What Comes Next

I’ve been thinking about this blog a lot.  I never wanted it to be a political blog. This is my personal blog, where I post whatever is crossing my mind at the moment.

I started it at my then agent’s instigation (has it really been that long ago?  And how the world has changed) because of course my books were getting close to zero distribution and I could fix this with a “platform.”  (This is one of the illusions the publishing world chases.  It works, kind of.  If say, like VDH what you write are non fiction historical books and your blog talks about parallels between ancient history and today, it works wonderfully.  It can also work if what you write is always set in a particular time period and you write about that time period exhaustively.  There is probably a low-probability world in which the Shakespeare series did well and I continued to write in that time period and my personal blog has gone completely after my personal obsession with all things Tudor… and that might help the books.  This of course presupposes I didn’t kill myself through having to write “literary” stuff, which I can do but depresses me unutterably if it’s the ONLY thing I do.)

Anyway, so my agent wanted me to have a platform, which in my mind was this little wooden soapbox onto which I could climb and start shouting at the crowds of indifferent passersby.  The other thing she pushed on me was Facebook which mostly serves to raise my blood pressure, unless I confine myself to cute cat pictures and aphorisms.  OTOH it provides a way for people who don’t have my email to contact me and that has been a boon.  But I’m at a loss for how it builds the er… platform.

The blog was actually not THIS blog, but the live journal one, and this was back when I was stealthing it: trying to pretend to be a rather standard liberal (and being shocked by how far to the left the other authors were, even from standard liberal) with the idea once I got big I could decloak.

What that meant was that I couldn’t post about anything I cared about.  Besides being an intensely political animal in the sense that I don’t trust the critters in power more than an inch out of my sight, and therefore follow politics obsessively, I’m, of course, an amateur historian, an observer of culture, and an American.  Since I couldn’t decloak all of these were verboten topics.

Heck, I couldn’t even post about what was going on with the kids, because this included my interface with the public schools, the daily deprogramming sessions “No, the US isn’t an aggressive bully.  Here what you need to look up”, the truly bizarre stuff that was built in to assignments like the assumption that race equals culture (and that one broke through and caused a month-long blog war).  I couldn’t even blog about my housewifely quirks (I don’t have many of them.  I don’t have time for many of them) like the really cool steam iron and the occasional attacks of crochet.  The times I tried I got slammed for being insufficiently liberated or something.

So the blog got updated once a month if that, and frankly I think only three people read it.

But the agent kept pushing about the platform, and finally I started this blog and made it a point of blogging everyday.

It is impossible to blog every day without dipping my toes into politics, or at least culture.  I tried to not have partisan politics here – and it’s amazing how many people who think they’re far left of center agree with my root statements, provided I don’t mention politics by name, which leads me to believe they think this is a soccer match and not a battle of ideas.

Still, I started getting some following, and the blog community that has grown here is very enjoyable.

But last week I had to decloak politically.  I had to do it because I think part of the reason we’re losing is that we’re keeping quiet and allowing the other side to define us.  (BTW I find it interesting one of the blogs that linked back to that post said it was of course superfluous for me to decloak since I won the Prometheus.  Apparently, they’re unaware that the Prometheus judges the book, not the writer, and has been won by any number of leftists.  Again, perhaps the base assumption is that all libertarians are left?  Or right?  I fail to get it.)

I am for the record a small l libertarian, who would like government out of people’s economic and social life.  Saving people’s souls is the business of religions.  Saving people from utter disaster is the job of charity.  When government gets confused with either of those it ends in tears.  Churches become branches of the government, and the government forces compulsive and bizarre charity (did you know there are provisions in Ocare impinging on “your lifestyle” including how you eat?  No?  Perhaps you should.  Considering the pyramid those idiots forced on us as one size fits all, I’d say we’re headed for choppy waters.)

Anyway, having decloaked politically, I found there was a series of politically pertinent posts I could/should make, because the times are perilous.  Having done it, too, I don’t intend to keep as strict a hold on my tongue from now on.  To be absolutely honest, we’re living in a target rich environment and speaking out about the things that drive me most insane might just keep me from having an embolism.

But my life is not politics.  My life is fiction writing with a good bit of reading, while trying to keep my husband’s life as smooth as possible, herding four cats and trying to get two young men a decent start in life in this very hard time for it.

A lot of what I customarily blog about here is writing – how to create universes, what bothers me about universes others create and trends in writing, etc.  I think from now on I’ll keep the highly technical how-to stuff for Mad Genius Club (and tell you when I post that there.)  Frankly, I think most of my regulars have endured those with a quirked eyebrow.

But I blog about other stuff too, as it relates to writing: the way writing shapes culture, and the way it’s been shaping culture without most people even being aware for the last thirty years; the way writing is changing, with indie displacing traditionals – the we’re escaping between their fingers like sand thing – and the way the elites seem ever more out of touch with the everyday person out here on the streets.

Thinking about that made me realize where this blog belongs and where it should head.  As I said in the post about how they can slow down the defeat, but unless they completely dismantle civilization hey can’t win (and I think this is part of their infatuation with the most obscurantist of religions, the fact that this religion has stopped progress very effectively in any place they took over.)

What is happening at the top level of everything from education to culture to politics to entertainment is a stunning, almost jaw-dropping disconnect to what is actually going on in these fields, at every other level and among common people.

It’s as if the future is being born but the people who fought hard to acquire power over the present time are trying to cross their legs and prevent it coming out.

It doesn’t work, and it makes things way more painful.  And there is room there for someone who has a tendency to seriously overthink things to highlight where that fight is taking place, and the horrible things that can result from trying, in vain, to hold on to a top-down manner of planning things when all our tech is now distributed and getting more so.

So, this won’t become a techy blog, or a political blog, but it will reflect – often on the way politics is out of touch with the tech and vice versa.  I am by nature someone who thinks across fields, and if there is something I can offer it is the distributed perspective of a non-specialist.

Of course, this will require I read even more of that stuff and make notes where I saw things, but that can be done.  It will take a little more time, which means I (sigh) might as well institute a subscription mode.  I’m noddling it and hopefully will come up with something next week supposing the flu lets up.  (It’s better today, thank you, though not completely gone.)

Mind you, there will still be – PARTICULARLY on weekends – occasional eruptions of cute cat pictures (well, I do have four cats) and odd, sometimes sideways thoughts about history and the primary causes of this or that.  It can’t be helped.  If I’ve been doing any hand work that doesn’t allow me to read – like gardening or carpentry or even ironing – the weirdest ideas come up in my mind…  There will also be the occasional rant.  Some stereotypes exist because they’re true.  When I get angry, the Latin Chick comes to the fore, or as my husband puts it, in the somewhat bewildered tone of a man descended mostly from New England patricians “You do get excitable, sweetie.”  So, rants will happen.  And there will be another episodic novel, though it might move to Saturdays, once Witchfinder is done.  It is – oddly – I think SF technically, but … well… It’s Starship Troopers meets Operation Chaos.  It’s still untitled, and it’s going to require I actually research a lot.  (Eep) Mostly about special forces.

If you’re okay with that, stick around.  My mind works at odd angles, but I try not to be boring.

And there is a lot of room to chronicle the birth of the future and everything that can go wrong along the way.

The Titanic is sinking and before the rescue boat in the shape of a future we can only barely glimpse arrives there’s going to be a long time where we’ll have to do the best we can and perhaps hunker down on the floating grand piano with a bottle of whiskey.

This blog will try to be the floating grand piano.  Here’s a blanket.  Shortly someone will pass the whiskey around.  It’s going to be a long night.  But I am determined we shall survive.

And since you don’t want to cross the Excitable Latin Chick, (trust me, even I don’t want to cross her, and she lives in my mind) you’ll do your best…

 

276 responses to “What Comes Next

  1. Woo hoo! If we’re going to be tossed around the North Atlantic, I want to be in the *fun* group on the piano! :-)

    I’ll read everything you write, Sarah! And love every minute of it.

  2. I don’t think that your Latin comes out, unless you mean your distant Romanic temper. In which case, perhaps I should be calling you Caesar Hoyticus?

    I quit Facebook earlier this week. For good. *sigh* This is the only way I can follow your stuff daily now (and I’m already jonesing for some cute cat pictures). So I’ll take my bourbon neat, a double please, and I’m going to go lay down over yonder and watch the flowers, the rabbits, the kitteh-dragons, elfves, dwarves, roustabouts and anybody else who seems halfway interesting wander around here.

    • Facebook? So as not to kill someone?
      My husband meanwhile seems to be a happy warrior. This is the man who used to be mortally embarrassed if I raised my voice in our driveway. I guess our marriage stays fresh because you can never fully know someone. It was just a matter of making him mad enough. (As with the school shenanigans with younger son, when he gets MAD the nonsense stops. I should have remembered.)

  3. I’ll stay off the piano– I know exactly how it will disintegrate in salt water– but I’ll grab the blanket… and have a sip the whiskey if no one tells the hubby ;-)

  4. You go girl. Looking forward to seeing where the twists and turns take us, at least as far as your blog goes. For the country, maybe not so much. We are *so* screwed…

  5. Ooooh, the new serial sounds like lots of fun! I wonder how long it’ll take before your Witchfinder characters start clamoring in ever-louder tones for you to write their next novel, already… ;)

  6. Hmmm. A little choppy water and “[the] Titanic is sinking”?

    I guess your active imagination is why I enjoy your novels so much because in the fictional realm I can suspend disbelief and sit back and enjoy.

    • Meh. You keep telling yourself that. I’m not your mom.

    • Bret – “a little choppy water” is what inundated Staten Island and Coney Island and a lot of other places. They’re still without power, freezing, have no running water, and FEMA sold off all the portable housing units just before Sandy hit.

      How long have you lived along the River DeNial? Never mind. Don’t want to know. Don’t want to know how you manage to stuff your fingers in your ears and sing la la la when your head is rammed so far up your &$$, either. Stupid always finds a way.

      • BobtheRegisterredFool

        Note that depending on how extensive the outage is, it might well make a good testbed for America’s future energy policy. That is if the energy policy Obama presented at the beginning of his term is the energy policy that he intends to implement. I have seen no particularly convincing case otherwise, besides the physics itself, and that the ramifications would be politically suicidal if carried out with full disclosure.

        Of course, Obama may have no fear of political suicide at this point.

    • OK. How about an objectively verifiable prediction from someone on this upcoming collapse (sinking of the Titanic)?

      For example, how much will GDP per capita shrink in the next 10 years? Or the next 20 years? What will the unemployment level be 10 years from now? Will there be a coup in the next 20 years where the constitution will be thrown out and a completely new government takes over? Specifically what freedoms that you’re concerned with will be curtailed and how will they be curtailed? (Please give ranges for the economic numbers).

      Maybe we’re in complete agreement. Maybe what I consider to be moderately poor economic performance (which is what I expect) is what y’all consider collapse.

      Sarah gave a scenario called “The New Normal” in “Steps of our Fears”. I agree with that (though even that was short on details), but I don’t consider that anywhere near collapse. The titanic keeps moving forward, it’s just slow because it’s mired in the kelp beds.

      • Or maybe it is taking on water in the hold while the band played on, and the crew busied itself rearranging deck chairs?

        The Titanic is probably the wrong analogy, as it was a fast-motion disaster. Perhaps a better analogy is my experience leading up to my Type-II Diabetes diagnosis: slow accumulation of incrementally higher blood glucose levels imposing systemic damage; attempting to alleviate insatiable thirst by drinking more Coke — which had more sugar than it did water to flush the sugar from my system — as the nerves in my feet went necrotic. Happily, I was diagnosed and addressed the problem before amputation was necessary, in large part because I did not argue with family members who urged a visit to a doctor. Nor did I argue with the doctor when he prescribed radical dietary changes.

        Perhaps I ought to have demanded an objectively verifiable prediction about the state of my health in one year, ten years, twenty years? Just think of all the cake I could have eaten in the meantime!

      • I think people are worried about a situation approaching too close to the Great Depression of the 30s. Our real unemployment is closer to that era than it’s ever been, and for longer than it’s ever gone since that time. Stifled business. Sluggish economy. Inflation worries. Hopefully not as bad as the 70s. Hopefully no wage and price controls, but we’ve got a lot of other stifling regulations, and more on the way.

        Worries about Obamacare forcing us to socialized medicine – doctors are already pulling out or going to cash only. I’ve already had one of my doctors retire early. And there’s said to be a lot more in Obamacare than just a single-payer system; a whole lot was in that bill that has nothing to do with medicine, though that’s as much as I’ve heard.

        People with jobs are worried about losing them. People with small businesses are in trouble. I have watched so many small businesses shut down, every time we have a recession, and I think that’s likely to get worse.

        We are creating a huge Mob class, dependent on the government, paid voters for the Left. That will only grow larger in the immediate future. There are too many people who know how to get their entire living paid by government funds, though various scam organizations like ACORN.

        Economic collapse? Technically no. But not pleasant. If you keep your job, you’ll probably be okay. If you don’t, things could get bad.

        • Laurie,

          I’m in nearly 100% agreement with your predictions.

          I just apparently have a much, much different definition of “collapse” and the metaphor of the titanic sinking is sheer hyperbole as far as I’m concerned.

          As a friend of mine says, we’re several stages away from the point where an imminent collapse could be in the cards.

          I think the hyperbole, while dramatic, is counterproductive because most moderates and farther left will completely tune out when you start talking about collapse and the sinking of the titanic. So if the only goal is to entertain and perhaps rile up the choir, then that’s okay. If you want to start the long and painful process of convincing folks that the smaller government approach is better for all in the long run, leave the doomsday out of it.

          • Bret– have you been grocery shopping? or any kind of shopping for essentials? Do you realize that most of our food/clothing/etc are transported by trucks? Do you know that our gas prices (and diesel prices) are extremely high? That without that gas or diesel, the goods we need to survive (no one is really stockpiling) will not get to us?

            Just one thing breaks in these logistical lines and we will have areas of the country (not near farmland, etc) with famine, disease, etc. We can see that breakdown during disasters– think Katrina after the hurricane. Think NY and the islands (Long Island in particular) after the recent storm. Electricity is a needed commodity today, but it is fragile during a disaster … or even if we lost the techs.

            Cambodia after the purge (killed all the teachers, lawyers, and technical people) dropped to below medieval level in less than a few weeks.

            I am hoping that the collapse is slower so that we can be better prepared. I am feeling in my gut that it will be more a Titanic like event. I expect Killing Fields if we can’t get control of it fast.

            • So when is this killing fields thing going to happen? 5 years? 10? When?

              I predict there won’t be a killing fields like thing in the next 30 years (roughly my life expectancy – I’m old**).

              What’s your prediction as to when this is going to happen?

              **And because I’m old, I’ve had so many people of so many ideologies tell me the world was going to end soon and have watched every single one of those predictions be wrong that I can’t take such predictions seriously anymore.

              • Bret–
                I am pretty upset because I am now dealing with Obamacare– there is where the “killing fields” will happen. Seniors will have to jump hoops after hoops before they can get medication (I already went through that in August when I had a stomach problem). Seniors will have to see their doctors every couple of months before they can see the specialist who manages their diseases and then there claims will be denied (just happened to me today).

                I have a disease that if it isn’t managed daily, weekly, or monthly or quarterly can kill me quickly. There is my doomsday– my armeggeddon.

                EXCUSE ME if you need a prediction with what I am dealing with it daily.

                You may be old– but I am ill– I have more hope and more fight that anyone else I know. I am surviving a disease that usually kills people within five years ( I am nine years into it). EXCUSE ME if you just made me want to throw a shoe through my monitor.

                • Sorry to hear about your illness. I wish you the best of luck with coping and overcoming it.

                  • I will eventually die of it. There is no way to overcome this particular disease– but I will fight to live as long as possible with as much health as possible. In my opinion there is NO GRACE in dying because some one wants me to “die already.” Yes, when I was first ill some nurse did say that–

                • I agree – this idea of denying care based on your expected life based solely on your age, not your actual health, this scares me. I have aging parents, and I fear for them not being able to get the medical care they need.

                  And we’ve all seen that woman (in Oregon, was she? Where they already have a single-payer state system) told that the state would not pay for her cancer drugs, but here’s a list of assisted suicide clinics.

