Neocon Nation

Barack Obama often is called, disparagingly, a liberal, by people who call themselves conservatives. But it’s a big stretch to call Obama a liberal. And there are damned few conservatives left in this country. We’re a nation of neoconservatives.

Liberals view the world through the lens of empathy for individuals, especially individuals who are “down on their luck.” FDR is the beacon of liberalism in the United States, primarily due to the social programs he championed during the Great Depression. These programs constructed a substantive safety net for individuals while also protecting individual rights. The safety net included government provision of necessities seen as essential to freedom, such as education, health care, food, and shelter. And the rights were the ones you’ll find in this country’s founding documents: freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and freedom of the press.

My, what a quaint set of ideas.

When I was a youngster and then a young adult, during the 1960s and 1970s, FDR Democrats dominated the political scene. They were pro-labor, which meant they understood the importance of laborers to American economic supremacy. They wanted the government to keep out of the lives of individuals, even to the radical extent that people of color were entitled to rights. Women, too! It was a brave new world, undergoing a profound cultural revolution. Since then, those wacky liberals have tried, to virtually no avail, to extend rights to non-heterosexuals.

Up until the 1970s, and arguably later, conservative issues were lumped into two categories, fiscal and social. Fiscal conservatives, historically including many Republicans, tried to minimize the size of the federal government by restricting government functions to the incarceration industry, including K-12 concentration camps, and occupation of foreign lands, which they called, without apology, national defense (to be fair to conservatives, they were joined on the imperial bandwagon, more often than not, but self-proclaimed liberals). These days, everybody who can balance a checkbook calls themselves fiscal conservatives. By definition, none of these people are contemporary politicians. We have not employed anything resembling fiscal responsibility since 1981, and perhaps longer.

Social conservatives are far more common than fiscal conservatives. These folks hearken to the good old days, when women and people of color knew their subordinate places. In other words, “social conservative” is code for racist, misogynist, specieist, homophobe. Amazingly, many people put this label on themselves, thinking they are strictly interpreting the founding documents of the United States. If they’d read them, they’d conclude the opposite.

Neoconservatives arose from the ashes of Barry Goldwater’s presidential campaign. They were disaffected liberal Democrats and former followers of Trotsky. Ronald Reagan was the figurehead, in large part because he was viewed as something of a tabula rasa for the founders of the movement. Imagine a likable, male version of Sarah Palin.

Neocons did not, and do not, fit the mold of liberal or conservative. Although they tend to be socially conservative — that is, they want the federal government to have absolute power over who gets married, who has sex with whom, and which species are allowed to persist at our domineering hand — they clearly are not fiscally conservative and they have no interest in small government. They routinely rail against “tax-and-spend” liberals. Then they cut taxes (read “services”) at every opportunity, offering to “relieve” us of the burden of taxes (hence, services). The massive government they’ve created focuses not on helping struggling individuals, as was the historically liberal model, but rather on providing subsidies for the uber-wealthy. Thus, even while the neocons have been cutting taxes (read “services”), they’ve managed to create huge government programs to subsidize people who have enjoyed every economic advantage. The neocons have come up with no way to pay for these massive subsidies, because they’ve destroyed the tax base. So, off we plunge into an ocean of debt unimaginable to liberals and conservatives alike.

We have become a neocon nation. All contemporary national-level politicians pay lip service to individuals while championing bailouts for every conceivable large corporation and tax cuts for everybody. No serious candidate for president would mention the idea of raising the highest personal income-tax bracket to 70%, yet that was the rate before the Reagan took office (down from 80% shortly after the Great Depression). Workers’ rights went out the proverbial window along with serious oversight of the Securities and Exchange Commission. Lobbyists have assumed control over federal spending, to the great benefit of the organizations they represent and to the great detriment of poor citizens. The chasm between rich and poor resembles our own universe in size and rate of expansion.

Barack Obama certainly is more liberal than any president since Jimmy Carter. But do not expect him to roll back governmental control over any of the following: tracking “terrorists” (as defined by the executive branch), personal privacy (including tracking every financial transaction made by every American, as approved by the Democratic Congress during Dubya’s first term), bail-outs for the big companies (without Congressional oversight), funds spent on the occupation of foreign countries (without public support). And if you expect a resurgence in workers’ rights, you’ll be sorely disappointed when every new executive order and piece of legislation favors management (i.e., big biz) over labor (i.e., workers). Ditto for actions that favor non-heterosexual humans. And you can forget about non-human species.

It’s a neocon nation. The cultural current is far too strong to be overcome by Barack Obama, even if he were inclined to swim against the cultural stream.

As usual, I have good news if you don’t like the direction the government and culture have taken: the problem’s going to take care of itself. When the empire completes its fall, when the federal government loses the ability to control everything from foreign wars to domestic sex acts, when the dollar’s even further in the toilet and the transportation networks are completely impotent, when the cheerleader-in-chief of American Empire can no longer destroy the lands and waters and the organisms on which we all depend, that’s when we can bury the neoconservative agenda.

I’d give it a year. Maybe less. But I’m an optimist.

Comments 79

  • Let me blunt – I think you are dealing in outmoded, stereotypical assumptions. Not every so-called ‘social conservative’ is a neanderthal; not every ‘liberal’ favors government intervention into every facet of life. These are the old battles, fought by generations who are now (very ungracefully, I have to say) slowly, very slowly, exiting the scene. Much as the internet broke the stranglehold of corporate news reporting, so BHO has the chance to break the stranglehold of the old endless stalemates. (Will pro-choice and pro-life people every agree to just disagree? – no – but somehow the country has to go on, and has, and will.)
    The whole inspiration of BHO, as I see it, as that he is breaking all those old molds. He has a real chance to be something entirely different (as the neocons themselves once were). My hope, my great hope, is that he does it. I am not so naive as I seem; my realistic self doesn’t think he will. But maybe, just maybe, he will seize this historical moment and rise to the occasion and lead us somewhere new and better. Like, you know, a leader is supposed to. Become a true world-historical figure, in the best Nietzschean sense.
    That’s a lot of weight to put on one man. But hey, he asked for it, didn’t he.
    But let’s look at some of the specifics. He has pledged to increase protection of the environment. He has pledged to pull us out of the Iraqi quagmire (making him both un-neocon-like and not playing by the Peak Oil endgame rules that doomers like to think they have figured out). He has pledged to extend a workable healthcare coverage system to all Americans. He specifically mentioned gay Americans in his acceptance speech in Chicago, which would lead me to believe he is in favor of extending natural rights to them. I could go on.
    I won’t though, because at this moment, we don’t know if he will actually do all these things, or be able to. But I’m going to go ahead and give him the benefit of the doubt. I think it’s a little early to start tarring him with a brush stained by the likes of human offal, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, et al.
    The other point I would make is this: I wouldn’t go to making specific, time-based predictions. When America fails to collapse in one year (and it’s not going to), what credibility are you going to have left? Ditto any other time-specific predictions. Spotting trends and making educated guesses are a whole different thing from playing fortune teller. I guess I’d like to know why you feel it is necessary.

  • Among my predictions about peak oil, made about three years ago:
    1. Oil priced at $150/bbl in July 2008. The priced in July hit $147.27.
    2. Economic depression begins in 2008. It will be terminal, and will make the Great Depression look like the good old days.
    3. The price of silver climbs from less than $5/ounce to $20/ounce in 2008, after which an economic depression destroys demand.
    4. Housing market collapses (this explains why I sold my house after loving it, and living in it, for nearly two decades.
    5. Significant disruptions in the supply of gasoline after any significant event, including a hurricane or military “troubles” in the Middle East.
    6. The Greatest Depression begins in 2008.
    7. The empire comes crashing down late in 2009.
    So far, I’m six for seven. Any takers for a bet about #7?

  • Dear Professor Guy:
    Yes,I believe everything is going to take care of itself.Everything is so egreciously,extreme,so insensate,so wildly
    out of control that the whole damn thing must come crashing down from it’s own weight.

  • 1) Yes, and now it’s $57.04.
    2) I don’t see anyone but you calling it a Great Depression, let alone the greatest. A recession, yeah. But I guess we’ll see. Still, I’m not giving you this one yet.
    3) As of this moment, silver is $9.25.
    4) Nice call.
    5) Still waiting on this one. Nothing significant that my internet tubes have told me about.
    6) See #2.
    7) Guess we’ll have to wait for late 2009.
    By my count you’re 1 & 1/2 of 6.

  • Knowing how Barack Obama is prone to work out social problems in the spirit of compromise, I predict that he will legalize gay marriage on the condition that gay people must marry other gay people of the opposite sex. Obama will successfully convince the gay community that this is fair and non-discriminatory since it is the same rule that heterosexual marriage is governed by and yet it thus allows for gay marriage, which used to be unthinkable.
    Using the same mindset, Obama will solve public healthcare issues by melding the interests of Big Pharma and Big Business so that the needs of both will be met equally. The unemployed will be shit out of luck, but Obama supporters in that category will overlook their own welfare in the ecstacy of having him as their fearless leader.
    Obama will close Guantanomo, but not reveal where the prisoners went on grounds of “national security”. He will see to it that “torture” is a word that is never used in government correspondence and will deny its existence just as Bush tried to do.
    Obama will wear out two printing presses per week printing bailout money for every bank, corporation, city, state, or organization of over 250 people, driving the national debt to incalculable numbers. But pensioners, widows, orphans, and gay divorcees will have to fend for themselves.
    When 2012 rolls around, many liberals will beg Obama to run again in order to “finish the change that he started”. Michelle will threaten to take the kids and leave if Barack runs for a second term, causing Barack to divorce her and marry Ellen DeGeneres in order to boost his ratings and give himself a chance at a second term.
    A poll will show that most of the 22 million unemployed Americans and 100% of the Republicans will feel that the four years of the Obama administration did not enhance their personal sense of well-being; and Obama will not be nominated by the Democratic Party for the 2012 election, but will consider joining the “Liberal” party with Ellen DeGeneres as his wife AND running mate.
    Stan Moore

  • Memo to Court:
    You’re wrong about #2.I’ve been calling it “The Termial Depression” on this site for a long time.Terminal as in end,final,last.Neither I,nor anyone else knows what will be left,but what,if anything is remaining of Capitalism and Civilization will be unrecognizable.

