The Center Cannot Hold

I was thinking this morning that there are other things that make this path we’re on uniquely dangerous in terms of preparing for bad stuff, because it’s simply impossible to guess what form the horrible stuff will take.

Here’s a grab bag at random – just off the top of my head.

We’re the largest country organized on non-authoritarian lines (yes, I know, but we’re not organized for it) … I was going to say “to risk collapse” but now that I think about it we’re just the largest country in history organized on non-authoritarian lines.  For those who will protest that, go look at the constitution of the European Union.  When we organize under a constitution that classifies the curvature of a banana, then we’ll be in the running.  (Yes, there are a series of abuses, and we’ve been trending authoritarian and centralized since the civil war – not arguing the rightness or justness of the war, just saying it centralized and strengthened los Federales and their power —  but I don’t think it’s got into the DNA of the nation, yet.  Having lived here and in Europe and traveled a bit all over, Americans are still likely to tell authority to take a hike.)

I have massive faith in the American spirit.  9/11 happening anywhere else in the world would have turned NYC into well, something out of the movie “Escape from New York”, instead of a place where people helped each other get through, which by and large it was.  Yeah, I know there are spots where this fails, but by and large Americans look at what needs done and go “I’ll do it” instead of waiting for the duly constituted authorities.

We are being treated to a very weird financial combination.  I think I know what the idiots in power are trying to do, but if it REALLY is what they’re trying to do, they are some sort of unique in the realm of dumb.

Look, I was thinking about this yesterday, in terms of what an economic collapse looks like.  Portugal sailed dangerously close to it in the mid-seventies, with inflation going insane and people panicking and buying supplies months in advance, and then hysteria about hoarders being drummed up when supplies failed to materialize.  (We also had price controls then.  An absolute boon for the black market.)

But no one starved and by the end of it several people were better off than they’d been, (though not those who owned real estate, due to rent freeze and not those who’d failed to acquire saleable skills – more on that later.)  People who owned gold or had money in the bank, for instance.  (Though how much the future prosperity came from America I don’t know.  I know in the eighties we joked our GDP was made in America.)

HOWEVER to my knowledge – and I’m not as exhaustively well read on it as I’d like to be, because for the last five or six years work/kid stuff has kept me from reading economics as much as I used to.  (Shut up.  It’s a hobby.)

I don’t know any other country where currency has been printed like ours, and yet the interest rates are held artificially low.  The combination is at best daft.  Inflation is already showing up, though they keep doing weird stuff to how it’s calculated.  (No, I’m not going to argue that.  If you buy food, you know inflation has shown up – but beyond that, because the price of fuel goes up [being paid for in devalued dollars] it pushes everything else up, because fuel is used to MAKE everything.)

A lot of the places that can, and where it’s direct, they are already raising prices/lowering sizes – restaurants; food packaging; services; prices for minor stuff like mini-golf courses.

But the lack of employment is holding salaries down.  And for those of us like me, who work at a job with irregular pay and who therefore of necessity have “savings” – i.e. a big paycheck goes in bank and is slowly drawn out to supplement my husband’s salary which is our main support – are seeing those savings eaten away.  By the time we need to use them, we need more of them, which we’re not getting because interest rates are low.

The idea of creating inflation to get out of a disastrous debt situation is neither unknown nor rare.  Countries like Greece and Portugal coasted on it for years (and we could go on about what losing that ability has done to them) partly because as “touristic countries” they thrived on being “cheap” by keeping their currency devalued.

You borrow high-value currency and pay the same nominal amount of low-value currency.  Fine.  That makes sense.  But if you don’t let the savings and assets people have appreciate at the same rate, via high interest rates, (which in turn pushes company assets and – usually – salaries up, even though not in real value) you’re going to have people who don’t make enough to eat or to buy… anything.  (Look, ALL intervention in economics is stupid, ultimately, because economics is not something someone can CONTROL.  It is instead a playground for the law of unintended consequences.  It’s as if we developed an ability to control the weather and were in shock when keeping it pleasant in Iowa buried NYC in ice or something.)

It seems to me we’re headed there.  Most of my friends are beyond pinched this Christmas, and that’s the ones who still have jobs.

If I had to guess I’d say this strategy was cooked up to get us out of the real estate collapse.  The inflation is supposed to catch up so that real estate assets never “devalue” in numbers, just in real value.  And the interest rates are kept forcibly low so that people will soak up the bad assets and so that those in marginal positions can refinance.  (We know how well that last part is working — not.)

Mind you, if that really is the idea, this gang is dumber than dirt.  First because if people’s money holdings and salary stay the same, buying a house is still difficult, no matter how low the interest rates.  Second, because they’re not taking in account that  those of us working as contractors and getting paid on contracts made years ago, will end up destitute and not be able to afford … not just houses, but anything.  I don’t know how many of us there are, but the fact salaries aren’t going up means salaried employees, of which there are  a lot, will end up in the same fix.

In Portugal there was an enormous “soak up” of completely paid off real-estate, a lot of it inherited over generations.  In fact, it might have been the norm.  Having a mortgage back then was odd.  This meant that your property appreciated massively and if you got in real trouble, you could sell it and move on.  (Various restrictions on selling rented out places, and rent control made this more difficult than it sounds, but…  still.  You weren’t talking about people having to meet mortgage payments, house repairs, food, fuel, etc, with salaries that remain static and depreciating currency reserves while a lot of the rest goes up.  On the food side, too, most people back then had at least some gardens and some “creation” — chickens, goats, etc.)

OTOH it’s entirely possible I’m attributing to stupidity that which is more easily explained by malice: they want to turn us into beggars, because beggars are easy to please.  No, wait, that still means stupidity, because what can’t go on, won’t and like with price fixing, when you make it impossible for people to live, people find extra-legal means.

Okay – another way in which we’re different: we’re the world’s charity.  We still give financial aid to most of the world, and have for close on to a century.  (We might that way have enabled tyranny, but that’s something else.)  We’re the world’s grantor of peace.

If we withdraw, even well short of a total collapse, will the world finally grow up?  Or will it go back to the long wars of the 18th and 19th century everywhere, to the point commerce can’t take place?

Make no mistake, whatever bad things happen in the US will be ten times worse in the rest of the world.  And don’t say “Who cares?” some – if not most — of those people are much better at WMDs than at feeding their people and will consider knocking the “old champ off” a much greater priority than actually taking care of their starving population.

(A friend of mine said “Whatever happens now, we’re going to lose at least one major city.”  I’d like to say he was wrong, but I have the same feeling.)

Other ways we’re different: we have more guns per capita than anywhere except those places that encourage/enforce gun ownership, like Switzerland.  This is not a bad thing because:

Even in the milder of the “things go wrong” scenario, where things go bad first are the people who are marginal now, living at the edge of both society and often legality.  Where you see any crackup first in society is higher crime rates – we’re seeing that – and lack of safety on the streets.  The fact that a lot of people have guns will probably hold some of that (at least) down.

