Winter Mind Games


     Does anyone know exactly how the Winter Olympics got hijacked by the Canadian Hotel Housekeeping Employees Union?  Every time I turned the damn thing on, there were these ladies uniformed in manual labor casuals shoving teakettles across the floor while other ladies madly polished the forward path of said sliding kettles with Swiffer© sweepers. At least this was the first Olympiad to be dominated by Proctor & Gamble instead of some obnoxious Great Power nation with a political agenda. The NBC execs must have loved this weird new sport, because it was practically all they put on the air.
     My own interest in tea kettle shoving waned over the days, and a good thing too, because along came President Obama's Health Care Reform Summit Meeting on Thursday to engage the whole nation in a rousing Olympiad of mind games, including a round-robin version of The Spanish Prisoner, a mixed set of the Republican Pigeon Drop, and variations on the Nigerian Lottery scam, with touches of the Madoff Ponzi Gambit here and there. After a few hours of that, one longed for the simple mindless bliss of tea kettle shoving, if only to relieve the headache.
      I wish I could fetch up something like the glowing false authority of Paul Krugman to pronounce on the fantastic bundle of conundrums, riddles, and fathomless mysteries that is health care reform but I was left far more confused about it after the summit. All I can offer, really, are observations: for example, that Congressman John Boehner (R -Ohio) needs a set of steel ball bearings to roll around in his hand to perfect his otherwise dead-on impersonation of Captain Queeg, the paranoid villain of that 1950s movie The Caine Mutiny. I kept wishing that President Obama would reach under the table for a fungo bat every time the miserable Mr. Boehner opened his Midwestern pie-hole to drone out a new lie, and split his fucking head open like a Crenshaw melon -- but perhaps my fantasies are excessively baroque.
      My feelings toward the rest of the Republicans ran along similar lines.  Even that ole Teddy bear Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn) managed to put over a line of insolently mendacious  bullshit in the Republican effort to support the status quo at all costs. It brought to mind that curious incident from 1856 -- another era of inflamed passions -- when Congressman Preston Brooks (D - SC) stepped into the Senate chamber and flogged Senator Charles Sumner within an inch of his life with a gold-headed gutta-percha cane. Brooks had originally entertained the idea of a duel with Sumner, but was persuaded by friends that duels were correct only between social equals, and that Sumner was more deserving of treatments more usually prescribed for drunkards in the gutter. A horsewhip probably would have sufficed, but Brooks himself was a cripple from an earlier duel who happened to walk with a cane. Sumner was never quite same afterward, perhaps to the nation's ultimate benefit. Anyway, I would have enjoyed seeing the entire Republican side of the Health care Reform summit table swarmed and beset upon by cane-wielding crazies -- and all those golf-obsessed, grift-fattened, hypocritical gentlemen from those backwater districts in the Heartland begging for mercy as they cringed on the floor.  Perhaps a bloody spectacle like that is yet to come. Based on how we seem to be doing things in this Republic, I wouldn't count it out.
     Of President Obama's performance, I confess I came away disappointed. His speech throughout the long day seemed halting, wan, lacking in conviction, as though he had been assigned some thankless interlocutor's role in an embarrassing and hopeless political minstrel show that history had cruelly mandated to demean him. (Or maybe he just needed a cigarette.) Of all people, the rascally Charles Rangel (D -NY) far outshone the President both in stylish verve and substance in laying out his version of what was at stake late in the day.  And though I am generally not a Pelosi fan, House Speaker Nancy (D - Cal) rather effectively called out the opposition as a claque of lying motherfuckers in her concluding remarks.
     We are left, finally, with a so-called health care system so cruel and unjust that the Devil himself in consultation with the most demonic lobbyists, and perhaps a little input from historical politicians such as Caligula, Ivan the Terrible, Heinrich Himmler, and Pol Pot could not construct a worse way of deploying the fruits of modern science. It has gotten to the point for most of us where we dread a visit to the doctor more for the bureaucratic consequences than the health issues themselves. Your gall bladder may have to come out, but it's much harder to face the booby-trap clause in your health insurance that will result in you getting stuck with a $123,000 bill for surgery and attendant procedures (including the $500 tylenols). Three months later, of course, the re-po man is towing your car and the mortgage "servicer" has foreclosed on your house, and your life (even without that pesky gall bladder) has become a permanent camping trip next to a drainage ditch.
     I am personally not confident that we will do anything to address the failures and inequities of so-called Health Care. As a general thing, I have to say that this recent exercise only seems to prove the now permanent impotence and impairment of the federal government. In The Long Emergency we have entered, real governance is likely to devolve downward to the community level, and it may be unrealistic to expect any real action from on high. Things have just gone too far at this point. We have blown past the thresholds of hyper-complexity so that further hyper-complexity only make things worse. At more than 2,000 pages, the current Health Care Reform bill is surely an exercise in the diminishing returns of grotesque additional hyper-complexity.
     I am confident in the "emergent," self-organizing capablities of human societies. We are now faced with the task of emergently re-organizing medicine downward to the community clinic level -- and sooner or later probably toward a simple, straightforward pay-as-you-go in cash basis with doctors you know, with all the bureaucratic barnacles scraped away. Like a lot of other things in the years ahead -- education, retail trade, transport, even banking -- medicine is likely to be much less dazzling than the way it is practiced today. But when all is said and done we'll still possess the germ theory of illness and the recipe for lidocaine and a few other things that will make existence tolerable.
    Oh, one last thing.  What I said about John Boehner also applies to that miserable dissembling pinch-faced prick Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R- Ky).  Someone, please, take a cricket bat to him.


398 Comments


At this point, I no longer care whether Americans decide to get a decent health care system. If you choose to let your own people die, so be it. I am much more concerned about the US reducing emissions and stopping environmental destruction, but I suspect this will never happen until they are forced to do so.

http://www.selfdestructivebastards.com/2009/12/beyond-copenhagen.html

Best column in memory. The invective - Oh, one least thing. What I said about John Boehner also applies to that miserable dissembling pinch-faced prick Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R- Ky). Someone, please, take a cricket bat to him. - is simply priceless!

Politics in Washington has now reached the point where it is beyond ridiculous and bordering on dangerous. They need 2000 pages to describe the Health bill?
Oh yeah, I keep forgetting. they all went to LAW school. They think, act, talk, eat, drink, sleep, and fuck (us over) just like lawyers.

Jim, I usually love your stuff, but this column is beneath you. On the one hand you admit to not understanding the health legislation, while with the other hand you are bashing people for questioning it.

There are dark times ahead, you are correct there. And you are correct that it is the people, not the government or their corporate cronies, who have the best chance to create a brighter future.

Even the trolls are waking up. See them awaking from their slumber at http://www.thenothingstore.com

Been reading Gore Vidal lately (I know, call him a fantasist, but he's been prescient for over 6 decades)...he chronicles so calmly, so adroitly how corrupt our gov't has become, gradually, decade by decade it often surprises me how little he's quoted. He has been at the crucible.

Also, as the world's largest debt ridden nation, when are people going to talk about the war dept, that eats up more than 60%, maybe more? That's simply not part of the discussion, unfortunately.

I really hear and feel the anger, the frustration, I think Frank Rich had a pretty good handle on part of the problem called the Axis of the obsessed and deranged. No wonder we're so upset, the slide has been so gradual, so burdensome for the tax payer, I'm getting so close to getting rid of my US company, cannot wait. The day I don't have to directly pay for the Pentagon will be a happy one. So much waste.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/28/opinion/28rich.html

I agree with anybody who says we need to do something about the high cost of health care insurance.

Trouble is, a high percentage of the premium costs have come about in response to governmental screwing around with the world of medicine, these last thirty years or so. They've raised doctor's overhead costs by a significant factor.

The very-warranted griping about the Congressional bills is that they don't actually do anything to reduce costs, and they add to the already egregious deficit.

Pick a problem: Monetary turmoil, obscene deficits, racial relations, education and now health care: We're relying on the very people who have brought about these problems to be the ones to fix them.

Ain't gonna happen.

'Rat

Maybe what's happening with health care is mostly a symptom of a failing economic system. It's the medical care bubble bursting. The companies that manufacture the organ-scourging industrial foods people eat and the drugs that cause a round of side effects that loop back have had such a heyday of generating profitable sickness that it's all melting down. They've killed the golden goose.

At some point prevention won't just be a nice thing we 'should' do for ourselves, but kind of like making sure your roof doesn't leak and your car's gas gauge works. There will always be diseases caused by the cumulative effects of a poisoned environment, and I know it's an epidemic of chronic anxiety that pushes bad eating habits, but in the 'Long Emergency' maybe people will have no choice but to garden and cook basic foods from scratch. A lot of what clogs the system is entirely self-inflicted and avoidable.

Lynn
http://www.10in10diet.com/
Diet for a small footprint and a small grocery bill

Hilarious post today Jim, though curling and John Boehner do provide rich material to work with. The absurdity of over complex systems is spilling out of the seams of society in every dimension.

"His speech throughout the long day seemed halting, wan, lacking in conviction, as though he had been assigned some thankless interlocutor's role in an embarrassing and hopeless political minstrel show that history had cruelly mandated to demean him."

Well, then his carriage only reflected the reality of the situation didn't it.

http://hurricanekatrinakaif.com

The next-to-last paragraph in Jimbo's e-rant for this week is probably a pretty good vision of how things will eventually turn our re: health care in this country. I'm old enough to remember the doc who made house calls. When I saw that gray 1951 Plymouth business coupe pull up to the house, the doc exiting with his little black bag (really!) and my stay-at-home mom answering the doorbell, I knew that whatever was ailing me, the inevitable cure was going to be a shot of penicillin in the rear. And generally, in a day or two I felt better. After reading the rant, I'm reminded of a quote from one of my favorite authors, journalism professor Robert Jensen of the University of Texas. "We are at a moment when leaders cannot help us, because we need to go deeper than leadership can take us." Dig deep, everyone...we're going to need it.

Yes, curling is a plot to take over the world by boring all the people to death; I'm Canadian and have been to some of the meetings! The only effective resistance I think, is one JHK mentions with his confidence "in the "emergent," self-organizing capabilities of human societies."

Really what else have we at the end of the day?

www.RadicalRelocalization.com

Not only do corporations want to make billions in profit from health care but they obviously want to tie decent health coverage with corporate obeisance.

If workers don't knuckle under, shut up, and do as their told.....whammo...no health care!

Many self-employed or small business owners can't afford health insurance.

Corporations want total control!

They've co-opted our entire governmental process!

Both parties are paid to take turns representing the "will of the people" while the big money players aren't even known.

Only a cricket bat for that snapping turtle Mitch McConnel?

Well, I suppose the turtle soup would be inedible.

~Ruff

The big debate over the Disease Intervention Cartels is yet one more symptom of a colonial mindset that has run this country since 1603. The environment and the lesser humans are nothing but raw materials and chattels there but for the pleasure of the better men. In the South, the paradigm of chattel slavery persisted long after the birth of the Republic. In the North, wage slavery continues to this day. And still the better sort of men hold sway in all public affairs. By definition, there is no political will to bring a humane health care system into existence if the better sort of men deem it so. If the rabble are to prevail, there must be sufficient unrest so as to threaten the better sort of men into action. It must be shown to them that it's time to give a little in order to keep a lot. And that the river of cash from premiums is no trivial sum, the unrest must likewise be non-trivial. Tea Bagger rallies are a nice touch but insufficient. The rabble needs to organize general strikes, massive street demonstrations, and perhaps a police car flambé or two. Nothing short of the better sort of men urinating in their $2000 suits will get them off the mark.

The cash for healthcare scenario is our only hope. But, as usual, it will be "no problem Mr. Congressman, this one's on the house!" "And by the way, tell Mr. Frank we still have his gerbil down here if he wants it back."

We have blown past the thresholds of hyper-complexity so that further hyper-complexity only make things worse. - Well put. Let's start training people to be farmers, bike mechanics and to be happy.

Reality Check...I spent the entire weekend visiting a relative in a small town hospital in mid Ohio. As far as I am concerned the care was not sufficient and I fear the day I may be laying on a hospital bed in pain like that... Truly a wide awake eye opening experience. Also, every room I walked by had a patient in it. I can't imagine how clogged the system would be if "something" were to happen or if it would even hold together at all.

This week's rant was a real gem! Somehow, I managed to miss the Olympics and the Health Summit. But Jim gave me a front seat on everything that mattered. It's getting so I actually look forward to Mondays just to read the latest JHK column. Great work!

p.s. however, I know we could all do without the Nothing Store and it's infantile comments.

Only 2000 pages. They have a long way to go to catch up with the federal tax code. -and that is what they like to do, add on
and patch. Never a fresh idea, until the whole thing becomes
an indecipherable mess. A few years back the DOD decided they wanted a new lightweight helicopter. By the time they finished
the specs (with "improvements") it was too heavy to get off the ground.

Last week's blog and comments about the Tea Party gang left me with one lingering impression. The Tea Party members remind me of recovering addicts. Be it alchohol, cigarettes, born-agains, or gamblers, they all are an arrogant bunch of let me tell you how you should livers. The only problem is, we, as a country, have not(been allowed to) hit bottom yet. When we do (when this chain letter collapses) these boneheads will number in the millions. Imagine having to listen to each one of these do-gooders at a family picnic while your mother whispers in your ear: "you should listen to aunt Sarah she knows what she is talking about."

Like a three-year old on the toy aisle, Barry just wants his way and he wants it now. The only thing missing (so far) is the foot stomping.

The "government" will likely pass "health care reform" eventually and they will most certainly take your money, but they won't fix a damn thing.

Nightmare straight ahead.

JHK writes:
I am personally not confident that we will do anything to address the failures and inequities of so-called Health Care.

I think that after the '08 elections a desperate Republican party circled the wagons fearing Democratic control of the Executive and Legislative branches. Part of the strategy (and it is so easy with something as complicated as health care)is to distract, stall, bait, and confuse. The social tragedy of health care is performed on a political stage.

I think what more people are waking up to is the perception of an ineffectual, bickering Congress. Does Caesar cross the Tiber?

Don't ever give up hope.

One of my friends is a small town lawyer in West Virginia. He already trades his services for laying hens, venison, and the like. We talk about relocalising our food system. As you cogently point out, "we are now faced with the task of emergently re-organizing medicine downward to the community clinic level." Perhaps my friend's experience is an example of what that will look like. If there is a free clinic in your area, do everything you can to support it! The future health of your community may depend on it.

Jeez Jim, could you sound like more of a fucking lefty hack than this article?! Your WORST one yet! You're touting Charlie Rangel and Nancy Pelosi and calling the Other side lying motherfuckers??? Are you kidding me? Health care needs fixing, NOT an overhaul. Here it is, deal with the pre-existing conditions bullshit, let insurance companies compete against each other across state lines, decrease the unions power and MALPRACTICE reform...DONE!!! The reason medicine is so expensive is all the "progressive" regulation, bullshit malpractice claims, practicing defensive medicine because of all the whore attorney ambulance chasers like John Edwards and SEIU union demands. BTW, how was your global warming weekend in NY??? HAHAHA...wrong on that one too pal!

Be careful what you wish for. Also we are never getting out of Iraq, hell we haven't left Germany. Get over it. As for the RR they are all ready hugely paid for by the Gov. already. Jim,if all these bad things happen and we have to fend for ourselves what are you going to do? Ever set up a press, grown food or fixed anything? Not a lot of uses for writers in a broke down society. Just remember in a break down of society those who can't are the first to disappear. Just thinking. Good luck.

If the "healthcare" bill passes, it will benefit the insurance companies a lot more than it will help the people. The mandate will require everyone to buy private insurance (as the public options was nixed) thereby increasing insurance companies profits even more. Whether the bill passes or not, we're all fucked and premiums will continue to skyrocket well beyond the rate of inflation, deductibles will increase, co-pays will increase, etc. I guess one good thing about the bill is that is forbids insurance companies from denying customers coverage for pre-existing conditions. Thanks for the tossing scraps of crumbs while kicking us in the balls!

Did anyone really expect anything of substance to come out of the Health Care Summit... no of course not... now even Warren Buffet has chimed in on the need for reform. We will get nothing... and like it.

I am still looking for help and contributors to my blog... it's my therapeutic sarcastic attempt at maintaining sanity as I ride this wave of unemployment into the Long Emergency. http://www.aimlow.com

The health insurance companies own the government. Therefore, to be for private health insurance is to be for government intrusion. But the thing is, the private insurance companies make enormous profits.

GOP on health care:

'Are there no prisons?' asked Scrooge....'And the Union workhouses.' demanded Scrooge. 'Are they still in operation?'

'They are. Still,' returned the gentleman,' I wish I could say they were not.'

'The Treadmill and the Poor Law are in full vigour, then?' said Scrooge....'I help to support the establishments I have mentioned-they cost enough; and those who are badly off must go there.'

'Many can't go there; and many would rather die.'

'If they would rather die,' said Scrooge, 'they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population.'

There's no escaping the fact that the Dem's had decades to prepare a health plan and have it in the can and ready to go at such time as the stars somehow got aligned and the Dem's managed to get control of both houses of congress and the presidency at the same time.
But they made a complete hash of things.
Bunch of losers.

You're such a great writer that I will overlook the few times that you pick sides in the Hatfield-McCoy feud.

The Republican endgame on health care is the same as for any other legislation their handlers dislike:

1) Take otherwise sensible legislation and load it up with so many provisions to "protect the taxpayer" or "prevent government funded abortions" that legislation becomes a disaster.

2) Allow legislation to barely pass, but still be perceived as a product of the other side.

3) When new legislation fails, blame "incompetent government" that "can't do anything right."

4) Collect reward in form of high paying K-Street government job, or a series of numbers for an account in a little bank somewhere in Lichtenstein, to be withdrawn against 5 years down the line when everyone has forgotten you were once in congress.

Nothing new here. Just happens to be applied to health care - something almost every other western democracy has managed to deploy effectively.

Pure gold - especially the line, of Obama: "Or maybe he just needed a cigarette."

One of the problems of the US healthcare system is the cumulative profits being made on it: high wages, hospital proffits, insurers. . . perhaps small individually, but when added up, they make for an inefficient system.

The system needs shaking up, but how? Where's the money coming from? Where's the political will?

As stated above, what's happening to health is a symptom of a failing economic system. There isn't the money to fix it, just patch it.

The problem with the American system is that it was designed to run on abundant energy and cash - it's inefficient.

This is not anti-American. Yours is still the wealthiest and best country in the world to live in, however. Most of the rest of the world would trade in everything for a green card, just for a chance at the American dream.

Typical American argument on healthcare.

One side wants the government to do something to make insurance affordable.

The other side says screw anyone who can't afford it.

Meanwhile, people all over the world realize that health care is provided by doctors and nurses, working in clinics and hospitals.

So they provide health care by training more doctors and opening more clinics.

Not here. No way. Asking for health care is considered a clear sign of spoiled entitled Americans demanding perks that only the rich should get.

If China could train millions of barefoot doctors to go out and provide healthcare for peasants who had never had it, and Cuba can have a doctor on every block, and France can have free daily home health visits by nurses, why is the US so fixated on how to pay for insurance?

It's so absurd that we can only debate within the ruling class parameters given to us.

So why do we as a nation spend some $7500 yr/pp to have a health result in the world of 32 while the French pay $3000 and are 12th. The Japanese pay $2500 and are 4th. We pay 3 times as much and get less???? How does that work? What if the same logic worked for cars? Would you pay 3x more for a GM than you would for a BMW? Say it again we pay 3x more for less. Does it sink in? Where does the money go? Who is looting us? Why don't they ever discuss this? Say it again. Who is looting us?????

And Obama always speaks in that halting way.

It's starting to bug me to listen to him. Not as much as listening to smirking Bush, yet, but I'm guessing it won't be long.

Jim,
As usual, you are able to deftly illustrate the irritation that most Americans feel, yet cannot describe.

As far as I am concerned, the Dems and Repubs are but two separate heads on the same body. Representing their lobbyists and special interests seems to trump representing the American People.

This 2,000 page abomination could be scrapped and replaced by a ten page document, but it would no longer kiss the asses of Big Pharma, the AMA, the unions, etc. etc. When we finally get something forced down our throats, it will be unlikely to help anyone. I foresee a giant clusterfuck on the horizon, and it is not pretty.

This health care bill does not contain any of the most desperately needed provisions:

1. The U.S. MUST negotiate drug prices. Period.
2. Drugs MAY NOT be advertised on TV like some new kind of floor cleaner.
3. TORT REFORM. Kill all of the lawyers.
4. Reform the patent laws that allow these pharmaceutical companies to add one molecule of some inert substance to a drug and call it a "new and exciting treatment". End the patent renewals plaguing the generic drug companies.


Defensive medicine is costing upwards of thirty five percent of our health care budget, because of frivolous lawsuits that insurance companies prefer to settle out instead of fighting. End this practice and force both parties to fight it out all the way. If the burden of cost is placed on the insurance companies, they will make short work of these frivolous claims, and the genuine claims will have more merit when heard in court.

Until the basic problems are sorted out, lobbyists are sent down the road and special interests are told NO MORE, the system can only become more cumbersome and care will be rationed. I cannot begin to imagine the paperwork nightmare that will happen if the Government takes over our health care. They cannot even provide basic care for our veterans for Christs sake.

Wow Jim ! You are coming off like the very shitfountains you rant about. This mornings rant was really bad. No solutions,just left wingnut bs. Beating and bashing anyone who questions this arrogent half breed,upsurper of the highest office who sat up there like some sort of condensending prick, swating at anyone who dared to question this pile of shit. Dude why is it that we have before us a 2000+ page piece of unexplainable bs in the first place ? Virtualy everyone in the House and Senate are multi-millionare lawyers. There is no way this bs should be allowed to be dumped on us. As I've suggested before, put everyone on Medicare and be done with the rip-offs in the "Healthcare Inurance Industry" Vote all of them out and send in some new clowns. You certainly didn't do anything creative today to further any sort of cohesive Health Care dialouge. Well lay off the meth and maybe next week will amount to something better !

I have often wondered why health care is offered by employers.
What in the hell does health care have to do with the job a person has??
The corporate criminals apparently figure you or your family don't need health care,while you have no job.
I also wondered why my eyes and teeth are not included in health care,last I remembered all we humans all came so equipped.
How much longer are we going to put up with all this bullshit,it's bad enough fiddling with time twice a year,and that so called SYSTEM of weights and measures,designed strictly to promote trickery and deceit,the American public got rammed down their throat,not to mention the "two party" political system.
It's HIGH time for more than a tea party!!

I agree with the comments that Clusterfuck Nation is such a brilliant Blog that I will overlook James' temporary lapse into partisanship.
I think that Obama's handlers organized this conference for two reasons: 1. It would highlight Obama's "Community Organizer" skills 2. It would expose the opposition for the self serving obstructionists that they are. It did neither.
The Health Care Bill is simply too complicated. I agree with Ancona that it should be scrapped and replaced with a ten page document that doesn't kiss everyone's ass. And, it also needs a simple sound bite that everyone can remember. How about "Medicare for Everybody".

Government should have nothing to do with healthcare. Just like so many other areas that they have their nose stuck in they should get out. Healthcare is an individual's responsibility, just as learning a skill and earning one's own way is totally an individual's responsibility. The inflated prices of medical, insurance, medicine, etc. would all come down to realism if it was all subjected to the free market and the will of the masses.

Government should just do it's real job: maintain the infrastructure, defend the country, stay small, support a strong currency, and stay out of everyone's way so they can work on the pursuit of prosperity.

Man never had health insurance or medical for 99.999999% of his existence on this planet. It is an individuals responsibility for their health... high quality organic food, pure water, daily fresh squeezed veg juice, proper supplementation, daily exercise and sunshine, no processed or man made foods, no foods with chemicals or additives, controlling life and removing unwanted conditions in order to prevent stress. Such things are what guarantee good health. It is your responsibility to get educated and make this happen for you and your family. Why should people who neglect their health and eat crap be taken care of?

That gallbladder that JHK writes about has to come out because the person involved didn't learn to take care of themselves. Most all disease and illness is due to lifestyle and is self-created.

Healthcare is a poor solution to peoples' ignorance, irresponsibility and neglect. An unusual solution that will create more trouble.

The numbers: The US pays twice as much as anyone else for health care for a system that now ranks 35th in the world.

Rome burned while Nero fiddled. It was ever thus at the End of Empire.

Without a little focus, this sort of scattershot rage is about as useful as the Teabagger's variety.

I found the summit very useful, not just for exposing transparently obstructionist Republican tactics of the "let's just start over" (repeated ad nauseum) sort but also for laying out some honest-to-goodness policy differences. The mainstream media seemed to willfully ignore those, in favor flogging some personality driven sniping, of which there was actually comparatively little, the better to convey the meeting as some kind of demeaning, reality TV show.

Of the substantive differences, perhaps one of the most telling: Republicans object to the Obama plan in part on grounds of defending Medicare. When you hear a Republican defending Medicare, your bullshit antenna should go up, you should cover your nuts and grab your wallet (not necessarily in that order.) It became apparent that what they really meant is they want to protect Medicare C (aka "Medicare Advantage" plans.) I learned what these things are the hard way recently, by doing bureaucratic battle to get my geriatric father's Medicare advantage coverage accepted by a prominent national cancer center. In a nutshell, these things are private insurance market policies which "replace" the insured's medicare, plus (in theory) provide a little additional coverage like preventative services, gym memberships, etc., of the sort which are extremely cheap and very infrequently used by senior citizens. For this, the private insurers can charge policy holders additional premium over and above what Medicare would charge, they also get paid an incentive from the government of about 15%, and are permitted to allow doctors and hospitals to whack insured's for an additional chunk of the total bill.

The kicker? Doctors and hospitals are free to accept or reject the coverage on a visit by visit basis. Meaning the policy holder cannot know in advance (as they can with other types of policies which have networks of hospitals and doctors)where they'll be eligible to be treated.

This is what Republicans mean by "market based solutions." The whole experiment has been an unmitigated disaster - - except for the agents and insurers who've reaped huge profits from a previously untapped market. And for Republicans who found a backdoor way to undercut Medicare, and provide themselves with another example of how "big government" programs don't work. Think Grover Norquist's wet dream of shrinking government down to the size where it can be drowned in the bathtub.

Shambles said:

The system needs shaking up, but how?

By using the same reconciliation procedure Bush used with great success to get his tax cuts on the rich passed.


Where's the money coming from?

By reversing Bush's tax cuts on the rich.

Where's the political will?"

On the horizon, less than one Friedman unit away, probably around Easter.

It is a funny thing to see the TEA partiers bleating their complaints against JHK's latest column. Pity the poor Republican party dying a deliciously painful death as its only remaining demographic withdraws from the party and further radicalizes the political process in a manner which shall make electing Republicans extremely difficult in the years ahead.

Incidentally, TEA partiers, I happened to see Civil War re-enactors yesterday and while walking through the parking lot noticed that these people were still engaged in the Civil War as they had confederate bumper stickers with "Proud Patriots Against Obama" ... how sad & pathetic to see that these people lost in 1864, 1964 and 2008.

So much for the conservatives.

As for myself, I watched a spectacular moonset and sunrise yesterday, and followed that with another spectacular sunrise today. I'm nearly full detached from politics & am beyond the point of caring about the unplesant fate of the United States & humankind in the years and centuries ahead.

There is a merit to this lifestyle ...

http://www.flickr.com/dmathew1

To live at peace with Nature is more important than anything else. Life is too short to live as one of capitalism's slaves.

Hank Paulson took a one or two page 'bill' write up to Congress for the TARP, remember? Two pages to get 22+ trillion dollars for the banks. But health care? 2000+ pages, probably 500 pages of footnotes, I don't know.

Of all other problems with Congress (House+Senate), one is that there are too many lawyers. Somehow, we've come to believe that only a lawyer can be in Congress. Decades ago, a Senator from the south was a farmer, or a Senator from Michigan might have been an autoworker. Today, we have billing by the hour lawyers acting as Senators, and sure, they're not representing the people. We have to put actual real people into Congress.

That Democrats, a majority now, with a Democrat in the White House, STILL cannot capture the narrative, and STILL allow the GOP to control the news cycle and all the blog chatter ('did you hear what RUSH said?') is just incredible to me. But, Democrats, being the DLC variety, don't want a progressive narrative, and Obama has done all he could do to marginalize progressives.

Over the weekend, Sunday night in fact, Obama signed the Patriot Act renewal. But, he had no bill to sign that would continue unemployment benefits for 1.2 million Americans who will find this week that they no longer are on the rolls. This is because Harry Reid let the Senate go home last Friday after failing to get the bill out. So we have a Senate and president that are very worried about the Patriot Act's expiration, but not about the expiration of unemployment benefits for 1.2 million Americans.

An obvious message is being sent in my view. And, they want to see what happens when 1.2 million Americans suddenly run out of money---test case for the future? I don't know. But we know where Obama and the Senate stand---Patriot Act 1st. The unemployed---disappeared. Watch the unemployment rate drop due to 1.2 million being kicked off the rolls. There but for the grace of God....etc...

A Healthcare Summit. What's next a Hospital Opera. Or a Pediatricians Tiger Team. Or a Nurse's Treaty. The only thing we can count on for sure is we will get a BILL. It will be large. And we'll have to pay it or else. Does anything ever change?

As an Ohioan, I agree with your take on John Boehner. What an evil, slimy monster. I have watched him crawl up the ranks in politics for years. It is a total puzzlement, how anyone with a smattering of gray matter can cast a vote for him. Very frightening that this sociopath has any power.

