Wednesday, February 24, 2016

The Decline and Fall of Hillary Clinton

The last couple of weeks in American politics have offered an interesting confirmation of some of the main themes I’ve discussed on this blog. For that matter, those weeks would have come as no surprise to one of the thinkers whose work has guided these essays since this blog started a decade ago, the philosopher of history Oswald Spengler. I can all too readily imagine the hard lines of Spengler’s face creasing in momentary amusement as he contemplates the temporarily divergent fates of those two candidates for the US presidency that, less than a year ago, nearly everyone insisted would be facing one another in the general election:   Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton.

Bush is in some ways the perfect poster child for the theme I have in mind just now. When he launched his campaign last year, it was a letter-perfect copy of the successful presidential campaigns of the last three decades. He lined up plenty of big-money sponsors; he assembled a team of ghostwriters, spin doctors, and door-to-door salesmen to run his campaign; he had a PR firm design a catchy logo; he practiced spouting the kind of empty rhetoric that sounds meaningful so long as you don’t think about it for two minutes; he took carefully calculated stands on a handful of hot-button topics, mouthed the conventional wisdom on every other issue, and set out to convince the voters that their interests would be harmed just a little bit less by putting him in the White House than by any of the alternatives.

That sort of content-free campaign is what got George Bush I, Bill Clinton, George Bush II, and Barack Obama onto the list of US presidents. What it got Jeb Bush, though, was a string of humiliating defeats. Some have suggested that his tearful exit from the race in the wake of the South Carolina primary was the act of a child who had been promised a nice shiny presidency by his daddy, and then found out that the mean voters wouldn’t give it to him. I think, though, that there was considerably more to it than that. I think that Bush had just realized, to his shock and horror, that the rules of the game had been changed on him without notice, and all those well-informed, well-connected people who had advised him on the route that would take him to the presidency had basically been smoking their shorts.

If anything, though, Hillary Clinton’s campaign offers an even clearer glimpse into the festering heart of the American political process. She did exactly the same things that Jeb did—it’s indicative that the two of them both splashed their first names across their equally banal campaign logos—and she also managed, as he never did, to get the apparatchiks of her party lined up solidly on her side before the campaigning season got under way. By the ordinary rules of US politics, she should have enjoyed a leisurely stroll through the primaries to the Democratic convention while Jeb Bush wrestled with his opponents, and then gone into the general election with plenty of money to spare, saturating the air waves with a deluge of advertisements designed to convince the American people that four years under her leadership would be ever so slightly less disastrous for them than four years under Bush.

This time, though, the rules have changed. Clinton is facing a spirited challenge from party outsider Bernie Sanders, and though she’ll still probably get the nomination—it’s a source of wry amusement that just now, the Democratic Party’s nominating procedure is significantly less democratic than that of the GOP—it’s pretty clear at this point that she’s not going to get it without a fight. Once she does, in turn, instead of facing another bland insider in a tepid race to the center that can easily be clinched by an ad blitz or two, she’ll be up against Donald Trump, whose popularity soars with every petulant denunciation the pundits of the privileged classes fling at him, whose take-no-prisoners style of bare-knuckle campaigning is exactly the sort of challenge that neither Clinton nor her lumbering campaign staff have shown the least ability to handle, and who is prepared to offer the voters something other than the very slightly lesser of two evils.

Now of course Clinton has made things considerably worse for herself by the way she’s approached the campaign.  She’s got a whopping case of that weird mental blind spot I labeled, in a post that appeared here last year, “the delusion of control”—the notion, as pervasive as it is preposterous, that when a member of America’s privileged classes does something, the rest of the cosmos is obliged to respond to that action in a wholly passive, wholly mechanical manner. For a world-class example, watch the way Clinton’s handlers simply look blank each time they find out that most of the American people loathe and distrust their candidate, and try repeatedly to “reintroduce” her, as though they think they can just hit a reset button on the campaign machinery and start all over again.

For that matter, Clinton’s own attitude during the campaign so far reminds me of nothing so much as what happens when someone puts money into a defective vending machine. She’s fed the thing her quarters and pushed the right button, but the desired product hasn’t dropped to the bottom where she can get it.  Now she’s jabbing the button over and over again, and in due time she’ll be pounding her fists on the thing and screaming at it because it won’t give her what she’s paid for.  I honestly don’t think she’s ever, even for a moment, considered the possibility that the voting public isn’t simply a passive, mechanical mass that will spit up a presidency for her if she just manipulates in in the right way.  I doubt it has entered her darkest dream that the American people might just up and decide to cast their votes to further their own interests rather than hers.

That analysis seems plausible to me for a variety of reasons, but high among them is the way that Clinton’s supporters among her own class-and-gender subcategory have demanded that all American women back the Clinton campaign. I’m thinking here particularly of Madeleine Albright, who made the news a little while back with a irate public statement insisting that “there’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women.”  That’s a common trope among a certain well-paid class of Second Wave feminists. It’s become controversial, and for good reason, among a great many other feminists, particularly in the partly overlapping sets of women of color and women in the wage class. Listen to them, and you’ll hear at some length how they feel about being expected to help rich and influential women like Madeleine Albright pursue their goals, when they know perfectly well the favor won’t be returned in any way that matters.

What, after all, does a Clinton presidency offer the majority of American women, other than whatever vicarious thrill they might get from having a president with a vagina? The economic policies Clinton espouses—the current bipartisan consensus, from which she shows no signs of veering in the slightest—have already brought poverty and misery to millions of American women who don’t happen to share her privileged background and more than ample income.  Her tenure as Secretary of State was marked by exactly the sort of hamfisted interventions in other people’s countries to which Democrats, once upon a time, used to object:  interventions, please note, that have already been responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths in Syria, Libya, and elsewhere, and may yet—especially if Clinton takes the same attitudes with her into the White House—treat a good many American women to the experience of watching their kids come home in body bags from yet another brutal and pointless Mideast war.

The reaction to Albright’s public tantrum is in many ways as instructive as the tantrum itself. A great many American women simply aren’t buying it. More generally, no matter how furiously Clinton and her flacks hammer on the buttons of the vending machine, trying to elicit the mechanical response they think they ought to be able to expect, the voters aren’t falling into line. Trump and Sanders, each in his own way, have shown too many people that it’s possible to hope for something other than an intolerable state of business as usual.  In the wake of their candidacies, a great many voters have decided that they’re no longer willing to vote for the lesser of two evils.

That’s a point of some importance.  To my mind, it’s far from accidental that for the last few decades, every presidential election here in the US has been enlivened by bumper stickers calling on voters to support the presidential ambitions of Cthulhu, the tentacled primeval horror out of H.P. Lovecraft’s tales of cosmic dread. I’m sorry to say that the Elder God’s campaign faces a serious constitutional challenge, as he was spawned on the world of Vhoorl in the twenty-third nebula and currently resides in the drowned corpse-city of R’lyeh, and as far as I know neither of these are US territory. Still, his bid for the White House has gotten further than most other imaginary candidacies, and I’ve long thought that the secret behind that success is Cthulhu’s campaign slogan: “Why settle for the lesser evil?”

The reason that this slogan reliably elicits laughter, in turn, is that the entire rhetoric of presidential politics in the United States for decades now has fixated on the claim that one party’s pet stooge won’t do anything quite as appalling as the other side’s will, even though they all support the same policies and are bought and sold by the same corrupt interests. Over and over again, we’ve been told that we have to vote for whatever candidate this or that party has retched up, because otherwise the other side will get to nominate a Supreme Court justice or two, or get us into another war, or do something else bad. Any suggestion that a candidate might be expected to do something positive—that he or she might, for example, reject the bipartisan policies that have crashed the standard of living for most Americans, consigned the nation’s infrastructure to malign neglect, and pursued gargantuan corporate welfare programs, such as the worthless F-35 fighter, at the expense of anything more useful or necessary—is dismissed out of hand as “unrealistic.”

What the insurgent candidacies of Trump and Sanders show conclusively, in turn, is that the lesser-evil rhetoric and its fixation on “realistic” politics have just passed their pull date. There are very good reasons for this. The pursuit of the lesser evil means that the best the American people are supposed to hope for is the continuation of the current state of things—that’s what you get, after all, if your only talking points fixate on stopping things from getting worse—and for most Americans today, the current state of things is unbearable. Cratering wages and soaring rents, a legal environment that increasingly denies even basic rights to everybody but corporations and the rich, an economy rigged to load ever-increasing costs on working people while funneling all the benefits to those who already have too much—well, you can fill in the list as well as I can. If you don’t happen to belong to the privileged classes, life in today’s America is rapidly becoming intolerable, and the “realistic” politics that both parties have pursued with equal enthusiasm for decades are directly responsible for making it intolerable.

Thus the reason that a large and growing number of ordinary working Americans are refusing to accept another rehash of the status quo this time around is that their backs are to the wall. That’s a situation that comes up reliably at a certain point in the history of every society, and it’s a source of wry amusement to me that Oswald Spengler predicted the situation currently facing the United States—and, mutatis mutandis, the rest of the industrialized world as well.

Spengler’s historical analysis covers a vast amount of territory, but the point at issue here appears late in the second volume of The Decline of the West, where he sketches out the immediate future of what we call Western industrial civilization and he named the Faustian Culture. His theme was the way that democracies die. He argued that democracy suffers from a lethal vulnerability, which is that it has no meaningful defenses against the influence of money.  Since most citizens are more interested in their own personal, short-term advantage than they are in the long-term destiny of their nation, democracy turns into a polite fiction for plutocracy just as soon as the rich figure out how to buy votes, a lesson that rarely takes them long to learn.

The problem with plutocracy, in turn, is that it embodies the same fixation on short-term personal advantage that gives it its entry to power, since the only goals that guide the rich in their increasingly kleptocratic rule are immediate personal wealth and gratification. Despite the ravings of economists, furthermore, it simply isn’t true that what benefits the very rich automatically benefits the rest of society as well; quite the contrary, in the blind obsession with personal gain that drives the plutocratic system, the plutocrats generally lose track of the hard fact that too much profiteering can run the entire system into the ground  A democracy in its terminal years thus devolves into a broken society from which only the narrowing circle of the privileged rich derive any tangible benefit. In due time, those excluded from that circle look elsewhere for leadership.

The result is what Spengler calls Caesarism: the rise of charismatic leaders who discover that they can seize power by challenging the plutocrats, addressing the excluded majority, and offering the latter some hope that their lot will be improved. Now and then, the leaders who figure this out come from within the plutocracy itself; Julius Caesar, who contributed his family name to Spengler’s term, was a very rich man from an old-money Senatorial family, and he’s far from the only example. In 1918, Spengler predicted that the first wave of Caesarism in the Western world was about to hit, that it would be defeated by the plutocrats, and that other waves would follow. He was dead right on the first two counts, and the current election suggests that the third prediction will turn out just as accurate.

To a very real extent, Hillary Clinton’s faltering presidential campaign is a perfect microcosm of what Spengler was talking about in his cold analysis of democracy in extremis. Her entire platform presupposes that the only policies the United States can follow are those that have been welded in place since the turn of the millennium: more government largesse for corporations and the rich, more austerity for everyone else, more malign neglect for the national infrastructure and the environment, more wars in the Middle East, and more of the fantastically stupid policy of confrontation—there really is no gentler way to describe it—that has succeeded, against all odds, in uniting Russia, China, Iran, and an assortment of smaller nations against the United States, by convincing their leaders that they have nothing to gain from a US-centric world order and nothing to lose by challenging it.

Those policies have not brought any of the good things their promoters insisted that they were going to bring. Another four years of the same policies aren’t going to change that fact. Every American voter knows these things, and so does Hillary Clinton, which is why her campaign focuses so precisely on everything but the issues that actually concern the majority of American voters today. That’s what lends a savage irony to Madeleine Albright’s brittle demand that American women support Clinton even though, for all practical purposes, she’s offering them very little more than they got from George W. Bush.  Albright’s is the classic voice of a senile plutocracy on its way down, demanding a loyalty from others that it has done precisely nothing to earn.

I suspect we’ll see plenty of the same sort of irony as the current election season lurches toward its end. No doubt Clinton and her flacks will keep on trying to reintroduce her to voters who already know her quite well enough, thank you; no doubt we’ll hear all sorts of encomiums about what a nice person she is—as though that matters one jot to people who know that four more years of the policies she supports may well land them out of a job and out on the street. For that matter, facile claims that everything is fine, the economy is booming, and the American people are happier than they’ve been in decades are already appearing in the mass media. No doubt things look that way if you live in a bubble of privilege, and take good care never to step outside it and see how the other 80% live; for that matter, it’s true that if you take the obscene gains raked in by the privileged few and average them out across the entire population, that looks like economic betterment—but those gains are not being shared by the entire population, and the entire population knows this.

For the connoisseurs of historical irony, there will doubtless be plenty of entertainment to be had in watching the Clinton campaign as it tries one tactic after another to get that vending machine to cough up the prize Clinton so obviously and desperately craves. None of those veerings matter in any broader sense, because Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders have already demonstrated that rejecting the consensus of America’s dominant minority is a ticket to electoral success. It’s possible—indeed, I think it’s likely—that Clinton will manage to squeeze past Sanders and get the Democratic nomination by fair means or foul; it’s considerably less likely that she’ll be able to overcome Trump in the general election; but even if she does, others will follow where Trump and Sanders lead, and sooner or later one of them will triumph.

The more likely option just now, I think, is that the Clinton campaign will meet a crushing defeat at Trump’s hands, and the decline and fall of Hillary Clinton will also mark the end of the failed consensus that has dominated American politics for decades. That fact alone doesn’t guarantee improvement; no law requires that whatever policies replace the conventional wisdom must be better. Nonetheless, things will change, and it’s at least possible that some of the changes might remove at least a few of the worst features of the bleak era now stumbling to its end around us.

Even archdruids need the occasional break, and it’s been getting on for two years since I last took one. This will therefore be the last post on this blog until April 6. See you then!


Whitecloak said...
I have noticed, oddly enough, that quite a few Sanders supporters I know, including myself, are more than willing to throw their lot in with Trump if Clinton gets the nod. He is bombastic and crude. He says ridiculous things that are more than a little racist. But my God, I'll take a bombastic narcissist who sees himself as an American Marius or Caesar over the corrupt classes of sneering hypocrites.

I'd prefer a Sanders, but if the choice is business as usual or Caesar, give me Caesar. Among the under 40 set I know in southwestern Ohio, the feeling seems remarkably common. If we cannot hope, we shall spite, and perhaps our pain can be felt by those who think themselves our betters.

2/24/16, 6:05 PM

Marcu said...
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The venue is Vapiano, 347 Flinders Lane, Melbourne Victoria, Australia.

Please RSVP, or send queries and comments to limitstogrowth1972[at] For further details please refer to the Green Wizard's forum.

Just look for the green wizard's hat.

2/24/16, 6:15 PM

Paul said...
This links very closely with your writings in "Decline and Fall", and the themes outlined here are closely mirrored in my own country, with the rise of UKIP and the election of Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader.

I've been "reading" that with considerable interest as an audiobook.

This I got from, a subsidiary of Amazon. As you pointed out a couple of weeks ago, buying books at knock down prices from the likes of Amazon puts less money in the pockets of authors.

Are there any other outlets for your work in audio format other than Audible?

2/24/16, 6:21 PM

Pinku-Sensei said...
"Bush had just realized, to his shock and horror, that the rules of the game had been changed on him without notice"--How appropriate that you mentioned "the rules of the game." When Jeb announced the suspension of his campaign in his concession speech, he alluded to the new rules by wishing "my competitors that are remaining on the island" well. Considering that he had been beaten, badly, by a former reality TV star, the "Survivor" reference was an apt summary of the new circumstances in which he found himself. Poor Jeb, please clap for him as he leaves the island after being voted off.

Speaking of "New Rules," the other Clinton surrogate to put her foot in her mouth was Gloria Steinem. On "Real Time with Bill Maher," she said that the young women who supported Bernie Sanders are just doing so because that's where the boys are. That made the generational divide between the supporters of Clinton and Sanders even more stark; it certainly didn't win any of them over.

Just the same, Clinton's strategy is working, at least in the primaries. While Sanders is winning the Internet, where the youth are, Clinton is winning the news media, which her supporters watch and read. The result is that Clinton is leading Sanders in Michigan.

Those same polls show Trump leading in Michigan among all demographic groups and in all parts of the state. The Republican leadership has just passed from denial to bargaining in response to Trump's success. Their endorsements are now pouring in for Rubio, but the people wagering money on the election aren't so sure. They're betting on Trump.

As a final comment on how topsy-turvey this election season has become, Vermin Supreme got twice as many votes in the New Hampshire Democratic Primary than Jim Gilmore got in the Republican Primary. More people preferred the obvious joke candidate to the supposedly serious candidate who didn't know he was a joke.

2/24/16, 6:22 PM

Unknown said...
Thanks for plugging away at all of this. Hopefully a time for yourself will feed the kindly spirit.

2/24/16, 6:22 PM

Jeffrey Williams said...
You are totally off-base. Cthulhu is a GREAT OLD ONE, not an Elder God!
Otherwise insightful.

2/24/16, 6:29 PM

Andy Brown said...
Enjoy your much deserved break! Maybe the commentariot here can put forth some of their own blogs to tide us over until April? I’ll put my own blog forward. It’s no Archdruid Report, but beggars can’t be choosers. Anyone else?

2/24/16, 6:31 PM

Andy Brown said...
I think there is one significant reason why Clinton so far has fought Sanders to a draw. It's that the Democratic party counts a large contingent of minorities who have regarded the government as something of a protector. That is, however badly the US government has treated African Americans, in much of the country they rightly suspect that they'd have been treated even worse under unrestrained white oppression. Same for gays, Hispanics, non-Christians, women, etc. Much as people would like to see the government burn to the ground, the spectacle of it being built from scratch as a Trump rally is going to give a lot of people pause. That's why I think she'll prevail - and why I suspect the big money and big influence will eventually rally to her as well. I won't be shocked to be wrong about that. Interesting times, no doubt.

2/24/16, 6:38 PM

pygmycory said...
I will miss your columns, but I can understand needing a break. I hope you enjoy it.

There seems to be significant political change in the wind in the USA and elsewhere, for good or for ill. Change is desperately needed, but as you said, just because something is different doesn't mean that it will be better. Hope you've got plenty of both popcorn and pocket handkerchiefs available.

2/24/16, 6:44 PM

Robo said...
No doubt the electoral picture will be much clearer when you return. Enjoy!

2/24/16, 6:47 PM

Max Osman said...
I'd argue with the belief that Trump is up in the polls at all. He's holding steady with the same demographic which followed McCain and Romney, and he lost 68 percent of the college educated vote in NH.



The only reason he won a few states was because of the fact that all four of his opponents split the massive opposed vote.


Heres some analysis on it.

I'd bet you whiskey that he'd win but I don't touch the stuff.

When's that military article coming out?

2/24/16, 6:56 PM

Doctor Westchester said...
REMINDER (Since this is the last ADR post until April)!

The 2016 Winter Lower Hudson Valley Green Wizard meetup will be held on Saturday, March 5th, starting at 1:00 PM at Bread & Bottle Bakery & Wine Bar, 7496 South Broadway, Red Hook, NY 12571.

To RSVP or if you have any questions, please email me at doctorwestchester42 at Google mail.

2/24/16, 6:58 PM

Zachary Braverman said...
I read on some major news site (NYTimes or Vox) that Jeb's downfall meant, among other things, that George W couldn't have been so stupid after all, because he succeeded where Jeb failed. This flabbergasted me, as it assumes the same environment. It is most certainly NOT the same, as any imbecile can see, and the willing blindness that this assumption represented is kind of horrifying.

2/24/16, 7:00 PM

Steve D said...
I'm still clinging to the last shreds of hope that Mr. Sanders can at least hang on into the convention and force a floor vote for the nomination. I can still remember the last one of those I watched as a kid during the 1980 Democratic convention (the last political convention to be anything more than a vacuous pep-rally) and would find another such spectacle entertaining.
Otherwise, sadly, I think you're dead right once again. The DNC wants Hilly as the nominee and will do whatever it takes to give it to her (At-Large Delgates indeed!). A shame really, as I've been kind of warming to Bernie; despite his New Deal delusions, he seems like a pretty good Joe, and a race between two outsiders would be downright fascinating. Perhaps he'll run as an independent once the DNC pulls shenanigans on Hillary's behalf. Watching the House of Representatives pick the next president would be an interesting watch, too!

(One little nitpick, if you'll indulge me: Great Cthulhu is a Great Old One, not an Elder god. A fine point, I know, but still... ;) )

Thanks for another great post and enjoy your break!

2/24/16, 7:00 PM

OilisFinite said...
Although I agree with your sentiment that Hilary is Bill Clinton redux, or Obama jr. Her parading around with DLC centrist ideals that are essentially Republican lite. But I must demur on what is the best option but least likely to happen. What I call, the "Less" candidate. This Candidate from the Lesser Party will advocate for transition to bikes and mass transportation by regional or local means. Closing of trade deals to those countries who under price us and subsidize the manufacture and R&D of products we buy. Restricting energy production to what we actually mine, extract or can build on our own. These policies would be shot down in second. In fact, we never hear about the Green Party candidates or lesser known parties who petition a candidate for POTUS. What I'm trying to say is, yes, neither Republican moderates or Democratic candidates have a chance, but neither does the best answer to power down and transition. It will be Trumps my way or the highway extremism.

2/24/16, 7:02 PM

Ray Wharton said...
I will just leave this link right here.

At 27 my memory of healthier times in American democracy don't go back far, but each election I can remember seemed like a considerable degeneration from the one that proceeded it. I vaguely remember Dole vs. Clinton. A kid on the school bus told me that Clinton wouldn't let us run cattle on the BLM lands anymore, I remember feeling skeptical about that claim, and during Clinton's second term I remember being very conscious of the fact that each spring we would get together to heard cattle to the high country, as that community had done since my Grandmother was a little girl.

Bush vs. Gore, and most clearly the issue concerning Florida seemed like a farce, what little I knew of politics at the time gave me a sense that that election was a terrible mess. Even before the hanging chads, none of the candidates seemed to be the slightest bit impressive.

Bush vs. Kerry, at this point I was old enough to be some what active, though I could not vote I did work as an election judge. Let me say, a lot of votes get miss handled. Around this time I was very supportive of the Democrats as an alternative to the obvious catastrophe of the Neo-Cons, but also profoundly sad that a very narrow range of options was on the table at all. The fact the Democrats managed to nominate a candidate that could lose to Bush seemed pathetic. How many Democratic candidates flailed to go against Bush? I think there was a game show about it.

Obama vs. McCain. This is the only time I voted, and I voted for Obama, and was glad that he had defeated Hilary, who by that time I was beginning to see as a person with serious character deficiencies. Even with W out for good this election was still more a farce, and the fact that Sarah Palin was involved is proof enough.

Obama vs. Romney. Seriously, where did the GOP go to find Romney? Obama was despised by a wide swath of Americans who had come to understand that his 'hope' message was just a ploy to manipulate the early more optimistic resentment of the establishment.

This year's mess. This is the steepest decline I can remember.

Trump I would give 75% odds to, and most of the remainder (15%) goes to Sanders, who I think would have a very solid shot against Trump in the general election, but I think it is unlikely his populist movement can overcome the extreme conservatism of the Democratic party. That leads 10% chance to spread between any other outcome where a more establishment figure manages to brute or cheat their way into power. These are just my guesses.

Certainly Trump's aggressive tactics turned against Clinton would be viscerally effective. If it comes down to those two options, the entertainment value of watching that would be small comfort to the dread of uncertainty.

2/24/16, 7:02 PM

Sojan Shieldbearer said...
Absolutely brilliant post, one of your best ever. Enjoy your well-earned rest.

Did you see this one about Jeb Bush's post campaign whinge, where he blamed his defeat on "outsiders" and "disruption"? My reaction was, ye gods what a pathetic and spoiled little crybaby he is!

2/24/16, 7:02 PM

Graeme Bushell said...
Fantastic, JMG. I was just reading the news on Trump's recent successes and thinking you were right on the money with your post of January 20th, "Donald Trump and the politics of resentment".

Thanks for your work and enjoy your well-earned break!

If you're looking for some holiday reading, I recently finished, and might suggest "Not Forgetting the Whale" by John Ironmonger. It's a collapse story with a bit of a different take on things. A very engaging read.


2/24/16, 7:03 PM

Ray Wharton said...
As a side note, I think that Trump would be a true Cesarean; Sanders would be something of a Psudomorph. Either way, I think it will be another cycle to tell where the winds are blowing, I think that a lot of current outsiders dreaming of power are gazing into the abyss that both connects and distinguishes those two figures for what may emerge.

2/24/16, 7:06 PM

peakfuture said...
Glad you are taking a break. May we all bring our personal blogs up to snuff to handle some of the gap in your commentary.

My question to you, and the other distinguished members of the ADR community, when presidential politics are discussed has always been - "Forget about who is running, who would you *want* to run?"

A bit of a moot point, but the fact that you usually hear crickets after asking the question is a bit telling.

Again, enjoy the time off.

2/24/16, 7:08 PM

Globus Pallidus XI said...
Well said! Druidtastic!

It is indeed a shame that Hillary Clinton is probably going to win the Democratic nomination - really, >50% of Democrats are brain dead zombies? The Republicans may be a little schismatic - rebels bereft of leadership usually are - but at least most have the ability to think…

Still, don't count out the Hillaries just yet. They can always rely on arresting the opposition - that's been happening in Western Europe for a while now where populist leaders are declared 'racist' and thrown in jail and their parties broken up. Trump is an oligarch and it might be harder to do that to him but still, it could happen. That's how political assassinations are done now: not by the bullet, but by making a felony case out of some obscure footnote in the campaign finance laws…

But on a lighter note, even if Cthulhu isn't technically eligible to be president of the United States, couldn't he run as Trump's VP? Trump-Cthulhu 2016! Let's make America great and feared across the entirely of space-time!

What, you say that Cthulhu might run instead as Hillary's VP? Not a chance. Because there are things that even undead horrors from another dimension are afraid of...

2/24/16, 7:08 PM

Grebulocities said...
I'm really glad the presidential election is turning out the way it has. For several years, I had been doubting that the US is truly democratic, and that most European countries aren't either. Significant change by popular demand didn't seem possible; cosmetic changes (e.g. Obama replacing Bush) seemed to be the limit of what could be achieved. The only real changes that seemed to occur were ones that were in the elites' best interests.

Then Trump and Sanders came along, and now we're seeing how fragile the system of political control really is. Even if Trump is somehow cheated out of the Republican nomination (to say nothing of the general election), he's shown that a populist alternative to the status quo is possible. Sanders demonstrated this too, although I doubt that he'll get past Clinton given the massive institutional support for her.

It's fascinating to me that after such a long time hearing that Republican voters demand rigid orthodoxy, and that socialism is a toxic label, the probable nominee for the GOP is a former Democrat who has taken all sorts of populist positions over the years, and one of the two top Democrats proudly calls himself a socialist. It turns out that the American people weren't demanding neoliberal orthodoxy after all! This was pretty obvious for a long time, but it's definitely coming as a big shock to the elite class as they are finally getting hit with the cluebat. Finally, the neoliberal era is showing unmistakable signs of ending, and I'm excited about that even though what comes after it could easily be worse.

2/24/16, 7:09 PM

Rüdiger von Finckendorff said...
If during your break, you happen to find the time to use the Internet, you might want to risk a look at this blog I found recently:

It deals with many things that you talk about, too, but from a different perspective.

2/24/16, 7:15 PM

Jim said...
I'm inclined to agree with your broader asessment of the situation but have to disagree with your conclusions because I think that the voting public is more afraid of the alternative than the status quo even though many of us expect painful changes to come regardless of the election madness.

My prediction is that, barring some overwhelming scandel, that Clinton will eke out the presidency. My most likely scenario is that the big R party elites will somehow overturn the primary results and appoint some Bush clone as the candidate in which case Trump will run as an independent. If they let Trump run as their candidate he will stay at the 35% level thru the general election. Either case puts Clinton ahead.

2/24/16, 7:19 PM

Dennis Lisenby said...
I scrolled-down to the comments before I read the post. I might be the first one here. Given our situation, why do you invest time and meaning in this short subject?

2/24/16, 7:22 PM

James M. Jensen II said...
I recently commented on Michael Prescott's blog post about Trump. I think the gist of the comment is relevant here.

Basically, my comment was that Trump might help us avoid one kind of authoritarianism, Sanders might help us avoid another kind of authoritarianism, but Clinton will make sure one of those two options will happen a little further down the road.

Unlike the usual fantasies about slippery-slopes, authoritarianism of either the honest-to-goodness fascist variety or the authoritarian socialist variety seems to me to spring up very quickly in the face of certain societal and economic problems and, ironically, actually do some things to help alleviate those. Hitler saved Germany from starvation; Lenin industrialized the USSR practically overnight.

In other news, the medical malpractice industry may have claimed another victim. My father's youngest brother was admitted to the hospital Monday night, and died tonight. Word from the family is that he was diabetic but denied insulin for at least 24 hours because the hospital didn't have any, which could have exacerbated his heart condition. If this is true, as a diabetic, that kind of story leaves me a little nervous about my own future. I mean, I know a day will come when insulin will be an expensive luxury, and later on not available at all, but today any hospital in the USA worth its name should have some Humalog in stock!

2/24/16, 7:22 PM

Ventriloquist said...



2/24/16, 7:26 PM

Jonathan said...
Well, shoot, Archdruid, how are we going to get to Retrotopia in the meantime? Build it? ;)

2/24/16, 7:40 PM

Unknown said...
Clear, concise and thoroughly enjoyable. Meanwhile, here in Tasmania it is raining nicely, the fires are slowing down, the snakes are mating, and the blackberries are delicious. As long as you don't disturb the mating snakes, getting the blackberries is quite safe!

I sense a quite desperation in politics in Australia, Turnbull replaced Abbott, but has turned out to be as bland and lacklustre as Abbott was brash and incompetent. Labor is corrupt, stupid and will do exactly the same things. The greens are joining the other two in trying to disenfranchise all other minor parties and the senate voting paper is looking to be about the length of the room we vote in.

I keep banging the drum to the tune of "vote independent, at least their interests are not conflicted from the start" but in truth I am starting to think even that is a waste of effort, and that good old anarchy has a bit going for it. I will attend the voting booth this year but I doubt what I write on the ticket will be a valid vote.

Enjoy the garden, a beer, the company of your good wife, and a well earned rest.
My very best regards

eagle eye

2/24/16, 7:41 PM

tokyo damage said...
"Smoking their shorts?" Perhaps after a well-earned vacation you can elaborate on this obscure but evocative idiom. Have a good rest!

2/24/16, 7:42 PM

Mary said...
It took considerable cheating -- some caught on videotape --for Clinton to eek out that tie in Iowa and 5 point win in Nevada. Her Nevada win, by the way, was greased in large part by Harry Reid having Union heads monitor the casino caucuses to make certain their members voted the "right" way. Bernie's landslide in NH will be matched by Hillary's in SC. And then, after a brutal battleground on March 1 (where numbers have reversed in 7 states to give Bernie slim to solid leads) the contest moves increasingly in his favor.

In the meantime, however, a federal judge appointed by Bill Clinton has just opened the door to discovery, ordered Clinton aides to testify under oath and moved a step closer to Clinton herself having to testify. Mark Halperin says to have heard worried talk from inside the White House and Cokie Roberts came straight out and stated, "If she's indicted, she's done." Iow, her email problems continue to simmer in the background and threaten to erupt within a few months.

Maybe it will be Clinton vs Trump. Maybe.


2/24/16, 7:49 PM

Ahavah said...
If you're in the greater Lexington KY area, and you want to "collapse now & avoid the rush", please join us! The next meeting of the Green Wizards Benevolent & Protective Assn., Tower 859, and Ruinmen's Guild, Local 859 of the Bluegrass, Lexington, KY, will be @ Common Grounds coffeehouse on High Street, 7:00pm, on Thursday, February 25th. in servitio libertas! All are welcome.

2/24/16, 7:51 PM

escapefromwisconsin said...
I think your Caesarisn analysis really nails the present situation. I really wish I could remember a sentiment you wrote about how bleeding heart outsiders can flip and become stalwart adherents of a new, more authoritarian order. I don't want to twist what you wrote but I feel like it really applies to me. I am quite educated and would describe myself as a socialist, but I think I support Trump, which still kinda surprises me. There are a great number of things about him that genuinely disturb me but his willingness to be blunt about the horrific waste of our failed imperial wars appeals to me very much. He seems like he would be slippery and pragmatic on most issues. I think I am going to try and make a universal basic income a part of his platform. As a response to the next financial crisis I think it's a slam dunk. I think I am going to throw my lot in with him. I really only have living in my parents garage and my junk part-time job to lose. I really hope our uniforms are more stylish than the USA Freedom kids. yuck!

Thank you so much for your enlightening blog and enjoy your vacation. I have enjoyed it very much.

2/24/16, 8:08 PM

Myosotis said...
To continue the conversation from last week, what are activities that would be good and still "normal enough" for groups like scouts? I really enjoyed Girl Scouts, I think it varies content more between troops than boy scouts does.

When we were brownies we made a solar oven with aluminum foil and baked brownies in it. Very fun and in hindsight, very futuristic.

What do you think would be a good activity for groups of kids?

2/24/16, 8:11 PM

Betsy Megalos said...
I try to stay somewhat removed from the races going on but , I really appreciate this weeks blog of USA politics..particularly enjoy the image of pundits banging on the vending machine, hoping for what always used to work.
I see it echoed in certain sectors of my experience as well, as a vintage/ antique reseller I see so many long-time Traditional Antique vendors behave- like your Hillary example-scratching their heads and pounding on the vending machine, wondering why things are not behaving the same.
Many of them fail to see how their customers lives and livelyhoods have dramatically changed... there is less income, less job security, less chance of home ownership, more debt, etc.. so who can afford chotskis, thousand dollar statement pieces, space for big furnishings? Since the stock market has dipped this year alone, NOW even the Upper class buyers are holding tight to their cash. Big changes are blowing through the economy just like this big storm blowing through N Carolina right now.

I hope I can stay a vintage/ antique scout and reseller, but my focus has moved more to useful goods. Quality clothing/woolens/ Canners/ grinders/ tools, cast iron,pyroceramic etc.. It works well with my frugal lifestyle, edible garden design business and joy of cooking. I am happy to say that many Younger people are becoming aware of vintage value. My wish is to continue so I may educate folks how to DIY - seed germination, planting, herbal use, cooking, and such- and incorporate vintage useful goods.

May you have a great break, get your hands dirty in the garden, and enjoy preparation for an Appalachian Spring.

2/24/16, 8:15 PM

Sojan Shieldbearer said...
It looks like the American Empire’s attempt to engineer regime change in Syria has failed miserably. The Russians and their Middle Eastern allies have won and everyone knows it.

As the Saker put it “The USA had to accept the humiliation of having to agree to all of the Russian terms for the current ceasefire”.

He also notes that the Russians have managed to successfully co-opt the Syrian Kurds and the Free Syrian Army.

And this from the British press: According to the Guardian,

“Vladimir Putin has taken personal charge of efforts to turn a Syrian ceasefire into reality this weekend, holding a frantic round of phone calls with world leaders and instructing the Russian military to reduce the number of airstrikes over the past two days.

The Russian president spoke by phone to leaders in Iran, Saudi Arabia, Israel and Syria in an attempt to garner support for the ceasefire, and explain its complex details.

He has also opened a coordination centre to which the warring parties can send complaints of specific breaches of the truce. Some armed groups in Syria have already signed up to the truce, according to Russia.”