We have a military that is more in the tradition of service than of machismo.  We’re probably the last of the Western powers with a military tradition and our military tradition is … odd, built on winning hearts and souls, more than on “shoot them all and let G-d sort them out.” Yes, I know, sometimes the ROEs are stupid (Okay the ROEs are mostly stupid) but still, it has a built in “you don’t kill unless you need to.”  This makes us different from, say, the various Latin American countries that have had crack ups.

Will the US military fire on the populace if things get bad enough?  Some places.  Some populace.  As someone said, behavior means a lot.

BUT the US military are also generally a force for good and order, and given a central collapse, might hold things together long enough for things to coalesce in another form.  Might.  One can hope.  (Of course, I keep thinking of Starship Troopers “And then the veterans had had enough.”)

All of these together, particularly the economic thing, added to the chaotic force of changing technology and the decentralization that tech has been forcing on industry and commerce even as our politics and education and other… non-commercial enterprises have got more centralized, has the effect of making us a particularly unpredictable juggernaut.

It won’t be like movies or books, because those move on logic.  Real people aren’t logical.  They’re cranky, emotional and ornery.  A group of one or the other some place can send things spinning out of control.

In the best of all possible worlds, you’re going to hit a point where the answer to “Are things getting better or worse?” will have to be “Yes.”  And then things start smoothing off, if we’re lucky in 25 or so years, so that I can still see it.  (Or maybe faster.  We’re Americans.  We go fast.  Hey, look, I’m Heinlein’s kid.  The glass is not half full. It’s brimming over.)

On the other hand, it’s unpredictable, and I don’t think the people in charge know that, just like the people in charge of publishing don’t seem to be aware that ebooks aren’t just a “novelty fad.”  There is a certain type of credentialed-not-brilliant (but thinks he/she is, because… credentialed)  individual for whom knowledge is what exists in books and what your professors passed to you.  If reality disagrees, then you deny reality as hard as you can.

Most of the people in charge most places are busy denying reality.  Which makes the rest of us real nervous.

Hope for the best.  Prepare for the worst.  Stay informed.  Keep moving.  Keep working.

UPDATE: The writing blog is now up at Mad Genius Club.

223 responses to “The Center Cannot Hold

  1. One city? Hmm if I could pick which one it might not be a bad thing. Heck, there are several I wouldn’t mind losing, if it weren’t’ for the sensible minority in each of them

    • I nominate Detroit. ^_^ (I’m ticked at the woman demanding her quid pro quo since Detroit supported BHO in the election.)

      • I’m with you. There’s a darn good reason Oh John Ringo No set “The Last Centurion” there.

        Chicago, Baltimore, K.C., MO, parts of Houston, and parts of the L.A. complex also make the list, if we are just talking “residents burn themselves out of house and home” versus “terror attack by the Usual Suspects (to Everyone Outside the State Department).”

        • HAS his name been legally changed to Oh, John Ringo, no? I actually had that sentence in DSR but everyone said it made them laugh at an inappropriate moment. :/

        • Yeah, I’d got for parts of Houston, and I live here. :-P

          • egads, as much as I love Denver, and I do… well… Though offcenter and taking out Boulder… Sorry Kitteh-dragon… and Charlie… but without the people’s republic fraud machine I’m not sure this state would be blue.

            BUT let’s be real, kids. The only two cities our enemies KNOW are NYC and Los Angeles, with Chicago a distant third.

            I have friends in all of them, mind, and for the sake of my friends I’d be really p*ssed at losing one of them. But I think it’s inevitable. All I can HOPE for is that this happens on a weekend when my friends are away.

            • I suspect they’ve heard of Washington, DC as well.

              • Wayne Blackburn

                You’re probably right. Only people who live in this country see it as the dead weight holding the rest of the country back…

                • I just say that because one of the 9/11 planes did crash there at the pentagon and it seems that was an intentional target.

                • Yes and no. Look, I’ve seen the view from the other side — on hearing of DC. We knew it was the capital, but we thought it didn’t matter. The real center was NYC.

                  Eh. We’ll add it to the list. Maybe we’ll get lucky and our enemies will take THAT out.

                  • My only problem with losing Washington, DC, is that there are some really neat things in the museums there. I wouldn’t care if we lost 95% of what passes for “government” there (mostly bureaucracy designed to promote and expand bureaucracy) disappeared tomorrow.

              • I suspect they have as well, but I also suspect DC is covered with radiation sensors to a fair-thee-well, and to a substantial distance from downtown. It’s what **I** would do to protect it.

                The cities **I** suspect we might lose, we’ll lose because they have harbors. Al-Qaeda, or whoever, will just ship the bomb in as freight. . .

            • You underestimate them, Sarah. If you are going for psychological shock, hit the Midwest, Denver area, or Salt Lake City. I’ve run through the havoc, psychological and economic, that a terror attack of the right kind in KC-MO could cause, and some friends of mine “in the business” nodded and added a few details. But I suspect Fargo, ND, and Rawlings, WY, are pretty safe. Especially in winter.

              • Wayne Blackburn

                I don’t think she does underestimate them. They’re stupid, and that has been our saving grace for decades, because a group of people like myself and some others I know could shut this country down in a week.

                Without a particularly large budget.

                • Yup. Even the city of Colorado Springs can be taken out with three well-placed bombs. Wouldn’t be very good for several other cities, either. One strategically-placed bomb would tie up the city for a month without doing any major injury to people. Most people don’t think that way, but the Air Force TRAINED me to think like that — picking strategic interdiction points and what it would do to the area. There’s hardly a city in the United States that’s built to reduce interdiction points (note that I don’t mention any — I see no reason to “help” the idiots out to destroy us, OR the ones out to marginalize the Right. They’re not always different groups).

            • We’ll save a room for you here in Dallas. The Brookings Institute thinks that it’s one of three cities that will survive.

              • you=Sarah

              • Emily61 — I don’t have any desire to live in a big city ever again! There are some very nice small towns in eastern Texas, in the Piney Woods portion of the state. You’re far enough north the hurricane problem is less, far enough south the tornado threat is less, and in an area that drains well, grows well, and isn’t terribly over-populated. If I bug out toward the south, that’s the area I’d head for.

                • I can’t drive (I flunked 4 road tests) and have a bunch of chronic medical conditions. My husband works out of town so living near both DFW and Love Field is quite convenient. Living in a suburb of Dallas helps with all of these factors. If I drove and was younger and healthier and my husband telecommuted I might consider living in a small town in NE TX.

            • No. they know Houston for the ship channel and the refineries. We ARE on the list.

      • Detroit’s already gone. The cops officially say, “stay out.” I’m afraid the city hit will be New York or some other place that’s the home of many jews.

        • Depends on who hits us, Nicht Wahr? By the end of this we might be courting one in the nose from France…

          • Wayne Blackburn

            Not at all unlikely, if you consider where their demographics are headed.

          • You mean the Jamahiriya al-Farangiya?

          • That might work if France’s weapons were still viable by that time. There’s also the possibility that the French military might decide to expend their sub-based missiles on the Middle East for some atrocity the French muslims inflict on their nation. Many, many French don’t like what’s happening to “La Belle France”.

        • Yeah, I was thinking of Detroit more self-destructing.