  • Frank,
    Ok, so that makes 2 calling it some other name than a recession. I still find that insufficient evidence to conclude the Apocalypse Has Arrived. Assigning it a clever name, unfortunately, will not hasten its appearance.

  • Court —
    Have you read this analysis by Economics Professor Michael Chossodovsky?
    How many similar articles would it take for you to acknowledge that the concept of an ongoing depression is recognized outside this little blog?
    I would be happy to do a little digging and find other references for you if you come up with a reasonable number.
    Stan Moore

  • How does “financial end time” sound instead of “Great Depression”. Economist Michael Hudson used that term in a pre-election essay in October, 2008. The same basic set of facts he discussed then is still on the table.
    Stan Moore
    Petaluma, CA

  • *Sigh.*
    Stan, I’ve got google. I can feed at the doomer trough as well as anyone, and I used to. What I’m pointing out is,
    1) I doubt, as I pointed out above, that BHO is not a neocon, at least not yet;
    2) Professor Guy’s predictions are, in my estimation, none too accurate thus far;
    3) Calling a “pig” a “Black Flower Of Death” does not make the pig into a Black Flower Of Death. Is it possible that the recession we’re evidently in will turn into a full-blown depression? Of course it’s possible. Is it possible that the end of civilization is here? Sure, anything is possible. But it HASN’T HAPPENED YET. Thereby meaning that any predictions of doom are NOT TRUE. Not yet, anyhow.
    I don’t understand why this is so hard to understand.

  • As an example of how stupid and ignorant the media is,look at the TV reports on todays stock market.The insipid talking heads are telling us the “stock market” was up 151 points today–citing the Dow Jones Industrial Average which comprises just 30 of over 8,000 publically traded stocks.The majority of the 8,000+ stocks actually went down today.So much for the US Media.

  • Memo to Court:
    Look up the definition of “prediction” in the dictionary and you’ll see nothing in that word encompassing the concept
    of “truth”. A prediction cannot be true or untrue, because it hasn’t happened yet–DUH—————————–

  • This is going nowhere, and I’m going to stop after this. In my experience on blogs and forums and the like, when someone uses the schoolmarmish ploy of “look a dictionary neener neener neener”, that someone has run to the end of their argumentative abilities.
    Frank, if you will cast your jaded eyes on the entries above, Professor Guy thinks that he has gone “6 for 7” on his predictions. I dispute this number. If you don’t like the word “truth”, substitute facts, or, reality.
    In my view, making specific predictions about the future is a mug’s game. Further, I think Professor Guy makes very salient points all over this blog. That’s why I read it. I just think it’s better not to play fortune teller.

  • Memo to Court:
    Economic conditions today are already WORSE than they were during the last Depression.Look at the huge American corporations that survived the last Depression but recently went out of business:Bear Stearns,AIG,Merrill Lynch,Lehmann Bros.Court I could give you many more names,but the point is that there is a vast amount of evidence
    that conditions are worse today than in the 30’s.
    Tomorrow I’ll explain how human nature and The Third Generation Rule guarantee that this IS IT.

  • Court —
    When I read Guy’s comments, I noted, for instance, his analysis that the “Greatest Depression BEGINS in 2008” He did not say the final collapse occurs in 2008. So, for starters, you don’t seem to grasp what was said.
    Here is another analysis by a market analyst predicting a Great Depression by 2011. But if you look at his evidence chain, it is clear that the irreversible chain of events has begun already, in confirmation of Guy once again. And note his comments that Hank Paulson himself warned the White House a couple years earlier about the great potential catastrophe from derivatives trading, while to this day Paulson downplays this issue publicly.
    For reference, read:{B28B49B5-EFD1-4941-B57E-A2BA1545BA09}
    In short, Court, you can believe whatever you want to believe. You can deny what you want to deny. It really does not matter a whit.
    Guy McPherson has credibility AND boldness, which is unique and rare. Guy is not perfect, but he is razor sharp and if he is off, it is just a matter of timing. The changes that are underway now are momentous and to say they are historic is to underemphasize them. Richard Heinberg made a comment today that world aggregate economic growth appears to have reached its all time peak. That is another stupendous realization that correlates well with irreversible financial collapse around the world.
    Lastly, Court, I value skepticism, if it is based on evidence. You are not giving us any solid evidence on which you base your skepticism and instead are revealing your own inability to grasp significance of evidence that is not presented by the mainstream, which has failed us relentlessly till now.
    You remind me of the “skeptical environmentalist” (Lundborg) who uses presumed uncertainty to trump empirical reality in terms of global climate change and other matters. All I can say is that even Sarah Palin is forced to see reality when it hits her in the face and if Sarah can get a glimpse of truth now and then, hopefully you can, too. Those melting glaciers in Alaska are hard to miss.
    Stan Moore

  • I enjoy Professor Guy’s insights. I’ve never posted, but there is a first time for everything…
    Court made some good, straight forward points. I’m not a bit surprised that he’s been criticized on the blog though. One of the main arguments that permeates this blog is that consumers of the mainstream media simply talk among themselves, so they’re subject to group think and bias. But to be fair, I see a lot of preaching to the choir among contributors here. It’s a pretty closed loop. When you’re not reading Guy, I can just imagine the google search terms everyone must be using…”apocalypse, economic meltdown, great depression, end of civilization…” I freely acknowledge that everything Guy predicts may come true, but his list of 7 reminds me of George Bush declaring victory in Iraq. In both cases, the assessment seems based more on a desire to be right than on an objective assessment of where we stand today.
    Court doesn’t appear to have a dog in the fight here. He’s simply comparing Guy’s predictions to the facts on the ground. While Guy gives himself an enormous benefit of the doubt that things will continue as he predicts, Court merely compares it to the data available today. Meanwhile, he acknowledges that Guy may ultimately prove to be right. Give the guy a break!
    But alas, that’s too much skepticism for Stan…so he closes the loop further, uncomfortable with a position that doesn’t show sufficient homage to the leader, and the consensus of thought on the blog.

  • Douglas,
    Like you, I appreciated Court’s thoughts on the topic of Peak Oil. “Doomer” discussions always seem to be more about TEOTWAWKI being scheduled for tomorrow. I’m not as much of a Pollyanna as my words may appear, but I think directing all of one’s attention to the negative aspects of the present blind us to the positives or the things we can do to acheive positive change in the world.
    Guy posts thoughtful and thought provoking insights which I’ve found are very worth the time I’ve spent reading them. That being said, I think it is good to have some back and forth between the polar extremes to fully address the depth of the issue and avoid turning this into an echo chamber.
    As for Frank, God only knows what’s going on with that fellow… ;)
    I like the Matt C individual who posts from time to time. I heartily agree with his advice to go plant a tree and ride your bike. It’s a good idea–even if TEOTWAWKI is scheduled for tomorrow after tea time.

  • Out of curiosity, how many of us pontificators and pontificatees have actually ridden a bike today, or tended a plant intended ultimately for their own GI track?
    Helen Snyder

  • Can’t ya both be right? Cripes…
    Barak’s not a Neocon… yet. But his motto *IS* change and becoming a neocon isn’t a distant stretch from where I believe his positions lie. Reality sets in now for me and I have to think to myself that he’s not even the president yet, and thus neither of you know what he’s going to do when he gets in the captain’s chair. Also this depends on whether or not the Dems can get their hands on a filibuster proof majority in the Senate. Give him the rubber stamp and he may very well do exactly whatever whim he gets on that current morning. Chances are that he’s not going to get it, and he’s going to have to moderate a majority of his rather extreme rhetoric quite a bit.
    Oh and by the way, I’m home. Worst injury I got was a rather nasty sting and two boots full of sand. I noticed something this morning though: It’s COLD here! Getting on the plane there I quite vividly remember looking at the thermometer that said 115 degrees and thinking, “Boy it’s only 115, not that bad today.” I almost slapped myself! To think a Minnesota boy would call 115 “Only.”
    I had to smile when I filled my gas guzzler yesterday for “Only” $1.75 a gallon. When I left for the sandbox it was more than $3.50/gallon. As I filled my tank two little kids rode by on a bike towing a wagon. The little kid in the wagon yelled, “Weeeeee!” I totally agreed, then reality hit me.
    Guy, Barak’s using the name of Reagan just about every day is simply his using one of the most popular presidents in near history amongst the Conservatives to garner votes. Does that mean he’s actually a Conservative or worse yet a NeoCon? Nah. It’s like the American Hunters and Shooters Association calling themselves a legitimate gun enthusiast group when their membership is just Brady Campaigners.
    I completely agree with Court. I may be late when you hear me call Depression, but I won’t be wrong. People have been calling the end of everything since the dark ages yet we’re all still here. It really depends on exactly what Barak does with his presidency when it comes to how bad it might be, or not. For instance: If Barak and his Lib cronies are able to pile on the capital gains tax while bailing out everyone and everything with the magic money making machines we’ll see a hyperinflative depression. Won’t that be fun? Maybe I’ll be like the kid in the wagon…

  • And that reminds me, is there a special application to get my cut of that bailout money? More than 100 billion in giveaways would be able to give every man, woman, and child in the US upwards of $3,500! I don’t know about you guys, but heck, we all should get in on this money wagon!
    Gimme my money.