So the ceasefire is being arranged on Russian terms and the Russians will likely get the credit for its implementation if it holds. This is a huge humiliation for American foreign policy.

2/24/16, 8:18 PM

jessi thompson said...
Cthulhu is running? Awesome, where do I get a bumper sticker? He's eligible. He's certainly old enough. The world of Vhoorl in the twenty-third nebula isn't far from Starkville, MS. The drowned corpse-city of R’lyeh is a parish in New Orleans. (Let me clarify, I love the south and the people i it. Poking fun at the abysmal economic realities and the hell politics has created there, not the residents themselves, a hardier bunch if survivors I have never seen).

All kidding aside, great post!!! I honestly think Hillary won't get in by fair means. Foul means, on the other hand.... What are the odds Hillary (or maybe Cruz) bypasses the voters altogether and buys the machines directly?

2/24/16, 8:24 PM

M said...
Okay. Awesome. Spot on analysis. That Spengler guy was no slouch either. And man you deserve a break, JMG! Though of course your many loyal readers will be jonesin'.

Regarding the plutocracy, a few high-ranking, end-of-democracy bajillionaires have been making waves in the last couple days. There was Phil Knight of Nike, Just Doin' It!:

Philip H. Knight, the co-founder and chairman of Nike Inc., said on Monday that he had pledged to give Stanford University $400 million to recruit graduate students around the globe to address society’s most intractable problems, including poverty and climate change...The Stanford project is meant to improve the world.

Who could argue with that? Not me. Especially considering it will further "the school’s symbiotic relationship with Silicon Valley and [increase] Stanford’s endowment to more than $22 billion." I bet the cafeteria food is to die for!

Then the Grand Pooh Bah Plurocrat Bill Gates had a go, telling environmental blogger Andy Revkin on a NYT video today, Bill Gates's Clean Energy Moon Shot, that he and a few investor buds would be throwing a couple billion at a few promising companies to, I do not kid, "invent a solution to climate change." Andy, hard-baller that he is, nodded solemnly and helpfully offered an analogy to the moon program.

Now make no mistake, said Bill. This will not be easy. In fact, it will be difficult. It also may take longer than developing a new operating system or an app. That's the bad news. The good news is, once it is "scaled" and "gigantic" there is money to be made. Because think of all those people in India!

It is a relief to hear that this is not another philanthropic goody goody tax write off, but a serious, you know, invention search, that will make money. Because Bill may want to redecorate his rec room some day.

What an interesting visual contrast too, Richer than many countries in the world Gates in his lovely raspberry v-neck, checked shirt and silvery hair, plebeian journalist Revkin looking like he just came off a hunger strike.

So, rest easy fellow Archdruid fans. Crank the thermostat to 11 and Just Drive It. The "Wow" Starts Now. Because Phil and Bill are Steppin' Up to Save the World. And how can you Trump that?

2/24/16, 8:32 PM

Cathy McGuire said...
Well, we'll miss you, but you certainly deserve to take a break! I hope it's a productive one. I'm glad I got my story for the Star's Reach contest in before you leave the blog - it's at, and it's called "Elwus has Left the Building"... I had fun writing it.;-)

As to the election; I watch the proceedings with a mixture of dread and amusement. (It would be funnier if I didn't have to live with the consequences.)

I know I'll be clicking on this link by habit at least once a week before I remember you're not posting.:-} Happy Equinox early, since you won't be around.

2/24/16, 8:34 PM

inohuri said...
If you should happen to have a need for more on Clinton crimes try the lower search box at

Sam Smith has been reporting on this family for a very long time.

Sanders is holding back. Trump doesn't have to.

2/24/16, 8:39 PM

Avery said...
Oh my goodness, JMG, I’m feeling shivers of Jungian synchronicity here. I was literally just about to start writing a blog post entitled “Make R’lyeh Great Again,” and now you’ve written almost exactly what I wanted to say. Some of the ideas, almost word for word. How did you do that?

Just a few things I want to drive home. The first is that we Americans often don’t understand what trade-offs are involved in “democracy”. We think, “voting on stuff, boo-yah!” But as you say, the GOP primary this year was more democratic than the Democrats, and Trump is the result. Responding to Ron Paul’s clever moves in 2008 and 2012, they removed the superdelegates and the other checks by elites on popular opinion, apparently betting that the well-oiled money-politics system would continue to work as it’s worked since 1976. This is what Spengler called true “democracy”, for precisely the reasons you explained about Hillary.

Also, living in the heart of Trump country, I think you might have missed out on the need to explain exactly why Lovecraft is relevant. There’s much more that can be said about Cthulhu 2016.

We’ve been hearing for many decades now that the country is “more divided than ever before”. This has become a cliché, and the response has been to “come together and unite” around a specific culture and specific register of speech, which was never going to happen due to the specificity involved. Our initial unity was around a single language, attitude, and ethnicity, but more important than that, a single vision.

But what is that vision? How did that essential American vision maintain continuity from the 1600s through the upheavals of the 1960s all the way to today, and why is it under threat now? The answer is that an American politician in the broadest sense, by which I mean anyone but Trump, is essentially a Lovecraft protagonist. When Bernie Sanders is talking to the audience at a debate, he is imagining that the audience shares an American Dream with him. He imagines a moral, rational individual trying to shape his mind to a moral framework, which Bernie and his supporters just need to explain correctly so it makes sense to the common man. The other candidates have different moral frameworks, but they share that metaphysical vision of the Pilgrim’s Progress, of an individual man or woman journeying through life, gaining various experiences, becoming more perfect, and, through the communal education of their children, bringing into being a more perfect and more American world.


2/24/16, 8:52 PM

Avery said...
But there are other, strange worlds out there, and they bring with them strange dreams. These dreams are not entirely comprehensible to the mind of an American politician, in the way that opposing views are. They come from totally outside their vision of a single ideal individual working for an ideal society. Perhaps they are dreams of a Napoleon making a weak government invest all power in himself, or of a Russian politician snatching his pen back from the hand of an oligarch. All that can be said for sure is that there is no city on a hill in these dreams, no Pilgrim’s Progress. And this is the essential Lovecraftian moment. A Trump candidacy appears to an American establishment politician precisely the way it would have appeared in the dreams of Cotton Mather: as an illogical nightmare, from an unimaginable chaos realm.

“Chaos candidate” is the perfect appellation for this. Didn’t Nietzsche say, “one must still have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star”? Why do we respect that in philosophers but are terrified of it in political candidates? We admit of philosophers a certain predictable, comforting human nature, and expect their inner chaos to take new and interesting forms. This is the reality, and I support Trump for this reason. But up until now we have not been able to admit an inner chaos for present-day politicians. We can read history books, and learn from diaries and inside sources of the torments of JFK and FDR, of the mixtures of good and evil they encountered. But in the present day, we are still the horrified moral public. When we learned of Nixon’s tapes, we were in shock; when we learn of a celebrity saying something “racist” or “sexist”, we still react with shock, or at least pretend to; Trump openly admits to his whirling chaos, and that is a violation of very ancient ideas that the American establishment has grown up around. The center cannot hold.

2/24/16, 8:52 PM

James M. Jensen II said...
By the way, I just noticed your new book scheduled for release, Dark Age America. Now there's a bit of synchronicity: my used copy of Morris Berman's similarly-titled book Dark Ages America just came in today. You're probably familiar with him, since he was on Kunstlercast, and his books address some of the same territory as your own.

Unfortunately, I won't be reading that copy, since it not only has the author's signature, but a personal message from the author to David E. Kelley, creator of several TV shows. All for IIRC about $10 or so! Talk about the book merchant not knowing what they had...

(I'm actually going to send a letter to CBS to see if they can forward it to Mr. Kelley, to make sure the book left his possession legitimately.)

2/24/16, 8:57 PM

Andrew H said...
As an outside observer in Australia, I am following the election proceedings with interest. Our voting procedures here are, of course, quite different. One result of the voting system recently is the proliferation of minor parties, mostly very minor with only one or two representatives being elected. As a result the major parties are now considering ways of altering the voting system to prevent such candidates getting elected. We aren't quite as far down the track of kelptocracy, so it will be interesting to see whether they succeed or get washed away by public opinion.

On another matter entirely, for those interested in sea levels, rather bad things are happening in the arctic just at this moment. Try
and click on the Daily Image Update graph on the right.


2/24/16, 8:59 PM

Repent said...
Enjoy your vacation- well deserved ! I would even suggest that you should actually travel and see the sights some. Are you meaning to travel to Europe, take that Arctic cruise, or romp through a photo safari in Africa? Better to take it now while you still can.

Today I was walking through the warehouse where I work, and someone was listening to talk radio about Hillary Clinton. I'm in Canada, and I was surprised that she'd be on talk radio in Canada trying to sell her campaign? The focus of the radio interview was 'Women are more harshly judged by their wardrobe choices than men are on the political campaign trail'. The radio show actually started to turn my stomach, and I was glad to leave it behind returning to my desk after only a few minutes of the mind numbing torture. The female radio personality was clearly in favor of Clinton winning; an odd situation as us Canadian's can't vote in the US elections. Clearly privileged women of elites all over the world have a vested interest this this election outcome.

I myself was immensely relieved however after the recent news that there won't be Bush III in the White house in January 2017. Another member of the Bush gang running the world into the ground is not a favored outcome. With Sanders the US gets the Venezuela experience of hyper inflation and redistribution collapse, with Trump the US gets Fascism. With any of the others you'd get more of the same. Not much of an outcome whoever wins it.

2/24/16, 9:09 PM

Mister Roboto said...
I've already decided that if Bernie Sanders doesn't get the nomination, I am not voting. In any race, for any candidate. And if the world burns as a result of what ensues from this election, I won't feel one jot guilty about it and will instead watch the world burn as I munch on Sun Chips as The Moonlight Sonata plays in the background. Yeah, I'm feeling a little more ticked off than usual these days. What about it?

2/24/16, 9:10 PM

Bill Pulliam said...
In between the 20% for whom business is usual is just fine thank you, and the 30% who will vote for anyone who promises to overturn the status quo, there is the other 50%. Will they decide to give the status quo one more spin, or decide they have finally had enough? They will decide what happens in November. It certainly will be... "interesting."

2/24/16, 9:13 PM

John Michael Greer said...
Whitecloak, you're far from the only person I've heard say exactly that. I wonder if the plutocrats have any clue that that's the kind of feelings their activities have aroused...

Paul, not that I know of.

Pinku-sensei, Clinton may be leading Sanders in Michigan, but she's falling behind in a number of other states. I expect her to get the nomination, but that's not yet a done deal by any means -- especially if more of Clinton's rich friends open their clueless mouths.

Unknown, or the crabby and sardonic one!

Jeffrey, ahem. The Elder God/Great Old One distinction was coined by August Derleth, who is widely considered a heretic by all wrong-thinking cultists, you know.

Andy, given that Clinton started the campaign with literally every imaginable advantage, I don't know that it requires any special explanation to understand why she's been able to stay ahead of Sanders so far. We'll see what happens as the campaign proceeds.

Pygmycory, the popcorn should be enough. I figured out many years ago that I'd probably witness the end of the last scraps of constitutional government in this country, and dealt with it then.

Robo, or it may be hopelessly confused by them!

Max, the latest polls show that 75% of Americans "could see themselves voting for Trump." That's not just his existing demographic -- though I'm not at all surprised to see the voices of the salary class falling all over themselves to reassure themselves otherwise.

Zachary, yes, that's a fine example of highbrow stupidity, isn't it?

Steve, I still think Sanders has a chance to take the nomination right out from under Clinton's grasp. Her campaign is so badly managed and so inept at dealing with challenges that if Sanders just keeps hammering away, and begins to amass a decent delegate count, he might just wear her down and win it in the later primaries. Still, we'll see. As for Elder God/Great Old One, see my comment to Jeffrey Williams above.

OilisFinite, I don't really see a point about imagining fantasy candidates who don't and can't exist.

Ray, I won't argue at all. It's a sign of the decay of our republic that so few people with the least scrap of talent or integrity will run for office these days.

Sojan, I did indeed, which was part of what was behind my description of his concession speech.

Graeme, I'll certainly consider it -- thank you.

2/24/16, 9:33 PM

John Michael Greer said...
Ray, if Sanders wins he might just manage to do the same trick that Washington, Lincoln, and FDR did in their terms -- that is to say, break a gridlocked conflict and redefine the American project in a way that could function for another seventy years or so, without discarding what's left of the original framework. Trump? He might do that; my guess, though, is that he's more likely to do an Augustus Caesar routine, and leave the forms of democratic government in place while finishing the process by which the presidency becomes an elective autocracy. Still, we'll see.

Peakfuture, that's a good point. I don't have any specific names in mind just now, but that's because my perennial I-wish candidate, William Catton Jr., died a few years back.

Globus, my guess is that Hillary's more likely to end up facing charges than Trump is; she's made a lot of enemies, and has apparently done some very stupidly blatant things in the way of influence peddling and the like. Still, we'll see.

Grebulocities, bingo. The neoliberal consensus was never more than an agreement among the political class; the rest of the population just put up with it, until things reached a point at which doing so was intolerable -- and here we are.

Rüdiger, I'll give it a look as time permits.

Jim, fair enough. I think you're quite wrong, but we'll see, won't we?

Dennis, if you can't be bothered to read my post, why should I be bothered to respond to your comment?

James, I'm very sorry to hear about your uncle. That sort of story is much, much too common these days.

Ventriloquist, funny.

Jonathan, that's certainly my suggestion!

Unknown Eagle, thank you. Your politics won't change until they reach the point that the desperation is no longer quiet. That's where we are now.

Tokyo Damage, I got it from the "Bloom County" comic strip a long time ago. The rather unsanitary implication is that the people in question have rolled up their nether undergarments and are smoking them as a recreational high.

Mary, we can certainly hope that Clinton -- for some reason, whenever I try to type her name, it comes out "Clingon" on the first try -- will crash and burn in some colorfully legal manner.

Escape, the Onion as usual has it nailed.

2/24/16, 9:49 PM

Compound F said...
you do a fine job. I am grateful, and yeah I buy yer books, which never disappoint. Even my mother likes you, since I introduced you two. Enjoy your time off. Come back strong.

2/24/16, 9:55 PM

Mark Rice said...
I have had the impression that Jeb was the first choice of the plutocrats. Now they have to settle for Hillary -- their second choice.

Trump vs. Hillary. There are some people who want to give business as usual one last chance. There may be enough of these people that Hillary could win. I do not think I could vote for Trump. Hillary may be the establishment's last best hope to make things work for all the people with their backs against the wall.

Unfortunately it is not likely the establishment sees the need to make things work for all the people with their backs against the wall.

2/24/16, 10:01 PM

Ruben said...
Fear not Archdruidians!

In this time of Archdrought, there are podcasts to sustain you.

"In this episode, we talk about two of the lessons from John’s seminal book, Mystery Teachings from the Living Earth, The Law of Flow and The Law of Limits.

John mentions his admiration of the taoists in this show, and recommends reading Lao-Tzu if you’re interested in exploring further. He also cites Aldo Loepold and Henry David Thoreau as influences."

The Numinous Podcast with Carmen Spagnola is about smart, soulful conversation with interesting, articulate people about the mystery of life. Episode 44 with John Michael Greer.

“Ritual is poetry in the world of action.”

In this second conversation with John, we talk about why ritual sometimes works and sometimes doesn’t. I ask him about the placebo effect in relation to ceremony and healing. He tells me about a Druid communion ceremony (???) in more detail, including a description of the use of solar and telluric currents of the cosmos. We talk about the impact of reclaiming the gods of nature. And then he schools us on “dissensus” and genetic drift.

It’s a broad, sweeping and thought-provoking conversation about how and why the universe works the way it does and how humans behave in relationship to the greater realms. Whew!"

The Numinous Podcast with Carmen Spagnola is about smart, soulful conversation with interesting, articulate people about the mystery of life. Episode 59 with John Michael Greer.

2/24/16, 10:12 PM

Shane W said...
Well, mark me down as a Sanders who will hold his nose & vote for Trump if I can't vote for Sanders in the general election. I've usually "choked the chicken" (voted a straight Dem tkt--the KY Democratic symbol is a rooster) & this would mark the first time ever that I've voted GOP in a presidential election (and one of the few times I've voted GOP at all). I just can't bring myself to vote for Hillary.
I do think that the US still has enough influence in Europe that Trump's election will benefit Farage, Le Pen, Wilders, etc., but I'd like to hear from readers on the other side of the pond as to how much influence a Trump victory would give to their own right-wing populist candidates.

2/24/16, 10:19 PM

bowsprite said...
Ditto! Thank you!

2/24/16, 10:22 PM

aiastelamonides said...

I realize that its implications are less in keeping with the philosophy of this blog than those of "Why Settle for the Lesser Evil?", but the my favorite of Cthulhu's slogans has always been "No more years! No more years!"

I don't like a large part of Sanders' politics but I still intend to vote for him in the primary. Every state he wins sends a message.

Regarding Spengler, I have started reading The Decline of the West. It's hard going, especially compared to crisp, warm, summery (but not summary!) Toynbee. I don't personally care for Spengler's melodramatic gestures and insistent overstatement of points that would otherwise be well taken (really the whole turn-of-the-century-ish Germanic style grates on me, except for the exhilaratingly free construction of metaphysical binaries), but it certainly is interesting fare. I am eager to get to the more detailed historical theorizing, and your post makes me even more so.

I hope you enjoy your rest from blogging!

2/24/16, 10:39 PM

John Michael Greer said...
Rustin, again, I've heard such sentiments from a lot of people, who have trouble with some of Trump's stances but are willing to overlook those because he isn't just the same bland regurgitated politics as usual.

Myosotis, I wonder if it would be worth looking up the activities that used to be part of Ernest Thompson Seton's "Woodcraft" movement, which was a rival of Scouting back when the Scouts were even more militaristic than they are now, and which put a lot of time into handicrafts, Native American lore, and nature-centered activities. here's a copy of the Woodrcraft manual, free for the downloading -- this copy is from just before it opened its doors to girls and women, so you'll have to borrow and adapt creatively, but the principles are all there. (The Native American material in it was there with the blessings of Native American elders -- Seton was one of the first White defenders of Native American rights, and was encouraged by his many Native American friends to teach non-Native kids Native ways, in the hope that this would make the Wasi'chu a little less crazy.)

Betsy, thank you for the data point! What I'm hearing from everywhere, basically, is that the wheels seem to be coming off the economy, in the US and more generally. We may all be in for a very, very rough time of it.

Sojan, got it in one. The "cessation of hostilities" was also nicely timed to keep the Turks and Saudis from sending in ground troops to try to overthrow Assad; if they do that now, the Russians have all the plausibility they need to see how well their cruise missiles and ground-attack aircraft work against a conventional ground invasion -- a detail I think they'd be quite eager to determine. All in all, Putin and his government have managed this whole business very well indeed.

Jessi, he is indeed -- and that link has bumper stickers, not to mention red coffee cups to wage war on Christmas with. ;-)

M, oh, sure, that'll change everything. How many times has that same sort of story appeared in the media? If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always gotten...

Cathy, got it and thank you!

Inohuri, to me the various allegations are less important than the mere fact that four years of Hillary Clinton might as well be four more years of Dubyobama.

Avery, I'd take that perspective and put more history in it. It simply isn't true that the US today is more divided than ever before; we were just as divided in 1776, 1861, and 1932; in all three of those years, the common dream shattered into fragments, and a strong and massively controversial figure took power and reconfigured those fragments into a new dream. It bears remembering that all three of those earlier figures got the same kind of hostile press Trump gets now, and none of them were anything like as genial as they've been made to look in hindsight. Will Trump repeat the pattern, or did we finally draw the short straw? Good question -- but not all of us are a horrified moral public, not by a long shot.

The fact that the media gasps when someone says something that's been defined by the bicoastal chattering classes as racist or sexist does not mean that most Americans share that reaction. That's one of the reasons why Trump's ratings go up every time he says something that's supposed to be outrageous: the rest of the country, the 80% who don't belong to the chattering classes, talk exactly the way he does. (Trust me on this -- I live in a small Middle American town, and if Trump sat down in a bar here and started chatting with the locals, unless somebody recognized him, he and his utterances would fit right in.)

2/24/16, 10:51 PM

Mean Mr Mustard said...

Enjoy your well-earned break, JMG.



2/24/16, 11:02 PM

Vincent said...
After all, if we cannot have real politics — the kind there is supposed to be in democracies, where citizens collectively seek to discover and implement the common good or, failing that, to negotiate compromises within a broad framework of mutual respect and cooperation — then why not absurdist spectacle instead?

Spectacle indeed!

2/24/16, 11:05 PM

John Michael Greer said...
James, yes, I was reading Berman back in the 1990s. Fascinating about that book!

Andrew, I've been watching the Arctic closely. This year could be a major tipping point, no question.

Repent, nah, it's a "stay at home, catch up on projects, and get some rest" kind of vacation, as usual. As for Clinton, why, yes -- notice how the conversation focuses with laser intensity on whatever makes rich white women feel disadvantaged in comparison with rich white men, and avoids any discussion of the ways that rich white women are immensely privileged compared to most other people...

Mister R., I'd have a different piece of fiddle music on, different chips to munch, and a somewhat different attitude, but hey, to each their own. It promises to be a heck of a spectacle, one way or another.

Bill, granted! I suspect that as usual a lot of the choice will come down to personalities, and that leaves Hillary Clinton in deep trouble...

Compound F, thank you!

Mark, one of the consequences of the flaws of plutocracy Spengler analyzed is that they don't have a single opinion -- it's just whatever seems to further the personal interests of each individual plutocrat. Watch what happens as we move closer to the general election and Trump starts dangling carrots here and there to get various factions of the political class in his pocket. It'll be worth watching.

Ruben, funny! "Archdrought" is a keeper.

Shane, I know. I honestly don't think I could vote for Hillary if it came to a choice between her and Ming the Merciless.

Bowsprite, you're welcome.

Aias, thank you. I find Spengler delightful to read, precisely because his prose has such a degree of Wagnerian bombast to it -- but then I'm a Wagner fan, too. The interesting thing about Spengler's binaries is that he uses polarity the way a Taoist does: history and nature, physiognomy and systematics, becoming and the has-become, in each case both sides of the binary are equally necessary, nor can one function in the absence of a tincture of the other. It's quite elegant, in its own melodramatic way.

2/24/16, 11:10 PM

John Michael Greer said...
Mustard, okay, the Guardian -- or at least Jeb Lund -- gets it. It'll be interesting to see if anybody else does.

Vincent, what you're calling "real politics" is something that has never existed and will never exist in any actual human society, you know. That being the case, why, yes, bring in the spectacle!

2/24/16, 11:15 PM

jbucks said...
You wrote a couple of posts ago that you wanted to "turn a critical eye on a common but dysfunctional habit of thinking that explains an astonishing number of the avoidable disasters of contemporary life, from anthropogenic climate change all the way to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign." By that, did you mean the 'delusion of control' you mentioned in this current post? I'm very curious about what this habit of thinking might be, so if that isn't it, could you give us a hint as to what it might be?

Also, you might get a kick of this info-graphic someone made about how the Financial Time's economic forecasts about global GDP growth have been totally wrong.

2/24/16, 11:20 PM

jbucks said...
I forgot to add: I hope you have a great break, and thanks very much for all the insightful writing!

2/24/16, 11:28 PM

Unknown said...
(Deborah Bender)

Ruben and JMG, the two of you have given me just what I wanted for my unbirthday (podcast link and Woodcraft Manual).

My money's on "hopelessly confused", though maybe not as early as April. Two recent Presidential elections had their outcomes thrown off by third party candidates (Perot and Nader). We have no shortage of egotistical multimillionaires and celebrity activists this year. 2016 has a new option that no one has tried so far: crowdfunding an Eddie the Eagle type run for office. Faced with a choice of the major candidates still in the running, would I vote for Eddie? You betcha.

I expect at least one, maybe more than one, minor parties to be put together between now and the major party conventions in order to run an independent. If that happens and it's a close election, the outcome will be unpredictable, drawn out,and possibly violent.

2/24/16, 11:43 PM

Zachary Braverman said...
JMG, you can stop worrying so much!

No less a luminary than Bill Gates has declared that an energy breakthrough to save the planet will appear Very Soon Now!

I confess I couldn't bring myself to read the entire thing, but the reasoning seems to be, "We really, really need a breakthrough, so a breakthrough we shall receive."

2/25/16, 12:03 AM

ed boyle said...
If we take 1980 as the base year for the current takeover of neocon neoliberal one party system then the changes are not just income based. Minorities have grown greatly in numbers. The populations continues to shift sun bellt. Women have more power. Gays, mixed racial marriages, etc. growing. Fundamentalisism, christian, islamist, leftwing all taking root. People have uprooted and moved to locales with their kind of thinking making for more pure voting blocs and gerrymandering has added to the problems. The press has become controlled. Last not least is the generational change. 1980 saw boomer hedonist dawn, now sees their twilight. Millenials and nextgenerationwith fascist/communistic extremism coming to the fore. Next step are anarchists, terrorists, seccessionists. Young people, foreigners, gays, women, minorities in power will be wanting something else than what a strongly white male ruled 1980s middle class wanted in a world where everything still was ok in terms of economy, usa power, environment.

2/25/16, 12:43 AM

Simonthakur said...
Aww man April 6?!

Have a great break sir!

2/25/16, 12:45 AM

Matt said...
April 6th? Nooooooooooooo

Which button was it I had to press? What's going wrong with my Thursday morning archdruid machine?

Did you see Tony Blair in the Guardian, confessing his inability to understand Bernie and Jeremy? He had it all worked out so well and then those party members starting, well, malfunctioning...

2/25/16, 12:51 AM

John2B said...
"’s at least possible that some of the changes might remove at least a few of the worst features of the bleak era now stumbling to its end around us."

Wow, you are such an optimist!

2/25/16, 1:11 AM

Mikep said...
JMG, thanks for another great post, "Now she’s jabbing the button over and over again, and in due time she’ll be pounding her fists on the thing and screaming at it because it won’t give her what she’s paid for." That so far must be the most considered commentary on the election that I have read. I was even forced to switch off the Chris Evans Breakfast Show (the thinking man's diazepam) and give you my undivided attention and I won’t do that for just anybody. My theory is that Trump will clinch the Presidency by punching someone in the mouth on live TV.
Have a good break and come back with more with more of what you do so well.


2/25/16, 1:16 AM

David from Normandy said...
I am very interested to see if you're right or wrong about this particular election.

I can't help to think that you're maybe too "optimistic", like many bloggers I know: from what I've read over the years, especially since 2008, most analysts underestimate the fantastic inertia of our societies.

Elections are won by moderate voters, or people that perceives themselves as moderate.

These people are more repelled than attracted by "extremist" candidates, or candidates who are perceived as extremists. I think that's the case of Donald Trump.

These moderate voters are the "silent majority". They are a lot less visible, less vocal, than, for example, bloggers like you and your followers. But much more numerous.

It takes really dire situations to convince these moderate voters to vote for a "Caesar", and not to flock like frightened sheep to the shepherd. You seem to think that the current situation in USA is dire enough today to overcome that psychological inertia. I don't know if you're right, being not American myself.

But like I said above, I've read many people since 2008 or earlier who are, in my opinion, spot-on about the global situation, but almost all of them are ahead of schedule of the fall.

Ultimately, I agree when you say "others will follow where Trump and Sanders lead, and sooner or later one of them will triumph."
I just don't see it arrive this time. Probably not in your country, and not in mine (France) at 99%.

2/25/16, 2:12 AM

Chloe said...
I was going to say that from this side of the pond, the women-for-Hillary attitude seems baffling - cultural memories of Maggie Thatcher will do that - until I remembered that Yvette Cooper and Liz Kendall tried to do exactly that back in the Labour leadership election last summer. I've never heard the same applied to Merkel, Le Pen or Sturgeon, though, perhaps because they can all attract voters on the merit of stances and policies that actually mean something to their respective electorates. (Not that it's a non-issue that all of the US's presidents up to now have been distinctly Y-chromosome-enabled, but trying to change it by simply voting for the only woman in the race on the basis that she's a woman is going about the whole thing distinctly a**-backwards.)

I'm going to hope you're wrong about the first prediction (Clinton beats Sanders), because I suspect you're right about the second: there's a good chance Trump will thrash Clinton in the presidential race if that's how it plays out. As several of your commenters have already shown, a good chunk of the old Democratic base is now more anti-establishment than anything and could well be swung to Trump. I suspect Sanders' fortunes in the primaries may in part depend upon whether enough of Clinton's current support base realise in time that the rules of the game have changed; it will seem counter-intuitive to many (particularly older) Democrats to think that Sanders would have a better chance in the presidential election than Clinton, but if they do figure it out then a lot of them (being of the anyone-but-Trump crowd) will happily jump ship.

The main difference between the two outsiders, as far as I can tell, is that Sanders is standing on a platform of "the system is broken", where Trump is standing on a platform of, "the system AND the society are broken". There are a fairly small number of hot-button issues - abortion, same-sex marriage and LGBT rights, the creationism debate, gun control - where it's at least perceived that victory has gone to the left. That's not to say the project of social improvement in the form of equality and stamping-out of prejudice - which is a long-winded way of not using its own name for itself, social "progress" - has actually been successful; in material terms the lives of many minorities have not improved or are slipping again - but perception is everything. That large swathes of the right still view these changes not as "progress" of any kind but as slips down the long slide to damnation is, of course, the issue; and that's without even getting started on the question of immigration. What this means is that Trump has a much deeper well of anger to draw on, and across a wider spread of demographics - as he said himself in Nevada, he's been winning across every group, whereas a lot of Sanders' support base is young: his main draw is disenfranchisement with the current plutocracy, but Trump additionally has the advantage of the usual swing towards the Republicans after eight years of Democratic presidency. Even if the parties are all but identical in every way that actually matters, they do still differ at several of the points people put great stock in. What that means for the presidential election, I can't say. I doubt there are few generalities to be drawn about the values and views of the American population at this point and a victory for either Trump or Sanders could well deepen the wedges and accelerate the course towards break-up of the union. Clinton, of course, would simply mean drifting on until the next round.

Which reminds me: it's a popular pastime over here to laugh at everything Trump says, but if he's been running his mouth about energy, climate or the environment, then it hasn't made its way into the airwaves. In fact, everybody seems to be curiously quiet on the topic.

2/25/16, 2:21 AM

Chloe said...
And I almost forgot: hope you have a nice holiday and it turns out to be the chance to relax you're hoping for!

2/25/16, 2:22 AM

Kutamun said...
Thanks again for another unique insight , JMG , all the best for your restful break and look forward to some more retrotopia and your forthcoming book .... Cheers

2/25/16, 4:15 AM

donalfagan said...
"That's right. This election is like Survivor. But sadly Jeb did not run an Amazing Race. He just didn't have that X Factor and nothing short of an Extreme Makeover could make people forget his Big Brother," Stephen Colbert.

As played out on facebook, my liberal friends have splintered between Clinton and Sanders.
The Sanders contingent swears that if Clinton is nominated they will either write in Sanders, or vote for Jill Stein. My independent friends will vote for Trump instead of Hillary. My stepson notes that only Sanders and Trump offer any hope of legalizing the medical marijuana he needs to control his spondylitis pain.

Over at Science blogs, some commenters still won't admit that Trump is adeptly winning this thing. Some will vote Hillary just to get the supreme court picks they want. To me, picking a Prez for SCOTUS picks is kind of like believing in the grapefruit diet.

I'm wondering if the Sanders contingent has the dedication to defeat the Trump nativists:

And hopefully you will get the break you deserve. If not, April Fools!

2/25/16, 4:30 AM

Lou Nelms said...
In the end the plutocratic technocracy defaults to Hillary. It has been selecting her for technocratic chief in the making for many years. Technocratic default to who can best keep the wheels on the machine and not who can best monkey wrench it. People are set to side with the machine.

2/25/16, 4:46 AM

Greg Belvedere said...
Enjoy your vacation.

I have been waiting for a post on this topic and as usual you have delivered.

While I have my reservations about Sanders (he has helped keep the f-35 project going and tows the line on Israel amongst other things) he is leaps and bounds above any other candidate. He is the first democratic presidential candidate I have been excited about and I find myself gravitating to the phrase, help us Bernie Sanders you're our only hope. I voted for Nader in my first presidential election (2000), but the fact that people blamed him for Gore's loss has contributed greatly to the difficulty of creating a viable third party. I really thought by now we would have a real third party option.

You and the other readers here might enjoy this. It is a conversation between Chris Hedges and Ralph Nader about this election. In it they give a good critique of Sanders (starting around the 15 min mark). Nader analyzes some of Sanders' campaign strategy and criticizes him for not going after Clinton, or Obama for that matter, as much as he could. As much as he is trying to take over the democratic party, he still does not want to criticize the establishment in a way that might hurt Clinton if she gets the nomination. Which might ensure that she does, especially since she seems to be co-opting his message. At this point I really hope Clinton gets indicted soon, because that would probably tip the scales in Sanders' favor.

2/25/16, 4:50 AM

Odin's Raven said...
Before the arrival of Caesar, don't the competing mobs of Milo and Clodius need to slaughter each other in the streets? Which of them will get to burn the equivalent of the Senate House this time?

2/25/16, 5:12 AM

Dagnarus said...
Forgive me and/or block this comment if it is off topic. But wasn't Gloria Steinem, the other second-wave feminist to "open mouth, insert foot" for Hillary, one of the people who along with the likes of Catharine McKinnon, played left wingwoman to the religious right in there rather insane quest to root out Satanic Cults in daycare centers, which were amongst other things hang kids up on meat hooks, and going on field trips to pimp their young charges to the Mexican army? I was in primary school around that time, and I am from New Zealand (although the moral panic came to our shores, as well as I believe to most of the western world), so I only have dim memory of the events as they happened, but that would seem to have been an instance when political correctness in the media prevented the obvious from being accepted, caused lots pain and suffering for individuals, and allowed a unhealthy paranoia to be inserted into our culture where children are concerned.

I bring this up because it seems like the crazy wing of modern day feminism seems to have started a whole new moral panic surrounding "campus rape culture", stating that roughly 20% of women will be sexually assaulted at college, for a discussion of where that stat came from The "National Crime Victimization Survey" says that on average 6.1 per 1000 female college students will be victims of some form of sexual assault in a year, this is compared to 7.2 per 1000 for non students. Quite a discrepancy. Based upon this college campuses have been setting up tribunals in which the accused is assumed guilty until they can be proven innocent, and instituting affirmative consent policies, from the article, a student asks “What does that mean — you have to say ‘yes’ every 10 minutes?”, the teacher replies “Pretty much. It’s not a timing thing, but whoever initiates things to another level has to ask.” Every time, including kissing, or you're a rapist.

I bring this up because I've noticed that many people are looking at what is going on in the college campuses, with this and things such as no platforming, getting people fired for ideological reasons, and so on. They're noticing that the current establishment left appears to be fully willing to indulge this behavior, and or is actively encouraging it, and they/I, are worried. I have to ask whether this is part of what is fueling support for trump is the fact that minority ideologies such as feminism (23% of women in the US identify as feminist, 82% of Americans agreed that men and women should be equal, draw your own conclusions), are being treated as sacrosanct in the mainstream, even though most people don't agree with them.

2/25/16, 6:09 AM

Mister Roboto said...
Somebody may have mentioned this in your Donald Trump post, but it's clear now that the "Affordable Care Act" (Obamacare) is the exemplar of one of those "solutions" to a problem faced by working-class people that just ends up burdening those it supposedly helps in favor of the myopic and privileged salaried-class. (The medical-industrial complex pays an awful lot of those salaries these days, after all.) I have heard Trump proposes to scrap it in favor of single-payer, and if anything other than Hillary getting prosecuted for some kind of corruption does her in, it will be that!