Thanks for the column!

Jim Bunning's hold does not just affect the unemployed. It also affects the employed.

Bunning also stopped an extension of the Highway Trust Fund for 30 days. That means the fund cannot be used to pay for any of its programs or its employees.

So, the Department of Transportation as of Monday morning, must furlough 2,000 federal workers. DOT says that number could climb if this stalemate over funding drags on. Employees affected include federal inspectors overseeing highway projects on federal lands. If the inspectors aren't there, the projects must shut down. DOT says that will affect 41 critical construction projects from Alaska to the U.S. Virgin Islands.

"high quality organic food, pure water, daily fresh squeezed veg juice, proper supplementation, daily exercise and sunshine, no processed or man made foods, no foods with chemicals or additives, controlling life and removing unwanted conditions in order to prevent stress. Such things are what guarantee good health"

Wow. Guaranteed good health. You should write for the politicians. Have you ever heard of genetics. How about the luck of the draw?

Good. The fifty or so people who actually produce will find another job. The other 1950 can help make up for the 1.2 million that are falling out of the unemployment line due to expiration. And the stock market will have another reason to explain a one-percent gain in the Dow due to a 1,198,050 drop in the totally bogus unemployment numbers.

Who needs health care when the country is vastly overpopulated anyway? In a place where your only apparent value is defined by your employment, if you are a member of the unemployed, you are worthless and expendable. I'm thinking I should get into the mortuary business, it's gonna start booming soon!!!

At least somebody mentioned Tort Reform, which would be a great help in reducing doctors' overhead. The lower the overhead, the less a doctor needs to charge for a given level of profit. The more a doctor needs to charge, the higher the premiums for health care insurance.

Dunno why that's so hard to figure out.

If any legislator figures a bill's a bummer, is it not his duty to the nation to be obstructionist? If his suggestions for his perceptions of improvement are ignored, why, then, should he be cooperative?

I don't know if the proviso is still in one of the three bills, but the requirement that insurance companies must ignore pre-existing conditions will either drive premium costs through the roof, or bankrupt all the companies and thus leave no private-sector insurance at all.

If there is a federal insurance program at low cost and without the concept of three years before coverage of pre-existing conditions, there will be only a federal program--no private sector insurance--which will create far larger deficits than what we're already seeing--and $1.6 trillion ain't exactly chump-change.

Rat said: "At least somebody mentioned Tort Reform"

They should not have mentioned Tort Reform because it is insignificant.

California passed Tort Reform 30 years ago and it did not slow down rising health care costs. Why?

Because medical malpractice lawsuits represent

Someday you might be glad you have the right to sue, if your body is butchered by some incompetent.

Because medical malpractice lawsuits represent less than 0.5%, less than one percent of health care costs.

Let's review the "discussion" of the health care "system" in context. We have a nation where a significant percentage of the population lives in housing that is arguably not sustainable, i.e the outer suburbs. We have a transportation system based on cars and trucks which is also unsustainable. Why has this happened? Well, I would suggest that it all has to do with who benefits - the "cui bono". Certainly it is not the society at large. It likely benefits the very few, many of whose names are rarely uttered, but whose agenda are "serviced" by most of our congress. So it is with health care. There will be no change because those who would be disadvantaged by such change will not permit it and they are in effective control. Putting it more bluntly, there is no "society". Those of us who participate in this blog are surely not part of the club who has benefited from all the unsustainable activities, health care being the first (apparently) to be recognized as unsustainable. Transportation and housing arrangements are next of the list of becoming obviously unsustainable. As JHK has said, we need to establish what we value as a people and keep that assessment within the bounds of that which is actually attainable. But unfortunately that would require two things which are difficult to imagine. First, we would require real leadership, not bloviators and shills, and secondly, we would require a population that acts and thinks like adults, not precocious teenagers. Congress and the population need to discover that the world demands adults at the helm and on deck. The time for grandstanding and unfounded desire is now over. Time to grow up and get serious.

Andrew Sullivan, writing in the Atlantic:

All the evidence available shows that the liability "crisis" is a myth. Malpractice payments account for less than 1% of the nation's health care costs each year.

Since 1987 medical malpractice insurance costs have risen just 52% despite the fact that medical costs have increased 113%. The size of malpractice damage awards has remained steady since 1991. Adjusted for inflation, the average malpractice payment has actually decreased since then.

The number of payments for malpractice judgments of $1 million or more has never exceeded one-half of one percent of the annual total number of malpractice payments dating back to 1991.

People talk about what the cost of healthcare reform is over 10 years ($800 billion), but they always talk about the military budget over a period of 1 year. The US spends more on their military $650 billion)in one year than the rest of the world ($500 billion)combined.

Why isn't anybody outraged over this military expenditure compared to the proposed healthcare expenditure?

One thing we continually hear is that Congressmen and Senators don't have time to read the Health Care Bill.

Then who do you think wrote it (like maybe lobbyists?)

It is time for the Washington to do something right, not politically expedient. Health costs are devestating in America. They destroy individuals and businesses. Insurance only masks those costs from individuals. Until a viable alternative to the current system is developed, we will soon tip over the cliff where health care is available only to the very rich!

We will have to get a lot more health care providers and facilities before we can address this problem. If the govt were to fund the school/training costs with the committment for the graduates to work in govt funded clinics for ten years, we would start to have a realistic answer. This is a competative answer to our current problems, and establishes more of a free-market system. Let the insurance companies and doctors and hospitals/HMOs charge their exorbitant fees. With true competition in the system, then we will see progress for the nation.
AMHO.

Solar Roads: The Greatest Pipe Dream Yet

Over 5.7 million miles of highway stretch across America alone. The carbon footprint produced by the machinery needed for salting and snow removal of these paved roads is almost immeasurable. With the world's attention focused on the climate crisis industry has shifted toward developments in renewable resources.

The sun, which is an unequivocal provider of all life energy, is now the inspiration behind an ambitious project one small Idaho company hopes will someday be responsible for cutting greenhouse gases in half. The project, which is already in phase I of its development is to create "a series of structurally-engineered solar panels that are driven upon", or solar-roadways', as creators Scott and Julie Brusaw have dubbed them.

The idea is to replace all current petroleum-based asphalt roads, parking lots, and driveways with Solar Road Panels that collect and store solar energy to be used by our homes and businesses. This renewable energy replaces the need for the current fossil fuels used by the generation of electricity. Getting the project off the ground was no easy task and securing funding, even for Phase I of production was a challenge. "Getting the Phase I contract was mainly about physically writing the proposals to get it approved for funding; to prove that these panels were feasible. When I first came up with the idea, my team was invited by the Department of Transportation in Virginia to come out and present for them, and so we did. They were excited about the project and asked a lot of questions, soon after we applied for funding", says co-creator, Scott Brusaw. The funding they received was a $100,000 grant from the Dept of Transportation to build a prototype, "I'm madly ordering parts as fast as I can," says Scott.

As asphalt and tar have never been credited as unparalleled engineering it is easy to understand that solar panel highways will require a level of complexity not yet considered for roadways. The panels are said to consist of three layers. The base will contain power and data lines and is overlaid with the electronics strata that contain solar cells, LEDs and super-capacitors which would produce and store electricity.

The LED's would provide paint' for the highways and be able to communicate messages such as slow' or detour ahead' with the use of lights brought to the surface. The top layer will be made of glass that would provide the same traction as asphalt.

Even more impressive would be their ability to heat up, melting ice from the road, "Our target date to finish Phase I is February 12, 2010. During this demonstration the snow should be falling where we are, allowing us to demonstrate how the panels' heating elements can melt snow or ice. We will videotape everything and put it up on our website."


Quite a column this week Jim. It's fascinating for me as a Canadian to try and follow the US batle for public health care as it stumbles its way through government. It's unbelievable how twisted the whole thing is for you people.

At the root of it, I think I've figured out the problem, helped along by the posters who've responded to the column. It is that the whole issue is framed around money: the individual taxpayer's, the insurance and pharmaceutical companies', the government's. In comparison, health is barely mentioned. To paraphrase one comment, if an individual is too stupid to eat and live healthy, why should we care about them?

In Canada, we look at it very differently. Most of us would say health care is a right conferred on everyone, not an entitlement only for the deserving. Not that our system is perfect, in Ontario almost 50% of our annual budget is consumed by health care and the government is frantic to cut those costs.

Our brand new local hospital is continually cutting staff and closing beds, resulting in a pristine empty facility, expect for the emergency department of course, where you can expect to wait up to 6 hours to be met by harried, exhausted staff whose calm demeanour evaporated 6 hours into their 12 hour shift.

On the other hand, when my friend needed to have his gall bladder removed just before Christmas, he had to have his family doctor get on the surgeon's case to do it before the holiday instead of making him wait at home, in agony, to have the procedure later. Once the surgeon was prompted, the operation was done and he was home recovering, just 10 days after the initial problem presented itself. Out of pocket expenses to patient: zero. Not bad, eh?

When it comes to health care, I'm glad I live on this side of the lake! Good luck, my friends.

"Man never had health insurance or medical for 99.999999% of his existence on this planet. It is an individuals responsibility for their health... high quality organic food, pure water, daily fresh squeezed veg juice, proper supplementation, daily exercise and sunshine, no processed or man made foods, no foods with chemicals or additives, controlling life and removing unwanted conditions in order to prevent stress. Such things are what guarantee good health. It is your responsibility to get educated and make this happen for you and your family. Why should people who neglect their health and eat crap be taken care of?"
------------------
But the US government with it's lax regulation allows a preponderance of junk food and toxic chemical to pervade society making its citizens sick.

"The "government" will likely pass "health care reform" eventually and they will most certainly take your money, but they won't fix a damn thing."

It is theatre. A way to grab even more power while keeping the people arguing with each other about trivialities as the dead horse falls through it's props.

Hey Asoka, You are tripping over your .5% malpractice number. You are missing all the extra tests and expense being ordered and run to avoid the malpractice scam. That this .5% is all it costs is stinky fish from the Dems and the ambulance chasers.
Also a couple of good friends are ER docs these guys make a decent living but work very crappy hours and by no means are they getting RICH. We have discussed the system needs and they lean to a national program but it has to be designed correctly. It can be much simpler than the current monstrosity that that favorably treats the Dems base at the expense of the rest of us.

Right now less than 60% of the hospital users are paying there bills. Thats a huge drop in the last 5 years. Something has to be done about that...meaning lets ration healthcare. No pay no get. I liked the Jim that previously said no effort to get in reasonable shape no coverage. We are deluding ourselves if we think we can spend +250K per to extend life by 6 months for the aged. I'm soon on that front so tell me what I'm up against so I can deal with it. I'm ready to do my part to stop the insanity.
I'm so tired of watching the lard asses that lumber into the stores and head for straight for the cruisers that plop they asses on while they prowl the isles for cheese doodles, pop, candy and worthless snacks. The walking make that riding dead....

Wow - some of Jim's CFN columns are beginning to come off as downright disturbing. Although Jim rightly warns us to be wary of the emergence of "corn-pone Nazism" emerging from the anger and anxiety of a major economic collapse, he seems to be subtly egging on corn-pone Nazism's evil twin - new-age Bolshevism. I think we all found CFN's prognostications of pissed off former middle class taking out their frustrations by marching out to the Hamptons with pitchforks and torches all quite amusing, but more and more, Jim's Monday morning rantings seem to be getting progressively more obsessed with fantasies of political violence of the sort that has marked the dawn of dictatorship and demise of democracies, as imperfect as they were. Are you warning us against burning the Reichstag? Or are you encouraging a March on Rome?

Another that is occurring in the US is the reversal of white flight from the city centers. he vast majority of the US comprises highly car-dependent suburban development, and there are only very few areas of the US where people can live comfortably without a car. This jacks up demand for car-free or car-limited living and causes prices in these few urban areas to remain so high. Meanwhile, people who make meager wages must either live sardined in shoebox or commute via car from a distance. Walkable cities are a luxury item that only rich people can comfortably afford.

Grouch, You paraphrase the guy about if you are too stupid to eat right why should we care?, and then you go into your friend's gall bladder attack. Why were you worried about him/her? The guy who said to eat organic promised this could be avoided. Sounds like too much poutine. My point being, no matter how much a health nut you are, a medial catastrophe may be right around the corner and everyone should be protected from financial ruin. Also,the best thing about your Olympics was Neil Young. Actually the past two weeks were very enjoyable.

The thing is, the US has the wealth to provide decent healthcare to all its citizens being the "wealthiest nation on earth". Yet, if you look at all the health stats from infant mortality rates to heart diseases to life expectancy, America ranks quite low globally. The US can afford to cut spending elsewhere and streamline the healthcare system to make it available to all, but the politicians are beholden to the insurance companies. As long as insurance companies have the politicians on a leash, true healthcare that is beneficial to all will not be available. I suppose limiting campaign contributions would be a start at preventing corporations to whore out politicians. Meanwhile, all these talking points that we type and yell at each other really doesn't solve anything. The corporations have brainwashed Americans into believing that privatized healthcare is the way to go and anything run by the gov't is socialist. Newsflash, the US doesn't have the world's best healthcare system and millions die prematurely and suffer needlessly because of the broken system. If you are heartless enough to allow your fellow American citizens to suffer needlessly for the sake of "getting the government out of MY choice of healhtcare", well I feel sorry for you.

The great pity of it all is that a public health insurance system which makes coverage available to EVERY CITIZEN is something which ought to have been set in place sixty years ago, when the country was rich and confident. President O's initiative comes at the most inauspicious moment possible, with the country facing every kind of fiscal, resource, and cultural crisis, with one tenth of the population out of work, and with only a very dicey Congressional majority (the loudmouths are scaring the poor Senators). Probably there will be some kind of health legislation, enabling O to claim a paper victory. But after the Liberals, the Blue Dogs and the Republicans are done chewing and tearing over it, the final product will likely be so exceptioned, amended, loopholed, and afflicted with gaping wounds and saddled with improbable appendages, that it will prove, like Welfare and SSI, a nightmare to administer. Cue to the Knowing Smugs to haul out their "we told you so's", and "government can never do anything right's". Even though their friends in Congress will have been as responsible as any for the final, multilated state of the sorry thing. These cynics rail against Big Government for the benefit of their public, but it seems what they always aim for is not to kill a government program outright, which would be consistent with their professed philosophy, but to maim it badly. Elsewise, what would they have to get our blood boiling about, come election time?

Thank you, Asoka, for pointing out that "tort reform" is just another insurance enrichment program, kind of like the current "health care" bill, which is designed to force those who can't afford health insurance to buy it anyway.

Texas also passed "tort reform" decades ago, without any noticeable decrease in the cost of medical care.

The Constitution gives us the right to sue for damages.

This is the civilized way to settle disputes. As a nurse, I would rather be sued than shot, if people feel that they have been wronged.

Really? Organic food and sunshine?

That's all our ancestors had for millions of years, and the average lifespan ranged from 30-45 years.

It's true that most people didn't have medical care for most of our existence. So?

We now have ways to save lives, but you want to withhold them from people, and simply exhort them to eat right and exercise.

Our ancestors exercised a lot, but they still died early.

Re tort reform: It's not the settlements that create the problem; it's the lawyer cost whether the suit is won or lost.

Hey, when a casual buddy who's a bone doc tells me that his malpractice insurance premium is a thousand a week, my little money-grubbing mind says, "Hey, at $50 per office visit, that's 20 patients a week that don't put food in Doc's mouth." Or help pay the staff.

Ever wonder why so many doctors do the referral thing for second opinions? It's called CYA, as a form of self-defense in a litigious society. So, higher cost for a given course of treatment, which is reflected in the insurance premiums.

Then we have what I call the "dead tree rooom". All those myriad files, including the various forms you fill out nowadays which once were not considered all that necessary. Storage space means higher rent, and a file clerk means more salary overhead.

Back around 1966, the Congress in its infinite wisdom started screwing with tort liability issues and started getting away from negligence as the primary reason to bring suit. This led to the well-known "Deep Pockets Syndrome" so beloved of ambulance chasers. It also began the rapid rise of any and all professions which could be subject to non-negligence lawsuits; the world of medicine is but one.

"Tort Reform" does not mean that justifiable lawsuits cannot be brought.

I have a fair insider's view as a patient. Six months of dealing with major cancer; major surgery, followed by eight days on IV and then rehab. Not fun, but a helluva learning experience.

'Rat

We haven't had a crapload of stuff during the 99.99999% of history. Should we just do away with everything that hasn't existed in that time span?

Wage,

Health insurance companies contribute zero to health. They should not even exist.

We should have a single payer public system, kind of like the Veteran's Administration system with government paid health care personnel.

We need a government takeover of health care!

Call it what you will, Medicare for All, whatever. Single payer is cheaper than the "system" we have now.


Jim said: "I would have enjoyed seeing the entire Republican side of the Health care Reform summit table swarmed and beset upon by cane-wielding crazies --"

Now, will someone PLEASE remind me which side it is that is full of HATE?

Good God almighty people. You accuse the TEA party folks of being "hateful" and then Jimbo himself spews this crap out. And many of you posters have joined in in some form or another. Give me a break.

You folks are just hypocrits.

And, James, in fact, offering praise for the likes of Pelosi and Reid. Unlike some of the other posters that think your blog is so fantastic that they will over look such comments, I, for one, can not. You are obviously so blinded by your radical left wing views that you refuse to admit the outright shame and disgust that those two represent in our national leadership.

Having said that, I will add that Mr. Boehner and others you mention may not be as good as we would like but I do not believe that they are the outright liars that you accuse them of being and certainly not to the extent of Pelosi and Reid.

I noticed a few posters upthread which appear to be reasonable folks. Like Desert Dawg. But it also appears that the vast majority of your readership, or at least the ones that post, share similar far left wing views and ideas and they do not appear to be, like you, open minded enough to see the down right foolishness of their thinking.

I do not believe that the government, especially this group of far left, serial lying Dems can be relied on to manage any reasonable health care program. Or much of anything else for that matter.

I leave this group to destroy yourselves with your own foolish thinking and hipocrisy along with the sorry lot of leaders that you praise.

Adios. And good luck.



As long as I'm soap-boxing: Bush at some point proposed knocking $40 or $60 billion off the top of Medicare over some period of years. He got hammered for it.

Okay, fine: This present legislation proposes knocking some $400 billion off the top, but folks holler, "We gotta pass it!"

Go figure.

Another thing: How do you give any credibility whatsover to a bunch of goons who want to order you to buy health insurance or pay a fine? And if you're a scofflaw about paying that fine to IRS, you could quite possibly go to jail? Hey, that crap's in one of the bills. I read it in what was allegedly the text; don't remember the specific website.

This current ratpack of so-called leaders would win prizes at a maggot-gagging contest.

So, as I said in my first comment, yeah, we need to figure out ways to reduce the cost of medical treatment in the US, but what's being proposed won't do it.

And neither the technical quality of our system nor the costs we now face have one damned thing to do with the causes or results of the doper/couch-potato/twinkies crowd's health problems.

I read that a Canadian bigshot came down here for his heart surgery. What's up with that?

'Rat

Where will this blog be without your mature voice of reason and moderation...the anguish...the horror.

Those bunch of goons are owned by the insurance and pharmaceutical companies. I doubt the US will ever elect decent congress members in our generation as they are prostitutes of large corporations. If healthcare bill passes or not, we get screwed either way, and there is nothing we can do about it except yell at each other on message boards or at Tea Party Rallys. It's all words of nothingness. It's an act in a play or kids playing make believe.

ThomasMann, back some fifty years ago, LP "party records" were one of the in things. Redd Foxx, et al. I won't swear to it, but I think it was Brother Dave Gardner who commented, "They're all in it together. Against us."

I saw it as a warning about the reality of the world in which I live, and have pretty-much practiced self-defense against Government Itsownself.

Made life quite enjoyable, really...

'Rat

Here is how to get rid off your gal bladder stones and keep your gal bladder - a WWII recipe I first learned from my grandmother, who was a surgeon.

Variantion 1 (ideal):

Step 1. If you know your stones are large (more than an inch in diameter), add a couple of PHOSFOOD drops to a glass of water and drink it once or twice a day for 2 weeks. You can buy phosphorus in health food stores, so read the label. During these two weeks, eliminate all sugars (no fruit, no alcohol, no starch, no juices, nothing that is sugar or turns into sugar after digestion). Phosphorus will crack even large stones. Then,

Step 2. Buy organic apple juice with nothing else in it - read the label (or juice apples yourself at home, use green apples, they contain less sugar) and drink 3 liters per day. Do not eat anything else. Nothing at all. You may drink water. Drink 3 liters of apple juice per day for 2 days. This will soften the stones, as apples contain pectin (and you don't want to dillute its effect by eating other things).

Step 3. As you continue to drink apple juice and eat nothing (day 3 of juice) mix 1/3 a cup of organic cold pressed olive oil and juice of one lemon (squeeze a fresh lemon, do not buy it packaged). Mix it well and drink at once (or as fast as you can). Lie down on your right side and go to sleep. If you feel nauseated, try not to throw up for at least 1.5 hr after you take the oil mixture.

Step 4. On the next (4th of your juice) day, at night, mix 1/2 cup of oil and lemon juice and drink it again. Repeat the rest

Step 5. On the last (5th of your apple juice) day, drink 3/4 cup of olive oil with lemon juice (squize 2 lemons this time), and drink it. Try not to throw up for 1.5 hr. Lie on your right side, this way, stones can be "pulled down" by gravity out of your gal bladder more smoothly.

In the morning, in your stool, you should see bright green or dark green-ish slime, several small puddles - these would be your stones, melted and gone. You will feel no pain whatsoever, but your bowels will be having a ball.

Note, this cleanses your liver too. But it puts a lot of pressure on your liver and other organs, so you should not do this procedure often. Once a year at best. But you won't have to. This recipe works without fail. And hey, you'll lose 6-10 pounds too.

Why no sugar for 2 weeks before the process? As you take large amounts of apple juice for 5 days, your sugar levels will rise significantly and you may end up with a yeast overgrowth in the system - and this is a very serious condition which is much more difficult to fix than getting rid off your gal bladder stones. So ideally, buy organic green apples and juice them yourself - green apples contain less sugar. A decent juicer is $150, and you will keep it for future use.

It is advisable to eat vegetable soups and light salads for a couple of days after this procedure, gradually coming out of it.

Your costs: under $100 without the juicer.

Variantion 2 (practical):
Skip the phosphorus step. The recipe will still work and the results will be the same. Your slime will be more noticeable, showing up in your stool as larger slimey puddles.

Variation 3 (emergency):
Drink one glass of olive oil (organic, cold pressed) with lemon/lime juice if you have it handy. And then 4 hours later drink another one.

This will cause your stones to soften and pass, but you will most likely experience pain in the process - which may take a couple of hours or more - but the stones will come out and you will keep your bladder. The level of pain will depend on how large your stones are.

NOTE: In the hundreds or maybe even thousands of years of practice of this procedure - there are no known side effects or problems recorded. The recipe goes very far back in time.

Losing one's gal bladder (which produces bile for the liver) will mess up your entire digestion system, which will result in inflammation, which will result in arthritis and other problems in various parts of your body. While you CAN live without the gal bladder, you cannot be healthy without it.

If you have already lost your gal bladder, make sure to take digestive enzymes on a daily basis. This will prevent and decrease the number of problems you will have in the long run. Any doctor in Europe will tell you that (but you will never hear it from a doc in North America).

A government takeover? Ah, yes. The compassion of IRS and the DHS. I can see it now.

If you run the numbers on Medicare, Medicaid and Free Pills for Olde Pharts, the cost curves soon accumulate to outrun the annual GDP. Then, with the Ponzi scheme of Social inSecurity, it really gets bad.

And you want to add all other medical costs?

One itty-bitty question: Where's the money gonna come from?

American Doctors have responded to the Obama healthcare plan…

The Allergists voted to scratch it, but the

Dermatologists advised not to make any rash moves. The

Gastroenterologists had sort of a gut feeling about it, but the

Neurologists thought the Administration had a lot of nerve.

The Obstetricians felt they were all laboring under a misconception.

Ophthalmologists considered the idea shortsighted.

The Pathologists yelled, "Over my dead body!"

while the Pediatricians said, 'Oh, Grow up!'

The Psychiatrists thought the whole idea was madness,

while the Radiologists could see right through it.

Surgeons decided to wash their hands of the whole thing.

The Internists thought it was a bitter pill to swallow,

and the Plastic Surgeons said, "This puts a whole new face on the matter.."

The Podiatrists thought it was a step forward,

But the Urologists were pissed off at the whole idea.

The Anesthesiologists thought the whole idea was a gas,

and the Cardiologists didn't have the heart to say no.

In the end, the Proctologists won out, leaving the entire decision up to the a--holes in Washington.

As an SEIU healthcare blue collar hospital guy for 30 years of dedicated service to the ill, I find it quite bizzare that our 8 to 10 dollars an hour is causing so much money. The Tea Party and now the Prayer Warriors are right wing groups funded by what Matt from LATOC would call the elities, or corporate America. Their job is to smash or distract the working class from rising up. Divide we fail approach.


one reason it is possible for canada, france, and norway etc are able to have universal health care is that their universe is a lot smaller than ours. our immigrant population and their dependents rivals the entire population of canada. as for china and their barefoot dr.s, it doesnt matter how many widgets they sell us or how nuch money they make, they will always have half billion people living in abject poverty even the most humble american can barely immagine. some government run county clinics for the poor and a few regional charity hospitals my be our answer to the chinese barefoot docs. these could be maned by young professionals paying back their massive student loans. just a thought.

I'm probably missing the point here, but the "sport" known as Curling (shoving a tea kettle and brushing the ice in front of it) was invented in Scotland half a milenia ago. Don't misunderstand me--I believe it's a completely ridiculous pastime--it's just not exactly new. (I myself learned of its existence only when Robin Williams referenced it in his Live on Broadway standup set some years back.) I've also heard that it's being hyped this year because Scotland is running low on the particular granite that the curling stones are made of and so the sport may soon be coming to an end. I wouldn't hold my breath because seeing as there has been enough support to keep this asinine sport around this long, I'm sure it's enthusiasts will find an alternative substance to make their stones out of, though like many of you I can't imagine why. My point is twofold: first off, many winter Olympic sports are retarded and consume way more TV time than they deserve, so why should curling be singled out? Second, how is it that I manage to know more about his than Jim, a much older and more worldly individual than myself?

I love this blog because Jim is a refreshing breath of misanthropy in an otherwise dull sea of mindless cheerleading and conservative mental-dysentery induced oral-diarrhea. As for health care (and indeed most of society's ills)...well, here's my modest proposal: we take all the militantly religious Republicans out there, ship them to refineries across the land, process their bodies into Bio Diesel and reclaim phosphorous from their bones to refine into fertilizer. It's the only way any of these degenerate scum sucking (and generally morbidly overweight) assholes will ever give anything useful back to the world. (I'd throw in everyone in prison and everyone on welfare too, if only to avoid taking a side. The only "fair" way to go about exterminating people is with absolutely indiscriminate amorality, after all.) I have many prescriptions for meaningful change. Here's another example: if you want to breed, you must randomly kill as many people as you bring into the world. Too cynical? To quote Denis Leary "I didn't break the planet, it was this way when I found it!" I'm just making the best of the current historically unprecedented situation we now collectively find ourselves in, namely the biological imperative to pair off and fuck being now adverse to our best interest instead of in line with. That's pretty grim, and it exists as a metaphysical truth regardless of my saying so. You want to reproduce, fine, go to an orphanage and adopt an existing unwanted child--trust me, there are plenty of them there. (Get on a waiting list if you want a kid with downs syndrome--I hear they're in high demand.) If you insist on procreating conventionally, congratulations, you're behind the curve and probably herald from ancestors who continued to live in trees long after if fell out of favor with the rest of proto-humanity.

When I was a freshman in Highschool not so many decades ago, our biology teacher asked for suggestions to solve world hunger. I thought for a moment, raised my hand and said "kill a quarter of the human population and feed it to the other three quarters," which was immediately followed by shouts of "you're weird" and "who decides who dies?" I said, "well, there are four people in my family and I volunteer myself out of them. The rest of it is up to you." As usual, people want to bitch and whine and complain and selfishly take whatever boons they can without ponying up to pay the piper when the bill comes. Human nature I suppose, which is why the only solution to the problem is massive death, either by genocide or starvation. Don't cry--learn to accept the truth of this and move on. Anything less is hypocrisy, although that's human nature too on many levels. I also support the issuance of licenses to kill to "qualified individuals" (i.e. anyone with a pulse who registers to hunt various demographics of people during designated open seasons), and personally view Aldous Huxley's Brave New World as a "how to" guide rather than a cautionary tale. You think I'm sick? At least I have the balls to live my life with a shred of existential authenticity. What have you done lately to resolve the disparity between how you live and what you believe? To quote the late Bill Hicks "I'm sick of this back-slapping gee-golly-isn't humanity neat bullshit. We're a virus with shoes, okay?" What pisses me off more than anything is how woefully miscalibrated the American sense of tragedy and outrage is. 15% of the world could disappear in a wisp of smoke and there would still be over 5 billion humans left. We could lose 85% of the world's human population and there'd still be over A BILLION motherfuckers out there. Even if my pet fantasy of an airborne hybrid strain of Tuberculosis and HIV came out of Africa and reduced us to 1 percent of our current numbers, a couple dozen generations down the line we'd be in the same messy clusterfuck banging ourselves against the same wall of resource depletion. And if every single multi-cellular lifeform on the entire fucking planet croaked today, 500 million years down the road it would be a completely new shake-and-bake with a brand-new collection of non-renewable resources, etc. (Truth be told, that's a given regardless of humanity's destiny.) The problem, I believe, is that just like Mike Judge illustrated in the movie Idiocracy, stupid people breed like yeast while intelligent people volunteer themselves for extinction. If we could just contrive a way to make stupidity excruciatingly painful to the stupid instead of to everyone else, we'd be set. Too bad that's just an idle pipe-dream. In closing, I leave you with a proverb that's always stuck with me: when a too many people try to crowd into a lifeboat, those who hate life will pull everyone aboard. Those who love life will reach for an axe to chop off the hands clinging to the side.

