Pre Post Mortem


      The poetry of dynamic forces does not lend itself to easy explication. Thought exercise: Imagine the vector of a Chevy Trailblazer and a CSX coal train of four 3000-horsepower diesel engines hauling 88 loaded hopper cars four miles north of Chugwater, Wyoming. The Chevy driver left his meth lab, say, fourteen minutes earlier after piping up and doing three tequila shots. The lead engineer on the coal train, a sturdy fellow, five-feet-ten-inches and 270 pounds, having finished his supper of double deluxe nachos (with two meats and extra cheese) is entering a less than blissful realm of myocardial infarction. Meanwhile, a meteor the size of a basketball has passed into the troposphere on a trajectory to strike the planet Earth at precisely the point where the CSX line crosses state road no. 44. That there would be a snapshot of your US political economy.
     Of course, lying and doubletalk don't help none, either. Such as the widespread falsehood that a "recovery" to the consumer credit nirvana and rising house prices of yesteryear is underway (Krugman, Friedman, et al). Or that a program called quantitative easing represents anything more than a national check-kiting scheme ramping up so many zeros that the goddess of infinity herself would run shrieking from the scene in embarrassment.

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     I saw a black swan in the botanical garden at Melbourne a week or so ago and it reminded me most poetically of Mr. Taleb's proposition that nobody really knows what is going on in this republic. And so, appropriately, we held an election in which many candidates who know nothing found themselves elevated to political office well-prepared for careers in lying and doubletalk in the service of knowing nothing. Join me please in cringing for our country's future.
     The unvarnished truth of our predicament is that all pathways now lead to the same destination: a falling US standard of living as measured conventionally. What's unknown is how swift and severe this decline might be, exactly what all its implications are for the social order and geopolitics, and whether it might present itself in a form that could be called collapse. For the moment, one question is: do we go broke the standard way by having less money, or the trick way by destroying the value of our money so that folks (as President Obama might say) have lots of it, only it isn't worth anything. There is even at this late date much debate between the inflationistas and the deflationistas - that is, those who think the economy ends in a bang or a whimper. 
     I am stumped out loud, frankly, though an exogenous ill wind has me leaning just a bit in the "de" direction. The untold tonnage of bad financial paper out there, rotting away like so much herring stuffed in the bilges of a cosmic Flying Dutchman, would tend toward an outcome of wealth vanishing from our system - and money, which represents wealth, with it. Yet, there's no denying that the prices of everyday things such as food, gasoline, cotton, and steel are shooting up just now. Surely some of this is due to the sheer operations of finance, in which herds of believers in this-or-that stampede one way or another, in this case from bonds to commodities. But herds might get spooked by something (anything!) and suddenly reverse direction, seeking safety in cash and its equivalents. Really anything might happen in the stock markets, too, at this point, they are so detached from their former reality as a price discovery mechanism.
     I like the formulation of John Michael Greer that we're about to see something called hyperstagflation, which would amount to sharply rising prices in an economy going nowhere fast. But if it's based on anything like the stagflation of the 1970s, that journey also ends in an inflationary fiasco, and logically some hyper version of it, which would kill the US government as we know it. Much as I loiter in the precincts of thought experiment, I don't really relish that outcome. But, sadly, we seem to be in one of those times when events outrun personalities and their meager abilities to react.
     It's been my contention for weeks now that criminal mischief on the mortgage scene - all those lost, doctored, forged, robo-signed documents - will slow foreclosures (and even plain vanilla transactions) to the extent that the real estate market will choke on un-sellable property, leading to suffocation of the big banks and ultimately generalized thrombosis of the system. Hence: Dr. Bernanke appears on the scene with the defibrillation paddles of quantitative easing, hoping to goose the circulation of money through the quivering bodies of BAC, Citi, and their croaking cohorts. They may stagger back into their beds in the intensive care unit, but their fate has only been postponed.
     Back in the real world, outside the hospital for ailing banks, it's harder and harder to get paid by anybody for anything, so the circulation of money slows in the everyday economy. Accounts receivable go unreceived. Payrolls can't be met. Pink slips are issued. Mortgages won't get paid. Credit card bills lie unopened on the kitchen table while the late fees, penalties, and other cockamamie charges rack up, and one day some suspicious looking fat men in mullet hair-doos and wife-beater shirts, with flames tattooed on their necks, show up with a tow truck and start hitching your car to it and you wonder for a moment how you managed to park illegally in your own driveway - wait a minute...! 
      Don't worry folks, that sound of heavy breathing you hear is the exhalations of the big banks reviving on their IV drip lines of financial liquidity. Pretty soon, the nurses will bring them Kansas City strip steak dinners, with truffled mashed potatoes, asparagus flown in from Chile, and even a nice year-2000 Clos Du Val reserve cabernet. You - you can go down to the food pantry and get yourself some government cheese. Melt it over some ranch-style Doritos and hunker down with Fox News where a dry drunk will explain to you the morbid workings of the Trilateral Commission and how the Rockefellers are scheming to take over the National Football League for the greater glory of Karl Marx while selling your daughter to Albanian white slavers. You'll think you understand the world. You'll feel fulfilled and easy in your mind.
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The sequel to my 2008 novel of post-oil America, World Made By Hand, is available at all booksellers now.  

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416 Comments

1st?

;-)

You posted my first email on your conspiracy freaks page. Why didn’t you post the entire correspondence? Here it is, for your readers:

My boy gave me a copy of your book, The Long Emergency. I won't look at it because I don't believe in conspiricies. If this peak oil nonsense was true, don't you think the Bush/Cheney people would of told us? Not that I'm a big fan of them, but, wake up!!- they were IN the oil business. You think they would of known.
And if they knew and it was as big a deal as my boy says you say it is, then they have to tell us.

If the president and his folks keep something like that secret, I mean, why would they? I just don't swallow that kind of conspiricy bullshit.
It doesn't make no sense.
So, you and your UFO, 2012, 911 inside job nutcases should maybe leave the United States and go someplace where they want you,

trying to be civil, but you really freaked my son out for no good reason,

thank you VERY much,

a concerned citizen


Jim: I am also allergic to conspiracy theories.
I have dismissed 911 conspiracy theories as nonsense.
Peak oil is not a conspiracy... it's a circumstance of geology and economics.

ME: The question is - why would the gov't hide it? That's the conspiracy I can't believe in.
You didn't read my email very careful.


JIM: 'You didn't read my email very careful.'
Because your letter was rude and ignorant.

ME: I'm sorry if it was rude - my son's pretty agitated about this and that came through. But why was it ignorant? These are difficult times brother, and it seems fair to ask for answers to questions. why is the government hiding it? How is that not a conspiracy theory?
no answers, I guess.Evading questions is normal these days.
But if your theory is accurate, it must be consistent. It must withstand scrutiny.

JIM: you basically dismissed the book, and it's ideas, because they rubbed you the wrong way.
You're darn right these are difficult time. They are about to get more difficult for reasons I lay out in my book.
I would not characterize the situation with our oil supply as "a conspiracy." It's really more of a "contract" between the US public, and the government, and the media, to only entertain good news. We have a cultural problem. We only want to hear the good news. Human societies can act very perversely, and history is sometimes tragic.


ME: Well, Kelly, you basically dismissed the book, and it's ideas, because they rubbed you the wrong way.
But Jim, you did the same with another idea:
I am also allergic to conspiracy theories.
I have dismissed 911 conspiracy theories as nonsense.


JIM: I did not seek to have a conversation with you. You solicited me by BEING RUDE. That's just dumb. This correspondence is over. Don't bother writing to me anymore.


My Thoughts: You wrote the book and started a blog, therefore you solicited the response of anyone who came into contact with it. I don’t intend to be rude, but there seem to be inconsistencies in your view of the world. A number of readers have tried to point these out, but you aren’t interested. Many of your readers think you had some great points in the The Long Emergency, but, for whatever reason, can’t take a logical, unbiased and scientific look at certain political realities. You would be surprised at the number of your readers who came to your book through their belief that the US gov’t is rigged and that its war on terror is a fake to invade the Middle East and control the world’s largest oil supply. That, you say, is nonsense. But the thesis is logically, politically and militarily sound. Your rejection of it is not founded in analytical principles. It is, as you have said, an allergy.
That clear and conscious rejection without logical basis is holding you back from making a real difference. It’s difficult to trust anyone who refuses an honest dialogue with his readers. But those readers remain hopeful.


Jimbo! Once again on target, but you only hint at the war the US is waging against the world. Hardly anyone is talking about this, a struggle that affects us all.

More at http://www.thenothingstore.com

So unpredictable, the specifics of all this. I have certainly seen the sputtering of business where my dribbles of income originate. But I'm not letting it get me down. Last month my grocery spending hit rock bottom at $75. We do what we can do.

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

this physic but prolongs thy sickly days....

Excellent writing this week!

Good work, Jim.

It's a weird calm were floating through right now. Nobody really understands why the Fed is printing another $600 billion. Are things really bad to the collapse stage? Just a giveaway to the big banks? The most common belief is that it's to goose the stock market to inspire confidence and risk taking.

Nobody will ever really know except the Fed. Maybe some of Congress. All I know is we have lost our country. We will be ruled by the elite banking class through a corrupt Congress.

Because our economic problems are intractable the Republican House will achieve nothing and in two years the Tea Party will have a field day turfing out the ideologically impure. As Krups and I G Farben backed young Adolph, so do the Koch Brothers and their ilk think they harness the Tea Party christian fundamentalists. The Democrats have made themselves irrelevant and so our path will be set.
Meanwhile Yemen is suddenly in the news, the country no American knows, that strip of rock which controls the Arabian Pensinsula's access to the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf. "Bomb Iran" the Republican Heffalump brays and so our path has been set.
I'd rather just default and leave China, Japan and Europe holding worthless dollars while we rebuild our protectionist country by ourselves.Instead we feel the need to relieve our rage by killing.

I'm glad you at least read JHK's book. Right?

I'm allergic to conspiracy theories, too. Jim's book is probably too bleak, but Peak Oil is not a conspiracy: it's a willingness, at all levels, to fail to understand what happens when a finite resource becomes scarce.

It's a failure to imagine another way of doing things, and a failure to understand that no one's way of life is a God-given right. It's hard to recognize the evidence that we live in an indifferent universe, whether or not God exists. Geology could give a hoot about the hairless apes making such a fuss all over the earth's crust.

Mostly, however, Peak Oil is just the most massive failure of a large social and economic system since the fall of the civilizations Jarrad Diamond describes in his book, Collapse. Read that one, too. Those "2012" Mayans watched their civilization, which I am certain they thought to be the greatest ever, fall to pieces.

When the inevitable happens this time, the American Right will insist on blaming the environmental movement for blocking access to "all that oil" under, say, our national parks. The Left will insist we can go on just like today with electric cars powered by solar and wind.

Conspiracy? Nah. They never work outside a small number of plotters. This is more mass-delusion of a declining superpower (and not a few of its allies).

Your writing is confused, chaotic, verbose, self absorbed and indulgent, disgusting, flatulently vain, and positively briliant because it so accurately reflects the gestalt of the American civilization on which you are reporting.

Hey folks, an artist at their best is suppossed to be a mirror. Therefore, if you don't like what you read, realize it is not the fault of the mirror, but rather what it is reflecting.

Poet

"All I know is we have lost our country. We will be ruled by the elite banking class through a corrupt Congress."

Do you seriously believe that the Anerican experience has ever been anything other than this? Read some history (Howard Zinn is a good place to start), for cripe's sake.

Here is Der Spiegel's take, which is a bit more sober than Jim's but as pessimistic: http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,726447,00.html

Misterkel, I agree with your concern about conspiracy theorizing, which allergy or no, is a staple of doomers (Kunstler, most of his readers, and End-Timers). It's not enough to simply damn the other guy as rude. Somehow, he has to be wrong because he's CRAZY!

But the hypercomplexity of the world economy is one reason why we look for cheap explanations where we can find them. Kunstler is one refuge, Orlov another, and maybe John Michael Greer, David Seaton, The Oil Drum, and various other storm watchers.

Bang or whimper, we know this enterprise is not going well and some abrupt cessation of "life as we know it" is a possibility. But we ultimately don't know how severe the coming storm will be. We do know that we're not preparing for it because our political class has decided that the American Dream isn't negotiable.

I suggest we temper our pessimism with sadness. A sad pessimist is someone who knows things aren't going well but doesn't seek to control the process with false certitude and high-decibel outrage. We're all in this together: overweight Wal-mart shoppers, organic farmers, survivalists, and soothsayers alike. We have a common interest in making this enterprise work if only to preserve some shreds of dignity and self-respect. No need to eroticize Armageddon (in David Seaton's priceless phrasing). Things are bad enough already.

MISTERKEL1 - You deny 'Peak Oil' at your peril. It is real and it is happening. It means slightly different things to different people but the main thrust is the same - when the cheap easy-to-access deposits become more and more expensive to extract. For example, when a well is first tapped the oil is basically coming up under it's own pressure and as a result is extremly cheap to extract. But as the well draws down the pressure decrease until you have to start forcing it up by pumping something down. Eventually the cost and energy needed to keep getting the oil means that well is no longer profitable despite it stil being half full.

Now add in that just before the 'crash' and subsequent downturn when oil rose to $168 a barrel, world demand was higher than the amount the refinaries could produce - in short, even though we could get enough out of the ground, we couldn't actually refine the stuff to meet demand. Now to you and me the answer would be simple - build more refinaries. But to the oil companies the reverse is true. They possess a finite resource. In their book the answer is not to build more refinaries because by not doing so the price goes up and demand falls meaning they get more money for something that will last longer.

Already it is becoming accepted that oil will break $90 per barrel by March/April 2011 and rise to a sustained $100-plus by the end of 2011. Should the world econoimy recover faster, those figures will be higher and faster.

Now you may think it's hoo-haa but over here in Europe our governments tare very aware of and outspken about Peak Oil and the impact it is going to have once it is established.

Misterkel -

Does your logic follow that, because a thing is so, that the government will "tell us about it." What parallel universe do you live in? There are a million things we don't know about, or only know enough to keep us calm and worry-free. I mean, is the government telling you that our water supplies are getting dangerously low and that, if drought conditions continue in certain places that major US cities will be struggling to supply potable water within the next decade or so? Didn't think so. But that' the truth.

It's not a matter of conspiracy, it's a matter of political reality. Hell, you can't tell people that their taxes might have to go up -- so how do you think they'd take to the idea of a major Peak Oil shit storm?

Jim: I'm a bit surprised that you wasted precious neurons, pixels, and minutes trying to communicate with misterkel1. Anyone who simultaneously declares a book to be bullshit while admitting that they won't read it doesn't deserve the respect of an attempt at dialogue. In any case, anyone who can't imagine why Chaney and the oil cartel would want to keep it secret that we are running out of oil is beneath the threshold of intelligence necessary for meaningful communication.
Big Oil's business model requires that credulous Americans continue to believe that we don't need to worry about energy. That ultimately makes Chaney and his cohort foolish, because they can't imagine a world in which the immense fortune they are stealing from us all won't do them much good.

FERNANDO PESSOA wrote that his craft, as a writer, was ultimately a "solemn investigation of futile things." LOL.

I wonder what his take on the dear American Scene today would be. :)

A meteorite the size of a basketball wouldn't reach the troposphere. Or, if an initially larger bolide had been reduced to the size of a basketball after its passage through the stratosphere, it wouldn't reach the ground. Nothing smaller than about ten meters in diameter is going to make it to the surface.

Risk!

Brilliantly funny math, JHK and oh so tragic! I could laugh out loud at the first part of your entry this week, but it will soon end with tears for all of us. This is the final act of thirty years of ideology that bears no semblance to reality. The game is just about over.

And what are our leaders thinking these days?(one might ask.) Of Course when all else fails, Let's play a game of Risk!!--a board game my friends and I played in college to dominate the world. Harmless you say, but what if some take it seriously as the world order?

Yes, Lindsay Graham would like us to take out Iran, to render her incapacitated. Now of all times with not a drop of morality for the possible death of millions.--And since we haven't spread ourselves too thin in Iraq and Afghanistan, let alone Pakistan. What a perfect moment to go for owning the world and get all our little countries gathered up like so many chits on the board game of global hegemony.

Pay no attention to your disintegrating "ownership society" where we really own nothing! The only way to make the ideology of the post-industrial country work in illusion only is to perpetrate subterfuge and lies and cheating the system.

Now it's only a matter of time before reality takes us down.

Misterkel1's comments remind me of something I saw on a message board the other day. It read like this: "God put all the resources on earth for Man to use. There's absolutely no way He would ever let any of them run out."

Once again, Jim has come up with a few new "statistically improbable phrases" -- new keywords for the intricate English language. My favorites today are his nailing of the QE2 bullshit for what it is: a "national check-kiting scheme", and referring to one of those rude Fox News talking-heads as a "dry drunk". JHK is the reigning master of his craft, in my opinion.

In the interest of getting good people in sturdy-enough health to survive the physical and mental traumas we are only beginning to face as we proceed through a "correction phase" for the 60+ year joyride our country has been on, I have been tapping into some useful information on my blog in recent weeks. Check it out, if you're not planning to "check out" before having the last laugh over the fate in store for Helicopter Ben & Co. I'm betting on Good winning out in the long run. (May we live so long!) http://www.healthyplanetdiet.com/healthy-diet-plan-blog.html

Jim. With this edition of the cluster, you see less certain than you usually do about our fate. I like Krugman, but one possible problem with his theories is that they will not be fully tested. Saying we haven't done enough makes me wonder, especially since it is so difficult to prove the efficacy of an approach that is not tried.

I have been betting against the market for quite awhile now and it has not worked out well for me -- so far. But as you imply, this may be because the market is so detached from economic reality. That may be because I have focused too much on U.S. economic realities.

Even though a lot of people are doing very poorly economically right now, the market has apparentlu concluded that these people are not necessary, that it can survive and prosper regardless of what suffering is going on at the bottom and even a large portion of the middle.

I still believe your long term analysis is correct but shouldn't be used as a guide to short term performance. The long term prognosis for the patient is surely death or at least severe debilitation; in the short term,however, we may be able to apply those paddles and get a bit of life out of him yet.

Great comment as always. Bernanke's QE2 is having quite an impact globally. The G20, or should I say the G19, are condemning it, to which the fearless Fed Chairman said, his concern is the US, not the world. Suddenly, it's the 30s all over again. The race to the bottom, and is it relevant who wins, if you want to call it a victory?

Regarding Misterkel1's comments. Cheney clearly understood the global oil situation. One thing a politician never wants to do is spread panic, and to announce the end of life as we know it, would do just that. Has Misterkel1 ever wondered why the hell we are in Iraq, and have a military presence in Saudi Arabia? That's where the oil is.
If there is a conspiracy, it's because we are closing our eyes to the truth, thus letting the bullshitters get away with it. Misterkel1 has lots of company.

misterkel1, you may be one of the most naive people in America to not understand that the government doesn't share every truth with the public. To the contrary, the government shares little of the truth with the public for the simple fact that they have a machine to run and the cogs are better off not knowing what's really going on.

Don't you think that Misterkel1 is engaging in satire. Is anyone actually that stupid?

Ownership is a illusion. If you believe you own your house then don't pay your taxes or home owner association dues and see what happens.
While simplified my comment is true. It is one reason I rent. That and I have been priced out of the home ownership game as many have.
If you believe that the resources we have has no limit then you haven't been in the construction field for long. I myself have seen mines and materials field depleted in a effort to keep up with unsustaiable growth.
I have seen cities managers and utitiy experts fret over what to do for water if we don't get rain soon. At the same time I have watched developers install high maintaince and water needy plants and seen water from unattended irrigation systems run down the streets. All in areas that or border line arrid or even semi-desert.
You want to make a killing finacilly in the future then invest in water companies. It will make peak oil crisis look like a walk in the park.

Personal insight: 15 years ago, despite rumors of my company's soon to happen demise, all looked healthy to us at work: buildings open, lights on, heat, lunch room stocked, my payroll check was deposited, I drove to and from my office in my newly purchased car, was paying my bills.

Ten days later, Just after Thanksgiving, I suddenly had no job, (along with 80,000 others), a small severance check, and the world had shifted under my feet. Lost the house, sold the car. Sure, we had rumors, but we all were in denial thinking we were so essential to the company.

I think this is how it's going to happen to the US. "How did you go bankrupt?" Answer: "very slowly at first, but at the end, very quickly." We're at the boundary between the end of slowly and the start of very quickly.

All I can say if you haven't experienced it is, try stopping your car payment, your rent, your utility payments and see how fast those little white pickups drive out to shut you down and how fast your landlord will evict (yes, so what if you have been a renter with that landlord for 10 years).

Remember the TV adage: you're only as good as your last ten minutes. This is especially true if you are hooked up to the system of credit, mortgages, utilities (with CEOs making 4 million a year), and health care via an HMO. As long as you pay, staying in good standing, you're good. Otherwise, you're nobody. Martial Law will come to your house with utility shutoffs, phone calls from creditors. TRY telling them, "but for 10 or 20 years I was a good customer!" See how far that gets you.

Let me finish with a phone call to a talk show I heard over the weekend from a father who's kids and wife had been man-handled by TSA at an airport---he related the story in clinical fashion, he wasn't connected, and didn't tell how he felt. Just gave the facts. This is where Americans are today---seeing massive abuses, but unable to connect with their feelings about what they see and experience. We're not at that tipping point where people say 'enough,' and act. We're still writing in our diaries and calling talk shows. And I'm guilty too. But I am feeling some rage stirring deep down there..and hope I'm not alone.

Thanks, JHK, another good 'un! (Love your "thought exercise". lol)
Yep, anytime a politico invokes "the folks" or "the American people", duck and fucking cover, baby; you're about to be assaulted!

If anyone would like an inkling of what the upshot of "Queen Elizabeth II" might be, here's an interview with Michael Hudson.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article26768.htm

Now, I must warn in advance that some of Amy Goodman's questions are cringingly naive, but yell at the screen a little and grit the chompers, you'll get through those to the grist in short order... ;o)

Nobody really understands why the Fed is printing another $600 billion. - C

Here's a theory I keep hearing. The Fed is using the money it prints to buy up debt the US Treasury is issuing to finance over spending.

If this is true (and I think it probably is) the US economy has just a few more swirls around the toilet bowl to go.

I've heard the people at the Fed described as "madmen". The one man in that gang that in my opinion hasn't completely lost it is Thomas Hoenig who is head of the Kansas City Fed. He said that the policy of zero rates is a "dangerous gamble". Understatement of the decade. Many other common sense ideas.

It's clear that no one knows which way this wind is going to blow. It's a scary thought to know that the powers that be are as ignorant of the results of their gyrations as a child is of theirs.

Only time will tell...

I am of the mind that the ramp to the bottom is a very gradual grade. We'll get there, but it will take a long time. And once we are their we'll learn to live with the new environment.

Maybe...

Aimlow Joe was here.
http://www.aimlow.com

You've been betting against the market? Have you heard the saying that the market can stay irrational a lot longer than you can stay solvent?

Yes, the rest of the world isn't too happy with having the greenback flood into their markets, but unlike before, the rest of the world is doing much better than ever. It doesn't need America as much as it once did, it's slowly dismissing America.

India and China, what with all the jobs having been offshored from America, will try and replace our spot at the consumer trough...

The latest Fed move does prove they haven't a clue what to do with the fact they can't ever, in a million years, pay off the debt. Here in Europe, they understand austerity measures, Germany's doing fine, happy with cutting military budgets, etc, England's even alright with what they have to do, knowing why they have to do what they must...France is practicing solidarity but they'll cut a compromise.

America's gotta quit the wars and cut the pentagon rogue spending....or else, people won't even be able to afford a cup of coffee let alone a car...

http://www.usdebtclock.org/
read it, wrap your head around it and weep...

Yes, Piltdownman, I agree. Misterkel's writing style changed dramatically from the writing in his "email exchange" with JHK, and the writing in the last paragraph of the post. I would guess he's playing a game with the CFN.

Yes, people are that stupid!

Anti that's how it happened to me when my employer went bankrupt. It was a six year process, with multiple "re-structurings", two dips into the Canuck version of chapter 11 and then down the shitter it went. When it went down it didn't touch the sides.

For all that time, right to the bitter end, a lot of employees especially upper management said no, no, no the banks don't want us to go under, they don't want to own all those office buildings and shopping malls and tracts of land.

But the company was dwarfed by the banking industry, the banks lost patience and they crushed us like a bug on a wall. They petitioned the company into bankruptcy, they took all the buildings they held as security, wrote off their losses and it was goodbye, goodnight.

It can be worse. Notice I say can, rather than could, because the possibility is more than just incidental. Let's look at the facts we know. We can pretty much agree that the US is in a financial mess that has no easy answer. Whatever the answer is, it will represent a huge paradigm shift of some sort. Business as usual has not worked and will not work. So when all the options are gotten on the table, I suspect a good, hot war will be one of them. A war where we (i.e. the populace) participates - as collateral damage. That's how it can be worse, my fellow CFN readers. Compare our predicament to Central Europe's in the late 1930's. To understand much of that you would need to read Adolph Hitler's speeches, of course. He railed against the predations of the bankers, just like we do today. If you leave out the part about the Jews, on economic matters you might think Hitler was speaking about us today. In any case, the Germans took up his cause. And, six years later, by 1945, the Germans had "solved" their economic problems by reducing their population by about 10-11%. In the process, they helped the rest of Europe with their population reduction schemes. Especially the Soviet Union. Following this great orgiastic exercise, Europe was essentially a peaceful place for the next 65 years and counting. Those who had "made it through" the Holocaust (and I mean everybody, not just the few Jews) were so happy to still be alive they stopped whining and making trouble and thinking how wonderful the old times were. Somehow, they learned to live happily with whatever meager things life afforded them.

So to quote or paraphrase Ben Franklin, "Experience keeps a hard school, but fools will learn in no other."

If you're even remotely serious in your willful blindness, this is an unwelcome place to see it "voiced" and clung to.
...And, I might add, dangerous to yourself, personally, in the long run. What you don't know can [most assuredly] hurt you.

JHK said: "though an exogenous ill wind has me leaning just a bit in the "de" direction."

Jim, is that what you're calling the archdruid these days? An exogenous ill wind? ;)

Time to start taking care of the body and calming the mind so that we are able to deal with the coming changes effectively. We may get some perverse pleasure in realizing the difficulties we are facing while other stagger on obliviously, but it is much better to start doing something about it. Start taking control of your life.
zin

The Guvment would never LIE to us people..heck it was founded by George Washington. These new Republicans and the holdover Democrats and new Teabaggers all have our best interest at heart. They want to see us and our families thrive, make a lot of money, get rich and buy a house at the beach AND in the city too. And best of all, no taxes to boot on the whole deal!

Peak oil is a sham cause oil is made by little algae everday that basically shi*ts it out from sunlight..now THAT is solar power. So buy that BIG ass truck, get into BIG ASS debt and enjoy the Amerikan Way and the good life. Want an alternative...watch Fox News talk about Haiti and you see why we have it best of all.

Thank God and his Sun that we have a truthful Guvment and honest to goodness caring politicians with real values. Heck, look how well we are all doing, we know we have it right and are the special blessed "City on the Hill" of God himself. I can't wait for the new Congress cause our collective future (in the non-commie sense) is so bright!

Another good column. It's really not possible to look at the American economy and society any longer and not pretend that we're not only headed toward the rocks, but the first jagged edge has torn the bottom of the boat open. Dark ages begin when the machinery of progress and growth grind to halt, for whatever reason, and no one has either the means or the will to sustain the current mechanism. We have plenty of warnings and time to prepare for when the "lights go out," but I think most people will pretend and hope that they are not living through a slow-motion collapse.

http://leibowitzsociety.blogspot.com/

The thing is that whatever is "happening" in this country does not seem to be connected to local life. In upstate New York I was at an intersection with four corners and so many businesses marking each direction. Problem is, three of them were closed down and for sale. It doesn't seem to matter what recovery is happening, at the local level we are living another life. The Main Street (actual name) I live on has lost seven businesses in the past two years just in a few blocks (not counting the tattoo places that flicker on and off from time to time or the creepy "game zone" where Magic(tm) players gathered). While China builds cities, we open beer stores and chicken places and call it democracy. For those who say JHK is too hyper this or grand that, if his words are disconnected from daily life, so too are those of our leaders.
http://schwerpunkter.wordpress.com/

James, this week's column is my
all-time favorite. So far. Thanks!

"America's gotta quit the wars and cut the pentagon rogue spending....or else, people won't even be able to afford a cup of coffee let alone a car..."

I agree. But it won't happen (quitting the wars). They'll let us starve in the streets before that happens.

schwerpunkter said:

" It doesn't seem to matter what recovery is happening, at the local level we are living another life. "


I think if you ask people in metropolises you will find there is no recovery there either.


In fact, where did the notion come from that the recession is "over"? I believe just from the economists who pronounced that to be the case because the technical criterion for recession is no longer being met.

Based on economic growth, we have now flattened out, but at a lower level than that of the faux prosperity we previously enjoyed.

But even the claim that we are no longer in recession is a very dubious claim since it is based on GDP growth, and with the shaky status of the US dollar, it doesn't make a very good benchmark.


Thanks for the early morning pick-me-up. Somehow you can make laugh while thinking about this shit (the only other writer who can do that is Orlov). A marvelous gift, and well used.

I was sorry I couldn't make it out to see you when you were in Seattle. I was even sorrier that you couldn't visit the Olympic Peninsula, and see some of the little towns out there that might have a post-collapse future, like Port Townsend and Port Angeles (and their amazing contrast with the old railroad town of Sequim, which is now a nightmare of sprawl). Having spent time in all three places, though, I can tell you that the people are far from ready, even if the towns might be (and I never saw me a vampire, darn it!).

Even though I've read you for years, I never really understood what you were getting at until I did some traveling and saw it for myself. I did close to 6000 miles in road trips in 2009, and oh, brother, did I ever see it. Sprawl almighty. I've had the same thought since then, that this really will be Sanford and Son nation one day, when people start having to pull all this crap apart to survive...

In Soviet Russia, market shorts you.

Hey, glad I turned my sarcasm meter on this morning.

You all feeling eased today, quantitatively speaking?

The opening albeit menacing scenario/analogy sort of fell apart. What happened to the Chevy?
Laughed a few times on this one. The final paragraph's dry drunk especially. Reminds me of Derrick Jensen's End Game Premise 5.

"The property of those higher on the hierarchy is more valuable than the lives of those below. It is acceptable for those above to increase the amount of property they control--in everyday language, to make money--by destroying the lives of those below. This is called production. If those below damage the property of those above, those above may kill or otherwise destroy the live of those below. This is called justice."

Sure! I've been to "the reading room" and a good quantity of you-know-what was "deposited" and I'm feeling very "eased". ;o)

I've been betting against the dollar for the last 8 or so years - by buying gold and silver. And will continue to do so as the Fed continues to print money unabated. QE1 hasn't even ended yet and they're starting up QE2. Lord have mercy... And it will not end well.

Got Gold?

Gold over $1400 an ounce this morning...

What a marvelous mass of metaphors this week, JHK.
Here's the center of my favorite:

"Don't worry folks, that sound of heavy breathing you hear is the exhalations of the big banks reviving on their IV drip lines of financial liquidity"

Personally, I wouldn't give our big national banks human characteristics. They are more like huge dogs that once may have been "man's best friends." Unfortunately, free market capitalism and lack of oversight have given them rabies. They are now attacking, slashing and biting the hand that fed them. They will tear off our hand and go for our throats unless we kill them first.

Hey, no matter, you gave us another great piece of work for the week, and metaphors are like parables. "He who has ears to hear, let him hear."

As far as inflation vs deflation, I consider inflation the only possibility - over the long haul. Eventually, international financial markets will catch on to all this. Dollars will be devalued by some mechanism and petroleum imports will go up in price and keep going.

It is truly unfortunate that military spending will be the LAST thing we finally have to reduce.
As Cash points out from above the border, we're already 10 years too late on that.

I guess you can sum the state of the union very easily--the workers of the America are being killed by the slow boil of hyperstagnation, not unlike a frog in a slow boil being killed without even knowing it.

Cheese Curls make it all better Mr. Pox News viewer.

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

It isn't really free market capitalism that has given the banks "rabies", but fractional reserve banking. These two things are not necessarily the same.

The Fed loans banks money at an interest rate close to zero. Then these banks are able to turn around and loan out 10 times or more at a higher interest rate. This is their basic mechanism for making profits. And it is heavily dependent on the Fed, which is a sort of strange public-private partnership, 95% of which the profits revert back to the government. So for most intents and purposes, the Fed is part of the government.

And as far as the US government debt is concerned, no one is really concerned that the principle gets paid back. They just want the interest payments. That's where the profits lie.

It is a weird, wonderful thing these fiat dollars.

JHK
Just finished The Witch of Hebron and I really enjoyed it. Aside from making many simple meals sound mouth-watering, the Brother Jobe, "Do you know Jesus?" 'Vulcan mind-mill' stare was an assuming twist. Sort of a near future televangelist sans electricity! Thanks for another great blog!

Even though the Fed is kind of wacky and overstretched, it does tend to buffer Americans from the extremes of hyperinflation and even major levels of deflation, both of which would be bad for most people's finances.

I thought antimatter's post was most succient. I will leave an old Indean saying that I have posted previously, however I believe it has pertinence to the current malaise our culture finds itself entrenched in..."You can wake someone whose sleeping; but you can not wake someone who is pretending to be asleep"

Riddle me this.