2/25/16, 6:12 AM

David said...

I'll add my good wishes for a restful break to those already submitted. Your weekly posts have become a staple for me. Interestingly, April 6th is the day after our spring election here and I will be able to report on the results of my city council run (one way or the other).

More and more, I am seeing how the political class is totally clueless when it comes to Trump's appeal ( And the Clinton-crowd is seriously under-estimating the number of Sander's supporters who will vote for Trump over her. Regardless of how it turns out in the fall, as you said, someone else will follow where Sanders and Trump have led.

I recently commented on one forum about how I plan to vote and why...and got a few responses along the lines of how much Clinton has championed the middle class, etc, etc. My reply to one of these was: "I didn't say middle class. I said working class."

Certainly, the proverbial (if perhaps apochryphal) Chinese curse is coming true for us.

2/25/16, 6:19 AM

Jamie Mason said...
Andy, I think you're dead on here. As part of the gay community, it's hard for me not to be greatful to Obama for his administration's support of gay rights even though I am utterly disillusioned by the hipocracy of the rest of his actions. Much of the gay community blindly supports Hillary because they see equality as their number one political concern, and she has been (apparently) a staunch supporter. I think most people either don't recognize the extent of the corruption/uselessness of the status quo politicians or they think it's impossible to change something so pervasive, and so they focus their energy on things they think can change in their favor--equality for the gay community, immigration policy for the Hispanic community etc. If wil be interesting to see how that changes as we bounce down the craggy slope of decline.

2/25/16, 6:32 AM

Ekkar said...
Sometimes I don't know if 1984 was a great uncovering of the workings of totarianism, or a how to manual.
In ether event it is a very good shake down and important work to be read and reread by everyone in the civilized world says I.
Have a much deserved break john Michael Greer!

2/25/16, 7:07 AM

Nick said...
A couple interesting observations I've made:

Trump has stated that he wants to audit the fed, re-open the 9/11 investigations, has repeatedly called the press liars and has mentioned the problems the money-handlers cause in one remark. He also got cheers (!) at a rally for suggesting the US should have a more friendly relationship with Russia. Not to make a mountain out of a molehill, but I find these remarks far more interesting than rhetoric about building a wall. He's also gone after waste in the defence and healthcare industry instead of just promising to throw more tax money at them as well...

Here's some food for thought: Trump, who is a reasonable analogue to Putin, is likely to oversee a country where the material standards of living are dropping for everyone, which is exactly what Putin has been doing for the past few years. I believe Russians still generally like Putin, especially young, male Russians. If Trump manages to revitalize American nationalism and turn it away from materialism to some degree (which would be an ironic twist to be sure) he might just accomplish something incredible.

2/25/16, 7:12 AM

SweaterMan said...
JMG (and Mr. Roboto):

As usual Mr. Carlin had his take on voting:

No Right To Complain

and he doesn't even use any of his famous 7 words!

My reason for not voting for Hilary is this: going back to 1980, excepting the current Obama administration, we've had either a Bush or a Clinton as veep or President. Reagan/Bush (80-88), Bush (88-92), Clinton (92-00), Bush (00-08), and finally Obama (08-16).

During this time period of 36 years, nothing much has been accomplished except to make a tiny handful of people richer/more powerful/more dominant to the detriment of most all others. Why give Hilary (another Clinton) a chance to extend that kind of track record? After all, if we want a royal family, why don't we just pick one? Of course, we might just choose the Kardashians so I better hope we don't go that direction [sigh].

FYI, I couldn't pull a lever for Trump either - his attitude towards foreign policy just wouldn't work and he's too much of a fan of the military/police structure for me.

And Bernie? Can't see how his numbers would really balance out without major restructuring of our current governmental budget but he sure has been fun to watch.

Cthulhu? I can't see America going straight for so much evil either. Maybe we should all stay home (as per George's idea) and ignore them this election cycle.

2/25/16, 7:15 AM

Johnny said...
Enjoy your well earned break! I mention your writing often to people and lend them copies of your books. Hopefully it'll help make some sort of difference in how they think. I'll miss your weekly posts here while you are off but it's a good excuse to do some serious digging in your archives again.

2/25/16, 7:21 AM

Eric S. said...
I recently ran across this video from a TV comedian that takes a really interesting perspective on the relation between Trump’s campaign and the rise of Caesarianism in America that compares him to various modern African dictators. It was an interesting and amusing perspective, and one that really puts into perspective the sort of thing we may well be enjoying a year from now in a realistic way that avoids the usual distracting Godwin appeals that tend to pop up in conversations about Trump and autocracy. It’s striking just how much Trump resembles not the strictly disciplined, staunch melodramas that the populist autocracies of 20th century Europe produced, but rather the sort of colorful flamboyance that tends to show up in the leaders who rise up in the aftermath of today’s Western Industrial nations’ attempts at regime change. If I had a taste for conspiracies, I might suggest the resemblance is a little more than coincidence, as it is, it’s a particularly amusing bit of historical irony.

*sigh* I suppose that when all’s said and done you can say what you want about Trump, but you’ve got to admit, he’ll make the trains run on time…

2/25/16, 7:22 AM

Mister Roboto said...
PS: It occurred to me after posting that I should have Googled Trump's position on healthcare rather than relying on hearsay. He would appeal Obamacare but favors some alternate Republican plan that clearly isn't single-payer. Apologies for regurgitating misinformation.

2/25/16, 7:31 AM

Rita Narayanan said...
what an interesting refreshing post.Thanks and enjoy that break :)

2/25/16, 7:33 AM

btidwell said...
There has been a LOT of gleeful talk, mostly desperate and occasionally bordering on hysterical, about the disintegration of the Republican party. One only has to look at their hold on state level government across the nation and the inordinate influence that the small Tea Party contingent has in congress to see how false that hope is. Reading your blog this morning, I find myself wondering how the Democrats are going to fair if Sanders wins the popular vote by a significant margin and the party leadership uses their Super Delegates to push Clinton into the nomination anyway. Even worse, if she then turns around and loses to Trump. Worse still, if Trump actually turned out to be a passably competent president, which is not too difficult. Bush set a pretty low bar. It seems almost certain that super delegates are on their way out now that they've become national news. I guess time will tell how much credibility the party itself will have left by the next election cycle.

2/25/16, 7:46 AM

btidwell said...
BTW- Enjoy your break! Your Pagan Prayer Beads book came two days ago. I can't wait to get to it!

2/25/16, 7:49 AM

Juandonjuan said...
great dig from The Shovel- Australia's Onion

Heartbreaking: Jeb Bush May Never Get To Play With The Little Piece Of Iraq His Father & Brother Left For Him -

Breaking through the Identity Delusion in the target group is slow going, especially anticipating and breaking down the thoughtstoppers that block new information. Like water and roots breaking up the granite into gravel and then soil, digging out perception of self interest rather than preconceived, preprogrammed responses. NPR/FOX/CORPMEDIA providing plenty of predigested opinions.
"The haze of Bernays"

2/25/16, 8:02 AM

Brian Kaller said...
Your readers might not know that here in Ireland we vote a new government in tomorrow morning, and this election, like that of the USA’s, is without precedent in recent memory. It’s a bit different here because we have a parliamentary system, vote for more than one person to represent our district, and have first and second choices that factor in when votes are tallied, a system that allows for multiple parties that must work together in coalition. I prefer it to the USA’s system, in which only two similar groups run, and one takes total power by some slim margin.

Still, the mood among the populace is similar – the two biggest parties have each had a turn in recent years, and are seen as having mismanaged the prosperity, helped cause the crash, and are claiming a recovery that most people don’t feel.
The result is that both major parties, who have merely taken turns governing, are doing poorly in the polls, with third parties like Sinn Fein doing about as well as either, and independent and minor-party candidates polling better than anyone.

I don’t know what the result will be tomorrow, but there are three major possibilities: 1.) the two big business parties, rivals as long as the nation has existed, will be forced to go into coalition with each other; 2.) Sinn Fein and all the minor parties will be forced to form a sweeping left-wing coalition; or 3.) there will be a hung parliament, and we’ll have another election soon. It will be an interesting night.

One other point you might find interesting: The American Conservative, which I write for occasionally, has graded the remaining candidates on their foreign policy ambitions. Keep in mind that AmCon writers tend to be conservative, but in a more traditional sense -- they remain sceptical of America’s imperial wars, and sharply criticised the war in Iraq.

For what it’s worth, they considered Sanders to have the most realistic and healthy foreign policy, followed by Trump and Kaisch. Clinton and Cruz did badly in their estimation, with Rubio and Carson getting straight Fs. Make of that what you will.

Finally, enjoy your holiday, and we look forward to your return.

2/25/16, 8:12 AM

Shane W said...
My question is what the actual effects of either a Sanders or Trump presidency would be? How much would they actually be able accomplish? How much would it spook the elites/investmentariat and their economy of hallucinations? Would it be enough for it to flee the US & the US$ for something more stable? How much would a collapse in the hallucinatory economy actually affect the real goods & services economy, and how willing would a Sanders or Trump be to apply the shock paddles a la FDR to keep the real economy going?
As a gay man, Trump's Muslim comments don't move my support or lack of support one iota. I know the Middle East along w/sub Saharan Africa remains one of the most homophobic places on earth, where gay people are put to death & tortured. I've met gay refugees from Islamic nations, and know what they faced. And yes, I also know that the Muslim community is not monolithic--I went to university with a bare-headed Muslim woman who wore makeup and smoked cigarettes. Can anyone confirm that Trump got a large percentage of Latino GOP caucus goers? That would be interesting...

2/25/16, 8:13 AM

zaphod42 said...
Enjoy your break, good Sir. Well earned.


2/25/16, 8:18 AM

Dammerung said...
I knew it was going to be a brutal takedown, and so it was. Hillary jamming her fat finger onto a button that doesn't do anything anymore, over and over again and expecting a different result - stamping her foot and getting red in the face - it's a great mental image.

It's breathtaking how corrupt the DNC political process is. I mean, Bernie and Hillary are almost neck and neck on the popular vote, yet she's utterly trouncing him in delegates thanks to DNC proceduralism. I expected something like this to take down Bernie but I never guessed they'd be so thoroughly shameless about it. Those 6 coin tosses in a row... does anybody really buy this story?

Of the liberals I know, half of them are going to hold their noses and vote for Hillary, but the other half are completely disgusted by the political process at this point. They're either going to vote for Jill Stein or another 3rd party outlier, or they're just going to stay home. That just doesn't add up to presidential numbers by my calculation. It looks like Trump is going to coast into office without any meaningful resistance at this point. Since underneath the bluster and bombast he seems like a fairly middle of the road Democrat, maybe we can hope for some getting our house in order under his reign; of course, Obama also seemed like an outsider at first, and then turned out to be the consummate Beltway Consensus politician. Do you think there's any reason to believe that Trump is genuinely different in anything but rhetoric?

2/25/16, 8:19 AM

Shane W said...
One fear the Democrats & the pseudo-left have dangled over captive minority constituencies is the idea that equality & civil rights are transient things, that they, and the official organizations claiming to represent various communities, are all that's standing between a return to 1950, 1920, or 1860 social mores. I, for one, am not falling for that Pavlovian bell anymore. I don't see how you put that toothpaste back in the tube and undo equality, and honestly, the way to insure that groups aren't scapegoated is to insure that you don't create a society as stratified and impoverished as ours, whereby people go out looking for scapegoats.

2/25/16, 8:24 AM

John Crawford said...
Bravo! Well written and long overdue.

2/25/16, 8:24 AM

Wayne A. Shingler said...
Hear, hear! I'm an over-40 Sanders supporter in central Ohio, and I feel the same way. Until reading your comment, though, I thought I was the only Sanders supporter who saw Trump as a lesser evil than Clinton. Good to hear that there are more of us in this important swing state!

I really don't like Trump; his similarities to Hitler are disturbing. But I remember the 1990s. Hillary's worse. I think the worst Trump could do is bankrupt the country and hasten the breaking up of the United States (not entirely a bad thing, in my view). What Hillary would bring us is "progress" as JMG has talked about here: further movement in what's already proved to be a bad direction.

2/25/16, 8:36 AM

Steve Morgan said...
"Mustard, okay, the Guardian -- or at least Jeb Lund -- gets it. It'll be interesting to see if anybody else does."

Matt Taibbi at Rolling Stone gets it, too, at greater length and more graphically.

Enjoy your well-deserved blog break. There promises to be no shortage of ripe topics when you return, and I look forward to more adventures of Mr. Carr. Thank you for your consistently thought-provoking and enlightening prose.

2/25/16, 9:17 AM

peacegarden said...
Hope your time away is restorative and enjoyable. Happy vernal equinox. Enjoy every minute of the gardening you are bound to do.



2/25/16, 9:21 AM

thriftwizard said...
Have a wonderful break!

2/25/16, 9:32 AM

peacegarden said...

Thanks for the link to Dust in the Wind...sigh.



2/25/16, 9:32 AM

Kyoto Motors said...
Well said. Concise as usual. I'll share this as widely as I am able...
Have a great month off!

2/25/16, 9:49 AM

Jennie said...
Enjoy your break JMG.
I don't comment often, but I'm a dedicated reader.
My little lifeboat community masquerading as a vegetable farm has it's first CSA boxes sold for this year. :-D
That's the good news.
The bad news is that I'm one of the folks up against a wall. My day job as a computer engineer literally doesn't pay all the bills. And living modestly in Iowa means I don't have a lot of fat to trim.
I literally don't have the time to wait for business as usual. Savings is empty. Retirement fund is empty. We can't afford to get sick, and we *have* insurance.

I was in for Bernie before he'd even committed to run. I was a precinct captain for him here in Iowa and delivered 5 of my 8 precinct delegates his way.
I won't vote for Hillary and I'm a woman. Having a vagina does not make me blind or stupid.
Either things turn around quickly, as in a couple of years, or me and my family will be headed to the little "vegetable farm" to wait until the rubble stops bouncing.
I'll not sit here at my computer engineering job, getting sicker and poorer with every passing month waiting for the plutocracy to drop me a crumb.

As another data point, my husband. Good, hard working man, hasn't been able to work in months now, and it was spotty for the couple of years prior to the total cessation. He literally can't find a job that will pay enough to cover the expenses that job would bring with it. (Transportation, child care, clothing/tools.)
He used to tell me (6 years ago) he didn't want a house here in Iowa, he wanted to see other places, work bigger cities, retire someplace warm.
He now tells me, just in the past 6 months this has changed, "Iowa is ok, anything you can arrange for us to try to live a stable life, will be great honey."

2/25/16, 9:55 AM

Isaac Hill said...
Hello JMG & ADR community, I don't post very often, but I read every week. I wanted to share a video of my band performing a song I wrote that has some relevance to the general themes of the blog, though maybe not so much this particular post, but anyway, here it is, hope you watch and like it.

2/25/16, 10:03 AM

pygmycory said...
James M Jensen II,
I'm sorry to hear about your brother. That is appalling.

2/25/16, 10:07 AM

Grim said...
I suspect that the Democratic nomination is already rigged for HRC. If the super-delegates don't look like they will carry her, they have a dirty trick playbook that goes all the way back to Lee Atwater. They'll make something happen.

Trump will get the nomination because his steam roller is picking up momentum and the opportunity to coalesce "the base" behind a non-Bush establishment candidate has passed.

This will produce the greatest political irony of my 55 years. The right wing media spent most of the 90s demonizing the Clintons. Even with the Clintons out of the whitehouse, they have hammered Hillary at every opportunity. Now, because the Republican leadership knows that Hillary will continue BAU, and they have to stop Trump at all costs, they will have to convince their voters to support the woman they have been taught to hate.

Just my dirty basement window view.

Enjoy your vacation Jim, I'll be looking forward to your return.

2/25/16, 10:27 AM

Ben said...
JMG - I have to finish editing my stories for the Star's Reach contest. Can I assume you'll be checking the Meriga Project for entries?

2/25/16, 10:28 AM

william fairchild said...

It is really funny, in a sick kinda way to watch the horror and sheer panic from the establishment in reaction to the rise of the Donald and Bernie. They really are clueless.

Hillary could learn a lesson from my teen daughter. She is a feminist, artist, liberal, little millennial, and has no use for Hillary whatsoever. The fact that they share the same genitalia means nothing to her. She has said on several occasions that the Boomers started a house fire, now they want the Millenials to clean up the mess,rebuild, oh and by the way maintain the Boomers in the lifestyle to which they have become accustomed.

The anger is palpable. They know the system is rigged. Therefore they turn to Sanders. As those on the right turn to Trump.

So, HRC may well win the nomination. But she needs the people to put out yard signs,phone bank,volunteer. They may pull the lever for her reluctantly,but I don't think they will burn the midnight oil for her. I think she will lose. She cannot replicate the Obama map. VA, IN, WI,IA, CO, NV, NM. They seem all out of reach.

This may be the season of the death of the Washington Consensus.

2/25/16, 10:38 AM

Fred said...
The mental image of Hillary at a vending machine is just perfect!

Donald Trump has support because he tweets things like this -
"Mitt Romney, who was one of the dumbest and worst candidates in the history of Republican politics, is now pushing me on tax returns. Dope!"

He pokes and attacks the Republican Party schmucks and the other candidates all day long. It's fantastic theater and is just so spot on true.

2/25/16, 10:56 AM

Shane W said...
I'm glad the whole Steinem/Albright thing is bringing the whole privileged Silent/Boomer cluelessness/millennial rage/disenfranchisement fault line out into the open. About time!

2/25/16, 11:03 AM

pygmycory said...
In some ways I'm kind of glad I can't vote in the US election. If it comes down to Hilary vs. Trump I'd be pretty unhappy. How do you make a choice between the evil you know and the one you don't? Maybe there will be some independent candidate to vote for. Or Bernie could get in. I like him, though I'm not sure his ideas are workable given the economic situation in the US.

I figure that the next few years are likely to be a mess no matter who gets in. If Bernie gets in, I'd feel sorry for him. Trump, I figure he'd deserve whatever he gets, and Clinton... she helped design and make that bed so it is only just that she gets stuck with lying in it. It won't be a comfortable bed. Maybe events will so thoroughly discredit the people in power that the US will pick something better next time.

As it is I get to watch without whoever ends up in power in the USA being my responsibility.

Of course, I still have to deal with Canada's system, and we have plenty of problems of our own. We're still very much the status quo, and they don't know how to deal with the world's concatenating problems. I wonder how hated Trudeau will be by the time he leaves power.

2/25/16, 11:06 AM

Jim Dandy said...
1. No one is allowed to run for president unless they've first been vetted by our political masters and betters. No. One. Bernie Sanders is no more revolutionary than Obama was. He's even running Obama's '08 "Believe" campaign.

2. What did Barack Obama's candidacy offer black people, other than whatever vicarious thrill they might get from having a president of African decent? And what makes you think women will be any different?

3. Do you really believe that rich people haven't learned anything since Caesar? Really?

2/25/16, 11:23 AM

Karel said...
Dear JMG,

people in the Czech Republic had already elected their own version of Trump, president Milos Zeman, in 2013. He certainly ended long period of post-1989 political consensus. Now CR is slowly becoming extremely xenophobic, especially islamophobic, but also antisemitic, protofascist statelet - and moreover, anti-European Russian colony again. You certainly know about Trump`s Russian mafia connection, so good luck with this kind of president.

However enjoy your break - and many thanks for your posts.

2/25/16, 11:26 AM

rising-moon said...
Enjoy your rest, sir! And thank you.

2/25/16, 11:39 AM

Edde said...
Greetings John Michael,

Enjoy the break!

Bloomberg? How does he fit in?


2/25/16, 11:49 AM

Unknown said...
A minor point perhaps, but Caesar was not the first Roman emperor's family name. His full name was Gaius Julius Caesar, Julius being the family name and Caesar being the cognomen, a kind of nickname.

2/25/16, 11:57 AM

SLClaire said...
I am one of the women who has to sit on her hands to avoid giving someone like Madeleine Albright the smack across the face that she richly deserves for assuming that because I'm a woman, I have to vote for Hillary. Hillary has never said or done one single thing to show that she has the faintest conception of what it means to live involuntarily or voluntarily poor. Sanders, on the other hand, runs a frugal campaign. That right there will earn him my vote in Missouri's primary, because it suggests he might know something about what it's like to not be able to use money to get whatever you want, whenever you want it.

Oh my, I'd love to see Sanders win the Democratic nomination. He and Trump might actually talk about something worth listening to. But if Hillary wins, I won't vote for president. I'll vote the other offices as long as there is someone worth voting for, and I'll vote on any other questions that might make the ballot here, but I WILL NOT vote for Hillary or for Trump.

Enjoy your well-earned break! I'm writing my next blog post now and will endeavor to continue to post at least while you are taking a break. It will be good practice in my continuing attempt to write shorter posts more often. Can't get much of an audience if I don't post something.

2/25/16, 11:57 AM

avalterra said...
Have a great break JMG. I know it is looking like Trump is moving ahead but I am still holding to my prediction that the ruling class holds back the revolution at the voting booth at least one more round. I predict that Trump goes to the convention short of a first round win and gets pushed out by the party. He either runs independent or just tells his followers to stay home. Result - Hilary by default (I think she squeaks by Bernie as well).

If Trump takes Texas and Florida he is the nominee. I will still put my money on HC but it could be *really* close. If HC has a melt down or has to testify or is indicted then it is Sanders and I think Trump beats Sanders.

I think you are right - if Sanders gets in he has a *chance* at holding back a revolution (my money is on the Social Justice/BLM/Occupy remnants coalescing into a serious force but it could be the right wing/constitutionalist/gun rights). Any other candidate will likely strengthen those movements.

In any case the spectacle will be incredibly entertaining.

2/25/16, 11:57 AM

MIckGspot said...
Have a great vacation Arch Druid! Its good to take a break now and then. Get away from become and move back to becoming in a Spenglereese kind of way. Thank you for your excellent analysis. Michael

2/25/16, 12:22 PM

hapibeli said...
Thanks JMG. Another concise history lesson as it happens. You've allowed me a respite from the 5 stages as I accept what is to come and wish only for me and mine to mitigate as much as we can from the coming dissolution/devolution.

2/25/16, 12:31 PM

hapibeli said...
6 weeks without "Fresh JMG" !!!! Horrors! Have fun! :-)

2/25/16, 12:39 PM

Patricia Mathews said...
You have a good vacation. I'll miss you and am looking forward to your return.

2/25/16, 12:54 PM

will said...
Speaking of Cthulu and politics - I noticed that author Steve King, who's written at least one Lovecraft/Cthulu-inspired short story that I know of, took a snarky shot at Trump and followers recently. What you'd expect, a reference or two to angry, scared low-info voters too thick to know what's good for them, plus a condemnation of the "ugly underbelly" of the American soul as exposed by Trump & Co. 

As for Bernie - is he a socialist-lite in the Euro-style? I might add that the prez of Denmark, responding to Bernie's claims that he'd like to install a socialism similar to Denmark's, denied that Denmark is a socialist nation. Sure, we have a wide social safety net, said the president, but we have a thriving free market economy, and we intend to keep it that way.

The two drawbacks I see in the Sanders campaign are his proposing an expansion of government in a time when the majority of Americans have basically lost faith in government and other established institutions. The other is Sanders' acquiescence, to a degree, to the realm of modern Democrat political correctness. I think an understated albeit major reason for Trump's popularity is his refusal to kowtow to PC. He shakes it off like he was flicking dandruff off his lapel, and with a laugh. 

2/25/16, 1:30 PM

Nastarana said...
Dear Jim. there is also the possibility that Sander's supporters will simply stay home, in which case Mme. Clinton looses. Or, that they might vote for whomever the Republican party bosses manage to install at the convention, Kasich would be my guess.

I am going to venture on a modest prediction, which is that Clinton, if elected, will be the first American president impeached AND removed from office. She seems to be wholly unable to curb her warmongering lustfulness--observe her voice and demeanor when discussing the possibility of invading some helpless country--and I doubt that the American public will tolerate any more overseas military adventures. I have no doubt that the Republicans in the House, who hate her even more than they do Obama, are even now assembling a case against her, not that would be very difficult. I think Mrs. Clinton is an indictment waiting to happen, and I can only wonder what the DLC thinks it is about. Have we ever before had a major presidential candidate under investigation by the FBI?

A personal note; my twenty-something daughter has announced on FB that she will donate another ten bucks to "Bernie" every time she hears another aging feminist telling her she has to support Clinton. BTW, Steinem is a known CIA asset; she went from directing a foundation funded by the CIA, (and being the subject of adoring Glamour Mag profiles) to being inserted into second wave feminism for the purpose of diverting that movement which was beginning to cost important interests too much money. On account of feminists not being very interested in living room sets, weekly hair appointments, new wardrobes every six months and so on.

This election puts me in mind of events during the last centuries of the Roman Empire, when various numerically small groups decided they got to select the next emperor. Instead of a Pretorian Guard, we have Angry White Men, Black Lives Matter, Aging Second Wave Feminists, Evangelical Christians Who Have Never Read the New Testament, and so on.

2/25/16, 2:04 PM

Wendy Crim said...
I like what you have to say. I haven't thought of it like that before. I too think the break up of this country could be a positive.

2/25/16, 2:06 PM

Hugo Costa said...
What happens in the US influences Europe so I really hope Bernie Sanders beats Clinton. He seems to be the last humane alternative to Trump-style populism. She can't beat Trump, he will be much less delicate than Sanders in the debates, making her look like a puppet (which she is), arguments that he can't use against Sanders. It's really astonishing the cluelessness of the establishment. It appears that they really believe that Clinton is more 'electable' (a word that has been thoroughly used in the last few months) than Sanders, as if they were the ones electing the rulers. Yesterday, Tony Blair said he was "baffled" by the rise of Corbyn and Sanders due to the question if 'electability). There was an article recently in the New York Times ( telling how Clinton's donors didn't understand how she was losing so much ground. These are the signs of a terminally senile elite.

Sanders doesn't look like another Obama. He has maintained the same position on these issues for decades and criticized Obama regularly in the past few years, except on the overall situation of the economy. He has now largely refrained from doing so as too many Democrats still think he brought change and he fears he may alienate the black electorate. His criticism of the US foreign policy has been consistent and accurate (most notably about the Iraq War and recently about Kissinger). Though he has some things that do trouble me, it's either him or someone much worse. It's hard to believe how many Democrats still vote for Clinton. They are commiting political suicide and they don't realize it, it's incredible.

2/25/16, 2:06 PM

Wendy Crim said...
Very good points. I totally agree.

2/25/16, 2:11 PM

Sojan Shieldbearer said...
Looks like this post has hit a nerve and is getting traction on the internet. Check out these posts (here and here in the comments section).

2/25/16, 2:17 PM

Nastarana said...
Dear William Fairchild, Oregon is out reach for Clinton as well and I wouldn't care to place a bet on her taking Washington State either. Oregon activists are furious over losing their anti-GMO initiative by about 800 votes amid a $20M expenditure and various dirty tricks from the biotech industry, whose anointed candidate Mrs. Clinton is. The former governor, having pushed a biotech friendly bill through the legislature is only the first casualty of their ire. Clinton gave a major policy speech to a biotech convention two weeks before announcing her presidential candidacy and an infamous Monsanto lobbyist is bundling contributions for her. That lobbyist is apparently the same operative who managed to get the DoJ to shut down its' anti-trust lawsuit against Monsanto back in 2010. In OR, when the dippy hippy gardeners stay home, Republicans win. The limousine liberals of Ashland and the Willamette Valley cannot by themselves win the state for Mrs. Clinton.

It amazes me that no one at Democratic Party leadership is counting electoral votes, and seems to assume that Clinton can carry the same states that Obama did.

2/25/16, 2:29 PM

Kevin Warner said...
Enjoy your well earned rest - you deserve it. Personally I do not understand how each week you are able to belt out a quality essay or story over such a long stretch of time. March is shaping up to be a bleak month!
You may very well have Biff Tannen as President this year but everybody seems to forget the role that Black Box voting plays in modern American elections ( so there is that.
Just to send you on your way here is a short clip that has much to say on modern voting practise, especially here in Oz - enjoy!

2/25/16, 2:40 PM

rapier said...
"His theme was the way that democracies die. He argued that democracy suffers from a lethal vulnerability, which is that it has no meaningful defenses against the influence of money. Since most citizens are more interested in their own personal, short-term advantage than they are in the long-term destiny of their nation, democracy turns into a polite fiction for plutocracy just as soon as the rich figure out how to buy votes, a lesson that rarely takes them long to learn."

The problem with this analysis is most citizens think of "the nation" in terms of its global standing and all the things that denote its power. What is good for "the nation" in the minds of the populist right is perfectly aligned with the political and national security elites. That is in a nutshell the eagerness to bomb anyone anywhere anytime, to show our strength. The thing is the results are at odds with not only the neoliberal ideas of the corporate and financial world but also the yahoo populists. Still the economic elites stand aside as we bring chaos to more and more places and the yahoos cheer and want more.

So it isn't just about money and self interest. I suppose Spengler covered the fact that Caesar was all in on empire too and it was the draining of empire more than the loss of democracy which sealed Romes fate. At any rate as toxic as money is to democracy so too is empire. In our case money and empire are now working at cross purposes and one can suppose a loose cannon like Trump may very well throw a monkey wrench into the financial economic status quo but embrace war and empire because he is part yahoo and in part because it is popular.

2/25/16, 3:03 PM

sgage said...
@Shane W said...

"I'm glad the whole Steinem/Albright thing is bringing the whole privileged Silent/Boomer cluelessness/millennial rage/disenfranchisement fault line out into the open. About time!"

I wish you would stop harping on 'fault lines' and generational politics and find allies where you can. You are massively over-simplifying things, and I don't think it's particularly helpful.

A sizable chunk of the Silent/Boomer demographic is neither privileged nor clueless, nor even silent, and it grows tiresome to hear this over and over. Yes, I'm 60 years old, and I, and many, many of my generation, are not the problem. Nor are we privileged or clueless. Plenty of Boomers experience more rage than you can imagine - we saw a dream and a trend get totally co-opted, which seems to be what our system does best.

I get tired of being insulted, frankly.

If there's a fault line, it's within the Boomer generation, between those who sold out in the 80's and those that didn't. I know plenty of both. And if you don't think there are similar fault lines in every generation, think again. But try to be a bit more discerning, please, rather than going for facile 'generational' characterizations.

2/25/16, 3:11 PM

Bruce Turton said...
So you get to have spring and a break!!! Up here at 53.5 degrees latitude we get to wait well beyond the time you get back! Who is now publishing your newest book please?

2/25/16, 4:13 PM

Sojan Shieldbearer said...
Oswald Spengler has had a huge influence on my thinking ever since I read The Decline of the West for the first time. I also read everything else of his that I could find online.

For those who are interested, here is a a site from Oz with a decent introductory collection of Spengler's works.

Also, here is an interesting essay I came across about some of Spengler's later speculations on the origins of civilization. Apparently, Spengler was working on a "prequel" to the Decline of the West he tentatively titled "The Epic of Man", but died before he got very far and only left some research notes and fragments.

2/25/16, 4:38 PM

Kate said...
Thanks so much for putting this post out before you head out for a break. Excellent post for us to think about as we go into Super Tuesday. Have a great time off!

By the way, I did not know that August Derleth was the original publisher of the H.P. Lovecraft books or that he wrote this type of fiction himself. I grew up in Sauk City WI and went to high school with his daughter, April. Locally, we all knew him as an anthologist and writer about our local folks and goings on. And he was seen as a kind of a Bohemian, the only one in town in the 1960's to wear sandals (shocking stuff). People didn't talk about what he was doing, except to say it was not something we kids need to know about. :) It's nice that you could use his term and mention it came from him. He passed away before I graduated from high school.

2/25/16, 4:53 PM

Donald Hargraves said...
Because my job makes me meet different people than the usual gang of idiots I usually choose to meet, I've gotten into quite a few discussions about Trump. And since I can say I saw him coming from the get go, we have good discussions. I can even talk up Sanders and not get raised eyebrows.

Sanders I hear about on the Internet - and the difference in the news between the Internet in the mainstream media is startling. The mainstream media says Clinton wins, and the alternative media says Sanders is running very close. Both true, but but the biases are very clear on both sides.

2/25/16, 5:02 PM

onething said...
" As for Clinton, why, yes -- notice how the conversation focuses with laser intensity on whatever makes rich white women feel disadvantaged in comparison with rich white men, and avoids any discussion of the ways that rich white women are immensely privileged compared to most other people..."

Problem is, that's a rather small demographic.

2/25/16, 5:04 PM

Luke Jumper said...
Mr Greer, something I can't help but muse about is this:

I vaguely remember reading in one of your works that some Cesarean messiah was inevitably bound to rise up and overtake the Wiemar Republic, but that it was anyone's guess as to who that person would actually be, and that it is the responses of the individual that presents the largest variable in predicting the otherwise easily foreseeable course of history.

For example, if it had been a man of different temperament that had taken control of the fatherland, then critical decisions that were made may have been made differently and altered the course of the war.

however, since we now have in the case of our current election, a reduced number of variables to choose from between Trump, Clinton & Sanders I was wondering if you would indulge in taking a hit of melange with me to help shed some light on the differing paths before us and how these individuals and their reactions will be the fulcrum on which the flow of geopolitical events (such as the future American reaction to the impending failure of the Saudi Kingdom) will be leveraged.

2/25/16, 6:54 PM

Ozark Chinquapin said...
I have a few thoughts about the longer-term ramifications of this political shift.

Since the establishment can't shut out competition by controlling both parties and giving people a pretty useless "choice" anymore, they will have to try another strategy. They are in danger of losing both parties as it is, but a strategy of unifying the establishment Republicans and Democrats around a single candidate/party could buy them more time if the populist left and right are still largely separate. Hillary is unpopular enough among establishment Republican voters that few will cross over to vote for her in order to oppose Trump. Bloomberg may be the test run of that idea, if Sanders pulls ahead of Clinton. I don't think Bloomberg could actually pull off a win from coming in this late in the game, but the same strategy in the future after the establishment has more time to cope with their new predicament could buy some time for them.

If the establishment forces crumble in both parties without uniting, populist forces could overtake both, populist left on the Democratic side and populist right on the Republican side. If however, the establishment is able to maintain its grip for a while longer, it becomes more and more likely that the populist left and right will unite in its opposition to it. Not that they won't still have plenty to disagree about, rather that uniting against the common enemy of the establishment will become more important than their own differences. It's already starting to happen, a decent number of people would vote for Trump or Sanders against an establishment candidate, but there are still plenty of Trump or Sanders supporters that wouldn't ever vote for the other candidate. As of now, neither one is the uniter that I'm talking about, its possible that may change if one takes office and does enough things that both left and right approve of, but I'm still skeptical of that. Trump's personality and comments have upset enough on the left to the point that they'd always hate him even if he changed his tune after being elected. Sanders's socialist leanings won't get him far with most of the populist right. I do think it's more and more possible every year that someone (or maybe not one specific person, but a political movement) could come around who knows their way around the hot button issues in a way that speaks to both the populist left and right enough to get plenty of enthusiastic supporters from both sides. That is when things will really get interesting, with the possibility for positive change or something nasty like fascism.

continued on next post

2/25/16, 7:06 PM

Ozark Chinquapin said...
Another important factor I'm considering is that things have gotten worse in America for sure, but not nearly as bad as they're likely to get in the next couple of decades if not sooner, no matter who has political power. The actions of politicians and voters will still make a big difference in just how bad it gets, but I can't help but think that people will be mad enough when America faces a time such as in "Twilight's Last Gleaming" that whoever is in power will be a scapegoat however much they deserve it or not. If the establishment is still in power when the U.S. loses its status as an imperial power, that will just accelerate its demise, but if some other political movement has taken over by then, it may fall apart as well. Neither Trump nor Sanders will be able to avert collapse of our empire and a fall to third-world status, although they could possibly do some things to soften or forestall it, and it's possible that a four-year term could see improvement within the general context of decline.