I am a mirror unto the world. Nod if you feel me. If you're offended or pissed off by what I've said, take your misplaced sense of outrage and blow it out your stupid ass. :)

Goldrodor, if you'll add in the Democrats with your Republicans, I'll cheerfully vote for you. :-) Absent a few exceptions, both parties have proven that rational thought is not a prerequisite for high political office.

I don't guess it's in me to be a misanthrope. I've had and am still having a fine time with life itsownself. This old world is just a great big playground. Got some silly twits working their hardest to screw it up, but they're generally avoidable.

'Rat

Desert Dawg, you conservatives have some actual points on the reasons why healthcare costs so much.

But why do you conservatives always have to mock global warming? It reduces your credibility to 0.

If you paid any attention to JHK for a logn time, you'd see that he's a vegan and has been growing his own food for a while now (I've seen videos of him in his backyard in jeans with a hoe or whatever working hard).

So I guess we should all become a bunch of anti intellectual louts who don't care about writing? Won't books provide some entertainment and diversion in the long emergency? Would you rather twiddle your thumbs all day?

JHK,
You have too much dignity and are too adept a thinker and writer to lower yourself to such horrible, base, disgusting violence against another human being, no matter how wrong he may be. I am much younger than you, and wonder why all of the hatred expressed in a desire for violence from someone who grew up in the sixties. Your violent rants are sick. I have faithfully read your blog for years and have read the Long Emergency. You seem to be advocating the very thing that you have been concerned would happen. Please return to a cogent, non-profane, nonviolent argument for a change of the way we are living. Violence is wrong. Remember to promote peace. Your readers are expecting the high road from you.

We know who's looting us, it's the insurance companies. I support Medicare for all or Single Payer.

Hey racist, why do you have to call Obama a half breed? Because you can't / don't want to use the word Nigger? Criticize Obama for all the things he rightly deserves to be criticized on, but leave his white/black hertiage out of it.

"Most all disease and illness is due to lifestyle and is self-created. "

I'm not sure what the percentage is, very likely it is over 50%, but what about the people who do the right things (eat right, exercise, etc) and STILL get cancer?

Just because man didn't have health care for 99.99% of existence means we should all pull ourselves up by our bootstraps?

You conservatives take individualism way too far.

I have often wondered why health care is offered by employers.
What in the hell does health care have to do with the job a person has?? - funzel

Once upon a time, a very long time ago, when employers treated their workers with a modicum of respect (instead of like a shitwipe, like now), health insurance was one way of enticing someone to want to work for you. For instance, if YOU had the choice way, way back then, between a job with no benefits, and a job with good benefits, which job do you think you would choose?
Hint: ITS NOT THE STUPID JOB WITH NO BENEFITS.
But of course now they could give a shit, and really, most corporations would just love to be able to dump their expensive health insurance plans right onto the employees. More profits for the bosses, eh?
End of fairy tale.
Forget history, Repeat History, ad nauseum

Taking all the facts, and sorting through them regarding the National Health Plan, it leaves so much unaccounted for, that it would be more easily translated into looking at other Nations, and the Health Care Plans they have. Upon shopping around, it starts to look fashionable to be an I-Hop World Shopper.....

You conservatives take individualism way too far.

I'm sure some of those conservatives might be veterans, and I don't think they are taking individualism far enough. They should, on principle, refuse to accept any "government-controlled" VA health care. The VA is socialist.

Some conservatives say they don't like to pay taxes, so they should refuse "government-controlled" Medicare, government-controlled social security ... and they should not use the government built roads, libraries, universities, fire departments, clean drinking water, or use drugs or eat food that has been inspected by or guaranteed safe by the FDA or watch TV or listen to radio that comes across government-controlled FCC air waves.

Asoka, you're giving conservatives facts, and you know that:

1) Facts have a well known liberal bias
2) Republicans hate facts

The Repubes have pretty much won me over on the issue of healthcare, if for no other reason than they're so god damn obstinate. On the other hand, in the spirit of "give a little, get a little" they need to come clean with all their "socialist" rhetoric and admit that by their own definition both Social Security and Medicare are socialist programs - and insolvent - as well, and therefore must go. IMMEDIATELY, no questions asked, no exceptions. And no government mandated private accounts to follow either. Live by the sword, die by the sword; if you can't pay the freight, your ass is in the street. I'm down with it if they are. I'd suggest all other federal pensions - including military, which I also receive - as well, but let's get real. The greedy cocksuckers would NEVER agree to that.

If the democrats had actually wanted to pass health care reform, they would have done it in the first 100 days. They managed to borrow one trillion dollars from our grandkids to made good on all their political promises, didn't they? Why do you think Obama let Pelosi write the stimulus legislation?

George Bush supported the prescription drug plan for seniors. Did the republicans get any credit for that? Of course not. Even now Obama blames that legislation for the deficits, even though he supported it at the time. And this "critical" legislation won't even kick in for three years (but the taxes will start immediately).

That's not to say one party is right and the other is wrong. They have both sold out the interests of the American people in favor of the economic elite. Today, one needs an Ivy League education, not just a college degree, to be taken seriously by the media.

For those earning over $150,000 a year, the unemployment rate is less than four percent. For those at the bottom of the wage pool, unemployment is 30 percent, with another 20 percent underemployed. Does anyone of either party in Washington care? Main Street is dying, and it's not for lack of health care.

Neal Howe and the late William Strauss got it right in The Fourth Turning: "[B]efore long, America's old civic order will seem ruined beyond repair. People will feel like a magnet has passed over society's disk drive, blanking out the social contract, wiping out old deals, clearing the books of vast unpayable promises to which people had once felt entitled."

Whether health care reform passes or not is immaterial. Those of us under 60 will never see Social Security or Medicare unless we are pennyless. The federal government will force all retirement accounts into treasury bills and add a health care tax to all dividends and capital gains, even as the federal discount rate hovers just above zero. The reward for those of us who saved and lived our lives responsibly will be to see all our "entitlements" eliminated and what little we have left taxed at 50 percent or greater, depending on where we live.

And just when we think it cannot get worse, we will learn that our entire oil-based economy is built on a pyramid of playing cards.

Re: Tea kettle pushers and other such spectator absurdities:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u_X9bNBkqvY

In the words of Clint Eastwood
"We live in a pussy society"
Health Care--People should get off their idle asses and move around, eat some fruit and vegetables, and maybe even put in a little manual labor producing their own, stop looking to Washington DC for answers...
We wish to rise above the bother of doing anything for ourselves. A society pussies lookink for the FREE LUNCH. Does anyone with half a brain really think the big-time promising and planning of our insolvent government is going to make your life better?
Maybe 40 acres and a mule would work better.

Oh, the bureaucracy of it all! Jim's right, just the impossible, 'you can't get there from here' hassle of the insurance paperwork makes you want to stay home and die. Here's a good one; I have the about best insurance possible short of being a Gulf Emirate sheikh; I'm a government worker. I'm being dunned for my husband's anethesia bill for a surgery two years ago. Blue crossed paid the ten thousand plus for the surgery, but deemed the anesthesia non 'billable?' No anesthesia needed for a prostate removal? Hmmmmmmmm doggie. They otta try it themselves. And the rich part? My agency helps people sort out their insurance problems. But even we can't help me. Makes me think of World War One, when someone asked Austro-Hungary Emperor Franz Josef for help with a problem. "I
'm sorry, I have no influence in these matters. Don't you know a sergeant with connections?" Moth-eaten was the term historians applied to that hopeless convoluted bureacracy that fell in 1918. It seems we are about there ourselves.

Within reason.
Balance.
Not extreme.
How about VALUE for your tax dollar?
Neither party has that covered...

How to destroy a gall bladder stone.

Take yourself to a doctor who practices modern medicine. Ask for ultrasound treatment for gall bladder stones. They will take x-rays to locate the stones and feed the data into a computer which will locate the stones in a three dimensional spatial map of your body. Then, the computer program orients three ultrasound transmitters toward the location of the stone in your body. While lying still, radiation in the ultrasound frequency will be emitted by each transmitter, passing harmlessly through tissue and bode. At the stone, the three beams combine at the resonant frequency of the molecular bonds in the crystal structure of the stone. The bonding electrons are promoted to higher energy states and the resulting energy causes the stone to disintegrate and pass harmlessly from the body. There are no side effects and you can go home the same day.

Bustin J,

And the cost and who pays for it?

Jim,

Great comments as usual. I'm sitting here laughing at appraisals of John B and Mitch M. Very true on both of them.

I would add that John B. is spending to much time in the tanning booth, because that melon sitting on his shoulders is going to seed. And right on to Mitch M. What worthless piece of crap.

Corey, when one of the chief mouthpiece guys for Globular Worming says, "Oops, we screwed the data!" I find it difficult not to snort a bit at the disciples of Algore's religious movement. Climate change? Yeah, most likely. That's been ongoing for at least a day or three. :-) Warming? Well, okay, let's get some good data on which to develop a realistic and accurate forecasting capability.

Dark Fired Tobacco, don't forget that Bush's prescription drug plan for seniors was taken from Algore's shtick in his 2000 campaign. He proposed it at a rally in Tallahassee, Florida. (My label for the deal is "Free Pills for Olde Pharts", of which I am one.)

'Rat

You prefer the socialist Chinese model of life?
Plantation mentality of letting Master take care of you?
Charlie Rangle, Barney Frank, W, Joe Biden(dumber than W)
You would prefer to lick their bootstraps?

Honestly Jim! You want beat repugs with sports equipment, but then slag off curling. Those stones weigh 44lbs a piece. A couple of those would knock some sense into their heads. Put some of those good ol' boys in touch with their Scottish roots!

"Now, will someone PLEASE remind me which side it is that is full of HATE?"

Yeah, Jim does have a tendency to write about violent fantasies and scenarios. I tend to have them myself. I suppose it shows how polarized America is. I can admit to my hypocrisy. Can you?

"You are obviously so blinded by your radical left wing views that you refuse to admit the outright shame and disgust that those two represent in our national leadership"

I'm far left, and I'll admit it; but Jim is nowhere near far left! I'd call him slightly left of center. Evidence: He has not decried the Iraq war like many of the far left have (myself included). I'm paraphrasing, but he said that we didn't really know if Saddam had WMD, so it was kind of necessary to invade.

I can't stand Harry Reid and Pelosi much myself. Pelosi for putting impeachment of Bush "off the table" back in 2006, and Harry for generally being a wimpy democrat who is easily pushed around.

As far as the Republicans lying, they did that pretty much all day, especially when they say, "The USA has the greatest healthcare system in the world". No, it does not, and a bunch of rich Canadians coming here to get speedier healthcare does not prove such.

I suppose Democrats are also lying when they say the unemployment rate is only 9% or whatever. It just seems to me that the Republicans lie constantly.


Jim:

First, I love your blog and podcasts. On behalf of Canada, I apologise for curling. My rule of thumb is that if an activity involves a full wet bar within 20 feet of the ice, you can't call it a sport - it's up there with lawn darts and yo-yo competitions..

I was laughing so hard, I almost lost continence reading your latest post! But better to laugh then cry, which I want to do as I learn more and more about the US medical system. I fully agree with you assessment that your HMO system is criminally and morally fucked - maybe even truly evil. I hope it doesn’t happen to you, but if the shit hits the fan, lots of John Q Publics will gleefully and quickly put those HMO exectu-bastards against the wall first. I doubt there will be many tears shed.

Based on an economy of scale, publically-funded health care is far cheaper then individual insurance. Also, it helps to ensure people, regardless on income, access to free regular check-ups. How many serious diseases go undiagnosed in the US because people can't afford a check-up?

Cheers,
Hugh

I read Jim's blog first thing Monday morning. The only thing that I disagree with is that a cane should be taken to both sides, not just the Republicans. The reason being that they are both bought and paid for by the corporations. All of the vicious behavior between parties is a smoke screen designed to keep the people of the country busy, while big business happily rolls on. It's happened before. Last time in Europe, where the nobility and the clergy got worried that the peasants might overthrow them. The solution to that little problem was the inquisition. They kept the peasants busy accusing each other of witchcraft and burning each other to death, and nobody paid any attention to the wealthy. As long as they can keep us fighting about right wing and left wing, abortion, gun control, etc., the corporations and congress can go right on with bleeding the country to death. If the people of this country ever do wake up and realize what's going on, there will be hell to pay. Regards to you all

Hugh, the HMO system was to be the great reform of its era. Congress said so--among others who hailed it.

Again, the problem here is how the middle class can afford health insurance. Not for the poor; they go freebies at any emergency room, by law. And the rich can afford it.

As for the technical world of medicine itself? Seems to me that if uber-rich and high muckety mucks come here for critical treatments--which they do--we must have a pretty good system going.

And we don't have much--if any--triage, here, which is not uncommon in Canada and in England. And that tidbit is from various news sources in those countries, over quite a few years.

My son lives in Germany. Pretty good system there. But many emergency rooms are closed at night. I'm glad there are no car wrecks or heart attacks after dark.

'Rat

I think you mean "does Ceasar cross the Rubicon," rather than the Tiber.

http://moveyourmoney.info/

Political theatre. The politicians in Washington...including the President, Nancy Pelosi or Charles Rangel, ect... does not have real power. The "select" few (the ones who control the money) has REAL power. They don't care which Democrat or Republican is in office because they will all fall in line. I will mention one name who has real power and you've never even heard of him: Mervyn Allister King.

He made Bernanke his little errand boy in the political theatre show. The Fed is not controlled by the Government it is the other way around. Americans need to know three things:

Who owns the FED?
WHO OWNS the FED?
WHO OWNS THE FED?

All the big banks are in on this little scheme (whether they know it or not) that involves the largest Corporations in America and the World. The Forbes Global 2000 list contains 307 Banks and 126 Oil and Gas companies.

http://moveyourmoney.info/

Move your money locally. Whoever controls the money, controls politics. Obama knows this, but if he says anything he will be finished...his political acting career...OVER.

"I am a mirror unto the world. Nod if you feel me. If you're offended or pissed off by what I've said, take your misplaced sense of outrage and blow it out your stupid ass. :)" -Goldrodor

Well, okay then. {nodding}
I blew it out my ass a loooong time ago, about the same time the outrage button got worn down to a point that it could no longer be pushed.;o)

If I might presume to opine?
It's Big Picture ponder-ers like yourself who may just come out the other side of the approaching shit-storm with your hide and brain intact. A new paradigm is in the offing, whether our suicidal masters see it or not (let's hope they don't).
Yep, fouling our nest ain't gonna help out with that "survival" thing. Momma Nature always has to have the last word. Is that because we're always refusing to listen?

Anyhoo, I would recommend that series "Life After People". It's properly humbling to see how easily [and quickly] we'll be shrugged off once we're "done". Perspective is always instructive...

Desert Dawg said

"BTW, how was your global warming weekend in NY??? HAHAHA...wrong on that one too pal!"

But looking further north to places such as Alaska, Northern Canada and Greenland, average winter temperatures are actually warmer. Without wishing to confuse you with meteorological science and thereby ruin a good belly laugh, this is caused by a phenomenon called Arctic Oscillation - a winter climate pattern in the Northern Hemisphere caused by difference in air pressure between mid latitude air pressure and air pressure over the Arctic. When low pressure dominates in the Arctic, the winds confine the extremely cold air to the Arctic. That's positive Arctic Oscillation. When the pressure system weakens, the cold air is able to move south and warmer air to gather in the Arctic. That is negative Arctic Oscillation.

According to the National Snow and Ice Data Center "Over most of the past century, the Arctic Oscillation alternated between its positive and negative phases. Starting in the 1970s, however, the oscillation has tended to stay in the positive phase, causing lower than normal arctic air pressure and higher than normal temperatures in much of the United States and northern Eurasia."

We've seen a change this year. It neither proves nor disproves global warming.

You might also want to take a quick look around the rest of the globe before you confine your opinion on climate change to northern USA. There are plenty of folks here in the southern hemisphere who could be asking why it's so damn hot, but most of them already know...

Pussies eat vegetables and fruits exclusively. Real men eat steak and will tear you apart when the shit hits the fan.

Greetings,

I actually hope that health care legislation fails. I also hope that the extension of unemployment benefits fails in the Senate too. Why? Because I'm tired of the government borrowing from the future to prolong this failed economic system that we have in this country and the quicker we get to the "fight" that stretches before us the better.

I want the 26 million unemployed/underemployed to fully realize that their only value in this nation is that of a consumer. I want them to see the rich get richer while they and their families starve in the streets. Only when they have NOTHING left to lose will they finally demand a new and equitable system and not a moment before.
Finally, these half-measures only prolong the inevitable.

No Nation, State or Community is more than 3 meals away from a revolution.

My predictions on health care:

1: The Dems will do nothing. They'll be able to do nothing because too many of their own people will be too busy looking over their shoulder.

2: Repubs will make progress in 2010, mop the floor in 2012 (which explains the doomsday beliefs amongst the new-agers: visions of the end of their world).

3: Repubs pass their version of health reform. Basically, it will Privatize Medicade and Medicare, make lawsuits almost impossible, make it mandatory that we apply for insurance, give private insurance companies the right to refuse coverage (either up-front or - more likely - just after you find out you need that gall-bladder surgery), and give hospitals the right to refuse patients on the ability to pay. "Liability health insurance" will stay illegal...to "cut down on fraud," of course.

4: (and the silver lining, folks:) Pot and other drugs are legalized. Because they'll no longer need to arrest dopers or dealers to give prisons an excuse to release the murderers, child-molesters and honest rapists (those who rape adults) back into the population – just arrest some people for not having insurance, whether they applied for it or not. And the government needs to make sure food stays cheap, so why not make drugs easily gotten from the same places where lottery tickets and booze are readily available?

At least in this scenario, the side supposed to be raping the poor does so. We almost had the other side do it (oh to be a neocon - when in power you have to lay groundwork and fight, when "out of power" you get everything given to you on platinum platters the other side sacrificed to get so they could give the platters to you).

$50 office visit....that's from about 1975 or so where I live(SoCal).

HEAlTH and WEALTH and OIL. America is fat and addicted to oil and credit junk. The only growth industry is peasant farming. Americans who survive will be the ones who are able to squat down like a rice farmer and dig the dirt to grow their own food. What are the health benefits involved in growing your own food with hand tools? I am sixty years old and doing just that, with no health insurance. Yoga Nation! I can plow with a shovel, and I can dance and sing. It feels good and very sexty. Dance, motherfuckers, dance! Your petro-chemical world is just about over, so go ahead and dig. Dig your grave, or dig your dirt and plant a garden. Beneath the asphalt lies a wealth of garden soil. Plow up Main Street and plant potatoes! Terraform the Earth, if you fuckers can even imagine the concept, and bury your cars, AKA "Earth Heaters", or GWDs (Global Warming Devices). I have been screaming at you human twits for 30 years and no one listens. Why is The Monkey Wrench Gang censored? It doesn't matter anymore, because we are all DOOMED, including the master Jim Kunstler, who has written the most creative script yet, this week! The atmosphere is a trash heap for the car exhausts that we are making! So tired of waiting for the end...


The current Republicans are an outrage to
the conservative movement and they have
the civic conscience of a sociopath.

Example: Another MISERABLE, LYING, BASTARD
is Jon Kyl of Arizona. What's with all of
these idiots railing on about TORT REFORM??
That commie rag BUSINESS WEEK in its last
issue public figures that showed that stopping
insurance fraud nips at one, maybe two,
percent of the total problem. Maybe. At
most!!!

Yet the Republicans refuse to see that most
of the insurance fraud is being committed by
the DOCTORS THEMSELVES who, to speak with
surreal jest, order a colonoscopy, a CAT
scan, a full liver workup, a PET scan, an
X-ray, and an MRI when they know you'll be
dead in a week because of the multiple
systemic organ failures than accompany
congestive heart failure.

As usual, these "conservatives" slyly blame
the middle class and the lower class for their
2% of the healthcare crisis and don't talk
about the 98% of the problem caused by HMOs,
their lawyers, and the medical community
itself.

Jim is right about fearing a doctor's visit.
If something is REALLY wrong, I've noticed
that they do AS LITTLE AS POSSIBLE on the
first visit and claim that, say, a urine
test, a blood workup will require two
separate visits beyond the current visit.

It seems that ANY profession in America that
has gotten used to obscene levels of ill-gotten
wealth in the last two decades feels permanently
entitled to use any ruse, any lie, and deception,
any plausible deniability to support their
largesse.

These people, like landlords, KILL the economy.
Every dollar extra you spend on gouged rent or
healthcare is a dollar that cannot be used to
support shopkeepers in your area. That's a
simple fact that exceeds any issue of one's
"conservatism" or "liberalism". Sociopathy
has NO PARTY ... although after that health
summit I'm wondering.

The Dems seem feckless while the Republicans
I heard speak are just pathological liars.
Which is worse? Well, neither gets the job
done.


Eleuthero


I wonder why even Jim never points at one
of the reasons why the government is
perenially broke ... DEFENSE CONTRACTORS.

The USA is absolutely singular in allocating
something like 40-45% of its budget to defense.
It's absolutely nutty and I know because I
once worked at a national lab and had a high
level security clearance for many years.

The Defense Establishment's officers range
from outright sociopaths to a bunch of
dumbassed gumshoes who get fooled by private
companies who then overcharge them by a thousand
percent for trivial hardware in much the same
way that the hospital charges you two hundred
bucks for a Tylenol.

The budget crises (how many do we have!?) has
gotten segued into discussions about medical
care, education, and entitlements. However,
WHO, Democrat or Republican, has the balls to
point the prissy finger at the people that
Dwight David Eisenhower cited as a source of
pure ROBBERY ... the DEFENSE ESTABLISHMENT.

You look at their funding and do some back o'
the envelope calculations and you find that
you could resurrect the dying entitlements
quite well if it got funded at approximately
the same level as China and Russia ... who
are hardly pacifist countries.


Eleuthero


You know, you almost had my ear until you
came up with the idea that health is
everyone's "responsibility". You forgot
to add the clause "... up the point that
we can control". So if a 9-year-old kid
gets leukemia, he didn't take care of
himself??

Then came your screeds about veggie juices
and the like and I began to wonder if you
were a libertarian or a New Age nutter.

I know it stretches your imagination but
many illnesses are NOT the result of bad
diet. Many are quite genetic and often
deadly. So you'd hang these families
out to dry?

Dude ... I thought the whole point of the
idea of CIVILIZATION was to do the maximum
good for the maximum possible number of
people. We'll never reach that ideal but
it doesn't mean that we should go backwards
and become punitive to people where arbitrary
misfortune strikes that is OBVIOUSLY out of
their control.

I'm all for MUCH smaller government and even
cutting off healthcare if people insist on
self-destruction through heavy partying or
morbid obesity because they couldn't put
down the fork, knife, and spoon. However,
your ideas sweep with too broad a brush and
will ultimately equally harm those who
deserve their fate ... and those who DO NOT
deserve their fate.

If you support a "fate-only" type of living
environment, why not just support tribalism?
That's the ultimate type of human organization
if you want the whims of fate to run rampant.
Government might be evil but near anarchy is
worse. If you disagree, I suggest you move
to Somalia where there's virtually no government
at all.


Eleuthero


Hey, Paranoia ... does that mean that
you oppose splitting Boehner's head
open like a Crenshaw melon??? Just
wondering. :-) :-)

Personally, I like people who have the
balls to articulate real emotions. I
don't know how Americans in this new
millenium can watch sociopathic CEOs
sell their jobs out, doctors charge
them $200 for a Tylenol, and employers
make everyone do the work of two lest
they be canned ... without being in a
constant state of murderous rage.

Frankly, I think SSRIs and Cable TV are
keeping people so zoned out that they don't
have the raw energy to murder a lot of
these tossers. Murder and suicide are
going to SKYROCKET in the 2010-2020
decade ... mark my words.

However, I believe that Marcuse was right
when he wrote "One-Dimensional Man" and
Fukuyama was equally right when he wrote
"The End of History and the Last Man" ...
that modern man is a "last man" type of
individual who, given a few small pleasures,
will not support ANY cause. What's odd is
that these guys make a similar prediction
yet Marcuse is a Marxist and Fukuyama is
a Neo-Conservative.

Now THAT is bipartisanship in action!! :-)


Eleuthero

If government = evil socialists, perhaps we should eradicate the government by voting for libtertarian government politicians to get rid of government.

Like our host I keep scanning so called leadership gatherings for some hint of, well, leadership. Pretty thin soup. Expensive suits, lots of tanning booth time. My guess is nobody storms the castle with torches and pitchforks because there's nothing there worth the effort. The federal government is marginalizing themselves and we'll all start to ignore their antics--too much real work to do. Local governments will shed Robert's Rules of Order and devolve into groups of neighbors who band together to get shit done. I'm betting that slow, boring, natural selection will weed this out.

CLSA's Chris Wood who predicted subprime crisis in 2005 says sovereign debt crisis will climax within 5 years... in the US.

http://www.fundmymutualfund.com/2010/03/video-clsas-chris-wood-us-will-be-end.html

Is there anybody around here that actually works in health care? Doctors? RN's? EMT's?

I do. I'm a Cardiac Monitor technician in "cabbage patch", Coronary Artery Bypass Graft unit in a 400 bed hospital. The VAST MAJORITY of Medicaid and Medicare is spent on the last three years of life. You want to save money on health care? Cut people off at 80. If individuals at this age can afford to pay with their own money or have private insurance that can compensate for procedures and care given, congratulations. If not, the easiest, cheapest, thing to do is pain management, which should be absolutely free for everybody until expiration. I am sick and fucking tired of people in in their FIFTIES

and beyond getting Bypass surgery, Pacemakers, Stents, Ablations, etc....payed for by taxpayers after a life of eating crap, smoking, drinking and no physiacl activity so they can go home and watch TV and shit themselves, consuming ever greater amounts of medications that get more expensive every day. The sense of entitlement and expectation of an eternal healthy life, payed for by someone else, with no personal behavior limits is destroying health care. Technology provides quantity, not quality. Keeping people alive for profit when there already too many people is a no win situation. There is a reason people get old and die. They don't need to suffer but for the love of God they need to die.

In South America, India and China they use an herb called Chanca Piedra for gallstones. I forget the latin name. Don't take too much or you'll win the bowel movement olympics.

Face it; america is the land of incompetents. Sure, your do your job right but look around you. Actually, in all likelihood you're a fuck-up too and just too ignorant to know it. We should just hire some sane nation like Canada or France to run our health care system exactly like they do theirs. We won't because it would take serious weight off the well padded asses of hordes of upper-income twits.

Case in point; your doctor. From birth onwards it is highly likely that he never provided a service to another human being before his late twenties. Med school is a full ride or nothing kind of deal. So nobody ever had a goddamned clue if he could do jack but study for tests up until the day he meets his first patient. Then he promptly fucks it up and kills the patient. Don't believe me; ask a nurse.

As for cricket bats; I think the big pharma rep who is always at my doctors office needs a sound smack probably followed by the doc hisself. They do fuck-all for me but your aren't really sick in the eyes of the world until an actual M.D. agrees.

As for you pay cash or hit the curb asshats. Don't get sick. It isn't simple, easy or cheap. A serious chronic condition can leave you helpless and homeless. You're an aneurism away from being a permanent drooling moron so don't get smug either. It's happened to better people than you.

Roll call: How many people believe that Nancy Pelosi is a rabid, mangey poodle? I've hated her ever since I first heard about her - she tried to get the Boy Scouts banned from using National Parks. After all, what right do they have to protect their boys from Pedophiles? This was a Congress Person who really looked out for the interests of her Constituency! And all of Liberal America piled on. Suddenly the Boy Scouts were public enemy number one. My Disgust towards Liberals knew and knows no bounds.

As for the Health Bill: socialized medicine might be a good idea if we still had a Country - that is to say, real borders and real currency. As it is, it's just the penultimate attempt to take over America by the Capitalist/Communist Illuminati. The currency has been debased. There's not going to be enough money for anything soon - libraries, postal service, road maintainance, etc. Yet Mr Kunstler seems to be for it - a contradiction to his World View. He's against high speed rail because of the cost, because we're in an Emergency and don't have time or the money but he's for this?

Global Socialism, an attempt to trick other people out of their money while you keep your's. In other words, Snow Jobism: http://revolutionarypolitics.com/?p=3529

We could just triage people the Auschwitz way.
1.Able to work.
2. Ovens.

It would certainly clear out the nursing homes but it would surely glut the housing market.

