Diversity, the UN Environmental Modification Treaty (ENMOD), the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and the International Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. With reference to this last, hard-won treaty, Tom Goldtooth, Director of the North-America-based Indigenous Environmental Network, has called geoengineering “a violation of our rights and our sovereignty,” and “a continuation of the technological nightmare that’s been imposed on our peoples for five centuries.”

Faith Gemmill, also of the Indigenous Environmental Network, calls geoengineering “a political tactic to allow the causes of the current crisis – and therefore the crisis itself – to continue.” In a specific counter to Ken Caldeira’s claim toward protecting Arctic ecosystems, Gemmill said, “There is no doubt that [geoengineering solutions] will perpetuate our situation in Alaska.”

Geoengineering also involves potentially thousands of patents and proprietary claims, making it a venture capitalist’s dream; one patent owned by David Keith, the scientist who co-manages the Gates Foundation’s $4.6 million geoengineering research fund, bears the official patent explanation, “Carbon dioxide capture method for generating carbon credits.”

Critics like the ETC Group and the Indigenous Environmental Network tend to see geoengineering as a smokescreen that wealthy nations use to avoid both emission reductions and political commitments. Neth Daño of ETC Group, who is from the Philippines, notes that, “The key players are all from the global North; not a single developing country is involved in this effort, and there is no process to allow developing country governments to be involved in decisions to which we are the most vulnerable.”

In a recent exchange, the Royal Society’s John Shepherd charged that ETC’s analysis is “based on fear and suspicion”; ETC Group’s Sylvia Ribeiro countered by saying, “It is possible to be both knowledgeable and suspicious. After all, these are the same governments, industries and scientists responsible for climate change, who have spent trillions of dollars to protect their industries while allowing a billion people to go hungry.”

While various manifestations of the geoengineering fantasy might, in fact, be able to temporarily cool the planet, the strictly technological approach to climate tends to forget that global warming is not the problem. The multiple aspects of ecological crisis – global warming, species die-off, the disruption of water cycles, ocean acidification, depletion of soil nutrients, extreme weather events, and unprecedented levels of social inequality, economic marginalization, extreme poverty, and war – are, arguably, mere symptoms of a common problem. That problem, simply put, is vast overuse of the Earth’s finite resources. And, given the nature of the dilemma, there may be no lever large enough, nor ground firm enough – short of ending fossil fuel exploitation – to make the Archimedean prophecy of geoengineering bear out.