                  It’s already happening in Britain – people going in to hospices for temporary care and suddenly taking a turn for the worse, very unexpectedly, and only with a persistent famly or doctor insistence getting the care they need.

              • The killing fields are happening now, behind the curtain of denial. How many must die for you to see?

          • Bret, apparently you have not quite yet grasped the nature of blog posting. It is not a venue for persuading people as you propose. A blog is a pulpit for urging the church to carry forth Teh Message. Lukewarm does not work. As per Revelations 3:15-16:

            I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.

            The path you proffer is the path that Sarah has rejected, for reasons amply described. Primarily, because it does not work. I recommend rereading Sarah’s post for today and thinking about the route she describes taking to her current position in the pulpit.

            • There’s rather a lot of blogging styles, don’t you think? I read mostly economics blogs and those attempt not to be a church (though they sometimes don’t succeed).

              If Sarah’s goal is to rile up the choir, then her approach is clearly succeeding.

              • You conflate style with structure, medium with message. Effective blogging requires a distinct point of view expressed entertainingly. All bloggers preach “to the choir.” Economics blogs no less than cultural ones, although the nature of their arguments entails a different voice.

                Some churches exhort the parishioners heatedly, some coolly, some employ emotional appeals, others logical ones, but they all have the same purpose.

                Perhaps this is not a church to your liking; if so you would probably be happier in another congregation. Others have found here a voice they appreciate and judging by the growing and energetic congregation it is an appealing and effective one.

              • Over the past several months Sarah has given her reasons. No we are not makeing hard and fast number predictions, this is not, for example, a financial forum. Question: Why do you think that Sarah should alter her style to suit your preferences?

                • She should certainly not alter her style to suit my preferences (nor, of course, will she).

                  She should only consider altering her style if she wishes to have significant impact on the politics of this country by convincing a broader audience of the merits of the libertarian approach.

                  Lastly, I find Sarah’s current style entertaining, so other than wishing that she’d successfully influence a wider audience, I’d just as soon change nothing.

                  • She should only consider altering her style if she wishes to have significant impact on the politics of this country by convincing a broader audience of the merits of the libertarian approach.

                    Have you any evidence, beyond your own opinion, that so altering her style would achieve that? She seems to be doing pretty well with her current style and, as it is apparently her natural “voice” is it not more likely that any alteration would diminish her effectiveness?

                    Your analogy fails by assuming the choir would be in the church regardless of the preacher. This particular “choir” you disparage her preaching to had not assembled prior to her raising her voice in song.

                    • …as it is apparently her natural “voice” is it not more likely that any alteration would diminish her effectiveness?

                      Perhaps so.

                      …disparage…

                      If you see my comments as disparaging, I apology profusely. I’m attempting to question, not disparage.

                    • You have told us how much you like Sarah’s writing. You have claimed you are only trying to help. You say you are only asking questions. You say that your intention is not to disparage. When pressed you claim that your purpose has been misunderstood.

                      We can no more give you a timetable than a doctor can give a patient with a fatal cancer an exact prediction of the date of death. There are too many factors in play. (And remission is always possible.) Frankly I don’t know how you can be so blithe about the future.

                  • I dunno – I expect the people who know what a collapse really means, in its literal sense, to understand and interpret what she says. But these are people rational enough to not need any preaching to begin with.

                    It’s the idiots who scream “racist” if you criticize the president, or “lady parts” – these are the people who you just might reach if you bang on their little fluff-heads and yell “collapse!” – after all, these are the people who would define what we’ve been saying as utter disaster if they actually experienced it.

                    (And a real economic collapse is not out of the question – given what I’ve heard from people from South America or Russia or Sarah’s Portugal, where they’ve had them. Collapses seem remote and unlikely until you’re suddenly going over the waterfall. What I’ve described is what I see in the next few years, but if the decline isn’t reversed, we truly could go over.)

                  • …so what’s your point? I’m not quite sure you really know what you’re talking about, here. Having read/commented here both before and after she began to “drop the cloak” and go overtly political, I’ve seen nothing other than a net /widening/ of her audience – more strangers in the comments saying they agree with what she says and will be coming back for more. She won’t appeal to everyone, everywhere, but who does? Either you’re worrying over nothing, or you’re trolling, but either way, it’s pointless.

          • A question for you. How can we continue to pay Social Security, Government employee pensions and the other financial obligations with the present GDP projections?

            • We can’t so obviously we won’t. We’ll cut back on those promises at some point. Not necessarily a big deal since, for example, moving the benefit age for SS up a mere 3 years or so makes the program workable again.

              • No, Bret, it doesn’t. Any more than a band-aid treats an abscess.

                How long can we handle a diminishing percentage of the populace employed and an increasing percentage on Welfare? What happens to those who relied on your promises when you break them? The Music Man is great theatre, but lousy social policy.

                We can’t so obviously we won’t” is the addict’s mantra, always promising to cut back … tomorrow, and bragging about having cut back from three packs a day to two-and-a-half, when the maximum safe dosage remains zero.

              • Yeah, I wish it were that easy. Look at Greece, and they have Germany to scold them and hold them in line. Who do we have?

                And, with my apologies to anyone in California, but they better not get bailed out. Let the state declare bankruptcy – that’s the only hope I see. Default and renegotiate (assuming it works that way for a government institution).

                • We are already bailing out California, to the extent that their increase in state income taxes are deductible on their federal tax returns. And people living in zero-income tax states are bailing out California’s misgovernance (and New York’s, and Illinois’) at a greater level.

      • Will there be a coup in the next 20 years where the constitution will be thrown out and a completely new government takes over?

        Most of us here wish that The Constitution was being fully respected as the law of the land. We are more inclined to believe that it being ignored when inconvenient and reinterpreted to mean whatever is presently wanted. The ones who I hear asking for a new Constitutional convention have been from the left. They want something more like that which the Europeans have written. Did you know that the European’s used their’s to define the difference between a sauce and a vegetable for trade purposes?

      • On another front: Wake Forest Baptist Hospital just announced layoffs. The costs will have to be kept to a minimum because the government is set to start a repayment schedule that does recognize the actual costs. I suggest you spend a bit of time checking out articles that are now showing up in the British press about the state of their medical care and ask yourself why we think the ship of state is in none too good a condition.

        • Again, “Ship of state in none too good a condition”? Sure. Collapse? No.

          • Only once a wolf is at your door will you entertain the idea that there is a wolf? People told Churchill to shut up about what he saw on the horizon — more than once — and history has proven him correct.

            • Of course not. I just have to be shown evidence of a significantly likelihood of a wolf coming (like, say, howling in the distance).

              Instead I see low interest rates (short and long term, public and private), modest inflation (yes I know food is expensive, but much of that is directly traceable to burning corn-based ethanol in our gas tanks and has nothing to do with overall inflation), typical and moderate volatility in stock prices and commodity prices, an election that was not the most fraudulent ever (Lyndon Johnson’s thugs stuffing ballot boxes in Texas probably qualifies as the worst), most businesses are hanging in there, most people are employed, very few starving, etc.

              The wolves are out there somewhere, but from all the signals of markets and other socio-economic indicators, they’re not close yet.

              • By the time the wolves are close, it could be too late. Like you say, we can see them in the distance.

                I’ll go back to what you said on a previous blog post – the danger is the people who would vote for the Obama policies. They’re not going to change. And they are a huge danger. And they aren’t going to listen to detailed, rational posts on economics because they can’t understand them.

                • You’re right that most people won’t listen to economics screeds.

                  I’ve been working on convincing people to be more open to libertarian principles for decades. I’ve had some limited success but it’s a very long process and I find that maintaining credibility during that very long has been absolutely key.

                  I’ve found that the worst thing you can ever say is, “if person X is elected, the economy will collapse” because when the economy doesn’t collapse (at least in the perception of your audience), you’ve lost credibility and you’ve lost it forever.

                  So I just think it’s unfortunate when people potentially throw away credibility by making sensational statements that turn out to be false (as interpreted by the listener or reader).

                  • Then don’t say the economy will collapse. Say specific things – 1 out of 5 people you know will be out of a job, and that person might be you. You won’t be able to find a doctor, and if you do, you still might not be able to get necessary care. You won’t be able to afford gas for your car. Food will be expensive. Your retirement account and any other savings you have are toast. Your taxes will skyrocket. You won’t be able to buy the toys you enjoy now because your paycheck will only be enough to cover necessities. If you do lose your job, odds are, you’ll only be able to find low-paying part-time work with no benefits because your employer would rather pay the fine. And that’s just if we continue on our present path.

                    Sarah’s already posted on what happens during a real collapse, and that’s scary beyond all reason.

                  • Bret, no one has a crystal ball. We can look at history, though. Some of us have life experiences. Sarah’s life included Marxism. My life included employment at a Federal Reserve Bank during a tumultuous time: stagflation.

                    Here’s my story.

                    In 1974, rates on Treasury bills bonds and notes SHOT UP to 9%. I was there, a young college graduate, hired by a Federal Reserve bank in the midwest. Jobs were scarce and i was very very grateful.

                    And the Treasury auctions kept having huge interest yields, week after week, month after month, year after year.. Google it. The Treasury paid interest as high as 14% in the early 1980s, before the teamwork of Reagan and Volcker cured the problem, though the cure was painful, shrinking the money supply which caused a recession.

                    FAST FORWARD to 2016 and look into your crystal ball. Despite Bernanke’s efforts, interest rates shoot up to 9% AGAIN. Why? Market forces, loss of confidence in US ability to repay, not foreseen by geniuses at Harvard and Yale. By 2016, our Obama debt will be $20 trillion, and unfortunately Geitner has shortened maturities, so an interest rate leap will be felt immediately. A 9% rate applied to $20 trillion, requires $1.8 trillion in debt service. Annual Treasury revenue for that time: perhaps $2.6 trillion. What will be cut?

                    Say goodbye to the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, plus the reserves which help out in jams like hurricanes. President Obama calls his friend Kofi Annan for emergency assistance. Say hello to UN “peace troops”. East of the Mississippi, divisions from the UN’s North Africa Egyptian Brotherhood corps run American cities. Plus the UN Iranian and Iraqi Mahdi brigades, recognizable by their black hoods, patrol all ports and transportation networks. West of the Mississippi two million Chinese soldiers in 20 divisions provide “protection”. None of the UN troops will carry rifles; they will be issued machine guns and gunnysacks of rocket propelled grenades (see Benghazi). Plus they cart off our nuclear weapons, or whatever Obama didn’t disarm.

                    Eliminating the US military saves $800 billion, but another $1 trillion must be cut. Easy. Cut granny’s social security check (Just voted in Greece) Move her and her stuff into your house. Delay government salaries to doctors & hospitals (True in Greece). Delay government payments to drug companies.(True in Greece). Pharmacies won’t order your diabetes medicine unless you pay cash in advance (True in Greece today). Cut Medicare, give more aspirin. Eliminate EBT cards for free food and go back to doling out agricultural surplus again as in the Great Depression. Eliminate Medicaid to 71 million people who still go to hospitals but don’t pay, bankrupting every hospital in the USA.

                    Fiscal meltdown, US style, would be our way, of course. But ongoing riots in Spain, Portugal, Greece, and unemployed youth burning cars and cities in France and UK imply it won’t be a picnic.

                    Bret, back in the midwest from 1974 to 1977. I sold 9% – 11% Treasury bills bonds and notes to Joe Public, and Joe Public came out in droves, cash from who knows where, plus Joe Public damaged commercial lending by withdrawing funds from banks and cancelling CDs. Carter did NOT have a plan to fix this, because he did not listen to his FRB Chairman, Paul Volcker. Reagan listened and they acted together. Reagan, a Republican, Volcker a Democrat. Both patriots. Together they took unpopular actions to revive the economic life the country. Neither sneered at job creators. Neither used the word “revenge”. That was leadership. Where are such to be found today?

                    • Wayne Blackburn

                      By 2016, our Obama debt will be $20 trillion…

                      Do you really think it will be that low? I predict that if he lives (If, as he has indicated, he governs with full realization that he doesn’t have to worry about being reelected, it’s possible someone will go over the edge and kill him.), by then the debt will be $25Trillion+. Not going to cut the budget, tax revenues are going to go down, so deficit will go up. Debt goes up fast.

              • Ever heard of Tammany Hall? For entertainment purposes how about watching Preston Sturges’ movie The Great McGintey, yes it is fiction, but it was accepted. Or try watching The Last Hurrah,Lion in the Streets, All the Kings Men, Meet John Doe, His Girl Friday and many more … American politics have never been lily white — even in the early years of the Republic. The stories behind the Kennedy’s primary success in West Virginia puts LBJ to shame. In 2008 Philadelphia had one district that had 110% voter turn out for the Presidential election. So what’s your point?

                You say that the primary cause of the rise in food prices is corn based ethanol? Really? How about you provide some of those numbers you keep asking from the rest of us.

                • From http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2012/09/the-renewable-fuel-standard-ethanol-use-and-corn-prices :

                  “The U.S. produces 40 percent of the world’s corn,[5] and ethanol production uses about 40 percent of U.S. corn production,[6] but roughly one-third of the value of the corn used in ethanol production returns to the feed market as DDGS. Thus, the equivalent diversion of corn value to ethanol production is 27 percent of the U.S. market or, more important, 10.8 percent of the world corn market.

                  “As is typical with commodity markets, small changes in supply or demand can lead to large changes in price.[7] The loss of 10.8 percent of the world’s corn to ethanol production leads to a 68 percent (about two-thirds) increase in corn prices.”

                  Since corn is a major staple for humans and especially a major feed for livestock, those corn price increases are reflected directly in the foodstuffs mentioned here.

                  • That does not actually prove that ethanol is the primary cause in the rise of food prices. Post hoc propter hoc is not proof.

                  • You said that corn based ethanol accounted for the rise in food costs. So how about adding those costs related to the drought in the mid-west this summer? They are real. Not all food is related to corn, and while the rising cost of corn may effect the cost not only of corn and corn based products, their alternatives (various grains) and that of flesh foods (which are fed grain) how would it account for the rise in the cost of produce?

                    The rising cost of fuel, which you previously dismissed with the proposition that it was all the fault of corn based ethanol, has much to do with it. (How can it not effect the cost of food? From plowing to consumption energy is used in production, processing, shipping and storage of food.) Labor costs are also rising, particularly with the health care mandates (estimated to add a cost of $1.89 per employee hour). The economy is not so simple.

                    • Well, I understand that corn for ethanol is causing herds to be slaughtered en masse — including dairy herds. People can’t afford to keep them through winter. Of course corn for ethanol is also part of this admnistration’s bucket of fail. BUT that doesn’t explain why lettuce is twice the price, as is everything else, just about — no, that’s oil prices and transport.

                    • Actually Sarah, it kind of does explain the cost of lettuce (sort of, in a roundabout way). Corn for ethanol not only raises the price of corn products, corn and corn product competitors, and critters consuming corn, it also raises the price of fuel. It raises the price of gasoline, and at the same time lowers the mpg’s in the vehicles it is used in. Then diesel (which is the primary fuel used in both commercial farming and commercial transportation) rises, because the price of gasoline has gone up, so there is more demand for diesel, the green movement uses corn and other vegetable oils to make ‘green biodesiel’ which costs even more, and is government subsidized, this causes regular diesel to rise again, then our government in its infinite wisdom deems diesel evil, and raises taxes on it to pay for subsidies on green fuels, and Michelle’s vacations. Lettuce has to travel the same roads, using the same rising fuels to get to market, plus the cost of corn products has gone up so much that they are being sold for much less profit than before (even though the prices are higher they haven’t kept up with rising costs) so the suppliers must make that profit up somewhere, so they spread it out amongst the non corn-based products (which include meat animals fed corn), so that also causes the price of lettuce to go up.

                      If ethanol actually worked it would lower the price of transportation enough to compensate for the higher price corn products, causing us the end consumer to see a rise in the price of corn products, but not of other products, possibly including those animals fed corn products, because they would see a decrease in the cost of transportation. This shows a classic case of this administration forcing proven failed policies into law. We won’t even get into the fact that ethanol in fuel actually RAISES emissions, which is the opposite of what they claimed when ramming it down our throats.

                    • Yup, and while we are at it: Corn is a demanding crop to grow, it requires high levels of fertilizer and water to thrive. Try telling the environmentalist that according to their definitions it is a ‘dirty crop,’ what with run-off and all, and you’ll probably see a few head spin.