However, the majority of Trump and Sanders enthusiasts (and the supporters of the establishment candidates as well) won't be satisfied with a softer decline, they want things that are only possible in a rich and powerful nation. The right uses more obvious language of American exceptionalism, but the left is just as attached to America's imperial wealth. Bernie Sanders' massive spending proposals might be feasible in a first-world economy, assuming his tax increases were also implemented, but won't be possible at all in a third-world America. I have a lot of doubts that any political movement will last long until America reaches the bottom of its current stairstep decline phase. If something extreme like fascism pops up, however, it won't need to last long in order to do a lot of damage.

2/25/16, 7:07 PM

Ares Olympus said...
Happy break until April 6th John!

Perhaps these puzzling primaries will be more clear by then. I'll go with "Caesarism" as a good explanation of populist candidates like Trump and Sanders. Sanders is more of an insider, but calls himself a Democratic Socialist, daring to be a party of one since he was elected.

I'll be attending my March 1 caucus for the Minnesota DFL next Tuesday to support Sanders, just in case it matters, not that I believe for a second his biggest talking points will happen - free college paid for by Wallstreet gambling, and universal health care, but at least it'll be a test to see if the word socialism itself can be recovered.

But if this is true Caesarism, then only entertainer Trump fits, while Sanders "free stuff" is a poor fit, more of a Gorbachevism reformer perhaps.

I'm perhaps with President Carter, and see Trump as malleable, not an ideologue like Cruz but rather someone who really wants to "make a deal" and who knows if wall-building isn't going to be the big industry of the next 20 years seeing all the refugees flowing around. And Trump can make walls "Classy", which is important, even if Mexico won't pay for them.

A bigger question for me is whether Trump's success inspires some new political power, we'll call it "Wallism" that breaks from the Republicans and Sanders might inspire a new generation of Socialists to split from the Democrats.

I saw today that Nader's VP, Minnesota's Winona LaDuke endorsed Sanders, and stated her reasons for resisting oil pipelines through tribal lands, and you almost imagine a president Sanders might surprise and advocate for states (and reservation) rights that decentralize power like the Libertarians always claim they want. So that's the Gorbachevism at work - seeing the limits of central power, he might call for States to reclaim necessary sovereign powers that will be needed as things start to fall apart, and the federal government finds itself divided and disabled from acting.

So we might expect the federal debt will sky rocket under "Liberal capitalist" trump, and shrink under "Conservative socialist" Sanders.

Anyway, I'll take my bet on Sanders and hope for the matchup, whatever it means.

2/25/16, 9:54 PM

Cherokee Organics said...

I hope that you have an enjoyable break, and I look forward to your next blog entry.

Your essay was quite thought provoking. My best guess at this stage is that Trump will reduce the size of the salaried class and lift the burden a little bit off the wages class. My intuition tells me that he is motivated to protect his own wealth from the senile elite and he also has firsthand experience with the salaried class so he knows all too well their weak points and vulnerabilities - and that the large majority of those that remain in that class from that reduction process will provide passive support as long as they're continually drip fed.

I'm sorry to say that Sanders has not shown up on my radar. At all. Just sayin. There is no easy path away from the current policies.

Oh! Before you go, I noticed some interesting articles: Russia sends 10,000 automatic rifles to Afghanistan as a gift to fight insurgency. What a gift! My those Russians have a sense of history, humour and pragmatism.

And you'll laugh at the sheer cheek of these two lads - who have taken a short position on the Australian property market. In this instance the word "short" refers to a gamble that the Australian property market will fall at some stage in the future. All I'm saying - and at the risk of annoying my fellow citizens - is that if it looks like a bubble, it smells like a bubble, and roars like an annoyed Cthulhu on a bad day, then it probably is a bubble. I mean what sort of story do you have to tell yourself that it is reasonable on an average income to spend over $1m on a small house? It just makes no sense whatsoever and the young and my generation are really doing it tough.

And why would anyone want to take out an interest only loan, just because a financial planner reckons it's a good idea as you're apparently making an active investment decision. It's a house people! It's meant to keep the rain of your head, not provide a path to wealth...

Oh, I feel much better now! Hehe! I thought, I'd say “see ya later until after March” with a fine rant on some serious silliness going on down here. Unfortunately, when the property bubble pops it is going to be a world class mess... I think that pop may be a better outcome than a much later violent reaction from the adults who are excluded and have nothing to lose. Sun Tzu warned not to back opponents into a corner (and you rightly pointed that bit of common sense works in the political sphere too).



2/25/16, 10:14 PM

Unknown said...
(Deborah Bender)

While we are on the subject of facile generalizations, I'm getting tired of the implication that Aging Second Wave Feminists are a solid bloc for Clinton.

My mother was born five years before women got the vote in Federal elections. She joined NOW and was a strong supporter of the right to a legal abortion, an issue that was relevant to our family history. During Bill's first term, my mother entertained the fantasy that Hillary was Co-President. Very likely she was remembering Eleanor Roosevelt.

Second Wave Feminism was radical. I gave up on Ms. Magazine after the first few issues because it was always about three years behind in covering anything that feminists had been writing about and simply repackaged those discussions in a watered down safer version. Total waste of time if you lived in a university town and had access to zines. I have respect for Madeleine Albright because she did a serious job pretty well, but I've never had an interest in what Gloria Steinem thinks.

2/25/16, 10:42 PM

John Michael Greer said...
Jbucks, the delusion of control is one very common expression of it. I'll be talking about it at length when I return from break.

Unknown Deborah, I think it's quite possible that we'll see at least one new party come out of this year's presidential debacle. We may also see the death of one of the older parties -- if the Dems manage to hand the nomination to Clinton in the teeth of their own voters, the Democratic Party may go the way of the Whigs in short order. More on this in a future post!

Zachary, too funny. Bill Gates was born with a silver spoon in his mouth and has never in his life had to do without something he wanted, thus the logic -- if that's the word for it -- to be found in that article.

Ed, I never said the division by income is the only one that matters. What I'm trying to say is that the distinction between salary class and wage class matters much more than most Americans like to admit.

Simonthakur, thank you.

Matt, why, yes, I did -- if I was writing from your side of the pond, I'd have quite a bit to say about why it is that the man who talked Labour into cashing in its ideals and throwing the British working class under the bus would be unable to figure out Corbin's appeal...

John2B, oh, granted -- hope springs infernal, or something like that. ;-)

Mikep, depending on who Trump punches, yes, that might do it for him!

David, well, we'll see. You may be getting an unduly positive image of conditions over here from the media. A very large number of Americans are up against the wall, facing financial ruin if something doesn't change fairly soon; that kind of desperation, historically speaking, spawns Caesars.

Chloe, exactly. Whether or not you like Merkel, Le Pen, or Sturgeon, they actually stand for specific policies which they can be counted on to try to enact. They're not just saying "vote for me because I have the right genitalia."

Kutamun, you're welcome and thank you.

Donalfagan, one way or another, it's going to be interesting.

2/25/16, 10:48 PM

John Michael Greer said...
Lou, I find it interesting that so many people who think the way you do respond to challenges to that credo by simply repeating it over again, as you just did. Did you consider addressing the points I made, challenging your beliefs, or did you simply think that chanting the same litany over again would somehow convince anyone?

Greg, the two mainstream parties have been doing everything in their power to keep the existing third parties out of the media and the election debates, and to prevent any new third party from getting going at all. It'll be interesting to see how long that holds up -- in particular, if the revolt against the mainstream politicians keeps going and control over one or both main parties begins to slip out of the hands of the apparatchiks, some mainstream figures may found a third business-as-usual party in an attempt to stay on the ballot. Interesting times!

Raven, nah, those are details, and subject to the usual quirks of historical contingency.

Dagnarus, I don't recall whether Steinem was involved in the "Satanic ritual abuse" witch hunt. I'll want to look into the statistics on campus rape before making any kind of call on the current situation.

Mister R., as you noted further down, Trump hasn't gone for a single payer scheme, but he does want to get rid of Obamacare, which would certainly be a step in the right direction. Obamacare is to medicine what the F-35 is to military aviation, a grossly overpriced corporate welfare scheme incapable of doing the thing that it's officially supposed to do, and the sooner both of them go into the scrapheap, the better.

David, exactly. Nobody wants to talk about the working class -- the people I've called the wage class. That's because the middle class, meaning here people who earn salaries, have profited mightily by slamming the wage class face first into the gravel for forty years now.

Ekkar, Orwell's 1984 is indeed something everyone ought to read. I'd also put Sinclair Lewis' It Can't Happen Here on the same list.

Nick, I won't argue. As I noted in my post on Trump, the man is very, very clever, and he may have realized that there are things he could do quite easily that would win him the overwhelming loyalty of a lot of Americans.

Sweaterman, oh, I think Sanders would be a refreshing change -- certainly that's the way I'm minded to vote, as Cthulhu doesn't seem to have gotten onto the Maryland ballot this year.

Johnny, thank you!

Eric, one of the consequences of Hitler's overwhelming presence in the collective imagination is that very few people remember just how campy and undisciplined other fascist states of the 1930s, such as Mussolini's Italy, actually were. That is to say, I think you're right, but Donito Trumpolini is as good an icon for that as anybody else.

Rita, you're welcome and thank you.

2/25/16, 11:10 PM

John Michael Greer said...
Btidwell, I think there's a real chance that the Democratic Party could implode completely if it forces Hillary down the throats of its rank and file, and she then either loses or gives the nation four more years of the same Dubyobama consensus. If a third party emerged in the spring of 2017 after such an election, my guess is that it would be ready to put people in Congress by 2020 and to take the White House by 2024.

Juandonjuan, thanks for the link to the Shovel! Solidly funny stuff.

Brian, I did happen to know that, but thanks for reminding my American readers, most of whom won't. Yes, I saw that in AmCon; if that magazine wasn't engaged in an ongoing effort to ram one particular subset of Christian social policy down the throats of everyone else, I'd probably be a subscriber.

Shane, those are indeed questions. Does anyone know the answers to them here and now? Nope.

Zaphod42, thank you!

Dammerung, I wish I knew. I think, for what it's worth, that Trump genuinely has his finger on the pulse of the public, and recognizes that some things have to change to prevent a massive social explosion of the financiers-dangling-from-lampposts variety -- a recognition that his clueless rivals lack -- but that's a guess, not any kind of certainty.

Shane, that's another form of the lesser-evil argument. Notice that nobody in the Dems is seriously talking about doing something to improve the situation -- no, it's all just "we have to keep those bad people from doing that bad thing, so you have to vote for us!"

John, thank you.

Wayne, you're far from the only one. In the last month or so I've heard from scores of people, many of them way over to the leftward end of things, who are going to vote for Trump if Clinton gets the Democratic nomination. I wonder if anybody inside the Beltway bubble has any idea just how deeply she and everything she stands for are loathed.

Steve, the Taibbi piece is pretty good. The more the media are willing to talk about the real reasons people are rejecting a status quo that has brought them nothing but misery, the more likely this whole business is to resolve without civil war -- and I'd greatly prefer that.

Peacegarden, thank you! March is early for gardening here; I may get a few early crops in if the weather warms up, but we had snow showers today and we usually get snow on and off through the beginning of April.

Thriftwizard, thank you.

Peacegarden, that was far and away my favorite song in my late teens, so yeah, it comes readily to mind.

2/25/16, 11:49 PM

John Michael Greer said...
Kyoto, thank you, and please do!

Jennie, sorry to hear that you're up against the wall with so many other Americans. I hope you can squeeze by.

Isaac, thanks for the link!

Grim, well, we'll see. Atwater didn't have to sell a lemon like Clinton. You're right, though, that it'll be fascinating watching the media insist that Oceania was never allied with Eurasia...

Ben, I will indeed.

William, please tell your daughter, from me, that one of the very few things that gives me any hope at all for the future of this country is that so many members of her generation get it; they realize just how badly they've been screwed, and just how many of the opportunities they should have had were wasted in order to pay for the wretched excess of the last forty years. I watched it happen, as one of the very few Boomers who didn't sell out; in my own very small way, with the limited resources I had at the time, I tried to stop it, and failed; and the fact that so many people in her generation understand at least some of the implications of the Great Betrayal of the Reagan years gives me hope that something can be saved out of the wretched mess of a future we're facing. Please tell her I said that.

Fred, exactly. When the parade of naked emperors walks by, Trump's the one that points and laughs.

Pygmycory, no question, whoever gets the US presidency this time around is facing a world-class mess. I'm not sure Trudeau is in much better shape, though, all things considered!

Jim Dandy, 1. Reiterating a common bit of folklore with extra periods doesn't make it more true, you know. 2. Plenty of women have already pointed out that they're not going to vote for Hillary, so the cases aren't comparable. 3. The rich have forgotten everything they learned in the Great Depression, so the likelihood that they would retain any lessons from Caesar's day is small enough to be ignored.

Karel, I'm not saying that I favor a Trump presidency, just that we're almost certainly going to get one, and that it may well be less of a disaster than a Clinton presidency.

Rising-moon, you're welcome and thank you.

Edde, if he actually runs, that means that a faction of the rich are in a blind panic over the thought of a Sanders presidency, and are going to run a spoiler candidate to sink him and hand the election to the GOP. My guess is that Bloomberg isn't going to run, because his backers are just as horrified by the thought of a Trump presidency.

2/26/16, 12:14 AM

John Michael Greer said...
Unknown, you're right, of course.

SLClaire, from what I'm hearing, you're far from alone. I wonder if it will ever occur to Albright that her outburst may yet cost Clinton the nomination.

Avalterra, we'll see. My guess is that because Trump is himself a plutocrat, he'll be marginally acceptable to enough of the other plutocrats to get in. Keep an eye open for Trump dangling carrots in front of various sectors of the 1%, in an effort to convince them that he really won't be that bad.

MickGspot, thank you!

Hapibeli, good. The five stages do get tiring after a while...

Patricia, thank you.

Will, of course! King is a New England liberal, so shares in the inherited loathing New England liberals have for those uppity rustics in the flyover states -- and the sneering mockery I mentioned in my post on Trump is, of course, very much on display. As for Sanders, nah, he simply stands for what the Democratic Party used to stand for before it sold out.

Hugo, to be frank, I'd prefer a Sanders presidency to any of the other options; though I have serious doubts about some of Sanders' positions, he's a good deal less clueless and corrupt than the others. (The lesser evil, I suppose!) A Trump win will unquestionably strengthen the hand of nationalists across Europe -- though I really don't think that tide can be turned back at this point, not after the ghastly mishandling of the refugee situation.

Sojan, thanks for the heads up!

Kevin, US election fraud is a long and well-established tradition, but most of it is managed at the local level, where local politicians sell votes to the highest bidder or extract specific favors in exchange for handing over an electoral district to one or the other party. The outcry about those black boxes was mostly a reaction to the fact that state officials were taking away the opportunities for corruption from local officials so they could exercise it themselves. Every US politician plays that game, Trump and Sanders just as much as Clinton and Bush -- and Trump, at least, has the money and the realism to play it well.

Rapier, that analysis seems highly simplistic to me. Trump is soaring in the polls in part because he criticizes the bellicose foreign policy of the US and talks about a rapprochement with Russia. Sanders is even more opposed to the mainstream's war mania, and that's helping to drive his campaign, too. The interests of the masses have diverged sharply from those of the plutocrats, and Trump and Sanders are both cashing in on that by proposing policies that make sense to the common people and challenge the consensus politics of the last few decades.

Bruce, oh, it'll be spring in name only until I get back to writing posts. As for my newest book, well, which one? I've got a book forthcoming from New Society Publishers titled Dark Age America, the fourth After Oil anthology coming out from Founders House, and The Weird of Hali: Innsmouth, the first book in a Lovecraftian epic fantasy series from Miskatonic Books. (The second volume in that latter series, The Weird of Hali: Kingsport, is finished in draft, and the third volume, The Weird of Hali: Chorazin, is in process.)

2/26/16, 1:07 AM

John Michael Greer said...
Sojan, many thanks for the links! I didn't read Spengler until 2005 -- not at all sure why it took me that long to get to him -- but he wielded a mean clue-by-four. I spent weeks after that first reading, brooding over his ideas and fitting them into everything I already knew about history.

Kate, thank you for sharing the story! August Derleth was most of the reason why anybody's heard of H.P. Lovecraft today; he was a friend and correspondent of Lovecraft's, and after HPL died, he took a massive gamble and started a publishing house just to keep HPL's work in print. I know very little about his non-Lovecraftian work -- will have to look into that.

Donald, I've had the same experience with people I encounter here in the north central Appalachians.

Onething, true, but a lot of privileged people never quite realize that they aren't the only people who matter.

Luke, I'll consider that for a future post. I ain't no Kwisatz Haderach -- if anything, I resemble the parodic version from National Lampoon's Doon, the Kunquatz Haagendazs, "He Whose Fruitlike Essence Has Mellowed To A Smooth, Creamy Consistency" -- but I'll give it a try.

Ozark, no argument there at all. To some extent, what we're seeing is the inevitable result of the abject failure of the neoconservative agenda to do what its proponents said it would do; this sort of thing happens regularly in American political life, when a failed political-economic consensus has to be junked in order to deal with a rising spiral of national problems, and it's very common when that happens for one set of power centers to be replaced by an emerging set at the ragged pinnacle of the pyramid of power. That said, there's always the chance that things could go haywire in a big way, and an age of decline makes that rather more likely than it would otherwise be.

Ares, that all seems plausible to me.

Cherokee, yes, I heard about the rifles! It'll be interesting to see if Russia can duplicate its Syrian feat in Afghanistan. As for the property bubble where you are, yeah, it's going to get ugly -- ditto Canada, which is facing a similar bust. Keep your head down when the fighting starts.

Unknown Deborah, I trust you don't think I was implying that. Au contraire, the fact that Clinton and her flacks seem to take that for granted is one of the things I consider most telling about her campaign.

2/26/16, 1:23 AM

Phil Knight said...
Very, very good article on Trump and Sanders by Andrew Sabisky here:

I particularly like the pay off:

"Fundamentally, the distinction between Trump and Sanders and the rest of the candidates is that Trump and Sanders are standing for the idea of America as a true "nation state" that places the welfare of its own citizens at the core of its identity. The others have, I believe, tacitly or openly accepted the idea of America as an extended global marketplace, a home of essentially unrestrained free-market economics with quasi-open borders.

A "market state" that places the opportunity of its own citizens at the core of its identity – and, in its fullest conception, aims to maximize the opportunities of all marketplace participants, even non-citizens.

The distinction between "nation state" and "market state" is explored most fully in Philip Bobbitt's superb books The Shield of Achilles and Terror and Consent, which I cannot recommend highly enough. The distinction between opportunity for the individual and welfare of the whole is key. Prioritising the welfare of the whole, in practice and theory, implies the limitation of the opportunity of the individual to live their life the way they want, and to make near-limitless wealth.

Evidently, both nation state and market state have their strengths and weaknesses. At this point I'll leave the debate to the American electorate, and make no serious comment here, other than to ask this question: why should anyone fight and die for a market when they can simply move to a new one?"

2/26/16, 1:39 AM

Cherokee Organics said...

Yes, it will be very interesting indeed. Maybe they learned something from their previous activities in that country - they would be hard pressed to say that it ended well for their empire? I personally would break that country up into minor fiefdoms held by war lords accountable to a central authority and let them manage their business locally, but that is perhaps an unpopular view. Most likely it would work though.

Thank you for that advice, and you know me, I very much plan to keep out of harms way - as much as possible anyway and I do have a plan B in case the worse case economic scenario strikes. I avoid debt like the plague. My gut feeling is that it will impact those that are the most heavily in debt and they may quickly find themselves unable to service that debt and try and sell into a falling market which is an experience many here would not know. Certainly it will bring about an abrupt halt to expenditure in this country and of that I'm fairly certain. It may actually bring about a benefit to the young as property prices fall, so it is not all doom and gloom. Most of the trinkets and toys people consider as necessities aren't actually that necessary to a persons existence so a lot of easy savings can be made without too much personal hardship.

As an interesting side note, I went to the films yesterday and watched a beautiful film with the title: "Brooklyn". The film followed the story of a young lady who emigrated from Ireland to New York in the early 1950's. It really was a great film. Anyway, at one point in the story the young lady quipped that although the winters in New York were colder and the summers hotter than Ireland, it wasn't such a bad experience, because everyone heated their houses in New York during the winter and it was funny to hear that line spoken because it provided such a strong contrast.



2/26/16, 2:05 AM

Cherokee Organics said...

Oooo! I loved the story Doon. Very, very silly, but very funny.



2/26/16, 2:07 AM

Rebecca Brown said...
JMG, I just want to let you know that your prediction about renewables being the next fracking is already starting to come true. I've been noticing lots of ads lately for renewable energy companies (such as Wonder Capital) promising "diversification" and "better returns than the stock market."

2/26/16, 3:06 AM

Damo said...
The same establishment tin-ear syndrome is happening here in Australia. You see, thanks to China, Australia managed to side-step the GFC in 2008. One side effect of this is our house prices have continued to skyrocket for another 8 years. Now, the median house price in Sydney is over a million dollars and 50% of all new home loans are interest only. An entire generation (including myself) is locked out of affordable shelter.

Belatedly sensing this anger, the opposition party revealed earlier this week that if it wins the next election, it will remove special tax concessions on property that many believe have helped contribute to our property bubble. Some say our bubble is so fragile that this will be enough to prick and burst it. The government has declared this is an attack on mum and dad investors and vows to keep the tax concession in place. The latest polling gives the opposition a 50-50 chance of winning the next election, an amazing result when they were generally considered un-electable just a few weeks ago. Clearly there is a ground swell of popular anger at the 'system' even in Australia which has generally done pretty well the past 20 years.

In other news, I wrote an essay and would love to hear what other ADR readers think. Its themes will be familiar, although I give a spirited defence of the Mad Max movies, they may be more subtle then commonly given credit:
The Future Belongs to the Mad

2/26/16, 3:08 AM

Unknown said...
(Deborah Bender)

JMG, my grumble wasn't prompted by anything you wrote, nor by any individual comment. What's bothering me goes back farther. I was well into my forties before I understood that my mother was a feminist. The fact that we were both feminists and that she had tried her best to support my autonomy and success based on her understanding of what was required did not prevent us from having conflicts.

It's natural that younger feminists will take for granted some of the hard won advances their mothers and grandmothers struggled for, and that their priorities will be different. Women do not automatically share interests simply because they are women. On the other hand, setting women against each other is an old, old tactic. Those wicked stepmother stories in fairytales are based on real life. When I read journalism about younger women resenting and being dismissive of Second Wave feminism, I wonder whose interests are being served.

Allow me to add my good wishes to what others have written.

2/26/16, 4:12 AM

Ben said...
JMG - OK I'll post my entries at the Meriga Project.
Looks like Sanders has such a legit shot (down by 2 points in the polls) at winning Oklahoma (or at least splitting the delegates), the Clinton campaign has sent the former Prez to campaign for Hillary. My parents are Boomers who liked Bill, but I get the feeling at least one, maybe both, will vote for Bernie. Rough guess, among my cohort that will be voting in the Democratic primary, about 3/4 of us will vote for Bernie. Clinton just doesn't offer our generation anything worth voting for.
My comments always run long here for some reason. I lot to think about I suppose?
Enjoy your vacation!

2/26/16, 5:45 AM

Nick said...
To contribute to what Dagnarus said, the leftist PC-censorship culture in universities was disturbing enough when I finished my undergraduate degree 5 years ago, I can only imagine that it has gotten worse since then. The left's disturbing notion that They Are Right and that the arrival of whatever wave of feminism and racial equality we've gotten to must now be protected by the rule of law is mildly disturbing.

I followed the occupy movement fairly closely and even went to some protests - where I was it fizzled organically due to a harsh winter, but my understanding is that the larger and more durable occupy groups were torn apart from the inside by feminist and racial politics - a lot of the leaders were silenced for not being black or female enough, and once the discussion turned to gender inequality and racism - which could only be discussed in terms that would be permitted in the most liberal 'safe space' imaginable - the movement fizzled. Considering that the authorities in the US (and elsewhere) have a long track record of turning populist movements against themselves by fracturing them on racial and more recently gender lines, it would not surprise me in the least if an alphabet-soup agency or two was behind that. (Isn't it ironic that Google rebranded itself as Alphabet...?)

However, something interesting happened recently: When a conservative personality (Milo Yiannopoulos) was speaking at an American university, the usual leftist suspects showed up to shut down his talk with air horns, etc. They were shouted out of the auditorium by people chanting... ("TRUMP TRUMP TRUMP"). Trump might make a good Mussolini after all. I think the average American (especially the young, who are more exposed to it) are quite tired of the leftists, and it's not because they want to go back to racism and homophobia.

2/26/16, 6:03 AM

Patricia Mathews said...
Interestingly enough, I woke up in the wee hours with Monkey Mind running over the Dissolution of the Monasteries in the time of Henry VIII. Where not only the monks and nuns, but their servants, students, dependents, the sick in their infirmaries and poor travelers in their guesthalls, orphans and other dependents were turned loose on the Tudor economy to beg or starve or find jobs among a flood of competition. And at the time - as also in the time of the Enclosures (which did the same thing for the villages) - WHO was treated as criminals and sluts? Why, the "sturdy beggars" and "wenches" who were whipped through the town at cart's tail for being on the road and unemployed.

The more things change .... especially when the powerful smell a profit. The term "Standing in the Way of Progress" had not yet been invented, of course. Oh, well, it made yesterday evening's attack of the Bug That's Going Around seem trivial.

2/26/16, 6:19 AM

Patricia Mathews said...
P.S. All those books coming out this spring! My book budget is going into overload!

2/26/16, 6:20 AM

Tidlösa said...
If we are really lucky (sort of lucky - whatever that means in 2016!), both parties may split before the elections. We might get Clinton, Sanders (or somebody taking up his fallen mantle), Rubio (?) and Trump. Unless one of them wins in a landslide, the shady intrigues in the electoral college or in Congress, if the election of a president ends up there, might be something to behold...

A question. What are the possibilities, in your opinion, that the Democrats at the very last moment (through the super-delegates?) stops both Clinton and Sanders, giving the nomination to a third person, perhaps Joe Biden? In the same way, what about the Republicans at the last moment giving their nomination to Bloomberg? Is it too late in the race to stop Clinton and Trump, or can it be done? It can be done technically, of course, but can it still be done politically? Or is the stage already set for the final Trump-Clinton showdown?

Otherwise, I agree with your points. Clinton seems to suffer from "Marie Antoinette syndrome", to coin a phrase - completely clueless. Trump could be either a proto-Caesar or the man who (temporarily) stops Caesar by defusing the anger vote and then move to the center... Sanders´ success is a paradigm shift - I mean, a "socialist" getting almost half of the Democratic vote?!

I also agree that Trump is capable of winning Sanders´ voters, perhaps by promising to crack down on the student loan fraud, or some measure to that effect. It will be interesting to see if he takes that step!

2/26/16, 6:26 AM

Zachariah said...
Peggy Noonan of the Wall Street Journal might be a reader of yours:

2/26/16, 6:36 AM

Shane W said...
I really don't know why when I repeat pretty much the same thing JMG says about the Boomers & the failure of the late 20th century, it gets such a different response. Please see JMG's response above to William regarding his daughter. I can't really discern a nuanced view of the Boomers & their failure in his response. In fact, if you can't go back through any of JMG's posts and find where he's taken a nuanced view of the failure of the Boomers since the 80's, please quote it in a post here. Really, all I'm asking is for once, for you to take one for the team, to put younger and future generations first. Taking a balanced and nuanced view of the failures of the late 20th century and the people who were of age and involved at the time is self-serving for older generations, it certainly doesn't benefit younger and future generations. The meme that the time was a time of unspeakable evil that must never be repeated benefits younger and future generations. So, take one for the team.
Privileged: here's my idea of privileged: anyone who has lived most of their life in what used to account for a middle class American lifestyle, and who expects to maintain such lifestyle until they die based on retirement savings, Social Security, & Medicare. That's my idea of privileged, because it's all but off limits to the vast majority of people under 40.

2/26/16, 7:02 AM

Shane W said...
I don't know that I've ever encountered, in person, someone who didn't sell out and cash in their values starting with the 80s reaction. Most everyone I've ever met kept a facade and veneer of 60s-70s counterculture while economically living lives indistinguishable from their more conservative counterparts. All the people I ever knew from the leftward end of things kept all the social mores of the 60s-70s era while living rigidly neoliberal economic lives. But that's just my experience.

2/26/16, 7:11 AM

Nick said...
One point regarding intergenerational politics in the west: It occurred to me that I cannot name a single person, other than my family and coworkers, who I interact with in any significant way who is more than 5 years younger or 5 years older than me (I'm 26). I suspect that my experience is not unique.

It does seem natural that one's elders are there to be learned from and generally listened to, but in the context of the modern workplace, the relationship is thrown way out of whack by the fact that there is no real trust or common interest other than the company's.

2/26/16, 7:15 AM

Kyoto Motors said...
To follow up on what I said, I will spread the word because I feel this argument of yours goes a long way to erode Hillary's support in the nomination process. I really want to see Bernie in the White House -- though I don't sense that this is necessarily your intention here. As a Canadian, I'm like the hair on the tail that's trying to wag the dog, but I'll do what I can!
If indeed Bernie Sanders does become president, there are probably many pitfalls that await him -- but that is true of all the candidates. And the potential for divisiveness seems to be very intense no matter who emerges from this circus...

2/26/16, 7:48 AM

william fairchild said...

I will. I share your hope. I think the young people are often given short shrift. Labled as "entitled" or "self-absorbed", in fact most millenials I interact with have their heads screwed on. And they are very, very smart.


OR? How interesting. If she loses OR because the base sits home, she is toast. Yes it all comes down to the EC. Obama expanded the map. HRC returns us to a Clinton/Gore map with FL, OH, and PA as battlegrounds. That does not bode well for HRCs prospects.

"All politics is local" -Tip O'Neil

2/26/16, 8:55 AM

Violet Cabra said...
Has anyone else noticed a shift in discourse recently around the presidential election and United States politics in general?

In Massachusetts where I live, everyone seems on page that we are in a potentially revolutionary situation, and that the neoconservative consensus can't hold. There is also a seeming sobriety that what is likely to replace the status quo is tyranny. These are conversations I'm having with my parents, friends, which is a small sample size for sure, but these are conversations that I can't imagine having a year ago.

Also, from my perspective within what many would describe as a SJW scene, I've observed a considerable softening - it seems that awareness of the logical inconsistencies is growing more pronounced and different conversations that would have been unthinkable a year ago. People seem more willing to stray from "the party line" and engage more logically and openheartedly in discourse. This is a major shift, and one I'm delighted to see.

Of course my rather eccentric identity as a trans herbalist and bookworm (not to mention reader of this blog!) perhaps lets me say things in leftist circles that others would be shot down with, but that being said, I've still noticed a marked increase in receptivity to ideas in general that until recently were taboo.

I'm not sure what this all means, it's certainly refreshing now. I imagine that a good deal of this openness is from the sobering influence of the actual political situation. This video by VICE does a good and entertaining job of investigating the phenomenon of the patriot movement I am, of course reminded of TADR essay "The Suicide of the American Left" and shiver

Thank you JMG for your essays as always! Your recent class analysis of Trump has helped me enormously in talking with people about politics. The magic that you work with your blogs is beautiful, and has certainly changed my consciousness and helped me clarify my will. While I don't post as much as I used to that is because I'm chest deep in herbals putting together classes for next season! Best wishes on your break and heartily look forward to reading your analysis when you return.

2/26/16, 9:06 AM

pygmycory said...
On another topic, Canada has pulled out of bombing Syria in favor of training the Peshmerga and some humanitarian aid. It's also leaving some reconnaissance aircraft and a refueling plane for other nation's fighter jets. This is interesting because I understand that Russia is also reasonably fond of the Peshmerga, who are hated by Turkey, who is one of Canada's NATO allies. Oh, what a tangled web we weave...

So Canada is against ISIS, but appears confused as to exactly what it is doing in the proxy war between the West and Russia. Next question: are we trying to hedge our bets with Russia and China, or do we simply have no idea what we're doing?

2/26/16, 9:23 AM

Jeanne Labonte said...
As a 61 female wage earner I cheerfully voted for Mr Sanders in the NH Primaries. It was entertaining to watch the reactions of the Hillary supporters who did a door-to-door last minute blitz the weekend before the primary. Two hemmed and hawed for a moment after I told them I was voting for Bernie then wished me a nice day and hurried off. The third one hemmed and hawed and recovered with a lame suggestion that Bernie would make a great running mate for Hillary. Yea, right. I didn't vote to her as she gives me a case of the 'eeyucks' whenever I see any of her advertisements. Given the sclerotic power structure of Washington and Wall Street it's debatable if Bernie will be able to accomplish anything should he manage to get in. The Slow Democracy movement looks promising but one wonders if it's too little too late. Time will tell of course.

Enjoy your vacation. I really hope the weather in your corner of the country will be less crazy than its been up here in Northern New Hampshire. This past weekend was up in the forties, then it dipped down into the teens Monday (this is Fahrenheit by the way). Then it warmed up into the twenties by Tuesday in order to snow a bit. But then Wednesday night, the wind began roaring and thunder showers came barreling through raining cats and dogs as it did so. The sun came out Thursday morning spiking the temperature up into the low sixties. Then it clouded up, rained more cats and dogs causing a number of wash-outs and closed roads. Today the temperature has dropped back down to 18 degrees with a blustery wind. I have lived here all my life and have never seen anything as wild as this.

2/26/16, 10:47 AM

sgage said...
@ Shane W

" Taking a balanced and nuanced view of the failures of the late 20th century and the people who were of age and involved at the time is self-serving for older generations, it certainly doesn't benefit younger and future generations. The meme that the time was a time of unspeakable evil that must never be repeated benefits younger and future generations. So, take one for the team."

I find this attitude to be pernicious in the extreme. Basically historical revisionism for political expediency. But since your self-absorbed cartoon view of history is that the time was one of unspeakable evil that no one of that age spoke up against or tried to do anything about, you demonize (and insult) a whole generation. After all, every last one of us sold out, according to you. Of course, trying to point out otherwise is just self serving.

What were we fighting for back then, if not for the future? We put up with ridicule and a lot more for trying to do something about the stuff coming down, stuff that had its origin well before we were born.

Evil stuff happened in those times. Evil stuff is happening in these times - why doesn't your generation, or the X, or the whatever generation, just stop it? After all, it's so easy. Or did your generation just sell out?

Of course, I have good friends in every generation, and some give up, and some fight the good fight - 'twas ever thus. I still say you might be a bit more nuanced in identifying your allies...

2/26/16, 12:46 PM

David from Normandy said...
"A very large number of Americans are up against the wall, facing financial ruin if something doesn't change fairly soon; that kind of desperation, historically speaking, spawns Caesars."
What you said made me think about an argument I had forgot: in our democracies, the more you are face down in the mud struggling to survive, the less you vote. It lessens a bit the voting impact of that social category. Which delays even more the possibility of a regime change by election.

On the other hand, desperate people are more likely to riot... and sometimes riots big enough spawn revolutions. But you spoke about all that at length a hundredth time, I won't start that conversation all over again.

I am just not in a hurry to witness first-hand that kind of event. Really not.

2/26/16, 12:58 PM

Ekkar said...
JMG thanks for the book suggestion. Also I Wikipedia the f-35 fighter jet. My god. The empire is blatantly insane an suicidal at this point ( to use some genteelisms), cause they just might be just good old fashion evil!