  • Total Turboguy: Welcome home–now get to work and do whatever you can to elect Al Franken as your Senator !!
    Charming Charlene:As usual you are correct–remember Jesus was my half-brother in my previous life as we had differnt
    Our Stan: You are inimitable as always.
    Professor Guy: It was just an oversight on Charlene’s part when she failed to cite you as Robespierre–don’t know what she thinks of The Committee of Public Safety.
    We are the Vanguard of Intellectual Inspiration.

  • Hey guys
    nice to see that the ‘depth’ of my
    deliberately shallow comments are heard
    by the ‘herd’. I agree with Court
    somewhat, none of us should be tugging
    ones forlock towards Guy.
    Stan needs to go out side and get some air,
    he is going to work himself into a lather.
    You guys are so passionate about your
    politics and yet on the whole you want
    small government. We are over governed and
    over regulated here by international
    standards and yet the population does not
    give a toss about politics.
    We have universal health care, no one is left
    bankrupt by medical expenses, abortion is
    a none issue, we are largely agnostic.
    No politican evokes god in a speech.
    Our taxes are high, but so is the quality
    of life for all. The wealth of a nation
    is based on how well the poor live.
    Maybe you guys to have some gripes.
    By the way I planted 4 olive trees on
    the weekend, Manzanillo – a good alrounder.
    on ya bike
    car free Matt

  • I don’t know why Matt and others seem to think I am bound and gagged indoors and stewing in my juices. I have trapped and banded about fifty raptors of several species in the past week in their natural habitats and none of it was indoors. Most people who actually see me worry more about my sunburned red skin and the prospect of skin cancer than of me wasting away in front of a computer.
    All those who are in denial should enjoy it. Why not! We are all at risk, but maybe the blindsided get to enjoy a few more moments of tranquility than the watchmen. Personally, I prefer to stay alert and stare down my attacker. But to each his own. Ostriches have their place in their ecosystems, and who can blame them for doing what they do best.
    Enjoy the unfolding of history! I am!
    Stan Moore
    Petaluma, CA

  • Hey Stan:
    I’m enjoying history in the making also. As a long time student of economic and financial market history,I find this fascinating. This is worse than November 1929.Human nature never changes.So my Third Generation Rule is working out as expected.Economic history must,in the essentials,repeat itself every Third Generation.But it is never- the -less
    Financial advisors are telling people to buy stocks and hold for “the long run”.As Keynes said ,”in the long run we are all dead”.Politicians are wildly flaying about with no idea of what is happening.The local nail salon just closed down–there is one in every shopping center.I’m enjoying the destruction of pernicious capital.
    Please pardon my stream of consciouness ranting.

  • Yesterday the CEO of General Motors begged congress for money.He flew to Washington on his private jet—Hello!!!

  • Ugh… Al Franken? That guy is an idiot. I had to give him an ounce of respect though, he does live a few blocks north of me, right near the Metrodome, and came to my door to ask me to vote for him. I live in a rather crappy end of town. I was actually in my military uniform when he showed up and he still had the cajones to ask me to vote for him, though everyone knows full well that 90% of military people tend to vote Conservative. I smiled and politely told him to get him and his three muscleheads off my porch, and I’d see him at breakfast over at Maria’s later.
    Matt, the comparison between the US and Australia is like comparing apples and ballistic missiles. Do you have beef with religious people, or religion itself? To act like religion is a bad thing is rather ignorant. I am in no way a religious person, yet I see that people tend to get far more out of religion than they put into it. It’s a net gain. People who are religious are far more charitable and happy than the majority of society. To act as if this is a good thing that your people are nearly devoid of religious belief is truly sad.
    Secondly, in your description of Australia, it sounds a bit too much like jail or servitude. “We are over governed and over regulated here by international standards and yet the population does not give a toss about politics.” Just because you can’t see the bars and shackles, and care not, does not mean they’re not there. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains sit lightly upon you.
    With that last thought, I’ll leave you, Matt, with a quote. I want you to ponder it based on your last post and try to figure out exactly where you are and where we are. We’re both on the same road, but I think you’re a little further down the path than I am.
    “A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves money from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury, with a result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by dictatorship. The average age of the world s greatest civilizations has been 200 years. These nations have progressed through the following sequence:
    From bondage to spiritual faith; From spiritual faith to great courage; From courage to liberty; From liberty to abundance; From abundance to selfishness; From selfishness to complacency; From complacency to apathy; From apathy to dependency; From dependency back into bondage.” – Alexander Fraser Tyler
    Gives a whole new light as to why Obama won this election, doesn’t it?

  • Total Turboguy:
    Don’t you remember your neighor Al fron Saturday Night Live ? You had a wrestler as governor.We need colorful characters in our lives.I live in the oldest and cheapest part of Sun City,which isn’t really a city because we
    are too poor to be incorporated.So I’m in unincorporated Maricopa County,where our chief law enforcement is provided
    by the world’s most famous sheriff–The legendary “Sheriff Joe” Arpaio.
    So how is the food at Maria’s?
    Please don’t send money.

  • FYI, guys, I know I’m unwelcome here.
    Frank, you’re so smarmy you make David Spade sound sincere–although, that’s not without entertainment value, so, thanks for that.
    Stan, people picture you hold up in some dark corner of a bomb shelter surrounded by stacks of your own manifestos (possibly written with your own blood used for ink) because you rant like a half-crazed hermit. It is hard to picture you having any human contact, chiefly because of your apparent hatred for that particular bipedal mammal. If the unabomber hadn’t been locked up, I would have no doubt your name would still feature prominently in the list of potential suspects.
    Matt, well, it’s good to know the majority of visitors to this blog possess the same fine qualities of grace and refinement. I still maintain that your comment is glib but apropos. Kvetching about the state of things lends to far less good than getting off your duff and doing something. As a member of the “herd” I have spent my time reaching out to others to raise awareness, lessening my own ecological impact, or simply to help make the world a little better in one small corner. As for my religion, I am a Christian, not the sort that hates atheists (I was one once) or any other belief or non-belief. I follow the teachings of Christ. I’m not holier-than-thou, I’m not holier-than-anyone. I simply believe in social justice, and love of all life (human and otherwise). I love you, and the rest as brothers in this journey we call life. Hate me, and others like me, if you like, but I scarcely see how that does you any good. I’m sorry for anyone who holds such enmity in his heart. I hope you find peace, if not in God, then in something. Life is too short for so much angst–even down in the land of Oz.
    Turboguy: Agreed. No, we never learn. Individuals can be very smart, but as a group, we humans do some amazingly stupid things. The biggest problem we face isn’t energy or the environment. It is arrogance and it is blindness. It can’t happen, it won’t happen, I can’t imagine…perhaps a better slogan for the time is “yes it can” rather than “yes we can”. Of all the candidates, I liked Ron Paul the best. I still read the C4L blog from time to time. That’s my two cents, but I know it is unwelcome.
    Bye, all. It’s been interesting.

  • It is truly interesting to hear the perceptions of others and the tenuous grip on reality by some. It then becomes no surprise that people who misunderstand me also completely misunderstand or underestimate the human predicament at this point in time. And there probably is comfort to be found in clinging to others of like mind and pretending that the inevitable is not real.
    Yet, at the same time, one of the most popular gendres in filmmaking is the horror movie. People shy away from real discussion of real horrors, including those they generated and participated in by their excercise of the voter franchise, and they flock to entertain themselves with fake horrors at the moview or even at the local church.
    But like Guy says, Nature Bats Last, or I say, Reality Intervenes. At which point the self-chosen victims weep and gnash their teeth in shock at that which they finally comprehend. And I say that Barack Obama is going to shock our friend Court and many who think just like him.
    Stan Moore
    Petaluma, CA

