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Ho ho ho! It’s that time of year again. Here’s JHK’s holiday classic: A Christmas Orphan.

11-year-old Jeff Greenaway hears his mom and dad argue one night after an office Christmas party. He infers from their garbled squabble that he is an orphan, found in a willow basket on the welcome mat outside their New York apartment. Thinking now that his parents are imposters, he steals away to Grand Central Station and buys a train ticket to Drakesville, Vermont, where he intends to start life all over again.
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Dead Nation Walking

M any people seem to think that America has lost its sense of purpose. They overlook the obvious: that we are striving to become the Bulgaria of the western hemisphere. At least we already have enough vampires to qualify.

You don’t have to seek further than the USA’s sub-soviet-quality passenger railroad system, which produced the spectacular Philadelphia derailment last week that killed eight people and injured dozens more. Six days later, we’re still waiting for some explanation as to why the train was going 100 miles-per-hour on a historically dangerous curve within the city limits.

The otherwise excellent David Stockman posted a misguided blog last week that contained all the boilerplate arguments denouncing passenger rail: that it’s addicted to government subsidies and that a “free market” would put it out of its misery because Americans prefer to drive and fly from one place to another.

One reason Americans prefer to drive — say, from Albany, NY, to Boston — is that there is only one train a day, it never leaves on time or arrives on time, and it takes twice as long as a car trip for no reason that makes any sense. Of course, this is exactly the kind of journey ( slightly less than 200 miles) that doesn’t make sense to fly, either, given all the dreary business of getting to-and-from the airports, not to mention the expense of a short-hop plane ticket.

I take the popular (and gorgeous!) Hudson River Amtrak train between Albany and New York several times a year because bringing a car into Manhattan is an enormous pain in the ass. This train may have the highest ridership in the country, but it’s still a Third World experience. The heat or the AC is often out of whack, you can’t buy so much as a bottle of water on the train, the windows are gunked-over, and the seats are often broken. They put wifi on trains a couple of years ago but it cuts out every ten minutes.

Anyway, even if Americans seem to prefer for the present moment to drive or fly, it may not always be the case that they will be able to. Several surprising forces are gathering to take down the Happy Motoring matrix. Peak oil is actually not playing out in the form of too-high gasoline prices, but rather a race between a bankrupt middle class unable to pay the total costs of motoring and an oil industry that can’t make a profit drilling for hard-to-get oil. That scenario is plain to see in the rapid rise and now fall of shale oil.

Nowhere on earth is there passenger rail that pays for itself. But, of course, you don’t hear anyone complain about the public subsidies for driving or air travel. Who do you think pays for the interstate highway system? What major airport is privately owned and operated?

Some of the decisions made over our rail system are so dumb you wonder how the executives on board ever got their jobs. For instance the train between New York City and Chicago never runs on time for the simple reason that Amtrak sold the right-of-way to the CSX freight line. CSX then tore up the second track because there was an antiquated state real estate tax on railroad tracks. As a result, freight trains have priority on the single track and the passenger trains have to pull over on sidings every time a freight needs to go by. Earth calling the New York state legislature. Rescind the stupid tax.

America is going to need trains more than it thinks right now, despite what the “free market” says. The condition of our trains is symptomatic of the shape of the nation. The really sad part is we missed the window of opportunity to build a high-speed system. Capital will soon be too scarce for that. But we still have a conventional network that not so many decades ago was the envy of the world, and we know exactly how to fix it. We just don’t want to. No will left. Apparently we’d rather just turn into the walking dead.

Note: JHK’s 2014 Garden Report is finally up

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Kunstler skewers everything from kitsch to greed, prejudice, bloodshed, and brainwashing in this wily, funny, rip-roaring, and profoundly provocative page- turner, leaving no doubt that the prescriptive yet devilishly satiric A World Made by Hand series will continue.” — Booklist

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About James Howard Kunstler

View all posts by James Howard Kunstler
James Howard Kunstler is the author of many books including (non-fiction) The Geography of Nowhere, The City in Mind: Notes on the Urban Condition, Home from Nowhere, The Long Emergency, and Too Much Magic: Wishful Thinking, Technology and the Fate of the Nation. His novels include World Made By Hand, The Witch of Hebron, Maggie Darling — A Modern Romance, The Halloween Ball, an Embarrassment of Riches, and many others. He has published three novellas with Water Street Press: Manhattan Gothic, A Christmas Orphan, and The Flight of Mehetabel.

408 Responses to “Dead Nation Walking” Subscribe

  1. christiangustafson May 18, 2015 at 9:22 am #

    This post is useless to me.

    Why aren’t you reviewing the all-new redesigned Chevy Camaro and comparing it to the updated Ford Mustang?

    • WannaBleave May 18, 2015 at 3:42 pm #

      ROFLMAO… before reading Mr. Kunstler’s weekly, I read the Camaro coverage at USA Today, Autoblog and Autoextremist. It’s like you were reading my mind! I know the end of motoring is pending, but I still love cars!

  2. Brabantian May 18, 2015 at 9:29 am #

    For us Europeans one of the most astonishing things about Yank USA is its inability to do simple necessary things such as railways, public transport, or national health insurance … without turning it into an inhuman disaster.

    For much of Europe, public transport & railways are a great and inexpensive pleasure, while motorcars are mere toys here. We wisely made petrol much more expensive, we kept our cities liveable, & we have low-price monthly & yearly passes in cities that let us ride all public transport for free as much as we want.

    The USA is uniquely awful in these respects … was it all perhaps a kind of lab experiment to see how far the US empire oligarchs, could debase the living conditions of their own people?

    • seawolf77 May 18, 2015 at 9:36 am #

      Excellent post. You are right. An expensive go-cart, a toy is all an automobile is. There is no greater rite of passage in America then getting your drivers license, and that is just plain sad. God what I would not have given to have grown up and now to live in a walkable city. Walk to the store. Walk to the pub. Take the train to work. God it sounds like heaven, but its just Europe isn’t it?

      • Lorenzo May 26, 2015 at 11:39 pm #

        “God what I would not have given to have grown up and now to live in a walkable city. Walk to the store. Walk to the pub. Take the train to work.”

        You could have had that experience in any city of the Soviet Bloc until about 10 years after the breakup, by which time anyone who could figure out how to get his hands on a car had one.

        Or, pretty much anyplace in America until after WWII.

        • Lorenzo May 26, 2015 at 11:40 pm #

          Well, perhaps not in Russia, but pretty much the rest of the old Stalinist Empire.

    • Paulo May 18, 2015 at 9:42 am #

      Brab..

      It is more like, “nobody is going to tell me how to live”, even as a rail against an improved lifestyle. (pun intended).

      I remember years ago attempting to haul out a faller with a crushed pelvis. He was so mangled a search and rescue helo had to winch him out of the bush and off the hill. The next day I was back in camp and listened, amazed at his partner going on about “The Union”, and how he worked in a non-union camp so he wouldln’t have to put up with such bullshit. I thought to myself, “let’s see, we just hauled out your crushed partner because you didn’t even have a stretcher in camp, let alone a first aid attendent. And you don’t want a Union”.

      So like America and how she rejects planning.

      You can’t fix stupid, the saying goes.

    • Being There May 18, 2015 at 9:42 am #

      It’s all about the ideology of austerity against all things govt and the people it’s supposed to serve.

    • Neon Vincent May 18, 2015 at 10:19 am #

      Every semester, I show “The End of Suburbia” to my students. Our host’s comment about the U.S. having “a rail system the Bulgarians would be ashamed of” usually goes right over their heads; they’re more worried about what peak oil will do to roads and cars. One semester, I had a woman from Bulgaria in class. She was offended by that comment. “In Bulgaria, we have good trains!” She also described how good the streetcars are. She didn’t realize that she was making our host’s point for him instead of rebutting him.

      I also feel sorry for our host when he takes the train into NYC. I used to take the train from Detroit to Chicago for much the same reasons, and I could at least buy dinner and a beer in the cafeteria car. However, the same problem, that the tracks belong to CSX, so their freight trains have priority, applies. I’ve often wished that Amtrak had a designated track for passenger rail; I got tired of waiting for freight trains to pass.

      Speaking of getting people out of cars, the week just past had two days for it. May 9th was National Train Day, a day set aside by Amtrak to commemorate the driving of the Golden Spike that completed the first transcontinental railroad. The day also exists to spread information about the advantages of rail travel. I don’t know if our host knew about the occasion, but he’s doing his part. Also, last Friday was Bike to Work Day. That got more notice. Here in Detroit, there were five organized group rides from the suburbs to downtown. In addition, the number of people commuting by bike in Michigan has increased 69% since 2000.

      As for our host’s comment on Americans becoming “The Walking Dead,” people will have to wait a month or two for their zombie fix when “Fear The Walking Dead” debuts. Until then, they can get another take on a post-apocalyptic world in Mad Max: Fury Road, which had a lovely weekend, coming in second at the box office. The movie got a lot of critical praise for its artistic use of action, great performances, and exploration of themes as diverse as feminism, resource use, and the place of the individual in society. Yes, it’s a serious film in the middle of driving across the Outback and blowing things up. Just the same, it shows how Americans (and Australians) have difficulty imagining a future where one is unable to drive, peak oil not withstanding.

      • Petro May 18, 2015 at 11:13 am #

        I’ve had decent experiences on the train, and had awful experiences. The last time we took the Detroit-Chicago route, I swore, “never again.” Coming back took EIGHT HOURS, and that was after a two hour wait crammed in that miserable, dirty, claustrophobia-inducing underground gate area. It seems we could have walked back to Detroit in less time.

    • Pogo May 18, 2015 at 10:43 am #

      Yes, Barbantian, “The USA is uniquely awful in these respects …

      But you must understand our deep seated irrational fear of anything that smacks of Socialism. This is a remnant of the Cold War we can’t seem to shake off.

      As pointed out by JHK and others, ALL public transportation is subsidized.

      I experienced the thrill of riding the S-Bahn is Frankfurt during my one and only trip to Germany in 1989 and was impressed with the welded rails (quiet), electric power (quiet and clean) and overall efficiency. In short, I was envious and wondered why we in USA can’t have such wonderful urban trains.

      • sprezzatura May 18, 2015 at 11:32 am #

        If the rails are welded, how do they not warp when the heat expands them?

        BTW I’m all for a better rail system.

        • baldski May 18, 2015 at 5:13 pm #

          They just weld the top 6 mm. of the rail juncture and grind it flat. Thus no clicking of wheels. Japan has been doing it for over 50 years. Also concrete ties instead of wood. That’s why the Shinkansen can go 200 mph.

      • GutenbergGuy May 18, 2015 at 1:32 pm #

        In fact, ALL transportation is subsidized in the US. The passenger vehicle receives the largest amount of dollars per passenger mile, the privately owned airlines come in somewhere a bit lower, as does the trucking industry, and at the bottom of the heap is actual public transportation. This “communistic” service, already meagerly funded, saw funding slashed by Ronald Reagan. He also delayed this country’s research into alternative energy resources and set us up for all of this.

        Oh, and we also pay the pensions of many, if not most, of the US airlines.

        The SF Bay Area, as i keep saying, is already a traffic nightmare, and with millions more people expected to live here in a few short years the insanity of the “Happy Motoring” mentality keeps me off the roads.

        Re: The accident in Philadelphia – I only saw part of a news story but it sounded like the authorities were looking at this as a possible terrorist attack. I am not at all surprised.

        Finally, do not expect to hear a single word about this in the 2016 presidential campaign.

      • Frankiti May 20, 2015 at 10:30 am #

        Not sure if I agree. The US actually led the way with railroads, light rail and electric trolley cars. However this was when the US built grid form villages that offered pedestrian mobility (ability to walk to retail, municipal services, train stations etc. Now people want to be located nowhere near gathering points. When roughly 2+ generations are inculcated in a car dependent lifestyle they are reluctant to change. When you build exurban subdivisions sprinkled with “office parks” and not villages, its hard to see where rail becomes a convenience and not a nuisance. Until we again build villages and versions of rail become an obvious convenience we are doomed to getting into car, driving on connector road, going to target, getting in car driving across giant lot to kroger… etc. Until it is communicated that nobody is saying that you can’t have a car, only that you won’t be absolutely dependent on it, people will buck. When I lived in Portland, I walked to work, used my european shopping trolley for groceries, and only used my car on the weekends to get into the wilderness (of all things). However, cities like Portland are rare… and special. We know this, but paradoxically reject them. They are places to visit. Charleston, Savannah, Annapolis, etc… walkable towns frozen in time, a novelty that draws millions, yet we choose to live in bland subdivisions. Absurd.

    • 99 cent nation May 18, 2015 at 11:36 am #

      Brabantian; What’s more to say. I am just relaxing and watching the Great Idea that never was implode. Oh wait we have another election coming up with those that love lying to the zombie masses with the promise to fix everything meanwhile protecting us from ourselves. This country is so pathetic and meanwhile we bow down to the great got Apple and wall street. In one word pure puke.

      • GutenbergGuy May 18, 2015 at 1:36 pm #

        We should just ignore them – at our peril, I know. But since they think it’s just entertainment why not turn it into something like the box office crash of a summer blockbuster and just stay home and wait for the DVD release?

    • Florida Power May 18, 2015 at 1:35 pm #

      B writes “motorcars are mere toys here.” And to think that the height of snobbery in the auto-addicted USA is to drive one of those mere toys — Mercedes, BMW, Ferrari, etc etc etc. Yep, you F1 Euros have sure outfoxed us NASCAR dumbbells over here in hickville. The irony, the irony…

      • GutenbergGuy May 18, 2015 at 1:40 pm #

        Indeed! One part I really love: BMW’s are made in that great enlightened state, North Carolina! Very clever of those trade unionist Germans to go for cheap labor in the Jim Crow South! I am sure they are not at all surprised at the condition of our transportation infrastructure.

        • Florida Power May 18, 2015 at 5:10 pm #

          What — there are “Colored Only” assembly stations at the BMW plant? And they aren’t referring to automobiles?

          • GutenbergGuy May 18, 2015 at 5:38 pm #

            Certainly not. Just pay attention to NC and what is happening there. And in much of the South. It’s not that subtle.

          • Florida Power May 19, 2015 at 6:44 am #

            Last time NC was in the racial news the Duke Lacrosse team was exonerated for boorish behavior. Perhaps I have been distracted by events in the enlightened North, or West.

    • Bill Pilgrim May 18, 2015 at 2:25 pm #

      The greatest ‘crime of the century’ in the US was not a mass murder or kidnapping or huge bank swindle, it was the systematic dismantling and destruction last mid-century of efficient rail mass transit systems in cities and metropolitan areas around the country by a consortium of fossil fuel, tire, and auto companies. A colossal percentage of the infrastructure, financial, environmental and even psychological crises that are hammering the nation can be traced back to that program.

      • seawolf77 May 18, 2015 at 3:09 pm #

        Very true. They knew then that traffic would get so bad that people would say to hell with it and take public transportation, unless they couldn’t because there was no public transportation worth taking. I think it poignant that Lee Harvey Oswald was the only assassin in history to use public transportation in his getaway.

      • Neon Vincent May 18, 2015 at 11:13 pm #

        “The greatest ‘crime of the century’ in the US was…the systematic dismantling and destruction last mid-century of efficient rail mass transit systems in cities and metropolitan areas around the country by a consortium of fossil fuel, tire, and auto companies.”

        Welcome to the kernel of truth at the heart of “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?” I call the story Judge Doom and the Red Car.

    • vanderzee May 20, 2015 at 8:31 pm #

      There is plenty of room for improvement in US public transportation, but it’s important to understand that public transportation only works on high-density routes. Europe has 4 times the population density of the US, which presents an inherent challenge for all forms of US public transportation, especially passenger rail. Americans have predominantly chosen space over close-company, which was one of the reasons many of our ancestors immigrated from Europe.

      Both freight and passenger rail offer economy of scale. Most US passenger rail routes don’t have the passenger demand to support the frequent schedules, much less their own track. So Amtrak compromises by buying slots on freight railroads. The 2 operations are very different, and don’t mingle well with operations or engineering.

      Maybe we should first strive, and divert some of the Amtrak subsidy, to a comfortable (not Greyhound-style) and efficient express bus system. What would be better for a traveler’s schedule, 1 Amtrak train per day, or 10 intermittently scheduled express buses? By the way, buses are 3 times more fuel efficient than passenger rail.

      Finally, don’t ignore the fact that the US freight rail system is the best in the world. 41% of the US inter-city freight-ton-miles move by rail, versus 29% by truck; and no European country comes close. Freight rail is also over 3 times more fuel efficient than truck.

      So, what is the best use of our rail infrastructure? A passenger train carrying 10 busloads of people, or a freight train carrying 400 truckload of freight?

  3. Being There May 18, 2015 at 9:30 am #

    Ahh, this is where the rubber meets the road where ideology is concerned.
    I have to laugh at the ideologues of the Reagan era and beyond who rail against the government and how it can’t get anything done.
    2 things:
    1)They fail to look at our history of just a few years before, when we had a mixed economy and far better employment. Our standard of living and cost of living were evenly matched.

    2) They defund everything the government does to make its failure a fait accompli. It’s like deliberately pushing a car into the river and then complaining that the car is causing pollution.

    Well congratulations ideologues, you have a govt that feeds the richest and most powerful monopolies worldwide and in military and finance, you have achieved full spectrum dominance—soon to lose it to those who are figuring out the game.

    In the meantime the hatred of the public sector will cause it to fall apart. It’s like Russian roulette for the little folk who could lose their lives at any time.

    Just to keep this short and sweet, my question:
    What is the difference between Mao forcing his engineers to use his little red book to build a dam and our ideologues who refuse to look at empirical evidence when assessing our many challenges.

    From climate change to free market fundamentalism in lieu of huge govt subsidies for central private bankers and global monopolies against those who can’t even ascertain what’s in their food?
    Not to mention the huge outlays of money to build fighter planes which can’t be used?
    When does it become obvious to all that agendas do not reflect reality?

    • bossier56 May 18, 2015 at 10:57 am #

      I don’t disagree with your comment, but if everything the government does has been defunded then why has government spending increased dramatically in the last thirty years. You can’t lay it all on the F-35. Paying the worthless to breed and importing more poor people from conflicting cultures has had a detrimental effect on the sense on commonality the US once shared. When we had more in common, we much more of a can do society( ie. the moon landings, interstate system, world war 2) I know the interstate system might not have been the greatest idea in hind sight, but it was a national accomplishment. Now we can’t even maintain in it in a timely manor.
      Even corporations identified more with American interest than they do today. When the national religion of multiculturalism preaches that all cultures are equal, then where you build that factory doesn’t really matter much.
      If we want embark on a national project to rebuild our rail system , first you got to have a nation. Right now we just have a geographic notion, occupied by a collection of conflicting groups and an economy

      • malthuss May 18, 2015 at 11:14 am #

        ‘in the last thirty years’.
        Surely you jest.

        Long ago, I read some Bircher ‘stuff’ and they noted [something like- my numbers are off],

        ‘In 1930 the Federal Budget was 100 Billion. In 1982 the Food Stamp budget is 30 billion’.

        Since the Federal Reserve started and federal Income Taxes, I think Gov.inc has grown.

        Quite a bit.
        One consequence is that the Dollar has lost over 95% of its buying power.
        Oh for the good old days.

        • Being There May 18, 2015 at 12:44 pm #

          The difference is Neoliberal Globalism and the think tanks, banks and corporations who no longer are of a nation, but are of the world. They write untenable trade deals and demand govt subsidies while telling the folks there’s no money left.

          They can never lose money no matter what they do. They are always guaranteed a profit. Now tell me that’s capitalism.
          I argue for competitive capitalism which I believe works, but we don’t see that here.

          As I heard Lloyd Blankfein of Goldman Sachs say, “The American people will have to learn to live without their entitlements.” and I ask who is really the entitled, here?

          Don’t blame this on little cultural noise, that’s just what serves these interests best.

          Its always about dividing and conquering so they can get away with the austerity program, you know, the everything for me, austerity for you…..

          It’s stupid but it works. I know many intelligent people who fall for this nonsense.

          Our corporations see themselves as global entities and feel no loyalty to the US except they want to use infrastructure at no cost.

          I once spoke to a quality control person for the oil sands in Canada by chance and he said it will take a whole generation to change this ideology…..I have little hope that this can be turned around here.

          • Therian May 18, 2015 at 3:31 pm #

            Good stuff, BT. Isn’t Lloyd Blankfein a peach? The real translation of his quote is: “The American people, EXCEPT FOR PLUTOCRATS LIKE ME, will have to learn to live without their entitlements.” The Republicans in Congress who are acting like “concerned citizens” about things like Medicare will, of course, have Cadillac health insurance throughout their lives on the public dime.

            Thus, these “Republicans” aren’t true conservatives at all because a true Constitutionalist doesn’t write documents or make speeches about the Rule of Law where the members of the public sector are exempted from any privations that might be suffered.

            Between the Neoliberals and the “Privations for you, Privileges for me” Republicans, I can’t honestly say who’s worse.

          • malthuss May 18, 2015 at 3:56 pm #

            ‘I know many intelligent people who fall for this nonsense.’
            Where do they get their information?

            When does the Dollar die?
            And the what? You mention ‘The house always wins’ –so in light of that? Then what?

      • Q. Shtik May 18, 2015 at 11:55 am #

        Now we can’t even maintain in it in a timely [manor.] – boss

        ===============

        haha ha

      • sprawlcapital May 18, 2015 at 4:17 pm #

        Boss person: Now we can’t even maintain in it in a timely [manor]. manner

        Speech recognition software strikes again. Except for the disabled, it is a curse.

    • GutenbergGuy May 18, 2015 at 1:50 pm #

      Reagan demonized government the way you demonize an enemy during wartime, and the Democrats stood around with their hands in their pockets and let him do it.

      He let Americans believe that the state of the country in 1980 was due to things like welfare and regulations – what he called “Big Guv’mint.” Americans were in turmoil due to the recession and the inflation and the stress that resulted from the war policies of LBJ and Nixon. But NO US politician can “go there.” Not even a “feminist” like Hillary Clinton.

      So, in his quest for power, Reagan distracted Americans from that truth, lied through his teeth, gave them a simple solution – and then proceeded to enlarge the federal government and do it with the biggest budget deficits in this nation’s history, thereby increasing this country’s national debt more than any previous president.

      And he got away with it, and it hasn’t stopped. Why? Because this country’s political system hasn’t got the courage. It will waste $2billion just on the presidential campaign, and we will hear nothing of importance. It’ll be just like Reagan – in stereo!

      • Being There May 18, 2015 at 5:03 pm #

        They’ve got their hands in the same cookie jar.
        It’s a duopoly.

        • GutenbergGuy May 18, 2015 at 5:43 pm #

          Yes, and that’s why I find I am so depressed and sad. I really did not need to read about those four aircraft carriers today. Guns and ammo, death and destruction – these are our achievements. But even Christian charity can’t move us to feed all of the children. These represent our nation’s “principles and values.” Bernie Sanders just announced.

  4. FincaInTheMountains May 18, 2015 at 9:39 am #

    “we are striving to become the Bulgaria of the western hemisphere. At least we already have enough vampires to qualify.”

    I think we are mixing up Bulgaria with Romania (or Hungary) – that’s where Count Dracula is from.

    But no biggie, same difference.

    • Being There May 18, 2015 at 5:06 pm #

      the good Count was from Transylvania, Romania.

  5. orbit7er May 18, 2015 at 9:40 am #

    There are all sorts of subsidies to Happy Motoring Auto Addiction which somehow escape the notice of the Koch funded Republicans determined to destroy Amtrak and the US Rail system for 50 years.
    Here in New Jersey it cost $135 Million just to clear the snow from State roads in 2013-14. The cost for Rail was $0 – yes it costs nothing to clear Rail because the trains plow right through the snow. Of course we have the 30,000 auto deaths and hundreds of thousands of injuries every year versus almost 0 for Rail despite the total lack of support for it. It turns out that car accidents are the second biggest source of ER accident visits after falls – a very expensive proposition for ambulances, and costing thousands of dollars per visit as anyone knows who has had to pay the bills for an ER visit. Then we have the football field of asphalt for every 5 cars taken up by REGULATED free parking for most town zoning ordinances. The huge cost of Auto addiction was graphically illustrated Feb 10th with a 41 car smashup injuring 61 people and killing 1 person during a snowstorm on the New Jersey Turnpike. Of course this got no national press attention since car deaths are just a fact of life but what is most telling is that this accident occurred on 170 road lanes added at a cost of $2.5 Billion by Gov Christie. It turns out they had not hired the 23 people it will take to maintain these 170 road lanes which led to the dangerous conditions for this accident. These 23 people required to maintain these 170 miles of road lanes in perpetuity will cost $3 Million per year…
    According to numerous people I have spoken with at NJ Transit it only costs $1 Million to run an additional train every day which can carry thousands of people…
    Also left out are other costs to towns – for example East Orange was decimated when I280 paralleling the existing Morris-Essex Rail Line, took 20% of its municipal land off the tax rolls. Auto Addiction highways and parking lots are not taxed even though of course they pave over all green things or other uses..

    • Pogo May 18, 2015 at 10:56 am #

      Excellent post, orbit7er.

      There are many other ancillary costs associated with “happy motoring”, not the least of which is environmental.

      Each gallon of gasoline or diesel produces about 20 pounds of CO2.

      I drive a 2009 Hyundai Sonata 4-cyclinder and the 75,000 miles driven has produced about 20 tons of CO2 (using 2000 lbs/ton).

      • Q. Shtik May 18, 2015 at 12:07 pm #

        Each gallon of gasoline or diesel produces about 20 pounds of CO2. – Pogo

        ===============

        WOW, a gallon of gas which weighs about six pounds (according to Google) produces 20 pounds of CO2. Sounds as improbable as a perpetual motion machine.

        • jdmoses May 18, 2015 at 1:31 pm #

          Q- for diesel it’s actually more like 22 pounds of co2. a gallon of gasoline produces about 19.6 pounds. there’s nothing mysterious about it. each carbon atom, atomic weight 12, bonds with two oxygens, atomic weight 16, to create a molecule of co2.

      • orbit7er May 18, 2015 at 1:50 pm #

        Our Teabag Koch funded Gov Christie here in New Jersey has succeeded in funneling so many billions to Auto Addiction cannibalized from Green Transit Rail that Auto Addiction is now the highest source of greenhouse emissions – 47%, far higher than all other sources of greenhouse emissions.

        Of course Gov Christie never did admit that Hurricanes Irene and Sandy and the Halloween blizzard had anything to do with global warming. Indeed rather than consulting with the scientists at NOA who gave proper advice about Hurricane Sandy which allowed NYC to keep ALL its trains safe from flooding, Gov Christie allowed our trains to be stored in a well-known flood zone causing 33% of them to be flooded and out of service for months. We still are not sure how many were permanently damaged.