Hey, I'm in my fifties (52) and I hate all these dickheads in my age group. You can't find one that doesn't have all the answers and you also can't find one who would do anything (physical)but bitch about anything other than what affects them directly. P.S. They actually want the music turned down at 9:00 on a Saturday night because they bring their kis/grandkids to adult functions. They are such has beens. Thank God that Hollywood tells them how to be cool.

"A lot of what clogs the system is entirely self-inflicted and avoidable."

A note on this topic: back in 2005-2006-ish, I started to enjoy eating more than being in good shape. (Really I think it was having the first "real job" in my life, and being in too big a hurry to eat properly.)

In the process I "acquired" acid reflux disease and GERT for my lack of discipline, followed by severe sleep apnea, and was becoming lactose intolerant as my weight eased up toward the 250 mark. (I'm 6'3", so I wasn't obese, but tubby for sure.)

My wife and I were already in the early stages of making some dietary changes, per Andrew Weil - throwing MSG, hydrogenated fats, etc, out of the pantry - but the lactose intolerance, of all things, triggered a larger systems overhaul. We took the plunge into organics.

Within 3 months time I lost 20 lbs, started enjoying milk again, and dumped the apnea and reflux on the curb where they belonged. No more Darth Vader mask in bed, no more expensive reflux pills. Please note, I didn't change WHAT I ate at all, just how it was grown.

So I was hooked on the organic thing for life. But here's the kicker: organic isn't a destination. It's a transitory demographic, simply something to get us started in the direction of observing and interacting with the inputs in our lives.

In August 2007 I gave up tobacco for good, and have cut my alcohol intake by ~75% year-over-year since then. Now I'm tackling that pesky arthritis in my hip through further dietary innovation. The products of agriculture make it flare up - alcohol, grain, sugar (see a pattern?) - so I'm slowly trying to adopt a more paleolithic attitude toward my diet.

I don't say all this to get props for good health, although I'm now down to 210, and produce the bulk of my family's organic diet in our yard, but rather to demostrate Lynn's thesis.

If you get a headache, do you modify the behavior that gave you the headache, or do you just take Tylenol?

One is sustainable, and the other is how we got here.

Hey Bird, peasant farming may be the way of the future but personally I'm not that enthused about it.

My parents were peasant farmers before they came here and they grew up impoverished and half starved. Most of their countrymen were in the same boat. My father said you may not die of heart disease but by the age of sixty people were toothless, arthritic wrecks from a lifetime of backbreaking manual labour and a skimpy, starchy, iffy, weather dependent, pest susceptible food supply.

Forget doctors or dentists. If you got sick you lived with just the strength of your own constitution plus folk remedies and rituals to get you through. Or you died young which many did especially toddlers.

I think we have to be realistic. Our life styles are no way shape or form sustainable. I think we can kiss goodbye modern health care, food security and 80 year average life spans. I think people's lives will be harder, shorter and hungrier.

"Our ancestors exercised a lot, but they still died early."

Wage, I have to respectfully disagree with you here. Not with the fact that our ancestors died younger on average, but with the idea that longer life somehow equals better life.

I'm absolutely disgusted by the weekly pill boxes for everyone, the Hoveround locomotion for fatties, and the life-support debates. Part of our predicament is caused by our obsession with keeping everyone alive at all cost. Think about the corporate "healthcare" profits on the rise as the Baby Boomers age and retire! It's not about making the world a happier place at all.

And why do we keep them around? So they can try out the new BK Angry Whopper and catch the next season of Survivor? Let 'em rot. If we make it through this it will be largely attributable to the fact that we took everything we had come to regard as self-evident, gave it a titty twister, and sent it packing.

Ninety year olds with 4 hour hard-ons included.

"I think people's lives will be harder, shorter and hungrier."

Or you could adopt permacultural ways. The best part about being a literate human is that, after all the pork is trimmed away, there is substantive knowledge to be gleaned from our past, no matter how backwards it appears at first. Going "back" to a more soil-dependent lifestyle doesn't have to mean skimpy, starchy, OR pest-susceptible. Although I personally think that cutting a few calories out of our diet would do our brains some good!

I could write pages about the faulty logic of "organic means diseased", I could skewer that idea in a paragraph or two actually, but it will only mean something to you when you discover it on your own.

I wish you speed in that endeavor, my friend. But I think it's illogical to assume that large-scale changes in our behavior can't have positive effects on our psychology and health. Look at the absolute societal garbage we deal with today.

If you take a walk through the cemetery you will notice that many people who lived say 100 years ago made it well into their eighties and a reasonable amount into their nineties. When they compare life expectancy today they brag about how much longer people live today. What they don't refer to is the Civil War, WWI, smallpox, and all the other goodies people of yesterday faced and are included in their average. Today, they cart the poor bastards to the hospital, and with no quality of life force them to live another ten or fifteen years. But, like all are bullshit present day stats, it looks good in the boxscore.

When you expect to work for 40+ years, and live another 20 or so beyond retirement, there is a certain hesitance in your life. Mostly because that's not how human life was meant to be lived. We work through the best decades of our lives, and retire to weekly pill boxes and television. Not me, sir. No thanks.

The marrow that Thoreau allegorically sucks out of life would be missing, and replaced by enculturation, fear, and self-image. If nature intended for humans to live 50 full and adventurous years (chimpanzees live to about 50 and are our closest cousins), then living for 90 most likely means spreading your butter over too much toast. And unfortunately the best of the butter is stored for too long while we do our cultural "duty" in the workplace.

I don't necessarily want to slide sideways into my coffin yelling 'Yahoooooo!!! What a ride!', but this short, hungry, and brutal perception of life beyond "peak exploitation," as I've come to call it, is wrong-headed. In my hands-on experience of the new paradigm anyway.

You're absolutely right. A big disparity is also in the infant mortality statistics, rather than the old age numbers. Isaac Newton, among many, many others, lived to be 84 in the 17th century. (And just a guess, but I bet he ate organic!)

More, bigger, faster...these are not the qualities of human endurance. They are the infatuations of a society with an adolescent sense of immortality.

"Ninety year olds with 4 hour hard-ons included."

That's a scream... my sentiments precisely. A stiffy pill ad showed this fat old guy exulting with arm's outsrtetched..."I'm back!" he exclaims. Yeah well maybe you shouldn't be, I thought.

"But I think it's illogical to assume that large-scale changes in our behavior can't have positive effects on our psychology and health."

I hope you're right. I'm feeling shitty today with a sore throat and an asshole of a banker to contend with so I'm cranky.

But let's say my gloomy prediction comes to pass. A shorter, less exploitative life could mean more resources for future generations.

I think you said in an earlier post that you have two little ones. Think, that this time next century there could be a dozen or more people walking around this planet descended from you some of whom you'll maybe and hopefully know during your lifetime. They all will need a way to live. We aren't leaving them much, the way we're going. So, a harder life and a shorter life for us but more life and a better life for them I think is a reasonable trade. I like your expression - spreading your butter over too much toast.

"And unfortunately the best of the butter is stored for too long while we do our cultural "duty" in the workplace."

Yeah- the workplace - don't get attached to it. My old employer just got bought by a larger company, my job got outsourced, my old compadres got toasted. All my stuff got stuck into offsite storage, it might as well have gotten shredded.
All those years of anxiety and sweat all for nothing.

An older coworker died suddenly a couple years ago. Two days later, nameplate gone, space emptied, two days after that, space re-assigned. Two days post departure - it's as if he never existed. We are just a pieces of meat with eyes. As De Gaulle said, the graveyard is full of indispensable men. Live life and be happy, it's over soon enough.

I'm sick of all these carcinogenic, endocrine-disrupting, estrogencic, etc petro-chemical junk permeating the landscape of society. If the free market is suppose to take care of getting rid of all this toxic junk, why hasn't it filled the void that the government left behind?

Nearly everything sold from clothing to houses to food contains some sort of toxic petro-chemical or some other sort of toxic chemical. You could eat the healthiest diet (which is in itself a difficult task in most of the US with its preponderance of food laced with all sorts of chemicals.) But then you are exposed to the toxic fire retardants on your mattress (unless you buy a really expensive natural mattress) or the the toxic fumes of the automobile.

We live in a miasmic soup of government-enabled toxic waste, yet the the government makes "health care" expensive and evermore out of reach for the people. The governments heartlessness is akin to parents who physically abuse their children from birth and then become disappointed when their child acts strangely. To remedy the child's unusual behavior, the parents inflicts even harsher physical pain towards the child in hopes that they become well-behaved.

It seems the government gets a sadistic kick out of torturing the American people. They enjoy making them ill, fighting for scraps from crap jobs, fighting amongst each other for the best school district, having them live in car-dependent suburbia, bombarding them with a blast of toxic chemicals, etc. The politicians then give glimmers of hope that if they are elected, things will change. But the abuse continues. More people are thrown into jail for minor crimes (the US has the highest per capita prisoner rate in the world), kids get worse and worse educations, crap jobs increase, etc. The politicians then try to divide and conquer. It's always "those other peoples" fault. People take their sides and argue senselessly with one another with the delusion that things will change if only people and politicians see things their own way. "Ron Paul will save us!!! He will get rid of the FED!!!" "Palin is our only hope to restore values and competent governance!" ad infinitum. While we spew forth words into ether, the politicians and the corporations pocket massive amounts of money while the vast majority of people get majorly shafted.

"As De Gaulle said, the graveyard is full of indispensable men."

Well put, brother. I like that one a lot.

I also like your thoughts on taking one for the team. The team being our descendents. Perhaps this IS the duty of our age, following our massive exploitation of the planet's resources.

I'm afraid I can't take credit for the butter/toast euphemism though. I got that from Bilbo Baggins in The Fellowship of the Rings.

Enjoying your comments.
Tripp out.

I work as an ER nurse. I do see a lot of people who should have died a long time ago, but are being kept alive with drugs and dialysis, etc.

However, just announcing that anyone over 50 should die is too harsh, in my opinion.

And only the rich should be kept alive? Really? Limbaugh and Cheney just checked in for chest pains. I'd just as soon they go first, thank you.

http://wagelaborer.blogspot.com/2009/02/futile-resusitation.html

And most of the improvement in lifespan comes from disease-free water, abundant food, sewers, vaccinations, and trauma care.

As someone once said about the overabundance of people in the last 50 years, it's not that we're breeding like rabbits, it's that we're no longer dying like flies.

This column is drop dead hilarious, and impeccably written with an amazing tempo and cadence, but what's really nice is that beyond all the laughs, in its serious moments, is rife with incisive analysis and truthful conclusions.

To the medical issues I would add Poor Richard's prescient advice, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." I haven't had health insurance for almost my entire adult life. I even gave birth at home...twice with just a midwife. I think at some point I accepted that costs of health care were essentially out of my reach and I looked to ancient medicine, prevention, and the precedent of millenia. I'm not the struggling starving artist I once was, but I still resist forking over a hefty portion of my paycheck to the huckster insurance shell game.

The medical establishment in this country has long been fucked, and seriously divorced from the process of providing rational, compassionate care (in the main that is,) and instead has been a slave to pharmaceutical incentives and insurance industry dictates. Toss it out and try fasting. Try eating better. Try eating less. There's many ways to approach health, not the least of which are frame of mind, discipline and will. But I'll step off my soapbox.

What I liked most about this piece was that in spite of the vaudevillian parody of a society that we have become, Kunstler remains confident in ordinary folks in communities wherever they are to become self organizing in what he already considers to be the Long Emergency we are in. I agree wholeheartedly and believe that's where our focus should be.

The national stage is now just another soap opera to compete with other "shows" on TV. There are real world consequences, I'll give you that. But our best chance of making life meaningful doesn't come from obsessing over nor interacting with that grotesque side show. Its going to come from starting where we are and making it happen "bird by bird."

I said 80. Its' an arbitrary number based on my experience based on my observations on the vast majority of people I encounter that are 80 years old or more, are fucking done. I could give a shit what your socio-economic level is. Poor people that take care of themselves or are blessed with good genetic pre-disposition, God bless them and may they carry on the human race. "The Rich" will always be around, get over it. I'm stressing quality of life not quantity. So you're an ER Nurse? Are you not amazed how this cluster fuck of health care continues? Are you not surrounded by co-workers that are exhausted with the workload and HIPPA and password log-on and the paperwork and the endless "changes" that are going to make are work "easier"...I am. They just keep cummin' in with no insurance, no habla ingles, morbidly obese, tattoos, piercings, MRSA positive, Hep C positive, and were supposed to take it all in stride because we are "healers". All I,m saying is that the tipping point is here. The people that take are more than the people that give and the system as it exists now can't continue.

Tell em Wage,
I am 51 and ski 70 days a year and surf and climb mts and so does my 53 year old wife. I know 70 and 80 year olds that can kick your ass at the slopes and one fellow at Mad River Glenn quit skiing a few years ago at 92. Everyone ages differently. So the point is not a certain number but the quality thing.
No one wants to live so long that when they see a good looking woman and can't remember why they want to chase her.

Hey Mook wanna go skiing tomorrow?

"All my stuff got stuck into offsite storage, it might as well have gotten shredded."
==========================

What you describe -- the idea that a liftime's work has been meaningless and all for naught -- is depicted with humor in the early scenes of the Jack Nicholson movie "About Schmidt."

The movie begins with Nicholson's character (Schmidt) sitting at a clean office desk, staring at a clock face that is ticking toward 5:00PM. At the instant of 5:00PM Schmidt sighs and slowly rises and exits the office. In the next few minutes you come to realize this was his last day of work as an actuary for an insurance company where he has been a good and faithful employee his whole life.

A few days after his departure he feels drawn to go back to the office and meet with his replacement. It is a young and somewhat flamboyant dude the opposite of Schmidt's annal and starched personality. Schmidt offers his assistance in transitioning the function to the young upstart. He leaves the building and on his way to the parking area passes some dumpsters behind a chainlink fence and sees box after box of his old records with his name scrawled across them in Magic Marker.

Yes Cash, you and I and every number-cruncher who ever made it to the end of his career has felt the worthlessness. A laborer on the pyramids surely experienced a greater sense of self-worth as he stood and gazed at his handywork.

OMG! READING COMPREHENSION! If you can ski in your 80's why do you need or would you accept TAXPAYER SUPPORTED SUBSIDIES! I'm going to take a wild fucking guess that if you can ski in your 80's you have money for decent health insurance and you are not a candidate for fucking BYPASS SURGERY! GET A FUCKING CLUE! Did your friends that "ski in their 90's" spend their adult lives sucking the Gov. teat? I don't think so. I mention an age and you automatically freak out. I repeat READING COMPREHENSION.

Global Socialism, an attempt to trick other people out of their money while you keep your's. In other words, Snow Jobism:

Capitalism might fall under this heading also. Any system devoid of individual ethics is doomed to the decay of corruption, whether it be socialism,capitalism,communism,fascism, or monarchy.

As for the future of the US govt I agree with you Vlad, right now we need to cut 1/4 of the US govt spending to balance the budget and another 10% to pay down the debt over the next 2 decades. I don't think we can get there by cutting the NPR budget.

I also respect Jim for his views but a more likely future will have the same people in power ruling over a giant third world country with no middle class and no government services except for the very rich (hint:this has already happened).

You lost me on that rant fellow, and by the way WTF does the government have to do with what I wrote??
Sorry to offend you.

Sorry to hear that Cash,
Nobody wants to see the destruction of their job or life's work. I lost 2 jobs in a row in the 90's and ended up starting my own business which has and does serve me well to this day. I have lost and gained clients along the way and each one I lost sucked but I had the others to keep me going.
Maybe the time for you to hang your own shingle oput is now.

"Roll call: How many people believe that Nancy Pelosi is a rabid, mangey poodle?"

I so rarely agree with you on anything that I ought to jump on this opportunity.

Me! She is so in the pockets of big pharma it's sad. Her top 10 campaign contributors for the 2010 election cycle are ALL Big Pharma corps. Including Abbott Labs right here in sunny Spokane, WA.

Remind me who this "Healthcare Reform" business is supposed to benefit again?

Gee whiz - Tuesday and there's nothing left to add to the fire. It's all been said. Plenty of zingers, ringers - many peppered with endogenous methane to boot.

A broken government puts on a one act play to demonstrate it works/wreaks on any subject it tackles. Each clown gets a minute or two to jest before the cameras.

I guess this is all part of the [you-had-to-be-there-story] of life. JHK, certainly feels strongly about some of the characters. I can't help but feel the "whatever summit" is all part of the "don't just stand there" feelings that well-up in people who know they consistently fuck people over for money, year after fucking year.

I mean - man - that's work!

"....there's nothing left to add to the fire, it's all been said". Uhhhh....okay. Thank God the offical conversation terminator took away all our anger and pain and the need to share it with others forever. Thank You!

I wonder if the nation will ever realize that the Democrats essentially do not want any meaningful health care reform and that we are seeing political theatre. If we get anything passed, it will be weak except for the perks for our economic masters. Think about it. They have known all along that they could pass a strong bill and have hidden behind partisanship while wringing their collective hands because the other guys will not cooperate. Does anybody really think the Dems are so dumb that it took them this long to figure that out? No, but what they did do was water it all down till it was a mess and then threaten reconciliation. Why? Because this is a one party country and they are trying to differentiate themselves to maintain the two party facade. One of two things will fix this country. A revolution which will not happen or mother nature. She cares not for politics and nonsense. One way or another, it will all work out. We probably won't like the details.

Washington has a lot of money. It has trillions for war, but no money for housing. Money for war, but no money for health care. Money for war, but no money for education. Money for war - no money to rebuild our cities. No money to create jobs, but money for war.

The Democrats took control of the Congress in 2006 with a promise to end the War in Iraq and it's not enough for this Administration to slow-walk the end of the war, which could continue for years to come. And it's not enough for a Democratic Administration to escalate a war in Afghanistan at a time when there's no clear objective and no end in sight of the contribution of blood and treasure, to a region which has never been conquered by any foreign country.

It's time that we take a stand as citizens. And it's also time to force Congress to take it's Constitutional responsibility seriously. Article 1, Section 8 requires that Congress has the war-making power. It is absolutely imperative that Congress be required to assert it's responsibility on behalf of the American people. Congress is directly elected by the people. And Congress has to respond and step up to it's responsibility to decide if we're going to stay at war in Afghanistan. And so, soon, I will bring to the Floor of the House a Privileged Resolution which will force a vote as to whether or not we stay in Afghanistan.


Video here:
http://kucinich.us/

This BS about letting insurance companies "compete across state lines" is really just a ruse to gut the authority of individual states to regulate insurance policies. We all know insurance companies consider any money they payout a "loss" and a way to limit those losses is to exclude as many procedures and ailments from coverage as possible. Right now the state you live in tells an insurance company - if you want to sell in this state your policy has to cover x,y & z. Allowing the sale of policies across state lines will cause companies to find the state with the least coverage requirements and then they will sell that policy in all the other states. Its the same reason all those credit card companies are in South Dakota.

Defense is the ultimate entitlement program.
But we also have plenty of money for make-up, the NFL, TVs,pets, elective surgery, cell phones,ect.
Plenty of money, priorities is the issue.

Here is what conservative and libertarian and anti-federal government folks don't want to admit:

Government health care is more efficient than private sector health care.

Medicare has a lower "medical loss ratio"... 95% of money goes to health care.

The American Medical News on August 24, 2009 reported that, for the second quarter of that year, the average medical loss ratio of the largest publicly traded health plans was 85.2%, but ranged from 82.9% to 86.8%..." (those are industry estimates; I'd wager the loss ratio is worse, maybe 80%)

Aetna, Health Net, Cigna and Coventry all are less efficient than government-run health care, because so much of the premiums people pay does not go to health care; because their executives earn gigantic salaries that contribute nothing to health care.

Government-run health care employees don't get million dollar bonuses or fancy "retreats" and perks to mix and mingle with private suppliers. The money goes to health care.

Private profit-making health insurance entities are inefficient and should not be involved in health care in any way. The way they get more profit is by supplying less health care.

Take profit out of health care. We need a government-run health care service which has already proven it is more efficient than private health insurance.


But Vlad ... we ALREADY have "socialism"
... for the RICH and well-connected which
Jefferson warned us about in his essays.

Bankers got socialist payouts as a reward
for ... sociopathic lying and incompetence.

Doctors get rewarded for doing $275,000 worth
of tests in the last six months of your life
when they know you're a bed-ridden half-dead
person already with multiple degenerative
diseases and congestive heart failure.

So what's this you're saying about "giving
away" money?? You must be a Reagan Conservative.
I'm a Teddy Roosevelt Conservative. Barry
Goldwater once called Reagan a "blow-dried
pretty boy". BG was the last of his breed
i.e., a REAL conservative who talked to
liberals as if they were people instead of
screaming talking points over a fence.

If you think the Republicans are morally
superior to the Dems in the Congress and
Senate of 2010, then I would suggest that
you aren't very objective.


Eleuthero

Dear Asoka: Your knowledge of health care is what? Do you use health care or provide health care? Does it even matter what system of health is more fucked up? Private or government health care is going to shit because the people that actually provide it, are being "harvested" for our knowledge, hard work and taxed on our income so the population of "white trash" America can live a few extra more years watching TV. I have one ER nurse to debate, please, anybody employed in health care tell me I'm full of shit, I dare you.

"One of two things will fix this country. A revolution which will not happen or mother nature."

Repentance is a revolution in thinking. "As a man {or collectively - a nation} thinketh in his heart, so is he."

"Washington has a lot of money. It has trillions for war, but no money for housing. Money for war, but no money for health care. Money for war, but no money for education. Money for war - no money to rebuild our cities. No money to create jobs, but money for war."

Yup, just like the last time we had a depression. But think about it; where does "Washington" gets it's money?

Dear Asoka: Your knowledge of health care is what?

I just posted facts from the American Medical News on private medical loss ratios compared to government run health care. That is knowledge. And that is proof the government is more efficient at running health care than private health insurers.

And the government provides better health care and provides comprehensive health care. The Veterans Administration system has been recognized for its quality of care.

The government-run VA system is more efficient because it has computerized medical records. The VA is also a bargain for taxpayers, and not just because of the computers. Doctors are salaried employees, which saves on labor. Drugs are cheaper because of negotiated discounts. Even with its older population, VA care overall costs 30 percent less than the national average.

That is knowledge. That is proof that it is the PRIVATE HEALTH CARE SYSTEM THAT IS BROKEN and does not cover 45 million people.

Government-run health care is a proven success and much more efficient. GOVERNMENT=EFFICIENCY.

What is your knowledge? Do you have any proof that shows otherwise?

What is the cost of modern gall bladder stone ultrasound- And who pays?

The cost to society is practically nothing compared to the value lost while a person is suffering.

The price to the person is of course low.

I imagine the lions share of the cost goes to the per-hour of the professionals operating the machine, and the insurers that back them up.

The machine itself is little more than a fancy radio.

I imagine its worth it compared to the alternatives: 'drink 8 oz. of olive oil', 'pray', 'wait'... or this:

"came across Biogetica and immediately ordered for the Biogetica Gall stones Essentials Kit. I took it for 10 weeks, after which I repeated the X-ray. To my surprise the stones had vanished. Thank you for saving an organ of my body.** Lisa, Ohio, June 22, 08."

Some other person commented that people should be responsible becuase their health problems are their own fault.

That logic disintigrates like a gall bladder stone in intersecting ultrasound emissions. Who wants to live in a society where people in pain, incapacitated, deprived of happiness and value, are left to rot to serve as some sort of moral lesson to the rest of us?

I agree that individuals should be rewarded and not penalized for healthy behavior. In that case, vote the bums out and nationalize a working health care system which recognizes this.

The problem is that regulating large corporations is the problem. Its a problem because people are weak and stupid from being preyed upon by said corporations for generations. These parasites must be removed for government to once again serve as agents of the best interests in society.

Letting the corporations run things their way is part of why we have the health care system we have. The other large burden of responsibility goes to all those who buy into their bullshit election after election.

Back to the gall bladder surgery- far less dangerous than laproscopic surgery (invasive). Faster recovery times. Fewer follow up visits. Less ongoing profits to huge drug companies making money off treatment of symptoms.

If we can't push the system toward efficiency, economy, and raise the standard of living and care for everyone, what is the point of having a coherent government?

I have a degree in HealthSci and worked for doctors. I dont relate to the health care debate. Ive know lots of people who work or have worked in Health care.
noteable quote of the day from someone here:
Main Street is dying, and it's not for lack of health care.

Main Street is dying, and it's not for lack of health care.

Sounds like typical Republican "blame the victim" ... as if all disease is self-inflicted by "bad choices" or people choose to get sick.

New Agers take this to extremes: they say you create your own reality. Got cancer? Your fault. Neck broken in a car accident? What did you do in a past life to deserve it?

As if corporate environmental contamination has nothing to do with disease. As if individual genetic predisposition has nothing to do with it.

It's easier to blame the yeast people for eating cheese doodles.

You mix a lot of things together which don't belong.

Sorry about the 50. I think that was Tripp, not you.

Yes, I agree that a lot of people's health problems are caused by obesity and lack of exercise. I just tend to see it as a function of distorted government intervention caused by the capitalist system that controls our legislators.

This is, after all, a blog by Kunstler, who decries urban sprawl. Urban sprawl leads to lack of exercise caused by reliance on the automobile. People in big cities are thinner and healthier because they walk more and ride less.

Earl Butz, Nixon's Agricultural Secretary, made the decision to change farm support. He changed it to subsidies for megafarms and corn production, throwing thousands of farmers off the farms in the 80s, Farm Aid nothwithstanding.

Corporate farms now produce WAY more corn then needed by Americans, something like 6,000 calories a day. Some they burn in cars, some they export, but a lot they run through animals in horrendous factory farms, then slaughter them in brutal industrial assembly lines, chop, remix, and deep fry them and sell them for ridiculously low prices in fast food stores.

The results are obvious - all around you. Since Butz, the average American has gained weight, and some have been stuffed so much their skin actually splits and MRSA takes hold.

You can blame each individual American for their gluttony. How's that working out?

Personally, I say we build walkable communities, stop agribusiness subsidies, teach people basic health facts (like don't go to the ER because your child has a cold and you need it cured tonight so that you can send it to school tomorrow), and we'll have a much healthier society that doesn't need as much medical intervention.

And if you read the blog I linked to, I do indeed understand that a lot of money is spent at the end of life, to no avail. Like you, I'd prefer to just kick back with a bunch of morphine and let nature take its course.

Probably, most people would. They should have that option.

I have spoken on this site before about my belief that people should be paid to voluntarily sterilize themselves. Let me add that we should have the option of dying voluntarily and in comfort.

Many times, people come in who look like the living dead, and they and their families are sure that the chemo is going to work. I think that's criminal. You have lung cancer metastasized to the brain, liver and bone? The oncologist is frigging lying to you that you're going to get better!

While the inability of the Federal Government to well, govern, is fairly well annotated, let's not look so fondly on the concept of "small is better."

I have spent many a night sitting through small township, village and borough council meetings and they are nothing if not infuriating. They are most often run by rubes whose father's held the same positions and a lot of their "governing" is done on the sly, despite various "sunshine" laws. Indeed, many of these people are just plain old stupid. When I would raise issues of urbanism and suggest that there was a raft of information free-for-the-taking on the Internet, they'd just stare at me with hound dog eyes and tilt their heads as if to say; what's the Internet? What's urbanism? And mostly, they would simply do what best served their interests and those of their buddies. Not any different than what goes on in Congress, just without such a nice building.

The Jim Bunnings and Tom Coburns of the world epitomize "epic f ail," but "going local" isn't, in my book, necessarily a recipe for some sort of mythic renaissance....

"Repentance is a revolution in thinking."

Messi, isn't what I'm talking about a lot like repentance? We screwed up, all of us, in a big f'ing way, so let's admit that we're not the monied, elitist, masters of all other life on planet Earth that we sure love to think we were predestined to be, stop pretending that our actions aren't killing other people in both space and time, and get busy repairing the damage we did. Now please.

If Jesus comes back, great, surely he'll dig what I'm working on, and try to persuade me to come work on the heavenly food forest. And if not, we'll still be planting our way out of this mess as fast as we can. Win-win. Right? That seems like repentence for my actions of the highest order to me.

BRAVO! BRAVO! BRAVO!

A fabulously written piece of extraordinary political prose.

It was funny, and true, yet full of punch and vigor.

One of your best in a long time. You are getting your mojo back after feeling really down and angry.

Keep it up, James. This piece shines up your literary skills.

This political environment is what it is. We can only do so much. The people must march on Washington by the millions to wake up the zombies in government. But until we are called to do so, keep on shouting!

http://eye-on-washington.blogspot.com

Asia,

Last week Vlad made statements to the effect that Blacks had smaller brains than Whites and that this resulted in lower IQs. You asked Vlad to report back with the source(s) for his statements. Thus far Vlad has not responded so I'll go ahead and provide the info you requested:

It is likely Vlad obtained the brain-size data from the James Earl Ray Institute of Phrenological Sciences who state that "the outer dimensions of Black skulls are on average equal to those of Whites but due to exceptionally thick skull bones the interior volume averages the size of an avocado pit" ... etc etc ;-)

"The people must march on Washington by the millions to wake up the zombies in government."
==========================

To all,

Jerry is what I call "a joiner." He takes great pleasure in being in and among large masses of like minded people. I will guess that Jerry belongs to either the Knights of Columbus or the Elks. I will lay money that a couple of decades ago you would have seen Jerry in the middle of Main St in his home town holding hands with strangers in "Hands Across America." Does anyone recall what that was supposed to accomplish?