                    • These people are living in a world of academia, and their sole goal is to control us.

                    • But always, ALWAYS for “our own good.”

                      Massa always takes good care ob his chilluns. It is a burden but one he is happy to undertake for he lub us.

                    • Wayne Blackburn

                      I think I would much prefer if he were a neglectful parent.

                    • BobtheRegisterredFool

                      There was a DoE publication I read when I was a youngster, published in the eighties by the name of Fuel for the Farms or some such. It discussed the extent to which it might be feasible to produce ethanol on farms, for farm use, from farm waste. The implication, IIRC, was that the energy balance just didn’t really begin to make sense for wider scale usage.

                      As I recall, the key technology that they identified as essential for wider usage was a commercially viable way of going from Cellulose to ethanol.

                      I eventually decided I didn’t want to get into researching that stuff because I didn’t want to deal with the crazy in green energy.

                  • It’s easier to account for the fluctation in corn, because it is there, than for the things that are not there because they have been regulated out of being. For example, how many new refineries have been built in the united states of america since the passage of the Clean Air Act in 1976? How many refineries do we have now vs. in ’76, and how has our gas consumption changed since then? How would this affect our dependancy on foreign refining, and how would that impact the cost of everything that needs plastic (an oil derivative), fertilizer (see same), and automotive fuel somewhere in its supply chain?

          • I have to say, I think California is heading toward a collapse. I consider a state declaring bankruptcy a collapse.

            • Yes, that would obviously be a collapse of California. I thought we were talking about the US as a whole? Or do you think a California bankruptcy would bring the rest of the country down?

              • Well, as good Texan, I certainly hope it doesn’t reach here. But I think California is the first, and others will follow. Not the whole nation, but there are collapses going on as we speak. Isn’t that serious enough for you?

                Yup, people survived the Great Depression. Some people didn’t even notice it. My dad’s family was fine. But my mom’s family was starving and her father couldn’t get work.

                There are people who think, good, a collapse, these idiots will finally have to understand how stupid they are and turn to our good sane fiscal policies. But, in history, that’s not what happens. Instead, people turn to Hitlers, Mussolinis, Stalins and Maos, and those regimes take generations to decay. Germany was lucky. Germany was conquered, soon enough that the population hadn’t forgotten what a sane society was like.

                • And that’s if we don’t get hit from abroad… a possibility I find virtually non-existent with the reductions in armed forces to come. No, of course it doesn’t all collapse at the same time. Somewhere in the past I’ve blogged about how things fall apart. Maybe I need to do it again.
                  Things fall apart in hicups and sudden drops. In the middle is a “new normal”. I expect rolling blackouts as part of the new normal because the people in power don’t seem to understand we use power for more than jaunts about the countryside and they’re wedded to a religious idea of “pure” energy (which bizarrely doesn’t include nuclear.)
                  If you look at my three scenarios the first is more or less normal, with slow ambling down in lifestyle and capacity.
                  These will be disrupted in places and in issues.
                  And the idea, btw, that we can live forever on printing more money assumes we don’t owe money abroad (and we do, massively) and that those countries, in experiencing issues don’t try to collect. Beyond that it assumes that once we withdraw from the middle east we’ll be left alone (rolls eyes.) In fact it assumes an awful lot of wishful thinking.
                  Maybe the wishful thinking will be right, but you know what? It’s never been before. Why would it be now?
                  Go read what Andrew Drummond posted in comments. Things don’t fall apart with a big sign that says “this state has ended, another about to begin.” You just accept things won’t work very well. There won’t be electricity every day. You can’t always find what you want in the stores, and when you do it’s prohibitive.
                  Into this state drop something like a massive terrorist attack… You’ll start seeing people taking the law in their hands, making arrangements. Is that collapse enough? Who knows? Will it race ahead of things getting better/easier through tech? Who knows?
                  What I know is that there are some people very determined to stop the future at any cost. So things will be turbulent ahead.
                  What Bret wants is dates and numbers so when we pass that he can reassure himself he’s perfectly safe. As Andrew pointed out, humans don’t work that way.
                  As for constitutional government, as far as freedom of religion, freedom of speech (the film maker) etc — I say that’s gone baby gone.

                  • Well – I am still not happy with Bret– When Pres. Obama told a supporter that she should hand her elderly mother aspirin and not the more expensive medicine– how could it not be a precursor to the compassionate Obamacare (and killing fields– using medical field as the killers).

                    • Oh, that’s besides the point. OF COURSE they’re going to be killing people. It’s baked in the cake. The savings come from disposing of thousands (millions?) of elderly with palliative care.

                      I’ve lived under socialized medicine. JUST getting through the tests disposes of most of the people.

                      I had impacted wisdom teeth. They were growing into my jaw bone, causing the sort of pain that brings you awake in the middle of the night, screaming. My parents paid dentist out of pocket, but that was major surgery and they couldn’t afford it. I got thrown to the tender mercies of socialized medicine.

                      Every morning for months — my third year in college — I had to go and sit down in a room much like the DMV until my name was called. Then I’d go up front and tell them that no, it hadn’t magically resolved, yes, I still had impacted wisdom teeth growing into my jaw bone. This went on from… September? through may. Then I went in, had two hours worth of surgery and was sent home. I recovered fast.

                      Now, the condition wasn’t lethal, though it was life-disabling. (Actually for all I know it MIGHT have been lethal. I have no clue how things are arranged in the jaw.) I didn’t attend a single morning class for that year and my schedule wasn’t such I could avoid them completely. (I passed, grades less than stellar, though.) I was zonked on pain killers half the year.

                      IF you think they move you ahead for lethal conditions… My mother needed a bypass from the first time she had a heart attack in her forties. She finally had it when they allowed a parallel system of private medicine, which she paid for.

                      People will die needlessly, that goes without saying. And no, they weren’t dying before, not in such numbers. I have unemployed friends who have gotten as good care for lethal conditions as anyone else. But under Obama care, they’re “liabilities.”

                    • What makes it personal is that it is personal. Germany has a private care system in parallel with their socialized medicine. The people with really lethal problems (i.e. needing organ transplants) go that way because it could take years after their deaths before they would get the care– It scares me and also makes me unstable right now. I was mad when it was put through w/o our consent. I am madder now that we cannot get it out of law.

                      Plus anyone who is over 65 who thinks that they will do okay on this system, are drinking the kool-aid imho. I would rather be mad than be despairing–

                    • The Daily Mail, UK, has a lot of NHS stories. DM is the “go to” paper when families get good and mad over NHS incompetence or practices.

                      Here’s a recent one. You can read it in under two minutes. It covers a woman who survived an euthanasia attempt. The article has a picture of a feisty WW II entertainer who, thanks to her family, avoided the LCP or Liverpool Care Pathway. What’s the “Pathway”?. Pathway to D-E-A-T-H. Think Terry Schiavo. no fluids, injection of narcotics.

                      PLUS the article says that NHS bureaucrats give cash bonuses to hospitals that achieve a “goal” for this type of hasty death. (According to Daily Mail reports, death from “Pathway” averages 27 hours, but everyone is dead within 48 hours).

                      Google: Daily Mail I survived the death pathway: Patricia, 82, was given two days to live, but her family defied doctors and gave her water through a straw

                  • What Bret wants is dates and numbers so when we pass that he can reassure himself he’s perfectly safe.

                    Primarily I wanted “collapse” better defined (what and when) and I got everything from the killing fields of Cambodia (happening to us now no less!) to the New Normal where things kinda degrade over time. Quite a range! But enlightening nonetheless.

                    • Once again, you are not going to get one cut and dried answer out of such a varied crowd. (Also, go back and check your initial posts, you did ask for dates and you asked for numbers. You are not being very consistent yourself.)

                      Here is another thing to think about: the IPAB (Independent Payment Advisory Board) and ACos (Accountable Care Organizations) are now limiting access to and mandating how your doctor can practice medicine. Under Section 1311 of the law your doctor will essentially serve as a diagnostician and dispenser. Once the diagnosis is made the doctor will have to follow the ‘best practices’ mandated by a board in Washington, D.C., or be fined. You don’t react well to the mandated standard procedure, whether you have private insurance, pay out of pocket or otherwise, sorry for you.

                    • Yes, as others have said, this is the wrong place to get that kind of information. This isn’t an economics news site. This is a writer’s personal blog, with discussion among a bunch of like-minded fans. We’re going to be emotional (and right now, we’re all still very upset about election).

                      Look for the discussion at a Thomas Sowell posting to get definitions.

                  • “I expect rolling blackouts as part of the new normal because the people in power don’t seem to understand we use power for more than jaunts about the countryside and they’re wedded to a religious idea of “pure” energy (which bizarrely doesn’t include nuclear.)”

                    Or hydroelectric, the people in power want to tear out the dams and replace them with ‘green energy’. Excuse me? You don’t get much greener than hydroelectric, zero emissions and a totally renewable fuel source. Also the dams are already built, so your not even ‘wasting’ resources building them.

                    As far as I can determine the only difference between hydroelectric and the approved types of green energy, is that hydroelectric actually works. (Yes I realize hydroelectric isn’t feasable for all places, but it is I believe the single biggest source of electricity in the US, and if they would allow surf turbines in the sea it would provide a tremendous amount more energy)

                    • One difference between hydroelectric (or nuclear, gas/coal-fired) and green energy is that the green stuff often isn’t clean enough for modern computerized equipment which requires extremely consistent voltage, amperage and that sort of stuff. Clock times on state-of-the-art processors are such that any fluctuation in flow, however brief, can have very unfortunate repercussions.

                    • BobtheRegisterredFool

                      It seems like a good metric for whether a power technology is green is how feasible it is for the scales and uses we need to supply if we don’t want to choke the life out of the economy and population.

                      Electricity must always supply the same amount of power as it is supplied with at the power plant. If it is AC, you get some other stuff going on that cause problems if you try and run things mismatched, like var.

                      Solar and wind inherently have unpredictable variation. This means mismatches are far more likely.

                      Focusing on residential power usage, and residential efficiencies ignores the core of the usage issue. Many industrial processes require a constant, predictable power usage. If there isn’t a pretty good chunk of constant predictable supply, bad things happen, which ultimately tends to cause job loss, starvation, and other problems for the poor.

                      Hydro is predictable, and to some degree controllable, and might hurt the fishies. It is useful right now for baseline power, is in use, and thus doesn’t have the appeal of “let’s make people do stuff they aren’t doing”.

                      Solar is unpredictable, always reacting to something else that cannot be entirely controlled. It also ‘takes food out of the mouths of’ ground cover. We do not have that much land area where we can do whatever we want with no ecological consequences. The most feasible fix for most of the other issues with solar involves ‘use more land’.

                      Wind has much of the same issues as solar, except that I think it needs less toxic chemicals. So, ignoring the engineering side of things, the downside for the greens, should they decide that it is truly feasible, is killing birds. And the whole land usage thing that you get with every low density proposal.

                    • I believe wind is even worse for bats than for birds, which probably isn’t a problem unless you factor in an increase in flying insect population, such as mosquitoes, and the attendant potential for wide spread communicable disease (e.g., W. Nile) and population reduction thereby. Given the general propensities of the Greens, likely this is a feature, not a bug.

                • And then there is the institutional incompetence instilled in the arrogant, as noted by Glenn Reynolds in directing attention to this Washington Examiner article:

                  KATRINA ON THE HUDSON: 16 Days Without Power In Manhattan High-Rise; Stench of Rotten Eggs.

                  Also: FEMA Sold Off Emergency Housing As Sandy Approached. “Federal officials sold hundreds of emergency trailers for disaster victims at fire-sale prices in the months before Hurricane Sandy churned toward the United States, The Washington Examiner has learned. Now, with thousands of families left homeless in New York and New Jersey by the hurricane, those same federal officials are poised to spend more taxpayer dollars to buy brand-new trailers.”
                  http://pjmedia.com/instapundit/157799/

              • Please, sir, elucidate us on the consequences of a California collapse.

                I do not pretend to know what that effect might be, nor how it would roll across the rest of the American economy. You who poo-poo the hazard ought explain why we should have scant concern.

                • Yea, like when Nevada, Oregon, and Washington (Arizona, Utah, and Idaho) are tied to many aspects of California economy. If the CA loses gas or the gas go sky high, Nevada’s gas (same gasline) goes sky high too—

                  Yes, tell us how a California collapse (or bankruptcy) won’t affect the rest of the West– at first — and the nation at last.

                • Nobody really knows, of course. But keep in mind that it’s the California government that will go bankrupt, not the California economy. The California government is roughly three times the size of GM so the impact would be roughly thrice that and will probably have significantly less impact that the Wall Street Collapse.

                  That’s my guess.

                  • Pfui, sir; you can do better than that. You DEMAND better than that from others, so why not ask it of yourself?

                    What happens when the government of California defaults on bond payments? What happens when its payroll checks to its state police, its highway and bridge maintenance crews bounce? What happens when suppliers refuse to deliver goods without payment in advance? What happens when the subsidies to the state university system have to be cut? What happens when the provision of medical care through state funded insurance is curtailed? What happens when the state legislature raises taxes to finance their shortfall? What happens when electricity rates are raised?

                    Will there be protests? Riots? If not, what will happen? If so, how will the state and federal governments respond? Will the Federal government have to provide a bailout? How much will that cost, where will the money come from and what effect will that suction of funds into that ill-managed state have on the Federal budget, on funds available for other uses?

                    These questions only begin to scrape the surface of the consequences of the financial collapse of a state government as intrusive as California’s. Surely you can provide answers as comprehensive as those you have called for?

                    • I didn’t call for comprehensive predictions. I just asked some questions and I got some answers.

                    • Nor have I asked for comprehensive predictions, Bret. I just asked some questions and I got no answers from you.

                      You shrugged off the effects of a financial collapse of the government of California and I still have no evidence that your nonchalance is reasonable.

                    • Also note that I’m not the one predicting collapse, even of California.

                    • No, your prediction was that such a collapse, if it comes, would be negligible. Evidence, please, justifying your sanguinity. You made an assertion, defend it, please. Reassure us all.

                  • I realize that my prior reply to your dismissal of the California collapse calls for much speculation about unknown variables, Bret, so here is an easier question. At what point after the Beer Hall Putsch of November 1923 would you have advised your Jewish friends to leave Germany? 1928? 1932? 1938? 1944?

                    Given the advantage of hindsight, when do you determine a culture is irretrievably collapsing?

              • California, as of 2011, by itself represents the worlds eight largest economy, down from the sixth. If it collaspes do you think that the rest of the nation will slide by? Please give the numbers.

          • Bret, take a good hard, long look at the blog owner here. She comes from a country that went from fine to Batshit Insane, while espousing principles of “social justice”, and only then reverted to Not Fine (which was a big improvement from Batshit Insane.) Now she’s in a country where she’s seeing people in power pull the same tricks, using the same playbook, same propoganda, same “social justice”, and therefore believes we’re headed toward the same Batshit Insane.

            I’d love to say it isn’t true, but… my husband comes from a different country where things were Unstable But Managing, until the communists took over the opposition, and then he lived through 18 years of civil war. Now, communist-trained thugs run the country, and underneath the journalistic impression of Perfectly All Right, it’s Batshit Effin’ Bloody Nuts. And people are being killed en masse, sometimes even in front of tv cameras where it has to be noticed. And now he’s come to the great hope of the western world, and finds it full of the same corruption, espousing the same priciples, and taking over the power with the same corrupt attitudes, even if they’re doing more MF Global and Fannie Mae corruption and less bombing restaurants. He believes we’re headed in the same Batshit Insane direction.

            (What’s the difference between Quantitative Easing and African tinpot dictators printing money? Uh…. We’re not getting foreign aid from the USA.)

            For those of us who grew up happy frogs in the slowly warming pot, it’s hard to envision this land ever going down in flames. For those who’ve already lived through it, it’s not. So while I shift restlessly and complain about choppy waters, they’re frantic about the icebergs they know are ahead. Telling ‘em that icebergs only happen to other countries, and we’re special, isn’t going to dissuade them.

            • Thank you.

            • Um? Salazar’s Portugal was a clericofascist state that was waging multiiple colonial wars in Africa and managing to drive so many of its on citizens out of the country that, some years, the population dropped.