According to an article I just read, the Tea Party was fueled largely by older voters. These are the people who suck down government entitlements more than any other group, the two biggest programs being SS and Medicaid, neither of which has a particularly bright future unless the government can raise more financing for them.

These people also tend to be "strong on defense" as well as "strong on crime," both of which are big black spending holes.

So how do they expect the government to not grow or to shrink? It makes no sense. Do they think their checks get cut by the Entitlement Fairy?

You ask the Republicans what they would cut, and they say, "Oh, we'll eliminate the Department of Education, etc." But that's boiled peanuts compared to the massive entitlements programs like Medicare. It wouldn't make any difference as far as financing if the Departments of Interior, Education, and Energy were all eliminated. This is a few billion dollars, and the budget deficit is over a trillion yearly.

Oh, well, I don't expect people to make sense, but it is interesting when they say the exact opposite of what they do. When people talk about cutting entitlements, I guess they mean other people's, like food stamps, welfare, and unemployment insurance. Because they don't need them anymore. Makes sense in a demented, Tea-Bagger sort of way.

Can anyone tell me if a safe-deposit box is really safe? I asked one of my Business Law professor's a few years back, and his yes answer was sketchy at best. If Cheney is the president of the bank, and it goes belly-up, I say he cleans out the safe-deposit boxes and gives all his boyfriends lots of jewelry for Christmas and keeps the gold and silver for himself.

Safe compared to what?

Compared with keeping valuables in a safe in your basement, I'd say yes.

Oh and the banksters have no need to loot your safety deposit boxes in order to make money. They have other more subtle ways of doing this.

An excellent takedown of the criminal corporate cesspool known as Bank Of Amerika...

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/william-k-black/yes-lets-set-the-record-s_b_779031.html

Again, close your accounts with not only this fascist enterprise but with all of these criminals(JPMorgan Chase,Citi ect)Take your money away, please. Read this rebuttal by one Rebecca Mairone, a BofA Debt Servicing Executive(aka guilty party) arguing that BofA is a VICTIM of deadbeat "homeowners". Priceless.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rebecca-mairone/setting-the-record-straig_11_b_776042.html

I look forward to the day when these bankers cannot leave their homes or go to a restaurant without experiencing the same fear they have purposely inflicted on the American people, the so called customer. Jump you fuckers, JUMP! Ken Lewis we have not forgotten thee, asshole.

So, you've got a few more worthless dollars for your gold. Wow.

Sorry guys; corporatism isn't capitalism. Trying to frame it in any way with reference to either Adam Smith or Karl Marx is a joke. That is, a joke at the expense (literally) upon the rest of us who've been reduced down to serfdom under the plutocratic lords directing corporatocracy.

And sorry again, corporatism isn’t even fascism. Fascism is fusion of state with business/commerce interests, but with corporatism the state (all states) are subsumed by corporations. End of republic(s). Rule by corporate heads and boards.

The bigger joke upon us serfs is that we've been bamboozle into choir duty to sing the hymn of "Free Market" as theme to corporatocracy's pirating of our government to its own ends -- which, by the way, is anything but free market. Free market under corporatocracy has come to be no regulation on behalf of either the US citizenry or world citizenry. That is, no democratic rule by the people to challenge the oligarchic ruling class that runs the corporations, thus the world.

De-industrialization of America has been deliberate for creating such desperation that we'll accept fusing our destiny to that of Indian and China as long as doing so is argued on basis of creating jobs. Why do you think Obama is touring Asia promising that deals made there will result in thousands of jobs here?

Bullshit! It will result in floods of H1B work visas for eventual merging of US workforce indistinguishable from that of India and China. Ah yes, population redistributed to "equalize" conditions of life globally.

Have you not wondered about the way immigration policy has slowly been re directed away from protecting the broad and long-term interests of the citizenry but instead to favor the short term “needs” of so called “economic” special interests?

Important to that shift has been strategy of immigration rates deliberate to aim of reaching the point where those of dual citizenship (immigrants who retain right of citizenship in nation of origin) will outnumber those of us who hold right of citizenship (and singular loyalty) only to the US.

Forget sovereignty, corportocracy is a new supremacy subsuming all nations into one global mish-mash of serfs.

Jim,

You certainly can turn a phrase. And reading your blog is interesting regardless of whether or not one believes the accuracy of your assumptions.

The coal-train/meth-head metaphor is reasonable enough. And I think I understand the underlying analogies to the various classes of "Americans" represented.

On Monday, its always a good time to reflect on the nature of the clusterfuck. And any starting point for discussion must begin with facts.

For the silly people who stop here to argue the validity of a "doomer perspective" - I would simply remind them that the world is indeed finite. And we have political-social-economic systems that ignore this measure.

Now we have mountainous monstrosities of derivative contracts created out of nothing but paper and ink, based upon the misguided notion that they are somehow a marker of value among all the future "earnings and production" of yet to be created jobs and products to be purchased.

Guess what? It ain't happenin'

Capn Jack over n out.


Every week, same old song. So when does all this happen, next month, next year, in 10 years?

I think only in America, can someone my a living off of predicting gloom and doom.

Turkle -

No riddle at all. Just the blatant expression of emotion over intellect, mixed with a soupçon of racism.

I suggest we develop an entire parallel U.S. for them, one in which they get no Air Traffic Controllers for their planes, no paved roads, no unemployment insurance, no FDA to make sure their meds are safe...and no one to watch over the products which might strangle their grandchildren. You get the idea. I want them to live in that world for a week or so, and then tell me what "big guvment" doesn't work...

The biggest problem with older voters is that they simply (by and large) won't change their affiliation. For most of them, and I'm sure some of us share this as well, it is a lifelong habit. So, when the GOP started to go off the tracks, they still stayed on board -- and they are going "straight down the line" no matter what happens. (apologies for the paraphase from "Double Indemnity.")

The rumor mill over at ZeroHedge is today all over the talk that banks are keeping cash holdings low, and starving ATM vendors for their own money.

What does it mean? Probably nothing. But it will be part of the story narrative we tell each other about the year America died.

Well Folks,

Seems we've reached the point where I can definitely say I've been hoping for the best, but preparing for the worst will be paying off real soon. We have one foot hanging off the cliff now, and sometime before year end the other foot will be taking that final step. Though, according to the MSM we're just sailing along fine with a few minor bumps in the road. Why look, the Dow is 11,400! Soooo, everything must be wonderful. No problems here.

Just like the volcanoes that are popping off in Indonesia I say, "Watch out she's a gonna blow"!

20+ years ago I read somewhere that many owners of safe deposit boxes during the depression were not allowed access to them for up to 40 years. I don't know whether or not this is true.

Cavepainter: corporatism isn't capitalism

Your post is so one the mark!
As we speak our "Democratic" president is in India and his meme is he wants to bolster employment in the US. How?

By getting more imports from India---huh? Oh, and getting them into the security council.

You gotta love the logic. Guess our power elite wants to undercut China, now. Maybe China's tired of supporting the top 2% here who still want their tax breaks and our military. That explains why China is now investing in commodities, not just our wonderful t-bills. At this point I think we're the only ones who want to buy them.

Don't forget that India has lots of engineers. So we lose the blue collar jobs to China and the white collar jobs to India.

America will be working at innovation. All 300 million of us.

As "W" said upon visiting India, "You keep studying and we'll be happy to eat your mangoes".
You can't make this stuff up.

I'm growing a mullet and heading to the tattoo parlor! See you in your driveway, sucker!

Mook...Good question about the safe deposit box. We keep silver dollars in ours. Last week, my brother went to a Wells Fargo Bank in Salt Lake City to get the title of the car he was selling. He thought it was going to be a 10 minute trip. When he got their, they said they couldn't open the safe due to computer problems, but to come back in an hour. He came back, but then the loopy branch manager didn't have the proper key to the box. So they ended up having to call a locksmith to drill the box. It ended up being a 5 hour odyssey just to get the dang pink slip.

Wonder if safe deposit boxes would open if there was a large electro-magnetic event? Any bankers out there?

SJmom

You are indeed correct. Gold is holding its value while the dollar becomes increasingly worthless. And with QE2, &3, &4, etc. It's going to get far worse. This sucker's going down.

Thanks for helping to further clarify my point.

"So how do they expect the government to not grow or to shrink? It makes no sense. Do they think their checks get cut by the Entitlement Fairy?"

That's about the size of it: rage to fix matters without any knowledge of the scope or cause of the problem. Of course, these same voters have a dim memory--they are old enough--to recall when the US government was actually NOT a joke, paid its way, built things, and even won wars! They are, in fact, the last generation to remember that sort of thing (which means 50+).

How to get back to that? Government needs downsizing in its ambitions and budgets (if not its aspirations) at all levels to avoid a collapse, or those who can pay more taxes should pay more, or combine these two ideas.

The Tea Party chose the first idea, and had they better leaders, they would have told the faithful that nothing can be spared: not the military or the entitlements.

And that will get you elected in America today. Uh, yeah.

Jim, your writing has hit rock bottom. You could have boiled that diatribe down to a few coherent sentences and saved your readers valuable time, so they could get on to other blogs. Do you have a word quota? If not, then get to the point and shut up!

Turkle, Budizwizer, Cavepainter, several others:

I think arguing the merits of the terms capitalism vs corporatism is meaningless at this point.

What we have in the States - and have exported around the Globe - certainly began life as capitalism. Did it morph into corporate capitalism and when? Did it change completely into corporatism while bypassing fascism? Will it circle back and turn into fascism if left unchecked? (probably, yes?)

There are those who seem to believe that if we could ONLY JUST PRETTY PLEASE return ourselves to REAL ADAM SMITH CAPITALISM that all would be well.

That's a thought exercise only - with no basis in reality. Those corporate genies aren't going back in that bottle ever again.

All we can do as a Nation (country (tm) Vlad) is to attempt to control corporate power with strong sensible regulation.

Which probably won't be happening any time soon - considering recent election results and SCOTUS decisions.

Chattanooga Choo Choo

Pardon me,Ben
Is that the Quantitative choo choo?*
Track 1929
Can you spare me a dime?
No one can afford
To board the Quantitative choo choo.*
But with a Harvard degree
They'll let you ride for free.

Nothin' could be finer
Then printin'money in the diner.
You leave the Pennsylvania Station 'bout a quarter to four
Print a couple billion and you're in Baltimore.

When you hear the whistle blowin' from the Treasury car
You'll know that the recovery can't be very far.
Shovel all the cash in
Gotta keep it rollin'.
Wo, wo, Quantitative choo choo*
We're all encouraged by you.

*Note, choo choo is actually pronounced, [koo-koo], like the bird.
Original lyrics; http://www.lyricsdepot.com/glenn-miller/chattanooga-choo-choo.html

A generational divide?

I've watched a LOT of young people grow into voting age in my sons' peer groups. I will admit that these young voters are far from a random sample. And they tend to be upper middle class, mostly Southern, and college educated

With those disclaimers, though, these young *voters* are in two groups. One is apathetic and the other is right wing crazed.

The apathetic ones probably registered to vote in college. They may not move their registrations to their new residences. Chances are they will only vote in presidential election years.

The right wing crazed group is vehemently Republican and almost impossible to reason with. They WANT a "strong national defense." They want society to be "tough on crime." Weirdly (to me) they LIKE our restrictive drug laws despite high enforcement costs and lots of people in jails.

Will these young voters be coming after *my* social security and Medicare as their numbers increase? - yes, of course.

I don't believe I would want to be elderly and totally dependent on entitlements much beyond 2030.

Course that's a bunch of Friedman units from now - and TS may destroy TF long before then. ;-)

Oh, yeah, the "right wing crazed" group of young voters are all in favor of tax cuts.

Even though some of them don't have jobs.
Few of them make more than $25K/year.
Some live with their parents.

They all want lower taxes and oppose repeal of the "Bush tax cuts for the rich."

Logic be damned.

Jim...good analogy on the CSX coal train; I run 'em every day. Just remember if he's just a second too fast, he'll get nailed the Chevy driver at the crossing! he-he

88 loaded hoppers of appalachian bituminous weighs out at about 11,000 tons nowadays.

Wah! Reality hurt my feelings!

Hi Jim,

I'm a regular reader of yours for 4 years or so and can recall very few posts I haven't enjoyed thank you. Your last couple of posts have mentioned your trip to Melbourne where I live and would be very interested in your impressions of the place.

We are on the flip side to the U.S. - our economy is bouyant and "everything is good" to coin a phrase, even as oil reaches $90 a barrel the impact isn't felt because our dollar has risen against the $US almost 20% over the last 6 months.

Our demise as a nation is nowhere on the horizon, 4 of our banks are rated in the worlds top 10 performing financial institutions, the 4 of them just declared a $23 billion profit for the year. Rio Tinto, BHP are our favoured stocks because they are the miners of choice for Chinas new found prosperity.

I think whatever comes in the future for the US is destined to happen globally, even here in Australia, but it will come as such a shock because it will be totally unforseen. In a sick sort of way I wish the issues you were raising were being considered here, that's why I'm interested in what your thoughts whilst you were in Melbourne.

Re Silver and Gold:

First I must digress a little. In 1877 and in 1894, after financial panics, people took to the streets by striking and demonstrating. The federal government and some state governments quickly sent federal troops and militias to restore order. In one instance militias shot 20 people in Pittsburgh; so much for soldiers not firing at US citizens.

In 1932, during the hight of the Great Depression, 15-20,000 ex-soldiers with their families camped out in Washington D.C. They wanted payments of bonuses the US Government had promised to make in 1924 (payable in 1945) to make up for wages lost while serving in WWI. The federal government sent troops on horseback to roust the campers; the ex-soldiers were no match for the troops.

The point I am making is that there are historical precedents that our government would not hesitate to use force to maintain order in the US. Maintaining the status quo is their primary goal. If the dollar ever collapses, the government will insist that the dollar will remain legal tender(or, possibly, issue " New Dollars"). If people don't trust government currency, those that can will begin using gold and silver as cash.

If this catches on, the feds will not tolerate it.
They will confiscate precious metals. If anyone starts using metals as payment, the authorities will learn about it eventually and take action against them.

I'm not saying don't buy metals, I'm saying that you might be very surprised to learn that you just can't go down to the grocery store or supermarket and buy food with gold or silver.

If things deteriorate badly, and food and other essentials become hard to get, the government will ban hoarding, as well. If you live in a high population area, it could become very, very difficult to use that which you have saved for a rainy day(s). Urban and even rural dwellers will find the government taking away food that they have grown and harvested.

My ultimate point is that short of leaving the country before it's too late, once TSHTF, we will all suffer mightily.

Bailey

You're so right. We at the end of the end of the world (Australia & New Zealand) are seeing our currency skyrocket against the dubious Greenback...so the local price of gold remains steady, the local value of exports remains steady, the local cost of oil products remains steady. All these stats reflect the diminishing value of the USD, in which currency the most significant commodities are (currently)traded - especially oil.
In my view, the QEII folly will come home to roost, when the USD is no longer worthy of faith & trust, and loses its position as "(fiat) reserve currency". THEN, the brown stuff will truly hit the rotating thing for the US consumers and your inflation nightmare will come to pass, and will descend with such fury.
The rest of the world really doesn't 'NEED" the US any more. The new reality approaching will most certainly be vastly different from our recent dream-like experience (since 1945), but it will be adapted to. The US may well see, initially,a rush of the well-heeled heading to their bolt-holes (down this way for example), and then hw long will it be till we see the impoverished crowding onto leaky boats and heading whatever fate may hold - as long as it's OUT of the mire of your 'Homeland'?

A very good insight, Bill. Hence my observation that military and police funding will never be drastically cut - even though it is perhaps the single most non-productive sector of the economy.

So, Jim, let's assume you're right. Let's assume that at some point over the next 5-10 years the US dollar, and even all fiat currencies, collapse. To make matters worse, let's assume that your Long Emergency hypothesis begins to prove itself true and natural resources become scarce, farmland becomes less arable and governments destablize.

What should we do to prepare? Further, let's assume that you're a mid-level executive who works 60 hours a week supporting your family. You've busted your ass, have no debt and some comfortable savings that you don't want to see blow away by the Fed's criminal negligence. What would you propose one should do?


If this catches on, the feds will not tolerate it.
They will confiscate precious metals. If anyone starts using metals as payment, the authorities will learn about it eventually and take action against them.
==

I've been saying this for years to my American friends: "take the money and run". In other words, convert EVERYTHING to gold and leave the US.


Nullification: An Interview With Thomas Woods - http://bit.ly/921Xse


csxhogger said: "88 loaded hoppers of appalachian bituminous weighs out at about 11,000 tons nowadays."

11,000 tons and whadda you get?
Another day older and deeper in debt.
St. Peter don't ya call me 'cause I can't go,
I owe my soul to the company store.

Now the right-wing White folk gettin' all upset about quantitative easing, inflation, their new joblessness, and their new poverty.

Like someone said upthread: "read some history" (like Howard Zinn or Chalmers Johnson).

This country has been shooting anyone who stands up for human rights and economic justice for well over a century now, calling them "subversives" "outside agitators" "communists" "traitors" and all manner of names to discredit them.

Now they be wantin' extension of tax cuts for the richest 2% ... the same ones who have proved they are definitely not "job creators" ... no explainin' White folks. Dem bald heads crazy.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eqysOK95E6A

Them crazy, them crazy -
We gonna chase those crazy
Baldheads out of town;
Chase those crazy baldheads
Out of our town.

I'n'I build a cabin;
I'n'I plant the corn;
Didn't my people before me
Slave for this country?
Now you look me with that scorn,
Then you eat up all my corn.

We gonna chase those crazy -
Chase them crazy -
Chase those crazy baldheads out of town!
---
/Scat singing/
---
Build your penitentiary, we build your schools,
Brainwash education to make us the fools.
Hate is your reward for our love,
Telling us of your God above.

We gonna chase those crazy -
Chase those crazy bunkheads -
Chase those crazy baldheads out of the yown!
---
/Instrumental break/
---
We gonna chase those crazy -
Chase those crazy bunkheads -
Chase those crazy baldheads out of the yown!

Here comes the conman
Coming with his con plan.
We won't take no bribe;
We've got [to] stay alive.

We gonna chase those crazy -
Chase those crazy baldheads -
Chase those crazy baldheads out of the yown.

--Bob Marley

Hmmmm. Didn't we fight a civil war over states' rights? Anyway, I haven't read Thomas Woods before, so I can't really comment yet.

General Electric, NBC's parent, is one of the largest corporations in the world with an anti-labor history of outsourcing jobs and with financial links to military and nuclear power industries. Surely we understand that GE is not going to provide the same backing for MSNBC commentators that Rupert Murdoch provides for his mouthpieces at Fox News.

What has not gotten a lot of attention in the midst of this controversy is that GE's NBC Universal, one of the largest media conglomerates in the country, is in the process of merging with Comcast, the largest cable television provider in America. The new head of that company would be Stephen B. Burke, Comcast's chief operating officer and a "Bush Ranger" who raised at least $200,000 for the 2004 reelection campaign of President George W. Bush.

As Vermont's senator, I intend to do all that I can do to stop this merger. There already is far too much media concentration in this country. We need more diversity. We need more local ownership. We need more viewpoints. We do not need another media giant run by a Republican supporter of George W. Bush. That is the lesson we should learn from the Keith Olbermann suspension.

--Bernie Sanders

That day would be Jan. 20, 2001. you'll see that in the future history books circa 2050

This is about complexity vs. the simple life.

I wouldn't mind seeing a mostly pastoral world. I remember when we got our 1st television set in 1951. We had a choice of watching either of Boston's 2 channels, channel 7 or channel 4. Today of course, there's 500 satellite tv channels. In 1951 you really couldn't get addicted to television.

Everything today is complicated, and there's so much to do, there's never enough time. Yeah, I can see the benefit of rocking on the front porch, looking at the stars, hearing the cicadas chirriping away.

BUT, I don't think I could live in a totally simple world, either. Nature itself is so complicated. It seems that living things are evolving into more and more complexity; that the universe is at war with itself as entropy increases inexorably to the maximum, but intelligent life is order, fighting against chaos. I don't think humans are meant to just live the simple life without any complexity. Why can't we have some of both?


I guess you're staying put.

I dislike Olbermann - at least the Olbermann I see on television. He's so smug, smirky and smarmy, I just want to slap him upside the head. It's not his political views, it's just the way he says what he says.

Let's just say that I haven't yet taken action to get out. I don't know where to go, and the time is not yet quite right for Americans to bug out.

Hmm,..

You took a long time to answer that. I can see you are conflicted. But you're here for a reason, even if you're not fully conscious of that reason.

True.

The Hooker, The Sociopath; Rolling Destabilizations http://bit.ly/bZZQyY

good on ya Jim, the image of the freight train and the meteor and all the rest cracked me up. I live in Australia. From where I am, looking in from the outside so to speak, it looks like you guys are in a bit of shit. So are we, the only difference being if we sell our souls and all our minerals to the Chinese they might keep us going for a little while.We also have the added benefit of not having a few hundred million guns floating around in the hands of every redneck deadshit who ever wanted one because they thought it was their right. As for printing money, that can't work. Money is the way we transfer our labour into food and goods. If the money just appears out of the sky without the labour being done, then it means you get something for nothing. Somewhere, somehow, somebody has to do the labour, or money becomes worthless. The US is trying to fool the world that a lot of labour (which means goods and services) has been done and wealth created, when it actually hasn't. The US needs to adhere to my No.1 rule of life- if your in a hole the first thing you do is stop digging. Good luck, both of our countries are going to need it.

Commissioned another Solar System today and the meter was spinning backwards...Normally the customer just smiles but this guy couldn't stop laughing with joy, it was awesome

JHK excellent opening story, but the photoshop work distorted my vision. Keep up the attempts though photos are worth lots of words and I really like them being a part of CFN...

Solar Guy's Advice for the week... Stay away from your television... Don't even turn it on for 7 days and you'll get a gold star.

So have a good week y'all...and report back next Monday with at least 1 good thing you did to help the world...

Brilliant!!!
rahm went and fought for israel while the Us fought 'desert storm'....

'Important to that shift has been strategy of immigration rates deliberate to aim of reaching the point where those of dual citizenship (immigrants who retain right of citizenship in nation of origin) will outnumber those of us who hold right of citizenship (and singular loyalty) only to the US'
the world has changed much since the white immigrants moved here prior to 1900 and had to break ties [no airflight] with europe.

Fscking piece of shit troll

Very well done. However, technically CSX does not run through Wyoming.

Yes pre-postmortem. Hitler indeed reduced populations (not singlehandedly) and that is the final solution. As America finally collapses, the new great powers will rush in for the kill before they are weakened by our collapse and before we have a chance to recover. Anyone who thinks America rules the waves is insane. We are already running off the tracks. When the next step in our decline appears is anybody's guess, but someday, when Jim is writing from his radioactive shelter, he will have been right.

shakazulu said: "someday, when Jim is writing from his radioactive shelter, he will have been right."

It is so good to know that whatever doom befalls us, whatever disaster strikes us, whatever tragedy awaits us, we are assured that the internet will not be affected, and we can continue to communicate with the CFN community from our radioactive shelters. Life in that aspect will go on as before ... we will never have to worry about what we would do without the internet. There is no date in the future in which we will not have the internet, no matter how many Friedman units out we can imagine. Reassuring that.

Asoka, are you trying to be sarcastic? I have a wireless receiver implanted in my left molar, so I need not worry. The amplifier is located in my ear canal.

Shakazulu, when Al Gore invented the internet, or rather when Al Gore provided the funding for Defense Advanced Research Projects Administration (DARPA) to invent the internet, the whole idea was to create a decentralized communication system which would survive a nuclear attack. It was designed to survive no matter what, as is my sarcasm.

JHK, I like your style.
I've been saying for a while now the end is coming at us from every direction.


Jim Kunstler,

You're right that we're going to have
deflation AND inflation ... deflation
in our lifestyle but commodity inflation
from the deadly combo of a falling dollar
and anticipatory commodity inflation from
a Fed telegraphing printing press activity.

However, the inflation attempt of the Fed
is simple a sham. It cannot work. Why?
With our wages inexorably headed toward
Chinese and Indian levels, persistently
high structural unemployment, and a glut
of surplus capacity everywhere ... no
matter how the Fed wiggles and dances,
you can't get people making forty kay
to buy half-million dollar McMansions.
That shipped already sailed.

However, if they try hard enough then we
can get the 1970s on steroids in a few
years whereupon there will be food riots
in the US way before even us "grumps"
expect TEOTWAWKI. After all, in a GLOBAL
economy, SOMEBODY can buy soybeans priced
at 2000 (now futures are around 1200) or
copper at eight bucks a pound.

I suspect that the current commodity inflation
is only a prelude but NOT the real event.
It's the same goddamned banksters speculating
with QE monies to create "boom illusion".
The only "boom" that's really happening is
the detonation of the entire American economy.

E.


E.


Oh ... an addendum. It's only a matter
of time until the banks "assets" must be
revealed. After all, even the Fed acts
in its own best interests. Those interests
are in accord with bank CEO interests i.e.,
the stealing of everything not nailed down
while the info blackout on bank assets
(courtesy of the Financial Accounting
Standards Board) is allowed to proceed
apace.

When they've gotten their booty, all these
retail investors in mutual funds that load
up on Citi, BofA, and so on will find out
what the "toxic" in "toxic assets" means.

E.

Like your comparison of hyperstagflation to a frog succumbing to the slow boiling pot. People will only realize that it's time to get serious when they feel their toes burning, and it might be too late by then.

Look at the big picture. People in US need jobs, but do they ask themselves, what sector, what company, what entity needs a person to perform manipulations and transformations of information or material items (as in maybe manufacturing) for 8 hours a day getting paid 2,000 dollars a month ? How many of these activities are out there, in all honesty ? Would you pay someone for something that you need done 8 hours a day, everyday that wage ? And do you have that something, that sequence of manipulations and transformations, that needs maybe college educated people to do it ?

That is the real crux of the problem: there are not that many possible jobs in the future no matter what anyone thinks or wants, and especially not at US wages, and not with the US health care circus and expenses, no pensions, high homes prices and office prices etc. And not with optimizations and automation going forward anyways, no matter what.

Most companies will go to Indonesia or Turkey and get the same output at much lower prices and without having to worry about paying health care and college 10 times more than in the rest of the world.

What is needed is for home prices (and offices) to crash in the US and worldwide, very cheap rents (200 dollars a month) and homes that cost no more than 50,000 dollars, for high quality large homes. But the powers that be will do everything to do the exact opposite.


What is needed is for home prices (and offices) to crash in the US and worldwide, very cheap rents (200 dollars a month) and homes that cost no more than 50,000 dollars, for high quality large homes. But the powers that be will do everything to do the exact opposite.

I was at my folks house in south Georgia just before the election, discussing their local candidates with them. Took a second for me to get my head around the fact that their beloved tea party candidate for state house was running as a Republican.

A Republican? I thought you guys were rebelling against the GOP? Isn't that what the word "party" means? A distinct political ideology? And the implications of "tea party" even more so! The real tea partiers actually engaged in rebellion. They intercepted goods and destroyed them. They had something to say and they weren't afraid to say it.

"But we're realists, Tripp. Third party candidates don't get elected."

Huh. For a second there I almost respected you guys. Like you had some stones or something. I don't agree with your ideology of putting Christ "back" into the Constitution (or any of your other uber-jingo nonsense for that matter), but at least I thought you had some guts for breaking away from the aristocratic Demublican stranglehold. But that's not what you were doing then, eh? So what's all the fuss about?

"We're patriots and conservatives who want our country back."

By making a big stink about creating a distinct party with "real American ideology," then running your candidates as Republicans? So it was all a publicity stunt then. I get it.

Note to tea party:
I've voted third party at least every other time I've been to the polls, since my first vote in 1992. It's not a "wasted vote." It's a statement about the system. If you want to actually make one, it requires something other than the status quo. If you had told a real revolutionary that you needed an instruction manual describing in detail how one goes about acquiring a pair of testes, I'd have gladly helped out.

You may return to your embroidery.

Humbly, me lord.

"Tea Party" is far too meaningful a term for your snivelling. Please return it to the public domain in good condition to await use by a group of equally-meaningful bipedal primates.


From :

http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=173238

Right Wing thug writes:

" Eran wrote:What would the five employees do? What did all the Americans that used to work in agriculture in the 19th century do? What about all the people who used to work in textile sweat shops in the early 20th century? What about all the assembly line employees of the '50s who were replaced by robots?

In each case, there was no ready answer ahead of time. Yet in each case, those people found employment producing something else, adding to the overall productivity of the economy and thus, to the wealth of our society."


I answer:

This is like faith in magic, it worked in the past it, it will work forever, past performance is a guarantee of future performance. But if you notice, financial products usually say, past performance is NO GUARANTEE of future performance.

It worked for so many decades because technology advanced so rapidly with so many new developments happening in such a short time interval: flight, then jet flight, cars, trains, then TV, then computers, PC, software and finally the Internet. Then genetic engineering, biotech, etc. But I say like you, I don't know, you may be right, who knows, but my impression is that the low hanging fruits have been picked, all of those developments and all of those jobs they created were a one time quirk, a one time free lunch that technology and history and capitalism gave us for 200 years: we (as anyone over 50) happened to be right in the middle of it.

I honestly cannot envision some kind of new technology or development that will create entire industries hiring so many people like Cars, Jets, Computers, Software or the Internet coming up soon. Maybe Health Care, Financial Products and Education can hire many millions but only because they create the same problems they solve: health care will brainwash everyone to take hundreds of pills and hundreds of tests and checkups with the threat of all kinds of imaginary sicknesses you risk having: financial services will create all kinds of wacky investments, derivatives, subprime loans and a million other insane products, and finally education will invent thousands of new programming languages and standards that you will have to learn to make a computer program run a simple BASIC loop:

10 FOR I=1 TO 100
20 PRINT "WE ARE SCREWED"
30 NEXT I

Inflation, deflation, stagflation, instagnation??

Despite any of these terms, $200/month rent is impossible. Property tax will eat up at least $100/month of that. *Somebody* better budget at least $400/month for maintenance and vacancies.

An these are best-case numbers assuming the underlying real estate is owned free and clear - thus no mortgage payment.

Someone said last week that typical US housing requires at least a middle class salary to support the physical infrastructure - I concur.

"I was at my folks house in south Georgia just before the election, discussing their local candidates with them."

Yep, the TEA party was mostly a media created farce, IMO. Most of those people will always vote R when push comes to shove.

Georgia's governor elect is a demonstrably corrupt career politician who has been in Congress for 18? years helping create the present mess. He lied, withheld, and obfuscated his personal near-bankruptcy until after beating a better (and female) R in the primary.

He won in GA only because he had a R and not a D after his name. Our libertarian candidate (a well spoke black man) polled like 4%.

At least in my region, Obama gets the credit for screwing the Democratic Party completely into the ground and breaking off the tip.

Right Wing thug says:

From :

http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=173238

Right Wing thug writes:

"
I believe you. Oddly, nothing is unique about this time in history. At every generations, people with your attitude couldn't envision new technologies. Do you think people could envision flight in the 19th century? Computers in the first half of the 20th century? The internet in the '70s?

Luckily, technological advance doesn't depend on the imagination power of any one person."


I answer:

Oh, I see, so you are waiting for the Technological Singularity: but at that point, all are measurements become worthless, Check out:

http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=172275

And all the other posts of Instant Singularities, brain modifications, Virtual Realities, etc. Check out the posts of namet9 and old6598, 2 scientists...

from

http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=172275


"Back on topic. We are still living within the "era" of science, within an era where a kind of faith ( religious ? ) in our ability to find ( and/or invent ? ) patterns and control reality by understanding and manipulating those patterns is operating. But my take on it is that this is not really true, reality, the universe has no patterns.

The laws of physics work well and we use them, but in the end they are only valid within the limited range of an item of matter, a delimitation of matter - energy organized in that very quirky, one time, extremely specific combination of elements under the form of the human, his mind - body - sense organs - and capability of interaction with reality thorough his muscles.

Change that item of matter, that particular interaction of one piece of matter with another piece of matter, and the laws of physics no longer really exist.

So if I let a virtual mind live in a man-made virtual reality in a computer with an arbitrary set of laws, and that mind lives there and experiences reality just as deeply as us, even more deeply (who knows how deep ? ), and is never aware that it is all fake, wouldn't that mind (or set of minds so as to create a society - city, etc. like humans) believe in fixed patterns, in laws of physics, in a form of faith in reality in its essence of being somehow absolute ? But it isn't, it is made up, and so is ours, and in fact any reality, no matter how many levels of virtual realities, and dreams within dreams are present, is essentially made up, a hoax, a lie.

We try to find patterns to everything, but this program is destined to fail because there are no ultimate causes to events, there are no reasons for things occurring, there are general patterns, but as soon as an event depends on another person's free will, all bets are off. And just like free will kills all possible determinism, so does quantum fluctuations, random occurrences, etc. Just like sudden death kills a person, or a sudden accident changes everything in a person's life.

The truth is, in the end, even the grand program of science is destined to fail, just like religion: just look at how funny all of the economists and sociologists look after 200 years of trying to understand or predict the economy or people's behavior.

History is the real laws of physics, pure random quirks based on nothing at all, not atoms, or electrons or quantum mechanics.


So change the neural circuits of brains and minds, wildly and insanely, it is all just as true as any truth can possibly be, all lies are true, the bigger the lie - invention the truer it is. All contradictions are welcome, in fact only contradictions are welcome. It is forbidden to apply any logic at all.

