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Hostage Situation

Apologies for server problems that dogged this website most of Monday….    
  
      Okay, so President Obama didn’t run for office to help out a bunch of fat cat bankers on Wall Street – or so he said on CBS’s “60 Minutes” show Sunday night. But maybe it didn’t seem like such a bad idea once the election was over. Anyway, the net effect of his administration’s actions since then – all nicely documented in the latest Rolling Stone dispatch from the choleric Matt Taibbi – was an immense helping out of fat cat bankers on Wall Street at the expense of a lot of American citizens who work elsewhere, if they are lucky enough to have income-producing work.
     Mr. Obama has really offered no satisfactory explanation for why he larded his department of the US government from the get-go with so many agents and recent graduates of Wall Street’s biggest firms.  Nor has any clear reason emerged for the absence of criminal prosecution – or even investigation – by the Attorney General in such obvious cases of criminal fraud and insider trading as Goldman Sachs’s double-window technique for hedging its own issues of mortgage-backed securities. By comparison, the Savings-and-Loan scandal of a decade ago led to thousands of criminal convictions.
     Last week, the Right Reverend Lloyd Blankfein, still “doing God’s work,” announced in a “cash-for-pitchforks” deal that the top thirty executives of his company, Goldman Sachs, would not receive dollar bonuses this Christmas but instead will get stock that ostensibly can’t be sold for five years. Those of us in the USA who enjoy a good mystery are wondering exactly what fine language in this memorandum drawn up by a team of thousand-dollar-an-hour lawyers contains the magic catch that frees up the GS execs to convert this stock into money, say, on February 2, 2010 – because you know it’s got to be in there somewhere.
      Anyway, insofar as the top 30 GS employees is made up strictly of people who are already multi-deca-millionaires, notice that the other 31,670 employees of GS, including not a few hundred in the upper income tranches, will be receiving cash bonuses as usual this year from a bonus pool that amounts to about $16 billion (sixteen thousand million dollars). Of course, being a publicly-held company, GS will have to announce soon what those cash bonuses are. Perhaps this is why the news also got out about GS employees seeking handgun permits in bunches. Exactly how they get around New York City’s special “Sullivan Law,” which supercedes the New York State permitting rules, has not been explained.
     Meanwhile, all the stops are being pulled out to produce a mighty wall-of-sound in dubiously-reported statistics pertaining to national unemployment and retail sales – the first way down and the latter up, supposedly – in an attempt to squeeze one last giant potlatch Christmas out of the dying “consumer” economy. Jew though I may be, I confess that Christmas is for me. I’m sorry, fellow Chosen People, but Hanukkah is just plain boring – the equivalent of Danish Modern furniture for the spirit. Give me Christmas, with its pagan yule logs, feasts, and revels! One can enjoy the holiday doings and trappings without subscribing to either the divinity of Santa Claus or the Babe of Nazareth. But Christmas does invite us to indulge in all kinds of “hopes” and delusions, and the main one crackling through the American zeitgeist this year is the wish that our national life will resume the yeasty expansion of goodies that most living citizens regard as baseline normality – namely, a never-ending orgy of credit card spending and real estate flipping.
     This wish is doomed to disappointment. The cold boney finger of reality, like Dickens’s spectral Ghost of Christmas yet-to-come, points to many a tableau of desolation in the decade ahead… of a lost “normality,” of evictions, foreclosures, tragedies, ruinations and most of all dashed expectations – assuming that the vast public clings to habits and behaviors no longer suited to the mandates of new circumstances in our world.  And it is the greatest disservice of all at this holiday time for respected authorities to pimp that wish.  What a shabby thing it has become anyway –  a sordid spectacle of multitudes moiling in chain store checkout lines en route to the certain anguish of buyer’s remorse in the parking lot.
      Can’t we come up with a better American Dream, even one that includes Christmas?  I think we can.  It would require the liberation of American citizen’s minds from their thralldom to bigness in every realm from work to worship to recreation.  If you think Barack Obama is a hostage to Wall Street, reflect for a while on the people’s self-surrender to the tyranny of everything that diminishes us to mere “consumers.”  We’re on a journey – and we don’t know it – back to a nation of communities where your character really matters, and where character rests on whether your deeds comport with truthfulness. Many will be dragged kicking and screaming upon that journey, and many a dark night will be passed in the cold and damp on the way. But it will take us to a place where the hearths are burning brightly and the estranged spirits of our national character await a reunion with us: fortitude, patience, generosity, humor. That will be a Christmas to live for and remember!
*
      As a holiday bonus to readers (sorry, no Clusterfuck stock shares available), I attach three splendid poems from the excellent Missouri poet Louis Daniel Brodsky:

Dubai World
Dubai World,
Fronted by the oil-inebriated United Arab Emirates,
A confederation of trickle-down-economics sheik-down artists,
Who put all their Western Easter eggs in leaky baskets:
A ski “mountain” moved into an indoor resort,
A beach cooled by under-the-sand, refrigerated pipe work,
Golf courses drenched, hourly, with desalinated ocean water,
Man-made islands kneaded into a vast palm-leaf array
And a map of Earth’s landmasses –
A surreal Xanadu out-Las Vegasing Las Vegas,
A dizzying Disney World Shangri-la of mother’s milk and money,
A Bahamian Paradise Island Atlantis resurrected from silica . . .
Dubious World, 
Drowning in an oasis of debt, hoping to cross the Red-Ink Sea
Before the parted waters close, squeeze it dry.
_________
Tinker’s Damn
To this gnawingly aggravating second,
I find my mind at a depleted loss for reasonable explanations –
Some . . . a few . . . one — as to why my country,
The increasingly disunited United States of America,
Has lost all sight of its painful degradation,
Those principles laid in place, by patriots and patriarchs,
That once formulated the basis of our nationalistic nature
As a tribe of diverse, hardscrabble-ambitious peoples
Hewing to the well-being of a vibrant identity.
I’m left only with questions orphaned of answers,
Enigmas in search of exits from their dazing mazes,
Unjustified justifications for our gross injustices
Toward others as well as our hubris-doomed selves.
Who mandated that America play God to the planet, v>
Nation-build corruption, globalize itself out of jobs,
Allow plastic food stamps to substitute for legal tender,
Foreclose on tepees, tents, log cabins, McMansions 
Purchased, for an ARM and a leg pull, from greedy lenders, 
Even as their owners seek shelter in doorways, storm drains, 
As, once, the hopeful huddled masses did, 
On first swarming our golden Ellis Island shores?
Ultimately, I don’t have a tinker’s-damn choice
Of accepting anything but our inexorable Manifest Decrepitude
As the just fruits of our labors in the fields of anomie,
The factories of hypocrisy, the casinos of high finance,
The brothels of materialistic adultery,
The toilets of grandiose delusion — the American Dream.
________

Chinese Fire Drill

What a strange, bewildering, terrifying time it is,
Here in America World,
To find it the foreclosed home of the brave homeless,

Who, as recently as today, this Black Friday,
Have borne witness to Dubai World’s humiliating bankruptcy,
A revelation capable of taking down entire far-flung nations –

An insult to our already systemically weakened body politic,
Disemboweled by un-Orthodox Wall Street bonus-baby boomers
Bringing home (sleet, snow, shine, Shabbat) the bacon . . .

Who, just this inordinately hyped Day of the Colossal Sales,
Are salivating, like Pavlovian Dobermans,
To unleash their well-conditioned shop-till-you-drop skills,

Just as they’ve done for the past fifty postwar years,
Like good little followers of Nazi Germany’s Oberster Kommandant,
Who exhorted his fellow followers to follow orders,

In nothing more than nothing less than orderly Aryan fellowship,
Even as they drove themselves, like lemmings, buffaloes, 
Over the precipice, into infamy’s abyss of hyperinflation,

Which is precisely where we prodigal Americans are headed,
As, day by day, we outsource our Levi’s, flags, apple pies, moms,
Mortgage our subprime-ARM souls to Goldman Sachs Fifth Avenue,

In exchange for McMansions, Harley-Davidson hogs, 
Bombardier snowmobiles, Madoff’s Rolexes and Patek Philippes, 
Purchased on disappearing red-white-and-blue-ink credit.

And here we are, the day after Thanksgiving,
Digging deep into the shifting sand dunes of our shallow pockets,
Trying to reach China, as we did as kids, at the seashore,

To persuade those quasi-communistic-capitalistic powers that be
That America is yet a viable investment for their future,
When our, as well as their, Harvard-trained chief economists

Damn well know that it amounts to a Chinese fire drill, if that,
For them to continue accumulating Treasury notes,
Which, any day now, won’t buy five grains of Dubai World sand.

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.

167 Responses to “Hostage Situation” Subscribe

  1. nothing December 14, 2009 at 10:26 am #

    Ah Jim, one of the good things about our dangerous journey is having you to light the way.
    But it’s going to get worse before it gets better. For some tips on protecting our assets and transportation alternatives as we move along this perilous road, check out http://www.thenothingstore.com

  2. AngryBrokerdotcom December 14, 2009 at 10:32 am #

    The American Dream has become the American Nightmare on every street…not just Elm. Each week I’m reminded about how the financial industry is jam-packed full of liars, cheats, and outright swindlers with no regard for anything other than the commissions or fees they might earn. It’s a disgusting mess. And I thought “maybe, just maybe” the carnage would let up, but to no avail. In fact, it may be getting worse… I’m seeing things now that make my stomach churn even worse than the pre-Enron days.
    Here’s the formula: PO + FMG(squared) = PD
    [Peak-Oil + Financial Market Greed(squared) = Peak Depravity]

  3. Freedom Guerrilla December 14, 2009 at 10:37 am #

    James, you are sort of in my head — a strange place to be.
    http://freedomguerrilla.com

  4. Laura Louzader December 14, 2009 at 10:39 am #

    One of your better columns, Mr. Kunstler.
    Now that people have a lot less money to spend, they’ll learn to appreciate the best gifts in life- the people we love, our friends, and our communities.
    We’ll also learn that no matter what happens in the economy, life goes on, and that the bloody oversized house wasn’t such a great place to live anyway.
    Far from being desolated by their reversal in fortunes, many people are experiencing a sense of liberation as they lose their over-priced lifestyles. A rental apt is perhaps a relief after staggering under the load of a gigantic mortgage payment, and many people have lost so much that all they can do is just “roll” with it, and find other satisfactions in life. You discover that not only do you survive, but you are often much better off.

  5. Wester December 14, 2009 at 10:45 am #

    Thank you Mr. Kunstler. This reminds me very much of Charles Eisenstein’s book “The Ascent of Humanity” describing the Culture of Reunion. Great minds think alike, eh? The whole book is online and I recommend it highly.
    http://www.ascentofhumanity.com/text.php
    Happy Holidays

  6. Pangolin December 14, 2009 at 11:00 am #

    Most americans have no clue what a “community” is. The rule is that we stand or fall as individuals and laggards are left at the underpass to fend for themselves. We have no idea how to support family members or team up skill sets to arrange for work and livelihood for everybody without exhausting any one. Show me the last idiot that still believes in the ‘Supermom’ myth.
    We were stupid enough to buy into a paradigm where grown children moved thousands of miles away from parents and grand-children were placed in paid daycare while both parents worked. Our elderly waste away alone in giant, well kept houses while the youth engage in an endless room-mate shuffle with strangers that never seems to work.
    All fine and well until the power goes out and the elderly freeze alone while the young stare at bare pantries. I think we’ll call that ‘February.’

  7. Lynn Shwadchuck December 14, 2009 at 11:07 am #

    Laura, you are so right! The more we downsize our needs, the smaller the gap between meeting them and the coming economic contraction. If we have at least food and heat sort of covered we can become relative oases of peace among friends, neighbors and relatives. This is a service.
    Lynn Shwadchuck
    http://www.10in10diet.com/
    Diet for a small footprint and a small grocery bill

  8. Puzzler December 14, 2009 at 11:33 am #

    People seem still stunned by events. They’re waiting for things to get “fixed” — which is basically back to “normal.” I don’t think they realize it’ll never get back to what was. Even if they’re in the reality of job loss or foreclosure they think it’s temporary and it probably is — there will be what seems like a recovery until raging inflation kicks in kicks everyone into the new reality.
    Meanwhile, it’s like the Cargo Cults in the South Pacific praying for the planes to return with more goods.