Last fall Jerry was pushing to have us all sell our stock on Oct 23rd (if memory serves) to bring down Wall Street. You can see where that action has led -- Dow up 4.35% since 10/23/09.

Now he wants us to pile into busses and head for DC when "we are called." No thanks Jerr, I'll be leaned back in a LazyBoy with a Bud and a bag of Cheese Doodles watching March Madness. Let me know how it goes.

What's that, some kind of redneck, peckerwood, Adam-rode-a dinosaur hickville Institiute? You wish but sorry, no. The Link will be from vdare.com featuring the work of renkowned psychometrician/psychologist Phillipe Rushton of West Ontario University. There are many links provided if you want to do your own research. Prof Rushton is published in Psychology - in several differnet areas including forensics. He is not a hack - someone who got into the field with a grudge to prove against Blacks. He simply followed where the facts lead him. And there have been so many leads, a man would have to make a great effort not to know something. Liberals are real good at not following the facts, and not making obvious deductions.

Well Jim, your the first blogger to figure out the solution to our health care cost crises.

Actually, I have to work. Also, what I remember from life experience is the fact that I always thought skiers were a strange lot. Austin Healys and sporty pajamas are not for me. What next, polo? Maybe we could just schedule a boxing match for the weekend. Oh, that's right, you warned your children about violence.

"Since Butz, the average American has gained weight,"
=========================

The truth of the above statement is obvious to anyone with eyes. Tying it in to this week's JHK essay, I couldn't help noticing that the US Olympic Curling team, both men and women, all looked very much alike and were by my estimation 27-37 lbs overweight. I read that four of the men were buddies who lived together in an apartment (along with the wife of one of them) in Duluth, MN. I spent 3 yrs in the Air Force in Duluth (1962-1965) and people in general, including myself, did not appear overweight ... but those days are gone.

"What's that, some kind of redneck, peckerwood, Adam-rode-a dinosaur hickville Institiute?"
=========================

Calm down Vlad ... that's just me pullin ya'lls chain. The winking smiley face at the end is the tipoff.

The guy who piloted the gold medal four-man bobsled team was fat. I'd rather have him backing me up than an emaciated, smoothie drinking, cartilage worn, no personality, jogger. When did being fat become a crime? And if so, why don't they expand on that and include penalties for being a dick? For example, being addicted to texting, bringing your dog to work, buying bottled water, driving anything bigger than a Camry, bragging about being a democrat or republican, watching American Idol, saying "what recession", kicking a dog, or bad-mouthing Cheez Doodles.

I found a good introduction to psychometrics - psychology as a hard science to the extent it can be. As Aristotle said, we must not demand of a subject more rigor than it can provide. Psychology is not chemistry, but it doesn't have to basket weaving or Black Studies either. Many traits can be tested and measured. Certainly IQ and brain size can be - and in fact they have a robust relationship. Once that was established, scientists noticed that big brains meant big heads - in other words, they reinvented the lightbulb. Pin head has been a carnival and school yard slur forever. You asked what takes up the space - as Quistk said, bone does. So add bonehead to the repetoire.

A parallel: in the 19th century, English Gentlemen just knew that the apes were savage. How? They deduced it from their armchairs with cigar and cognac in hand. Late in the 20th century, everyone knew better - until Jane Goodall actually hunkered down and lived with them. She discovered savagery beyond the wildest dreams of the liberal anthropologists. The old redfaced fellows had been correct and the smarmy liberals had been wrong again. Likewise with this. The dead White Guys knew that the races differed and that it probably had something to do with brain size. The communist children of Boas and Co knew better and excoriated anyone with the temerity to disagree. But real science has now looked and confirmed the intuitions and crude measurements of the red faced English Gentlemen smoking in their clubs. MRI measurments and culturally neutral IQ tests are a long way from intuition and calipers, but they were on the right track and our oh so precious professors have been revealed as fools dancing for their dinner. No matter how good the instruments, they are useless unless and until the researcher is willing to follow where the facts lead. That humility is what the old guys had - and that's what is increasingly rare in today's academia where everyone is a communist hack, time server, or just a vulgar careerist businessman looking for the main chance.

http://www.vdare.com/misc/051207_rushton_fallacy.htm


I agree ... but especially because I, too,
would like to split Boehner's head open like
a Crenshaw melon. :-) :-)

I don't get all the people that call you a
"joiner". The real "joiners" are the people
that Jim talks about all the time i.e., the
morbidly obese teabagger types who are
socialist libertarians (yes, I know it's a
contradiction). They are the "Borg".

People who can actually herd cats and get a
real demonstration going are HARDLY joiners.
Indeed, in this GRAY era, they are UNIQUE.

So, Jerry, to your name-calling detractors
I wouldn't give a second thought. I support
people who have REASONED PASSION and there's
a lot going on in American life at this
moment that is worth pondering and worth
getting passionate about.

There are a LOT of demonstrations that ought
to be going on in America to protest:
1) Defense contractors, 2) a medical system
that charges a month's rent for a pill,
3) Landlords who suck the life out of various
communities, 4) overexpansion of government
without any notice benefit to citizens, 5) the
buying of elections, and on and on and on.

One thing's for sure. Ain't nothin' gonna
get done by acting as an island universe so,
Jerry, you sound like a vigorous lad so I
say GO FOR IT. Beats the living hell out of
watching an ill-mannered, media-passified,
psych-medicated population zombify the world.

Eleuthero


I think many readers like you, Mook, do
not understand LITERARY DEVICES. I'd
bet a thousand dollars that Jim does
not detest ALL fat people. I'd even
bet that Jim has eaten a Cheez Doodle
(or facsimile thereof) at least once
in his life.

Unless you want EVERY statement you make
to have several qualifiers, which would
make the prose CUMBERSOME, you MUST
sweep with a broad brush to get a general
point across.

I've noticed that on blogs, far too many
readers take every single sentence in the
most plank-upside-the-head literal way.
If one stops doing that then one has a
chance of understanding the author!!


Eleuthero

Bossman Kussler,

When Congress looks like the crowd on the cover of Black Sabbath's Mob Rules, how far behind do you think the mob eetseelv will be?

http://tinyurl.com/yfctg8c

Kucinich Announces Introduction of Privileged Resolution to End Afghan War


Go to http://www.kucinich.us to view video.


Washington has a lot of money. It has trillions for war, but no money for housing. Money for war, but no money for health care. Money for war, but no money for education. Money for war - no money to rebuild our cities. No money to create jobs, but money for war.

The Democrats took control of the Congress in 2006 with a promise to end the War in Iraq and it's not enough for this Administration to slow-walk the end of the war, which could continue for years to come. And it's not enough for a Democratic Administration to escalate a war in Afghanistan at a time when there's no clear objective and no end in sight of the contribution of blood and treasure, to a region which has never been conquered by any foreign country.

It's time that we take a stand as citizens. And it's also time to force Congress to take it's Constitutional responsibility seriously. Article 1, Section 8 requires that Congress has the war-making power. It is absolutely imperative that Congress be required to assert it's responsibility on behalf of the American people. Congress is directly elected by the people. And Congress has to respond and step up to it's responsibility to decide if we're going to stay at war in Afghanistan. And so, soon, I will bring to the Floor of the House a Privileged Resolution which will force a vote as to whether or not we stay in Afghanistan.

I ask your support for this Resolution. I ask you to go to that page on our website where you can sign-in and pledge your support to the effort to get out of Afghanistan; and where you can circulate far-and-wide the petitions that will enable us to be able to build a rising, civic movement for peace and social justice in America.

Money for war: Isn't it time that we demanded that the resources of our country be used to create the society that we know that we're capable of building.

Thank you very much.

Dennis Kucinich

(At his site you can sign his petition.)

Sorry, I see Asoka already posted the Kucinich info.

One literary device is sarcasm. The last comment about cheese doodles was sarcastically directed at JHK. I like his opinion that is why I read this column. I am simply disagreeing with this wave of posters who are blaming the healthcare problem in this country on one cause;fat people.

"the outer dimensions of Black skulls are on average equal to those of Whites but due to exceptionally thick skull bones the interior volume averages the size of an avocado pit"

Hmm. I remember in high school reading one of those Time-Life Nature Series books, I think Evolution, that stated that blacks have thinner skulls, and that this was a sign that blacks are evolutionarily advanced. Blacks' smaller ears were also mentioned in evidence of this.

The book also contained a pic of a white guy with big, flapping ears who looked decidedly like a chimp, alongside a pic of a handsome, fine-featured and proud-looking African tribesman.

James,

Here in Victoria curling has a rich and storied history, albeit one that still seems truly bizarre to this American ex-pat. To me the most surreal moment was turning to the Chinese language cable channel during its coverage of the Chinese curling team (against the Swedes), with the announcers giving a play by play description in tones so laconic that you could have used it for a lullaby.

On the health care debate - one of the more interesting phenomena I've noticed of late has been the increasing number of physicians that are going private - accepting no medicare, no insurance, just cash on the barrel. They've become disillusioned with the HMOs, big pharma and the medical equipment companies (such as GE, which has cornered the market in useless but cool looking medical devices), and have reached a point where they are tired of dealing with the red tape and restrictions of the insurance companies.

Most politicians, corporate managers and bureaucrats have a myopia about the world - because they were elected/chosen/appointed into positions with large salaries, expensive chairs and grandiose titles, that their actions matter, and that they can introduce change from the top down. The reality is increasingly, however, that change will really only bubble up from the bottom, as people begin to change their behavior, their expectations, and their manner of living.

I don't completely subscribe to the world you present in A World Made By Hand, though I do believe that there will be many communities that do fit into that mold. However, there will be other communities, and eventually regions (not necessarily synonymous with states) that due to natural energy supplies, lots of local activity, and location as natural nexuxes (nexi?) will actually survive intact with some or even all of its technological investment able to move forward.

The key point, though, is that these communities will not have put themselves into position because of some external mandate on high. Rather, it will have been effective, coordinated localized action that will have made the difference.

It's not really all that complicated. As the economist James Gailbraith has written:

"Public universal health insurance schemes like Medicare do not evaluate risk. Since they are universal, they do not need to. Therefore, they save the major cost of providing private health care insurance. They pay their personnel at civil service salary scales and are under no obligation to return a dividend to shareholders or meet a target rate of return. Insurance in general is therefore intrinsically a service that the public sector can competently provide at lower cost than the private sector, and from the standpiont of an entire population, selective private provision of health insurance is invariably inferior to universal public provision.

Private health insurance companies would not exist except for their political capacity to forestall the creation of universal public systems, backed by their almost unlimited capacity to sow confusion among the general public over the basic economic facts. Liberals who support anything less than a common, public insurance pool have no argument. They are simply tugging their forelocks and bending their knee before the bastion of private power...not even offering another another glass of the proverbial liberal small beer.

The reliance on private insurers makes universal coverage unaffordable.

trippticket: your mind has changed - this is repentance - this is the revolution.

Too many hear "repentance" and think sorrow, regret or simpering fake guiltiness. Repentance is a blessing - a new way of seeing - knowing what needs fixing and acting on it.

God has set over us people who want to be gods {rulemakers} but without the wisdom to solve the problems, and we believed them. That is coming to an end. We were told to have no rulemakers {gods} before Him {in His face}. This has caused us to sin {1John 3:4}. When we sin, we come under the Law {the judgements, statutes and penalities}.

The Kingdom of God is not a religion, it is a form of government where each citizen is self-governing under God's Laws. We treat each other the way we want to be treated, and only God is the mediator.

Studying the creation, and applying it's principles {natural law} is part of taking responsibility {dominion} and being good stewards of what God has provided for us.

You da man!

Too many posts on here posit either/ors, which, in my opinion, are almost always false dichotomies.

One is not either willfully fat and the cause of their own disease OR the unwitting victim of a soulless corporate machine conspiring to enslave them from cradle to grave.

We are not either flying toward a cannibalist future ruled by Mad Max and the religioso-mafia OR bound gleefully toward a rearward rural utopia where a new sexy salt of the earth also dons the togas of the Greek forum to leisurly contemplate fredom FROM the enslavement that was the fossil fuel age.

And we do not either advocate an unceasing peace marked by a blurring of all _gender_ (sex) differences, steeped in social justice and run through a sieve of non-violent speech that honors the inherent beingness of all beings OR we are a callous brand of ne'er do wells who should take the perennial high road lest we "become my enemy in the instant that I speak."

I'd welcome a little gray here. God has a sense of humor, and if everything one wrote was one tone "I only write very serious non fiction," and there was no room to take another voice, to pepper it through with levity, Johnny wouold be a very dull boy.

And as for all the really stirred up emotions and the need to prove one's position as right on here, as indominatably CORRECT, and all the long winded policy discussions--what's the point? What's at stake? Watch your blood pressure because "its life and life only," to quote Dylan again. Or as the Bible would have it, "all is vanity." I mean it is worth it to have discussions, but is it really worth all the enmity? And as for the policy stuff, I mean, isn't it kind of woulda, shoulda, coulda? "I woulda done it differently, it shoulda been done differently, it coulda been done differently." Bottom line is it wasn't. The federal government is a behemouth of untold proportions at this point, and wholly out of touch with the people. Begin where you are before its too late to cultivate anything worth sharing.

And two points I really liked: Love the movie Idiocracy. Dystopic but frightfully hilarious. One of the funniest films of all time and brilliantly done. Loving it doesn't mean I have no faith in people. I just like to laugh!

And another is that just because the federal government is a behemouth it doesn't make local government the home of cumbaya (another false dichotomy.) Its the same all over--you have to learn to work with people and just because there is a democracy doesn't mean the best or wisest will be elected. And at the local level you can deal with a lot of entrenched power hungry knobs. Still, we try.

That's pretty good, Lindsaykate, though I don't share your liking of Idiocracy, a thoroughly unwatchable film. Just one note: sex is biological; gender is cultural. The terms are not interchangeable.

Jim, I know it's low class and a sign of my low intelligence to call names, but you fucking idiot. You got one call right - peak oil will decimate the human population in the near future. Aside from that you're nothing but another type 2 liberal who paid attention in English class.

Try, oh try, to grow a brain, Jimbo. You can do better than this drivel.

Thanks, Vlad. I was beginning to think there were no readers of this column who hadn't chemically altered their reality. Liberals, progressives, or in their eventual final evolved state, fascistic communists, are attempting a final takeover, culminating a process that started after World War II. The Sheeple have been so peecede they are no longer able to understand the communist animal is in the gates. Intelligence seems to be no help in allowing us to see the wolf as it approaches. Witness one James Howard Kuntzler. High IQ. Great writing skills. Clueless. Still a liberal at heart.

This partisan rhetoric is tiring. Not just from you, the extreme and bedazzled right, but from both sides. They are ALL crooks; they don't give a shit about the public mandate; Sarah Palin will not save you, and neither will Nancy Pelosi. Neither Dems nor Pubs want what is happening to happen; it's much bigger than either of them is prepared to admit; and the elites who get it are milking the system for all it's worth (i.e. GS) as fast as they can, mistakenly thinking that paper money will provide the security it always has. And they don't give a rat's ass if you get left with nothing. Cursing "commies" and whatever the hell "fascistic communists" are is a bloody f'ing waste of your time and ours.

Fascistic communists. WTF?

Please focus people. Our time is measured in growing seasons from now on, and everyone you miss out on is dangerous to your health. No top-down salvation is forthcoming. Please get that through your head at your earliest convenience.

"That humility is what the old guys had..."

'British armchair anthropologists' and 'humility' in the same sentence. My day is already complete.

Thank you, Dr. Mesmer.

"I mean it is worth it to have discussions, but is it really worth all the enmity? And as for the policy stuff, I mean, isn't it kind of woulda, shoulda, coulda?"
==========================

Lindsay, I hope you will forgive me for skipping right over the general thrust of your post (which, as far as I can tell is well reasoned and very well written) and get right to the matter that actually interests me, namely your use of the words I mean.

It has become annoyingly common for people to begin sentences with "I mean" in live conversation but very rare to see it in written conversation. I began to notice this phenomenon a couple of years ago as I listened to John Madden doing commentary on pro-football. When I realized how frequently he laced "I mean" into a comment -- sometimes multiple times in a single sentence -- I began to grind my teeth. I would tune in every Monday (or was it Sunday?) night just to see if this quirk continued. Not only did it continue but I began to notice it wasn't just John Madden but nearly everyone in the English speaking world was using it. Then the ultimate horror: I caught MYSELF saying "I mean."

I tried sending an email to Madden via the network he was working for (NBC, CBS ??) to make him aware of this peculiarity and specifically to ask him what the hell he imagined those two words meant, or added, to the sentence. Needless to say I received no reply.

And now I come to your post - one of those rare instances of the written "I mean." Please explain, if you will, the purpose of these two words at the start of a sentence or phrase.

Asia, you once asked me for my reading wishlist. I'm going to indulge that request now. As you may see, there are several books on the coming collapse still on the wishlist. They may stay there, since I seem to be pretty pre-occupied with educating myself on how to avoid starving to death instead!

There are also a couple of obvious woo-woos on the list. I think Dr. Alberto Villoldo is an inspiring human being who speaks from "the downslope" like I do, and Carolyn Baker is a friend of a friend. I may read that one one day, who knows.

Any recommended books suggested at the bottom of each page I probably already have, along with the rest of a year's worth of the best permaculture books available. If you're interested in some of those, let me know, and I'll list them here.

http://www.amazon.com/registry/wishlist/2S3LKLKDTRIAO?reveal=unpurchased&filter=all&sort=priority&layout=standard&.x=9&.y=14

If you see any obvious wastes of time in the list, feel free to let me know.

Tripp

Oh, and Asia, if you want to buy me something from my wishlist, my snail mail address can definitely be arranged...

Hi Martin,

Oh, my understanding was that gender was a more permeable term than that. That its origin is linguistic and then it got applied to more cultural elements with the advent...of, uh, "gender based studies."

Wikipedia, which I know not everyone deems the endsource for fact checkin', declares sex and gender to be interchangeable when applied to the wide set of characteristics differentiating males and females, and in ordinary speech. It says that it is in the social sciences only where gender "refers specifically to socially constructed and institutionalized differences such as gender roles." Perhaps I was writing more in that social sense, where sex would be less applicable...or not. Not that gender studies folks would agree, but... Essentially I'm not into so much of that gender-speak stuff, its not my bag, so I don't pay too much attention. Maybe as a woman I should, but I don't feel a palpable need there. Perhaps I'm post-feminist, or my mind is on other things. Apologies though if my terms were confusing.

But seriously, you didn't like Idiocracy? I found it so funny, and I loved its nods to Dragnet and Woody Allen's Bananas and the whole hyperbolic take on reality TV. Too funny. The first time I saw Alphaville I took it very seriously, ponderously so. It wasn't until later that I realized it was a dark comedy...coincidentally, also about the future.

"and everyone you miss out on is dangerous to your health"

should be "every one," not "everyone," sorry.

Ah, Qshtik, a wordsmith, eh?

I suppose it is fair to say that I did not put a lot of thought into tossing off those rogue "I means."

Perhaps in the first instance, it would have been more writerly (and safe) of me to say something _such as_ "To clarify...it is worth it to have discussions..." and in the second instance, I might have said, "And as for the policy stuff, isn't it kind of woulda, shoulda, coulda?" Or, if we're going to be technical, "would have, should have, could have." Then again, perhaps both blurrings of the worlds separating the written from the spoken word are merely colloquial phrasing interjections. Or perhaps I chose to speak-write given I wasn't penning, er, tapping out, an essay. Message boards are somewhat conversational.

As to my purpose, likely I meant, or back in the present tense "I mean," meaning, "to not be misunderstood." In which case I could have used the phrase, "Please don't misunderstand, I do find value in discussions..."

I don't believe I use the phrase, "I mean" too often in actual conversation. If anything, I am more prey to answering the phone by saying, "Cello." And when I want to leave some place I usually ask my compadres, "Are you Freddy?" I universally use the phrase, "How's it growing?" whenever I am asking the much more acceptable, "How are you?"

However, I promise not to write ya'll. Unless I'm kidding, as is my tendency, and I toss off an, "all ya'lls is so funny!" It might even come after a word like hegemony, or brinksmanship or, uh, geopolitical. Ya know what I mean? ;)

Thanks,
right now im researching permaculture thru meetings and the web.
Ive read enuff about peak oil! what county did you move to where houses or downpayments are under 10k?

NO MAIL SATURDAYS!!!!!!!!!!!!!! govts slowly but surely cutting back, except for its behemoth war machine.

I dont know about that! I alrady gave away 'robbing the bees' and dozens of farming books due to lack of space. i was gettiing them at a 'junk' store.

Jim

Not a big curling fan, eh Jimbo?

Excellent! "to not be misunderstood." Bingo!

Thanks, Teach! My spine wiggles up a little higher when I get the answer right, er, correct. That is to say, when I answer correctly.

Dear Jim:
Do take your meds. Why do you go Lizzie Borden over a few obviously impotent Republicans, but shill for Obama? Turn your perceptive if jaundiced eyes on this Bolshevik imposter and tell us one thing he has done for the betterment of Main Street, the street I live on. Tell me one thing he hasn't screwed up. Man, he can't be as stupid as he seems saying one thing and then doing just the opposite in plain sight I mean he's got an orchestrated plan to serf and turf this country. It's pay back time because reparations did'nt work. This guy is like a blend of Saul Olinski and Jessie Jackson with polish. He makes the lying Bill Clinton look like he's on scopalmaline. Hey wake up or go collect your paid to polish check. Can't you see a pure power grab here? Healthcare my ass, this guy doesn't give a shit about anybody else, why shipwreck his party on the rocks of nov. 2010 for some altruistic act in 4 parts. This guy is so cold he'd let an abortion survivor lay on a closet shelf to die. Again he doesn't give a micro shit about people's health care in the least, no, this is the biggest boldest money and power grab in our history as a nation. This "reform" allows government un bridled powers to take, punish, control, snoop and just generally devolve us into gulag ready shuffling throngs moving at the behest of Big Brother. Now' Obama might give his face some needed character with a nice mustache like his uncles Jozef and Adolph.

What me worry? You bet your ass.

"I leave this group to destroy yourselves with your own foolish thinking and hipocrisy along with the sorry lot of leaders that you praise."

Smell ya later!

We all need someone to blame for our problems, don't we? Democrats blame Republicans. Republicans blame Democrats. Conservatives blame liberals. Liberals blame conservatives. The blacks blame the whites. The whites blame the blacks. Everyone blames immigrants. The government blames banks. Banks blame the government. Glenn Beck blames ACORN. The TEA baggers blame Obama.

Does it get anything done? Nope. Does it solve any problems? No. Does it make us feel better about ourselves, like we can take no responsibility for our own actions and situations? You betcha!

Hey Q, I'm going to rent that movie to see how much art imitates life. Sounds like a laugh too.

This business about worthlessness as you put it: I wonder if how much of this feeling (as you said, we've all felt it) comes from the withering scorn of the big swinging dicks? How many times have you been put in your place ie you're just a bean counter, not a revenue producer, so sit down, shut up geek. How many times have you seen accountants come out of a budget meeting, tails between their legs?

I shouldn't speak for you, but man oh man Q, what fucking saps we've been. Never mind the non financial guys. The CFOs (our bosses), have been our biggest adversaries, we've spent careers trying to work around these psychopathic dickheads, dragging our sorry asses from one ludicrous deadline to the next, surviving serial CFO inflicted fuck ups.

But, like you said, we made it to the end of our careers. Would be nice to be Moses, our work immortalized in scripture. Not happening though.

It is over, man, it is done. Time to enjoy what we've got. So piss on it all, have a toot of whiskey. Good disinfectant, loosens the joints, clears the sinuses. I'll have one for you too.

Hi Nathan, I saw the mayhem in the 1990s. I lived through the same crap. In those days if a CEO wasn't aggressively downsizing he wasn't with the program.

The company CEO would announce a bloodletting, the Board of Directors would give a standing ovation, Wall Street cheered, the CEO got a big bonus and employees got burned.

I've spent a lifetime watching and working deep in the bowels of corporate finance departments for several large companies. And based on my experience and observations, I would say that candidates for top executive jobs need to be born with peckers in their heads fucking their brains.

Interesting book list, I ordered one, the solar gardening book, (always liked the idea of greenhouses, which is what I hope this is about) most of the rest are complete greek to me and will likely stay that way, your tastes are about as esoteric as my own!

A lot of people go to the doctor when they don't really need to. This is especially true in our system in Canada where a lot of retired folks have nothing better to do then hop from one doctor appointment to another since they don't have to pay out of pocket. Nothing is free. The Canadian system will face a huge challenge with the coming wave of boomer retirement. Universal entitlement programs are not viable in the long run.

Health insurance needs to be what the name suggests: an insurance for low probability but potentially catastrophic diseases like cancer. For simple problems, health care should be based on a free market competitive fee-for-service model. Let doctors compete by providing good service at a reasonable price.

Oh, great, another JHK post and out come the self-proclaimed experts on the medical system, global warming, the government, farming, jobs, and every other problem under the sun. Too bad y'all aren't in charge! It would be smooth sailing.

"Now' Obama might give his face some needed character with a nice mustache like his uncles Jozef and Adolph."

Har-de-har-har.

You people that think Obama has some kind of dictatorial ambitions are a bunch of asinine tea baggers. I see zero evidence for it. Have you been sent to the gulag yet for thought crimes? Is he rounding up all the Jews for the gas chamber? Has he taken away yer guns? Has he said anything about being "with us or against us" like the last guy?

Nyope.

Where were you when Bush actually said that he'd like to be the dictator? My, how soon we forget these little things.

Here's a suggestion. Stop watching Fox News. In fact, stop using television for getting your news, period. Not only will you be better informed using other sources, it is guaranteed to improve your mental health. Because you have an extreme case of paranoia!

Ah, Cash, the tales we could tell -- not that anyone here (other than us) would actually give two shits -- and so I'll spare them (I hate to see people's eyes glaze over).

Regarding my reference to the laborers on the pyramids -- awhile after retiring I actually built my own pyramid. Its dimensions are 66/100ths of the Great Pyramid at Giza. Everything in exact proportion and it is even aligned to true north. As I worked, people passing by in cars would come to a stop and yell out compliments or make hand gestures of approval. (Something that never happened in 40 years of bean counting.) Some would ask why I was building it and for lack of a genuine explanation I'd say it was a cenotaph for all our family's deceased pet cats. (The cat lovers seemed to like this but the rest, I think, were hoping for a more significant rationale.) Once I, myself, had deciphered it, the real reason, it turns out, was a need to stand and gaze on my own handiwork. A hundred thousand spreadsheets just don't possess the necessary physical presence.

Make that 66/100ths of one percent

Is it inappropriate somehow to express opinions? Re: these "self proclaimed experts"... maybe spending a lifetime in a field actually does make them experts?

Since some of Bill Mollison's books are so hard to find and pricey, here's one you should add to your list. It includes many recipes for fermented fruits and vegetables, as well as more valuable info about food than I have ever seen in one book. When I got it, about 6 years ago, I spent about 3 days reading it from cover to cover. It was so interesting I couldn't put it down. It's about 50-50 recipes and info:

NOURISHING TRADITIONS "The Cookbook that Cahllenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats," by Sally Fallon (New Trends Publishing, 1999).

Turkle, I actually enjoy watching Fox News on occasion. But then I also enjoy going into various pet stores and attempting to talk to the colorful parrots and parakeets therein. Once in a while, I will luck out and come upon a really good one that has a fairly decent vocabulary. I will then keep repeating the same words that the bird is familiar with. And do you know what? Both of us will sound exactly like the Fox network people. I have never seen a better pattern of talking points in my life except in the pet stores I frequent. I think I like listening to the birds more because I suspect they have larger brains.

"maybe spending a lifetime in a field actually does make them experts?"

Bernie Madoff spent an entire lifetime in his field, at least the part out of prison.

I always had a problem attempting to understand stock market derivatives. But then somebody sent me this and it all became crystal clear:

An Easily Understandable Explanation of Derivative Markets

Heidi is the proprietor of a bar in Detroit . She realizes that virtually all of her customers are unemployed alcoholics and, as such, can no longer afford to patronize her bar. To solve this problem, she comes up with a new marketing plan that allows her customers to drink now, but pay later. She keeps track of the drinks consumed in a ledger (thereby granting the customers loans).

Word gets around about Heidi's "drink now, pay later" marketing strategy and, as a result, increasing numbers of customers flood into Heidi's bar. Soon she has the largest sales volume for any bar in Detroit.

By providing her customers freedom from immediate payment demands, Heidi gets no resistance when, at regular intervals, she substantially increases her prices for wine and beer, the most consumed beverages. Consequently, Heidi's gross sales volume increases massively.

A young and dynamic Vice President at the local bank recognizes that these customer debts constitute valuable future assets, and increases Heidi's borrowing limit. He sees no reason for any undue concern, since he has the debts of the unemployed alcoholics as collateral.

At the bank's corporate headquarters, expert traders transform these customer loans into DRINKBONDS, ALKIBONDS and PUKEBONDS. These securities are then bundled and traded on international security markets. Naive investors don't really understand that the securities being sold to them as AAA secured bonds are really the debts of unemployed alcoholics.

Nevertheless, the bond prices continuously climb, and the securities soon become the hottest-selling items for some of the nation's leading brokerage houses.

One day, even though the bond prices are still climbing, a risk manager at the original local bank decides that the time has come to demand payment on the debts incurred by the drinkers at Heidi's bar. He so informs Heidi.