"

In any case, if there will be millions of new jobs and activities, they will be optional activities, completely invented and not necessary, nothing based on necessities anymore, since we live in automatic, excess capacity societies and economical systems that have become so rich that only optional games can be performed as work: like video games, office politics games, movies, TV, entertainment, the Internet, Cell Phones, the IPhones, etc.

E,

This business about commodity price inflation is going to make mayhem in poorer countries a lot sooner than here in N.America.

A couple years ago when we had skyrocketing grain prices you had people in the Philipines in a bad way. Their relatives here in Toronto were buying up every sack of rice they could find and trying to ship it to their relatives in the Philipines who were starving. Not only was there inflation, there was hoarding by suppliers waiting for even higher prices. At least that's what I was reading.

I do not believe for a second that speculators do anything useful. They don't smooth out swings in prices, they create them. It was time years ago to take apart the banksters.

I had a laugh last night. I heard that Dubya's approval level was roughly that of Obama's.

Men of character are needed in our US government.
Truth and discipline have no value with the used car politicians, along with their corporate bosses who have them bought and sold.

Why are we spending boat loads of money in the arm pit of Iraq and Afganistan?

The criminals of Wall Street, The Fed, Republicans and Democrates are all on the same side, robbing the working man. So goes the story of human history.

Why do brainwashed masses put up with more taxes and fiscal incompetance-- when the government just continues to waste and ask for more, more, more?

Free markets and Capitalism only work when men are honest. In the words of B.Franklin
What kind of government have your given us Mr.Franklin?
A Republic if you can keep it...

In the words of the dean in Animal House--
Fat, Drunk, and Stupid is no way to go through life.


JHK, thank you for not predicting when or what is in store (beyond down-ness) - it is honest. I like my facts straight up and my possibilities clearly stated as such. one of economics less charming tendencies is attempting to play fortune teller, and with facts what they are now, it is tempting for all of us to attempt predict what will happen and when as it is all a bit worrying. sadly, it appears that few to none of us are very good at telling the future, even the phds. on the other hand, pointing out that the convergence of train, truck, heart attack, drug overdose and meteorite (even a small one) holds a vanishingly small Possibility of happily-ever-after is useful for defining the range of foreseeable possibilities - even stated metaphorically, as it is, it provides us a constructive framework for critical thinking regarding the future.
but the real news is that i found one of the seasons last pears while out tending my parents small orchard - it had fallen from great height and been nibbled by some other critter, so i knew it was good - it tasted sweet as spring and vibrant as summer and rich as autumn. may we all ripen so beautifully :)

JHK, great piece! I'm depressed today but I laughed out loud several times reading it, good stuff, thanks!

I wouldn't be too worried about the power of the government after TSHTF. Without the oil to power the military and police, I'd be more worried about what the guy next door might do. (read tent next door)

To Solar Guy,the corporate criminals at Tampa Electric about a year ago wiped the smile off my face by installing digital meters,that make you pay even for the power you put into the grid.A fine example of corporate greed and irresponsibility,while telling the public how environmentally friendly they are.

"I wouldn't be too worried about the power of the government after TSHTF. Without the oil to power the military and police,..."

Yes and no -

Remember Bush II and the gang kept pumping imported? crude oil into the Strategic Petroleum Reserve even as crude went to $140? and gas went past $4.00/gallon in some areas two years ago.

Well, the Strategic Petroleum Reserve is being filled for something, and it's not to power SUV's for commuting. But the question becomes whether there is a viable plan in place to refine that oil and distribute it to fill LE, EMS, and/or military needs.

I know law enforcement and EMS guys in several jurisdictions in a couple of states. They tell me that fuel supply plans for disruptions that extend beyond a week DO NOT exist at the local level. And these jurisdictions are completely dependent on civilian fuel distribution networks. (mostly over the road tanker trucks)

Do the feds have something planned if TS slides into TF on a national or regional level??

More importantly, will this hypothetical Fed plan work when taken off paper and attempted in reality???

Recent Federal FUBAR events are not encouraging, in this regard.

8M said:

History is the real laws of physics, pure random quirks based on nothing at all, not atoms, or electrons or quantum mechanics. ... All contradictions are welcome, in fact only contradictions are welcome. It is forbidden to apply any logic at all.

8M, I agree with you about the "laws of physics" scam. I agree contradictions are welcome. But I do not agree about forbidding applying "any logic at all".

There are various systems of logic, various kinds of logics. If you understand the limitations of the system you choose, you can still use it strategically. Just don't think it's the only game in town or make a religion out of logic like people do swearing by "the laws of physics" ... with no apparent appreciation of its poverty.

okie said:

the convergence of train, truck, heart attack, drug overdose and meteorite (even a small one) holds a vanishingly small Possibility of happily-ever-after

Actually, JHK has weakened his argument by combining all these into a convergence ... precisely because the probability is near zero that they will all converge simultaneously.

About 10 years ago a neighbor told me peeps in the 3rd world were 'starving'..i said 'and when have people NOT starved'?

he said,,,but a few years ago the 1$ a day they made fed them, BUT GRAIN PRICES IN THE LAST 2 YEARS HAVE DOUBLED AND THEY STILL ONLY MAKE 7 TO 20$ A WEEK!

lady [or gent]:
'no FDA to make sure their meds are safe...'

DO YOU THINK MEDS ARE SAFE.....NOT FROM WHAT I READ!
what are you as liberal? you think the FDA is
'protecting' you? if it is its not doin a good job...hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahhahahahahah

Like cell phones. Charges at both ends. They get you coming and going.

I think it was the end of last week Tripp referred to me as a "sporadic poster." That's MR. Sporadic poster, to you :D Actually, I really like it. Next time I get stuck for a handle, I think I'll use it.

By the by, the end of last weeks post ... were really good. Profound, thoughtful. Or maybe I'm just getting better at spotting a handle and knowing when to just scroll past.

the train-truck-etc metaphor require them all to be in the same 6 sq. ft. space in the same second (the hit zone is small) - but when we apply the metaphor to reality, we only need peak oil - mortgage fraud - insolvent humans/banks/states/sovereigns - environmental degradation to appear on the same planet within a few years of each other (much bigger hit zone in both time and space). even if one component or another is smaller than expected (the meteorite burns up in the atmosphere - climate change's major impact falls further in the future) it still makes a big "boom".
metaphors are fun, but always limited. Your post does point up the importance of considering the timing and location of the "fail" when cooking up possible outcomes.

Agreed, nobody knows the future, what new items and jobs will appear because of technology: but I find it an act of faith to believe that any new technology and activities will exactly compensate all the unemployed, will produce jobs by the millions. Maybe 1,000 new sectors may need 1,000 new workers, but that is a far cry from the tens of millions of high paying jobs needed worldwide.

Then the economy is becoming less matter dominated and more information dominated, we produce alot of information, a kind of solid state civilization, all sitting still and all generating information such as books, blogs, music, movies, TV shows, knowledge, etc. This will tend to make information cost zero and use much less energy than a matter dominated economy that builds hundreds of rockets to Mars, and millions of skyscrapers. But maybe both can be activated. And fundamental processes will tend to cost more and more, humans need water, housing and health care, in these realms the costs can go as high as the sellers want, there is no free market here, if you want water pay thousands of dollars, same with doctors and pills and health and homes. These are basic necessities that will cost more and more, while you will be free to watch all the 3d TV and iphone apps and entertainment you wish: what really counts will cost you all the money you earn.

I have a dilemma that I need some input on. Next summer I can start collecting Social Security. 62, the base rate. My dilemma is that at the same time I can also start collecting on a small State Retirement (Washington State) that I have. $280 a month if I don't sip the COLA :D

I'm agonizing over if to cash in the State Retirement now. For a couple of reasons. I could really use the cash now. And, I wonder how much longer the State will be able to pay retirement.

Our State is in as much trouble as most of the rest (except North Dakota.) There are some draconian cuts coming down the road. But, according to AARP, our State's retirement system is in pretty good shape. We'd get the highest rating except the retirement system here doesn't provide health care. Which AARP seems to think is a bad thing. I didn't even know a lot of states included that in the package. But, the retirement funds aren't just sitting there. They're in stocks and such. Things like Coka-Cola. Blue chips. I don't know what their exposure is in mutual funds. I can find out.

The wild card is Dad. He's 89, gets around fairly well and still has most of his marbles. He'll probably outlive us all. Like, I figure to 106. He has a tidy little bundle (including the $50,000 he just won on a scratch ticket :D and it's tucked away in a small local bank that didn't get overexposed in the housing market. They keep pushing mutual funds at him but he has it in nothing more exotic then cd's and savings.

So, I guess, like so many on here, I'm looking for a crystal ball. Not going to happen :D But, I would like, maybe some of your collective wisdom / opinions. Thanks. Lew

I would love to see a group photo of the Delaware 40% that voted for Christie O'Donnell. I realize there are actually people out there who have something in common with her, or are related to her, but those that voted for her by way of casting a straight ticket are the ones who really should just stick to Jerry Springer. Being lazy isn't a crime, but it should be when it comes to trying to make the country look like a circus.

To all you Tea Party / Libertarian / R. Paul devotees:

You cannot trust any of them to do what they say. Look at what they do, not what they say, and that includes Obama. Power corrupts.

In the campaign Rand Paul said I'm not "open to having Washington change me" Tell me another joke. Power corrupts.

Senator-Elect Paul now says he'll fight for the earmarks he pledged to ban. He hasn't even been sworn in yet and he is flip-flopping. Power corrupts.

Rand Paul also sought fund raising help from Republicans (Washington insiders he said were the problem and had vowed to shun). See how power corrupts the Tea Party / Libertarians?

Rand Paul is already selling out a week after the election.

It is much better to be a peaceful, anonymous, and "powerless permaculturalist" than to play the guns & gold power games they play in Washington.

He.He. What a writer!

Please explain to me how Krugman and Friedman are the same?! On November 8 of this year, Krugman was unhappy that the economists who have the ear of the powerful were quoting Friedman.

And where did Krugman say we have any kind of a recovery? He has said constantly that we are not doing the things that might mitigate the deep recession in which we find ourselves. And so many of the figures being presented (by those who should know better) are not accurate. We are still in deep doo-doo.

Funny you should mention Springer. I cannot stand that show. Listen, don't you think that the top 1 percent of the power elite like to watch us "common folk" scramble around, frantically trying to dig up cash for basics like groceries, gasoline, taxes, etc.? Seriously, while walking to the gym this morning, I was actually thinking about this. I imagine they are quite amused, watching us in this "reality show" scenario, as the noose slowly tightens around our collective necks. They seem to know just when to pull a little bit tighter...and then hesitate for a few moments. Not unlike a Ted Bundy serial killer, getting his jollys watching his victims slowly lose consciousness. Kind of like watching the aforementioned frog in boiling water...(just musing).

MORE BAD NEWS FOR CFN DOOMERS

GREEN SPROUTS = ALTERNATIVE ENERGY INFRASTRUCTURE JOBS

"Solar energy is now the fastest growing energy source in the United States," Rhone Resch, SEIA's president and CEO, said Tuesday during the opening session of the Solar Power International 2010 conference in Los Angeles.

California installed the most solar electric capacity in the first six months of this year, followed by New Jersey, Arizona and Florida. A total of 341 megawatts was installed nationwide, but the report expects a stronger second half for 2010 because of projects slated for completion.

"First half solar installations grew beyond expectations as a result of declining prices, continued government support and improving financial conditions." said Shayle Kann at GTM Research, a Greentech Media company. "In spite of continued macroeconomic woes, the U.S. solar industry is on track to have a record year in 2010 for both installations and manufacturing."

PROFITABLE GREEN SHOOTS

Last week marked the beginning of a new chapter in the creation of America's renewable energy future. In one of the nation's most strategic clean economy deals to date, NRG Energy, Inc. announced the $350 million acquisition of Green Mountain Energy. Geoffrey Orsak, dean of the Lyle School of Engineering at Southern Methodist University, was quoted in an article in the Dallas Morning News yesterday saying the acquisition shows that green companies have market worth. "This is a great sign that the green economy is not likely to be another dot-com fantasy. This is real stuff that consumers believe in." Green Mountain Energy has proven that there is consumer demand -- and even enthusiasm -- for purchasing renewable energy. There should be. And not just for the altruistic goal of saving the planet, but because clean energy is where the real money will be made in the next generation. Educate people, give them a choice, and we will create a clean economy for all of us -- together.

Bingo you've got it. Roller Ball (see the old version) here we come. Obama says India might produce 50,000 jobs for us - against the millions we've lost to outsourcing and the hundreds of thousands of computer and engineering jobs lost to insourced workers. But Capitalism per se was never the answer - and what is Corporatism but Capitalism grown to full stature? Tragically, the Tea Party just isn't smart enough to see it. We can't go back to the old way - it just wont work in a global economy. In fact it didn't even work before except that we imposed tariffs and kept out Asian workers who were ready to flood North America at the begining of the 20th century. After all, what is Capitalism per se but the Law of the Jungle, or as the Hindus say, the Law of the Fish, big eats little. Why should civilized people settle for this?

We have to get back to not the old way, but the olde, olde ways - updated of course for high tech. In terms of American History, we go back to the ideal of the Commonwealth - we allow and support what benefits all. This is not socialism, the Puritans were by no means that. Call it communalism and you're closer. There are still rich and poor but the wealty are constrained and in fact required to do what is best for the Nation. In others words, a society does not live by bread alone. And obviously people who move their companies to Asia should not be allowed to remain here either as citizens. What could be simpler? And what more perverse than allowing American Citizens to deconstruct the Nation?

From a European perspective, the answer is Fascism which has elements of both Capitalism and Communism but is in fact neither. What is it then? Unlike those two, Fascism focuses not on Economics, but on Man himself. It has tended to be too centralized to be attractive to Americans so I would suggest we focus on early American Traditions. But the essence will be the same. If you had told the Founding Fathers that their descendants would rave endlessly about rights and never about duty, they would have been amazed. And if you told them that their names would have been invoked in service of this, they would have been disgusted. American Republicanism has nothing to do with a consumer mentality applied to politics - or the degraded cult of "Democracy" that has given us creatures like Obama and Bush.

Some suggestions to CFNers on subject of local productivity against corporations one is a new Thom Hartmann book that will be published on Truthout website chapter by chapter, daily. Today is the introduction:
"Rebooting the American Dream: 11 Ways to Rebuild Our Country"

http://www.truth-out.org/thom-hartmann-rebooting-the-american-dream-07112010

The second was an interview with Gerald Celente on Irish radio:

http://geraldcelentechannel.blogspot.com/2010/11/gerald-celente-with-matt-cooper-irish.html

Sorry the Thom Hartmann installments will be weekly

"the power elite" are like a "...serial killer, getting his jollys watching his victims slowly lose consciousness....(just musing)."

That's kind of creepy, Myrtle! LOL!

I've stated frequently that I just have not found a "conspiracy" of a traditional sort that is believable to me.

I am, however, beginning to slowly come around concerning an "elite." If we (ever?) have one in the US, it is going to involve how we as a Country view our military - and how those who command our military view themselves.

I'm still working on the idea, and I'd like some CFN help to develop it. And I'm certainly not looking to *"bash"* our military.

Any country hoping to live free needs a damn good military - properly equipped, trained, and utilized.

And Vlad, nice post @ 6:03.

ProCon said: "And I'm certainly not looking to *"bash"* our military."

You consider just stating the truth about what our military does to be "bashing".

** The military trains young Americans in efficient ways to kill other human beings and blow things up.

** The military is fiscally inefficient (often corrupt) and wasteful of natural resources and destructive of our air quality and our natural environment.

Simply stating facts like that is interpreted by you to be "bashing".

I appreciate your sensitivity and your patriotism ProCon, but you really ought to read more about our military dictatorship and how harmful it is: to our country and to the world.

The New American Militarism: How Americans Are Seduced by War / Andrew Bacevich or the American empire triology by Chalmers Johnson would be a good place to start.

Pro,
I contend. I'm not a conspiracy theory person either. For example, I do believe Oswald was a crazy person who acted alone and decided to take out Kennedy in '63. Ditto MLK, Jr., et. al.

Nevertheless, it is good to remember that powerful people seek alliances among their peers. They naturally concur on what, if anything, they can do to enhance their positions, status, and wealth in the world. I'm not suggesting some plot forming among them. I'm simply wondering that the Fed, operating under the filthy liar pig who calls himself Bernanke, are playing a little (or a lot, maybe) of liar's poker. Gaming the system to pad their already fat pockets. They've been doing this for quite a while (Fed formed in 1913). They are presently patting themselves on the back on Jekyl Island, the original location where they met (in secret) way back when. They've been pulling our strings ever since. Again, just musing.

Oh, BTW, I agree with Pro. Vlad, a good post.

LewisLB, good questions:

"I'm agonizing over if to cash in the State Retirement now. For a couple of reasons. I could really use the cash now. And, I wonder how much longer the State will be able to pay retirement."

I guess you already know the short answer. See how much of an annuity your cash from Washington State would buy from a AAA rated company. Evaluate how much that cash is worth to you if invested privately or used to pay off debt. Consider the solvency of your state AND your selected mutual fund company. Don't forget to include your health and possible longevity in your analysis. Include a correction factor for inflation. Remember your state pension may have COLA adjustments and that a privately purchased annuity would not - unless you spend extra for it, after considering your view of the likelihood of inflation and (again) your view of your likely longevity.

Lewis, you seem an intelligent and analytical fellow. So chances are that I'm not telling you anything you don't already know or could not figure out for yourself pretty quickly.

I started to stop writing and delete my response to you without posting - but - then I decided I was posting a good example of why privatizing Social Security was (and is) a truly pi**poor idea for the *average* US citizen. Cheers! ;-)

The one thing that almost no one ever mentions is that our "money" - our "dollars" - cost more to print than they are worth. They are worth nothing. Not a fricken thing. Worthless paper. And everyone plays along with the game. You exchange pieces of fancy paper that won't help you one iota if and when any of this downfall of society comes to pass. The housing crisis proves this beyond a shadow of a doubt. The banksters count on everyone from drug dealers to retired folks (Obamaspeak) to play along with this bullshit. Our so-called money isn't backed by anything but shit, which is to say most of what we've created as a "society". None of those consumer goods mean a thing. Everyone of them is a distraction from the reality of the fact that we are piece and parcel of this planet we are busy destroying. Greed idiocy small-mindedness soldiers for the cause of banksters. The Mafia could run the USGovt more efficiently.

I guessed I'd hear from you on this, A.

"** The military trains young Americans in efficient ways to kill other human beings and blow things up."

Well, DUH, what kind of a maroon would think a military is intended for some other purpose.

I'm actually hoping to hear from some posters who acknowledge the importance of a military - but acknowledge faults with America's use of her military.

Because I think I see my Country able to go to a military led right wing dictatorship. And I'm looking for some ideas that might prevent this eventuality.

Even a casual reader of these threads knows that Asoka hates our military, and believes pacifism is a superior National Choice. That is not a viable line of reasoning for this particular century!

I would like to declare this exchange with Asoka to be at an end.

Now, would anyone else like to "get a word in edgeways?" ;-)

I retired from teaching at the University of Washington in D3ecember of 2008 and took my TIAA-CREF teachers' pension in a lump sum. I had to pay taxes on it, but no penalty since I was over 55.

I put every dime into paying off my house. I wasn't sure whether TIAA-CREF would be around over the next 30 years to provide me with income. I'm still not sure how smart that was, but I am damned glad to have a paid-off house.

ProCon said: "Even a casual reader of these threads knows that Asoka hates our military..."

What I hate is state-sanctioned organized murder.

What I hate is the damage done to our country by the military-industrial complex that has gobbled the budget. Money wasted on the military cannot be spent on education, housing, or health coverage to lift us up from 49th in the world in life expectancy.

Sunsetsu, did you talk to an accountant or financial advisor about this move? The gamble you took, the motivation for your move, if I understand, is the uncertainty whether TIAA-CREF will be around for 30 years.

Did you time your separation from service so as to pay the least amount of taxes on the lump sum withdrawal? What month, since the TIAA-CREF has to be withdrawn within 120 days of separation from service.

Congratulations on having a free-and-clear house!

Sorry, but you need to make a distinction between which military you're referring to.
The United states Armed forces, subject to overview and the rule of law? --for whatever that's worth these days.
Or the private contractors who are paid handsomely with American taxpayer dollars and are not answerable to congressional oversight?

from an article discussing both issues:

"Some private security contractors have a history of fleecing taxpayers. The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform investigated Blackwater's employment practices and found that the company classified security guards in a way that may have allowed the firm to skirt paying Social Security, Medicare, and Federal income taxes. A separate Small Business Administration investigation found that Blackwater may have made misrepresentations in order to qualify for $110 million in government contracts set aside specifically for small businesses."

"...private security company employees are paid two or three times as much, sometimes pocketing as much as $1,000 a day."

"Military officers in the field have said contractors operate like "cowboys," using unnecessary and excessive force uncharacteristic of enlisted soldiers. In 2007, guards working for a firm then known as Blackwater were accused of killing 17 Iraqis, damaging the U.S. mission in Iraq and hurting our reputation around the world. Later that year, a contractor employed by DynCorp International allegedly shot and killed an unarmed taxi driver."

If I had to hazard a guess I'd say you've really got to worry about these privatized outfits.

Lew:

You're 25 years my senior, so I can't tell you how flattered I am that you think my writing is instructive. Thank you, sir.

On the retirement note, I wouldn't pretend to possess any actual wisdom on the matter, but as someone with a finger on (maybe near?) the pulse of transition, I might share my general philosophy instead: convert every federal reserve note that you can into biological life support systems as soon as you can. These things need to develop slowly to work correctly, so take the monthly stipend and invest it in water capture and recycling infrastruture, perennial crops - especially superfoods like blueberries, raspberries, currants, aronia, goji, goumi, medicinal herbs, mushrooms, (as you are so competently doing already) - most of these things don't cost much, and some sort of land arrangement if necessary, doesn't take much. Access to a quarter acre, or at least a few thousand square feet, isn't too difficult. There was a yard share program in Spokane that paired underutilized yard space in the city with people who wanted to garden. Win for both parties I think. Brilliant transition solution. Up there with short food chain ideas like subscribing to a CSA, which, if memory serves, you are also doing. That's a social contract most modern first worlders don't understand yet. Producing it yourself, or helping local producers make it happen, both are equally necessary.

I personally think that there are far more valuable things to acquire right now than paper, or worse, digital, money. And I agree that you should cash out with the system at your earliest convenience, while they still retain at least some solvency.

For everyone else, I think it's instructive that so many people are retiring from the payrolls of Washington state this year, my mom-in-law going early included. Washington is as in touch with reality as any state in the union IMO. Watching what's happening there might be as good a bellwether as we get for now, in-country. Use it wisely.

All our best from Small Batch,
Tripp

Capitalism cannot exist while corporations are allowed to exist. Neither can capitalism exist while some entities receive and issue free money, while other only receive debt money. We never had capitalism. What we had is cronyism dressed up as "capitalism". People that talk about capitalism as though it ever existed, really haven't thought the matter through. Either that, or they are at the pay of the banksters and the aristocracy. It's really quite amazing that even here, the amount of critical thinking and analysis that goes on is next to zero. People just parrot garbage from other sources, like a bunch of dumb fscks. Maybe that's what we have here, a bunch of really dumb fscks. Bah.

LBendet, how I wish you were right, but the atrocities are committed by both the contractor "cowboys" and by the regular US Armed Forces.

A new report by MHRI called "Testimonies of Crimes Against Humanity in Fallujah, Towards a Fair International Criminal Trial, " was presented at the 15th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council. This report gives a grim view of a policy of collective punishment, war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by the US forces between 2003 and 2010:

* The killing of peaceful demonstrators

* Provocation and killing of Fallujah's protection and police forces

* Arbitrary arrests and torture

* The first assault on Fallujah (April, 2004)

* Peace talks that could have prevented the second battle of Fallujah, but were undermined by the US

* Crimes committed by US/UK troops in the course of the second assault on Fallujah (November, 2004)

* Environmental pollution, its effects on health and the threat to future generations

Moreover, the city was totally destroyed. Dr. Hafidh al-Dulaimi, the head of "the Commission for the Compensation of Fallujah citizens" reported the following destruction inflicted on Fallujah as a result of the American attack in November 2004:

* 7000 houses totally destroyed, or near-totally destroyed, homes in all districts of Fallujah.

* 8400 stores, workshops, clinics, warehouses, etc. destroyed.

* 65 mosques and religious sanctuaries either totally demolished and leveled to the ground or the minarets and inner halls of which have been demolished.

* 59 kindergartens, primary schools, secondary schools and technical colleges have been destroyed.

* 13 government buildings leveled to the ground.

* Destruction of the two electricity substations, the three water purification plants, the two railroad stations and heavy damage to the sewage and rain drainage subsystems throughout the city.

* The total destruction of a bridge to the West of the city.

* The death of 100,000 domestic and wild animals due to chemical and/or gaseous munitions.

* The burning and destruction of four libraries that housed hundreds to perhaps thousands of ancient Islamic manuscripts and books.

* The apparently-intentional and targeted destruction of the historical nearby site at Saqlawia and the castle of Abu al-Abbas al-Safah.

A partial list of people assassinated during the first assault on Fallujah in April 2004 includes 749 names, 580 of which are male and 169 are female. Iraq Bodycount lists 26 casualties of this onslaught in its database, many of them different persons! The number of civilians assassinated by the US during the second assault on Fallujah in November 2004 is a multiple of the 749 April 2004 murders.

As a cynical token of "good will," the US helped reconstruct the Fallujah hospital, in which many women now give birth to deformed babies, deformities caused by illegal weaponry used by occupation forces during the assaults: white phosphorous, depleted uranium, and other chemical and uranium (radioactive) weapons. With a half-life of 4.5 billion years, DU and NDU amount to a permanently present contaminant randomly distributed into the environment. An eternal curse on humanity, inflicted by the "Champions of the Free World."

The crimes of the U.S. military in Fallujah, the collective punishment of the civilian population in Fallujah and the rest of Iraq, cannot be justified in any way by 9/11. Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11. But the regular U.S. Armed Forces are trained to obey to orders, even when those orders are illegal and constitute crimes against humanity.

I obviously think you did the right thing!

@ 6:03, well said Vlad.

Rare congruity.

So a preacher, a eugenicist, and a hippie walk into a bar...

Vlad said: "...or the degraded cult of "Democracy" that has given us creatures like Obama and Bush."

Bush was appointed by the Supreme Court after it ordered the votes NOT be counted, after hundreds of thousands of registered voters were illegally disenfranchised through Republican dirty tricks. Democracy was not in effect. Bush was a court-appointed president, which is about as good as a court-appointed attorney.

Obama was elected democratically because ACORN was able to register voters and many who voted were first-time voters. For the enemies of democracy that represented a threat and ACORN had to be destroyed.

What is the alternative to what you call "the degraded cult of "Democracy"? Corporate fascism? Theocracy? I'll take regular democracy any day over those alternatives. I would even take a full democracy which included extending voting rights to the mentally ill, to ALL prisoners, and to children... to ANYONE who lives here, legally or illegally, and expresses an interest in voting.

What we have is not full democracy or a cult of democracy. What we have is a corporate-controlled duopoly (A political condition in which power is concentrated in two groups).

"I would even take a full democracy which included extending voting rights to the mentally ill, to ALL prisoners, and to children... "

I'm sure that wouldn't fuel the fire in the loins of the party faithful, bent on "outbreeding the Muslims", and now bent on outbreeding those domestic terrorists, the lib'ruhls, as well. What with their Mother Earth News subscribin', Snugie-wearin', double soy half-caf habit gettin' in the way of proper procreatin' and Jeebus praisin'.

And don't get us started on what a damned waste of god's time soccer is.

I don't know, man. Maybe it's better if we give them at least 18 years to develop their own thoughts before we give them political power.

"Sachs liked to quote Keynes's warning that 'there is no subtler, no surer means of overturning the existing basis of society than to debauch the currency. The process engages all the hidden forces of economic law on the side of destruction.'" (Naomi Klein, "The Shock Doctrine" ,p. 143)

Tripp, I have voted third party for the last twenty-five + years myself. I consider myself liberal with some libertarian leanings, with a bit of true "conservation" thrown in, and actually felt some affinity for some of the earliest Tea Party rumblings. While I most certainly do not subscribe to everything Karl Denninger believes, he had some great points here: http://market-ticker.org/akcs-www?singlepost=2222649

But that was before the Koch brothers and the Republican machine took over. I think it was done precisely because the Tea Party's initial message could possibly have resonated across a broad spectrum of American society. They had to make sure, quick, that this thing didn't get out of hand. And they did a masterful job of it, because here we are, voting in, in the name of Change, the same religious whackjob asshats that put us here to begin with.

SunsetSu, that is very similar to what we did when I left my corporate job. Our house/land is free and clear, and we have never once regretted it.

Tripp said:

And don't get us started on what a damned waste of god's time soccer is.

Tripp, I like soccer. I am a fanatic about the world cup. Still can't believe the octopus could pick all but one of the winners ... completely outside the realm of chance.

I don't know, man. Maybe it's better if we give them at least 18 years to develop their own thoughts before we give them political power.

Going by Piaget's theory of intellectual development children have developed cognitive abilities by age 11 (formal operational) that allow them to become effective citizens capable of weighing arguments and voting.

FORMAL OPERATIONAL Can think logically about abstract propositions and test hypotheses systemtically. Becomes concerned with the hypothetical, the future, and ideological problems

The prisoners, the insane and children as voters could not do any worse than the "adults" are doing!


Right Wing thug, eran says:

[quote="Eran"]
What makes you say "there is no free market here"? Are you referring to rampent government intervention in water, health care and housing? Or do you think that the free market stops working when necessities are involved?

If it is the latter, I want to draw your attention to the concept of competition. Water may be essential, but the water from no single source is essential. Same with health and housing. The best example in current society is food, off which government (thank god!) largely keeps its paws. Food is as essential as housing, more essential than health care. Yet food now is more plentiful, varied and inexpensive than at any time in human history. All thanks to the free market.[/quote]

I say:

There is no free market when basic necessities are involved: if you are lucky they will be self regulated decently by a population that is not too greedy and reasonable. It doesn't matter at all how or who or what regulates it, private companies, governments, cooperatives, what you call it is irrelevant, it is just a name, what counts is how the people involved behave. But since the present state of the economy and worldwide society and globalization are all tilted towards greedy, monopolistic organizations (in the name of free markets and less government control), these basic items will cost more and more to your normal slob.

You say the system encourages certain behaviors, government regulation makes things inefficient and expensive, well just as easily a private company can buy out all the competition, become a monopolist (as is constantly happening) and be just as inefficient and expensive. There are tons of examples, look at health care, there are so many "private" actors in that field having a field day, look at real estate, the same, in fact real estate shows just how greedy individuals can be.

We need these basic items to be free for everyone, free health care, free homes, high quality and cheap rents, since we live in automatic societies where your "technology improving life", has effectively improved life to the point where the basics can be given all out for free. But greedy right wing thugs will want to get a hold of it and make people pay.

Right Wing Thug says:

[quote="Eran"]For hundreds of years, ever since western technology made starvation obsolete, we have seen standard of living advances that would have been considered unnecessary before they were available, and are now indispensable. Anything from cars and flight, through electricity and computers. None of them are strictly "necessary".

We many not consider the technological developments of the future to be "necessary" now. I assure you they will be deemed absolutely essential in the future.[/quote]

I say:

But that is what renders work "optional", as not really needed, as being something that any boss can decide to ax just for the fun of it. A million jobs have been axed in the US, because those jobs where not producing anything of basic necessity anyways, they where just place holders, they where just playing games and office politics games, that could be eliminated immediately because they where useless anyways. This is the crux of the problem, technology - optimizations - globalization eliminates jobs by automating, optimizing and delocalizing them, especially the jobs creating the real basic necessities, but leaves the fluff jobs - "peoples skills" jobs available: but when all of these soft, "high skill", "peoples skills" jobs are the only ones left, since they depend on arbitrary judgments because of their totally optional and fluff character, they can be axed in a second, they where not really producing anything in the first place, and all of a sudden can be assigned useless, what they really are.

Technology and the sheer huge number of workers globalization has involved in production has already achieved the totally automatic economic system requiring very little effort and labor to produce all the basics: hence the basics should now be given out for free.

Or you can do what the FED does, and give out billions of dollars of "free salaries" but only to the rich and in stealth mode.

That would be Scott Ritter, ex-Marine and weapons inspector in Iraq in the 90s, then shunned by the Establishment for speaking the truth about the non-existent WMDs used as an excuse by the Bush administration to attack oil-rich Iraq.

Whoops! Sorry! I implied that there was really an oil-related reason to attack Iraq. Such a conspiracy theorist!

Anyway, Scott Ritter is all about a strong military, well-trained and well-armed, to be used in the defense of the country.

He likens it to a fire department. You want them well-equipped and well-trained, able to fight any fire.

But what kind of dumb-ass person would support fires, in order to support firemen?

Good point, Scott!

Thank you all for responding to my post!

Progressorconserve: Thank you for not deleting your post. Lots of food for thought, there. I'm really not all that intelligent. Just come armed with a good vocabulary and I'm not afraid to use it :D. Analytical? Sometimes I think I have a good old fashioned case of ADHD ... if I believed in such things.