2/26/16, 1:15 PM

pygmycory said...
I'm on the leading edge of the millenials age-wise and like you am often angry with the more privileged end of the baby boom generation. That said, they really do vary a lot.

I've met plenty, including some of my own family, who are not privileged, and/or do a lot of the kind of things we talk about on this blog. It was one of them who introduced me to this blog, as a matter of fact, and taught me a lot of what I know about growing food. He and his partner grow much of their own food, and doesn't own a car. They have a woodstove, and their house is usually downright cold in the winter. He is heavily involved in his local Transition Town, which he helped found and run. Another was proudly working class, spent a significant portion of their life poor and then died young of cancer.

Then there are the two who have money, fly entirely too much, and seem to think I should be trying to be just like them. And if I decide on another path since I CAN'T go down theirs if I wanted to, then I ought to be miserable and ashamed of my failure. As you can imagine, we argue a lot when we happen to be in the same room.

2/26/16, 1:18 PM

pygmycory said...
As for the whole 'what is Canada doing in Syria' thing, I think I'd better admit I don't know what we're doing, I don't think the government does either, and the whole thing seems like a confused mess. The sort of situation that shouldn't be poked with a 10 foot pole, much less waded into without overwhelming power AND a very good reason.

2/26/16, 1:22 PM

Shane W said...
I find that people my age and younger are very receptive to the "failed by our 'elders'" meme, you just have to make sure you're not w/in earshot of older people when you discuss it, else you'll get loudly and defensively shouted down.

2/26/16, 1:29 PM

Sojan Shieldbearer said...
I have also started reading Arnold Toynbee as well. The local public library where I live has a wonderful collection of classic history, including the full 12 volume set of A Study of History. I am currently most of the way through Volume I. It's turning out to be an intellectual adventure, like reading Spengler, Lewis Mumford or Eric Hoffer for the first time.

I am just as amazed with A Study of History as I was with The Decline of the West. It seems to me that even though Spengler and Toynbee had very different outlooks and personalities and Toynbee rejected Spengler's philosophy, the two works complement one another quite nicely. Each seems to fill in the gaps and shortcomings of the other.

2/26/16, 1:29 PM

David said...
(formerly buddhabythelake)

My vote is for the latter.

2/26/16, 1:33 PM

onething said...

How do you see money and empire working at cross purposes?



2/26/16, 2:29 PM

Sojan Shieldbearer said...
Looks like Europe is close to the breaking point when it comes to the refugee crisis, with the Norwegian government threatening to lock down its borders and abrogate EU rules concerning asylum seekers and immigrants.

Sol concludes by saying:

"My prediction of combat in the streets of Europe this summer is spot on I think....I might have missed on the scale of it though. We could see the entire continent on fire....from Greece up to Norway we could see citizens in the streets stomping on immigrants. It will be ugly, it will be messy and no one will care."


2/26/16, 2:49 PM

Phil Harris said...
I wonder what kind of wind will blow across the Atlantic from your side. We always get something. If globalisation and a new cold-war become no longer the obvious way of arranging the world, and we all – I stress all, not just the ‘advanced market countries’ (what a term!) – run out explanations for financial crashes, then perhaps Britain in particular is going to feel very peculiar.

A lot of people here I guess still think we can pull out of the EU “because we are nearer to America”. And all our ‘business schools’ and IT seem to rely on American business models as well as on actual IT kit. America ‘comes naturally’ to modern Britain: a good part of our elite has been ‘schooled’ in America: the present government and Blair / Brown Labour people all have strong links with American politics, and the key member of Cameron’s present cabinet, Chancellor George Osborne is known to link with American neoconservatives.

I guess if America really seriously changes we will very soon find big consequences over here.

I will put a note in the calendar and look forward to April. I hope the time and stars and whatever smile on you and yours.

2/26/16, 2:50 PM

Shane W said...
Selling out:
IDK, as best I recall growing up in the 80s, there was a lot of residual, real 60s-70s resistance to Reaganomics, neoconservatism, & neoliberalism. It wasn't a cemented fact until Reagan's reelection in '84, and gasoline actually peaked during the '82 recession, and throughout the whole decade there was a lot of real leftward resistance to the Reagan counterrevolution. Mondale & Dukakis, I don't believe, was part of the neoliberal consensus. I don't really think that many on the leftward end fully sold out until the Clintons made it acceptable for people on the left to adopt neoliberalism, too. That, I think, marked the collapse of any significant resistance on the left to the neoliberal consensus. Whatever resistance was left was reduced to a small remnant after Bill Clinton's two terms.

2/26/16, 2:54 PM

Sojan Shieldbearer said...
As a follow-up to my last post, it looks like the ethnic warfare in Europe might have already begun.

There have been reports from Germany that after the gang rape of a 13 year old Russian immigrant girl by Muslim immigrants, the Russian immigrant community declared it would respond to future threats against Russian immigrants with force and there have already been street fights and vigilante incidents between Russian and Muslim immigrants in Germany, including Berlin.

Here is some appropriate theme music, courtesy of Hawkwind...

2/26/16, 3:08 PM

onething said...
It seems to me that both Sanders and Trump are offering unrealistic goals from the past. Sanders wants European style socialism but we probably cannot afford it even if he does knock back the oligarchs, and Trump wants to make America great again, which I suppose means he wants to go back to the 50s or 60s, but that ship already sailed.

I suppose one thing Trump might have going for him is that I suspect he actually cares about this country in a way that the elite have long since ceased to do. But I'm pretty sure he's no Putin.

2/26/16, 3:10 PM

Nicholas Carter said...
He's just an Okay Old One

2/26/16, 3:23 PM

Varun Bhaskar said...

The fear and loathing from the salaried class about the rise of Trump is audible. Most of the people I know, who belong to the salaried class, sneer at me whenever I mention his name. The wage class folk get it, they don't like Trump but they hate Clinton. I think the wage and profit class will be my customer base when the paper launches next month. I don't know what to make of all this sneering, it honestly makes me angry and disrespected. People who know how well read I am, how well travelled, people who know my background are starting to treat me like some kind of uneducated chump. What is with these people that they can't see the tides of anger washing away everything around them?

Have a good vacation, sir. You deserve it!



2/26/16, 4:32 PM

Totara said...
As somebody who observes US politics filtered by the distance of living in another country, Madeleine Albright's outburst seems entirely clueless. Some of us remember that Naomi Klein had this to say about Albright in her book, The Shock Doctrine (page 273):

"It was in this context that the U.S. secretary of state, Madeleine Albright, visited Thailand in March 1999 and saw fit to scold the Thai public for turning to prostitution and the "dead end of drugs." It is "essential that girls not be exploited and abused and exposed to AIDS. It's very important to fight back," Albright said, filled with moral resolve. She apparently saw no connection between the fact that so many Thai girls were being forced into the sex trade and the austerity policies for which she expressed her "strong support" on the same trip. It was the Asian financial crisis's equivalent of Milton Friedman expressing his displeasure with Pinochet's or Deng Xiaoping's human rights violations while praising their bold embrace of economic shock therapy."

2/26/16, 4:47 PM

Stu from New Jersey said...
Thanks for the analysis of the goings-on here in the U.S.

I would consider either Trump or Sanders for my second-place vote, but then thanks to their parties, we do not have choice voting in the U.S. So I'll have to stick to a Green Party vote. (If either of the major parties pushes through choice voting in my state - NJ - they will get my second-place vote until I die.)

Anyway, a happy Equinox to you and to all the readers, too. See you in April.

2/26/16, 4:52 PM

Nastarana said...
Dear unknown Deborah Bender, don't forget that the wicked stepmother stories of European folklore are set against a backdrop of severely limited resources, and at a time when in most countries, the eldest got, not just the estate, but the best of everything when growing up, for the very good reason that the eldest son might have to take on responsibility for the family at any time.

Dear Tidlosa, party conventions nominate candidates by a succession of ballots; since 1960 all candidates have been selected on the first ballot, but that need not be so. Convention delegates are required to vote for the person selected by their state primary or caucus on the first, or perhaps second, ballot ONLY after which they can vote however they like This is where the legendary smoke filled rooms come in, in which party bosses negotiate and then pass on instructions to the underlings(delegates) in return for various favors. Among the Democrats, for example, all Sen. Sanders really has to do is arrive at the convention with enough delegates to deny Mrs. Clinton a first or second ballot win. This is why the media is falling over itself calling her "ahead" when the race right now is in fact a virtual tie, and why, as the Archdruid pointed out, Sanders' supporters are unlikely to accept Mrs. Clinton being forced down our throats. No party unity this year I think.

2/26/16, 5:07 PM

Shane W said...
glad to see you back! I've missed hearing from you, and am glad you're still here & following the blog!

2/26/16, 5:22 PM

onething said...

AS you may have noted, I agreed with Sgage. I'd like to know just how you think I sold out and committed unspeakable evil. I've been barely middle class, although I identify as a member of the salary class by family culture, I've never had a salary. I was offered one once though, at 19, by General Telephone even though I had not been to college. I turned it down because I was about to get married and have children. My husband was one of those who had an engineering job without an engineering degree (he now has one). We struggled because we had one salary. I chose to stay home with my kids. After I got divorced I struggled as a single mother with a secretary job and got little child support because he had issues with cocaine. My uncle helped me go to school and I got a two year degree because I really didn't have more time than that. But none of that has to do with selling out or not. It was just the vicissitudes of my life.

You say that those who save for retirement or expect social security and medicare are evil. I don't believe for one minute that another generation would turn those down, it's just that our system is going down and those might not be there. I may not get social security, or I might collect briefly. I haven't had much chance to save for retirement, partly because even when my wages got better I was helping my children go to college. So did their dad. They got grants and one got scholarships, but they still graduated in debt. Is that my fault? Is that the fault of other baby boomers? Most of the financial problems have been brought about by the machinations of the oligarchs and their lobbyists. Most baby boomers' children are struggling. You think they are not aware of that? Other than helping their kids or having their kids living with them, what were they supposed to do to head this off?

I got my first job at 15. Social security is not a choice. You are about 40. Haven't you paid into social security? Do you think you deserve a return on that? I've been scolded for not having savings, and my answer is that I have paid off my house and will be able to make it on social security. Medicare is govt health care and we should all have it. But when boomers were coming up, medical insurance or seeing a doctor without it for that matter, were reasonably affordable. So things made sense. The whole medical industry is in a bubble and has been corrupted like everything else, but I don't think the average middle class boomer saw it coming or devised it. No one is happy about it except those who are getting rich from it. Me and kids were without medical insurance for lots of years, but I can't say I worried about it much.

to be continued...

2/26/16, 5:23 PM

onething said...

I was clueless about peak oil, and financial matters are opaque to me as well as boring, so in later years when I was offered the chance to participate in 401Ks I have always turned it down because something about it doesn't sit well with me. I'm afraid it might not be ethical. I might be wrong, but although I did not understand the wealth pump I've been aware that corporations are oppressing the 3rd world and making a lot of money for nothing seems impossible to me without that someone somewhere is getting the short end of the stick. So, I have little savings. But is saving for retirement evil? Isn't it a sensible thing to do? Some employers match savings. Why turn that down? Lots of young people are on medicaid, by the way.

You think when the economy is decent and you need to make a living and take a job that somehow you are a bad person because over the decades the democracy becomes corrupted and life gets worse?

One unfortunate tendency in this country is people being divided from each other who ought not to be divided. It serves the oligarchs well.

I can agree we have used too much energy, but until I came to this blog I hadn't really considered peak oil. I don't know that most people did. I was just about old enough to vote when Reagan came in, but I did not see any of these things clearly. I did see that the dems and repubs were a lost cause since about the age of 30 and have not voted for one since then, with just one exception. But really, McCain scared the bejeezus out of me.

2/26/16, 5:24 PM

Caryn said...
JGM: Thanks much again for a fantastic analysis. Wishing you a joyous Vernal Equinox and a happy, restorative break.

By April, I expect, (and kind of hope) to be Stateside again. My husband, the main bread-winner, is jobless again and our funds and time are running out; so I will no doubt be flooding these threads and Green Wizards with practical and social questions on re-integrating. A heavy dose of reverse-culture-shock awaits my family and I. I am reading these comments about suiciders with a massive lump of paralyzing fear in my throat and heart.

On a happier note: I watched the circus of the Republican debate last night - holy Idiocracy! Reality TV has some way to go to catch up with the craziness and manufactured drama of this! I think due to the clarity your essays have brought me, In a few segments, I could spot with crystal clarity the secret: wherein The Donald was winning votes from viewers at home, even as according to standard debate pundits he was 'losing' or misstepping on practical debate grounds. On healthcare reform, he offered no solutions or plan but kept repeating "No one is going to die on the streets under my reign", as the approved establishment candidates blindly pushed forward with their 1/2-measure complicated plans to appear reasonable, anti-Obamacare and still 'free-market'. They had solid plans. He didn't. Yet, I could imagine an overwhelming number of voters out there for whom dying on the streets is a real threat - that's all they want to hear. No other Republican candidate had a plan that could claim that. He 'gets' it, they don't.

In regard to this week's post, I've puttered around some internet blogs/sites/discussions that have also left me a bit bewildered until this weeks post re: Madame Clinton and why I as a woman should feel compelled to vote for her. This finger-waving has indeed come exclusively from women all of a higher end salary-classed, comfortable background. Usually executive women. Shocking to me, but no: They really don't see that there are a multitude of other people, (including other women), who are in far more dire straits than they are, for whom 'breaking that last glass-ceiling' is very low on their list of concerns. They don't seem to see that they although not on the very highest branch in the tree, are really quite high up there and that without the support of those multitudes below - they will fall. *to my fellow commenters:I realize this is a judgy, possibly snarky generalization. I still think it stands - not for EVERYONE, but for many. Certainly for those Hillary supporters I'm talking about on Salon, True Activist, my HK Moms FB group, etc.

I am also voting for Bernie in the Primary, not sure what I'll do if/when the super delegates stuff Madame Clinton into the slot for the General. I too have more immediate concerns.

Again, Happy Vay-Cay. Will pick up again in April.

2/26/16, 6:10 PM

Sojan Shieldbearer said...
Speaking of Great Cthulhu and the War on Christmas, check this out...

2/26/16, 6:32 PM

Caryn said...
About the Boomer/Silent/Millennial debate:

Born in 1961, I think that makes me a Silent. (right?) I was 18 in 1980, my first election. I won't pretend to have been prescient enough to have voted for Carter because I saw through the BS of 'greed is good, or could extrapolate enough to predict what would come. In my family we swore like sailors, but were not allowed to say the "R" word. I also had some hazy idea about anti-nukes, solar=good, oil=bad, So I voted for Carter; but as a young artsy fashion-y type coming from a poor family and middling public school education, I really had no clue. On the one hand: My own ignorance is my fault, the information was surely out there if I was motivated to look. OTOH, understanding civic responsibility was not only not promoted, 'not a thing', it was discouraged as anti-progress, anti-capitalist, retro-hippy-dippy…. This is why I so love 'The Century Of The Self', in the last 2 segments, it describes EXACTLY what I lived through.

So I read these discussions and these indictments by millennials and try to think back on how I and we Oldsters collectively dropped the ball. Maybe we should have seen and felt that if such heady prosperity flaunted everywhere were too good, they were most likely too good to be true. It was a time of unfettered optimism for most people. In retrospect, I was one of the kind of 'left-out' that Bruce Springsteen songs were about. I embraced that Springsteenish working class cool as well as punk music and culture, but even for me and those like me - it seemed like we had some duty to better ourselves as we could and climb up the ladder to at least self-sufficiency within the existing establishment. That rejection of society, counter-culture happy hippy stuff had clearly failed, mired in a haze of dope.

I'm happy to own my part in the failure, but if I could go back in time, I'm not sure even knowing what I know now, how I could have effected much societal change. To go back and do it again - with what I knew then - I cannot imagine making much better decisions at all. So I don't know what the answer is. Get angry at us all you want - I do believe if you collectively were plopped down in that time and place with the knowledge we had, (and hadn't) you wouldn't have done any better - neither would any collective generation. Sad and infuriating as it may be, it just kind of IS. Like every civilizational collapse. Maybe young collapsing Romans, Mesopotamians and Mayans also hated their elders for eating up all of their potential. I'm sorry we failed. I guarantee you, to ruin the world was not a deliberate choice.

2/26/16, 6:53 PM

beneaththesurface said...
JMG, I'm glad you're taking a break -- you deserve it! As much as I enjoy reading your blog, the break will give me a good excuse to spend less time in front of a computer. Every week I read your post and usually all the comments. I want to spend less time online, but because your blog is so enticing, sometimes that's hard : ) In any case, I'm going to spend more time reading physical books.

On the topic of book-reading: I'm one of the library staff selected this year to write on topics of my choice, each post containing 5-10 short book reviews, that will appear on the reading suggestions area of our website. I had to create a profile outlining my reading interests, and I, of course, put down one of your books (it was hard to choose just one, but I picked the one I most recently finished) among my five favorite books (truthfully I probably have several hundred):

There are a number of themes that I want to write about, and many of them will probably relate to topics discussed on the Archdruid Report. In some small way I hope to promote high-quality but lesser-known books such as yours.

Question for anyone here: In a few months I intend to write about the growing subgenre of deindustrial SF. Besides Greer's books (which I will certainly include), do you have any recommendations of good deindustrial SF that I should consider including in my discussion?

2/26/16, 7:10 PM

Justin said...
I think the "why vote for a lesser evil?" joke with Cthulhu started around 2004 but really shone in 2008 and 2012 - even here in Canada I saw a Cthulhu bumper sticker in 2012 - but the Eldritch Horror party has been distinctly absent this time around. Blame Sanders and Trump.

Today most people in my workplace went out to lunch to celebrate a coworker's voluntary departure. The conversation turned to Trump. We're all distinctly salary class individuals. I mentioned that Scott Adams (who has been writing a fascinating commentary on Trump) of Dilbert fame thinks he'll win. It seemed to be a popular opinion among a bunch of Canadians who are paid a lot of money to touch computers in a nice way that Trump's election would cause a second American revolution... which is kind of darkly amusing, seeing as how the Trump side of the whole exchange is far more likely to own guns and have used them for real in the Middle East.

Regarding Trudeau, it is not going to be pretty. The photo-op PM is likely to be the final stake in the heart of the Liberal party - the interval of time required for the Libs to recover from Trudeau's idiocy will involve so much change that none of the 3 major parties - everyone except the the Bloc Quebecois - will be relevant anymore.

Have a nice well-deserved vacation!

2/26/16, 8:03 PM

Cherokee Organics said...

Apologies, please indulge me one last comment!

It just dawned on me today that the reason that the inflationary effect of the money printing process hasn't been felt is because it is occurring in lock step with the most recent bubble booms and busts. In fact it appears to me as if the bubble booms and busts are a necessary component of the whole process (a relief valve of sorts) and if they weren't there then you would well be witnessing an inflationary surge. A truly cynical person would suggest that perhaps the reason no bankers have been charged for any incident recently and the bail-out was actually provided willy-nilly when it shouldn't have been was because the whole destruction of paper money during the bust is now part of your economic cycle and there is little easy way to step out of that cycle.

The implications - if this is the case - are profound.

Anyway, enjoy your holiday and I shall not hassle you again (unless of course you wish to discuss this fascinating insight).



2/27/16, 12:46 AM

James Bodie said...
Looking at the polls, it seems Hillary won't have to cheat to get the nomination. Democratic voters will hand it to her. I am a Sanders supporter and dread the inevitable. I could never vote for Trump because of his party affiliation. I have read the platform of the Republican party and am staunchly opposed to every plank that deals with social conservatism. That party will never get my vote in its current form.
Tarheel Lovecraft fans know that R'lyeh is correctly pronounced as Raleigh, so yes, Cthulhu is constitutionally eligible.

2/27/16, 12:55 AM

patriciaormsby said...
@Jennie, around the curvature of the Earth, on the other side of the pond over here, I'm in really similar circumstances. My husband's cash flow turned negative about 16 years ago, and rather than trying to hang on in vain, as he saw others doing, he "retired." I've kept the ship going. Cashed out my retirement account a while back (I don't really trust the company to be solvent for that long). Japan at least has decent health insurance. Around this time each year I go into a funk, as all the tax forms I have to file with US agencies force me to delve into the sordid details of my savings accounts. The one bright spot today was that my husband's eenie-weenie farming income came close to matching the expenses, and that doesn't even take into account the value of all that organic food it puts on our table every day of the year.
Nonetheless, the anxiety I feel this year has been much more severe than usual. So last night I tapped (practiced EFT--an energy healing technique), calling anxiety "my friend" for alerting me to the need to change, and so on. But I still couldn't quite figure out where all that anxiety was coming from, so I decided to let my dreams tell me. I must have been asleep for three minutes, when sure enough, the answer came. It's all the suffering from all around this planet, and we are really at a tipping point, and there's no telling where this is going to lead for any of us. But I can tell you this much: going out and farming is probably the best thing you can do in quite a number of ways, and so I wish you all the best from the bottom of my heart.

@JMG, I have no idea how you manage to keep up with this blog all alone, and you do so much else as well! I'll scour your archives in March, and I've gotten most of the second draft of my work for the Meriga Project typed out, so will keep on working. Happy Equinox!

2/27/16, 5:22 AM

latheChuck said...
Nick (and all)- You've hit on a significant observation, that most of the people you talk with (other than family) are within +/- 5 years of your age. One of the features of American life that Alexis de Tocqueville (mid-19th century) commented on was the way we form private associations, independent of either government or business. In my case, I participate in my Lutheran church, amateur radio club, and neighborhood swim club; in each of these, I'd had the chance to have serious conversations with people of both older and younger generations, and vastly different life experiences. Look for local associations to suit yourself. Regarding religion, I anticipate objections like "but I don't believe". To which I say "if you come for the music, the coffee, and the social contacts, belief may come in its own time".

2/27/16, 5:28 AM

Hubertus Hauger said...
@ Whitecloak said... better a honest "Trump ... is bombastic and crude ... a ... racist ... over ... hypocrites. ... If we cannot hope, we shall spite, and perhaps our pain can be felt by those who think themselves our betters."

I am impressed by the Whitecloaka frankness. Also I feel hope, that now many are ready for change, even painful. What is really is needed now, to tell everyone the plain truth, that we are at the limits of growth with peak everything , from which is coming unavoidably collapse and thereafter a compulsory simplification of life. In order to give the transition the full attention. Which, call me wrong if not, neither Trump nor Sanders stand for.

I guess each of us is called, to be a promotor of transition, talking and working. So I will to have to start by myself. Well!

2/27/16, 6:01 AM

Hubertus Hauger said...
JMG, I wish you a well deserved recreation time.

2/27/16, 6:07 AM

Shane W said...
Conventional wisdom/mainstream media sez black voters are in the bag for Hillary. Not so sure...

2/27/16, 6:31 AM

jdmeth said...
I find it hard to imagine how I have lived for 63 years and have been so wrong in my thinking, at least that is the feed back I get from commenting at sites like this. I will say I will vote for Bernie but not for the reasons most here will. I want him to win the same way I wished Gore had won, so that whatever shit storm is coming will be on the Democrats' heads this time.

I find it amusing when people say they hate Authoritarianism but then wish our modern fossil fuel using society had been prevented from advancing. Only an Authoritarian could wield enough power to control every facet of peoples lives.

2/27/16, 7:12 AM

The other Tom said...
Regarding the generational debate and where to apportion blame, I was just thinking that if this blog and its community of commentators had been available to me in the 1970s, I may have had an easier time finding my way through the thicket of competing narratives that were supposed to explain how the world worked. This, I think, is true of all generations of all times, that even if you resist the prevailing culture it can take a lot of experimentation and time to find something that is real and not "selling out."
JMG, enjoy your break and thanks for everything you do.

2/27/16, 8:13 AM

Steve Morgan said...

"Question for anyone here: In a few months I intend to write about the growing subgenre of deindustrial SF. Besides Greer's books (which I will certainly include), do you have any recommendations of good deindustrial SF that I should consider including in my discussion?"

Paolo Bacigalupi's The Water Knife is a gripping read. It's a bit graphic and violent at times (like his other books), but it's worth a read, especially for anyone interested in the unwinding of anglo culture and land-use patterns in the southwest.

I hope you'll consider posting a link to your piece on deindustrial SF here when you've finished. I'd be interested to learn what other titles and writers are out there.

2/27/16, 8:45 AM

mgalimba said...
Dear Archdruid,

I'll be voting for Hillary Clinton and, yes, it will be based almost entirely on biology. It's not so much the vagina, as you put it, but the hormones attached thereto and the effect those hormones have on the brain of the politician in question. The less testosterone we have in global executive office in the next few decades decreases the probability of our species/civilization doing something truly stupid - like WWIII - in my calculated opinion That is a status quo that I am deeply interested in preserving. And yes, I do see in Sanders the possibility of warmongering, given the right circumstances.

2/27/16, 8:55 AM

Roger said...
MG, Over my life I've had a deep whiff of the salaried class, being one of them myself even though I'm not of that class by birth but rather by education and choice.

I'm not original in saying this but a common view in the salaried class is that the ruin of the wage class was something they fully deserved (now, don't shoot the messenger).

The view is that for decades, only partly thanks to the union movement, the wage class collectively became slack, undisciplined, over-paid, under-worked, under-educated, under-skilled, lacking in work-ethic, lacking in diligence and drive.

In short, there was/is in the salaried class, a hearty contempt for the beer-bellied, pick-up driving set. They got college level compensation with high school education and minimal effort and this couldn't go on.

Never mind the craven behaviour of the managerial-salaried class (that would be people like me) that caved in to unreasonable demands (from both our capitalist masters and wage earning employees) when we ought to have stood firm. Never mind our own arseholish treatment of workers. We knew, but chose to ignore, one iron law in employee relations: a company got the union it bloody deserved. We, the salaried class, insufferably smug, are utterly impervious to understanding who we are and what we've done.

If we had gripes we should have stood up and said so. But we didn't. We should have said look, more and more pay for ever decreasing effort and productivity cannot go on. We should have had an adult discussion about the fact that Canada was losing more time due to labour stoppages than any other country except Italy. And we should have acknowledged our part in it. But we didn't.

We sidestepped problems. Our central bank helped us kick the can and printed money like there was no tomorrow and inflicted the inflation of the 60's-70's-80's.

But dammit, if we couldn't get a decent day's work out of people that lived here, with China and other places opening up to foreign investment (meaning off-shoring) we'd locate our factories and facilities where dirt-poor people worked like beasts without complaint. And not only that but where unsqueamish governments with no notion of human rights would mercilessly crush unrest.

Not only did we install a world economic and financial system that has no chance in hell of working (as we can daily see by ZIRP and NIRP) we let others do the dirty work. Contemptible in full measure. There's a special place in hell or there ought to be.

That's the kind of people we are in the salaried class. Cowards to the core, caught between our capitalist masters and the workers we managed, slaves to the bottom line, instead of looking for long term, workable solutions, we took the easy way out.

We know, or we ought to know, that one way out of this global mess is to do two things 1) pay people in the third world to buy the stuff they make, 2) pay people in the west to make the stuff they buy. Will we do it? Not on your life.

Will we even breathe a word of it? Never, suggesting it would be seen as a despicable act of disloyalty, a career stopper. And this blacklisting, to the teeth-grinding careerist, is capital punishment, no less. If you want to know what it's like in a totalitarian regime that controls speech and thought and action, just go to work for a large corporation and you'll know.

2/27/16, 10:32 AM

Roger said...
JMG begging your indulgence... to finish my comment:

I only know Hillary as the rehearsed and plasticized manikin on stage. But, ambitious and striving, she smells to me like people in my class. That homey drawl she affects makes me laugh, the shots in that bar left me in stitches. As phony as can be. And she has a chance at being President. She's fully behind the system as it is but frankly, I don't know which of the alternative candidates are more dangerous.

What was the tally? 154 million? For giving speeches? All that money? Please...

Far be it from me to condemn American politics. Ours in Canada are no better. To the south people think it's roses up here. It ain't. I can't pretend to know who I would vote for if I was in your shoes.

2/27/16, 10:33 AM

. said...
Just for the record that particular case about the 13 year old Russian-German girl being raped by migrants turned out to be false. She spent the night with her 20-something Turkish German boyfriend and his friend. That's still statutory rape in Germany and grooming of a very young girl by older men but it wasn't quite as she reported.

It is true though that there are enormous problems in Germany and Austria as a result of the recent migration and it's headed for civil war. Almost daily there are reports of refugee centre arson and attacks on migrants. On the other side are constant reports of sexual harassment and assaults - often by groups- muggings, burglaries, gangs of pickpockets, often with a side order of sexual harassment, from north Africa, in most main train stations etc.

There are also widespread and proven reports of persecution of apostates, Christian converts, LGBT people, Muslim women without headscarves, Muslims drinking or selling alcohol as well as fights between Shia, Sunni and Kurds. All happening both within and outside the refugee centres. The authorities are slowly being forced to allow segregated refugee accommodation for LGBT people but are resisting doing the same for Christian converts or anyone else - frankly because it wouldn't look good for the 'integration' story.

IS leaders have been found registered as refugees in the refugee centres. At least two of the Paris attackers used the refugee route through Greece with false Syrian passports to travel from IS territory in Syria under the radar of French security services. Austria recently arrested a few more who travelled with them but didn't make it to Paris in time to participate and got stuck in Austria instead.

It's difficult to separate rumour from reality at this stage but it's ugly out there. Neo-Nazis spread wild rumours, the mainstream and the left deny reality as much as possible. The wealthier classes who don't hang out at places like bus stops and train stations too much just don't see a problem. The political class will only discuss crime statistics as if the map were the territory. Anyone who points out that there's a gap between reality and statistics is denounced. Even though ironically the same people have no difficulty being aware, for example, that sexual offences are underreported and underconvicted.

Refugees are being given classes to educate them about freedom of religion, equality for women, freedom of speech etc. That's as close as the political mainstream gets to admitting the problem and it's about the only idea they have for solving it. That some of their students might just disagree that what they're being taught is 'A Good Thing' doesn't seem to occur to officialdom. Apparently such values are so clearly rational and correct that all anyone could need is to have them explained to them. Whereupon they will see the light and recant their previous heretical beliefs. Naturally...

They also pretend to expect the police and courts to somehow be able to stop it when they blatantly can't. Mostly though they spend their time calling the average person on the street racist whenever they disagree with the official story.

I hope the US doesn't end up like that.

Hope you have a restful break JMG!


2/27/16, 11:06 AM

Ed-M said...
Allo l'Archdruide barbarien!

Well Rachel Maddow is giving the Dems a heads-up warning: they have a turnout problem, made worse (for them) by Trump's uncanny knack of attracting people to the polls. Looks like your Suicide of the Left article was right on target -- at least when it comes to the Democratic Party.

And it looks like after Iowa, the Donald got his ground game in gear, too.

Mind you, I'd rather have Sanders vs. Trump or better still, Sanders vs. Rubio (well we can't have everything). It's too close to call still, but I think it may just come down to Hillary vs. the Donald. And we all know who'll win that one.

What makes matters worse, is that Trump has that notorious neo-con William Kristol on board as a foreign policy advisor, too. Which means anything outside of the Washington Consensus may be "out". At least in the foreign policy field. I thought Donald at least would make friends with Putin.

Oh well, Hell's bells. Oh, sugar!

2/27/16, 12:36 PM

Marcu said...
@beneaththesurface check out Inter States: Fossil Nation . I really enjoyed it. It is from the same publisher that publishes many of JMG's books.

2/27/16, 12:38 PM

valekeeperx said...
Shane, et al,

I gotta agree with onething and Caryn. I was born in ’61 also. It’s easy to look back with 20/20 hindsight, and be upset and say that people should have done better. It is hard for me to understand the things our society does. As a water quality regulator, I deal with stuff everyday that boggles the mind - landfills, leaking underground tanks, sewage treatment plants, severely polluted and contaminated storm water, aquifers and other waterbodies, ecological destruction, and let's not get started on the stupidity and delusions of the ivory tower bureaucrats and politicians. This stuff started before any of us were born. As JMG wrote recently in the comments here and at his other blog,

“Human beings don't like to think; we're not actually very good at it; and trying to make people think when they don't want to do so is not going to do any good. That's simply the way our species is.”

“[H]uman beings are not rational creatures -- nor will they ever be, nor can they be made rational without mental and spiritual mutilation.”

“The rational mind is a very recent evolutionary construct perched on top of a superbly adapted primate nervous system and brain. Like most new releases, the rational mind is riddled with bugs, and though it can do some very impressive things, it also tends to run off the rails catastrophically on a routine basis…”

Also, consider that back in the 70’s and 80’s, we didn’t have computers everywhere or cell phones or the internet or a brilliant historian/philosopher/Archdruid pointing things out so clearly. In my gut, I knew things did not make sense, but I did not have what was needed to come to any kind of clear understanding of what it was about. Few did. We are irrational, limited primates making a mess of things.

I’m trying to do things today, but it is huge uphill battle. Over the last couple of years, I’ve tried talking with people about the issues discussed here at the ADR and usually get nothing but blank stares, brush offs, sputtering denial, or pure silent incomprehension. What are ya gonna do? If you think it is really that helpful, go ahead, climb up on your high horse. Cast judgment.

The currents and momentum affecting us and our society back then and affecting us today originated tens, hundreds, and thousands of years ago. Yeah, we should have done better.

Best regards

2/27/16, 2:31 PM

valekeeperx said...

Thanks for all your work here at the ADR, at the WOG, and with your books. It all has been tremendously helpful to me. I hope that your break is peaceful, restful, and enjoyable.

Best Regards

2/27/16, 2:36 PM

Caryn said...
Off Topic for this week. I think we had this discussion last week, about modern society and mental health; but I just ran across this article. I thought some of you might find really interesting:

"Living In America Will Drive You Insane, Literally"

Incidentally, I do have 1 student, a very bright, head-strong little girl who has been diagnosed with ODD, Oppositional Defiance Disorder, (mentioned in the article). She basically wants to do things her way.... until I can explain or show her why and how my way might have merit. Personally, I think this is perfectly reasonable, and I would have estimated that although she is more work for us teachers, she is just brighter and stronger than most other kids who blindly obey. This is now considered a mental disorder. FACEPALM!!!
Luckily, as far as I've been told, her parents refuse to put her on meds.

2/27/16, 4:20 PM

william fairchild said...

"Privileged: here's my idea of privileged: anyone who has lived most of their life in what used to account for a middle class American lifestyle, and who expects to maintain such lifestyle until they die based on retirement savings, Social Security, & Medicare. That's my idea of privileged, because it's all but off limits to the vast majority of people under 40."

Here is a little news flash: its all but off limits to the vast majority of people. Period.

That is what is so damned scary. For example, my state has a 100 billion hole in the state pensions. The idea that aging boomers, much less Xers pass through this bottleneck unscathed is a fantasy. And Millenials, well, y'all went under the bus before you were even born. The intergenerational injustice is simple staggering.

JHK puts is as "capital was sucked into a black hole from which it will never emerge.". It wasn't just capital, it was wealth. Now that wealth is unavailable to fund the myriad of needs constituting " the general welfare".

And when the caca hits the fiscal fan, retribution may be the order of the day. I hope not, but it worries me.

"It is not revenge. It is a reckoning.". -Doc Holiday (Tombstone)

" I welcome their hatred.". -FDR

2/27/16, 5:48 PM

Unknown said...
(Deborah Bender)

Caryn, the Baby Boom was the dramatic increase in the US birthrate at the end of WWII, when men came home from the war to their wives and sweethearts. There was a brief postwar recession followed by a long period of economic expansion during which men of all races got jobs that paid enough to enable them to set up a household and support a family. Perhaps the reason you don't know you are a Boomer is that your were born late in the period and are too young to remember the assassination of President Kennedy. That was a defining end-of-an-era event for older Boomers.