              What happened after the Carnation Revolution might be open to debate, but Portugal before that was certainly not “fine”.

              • Sigh. Only Salazar was dead, things were liberalizing fast, (his successor was at worst a Nixonian statist, not a fascist) and btw, the immigration abroad continued FASTER AFTER THE REVOLUTION. All the people who said they were coming back? yeah, never happened because the economy crashed and public safety sucked. The only reason the population didn’t drop is that we got an influx of people escaping Africa with only the clothes on their backs. As for the “multiple colonial wars” — ask yourself AGAINST WHOM? I have enough readers here who were nearby enough to tell you the groups the Portuguese were fighting against were in fact communist, armed by Russia. I have no problems with African independence, but in fact what we did was sign it over to COMMUNIST groups controlled by Russia and Cuba. Mozambique and Angola became colonies of Russia and Cuba and it was far more exploitative than anything Portugal ever did. (For one, it was a lot more racist. Yes, I too read the profile of Samora Machel in Reader’s Digest that said the reason he was a nurse’s assistant was that “the Portuguese wouldn’t let a black man be a doctor” — I failed to be impressed because one of my sister in-law’s best friends, who had to escape the country after “independence” because they would let no black citizens leave — was in fact a doctor. And yeah, she was a black woman. Samora Machel was in fact industrial grade dumb — please! They made us study his “poetry” in middle school, as most Russian puppets and their enablers were. BUT after the Russian/Cuban hegemony took over, there really was racism against all natives — and also a sort of Maoist agricultural revolution that sent them to the fields to work, no matter what their education. The tales weren’t very clear, but were clear enough, from what filtered back.)
                As for clerico fascist — it might amuse you to know it rather resembled what FDR would have done without the constitutional safeguards. I would compare Portugal before the revoluton (Carnation Revolution — gags — yeah, same symbols and sayings as in Iran. No, of course no centralized agents provocateurs) to Mubarak’s regime and what happened after to the Muslim Brotherhood’s taking over that seems to be happening in Egypt. Both bad but the only reason one is “debatable” to you is because the US media covered up the FAR worse aftermath. I was there. So take your pretty definitions and what you learned in college, and fuck off. Yes, this is another time I’m saying fuck off. You don’t know what you’re talking about. And you don’t know what Dot is talking about — her husband was South African and saw the implosion of the “ex Portuguese Colonies” up close and personal. No, it wasn’t reported here.
                You entire “waging colonial wars” earns you a “fuck off.” Portugal wasn’t fighting unarmed tribesmen full of Jacksonian ideals. It was fighting Cuban/Russian guerrillas. And whatever you think of Portugal, what those poor people endured after is far worse. Their blood cries out against your stupid “might be open to debate.” FUCK OFF. You’re plying Times Magazine and News Week history. I knew BLACK PEOPLE who escaped the ravages of Africa after the communists took over. FUCK OFF.

                • Wow – it is almost as if they finally trained a troll to punch your hot button.

                  Dumb effing them.

                  • Yes. Only I don’t think he’s a troll. Only an exquisitely miseducated idiot. Normally I try for more patience only I’ve come to the end of patience, and I don’t have a punching bag.

                    • Wayne Blackburn

                      I disagree. The line about “If the host wants to make her blog a narrow platform for particular ideologies, she’s welcome to do so.” is a typical troll response.

                    • You might be right. I didn’t think about that.

                      Well, they can fuck off — with apologies to my regulars for the swearing, but I’m shaking and trying not to put a fist through the monitor.

                      A friend of mine who grew up working class just reminded me the lefties have done the same thing to the history of what happened to his family in the Reagan years which they paint as dystopic oppression. The narrative is so tight you start wondering if it’s you who is crazy.

                      I know I’m not because now and then I run into someone who was also there, or into someone who was in intelligence at the time. JUST the relief of knowing I’m not alone, practically makes me cry.

                    • That was my thought, Wayne. There is also a smarmy attitude, probably learned from reading Lord of the Rings and taking Wormtongue as your idol.

                      Whether a professional troll, ranking amateur or person with personality disorder, the effect is the same. Such people contribute nothing worth having.

                    • “If the host wants to make her blog a narrow platform for particular ideologies, she’s welcome to do so.”

                      What in the world is wrong with providing a platform for a position that is woefully under represented in the rest of the blogosphere? I suspect that this is never posted by someone who is visiting a bolg that states opinions they fully support. I doubt that anyone can explain to me what is so important about expanding the platform — particularly, when to do so, we are expected to limit our own expression. How far is one expected to go to ‘be more inclusive’? (‘A point in every direction is no point at all.’)

                      I think that you will find that to us Marxism is the bucket of filth that pollutes the whole swimming pool.

                    • BobtheRegisterredFool

                      I also have some experience of ‘Maybe I’m crazy. Maybe I’m crazy. Oh, thank goodness, evidence I might not be.’

                      I’m reminded of the comment, I think in A Civil Campaign, about a certain person whose late husband had that effect on her.

                      About narrowness of platform. Math itself is very narrow in some ways. Some things which can be said, which can gain political support, that simply have no place being mixed with math. The classic example is people claiming that two plus two does not equal four. Thermodynamics is similar. I do not expect to ever see a perpetual motion machine of the first or second kind.

                • What Sarah said– I met some of the Angolans who escaped during the “revolution” with their lives and little else. Yes, I was in South Africa for almost two years–

                  • It was a hit by the USSR. Before that — let’s remember Portugal had been there since the 15th century and that Africans had citizenship and the exact same rights as everyone else, including vote — there was negligible rebellion — after that there was a full-scale war. The cemetery of the village is full of young men who died defending those lands from foreign invaders. To have the fucking communist traitors who took over and manipulated what might otherwise have been a democratizing revolution just sign those people away to the worst, most despotic regime in the twentieth century. And then these fucking pseudo-idealists come and tell us that because “before” was bad, then everything after was justified. Useful idiots. I’ve had my fill of them.

                  • Waves at Cyn.

                    I have the privilege to know a couple that had built three hospitals in Angola before the ‘revolution.’ Come the revolution they were forced to flee with their six children. The hospitals were destroyed. Most of that family has returned now, practicing and teaching medicine and agriculture. (One son is practicing medicine in Mozambique, where conditions are far worse than Angola.)

                    What they found as they returned to Angola was heart breaking. During the nearly thirty years of civil war after they were granted their independence, the people and the country they love have suffered enormous devastation. (Things are far from perfect now, but there is a kind of peace.) It will take a long time to rebuild.

                    I often laugh to myself when I hear people of The Daughter’s age and younger tell me about the life in America from the 1950s to the 1970s. They tell me such charming stories that their teachers and textbooks taught them about what was happening, the life I led and the people I knew. If that is being done about our own recent past, I have no trouble believing that utter nonsense is likely taught about the rest of the world.

                    At the time the American press was reporting the ‘bloodless red carnation’ revolution in Portugal protesters in the streets were facing guns.

                    • And being shot from tall buildings. This is one of mom’s persistent nightmares: she and I were at a demonstration, and people shot at the demonstrators from the tall buildings around the plaza. Mom realized what was happening earlier and pulled me to flatten me around the building, so they couldn’t hit us, because of the ornamental stone and overhang. A few people were shot, dozens were injured or died when the crowd stampeded.
                      There were also cars overturned and burned (always by the left) when people were driving to anti-left demonstrations. There were party headquarters burned out because they weren’t communist (sometimes the socialists got dispensation.)
                      But most of all was the stuff I didn’t know about at the time — even I. When I was being a torn on the side of my school’s administration and driving the communist youth nuts, people were always “leaving for Brazil” without warning. It wasn’t till about ten years ago that they started finding the mass graves.
                      And THAT is what still gives me nightmares.

                    • Yes- those charming myths of the recent past– make me want to spit– My hubby was in Vietnam. We had a young adult tell him about Vietnam. Of course the YA got it all wrong–

                    • No, hubby got it all wrong; he was too close up and personal, you see. It is only the highly trained and objective academic who is able to properly encompass the Big Picture.

                      And if you buy that, I’ve got a load of premium organic fertilizer you might want to look at.

                    • I will admit that some of the questions of what the Pres was doing at the time were not answered until the last decade– but dangummit– some of those academics need to smell the coffee and other things before they make these pronunciations. (Yea–RES I realize you are sarcasming– kind of like spasming) ;-)

                    • Considering where they’ve mostly parked their heads, coffee is probably not on the list of things they can smell.

                      “Some ideas are so stupid that only intellectuals believe them.”
                      ― George Orwell

                • Then why was there a revolution?

                  As for poverty and emigration, that’s a normal consequence of transition from dictatorships to democracies. It happened in Spain, and it happened in post-Communist central Europe, in both cases taking a decade to recover to previous levels. (Levels of emigration shot up hugely in post-Communist central Europe, on account of the freedom of movement people now enjoyed.) Does that mean that Francoism should have stayed in Madrid and martial law rule remain in Warsaw?

                  • Dear sir, ARE YOU THAT STUPID?

                    There was a revolution because there were generals — at least one — willing to betray his country for money. Do you think revolutions happen when things reach a certain level? Yeah, look at Cuba and North Korea. Or do you think those are paradises? ARE YOU REALLY THAT DUMB? CAN YOU THINK AT ALL?

                    As for dictatorships and immigration — are you stupid? — Portugal still is and has always been a country of immigrants. MASSIVE immigration. I have relatives all over the world as a result of this. It might interest you to know that under the “horrible” dictatorship of the ancien regime at least people were having children. Now they’re not. Which seems to be a direct result of a certain type of socialism.

                    And there you go — for your information under Franco Spain was way more prosperous than Portugal — the regimes weren’t comparable. The Portuguese regime was a lot more lax and incredibly more economically stupid, in a manner resembling what Occupy Wall Street would do if it got power.

                    You know nothing and your education seems to be wasted.

                    As for oppressive regimes remaining, no they shouldn’t — but they WEREN’T. Note Spain changed from Franco’s rule to democracy without passing through a period where communists had sway and civil life became impossible. Portugal could have done the same, but Russia wanted Portugal’s colonies in Africa. That’s about it.

                  • Why was there a revolution in Russia? Because people who wanted power saw an opportunity and cloaked their avarice in benign veneer?

                    Poverty and emigration may be a common consequence of revolution, since most revolutions represent an usurpation of power, but saying they are “a normal consequence of transition from dictatorships to democracies” does not make the revolution in question a transition to democracy.

                    You have assumed that which you should be proving and confused your wolves with sheep. You ought dress your arguments better if you wish to fool those around here.

                • “Salazar was dead, things were liberalizing fast,”

                  Well, in 1969, shortly after Salazar’s stroke, there was an election. As always under the Estado novo, the media were tightly controlled, opposition parties were not allowed, and Salazar’s National Union party won every single seat.

                  Four years later, in 1973, Salazar had been dead for three years and Caetano was in charge. So, elections! And, yes, Caetano was arguably more liberal than Salazar. Because this time, controls on the media were relaxed a little — very mild, implicit criticism of the government was allowed. This time, opposition parties were allowed, as long as they did not challenge key elements of national ideology and were not associated with subversive elements. And this time… the late Salazar’s National Union party won every single seat.

                  Say what you like about post-Carnation Portugal, but they did hold actual, real elections with outcomes that mattered. When the Socialists didn’t deliver, the people kicked them out in 1979. The Socialists made a comeback to form a new government in 1983, then got kicked out again in 1985 and didn’t come back until 1995. All of these were peaceful, democratic transitions, with the losers accepting the results and going into opposition.

                  Whether pre-Carnation, Estado Novo Portugal was “fine” depends a fair bit on how high a value you place on things like free elections, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of association, a free press, and the like. If you don’t place a high priority on those, then yes — you can argue with a straight face that the Estado Novo was “fine”.

                  Doug M.

                  • Compared to how you value fire-bombed headquarters of parties to the right of the communist party? Compared to how you value people not disappearing in the night YEARS after the revolution?
                    Society in Africa especially was working before the revolution. After the revolution, Africa was hell on Earth and the rest was a mess.

                    Fine is relative. For the record, Salazar’s regime had ONLY one thing going for it — it outlawed communism. Which, yes, was much much worse because in Europe communism meant being a vassal state of the soviets. For the rest it did what FDR would have done without constitutional limitations. As a libertarian I find it repulsive as I find ALL SOCIALISM repulsive. As a human being who knows history, I understand Portuguese “tyranny” as fucked up as it was was still better than Russian tyranny.

                    IF you think elections were free — and how many of them there were, between 74 and 49! — when people could (and did) get shot for attending demonstrations, and when for a while being a socialist was being “dangerously right wing” then there is no talking to you. YOU WEREN’T THERE 74 to 78. Nor was the press anymore free. By the way, the idea of a free press boggles Portuguese minds — still. My brother doesn’t believe the state doesn’t control the press here. (Actually, I think he might have a point, too.) You can either believe someone who was there about “outcomes of elections” or you can not. In 78, briefly, we had some ridiculous number of regimes, but it ended with Maoists in Charge. Saraiva de Carvalho earned the title of “racer of tanks” for how often he took them into downtown Lisbon. If that’s your idea of “democracy” you’re an idiot.

                    And if you think falling into the maw of the soviets was better than the liberalization Spain underwent when Franco died, THERE IS NO TALKING TO YOU.

                    If you don’t understand that what happened in Portugal was NOT in fact a revolution but a hit by a foreign power working in their own long — and imperialistic war — you’re a ignorant fool.

                    And because I’m not in the mood to entertain all of Randy’s fellow travelers after this you too are banned.

                    I’ll leave you with the parting wish that you live to experience a quarter of what the refugees from Africa got to experience.

                    BTW revolutions — or this sort of hit — ALWAYS happen when dictatorships liberalize. Before that they can’t happen, which is why Cuba hasn’t revolted, nor has North Korea. Or do you think they’re paradises?

                  • BTW for the record, I was in middle school when the revolution happened. BEFORE the revolution, my moral and religion teacher — a Franciscan — was an open communist, preaching liberation theology in the schools. He was not arrested. My dad’s best friend talked everyone’s ears off about the glories of communism — he was not arrested. If that’s a “little mild, liberalization” — you’re doing heavy drugs.

                    As for the elections after the revolution, unless you count in all the times the government changed via revolution — ALWAYS further left till 78/79 when it started reversing — you don’t have the full story. Again, I was there. When we came home at lunch and Green Acres was on it meant that Lisbon mass media had been seized. This happened often enough I start shaking when I hear the song for Green Acres.

                    Was this reported? Oh, please. Ask anyone else here — there are a few — who was in a country falling to the left during the seventies. The American media is as crazy as you and Randy and worse, they’re so by choice.

                    Also while on that — ask anyone who has experienced the “Arab Spring” that our media still lauds.

                    SPIT.

                    What I love about you “Question the authority” types is that you believe every single piece of bullshit, a lot of them agitprop, that the left puts out. I bet you even believe life in the USSR — which, btw, also lacked open elections, freedom of assembly and a free press — things weren’t as bad as people say they were, right? Right. And you BELIEVE it in the face of people who lived through the events. RES is fond of saying that with stupid the gods themselves struggle in vain. I think he’s right.

                  • Sir, I will repeat for you what I said to the other person who seems to think that if a text book reports it, it has to be true (the twin of the belief that if the mass media reports it, it is true). Go back an do a bit of research into who you happen to be attacking as not knowing what she’s talking about. Sarah was there. She lived through this time as a citizen of Portugal. She saw the riots and the firebombing and the taking over of the TV and radio stations. In short, she saw the oppression.

                    But then, I guess you think it’s a “free” election even if members of one party stand outside the polling place and threaten voters when they dare approach to cast their vote.

                    Now, if you can point to first-hand, personal experience to the contrary of what Sarah says, fine. But so far all you are doing is quoting from politically correct text books and papers and who knows what else. Get over yourself and do some actual research into the topic before you make a bigger fool of yourself.

                  • By “Caetano was arguably more liberal” do you mean more Left-wing?

                    By “controls on the media were relaxed a little” you mean the way that a dog who has been fully trained can be allowed off the leash? Or do you mean it the way Humbert Wolfe described the integrity of British journalists?