  • Charlene, who says that you’re not welcome? Who has insulted you to the point that you feel that you’re not wanted? I’m sure I speak for not only myself, but for all others here when I say that all constructive posters are more than welcome here. By constructive I mean can write a complete sentence without resorting to profanity or using webspeech to get your point or position across. The day I see someone on these boards say something like, “OMFG!!!11! Oilcrash is coming!!!11!1 ima get my AK/Deagle because it Pwns!!!” will be the day I give up on the human race.
    I value your opinion specifically because it’s different from mine on many issues. As I’ve said before, congruity of thought is stagnant and boring. We learn nothing from anything when the only voices we hear agree with us wholeheartedly. Just because I may disagree with you sometimes does not mean that I can learn nothing from you.
    Secondly I strongly favored Ron Paul as well. I’d like to add to your Arrogance and Blindness quote with Ignorance. As Rush Limbaugh says: “Ignorance is the single most expensive commodity the US has in abundance.” (Read the last sentence in the second paragraph before you chew my head off for listening to his show, and I dare anyone to say that his quote is not dead on.)
    Please, please, please don’t take anyone’s criticism of your viewpoint as anything but welcome. As far as I know, nobody would dare call you stupid. You’re obviously not. I regularly disagree with any and all here and am more than happy to say so. If Matt’s self rightous behavior, calling us the “Herd,” believing that anyone with a shred of religion in their bones is an ignoramous, and keeping the belief that massive governmental intervention in his daily life is good, right, and okay, point it out! I am more than happy to ask him for an explanation of his views, and have. Tell him you disagree and why. As long as you remain as far away from the dreaded Ad Hominem I would fight for you to have that ability to do so, even though I may not totally agree with what your position is. If you’re not welcome for that, then I might as well be banned.
    Stan and Frank are regularly attacked for their views, (Stan especially) but does he delve into fallacious arguments (Ad Hoc, Ad Hominem) to retort to the barb sent his way? Heck no! He shrugs it off, probably with a smile, and posts his usually well thought out writing anyway, many times poking fun at his deriser. I’ve been on a few boards where flaming is par for the course and any constructive debate is drowned out by the peanut gallery of know it all twelve year olds (Be they physically or emotionally) with access to daddy’s internet connection to spew their vitriol until they’re kicked off, only to infest another blog like a virus. This is one of the few places I’ve found where that is not the case, and that’s why I return.
    If you left this blog because of the incorrect feeling that you were not welcome, the blog, we, and the internet would be poorer for it.

  • Oh and Frank, the food at Maria’s is pretty good. They’ve got a fantastic breakfast deal for two eggs, hashbrown and toast for $3.00! There’s also an extremely attractive waitress working there that I’ve yet to figure out exactly how to talk to. I figure I’ll say something really profound. Something Earth shaking! Something like, “Uh… um… huh huh… hi.”
    She’ll be mine seconds after I utter those syllables! Just you wait and see!

  • Correction:
    ALL of the auto company CEO’s came begging for money in their PRIVATE JETS.I’m suffering from cognitive dissonance
    on this one—how about the rest of you ???

  • Hey Charlene:
    Frank smarmy?? Au contraire ! I’ve insulted/infuriated every one but you.You have not felt my poisoned pen only because of a misunderstanding.One time you wrote that you agreed with me on a point,so I effusively praised you
    as a joke , to make a humurous point that anyone who agreed with me had to be a brilliant genius.The rest was just a follow thru on that joke.Remember how I used to call you Madame LaFarge? Now in my latest blog I was kind to all i.e.
    Total Turboguy,Our Stan,Professor Guy as well as Charming Charlene. So I didn’t single you out for praise.
    Now I and everyone else here values your input.I agree totally with Turboguy on you.It is not uncommon for people to
    get bruised feelings here–this site can be brutal–I once got on poor Stan’s case so bad he threatened to leave and not come back.Turboguy took strong exception to some of my remarks.Professor Guy was forced to completly delete one of my blogs.My close friends all consider me a congenital trouble maker.The point is that you really have to have a
    thick skin here.

  • Total Turboguy:
    Not to worry–you are in luck!! Your good buddy Frank is very good looking and charming.I’ll talk to that very attractive waitress for you, and when she is completely under my spell, I’ll introduce her to you.Don’t worry about
    Frank and her–I’m too old for her.But when I front you in she’ll think you’re wonderful.
    All you need to do is pay my expenses and invite me to the wedding.
    Let me know what you think.
    p.s.My only fault is I’m too modest.

  • The Stock Market is diving a la the Fall of 1929.It’s fun to see all that pernicious capital being destroyed.

    Here is a pretty good synopsis by Jeremy Scahill of the difference between the rhetoric and the emerging reality of Barack Obama’s pledge to bring “change we can believe in” in the arena of foreign policy.
    Lower gasoline prices in the good old USA will not cause Obama to back off on the current and planned wars for oil, in my opinion. Lots more blood will flow because the world supply of oil is getting lower and lower no matter what the temporarily low price might happen to be. Madeline Allbright and Hillary Clinton are very bit as bloodthirsty in that regard as Dick Cheney, in my view.
    Stan Moore
    Petaluma, CA

  • Hey Charlene and others,
    this blog (as with all blogs)
    is about the diversity of opinion,
    it would be pointless otherwise,
    (I can imagine some blogs and
    their bloggers becoming noddies)
    – Charlene I was trying to pay you
    compliment. Perhaps too obscure
    for my own good, it came off as an
    insult. Gee wiz its only a blog, who
    gives a nuns nasty.
    my religion was never stated, a false assumption
    was made by all, I believe the overt
    separation of state and religion is important
    to good governance.
    You guys seem to have little faith in governance.
    (I work for local government – enviroment dept)
    I recently spent time in Denmark and Sweden,
    they are similarly taxed, and both are considered
    to have the highest standard of living in the world,
    (along with a few others).
    Comparing Australia with US should not be outrageous
    as turbo guy suggested. We share similar histories etc.
    For whats its worth from where I sit the US seems to
    be under taxed and under governed – eg the resposne to
    Hurricane Katrina certainly painted the US in a poor light.
    (Warren Buffet recently suggested that US citizens
    dont pay enough tax.)
    No wonder energy descent has brought out your survivialist
    fantasies. For some bloggers Peak oil has become
    a vehicle for such fantasies – ‘end of times etc’,
    not withstanding the fact there are 10 calories
    of oil in every calory of food etc etc ad naseaum.
    (none of us coming is coming of a low base in terms of knowledge
    of peak oil despite my insistance that everyone should get on their
    Perhaps, we should stay on topic rather personalise our
    blogging to our fellow bloggers. I am as guilty as any
    one else on this. We all agree that collapse is
    inevitable, whats up for debate is the severity, timing
    and the ultimate outcome.
    Yes I am areligious, inspite of this I do have perhaps
    more faith in humanity than what this fact would otherwise
    From the blogging it seems that some of you guys imagine
    a future where marauding hordes scavenge the landscape.
    In my naivete, perhaps solutions, positive discussions
    could now inform some of the debate on this blog.
    (Having said the above, yes I agree with Jensen and
    others that planet is pretty shitful.) – ie the Yangtzee Dolpin (2008) – kaput!
    It is easy to be a misanthrope with all the enviro woe we know.
    The biggest problem facing us is food procurement.
    The future of food lies in the past……

  • Matt, is it not in government’s very nature to become tyrannical?
    The Katrina disaster is a pretty poor reason to wish on us more government. I believe that it is specifically because of the large government you wish on us that Katrina was as bad as it was! You have a large segment of the population there that has become completely and totally dependent on the government for their daily bread. I believe that many of them wouldn’t even be able to wipe their own posteriors without a government study, environmental impact statement, and funding study. In one hour I can walk, that’s right: my two legs will carry me at three miles an hour or more, three miles. There’s at least eight hours of walking I can do in a day comfortably if I have to so for argument’s sake, let’s just say that I walked 24 miles total North away from the coast. I am now totally outside the area where the chaos of New Orleans was occurring, and all it took for me to do was put one foot in front of another.
    Granted there were people that, for one reason or another, simply could not walk to safety, but let’s face facts here: Those weren’t the people that stayed specifically to make problems, were they?
    Because of that situation, they honestly believed that the government was required to help them. First off, that’s just not the government’s place, and secondly it was the middle of a major hurricane, and the lawlessness that ensued in the aftermath. No amount of government intervention would have changed the situation one bit, and in fact too much government was exactly the problem. With the ridiculous amount of government bureaucracy that went on, even the US military had a hell of a time getting in there.
    Once the US government went in there, the situation got worse exponentially as they stomped wholeheartedly all over our civil rights. I don’t know how your government does things, but here in the US, our government is not supposed to be going around forcing people to go to the refugee camps they’ve got set up, confiscating firearms people needed to protect themselves from criminals, and basically being a modern Gestapo. Truth be told, I’m surprised that the Katrina aftermath wasn’t WORSE! Because of the government you so happily believe is our great savior, people were crammed into the Louisiana Superdome and left to fend for themselves with every sort of slimeball that has ever walked the earth. The analogy to slave pens or WWII concentration camps was made, and it was probably worse. The only difference was that in the Superdome you didn’t know who was out to rape, rob, or kill you.
    I too work for the government, I’m am both in the military and a police officer, but am not naive to the fact that government grown too large is a very bad thing. Again I’m forced to point to Tyler’s quote for you as it sounds as though you’re already in the dependence situation that happens just before bondage.