        Meanwhile after 22% and more fare hikes, Christie is proposing another 9% in fare hikes and even more service cuts for NJ Transit.
        If you would like to comment on that go to:

        petitions.moveon.org/sign/save-nj-transit-from

    • GutenbergGuy May 18, 2015 at 1:57 pm #

      Yes, excellent. All the things you mention represent profits that someone is protecting. That the system itself is protecting.

      And how are NJ Democrats doing at going after Mr. Christie?

      • orbit7er May 18, 2015 at 3:17 pm #

        NJ Democrats are not doing well as the Democratic bosses have colluded with a number of Christie’s policies even while spinning rhetorical opposition. For example, the Democratic bosses have been fine with wasting $2 Billion of NJ taxpayer money on the infamous “Urban Transit Hub Tax Credit. program to provide outright tax credits to Corporations for placing offices by Transit stations. Note again this is my and other NJ taxpayers, mostly from the 99% going straight into the coffers and profits of Corporations like Prudential paid over $200 Million for moving from the Transit Hub of Newark to the transit Hub of Newark, $102 million for Panasonic to move from the Transit Hub of Secaucus to the Transit Hub of Newark, $25 Million for Honeywell to move from the Convent Station train station to the Morris Plains train station. Meanwhile the actual money NJ spends on operating the trains and buses has gone from $300 Million per year to $33 Million per year! I.e. more is spent for Corporate outright subsidies to locate next to train stations than to actually RUN the Transit! Just a few weeks ago, the $33 Million tax credit to New York Life for moving an office from Parsippany, NJ to Jersey City would have paid for half of the $60 million alleged shortfall for NJ Transit to actually run transit!
        NJ Transit in their infinite wisdom chooses to run only a handful of peak hour trains to the Mountain Lakes train station only 1.9 miles from the existing New York Life office but surely $33 Million would pay for a lot of shuttles and restoring actual train service to the Boonton Line on an hourly basis 😉

        • GutenbergGuy May 18, 2015 at 5:54 pm #

          Without knowing any of the details I feel like i could have written your response myself. It’s so tediously common, this sort of thing. But I have to say the musical chairs with the station moves – in broad daylight – is really rich. And as a result I really do direct my ire at the Democratic Party. I expect nothing from the GOP, but when the Democrats have been as complicit in all of this – going back to Reagan – as they have, and then to expect us to “Save Our Majority” I can only respond, “Why?”

          And no doubt you hear that chorus of “We’re broke!” at the slightest suggestion of doing anything that might actually help another human being.

          And the prospect of a woman candidate not only defending all of this but spouting jingoistic, sabre-rattling rhetoric is too chilling for me to contemplate. I’ll vote for Dr. Stein or some other non-militarist.

    • Beryl of Oyl May 18, 2015 at 3:17 pm #

      Drunk driving, and its associated costs in the legal system.

      • Beryl of Oyl May 18, 2015 at 3:46 pm #

        That was supposed to be a reply to orbit7er.

    • sprawlcapital May 19, 2015 at 11:56 pm #

      Orbit–
      In 1995 it was reported that a passenger had been killed while trying to board the Bullet Train in Japan. This was the first passenger death in 31 years of operation for that train. During those same 31 years there were 1.4 million people killed in automobile accidents in the US.

      Also keep in mind that half of all spinal cord injuries and half of all severe brain injuries in the US are the result of automobile accidents.

  6. Petro May 18, 2015 at 9:40 am #

    I’ve been struggling to sum up my perception of this corrupt, infantile, willfully ignorant, selfish country that can’t collectively agree on ANYTHING that was once considered to be part of the greater good. So, thank you for the term “The Walking Dead” this week. It works perfectly.

  7. pequiste May 18, 2015 at 9:45 am #

    The Philadelphia Amtrak derailment is symptomatic of more than just an impoverished and emaciated rail network. Or even the love affair with the car.
    It seems that rather than build and maintain the muscular sinews of a robust, continent sized, public transportation system, as JHK has always powerfully advocated for, our neck of the woods has, without regard, decided to bet the farm on the most inefficient modalities extant viz. automobiles and airplanes. It’s appodictic.
    This is, I believe, a synergistic resultant of hyper-Capitalism, and the intersection of our neophilia, manifested in adoration of technology (trains are soooo 19th century,) plus the added seasoning of America’s legendary “rugged individualism.”
    Maximum profit to shareholders as the sole determinant of corporate worthiness; we are all going to have cars that “drives itself; (sweet irony there kids!)” and of course “I ain’t sharing my metallic exoskeleton with anybody else!”
    You all should know why the New York State Parkway system was built with such low bridges and overpasses, right?
    We are “tout fukay” as they say in Quebec.
    On a lighter note, the BIker Massacre in Waco, Texas is a great recruit theme for “Thugs” of all stripes. Mad Max isn’t just fiction and doesn’t only play in movie theatres.

    • ozone May 18, 2015 at 10:51 am #

      Pequiste,
      Thanks for composing a post that mirrors my thoughts on the matter, but much more clearly than I could have. (Oh, and thanks for ‘apodictic’, meaning, incontrovertible; never seen that one a’fore.)

      The only thing that I would add is the refusal to look behind us to view the horror of the 100′, black tidal wave of ‘externalities’ that is about to break over our collective heads.

    • GutenbergGuy May 18, 2015 at 2:06 pm #

      Having worked in chemical-dependency research, I see America as like an addict who can never get to Step One, will never admit he has a problem, and thus is on a hopeless downward spiral that is indeed “apodictic” (Yes, thanks for that great word!). The spell check recommended “apoplectic,” which seems apt.

      Our Brute Capitalist ideology dictates that our system does NOT create problems, it only “fixes” them.

      Another analogy would be the psychopath, from whose grip there is no escape.

  8. peakfuture May 18, 2015 at 9:50 am #

    Ironically, the title of the essay is “Dead Nation *Walking*”!

    As someone who has more questions than answers – when do we see this trend reversing? Surely (or am I kidding myself? Do I have a secret hopium addiction?) this trend has to reverse. Or are we truly destined to go over the cliff (driving with both hands firmly on the wheel, of course)?

    Perhaps if we show folks that real estate prices go up when rail lines (with good train service) are near housing. Maybe that might get people going again.

    • GutenbergGuy May 18, 2015 at 2:09 pm #

      Many folks do know this, or at least it manifests itself in the choices they make. In addition to price, a big reason for Oakland’s housing boom is that it is well served by AC Transit and BART.

    • russ May 18, 2015 at 3:35 pm #

      I’ll agree with that. In the Chicago metropolitan area, there was a deliberate business decision made by some condo developers to locate newer units near some of the various commuter rail line stations that connected various ‘burbs with downtown Chicago. Sales seemed brisk, and the prices commanded seemed quite good. People seemed to like the idea of being able to get back and forth to downtown Chicago, or connect to some of the other suburbs by just being able to walk from their condo to the train station, and then taking the train to their destination as opposed to driving.

  9. Smoky Joe May 18, 2015 at 9:52 am #

    NE Corridor passenger service to the major cities has really improved in the past 15 years, this accident excepted. The seating is better than on a plane, they have wifi and even decent snacks now, or you can bring along your own. It’s a nice way to travel, especially if you opt for the Quiet Car.

    I’ll risk an accident like this over the hell of driving I-95 (with very real risks of accidents) or the indignities of short-haul flights any time. Amtrak’s NE service is profitable, but it must subsidize the rest of the system.

    I do question the assumption that railways cannot turn a profit. Don’t the private carriers in the UK make money? And in both the UK and US, highways are subsidized. Rail should be, too.

    • GutenbergGuy May 18, 2015 at 2:13 pm #

      I lived in the NE in the 1970’s and I thought Amtrak’s service was very good then. And I traveled on the Philadelphia-NYC-Boston lines. But I am a Californian and we had virtually no rail service. And even BART was just being built.

  10. FincaInTheMountains May 18, 2015 at 9:52 am #

    It is very hard to turn a quick profit on things like railroad, water utility or electric plant, unless you raise the prices to the skies.

    So, “free market” should stay the hell away from basic human and business infrastructure – that includes medical care and education in my opinion, or be heavily regulated and subsidized if necessary.

    Government investments in infrastructure creating targeted internal improvements (especially in transportation) is one of the pillars of American School of Economics en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_School_%28economics%29 , building canals first and railroad later that what have given original boost to American economy.

    • GutenbergGuy May 18, 2015 at 2:23 pm #

      Under the RR barons the rail systems were totally chaotic, local governments were blackmailed with the threat of no service if they didn’t subsidize the RR’s and many of them were left with RR Bond Debt. Cargo rates were not regulated, and it could cost more to ship goods from Chicago to Pittsburgh than from Chicago to NYC. That was the glory of a privatized system, governed by the “Free Market,” which in actuality was a system in which the government was bought with as little effort as it takes to order lunch.

      And that doesn’t even include the inhumane working conditions that RR workers, like most Americans in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, had to suffer. With NO help from their government.

      As with everything else, corporate America opposes public transportation because they just don’t want the competition.

  11. seawolf77 May 18, 2015 at 10:00 am #

    “Peak oil is actually not playing out in the form of too-high gasoline prices, but rather a race between a bankrupt middle class unable to pay the total costs of motoring and an oil industry that can’t make a profit drilling for hard-to-get oil.” They are going to squeeze every last bit of blood out of this turnip. What does the future look like? The last few who are able to afford the happy motoring life style driving around with “Joker” like smiles painted on their faces, one hand on the steering wheel and the other on a gun.

  12. FincaInTheMountains May 18, 2015 at 10:02 am #

    It’s funny how things turned around: Chinese and Russians are now the dedicated followers of great Americans Alexander Hamilton, Henry Clay and Abraham Lincoln while modern Americans follow in the footsteps of their formal archenemy – British Empire.
    —————————————

    “Two systems are before the world;… One looks to increasing the necessity of commerce; the other to increasing the power to maintain it. One looks to underworking the Hindoo, and sinking the rest of the world to his level; the other to raising the standard of man throughout the world to our level. One looks to pauperism, ignorance, depopulation, and barbarism; the other to increasing wealth, comfort, intelligence, combination of action, and civilization. One looks towards universal war; the other towards universal peace. One is the English system; the other we may be proud to call the American system, for it is the only one ever devised the tendency of which was that of elevating while equalizing the condition of man throughout the world”

    Henry C. Carey

  13. Ricky.H.Vernio May 18, 2015 at 10:12 am #

    I don’t see how Jim expects to be rid of “happy motoring” yet wishes to keep passenger travel. In the past, most people used to stay put. A traveler could nearly always pay for, and get a ride from a merchant transporting goods, but that was it. In the beginning of the 19th Century, ships started adding a cabin or two for wealthy travelers who preferred to travel in comfort. The original purpose of the stage coach was to carry mail. The railroad network is important and should be preserved and cherished because FREIGHT trains are a huge part of the economy. We should make every effort … wait a minute. Freight traffic is not subsidized, it is PROFITABLE, solvent, and intends to remain so in the foreseeable future.

    As for the rest of it: Jim laments the fact that there’s only one train a day, every day, that travels between Albany and Boston. Question: why would more people than can fill one train would even need to travel from Albany to Boston or vice versa? Why couldn’t they use their phones or Skype? Why is their actual temporary presence required in either city?

    What’s up with all those daily flights from New Orleans to Detroit, from Austen, Texas to New York, From Chicago to San Francisco? Would the economy start falling apart more than it already is if all those people traveled a lot less? Would it somehow further undermine our morale if all those tourists stopped hopping over oceans and across continents in order to spend a week or two in a hotel and email their friends a few selfies with the Big Ben, St. Peter’s Basilica, and the Eiffel Tower in the background?

    Passenger travel is a luxury very closely related to “happy motoring”. Personally, I like it a lot. I love trains. I love plains. I really do. But they are a luxury we might not be able to afford if Jim’s right about the future.

    • lsjogren May 18, 2015 at 10:36 am #

      Interesting point. Is intercity travel consistent with the localized economy that Kunstler envisions being inevitable in the future?

      I suppose one could make the argument that so long as there is a globalized Cheeze Doodle based economy that it would be more spiffy if it provided more passenger rail service.

    • James Howard Kunstler May 18, 2015 at 10:45 am #

      Ricky, the reason why the trains from Albany to Boston are empty is because the service is slow and wretched. Believe me, the Mass Pike is full of people going from here to Boston all day long. If the train ran on schedule and made the run by time standards that were normal in 1925, and sold some coffee and drinks, a lot more people would take it.
      –JHK

      • GutenbergGuy May 18, 2015 at 2:42 pm #

        JHK – I was in Binghamton in the seventies, and the Albany-Boston drive was beautiful BUT, I am sure the train ride, done right (i.e., with decent service, NOT that difficult) is also beautiful, and – most importantly – I doubt I’d want to drive it now.

        But then I like scenery. My impression, at least in my region, is that most people don’t see much besides the bumper of the vehicle in front of them. Sad.

        I keep coming back to the thought that it doesn’t have to be this way. That’s what’s most maddening.

      • Ricky.H.Vernio May 18, 2015 at 3:56 pm #

        Today, perhaps.

        But is mass travel viable or indeed necessary – how would you justify it economically? What business do all those people on the Mass Pike have going to Boston ANYWAY? What do they do once they’ve arrived there? Plant turnips?

        • Ricky.H.Vernio May 18, 2015 at 4:03 pm #

          The point I’m trying to make here is that happy motoring is closely related to joyous choo-chooing and ecstatic sky-barreling and elated seafaring, and when one goes, the others will have to go too. Mass travel is, when all is said and done, quite pointless.

    • Q. Shtik May 18, 2015 at 12:26 pm #

      I love plains. – Ricky

      ===========

      Yeah, me too… with all those amber waves of grane.

      • Ricky.H.Vernio May 18, 2015 at 3:57 pm #

        Yeah, okay, “so much the worse for orthography,” as a Voltaire fan said to a Voltaire critic.

  14. barbisbest May 18, 2015 at 10:13 am #

    I guess the blog title this week says it all. Last week’s blog title and subject, JHK always ahead of his time. Elon Musk, at nine, on the cover of Bloomberg BusinessWeek this week. I accidentally sat on him.

    • lsjogren May 18, 2015 at 10:33 am #

      I dumped my subscription to Business Week after it became Bloomberg Business Week. It turned from a decent slightly left of center business magazine to a nutcase magazine a la Time, Newsweek etc. overnight.

      • barbisbest May 18, 2015 at 11:06 am #

        Point well taken Isjogren. I didn’t even order the dang thing, it just showed up. Oh well, works well for a seat cushion.

        • pequiste May 18, 2015 at 1:08 pm #

          T’ is a waste of a tree; the manifestation of too much power wielded by one person; and another mouthpiece for the EBIC (Evil Bastards In Charge) and their “We are going to take it ALL” praxis.

          I wouldn’t even use it to place at the bottom of my bird cage.

          • GutenbergGuy May 18, 2015 at 2:45 pm #

            Indeed! Subjecting a helpless creature to those toxic fumes!

  15. George May 18, 2015 at 10:26 am #

    “The condition of our trains is symptomatic of the shape of the nation. The really sad part is we missed the window of opportunity to build a high-speed system. Capital will soon be too scarce for that. But we still have a conventional network that not so many decades ago was the envy of the world, and we know exactly how to fix it.”

    The state of the nation’s infrastructure is past critical. Yes, there’s a government but it’s become a notional ghost that no longer has the means to enforce rules and regulations. There’s a national do not call list which worked for a while until it became clear to those who live to infuriate us with junk phone calls in the early evening that there aren’t enough people on staff to follow up on any complaints made. That’s becoming the norm for the rest of the government including the IRS. This year they conducted a robo-audit on my return and decided I made about two-thirds of what I stated and then proceeded to declare that I’d made mistakes on some of the forms. I know I didn’t but since that audit worked in may favor I’m not inclined to complain.

    There was a time when proud hard-working people built a country that was the envy of the world. Now it appears that there’s nobody who gives a damn and it’s all going to seed rather decidedly.

    • Pogo May 18, 2015 at 11:14 am #

      You are right, George, “The state of the nation’s infrastructure is past critical.”

      Here in Minneapolis, the I-35W bridge over the Mississippi River collapsed in 2007, killing 13 and injuring hundreds. I thought this would be the wake-up call to the consequences of not attending to the infrastructure. But, alas, that was not to be.

      • GutenbergGuy May 18, 2015 at 2:48 pm #

        In this country I think it’s hard to say what WOULD be a wake-up call for most people. It’s like “How much will you tolerate?” Like S&M without a safe word!

    • Q. Shtik May 18, 2015 at 12:35 pm #

      That’s becoming the norm for the rest of the government including the IRS. – George

      ==================

      The problem with the IRS is a tax system based on INCOME. The complexity is beyond belief. We need a single percentage consumption tax. Stop worrying about who made how much money and just tax them when they spend it.

    • SteveO May 18, 2015 at 1:52 pm #

      “There was a time when proud hard-working people built a country that was the envy of the world. ”

      It is a testimony to how a good a job they did that after 35 years of being strip mined that we have any functioning infrastructure at all.

      • GutenbergGuy May 18, 2015 at 2:53 pm #

        As a boomer I feel it was our parents’ generation who built it, and this country, as always, turned its back on them.

        I am rather touchy about this idea of turning your back on my mother. Her children didn’t have to suffer as she had through the Depression and WWII, but she understood the promise of the New Deal – indeed, of the American Dream – was that no mother’s children would ever have to go through that again.

        What happened?

        • Janos Skorenzy May 19, 2015 at 12:09 am #

          A new race took over America as I’ve taken pains to tell you.

  16. lsjogren May 18, 2015 at 10:30 am #

    I think the US rail system gets too much criticism.

    What is the most important function of rail? In my opinion, especially considering the geography of the US, it is FREIGHT.

    The environmental benefit of moving tons and tons of freight by rail versus truck is far more compelling than that of moving human beings.

    And the capital cost of a freight rail line is far less than that to produce a high grade passenger rail corridor.

    The US is widely considered to have the best freight rail system in the world.

    And since I believe the transport of freight is a far more important function for rail than the transport of passengers, I would contend that, consequently, the US has the BEST RAIL SYSTEM IN THE WORLD.

    I would guess not everyone will concur.

    • GutenbergGuy May 18, 2015 at 2:55 pm #

      I don’t know, I just put people over freight!

      • Ricky.H.Vernio May 18, 2015 at 4:50 pm #

        That’s like saying I’d rather travel than have food on my table.

    • gryffyn May 18, 2015 at 4:51 pm #

      My business is a stone’s throw from a CSX mainline and my home is within the 1/2 mile blast zone of the mile long,100 car crude oil trains that originate in North Dakota and fan out across the country. Five oil trains have derailed and exploded in the U.S. and Canada this year. Poor track maintenance has been blamed, and in the Mt. Carbon, WV wreck, when 26 cars derailed, it was a faulty rail which was not detected by a recent inspection. Railroad workers say the trains are too long and travel too fast but management’s overriding concern is efficiency and profit. One can assume that nothing will change unless an oil train kills a few hundred of the 25 million people who live and work in the death zones.

    • vanderzee May 20, 2015 at 9:17 pm #

      It’s nice to see a sound perspective. Passenger rail elsewhere in the world is glamorized , probably because it is more visible to the public. Europe made the strategic decision in the last century to promote passenger rail over freight, and the US has done the opposite. The freight share in the US is the highest in the world at 41%, versus 29% for truck. A freight train carries 400 truckloads of freight, versus a passenger train with ~10 busloads. Freight rail is 3 times more fuel efficient than truck, and bus transportation is 3 times more fuel efficient than passenger rail. The fundamental advantage of rail comes from its ability to carry heavy loads cost effectively and efficiently. Freight rail loses its cost and fuel advantage with lighter freight too.

      However, there are sound applications for passenger rail; but it’s not the panacea that so many of the uniformed are promoting.

  17. consultant13 May 18, 2015 at 10:32 am #

    This struggle over the public vs the private goes back to the very beginnings of this nation. The Constitution was born out of this struggle and through our history we’ve seen the country fight over these same issues.

    However, through that history, America has had a consistent, pretty strong cultural attitude of pragmatism. What works? How can we get the job done? How can we help the community prosper? The individual needs the community’s help to prosper.

    This pragmatic point of view resonated in the culture for much of history. But there were periods where it fell out of favor. The post Civil War up to around 1900. The era of the Robber Barons. The other period is the one we live in-roughly 1970 to now.

    Both of these periods are marked by massive accumulations of wealth and concentrations of power in the hands of a few corporations and individuals.

    In the Robber Baron era, there was a pronounced reaction by people against the abuses that came with this concentrated wealth & power. It led to many, many reforms and the creation of new traditions in America.

    At the moment, we have yet to see a similar response to the massive inequality that has occurred in our time.

    We have built up much over the last century or so and much of it is falling apart. The physical and social structure of America is collapsing around us because we’re in a period of extreme narcissistic behavior (i.e.. me, me, me) that favors an ideology of help me and fuck you.

    A nation cannot survive with this attitude. It just can’t. Not as a nation.

    We will hang together, or hang separately.

    • Being There May 18, 2015 at 10:43 am #

      Indeed, but the difference is its global and not just national. We are exporting the austerity model around the world while destroying agriculture and land ownership everywhere.

      At the same time we are exporting war and military equipment.

      I don’t think political movements in this country alone will turn this around.

      The consensus against this has to be international and it has to grow.

      It’s gonna take a huge effort this time around and I don’t know if its even possible without the leaders of this ideology decide it’s not working for them.

    • FincaInTheMountains May 18, 2015 at 10:48 am #

      “The other period is the one we live in-roughly 1970 to now.”

      Make it from 1970 to 1999 – that’s when Clinton deregulated the banks and gave China “proffered trade status” and set the world for the biggest heist in the history of Humanity, and from 1999 to now.

      Pragmatism, common sense, dirigism. Yes, yes and yes.

      Nowhere in Constitution you have prohibition of public investments into infrastructure, on the contrary, the phrase “promote the general Welfare” is repeated twice.

    • GutenbergGuy May 18, 2015 at 3:00 pm #

      As Lincoln said.

      Excellent post – Because this kind of urgency is needed, critically. We live in an empty, meaningless political system, and we are being conned by our own “leaders.”

      The heist of 2008 is ongoing, and the working folks of this country don’t ave a government.

      Sound familiar?

  18. FincaInTheMountains May 18, 2015 at 10:33 am #

    “I don’t see how Jim expects to be rid of “happy motoring” yet wishes to keep passenger travel.”

    It is easy with developed suburban rail and underground metro network along with electric commuter buses (trolleys).

    That’s how I used to travel for 30 years I lived in Russia. Is car more comfortable? Sure it is. But on a bright side, you get constant workouts catching all those trains and buses, stay in better shape. Besides, you could read some books on the train (please, put away that fucking iPhone).

  19. newworld May 18, 2015 at 10:35 am #

    The problem with public transit is that the American public too often rides on it. On one hand JHK laments the Idiocracy and then complains that people seek insulation from it.

    In Chicago last year on a train some “youths” boarded a car and while it was moving between stops pulled some guns and liberated the electronics of the very “nice” people you harangue to give up their cars.

    Anybody want to ride public transit in Baltimore? I’m going to lay this at the feet of you Democratic voters. In Europe if you get on public transportation with the intent to play low IQ politics of taking what is “yours” the genderdames will beat you to death for fun, go ahead mess with the French police. Do that in America and if something happens to the criminal the whole left half of the political spectrum erupts in a temper tantrum, because Ted Cruz or George Zimmerman.

    • malthuss May 18, 2015 at 11:21 am #

      Actually if you get on the train in UK and complain about the ‘new Brits’ you may end up in jail.

      Ever hear of Emma West?

    • ozone May 18, 2015 at 12:00 pm #

      nw,
      It appears to me that you’ve taken a long leap off the edge of Non Sequitur here.

      Let me see if I’m following you here:

      Is it your considered opinion that if everyone were of a Right-wing/Republican/Conservative “voter” stripe, none of your complaints/concerns/fears regarding public transport would be extant?

      (Although I’m sure that in the early ’40’s the public transport in Germany and its outlying areas of control was very efficient and [interpersonally] safe, I’m not sure how comfortable it was… for some.)

      • newworld May 18, 2015 at 2:00 pm #

        I’m pretty sure once I leap and hit bottom your fetid carcass shall have been there far longer.

        Anyway public transportation is greeted by the nice people in America like its public schools are picked only if they are “nice” which is code speak for no poor minorities and their baggage.

        You Democratic voters are having us believe that the Northeastern train woes are the fault of poor hayseeds in the Red States, can you do nothing without us poor hayseeds? Are we hayseeds so powerful in our poor ways as that Jim cannot get on a train in upstate and make it to NYC in a decent time? Boston finally entered the 20th century waste water treatment game because of a GOP president, what took so long?

        If you spent less time scolding and more time doing you Democratic voters might, just might prove yourselves on some issues. Entropy is defeating the Left, we will soon look worse than Cuba at this pace, but we will lead the world in the most scolds per capita, win.

        Here is what I want you Democratic voters to work on , more places to kayak (hello Chicago river) and more bike paths. Why? Because I like those things.

        • GutenbergGuy May 18, 2015 at 3:06 pm #

          My goodness! You do see a violent world. I do not find any of what you are saying here. Where has anyone commented on “hayseeds”?
          And, please, when you obsess on violent urban crime, if you are not aware of the roots of crime in America, and why violent criminals prey upon “nice” people. Also, please, remember that white-collar criminals do more damage to this country, and to its economy, than any “thug” with a gun.

          • Florida Power May 18, 2015 at 5:51 pm #

            GutenbergGuy
            May 18, 2015 at 1:40 pm #
            Indeed! One part I really love: BMW’s are made in that great enlightened state, North Carolina! Very clever of those trade unionist Germans to go for cheap labor in the Jim Crow South!

        • ozone May 18, 2015 at 8:00 pm #

          nw,
          Only in video games is it possible to ‘jump again’ in mid-fall as you have tried here.

          I will say this though: Your blinkered, narrow ideological focus pits you against many “enemies”. This is exactly what the oligarchs want you to do/perceive/yell about. I hope that’s who you wish to serve, because that’s whose hands you’re playing into.

          BTW, how do you know I even vote, much less which mediocre ‘stripe’ I supposedly cleave to? Pulling the ol’ mischaracterization and label-slapping routine won’t get you anything but mistrust and eventual [deserved] opprobrium.

