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The Song of Spring

     This is a nervous country. I’m not sure that hanging Osama Bin Laden on the White House wall like a coonskin really helps that much. Already, a familiar darkness sets back in, a loss of purpose of the kind that Lindsay Lohan must feel when she gets out of rehab. This is exactly the situation that empty rhetoric was designed for, so we got a week of talk about “bringing our nation together” when the truth is that Fox News would like to send Team Six into the oval office with guns blazing and helmet cams on “record.”
     We have no idea what we’re going to do as a people and absolutely no credible thought on this emanates from the upper echelons. Leadership is more than telling people what they want to hear. In the middle ranks of society, a sullen docility rules, no matter how many affronts to reality we witness. You ride this wreck until the wheels come off and think of what to do next when you’re sitting in the drainage ditch by the side of the road. There’s no period in US history that matches this for lassitude.
     I had a strange experience, driving north about fifty miles along Route 22 in eastern upstate New York, from Canaan to Cambridge, a very rural stretch that roughly parallels the Massachusetts and Vermont lines. Aside from a few convenience stores serving up gasoline, slim-jims, and pepsi, there was no visible economic activity in any of the towns along the way. The little town of Berlin, NY, was especially striking. A “for sale” sign stood  forlornly in the parking lot of the lumber yard, the inventory sheds plainly empty of stock. The Seagroatt wholesale flower company – where, years ago, I picked up roses as the delivery guy for a Saratoga retailer – was shut down, with rows of empty greenhouses standing vacantly in the late day spring sunshine. The little downtown on a street one hundred feet off the highway was not only empty of  businesses, but the old wooden buildings themselves had gone lopsided from a lack of regular caretaking, while the paint was all but gone. A number of old houses were still occupied – cars in the driveways – but they looked battered and worn, one bad winter from roof failure, and often with front yards strewn with plastic detritus.
     One thing you didn’t see a lot of along Route 22 was farming. Columbia, Rensselaer, and Washington Counties used to be all about farming. For much of the 20th century, it was dairy farming after electric milking machines and bulk refrigeration came in, and you could run larger herds. That’s done now, since the giant factory farms in the Midwest and California started up, where the business model is you jam hundreds of cows into a giant steel shed where they stand hock deep in their own wastes all day long, with their necks locked into a stanchion, and it’s “economic” to truck their milk back east. Who needs pastures with grass growing in them? Who needs a happy cow? That will change, by the way, yet it is one of the many things we’re not having a conversation about in this demoralized land.
I saw teenagers here and there along the way, wherever a convenience store exerted its magnetic pull of sweet and salty snacks, the boys all wearing black outfits, those dumb-looking calf-length baby pants, and death-metal T-shirts. This must be the longest period of history for a particular teen fashion – going on two decades now?  When even teenagers lack the enterprise to think up a new look (that is, to make a fresh statement about who they are), you know you’re in a moribund society. I saw some young adults, too. You could tell more or less because they had young women and babies with them, and they were stopping for gas or groceries (if you call a sack full of Froot Loops, jerky, Mountain Dew, and Pringles  “groceries”). Their costume innovation du jour is the cholo hat, a super-deluxe edition of a baseball cap with special embroidered emblems and a completely flat brim -presenting a look of equal parts idiocy and homicidal danger. The day was warm enough for “wife-beater” shirts, all the better for displaying  tattoos, which are now universal among a working class that has no work and no expectation of work, ever. I tried to think of them as the descendants of men who had marched off to Cold Harbor, Virginia, and those who built the great engine that the American economy once was – but it was no go.
     Up the highway, I passed through the classic Main Street town of Hoosick Falls, just outside of which were the haunts of “Grandma” Moses (Anna Mary Robertson Moses), the painter of rural scenes. Try as you will to find them, there are no characters in her paintings wearing cholo hats and no indication of tattoos under the stiff frock coats and bodices. The little burg’s downtown has a quirky main street that doglegs twice in an interesting way that you rarely see in this country. It contained some wonderful old buildings that radiated confidence and noble aspiration from a time that is bygone. We couldn’t reproduce one correctly now to save our lives. I don’t think there was any business besides a pizza joint and a consignment shop along the whole length of the main street. All was vacancy and desolation in Hometown USA. The victory of the national chain stores is now complete. I hope our citizens are happy with the result. 
     The time will come when that disposition of things will change of course. If that time is at hand, few are aware of it. Perhaps they get an inkling in the moment when they realize that they have no money to spend in the chain store, even if they could buy enough gas to get there. The chain store executives must sense something themselves in those dark moments after closing when they have to send the day’s report to Bentonville, Arkansas.
     These are the spring sights one encounters in the background of a time in history when a society slides toward change nobody wants to believe in. Not believing is easy, especially when you don’t pay attention. Meanwhile, somewhere off in a European bank, an executive reads a computer screen and gags on his lunch. In Shanghai, a Chinese government banking official wonders what it means when he lends money to an army general to buy an enterprise owned by the government. Down in the heart of Dixieland, Memphis drowns and New Orleans once more looks anxiously to the levees. Who was Osama Bin Laden, anyway?
________________________
     My books are available at all the usual places.


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About James Howard Kunstler

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

764 Responses to “The Song of Spring” Subscribe

  1. kulturcritic* May 9, 2011 at 9:49 am #

    Well James –
    The media-circus-of-clowns-cum-political-theatre surrounding this week’s assassination of Osama (the man and the myth) can only serve to put an exclamation point on how desperate the hegemony has become to consolidate its power domestically and inflame tempers among the unwashed hordes far across the seas. The empire is teetering. Get ready!! See my post this week. As always, the kulturCritic!!
    http://wp.me/P1lJ1g-an

  2. ctemple May 9, 2011 at 9:49 am #

    Second!

  3. Nicholas Frank May 9, 2011 at 9:50 am #

    James, this is my second comment and continued introduction to your page. Amazing how your book The Geography of Nowhere is even more relevant today than it was years ago when I read it. I must tell you (just between you and me) I once laughed so hard reading your book that I fell off the chair. I know you are dead serious but you hit my nervous funny bone so hard I could not help it.
    Yes I too am nervous about the future. Not for myself – I had a dark (Nazism, World War II, Communism, Budapest’s war with the Red Army, and my escape from communist Hungary across the Iron Curtain in 1956) but otherwise good run and I am still around in good health. I have a smile on my face – I survived Hitler, Stalin and the communist madness I grew up in. Looking to the future is what puts a serious frown on my face.
    I did not fall off the chair reading The Long Emergency, but it sure helped focus my thoughts like nothing else. That book should be on everyone’s nightstand and we should read pages every night before going to sleep and act on it the next day and every day. Most of us are not acting and that is why we are in deep sh•#. Almost forgot – your “hallucinated economy” still makes me chuckle only I don’t know if I am laughing or crying.
    Anyway, this is the most 3D blog on the very World Wide Web – makes me remember the past, puts a laser sharp focus on the present and makes me sick thinking about the future, but also makes me work clear-headed harder. Thanks James.

  4. widdowedwonder May 9, 2011 at 9:53 am #

    “Fox News would like to send Team Six into the oval office with guns blazing and helmet cams on “record.”
    Sure they would. Especially the “Southern” Fox affiliates.

  5. widdowedwonder May 9, 2011 at 9:55 am #

    “Aside from a few convenience stores serving up gasoline, slim-jims, and pepsi…”
    No cheese doodles or salad shooters? Talk about deprivation!

  6. widdowedwonder May 9, 2011 at 9:58 am #

    “The day was warm enough for “wife-beater” shirts, all the better for displaying tattoos…”
    Of course its been at least a week since tatoos were mentioned.

  7. empirestatebuilding May 9, 2011 at 9:59 am #

    The abandoned towns of Upstate New York give me great hope. They were left for dead and were not subject to the environmental degradation that more populated areas went through. The fallow farmland will be ready when it is needed once again and there won’t be endless miles of parking lots and strip malls to tear down are cart off. For the price of Levitt House on Long Island you can have a decent house and plenty of land in the ghost towns of Upstate. As long as you get there before the zombies start showing up looking for shelter and food.
    Aimlow Joe was here
    http://www.aimlow.com

  8. helen highwater May 9, 2011 at 10:00 am #

    James, I wish you’d said “I saw some young adult males, too.” Otherwise the young women with children are not, in that sentence, adults. Or is that what you meant??

  9. plain old mike May 9, 2011 at 10:00 am #

    They used to manufacture mowing, binding and reaping equipment in Hoosick Falls. Had a nice local, viable, agricultural based economy manufacturing quality equipment… *sigh*

  10. xerxes May 9, 2011 at 10:01 am #

    Your story reminds me of a line from Shelly: ” I wandered through the wreck of days departed”.

  11. widdowedwonder May 9, 2011 at 10:02 am #

    “Down in the heart of Dixieland, Memphis drowns and New Orleans once more looks anxiously to the levees.”
    I’m guessing this is good news? Last time I checked these cities were located in the South. (You know, NASCAR-land.)

  12. newworld May 9, 2011 at 10:04 am #

    Urban detrius culture has spread to upstate NY, enjoy, think Detroit with trees.

  13. Neon Vincent May 9, 2011 at 10:07 am #

    “a time in history when a society slides toward change nobody wants to believe in.”
    Well, not nobody. There are the few of us who are reading your blog and The Archdruid Report and watching Peak Moment on YouTube. But I guess we don’t count for much yet.
    By the way, the New York Times ran a review of a bunch of Manhattan designers trying to make over Levittown into a “future surubia.” From the perspective of both the reviewer and myself, they generally failed. As I wrote in The New York Times explains how to completely avoid the real problems of suburbia:

    Ms. Arieff shows that she has a good eye for the real problems of suburbia. In fact, her list of problems, including her observation that the U.S. has become wedded to sururbia as the American Dream, makes her seem as if she’s watched “The End of Suburbia,” in which exactly the issues she mentions plus suburbia as the American Dream, are major topics, along with peak oil. Too bad the designers seem not to have watched the movie.

    There is a link to the New York Times article at the blog entry.
    As for people in the “middle ranks of society” displaying lassitude, I’m seeing a lot of desperate energy both online, where I’m an officer of Coffee Party USA, and on the ground here in metro Detroit. As I’ve said repeatedly on Crazy Eddie’s Motie News, metro Detroit is the largest urban area that realizes it are in the business of managing contraction. Whatever solutions we Detroiters devise here will be exported to the rest of the continent. This includes the bad ones.
    Speaking of bad ideas, what do you think of Bloomberg’s suggestion that all legal immigrants come to Detroit? That might be one way to restrict legal immigration, something you’ve advocated.

  14. Speedbump May 9, 2011 at 10:14 am #

    Jim,
    I’ve been following this website for some time and I often find myself in agreement with you. I am saddened to read of your observations of disenchanted and disenfranchised youth. Opportunities for a future are all the more dismal for our nation’s younger generation. I would love to have you come down here to Philadelphia and knock that concept into the heads of the city’s Public School District. I am a high school science teacher and I have been witness to far too many boon-doggle and lamed-brain initiatives, all of which are politician friendly and media “cute” but absolutely worthless in preparing our youth for a declining standard of living. Besides that, our superintendent has no clue what a job desert Philadelphia has become in the past 40 years. Yet she assures the “children” that their future is bright because she came in on a white horse to the tune of $350,000 dollars a year to raise test scores and dismantle what has been a dysfunctional district for years. The politicians of this town and state are clueless and their manifesto is to keep their constituent base intact and in line to receive “walking money” to vote for the party’s slate of candidates.

  15. GAbert May 9, 2011 at 10:14 am #

    OK, Osama’s been taken out. Why it’s enough to make you want to join a political party that’s so patriotic the members advocate worshiping billionaire oligarchs and replacing the government with an answering machine!
    So what is the Constitution anyway?
    http://www.gwabert.com/

  16. Jimmy Drinkwater May 9, 2011 at 10:16 am #

    Funny you mention, JHK.
    I was through Hoosic Falls about a year ago, noticed a building for rent and looked to inquire but no one was on Main St, deserted. I walked into fuel oil dealer’s office next door and talked to the woman working the desk. She listened politely, told me what she knew of the building but as she did so developed such a shy and retreating, almost painful look on her face when discussing new business potential for the town. She didn’t want to be negative I could tell but was far too honest a person to lie to my face, even that of a stranger.
    I figured someone handling oil heat accounts for the area probably was the EXACT right person to ask.
    BTW, my wife just told me she read of a new, hip restaurant that opened there. Maybe they are already out of business.

  17. messianicdruid May 9, 2011 at 10:17 am #

    “Not believing is easy, especially when you don’t pay attention.”
    I think I’ll have that one framed.

  18. Omar Bongo May 9, 2011 at 10:19 am #

    Last week there were 762 comments and 700 were from “turkle.” So so far this is a good week in the USA, no matter what Jim says.

  19. Neon Vincent May 9, 2011 at 10:21 am #

    Detroit has plenty of trees, newworld. I’m sitting under a grove of them right now.

  20. Jimmy Drinkwater May 9, 2011 at 10:21 am #

    It’s early, the blog squatters show up later.
    JHK could charge rent.

  21. loveday May 9, 2011 at 10:22 am #

    Hi Jim
    I missed commenting last week as the megacorp who specializes in communication services couldn’t seem to be able to ensure the proper hook ups for a very simple office. Pretty typical today, and a sure sign of the decay that continues slow motion in the world these days.
    I followed the OBL story last week with extreme cynicism rounded out with an urge for uncontrolled hysterical cackling. It boggles the mind that these people can be so out of touch with reality that they can’t even see how dumb the big story was. Please!?- no pics cause they are being culturally sensitive- hahahahahaha. DNA confirmation of the target in 12 hours- talk to a reputable geneticist about that- then some more with the hahahahaha. The story also strangely was changed as the week went on, which was equally baffling, I mean nobody knows what went on over there, so why bother changing the original ” legend”? Oh well, the band plays on and the beat is getting very erratic.
    Can there be any doubt this was the kick off to the presidential election season?
    Meanwhile the deafening silence about the most serious nuclear accident continues, with no one even peeping about the least serious consequence of this accident, that being a huge economic blow to a staggering global economy. We probably will see that “fallout” appear in June/July with another massive economic slowdown resulting from lack of Japanese parts around the world- and that results in manufacturing plants shutting down and the workers joining the millions of other unemployed folks. Long hot summer anyone?

  22. artbone May 9, 2011 at 10:23 am #

    “The beginning of the end looks a lot like the middle when you’re living through it.”
    Read that somewhere last week.

  23. Newfie May 9, 2011 at 10:29 am #

    “Meanwhile, somewhere off in a European bank, an executive reads a computer screen and gags on his lunch.”
    Greece is going to be the first one out of the EU. And the euro is going to crash and burn. And EU investors are going to get a Yul Brynner style haircut.

  24. RyeBeachBum May 9, 2011 at 10:34 am #

    Helen if PM Harper is so bad how is it that he has eviscerated the grits and destroyed the Bloc on the way to the first elected majority government in almost a decade? 167 out of 308 in the House, some people must agree with what he is doing and how he is handling things. Just saying.

  25. asoka May 9, 2011 at 10:34 am #

    JHK: “Who was Osama Bin Laden, anyway?”
    =============
    Who was Osama Bin Laden? He was the guy who bankrupted America society. He was the guy who made today’s post possible.
    Osama Bin Laden was the guy who suckered Bush into spending TRILLIONS of dollars on giant government bureaucracy (TSA, DoD, etc.) … in a stupid “global war on terror” the USA could not afford … as Bush failed for seven years and finally shut down the effort to get OBL saying he really didn’t think about Bin Laden that much, instead of engaging in a targeted small unit law enforcement type action to bring OBL to justice, like Obama could have done, if Obama had ordered a capture, and a trial, instead of an extra-juidicial assassination of an unarmed man.

  26. army May 9, 2011 at 10:36 am #

    Don’t fear………Here comes Marcellus Shale Drilling to parts of New York……..there will be huge profits for the gas companies and you will see many workers on those quiet streets wearing Texas and Oklahoma tee-shirts. The landscape will be filled with drill rigs, trucks, noise, and pollution.
    A lot of folks will be standing and admiring the FRAK ponds full of carcinogens. The livestock will be going blind from drinking the waste water and the Republicans will be sellling T. Boonne Pickens and Bush family water to replace the water they polluted!
    Watch the award winning documentry DVD “GASLAND” by Josh Fox.
    Drill Baby Drill……….BTW the gas leases are bundled and sold to countries overseas……we’ll never see the gas only the pollution!
    Have a nice day……..

  27. loveday May 9, 2011 at 10:38 am #

    Hi Helen,
    Well the teflon PM pulled off another bid for political survival. I am very interested to hear what folks up there think Harper’s game plan will be, I mean besides corporate sucking up.
    I was pretty surprised to hear he had made it back in, so what’s in the tea leaves?

  28. bubbleheadMarc May 9, 2011 at 10:40 am #

    Depressing but well written. Reminds me of driving back up to northern Ontario to relive the glory days at Northwoods Camp [defunct] and Camp Keewaydin [the new, improved non-profit version] and discovering that Lake Temagami seems smaller, has no surviving industries, and has been reduced to a tourist trap for wealthy cottagers from Toronto. In other words you couldn’t move there to live unless you’re retired and have private means. At least the local camp-ground workers haven’t elected to cover themselves in tatoos from head to foot.

  29. Andy May 9, 2011 at 10:40 am #

    The erosion of appreciating things that take time and energy is inbread in this culture of time is money. We who have worked with our hands and mind have been looked down upon in this country. It always amazed me , the people who keep things together and repair the infrastructure are treated like morons.

  30. Neil Kearns May 9, 2011 at 10:49 am #

    That look of teens that Jim mentions might be the increasingly popular “wastelander” look that is part of a play culture of apocolyptic skills practice. Dark durable clothes, knife, thick hat, boots. It’s kinda the punk look of the era, and I think it is a response to the lack of opportunity and obvious looming crisis on the horizon. Up here the kids don’t imagine themselves ever driving and so they skip drivers ed, and play WOW via free wifi under the bridge by the library. They are practicing.

  31. lpat May 9, 2011 at 10:51 am #

    …those who built the great engine that the American economy once was…
    That great engine has always been hollow at the heart. Americans hate work. We hate the people who do the real work of the world. Listen to our movies, our advertisements, our stories, our songs. We always want to be the folks telling working fools what to do. We’ve never been about building a civilization. We’re about making money. Have been. Day one.
    Are we lethargic? Stay away from the roads, man. We may not know where we’re going or why, but we’re by God going and don’t get in the way!
    It’s like we’re hypnotised. Over the decades we’ve seen so many signs of improvement, of prosperity, better living through chemistry and machinery. More folks driving Lexus’ and Porsches, working in offices. The countryside, small towns, poor neighborhoods are crumbling, but we don’t care. We want to be in the ‘burbs anyway.
    What you’re talking about, Mr. K., involves real work. Forget you!

  32. JPB May 9, 2011 at 10:52 am #

    Mr. Kuntsler,
    As always, you have a powerful way with words.
    Quite simply: Please travel to China. And please comment on what you see there.

  33. bailey May 9, 2011 at 10:58 am #

    So sad, such strange times. I’m surrounded by international finance guys that grew up in the west, do biz everywhere and yet can’t quite believe we’ve trashed our own economy.
    I closed my IT company inSeattle last year, all the jobs had gone to India and China and flying back wouldn’t have helped my marketing efforts. And like everything else we’ve off-shored, those jobs aint coming back.
    I haven’t been back to the States, back ‘home’ for 3 yrs but don’t doubt your descriptions are apt on the east coast.
    Europe is doing ‘alright’, contrary to what you say, Italy doesn’t owe a dime to the global banks, everyone owns their own home, two if they live north of Rome. N
    Germany is doing fine, France, alright, Holland, where I live appears do to be doing just fine….if a couple of countries fall out, so what, the euro will hold up….but the dollar, thanks to Goldman Sachs and 30 separate invasions since WWII, well, as Dr. Paul Craig Robert, the father of Reaganomics said, ‘it’s going to crash unless you close those 700 bases….”

  34. Schwerpunkt May 9, 2011 at 11:00 am #

    The same issue with Hudson river towns. Catskill, NY has been taken by Walmart and Lowes and Home Depot and main street is dead again. People can say things change and we need to deal with it, however, the loss of farm land and local employ is hard on the human an natural landscape. More fields turn over to fallow brush or worse, a mini storage unit (see intersection of rt 9 & rt 23) where storing shit is our last industrial activity.

  35. PRD May 9, 2011 at 11:02 am #

    New World says: “Urban detrius culture has spread to upstate NY, enjoy, think Detroit with trees.”
    Jeezus, I am sick of ignorant people using Detroit as a shorthand for “post-apocalyptic.” The situation in Detroit is very complex, and the conditions there and in the inner-ring suburbs is an incredible mix.
    Please visit, and you will understand — not only Detroit, but how much of the country will also lurch into the future, thriving in some places, decaying in others. Until then, CUT IT OUT.

  36. TQ May 9, 2011 at 11:11 am #

    I’ve been a fan of yours for a long time, having read your books and watched the documentaries. I connected with you mostly because I already realized the situation and can see what’s coming in the future, and enjoy connecting with people who are willing to stand up and speak the truth about it, and you sure tell it like it is. No sugar-coating here. I’m one of the compromised middle-class whose turning into lower class due to economic conditions. At age 50 I have few resources available to get me through my “golden years” which may not turn out to be so golden after all: no pension, retirement account, 401-K, savings, or anything else. I live a paycheck-to-paycheck lifestyle and the only thing I can do to improve the outlook of my future is to stockpile non-perishable foodstuffs and seeds, while the getting is good. Can’t afford to invest in gold or silver, but pasta and potatoes and rice and beans last forever, and a 50 pound bag of oats or corn costs very little. So I fill up my big house with a comfortable well-tended stockpile, and that’s the only thing that makes me feel wealthy. I read your blog first thing every Monday morning because it confirms my own pessimistic outlook on the future of the world. For some reason, it makes me feel better. So thank you for that.

  37. gracie g May 9, 2011 at 11:21 am #

    Wow–you describe my rural neighborhood too closely. Those teens in black denim, skull and bones accessories and chains dripping over tattoos always depresses me–sometimes I can’t tell the parent from the teen, except for the worn out face of the former.
    Our rural town got a grocery store in 2005–folks moved from CA to open it–it closed last month after chasing food stamps and cigarette and liquor sales to stay alive. A Casey’s gas and “food” station (aka Walmart) had expanded two years before much to the village board’s delight. Now our grocer works there for minimum wage.
    We grow our own food, btw.

  38. Cash May 9, 2011 at 11:21 am #

    The Liberal Party and their followers with their anti-Western bigotry, their policies of national self-hate and societal suicide are hopefully not long for this world. Good riddance.
    As of 2007 Federal law in Canada bans corporations from making political donations.
    For a long time now the Conservative Party and their Reform predecessors have been dependent on individual contributions. Conservative fundraising from ordinary joes far outpaces that of their Liberal party rivals. Corporate funding was always been sparse for them. It was the Liberal party that relied on corporate funding.
    As it is now parties receive federal funding from tax coffers. Harper has promised to cut off this funding.
    Why? To destroy the Liberal Party. Why? Because Harper hates the Liberal Party (and liberals) worse than Jews hate Nazis (ok maybe not that much).
    Why? Read this comment posted online to a national newspaper from a reader (Toronto Star:
    “the west isn’t worth it: … We won majority after majority when we ignored the west…. It is not worth trying to win over the gopher roping gun nuts on the Prairies if we lose our base. Screw the West – We’ll win the rest. It worked before and it can work again.”
    Great nation building stuff published by the great media bastion of liberal moderation and tolerance. – “screw the West, gopher roping gun nuts”. Typical shit from liberals/Liberals.
    So this is ths crap we get from one of our screaming Left Wing Lie Machines. This view is common among oh so hip Toronto liberals. One of the last acceptable bigotries up here. We’ve been listening to it for a generation now. I’m sick of it.

  39. lbendet May 9, 2011 at 11:22 am #

    Ah, Jim
    Osama was our proxy fighter against the Russians managed by the CIA in those heady days of the Afghan-Russian war. Who knows what he was doing or whether he still worked for us. Just as easily he could have turned on us with the prodding of al-Zawahiri.–I wonder whether we’ll ever know. But whatever you can say, we are our own worst enemy and by the way, who needs Al Quaeda to do damage when we allow our infrastructure to go to seed.
    What I can say with certainty is that our politicians are keeping OBL alive by scaring us about all new plots and plans. They can’t wait to make our lives more miserable than ever, now that we have found the mother of all informational treasure troves of terrorist planning. Hey, I know How about a no ride list for train travel. ___And that comes out of the mind of our of our NY Democratic Senator, Chuck Schumer. Just bolstering the military security complex, ya know.
    Well thanks, JHK as always for traveling and reporting your observations of the bleak landscape that is now the USA. Speaking of former farmland in upstate NY, as far back as 1967, I remember looking out of a bus window on my way to a summer camp, observing rotting farm houses and abandoned farms, that must have been the time that we traded in small local enterprise for giant corporate farming.
    NYC still has a boomtown feeling to it. This is where the money is and they are making sure the environment remains pretty and all for the elite. Businesses close, but new ones take their place. This is eclipsed by quiet desperation expressed among the populous as many say they can’t afford living here anymore. Someone in my building who is contemplating a move out west says he is finding it harder to afford this city. He has a number of friends in their mid-fifties who have been under-employed or out of work for longer than this recession. When the mergers and acquisitions phased in during the Reagan era, people began losing their jobs. At that point there were new businesses being formed, so people found new employment, but thanks to globalism, this is no longer the case.
    Now it would be a good moment to read Charles Hugh Smith of Two Minds today. He pretty much covers what I’ve been saying about the monetarists and monopoly capitalism.
    Funny today after Morning Joe, they said that businesses may be moving off-shore business back to the USA…..We shall see.

  40. ajw93 May 9, 2011 at 11:24 am #

    Thanks, James, for affirming my impressions on the local “economy.” I’m glad it’s not just me.
    I just moved back to the upper Hudson Valley after 20 years in the DC-based rat race. When I was growing up, and when I left 20 years ago, there were farms galore and the no-money Astors clung to their riverfront property while their house rotted away.
    Now that I’m back, most of the farms are gone, and it seems the no-money Astors are, too (the riverfront property’s all fixed up and I suspect a hedge fund manager). There’s really nothing to do in my home town but drink; yet the main bar & restaurant locations can’t seem to stay in business. Who can afford cocktails, after all? The local college, however, somehow keeps managing to raise city-people donations and runs its shuttle bus from their Gehry eyesore to the local pizza joints and back.
    I work in my cubicle and walk home through the park, plotting the day when I will be able to buy one of the beautiful but run-down brownstones in my neighborhood for a song, and hire my mother’s husband, a master carpenter, to fix it up for me. By hand. At least the mountains stay as beautiful as ever…if we run out of money, they’ll be safe from razing by loggers and developers. Right?

  41. layaway May 9, 2011 at 11:25 am #

    “but pasta and potatoes and rice and beans last forever…”
    Except they don’t. The oil in rice becomes rancid in time. I’m guessing pasta has a shelf life as well. Take a little time and read up on proper food storage and preservation. I think you’ll find that some of those invincible foodstuffs are anything but.

  42. layaway May 9, 2011 at 11:32 am #

    where on earth did helen highwater’s posts go?

  43. layaway May 9, 2011 at 11:35 am #

    “One of the last acceptable bigotries up here. We’ve been listening to it for a generation now. I’m sick of it.”
    Kind of like some people on this site constantly taking cheap shots on the “South”. Stupid and bigoted. But for some reason, acceptable.

  44. Al Klein May 9, 2011 at 11:36 am #

    JHK’s material this week is once again wonderful. His prose encapsulates and projects the imagery and mood of the times. Almost stream of consciousness, but with a more evident central theme. Excellent.
    That said, I do have one small suggestion. JHK uses the term “citizens” regarding the victory of the giant chain big box stores. We don’t have many “citizens” in these parts anymore. Perhaps “residents” would work better. The term is functionally more accurate, but is not up to scratch with JHK’s style.

  45. sevenmmm May 9, 2011 at 11:43 am #

    The last line of engineers over at the Army Corps reflected American society as it blasted away the levies flooding good farmland with Mississippi waste water – to save just another dying city.

  46. helen highwater May 9, 2011 at 11:45 am #

    Yes, ryebeachbum, unfortunately a lot of people do agree with what Harper is doing. Or at least with what he is promising. He promises corporate tax cuts, endless growth, reduction in crime (more prisons), a stronger military (billions of dollars for new fighter jets from Lockheed-Martin), lots of oil and gas drilling (regardless of its effects on the environment or the climate), etc. All the same stuff that the US government is promising. Meanwhile we have a big deficit, an 8% unemployment rate, and food banks are running out of food. And he got his majority without even getting a majority of the votes. 60% of the eligible voters went out to vote, and only 40% of them voted for the Conservatives. The 60% of voters who didn’t vote Conservative split their vote among 4 “not-Conservative” parties. The Conservatives got a majority because of an electoral system that was designed in the 1800s for a two-party system, and does not reflect what the voters really want. However, most people don’t seem to understand how dysfunctional a system it is. Look at what just happened in the UK – people voted not to change the same kind of electoral system that we have in Canada.

  47. layaway May 9, 2011 at 11:46 am #

    Boner alert: The tattooed Ladies of Hollywood:
    http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/photo-galleries/2011/05/06/the-tattooed-ladies-of-hollywood/

  48. Vlad Krandz May 9, 2011 at 11:49 am #

    How can we denigrate White kids who sport tatoos? We have glorified Non-Western Tribal Cultures and spat on our own. So the kids are just trying to emulate the new ideal. If we didn’t want savagery we should have thrown the sellers of savagery off the air and out of office. Too late now though. Sucks to be us.

  49. layaway May 9, 2011 at 11:49 am #

    “The Conservatives got a majority because of an electoral system that was designed in the 1800s for a two-party system, and does not reflect what the voters really want.”
    OF course if the Progressives won, THAT would signify that the voters really wanted them to win. Uh huh. You betcha’

  50. loveday May 9, 2011 at 11:52 am #

    Cash
    Thanks for your reply. I really am curious about what is up in the Great White North, you guys sure have a complicated political thing going on. Don’t get me wrong I’m not lib or cons, dem or repub, I might be better described as populist oriented. That being said I feel that means politics should not be career track so politicians of whatever stripe can feed off the trough. Public service should mean just that.
    But I see the polarization and bitter rhetoric ratcheting up in a country widely renowned for civility and reasonableness and it makes me say “mmmmm”.
    Isn’t one of Harpers stated platforms abolishing public monies for political parties? If that is the case where will the cash come from? My understanding is that most Canadians are having a hard time now making ends meet, maybe not as bad as in the US but similar. It just seems a prelude to okaying corporate donations similar to what the supremes did in the good old banana republic US.
    Harper also plans to cut corporate taxes pretty drastically doesn’t he? Or would that measure largely be moot because your tax laws(loops) allow multibillion dollar corps to avoid taxes almost completely, as we see here in banana central.
    Also, how firm do you think his stand on supporting national health care really is?
    Your thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

  51. anotherplayaguy May 9, 2011 at 11:55 am #

    “Who was Osama Bin Laden, anyway?”
    The more relevant question is: “Who was Obama?”

  52. Al Klein May 9, 2011 at 11:56 am #

    As a kid back in the late ’50s I used to stay at my grandparent’s house in the country during the summer. It was hot and they had no air conditioning. Just a few fans in the bedrooms. During the day it would get very hot, so sometimes at noon I would stay indoors and watch TV for a couple of hours until the sun passed its zenith. Mostly I would watch movies. These were moves that were made in the ’40s and ’50s. Those that weren’t war movies (WWII was being relived over and over again) usually involved characters who had no visible means of support. I mean, the plot and the script generally did not include any reference to how these characters supported themselves. And they were generally very well off too! I mean, for example, the typically Cary Grant film. You know, the kind of movie where the central character gets picked up at the train station in southern Connecticut by the wife in a station wagon ferried back to a veritable mansion. I remember thinking to myself, how come they don’t really have to work? Nobody I knew lived that way – nor did I know anyone with a phony British accent! So fast forward 50, 60 years to today. Now we have hoards of hedge fund managers who live the 2011 equivalent of those characters in the ’50s movies. Exactly what do hedge fund managers do to deserve their pay? What about the rest of us? From my vantage point, it seems that we have created a world to match a celluloid reverie, only to discover that it is not sustainable.