  • Hermit Report for Thursday —
    Like other hermits, I woke up yesterday, cooked breakfeast, petted Boris the cat, and went over to my landlord’s house a few meters away to help him problem solve a problem in another tenant’s rental. I interacted with Delmar, Dorothea, Kit, and John before going over to see Dennis at another property owned by my landlord. Then I went hawk trapping in Sonoma County till dark. I banded three adult red-tail hawks and two adult red-shouldered hawks, for a 100% success in trapping and banding all the raptors I set traps for. Then I went back home and talked to my landlord again and received some phone calls, including one from Gary who wanted to sell me some pigeons he trapped that I could use as bait for catching more hawks. I told Gary I was okay with pigeons but to call the next time he catches some because I may need some by then. By 21:00 hrs, I ceased interactions with other humans and went back to being a hermit. I needed to do some maintenance on a hawk trap, but I felt sleepy and just went to bed.
    Now, a thought about feedback loops and their growing effect in the emerging crisis of collapse — We are seeing the emergence of feedback loops within the economic situation. Even what seem to be good feedbacks have severe downside. The decreased cost of gasoline seems like a relief, but it does several things. It tends to increase consumption and thus increase depletion. It decreases profits by the investors who want to use growth as the fulcrum on which to speculate. Even though the investors are sitting on tons of cash, they don’t risk those assets in a climate of low growth for fear that they may not generate adequate return. So, investment in oil production is going down, down, down, which means that the natural depletion is not going to be replaced with newly produced known reserves as would normally be the case. It increases the probabiliby of shortages sooner rather than later, despite the lower cost of gasoline. And it means that when prices do escalate, they will be driven by demand for a smaller and smaller supply.
    Other feedback loops involve trade partners, such as the Chinese. When our economy tanks, the Chinese are deeply affected and have to shut large numbers of factors producing goods in low demand. The Chinese government is doing a delicate balancing act in the best of times because the working class in China comes from abject poverty and the industrialization of the nation is bring jobs at the cost of environmental and ecological devastation to the land itself. Now people have gained the expectation of a better life and the jobs are disappearing into the ether by the millions. Worse yet, the Chinese read the news and they see that the financial turmoil roiling the world’s economy was caused largely by unregulated greed. The Chinese get blamed for small scale unregulated greed, but the multinational banking and financial and corporate sectors are absolute masters at it. Yet, our economic system is heavily dependent on Chinese and other nations’ purchase of bonds to keep our system solvent and afloat. A feedback loop is emerging in which the Chinese will have to eventually quit financing American debt, causing a hyperinflation to occur in the U.S. and more and more loops feeding distress and suffering through the economic landscape.
    In the U.S. itself, the fraudulent securities and investment practices have crashed the economy, and now jobs and industries are leaving the economy. The three big carmakers are in huge jeopardy. The loss of all these jobs creates more and more feedback loops as unemployed people cannot pay mortgages, depend on government for services and unemployment checks, and generally tend to become surly. Companies that cannot purchase on credit are starting to fail, even though they are viable. All this stuff increasingly feeds on itself. It is a formula for collapse, but a different type of collapse than in the 1930’s, when the U.S. was sitting pretty on a pile of natural resources on which to rebuild. And global oil was cheap and plentiful. Now EVERYTHING is different and the system we knew will not be rebuilt as we have known it because it cannot be rebuilt as we have known it.
    One of the consequences of all of this is the use of warfare, specifically resource wars to try to lessen the negatives of economic reality. Even Alan Greenspan admitted that the invasion of Iraq was “largely” about oil. (Yeah, if “largely” means 110%). This militarism is a huge user itself of petroleum and burns through the economy like a hot knife through butter. Thus the duped American people who cheered the ficticious installation of “democracy” in Iraq by the use of tbe bomb, the bullet, and the (U.S.-vetted) ballot are also part of the feedback loops that drive us to collapse. It boggles the mind to think of all the good that could have been done if we had not spent (actually borrowed in order to spend) the hundreds of billions of dollars to put our foot on the throat of Iraq in order to steal their oil.
    And so the system goes and we watch it spiral towards oblivion. And many remain in denial about the seriousness of the situation while clever marketers tell us hope is at hand.
    It could almost makes one want to become a hermit or go live in a mud hut.
    I wonder what Charlene was really saying…
    Stan Moore
    Petaluma, CA

  • Hi all
    I do believe good governance does exist,
    This is just an opinion from here, but you guys like
    the idea of having a lot of faith in your political leaders,
    but at the same time you are disappointed with the reality of politics.
    (Guys recent blogs went from triumph to dejection on Obamas election).
    We are amazed here by the circus that your election process
    generates. In Australia our election process goes from public
    indifference prior to public indifference after.
    Futhermore, a false assumption was made that I had a dim view
    of being over regulated and over governed – I dont, whats
    the alternative Wall St or Somalia?
    Turboguy I have you at an advantage, I have a greater sense
    of the US than you would have of Australia, our
    media is saturated with your hollow content. However,
    you have me at advantage, I did not study the ‘history of politics’ 101.
    ‘Your’ decription of democracy’s evolving linear arc into oblivion
    was indeed a ‘revelation’- thanks. My undergraduate study consisted of art history,
    aesthetics and most importantly french theory. Both our
    nations are the beneficaries of the ‘enlightenment’, you presume
    to compare Oz with the US is akin to comparing ballistic missiles with apples,
    I presume ballistics missiles are round and are edible?
    I work with a lady from California, she is married to an Aussie. I said
    to her regarding the Katrina disaster that the resulting humanatarian
    mess would not have happened in Australia, her husband agreed.
    Frame it any way you like,it was a first class fuck up.
    We have all no doubt spent many years at university – yawn.
    Perhaps we should stick to quoting Wendell Berry and Neil Young
    for inspiration.
    I want to be inspired, the US is an exceptional nation.
    Stan, you beat me to it, I wanted to hear more about your raptors.
    I am glad to hear you got out of the house. :)
    Finally and more importantly the dress Michelle Obama wore at the
    acceptance speech was horrendous. It looked like a
    bloody butchers apron.
    maybe Guy should talk about food, it is area that fundamentally
    we know very little about. ‘Food procurement and nutrition
    and energy descent’ 101.
    warm regards to all
    Matt, mud hut (adobe), melbourne, Australia
    Charlene, hoping you are still reading this ‘piece of crap’ (Neil Young quote)

  • Hi Matt —
    It seems to me that Americans tend to view taxation by their government as tyranny. Americans want minimal taxation and maximal services. Instead, what we get is minimal services, maximal expenditure on warmaking, and huge deficits deferred down the road. Americans have absolutely no compunction about passing along costs to the future, including future generations of Americans. It is common for Americans who want to purchase a piece of furniture or an electric appliance like a flat screen television to purchase on a plan that allows possession for a year before the first payment is due. Americans like to buy but not to pay and they feel very comfortable living in heavy debt.
    If Americans knew how well people in other advanced cultures lived, they would be shocked. Americans have no idea what the work hours, amount of vacation, health care and university eduction provisions, pensions, and other features of daily life are in other countries. Americans spend much effort pursuing accumulation of material things for their own sake, and are caught up in debt, in pursuit of materialism, and fear of losing what they have. The U.S. government is totally dominated by corporate interests and has little concern over public welfare and the people tolerate this state of affairs because they know no better and are manipulated by the media on an ongoing basis.
    In short, America has become decadent, corrupt and delusional and is like Humpty Dumpty sitting on top of the wall with no place to go but straight down.
    I focused on American kestrels today and trapped and banded five of them, plus one juvenile red-tailed hawk. Later I saw an adult golden eagle give chase to a juvenile red-tailed hawk and almost catch it, and it may have been the same bird I had banded a half hour earlier. That hawk was perched in heavy eucalyptus foliage when I first saw it, which is a safer place for a hawk to be than flying around in full view of a territorial golden eagle.
    Later I saw a merlin and went to get a closer look and a second merlin came flying in and bumped the first merlin from its perch and took the perch. I have never seen such a thing in Caifornia. Merlins do not breed in his state and only winter here in low densities and I have never seen an interaction between two wild merlins in this state. And a few minutes later one of the merlins came back and harassed an American kestrel that took a perch in the same tree.
    Lastly, I got a surprise email a few weeks ago from a Tasmanian wildlife biologist named Nick Mooney. He was seeking information about the efficacy of using trained falconry birds to control or minimize damage from pest birds as in vineyards and at airports, etc. Apparently some falconers in Tasmania are seeking contracts to perform this sort of work and the government there is trying to determine how to approach regulation of this activity. An American raptor biologist who has worked with Nick Mooney, (Dr. Clayton White) referred Nick to me and I answered his questions based on my own observations and knowledge of how this sort of thing is handled locally in the U.S. An interesting thing I heard from Nick Mooney was that the local avifauna in Tasmania, including raptors, is in some demand worldwide and the government is very protective about poaching and also importation of exotic raptors from abroad that might be released deliberately or otherwise and create genetic “pollution” in the local populations or other harm. I saw photos of the Tasmanian peregrine falcons in Clayton White’s biography, taken by Nick Mooney, and I think those are the most beautiful peregrines I have ever seen. Alas, Nick told me he had to give up raptor work and focus on a terrible disease that has erupted amongst Tasmanian Devils and spends his time trapping and treating and researching a solution to the cancerous disease that is decimating the populations of those carnivorous mammals.
    But the thought did occur to me — I wonder if Tasmania would be a good place to ride out the Big Collapse and I wonder if they would take me in…
    Stan Moore