Heidi then demands payment from her alcoholic patrons, but being unemployed alcoholics they cannot pay back their drinking debts. Since Heidi cannot fulfill her loan obligations, she is forced into bankruptcy. The bar closes and the eleven employees lose their jobs.

Overnight, DRINKBONDS, ALKIBONDS and PUKEBONDS drop in price by 90%. The collapsed bond asset value destroys the banks liquidity and prevents it from issuing new loans, thus freezing credit and economic activity in the community.

The suppliers of Heidi's bar had granted her generous payment extensions and had invested their firms' pension funds in the various BOND securities. They find they are now faced with not only having to write off her bad debt but also with losing over 90% of the presumed value of the bonds. Her wine supplier claims bankruptcy, closing the doors on a family business that had endured for three generations, and her beer supplier is taken over by a competitor, who immediately closes the local plant and lays off 150 workers.

Fortunately though, the bank, the brokerage houses and their respective executives are saved and bailed out by a multi-billion dollar, no-strings attached cash infusion from their cronies in Government. The funds required for this bailout are obtained by new taxes levied on employed, middle-class, non-drinkers who have never been in Heidi's bar.


You need my permission to express opinions here about as much as you need my permission to take a dump. That's not the issue. The question is whether making grand, lengthy pronouncements here week after week about how to fix "the system" makes any difference what-so-ever. It doesn't. To quote a seminal British rock group of our time, your opinions are of no consequence at all. In fact, we are currently in an opinion oversupply, a glut really. Every breathing asshole on the television set will tell you what to think about the government, global warming, immigrants, Obama, and everything else you can think of. So do we really need more opinions? Nope.

Its like one yeast says to another, "Gee, maybe we shouldn't be using up so much sugar. What shall our children ferment?"

Anyways, it is kinda fun to play "if I were the dictator" but let's not pretend we're doing anyone any good by it.

So Dolan is the moral of the story that I should be buying my alcohol on credit?!


Although I agree with the SENTIMENTS of those
who support national healthcare and other
entitlement programs, they don't work when
birthrates drop.

In this respect Europe's near and intermediate
term economic future looks grim. The reason is
that when birthrates are rising and these programs
are relatively young, the huge and rising number
of young people paying into the system keeps
various entitlements afloat. However, on the
way down, when birthrates are less than 1.5
children per family AND when the entitlement
system is much older, you have a decreasing
number of people paying into a system that is
bloated with older people getting money out of
the system.

That's why I think that the only way to
subsidize any such systems is to start lowering
the boom on DEFENSE CONTRACTORS because there
must be AT LEAST $200B of annual money that's
caused by defense contractors grifting off of
the government.

Otherwise, these systems are doomed because of
sheer demographic mechanics. Personally, I
think the very definition of CIVILIZATION is
allowing citizens to live without fear if they
live a decent, productive life. No one with
any heart at all wants people to suffer.

But, alas, I think we're entering a period in
history where countries are going to have to
choose WHO TO LET SUFFER and that's bound to
be the ELDERLY. Countries will arrive at the
perfectly logical conclusion that they need
the young to work, build, innovate, and pay
taxes. Increasingly, the elderly will be
looked at as "expendible" just like they
were in Russia in the 1990s where babushkas
lined the streets begging.

I just see this sort of development as an
inevitable phenomenon because of the dynamics
of current world demographics. I certainly
don't say these things with glee in my heart.
I'm getting old and I think that within a
decade the old will be looked at as "useless
eaters".


Eleuthero

Good thing we're moving away from farming and into something a bit more interesting! (IMO) I'm stoked to hear that you're checking out permaculture. Do read David Holmgren's book, Principles and Pathways, when you get the chance.

Oh, and ease up on Jared Diamond! I'm really enjoying his work right now.

Tripp, you might be inspired by this guy:

Eric Holt-Gimenez and foodfirst.org. Also
vimeo.com has a 4 part interview with him which is very interesting. Plus some other interesting looking organic farming videos which I have not watched. Another interesting dude involved in food issues is Raj Patel. Some good videos on Google video featuring Raj speaking about food.
Raj wrote: Stuffed and Starved.

Vandana Shiva is another organic advocate; she rails against Agribusiness in India. There are also good videos of lectures of hers on google.

I think food is going to become THE pivotal issue ahead and will even eclipse money as the most important thing in people's lives. Money is meaningless when you are starving to death.

I think you're right, Oiligarch. Food is the issue, especially this late in the piece, and all else is secondary. Fortunately, it's been my experience that when you really start doing the food thing right, all the other stuff tends to line up as well.

My wife has Raj Patel's "Zero" on her wishlist, and I'll add this one to mine. Thanks for the recommendation!


Been enjoying your posts lately.

"Reform" is just coded, Orwellian new-speak for
continuing to tighten the corpseorate noose around the proles' necks.

McPetroculture USA is borrowing all the money it is spending, propping up the Death Industry, from private, international-banking cartels. IRS is collecting taxes just to pay the INTEREST on the loan from these (people?). It boggles the mind; the insanity of it all. Our children are heading into a royal shit-storm of pain caused by the bondage the people of the (USA?) are in.

It is really scary how the average American has been brainwashed into hating their fellow human friends by a relentless group of bombastic, Neo-Nazi, thugs on cartoon, corpseorate, plasma, video stream. Average americans have no idea of the choke hold that the Death Industry has on their future because of a complete blackout of information on "Black-budget" and military expenditures. Christ, for the price of one "B-2
bomber" we could fund single-payer for what...?
A year? Two years?


The people's government of the USA has been completely co-opted by business interests.
Please do not hate your fellow human beings.
The true enemies are the ones who would pit us all against each other and sew the false seeds of hate and discord to further their agenda
of domination and control.

I've noticed that corpseorations co-opt and exploit the natural tendency of people to work together cooperatively to solve problems. They exploit this natural tendency towards community for private profit. Throw the yoke now! Revoke corporate charters. End of sermon.


"Christ, for the price of one "B-2 bomber" we could fund single-payer for what...?
A year? Two years?"
==========================

OK, yeah ... but what would we do without that bomber? For Christsakes man, think before you speak ;-)

In William Craigs's book Enemy at the Gates; he writes about the effect of hunger on the surrounded Wermacht troops near the end of the battle of Stalingrad. How the soldiers, loyal to Hitler, began to smash the radios (broadcasting Hitler's demands to "fight to the death") with their rifle butts after they were finally cut off from supplies by the Russian army and began to starve. Months of horrifying combat and then starvation began to remove the thin veneer of loyalty and patriotism to their Fuhrer.
Their esprit-de-corp, their elan, was demolished by starvation. Eventually, after their surrender, they were marched off to internment camps where they began to eat each other for survival. Very few of them made it back to Germany alive.

Moral: Misplaced loyalties will result in a big suprise for the duped loyalists of totalitarian dogma.

Qshtik, ye wry old thing. Surely ye be pullin' me leg now. Weed be a sight better off wi out the infernal instrument-o-the-divil's doin! Git thee hence now ye scurrilous knave.

Turkle I can see you are the kind of guy that has to be hanging off the chain link perimeter of the re-education farm to believe this guy is bent on nothing but the total takedown of America as we know it. Do you have to look down the barrel of a gun to know whether a bullet is coming when you pull the trigger? Can you put together clues to anticipate an outcome before it happens? Read some of the deeper in provisions of the health care bill and see if they don't scare the shit out of you. Has more to do with penetrating and controling all aspects of our lives at the cost of a lousy overpriced restricted and generally rationed health welfare plan that makes doctors glorified mechanics. You can believe in Goldilocks and the tooth fairy..but then you have to neccesarily believe in the bears and tooth decay also. You must be young to be so naive in the face of so much evidence to the contrary in the case of this imposter. If you can't see and smell the trail of lies, broken promises and manipulations it is because you don't want to. This guy Obama couldn't fix the jobs debacle or the healthcare problem if he wanted to...and he doesn't. Better cash in your IRA and spend it now cause he's coming for those next. Really, this guy would scare Vlad the impaler. But Hey hows that hope and change working out for you, huh? If it yodels like a duck and goosesteps like a duck and reads from a teleprompter like a duck and wears leather overcoats like a duck is it a duck? Nope it's a nazi.
To all those clutching their teddy bears tonight don't be afraid the boogey man is too lazy to come get you he'll send Acorn instead.

Yes, "fascistic communists", you halfwit. Just like all the other writer-wannabe dipshits who populate this column, you have no clue. I'd educate your ignorant posterior, but you are too busy trying to sound intelligent to listen, and I have no patience or time for people who remain neutral. Pick a side, any side. I have more respect for bonafide lefties than I do fools like you who pride themselves for straddling the fence. You're pathetic, but I will feel no pity when those like you are fed into the abatoir.

How high is the Pyramid? Jung built his own tower - for the same kind of mysterious personal reasons - obscure even to himself. You should hollow out a chamber inside so you can be buried in it. Also get some publicity - become a tourist attraction for "Weird New Jersey" trips.


I don't know if you saw my post above,
Oiligarch but it echoes your sentiments.
Corporations were allowed to exist in
America as a PUBLIC TRUST. This implies
that "we're suspicious of you greedy
bastards but if you're willing have be
examined now and again, we'll pretend
that you give a shit about the people".

Now, the Supreme Court has declared a
corporation to be a PERSON. Wow!!! And
by REPUBLICAN JUDGES no less. Conservatives
are supposed to be the ones that believe in
upholding old-fashioned standards. Corporatism
is a NEO-conservative way of being but it
most certainly is NOT constitutionally
conservative.

The only difference between a Neo-con and a
Marxist is that the Marxist believes that
the state dispenses all good while the Neo-con
believes that multinational corporations
dispense all good. Both are lunacy. When
the "state" IS the corporation (because they
BUY elections), there's no difference except
the Marxists are actually more honest.

Eleuthero


An authentic person is not an extremist
because rather than just adhering like
a monkey to a corpus of beliefs, they
actually dare to analyze each issue on
its own merits.

It's you extremists that kill political
dialogue because you want everybody else
to be as extreme as you are so that you
have a "loyal opposition" to bash all
the time.

Your post about "fence-sitters" is
intellectually repugnant because it is
an ode to extremism ... and God forbid
that an issue is so complex that a
person can actually agree with BOTH
sides. No, no, no. We can't have
that!!!!

Why don't you get an Everlast bag and
kick the shit out of it, exhaust your
animal spirits, and then see if you
can come back and be a real mensch,
okey??


Eleuthero


What with the decline in competency of
most professions I witness in the USA
of 2010, doctors already ARE "glorified
mechanics". So what's wrong with a
system that acknowledges the fact??

The proof of my assertion is that, despite
all the technical wizardry installed in
our medical system we're, what, 17th in
life expectancy and 23rd in child mortality?

I think our AUTO mechanics are better than
that.


Eleuthero

Erie County prison outside of Buffalo had its third suicide in three months yesterday. The "fans" are going wild. They want investigations, NOW! I say it's a good start but they could do better.

Thank God for the correction. Mr. Anal here was getting nervous.

Short term thinking is King in America.
Why does revamping a company always evolve around shrinking?? Answer..short term profit. Once a company has spent the money training an employee why not use them going forward. Anyone can cut operating costs because it requires no imagination or fore site. Taking over a loosing operation and making it profitable by increasing market share now there's the real deal. Both jobs I lost in the 90's I was the one in charge of turning a looser around. In both cases I succeeded but got the axe myself as soon as the operation was in the black. I feel sure I could have made both companies a lot more money going forward but they were both interested only in the current fiscal year. Screw that. Since then I have run my own company and we have never laid anyone off and we continue to grow slowly even the last two years. During hard times businesses are looking for a better deal so your competitors are easier to displace than in good times not harder, or so I am learning.

Nah I'm cool with all of the above. Oddly enough I did buy an Austin Healy 3000 back in 1977, it came in baskets mostly and I painstakingly restored it and eventually sold it and traveled around for a year from the proceeds. I am totally cool with violence and so are my offspring, marshal arts and guns are my preference. I like watching boxing but the gloves take away all the bite of a good strike, kind of like the filter idea on cigarettes. Don't know much about Polo at all and don't wear pajamas but thanks for asking. Also your attitude may be the reason no one wants to do anything with you, it may not be others issues at all, but your own. Good luck.

The allure of rhetoric is the absence of thought. Pick a side and repeat the accepted rhetoric. Problem is if you don't use it you loose it, brains work or decay same as muscles. The other allure is very basic, tribal even, just looking for agreement as a sign of acceptance is a very basic animal and human need. Also your manners could use a little work.

Bravo Lindsaykate for the brilliant ripost at March 3, 2:03PM.

I mean, you really put that old fart Qshtik in his place!

Nathan, The comment I made about people my (our) age was a generalization. The ones that hang around with me are the same genuine people that they were thirty years ago. The ones I no longer socialize with got old, cranky, and get their views from TV. I, like the other poster, am simply tired of listening to their rhetoric. The response to you is based on the fact that I didn't know what the hell the skiing comment meant. The Austin-Healy reference shows that you truly can stereotype people. Again, in general, but all those teachers/professors who condemn it can go fuck themselves.

I have to weigh-in about "health care".

HMO's are the biggest ripoff and burden to the average wage-earning shnook. HMO's are a collaboration between over-educated, ordinary,
"Doctor" employees and their profit driven insurance company masters. These people are getting obscenely rich by garnishing the wages of hard-working ordinary people and providing said workers with as little "care" as possible.
"Doctor" employees are coached into spending an average of(what?)10 minutes with each supplicant in their "care". Just another parasite industry capitalising on the disorganized working-class rabble.

God, the infernal ruling-class won't even throw their serfdom a bone with single-payer in this feudalism-on-steroids polity.

Why rail against Mr Obama. He is'nt a bad guy. He's certainly no NAZI. His populist rhetoric is what got him elected but I was secretly voting for his wife. He would probably be a great leader if "we the people" would help him shake his handlers off. It is a pity he has surrounded himself with corporate criminals; they seem to be calling all the shots.

Hey man, thanks for the book recommendation. It's been added to the list, along with the Raj Patel book Oiligarch mentioned. Mollison's books are pricey and rare, but he and Tagari are very conscious about publishing, and don't do it unless there is ready demand. (Don't know if wishlists count or not.) His book on fermentation and human nutrition is supposed to be by far his best, and that's saying something. Sounds like a yawn of a subject to me, but I'll take the word of EVERYONE who's ever read either, and add them to my library.

The one you mentioned was written by Sally Fallon, who also has a lot of interesting things to say about eating soy. "Interesting" that is if you don't eat much soy...

Got it Mook. "The ones I no longer socialize with got old, cranky, and get their views from TV."
I am having the same experience with this group as you are, mostly men in my experience not so much for the women. Also most of them live for Fox news and all of them tell me I am a liberal because I think they are nuts. I could not be more of a capitalist free enterprise guy but because I don't blow Sarah Palin or any other brainless wonder on talk shows I must be a certain type (liberal) as there could not possibly be any individuals, just two groups and everyone belongs to one or the other.Killacommie could not have exemplified this behavioral conditioning any better, choose a side and bitch. Nada fucking chance. While I plan for a disastrous future I enjoy my life and friends and family to the end.

Hey Trippticket what was the name of the permaculture book?? Also here is one for you Elliot Coleman gardening the 4 seasons.
My peas just came up in my greenhouse today with 2 feet of snow still on the ground

"Yes, "fascistic communists", you halfwit. Just like all the other writer-wannabe dipshits who populate this column, you have no clue."

I don't WANT to be a writer. I AM a writer. I write. I have things to say, and some people here actually enjoy hearing those things now and then. (Mostly without the sophomoric interloping of two-bit scoundrels such as yourself, I might add.)

Let's break this one down with actual logic and definitions. You know what they are, right? "Fascism," according to Mussolini (and who better to define fasism), is the marriage of government and business interests, which is precisely what the right-wing, corporations-first ideology in the US has produced for us. Corporations were even recently given human status by the Supreme Court, thanks to W's fine work.

com·mu·nism   /ˈkɒmyəˌnɪzəm/ –noun
1.a theory or system of social organization based on the holding of all property in common, actual ownership being ascribed to the community as a whole or to the state.

This is what the right accuses the left of attempting to do in this country, but last I checked I was still allowed to own gold and silver privately, houses, guns, water catchment, energy systems, farms, pastoral land, alcohol, tobacco, domestic animals, livestock, bulk foodstuffs, yep, all allowed.

But even if it wasn't, even if there was the minutest shred of EVIDENCE for your accusations, these are two systems that occupy opposite ends of the political spectrum - fascism on the extreme right, and communism on the extreme left. You can't have both, except in talking points fabricated by numbskulls like you.

And there is nothing luke-warm about my position or philosophy. In my view, all you Pubs and Dems are the same goddam thing, right and left hands of the same world-destroying beast.

When you come up with something interesting and grown-up to talk about I'll be all ears.

Hey, Fred.

Thanks for proving my point with that paranoid, fact-free rant that could have been lifted right from freerepublic.com. The Soviets had the gulags. The Nazis had the death camps. And Obama has....drumroll....wait for it.....a health care bill. Shall we play the "which one does not belong with the others" Seasame Street game?

tripp,

Don't be criticizing, man. "Fascistic communists" is absolutely one of my most favorite non sequiturs of all time!

I have that one on my list, but thanks for the suggestion!

Not sure which permaculture book you mean. For starters I would read Toby Hemenway's "Gaia's Garden" and maybe Rosemary Morrow's "Earth Users Guide to Permaculture." For theory, and I highly recommend getting to know the fundamentals of permacultural thought as soon as possible, I'd read David Holmgren's "Permaculture: Principles and Pathways Beyond Sustainability." Also read Fukuoka's "The One Straw Revolution" as a mental tune-up for novel thought.

Cheers!

"But even if it wasn't, even if there was the minutest shred of EVIDENCE for your accusations, these are two systems that occupy opposite ends of the political spectrum - fascism on the extreme right, and communism on the extreme left. You can't have both, except in talking points fabricated by numbskulls like you."

Hey, tripp, what's with all this logic and common sense? Obama is the communist, fascist anti-Christ. My gut tells me so. QED!

Oh yes, I forgot to mention. Another critical key component of life -along with food and energy-is WATER. A wonderful, free, PUBLIC resource is going to become a privatized commodity in the future. The investor class is positioning itself to control the remaining PUBLIC sources of water. Those without the gold will have to grovel at the feet of their masters for access to precious PUBLIC water sources.

Hey, oligarch, if you move someplace that it rains a lot, couldn't you just gather rain water? Or in the appropriate location you could sink your own well, too.

Whether or not water is public or privatized, most aquifers are being depleted at about 1000 times the natural replenishment rate. Isn't that really what we should be worrying about, rather than whether this resource is in public or private hands?

Logic and common sense? I thought you said I was a pie-in-the-sky Utopian with a penchant for organic food sprinkled with sparkles and rainbows!

You can't have it both ways, Turkleton;)

That Water Wars documentary is really good, btw. Kind of depressing actually...I couldn't even make it all the way through it.

Thanks man. We have also recently started growing mushrooms indoors in our shop in the winter. They come from WA state, a friend, colleague of ours in Seattle turned us on to it. Really excellent results.

"penchant for organic food sprinkled with sparkles and rainbows"

Sounds good, actually. Expect me for dinner one of these days!

ordered all of the books tell you what I find

"Healthcare is a poor solution to peoples' ignorance, irresponsibility and neglect. An unusual solution that will create more trouble."

Did you just jump here in your time machine from the year 1722?

"if you move someplace that it rains a lot, couldn't you just gather rain water?"

One of the reasons I'm moving back to the southeast, despite my better political judgement, is because they get plenty of rain and sunshine there. Forests regenerate rapidly, and plenty of rain falls, generated by the thick forests to the west across the sunbelt. I will be installing a metal roof and cisterns at my earliest convenience!

And of course the permie in me will also plant timber bamboo right away to provide renewable gutters and piping a few years down the road...

tripp, if you don't mind me asking, what do you "do for a living" to fund all this cool hippie/pie-in-the-skip/permaculture stuff? :)

This debate is fruitless when people cannot even intepret statistics.

We continually hear about spending/capita versus "QoL rank" and people claim our system is broken.

Listen, you need to do a demographics breakdown of infant mortality and these other issues and you will very quickly spot some trends.

We're much more like a 2nd world country like Brazil than we are like Norway, ok? Brazil has some neighborhoods with HDIs in the Scandinavia range across the street from those comparable to Africa.

That is the case with the US as well. If you break down our QoL factors by demographics (besides income), you will see that certain unmistakable trends jump right out at you. There are some very painful admissions that need to be made by us as a society. JHK talks about delusions we labor under but he labors under some of the biggest.

Aww come on Turkle, I just don't want to pay a fortune every time I have to fill my 500 Gallon jacuzzi out here in Phoenix.

"Aww come on Turkle, I just don't want to pay a fortune every time I have to fill my 500 Gallon jacuzzi out here in Phoenix."

Um, not sure if this is 100% sarcasm, but you SHOULD have to pay a fortune to fill your 500 gallon jacuzzi in Phoenix. It's the middle of the f***ing desert dude! ;)

just jokes.

Why thank you, Oiligarch. I only meant to be thorough.

Tonapah hot springs off I-10 40 miles west of Phoenix, really nice and natural, no environmental impact

You are on the right track about the govt. contractors. Should you have a little spare time, check out " IRAQ FOR SALE " on youtube.com. I viewed it as a 1 hour video. It contains testimony from various sources involved in Iraq. No wonder we're broke. It's disgraceful !

Brillant.

"tripp, if you don't mind me asking, what do you "do for a living" to fund all this cool hippie/pie-in-the-sky/permaculture stuff? :)"

I'm a permaculturist. Wait, I know that sounds silly, but not really. We're learning to live on less, making shorter resources go farther, producing our own, and enough to trade a little. We live on 1/4 of what we did 3 years ago, with no noticeable difference in Standard of Living, despite being below the "poverty line."

For income, I sell excess produce from our garden, design permaculture gardens/food forests for people, and will be doing workshops soon. This may sound weird, but we're striving to live on LESS money, not more. We actually don't like money all that much; strikes us as unavoidably dangerous. We tell our customers that we'd rather trade goods/services for our products than take fed notes. We're taking this rare opportunity to convert our little bit of unemployment money into self-reliance, full-time. And I wish more people would consider doing the same, instead of treating it like a hold-over until more top-down provisions can be made for them. (Wait, hold your breath, here come the jobs!!)

No jobs? Well we need about 100 million people growing food in our communities within the decade. Not enough money in it? There's not going to be money in anything for much longer I'm afraid...

We're just adopting behavioral innovation early, and trying to establish another model for community self-reliance. My hat's off to those permies and transition townies that are already there!

I'll be publishing a blog with pics of our project very soon, and will post the link here for anyone interested.

How 'bout you?

Gotta run. Lots of packing to do today. Catch up with you cats later...

The >BLAME GAME

Or ! As my favorite lawyer Denny Crane sez: LOCK&LOAD !

Is this the Heidi's on 8 Mile & Woodward ? Or downtown on John R & Bush ?

I think you and your family are being very prescient about the future. My hat is off to you.
Kunstler's "the psychology of previous investment"
is going to bite all of the conformists in the ass some day. The fools laughed at Noah didn't they.

Trippticket,

We've started a Transition group in Staunton, Va. We're taking the long arc view on the Long Emergency. Start now, maybe be on top of things at least somewhat when the bigger cracks in the edifice rip through. We still have day jobs, but home life is shifting, preparations are taking place. And as for our group, step one is educating and bringing fun into the picture to build community synergy. Next year we plan to hold a Mid Atlantic Peak Oil conference here. I'm very passionate about the volunteer work and the community outreach. And while I am keeping one eye on the big nasty macro picture, life feels very good and even quite hopeful looking forward. I'm okay with being realistic, but not okey with being crippled by fear.

--Lindsay

Tripp,
Good luck with your pending move. I will be looking for your up-coming web site with great interest. This summer will find my son and I getting back into family scale gardening. I live on 20 acres,problem is it is in a cold ass state. But growing your own food with an eye on bartering some off sounds like a good idea to me. Last summer we took the "Happy Motoring" road trip out to CA. Along the way we found large "wind farms" nestled in areas that had enough steady wind to make the investment wrothwhile. Anything to cut back the petrochemical dependence.

Again, Good Luck !

Phil

FNMA, Freddie Mac, and FHA are perhaps the largest public scam every devised. These agencies have driven up the cost of housing in the name of affordability, and enslaving the public in debt.
99% of everything done in the world good or bad,is done to pay a mortgage or other type of loan. People in DC love to enslave you, keep you too busy to notice their corruption, and limit your choices with your nose to the grindstone.
All in the name of fairness and everyone DESERVES a home. Wolves in sheep clothing....

Think about it...
All of the big corportations and DC work hand in hand.
Keep the peons in debt, so they go marching off to their jobs to make us all comfortable.
Don't want them becoming too independent now do we. After all someone has to work to pay for our government jobs and excellent health care.

No human being is "trash", White or Otherwise. Self-destructive behavior is not a "white trash" trait, it's a common problem of humanity, across the board. Are there no obese college graduates? Are there no white collar alcoholics? Are ther no rich kids in rehab? Are there no video addicts out in the upscale suburbs? No wife beaters? No child absuers? No porn addicts? Aren't we, sll of us, paying the collective tab for each other's human failings?

Working people frequently ask retired people what they do to make their days interesting.

Well, for example, the other day my wife and I went into town and went into a shop. We were only in there for about 5 minutes. When we came out, there was a cop writing out a parking ticket.

We went up to him and said, 'Come on man, how about giving a senior citizen a break?'

He ignored us and continued writing the ticket. I called him a Nazi turd. He glared at me and started writing another ticket for having worn tires. So my wife called him a shithead. He finished the second ticket and put it on the windshield with the first. Then he started writing a third ticket. This went on for about 20 minutes. The more we abused him, the more tickets he wrote.

Personally, we didn't care. We came into town by bus and the car had Obama bumper stickers. We try to have a little fun each day now that we're retired. It's important at our age.

Puzzler,

He probably thought it was your car. You really ruined someone's day!

Personally, we didn't care. We came into town by bus and the car had Obama bumper stickers. We try to have a little fun each day now that we're retired. It's important at our age.

I have seen karma work too often NOT to believe you aren't set to get a kick in your rear. Good luck.

How come the rampant looting in Chile has not been commented upon as a foretaste of what happens here after a future "difficulty" hits here?

You know, we just came to an interesting conclusion: The amount that we were paying for our ever-increasing health insurance was also the exact amount that we should have been putting into our IRA's the past dozen years or so.
As the rates went up, we cut back on our savings to pay them, thus our retirement accounts paid the penalty, thus we were unable to contribute what we should have to our IRA's, again, just to pay our so-called health insurance.

So, think about that....

DJ

Hate to have to say this, Puzzler, but you are part of the problem this country is having. You really are at a loss for ways to fill your empty hours and vacant brain, aren't you? I've run across a lot of people like you, unfortunately, as the level of civility in this country continues to plummet and people become ever more surly and prone to impulse violence.

Like most random acts of malice and brutality, yours only victimized someone who never did a damn thing to you, while you accomplished nothing that did anyone any good. All you and your wife accomplished was to create misery for someone most likely harmless, who perhaps HAS to have a car to get to his job, and who probably makes very little money and is hanging onto a decent life by his fingernails, while you are secure and comfy (for the time being) on your social security.

Why don't you come to CHICAGO and verbally abuse one of our Finest as you did that police officer? Just try it. Let me know when you come to town and where you'll be doing this so I can come and watch.

I thought it was just a joke...gave me a little chuckle.

"growing mushrooms indoors in our shop in the winter. They come from WA state,"

Are they from Fungi Perfecti? Paul Stamets' outfit in western Washington? They have some INCREDIBLE products on the market. I use a few species of the mushroom genus Glomus, that grows symbiotically with common vegetables (but not Brassicas). Had damn fine results with it. The mushroom mycelia form an extensive network underground that mines minerals from underlying rock, collects nutrients, and shares water throughout the network and with the vegetables. Fungi in the landscape are totally under-represented. We really need to make friends with this kingdom fast.

Either way, the mushroom growing sounds like it's going well! Right on.

Puzzler's post is an old joke with a new twist.

So I guess we've already reached Peak Humor.

If I had just repeated the old joke, but made it a McCain/Palin bumpersticker would that have made it past your outrage and tickled your funny bone?

By the way, I met some of Chicago's finest when they beat the crap out of me during the Police Riot at the Democratic National Convention in 1968.

Puzzler, my apologies. I'm glad you're only joking. I'd think you were if it weren't for the people I meet who are malicious enough to actually behave this way, and do so regularly.

I hear people lament, "This is not the same country as before"

Well, change is the law of life but in some respects it is the same country.

At least in my case. I grew up in the midwest where the KKK, the John Birch society, McCarthy witch hunts, and the American Legion flourished.

All I heard as a child and young adult was anti-government, anti-communists, anti-IRS, anti-liberals, etc. (lots of fear mongering to increase "defense" spending) and that's what I'm still hearing today.

When are people going to realize that paying taxes for government is the price we pay for a civilized society?

It really doesn't make any difference, Dee.

The FIRE industry is so connected that whether you give your money to the "retirement" part or the "health" insurance part, the same people get the money.

Yes, it would have been funnier with a McCain/Palin bumpersticker.