Here's a link to a chart of the generational periods commonly applied to US history from the beginning of the Twentieth Century. You will note that the length of generations is between 15-25 years. The variance is because they are characterized by historical events that supposedly affected the outlook of most people born during that period. The idea of giving generations names like this seems to have started after The War (WWII). The names used to be applied in retrospect as it can take awhile to figure out what the important shifts are.

2/27/16, 8:21 PM

Shane W said...
I was just @ a friend's 31st birthday, and it came up how touchy older people are about selling out. The three of us were all pretty much in agreement and enthusiastic about the point. There wasn't anyone over 50 to shout us down, tho...

2/27/16, 8:32 PM

Candace said...

You're joking, right? Hillary has literally voted, endorsed or pushed every military intervention she could have influnced! She puts the H in Hawk!

If you think her estrogen levels are going to keep us out out of more military conflicts, you are sorely misinformed! Yikes!

2/27/16, 9:04 PM

Gaianne said...
@Shane 2/27/16 8: 32 PM

Your young friends are passing around self-congratulatory high-fives. Fine.

Twenty years before you were born we had a saying: "Never trust anyone over thirty!"

It was brilliant tactics.

It was stupid strategy.

If you think about why that is we can lay this argument to rest with satisfaction on all sides.

The boomers who did not eventually sell out were, of course, a small minority. But if you have never met any of them, it only means you travel in the wrong circles. You should change the circles you travel in.


2/28/16, 12:40 AM

111DFC said...
Good post JMG

The revival of Spengler is a duty now.

Have you read his “The war chariot and its significance for the course of History”(1934)? (or something like this in English). In this essay he described how a new military technology, the war chariot, was what made some groups of people, like the Indo-Europeans (Aryans) conquer the Iran (The Aryian land), the Indian subcontinent (the Indra comrades) and the great plains of Europe around 1500 –1100 b.c. against some bigger and more populated civilizations and kingdoms (Spengler was not a racist, he talked about cultures not races).
IMHO It seems possible that his speech, in Germany in 1934, about that machine made by the “militarized ethos” of this peoples the Nazis thought were their ancient ancestors, and the way they made war with “schwerpunkt” (spearhead) attacks and quick deep penetration in the enemy’s rear by the extremely mobile ancient war chariots, could help to change the concept of the german modern armored warfare in the 30’s

Talking about US, there are 30.000 dead by firearms per year, one complete Vietnam each two years, this means that people are waging a silent big war without front lines. All this rage is waiting for somebody (one or more) that can close the ranks and direct all the blind rage of the mass shootings to a "meaningful" enemy

What we are seeing now is the increase of the radicalism, with people turning to left or right, all against oligarchy but a total difference in the approach to the "solution" of the crisis, as in the 30's

Anyhow nor Trump nor Bernie are real modern "caesars"; he need to be for example a corsican that manage a cannon with his hands in the Lodi bridge, or an austrian that breathed poisonous gases in the trenchs as the rest of the german "genossen", or a georgian that knew the cold tsarist siberian prisons as many russian "tovarishchi". Some outsider in the broad sense of the word, that suffer the fate of other outsiders that identify him as one of them

Good luck

2/28/16, 2:37 AM

Caryn said...
Deborah Bender: Ha Ha! Thanks for that. I knew the history and origins of the post-war Baby Boom and Boomers, but did not know the delineations of them all! So I am either a Boomer or a Gen-X'er as there is overlap. I think I fit into the Boomer group more. Good to know.

2/28/16, 5:02 AM

Walter Bazzini said...
While a Trump v. Sanders race would have at least pitted two candidates of the populace's choosing against each other in, for lack of better terms, a more fair challenge on a more level playing field, a Trump, win over Hillary isn't that bad a second prize. Continuing the rinse-and-repeat lesser of two evils cycle just delays the inevitable crash, from which we may, in some future lifetime, see renaissance. A Trump win might at least accelerate the process.

Politics is a game and, as games go, is often won not by the best person, but the best player.

2/28/16, 5:43 AM

Matt said...
Shane W says..

"I was just @ a friend's 31st birthday, and it came up how touchy older people are about selling out. The three of us were all pretty much in agreement and enthusiastic about the point. There wasn't anyone over 50 to shout us down, tho..."

Are you just trolling now?

2/28/16, 7:14 AM

Patricia Mathews said...
Since you will be on hiatus over the Spring Equinox, let me wish you a Blessed Ostara or its druidical equivalent.

2/28/16, 7:39 AM

August Johnson said...
@Shane W - I didn't sell you out, your generalizations are quite offensive. I'll be 60 in a few months and have spent most of my life trying to bring these subjects to the attention of all I meet. There are plenty of your own generation that are currently involved in selling everybody out right now! The older generations in no way have a monopoly on this.

2/28/16, 8:15 AM

Tom Schmidt said...
@Shane W,

Having fun sticking it to the Boomers? I highly recommend (Boomer) David Stockman's classic article "Hillary Clinton, Class President of a Failed Generation." You'll capture a large sense of the sellout in it, and how the promise of the Boomers was diverted: they stopped Vietnam, cold, but then, like the little special snowflakes they were, got diverted by that essential solipsism that probably drives you to distraction.

I'm barely over 50, and I am constantly amazed and encouraged by your generation. The Boomers are right about you guys: you're whiny, lazy, sheltered, and don't wanna do what you don't wanna do. But as I have told my own students: in the most important city (NYC) in the most important country in the world, YOU are the most important generation in human history. So much crap has gone un-dealt-with, and so many scams have compounded for so long. Not really by the Boomers, per se, but by the Salary Class, of whom the largest plurality are Boomers, desperately clinging to myth and continuing the scams to stave off the horror of personal poverty.

I'm sure you've read The Fourth Turning, but if not, pick it up TODAY and go through it. The crisis upon our society is a recapitulation of previous crises, but compounded by the civilization-ending fact of peak oil. We climbed to the state of knowledge we have now by burning through, as JMG writes, 500MM years of stored sunlight. No future civilization will be able to do that, and so if that knowledge is lost, it will never b recovered. NEVER.

As an Xer (1961-1981) who never got the benefits that the Boom did of caring for children by society, I don't mind seeing it collapse and having something new built. That task, which is the task of building a new social order for the whole world, falls on the Millennials' shoulders. You guys have tremendous assets, social conscience, and empathy... And a lot of Xers and Boomers in your corner. Learn to recognize the allies you will need, and let's build Retrotopia together.

2/28/16, 9:25 AM

Tom Schmidt said...
@JMG: enjoy the break. I don't expect a new post from you weekly, but the curated discussion at this site is the best on teh Interwebs. Your Trump article was brilliant, and pairs well with Taibbi.

Perhaps you could simply post a link once a week to an article, OJ-style, "If I wrote it," and we could remain active here? I guess reading all the comments and responding sucks up as much time as writing the original post. You have given us all so much in the Gift Economy (see Seth Godin's book Linchpin) that is the only plausible replacement for the Tertiary-economy scam society we are living through that I shudder to ask.

Time to go plant some chestnuts.

2/28/16, 9:32 AM

Shane W said...
It's interesting when I was talking about fault lines and "privileged Boomers/Silents", that should not imply that ALL Boomers & Silents are privileged, just that there IS a fault line between those who ARE privileged and the ones they threw under the bus to maintain that privilege. I'm always open to hearing about how people avoided the American Dream and the normal middle class lifestyle in the teeth of all sorts of pressure to conform.
It always amazes me how much collective action & responsibility is in the blind spot of the Me Generation. Inevitably, they revert to talking about their own personal experiences and that of their immediate family. It's not really about individual, but collective responsibility.
Regarding Social Security & Medicare, there's really no possible way to get it through older heads that Social Security is a pay-as-you-go system and not a "savings account" system. It's impossible. Regardless, I know that Social Security and Medicare taken out of my pay goes directly into some old persons social security check. Being as Social Security is not means-tested, it's just as likely to go to some well-off older person who doesn't need it and could make do without it. So, Social Security is just another way that our society takes from the poor (workers making poverty line wages) and gives to the rich (wealthy SS recipients who don't need Social Security)
Thanks, Caryn, for your well thought out and careful response to what you experienced.
I'm not sure how much I believe the "we didn't know" line, it's just so reminiscent of Germans & the Holocaust. I tend to believe JMG when he says when he says that ecology, systems theory, & limits to growth were ideas in popular circulation during the 70s. I've read the books listed--Limits to Growth, Overshoot, Muddling Toward Frugality, etc. My reaction is "how could they say they didn't know, when the books clearly laid out our predicament?" I'm taking JMG's word that these books were popular enough to be common topics, especially with the oil embargo & President Carter's initiatives. I realize that not EVERYONE was reading these books, but I do believe that the topics that these books discussed were circulated enough in the mainstream consciousness at the time.

2/28/16, 11:26 AM

Shane W said...
As for experiences, here's my experiences as a late X'er who grew up without the internet, and didn't first go online till I was a freshman in university:
I was five when Reagan was elected, and don't remember it. The first election I remember was Mondale/Reagan in '84. I was in the third grade. Growing up in the 80's, I knew plenty of people who lived outside the mainstream, that actively avoided the consumer economy, had no TV, lived very sparse lives by choice. There seemed to be plenty of hippies/ex hippies who maintained their ideals in the face of the Reagan (counter)revolution, perhaps because Reagan was such an unpopular figure among them. I first remember thinking about energy issues in mid-grade school, maybe 10 or 11 or so. I pretty much accepted the conventional wisdom that the problems of the 70s were caused by regulation, and that deregulation had "solved" the oil/gas shortage. I was in high school from '90-'94. If anything I can contribute to the understanding of people coming of age today is just how overwhelming the neoliberal consensus was in the 90s. It's hard for people today, in the age of Trump & Sanders, to understand just how powerful the neoliberal consensus was in the 90s. The 90s was the time when the election of Bill Clinton made it okay for people on the left to sell out, as well, and that is when I remember the "holdout hippies" disappearing, and being reduced to an invisible remnant. I remember Bill & Hillary & Al & Tipper taking the stage @ the Democratic convention in '92 to "the Age of Aquarius". The Boomers were president now, and that was going to transform everything, in true "Making of a Counterculture" fashion. Francis Fukuyama's The End of History was popular, and even Russia, under the hapless Yeltsin, was on the business end of the American/Western wealth pump, for God's sake. Greenspan was chairman of the Fed, unemployment was way down, gas went below $1/gal., and nobody except for those on the far, loony fringes challenged the conventional wisdom of neoconservative defense, globalization & free markets and neoliberal economics. Politics in the 90s was STRICTLY about the hot button social issues. I remember reading editorials about the widening wealth gap, and exported jobs, but it seemed abstract and not pressing at the time. Gen X grew up knowing it was a very small generation, with very little political clout (birthrates hit an all-time low the year after I was born), and the only real options for "opting out" was the whole Kurt Cobain/grunge/slacker rage thing. If I'm not mistaken, Gen X was actually smaller than the Silent Generation, which was born during the Depression & WW II. There was (prescient) discussion about Gen X'ers doing worse than the generations before them and having fewer opportunities. So, I came of age in a trend that started in the 80s and achieved critical mass in the 90s--to say I was unaware of limits to growth & peak oil is an understatement. All I had was a hazy recollection of the national mood being pretty good in the late 70s and turning sour in the 80s & 90s, and not really knowing why (unlike Caryn, I don't remember the 80s as being optimistic--I remember the whole Reagan thing as having a veneer of optimism with a very nasty heart) Needless to say, the topics on this blog were not a part of popular conversation.

2/28/16, 11:31 AM

Shane W said...
Personally, my family suffered from our own localized version of deregulation. A state supreme court case threw out state minimum pricing/price controls on liquor and opened up the liquor market to market pricing. My dad was not able to compete with the drug stores and big box stores that swept in to the market in the wake of that decision. He never was a very good businessman. If I had a nickel for every time he damned Taylor Drugs & Shoppers Village, I'd be wealthy. He basically ran the liquor store into the ground, and the building sat vacant for quite a while. He was always coming up with some big idea that would make us rich. A convenience store, a bowling alley, finally, he settled on a tire & automotive place, which he also ran into the ground, and finally took a factory job & rented the property. I do recall my Depression/WW II era grandfather looking around with a wary & suspicious eye at all the extravagant, wealthy things that were going up in our community in the wake of the 80s. I lived in a mid-sized "New South" city that was poaching jobs and people fleeing the Rust Belt. Now that it is "our turn" to collapse, I have a newfound appreciation for what they went through.

2/28/16, 11:32 AM

Matt said...
Sojan Shieldbearer: "As a follow-up to my last post, it looks like the ethnic warfare in Europe might have already begun."

I don't think SNAFU and Russian alt-propoganda sites are the best places to go for news, if you want to understand what might happen in Europe. Commenters on SNAFU seem to seriously be suggesting that Europeans are about to undergo a forced conversion to Islam. Get real, folks.

Clearly rumours and hoaxes will be increasingly part of the feverish atmosphere that likely features in all of our futures. Those of us who have a sense of the nature of our predicament should be cautious about spreading and promoting them.

2/28/16, 12:55 PM

Sylvia Rissell said...
Shane W. I did not realize you were an 80s kid... I was getting the impression you were in that awkward spot between getting a degree and getting employed. My mistake.

I remember a lot of the non-glamorous jobs that various relatives of mine have taken.... I have been a clerk-typist for the government... Cousins from rural Maine have enlisted in the Army... Another relative works for Florida Dept of Corrections.

As for Social Security, if no fixes happen, it goes bankrupt before I get to retire. This has been a known problem since the 90s, and politics as usual can't figure out what to do about it.

What are your plans for your old age?

I'm planning to teach children to knit in exchange for meals. Now all I need is to own a cottage, and 21 little students. :) Good thing I have some years to get this set up!

2/28/16, 2:06 PM

John Michael Greer said...
Phil, thanks for the link! That's an interesting analysis.

Cherokee, that might work -- insofar as anything can be said to "work" in a situation such as Afghanistan's, where you've got people (most of them not Afghani) trying to pretend that a tribal society in which internecine warfare is normal can somehow act like a modern industrial state. As for Doon -- yes, that was a riot, almost up to the very high (or low!) standards of Bored of the Rings.

Rebecca, thanks for the data point!

Damo, it'll be very interesting indeed to see how that plays out.

Unknown Deborah, doubtless there's some of that. Still, I think it's not out of place to point out the way that a subset of Second Wave feminists -- a white, wealthy, and privileged subset -- has spent the last forty years demanding that all women support them in their quest for more wealth and more privilege, while doing precisely nothing for those women outside their own class. That was the point of my comment on Madeleine Albright, you know.

Ben, it's interesting to watch what's left of the Democratic consensus break up over the fault lines that Sanders' run has opened up.

Nick, I don't think anybody from the alphabet soup brigade had to bother themselves about taking down Occupy. The soi-disant radical Left in the US these days is fixated on certain habits -- in particular, a distorted form of consensus leadership -- that guarantees that any active movement will promptly bog down, stop threatening the status quo, and chase its tail in ever-decreasing circles until everyone else leaves and the professional activists are left sitting by themselves in an empty room. Until somebody on the Left breaks with those habits and takes up the tactics and strategies that actually work, the government and the rich need do nothing to defend their leftward flank but watch and snicker.

Patricia, that's an excellent example of the same logic at work.

Tidlösa, I don't think those are politically possible. At this point the only likely course of events that can derail a Trump/Clinton race is if Sanders claws his way to a victory in the primaries -- which is still possible, though the odds don't favor it.

Zachariah, okay, that one just about made me snort tea out my nose. An article in the WSJ admitting that only the rich minority have benefited from the last forty years of "reforms"? I'll have to check to see if the moon is blue.

Nick, that's a good point, and it's worth finding ways to change that. I get my multigenerational experience via my Masonic lodge, which has members across an age range from the 20s through the 90s, and the Druid scene, ditto. Others might want to explore their own options.

Kyoto, I'd prefer a Sanders presidency to any of the other available options just now, though I don't expect to get it. The main point of this week's essay, though, was to challenge the lesser-evil logic that the Democrats use so consistently to get people to vote for them even though they're basically the GOP Lite at this point.

2/28/16, 3:33 PM

Shane W said...
It seems only fair that a generation that pushed generational divide issues to the fore (I seem to recall a popular song called "Talking 'Bout My Generation") would at least be a little more understanding & indulgent when the up & coming generations, which have way more pressing problems bearing down on them, do the same.
I agree. I think it's in my blind spot. I tend to be a recluse, and I tend to highly avoid people who are unhappy or miserable. I really need more useful skills to avoid being affected by dysfunctional people so that I can wade through all the crap to find the diamonds that are out there. I tend to find I'm most happy when I'm highly selective in who I associate with, and I kinda go on autopilot and tune out when I'm around "average" people who don't get the things we discuss on this blog.

2/28/16, 3:52 PM

John Michael Greer said...
William, agreed.

Violet, that's really promising to hear. The culture of bullying that took over so large a part of the social-justice scene for a while handed the bigots a huge win, as I'm sure you're well aware -- and the fact that people are beginning to question the dubious logic and far more dubious behavior of that end of things is a hopeful sign.

Pygmycory, I suspect that what Canada is doing is desperately trying to find some way to fulfill its responsibilities as one of the lapdogs of the United States without causing too much irritation to its future masters in Beijing. Sorry, but that's how I see it.

Jeanne, that must have been fun! As for the weather, it hit 70 degrees F. today and will be back down to hard freeze by the end of the week. The people who insist that climate change can be stopped if we just all sing "Kum Ba Ya" one more time are closing the barn door when the horse is three states away.

David, neither am I. Unfortunately history isn't in the habit of asking our permission for things.

Ekkar, I see the F-35 as perhaps the classic example of a senile plutocracy at work -- it honestly never occurred to any of the corporate flacks or military bureaucrats who profited personally from the process of building the worst plane in the history of military aviation that their actions might have an impact on something other than their careers. That's the stupidity in action that gives Caesars their opening.

Sojan, delighted to hear it! I have both Toynbee and Spengler right next to my writing desk, and for good reason.

Phil, my guess is that conditions in Britain are going to be very peculiar indeed. I wonder what Britain will do when the US really slams facefirst into the wall...

Sojan, the Hawkwind tunes are classic! It's worth doublechecking claims from the sort of sites you've linked to, though, just as you would doublecheck any claim from the New York Times or some other US propaganda outlet -- there's a lot of very well-aimed agitprop out there from all sides just now.

Onething, it's not just Trump and Sanders. Clinton and all those forgettable GOP clones are all pretending that it's 1986, after all.

Nicholas, I dare you to say that to his tentacled face... ;-)

Varun, typical. If you disagree with the shibboleths of the salary class, they'll treat you the way they treat anyone else they think ranks beneath them -- and that's not a pretty sight. (And they can't let themselves think about the anger that's directed at them, because if they did, they might have to notice that quite a bit of it is justified...)

Totara, of course she's clueless. I probably need to do a post about the way that abstractions come to substitute for realities in the minds of a senile elite.

Stu, you're welcome and thank you. It hasn't escaped my notice that most other countries with more-or-less democratic systems of government have learned from the many mistakes of the US -- we're the only ones who seem incapable of doing so.

2/28/16, 3:59 PM

John Michael Greer said...
Caryn, sorry to hear about your husband's unemployment! You'll be returning to a nation in crisis, and I'm sorry to say you may have as much trouble finding work here as in Hong Kong.

Sojan, yep -- I have several albums from the HP Lovecraft Historical Society, and can do passable a capella renditions of such Cthulhoid holiday classics as "Do You Fear What I Fear?" and "I'm Dreaming of a Dead City."

Caryn, I was born in 1962 and had a somewhat similar experience, though I had a very clear idea of peak oil, the limits to growth, etc. -- those were all over the place when I was in my teens. I'm also aware that I could have done more than I did, and recognize my own role, limited as it was, in the moral collapse of my generation (I've always more or less identified as a trailing-edge Boomer). This is one of the reasons that I keep on bringing up what happened in the 1980s, and why it mattered and still matters, even though so many Boomer readers of this blog bristle like irate porcupines whenever I mention it.

Beneath, Edgar Pangborn's Davy is one of the great deindustrial SF novels, and I hope you'll consider it.

Justin, talk about how Trump's election will end in revolution, or civil war, or impeachment, or assassination strikes me as one more way in which the salary class tries to convince itself that it really won't have to put up with a president that appeals to the wage class. Expect that to go into overdrive as his election comes closer.

Cherokee, good! Yes, and that's actually going to merit a post down the road a bit -- it's really quite ingenious that they've worked out a way to inflate the financial economy while preventing that from leaking through into the real economy, and it also says something very telling about the shape of the economic future. More on this when I come back from break.

2/28/16, 4:20 PM

latheChuck said...
Cherokee- I've read (can't recall where; probably Ken Denninger's MarketTicker) that the reason we're not seeing "inflation" in spite of all the government debt and "quantitative easing" is that the "virtual money supply" includes all of the commercial and personal debt that's been issued over the last 30 years, not just the government debt. As commercial and personal debts go un-repaid, that virtual money is simply disappearing, which would otherwise be recognized as deflation. Apparently (so the theory goes) new government debt is balancing the expiration of old non-government debt, and so we proceed smoothly balanced like a snail on the edge of a razor blade. (Ref. Apocalypse Now.) Who knows how long it can go on? It's already been 30 years longer than I expected!

In other news, I was dismayed to find large, fresh deer hoof prints in my garden, just a few feet from the house. They massacred my greens last year (even the volunteer dandelions), and I haven't even planted anything yet! (At least they've left the garlic alone.)

--... ...-- DE AB3NA

2/28/16, 5:11 PM

latheChuck said...
Shane- Thanks for "hanging in here", despite the mis-interpretation of your comments. (I knew what you meant, despite being a 1959-born boomer.)

And, while I'm at it, I want to celebrate (almost*) everyone's comments here this week. You have various viewpoints, patiently explained and explored, and that gives me hope.

*(There seem to have been a few one-and-done drive-by's, but I won't name names. "Didn't read the post, but..."!?!)

2/28/16, 5:18 PM

mgalimba said...

Not misinformed, just ignoring certain momentary details. At least they are details from my point of view, which, of course, you disagree with.

2/28/16, 5:30 PM

Urban Harvester said...
JMG, "The Native American material in it was there with the blessings of Native American elders"
It's great to see this, I've been corresponding with Seton's grand-daughter about reviving a woodcraft troop - apparently there are others interested, but one of the hangups that is common among them is a reticence to use his native american related materials. Can you point me toward more info on the elders who blessed his use of the lore? I kind of imagined using his materials in a bit more of a Kibbo Kift manner, borrowing from both Native American and Celtic/European traditions. But reviving woodcraft IMHO would in my opinion would be THE BEST alternative to the BSA, which I will NOT be taking my son to.

2/28/16, 6:15 PM

dragonfly said...
@Shane W: Talkin' bout "My Generation". Yes, that would be from the seminal English rock band, The Who. Awesome song, though I'm rather doubtful it has anything to do with US cultural generations.

BTW, I just discovered that I'm a gen-X'er ! Whatever.

2/28/16, 6:16 PM

Shane W said...
In all fairness, I don't really think the late Boomers got all the benefits of full Boomerhood like the early Boomers, and I doubt if they'll have much more of a chance of retiring than X'ers.
Regarding responsibility, I don't really fault previous generations before the 70s. My grandfather came of age in the 30s and 40s, and while there were quite a few writings about the damaging effects of industrialism, like I'll Take My Stand, systems theory, limits to growth, and the self-terminating predicament of exponential growth & industrial society were a good 30-40 years out. So they really could plead ignorance in pursuing industrial affluence. The information just wasn't there when they were coming of age.

2/28/16, 6:44 PM

Shane W said...
"This is one of the reasons that I keep on bringing up what happened in the 1980s, and why it mattered and still matters, even though so many Boomer readers of this blog bristle like irate porcupines whenever I mention it."
No, JMG, you get a pass. They bristle like irate porcupines when I mention it, tho. :)

2/28/16, 7:09 PM

onething said...

"It occurred to me that I cannot name a single person, other than my family and coworkers, who I interact with in any significant way who is more than 5 years younger or 5 years older than me (I'm 26). I suspect that my experience is not unique."

Gee, I interact with people whom I consider good friends from 3 years up to the 80s or so.

The idea that women in power could be less warlike might have merit as a generalization, but Hillary in particular loves war and does not appear to have any compassion.

2/28/16, 9:14 PM

onething said...
Shane, (part 1)

If I were to use the phrase "unspeakable evil" I would be referring to marching prisoners up the pyramid to rip their hearts out, or running a slave ship, or putting 12-year-olds in the strappado, or the killing fields of Cambodia. You didn't really answer any of my questions.

No, I never heard of or read any of those books about peak stuff, and the oil embargo was, well, an embargo. I heard of Reagan's trickle down economics and knew it wasn't widely well thought of, but that it was the start of the rise of the oligarchs? Not in my purview. I even read the LA Times in those days, but no, the big picture never made any sense to me. I've never taken presidents all that seriously, either. I looked at Bill Clinton's face, saw he was a con man and started voting 3rd party, and have done so ever since.

I'm really not getting, nor from JMG either, what all this sell-out stuff is about. Did some people stop being young and passionate about life and the world, and get caught up in their jobs and families? Sure.

Now you fudge and say it is not individual but collective responsibility. Okay, but the collective is made up of individuals. When I get really upset with Americans, it is mostly that we have sat by and let our govt and military go around the world and bomb people. That our soldiers are mercenaries. That we have books like Confessions of an Economic Hit Man about just exactly how we go about overthrowing decent governments in other countries, and destroying their economies. About this sort of thing I have been at least vaguely aware when I was younger. And dismayed. Other than total revolution, which doesn't come easily, I don't know what to do about it.

There was a group in my prior town that met and demonstrated every single Friday for years about the sanctions in Iraq, and that was between the two Bush wars - and during the Clinton years - it was ongoing. Without them I would not even have known that we were killing them directly and indirectly for over 20 years without letup. If I feel guilty about anything, it is that I only stood with them once.

2/28/16, 9:59 PM

onething said...

Because your ire seems mostly about jealousy, I'm finding the moral stance a bit disingenuous. You say that a secure retirement is not in the cards for people under 40 and this is why you're peeved. That makes about as much sense as someone living during the great depression being angry with the older generation who had it good in the decades before the depression hit. The various individuals and citizens do not bring these things about. Because your ire is mostly a matter of personal jealousy, perhaps you would be content if only you could have been richer? And why are you not? You have been to university and you are intelligent. As a gay man, I presume you are not raising children. Why are you not making more money? Did you not choose to prepare for a career or trade of some sort?

Yes, I'm well aware that social security is a pay as you go system. I paid into it when I made minimum wage. It is true that many who collect don't need it, and I am not sure what should be done about that, if anything.

Funny, too, that all the twenty-somethings I work with are paying into their 401Ks. At their age, no one in my generation gave it a thought. Are these young people sellouts? It does make sense for a young person to be upset when they struggle to make ends meet but have their paychecks garnished for social security that they doubt they will receive themselves. In fact, I feel that way too. But I really wasn't aware that they blamed this on old people! In fact, I don't really believe that. Perhaps in certain circles...

Several hopeful comments have been made about young people getting very savvy about things, but you and your friends are contributing only dangerous and inflammatory rhetoric, nothing constructive. As for the people of my generation saying not to trust anyone over 30, I always thought that was absurd.

2/28/16, 10:01 PM

Cherokee Organics said...

I look forward to reading your thoughts on the matter, and absolutely, it is very telling indeed. It is a real worry. Since the insight hit me, I've been in a mild state of shock. It is unthinkable.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote: "Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth."

The problem started when I mentioned to you a few weeks ago about an unlikely conversation I had with a business person who is in competition with someone else who happens to be exhibiting bizarre behaviour and I pointed out to the business person that: "You're assuming that they are in business to run a business and the facts don't reflect that". That was intended as a dispel, but I've been hit by the blow back from that dispel and forced by my own arrogance to look at the bigger picture. It's not good.

No need to reply, I'll check back in April. Enjoy your well-deserved holiday, you work very hard and are making us all think. That at least is a good thing! :-)!



2/28/16, 10:21 PM

Cherokee Organics said...
Hi lathechuck,

Well, that's a theory, but it doesn't stand up to much poking. Student loans don't seem to be forgiven.

Ask yourself, your family and all of your friends the question: when was the last time that a bank forgave a debt that you owed?



2/28/16, 10:25 PM

Zosima said...
JMG said: I'm also aware that I could have done more than I did, and recognize my own role, limited as it was, in the moral collapse of my generation (I've always more or less identified as a trailing-edge Boomer). This is one of the reasons that I keep on bringing up what happened in the 1980s, and why it mattered and still matters, even though so many Boomer readers of this blog bristle like irate porcupines whenever I mention it.

You know in 1980 the oldest Boomer would have been only 34, so they were vastly outnumbered by older voters who voted for Reagan by greater margins than your generation did. You did better than your elders in that regard, so why blame yourself for what happened?

2/29/16, 2:00 AM

Mean Mr Mustard said...

Lardbucket boondoggle latest - an in-depth analysis:

Indeed, this could well turn out to be the worst plane in the history of military aviation.



2/29/16, 5:01 AM

Shane W said...
wow, we're on totally different pages. To me, unspeakable evil is throwing future generations under the bus to maintain your current lifestyle and way of life in the face of the evidence. The reason why all those wars were fought was to keep the oil flowing, to maintain the empire and wealth pump that makes our extravagant lifestyle possible.
As to twenty-something's paying in to 401Ks, JMG has already discussed the con of investment & the stock market. Basically, they might as well burn the cash than to put it in a 401K.
Basically, I've been wandering around lost until I found this blog. I lost eight years of my life to a popular pseudo cult that seeks to take dysfunctional people and turn out shiny, productive citizens. I'm still recovering from that, and it explains a lot of my wariness with people. I don't do the System well, I'm not competitive, and I don't play "the game" well. I'm not successful at faking passion and ambition, and being the overall fake person it takes to succeed (or even maintain a job) in the corporate world. I got a degree in Psychology, but saw the damage the public mental health system did to me and others. I see most people who still have jobs hate their jobs and are under no illusion that they're able to make a positive difference (see last week's post for that). I agree with JMG when he says "knowing one story is death", and my experience ever since I was conscious enough to understand the world is that it's been a continual foreclosing and narrowing of options until the only option left is opting in to a dying System with no future. Everyone I've ever looked to for advice, left, right and center, has counseled opting in to the System in one form or another. I came of age when the neoliberal consensus was at its most powerful, "opting in" was really the only option. Appropriate tech, limits to growth, conservation, and other things that were in popular circulation when JMG was a teen were not options when I was a teen. I recall a display of peak oil books @ the library around '06 or so, glanced at them, and thought, "how depressing", and went on. So, here I am at forty, and I finally found something I'm passionate about, and believe in wholeheartedly, after wandering around lost all those years. I just want to live in the margins, however modestly, but have no idea how to do that. I'm a gay man who was once labeled "gifted"--I pretty much accepted the conventional wisdom that I wasn't supposed to do manual labor, even though I was pretty mechanical growing up. I did manual labor all last summer & loved it, and it sure beats customer service & working with conventional people all day long. So here you are, asking why I didn't opt in to the System--I tried, I failed, I couldn't fake passion and all the other things you have to fake to succeed or even just stay employed, tread water. I've never met anyone in person who showed me there was any other way.

2/29/16, 5:50 AM

Shane W said...
I really don't take all this personal. It's kinda like the Ted Kennedy/Orrin Hatch or Antonin Scalia/Ruth Bader Ginsburg friendship. If any of you all lived next door and needed help in the yard or on any project, I'd be right there to help, and we could certainly work together in spite of disagreements...

2/29/16, 6:24 AM

Patricia Mathews said...
The idea that women are innately less warlike than men may or may not be true as a generalization for certain classes of women in certain times and places, but when women go to war, they either do so as men do, or throw away the rule book or go for the throat (see Kipling about that) depending on a vast number of factors. But it would really be worth one's while to write a college paper on warrior women in this, that, or the other culture, using only primary materials, and expect to be surprised, one way or the other. Very, very surprised.

I think the biggest generalization that can be said with any degree of truth is that women are people.

2/29/16, 6:31 AM

Shane W said...
Regarding selling out, I think JMG is right about the power of a personal example. To me, the question is: how much did your lifestyle conform to the norm, and how much did you consciously opt out of the mainstream consumer economy and the trends of the time? It's really basic. I plead ignorance. By the time I came of age, the topics of this blog were relegated to the far fringes of society, and no one I knew was discussing them.

2/29/16, 7:08 AM

thymia10 said...
won't add to all these comments, but thank you to JMG for the link to the Woodcraft manual - had been curious abt Seton Thompson ever since reading of him in the "Buffalo Wind" post. Sounded rather like my deceased husband George, who was an Eagle Scout, hiker, gardener, and another "candidate for druid sainthood," if there were such a thing, and if he were officially druid. I still say he must have been awenydd, too many similarities.

2/29/16, 8:27 AM

pygmycory said...
Tom Schmidt -
I grew up with the adults around me expecting me and my generation to be the one to bring about the changes they wanted to see in the world. I tried to do exactly that, studying ecology and taking 'jobs' that didn't even pay minimum wage over the summers to gain experience with hands-on field biology and conservation work. I threw everything I had into this.

But by the time I was out of university it was late 2007 and my personal health had fallen apart, shortly thereafter followed by losing my job and being unable to find work I was both qualified for and physically able to do. This was followed by 5 years of being disabled in fact but not law and all the near-impossible struggles that go with that. It's hard not to be enraged when you're trying to do physically painful housekeeping work for someone who is far more physically capable than you because they happen to have money and you don't, especially when they top it off by asking if you're planning to go to university and not seeming to understand when you tell them you've already been.

My situation has improved since, but it isn't the sort of thing you forget.

Basically, I feel like we've been handed an impossible job, while the people with the resources to act are refusing to lift a finger to help.

I'm NOT including very poor people in this, no matter what their age. I'm also not pointing a finger at the people here, as most of you are walking your talk these days whatever you were or weren't doing twenty years ago. I don't care what you were or weren't doing twenty years ago if you're helping today. I'm pointing it at the people who aren't doing a dratted thing TODAY, while using up far more than their share of the world's resources, and sometimes sneering at younger people or poorer people to boot. The older generations do seem to include more than a fair share of these people.

I'm starting to feel like we've done this subject to death. Let's talk about something else.

2/29/16, 11:01 AM

pygmycory said...
Why would I object to your characterization of Canada's government and relationship with China? Beijing is currently insisting that there WILL be a pipeline built to carry oil to the west coast, or Canada won't get the free trade agreement our government wants. If the shoe fits...

2/29/16, 11:25 AM

Patricia Mathews said...
If Trump is elected, how long before he - a very rich man with a long track record of playing fast and loose with the truth, among other things, betrays his base?

2/29/16, 11:52 AM

Matt said...
I think the idea of "sell out" in this discussion is pretty unhelpful, for a couple of reasons.

First off, "sell out" from what? Most major oppositional movements in the West were just as clueless about the nature of our predicament as the established vested interests. I was active in opposition to Mrs T and Reagan in the '80s, but was I an advocate of LESS? No way. In hindsight I was probably less destructive after burning out (or selling out).

Second, when casting "sell out" about as a snarl, it's not encouraging any of us question our own involvement in the matter - it just feeds defensiveness on the one hand, and smugness on the other. I'm hypersensitive about this at the moment, I guess, as I'm just reading the closing pages of Catton. He nails so many things, and I don't suppose he is wrong, either, about the need to avoid the blame game.