  • Hey
    Stan – Tasmania is truly beautiful. There are only two places on earth with spare
    caring capacity – New Zealand and Tasmania. (perhaps there is room for you).
    In my moments of gloom, I think there is
    always Tasmania. A place of amazing scenery, a true tonic and a ‘spiritual’
    (remember I am not religious) respite.
    (for want of a better description). There is a place on the east coast called
    Freycinet, it is the only place on earth where I felt like I wanted to wander off
    into the bush and ‘dissolve’ into the landscape. The air is so clean, the sky
    is an amazing deep blue, the colour of the sky is reflected into the ocean,
    the colour of the sand on the beach is the whitest sand you are ever likely
    to see, the whole place is saturated in intense colour. Artists arriving from
    Europe 150 years remarked on the intensity of the colours in Australia
    compared to the smoked filled cities of then industrialised europe.
    (I should write copy for the tourism industry)
    Anyway, you should travel to Tassie, claim the trip as a work
    expense tax deduction before the empire falls.
    Your decription of the US is the same here. People purchase goods
    with no payments down etc. The finanncing is arranged by GE.
    Then interest payments balloon to 20%. People have been using their
    houses as ATMs etc. Our house prices are currently running 7-8 times
    yearly incomes – a recipe for disaster. Our property prices are down
    by about 10%.
    Australia is becoming more like the US in regards to the comments you made.
    Out tertiary education used to be free. When I was doing a MA at a cost of about
    $16,000 (upfront), a Norwegian student was also doing the same course at double the cost.
    (international student prices). Anyway, Norway paid for the course, she already had a degree in civil engineering. No bad hey, ode to be a scandanavian. Greenspan said about
    year or so ago that Scandanavian countries had the highest standard of living in the world,
    I beleive this to be true.
    The thing about the US military is that they largely recruit from poor regional areas.
    One recruit remarked in a interview that the US was spending 4 billion a month in Iraq
    when his home town had squat in terms of infrastructure etc.
    The introduction of foreign species into Oz is a big no no. As an island nation Australia
    has the highest/most demanding quarantine rules in the world. Our local revegetation projects
    only use seed sourced locally, for fear of genetic pollution.
    Matt (emailing from my mud brick local library)

  • Hi Matt –Tasmania it is! I just need to figure out how to pay for it. I am quite an expert at very bad ideas for making money, and my current thought (for entertainment purposes only) would be to sell some of my organs on the black market. Maybe a lung. Maybe a kidney. Maybe a multi-organ deal including unused portions of my brain if the price is right. If the surgery left me an invalid, I could have them prop me in a hammock under one of those peregrine falcon eyries in a eucalyptus tree and enjoy the family life of peregrines and their young. I could also get a computer with internet connectsion and a DVD player and watch the Peak Oil catastrophe unfold and for relief watch old DVDs of moview like Moulin Rouge and Breaker Morant and the old TV miniseries “The Thornbirds”.
    Before I make such a move it is critical that I check the local rules and regulations on related matters because I would hate to go through all that surgery, get turned into an invalid, and then get deported back to the U.S. That could be difficult, especially when the State Department reviews all the negative things I have said about the last six or seven U.S. Presidents.
    On the other hand, maybe I could handle the finances differently, such as by registering as U.S. bank and lining up for a multi-billion dollar bailout. Then I might want to buy Tasmania and go to Australia from time to time for various forms of recreation that might not be available.
    There is much to think about while monitoring the machinations of the unfolding new U.S. administration in light of all the things I wish I did not know or were not true.
    Stan Moore
    Northern California

  • Hey
    Stan – you want need much cash, the aussie dollar has fallen like a peregrine falcon off a 30
    storey building, (320kmh, we have some living in Melbournes CBD). Perhaps you
    only need to sell a cornea or donate some viable semen for the air fare.
    Plenty of free camping in Tassie and plenty of wedged tailed eagles to see.
    Guy better write another blog of woe before he pulls the pin on our off topic blogging.

  • Professor Guy:
    Please don’t write another blog until Total Turboguy has a chance to reply to my offer to improve his love-life.
    To have a successful blog site we first must take care of our own,which means our commitment to the physical,mental,
    and psychological well being of our brethren,whether it is the assurance of an adequate water supply in the mud hut,Our Stan’s scalp,or Total Turboguy’s social life.
    By the way how are you coming on your well pump installation?

  • Memo to matt c:
    Did you get your cue from e.e.cummings,in using lower case to refer to yourself?
    In my Asia travels I’ve found Aussies to be the happiest people in the world and Israelis the most unhappy.
    Last year I kept an entire big, bus load of Aussies waiting an hour in the heat at Ha Long Bay ,Vietnam ,due to a lack
    of communication between me and my travel agent in Hanoi.They were very gracious about that and my many eccentricities.Ran into them again later at Hue.

  • Speaking of Vietnam,I saw the extremes of sad poverty and great wealth there.There are three Rolls-Royce dealerships in Saigon(Ho Chi Minh City).I stayed at a Vietnamese government owned hotel there that is popular with the Saigon middle-class.Their egregious displays of new found wealth would put our Yuppie Scum to shame.Yes,Vietnam and China are officially Communistic, but I’ve never seen such opulence,wealth,and luxury before,anywhere.I’ve never seen so many people,spending so much money,so freely.

  • Hey
    Frank – yes australians do have a good rep when travelling. I have travelled
    to very isolated places – ie obscure coastal hamlets in southern turkey and
    the only foreigner you bump into is another aussie! And wherever they are is
    where its at – if you know what I mean. It is something that
    I have thought about from time to time ie our easy going nature, why is it so?
    and you do feel more australian when you travel, and one does not feel
    embarassed by it.
    Aussie persona – Perhaps it is the harsh climate; a lot of camping as youngsters; our
    pioneering history in a difficult environment; or is it the fact that we
    are blessed with reasonably good governance ie we have nothing to complain about!
    I have heard that about the israelis, they are not very well
    liked in india. If you lived in a nation constantly on a war footing you would be
    pretty miserable as well, its a highly stressed society, when they head of to india
    they welcome the oblivion that india provides on a budget.

  • Matt, I totally agree that something like the Katrina disaster would never happen in Australia. Dare I say, it’d have to be a thousand times worse for Australia to descend into chaos. That’s not because of Australia’s governance though, it’s because of different societal values.
    In New Orleans you have arguably the poorest area of the United States crammed into a single area and confined there. Most of whom haven’t got much to live for as it stands and are looking to get back at any and all who have wronged them, be it real or imagined. When I say that places like that are little more than a powder keg waiting for a spark, it’s a total understatement. The moment there was no possibility of police intervention the underworld came out like cockroaches for all to see on the 24/7 cable news networks. Sad thing is that there’s places like that in every major city in the United States.
    A while ago I was at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois and drove to see the St Louis Arch. On the way I mistakenly took a wrong exit and wound up in East St Louis. I haven’t seen anything like that since I was in Kigali Rwanda! That place is quite literally a war zone. Let the power there go out for a single night and I’d wager half that city would be burning by morning.
    Speaking of power outages and craziness: I used to be a police officer in Missouri. There’s a town about ten miles away from the city I worked for called Lebanon. That year there was an ice storm that dumped nearly four inches of rain while it was ten degrees F. Everything was coated in four or five inches of ice, and all the power lines came down. Here in Minnesota, that wouldn’t be a big problem as we use Natural gas for heat, there in Missouri everyone’s heat is electric! The power was off for two weeks. People were stealing each other’s power generators, and the City of Lebanon requested officers from all the nearby departments to help. It was bedlam. The grocery stores had been totally looted, the gas stations had been run dry, and most of the people had gone to stay with family in other areas. It was a ghost town. The only people that stayed were those that were guarding their stuff, and those that were trying to steal it. Those that stayed had spraypainted warnings to the packs of dirtbags that came out at night to burglarize across their boarded windows talking about loot at risk of gunfire. I lost any and all faith in humanity those weeks.
    I’ve never been to Australia, but just by watching the television you can get an idea of what’s going on here in the US. You don’t seem to have the same kind of poor there that we do, or at least you don’t plaster them on t.v. the way we do. Here, some families will have more tand more children to bolster their welfare. (Money from the government) The family two doors down from me has no less than ten children all living off the government’s dime. I can’t imagine what they’d do the moment that money check stopped coming in. That’s why I cringe every time they turn on the magic money presses and inflate the heck out of the dollar even more. When that check isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on, there’s going to be a problem. Most of these people are scraping by as it stands because they’ve become totally dependant on the government for their existence, imagine what’s going to happen when they’ve got to make the hard choice between food, rent, and heat.
    This whole Oil Crash might be a major disaster, bordering on the apocalypse, but at the very least: It’ll be a hoot to watch!
    Frank: I think I might have an angle to get the Waitress’ phone number, but I’m still trying to overcome the whole “Afraid To Talk To The Outrageously Pretty Waitress” thing I’ve got going on. Stare down the sights of an M16 at various badguys that want to kill me? Not a problem, all in a day’s work! Walk up and talk to that girl? You’re insane!

  • hey
    thanks for the response Turboguy,
    To be honest, we dont get much of the profound, entrenched negative stuff about the US here, besides the aforementioned hurricane.
    Its hard to know from here how pronounced racism is over there.
    Does a subtle class system exist based on accent and race?
    Your description of those towns sounds all very sad, but why is it so? You give a description, but no reasoning why the breakdown
    is so quick and profound. Welfare, I would argue
    would not be the catalyst for such societal malaise. In Norway
    for example, if you lose your job, you would receieve about 2/3 of
    your previous income. I suggested to my Norwegian friend (in 2000,
    things may be different now) that wouldn’t people just skive off/bludge or mooch (US term) after receiving such a generous
    payment. I was cynical, she said no, people dont think like that
    in Norway. Yes hard to believe, but there is this unwritten law
    in Scandanavian countries called Jantes Law (wikipedia it).
    This cultural difference is profoundly different to the way
    that we think in Oz and no doubt in the US as well.
    Some ways the law is oppressive and it was tangible
    in Denmark and Sweden when I was there. But, on the whole
    you could argue it is a force for societal/community good in the
    face of deprivation and struggle. It helps to creat societal stability. It is basically a culture
    of modesty. Something the increasingly materialistic Australians
    would find foreign.
    Kuntsler talks about what you describe in the Long Emergency.
    He sees an energy descent/black outs etc as a messy
    situation where the disenfranchised minorities will run amok.
    We have extreme gun control here, are you any safer with less
    or more guns in your community?