    • Janos Skorenzy May 18, 2015 at 2:33 pm #

      Muslims routinely bear and rob French passengers. A couple of years ago Muslim youth burned a dozen French cities while the police watched them. I’ll never forget the images of them stoning the police as the police huddles behind their shields. In short, the French are committed to their own destruction just as we are. The White Race has been conquered from within – by their own Elite first and foremost.

      • GutenbergGuy May 18, 2015 at 3:07 pm #

        And of course it’s only Muslims who do these things. You really are a one-note tune.

        • malthuss May 18, 2015 at 3:32 pm #

          In France, have Whites rioted????

          Get yr facts straight.

          • GutenbergGuy May 18, 2015 at 5:24 pm #

            I was of course not referring just to France.

            BTW, did you know that the first race riots in the US were Whites rioting in Black communities? And Jim Crow was White supremacists murdering and terrorizing Black folks? For over 100 years. But no one took notice, no politician squawked “law and order” until Black folks rioted to protest the conditions under which they were forced to live and Richard Nixon needed a hot-button issue to distract voters in 1968 from that illegal, immoral war..

            Germans also rioted in 1930s Germany, and I think you know what that led to. And please don’t tell me it was the fault of the Jews!

            I prefer to look at the span of history rather than single out one group. Demagogues do that.

          • Janos Skorenzy May 18, 2015 at 6:44 pm #

            Goots: The America that worked was White. Our descendants fought to maintain what they had built – and that meant staying on top. What is so hard to understand?

            You want an Anglo-Saxon America without Anglo-Saxons. What an utterly perverse desire born of hatred and nurtured on ignorance.

    • Beryl of Oyl May 18, 2015 at 3:20 pm #

      Try riding the #55 locally.

  20. Therian May 18, 2015 at 10:52 am #

    Great weekly post, James. Don’t you just love all of the techno-triumphalists who come on here touting self-driving cars when we can’t even get early 19th century technology to work like it ought? It’s like a musician who can’t even play Chopsticks or Mary Had a Little Lamb insisting that he wants to play Johann Sebastian Bach immediately if not sooner!!

    • chipshot May 18, 2015 at 11:43 am #

      Perhaps the king of techno-triumphalist–Bill Gates– was interviewed by Fareed Zakaria on GPS (CNN) yesterday. See if it makes your jaw drop, too:

      transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/1505/17/fzgps.01.html

      Would love to hear JHK or Richard Heinberg interview or debate
      the $80,000,000,000 man (soon to be $100 B ?!).

      • Therian May 18, 2015 at 3:46 pm #

        Chipshot, I tried your link and for some reason it didn’t work. I tried links other people put in their posts to see if the prob was at my end. They worked. I’d love to see that transcript but the link didn’t get me there.

    • GutenbergGuy May 18, 2015 at 3:09 pm #

      I dream of self-driving cars sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic. And when they malfunction? ALL machines malfunction.

      • Beryl of Oyl May 18, 2015 at 3:26 pm #

        I would like golf carts, with a massive conveyor belt on the main streets, where trolley tracks used to be.

  21. Therian May 18, 2015 at 10:57 am #

    I’d like to add, James, that your point about CAPITAL running out is the 8000 pound gorilla in the living room that no one wants to look at. They think that fleets of drones, self-driving cars, and bullet trains are just going to build themselves when municipal and state budgets across the USA can’t even fix potholes in streets in a timely manner.

    • FincaInTheMountains May 18, 2015 at 11:08 am #

      You can’t go heavy on the State or Federal budget to build extra-expensive transportation infrastructure. We need to have FED to start a new Infrastructural QE program – IQE – and start buying State’s long-term. low-interest bonds for the single purpose of infrastructural development. Carry Traders and stock speculators do not need to apply.

      At least in a few years you will have something to show for all that money.

      That is, of course, you expect Yellowstone to blow in a year or two.

      • FincaInTheMountains May 18, 2015 at 11:09 am #

        That is, of course, you [do not] expect Yellowstone to blow in a year or two

        • russ May 18, 2015 at 3:59 pm #

          So how much lava/magma is in the Yellowstone caldera? About this much –

          “…Underneath the national park’s attractions and walking paths is enough hot rock to fill the Grand Canyon nearly 14 times over. Most of it is in a newly discovered magma reservoir, which the scientists featured in a study published on Thursday in the journal Science.

          It may help scientists better understand why Yellowstone’s previous eruptions, in prehistoric times, were some of Earth’s largest explosions in the last few million years…”

          What I’m waiting for is the argument that when the next time arrives for the Yellowstone caldera to go kerpow, that yes, we should perhaps allocate something to alleviate the damage and help the victims – but by God in the name of fiscal responsibility we’ve got to have offsetting cuts elsewhere in the budget.

      • Therian May 18, 2015 at 3:50 pm #

        If only it was in the Fed’s charter to do such a thing. It isn’t. However, it didn’t stop them from exceeding their charter in the 2008-2009 Great Recession. However, I have a sense that much of the Fed’s “charity” in the Great Recession was to rescue fellow banksters. Refurbishing a decaying infrastructure is one helluva lot more noble a goal but they’ll come up with excuses not to do it.

  22. saharasergei May 18, 2015 at 11:10 am #

    I’ve been pushing for restored rail service and high-speed rail in America for 25 years, be it through writing my congressman, blogging about it, or starting a MoveOn.org petition. No more. The message from the Republican House Appropriations Committee was clear when it voted to cut Amtrak funding AFTER the derailment: “GOP TO AMTRAK – DROP DEAD!” Anti-Amtrak, anti-rail politicians run the country with an iron fist and resistance is futile. When Obama came in to office, he sought to make high-speed rail service available to four out of five Americans by 2035. (Note tense.) He gave money to the states to start it. Ohio’s Kasich said no. Florida’s Scott said no (to be fair, for good reasons – who needs high-speed rail between Tampa and Orlando?). And der Fuhrer of Wiskonsein, Scott WalKKKer, didn’t have to do so; Jim Doyle , the previous WI governor, canceled it after WalKKKer was elected in 2010, before the Koch-addicted Scottzo could do it himself. Jerry Brown in California said yes – now the GOP is trying to stop even that. Obama doesn’t talk so much about it now because he realizes that high-speed rail or passenger rail of any sort is a more controversial topic than abortion. A MoveOn.org petition needs about 50,000 signatures to get attention. My MoveOn.org petition to get high-speed rail up and running in America has gotten only seven. Not seven thousand signatures – SEVEN! 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7! I surrender. The war on trains is over. The anti-train crowd won. Maybe it is too late to build high-speed rail in America, as Mr. Kunstler says, for financial reasons. Maybe it isn’t. But as Stephen Stills once sang, it doesn’t matter, it’s nothing but dreaming anyhow.

    • FincaInTheMountains May 18, 2015 at 11:13 am #

      “AMTRAK TO GOP – DROP DEAD!”

      • saharasergei May 18, 2015 at 1:52 pm #

        Yeah, I’d love to hear Amtrak CEO Joe Boardman say that.

        • Beryl of Oyl May 18, 2015 at 3:08 pm #

          OMG! That’s our Joe Boardman! How did I not know this?
          He has roots in Troy, and was the NYSDOT commissioner. Where have I been?
          I think he was the one who used to commute, by car, from Utica to Albany every day. There are railroad tracks that go right by the State campus, but no commuter train service. That doesn’t matter any more though. The campus is mostly empty. The DOT is on Wolf Road. Employees have to use their private autos to get to the businesses on the other side of the street during their lunch break.

    • FincaInTheMountains May 18, 2015 at 11:16 am #

      Good news – since the FED is formally independent, you could bypass dysfunctional austerity peddlers in Congress. At least that what FDR did back during the first depression.

      States will sure take the money.

    • orbit7er May 18, 2015 at 3:28 pm #

      Actually high Speed Rail from Orlando to Tampa would have been a cheap slam dunk – I4 is very congested from Disney World and Tampa beach traffic and Disney has the infrastructure within the Park to go without a car, thousands of which park on acres of hot asphalt 365 days a year. Disney himself actually proposed a monorail or transit but could not come to terms with Orlando back when Disney World was built. Instead I4 has been steadily widened with special exits and horrible congestion just to get to Disney World.
      Tampa to Orlando is flat and a perfect place to build Rail easily and cheaply. With the combination of a LightRail from Tampa to Clearwater Beach along Gulf-to-Bay Blvd it would have allowed people in Tampa and Pinellas to get to the beach without driving and also
      Disney World without driving.
      The High Speed Rail was meant to spur Transit Oriented Development and to his credit Obama’s Transportation Head Ray LaHood (a Republican no less!!) was very insistent that the Rail funding would not go through without LightRail in Tampa and Orlando. Orlando has recently launched SunRail but per usual with half-@ssed US Green Transit it barely runs so is far less successful than it should be.

      • Ricky.H.Vernio May 18, 2015 at 4:57 pm #

        That’s exactly what this country needs right now, it’ll solve all our problems for centuries to come: a high-speed rail link to Disney World.

        • Florida Power May 18, 2015 at 9:52 pm #

          2-shay.

          Leaving Tampa with a stop in Lakeland thence to Disney World the high speed train would never reach, er, high speed.

          This begs the issue: what’s the deal with speed? Can’t we slow down and exist at the level of the rail network in the 1950’s? Besides, it takes a lot more power to eke out those extra mph.

          A couple of articles from Low-Tech Magazine worth pondering:

          lowtechmagazine.com/2013/12/high-speed-trains-are-killing-the-european-railway-network.html

          And, scroll down for comments on rail:

          lowtechmagazine.com/2008/09/speed-energy.html

          • Ricky.H.Vernio May 19, 2015 at 4:50 pm #

            Uh … I heard this rumor … that before World War Two … a certain express regularly took a bunch of Hollywood whores from Chicago to LA in forty hours.

            But you’re right. We justify our obsession with speed (which is simply a thrill: that’s all there is to it, really) by saying it saves us time.

            So what do we do with all the time we save? Watch TV, I guess. One can read and/or socialize on the train. I do it a bunch of times a week (New York subway: my favorite means of transportation, as a matter of fact).

  23. swhite May 18, 2015 at 11:12 am #

    Just a note of support on the train column. I live in Minneapolis Minnesota and my late mother lived 120 north in Brainerd which I believe was at one time an important part of the Northern Pacific Railway, in days when there was train service from Brainerd to Minneapolis. In her later years when she didn’t feel comfortable driving in city traffic, she would have enjoyed a train trip to visit us. but those days were long gone. I am amazed how in many areas “progress” makes things worse.

  24. malthuss May 18, 2015 at 11:25 am #

    The rumor is a youth or two threw stones at the trail that crashed.

    Listening to NPR this am [always good for a laugh and funded by us].
    Hedges is saying ‘Camden is the poorest city in USA’ [hear that
    Q stik?]. Hedges doesnt note the ‘colour of Camden’. He mentions Haiti in reference to ‘Lack of longevity of those at Pine Ridge’ and again refuses to factor in that ‘bugaboo’, Race.

    What makes Pine Ridge what it is?
    What makes Haiti so poor?

    • FincaInTheMountains May 18, 2015 at 11:45 am #

      “What makes Haiti so poor?”

      A lot of Haitians are working in construction business, and construction is mostly dead due to lack of reasonable mortgage financing. If IMF would allow Haitians banks to lower borrowing costs on the housing from 25 – 30% to some reasonable levels of “developed” nations, you will immediately see huge improvements in the standard of living.

      That’s at least is one meaningful way.

      There are also government programs that lend money to various crop production with government buying back the crops at the guaranteed price. There are just very few of those.

      The problem of Haiti it can’t print the money to finance construction or production – they first must sell some “cash crops” for “hard” currency.

      • Being There May 18, 2015 at 1:20 pm #

        That’s right, and now to blame the victim. Always a winner.
        Pay no attention to the ones creating the problem…they also are very poor in natural resources–but someone else will gain from whatever they do have.

        • Janos Skorenzy May 18, 2015 at 2:35 pm #

          Another big fan of Black African civilization, eh? Like most women. Unfortunately such a thing doesn’t exist.

          • Therian May 18, 2015 at 3:41 pm #

            Hmm. Janos, normally I see you as a rational man who responds to the post at hand. Being There’s post is a response to a post about Haiti. And it’s really less about the blackness of Haitians than it is about the IMF and its inflicting of AUSTERITY upon countries. Ask the Greeks if they’re black like Haitians.

            Thus, I don’t see how your response relates to the real point of BT’s post which transcends ethnicity and says more about banksters than any other group of people.

          • GutenbergGuy May 18, 2015 at 5:14 pm #

            Being There is a woman? I don’t assume gender of essentially anonymous commenters at a site like this.

            Gandhi felt “Western Civilization” (mostly white) would be a good idea. .

          • Janos Skorenzy May 18, 2015 at 6:59 pm #

            The Blackness of Haiti cancels everything else out. Sorry, but I’m a radical, which means I try to get to the root of problems. The Banksters? They have weaponized the Blacks against Western Civilization. Sure they are oppressing the Blacks. If it wasn’t them, the Blacks would be oppressing each other. In Africa, the Chinese are beginning to do it now.

      • Janos Skorenzy May 18, 2015 at 2:46 pm #

        I once talked to a Haitian girl who blamed us for not helping them enough. I marveled (again!) at the helplessness of the Black Race. Who ever helped White or Asians? It all comes down to Blood. If you transferred the people of Iceland to Haiti, they would turn it into a paradise in one generation. If you transferred the Haitians to Iceland, they’d all be dead within a couple of years.

        The other half of the island is doing much better. As one would expect since they have much more White blood.

        • GutenbergGuy May 18, 2015 at 3:21 pm #

          Amazing! You do know that Haiti staged a successful slave revolt – the only one in this hemisphere – and has been punished ever since? Haitians are simply not allowed to prosper.

          Did you ever check to see if any of the millions of dollars Americans donated after the last Hurricane even made it to Haiti?

          But then, of course, in your world view Black folks have never accomplished anything. You won’t even give them credit for just surviving all this time in North America. You’d be amazed at what that requires – many characteristics you don’t have.

          You need some other way to spend your time besides spewing hate speech.

          • malthuss May 18, 2015 at 3:48 pm #

            Actually –Janos- long ago– mentioned that ‘as soon as Haitians was made an independent nation, the Haitians KILLED EVERY WHITE THEY COULD [PRESUMABLY RAPING THE WOMEN FIRST].

            ‘Black folks have never accomplished anything’. What have Africans accomplished? Tell me. What is Africa like?
            How many more wells will Whites dig there?

            CHEERS.

          • GutenbergGuy May 18, 2015 at 5:07 pm #

            I have no idea what malthuss is going on about. Like Janos, malthuss speaks as though these are the only people to ever have done these awful things that we all agree are so heinous.

            That is why it is just rhetoric. Lurid speech just to get our attention and to distract us from the real issues.

            I don’t have the time to educate you about the history of the human race. I can only say that when people assert that THOSE people are the only ones who have ever done such awful things, my blood runs cold.

            It’s just like atrocity stories during wartime. As if such things were abnormal in a war. Again, just rhetoric, empty speech designed to manipulate and control. The “politics of distraction.”

          • elysianfield May 19, 2015 at 12:19 pm #

            ” Black folks have never accomplished anything”

            Yeah? What about that “peanut guy”?

          • benr May 19, 2015 at 10:41 pm #

            I don’t know they turned South Africa from a fairly prosperous nation that exported food and goods to a complete mess and the child rape capitol of the world. errr never mind.

        • mastman23 May 18, 2015 at 4:11 pm #

          We rode the train one year just for a change of pace from Orlando,fl to NYC. Playing cards for 14 hrs in the parlor and hitting the bar car were much better than driving on I 95 with the trucks and traffic.

          Only thing was everytime we approached these small towns along the coast the train would slow to a crawl sometimes stop for no reason.

          If they can figure a way to speed up the trip time, expand the bar cars and have some real food to offer like it was in the 50s when I rode the Silver Comet and Orange Blossom Special people will switch. More than you think will forego the Auto. Car trips are not cheap anymore.

          I can still smell those dinning car breakfasts of poached eggs bacon and toast served on linen covered tables with real forks and knives. Servers with that we can please you attitude might just be the trick.

          I am sure the Airlines, Auto Giants and Big Oil are the ones suppressing any National Rail System expansions and improvements. The railroads today are one step above a cattle car but at least the cattle are fed and watered.

          I remember the electric trolleys and busses in the cities that were all targeted for elimination by General Motors and Big Oil after WWII.

          We need a grass roots movement backed by one or two of the presidential candidate to get the politicians off the Big Oil Dole

          Amtrak should be abolished let SW Airlines take over the operations and planning. Without the peanuts for meals

      • malthuss May 18, 2015 at 3:52 pm #

        Haiti has had quite a population explosion……………..

        en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haitian_diaspora.

        .

    • GutenbergGuy May 18, 2015 at 3:14 pm #

      Brute Capitalism.

  25. chipshot May 18, 2015 at 11:25 am #

    I expect to see the day when motor vehicles are used more for
    shelter than transportation. At that point, over-sized gas guzzlers will become more valuable than small, high mileage cars. When this happens is anyone’s guess. Mine is <20 yrs.

    • GutenbergGuy May 18, 2015 at 3:23 pm #

      Well, a lot of people, even families, are already living in cars. Too many.

      Planters are another use I’ve seen recommended for autos in the future – “which is already in progress” (Firesign Theater)

      • gryffyn May 18, 2015 at 5:35 pm #

        “We’re all Bozos on this bus!” (Firesign Theater) My old friend Steve and I used to quote Firesign to each other as a way of dealing with the lunacies of contemporary life.

  26. Pogo May 18, 2015 at 11:27 am #

    I would guess that the majority of folks in the USA have ridden the monorail at either Disney Land or Disney world.

    The Monorail at Disney Land in Anaheim, California, opened in June of 1959. That was when I graduated from high school, but it would be another six years before I rode it. This was truly a “George Jetson” experience. I had seen the future…or at least I thought I had. Not to be. It seemed like such a do-able thing. If Uncle Walt could do it, why not major cities across the land?

    What has happened to our quest, to our collective belief in (hate to use it) “hope and change”?

    • bossier56 May 18, 2015 at 12:16 pm #

      It was the sense of nationhood and commonality that was different in 1959. America has always been individualistic, but not so much the Everyman for himself society we have now. Since that time, we worshiped at the alter of diversity so much that we have so little in common. Even on the simplest matter we can’t come to a consensus. While we have progressed technologically, we have regressed as a society. It keeps us from being able to apply technology effectively. We just keep doing what we’ve been doing . For now

    • Janos Skorenzy May 18, 2015 at 2:57 pm #

      Walt Disney fought the good fight, but the Jews, dominant in both Capitalism and Communism, were finally too strong for him. He warned us that what was happening to Film was going to happen to every industry and to America itself.

      rense.com/general91/walt.htm

      • GutenbergGuy May 18, 2015 at 4:59 pm #

        Utterly amazing! Jaw dropping!

        • Janos Skorenzy May 18, 2015 at 6:51 pm #

          As the scientist Haldane once said, The Universe is not only stranger than we imagine but stranger than we can imagine. But in fact this only seems strange to you because you’ve been programmed. When the Disney Family finally lost all control of Disney, the corporate policy “changed” (to put it mildly). In fact, the first thing Eisner did was to schedule a porno movie.

          There are people behind the events that happen, people with agendas. Profit isn’t the only one either. Read the article and the book mentioned about the Jewish takeover of Hollywood. It’s well known outside of PC mis-under-educated University circles.

    • GutenbergGuy May 18, 2015 at 3:31 pm #

      Mr. Obama destroyed it by making “Hope and Change” nothing more than a marketing slogan. Like “Cleaner, Whiter Whites.” It’s the latest chapter in “The Selling of the President.”

      All we have in America is rhetoric.

      Was it in this column that I read about the trip from the Orlando Airport and Disney World? A mess is what I read.

      I think back to all the magazine articles I saw as a kid in the fifties about the wonderful future we’d have and all the conveniences and labor-saving devices. AND we’d have more free time! My home town, San Jose and the whole Silicon Valley economy was built on that nonsense.

      Someone should write a book about that scam.

      • mastman23 May 18, 2015 at 4:57 pm #

        No it all came true you have more free time because the job you once is now automated. Enjoy your freedom.

        The governments of the world need to implement taxation on devices or machines that displace people for profit. Not enough tax to discourage creativity but enough money from the profits derived from the device in labor savings to pay for the retraining and reemployment of those displaced. And I mean pay for the time they are displaced until rehired.

      • Pogo May 18, 2015 at 6:52 pm #

        I agree with you about Mr. Obama. Like J. H. Kunstler, I voted for him in 2008 and again in 2012 but was and am deeply disappointed in utter lack of real political leadership.

        Good article in the current Harper’s magazine I read this afternoon about all this by David Bromwich titled “What Went Wrong: Assessing Obama’s legacy.”

        Recent series on PBS about the Roosevelt’s which naturally was mostly about Teddy and Franklin made me think about how great leaders frequently seem to be those who have experienced and lived through great challenges and personal trauma (followed by eventual triumph). Teddy’s wife and mother both died on the same day. Yes, the same day. FDR had adult polio. And if you want to talk real misery, then look to Abraham Lincoln.

        Being 50% white/black, I’m sure Mr. Obama has endured many racial slights and insults that I have not. But this apparently was not enough of a “crucible” to develop the strength and temper demanded by the job.

        I also recall the Popular Mechanics, Popular Science and Science and Mechanics magazines of the 1950’s and 1960’s with the lurid covers of flying cars and other wiz-bang gizmos that would ensure utopia for us all. Vance Packard and Marshall McLuhan were trying to warn us.

        As a final note, I would imagine that being a kid living in San Jose in the 1950’s WAS like living in paradise on earth. I lived in San Jose for about four years in early 1970’s and met “old timers” that lamented the lost fruit orchards. Shades of Steinbeck.

    • mastman23 May 18, 2015 at 4:24 pm #

      Walt did not have to deal and beg the crooked paid off politicians for funding he did it himself. Walt made made WDW as a separate entity apart from any jurisdiction and authority of state and local governments. The paid off special interest group mentality. This was despised by Walt and the main reason he acquired all the land in secrecy before construction planning or any pressers of his intentions.

      He then formed and got approvals for the Reedy Creek Improvement District. They alone are the governmental regulation and enforcement within WDW. No State and Local idiots telling him what he can and cant do. A real American Walt

  27. Robert May 18, 2015 at 11:43 am #

    High speed rail (HSR) is not the answer and may be part of the problem. In California HSR has become a muddled endeavor which now will be aligned through the southern Central Valley, taking farm land and likely creating a huge noise, and uncetrian though increasing cost to build and to ride. That this is the case with HSR in California as the “new” eastern span of the San Francisco Bay Bridge escalated in cost from $1.8 billion to over $6.4 billion and now apparently has major problems with salt water corrosion – the most sever of several sever problems.

    The part of the problem is this nation as an aggregate of humans, is moving far to fast, individually and collectively. I believe the acceleration of just about everything is due largely to the infusion of digital technology in all aspects of our lives. Sitting quietly in a room reading a book is for the time an indulgence of the past. As we accelerate into an uncertain future the natural act of thinking things through is no longer the norm, rather the exception. In this context HSR makes perfect sense.

    • GutenbergGuy May 18, 2015 at 3:35 pm #

      After the problems with the new Bay Bridge span, I hate to think . . .

      The original span was built men making $5/day, and it held up pretty well for many years.

      We reached “infrastructure as boondoggle” decades ago in CA, and the HSR will be no exception. A lot of people will get very rich, the taxpayers will be hosed, and the rhetoric will be awesome!

  28. mongoboo May 18, 2015 at 11:52 am #

    Just signed up for Amtrack 4500 mile trip. I haven’t flown since 1992 when my takeoff in Cost Rica went south with the right engine burning out just before liftoff. Missed the end of the runway by 50 feet sitting on 180000 gallons of kerosine. So I take the train…
    If you can sleep lounge chair style it is really fun to travel this way because of all the people you meet. Everybody loves to talk, play board games, cards etc. It’s a lesson in human leisure. You see and feel very large ecosystems come and go. You watch life in small towns everywhere. Dining car food is OK. But it’s also fun to pack one suitcase full of food, books, netbook, CD’s etc. It’s a meditation on conquering being bored and living with simple limitations.

    • bossier56 May 18, 2015 at 12:31 pm #

      I wish I had that kind of time to travel by rail for an extended period. I can never see it happening for me . I envy you

    • Q. Shtik May 18, 2015 at 1:03 pm #

      Just signed up for Amtrack 4500 mile trip. – Mongo

      ================

      Out of curiosity, where is this 4500 mile trip taking you from and to? And what is it costing you?

      My wife and I have been talking about doing a rail vacation but we can’t seem to figure out where to go.

    • Ken Hall May 18, 2015 at 3:46 pm #

      Wow! That must have been one hell-of-a big aircraft within which you were flying, because my calculation of the weight of 180,000 gallons of Jet A-1 (kerosine with a gaggle of chemical additives to improve jet turbine operation/performance) is: 180000*6.75 (WT of Jet A-1/Gal) = 1,214,218 pounds of fuel. The largest Boeing aircraft the 747-8 has an operational empty weight of 472,900 lb, a max take off weight of 987,000 lb and a maximum fuel load of 64,225 U.S. gal or 64,225*6.75 = 433519 lb which yields a max cargo weight of 987000-(472900+433519) = 80,581lb with a max fuel load. Normally aircraft do not lift off with a maximum fuel load; they usually lift off with sufficient fuel to reach their primary destination and sufficient padding to loiter for an hour or so plus enable them to reach one or more alternative runways in the event of unplanned events thereby enabling the airline company to increase it’s profits by reducing aircraft drag and increasing cargo/passenger loading.

      If we simplistically (not a rational/practical engineering approach!) scale up the size of an aircraft to accommodate the fuel load, you believe the aircraft you were flying in attempted to lift off with, relative to the 747-8 it would be some 2.8 times as heavy (1,214,218/433519 = 2.8 rounded off). This would yield an aircraft with a max takeoff weight of 2.8*987k = 2,764,000lb. Now that is going to be one hell-of-a big airplane which would likely require one hell-of-a long runway.

      The Antonov An-225 is the largest aircraft ever built (Soviet Union/Ukraine) with a, rounded off, maximum take off weight, slightly more than your estimated fuel weight, of 1.41 million pounds; they only built one.