          • That’s what I see happening in most urban centers. There are way too many people who only vaguely understand whence cometh their sustenance. And not just food: the lack (or lessening) of all services will enforce the kinds of austerities that result from the me-first, bread-circuses kind of move we’re seeing are going to make a lot of people very angry.

            • People are viewing this as “we’re starting seventy years of socialism, and therefore it will last 70 years.” I frankly view it more as “socialism started with FDR and we’re in our final convulsions.” Just let’s avoid Putin, can we?

              • Indeed. I don’t think we have the national constitution (badum-ching! thankyouthankyou, I’mhereallweek) to support a strongman of Putin’s caliber. We’re too bloody ornery as a culture, and we have no real history of tsars in that manner. Russia is Russia, similar to the way China is: the tsar/Son of Heaven remains the same, regardless of trappings. I think our inherent weirdness will be a big part of what ends up getting us through the dark times.

                • It was ya’ll’s inherent weirdness that drew me in and made me one of you. It was stuff like funny signs in the hallways in high school, the self-government of even small, silly groups and the general attitude of “You and whose army?” towards authority.

                  I looked around and went “I have a home? Oh, wow. Please don’t make me go back to that other place. I’m one of you!”

                  (I still went back, with intention of finding a job/scholarship to come back. The marriage was fortuitous. Also, almost 30 years later, fortunate. I just lived four years back in Portugal like an American in exile. Dad got it. He bought me sparklers for the fourth. ;) He doesn’t UNDERSTAND, but he sees. He’s a good dad.)

                • Unfortunately, we have a lot of people who have a class system implanted in their brains. Some came here from other places and they bring slavery in their heads, but we’ve got plenty who were born here who think like that, too.

                  • Laurie,

                    D*MN. You just gave me the closing line for the Christmas novella that has been insisting I write it. Now I will have to drop everything and write it asap. Don’t you know better than use phrases like “slavery in their heads” around a writer?

                    (Shakes head sadly.)

                    • Are there *any* phrases that are “safe” to use around a writer? :-)

                      *Jasini

                      Facts are stubborn things, but not nearly as stubborn as fallacies.*

                      On Wed, Dec 5, 2012 at 3:02 PM, According To Hoyt wrote:

                      > ** > accordingtohoyt commented: “Laurie, D*MN. You just gave me the closing > line for the Christmas novella that has been insisting I write it. Now I > will have to drop everything and write it asap. Don’t you know better than > use phrases like “slavery in their heads” around a writer? ” >

                    • Wayne Blackburn

                      Are you saying we need, “Author Safewords”?

                      Oh, wait. I suppose that should be “Author-safe words”…

                    • No genre is safe from me. Words… I’ve ignored a few.

                    • :-)

                      Sounds like my kind of Christmas story. ;-)

                    • It has spaceships, daring rescues, shooting, space pirates and… nuns. You don’t want to ask about the nuns. YOU REALLY don’t want to.

                    • There are no such things as phrases that DON’T cause (some) writers to grab a pencil and paper and start scribbling. At least, none that are “safe” around writers who can read their own scribbling. BTW, some ME country just re-instituted slavery in their country. Can’t remember which one, but maybe I’ll read another article that covers it.

                    • Mike, it was Egypt. It falls under the “we have sharia and since the Koran permits slavery then slavery must be permitted.”

                    • okay, TXRed. I am now physically ill.

                    • There was a reason Moses led the Israelites on a forty-year wander in the desert. Reread that section and you will notice that he led them straight to the Promised Land just two years out from slavery, but only two of the twelve scouts — Joshua & Caleb — reported: They’re tough, but we can take ‘em – with G-d’s aid. So they they had to spend another thirty-eight years working up their courage (spelled F-a-i-t-h.)

                      See Numbers 13 – 14

                      25 And they returned from searching of the land after forty days.

                      26 And they went and came to Moses, and to Aaron, and to all the congregation of the children of Israel, unto the wilderness of Paran, to Kadesh; and brought back word unto them, and unto all the congregation, and shewed them the fruit of the land.

                      27 And they told him, and said, We came unto the land whither thou sentest us, and surely it floweth with milk and honey; and this is the fruit of it.

                      28 Nevertheless the people be strong that dwell in the land, and the cities are walled, and very great: and moreover we saw the children of Anak there.

                      29 The Amalekites dwell in the land of the south: and the Hittites, and the Jebusites, and the Amorites, dwell in the mountains: and the Canaanites dwell by the sea, and by the coast of Jordan.

                      30 And Caleb stilled the people before Moses, and said, Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it.

                      31 But the men that went up with him said, We be not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we.

                      32 And they brought up an evil report of the land which they had searched unto the children of Israel, saying, The land, through which we have gone to search it, is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of a great stature.

                      33 And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.

                      [SNIP]

                      5 Then Moses and Aaron fell on their faces before all the assembly of the congregation of the children of Israel.

                      6 And Joshua the son of Nun, and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, which were of them that searched the land, rent their clothes:

                      7 And they spake unto all the company of the children of Israel, saying, The land, which we passed through to search it, is an exceeding good land.

                      8 If the Lord delight in us, then he will bring us into this land, and give it us; a land which floweth with milk and honey.

                      9 Only rebel not ye against the Lord, neither fear ye the people of the land; for they are bread for us: their defence is departed from them, and the Lord is with us: fear them not.

                      10 But all the congregation bade stone them with stones. And the glory of the Lord appeared in the tabernacle of the congregation before all the children of Israel.

                      11 And the Lord said unto Moses, How long will this people provoke me? and how long will it be ere they believe me, for all the signs which I have shewed among them?

                    • Yes. That is what the commentary on my edition of the Torah says too — and the guys and I have discussed it. Though it was the phrase “Slavery in their minds” that brought it all together.

                      BTW, did you hear about when Moses met W in an airport? Bush recognized him (go with it, it’s a joke) and went over to shake hands, but Moses wouldn’t talk to him, and at last asked a passerby “Would you please tell him I can’t risk talking to a bush again? The last time I did that, I wandered in the desert for 40 years, and ended up leading my people to the one spot in the middle east that lacks vast oil reserves.”

                      (Okay, it’s a bad joke. It’s all I have. DEAL.)

                    • Wayne Blackburn

                      Omg… Can’t… breathe…

                      I am almost literally rolling on the floor, here. (Shut up. I’m easily amused)

                    • I feel like lady Vimes. Her cooking ability matched Vimes’ eating ability.

                      I have finally found someone who appreciates my humor! YES!

                    • Wayne Blackburn

                      You should worry about that, though. I come up with things like, “Did you know that there’s proof that Al Gore invented the Internet? Yep, everything there is controlled by Al-Gore Rhythms, isn’t it?”

                      (Runs from being pelted with rotten fruit by everyone)

                    • Funny. I was going to accuse YOU of the same thing WRT The Second Coming, which your post title prompted me to wikiwander on the subject of.
                      |\/|

                    • RE: 40 years in the wilderness. The main reason for that was that God decided the Jews that had been slaves carried too much of the slave mentality with them, and wanted most of them to die off before they were given the Promised Land. You’ll also notice that the Old Testament comments on slavery: a Jew can own a slave for seven years, then MUST free him, unless the slave himself begs not to be released. Some people are born slaves. If they’re not slaves to an individual, they enslave themselves to something else — a political party, a union, a “faith”, an occupation, or something. The Democrats have perfected the art of attracting such people. Even the Democrat leadership contains more slaves than they realize, including the one at the top.