2/29/16, 12:20 PM

Shane W said...
Really, I see Lakeland and Retrotopia as a rebuke to the entire late 20th century. It's telling that the beginning tier is 1950. Basically, we need to close the chapter on the horror that was the late 20th century, drive a stake through its heart, give it a proper burial, and be done with it once and for all.

2/29/16, 12:36 PM

Shane W said...
as JMG said in his Trump post, this is the wage class's LAST chance for the political system, if Trump sells out & betrays his base, it's roadside bomb & 2nd Civil War time...

2/29/16, 12:49 PM

Shane W said...
BTW, I was a returning student who laid out for many years and went back to school and got my degree in '12. Having read JMG, I wouldn't have wasted the effort getting a Bachelors, certainly not after what I saw in university. It wasn't worth it.

2/29/16, 1:07 PM

Patricia Mathews said...
@Zosima - I got suckered in by Reagan myself! My head was still deep into the Heinlein Narrative of Onward & Upward To The Stars, for one thing, and the Carter years malaise frightened me silly. That this would amount to throwing an entire generation under the bus never once occurred to me until I started actually seeing it happen. As for the Age of Limits writings and how to deal with them being out there, I must admit I was only marginally aware of them at the time. Even the Whole Earth Catalog, delightful as it was, seemed more like "How to live a hippie lifestyle on a beer budget." Which was attractive, but not plausible for somebody also deep into their childrearing years.

Now, if any of you want to use me and my equally clueless cohort for a punching bag, go ahead, but there's precious little sport in it for anyone. About as much as there is benefit for you in belated guilt, though I can offer you an apology. For what that's worth.

If someone who has been on the wrong road turns around and takes a few steps in the right direction, will beating them up encourage then to do so? Or just make you feel better? If so, I am sure the home improvement stores have tar and a rail; for feathers, you'll have to know someone who raises chickens.

2/29/16, 1:24 PM

Shane W said...
regarding the tone deafness to the situation, I totally agree! I was having this surreal discussion today with a retired person who I thought was peak oil aware, that I met through a prepper site, of all places. She was counseling me against working under the table because of what it would do to my Social Security check. The whole thing was so surreal to me, I was like, "I can't believe this person actually believes that there will be a United States, let alone Social Security, by the time I reach old age." It was just surreal, I was so baffled, because I thought she, of all people, would "get it".

2/29/16, 1:38 PM

Fred said...
Wanted to thank you for pausing in Retrotopia and writing about the election and the wage class/salary class. It has completely changed how I view the Trump phenomenon. He really annoyed me and I thought people who supported him were uneducated and once they understood who he was, they would drop their support. Now to see Trump as a spokesperson of the wage class, speaking the thoughts and feelings they have about how American has run right over them, I can see the brilliance in what he shares and what he says. Watching the total GOP and Fox media meltdown over Trump's break out success has been a bonus! Super Tuesday is tomorrow and I better start popping that popcorn!

Hope your time away from the blog is everything you need and want it to be. You are a treasure and we'll be counting the days to your return.

2/29/16, 1:38 PM

Michelle said...
To Urban Harvester - please don't write off the BSA in its entirety. Every troop is run slightly differently. I don't know where you're located - some areas are much more "institutional" than others - but speaking from the perspective of our Council in the middle of New England and of my troop in particular, we would be BEYOND thrilled to have an active parent interested in seeing that the boys work on outdoorsy Merit Badges! Much of the lack comes down to "there's nobody willing to take the time to teach these boys." I've had to *cough* play a bit fast and loose along the borders of the rules in order to Make Stuff Happen. I'd be glad to chat more with you about this, if you're receptive to a conversation. You can reach me on yahoo's mail client under the name of gardengirlgarden.

2/29/16, 3:00 PM

Josh said...
Dear JMG -

I feel like statements like this would have been almost unthinkable just a few years ago:

"Neoconservative historian Robert Kagan — one of the prime intellectual backers of the Iraq War and an advocate for Syrian intervention — announced in the Washington Post last week that if Trump secures the nomination, “the only choice will be to vote for Hillary Clinton.""

The quote is from a piece on The Intercept: "Neoconservatives Declare War on Donald Trump." Not to suggest that the Democrats haven't been fully steeped Neocon thinking - clearly the "Dubyobama" consensus is seamlessly Neocon. But to have an allegiance swing to HRC public contemplated - that perhaps is new.

A couple more quotes from that article:

"Even when Trump echoes certain elements of neoconservative orthodoxy — he repeatedly and emphatically calls for strengthening the military — he does so in a unique way. He talks not about spending more money but defying the “special interests” who make the Pentagon order “missiles they don’t want because of politics … because the company that makes the missiles is a contributor.”" (F-35, anyone?)

"...neoconservatives might be preparing to ally with Hillary Clinton...With Trump’s ascendancy, it’s possible that the parties will reorient their views on war and peace, with Trump moving the GOP to a more dovish direction and Clinton moving the Democrats towards greater support for war."

Your analysis makes more sense than anything else I have read. Thanks a lot for your writing. I am away from the US on fieldwork in SE Asia for 6 months. Much of the time I don't have internet access. I've had to deactivate my Facebook account, and take other measures to screen out the deluge of B-S that is happening now around the election campaigns. It makes me so frustrated to feel like so many people are missing the point, and misunderstanding what is going on. A lot of people on my FB feed have taken to snobbish petulance and hate directed at Trump supporters. I don't support Trump, but because I come from a Wage Class, Appalachian background, and because your writings have clarified things for me considerably, I get so mad when these folks (mostly highly educated liberal/progressive types) dis "my people."

I feel like a man without a country.

Because of the cost in money and CO2, when I take these trips to Asia for fieldwork I usually stay for about 6 months at a time. Being away so long, the reverse culture shock can be tough. I expect it will be particularly tough this year when I get back in June. More so, because I'll be landing in Boulder, Colorado for a bit. I am not looking forward to overhearing a lot of misinformed derogatory slights against rural people, "hicks," "hillbillies," "backwards racists," and "stupid Christians," and the conspiratorial way that people try to get you to side with them in conversation about such shameful "other people." My neutral position on the election is sure to be unpopular with just about everybody.

Your writings have provided me some moral support and the feeling that I am not totally alone out here. Thanks for that.

2/29/16, 4:18 PM

James M. Jensen II said...

The culture of bullying that took over so large a part of the social-justice scene for a while handed the bigots a huge win,

Surely you meant to say a YUUUUGE!!! win? ;-)

And with that, let me finally wish you a nice vacation!

2/29/16, 6:06 PM

latheChuck said...
Chris- Banks don't "forgive" loans, I know. But when you can't pay the mortgage, the money they loaned you isn't coming back anyway. In my neighborhood (500? homes), there are 10 foreclosure properties visible TODAY, as the banks have slowly, slowly offered them back to the market, in hopes that the buyers won't realize how much excess supply is hiding in the shadows. Student loans may not be forgiven, either, but if the students aren't paying them back, the money-ness of the loan has vanished. It's just a line in a ledger somewhere, and can't be spent again. When private lenders have to collect on the government guarantee behind a housing or student loan, isn't that exactly like the government printing money to make up for private liquidation?

2/29/16, 7:14 PM

Sojan Shieldbearer said...
Speaking of A Study of History, I just finished the appendix from Volume 1 where Toynbee talks about the career of Ismail Shah, the 16th century Turkish warlord who was the founder of the Savafid dynasty and the founding father of modern Iran.

It's really sobering just how so much of what you see going on in the Middle East today, including the major religious and ethnic conflicts within the Islamic world, can be traced back to the actions of Ismail Shah and the reaction of his enemies. All I can say is, wow!

The present confrontation between Iran and Turkey has strong echoes of the rivalry between Ismail Shah and his great Turkish rival, Sultan Selim I. The more things change, the more they stay the same...

PS - One interesting irony is that while Ismail Shah was ruler of Iran, a Persian speaking country, he spoke and wrote in Turkish, while Sultan Selim spoke and wrote in Persian, even though he was the ruler of the Ottoman Turks.

2/29/16, 7:34 PM

FiftyNiner said...
I shall go in a few hours to vote for Bernie Sanders at the police station in my hometown.
Hillary will probably win the South, of course. I am going to use March 1 as the date to begin my own personal renaissance. Get outside! Start the garden! Spring is here! My brother brought in a daffodil and put it in a bud vase for us to enjoy. Since this is going to be a long and arduous slog toward November, I must ration the amount of emotion that I am willing to invest in this once in a lifetime phenomenon. Of course, it could me more than that--it could be life altering!
Enjoy your time away! If history teaches us anything, it is that when society fails the individual in a big way, the only place of refuge is nature.
KNOW that you are appreciated and we will look forward eagerly for your return! Be well!

2/29/16, 9:42 PM

onething said...
1. Shane,

"wow, we're on totally different pages. To me, unspeakable evil is throwing future generations under the bus to maintain your current lifestyle and way of life in the face of the evidence. The reason why all those wars were fought was to keep the oil flowing, to maintain the empire and wealth pump that makes our extravagant lifestyle possible."

+This is all true, but I am not sure that even now people are clearly aware of it. I had heard as a young person, for instance, the statistic on how much of the energy used in the world was used by Americans. But I had no idea of the reasons for it, the way the wealth pump worked. I guess I thought that the west got on track with industrialism, and was just ahead, timewise. Now I see that this sort of thing has been true on and off throughout much of history, and that the classes who enjoy great privilege probably don't like to look at it too honestly. And definitely from this blog it has all become so much clearer. I wonder if I should even have been voting. I had no idea what really goes on. So far as what I heard in the media, it was all BS all the time. But what makes you crazy is everyone pretends that things are normal. This whole world is kind of a fog, where one's inner reality doesn't match the outer one, and that for me was true in every sphere - in school mostly. But here again, I note that I am talking about the world, and not the different generations of Americans. I really don't agree that the boomers threw the next generation under the bus.

"As to twenty-something's paying in to 401Ks, JMG has already discussed the con of investment & the stock market. Basically, they might as well burn the cash than to put it in a 401K."

+Well, we'll see. So far I'm on the losing end of this one. I've always seen the stock market as a rich man's game and I don't wanna play. But my point is, what are they doing differently than people a generation older? Nothing.

2/29/16, 10:37 PM

onething said...
"Basically, I've been wandering around lost until I found this blog. I lost eight years of my life to a popular pseudo cult that seeks to take dysfunctional people and turn out shiny, productive citizens."

+What cult is that?

"I don't do the System well, I'm not competitive, and I don't play "the game" well. I'm not successful at faking passion and ambition, and being the overall fake person it takes to succeed (or even maintain a job) in the corporate world."

Well, I certainly agree there...Surely there are good jobs/careers that aren't just office fauna? The crapification is spreading though. Hey! I just realized that crapification is not only about material goods. I'm appalled, as a nurse, that they now want us to use canned phrases with our patients, like in the grocery store. One thing I did figure out, all on my own, in my early twenties, was that the sudden fad for getting an MBA was going to ruin the place.

But, you know, as I said above, I have never fit in with all that either. I would have loved to be a teacher. I like kids. But I could never put them through what I went through! And I know what goes on in the schools now, which is worse than ever. My dream would be as an independent teacher in a one-room schoolhouse. The home schooled kids up the street that I mentioned, we had them over to show them how to make maple syrup. After we were done, my husband showed the 12-year-old, who is very bright and thinks he doesn't like math, some interesting tricks with algebra and geometry and they went to town. The girl did some drawing meanwhile. So during those three hours we worked on algebra, geometry, homesteading and art. What lucky kids. Why should that be so unusual?

2/29/16, 10:38 PM

onething said...
"I got a degree in Psychology, but saw the damage the public mental health system did to me and others. I see most people who still have jobs hate their jobs and are under no illusion that they're able to make a positive difference (see last week's post for that). I agree with JMG when he says "knowing one story is death", and my experience ever since I was conscious enough to understand the world is that it's been a continual foreclosing and narrowing of options until the only option left is opting in to a dying System with no future. Everyone I've ever looked to for advice, left, right and center, has counseled opting in to the System in one form or another. I came of age when the neoliberal consensus was at its most powerful, "opting in" was really the only option."

+Gee, I think you just explained to me why I feel the way I do, why I am living the way I am living now, and why I have pretty much always gravitated toward this, (but not for reasons of the understanding that you think I ought to have had but didn't). I forlornly wish I could have had a real education before I gave up and maybe done something I liked.

"Appropriate tech, limits to growth, conservation, and other things that were in popular circulation when JMG was a teen"

+I really had not heard of them, and I rather think I was more aware than most.

" I recall a display of peak oil books @ the library around '06 or so, glanced at them, and thought, "how depressing", and went on."

+But it is the boomers fault for not honing in on it better than you did?

"So, here I am at forty, and I finally found something I'm passionate about, and believe in wholeheartedly, after wandering around lost all those years."

+You mean transitioning to whatever is coming next?

"I just want to live in the margins, however modestly, but have no idea how to do that."

+I wonder how much of this quiet desperation is out there. I think most people have not articulated it to themselves, but surely this whole System ("The Man" "Babylon") is not very fulfilling. But everyone has to make a living...we all get roped in...are your friends on the same page as you?

“So here you are, asking why I didn't opt in to the System--I tried, I failed, I couldn't fake passion and all the other things you have to fake to succeed or even just stay employed, tread water. I've never met anyone in person who showed me there was any other way.”

+I still think your blame is misplaced, is partially fueled by envy, and doesn't completely make sense if the world that the boomers made a success of is not what you want. A lot of people are stuck in a similar way to you. They want out, but how? It is very difficult to buck a system that is set up in such a way that every little thing involves swimming against the tide. Just the lack of decent public transportation is one such roadblock.

2/29/16, 10:38 PM

Happy Panda said...
With Big Business now increasingly cannibalizing the lowest rungs of the Salary class I have begun to wonder how long the world can sustain so great a number of large transnational corporations. I'm sure a great many can hold out via M&A with other companies but even merged/acquired companies still ultimately are relying on an ever shrinking pool of decently paid salary class employees to serve as their 'general consumer public' to sell to.

JMG's Donald Trump piece didn't mention it but I'm sure many salary class people are increasingly finding things aren't as rosy for them either (though granted not as bad typically as it is for wage class workers) as it was once even as late as the 90's. One example I can think of - the EA Spouse debacle that had EA telling their game developers to spend up to 80 hours a week for months and months and months on end (and thus mightily ticking off one said EA employee's spouse so she made a very public blog about the abuse). The devs (iirc) were even being told by their managers to 'bring your sleeping bag to work' (if you want to keep your job) - kind of thing.

Here's a fun extra to really see the wealth pump web visually

For a nice visual of major transnational corporations check out . It's 6-Degrees-of-Kevin-Bacon type interactive map gives a very good idea of just how tiny the global elite club really is. Here's a fun exercise to try - click on 'popular maps'. Then from the alphabetical list click on "War and Oil Media Machine'. Then sit back and wait as the map draws the crony web of CEO's of transnational companies who sit on each other's boards. For more fun try the one near it called 'JP Morgan rules the world'. You can even make your own custom '6 degrees' maps too. I did one on a whim to find out the connection between Halliburton and the Walt Disney company (if any). Turns out both company's CEO's sit on the board of directors for Citigroup(!). I'm sure these folks are not going to be disinterested observers if HC wins the White House. They may even still try to play ball with Trump if he wins instead.

2/29/16, 11:22 PM

Happy Panda said...
Pardon. I meant to say the interactive map shows the 'Grand Poobah Pumpers' of international wealth to the U.S.

2/29/16, 11:33 PM

HalFiore said...
I'm probably too late for this, having been on the road this week, and I'll never catch up with the comments at this rate, but on the off chance someone hasn't already brought it up, here goes for the record.

I find it ironic that, as a self described Burkean conservative, you seem to be favoring the two revolutionaries in the running, while roundly dismissing the more institutional candidates. What makes it ironic for me is that as a long time radical who campaigned for Nader in 96 and 2000, and who had been known in the past to vote for Dick Gregory and once wrote in Wavy Gravy out of disgust with the options that year, I am probably going to walk into a booth twice this year and cast a vote for Hillary Fracking Clinton. It's a decision I've arrived at through long thought on the matter, and not a little bit influenced by you.

I am persuaded in my old age that revolutions are almost never a good thing. That is, that they always cause a lot of collateral damage and more often than not produce a worse situation than they overthrew. I think Burke would agree.

I don't want to minimize the fear and pain that a lot of people are going through these days, but I am especially flummoxed by the people commenting here that equate Sanders and Trump as more or less interchangeable agents of bringing down the status quo, as if they are suffering intolerable hardship and are willing to do anything to just mess things up. I suspect a lot of these people are actually pretty comfortable in their own lives, at least on the scale of worldwide comfort or how bad things can be in this country, also. It comes off sounding pretty childish, to tell the truth, and I also suspect a lot of them will live to regret their sentiments in the course of time. I suspect they have no clue of just how bad things can get in a nation that is falling apart and has lost the ability to provide basic order.

For my money, I have decided that Hillary, with all of her many faults, is most likely to keep the ship afloat just a little bit longer. I realize that's not saying much, but it might be enough time for a few people, including myself, to get a few more preparations made.

Of course, I also recognize that none of us can do much of anything to affect how things unfold, and to some extent it is out of the hands of even the best politicians to be found. I admit there's a higher chance she might get us into another foreign war than either Sanders or Trump, and that's a very big deal for me. But all in all, I see the others as more likely to bring civil war to the homeland, and can't think of much worse than that.

3/1/16, 1:07 AM

Cherokee Organics said...
Hi lathechuck,

Your comment makes me feel mildly sad for the real world hurt going on.

Your write: "in hopes that the buyers won't realize how much excess supply is hiding in the shadows". Mate, people lived in those houses and they dreamed and hoped and so were conned. I ask you - and you failed to adequately answer my previous question, so you are down to one final chance of a reply: If there are homeless people living in your county, then how can you claim in all honesty that there is an over-supply of houses? Have you ever questioned who put those ideas into your thoughts? And what do you believe makes a house a valuable asset?

You write: "Student loans may not be forgiven, either, but if the students aren't paying them back, the money-ness of the loan has vanished. It's just a line in a ledger somewhere, and can't be spent again." I've had a student loan debt and it is a noose around your neck. My understanding is that if the students aren't paying the loans back - in this country at least - it is because they're not earning much income. Do you not think that that is a sad indictment on the system, that young people are being stitched up? Over here the student loans are finalised even from a person’s estate and the government now pursues students living overseas to repay the debt.

You write: "When private lenders have to collect on the government guarantee behind a housing or student loan, isn't that exactly like the government printing money to make up for private liquidation?" No. It is a completely different situation. How can you not understand the process? Private lenders purchase debts off companies and individuals and they use the legal process to liquidate that persons assets. In that process they usually rack up huge legal fees which coincidentally are about the same size as the assets. Please do not come back and tell me that this is the same thing, as it is an outrageous claim. You need to ask yourself the question: Who put those ideas into your head?



3/1/16, 1:48 AM

Matthijs said...
This comment has been removed by the author.

3/1/16, 2:10 AM

Shane W said...
@Matt, Patricia,
I think you hit on something that I'm just now able to articulate, which is that there is nothing to be gained by a personal intergenerational conflict today, but that it is VITALLY important for younger and future generations to hear, remember, and retell JMG's narrative about the failures of the late 20th-early 21st century. 50 years from now, when you're dead and gone, and future generations are retelling JMG's story and saying "never again", it won't be about you, personally, because you won't be here. The powerful example of a failure to build resolve to never repeat the mistakes is massive--look @ how 1929 loomed so large in the minds of the Depression generation. Speaking of which, all I can think about was my grandfather's alarm and disapproval at all the extravagance going around in the 80s & 90s.
Honestly, I'm still skeptical about the "we didn't know" meme. Okay, so you weren't a limits/ecology geek like JMG, and you didn't read all the ecology/peak oil books on the list. I know about President Carter's initiatives on conservation and appropriate tech, how could you miss that? The sweater, thermostat, and fireplace talk broadcast to the nation? And all those PSA's by the energy department, ignored as well? And oil embargoes that painfully exposed America's achilles heel for all to see? Drive 55? (alright, that was as big a mistake as Prohibition, but still hard to miss)
thanks for your thoughtful response. We may be more on the same page. Whenever I contemplate these things (the System, etc), I get depressed and despondent, but it comes out as anger. I'm just now starting the magical practice necessary to change consciousness so as not to be so profoundly affected by the dysfunction in the world. I'm not really sure you understand, though, how much the System is dying, though. A lot of people are pretty much shut out at this point--JMG's statistics about the permanently unemployed. For the first time, I saw someone in my small town holding a handmade cardboard sign, begging, @ a stop sign in front of the supermarket--that used to only be common in the largest of cities. Even if someone has a job, such as yourself, how stable is it? Your industry (healthcare) is in a bubble right now. Will your job be there tomorrow? How about five years from now? "Opting in" is not an option for a lot of people now, and even if they're "opted in" today, odds are they'll be forcibly "opted out" in the near future. We're entering another recession that looks to be worse than the last. How many jobs will go away for good this time? I'm always amazed how many people in farming expect you to want to have your own farm. I'd settle for being a tenant farmer/helper. A place to take shelter from the storm, proverbially speaking, and work the ground and watch the seasons turn is all I need. I'd like to apprentice in a trade so I can have a useful skill. All this is very awkward @ forty, and would be much easier in my 20s, but, better late than never? It's kind of awkward for me b/c I live in an area that everyone tells me is a "black hole" of sorts, community wise.
As for the pseudo cult--AA. I'm still recovering from that, and it explains a lot of my wariness with people. I saw the dark side of humanity there. I was a part of a notorious group in Southern California when I made my escape. It really made me doubt myself that I fell for it.

3/1/16, 6:04 AM

Shane W said...

3/1/16, 6:23 AM

Donald Hargraves said...
Why do Boomers get a heavy dose of blame for the present predicament in this blog? Simple - they were (or always claimed to be) in a position to both make the sacrifices and to make the nation take on those sacrifices. And they refused to do so.

The information was out there and widely distributed, both in the news and in the Schools. It was even understand that things needed to change, and the first halting moves had been made.

And then came Reagan, with his promise that "all true Americans" would never need to sacrifice again. North Slope Oil and the busting of the PATCO Union set the stage, and the Boomers ... were nowhere to be found.

Yes, there were those who kept the fire going, the Archdruid being one of them. However, AS A GROUP the Boomers not only failed to live up to their own hype, they proceeded to buy into the system and remake it to their own benefit and pleasure. Even dissent against the system was warped to their vanities (what do you think "consensus rule" was about?).

And now, that they're getting up to Retirement age, what do we see? Scared Boomers telling generations who had always thought of Social Security as unable to help them out in their old age (401k, anyone?) that funding Social Security is their duty, all the while watching Fox News for their daily cocooning from the coming consequences of their actions/inactions.

Yeah, I'm a bit bitter. I've seen and experienced enough to justify my bitterness.

3/1/16, 6:48 AM

Shane W said...
before I participated in the notorious group, I was running in AA circles heavily influence by New Age/Church of Religious Science, so I've had my fair share of willing prosperity and good things into being, as well. There did always seem to be rage lying under the surface of the New Agers--it's a tell-tale sign of New Age, IMHO. I'm not sure what I do to encounter all the odd belief systems, maybe magical practice can help reveal that.

3/1/16, 7:05 AM

Shane W said...
To reiterate, I don't really think JMG's narrative that needs to be remembered and retold should be about a personal vendetta against generations that came of age during post war prosperity, but more about the necessary moral of the story of what happened in the late 20th-early 21st century, and what younger and future generations can get from that. Perhaps that wasn't exactly obvious before, and, to some extent, I'm just now clarifying it in my mind. Personally, I find JMG's explanation most plausible and believable, and it's what I'm going to go with, and the story I will tell.

3/1/16, 7:19 AM

David said...
(formerly buddhabythelake)

Today is a day of reckoning. It will be interesting to read the summaries tomorrow morning. Our primary isn't until Apr, so it may all be over but the shouting by that point. I'm still going to cast my Bernie ballot.

In the meantime, I will start planning my garden for spring and keep on keepin' on with the gradual simplification and disintermediation regime. Our 12-mo rolling average electric consumption is down to 221.5 kWh, so progress is being made. Still shooting for that 200 mark!

3/1/16, 7:44 AM

Urban Harvester said...

I appreciate what you are saying, things might be different if I didn't live in Utah. The BSA here is thoroughly and inextricably tied up with the religion my wife and I have taken pains to extract ourselves from. That said, I have a coworker who runs a catholic troop and he can't say enough good about the BSA. However, as their homosexuality statements are in lockstep with those of the LDS church (which is a hot button issue here and in my family) it will be nigh impossible for my wife and I to support it... until, that is, their positions change.

3/1/16, 9:39 AM

PatriciaT said...
Off topic, but perhaps the real reason behind some denial of human-caused climate change?

JMG - Enjoy your break! Happy Spring Equinox.

3/1/16, 10:32 AM

John Roth said...
@ Caryn:

About generation boundaries:

G.I. - 1901-1924
Silent - 1925 - 1942 (or 1945)
Boom - 1943 (or 1946) - 1960
Gen X - 1961 - 1981
Millennial 1982-2004
Homeland (Virtual) 2005 - 2020 (?)
(Savior) - 2021 (?) to (?)

“Virtual” and “Savior” are from recent Michael channelings
The uncertainty in the Silent-Boom boundary is the difference between Strauss and Howe and conventional demographics. “Homeland” is Strauss and Howe’s term, the marketing term is “Generation Z.”

For the record, I’m either a Silent (conventional dating) or on the boundary between Silent and Boom. I’m 72.


You just caught on that all the money from “quantitative easing” went to inflating the current financial bubble? I thought that was obvious to everyone except the Federal Reserve.


Yep, Michael is calling this a pivotal year where everything changes and we get a new direction. I’m not sure what that direction is yet, but I’m sure seeing the shift practically day to day as people are saying the unthinkable more and more - in public, and in mainstream media.

@Patricia Matthews

You said: “If Trump is elected, how long before he - a very rich man with a long track record of playing fast and loose with the truth, among other things, betrays his base?”

About 5 minutes. He’s already said that’s what he’s going to do, on the record. Trump says whatever will benefit Trump. He’s reputed to be very charming in person, and makes whoever he’s talking to feel like the most important person in the world. It’s easier to sell them a bill of goods that way.

3/1/16, 11:12 AM

Shane W said...
Trump's coming to Louisville. I'm tempted to go...

3/1/16, 11:35 AM

The other Tom said...
Some random political observations from the perspective of an older working class guy:
1) Clinton, Sanders, and Trump are all too old. Being President is not a job for septuagenarians. Reagan was too old. Somebody has to state the obvious.
2) Because of the working class revolt in both parties, this election could have been a real opportunity if there was a capable, ethical candidate with the skill to channel this energy into something constructive. No such candidate exists, so the majority of Americans will be more politically detached than ever.
3) I consider myself a New Deal Democrat, so I am like a man without a party. I want a basic floor under everybody and enough regulation and enforcement so that people in Flint are not getting lead poisoning. The Democrats abandoned this notion decades ago.
4) Although Sanders comes far closer to my beliefs than anyone else there is plenty I disagree with in him, and he is not the right person for the job. I was hoping he would play a Eugene McCarthy role in clearing a path for a more viable candidate. I will vote for him as a "statement."
5) I disagree with Sander's free college for everyone idea. It would be dumping vast money into a black hole so that millions of people with college degrees could be working at UPS or Starbucks. I would like to see that money, and a lot more, spent on infrastructure. If we had a real conversation on infrastructure, without falling into an Obamacare hysteria, maybe we could think about the hard choices based on reality about a sustainable water, energy, and transportation system, something that won't be obsolete in 20 years. It could be like the CCC, Phase 2, to train and employ people for real jobs like carpenters, electricians, masons, etc., building what we really need. If the American empire collapses and the bonds are never paid off at least we leave behind some useful infrastructure, like the Romans did. Of course, this won't happen.
6) What I read about college campus politics is often so absurd it is astonishing. These are the people who end up running the world, from a non reality based view. The term "microagression" is an example. I mean, get over it, the world is nothing but microagression. If we have free college for everyone it becomes a really expensive daycare for young adults.
Nobody is going to care about the people working three crappy part time jobs so they can still be poor, but then they hear about the more privileged ones who are so sensitive about their self esteem.

After all the Bush/Cheney crap, and then seven years of Obama/Congress gridlock, could it get any worse? The answer, apparently, is yes.
I just don't see any good outcome to this election, or any sign of necessary change on the horizon. I hope I am wrong.

3/1/16, 11:37 AM

Shane W said...
One thing about the evils of the late 20th-21st century is that we're just now beginning to feel the effects. We shouldn't be quick to judge the era as "not evil". Perhaps in 20-30 years after a default or hyperinflation, a Civil War, and shortages, then the evil will be more apparent.

3/1/16, 11:58 AM

Glenn said...
Cherokee Organics said:

"If there are homeless people living in your county, then how can you claim in all honesty that there is an over-supply of houses?"

The irony, Chris, is that there are roughly 7 empty houses for every homeless person in the U.S. There really is an over supply of houses, but they're underutilized still.

So, the actual situation is much worse than you thought, from the point of view of Societal Morals or Ethics. The states and municipalities that have chosen to address homelessness by giving the homeless free housing are saving money, by the by; there are various social services that are mandated to be provided to the indigent anyway, and it's much easier if they have a fixed address, not to mention the savings by not having them in the Emergency Room (at county expense) for hypothermia every cold or wet spell.

In local events;, after delivering a dozen of our eggs to the food bank, I watched the largest container ship in the world pass out of Admiralty Inlet. Bit of a mind boggler, this close to industrial scarcity and we're building quarter mile long ships (1,300 ft. only 20 feet under).


in the Bramblepatch
Marrowstone Island
Salish Sea

3/1/16, 1:09 PM

Shane W said...
I'm going to reiterate, we better HOPE Trump doesn't sell out, b/c I truly believe that the wage class is giving the system one last chance in Trump. If Trump totally sells out & does NOTHING to ease the burden of the wage class, then it's insurgency time.

3/1/16, 1:21 PM

Shane W said...
I'm wondering where you got your #'s--I've always hear '64 as the cut-off for Boomers, even JMG from '62 considers himself a late Boomer.
Also, I think there's some confusion about where millennials end and Z begins. I thought under 25 or so is Z, as the attitudes are way less entitled, and that's kind of the rough cut off for having Boomer parents (who coddled & promised the moon) and Gen X parents, who have a decidedly different take on things.

3/1/16, 1:26 PM

Glenn said...
Urban Harvester said...

"I appreciate what you are saying, things might be different if I didn't live in Utah. The BSA here is thoroughly and inextricably tied up with the religion my wife and I have taken pains to extract ourselves from. That said, I have a coworker who runs a catholic troop and he can't say enough good about the BSA. However, as their homosexuality statements are in lockstep with those of the LDS church (which is a hot button issue here and in my family) it will be nigh impossible for my wife and I to support it... until, that is, their positions change"

If you can get a few other families together you might start your own troop of Independent Scouts. See for the Portland, Oregon group; their site gives a lot of details about the World Federation of Independent Scouts and the Baden-Powell Association in England and the Baden-Powell Service Association of Canada. They are much more involved in traditional out door activities, and are free of the gender and religious restrictions of the BSA.


in the Bramblepatch
Marrowstone Island
Salish Sea

3/1/16, 1:32 PM

Shane W said...
re: Clinton & revolution, it may very well be because of your age. You may think we can hold tight until you're dead and gone. At 40, I know I'm going to see the compost hit the wind turbine, so I'd rather sooner than later, because I think the later we wait, the worse it will be, and it's like extracting a bad tooth--better to go ahead & get it over with so the dust can settle, and life can hopefully get back to whatever normal will be.

3/1/16, 1:43 PM

Shane W said...
I remember having a sense of dread when Bill Clinton got elected, and the process of generational handover, thinking, "this is not going to end well at all. These people (Boomers) have not had the necessary life experiences to make wise leaders." Of course, that premonition turned out to be correct with Bush & Obama, and all the other politicians up and down the list. But of course, the Depression generation could not be preserved indefinitely for political expediency, and the handoff and changeover had to happen, but I did have that premonition.

3/1/16, 2:49 PM

latheChuck said...
Chris- When I referred to a "surplus of housing", I was too terse. What I meant was "a surplus of housing ... which was affordable at current prices, the recognition of which would force sale prices down, which would put many mortgage holders 'under water' (owing more than the sale value), and which would force the mortgage lenders to recognize that the collateral backing their loans was worth less than the outstanding balance, which would threaten the stability of the entire financial system". Or, something like that.

To take your question ("who put those ideas in [my] head?") literally, I'd have to say that Ken Denninger's Market Ticker blog is the best source I have on the effects of fractional-reserve banking practices. (He also discusses whatever else is on his mind, such as unconventional nutrition and communications privacy, so you may need to dig for a while to find anything on our topic.)

3/1/16, 3:08 PM

Nestorian said...
To Shane:

I assume AA helped you overcome alcoholism, did it not?

And if so, that is a good thing, is it not?

I think it also bears mentioning, in connection with your remark that AA is a mind-damaging New Age cult, that it wasn't so historically. There is an AA named Dick B. who has done yeoman's research to demonstrate that AA is actually Christian in its origins, especially in Ohio, where Dr. Bob was the founding force.

And if you read both the Big Book and the 12&12 itself, it is crypto-Christian on practically every page, and hardly a basic text for New Age religion.

3/1/16, 4:05 PM

Patricia Mathews said...
David Brin on Donald Trump:

"One thing is as certain as sunrise. As nominee, he will charge to the center with dazzling, roadrunner agility, leaving it to VP nominee Huckabee or Rubio or even Cruz or some other shrieker to keep the confederates from bolting. As president he would prove both more moderate in policy and vastly more of a sociopathic fibber than even Richard Nixon. "

3/1/16, 4:30 PM

onething said...
"Neoconservative historian Robert Kagan — one of the prime intellectual backers of the Iraq War and an advocate for Syrian intervention — announced in the Washington Post last week that if Trump secures the nomination, “the only choice will be to vote for Hillary Clinton."

Gee, he just went up a notch in my estimation.
As for Republicans voting Hillary Clinton, I suspect the other direction will be a lot larger.

3/1/16, 4:42 PM

Shane W said...
Trump impresses me as someone who needs a lot of praise & approval. Witness the rallies. Therefore, I can see him being way more in tune w/the people, b/c he craves their approval/cheers.

3/1/16, 4:59 PM

Unknown said...
(Deborah Bender)

I agree with nearly all of what The Other Tom posted (the exception being that I wouldn't call myself a New Deal Democrat. Nothing against them.).

I think Sen. Sanders already occupies the job he is qualified for, and would be in over his head if elected President. I don't see him as any kind of revolutionary. He calls himself a Democratic Socialist. By Western European standards, he's a centrist. There's no mass movement behind him, only a bunch of youthful idealists and disgruntled progressives.

Sanders has given no hint that he won't campaign for Clinton if she becomes the nominee. Early on, one analyst pegged Bernie as being another in a long line of "sheepdogs" who mobilize left-leaning voters to support their primary run and then herd those voters toward voting for whatever machine candidate the Democrats pick. I'm not implying that Sanders should contemplate a third party run without a real third party behind him. However, the honorable thing for a candidate who means what he says about a "political revolution" would be to sit out the general election and let the Democratic Party, of which he is not a member, take its medicine. I will be surprised if Sanders does this.

I agree with some of what HalFiore wrote, particularly "I am persuaded in my old age that revolutions are almost never a good thing. That is, that they always cause a lot of collateral damage and more often than not produce a worse situation than they overthrew." I don't think I'll vote for Clinton, even though it might be in my short term interest. A vote for her is a vote to continue the appalling slaughter of Arab civilians and I have enough of their blood on my head already. I probably won't vote for anyone in the general election, and that's a first for me.