  • The best description I can really create a good metaphor for is a lion kept in a zoo. He lives his entire life relying on the zookeeper for his handout, he doesn’t have to hunt or even prowl for his next meal. He knows that he’s going to get that next meal in a few hours, or as soon as the zookeeper gets around to his cage, but he knows it’s coming. There’s other animals around, gazelles, deer etc, but he doesn’t need that crap! There’s easy food coming at 12:00!Since he was born in the zoo, seen his parents, and their parents before them, totally reliant on the zookeeper for their hourly food, he thinks this is normal. The way it’s “Supposed” to be. Now the zoo goes out of business, and for one reason or another the lion is put on a nature preserve in Africa. Since he’s never had to, he has no idea how to hunt, can’t figure out how to kill, doesn’t know what to eat, where to go, or what to do.
    He’s probably wondering where the nice zookeeper is, or better yet: when’s he going to get here with that nice side of beef he’s used to getting at 12:00? 12:00 comes and goes, twice. Now he’s hungry and desperate. Now he’ll take what he needs from anything around him. He’s not going to kill and eat any of the other animals, heavens no! That’s not food! Food comes from the zookeeper, though he will happily take it from any other animal that has a fresh kill. The change from receiving handouts to victimization is an easy one. He’s a lion with big claws after all. That is what happened in New Orleans, and every other city around our country. People have been quite literally socialized into dependance! There’s no need to work, the government takes care of that one with food stamps and a monthly stipend of cash. The rent’s taken care of by the gov as is the heat. They’re actually comfortable with the situation and will fight for what they believe is money they’re entitled to! Sad thing is that the government is complicit in that they don’t give them a way to get out of dependance, i.e. getting a job and not losing benefits. Quite the opposite. As soon as they have an income of any kind they lose the benefits totally. Thus there really is no incentive to get off the government’s dime.
    In the Missouri deal it’s the grasshopper and the ant analogy, except the grasshopper comes with a bunch of friends who are looking to take with force the ant’s storehouse. It’s not that I don’t understand the looter’s situation either. It was cold and people are going to do whatever it takes to live, even if it means dooming someone else.
    As for gun ownership I believe that it significantly decreases aggrivated crimes. Back in the heyday of anti-rights sentiment also known as the nineties there were people that took signs that read “There are no guns on this premesis” and posted them in their windows and yards. These houses were burglarized, oftentimes in home invasion style, until the people that were stupid enough to put them there took them all down. As soon as Criminals knew that they didn’t have to worry about armed resistance they went for the easiest prey.
    In England (And Australia) they’ve enacted legislation that has all but outlawed private firearm ownership. Aggrivated crime rates jumped 400% in England quite literally overnight. Granted gun crimes went down, but everything else went way up. It’s nice having the right to firearms outlined in our Constitution.
    I’m not worried about the average person having firearms. The vast, vast majority of gunowners are actually more law abiding than the non gunowning public. (and this factors in police who are per capita more likely to commit crimes with their firearm than Average Joes) Criminals are by definition not law abiding and probably shouldn’t have that firearm anyway. All the laws in the world aren’t going to stop them from getting a gun, and they don’t fear the police either. When you call the police, there’s usually a two minute delay while you’re telling the dispatcher what’s going on and where you are. Then the two minutes where the dispatcher is telling me where you are and what’s going on, five to ten minutes of drivetime to your obscure location, and then I might get there to catch Mr. Badguy as he’s leaving your place. That’s a possible twelve minutes of terror on your part while I’m just trying to get there. Badguys fear the armed citizen far more than they do the police. Who has the gun? If they want to rob me, what’s the possibility that I have a gun on me and the possibility that I’ll shoot them? Realistically that possibility is pretty good, but I carry pretty much all the time I’m off duty. A criminal has to weigh that one before they attack anyone here in the US. It’s why they will nail a tourist over someone that looks like they belong: That tourist is guaranteed not to have a weapon.
    Here’s a better question involving Guy’s Mud Hut: Let’s just say that the oil collapse happened two weeks ago and it’s chaos in the streets. You’re the leader of a small band of merry badguys. Now there’s two locales of refugees in your area, one is Guy’s Mud Hut where you know for a fact he’s got various implements of firearm destruction, and a hippie commune where they embrace peace and love, not war, and you know for a fact that nobody there has any means to resist you. Which one are you going to victimize? I’d take the hippies, but then again I really don’t like getting shot at.
    The Second Amendment of the Constitution does not guarantee the right to firearms for hunting or military people though. It’s actually as a last line of defense from our government if it were to become tyrannical. If you get a chance, give the Federalist papers a read. They’re selling points for the Bill of Rights and the Constitution because some groups didn’t want it at first. You’ll understand why many of us hold the rights guaranteed to us so dear.

  • I think Turboguy’s comments on New Orleans and Katrina were a sincere portrayal from the perspective of a military and law enforcement guy who looks at things a certain way. He did not see all the law abiding citizens in peril and distress who had no way out of that city because of their lifelong economic status in a system that provides some entitlements to the poor but no real pathway to upward mobility for most.
    But, in contrast, the wealthy elite have an ever greater sense of entitlement that is built into the entire financial system, tax system, regulatory system, and legal system. So, a cop like TurboGuy can arrest a black man who stole fifty bucks from his neighbor and send him to jail for five years. But the corporate executive who works in a system in which no criminal laws prohibit non-violent theft or corruption can take millions or even billions of dollars from the system itself and no accountability is to be had at all.
    In fact, the entire regulatory system for securities and financial aspects of our society are regulated by a revolving door coming to and from the industries themselves, and so now Hank Paulsen and all the other Treasury officials are handing out hundreds of billions of unearned dollars to their cronies to correct problems that were caused by the cronies, which would have been illegal if anyone in power gave a damn about the public interest, and which are not used to solve the problems that are used to justify the giveaways to begin with.
    This system of self-regulation of financial and securities industries is not unlike what we have seen across the nation in terms of accountability in police and law enforcement agencies. Corrupt cops routinely get away literally with murder of civilians because they are accountable only to commissions of other cops who don’t give a rat’s ass about justice and who often harbor prejudcies against the public.
    Thinking of James Howard Kunstler, his report today was good. He referred to the cash bailouts of the banks and financial institutions as injections of embalming fluid by a government that is hardly more solvent than the institutions is is bailing out. Exactly! This is all paper wealth with no real value and there is no way in hell that phantom wealth will be able to drive the real economy to health. The only problem I see with Kunstler at present is his myopic failure to conceptualize that Obama equals Bush in terms of all relevent aspects of the world financial crisis and the intertwined militarism that is also intertwined with energy and Peak Oil as it unfolds in this New Millenium. The New American Century is proving to be like one of those New Year’s Eve rockets to goes skyward with a flash and a bang, and then smolders as it turns downward towards eawrth under the forces of natural laws that it could never overcome.
    Stan Moore

  • In TurboGuy’s example, the hippies would probably offer to share their food or whatever with the visitors and all would sit around a campfire and smoke some funny vegetation and wonder why the “uptight” couldn’t figure out how to get along. Then the cops would come along and bust them and steal their drugs.
    Stan Moore

  • Total Turboguy:
    You must understand that you are just as good looking as she is,and she is waiting and hoping you’ll ask her out.
    Now go do her a favor and ask her to have coffee or a drink with you.Remember you are doing her a favor by doing this.
    Your good buddy Frank is older and wiser than you on this—NOW GET OUT THERE AND TALK TO HER.

  • Stan, I completely agree! This is why I’ve said that the people in question are socialized specifically to believe that without government intervention they wouldn’t be able to get along, and since that situation is so ingrained into them it becomes a self fufilling prophesy. They simply can not get along without government to hold their hand. There’s loads of law abiding, able bodied people that didn’t leave because they actually thought the government was *SUPPOSED* to help them. Snatch them from the jaws of chaos at the last second, if you will. That’s just not the government’s place even if it were that the government were capable of doing that.
    The wealthy elite get away with it because it is they that made the laws. Let’s face facts here: Laws aren’t there for them, they’re there for us. If any one of us little people stole fifty bucks from our neighbor, be they white, black, hispanic, asian or Lizard People, they’re going to spend the next five years in jail. Money makes the world go round, as we all know. It’s why a sexual predator can be a pop star, get away with it totally, then go to Europe where that kind of thing isn’t frowned on as much.
    It’s why you and I pay the taxes the rich happily levy against us specifically to make themselves even more rich while they ride our backs. You lament this as if I were blind to it, but I see it even more clearly than you do. I’ve stopped people that happen to be extremely wealthy. When it’s heard over the radio exactly whom I’ve stopped I get a call from the lieutenant saying that I’d better not ticket this one, it’s so-and-so’s wife who’s a big donator to our department. Better yet I nailed a professional baseball player for DUI. After eight hours on the stand with his high powered California attorney grilling me, the judge threw him out on his ear and stuck him with the conviction. He should have spent ninety days in jail! I’ve seen people with a lower Blood Alcohol Content and less bad driving get far more! He was out the very next day. He even laughed at me on his way out of the courthouse. Sad thing is that these people are small potatoes. There’s even bigger fish that pull far worse things and never see the inside of a cell.