                    • Some people are born slaves. If they’re not slaves to an individual, they enslave themselves to something else …

                      *cough* is False Idols redundant?

                      Give them credit, the Democrat Party was born exploiting slavery and has successfully played the race card for 200 years, first from one side, now from the other.

                    • “Some people are born slaves. If they’re not slaves to an individual, they enslave themselves to something else — a political party, a union, a “faith”, an occupation, or something.”

                      There’s an entire “faith” whose selling point is “submission”.

                    • There was an entire CONVENTION where people said, “you got to belong to someone, I’m happy to belong to the government.” (GAGS)

                    • They are right about the first part. I belong to my Creator, my Beloved Spouse and myself, not necessarily in that order, depending on time of day, how recently I’ve been fed and a variety of other factors.

                      I may have incorporated my soul and sold off a significant portion, but I retain a majority of voting stock.

                      Belonging to a government, a(n employee) union or a political party is to invert the proper relationship with any such organization. A subject belongs to the government, a citizen knows the government belongs to him.

                • There’s at least one of the Discworld books that revolves around that idea, that (some?) people just have a spot in their skulls marked “king” or “chief” or “strong man” and they’re not happy if it’s empty.

                  • Tom Bridgeland

                    One of the joys of being a Christian, for me, is that I don’t need an earthly king. I am allowed to run about advocating libertarianism to my heart’s content.

      • I would add Seattle to the nomination list, and yes I know a couple of you are from there, I have family there myself. I highly recommend moving ;)

        • Really big port (lots of traffic– sea, air, road, rail), history of “protests” that would be dirt easy to mimic until it’s too late to do anything (good heavens,#OWS shut down a couple of Ports, along with illegal union protests), Seattle is a “sanctuary city” so it’s simple to trickle in and gather if you need a lot of people, and several military targets. About my only reassurance is that my house isn’t a straight line from the water, and I think terrorists would aim for the carriers.

          • Why on earth would terrorists aim for the carriers? Carriers are tough. The purpose of a terrorist is to terrorize, and the best way to do that is by attacking crowds of defenceless civilians at their most vulnerable point.

            • Holing a carrier would damage the American image of invulnerable strength. It would be a significant propaganda win.

              • It would also be a damn sight harder than anything they attempted on 9/11. Carriers shoot back.

                • So do destroyers — which did nothing for the USS Cole.

                  Which is to say nothing about possibly infiltrating/suborning the crew to get a bomb planted aboard. Our enemy is very good at lateral planning and asymmetrical attacks.

                  • Wayne Blackburn

                    Oh, HELL, no. Sneak a bomb onto a nuclear powered ship? Don’t even be giving them ideas, huh?

                • Wayne Blackburn

                  USS Cole

                  Besides, with the restrictions on them nowadays, they might not.

                  • Short phrase:
                    Major Hasan on a ship.

                    Think that’s outlandish? Um, I did 90% of my division’s paperwork for an inspection because the guy who was supposed to be doing it in the main office was busy getting his degree… in Islamic Studies. (He also tried to accuse me of threatening him– I was half the weight, female, and a foot shorter– because I was cracking my hand-joints to get circulation going. Lots of “issues” can be ignore if one shares Obama’s general paternal background.)

                • Not only do carriers shoot back but they have many friends. Carrier Strike group.

                • Carriers shoot back at sea but not in port and maybe a better target would be a nuclear submarine. These may not be as well protected as you might think. Read this bookhttp://www.amazon.com/Rogue-Warrior-Richard-Marcinko/dp/0671795937/ref=la_B000AP9HVI_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1354812406&sr=1-1 for examples (true this was pre-9/911 but you might want to adequately protect military assets before the attack.

            • Thank God, we don’t have SMART terrorists.

              Their world view is that the target has to be something brag-worthy— big number dead, or impressive because it’s famously important or highly symbolicly military. WTC was the first two, pentagon was the second. Our carriers are very symbolic– IF you managed to take down an LHD or similar, it would LOOK like a carrier, and the collateral damage would be impressive. Taking down, say, the Reagan would also be hugely symbolic. Again, too, the collateral damage would be horrific.

    • valancycarter

      If only they could just take out the “elites” in the major cities. I’d be okay with that.

  2. there are several I wouldn’t mind losing…historical significance and artifacts be damned. I know MY city is near the very top of every terrorist list. Which just….sucks, for my peace of mind right now.

  3. Might be useful to distinguish between inflation which is a general rise and changes in the price of commodities. For changes in the price of commodities it’s useful to distinguish between movement along a supply/demand function and a shifting demand/supply function. That is a rise in the price of commodities, especially more or less fungible commodities such a food where there is easy substitution between and across the category, may or may not be the result of inflation.

    There are many useful proxies for inflation – GDP deflator and other numbers and many useful mesures of consumer misery as the consumer price index but these don’t measure the same thing.

    Another issue of course as the economy diverges from a market economy hardship increases as consumer choice decreases.

  4. Ronald A. Harrison

    Sarah,
    I think you are on the right track. Let me add that I’ve been reading Victor Davis Hanson’s Carnage and Culture. He gives me pause to think.
    Dr. Hanson points out that for 3,000 years, since early Greek times, western nations have never or almost never lost a war to a non-western nation; battles yes, wars no. It has been pointed out many times that a society’s military power is the flip side of its civic power. It is also true that the type of society determines what is possible with the type of military. Dr. Davis extensively analyzes what military philosophy we operate by. He also analyzes what societal philosophy makes that military possible. I absolutely recommend this book for anyone trying to figure out the impact of Obama’s misgovernment. He is not only wrecking us economically but destroying the under-pinnings of our military as well. We will not only lack the money to support a good military we will also lack the type of men who are adaptable to being soldiers or who can fight and win even if motivated to fight.
    He, Dr. Hanson, raises one other issue in my mind. Like you, I have over the years read a lot of philosophy whether formal or informal – everyone from Plato to Fredrick Pohl. I think Dr. Hanson’s book practically begs for a new look at what our philosophy is at a practical level.
    Ron
    BTW, take another look at the ROEs. Analyzed from the Hanson theory they might be intended to cause us to lose.

    • I could see that Obama and his coterie are all about defanging the US military … but that’s not their main purpose – I believe that what they are trying their damndest to do is to destroy the middle class, utterly and completely and by whatever means neccessary. The existance of a middle class is the heart and soul of more American institutions than the military. A strong middle class is the fountainspring of innovation, of creativity in practically everything, a market for the products of a thriving economy. A middle class has the liesure and at least some economic freedom – enough to insist on things like good schools and effeciently-run neighborhoods – and enough education not to be a rent-a-mob for the political boss-of-the-moment. A strong middle class is willing and able to stand up to would-be aristocrats – the new Ruling Class as Anthony Codevilla called them. Of course they’d like to turn the middle class into beggers … then they would be much, much easier to please.