    • orbit7er May 18, 2015 at 3:48 pm #

      I agree totally with the camaraderie of Rail travel!
      In January I moved my daughter via Amtrak from NYC to Albuquerque New Mexico via the Cardinal across Virginia, West Virginia, Indiana to Chicago and then the Southwest Chief to Albuquerque.
      I had my guitar and wooden banjo and we had a fun sing along in the Observation car.. There was a group of students whose school took a Rail trip every year to some interesting destination to write about as a journalistic exercise. This trip was to Dodge City. One of the kids played my guitar while I played harmonica. Because Amtrak always seats diners (included for free with your Sleeping Car is a 3-4 star meal) together we met somebody from Albuquerque at dinner who gave us a lot of help when we got there!

    • Lawfish May 22, 2015 at 1:46 pm #

      I’m with you, Mongoboo (even if the math isn’t exactly right 😉 ). I’d rather go to jail than board an airplane. My last train trip was Jacksonville to DC in 7th grade (1977). Boarded the train at 5:00, dined in the dining car, then headed to the bar car, where my dad (chaperone) drank toddies and smoked his cigar with my friend’s mother who did the same (but smoking cigarettes). Meanwhile, I played the piano and earned a couple bucks in tips.

      If I go anywhere of any significant distance in the future, it will be by train, but with my own room. Go to the dining car, then the bar car, get hammered, go to bed, wake up, have some breakfast, repeat. That’s the way to travel!

      I was looking into repeating that train trip recently and discovered there are people who have their own private train cars. You can rent them and hitch onto an Amtrak and they’ll drag you right along wherever they go. You have your own bed, bath, kitchen, etc. Expensive, but a pretty neat way to see a place like Alaska.

  29. shotho May 18, 2015 at 12:04 pm #

    I travel on the trains of Ukraine every year for business, both international and local. The international trains are super; the locals are not super, but far superior to anything we have here. And, yes, you can buy a bottle of water on them, even though I admit that the toilet facilities are lacking.

  30. Peecan May 18, 2015 at 12:07 pm #

    Great post today, Jim. I would add that besides inter-city passenger rail being an abysmal failure in America any improvement on this front has to be met with improvements to the intra-city public transit systems in most small to mid-sized US cities so that commuters can make seamless transfers safely In total this would be a huge feat for most municipalities since their budgets invariably are targeted to keeping the roads clear of snow, potholes filled, and boulevards mowed. By safe I mean that many of the city pedestrian walkways/sidewalks don’t even exist forcing public transit riders to walk in the gutter of the road then stand on soggy turf or downtrodden mud spots at bus stops (this very typical in the South states).

    In the meantime we have absolutely wonderful intestate highway roads down here and the construction of them is ongoing at a fever pitch right now…a good thing for Elon Musk. 😉

  31. BackRowHeckler May 18, 2015 at 12:23 pm #

    A century ago there were 4 RR companies that ran passenger trains from the northeast to Chicago, The Erie, The Baltimore and Ohio, The Pennsylvania and the New York Central. Jim, its on the NY Central’s tracks you ride Amtrak from Penn Station to Albany.

    Also a century ago every little town in CT had a train station and rail service, track mileage peaking out in about 1920, when the long decline began, corresponding with the rise of the automobile. In our little town passenger service ended in 1933, and the tracks were ripped up in 1970. Now the rights of way are bicycle trails.

    brh

    • GutenbergGuy May 18, 2015 at 4:05 pm #

      You do realize these companies were owned by some of the Robber Barons who ruled in the Gilded Age? And, yes, they built those lines, but they did so with a LOT of help from corrupt politicians and money stolen from the public treasury. They also did so with cheap labor, often forced to live in a company town, at a time when working Americans had almost no representation in government. It wasn’t all Norman Rockwell-Saturday Evening Post covers.

      And if you check out the history of the Pennsylvania RR and the violent struggle the people of Pittsburgh had dealing with this monster, that just might alter your understanding of the glorious days of the RR’s.

      This kind of transportation is needed, both for short and long distances, but not in the way it was done in the past. Like everything else, we need to start doing things honestly, with integrity, and that means saying no to all the mumbo jumbo our politicians jabber all the time. They need to stop talking and get to work. I do believe the American people are ready, but as usual the political class won’t lead us. What to do?

      • BackRowHeckler May 18, 2015 at 4:37 pm #

        Oh yeah, I know about Credit Mobilier, the Harrimans, Leland Stanford, all of that. A good read if you can find a copy is ‘The Octopus’, by Frank Norris (who died from TB age 32), c1902, about the hated SPRR, and how it ran all of Southern California.

        Another system, once prominent, now vanished, is the trolley system. JHK wrote in one of his books that in 1900 one could take a trolley from Boston to Chicago, with only one 20 mile gap in NY State. A few years back the town was making road repairs on Rte 4 from Hartford to Farmington, scaling off the pavement. About 1/2 foot down there they were — trolley tracks — still there, laid down in 1880, in service to 1930.

        I have all the Hartford Courants from the summer of 1927 and there are frequent stories of collisions between autos and trolleys, with calls to eliminate trolley service. Clearly people preferred to car, but there was apprehension as to how much petroleum left in the ground.

        brh

  32. Sean Coleman May 18, 2015 at 12:25 pm #

    I have been reading this blog for a few years and this is my first post. It might be my last. Who knows?

    In his book ‘Made in America’ Bill Bryson devotes at least a chapter, if memory serves, to the development of the US road system. This happened late in the day. One anecdote stuck in my mind. In 1919 a small convoy of military vehicles attempted a trip by road from Maryland to San Francisco just to see if it was possible to travel by road from coast to coast. It was but it took two months. (By the way, the young officer in command was Eisenhower.)

    • Being There May 18, 2015 at 1:15 pm #

      A good valuable comment—nice irony.
      Hope you continue to post.

    • bossier56 May 18, 2015 at 1:32 pm #

      There is whole book about that trip but I can’t remember the name. That started the US highway system.

    • Janos Skorenzy May 18, 2015 at 2:38 pm #

      Good point. The British produced a system of roads in India for the same reason – to facilitate the movement of troops.

      • GutenbergGuy May 18, 2015 at 4:14 pm #

        Yes, and I do believe the overpasses on the Interstate system were required to be high enough to allow missile transport to pass under them. I don’t think they anticipated today’s gridlock though.

        Great thing about that 1919 story. It reminded me that Eisenhower was born way back in 1890! He was already nearly 30 at the end of WWI. I was a child when he was president, and I still Like Ike! I’m a Socialist BTW,

  33. BackRowHeckler May 18, 2015 at 12:28 pm #

    Also, its interesting to note that in 1950 The Pennsylvania RR employed over 300,000 people and was one of the great Railroads of the western world.

    By 1970 it was gone.

    brh

    • malthuss May 18, 2015 at 3:31 pm #

      How do you spell, ‘Cars’?

    • GutenbergGuy May 18, 2015 at 4:19 pm #

      What its history says about the history of transportation in the US should be very illuminating. I only know about the period 1860-1900, and you’ve described a series of dramatic changes that suggest a great many things about what happened after 1900.

    • seawolf77 May 19, 2015 at 1:46 pm #

      Biggest corporation in the world at one time.

  34. GunHillTrain May 18, 2015 at 12:35 pm #

    Just to set the record straight: Amtrak never owned the line from New York to Chicago. The ownership passed from the New York Central to Penn Central, Conrail, and finally CSX. Recently Amtrak leased the section from Schenectady to Poughkeepsie (Metro-North owns the line south of there).

    It is true that the number of tracks has been reduced (from mostly four tracks to mostly two tracks) but that process began in the 1950s under New York Central management.

  35. shabbaranks May 18, 2015 at 1:31 pm #

    According to Mr. Stockman’s article at the link provided by Jim Kunstler,

    1. “On a replacement basis, its entire capital asset base [of Amtrak] would easily amount to $50 billion (about $40 billion of track and infrastructure and $10 billion of rolling stock).”

    2. Thus, on an equivalent basis, that would be the cost of four (4) Gerald R. Ford class US aircraft carriers now planned, budgeted for and being built, the first one being schedule for commission in 2016.

    3. The 2014 non-defense discretionary budget of the US federal government was $583 billion. If it took ten years to completely update the entire Amtrak capital base, that would amount to little more than $5 billion per year, then further adjusted for inflation (if there is any, not much lately unless you’re buying hamburger).

    4. My take is that two forces prevent the replacement and further development of Amtrak. They are

    a) Current force: cost per mile of operation. Amtrak is too high relative to its competitors in aviation and tire-based transport to attract development capital. There are many ways to counteract this.

    b) Future force: Political lobbying that deliberately ignores the idea and evidence for peak oil and the consequent troubled futures for aviation and tire-based transportation. The key way to counteract this is to build a public mindset in favor of rail.

    Jim, you need to write a book about Amtrak and all its misery, shame, abandonment and yet great potential. A quick perusal of Amazon.com shows little in the way of engaging, popular writing about Amtrak. It would be time well spent on your part.

    A critical mass needs to be developed around the redevelopment and expansion of traditional rail. The rise of Uber & Lyft have freed up millions of automobiles in towns across America that can be used to transport persons arriving via rail for short trips. A revitalized rail system would be a massive boon to them.

    • GutenbergGuy May 18, 2015 at 4:34 pm #

      Greatly appreciated. I don;t have time to read it myself.
      I don;’t usually lean on my caps key but 4 AIRCRAFT CARRIERS!!! WTF!!%#@% Is this in addition to the one the military said it DIDN’T need several years ago but got anyway?! Or is it FOUR totally new ones? And with a Democrat in the White House?! Each is a small city and requires all the things of a small city, in addition to its military accessories. Obviously all the whining about the initial capital costs is just the usual corporate anti-progress rhetoric. As others have said, it’s not the cost of replacement or operation that is the issue, it’s the American mindset. And as long as folks are willing to put up with the stress of auto travel and the airlines’ lousy service, and as long as the political class is owned by Wall Street and our other corporate masters, much as they were in the first Gilded Age, it is very difficult to guess when the situation will reach enough of a crisis for people to act.

      • BackRowHeckler May 18, 2015 at 4:44 pm #

        Yes GG, and Aircraft Carriers are essentially as obsolete as the Battleship was in 1941. They are easily defeated by cheap, low flying, fast moving missiles like the French exocet, which God forbid, we might find out one day in the Straits of Hormuz.

        brh

    • GutenbergGuy May 18, 2015 at 4:51 pm #

      One could say that those aircraft carriers are need because the US has heated up the world situation and destabilized it so much we now have even MORE people gunning for us than we had, oh, five aircraft carriers ago.

      I was fed up with Obama years ago, but he just keeps “digging that hole”!

  36. MisterDarling May 18, 2015 at 1:43 pm #

    An interesting post from J H K this week. I thought that this paragraph deserved extra attention:

    “Nowhere on earth is there passenger rail that pays for itself. But, of course, you don’t hear anyone complain about the public subsidies for driving or air travel. Who do you think pays for the interstate highway system? What major airport is privately owned and operated?”-J H K.

    Yes the world would look very different without subsidies, for example the entire OIL industry might not exist without tax-dollars greasing it’s wheels and burying its dead. This has been pointed out by numerous luminaries (like Jared Diamond, for one) but t just so happens that the IMF just posted the numbers:

    theguardian.com/environment/2015/may/18/fossil-fuel-companies-getting-10m-a-minute-in-subsidies-says…

    That’s right, “$10m(illiion) a minute” in gov’t subsidies for the industry… Where’s that “free-market” everyone’s been talking about? Certainly nowhere near.

    • Grandma Jill May 18, 2015 at 2:16 pm #

      I lament with you on the state of our railroad system. Originally from Jersey, I moved to San Francisco to go to college in the late sixties. In my younger days I’ve done a few marathon cross-country trips – one driving, one sleeping in the back seat. So in 2009, on one of my trips back to care for my mom, I decided to take the train so I could actually see the country I was going through. Ah, the endless waits while coal cars and other freight went through. Ah, the endless delays. And that stretch of track along the Hudson – my very favorite. I remember it well. It was raining, the car leaked, one of which was right over my head with no where else to sit. I spent the night having a wonderful conversation with the very cultured European gentleman sitting next to me, who managed to politely evade the soggy issue, except for the comment: “Is it always like this?” It makes it hard to explain that we’re the richest country in the world (according to Washington speak) under such circumstances. Ah, don’t you just LOVE living in the Twilight Zone.

      Grandma Jill

  37. laceration May 18, 2015 at 1:48 pm #

    Part of what makes the otherwise excellent Stockman, excellent is that he cross posts this blog every week. Wonder what he’ll do this week. He got pretty well beat up in comments to the article too.

    It’s interesting that there are more than a few out of the matrix public intellectuals from conservative backgrounds, like Stockman, that are spot on about so many things, the war state, civil liberties, the coruption of finance but sometimes seem to be sticky on an issue or 2. For instance, I was listening to Alex Jones the other day, he was excellent ripping a new one for Monsanto + GMOs, on the other hand he thinks Global Warming is a fiction. But what makes me bristle the most are those who think the province of revolution is leftist. This isn’t the 60’s, there is a new synthesis.

  38. DennyO May 18, 2015 at 1:52 pm #

    Speaking of the ongoing definitional argument about what does and does not constitute socialism, I have come to the conclusion that the American definition of it is public spending which benefits the majority, or the needy. Public spending which benefits either corporations or the upper elite is not socialist.

    Examples of ‘socialist’ (that is bad) spending:
    Schools, public transit, health, national parks, environmental controls

    Examples of non-socialist (good) spending
    Defense procurement, airports, canals, highway construction contracts

    Some observations which prove these points regarding the latter:

    The F35 fighter jet boondoggle, which looks like it may end up with a life cycle cost of $1.5 trillion. Of course as time goes on that figure will only go up, as Lockheed-Martin finds new ways to milk the project further. Eisenhower’s warning abut the military-industrial complex look prophetic in this context. By contrast, Forbes estimates the current outstanding student debt level to be $1.2 trillion. The total annual salary bill for the 3.7 million teachers in the United States works out to about $208 billion, with an average teacher earning $56,300 in 2013. (Damn those greedy teacher unions!)

    The Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan locks which transit ships into and out of Lake Superior charges no tolls. Over the next few years, the Army Corps of Engineers plans to invest $2.5 billion for upgrades. There are only about 50 ships today which traverse the locks, and many days in the sailing season, not a single ship uses the locks.

    Back in 2010, a navigation system upgrade was done to the Harbor Springs, Michigan Airport paid with public money under federal infrastructure improvements. It amounted to about $9 million. This airport has no commercial operations, but is used mostly be wealthy clientele accessing this vacation spot from Detroit by private craft, about 45 per day in the summer.

    • GutenbergGuy May 18, 2015 at 4:48 pm #

      Under “good” spending you forgot prisons.

      Otherwise you provide a very good sampling of the “state of affairs” in this country, as well as illustrating what a politician means when he/she uses the phrase “our principles and values.”

      All of this while politicians, grown adults, argue over things like “trans-vaginal ultrasounds” and we have to listen to yokels like OK Senator Imhofe tell us that God is responsible for climate change, so there’s no point in even discussing the issue of human agency.

      All this in a nation that says “We’re broke!” at the mere suggestion of feeding a hungry child.

      This will be real interesting to watch unfold under America’s first woman president. She was probably one of the :”deciders” who made the decision to buy those four aircraft carriers. It takes a village to bomb a village, you know.

  39. MisterDarling May 18, 2015 at 1:55 pm #

    BTW, sorry I couldn’t make it to the party last week… circumstances, priorities, etc. However I did spot this little gem winking at me from out of the text-tailings pile:

    “Only 6 percent of US electric power comes from “clean” hydro generation. Another 20 percent is nuclear. The rest is coal (48 percent) and natural gas (21 percent) with the remaining sliver coming from “renewables” and oil. (The quote marks on “renewables” are there to remind you that they probably can’t be manufactured without the support of a fossil fuel economy). Anyway, my point is that the bulk of US electricity comes from burning hydrocarbons, and then there is the nuclear part which is glossed over because the techno-geniuses and politicians of America have no idea how they are going to de-commission our aging plants, and no idea how to safely dispose of the spent fuel rod inventory simply lying around in collection pools. This stuff is capable of poisoning the entire planet and we know it.”-J H K.

    I like my truth-telling with a side-order of data. And the good news is that a global-trade ‘slow[collapse]down’ will leave a lot of coal unburned:

    energydesk.greenpeace.org/2015/05/14/china-coal-consumption-drops-further-carbon-emissions-set-to-fa…

    That is correct… The ongoing global collapse in trade (and retail-apocalypse here) is bearing sweet succulent fruit: the slimmest possibility that climate change and sea-level rise won’t accelerate…

    Cheers!

    • FincaInTheMountains May 18, 2015 at 2:34 pm #

      Excellent!! We get to starve breathing the clean air.

  40. saharasergei May 18, 2015 at 2:05 pm #

    I just read an interesting article about modern transportation, and it argued that the interstates, in addition to killing the big cities they ran through, killed the small towns they bypassed. No one bothered to stop in those towns anymore. But it didn’t have to be that way. Look, Germany has its autobahns, but it also has its ICE trains and local public transit, and many of its cities and towns did not die. That’s because gas is expensive and high-density living is encouraged. But the Germans adapted automotive technology – which THEY invented (Gottlieb Daimler invented the internal-combustion engine in 1886) – to a sustainable living pattern. If we followed Germany’s example, we’d have a first-class highway system AND a first-class railway system. The German model (not Heidi Klum! 😀 ) is an example of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s idea of genius defined as holding two contradictory ideas together at once. Germany not only has one of the best intercity rail networks in the world, but they also make great cars (and the best cars). A Volkswagen, which is supposed to be the German equivalent of a Chevrolet, is more advanced than not only a Chevy but most American luxury cars. Ask the man who owns a VW (me).

  41. saharasergei May 18, 2015 at 2:06 pm #

    The British weren’t so good with urban planning. Listen to this song from the British rock band Family, “Hometown,” about what we Yanks call “urban renewal” did to Leicester:

    youtube.com/watch?v=Dry2L5SZQXg

  42. FincaInTheMountains May 18, 2015 at 2:29 pm #

    “Where’s that “free-market” everyone’s been talking about? ” — MisterDarling

    Free Market is a liberal fiction – it never existed. The funniest concept off all times is “invisible hand of the market”. Yeah, sure, in your pocket over your wallet.

  43. Beryl of Oyl May 18, 2015 at 2:50 pm #

    “Dead Nation Walking”. I’ve personally known three people killed on Route 5, because when you take the bus you have to cross the street to get back home.
    Contrast this situation with the TSA. All that money spent by all of us, to make the fortunate few who can afford to travel by plane feel safe? If you suggested that busy pedestrian areas should have crossing guards, you would get laughed at, and told the cost was prohibitive.
    I had visitors from a foreign country, who visited Canada, which they flew to, and then the Buffalo area, and then they took that pathetic one-train-a-day to this area. They insisted on making a complaint, once they reached the station here, because the train was one-and-one-half hours late; I couldn’t make them understand that this was normal.

    • Janos Skorenzy May 18, 2015 at 3:14 pm #

      European tourists often used to wander into Black Ghettoes, feeling completely safe since they had watched enough American TV to “know” how great Blacks were. Most emerged wiser, some didn’t. It doesn’t happen as much now since Europe has been “enriched” and many Europeans now experience being terrorized on their own streets. But for decades they firmly believed White Americans were racist because the TV and Newspapers told them so.

      • Beryl of Oyl May 18, 2015 at 3:37 pm #

        One of my visitors nearly wandered into a ‘no-go’ zone. He said he’d been to bars in rough neighborhoods before.
        One of the things that surprised them about this country is the number of black people who do all right for themselves. They thought it was all ghetto, or Oprah/Barack/Beyonce, with absolutely nothing in between.

  44. Buck Stud May 18, 2015 at 3:05 pm #

    As some upthread have pointed out, the Koch Brothers Party–the current GOP, in other words– is virulently anti mass transit in any form: bus, trains/light rail etc.

    billmoyers.com/2014/10/03/koch-brothers-war-transit/

    • DennyO May 18, 2015 at 5:05 pm #

      It really makes you wonder, if the Koch brothers had lived 200 years ago, would they have fought against public roads in favor of private turnpikes, and against public schools. I am guessing if they could, they’d even roll back public schools today. I think their vision of an transformed America would look like some Latin American banana republic, in which a few moguls would own everything, and most of the population would be essentially living at their whim like serfs.

  45. toktomi May 18, 2015 at 3:46 pm #

    I am having a difficult time imagining a soon-to-be U.S. population of between .5 and 1.5 million people needing more trains.

    Surely that rhymes with more cow bell. silly, silly, silly in my book

    Would somebody hereabouts start looking at the non-industrialized carrying capacity of this continent? The pre-industrial carrying capacity of the “Americas” in that most opulent state of the biosphere is credibly reported in some places as 11 million, of which the northern part may have carried 7 million. This degraded cesspool of a mess in the north that humans have created quite possibly will not support even a half million souls.

    All aboard!

    ~toktomi~

    • Therian May 18, 2015 at 3:53 pm #

      So this 95+ percent die-off is going to happen how in the next 20 years?

      • toktomi May 19, 2015 at 2:57 am #

        So, to answer a question with a question which I endeavor tirelessly to never do unless the original question strikes me as unworthy of an answer as does your passive aggressive interrogative, are you truly curious or are you merely intimating that if I don’t know how gravity works then it surely does not work?

        Shall we dance? – cuz my dance card for this evening is completely open so far and I would be honored to put you down for the very next dance and every one thereafter if you wish. Otherwise, step aside – you’re standing on my dress.

        • toktomi May 19, 2015 at 3:21 am #

          Oh, while I’m on a roll here, could you describe to me what it is about the chart referenced in the URL below that you don’t understand?

          tinyurl.com/p0pulati0n

          And finally, as a therian, have you studied or researched population dynamics? I’ll give you a hint. Basically, animal populations that have significantly exceeded equilibrium, as dictated by the carrying capacity of that portion of the biosphere in which they reside, will suffer a dieoff, at the end of which their numbers will be significantly below equilibrium.

          Of course, I could be allll wrong and I will have completely missed the train. wooo wooo

          • Therian May 19, 2015 at 11:50 am #

            It’s a very simple one-line question so you could be nice and … JUST ANSWER IT. Your chart doesn’t answer the HOW part of my question nor does your follow-up “explanation”. Your explanation is full of mysterious, unspecified language like “carrying capacity”. Do tell. What is the carrying capacity of the United States? Why did you settle upon a number that’s 95-98% under the current population?

            Speaking in riddles might impress some people. It doesn’t impress me nor do I “wish to dance”. Either answer the question AS YOU SEE IT PLAYING OUT or the “dance” is over.

          • Therian May 19, 2015 at 11:55 am #

            Since you had an addendum I’ll add one too. Your numbers for the “end times” population of the USA are actually 99.5-99.7 underneath the current population. As for your obscurantism … in lieu of an answer … I can only quote Friedrich Nietzsche at this point:

            “The masses think that a muddy pool is deep merely because they cannot see the bottom.”

        • Q. Shtik May 19, 2015 at 8:22 am #

          So, to answer a question with a question which I endeavor tirelessly to never do – tok

          ===============

          I don’t know if my Jewish pal, Steve, from New Haven, CT originated this but……… when I once asked him why he always answered a question with a question he answered “Why not?”

          • toktomi May 19, 2015 at 3:57 pm #

            Thank you for the hearty chuckle. That is just too cute!

      • toktomi May 19, 2015 at 4:38 pm #

        Oh my goodness, slather on the fake sincerity! Passive-agressiveness simply isn’t without it.

        I thank you for this opportunity to have the last word as I love the last word in a tiff nearly as much as I enjoy dancing.

        You’re not going to deny me the last word by another act of insincerity by reneging on your ultimatum of “either… or the ‘dance’ is over” are you?

        ok, i’m done with you.

    • BackRowHeckler May 19, 2015 at 12:30 am #

      Recently read an article stating population in USA by year 2100 at 500 million, almost all the growth due to 3rd world immigration. Right now 2.5 million arriving here per year, and it will only grow as conditions S Asia/ Africa and Latin America get worse.

      Right now Europe is experiencing an alien invasion from Africa and Asia not seen since the 5th century, when Rome itself was overrun by the Huns, Visigoths and Vandals. I doubt if Europe will survive the onslaught.

      brh

      • malthuss May 19, 2015 at 4:08 pm #

        Mexicans in USA have larger families than those who stay in Mexico.

        Go to ‘Ambrose Kane’ and listen to Ann’s talk.

        Im not sure how many people will be here–even in a week.
        Where I am I see ‘chemical spraying’ day after day.
        Chemtrails.

  46. nsa May 18, 2015 at 3:53 pm #

    That great philosopher and social critic, John L. Rocker, explained all you need to know about pube-lick transportation in these latter days of the great republic. Take a good look at the botched wretches at any bus stop or train station…do you actually want to be within smelling distance of them?

    • BackRowHeckler May 18, 2015 at 4:53 pm #

      Rode Amtrak to Florida and back a few years ago.

      Number 1 observation: the middle class has abandoned the railroad, at least this section of it.

      In the club car there were these obnoxious drunks, turns out they all worked in the city jail of a large mid west city. A fight broke out between them and some other drunk dudes; the train stopped and we were boarded by amtrak and local police. The smiling happy faces of mom, dad, Bud and Sis were nowhere to be seen.

      brh

    • Janos Skorenzy May 19, 2015 at 12:33 am #

      Bravo the Truth is a Goddess who has claims of her own apart from all utility.

  47. mastman23 May 18, 2015 at 4:01 pm #

    We rode the train one year just for a change of pace from Orlando,fl to NYC. Playing cards for 14 hrs in the parlor and hitting the bar car were much better than driving on I 95 with the trucks and traffic.

    Only thing was everytime we approached these small towns along the coast the train would slow to a crawl sometimes stop for no reason.

    If they can figure a way to speed up the trip time, expand the bar cars and have some real food to offer like it was in the 50s when I rode the Silver Comet and Orange Blossom Special people will switch. More than you think will forego the Auto. Car trips are not cheap anymore.

    I can still smell those dinning car breakfasts of poached eggs bacon and toast served on linen covered tables with real forks and knives. Servers with that we can please you attitude might just be the trick.

    I am sure the Airlines, Auto Giants and Big Oil are the ones suppressing any National Rail System expansions and improvements. The railroads today are one step above a cattle car but at least the cattle are fed and watered.

    I remember the electric trolleys and busses in the cities that were all targeted for elimination by General Motors and Big Oil after WWII.

    We need a grass roots movement backed by one or two of the presidential candidate to get the politicians off the Big Oil Dole

    Amtrak should be abolished let SW Airlines take over the operations and planning. Without the peanuts for meals

  48. someonetakethewheel May 18, 2015 at 4:49 pm #

    Recently traveled to Portland on Amtrak, it was great: Cheaper than driving or the bus, helpful employees, great scenery, on time, lots of nice honest people with the time to chat. Heard that employee attitudes not so good on East Coast, tho.