I have no debt. And I'm really proud of that. A bankruptcy years ago had a silver lining. It resurrected my parents horror of debt. Both children of the Depression (the other one.) Frequent booster shots of Dave Ramsey keep me on the straight and narrow. I do have two credit cards, but just use them occasionally for gas and pay them off immediately. Not that credit ratings seem to have as much importance anymore as they did in the past, they do take them into consideration when deciding things like how much of a deposit you pay to the gas company or even you're worthiness to rent a house.

SunsetSu: Thanks for checking in. Like me, you must lurk a lot and post sporadically. I'm Mr. Sporadic (a tip of the hat to Tripp.) I do check this blog, daily. I think it's wonderful you paid off your house. I hope it has a bit of land and good sunlight so you can grow things.

I am a Pers 1. You'll understand that. We have several different retirement classifications in this State. Pers 1 was an old program and the best as far as benefits went. I cashed in my account way back in the 70s to the grand sum of $380. When I started working for the library, it's not a State job, but they used the State Retirement System AND I could join the State Credit Union, which I did. I bought back those credits I cashed in (to the tune of $3,000; that interest piles up) and accumulated every additional credit I could. For eleven long years.

Tripp: Thanks for posting. I check into your blog every couple of days. Age does not necessarily impart wisdom. I aspire to be more like you. You DO things.

I have a friend (two actually) who are always riffing "You're so smart and we're so dumb..." etc. I always point out to them that that is bullshit. Not to put too fine a point on it. I tell them that they know how to do USEFUL things. They're the guys I call when I'm stuck on plumbing, electrical, woodworking projects or roof leaks. If nothing else, to be on hand to advise and call 911 if I really screw up. "Shopcraft as Soulcraft."

I don't think my little lump from the State will be enough to buy a chunk of land. I don't think. But maybe on a private contract. Maybe marginal land that I can prove up. It's funny, in my minds eye I see a place, high, hard to get too. A cleft in the rock with water. Luckily, I have no responsibilities, other than myself. And by nature, I have recently discovered that I feel less lonely by myself, then with other people. Odd, that.

On the other hand, given my age, a place in town appeals. The next town over, Chehalis, which is nicer, less corrupt than Centralia. Also, more out of the flood plane. But swinging a patch there would be expensive. Looking at a real estate map, it seems like half the place is for sale, but the prices have not come down appreciably.

But a couple of things I've learned in my life is that life careens off in unpredictable directions and correct opportunities for me will present themselves, when they're supposed to.

By the way, it was one of your posts that got me moving along this path. The one where you talked a bit about your history. Something like, first the savings go, and then you cash in the retirement... That is exactly the way my path is going right now.
It was great food for thought.

Hey, where is tzatza when you need him ? Hey f*tards, f*weeds, as*wipes. morons, MATTER IS GOING ON A FIELD TRIP, IS HAVING A BALL.
MATTER WANTS TO HAVE SOME FUN AND SELF MANIPULATE ITSELF THROUGH THE CONSTRUCTION OF THOUSANDS OF TRILLIONS OF SKYSCRAPERS ACROSS THE SOLAR SYSTEM, CONTAINING HUGE TECHNOLOGICAL SINGULARITY MODIFIED BRAINS.

Check out:

http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=172411

and:

So "capitalism" is creative destruction: then I love capitalism, what we need is to build a few billion mega skyscrapers across the earth and then nuke them all to dust with a few million hydrogen bombs, and let the cycle repeat every 10 years. The collateral damage, as a few billion people is irrelevant, that is why we need huge population explosion, maybe just automate making people in huge genetic engineering factories that create them and grow them and program their brains in a few minutes, and the cycle repeats. And then we extend to the solar system, nuke all the planets, build and destroy skyscrapers like crazy, and then finally nuke the SUN with trillions of hydrogen bombs, KILL MOTHER NATURE, it doesn't deserve to live in my book.

And create huge "car engine" accelerators that smash colliding car engines in high speed magnetrons that are a few 100km wide. Let's rush to get Mother Nature on the run, watch out, Science, Technology and Progress are out to get you.

Matter goes on a field trip: the universe wants to have some fun, this is mind over matter big time.

Since no one really has a clue, everyone on earth generally sucks, I am the only one who knows the real solution, so listen up young man Odumbo, activate the following program immediately:

1) 100 new rockets to Mars, manned missions within the year 2020.

2) 1 million huge skyscrapers across the USA, in all of the major cities within the year 2020.

2) 100 million new high quality homes built by the federal government having cheap rents, 200 dollars a month (2,000 sq ft - 180 sq m area) 3 bedrooms.

3) Free basic salaries to all.

4) Free health care to all.

5) A huge program for the future, progress, space exploration, modified brains, technological singularities.

6) End all wars.

7) A huge mass transit system across the USA, with BUSES, diesel - electric, chevy volt system.

Do you want a smoke DJ ?

AMEN.


some answered "you lost me there pal...."


"I am a Pers 1. You'll understand that."

I have known Pers 1 who retired at 100% of salary.


From:

http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=173238

Right Wing Thug Eran says:

"Can you give me a single example of a private company (without government assistance) which became a monopolist and then raised prices, or otherwise harmed consumers? If this is "constantly happening", surely one example could come to mind?

In fact, that has never happened, and for a good reason. It is all but impossible. Rockefeller has tried to buy the competition, but failed. In his attempts, he helped dramatically bring down oil prices. Microsoft, for example, achieved a near-monopoly status in some segments of personal computer software. However, it kept its prices down and kept innovating. When those innovation efforts failed to keep up with the competition, its market share fell (Explorer giving market share to FireFox, Chrome and others).

I am not aware of any monopolistic private actor in either health care or real estate. Who are they?

Costs in both health care and real-estate are pushed to stratospheric levels due to government intervention. I'll be happy to explain how.

That's not how it works. Bosses, as I am sure you'll be all-to-happy to agree, are greedy. Their companies want to make money. It doesn't make sense for them to axe productive employees "just of the fun of it". Companies who continued to do that would quickly go out of business. In fact, bosses work hard to recruit and retain productive employees. It is the unproductive ones that are axed, as they should be."


I say:

These debates can go on forever: it is like a jigsaw puzzle, whatever side A says, side B contradicts through other reasonings, etc. The truth is you want to spin and describe everything in a certain way, private (whatever even private means, as there as so many possible configurations of corporations, etc.) is always good, the private companies are not greedy, they are competitive, everything government touches is bad, etc. Aside from the fact that all of the economic systems present today are so utterly and completely mixed up, so intermingled between private and government (whatever even government means, since there are so many levels, nation, state, county, local, etc.) that the debate is meaningless.

Are all of the thousands of "defense" private corporations worldwide private or public (they are completely paid by governments, aren't they ?), what are banks, which banks, are they private or public ? Can you distinguish where and what is touched or not touched by governments ? Don't you use the highways and roads ? Are they not government, aren't you getting a free service because of that ? And fire departments ? And police ? don't they also buy from private companies ? These things can go on forever, they are so complex, and intractable.

You have this ideology, the good guys are private companies, free market (whatever on earth even that means, given that we all live in a system of rules and laws, or do you want zero laws and rules ?), the bad guys are government. It is always easy to simplify reality like this, the easiest target is always "them", government, or the Democrats, or the "unions". etc.

In the end they are all people, what counts is their behavior, but since people mostly suck, they behave badly, you need laws and rules and big government to control all the things private greedy as*wipes like you do wrong.

Now go on with your infinite loop mind, governments are bad, give me one example, unions are bad, I am good, etc. What a f*cktard, f*weed you are, moron.

eightM,

Your writing in the last several hours have been right-on!

I was having lunch with a friend the other day and I said when it comes to monopolies the people living in any given system will experience the same conditions whether they are living in a Soviet system or a corporate communist system. What's the difference it ends up being the same on the ground, except a few at the top make a killing.

Didn't the Russian system have its oligarchs?
At that point who cares what you call it.

You are making the point I've been making which is that the privatized contractors are living off the government. They have been getting no-bid contracts thanks to Cheney!

So the take-home message is that those who pay the taxes according to Neoliberalism should not get any services back from the government, but should instead get gouged in a thousand different ways by the private govt. contractors. A whole set of middlemen who get the advantages from both ends. The taxes won't go down, but you will be paying a la carte for all services you once got from the commons.

Pucker--Good to see someone else talking about the "Shock Doctrine". I couldn't recommend it more. A must read for anyone that doesn't understand how we got here.


Amazing how many people think there is a free lunch.
The governments of the world are broke because of lazy mismanagement of other peoples money. Individual responsibility with well run government that gets out of a face is not possible with lazy people who don't want to take
responsibility for their brief stay in the universe. Babies....

Government-Commerce- a decent planet to live on depends on decent people taking charge. First and foremost of their own lives.
Have a good day.

" Eran wrote:Rather, I suggest that free markets are "good" in the sense of containing within them the incentives to channel people's greed into productive, ultimately socially-beneficial outcomes.

What is critically difference are the incentives and feedback mechanisms in the two sectors. I never said
As a corollary, every private sector transaction benefits both participants ex-ante. The same cannot be said about government transactions, rules and regulations."

I answer:

Feedback mechanisms can be built into any kind of system, look at how successful NASA was in the moon landing program, it was mostly government controlled, but very well organized and also used private contractors.
The US Atom Bomb program during WWII was another example of top down, government controlled programs being hugely successful, no private "free market" system could have ever achieved either in that short time span. There are many, many other specific examples, you could say that 90% of the high technology we now use, was developed by government laboratories, or greatly influenced by government intervention.
Just think of all of the "military" technology, radars, satellites, the list goes on forever.
A well organized government company/program can do miracles with the right people, the right incentives, the right organization, etc. The US interstate highway system is another example of a hugely powerful and successful government program, "free market" myth could have never even begun something like that.

The best mix is government directed, organized programs that use top notch private corporations that compete against each other, etc. Mixed systems are what have always been used, and will continue to be used: GM didn't fail because good old government came in to rescue: would you have fed hundreds of thousands of unemployed resulting from that company closing ?

" Eran wrote:While we have no pure government or private examples, we do have distinct examples of mostly-government and mostly-private sectors. The most obvious example of mostly-government system is communist centrally-planned economies (even those are not pure-government because of their heavy reliance on prices generated by Capitalist economies). Their failure is most obvious, as is the dramatic turn-around of previously-communist economies once the role of the state has been scaled back.

Closer to home, we can compare largely government-run sectors (education, policing, immigration, foreign wars, transportation), highly-regulated industries (finance, healthcare), lightly-regulated industries (food distribution) and virtually-unregulated (Internet/software, communication, religious services). We have, I believe, a general consensus around people's view on the various industries. People are highly-critical about education and policing (especially "war on drugs", though, to be honest, with policing, there is little to compare it to), somewhat critical about finance and healthcare, largely feel good about food distribution, and generally recognize the huge success of the high-tech sector. In each, by the way, my criterion is public satisfaction."


I say:

Hugely successful countries that have had very large governments and government interference into companies and the economy, and many socialistic governments and programs for decades are:

1) JAPAN (3RD most powerful economy in the world, they have done miracles under a very tightly controlled economy, the highest standard living on earth and almost no unemployment)

2) SOUTH KOREA, same as JAPAN, a hugely successful - powerful economy with huge government interference.

3) GERMANY, same as above, the social democrats and many socialistic programs have been in place for decades.

4) SWEDEN socialism at its best, the highest standard of living on earth.

5) NORWAY same as above.

6) DENMARK, same.

Note in these countries people are mostly completely satisfied with education, policing and transportation: actually all of these countries have the best ranked systems of each in the world, thanks to public heavy handing and very good behavior by the people.

etc. etc.

Financial industries went crazy when they got rid of regulations, look at the subprime mess. Health care in the US is a farce because of your ideology against a government single payer system like in FRANCE, another hugely successful economy with large government.

I know many that are not satisified with high tech, Java was a throwback in software of decades, but the monopolist ORACLE decided for everyone. Microsoft Vista was a piece of crap, but everyone had to use it because of the MS monopoly. Aside from the ton of crap they force the computer to have, what moore's law gives, microsoft takes away. But that is all planned, planned obsolescence, so you have to change PC every 2 years, etc.

Anyways high tech is essentially in the hands of a few top notch monopolists, Cisco, Intel, Microsoft, Google, Nokia, Samsung, Sony, Apple etc.

note to Bullshitdetector:

One very good reason why European countries are broke is because they went along with the financial hegemon, US and the AAA rated sausages of CDOs and other frauds.

Germany has put a hold on derivatives and they're doing well.

I'm not saying that the mixed economy model is perfect, but it's a whole lot better than struggling to afford the basics or the balkanization of an economy where everything is distorted and slanted to one small group at the expense of everyone else.

Yes companies like Goldman Sachs sold them crap with full knowledge it was crap, and made millions betting the crap would go down the toilet. Capitalism isn't bad, it just doesn't work with dishonesty. What does work with dishonest? Nothing for very long...Same types fill the seats of power in governments as well.
Don't let the bastards get you down, what goes around comes around. Cheaters never prosper.

For the guy who thinks things are so great in Japan and Sweden. Don't you think it is the culture and the discipline of the people. Not almighty "government rule"
If we have people with no character in power, the system make no diffence. It will not work.

There is just as much greed in government as in the private sector. We have so many god damn rules, but if you have liars and cheats in both.
The rules and system is unworkable.

Why is it that you always reference the same crackpot website when you spew this utopian crap?

Hmmmmm....I wonder.

Blow harder why don't you.

Amen brother. And not only could the Mafia run the counrry better but the courts in particular. Do you think Bernie Madoff would have been found yet? Do you think they would still be stealing our money via Wall St?

At the risk of restating the obvious - a few reasons why CF nation thinkers have reason for pessimism are the examples of human behavior around the world.

For one thing, the "rich" are different, their distractions and perverse logic are real threats to the future of humanity. North Korea, Haiti, and to a lesser extent Mexico, Argentina and Jamaica are all examples of how low the standard of living may slip in the US as the concentration of wealth, power and ideology mounts.

Secondly, the rich and powerful don't necessarily play well together and thus the mixed results of our current losses of honest representation are varied and still kept in some slight form of "check."

This leaves open the possibility that the masses can still form a power group that can wedge itself back in to overall control of the nation's resources and re balance the markets back to socially democratic norms.

If you don't think the "end is near": Can you imagine what will be left of the this democratic republic if the next twenty years continue on the same path of concentrating wealth and power as the last twenty years?


@Asia -

You're parsing my language too closely. I only meant to suggest that without SOME GOVERNMENT, that we have chaos -- and real-world negative effects for this cohort of "kill the gub'ment" people.

Believe me, I am not naive enough to believe that the FDA has my back all the time, but we are (despite their failings...) better off with them than we are without them.

Pilt

"Can you imagine what will be left of the this democratic republic if the next twenty years continue on the same path of concentrating wealth and power as the last twenty years?"

OK, I'll play. Could you imagine that the robber baron era of wealth concentration in the 1800's would lead to labor unions, living wages, a middle class, and prosperity?

I know, we had room for expansion, cheap energy was discovered, and we had fewer people. Today we still have room for expansion, cheap (too cheap to meter) alternative energy sources to be discovered, and we can control population growth. Call me cornucopian. I'll call you pessimist.

Things go in cycles. No need to be so apocalyptic and depressed every time we hit a down cycle. It's not like we've never been here before.

I don't think we've ever been here before. I think it resembles places we've been, from time to time, but I think the general trend is novel.

Kool-aid laced with acid

Bullshitdetector,

It's not simply about people being greedy or good, or having a better culture. It's about a system transformed over the last 30 years to an ideology that is accepted throughout academia and the global business community, and like-minded people globally.

You can have very good people adhering to a very bad system and if they don't recognize what's gone wrong, they will continue in that direction. Eric Cantor says he wants free markets, no regulation and continued tax break for the wealthy. Is he greedy and that's the end of it. No even if he is getting campaign funds from the rich and powerful, he may truly believe in the fundamentalist free market ideology.(Milton Friedman)

I don't think Obama's evil, because he believes in globalism, but there's something fundamentally wrong with his thinking. In India he brought with him folks from Walmart. You know the Clinton's were also involved with Walmart in the 90's. Now here's the fun numbers part: Obama is talking about creating 54,000 jobs here in this deal to India's 3 million. Get it? We lost 8 million jobs in 2008-9 period by Obama's own calculations, but Obama's going to throw us a bone in order to counter-balance China's burgeoning power who is now investing billions in Texas gas and oil development.

This isn't Capitalism in the classic sense and you need to understand the mechanics of how this works at home and geo-politically. Some genius came up with the idea that all the world's poor should be brought up to the standards of the poorest Americans, making the world safe for McDonald's and the sale of TV sets the world over. So they too can think like us. Anyway they keep telling us that in turn we'll all be the innovators. (Like Bush is The Decider)

This form of Capitalism is very managed to advance the transnational corporations, only most countries don't actually buy into it, especially now after the ism blew up in their faces. China believes in bolstering up their military and is now investing in commodities. So they are rethinking the debt model and are creating real wealth. We no longer believe in that.

One more point. Even if you as an individual believe you can lead a righteous life, at some point the greater society has to intervene. If you need hospitalization you'll soon understand the insane costs and the shortcomings of our privatized health coverage will become very apparent and you'll be asking yourself why do middlemen have to make all the money at your expense.

It's not that government is always good and the corporations are always evil. Those are simple thoughts. It's that the system is so far off-kilter thanks to not using the Sherman anti trust laws to beak up the behemoths who don't like competition. Also the basic checks and balances are no longer there. The rule of law is not being pursued correctly and when the chips are down all the right wing as well as the left will bail out the same perpetrators.

You'll be saying there we go again....

And full of new opportunities.

You made a great many good points. But especially, IMO, this one:

"If you had told the Founding Fathers that their descendants would rave endlessly about rights and never about duty, they would have been amazed. And if you told them that their names would have been invoked in service of this, they would have been disgusted."

Can't know for sure so many generations later what would have amazed or disgusted them but I think you're right. After all these guys risked being hung for treason if the war of independence failed. And those guys did come up with your constitution which is a magnificent document and which reads like work of poetry compared to ours which reads like a mortgage document in comparison.

And this:

"And obviously people who move their companies to Asia should not be allowed to remain here either as citizens. What could be simpler?"

What could be simpler indeed. Or at the very least not be allowed to sell their products here. These people think that "freedom", "free enterprise" and "free markets" mean that anything bloody well goes. It doesn't or it shouldn't.

But there's always hope. This last little while a company from Australia called BHP was trying to buy Potash Corp. Potash is used in fertilizer. Huge deposits in Saskatchewan. So what you say? Potash is as strategic an asset as oil and maybe more so if we want to keep feeding several billion people. So what if an Australian company buys it? No biggie maybe but what if a Chinese state owned company comes along later and buys it from BHP? Do we want that? They are not our friends, they are a brutal regime and I would not let them near such a thing.

The Canuck federal govt is normally as addled as can be when it comes to defending national interests. Liberal sensibilities prevail in this place which means that such talk is damn near illegal. It's seen as loathsome, despicable etc etc you know where I'm coming from. We're beyond such things, you see, we're on a higher moral plane than you money grubbing Americans (I'm being sarcastic here).

As we discussed in previous posts liberals have the geopolitical acumen (you coined the phrase I think) of wide eyed little girls. But there was a shitstorm of opposition to this deal especially from the west (where the term "liberal" especially in Alberta is as malodorous as the term "evangelical" in the NE corner of your own country) from all areas: business, media, members of parliament, western provincial govts and not least the average joe.

So the Feds up here caved in to pressure and disallowed the takeover.

So Vlad, there's always hope. If a governmental body as jaw droppingly incompetent as our Federal govt (and this is regardless of party) can do this there's always hope.

[blockquote]OK, I'll play. Could you imagine that the robber baron era of wealth concentration in the 1800's would lead to labor unions, living wages, a middle class, and prosperity? [/blockquote]

Asoka, you are either an idiot or insane. And the statement that wealth concentration would "lead" to better living standards ignores the body evidence of my comments. (Why don't you you move to Haiti?)

It's booming right?

I like your post.

A few comments:

Obama may not be evil - after all, that would be a pretty heavy accusation, but he surely is not innocent. I believe he is a Chicago bagman politician, one who aligned himself with big business a long time ago, and who really doesn't have a good handle on dealing with our country's issues.

The US constitution was a brilliant document - for 1789. In 2010, it needs a lot of alterations. The system is so broken that it needs to be torn down and rebuilt.

I don't believe that China is building real wealth; they are blowing asset bubbles, particularly in real estate, that are very similar to ours. And they are presently very dependent on our market, as well as on the dollar (they are beginning to slow down this dollar-dependency, and they are trying to develop new trading partners). Their environment is a real mess and their population numbers are
ridiculous. They may be powerful, but they, too, are in a perilous state.

ProCon, you try to dismiss me by saying I am a pacifist (guilty!) and I hate the military (not guilty).

If you see me as thoroughly discredited, then listen to the veterans who have done the killing:

http://conscienceinwar.org/

You won't be able to dismiss them so easily. Many of them think that this war in Afghanistan is immoral, and that makes fighting in it a weight they'll have to carry their whole lives.

Cash, this may seem odd, but I think what will ultimately save your country is your low population (35 or 40 million vs. our 310 million, and with prety much the same land area).

I won't get into a pissing contest over which government is more incompetent, but for the sake of argument, I'll let your government take the honors. Congratulations! However, to gain face, I'm handing the title of most venal government to the USA. Take that!

Thankyou Bean, on behalf of my country I will accept the honour. Hurray for us!

As far as the title for most venal government goes I will gracefully defer to you. Congratulations and best wishes.

Jim, or anyone here.

I'm also a deflationista, mostly because the destruction of money in the form of credit looks like the mechanism for it.

What I can't get is HOW inflation would be propagated. The system has successfully closed off most of the channels by which all this newly-created money might get into the economy.

Government wealth transfer programmes are being closed down or crimped or spread ever more thinly, tax cuts only work if you have an income and the flow of credit has been shut off; by the banks because almost nobody can meet their conditions and by the borrowers because anyone with half a brain is paying down their debt as fast as they can and not replacing it.

If the money can't get into circulation it can't cause inflation.

We also need to make sure that we are clear about rising costs of food, energy etc. When prices rise because of shortages it is NOT inflation, any more than inflation is the cause of gold being more expensive than silver or milk.

It amazes me that people can talk supply and demand till they are blue in the face but when the actual price of an actual product goes up the first to get the blame is "inflation".

Still, innumeracy is the reason we got here in the first place, so i don't suppose we should be surprised.

You're right, there's real market forces at work that will move the price of a good up or down.

But there are also forces at work enabled by a too loose monetary policy that create excess leverage and price bubbles in different asset classes.

What asset classes? Like real estate which just blew up, like dotcom stocks and telecom stocks which blew up this past decade, like bonds which many people are saying are about to blow up and also gold.

Also, people are saying that this money is inflating asset bubbles and currency bubbles in developing countries which are thinking about imposing capital controls to slow down the inflow of Fed created money.

Most importantly you get a lot of speculation in food commodities which many say is fueled by excess borrowing by speculators like what we saw two years ago and like what we're seeing again. No biggie for most people in North America but it's life and death in poorer countries where people can't afford to buy basic foodstuffs anymore.

Food prices may come back down in the longer run to reflect real supply and demand but you don't just eat in the long run you have to eat every day. So, while Goldmans traders may have made huge bonuses speculating in commodities, millions may have starved in the meantime.

If you don't have excess money supply you'll have a change in the structure of prices when real economic forces act to push up prices of certain goods. Some prices go up, some prices go down. But when you have too much money being printed you can have a relentless ratcheting up of all or most prices as everyone tries to pass on increased costs to someone else. That can be really damaging to people that do not have the power to push on added costs. This is what we had in the 1970s/1980s.

The effort to quell inflation once it takes root can be politically difficult. Last go round you guys had Paul Volker as fed chief and Ronald Reagan as Pres who gave Volker political cover to do what he had to do.

So what did Volker do? He stopped printing so much money and let interest rates go where they would go. Which is a prime rate of around 20% and mortgage rates at around that level. And as a result you had a vicious recession, 12% unemployment that lasted for years. You don't want to go there again.

Well, actually you're there again and the way the Fed is printing money you might make multiple visits. Not because you had the Fed clamping down but because the financial system got so off kilter with so much money and debt sloshing around that you had a general breakdown in confidence.

But the lesson hasn't been learned at the Fed and so while you may not get generalized consumer price inflation for a while you have a good chance of seeing more asset bubbles and busts and more insolvencies in financial institutions that gambled and lost.

Who wants more bailouts, put up their hand!

'You cannot trust any of them to do what they say. Look at what they do, not what they say, and that '

actually we dont trust YOU!,
and rightfully so!
pauls not a dem so you dislike him.
hes a politician so the rest of us are naturally suspicious!

Cash, I believe the president at the time rates went up in 1979-1980 was Jimmy Carter. I remember because mortgage rates hit 21.5% in the Boston area, and a year after Reagan got in, rates had dropped down to "only" 10% or so.

They don't call a depression a depression for nothing.

Cash said: "Food prices may come back down in the longer run to reflect real supply and demand but you don't just eat in the long run you have to eat every day."

Food prices have had the lowest inflation rates in years at .06%

Conventional wisdom says food prices are up, but it is not so.

(Reuters) - U.S. food prices are forecast to rise at their lowest rate since 1992, the Agriculture Department said on Wednesday, showing the recent surge in agriculture prices for everything from hogs to wheat has not had an impact at the dinner table so far.

Sorry to inject facts. You may now continue with your whining about everything, especially about anything to do with the economy or the government.

Beantown said: "They don't call a depression a depression for nothing."

And in a depression the dollar does not strengthen.

In a depression jobless claims do not go down.

In a depression the trade deficit does not narrow.

In a depression private sector hiring does not increase.

In a depression the number of firings does not decrease.

Etc.

But the dollar is strengthening against the Euro.

Nov 10, 2010 ... US Dollar continues to strengthen as US yields rise! The Dollar Traded strong as momentum continued from Monday with stocks and commodities

Jobless claims are down.

Firings are down.

Hiring, particularly in the private sector are up.

http://bit.ly/cP6255

The trade deficit has narrowed.
http://news.ph.msn.com/business/article.aspx?cp-documentid=4451662

CONCLUSION: We are not in a depression.

Bean and Cash

You are perpetuating the "Reagan Mystique."

Carter inherited tremendous inflation from Nixon and Ford. Volker raised interest rates to those very high levels under Carter. I truly have never known whether Carter "gave him cover" or objected, or what.

But, those high interest rates did break the back of inflation in the US. They may have also cost Carter the 1980 election.

Of course those Iranian *students* and their embassy hostages also cost Carter the election - and Reagan functionaries may have been blocking their release until after the election.

Then RR got into office and took credit for the economy that Volker fixed under Carter, the hostages that Carter had negotiated for (REMEMBER THEY WERE RELEASED THE DAY OF RR's INAUGURAL SPEECH), the B-1 bomber and several of Carter's weapons programs.

Until our country sees through the Reagan Mystique, our right wing will continue the tax cut/deficit spending/huge military policies of Saint Ronnie. That's why I tend to harp on this on CFN.

If this Nation goes down the tube, history will show it was Reagan's hand on the plunger.

RLMRDL and Cash

RLMRDL, you may be a deflationista. (nice word, BTW, wish I had made it up. ;-) )

And Cash, you gave a good response to RLM..

But both of you are ignoring the INTERNATIONAL pressures on money supply. That's how inflation will get started in the US, IMO.

That's also why the Chinese are buying commodities and real tangible goods with their US dollars. They are in a good position to know this play period in this particular game is probably just about over.

"ProCon, you try to dismiss me by saying I am a pacifist (guilty!) and I hate the military (not guilty).
If you see me as thoroughly discredited, then listen to the veterans who have done the killing:"

A, as usual, you are (deliberately??) missing my point for the sake of an argument.

I said that the US, or any country, that hopes to live free needs a military that is well trained, well equipped, and PROPERLY UTILIZED.

That last part is the part that we are not getting correct as a Country - and if we don't - we're going to end up under a RW dictatorship, at best.
====================================
And Wage, I understand that's a good read. I'll try to find a copy at the library. And I'm gonna get back to you about conspiracy. Maybe I'm wavering??

Nah, probably not, but I'd like to clarify our thinking.

"Sorry to inject facts."

"Forecasts" are not facts.

A friend of mine wrote this in another place {concerning rejection of debt}, to which I say a hearty AMEN!:

"This seems to be the front line of the class war. We can all see how the creditors and the courts and the rest of the government have built up institutions to enslave us. Also we are all waking up to the idea that it is all done with our consent because we all have to 'sign on the dotted line' to become a slave in the system.

This is a demonstration of people power. An awakening of the spirit and a major expansion of consciousness. An awareness that we don't need all the crap they want to sell us and want us to go into debt for. A lot of people say TPTB have prepared for this. TPTB think we are cattle, and have no self control. They expect us to behave that way. Do you think they have prepared themselves if we act differently? I don't.

The next sign that we are regaining our freedom is that few of us believe the Mainstream Media (MSM). Have TPTB prepared themselves for losing control of our minds?

Is this a slave revolt? The government is trying to radically increase our 'collective debt' so they can enslave us with taxes, but they seem to be doing that ineptly--by spending borrowed money to prop up the banking system. Perhaps a tax {inflation is a hidden tax} revolt is coming next."

lbendet, Tripp, and several others

That was a very good interchange concerning taking pension money in cash vs as a monthly pension.

And Tripp, I tend to agree with your view that the best use of "money" from any source is to invest it in plants, equipment, techniques, etc - for TLE, up to a point.

And paying off a piece of well positioned real estate is a wonderful thing.

But, Tripp, keep in mind that you are the young man in the discussion. TLE is coming, but the timing is unknowable AND important. You are an urban homesteader, it appears. And five or ten years from now - we may all find that TS has edged only slightly closer to TF.

Which means five years from now you might have a magnificently improved piece of Bibb County real estate you can sell to some Young Urban Professional. You then have permaculture skills, some cash, and you still have your youth to recover and move on.

But someone such as lbendet or myself, old enough to qualify for one of those great old pensions with COLA's - lacks the luxury of youth and the time to recover if his timing is off.

The possibility of a little inflation adjusted money coming in monthly can also be a wonderful thing - useful to avoid losing property to property taxes for example.

I remember my dad and his brothers telling stories of the Depression, joking and laughing with the family.

One brother: "I tell you, man, in the worst days you could have bought the whole State of Georgia for a hundred dollars!"

Another brother: "That's true enough. Problem was - nobody had a hundred dollars in those days!"

Laughter All Around! LOL Good Times!

I'm just musing on things, as Myrtle would say.

Y'all be alert and proceed with caution. ;0)

MD said: "forecasts are not facts"

Correct. Which is why most of this blog is opinion and not fact. Here is historical fact: food inflation has not happened in the last two years, in spite of the popular perception that prices are higher.

SOURCE: USDA ECONOMIC RESEARCH SERVICE: "The all-food CPI increased 1.8 percent between 2008 and 2009. Food-at-home prices increased by 0.5 percent—the lowest annual increase since 1967—with dairy prices declining 6.4 percent and fresh produce prices dropping 4.6 percent, while food-away-from-home prices rose 3.5 percent in 2009."

You are not entitled to your own facts, MD.

"You are not entitled to your own facts, MD."

I buy groceries {made from commodities}. I pay more now for my groceries than I did last year. Your government statistics do not replace my facts. I am allowed to believe what my own eyes see, and what my own ears hear. Try it.

"...supermarket prices are rising across the board, and have been rising since at least mid-spring—yet the price rises do not seem to be reflected in the CPI.

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

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

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

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

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

But according to the Fed and to most of the economic commentariat {except for a few notable and distinguished exceptions}, since the CPI is not rising, there is no inflation. At least not in theory."

http://gonzalolira.blogspot.com

"the specific case of coffee at WalMart, previously sold in a package of 39 oz. for $9.88, now being sold for $10.48—in a 33.9 oz package. This represents a 22% jump in price."

If this was true, and if this happened year after year, then by now we would be paying $10.48 for a 3 oz package. Use your common sense. If packages are getting smaller every year, and prices were going up to the tune of 22% wouldn't the product disappear from the market in five years? Is this what you are seeing with your own eyes, MD? Smaller and smaller products for higher and higher prices? Or is this what you are reading on anti-government blogs, even though it defies common sense, convincing you of a plot against all us.

Asoka,

All I know is that my own food costs have increased and I haven't changed my diet. But this is just anecdotal. What is factual is that prices of various food commodities have risen dramatically this year, although I don't know if this has trickled down to the consumer yet. If this trend continues, at some point food prices have to go up or food processors have to be nationalized or subsidized by the government. We don't know if commodities will continue to rise, but my guess is they will - of course you'll say I'm entitled to my own opinion.

This has not happened year after year, so the effect hasn't been grossly obvious. But in a few years, if this continues, prices will become absurd. I'm sure you have heard the recent announcement of Kimberly-Clarke reducing the size of its rolls of toilet paper?

I don't think this is a plot. Cutting down the size of packaged products is a smart business decision. It implicitly raises prices while keeping the package price the same. Companies fear they'll lose business if they raise package prices, so they do it the smart, but sneaky way. Just before I became a vegan 6 years ago, I remember remarking that cans of tuna fish had gotten smaller by weight, yet the price remained the same.

"Cutting down the size of packaged products is a smart business decision."

Given the nature of most packaged foodstuffs, cutting down the size could result in positive gains in public health. Most portions are so large now that obesity is rampant. Just look at who the customers are buying those cheese doodles in WalMart.