      • Celia,
        Think more small business. Small businesses are hard for government to deal with, hard to manage, and hard to regulate, except to regulate them to death. Obamacare is the first strike against small business. The other thing is, small businesses are the easiest to “go off the books” and run black-market operations, something I’m sure EVERY Democrat fears.

    • Ronald,

      Having fought under these ROEs, I don’t think they’re designed for us to lose. Instead, I think they’re designed by naive people who are smug in our superiority. These things exist because they can. Too many want antiseptic wars where no one gets hurt…or at least where it isn’t seen on TV by an American public that isn’t well equipped to handle the realities of war.

      At the beginning of the Iraq War, the ROE was restrictive, loosened up dramatically as we figured out it had to, and then stiffened again when we transitioned to Stability Ops. If our survival was at stake, I have a feeling the ROE would ease significantly. As the Joker said, “You’ll see. When the chips are down, these ‘civilized people’…they’ll eat each other.

    • Kitteh-Dragon

      “western nations have never or almost never lost a war to a non-western nation” — not true. We’re coming up (spring 2013) on the 560th anniversary of the fall of Constantinople – and thus the final death blow to the Roman Empire – at the hands of the Ottomans. How many centuries did ‘the Moors” control Spain? The Mongols controlled Russia for 300 years. And the sack of Rome was by non-western barbarians who’d been pushed west by other non-western barbarians. These are not ‘aberrant data points’ I haven’t read “Dr. Hanson” but it seems to me he must have ignored a whole lot of world history that didn’t fit his premise.

      And, just for the record:

      FREE CONSTANTINOPLE! 560 YEARS OF OCCUPATION IS ENOUGH!”

      • Remember that the Ottomans had help from Western mercenaries, especially when it came to artillery.

        If you have not read V. D. Hanson, you might at least skim some of his stuff, especially about ancient Greek culture. He’s not PC but he really knows his material, and he writes very well.

        • It’s complicated. One could argue that the major factor in weakening the Eastern Roman Empire before the Ottoman Turks capture of Constantinople in 1453 was when European Crusader knights sacked Constantinople during the fourth crusade some 200 years earlier.

          After that, with Venice gobbling up much of the former Imperial territory and the rest splitting off on it’s own, there wasn’t really much of an Eastern Empire left to draw on to defend the city, and there certainly was no chance of any aid from the European kingdoms when Mehmet showed up with his European mercenaries and their canon.

          • I thought about the 4th Crusade, too, but decided not to wander too far afield. (Yeah, I know. Some days these threads wander so far that the Good Lord can’t find us without using a telescope.)

      • Victor Davis Hanson is a regular commenter at National Review Online and PJ Media. Before dismissing his arguments based upon s layman’s summary you might want to visit his writing directly.

        The war against Islam was won, although not without some losses. They were stopped at Constantinople in the East and the Pyrenees in the West, with Spain eventually reclaimed. The Russia conquered by the Mongols was not of a Western nation, and so on.

        Wars are rarely completely won or lost.

    • =>BTW, take another look at the ROEs. Analyzed from the Hanson theory they might be intended to cause us to lose.

      I thought that obvious

    • “BTW, take another look at the ROEs. Analyzed from the Hanson theory they might be intended to cause us to lose.”

      Of course they are. The ROEs are forced on us by enemy agents posing as lawyers, and as I’ve said for years, the lefts’ endless statements of “it’ll be another Vietnam” isn’t a prediction, but a THREAT.

  5. Any reader of Ayn Rand will probably think “Directive 10-289.” The government in Atlas Shrugged tries to deal with a collapsing economy by ordering everyone to stay in business, stay on their jobs, and spend money in the same way as in the preceding year.

    Of course, there is also the real historical precedent of Diocletian’s edicts, which both froze prices (in the face of a depreciated currency) and compelled every man to work at his father’s trade. That’s what gave us feudalism, as desperate city people fled into the country and took any jobs they could get.

    • Not just the edicts, but massive sales taxes. If you had an integrated property which produced wood, food, cloth, etc. and it never left your possession, you never had to pay sales taxes.

      And for fun, look at how Julian the Apostate increased tax revenues in Gaul — he lowered the rates.

  6. I think we’ve all heard the Van Jones quote, that the goal is to be able to point to anyone in the US, at random, and know that they will be in exactly the same position, same amount of wealth, as anyone else, no matter how much or how little that individual may have worked or saved, no matter how responsible or irresponsible, how honest or criminal in behavior. Everyone exactly the same. Which, of course, means everyone is extremely poor, except for the government overlords and their favored dependents.

    we have more guns per capita than anywhere except those places that encourage/enforce gun ownership, like Switzerland.
    I’ve been considering lately what we’ve lost by fewer people serving in the military, which used to be a normal phase in everyone’s life, at least, every male in the U.S. And which gave us a population who all knew how to defend themselves (not to mention knowing how to organize and how to achieve multi-person goals, or any other number of abilities, or even an overall responsibility and maturity). Plus, our military take an oath to the Constitution, not to the presidency. If I had my life to do over, I’d add military service, and, while I don’t like to make things mandatory, I’d like to push for a culture where everyone serves a couple of years.

    And yes, more guns among the lawful citizens means a decrease in crime where it’s practiced.

    • Another benefit from any military service is a first hand understanding of the innate inefficiencies of any bureaucracy. Talk to any vet and you will get story after story of the unbelievable structural organizational stupidity that the folks in the military get to deal with on a daily basis.

      Much has been written about the returning US WWII vets organizational skills and experience working towards a common goal being a major factor in the way they were so successful in building businesses in the 1950s, but I’m also convinced their experience with the drag of bureaucracy was a big factor as well – the (admittedly few) managers of that era I worked for early in my career were much less “policy and procedure manual” and much more “do what you need to do to get the job done” type people.

      • If I were made absolute dictator of the US for a time — with the knowledge that nothing I did could be rescinded — I would decree that no one was eligible for the House, Senate, or Presidency without years of experience either in the military or in private, for profit employment.

        We want no more George McGoverns who think they can run the country and can’t in reality run a bed and breakfast. He was uncommonly honest one, I’ll grant you that; he wished he had realized what regulations did when he was in office.

        • I’d ban lawyers from politics. Dress it up in the guise of “their job is too important, blah, blah, blah” and they’ll fall for it, too.

    • What’s really fun, Laurie, is to look at the military from the standpoint of where those people joined from, and call home. There’s far more ‘red’ than ‘blue’, and a lot of the ‘blue’ people don’t stay ‘blue’ after a decade or more of service.

  7. =>(Of course, I keep thinking of Starship Troopers “And then the veterans had had enough.”

    Not the only one you are, I assure you.

  8. I believe that the low interest rates are driven by the absolute need to keep the US Federal debt servicing cost low as it currently is. Once that cost starts going up, it’s game over for the US Debt and gov’t spending. People still refer to the USD as the world’s reserve currency and the “safe harbour”- but consider what interest rate would be if the Treasury wasn’t soaking up 70% of the debt being issued? How high would the rates have to go for the market in US debt to clear? It’s not just that the Treasury is financing the debt by buy in, enabling the deficits to continue- it’s concealing what would be a much, much higher debt service cost.