  9. Unconventional Ideas December 14, 2009 at 5:35 pm #

    Thanks Jim,
    I will warmly welcome the real spirit of community that awaits us on the other side of this transition, and along the way as well.
    Today I closed yet another checking account (joint account with my teenage son) with a big bank. We are transferring the money to a neighborhood (community) credit union. My wife and I already did that a month ago with our accounts.
    The bank rep asked me why I was closing the account, and I replied that their industry had a significant hand in destroying the global economy, and by closing the account, I was registering my disapproval.
    At any rate, I’m taking steps like that all of the time now thanks in part to inspiration from people like you.
    Thanks.

  10. wagelaborer December 14, 2009 at 5:36 pm #

    I got my usual holiday bonus on Friday -$25, the same as it’s been for 15 years.
    I accidentally laundered it Saturday. Didn’t check my pockets before I threw it in the wash.
    Hope I’m not arrested for money laundrying.

  11. Nickelthrower December 14, 2009 at 8:00 pm #

    Greetings,
    I never fully understood why the hippy and new age folks gave up and went off to form communes instead of hammering at the “establishment.” Now that I’m a middle-aged man, I fully understand why they did what they did.
    I thought I could change things as a soldier fighting the “evil empire”. Finish off the Soviets and things would finally get back to normal. Sadly, Iraq, Somalia, Haiti, Panama and Bosnia were what we got once the Soviets were no longer a threat. No peace dividend. No peace. Nothing.
    I thought I could change things as an educator and I taught high school history and government but that was a joke too because no one bothered to teach my students how to read or write. Thanks Social Promotion! Frankly, I would rather push a length of string up the side of a mountain than subject myself to the disconnected and illiterate future leaders of tomorrow.
    The people that will be running the world of tomorrow are not in public school today. You can count on that.
    I thought about protesting in the streets but I’m very well aware of the fact that the State only understands and responds to violence and that is a step I’m not willing to take; not in my own country anyway. You can wave your fist or a cleverly worded sign around all day long and it doesn’t make a bit of difference. We didn’t convince England to let go of its colony by waving signs around.
    What does that leave me? What are my options? I’m held hostage too and I’m waiting for gravity to drag everyone into the new community that Jim speaks of even though the journey there might be a bit rough. I’m ready, lets go.

  12. Barry December 14, 2009 at 8:12 pm #

    Earlier this fall I received phone calls from both the Democratic and Republican Congressional Campaign Committees and I gave them both the same answer-why should I give you a damned dime when it is obivious that whether you have an “R” or a “D” behind your name you are owned by Goldman-Sachs and the other S.O.B.s that have ruined this country! I’m probably on somekind of list now but I’m old and could give a shit! Here in Indiana our Sen. Bayh is owned by GS and Sen. Lugar by another big name firm, and they think we don’t understand that this damned thing isn’t a charade? A society collapses when its institutions become dysfunctional and that is where we are right now. The ‘street’ is making money in the same sense that a backroom poker game makes money. Here in ‘fly over country’ things are very difficult and it does not look as though the folks in D.C. or Wall Street see this, I guess that we are supposed to eat Twinkies if we are hungry.

  13. pwilliams December 14, 2009 at 8:28 pm #

    Thank you for making me laugh while I am screaming. It is an interesting sensation.

  14. asia December 14, 2009 at 9:38 pm #

    Community?
    maybe its be design, the power elites run things, including school system and media.
    how do children spend their time? isnt that time in ones life where socialization starts?

  15. pangloss December 14, 2009 at 10:39 pm #

    Frankly, I would rather push a length of string up the side of a mountain than subject myself to the disconnected and illiterate future leaders of tomorrow
    ———-
    Nickelthrower,
    Thanks for expressing what I have thought for a while now and giving me a good laugh too. I taught my last college English class today. I’m quitting after 12 years. I don’t know exactly what I will be doing. All I know is that I want to do something meaningful and useful for those who give a darn. Meanwhile I’m expanding last year’s garden, re-reading some old favorites from my own college years (which are not taught anymore — thanks multiculturalism!), and making handmade fiber arts. The satisfaction I get from these things lately has come to surpass anything that happens in the classroom.
    And if you’ll pardon me for saying so, if you think high school students are illiterate and disconnected, add “entitled” to the list for the current crop of college students, most of whom should not be there at all. Let’s hope that in the new age of contraction one of the first things to go is the idea that every American should have a bachelor’s degree in business/public relations/marketing/.

  16. jerry December 14, 2009 at 11:01 pm #

    James, great writing! I just don’t feel the holiday spirit this year. I see that Obama is too busy pretending to be president by cavorting around the world: dancing, dressing up, smiling, eating opulent state dinner 12 course meals with lots of wine and champagne, and giving speeches thinking that people are actually believing his words anymore. At the same time, the bankstas are being handed great deals by The Democrat Coalition, whereby the Feds will continue to usurp strong state regulations designed to control the national banking crime syndicate operations. And then, say good-bye to consumer protection rights, and more.
    Lord Blankfein and the Royalists are trying to give back what we gave them so they can hand out huge bonuses and bigger salaries.
    The American middle has been given the middle finger by Obama for providing change we cannot believe in.
    Americans have really only one choice and that is to protect their incomes, and savings. Doing with less, and living simply will help. Obama really appears to have been bitten by the Vampires running the “Infestment” crime syndicate. Now, he is one of them.
    http://eye-on-washington.blogspot.com

  17. deacon-john December 14, 2009 at 11:19 pm #

    PBS tonight had a really interesting show: The Ascent of Money. It chronicles the current debacle with ruminations on past financial meltdowns and a review of where we’re at today.
    We’ve always been screwed by elites, the powerful and the wealthy, it a cyclical nightmare ever since Cain killed Abel.
    I agree we need to start moving towards simplicity and kindness and everyone should learn some practical life skills. My kids know how to use a Wii, I suppose they’ll get upset soon, as I try to teach them some basic carpentry.
    Happy Holidays!

  18. Dark Fired Tobacco December 14, 2009 at 11:57 pm #

    Yesterday at church two visitors arrived for the late service, one an adult daughter, the other her disabled father. After the service they asked for food. We invited them to join a Sunday School Christmas luncheon being held at the church and packed up enough for a couple of extra meals. They had lost their home and were staying at a cheap motel nearby courtesy of another local church. They were trying to raise bus fare to get to a relative’s house to stay. We did what we could, of course, but the needs are popping up at every turn.
    We try to leave something extra for the waiter or waitress, and even the luncheon joints now have tip jars at the cash register. At work clients are falling behind in paying us, and we have a number of major jobs for which we may never receive any payment at all. That never ends well, even for us underemployed folks.
    The disconnect from Wall Street/Pennsylvania Avenue and Main Street is the widest I can recall in five decades of following politics. There is no more pretense; they do not care. I watch the faces on the city bus each day, and I see fear, despair, and isolation.
    Thank you, Jim, for those closing words of what community should be. This was a tough week, and I forget things I should remember: fortitude, patience, generosity, and humor. Sounds like the things a rabbi from a little community called Nazareth used to talk about.

  19. asia December 14, 2009 at 11:57 pm #

    thanks multiculturalism!),
    hahahaha
    I read an odd piece in the WSJ? recently….it
    was a letter from a prof in kansas…he said the same thing about many of his students….wondering why they were there.
    well prof they are there because:
    1…they wanna be there
    2…they dont but thier folks do
    3…its a depression and they are avoiding the job market
    4…because they somehow get $ from being there,,,LIKE YOU DO PROF

  20. asia December 14, 2009 at 11:59 pm #

    JHK:
    dont tell them this..what they need is bullet proof vests and windows.
    ‘about GS employees seeking handgun permits in bunches’

  21. cowswithguns December 15, 2009 at 12:02 am #

    Hey, have you heard about the new stimulus program that just created 30,000 jobs? It’s called the “Cash for Casulaties” program.
    Those involved are going to make a killing.

  22. Mark Knighton December 15, 2009 at 12:14 am #

    looking forward to Jim 2010 Forecast.It should be interesting

  23. Dr. Doom December 15, 2009 at 2:12 am #

    Good grief, I thought I was getting the Rohnny Jico treatment! Jim, fire that sumbitch IT provider right now!
    Anyway, after wading through the looong Matt Taibbi article, which only confirmed in great detail that which many of us had already surmised, it is the Chicago pol that was elected POTUS and not a black Sir Gallahad come to rescue the innocent tax paying masses, although he does show a lot of outward politeness to the fairer sex in public.
    If he’s a hostage to Wall Street, he has a lot more in common with gun-toting Patty Hearst and the Simbionese Liberation Army than with a true captive willing only to give his name, rank and serial number.

  24. turkle December 15, 2009 at 3:43 am #

    Hi.

  25. Nudge December 15, 2009 at 5:30 am #

    Dark Fired Tobacco wrote: “The disconnection from Wall Street/Pennsylvania Avenue and Main Street is the widest I can recall in five decades of following politics. There is no more pretense; they do not care.”
    Great post. Your comments are spot-on. I’ve got relatives who are about to be in the same position as those church visitors you mentioned. Trying to think now about how to support them when the time comes. Things get worse daily, yet people cling (in unhealthy and unhelpful ways) to the notion that the 2005-era “roaring 00’s” economy will be back any second now.
    Somewhere recently I read someone (not sure which blog, HBB or TOD) who said that he tells people that they will never again in their lives witness the sort of prosperity and material affluence and lifestyle choices that we’ve got now. From here on out it is all downhill, and this is /not/ optional.
    Dr D, see the above comments re education. Does that sound familiar? :)

  26. george December 15, 2009 at 7:13 am #

    “I’m sorry, fellow Chosen People, but Hanukkah is just plain boring – the equivalent of Danish Modern furniture for the spirit. Give me Christmas, with its pagan yule logs, feasts, and revels!” Trust me JHK, if your folks grew up in a village on the Balkans like mine, Christmas was another dreaded holiday that made me wish I was a Jew. At least Jews didn’t have sit through a three hour sermon in a crowded church that reeked of foul-smelling incense and candle wax. Of course, the ordeal didn’t end there because once we got home we had to go through the candle-lighting ceremony followed by the Lord’s Prayer, which I had to recite because I was the youngest member of the family. I could never remember all the verses and this was a sore point for my father. Then came the chicken dinner and after that me and my sister got our gifts, which were always the same every year: socks and underwear. Our neighbors used to feel so sorry for us that they’d buy us nice Christmas gifts to make up for the crap my folks gave us every year.

  27. wagelaborer December 15, 2009 at 7:26 am #

    George, you give me another reason to be glad I was raised an atheist!
    We did the fun pagan parts of xmas, but none of the religious ones.

  28. twomartinilunch December 15, 2009 at 7:44 am #

    Thanks for the poems. I like them.

  29. Laura Louzader December 15, 2009 at 7:57 am #

    Don’t wait for that “sense of community” to just happen on the other side of collapse, start building it now. It doesn’t just happen by itself.
    Trust me, if you think your community is atomized and cold and lacking in basic civility now, wait till we have serious shortages of food and fuel, and brownouts and blockades become regular daily occurrences. Don’t wait for that dread time to get to know your neighbors and neighborhood, and your town or city, because cut-throat competition for things like the last gallon of gas or last loaf of bread on the shelves does not make for amicable neighborly relations.
    Many people still alive remember how close knit communities and common civility helped mitigate the worst hardships of the Great Depression, and they think AHHH, it was hardship that brought people together- they HAD to get along with each other! People who believe this are confusing cause with effect. Yes, people let homeless families sleep in their apt bldg vestibules and took in destitute relatives, but that was because this country was still made up of old, solid towns and cities that were closely knit, with families that had resided in the same areas for generations. You knew people by sight even if you didn’t know their names. And in the 20s and before, despite the rising gangsterism of the era, street crime rates were so low that people lived on the ground floor with their windows open, and slept on the beach on hot summer nights, with no fear.
    Do things that put in you in contact with your neighbors, and start just by walking around more and talking with people. It’s amazing how many people can live in the same house for 30 years and not know the neighbors 3 doors away. That is how long my recently-deceased aunt lived in her subdivision house, without knowing any of her neighbors.

  30. suburbanempire December 15, 2009 at 8:04 am #

    testing

  31. suburbanempire December 15, 2009 at 8:12 am #

    Comments are working again! Yay!
    As the Chief of Staff lit the National Menorah I thought about peak oil for some reason…..
    The irony about the consumer driven way we celebrate Christmas in this nation that seems like it is counting on the oil lasting eight times as long as we think it will.
    It comes as no suprize that GS employees are buying guns, they WOULD react that way…. By all means don’t bother to reform greedy behavior, buy a gun and defend it…… whatever.
    Thank you for the Rolling Stone link, I think I may vote for some vile Republican out of spite next go around….
    At suburban empire I took a break from being grumpy this week, and focused on Giving and Charity
    http://www.suburbanempire.com/front
    The Suburban Critical Empire Chronicle.