    Amtrak’s web site works well, you can make and cancel or change reservations easily without penalties. I like the Western Superliner cars, old but well designed and well maintained. I am so angry that the Repubs (the reason we can’t have nice things) keep trying to starve or kill the whole system.

    I often ask people if they have ridden a train, most (and almost all of the younger folks) say they have not, or at least not in the last 30 years. So I always talk it up and encourage them to give it a try, I think i have inspired a few, including one retired guy whose wife cannot take the plane anymore due to MS. The train is totally set up for the handicapped, it’s their favorite way to travel.

    But for the US not to have Positive Train Control is absolutely ridiculous. And we need a crash program to double track all routes, eliminate as many grade crossings as possible, electrify the propulsion and add a second train each day everywhere. It should be a National Security Priority instead of spending billions on stupid jet fighters that can’t even fly. The problem is that we have have had a
    militarized economy since 1941, most capital spending goes to the “defense” contractors and straight into the pockets of the 1% that own those companies. Its time for a revolution and it may yet happen.

  49. RB May 18, 2015 at 5:33 pm #

    What is there not to love about trains? What is there to like about automobile traffic? There is no money to be made in passenger railroads. Railroads are very vulnerable to sabotage. It is surprising that there are not more incidents attacking trains. If you live in Europe (I have) the Europeans love their cars and their traffic jams that can extend for many KMs. Trains there do not run often with every seat filled to capacity. Only government subsidies keep them moving. Worse, especially in France, workers strike unexpectedly and leave people stranded. Are you wanting government workers to get paid high six figure salaries for doing low 5 figure work? Public unions are a disaster and are driving cities into bankruptcy. We will get alternate forms of transport when it is absolutely necessary and not before. We might be too late but demand will have to push the effort to build the passenger capacity.

    • Q. Shtik May 18, 2015 at 9:38 pm #

      Are you wanting government workers to get paid high six figure salaries for doing low 5 figure work? – RB

      ==================

      I get the drift of your post and mostly agree with the points you are making but WHY do you feel such gross hyperbole is necessary to make those points?

      Let’s define “high six figures” as 700, 800 or 900,000 dollars. And let’s define “low five figures” as 20, 30 or 40,000 dollars. Let’s be realistic, no one is being paid $800,000 to do $30,000 work.

    • seawolf77 May 22, 2015 at 11:16 am #

      Baloney. Americans have been brainwashed into believing in the “happy motoring lifestyle.” We aren’t born with the need to drive. We TV shows and movies about how much fun people have in their cars. We see commercials of enviable adults driving big Cadillacs and want to be them. What did Don Draper say “Advertising is about one thing…happiness.” The fact is capitalism takes what is good for you and replaces it with what is profitable and conceals the fact with advertising.

  50. Frankiti May 18, 2015 at 5:35 pm #

    Excellent post. Most everyone overlooks the subsidies handed out to keep driving afloat, from free trade (no tariffs), to factory creation incentives (Tennessee, South Carolina), gasoline and oil (the US military) roads (states and local governments and federal funds). This country has gone from a love affair with rail to abject hatred. We need private rail with all the copious incentives doled out to auto and air. Even this is preferable to the status quo. If we experienced rail the way many Europeans and Asians do we’d get over the undignified and despicable experience of flying in a hurry.

  51. trypillian May 18, 2015 at 9:57 pm #

    Ironically, 200 miles due north of Albany in Montreal is a state of the art manufacturing facility building intercity and high speed rail transportation systems, courtesy of Bombardier. Yes, the holy grail of rail passenger nirvana is so close, yet so far. They are building the uber modern systems for more enlightened people elsewhere on the globe. I recently travelled on the Norwegian electrified intercity line, extremely comfortable, with all the coffee you can drink. The link provides visual imagery for what might have been.

    bombardier.com/en/transportation/products-services/rail-vehicles.html

    Bye the way, they don’t make bombs!

  52. Q. Shtik May 18, 2015 at 9:58 pm #

    Janos,

    I might have guessed that you would find David Foster Wallace insufficiently pure relative to your feelings towards Blacks.

    • Janos Skorenzy May 19, 2015 at 12:15 am #

      In other word, just Janos being Janos again! You don’t even respond to the two points I made. Defend your hero – or admit I am right. Or (a third position? Is such a thing possible? Don’t you have to be either for or against something?) express your own position on his essay.

      • Q. Shtik May 19, 2015 at 8:05 am #

        express your own position on his essay. – Janos

        =================

        I already did. I said it was “priceless.”

    • Janos Skorenzy May 19, 2015 at 12:21 am #

      Feelings? As in a priori about Blacks? Or do you mean the feelings about the mayhem they’ve caused ever since gaining so called equal rights (superior rights)? Or are you talking about the indignation you don’t feel? And do you think that makes you superior to me? Maybe it just means your world weary, jaded, and incapable of deep emotion anymore.

      Or are you referring to the knowledge I have and my emotional reactions to it – an experience you can’t have because you wont let yourself see the obvious, except deep in your psyche beyond the reach of emotion?

  53. gryffyn May 18, 2015 at 11:00 pm #

    Last year I took a morning TGV train from Monpelier in southern France to London. The terminal was a cool modern structure. I bought some pizza, sandwiches and drinks in the cafe to take along. The young lady who waited on me was charming and cheerfully brushed off my apology for my terrible French. The ride was comfortable and the fall scenery was easy on the eyes. I had to change trains in Lille and passed through British customs where the agent, looking at his computer screen seemed to know more about me than was on my passport. In London I raced to the cab stand and was picked up by a young lady driving a vintage cab. I asked her if she could get me to a theater in Central London in time to catch the opening. We had a nice chat as she wove through back streets and across
    traffic and we made it with minutes to spare. I gave her a tenner for a tip and she exclaimed “That’s too much!”
    I told her that she had done what I thought impossible and thanked her for a fun ride. The play was great.

  54. gryffyn May 18, 2015 at 11:33 pm #

    I forgot to mention that I had misread the timetable when I booked my train, which arrived on time, but an hour later than I thought. Hence the dash to the theater.

    • Janos Skorenzy May 19, 2015 at 12:23 am #

      What did you have for breakfast that day? Corn flakes? Should have had Wheaties like OJ.

      • gryffyn May 19, 2015 at 8:02 am #

        And the point of this inane remark is?

        • tufflove35 May 19, 2015 at 1:47 pm #

          There doesn’t seem to be much of any point, other than racist blathering, as far as I can tell. He’s a one note pony….

          • Janos Skorenzy May 19, 2015 at 3:25 pm #

            I was referring to OJ’s famous commercial where he runs thru an airport terminal. Not talking about Blacks out of fear of being seen as a racist, is racist. Try harder. We’ll let you know when you get it right, Whitey.

        • Janos Skorenzy May 19, 2015 at 3:23 pm #

          No I really want to know, just as I’m sure we all wanted to know about your flirtations with female transportation personnel and how you misread the timetable and had to rush. And you wanted to tell us. So why do you balk now? Perhaps you realized the inane gestalt you had created? And perhaps I can be credited with your awakening? A little?

          Look, there is a contract between every writer and every reader. We are in contract negotiations here. No worries, we’ll work it out.

  55. BackRowHeckler May 19, 2015 at 12:20 am #

    All this talk about trains got me thinking about one of my favorite movies “The Station Agent”, with Patricia Clarkson and Peter Dinklage. A lot of heart in that film.

    brh

    • Janos Skorenzy May 19, 2015 at 12:31 am #

      This is good too. Lots of suppressed information about Eisenhower’s death camps and other allied atrocities – not just Russian.

      hellstormdocumentary.com/

      • BackRowHeckler May 19, 2015 at 12:58 am #

        My Dad was a member of the 793rd Combat Military Police Battalion, often detailed to provide personal security for Ike in France and the Rhineland. Told me Ike was always reading a Zane Grey Novel.

        How about German POW camps where American and British soldiers were held, what were those places like? Summer camp? European Spas?

        brh

        • Janos Skorenzy May 19, 2015 at 4:41 am #

          Yes by comparison. The Germans considered the British and Americans erring brothers, lied to by their evil Goverments. They lived (or not) to find out the Americans didn’t share this feeling of brotherhood and considered the German people to be vermin. As Patton said, the American forces were out for revenge against a fallen foe, a Semitic attitude not a European or Western one.

  56. Buck Stud May 19, 2015 at 1:06 am #

    When I was in Denver I rode the light rail system frequently. And what’s not to like; you can open a book, avoid the hassle of traffic and finding a parking place etc. They are also constructing a light rail line from Denver to Boulder so on some glorious fall day a person could hop on the light rail in Denver and spend an afternoon on the Pearl Street Mall in Boulder without having negotiate the rather horrendous traffic of Boulder.

    And if you check out the below clip at about the 2:30 mark the light rail trains are packed:

    youtube.com/watch?v=7q64Ij4Amfo

  57. FincaInTheMountains May 19, 2015 at 4:11 am #

    What to do when there is no money and you are very hungry. Just follow few simple steps from that instructional video.

    youtube.com/watch?v=1rTYCc2ZF2o

  58. BackRowHeckler May 19, 2015 at 4:28 am #

    Phew!

    Could this be right?

    Sez here newsman George Stephanopolous is paid $300,000 per week by ABC.

    If i can recall correctly he was down with the Owsers hammering the 1%. He was trying to bring to bring down the man; all the time he was the man.

    seems like this Comrade is playing both sides of the fence.

    brh

  59. FincaInTheMountains May 19, 2015 at 6:39 am #

    What’s happening with TTIP and TPP Treaties?

    A skirmish between Senator Warren and President Obama threw light on that mystery. President Obama angrily remarked that she seeks not the abolition of secrecy in order to protect the rights of the American working class, but the abolition of the financial regulations prescribed in these treaties so to enable uncontrolled printing of money in the dark. As a result, it became clear that all this is done in the preparation for 2016, when the US president will probably be Hillary Clinton and reap the fruits of these agreements.

    A more detailed analysis of what is happening shows that subject of disputes are not the instruments, but financial regulations of the treaties, that is, control over the printing press that Bill Clinton abolished on the pretext of protecting domestic producers from the terrible and horrible NAFTA.

    But now, if history repeats itself, any struggle with the economic crisis will turn into a Sisyphean task, because no reform will succeed if the printing press will continue to spit out money into the pockets of crooks and swindlers. No matter how much dollars will get tied up with new products and services, or even burned by inflation, still mad printing press without brakes and deprived of financial regulation, will print more.

    regnum.ru/news/polit/1925509.html

    • Buck Stud May 19, 2015 at 9:22 am #

      Oh yeah, you’re the same buffoon who posted that Hillary and Yoko Ono had a fling back in the day. Pathetically–albeit hilariously revealing–you failed to realize that you were citing a satirical spoof in both of your posts last week.

      Why don’t you munch on a topic you’re much more familiar with, like, say, the girth of Vlad Putin’s massive missile.

  60. FincaInTheMountains May 19, 2015 at 7:07 am #

    Mexican (Texan) standoff

    It is not difficult to guess that it is the Clinton clan arranged the US military exercises in Texas, during which the federal troops suppress separatist revolt to exercise the right of Texas to secede. After no such subtle hint the Bushes, for which Texas is home turf, if not the homeland, strengthened their countermeasures, especially when you consider that Texas is armed, and well armed, male and female population without exception.

    Unfortunately, these events have not received adequate coverage in the press, as the media seems to have been completely controlled by the Clintons until the countermeasures from the Bushes have not gotten such proportions that Clintons had to call on the help of the former governor of Texas, Rick Perry, who said that Texans are crazy due to their inability to recognize “that the presidential election in 2016, they will choose not supreme critic, and Supreme Commander of the US Army.”

    It was unclear what the hell he had in mind until Chuck Norris breached the “informational” blockade of Texas. He said that the people of Texas and its militia (National Guard called up by the Governor) are not crazy, but on the contrary, have every reason to fear those federal drills and have no intentions to allow them on Texan territory.

    After the Chuck Norris’s announcement no one can dismiss the assumption that the election of President Hillary Clinton is unlikely to be accepted as legitimate by all states of the United States, especially if one considers that even the notion of this makes machine guns clatter not only in Texas, but also in New York, where are the headquarters of her election campaign.

    And outside of America one could hear the howl of rocket engines.

    regnum.ru/news/polit/1925477.html

    • tufflove35 May 19, 2015 at 1:57 pm #

      The “right” of Texas to secede was decided in 1865. No such right exists today. There are 28 federal military installations here, including the largest US base in the world, Ft. Hood. 3 divisions…..So, please tell me how ~100 Special Forces are going take over Texas? They could roll the III corps down I-35 and have Austin in 2 hours. But thanks for outing yourself as an imbecile. Now I won’t have to read your posts seriously….

      • FincaInTheMountains May 19, 2015 at 3:12 pm #

        Texas Governor Deploys State Guard To Stave Off Obama Takeover

        npr.org/sections/itsallpolitics/2015/05/02/403865824/texas-governor-deploys-state-guard-to-stave-off…

        Chuck Norris Questions Military Drill Planned for Texas

        christiantimes.com/article/chuck.norris.questions.military.drill.planned.for.texas/52440.htm

        • tufflove35 May 19, 2015 at 3:26 pm #

          1) The State Guard is not the Texas Army National Guard. Two completely different things. The “State Guard” is a bunch of dress-up militia types. The Texas Army National Guard answers quite easily to the Federal government. So Greg Abbot called up a bunch of 50 year-olds that like to wear camo to “check on” Special Forces around Camp Swift in Bastrop?? OK……..BFD. Hell the military probably did a psy ops on the yokels to more accurately simulate a hostile population. Hmmmm…..think about that!

          2) I don’t give a fuck about anything that Chuck Norris thinks. This isn’t the movies.

          Since I happen to live about 40 miles away from Bastrop in Austin, I am pretty sure I know volumes more about this than you do, since you don’t seem to dig very deep in your “research”. It’s embarrassing enough to have our idiot governor pandering to these morons.

          • Janos Skorenzy May 19, 2015 at 5:55 pm #

            Tuffy wants all the police to be federalized. Who needs separate States either? Why complicate things? One Nation, One Party, One Race – the mixed raced, the human race. And of course, One Leader, a Woman or a Minority of course!

      • AKlein May 19, 2015 at 3:15 pm #

        You present your thoughts regarding the viability of a secession which are reasonable. But then, apparently thinking that is insufficient to make your point, you proceed with childish ad hominem attacks. Have you perhaps outed yourself?

        • FincaInTheMountains May 19, 2015 at 3:23 pm #

          Perhaps, that was Texas Gov. Greg Abbott who announced he was ordering the Texas State Guard to monitor a Navy SEAL/Green Beret joint training exercise outed himself?

          Personally, I am against secession. But the point is not secession, point is American clans feuding in front of the public, which never happened before.

          • tufflove35 May 19, 2015 at 4:10 pm #

            Perhaps you recall the Civil War?

      • BackRowHeckler May 19, 2015 at 3:32 pm #

        There’s a secession movement in Vermont as well, altho its died down a little since Obama has become president. I was at the anti-4th of July parade in Warren VT in 2006. Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders gave a speech, in his incongruous Bronx accent, advocating VT secession from the ‘Fascist United States’. I was standing next to a Queens, NY prosecuting attorney, in VT for the weekend visiting his children, who said to me “Half these people here are high.”

        brh

        • malthuss May 20, 2015 at 12:16 pm #

          There was a black riot, oops I mean race riot-youth melee in —-
          Colorado Springs. [dont get much Whiter than that].

          No mention of race by ‘Gazette’.
          I went to Gazettes site and instead found a pic of a smiling HS grad.
          Guess her color.

  61. FincaInTheMountains May 19, 2015 at 8:22 am #

    All roads lead to war in Europe

    The fundamental reorganization of the basic sources of profit soon changed the nature of the economy of the leading countries. That led to a fundamental revision of approaches of management decisions. And that lead precisely to the policy changes. American rush to transfer their production to China was not out of love for experiments. The difference in return on investment between the plant in Detroit and a similar plant in the Chinese province of Hebei is at least twice or even four times.

    At first all went well. Finance capital has formulated the task to American government – to make friends with China. Government does it. Especially as Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, South Korea, but, above all, China, and they themselves were very interested in attracting foreign investors. But then the problems started. Having bought the cheapness of local labor and a fantastic softness of national legislation in the area of environmental protection and taxation, by the beginning of 2000s America has transferred to Southeast Asia the bulk of its industry. The opening of new factories overseas was accompanied by corresponding closings in the United States.

    But when the local governments gradually began to tighten the screws, plus the natural economic laws (eg, in the form of wage growth) began to affect, it was found that all that was built in host countries is bogged down tightly. No, the plant can be shut down in China. But it can’t be opened it in the United States anymore. That is, of course, possible, but only in accordance with the stringent US labor and environmental laws. This means a sharp increase in costs and falling profits. That will automatically trigger the stock price decline. The depreciation will lead to the loss of opportunity to take out loans to do business, and … I’m sorry, goodbye to the business itself. History of Packard Bell is more than a good example.

    However, the Bilderberg Club and analytical corporation “Stratfor” are not comprised of the fools. Even by early 2000s they have calculated correctly the emerging economical trends. In the world there are no more places to create another cheap industrial cluster.

    Experiment with Emirates and Egypt showed that the Arabs, of course, are also very cheap, but they can’t compete with Asians in their ability to work. To return back to the US industry was impossible. It’s not even a question of magnitude of one-time costs. At the American level of labor costs end products clearly cannot be competitive on the world market. And the loss of industrial capacity eventually leads to the loss of US leadership in the world. With only Hollywood and iPhones (incidentally, also produced in Southeast Asia) America has no brighter future. The loss of political leadership is fraught with rapid squeezing of the United States out of the world economy that everywhere and always leads to loser bankruptcy.

    The main and the only competitor of the United States is Europe. China, of course, has large GDP, but it mostly produces low-tech products with small value-add. Europe – is another matter. Europe is airliners Airbus, turbine engines and Rolls-Royce engines, chemical production BASF, oil and gas of Royal Dutch Shell. This is the most advanced technology and products with the highest added value. Europe – this is 24% of the world economy. In the United States today, only 20.6%. If US manages to take control – in any form, to destroy, to push, to buy whatever you like – even in the case of loss of its Asian assets (and it is inevitable in the medium term) future American industrial and economic power would still be at least third of the world’s, may be even closer to 40%. That guarantees the preservation of American global hegemony for another fifty years.

    But Europe is not just going to give up. Especially in Germany, they have their own views on global leadership. This predetermined the American choosing of the war as the only possible future policy. Either US will win and kept as a state, as a hegemon, as the leader, as the leading recipient of the lion’s share of global surplus value, or, more likely, America ceases to exist at all in its current form.

    Only here just moving tanks no longer possible. Not only due to the lack of tanks, but also because of the irrelevance of Europe in the form of radioactive debris. For the factor of weapons of mass destruction has not been canceled. This has determined all the subsequent events. By the way, the fate of Ukraine was also decided then.

    regnum.ru/news/polit/1925504.html

    • Frankiti May 19, 2015 at 4:31 pm #

      Get your own blog!

      • FincaInTheMountains May 19, 2015 at 6:13 pm #

        Get a mouse with a scrolling wheel!

        • Frankiti May 19, 2015 at 8:51 pm #

          You’re not even on point… braying (again and again) about bilderbergs and tin hat bogeymen…

          • FincaInTheMountains May 20, 2015 at 8:59 am #

            We, in Russia, do not wear tin hats, we wear Kevlar helmets.

          • Therian May 21, 2015 at 6:15 pm #

            Uh … Frankiti … ahem … the Bilderbergs are not some fictitious group of people. President Obama was on the invitee list for the 2008 meeting in Chantilly, VA just outside of Washington, DC … before he was elected. It’s a group of royalty, heads of state, and titans of industry that has a bigger security budget than most American states. If you just Wiki “Bilderberg Group” you’ll get a calm description of who they are.

            It’s not a conspiracy theory and in not doing your due diligence before typing the “tin hat bogeymen” accusation at Finca, you’re really only opening yourself to ridicule.

          • Frankiti May 21, 2015 at 9:08 pm #

            Therian: Learn to carefully read. There was no mention of fiction and there is an operative conjunction that you overlooked. Besides, an imbecile that posts off-topic multiple paragraph essays on ANOTHER’s blog is assuredly beyond ridicule. Like a man shouting at the sidewalk he is best left with the voices rumbling in his head. It’s a shame that the wackadoos that haunt JHK’s site seldom have the courtesy to ruminate on the topic at hand, but alas the alternative would leave them speechless.

            If you just wiki “unemployed conspiracy theorists addicted to internet” you will get a description of your kook cohort that have taken up residence here like a bad strain of herpes.

  62. basil May 19, 2015 at 10:29 am #

    i live in the missouri ozarks, the very armpit of right wing politics. billy long, our auctioneer u.s. representative, used “we were tea party when tea party wasn’t cool” as one of his campaign catch phrases. some wealthy investors a few years ago decided to build a privately owned small commercial airport near branson, missouri-one of the nation’s top tourist areas, assuming the tourists would make them even more wealthy. subsidies from the city of branson were so expensive that the city has stopped paying much of the cost. several airlines-some familiar, some questionable-have come and gone over time, and the last i read, the airport was losing about $14,000,000 annually. big travel cannot exist without much input from public sources. government is derelict in its duty to provide funding for satisfactory passenger rail service.

  63. stelmosfire May 19, 2015 at 10:44 am #

    Up in theses parts(MA) the massholes are spending $260,000,000.00 To reconstruct 1 mile of interstate 91. That is just short of $50,000.00 a foot. We also are tearing out rail lines like crazy and converting the existing tracks to bike trails.

  64. meargen May 19, 2015 at 11:41 am #

    A very good column this week, and certainly timely with the crash in Philly. I’ve been watching to see what the cause was. Rumors of the train being shot at or hit or being dismissed. I dislike it when the engineer clams up without a lawyer by his side. Reminds me of an Amtrak crash a few years ago where the engineer disappeared, then appeared with his lawyer…later found out he was on pot.

    As for Amtrak (why did they take the ‘C’ out? make it sound faster?), I used to use it when younger. I took a couple of trips from St. Louis to Boston, and when I lived in Boston, I’d take the train to D.C. I enjoyed using the train, although I wish trains were faster. I got annoyed on the long range trips with drunks on board. One guy sitting next to me kept trying to feed me beer from the two six-packs he had, another kept boring me that I pretended to sleep as he yakked, then he slapped me. ‘Hey buddy! Buddy! Thought you was dead…’ Oy. Then a woman in front was being harassed by a man. She cried out, a conductor came, and at the next stop the cops hauled the assailant off the train. When I stopped in NYC, a gang of blacks came on board, tramping through shouting ‘yo! yo!’
    But I was very happy taking a train. I was a soldier in Germany, and enjoyed their rail and streetcar system. Also, I lived in Boston for seven years, and never needed a car. The commuter rail there is really great. I never needed a car.
    A problem is many Americans have no access to public transit. Unlike a lot of us, they live in the monoculture of cars, and have never been in a place where public transit works. Americans are really caught in tunnel vision.
    I also lived in Columbia, MO, and used their city busses. It was an okay system, mostly kept alive by students and it shut down at 6pm, but I didn’t need a car to get to work, and lived three miles outside of town. A lawyer there was a big libertarian, and kept wanting to end the bus system because it should be ‘private enterprise.’

    I live in St. Louis, and don’t take public transit. I am a security guard, and need a car to make weird shifts and places, and you really need a car here. We do have Metrolink, our public transit, but its links are limited. I would have to walk twenty minutes to make one. In Boston, it would be ten minutes. Also, there’s a lot of crime. People get beat up and robbed, as a man was three weeks ago, by blacks. The rails used were from an old system, so the stops are really far away from anywhere…fifteen to twenty minute walks, because its made for commuters. You don’t get AT the location on the stop.
    I used to take city busses when I was in college. They were always a half-hour behind schedule.
    So now I do ‘happy motoring.’ I drive a 07 Saturn. It’s a very good car, I’m happy with it. A shame they don’t make them anymore, but I enjoy driving, and I can see concerts, places, and friends I never could without a car. Cars are really good, and I’m happy owning one, although I spend a lot on payments and insurance, I do like it.
    Also, for all the talk of public transit being a counter to oil prices, when we had the financial collapse, the city immediately cut a third of the bus routes.
    I didn’t read the Stockman piece, but it was probably misinformed. I really got angry listening to Glenn Beck when he did one of his stupid blackboard talks showing public transportation was a plot by the system to destroy freedom. “you see,” he said in his cartoon voice, “they’ll take ALL the oil, and make us ride the CHOO-CHOO. We can have FUN riding the CHOO-CHOO.” He also said mass transit was caused ‘by the Progressives’, to keep people contained, making sure they couldn’t move without permission.’
    Beck really scares me. He’s ignorant, and if he had any power, I could see him starting WWIII to get rid of Iran and bring in the Millennium.
    As for high speed trains, JHK is right. We’d better just settle for revamping what we’ve got.
    But although a lot of you castigate the right for being against public transit, Harold Covington, a white nationalist who argues for a separate white homeland, shows in his Northwest novels a new whites only state where trains are rebuilt and used extensively. His novels show the white state building high speed trains throughout the Northwest. He denounces the trucking industry and corporate capitalism for destroying rail service.
    All of us would benefit from a better rail service, but the system is incapable of doing it.
    As for Bulgaria, I knew a woman artist from there. I gave her lifts to work, and she drew my portrait as a reward. She said she was happy with its socialist economy. “If it hadn’t been for the state,” she said, “I wouldn’t have a scholarship. I’d still be digging up potatoes near Plevne.”

    • Janos Skorenzy May 19, 2015 at 3:18 pm #

      Yes Blacks used to have to ride at the back of the bus. Now they don’t and Whites often can’t ride the bus at all. One race will dominate – indeed one already does. But it’s neither of those and not any of the big four. One is reminded of the Outer Limits episode about the Secret Society of the Invisibles.

  65. capt spaulding May 19, 2015 at 3:03 pm #

    t’s when the drought started. The end of the tale is inevitable just as it has been throughout history, we are the victims of corruption and decay, and we’re going down. For most of the people on this website, it’s pretty clear cut, but for the average person, it will be a surprise when the brutality of the moment makes itself known. Do I sound sad? It’s only because I can see what’s coming. And if you’re honest, you can see it too.

    • capt spaulding May 19, 2015 at 3:05 pm #

      Sorry, I screwed up half of what I was trying to say.