    • Gawd, I hadn’t thought of that, but that makes a terrible kind of sense (and here I was, thinking I was paranoid about increasing the money supply as a way of inflating our way out of debt, too).

    • Robin Roberts

      To nitpick, its the Federal Reserve that is soaking up massive amounts of Federal securities currently. The amount of US debt held by the Federal Reserve publically disclosed has increased in the last year by almost as much as the total deficit of FY 2012.

  9. It’s very difficult to compare US firearms ownership with anywhere else in the world. In Switzerland you can bike around town with a fully auto SIG assault rifle on your back, UNLOADED. The cops know what the magazines look like, and they’ll tackle you and handcuff you if they see you even carrying an empty magazine. In France, if you can own a pistol you can own a silencer for it, no extra to do. Israel is closest, but you need more personal references for more powerful firearms. A recent return immigrant can get a .22 pistol, you have to be a citizen there a while to buy a .357 Magnum.
    There are many collapse situations that result in deflation; someone who managed to keep some cash in the bank or stashed in the matress can find it worth ten times as much in a year, though I’m ignorant of what these situations are. And I think pressure from China and other lenders has prevented Obama from printing as much cash and inflating as much as he wants; the Chinese would cut us off. Early on O actually said before a camera that we would borrow and just print cash to pay the bills with less valuable cash, gave us that what a smart boy am I smirk. I think the Chinese and the Swiss had a word with him.

    • Yeah, I hear some Chinese officials have openly called O an idiot, and America was shut out of that Pacific powers trading alliance.

    • Uh… printing presses running 24/7 in “open ended” QE. HOW could he print more?

    • Robin Roberts

      “And I think pressure from China and other lenders has prevented Obama from printing as much cash and inflating as much as he wants; the Chinese would cut us off.”

      Given the immense amount of money that the Federal Reserve has used to buy US securities – with the ink not even dry – I can’t imagine what more Obama might want.

      • He wants to crash our economy/turn us into Somalia. That hasn’t happened yet so he’s still going “Forward!” The ironic part of the that is that the Daily Forward was a Socialist paper in Yiddish circulated in New York City.

        • Robin Roberts

          I don’t think the word “irony” means what you think it means. ;-)

        • Avante — in Portugal. The organ of the CP. Means… “Forward.”

          He’s not even hiding it.

          • No he isn’t.

            • Why hide it when the MSM is determined to play Margaret Dumont to his Groucho? They cannot acknowledge what he says when he says such things, they are psychologically incapable of acknowledging it. They are too invested in him.

              Look at two instances from the recent election campaign. Romney’s 47% remark was pulled out of context and contorted to give it the meaning that fit the narrative, while Obama’s “you didn’t build that” was ignored; when forced to report it the MSM claimed that it was being taken against context even though the actual context made clear that it was being interpreted properly.

              The quantity of comparable examples is nigh infinite. Contrast Press obsessiveness over Valerie Plame’s name being dropped with their near total lack of interest in why, with assets an hour away from Benghazi, our diplomatic mission was hung out to dry for over seven hours. Ask why the NY Times gives valuable editorial page space to Warren Buffett’s argument for higher tax rates on the rich while they ignore his long-running legal battle with the IRS over more than a billion dollars in unpaid taxes — or even why nobody asks him howcome he elects to take his salary in dividends and capital gains rather than as taxable wages.

              • Oh heck – the argument can be boiled down to two words: Sandy and Katrina.

                BTW – have you seen the reports that Nawlins’ Mayor Ray Nagin is being brought up on corruption charges? Whatever were they thinking, electing a cable exec?

                • pfui – let’s add this to the bruch fire of MSM malfeasance:

                  [Al] Sharpton’s all about taxes — for others.

                  For himself, well, maybe not so much.

                  As The Post’s Isabel Vincent and Melissa Klein reported last year, Sharpton “owe[d] the IRS $2.6 million in income tax, and nearly $900,000 in state tax.”

                  And his personal pride and joy National Action Network owed more than $880,000 in unpaid federal payroll taxes, interest and penalties, Vincent and Klein found.

                  http://www.nypost.com/p/news/opinion/editorials/taxes_are_for_the_little_people_cLuVKa0gfnxIVaKJvHRFmI

                • I could tell you stories about corruption in Katrina by the politicos there that would make you cringe. Let’s say that a lot of the money that was supposed to be used for preparation went into certain people’s pockets–

                  • Cyn,
                    I have relatives from about Lafayette north. The corruption in both local and State government was par for the course, which is what gave Bobby Jindal two consecutive terms as governor, and 70% of the state offices to Republicans. Corruption has been king in Louisiana since the territory was bought from Spain (stolen by France) in 1803. Only the names change.

                    • You would probably know more then– let’s say that the reason so many people died during Katrina had a lot to do with local government and even what the locals actually believed.

                    • I figured LA a lost cause back in the Clinton Era when I read about a Nawlins city cop who was killed while moonlighting as a security guard at a jewelry store, shot by his partner who was also moonlighting, but not for the jewelry store.

                      Any city whose police murder their partners has passed the threshold.

          • Which is worse — the openly communist campaign slogan, or the “citizen’s committee” organization named for a racial slur?

  10. Deflation may result when production has broken down for a while, I recall hearing that people with deflated, valuable currency often find it difficult to find anything to spend it on.

    • The last thing DC wants to face is paying back debt which is worth more than what was borrowed. Goes against the “rules”of the game as they know it.

  11. Chicago – Please! As someone from Southern Illinois, our state would be so much better off if the city of Chicago fell into the lake.

    • Denise — your enthusiasm is noted, but I don’t think we’re allowed to PICK.

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

        Who made that rule? He/She has to go! I want Chicago gone as well! [Wink]

      • Don’t bet on it. For example, if I heard of a plot to erase Berkely, or Austin, or any of a dozen other concentrations of Leftists, I would require much thought and prayer before I could decide to report it.

        These people are no longer my countrymen, and I owe them nothing.

    • You find a way to move the Museum of Science and Industry, and some of the archives, and I’ll talk to someone who knows someone and see if you-know-who has any ideas.

  12. “Look, ALL intervention in economics is stupid, ultimately, because economics is not something someone can CONTROL. It is instead a playground for the law of unintended consequences. It’s as if we developed an ability to control the weather and were in shock when keeping it pleasant in Iowa buried NYC in ice or something”

    This is quotable. I plan to, if you don’t mind.

  13. Raymond Jelli

    The economics of it all makes me think that at some point a secession of states that are economically growing (not necessarily thriving but still growing) is likely. If it doesn’t make sense to print money and keep interest rates low it does make sense to form a country where your currency automatically has value and you are free of debt. The real American revolution was not the fighting but the slow evolution of Americans from believing they were English to believing they were American. Their land’s wealth, size and armed population meant that if they decided to secede the British would have enormous problems trying to keep them a colony. I see that now. What happens when millions of people say I am post-American?