  32. deacon-john December 15, 2009 at 8:15 am #

    To George who wrote about “sitting through a three hour sermon in a crowded church that reeked of foul-smelling incense and candle wax” in the Balkans – and all the other “atheists”
    Perhaps the long emergency will bring back better memories and assist you to “learn all the verses” of the Lord’s Prayer.
    In fact if we get a Kuntsler type collapse people will either become violent nihilists (even if displaying a religious veneer) or the most pious folks we’ve seen. I doubt atheism will hold up very well, it’s the luxury of the pampered western post modern child.
    PS my incense smells nice and we use beeswax, we stand and the priest gives 3 minute sermons

  33. Desertrat December 15, 2009 at 9:04 am #

    I’m in accord with much of what’s been said above and in the past weeks’ comments.
    And yet…and yet: Where I live, it’s already a community. Folks know one another and gatherings for conversational gossip are quite common. It’s already a world made by hand to a great extent, with many doing part or all of the work in building some sort of residence as just one example.
    Take it for granted that a high percentage of us have no debt and low property taxes. Our demands for “satisfaction” are much less than what I read about at many websites. We tend to be a bit scornful of those who have brought their troubles onto themselves by their own decisions.
    We’d be in trouble, though, if the beer-delivery truck quit coming…
    ‘Rat

  34. Kickaha December 15, 2009 at 9:12 am #

    Loved the poems!

  35. stud duck December 15, 2009 at 9:48 am #

    “American zeitgeist”?????? I wonder if Laura, Suburbanempire, cowswithguns,angrybroker,asia,nothing,wagelabor, ect know what you meant by that phrase?!!! I wonder if it is in their thesaurus?
    Everybody knows the dice are loaded,
    everybody rolls with their fingers crossed.
    Everybody knows the war is over,
    eveybody knows the good guys lost.
    Everybody knows its now or never,
    everybody knows its you or me.
    Everybody knows the boat is leaking,
    everybody knows the Capitan lied!
    Everybody know the fight was fixed,
    everybody knows the poor stay poor,
    and the rich get rich!
    Well you grunts knew you were expendable, and now the only choice you have is to crawl out that hole (foxhole or slit trench) you dug the night before, sling you weapon, sling your pack, and start putting one foot in front of the other and hope you can make it through another day to dig another hole to sleep in!!
    Zeitgeist babe!

  36. SNAFU December 15, 2009 at 10:02 am #

    Me thinks that humans blindly following the exhortations of the priests of yore to “go forth and multiply”, so as to increase their political and military muscle through numbers, contributed directly to the current exponential growth in the population increase of the human animal thereby adversely impacting the state of the Earth tremendously. The percentage increase of Americans willing to admit that they are atheists, although far below European levels, has doubled or more in the last 10 years now approaching 20%.
    With your religious convictions perhaps you could assist the good folks at this web site, which I was pointed to from an article in Google News, with an answer to their question; “Why won’t God heal Amputees?” at:
    http://www.whydoesgodhateamputees.com/

  37. not mommy December 15, 2009 at 10:10 am #

    “Our neighbors used to feel so sorry for us that they’d buy us nice Christmas gifts to make up for the crap my folks gave us every year.”
    Guess you didn’t bother to listening to any of those sermons cause it ain’t about the gifts. Too bad your parents bore such ungrateful pinheads.

  38. not mommy December 15, 2009 at 10:38 am #

    Four of many reasons why things are about to get worse:
    1. “Speaking at the Copenhagen climate change summit, Mr Gore said new computer modelling suggests there is a 75 per cent chance of the entire polar ice cap melting during the summertime by 2014.
    However, he faced embarrassment last night after Dr Wieslav Maslowski, the climatologist whose work the prediction was based on, refuted his claims.”
    2. “The decision to scrap the idea — which would have considerably expanded health-care coverage, a key promise made by Democrats in last year’s elections — came as President Obama put heavy pressure on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and his fellow Democrats to reach a compromise that they could still call “health-care reform.”
    3. “To take just one example from yesterday: on NBC’s Meet the Press, White House economic adviser Christina Romer was asked if the recession was over. Her first answer was that according to the “official definition … I think we have, at least in terms of GDP, reached that point” — before she then added qualifiers, inviting a follow-up question. When Romer was then asked, “So in your mind, this recession is not over,” she answered, “Of course not. We have — you know, for, for the people on Main Street and throughout this country, they are still suffering. The unemployment rate is still 10 percent.”
    Now compare that answer with what Lawrence Summers, director of the National Economic Council, said on ABC’s This Week: “Today, everybody agrees that the recession is over, and the question is what the pace of the expansion is going to be.” (Apparently “everybody” does not include Summers’s colleague Christina Romer.)”
    4. “In public, President Obama is on a tear against Wall Street. In private, not so much
    Over the weekend, Obama attacked fat-cat investment bankers, telling “60 Minutes” he didn’t become president to aid and abet Wall Street — which, only a year after the financial meltdown and taxpayer bailout, is now scheduled to hand out tens of billions of dollars in bonuses to its bankers and traders.
    But the president’s meeting yesterday with the CEOs of the largest banks was nearly a lovefest, I’m told by attendees.
    Yes, White House spinmeisters advertised the gathering as a chance for Obama to channel the public’s disgust over Wall Street’s celebrating while Main Street still suffers 10 percent unemployment, thanks largely to Wall Street’s bungling. But that’s not what he did.”

  39. agribiz December 15, 2009 at 10:43 am #

    2 things…I’d never heard or seen “roaring 00s” verbalized, but how marvelously appropriate.
    And, lost in the looking as suburbia and Washington and Wal Street is the fact that the agricultural midwest/cornbelt has it’s toes out over the edge. The vast majority of farm production come off of large industrialized extremely energy dependent, low full time labor requiring farm units, sprinkled about them with towns small and some rather large that once serviced large numbers of farm families who populated those now industiralized acreages and who circulated the money that those folks “brought to town”. That system is done for..those comunities have attempted to supplant those lost retail entities with services of the optional and ultimately unecessary variety. Any deflation in commodities and large areas of reasonably developed, more often than not “wired” and well supplied with roads and utilities but ever more sparsely populated (and not easily evacuated as, has been alluded to elsehwere here, family and freinds are often far away). One benefit could be the massive surplus of available living space, spacious and well appointed multi bedroomed house after house after house occupied by widows and other sets of aging retired folk. But getting the people to huddle together may just be too much of a stretch for primarily Germanic folks whose entire being is built around deeply ingrained colloquiallism to attempt, much less consider.
    And FWIW, I’ve got this sneaking suspicion that this President knows what he’s doing. That he appreciates if not fully understands the complexe nature as well as the severity of the comprehensive set of problems that we face better than anybody else in the upeer levels of government does or has for a long, long time. And not often said, but the person who I see who would come most closely to that would be the Vice President. Never have we had this much basic raw competnece at those posts. Surely not since Roosevelt-Wallace. If the Pesidnet were, however, to suddenly throw full steam behind the splatchy mosaic of progressives, each holding up their particular gored ox he’d expose himself to being shown to be doing the things that the maniacal right is saying that he’s doing that he indeed is not. I beleive he sees himself at this juncture as available to administrate the coming decline. There is no going back to those “roaring ’00s”. Knowing and understanding that is a start. Few do, or wishfully won’t see.

  40. deacon-john December 15, 2009 at 10:57 am #

    “Why won’t God heal amputees?” and other “whys” are historic attempts to do what, put nothingness into a void in the hearts of already suffering people?
    What does Richard Dawkins offer to amputees, any non-profit hospital systems coming from atheism lately?
    Believers have a lot to answer for, but second guessing the mind, the mystery and the unfathomable goodness of God isn’t one of them.
    Peace and remember you may be able to get some candles from those churches when the grid goes down

  41. diogen December 15, 2009 at 11:01 am #

    Laura, all good points, but how do you change the dominant culture where people are isolated from their neighbors by streets with no sidewalks, 4 hours of TV daily, many hours of internet, shopping, solitary commutes in cars, sharp polarization along various fault lines, etc… ?

  42. not mommy December 15, 2009 at 11:12 am #

    “Why won’t God heal Amputees?”
    The more important question is:
    Q. “Why does God not kill Fucktards?”
    A. Due to his Grace and Understanding
    But seriously folks, God does heal amputees. He has enabled man to replace natural limbs with increasingly improved, artificial limbs. Are they as good as the real thing? Hell no, but when an amputee starts down the road to recovery, a process is set in place that brings a multitude of professionals and caring members of the community together to assist the injured.
    I have read about and participated in community-wide efforts to assist amputees in returning to active, productive members of society. It calls upon all of the emotions that members of the community of God deem worthy including, compassion, patience, charity, forgiveness, restoration and faith. It instills in all, who bother to become involved, a sense that the capabilities that we are given at birth can and will be diminished over time and in recognizing this we need to step in when our fellow neighbors experience a diminution in capabilities and help them take up the slack.
    This realization is what has launched such organizations as Doctors Without Borders and numerous other outreach programs that help muster the restorative processes that literally do (with the help of God) help “heal” amputees.
    Maybe Mr. Snafu needs to step it up a little and get involved in the healing process? Just a little thought during this season of giving.

  43. Sylph December 15, 2009 at 11:50 am #

    I quote Deacon-John: “In fact if we get a Kuntsler type collapse people will either become violent nihilists (even if displaying a religious veneer) or the most pious folks we’ve seen.”
    As a reader of both Kuntsler and J.M. Greer and much else, I think it is much more likely we are at the start of a long descent, and not a collapse (see the Mayans, Rome, Russia, Cuba, etc.).
    As an atheist I do not need a god or myth to be rational, moral, brave, honest, fair, generous, ethical, loving, hard working, and true. I cry when I hear beautiful music, catch my breath at the sight of the Milky Way, and I will fight to the death for the survival of those I love. I am as human as anyone, and I will stand by you if you have these qualities, no matter your religion.

  44. Martin Hayes December 15, 2009 at 12:12 pm #

    Wester, I’m indebted to you for bringing Eisenstein’s book to my attention. I used to see his writing from time to time on the now-defunct After Armageddon site, and I always liked what I read. Thanks.

  45. asoka December 15, 2009 at 12:12 pm #

    sylph beautifully said: “As an atheist I do not need a god or myth to be rational, moral, brave, honest, fair, generous, ethical, loving, hard working, and true. I cry when I hear beautiful music, catch my breath at the sight of the Milky Way, and I will fight to the death for the survival of those I love. I am as human as anyone, and I will stand by you if you have these qualities, no matter your religion.”
    My experience in life is that religious groups give preference to their own (Christians to Christians, Muslims to Muslims, etc.).
    Religious folk often act in political ways that invalidate what they preach. Today good Christian military folk want to send drone bombers into population centers in Pakistan. This is not in keeping with the spirit of Christmas or the Prince of Peace.
    For some religious groups it is all about getting more souls to God… and charity is a political means to win more souls… and, for those who do “good works,” charity is a way to win a spot in heaven. Pure politics.
    I stand with the atheists. By affirming our common humanity, atheists can embrace others whether they be Christian, Jew, Muslim, agnostic, or atheist… and can also embrace members of the atheistic religions like Buddhism.
    Atheism avoids the poisonous influence of doctrine. Doctrine divides communities.
    In my Midwest Protestant Christian childhood I was taught it was VERY important whether you were baptized by sprinkling or immersion… and we didn’t associate with folks who didn’t do it our way.
    Atheism emphasizes our humanity, what we have in common, not what divides us.

  46. Qshtik December 15, 2009 at 12:27 pm #

    Awwww … how sweeeet! Not the kind of post we would normally associate with Not Mommy.

  47. SNAFU December 15, 2009 at 12:33 pm #

    A cursory perusal of the “Bible” would belie the truth of your sentence fragment “unfathomable goodness of God”; unless you consider jealousy, pettiness, rage, murder, genocide, infanticide, slavery, homophobia, sacrifice, and various other forms of carnage detailed in your bible as the wants, desires and laws of your “god”.

  48. not mommy December 15, 2009 at 12:36 pm #

    “Awwww … how sweeeet! Not the kind of post we would normally associate with Not Mommy.”
    Awww…how predictable! Just the type of post we would expect from squished dik.