  53. Omar Bongo May 9, 2011 at 11:57 am #

    “James, I wish you’d said “I saw some young adult males, too.” Otherwise the young women with children are not, in that sentence, adults. Or is that what you meant??”
    Oh, Jesus. Jim doesn’t reply to questions from the audience.
    Do you not remember that from being here every week or are you just the most annoying person ever?

  54. jerry May 9, 2011 at 12:01 pm #

    We as average citizens have allowed the predatory class to take over and kill small town America, as well as our larger communities. No one really cares enough to stand up in mass to push back. It is probably too late now.
    Bin Laden once said he will kill America’s economy. He did with the help of George W. Bush and his crony capitalistic predators.
    More and more Americans are too dumb to realize how bad their lives are and are too lazy to get off the Lazy Boy recliner and put down the Cheez Curls to push back against the predatory class.
    Bada Bing Bernanke is all about those predators and creating economic bubbles that will increase their overall wealth before the bottom falls from the newest bubble. The real economy suffers. No real GDP growth except from the predatory class.
    Bin Laden is now gone, but when you relocate squirrels, new ones move in and take over where the relocated ones had once “bin”—- laden.
    http://eye-on-washington.blogspot.com
    http://moontownshippa.blogspot.com

  55. FrogCounter May 9, 2011 at 12:05 pm #

    You sound a bit sad Jim, but then that’s what you get for actually looking at America. You need to hunker down in front of the idiot box with some Pringles and a remote. Dancing with the Stars will cheer you up!

  56. ctemple May 9, 2011 at 12:05 pm #

    Nice observation Ese

  57. jbird May 9, 2011 at 12:06 pm #

    Jim,
    While I enjoy your column (not sure whether I believe it, or just really, really want to believe it) you certainly have not seen a “state of the art” dairy operation. While I’m not a proponent of such operations, they are generally spotless and the cows spend very little time in stanchions. (And also very little time in the fresh air.) If you haven’t seen a modern dairy in operation check this out:







    The cows enter a rotating carousel, get cleaned, milked and back out to the packed shed in a matter of minutes.
    My big beef with the industry is their labor practices that often amount to indentured servitude. Immigrant labor, here on temporary visas spending 12 hour shifts on the back end of a cow. Housing is often on site, far out in the countryside so once their shift is done they have nowhere to go. After 5 years of this they get to go back home. Hopefully not too much of their minimum wage has been taken out of their checks for housing and the “company store”. These are literally shit jobs that you have no Americans are desperate enough (yet)to take. I imagine the workers who do come have very little idea what they are in for.
    The large dairies even go to the Univ. in Mexico City to recruit veterinarians.

  58. mm May 9, 2011 at 12:12 pm #

    you might want to look at the actual numbers conservatives received… 39.6% –
    very far below a majority.

  59. helen highwater May 9, 2011 at 12:14 pm #

    Your comment is a good example of what I mean about people not understanding, or caring, what a dysfunctional system electoral we have. Instead of any kind of thoughful analysis, you just offer mud-slinging and sarcasm about “Progressives”. Canada, the US and the UK are about the only countries left in the world that still have the first-past-the-post electoral system, instead of something that actually reflects how the voters voted. Maybe 40% of the population didn’t go out to vote because they didn’t think their vote would count anyway. But Elizabeth May, the leader of the Green Party of Canada did become our first Green Member of Parliament. And the Official Opposition is the Socialist New Democratic Party. So it should be an interesting four years, even with a Prime Minister who thinks corporate tax cuts and new prisons are job-creation programs.

  60. Cash May 9, 2011 at 12:17 pm #

    Yeah acceptable except it ain’t. The people that do this stuff are usually the same people that think they’re so bright and educated and informed and intellectual. So if they’re so damn smart why don’t they know better? Why can’t they see the the slippery slope between shouting and shooting?
    I have a difference of opinion with some posters here that decry the shrieking right wing lie machine. I think the acid rhetoric dripping from the left in the USA from supposed centres of enightenement and learning is no less corrosive. They say the right wing screamers started it. Maybe they did but for my part these culture wars seem to go back and back and back.
    Who threw the first stones? I have no earthly idea. Was it conservative segregationists railing against rights for blacks and “race music” that was allegedly going to bring us African music then African culture then African work habits then African living standards? Was it the loons conducting anti communist witch hunts? Was it the other side of the spectrum serving as useful idiots for the “communist madness” as Nicholas Frank termed it earlier today in his post?
    I think that both sides in this thing need to cease and desist. Obama gave Trump a well deserved kick in the balls with his “sideshow and carnival barker” characterization. Obama’s a citizen. Now give it a rest.
    Just out of curiosity, whereabouts do you live. Are you a Canuck? If you don’t want to say that’s ok by me. I like keeping some anoymity myself.

  61. ozone May 9, 2011 at 12:20 pm #

    “Watch the award winning documentry DVD “GASLAND” by Josh Fox.
    Drill Baby Drill……….BTW the gas leases are bundled and sold to countries overseas……we’ll never see the gas only the pollution!
    Have a nice day……..” -army
    Very important things to remember; and a wake-up documentary from a rank amateur who’s never known how to pull a punch (thankfully, for us).
    Don’t forget to drop your gloves when they come for your “commodities” (resources). You’ll get absolutely nowhere with voting and legislation. Fucker and fuckee can always be reversed when facing the rock and the hard place.
    Remember that these corporate entities ARE trying to kill you by poisoning (slow, but sure). While they may be truly unaware of it, the response should fit the actuality.

  62. ozone May 9, 2011 at 12:23 pm #

    Thanks for another fine poke of the cattle-prod James.
    I’m hoping that you’re getting more readership as BAU gets more questionable. An endorsement of reality is always a fine thing, whether “timely” or no…

  63. asoka May 9, 2011 at 12:24 pm #

    The more relevant question is: “Who was Obama?”
    =======
    Obama is the guy who had the SEALs put a bullet through the heads of the Somali pirates, then had the SEALs put a bullet through the head of Osama Bin Laden.

  64. layaway May 9, 2011 at 12:25 pm #

    “you might want to look at the actual numbers conservatives received… 39.6% –
    very far below a majority.”
    Just so the Libs lose. That’s all that matters.

  65. layaway May 9, 2011 at 12:29 pm #

    “Remember that these corporate entities ARE trying to kill you by poisoning…”
    Right, genius. So, they can sell all of their product to dead people?

  66. Kurt Cagle May 9, 2011 at 12:30 pm #

    Iraq just announced that they are lowering their forecasts for oil production by 2019 from 12B BPY to 6.5B. Despite the supposed cakewalk to taking him out, Gaddaffi appears to be winning against the rebels in Libya, and it is very likely that at some point some country (China, imho) will decide that it makes more sense to back Gaddaffi than it does to try to oust him, if only for newly negotiated oil terms. Mexico’s production has dropped by 35% in the last three years, and while there may be a slight increase this year, this is coming only after what remaining environmental regulations on Pemex have been scrapped.
    Oil volatility is becoming more rampant as well – last Friday saw a drop in oil price from $110 a barrel to $97 a barrel; the last time a drop that big occurred in one day was in 1975, and yet, by today WTI was trading for $100 a barrel and it looks likely that the drop may not last the week.
    Detroit will likely rise from the ashes – Caterpillar just announced that they are moving a significant part of their new production there, for instance – but Detroit’s central problems ultimately came down to too much invested infrastructure limiting the ability of the city to change as the industries they were built on faded. It has access to ports, has a gateway to a trading partner (Canada) and ironically is well positioned to survive climate change and even, ironically, peak oil.
    However, it will be a smaller town as more of its suburbs revert back to wilderness. Cities are systems – reduce the energy, and eventually the city itself will adapt by having the unnecessary parts go fallow. This is what’s happening in the Northeast. Here in Maryland, you see the remnants of ancient towns all the time, communities that were starved for oxygen and withered away to become ruins.
    The tattooed youth will go elsewhere by necessity due to the lack of local opportunity, the young families will relocate because hungry young mouths are no respecter of tradition. One or two communities will be designated as the token “antiquesville”, where every second store is a market for selling the detritus of another time, while the others will fade away as those who are too old or too poor to move die off.
    America by 2050 will look a lot more like America in 1950 than America in 2000. Urban complexes surrounded not by sprawling megalopoli but forest, desert, mountains or swampland. Americans will not be masters of the universe, but nor will they be denizens of some Mel Gibson-esque wasteland. It’s not that Americans don’t like work – hell, they’re addicted to it – but when things become untenable, they are remarkably more adept at adapting than most countries on the planet.
    This has long been true, but its easy when a temporary plateau of metastability has been reached to believe that things don’t change. Yet they are changing now, and kids that are growing up today are growing up with change as a given. A way of life is dying. Good riddance. Perhaps those kids will do better than we’re doing.

  67. asia May 9, 2011 at 12:31 pm #

    WHO WAS OBAMA ? Prior to being elected, a bad guy!

  68. banana republican May 9, 2011 at 12:33 pm #

    There was a guy in Trader Joe’s yesterday with tattoos galore. On one of his calves was a quite well done tattoo of Mexican General Emiliano Zapata. “I would rather die on my feet than continue to live on my knees”. I was tempted to make a wisecrack as to why he had Sr. Zapata tattooed below his knee. Seemed disrespectful to General Zapata to have him tattooed below his own knee. The guy looked more depressed than dangerous. I ended up saying nothing.

  69. asia May 9, 2011 at 12:35 pm #

    The large dairies even go to the Univ. in Mexico City to recruit veterinarians.
    Oh the blunders of Immigration and work visas, blame Bill Gates and his friends.

  70. Kurt Cagle May 9, 2011 at 12:35 pm #

    Helen,
    Cool, I hadn’t heard that May had finally been elected to Parliament on the Green platform. It’s about time! Almost takes a sting out of another Harper win, even if it’s still a plurality government.

  71. asoka May 9, 2011 at 12:36 pm #

    Is that an endorsement of Obama’s extrajudicial assassinations of Somali pirates and OBL?

  72. messianicdruid May 9, 2011 at 12:39 pm #

    “He was [ "our" ] guy who bankrupted America society. He was [ "our" ] guy who made today’s post possible. Osama Bin Laden was [ "our" ] guy who suckered [ provided cover for ] Bush into spending TRILLIONS of dollars on giant government bureaucracy (TSA, DoD, etc.) …”
    fixed it for ya…
    http://news.sky.com/skynews/Home/Sky-News-Archive/Article/200806412758358
    http://www.rense.com/general14/bushsformer.htm
    http://tvnewslies.org/html/bin_laden_ties.html

  73. San Jose Mom 51 May 9, 2011 at 12:44 pm #

    I can’t figure out about teen reluctance about driving either. My daughter is 16 and is happy to be driven around by me. Even if she did get her license, under California law, she can’t drive her friends around for a year. I’m not pushing her to drive, we already pay dearly for car insurance because my teenage son drives.
    As for teenage fashion. It’s very dark at my kid’s highschool. Lots of black and grey shirts.
    Everyone wears blue jeans. They are forbidden to wear red (Norteno gang color), or blue (Surano gang) or any sport team clothing. SF Fortyniner’s gear is worn by Nortenos. Ironically, the school’s colors are red, white and blue. If it’s a spirit day, you can wear the colors.
    My daughter likes to wear shorts, skirts and flip flops. My son has worn Levi 514s and t-shirts everyday of his high school career. He’s graduating in June.
    Fashion was a lot more varied and colorful when I attended school back in the 1970’s. I wore Puka shells and Candie’s shoes! I was always in high heels or platforms. My mom wouldn’t let me wear jeans to school.
    Jen

  74. GoldSubject May 9, 2011 at 12:50 pm #

    Mr Kunstler, this is one of your two best pieces so far, the other one being your entry on Los Angeles, posted in August 2009, which touched my heart and that I read again every so often.
    I’d call these entries beautiful if they did not so evocatively describe depressing stuff that is actually happening, but perhaps they are beautiful regardless, and therein lies part of the priceless contribution made by heroes like you, Dmitry Orlov and Max Keiser: bringing some light and reason to many people who know, in their heart of hearts, that they must let go of their former hopes and dreams and develop a new vision for the future. A painful and disconcerting process to go through.

  75. Smokyjoe May 9, 2011 at 12:50 pm #

    I liked this bit:
    “In the middle ranks of society, a sullen docility rules”
    It sure does. Barely docile. I thought of JHK today as I waited patiently and people-watched at the DMV,hoping a vehicle title.
    Then, the finely computerized system for assigning us to a clerk hiccuped. Suddenly a bunch of us has been assigned to the same service window.
    All around me, people in clownish “gangsta” garb or wannabe office-clone getups (think Brooks Brothers a la Steinmart worn by gum-snapping rednecks) got testy.
    They are stressed economically and don’t see much of a future as disposable “human resources.” Give them the right prod–a fuel crisis, more layoffs–and it’ll become the mob scene from the end of West’s The Day of the Locust, a sadly forgotten book about the nightmare of California suburbia from the 1930s.
    The blood given to the mob, when Osama lost the top of his head, will only sate them for a while.
    It was a dark moment in the DMV, until an adult sorted us all out. I fled into the daylight and, yes, saw a man in an actual clown outfit seated and waiting.
    Outside was, no kidding, a clown car. I guess they need driver’s licenses too.

  76. Cash May 9, 2011 at 12:51 pm #

    Public service should mean just that – Loveday
    I agree but the fact is that members of parliament, including Quebec separatists, get a rich pension after serving x years. Greed rules.
    Re: polarization and bitter rhetoric in a country widely renowned for civility and reasonableness – Loveday
    The reality has long been different. What the West has long been subject to from the oh so hip and enlightened Liberals is a torrent of jeers, taunts and accusations of bigotry, racism, intolerance, xenophobia, rightwing extremism etc. Divisive, nauseating and depressing stuff. So one consequence is that the word “Liberal” is poison on the Prairies.
    Isn’t one of Harpers stated platforms abolishing public monies for political parties? If that is the case where will the cash come from? – Loveday
    The money will come from individual political contributions. Corporations and unions are banned by law from making political donations. The Conservative grassroots are eager contributors (individuals are limited to $1,100 yearly donations). The Liberal base donates little and this will cripple the Liberal Party even further. American election campaigns go on for months. Ours last 6 weeks so they’re cheaper for political parties to run.
    Re tax cuts: The Liberal party already did much of the cutting while they were in power starting in 2000. Personally I do not agree with corporate tax cuts. Corporations use the country’s infrastructure to their benefit and so should pay a share.
    Re health care: this is in provincial jurisdiction. The Feds provide some dough but the provinces don’t have to give an accounting for how it’s spent. Provinces have their own taxing powers and are free to tax and spend as they see fit. This is an area the Feds will not much encroach on because Quebec is extremely jealous of its power here as are most provinces. So it doesn’t much matter what Harper says or thinks.

  77. Vlad Krandz May 9, 2011 at 12:54 pm #

    Half of the population of Detroit can’t read. There is no future there unlesss those people are moved out or at least sequestered in their own quarter. Not all poor people are created equal. Some are poor but genetically rich. Most of the people of Detroit are poor in both senses. But hey, some of them might survive when others don’t. I read an article about one of them had begin coon hunting in the wilds of central Detroit.

  78. Gary P. May 9, 2011 at 12:55 pm #

    Hi James,
    Had an eye opening experience this weekend. On your assertion that the future world more things will be made by hand. Well as they say, that future is now. In China at Foxconn, labor is cheaper than machines. So anything that can be made by hand, is.
    That’s 10 & 12 yr olds hand winding wire, assembling your iPhone, iPad and about 50% of every electronic device in your house. Foxconn has 450,000 people working in serf conditions, cameras on them 24/7 building our USA life by hand.
    Here’s to a future that is NOT built by hand.

  79. Kurt Cagle May 9, 2011 at 12:58 pm #

    I suspect that in the case of OBL, the preferred scenario would have been to capture rather than kill him, but in a firefight situation like that, soldiers are going to shoot first if they believe they are under attack. A similar case can be made for the Somali pirates, who were in fact holding hostages at the time.
    Was it illegal? That’s a hard question. As CIC of the Armed Forces, the POTUS, like many nations’ leaders, has the authorization to use that force, and by extension has, within fairly circumscribed limits, the authority to kill, an authorization which he then delegates to members of the armed forces.
    I’m not a huge Obama fan, but I do believe that in this particular case, he was well within his constitutional authority to give a shoot to kill order. That holds true for any president. The US has been at war with OBL’s organization, something which has been approved by both houses of Congress and both parties. Most other countries have placed OBL on most wanted lists.
    Is it morally or ethically right? I don’t know. However, I would be hard pressed to see it as being even “extra-legal”.

  80. Vlad Krandz May 9, 2011 at 1:04 pm #

    A few more years and White kids wont be able to go out in public at all without chaperones. You are behind enemy lines and you have just admitted it. The incremental nature of the invasion and war have decieved you – just as the proverbial frog doesn’t know that he is being cooked since the water doesn’t boil at once. And of course as a Liberal, you would rather die than admit your Tribe and Religion has been wrong.

  81. Vlad Krandz May 9, 2011 at 1:08 pm #

    Yup the Kids are alright. They Know in their bones that we have failed them and Apocalypse looms. If you are a parent, go with it and don’t try to fight it. It’s Evolution. Buy them a gun and get one yourself. The Family that practices together stays together.

  82. asoka May 9, 2011 at 1:10 pm #

    “fixed it for ya…”
    ==========
    Thank you, MD.
    You are correct about Osama Bin Laden being “our guy,” and you are correct about the God you have created being “your God”

  83. asoka May 9, 2011 at 1:23 pm #

    However, I would be hard pressed to see it as being even “extra-legal”.
    ============
    Far as I know, it has always been illegal for one country to mount a military operation within the sovereign borders of another country without any type of knowledge or permission having been given by the country being violated.
    Let some other country do a SEAL-type operation within USA borders (without knowledge of permission of the USA government, twin-towers style) and see how people react in that situation.
    Such violations are neither forgotten nor forgiven … because such actions, whether committed by “them” or “us,” are illegal and offensive. It may be months or years from now, but the operation in Pakistan will be retaliated.

  84. cbwim May 9, 2011 at 1:26 pm #

    I enjoy your posts most of the time – but am a little uncomfortable about this one, and your observations about the descriptions of the teenagers and their lack of fashion evolution. I understand the observation ’cause one sees this all over.
    But your presentation and description of this kind of reeks of “I’m better than them” smugness – sort of a Classist approach. John, your not inconsiderable income and class level is showing…..

  85. montsegur May 9, 2011 at 1:31 pm #

    Hmm, Iranian politics are taking an interesting turn.

    Iran’s powerful clerics have accused associates of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of witchcraft, including summoning genies, amid an increasingly bitter rift between Ahmadinejad and the country’s supreme religious leader.

    from http://abcnews.go.com/International/iranian-president-ahmadinejad-allies-charged-black-magic-summoning/story?id=13561870
    Cheers

  86. Cash May 9, 2011 at 1:35 pm #

    Somehow I don’t hear a lot of whining about our dysfunctional system when Liberals win. Even with far less than a majority.
    Here are some facts:
    yr 2004: Winners: Liberal. % of pop. vote 36.7
    yr 2000: Winners: Liberal. % of pop. vote 40.8
    yr 1997: Winners: Liberal. % of pop. vote 38.5
    yr 1993: Winners: Liberal. % of pop. vote 41.3
    yr 1980: Winners: Liberal. % of pop. vote 44.3
    yr 1974: Winners: Liberal. % of pop. vote 43.2
    yr 1972: Winners: Liberal. % of pop. vote 38.5
    yr 1968: Winners: Liberal. % of pop. vote 45.5
    Source:
    http://www.sfu.ca/~aheard/elections/1867-2004.html
    Here are facts per Statistics Canada: the rate of violent crime in this country was 5 times higher in 2007 than it was in 1962.
    You don’t want prisons? OK we’ll let our criminals roam free. Cost too much to keep them locked up? OK how much does it cost to let them run rampant? What did it cost when that shopkeeper in Chinatown got killed by a stray bullet from gangbangers having a shootout?
    I’ll bet all the perps had records as long as their arm. But somehow our dimwitted, delusional judiciary insists that incarceration doesn’t work, that it does not deter, that rehabilitation is the key. How about this: rehabilitation is nonsense. Once you pull a gun or knife on your fellow citizen in the commission of a crime you are human garbage, unfixable and fit only for a prison camp.
    I guess years of law school hinders clear thinking. So how about this: while you are incarcerated you are detered. A thirty year sentence keeps you out of circulation and off the streets for thirty years. Too expensive? Is the alternative cheaper?
    But maybe without mayhem on the streets our cops and judges and social workers and lawyers and probation officers would be out of work and maybe they all have an interest in the status quo?
    We’ve had two generations or more of fooling around. Build prisons, lock-em-up, do it now.

  87. Cash May 9, 2011 at 1:37 pm #

    Witchcraft? Hilarious.

  88. Grouchy Old Girl May 9, 2011 at 1:38 pm #

    Loveday, on Stephen Harper I expect he will believe he now has the mandate to build all his fancy new prisons for the criminals responsible for what his deputy said was “unreported crime”. That came in response to the fact that crime in Canada has been steadily dropping for the last 20 years. But we won’t know that much longer because he killed the long form census that collected so much info that his own government needs to plan properly.
    He will continue to de-fund all those nasty organizations who disagree with him and his fundamentalist supporters. In an amazing co-incidence with the Bush years he’s gone after Planned Parenthood recently, after killing off women’s rights groups, church based foreign aid groups and immigrant settlement programs in cities. That’s only a partial list.
    It’s going to be a rough ride for most of us. What’s worse, in Ontario, with 40% of the entire population of the country, we’re having a provincial election this fall that is predicted to see the junior version of Harper take power. Between Tim Hudak, the junior Tory, and Harper, what is left of this country will look more and more like the desolation described in the USA. Some parts of Canada are already there.
    It’s a good time to take up serious drinking.

  89. asoka May 9, 2011 at 1:42 pm #

    Asoka, violating national sovereignty is illegal for countries who are signatories to the UN Charter, which prohibits aggression violating national sovereignty. It does not apply to OBL or non-state actors.

  90. montsegur May 9, 2011 at 1:46 pm #

    Cash: Witchcraft? Hilarious.
    ———
    Maybe they caught him watching reruns of I dream of Jeannie, heh
    Cheers

  91. loveday May 9, 2011 at 1:51 pm #

    Cash
    Thanks for your thoughts, but I’m still left in the dark about what the actual Harper policies are.
    It has been said in the Canadian press that he has a vision for the future. Supposedly less nanny state, which if true would be good. Govts are becoming arrogantly intrusive into the private lives of citizens all over the western so-called democracies. Case in point in NY State- daycamps in the small villages and towns may not be able to open because some state agency has declared kickball, dodgeball, and various other types of child’s play to be “high” risk activities- the effect of this policy being that these small and vital services may be made too expensive ( insurance policies for injuries ) leaving parents and kids with too few options for the summer. Also leaving us with kids we are condemning to the couch for the summer cause man they might get hurt! No wonder the kids wear black- no kids games for them! If I understand correctly this will be the type of thing Harper will at the very least discourage.
    If reduction of the Nanny state is in the works congrats to cons, but if it is just another scam by politicians on the take, that would really be another “change we can believe in ” moment.
    Take care and enjoy the spring, summer looks to be sizzlin hot with discontent.

  92. edpell May 9, 2011 at 1:53 pm #

    I drove up 22 and 7 in Vermont to Burlington, Vermont. Lots of poverty on the way. Burlington with its government sponsored hospitals and government sponsored colleges is a boom town. Likewise I was in Syracuse, New York and dead town except for the pharmaceutical factory, massive hospitals complex and the state college.
    The only employer left is the government. The jobs are education, medical and security. Security includes town police, county police, state police (a major industry in New York state), federal police of numerous types, army, navy, air force, marines, coast guard, NSA, CIA, NRO, DIA, etc.
    Not clear what any of these jobs produces that oil exporting nations would want to trade for.

  93. Vlad Krandz May 9, 2011 at 1:58 pm #

    Obama continued the policies of George Walker Bush in this and many other areas. There are few if any differences between Neo-Liberalism and Neo-Conservatism – just different marketing strategies to different target populations.

  94. AMR May 9, 2011 at 2:07 pm #

    Is there really a gang problem in San Jose or is it just an outbreak of hysteria over kids playing make-believe? I don’t admire gangster fashion, but there’s a difference between dressing like a gangbanger and actually being one. Actions speak louder than poses.
    Or maybe I’m just unable to get into the heads of hysterical people who have absolutely no street smarts. Which describes entirely too many school administrators. A lot of public schools in the US are run by sniveling, tyrannical dolts who wouldn’t be able to keep order in a classroom if their lives depended on it. When things get rowdy at lunch or a student assembly, their leadership style resembles Ceaucescu in late 1989. School administrators are more or less the first people I’d expect to respond to a bit of faux-gang noise and posturing as though their students had just set Watts on fire.
    Incidentally, this is why Steve Poizner would make a horrendous school administrator. I have little doubt that had he pursued teaching as a career instead of a brief sideline he would have ended up in administration, the better to use his delusional perceptions of violence and decay as bases to make policy.
    Since you live in San Jose and have an ear to the ground, can you say whether the media are under- or overreporting violence and gang activity there? Most crime statistics that I’ve seen indicate that San Jose is quite safe (rape is a major exception). I find it hard to believe that things could have gone to hell in a handbasket without my hearing a word about it in the media at a time when the rising tide of street crime and police misconduct in San Francisco routinely makes the national wires.
    One thing is for sure: if your cops can’t tell the difference between gangsters and wannabes, you need new cops.

  95. Grouchy Old Girl May 9, 2011 at 2:09 pm #

    Cash, stop spreading Western Canadian inferiority complex based b.s. to our American friends. When you use a single comment to a Toronto newspaper to claim all Ontario residents look down on and dismiss Westerners, you betray your own emotional immaturity.
    Besides, it’s the NDP you have to worry about now, the Liberals are down and out without even official opposition status. Bet you’ll have plenty to say about the New Democrats too.
    You only like Harper and the Conservatives because they love Big Oil, and that’s what much of Western Canada is all about. Tar sands, anyone? The Conservatives think they are just fine and give them big tax breaks.

  96. asoka May 9, 2011 at 2:13 pm #

    “Govts are becoming arrogantly intrusive into the private lives of citizens all over the western so-called democracies.”
    =============
    Yes, here we have nanny state governments wanting to make women get medically-unnecessary sonograms and a nanny-government-scripted text must then be read to the woman by a doctor (whether the doctor agrees or not) and then the nanny government makes the woman wait before she can choose what to do about her pregnancy.
    This nanny government intrusion into the most private aspects of womenfolk’s lives (and the doctor-patient relationship) is being supported by conservatives and Republicans.
    http://www.americanindependent.com/168829/physicians-oppose-pre-abortion-sonogram-bill-in-texas-senate-hearing

  97. Cupid Stunt May 9, 2011 at 2:17 pm #

    JHK,
    I have posted here for several years now intermittently without making a single derogatory comment about other contributors or yourself, indeed all my comments have been in agreement with the important message you bring. I have read and admired your books, particularly The Long Emergency.
    Your weekly blog is one of the few things that I bother to read on the internet on a weekly basis.
    I posted earlier this afternoon to compliment you on what I considered to be a particularly well written piece. While my opinion may not be valid I do not think that it warranted removal from your blog and do not understand why you chose to delete it.
    I think that this shows, at the very least, a considerable lack of grace, which I did not expect from you.

  98. Grouchy Old Girl May 9, 2011 at 2:24 pm #

    You seem to know more about Canadian politics than many Canadians. They’re too busy watching American Idol and Survivor to care, just like in the USA.
    You got Harper’s agenda covered. With health care, the threat is what’s called “two tier” medicine, where doctors can extra bill patients beyond what the health care system pays them, Specialists like that and it’s already common, kind of through the back door. Government knows it happens but fail to stop it even though they have the authority to do so. For the middle class, who get health benefits for the extras through work and never imagine they will lose their jobs, it doesn’t matter so they don’t care.
    Hospitals are already so under funded that they’ve been encouraged by government to shed so called non-essential services like physiotherapy and diabetes clinics in favour of what’s called community based services. Unfortunately, many of these are private so people who need physio have to pay now. Many can’t of course so they do without. I know this to be true because it happened at our local hospital a year ago. They even acknowledged knowing it would hurt low income people the most, but said it was just too bad.
    Health care is a complicated funding mess in Canada, with the federal govt. providing the funds, but the provinces managing them. The funding agreement between the feds. and provinces ends in 2014 and that’s when Harper will get out his axe and chop.

  99. Grouchy Old Girl May 9, 2011 at 2:39 pm #

    Cash, you’re doing it again. The federal government has the right to with-hold health funding from any province that breaks the rules of the Canada Health Act. Just because they haven’t done it to provinces like Alberta (in the West) who allow doctors to charge extra costs to their patients, doesn’t mean they don’t have the power.
    Oddly enough, the Conservative you love so much have been publically musing about cancelling the Act and letting provinces loose. So much for portecting universal health care.
    And please stop going on about separatists. They just got decimated by the New Democrats in Quebec and are yesterday’s news. Quebec has made peace with Canada, it’s time you recognised it. It must be hard dividing your hatred between Ontario liberals and Quebec “separatists” anyway. Now you can concentrate on hating the liberals.

  100. AMR May 9, 2011 at 2:50 pm #

    “Not clear what any of these jobs produces that oil exporting nations would want to trade for.”
    I’ll take a stab. One product is righteous fear in the hearts of petrodictators who don’t want to find themselves at the end of a rope in Baghdad. We figured that History/Resistance/Liberty/Glory/Revolution might surrender in order not to have his head on a pike in Benghazi. No such luck, though.
    If we were traders by temperament, we wouldn’t be a party to an ongoing civil war in Libya, we wouldn’t have corrupt protectorates in Iraq and Afghanistan, and we wouldn’t be trying to hold together the Iran sandwich. We’d be trading with the lot of them, especially the ones with oil. Our businesses might withdraw in the event of a serious crazy spell, but then they’d just wait for the leaders to simmer down and stop beggaring their nations for political gain.
    We’re not looking to trade with these nations in the normal sense of the term. If we were, we wouldn’t threaten to overthrow their governments and pulverize their cities. Doing so is bad for business. It’s good for pillaging, though.
    Welcome to Rome.

  101. Cash May 9, 2011 at 2:51 pm #

    Now for some facts:
    The long form questionaire wasn’t killed. It was made voluntary. And given that one in five households had to fill it out previously it wasn’t a census, it was a survey. Now, the National Household Survey, as it is called will be sent out to one in three households.
    Source: Statistics Canada
    http://www.statcan.gc.ca/survey-enquete/household-menages/5178-eng.htm
    Why the change? Simply, and from a common sense perspective, because it is unjust to ask intrusive, detailed and personal questions and then threaten you with sanctions if you don’t want to answer them.
    About crime:
    Source: Statstics Canada
    http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/85-002-x/2008007/article/10658-eng.htm
    Look at the second chart. The rate of violent crime in 1962 was about 200 incidents per 100,000 population. The rate peaked at about 1,100 incidents around 1992 and as of 2007 was around 1,000 incidents per 100,000 population.
    Given that the rate was and likely still is 5 times higher than 50 years ago I would say that we have a PROBLEM notwithstanding claims to the contrary.
    The same report (1st chart) says that total crime rates (excluding traffic) went from around 3000 incidents per 100,000 population in 1962 to a peak of over 10,000 in the early 1990s to just under 8,000 in 2007.
    Next look at the heading “Youth Crime”. Look at the chart captioned “Youth Accused of Violent Crime (12 to 17 Years)”. It show a steady increase from 1987 of 800 incidents per 100,000 youth to 1600 in 2007. Again I would say we have a PROBLEM.
    You can take up drinking if you want. But first look at some facts provided as a courtesy, free of charge as an aid to rational, evidence based discussion.