  66. FincaInTheMountains May 19, 2015 at 3:33 pm #

    “It’s embarrassing enough to have our idiot governor pandering to these morons.” — tufflove35

    It seems that the explanation Americans have these days for everything is “idiot governor”, “idiot president”, “idiot secretary of state”…

    How do they make so high up? Are they still smarter than everybody else?

  67. BackRowHeckler May 19, 2015 at 3:49 pm #

    Read the WSJ today. The world is falling apart.

    Fighting in Yemen, Burundi, Somalia, Libya, Syria, Iraq, Ukraine, and the entire southern hemisphere seems to have collapse, their impoverished and desperate populations moving en masse north into Europe and America.

    Its a long way from ‘we are the ones we’ve been waiting for’ from back in ’08. I kind of feel sorry for the people who believed that bullsh-t.

    Its only a matter of time before the oil fields in the Gulf States and Saudi Arabia go down. That’s when we’ll find out how ‘energy independent’ we really are. Many Americans are in for a big surprise.

    brh

    • malthuss May 19, 2015 at 4:13 pm #

      There are many reasons for the migration.
      When one flees war and goes to the first safe country–that is a refugee.

      When a mussi passes thru 3-7 countries to get to Eu or Au, thats seeking the best welfare benefits.

      see –Ambrose Kane, Anns talk.

    • BackRowHeckler May 19, 2015 at 4:43 pm #

      Malt, there a plans in the works right now to drop tens of thousands of Syrians into the State of Idaho.

      Step 1) Mustafa shows up in Boise, buys Baptist Chapel, turns it into a Mosque.

      Step2) Mustafa gets his 3 wives and 19 into the State of Idaho welfare system.

      Step) Mustafa goes back to Syria, joins ISIS.

      multiply that by 100,000.

      Whitey keep working, the whole 3rd world is dependent on the tax revenue your labor generates. What, don’t like it? Tough sh-t! You’ll like it even less when Mustafa gets back from Jihad, with a grudge against infidels like you, and the training to do something about it.

      brh

      • Janos Skorenzy May 19, 2015 at 5:59 pm #

        Almost at White Nationalism. You have the minorities down, but you are lagging behind on the Jewish question. They are the ones who opened our borders in the first place – part of an ancient plan to destroy us.

  68. sprawlcapital May 19, 2015 at 4:38 pm #

    One reason Americans prefer to drive — say, from Albany, NY, to Boston — is that there is only one train a day, it never leaves on time or arrives on time, and it takes twice as long as a car trip for no reason that makes any sense.–JHK

    In 1919 streetcar operating personnel in Des Moines, Iowa went on strike over a proposal to increase the interval between streetcars during rush hours from three minutes to four minutes. This change would have meant a loss of jobs. I do not know the outcome of the strike.

    The point is, even a four minute wait between streetcars would be excellent service. If only we had that kind of public transportation today, large numbers of commuters would not drive their car to work; many would not even own a car.

  69. FincaInTheMountains May 20, 2015 at 3:47 am #

    “The New Yorker” assures: Texas is not in danger from the United States

    In the past few weeks, a certain map has been causing a lot of discussion online and, particularly, in Texas. It shows seven states in the Southwest color-coded as red and “hostile” (Texas, Utah), or blue and “permissive” (California, Colorado, Nevada), or designated “uncertain” but leaning toward hostile (New Mexico) or toward friendly (Arizona). The map also features a circle zeroing in on Texas and acronyms associated with the military. To numerous observers, its meaning is clear: it is a plan for a U.S. military takeover of Texas and beyond, or, perhaps, a rehearsal for civil war and the enforcement of martial law. Resistance is anticipated in some areas, such as the part of Southern California marked as an “insurgent pocket.”

    The Pentagon quickly explained that the map was actually a prop in a large-scale but routine training exercise called Jade Helm 15, scheduled to take place this summer. Blue and red are standard colors on war-game maps and unconnected to, say, voting patterns. But the theorists were unpersuaded, and the code name seemed to excite them further. (Jade—a reference to China?) Some pointed to several Walmart stores that had abruptly closed and might now, they said, be used as internment camps run by FEMA. (Walmart says it isn’t so—sometimes stores just close.)

    The matter might have been dismissed as another one of those things that happen on the Internet if Greg Abbott, the governor of Texas, had not sprung into action. In a Facebook post from April 28th, he wrote, “I’ve ordered the Texas State Guard to monitor Jade Helm 15 to safeguard Texans’ constitutional rights, private property, and civil liberties.”

    newyorker.com/magazine/2015/05/18/unclear-dangers

    • FincaInTheMountains May 20, 2015 at 4:15 am #

      The not so hidden symbolism in the article by The New Yorker titled “Unclear Dangers” is that Hillary Clinton’s headquarters are located in Brooklyn, New York and the phrase “clear and present danger” is synonym to Casus Belli

  70. FincaInTheMountains May 20, 2015 at 3:58 am #

    Well, I was wrong after all – if the New Yorker says Texas in not in danger from the United States, it must be so

    However, you have to admit that the notion of using Walmart stores as internment camps is a brilliant idea: being kept in familiar environment must help keeping prisoners calm.

  71. FincaInTheMountains May 20, 2015 at 4:41 am #

    The strangest thing in international politics that nobody seems to notice is the fact that two dignitaries from US State Department came at the same timeto negotiate with America’s second-in-danger enemy (after Ebola, but before ISIS) – Russia.

    Kerry came to Sochi for a meeting with Lavrov and, later, Putin and Victoria Nuland came to Moscow, where she was fed nice Russian pelmeni (dumplings with meat), but failed to get access to Kremlin and essentially was confined to US Embassy in Moscow during her stay.

    Everything becomes clear if we assume that Kerry had come from Obama and Nuland from Hillary Clinton, and that Hillary Clinton, not Nuland is a persona non grata in Moscow, who made it clear that there is nothing to talk to her about.

    This in turn suggests that the possibility of civil war in the United States is no longer a fantasy of irresponsible bloggers, once it came to the separate negotiations with a potential enemy.

    And then it becomes clear why Nuland had come: she came to say that victory of Hillary Clinton is inevitable, that she has everything under control (and indeed, how you can trust the fate of the United States to irresponsible voters?)

    And that Russia must not even think to take advantage of the situation if some States refuse to recognize the results of elections held under her wise leadership.

    • Frankiti May 21, 2015 at 9:13 pm #

      You undoubtedly have caught your own attention… with 3 replies to your own prattling.

  72. Pucker May 20, 2015 at 5:03 am #

    According to Snowden’s book on the US Constitution, the US Constitution was never about individual rights. The Founding Fathers intended that the US Constitution be about States rights. The States were to have all power, except for narrow enumerated powers granted to the federal government. The US political system was supposed to be more like a Confederacy rather than a pyramid with the federal government at the apex. The 2nd Amendment right to keep and bear arms was to enable a citizen’s militia because of the fear of a large permanent standing army.

    • Florida Power May 20, 2015 at 9:20 am #

      All is interpretation. It is clear that the States cannot maintain troops in peacetime without Congressional action (I, sec 10). The preamble refers to the blessings of liberty (presumably individual?) and the 10th amendment reserves all powers not enumerated to the States or the people. The Second Amendment is an unusual verbal construction but clearly the framers were not afraid of firearms.

      There is a sweet spot somewhere between anarchy and tyranny where self-interest and the collective good intersect. Absent Plato’s Philosopher King the US Constitution may be the most worthy second best. That’s my opinion and is not shared by the Coastal Intellectual Elites.

      Nevertheless the notion of smaller, more local (i.e., the original “States”) grows in attraction and necessity despite Elitist Stalinism as the incompetence of large organizations manifests daily. But is it possible to recapture the old spiritual differences between Virginia, New York, and Massachusetts in an age when the States have been relegated to the functional equivalent of the office cleaning service (vis a vis the Federal power)? Is it possible to undo the Civil War triumph of industrial capitalism over feudal agrarianism? That sweet spot is elusive.

  73. BackRowHeckler May 20, 2015 at 6:59 am #

    A an article ran in the NY Times Sunday — a news article on the front page — on the ascendancy of the Equities Markets, ‘specially the Dow, and how they have completely recovered from the economic collapse 7 years ago.

    None of the issues discussed on this board and that JHK talks about were mentioned; bad debt never to be repaid, no real growth, a hollowed out zombie economy. No, all is well, we’re back to normal. This is the way they look at it and seems to be the party line of the establishment left.

    brh

    • stelmosfire May 20, 2015 at 11:05 am #

      Hey BRH, check this out. We can only wish it comes to be.

      money.cnn.com/2015/05/15/news/economy/european-trains-leo-express/index.html

      • BackRowHeckler May 20, 2015 at 11:39 am #

        Rip, run that Czech train right up along Rte 10, the old Canal Line, track laid down in 1845, which itself followed the Farmington Canal dug out by Yankees and Irishmen in 1826, New Haven to North Hampton. Its already surveyed and ready to go, just dig up the pavement from the bike trails and put down some track; it wouldn’t cost that much all the hard work is already done. I understand CSX still owns those rights of way, inherited when the venerable New Haven Railroad went down in the 1960s.

        Thanks for the link, Rip. When those trains start running I’ll jump on here for the ride up to your place.

        brh

  74. Poet May 20, 2015 at 7:45 am #

    If the federal reserve can create trillions out of thin air for everything from endless wars to bailing out the TBTF banking/brokerage/speculative investment community (which they have and continue to do) then there is no reason they could not do the same for the p[urpose of building and supporting a mass transit system. All that is lacking is the will to do so.
    That does not exist because in addition to the US being a “Dead Nation Walking”, it is also an organized crime enterprise based on thievery, (US history) prostitution (politicians), protection (the military industrial; complex), and drugs (the world of mass media). Just like the organized crime syndicates with which we are all familiar.
    The proceeds of our shining “city on a hill” is now the envy of the world and (surprise surprise!) they are increasingly willing to do what we did to get their share of the action. We are truly hoisted on our own petard (a petard is a small bomb used to blow open otherwise shut gates) and we have no one but ourselves to blame for the situation of our own devising.

  75. FincaInTheMountains May 20, 2015 at 8:17 am #

    “If the federal reserve can create trillions out of thin air for everything from endless wars to bailing out the TBTF banking/brokerage/speculative investment community (which they have and continue to do) then there is no reason they could not do the same for the p[urpose of building and supporting a mass transit system. All that is lacking is the will to do so.”

    It is not entirely true – the FED can’t print money forever without at least partially sterilizing it with bloated stock market, bloated real estate market, pushing 85% of the created money overseas – there are 20 foreigners for every one American – so the inflation would be outside of US.

    Printing money for business infrastructure is entirely different thing, however it also has its limits. Building better infrastructure is not only revival of the current job market, but also creating better business conditions for the future, more economic activities.

    Since money emission is a limited resource, the question is who gets it and who doesn’t. It appears the decision has been made in favor of international financial crooks and swindlers.

    • Poet May 20, 2015 at 11:56 am #

      FincalnTheMountains sez:

      “It is not entirely true – the FED can’t print money forever without at least partially sterilizing it with bloated stock market, bloated real estate market, pushing 85% of the created money overseas – there are 20 foreigners for every one American – so the inflation would be outside of US.”
      ****************
      Whose talking about “printing money”? All banks create money out of thin air by using the actual money on hand from either deposits or the Fed to create value.
      It is called fractional reserve banking and it only becomes inflationary when the value created has nothing of substance to serve as “collateral” to justify its creation. (like the crap bonds and phoney-baloney mortgage back securities that were at the heart of the yet ongoing financial crisis the world’s economy is facing).
      The beauty of using the Fed to fund capital improvements is that the improvements (dams, bridges, airports, and yes even world class passenger rail service) along with the full faith and credit of the US becomes the collateral backing the entire enterprise.

      • FincaInTheMountains May 20, 2015 at 1:55 pm #

        In general, you are right, but it’s a bit more complicated than that. For instance, QE has nothing to do, for obvious reasons, with fractional reserve lending.

        There is also “high quality” counterfeiting of US Dollars and even T-Bills, can’t be detected by regular banking methods. Usually, it is being used in world’s “hot spots” such as Ukraine to pay off local hoodlums.

        That “money” could never be returned to US Treasury for exchange or payment.

      • Janos Skorenzy May 20, 2015 at 2:25 pm #

        “All Banks create money out of thin air by using actual money on hand” – huh? That wouldn’t be creating it out of thin air. But in fact they do, they only need a “fraction” (hence the name) of the money they lend out to actually be on hand, it used to be one ninth I believe. Anything above that they need to get more fake money from the Fed which is doing the same thing. And with this Monopoly Game money they get real labor, real estate, capital, and resources. Imagine you could buy a Monopoly Game for twenty five dollars and then get to use all the Game Money inside as if it was real. Thus when they write out a loan that is new money created.

        Our Founders wanted all money to be based on actual wealth in the form of silver and gold (bi-metalism). There might be problems with this in a growing economy of course. But letting the banks run riot is obviously not the answer. As it is, we are always living in a future that may not come, always tied to endless growth that is itself ruinous to the Earth and to the human spirit. As a poet, one would expect you to know this….

        • Poet May 20, 2015 at 7:03 pm #

          To be specific, the production of bonds for the purpose of the building of a world-class rail system spanning the US creates wealth in the form of the finished asset (the rail system) which then becomes the collateral justifying the bonds. The building of it stimulates business and commerce that would be impossible without the project’s existence. The building of it further produce even more wealth by the employment needed to build it.

          On the other hand war that is not connected to defending the nation against a mortal threat to its continued existence and the bailing out the elitist wealthy who got rich scamming others (which have been the major industries of this country for the past 15 years) produces profits for the businesses engaged in such illicit activity but no lasting wealth or equity that can benefit all.

          As JFK showed, such an expanding economy can then be taxed at a reduced rate and still generate more revenues to properly fund the government services that benefit all.

          There is nothing sacred about gold or silver. Native American civilizations numbering in the millions economically thrived for centuries using polished shells for currency (called “wampum”).
          Bi-metalism is an elitest scam to assist them in their control over the rest of us. It is an expression of the sarcastic rendering of the golden rule: “He who has the gold makes the rules”. The “founding fathers” were notorious elitists who both distrusted the voice of all the people and founded the US based on the notion of dominating the 99% who were not them.

          • Janos Skorenzy May 20, 2015 at 11:54 pm #

            It has its problems to be sure. I merely point out that it needs to be repealed because it is specified in the Constitution. That it was pushed aside by the Bankers and their dupes show how far we have fallen from the rule of Law.

            Hitler has no gold since Germany had been plundered by the voracious Allies after WW1. Yet even his enemies admitted the economic miracle of Nazi Germany. The brains and brawn of a People are their first and foremost capital. Anything that they can’t grow or make can be bartered for with other countries. The Banker middlemen/parasites get go to hell. And that’s the real reason for WW2 – to crush this system before it could be emulated by other countries.

            Germany used a system of social credit something like the one put forward by Douglas and preached by Ezra Pound. Pound ended up in a cage in Italy and then a mental hospital in New York for taking this principled stance during the War.

    • Therian May 20, 2015 at 12:48 pm #

      It’s a very interesting idea to look at the stock market as the Fed’s venue for money laundering. I like it!!

      • FincaInTheMountains May 20, 2015 at 1:37 pm #

        What else it’s for? Sure it’s not for raising production capital.

      • FincaInTheMountains May 20, 2015 at 1:43 pm #

        They tried to use derivatives contracts to fund some more money printing – that was the reason for financial deregulation in late 90s by Clinton – but something I heard went wrong (I am not specialist), too risky for entire pyramid to come down too soon.

        But all printed money have to have some funding, imaginary or not. I heard the Russians actually created a math theory and algorithmic support for computers, may be that’s why Putin is so self-confident. Technically, it’s rather complicated.

  76. FincaInTheMountains May 20, 2015 at 8:35 am #

    The Island is flooded with Jehovah’s Witnesses, like a swarm
    of ravens in perfectly ironed clothes they descended on unsuspecting natives.

    My wife is a catholic, I think she’s got pretty good immunity, but it still makes me nervous, couple of times I told them to hell out of the property. She doesn’t let me to be rude.

    A year ago there was a nice young American – a plumber from New York City, who tried to convert me. He’s got a Russian wife.

    In turn, I did my best to convert him, but still somewhat enjoyed the conversations, but was disappointed in his lack of knowledge, especially in history.

    • nsa May 20, 2015 at 11:20 am #

      The Jehovah’s Witlesses are the enlightened souls who believe the dinosaurs died off because they were too large and unruly to fit on Noah’s Ark…. But then the genius Huckabee (R) has stated the earth was formed about 6000 BC…. Your crowd, the worshippers of the Whore of the Seven Hills are better? It has only been a few years (1992) since the fag in the gold hat passed an edict “forgiving” Galileo for the heresy of stating the earth revolved around the sun…after a 13 year “investigation”….. Hilarious morons one and all……

      • Therian May 20, 2015 at 1:04 pm #

        I had a friend who passed away in January of 2014 whose wife was a Jehovah. This friend was a great man who gave almost every beggar on the street money every day and who passed out food to homeless people in the local Urban Ministry Food Closet. His belief was that any religion that wasn’t interested in clothing and feeding people wasn’t much of a religion and when he talked to Witnesses they didn’t seem too concerned about actual good-deed-doing.

        Thus, whatever one might think about the Catholics, they really do actively devote some of their filthy lucre to poor people. Not every person who practices Catholicism loves “the fag in the golden hat” nor every Papal Bull that comes down the line. Why would you almost appear to be making a Catholic RESPONSIBLE for the Pope excusing Galileo a tad too late?

        I won’t comment upon the “morons” accusation except to say that, while I’m not religious myself, I thought it was interesting that the French philosopher Albert Camus (an atheist) when ask “What does the world really need?” responded “More GOOD Christians!”.

      • Janos Skorenzy May 20, 2015 at 2:30 pm #

        Were looking at one raised a hardcore Baptist hater here, all the worse for losing his faith. Now he just burns, a presentiment of his eternal fate.

  77. Buck Stud May 20, 2015 at 12:49 pm #

    Meanwhile, back in the land of rugged individualism and busy intersections, motorists are gritting their teeth and clinching their jaws because the homeless person pushed the pedestrian cross walk button at the height of rush hour. Adding fuel to the fire, “Otis, The Drifter” never actually crossed the street; he enjoys the profanities, glares, and emotional angst that such a simple act creates. Moreover, at the really busy intersections the red light of “Stop’ lasts far longer because the street is wider and society–and traffic control– must make time allowances for the potential handicapped or elderly pedestrian. And to top it off, extremes in weather amplify the traffic emotions. What fun as the drifter watches idle cars overheat on some brutal July afternoon rush hour: The power of thy lowly fingertip!

    Whoever coined the phrase ‘never let a minimum wage employee ruin your day’ never witnessed the unemployed drifter light the fuse of road rage fury at the height of rush hour with the simple push of a cross walk button.

    • Janos Skorenzy May 20, 2015 at 2:35 pm #

      Last winter, I as pedestrian stopped to allow a pizza delivery van to go. She waved me forward and then I heard her screaming at me thru her closed van, “I’m out in the middle of the street, why don’t you hurry up.” It was icy and I couldn’t hurry. And yes, she was out in the street which is why I had stopped to let her go first.

      As Yoda says, do or not do. She tried to let me go first and not let me go first. I gave this strange creature a withering stare from the safety of sidewalk.

      • malthuss May 21, 2015 at 12:28 pm #

        No good deed goes unpunished.

  78. FincaInTheMountains May 20, 2015 at 2:08 pm #

    “It’s a very interesting idea to look at the stock market as the Fed’s venue for money laundering. I like it!!”

    I think that what they watch closely is amount of dollars from abroad coming into US stock market, When that stream starts to dry up, would be a high time to go short.

    Periodic Market crushes is another good way of sterilizing the excessive cash supplies.

    • Therian May 20, 2015 at 2:26 pm #

      There are many ways in which the excessive cash gets mopped up in addition to market routs. Another is the weakening of health insurance. Even a “good” plan now takes about $4K out of pocket for even an outpatient surgery. With average individual incomes in the $30K range ($50K for an entire household), even $4K effectively freezes all of their disposable income. This acts like a money drain.

      Another is the relatively sharp rise in rents across the USA. Every dollar that the rentier class takes from tenants is a dollar that said tenant cannot use in the retail district of the town in which he lives to buy goods and services. Again, it acts just like a deflationary banking system drain.

      Ironically, we live in an economy with no pricing power IN GENERAL but there is sharp inflation in the “must have” sectors of housing and medical coverage.

  79. wpa--ccc May 20, 2015 at 2:32 pm #

    Meanwhile, the transition away from fossil fuels continues.

    Burlington, VT recently became the first city in the USA to use 100 percent renewable energy for its residents’ electricity needs. Burlington is Vermont’s largest city, only gets sun half the year (159 days), and successfully uses solar energy for electrical power generation.

  80. Janos Skorenzy May 20, 2015 at 2:47 pm #

    Modern Society is like a bunch of people on a bridge about to collapse. The alphas call out, Are their any engineers here? Several people raised their hands. They are ignored in favor of hair dressers and bakers. Everyone has an opinion but actual knowledge is scorned. The engineers begin to slowly walk off the bridge leaving the people to their fate. Who is John Galt?

    We need a Brain Trust, a Manhattan project that will save the best and the brightest and core technology from the coming disaster, much like the League of the Last Days in the movie “When Worlds Collide.”

    polymatharchives.blogspot.ca/2015/01/the-inappropriately-excluded.html

    • beantownbill. May 20, 2015 at 4:25 pm #

      Yes, a brain trust cum Manhatten Project is a good idea. But aren’t you getting a little ahead of yourself? First you must differentiate between change and disaster. Disaster is always bad, but change can be good as well as bad and is.also inevitable; therefore I’d opt for change. I think you’ve been pessimistic in general. Be more like me by being optimistic.

      You know the future is mutable, that in every second an infinity of possible futures branches off into the multiverse, so why focus on the bad?

      • Janos Skorenzy May 20, 2015 at 6:35 pm #

        Why? Because the darkness is upon us. The Enemy are within the gates. Every vector – social, political, environmental (water, soil, climate) infrastructural, etc is converging downwards into disaster. You are being Pollyannish I’m afraid – a legacy of growing up during America’s 20th century boom.

        • Therian May 21, 2015 at 6:33 pm #

          Certain phenomena are like “canaries in the coal mine” in terms of revealing that “the darkness is upon us”. Suicide rates in the US have gone up sharply in the last decade. One would think that this is mostly a phenomenon of old age where people just get tired of living but suicide is only the 12th leading cause of death in the US but it is THIRD in the 15-24 year old age bracket. Here in Palo Alto we’ve had an astonishing EIGHT teen suicides in the last year (nearly all of them threw themselves in front of a train) and in a very posh, upscale town.

          We need old, Middle Ages “soothsayers” in America who are willing to speak of “omens” because they are there aplenty.

      • seawolf77 May 22, 2015 at 11:07 am #

        Why does everyone believe the Manhattan Project succeeded? They saw a film of a nuclear explosion. Why does everyone believe we went to the moon? They saw it on TV, live no less. If the government told you they had mastered time travel, would you believe it? Of course you would…if they showed you pictures.

  81. FincaInTheMountains May 20, 2015 at 4:25 pm #

    MOSCOW, May 20 – RIA Novosti. Russian scientists have created the first superconducting “qubit” – the basic element of future quantum computers that will surpass the most powerful supercomputers today, the press service of the Russian Quantum Center (RQC).

    Quantum bits (qubits) – the main component of quantum computers, whose operation is based on the effects of quantum physics. Scientists believe quantum computers will help make the next big leap in the field of computing.

    Atoms or electrons can act as qubits, data is encoded in their “spin”(magnetic moment). However, these qubits are extremely unstable to external influences, their condition is easily destroyed due to external “noise”, the procedure to read and write information on them is extremely difficult, as well as traps that are used to store them.

    In the early 2000s, scientists discovered that it is possible to create “artificial atoms” that behave according to the laws of quantum physics, but it is much easier to use.

    ria.ru/science/20150520/1065620066.html

    Remember the “positronic brain” in A. Asimov stories?

    Its a high time for Americans to answer to that Russian provocative discovery with introduction of innovative “Strips of Collateralized mortgage obligation with a backward interest rate partial swaps”!! Fuck those Quantum bits!!! You can’t collateralize em!

  82. beantownbill. May 20, 2015 at 4:26 pm #

    That should be Manhattan, not Manhatten.

    • ZrCrypDiK May 20, 2015 at 11:39 pm #

      WoWzerz, zombie apocalypse – indeed! MadHatter (and your srsly racist *accomplice*).

  83. FincaInTheMountains May 20, 2015 at 10:33 pm #

    Sand in the South China Sea smells of gunpowder
    US is planning a possible military operation against China

    Pentagon advising the White House to send military aircraft and ships to the artificial islands, erected by China in the disputed waters.

    Washington called on Beijing to stop the expansion of its maritime borders, but China says that it is her ancestral territories.

    Implementation of the American plan can result in direct clashes on a limited scale. The threat by the United States was a response to military exercises between Russia and China in the Mediterranean.

    Beijing is rapidly building artificial islands there. Pentagon chief Ashton Carter instructed employees to study the option, according to which the US electronic surveillance planes and naval ships will be included into the zone of 12 nautical miles surrounding reefs, built by China on the Spratly archipelago. The Chinese call these islands of Nansha (South Sands). According to Wall Street Journal, the move to raise stakes in the Pentagon debate about who controls the waters along the coast of China.
    ng.ru/world/2015-05-14/1_china.html

  84. FincaInTheMountains May 20, 2015 at 10:35 pm #

    China warns U.S. surveillance plane
    High stakes surveillance over the South China Sea

    Above the South China Sea (CNN)The Chinese navy issued warnings eight times as a U.S. surveillance plane on Wednesday swooped over islands that Beijing is using to extend its zone of influence.

    The series of man-made islands and the massive Chinese military build-up on them have alarmed the Pentagon, which is carrying out the surveillance flights in order to make clear the U.S. does not recognize China’s territorial claims. The militarized islands have also alarmed America’s regional allies.
    edition.cnn.com/2015/05/20/politics/south-china-sea-navy-flight/

  85. FincaInTheMountains May 20, 2015 at 10:41 pm #

    Another hot spot, this time in the Pacific. Does it remind you of anything?

    Another complications for US Navy are Russian latest C400 advanced anti-aircraft, anti-ballistic systems and Bastion mobile coastal defense missile system that were recently sold to Beijing.

    Things are moving way too fast.

  86. fodase May 20, 2015 at 10:54 pm #

    wpa–ccc
    May 20, 2015 at 2:32 pm #
    Meanwhile, the transition away from fossil fuels continues.