                    “You cannot hope to bribe or twist (thank God!) the British journalist. But, seeing what the man will do unbribed, there’s no occasion to.”
                    As to “Free” elections, well … you keep using that word; I do not think it means what you think it means.

                    Similarly with “freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of association, a free press, and the like” when all have been broken to the yoke and only responsible freedom is allowed. You place entirely too much faith in the propaganda of the masters and pay too little heed to the voices of the possessed.

                    • Drat – the blockquote following the Wolfe quote clearly ought have been a /blockquote. I need to get these fingers rebooted, they keep inducing errors in my otherwise impeccable typinnnnnnng.

              • Oh, and while Salazar as bugf*cknuts as to economics — he was sort of the uber-protectionist some people on the left would want us to be, including keeping corporations out — and therefore Portugal was poor, it was nowhere near as poor as under the previous glorious revolutionary regime after the monarchy was toppled. THAT was when my grandmother said some people survived by boiling weeds from the side of the street. THAT was when Portugal sent an UNARMED BAREFOOT battalion to WWI. JUST to put things in context.

                • The Carnation Revolution came sixty years after the start of the First World War, and two decades after the post-war economic boom. One would only hope that a country could experience some economic growth and improvement of living standards over such a long time scale, and especially given a very buoyant economic environment in the second half of that time span.

                  (Not that Salazar’s regime did well. Looking at the Penn World Tables, a Spain that was devastated by the Spanish Civil War and a Greece that was wrecked by civil war _and_ a brutal Axis occupation did much better from an earlier time than a Portugal that was lucky enough to remain neutral.)

                  • Yes, indeed. AGAIN you complete moron, Salazar opposed international trade AND international corporations. In that way he was, like the rest of you anti-trade morons who think this means more money for the common people. This meant Portugal was very poor, though let me tell you, you unthinking pustule, that having been there and having seen the “Penn World Tables” for Russia at the time, I beg to have some doubts.

                    No one was dying in the seventies in Portugal.

                    Do you think by repeating “the carnation revolution” you somehow make it benign?

                    In Iran they also carried red carnations. GO LOOK AT CLIPS. It was simply what Russia was selling at the time.

                    You truly don’t know what you are talking about. You were sold a bill of goods you think reality. I’m not in the mood to discuss with the deeply indoctrinated. You will actually tell me I should believe you and not my lying eyes, then you jump from the idea that women don’t have the right to free abortions to sub-Saharan Africa in a manner logical only to someone who has lost the capacity to think.

                    Go soak your head. At some point, if we’re all very lucky, maybe you’ll grow up. Or maybe you simply believe this stuff because you think if we had a dictatorial regime (Communist regimes are, btw) you’d rule. Unless like Che Guevara you unite psychopathy to your ability to parrot points, I hate to inform you that walls across the world are splattered with brains of the quality of yours.

                    • Randy’s argument neither rebuts any assertions nor advances a salient point. It is an irrelevant assertion and makes one critical error: To attribute Portugal’s neutrality to “luck” is to express a ill-founded view of how nations play their roles on the world stage.

                      He might just as well claim Israel’s troubled relations with its neighbors as just tough luck.

                    • I am not defending the ancien-regime, except that those who call it “fascist” should show work OR admit FDR was fascist. It was “concern socialism” and “Crony capitalism” at home, with an overlay of Portuguese machismo which allowed American college students to scream stuff like “Portugal is a sh*tty country” spend a night in jail and come home convinced they were freedom fighters.

                      It wasn’t “fascist like Hitler” because frankly Salazar is a converso name (not that this has prevented anyone) and Portugal was an way-point for Jewish refugees of Nazi Germany. In fact a Portuguese ambassador with more or less a wink and nod from the regime saved countless Jews by giving them Portuguese passports and is in the wall of the righteous gentiles in Israel.

                      Economically it was so bad that simply opening to international trade improved things after the truly horrible late seventies. (How horrible? Well, like now, people were living with their families until their thirties not because they wanted to or it was culturally beautiful, but because they had no jobs. There were no private colleges and college slots were severely limited — in my year to the top half of one percent of students — so most people of my generation came of age to nothing. I’m not sure how bad groceries were because, for other reasons, my family was being starved at the time by the NEW regime. However, I know the inflation was insane and people like my grandmother lost all their savings.)

                      HOWEVER I maintain that it should have been allowed to transition out of the ancien regime to democracy — which to be honest Caetano seemed to be trying to do, if in a bumbling way. I don’t think he was a very smart man — the same way Spain did after Franco.

                      It was unnecessary to have a tiny and otherwise harmless country — mostly locked in history in a horrible fight with its traditional enemies, the Portuguese — become a bone of contention between the left, the ultra left and the further left. Frankly, I think the only reason it was allowed to “escape” into social democracy (which as bankrupt and screwed up as it is, is a huge improvement) is that Russia never wanted it. It wanted the African colonies. Which suffered far more horribly.

                      But how do you discuss this with someone who thinks that Portugal was engaged in colonial wars (in colonies where it had been for 500 years. Grass roots? It would be like Australia rebelling against Britain) against who? Tribesmen who had citizenship and many of whom were on the way up the ladder? Against… WHO? It’s not like Portugal was conquering territory in the sixties and seventies This never occurred to him. It was a “spontaneous native rebellion, I guess. I guess all the colonies rebelled at the same time, by… luck. Kind of like the spontaneous attacks on our embassies on 9/11/12 due to a months-old youtube video, right? Right.

                      And then the whole thing about immigration after communist regimes? OMG. yeah. Berlin wall. Guess he never heard of it? We went to Portugal in 89. There were Trabants by the side of every road, where someone had driven as fast and as far as they could, then abandoned it because it wasn’t worth spit.

                      But in Portugal, in the seventies — I WAS THERE — I remember the talk about how the immigrants would come back “now there is freedom” — only economic freedom remained theoretical and you had to grease the right hands, and if you didn’t have the right political posters up, your business would get shot up. And there were no jobs. I think a few deluded fools came back — and left very quickly. As did anyone who wanted to you know, make a living.

                      The only reason the population didn’t crash were the MASSES of people who came from Africa, thoroughly destitute. It was worse for black refugees, because they weren’t allowed to leave and had to escape in their white friends’ luggage. Still enough of them thought it worthwhile that they escaped AND took over half built sky-scrapers in Portugal. This life of utter squalor was preferable to Africa ruled by Cubans and Russians — but this utter idiot thinks it was “South African backed guerrillas” that are a problem.

                      Canst though minister to a mind diseased? I can’t. It’s above my pay grade.

                • So, wait. You’re blaming Salazar for failing to equip a first world war battalion, despite Salazar being elected in 1932?

                  Seriously?

                  • No. I’m not. THEY might be. I was simply pointing out that he took a situation that was ABSOLUTELY HORRIBLE.

                    And while the oh so learned commenters say “well, in thirty years there would be progress” I’d like to point out the life of the average person is Cuba is probably worse than it was when communism was instituted.

                    I’m saying while he was nuts economically, he was still better than the total bass awkward idiots before. (And theoretically those after — if you account for the massive flow of money into Portugal from international sources over the last few decades.)

                    • Look into Humberto Fontova, who has written many articles about Cuba before the revolution and since.

                      http://townhall.com/columnists/humbertofontova/
                      Humberto Fontova holds an M.A. in Latin American Studies from Tulane University and is the author of four books including Fidel: Hollywood’s Favorite Tyrant and Exposing the Real Che Guevara and the Useful Idiots Who Idolize Him. For more information and for video clips of his Television and college speaking appearances please visit http://www.hfontova.com.

              • Randy,

                Let me give you a little advice here, before you go trying to stick your other foot so far in your mouth it starts coming out of where the sun don’t shine. They say on the internet, you don’t know if someone’s a dog, but that’s only true if you’re not paying attention. People rarely show off their scars to others, or talk about the horrors that they’ve seen. What you have here, on this blog, is a community that includes a couple eyewitnesses to history. These are not people who can tell you what happened because they watched the BBC report at the time – these are people who lived it.

                Any time you start throwing multi-syllabic definitions made up after the fact and face-saving phrases around, you’re telling us that you think what your professors and political pundits have to say about history is more real, and more true, than the people who stood there staring down the guns in the city square, and the people who stood at the border of Rhodesia, dealing with the refugees who were coming in with only the clothes on their backs, raped, beaten, mutilated, and leaving corpses of their loved ones behind.

                You are, in fact, displaying all the tact of the BBC reporter who walked through a refugee camp in South Africa yelling “Anyone here been raped and speaks English?”

                I know the point you want to make. but the point is both irrelevant to the discussion at hand, not actually true, and so offensively stated that you’re at best likely to get perma-banned. I recommend apologizing to our blog-host, and resolving to keep your mouth shut and your ears open while you listen to the people who have seen things you have only read whitewashed summaries to fit political agendas after the fact.

                • Well said, I know very little about Portugal, just enough to know to keep my mouth shut. But I personally knew people who were escapees from Eastern Europe and North Korea. Yes I said escapees, because the first thing Communism does when it comes to power is close it’s borders and make the country into one big prison, where all the prisoners are serving a life sentence, and only the managers and the high level guards are free to come and go. What I know from those escapees (one of whom with her brothers and a couple other kids, were the only survivors of a East European town, when the occupying Russians came by for a visit; because they were off playing in the woods, they came home to find everyone they knew a pile of smoldering ashes where they had been herded into a barn and burned alive) is that there are very few things worse than being under communist rule, but one of them is to be a colony under communist rule. Somehow I doubt another is to be a colony under Portugeuse rule.

                • Well-said, Dorothy. Also, some of us that were caught in the middle didn’t learn the truth for months, years, sometimes decades, later. I have a very good friend, Elizabeth, who escaped from Hungary in 1956, leaving two of her three children behind. Had she not escaped, she would have been killed. Her name was found on several lists that “somehow” managed to get to the US Forces in Europe. She’s made contact with her three children, and two of them now live in Wiesbaden, Germany.

                  I spent a third of my life watching several places: the East (Russia and the Warsaw Pact), most of the Middle East, and Africa. I watched Kaddafi build his terrorist training camps and put them in operation. I spent many stretches where I looked for kidnapped Americans in the Middle East. At one time, I could name every single airfield in East Germany, and give you the TO&E (Table of Organization and Equipment), and how much was actually operational. I watched THREE Israeli/Arab wars. I served in Vietnam, where my primary duty was to watch the so-called “Ho Chi Minh” trail EVERY DAY. I also spent a little time on the ground, being shot at and shooting back. I am still humbled by the extent of the knowledge exhibited on this weblog — from our host to most of those that either lurk or frequently comment here.

                  The only thing I learned about Portugal, from a military perspective, was that they denied landing rights to a number of military aircraft, and overflight of Portugal by military aircraft. France was also being nutty at the same time. Tthe reason the aircraft used in the Libya raid in 1985 flew over Spain.

                • “What you have here, on this blog, is a community that includes a couple eyewitnesses to history.”

                  Almost blogs have eyewitnesses to history.

                  “Any time you start throwing multi-syllabic definitions”

                  Language isn’t that hard. (Does two syllables count as multisyllabic?)

                  “the people who stood at the border of Rhodesia, dealing with the refugees who were coming in with only the clothes on their backs, raped, beaten, mutilated, and leaving corpses of their loved ones behind.”

                  You’re not talking about the Mozambicans displaced by South Africa-backed RENAMO, are you?

                  “I know the point you want to make. but the point is both irrelevant to the discussion at hand, not actually true, and so offensively stated that you’re at best likely to get perma-banned.”

                  Saying that Portugal before the Carnation Revolution was an oppressive state that was waging so many pointless wars that the military staged an anti-war coup and Communism took off because the capitalism the regime claimed to promote seemed so terrible is actually quite true. Anyone who makes claims to the contrary may as well say that the regimes of Franco and Ceaucescu were noble.

                  As for being perma-banned? If the host wants to make her blog a narrow platform for particular ideologies, she’s welcome to do so.

                  • Oh, fuck off. You are banned. WERE YOU THERE? I KNOW PEOPLE WHO WERE THERE. I KNOW BLACK PEOPLE WHO WERE SENT TO PLANTATIONS TO WORK BY YOUR LOVELY LOVELY COMMUNISTS.

                    FUCK OFF. YOU’RE BANNED SIMPLY BECAUSE I DON’T HAVE TIME TO EDUCATE YOU AND IT’S POSSIBLE YOU’RE INCAPABLE OF LEARNING. YOU THINK OPPRESSION CAUSES REVOLUTIONS.

                    YOU ARE AN IDIOT. YOU CAN’T BE REACHED.

                  • Narrow platform? Excuse me while I laugh hysterically. Sarah has been much nicer to idiots like yourself who come over here whenever she dares say anything that doesn’t fit your limited — and irrational — idea of what’s right. Give over, mate, as my friend Kate would say. Unless you were there, you don’t know what you are talking about. Sarah does. She lived there and saw it first hand.

                    As for your comment about immigration after the fall of Communism, grow the hell up. You know why the vast majority of those who immigrated after the fall of Communism in Central Europe? Because they finally could. They weren’t allowed to leave the country when they wanted to, as a general rule, during the communist rule. If they were allowed to leave, their families were not (again, as a general rule). The fact that they now had the freedom to move where they wanted to meant they would do so.

                    I just love how folks like you come to the blog and dive in, insulting Sarah and then cry “foul” if she calls you on it. I bet you’ll go laugh with your friends about the poor deluded author who banned you for speaking the truth. Consider your job done then. Now go away and study some actual history, not the politically correct crap they are teaching in school these days. Better yet, talk to folks who lived it — and I’m talking the people who had boots on the streets, who tried to survive the regimes. Not the professors who visited and thought the “cultural revolutions” were so wonderful and uplifting.

                    • I bet you’ll go laugh with your friends about …

                      In the interest of accuracy, I doubt he has friends, just fellow travelers.

                  • Saying that Portugal before the Carnation Revolution was an oppressive state that was waging so many pointless wars that the military staged an anti-war coup and Communism took off because the capitalism the regime claimed to promote seemed so terrible is actually quite true.

                    No, saying a thing does not make it true. You have to support your assertions when you draw conclusions. You have failed to do so in the face of direct rebuttals based on personal experience.

                    Experience indicates that Communism rarely emerges from a genuine grass roots desire of the populace; it is far more commonly imposed by a small and typically oppressive cadre.`

                    If the host wants to make her blog a narrow platform for particular ideologies, she’s welcome to do so.

                    While it is nobly generous to grant such privileges to our hostess, your generosity is belied by the fatuousness of your arguments. The consequence of not adhering to your “narrow platform” is a venue occupied by interests with no commitment to honest debate and an utter lack of intellectual coherence. Making a strawman argument about narrowness does not make the argument persuasive.

                    Merely to make such a claim is to display contempt for the investments of others in time and effort to define this “platform” whose existence you attempt to usurp with fallacious argument and disruptive trivialities. Banning you would be preservation of her investment against the effort of a looter. If a “No Trolling” policy renders this platform narrow it is a narrowness to be welcomed, as the contrary is a mind so open people’s brains fall out.

                  • If by “narrow platform” you mean a place where facts and valid argument are prized, then I guess we will enjoy a narrow platform.

                    If by “narrow platform” you mean a venue where claims of fact are supported and fallacious argument disdained, then I guess we will enjoy a narrow platform.

                    If by “narrow platform” you mean a place where distracting arguments derived from irrelevant issues are discouraged as a waste of participants time and energy, then I guess we will enjoy a narrow platform.

                    If by “narrow platform” you mean [insert argument]*, then I guess we will enjoy a narrow platform.

                    *Visitors are invited to supply their own iterations.

                    • “If the host wants to make her blog a narrow platform for particular ideologies”

                      If by “particular ideologies” you mean “Truth, Justice and the American Way” then yep, other ideologies are probably going to be unhappy here.

                  • “Almost [all] blogs have eyewitnesses to history.”

                    Demonstrably false. Most blogs are eyewitnesses to current events. Very few are eyewitnesses to history.

                  • What does widening her platform have to do with this in particular? What you have told the host is that she is ignorant and a liar — that several generations of her family are as well. You justified a horror (which you still question as the full horror it was) by noting it replaced another horror. In doing so your description of the initial horror was inaccurate. When she called you on these items you accused her of being an apologist for what she never supported. One might reasonably question your good faith.