  102. loveday May 9, 2011 at 2:52 pm #

    Ahh so there’s the fly in the ointment the funding issue in 2014. No doubt it will be necessary to reduce funding for public care, cause, you know the cons want those nifty F 35 jets. No doubt some politician some where will make nice little pile for him or herself off of that deal or some other equally lucrative boondoggle.
    But to be fair libs/cons, repubs/ dems I honestly can’t see all that much difference. But one thing is sure, as many here have already pointed out, govt intrusion and control of the population are on the rise, using the slimmest of excuses. Whether it be health care or the denial of said health care, women’s care, deluging the population with laws that criminalize practically everything( all those opportunities for making money in the prison system can’t be wasted) or just over regulating child care.
    Thanks for all the great interaction and comments, as always a real pleasure to exchange views with people who at least care enough to search for what’s really happening in the world.
    Better sign off now, gotta punch in for daily dime.

  103. Cash May 9, 2011 at 3:09 pm #

    I don’t give a damn about the separatists and never did. The simple fact is that Francophone Quebecers turned their back on this country. But after a 20 year snit they want a dignified re-entry. But holy smokes are they ever still mad. So they elect the NDP. This has been going on for ten generations and is beyond tiresome.
    Yes, the feds have the right to withhold funding. But if the provinces don’t want to abide by the terms of the Canada Health Act they don’t have to. They have the ability to tax and fund their own programs. They already do.

  104. Vlad Krandz May 9, 2011 at 3:12 pm #

    This was always the goal. And ACME includes Corporations or should I say the Corporations have incorporated the Federal and State Goverment. Break eggs on the small side or the big. Different key words elicit the proper response from different target groups. If one set of words doesn’t work, the other probably will. As for the small group who don’t salivate – there are ways of dealing with them.

  105. Cash May 9, 2011 at 3:22 pm #

    Cash, stop spreading Western Canadian inferiority complex based b.s. to our American friends – Grouchy
    Um, Westerners don’t think they’re inferior. Torontonians and the eastern elite think Westerners are inferior.
    I’ve heard a torrent of similar insulting comments about the West for 20-25 years. So don’t pretend this comment is just a one off. It’s par for the course.
    And the latest insult? Torontonians ask how come Naheed the wise, Naheed the Harvard scholar, Naheed the Muslim is Calgary’s mayor instead of Toronto’s? Calgary after all is the preserve of uneducated rednecks and bigots after all. Everyone knows this. Right? Whereas Toronto is the sophisticated, cosmopolitan capital of multicultural cool. Right?
    And I’m a Torontonian and have been for decades. It’s Torontonian, Liberal/liberal superiority I can’t abide. I’ve seen precious little evidence to justify this attitude.

  106. Vlad Krandz May 9, 2011 at 3:28 pm #

    Must be those macho Cajuns ruining things and then blaming it minorities just like in New Orleans.

  107. Cabra1080 May 9, 2011 at 3:38 pm #

    Holy Mackrel!!! Tornados and Floods are taking out the American heartland!

  108. Cabra1080 May 9, 2011 at 3:41 pm #

    Oh yeah, here goes Crude Oil racing past $103 again…Taking out the US economy!!!

  109. asoka May 9, 2011 at 4:06 pm #

    Oh yeah, here goes Crude Oil racing past $103 again…Taking out the US economy!!!
    ============
    And the sky is falling!
    Actually, Cabra1080, “Crude Oil” is not all the same.
    For example, light, sweet crude for June delivery settled up $5.37, or 5.5%, to $102.55 a barrel (that was on the New York Mercantile Exchange).
    On the other hand, Brent crude (on the ICE futures exchange) settled up $6.77, or 6.2%, to $115.90 a barrel.
    Oil prices going up is a good thing, as it is the only kind of incentive that works for people to drive less, use mass transit, car pool, walk, bicycle, etc.
    Let’s hope crude oil goes up to $180 or above. Then we will see positive behavior changes with regard to fuel consumption and lifestyle choices.

  110. SNAFU May 9, 2011 at 4:08 pm #

    Howdy Cupid,
    Probably no need to take umbrage with the apparent randomness of a failure to post. I attempted to post a CFN New Years day present, one of my favorite recipes this past December, to no avail. Pissed me off until I noticed other posters complaining of apparently random non-posting events. I believe it was Progressor who suggested writing in Word or another such word processor and copying it to the comments section to preclude loss of thought train.
    SNAFU

  111. orbit7er May 9, 2011 at 4:15 pm #

    My college daughter is already planning not to
    buy her own car until she is totally finished
    with college and has a fulltime job.
    And even then possibly not if she moves to
    Brooklyn as she is considering where a car is
    not required.
    Although a car is still a necessity in today’s
    suburban teenage existence, for the most part it is
    no longer the big status symbol since due to the
    great Recession, kids are not getting their own
    cars anyway but driving their parents.
    The younger generation does not quite understand how auto addiction fits into the bigger picture of
    Peak Oil and Climate Change. But most are
    fully cognizant of Climate Change as a given
    ( sorta like gay rights are taken for granted now)
    and not aware of Peak Oil per se but well aware
    of likely future resource constraints.

  112. asia May 9, 2011 at 4:28 pm #

    ‘coon hunting’ !!!!
    You have been doing that here for 2 damn years!
    I live off Lincoln Blvd in Santa Monica..one of the busiest streets [in the country?]…
    We have Raccoons here, but no coyote.
    I tried to take a lazy stroll above Malibu last week, at the end of a dirt road where the fire trails start, the place was overrun by Kenneth Branagh[?] n film crew working on his next film.

  113. asia May 9, 2011 at 4:29 pm #

    NO!
    but to misqoute you…’viva his conquista’.

  114. rippedthunder May 9, 2011 at 4:30 pm #

    Hey TQ, what was your address again? I’ll sive ya a silver american eagle for a 50 pound bag of corn!

  115. Cabra1080 May 9, 2011 at 4:32 pm #

    Lifestyle changes (i.e. bicycling, carpooling, etc.) may not help much at this late stage of the game. There is too much carbon in the air and the permafrost is melting.
    We are vegetarians, have solar power and do vegetable gardening and many others across the land are taking up “greener” lifestyles.
    However, the main core of society is not doing so and apparently has no intention to change, at least not voluntarily.
    The number and intensity of severe storms and the sheer amount of damage to the built environment in recent years is astonishing.
    The sky may really be falling, this time…

  116. asia May 9, 2011 at 4:37 pm #

    ‘Now for some facts':
    sometimes facts get in the way of opinions and[ahem] agendas.

  117. LewisLucanBooks May 9, 2011 at 4:39 pm #

    The picture that sticks with me is where the E-5 tornado stripped two feet of soil right out of the ground. Unbelievable!

  118. LewisLucanBooks May 9, 2011 at 4:50 pm #

    Relax … or not. It tics me off, too. If you got the message that it was being held for review, it disappeared into cyberspace. Apparently, it’s a little glitch in the blog software.
    Perhaps to be corrected in the next “version.” Gotta save something for those pricey upgrades! There are all kinds of theories floating around on why it happens. But it just seems pretty random.
    It’s happened to us all, at one time or another. Every time I hit the “submit” button, there’s a little hesitation and I hold my breath.

  119. cunning runt May 9, 2011 at 4:56 pm #

    Cash –
    Give it a rest, bub. It’s a nice day in the north country today. Take a walk. Smell the flowers. Above all, get off line. It’ll do you good.
    I mean, you’re retired, right? I worry about you…
    CR

  120. asoka May 9, 2011 at 4:58 pm #

    I have successfully defeated the “being held for approval” message by chopping my message into bite size pieces, eliminating any hyperlinks to URLs, and then re-posting. This has only happened two or three times, but each time I was able to break up a larger post and post three small messages with identical content (minus any hyperlinks).
    Hope that helps. Don’t take it personally.

  121. asia May 9, 2011 at 5:00 pm #

    Do you need land to farm / garden?
    SHAREDEARTH.COM
    Gardeners / Farmers
    Get free access to land and grow what you love, share some of the produce with the land owner and keep the rest.
    Land owners get to make more efficient use of their land. Gardeners and farmers get access to land. Our community is built on the premise that we can create a greener, more organic and efficient world one garden at a time. So let’s get started!!!!

  122. asoka May 9, 2011 at 5:05 pm #

    I worry about Cash, too.
    He seems to have an agenda and is a bit blinded by his dedication to his mission (anti-communist, anti-liberal, etc.). His tendencies toward generalization (based upon an anecdote) are also worrisome.
    However, I do not believe in psychoanalysis based upon anonymous internet postings, so I do not want to say too much about Cash. Just that I worry about him.

  123. memoryhole May 9, 2011 at 5:16 pm #

    Everyone thinks that the group(s) to which they belong are the best, Cash, except the Irish, who have a deep-seated inferiority complex.

  124. memoryhole May 9, 2011 at 5:20 pm #

    “I do not believe in psychoanalysis based upon anonymous internet postings”
    Why not? It is so much fun.

  125. cunning runt May 9, 2011 at 5:21 pm #

    What about Groucho Marx?
    ‘I would refuse to belong to a club that would have someone like me for a member.’

  126. AMR May 9, 2011 at 5:22 pm #

    Whatever.
    I used to live in the Bay Area. I still have many relatives and friends in the Bay Area. Some of them worked closely with Santa Clara County Sheriff’s deputies, mostly custody staff at the jail but also patrol officers. They had mostly positive, if not glowing, things to say about the deputies they knew. They also had mostly good experiences with the SJPD and other municipal agencies in Santa Clara County.
    These agencies have historically had some of the best recruitment and command structures on the face of the earth, and as far as I know they still do. It shows in the quality of their officers, who stand head and shoulders above the assholes who get hired in some parts of the state.
    I wasn’t arguing that the SJPD or any other agency in Santa Clara County is staffed by paranoid tyrants or NOPD-grade thugs. Every indication that I’ve seen is to the opposite effect. To rephrase my real point, if recruiting and command standards fall and assholes with no street smarts end up on patrol in San Jose, they ought to be drummed out of the force. Vigilance is essential, but as far as I know police oversight remains vigilant in Santa Clara County.
    Until you start making comments about Santa Clara County that are rooted in discernible reality, I am going to assume that you know jack shit about my former home. Feel free to prove me wrong, but so far you’re giving Steve Poizner a run for his funny money.

  127. memoryhole May 9, 2011 at 5:27 pm #

    Vlad sure does know a lot about places he doesn’t live and presumably has never visited or last went to 20 years ago. Just ask him…he’ll tell you.

  128. memoryhole May 9, 2011 at 5:31 pm #

    Ha, San Jose. It is a bit boring compared with SF, but it is pretty safe. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a homeless bum there, whereas in SF there’s at least one on every corner. The cops pretty much take over the downtown area during the weekends. It is not advisable to act like a loud drunken douche there, or you’ll end up spending the night in the drunk tank. The city has a “tough on crime” policy which makes it one of the safest cities in California, if not the whole country. Of course, they pay a lot for all those officers, and there is talk of a budget bloodbath that would furlough or lay off a bunch of police and fire.
    Overall, it is a sleepy bedroom community. I’m not sure where Vlad gets this image of Norteno and Sureno gansters battling it out every night. A more fitting image would be crickets chirping.

  129. banana republican May 9, 2011 at 5:32 pm #

    Asia – Have you ever considered moving away from LA? That place scares me. The most fossil fuel dependant place on the planet.

  130. memoryhole May 9, 2011 at 5:36 pm #

    While LA gives a good run for the money, I’d go with Phoenix or some other sprawly desert hellhole.

  131. memoryhole May 9, 2011 at 5:37 pm #

    asia likes living in LA because it gives him an excuse for complaining endlessly about his life. ;)

  132. memoryhole May 9, 2011 at 5:41 pm #

    Hey, what do you all think of Ahmadinejad’s peace plan?
    http://www.tehrantimes.com/Index_view.asp?code=240258
    Too commie for ya?

  133. bproman May 9, 2011 at 5:42 pm #

    Bin brainwashed by the advertising.

  134. LewisLucanBooks May 9, 2011 at 5:47 pm #

    I lived in LA (Lost Angeles :-) ) For a few years in the early 70s. Mostly in Orange County and Long Beach. I was there for the gas crunch in ’73. The lines, the odd / even days. The things I saw in those gas lines …
    At that point, I decided “I’ve got to get the hell out of this place before something REALLY serious happens.
    So, I moved back to my hometown of Portland, Oregon. A place that has such a good transit system that I didn’t even have to own a car for the three years I was there. If I HAD to live in a city again, it would be Portland.

  135. mow May 9, 2011 at 5:58 pm #

    the american billionairs way of life is non negotiable – dick

  136. progressorconserve May 9, 2011 at 6:01 pm #

    Nice weeks work, JHK. A good look back at what we once had, everywhere, as a Nation. And a look ahead into – – –
    I don’t know – it’s just hard to picture things ever changing, ever again. Wal-Mart and the big boxes have KILLED main street, except for those infernal boutiques, nail salons, and tanning stores.
    Why doesn’t Wal-Mart do tanning, anyway?
    Has anyone ever seen a Wally World with tanning beds? I have not.
    ============
    Best JHK lines of the week –
    “This must be the longest period of history for a particular teen fashion – going on two decades now? When even teenagers lack the enterprise to think up a new look (that is, to make a fresh statement about who they are), you know you’re in a moribund society.”
    -jhk-
    Well analyzed.

  137. Cupid Stunt May 9, 2011 at 6:01 pm #

    Thank you fellow cluster fuckers for your explanations as to why my perfectly civil and complimentary comments might have disappeared.
    Being hopelessly dyslexic I have to do the type into word, cut and paste thing, otherwise I would not be able to make any comment at all. Also it was plain text with no clever links. I did see that it had been posted and appeared for a period of time.
    I fail to understand how my comment was deleted unless it was by human hand, rather than a computer glitch, or perhaps some other cunning stunt.
    I am grown up enough not to allow this to interfere with my sleep and hope that others do not have the same difficulty.

  138. AMR May 9, 2011 at 6:12 pm #

    San Jose, of all places, is behind enemy lines in a race war? Holy shit that’s crazy.
    I’ll back you up if you argue that parts of Oakland meet that description. I won’t agree with the irredeemable black savage gloss that you’ll inevitably put on the matter, but I don’t believe in pretending that there isn’t a serious racial angle to the violence that plagues Oakland.
    Neither, for that matter, did Chauncey Bailey. So it isn’t just Whitey who gives a damn about the damage done by black criminals. If that were the case, you, not Chauncey Bailey, would have been assassinated by Your Black Muslim Bakery.
    As far as the Latino war on white Anglos that you’ve inferred, it’s worth remembering that the Nortenos and Surenos started as rival NorCal and SoCal Latino prison gangs. They’re the products of a cross-state rivalry that turned hellish in the hands of hardened criminals with nothing better to do. Their real beef is with fellow Mexicans from the wrong part of the state. The other major Latino gang, MS-13, is basically a drug gang on steroids.
    Only in your imagination do these gangs form a unified KKK of the Reconquista. Their racial bigotry is largely incidental. And only in your imagination does the average California Latino not despise them more viscerally than you do. To you, these gangs are bad in theory because they’re dirty Mexican criminals. To law-abiding barrio residents, they’re scum of the earth who terrorize their neighborhoods and need to be in prison.

  139. bubbleheadMarc May 9, 2011 at 6:28 pm #

    Comment on AMR’s description of the lameness of public school administrators: Having taught for 7 years including four in the Cleveland ghetto, I can only endorse your perceptions about school administrators. The fact that they are petrified with fear at rebellious poses and in fact allow such issues to consume their every waking thought with nary a wink to real academic questions proves that they are engaged not in academics, but mere crowd control.
    I recently read a description of a young teacher’s first year in Harlem as a NYC public school teacher [in the online version of Newsweek] and the emotional problems she was forced to deal with attempting to overcome the chaotic atmosphere in her classroom likewise proves that she was primarily engaged in the business of babysitting.
    If all anyone wants to do is control these kids then why don’t we simply turn all the public schools into military academies? Better yet Maritime Academies because then we could actually isolate them aboard a training vessel which is assigned a box in Lake Superior to patrol endlessly and pointlessly.
    Yet people continue to insist that something is actually going on in these schools. I’m not buying it. So long as I continue to believe that babysitting is all that we’re getting I’ll continue to vote “no” on every school levy. As pointed out so convincingly by Jim in “The Long Emergency” this make believe activity called public school will be suspended once there is no more money to waste on that exercise in futility and most people are once again engaged full time in low-tech. food production to stave off hunger pains.

  140. antimatter May 9, 2011 at 6:35 pm #

    The decline WK mentions along Rt. 22 in upstate NY parallels that in the rest of NY state; I don’t know about the rest of the country. In the part of upstate NY I lived in, the decline was underway when I moved there in the early 70’s, and it was a slow downhill slide, punctuated by a few downward spikes. But the local leaders, and our Congressman, kept up the ‘good times are just around the corner’ sales pitch. After all, what else could they have done?

    The state of NY created various enterprise programs, designed to attract new businesses to the region, but we saw very little progress; some of us noticed that ‘entrepreneurs’ from NYCity came in, got the tax breaks and incentive money, and then in a couple years, pulled out and shut down.

    It’s hard for me to believe that this ‘upstate NY’ scenario might be playing all across the country, but I’m sorry if it is, for I know how it was in upstate NY: very slow economy, lowering prosperity, but on a downward slope that was just above the threshold of ‘oh my god.’ This was the crazy part—change downward was just slow enough to keep people hoping, and staying. After 15 years, I left, having lived that slow boat to decline long enough.

    So, I don’t know what to say, other than, watch out for the governmental ‘be happy’ propaganda—instead, drive around and look at your local area, read the local business and financial press, then make up your own mind.

    The truth is, America incents business to move overseas. One way it does so is to allow cheap Chinese or Latin American labor to make shirts for America where the labor costs are 50 cents a day, but we pay $50 per shirt for those goods. No tariffs. No regard for American labor or American local companies. So, unless this changes, we will continue to see wage arbitrage, lower incomes, and higher prices for all things.

    And we’ve given the farm to banks and Wall Street.

    Americans are letting America down by not fighting for better. We elect the same clowns who have sold the country out. Any time a mom and dad WATCH their 6 yo daughter being fondled by TSA and do nothing other than post a youtube video of the situation to get ‘opinions from others’ shows me how passive we’ve become. Our passivity will trump hope.

    Good Luck.

  141. AMR May 9, 2011 at 6:40 pm #

    SJPD didn’t always crack down on the rowdies and the homeless. In the seventies and eighties they basically let the homeless do whatever they wanted as long as they weren’t violent or a danger to themselves.
    There was one demented old bum who used to get arrested on pretexts when it rained; he did all right when it was dry, but he became a hypothermic wreck in the rain, so the beat cops did what it took to get him three hots and a cot until the weather cleared. There was another bum who used to moon San Jose cops with impunity and got into a righteous lather when some Menlo Park cops arrested her for dropping her pants.
    The last time I was in San Jose was a weeknight when there wasn’t much of a police presence. I got solicited by a streetwalker while I waited for the midnight Amtrak bus to Santa Barbara. I figure the downtown cops probably knew about her, but I can’t say for sure. She didn’t seem worried about them in any event.
    You’re right about police and fire pay schedules in San Jose. They’re extremely generous, and I’m not surprised that the city is overextended. It’s probably a good idea for the SJPD to hire only reserves until the union is willing to negotiate pay and bennies downward. Public sector employee contracts have bankrupted or made insolvent a number of municipalities in recent years, and even a city as wealthy as San Jose can’t live in a bubble forever.

  142. asoka May 9, 2011 at 6:41 pm #

    It’s hard for me to believe that this ‘upstate NY’ scenario might be playing all across the country
    ============
    It is not playing out that way here in the Southwest. We have more new people arriving all the time with new ideas and energy for change. Solutions oriented people who are not into complaining 24/7.
    And we welcome the immigrants from Mexico because they want to be here, obey the laws so as not to be deported, and they work hard, and have family values.
    Things are good in this part of the USA.

  143. Cavepainter May 9, 2011 at 6:59 pm #

    I don’t doubt there will be a “winnoing out” process, but in its course (especially in the early stages) there will be lots of confused rage on the part of about 62% of the population, seeking easy targets at which to aim that rage for instant and momentary psychological relief (at least that’s the growing concensus among behavioral science researchers).
    That percentage is the more compliant/docile set within any population, formulated in that ratio by evolution to preserve tribal cohesiveness proved necessary for survival. This is not the critical thinking set, but the set which quickly mobilizes into mobs or defensive parameters when a threat (symbollic or real) is felt.
    In our world in which symbolic threats are media manufactured and crafted as ongoing distration from the “real”, things can get really shitty when calorie needs outstrip pscyhological pacifier needs.
    At some point all the intellectualizing of issues will be pushed aside by tribal warrior face paint patterns — if you can’t immediately sign as “one of us” then you get killed as “one of them”. You see it today in traditional religious garb no less than in the past. We’re going to get back to basics really fast.
    I’m looking for a cave wall to paint on.

  144. helen highwater May 9, 2011 at 7:14 pm #

    Layaway, you say “Just so the Libs lose, that’s all that matters.” As long as the party you don’t like loses, then everything is just hunky-dory, right? As long as somebody identifies as a “Lib” then in your mind they are a bad person, regardless of whether you know anything at all about them.
    It seems to me that if we are ever going to start to straighten out the mess we are in, we will have to stop dwelling so much on “us” versus “them” or “your party” versus “my party” or “the Democrats” versus “the Republicans” and learn to cooperate and work together to do what is best for the people and the planet and all the other species that live on it. Perhaps the whole party system needs to go, so that individuals are elected because they are honourable, intelligent people who have a deep understanding of the issues facing us and a good amount of sanity, rather than because they belong to one party or another, or can collect the most money in campaign contributions. It would be better if those who are elected can vote for what they really believe in instead of voting along the “party line”, which is based on partisan rhetoric and hatred of the other party. A lot of people who run for a particular party don’t even believe in everything that party says it stands for, but when they vote they have to follow the party line (at least they do here in Canada where we have what’s called a “whip”. A majority government with 167 members in the House of Commons out of a total of 308 representatives can do whatever it wants to do, in spite of the fact that 141 members of the elected and their constituents don’t agree with it. So just because the “ruling party” has 26 more representatives, they can do whatever they want to do. This means that when a decision is made, nearly half the country disagrees with it, but they still have to go along with it because it is made law. How can this be a good thing? And we in Canada have an appointed Senate, not an elected one, which can override any vote of the House of Commons. Our Prime Minister recently appointed a whole bunch of Conservative Senators. So now the House and the Senate are both Conservative. And Harper is going to be able to appoint a bunch of new Supreme Court justices to replace those who are retiring. There are no checks and balances. It looks more like a dictatorship to me, not a democracy.

  145. San Jose Mom 51 May 9, 2011 at 7:35 pm #

    Gang on gang murder is on the rise in San Jose. They tend to wack each other off in neighborhoods on the east side. But generally, crime is low in my neighborhood. We have more than enough cops.
    I don’t think their are any real gang members at the high school. Wannabees, yes….thus the rules about clothing. The administrators at the school are very uptight.
    That being said, I’m always uptight about my daughter’s safety. I really don’t like her outside walking alone…even if it’s daytime. I prefer she have a friend along. Some moms think I’m too uptight, but because my sister was raped at knifepoint by a stranger when she was 17, I have my reasons for being vigilent and cautious.
    Jen

  146. ozone May 9, 2011 at 7:46 pm #

    You’ve quite handily missed the point (as most delusionistas and purposeful subject-changers do).
    Have fun in your “BAU World of Wonder” (tm Disney)!

  147. loveday May 9, 2011 at 7:50 pm #

    Hey Helen, Cash and all
    Checking in on a break to see how the gang is doing. Such good comments and sharp commentary, I don’t think much of the population in North America is lazy or doesn’t realize something pretty bad is happenin, sorry Jim, just don’t buy it.
    I think a key point that is being missed by all the fairly politically oriented people here is the old divide and conquer game plan. The political life of most of the western world as far as I can see has been highjacked by really rich types( think Koch brothers and tea party funding) in order to stage the old as the hills divide and conquer strategy. Old but effective. We as a whole population need to unite, see where we can help each other. Not hopelessly get mired in the political paradigm that is being staged for us by folks that are making several million every few months. They obviously live in a different universe from most of us stiffs that have to worry about- can we retire?, maybe if we’re really lucky at 69 or 70?
    So take it easy on Cash and Helen and everyone here. Cause we are all in the same boat. Unless some of you have several million “put back” for your golden years. This humble “consumer” doesn’t, and I highly doubt any current political party will stand up for us working stiffs and even think of basic livin for the elderly or poor, after all we aren’t gonna cough up many campaign bucks.
    Until next week gang

  148. Cavepainter May 9, 2011 at 7:58 pm #

    Hey, great idea: Reboot history to rectify all perceived injustices!
    How far back should we go, back to the genocide that probably wiped out the Neanderthal? No, I guess that’s too far back; too complicated attempting to unravel the human genome to determine how to “justly” distribute land and resources.
    Uh,…how about back to the age of the Romans? Oh, that too might prove cumbersome considering all the dispossessions and enslavements that occurred across Europe and the Near East. Messy, messy, messy.
    Well then, should we try rebooting back only to Ghingus Khan. No, I guess not; he not being Caucasian or European just wouldn’t satisfy today’s PC sensibilities – skewed as they are toward bias that only “white folk” commit atrocities.
    OK, OK, I got it, maybe back only to Christopher Columbus? Yeah, that has a nice pacifying ring to it. However, we’d certainly need to gloss over the clutter of internecine wars among the Native American tribes before the arrival of Europeans.
    Damn, this sure gets puzzling! Oh,….now I have it! Let’s all just join hands and sing cum-ba-yah. Forget about national sovereignty, borders, representative precincts and all the government structure of democracy. Sure, everybody will willingly give up traditional and religious dress, habits, beliefs, etc. — all the trappings that serve to distinguish us apart. We’ll all be instantly 21st century Unitarian, embracing an appreciation that the earth is finite and that God’s plan really didn’t call for every egg delivered down a woman’s fallopian tube be fertilized and brought to fruition. Yea!!!

  149. JonathanSS May 9, 2011 at 8:05 pm #

    …if Obama had ordered a capture, and a trial, instead of an extra-juidicial assassination of an unarmed man

    So exclaim the Monday morning quarterbacks from the comfort of their chairs as they type.
    Sorry, but with the extreme risk of the situation, and being shot at & having a helicopter fail, it was not worth it to attempt a live capture. Given the incredible skill levels of Team Navy Seal #6 veterans, I’m satisfied with their decisions.
    I would take one of these #6 guys over 5 ordinary Americans any day. I honor these guys, even though I want mil spending cut in half.

  150. LewisLucanBooks May 9, 2011 at 8:29 pm #

    I’m glad you’re so even tempered. It drives me bat-shit. Stuff like this happens all the time in cyberspace. There’s never any explanation, no one is ever responsible. The best you can do is que up Leonard Nimoy …. “The Mysteries of …. Cyberspace!”
    Technology is wonderful … when it works :-) .

  151. progressorconserve May 9, 2011 at 9:20 pm #

    “We are vegetarians, have solar power and do vegetable gardening and many others across the land are taking up “greener” lifestyles.
    However, the main core of society is not doing so and apparently has no intention to change, at least not voluntarily.”
    -cabra 1080-
    Laudable things, all, Cabra. If you enjoy them, keep doing them. If you think that these things are preparing you for life, post-peak oil collapse, then keep doing them.
    But otherwise, conservation serves no purpose for US residents, because of increases in population of the United States.
    Are you aware that almost 100,000 LEGAL immigrants are allowed into the US every single month? The US can not “conserve” its way out of the crisis of increasing populations and increasing consumption of resources by US residents.
    The only solution is to reduce the population growth rate where we can – and that is inside the US.
    Join FAIR.
    http://www.fairus.org/site/PageServer

  152. messianicdruid May 9, 2011 at 10:21 pm #

    “Reboot history to rectify all perceived injustices!”
    Nothing new. Just considered impractical by the brainsoiled.
    http://www.yesmagazine.org/issues/living-economies/532

  153. Shakazulu May 9, 2011 at 10:43 pm #

    “We have no idea what we’re going to do as a people and absolutely no credible thought on this emanates from the upper echelons.”
    The proverbs state that without a vision the people perish. Worse than having no credible thought, the upper echelons seek to constantly divide the people. It’s as if they exalt in the decay of the hinterlands. I think they’re waiting for all of us to just die politely. If that doesn’t happen, the war freaks will solve the problem for us. Long Live the War on Terror!

  154. helen highwater May 9, 2011 at 10:46 pm #

    Loveday, I totally agree with you that we have to give up the “divide and conquer” mentality and unite to do what is needed to get us out of the terrible mess we are in. I voted in our recent election here in Canada, but I voted for a party I don’t like because I thought they had a chance of beating the party I like even less, whereas the party I really like didn’t stand a chance. What a crazy system. And no matter which party “wins”, it always seems to be just more of the same old same old.

  155. Shakazulu May 9, 2011 at 10:56 pm #

    “Who was Osama Bin Laden, anyway?”
    The most convenient patsy available at the time?

  156. Shakazulu May 9, 2011 at 10:59 pm #

    “And EU investors are going to get a Yul Brynner style haircut.”
    Yul Brynner was cool. That’s who I’d want to be if I didn’t have any hair. And after the EURO is gone the USD will have a very short life span.

  157. Shakazulu May 9, 2011 at 11:13 pm #

    Gracie, anyone who’s been alive longer than 30 years has been able to denote the gradual growing hopelessness of the youth as demonstrated by their grunginess. Many say this is due mainly to the economic situation. What many fail to note is that along with the economic decay has come a parallel moral decay, and knowing which came first will unveil the cause and effect of why this is all happening.

  158. Shakazulu May 9, 2011 at 11:35 pm #

    “You sound a bit sad Jim, but then that’s what you get for actually looking at America. You need to hunker down in front of the idiot box with some Pringles and a remote. Dancing with the Stars will cheer you up!”
    LOL, best laugh all day! But if Jim did that what would he blog about? DWTS reviews? “such a stunning outfit!” “Did you see that pirouette!”
    I’m sure there are already 1000’s of those blogs.

  159. rocco May 9, 2011 at 11:59 pm #

    What are you talking about JHK? The American people and the press are ready to face reality-peak everything,climate change, the mafia style run government and business( it looked cooler when Al Pacino did it). Read the number 2 story on CNN
    http://www.cnn.com/video/?/video/bestoftv/2011/05/09/jvm.royal.scandal.hln&hpt=P1&iref=NS1
    MY Western NY City is fine, deaths in home from co poisoning, family could not afford the RGE gas and electric bill,more job lost,decay, even the suburb food banks critical low,but our one newspaper tow,n Gannett will make sure eveything is fine. In our burb the Reps face another election unopposed. The Dems just gave up. Back to planting more trees, oh well.

  160. asoka May 10, 2011 at 12:43 am #

    Cabra1080, PorC regularly gives IMMIGRATION statistics here, but never gives EMIGRATION statistics here.
    There are two sides to the story. People are arriving and people are leaving the USA.
    Hundreds of thousands have left for places like Panama and Mexico and other countries where life (with USA dollars) can be better than the picture JHK paints about life in the USA. Those EMIGRANTS who are “seniors” take their retirement monies with them and live very well.
    http://www.ngiweb.com/emigration.htm

  161. montsegur May 10, 2011 at 1:08 am #

    Al Klein: From my vantage point, it seems that we have created a world to match a celluloid reverie, only to discover that it is not sustainable.