  49. insanity shelter December 15, 2009 at 12:37 pm #

    >why he larded his department of the US government from the get-go with so many agents and recent graduates of Wall Street’s biggest firms.
    Well, during the election many tried to warn that he had a “very thin resume”. I mean, for the love of Pete, six years ago he was a community organizer.
    Sure the guy is smart, but maybe he got to this office a little prematurely.

  50. not mommy December 15, 2009 at 12:39 pm #

    “… jealousy, pettiness, rage, murder, genocide, infanticide, slavery, homophobia, sacrifice, and various other forms of carnage…”
    These are the costs associated from man straying from God. Man brought these acts upon man.

  51. Cash December 15, 2009 at 12:40 pm #

    I’m from Canada. Lord knows we have enough idiocy up here to keep us busy but what you guys do affects us. So I have to comment. I admire the good old U S of A. You guys are what’s right in the world. Everyone else is way, way worse. Who would we rather have as the pre eminent power? The Chinese? The Russians? No thanks. Butchers all.
    But how is it that a country of 300 million comes up with such sorry assed presidential candidates. I would have thought that your leadership gene pool is really deep. Most Canucks wanted Obama to win. But a lot of us saw him for what he is: a smooth talking bullshit artist. But the alternatives? McCain? Suffered for America but way too old. Clinton? More Clinton drama with Bill muttering behind the curtains. And Palin? Good grief! You guys have to do better. Where’s today’s Eisenhower or Truman or Roosevelt?

  52. not mommy December 15, 2009 at 12:43 pm #

    “…a little prematurely…”
    As in not yet a sub-atomic particle of a twinkling in the eye.

  53. not mommy December 15, 2009 at 12:50 pm #

    “Where’s today’s Eisenhower or Truman or Roosevelt?”
    Eisenhower had proven himself in war an effective leader. Truman and Roosevelt though not proven had history foisted upon them and stepped up to the task, regarding the war effort but failed regarding some of their domestic, social programs.
    By the time Obama is up for reelection, things will be so bad that history will demand a strong, decisive leader. Whether or not the right person will step up remains to be seen. Currently there is no one on the radar screen that fits the bill.

  54. SNAFU December 15, 2009 at 12:52 pm #

    Accolades to you OEO, zzz, ….. not mommy for persisting to post nonsensical responses to posts without bothering to investigate prior to posting your response. A cursory perusal of the web site would likely have made clear even to you OEO/zzz … that the question is rhetorical.

  55. Laura Louzader December 15, 2009 at 12:55 pm #

    I understand… it is very difficult to build a community in places designed to isolate people, like most newer suburbs. I live in a very dense, walkable city nabe so it is easier.
    However, we are also isolated, and it’s typical around here to not know the person you’ve lived down the hall from for 10 years, never mind the people two floors up. Yet we definitely know each other better than most people in most towns and neighborhoods. It helps that my neighborhood is politically more active than most, and is also one of the five “bloggiest” neighborhoods in the country- we have a huge number of people running neighborhood blogs around here and they pop up faster than I can find out about them and link them.
    So you have to do things. first, use your internet time to reach out. The internet has been a real force in linking people who’d never know each other otherwise. I met large numbers of my neighbors down the block and further away on the blogs run by neighborhood residents. Start a neighborhood blog and post stuff about neighborhood events and meetings, and invite comments. Search out your official town and city sites, and other residents’ blogs, and link them. Don’t hide behind an online name but use your own. Attend meetings discussing local issues- zoning changes, a proposed new business, whatever, and work on political campaigns. For example, I met dozens of people gathering signatures to get my aldermanic candidate on the ballot.
    If you live in a city or old-fashioned town-type suburb, hang out at a local coffee shop. Make yourself available.

  56. fan December 15, 2009 at 1:07 pm #

    I found this today, and I think many of us here would agree:
    http://www.indybay.org/uploads/2009/12/02/apocalypse_read.pdf

  57. montsegur December 15, 2009 at 1:52 pm #

    Truman and Roosevelt, yes. Eisenhower, no. Eisenhower wasn’t a great general, even his vaunted coalition-maintenance skills were really only used with the British. How much time did he give to old Henry Crerar, after all? Not to mention that as president, Eisenhower helped bring fundamentalist religious politics into the highest office of the land, starting the path to the current polarized divide we see today between fundamentalists and those who aren’t fundamentalist in their outlook. And his piss-weak warning about the military-industrial complex could have been spoken with much greater clarity and force had he really wished to warn the nation on that score. But, yes, I also wonder where the true leaders are anymore.

  58. DeeJones December 15, 2009 at 1:54 pm #

    America Dreaming. There is going to be further squeezing out of what left of the middle class, so despised by the rich, republican uber-class.
    Pretty soon the US will look like any third-world country, with a thin layer of ultra-wealthy,and a huge lower class population, but no middle left.
    Sure, those at the bottom will learn to take care of each other because there will be no other choice.
    The repubs, after Obama is out of office, plan on coming back with a vengeance. They will once again try to ‘de-fund’ any & all entitlement programs, cut taxes for the wealthy, and try to make sure that the only government spending is for the so-called defense dept.
    So, yeah, if you are not part of the yupper-crust, you better start getting to know your neighbors, because you will be needing to help each other out.
    Speaking of the dream-state this country lives in, I saw an ad for the new Ford f-150 Raptor, some machoed-up version of the truck we all have come to know and despise. Wonder how many rednecks are dreaming of finding this in their driveways the day after xmass? Wonder how disappointed they will be when its not there?
    Well, there is always Jack Dan’s & beatin’ the wife to make up for that!

  59. montsegur December 15, 2009 at 1:55 pm #

    And in a continuation of the bad dream that doesn’t want to die:
    “Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner has taken off on its first test flight – almost two and a half years late.
    It had been grounded by a series of hitches, including design problems, strikes and even a shortage of bolts.
    Boeing has pegged its hopes for the future on the plane, which promises to be one of the most fuel-efficient in the world.” more at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/8413466.stm
    “Dreamliner” — an apt name.

  60. not mommy December 15, 2009 at 2:09 pm #

    “the question is rhetorical.”
    It is no such thing. I visited the cute little, open minded site that you listed. It is a cynical attempt to disprove a caring God. It is fluff for fools that requires not one shred of religious introspection.

  61. not mommy December 15, 2009 at 2:23 pm #

    “The repubs, after Obama is out of office, plan on coming back with a vengeance. They will once again try to ‘de-fund’ any & all entitlement programs, cut taxes for the wealthy…”
    Of course they will you MORON. Haven’t you heard that we are BANKRUPT. Haven’t you heard that we are in the hole to the tune of 100 trillion dollars worth of unfunded entitlements. UN-FUCKING-FUNDED. (That means we’ve already promised this much but we don’t HAVE IT. And forget the de-fund nonsense, you, irrational fucking twit, it was never FUNDED to begin with.)
    What the fuck is a RESPONSIBLE person supposed to do, increase spending? As for the wealthy, once you have taxed them out of fucking existence who the fuck you gonna call? Ghostbusters?

  62. not mommy December 15, 2009 at 2:26 pm #

    “It had been grounded by a series of hitches, including design problems, strikes and even a shortage of bolts.”
    Yeah…..and….? The fucking thing just took off. It would appear that they overcame their difficulties. (I think that used to be called progress.) It’s going to save a ton of fuel. What is your point?

  63. not mommy December 15, 2009 at 2:29 pm #

    “In my Midwest Protestant Christian childhood I was taught it was VERY important whether you were baptized by sprinkling or immersion… and we didn’t associate with folks who didn’t do it our way.”
    Well, I can’t help it if you were a MORON and didn’t associate with those who didn’t do it “(your) way”. That merely shows a shortcoming on your part not in the teachings of Christianity.

  64. diogen December 15, 2009 at 2:40 pm #

    Laura, you’re offering practical steps addressing the “how to” of building a healthy community, but a much more intractable and complex aspect is one of motivation. What would motivate neighbors to change their behaviors which have persisted for decades? After all humans establish societal patterns based on their perceived benefits to each individual, which is why we commute in single-driver cars, live in homes surrounded by lawns, mostly associate with people we like (whether they live next-door or across many time-zones), etc. So, what do you think would motivate Americans to drastically change their social habits? Especially with many powerful forces in the society having a stake in people continuing as “consumers” (hmm, what would happen if people started spending hours daily growing their food in community gardens instead of watching TV commercials and purchasing their veggies in a supermarket?)

  65. not mommy December 15, 2009 at 2:50 pm #

    “What would motivate neighbors to change their behaviors which have persisted for decades?”
    They will be motivated by their wallets. They will come to the realization that they will have to do more with less. That means maybe borrowing (or lending) that tool from/to a neighbor instead of buying one. Of walking to the corner store instead of driving and “accidentally” meeting some neighbors along the way. Or meeting in the cul-de-sac when you come to the realization that the snowplow won’t be coming and you’ll all have to pitch in and dig out.
    Even those resistant to change will be forced to “change their behaviors”.

  66. insanity shelter December 15, 2009 at 3:08 pm #

    >the yeasty expansion of goodies.
    Good one!

  67. diogen December 15, 2009 at 3:09 pm #

    “They will be motivated by their wallets. They will come to the realization ”
    Notmommy, you’re implying that in the future this may be our best option. This may very well be true, but Laura makes a very good argument that waiting until the crunch will result in considerable pain. I agree with you that “walking to the corner store” and sharing tools is great, but for most people these days the “corner store” is the big-box store 10 miles away. So, why do you think the Americans aren’t practicing NOW the behaviors you described?

  68. wagelaborer December 15, 2009 at 3:12 pm #

    Loved your comment, asoka. Reminds me of the old joke-
    I was walking across a bridge one day, and I saw a man standing on the edge, about to jump off. So I ran over and said, “Stop! Don’t do it!” “Why shouldn’t I?” he said. I said, “Well, there’s so much to live for!” He said, “Like what?” I said, “Well, are you religious or atheist?” He said, “Religious.” I said, “Me too! Are your Christian or Buddhist?” He said, “Christian.” I said, “Me too! Are you Catholic or Protestant?” He said, “Protestant.” I said, Me too! Are your Episcopalian or Baptist? He said, “Baptist!” I said, “Wow! Me too! Are your Baptist Church of God or Baptist Church of the Lord? He said, Baptist Church of God!” I said, “Me too! Are your Original Baptist Church of God or are you Reformed Baptist Church of God?” He said, “Reformed Baptist Church of God!” I said, “Me too! Are you Reformed Baptist Church of God, Reformation of 1879, or Reformed Baptist Church of God, Reformation of 1915?” He said, “Reformed Baptist Church of God, Reformation of 1915!” I said, “Die, heretic scum!” and pushed him off.

  69. asoka December 15, 2009 at 3:21 pm #

    OEO/zzz/FeFe/DSM 300.14 said: “Well, I can’t help it if you were a MORON and didn’t associate with those who didn’t do it “(your) way”. That merely shows a shortcoming on your part not in the teachings of Christianity.”
    Nope. It is a central teaching of Christianity. My way or the highway. The big JC confirmed it:
    Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” –John 14:6 (New International Version)
    In the Midwest Protestant world I grew up in the teaching of Christian churches was to not hang out with (much less be friends with) sinners, atheists, etc. (i.e., anyone who didn’t believe in John 3:16).
    Today I notice the same thing happening with many Christian communities who operate by favoring Christian businesses and publish Christian business directories.
    You patronize and fraternize with others who are “saved” and avoid the rest.

  70. not mommy December 15, 2009 at 3:24 pm #

    “So, why do you think the Americans aren’t practicing NOW the behaviors you described?”
    Unfortunately, because many don’t yet realize how badly off they are or are about to be. They don’t yet have to act in more responsible, interacting ways so they follow the path of least resistance. They’ll come around when they have to. It’s unfortunate they can’t get in front of the curve but they are busy doing what they have always done.

  71. diogen December 15, 2009 at 3:32 pm #

    OK, so if our strongest motivation is economic, and we don’t change our ways until and unless there’s an economic imperative to do so, then how do we as a community prepare for the crunch ahead of time, what do you think?