    • TWANLOC is only the beginning. There is already a secession petition circulating on the Internet. This all reminds me of when Israel split in two during the late Prophetic era.

  14. I nominate L.A.; after that, Portland and San Francisco.

    I mean, I’d want to get my relatives out of them first, but really, wouldn’t we be better off without those three cities?

    Personally, if I were dictator for a year, I’d give L.A. back to Mexico. Let them deal with it, and we’ll be well rid of it. After you redesign the border fence to run it north of L.A., the next move is to let in any Hispanic who jumps the fence, but shoot any white person. That way, you don’t get accused of racism, and you get rid of half the people who would be accusing you of racism anyway.

    • I toyed with a story where, following various and sundry events, the US “gave back” parts of AZ, CA and NM to Mexico in order to get a more easily defended southern border (based on topography). Minus most of the infrastructure and the Colorado River dams. Mexico got rather peeved when all that water started roaring downstream.

    • What would you do with Camp Pendleton? Evacuate the conservatives out of Orange County?

      • Okay — clears throat — we are not nuking any AMERICAN cities. That’s final.
        Worse, and you know it as well as I do, if any of these cities, except maybe Detroit and East St. Louis (because how could you tell the difference) gets nuked, we’ll ALL be grieved and wordless.
        Look, I’ll be blunt, I can’t imagine anyone having less in common with me, or fewer common sympathies (other than a taste for foreign languages and the fact I have a lot of gay friends) than Ambassador Chris Stevens. He was a man of the left and an Islamophile. And yet, his death the way it happened, at the hands of our enemies, still has me shaken and grieved to the core.
        You know d*mn well we joke about this stuff — and when we’re really mad, we might think we mean it — but we don’t.
        Sometimes we feel our compatriots need to be shaken or doused with the cold water or reality, but seriously. No.

        • Well of course we can’t nuke any American cities — the carbon tax would be RUINOUS! (blinks innocently) Plus, even Detroit has kittehs. Won’t someone think of the kittehs?

          Now if I was truly evil I would do something so the hipster food supply dries up (you know, the cruelty-free tofu, dolphin-safe coconuts) which is not only more ecologically sensitive, it wouldn’t affect anyone we care about ;-)

          • Dolphin safe coconuts?

            Sabrina, you evil wench, you now must come over and clean my brain off the walls after my head exploded at that image.

            • Bwahahahahah! Now you must write a story about it! (rubs hands with glee)

              • Or how about this: as far as I know there are Chaos Magician groups who have been trying to manifest Cthulhu for decades. What if one finally succeeded? Or maybe one of them already has, several years ago?

                • Too easy! John Ringo wrote this one years ago. A Christian soccer mom hight Barbara Everette killed/shredded Almadu(Cthulhu) in a tiny LA hamlet years before Katrina. She channeled divine lightning bolts through a rifle.

          • Are dolphin safe coconuts safe for dolphins to eat? Or are they safe from dolphins?

            • Susan Shepherd

              Perhaps they’re like child-safe pill containers. You know — coconuts that your dolphins can’t open, so you don’t have to worry about the family dolphin eating all your coconuts while you’re out running errands.

              • According to most of my friends, those pill containers are badly named, and a much more accurate name would be “adult-proof pill containers”. (The senior-proof ones are especially egregious).

                • Susan Shepherd

                  I agree on the “adult-proof” quality of certain pill lid designs. What really bothers me is when there’s a “safe” design and you can’t get the friggin’ thing to close up properly when you’re done with it. In some cases, I’d swear smaller hands have an easier time jumping through the stupid safety requirements.

                • I discovered this when I was pregnant with #2 son. For some reason the only symptom I had was falling asleep suddenly, without warning. I had a two year old. We’d just moved. The friends who’d helped us pack were single and — I swear to G-d — packed the medicine cabinet in with the stuffed toys. Robert was three. Let’s just say I took an unscheduled nap followed by a panicked call to the poison control center (fortunately the things he’d actually TAKEN were things like Tums, likely to give an upset stomach, not actual poisoning.)

              • Head>desk.

                Woman, Dave Freer and I have a series of stories on uplifted land sharks percolating and you throw this at me?

        • I wasn’t advocating the nuking of San Diego; I was just mentioning that there are like-minded people south of LA.

          Additionally if Pendleton wasn’t in CA anymore where would we put it?

        • No, the fictional situation arose from multiple terrorist attacks from outside the US, nothing internal. I assure you and everyone else who reads these threads, that kind of . . . stuff . . . won’t show up in my work. And Emily, the US moved everyone who wanted to go out of the region, sometimes offering homestead rights in other areas. All the cultural items that could be moved also went. That’ was what first tipped some people off that something big was starting: when the museums relocated. One reason for not turning over the dams and power infrastructure stemmed from elements in the Mexican government encouraging the bad guys to use their country as a transportation route.

        • Okey-dokey: No nuking AMERICAN cities. That still leaves San Francisco, LA, Seattle, Detroit and Washington DC, right?

    • Don’t bother with Portland, if we want to get rid of it all we have to do is give in to the greenies and take the dams out of the Columbia. It is amazing how many Leftists in Portland want to get rid of the evil dams, they never seem to comprehend that Portland is only in existence because of the dams, take them out and most of Portland would be submerged on a regular basis.

      • Same people who think you can buy your groceries w/o killing animals or plants. I shake my head in dismay–

        • Like the person who allegedly* wrote this letter to the editor of their** local newspaper:

          http://www.stevenhumour.com/2009/11/15/no-animals-were-harmed/

          * I once examined that newspaper clipping image in great detail and I’m pretty sure it’s real and not a photoshop, but I’m hedging my bets on whether the letter was genuine or whether the paper’s editorial department made it up.

          ** Yes, I’m using the singular “their”. What of it? English needs a gender-neutral singular pronoun, and this is what seems to be moving into common usage.

          • Sadly, I don’t need to hedge my bets on whether people exist who would write such an asinine thing. I’ve met some of them.

            BTW, while searching the Internet for that quote, I stumbled across a collection of Sarah Palin jokes from 2008. A couple of my favorites:

            “When a tree falls in Alaska, Sarah Palin knows EXACTLY where it was.”
            “Sarah Palin’s maiden name was Connor.”

          • It is now considered grammatically correct, though I once got sneered at for using it, in a blog, of course.

            I don’t like it, but I like English grammar as it was. He IS gender neutral in some circumstances. Indo European languages are like that. I don’t know why it would be considered sexist towards women. Could as easily be turned around the other way. “You mean males are neuters in some circumstances? Androphobe.”

            If we start f*cking with grammar we end up with wymen and people thinking human is Hue-Man and anti-white. I say grammar is grammar and I say the easily wounded flowers should shove it.

            OTOH even I end up using “they” as singular, because it IS moving into common usage.

            I reserve the right to grumble.

            • Periodically I am wont to point out that one advantage of being politically conservative is that I do not have to conform to such fads as eschewing “he” as a neutral pronoun. Those who have trouble with such adherence to long-established cultural norms are engaging in intolerant demands that others bend to their whims at the cost of clarity and well-established communication custom.