    Burlington, VT recently became the first city in the USA to use 100 percent renewable energy for its residents’ electricity needs. Burlington is Vermont’s largest city, only gets sun half the year (159 days), and successfully uses solar energy for electrical power generation.

    brother, so nice to see you out here. i think that you, like me, sensed that this week’s JHK missive was not worth much thought nor commentary, and stayed on the sidelines.

    So, we have Burlington, VT getting 100% of its electricity from wind/solar/biomass/hydropower, Ireland getting 26% of all its electricity from the wind as we speak, Denmark getting an unusually low 9% from the wind, and Spain getting ….let me check the website showing actual figures….36% (!!) from the wind at this very instant.

    This is but the beginning of the transformation. Fossil fuels will increasingly stay in the ground, as they won’t be needed.

    Brother wpa_ccc, you and I will rocket into the future on clean and limitless energy. The endtymers will too, all the while denying the reality that has swept them into the cornucopian future against their will.

    fodase

  87. wpa--ccc May 21, 2015 at 12:17 am #

    Yes, fodase, not much to say this week. Here are a couple of positive observations:

    ** Amtrak ridership has risen more than 50% in the past 15 years

    ** Train travel is very safe. In the U.S., the fatality rate for train travel is about 0.15 per billion passenger miles—almost 50 times as safe as traveling by car or truck.

    ** Every year there is complete bipartisan support to spend $500 to $600 Billion on defense appropriations, so Congress is not dysfunctional, there is no paralysis. Such votes for $600 Billion for “defense” occur like clockwork every year. DoD nevers goes without.

    ** So there is capital; the money is there to rebuild train travel infrastructure. We have just decided it best to spend our capital on non-functioning military aircraft and obsolete, unwanted aircraft carriers, hundreds of military bases around the world, and counterproductive wars that create more terrorists than they kill.

  88. BackRowHeckler May 21, 2015 at 7:06 am #

    The fall of Ramadi to ISIS is a disaster as bad as Saigon 1975. Its as if in 1960 the Chinese and North Koreans had moved south and retaken Seoul. After all the American blood spilt there not even a decade ago shouldn’t there be some explanations from political leaders in Washington what went wrong? Maybe at least to the families of soldiers and Marines who were killed and maimed in the fighting to take and hold that city?

    We haven’t heard much. What the hell kind of news media do we have. And what kind of President is this? He was here yesterday at the Coast Guard Academy graduation. Not a word about Ramadi or that ISIS now controls more that half of Syria. He spoke about our greatest national threat: Global Warming! And there was plenty of time to yuk it up on Letterman’s final show. Meanwhile, according to BBC and the Daily Mail, thousands of Iraqis are fleeing across the open desert with just the clothes on their backs, and unspeakable atrocities are occurring with the city.

    The whole world is coming apart. The question is: Where’s the Pharaoh?

    brh

    brh

    • AKlein May 21, 2015 at 8:33 am #

      Lockheed, Boeing, Grumman, Blackwater, SAIC, BDM – they all banked their loot from the Iraq/Afghanistan/Chaosstan adventure. Now their eyes have turned back to Europe, particularly Ukraine, for the next feast. Or maybe Africa. There’s gold in them thar hills
      Quit whining, BRH, that Iraq stuff is so yesterday.

    • Buck Stud May 21, 2015 at 10:57 am #

      “The fall of Ramadi to ISIS is a disaster as bad as Saigon 1975.”

      In retrospect, how much of a “disaster” was the fall of Saigon in 1975? In truth it was probably the best thing to happen for both countries although it would pain the war-mongering jingoists to admit it. The needless deaths of American soldiers in a war to prevent ‘the dominoes’ from falling’ came to a halt and no more names were added to the Veterans Memorial wall. And now, decades later, how much of a nemesis did the country of Vietnam really prove to be in terms of an actual threat? In fact, the two countries now do business together.

      In art, architecture and anything to do with creation–“Nation Building” in this case–a “bad start” almost always ensures a bad ending. And a war based on deceptive evidence most assuredly constitutes a bad start. In other words, as Colin Powell warned in one of his more honest moments, ‘you break it, you own it’. Bush, Cheney and Co went into Iraq and they broke it.

      Of course the delusional right-wing lunatics and their compliant media partners want to rewrite history and claim that the 2003 Iraq war initiated by the Bush administration was a “good start” and that somehow President Obama botched Bush’s original infallible plan.

      The original onslaught in Iraq was a bad idea and a bad plan and now GOD himself couldn’t successfully intervene because which GOD are we talking about anyway, the Shia or Sunni version?

      Your portrait of the Iraq debacle as being a lack of will and resolve or as “Rambo” lamenting that ‘they just wouldn’t let us fight’ is an infantile and intellectually dishonest argument.

      Get real, BRH.

      • Being There May 21, 2015 at 11:10 am #

        It’s also what they said about Vietnam.

        Here’s the thing. These wars aren’t being fought to win.
        This is about money so winning and losing in the war arena has nothing to do with the what they mean by military industrial complex, btw the industrial is elsewhere so we’re even worse off than before.

        The Tar baby of Iraq calls us in again. Guess we gotta get the usual contractors in again. Let’s keep those stock prices high, high high and btw its not gonna end till we completely run out of a way to fund.

        I’m sure they’ll blame it on savers unless we go with digital currency with an inability to reserve capital.

      • BackRowHeckler May 21, 2015 at 11:22 am #

        Alright then, Buck. The least we can do is inform the Iraqi people they’re on their own, don’t expect anymore help from us, deal with it.

        brh

    • tufflove35 May 22, 2015 at 12:45 pm #

      A friend of mine that was a Scout sniper in the USMC fought at Ramadi and lost several friends to IED’s. I’m sure he is wondering exactly why he gave his blood, sweat and tears up in the first place. Meanwhile another ancient treasure falls to ISIS…..

  89. BackRowHeckler May 21, 2015 at 7:40 am #

    That family wiped out in DC a few days back, check out the little 10 year old boy tortured with knives, then doused with gasoline and set afire.

    Then take a look at who’s been arrested for these crimes

    Think this case will come up in Obama’s ‘discussions about race in America’? After all, its in his own back yard. Hard to ignore. Then again, if calamitous events in Iraq can be ignored, why not the massacre of a prosperous young white family by a gang of black criminals in the nations capital? All you white Libs who voted for this, how do you like it? How do you like it now, Gentlemen?

    Probably not, huh? Its racist to bring up such things. Facts themselves are racist, and the truth is unsayable.

    brh

    • malthuss May 21, 2015 at 12:31 pm #

      Link? Name?
      Yes –Blacks like to set enemies afire. here and in Africa.

      There are many stories like that one.
      Mention facts and get called a ‘race baiter’.

      • BackRowHeckler May 21, 2015 at 1:43 pm #

        Malt just Google family wiped out in DC.

        It even made the news here it was so heinous.

        Just a stones throw from the White House, a few steps from where Biden lives.

        Why anybody would live in Washington DC is beyond me. Corrupt, violent, poverty stricken, big Gun Control Libs like Senator Blumenthal and Nancy Pelosi travel around with personal armed security details, paid for by the government, so they’re safe. Its impossible for ordinary people to own a firearm; just look at that poor guy just convicted of having a spent shotgun shell in his house. One shell, already shot out on a hunting trip, for that a SWAT raid by 30 officers and the closing of an entire neighborhood.

        Do you think we’ll be hearing from Al Sharpton, CNN, MSNBC, Jesse Jackson, George Soros or any of the rest of them about this case? Don’t hold your breath.

        brh

        • malthuss May 21, 2015 at 8:08 pm #

          I was passing by a monitor in a business. I saw. News even showed the accused s photo.

  90. wpa--ccc May 21, 2015 at 12:17 pm #

    OBAMA’S ECONOMIC RECOVERY CONTINUES STRONG

    The latest measure of U.S. Leading Economic Indicators rose more than expected with a gain of 0.7 percent in April 2015.
    .
    April 2015 Labor Force Participation Rate

    65.80 — Canada
    64.76 — Australia
    64.70 — Italy
    62.80 — United States
    62.80 — South Korea
    59.10 — Japan
    52.50 — India
    50.90 — Turkey

  91. BackRowHeckler May 21, 2015 at 3:24 pm #

    Happening Now! Thousands of Rohingyas (Burmese Muslims), kicked out of Bhuddist Burma, being imported into the United States.

    Coming to a town near you!

    brh

  92. FincaInTheMountains May 21, 2015 at 4:50 pm #

    “The least we can do is inform the Iraqi people they’re on their own, don’t expect anymore help from us, deal with it.” — brh

    Iraqi Prime Minister seeks salvation in Russia

    Iraqi Prime Minister flew to Moscow to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Discussion planned extensive. But the main theme is military cooperation. Haidar Abadi wants to get confirmation that Russia will defend Iraq against threats from Islamic State, confrontation with which is leading the country to the ruin.

    vz.ru/world/2015/5/21/746421.html

    • BackRowHeckler May 22, 2015 at 6:55 am #

      I suspect the Russian Elite Marines, backed up by elements of the former Red Army, would make short work of ISIS, maybe take a month or so to wipe them out.

      brh

      • stelmosfire May 22, 2015 at 2:10 pm #

        Got that right BHH, no reason for this BS, as the bumper sticker says, ” Shot them all and let GOD sort them out”! I don’t really agree, my wife AND GUYS I KNOW say they are all a bunch of ignorant savages AND LET THEM EAT SAND. I disagree, they are smart like a fox. What to do? Pull back and mind our own damn buissness. We are an island, Immune to a major attack. Except for mexheyco and SA we have nothing to worry about. They can eat their oil as far as I am concerned. We can eat homegrown food and drive less. I bought a new car 3 .8 years ago. I have 7,500 miles on it. if gas was $10.00 a gallon I would not care. F- them! Let’s try to mind our own buisness for a change. I don’t need “no stinkin’ badges”, or crap from China. I just picked up an ol’ “Stanley” ax from NB , CT the other day for a buck. The guy was gonna scrap it. What a waste.

        • BackRowHeckler May 22, 2015 at 4:53 pm #

          Rip that Stanley Axe was made in the old Collins Company plant. Stanley ended up buying Collins at the end, ran those hydropower plants on the Farmington River, generated enough electricity to power up Canton and Burlington no questions asked. About 1969 they were dismantled and scrapped, I’m not sure why.

          brg

  93. Pucker May 21, 2015 at 5:39 pm #

    I’m now in New York City for work. Most people walking around New York City literally look like Zombies. I’m not joking.

  94. FincaInTheMountains May 22, 2015 at 2:32 am #

    Putin, US and Russia

    Fifteen years ago, Putin took over devastated, standing on the brink of civil war country with an angry and disillusioned population.

    Now Russia is again a superpower, without which no issue can be solved in the world, the standard of living has grown rapidly and continues to grow, people trust the government and confident in the future, the treasury is full and allows the government to feel confident enough even in times of crisis and sanctions, the people again proud of their country.

    This undoubted is a merit of Putin. But even more to his credit is that all the changes have been carried out discreetly, in an evolutionary way, without great turmoil and only from a distance of fifteen years, Russians see a huge amount of work done.

    As for Putin’s mistakes, the most radical part of Russian society puts the blame that he was not active enough in the fight against the oligarchs and tried to avoid confrontation with the West. From my point of view this is not an error, but cold calculation – the country can only afford the level of confrontation that it can endure and overcome.

    Putin managed to avoid civil conflict that faced Russian society and that the state would not survive. That is, he sacrificed the formal justice (requiring nationalizing stolen property by oligarchs during privatization) to achieve public consensus.

    The government has left the oligarchs with wrongfully acquired wealth, but forced them to live under the law, stop stealing, and to commit themselves to ensure the state’s economic and social policies. In practice, Putin has turned oligarchs into the state top managers. And who does not agree with this approach, is not oligarch anymore and is out of Russia.

    Brzezinski was absolutely right, and if the United States wanted to win the final victory over Russia it should’ve suffocated Russia in “friendly” embrace. But state does not always implement favorable policies.

    Often the interests of the elite are fundamentally at odds with what actually advantageous to the country.

    By the mid-90s in the US power wounded up in the hands of the elite group, which quite frankly believe that the US is strong enough to cancel the international law and replace it with US dictate.

    By the way, some people, even in Russia, still think so, so there was nothing surprising in the fact that part of the US elite got dizzy with success.

    When in the 2000s a systemic crisis of Pax Americana has begun, one of the formal external manifestations of which was the financial crisis of 2008, it was too late for fundamental changes in US policy.

    All that was remained to increase military pressure and hope that Russia will break, followed by China and then for some time enjoy world hegemony. As it is now evident – was not possible. US have overestimated its resource base and underestimated resource base of their opponents.

    That is another confirmation that playing for time, strengthening the economy and the country’s defense, without making a confrontation at disadvantageous conditions, Putin did the right thing.

    Now his time has come and he can safely offer the US any compromise. Washington has gone too far. Any trade-off for it would be a defeat and loss of face. So the United States will still escalate the tensions, but the blame for the confrontation and its consequences for Europe will fall entirely on them.

    facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=672838649529238&id=507477602732011&substory_index=0

    • Being There May 22, 2015 at 7:32 am #

      I’m clapping, Face.
      You described the situation perfectly.

      The US will not tolerate competition in the world arena. I’ve said in the past that our game is full spectrum dominance in military and finances. We are exporting unending war and global neolilberalism through the IMF and trade deals.

      Russia has countered our limitless war campaign by getting in the way of attacking Iran and Syria, so let’s pull out the old cold war rhetoric and go for even a hot war.

      The Neocons (even in O.’s camp) believe we can win a “limited” nuclear first strike on Russia. That’s why we have reneged on our promise to Gorbachev that we would not make all her former satellites NATO members which means we must fight a war if there’s any friction.

      We tried playing around in S. Ossetia back when the W team was in place even Karl Rove was t here….and now this big $5 billion project in the Ukraine which has gotten us into their energy business. Remember Hunter Biden is now on the board of Burisma Holdings, a Ukrainian Gas co. (they aren’t the least bit embarrassed by this.)

      Yes, we got some spoils, and have even started a civil war there to further weaken the state. But our NATO friends must have done the math and figured out that fallout from a nuc, might just affect them. In any case we will have to learn our own limitations the hard way.

      Now we have been economically eclipsed by China, our other target and are fast tracking the TPP which leaves China out of the running as a tool for that.

      Here’s my question. What did we think would happen when we transferred our manufacturing base there and invested in their infrastructure?

      How blinded by our economic theory we’re forcing around the world that China with all their money would have the economic determinism to beef up their military?

      What is the future of our own delusion?

  95. Florida Power May 22, 2015 at 7:35 am #

    Astounding photographs of the largest aircraft boneyard both military and commercial.

    All that capital and labor sitting and waiting,,,

    Think of the could have beens: could have been rail, even high speed, even manufactured in the USA.

    Instead we see row after row of sometimes elegant, sometimes elephantine shapes, sitting and waiting. A fitting commentary on the wrong turn taken too many years ago. He who has the most toys has the largest storage shed. Winning?

    zerohedge.com/news/2015-05-21/where-americas-airplanes-go-die

  96. FincaInTheMountains May 22, 2015 at 7:45 am #

    Abyss has opened, full of stars
    No count to stars, no bottom to abyss

    Michael Lomonosov, 1743

  97. FincaInTheMountains May 22, 2015 at 8:05 am #

    “What is the future of our own delusion?” — Being There

    George Soros Warns “No Exaggeration” That China-US On “Threshold Of World War 3”

    While admitting that reaching agreement between the two countries will be difficult to achieve, George Soros – speaking at The World Bank’s Bretton Woods conference this week – warned that unless the U.S. makes ‘major concessions’ and allows China’s currency to join the IMF’s basket of currencies, “there is a real danger China will align itself with Russia politically and militarily, and then the threat of world war becomes real.”

    zerohedge.com/news/2015-05-21/george-soros-warns-no-exaggeration-china-us-threshold-world-war-3

    You should’ve taken the offer, Toombs
    From The Chronicles of Riddick

    • Being There May 22, 2015 at 9:45 am #

      Maybe WWIII is averted because the Unipolar power has to give up the ghost. Power will have to be shared among the giants.

  98. budizwiser May 22, 2015 at 8:58 am #

    The Interstate Highway Act – is somehow the largest public works project never mentioned…… too bad

    take about three minutes to see what happened in saint louis, mo

    and then imagine it 50x

    notesting9.wordpress.com/2011/02/22/saint-louis-union-station-1951-2011/

  99. FincaInTheMountains May 22, 2015 at 10:13 am #

    If you read carefully what that old crook Soros said about possibility of war with China, he demanded that “In return, China would have to make similar major concessions to reform its economy, such as accepting the rule of law”.

    Obviously, the evil swindler by the “rule of law” understands the “rule of oligarchy”. So the world’s financial thirsty vampire squad is ready to switch from exhausted and dried up US to China juicy with fresh blood.

    • Being There May 22, 2015 at 10:33 am #

      That’s the model. They fatten up an economy so they can smash it and feed off it.
      That’s what makes the (globalist) world go round, one induced depression at a time.
      If you haven’t read Naomi Klein’s Shock Doctrine, the Rise of Disaster Capitalism”—please treat yourself to a dose of historic reality.

    • ozone May 22, 2015 at 11:10 am #

      The greedy, grasping old s.o.b., Soros, sez:
      … “there is a real danger China will align itself with Russia politically and militarily, and then the threat of world war becomes real.”

      Umm, somebody might want to tell Psycho Soros that this alignment [including financial bulwarks and assurances] has already taken place.
      Jesus Crikey in a Clowncar, where do these a**holes get their news and info?? …Or do they just make shit up in hopes that reality will bend to their twisted decrees and edicts just because they’ve been spoken into the void? Delusion reigns (and not only in nazi-fied Nulandistan)!

      **Which railroad (or multiples thereof) is Sore-ass invested in? Might want to check on the maintenance there.

      • Janos Skorenzy May 22, 2015 at 9:03 pm #

        The Pharisees bribed the Roman guards at the Tomb to say they fell asleep, instead of telling the Truth that Christ burst the bonds of death and rolled away the stone. As long as perception is managed, what does anything else matter? Perception Is Truth to these people. And Soros is “these people”.

  100. beantownbill. May 22, 2015 at 10:51 am #

    It Occurred to me the other day when my components-made-in-China, year and a half old washing machine stopped working, and my fifth $20 Chinese-made Ipad cable connector became frayed and nearly useless after just 3 months, that being #1 is more than just production figures. You have to produce quality, too.

    In the late ’40’s and pre-Ike ’50’s, the US railway system was the best in the world, and America was the king of the auto industry. There’s no way that China will continue being the world’s #1 economy if the quality of its products continues to be poor. The main reason for the current ascendancy of China is because of its very cheap labor, and near-slave labor does not engender pride in the products one makes.

    To make products that consumers don’t roll their eyes over, their workers must be invested with enough money to feel their labor is giving them worthwhile lives. This is one reason why I don’t worry that China is taking over the world. This, their environmental problems and their overpopulation.

    • FincaInTheMountains May 22, 2015 at 11:41 am #

      China has multiple tiers of production: they have modern factories with very decent quality and they have half-illegal sweat-shops churning out poor quality counterfeits. They will gradually improve.

      • elysianfield May 22, 2015 at 5:46 pm #

        Most export items are built to a price point dictated by the export customer…if you want $100 widgets that should cost $500, they can supply them from the lowest tiers of production…factory seconds, rejects, blemished… problematic quality concerns notwithstanding.

        China’s infrastructure and production machinery are new…their workforce is neither lazy nor stupid.

  101. FincaInTheMountains May 22, 2015 at 11:37 am #

    An unexpected friendship with Havana found a rational explanation:

    Cuba has decided to refuse to honor an agreement with Beijing about parking for Chinese Navy that was reached in the second half of last year . This was reported today the Japanese newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun.

  102. FincaInTheMountains May 22, 2015 at 12:10 pm #

    Why fight if you could buy ’em

    Trent Lott’s Firm Made a Fortune Lobbying for the Kremlin
    The former Senate majority leader’s company made $450,000 from a state-controlled bank that was the target of sanctions.

    bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2015-05-15/washington-insiders-reap-windfall-peddling-influence-for-…

    Now, who was constantly whining about Russian kleptocracy?

  103. FincaInTheMountains May 22, 2015 at 3:36 pm #

    In recent weeks, the air in Moscow is filled with the smell of imminent offensive in Donbass and the expectation of the win by the People’s republics. Not only taxi drivers (who always know everything), but almost all at least a little interested in politics authoritatively say that it’s better to start in summer.

    What do they say on the streets

    1. Events in Ukraine in general and in the Donbass in particular, despite the efforts of the media to keep them in the top news have wearied society and gradually slide to the periphery of attention, but are still on the top of societal agenda.

    2. Regardless of their attitude to the crisis, most people that are not involved in professional politics believe that a victory over Kiev can be won only by military means. Not necessarily with the participation of Russia, the majority just against the invasion of the Ukraine though support version of the Special Forces operation with the help of the troops of armies of the People’s republics.

    3. Many also believe that in the case of provocation by Kiev next round of active hostilities, the armies of the People’s republics can achieve relatively rapid (estimates range from several months to a couple of years), and comprehensive victory.

    There is reason to believe that the problem will be solved by liberation army of People’s Republics, the number of which will miraculously grow and will be sufficient, together with the anti-fascist forces of the liberated regions to take control of the entire country.

    ria.ru/analytics/20150522/1065975511.html

    • nsa May 22, 2015 at 7:00 pm #

      You are barking at the moon. Not 1 American in a 1000 could find the Dumbass on a map or reflect on its significance. Venture a guess that barely 1 American in 100 could find Russia on a world map with most thinking it’s some kind of off brand vodka……

      • Janos Skorenzy May 22, 2015 at 8:57 pm #

        You are right of course. It’s over. The half dead deny it and their crepuscular activities will continue for a time, but make no mistake, the fan is unplugged and the blades are winding down.

        I have work for you in the desert if want it – great work. I will set you to burn.

  104. Janos Skorenzy May 22, 2015 at 9:25 pm #

    blackfootsoldiersnetwork.blogspot.ca/2015/05/did-they-think-theyd-get-away-with-it.html

    Blacks defend the Washington massacre. Don’t kid yourself: these attitudes are very common among Blacks, even if they don’t formally affiliate with such an organization. Never hire a Black if you don’t have to. And never under any circumstances allow one in your home or yard.

    • elysianfield May 23, 2015 at 10:29 am #

      Janos,
      Thank you for the link. It is important to understand the mindset of our “Black brothers from other mothers”.

  105. BackRowHeckler May 23, 2015 at 12:36 am #

    Yep, they tortured that little boy upstairs in his bedroom, carving him up with a knife, theory is so his parents could hear his screams.

    “Where da Money?”

    “Where da Money?”

    The only question is, when they poured gasoline over his little body and set him afire, was he already dead, or was he burned alive?

    Maybe Eric Holder could look into it. What’s he doing these days, anyway?

    brh

    • Janos Skorenzy May 23, 2015 at 7:45 pm #

      Not only was Germany right, so was the South. This is just more proof of it. Gimme that ol’ time religion. The graves of Lee and Jackson are more sacred than any church.

      confederatepastpresent.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=188:anglo-saxon-su…

      Some even say that England was right and King George a finer Christian Gentleman that George Washington. I don’t pretend to know. But mark, America would have been a great nation in any case. The essential war and victory was against the Indians, not the English. How not, since we adopted their essential system over time anyway?

  106. BackRowHeckler May 23, 2015 at 12:40 am #

    That is, “Where da Money, Mothaf-kka”?

  107. FincaInTheMountains May 23, 2015 at 5:11 am #

    “Venture a guess that barely 1 American in 100 could find Russia on a world map”

    Venture a guess that in a generation nobody will be able to find US of A on the world economic map

    New Silk Road Could Change Global Economics Forever

    Beginning with the marvelous tales of Marco Polo’s travels across Eurasia to China, the Silk Road has never ceased to entrance the world. Now, the ancient cities of Samarkand, Baku, Tashkent, and Bukhara are once again firing the world’s imagination.

    China is building the world’s greatest economic development and construction project ever undertaken: The New Silk Road. The project aims at no less than a revolutionary change in the economic map of the world. It is also seen by many as the first shot in a battle between east and west for dominance in Eurasia.

    oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/New-Silk-Road-Could-Change-Global-Economics-Forever.html

  108. FincaInTheMountains May 23, 2015 at 5:56 am #

    It is clear that the modern world with all its gadgets and shopping centers, with all gay rights and glossy magazines, resides in a total and catastrophic impasse. Everything is headed toward the global bloody chaos. It’s almost an apocalypse.

    It is clear that the West has led it here. And the agonizing West drags the whole world along – it will either swallow the rest of the world completely just to buy itself a little more time, or will die in its own shit to remain in history as the worst Babylon. In a meantime it will flood all countries without exception with blood.

    How do we avoid the fate of Sodom and Gomorrah is our challenge in coming decades. However, unfortunately, the majority will be able to realize it only after a global catastrophe that has already begun.

    russkiy-malchik.livejournal.com/620791.html

    • Buck Stud May 23, 2015 at 10:06 am #

      Sodom and Gomorrah, Babylon, imminent global catastrophe –it’s almost a, apocalypse! How does anyone sleep at night, much less manage to crack a healing, soothing smile.

      Explicating this gem of journalism a bit more, the first paragraph asserts that ‘the modern world resides in a total and catastrophic impasse’. In the last paragraph, however, the “global catastrophe” hasn’t happened–yet. This “writer”, writhing in hyperbolic excess, is so convoluted that he has strangulated any sense of logical perspective. (Ironically, only the modern world, with all of it’s junk shit gadgetry, enables Russian political tabloid trash to be placed before the eye of foreign readers.)

      Perhaps he was just firing away at the keyboard with an open vodka bottle close at hand, incapable, as the Taoists say, of ‘seeking the straight thru the curved’.

      The bigger question is why Fincal chooses to dump tons of shit on JHK’s site? The answer, or so I presume, is Fincal himself has no logical sense of perspective, and just about zero understanding of American ideological/political history and development. For instance, his statement upthread, that the pathos of ‘by thy own bootstraps’ is rooted in ‘liberal/progressive’ thought.

      Give it a rest Fincal. Just type in your own voice which is actually refreshingly human at times and drop all of the bombastic, propagandistic shit you post

      • FincaInTheMountains May 23, 2015 at 10:33 am #

        Getting under your skin, Buck? Good. High time to get your immune system energize a little. If the shit was coming from well known “tin-hat” site, wouldn’t pay much attention, would you? But coming from the inferior slav (that piece is a compilation of well-known Russian columnist) gets you all worked up?