Lynn has her food costs down to $75 a month but I would bet dollars to donuts (no pun intended) that she is not eating out or buying packaged food.

Last month my grocery spending hit rock bottom at $75. We do what we can do. Lynn http://www.10in10diet.com/ Diet for a small footprint and a small grocery bill

I ride the bus/trains extensively through Miami & Fort Lauderdale. Sometimes when I'm sitting there waiting at a poorly designed bus stop (small bench blocking wheelchairs from using the sidewalk, positioned so you can't see the approaching 'til its almost too late, no shade, no rain shelter, no trash can, etc.), I talk to people.

I'm hearing an increasing number of them report that they gave up their car, which means either the repo man "borrowed" it from them or they no longer can afford to repair it. Some flat out say it was either the car or the house/rented apartment. One more item: a few years back during the time the Fed Reserve "managed" the economy into a state of delirium, a study showed that 62% of Miami drivers didn't have car insurance. So, even back then, a whole lot of people couldn't afford to drive.


EightM said:

"I honestly cannot envision some kind of new technology or development that will create entire industries hiring so many people like Cars, Jets, Computers, Software or the Internet coming up soon. Maybe Health Care, Financial Products and Education can hire many millions but only because they create the same problems they solve: health care will brainwash everyone to take hundreds of pills and hundreds of tests and checkups with the threat of all kinds of imaginary sicknesses you risk having: financial services will create all kinds of wacky investments, derivatives, subprime loans and a million other insane products, and finally education will invent thousands of new programming languages and standards that you will have to learn to make a computer program run a simple BASIC loop:

10 FOR I=1 TO 100
20 PRINT "WE ARE SCREWED"
30 NEXT I"

JHK rightly coined the term "techno-triumphalism"
for this attitude that "just-in-time" technology
will ALWAYS bail out a society or the human race.
The irony is that techno-triumphalism has become
the idea that the NEXT GUY is going to come up
with the killer idea. The problem is that
research has been steadily DEFUNDED since the
Reagan Administration.

Techno-triumphalism actually creates TORPOR and
not IMPETUS because we take the streams of endless
breakthroughs for granted. Acute observers,
however, may note that biotech really isn't
delivering that "killer med", physics isn't
anywhere near a "theory of everything",
artificial intelligence is a geek's wet dream,
and education is breaking down. Also, because
everybody wants to be a tycoon, we're making
fewer scientists and engineers to come up with
life/society-saving ideas.

You put it well, EightM, past performance is
NOT a guarantee of future results.


E.


The tragedy for ordinary Americans vis-a-vis
the "flation" debate is that the very likely
outcome is that costs will increase dramatically
for all things that people need and will DROP
dramatically for non-necessities.

Thus, we will get sharply higher food costs (unless
the human population drops), higher energy costs,
and higher healthcare bills since the number of
doctors (especially GPs) is dropping but population isn't. There's a glut of textiles in
the world so you can always get a nice shirt at
Kohl's for $15. There's always a glut of
technology so computer prices won't rise.

So, does it really matter whether we have
inflation or deflation if the stuff you MUST
have is inflating even if the overall CPI is
flat? No, it does not. End of "debate".

E.

E. said: "There's a glut of textiles in
the world so you can always get a nice shirt at
Kohl's for $15."

You can often get the same shirt for $4.00 at Goodwill.


Indeed, LBendet, BOTH the left and right wing
will bail out the same perps. That's because
we all feed at the same trough i.e., meme-driven
consumerism and multi-national brand-name
consciousness.

Isn't it ironic that when you talk to consumers
about BEING consumers ... it's hard to tell their
politics. Both left and right wingers want to get
mondo flat screen TVs. Both left and right wingers want the coolest/hippest consumer
electronics. Both left and right wingers have
bought McMansions and SUVs.

And that's the great tragedy about the death of
political discourse. Such discourse used to be
in unison with a CHOSEN WAY OF EXISTING. Now,
it's just a bunch of hot air. "Democrat" vs.
"Republican" is yet another BRAND NAME like
Nike or Hummer. The correlation to a way of
life is almost zero.


E.


I often DO get a $4 shirt at Goodwill that's
perfectly wonderful!! I'm always amazed when
I see people at stores like Joseph A. Bank
buying a very ordinary summer polo shirt for
$45. Must be one of those "bragging rights"
kind of things.

I'm like an "inverse snob" when it comes to
things like clothes and food. I brag about
LITTLE I pay for things ... not how MUCH. :-) :-)

It's kind of strange that as so many people
experience downward financial mobility, they
still piss away money like it's 1999. Like
they will be on unemployment but they cannot
do without DSL, a high-end cellphone plan,
and a Chevy Suburban. This kind of consumer
snobbery is definitely in its death throes.

E.

What I am saying is:
No matter what system you think is best it is the individuals moral conduct in that system that rejects bad parts of the system and promotes good parts of the system. Humans with more freedom and humans with less freedom can make personal choices that improve life in the world. Yes many, many things are out of our control, but many things we can control.
I think we are living in a time where people in power are basically insane in their pursuit of the power and material goods they are trying to build up. It is a vast universe and we are basically not even fleas on a cows ass, so I say live your life well and try your best to make good choices that promote good around your tiny space in the universe.

"Cases such as this are common, and cropping up like mushrooms on the web—enough to confirm that stealth inflation is happening, without needing to stop by John Williams’ Shadow Government Statistics."

Amen, Messi. And not just in food either. I recently went to get another bucket of drywall mud for my house repairs, and it was being sold for the exact same price as before...except in a 3.5 gallon bucket instead of a 5 gallon. That's pretty serious inflation to me, and only the most brain-dead could be missing this stuff.

"It is a vast universe and we are basically not even fleas on a cows ass, so I say live your life well and try your best to make good choices that promote good around your tiny space in the universe."

Right on, man, right on...

E,
I think the best analogy to our political dialog is like boxing, where the two opponents taunt each other before a fight. Or sports where people don't care what it's about as long as their chosen team wins. Never mind what the details are. For many years people have not noticed the price they are paying for this, but it will become clear that the devil is in the details.

Bulshitdetector,
Living well is the only choice you have regardless of what's going on around you.

"Perhaps a tax {inflation is a hidden tax} revolt is coming next."

I thought that was what the TEA party was up to. Turns out they were just playing pretend.

I'm paying almost as much per year for utilities as the cost of my Father's first home. My current energy bills exceed the entire cost of rent for my first several apartments as a single adult.

My car insurance per year is more than the cost of my first motorcycles and automobiles.

I pay sales taxes of 10 percent on many items and probably approach paying 5 or 6 percent across all my purchases.

I managed to accrue $28,000 in medical bills in 25 hours of care after an accident.

Thanks god prices are down - these other things are costing me alot.

My in-laws paid $25K for the house they still live in in Atlanta. Except now, every 4 years they pay this same amount in LOCAL property taxes.

No inflation here - y'all move along! ;-)

"Which means five years from now you might have a magnificently improved piece of Bibb County real estate you can sell to some Young Urban Professional. You then have permaculture skills, some cash, and you still have your youth to recover and move on."

Like I told Lew, I wouldn't pretend to have any actual wisdom on the matter at my age. I was just tossing in my general philosophy, for what it's worth.

My biggest concern is that my dollar seems to be losing its value rather rapidly, and I highly doubt that there's any legal investment approach that would cover the speed of that devaluation. So let me rephrase my advice:

It would be ideal to have a steady monthly income stream, at whatever that currency is worth, that you can exchange for life support infrastructure in whatever way seems most pressing at the time. My point was that I just wouldn't dare sit on cash or equivalents. It'll never have as much purchasing power as the day it hits your palm in my opinion. Use it accordingly.

Thanks for pointing out the fallicy in my offering.

fallacy, sorry.

I have a large pantry in my house, and there are many examples in there of food being downsized with the prices staying the same or having a small increase in price. When you can stand there and look it, it's pretty hard to deny that food costs are going up.

re: price inflation. Back in the (good old days, l950's) companies sold stuff like laundry detergent and the boxes featured NO ounces, pounds, liters, etc. The boxes declared the contents being "super sized" or "value sized", etc. To their credit, the Consumer Protection Agency made them cut this horse manure out and forced them to put the EXACT contents on the box. Well, it seems that the good folks in the corporate world have figured out a way to slither out of that mandate. Greedy fuckers!

Apropro to nothing (credit Ms. Sheryl Crowe), I came across an old photo of myself the other day, circa Summer 1963. Although no great beauty, I thought to myself, "Hey, I was pretty damn hot". Was wearing next to nothing. At any rate, I remarked to my partner of 13 years (he's 53) that I wished it were 1960 again. He looked at me astonishingly and was a little confused and maybe a bit pissed off. I didn't understand why. I thought about it later, and realized that what I MEANT to say was I wish I had the body I had back then. In no way did or do I wish to go back to those days (segregation, racial idiocy, pandering, rampant homophobia, blatant lies from our "esteemed" leaders, mad men like McCarthy). Believe it or not, people were even more sheep like then than they are now. Today we have a different sort of smelly, incomprehensible brew. It's most definitely a horendous state of affairs we have now.

Almost got run over by a car yesterday, driven by a (yes, you guessed it) fat broad yacking on her cell phone. The "walk" light was in my favor, and as I attempted to walk across the street, her car almost mowed me down. I waved my arms frantically. She didn't see me. Foolish me. I thought I'd be safe walking to the gym rather than share the road with these morons. You just cannot fucking win! So I keep saying to myself, "Screw all you guys, I'm going home!" (thanks Eric Cartman.) Yep, going home, taking my toys from the sandbox and leaving this horse shit behind. I'm speaking metaphorically, of course.

But I digress. I'm with the fellow posters who stopped buying crap. I buy fresh produce from a local farmers market. Although not a vegan, I do try to cook mostly vegan meals for myself and "hubby" (not married - NEVER AGAIN!) And I don't buy stuff (tvs, cds, what have you). I use and wear stuff until it's ready for the rag bag. I credit my parents for teaching us kids the horrors of living in poverty (more so dad than mom). The lessons I learned have lasted me a life time and I don't believe I would have lasted this long if not for their sage advice. Good folks. Miss them a lot. After their deaths a decade or so ago, I went off the deep end, started eating, smoking, and drinking heavily. As a result, I gained a lot of weight. I've always been figure conscious my whole life, but just fell into a bad place mentally (divorce doesn't help, either). One of my granddaughters friends said to me at our vacation home on the beach, "Geez Myrtle, you really let yourself go!" Hurt my feelings, but she was right. I did a 180 afterwards and shed about 20 pounds. I still have about 10 more to go. Point being, as pointed out previously, TAKE CARE OF YOUR HEALTH! It is about the only thing you will have as a weapon to fight TLE! End of rant. Cheers! No wait, cocktail hour isn't until 5:00! ;) I've cut down on the booze as well! Try to limit myself to 2 or 3. That and a nice "j" are about the only luxuries I allow myself these days.


"Eran wrote:

Ganapati wrote:All large corporations have a high degree of redundant employment and so by design, especially when it comes to white-collar employees. By having a high degree of redundancy a company insulates itself from potential shocks due to sickness, employees leaving etc.


I agree in principle, though I would disagree with characterizing the degree of redundancy as "high". It makes sense to build some slack to account for changes, but not too much slack so as to create waste. I am not sure where this is going. Any one employee is replaceable - agreed. But if you arbitrarily fire an employee, you have to recruit a replacement to maintain the desired level of redundancy. If the old employee was more productive than the new one (for the same pay), it will have been a mistake to fire them. Even with comparable levels of productivity, there is high overhead to hiring and firing (search costs, risks of taking an unknown new employee, training costs, reduced productivity due to lack of specific experience, etc.)

Ganapati wrote:The situation is sustainable because there are more job seekers than employers and few people quit a job because the boss was mean.


I don't understand. In an equilibrium, there should be an equal number of job seekers and open jobs. The only situation in which what you said holds is if pay is held artificially high (e.g. due to minimum wage or union contracts). If pay is set by supply and demand, there wouldn't be an excess of job seekers (people trying to sell their labour) any more than there is currently an excess of milk or TV sets."

I answer:


You have this idea that the economy is some kind of perfectly logical machine, with its perfect equilibriums, perfectly logical actors, perfect supply and demand, etc. Nothing further from the truth, it is mostly made up totally irrational, quirky people, making all kinds of oddball decisions, making all kinds of mistakes, full of knee-jerk reactions, emotionality, fights, all kinds of office politics, all kinds of subtle political dealings between buyers and sellers even amongst the most efficient private corporations, so many "incompetent managers": you wouldn't believe how totally insane most of the so called private and "free market" corporate world really is, the subprime mess is just a typical example, nothing special , it is business as usual.

Somewhere I read that US private corporations are sitting on 2 trillion dollars of cash not really knowing what to do with it: and you really think they are controlling "productivity" (totally undefined in todays economy) and cutting slack ? You live in a fairy land, they have made such huge profits, have so much money and keep on brainwashing everyone about how the economy is bad because all the workers are lazy slobs...


BTW, Mr. Denniger has a most excellent take on things today (and most of the time) if you care to read him.

I think that a nice j stimulates the appetite and I think alcohol is a good disinfectant and relaxes mind and muscles. A lot of our relatives and my parents' old compadres from the old country made their own wine and a lot of them lived into their 90s. Others are in decent health in their 80s. I think a lifetime of vino has something to do with this. I had one old uncle that couldn't stand milk so he used to put wine in his cornflakes. All things in moderation but I think you're on the right track.

But moderation in everything, doesn’t seem to be applying to Bernanke’s QE2'ing... does it?

And what will be the result be? Well sadly for the bulk of the (unprepared) mild-mannered middle-class Yankee-doodle-dandies out there, it means plummeting down the ‘comfortable’ lifestyle stakes...

Why?

Its simples, your dwindling purchase power salary’s will get you far less while costing ever more, think primarily food, clothing, transport and home energy assets... as you continue to scrabble ever larger amounts of bucks together for the very basic necessities than ever before...

(Which means most will have to use less of them)

Meanwhile all this new found slopping about pixalated free-form $ cash will end up going where exactly?

Yep, you guessed it... pushing through cleanly to asset prices, the stock markets and critically buoying up the financial bankster-prankster sectors (hoo-rah bigger-bonuses back on the agenda again) and at the same time conveniently feeding through to commodity prices too...

Nice!

Does anyone really buy this happily-ever-after-fairy story that QE'ing actually does get the economy going again. By feeding down to the common man... and creating new jobs?

Well it seems the Germans and Chinese no longer think so... *sniggers*

And I’m afraid my CFN'ers... as the ever growing jobless and homeless figures in your god-faring country will prove, it is a most badly conceived idea...

You see the stinking lifeless rotting cadaver aspect of your economy really ought to be simply left to die, rather than getting the FED powered money printing CPR paddles out...

Oh dear?

Bee seeing you...

It seems to me that food costs are going up mainly if you are non-savvy shopper. Ice cream, as a prime example, was mainly sold in half gallon sizes. Those containers were first replaced by the 56 ounce size, amd more recently, the 48 ounce size. While the price has remained at say $4.29 per container, anyone wtih common sense, that worries about cost, waits until it goes on sale (which it does often) and buys the 48 ouncer at 5 for $10. Therefore, buying on sale presently costs 4.1 cents per ounce compared to 6.7 cents per ounce at regular price 3 years ago. Of couse you could buy it back then on sale, but I don't recall 5 for $10. My point is, don't pay these ridiculous, rising, "regular" prices.

Su, here's the symbiotic mushroom spore for garden veggies we were talking about:

http://www.fungi.com/mycogrow/index.html

Scroll down to "MycoGrow for Vegetables."

The price has almost doubled since I bought a pound a year and a half ago! Apparently our secret is out.

Here's a 1.5 lb offering for $50 from another company, although I've never used them before.

http://www.groworganic.com/bio-organics-endomycorrhizal-inoculant-1-5-lb.html

Doesn't have any effect on brassicas, so don't waste it on them. Otherwise, I've really enjoyed the results, sometimes totally unexpected results, from using it.

Tripp

Alexandra was spot-on in her remarks:

"And what will be the result be? Well sadly for the bulk of the (unprepared) mild-mannered middle-class Yankee-doodle-dandies out there, it means plummeting down the ‘comfortable’ lifestyle stakes...

"Why?

Its simples, your dwindling purchase power salary’s will get you far less while costing ever more, think primarily food, clothing, transport and home energy assets... as you continue to scrabble ever larger amounts of bucks together for the very basic necessities than ever before...

(Which means most will have to use less of them)"

Nail hit on the head. I was too young, really, to remember the Great Depression of the thirties. Mostly just child-like memories. I guess you could say my family was upper middle class, nice big house, neighborhood, etc. I do remember how things slowly seemed to unravel. I don't know how mom and dad managed to keep the house (we did have a very rich uncle, who I suspect helped us out). I remember mother having to give up the maid, a nice, colored, elderly black lady named Edna. I think she literally worked for us for food and some change. They both cried. This had to be in the late thirties. I also know (too young to remember the early thirties) that my older brothers had to drop out of university and find work (sometimes selling apples on the street, I'm told). They helped us survive by doing handyman jobs for people who could still afford to patch a roof, paint houses, etc.

I remember one afternoon a lady came to our front door, begging for spare change. My kind hearted mother fetched her change purse (remember those?) and retrieved a quarter. The woman accepted the quarter, walked slowly away before saying, "and in this type of house!" Made mom so mad, her face turned red, and she said she felt like racing after the woman to get the quarter back. Money was very dear in those days. Must have been about 1938 or 1939. Nothing got better until WWII started, one brother went in the army and sent wages home. Dad got a job in a defense plant. Geez, trust me CFNers. This is going to be a living hell for quite some time.


Ok, fair enough, a tip of the hat to Mr Carter. Maybe too long portrayed as well meaning but ineffectual. Like Dubya says, and I think for once he's right, history takes a while to render a verdict on a president.

I see the same thing happening up here. Same or slightly higher prices but smaller quantities. I don't believe govt stats on inflation anymore. Like the Mook says you have to buy when things are on sale.

More guys on bikes. In my little Western Washington town, I see a heck of a lot more guys on bikes. Also, here on the main drag ... well, two years ago people fought for parking spots. Now there are great periods of time during the day when there will be not a car parked on one side of the street or the other. In the evening, say, around nine I might run down to the grocery store. No traffic compared to a year ago. No or very few cars parked in the grocery store parking lot.

The store is worth a comment. Used to be a small regional chain, 5 stores. Now, they are down to one. The checker told me they've been told they're good for five more years. Beyond that...

The "Tub Shop" (recycled architectural bits and pieces) started selling used bikes a couple of years ago. They seem to be doing a land office business.

Even my Dad, who's 89 and remembers the other Depression has commented on 'more guys on bikes.'

I've also noticed, say, in the evening when I drop into a Stop N Go or Quickie Mart or whatever your local variation that those seem to have become the destination for "date night." I'm not saying this to be funny. It's kind of sad.

Usually, a couple in their early 20s. They've walked in. They're very quiet and take a long time picking out their cheese doodles or whatever. Very quiet and polite. Overweight and pasty.

But that stats are good and all this stuff I observe is dismissed as "merely anecdotal.' Remember that phrase from college? That little phrase that shots down what you know is true?

When I run across people that travel a bit, I always ask "What's it like out there? What's America like these days." Usually, they don't know what the heck I'm talking about. I want that anecdotal stuff that reveals the true tenor of the times.

Yup. We have a Goodwill here. But where I go is the Visiting Nurses Thrift. Shirts for $3 :-). And, plenty of half price days and sales.

I like spending my money there, as it supports hospice. A truly nobel endeavor. Made one of my every-ten-year trips to Seattle and needed some kind of a new, dressier coat. Picked up a mid thigh black leather number for $30 (poor planing, not a half price day.)

My best bud, he of the $300,000, now slightly underwater condo, asked what the brand was. Something I was unfamiliar with. He gasped and said that I had scored a Nordstrom black leather jacket for $30. I could care less about the label. It's well made.

It's a nice warm coat and ought to see me through a number of seasons with a little care.

Back later. Thursday. Dad's day. Out to the local Indian casino to watch him (I never touch those damn machines. One 12-Step program is enough, thank you very much :-) ) gamble away my inheritance and have lunch with the old poop. Then I head back to town. Seriously, it's his money and he can do what he wants with it. And, he's very lucky. Hit a $50,000 scratch ticket a few weeks ago.

"...and if this happened year after year,.."

Quit adding sh*t so you can point out my stupidity.

"Like the Mook says you have to buy when things are on sale."

Or be willing to spend what real food is actually worth. Growing healthy, mineral-dense produce is a science and an art that has been reduced to convenient plant breeding, massive fossil fuel susbidies, and shady accounting methods. To grow the kind of food that would eliminate the need for most of your medicine requires skill that we should be willing to pay top dollar for.

Instead of turning real food, the small batch good stuff, into a commodity of scale, it's our thinking that needs to change on this one. Food, the most important thing in our lives, has been reduced to a 9% budgetary second thought, and we have suffered severely for it.

Organic food is more expensive because it generally requires more human labor. We ought to stop being slave drivers for king oil.

Instead, we should start this journey by becoming willing to feed our brains properly, at the risk of increased expense. The near future will require our brains more than the recent past has. And we should also become willing to support the small regional farmers who are putting out a higher quality product. They are worth more than we're paying them, even the ones selling the expensive stuff. (Most of the time, don't get hung up on this bit.) Current food prices reflect the overwhelming energy subsidy driving modern ag production, but as that falters, prices will just keep going up, like they already are, back to a point that isn't embarrassing for the person growing the food.

Modern agriculture is not more efficient at producing human brains, especially when you remove the oil. It will be exposed for the cesspool of worthless petroleum calories that it was. I say this with no reservation, because people who eat like I do, and there are more of us every year, KNOW this is accurate. It's not a guess.

And higher priced local organic options (ideally grown in an oil-free system one of these days) will start to compete in price, as they also already are doing. The caveat being that you can only export so much fertility from any given site before you have to bring in some kind of fertilizer. Knowing how to fertilize with your system (harvesting limiting factors like phophorous from your bat colony, growing comfrey and alfalfa for fertilizing mulch, etc.) will be paramount. Being realistic about what will grow in your soil too. As will a whole lot more people being involved in the process. Decentralization of the food supply is already well underway. And the world is still wide open for small batch producers. Will be for generations.

Like everything else, this one is also a matter of scaling. But it's not a matter of scaling prices, it's a matter of scaling our thoughts.

Food and topsoil are everything. Oil made us forget that. And we should respect them both a lot more than we do in the years ahead. Actually I know we will. I don't see a viable alternative.

"I thought that was what the TEA party was up to. Turns out they were just playing pretend."

Or, they've been turned into teocons.

I agree with you about that anecdotal stuff. Stories give life to numbers. It can really illuminate in ways that academic studies or statistics never can.

About this date night stuff at the local stop 'n shop. Maybe it's sad but maybe it isn't. Maybe it's a step down from a standard of living that we all got used to. On the other hand maybe it goes to show that you really don't need to burn a load of money to have a good time or be happy. You probably have similar memories but some of my happiest memories were of nights as a teen (when we always had to scratch for money) spent with the gang when we all pitched in a few bucks to buy some grog and munchies. Moneyless but happy. Once when I was a little kid one of us found a dollar bill (maybe it was a two dollar bill) on the road. It was enough to buy us each (three of us) a coke and a chocolate bar. Bliss.

Our nation’s fate seems to rest in overcoming a compulsion to shape national policy going forward as contrition for phases of national history felt by many to have been errant. Vanity and chauvinism seem to play as heavy a hand in such sentiment as might have driven those past policies for which that faction now apparently bear as internalized personal guilt (they who now want all policy going forward to serve primarily as symbolic act of atonement rather than on a plan more objective for confronting emerging world reality).

Just as America’s self aggrandized notion during the 20th century that it was not only ordained but was capable too of leading (or forcibly directing) the world to fit into its particular chauvinistic perspective, those who now yearn for a “spiritual cleansing of sins past” are hinging that aspiration on belief that America’s exceptionalism is so great that such act of national mia culpa can sway nature’s calculus that human numbers have exceeded the Earth’s carrying capacity.

How many overpopulation disasters like Haiti will we have to view before we realize that population stabilization here is necessary to avoid the same calamity? Isn’t there evidence enough already (dwindling fish stocks, wildlife habitat, wilderness escape, sustainable local farm land, forest canopy, wetlands and estuary, etc., etc.) to tell us that innate human yearning for open space isn’t a voguish trite but a critical signal that a general sense of "range" has shrunk unbearably?

I think we've gone utterly nuts with digital this and hi-tech that and we've forgotten that the most important part of an economy by a wide margin is the farmer (that said as I'm typing on a computer keyboard). So if I was prime minister (no, I have no delusional fantasies) but if I was prime minister my first priority would be the farmer. We gotta eat.

Also, Arsenal fucking loses to Newcastle. Man oh man.

I watched it...

But at least Chelsea lost too.

Asoka just likes to argue. Discussing anything with him is a waste of time.

Tripp, Is their a heirarchy in the soccer leagues? I see the Fox soccer channel ads and they mention premier league, Italian league, and several others. Are they all basically the same but different? And are they all players of World Cup quality?

O yes..... 'creeping' inflation while the govt says 'its under control'!
Like prepackaged foods that 'offer smaller servings' as the price goes up.

JHK:
i didnt listen to RandPaul but to say he has no notion of what to cut is stupid...
i assume he'd cut things that never belonged in the FED govt...dept of energy [hahahah]
dept of education.
time will tell what happens.

CaptSpaulding said: "Asoka just likes to argue. Discussing anything with him is a waste of time."

LOL! And it especially annoying when Asoka provides facts and cites sources and is right!

Happy Armistice Day, CaptSpaulding.

Here is a serious bit of news a friend in Los Angeles told me: Al Qaeda is doing missile tests in California. I said it was anecdotal and she said no, she saw it with her own eyes. I told her to call the military, but evidently the military denies it, which as we on CFN know means it is true because the government lies. Then I checked the main stream media and found out they are engaged in a coverup to protect Al Qaeda. Then I found it on the internet, which the mainstream media cannot censor.

So I have four independent sources of evidence that Al Qaeda is conducting missile tests in the United States for their next attack on the United States.

I know this because of all I have learned on CFN about how reliable anecdotal, eye-witness, government sources, and internet sources are.

By the way, today is ARMISTICE DAY, a day to celebrate the END OF WAR. Nov. 11 is NOT VETERANS DAY. It is not a day to celebrate war or the warriors who fight them. Today is not a day to support war or support veterans. Today is ARMISTICE DAY, a day to celebrate the end of war.

Back! Dad didn't do so hot at the casino today. But, I explained to him that after the big score he had, it takes awhile for the good luck reservoir. The buffet was it's usual good quality. Probably, the best meal I get all week or at least the most variety. Last week the fish was mystery fish. Even the chef (who's a nodding friend of mine) didn't know what it was. This week, salmon!

But I digress... Mook and Tripp. The shopping thing and inflation. I joined the cult of Dave Ramsey and Mary Hunt. Ms. Hunt's books particularly talk a lot about being a smart shopper. You can get them from your library.

I think it was Mary Hunt who tipped me off to the fact that just about everything goes on sale at the grocery store about every 12 weeks. Back when I had more money I got about that far ahead on all the staples I use week in and week out.

Every wednesday, the grocery ads are in the paper. I play off 3 grocery stores against each other. Once you get the hand of it, it's kind of fun (the thrill of the chase) and I work out a list. I work in other errands along the way and only make one trip out so the amount of money I save isn't eaten up by gas.

Some weeks there's nothing worth going out for. Hit the nearest store for immediate needs, milk, banana, whatever.

I've been with the same car insurance company for years, but by following Mary Hunt and Dave Ramsey's suggestions, I cut my insurance bill almost in half. Same company.

More Armistice Day fun facts:

World War I was the war to end all wars.

World War II was necessary to confront evil.

The Korean War was necessary, as was the Vietnam War to stop the communists from dominating the world.

The United States won the Cold War.

The Global War on Terrorism is perpetual war.

War is hell ... but unavoidable.

You must do your duty and risk your life for your government... to protect your family and your way of life from evil doers.

Serving your country in uniform is patriotic ... and provides you with a lifetime of entitlements from the government and from the private sector.

All veterans eat free at Applebees on Nov. 11.

Mook! All of those are the professional leagues of different nations - the English Premier League, the Italian Calcio Serie A, La Liga in Spain, the Bundesliga, Eridivisie (sp?) in Holland. But the top few teams in each league play the following season in the Champions league against each other for title of master of the soccer universe. Still waiting for them to invite the MLS representatives.

But below all those leagues in each country is an extensive system of lesser pro, and semi-pro leagues. You can play your way up, or down. I like that part best. Like next season your NFL team might have to suffer through a season in the AFL, and finish top 3 to move back up. Relegation is part of the game in Europe. But there's a team in the Premier League this season that has come up from something like 4 or 5 leagues deep to get there...and doing quite well at the top level! And their center midfielder has captained them the whole way up! Stories like that aren't even a possibility in the old boy network of American sports.

And yes, most of the national league players are the same as the World Cup players.

LOL. I really like to dazzle the youngin's with tales of the distant past ... like 1968. That year, my first apartment was $49 a month. That I split with a room mate. Half of a Victorian duplex that was 2 blocks from the courthouse and 8 from downtown Vancouver, Washington.

Living room and kitchen (both spacious with 12 foot ceilings) on the first floor and a bedroom, closed in sleeping porch and bath on the second. French doors that once opened onto a balcony and now just opened onto a 35' drop. :D A skylight over the claw foot tub in the bathroom. You could watch the cherry blossoms come down, stars at night and snow in the winter. Sigh.

What really blows the kids away is when I say "And a gallon of gas or a pack of cigarettes cost the same... (dramatic pause) A QUARTER! Of course, minimum wage was $1.25, then.

But the kids I saw at the Stop and Go seemed sad. Or stunned. Something.

Important Procedural Note on Who to Kill

IT IS IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER THAT YOU ARE TO KILL MEMBERS OF OTHER FAMILIES, GROUPS, TRIBES, NATIONS!

IT IS ALWAYS THE "OTHER" THAT IS EVIL AND MUST BE KILLED, NEVER YOUR OWN.

Joining the military is a good way to learn how to kill and be trained to obey orders so you will know who to kill.

I remember gas at $.19/gal, a package of Lucky Strike cigarettes at $.17/pack, Wonder Bread at under $.20/loaf, going to the Saturday matinee movies (2 1st run movies with cartoons and news features)for $.25 and getting ripped off by the movie theatre because I had to buy a box of Good 'n" Plenties for $.06 instead of the $.05 grocery stores charged (BTW, penny candy really cost a penny). My father once told me he had to beg his mother for $.10 when he wanted to get to the movies.

And price inflation...what price inflation?

Off topic and not responding to anyone :-) . Just had a little epiphany this morning. One of those things that sneaks into your mind as you're doing something else. Like brushing your teeth or mindlessly running through the shower routine.

But this was a little realization about computers and technology. Now I'm not all enamored with all the whiz-bang techno gadgets both software and hard. Some people have referred to me as a neo-Luddite. Not really but we tend to compartmentalize, don't we?

I figured out a long time ago that all this upgrade nonsense is basically an effort to periodically extract more money out of your pocket. One of the other blogs I'm on doesn't have a spell check, which drives me wild. What? They didn't think we'd need or want a spell check? Naaaw. There just saving it for the next upgrade, or the one after that.

The simplest appliances all seem to have computer chips and 200 page manuals. The other day I went out to replace my 20 year old wind up alarm clock. Visited three places before I found one that didn't need a battery for some function. Unfortunately, it was made in China.

I have never seen the value of Facebook, tweeting, texting, etc.. I'm lucky to negotiate these blogs and send e-mail. By the way, Jim's blog and Michael Greer's were easy to sign up for. The other day I ran across one that defied cracking. They're probably wondering why they're getting a lot of hits but no posts. :-)

A friend of mine turned me on to a neat website of old historic pictures of Portland, Oregon. 20 minutes was enough entertainment for me. She seemed personally affronted that I wasn't interested in signing up for the "feed" that would clutter up my in box with a new picture every day.

But I digress... My little epiphany was that I ordered a book for someone on Half.com. Book didn't come. Probably ripped off. So, I have filed a claim to try and get my $16 back. They did not make it easy. Turned out you had to click on the small check-mark (1/8" x 1/8") next to "seller contacted" to get a little drop down box... well, you get the idea.

Then it all came to me as I was ruminating over this. E-bay (which owns Half.com) was conceived as only a platform. Build the platform and let the buyer and seller duke it out. The platform builder has no responsibility to do more than sit on their ass and collect money. And they get testy when more is demanded.

Last bit. When something goes wrong or glitchy, I want to know why. Apparently, in cyber-land, this is a no-no. When I was taking my fist on-line class and our whole midterm disappeared we were just supposed to take the damn thing again and move on. Oh, and us folk on the west coast had two hours less to take the test then those on the east coast. The testing process didn't adjust for time zones. Maybe in the next version....

I can't wait until the $25/gal for gas (after waiting in line for 2 hours at the 1 gas station left in town) or the $20 loaf of bread I can buy on my assigned ration day.

This will happen after the deflationary cycle runs its course and people en mass realize the dollar is worthless.

There'll be some fireworks first, so it wont be all bad.

"Thanks for pointing out the fallacy in my offering."

Fallacy is far too harsh a description, Tripp. We have somewhat different perspectives regarding how rapidly TS may encroach upon TF. Coupled with our differing ages that gives us differing views on this particular matter. (Whether to take a cash settlement in lieu of a monthly pension - upthread, for those who forgot or missed it ;-) )

And I meant to include LewisLucanBooks in my response, BTW, since it was his original question.