    Al, I may have posted this before, but it won’t hurt to do it again:
    Between Disney, Hollywood, and Madison Avenue, postwar America didn’t have a chance at forming a reality-based national consensus.
    The chickens of this decades-long distraction and propaganda have come home to roost.
    Cheers

  162. LewisLucanBooks May 10, 2011 at 1:23 am #

    A Letter from Out Here … Rural Western Washington, half-way between Portland and Seattle.
    OK. I bit and checked out the “Royal Scandal” link, above. The most startling thing about it was the 15 second ad lead in to the “story.”
    A warm, teddy bear of a geologist for Exxon telling us all how wonderful it was that we found all this gas, “Right under our feet!” in shale. The word fracking was not uttered.
    I really don’t understand commodities and have not direct connection to those markets. But this was an interesting article about the plunge in oil prices. It was those darned old computer algorithms, again.
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/us_financial_oil_rout
    More interesting, to me, was the fact that silver was down 30% in one week. Someone actually uttered the words “Metals Bubble.” I have a coin store a couple of doors down. For months, people(mostly senior citizens) have been running in and out of there bearing heavy little boxes and bags. The coin dealer was not observed on the sidewalk, either slashing his wrists or blowing out his brains. A nice guy, but a sharpey. No matter which way the wind blows, I’m sure he’ll do fine.
    I’ve taken a few bits and pieces of sterling to auction, along with all the other crap I’m cleaning out. Unfortunately, it hasn’t hit the block yet, so I suppose it won’t bring as much as a week ago. But, in unloading all this stuff, my mantra has been: “What it sells for is what it’s worth.”
    I don’t know how many of you are old enough to remember … About 20 years ago, there was a big silver bubble. Turned out, two Texas Oil brothers, the Hunts, were trying to corner and manipulate the silver market. I was working in an antique mall, then. Guys would show up with little scales, weighing up sterling pieces. A lot of arty little pieces were turned into little bars.
    Talked to the guy today that is key to my moving out to the country. Together we estimate it has about a 50 – 50 chance of actually coming to reality. That little loop road has had farmsteads along it (mostly gone) since the 20s. I wonder if there are any fruit or nut trees about that might need a gleaning.
    Made a trip out to the store, tonight. It’s warm and clear here. Smells like spring. A woman in front of me at check-out was having a meltdown as her favorite snack cracker was not on sale as supposed. The one’s in the red box were on sale. Not the blue box. She was clearly off her meds. Won’t do well in the long emergency.
    The roving gangs of young men are out and about, howling in the streets. Their philosophy is “I’m bored, let’s break something.” They stay at home if it rains. I won’t be making any more trips out at night. So it goes from…
    CFN Post 5, Western Cascadian Division Lew, out.

  163. spider9629 May 10, 2011 at 3:55 am #

    JHK, I Liked this one a lot. My take on it is that the USA and in a different way and a more subtle extent, the EU and JAPAN are all being “Decommissioned”, are all slowly but gradually being taken apart, are all slowly decaying into “has beens”: their era of glory, the USA winning WWII, their model of consumer – capitalist economy being exported to and adapted to much of the EU and JAPAN (and world), who like little brothers to the USA are destined to follow the destiny of the USA whether they like it or not, the young families, the “baby booms”, the optimism, hippies and counterculture, the experimentation, the faith in PROGRESS, SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, THE MIND and the FUTURE, the reconstruction, the technology of the era allowing people to raise families with stable jobs, all the technology that had to still be applied and discovered, and so many other social, economical and most of all cultural – psychological elements etc. are all ENDING.
    And they are ending BIG TIME, but slowly, like a frog that boils, no one notices. Close a plant here, outsource there, automate over there, lay off a few slobs there, hire some others here (so as it being barely noticeable), and so on.
    My large scale theory and narrative of all of this is simply the Technological Economy applying all of its know how and power and technology and science to all productive endeavors, killing a lot of work, and destined to kill a lot more in the future: I honestly, no matter how hard I try, cannot see what and where and what kinds of jobs can compensate all of those that are and will be lost. The entire idea of 8 hours a day in a place, constantly doing some kinds of manipulations, informational or physical seems to be more and more remote, and especially someone paying for it, and paying a living wage, I just can’t see how.
    You say it is oil that is the single point of failure, that external hard core limitation that will kill the our entire civilization. Well, I don’t know. I tend to think sometimes that you may be right, but really, cannot know and don’t think many can know, no matter what, the world is just to large, the way corporations, governments and other entities operate to extract oil is just to complex and vast to predict. And then my take on it is that somehow, no matter what, alternative energy systems will be implemented, will be forced, all kinds of alternatives will be attempted, even social organizational.
    One thing is for sure, the USA, EU and JAPAN are slowly decaying like old men, no doubt about that, probably some hope is in the vast areas of the developing world, Latin America, parts of India and China, Indonesia, etc.

  164. Jay Schiavone May 10, 2011 at 6:29 am #

    If Hoosick Falls gets you down you can take Route 9 east for 90 minutes and visit a normal town called Brattleboro. It’s kind of cheap to blame citizens for Walmart. The good news is that Walmart, as you observe, is on the cusp of their own destruction. There are still communities in the US, and many in less developed countries, that are operating in a manageable scale. I live in a former farming community where today my neighbor calls the cops if he hears my dogs bark. The dogs will have the last laugh.

  165. progressorconserve May 10, 2011 at 7:18 am #

    “Cabra1080, PorC regularly gives IMMIGRATION statistics here, but never gives EMIGRATION statistics here.
    There are two sides to the story. People are arriving and people are leaving the USA.”
    -asoka, to Cabra1080-
    Cabra, the environmental costs are immense – regardless of direction of migration.
    No one leaves the US, deliberately, to grow corn and carry it to market on his back in a Mexican village, for example.
    Very few leave the US to live a sustainable life elsewhere – oh, NO – American expat’s want to go elsewhere to stretch their pension dollars into a new version of the “non-negotiable” American lifestyle – except with maids and gardeners.
    My wife and I, at the suggestion of one of her Thai teaching friends, actually looked into living in Thailand and working as English teachers for a couple of years – and banking the money for a Mexican retirement lifestyle – as asoka suggests.
    The environmental costs were HUGE – with plane flights home at least twice/year to playcate the female half of the relationship. “If Momma ain’t happy – ain’t nobody happy.”
    Our final conclusion was that it was illogical and unsustainable. We decided to stay home to help our families and help our local community/state.
    If everyone would do this – the world might have a better chance. Part of the reason some “third world hellholes” are hellholes, is that their best and brightest keep leaving for the US and other places – and never go back home.
    Discouraging immigration into the US is one important way, I have found, of being a good steward of global resources.
    Join FAIR, or a similar organization – there are several good ones –

  166. MarlinFive54 May 10, 2011 at 7:34 am #

    Beautiful essay, Jim, with your elegiac, evocative picture of upper New England and New York State, past and present. Clearly places without hope for a future, and with no knowledge of what has been lost.
    Don’t be too hard on the people you see there. These are the type of folk I myself come from. They just don’t have a clue as to what has happened to themselves, their families, their towns, their country.
    It was interesting that you mentioned Cold Harbor, that bloody battle outside Petersburg, Va. in June, 1864, where 10,000 Union infantrymen were shot down by Robert E. Lees ‘Army of Northern Virginia’ in 15 minutes. I recently read an essay about a New York Regiment from your area that fought there, the “Orange Blossoms”, yielding hundreds of casualties in mass suicide attacks ordered by Grant and Meade. It also talked about the distinguished post-Civil War careers of many of the members of this regiment.
    On a happier note, El Toro Farm, “LaCasa de la Dolce’ Tomatinos”, of the Farmington Valley, CT, is in business with the planting of several hundred Tomato Plants. Now that was a lot of work.
    Ibendet, I finished ‘Griftopia’. Taobbi answered many of my questions about the events of 2007-2008 in the financial markets. I found it interesting, however, that in his chapter about oil he did not mention the peal oil theory but blamed high prices soley on speculators and their activities in the commodity markets. Taobbi seems to think there is plenty of oil to go around now and forever, which is counter to the premise of this site.
    He also is hard on the Tea Party and Sarah Palin, as if they had any real power or influence to affect events 4 years ago or even now. On the real estate collapse he did not even mention the day Jesse Jackson and AG Janet Reno held that news conference outside the Justice Dept., talking about red-lining, that is, banks not making enough mortgage loans in minority communities, and menacingly suggesting they’d better get to it or face the full force of discrimination law. I distinctly remember thinking, “What’s going to happen when these loans don’t get payed back?”
    Now I know.
    Marlin
    El Toro Farm
    “LaCasa de la Dulce Tomatines”

  167. lbendet May 10, 2011 at 7:43 am #

    Spider,
    Good post, but I think that you are observing the de-evolution without tackling the reason why. There are various moving parts to the ideology of neoliberalism, meaning free markets without regulation or government oversight.
    Of course these entities love government when it comes to helping their efforst and bailing them out. Its called global corporate communism. Your tax dollars should not come back to you in any way.
    The first stage was supply-side economics through Reagan’s administration. Sherman anti-trust laws were sidelined while companies bought smaller companies, laying people off. Then came NAFTA where our tax laws were made to help off-shoring of jobs, first to Mexico and then to China and India.
    The idea here is that we are falling into disintegration, but that doesn’t mean they can’t sell or “rent” these towns to foreign investment sovereign funds who may want to turn a profit by re-building the areas. The idea is to not have enough revenues so that we will be forced to sell our public domain to the lowest bidder.
    Why those disintegrating towns could be turned into expensive money making ventures for the global elite, for all we know, becoming too expensive for the US population.
    You need to understand the vision thing, Spider if you want to make sense of the global sausage-making enterprise. It’s not about nationality anymore. That is just a quaint notion in the minds of the elite.
    ___________
    On silver and gold. There is a drop in price, but if you listen to Max Keiser on the subject, it should be seen as currency. There’s a reason why China and India, etc. are trying to get as much as they can. Who knows really what the next currency will be based on. Gold wasn’t going to allow for the kind of play we’ve seen in the past few decades, so it may have to be based on some abstraction. Countering that idea, maybe by the time this whole enterprise goes down, the various power players in the world will decide they had enough of this phony baloney and we are back to precious metals.

  168. MarlinFive54 May 10, 2011 at 7:45 am #

    And, oh yea, Ripthunder, will be headed to range for another session tomorrow with a friend of my son, a big fan of Alex Jones.
    I have a different take on some of these kids than Jim does. Many of them are aware that the future is pretty bleak, ‘specially in the former working class, and adopt an “I don’t give a f–k” attitude. This frees them up to criticize everybody and everything, and not to take any s–t from anybody, such as those in authority trying to bullshit them about their bright future if only they would buckle down. They know its alot of bullshit.
    Will be bringing several Russian Mosin Nagants, a Winchester 94, and of course a Marlin.
    -Marlin

  169. lbendet May 10, 2011 at 7:52 am #

    Marlin,
    Interesting points about Taibbi’s take on the oil situation. I think though that his point is valid for the moment. There is (oil) capacity presently and many agree with him that when the Roosevelt law, the Commodity Exchange Act was brushed aside, it made it possible to drive up prices as if the investor was functionally buying oil for processing when in fact they are doing nothing but acting as buyers for price bidding. So that’s where we are right now. There is not an oil shortage that is driving up price at this point in time. There may not be enough in strategic reserves to keep the enterprise going if there’s a hiccup in the system, though.
    But Taibbi did not address that.–Hey nobody’s perfect…

  170. lbendet May 10, 2011 at 8:18 am #

    One more thing, Marlin
    If you really want to know the world we are living in, I still highly recommend Naomi Klein’s “The Shock Doctrine and the Rise of Disaster Capitalism.”

  171. rippedthunder May 10, 2011 at 8:48 am #

    Greetings Jen, When I was in school back in the last century, 1960’s, we were not allowed to wear jeans or tee shirts. These were all public schools. I remember in High school, they would have a jeans day once a year and the students were allowed to wear jeans. I still call them dungarees and the young folk don’t even know what I’m talking about. The only people with tattoos were old sailors.

  172. bubbleheadMarc May 10, 2011 at 9:05 am #

    Vis a vis the decline of small town America everyone should try reading “The Man Who Sold the World: Ronald Reagan and the Betrayal of Main Street America” by William Kleinknecht. This book explains how the Reagan administration’s deregulation of the transportation industry directly led to the decline of the viability of the small town in this country.

  173. orbit7er May 10, 2011 at 9:37 am #

    Have you been paying attention to James Kunstler and what Peak Oil theorists have been saying?
    We are halfway through the oil left on the planet
    and consuming it at record rates. The oil that is left is increasing expensive to extract lying 1 mile below the ocean as in the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster or requiring energy expensive highly polluting extraction as in the Canadian tar sands.
    This of course fundamentally impacts the rate of supply of oil, the expense of supplying it and in turn the price irregardless of speculators.
    Yes, speculators will take advantage of any chance to make a short-term buck and undoubtedly led to
    an overshoot of oil prices in 2008 to $147 per barrel. Which then led to the financial collapse and roller coaster drop in oil prices way below
    their true levels in the months after July, 2008.
    But the delusionists of both the right and left
    seem unwilling to accept the reality that as oil
    runs out and has hit the most that can be produced per day/week/month that unless demand is
    drastically cut via cutting Wars and autos, prices
    will continue to rise.
    Eventually prices will rise until demand falls just because people can no longer afford to drive, fly etc.
    A major increase in public transit could be done very quickly if it was really made a priority.
    I just watched an interview (cannot remember exact link) in which it was pointed out that after
    the US got into WWII it stopped selling new cars,
    rationed gasoline and tires and tripled public transit ridership in months.
    Of course in the ’40’s the US still had most of
    its trolley and Rail systems available and functioning.
    But it shows you what is possible.
    In the meantime gas prices will rise until the economy crashes again unless we stop Wars and
    auto addiction.
    It is not something to wave a magic wand or just
    blame on evil speculators….

  174. Warren Peace May 10, 2011 at 9:56 am #

    Don’t know if everyone’s seen this:
    http://www.abc.net.au/catalyst/stories/3201781.htm
    Excellent reporting from overseas, natch. You can tell it’s from abroad – no requisite interviews with oil industry executives who assure us that everything’s fine and we have enough shale and tar sands for a thousand years, etc. etc., and no sugar-coated happy ending.
    In other news, as reported by the BBC:
    Shale gas drilling contaminates drinking water.

  175. lbendet May 10, 2011 at 9:59 am #

    You totally misunderstand me. I’m discussing the moment in time, not the bigger picture. If you want to discuss why the oil prices have been shooting up recently is what I’m addressing. I’m totally with this blog about peak oil as well as Energy Bulletin and The Oil Drum among other sites I visit daily.
    I’m strictly sticking with an economic paradigm that is counter-intuitive to making economies work, is all.

  176. jfsebastian May 10, 2011 at 10:14 am #

    I enjoy your writing and generally agree with your assessment of our impending economic, social and political decline – disagreeing perhaps with the severity of the decline. However, you continue to depreciate your message with idiotic, baseless attacks on conservative media, politicians and apparently anyone who doesn’t see the world as you do. Your statement “the truth is that Fox News would like to send Team Six into the oval office with guns blazing and helmet cams on ‘record.'” is baseless. If a conservative blogger wrote something like that (substituting ABC news for FOX) it would be branded as hate speech by liberals such as yourself. And, of course, you get the less astute readers of your work aping your comments and taking them at face value. All of us who read your work know you’re a (apparently far left) liberal. You diminish your message with these attacks.

  177. JonathanSS May 10, 2011 at 10:37 am #

    Well, we have less astute citizens supporting every political level & they cling to messages from a wide range of media. Too bad for those that can’t appreciate hyperbola, use of humor and a well turned phrase. The weekly JHK essay is intended to be entertaining. Our host would be disingenuous if he wasn’t true to his leanings and world view.

  178. JonathanSS May 10, 2011 at 10:39 am #

    hyperbole (sp)

  179. ozone May 10, 2011 at 10:45 am #

    Wholly Schickelgruber, Marlin!
    Hundreds of tomahto plants? Wow, got canning jars? Very ambitious. Keep that bull outta the ‘mater patch…
    Crap, that’s what I forgot to get s’more of (jars) down in the flatlands yesterday. Now, if I can get the wife off the dime to purchase those “lifetime” jar tops, we’ll be better set for future. I have a slim hope for the coming years; hers is even slimmer. ;o)
    I think (through a drenching fog, blearily) you had asked if I’d read any Burroughs as yet. I fergitted to order it! The lie-berry will be open tomorrow from 3 to 6 (woo-hoo!), so I’ll have to hie me hence and get their gear going for a borrowing from the lenders.
    On yet ‘nother note, check this.
    Hours for the bar down the way:
    M – closed; T – closed; W – 3 to 9; Thur – 3 to 9; Fri – 12 to 9; Sun – 12 to 8
    Think times ain’t a bit “squeaky”? There’s your indicator, when the bar bidness (fer cry-eye) has to cut back hours ’cause people can’t find the do-re-mi to pay the markup on beers ‘n’ liquor for to pour down their necks. (No sense paying the lights and feeding the stoves for no ROI.)
    Regarding young’uns; met another doing the retail clerking [with one more year of "paid edu" left], who is well aware that THAT particular “vocation” is OVER, babies. And, he knows the resources for all the useless crap, and the commodification of damn-near-everything will be ending very soon. So, it seems they’re quietly “getting their minds right”, as we might say.
    Anyhoo, good comments; good luck with the patch; and happy shootin’.

  180. ozone May 10, 2011 at 11:02 am #

    Good “adjustment” back to the real; thanks for the focus. (We do tend to lose that by the constant “hot-buttoning” getting thrown around.)

  181. ozone May 10, 2011 at 11:17 am #

    “For those who haven’t read Orwell’s classic prediction of our time, Big Brother, the government, could tell the “citizens” any lie and it was accepted unquestioningly. As a perceptive reader pointed out to me, we Americans, with our “free press,” are at this point today: “What is really alarming is the increasingly arrogant sloppiness of these lies, as though the government has become so profoundly confident of its ability to deceive people that they make virtually no effort to even appear credible.”
    A people as gullible as Americans have no future.” -PCR
    Ahhhh; spring is here and the country’s getting nervous. No wonder.
    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article28062.htm

  182. Pepper Spray May 10, 2011 at 11:46 am #

    As we slide slowly but inexorably toward chaos…

  183. Cavepainter May 10, 2011 at 11:47 am #

    The plan for immigration reform Obama is hatching for America follows along the line of industrial farming practices. You see, value of citizenship has been reduced down to consumer of commodities. Translated; cram into available space as many as possible. To hell with quality of life issues that can’t be tabbed to sales receipts. Soon we’ll be drinking our own piss and standing in our own shit. Welcome to a future of standing in food distribution lines or free lancing in the local trash dump as is practiced in India.

  184. Cash May 10, 2011 at 12:07 pm #

    …except the Irish, who have a deep-seated inferiority complex. – MH
    Really? I’m surprised. Why do you say this?

  185. Cash May 10, 2011 at 12:28 pm #

    …but I’m still left in the dark about what the actual Harper policies are. – LD
    Your guess is as good as mine. I could show you their election platform ie eliminate the deficit by 2015, strengthen the military blah, blah. But IMO they’ll be overtaken by crises and events and they’ll make things up on the fly.

  186. asoka May 10, 2011 at 1:02 pm #

    Cash said: “…eliminate the deficit by 2015, strengthen the military…”
    ======
    I guess nobody learns from the USA experience that strengthening the military creates the deficit. The USA has spent TRILLIONS of dollars on the military and now has a deficit of TRILLIONS of dollars. THE MILITARY PRODUCES NOTHING. MILITARY SPENDING HAS NO MULTIPLIER EFFECT LIKE SPENDING IN THE CIVILIAN SECTOR HAS. THE MILITARY EXISTS TO DESTROY INFRASTRUCTURE AND KILL PEOPLE.

  187. Belisarius May 10, 2011 at 1:04 pm #

    Jim
    After reading your spring Upstate travelog, i’m wondering if the Clusterflock might want to quietly repopulate one of these crumbling towns and its hinterland. Some have a “walkable downtown”, potential for local power generation, nearby farmland, maybe even a rail line, and enough remaining infrastructure to be viable post collapse. Despite your observation, i think the locals are generally worthy folk. If a critical mass chose one area to “flock” to, it might fare better than other areas. Just an idea, don’t know if there would be enough interest for it to work out.

  188. lsjogren May 10, 2011 at 1:11 pm #

    jfsabastian:
    Kunstler’s views are anything but those of the establishment left.
    I do think once in a while his views show a bit of confusion, such as when he praises big government programs, despite his clear understanding that our debt ridden centralized system of governance is a path to oblivion.
    But clearly he heaps a lot of criticism on the establishment of the Democratic as well as Reblican parties, so a partisan hack he is anything but.
    Yes he can be hyperbolic discussing Fox News or tea partiers, but he does not hesitate to likewise bash imbecilic icons of the left such as Paul Krugman.

  189. Cash May 10, 2011 at 1:13 pm #

    Based on what you’ve seen and heard and your own gut feel what do you figure is the true story with OBL? Died 10 yrs ago? Is he in a Pakistani refuge under ISI protection?
    No matter what the real story is with the SEAL raid, secrets nowadays are impossible to keep. Sooner or later someone will blab. Govts may sprinkle out their own brand of pixie dust to counter the truth-tellers. But I think that pretty soon, unless OBL resurfaces, thumbs his nose and says nah, nah, yah missed me, yah missed me, the world is going to move on. When was the last time you heard the name Yasser Arafat?
    I think OBL is probably dead. Given that there’s no honour among thieves, I think he was ratted out. I heard that OBL neighbours are telling the press that the Pakistani Army were telling them to keep their lights out and were cordoning off the area shortly before the raid. Maybe the Pakistanis were getting sick of this Arab pain-in-the-ass in their midst and served him up. The guy also had a multi-million dollar bounty on his head. Really tempting for some that might like to bulk up their Swiss bank accounts. I wonder if any money changed hands.

  190. dale May 10, 2011 at 1:20 pm #

    Interesting times….. I talk to a wide variety of people, from young to old and from well-off to working class. EVERYONE I talk to seems to be feeling at least a “pinch”, many more seem to be feeling a serious “squeeze”. This includes doctors who, despite the widespread perception otherwise, have had the insurance companies and hospitals mauling them pretty good the last few years. Many are fighting to pay overhead which still seems to rise in the face of flat or declining revenue. Just up the street from me lives a Harvard grad Hedge Fund Manager. His house is starting to look pretty shabby, and has for a couple of years; I don’t see any effort to do the necessary maintenance.
    Friend of mine is sending his kid to a “3D” technology school in Canada in the fall, in spite of the high cost. The hope is he will learn skills necessary to enter the movie or video game “industry”. The fear is, if he doesn’t get a job on graduation (1 year intensive), his skills will be obsolete very quickly. In Santa Barbara, where my friend lives, post-grad 20 something unemployment is running over 20%.
    Another friend is renting a beautiful, well maintained, 4,000 sf older home/office conversion, very conveniently located, (which use to hold a title company) for $2,000 a month after it set idle for 18 months. I would guess that building would have sold for about $1,100,000 four years ago. Do the math on that one you MBA’s. I see commercial space, especially office, setting idle all over town. The only “growth industry” seems to be the local university. While there is retail space downtown available at any time, it certainly isn’t a ghost town.
    In spite of all this, the restaurants seem to be swamped at night, especially on any weekend night, and prices are noticeably higher than a couple years ago. Young people make up a significant portion of this traffic. Many of them have “fashion accessories” which would likely have made them unemployable five years ago.
    Once again, this shows the difficulty of meaningful forecasting in complex systems. I personally would never have thought the retail and restaurant industry would hold up as well as they have. I would have guessed they would be the first to go; not so.
    What will happen next would be nothing but a guess on my part. While you will never hear me making the kind of foolish, chest pounding forecasts JHK just loves to make, I am not optimistic in the near to mid-term. Long-term (20 years)?? don’t make me laugh….to say you know is to admit to “delusions of grandeur”.

  191. dale May 10, 2011 at 1:26 pm #

    BTW….the shelf life of most grains held at household temperature is 9-12 years.

  192. edpell May 10, 2011 at 1:48 pm #

    Young people filling restaurants isn’t this what happened in Japan where young women with jobs were the ones with money to spend. It makes sense the young are no longer trying to form families, they live at home with their parents, and they have a job. Their only expenses are food and clothes. They can afford to eat out on the weekend. It is the high point of their week/life.

  193. edpell May 10, 2011 at 1:58 pm #

    The fact is the federal government takes in about 1.8 trillion and spends about 3.2 trillion (social security is off-budget having it’s own tax base). There are only four big budget items 1) military at 1000 billion, health care at 800 billion, interest at 400 billion and ag subsidies at 400 billion. If we cut each of these by 50% we would be close to a balanced budget. That works for me.

  194. memoryhole May 10, 2011 at 2:07 pm #

    Osama Bin Laden is actually living on a remote island along with Elvis, Biggie, and Tu Pac.

  195. San Jose Mom 51 May 10, 2011 at 2:20 pm #

    Elvis does his grocery shopping at Lunardi’s in San Jose. I’ve been shopping there for 20 years and have spotted him 6-7 times. Last time I saw him he was picking up a box of donuts. White suit, pork chop sideburns, the whole get-up. Last week I was busy selecting an avocado and I heard one of the checkers make the announcement, “Elvis has left the building.”
    Jen

  196. asoka May 10, 2011 at 2:23 pm #

    ProCon said: “…their best and brightest keep leaving for the US…”
    Thanks for that, ProCon. This is my point. It has been so for centuries.
    Our nation is the leader of the global economy in part because of the steady stream of hardworking and talented people who have come to our country in search of a better life for themselves and their families.
    It is the American way to welcome immigrants with open arms, as true Americans have always done.

  197. tucsonspur May 10, 2011 at 2:35 pm #

    Jim, this week you had me thinking of a Hopper painting with it’s sad, lonely buildings, but also with a scene of tattooed gangsta-thugs and Lady-Gaga types staring zombie like into a store window filled with “tap-out” and ‘affliction” clothing.
    Is it America’s only fate now to tap, snap or nap?

  198. BeantownBill May 10, 2011 at 2:45 pm #

    I think we could get out of our wars and cut our military budget by 4-500 billion dollars without any loss of security to our nation. I don’t know very much about ag subsidies, living in a large metro area as I do, so I can’t comment on that. In order to cut health care by 50% we would need a major overhaul of our health care system, and I don’t think that’s politically feasible.
    We can’t decrease our interest payments by 50%unless we buy down our national debt by 50%, and the feds have no money to take out of their savings account to do so. To buy down the debt by 50% would require a $7 trillion tax increase or a de facto dollar devaluation of 50%, both of which aren’t really feasible.
    And don’t forget, what has been happening for a long time is a sneaky kind of dollar devaluation: The US Treasury has been been creating an overabundance of paper debt instruments to pay its bills and run its operations. The Federal Reserve has been creating dollars to give to the Treasury in exchange for most of these debt instruments.
    The big increase in the supply of dollars has resulted in low interest rates (according to supply and demand). The dollar is presently perceived by the world to be a better investment than other currencies, whether or not this is true. As soon as any major US trading partner decides it wants payment for its goods and services in anything other than dollars, then the US must entice these countries to continue to accept dollar payments by giving them higher interest rates. Higher rates = higher debt service = higher US debt and/or increase in the dollar supply = higher inflation.
    Current US interest rates are effectively at zero and can’t be significantly lowered. This means our present situation is as good as it gets. Wait and see what happens to our country’s financials in a few years when our debt service goes much higher. As much as I would like to see our deficit halved and have a balanced budget, it’s too late already for that without massive suffering.

  199. Wrenandox May 10, 2011 at 3:02 pm #

    Jim may not want to hear this but in Oregon, where a lot of people ride bikes, have gardens, and know their neighbors, most people under the age of 35 are tattooed. I don’t live back east, but out here the only mindfull people are tattooed. Usually heavily and beautifully I will add. We all have our prejudices, I guess. I see a man in a suit and I run the other way! They all look like thiefs and criminals to me in their white collars.

  200. Cavepainter May 10, 2011 at 3:20 pm #

    Please, don’t you see the theater behind all this? OBL was a trump card held to be placed when the greatest political capital was to be gained. Com’mon, the average Pakistani in the streets is being played by his/her government just like the US citizens are being played. We’re all being played for chumps by stage dressings to obscure the reality of who’s running the show and to what purpose. Problem is, we just keep purchasing the tickets and applauding for more.

  201. memoryhole May 10, 2011 at 3:22 pm #

    Too bad you have no real evidence to support your idea except a “hunch.”
    Doesn’t the US government do enough questionable things without you having to invent outlandish conspiracy theories?

  202. asoka May 10, 2011 at 3:30 pm #

    “This means our present situation is as good as it gets. ”
    ===========
    Cut, cut, cut. Reduce spending, sacrifice, etc. etc.
    The Republican/Conservative brainwashing has been so thorough that no one even mentions taxing the rich… even though the last time we had a balanced budget, and created 22 million jobs, was when the marginal tax rates were much higher.
    Think of it like a family budget. If you have no money, it makes no sense to say “well, cut out eating” as that leads to death. Instead, it makes more sense to say: “get a job” or “grow a garden” as that increases revenues.
    If we cut the military budget, closed the 700 bases around the world, and INCREASE TAXES ON THE RICH, then we can balance the budget, as we did under Clinton.
    Our present situation is NOT as good as it gets. It can get much much better.

  203. memoryhole May 10, 2011 at 3:38 pm #

    Good luck getting those tax increases on the rich when they own the political system lock, stock, & barrel.
    To give you some idea of how lopsided the wealth distribution has become, I read a factoid that the top 400 wealthiest families in the US have more wealth than the bottom 50%.
    Third World America, here we come.

  204. messianicdruid May 10, 2011 at 3:50 pm #

    “We’re all being played for chumps by stage dressings to obscure the reality of who’s running the show and to what purpose. Problem is, we just keep purchasing the tickets and applauding for more.”
    Washington (CNN) – Democratic Sen. John Kerry said it is time to stop questioning the exact occurrences in Osama bin Laden’s house before his death in Abbottabad, Pakistan, at the hand of U.S. Navy SEALs.
    “I thinks those SEALs did exactly what they should have done,” the senator from Massachusetts and 2004 presidential nominee said Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” “And we need to shut up and move on about, you know, the realities of what happened in that building.”
    Kerry, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said the information gleaned from bin Laden’s compound underscores his active role in the terrorist network.
    “He was, in fact, the center,” Kerry said.
    He also praised the Obama administration’s handling of the situation, despite errors in initial information disseminated by the White House, something he said is “the nature of the beast.”
    “Letting these folks know that we have this information is actually a way of deterring certain activities from taking place,” Kerry said. “So I think they’re (al Qaeda) on the defensive, significantly so. And I think strategically the administration has done very, very well.”
    http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2011/05/08/shut-up-and-move-on-kerry-says/?hpt=Sbin
    Nothing to see here, move along…

  205. messianicdruid May 10, 2011 at 3:55 pm #

    “It is the American way to welcome immigrants with open arms, as true Americans have always done.”
    When they get to their reservation, they have time to think better about it.

  206. messianicdruid May 10, 2011 at 3:57 pm #

    “OBL is actually living on a remote island along with Elvis, Biggie, and Tu Pac.”
    Don’t forget Michael…

  207. asoka May 10, 2011 at 4:02 pm #

    No, the true Americans welcomed the pilgrims.
    http://bit.ly/ir5ZiY

  208. Cavepainter May 10, 2011 at 4:13 pm #

    That’s the ingeniousness of it. Governments have learned that Irregularities and inconsistencies in official statements and explanations actually are useful means — in this age of the internet — of keeping the public unable to coalesce into a unified body of revolt.
    Lacking credible explanation of policies and actions we all disperse along the proliferating strings of diverse conspiracy theories on the internet, each searching for his/her own personal sense of “knowing”. By the time any consensus begins to build another staged event or topic is brought to the fore.
    Consider; how many times did change the Administration’s account of the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound and the circumstances of his death? Followed, predictably, by a media circus of partisan justification or condemnation of whatever was the latest changing news feed from the Obama Administration.
    Get it, we’re being systematically screwed out of national sovereignty and the worth of citizenship in directing national destiny.

  209. memoryhole May 10, 2011 at 4:17 pm #

    I second the recommendation of Disaster Capitalism (the book, not the system).
    It seems that the US is undergoing its own set of crises that have been exploited to ram certain ideologies down own throats.
    De-regulation. Check.
    Privatization. Check.
    Cutting social services. Check.
    The warm-up was Chile and Argentina and other “Southern Cone” countries. Now the chickens come home to roost.

  210. trippticket May 10, 2011 at 4:17 pm #

    “Who needs a happy cow? That will change, by the way, yet it is one of the many things we’re not having a conversation about in this demoralized land.”
    I’ve tried. Too many jagoffs around here think that grabbing the occasional gallon of milk from a free-ranging cow (with no calf to feed), on more acreage than she could ever exploit, equals bilious, hateful oppression. When will we wake up from THAT tired conversation??

  211. trippticket May 10, 2011 at 4:19 pm #

    I’m sure that Elvis and Biggie get along famously, but how do you guys think the King and Pac make out?

  212. trippticket May 10, 2011 at 4:22 pm #

    “This must be the longest period of history for a particular teen fashion – going on two decades now?”
    Trim out the stochastic noise and it just looks like a peaking plateau to me…and bad timing.