              I reserve the right and privilege of violating my own norms whenever it is commodious to my comedic purpose, just as I enjoy employment of archaic definitions for words.

              Clearly those who would insist on imposing their fashions are engaging in the most egregious form of cultural bullying, demanding an unhindered right to dictate the behaviour and word choice of others.

              • RES wrote:
                “Clearly those who would insist on imposing their fashions are engaging in the most egregious form of cultural bullying, demanding an unhindered right to dictate the behaviour and word choice of others.”

                They want to dictate the behaviors of others period. They are tyrant wannabes.

            • “It” is gender neutral in some situations.

              “Who is it?”
              “It’s your boss.”
              “What does it want?”

              where does the problem arise?

            • I use “their” as the pronoun when it can refer to a collective or is simply ambiguis (sp?) on gender. I don’t do it as a matter of PC, but to make clear that I DON’T know whether the indivdiual/collective is male, female, trisex, it, or other.

          • I use their too– urg… cause I get tired of using his/her him/her or etc. I also stick to male pronoun–if I remember. :-)

          • Also– I saw that newspaper clipping– GAWD– well the editorial department (if it is a small paper it would be the editor) could have written it. But they are pretty busy usually–

            Also I have met those magic meat people when I was going to college. ;-)

      • Dam such fools.

      • Nah — they’d just move to Beaverton and other points west of the West Hills; or south to the Oregon City area up on the bluffs. There’s actually not that many places in Portland which can be flooded and actually get rid of people (which isn’t to say they’re not trying — some folks want to turn Portland Int’l Raceway into a housing development; hint: Google “Vanport Flood”).

        Worse: Lose downtown Portland, and Powell’s City of Books goes bye-bye.

  15. This is in response to Sarah’s joke about Moses meeting W in the airport — that particular thread is now so nested that WordPress isn’t giving me any more “Reply” links. (How does everyone else reply to those deeply-nested threads? Clearly there’s some way I’m not figuring out…)

    Anyway, now that Israel appears to have huge reserves of shale oil rivaling the known reserves of Saudi Arabia, that joke might just have to be updated. It may cost more to recover than more conventional oil sources, but it has the potential to be a game-changer for Middle Eastern politics in the next decade or so. A truly interesting development.

    • Yes. I remember reading that and thinking “But has it always been there… ten days ago?”

    • Wayne Blackburn

      If you’re getting email notifications, there should be a Reply link in the email. Otherwise, there IS another way, but it’s too much of a pain for most people without OCD (like me) to fool with.

      • I just scroll upscreen until I come to the last comment with a reply button. If I click on it and reply, my reply gets posted just underneath the last comment. (which may possibly annoy those getting this by email to no end, since I hate my email I never get anything by email)

        • Wayne Blackburn

          While that does work, and it is a reasonable method I overlooked, it doesn’t show the actual comment you were replying to, excerpted in the email notifications. Of course, for you, that wouldn’t make a difference. :-)

          • Even when replying by “Comment” button on an email, I believe it quotes the last post with a reply option — certainly I receive many an email reply that appears to have done that.

            • I will note that Jasini is apparantly more sophisticated than the rest of us, her replies come complete with a footer (or whatever the heck you call a signature line at the bottom of a post), date, time, and a quote of the comment she is replying to.

              • Only when I reply via email. :-)

                *Jasini

                Facts are stubborn things, but not nearly as stubborn as fallacies.*

                On Wed, Dec 5, 2012 at 10:53 PM, According To Hoyt wrote:

                > ** > bearcat commented: “I will note that Jasini is apparantly more > sophisticated than the rest of us, her replies come complete with a footer > (or whatever the heck you call a signature line at the bottom of a post), > date, time, and a quote of the comment she is replying to.” >

                • Disturbingly, WP seems to have decided to stop emailing me the comments on the blogs I am following. First it stopped sending me emails of my comments, not it has dropped me entirely.

                  I have poked about in the WP settings but haven’t seen a thing that looks like the button I should push; does anybody have any suggestions for repairing this situation?

                  • Wayne Blackburn

                    Sorry, no. It seems to have decided to randomly not send me comment updates (as in, I didn’t see your comment in my email, I just happened to be checking this thread), though I don’t think I have missed any notifications of article postings, yet.

                    • It is most curious. For some time I was aware that WP was randomly dropping one or two comments per thread (oddly, they were often inflammatory comments of far Left nature) but this is the first time I have observed significant numbers of comments not appearing.

                      Sigh – it makes me (even more) nostalgic for the old Baen’s Bar software that not only presented comments in tree form, it differentiated between ones I’d read and not read by bold-facing unread comments. Repetitively scrolling across a WP comment list scanning for new is tedious and inefficient. It might almost be a feature intended to encourage Hit’N’Run commenting.

                    • If you use gmail, check your spam. Gmail randomly decides comment threads are spam– sometimes I can indentify a common thread, like “They’re all from X blog” or “they’re all from one host”– but usually it’s just random.

  16. re: “we’re just the largest country in history organized on non-authoritarian lines.”

    What a lovely way to describe the United States of America. Thank you, Sarah.

    Sarah, I had my own epiphany after the World Trade Tower/Pentagon attacks on 9-11. My oldest son had just joined the Air Force and was assigned to a “deployment” unit. Then 9-11. Within 10 days he was on a plane to Afghanistan to help set up a base so supplies could be airlifted to combatants. It was such a shock that the US had been attacked on the home front, and then, watching a child who joined up in peacetime sent off where guns were firing.

    Anyway, I did what any sensible person could do- I read, read, read. History. Religious history. History. As an American, and I think I am not unique, we just assume things substantive things won’t change very much. But my last decade of reading shows me how reality works, and how foolish we are not to be vigilant when signs appear that have de-railed past peoples and past nations.

    I am also a retired accountant, and wife of a man who formed up a company which employed 250 people before the dot-com bust. The country needs about 10,000 entrepreneurs to form up companies which employ 250 people. Do you think that is going to happen with elected officials “sneering” at the kind of people who “make” entrepreneurial activities succeed and grow? I just laugh out loud at the wrong-headedness of most people on economic matters.

    There is a website run by the Treasury called “Debt to the Penny:. I have downloaded two decades of data and run graphs. This is not looking good, and the madness just continues. I read that the Treasury borrowed $120 billion in October. The new debt “run-rate” for the past two years has averaged $103 billion each month, on average. How long before a dollar bill buys what now costs 5 cents?

    There is a youtube that Hal Mason, a retired accountant, made which explains the mismatch of the country’s revenue, spending, and indebtedness. For novices, it’s easy to grasp. Google Hal Mason Youtube debt. It’s worth five minutes.

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  18. OTOH it’s entirely possible I’m attributing to stupidity that which is more easily explained by malice: they want to turn us into beggars, because beggars are easy to please. No, wait, that still means stupidity, because what can’t go on, won’t and like with price fixing, when you make it impossible for people to live, people find extra-legal means.

    Sarah, please recall Atlas Shrugged. They don’t think it has to “go on”… it just has to go on long enough