And I plan to steal it with that twist.

Yeah, but when you were a child, those beliefs were fringe, and now they are pushed daily on corporate media.

It is getting to me a mean country, look at those commenters on this blog who are ready to throw old people onto ice floes, rather than cooperate with each other to provide a decent living for all.

"I don't WANT to be a writer. I AM a writer. I write. I have things to say, and some people here actually enjoy hearing those things now and then. (Mostly without the sophomoric interloping of two-bit scoundrels such as yourself, I might add.)"

I got a grin out of that. So I'm supposed to be impressed? Because you're a writer? And people enjoy hearing you? Do you have a pipe and a smoking jacket or some such? Maybe you're now or have been an "educator"? Just guessing, here. Curious. Ever held a real job? Where you got blisters, I mean. Or manufactured something? Take your time. I'll wait.

Do you realize at all what a pompous ass you sound like? I doubt it. God, I'm grinning again. Stop it.

Tell you what. Don't presume to educate me. You're not qualified.

Fascism: Fascism escapes an agreed upon definition, and calling it simply the partial melding of state with corporations is inadequate. Although the Third Way is a vital part of any fascist system, there are many other facets. But you have a point. If the government were to exercise undue control over corporations - say, the auto industry. Or banks. Or the insurance industry... we might have a fascist system. But that could never happen here in the US. I mean, not by the leftist government currently in charge. Surely if that were done, it would have to be the right who would do it. It's those Nazis on the right, damn them. The Republicans! Say it with a sneer so we'll know you mean it.

The political spectrum - at one extreme is fascism, and at the other, anarchy. Socialism and fascism are on the left. Capitalism (freedom)and ultimately anarchy are toward the right. Got it? Hold that thought.

Socialism always resolves to fascism. Hitler's Germany was socialist, then fascist. KRUPP! Pardon me. Socialist governments invariably extort control of business and industry in the name of national interest and wealth redistribution. Surely you don't claim the Nazis were capitalists or right wing. If so please tell me now. I'll check you off as just another who bought the lie.


Moussollini's Fascist Italy began as a socialist organization (RSI - Repubblica Sociale Italiana), later morphed into - Fascism. The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics - socialist state, resolved to defacto fascism. Castro's Cuba. Mao's China. No matter what those governments call themselves, they are in effect also fascists, by your own definition - in that they exercise control over business. Why do they do that? That's where the money is.

So, as you were saying, "fascistic communism, WTF?" (I'll assume you're 13, or have a 13 year old from whom you learned that idiotic expression. Some writer...) Well, here's "WTF". The useful idiots are the first to be processed out following the consolidation of power. I'm sure you'll have a surprised look on your face.

Oh, gee. Another armchair political expert on the internet, warning us that we'll be first against the wall because we don't understand that the U.S. Government is Fascist, Communist, Leftist, Nazi, Gay, all of the above....whatever.

To that I give a big fat *****YAWN*****SCRATCH*****FART*****.


"*****YAWN*****SCRATCH*****FART*****."

Well said, Bobby. How old are you? How many fingers?

Oh, just the one...

Brilliant.

"Hitler's Germany was socialist, then fascist."

Killa:

Hitler was never socialist. He came to power fighting communists.

However, he put the word socialism into the title of his organization - to become National Socialist, or Nazi as we call it - to appeal to the rural voters. Of course, the minute he got power, he did away with voting (using the communists as an excuse, I seem to believe).

Obama is neither fascist nor communist. He's not stupid. . . IMHO he's just painted into a corner.

Using terms like fascist and communist as part of the political mud-throwing that passes for debate these days just devalues them, stopping us from associating the suffering attached to these terms. I'm thinking of the millions murdered by Hitler and Stalin, and starved by Mao.

"When are people going to realize that paying taxes for government is the price we pay for a civilized society?"

When are people going to realize that paying for a civilized society at the insistance of government is extortion?

Well, he's got you there, Tripp. Isn't it ironic when thoughtful and responsible people like you get cornered by ideologues like killacommie? And it's doubly ironic that two-bit misanthropes like me can't be cornered because I make it clear that I'm not responsible for anyone's state of knowledge, especially in these days when information is more accessible than hitherto. Try being a misanthrope: people don't like each other very much; respect their judgement.

Don't presume to educate me. You're not qualified. That's worth a laugh. One horse laugh is worth 10,000 aphorisms. I'll bet 10,000 aphorisms that killacommie is a disaffected libertarian who's pissed off that the brief summer of libertarianism, when unregulated trade ran riot, has ended in the bitter winter of discontent. All that's missing is a YouTube video of Ben Bernanke urinating on the Constitution.

"Well said, Bobby. How old are you? How many fingers?"

Yeah, like you are so sophisticated, educated, erudite, and mature Mr. "Kill A Commie". I can't even compete.

"Yes, it would have been funnier with a McCain/Palin bumpersticker."

Perhaps even tragic with a Ron Paul sticker.

"Oh, just the one..."

Yeah, the middle finger is fully extended.

Tea baggers like to appear sophisticated by including the terms Nazi, Communist, Leftist, and Socialist in their posts, among other chestnuts. In fact, there seems to be some kind of unspoken tea bagger contest to use all of these words in a single sentence.

"Nazi Obama is a Leftist and wants to socialize the government into a Communist dictatorship."

Try it. It's fun!

"The political spectrum - at one extreme is fascism, and at the other, anarchy. Socialism and fascism are on the left. Capitalism (freedom)and ultimately anarchy are toward the right. Got it? Hold that thought."

Where's me lucky charms?

Boy! What about the latest Reid gaffe? Is it true that the US loses 36,000 "jobs" a day?

That would be 720 per state. That would be pretty devastating in North Dakota, but I guess not so much in New York or California.

Kind of gives you a "feel" about the speed of the so-called Long Emergency. And a terrible reminder, the considerable disparity of mindsets between Harry Reid and myself.

It will be interesting to see if I live long enough to see the nation tolerate a few thousand deaths from exposure or malnutrition the way we currently ignore the thousands losing there comfortable existence by the day.......

Or their use of proper English.....

Back to curling. Remember "Every time I turned the damn thing on, there were these ladies uniformed in manual labor casuals shoving teakettles across the floor while other ladies madly polished the forward path of said sliding kettles with Swiffer© sweepers."

Well, I've just seen this: "Canadian Olympic curler Carolyn Darbyshire faces down hostage taker."

Medal winning Canadian curler saves school from knife-wielding maniac. . . It's one of those only-in-Canada stories; crazy goes into school armed with a knife! Curler to the rescue! The maple syrups are on me!

http://www.vancouversun.com/news/Canadian+Olympic+curler+Carolyn+Darbyshire+faces+down+hostage+taker/2645630/story.html

I'm glad that the rightists voice their opinions on CFN because I'm gaining a better understanding of the disinformation campaign being waged by the corpseoration club. If indeed, my premise that these people are simply parroting "talking points" disseminated by multi-millionare, entertainment, propaganda specialists; then several previous commenters seem to be fitting the bill.

We were discussing the theme "Hitler was a socialist" a month or so ago after someone made this spurious claim and it pops up again today.
Same slogan; different parrot. Another one is:
"socialism is fascism" and "Obama is a NAZI".
Someone out there wants the parrots to equate the competitive ideology with something commonly considered vile and reprehensible. Repeat the lie often enough and it becomes the truth.

Another thought congealing for me is that these propagandistic infotainment shows are designed to appeal to the average, disaffected, angry (white?)male looking for someone, or some ideology to scapegoat. This is the same stock that the demented psychopath who dominated Germany during the thirties used for his storied, brown-shirt troopers. Watch out america; history repeats itself.

If we lived in a true democracy the IRS would have an additional form to file with our tax returns. The form would have a list of all the functions of government and boxes to check where we wanted our tax dollars to be spent. "We the people" would have a say in what gets funded and what does not get funded.

Instead, the IRS simply extorts our tax dollars to attempt to pay down the interest on the debt the corporo-industrialist syndicate called "USA Government" has incurred to a private, banking cartel misleadingly called "Federal Reserve".

Wow, Killa, you really nailed me there! I feel so foolish for thinking for myself, and for all the blisters I shouldn't be bothering with in the garden so I can feed my family real, nutrient-dense food, instead of the labor kibble that you and your corporate lackies try to convince me is legit. You must see right through me. And surely all the outdoor work I do in my plant nursery, the breeding for low-impact and regenerative perennial crops that I work on, is a bloody waste of time. Especially considering how robust and sustainable our current food system is. How could I ever expect to compete with the importance of what you do?

Lay off the Kool-Aid, dude. The red moustache does not become you.

Oiligarch: forgive me if I sound dumb, but I can't digest this line of yours: "Someone out there wants the parrots to equate the competitive ideology with something commonly considered vile and reprehensible."

From what I know about you, which is necessarily limited to what I read on this blog, I have been given to understand that you think the competitive ideology is vile and reprehensible.

Please elucidate.

No human being is trash? Take it up with Freud.

"I have found little that is 'good' about human beings on the whole. In my experience most of them are trash, no matter whether they publicly subscribe to this or that ethical doctrine or to none at all."

Well, that's Freud, a moralist if ever there was one. I suppose that moralists must go home to their frigid wives and a cold pork chop; the dividends of amoralism can be found in opium dens and loose women. Count me among the latter: most of the day I had at least 250mg of dihydrocodeinine bitratate singing in my veins. I'd be lying if I said I'd made it with a floozy, but the night is still young.

You betcha!

The other day one of my co-workers called me a commie fascist.

I tried to explain that I couldn't be a commie fascist, because those are opposite ideologies. But he thought I was just denying both labels, so he kept repeating himself like a broken record.

I watched a movie from 1943, "Mission to Moscow". Wow! As a fish doesn't know water, (I guess), you don't realize the propaganda you are subjected to until you see opposite propaganda.

I believe that I reject corporate propaganda, but when I watched that movie I realized that I internalize much of it.

Then, after the war, the propaganda did an about face. It shows how well they know their stuff that by the 50s, they could have Red hysteria, and mass firings for thought crimes.

But still, I doubt that many people confused fascism and socialism back then. Too many people had been educated as to what both were.

On the other hand, I would wager that most Americans alive today believe that the US and the USSR fought on different sides during the war.

They may be familiar with the quote-
"First they came for the communists, but I was not a communist, so I didn't speak up....
But they can't apply that to realize that communists were KILLED by the fascists.

It is amazing that people are so confused.

Even liberal Americans now announce that Stalin killed as many people as Hitler.

Really? Where is the evidence? Where are the bodies? Why did we only start hearing this after the USSR fell?

The propaganda system in this country is unmatched by any in the world.

I even watched Iraqis on TV crying over the loss of their loved ones in US attacks, and saying
"You call this democracy?"

I was amazed. Why would any Iraqi believe that the US was bringing "democracy" to them?

Then I realized that the US propaganda system is world wide. They even try to brainwash the victims of their bombings.

Amazing!


Please excuse the awkward syntax in
that sentence. My inference was that "someone" (meaning whoever pays the bombasts their millions) wants to convince the parrots to hate the socialist ideology because "free-market" capitalists view socialism as a competitive rival to be defeated at all costs. Does this help?

If anyone you know claims to be a "constitutionalist", give them a little test. Ask if they support the ACLU.

The ACLU is our nation's guardian of liberty, working daily in courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties that the Constitution and laws of the United States guarantee everyone.

The ACLU even defends Nazis, whenever their constitutional rights are denied.

It's just my opinion, but it seems to me that ALL of the problems referred to on this blog are rolling along out of control. The congress can't get it's shit together, the financial system is screwed, the jobs are gone, the list goes on and on. Any one of these problems would have a severe impact on this nation,and be hard to deal with,let alone all of them seeming to happen at once. I'm not a pessimist by nature, but it seems to me that we're headed for a real shitstorm caused by a multitude of big problems clumped together with no way to solve even one of them much less all of them together. I sure hope I'm wrong, but it sure doesn't look good to me. Circle the wagons.

The danger that I see with our present situation is that the television (and radio to a lesser extent) have become so ubiquitous in our lives that a huge hole has been opened in the average Americans critical reasoning capacity. This hole is being filled with a steady drum-beat of lies, hate, and deceit by a group of multi-millionaire entertainers at the be-heist of their corporate paymasters. This propaganda is being given a proxy legitimacy simply by being broadcast on cable TV. These people have an agenda to sell us more of their cars, gasoline, GMOs and poisonous ideology.

I think a corollary would be the role Joseph Goebbels played as propaganda minister for that demented psychopath who reigned supreme in Germany during the thirties.

If this country is shaking apart at the seams then this propagandistic demagoguery begins to sound very reasonable to the frightened, isolated, divided and conquered populace. Americans don't have any frame of reference other than what is being spewed at them relentlessly ,day after day, on their giant, plasma screens. As things become more chaotic people will begin to react reflexively to the ideology being promoted on tee vee. Hence "TEA parties" etc...

Americans could then, easily, embrace the rhetoric of a "corn pone Nazi" as the solution to all of the problems they are engulfed with.
I get the sense that the pump is being primed for an all out assault on the last vestiges of our hard-earned democratic principles. This is the opportunity that the forces of tyranny have been waiting for; to finally shut down our civil liberties once and for all. The "killacommie" types are the unwitting dupes who will end up doing the dirty work of physically silencing the opposition (and feeling entirely justified in doing so) because mr tee vee told them it was okay to do it to the lousy ____________ists who are ruining this great country. (fill in blank)

I really hope I'm wrong and this is all just a bad dream and I'll wake up and June and Ward Cleaver will be smiling down at me in my little bed.

Just a note of thanks to Mr Kunstler for tolerating all the garbage I've been espousing on his website. I have to admit I'm having a blast with this. I hope I'm not wearing out my welcome.

"The ACLU is our nation's guardian of liberty,.."

"The ACLU attacks the traditional foundation of the family in society. This is why they fight against parental notification of abortions, school choice, and the parent's role in educating their children. In fact, they attack traditional forms of authority beyond that of the state. In communist nations, the state is the highest authority and all needs and actions must be made in connection with what is best for the state. That is why you can talk about purges and gulags and communists don't flinch. Communism requires them.

Their attacks on Christianity aren't designed to eradicate Christianity, per se. They are designed to establish a social order (or more appropriately destroy the existing order) and customs that advance their ideas and Christianity isn't a part of it. In short, they aren't anti-Christian in intent, they are anti-Christian in effect."

http://blogcritics.org/politics/article/is-the-aclu-anti-christian/page-2/

How can the ACLU defend the Constitution and Bill of Rights, which limits the power of the state, and at the same time seek to empower the state above the people, their culture and traditions {ie: their christian liberty}?

It wasn't until I was in my thirties that I learned what most people never find out: Fascism isn't just a pejorative - it's an actual politcal philosophy that has a large literature. It's not completely people's fault either. After all, it's not taught in the University and people are encouraged by pop culture to throw the word around in a negative way. You give a good starting point: Fascism is the coming together of the Goverment and the Corporations for the benefit of the Nation.

Now my point: the two are going to come together anyway. If you don't make it clear that the union is for the good of the Nation, then the Union will by default be for the good of the Corporations - as it is here in America with the predicatably disastous results. That's why I admire the Japanese. They copied many things from us but not that. They never imagined that such powers could be kept separate, so they made damn sure that the Goverment would be on top. With the Goverment on top (missionary position) there is at least the potential for accountability. With the Corporations on top, it all just becomes a joke. They are only accountable to their share holders. They could be sued by them if they ever got any idea of priorities other than maximization of profit.

Does the Japanese sytem work? Yes. I claim it is at least partly Fascisitic although it would never use the word for obvious reasons. Why would they anyway? The word is a discredited European one and they don't need it anyway. East Asians naturally create powerful, prosperous, highly centralized States. They are natural Fascists.

Is Fascism Socialist? Capitalist? No, as you said, it is the Third Way and it has elements of both. It also has elements that cannot be reduced to either. Most importantly, it claims that economics isn't the main thing in life. How refreshing. And again, to the extent is is Socialist: there are many kinds of Socialism just as there are Capitalism. Fascism totally repudiates Marxism in all it's forms and guises. For Marxism is far more than economics also: it's poison for the Nation and for Man's Soul. Fascism respects the unique Culture and Folk Ways of each people. Thus the past is honored. Marxism despises individual Cultures and Traditions and seeks to impose a straight jacket of global uniformity on every Nation.

I admire many aspects of Libertarianism, but it's is just economics unfortunately. Despite some very good people with fine intentions, it would just lead to exploitation by the strong over the weak. As one writer, a Thomas Flemming of Chronicles Magazine said, Libertarianims is the most logical philosophy out there right now. It prceeds from it's principles to its conclusions. But it's principles are not first principles, but merely economic ones. So it's soil is shallow indeed. Sure we could switch back to it - but everything else would have to change too. If you want to go back to a Traditional Economics you have to go back to a Traditional Culture. Who among them is willing to take care of their own retarded children - for life. How many of them would be willing to tithe the traditional ten percent of their income to their local church for public relief. Yes, they had welfare back then too, they just did it differently. No, they have no awareness whatsoevere of all this. They just want to do what they want. No Nation was ever created or maintained by such an attitude. Desire? No, deserve and then desire. Rights? Sure along with Duties. That's what creates real, long lasting prosperity. Anything else is hucksterism - which America excels at.

But does it work? Yes, besides Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and now China there was Germany. That's what they really don't want you to know: the economic miracle of pre-war Nazi Germany. They didn't have money, but they had will, know how, morale and muscle. They bartered with other countries for what they needed. They had been robbed so they didn't have any gold but they developed a social credit type of money. That was the real reason for WW2 - they refused to go back to the Gold Standard and be manipulated by the New World Order. To do so would have condemned them to pauperism since all their gold had already been plundered. The same pauperism now faces us and many believe that our gold has been taken as well. One of the many reason they refuse the audit that Ron Paul calls for.

I don't want America to follow the German Experiment. After all, our system is different - historically we are much less centralized than they were and are. But we could learn from them or at least not ignorantly condemn. We should go back on the gold standard. But first we have to understand the issues of why we were taken off in the first place and what that means. To try to have an economy without gold backed notes would entail alot of centralization and overseeing - all of which is hateful to American Patriots. But they should understand that other cultures have other values - and real strengths of their own.

The Scots Irish never cooperated as well amongst themselves as the English did. And the German settlers were better yet with their barn raisings. The Tea Party seems largely following the Scots Irish way. But that was only part of the American Tradition - and not the part that will serve most of us now. As Congressman Jim Webb said about his own Scots Irish People - they need to learn about Co-Ops. Into every life a little socialism must fall.

Christ, Vlad, you expect anyone to wade through all the crap you write here? I mean what the hell are you even going on about?

For six long years, from the end of the Clinton presidency to the middle of Bush's second term, I worked as the moderator of online discussion at washingonpost.com--mostly in politics, but also in business (where I took a great interest in discussions on energy,) and in world, national news etc.

The reason I bring this up is that some participant or another was always tossing around terms such as fascism, Nazi, socialist, etc., as pejoratives designed to raise the stakes on conversation, or perhaps in an effort to sound intelligent, while really only destroying any hope for a substantive exchange on the topic. Deconstructing those kinds of exchanges was a daily task, as was the call for civility even in the throes of exchanging polar view.

At this point in history, in general parlance, terms such as Socialist, etc., have lost all meaning due to their extraction from any truthful reference to the historical precedence in which they must be rooted, or, the philosophical grounding that must aptly apply to give real meaning to the terms. OR, if used metaphorically, done appropriately so, such as to decry a truly brutal regime marked by overt murder and incontrovertible repression, or the linking of corporatism to governance. No such luck.

The same muddying occurs in the use of the terms liberal and conservative, which, for the most part, seem to have been utterly reversed, at least for a good portion of John Q. Public. (Social-conservative has got to be one of the biggest oxymorons in circulation today.)

The ability to have discussions which are balanced, hued, subtle, and which involve more than free form opinion rants are few and far between. They can happen in message board hubs, as can real connection on the intellectual plane. But it is really an interesting sort of...I don't know, perhaps anthropological hologram to see the sides take up arms against the OTHER and end up in the trenches of irrelevancies, nothing moved, nothing changed, nothing understood, just a whole lot of justifying for one's side, and high blood pressure.

When I was around fifteen, I came home one day to an empty house and I went up to my room and I stopped dead in my tracks as I felt this warm, intense energy well up inside me. All of the sudden I began speaking in a voice that was not quite my own, and I did so for about three minutes. I can't recall much of what came out of my mouth other than the general feel, but I do recall one thing that was said: "I await the collective maturation of the human race." When I kind of "awoke" from the trance of this I was, of course, puzzled. I don't know what to make of it, but I would imagine its safe to say we're still waiting.

Personally, I can't see Americans as Nazis.

As a race, you are too outspoken. You value individualism and enterprize above everything else - to the point that it's pulling the country apart (for example, government-run healthcare would make a lot more sense financially, but is seen as socialist, and so could never work; your're stuck with health insurance).

I'm English, so I can say this. My grandfather served alongside G.I.s during the Second World War, and came back very pro-American. What did it was their generosity - U.S. soldiers would trade rations with the British; theirs contained more and better food, and also had unbelievable luxuries like chocolate, but they still traded one-for-one. I've never seen this recorded in a history book. (By the way, he was horrified at the way the men spoke back to the officers.)

Oligarch:

You said, "Just a note of thanks to Mr Kunstler for tolerating all the garbage I've been espousing on his website. I have to admit I'm having a blast with this. I hope I'm not wearing out my welcome."

"Garbage" you've been espousing?

You're "having a blast" with it???

Please elaborate. You don't believe what you are saying? It's just a cynical act? Are you a Beck listenter in real life or something?

Or am I just misinterpreting your comments?

Because I must say, if you are "having a blast" "espousing garbage" that you really don't believe - which is my inital interpretation of your comment I have quoted - then it is some of the best, most detailed 'cyber-acting' I have ever seen.

Please elaborate on your last comment. Do you deserve the cyber-Academy Award or what's your story?

Oh Sarah! You're right. (if only!) Once you control the media, you can make people believe anything. The Russian Communists built the "gas chamber" at Aushwitz after the war as a tourist attraction. After heavy pressure, they admitted it but claimed they were just rebuilding a replica of what had been there before. The aerial photos of the time show no such structure however. Nor is there any evidence of the absolute mountains of ash that should be there. All such examination of the site is now completely forbidden - for obvious reasons.

I admit the Germans were brutal. They suffered greatly from Partisans - Jewish and Slavic guerillas. And they would retaliate by slaughtering Jewish and Slavic civilians. Yes, they were brutal but so were their opponents the Russians, the British, and the Americans. Read about the hundreds of thousands if not millions of German Women raped by the incoming Russians. They were not only not forbidden to rape, they were actually ordered to rape. Also read about the million or so German Soldiers who died in the the Allied Death Camps. The millions of German Civilians who died from ethnic violence, disease, and exhaustion from the forced relocaton from the Baltic Countries.

Why did we turn against the Soviet Union? Well probably because the Jews had begun to lose control of the Revolution. They were by far the strongest early on, but they needed the native Russians to win the war so the Russians emerged much stronger after that. And just as importantly, Stalin had begun to turn against them as a group after he saw how they placed their ethnicity above the State and the Revolution. So America became the new shining hope for the Jews - and inevitably they began to transform Her into their own Communist Image. The Republic had to go. Christianity had to go. The natural and native White Majority had to go. In short, Western Civilization had to go. Everything strange and perverse had to be fostered to corrupt and distract the People. Hollyweird has been of unestimable value in this. Now I hope no one pretends that the Jews don't control that at least!

How time transforms things: now Russia is leading Western Nation and the greatest hope of the Western Civilization and the White Race. Meanwhile America slips into a fetid jungle of Third World Savagery.

Thanks Turk, you are exhibit A and Qstik exhibit B. Both of you find a few paragraphs an insufferable burden. But you see, not everything can be expresses in one click of the cursor. And let's face it, for many, even that is too much. They "prefer" the sound byte. Well such short attention spans are a godsend for the media masters. And people with such an attention deficit should not be allowed to vote. For them, voting can only be a popularity contest or an expression of their prior conditioning.

Hi Vlad, I've spoken to people from Europe who lived under fascism that spoke well of the system. Of course they were indoctrinated from an early age so I don't think they're objective. And I'll bet there were as many non German Nazis as there were German Nazis.

I've never seen a rigorous definition of fascism and maybe that's a hole in my own education.

But it seems to me that fascism is a system of extremes that go hand in hand in hand with what I see as its its core characteristics: it's not just militaristic, and militarily aggressive, it's extremely aggressive, it's not just territorially expansionist but extremely so.

The Nazis couldn't just unite Germans from Austria, the Sudetenland and Poland they had to grab all of Europe. It wasn't enough to persecute Jews, they had to be totally exterminated, it wasn't enough to be respectful of authority, you had to obey unquestioningly. It wasn't enough to respect "unique cultures and folkways", Germans were the Aryan Master Race.

I'm a nationalist, I believe in the nation state and I think that the Anglo Saxon culture that the world's English speaking countries share is far and away the better way (and I'm not of Anglo background). But Fascism takes things way, way too far. I think there was nothing good about it and in the end it was a disaster.


There - you have said it. Asking people to differentiate between metaphor and fact is asking far too much. But the poor dears have been to college! Like Bonzo. Truly, a college education (the equivalent of junior high a hundred years ago) is the perfect cover for fascism (metaphor, thus the uncapitalized f) to imitate "Democracy". I use quotations because Democracy is obviously an invalid form of Goverment - as the Founding Fathers espoused. The average person was never supposed to have been allowed to vote. Only allowing qualified people to vote is the way to preserve the Republic - a goverent of Laws not Men. Thus democracy is a valid part of the system but not the system itself.

I'm excited: in a few weeks the news show 20/20 is going to enact my favorite psychological experiment. You have people taking a test or filling out job applications. You begin to fill the room up with smoke. You watch with amazement as nobody get up to get out. The average individual is anything but. He/She is inferior in a group to what He/She is on their own. They asked one woman why she didn't get up: "Because no one else did". Now I ask you, can such creatures be allowed to vote? This experiment has been replicated endlessly in this form or parallel forms in real life. The Koreans Army separated American troublemakers from the rest of the prisoners. The rest would then be as quiet as lambs. What is the "troublesome" percentage? W.B Dubois' (a "Black" who looked like an Italin Nobleman) talented tenth.

In other word, ordinary Schmoes and Schmoettes have the right to be ruled by better and smarter people than themselves. Universal Democracy is the scheme of the New World Order to overthrow all Nations and subjugate all Free and Traditonal Peoples in Middle Earth. Like Sauron or Stalin, their words are fair but their deeds are foul.

Oiligarch, you must be Canadian. Only a Canadian can espouse such a brilliant position and then call it garbage. Such self-deprecators! Americans may be ignorant, by and large, but we're very confident in our ignorance!

I tend to agree with your point of view, trippticket, that it MUST be self-deprecation because of the depth and logical strength of writings of oiligarch.

CFN is such a fascinating community in that it attracts such a diverse crowd.

Why, just up from here is an absolute bull-goose crazy Nazi monster VladKranz who will calmly explain the specific hows and whys an "Americanized revival" of "The Nazi Story" is good for the few Ubermenschen who matter.

As oiligarch said, for all his Eichmann-like "cool rationality", he's just a puppet on a stick and a mad-dog on a leash for his Corporate Masters. He's looking for an alliance with the Big Money Corporatists and quite proudly says so.

Sorry, tripp, I started responding to your comment and mistakenly fed the trolls.

Bottom line, you're probably right about oiligarch, but still I'd like to see it typed by his own hands.

:P

I DONT EVEN SEE GERMANS AS NAZIS!

ignore ashok!
when the ACLU was for the ' right' of gangsters to ' free assmeble' in parks!
the purpose of the aclu far as i can tell is to destroy the USA.
and vlad says theres a connection from their funder to the sierra club.

'Truly, a college education (the equivalent of junior high a hundred years ago)'

actually less, read tom sowell where he has the entrance exam to high school in N.J.
i have a degree plus 4 years of college classes. i couldnt pass it!
if i can find it ill post it.
i think its in ' visions of the annointed'..a great book.

"Thanks Turk, you are exhibit A and Qstik exhibit B. Both of you find a few paragraphs an insufferable burden."
======================

I speak of applying the scroll-wheel test but actually that's just another way of me saying I disagree or I heard all this before or your boring me or if you were a more poet-like writer you could get your point across in way fewer words or I want to hear from you (Asoka) not from Google ... etc, etc. It's a subset of the ad hominem ... like saying I totally disagree and besides you're ugly. Rarely is it the length, per se. Exhibit A: I just finished reading all 1079 densely packed pages of Infinite Jest in the thrall of a true genius, David Foster Wallace.

And BTW, I don't think I ever nixed one of your comments on a length beef.

You don't know the half of it. Every time a Canuck won a medal at the Olympics there was a whole lot of chest beating but believe me it was excruciatingly embarrassing. It was just for show. Especially when Crosby got that winning goal. We had to get drunk to make the squirming subside. Everyone wanted to die of shame.

To a Canadian fifth is a good Olympic finish. Getting a medal requires a level of effort and committment that is truly unbalanced and, to a Canadian, unhealthy. A fourth place finish is just too close to the medals and it still means you're a self centred greedo. You still get a sigh and a shake of the head.

But a fifth means that you have the natural ability to compete with the best and to win but you're just not nuts enough. Let the hotdogs go break their asses falling across the finish line.