  213. memoryhole May 10, 2011 at 4:30 pm #

    Bottom line is that the wealthy loot the treasury with the aid of the politicians. There is no revolving door. The movers and shakers on Wall St. are the same people who then end up in government making policy to benefit themselves and their bottom lines. There is plenty of evidence of this. (There was an excellent Matt Taibbi article on this phenomenom which I’ll try to dig up and post in a bit.)
    Do you really need to go all the way to La La Land and make outlandish suggestions regarding OBL’s death? Doesn’t this just muddy the waters?

  214. memoryhole May 10, 2011 at 4:35 pm #

    This….
    http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/why-isnt-wall-street-in-jail-20110216
    I’d quote some juicy bits, but you all should read the whole thing. It’ll make you nauseous.

  215. memoryhole May 10, 2011 at 4:37 pm #

    Is there any book that traces the financial misdeeds of the elite from, say, early Reagan years up to now? I’m thinking of S&L Crisis, BCCI, etc. There is a lot of precident for what has occurred over the last couple years. Has anyone connected the dots? Some of the same people (literally) have been involved.

  216. asoka May 10, 2011 at 4:41 pm #

    “grabbing the occasional gallon of milk”
    ============
    Well put. Grabbing.
    Exploitation without permission from the animal.
    At a time when the human population is approaching seven billion, is it realistic to expect to continue feeding ourselves on animal flesh, milk and eggs? Or do we need to make preparations for a future where there simply aren’t sufficient resources to support the inefficient methods of animal-based food production?
    For those who seek a way to avoid exploitation and cruelty, the choice doesn’t have to be between factory-farmed and free-range.
    There is another option, veganism, a truly ethical alternative that does not require us to sacrifice our moral standards for the satisfaction of our appetites and our taste buds.

  217. memoryhole May 10, 2011 at 4:41 pm #

    Oh, yeah, CEO pay was up 11% last year over the previous. If you’re in the 1% of the 1%, give yourself a big fat pat on the back and a generous pay raise and bonus for being so awesome.

  218. memoryhole May 10, 2011 at 4:42 pm #

    “Exploitation without permission from the animal.”
    Well, how would that work?! Pigs, cows, and chickens can’t talk!

  219. trippticket May 10, 2011 at 4:43 pm #

    Did an hour long PowerPoint presentation to a dozen, count them, a dozen half-dozey, half-interested, semi-serious gardeners and farmers this morning. Although I think I had some of them up to 3/4 interested by the time I finished! Actually several of them requested my card and a site visit;)
    This is hard-core agronomics reform, folks! I dropped more than one blatant hint that BAU was over, and that we needed to radically rethink food production, sans oil, in this country. A move that requires a lot more thought and attention than grabbing a handful of 10-10-10.
    The poppies are so strong. Especially down here in the Bible belt. But we must keep plugging. There is no such thing as a solo victory in this contest.

  220. asoka May 10, 2011 at 4:51 pm #

    “Why do I try?”
    ========
    A naive faith that Asoka is reachable?
    The original immigrants (from Europe), especially the Quakers, respected Native Americans and the two groups got along well.
    So, your assertion “fighting terrorism since 1492″ is not quite accurate. The really bloody fighting happened in the 1800s when there was a massive forced relocation and movement of Native American nations to reservations.

  221. trippticket May 10, 2011 at 4:59 pm #

    “At a time when the human population is approaching seven billion, is it realistic to expect to continue feeding ourselves on animal flesh, milk and eggs? Or do we need to make preparations for a future where there simply aren’t sufficient resources to support the inefficient methods of animal-based food production?”
    You understand that a departure from animal foods means the extermination of those animals, right? Not their liberation into Eden. They eat too, and if they are competing for resources with an increasing human population they lose. A better way is to let them eat the things we can’t eat and then for us to eat them. I’m never going to eat grass, no matter how rough things get, but Anna loves it. Cows, chickens, pigs, et al, are successful as species because of their alliance with humans. Nature only cares about species. You seem to only care about individuals. Talk about aberrant, unnatural behavior.
    And thanks for proving my point about the inability to have a rational discussion on this topic. There you go, Jim! Asoka to the rescue!

  222. trippticket May 10, 2011 at 5:09 pm #

    I’ve admitted that feeding animals grain that would feed more people is a bad situation, and an unsustainable expense. Of course, this isn’t the kind of meat I’m ever referring to, and Asoka knows it. His religion just blinds him to logic, unfortunately. It’s less energetically expensive to eat animals that utilize foodstuffs that are unpalatable to humans than it is to convert that acreage to human crops. Not the same equation as a feed lot at all.

  223. Cash May 10, 2011 at 5:16 pm #

    Oh I agree. I think you misunderstand me. I know about theatre. One of our party leaders (the socialist NDP) was found in an Asian massage parlour during a police raid in 1996 (he was given a warning but not charged). Two days before the election on May 2 the story found its way into the media probably by way of a Liberal Party fixer.
    What I said is that the truth about OBL will eventually come out. Having said that I think he’s likely dead.

  224. asia May 10, 2011 at 5:24 pm #

    Was the wheat in the Pyramids edible 1000’s of years later?

  225. asia May 10, 2011 at 5:27 pm #

    WHAT ABOUT WILD PIGS?
    And if those species disappear to end their unbelievable torment in factory farms so be it!
    You know the pollution from those ‘farms’…the red tide, the pig farms in Carolina.

  226. asia May 10, 2011 at 5:30 pm #

    ‘as true Americans have always done.’
    a lie, as history proves.

  227. asia May 10, 2011 at 5:34 pm #

    Have you read[oh] Sowell or Buchanan on what
    ‘civil rights’ organizations did with their lawsuits against the boy-scouts?
    all for their agendas [leftism, gay 'rights']

  228. trippticket May 10, 2011 at 5:36 pm #

    How much plainer can I say that I AM NOT REFERRING TO FACTORY FARMS!! I’m talking about integrated grass-based systems. Not even remotely the same thing.

  229. Cavepainter May 10, 2011 at 5:36 pm #

    LA LA land? How did we get from a 40 minute firefight participated in by an armed OBL himself to….now pay attention….no resistance (armed or otherwise) and the only shots fired were those in executing OBL? Hmmmm,…..these “changes” in the story took up a week of newscasts with blogs gone wild with speculation (conspiracies?)and partisan argument exchanges justifying or condemming whatever was the momentary version of the raid description reported.
    How different is that compared to the death of Cpl. Pat Tillman and the “rescue” of Pvt. Jessica Lynch?

  230. bossier22 May 10, 2011 at 5:38 pm #

    asoka only a handful of people are emigrating from the u.s. compared to the numbers entering. what a deliberately misleading hoax of a comparison.

  231. george May 10, 2011 at 5:44 pm #

    The words of Jackson Brown’s brilliant 1978 hit Running On Empty come to mind whenever I read one of JHK’s blogs or listen to world events on the evening news:
    Looking out at the road rushing under my wheels
    Looking back at the years gone by like so many summer fields
    In 65 I was 17 and running up 01
    I don’t know where I’m running now I’m just running on
    Running on Running on Empty
    We are at a very weird place in our history. The collective nostalgia for our recent past prevents us from taking a long, hard look at where we are and where we’re going. Outdated living arrangements and the false expectation that the future will be much like the present blind us to the hard choices we face individually and collectively as we enter the Long Emergency. Bravo JHK for a remarkably insightful observation. We have no national purpose, no collective national identity and our obsession with “getting something for nothing” has been revealed as a giant hoax. I think this is the ideal time for a new, reality-based political party to take over Washington.

  232. asia May 10, 2011 at 5:46 pm #

    ‘The fear is, if he doesn’t get a job on graduation (1 year intensive), his skills will be obsolete very quickl.’….Yes but if he can learn 2011 3D
    he can learn most softwares.
    The problem with Education, now that the loans are at a Trillion outstanding is the For Profit Schools, with their ‘factories’ [as a student at Art institute told me], loans and GI Bill.
    Ive posted here before about that.
    How can someone in Arizona repay 100k for their Culinary degree if they are making 400$ a week?

  233. asia May 10, 2011 at 5:48 pm #

    Arent Cows, Sheep and Horses what destroyed the grasslands of the west?
    And I am referring to the animals and their lives.
    If the species is dependent on humans, maybe let it go the way of the dinosaur.
    Now whos incapable of rational discussion?
    me? asoka? or you?

  234. asia May 10, 2011 at 5:51 pm #

    Every year about 100,000 leave the USA.
    Its averaging 2 million a year moving here?
    and the fact is Mexicans and Muslims breed like rats, which is why they must seek ‘greener pastures’, they ruin everywhere they go!
    Even Spain now has Mexican gangs, they allowed Mexicans to move there.

  235. asia May 10, 2011 at 5:55 pm #

    If shes in NYC she doesnt need a car.
    What school does she go to?
    from what I see near UCLA and other schools the young are more car dependent than ever!

  236. asoka May 10, 2011 at 6:01 pm #

    Glad to see I’m not the only one whose frustration leads to the use of CAPITAL LETTERS.
    LOL!
    Look, Tripp, we disagree here, but not on the basis of “religion” as you charge. I am talking science. Grass-fed beef is bad for the environment, is not safe, is not good for your health, and is not a viable alternative to factory farming.
    Grass-fed beef is bad for the environment because raising animals for food, especially cattle, is one of the leading causes of global climate change.
    Grass-fed beef is not safer. If you eat meat, you are increasing your risk of developing E. Coli.
    There is no evidence to suggest that grass-fed beef has a lower risk of contamination than factory-farmed meat. E. Coli is transmitted through contact with fecal matter and all meat has fecal matter contamination. Some prominent supporters of grass-fed beef have said that the stomachs of cows who eat grass are more resistant to E. Coli, which is a claim that has never been backed up by facts.
    Grass-fed beef is not good for your health because it is still full of saturated-fat, cholesterol and, usually, growth hormones. It may be true that beef from cattle who are fed grass is somewhat better for your health than meat from animals who live their entire lives confined on feed-lots. However, eating a plant-based diet is even better for your health. We’ve known for years that beef consumption is linked to the major killers: cancer and heart-attack.
    If everyone ate grass-fed beef factory-farming would not end. Eating grass-fed beef does not challenge factory-farming, because it is not a viable alternative.
    It is expensive and there is not nearly enough grassland in America to raise that many cattle.
    Every year in the United States, over 10 billion land animals are raised and killed for human consumption. There is a reason why factory-farming persists: Americans continue to eat meat.
    There simply is not enough grassland to raise that many animals on pastures. Plus, ordinary people cannot afford the high price-tag of grass-fed beef.

  237. asia May 10, 2011 at 6:02 pm #

    This just appeared on Yahoo, as Illinois pushes on the Nite mare of the Dream Act…
    Gawd is this depot a monster:
    In search of Hispanic votes and an immigration overhaul, President Barack Obama on Tuesday stood at the U.S.-Mexico border for the first time since winning the White House and declared it more secure than ever.
    He mocked Republican lawmakers for blocking immigration over border security alone,
    saying they won’t be happy until they get a moat with alligators along the border.
    “They’ll never be satisfied,” he said.
    Stymied by both chambers of Congress, the president ditched lawmakers in favor of voters who might pressure them, making an appeal to the public …………blablabl

  238. memoryhole May 10, 2011 at 6:11 pm #

    “How did we get from a 40 minute firefight participated in by an armed OBL himself to….now pay attention….no resistance (armed or otherwise) and the only shots fired were those in executing OBL?”
    Media speculation, reporters talking to different “off the record” sources, indecision among the top brass as to what details should be revealed, a priori cloak of secrecy relating to black ops, or (most likely) reluctance to reveal that the true mission was killing Bin Laden and his associates no matter what rather than capturing them.
    This was an assassination mission from the get go, but the administration muddied the waters in order to make it seem like it was capture or kill, which it most likely was not.
    Or was all this differing information the result of ….a vast government conspiracy? A media psyop?

    (Reuters) – The U.S. special forces team that hunted down Osama bin Laden was under orders to kill the al Qaeda mastermind, not capture him, a U.S. national security official told Reuters.
    “This was a kill operation,” the official said, making clear there was no desire to try to capture bin Laden alive in Pakistan. (Reporting by Mark Hosenball, writing by Matt Spetalnick)

  239. memoryhole May 10, 2011 at 6:29 pm #

    “declared it more secure than ever”
    It IS more secure than ever. Border crossings are down to 1/3 from the peak of a few years ago (sorry misplaced the source on that but it is approximately right).
    There are thousands more border agents now (Obama added 1200 in one go as I recall), a lot more resources, and a lot more awareness of the issue. Many new sections of fence have been added. Seismic sensors are being used to track groups that enter illegally.
    Is it a perfect, vacuum sealed, hermetic barrier? Of course not. You’d have to implement The Berlin Wall Part II to make it so, and even then people got across that all the time. It simply isn’t practical.
    Put up a fence you say…hm, well, I’ll just bring my trusty ladder or a shovel to tunnel underneath. Or I’ll hop in a boat. Or I’ll find a nice long drainage tunnel. There’s many options for getting here illegally.
    The idea that tough immigration policy rests mainly on having a hard shell on the outside is a canard. The punishment for knowingly hiring illegals needs to be made much more severe, and hiring procedures need to verify citizenship or legal right to work to effectively feret out illegals in the interior. The same could be said for renting out apartments.
    Because defending the border is largely like whack-o-mole. If you stop them in one place, they’ll go someplace else, especially when there are more than a thousand miles of potential crossing points. But if the internal environment is not condusive to them living here, they won’t bother coming or will go home.
    Me, I think it is cruel that we ruin their domestic agricultural economy with cheap ass American export crops and then complain when they want to leave their crappy country and come here. What do you expect? The neo-liberals/conservatives fell all over themselves to get Mexico to rip down its barriers to exports, and this is what we have gotten from that policy, a neighbor country with a collapsed economy.
    Because it turns out (golly gee) that open, free markets actually don’t necessarily lead to prosperity for undeveloped, Third World economies but actually, in many cases, quite the opposite.
    And I agree with you on one point. The demographics are screwed. There was a recent Foreign Policy article about the lack of family planning or indeed opposition to it, being a huge foreign policy blunder. I’d say so.
    Alex Jones is always talking about how the elites are pro-population control and I’m like, “The problem being?” If we don’t solve that little “problem” then Mother Nature will solve it for us, in its most dramatic and unpalatable fashion.

  240. memoryhole May 10, 2011 at 6:42 pm #

    The First World investor class all want access to the economies of the less developed countries. “Let us in!” they say. The rich want to be able to buy property and companies in poorer countries. They want the poor countries to “open up” their economies, float their currencies, and balance their budgets after undergoing IMF and World Bank “austerity” measures, designed to benefit the wealthy First World elite. This is so the rich can loot and pillage from the poor countries and make quick returns on their investments in places where environmental and labor laws are sketchy or non-existant. When Third World countries are forced to sell off state assets under these programs, who do you think buys them, the locals? Nope, usually it is the wealthy First Worlders who get to acquire state telecom, mining, and petroleum interests (among others) for pennies on the dollar.
    But God forbid a poor person from one of those countries wants to come to the US. We charge them $5000 for their Green Card (and what Third World peasant has that kind of dough?) and make achieving legal citizenship pretty arduous.
    Still we cry, “Let us in!” We need to make MONEY from your country.
    But FU if you want to come here. “Keep them out!”

  241. Cavepainter May 10, 2011 at 7:33 pm #

    No argument with your analysis of global market shock troops and resource manipulator misdeeds. To suggest though that the US citizenry must suffer a restitution of surrendered sovereignty and loss of sole entitlement for determining national destiny is not acceptable. I’ve argued here before that the citizenry are victims no less than others for having had their government highjacked by economic privateers — at great cost too, not just in terms of betrayal but in national wealth and blood.
    Whatever judgements and aspersions you might wish to put on the US citzenry, arguing that grandios acts of pennance such as opening our borders will not save the world. Overpopulation has already baked into the cake a vast die off across much of the globe. Our own margin of survival is tenuous at best with our current population. Even if we invoke a moretoreum today on immigration sustaining semblence of life quality known here today is dubious. Personally, life without wilderness experience, places of solitude, wildlife habitat, species diversity and even the experience wood fireplaces is life unacceptable.

  242. bubbleheadMarc May 10, 2011 at 7:48 pm #

    As pointed out in “The Shooting Party” by James Mason’s character to John Gielgud’s character, who was protesting a pheasant shoot as cruely to animals, the birds wouldn’t exist in the first place if the lord of the manor had not gone to the bother of breeding them for the purpose of the hunt. Mason’s character went to the trouble of speaking with the picketer because he wanted to find out who his printer was since he admired the workmanship evident in the printed tracts distributed for the edification of the bird “murderers”.
    In a similar vein, if no one hired the illegal aliens they wouldn’t be here in the first place, would they?
    And then finally, it should be evident to even the most casual observer that the U.S. armed forces are still quite bloated from the cold war and this in spite of the fact that there is no credible threat of invasion from anyone save perhaps space aliens who are being kept secret so that we don’t become unduly upset and stop playing our various roles in society. For that matter, was there any credible threat of invasion even from the Soviet Union? How about Nazi Germany? If Hitler couldn’t even make it across the English channel how was he ever going to make it to the east coast of the United States? The answer of course is that he wasn’t ever going to, and course in the event did not. We are a bunch of nervous nellies is the only plausible conclusion.

  243. JonathanSS May 10, 2011 at 7:50 pm #

    …breed like rats,…

    Be cautious of the use of extremist rhetoric. This is similar to a Nazi metaphor.

  244. memoryhole May 10, 2011 at 7:52 pm #

    Hey, cave. Not sure that I was advocating the throwing open of US doors to all comers. I just find it hypocritical of us to demand that other countries open up to us economically even while we complain about “them” coming over “here.”

  245. lbendet May 10, 2011 at 7:59 pm #

    Ok, so you have a pretty good idea about the neoliberal agenda, but as I keep saying, as we start going downhill, we will be fodder for the same type of foreign investor that we have been in third world countries. Think Sovereign wealth funds from Abu Dhabi….

  246. BeantownBill May 10, 2011 at 8:00 pm #

    When I said this is as good as it gets, I meant that under the way we do things now politically, it can’t get any better.
    Just cutting the Pentagon budget and taxing the rich more won’t stop the US from going into decline. We need to pay off our national debt, too. Otherwise, when interest rates go up eventually, as they must, our budget expenses go up, too.

  247. jdfarmer May 10, 2011 at 8:21 pm #

    Wow.
    Before there were 500 hp quad track John Deer tractors and 60 foot corn planters, and us white folk around here, there were millions of grass fed buffalo on which the early settlers survived.
    The vegetarian diet, as it were, is supplemented by eating the oil based fertilizers that feed the crop, because the grass fed animals are no longer there to cycle the nutrients.
    It will be so again.

  248. trippticket May 10, 2011 at 8:45 pm #

    Your reply is so full of…um…holes, that I won’t waste any more of my time trying to straighten you out. Suffice to say that MIG livestock grazing represents the ONLY real and rapid carbon sequestration activity being conducted on Earth today. And delivers an appropriate human food that is nothing like the garbage you describe in your “rebuttal.”
    Keep enjoying your petroleum tofu. I won’t bore you with the 25 ways soybeans are deleterious to human health. Not just boring, but bad for you.
    Like JD said, Wow.

  249. trippticket May 10, 2011 at 8:56 pm #

    Just to shorten the inevitable argument, let me qualify that last statement as unfermented>/i> soybeans.

  250. trippticket May 10, 2011 at 9:02 pm #

    Appropriate, sustainable food systems include animals. Period. You don’t necessarily have to eat them, but they’ll at least have to be there eventually. Just like the bacteria, and the fungi, and the protists…Nature doesn’t work on segregated terms.
    Veganism is segregation of the highest order. And it is completely and utterly underwritten by the petroleum subsidy.

  251. Pucker May 10, 2011 at 9:03 pm #

    “Pucker —
    I went to El Paso, Texas, today to lay out a plan to do something big: fix America’s broken immigration system.
    It’s an issue that affects you, whether you live in a border town like El Paso or not. Our immigration system reflects how we define ourselves as Americans — who we are, who we will be — and continued inaction poses serious costs for everyone.
    Those costs are human, felt by millions of people here and abroad who endure years of separation or deferred dreams — and millions more hardworking families whose wages are depressed when employers wrongly exploit a cheap source of labor. That’s why immigration reform is also an economic imperative — an essential step needed to strengthen our middle class, create new industries and new jobs, and make sure America remains competitive in the global economy.
    Because this is such a tough problem — one that politicians in Washington have been either exploiting or dodging, depending on the politics — this change has to be driven by people like you.
    Washington won’t act unless you lead.
    So if you’re willing to do something about this critical issue, join our call for immigration reform now. Those who do will be part of our campaign to educate people on this issue and build the critical mass needed to make Washington act:
    http://my.barackobama.com/Immigration-Reform
    In recent years, concerns about whether border security and enforcement were tough enough were among the greatest impediments to comprehensive reform. They are legitimate issues that needed to be addressed — and over the past two years, we have made great strides in enhancing security and enforcement.
    We have more boots on the ground working to secure our southwest border than at any time in our history. We’re going after employers who knowingly break the law. And we are deporting those who are here illegally. I know the increase in deportations has been a source of controversy, but I want to emphasize that we are focusing our limited resources on violent offenders and people convicted of crimes — not families or people looking to scrape together an income.
    So we’ve addressed the concerns raised by those who have stood in the way of progress in the past. And now that we have, it’s time to build an immigration system that meets our 21st-century economic needs and reflects our values both as a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants.
    Today, we provide students from around the world with visas to get engineering and computer science degrees at our top universities. But then our laws discourage them from using those skills to start a business or a new industry here in the United States. That just doesn’t make sense.
    We also need to stop punishing innocent young people for the actions of their parents — and pass the DREAM Act so they can pursue higher education or become military service members in the country they know as home. We already know enormous economic benefits from the steady stream of talented and hardworking people coming to America. More than a century and a half ago, U.S. Steel’s Andrew Carnegie was a 13-year-old brought here from Scotland by his family in search of a better life. And in 1979, a Russian family seeking freedom from Communism brought a young Sergey Brin to America — where he would become a co-founder of Google.
    Through immigration, we’ve become an engine of the global economy and a beacon of hope, ingenuity and entrepreneurship. We should make it easier for the best and brightest not only to study here, but also to start businesses and create jobs here. That’s how we’ll win the future.
    Immigration is a complex issue that raises strong feelings. And as we push for long-overdue action, we’re going to hear the same sort of ugly rhetoric that has delayed reform for years — despite long and widespread recognition that our current system fails us all and hurts our economy.
    So you and I need to be the ones talking about this issue in the language of hope, not fear — in terms of how we are made stronger by our differences, and can be made stronger still.
    Take a moment now to watch my El Paso speech and join this campaign for change:
    http://my.barackobama.com/Immigration-Reform
    Thank you,
    Barack”

  252. ctemple May 10, 2011 at 9:16 pm #

    I believe these pro immigration creeps are deliberately trying to destroy their own country, how could anybody look at twenty percent unemployment, (the real figure) and think we need more cheap labor? Or that the unpatriotic jerks who hire them are entitled to it? What part of citizenship don’t these people understand.

  253. progressorconserve May 10, 2011 at 9:34 pm #

    Pucker,
    BO has proven abilities as a public speaker.
    He has proven that he will say almost anything in service to the growth at all cost/Wall Street overlords of the US.
    His presentation, today at the border, fits a pattern.

  254. progressorconserve May 10, 2011 at 9:42 pm #

    JDFarmer and Tripp –
    Extremely well done, gentlemen.
    We can’t run this place (Earth) without animals who live and give their lives – to some large extent – in the service of humanity.
    Asoka is trolling, as he usually does.
    Asia, on the other hand, is a genuine vegan/vegetarian.
    Vegetarianism/veganism becomes a sort of religion or religion substitute for the followers.
    I often agree with asia, despite his truncated and misspelled posts.
    But on this issue, he’s wrong.
    Veganism truly will not work for the Earth’s huge human populations without oil based fertilizers and oil based farming practices.

  255. Pucker May 10, 2011 at 9:45 pm #

    “I went to El Paso, Texas, today to lay out a plan to do something big: fix America’s broken immigration system.”
    Obama uses such “Big Words”….

  256. progressorconserve May 10, 2011 at 9:53 pm #

    “But FU if you want to come here. “Keep them out!””
    -memoryhole-
    Pretty nice posts, memory.
    And nice handle, too.
    Most (maybe almost all!?) of the US based globalists who want the free flow of capital and open markets to exploit ALSO want high immigration into the US.
    The more consumers and producers in the US – the more money to be creamed off by the US/global elites who live here.
    That we’re ruining other countries – as well as our own – does not seem to hit them as something to be concerned about, in their own little lifetimes.
    They think they will always be on top.
    Maybe they are right.
    “He who dies with the most toys – Wins.”
    -mantra of US and global elites-

  257. messianicdruid May 10, 2011 at 10:02 pm #

    “We need to pay off our national debt, too.”
    “We”, as in you and me, don’t have a national debt. Well, I shouldn’t speak for you. You may have authorized them to go fouteen trilliuon plus into hock, but I didn’t.
    The other problem with your idea: you can’t pay off a debt with another debt {FRN}. The debt is unpayable. It is fraud. It will never be payed off. Jubilee. Look it up.

  258. asoka May 10, 2011 at 10:03 pm #

    Tripp, I don’t eat tofu. I don’t like soybeans.
    Every time we discuss this you bring up the fake soybean bugaboo argument as a way of avoiding the real argument related to meat consumption: land and water use for a global population.
    It takes 22 times the acres of land to meet the food energy needs of one person eating meat than it does for one person eating potatoes.
    It takes more than 13 times the water to produce one day’s food supply for an omnivore than it does for a vegan.
    According to a UN FAO report, “in all, livestock production amounts to 70 percent of all agricultural land and 30 percent of the land surface of this planet.”
    The USDA says growing crops for animals takes up 80 percent of the agricultural land in the USA and animals raised for food in the USA consume 90 percent of the soy crop, 80 percent of the corn and 70 percent of its grain.
    Yeah, I know, Tripp, you are not engaged in the industrial agricultural model, so you don’t think any of these statistics apply to you.

  259. messianicdruid May 10, 2011 at 10:10 pm #

    “Grass-fed beef is not good for your health because it is still full of saturated-fat, cholesterol and, usually, growth hormones… We’ve known for years that beef consumption is linked to the major killers: cancer and heart-attack.”
    We’ve been lied to for years.
    http://www.sott.net/articles/show/228076-You-Have-Been-Lied-to-About-Cholesterol-and-Fats

  260. asia May 10, 2011 at 10:13 pm #

    Dale,
    I looked at the latest ‘TIME’ today after I posted..well well well..
    A nice piece on ‘FOR PROFIT SCHOOLS’…
    I DIDNT KNOW WASH. POST INC OWNS KAPLAN
    AND WELL WELL WELL….60% OF WASH POST INC REVENUE IS FROM KAPLAN…
    The WP is subsidized by govt student loans, 40%?of which from those who go to for profits are unpaid / delinquent….well well well
    thanks to all who replied to my usual about US immigration.

  261. progressorconserve May 10, 2011 at 10:14 pm #

    “asoka only a handful of people are emigrating from the u.s. compared to the numbers entering. what a deliberately misleading hoax of a comparison.”
    -bossier22-
    Nice call, bossier.
    “It is the American way to welcome immigrants with open arms, as true Americans have always done.”
    -asoka-
    “Something that can not be sustained – won’t be.”
    -PoC-

  262. fairguy May 10, 2011 at 10:15 pm #

    “The time will come when that disposition of things will change of course.”
    In the meantime let’s take a look at how the Federal Government is managing its program for high speed rail – at the local level. The excerpt below – I think – shows it as more of a PR and window dressing effort than a real project to make rail transit viable in this country.
    From today’s Seattle Times (http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2015008320_rail10m.html):
    The federal government on Monday decided not to give high-speed rail stimulus money to reduce mudslides that often cancel Amtrak and Sound Transit trains north of Seattle.
    The state Department of Transportation (DOT) asked for $10 million to study and design mudslide-control projects, as part of a $120 million grant application.
    But federal Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood opted to spend nearly all of the available money on construction and manufacturing — in other words, what used to be called “shovel-ready” projects. Several states vied for a share of $2 billion in rail aid that Florida Gov. Rick Scott spurned in February.

    Trains arrived on time on only two-thirds of trips as of 2009, and the DOT seeks to improve performance to over 90 percent.
    Meanwhile, mudslides onto the BNSF Railway tracks along Puget Sound in Snohomish County were unusually severe this winter. In all of Western Washington, there were 90 Amtrak cancellations. Officials launched the modern passenger-rail effort in the mid-1990s, yet haven’t tackled a problem that forces customers to take charter or transit buses, or to drive.
    Washington state applied for aid twice before under other federal programs but was turned down.
    One problem is that there is not a full “environmental assessment” yet to begin construction, state DOT spokeswoman Vickie Sheehan said in February.
    That probably explains why Washington missed out this time.
    LaHood boasted that “nearly 100 percent of the $2.02 billion announced today will go directly to construction of rail projects.”
    News and opinion articles have blasted the federal government for spreading dollars too thinly on projects that weren’t truly high-speed, or on design work that doesn’t offer short-term improvement.
    Washington state’s $120 million application included a request, also denied, for $49 million toward a $69 million project in Tacoma to design and replace a century-old trestle used by Sounder commuter trains as well as Amtrak.
    Overall though, the state has fared well in winning rail stimulus aid, receiving $590 million in the first round, and a $162 million share of funds rejected by Wisconsin and Ohio.
    The money goes toward several projects, including bypass tracks, station improvements and trains.
    Some of the stimulus-funded rail projects here will begin construction this year, and all must be done by 2017.

  263. asia May 10, 2011 at 10:16 pm #

    I respect you and your right to your ideas…
    I have to say I see meat eating as corn eating which is ‘eating oil’…[to misquote TLE/JHK!]
    ‘Veganism is segregation of the highest order. And it is completely and utterly underwritten by the petroleum subsidy’
    Yes even Tahitians ate fish [and maybe people]!!
    And yes no Country ever ‘did’ veganism for all…
    at least not voluntarily.

  264. asia May 10, 2011 at 10:22 pm #

    Disprove this…the 3 billion in Chindia [and most 'old' style societies] have eaten a diet that is 90% plant foods.
    The US diet now is 100x heavier in Chicken than it was even 70 years ago..
    Consumption of eggs and dairy has skyrocketed..
    Read Michio Kushi…Ive met him..hes a genius.
    THE US ANIMAL DIET IS A PETROL DIET…FROM FACTORY FARM TO TABLE.

  265. asia May 10, 2011 at 10:25 pm #

    YR SAYING THERES ENOUGH BEEFALO/BUFFALO TO FEED 300 MILLION???

  266. asia May 10, 2011 at 10:30 pm #

    MD….I have a BA in HS and practically a PHD in Nutrition.
    There are ‘good fats and bad fats’…
    and no ‘one size fits all’….
    the reason cholestrol has been demonized is
    BECAUSE THEY CAN SELL MEDS TO LOWER IT!!!!….
    its not a disease…
    But theres also exogenous and endogenous Cholesterol.

  267. helen highwater May 10, 2011 at 10:32 pm #

    I hear Fox news is really big on saying Obama wasn’t born in the US, that he’s a Muslim, and other denigrating remarks about him personally and about his presidency. So I think Jim is probably right when he says some of the right-wingers would “take him out” if they could figure out a way to get away with it.

  268. progressorconserve May 10, 2011 at 10:36 pm #

    “Disprove this…the 3 billion in Chindia [and most 'old' style societies] have eaten a diet that is 90% plant foods”
    -asia-
    Asia, there would not BE anywhere NEAR 3 billion people in “Chindia” without the Green Revolution, and heavy petroleum and fertilizer inputs.
    That’s the problem.
    ———-
    And it’s not that individual people need meat to live. It is that humanity needs animals to cycle nutrients and low quality plant materials – in the absence of oil and oil-derived fertilizers.

  269. helen highwater May 10, 2011 at 10:39 pm #

    Hi Ozone – are there really such things as “lifetime” canning jar lids? If there aren’t, there should be! Now there’s something someone should invent, if they haven’t already. I googled it but couldn’t find anything about them. I really hate having to buy new lids every year for my canning jars. They’re expensive, not recyclable, and I wonder how I will can when I can’t get them anymore.