  72. not mommy December 15, 2009 at 3:47 pm #

    “Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.””
    That statement means that salvation can only be reached through a belief in Christ. Christ didn’t come down on full immersion baptism vs sprinkling. He also didn’t tell asoka-his-pants,not to hang out with sinners, atheists, etc. In FACT Christ himself, did hang out with these very groups. As you may recall when on the cross he told the thief hanging next to him that “This day you will be with me in Heaven.”
    The shortcomings that you wish to ascribe to Christianity are merely silly strictures that various denominations have put into place. They have nothing to do with Christ or his teachings.
    Furthermore you claim one should “…patronize and fraternize with others who are “saved” and avoid the rest.” I have never heard of any “Christian” denomination that claims any such thing. Christians are supposed to go out in the world and spread the word. If they are only hanging out with the “saved” who the fuck are you suggesting they are to spread the word amongst?

  73. not mommy December 15, 2009 at 3:58 pm #

    “so, then how do we as a community prepare for the crunch ahead of time, what do you think..”
    You don’t. It is not possible. What you do is prepare as a family. You get your house in order. If you have family and friends that you have influence over you sell them on the merits of getting out of debt and starting to appreciate each other for what each brings to the “human” table. You introduce the virtues of thrift and helping one another. You have them gently nudge those they have influence with to do the same.
    That way when TSHTF it will assure us that there is at least a goodly percentage of people who acted responsibly and will be able to weather the storm and help pull others along. It is the old story of the grasshopper and the ant all these years later.

  74. trav777 December 15, 2009 at 4:09 pm #

    Agribiz – charming, to the last.
    Won’t give up on NeObama…believe his words, not your lyin’ eyes, huh?
    Yeah, he’s competent, despite apparent incompetence. Hates the bankers despite apparent adoration for them. He’s everything you wish him to be, despite the evidence to the contrary.
    Riiiight. One day people like you will wake up and realize that “hope” and “change” were just NLP words used to con you.

  75. asoka December 15, 2009 at 4:30 pm #

    OEO/FeFe/zzzzz/DSM 300.14 said: “Christians are supposed to go out in the world and spread the word.”
    Fucktard? Moron? Which of the words you are spreading is “the word” you are referring to?
    You are such a wonderful example of Christianity. Thanks for confirming my decision to leave the Christian church… (some of my best friends are Christian… I just don’t allow them to “spread the word”)

  76. george December 15, 2009 at 4:39 pm #

    deacon-john: You made my point for me. I didn’t say I grew up in the Balkans, I said my parents’ did. I grew up in wonderful Detroit, Michigan. By the way deacon-john, I never said I was an atheist, only that Christmas isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Did you know that more people commit suicide at Christmas than any other time of year? How about the annual orgy [or rather disgrace as my 90-year old aunt put it] of gift-giving that puts millions if consumers into crushing debt? And while were at it, do you think Jesus would approve of the excessive partying, fueled by copious quantities of alcohol, that mark this festive holiday season? The fact of the matter is that Christmas has outlived its’ usefulness and its’ only purpose is to encourage gluttony and greed among feeble-minded Americans.

  77. Poet December 15, 2009 at 6:05 pm #

    Hi Jim–
    In case you have not seen it, “The Story of Stuff” is very entertaioning and pretty careful exposition of our consumer culture. Takes about 21 minutes to watch the whole thing and you can find it at:






  78. antimatter December 15, 2009 at 6:30 pm #

    I think Jim that you and Dimitry Orlov are about 10 years out in terms of when a majority of Americans will begin to experience what you and he speak to. He has the advantage of having lived through the collapse of the Soviet Union, and he might also have the advantage of knowing what it was like to ‘survive’ Bosnia-Hertzogovenia, which itself was a death sentence. But your book Jim, “The Long Emergency,” speaks to the slow slide.
    If we are right that Americans will not experience the credit-based affluence of previous decades, and if unemployment remains high (or those who are unemployed are ‘disappeared’ by the resulting economy) the many many 30-55 somethings will realize over time that their fortunes are in permanent decline—that car repair left undone, the teeth and need more fixing than money can pay for, increasing costs for the basics. Sure, there will be Americans who become the ‘have mores’ but I think most will become the ‘have far less than you ever thought,’ a new underclass of marginalized people, who suffer the humiliations that they never believed they would, being good taxpaying Americans, good ‘employees’ with awards from their employer. For many, hope will run out, and we mourn for these individuals, now and in what is to come. For the luckier young who somehow find new ways, all the best.
    I don’t necessarily think we will see a sudden apocalypse, but a slow slide down. Even after the Bosnia war was over, you saw the young, dressed up, walking in the squares—but the older ones traumatized, some dead at their own hand. This is what I see coming for us. Dimitri’s articles paint it, and so do you Jim.
    To all who yearn for one of those old style Christmases, I hope you find that emotional island of peace this Christmas. Good night and good luck in the Murrow sense of the phrase.

  79. turkle December 15, 2009 at 6:57 pm #

    FeFe is feeling the Christmas spirit. How cute.

  80. turkle December 15, 2009 at 7:01 pm #

    “It is a cynical attempt to disprove a caring God.”
    You are proof enough that there is no caring God.

  81. turkle December 15, 2009 at 7:01 pm #

    FeFe is a Christian! How ironic.

  82. turkle December 15, 2009 at 7:03 pm #

    And ye shall meet those on the internet who question your ways but ye shall dub them fucktards.

  83. snowyplover December 15, 2009 at 7:07 pm #

    Thank you

  84. asoka December 15, 2009 at 8:09 pm #

    WHY ARE WE IN AFGHANISTAN? ENERGY?
    “A common explanation for the US presence in Afghanistan is Washington’s interest in Central Asian fuel sources– natural gas in Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan and petroleum in Kazakhstan. The idea of Zalmay Khalilzad and others was to bring a gas pipeline down through Afghanistan and Pakistan to energy-hungry India. Turkmenistan became independent of Moscow in 1991, making the project plausible. For this reason some on the political Right in the US actually supported the Taliban as a force for law and order.
    If that was the plan, it has failed. Instead, China has landed the big bid to develop a major gas field in Turkmenistan, along with a pipeline to Beijing.” — Dec. 15, 2009, http://www.juancole.com/

  85. asoka December 15, 2009 at 8:10 pm #

    WHY ARE WE IN AFGHANISTAN? ENERGY?
    “A common explanation for the US presence in Afghanistan is Washington’s interest in Central Asian fuel sources– natural gas in Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan and petroleum in Kazakhstan. The idea of Zalmay Khalilzad and others was to bring a gas pipeline down through Afghanistan and Pakistan to energy-hungry India. Turkmenistan became independent of Moscow in 1991, making the project plausible. For this reason some on the political Right in the US actually supported the Taliban as a force for law and order.
    If that was the plan, it has failed. Instead, China has landed the big bid to develop a major gas field in Turkmenistan, along with a pipeline to Beijing.” — Dec. 15, 2009, http://www.juancole.com/

  86. flying picket December 15, 2009 at 8:10 pm #

    You’ve the soul of a poet, James. It’s quite beautiful to read.

  87. montsegur December 15, 2009 at 11:32 pm #

    My point is that the airlines are a dying industry. It might not look like it at the moment because there are so many aircraft still flying, but the coming energy shortages will reduce that mode of transportation dramatically.

  88. Vlad Krandz December 16, 2009 at 12:48 am #

    “It is not new. It is, in fact, man’s second oldest faith. Its promise was whispered in the first days of creation under the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil: “Ye shall be as gods.” It is the great alternative faith of mankind. Like all great faiths, its force derives from a simple vision…The Communist vision is the vision of Man without God.
    It is the vision of man’s mind displacing God as the creative intelligence of the world…It is the vision of materialism.
    Whitaker Chambers, “Witness”

  89. Tim S December 16, 2009 at 2:51 am #

    I believe, Mr Kunstler, that you are on to something. We have a deficient culture in this country, and the sooner we return to a place where character means something, the better off we will be.
    We are not just enthralled by bigness, but also by a curious determination to not take anything seriously. Our national motto should not be “Don’t Tread on Me”. Rather it should be “Lighten Up, Dude”. That perfectly expresses the current national mindset. But it is changing. Slowly, slowly. But it will change.

  90. Pippi Langstrumpf December 16, 2009 at 6:18 am #

    Mr. Kunstler, you are such a big optimist. I wish your last sentences were true and people will be better people in the future, but… Ich don’t think so. Humans are the most disgusting and idiotic species on Earth, and that won’t change in just a few years.

  91. Funzel December 16, 2009 at 8:54 am #

    to add to Pippi’s comment…
    IF it was true that God created man in his image,Ich don’t want anything to do with that SOB.

  92. Rob in Dublin December 16, 2009 at 10:22 am #

    First Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians, Chapter 3, Verse 1:
    ‘And I brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto BABIES in Christ.
    I have (thus far) fed you with milk, and not with meat (ie. heavy spiritual talk): for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, NEITHER YET NOW ARE YE ABLE. FOR YE ARE YET CARNAL, for whereas there is among you envying and strife and divisions, ARE YE NOT CARNAL, AND WALK AS MEN’? (rather than vessels of the Holy Spirit)
    I’m not religious, but Paul said it best – inside every one of us is a choice between the natural person, concerned with his/her own welfare, and the spiritual person, being in the language of Paul ‘a vessel or instrument of the work of the Holy Ghost’.
    There is no community without that shared spiritual sense, there never has been at any time ever anywhere in the history of the world.
    Insofar as we snigger at the spiritual side of ourselves, and its ability to withstand adversity cheerfully, we are doomed.
    Yes, doomed, because it’s a pathway, a career like the career of a comet, hurtling into ruin. Every poster on this post knows it, and JHK himself.
    But this is not the first time in history such a sorry farce of petty ‘natural’ selfish behaviour has led to ruin – it was always going to end thus for them. They have chosen ruin by scoffing their own spiritual natures – whether Christian, JEw, Buddhist, Muslim, or just plain concerned, engaged humanitarian or humanist.
    The problem is not peak oil – it’s the response of indifference and complacency of the masses to it that is the road to ruin.

  93. Jim from Watkins Glen December 16, 2009 at 12:10 pm #

    Yes, we can come up with a better American dream. We know instictively that consumerism is hollow, and are reminded of this during the season of “get more stuff we don’t need.” We won’t understand what’s happening to us now for another decade, when our 20-20 hindsight shows us.
    As for Christmas, I always remind myself that Jesus was a Jew — a good Jew, in fact. One of my favorites. And from all the pictures I’ve seen, he was a cute baby, too.

  94. not mommy December 16, 2009 at 1:06 pm #

    “You are such a wonderful example of Christianity. Thanks for confirming my decision to leave the Christian church..”
    Once again, you list the actions of mere mortals as reasons why you have left a faith based on immortality and a deity of unlimited grace and charity. You, dear son are a FUCKTARD.

  95. turkle December 16, 2009 at 3:17 pm #

    I wouldn’t want to belong to a club that had FeFe as a member.

  96. E.G.Palmer December 16, 2009 at 3:48 pm #

    Man, I hate danish modern furniture!

  97. Martin Hayes December 16, 2009 at 3:57 pm #

    “There is no community without that shared spiritual sense, there never has been at any time ever anywhere in the history of the world.”
    Well, I don’t know about that. Though the monoculture with which we now have to deal, even though it approaches its well-deserved end, is hostile to community, it is a fact that in our secular age people have founded communities along lines that are not overtly spiritual, whether it is the many and various (though usually unsuccessful) communes that at one time or another have sprung up across the US, or, much less consciously organized, but nevertheless real, communities in towns and villages and even in the workplace. I put it to you that Charles Manson’s “family” was a community. You might not like it, but there you are.
    Spirituality is not the foundation of the natural bond that arises between humans: sex is. And from that “orgasmic tenderness” flows the sublimated and diffused tribal “pack” bond.
    In his disturbing but illuminating essay “Neuroeconomics,” Robert Anton Wilson argues that Christianity “like Buddhism and other post-urban religions, appears to be largely an attempt to recreate the tribal bond on a mystical level within “civilized” (i.e., imperialist) times.”
    Gnosticism is a response to the predicament of life, and it is no accident that it flowered in imperialist times. I regard Paul as a Gnostic figure. As Elaine Pagels showed exhaustively in her “Gnostic Paul”, Paul’s message was always double: hylik (chthonic) Christians (what you call “carnal” in your bungled translation) would understand the exoteric message, but the elect would glimpse its higher, esoteric meaning.
    You speak of milk and meat, so it bears thinking about why, in Hebrews, all the accoutrements of practised faith, such as baptism and the laying on of hands, are regarded as mere milk. What, then, is the meat? Unwisely, you have surmised that it is belief. In this you are mistaken.