              • Didn’t your mother teach you that two wrongs don’t make a right?

                Sarah has never said that Portugal was fine before the revolution, in fact she has said otherwise. Nor has she said that what was unacceptable should be tolerated. She has repeatedly expressed the opposite. There is a reason she choose to come here as an exchange student. She choose to become a citizen of this country with its Declaration of Independence and The Constitution and the principles that they represent. Like many who have chosen this country, who know the difference, she finds herself baffled at how so many of us have no idea what a treasure we have.

      • “For example, how much will GDP per capita shrink in the next 10 years? Or the next 20 years?”
        Straw man. It’s impossible to consider until Obamacare is fully implimented, taxes hiked in Jan 2013, and additional taxes on the “rich” enacted. Once productive people are regulated out of the marketplace, the shrinkage of the GDP can be evaluated.

        “What will the unemployment level be 10 years from now?”
        Another strawman. Within the next 6 months it will be back up to 10%+ (at least, based on this morning’s figures) considering the sequestration and the businesses that have decided to go ahead with downsizing after the Great Pretender was re-elected.

        “Will there be a coup in the next 20 years where the constitution will be thrown out and a completely new government takes over?”
        What banana boat did you just sail in on? BO has totally ignored the Consititution whenever he wishes (i.e. work req. for welfare), and his “new” government is ruling by Executive Order. And just wait for the Constitution-bashing when BO gets his new Supreme Court in order!

        “Specifically what freedoms that you’re concerned with will be curtailed and how will they be curtailed?”
        Evidently that banana boat hasn’t quite reached port. Right to bear arms (no carry zones, cities, states in violation of the Second Amendment); free speech (videographer jailed for wretchedly bad anti-Muslim movie; woman fired for making reference to BO being assassinated while threats against Repubs. like Bush were perfectly acceptable); and freedom to practice your religious faith as you see fit (practicing Catholics forced to provided contraception and abortion insurance; voter refused ballot because she was wearing a t-shirt that said The Bible on it; college Christian groups being mandated to have atheists as leaders).

        I could continue but my wifi is screwed up and I’m using a friend’s computer. Don’t want to waste too much of their time with you.

      • Andrew Drummond

        Bret, collapses don’t work like that. You’re dealing with persnickety, fallible, brilliant humans, not comets obeying the laws of physics. Even or especially in economics.

        Consider the collapse of the western Roman Empire. If you read through Church histories and other surviving texts from the 4th through 6th centuries, you’ll get a sense that the people living through the times didn’t notice the actual government changing/coming to an end/however you want to phrase that. Rome might have been sacked, but life went on pretty much as normal through _some_ of the provinces. It’s 20 years since I studied that stuff, but the name Sidonius Apollinaris comes to mind if you want to find an author from the period. (He was a predecessor of Gregory of Tours.)

        For that matter, the US might already be done and just moving through a transitional period to whatever comes next. Endings can be hard to notice, sometimes.

        • So are you saying that we might well be in the midst of a “collapse” but it will take decades or even hundreds of years for anyone to really notice?

          I agree with that. I can totally buy that definition of collapse. It doesn’t look to me like most people are using “collapse” in that sense. I get the sense that other commenters here are talking about going from where we are to a very bad state (“killing fields”, etc.) in a short period like a handful of years and that’s what I’m trying to understand and/or pin down.

          • Andrew Drummond

            Bret,

            I used to argue that anything after 1066 was “current events” and not historical-enough for people to remain unbiased. Has the 1066-thread/the line of descent to/from the Great Charter come to an end? Even in a long, long view, though – you see pockets of rapid, utter ruin – invasions, plagues and famines, and all the icky stuff. Part of the issue I see here: Are you willing to bet your grandchildren’s lives that the place you’re at (generic you, not Bret), is going to be one of those places that barely noticed anything?

            I’ll throw in an example from my life: My then-3 year old daughter got bit by a bat that somehow got into our house. Bats in the area have about a 1/150 chance of being rabid. You have to get a first rabies shot within 24 hours of exposure. There was only one responsible choice to make: get the girl to the ER and get her started on the shot series.

            For our political situation, we’ve got all sorts of uncertainties – the week AFTER the election saw all sorts of bad economic data released and a not unfair interpretation is that people were sitting on it in order to affect the election. Which leads to – what else are the powers that be sitting on? Are they doing behind-the-scenes things to protect “their own”? I’d argue our current administration has a very limited view of “their own” as does the bureaucracy.

            Finally, it’s not paranoia, for example, to think through scenarios and situations. Too many historical examples show bad outcomes, and some of them happened pretty quickly. It seems only prudent to have the best pre-disaster prep done as soon as possible, which includes mental preparation, just in case the worst-case comes to pass. If it doesn’t, there will be time to prep for the other outcomes. But if you haven’t made yourself ready now, for an immediate bad outcome, you won’t have time.
            Are we out of time?

            (sorry for the lengthy post – ending a long day and the baby is now crying so I won’t be paring it down)

            • Keep always in mind the motto of James Branch Cabell’s legendary hero Dom Manuel: Mundus Vult Decipi: The World Wishes To Be Deceived.

              I see nothing in the present environment to persuade me our leadership recognizes the ice bergs in our path, nor that any of them they avoid is as a result of their navigation skill.

            • I’d say we have a better chance of bad outcomes than good — though I don’t like the way that’s phrased.

              And I too run to long posts because — since I get paid for my REAL job in fiction and not for this, I can’t afford to sit here and polish them all day.

          • The posters here are not automotons who think in step. Each of us notice different aspects and have different vision of the whole. That fact that we each have individual opinions of the exact state of the decline does not invalidate the basic premise that things are very rotten in Denmark.

      • Bret, You raise the essential dilemma of humanity. I am living my life, don’t bother me. However, I want to know, very specifically, all I need to know to be safe. Also, I want this in 6-second sound bites. Not gonna happen, Bret. Sound-bite media isn’t interested in the truth, but they smile at us and lull us to a comfort zone, while the sheeple await a Kardashian drama.

        What Sarah and other writers converse about is based on life experience plus historical research that writers do. If you are younger than us, your time in the life box is less, plus Americans’ extraordinary material blessings are taken for granted by our younger generations. How could this change, you say? So, read, read, read HISTORY, particularly economic life and how stupid economic mistakes by rulers percolate down to take away the lifeblood of economic activity (money with value, capital) plus demotivate the population! It’s quite true. Is it likely the inventive smart people will donate to “the man”, knowing most of his efforts will be seized for re-distribution? Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged said NO, he won’t. She merely pointed out that the “John Galts” of humanity would hide from “the man” or emigrate. She knew multiple ways to hide from a domineering state. Russian men have been “hiding” in the vodka bottle for decades and many die 30 years before the average western guy.

        Why didn’t Greece prevent insolvency? Ditto the Portugese and Irish and now Spain? The clues were there. Apparently the population believed their left-winging university “government advisers” who GUARANTEED to provide Utopia but instead led to riots. Italy and France next? Great Britain? America? As Herbert Stein said to his economics students at the University of Virginia in what became known as Stein’s law: (see Wikipedia) “If something cannot go on forever, it will stop”. Reality, friend, reality. Like a speeding locomotive, ,reality gains velocity and momentum until the fuel or track runs out.

        • Well, speaking for Ireland, they mostly didn’t avoid insolvency because the poster child of the American Right (circa 2007, and honourable mentions were given to their low tax, pro-business regime by McCain in the 2008 election) paid off international banks in full for loses incurred while Ireland built houses that they didn’t have the population to live in.

          Both Ireland and Spain were running low government debt and relatively solid balanced budgets prior to 2008. Their problem was a lot of the house of cards had been built on the illusion of prosperity brought about by an insane credit boom built on housing and the mortgage bond market.

  7. I’ll definitely be sticking around!

  8. I’ll stick around too – I came for the writing, and stayed for the cultural insurrection!

  9. I’m a small-L libertarian who used to be a big-L Libertarian activist. I think what gave me a corner to turn was organizing a local chapter in Florida whose first official act was to have Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised declared statist and discarded. Thirty-seven people whose only political idea is “Smash The State” and who can’t even hold an organized meeting is not a recipe for electoral success.

    Nowadays I describe myself as a “Bomb-throwing Minarchist”, which more or less translates to “Tea Party and then some with a dash of Three Percenter bravado and saber-rattling.”

    Happy to be aboard, Cap’n. Blog as you please, I even enjoy cat pictures.

    • Politically, I’m somewhere to the right of Patrick Henry, and more a strict Constitutionalist than anything else. Emotionally, I’m slowly heading toward Genghis Khan territory — kill them all and start over, especially in DC. Our gracious hostess has forgiven some of my indiscretions, and I thank her profusely for letting me continue to play in this sandbox. Like most of the regulars here, I do love the occasional chew-toy… 8^)

      • Not quite ready for “Kill them all” yet, as I imagine they have enough potential enemies among their clients. “Kill all they send” might someday be necessary. For now, I’ll settle for “Confound the bungers.”

  10. I’m hanging around. Sarah’s responsible for my finally getting serious about publishing fiction, so I may as well stay and see what else she stirs up, er, inspires. Besides the occasional troll.

    • Just for posterity’s sake I’ll chime in here and say, “me too!” Well, I’m more serious about finishing and publishing than I was anyway… Point is, there are probably quite a few of us that have been inspired by her exhortations. Thanks, Sarah!

  11. I’ll definitely be hanging around. Your blog, and all the wonderful commenters here, have helped me keep my sanity these past few months. And, sadly, with the way things are going, I’m sure to need you all in the future.

    Like a lot of people, I’ve felt isolated for years, wondering if I were the only one. I can’t tell you how good it is to know there are other people out there, competent people, people who can add 2 + 2 and get 4, instead of whatever their little smurf brains think it ought to be based on what they wish (and you’re just a heartless bigot meanie if you say it won’t work).

    Thanks so much for letting me romp in your virtual backyard.

  12. Lawrence Brown

    I for one are glad you decloaked, because your blog is a must read for me. Keep it up!
    -Amigoid

  13. I have long maintained that one of the strengths, one of the glories of being American is that politics does not creep into every corner of your life, that you can go through your everyday activities without regard to the political components of your decisions.

    This has been, is becoming, no longer true. Certain factions within our culture have long attempted to politicize daily life. They urged us to look for the union label. They exhorted us to live on diets of brown rice and lentils in order to identify with the world’s oppressed masses. Mostly people ignored such nonsense. Cloth or disposable diapers were recognized as essentially a selection reflecting how the nappy suited the baby’s bottom and the parent’s circumstances, not your relationship with Gaea.

    That doesn’t seem possible anymore, does it? When your choice of provider of a fried chicken breast sandwich becomes a matter not of palate but of politics something is profoundly foul in the culture.

    Still, while I would prefer a depoliticizing of the culture, if we are going to fight over whose culture dominates I prefer the one which grants more, not less, personal freedom within. The oppressive monoculture of the Fifties was mostly myth and libel; I find the politically correct monoculture currently imposing itself far less congenial to people following their own different drummer. THEY wanted this fight*, let them have it.

    *N.B. – no, they did not want this fight, they wanted to win without fighting, through stealth subversion and insinuation of their standards. Screw ‘em.

  14. Sarah, if you have any questions that I could help you with, just ask! I did a lot of intelligence work for the Special Operations people in Germany, and I wrote an exercise plan that STILL has some Brits twitching, 25 years after the fact. Nothing classified, and I’ll go VERY light on “sources and methods”, but any help I can be, just let me know.

  15. I’m sticking around. When you go subscription let us know how much. My husband will be joining us once he gets a handle on the Contract from Hell.

  16. I arrived for the election post. 0:)

    Then I blog mostly about writing myself, so I would probably stick around anyway.

  17. No voyage is complete without a shipwreck or two. Women, children first and I’ll just hang onto one of the piano legs, if you don’t mind….

    • I figure that the legs and the cover for the keys can be cannibalized to help build the necessary rigging so we can take control of this makeshift boat. Then the rudder can be set up utilizing the posts where the pedals were. We have all the lovely wires to help assemble the steering mechanisms. Someone else mentioned that we will have to create some out-rigging to help it stay afloat, which I expect is true. I doubt that a grand piano is either particularly watertight or seaworthy. ;-)

  18. I read your blog off and on the past years. I love your books which is how I got here. Now? With the posts of the past week? Your blog is in my feed and I check it every day. Good work.

  19. Starship Troopers meets Operation Chaos

    Want.

    • I’m trying to close off Witchfinder at the end of the year and start the new one in January.

    • Well, yeah.

      For some reason my mind conflated Operation Chaos with Boucher’s Compleat Werewolf. Not that there is anything wrong with that.

      I like keeping things simple: Sarah writes & publishes, I buy and read (well, after Beloved Spouse has had at it.) Like controlling my carb consumption, I increasingly find it preferable to only consume nutritious ideas. And they taste good, too!

  20. cute cat pictures

    Japanese research has proven that cute cat pictures are good for you and up productivity.

    • I believe that it was the late and much lamented William the Coroner who coined the term “sappy cat blogging” for those “My brain is fried and I have a deadline and I have to post something how about a cat” moments.

      • Well, I can make it controversial, since I am host to the world’s strangest bonded male-male cat pair…

        • Sarah, it seems that these days you are not having the slightest problem with making things controversial. I begin to think that if you posted the sky is blue, when it is not night or cloudy and the grass is green when it is warm and there has been sufficient rain there would still be someone who would quibble vociferously.

          • Maybe we’re finally big enough to warrant paid trolls?
            Or maybe some people REALLY want to believe everything will be fine, just fine.

            IF I’d not been through this before, I’d have joined them, I think.

            • As the story about the man who fell from atop the Empire State Building relates, at every floor he passed he could be heard to murmur: So far, no problem.

  21. Irish whiskey? Although I have tasted some single malt Scotch I liked (and damned if I remember which ones those were now).

    Cold I can handle well, I have occasionally taken dips in the sea during winter (even if you need to make a hole in the ice people do that here) so you can give the blankets to those who need them more. And I could even swim for a while if it starts to get crowded. Or float. I would never pass the water test for witches, I float like a cork. :)

  22. Has anyone else read Jane Jacobs’ Dark Age Ahead? I read it in 2004, when it came out. My public library didn’t replace it in 2008, when the deluge came. It’s a brief, cogent argument. It’s not a comprehensive argument, but her insights on family priorities, credentialism, lack of self-policing by professions, trade, and more ring very true. I need to read it again, as she also had skeletal suggestions for ways to work (and I mean work!) through these barriers to the continued civilization we need.

  23. I’ll be sticking around too. I don’t respond much, but I am happy that you’ve “de-cloaked”, and I am looking forward to your new novel.

    I grew up in a small town in the ’70s, when a useful public-school education was still possible. In high school I took shop classes, vocational classes, and college-prep classes, and no one gave me any crap for doing all three, not even my parents. I still have a job because I did this.

    I am at a loss to understand why the useful, practical, pragmatic, “you-are-your-own-destiny” country I grew up in would be cast aside for the land of “gimme.” I search for hope and direction. That’s where you come in.

  24. I’ve always looked at it this way: Most of the books I really admire can’t be easily shoved into a single genre or label. Most of the blogs I really enjoy can’t be so easily categorized, either.

  25. I hate cold, having gotten my fill of it – so if you don’t mind, I’ll be over here on the edge, snagging all the flotsam and jetsam I can get my hands on to build some stabilizing outriggers, and a lifeboat to the liferaft, in case saltwater and the piano don’t mix well. And here, I found this tablecloth – if I can get some help building a rudder, we can get a mast up, and go from destitute castaways to a group actually headed somewhere, what do you say?

    Human Wave!

  26. Let’s see how this works: http://townhall.com/political-cartoons/2012/11/15/105100

    When entering strange new lands it helps to have a member of the party who knows what stobor are.

  27. robots? interesting

  28. Keep up the good work. Your blog is most enjoyable when you’re a bit riled up.

  29. Hi Sarah. I am fairly new to your blog. So far I like what I am reading both from you and your commentors. Keep up the good work and I will try to stick around if you go subscription. Have you thought about advertising on the site? Also, if you go subscription, I hope there is a way to archive old articles to give noobies a chance to see what you’ve got and get them interested.