  • Total Turboguy:
    Why are you wasting time blogging when you should be talking to the waitress ?? It’s all going to
    come crashing down anyway,so get on with what is most important.Now go out there and flirt with her.
    When the end comes she’ll need your protective arms.—-Be sure and keep us posted.

  • ———————-Oh and Turboguy the best name for your first boy baby should be “Frank”.I’m sure you’ll agree
    that name has a certain ring to it.Good Luck !!

  • Memo to Total Turboguy:
    Hey Turboguy,is Maria’s the same Maria’s on East Franklin,just south of the Interstate?

  • Sure is! It’s technically on 11th and Frankln, but their business door faces east into that big parking lot where Walgreens, Family Dollar and Aldi’s is. The woman that owns the place, Maria conveniently enough, is kind of mean, but the waitresses she employs are top notch!
    I don’t think it’s going to come crashing down anytime soon. I at least think I’ve got the next year or two. Also I talk to her already, I just haven’t worked up the courage to just ask her out. Also I’m at work wasting your tax dollars blogging, not wasting time. There’s technically a difference.

  • Ya Total Turboguy:
    I like your style. What is her name?
    She’s waiting for your invitation, so get on with it.

  • I am pleased to see the latest comments by Turboguy that show his understanding that we live in a rigged system. It is rigged at the top and rigged at the bottom and creates dependencies by both rich and poor and sucks wealth from the overall economy in order to give a pittence to the worst off and gobs of money to the elite. The criminal justice system mirrors this exactly. A wealthy person can literally buy escape from a murder conviction by use of expert attorneys and technical personnel. This shows that the very concept of “crime” is something that is rigged.
    I know that a few people here on this blog have heard of the great ecologist Aldo Leopold. And a couple have heard of Leopold’s only woman graduate student Fran Hamerstrom, and her husband, Frederick. Fran was a mentor of mine. Frederick was the nephew and heir of the famous criminal defense attorney Clarence Darrow. I believe Fran told me that she and Frederick struggled financially for years on their wildlife biologist’ salaries until they eventually inherited some or all of the estate of Clarence Darrow and his wife, who they called “Aunt Ruby”. Anyways, Clarence Darrow wrote a book called “On Crime” in which he raised these important issues regarding what is crime, who write the laws, why the laws are written, etc. There are those who believe that the “law” is a sacred construct handed down from god, and if they exceed the speed limit by two miles per hour they are violating god’s law as well as man’s. Of course, these things are relative, as we see policemen routinely speeding, turning without signaling, and many other infractions just for the hell of it, indicating that to the police themselves, law and crime are relative matters and not absolutes. And to some extent, we can be thankful for that, I suppose, as more than once I have been pulled over by a cop for a bad brake light or some other infraction and told to fix it without any paperwork involved.
    But on the other hand, sometimes very painful reminders of the injustice of law and its enforcement come to light. A band of cops may confront a street thug and shoot him dead even though he was not engaged in a particular crime at that instant. They may claim “self-defence” that the victim “appeared” to be threatending and “appeared” to have a weapon, when he, in fact, did not. The victim is dead, and cannot speak for himself and the cops are routinely freed by their self-investigations. But the same law enforcement personnel may encounter a scene where a long-abused woman who has suffered battery and threats by a violent husband finally gets a gun and shoots the abuser dead and the woman is charged with manslaughter or murder and sent to prison for years and years. The law can accomplish both justice and injustice, according to how it is manipulated.
    In the case of Katrina and New Orleans, much of the law enforcement activity simply vanished in the aftermath of the storm. Tens of thousands of people were crammed on what little high ground remained and compelled to congregate without water, without food, without information, without protection, and without even the basic sanitary facilities to carry on civilized life. Within hours the situation became very, very bad. And it would not have happened as it did if better governance had been in play at a wide range of levels. I will say one thing, though, when the U.S. Army came in I was very impressed by that General Russell Honore, the commander who was a Louisiana native, who got pissed to see a soldier pointing his/her rifle at the citizenry and sternly admonised the solder to point that weapon downward as the citizens of New Orleans were not “the enemy” but the people they had come to serve and to rescue. That was a moment of good governance, in my opinion.
    Shifting subjects at the very end, I find it disheartening to see the Obama team doing exactly what is not needed at this point in time. Instead of representing change in the unsustainable American lifestyle at this critical point in national history, Obama is going to attempt a sort of “surge”. He will try to bring about a surge in consumption, in economic growth, in debt, in credit, which are all the very things that put us in this mess to begin with. So much for change we can believe in.
    Stan Moore
    Petaluma, CA

  • Seven point seven trillion dollars…
    The equivalent of $25,666 per American.
    Two thirds of our national debt and Obama’s talking about spending that in ONE YEAR!
    I feel more and more like the kid in the wagon being dragged by the bike. I yell “WEEEEE!” But have no idea where we’re going nor have I any control of how or when or where’s we’re headed. Watching my dollars get cut by more than a third of their value is going to be fun!
    At least I’ve got a job….

  • Total Turboguy:
    You’re way too optomistic.You’ll have to use a whellbarrow to cart your dollars to Maria’s .Like the Weimar
    Republic in the 1920’s.
    Now that we got that out of the way–we’re all waiting for you to tell us the name of that waitress.
    Come on now.

  • Total Turboguy:
    Here are two very valuable ideas for you:
    1.Women love uniforms,so let her see you in your best ones,and she’ll fantacize aout how you look without them.
    2. Most women are turned on by dirty talk.Start by telling her a slighty off-color joke.If you get a positive
    responce make the next one slightly more naughty.Then continue by making each joke worse(better for you),than
    the one before.Her ardor for you will increase with each succeeding joke or comment.Trust me–this really works !!
    Let know your progress.

  • She’s already seen and commented on the uniform, reception went well.
    I can not divulge her name lest her anonymity be compromised. I’m sure you understand. It’d be one one thing for me to post my own name, but I won’t print someone else’s name, even first ones, on here without their permission.
    I’ve got to get another day off before I can try to get back in there and talk to her.

  • Hey all,
    it is all very counter intuitive
    we are being encouraged to spend our way out
    of a financial crisis, ie get into more debt
    for the good of the nation – WTF! (same bullshit here)
    good to see the word ‘governance’ mentioned,
    George Soros said something interesting recently
    “I think it is better to have a government that wants to provide
    good government than a government that doesnt believe in government.”
    contrary to what has been said, perhaps this maybe the difference
    between the Obama and the Bush governments
    Matt, Melbourne

  • This is getting weird. Loveline for the peak oil survivalist set…..

  • Is something completely backward in this economic recovery plan?
    I sort of thought the role of the government was to tax and tweak the economy, not to fund it.
    Stan Moore

  • Peak oil survivalists? Wrong blog. You can find those guys over at
    Matt: Isn’t that a weird one? I put this in perspective in my head this morning: We borrowed far more than we could ever hope to repay to the point that many of us had to say that we simply couldn’t afford to pay that money back. The governments now step in and give even more money to borrow, thus putting each and every one of us *FURTHER* into debt. Now I’m no genius, but isn’t borrowing more money than we could ever ope to pay back exactly what got us in the mess we’re in right now? Is this little more than akin to Hans Brinker trying to stick his finger into the dike, but instead of one little hole, he’s going to have to put his entire arm in there and in holding back a little flood, cause a huge one when the dike finally gives way because the water pressure grew?

  • I see it more as wily-e coyote, at last off the edge of the cliff, in that beautiful moment that we all new was an impossibility, but that added so much. Legs spinning, his body suspended, his doom forestalled just long enough for us to catch the changing expression on his face.

  • Memo to Mr.Roboto:
    First things first,we take care of our own here.We know from experience that Total Turboguy is at his most lucid and
    incisive best when his love life is satisfying.At 76 I’ve had a lot of experience and can help him in that regard.
    Now,tell us about your love life.

  • Memo to Total Turboguy:
    Good !! You’re on the correct path.
    Now one very important question: has she ever touched you?
    Remember Frank’s advice,and you’re on your way Total.

  • Also Mr. Roboto, We’re all having fun. Is that so wrong?
    C’mon, who wants a hug? Roboto does! Who’s da’ bear? WHO’s DA’ BEAR!?!

  • Definitions and labels are easy to use. The fact is, the political climate is much to different to define anyone by their actions. Iraq is not Vietnam–it’s much more important. Furthermore, there are fewer social problems than in the past.

  • I agree that Obama is a liberal, but that isn’t always such a bad thing,
    as far as the Obama real estate recovery plan goes, it will NOT work in many higher home value areas like San Diego, Los Angeles, New York City, etc.
    I came across a San Diego real estate broker’s blog post that is to be the only one I’ve seen that does not spout the ‘industry line: “It’s always a good time to buy real estate.” This broker calls it like it is. No it’s not PC, but it is amazingly informative and insightful. Bob Schwartz, the San Diego real estate broker who publishes the blog, wrote a great article on 2-19-09, titled: San Diego Real Estate – No Relief From Obama the url is:

  • I think with Obamas popularity as it currently is, it’s hard to deny that he was the right choice for office. Especially given the fact that this nation faces some of it’s toughest times yet. We will have to see what is to come from all of this.

  • There are some interesting comments here , however I totally disagree that things are now worse than they were in the last depression.

  • Iraq is not Vietnam–it’s much more important. Furthermore, there are fewer social problems than in the past.
    Acai Berry