For me, at 55, I'm slowly starting to slowly consider the stage of life where I may have to rely on a network of people, my wisdom?, and my assets of various types?, instead of my physical ability to labor if TS impacts TF.

However, on a lighter note, my son and a friend helped me cut and split a dead 20 inch diameter oak tree next to the house this morning. I can still keep up with a late 20 and an early 30 something man if need be.
Plus, I can work the angles of felling a tree better than them.
But hey, I had to be accurate, it was my house! :-)

So maybe I'm good for 4 or 5 more decades, yet!

Computers are a stellar example of rampant consumerism. Current hardware and software aren't necessarily the best products, just the best marketed. Remember when it was inconceivable to the average person to buy a new car when their old one was less than age 7 or 8?

I once kept a Chevy for 17 years. The only reason I got rid of it was because it "didn't look good" for business and because I was tired of getting stopped by the police. It seems that when the cops saw a middle-aged, t-shirt-wearing dude with long hair tied into a ponytail driving an old beater, they thought one thing: Druggie! I could have afforded a new car, but I loved that Chevy (or more accurately, I loved driving that Chevy); and it ran well.

If you like action, you'll get plenty of it.

I don't know what I like. I know what I don't like. And I don't like what's going on. Seems we're fast approaching the unstoppable gravity of an event horizon. That worries me.

Hey Wage,
OK, Scott Ritter didn't write a book. You didn't mention a book. That'll teach me to respond to your posts from memory! ;0)

But I would like to talk to you some about conspiracies. I just can't find one that UNIFIES things. If you can show me one, I'm all ears - errr eyes.

I'll admit Iraq MAY have been a conspiracy to invade for oil.

But, I'll also counter that our former Pres. Bush was a horribly conflicted dry drunk who was given a pass on many irrational things. Have you read "Bush on the Couch"?

And if you're looking for a conspiracy, look what they did to Scott Ritter:
"Ritter publicly argued that Iraq possessed no significant weapons of mass destruction (WMDs). He became a popular anti-war figure and talk show commentator as a result of his stance. Since 2001 Ritter has been arrested and subsequently released twice on charges related to sexual exploitation of minors. A third incident is awaiting trial."

DaayUmmmNN! Don't mess with the govt - they WILL get you.

Could be Ritter was framed in a conspiracy - could be he really did something illegal with a kid.

"There's something happening here."
"What it is ain't exactly clear."
Buffalo Springfield

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f5M_Ttstbgs

Looking forward to a dialog! ;-)

"How many overpopulation disasters like Haiti will we have to view before we realize that population stabilization here is necessary to avoid the same calamity? Isn’t there evidence enough already (dwindling fish stocks, wildlife habitat, wilderness escape, sustainable local farm land, forest canopy, wetlands and estuary, etc., etc.) to tell us that innate human yearning for open space isn’t a voguish trite but a critical signal that a general sense of "range" has shrunk unbearably?" -C.P.

Cave,
I do appreciate your viewpoint, and the simple answer to your first sentence is: When the fat shits get kicked in the wallets, 'nads, and stomachs. The school of hard knocks is the only reliable educator left for people who want to be told what the "state of the nation" is from watching their lying flat-screens.

Alexandra laughs at us; but she's [mostly] laughing at the wrong demographic (JHK readers).
I happen to share your dismay, but I've gotten used to the unabashed ignorance all around me. "We" shall do what we can... and when it comes to it, what we must...

I figure I'll get my loaf of bread (or maybe two!) on the black market with one of my shinny silver dimes :-)

I pretty much feel the same way, except my metaphor is a large meteor slams into the Earth and stuns us.

I felt this way back in the unsettling times of the 1960's and nothing happened. Feelings are real, but they aren't necessarily accurate.

Everyone's situation is a little different or a lot different but it's still nice to get input. And age is a bigger and bigger consideration. Luckily, I'm in pretty good shape for an old bird and have left most of my bad habits behind.

Having no health insurance or much money, I'm sure I'll check out earlier then would be the current norm. But these days, I'm not the Lone Ranger. Sometimes, when I tell someone I don't have health insurance, I get a horrified "But WHAT will you do if you get sick?" "Well, die, I suppose." People just don't get that I made peace with that a looong time ago. Maybe it's the bit of hospice work I did back in the 80s.

Luckily I have NO obligations. Even the old guy that lived pretty much on his own up in Alaska (Richard Proenneke "One Man's Wilderness." eventually had to start spending winters in town. And finally, in his 90s I think, had to resort to year around assisted living. Even in his isolated area, he spent a lot of time cleaning up after other people.

Procon,

We went into Iraq for the oil, but it wasn't a conspiracy, rather a tactic of a strategy. I don't believe in conspiracies, generally, but maybe this is just a matter of semantics?

Our strategy always was to protect and maintain our oil supplies (not just Iraq's but also Saudi and Kuwaiti fields), but we couldn't admit this to the world, so we contracted a story of WMD as justification for invasion of Iraq and militarily enter the Middle East theatre. It also didn't hurt that W was pissed at Saddam because of some plot Saddam hatched against his father during Iraq I. Why would W choose Cheney et al for his cabinet unless he was influenced to do so?

Luckily, I only have to please myself and can be just about as weird as I want to be. I could care less what the Jones' are doing or keeping up with them. On the other hand, sometimes that really pisses off the Jones' if you don't even bother to go through the motions.

Sometimes I catch a whiff of envy from "the guys" I know. All married. No 'honey do' list in my life. No having to account to any one else as to what I do with my time. Of course, that envy and the pissed of Jones' could turn lethal when TSHTF.

I keep remembering a little something from Orlov's book about when things fall apart it's best to pay lip service to whatever the prevailing politics are. To not stand out but to fit in. I've pretty much blown that, here. Sometimes I think for my own self preservation it might be best to leave this small place and go somewhere else and ... fit in. Maybe even join a small church that doesn't demand too much of me.

I think a big problem for guys like me is that, being raised in the 1950s, we had things like civics classes and even thou the 50s are thought to be a very conformist time, something very subversive was going on in those civics classes. I really beleived in freedom and we studied the Constitution and Bill of Rights and all that. The idea that one could follow a different drummer. Well, you can. The only part they forgot to tell us was that we can pretty do anything we damn well please, or live anyway we damn well please. But there may be consequences. Envy. Social outcast status.

In our local newspaper they have a little historic column every day. A new article from 1890, 1910, 1935, 1960 .... There was one the other day about a fellow who was brought before the judge in 1910 and remanded to the State Mental Institution. I'm sure there was more to the story, but the only thing mentioned for this happening was that he "spent great amounts of time by himself, wandering in the woods."

BeanTown says:

"We went into Iraq for the oil, but it wasn't a conspiracy, rather a tactic of a strategy. I don't believe in conspiracies, generally, but maybe this is just a matter of semantics?"

Honestly, from my *hope* that the US behaves "rationally," I assume that we did go into Iraq to stabilize the Middle East, benefit Israel, and yeah - for the oil.

That's cold-hearted Empire type calculation, but at least it makes a little sense. I don't see a whole lot of benefit to the operation, as yet. Was it Cheney or Rumsfeld who said, "Oil from Iraq will pay for all our costs of invasion."

My point is, for intelligent conspirators, the Bush gang had NO FREAKIN' CLUE what they were getting us into.

Especially regarding WMD's. Those jackasses were so CERTAIN that the WMD's were in Iraq that they had no contingency plan WHATSOEVER for the WMD's not being found.

Two special ops guys could have been inserted with fake WMD evidence. If they planted it in front of one advancing infantry company with ONE officer who knew about it, and ONE embedded reporter just doing his job - that's all it would have taken to have most of the world believing our WMD claims to this day.

Bush, Cheny et al were so sure they knew EVERYTHING that they never had a plan for being wrong.

Idiots

Greetings, fellow CFNers! Today's number one oldie but goody is none other than Danny and the Juniors, "At The Hop". Listen to it on you tube if you please. Granny is makin' ready for the freakin gym. Wait a minute....did I take my "prylosevix"? Oh shit....what medication am I on? ......

Capt, I see my mistake now! The same mistake everyone makes when they first attempt discussion here. Seeing lots of intelligent, interesting posts, we give the idiot the benefit of the doubt, until one by one, everyone just decides to ignore him :)

I have to say good try though, Cash.

Freaky that you mentioned "At the Hop". It was me and my 1st girlfriend's song. For that reason it will always be special to me.

Oh, my. BTBill, MyrtleMay and Me. The Old Fucks Contingent here at Cluster Fuck Nation. Can't think of myself in finer company.

Just remembering burrowing under the covers late at night with my little red plastic with 'gold' mettle trim transistor radio. Japanese, of course. A real wonder back then with it's little ear plug (now called a bud for you younger folk.) Had two early morning paper routes just to keep the damn thing in batteries.

Saw on Netflix the other day a movie about the old 50s 60s girl groups. Think I can watch it streaming. MyrtleMay, "Leader of the Pack!" She gets my vote. I'll follow the smokey J trail. Don't partake myself anymore, but lets jump in that VW Bug, roll the windows up and blow a little my way.

Girl groups with that tight harmony and we cant forget the Do-Whop boys on the corner. Always on the corner. I think the Beach Boys stole those tight harmonies. Some on here would see this music movement as the beginning of the end as it was the start of the Wigger-ization of America. Works for me. Bring on the end. And, a little further on in music history "This is the end, my friend..." A tip of the hat to the Lizard King.

Think I got a contact high from MyrtleMay. How do I know? I can't shut up and I have a serious case of the munchies....

LLB wrote: "Some on here would see this music movement as the beginning of the end as it was the start of the Wigger-ization of America. Works for me. Bring on the end."

Some on here might be offended by the word "wigger" especially when associated with "this is the end"... my friend. Wigger-ization: "Bring on the end"??? This is Vlad territory.

Some on here might be offended that emulation of African-American, Caribbean or hip-hop culture is seen as somehow negative.

Some on here celebrate multiculturalism, miscegenation, and believe in open borders and freedom of movement.

President Obama’s expression this week says it all. It’s the unmistakable look of someone who, having used his considerable intellect to weigh all the data, has come to the inescapable conclusion that whatever he does next the system he’s propping up is crashing anyway. He’s piloting an airplane with both engines fanned out, the landing gear jammed, and just enough controls left to decide how to crash-land. Nose down, ground loop, and save most of the people coach, or nose up, dooming the back of the plane but giving first-class a chance at survival? Do you suppose that the fact that the cockpit is in the front of the plane might be guiding his decisions?

President Obama’s expression this week says it all. It’s the unmistakable look of someone who, having used his considerable intellect to weigh all the data, has come to the inescapable conclusion that whatever he does next the system he’s propping up is crashing anyway. He’s piloting an airplane with both engines fanned out, the landing gear jammed, and just enough controls left to decide how to crash-land. Nose down, ground loop and save most of the people coach, or nose up, dooming the back of the plane but giving first-class a chance at survival? Do you suppose that the fact that the cockpit is in the front of the plane might be guiding his decisions?

Jim, great analogy!

just get off the plane and don't take part in the game. turn off ur damn tv for a start, you'll be amazed at the slop u've been eating when u re-turn it on after a month.

grow 1% of your own food. buy a $2 shirt at goodwill.

everyone's so fixated on the national scene when ur own saving is local to you and your neighbors, like buying shyte from local farmers.

you can't be conned in 3-card monty if you walk away, just buy a little gold/silver, grow some food, get self-sufficient, phuck those mutherfukkers who are in 'power', you'll feel soo good, you'll rue the fact you didn't do it years and years earlier.

retake back yourself, you ain't a projection of the elite, just laffem off, turnem off and flippem off.

leave the country if you want (i did & so did hundreds of thousands), i'll be coming back if/whenever things return to the good old decent america i grew up in.

[quote="Eran"]
A random collection of headlines:
"Cautious Microsoft embarks on cost-cutting drive

Microsoft plans to wring out a cost saving of $400m to $500m (£248m to £309.6m) this fiscal year and next by reviewing its hiring plans and the amount spent on marketing." (http://www.microscope.co.uk/news/vendor-news/cautious-microsoft-embarks-on-cost-cutting-drive/)

"Things Microsoft Doing for Cost Cutting

At January, 22 2008 Microsoft announced its second quarter results for the year 2008. Microsoft’s second quarter revenue is $16.63 billion for the second quarter ended Dec. 31, 2008, a 2% increase over the same period of the prior year. Microsoft is also doing some cost cutting measures to reduce the operating cost and increase the revenue for year 2009. Lets have a look what Microsoft is doing for cost cutting :
Reducing employee overtime cost.
Reducing temporary staff pay by 10%.
Won’t raise the rate it pays for temporary workers who return after a mandatory annual 100-day break.
reducing total number of hours clocked by temporary workers." (http://readerszone.com/microsoft/things-microsoft-doing-for-cost-cutting.html)
[/quote]


I say:


As far as I can see, everyone just spins things anyway they want, they just make up all kinds of things, they manipulate numbers big time: I really don't trust most numbers out there in economics, starting from the estimate of GDP of nations and ending with the "profits" of corporations. I guess they are top notch manipulators and inventors as far as numbers are concerned and regarding revenue, profits, etc.

So MS sold 50 billion dollars of something (2009 estimates..), had 10 billion dollars profit and 100,000 employees. So I guess each worker is paid 100,000 dollars a year (they are the best programmers in the world aren't they?), so employees only cost 10 billion dollars. 50 billion minus 10 billion makes 40 billion that they have left over. Then take 10 billion away from that for profits, they still have 30 billion dollars just hanging around not really knowing what to do.

Oh, but I see, they have to cut the "part time" workers...

Are you kidding me ? I don't know what is true, can't control what is true, have no idea what they are selling, what 100,000 programmers or whatever are doing, etc. And so with many other companies, and rightly, imagine governments...(but the 100,000 programmers seemed to have screwed up Vista, but who cares, MS made alot of money anyways...)

So what does this mean ? It means that we essentially live in automatic economies, excess capacity economies, with much more productive capacity than anyone knows what to do with. Work is irrelevant in most sectors, especially in services - high tech, etc. Productivity is really a farce when talking about these sectors: I read the story of the first Microprocessor and then Z80 CPU by Faggin - Shima, and believe me, what they did is real
productivity, in 11 man years they built the Z80 CPU. Now with thousands of technicians and scientists, I haven't seen that kind of "productivity" today.

But then services and technology and IT is only information, knowledge based, production really makes no sense, a few smart guys pull off the next big thing, think of facebook after all, just some idea and handful of guys combined the elements in a certain way. They didn't need to "punch the clock" 8 hours a day, there wasn't any productivity to even measure there or in most high - tech areas. If you got a good invention and idea, your productivity is a million, what can I say...

But there will be millions of new jobs in "innovation", all inventors, all innovating, wow, do people really believe this ? Are you kidding me ?

"Some on here might be offended that emulation of African-American, Caribbean or hip-hop culture is seen as somehow negative."

Let's take a look at that "culture."

1. Adulation of prisoners through perpetually sagging pants. (PO-lice love sagging pants, BTW, makes the perps easier to catch."

2. Denigration of women through physical violence and name calling. "Yo, bitches and ho's!"

I'm not seeing much that is positive here.

Thanks for pointing out a truth in "Vlad Territory."

On my way out to the Georgia Organics conference for the weekend! I'll be doing my 15 minute presentation on chicken tractors tomorrow morning at 10:45 - you guys send me some good energy.

See you all next week.
Tripp out.


In reference to JHK daily grunt:

Yes, (Ayn) Rand Paul is out there attacking the health plan which Spitzer points out will save a trillion in 10 years...who knows how it will really operate. But you can see the agendas clearly. The evading of specific questions is how the right wing generally work their magic rhetoric.--Nothing new there.

Allow me to point out a real stunner: the Dylan Ratigan show Thursday. He had a graph showing the piddling $4 trillion that some of the cuts are supposed to address, against the $70.7 Trillion of unfunded liabilities. It's end the end of the segment, so keep watching. It will knock your socks off (at least it did mine).And you can just imagine how China feels about that!
Dick Cheney's deficits don't matter will come home to roost.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/31510813/#VpFlash

Ratigan is a rarity in that he is not afraid to show the real numbers. Since MSNBC put him on at 4:00 I often have to record the show, as it is one of the few shows worth watching. Although He's a fiscal conservative he is honest enough to recognize the balance of issues. He points out that the tax breaks for the top 2% has not translated to job creation and in fact most of the money is going to investments in emerging markets.

At least Ratigan tries to get to some solutions on how to incentivize investments in this economy, but with the cost of labor and an uneven playing field resulting from no regulationsPlus tax breaks to take manufacturing abroad it looks like a losing battle unless we make a real decision to make changes in our global philosophy. (Maybe peak oil will make our decision for us)
-----------
Note on the oil in Iraq. A few months ago I pointed out that many Transnational oil companies have dibs on the oil fields of Iraq. It's not about a national agenda, but of a global privatization mode.


May Almighty God be with you Tripp, my friend. Anyhow, lots of luck to a good guy with some balls. Yeah!


from:


http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=173238


[quote="Eran"]I am not sure how you define productivity. In economics (which is the context where I use the word), productivity is roughly the market value of the added value produced. If people are willing to pay a lot of money to watch Tiger Woods swing a club, than Tiger Woods is being highly productive when he plays golf. The same, obviously, doesn't hold for the vast majority of golf players around.

The complexities of modern economy shouldn't obscure what is actually going on. Setting aside government, the free market is based on people producing goods and services and ultimately selling them to other people who value them.

Microsoft is a very complex organization which, more or less efficiently, produces software that millions of people around the world are willing to pay for. Thus Vista is of value to many people, even if you and I can both agree it sucks.

You are correct that modern IT often loosens the correlation between hard work and productivity. It is the latter, rather than the former, which is rewarded. And rightly so - it is the latter, rather than the former, which contributes to society.

What the free market does (and only the free market [i]can[/i] do in any complex economy), is to coordinate production with people's wants and needs through the price mechanism. It is not perfect, but it works. Often, amazingly well. Always, better than the alternative.[/quote]"


I say:


Okeydokey: we cleared up something, "productivity" is based on what people "think" is valuable, what they are "willing to pay for", etc. But the way the term is used by economists, in 2 different realms, confuses and has a very specific ideology behind it. If you use it in manufacturing, it means how much output is produced per person (and at what cost), it is easily measurable, has some kind of concrete relationship with the idea "productivity" brings in mind. If you use it for fluff, services, high - tech, arbitrary, modern economy (seems more like modern art, then) it can mean how much something is "valued" by other people. But by insisting that economies should be more productive, they are saying increase your output in manufacturing and try to invent something, anything at all that is perceived as valuable, hence Apple's iphone, etc.

But then they turn around and say "country X is non competitive", "is not innovative", "has a low productivity", hence, cut costs, fire workers, streamline production, but they really also mean the workers didn't invent some kind of fluff that can be sold, some kind of useless item so that they can fool people into buying it, etc. This is where the game of "productivity" enhances the ruling class and who has money: blame the weakest always, blame the workers, they didn't invent some new "iphone" or "they cost to much", or "they don't want to produce 10 cars an hour instead of five", etc.

This why Germany is so "competitive" and "productive", they have a stronghold on luxury cars, Audi, BMW, Mercedes because of both properties of "productivity", they manufacture efficiently but especially have brainwashed the whole world that their cars are the "Luxury Cars" to buy, the fluff stuff, the perception of value, the "modern art" aspect of it.

So subprime loans were extremely "productive" because people valued them greatly (easy loans, you could buy a house with no jobs or income, etc.), and also because banks made so much money on them.

In the end, this economy is a bunch of BS, a bunch of brainwashing people on the "perceived" value of items, on fooling everyone about everything.

JIMFWG you state "He’s piloting an airplane with both engines fanned out, the landing gear jammed, and just enough controls left to decide how to crash-land. Nose down, ground loop and save most of the people coach, or nose up, dooming the back of the plane but giving first-class a chance at survival?"

I know what a flameout in a jet engine is and what a feathered conventional aircraft propeller is; however, I have never heard of a fanned out engine please elucidate.

I believe it would be deucedly difficult to effect a ground loop on an aircraft with the landing gear jammed in the retracted position (I take the liberty of assuming you meant the jammed landing gear was not deploy-able). Aircraft ground loops predominately occur with aircraft that utilize two main gear and a rear wheel and is initiated by a side force which creates a moment about the CG while the landing gear wheels are rolling along the tarmac. If the pilot does not counteract this horizontal plane rotation in a timely manner and the magnitude of the moment exceeds the aerodynamic counter moment forces available to him the aircraft will likely ground loop. At low speeds (taxiing) the aircraft may rotate 90, 180, 270, 360 or more degrees at higher speeds such as takeoff or landing the differential aerodynamic forces applied to the wings often lifts the fore wing and drops the aft thus making it highly likely that the aft wing will impact the Earth (be it earth, macadam or concrete) yielding unpleasant consequences. Virtually all modern aircraft utilize tricycle style landing gear because it is very resistant to ground looping.

SNAFU

You say:
"...it looks like a losing battle unless we make a real decision to make changes in our global philosophy."

I agree with you, but what do you have in mind for changes?

Of course we know the multi-nationals will might against anything that harms their interest.

====================
And Myrtle:
"Anyhow, lots of luck to a good guy with some balls. Yeah!"

Sounds like something you'd write on the signature pages of Trippticket's high school yearbook!
LOL!

And have a great trip, Tripp!

In early my 20s I remember someone marvelling at the high price of bread at a convenience store: 40 cents.

In university, when the dining hall food got too vomitory, we'd to go to a burger chain here called Harveys. Burger, fries and medium pop cost $1.44 including sales tax. At the time my summer jobs were paying me about 3 bucks an hour (a bit more than minimum wage). So I would have to work around 1/2 hour to dine out at Harveys. A minimum wage earner would have to work a bit more than 1/2 an hour.

Last time I was at a Harveys a few years ago it was close to 7 bucks including tax for the same thing. Minimum wage was around 8 bucks an hour. So then a minimum wage earner would have had to work closer to 1 hour to dine at Harveys.

Moral of the story: minimum wage is not keeping up with Harveys prices. Also, don't waste money at fast food joints. You can cook it way better and way cheaper yourself and faster too in your own kitchen. Once you factor in the time you piddle away going to and from Harveys you're not saving any time.

ProCon said: "Let's take a look at that culture" and then proceeds to cherry pick negative stereotypes while ignoring positive contributions.

There is a point where in the mystery of existence contradictions meet;

where movement is not all movement
and stillness is not all stillness;

where the idea and the form,
...the within and the without, are united;

where infinite becomes finite,
yet not losing its infinity.

~ Tagore

By "the idiot" are you talking about asoka?

It's frustrating when you try to make a point but your arguments are deliberately twisted and mischaracterized. I don't mind going mano a mano like I do with Vlad all the time. In fact I enjoy getting a good rhetorical workout. I don't agree with Vlad's racist ideas and I don't make any bones about it, in turn he's really frustrated with me but he's civil as I try to be with him. And Hancock and me really got into it last week but we just agreed to disagree at the end of it.

But Asoka tests my patience. He reads into my posts things I did not remotely mean and he sites sources and "facts" to refute arguments I didn't make. I don't mind it if someone counters an argument I made but I mind having to argue on points I didn't make.

I discovered a wonderful super power over the last couple of days. The power not to respond. On this and another blog I'm on a lot. It caught me by surprise. Seeing a post, the blood pressure goes up and... I sat back and said "No." It was a thrill, it made me happy.

Try it. The next time you see a post that gets under your skin, just say to yourself "I'm not going to respond to this asshole." You may be surprised at how empowered you will feel.

LLB said: "Seeing a post, the blood pressure goes up and... I sat back and said "No."

This is good LLB ... but I have been giving different advice for years now ... to even avoid the blood pressure going up:

SCROLL PAST

It is a stronger form of ignoring and avoids nasty ad hominem posts which hypothesize about motive, level of intelligence of the poster, or engage in name calling ("asshole," etc.)

Name calling reflects more on the intellectual acuity of the name caller than on the target.

Name calling reflects more on the intellectual acuity of the name caller than on the target.
==

I strongly disagree. People that hold that kind of shit in, die young of stress and cancer. Faggot!

progressorconserve,

What I suggest in terms of breaking with our trade policy is very simply to go back to what worked for us in the past.
In classical economics there are barriers to entry. With Chimerica, the Chinese post a tariff on goods coming in to China, but we aren't responding in like. The Chinese have asserted that things that Chinese buy must be made in China.

If you watch Dylan Ratigan today, they address the bleeding of money from this country, from the huge trade deficit with China to our investments in foreign oil.

Please check out today's show which will be posted sometime after 5:00 est:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/31510813/

What we are doing in both the financial speculation which is going back into full swing and the trade deficit is a giant loser. All the draconian cuts to our social services will not close the gap of the 70.7 Trillion dollars of unfunded liabilities. (China holds the t-bills--gulp)

I don't think this is cherry picking.

"ProCon said: "Let's take a look at that culture" and then proceeds to cherry pick negative stereotypes while ignoring positive contributions."

LewisLucanBooks was lamenting the "Wiggerization" of America.

By definition, a Wigger is a white kid who emulates the worst aspects of black culture. It is meaningless to mention positive aspects of Hip-Hop or Black culture in this context - that's not what a Wigger desires to emulate.

I mentioned adulation of prison culture and denigration of women because these capture the essence of what the Wigger idolizes.

From Urban Dictionary, here's a good definition of a Wigger:
A pejorative term for a caucasian kid ("white" person) who mimicks language, dress and mannerisms of black ghetto kids.
http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=wigger


You're an interesting chap (or lass, as the
case may be), LLB. I'm actually insured but
I avoid doctors visits unless I know it's a
raging, out of control, bacterial infection
or something else that my immune system hasn't
fought off in, say, a month.

The relationship between doctors and insurers
is a total scam. I'm prone to yeast infections
on my skin. So they prescribed me this cream
years ago. I ran out of refills and when I
called the doctors office I didn't do it to
schedule an appointment. I did it to ask for
more refills without having to visit the doctor.
The doctor wouldn't comply. I had to see the
doctor. The doctor claimed that she "could
lose her license" for re-upping my cream which
is topical and harmless stuff ... a bullshit
assertion. You'd think I was trying to re-up
on benzodiazepines or nitroglycerin or something.

Many times, doctors also make "false positive"
diagnoses. For some reason, about seven years
ago, I went in and had blood pressure of 140/95.
Got prescribed atenolol. Horrible stuff that
caused bad side effects. So I quit it WITHOUT
telling them. I've NEVER had anything but normal
blood pressure in the four doctors visits (two
forced by THEM) since!!!!

If I could get a rich guy to fund a study about
disease origins, I'll bet I could prove that
doctors CAUSE as much disease as they CURE ...
often through forced meddling into people's lives.
The only good they've done me is when I had an
ear infection which caused the lymph nodes under
my ear to grow to half the size of a golf ball
above my skin surface and when I had a sinus
infection.

If any of you are suffering from what might be
called "nonspecific" diseases (e.g., Chronic
Fatigue Syndrome, Irritable Bowel Syndrome,
or Fibromyalgia), the best you can do is try
lifestyle changes (dietary, sleep schedules,
more or less exercise, etc.). Most of the
pills I've seen friends placed on for "syndromes"
end up curing one problem and creating two more.

Most of the gains in medicine happened before
1960 (vaccines, antibiotics, etc.). Since then,
I think doctors have become yet another
"corporation" acting only partly out of interest
in patients but mostly in support of their
salary and their clinic's fiscal health.
The proof of this is the stark decline in
General Practitioners and the burgeoning of
"specialists". GPs don't get paid enough and
aren't "glamorous" enough so few go there.


E.

ProCon said: "I mentioned adulation of prison culture and denigration of women because these capture the essence of what the Wigger idolizes."

Wigger is a portmanteau for white kids who emulate black music and culture. On that we agree (though I maintain wigger, as a blend of "white nigger," is an offensive term).

Where we don't agree is on LLB saying "This is the end" as if wiggerization is a lamentable development and on your portraying hip-hop culture with the most negative stereotypes.

Why not emphasize hip-hop as promoting values like self-reliance and perseverance against immeasurable odds?

Have you seen the award-winning film Bouncing Cats? It is an inspiring documentary of an attempt to create a better life for the children of Uganda through hip hop. The film recently won "Best Documentary Feature Film" at the Urbanworld Film Festival in New York, "Outstanding Achievement in Documentary Filmmaking" at the Newport Beach Film Festival, and "Audience Favorite Award" at Southern Utah International Documentary Film Festival.

But you choose to focus on negative stereotypes, not on how hip hop can be used as a tool to empower disadvantaged youth in Kampala and other areas of Uganda. You choose not to acknowledge how hip hop can be used to engage young people in order to build leadership skills and promote social responsibility for positive change.

Wiggerization is not "the end," is not lamentable, and is not, as you paint it, solely focused on prison culture and misogyny.

Maybe wiggerized White kids will adopt positive hip hop values that promote social change.

In any event, "wigger-ization" is not the end, my friend, though it may seem that way to some older White folks.


Oh, by the way, LewisLucanBooks ... I wouldn't
do without any of the three of you "old fucks"
here on CFN. Though I've really laid into
Myrtle for her feminism, I wouldn't want to
do without her whimsical, self-deprecating
sense of humor. BeanTown is like a hearty
old salty dog ... with his grounded perspective.

LLB ... are you relatively new to this blog??
I'm do about 3 posts a week so I'm not a maniacal
poster but I don't recall seeing your moniker
until recently. Just curious.

E.

Gee, how long have I been fooling around with this blog. Hmmm. Well, I think I lurked for a couple of years. Finally signed up to comment, what, a year ago? Made a few comments that no one commented on. That tended to discourage my participation.

But, there were times when I couldn't resist commenting on a post. Or, I just rifted on whatever caught my attention. And it just became unimportant as to if anyone commented or not. Ego deflation. But I seem to have had a spell of a flurry of posting. Now I'll probably lapse back into quietude for awhile.

I think we're approaching a perfect storm of peak oil, climate change and economic melt-down. I don't know when. I think that grand old ancient collection of Jewish folk tales and histories, the Bible, has something to say about the unpredictable. Comes like a thief in the night. Don't have the exact reference at my fingertips. I'm sure someone brighter or more compulsive than me will fill us in.

I like this blog because it provides, from time to time, links that I find really interesting. Some even useful. So I watch and listen and read and try to interpret the signs. I was thinking the other day about how traveling religious revival meetings used to come to town. Tent meetings. They always had signs out, like the old Burma Shave signs. "Signs! Miracles! Wonders." Signs. That's what I'm looking for. Somethings coming. I can smell it and feel it in my bones. And, I don't think it's necessarily going to be nice.

Don't know if I'll survive the key hole event, but I'll play my part, whatever that is.

I think he's using the old "I'm rubber, you're glue" defense.

Asoka, you really will try to argue almost anything, won't you?

As I recall, about two months ago you were trying to argue in favor of Chelsea Clinton's expensive wedding.

So now, here we go:

"Wiggerization is not "the end," is not lamentable, and is not, as you paint it, solely focused on prison culture and misogyny."

If you live in reality in the States you won't find any positives with white boys who fancy themselves to be urban gangsta's bound for prison with their bitches and ho's. I will grant you that it is not "the end," but it's closer to the end than it is the beginning. :-)

There's no doubt that the money raised by legitimate Hip-hop, rap, whatever has done a lot of good. We could argue that a credible reading program would do MORE good, but that's another question.

Wigger culture - no good to be found there, and I've been watching it up close in my son's friends for almost 20 years.
===============
Now, if the spouse and I want to go get wild somewhere - there's some damn fine music, no argument.

And no greater compliment, IMHO, for a wife or girlfriend than the words of Usher:

"we want a Lady in the street, but a freak in the bed to say, Yeah!...."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NiXbRBS5Z58

But I wouldn't want anybody younger than 18 to really listen to the lyrics of most of these songs.

ProCon said: "Asoka, you really will try to argue almost anything, won't you?"

No, I have my moral standards.

I will never try to argue in favor of dropping bombs on or strafing other human beings from aircraft as being "just" or in any way excused just because some politicians or some generals decided there should be a war. I will never glorify or romanticize or honor those who choose to engage in murder, even when they claim "service" or "heroism" or "duty" as their defense.

Yet you, and many others, not only justify terrorism through aerial bombardment ... they justify the dropping of radioactive bombs on Japanese civilians and the firebombing of Dresden and a thousand other horrors of war as being "necessary" and "unavoidable".

War is terrorism and I will not support it whether the bombs are called "smart" or "drones" or "guided" or whatever you want to call them.

War is terrorism and I will never argue in favor of war or terrorist acts of any kind. I will never "thank a veteran" for their "service".

I will support increased spending for veteran health services, suicide prevention, PTSD treatment, lifelong free medical care through the Veterans Administration, GI benefits for education, etc. because I believe health, education, and employment should be made available to all, including war veterans.

ADDITION:
I believe health, education, and employment should be made available to all, including war veterans, even though those benefits were denied to me, as a pacifist, after I served two years of government-mandated (I was drafted) alternative service in a hospital.

sure

I am in agreement with E. that going to a doctor is to be avoided. After my first mammogram when I was 40, I decided the it wasn't my cup of tea, and I didn't get another one for 10 years. (Who needs radiation?) You couldn't pay me to get a colonoscopy or a flu shot.