        I’ve been banned from quite a few American web sites. I never come back under different name. If you guys prefer to boil in your own juices and keep your head stuck up deep in your ass, it’s your Constitution-given privilege.

        Keep up discussing important news on CNN current agenda and if Janet Yellen had a good poop in the morning, so she will prolong a bit money-printing bonanza so you could all enjoy a little longer your underserved paychecks.

        And don’t forget to blame everything on blacks, jews and immigrants.

        • Buck Stud May 23, 2015 at 2:34 pm #

          What do ” blacks, jews and immigrants’ have anything to do with my comment on your ‘compilations” ? Or is that just your way of deflecting attention away from my primary criticism: That your understanding of American culture/politics is lacking, to put it mildly?

          And your comment about the “inferior slav’ is laughable. Just last week I asked YOU why you never post about the best of Russian culture, but instead myopically focus on war etc. In that post I linked up an amazing performance of Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto Number Three of which you had no comment on. So save the ‘inferior slav’ deflection as well. There are plenty of exceptional ‘slavs’ in the world and plenty of pedestrian slavs–one of which engages in the World Wide Web buffoonery of posting the chronology of catastrophe in absurdly composed arrangements.

          And undeserved paychecks? Now Americans do not deserve pay for the work they do?

          As far as getting under my skin, it is annoying, I must admit seeing one long and ridiculous post after another from Fincal. And this from someone who laments the overbearing ‘hegemony’ of American influence. In that regard, Fin, maybe your more American than most Americans.

  109. FincaInTheMountains May 23, 2015 at 6:40 am #

    The bomb has exploded in the middle of this week. Japan suddenly said that they’re waiting for Putin to visit, and not just so, but … for the conclusion of a peace treaty and resolution of the territorial issues.

    The seriousness of what is happening is visible from the US response. Immediately after the surprise announcement by the Japanese, the Department of State gathered journalists and told them that Japan should not be doing business with Russia, because Russia is guilty and should be punished.

    From the standpoint of Japanese now is the time to try to escape from the sick tyrant. Friendship between the United States and Japan is out of the question: the Japanese are well aware that they have lost the war, and perceive the Americans as occupiers.

    Cooperation with China looks for Japanese from all sides preferable to stagnation as the American colony. The Japanese have the technology and a very developed industry. If the Japanese will convincingly apologize for the Chinese Nanjing Massacre and other crimes of that period, if they settle territorial disputes with China, China will be happy to establish a strong partnership with Japan.

    But who will protect Japan from the wrath of abandoned hegemon? It is obvious – only Russia. Russia may well stretch over Japan its nuclear umbrella, if it deems necessary. Therefore, it’s time to make another strong move: to drop territorial disputes with Russia and settle as Russian junior partner.

    At the moment, Japan is bankrupt for the plain reason that the Americans squeeze out of it all monetary juices, making Japan to buy up their junk T-bills. If Japan will be able to free itself from this honorable duty, it would quickly start to prosper. Not only that – during the year after a sharp fall in the yen price the country will experience devaluation euphoria: the cost of production will be significantly reduced and Japanese goods become even more competitive.

    If we add to all this cheap Russian gas, we see that after the transition from the status of the American colony to the status of junior partner to Russia and China, Japan seriously can expect a repeat of the economic miracle of the sixties.

    fritzmorgen.livejournal.com/785662.html

  110. beantownbill. May 23, 2015 at 1:16 pm #

    Last night I went to downtown Boston to see Lily Tomlin. I’ve always liked her comedy. She is a lesbian, which doesn’t matter to me, it’s not my business, either. However, the audience was a preponderance of
    gay women couples. I felt a little weird, as I kept getting stared at by lesbians sitting around me, who otherwise ignored me if I tried to speak to them.

    Thiis isn’t why I’m commenting, however. During her monologue, Lily got briefly into politics. The upshot was that she is going to vote for Hillary. The audience cheered. It was disheartening for me because I don’t want her to become president. She is going to get a vast majority of the women’s vote just because she’s a female. No Democrat of consequence is running against her, so she’s getting the nomination. And women have what, 52% of the population? She’s gonna win the election despite her transparent record of corruption. The Clintons are not good people, but Americans don’t care about ethics and morals.

    I wouldn’t mind a woman becoming,president. Males have messed up things so badly I doubt a woman could be significantly worse. But not Hillary – pick some other woman.

    • Janos Skorenzy May 23, 2015 at 8:07 pm #

      I thought she was dead. Maybe I was conflating her with Gilda Radner. Also I didn’t know she was a snatch monkey. Did you really expect those people to like you? In every day life they may grit their teeth to act civil to men, but they certainly wont do so in their own “space”. You should have told them you were a Jew – an aggrieved minority. That would have put them in their place. Either that or tried to arrange a threesome.

  111. wpa--ccc May 23, 2015 at 1:46 pm #

    Beantown: “No Democrat of consequence is running against her…”

    A recent poll had Hillary at 45% and the combined Sanders and Warren at 37% … I know Warren is not running, but her votes would go to Sanders, not Clinton.

    Both Sanders and Warren are hitting Hillary hard and gaining on her. It is very early to say yet, and Hillary still has plenty of time to shoot herself in the foot. Be optimistic, Beantown. There is a lot of time left for significant opposition to develop against Clinton.

    But if it comes down to Walker vs. Clinton, I will be voting for Clinton because I support workers’ rights to organize unions. Walker went after unions in Wisconsin.

    • beantownbill. May 23, 2015 at 4:49 pm #

      The way I figure it, it makes little difference in the long run who wins. Take your choice of Hillary over Walker. Yeah, Walker is anti-union, but wait until Hillary gets in, it will be the same. You really think she will go against big business if push goes to shove? You really think she is so principled that she will go against the people who have made her wealthy?

      You aren’t naive, and I expect you to vote for Hillary because Walker is definitely against unions, while Hillary at least claims the opposite, so there is at least a chance with her. Still, I’m pretty cynical about the whole process. For me, it is all about character. I need hope and change I really can believe in. I didn’t with the last guy.

  112. PeteAtomic May 23, 2015 at 2:53 pm #

    Back to the topic on hand. These threads seem to get terribly off topic and convoluted. I start to wonder if I’m reading Prison Planet or something by the time I get to the bottom.

    Anyway, I’d love to see a comprehensive train net in the US. Granted, if a person wants to go from one extreme of the country to the other– let’s say, from NYC to LA, naturally– flying is still going to be the way to go. However, as Mr. Jim points out in the article, regional train networks are the quicker, more efficient systems among tighter urbanized areas.

    Of course, these trains need to make sense. How many people, let’s say, travel from KC to Omaha, Ne on a regular basis ? Or from Chicago to Mpls ? I’d wager not many.

    • beantownbill. May 23, 2015 at 4:35 pm #

      I can only speak from my experience. Many years ago, I took a train from Cleveland to Boston. It took 17 hours. It was not comfortable in the least. By car, the trip, door to door, took me 11.5 hours. The seating in the auto was much more comfortable than the train and I could listen to the radio. Of course, I had to do the work of driving.

      More recently, I’ve travelled via Amtrak to New York City several times. Except for driving to the station, travel time was pretty much the same as driving – 3.5 to 4 hours. The seating was actually comfortable. I could listen to music on my iPad. I didn’t like the several stops along the way, but considering the total time spent, it was acceptable. What I REALLY didn’t like was the cost – much more expensive than by car. I take the train to NYC rather than go by car because once I’m in Manhattan, I don’t have to worry about getting around. I just take the subway or a cab.

      I’d call such travel regional. If done right, regional train travel could be a great alternative to cars. The problem as I see it is the cost of upgrading and/or building the infrastructure, plus subsidizing the cost of operations We have no money to do it, the way funds are presently allocated in America. To build an effective rail system would require a whole restructuring of our priorities, in effect a new paradigm. A good start, for example, would be to at least halve our defense spending, saving $300 million per year to pay off the $1 trillion railway cost in 3 years. Seems simple, but with our powerful military and oil industry, it ain’t gonna happen.

      It’s painful to see Americans allowing this gross malfeasance to continue, but that’s just the way it is.

      • BackRowHeckler May 24, 2015 at 4:18 am #

        Bill, all the rights of way, staked out and surveyed as many as 180 years ago, even the railbeds themselves, are still extant. It wouldn’t take much to start laying track again.

        brh

      • malthuss May 24, 2015 at 3:31 pm #

        Bill, you were slighted -Then- that crowd was ignited!!!
        Would you expect any less from such a crowd?

        I was at a club and the lesbian ‘folk singer’ whined about ‘The need for open borders, why have borders’ and ‘The Statute of Liberty being about immigration’, or some such nonsense.

        Folks can be stupid or ill informed. The singer also mentioned she is a teacher, by day.

    • gryffyn May 24, 2015 at 4:04 pm #

      Somewhere upthread I gave a brief account of taking the high speed train from southern France to London. Traveling through the French countryside at over 100 mph on a smooth roadbed makes for an enjoyable trip. The only disturbance occurs when you meet and instantly pass a train traveling in the opposite direction.
      I have also ridden Amtrak’s Cardinal which runs between Chicago and Washington, DC. The trains are often late, coaches rock from side to side, and travel was slowed by stops and waits for passing coal trains.
      Wouldn’t it be great, as Bill suggests below, to put a chunk of our bloated military budget into improving all rail service, including general freight, container and the currently explosive oil trains.

  113. Janos Skorenzy May 23, 2015 at 8:26 pm #

    The Senate Oks the Trans Pacific Partnership – a secret Bill that few of them have even read. It’s passing will mean another huge loss of American Sovereignty in favor of the Globalist Corporations. Bizarrely, the far Left Democrats are the most strident opponents of it, arguing that it means a savaging of American workers. Absolutely correct.

    scoop.co.nz/stories/WO1505/S00168/document-shows-elizabeth-warren-is-right-about-tpp.htm

    • Buck Stud May 23, 2015 at 10:15 pm #

      Word. And one poison pill among many in this legislation is prescription drug patents will be further entrenched,effectively making health care less affordable going forward. Which is ironic, considering the President who signed the “Affordable Care Act” pushed so hard for this bill.

      • Janos Skorenzy May 23, 2015 at 10:50 pm #

        Bizarre because the Left is in favor of savaging the American worker with mass immigration. And savaging our Sovereignty a la the United Nations. But mention the “Corporations” and the fangs come out – as if mass immigration isn’t facilitated by the Corporations and as if the United Nations isn’t in partnership with “NGO’s”. Acronyms obviously serve to obfuscate the Truth from minds with little integrity to begin with.

        A National Socialist – who as the name indicates believes in both the Nation and Socialism insofar as that serves the Nation – has a hard time following the arbitrary alliances and jury rigged world views of people who have never worked out a cogent, (that which explains), integral (all parts agreeing), organic (in the sense of coming from the people but not excluding the natural world) World View. We are so far ahead we seem to be behind. We are as gods compared to the ordinary man but no, we do not ask for worship – only that you understand if you can and follow us when you can’t. And if you (generic, not Buck) cannot understand or will not follow, no matter. You will be made to do the right thing in spite of yourself. The carrot is more pleasant than the stick, but the stick is easily as fine a teacher. But don’t be a Donkey with a bucket of mash tied to its neck. Be human – understand and join as a Free Man.

        Needless to say, the forgoing applies to the so called Right as well. The are equally wrong.

        • Janos Skorenzy May 23, 2015 at 10:58 pm #

          But we’ll take it. Being grateful for small mercies is the dharma of the present time. In other words this post is the opposite of my above one. Vision is nice but one must live in the present and the actual world. Thank God for Elizabeth Warren, the ridiculous blonde Cherokee. This evil bill, her strident opposition to it, and the unending revelations of the Hillary Beast are ALL the mandate for to throw her hat into the ring. I will do an Indian dance at her nomination, you know like in the old Westerns where they fan their mouths as they yodel.

          None of the Republicans are worth a shit. Rand Paul at least came out against the bill but he’s a loon on so many other things.

  114. BackRowHeckler May 23, 2015 at 11:27 pm #

    Well, the beheadings, mass rapes and massacres have commenced in both Ramadi and Palmyra (according to the British press. Not much about it in our own media) Kind of reminds one of events in Vietnam back in ’75, doesn’t it, a people abandoned, left to hang? Remember? Tens of thousands of stricken, desperate refugees trying to escape by sea in rickety boats, drowning, the mass shootings, the camps … Who said history doesn’t repeat, but it sometimes rhymes? Seems like the USA is not a very trustworthy friend does it now? Abandoning former allies to communists then, to blood soaked Muslim fanatics now. I can remember the boast “we ended the war” also remember the bitterness we felt at the time, specially the older guys and officers who’d actually been in Vietnam, and of course the war didn’t end until 1980 when the Chinese Army came in and shut it down. You elected Obama to end the Middle East wars and for a while he claims to have done so, there were high fives all around, every feeling good about themselves, what good people you are. Now look. How do you like it now, Gentlemen?

    brh

  115. BackRowHeckler May 23, 2015 at 11:46 pm #

    Is Phillip Savoupolos, 10 year old boy, murdered by savages, tied to his bed, doused with gasoline, set afire, stabbed all over, already out of the news? “Where da Mutherf-kken Money???!!!” Just today I heard about a new, permanent monument being installed in Ferguson, Mo for the gentle giant, Mike Brown. You have kids? Grandkids? Ponder for a moment what that little boy went thru. What he was thinking, the terror of it, the pain of being burned alive. Think about it. I know, I know, its nothing big like the Libor settlement with the banks, just one kid that’s all.

    During the Boston terror trial I was reading about the death of Martin Richard, also 10 years old, how Tsarnev looked him in the eye when he placed the bomb next to him, how his stomach was blown open and his intestines spilled out, how he died in his dads arms on the bloody sidewalk. Mom and Dad, they’re coming for your children. We aren’t in Kansas anymore. Take appropriate precautions.

    brh

    • beantownbill. May 24, 2015 at 11:16 am #

      Marlin, I know you are bitter about all this, and I feel the same way, but you know what? It’s been like this for millenia; it’s the human condition.
      I think we’ve been living in our own bubble since ww2. And now the bubble has burst and reality has set in.

      • BackRowHeckler May 24, 2015 at 3:13 pm #

        BTBill,

        You made some pretty good points about the RR this week. I’d love to see it make some kind of comeback, like you say, on a local scale, which is what it started out as anyway. (Why does everything have to be ‘high speed’? How about reliable safe clean trains that run on time?)The great RRs didn’t really come about until the earlier, localized lines were stitched together; the New Haven RR and the Boston and Maine are examples as a bunch of smaller companies combined to eventually create one large company.

        Incidentally, there is an excellent publication out there, ‘Trains Magazine’, seems to be written for people in the industry, but there are many articles for the general reader and RR buff.

        brh

        • gryffyn May 24, 2015 at 7:38 pm #

          I grew up in Naugatuck, CT and took the New Haven trains into New York, on class trips, and for years afterward before moving to the southern Appalachians. Amtrak comes through our town three times a week, so we have a tenuous rail connection with the outside world. Probably all we need now, but at least Amtrak has the infrastructure
          and organization in place to expand the system if and when the time is right.

    • Buck Stud May 24, 2015 at 10:15 pm #

      BRH,

      Perhaps I’m mistaken but it reads to my eyes as if you think the Phillip Savoupolos murder was racially motivated. Not so much in the above post but in previous posts. However, this reptilian monster looks to be just plain deranged; even his own family had restraining orders against him.

      If anything, I would view this crime more economically motivated and not racially if not for the fact that he is clearly a lunatic. In Arizona the politicians just cut welfare benefits to one year maximum. It is not inconceivable to me that if economic inequality and stratification gets bad enough we will start experiencing far more kidnapping and extortion crimes: after all, when there’s nothing to lose desperation fills the void, a dynamic that is not uncommon in Mexico for instance.

      So to project some imagination, all these elderly white Tea Party retirees moving to Arizona and imposing, some would claim, drastic and punitive actions may be sowing the seeds for their own little form of ‘social insecurity’,ironically enough.

      On the other hand, these same types are typically big proponents of privatization and what could be better for the private prison industry than a steady supply of criminal clients robbing grocery stores for food money. So perhaps their agenda is not so short sighted and naive after all, although, as WPA mentions, there will still be the ‘push back’ factor.

  116. FincaInTheMountains May 24, 2015 at 10:17 am #

    Failure of the US coup d’Etat in Macedonia

    Macedonia has just neutralised an armed group whose sponsors had been under surveillance for at least eight months. By doing so, it has prevented a new attempt at a coup d’Etat, planned by Washington for the 17th of May. The aim was to spread the chaos already infecting Ukraine into Macedonia in order to stall the passage of a Russian gas pipeline to the European Union.

    The Macedonian police were clearly well-informed before they launched their operation. According to the Minister for the Interior, Ivo Kotevski, the group was preparing a very important operation for the 17th May (the date of the demonstration organised by the Albanophone opposition in Skopje).

    The identification of the suspects has made it possible to determine that they were almost all ex-members of the UÇK (Kosovo Liberation Army)

    The principal leaders of this operation, including Fadil Fejzullahu (killed during the assault), are close to the United States ambassador in Skopje, Paul Wohlers.

    voltairenet.org/article187685.html

  117. FincaInTheMountains May 24, 2015 at 10:40 am #

    Useful reading: How The City Of London Created The Great Depression

    The New York stock exchange speculation of the Coolidge-Hoover era was not a spontaneous phenomenon, but was rather deliberately encouraged by Norman and Strong under the pretext of relieving pressure on the overvalued British pound sterling after its gold convertibility had been restored in 1925.

    In practice, the pro-speculation policies of the US Federal Reserve were promoted by Montagu Norman and his satellites for the express purpose of fomenting a Bubble Economy in the United States, just as later central bankers fostered a Bubble Economy in Japan after 1986.

    When this Wall Street Bubble had reached gargantuan proportions in the autumn of 1929, Montagu Norman sharply cut the British bank rate, repatriating British hot money, and pulling the rug out from under the Wall Street speculators, thus deliberately and consciously imploding the US markets. This caused a violent depression in the United States and some other countries, with the collapse of financial markets and the contraction of production and employment. In 1929, Norman engineered a collapse by puncturing the bubble.

    tarpley.net/online-books/against-oligarchy/british-financial-warfare/

  118. FincaInTheMountains May 24, 2015 at 1:54 pm #

    Nathalie-Cardone CHE-GUEVARA

    youtube.com/watch?v=KMJBpvzR2s8

    From top comments:

    Julia Markova: “My husband, former USSR officer, watches this clip periodically..the power of ideas … afraid he’d leave for NovoRussia…”

    • FincaInTheMountains May 24, 2015 at 2:12 pm #

      Comandante Mosgovoy of Donetsk People’s Republic was killed yesterday

      From his last poem:

      Not bad to die in May
      Gravediggers job is easy
      And all the nightingales will sing
      The last time so beautifully

      Under the roar of the first storms of May
      Instead of sad funeral …
      And the rain will spill tears instead
      It will wash away the sadness of memories

  119. wpa--ccc May 24, 2015 at 5:08 pm #

    “I think we’ve been living in our own bubble since ww2. And now the bubble has burst and reality has set in.” –BTB

    Amen! This is what is happening. Since WW2 the United States has been the most violent country in the world, has bombed more countries than any other, has invaded more countries than any other, has overthrown democratically elected presidents, has spent more money on military bases around the world, on weapons, than any other country in the world.

    Now some people start to push back. The Twin Towers came down because we put our troops in Saudi Arabia. GWB withdrew the troops after 9/11.

    We should not wonder why the chickens are coming home to roost. We have sown more violence in the world, created more orphans and widows and bitter desire for revenge than any nation in modern history.

    • FincaInTheMountains May 24, 2015 at 6:53 pm #

      Found anybody named Jesus lately?

  120. wpa--ccc May 24, 2015 at 7:32 pm #

    “Found anybody named Jesus lately?” –Finca

    The U.S. armed forces violate widely accepted Principles of Warfare:

    1991 US “surgical” bombing of [ Iraq’s ] water purification and sewage facilities, as well as other “infrastructural” targets upon which Iraq’s civilian population depends for its very survival.

    “… this sort of “aerial warfare” constitutes a Class I Crime Against Humanity, entailing myriad gross violations of international law, as well as every conceivable standard of “civilized” behavior — the death toll has been steadily ratcheted up by US-imposed sanctions for a full decade now. Enforced all the while by a massive military presence and periodic bombing raids, the embargo has greatly impaired the victims’ ability to import the nutrients, medicines and other materials necessary to saving the lives of even their toddlers.
    All told, Iraq has a population of about 18 million. The 500,000 kids lost to date thus represent something on the order of 25 percent of their age group. … In effect, an entire generation has been obliterated.”

    Conclusions
    Since it was the U.S. who started violence in the first place, it is not unimaginable that “some people push back”.

    As a result of the nefarious effects of American foreign policy and global capitalism, some of those targeted in the attack of the World Trade Center were not technically innocent civilians:

    “As for those in the World Trade Center… Well, really, let’s get a grip here, shall we? True enough, they were civilians of a sort. But innocent? Gimme a break. They formed a technocratic corps at the very heart of America’s global financial empire – the “mighty engine of profit” to which the military dimension of U.S. policy has always been enslaved – and they did so both willingly and knowingly. Recourse to “ignorance” – a derivative, after all, of the word “ignore” – counts as less than an excuse among this relatively well-educated elite. To the extent that any of them were unaware of the costs and consequences to others of what they were involved in – and in many cases excelling at – it was because of their absolute refusal to see. More likely, it was because they were too busy braying, incessantly and self-importantly, into their cell phones, arranging power lunches and stock transactions, each of which translated, conveniently out of sight, mind and smelling distance, into the starved and rotting flesh of infants. If there was a better, more effective, or in fact any other way of visiting some penalty befitting their participation upon the little Eichmanns inhabiting the sterile sanctuary of the twin towers, I’d really be interested in hearing about it.” –“Some People Push Back” by Ward Churchill

    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/On_the_Justice_of_Roosting_Chickens

  121. BackRowHeckler May 24, 2015 at 9:28 pm #

    Here’s how they celebrate Memorial Day down in emerald City (Hartford): at least 5 people shot. Last night, near the Mark Twain house, an altercation on Farmington Avenue. A ‘sista’ runs into an apt., returns with a semi auto pistol, begins spraying bullets around, then reloads and hands of the gun off to friends, who spray more bullets. One man in critical.

    a few were shot after a ‘Black Lives Matter’ rally.

    To top it off, a minister, decorating the front of his church with flowers and American Flags, got shot up pretty good in a drive by, hit numerous times by bullets fired from a rolling gun platform (a car, probably stolen)

    This in the town where Lincoln’s Navy Secretary lived, Gideon Welles, and Chief of Ordinance, General Ripley, and Major General Alfred Terry, and sent 5000 soldiers to fight the Confederacy.

    But who cares about that now, we got our own war going on right in the streets of Hartford, a war against civilization itself.

    brh

    • Q. Shtik May 24, 2015 at 9:42 pm #

      a few were shot after a ‘Black Lives Matter’ rally. – BRH

      ================

      Irony of the week

      a minister, decorating the front of his church with flowers and American Flags, got shot up pretty good in a drive by, – BRH

      =================

      Runner up irony of the week

    • stelmosfire May 25, 2015 at 8:44 am #

      BRH, What a waste of a once beautiful city Hartford has become. I’ve been to Hartford and NB many O’ times in the past. Not any more, my wife grew up there and won’t even go there any more . Same with Springfield. To go there on a Saturday night for dinner is like R####n Roulette. Shootings every weekend. Often random victims, or kids, because the gangsta’s can’t shoot straight.

  122. Buck Stud May 24, 2015 at 10:19 pm #

    Janos writes:

    “I will do an Indian dance at her nomination, you know like in the old Westerns where they fan their mouths as they yodel.”

    LOL, what a hilarious visual sentence!

  123. FincaInTheMountains May 25, 2015 at 3:04 am #

    The war that we do not notice: how WWIII is inflamed

    Inertia of peaceful life is inherent in people, as well as their willingness to believe in the best and ignore what does not fit the usual picture of the world. While the war is raging in the outer reaches, the majority still believe that they live in peaceful times.

    Afghanistan

    Here we have continuous presence of US-NATO troops, the real function of which is:

    1. Supervision of the official Kabul.

    2. Maintaining under control the drug trafficking and proper distribution of drug dollars. It is noteworthy that if the ISIS in Iraq makes a profit from the oil trade (mainly via Turkey), the ISIS in Afghanistan supports itself by taking control over opium poppy and heroin production

    3. The maintenance and protection of transformation process of the Taliban soldiers into the Islamic State (The Caliphate) fighters.

    4. Maintain Afghanistan as an operational base close to the borders of Iran, India, Russia and China.

  124. JB May 25, 2015 at 3:59 am #

    Such an accurate analysis of the current situation. You are right to blame the government for not spending more on trains. I would even agree that some post-communist countries have better trains than the US. Competition and free market only inflate the price of tickets (see Spain for example), and makes it literally impossible for people to use it. Government subsidies are directed in such a strange way everyone has to doubt the intelligence of the people who occupy the public office. As a Vancouverian, I suffered when was our city elected to host Winter Olympic Games. What a disaster. Many of the empty halls and sport centers, which were heavily subsidized, are now hardly used by anyone.

  125. FincaInTheMountains May 25, 2015 at 7:54 am #

    “In that post I linked up an amazing performance of Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto Number Three of which you had no comment on.” — Buck

    Sorry, Buck, can’t pretend to be what I am not. Never liked classical music. My mom sent me as a kid to musical school, turned out a waste of time, no talent whatsoever. My first wife couple of times dragged me to local philharmonia concerts and that’s about it.

  126. FincaInTheMountains May 25, 2015 at 9:24 am #

    More than 100 NATO aircraft exercise attack on the Russian Federation from the territory of Finland, Sweden and Norway

    mil.no/excercises/Pages/ace.aspx

    Another confirmation that the authorities in Sweden and Finland, despite the formal status of neutrality, firmly decided to participate in a coming war on the US side.

    Apparently, the Americans managed to convince the ruling elite of these countries in the imminent victory over the “Russian bear” and naive adventurers decided to use the time to grab their piece of the pie.

    Fortunately experience of past aggressions tells them that even in case of failure Russia wouldn’t punish them harshly. So in their view, they are not at risk – in the extreme case, you can quickly navigate and to declare war on the United States, as did European vassals of Hitler’s Germany at the end of the Second World War.

  127. raw915 June 4, 2015 at 10:54 am #

    People need to stay at home and post more on Kunstler’s Clusterfuck. Cars, trains, and planes serve only to dump billions more tons of CO2 into the atmosphere and hasten the day when life will really be shitty.

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