  98. turkle December 16, 2009 at 4:44 pm #

    Christianity has unlimited forgiveness, unless you’re gay. Then you’re going to hell. Sorry.

  99. turkle December 16, 2009 at 4:47 pm #

    FeFe, I hope you’re not wearing two different types of clothing fibers right now. Yaweh doesn’t care for that.

  100. Qshtik December 16, 2009 at 5:19 pm #

    “You, dear son are a FUCKTARD.”
    ————————
    Above are the very words with which the father greeted his returning “prodigal son” contrary to the mis-translation of Luke you may be familiar with in the Bible.

  101. turkle December 16, 2009 at 5:21 pm #

    Qshtik,
    LMAO!

  102. SNAFU December 16, 2009 at 5:48 pm #

    Per OEO, zzz, ….. not mommy “These are the costs associated from man straying from God. Man brought these acts upon man”
    OEO, zzz, ….. not mommy is your bible not “gods” Law? If yes then your god wrote it and directs the implementation of every word in it. If no then one must view such drivel as the whims of psychotic men and women put to print to frighten and control humans incapable of rational or logical thought.

  103. SNAFU December 16, 2009 at 6:10 pm #

    “It is no such thing.””It is a cynical attempt to disprove a caring God.”
    Obviously the definitions of “rhetorical” and “cynical” are beyond your ken.
    http://www.whydoesgodhateamputees.com/ Forthrightly attempts to use logical thought experiments to elicit the comprehension that all gods are fables in the same sense that santa claus is; not just “to disprove a caring God”.

  104. insanity shelter December 16, 2009 at 8:58 pm #

    Glenn Beck today calls Ben Bernanke the “Saddam Hussein of economics”.
    Gotta give him an A for that, regardless of what numbskulls y’all typically be.

  105. asoka December 17, 2009 at 12:01 am #

    “Glenn Beck today calls Ben Bernanke the “Saddam Hussein of economics”.”
    I don’t understand.
    Does that mean Bernanke does not have weapons of mass destruction, but we should attack him anyway?

  106. asoka December 17, 2009 at 12:06 am #

    Great work, Nancy Pelosi! She got money away from Wall Street and directed it to Main Street employment.
    The jobs bill would use $75 billion in money earmarked for the Wall Street bailout and redirect it to infrastructure investment and aid to states.
    The bill also extends the duration of the COBRA subsidy from nine months to 15 months, extends the deadline for eligibility from December 31, 2009 to June 30, 2010, extends by six months unemployment benefits that would have expired at the end of the year, and expands a child tax credit to 16 million families.
    Good work, Nancy Pelosi!

  107. Pangolin December 17, 2009 at 1:53 am #

    Paraphrasing somebody or the other….”Americans are always so focused on the Second Coming of Christ because they are dissatisfied with the first one.” I mean, what a wimp Jesus was what with healing the sick, feeding the multitude, forgiving sins, and telling the rich to share their wealth.
    When Right Wing Jesus comes back he’s going to have more weapons than a Transformer robot and he’s going to kick some ass. Starting, of course, with the liberal church down the street that works on accepting everyone, healing the sick, feeding the multitude, forgiving sins, and telling the rich to share their wealth. Then they’ll go after the holdouts using the King James bible that has that nasty “Thou shall not kill” commandment.
    If there is a god then we are the result of sick joke left by the sideline and ignored. A sims game left running with weird starting conditions. I’ll take random evolution over unintelligent design any old day.

  108. Pangolin December 17, 2009 at 2:10 am #

    Ultimately, the planet doesn’t have the goodies it’s going to take to pay off current debts. Bank failure is a done deal unless the gov’t bails them out and then gov’t failure is a done deal.
    Military expeditions to foreign lands have been tolerated during times of plenty but eventually even fefe’s ilk will start to notice that sending Johnny off to the ‘stans to bounce rocks with nitrate explosives while the local roads turn to gravel is a dumb idea. Too late, but they will notice.
    If we got back to three year car loans, ten year mortgages and credit lines no more than two weeks pay we might have a chance. About the same chance as pushing a string up Half Dome but still a chance. As is we’re headed for a big pothole when the Chinese finally decide they can tell their people that hoarded dollars are worthless.
    Watch the container traffic. It’s still the shits which means the global economy is stalled. Recovery means busy ports. The fake recovery is about as real as a junior-high monopoly game.

  109. asoka December 17, 2009 at 2:17 am #

    Keith Olberman’s Special Comment on “Health Care Reform”
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3036677/#34455431
    Olberman says he is willing to go to prison if Obama signs a law requiring purchase of forced private health care insurance.
    If Congress passes legislation that forces citizens to purchase private health insurance and Obama signs it, Olberman says he will refuse to purchase it, and accept the consequences.

  110. asoka December 17, 2009 at 2:35 am #

    “If we got back to three year car loans, ten year mortgages and credit lines no more than two weeks pay we might have a chance.”
    Remember when a student could work as a waitress, or pumping gas, and pay tuition and graduate from University without owing any debt? Remember when one bread earner with a union job could feed and house a family, and the mother didn’t have to work?
    That was before Reagan cut the 70% tax rate on millionaires, taxes that made the affluent 50’s and 60’s possible without boom and bust bubbles. With Reagan we got deregulation, union busting, greedy CEOs, and banking scandals.
    During Reagan’s tenure, income tax rates of the top personal tax bracket dropped from 70% to 28% in 7 years, while social security and medicare taxes on the lower and middles classes increased.
    And that effectively ended the American dream.
    If we roll back the Reagan’s tax cuts on the rich (voodoo trickle-down economics), we wouldn’t have the budget deficit we have today.

  111. not mommy December 17, 2009 at 9:41 am #

    “Olberman says he will refuse to purchase it, and accept the consequences.”
    Olberman will fold like the cheap sweaty suits he regularly occupies. He would last about 30 seconds in prison and he knows it.

  112. not mommy December 17, 2009 at 10:01 am #

    Turkey-lurkey sez:
    “Christianity has unlimited forgiveness, unless you’re gay. Then you’re going to hell. Sorry.”
    So you are saying you are worried about going to hell? Sorry.

  113. helen highwater December 17, 2009 at 1:09 pm #

    Hey folks, Pagans still exist, some of us are still carrying on the traditions of pre-Christian and pre-Judaic times. If you’re lucky, there’s a Pagan group right in your community, although many keep themselves secret because persecution of those who follow the old religion can still take place today. In the old religion, people worshiped outdoors in nature, and had many deities both male and female. One of the first things the conquerors who came to impose their religion did was burn the sacred groves and insist that people had to worship a single powerful male god indoors.

  114. ozone December 17, 2009 at 1:36 pm #

    Pangolin sez,
    “Ultimately, the planet doesn’t have the goodies it’s going to take to pay off current debts. Bank failure is a done deal unless the gov’t bails them out and then gov’t failure is a done deal. (etc.)”
    Thanks for putting so succinctly what I’ve been trying to get through to people for quite a while now! Yes, it IS a done deal; the inexorable feedback loop is already in motion. How we deal with it psychologically will be a large part of whether we survive [or not]. Current deniers (sp?) of impending realities are going to get a million-pound shit-hammer of a wake-up call, and the resulting chaos that ensues will be caused [for the most part] by their thrashings. Their precious, entitled, wasteful, wasted “lifestyles” are gonna get flushed, NEVER to return. I’m not happy about it, but I think having your “mind right” will count for a lot. (I’m not going to miss the resource-stealing killings a’tall, and boy do I understand the resistance to it… perhaps in future, coming to a neighborhood near you! How much IS your water worth?)

  115. Pangolin December 17, 2009 at 1:39 pm #

    I wanted to thank Jim for keeping this forum up for as long as he has. Other areas of the doom-net seem to have been under full time attack and have driven the comments sections to moderation or to shutdown. Dmitri Orlov’s blog is a prime example and the BBC Have-Your-Say forum is a prime example of organized netwar attack.
    If trends are any indication this won’t be here long. Get your original and helpful comments in now before we are all reduced to posting on our own blogs; each a lone voice in a wilderness.
    On the religious front:
    Pagan gatherings never have decent coffee and cookies much less the fabled ale, cider and unfettered breasts. The real religion of America is coffee hour; you suffer together and then you all get a cookie. When the pagans get that straight they will grow in numbers.

  116. asoka December 17, 2009 at 2:35 pm #

    “Pagan gatherings never have decent coffee and cookies much less the fabled ale, cider and unfettered breasts.”
    Plus, they get real crowded real quick at pagan gatherings.
    I went to a pagan ceremony once. There were a lot of people there, you know, flesh and blood human beings, but was that enough? No. First thing the pagans did was, they invited the spirits of the east, the spirits of the south, the spirits of the west, the spirits of the north.
    I thought that was quite enough spirits. I thought they were through inviting in non-corporeal beings, but nooooo, then they continued filling up the place as they invited the spirits above, the spirits below, etc.
    The place was filled with spirits. Then they started in on nature, and I’m thinking “what about us human beings who are HERE, NOW?
    That’s when Buddhism started looking good to me.

  117. Qshtik December 17, 2009 at 2:52 pm #

    “I’m not happy about it…..”
    ————————
    BULLSHIT Ozone! You are obviously happy as a pig in shit at the thought that someone is going to get a “wake-up call,” a “thrashing,” and get “flushed.” You’re one of those people who gets his jollies thinking about all those (other-than-you) evil bastards you imagine are about to get their comeuppance.

  118. turkle December 17, 2009 at 3:44 pm #

    Since there is no hell, why would I be worried about going there?

  119. turkle December 17, 2009 at 3:46 pm #

    “He would last about 30 seconds in prison and he knows it.”
    FeFe is obsessed with prison and all the big strong men to be found there.

  120. turkle December 17, 2009 at 3:47 pm #

    Gee whiz, the US Executive Branch and Wall Street are in bed together. That would have been really startling news…in 1956. *yawn*

  121. not mommy December 17, 2009 at 5:00 pm #

    “FeFe is obsessed with prison and all the big strong men to be found there.”
    Hmmm??? I was responding to Olberman’s hissy-fit but I believe turkey-lurkey brought up the “big strong men” that are found in prison.
    I don’t know turk, I guess prison might be a place for you to aspire to. Although I hear the food is pretty shitty. Whatever…

  122. asia December 17, 2009 at 6:23 pm #

    JHK:
    any comments on ‘ TIMES AMEN OF THE YEAR’ and ‘CLIMATE CONFERENCE’?
    to those who listen to radio gerald celente will be on coast to coast next thurs talking bernanke and the economy. last nite celente was laughing at ‘ time mag or whats left of it’.

  123. asia December 17, 2009 at 6:24 pm #

    thanks…
    ‘Dmitri Orlov’s blog is a prime example and the BBC Have-Your-Say forum ‘
    what are the others?
    and who attacks them?

  124. asia December 17, 2009 at 6:28 pm #

    Havent a few airlines gone under? hawaiian? etcetc..is there a website that tracks large business failures in the USA?

  125. turkle December 17, 2009 at 7:23 pm #

    “I was responding to Olberman’s hissy-fit”
    Thanks, FeFe. I don’t know what we’d do without you. You’re a real hero.

  126. turkle December 17, 2009 at 7:27 pm #

    At least Olberman doesn’t call his opponents “fucktards” whenever they disagree with him. I’d say that’s more like a hissy-fit than anything he’s ever done.
    Anyways, I don’t watch cable news. It is tailor made for idiots like FeFe to get their little panties all in a bunch and start huffing and puffing about how the evil liberals are ruining ‘Merica.

  127. stud duck December 18, 2009 at 7:02 am #

    We’re on a journey – and we don’t know it – back to a nation of communities where your character really matters, and where character rests on whether your deeds comport with truthfulness. Many will be dragged kicking and screaming upon that journey, and many a dark night will be passed in the cold and damp on the way. But it will take us to a place where the hearths are burning brightly and the estranged spirits of our national character await a reunion with us: fortitude, patience, generosity, humor. That will be a Christmas to live for and remember!
    Mommie, are we there yet???