I do go to an acupuncturist (who is also a licensed M.D. in family practice) when the need arises. I'm prone to ear infections and when I get them, I go see him and he puts a few needles in, then says, "If you're not feeling a lot better in 12 hours, here's a prescription for an antibiotic." So far my ear troubles have been solved by acupuncture.

Once, I got an ear infection about 12 hours before a flight. My doctor/acupuncturist didn't have any openings, but because I have been his patient for 20 years, he trusts me and simply called the pharmacy so I could get started on Zithromax ASAP.

SJmom

Okay, CFNers! Today's golden oldie is dedicated to Tripp (oh my god...I think I'm in love).....Well, Ronnie and the Ronettes; Be My
Baby! Worth a look. Good times. Big hair. Youtube.

BTW, anybody not interested in the Ronettes, but still interested in oldies, check out Claudine Clark's "Party Lights". Circa 1962

Wigger, or Wigga, is an offense term, I agree. The proper terms that should be used are wangster or wangsta, as they bring to mind not race but a sub-culture.

Anyway, I think hip-hop has genuine, in some cases even progressive, roots.

It saddens me that all the radio play is given to watered-down women-hating, gold-loving corporate hip-hop artists.

Fuck guys like Lil' Wayne and 50 cent. Check out Dead Prez, Fugees, Pete Rock or Scarface.

Sadly, the white kids -- and black kids -- who emulate hip-hop culture are focusing on the worst of the worst hip hop acts (because that's what they're exposed to).

So the person shaking his head about the "wiggas" does have point. There is no message of progress when Lil' Wayne sings "back that ass up" or "bling bling."

Check out this shit for a good hip hop message: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F8nJpagxzok

Give it a chance, actually listen to the lyrics.

Thank you, Tripp. I was thinking the same thing.

I am very thrifty with most things, but not with food.

I spend a LOT of money at my local food store, and my compadre who runs it spends a lot of money buying local organic foods from the farmers.

I consider it money well spent. I'm helping to keep the store open and the farmers in business, so that when TSHTF my community will be fed.

Even the ones who go to WalMart now.

It's my investment in the future.

Thank you, Asoka, for pointing out that Nov.11 is Armistice Day, the day to celebrate the End of War.

I am so sick of the ritual genuflection to the military, and the required homage to the "heroes" that I want to puke.

Bombing people, kicking down their doors, running over their children, destroying their infrastructure and their crops, shooting their dogs and their livestock, poisoning their environment.....we're supposed to kiss their butts and tell them how proud we are?

I don't think so!!

Hip hop was not the first instance of bling bling and misogynist lyrics and bad boy adolescent behavior.

Even in the 1950s we had bad boy examples like Frank Sinatra, and his lounge-era rats, or rat pack, or whatever they were called, and their bling-bling Vegas and bling-bling tuxedoes, and bling-bling golf playing and Playboy magazine, and drug-addicted, martini drinking, cigar smoking showmanship.

The 1950s era of Sinatra and the rat pack was the hip-hop forerunner of bad behavior without consequences. Sinatra, idolized by so many White folk, was at best a misogynist, at worst a gangster. Sinatra was linked to the Mob, to organized crime. But I guess that was OK because he was White.

No need to be scandalized and start saying things like "This is the end" If you were around in the 1950s (and I was) you will remember those who carried signs back then saying "Repent! The end is near!"

Like I said in earlier post, these things go in cycles and we've been here before.

That's funny. Tonight at work I was talking to two doctors and I referred to a local doctor whose patients all seem to be healthy, and I said that I thought it was because he doesn't give them any drugs, never admits them to the hospital, pretty much ignores their complaints and aches and pains.

The two doctors agreed that the less drugs a person takes, the better.

One of them has a mother who is 95 years old. She said that she refuses to let doctors prescribe her mother anything.

Yeah, I'm not real fond of white gangster wannabes.

My co-worker has a daughter who used to call work and ask for her. She had such an ebonics accent that I would wonder why a Black kid was calling!

Eventually, her friends murdered a Unitarian friend of mine. I was incensed when my co-worker said that she knew who did it, but didn't want to jeopardize her safety by telling the police.

Now the daughter has two children with her Black boyfriend, and my co-worker is raising them.

Ironically, though, the daughter has dropped the accent.

Well, when it became clear to me awhile ago that my own health care was going to pretty much be in my own hands and that I wouldn't live forever, but the time remaining to me I could be as healthy as possible ... (how's that for a run-on sentence...)

Way back in the early 80s I used to have night leg cramps. Then I saw an article that suggested that such things are caused by lack of potassium and a banana a day might help.Organic when I can get them. Haven't had a leg cramp since. About the same time I was having weird headaches and saw another article and realized they were hypertension. Dropped most of the salt from my diet and that took care of that problem.

Backin the halcyon days when I had a doctor and health insurance at one point the Doc said my blood pressure was high, in stroke territory and he wanted to put me on some meds. I told him I wanted to see what I could do about it. Kicked up my walking and started slipping garlic in everything. Luckily my metabolism is such that my garlic consumption is, er, undetectable. The blood pressure came down to safe levels. My cholesterol is golden.

I read Dr. Weil and add a bit of dark chocolate (organic, fair trade) and candied ginger to my diet each day. Just a small amount. Ditto walnuts. I read Dr. Sinatra and added some supplements. I had back problems and read the YMCA Better Back Book. 10 minutes a day, religiously, and I haven't had more then a mild strain, since.

But, I'm not manic about this stuff. Nothing pleases me more than going to a potluck and finding a big bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken on the table. On my birthday, I'm liable to kill an entire large pizza by myself. If I'm invited to friends for dinner, I eat whats put in front of me and enjoy it. The other night I picked up a commercially made pumpkin pie, just cause it's the season and I missed the taste. And, it was on sale. But day in and day out I eat pretty healthy. Any time I need a sandwich spread, it's what I've worked out as a healthy alternative. Plane non-fat yogurt with a squirt of horseradish mustard. Sunflower seeds for crunch.

So, how do I afford all this stuff? I only go out to dinner maybe three or four times a year. I take that back. There's the weekly trip out to the tribal casino to have lunch with Dad. But he buys. It's an extensive buffet and with a little thought it can be pretty healthy. When it's time for desert, I hit the salad bar again. Day to day I eat pretty low down the food chain and closer to scratch. One can of soup, say wild rice with chicken. Add more brown rice and lots of vegis, what ever is on sale that week and I can stretch a .98 can of soup into three meals by adding another bucks worth of rice and vegetables.

I think Michael Pollan is right when he says that we should 1. eat food (in other words, what your grandmother would recognize as food) 2. not too much 3. mostly plants.

I do worry about how long I'll be able to get (or afford) things like the organic bananas or free trade organic dark chocolate. Heck, I worry about how long I'm going to have access to the two kinds of floss I have to buy to get under my two kinds of bridgework. But I keep looking for alternatives to the stuff I eat to keep healthy. Cheaper, more local.

So, read a lot. Fiddle with your diet. I know that developing good habits are just about has hard as jettisoning bad ones. I don't know how many times I had serious back problems before I got with the program of doing those simple little exercises EVERY day.

Seize control of your own health and well-being. Realize that you won't live forever. Accept that. Decide that you want to feel as good as possible for the time you have.

Went with my first CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) box this year. Local farm family. Not certified organic, but as close as you can get. $250. It figured out to about $12 a week.

I used part of my tax return for the investment. It was great! Got to try all kinds of vegetables I'd never ventured to eat, before. I actually lost weight over the summer. I hate waste so the vegetables were taking up quit a bit of the space in my diet that was usually taken up by grains.

The stuff I really didn't like I gifted to people that would appreciate it. I put some stuff up by drying. I still have a small pile of potatoes, squash, pumpkins and cucumbers from the last box over a moth ago.

I figure when TSHTF maybe the farmer will take me on as a serf.

The Lizard King is Jim Morrison of the Doors.

"This is the end, my friend..." is a lyric from one of his songs.

And, I only use extra virgin olive oil when I need oil. (How long will it be available / affordable?) I read labels. I avoid anything with high fructose corn syrup in it (or, whatever they're calling it these days.)

Found out that garlic is better if you dice it and let it rest for a few minutes. More of some kind of chemical... Tomatoes, heated with a little olive oil also are more potent in the cancer fighting department. So, when I do a melt, the tomatoes get a few drops on them.

Why is it when Asoka bifurcates (third-person singular simple present ... wow. That's nifty.) I always think of Mother Abigail from Stephen King's "The Stand." A little old black lady rocking on the porch of her shack in the middle of a corn field in Hemming Home, Nebraska. "My name is Mother Abigail and I'm 109 years old. Ya'all come and visit me!"

Well, that's it for this evening. Bed beckons.

SNAFU,
You clearly know airplanes and caught me taking poetic license. From my days in aerospace I recall pilots using the term fan out to describe a jet engine losing ignition. Thanks for reminding me that the term is flame out. A ground loop is when a wing touches the ground on landing and sends the plane into a spin. Here again, you are right that without landing gear, that would be unlikely. (Apologies for the double post, by the way.) I’ll try again: President Obama is like a cruise ship captain and there’s a fire in the engine room. . . .

Paul's first letter to the Thessalonians, 5:1-4

But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.

Binnebrook, excellent!

then sudden destruction cometh upon them

People have been preaching about "the end" for thousands of years. TSHTF was in the Bible.

There was no beginning. There will be no end ... as physics tells us: neither created nor destroyed.

[quote="Eran"]Thank you. We can have a more serious discussion now.

[quote="old6598"]Feedback mechanisms can be built into any kind of system, look at how successful NASA was in the moon landing program, it was mostly government controlled, but very well organized and also used private contractors.
The US Atom Bomb program during WWII was another example of top down, government controlled programs being hugely successful, no private "free market" system could have ever achieved either in that short time span.[/quote]
How do you know? More to the point, what makes you think either example was "hugely successful"? If I confiscated billions of dollars and directed them towards an arbitrary goal, and achieved the goal, is that a "huge success", or a colossal waste of money?

If President Kennedy, back in 1960, called on America to build a huge pyramid, one to dwarf the Great Pyramid of Egypt, and an appropriate government agency managed to do that, while spending $160bn (the amount NASA spent, in 1996 dollars, up to and including 1969), would you consider that a "huge success"?

Note that I never said "nothing good comes out of government". Clearly, governments provide many useful services. My claim, rather, is that governments will always be more wasteful, less efficient both in terms of picking their goals and in terms of achieving them, than a private market alternative.

We have no easy way of figuring out how much innovation could have come out of the private market, had a small fraction of government R&D budgets been left in the private sector, rather than sucked through taxation. Specifically, I think we have every reason to expect a free economy to have developed radars, satellites, etc. After all, those developments were side-effects of spending money on destruction, rather than dedicated R&D efforts towards satisfying consumer needs.

[quote="old6598"]The US interstate highway system is another example of a hugely powerful and successful government program, "free market" myth could have never even begun something like that.[/quote]
Again I will ask - how do you know? First, the US interstate highway system may have been incredibly wasteful. After all, political rather than rational considerations dictated which roads will go where. The Internet is often cited as an analogy to the highway system. The Internet was built and is still operated by the private sector.

[quote="old6598"]The best mix is government directed, organized programs that use top notch private corporations that compete against each other, etc. Mixed systems are what have always been used, and will continue to be used: GM didn't fail because good old government came in to rescue: would you have fed hundreds of thousands of unemployed resulting from that company closing ?[/quote]
I agree that having top notch private corporations compete against each other mitigates the inefficiency built into government projects. It would be a huge improvement, for example, if schools were run that way, rather than have them operated (with few exceptions) directly by government. The better government-run health care systems also operate that way.

Using private corporations, however, doesn't mitigate the issue of choosing appropriate goals. Governments often pick goals on which to spend money based on political considerations or on a whim (see my comment above regarding NASA). Government, even with the best will in the world, [u]cannot[/u] know what the appropriate level of spending is on different projects. Consider green beans. No official, either government or private, decides how many green beans should be grown. Rather, price mechanism, incorporating thousands of factors (cost of production, shipping and storage, people's preferences, cost of producing alternative vegetables, demand for alternative uses of the factors of production, etc.) to come up with production figures. Without the price mechanism, we have no way of knowing whether we spent too much or too little for any government project.

Had GM failed, its employees wouldn't have stayed unemployed for long. First, many companies emerge from bankruptcy with new management, possibly new ownership, but with their production facilities (and most of their workers) intact. Second, experienced automotive workers would have been hired by GM's competitors who surely would have had to ramp up production to make up for the demand of all the consumers that would have otherwise purchased a GM vehicle.

Instead, the government wasted taxpayer money to keep in place bad management and uneconomical labour terms. GM is a perfect example of crony-capitalism at its worst.

[quote="old6598"]Hugely successful countries that have had very large governments and government interference into companies and the economy, and many socialistic governments and programs for decades[/quote]
The first question we have to ask is - successful compared to what? Japan, Germany, South Korea, and the Scandinavian nations all have, by global standards, very free economies. Scandinavian countries, as well as Japan, exhibited healthy growth in the past, which slowed down (or stopped altogether in Japan's case) as government expenses spiralled out of control. All those countries enjoy the benefit of cultures of education and savings which are very conducive to economic growth. Economic freedom is the most important, but not the only factor impacting growth and success.

The US comes burdened with a mixed population of which large segments are either relatively-recent low-skilled immigrants, or suffer from cultures not conducive to economic growth. yet manages GDP per capita higher than any major country. In fact, of the countries you mention (excepting Norway with its oil income), Sweden, at $36k per person comes closet to the US's $46k, still almost 25% lower! That's the equivalent of almost a decade of growth.

I don't know the details of people's attitude towards government services in those countries. Anecdotally, Sweden and other European countries allow private schools to play a much greater role than in the US.

Again, I suggest comparing different sectors of the economy within a single country, or comparing very culturally-close countries (South vs. North Korea for example).

[quote="old6598"]Financial industries went crazy when they got rid of regulations, look at the subprime mess. [/quote]
This is an ideologically-convenient myth. The subprime mess resulted from government intervention, not reduced regulations.

[quote="old6598"]Health care in the US is a farce because of your ideology against a government single payer system like in FRANCE, another hugely successful economy with large government.[/quote]
Health care in the US is a farce because of the distortions introduced by tax-exempting employer-provided health insurance, together with oppressive regulation of health care, from providers and pharmaceuticals to insurers.

A good contrast is between escalating costs of health care in general, and dropping costs for laser eye surgery. That last one is not covered by most insurance companies -> People actually pay for the procedure out of their own pocket -> Consumers care about cost -> Costs drop.[/quote]


I answer:


Well , France, Germany, Europe in general is considered "socialist" in the USA. Actually the right wing "free market" has always considered europe "eurosclerosis", a "bad" economy, too much government, too much worker protection, etc. For them it is a sin to have free health care by government, and anyways they are right: by US and right wing standards most of Europe and JAPAN and South Korea are socialistic, welfare, free health care, low unemployment because the governemt tries to protect workers, strong unions, strong government companies (what do you think Sony, Toyota and Samsung are effectively, etc.), many government workers, etc. But they have a much higher standard of living then the USA where it is all worries about if they can pay their health, being fired all the time, always having to change jobs, colleges that cost a fortune, no homes to rent in good areas, because renting in the USA is a status thing, you are considerd a piece of crap if you rent.

In the USA we have the freedom to be as greedy as possible, there is a joy in laying off, kicking people out of jobs, it is so "capitalistic", so satisfying, it is really only those that "deserve" it should get paid: what a huge crapball of a system, in the US college costs more than anywhere else, health care is a crime, people are fired because of the "at will" system , etc.

The truth is we are discouraging a whole generation of young people with all of this free market, right wing, innovation, unions are bad, crap. Instead of having huge government programs encouraging and hiring by the millions for large scale - real projects like 100s man mission rockets to Mars, millions of skyscrapers across the USA, millions in research and the future, we have this puny idea of everyone fighting everyone else for the breadcrumbs the rich toss the workers. We need huge government programs, we need people to believe in higher goals than their puny self and self interest that just kills a society: people must obey to large scale projects that hire millions, must have a large - proud goal in life, not that puny goal of firing the lazy slob worker because "I am paying him, I am more important than society": nothing further from the truth, society must operate as a unit, millions towards high class goals decided by scientist and people who want high class stuff: rockets, bridges across oceans, millions of skyscrapers, etc. etc. As a unit, as one, as a nation, like in war. Those that don't want it can go in some crappy free market area where they can fight and ripoff each other as much as possible.

We have enough wealth to give free salaries to everyone, high class homes to everyone: now is the time for the jump towards the future, populating the solar system, millions of constructions, millions of jets across the world, zeppelins on Jupiter and Saturn (since they are gas ocean planets), thousands of trillions of skyscrapers across all the planets of the Solar System, gigantic technological singularity brains, wildy modified brains with chips and wild chemicals inside them inside all those skyscrapers, etc.

Some people live for the fortune
Some people live just for the fame
Some people live for the power yeah
Some people live just to play the game
Some people think that the physical things
Define what's within
I've been there before
But that life's a bore
So full of the superficial

Some people want it all
But I don't want nothing at all...

~ Alicia Keys

Thanks, Binnebrook! I was hoping someone would rise to the occasion. Wow. A more appropriate quote than I remembered.

A Letter From Out Here

Well, it's almost 10 a.m. on a Saturday morning. Here it is, about 6 weeks til Christmas and half the parking spaces on the main drag are empty. Another day in paradise, as the coin dealer two doors down would say. He has a lot of Hawaiian collectibles. Military stuff, post cards and old high school yearbooks. He says the only thing going out his door is the trade he does in gold and silver.

He also tells me that all the other merchants along this section of main drag are holding on by their fingertips. I expect to see closings after the holidays. I generally don't pay much attention to what goes on on the street. All the buzzing back and forth. The backstabbing and gossip. But, I keep my ears open.

I was open 9 to 6 yesterday and didn't put a dime in my till. Only had three people in all day. Can't really call them customers. They're what I have been thinking of as the "one note people." They are looking for something obscure. Yesterday it was the guy looking for old Uniform Building Code books (He's collecting the whole set!) and another guy looking for some obscure children's author from the 1930s. The third one was looking for a crappy $1.25 paperback from 1985. Published by some obscure religious press. Of course, all this stuff could be picked up in one spin around Amazon.

And, they don't even glance at the 7,000 other books I have. Nor at the cards, soap or candles. Sometimes I think they pick out these obscure things just to give themselves an excuse for being here. But that's not quit right, because they're out the door and onto the next place in a hurry.

I have the feeling that if I whipped the item they were looking for out from under the counter it would be too expensive, or not in good enough condition or not the edition they remember.

So I sit in my first pair of long johns, shirt and sweater. We're well into November but I haven't turned the gas heat on yet. It only heats the store area, not my living space. So the business pays for it all. Except the business isn't paying anything.

I am reminded of one of Joe Bageant's essays. It was about a wine and cheese evening in the local boutique shopping area of his town. One of the shop owner's stuck in my mind when she told Mr. Bageant that she was probably going to close soon as she was just tired of "waiting for something to happen."

Waiting for TSTHTF...
Waiting for TLE...
Waiting for TWMBH...
Waiting for Godot
Week after week...
Per secula seculorum
Amen

Oh, man, I feel your pain.

I used to own a bookstore. At first it was by a popular pizza joint. Lots and lots of people would walk by without even glancing at my attractive, book-filled front space, on their way to stuff their faces.

They had a "Pig-Out" festival, sold by the Main Street Commission as a crowd gatherer. Which it was. Thousands of people gathered to pig out on barbecued pork, and not one damn person wandered into the store.

It got worse. I moved to a used clothing store, for free rent in return for managing the clothes part.

Then I really got disgusted!

There were lots of customers, and they looked through every damn clothing item, and they bought a couple of hundred dollars worth of old clothes everyday, while the books went unlooked at, and unsold.

They would walk by three frigging racks of magazines, with what I thought were enticing covers, and never even glance at them.

Face it, my friend, we live in Dumbfuckistan.

One customer sticks out in my mind, though.

He was looking for a particular book, as you said.

He was a good ol' boy, rough and taciturn, looking for a book that tell him how long PTSD would last.

Apparently his boy was home from Iraq, and was having problems.

I tried to gently tell him that there was no such book, because PTSD isn't like the chicken pox, which lasts 21 days, and then goes away.

He didn't want to hear that, insisting that I find him a book with the answer.

Sad.

Very good post. I have been a "health food nut" for a very long time, and a vegan for about 6 years. so I am glad about your eating habits and philosophy. However, I believe in learning as much as I can with the time I have available. To that end, I must advise that not everyone, particularly medical science, is in agreement with everything the health food industry says. Part of the problem is that the health food and alternative medicine industry is big business.

A really good alternative to the alternative health industry's many claims is quackwatch.org. I believe it's worthwhile to read. They have a very interesting history of Dr. Andrew Weil - you should read it.

That being said, eating like you have described is best for maintaining your health, along with cardiovascular exercise at some level, stretching, working with weights, drinking a lot of water and getting sufficient sleep (7 to 9 hours).

Other than being born, the only other time in my life I was in the hospital was when my back went out so badly that I literally couldn't move a fraction of an inch without being in agony. I stayed a week, and all the doctors did was have me lie in bed and stuff me with valium. I actually was high on the valium (this was in the '70's). I checked myself out after a week, but didn't get too much better. After about 6 weeks, I went to a chiropractor and he made my condition worse. I suffered with it for about 4 years and then I met my future wife. She insisted I do stretching in the morning - when my back was most stiff - and it worked. My back got better. That's how I learned about the value of stretching.

Do you find, that as you grow older, your physical limitations and/or afflictions become more and more a topic of conversation?

Finally, one comment about olive oil. I learned that olive oil (and many other natural oils) is very sensitive to light and the air, and gets rancid very quickly with exposure to them. Oxygen is a very reactive element. Therefore, we should not leave an olive oil bottle opened for very long.

The retail book industry is really going down the drain, particularly the small, independent booksellers.

I used to go regularly to Harvard Square in Cambidge, MA. It was a great, funky place, what with all the Mom and Pop stores, street entertainers, and colorful people. Then big business saw all the crowds there and decided it would be a good idea to open chain stores in the Square. Of course, the area needed upgrading, and Harvard University must have agreed, so parts of the Square were bricked over and sidewalks widened. Many of the mom and pops closed up, including a great bookstore I used to frequent.

Beantown said: "The retail book industry is really going down the drain"

According to the publishers' statistics from AAP, sales of books were down 1.8% last year (2009). But not all categories were down. Paperbacks were down, but the adults in DumbFuckistan bought books in abundance.

Adult Hardbound books showed healthy growth of 6.9%, $2.6 billion in 2009.

Not only do the adults in DumbFuckistan read books: they want hardbound books they can refer to in the future.

Okay then,
Y'know, sometimes your particular "dismissiveness" just pisses me off.
Your commentary is cold and smacks of the worst of gatekeeping and cover-story crap. No one else's opinion is "correct" or "cogent". Face it, you're just contentious for its' own sake.

You go ahead and WAIT, bullshitter. Your scenario waits 46 years for collapse, so you really don't care at all... you'll be gone.
"Hurray for me and fuck you", eh?

There's no wonder I only read the very shortest of your postings.

Hey, thank me for ignoring the rest of your bullshit, why don't ya? You're using waaaaay too much scrolling space...

"Adult Hardbound books showed healthy growth of 6.9%, $2.6 billion in 2009."

Not more books. Higher priced books. You're quoting a statistic of price inflation. Now go find a statistic showing the number of books has increased. I'm sure their is someone willing to lie about it. Your best bet is some goobermint bean counter. Down the hall, on the left.

http://www.cnbc.com//id/40132000

While you are at it, work on this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PTUY16CkS-k

People need to band together and just outlaw the corporate pirates from their neighborhoods, or they will have no neighborhoods. Catherine Austin Fitts does a wonderful job describing the process by which the corporations hollow out neighborhoods. You should try to catch one of her talks on YouTube, etc.

What kind of bike did Orlov reccomend in his book? He said it was an old model but almost industructible in contrast with the sleek hot house modern makes. My Orlov in storage back on the East Coast.

What kind of bike did Orlov reccomend in his book? He said it was an old model but almost industructible in contrast with the sleek hot house modern makes. My Orlov in storage back on the East Coast.

Check out David Duke's latest youtube video. He shows how the Jews are the leaders in the movement to turn Europe over to the Muslims. He lets the Jews brag about it themselves.

ozone said: "There's no wonder I only read the very shortest of your postings."

With Asoka the best thing to do is to ignore his posts. Although his "facts" are sourced, he has the gall to present points of view that are different, and that is disturbing and pisses people off, especially when it goes against conventional wisdom or CFN wisdom.

I mean anybody with any sense in his head knows we need secure borders and a strong military ... except Asoka.

It is best to not respond to Asoka and hope he goes away. When Asoka goes away it will be a great day, a day when CFN is homogeneous, without his doubting, dissenting, and contentiousness.

All sweetness and light.

Vlad, I think it was a cargo bike named the Tianjin Flying Pigeon.

http://cargocycling.org/2010/07/tianjin-flying-pigeon.html

MD, I viewed the xtranormal presentation. It does contain a factual error ... it says taxes have gone up, when under Obama taxes have gone down.

The non-partisan Center for Budget and Policy Priorities reported that "Middle-income Americans are now paying federal taxes at or near historically low levels." How low? The average family of four right now is paying 4.6 percent of its income in federal income taxes -- the second lowest percentage in 50 years.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/04/15/tax-day-2010-protesters-i_n_538556.html

Sorry to inject facts. Even the conservative Cato Institute admits Obama has not increased taxes.

As a 73 year old having spent most of my adult life (up ‘til the last several years) on the leading edge of progressive movements I’m now put off by how doctrinaire the self proclaimed American Left has become.

A cadre mind set seems to have taken over, bent upon establishing a Manichean division based upon doctrinal purity of its own brand -- only of late propounded in its name.

I’m reminded of Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution or – peculiarly -- good ol’ American McCarthyism, both of which habituated to emblematic labels and invective phrases in place of reasoned argument against those who committed apostasy – however vague – against the respective dogma.

“Racist” is the charge that the Left seems to have proprietarily claimed. Funny, but though pure adulation for Obama seems to be dimming on the Left I’ve yet to hear from any of the talking heads on the Left that possibly – just possibly – the Left itself might have been guilty of a particularly condescending racism for its seeming insistence that any refusal to vote for the well educated Black guy with oratorical flair could only be due to either gross, ostensible racism or at least a lingering tinge of it.

Amusing too is the blatancy of the Left’s contradiction in applying the label of racism regards different nations’ or peoples’ effort to preserve a sense of social amalgam. Native tribes living in the Amazonian jungle aren’t adjured to “celebrate diversity” by allowing infusion of unrestricted numbers of outsiders. Instead, campaigns are waged petitioning governments to regulate against dilution of “indigenous” society.

By contrast developed nations are “racist” if the sovereign citizenry directs its elected representatives to regulate against uncontrolled influx of “foreigners”, but especially against groups notorious for not assimilating to the established culture.

Yo, BTBill; Thanks for the heads up on Quackwatch. I'll check it out. For a couple of years there, I'd do my stretching and back exercises, slack off, throw the back out again, etc. wash, rinse, repeat. Sometimes starting good habits (even ones that only take 10 minutes a day) are as hard as breaking bad habits.

Yup. I take good care of my olive oil. A dark, coolish place. The last couple of bottles I bought even came in dark green colored glass.

LOL. Yes, I think we do probably talk more about our physical health as we age. But I think it's ok if it's with like aged people who are talking about their health situations. I think it's a good exchange of information.

One of my best buddies in town... that poor guy. Hep C., diabetic, crumbling teeth, hernia (got that taken care of.), slightly agoraphobic etc. etc. Well he got himself squeaky clean and sober about six years ago and is tackling all those problems. He talks a lot about his health and I advise as best I can. Milk thistle for the liver, cinnamon for a bit of insulin control.

Oh, wow. Another book dealer. Do you still read the Ebay booksellers board? It's a pretty good overview of the pulse of the business. Also, Netflix has a great DVD called "Book Wars." It's about the guys that sell books on the sidewalks of New York up around Columbia University. Worth a look.

Well, I think after New Years I will probably go to opening Friday to Monday; closed Tues to Thurs. I've got to start getting this place cleaned out (looks like an episode of Hoarders in back.) I've been camping out here for almost 15 years (the the bookstore end of things as only been running a year. It's a long sad story, all around.)

I think the hardest thing was discovering I wasn't liked near as much as I thought I was. :-) . I worked for a regional library system for 11 years (multiple branches) and have received almost no support from any of those people. I have been in a 12-Step program for 21 years. Little or no support from that quarter.

The whole "buy local" thing is a sham. I threw around a lot of money getting this place open and have gotten no support from the other merchants. Maybe a curtesy buy or two and that's it. I now shop the big box stores with a clear conscience. :-) .

When it comes time to sell the store, lock stock and barrel it will be very cheap. If I can't get the price I want, I'll keep a few things to keep the internet end of things going. I'm considering getting a permit and burning the inventory. That ought to go virile on the net.

Today I had 2 customers in the store. One bought $8 worth and the other $3. It was fun interacting with them. People who buy and read books. How novel. Pun intended. My prices, by the way, are very cheap. And, I'm particular about condition. No mass market paperback more then $1.85. Trade paperbacks and hardbacks, mostly less then $10. If I get stuck for a price, I check Amazon and price to the low end of that.

Just before I opened, I re-read Penelope Fitzegerald's "The Book Shop." It's a heart breaker. So's this.


Ozone said:

"Okay then,
Y'know, sometimes your particular "dismissiveness" just pisses me off.
Your commentary is cold and smacks of the worst of gatekeeping and cover-story crap. No one else's opinion is "correct" or "cogent". Face it, you're just contentious for its' own sake."
**************************************************

Sometimes, even when he agrees with one's
opinion, he just has to quote different
and/or more extreme statistics just to
prove that he has "sources".

This guy does NOT wear well as a person
over time. While he often confuses
throwing a barrage at statistics (from
his gurus, of course) for debate,
sometimes he says things that are goofy
on their face.

I submit, as public exhibit A, his defense
of "wiggers" and his promotion of the
"virtues" of hip-hop above. The truth is
that hip-hop concerts must be heavily policed
because they come with a long history of
serious violence, mayhem, and murder.
You don't see two dozen guys with SECURITY
uniforms on at a Baroque chamber concert ...
ever.

He also slyly plays the race care by implying
that criticism of "wiggers" is a sort of racism
and that it's just fine if white guys emulate
the WORST (not the BEST) parts of black culture.

Grounded people know that it rarely works out
best for a society if ANY group emulates the
worst aspects of ANY OTHER GROUP. Whenever
and wherever the values of loudness, vanity,
and anti-intellectualism are promoted, you're
going to find goons ... and it matters little
whether a goon is black, white, Vietnamese,
or Italian.

E.

Check out David Duke's latest youtube video. He shows how the Jews are the leaders in the movement to turn Europe over to the Muslims. He lets the Jews brag about it themselves.
==

Maybe David Duke should go work for the Ministry Of Immigration in Sweden or Spain or Germany or Italy or France or Switzerland, etc. Even out the numbers in those government ministries. You know, with all the da jooos of Europe having staffed themselves in those gov departments. Anything else, you fscking Chihuahua?

LLB:
Your story breaks my heart, but it is emblematic of the slow contraction and collapse we are experiencing. Ironically it's the local vendors who are losing just when they should be doing better. If resource depletion was a topic that was discussed on the media, "We the Consumers" might be making different choices.

It occurred to me that the people coming into your store might really not be able to spend money on books when they don't know themselves when the next check is coming in. It's hard to believe that people aren't reading anymore, but with the internet and kindle etc., they may be getting around buying from local business. I hope you are at least making your books available on the web.Your prices are certainly competitive.

Our business leadership and in turn our elected officials are hell-bent on the dissolution of the nation state as we have known it turning us into just another trade-zone until globalism cannot continue on its merry way, making huge profits for the few.

In NYC it's easier for people to support local small business, but everyone's struggling to get past the bad business cycle, hoping for an upturn which most likely will not only never come. It will in fact be getting worse, especially since the electorate voted in the austerity guys.

Big department stores are cutting prices by 50% now instead of waiting till after xmas, so even Chinese-made goods are not getting sold--they can't move the merchandise.

Small consolation for you, and everyone else, but just know, you are not alone.

"Most of the gains in medicine happened before
1960 (vaccines, antibiotics, etc.)."

Actually the general value of vaccines and antibiotics on the whole is under serious scrutiny these days. I know people who haven't been sick a day in 25 years because they eat appropriately (perhaps not what the general population thinks of as "appropriately"), and eschew vaccines and antibiotics in favor of a robust immune system.

Heresy, I know, to the older generations who built their faith upon the rock of the Salk vaccine, but not to me. And I haven't been sick a day in almost 3 years myself, since I started this journey. Hard to convince most people, but losing our pharmaceuticals has dick to do with our access to health. Quite the opposite actually!

Without exception, oil created the problems it purports to treat.

All this talk about diet reminded me of an article I read recently. In it, a professor from Kansas State University ate loads of processed snack foods - twinkies, nutty bars, etc, - but cut his overall caloric intake from ~2600 calories to 1800. Lost 27 lbs in the process, and all of his health indicators improved, significantly in some cases. More here:

http://www.cnn.com/2010/HEALTH/11/08/twinkie.diet.professor/index.html

Just goes to show that extra weight is probably the leading cause of health issues, regardless of what you're eating. But it doesn't suggest that being trim and being truly healthy are the same thing either.