    As far as the content of what you write, it is your blog. A good variety of interteresting material will keep us interested. I am also a small L libertarian, so my views seem to be similar to yours, which helps.

    Regarding some of the commentors above about the future direction of our country. I am a bit older that Sarah. Right now I am more concerned about our future than I was even in the 70’s. And that is saying something. Perhaps new technology and the realization that our current direction can’t go on forever will wake people up, and give us new opportunities. But, we should be ready for things to get ugly just in case.

    • You are exactly in the same position I am. Hoping for the best, fearing the worst.
      The reason it’s different from the seventies, is that we are now in a more interconnected world. We owe money abroad, we don’t manufacture a lot of things here, and we can’t just skate this by the skin of our teeth. Not to mention that we have a… distributed enemy and not merely a crumbling empire facing us.
      As I said, I fear we’re in for… “Nasty Weather”

  30. Another small “l” libertarian checking in. I used to write for “The Liberty Papers” but dropped out when they began to be overtaken by big “L” ideals – and as much as anyone else, your writing is what is spurring me on to get to it again on my blog. I agree that we’ve got to not be shy about what we believe, so I’ve “outted” my blog and handle on FB – and damn the torpedoes. If liberal friends or family don’t like it, they know how to use the “unfriend” button I’m sure!

  31. leftbrainfemale

    Ditto! Having just turned 51 last week (didn’t get my birthday wish – but I’ll bet you can guess what it was) it seems we’re in a similar place in life. We’ve got to try to keep our spirits bouyed up through the frustrations to come – so I’m glad to “meet” you virtually!

  32. Bret,

    Responding to several comments of yours in one hit here for convenience and to get out from under the deep deep threading.

    So when is this killing fields thing going to happen? 5 years? 10? When?

    When is Pompeii going to blow big? 5 years? 10? When? It’s the same question with a different target. Pompeii could go in the next 12 months or it could keep on grumbling for the next 500 years. Economic collapses and killing fields work similarly. Bear in mind that the current president is close friends and probably mentored by a man who is on record as being quite okay with killing fields. That means it could happen very quickly – and could happen in a way that many people don’t know it’s happening.

    I predict there won’t be a killing fields like thing in the next 30 years (roughly my life expectancy – I’m old**).

    I predict that it’s sufficiently likely that if it happens I will not be overly surprised. Disappointed, hell yes, but probably not for long because no matter who kicks it off, I’m pretty sure I will be one of the bodies there. Mouthy female, donchaknow? Also, “the truth at any cost, up to and including my life”.

    What’s your prediction as to when this is going to happen?

    When is that specific atom in this chunk of Uranium going to decay? You’re asking for hard data on something that’s driven by an immense number of variables in a way that a small change in one input can trigger a massive change in output. No hard prediction is possible with that. You can only say that there will be a collapse in some form, and it will be massively unpleasant for many people. Exactly when it will happen and what it will look like depends on many things including the weather (think I’m joking? The New Orleans economy still hasn’t recovered from Katrina, and in the Australian example, it took twenty years for Darwin to recover from Cyclone Tracy. Imagine something of that magnitude taking out New York City and then tell me the weather doesn’t impact the economy).
    **And because I’m old, I’ve had so many people of so many ideologies tell me the world was going to end soon and have watched every single one of those predictions be wrong that I can’t take such predictions seriously anymore.

    Bully for you. There’s a difference between “if this goes on, this Bad Thing will happen” and “Oh noes! The world is ending!” Some folk here can even distinguish between the two.

    From another comment of yours:
    For example, how much will GDP per capita shrink in the next 10 years? Or the next 20 years?

    And again with the asking for the impossible. Oh, and while we’re at it, are you talking real GDP per cap or inflation-adjusted GDP per cap. Because on the current numbers, when you’re talking real GDP it’s already shrinking at somewhere in the 1 to 5% range per annum depending on whose numbers you use. I defer to that actual accountants on that one, being a mere geek myself.

    What will the unemployment level be 10 years from now?

    Again, which unemployment level? Using 1930s methodology it’s already worse than that Great Depression, and showing no signs of shifting. Once unemployment reaches the level where just about everyone has at least one relative who is unemployed, you have crisis-level unemployment. The USA is at that level. The only people I know who don’t have relatives in this position are people who have very small, very nuclear families (I don’t really count here since my family is mostly not in the USA). And barring a major change in policy and practice I do not see any improvement happening in the next 10 years.

    Will there be a coup in the next 20 years where the constitution will be thrown out and a completely new government takes over?

    There has been a coup. The constitution has been thrown out, and a completely new government has taken over. Just because it was done under cover of the legal methods does not make it less of a coup. And before you say that we still have Congress and the Senate, consider this: we are no longer free to travel where we choose by whatever method we choose. People with unpaid student debt are no longer able to leave the country. The actual ruling of the country has passed from Congress and the Senate to the president and his czars. The courts have shown themselves unwilling to challenge this and uphold the constitution. The trend started with the so-called “War on Drugs” and has been used to get people accustomed to their constitutional rights being violated on a daily basis.
    Specifically what freedoms that you’re concerned with will be curtailed and how will they be curtailed?

    Freedom of speech and association. Gone. Freedom from unreasonable search and seizure. Gone. Freedom of religion. Gone (if you don’t think “conservation” and marxism are religions, I have some beachfront land in Nevada you might be interested in). Freedom from arbitrary law enforcement. Gone. It started a while back, but the noose is tightening now.

    I just have to be shown evidence of a significantly likelihood of a wolf coming (like, say, howling in the distance).

    Except that based on what you’ve posted here, you keep telling yourself the howling is actually the wind.

    Instead I see low interest rates (short and long term, public and private)

    What you see is artificial interest rates. They’re being forced down by the Fed, the same group that keeps printing money as if there’s no tomorrow. Oh, and no-one actually GETS those super-low rates. There are always reasons that make it rather more than the advertised amounts.

    modest inflation (yes I know food is expensive, but much of that is directly traceable to burning corn-based ethanol in our gas tanks and has nothing to do with overall inflation)

    Well, no. Inflation is not modest. It’s being disguised in all sorts of way, but there’s a ton of it, and it’s everywhere and hitting everything.

    typical and moderate volatility in stock prices

    Stock prices? I’m not sure if there’s ever been a larger disparity between the stock market and reality but if there has it must have been a heck of a time. Bear in mind that the stock market itself is not what it used to be: it’s moved to short-term gain above all else, so the stock market now rewards companies for eating their metaphorical seed corn.

    and commodity prices

    Then why is the gold price so high? That’s always an indication that there’s very little confidence in the currency.

    an election that was not the most fraudulent ever (Lyndon Johnson’s thugs stuffing ballot boxes in Texas probably qualifies as the worst)

    And mass kicking out of impartial observers in order to record pro-Obama votes in the 100% and above range does not? Methinks the bias of the elderly where events in the past are always more… whatever… than current events might have a small impact here. If this wasn’t the most fraudulent election, it sure as hell ranks up with them.

    most businesses are hanging in there

    Then why the mass layoffs being announced now the election is over? Why are there more empty storefronts in most malls and shopping districts than I’ve ever seen? Why are the businesses that have made it through the last four years closing or laying people off?

    most people are employed

    And yet the participation rate hasn’t been lower since women started entering the workforce in large numbers. Of the available workforce, somewhere below 65% are actually working – down by close to 10% over the last 5 years, as I recall.

    very few starving

    This one, I’ll grant you. So far. Lose deliveries to the cities, and all bets are off. At the prices of gas, it’s not far before the independent truckers won’t be able to afford to do their job.

    The wolves are out there somewhere, but from all the signals of markets and other socio-economic indicators, they’re not close yet.

    So you choose to believe. My view is that the apparent distance is deceptive. They could be a good ways off, or we could round a corner and come face to face with them. You’re talking about non-determinative processes that depend on complex inputs. Those are the ones that no-one can predict except in a broad sense and that tend to go boom in ugly ways.

    • Thanks for your response.

      I’m starting to wonder if I have the wrong definition of “killing fields”. I always thought it meant the violent slaughter of roughly one-fifth of the Cambodian population by the Cambodian government in the 1970s.

      Surely y’all can’t think that within 30 years roughly 60 million americans (1/5 of our population) might end up being violently murdered by the government?

      One theme in your response is summarized as:

      You’re talking about non-determinative processes that depend on complex inputs. Those are the ones that no-one can predict except in a broad sense and that tend to go boom in ugly ways.

      Yes, but that same statement can be made REGARDLESS of the state of society. In other words, one could have the most wonderful yet limited government imaginable and those processes might still “go boom” if a butterfly flaps its wings the wrong way.

      The question is whether there’s reason to believe there’s a higher likelihood of “going boom” now than there has been in the past. I’ve given my answers why I don’t think so, you’ve given a well thought out rebuttal, and I think I’ll leave it at that.

      • Bret,

        Given that Bill Ayers is on record with being okay with murdering that many Americans, and that he’s one of the President’s mentors, I don’t put it out of the realm of possibility. It’s very easy for someone to contemplate mass murder once they start to think of the potentials as less than truly human – which is happening.

        You are correct that the most wonderful society can still blow up if the right combination of events hits it. However, when there are signs everywhere that things are no-where near as stable as they might appear so long as you know where to look, the likelihood of ugly results goes higher.

        I do expect someone like Sarah to be more sensitive to the warning signs: she’s already lived through it. We in the USA are fortunate in having never been under a truly repressive government (the pre-Revolutionary British were civilized by the standards of the day and even by the standards of many governments today). That also means we don’t see the warning signs because we don’t know what they are.

        People like Sarah are the early warning system – when the Sarahs of the world start saying “hey! You’re going the wrong way” it behooves us to listen because they’ve been there and they really, REALLY don’t want to go back there. And maybe, if we’re lucky, we can squeak by without hitting “worse than worst case scenario” territory.

        Food for thought, if nothing else.

      • Wayne Blackburn

        Well, as someone pointed out above, a form of Killing Fields is now being implemented, in the form of replacing treatment with longer waits, denying claims, and, if Obama’s statements when he was trying to sell Obamacare to the masses are in the Health Care law, replacing useful treatments with palliative care only for Senior Citizens who don’t have much “useful life” left. You could call it a “Soft Killing Fields”, but that doesn’t change the fact that they are talking about letting people die rather than treat them.

        • Given the way in which the Obama Administration displayed favoritism when resolving the Auto Bailout, discounting the rights of secured bondholders to the advantage of the legally inferior claims of its political allies in the unions, we are surely confident there will be the utmost fairness and transparency in determining the care available.

        • I’m finding it difficult to find moral equivalence between one government violently murdering its populace and a second government refusing to pay for healthcare in certain situations (while still allowing the individual to pay for that care out-of-pocket).

          Especially, since y’all are supposedly libertarian leaning, why would you expect the government to pay for that sort of thing at all?

          • Under the new law the government IPAB will have the power to deny treatments, not simply payment for treatments. You could look it up. Try [SEARCHENGINE]ing “BETSY McCAUGHEY”

          • The second government is culpable if they make it so a person can only use their system and that system denies care– i.e. Obamacare– I am afraid that you have not been listening to the current news– or seeing the current events–

            I think that you like to taunt people– as RES said you don’t answer the questions — you like agitate–

            Please don’t reply– this is the last time I will answer you–

            • Curiously I’ve noted Bret showed up when my posts started going political, that he has the time to post all day — really long posts too — and doesn’t have the time the rest of us have when we’re not near the computer or whatever. Also that he’s impervious to argument and doesn’t engage in real discussion, just repeats his “certainties” in different ways.

              This pattern is very familiar. I’m sure the rest of you know exactly what I mean.

              I think Bret’s mission is to say “this chick is crazy. Everything is fine. Now go back to your pen. That truck is going to take us all out for ice-cream!”

              • I had been thinking he was displaying the characteristics of the classic Seminar Caller: assertions of being a big fan coupled with suggestions about how you could reach a broader audience if you would just tone things down and reach out more. Broad, unsupported claims and a refusal to actually engage in any conversation. It has only been his outre monetary theories which have caused me to hold off concluding he was other than an ordinary crank.

                • Susan Shepherd

                  Also, I recognized his post-writing style as one that’s fairly common on sites like Reddit, where it allows two or more young people with fragile egos (*rolls eyes*) to argue in such a way that neither of them has to admit they might be wrong. It’s rubbish if you want to have a normal, give-and-take conversation where you ask sensible questions when you don’t understand something.

                  The problem, of course, is that such a posting style tends to p$$$ off everyone who wants to have a reasonable discussion, and in many cases the poster isn’t even aware that normal people don’t think it useful to passive-aggressively (or otherwise) insult the OP as a way to enter the conversation. Worse, it’s very hard to know whether the person is unaware of their demeanor or if they’re trolling to frustrate people.

                  I’ve wondered at times whether this was one of the “side-benefits” of liberal rallies and groups often excusing rude, insulting, or generally boorish behavior. If you’re preaching a message that tends to fall apart under close scrutiny, it’s best to teach your followers that it’s okay to be rude, because it prevents your followers from being tolerated in places where critical thinking occurs. It would explain the media’s curious lack of interest in crimes and indecencies committed by the various Occupier groups.

                  • Yep. Nice touch of Concern Troll in there too: “oh, i don’t disagree with you, I’m just worried about what it’ll do to your readership…” While he disagrees with everything and then says “that’s not what i *meant*” when people notice and call him on it. Shame he couldn’t be more original, really :)

                  • It’s one of the many ways they shut down discussion, yes — since their ideas don’t stand up to… pretty much anything.

                • Yes, but his monetary theories are ALL over DU — in fact I instalinked a critter who sounded just like him. “We don’t need to worry. We can print all the money we need. How can the government run out of money?”

                  • You have to grant their theories have some validity; they worked so well in the Weimar Republic, after all … or would have if that far-right extremist Shicklegruber hadn’t stolen power.

                    Come to think on it, I believe I have a roll of money in my loo, just waiting to be printed.

              • After awhile– I was realizing that he dismissed every one else’s arguments as cranks. Let’s be reasonable crap, just made me more angry–

                Plus I have been dealing with medical appointments yesterday– being denied healthcare was also making me very unhappy. Can you imagine? My insurance should know by now that I have a deadly disease and that I need to see certain doctors— which is why I am stuck on killing fields analogy.

                So I am still trying to calm down.

              • Actually, dear Bret reminds me vividly of a commenter who has begun to infest Chicagoboyz.net in a fairly persistent way: passive-aggressive, says that he is ‘just asking questions’, casually insulting in his assumptions (also doesn’t seem to know diddly about the Chicagoboyz contributors’ back-stories and specific professional experience), doesn’t pay a lick of attention to the answers that he gets, just niggles away with even more questions,and at such a length that he seems to have hours and hours of computer acces and time at his disposal. A number of contributers and commenters at Chicagoboyz have concluded that he is a paid or volunteer concern troll. It might save heartburn and energy all the way around to pointedly ignore Bret.

                • After reading Bret’s posts, I don’t think he is as old as he claims. He has the attitude of someone who has been through the current school system. Plus the same buzz words and catch phrases. Again as RES said (and others) he starts out with an insult and then a “let’s be reasonable.”

                  It seems like he has been trained to do this type of debating–

          • Why are you assuming that out-of-pocket care will be allowed?

            There are a number of ways that care is paid for, with a significant portion from private insurance programs… That people paid premiums… That Obamacare is likely to impose decision processes upon. People DON’T expect the government to pay for it all.

            Consider this — many/most hospitals have single digit (percent) nets — like 3% – 8%. What Obamacare seems to look like is all care paid at Medicare rates. That will tip any hospital immediately into a negative 15% (at least) net. No health care organization will survive that long… and then “the government” can step in and save the day??

        • A few comments.
          It really doesn’t matter how 60 million are killed — whether directly and violently by government actoin, or indirectly as a result of policy, rules or regulations. Dead is dead.

          First, the possibilities of “soft killing fields” is broader than comments elsewhere suggest — when the driving force behind medical care is a form of imposed triage (deciding who recieves treatment and for what conditions) there will be a number of people that will die from delayed or denied care (and not just seniors). I have a 20 year old daughter who is disabled from birth. Under a restrictive system of medical care she would almost certainly see chronic ongoing care needs limited, to say nothing of any acute episodes. If the likely outcomes of Obamacare were in place when she was born, I promise she would not have survived even days. What about individuals that suffer from any number of traumatic injuries?? Those patients require intense, rapid and very complex care to survive and even more care for rehab.