We got 14 gold medals this Olympics. It was deplorable. I hear that a Parliamentary Committee is going to look into this outrage and that funding for athletes will be reduced to make sure nothing like this ever happens again.

Hey, Vlad, if I want some insight into how the world works, I'll go read the Economist or crack a good book by an actual author and recognized expert on a topic. I don't need to wade through your turgid piles of internet spew.

Qshtik, it's fun to nitpick a fellow nitpicker.

"...your boring me..."

You are boring me = you're boring me.

I love you Canadians! 14 gold medals, and an official inquiry. That's hilarious.

God, I hate when that happens ;-)

I was kidding but don't put it past us. We're the ultimate in post national, post modern. With a great many of us flag waving is in extremely poor taste and nationalism is for knuckle draggers like me.

I figured you were joking about that, but it was a GOOD joke! I always get this image of the German third reich or Mussolini's Italy when I think about flag waving. How it became such a meaningful thing is beyond me.

Don't like waving your flag? Must be a commie.

No, how about, I disapprove of a significant portion of what the USA does under its banner, and don't feel inclined to wave that sucker. I'm still here, making the country a better place hopefully, but I'm no nationalist.

I just don't deal well on that scale. I think the whole idea is anomolous really, and related to very long supply chains based on very cheap energy. The city-state will be much more prevalent in an energy descent future I think, or maybe watershed economic scales (if I had my way). That is, the water and soil resources that affect us would be managed cooperatively by the people affected.

Surely a country the size of ours, with our military might, is simply a corrolary of our mastery of petroleum energy. Nature provided, and we capitalized. Just like the Orange Dutch with wind and water, and the Brits with coal and steel.

And I pledge no allegiance to oil, nor to the ecological wreckage it leaves in its wake. I pledge allegiance to my family, and the Earth, our breathtaking and unique home.

But you're no knuckle-dragger, Cash. I highly respect your input on this thread.

I dont for a second want to take the part of Mr Killemall, but you have to admit that Fascism and Communism, particularly in their virulent phase in the first half of the previous century, had a strong family likeness. Tying the two ends of the spectrum together to make a loop is one way of looking at it, but I'm with the guy who called the two systems 'symmetrical phenomena' ; two paralell responses to ther social crises of Europe, at opposite ends of the spectrum. The fascists made a partnership with the traditional oligarchs, in which the old ruling class got to keep their profits, along with paper ownership of their hoidings, and the upstarts got to run the government. The Bolsheviks simply liquidated the old ruling class, and recruited a new bureaucratic elite from the ranks of the workers and peasants.

You'd think I'd been preaching a sermon on The Virtue of Purity. That wasnt my point at all. It grinds my gears when they start talking about "white trash", the favorite whipping boy of the educated classes, "that sacrifical goat upon which all of society's sins are laid" (Orwell ; long ago in another context). Some want to forcibly euthanise all of "white trash America" over a given age, because they're crowding the hospitals, clinics, and nursing homes eith their expensive self-induced ailments. They want to free up money and staff to treat, nice, respectable, blameless people who've been struck down by falling meteors, or other random accidents of nature. Doctor Freud was famously a misanthrope. He probably did say most humans are trash. At least he wasnt singling out only "the untermenschen" or "the lumpenproletariat", or whatever. He didnt exempt his own class from his general vision of human folly. A misanthrope is a kind of Supersnob on a comsic scale ; he looks down his nose at his whole species.
A footnote on self-destructive behavior. I've been an up-close wittness to some of it. I wouldnt wish the agonies of heroin withdrawal even on Rush Limbaugh.

Withdrawal from cigarettes is pretty awful too. I "quit" probably 8 times before it stuck 3 years ago. 13 years of smoking those nasty, expensive things. What a waste! (Although I WOULD actually wish that on Rush Limbaugh. He so richly deserves it.)

In talking with my younger brother, I've encouraged him to give up any bad habits he still has before he's forced to do it. Think about what America would be like if everyone had their cigarettes taken away on the same day! Not that I don't still indulge my desires a little now and then, but my really horrible habits are long since done and gone.

1. I think the members of the Republican National Committee, who can easily afford it, should all chip in for a memorial statue to all those kids who gottheir skulls busted in Chicago in '68.It would be planted directly in front of the Nixon Library, and the inscription would read WITH UNDYING GRATITUDE FOR ALL YOU DID FOR US.
2. Even in peaceful times, the Chicago Police werent famous for their restraint. What did you guys think they were going to do when the bags of shit started flying? Smile indulgently to one another, and say "kids will be kids!" ?

I see we are back to the Nazies and flag waving.--
We have three good size flood control ponds,that have single family houses around them,occupied mostly by retired folks.
About three or four times a year every one sticks a new,chinese made stars and stripes next to their driveway to show their patriotism and to honor their veterans.When I suggested to the red blooded Americans to work towards having these flags or images made by our disabled vets,the comments made were,"they volunteered,didn't they".
Peace

"I've encouraged him to give up any bad habits he still has before he's forced to do it. Think about what America would be like if everyone had their cigarettes taken away on the same day!"

I have thought about it. It's one of the reasons I'm such a doomer. A lot of people have very little self-control at the best of times. One of the first things, that happened in New Orleans after the cops bugged out, was all the liquor stores were looted. No doubt a few of the looters kept the swag for resale, but a lot of them were just common juiceheads who immediately got roaring drunk and did their best to stay that way as long as they could. This was in a hot climate in a city which had lost access to it's supply of potable water. The stupidity of this is off any scale a rational person can conceive of.

Some of these people probably died of heatstroke or drowned while passed out. Others probably committed murders while drunk or in the agony of withdrawal. Can you imagine what a hangover from a 3-4 day drinking binge must have been like under the conditions of Katrina? It boggles the mind...

You can't talk history or philosopy with the "he/she/it a fascist communist" crowd, they have no knowledge of either. Best to be mute, in the hope they find another venue where nonsense receives more attention.

On the subject of Katrina, I read that the first people back into New Orleans were the Vietnamese.

I'm guessing that they are either able to make do with less, or work together better.

Taking New Orleans during Katrina as a case study in what happens when mass emergency hits, I'd guess that some ethnic minority communities will do better than many people that post here predict. It's the communities that work together, and pray together, that will thrive.

My local paper had a column by Katherine Parker, a neocon, calling for looters to be shot after Katrina.

Interestingly enough, the same issue had an article stating that stranded tourists had pooled money to charter a bus to get out, which FEMA had commandeered.

I wrote a letter to the editor pointing out that the looting of the bus represented a greater theft then any water stealing individual looter could have managed.

A friend read the letter and forwarded an account of Katrina survival by one of the FEMA victims.

http://en.wikinews.org/wiki/User:Cmwhite/Disasters_and_accidents/Eyewitness_accounts/Katrina_aftermath_Bradshaw_and_Slonsky

Everybody was brutal, I agree. That's why I'm against war as a way to resolve disagreements.

The US didn't begin to turn against the USSR after WWll. It, along with 13 other countries, invaded in 1918, but was repelled.

Come on, Vlad, you must know that. It had nothing to do with the Jews taking over.

Did you read the March 1st New Yorker? It had an article about the election in Georgia. (Over there, not where Tripp lives)

Those white folks just can't get it together to stage the great revival of Western Civilization.

As Ghandi pointed out, western civilization would be a very good idea.

Also Shambles, "A Paradise Built in Hell" by Rebecca Solnit, is a very good antidote to the wild tales of lord of the flies type scenario hyped by the corporate media.

The kind of cooperation spoken of by Larry Bradshaw is not unusual in times of disaster.

But the ruling class thinks in terms of control, not cooperation. She calls it "elite panic".

We see it again in Haiti and Chile, where the focus is on "looting", not suffering.

We are being conditioned to believe that property rights are more important than human survival, that food that would spoil anyway should be left untouched by starving people, that people trying to survive should be shot.

I don't believe that. Interesting also, that human rights are presented to us as reasons for bombing when the ruling class wants to, but human rights to food and water are not as important as the right of 7-ll to clean out its rotten food weeks after a disaster rather than let hungry people have it.

When we had our hurricane here last May, the manager of the local Burger King was told to take the meat to a town that had electricity, but he gave a lot of it to the women's shelter instead.
I found this out later, by accident, talking to him at a meeting. It wasn't publicized.

Again, the Fascism of every People will be different due to their different temperment, history, and political ideas. And more to the point, since Fascism is a centralized system, much will depend on the Guy at the top - and his picked men. Hitler left much to be desired of course. At first he just wanted to get the parts of Germany back that had been lost by the the treat of Versaille. But then he seemed to want to expand beyond that. The invasion of Russia was a preemptive strike - he believed, with some cause, that Stalin was getting ready to invade Germany. And after what Stalin had done to the kulaks of the Ukraine, can anyone blame him for finding Communism unacceptable?

Try as they might, the Leftists were never able to think of much bad to say about Franco. His Fascism was very different - he was proud of Spain's Culture, but he didn't believe it had some unique all conquering destiny. No, he was a good son of the Church. Apparently he came to believe that he had been chosen by God to save Spain, but it was a private belief he shared with a few people. He never promulgated a cult of himself like Hitler or Mussolini did. There was some intellectual freedom in Franco's Spain, and much law and order. There are worse things, much worse. He was merciful to many of the Communists he caught; the real monsters he put to death. Yes, there were some isolated atrocities but after the blood bath perpetrated by Communists and Anarchists that could not have been avoided. Wronged men will seek justice through vengeance - justice for their murdered loved ones.

The Crux of my argument, Cash: in the modern industrial State, goverment and industry cannot be kept apart. The choice cannot be avoided - will Industry dominate Goverment or will Goverment dominate Industry. Remember, not to choose is to choose. Inertia is a potent force of Nature. Not to choose in our case means you vote for the dominance of Industry since that is already the case.

Thank you for the compliment. Yeah Abbey seems to have some good taste in Literature. Briefly, what is this Wallace book about?

The Communist Leadership in Russia and Eastern Europe was 80% or more Jewish. They desperately try to hide their role now, but at the time they were as proud as peacocks. And through the Federal Reserve Act, they became the leading Race in Capitalism as well. This was the vise that they intended use to crush Western Civilization. It didn't work perfectly, but it has gotten them and their evil WASP Brothers fairly far along.

One of their dodges is to claim the brutality came in with Stalin, but it was there already with Lenin and Trotsky. Trotsky, aka Lev Bronstein was both an intellectual and a sadistic monster. Lenin was heard several times screaming at Trotsky for murdering the Tsar and his family. He knew that that would make the kind but mediocre Tsar into a martyr. He was right. The Russian People will never forget and never forgive. Just like the Polish People will never forgive the massacre of their Elite in the Katyn Forest - which the Communists blamed on the Nazis.

Only you and and a few others still believe that the Russian Revolution was humane and just. All these little Communist Parties are like Cults and their members are like the Lyndon Larouche zombies. Even after the Jews lost control, they retained alot of power in certain sectors like the Gulags. Read Solzhenitsyn if you want to know the real nature of they system you idealize.

White Nationalist Hero Ernst Zundel has emerged from the German Prison where he was railroaded in good health and spirits. He was taken from America without trial and sent to a Canadian Gulag. Then he was extradited to Germany for "hate crimes" in other words, free speech. The fight goes on - with you on the wrong side. Forget the Commie Crap - come and keep your comrade warm.

Why would someone say "Fascist Communist"? Well it's not as stupid as one might think. There are real technical similarities between the two sytems even though animated by a different spirit. In both, the Goverment is united with Industry with the Goverment in control. Both are thus highly centralized and industrialized. But Communists do crazy things like trash the culture of their own nation. A few sane people prevented the Communists from destroying the art treasure of a thousand years of Russian History. They made the argument that they could be sold for good money! That's communism in a nut shell. Plus they have no respect for the different classes and types of men. They want to level everything - put professors out in the fields and put peasants in the classroom.

It doesn't work long term or even short. to the extent Communism follows its own system, to that extent it will fail. Thus the two great Communist States have become full fledged Fascist Ones. Both now have pride in their own past. Neither seeks a globalization that will engulf them in unwashed humanity. A few years ago, the Chinese were outraged when video games entered into China showing Black Basketball Players humiliating Chinese Martial Arts Masters. Martial Arts along with Traditional Chinese Medicine, have all regained their ancient status. The game company was amazed and chagrined when they learned that the Chinese will not allow imagery to reach their children that puts China in a bad light. Imagine if we had even a fraction of that pride in ourselves. The Japanese think badly of people who criticize their goverment to strangers. Westerners doing business with them are warned to watch their mouth. Who wants to do business with people who have no decorum or loyalty?

Political Science is mostly a joke these days. You'll never hear what I just said in a classroom, but it's true nonetheless: States can and have transformed from Communism to Fascism. It's not that hard due to the technical similarites. And the reason it happens? Because Communism is an alien, inhuman system that doesn't allow for freedom of thought or business or consumer choice. Fascism of the better kind, allows for all three.

You may have channeled an Angel or a Demon. I've had less intense experiences - the words than rung in my mind, "The Beautiful Ones are not yet born". This is at the heart of my White Nationalism.

Look what they did to your flag - they castrated Canada turning the Flag into some kind of corporate logo. See how the Masters (Jack London's term in "The Iron Heel") destoyed the Commonwealth. They told the Colonies that Britain didn't want them anymore and that they whole things was silly. The people liked being part of something bigger and were very hurt. Simultaneously, they told the British People that the Colonies were tired of being allied to Britain and wanted separation. News to many, but the age of Colonization was over and the British didn't want to hold any against their will. As usual, they won. No power or union must exist that does not reflect their will. As C.S Lewis put it, "That Hideous Strength".

Why would anyone pick apart english on this site? If you nitpicked JHK you would find at least ten (sic)each week. Also, you say us college B.S.ers'etc. couldn't pass the entrance exam for 1910 High School. Maybe so, but we also know how to fix lawn mowers, operate air-tight stoves, perform the Heimlich maneuver, rotate crops, avoid infections, perform CPR, cook pork and chicken, ignore old-wives tales, gain wealth without working, avoid religion, etc., etc., etc. Oh, wait a minute, there are a lot of Ivy Leaugers who can't do any of that. My mistake!

"Briefly, what is this Wallace book about?"
==========================

If I said it was about the students and management people at a junior tennis academy, about substance abuse in and around Boston, about a new US/Canada/Mexico politcal relationship in the not too distant future and about a lethal film cartridge referred to as "the Entertainment," it would sound ridiculous ... so I won't say that. And anyway, whatever I could tell you about the plot would convey nothing about the brilliance of its telling. It is fiction but apparently quite autobiographical (from what I have since read about his life).

Prior to reading Infinite Jest I read DFW's "Consider the Lobster." This was a book of 10 mostly non-fiction essays/short stories. All of these are brilliant as well. If you're curious start with one of his shorter pieces to see what you think. Keep a dictionary handy. His vocabulary exceeds Buckley, Safire and Samuel Johnson combined. He has been described as a once-in-a-century talent.

If you are not blissful, you are not paying attention.

Racism is a refuge for the ignorant and weak.
It seeks to divide and to destroy. It is the enemy of freedom. Honoring and cultivating human potential and human excellence is the best weapon to fight it.


I loved your post, Trippticket when
you were responding to one of your
natterers. But you saved the best
for last with your astute comment
that both the Pubs and the Dems are
like just different heads of the same
Medusa.

Indeed. That's the horrible tragedy
of postmodern, sterile, media-addled,
"little man" life now. The "citizens"
(aren't many left, really) resort to
shouting talking points over a fence
rather than real thought. Their
congressional and senatorial hacks
acting as "representatives" only
really care about their "men in
black" backers.

On the one side you've got the Pubs
and their men in black from Defense and
Big Energy. On the other you've got
the Dems and Big Wall St., Big Pharma,
and Big Ag. Larry Summers shows you
how a guy can be the architect of total
slime and yet bless himself as a Dem.

If Larry Summers is a "liberal" when he
coaxes Clinton into destroying Glass-Steagall
(the Pubs were all too eager to "help")
and then he shows up a dozen years later
to "help" with the bailout to his brethren
in Big Finance.

I submit that a man with good critical
thinking skills at this juncture in history
is a man who will find BOTH parties and
their FAUX "love" of the common man to
be of the utmost repugnance.

When both parties (and their CEO backers)
are just from variants of the "Mo' money"
party, a sanitized version of fascism has
already arrived. The insanity of the Pubs
is that they will claim that anything which
benefits labor in any way will kill jobs.

For God's sake ... in Ike's era when millionaires
had seventy percent marginal tax rates they
weren't bitching about not being able to hire
unless they, and all of their henchmen, are
allowed to continue to get obscene yearly
payouts.

Yet as soon as one talks about such things on,
say, a Pub radio talk show, one is labelled a
"redistributionist" or a commie. Well, how
about the "redistributing" to the obscenely
wealthy class and the protections they enjoy
every day? They won't oursource their own
jobs. They take whenever their act is not a
blatant crime or they have enough attorneys
to create plausible deniability.

I don't really see either party caring too much
about employees. There's a lot of noise but, in
the end, heads of a companies of THIEVES like
Goldman Sachs are getting all the spoils and
with APOLOGISTS saying that everyone "envies"
GS. Really? We "envy" people who are shorting
securities that, in the same moment, they are
marketing to clients as "AAA" rated??

It's quite a spectacle to see an Administration
of DEMOCRATS throw good capital after bad by
rewarding the worst stewards of capital since
the Mississippi Company with obscene rescues
and a wink-'n-a-nod about those multi-million
dollar "bonuses".

And get the rationale: They won't get "talent"
unless they pay the obscene bonuses. Really?
Like the "talents" that made the Fed increase
the M1 money stock by 150% in ONE YEAR??

Yeah, them's really liberals, alright, if I'm
the ghost of John Law.


Eleuthero

White Nationalism? Huh? Explain...and as you do, it would be helpful if you please make clearly whether you ascribe to the view you explain, or not.

That was to be "clear," not "clearly." Very early on a Sunday, and 19 days since I've had coffee.

yes, there are many who say that the nicotine habit is hardest of all to break. It might well be true. Best of luck to you.

Vlad @ 3-6: 12:58A Thank you for the articulate and informative post.
Lindsaycate @ 3-6, 8:20A: Brilliant. Can we meet for some de-caf sometime.
Shambles @ 12:35P The English weigh-in. Good!

Hancok1863 @ 12:46P: Reply: I was growing tired that evening and realized that my pathetic attempts at writing were beginning to sound rather pedantic. No, I'm not adroit enough to fabricate the cyber-hoax that you infer in your post. My inferance was that: I'm just a, tiresome, opinionated shnook who enjoys opining while riding on Mr Kunstler's coat tails.

Note: I notice the tendency for a tight,serious, literal interpretation of the disourse on CFN.
I advise widening the "spectrum of interpretation" to include a little of the bullshit factor once and awhile.

Man-oh-man I couldn't agree more; this post is brilliantly written.

"Indeed. That's the horrible tragedy
of postmodern, sterile, media-addled,
"little man" life now. The "citizens"
(aren't many left, really) resort to
shouting talking points over a fence
rather than real thought. Their
congressional and senatorial hacks
acting as "representatives" only
really care about their "men in
black" backers."

This comment makes me feel soooo sad! Really...(for all the literalists) I'm not being facetious. Goodbye to the last vestages of Democracy in "USA".

"I submit that a man with good critical
thinking skills at this juncture in history
is a man who will find BOTH parties and
their FAUX "love" of the common man to
be of the utmost repugnance."

Those slimeball shysters are the lying slimers of slime. Green, gooey, slime. Yuck Ola.

"Yet as soon as one talks about such things on,
say, a Pub radio talk show, one is labelled a
"redistributionist" or a commie. Well, how
about the "redistributing" to the obscenely
wealthy class and the protections they enjoy
every day? They won't oursource their own
jobs. They take whenever their act is not a
blatant crime or they have enough attorneys
to create plausible deniability."

Methinks I doth smell the faint stink of tyranny in the air.

Thank you for this post; it is pure gold.

My niece saw the following in Mass:

"There seems to be but three ways for a nation to acquire wealth. The first is by war, as the Romans did, in plundering their conquered neighbors. This is robbery.
The second by commerce, which is generally cheating.
The third by agriculture, the only honest way, wherein man receives a real increase of the seed thrown into the ground, in a kind of continual miracle wrought by the hand of God in his favor as a reward for his innocent life and his virtuous industry." Ben Franklin

The first two seem to reign supreme in the USA, the last is scorned.
Poor Ben, what would he say of this country now?

"Can you imagine what a hangover from a 3-4 day drinking binge must have been like under the conditions of Katrina?"

I once had a hangover for 13 days following a Crown Royal New Year's party. Damn Canadians and their demon whiskey!! What a headache! Good Kentucky straight bourbon would have never treated me so poorly...

Needless to say, I haven't touched the stuff since. But having spent some of my wilder years in the muggy southeast, I know for a fact that drunk is a lot worse in the heat and humidity. It can be downright deranging. I would guess that brutal and abnormal exposure after Katrina would make people do a lot of stupid things, but dehydration like that must have been hard to take.

"My niece saw the following in Mass:"
========================

A couple of questions regarding the above:

Which Mass? Massachusetts or a church service?

"There seems to be but three ways for a nation to acquire wealth. The first is by war, as the Romans did, in plundering their conquered neighbors. This is robbery."

Way back in time (I imagine) there were expanses of land never previously occupied by humans until humans walked in and occupied them. Since then these expanses have changed hands dozens, if not thousands, of times. And now in March 2010 we can map all the peoples of the world and the lands they occupy. A year from now the map will probably be slightly different and in a thousand years vastly different. How do you imagine the incumbents acquired (or will acquire) those lands? They will take it from those who have it. As Vlad correctly points out -- the Anglos came into America and took it from the indiginous natives "fair and square." Thus it has been and thus it will always be. As the bible says, "There will always be wars and rumors of wars." Everyone's job -- then, now and always (in America and elswhere) -- is to resist the advances of the next would-be incumbents. Do you and your niece find these truths somehow unpalatable and mean-spirited?

"The second by commerce, which is generally cheating." How? Why? is commerce cheating?

I know...look what they did to my flag...a British tour guide in London looked me right in the eye (he must have known I'm Canuck but I couldn't figure out how) and said the REAL Canadian flag (the glorious old Red Ensign) was in Westminster Abbey. That logo, as you call it, is not my flag.

So much for King and Empire. Between 1900 and 1945 1.6 million Canadian men fought for the Empire, more than 110 thousand died, hundreds of thousands were wounded. Ready, aye, ready? Bullshit.

They castrated Canada? WE castrated Canada. We're the only people on Earth, in history, embarrassed by our own existence. We will be the first country cancelled due to lack of interest, we will be history's biggest laughing stock, relinquishing an uncontested claim on the world's richest landmass. We are the ne plus ultra in national self abasement, the last word in post national and post modern.

But don't invade us. We won't have to fire a shot. You'll lose. It's not our army or General Winter that will defeat you. Our doughnuts and poutine will make you fat, our beer will make you stupid, General Boredom will rot your brain (so will our west coast marijuana, BC Bud). You'll yawn, burp, scratch your balls, wonder what the hell you're doing here and go home.

Since nobody knows what labels indicate anymore lets bring back an oldie for the "newspeakers", okay?
AUTHORITARIANISM...
There's your fun; you really want to have that kinda fun? Enjoy, fools...

...I really don't think the "conservatives" know what they're asking for. Good f'n' luck.

Head down; powder dry...

I think I see the US in a different light. The assholes on Wall Street I have zero use for. But I think that Americans are good people. I say this because I've worked for US multinationals for a good part of my life and gotten to know a lot of you. Working for American business was far and away better than working for Canuck businesses. Canadian bosses were nasty, nasty, nasty.

Given the massive disparity in economic and military power between the US and other countries and the massive advantages it confered to the US, I think that this power was used sparingly. Consider what the Russians, Chinese, British or other powers would have done with such a huge advantage. I doubt they would have been as restrained.

I was serious about the Angels and Demons. And I am serious about the right of Whites to have their own Countries again. Outrageous? Try and become a citizen of India, China, or Japan. They don't want Whites - much less Blacks. They know that ethnicity and nationality have a most intimate relationship. Only Whites don't know that anymore - too much up in their heads and divorced from the biological facts of life. Too many political science course from Neo Leftist Professors. Too much charity porn showing black and brown babies in White arms. Too much stupidity swallowed wholesale. And they call it love....

But what of the Blacks, Asia, what of the Blacks? All this ecology, pedagogy, and end of the world-ism is all very well, but the question which everyone wants to know is what about the Black Brain imprisoned in a small head and thick skull. Have you repented of your racial egalitariansim? Forsworn, eschewed, recanted, denied, excoriated, and just think it's wrong? Or do you still maintain the above?

You'll have to forgive me (I demand it): in one of my past lives I was an inquisitor. Oh the joy of breaking down doors, a torch in one hand and sword in the other. Oh the joy of apprension, of the subtle questioning leading inexorably to righteous wrath, and failing that, the application of the instuments of art. And all for the good of the prisoner! Many there are who deserve a scarlet letter or just plain scarlet. To be the humble instument of Divine Retribution, what could be sweeter?

And I had a life on the other side - to dance in the circle and call the Guardians on the breath of the Winds - that was good too. What joy to know what others do not know! Egotism? Of course - it's hard to escape that no matter who you are or what your path. Try to be humble and you become proud of that. So I try to trick the mind by a humble pride rather than wallow in the morass of proud humility. If you can keep it all in your mind at once, it becomes a tornado and in the eye you can attain a great lucidity. If I am higher than some, is that my doing? If lower than others, is that my fault? In a profound sense, it's none of my business. I find meditations like this far more enriching and productive of brotherhood than the sterile "We're all equal" stuff. Sarcharine nonsense. Retards are dummies but that doesn't mean I have anything against them. I just wont play chess with them or hang out with or breed with them. Someday in some other world, they will be more than they are now. And I will be too hopefully - unless I play my cards wrong. And that's what it comes down too - do the best with what you've been given - basically Christ's parable of the talents.

Cash, since you're older than me, and have obviously dealt with more American businesses than I have, I'll defer to your take on that part of the situation for now.

From my ecological perspective, I think we (TPTB that is) actually took a lesson from history, and learned how to run an imperial state more covertly. I think we've played a large role in planetary devastation, and through the propaganda of our state-informed media, we've not only hidden that knowledge from the general public, but we've created a lot of bitter animosity toward anyone who thinks otherwise. Like me.

The covert and partisan nature of the wreckage is, to me, far scarier than any openly-brazen imperialistic regime, from Caesar to William the Silent to Queen Victoria I. At least we knew what we were getting with them. I can't believe that anyone today can really have a firm grasp of the magnitude of our predicament, unless they've travelled the world extensively and seen it first hand. And that's not me, unfortunately.

What I do know is that the way the first world lives is comprehensively unsustainable, in a world of normal Newtonian physics, and so I continue and strengthen my own semi-private boycott of everything I find reprehensible.

"the wild tales of lord of the flies type scenario hyped by the corporate media."

So it's all just a fantasy huh? Yeah, sure it is. Of course nobody in the great post-industrial funhouse actually has substance abuse issues do they? No, it's a corporate media myth that there's an epidemic of people out there who have lost their souls to the bottle, the needle, the pipe....

And violence, what a crock that is! All good Progressives KNOW that the only violence that ever happens anywhere is perpetrated by the minions of corporate greed. Of course there are no such things as pathological machismo, violence addiction, or criminal personality disorders. NOOO, those are just myths. Why as soon as the corporate greed machine is overthrown, everybody is going to settle down to a future of hatha yoga, chamomile tea, and feminist folk music for the rest of Eternity.

Yeah, right.

Jim...love your writing and passion

If one happened to see Elizabeth Warren on Charlie Rose last week - fantastic interview - the jest of our problems become clear. I'll paraphrase her...
"I think Geithner, Bernanke, Paulson, et al, did a good job....based on THEIR world view" Bingo!!!

Elizabeth Warren for president!

Q: In answer to your 2 questions; a)Massatwoshits, and b)why don't you go buy an Ouji board and ask Mr Ben Franklin.

Ha ha! Sure, a cup here, a cup in...Tokyo? Where are you chiming in from?

Well, I can appreciate that my experience was mystical, and not the only one I've had. I'm highly attuned to vibes and did not feel, sense of intuit any negative energies coming in on it.

But as to your other thoughts--wow. Holy cow! I do not accept the premise that this nation was founded on its whiteness, in spite of certain voting laws at the time. Under those laws were the premise of equality which this nation has brought to rights over time, as it should have. That stories history is something of which we can all be proud.

And in the work I do for our Transition group, we feel a deep desire to foster inclusion and to build community across the lines that might otherwise mistakenly divide us.

Moreover, as a Christian, I cannot help but feel a great sadness over anything that suggests arbitrary divisions where otherwise there should be humanity. In short, I can't get into White Nationalism on any level, and I certainly hope it never has anything resembling a formidable following.

"Pussies eat vegetables and fruits exclusively. Real men eat steak and will tear you apart when the shit hits the fan."

Sorry, The Mook. Scientists recently discovered eating meat makes a man less sexually potent than eating vegetables. Of course, if all you want to do is fight, w-e-e-ll...

395 Comments total as of 2010-04-06 11:31 (Pacific)
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31 trippticket
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Love the acerbic tone on this article.... it's what our politicians need while they sit on the Health Care Bill


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