  128. stud duck December 18, 2009 at 7:48 am #

    Zeitgeist?????
    Is it anything like zeig heil???
    As I advised the young man I had breakfast with and going on his 2nd trip to Afganistan(also a trip to Iraq last year), those little fighter’s with the Pastoon are real tough little fighters! They know they carry a tradition of empire busting that goes way back!
    Do you think that young man really gives a shit about zeitgeist, clusterfucknation or the economy??
    Jimmy what clever bit of advise do you have for him??
    Ya got any clever bits of wisdom for his predicament?
    Any of you other commentators out there have some meaningful bits of wisdom for him?
    While you all banter back and forth about religion, the American consumer/citizen and other blogishere BS, this kid has a real world situation to deal with!
    His name is Sgt James Calloway, and my sincere hope is that I don;t read his name on the back page of the paper Sunday this next year!
    The iceing on the cake is that he gets no bonus to go this time while Wall Street troops do!
    What really disturbs me is the look in his eyes, he knows what is in store for him, and is still resigned to his fate!

  129. stud duck December 18, 2009 at 7:50 am #

    Damn, did I really type that???
    Hope I didn;t piss any gods off!!!

  130. not mommy December 18, 2009 at 11:37 am #

    “Thanks, FeFe. I don’t know what we’d do without you. You’re a real hero”
    Well you, miss, are quite welcome. Hero may be a bit strong but its nice to be recognized and appreciated. You, on the other hand, are a piece of dog fuck and bring absolutely nothing to the table. (Not that there is anything wrong with that.)

  131. Martin Hayes December 18, 2009 at 1:19 pm #

    No, zeitgeist isn’t anything like sieg heil. It means, literally, the spirit of the age.
    What characterizes the spirit of our age? Denial, mostly. An older person like you, who cares about the welfare of a young man going off to fight in a foreign war, runs counter to the spirit of the cynical age in which we now find ourselves.
    I salute you for your courage and compassion.

  132. asoka December 18, 2009 at 3:21 pm #

    stud duck: “Any of you other commentators out there have some meaningful bits of wisdom for him? While you all banter back and forth about religion, the American consumer/citizen and other blogishere BS, this kid has a real world situation to deal with!”
    He doesn’t have anything different to deal with than 18 years olds for as long as I can remember. His situation is not even the same as the one I had to deal with when I was 18, because this guy was stupid enough to sign up for a volunteer army. I was faced with forced induction through a draft.
    But I do have advice for him: refuse to participate in illegal wars. Neither Iraq nor Afghanistan attacked the United States. He has no legal right to go there and start kill people.
    He would be much better off in prison for refusing an order, though he might get off with a dishonorable discharge and no prison. But evidently he is not smart enough to figure out he has no legal or moral right to be doing what he is doing, so you may yet read about him in the obituaries.
    If the fighter over there invaded the USA, I’m sure you and he would do all you could to make sure their soldiers ended up in the obituary pages.
    Traveling thousands of miles to occupy a country that isn’t yours tends to provoke that kind of resistance.
    And that’s why the empires have all failed. That is why the USA will fail.
    I refused to go to Vietnam because it was also an illegal and immoral USA occupation thousands of miles away. And eventually the USA failed and was kicked out of Vietnam.
    But your friend evidently has swallowed all the patriotic rhetoric, the anti-Islamic, anti-Al-Qaeda rhetoric, anti-“terrorist” rhetoric, or whatever excuse they are giving these days for doing something illegal.
    And since he is evidently convinced he is doing the right thing (or is too cowardly to refuse an illegal order to go), he can expect to be blown away. That’s the way it has always been.

  133. not mommy December 18, 2009 at 3:56 pm #

    ” anti-Al-Qaeda rhetoric, anti-“terrorist” rhetoric”
    Yeah, we know asoka-your-pants, there is nothing, and I mean absolutely nothing wrong with Al-Queda and terrorists. (What a simple-fuck. Why do you so consistently have to swing for the fences in making a point and end up fucking wiffing, every single time?)

  134. not mommy December 18, 2009 at 4:25 pm #

    “His situation is not even the same as the one I had to deal with when I was 18, because this guy was stupid enough to sign up for a volunteer army. I was faced with forced induction through a draft.”
    My, how terrifying….forced induction!
    “He has no legal right to go there and start kill people.”
    Riiiight! Cause asoka-your-pants sez so.
    “He would be much better off in prison…”
    Oh you mean like when you spent all that time in prison for refusing to go to Nam?
    “And since he is evidently convinced he is doing the right thing (or is too cowardly…”
    Yeah asoka-your-pants, too band he isn’t brave in an asoka-your-pants kind of way. (FUCKTARD!)

  135. insanity shelter December 18, 2009 at 5:14 pm #

    >But I do have advice for him: refuse to participate in illegal wars.
    Cool! Throw his ass in jail.

  136. asia December 18, 2009 at 7:09 pm #

    Mark
    but are you looking forward to 2010?

  137. asia December 18, 2009 at 7:11 pm #

    read nirsargdatta maharaj if you care to…
    Men create ‘ god’ in their image!

  138. asoka December 19, 2009 at 6:02 am #

    Asia, Nisargdatta is one of my favorite authors. Thanks

  139. montsegur December 19, 2009 at 8:15 am #

    “because this guy was stupid enough to sign up for a volunteer army”
    Asoka,
    True enough that everyone volunteers these days. The comment that such an act is stupid is unwarranted. Given the nature of the U.S.’s (non-)economy, people looking for work in the military or its industrial adjuncts is nothing surprising. The U.S. has outsourced much skilled labor in regular crafts and industries to other countries and does a generally poor job of preparing its citizens for the workforce. So I guess the soldier could have opted to work at McDonalds or do some schlock job at the local Walmart. I for one do not hope to see the young man’s obituary written anytime soon.
    Montsegur

  140. montsegur December 19, 2009 at 8:22 am #

    Not an authoritative source, but it is an interesting list:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_business_failures
    I’m old enough to remember flying on TWA (failed 2001 although it was already declining in the 1980’s) and Eastern (1991). PanAm was another big on that went under in 1991.
    Cheers

  141. Moondog December 19, 2009 at 11:25 am #

    Yes Asoka,
    “I refused to go to Vietnam because it was also an illegal and immoral USA occupation…”
    I was 18 in 1970 and refused to go [a Catholic then, granted CO status, lottery number came up unbelievably #1, but rejected for civilian service along with the prospective grunts because of my very poor eyesight].
    Confronting AlQaeda effectively did not require foolhardy heavy-handed invasions of any Asian countries [certainly not the 2 land wars we have now].
    Noam Chomsky’s trilogy details the end of the republic most articulately.
    Now I’ve got to look up Nisargdatta; I’m steeped in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition and hadn’t heard of him before.
    Namaste.

  142. asoka December 19, 2009 at 12:26 pm #

    montsegur said:
    “The U.S. … does a generally poor job of preparing its citizens for the workforce.”
    I would challenge this statement. The USA has a system of community colleges dedicated to preparing citizens for the workforce. There is one in my community that has zero-tuition programs (they don’t pay for housing, clothing or food). Community colleges are “not mommy” but give citizens an opportunity to improve their lives.
    The easier thing, of course, and the more glorious, macho thing to do, is to go down to the local “Armed Forces Career Center” and attach yourself firmly to the government teat of government-run programs in DoD. The army gives you free training (actually they pay you!), plus food, plus clothing, plus housing, plus transportation, plus medical, etc. and a life-time of post-service preferences and benefits.
    Talk about mommy government!
    P.S. I also do not want ANYONE to end up on the obituary page, and that includes USA Armed Forces, Al-Qaeda and Taliban.

  143. budizwiser December 19, 2009 at 2:22 pm #

    Too big to succeed – a new anthem for a new reality. A good number of people think differently. A great number of people think differently – greatly.
    When will the reality of our limitations catch up with the all the world’s “do-good-ers?”
    Congress is about to fix “health care” as well as they fixed wall-street-based financial fraud.
    Merry Christmas to those who sit in on writing the bill – the rest of you – well, bend over and take it.

  144. Dr. Moreau December 19, 2009 at 6:08 pm #

    In the Bill Moyers interview linked to below, aninterviewee comments: “I think organizing is a lot about morality.”
    ( http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/12182009/transcript4.html )
    It may be that Organization IS Morality. Or, at least, that organizations have moral content, and, therefore, are moral statements.
    I suspect that the Chinese (because of their Confucian tradition) would say that morality is a function of how society is organized, and that immorality or corruption is a symptom of malorganization of society.
    This conceptually presents a huge problem for the Chinese.

  145. asoka December 19, 2009 at 7:08 pm #

    Thank God we have one socialist in the Senate!
    http://bit.ly/8JlWGN
    He is one of the saner voices and his actions benefit millions of citizens.

  146. cowswithguns December 19, 2009 at 8:58 pm #

    And if Bernie had it his way, he’d have his hands around Ben Bernanke’s neck right now for selling out the country, world and Planet Earth itself.
    Man of the year, my ass.
    See Ben Bernanke’s greatest predictions here (you may find it interesting that, per Ben’s view, in 2005 there was no housing bubble):






  147. Vlad Krandz December 20, 2009 at 1:44 am #

    Yes the Jews are shaking us down like a terrier shakes a rat. When they are finished, they will throw our corpse onto the bloody snow for the third world vultures to devour. And then they will go some place else and do the same thing-just like they did in South Africa after they “fixed” things down there. Sure they stand to lose alot of money as South Africa sinks into Black Chaos, but the chance to down another White Country was just too juicy to pass up. They do care about things besides money-unlike most Gentile Billionaires.
    Of course this crash will be so big that no place will be unaffected. But South America and Australia will come out better than the northern hemisphere. And when the smoke clears, they will be that much closer to being Masters of the World-or so they think. America has been a golden cow for them. They’ve run it as a for profit business for generations. Bernake gave the trustees of the Federal Reserve half a billion dollars at least this last year. All Europeans. None of the citizens. Almost certainly all or almost all Ashkenazi Jews.

  148. cowswithguns December 20, 2009 at 2:15 am #

    Comments like the one you just posted are, unfortunately, used to categorize all critics of the Federal Reserve. There are plenty of legitimate reasons to slam the Federal Reserve without resorting to talk about a so-called evil Jewish conspiracy.
    Frankly, such comments do a disservice to those who truly want to reform the system for the benefit of all.
    It’s like the handful of anarchists who, by vandalizing buildings in Seattle in 1999, took away the legitimacy of an important movement organized largely by insightful, progressive people.

  149. montsegur December 20, 2009 at 3:41 am #

    “I would challenge this statement. The USA has a system of community colleges dedicated to preparing citizens for the workforce. There is one in my community that has zero-tuition programs (they don’t pay for housing, clothing or food). Community colleges are “not mommy” but give citizens an opportunity to improve their lives.”
    I’ve spent a lot of time in other countries where they start earlier than that. These places still have functioning systems that bring people into trades (many of which, btw, will still be useful after the the Long Emergency hits), and the knowledge is distributed down to most of the communities, no matter how small.
    Mind you, I like the notion of the tuition-free programs, but that doesn’t exist everywhere in the country. You can take shots at the reasons why people join the military, but many of them are going there because it is the best opportunity they have.
    I’m not sure what the “not mommy government” commentary is all about. For better or worse, governments of all western nations are deeply involved in the lives of their citizens, the U.S. included. I think the U.S. has pushed the idea of the rugged individual so hard that people have come to see any government involvement as something that is inherently evil. As I see it, none of us stand alone and we never have. Kunstler’s ideas about community are on-target, but the U.S. will have to reject some of the peculiar notions that have been embraced to achieve that kind of community again.
    Thanks for the feedback.
    Cheers

  150. asoka December 20, 2009 at 11:43 am #

    montsegur said: “I’m not sure what the “not mommy government” commentary is all about.”
    Liberals, Democrats, and mommies are seen as supporting the principles of fairness, tolerance, peace, and concern for the well-being of others.
    But Conservatives see something more sinister. As in the novel 1984, where George Orwell introduced the world to the idea of government as Big Brother, Conservatives see an intrusive presence constantly scrutinizing the people’s actions.
    Conservatives worry about the insidious effects of Big Mommy government. My mother is among them. She tells me she will never go along with using seat belts because Big Mommy government makes wearing seatbelts a law.
    My brothers feel the same about putting on a helmet when cruising around the block on a bike or motorcycle. They resent their “freedom” to ride with a helmet being taken away by big Mommy government.
    Conservatives also feel every time the government levies some “sin tax” on goods, they are putting themselves in the role of Big Mommy instructing what we, the children, may or may not do.
    Conservatives say they don’t need Big Mommy to intrude in every aspect of their life and tell them what to do.
    The irony is Conservatives tend to be big supporters of the military. And the military is the biggest Mommy of them all. No other federal government program uses taxpayer dollars to provide so much “Mommy care”
    No other government-run program does the food shopping, prepares meals, buys the clothes and picks out what clothes to wear, and no other government-run program determines when to go to bed and when to get up.
    Mommy-military spends our tax dollars to do that for all the little soldier-children.
    And Mommy-military tells the little soldier-children fantastic stories about bravery and courage and how the soldier-children guarantee Freedom for all the citizens and keep our country the best in the world!
    ==========
    That is what I meant by saying “Community Colleges are “not mommy”: they don’t do clothes shopping, food preparation, or set bedtimes like Mommy-Military does.
    Mommy-military infantilizes our citizenry by indoctrinating our offspring to obey orders and not question authority.
    Conservatives support giving billions of tax dollars to Mommy-Military. To be able to prepare citizens for the workforce, Community colleges do not receive one percent of the tax dollars Mommy-military wastes on weapons and preparation for war.
    Mommy-military weakens our country through trillions of dollars of deficit spending (euphemistically called “special appropriations”).
    Mommy-military makes us less safe by betraying our values and violating the Supreme laws of our land. Through the commission of torture, murder, kidnapping, and collective punishment of civilian populations, in violation of laws binding upon us, our country’s values are trampled upon in our name.