          I am a nurse, and see the health care system from several perspectives — father, ED nurse & as someone who works daily with utlization management, coding and billing areas. It has already started. The decision as to what care will or will not be paid for exists in our health care system already (and organizations are required to comply without being told what the basis for retroactive judgements will be). It is getting worse every day. Google “Recovery Audit Contractors”.

          Secondly, again as other’s have suggested, it takes very little for significant disruption in our supply systems. No city is more than a couple of days away from ZERO food available. We’ve had years to build just in time systems, and there really is very little depth in available food supplies, fuel supplies, etc. If those systems were disrupted, there would be large numbers of people at risk. Look at NYC, Long Island, etc. The disruption there was actually pretty limited and very local. It takes very little extrapolation to be able to consider the effects of supply system disruption that is at multiple locations (if not nationwide) due to fuel & energy.

          Don

          • Don,

            Thank you on the medical thing. I am here today because when I had pneumonia we could tell the doctors to stuff it and that I would not take the test that would have probably killed me.

            Incidentally, I don’t know if you see this, but I ran into it, the doctors were making a value judgement on my life, at 33. One of them told me so what if the test killed me, it was better for my family if I died quickly rather than lingering on (okay, I had an antibiotic resistant infection and spent 11 days in icu taking the equivalent of iv zithromax to recover. yes, it was expensive) and costing my family money. After all, what was I contributing to the world? I was just a housewife. (With two small children. Also starting to make it in writing, but for this doctor I was a “useless eater.”)

            • Sarah,

              I recall your mentioning that previously. The conversation that you experienced is horrible & abhorrent — I see no ethical grounds to suggest that an otherwise basically healthy patient should be considered for removal or lessening of care when there is a measurable likelihood of recovery to a reasonably functional status (let alone fully back to baseline). Doesn’t seem to me that the physician had grounds to state that your treatment would ultimately be futile.

              WHAT is MORE important that parenting children???
              That should be the fundamental focus of a society & is (in my view) a biological imperative.

              Sort of see this — when I’ve been directly involved or observed is more of a discussion about care decisions. Discussing the likelihood of recovery (or the futility of treatment), the patient’s expected functional level, the suffering that may occur, etc. are important factors. My wife and I have had these types of discussions previously for both our daughter and for my wife’s health needs (discussions that have been realistic but hypothetical as well as actual crunch time). Without going into lengthy details, there is a limit & we won’t be crossing that line.

              What is most important about those discussions, is the role of the health care team (physicians, nurses, social workers, chaplains, ethicist…) is to support the patient &/or family in reaching a decision. It is the PATIENT’S decision, not some regulation or faceless committee.

              Don

              • It is only the patient’s decision if the patient is their own property; if the patient is property of the State then the veterinary model becomes the rule.

                • Exactly. I was watching Bill Whittle’s video “Cannibals” on youtube yesterday and then experienced cognitive dissonance as idiot after idiot … female, in the comments announced how they voted for O so that they didn’t have “to carry some rapist’s child” and how their body was their own.

                  Let alone the fact that this was NEVER part of the Republican platform at any level, but a completely media-engineered idea…

                  WHAT do they think they voted for? Don’t they realize they just voted to be OWNED by the government?

                  Apparently not. Again, if there were a way to make sure only these idiots experience the results of their vote, I’d be… well, no. I’m too soft-hearted to let them. I’d still be trying to snatch brands from the fire. BUT I’d be going “well… you made your bed. Maybe next time you’ll think.” Unfortunately they imposed these horrors on all the rest of us.

                  • Which means when we march to our doom– they get to be the front-line troops– imho. I am still simmering. ;-)

                    • Simmering? Then you’re about ten times calmer than I.

                    • Well, I have a headache, heartache, and my hands are shaking– If I had a physical target I would be hitting something right now. The only reason I am not throwing my bunny rabbit (that fell apart so nicely) is because I lost it in one of my moves years ago– It was pretty satisfying and got this red thing out of my mind.

                    • Wayne Blackburn

                      Yep. I have to keep my blood pressure down, or I would be going completely ballistic, too.

                      It’s hard enough with my son’s bus driver saying he’s going to write up my son for sitting sideways in his seat to keep his knees out of the seat in front of him.

                    • Sorry to hear that Wayne– I just took another niacin and D3– (my happy pills lol) I need to calm down… plus I am putting a story together so that usually puts me in a different frame of mind–

      • Wholesale roundup and/or slaughter by government forces is hard for us to imagine happening here, because it’s never happened here.

        Except for the trail of tears. (4,000 out of 15,000 dead before they even reached their internment camps…reservations, we called ‘em.) Of course, it wasn’t the total population of the US, just the Other minority that resembled an enemy. And had houses and land we wanted.

        Except for the internment of japanese-americans in WWII, and the wholesale theft of their houses, farms, and businesses, and complete lack of apology until decades later. (Are we virtuous because we didn’t kill them outright, and didn’t move them via foot through the mountains this time?)

        Except for small-scale slaughters like the Branch Davidians in Waco. Or do they not count, because they were a weird minority that were charged with crimes?

        Except for the way this administration is already responsible for over 200 dead Mexican citizens from their Operation Fast and Furious. (and the number will only rise, because they gave 2600 guns to the cartels.) Or do those not count, since they’re just a byproduct, and not americans anyway?

        Except for the way that DHS has published a handbook defining “domestic terrorist” in terms so broad any military veteran qualifies, and under the excuse of a war on terror, the president has endorsed the assassination of american citizens, continued indefinite detention, and broadened demands for data on american citizens. And the current general-affair scandal makes it clear the FBI feels no need to get warrants in order to spy, wiretap,search, and seize if it feels it is justified.

        Look, at the very root of it all, all humans are tribal. When you look at tribes in their natural habitat, they have very little inhibition about killing the next tribe over, taking their best women for second or third wives, and stealing all their cattle. Civilization thrives precisely because it squelches these base impulses. When you remove the responsibility, threat, and repercussions for doing this, and you provide an anonymous cover (be it a flash mob, a socialist or jihadist faith, or governmental approval/blind eye), you get beatings, deaths, vandalism, looting, rape, and cheering while things and people burn. This happens outside football games, in hurricane wreckage, and in southside Chicago every week (When I left, I couldn’t sleep well for weeks. It was too quiet – I kept waiting for the usual background noise of gunshots. The silence made me nervous.)

        I find it hard to envision economic collapse. I know too much of human nature to find the urge to control and “establish order” from the government combined with the urge to watch the world burn while grabbing what you want from the wreckage at the base of humanity hard to envision.

  33. Oops…is that Prometheus reference pointing at me…?

    Good point about the authors not *necessarily* being libertarian themselves, but I imagine a Prometheus award or nomination for an unfamiliar author has to raise suspicions for a lot of lefty (potential) readers. I know a nomination for “best socialist-themed SF” would make me a little suspicious of the author’s leanings, if I didn’t already know something about them.

    I’m in Conifer. We should meet up sometime.

  34. The _Titanic_ metaphor has been done to death — find a different shipwreck to work with. Here’s a few you can look up:

    “Slow” failure: MV _Derbyshire_; _Edmund Fitzgerald_.

    “Fast” failure: USS _Indianapolis_; any WW1-era British battlecruiser.

    Whichever way it plays out, tho’, we’re all going to remain CHUMs, right…? >;)

    • I think being left as chum is what is worrying so many.

    • No, some of us will have a sharp hook embedded in our bodies, which means those will qualify as bait.

    • Wayne Blackburn

      How about that cruise ship that ran aground last spring, tipped over (whether the term is right or not, I can’t use “capsized” if it didn’t flip over all the way) on its side, and the captain bailed and went to eat dinner while everyone else was still on the ship?

    • Andrew Drummond

      CF: May I add HMS Birkenhead to that list?

    • Fast: M/S Estonia. One of those wrecks where panic seems to have ruled, every man for himself rather than women and children first.

      • I use the titanic because it’s something we all understand, complete with the band playing “nearer my God to thee.”

        • I understood. Just wanted to put that in because in some ways the differences between Estonia and Titanic are bit of a hot button issue for me. Well, the Titanic sinking happened rather slowly and that presumably explains a lot, people tend to act a lot better if they have time, but while unpleasant things happened with that wreck too there seem to have been also a lot of that ‘women and children first’, while some of the stories which have come out, most years later, do paint a rather unpleasant picture of what happened in that other ship – like stampeding over others, including kids, old and injured. The more unpleasant question is was it all the situation, like how fast the ship went down, or whether the way our values have changed may have had an influence.

  35. FWIW, Ma’am, I’m glad you’ve decloaked. Makes me feel a bit less lonely, doing what I do and knowing what I know. I hope you don’t mind if I continue to comment here from time to time.

  36. If its prediction you want read Heinlein, not Ayn Rand. The world of ‘Friday’ looks a lot more likely than the world of ‘Atlas Shrugged’. We should spend some time considering the implications.

    • I agree re ‘Friday’ and the prophetic powers of Robert Anson. Things fall apart; the center cannot hold. His Balkanized USA is actually pretty chilling, though he does show people continuing to live their lives (i.e. no Mad Max effect).

      For a historical example of civilization falling down slowly, google “Domain of Soissons” – the northern chunk of Roman Gaul that was governed under Roman Law for almost thirty years after they lost direct connection with Italy and the remaining Western Empire. For ten years after the “fall of the (Western) Roman Empire” in 476, the fellow in charge in Soissons still insisted he was just governing a Roman province, right up until the point that the neighboring Franks invaded and overthrew his government.

      I imagine the folks in Northern Gaul just kept their heads down and continued to live their lives as best they could, even after the Franks conquered the province and put it under Germanic Law (meet the new boss…), but it’s hard to contradict the archaeology that shows declining trade, disappearance of complex goods, declining diet, increases of famines, and a general reduction in the standard of living. The recent scholarly proposition that nobody really noticed the Empire’s fall in the West seems to me to be unlikely.

      But whatever history we are rhyming with now, I’m not lurking anymore, and I’m along for the ride.

  37. Still love you, Sarah. But not in that creepy, internet stalker way. Unless of course….never mind. :P

    Tom

  38. Another Old Navy Chief

    I look forward to following you as we go forward into the future. I’ve just donated a bit to help the cause. I’d like you to use it in the spirit of the anonymouse Iraqi who called for “Democracy, Whiskey, ….”

  39. Bret complained that talking about “collapse” was hyperbole, and that it might cause people to disengage. He also sees what happens as more of a slow slide…

    But I didn’t read anybody addressing the point that the *point* of the “hyperbole” is to arouse people and get them working, so that we can stop or reverse that inevitable slow slide.

    You are not going to get people pushing and working and sacrificing if you say things like “If we don’t all row together the GDP will be stalled out at 2.1% for n years.” We’re telling stories to arouse people’s emotions and get them engaged. You don’t do that by minimizing, downplaying, understating.

    A lot of the people on this blog write fiction. The stories we are telling are the way we deal with this reality, the tools we use to try to turn — even if only slightly — the enormous ship of this culture.

    Saying that we shouldn’t use hyperbole is…kind of foolish, and shows that you haven’t grasped the point.

    • Someone did point that out to him– (Bret) I think RES– I blame my bad memory to chemo (could have been CACS). He just slid through it and kept asking the same questions in the same way. It was causing my “warning light” to blink.

  40. Sarah is right. When Dorothy and I sat with her and her husband over supper a few weeks ago, she and I were looking at each other and nodding in helpless agreement as two who’ve been there and experienced reality. Our respective spouses, love them as we do and always will, simply couldn’t identify at a ‘gut level’ with what we KNOW is coming. We’ve seen it; and unless you’ve seen it, you genuinely can’t understand. Theory can’t prepare you for reality.

    I’ve tried to describe it . . . not very adequately, I don’t think. I’ll give two examples. My experience of terrorism and societal collapse:

    http://bayourenaissanceman.blogspot.com/2011/04/my-heroes.html

    The current economic reality staring us in the face:

    http://bayourenaissanceman.blogspot.com/2012/11/theres-none-so-blind-as-those-who-will.html

    Disagree if you will . . . but I predict that those realities – first economic, then the rest – will affect this country before very long. It’s a matter of mathematical inevitability.

  41. Good grief. I’m away for a bit and all the idiots come out.

    A few thoughts for any morons who are still hanging around:
    1. Every communist regime in history lies. Actually, that’s a gross understatement. What the communists allow out is fairy-tales of a fantasy world that never actually existed, designed to sucker others into believing them.
    2. Every other flavor of dictatorship in history lies. Not usually as blatantly as the communists, because they’re typically not pushing the secular religion of Our Blessed Marx, but lies nonetheless.
    3. Academic theories and textbook histories do not compare to the knowledge of those who were there, especially when dealing with anything communist and/or dictatorial.
    4. Anyone who wishes to call Sarah a lying idiot by dismissing/discounting her experiences had better have armor-plated underwear.

  42. “But how do you discuss this with someone who thinks that Portugal was engaged in colonial wars (in colonies where it had been for 500 years. Grass roots? It would be like Australia rebelling against Britain) ”

    Or like the US, Ireland, and India rebelling against Britain? And Australia *is* an independent country now.

    Let’s look at Wikipedia on the history of Angola:

    “With the advent of the New State regime (Estado Novo) extended to the colony, in 1951 Angola became a province of Portugal (Ultramarine Province), called the Província Ultramarina de Angola (Overseas Province of Angola).

    However, Portuguese rule remained characterised by deep-seated racism, mass forced labour and an almost complete failure to modernize the country. By 1960, after 400 years of colonial tyranny, there was not a single university in the entire territory [1] To counter this backwardness, more overtly political organisations first appeared in the 1950s, and began to make organized demands for human and civil rights, initiating diplomatic campaigns throughout the world in their fight for independence. The Portuguese regime, meanwhile, refused to accede to the nationalist]s’ demands for independence, thereby provoking the armed conflict that started in 1961 when guerrillas attacked colonial assets in cross-border operations in northeastern Angola[citation needed]. The war came to be known as the Colonial War. ”

    Though the 400 years is a big exagerration on both sides; it’s not like Portugal was adminstering the whole area for anywhere nearly that long. A bunch of slave trade outposts on the coast is not a grand colony; that’s from the late 19th century at most.

    • Okay. You are insane.
      You are ACTUALLY looking at Wickipedia. Look up Russia and Cuba in Angola and Mozambique. DO. It’s not arcane.

      Do you dispute that Russia and Cuba had puppet regimes throughout the world, which they exploited mercilessly. (Actually Cubans were the attack dogs of Russia.)

      Yes, Australia has independence. It didn’t rebel for the rights of natives.

      History of Africa is complicated, HOWEVER Portugal WAS administering that area from the seventeenth century on. Before that it had trade agreements, etc. Look — you think Portugal only got there AFTER the Scramble for Africa that had BELGIUM establishing colonies?

      Good heavens. What do they teach you kids.

      And yep, banned.

      This topic is closed. Why? WICKIPEDIA? For the love of idiocy, what are you?

    • Hoo boy. Someone did not bother to do his homework. Wikipedia is NOT a reference.

      Remember, someone who lived through it knows more than someone who’s only seen references based on the official lies told by various regimes.

      You can keep your idiot nose out of Australia, too. That happens to be one of the few nations in this world that gained independence from its colony parent by vote. Speaking as the resident Mad Aussie, I can tell you right now that 90% of what the US media reports on Australia would be called unmitigated bullshit except for the unfortunate fact that if you tried to use it for fertilizer you’d kill the plants.

      Given that, I’m inclined to treat anything else from that source as the same noxious poison, and respond accordingly.

      This twit apparently passed “kiss authority butt” and nothing else – which, sadly, seems to be about the state of modern education in the USA.

    • To counter this backwardness, more overtly political organisations first appeared in the 1950s

      Or, absent the rose colored glasses: Soviet-trained agents established an insurgency in the 1950s.

      When viewing History it is always a good idea to read between the lines, especially when utilizing sources as corruptible as Wikipedia.

      There are many of us who do not view absence of “a single university in the country” as proof of backwardness, especially considering the twaddle being sold by universities. Revisionist history is a bad education, especially coupled with poor training in logic.