  270. bossier22 May 10, 2011 at 10:39 pm #

    The paradigm of welcoming immigrants with open arms is dead or our nation is as dead as Osama.

  271. helen highwater May 10, 2011 at 10:48 pm #

    Something I found really interesting about Canada’s recent election – the leader of the Liberal party was reviled by Conservatives because he lived in the US for a number of years, and because he’s an “intellectual” – taught at Harvard I believe. I think this is the first Canadian election in which such vicious attack ads were used. People really worked up a hate-on for Ignatieff and the Liberals because of these attack ads, which I think demonstrates the fact that Conservatives hate the US, and revile anybody with half a brain in their head. Maybe they watch too much Fox News. In fact, a new right-wing broadcaster, Sun News, apparently modeled after Fox News has just set up in Canada. Thanks goodness I don’t have TV.

  272. trippticket May 10, 2011 at 10:51 pm #

    “The USDA says growing crops for animals takes up 80 percent of the agricultural land in the USA and animals raised for food in the USA consume 90 percent of the soy crop, 80 percent of the corn and 70 percent of its grain.”
    Wait for it…
    “Yeah, I know, Tripp, you are not engaged in the industrial agricultural model, so you don’t think any of these statistics apply to you.”
    There it is. I have never once advocated growing one single agricultural crop for any animal utilized in a sustainable food production system, therefore your cut and paste stats are completely irrelevant to the conversation. You’re railing against the same industry I’ve dedicated my life to outperforming in real terms. You just got stuck at ‘vegetables cause a lower impact.’ And guess what? You’re right! When compared to feed lot animals. When the oil starts to run short, the CAFO meat will go first, but the vegan diet will be next because it doesn’t work without cheap abundant oil or animal symbionts.
    You need animals to grow the veggies. Like Nature does. Allow your understanding to keep evolving. Don’t latch onto a doctrine that, for its mainstream applications, is true, but that also blinds you to the next phase of wisdom. I’ve ever and always been honest about the future requiring radical behavioral innovation from us. That applies to you too, just as it does to me. And if it ever gets confusing just sit down and watch how Nature does it for a while with an open mind. You’ll never see productive systems in nature that don’t include animals.
    And if it still doesn’t make sense to you, don’t worry about it too much; we need about 13 out of 14 people to disappear anyway. So by all means, pay no attention to the systems ecologists out there trying to help you down the mountain for god knows what reason. Or do we not gather here each week to help each other out?

  273. trippticket May 10, 2011 at 10:53 pm #

    Helen, look up Tattler canning products.

  274. helen highwater May 10, 2011 at 11:00 pm #

    Re shelf life of grains being 9 – 12 years at household temperatures – I don’t think that is really true. Google “shelf life of brown rice” and you’ll see that most website give it as 6 months if unrefrigerated. Wheat will last a long time, but not if it is ground into flour. There’s lots of info on the Internet about proper ways to do long-term food storage. You can’t just stick it in a room and expect it to last for 10 years or more.

  275. trippticket May 10, 2011 at 11:02 pm #

    “And it’s not that individual people need meat to live. It is that humanity needs animals to cycle nutrients and low quality plant materials – in the absence of oil and oil-derived fertilizers.”
    Very well said. I’m not advocating that every person needs to eat meat. Far from it. I’m just saying that in the absence of cheap abundant fossil energy, animals are required to make things grow. So an integrated, forage-based food production system that includes plants, animals, fungi, and the rest, is a lower energy system than an all-veggie one. Grazing ungulates are particularly appropriate in the North American landscape. If you wanted to get real picky we would have to limit the vegetable matter eaten on this continent to what, a handful of berries, squash, and nuts? Have fun with that. But beef, now beef fits this landscape. Not so everywhere. Lucky us;)

  276. memoryhole May 10, 2011 at 11:03 pm #

    ctemple,
    Food for thought:
    Why must concern for others stop at your national border?
    Are all the people in “your” country inherently more important than the people from “other” countries?
    Do you consider yourself a world citizen? Or do you not believe in this concept?

  277. helen highwater May 10, 2011 at 11:06 pm #

    Hey trippticket, I recently did two 4-hour PowerPoint presentations on how to grow for market. 25 people came to each presentation and paid me $50 a head. And none of them fell asleep! Of course it remains to be seen how many of them will actually become market gardeners, but even if a couple of them do I’ll count it a success. 50 people turned out to a movie night that I put on on Permaculture and Food Security. So don’t get discouraged, your time will come.

  278. memoryhole May 10, 2011 at 11:08 pm #

    Hi, boss.
    Your predictions of national death from immigration are overblown. Just look at countries like China and India, with far fewer natural resources than the US and higher populations. I’m not advocating for this. Personally I like the relative spaciousness here. But to say that if the US adds more millions in population through immigration or other means, it will necessarily destroy itself, is Chicken Little thinking.
    Hell, the US could absorb the entire country of Mexico and still have far lower population density than Japan, China, India, take your pick.

  279. bossier22 May 10, 2011 at 11:09 pm #

    Asoka wouldnt simply having fewer people make land use and diet more of a personal choice. Over population is the number one cause of climate change, food insecurity and other quality of life issues. Why pick on cows and horses. They will be essential in the long emergency.

  280. trippticket May 10, 2011 at 11:09 pm #

    “The US diet now is 100x heavier in Chicken than it was even 70 years ago..
    Consumption of eggs and dairy has skyrocketed..
    Read Michio Kushi…Ive met him..hes a genius.
    THE US ANIMAL DIET IS A PETROL DIET…FROM FACTORY FARM TO TABLE.”
    Asia, you’re absolutely right…and this has absolutely nothing to do with my point. “A chicken in every pot” was a recipe for systems failure. Chickens are completely inappropriate, high energy animals in a temperate climate like ours. We’ll probably see a lot less of them in the future – shockingly, since they seem to be the first “self-reliance” animal people go to. That trend alone should tell us something. People don’t usually make the good decisions first.

  281. memoryhole May 10, 2011 at 11:12 pm #

    tripp/helen, where are you all from, if you don’t mind sharing?
    Fascinating stuff and thanks for sharing.

  282. bossier22 May 10, 2011 at 11:22 pm #

    What is possible and what makes sense is two different things. I’ve never been to china or India but my general impression is that for the vast majority it is a s—hole in both countries. Why should we repeat their mistakes. It is already getting that way here for way too many. The troops in The me would be of better use deployed on the border.

  283. welles May 10, 2011 at 11:24 pm #

    …planted another 113 gladiolus in the last 4 days, my earlier ones are shooting up, about an inch tall now.
    back in the states after being in brazil, can’t abide this wretched soulless country anymore tho’, take me back to 1970 and earlier and i’ll stay.
    so will be exiting left again in a fortnight.
    adieu

  284. trippticket May 10, 2011 at 11:31 pm #

    MH, I was born and grew up in Georgia, USA, but have spent my adult lifetime pretty evenly divided between Washington state and Florida.
    How ’bout you?

  285. helen highwater May 10, 2011 at 11:32 pm #

    You say “Veganism truly will not work for the Earth’s huge human populations without oil based fertilizers and oil based farming practices.” I’ve been reading “Eating Fossil Fuels – Oil, Food and the Coming Crisis in Agriculture” by Dale Allen Pfeiffer. I don’t think meat-eating is going to work either. Soilent Green anyone?

  286. helen highwater May 10, 2011 at 11:40 pm #

    Hi trippticket – You still have to buy new rubber rings every year for the Tattler canning lids. Still better than having the buy the metal part as well, I guess. The really old-style ones had a glass top but you still had to buy new rubber rings for them every year. Tattler’s are plastic, I don’t know how long they would last. They do say a “lifetime” whatever that is.

  287. asia May 10, 2011 at 11:41 pm #

    +1
    And from what Ive read of China, it got to a Billion people w/o fossil fertilizers.
    HH, you might read ‘MAD COWBOY’ by Lyman..
    he says the west was green till the cowboys showed up!
    Tripp, thanks for the info on Chickens.

  288. memoryhole May 10, 2011 at 11:43 pm #

    boss,
    I was responding to your initial statement that America would keel over and die because of (presumably) overpopulation from immigration. But it probably isn’t the case. Would “quality of life” decrease if/when we add another 100 million? Most certainly, and I’m not advocating for it. But realistically speaking it can and probably will happen without the United States dissolving into dust.
    I wasn’t arguing that China or India are great places to live. If you get a chance, you should go there, if only to backup your presumptions with firsthand experience.
    There is the issue of Posse Comitatus when you suggest deploying troops on the border, though I sympathize because it seems like a logical thing to do. Under current jurisprudence the tradition is that the military is only deployed in special circumstances domestically, like national emergencies or disasters, not used as a full time border patrol.

  289. helen highwater May 10, 2011 at 11:43 pm #

    I live on beautiful Vancouver Island, British Columbia, east side.

  290. progressorconserve May 10, 2011 at 11:44 pm #

    “Are all the people in “your” country inherently more important than the people from “other” countries?”
    -memoryhole, to ctemple-
    Memoryhole – – DING, DING, DING –
    Ring the bell and give Mr. MemoryHole a Gold Star!
    Yes, memory – like it or not – people in the US are more important that people from “other” countries.
    (They also burn a hell of a lot more petrol, too.)
    As soon as an immigrant manages to make it into the US – legal or otherwise – he becomes more important. I don’t know if that’s human nature, or just something about the humanitarian nature of the US. (along with medicaid, afdc, etc – but let’s stay on the subject.)
    That’s why the US has the ability to destroy most of the rest of the world, as a place fit for human habitation – if 313,000,000 is allowed to turn into 500,000,000 – or more.
    ===========
    I mean – most of the globe seems to think Americans are using their military in a crazy game of global domination – simply over OIL.
    Wait ’till we have FOOD shortages – in the US – if you want to see us go really CRAZY over global domination.
    Think it wouldn’t happen – –
    You’ve never felt hunger, then.

  291. helen highwater May 10, 2011 at 11:46 pm #

    You think people in the US are more important than people from other countries? Oh, I guess that’s the famous “American exceptionalism” I keep hearing about.

  292. progressorconserve May 10, 2011 at 11:57 pm #

    “And from what Ive read of China, it got to a Billion people w/o fossil fertilizers.”
    -asia, to helen-
    Helen and asia,
    We’re tapdancing around THE important question.
    What is the carrying capacity of Earth, for humans, absent fossil fuels?
    Asia, I’d have to get corroboration on your statement about China. I understand that one of the big checks on human reproduction is lactation by the mother. Societies without dairy animals were always held in check by this one factor.
    My knowledge of China is limited. IF, however (IF) they got to 1,000,000,000 without fossil fuels, fertilizers, herbicides, etc – they did it as a homogeneous society, with a 2000+ year tradition of social stratification and/or cooperation.
    Do we see ANYTHING like a tradition of cooperation in these US?
    Lowered population growth is our only hope.
    Join this outfit, or find a better one:
    http://www.fairus.org/site/PageServer

  293. memoryhole May 11, 2011 at 12:07 am #

    > “Memoryhole – – DING, DING, DING –
    > Ring the bell and give Mr. MemoryHole a Gold
    > Star!”
    It was a question that I was asking, not an assertion about Americans, who I think are generally full of themselves (you being a case in point). ;)
    > Yes, memory – like it or not – people in the US > are more important that people from “other”
    > countries. (They also burn a hell of a lot
    > more petrol, too.)
    What exactly is this supposed to mean? Someone from America is “more important” than a German or French person? In what way? Do you know how asinine and close-minded that sounds? BTW, burning more petrol is becoming a liability, not something to flaunt or a reason to feel exceptional.
    >As soon as an immigrant manages to make it into >the US – legal or otherwise – he becomes more >important.
    Well that’s just a silly statement which is completely unprovable. You’re saying that the minute Pedro steps across the Rio Grande into Texas, he instantaneously becomes more important. What if Pedro was Chief of Police in a Mexican town and is now looking for swing shifts at Applebee’s? He’s still more important here?
    > I don’t know if that’s human nature, or just
    > something about the humanitarian nature of the > US. (along with medicaid, afdc, etc – but let’s > stay on the subject.)
    Just ask the people of Iraq and Afghanistan about our “humanitarian” nature, which apparently includes copious helpings of cluster bombs and depleted uranium.
    America does have social programs, but most rich first world countries have better ones. You pat yourself on the back too much.
    > That’s why the US has the ability to destroy . > most of the rest of the world, as a place fit
    > for human habitation – if 313,000,000 is
    > allowed to turn into 500,000,000 – or more.
    You’re suggesting that the U.S. would destroy the planet because of (mild) domestic overpopulation. That’s a very odd mind you’ve got there, not to mention that this would be highly counter-productive.
    > I mean – most of the globe seems to think
    > Americans are using their military in a crazy
    > game of global domination – simply over OIL.
    They KNOW we’re doing this, Bubba. This isn’t just an opinion. It is the stated goal of our national security policy ala Dick Cheney’s “Energy Task Force.”
    > Wait ’till we have FOOD shortages – in the US – > if you want to see us go really CRAZY over
    > global domination.
    If the U.S. has severe food shortages, given its abundant domestic resources, then most of the rest of the world will have already gone Mad Max. So what globe would we be dominating and why?
    > Think it wouldn’t happen – –
    > You’ve never felt hunger, then.
    Food scarcity/shortages are happening as we speak, throughout the planet. This is more likely to lead to domestic upheaval (Egypt anyone?) than some kind of nuclear holocaust.
    Anyways, I suggest you go abroad and/or meet some people from different countries. Your Amero-centric way of thinking is a bit weird and leads you to strange conclusions.

  294. progressorconserve May 11, 2011 at 12:09 am #

    “You think people in the US are more important than people from other countries? Oh, I guess that’s the famous “American exceptionalism” I keep hearing about.”
    -HH-
    Helen,
    Reread my post for nuance, if you would.
    I think it is human nature to make the people of ANY society more important than those outside of that society.
    If the bongo tribe of Papua, New Guinea had had the ability that Europeans had to colonize – and the military might of the US, plus nuclear weapons – then we’d all be speaking the bongo dialect of Papua.
    Humor above, darlin’ – don’t over analyze, please.
    =================
    So yeah, despite all analysis, the solution is fewer US citizens/residents in North America.

  295. bossier22 May 11, 2011 at 12:13 am #

    There was a string of forts in south Texas in the19th century. There ruins are tourist attractions now. How was that done legally in those days. It would be interesting to know. Btw i dont blame people for wanting to come here.

  296. progressorconserve May 11, 2011 at 12:16 am #

    MemoryHole –
    Nice post back to me at 12:07.
    I went out on a limb and you and Helen sawed it off for me!
    Nice job, seriously.
    Again, to the both of you – read my post for nuance – and tell me why the population of the US shouldn’t max out at the lowest possible number.
    That’s really all I was trying to get at, here.
    ==========
    I shall now crawl off my limb and hug the tree trunk for the rest of the night, if you please.
    Regards, you two,
    PoC

  297. helen highwater May 11, 2011 at 12:18 am #

    China’s population reached 1 billion in 1980. They must have had fossil fuel fertilizers by then.

  298. memoryhole May 11, 2011 at 12:28 am #

    Posse Comitatus was passed in 1875 as a result of the South being occupied by Northern troops in the post-Civil War Reconstruction period. So presumably the forts date from before then. But it has been ignored as presidents see fit, as there is some language about using troops in extraordinary circumstances. For instance, Eisenhower used the Army to round up illegal immigrants. But, in general, permanent stationing of troops for domestic law enforcement is frowned upon, if not illegal.

  299. memoryhole May 11, 2011 at 12:36 am #

    Hiya, tree limb hugger. I have an urge to share an internet beer with you and shoot the shiz about this topic, because I just kinda picked apart your post rather than actually stating my views. You’d probably be surprised at how much we agree on population issues. I just think that overpopulation is a global problem (really THE global problem), not something easily solved or dealt with by the US shutting down its borders. That would only delay the inevitable if the entire world doesn’t get its act together.
    Hell, I scare people sometimes with the policies I advocate. We spay and neuter cats and dogs for “humanitarian” (caninitarian?) purposes, but people that make $1 a day can churn out 10, 12 kids, no problem-o. But that’s freedom for you. It is hella messy, and people are allowed to make poor choices, like breeding uncontrollably.
    I just think that if we don’t get fairly extreme with our own policies globally, then Nature will open up a can of whoop ass on us farther down the line. Unfortunately, this looks like one of those tilting at windmill type of problems, as no one seems too serious about it. The US should at least be pushing very hard for family planning, birth control, etc. in the poorer countries.
    I don’t plan on having a family myself, which won’t be a problem if my love life continues as it has lately.

  300. memoryhole May 11, 2011 at 12:38 am #

    The population question is an interesting one, because many people benefit from having continuous growth in the number of inhabitants on the globe. For one, it makes for a very employer-friendly labor market.
    Don’t like your job? Well, screw you, we’ve got 106 people from China or India lined up for it who will take 1/10 the pay.

  301. Shakazulu May 11, 2011 at 12:43 am #

    “saying they won’t be happy until they get a moat with alligators along the border.”
    It won’t work unless we also throw the Dems & Reps in too.
    C’mon people! How hard is it to stop ILLEGAL immigration?
    1. NO freebies for non-citizens.
    2. NO jobs for non-citizens.
    Problem solved.

  302. Cavepainter May 11, 2011 at 12:44 am #

    People, please; release the moral high horse to academic pasturage, ‘cause that’s the only place it might net you some credit.
    The combined uncoiling of climate change and overpopulation feedback loops is building to whip-lash velocity. Get it, that’s what this site is all about!
    Mother Nature’s calculus is unsentimental – making no concessions to anthropomorphic notions of balanced scales of justice. So, no matter how long you wish to debate the supposed right and wrong of the past (who’s gained and who’s lost, who has been the exploited or the exploiter) human survival is soon to become very spotty. Our chances here are going to be “iffy” at best, so get a grip.
    In terms of how we should be banking our future; adding population is not economic in any sense, regardless of how eloquent Obama’s speechifying about selling national sovereignty if the “price is right”. That’s paraphrasing his position stated in El Paso today: essentially, let our immigration laws default to however many foreign nationals choose to come because it will drive economic growth.
    That represents further indulgence in the myth of American exceptionalism. Yes, the same arrogance that resulted in most of our national foolhardiness that so many of you decry and plead national sacrificial repentance of.

  303. progressorconserve May 11, 2011 at 12:52 am #

    OK, memory –
    I saw one branch on a new tree upon which I had not yet climbed –
    – go ahead and start sawing,if you so desire –
    -you and HelenHighWater-
    ============
    “> That’s why the US has the ability to destroy . > most of the rest of the world, as a place fit
    > for human habitation – if 313,000,000 is
    > allowed to turn into 500,000,000 – or more.”
    -PoC, to memoryhole-
    “You’re suggesting that the U.S. would destroy the planet because of (mild) domestic overpopulation. That’s a very odd mind you’ve got there, not to mention that this would be highly counter-productive.”
    -memoryhole, back to PoC-
    ===============
    NO, no, no, -memory, I’m not saying that the US would DELIBERATELY destroy the world.
    Maybe you missed, “as a fit place for human habitation,” which was a clue to the nuance.
    What I’m suggesting is that the US may well destroy the world accidentally, though.
    =============
    Don’t we consume 25% of the world’s fossil fuels, with less than 5% of the world’s population?
    Already?
    Do you think that will get better? With 400,000,000 US citizen/residents??
    ================
    WE CAN’T STOP!! Don’t you understand??
    Doesn’t anyone understand???
    Every piece of infrastructure
    Every subdivision
    Every airport
    Every road
    Every damn thing – that has been built in the US since 1946 – is predicated on burning oil.
    We can’t quit – OR – we won’t quit –
    doesn’t matter
    The more US citizens – the worse we will be for the Globe.
    Global warming and ecosystem collapse can goddamn well be goddamned to hell –
    We’re stuck in a bad place –
    Only when our population reduces –
    Will we cease to dominate the Globe.
    So push immigration into the US
    If you wanna die.
    I could say more. But I’m stopping for now.
    ———–
    And understand that I’m a ZPG greenie since 1970-something.
    But I know my country.
    And I know human nature.
    Starve the beast, please.
    Reduce immigration into the US.
    Before it is too late – for the whole Planet.

  304. wagelaborer May 11, 2011 at 1:34 am #

    I went to San Jose to work a couple of years after I moved here, and I mentioned to a co-worker that I was going to go to San Francisco to go to a burrito place in the Mission that I liked.
    Oh,no, he said, you can’t go there anymore. You’ll get shot if you wear the wrong colors. (This was an African American telling me this).
    So I asked my relative, who teaches in a San Jose school, and he scoffed.
    Nope, he said, you have to have the colors and an attitude.
    Well, of course. I should have known that, as an ER nurse. We joke about the assault victims who were “just walking along minding my own business” when they are viciously attacked for no reason.
    Usually, after about 2 minutes of dealing with them, you realize why they were beaten up. And it’s not because they were wearing the wrong colors.

  305. wagelaborer May 11, 2011 at 1:58 am #

    Hey, don’t worry about the health care budget.
    It’s been taken care of. $500 billion cut from Medicare this year, (and sent to the FIRE sector), with $500 billion more next year in Obama’s budget.
    That’s a trillion dollars less for health care.
    Let me tell you how it is on the ground. Today, for the first time in 17 years, I saw my co-worker in tears. Everyone is living in fear. Management is “writing people up” for bullshit stuff, the better to fire them with.
    I got written up for looking like I didn’t approve of the changes, while at a staff meeting. (Seven people told me that they didn’t see me making faces).
    They are firing people for trivial things. People are snitching on others, to get them fired.
    Here’s the thing. Nobody gets what is happening. They blame the managers, or the new policies, or whatever.
    The other day I pointed out that when you remove $500 billion dollars from a system, there will be changes made.
    My Republican co-worker scoffed. “I can make up that money easy. Just refuse to see bullshit poor people with their trivial complaints”.
    How can anyone think that you can make up for losing $500 billion dollars by refusing care to more people? This doesn’t make sense. Is he suddenly a “penny saved is a penny earned” person? Cause that’s not really true when it comes to ending government subsidies.
    My husband pointed out that he probably doesn’t realize that the way hospitals will make up for the trillion dollar loss is by firing people, and reducing labor costs.

  306. wagelaborer May 11, 2011 at 1:59 am #

    Ha, ha.
    As if the US would go along with something like that.

  307. asia May 11, 2011 at 2:05 am #

    Found this earlier this week…amazing..
    At my local JC there are 1000+ illegals and they help them…but if yr a down and out citizen…WATCH OUT!!!
    Norwalk: Conn. woman arrested over son’s school enrollment – News …
    Norwalk: Conn. woman arrested over son’s school enrollment. – A homeless 33-year-old woman is scheduled …

  308. asia May 11, 2011 at 2:08 am #

    FOR ‘MANY’ SUBSTITUTE ‘A FEW’

  309. wagelaborer May 11, 2011 at 2:08 am #

    Exactly.
    They’re tossing glitter into the air, lots of glitter, and everyone focuses on part of it.
    “That’s my story and I’m sticking to it”.
    No way. That doesn’t work. One story can be investigated and exposed.
    Throw out multiple stories. Make it look like you don’t know what you’re doing. Keep people focused on trivial discrepancies.
    But the Big Story. The one that is so very implausible. That gets lost as the spin swirls around the glitter and the inconsistencies.

  310. asia May 11, 2011 at 2:14 am #

    I HAVE TRAVELED ASIA [INDIA etc] BUT NOT CHINA.
    China is dirt poor…India is now reeling from the recent ‘green’ revolution.
    I say modern medicine is the cause of population bloom in those countries.
    Also lack of wars in last 40 years.
    Prove me wrong.

  311. wagelaborer May 11, 2011 at 2:24 am #

    You’ve got the economics down, that’s for sure.
    But to causally call for increased surveillance on citizenship is to allow for increased repression on the domestic population of the US, in order to catch the immigrants.
    Rather like 9-11 was used to increase repression on the domestic population, what with the Patriot Act, the wiretapping, the ID requirements to travel.
    Note that the so-called assassination of Bin Laden is being used to call for increased “security” on Amtrak and bus lines.
    Seriously? This is absurd. You don’t need to carry a bomb onto a train to cause harm, and any person with an average IQ, or lower, should be able to see this.
    But we have Chuck Schumer using the “plans” “discovered” in the house that Osama supposedly lived in to call for increased repression on Amtrak riders.
    One of the reasons I take Amtrak, instead of flying, is that I object to the prison-like shakedowns of airline passengers.
    Now they want to use this assassination as an excuse to broaden the oppression of Americans who want to travel.
    And they want to use the immigration issue as a way to broaden the oppression of Americans who want to work.
    Don’t fall for it.

  312. wagelaborer May 11, 2011 at 2:41 am #

    Oh, yeah. I had a 25 pound bag of rice in a metal can, to keep the mice out, you know. It was to feed me when TSHTF.
    I opened it the other day, and, Yuk, it was moldy.
    There are other things on this planet that eat rice besides mice.

  313. spider9629 May 11, 2011 at 2:49 am #

    OCSE, World Bank, FED, European Bank whatever, their formula for Portugal, Greece, etc. is “liberalization” of the economy, “privatization”, etc. More “free market”, that is supposed to generate “growth”. Nothing further from the truth, there is no imaginary cause and effect between these two items, in fact they never specify what should become privatized (probably only the profits), they say university must be paid more, private water so you pay more, freer “labor market” (there has never been a time in Europe where the labor market has been so free, easy fire, peanut salaries, etc.) everything is a one way street: hose the poor.
    And especially this won’t create growth, but further contraction as in people getting poorer because they have to pay the “private” hands more money for everything, but the robot economists all chant the same prayer, what total idiots, these economists deserve so many punches in the face.
    Growth is over in the USA, EU and JAPAN, AND HAS BEEN OVER FOR DECADES ! A country grows when it goes from poor to middle class, when everyone buys their first car, TV, their first furniture, etc. After the market saturates, growth ends naturally, there is nothing you can do about it,the only thing that grows is private profits and unemployment because the application of technology kills more and more jobs.
    And don’t give me the example of the USSR or the communist countries, their experience was one of a kind, with a given technology and environment, the success of capitalism against them was mostly the success of consumerism and more application of technology to increase productivity in the west as compared to the former east: so stop talking about private is better, state run is bad, and so on, it no longer applies and is all false. Just because the USSR failed doesn’t mean any of the modern Right Wing Thug theories are correct in any possible way, they are all total lies helping the rich choke on ever more trillions.
    The chant is always cut taxes, more “free market”, more privatizations, liberalizations, etc. But no one really ever say what “cut taxes” really means, it means cutting jobs, especially public jobs, cutting ever more jobs, because taxes serve to pay people. And then, pray, tell me, what jobs will all of those fired do, especially since the economic system structurally creates less and less work? How is that supposed to “help the economy”, especially help the “economy grow”: what idiots, it is all a lie, cutting taxes will just fire ever more people, and make the economy contract as fewer people have salaries, fewer people can buy things, less consumption, etc.
    But for some reason, everybody has been brainwashed that it is important to “cut taxes”: this is really just saying “it is important to fire as many people as possible”, that way “the economy can finally grow”. Doesn’t anyone see through all of this BS ? All of that money that went to pay people through taxes will just be hogged up by the capitalists and rich, as if they already are not drowning and suffocating in trillions of dollars, that money “saved” by paying less taxes will just end up in the hands of the rich, it is not going to do anything better, it is not going anywhere better.
    And then this BS of privatizing and liberalizing the economies of Portugal Greece just serves to do the same; kill jobs, put more money in the hands of the rich, since by “liberalizing” the economy you make it more “efficient” which always means more job cuts, by privatizing the private hands can now fire ever more people, since they don’t want to pay them and they don’t need to anymore, etc. This will just create less and less jobs, economic contraction, etc.
    We need more taxes, more jobs created by the government by the millions. More taxes, ever more: and don’t give me the excuse of the ex-communist countries demonstrating that state run is not good: a state run entity can be even more efficient than any private one if it is run by good managers. This is just a huge Right Wing Thug ideology that has been brainwashing everyone for decades that “private” is good, “public” is bad, “private run is better”, “public run is bad”: nothing further from the truth, private run just means ever more job cuts and ever more concentration of wealth in the hands of the rich capitalists. And all of this while the system is structurally killing jobs automatically worldwide by the millions, with no end in sight.

  314. wagelaborer May 11, 2011 at 2:51 am #

    Some people can focus on the real story, not the glitter.
    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article28062.htm

  315. spider9629 May 11, 2011 at 3:08 am #

    And in fact all of those that want tax cuts, that want to fire the public workers because they “don’t deserve it”, their “performance is not good”, they are “not efficient”, is just a right wing trick to make people think they “deserve” more than others, they are “better” or “superior” to others: this is all false, there is no longer any relationship between capability – merit and jobs, and the necessity of jobs in a Technological Economy that is doing away with all kinds of jobs. Just look at how many engineers and other professionals can be fired and laid off in the blink of an eye. So don’t fall for it, everyone against everyone else, asking for tax cuts: we need more taxes, the government must hire millions of people and cheap rents, 200 dollars a month rents.

  316. spider9629 May 11, 2011 at 4:22 am #

    The Right Wing Thug ideology and mentality has completely brainwashed everyone on earth on all of these myths that it is not even funny anymore, “productivity”, “competition”, “meritocracy”, “you have to deserve it”, “cut taxes”, “everyone is a lazy slob”, “there are jobs but you have the wrong skill set”, “we need more research, innovation, education”, “too many debts”, “state run is bad, private run is good”, “resource scarcity” and so on, an infinite list of excuses and thought patterns that have been inserted in everyone’s mind to cut jobs, fire people, pay them less, all in punishment mode, everyone wanting to punish everyone else, etc.
    All of the economists, journalists, all of the opinions worldwide converge in the same way and say the same things, no matter what. This is that gigantic ideological construction that the capitalists have so successfully inserted in everyone’s brains, there is no way to deprogram people anymore.
    A funny thing especially is when they say workers are lazy, they must be fired, they are not productive, etc. This makes it seem like everyone is lazy, but it is structural, the economic system no longer needs work, so many appear lazy and everyone criticizes everyone else without seeing through the system: the computers, software, communications, optimizations are killing all kinds of necessary activities and not substituting them with anything at all, everyone appears to become lazier and lazier, in all truth it is structural, the Technological Economy needs work like a hole in the head and it will just become worse and worse.
    On the debts myth, remember money is a place holder, is a proxy for human relationships, there are no debts and there is no such thing as money, money can’t run out just like human relationships can’t run out, that is why they can “restructure the debts” aka “we can invent and do anything we want”, etc.

  317. spider9629 May 11, 2011 at 8:01 am #

    Most of the entire discipline of engineering is based on how to do more with less, how to produce more with fewer manipulations, less material and energy inputs, more economies of scale, use the same parts across more products and most of all less labor inputs. But, somehow we always need “more engineers”, ultimately to decrease the need of labor one way or another because even if you just decrease the use of energy or materials or manipulations either directly or indirectly that will translate in “less cost” and less cost always means somewhere down the line, somewhere in the world a job or more jobs are axed.
    The tech guys have been taught to not connect the local to the global, engineering never touches “sociology”, the local optimization there just happens to have a large scale “social effect”, but engineers are not taught to think in terms of global effects, and especially social effects, but in local details and optimizations.
    Maybe I live in a global hypocrisy, everyone knows that many jobs are fake or not needed, could be axed and probably will be axed, but everyone just plays along, just pretends, and I think I am telling them something they already knew (but never dare to say it bluntly): shame on me for being so naive.
    That begs the question, how many “fake jobs” can the system invent (I am amazed that 100 million people still work in the USA, still have jobs, but maybe I am wrong), after all the military expenditure could be 700 billion a year enough for 70 million cheap salaries of 10,000 a year and the military doesn’t produce anything but is set up to destroy things, the opposite of production, but especially consumes weapons, so indirectly “produces” weapons. Another result of EXCESS CAPACITY, but no one notices it, or pretends to not notice that the system creates so much wealth that it can maintain such a military budget with so many unemployed.
    The JAPANESE may have 5 million fake jobs of people working in their skyscrapers and offices, where the job consists of mostly waiting for the boss to go home at 10 at night, since the status relationship is the job, the “ritual” is the job (wondering how many jobs are just “rituals”). They already produce way more than enough, flooding the world with their products, they need more real production like a hole in the head. After all their unemployment figures are always around 5 % while most 1st world countries hover around 8 to 10 % (and surely much higher, since these numbers are fudged up a lot), so how do they do it ? what makes them special ? They just keep a lot of people in fake jobs where they wait for time to pass (but they are not the only ones, I phantom,worldwide we are in the tens of millions).
    Notice how important “time at work, the more time, the more productive you are, but especially the higher chance of a raise you may have” is even in the USA: the more important this is in a work environment, you can be sure the less real production and less real work is being performed, unless they loaded all the work on just a few workaholics who see the world as so full of work.