My public speaking engagement went really well! I'll share the video link as soon as I get it posted to my blog site.

1. Poet | November 8, 2010 9:47 AM
an artist at their best is suppossed to be a mirror Q: make up your mind, singular (artist at his best is) or plural (artists at their best are)

2. David | November 8, 2010 10:34 AM
a. Ownership is a illusion. Q: an
b. resources ... has no limit Q: have
c. unsustaiable growth. Q: unsustainable
d. utitiy experts Q: utility
e. high maintaince Q: maintenance
f. that or border line Q: are
g. make a killing finacilly Q: financially

3. jammer | November 8, 2010 12:53 PM
a. an old Indean saying Q: Indian
b. someone whose sleeping Q: who's

4. djcrow22 | November 8, 2010 1:22 PM
close your accounts with ... BofA
Q: How many here think BofA won't be around 5 years from now if you move your money to the credit unions? raise your hands. You will be like suicide bombers who sacrifice themselves for the cause only to discover there are no Victoria's Secret-clad virgins waiting for them in heaven. You will just drive yourself crazy with administrative detail. It makes my head swim to think of all the banking arrangements: on-line bill pay, EZPass, on-line State and Fed'l income tax returns, pension direct deposits, SS direct deposits that I would have to RE-arrange for the miniscule pleasure of tweaking BofA's nose. No thanks, I'll let YOU do the tweaking for me.

5. RAW | November 8, 2010 3:38 PM

Jim, your writing has hit rock bottom. You could have boiled that diatribe down to a few coherent sentences and saved your readers valuable time, so they could get on to other blogs. Do you have a word quota? If not, then get to the point and shut up


Q: Wrong Raw, we are here as much for the artistry of Jim's writing as for the content.

6. Eleuthero | November 9, 2010 4:12 AM
That shipped already sailed.
Q: ship

7. Vlad Krandz replied to comment from Cavepainter | November 9, 2010 6:03 PM
In the America of Vlad's wishes "There are still rich and poor but the wealthy are constrained and in fact required to do what is best for the Nation."

Q: Vlad has struck upon the magic words that have drawn kudos from several other commenters (what Tripp has dubbed a "rare congruity") ... essentially that: wealthy = bad, poor = good. Vlad finally wised up by attacking (temporarily, I'm sure) the wealthy instead of da jooz and the blacks. In case you haven't noticed, there's a large contingent here at CFN who believe everyone should be "required to do what is best for the Nation." And fuck Ayn Rand and all her championing of the self. Unfortunately, Vlad, the protectionism you would like to see will no longer work. The world is too small. Water seeks the lowest level. The oceans are no longer an effective moat.

8. eightm - All posts

Q: I picture 8M seated in the lotus position on a beat up old metal table in the day room at the Greystone Asylum uttering his skyscrapers and singularities nonsense to a mid-double-digit IQ doofus who repeatedly tries to change the subject saying "tell me about the rabbits again George."

9. lbendet | November 10, 2010 8:36 AM
says to 8M: "Your writing in the last several hours have been right-on!"

Q: it's has and furthermore, if you think 8M's writing has been "right-on" you must be that other Greystone inmate mentioned above.

10. asoka replied to comment from CaptSpaulding | November 11, 2010 4:23 PM
today is ARMISTICE DAY, a day to celebrate the END OF WAR

Q; The dictionary definition of armistice is: a temporary suspension of hostilities by agreement of the warring parties (emphasis mine).

11. mika. | November 12, 2010 3:17 PM
I strongly disagree. People that hold that kind of shit in, die young of stress and cancer. Faggot!

Q: The profound utterings of CFN's very own misanthrope.

12. San Jose Mom 51 | November 12, 2010 9:18 PM
Once, I got an ear infection about 12 hours before a flight.

Q: Thanks Mom for sharing these interesting yarns about your various maladies and the placebo cures achieved via acupuncture.

13. LewisLucanBooks | November 13, 2010 1:35 PM
I was open 9 to 6 yesterday and didn't put a dime in my till.

Q: There are two problems Lew (as if I'm telling you something you don't already know): All print media businesses are hurting due to the internet and, second, the economy is in terrible shape ... despite Asoka's happy talk to the contrary. A few weeks or months ago you were lamenting a similar business day -- lots of people on the street but not a person crossed your threshhold (I believe those were your words). I told my wife about your post because she was experiencing something similar in her small business and we were silently empathizing. After 15 years in the same rented space she notified the landlord in August that she was pulling out (luckily she has always been on a month to month lease). We moved everything into the "sunporch" of our home where she has continued the business which is technically illegal due to zoning laws. I ended the business "officially" by processing the necessary on-line form to cease the remitting of state sales tax although unofficially she continues to operate. Business is waaay off from what it used to be but with no rent and utilities to pay she can actually make a few paltry bucks. And then there's my wife's brother. He's had a business for many years outfitting warehouses with steel racking. His biz is at a virtual standstill and frankly we have no idea how he's supporting himself. On top of everything his wife has terrible health problems: cancer, parkinson's, arthritis etc and we're amazed her employer has not fired her since she can barely function. At 63 years old, to look at her you'd think she was 90 and encased in a block of cement. Hunched over, slurred speech, can't hold a pencil in her right hand and she can barely move. So anyway, thank goodness this is merely anecdotal and, of course, Asoka is right: book sales are way up and Obama and Bernanke are doing a heckofa job ;-)

"Finally, one comment about olive oil. I learned that olive oil (and many other natural oils) is very sensitive to light and the air, and gets rancid very quickly with exposure to them. Oxygen is a very reactive element. Therefore, we should not leave an olive oil bottle opened for very long."

We solve this by buying large quantities (5 gallons) of olive oil in an airtight plastic bladder within a cardboard box. We keep a small bottle (an old Patron tequila bottle with cork stopper) in a dark cupboard to fill for general use in the kitchen. But then, between soap-making and lots of cooking from scratch, we go through about 10 gallons of organic extra virgin olive oil a year. And more every year as our customer base slowly grows.

5 gallons (more specifically, 35 lbs) of organic EVOO can be had for $109 at www.soaperschoice.com. The conventional option is $105...hard decision...

Man is the infinitely programmable machine: he (or it ?) can be programmed in any possible way, to act anyway at all, to execute any task, to associate any input to any output, to any emotion, reaction, feeling, etc. So we must program billions of people to respect large scale goals, build skyscrapers on Mars, build Empire like monuments across the universe, giant pyramids, giant clones of ancient Egypt, Greece - Athens - Rome - Maya and Aztec designs, etc.

And we can program billions to work 24 hours a day in factories and they will be constantly thrilled, and giant brains, and technological singularity minds, billions of miles of interstate highways across the oceans, bridges connecting planets, etc. And an Iron Fist Super Communist Dictatorship setting the goals, the machines will tell us the goals, they will be doing all our thinking and living and we will execute them all.

Instead we have this puny free market - capitalism myth and program in people's brains where greed is good, being better than the other is so important, ripoff your brother: only machines are better than us, only they shall command the Human Race.

Work is irrelevant, even by the 1960s we had so much excess productive capacity where millions of workers were essentially idle, just spinning their wheel, just pretending to work by some people creating stupid problems and others solving them in an infinite loop. And what did we do ? We went on to automate that little work that was left, now we have millions if not billions of people that don't have any real activity to perform, therefore they need a goal, they need real work big time, therefore the government has to hire millions to build Pyramids on Mars, trillions of skyscrapers, huge consumption and production of trillions of items, cars, jets, boats, computers, and Zeppelins on Jupiter and Saturn since they are gas - ocean planets.

We need people to believe in these goals, we must program their puny minds to excute this program, they will be happy and achieve their realization, matter wants to have fun,

MATTER WANTS TO EXPRESS ITSLEF AND WE HUMANS ARE MATTER'S SLAVES.

MATTER WANTS TO EXPRESS ITSELF AND WE HUMANS ARE MATTER'S SLAVES.

LOL. I see Q has made a reappearance. Back from Star Trek Universe (The Next Generation.) Those spelling and grammer errors must have been keeping him awake at night. Dad's back and he's wielding a BIG dictionary. With a copy of Strunk and White strapped to his hip. Oh, well. We all have our cross to bear...

RAW: Thanks for the insights into your life. Appreciated. More on that later. Ah, yes. The grey and black economy or market. It can be done with a little care. And, as things fall apart and there is less and less oversight. Have been dipping into Tainter's "The Collapse of Complex Societies." The Roman parts, mostly. Interesting. The rich retreated to their isolated country villas (and hid all the income they could) and stopped supporting any city / civic expenses. The artisan (middle) and lower classes occasionally threw themselves into the arms of the barbarians, just for a little tax relief.

Someone here (last week?) said that the government would be coming after my shinny silver dimes. My response was that I was sure a black market would develop and my shinny silver dime might buy me a loaf of bread (or two.)

Even tho I get down at the mouth, angry and resentful I also know (without getting all Bright Sided on you, thank you Barbara Ehrenreich) that somehow or another, I've always muddled through. Life careens off in strange directions and opportunities present themselves.

But I digress...

Those anecdotal things. I want to know what's going on "out there." How can I put this. When I meet people who have traveled around the US recently, I always ask "What's it like out there? Out there in America? What's it look like? What's going on?" So far, I haven't run across any really good observers. Recently, an elderly couple that come in my store went to Montana and swung down through the Southwest to California and then back north and home. What an odyssey for a couple of octogenarians. But they stayed at and moved from military base to military base.

Mother Jones' magazine webpage recently had a photo essay of one block of Detroit. It was a heartbreaker. One little circa 1900 arts and crafts bungalow after another. Abandoned, overgrown or burnt out. You could probably pick one up (or more) for the back taxes. But, I wonder if any utilities still exist for the block.

I liked what RAW had to say about his wife's business. Tripp contributes a lot to "what's going on out there" in his neck of the woods. His blog, too. I think I keep an eye on Trip as I recently discovered his journey is a lot like mine as far as you loose the job. Then the savings go. Then the retirement....

So, I'm going to start a little project, here. A letter from out here. So if you see a post from me that starts "A letter from out here.." either read along or just use that scroll button. It's probably in the lower right hand corner of your screen :-).

First post later on this afternoon will cover a brief history of the place, weather, typography, economy, etc. Tomorrow, or so, I'll describe my street. What I see out the window.

Last year, on our local newspapers forum I did a series of posts on my adventures with my first CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) box. Didn't get much comment, but sure did have a lot of readers.

RE: What's it like out there. Allow me to share a recent trip I made to Arlington, Virginia recently. I had to drive 5 hours to get there (fairly gruelling at my age.) Tried to take a Amtrac, but the cost was prohibitive. My destination was a small family reunion (there aren't a whole lot of folks left out there my age and over.)

This area, right outside of D.C. is totally insulated from the rest of the country. No "For Sale" signs, packed stores, crowded streets, well-heeled shoppers...you get my point. Upon returning to my own little hamlet, the streets were downtown were nearly deserted (this was about 9:00 P.M. on a Sunday. The vacant store front windows returned. I swear, I could almost imagine tumbleweeds roll down vacant streets. The "For Sale" signs all over the place, shops, condos, houses, etc. were exactly as I had left them nary a day or two earlier. Welcome home!

It is no wonder that Washington is so out of touch with the American scene. The whores that work for the government at all levels simply could not be any happier. All this while our fearless leader travels thru the country, talking about our "special relationships" with our "friends" in India, etc. And people ask me why I drink.

"All this while our fearless leader travels thru the country, talking about our "special relationships" with our "friends" in India, etc."

Sorry, I meant to say "travels throughout the world. Now that Q's back, gotta watch my back. Oh, and please forgive the two "weres" .

Other posters have been telling me for a long time to ignore Asoka.

I think the time has finally come, for me at least. Not for anything he said to me but for how he jumped into the discussion between Bean and Wage and Lew.

On Nov 13, at 1:35 Lew posts a comment wrt the difficulty of making a living in the book trade. At 3:21 pm Wage sympathizes, saying she's also had a go at it. Bean jumps with a sympathetic comment at 3:54 saying that, yes, the retail book trade is going down the crapper.

Then what happens? Here comes Asoka at 6:00 pm, triumphant, armed with a statistic:

"Adult Hardbound books showed healthy growth of 6.9%, $2.6 billion in 2009."

"Cold" as you say and asshole-ish at best.

So Asoka, what was the point you were trying to make? To what end? To make Lew and Wage feel worse? To make yourself feel superior? You say you're in your sixth decade? Bullshit, you sound like a turdish 18 year old. Grow the fuck up.

More people work for the "guvment" than in the private sector. We have too many idle people collecting money for some bs job they showed up for 25 years, with a small portion of tax payers carrying them on their backs. You really have to laugh at the lunacy...

The one thing I notice about him is his smugness in his presentations. The amount of self satisfaction comes through loud and clear. And no, he has no reluctance when it comes to jumping into others discussions, of course he's only pointing out the errors of others. smugly.

WRT sickness, I found that when I took the subway to work I'd get a brutal ear and respiratory infection once or twice each winter. But for three years I worked in an office where I never took the subway to get to work and I never got sick once. Maybe because of a barrage of gunk and germs standing in sardine-can trains. Immune system always under severe assault. A few times when I was sick with these infections I went to the doctor who would prescribe antibiotics. But they did no good. What helps is Jewish penicillin: chicken soup prefereably home-made. Lessens your misery and quickens recovery. At least that's what I found.

Arsenal 2 - Everton 1 We're back in 2nd - Hurray for us! I just watched a Serie A match, Palermo vs Catania. An Argentine playing for Palermo, 21 years old named Pastore, scored 3 goals. Great talent, I wonder if Wenger has his eyes on him. Interesting thing, 13 games in and only 6 points separate Birmingham in 18th and Bolton in 5th. New age of Premier League parity? Nah, no way.

Q old bud, I had a feeling you'd come back. How's the reading going?

Richard Heinberg has an excellent new book out called "The End of Growth". An excerpt is posted on Energy Bulletin. It describes the feedback loop of our collapsing economy and energy depletion that we discuss here and I thought I'd pass it along:

http://www.energybulletin.net/stories/2010-11-12/end-growth


from the article:
•The depletion of important resources including fossil fuels and minerals;
•The proliferation of environmental impacts arising from both the extraction and use of resources (including the burning of fossil fuels)—leading to snowballing costs from both these impacts themselves and from efforts to avert them and clean them up; and
•Financial disruptions due to the inability of our existing monetary, banking, and investment systems to adjust to both resource scarcity and soaring environmental costs—and their inability (in the context of a shrinking economy) to service the enormous piles of government and private debt that have been generated over the past couple of decades.

MyrtleMay; Your post reminded me of a dream I had years ago. I remember it because, though it was short, it was vivid. I'm looking out the window of my store, out onto Tower Avenue. No people. No cars. The windows are empty, dusty, some boarded up. Weeds grow in the crack of the pavements and in the gutters. A totally desolate scene.

This morning when I opened just before 10 a.m., there was not a single car parked on this side of Tower.

Please continue with your editing. If you would post more often, then you wouldn't have such a long list of corrections.

I think it's just terrible, the amount of work Q must do. :)

It's rotten work, but someone's gotta do it.

Cavepainter - that was a great post, one of those that makes me think. Thank you!

You say:
“Racist” is the charge that the Left seems to have proprietarily claimed."

I'm disgusted with the Left, too. And I've spent most of my life arguing, voting, and campaigning for traditional left issues.

The right sux, too, just for different doctrines.

But "racist," that's a word loaded at both ends of the political spectrum.

Did any of you CFN'ers catch the BushII interview related to his new book.
(quotes capture the essence, but are paraphrased)

Interviewer: "What was the worst thing that happened in your presidency?

BushII: "Katrina."

Interviewer:" Why Katrina" And any logical person is waiting for a response related to suffering, preparation, "Brownie, you're doing a fine job"

BushII:"People said I was a racist."

Interviewer:"So the worst thing that happened in your presidency was that people were calling you a name?"

BushII "yes"

In reference to your earlier post,isn't the name of this blog so appropriate, Clusterfuck Nation? If I had a lower tolerance for alcohol I'd be drunk constantly (I do like my Stoly's). If I were on the Titanic, I'd be the guy sitting on my lounge chair with a drink in my hand watching the poor slobs scurrying around like ants on fire trying to get off, and I would be rip-roaring laughing.

Great roundup. Of course you're right about this crowd. They feel uncomfortable about my views, so they mentally edit me. As for your comment - how do you think these other countries have been dealing with us? America is at the top of the list for selling out its own people so a few people can make money. Protectionism? My dear man, that's what real Nations DO. Would you join a club that didn't confer any benefits; where the club dues were all spent for the supposed benefit of non club members but really so the club officers could gain influence and contracts abroad? Such a club in the United States and such a membership is the sad estate that citizenship has fallen to here.

I saw parts of 2 Fox interviews with W, O'Reilly's and Hannity's. I couldn't stand watching them for the duration. O'Reilly's was X-rated: He seemed to have an orgasm interviewing the ex-prez. Hannity's was a religious experience, as he was worshiping W. In the O'Reilly interview, Bush seemed relaxed, at peace and very affable. He talked a good game, but I don't believe his sincerity; he's an alcoholic and probably's used to lying to himself. Or he's just too dumb to feel badly about what he did as president; although I think he isn't dumb.

Your comment made me laugh! So true! But seriously, I have to tone down my opinions because sometimes when I discuss our (American) situation, I find people feeling crushed. Now, I'm sure there are plenty of you CFN'ers out there who talk the same as me regarding Peak Oil, and a lot of you are accurately (and rightly) preaching Jim's message. I try to temper my rhetoric (outside of this blog) and converse more socratically. I certainly don't want to come off as some Know-it-all old bitch getting off on telling everybody what's wrong with the freaking world. But I do know this: People are scared...I mean really confused and uncertain. Sometimes it's hard for me to be honest with them and say, like everybody's mom always did, "Things are gonna turn out swell! You just button up your overcoat, when the wind is free, and take good care of yourself. You belong to me!"

I've got kids and grandkids. I hope that what small pittance I leave them will tide them over for a while. Strength, courage, and stamina is something I wish I could leave them. Alas, these things I cannot provide, and therefore, cannot leave for them. This is a shame. For they will surely need a good dose of resolve to weather this catastrophic storm. Full speed ahead, captain, full speed ahead!

Well said.

A Letter from Out Here...

I came here in1981. Portland, Oregon is my hometown. After a pin ball existence of Seattle, Southern California, back to Portland, I landed here. I came here to manage a B. Dalton Bookstore. The smallest in the whole chain. I was also beginning my final descent into alcoholism. I didn't ride that elevator to the sub-basement, but damned near. Much to my surprise, I was ready for a small town. But, I digress....

Lewis County is half way between Portland and Seattle. About 30 minutes by freeway (I-5) south of the state capitol, Olympia. Named for the Lewis of the Lewis and Clark expedition. Sometimes called the Mother County as it used to be enormous and other counties were lopped off of it.

Centralia is the largest town with about 17,000 people. Chehalis, the county seat, is right next door with 10,000. Twin cities. All other town in the county are smaller. Much, much smaller. Centralia was founded by a black man named George Washington. Not to be confused with George Washington Busch who founded Tumwater just slightly north of us.

A short excursion into race in Lewis County. It's a bit hard to dig out of the records but just south of here is a little town called Winlock. At one time, it was pretty much a black run community. The sheriff, postmaster and teachers were all black. In the early 1900s, the schools there were integrated and there was at least one integrated church. These were railroad workers who liked the area and sent for their families.

All gone now. One hears that they all headed off to the shipyards to work during WWII. Plausible. That's what lured my grandparents all the way out from Minnesota during the same time period. But there was a very active Klan here in the 1920s. A friend proudly showed me his grannie's family bible with her KKK bookmark.

We have a couple of reservations around the the Native Americans seem to be doing ok. They climbed on the casino bandwagon and the Rez is pretty nice. The money goes into their housing, health care and kids.

The old families may deny a Hispanic presence here, but I know several 3d generation families. The Catholic church has several masses in Spanish and the AA Club has 3 or 4 meetings in Spanish. The north end of Tower has several Spanish businesses and it's becoming our little barrio. Mexican gang activity has spilled over the mountains from Yakima on occasion, but the powers that be have pretty much put a lid on it.

The east county is the Cascade mountain range. Mt. St. Helens, that great old volcano is not in this county, but just to the south. The western part of the county is the Willipa Hills. In between are fertile river valleys. Everywhere are rivers, steams and creeks. This has caused a lot of flooding problems. We have had something like 5 five 500 year floods in the last 15 years.

Of course, the basic 'water coming out of the sky' due to climate change is the problem. But the continuing filling in of wetland (for the Walmart, the K-Mart, Walgreens, etc.) hasn't helped. The last major flooding event (one of those were farmer's stand stranded on their roofs and have to listen to their herds of cows bellowing and drowning in their barns) had an incredible amount of water coming out of the sky, compounded with a clear cut hillside that slid to temporarily block a river and then...

Of course, you can't say much about the clearcut around here as logging is sacrosanct. All hail the mighty Timber Beast. There used to be a lot of coal mining around here. Farming. Dairy. Hop farms. Mostly gone or greatly diminished.

It's a very conservative Republican place where people generally vote against their own best interests. Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck are gods here and Hilary Clinton, Janet Reno and Nancy Pelosi are the devil incarnate. Judging from the last election the old boy network here is intact. The official unemployment rate is around 10% but the actual is probably more like 20%. Every week brings more business failures. This week a jewelry store that has been here for more than 30 years. Last week a produce processing plant. The week before that a dollar store.

The murder rate here has hit an all time high. 7 this year so far. One was a burglar prowling around some guys place after dark. Another was a young man of 16 from a trailer park out in the east part of the county. The killer has been caught but as more details are revealed it's like a script from an episode of Jerry Springer. Three of the murders involved a drug deal / debts gone bad. Unfortunate that another 16 year old bit the dust in that one. Anther convoluted tale. Apparently friends of the 16 year old stole (drug?) money from his father. An enforcer was called in to extort the money back, thus incurring a debt from the enforcer's boss that led to ... 3 people dead.

Speaking of drugs, there has not been a single meth lab bust this year. That seems to have crested as better product is apparently being brought in from outside. Disturbing is the number of arrests for heroin in the sirens section of the paper. A new development.

Centralia was always the party town of choice back in the old days. All the houses of prostitution were here. Chehalis seemed to keep it's skirts clean. I mention that because even though there are things I find wonderful about Centralia (the way the sunset light hits the bricks of the old buildings like a Hopper painting) there is something mean, small, nasty and perhaps even cursed about Centralia.

Perhaps it all began when there was that shot out between the International Workers of the World (IWW) and the marching vets on the first Veteran's Day after WWI. A union hall wrecked, shots fired and three vets (or so) dead. One Wobbly was removed from the jail that night by a lynch mob, castrated and hung from a bridge. The body was not cut down for two days. The rest of the Wobblys served long sentences.

Enough. Next up, what I see from my window.

"Other posters have been telling me for a long time to ignore Asoka."

"...cold and ass-holeish..."

"A gatekeeper"

Infernally hard to ignore a poster who knows everything about everything, however, I must say.

Here are things that get a visceral response from Asoka:
1. Anything anti-muslim
2. Anything pro-US military
3. Anything pro-western culture
4. Anything favoring US border security
and this last one is sort of strange -
5. Anything in favor of dogs as pets or guardians

Beyond that he likes to argue, keeping up the count of CFN posts for any particular week. Thus he can jump into any discussion - wiggers, bookstores, the Clinton wedding - you name it - as a completely expert gatekeeper.

I have a theory. Of course conjectures are "unseemly."

I've decided to approach Asoka's posts as those of a Pakistani (or other majority Muslim country) national OR as someone paid by the post by JHK to keep up the dialog on CFN. ($1.00/post?? plus free English lessons and free US culture lessons??)

When you really READ the guy week after week he lacks consistency.

And I can scroll. Works for me!

Cash, exactly. I have chosen to (ordinarily) ignore the moron because it is pointless to debate with someone who refuses to even acknowledge the points I make. And besides, he really only spews on the keyboard so he can see his own type. But I understand completely what you are talking about. As messianicdruid said, forecasts are not facts, and asshats like Asoaka usually only serve to spike the conversation with attempts to make himself look good, while obfuscating the issue with his ridiculous "facts," which only confuses the issue for those people who may be genuinely new to the discussion.

How's the reading going?
========

Great. I'm in the middle of a book containing Moliere's 7 greatest plays. I'm currently reading one called The Miser. I have not mentioned to my wife that I'm reading a play with that title because I know already what she would say ...... "how fitting."

Hmm,..

Our Jihadi "Buddhist" is having a bad karma day. PC, you might be right about its Paki/East Indian origins. That also explains the myriad of internal contradictions in its lines of arguments. I call it an 'it', 'cause I'm not even sure it's a male or female. The more I read its writings, the more I lean towards a really faggody faggot, or an outright female pretending to be otherwise.

"and this last one is sort of strange -
5. Anything in favor of dogs as pets or guardians"

ProCon, I busted out laughing when I saw that. Priceless! :)

I cannot wait until you get to "The Misanthrope"!

Thank you Asoka. I love you when everyone hates you and hate you when everyone loves you.

I love your idea about everyone voting including children. They're so pure and good. But why stop there? Why not have infants vote? They could do it by drooling over the name they choose. And what about animals? Surely you're not a speciesits? Dogs and cats could get their paws inked just like the Iraquis do with their finger. They could indicate their choice by walking on a long scroll that has all the canidates names. Where they stop would be their vote. There's no reason insects couldn't choose in the same way. Thus Democracy merges into the ancient science of Augury.
For those who worry about the reality of this, whether animals can really choose, I reply why speak up now? Most people aren't inormed either but you have no problem. As Asoka might say, your fears are just speiciesism, a type of racism. Yes Racism. Tremble you cowards.

"And not only could the Mafia run the counrry better but the courts in particular. Do you think Bernie Madoff would have been found yet? Do you think they would still be stealing our money via Wall St? "

Geez, just who do you thing IS running this country?

It IS the freaking Maffia, don't you get it?

Do you think the Old Dons kids are running rackets like the old dayz?

No, they all were packed off to Wharton to get an edumactions, and get legit jobs on Wall St.

But they fell into the same old habits, that Three Card Monti Ponzi crap just must be in the blood.
Oh, but they took it world wide, and still managed to escape any prosecution. Dad's luving it....
No wonder they dumped Las Vegas off on the Rubes, Wall St was so much better.

Agreed, Bill

I listen to talk radio sporadically when I have to be out in traffic. So I keep up without really having to listen.

And after 8 endless soul-destroying years of Hannity saying:
"Support the President."
"Respect the office of the President."
"Support the commander in chief"

I was disgusted enough to finally stop listening to Hannity for good this Wednesday.

"The Failure in Chief," his term of disrespect concerning Obama, finally got to me.

I wonder if Hannity's ratings will go down since I no longer listen - no matter how bad the traffic and how bad I need a traffic report.

Yeah... I know... I've had to swallow my tongue and cover my wrinkly old face from revealing the (red-faced)shame I feel for ever having voted for that //////....you fill in the blank. Go ahead. Fill it in with all of the 'n's, 'f's 's's and what ever y'all will. I'm outta here sooo soon.

I cannot wait until you get to "The Misanthrope"!
==========

Already read it. That's how I recognized Mika as CFN's very own misanthrope.

Great, now I have to read that damn book. Thanks, Q!

Btw, Q, any particular neurosis you care to describe for yourself?

Weird thing is - my politics have always been pretty far to the left.

I voted for Gore. I voted for Kerry.
I pretty much hated everything the BushII did to us.
He was conservative when I wanted him to be liberal.
He was liberal when I wanted him to be conservative.

So I voted for Obama.

And now, I have no problem admitting that was a mistake.

Yet some of my conservative friends still can not admit that Bush presidency was an unmitigated disaster.

Some jackass reading this will point to me and say, "See, liberals have no principals."

Doesn't matter much anyway. Georgia is going to go for the Republican presidential candidate come Hell or High Water. My vote truly does not count, for that reason.

What a fouled up system we have.

any particular neurosis you care to describe for yourself?
===========
How about pedantry? Or, if they have a name for "easily annoyed" or "unable to suffer fools" that would be me.

Hmm,..

How many carrots are packing in your back pocket? Maybe you should try bananas instead?

Vlad, interesting observation:

"...you're right about this crowd. They feel uncomfortable about my views, so they mentally edit me."

I was one of several who complimented you on your post earlier this week.

I agree that the Founding Fathers would have been dismayed at the emphasis on rights without *Duty.*

I'm now responding from memory, but I've gotta ask, where should "duty" be expressed or required today?

How about required national service?
You've already come out against Obama's service Corps, so what should national service look like?

I think what resonated with most posters was that, plus your idea that companies that outsource should go offshore completely, including CEO's moving to China or wherever.

Finally, you said fascism is too centrally controlled for US tastes, but that what we really need is something where "the essence would be the same." as fascism (from memory)

I was surprised no one called you on that. Definition of fascism is rule by a right wing, military and authority based elite.

I don't think that squares with your view that the founding fathers were opposed to maintaining a large standing army.

I have expressed an opinion that the US may well descend to a type of corporate sponsored fascism.

I do not see that as a good thing.
Do you agree or disagree?

And what should we do about it?

To Pro,
Don't we already have corporate sponsored fascism in this country? A permanent war and armaments driven economy run by a right wing (one party with two heads) elite? Sorry to butt in; I couldn't resist.
N.

Mika,
As several posters have suggested, you really need to find some different insults.

"the more I lean towards a really faggody faggot, or an outright female pretending to be otherwise."

After a few weeks of this, thoughtful persons begin to suspect that you are overcompensating for something, or fearful of something.

I may not care much for the person you are attacking based on his inconsistent arguments - but he is definitely male, IMO.

And I'm really not sure why "outright female" is supposed to be an insult.

Inright female?
Outright male?
Are those insults, too?

Tripp
That's great you've gone three years without being sick.
It may well BE your new diet, seriously.

You're a scientist, so I know you've considered other possibilities, but I'll point them out for other readers:
1. Less stress overall
2. Less contact with sick people in general

I've always had a relatively bulletproof immune system myself. But having a grandkid (germ factory?) in day care in a new community is exposing me to some new germs that are forcing me to mount an immune response. (In other words, the kid keeps making me sick. ;-) ) But I'll get over it.

Anyway, glad its working out for you and glad your presentation went well.

Not at all, Neck, butt away. I actually thought of that when I posted.

"Don't we already have corporate sponsored fascism in this country?"

You can make a good case that we do.

But I can make a important counter-argument that right now participation in "corporate sponsored fascism" is voluntary.

As I've been saying this week, I fear in the future this might become involuntary.

And some percentage of our fellow citizens will be happier when this happens - and are actively pushing for it as we speak - whether they know it or not.

Not me.

PC, you should already know better. And no, I'll keep at it 'til you get tired of asking. And then I'll keep at it some more. That's just the way I am when I have an agenda.

I'm not asking - more suggesting.

I would like to hear why you think interjecting sexual orientation into a discussion that has nothing to do with that question is a helpful thing to do.

And you are not the only poster I have seen who thinks calling someone female is a most egregious insult.

You might explain to us why you feel this way.

Dr. Sigmund is ready.

Its all about the paper. They make it up. They say its worth a lot. They fuck us over with it.

However, some of the fuckers, are fucking with fuckees that have considerable power.

To know our future, you need to know what the legal points surrounding the fuckers paper has over the fuckees.

This is how wars start, but more importantly, its how NASCAR and reality TV becomes unaffordable.

Now that's an act of war.....

Capn, Jack says: If you don't use a rifle, you won't be heard.

You might explain to us why you feel this way.
==

I don't. That's your interpretation, Sigmund. But as I said, I have my agenda.

On one level at least it's already involuntary. If you have to pay income tax, and over half of that goes to fund the so called defense industry, then that support is compulsory.

I'd be interested in how you see things playing out so that the situation relative to now becomes involuntary.

N.

Neckflames, you have put your finger on why I say the United States is a military dictatorship. Over half the discretionary spending goes to the so called defense industry and has increased so much (especially under Bush) that it has destroyed the USA economy. Here are some stats:

** $453 billion - the average annual defense budget for the nine years before Clinton took office.

** $377 billion - the average annual defense budget during Clinton's time in office, a 16.7% decrease.

** $496 billion - the average annual defense budget during Bush's time in office, a whopping 31% increase not even including the campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan, which are largely funded through supplementals not included in the official defense budget.

Many of the so called deficit hawks who want to "cut spending" will not even consider defense cuts.

American militarism mistakenly believes in the effectiveness of mass killing of people (who are not even our enemies). As Rumsfeld once said, "we are creating more terrorists than we are killing" through our cowboy contractors and armed forces foreign policy.

The USA military is destroying the nation domestically through hogging the budget, and is making the country less safe through its war crimes (Fallujah, Abu Graib, etc.) and slaughter of civilians, resulting in the creation of more people like Bin Laden (remember him?) determined to destroy the USA.

REWORDING
American militarism mistakenly believes in the effectiveness of mass killing of people (people who are not even our enemies).

But our penchant for violence is not working.

As Rumsfeld once admitted, "we are creating more terrorists than we are killing" through our cowboy contractors and armed forces foreign policy.

Wow, I had wondered with a certain degree of regret if you had not had a heart attack or stroke brought about by stress associated with this compulsion to correct people's grammar and punctuation, and that is why you had not posted on this blog. And now you are back at it.

sure

obstinance
meets patience
hammer breaks anvil
joy be
CFN


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