  151. montsegur December 20, 2009 at 2:06 pm #

    Re: Mommy military
    Asoka, yeah, and guess what? The extent to which anything happens in the military, much less the notions you advance, is powered by the consent of the public. Who keeps electing the same type of people who always seem to support the same game in election cycle after election cycle? And guess how many of the liberals and democrats in Washington take part as well?
    Guess who makes up the population of what you term the Mommy-military? The military service members are not some unique species — they are average Americans, like it or not — in fact, they are average Americans from many different slices of American life. A lot of them join because there wasn’t much to motivate them to stay “back on the block” — and that, Asoka, is a general failure of U.S. society. Recruiters -are- very savvy in how they attract people to the military, but I’ll be an S.O.B. if they don’t have one hell of a lot of help from the rest of society contributing to making the average young person’s growing up in the U.S. being one ultimately disconnected and profoundly isolated experience. There is no real community, but no one discusses the problem because the distraction machine keeps people from thinking very deeply about what is really missing from their everyday lives.
    I also find it a curious disconnect that so many complain about governmental involvement in people’s lives and yet they are very pro-military — I mean, the government doesn’t get much more involved than that, do they?
    Besides all that, the military is ultimately only a tool of the state. How and why the tool is used reflects on the priorities of the state — with, apparently, much approval from the public in the last thirty years or so. My mother recalls when the military, used as a tool of the state, did a splendid job in evicting Nazi occupation forces from her homeland. Sometimes, that tool can be very useful and be employed for plainly good purposes.
    Bottom line is that I think your comments excuse the approval of an important actor in all of this: the public.
    When the public stopped shopping at local shops because the “big store” down the road sold widgets for a dollar less, they gave consent to massive economic change.
    When the hippies and other radicals (world-wide, not just in the U.S.) settled down in the 1970’s and became part of “the establishment”, they gave consent.
    When the public did a 180 and suddenly started cheering the military after the Russians invaded Afghanistan, they gave consent.
    When the public abandoned U.S. cities to stream out to the suburbs, they gave consent.
    When the public opted to pay to send their children to private schools instead of demanding and getting a quality public-school system, they gave consent.
    It looks to me like the road to hell is paved with a lot of short-sighted decisions.
    Cheers

  152. Vlad Krandz December 20, 2009 at 3:28 pm #

    You’re right! My comments may not be useful in the struggle to get the Fed audited. But the problem is that my comments are correct: the higher you go in American Finance, the more it is dominated by Jews. At the highest levels, the level of the Federal Reserve, it is controlled by them. They are all but admitting now if you can read between the lines, that the Fed is a private organization. It must remain “independent”. So who do you think owns it? Albanians? Irishmen? Come on, you’re a smart guy so why don’t you use your brain? The only thing stopping you is your own benighted fear of being politically incorrect. We’ll never regain our freedom that way, not in the long term. Read a good biography of Warburg (Daddy Warbucks), the man who was the one of the principle founders of the Fed. You will find out that he was a direct agent of the Rothschilds.
    A parallel from last week: Trav77 thinks that their may be some truth to Global Warming. But he refuses to acquiesce to outrageous propaganda to see it validated. Likewise, the Truth matters here just as much. In the short term, it may inconvenience the quest for the audit. But in the long term, it must come out and be dealt with. If the Fed is controlled by foreigners, we have the right to know who they are-even if they are Jews. Unless you think Jews are morally superior beings who are beyond reproach, and thus any would be reproachers deserve to be imprisoned and destroyed. That is what the hate crimes are all about-even though you are too PC to admit it. If I’m wrong about who comprises the Fed, I’ll be willing to admit it, unlike Liberals who are unable to muster even a mustard seed of humility about their election of the warmonger, Barack Obama.

  153. Vlad Krandz December 20, 2009 at 3:33 pm #

    Just like in the big Global Warming Conference in London two years ago, the latest one in Copenhagen was in the middle of an early and unusually severe snow storm. He who has eyes to see, let him see. Signs are given to us, but we have to be aware enough to recognize them and smart enough to correctly interpret them.

  154. asoka December 20, 2009 at 4:04 pm #

    jaego said: “Unless you think Jews are morally superior beings who are beyond reproach…” and “At the highest levels, the level of the Federal Reserve, it is controlled by them.
    The religious affiliation of the Fed officers? Does it matter?
    If Jews are in control of the Fed, that might be a good thing since Jews have already contributed so much to civilization,
    http://www.jinfo.org/
    including respected, honest, and trustworthy Jewish economists like Ludwig von Mises, Paul Samuelson, Kenneth Arrow, Milton Friedman, Gary Becker, and John von Neumann.

  155. cowswithguns December 20, 2009 at 5:24 pm #

    Extreme-right-wing paranoia about a so-called Jewish conspiracy being posted on this site is extremely ironic.
    JHK is a Jew, yet every week he rants about the powers that be. He’s against the wasteful suburbs, the ruling corporate elite (though, he is an elitist to a certain extent), the wasting of resources, greed; he promotes localization, local food production, etc.
    What, did he not get his people’s notice about the so-called conspiracy or something?
    Everything the guy talks about hits the corporate status quo very hard. And his proposed solution –localization — would not be very friendly to an elite world conspiracy of any kind.

  156. asoka December 20, 2009 at 7:28 pm #

    As you know, there are lots of varieties of religious beliefs and cultural practices that can qualify one for the label Jew.
    The odious thing is that labeling someone a “Jew” would automatically imply anything about anything.
    Although in my experience I have had only positive experiences in my friendships with Jews, it would be imprudent for me to generalize anything one way or another from my own limited experience.
    Generalizing about who heads the Fed based on racial stereotypes and hatreds is even more foolish.

  157. messianicdruid December 20, 2009 at 11:01 pm #

    “As you know, there are lots of varieties of religious beliefs and cultural practices that can qualify one for the label Jew.”
    Well, can we talk about specific “religious beliefs” or “cultural practices” without some communication-ending label?
    I didn’t think so.

  158. asoka December 21, 2009 at 12:53 am #

    messianicdruid said: “Well, can we talk about specific “religious beliefs” or “cultural practices” without some communication-ending label? I didn’t think so.”
    Hold on there, partner! You answered the question much too quickly.
    Suppose I say that someone believes in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Does that result in a “communication-ending label”?
    I didn’t think so.
    Could be Jewish, could be Christian, could be Muslim. All of them believe in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, so which label would you apply?
    You are now free to continue communicating with a common reference point.

  159. messianicdruid December 21, 2009 at 7:29 am #

    I think you see the point. The cultural practice {or religion = a belief system} of collecting usury from the destitute {winter approaches} and farming human beings by putting up fences of debt{barbwire of fear and cornerposts of ignorance} is an economic arrangment learned in Babylon. It is not limited to any ethnic group. This is a political ploy {branding and eartags} to short-circuit discussion among willing and unwilling dupes of classism and occult {hidden} chicanery.
    http://cryptogon.com/?p=11486

    The video cannot be shown at the moment. Please try again later.

  160. whitehorse62 December 22, 2009 at 6:41 am #

    A “Holiday Classic” Revisited…
    How the Grinches Stole Christmas
    Every Who down on Main Street
    Liked Christmas a lot…
    But the Grinches on Wall Street,
    Manhattan did NOT!
    They had no compunction for any old Who.
    To them, it was always the season to screw
    The immigrant Whatses and lower IQ.
    They’d take all their presents, then take the house, too!
    Now, please, don’t ask why. No one admits the reason
    That a bunch of sly frat boys resorted to treason.
    For celestial returns running to the gazillions,
    They put Cindy-Lous on the street by the millions.
    It wasn’t so much the fit of their shoes,
    But their price, that made them bamboozle the Whos.
    And their hearts, on the contrary, instead of too small,
    Were three sizes too large, considering all
    The booze and the stress and the thirty-dollar steaks
    And the sickness inside that avarice makes.
    So it wasn’t the size of their hearts or their shoes
    That drove them to heartlessly bamboozle Whos.
    If we’re to believe what we read in the news,
    They created a bomb with too short of a fuse!
    We may never know what extent they conspired
    To suck us all dry before they retired
    And a new politician had time to be hired,
    Thus taking the fall for the way we are mired.
    They knew there was always another buffoon,
    But the scheme came unravelled a little too soon
    For the retailers to reap one last mighty boon
    And the Executive Grinches to shoot for the moon.
    They appointed a Grinch who decided to truck it
    To the top of the heap, up the side of Mt. Fuckit,
    (Which is also referred to as Capitol Hill),
    Where they promptly stuck Whoville with most of the bill.
    Then the Grinches got an idea!
    A WONDERFUL, AWFUL IDEA!
    Open the valves! Let that gasoline flow!
    Put cash in their pockets! Watch those Whos go,
    Stampeding for Who-Mart where prices are low!
    What suff’ring allows it, they’ll never know!
    Too bent on consumption, until there’s none left.
    The swath of creation, debased and bereft.
    Just as long as you give them their TOYS, TOYS, TOYS, TOYS!
    You can always distract them with NOISE, NOISE, NOISE, NOISE!
    But the Grinches apparently misfigured one thing.
    That all of the baubles, the doo-dads and bling,
    Don’t do much to make little Who children sing,
    When their skin, to their ribs, is starting to cling.
    And so, with their grinch-feet ice-cold in the snow,
    Some of the Grinches to prison will go,
    To wait for the day when the credit will flow
    And the Whos all forget what they weren’t meant to know…
    That the silly Who race, which refuses to grow
    Will continue to reap what they foolishly sow.
    _____________
    It’s time for the Grinch to steal Christmas.
    We really invited him in,
    With a sleigh-load of mortgage-backed securities
    And a sardonic, snaggle-toothed grin.
    It’s just as old Geisel predicted.
    The greedy old bastards up there
    Came slithering down here amongst us
    And robbed us; and we, unaware,
    Complicit, in all of our ignorance,
    Just living our lives as we pleased,
    Insistently voting for governance
    That left us to hang in the breeze.
    It’s possible Christmas was destined
    To be shown up for only a joke.
    These poor Whos, who never had questioned,
    Found it’s not as much fun when you’re broke!

  161. auntiegrav December 23, 2009 at 9:36 pm #

    What are people FOR?
    Isn’t that the bottom line question for all of This?
    We amble about the perimeters of health insurance, drug wars, joblessness, money, and debtor nations, but the real questions must always come down to finding the anchor which justifies the existence of A human being in the first place. What is a people-person good for?
    Tending the soil (Is it any wonder that word is a lot like “soul”?), lending a hand, encouraging living things to grow or move to better soil: these are the things of humanity’s future and distant past.
    Money, economics, jobs, corporations: these are side-effects–distractions from what being a useful living thing could be.
    Best regards, Jim.
    Dan C.

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  163. Esspweb January 6, 2011 at 5:15 am #

    Great post. Thanks for sharing.

  164. Noman August 27, 2011 at 12:55 pm #

    They are all but admitting now if you can read between the lines, that the Fed is a private organization. It must remain “independent”. So who do you think owns it? Albanians? Irishmen? Come on, you’re a smart guy so why don’t you use your brain? The only thing stopping you is your own benighted fear of being politically incorrect.
    Tulsa Bankruptcy

  165. alimola October 29, 2011 at 7:48 pm #

    With your religious convictions perhaps you could assist the good folks at this web site, which I was pointed to from an article in Google News, with an answer to their question; “Why won’t God heal Amputees?” at:

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