  318. bubbleheadMarc May 11, 2011 at 8:18 am #

    reply to comment posted earlier by “memoryhole”: I think we probably ARE [in the process of] absorbing the entire population of Mexico.

  319. Ozymandius May 11, 2011 at 8:25 am #

    James
    Great commentary on the passing parade – as per usual. Would you care to comment on figure 14 (page 24) of the DOE Annual Energy Outlook 2011 (link below). The DOE apparently does not support the concept of peak oil…….would you agree?
    World Petroleum consumption – 2035

  320. ozone May 11, 2011 at 9:04 am #

    Helen,
    Here ya go; but I warn you, cheap, they ain’t!
    Try to find someone to split a large order with, and it won’t be quite so painful…
    http://www.reusablecanninglids.com/

  321. messianicdruid May 11, 2011 at 9:13 am #

    Kinda surprised about the bad fit of chickens to USA {all?}. What about some of the game birds/pigeons/waterfowl? Might they be a better fit?

  322. ozone May 11, 2011 at 9:38 am #

    “Mother Nature’s calculus is unsentimental – making no concessions to anthropomorphic notions of balanced scales of justice. So, no matter how long you wish to debate the supposed right and wrong of the past (who’s gained and who’s lost, who has been the exploited or the exploiter) human survival is soon to become very spotty. Our chances here are going to be “iffy” at best, so get a grip.” -CP
    Nicely put (the entire post, BTW).
    Meanwhile, “CON”gress smugly congratulated itself on making the FUSA a baby-makin’ paradise. Wonder how many of these non-representatives are working on outlawing condoms and birth-control pills? (Wait, if these shitheels ARE representing their constituencies… ah-boy…)
    The absurdity is about half-past dangerous, and a quarter to the final destination. (Let’s just face the fact that a giant majority doesn’t get it, and most certainly, doesn’t want to.) “Thinking’s hard, Buffy. Let’s ask Mr. French if we can increase our teevee viewing time.” -Jodie

  323. ozone May 11, 2011 at 9:47 am #

    Ha!
    I linked that one too, Wage.
    Suspicious minds think alike. (To twist a phrase… ;o)

  324. trippticket May 11, 2011 at 10:00 am #

    Chickens are apparently naturalizing in Hawaii, which suggests that they would be a low energy food option there. Perhaps southern Florida? Any temperate climate will mean a lot of grain to support chickens. It takes 1000 s.f. of grain to feed one chicken for one year. Seems unsustainable to me.
    Other birds would probably more in line with our climate – the natives like ducks, geese, and turkeys for sure. Every time I plant I set out forage for turkeys to add down the road. We weren’t ready for the one that was given to us earlier this year. But with a couple years of planting muscadine grapes, sawtooth oaks, nutsedges, perennial peanut, and so forth, I think we can bring imported feed down to a minimum.
    For the moment my ducks and geese are feed hogs, but I think I can cut them back to mostly forage as they mature. At least they are growing like crazy to mirror the inputs. Maybe bugs, snails, and herbs will do for maintenance once they’re full grown. We’ll see. I’m sure I’ll write about it down the road.

  325. ozone May 11, 2011 at 10:24 am #

    Aha! Found it…
    “Based on what you’ve seen and heard and your own gut feel what do you figure is the true story with OBL? Died 10 yrs ago? Is he in a Pakistani refuge under ISI protection?” -Cash
    ***
    Not sure why you’d want to ask my opinion on that; I don’t trust anything anymore. ;o) Since you ask; I’d go with the “died 10 yrs. ago” deal; if just for the medical problems of constant dialysis. (Kept “alive” as a convenient bogeyman by those of evil intent. Notice the blossoming Stasi-state in the FUSA. …And thus the distractional lie of the FUSA being a world-shakin’, policy-makin’ behemoth. That’s why we need us some safe-keepin’, don’cha know; them terr’ists is out to knock down the biggest, baddest boy on the block.)
    ***
    “No matter what the real story is with the SEAL raid, secrets nowadays are impossible to keep. Sooner or later someone will blab.” -Cash
    ***
    Now, this little item? I’d surely have to disagree. Very common argument; and since it’s so often parroted by gov’t. officials and conspiracy squashers, I therefor disbelieve it. Take a little look at those who’ve worked for the vaunted CIA. Don’t hear too much from them, do you? I’d guess that some programming goes very, very deep. (Especially “patriotic” myths/paradigms.)

  326. lbendet May 11, 2011 at 10:24 am #

    Reality Strikes!
    Love your 1:58 post about the Republican health care workers who thought those budget cuts were not going to effect them.
    They have not been observing the patterns of the last 35 years where employees are seen as a deficit against the gains of the wealthy ceo’s so here’s a taste of what cuts in budgets looks like. Oh, they really think they are going to keep their jobs taking care of less people?–Really?
    Sad situation for you and you have my sympathy. Keeping my fingers crossed for you.

  327. dale May 11, 2011 at 10:46 am #

    Yeah…I use to live in Portland, it certainly is covered in ink. If you see extensive tattoos as beautiful or not is strictly a matter of opinion, of course. From a heath POV, its hard to imagine that forcing that much ink into one of your organs is really demonstrating “mindfulness” (or good sense) by any definition of the word. But then, most people think that their POV is objectively correct, rather than just their opinion. It seems that might be a POV that you and JHK share.
    Don’t be surprised if in a few more years some study shows that extensive tattoos are a health risk. I’d be surprised if it isn’t, just being “mindful” and all.

  328. dale May 11, 2011 at 10:49 am #

    “Young people filling restaurants isn’t this what happened in Japan where young women with jobs were the ones with money to spend.”
    ======================================
    Donno, but sounds plausible.

  329. dale May 11, 2011 at 10:55 am #

    “The problem with Education, now that the loans are at a Trillion outstanding is the For Profit Schools, with their ‘factories’ [as a student at Art institute told me], loans and GI Bill.
    Ive posted here before about that.
    How can someone in Arizona repay 100k for their Culinary degree if they are making 400$ a week?”
    ======================================
    It had to happen, sooner of later you would say something I agree with. Clearly that’s why current times are such a boom period for education. No jobs, everyone stays in school and hopes for the best.
    I’m not so sure you are right about his “3D skills” however, things in that field are changing at mach speed, and are so specialized that instant obsolescence is a real threat. The kid is the one who brought it up…..he knows better than you or I.

  330. lbendet May 11, 2011 at 10:59 am #

    Back to OBL once again..
    A great article in Asia Times Online will throw some light on the matter. US-Pakistani understanding of US surgical strikes in Pakistan with Pakistan getting the credit for them, for political reasons, they have to prove their sovereignty, but the understand was there.
    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/ME12Df02.html

  331. dale May 11, 2011 at 11:05 am #

    “Re shelf life of grains being 9 – 12 years at household temperatures – I don’t think that is really true. Google “shelf life of brown rice” and you’ll see that most website give it as 6 months if unrefrigerated.”
    ==========================================
    True enough about “brown rice”, that is why I said “most grains”. Frankly, I always found brown rice unpalatable anyway, and when I read the nutritional breakdown of the difference between it and white rice I was not impressed with the alledged superior values of BR. It’s slightly higher in B vitamins, otherwise pretty much a push.
    If you are talking about survival foods then it’s hard to beat white rice and beans and they will last for 9-12 years if preserved properly (dry, room temperature). Dried fruit and jerky ain’t bad either.

  332. dale May 11, 2011 at 11:07 am #

    But my favorite “apocalypse food” is vodka, lots of vodka, easy to store, lots of calories, and boy will people want that if the T.V. blacks out! The ultimate trade good.

  333. Cash May 11, 2011 at 11:23 am #

    I think this is the first Canadian election in which such vicious attack ads were used.- HH
    Nonsense. You selectively forget the torrent firehosed at Manning and Harper and company by the Liberals.
    Remember this Liberal ad?






    “Stephen Harper actually announced he wants to increase military presence in our cities. Canadian cities. Soldiers with guns. In our cities. In Canada. We did not make this up.” Accompanied by pounding war drums.
    I have to give the Liberals one thing, they managed to slander our military AND slur Harper all in 30 seconds. All over a plan to deploy 100 regular force and 400 reservists in major cities to help with humanitarian and disaster relief.
    Imagine the scream-fest coming from Liberals if it had been Harper that spent 30 years of his life out of the country, calling the United States “my country”, calling our flag a “passing imitation of a beer label”.






    Imagine the screams of outrage if Harper had spoken these words:






    The fact is that Iggy really doesn’t know this country or understand it. He disqualified himself from leading this place by spending his adult life outside of it.
    Regarding half a brain: the Liberals are down to 34 seats. Self explanatory.

  334. trippticket May 11, 2011 at 11:49 am #

    “But my favorite “apocalypse food” is vodka, lots of vodka, easy to store, lots of calories, and boy will people want that if the T.V. blacks out! The ultimate trade good.”
    Indeed. Better still if you could grow the ingredients and distill it yourself. Talk about being untouchable.

  335. Cash May 11, 2011 at 12:09 pm #

    I understand your distrust. To me sometimes things are pretty much like they appear. But other times I can’t help hearing wheels within wheels whirring away. I would agree about the CIA if it had been a nasty, back alley rub-out of some al Qaeda nobody.
    But this OBL thing IMO is different. The US govt is shouting it from the rooftops and practically begging to get outed. I can’t help but think that given the animosity towards Obama and the Dems that someone won’t oblige. Maybe a motivated Repub version of Bradley Manning?
    Then there’s the Pakistanis. Their wide eyed “who me” act makes me laugh. They don’t know nuttin’ ’bout nuttin’. My sense is that their shitty regime is not long for this world and will be heading for the exits with their stolen loot. I don’t think the successor (maybe the Taliban or some variant thereof) will feel the need to play along. And who knows, maybe the beards running Iran would have been happy to see OBL rotting in his grave so who knows what they know or whether they were involved in hiding, funding or eventually pulling the plug on OBL. I think that someone in the middle eastern rat’s nest of conspiracies and plots will eventually spill.

  336. Cash May 11, 2011 at 12:39 pm #

    They understand “citizenship”. But they so hate the country they’re living in that they’re committed to doing what they can to undermine it. You don’t understand it? Neither do I. It’s like some of the passengers on a boat called the USA doing their gleeful damndest to blow holes in the hull and sink the ship all the while thinking that everyone else will drown but not them. Futile to point out that they’ll be at the bottom in a watery grave with the rest. They just don’t believe it. The rules of physics applies to everyone else but not them.
    There was one allegedly Black poster here who happily welcomed the reconquest of the US by hispanics. OK but if I was Black I would be concerned about how Black people are treated in the Hispanic home countries. Because the Hispanic newcomers are likely to bring with them a cartload of cultural baggage including the prevailing home-country attitude towards Black people. So he might want to do a bit of research before putting on the party hat and celebrating the demise of the regime. Will the new regime be any better? Or will it be worse?

  337. Cavepainter May 11, 2011 at 1:15 pm #

    With very little massaging of the arguments for amnesty to illegal aliens and the Dream Act for their children, the American citizenry can be said to have acquired obligation to now compensate those who’ve not gained advantage of fleeing their Third World nation by illegal entry into our First World nation.
    To rectify this imbalance of advantage gained by the illegal aliens and their children through absorbing the services and opportunity not prevailing for those yet back in the countries of origin, don’t we as a nation (we citizenry of the US) now owe dedicating all our resources and effort toward correcting this great “inequality”?
    The framing of debate as “anti immigrant” rather than as “anti illegal immigration” precludes mention of the fact that with each deported illegal alien goes whatever advantage accrued while either living or having life start in our First World nation. Taken back to the nations of origin constitutes a great gift (or theft – however you choose to view it) from the American citizenry.
    Now really, isn’t “advantage” implicit to this invasion of illegal aliens? To put a different face on it we could as well say that deportation amounts to a great bequeath of benefit by the American citizenry to the nations of origin — a kind of Peace Corps in reverse.
    Yeah, yeah, yeah; I hear the usual bemoaning of American policy perceived (from today’s elevated throne of higher PC sensibility) as errant in the past, and too the subsequent call for restitution of scale to balance accounts of “justice”.
    Too bad, because Mother Nature has just posted notice that our account of overpopulation is “past due”! She’s not in the mood to further underwrite our indulgence of American exceptionalism – which in this case fosters belief that America can wishfully think itself around the reality of finite resources.
    The message (getting louder with each record drought, shift in weather patterns, etc.) is that we might yet avoid here being foreclosed off the premises, but contingent upon giving up our vaunted illusion of being able to save the rest of the world by continuing (and for now even considering raising) our immigration ceiling — which, but the way, has been greater for decades over that of all other developed countries combined.

  338. memoryhole May 11, 2011 at 1:29 pm #

    You’re right. American foreign policy is so great.
    We’ll make your country undergo vicious austerity measures, sell off its state owned assets to foreign vultures, suck out your resources and in return provide worthless paper, devaluate/inflate the currency, wreck the economy, trash the environment, send millions into poverty, sell your government all kinds of weapons for domestic suppression, coopt your elite, and train secret police to oppress democratic and populist movements, among other chestnuts of American foreign policy.
    Hey, that’s not Politically Correct. It’s reality. You want some references?
    And that’s our right as ‘Mericans. It’s a Free Market, ain’t it? After all, we own the world. (Jesus sez so.)
    But don’t you dare try to leave the country that we wrecked and come over here. That would be totally wrong and would sink our American ship.
    I can dig it.

  339. george May 11, 2011 at 1:29 pm #

    Obviously you must have been fortunate to live in one of the wealthier neighborhoods during your time in Brazil and not in one of the countless “favelas” where the majority are forced to live in inhuman conditions. You must have been chauffer-driven around Brazil because I can’t imagine you’d risk your life on Brazil’s crime-ridden mass transit system. Any obviously you’ve never given it a second thought that without huge loans for the American banks, Brazil would never have joined the 20th century. America is ‘soul-less’ you say? Have you ever been to Detroit’s Arts, Beats and Eats in your life?

  340. memoryhole May 11, 2011 at 1:30 pm #

    Hey, we don’t need loans because we print our own currency. Neat trick, huh?

  341. memoryhole May 11, 2011 at 1:32 pm #

    Loans from American banks….ahahaha….yes, loans where the money that is “given” was conjured out of thin air. Neat trick, that.

  342. ctemple May 11, 2011 at 1:32 pm #

    I feel that it’s a good thing that you people are discussing Canadian politics on here, the U.S media gives zero coverage to politics in other countries, and most of the U.S is so myopic and self centered that they understand little about the rest of the planet; for all of the American government’s constant meddling.

  343. memoryhole May 11, 2011 at 1:34 pm #

    I like to hear news from Canadia as well. We’re just too busy watching Dancing with the Stars and American Idol to bother with that boring crap. Maybe if Steven Harper and Rosie O’Donnell did the tango, the ratings for C-Span Northern Edition would improve.

  344. memoryhole May 11, 2011 at 1:39 pm #

    These whiny Third Worlders need to thank us for bringing them McDonald’s and Coca Cola and stop complaining about bad things that happened in the distant past, like 1989. Hell, as a typical American, I can’t even remember anything past last Tuesday, much less eons ago during the 80’s and 90’s. All these people want to do is talk about America’s destructive and malicious foreign policy but that’s just so boring compared to whatever reality TV show is on right now.

  345. chemicalgary May 11, 2011 at 1:39 pm #

    I have to reiterate Jim’s experience of small towns – a recent trip for photography through New Mexico I saw similar scenes – tiny towns of abandoned tilted buildings, closed up shops, and eerily no people to be seen anywhere, though their cars were there. Folsom, Vaughn, Duran, Las Vegas (NM) – I call these places ghost towns in-the-making, almost gone but not quite. And of course the stench-filled oil ‘n gas Carlsbad, a real cesspool of a town with no sense of land-planning or smart development – at least Roswell has trees planted along their main street. But aside from man’s impact on the land, NM is still a beautiful, big land big vista state.

  346. asoka May 11, 2011 at 2:13 pm #

    So, where is Harper stationing the military? In the cities or the back country? And if what the liberals said turned out to be true, can what the liberals said be called slander?
    In the five years Harper’s Conservative government has been in power, the Canadian Forces have added 7,754 people to their regular forces and reserves. That’s an expansion of 8.7 per cent, bringing the total to 96,675 people at the end of the 2009-2010 fiscal year. I’m sure there must be increased military presence in Canadian cities, just as the liberals predicted.

  347. helen highwater May 11, 2011 at 2:15 pm #

    I totally agree about the world’s population being far too high for the planet’s carrying capacity. But the people living on $1 a day who churn out 10 or 12 children are not the ones using up most of the world’s resources. How could you consume much on a dollar a day? A child born in the developed countries uses many times more resources than a child born in a poor country, so it’s our own countries that need to lead the way in population control. But of course corporations don’t want smaller populations, because that would mean less consumers for all the useless crap they want us to buy.

  348. helen highwater May 11, 2011 at 2:19 pm #

    modern medicine combined with modern agriculture.

  349. Cavepainter May 11, 2011 at 2:39 pm #

    Again, your observations are excellent for an academic discourse on what human behaviors, national policies, secular pseudo religious economics beliefs brought human kind to its current perdition, and I hope for continuence of human kind in the future so that lessons can be gleaned from such discussion. The “meanwhile” though is such as to disallow extravigant gestures of national pennance. Own the guilt if you will but don’t embark our nation on a “guilt trip” that cancels its slim prospect of saving itself.

  350. asoka May 11, 2011 at 2:43 pm #

    Because the Hispanic newcomers are likely to bring with them a cartload of cultural baggage including the prevailing home-country attitude towards Black people.

    This is a problem with conservative thought. Conservatives want to believe attitudes are “conserved” and therefore believe that “as it was in the past, so shall it be in the future” And that just ain’t the case.
    There has been a rising black consciousness throughout Latin America. It is most evident in Brazil, where racism is banned by the Constitution and punishable by imprisonment.
    Attitudes are changing and racism is dying. Affirmative action legislation has been implemented in Latin America, and people’s attitudes towards blacks in Latin America is changing for the better.
    So, the Black poster here (of whom we can speak, but not address directly) probably understands that “the times they are a changin'” … and that is why he has no fear of 50 million immigrants from Latin America now living in the USA, and welcomes more, especially Mexicans and Muslims.

  351. helen highwater May 11, 2011 at 2:44 pm #

    Yeah, Cash, but Stephen Harper did send troops and police with guns to the G20 in Toronto. Cost us taxpayers $1 billion.

  352. asoka May 11, 2011 at 2:46 pm #

    It is even possible that a Black might be elected President, proof the times are a changin’
    Someday we might even see a woman, or a lesbian, or Hispanic, or even an atheist, as president.

  353. helen highwater May 11, 2011 at 2:49 pm #

    Actually Harper just sent the military to Manitoba to assist with flood relief. The Assiniboine River has reached its highest level in recorded history. Oops, there goes a big whack of our farmland. But he doesn’t think it has anything to do with the climate changing, it’s just another one of those “unprecedented” events we seem to be having a lot of lately. And of course we are not involved in 2 wars, Afghanistan until 2014 (at least) and now Libya, where we are leading the NATO “mission”. And he wants to buy billions of dollars (he won’t tell us how many billions) worth of new fighter jets, so I guess he has plans to use them somewhere.

  354. helen highwater May 11, 2011 at 2:50 pm #

    meant to say “now involved in two wars” instead of “not involved in two wars”. Can’t keep my fingers under control.

  355. memoryhole May 11, 2011 at 3:00 pm #

    Thanks for the discussion Cave…
    Will survival in TLE be on a nation-by-nation basis only? Must it be so? Are we not all inhabitants of the same big globe that, in reality, has no border lines? Or do you see each country as its own boat that must sink or float on its own? Don’t the “solutions” need to encompass everyone that lives on this earth? Why not go even further and argue that all you need to worry about is yourself and your family, rather than any particular political group to which you belong?
    The previous discussion was not necessarily suggesting any course of action or program of national penance. Notice that I didn’t argue for reparations, debt forgiveness, or any number of concrete proposals I could have put forward, some more reasonable than others.
    I just find it very interesting how selective Americans are with their historical memory. We’ll remind you that, “We saved yer country’s ass!” for which said country’s denizens should apparently be eternally subservient and greatful.
    But talk about the support for repressive and anti-democratic governments in South America during the 60’s through the 80’s (and beyond), and all you get from us is blank stares of non-recognition.

  356. asoka May 11, 2011 at 3:01 pm #

    Helen, I don’t know much about Canadian politics, but it sounds as if Harper and George W. Bush could be kissin’ cousins.
    And as long as your Canadian CEOs continue to sell/export your resources to our USA CEOs, you will not feel the wrath of the American military empire on your soil.
    Canada is the best economic annex (richest in natural resources) one could hope for.

  357. asoka May 11, 2011 at 3:08 pm #

    talk about the support for repressive and anti-democratic governments in South America during the 60’s through the 80’s (and beyond), and all you get from us is blank stares of non-recognition.

    Many in the USA do not know USA troops are stationed at Colombian military bases today (2011) even though the Colombian Supreme Court ruled the USA military presence illegal.
    The USA soldiers are carrying out military missions in Colombia under the guise of the “war on drugs” but actually they are counter-insurgency missions killing Colombians.

  358. dale May 11, 2011 at 3:39 pm #

    Indeed. Better still if you could grow the ingredients and distill it yourself. Talk about being untouchable.
    ================================
    Now Tripp, isn’t that still illegal down your way? “Douddle, I got you this time, Douddle.”
    2 points to anyone who recognizes the movie.

  359. San Jose Mom 51 May 11, 2011 at 4:09 pm #

    I stumbled upon my apocolypse remedy quite by accident. Cleaning my son’s room, I happened upon his stash–I’m guessing about $200 bucks worth of pot. Not wanting to flush away money, I stuck it in the grass-catcher bag for our lawnmower figuring he couldn’t sniff it out in there–and besides, I mow the lawn most of the time. There it stayed, in case of emergency.
    So there it sat….until my husband decides he’s going to mow the lawn. He dumps the clippings out in the street in front of our house, and out comes the big baggie! Oh Lord have mercy!
    SJmom

  360. messianicdruid May 11, 2011 at 4:34 pm #

    “U.S. capital is ruthlessly exploiting labor, demanding more work for little to no additional pay. The underlying dynamic here is purely Marxist: capital encourages over-supply of labor, which then drives the value of labor down. Competition for the few jobs available makes desperate wage-earners willing to put up with exploitation and insecurity because the options of escaping the cycle of centralized Corporate value extraction are insecure and risky.
    Global Corporate America fosters a surplus of labor in the U.S. via three mechanisms:
    1. vast illegal immigration which keeps labor costs down in low-skill corporate workhouses such as slaughterhouses, fast-food outlets, etc.
    2. H1-B visas for high-tech workers (now falling out of favor as those positions are better filled directly in India and China).
    3. ship production, software coding and back-office functions to China, and to a lesser degree, to India and elsewhere in east Asia.
    The unemployment rate among PhDs is roughly 50%. So much for “winning” by becoming ever more educated. The number of slots in academia is shrinking, and the total number of research positions is relatively inelastic.”
    http://www.oftwominds.com/blog.html

  361. bossier22 May 11, 2011 at 4:36 pm #

    i think we support repressive govt’s in the 3rd world because like the old song says” meet the new boss, same as the old boss.” there aren,t any good guys.

  362. BeantownBill May 11, 2011 at 4:47 pm #

    Very funny. Reminds me of when I had just graduated college in the ’60’s and got my 1st job in a very conservative company (white shirts only required, short hair, etc.). I was walking down the stairs with everyone else, going outside at the end of the day, and reached in my pocket for something, and out fell my stash in a baggy. Oops. I redeemed myself the next day, though, when I came back from taking out a client for lunch, stinkin’ drunk. It was acceptable to be alcohol-stoned, but not weed-stoned. That was part of what the ’60’s were about.

  363. memoryhole May 11, 2011 at 4:52 pm #

    Again and again, the US government and American business interests have promoted and supported anti-democratic forces in poor countries over the objections of the people there. This has been implemented by military and police repression as well as economic “shock therapy” (see The Shock Doctrine book for details).
    The US does not like countries where the means of production are state-owned, which typically have socialist or semi-socialist economies that are protectionist. This is because there is no way for us to make a profit off these assets when there are barriers to entry. The profits from these enterprises return to the people, not foreign investors. This is the usual arrangement that most countries deploy when given the chance, democratically. For instance, there are the state oil companies of countries like Mexico and Sweden.
    By contrast, US investors like it when these assets can are sold off so that Western interests can take control of them and make profits that primarily benefit outsiders or the domestic elite.
    That’s why, time and time again, the US has supported dictatorships that are willing to sell out their own people over socialistic and populist interests.
    And there are “good guys.” These are simply the people who would be elected democratically if we kept our noses out of other country’s business. Salvador Allende was elected in Chile, but the US investor class didn’t like this. So they had him deposed with the help of the CIA, and then austerity measures could be implemented to sell off state assets, open up the economy to foreign investment and manipulation, and cut social services. The US did the same thing in prior years to Mossadegh in Iran.
    I’ve done my homework on this topic. Have you?

  364. asia May 11, 2011 at 4:52 pm #

    Dale, yes when theres high unemployment folks go to school more but this is WAY beyond that…its marketing. The Times piece has a picture of a young woman who was called for 2 weeks, day after day.
    Our local JC is packed to overcapacity yet SMc continues to advertise iso more students…so can you think how much advertising for profit schools do?
    last nite someone called me whose wife worked for
    [not real name] LA Massage School..she had a nervous breakdown working there.
    The story the hubby told was….
    ‘they get all these kids to get loans and tell them they will make 50k a year doing massage!
    and the kids cant speak English well…they are poor blacks…she had a breakdown teaching in this diploma mill’

  365. asia May 11, 2011 at 4:56 pm #

    Did Japanese in them ‘good ol days’ have Horses?
    Mules? Goats? how did they farm with out them?
    [with great labor no doubt]

  366. asia May 11, 2011 at 5:07 pm #

    I had 2 neighbors [not related] who worked for ECFMG? OF ELSEGUNDO CALI..
    its a ‘doctor testing’ agency..
    To get the Indian doctors legally working here..
    everyone [they say] passes the test!!
    Importing zillions of doctors, all of whom pass the test.
    And im told after a day or 2 on tghe plane their hygiene was the worst. [I never want to be around an Indian again].

  367. bossier22 May 11, 2011 at 5:27 pm #

    what country is left that the state dose not own the assets/means of production. what i am confounded by is the lengths we go to maintain the status quo. wether democratic or dictatorship those countries will be marketing their goods/resources. why should we care who we buy or sell to. i think our original intrusion into the world was about freedom of the seas. to me maintaing a good quality of life here is what is important otherwise i could care less if were number one in every category. we say this is the greatest country in the world a lot , and i believe it. but we need to say it less and prove it more.

  368. bossier22 May 11, 2011 at 5:47 pm #

    i kinda think that the people of mexico would laugh at the notion that profits from state owned enterprises are returned to the people. i imagine the people of a lot of other countries would too. i’m not giving a pass to our big shots. they would steal their mama’s rent money.

  369. memoryhole May 11, 2011 at 6:05 pm #

    According to the Wikipedia, revenues from Pemex. the Mexican state-owned oil company, pay for 40% of the operating budget of Mexico. So how you gonna laugh at that?
    By their very nature, the profits of state-owned enterprises are mostly returned to the government coffers, largely as very valuable and useful foreign exchange reserves (e.g. oil is sold in return for dollars/euros or similar transactions). The state owned oil company of Sweden is also highly profitable for the people there. Ditto Aramco in Saudi Arabia.
    And as far as the state owning the means of production, this is certainly not the case in America, where the government only directly owns a few entities, though the government does bailout companies and banks, especially the ones that are “too big to fail.” But that’s something a little different than direct ownership, isn’t it?
    This is a really good primer on the US economic system.
    http://mondediplo.com/2008/02/05military
    The trend over the last 30 or so years has been to sell off state owned assets to private investors.
    Why should “we” care about who owns the means of production in these countries? Well, it is pretty simple. When assets are state owned, the people of that country benefit from them and receive the profits, as the company’s shares are usually owned by the government. By contrast, when these companies or resources are owned or controlled by private interests, the profits (can) go into the pockets of Western investors. It is pretty simple really, a love of money, profits, greed, whatever you want to call it.
    That explains foreign policy fiascos like Iraq in a nutshell. We, as in the powerful American business class, want access to foreign markets where big profits can be made. When we get shut out of these markets, the profits instead go to the people in those countries. And we can’t have that can we?
    I don’t buy the “greatest country in the world” rhetoric. It is mostly subjective. By many measures, there are other first world countries with far better quality of life (social services, health care, vacation time, etc.).
    Now if you want to talk about raw military power, the US has everyone else beat.

  370. memoryhole May 11, 2011 at 6:06 pm #

    boss, you crack me up. You’re so cynical about everything. Me, too, actually. But sometimes it isn’t accurate to paint everyone/everything with the same brush, ya know?

  371. bossier22 May 11, 2011 at 6:20 pm #

    memory glad you got a laugh. i read the article and i buy most of it. it would be interesting and fun to see what would happen if we closed all but the most important overseas bases along with military money to foreign countries. maybe spend on domestic projects and education. i’m not talking about totally dismantling the military. you would not have to. you are right about the paint brush , hard not use it sometime.

  372. trippticket May 11, 2011 at 6:27 pm #

    Everything’s still illegal down my way. Doesn’t mean that it isn’t happening regularly though…
    We invented the gin run and NASCAR, the offshoot.

  373. asoka May 11, 2011 at 7:08 pm #

    “Now if you want to talk about raw military power, the US has everyone else beat.”
    ============
    Except for little people wearing pajamas in Vietnam who defeated and drove out the USA; except the Taliban people in Afghanistan who haven’t been defeated and are actually stronger now after eight years of confronting the USA military.
    USA veterans’ hospitals continue to fill up with soldiers maimed by IEDs, now dependent on big government for their life-long medical needs.
    The USA is creating millions of veterans who will be demanding services (PTSD counseling, GI benefits, etc.) from a country that is bankrupt from fighting endless wars, wars the USA military is not able to win even after years of fighting, the longest wars in USA history that are draining the country of resources, resources desperately needed to invest in infrastructure, to avoid the kind of picture JHK paints this week of a dying country.

  374. MarlinFive54 May 11, 2011 at 7:20 pm #

    “… Las Vegas, New Mexico,- I call these places ghost towns in the making …” ChemiCalgary
    Ah, Las Vegas, New Mexico, where the ghosts of Billy the Kid and Pat Garret still ride, and if you listen closely enough you can hear the crack of the Kid’s Whitney-Kennedy rifle and Colt double action revolver, and Pat Garrets’ Frontier Six Shooter.
    -Marlin

  375. MarlinFive54 May 11, 2011 at 7:35 pm #

    Asoka, you remind me of the some of the students I went to grad school with at Wesleyan University, PC Capitol of the world. You weren’t that smarmy dude in the back of the room with a pony tail in my Contemp. American History class, were you, always hammering the United States, Whitey, Christians, the CIA, Republicans, the Marine Corps, Western Civ., you name it …
    You sound just like him. Watch ‘Portlandia’ and you will know what I’m talking about.
    At the time they had a program for vets like me. Otherwise I wouldn’t have set foot in a place like that.
    -Marlin

  376. Cash May 11, 2011 at 7:40 pm #

    Yes, he did and that is a fact. So the fact is that he should have had his nuts on the anvil over that waste. But he skated. Too bad. That was our money that got pissed away.

  377. Cavepainter May 11, 2011 at 7:41 pm #

    Conceptualizing a universal “extreme makeover”, instantly aligning all human kind away from accustomed myths, religious based beliefs and ingrained cultural behaviors, but instead to a 21st century scientific grasp of what’s confronting mankind and why it has devolved to be so; great idea, only I don’t believe it is achievable.
    Hell, most of the world is already living at lower tiers of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, and not even the techno-triumphalists aren’t so extravagant in their optimism to believe that a mobilization can be mounted within scale and time.
    Does one need to look any further than to our own society to see how obstinately can be held beliefs that conflict directly with even the most mundane of day-to-day object reality?
    That’s the problem with feedback loops; the practices that build to the eventual uncoiling seem reinforcing up to that point.
    To answer your question directly: In order to be enabled as a nation to help people elsewhere we first must stabilize to sustainability here, and that in itself is a humbling tall order.

  378. memoryhole May 11, 2011 at 7:41 pm #

    Hey soka.
    Can a country win a protracted war in this day and age of commercially available encrypted communications, cheap & fast transport, cheap and lethal automatic weapons, and readily available explosives?
    Given these tools, a few hundred people can wage an insurgency that will keep an entire country’s military busy for years.
    I believe the answer is that one can win a war given limited objectives. For instance, the US drove Saddam out of Kuwait and destroyed his army. Mission accomplished. War won.
    But given the objectives in places like Afghanistan, which seem to be stabilizing and (re)building an entire country from scratch, could ANY country or entity win that war without a 50 year occupation?
    The US militarily STILL occupies Japan and Germany, two countries that we beat into pulp more than 60 years ago. Similarly, we fought the Korean War to a standstill but are still over there.
    So I guess you can win the war, if you decide to stick around basially forever.
    And, as you say, unintended costs and consequences abound.
    I think my original point stands. The US has the most raw military power (biggest and most powerful nuclear stockpiles, largest and best navy, etc.).
    Now as to the actual usefulness of said arsenal, that is another question. When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

  379. MarlinFive54 May 11, 2011 at 7:45 pm #

    Memoryhole
    US Army troops and Marines landed in the Philippines on May 8, 1898.
    We still haven’t left yet, and we have no plans to, either.
    -Marlin

  380. ctemple May 11, 2011 at 7:49 pm #

    Ah, The Flim Flam Man? but I’m just guessing.

  381. messianicdruid May 11, 2011 at 7:53 pm #

    “…the longest wars in USA history that are draining the country of resources…”
    the plan:
    http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_MYpPLYHK9dE/TE3g9yPHN5I/AAAAAAAABPw/XD9bs-JtyNo/s400/1934+trib-cartoon1.jpg

  382. Cash May 11, 2011 at 7:57 pm #

    …and most of the U.S is so myopic and self centered that they understand little about the rest of the planet…- CT
    C, don’t sell yourself short. Americans have accumulated millions of man years of knowledge about other countries because of WW2 and the Cold War. Plus your enterprises do business in many countries and you cannot do business in those countries without knowledge of the locals. I know this because I was for many years an employee of a US multinational that did a lot of work here and in dozens of other countries. I had the pleasure of getting to know many colleagues in the US, Europe, Asia, S. America because of my time with this firm. And I learned things about the world that I otherwise would never have known.
    You live in country sized states in a continent sized country. So how much are you guys supposed to know anyway? In my experience Americans are as knowledgeable about the planet as anyone. I hear the same thing around here, bandied about by Canucks that ought to know better, that you guys are ignorant of matters outside your own shores. Not so.

  383. Cash May 11, 2011 at 8:02 pm #

    And if it still doesn’t make sense to you, don’t worry about it too much; we need about 13 out of 14 people to disappear anyway. So by all means, pay no attention to the systems ecologists out there trying to help you down the mountain for god knows what reason. Or do we not gather here each week to help each other out? – Tripp
    Well said. Reality is a stubborn thing.

  384. memoryhole May 11, 2011 at 8:05 pm #

    “In my experience Americans are as knowledgeable about the planet as anyone.”
    Which Americans are you hanging with Cash? I’m from there and let me tell you, there are a lot of Know Nothings. Europeans are generally far more knowledgable about world affairs, from my experience.
    Shall we compare Britain’s Economist magazine, a fantastic weekly synopsis of news the world round, with the shallow soft news peddled by American magazines, Time and Newsweek?
    That’s not to say all Americans are idiots about the world at large. Like you say, it is a big country.
    But in terms of being worldly…um, no, not most people. We’ll look at how many Americans have passports and how many languages they tend to speak for starters if you want to quantify this discussion.

  385. memoryhole May 11, 2011 at 8:09 pm #

    Cash, it seems to me that part of the reason (many) Americans are relatively myopic about the rest of the world is precisely because they live in a gigantic country with many different states, which only has two neighbors. Without extensive travel, most Americans would have difficulty in experiencing other cultures in a physical sense (due to geographic distance).
    And, sure, we know about Canada, but that’s like the 51st state. ;)
    Europeans are just naturally going to be more knowledgable about other countries, because they can hop on a train and be immersed in a completely different culture in about a half day.
    Also, it isn’t really justified to take the sample of people you met while working for a multi-national as indicative of typical Americans. It most certainly wasn’t.

  386. bubbleheadMarc May 11, 2011 at 8:15 pm #

    reply to Asoka: We already had an atheist as President, who of course was Thomas Jefferson. He rewrote the new testament removing all the miracles and flapdoodle to render it safely Unitarian, which is not to criticize Unitarianism, as if I had kids I might raise them in that church, since at least they’d be in less danger of converting to Catholicism as is common among disgruntled Episcopalians such as myself. Jefferson was probably the most intelligent president. He was raised as an Anglican and detested his tutor who was a clergyman in the established C of E.. Washington was another indifferent Episcopalian who has been trotted out by that bunch as an enthusiastic churchman when in reality he would take long smoke breaks during Morning Prayer and was reprimanded by the local rector for such laxity. Washington’s response was to stay away from the communion railing thereafter. Having sufferred a baptist rant at work today from a senile customer I wish that more people could appreciate that the founding fathers were not particularly religious and in many cases were deists at the very most and complete rationalists in many cases as well. We are not going to win by fighting Islamic fundamentalism with the bone-headed Christian equivalent.

  387. Cash May 11, 2011 at 8:25 pm #

    I have family and former colleagues in the US and many other countries. They tend to lay low but there are many Americans in this place including a friend and former colleague of mine. The world is full of know nothings, not just the US. I listen to them around here all the time.
    Re: the issue of language. English is my second language. I learned it when I started school. Before that I spoke an Italian dialect and Quebecois French with playmates that moved to Ontario from Quebec (that lingo was very close to my native dialect). The thing is that English is the de facto world language. People learn it because, like other languages before it, it has come to dominate the world of business, science and politics. People need to learn it. Having said all this I know from personal experience that it’s hard to learn another language. IMO the fact that many Americans haven’t learnt another language speaks mostly to the lack of necessity for doing so. Also, don’t ignore your large immigrant population.

  388. messianicdruid May 11, 2011 at 9:19 pm #

    “We are not going to win by fighting Islamic fundamentalism with the bone-headed Christian equivalent.”
    Seems like a classic strawman argument to me.
    When {not if} an islamist realizes that Jesus is who He says He is, they convert without reservation. This is God’s method of turning enemies into brothers. If we would busy ourselves with being Christ-like {and burning our idols}, all would be blessed.

  389. messianicdruid May 11, 2011 at 9:26 pm #

    Hey Vlad, you seen this?
    http://revisionistreview.blogspot.com/2011/05/hans-krampe-says-hoffmans-opposition-to.html
    I haven’t seen #39.

  390. trippticket May 11, 2011 at 9:31 pm #

    “I wish that more people could appreciate that the founding fathers were not particularly religious and in many cases were deists at the very most and complete rationalists in many cases as well. We are not going to win by fighting Islamic fundamentalism with the bone-headed Christian equivalent.”
    Hear hear!
    But then, both are agrarian religions, underwritten by expansion, and expansion is over.
    Zeus bless America.

  391. trippticket May 11, 2011 at 9:33 pm #

    “Well said. Reality is a stubborn thing.”
    Thanks for the chuckle!

  392. trippticket May 11, 2011 at 9:48 pm #

    When the student is ready…I had another epiphany today, based on something I’ve known academically for over 2 years, and even taught to others in a professional setting. Most delightful!
    I think it has something to do with the spring crops finishing up and being laid down to get ready for the next round. “The next round” is not something I’ve had the pleasure of in 3 years of permaculture practice. Three seasons, three different gardens.
    I told my wife a few months back that I felt like my education in Nature had gone stagnant, and that perhaps that was because we were reliving our freshman year over and over. Sure enough, as soon as we start closing in on the second year in one place, Nature opens up her lesson plans and doles out a heaping helping of wisdom. My blog post this week will be an expansion of this epiphany (hopefully tomorrow?).
    I love energy descent. Too many of you guys still fight for Team Cancer, thinking that that’s the good stuff. It’s unfortunate that I can’t just talk you out of it.
    Only when the student is ready…

  393. memoryhole May 11, 2011 at 9:50 pm #

    Can you link your blog for us tripp…

  394. trippticket May 11, 2011 at 9:56 pm #

    Of course!
    http://smallbatchgarden.blogspot.com/
    Cheers! Hopefully I’ll have this new post up before the weekend.

  395. welles May 11, 2011 at 10:55 pm #

    …yes this country is soulless by and large, perhaps with the exception of detroit’s arts beats and eats.
    it’s devolved into an empty strip mall crawling with grossly fat, ignorant semi-zombies, if you want true human warmth i find it in much greater abundance overseas, to include in many favelas, where i am immediately welcomed into familes and friendships without reservation and where people share what little they have with great joy.
    i’ll take a plate of rice and beans over a latte and an ipad any day of the week.
    keep your american exceptionalism to yourself.
    shalom

  396. edpell May 11, 2011 at 11:20 pm #

    There was an article in Esquire about 30 years ago that said corporations would become like walled cities and people would be loyal to their corporation. About 15 years ago Lou Gerstner (then CEO of IBM) gave a speech saying much the same.
    Today in China companies like SMIC provide housing, medical and private schools for employees and their family. The school offers classes in both Chinese and English (not language classes but all classes).
    James Kunstler goes on about walkable communities maybe this is how they will come about as company towns (walled cities).

  397. Nastarana May 11, 2011 at 11:31 pm #

    I was intrigued by JHK’s comments about Berlin, NY. I am in the very beginning. planning stages of putting together a speciality nursery so I was quite interested in the greenhouses mentioned.
    The property is listed for sale, at an asking price of $1,950,000! I also found 17 houses listed for sale, the least expensive of which goes for about $129,000, if I remember right.
    Berlin is clearly going to remain depressed until someone gets real about land and housing prices.
    The decaying, former undustrial cities, Utica, Syracuse and Rochester, may not seem like desirable places to live, but housing prices are low enough to allow creative, innovative people to set themselves up in their own businesses.

  398. edpell May 11, 2011 at 11:55 pm #

    It is evolution in action. No one will unilaterally give up the use of resources or having children. Well at least those who will win in the evolutionary sense. Those who will loose may chose to not reproduce and not to use resources for themselves and their children.

  399. asoka May 12, 2011 at 12:15 am #

    welles, American exceptionalism is what makes it impossible for Americans to admit that life is better elsewhere. I have no doubt that you, and hundreds of thousands of American ex-pats, are living better lives in other countries. You expressed it very well:

    i find it in much greater abundance overseas, to include in many favelas, where i am immediately welcomed into familes and friendships without reservation and where people share what little they have with great joy.

    This was exactly my experience in South America, but I am the outcast in my own family: because I didn’t stay put in the USA; because I chose to travel instead of saving, investing, and striving to have a suburban USA life; because I value South American hospitality over North American dreams of material wealth.

  400. Raindogs May 12, 2011 at 1:01 am #

    What really gets me is how everyone is so muddled in the old realities and old way of thinking.
    At work, these chirpy, vapid women are always coming up and asking for donations for someone’s baby shower gift, when I’ve worked with that person for all of 8 minutes.
    I’m thinking what a relief, just what we needed; another resource-gobbling little crumbcruncher-consumer American hardwired-earth-destroyer.
    Come back when you’ve planted 10 fruit trees and developed a greywater low-flow drip irrigation system for your acreage, then maybe I’ll think about donating to your cause.

  401. spider9629 May 12, 2011 at 2:13 am #

    Most of the entire discipline of engineering is based on how to do more with less, how to produce more with fewer manipulations, less material and energy inputs, more economies of scale, use the same parts across more products and most of all less labor inputs. But, somehow we always need “more engineers”, ultimately to decrease the need of labor one way or another because even if you just decrease the use of energy or materials or manipulations either directly or indirectly that will translate in “less cost” and less cost always means somewhere down the line, somewhere in the world a job or more jobs are axed.
    The tech guys have been taught to not connect the local to the global, engineering never touches “sociology”, the local optimization there just happens to have a large scale “social effect”, but engineers are not taught to think in terms of global effects, and especially social effects, but in local details and optimizations.
    Maybe I live in a global hypocrisy, everyone knows that many jobs are fake or not needed, could be axed and probably will be axed, but everyone just plays along, just pretends, and I think I am telling them something they already knew (but never dare to say it bluntly): shame on me for being so naive.
    That begs the question, how many “fake jobs” can the system invent (I am amazed that 100 million people still work in the USA, still have jobs, but maybe I am wrong), after all the military expenditure could be 700 billion a year enough for 70 million cheap salaries of 10,000 a year and the military doesn’t produce anything but is set up to destroy things, the opposite of production, but especially consumes weapons, so indirectly “produces” weapons. Another result of EXCESS CAPACITY, but no one notices it, or pretends to not notice that the system creates so much wealth that it can maintain such a military budget with so many unemployed.
    The JAPANESE may have 5 million fake jobs of people working in their skyscrapers and offices, where the job consists of mostly waiting for the boss to go home at 10 at night, since the status relationship is the job, the “ritual” is the job (wondering how many jobs are just “rituals”). They already produce way more than enough, flooding the world with their products, they need more real production like a hole in the head. After all their unemployment figures are always around 5 % while most 1st world countries hover around 8 to 10 % (and surely much higher, since these numbers are fudged up a lot), so how do they do it ? what makes them special ? They just keep a lot of people in fake jobs where they wait for time to pass (but they are not the only ones, I phantom worldwide that these kinds of jobs number in the tens of millions, and parts of many other jobs just consist in waiting or making time pass, or idle, or “no operation” (like the computer instruction)).
    Notice how important “time at work, the more time, the more productive you are, but especially the higher chance of a raise you may have” is even in the USA: the more important this is in a work environment, you can be sure the less real production and less real work is being performed, unless they loaded all the work on just a few workaholics who see the world as so full of work.

  402. lbendet May 12, 2011 at 9:08 am #

    Just a recommendation for a book that caught my attention by Michael Chossudovsky: “The Globalisation of Poverty”. In going through the table of contents I noticed he covers much of what Naomi Klein discussed in “Shock Doctrine” looks like a good read.
    http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=24710
    [In this new and expanded edition of Chossudovsky’s international best-seller, the author outlines the contours of a New World Order which feeds on human poverty and the destruction of the environment, generates social apartheid, encourages racism and ethnic strife and undermines the rights of women. The result as his detailed examples from all parts of the world show so convincingly, is a globalization of poverty.]

  403. lbendet May 12, 2011 at 9:08 am #

    Just a recommendation for a book that caught my attention by Michael Chossudovsky: “The Globalisation of Poverty”. In going through the table of contents I noticed he covers much of what Naomi Klein discussed in “Shock Doctrine” looks like a good read.
    http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=24710
    [In this new and expanded edition of Chossudovsky’s international best-seller, the author outlines the contours of a New World Order which feeds on human poverty and the destruction of the environment, generates social apartheid, encourages racism and ethnic strife and undermines the rights of women. The result as his detailed examples from all parts of the world show so convincingly, is a globalization of poverty.]

  404. bubbleheadMarc May 12, 2011 at 9:18 am #

    Speaking of “fake jobs”: The mind reels at the extent of fake employment in a highly ritualized society. Traffic enforcement could be largely automated. Smoke alarms and other measures have largely eliminated fires in affluent areas. Motivated young adult GED students can duplicate the second half of their schooling in mere months, leading to the insight that perhaps kids largely could do with day-care then do their academic training in a fraction of the time once they’ve actually become motivated to learn as unemployed young adults. At any rate, adults who imagine that school is “work” for kids have little idea how unproductive school kids typically are. After all, if they can’t be fired for not working then obviously they’re mostly not working. And then finally we have the military which is totally unproductive, at least economically, or if kept in existence could at least largely be demobilized into reserve components, and so on. I’ll never forget buying sport coats at the Gentry Shop in Cincinnati in ’77 for student teaching and the salesman, a retired army sergeant, telling me I should join the army because being stationed in Germany was “like being a retired playboy”. And then of course barbers spend half their lives sitting on their asses reading the paper or watching headline news on cable. Some jobs can’t be made more efficient because they depend on the whims of the customers in terms of when they feel like doing what it is that’s going on there.

  405. dale May 12, 2011 at 9:52 am #

    “Ah, The Flim Flam Man? but I’m just guessing.”
    ======================================
    I guess you just can’t cheat an “honest man”. Good guess.

  406. trippticket May 12, 2011 at 10:32 am #

    “It is evolution in action. No one will unilaterally give up the use of resources or having children. Well at least those who will win in the evolutionary sense. Those who will loose may chose to not reproduce and not to use resources for themselves and their children.”
    This is sometimes a hard concept to vocalize, but I’m glad you did, and I think you said it well. As my wife and I engaged our journey into energy descent, we realized along the way that the most natural thing a person can do is pass on their genes. There is no evolution without another generation, and, quite frankly, I’d like to see a few humans stick around to help clean up the mess we made. (And enjoy a potentially far more beautiful planet one day.) We weren’t planning on having kids before that, and we were obnoxiously vocal about the need for other people to do the same. It was a bitter pill to swallow when we realized that not having children was actually as abnormal and out of touch with Nature as a person could get.
    We have two little ones – a daughter who turned 3 today, and a son who is almost one. We replaced ourselves, but not quite, statistically. We’ve thought about trying for that 0.3 of a baby, but can’t seem to work out the logistics. Admittedly, two is too many, and we probably should’ve stuck with one, but we are building a rural permaculture village, and the extra hands will come in, well, handy!
    To lay it down like it really needs to be addressed, however, my family of four is now living on/generating only 20% of the total energy budget that the two of us were 4 years ago. And my goal is to reach carbon neutrality for the four of us before I die. Still have some work to do…

  407. dale May 12, 2011 at 10:53 am #

    What is the real value of reading this blog? Is it “information”? At its best…yes. But in reality, what’s posted here is very seldom informed.
    Tripp actually posts “information” people here could really USE, if they shared his interest in small scale farming. He definitely has a point of view, but POV is not where he “lives”, so to speak.
    Most posters here know either very little about the topic they are posting on, or are so biased in their view that they quit giving credence to any source that doesn’t support their position a long time ago. That shouldn’t be surprising I guess, since JHK himself is a close minded modern Luddite, with average intelligence and a gift for gab. It’s only natural that his blog would attract others with a similar blinkered view.
    For example, it’s amazing to me how many people here would profess to being “non-religious”, but at the same time hold some view as “gospel truth”, that can at best be described as “one of many possibilities”. So you have the ironic situation of someone with a highly opinionated position, supportable but far from flawless, regarding it as an example of “mindfulness”. Where is the Zen master to slap these people across the face, as a means of bringing them to their senses?
    Try using this blog as a way to evaluate your own open mindedness. Are you allowing information to “flow” through you, or are you more like a “filter”, screening out just the parts with which you already agree and regarding everything else as anomalous, or even worse, conspiratorial lies? Ask yourself, what is the meaning of the phrase “You don’t have to believe everything you think”. Give some thought to the difference between the meaning of “Wisdom” and its dark dim-witted cousin “Cynicism”.
    Sorry for the rant, but nothing makes me fear more for human survival than these seemingly minor disconnects of human understanding.

  408. asoka May 12, 2011 at 11:01 am #

    Nice rant, dale!

    Where is the Zen master to slap these people across the face, as a means of bringing them to their senses?

    I thought the purpose of this blog is to prepare ourselves for any eventual bitch slap reality gives us in the future. That is why I share about the voluntary simplicity movement, veganism, permaculture, the small house movement, adobe vault construction, war tax resistance, etc. …
    … while advocating an open attitude that welcomes the “Other” (Mexicans, Muslims, etc.) and admits the possibility that we are multitudes and can hold opposing views in our minds with ease.

  409. Buck Stud May 12, 2011 at 12:14 pm #

    Dale,
    I have learned that God created Cheese-Doodles because he loves us and wants us to be happy!

  410. Harvey Cohen May 12, 2011 at 12:30 pm #

    May I buy your son’s stash off you? I’m in Cupertino.
    Humble Harv

  411. bubbleheadMarc May 12, 2011 at 12:38 pm #

    Speaking of ritualistic jobs which entail little or no actual work “zen master” seems to fit the bill pretty nicely. After all, what if they built a buddhist shrine and forgot to invite the clerical parasites to preside over the rituals being performed [by them] which of course needn’t be performed in the first place. And more to the point, who’s in charge of telling the Roshi whose job ostensibly is to “check” the enlightenment of others that he’s full of shit himself? If Japanese buddhists “know” what they’re doing then why is it that they can never agree on anything and splintered into scores of little sects known as schools? And why is there one sect, Nicherin, which has been predominantly anti-clerical and now no longer employs monks? The fact is if you’re enlightened then you shouldn’t need some cranky little guy to certify you as such. In spite of all this I remain a fan of the late Suzuki Roshi of the San Francisco Zen Center so I also am self-contradicting and therefore full of shit.

  412. memoryhole May 12, 2011 at 1:20 pm #

    “What is the real value of reading this blog?”
    Wasting time at work!

  413. memoryhole May 12, 2011 at 1:22 pm #

    “nothing makes me fear more for human survival than these seemingly minor disconnects of human understanding”
    That’s pretty weird. I would have thought war, pestilence, famine, the gigantic island of plastic in the Pacific would have rated higher than some minor misunderstandings on the internet.

  414. memoryhole May 12, 2011 at 1:27 pm #

    You know, being open-minded is all well and good, but sometimes one side is right and the other is just plain wrong. Take the “debate” between creationists and those who believe in evolution. One side has mountains of evidence for it and the other is braindead idiocy based on a 2000 year-old holy book filled with nonsense. Should we all be open-minded to the idea that Jehovah created the earth in 6 days and rested on the 7th?
    Or let’s look at the global warming issue, another well-established scientific theory that has been turned into a “debate.” Those who disbelieve the hypothesis go against years of climate data, not to mention visible occurences like fast receding glaciers.

  415. ctemple May 12, 2011 at 1:36 pm #

    You have a keen mind, and put some thought into your thought. The last thing we need, in my opinion is for people to spout the some old junk from the past.

  416. Harvey Cohen May 12, 2011 at 1:47 pm #

    Ever been to Tassajara Zen Center? An amazing place. Zen is too austere and ritualized for my tastes but there are some aspects I enjoy.

  417. Harvey Cohen May 12, 2011 at 1:50 pm #

    I am more open-mided to the idea that Jehovah created everything in six days, but that on the seventh he was arrested.

  418. Harvey Cohen May 12, 2011 at 2:03 pm #

    Speaking of fake jobs… today I am substitute teaching in a California high school. The lesson plan – show the kids ‘Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory’. It’s embarrassing. At least I brought my laptop.

  419. Cash May 12, 2011 at 2:14 pm #

    Here’s a short column from a lib/left writer. This is a bit of lucid thinking (for a change and outstanding proof that the prospect of hanging focuses the mind) as to why poor people vote Conservative (ie right wing ideologues, extremists, nutcases, bigots).
    It can serve as a template for electoral success anywhere, including the USA.
    http://www.thestar.com/opinion/editorialopinion/article/989087–goar-why-the-poor-cast-votes-for-conservatives
    According to Goar, the messages of the Conservatives up here regarding law and order and prosperity resonate with the poor because, Liberal/liberal sneering notwithstanding (my editorializing), crime is a big problem especially in poorer neighbourhoods and the people in those places want the gangs/drugs/guns brought under control. The other thing they want is a decent paying job. As the writer said, speak in “plain language” about issues that matter to people.
    Some criticism: this “plain language” stuff makes me laugh. It’s code. Liberals will understand it and smirk: speak to your inferiors in a way they’ll understand, pretend to sympathize, pretend their worries are your worries.
    Goes to show old habits die hard even after a disastrous election result. Can’t keep the Liberal/liberal condescension under wraps even for one short column. The electorate handed them their balls and still the towering superiority comes out: talk the talk of the little people, not too many high falutin, multi-syllabic words.
    We don’t have a southern drawl up here but if we did by golly “plain language” would mean do like Hillary Clinton, find your good ole boy southern roots, make the word “yes” into three syllables and toss back a few. But people can spot a snob a mile away. If the Libs keep this up they’ll be history.

  420. asoka May 12, 2011 at 2:25 pm #

    do like Hillary Clinton, find your good ole boy southern roots, make the word “yes” into three syllables and toss back a few.

    Hey, Hillary Clinton represented the entire state of New York, including the conservative upstate part that JHK speak of this week.
    Hillary’s approval ratings were up to 65 to 70% which cannot all be explained by the use of “plain language”
    If, as you say, “people can spot a snob a mile away,” then how do you explain Hillary high ratings in conservative upstate New York? Do conservatives *cough*William F. Buckley*cough* like snobs?

  421. BeantownBill May 12, 2011 at 2:44 pm #

    I can only use myself as an example. Being human I function with both emotion and intellect. I am one of the non-religious people, and yes, much of my beliefs and values are dogmatic – at least until someone can prove to me through critical thinking and evidentially-based facts that I am wrong.
    One of my personal traits is to be impatient with people who habitually do not display critical thinking. I consider this a character flaw of mine, but I accept it as I am who I am. Lack of critical thinking, IMO, lies at the root of our issues.
    I’ve been trained as a scientist. I think it’s inaccurate to describe most people as either a technophile or a technophobe, although some people are either. Science is separate from technology. Technology is a tool used by humans as a result of scientific progress. You can’t really criticize a tool, only its wielders.
    I don’t have it in me to be pessimistic about the future, but I am concerned about the liklihood of humanity to misuse or underutilize the technological tools and natural resources we do have available. I have been erroneously described as a techno-triumphalist. This is incorrect. Because our survival will be determined by the actions of human beings, not technology alone, there’s a question of whether or not we will succeed in continuing our civilization.
    But me being me, I am optimistic about our future. Being an optimist is just as valid as being a pessimist, so we shall see who wins out.

  422. layaway May 12, 2011 at 2:48 pm #

    “Layaway, you say “Just so the Libs lose, that’s all that matters.””
    Yes. Three reasons: Barak Obama, Harry Reid. Nancy Pelosi. All three are simple, worthless, Lib fucks that are bankrupting our country and simultaneously flying it into a cliff. May all three rot in hell with you.

  423. layaway May 12, 2011 at 2:52 pm #

    “He also is hard on the Tea Party and Sarah Palin, as if they had any real power or influence to affect events 4 years ago or even now.”
    Oh for fuck’s sake, have you already forgotten the 2010 election? Talk about fucking alzheimer’s!

  424. wagelaborer May 12, 2011 at 2:52 pm #

    To all the atheists on clusterfuck nation, an entrepreneurial opportunity-
    http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/living/2015009181_rapturepet10.html?prmid=obinsite

  425. layaway May 12, 2011 at 2:57 pm #

    “MILITARY SPENDING HAS NO MULTIPLIER EFFECT LIKE SPENDING IN THE CIVILIAN SECTOR HAS.”
    Oh for shit’s sake, You who constantly call for the expansion of Big Gov are now going to trumpet the multiplier effect in the private sector? In a pig’s fucking eye. You merely found a sector of gov you don’t particularly care for. What a fucking douche.

  426. dale May 12, 2011 at 3:27 pm #

    That’s pretty weird. I would have thought war, pestilence, famine, the gigantic island of plastic in the Pacific would have rated higher than some minor misunderstandings on the internet.
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Not if you understand that the tecnology to end all of those exists, but the flaws of human understanding are what prevent proper action…..and the “pro” side is often little better than the “con”.
    Take the Kyoto treaty, lots of close minded types think its “bad” because it mean they may have to drive a smaller car. They don’t mind telling you they don’t believe in GW or anything else that interferes with their lifestyle…..sound familiar? Stupid right?
    Now take the other side. Fact is, even if Kyoto was put in place today, it would have no effect on the course of GW in the next 50 years. That doesn’t stop the supporters from thinking it’s “righteous” and must be done.
    Let me give you another take….if it won’t fix anything, then why do it? “Unintended consequences” are a bitch, and I could think of a hundred which could arise from Kyoto, including war, pestilence and famine.
    I’m not taking sides, hell….in this case both sides would likely make the problem worse! I’m saying real solutions in a complex world are very difficult and over simplifing the problem doesn’t help.
    It really comes down to developing a greater sense of moral responsibility, both in how we treat the environment and each other, and that takes place mostly between our ears.
    Being “militant” about something like GW really misses the point. All the disparaging of people who won’t choose up sides with you is part of the problem, not part of the solution.

  427. Cupid Stunt May 12, 2011 at 4:32 pm #

    I know that this is off message but there is a really interesting article in the Guardian reporting that
    “ A top military intelligence official has said the discredited dossier on Iraq’s weapons programme was drawn up “to make the case for war”, flatly contradicting persistent claims to the contrary by the Blair government, and in particular by Alastair Campbell, the former prime minister’s chief spin doctor.
    In hitherto secret evidence to the Chilcot inquiry, Major General Michael Laurie said: “We knew at the time that the purpose of the dossier was precisely to make a case for war, rather than setting out the available intelligence, and that to make the best out of sparse and inconclusive intelligence the wording was developed with care.”
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/may/12/iraq-dossier-case-for-war
    Maybe we are one step closer to Tony Blair appearing in the Hague. He can of course be extradited from Holland, should he ever land there, under existing legal instruments but I assumed his flights are planned with sufficient care to avoid this possibility.
    It was greatly comforting to see that he was not invited to the royal Wedding, which even his political opponents considered an outrageous slap in the face. It shows the extent of the Royal family’s displeasure at having our armed forces sent on two pointless wars, the Queen being the head of the armed forces. Even the Syrian ambassador received an invitation which was only rescinded at the last moment as the body count back home mounted. Well done Maam.
    Cupid L Stunt MD (Cantab)

  428. JonathanSS May 12, 2011 at 4:40 pm #

    “Just so the Libs lose, that’s all that matters.”
    Been drinking the Ann/Rush/Glenn koolaid, have we?
    What matters is that the country survives, prospers and leads the rest of the world by example into energy descent.
    Who’s the douche now, what with your black/white, us vs. them thinking? I’m certain the Newt/Donald 2012 ticket will eliminate the Fed deficit and bring back $2/gal gas, right?

  429. JonathanSS May 12, 2011 at 4:41 pm #

    I’m talkin to you, dbag.

  430. asia May 12, 2011 at 5:36 pm #

    REAL NEWS FOR REAL PEOPLE
    Troubled fashion designer Galliano facing defamation lawsuit …after he was arrested by cops in Paris, France in February … he racially abused a couple at a bar and praised Adolf Hitler. …
    SO MUCH FOR FREE SPEECH……….
    ‘RACIALLY ABUSED’ [their sorry French ass]!

  431. ozone May 12, 2011 at 6:01 pm #

    Don’t waste your breath, JSS.
    La-la-ya-ya-wah-wah is just another incarnation of pud-pud the pissant (etc.) waiting on his ubiquitous banning. When you see “fucktard”, you can yawn along with everyone else.
    Only dale will find him interesting and worthy of an “unfiltered” douchetard grand audience.
    “We are not amused.”
    ……yawn…..

  432. bubbleheadMarc May 12, 2011 at 6:14 pm #

    reply to query from Hsrvey Cohen: No, I’ve never been to Tassajara Mountain Zen Center but of course I’ve read about it. Used to live in Hawaii where there are many Buddhist temples. Have been on retreat at Anglican, Catholic & Greek Orthodox monasteries. Meditate sometimes at a Chinese lineage hybrid Pure Land & Chan temple, chan being Mandarin for Zen. Most of my buddhist influence comes from the lapsed Anglican priest Alan Watts, not so much from enthusiastic practitioners. Heavy practitioners tend not to approve of Watts who was really not a buddhist but an academic philosopher who preferred to unwind with cocktails instead of sitting on a zafu. I don’t think I could hack living at a Zen monastery at this point but I can meditate for a couple of hours.