3/1/16, 5:01 PM

Shane W said...
Regarding Civil War, empire destruction begins at home. I'm sure there are a lot of nations on the business end of our wealth pump and war machine that would breathe a sigh of relief if a Civil War brought an abrupt end to all that. And a Civil War would restore the South's independence and shut down the internal wealth pump that keeps the South impoverished. Long term, it could lead to a Lakeland.

3/1/16, 5:08 PM

onething said...

You're understanding it differently than I do. Sanders is no revolutionary and does not provoke rage. The main reason I will vote for him is not because I agree with all his ideas, but because I think Trump and Shrillary are probably sociopaths. And I consider her the most likely of the three to get is into more war. But you already said that. As to whether she can keep the status quo going, I'm not so sure because she might make decisions that are disastrous and will come home to roost. Or, if she gets in in a way that further alienates or enrages large numbers of people, the situation down the road will be volatile. Not that far down the road.

3/1/16, 6:08 PM

onething said...

"Okay, so you weren't a limits/ecology geek like JMG, and you didn't read all the ecology/peak oil books on the list. I know about President Carter's initiatives on conservation and appropriate tech, how could you miss that? The sweater, thermostat, and fireplace talk broadcast to the nation? And all those PSA's by the energy department, ignored as well? And oil embargoes that painfully exposed America's achilles heel for all to see? Drive 55?"

I knew about the sweater and thermostat. Isn't it the sort of things parents would lecture about, turning off the lights and keep the bill down? If there was a fireside chat, I missed it. Was there a fireside chat and it actually said something clear and concise, and I missed it, and never once heard anyone mention it anywhere ever? The oil embargo? Had nothing to do with peak oil. It was 40 years ago and I've never waited in line for gas again, except when the derecho blew through here in 2012. Drive 55 - yeah, I think I might have gotten some idea from that. It was also tied to lowering fatalities, maybe smog, and I lived in Los Angeles. Even now people care about reducing energy use because of climate change, not running out of oil. I'll tell you what there was a lot of awareness of and which has dropped off the radar and that is overpopulation.

I'm realizing that I have never much listened to Presidents or even candidates because I never thought they said anything real, but I just don't think people voted for Reagan because he wasn't going to tell them to wear a sweater. I think people vote for various and mostly silly reasons, and Reagan had a very nice speaking voice and a very nice presence.

You're right that I don't know how much the system is dying. It's hard to measure. I'm watching, though. Even my job in healthcare, as you mention, is not secure if the medical bubble gets popped. I mean, that's why I homestead.

At 40, I think you're pretty young.
AA as in alcoholics anonymous? You consider it a pseudocult? I find that quite interesting. It doesn't seem to have helped my ex. In the end, he finally quit on his own. How did you make your escape?
Is the Church of Religious Science different from Christian Science?

Other Tom - very cogent points.

3/1/16, 6:35 PM

Damo said...

You should definintely go to that Trump rally and come back with a full report for ARD readers!

3/1/16, 7:12 PM

Patricia Mathews said...
It looks like Meriga* is going for the demagogue on one hand, and Mme Business As Usual on the other.

*Fans of Star's Reach - look at the Super Tuesday map and see if it doesn't look familiar.

3/1/16, 7:13 PM

Shane W said...
I'm watching the Super Tuesday results on CBS, and I don't know when I've ever laughed so hard @ a newscast! Popcorn indeed! I just watched Lindsey Graham's response. Priceless! OMG, I've never been so excited about an election before!

3/1/16, 7:54 PM

Unknown said...
methinks a breakup of this sort will not be a positive....there are way too many guns in america for this scenario not to turn out badly....not to mention the radical element that has ownership of said weapons.

3/1/16, 7:57 PM

John Roth said...
I suppose it had to happen - this election is so boring that the Guardian ran an article on one of the minor candidates: Cthulhu . They forgot to put in his campaign slogan, however.

3/1/16, 8:25 PM

Caryn said...

I understand your line of reasoning, but similarly, that is exactly why I'm voting for Sanders. I agree with JMG that it is unlikely he will get the nomination, but I'm voting for him nonetheless.

Like you, I'd like to see a smoother transition to downshifting as the current paradigm proves unsustainable, but just carrying on in the same course is not going to do that. It's just going to run us headlong over the cliff. Just as FDR and the New Deal served as a re-set button for Capitalism, I think a good dose of wealth redistribution could redirect us to less steep path down that cliff. Politics/economic policies are always a pendulum swing and we need to purposefully drag that pendulum hard left to get closer to the center again before we end up with that dreaded violent revolution or civil war.

I don't see Sanders and Trump as interchangeable at all. Interesting that some here decrying "How could you not have seen the signs of economic and ecological collapse or resource depletion back in the 70's or 80's? You had to have known - Just like the German people in the 1930's", yet seem to gloss over the racist violent rhetoric coming from Trump, even to possibly supporting him. I wonder if they're just cherry-picking which of his rhetoric they will believe.

3/2/16, 1:21 AM

Robert Mathiesen said...
On the generational boundaries:

I was born in 1942, so I have personal experience of all the generational shifts since then.

The easiest boundary to establish is the boundary between the Silents and the Boomers. The baby boom only began when WW2 ended and most of the young men came home and got busy making babies. That started to happen in 1945. When 1942 turned into 1943, most of the young men were still on various fronts or in training camps.

It took about twenty two years for the earliest baby-boom babies to finish college, marry and start their own families. That brings us down to 1967, which just about when the counter-culture began to spread from a few untypical parts of the country like the San Francisco Bay area) to the rest of the nation. I started working at my university (Brown, in Providence, RI) in the Fall of 1967, and the counter-culture began to show up at Brown around 1969, about four years after it had hit the Berkeley campus of the University of California (during the academic year 1964/5).

Fast-forward another twenty-five years -- the first children of the oldest Boomers (the first Gen-Xers) began to start their families when they were a few years older than in the previous generation -- and you come to 1992. The early 1990s when I began to notice a major shift in attitude among the undergraduates in my classrooms. Before then, most undergraduates were not at all scared about their own personal futures. From the early 1990s onward, however, a noticeable and large fraction of the undergraduates were clearly "running scared" and noticeable more anxious during their college years. By and large, they were far more cautious than undergraduates had been even five years earlier. They still did lots of college-age "dumb things," but they were, by and large, more calculating about the risks of these things. This was, from where I sat, not quite as sharp a generational divide as the divide beween Silents and Boomers had been, but it was still noticeable, and it startled me when I noticed it. -- I've used the term "Gen X" here because everyone else does, but I also think of them as the "Frightened Generation," desparate to game the system so they can somehow survive.

I retired in 2005, so I never really saw much of "Gen Y" in my college classrooms. The first members of this new generation would have been born about

So those are the years of the generational divides as I observed them at my own college, for whatever they may be worth. I don't want to claim any broader validity for this scheme, and I am sure there are regional differences as well as differences depending on economic class.

This scheme doesn't line up all that well with the more common schemes, as discussed above by John Roth and others.

3/2/16, 2:26 AM

donalfagan said...
It seems that the liberal revolution is only happening in liberal states (except Oklahoma) so far, which will give Clinton the nomination. Hillary will win liberal states in the general, but I wouldn’t count on a lot of revolutionary voters showing up for an establishment candidate. The authoritarian revolution seems more broad-based, with Trump and Cruz getting about 60% almost everywhere, which is not overwhelming, but enough to secure the nomination. Again, hard to say whether establishment Republicans will hold their noses and vote Trump (or Cruz), hold their noses and cross over to a centrist, establishment Clinton, or just stay home. I still think both candidates are going to be weak.

3/2/16, 4:39 AM

Shane W said...
@Nestorian, onething,
I did not say that AA was New Age, but that before I got involved in the notorious group, I was running in AA circles with members influenced by New Age/Church of Religious Science. As best I can tell, the Church of Religious Science is a New Age thing into "creating your own reality". It is different from Christian Science. Google it. Yes, I do realize how thoroughly AA is influenced by evangelical, fundamentalist Christianity, and that its founders were heavily involved in the fundamentalist Oxford group. I was involved in a very famous/infamous group led by an ex-con near Long Beach, that was closely connected to the largest AA meeting @ a Jewish temple in Westwood. I know more than enough about the history of AA & its founders.
As for "sobriety", I "went out" over two years ago, oddly enough @ a company Christmas party. Having been stuffed full of AA, I kinda freaked out, and waited for my life to fall apart (again, I'd already waited for my life to fall apart when I fled). Then a strange thing happened. Nothing. No "phenomenon of craving". No "obsession of the mind". Of course, by now, I'd already read information about what a pseudocult AA is, and how dubious the claims are. I realized there is no evidence for "once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic." I realized that the US is the only nation in the world that uses 12-step as its primary form of recovery. I remembered all the disturbing people I'd met in AA, and thought the cure was worse than the disease. (I think that substance abuse is a more healthy response to our society than pretending that our very sick society is a-okay) So, now here it is, two years later, and still no phenomenon of craving, no obsession of the mind, no excessive drinking, no even regular drinking. If I had to put it in AA terms, I must have been what is termed a "heavy drinker" who can moderate or quit, though I'm sure that many in AA would doubt my experience because it doesn't conform to their belief system.
if I'm not mistaken, you are retired or nearing retirement? If so, that puts you in the investment class, with a steady income that needs protecting. Perhaps the reason that things don't seem that bad to you is because you are a part of the investment class w/a guaranteed income. Things are different for those of us under 60 something who don't have a guaranteed income, no matter how small. Much more precarious.
I'm very conflicted about this election. I'm starting to have a sense of hope and excitement about Trump that belies all logic, yet I speak Spanish and am very fond of the undocumented. I'm very wary of the salary class & empathetic to the wage class. I think they can show us the way forward by demonstrating tight knit, functional, healthy communities on much fewer resources than the average American lifestyle. I think that Mexico is up and coming, and relations w/them will be vitally important in the future. So I am very conflicted.

3/2/16, 7:25 AM

Shane W said...
If, w/out our wealth pump/empire, we are destined to become a third-world country, what better way to learn how to live happy, well-adjusted third-world lifestyles than from bona-fide people from third-world countries? Now I know this meme is so far outside the mainstream, and so politically incorrect it's not even funny, but...

3/2/16, 7:41 AM

Shane W said...
Trump is going to make a pitch to African-Americans with his economic plan, and aggressively recruit Sanders supporters once Sanders is denied the nomination. I all but guarantee it. I bet you he comes up with a plan to forgive student loans as a counter to Sanders free college idea, which would arguably do more good. If he offers student loan debt forgiveness, the youth would have no choice but to vote for him.

3/2/16, 8:32 AM

Nastarana said...
Dear onething, Really? Can you not see that Kagan's comment was by way of a not too subtle hint to his neo-con faction that "We are covered either way". Or, to put it more bluntly, that as President, Clinton will be happy to go to war whenever Israel and its' neo-con amen corner tells her to do so.

Dear John Roth, and here I was thinking this election was the first not dull one we have had for some time. All kinds of interesting stuff coming to light, such as the high crimes and misdemeanors of Henry the K and Agent Steinem's deliberate misdirecting, diverting and wrecking of second wave feminism, which, at one time, pre-Gloria, was a force for good. And the fact that no fewer than SIX small, inoffensive just minding our own business type countries were attacked and destabilized by or with the active blessing of Secretary Clinton. Six! In one four year term! Is't that some kind of record, even by Anglo-American imperialist standards?

I shudder to think what country that never did us any harm might be next on the Clinton hit list. Botswana? Jordan? Bhutan? Eritrea? Kenya? Costa Rica? These are just the sort of quietly competent, going about our business, yes we have problems but we are dealing with them, countries whose existence Mme. Clinton seems to regard as a personal affront to her own consequence.

3/2/16, 8:40 AM

Nick said...
I watched Trump's Super Tuesday victory speech. He described America's infrastructure as "like a 3rd world country" and said "We either have a country or we don't" numerous times.

A Trump presidency would be fascinating, and it might even be a step in the right direction.

3/2/16, 8:56 AM

Shane W said...
I think a lot of the foul mood is the Faustian bargain we all make nowadays to get by. I don't mean to be self-righteous, as I implicate everyone, myself included. I'd like to just think about & focus on overall mood, the "bad faith" as Sartre calls it. If you worked at the credit union I worked at, your money was made by giving car loans to people who can't afford them. Now, that affects different people in different ways, from the loaning officers/CSR's giving the loans to the people who can't afford them, to the collections agents trying to get money from people who can't pay, to tellers taking payments from unhappy, down and out people (some of whom are still paying on broken-down vehicles). Everyone deals with it in different ways, from blaming the victim, to screen addition, to weed, to alcohol or other drugs. But on some basic level, everyone is dimly aware of the misery. Of course, credit unions are way better than, say, Chase, when it comes to exploiting people. Now, let's go to another industry, healthcare. If you work in healthcare, your money is made by bankrupting people. I'm sure everyone is dimly aware of the misery this causes, and deals with it the same way as people in the credit union. Also, a large part of your business is killing people through malpractice, as JMG has noted. If you work in mental health, a large part of your job is prescribing or referring to someone to prescribe, psych meds w/dubious side effects, and telling people that there are solutions to problems for which there are no solutions. And so on through the lists of professions. We all make the "Dell's bargain", as Trey would say, and see how the "bad faith" is expressed in our day to day lives.

3/2/16, 9:15 AM

Shane W said...

3/2/16, 10:50 AM

Mr. Bystander said...
Definitely off topic here, but I picked up your book Green Wizardry and I cannot put it down. Just got through the first section and you really opened my eyes. Appropriate Tech is definitely inefficient/resilient. That fact is tough to swallow at first. I immediately thought about that cliche example of a grandmother that does things the "old fashioned way" instead of efficiently without the aide of modern tools or processes. I'm experiencing a mix of emotions about this. I know in practice a lot of this might be a giant pain in the you-know-what at first. I can't possibly comprehend anyone trying to maintain their same lifestyle and adopting any meaningful amount of appropriate tech into their lives. But I'm also intrigued by the sense of freedom that I imagine coming with it, especially in the financial sense. In comparison to peers, I don't live with an immense amount of excess, but compared to those who've adopted the appropriate tech way of life I most certainly do. Giving up my current lifestyle will be tricky but I can only imagine how much less money I would need to survive on per month. I might even be able to quit working at the job I don't love.

3/2/16, 11:26 AM

John Roth said...
@Shane W

Re Trump: There are a lot of ways of selling out. I was thinking of his backing off on the hate-filled rhetoric he’s spewing to come to a more rational appraisal of the situation and what has to be done. No idea whether he’ll do that, of course.

I get my numbers from Strauss and Howe, of course. They tend to look at how people behave and affiliate. They may not be right, but that’s where I get them. In any case, the edges are really fuzzy: using the standard demographic cutoffs, I’m a Silent, using Strauss and Howe’s numbers I’m in the first wave of Boomers (born in 43). Frankly, I’ve always wondered what the Boomers were smoking, all the way back to the early 60s. However, a lot of the people my age and even a year or two older were definitely Boomers. As far as JMG is concerned, it’s hard to tell. More Boomer than Gen X, but the whole “generations” thing is a lot more complicated than it looks. One tidbit: “generations” are set up on the Astral plane as agreements among Essences who are planning to incarnate to make certain kinds of social change and have certain kinds of collective experience. There may be several “generations” of this kind all in the same territory at the same time.

@Nestorian and Shane

I may have missed the post where AA was described as a “new age cult” or whatever. It’s definitely Christian, and it has immense power. Unfortunately. When I was learning NLP, it was pretty well established that AA turned social drinkers into binge drinkers with a great deal of regularity. There are a lot better treatments out there today for alchoholism, but they’re buried under the tsunami of AA propaganda and BAU.

@Shane W on Trump:

You can mix cause and effect. Does he need applause? Yes. Is that why he’s getting the huge rallies? I don’t think so. The Michael channeling I have on him is that he’s a King role, which means he’s going to attract a following that wants him to lead whatever he does.

@Deborah Bender:

I agree about Sanders. He hasn’t changed what he’s saying in years; it’s just that right now what he’s saying is popular with the Millennials, which is the group that’s voting for him. I can very easily see him as Clinton’s VP pick.

3/2/16, 11:43 AM

pygmycory said...
I think that whoever wins the US's pending election, events are likely to continue to worsen in the near to medium term. So voting for a status-quo candidate simply means voting for society to continue to respond to a non status-quo world with tools that we know aren't working. That's a recipe for revolution right there, not a way to avoid one.

And revolutions through the electoral system tend to involve fewer people getting killed in them than revolutions using popular risings and guerrilla warfare. So if I were in the US, I'd vote for Sanders if the option were available to me.

As for Trump... I'd probably be too worried about what came after the revolution to vote for him. He's such a liar I have no idea what he'd do in power, and just because something is different doesn't mean it is an improvement.

But it's your country, and you'll determine who ends up running it. Have fun, and may you choose wisely.

3/2/16, 12:22 PM

Nestorian said...

Interesting that you think Trump is a sociopath. Could you elaborate as to why you hold this view?

I agree that you might be right, and that overlooking his thuggishness might prove akin to similar oversights on the part of Germans to Hitler's public persona in the early 1930s.

3/2/16, 12:55 PM

Shane W said...
I can give Trump a pass on the Muslim rhetoric. The islamic world is by far the most homophobic, and while I realize that that does not reflect all Muslims, I'm still not willing to make his Muslim rhetoric important to me. The illegal immigrant rhetoric bothers me most, but I understand it, from what it does to the wage class. I've yet to hear Trump say much of anything homophobic or anti-black, and I give him a pass on his remarks on Supreme Court nominations. I don't find homophobia or anti-gay pandering a credible label for Trump. I fully expect him to court black voters on jobs and immigration, and he's already said he expects to do better than any GOP nominee w/the black community. All he has to do is apply his elite sellout rhetoric and tell the truth of how the black & liberal elite have sold out wage class black people and shipped their jobs overseas, and he'll get a lot of their votes. Yes, he has made questionable comments in the past (he is Donald Trump, after all), but no worse than Hillary's super predator remarks back in the 90s.

3/2/16, 1:13 PM

Unknown said...
(Deborah Bender)

@Shane W--I think your analysis of the daily Faustian bargain is very good. I think your first statement, "we all make (the bargain) nowadays to get by" is an overstatement. Most people's livelihoods do depend on bad faith. I believe the system is not so utterly corrupt and dysfunctional that there are no ways to make an adequate living without making the bargain. Whereas in the past one might inherit an honest living or fall into it by accident, today it requires thinking ahead, determination, and luck. There is not enough paying work of that kind for everyone who wants it, but there never was.

How to Make An Honest Living

1. Lawyer. Don't laugh. What used to separate the learned professions from other lines of work was that they each had a code of ethics, and practitioners had enough leeway in the way they worked to stick to it. This is no longer true for public school teachers or most medical professionals, but it is still possible for lawyers to choose their clients and make a living while serving the public good as well as the interests of those clients.

2. Some skilled trades. If you own a small business as a tradesman/tradeswoman, or you have some choice over the jobs you are hired for, you can do useful work without wrecking the environment.

3. Some small businesses, if you have some control over both your suppliers and the kinds of customers you serve. For example, running or working in a neighborhood cafe.
Second hand store. Repair person. Barber. Baker.

4. Being a business agent or chief steward in a union local that is democratically run by its rank and file.

5. A career in local politics, depending on what politics are like where you live and how firmly you stick to your convictions. Staffer for such a politician.

6. Private school teacher, depending on the school. Childcare, if you can manage to get paid a living wage.

7. Home assistant to elderly and disabled people, if you can get a living wage.

8. Small scale organic farmer or herb grower.

9. Bookkeeper. Again, you can choose your clients.

10. Artist, musician, theater tech worker (lights, sound, sets, costumes).

11. Minister, rabbi. Another learned profession whose practitioners have codes of ethics and enough freedom of action to follow them. Some rabbis get salaries from large institutions, but most are hired and fired on contract by independent congregations, so a full time job as a rabbi depends on a negotiation between what the congregation wants and what the rabbi thinks they ought to have. In that way it resembles teaching in a private school.

12. Translator. Court reporter.

None of these lines of work exempt a person from being presented with a Faustian bargain; they provide more leeway than others to reject it. Perhaps readers of this blog have additional ideas for right livelihood.

3/2/16, 1:16 PM

Cherokee Organics said...
Hi John Roth,

Quote: "You just caught on that all the money from “quantitative easing” went to inflating the current financial bubble? I thought that was obvious to everyone except the Federal Reserve."

If you lend me a minute or two of your time, I shall share an insight about you that may be to your profit?

Your reply to me suggests that you are displaying what is known as a reductionist mindset. Basically what this means is that you have taken my comment and reduced it to its component parts and then responded to the information that you are comfortable with. I don't intend that to be a criticism either, as it is a very common and useful way of looking at the world. And thus you have fixated on the part of the quantitative easing story that you are comfortable with. That story conforms with your world view.

However, that mental tool for thinking through problems is useful in some regards and with some problems, but not with all problems. In this case you need to employ holistic thinking - or look at the problem with the whole system in mind! That is a very different mental tool - and we are actively discouraged in our society from using that mental tool - because it will have outcomes that are counter to the desired goals of our society. No doubts about it, it is a real problem.

Please don't feel like this is a personal criticism, because it is anything but. I recently listened to a podcast with Chris Martenson and Charles Eisenstein and they got right to the same point in the story that you did and then I could see they hit a mental barrier - as you did, and they retreated back into the land of the comfortable discussion, as you did. As I previously wrote, it is unthinkable. I've been turning this problem over and over in my head for many years now and I could not see the facts on the ground even though they were right in front of me.

I refuse to spoil JMG's future essay and I'm very excited about this particular insight and therefore: I WILL SAY NO MORE ON THE MATTER!

In fact this is my last comment here until April. Till then, see ya everyone!

Hi Glenn,

Thanks for sharing that story. Wow! That is one big ship! And yes, it is ironic and an indictment of our culture.



3/2/16, 2:32 PM

Peter VE said...
"Neoconservative historian Robert Kagan — one of the prime intellectual backers of the Iraq War and an advocate for Syrian intervention — announced in the Washington Post last week that if Trump secures the nomination, “the only choice will be to vote for Hillary Clinton.""
That right there swings me in Trump's direction.....

3/2/16, 3:55 PM

Robert Mathiesen said...
The Church of Religious Science is one of the organizations within the New Thought movement. New Thought begins in the 1880s. It goes back to May Baker Eddy's insights, but develops them in ways that Eddy hated and rejected. The leading figure in New Thought's early days was the mystic, Emma Curtis Hopkins, a former disciple of Eddy, but not all New Thought leaders were pupils of Hopkins (or Eddy). The most important of these other New Thought teachers was Malinda Eliot Cramer, whose own transformative experience and insights predates her contacts with Hopkins, and who was also influenced by Rosicrucian and other esoteric teachings.

3/2/16, 4:19 PM

Ray Wharton said...
I have been looking at the history of American presidents, with greer's take on anacyclosis in mind. I don't see any Lincolns or FDR figures. Trump could fill in for Millard Fillmore with out too much tweaking, or maybe Hoover. Hillary reminds me of James Buchanan to some degree. Sanders is harder for me to place maybe Wilson.

These are imperfect analogs and my knowledge of the details of these presidents and their times is narrow. Thoughts?

3/2/16, 4:42 PM

Christopher said...
Don't give up on Sanders yet.
The primary is front loaded with Republican leaning Southern states.
Polls indicate that Sanders will catch up in delegates as more swing states and Democratic states have their primaries. And remember, that so far, Sanders has outperformed the polls, which continue to move in his favor.
Clinton still has to pull a lot of dirty tricks out of her hat to win the nomination, if she and Bill manage to avoid jail.

3/2/16, 6:54 PM

John Roth said...
Well, well, well. The entrepreneur behind Chesapeake Energy just died by driving his car into a wall. Without knowing more details, it's hard to avoid the notion that he committed suicide after the feds indited him for conspiracy to rig bids.

3/2/16, 7:04 PM

Myosotis said...
So with five weeks where you won't be here reading Wednesday evening or later, what productive thing will you do with your time? I did some preventative maintenance on my bike today but I'm going to have to think to come up with a plan.

Thank you for the info on the Woodcraft Manual. And thank you for the disclaimer. I've met a few non-native people who are way too into Indian practices in weird ways, enough to be a little leery. I've never understood the idea that a whole continent of cultures, poorly recorded after horrible plagues and then mixed together willy-nilly is a good basis for outsiders to base their spirituality on.

It's an interesting book, but I suggest reading it with a sense of humor. Lots about the health benefits of getting a tan. It's crazy to think this was at the same time as the residential schools.

3/2/16, 7:20 PM

Shane W said...
thanks for those recommendations! Some of those I'm already looking at.

3/2/16, 8:10 PM

James M. Jensen II said...
Hey everyone, just stumbled on JMG's interview on Grimerica:

Now, I've listened to interviews of JMG before, but this one really stands out. Two reasons: (a) it's one of the few interviews where he talks about both peak oil and magic, and (b) the hosts were pretty obviously high as kites. It was fairly enjoyable.

3/2/16, 9:31 PM

jessi thompson said...
i was raised by hippies. let me be a bridge for you, a gen xer acting as a bridge between the boomers and the millennials. it was the 60's, and for the first time in american history, youth was bonding to eachother instead of their parents, perhaps because of the change in family structure arising fro. the 40's and 50's, where increasingly both parwnts worked. vietnam broke out and people your age were getting drafted, forced to fight a bloody, vicious war. the youth movement arose initially to protestcivil rights and vietnam, but it was also a cultural revolution embracing hedonism, environmentalism, and a more general rebellion against "the man", a rebellion against the entire american way of life. when the protests successfully ended vietnam, they continued to push for environmentalism and rights for women, minirities, eventually gays as well. but the government didn't really like a cultural revolution ending its wars and changing everything. so they started cointelpro to spy on revolutionaries and sabotage youth movements. they opened fire on protesters and killed them at kent state university in ohio. i know people who were there that day. the government subverted them and the revolution failes. meanwhile the youths grew up and got old, had kids. free love wasn't such a good idea anymore when no one could figure out who was supposed to actually raise the kids. so they went back to the only stable family life they knew and got jobs. some sold out, some tried to raise their kids as true to the new values as they could. the eighties was a new generation rebelling against the hippies. lots of kids turned away from the hippie culture to embrace madonna's "material girl" way of life. meanwhile there was never enough momentum or ability to change the foundation of our problems, which is the infinite growth paradigm. if you think there is a meme in the world that can save us, i think you need to do a little more homework. we are way past blame here and running out of solutions at a rapid clip. forgive the boomers. they didn't sell oit. they failed. at least they tried. if you aren't growing or foraging all your own food by hand in a shelter you made yourself without electricity, then you have co2 on your hands, too. accept your own contribution to the problem, because that's where change happens.

3/2/16, 11:34 PM

Caryn said...

It's not going to be easy for the Donald to court the black vote whilst simultaneously courting the white supremacist vote:

"As violence erupts at Super Tuesday Trump rally, it's only a matter of time before someone gets killed at future events." Shawn King for the Daily News.

You may be right, he's a slippery old Dell, he may try it and he may succeed, but for me, It's just a deal-breaker.


I found this article very helpful in further understanding the leaning towards Trump or any other Authoritarian figure, (who will it be in 2020?). Parts of it echo a fair amount of what JMG also said in his Trump essay, but this article is more focused on studying group or mass population psychology.

3/3/16, 4:46 AM

pg said...
That college paper would morph into a tome if one looks at asymmetrical warfare, as one should imo. Also imo, Ms Clinton is no warrior.

3/3/16, 5:41 AM

gjh42 said...
Chris Hedges' latest take on the Trump phenomenon:
The Revenge of the Lower Classes and the Rise of American Fascism

3/3/16, 5:51 AM

pg said...
Nothing one nice high altitude burst couldn't take care of?

3/3/16, 6:03 AM

gjh42 said...
And here are some numbers and deeper analysis that support Hedges' conclusions (as well as JMG's).
The rise of American authoritarianism

3/3/16, 6:23 AM

Janet D said...
@Shane, who said, "Regarding Civil War, a Civil War would restore the South's independence and shut down the internal wealth pump that keeps the South impoverished. Long term, it could lead to a Lakeland."

No offense, but please go read some history and stop envisioning a civil war as something that brings benefits.

Civil war brings massive death, massive destruction, and starvation indiscriminately. Regions and countries are knocked out into Third World conditions for decades, if not longer.

All throughout history, people have glorified civil war as something that will improve their own lot ("all the people and policies we don't like will just go away and then we can have it just the way we like"). This has never been the case.

3/3/16, 8:20 AM

Urban Harvester said...
Glenn, thank you so much for pointing me to the 55th Cascadia and the international independent scouting groups! I had turned a blind eye to Baden-Powell, perhaps for reading about his purported militarism and Seton's lack thereof, but it looks as though I'll have to look into him and the international scouting movement more closely!

Deborah Bender, I appreciate your comments on right livelihood. This is the biggest source of consternation in my life right now and your post is helping me to put my choices into perspective. The topic also gets back to the apprenticeship question from a few weeks back in that some trades require you to make a Faustian bargain in order to get a license (if there isn't a mentor accessible to you who shares your values). You can imagine that not many architects in the US share values common to those of this readership, and being barred from independent practice until you finish years of work for people who don't share your values is difficult. But I am starting to see some cracks opening up in the binary that I've been caught in... Thanks!

3/3/16, 8:36 AM

David said...
(formerly buddhabythelake)

@Unknown Deborah -- Thank you for that list. Looking at work from that angle offers a completely new perspective and deserves much consideration. My work is close-but-not-quite (municipal utility worker), offering much in the way of providing for the public good, but still limited as far as organizational influence goes.

@The Trump discussion -- Interestingly, I found a write-up on what a Trump presidency might look like, given his statements (can't find the link now). To be honest, I found myself agreeing with about half (essentially, the economic part -- imposing tariffs, protecting labor from unfair competition, repatriating and taxing foreign cash holdings of companies, etc). Now the other half, I most definitively reject (essentially, the social part -- the xenophobia, the Wall, etc). But the choice between abstaining in a Clinton-Trump race and voting for the Donald is certainly less clear than it first appears.

3/3/16, 9:40 AM

Hello... said...
Dear John Michael Greer,
it's me, erika, in san francisco. i wanted to say thank you for being the Rod Serling narration for our decline and fall. i've previously wondered how you do this, keep up with your writing and open thinking--so i'm glad to know you're human and need a break. i'll say!

enjoy your time to yourself more, and thank you again. i've lurked but i've been busy: on valentine's day i was punched repeatedly by a techie airbnb guy across the street, because he didn't like the rap music i play for the neighborhood. i didn't press charges and am paying for it as he's still there and calls the cops on me so much. so i got a ticket from a bad cop who's gonna have a Sandra Bland in his future.

the beautiful part is that these kids affiliated with the radio show have come out two weekends in a row to dance WITH me, support me. that's beautiful.

so i'm still alive in a dying san francisco for now.

thanks again,


3/3/16, 1:53 PM

onething said...
Oh my dear Nestorian, you have misunderstood me. Rather, I communicated badly. When I said he had gone up a notch in my estimation, I meant Trump not Kagan.

I've got severe reservations about Trump but if the entrenched neocon Republicans would vote for Hillary over him, he must be doing something right.

Then too, I read today that he is talking of truly getting at the root of our medical bubble disaster, by enforcing laws which already exist (by the way), against monopolies, price fixing and enforcing transparent prices. Wow, I try not to be a one issue voter, but this is big. (If true.) And it's about time someone spoke on the real issues of costs instead of always blathering about getting insurance for everyone.

3/3/16, 2:23 PM

onething said...

Oh, dear, I meant Nastarana, not Nestorian.

3/3/16, 2:24 PM

onething said...

Actually, what I have really thought about Trump is that he might be a narcissist, which is arguably slightly better than being a sociopath. But I should also say that I think many or most people in CEO or leadership roles currently are at least in the sociopathic event zone. How could it be otherwise with the amount of killing they sanction, and the underhanded way they are strangling the country and populace while presenting a completely false front?

From a spiritual standpoint, I ponder whether there is a cutoff or just a continuum from the most extreme lack of conscience to what is called normal. To be sure, I know that there are significant differences even in brain function between true psychopaths and normal people, who for the most part feel bad when they do something wrong and examine themselves internally against some kind of standard. The biggest difference is being capable of compassion.

As to Trump, above someone said this:

Trump says whatever will benefit Trump. He’s reputed to be very charming in person, and makes whoever he’s talking to feel like the most important person in the world.

These are two traits (if true) that are sociopathic or narcissistic. I don't follow very closely these political debates nor watch TV, but I have heard that Trump has said some things I find pretty disturbing. Demonizing the Other (Mexicans, Muslims) is pretty worrisome and it could turn out badly.

On the other hand, the other candidates have already been turning out very, very badly for the world and the worst of it is coming closer and closer to home.
Perhaps a gamble?

3/3/16, 3:28 PM

whomever said...
Ray Wharton: Actually, I think the best comparison to Trump is Andrew Jackson. Complete with the wild party at the Whitehouse and the genocide.

3/3/16, 3:48 PM

onething said...

"I can give Trump a pass on the Muslim rhetoric. The islamic world is by far the most homophobic, and while I realize that that does not reflect all Muslims, I'm still not willing to make his Muslim rhetoric important to me. The illegal immigrant rhetoric bothers me most, but I understand it, from what it does to the wage class."

But perhaps you should be a bit more abstract in your thinking and make that rhetoric important to you. The question is what kind of person is Trump? Does he foment hatred and violence? Just because you like Mexicans better than Muslims should not influence you at a higher level than the personal.

3/3/16, 4:03 PM

Shane W said...
Trump is going to seek to bridge the divide between black and white, and widen the gap between black/white & brown with his immigration, tariff rhetoric, whereas left leaning people seek to bridge the divide between black & brown, and widen the gap between black/brown and white. When he says he's going to be a unifier, that's what he has in mind, and plenty of wage class black folk whose jobs have been shipped overseas and who compete w/immigrants for jobs are going to be receptive to that.

3/3/16, 4:56 PM

Shane W said...
I can't believe we're talking about Trump being a narcissist & psychopath without talking about Hillary Clinton. Geez, just b/c someone has years of political experience to cover up their nasty underbelly doesn't mean they're not a narcissist or psychopath, too...

3/3/16, 5:01 PM

Unknown said...
(Deborah Bender)

Thanks Shane, Urban Harvester and David. Here's another: manager of a farmers' market, flea market/swap meet or local crafts fair.

I think used auto parts dealer and dealer in architectural salvage and used lumber are possibilities, but I don't know enough about those businesses to be sure.

People who have the connections and the time might look into startups intended to bring an independent agricultural product processing plant to your region, especially if there used to be one and it closed down. For example, in Northern California there is an organization called Fibershed that is trying to get a facility to process local fleece into wool up and running.

The more opportunities farmers, herders and foresters have to produce value-added products which can be sold to local markets, rather than wholesaling their entire crops to giant cooperatives and multinational conglomerates, the better their chances of making a living, the less will be wasted and thrown away as uneconomic byproducts, and the more resilience the entire region develops via local employment and short supply lines. A lot of potential economic activity lies (for example) between giant meatpacking plants and tanneries thousands of miles away and butchering and tanning leather at home in the backyard.

I think most efforts in the direction of re-localizing the processing of agricultural production are pretty small and are aiming at niche markets of wealthy people for whom being a locavore at triple the supermarket price is a form of conspicuous consumption. Localized ag-processing projects tend to be capital intensive and speculative as an investment in the absence of some social welfare subsidy or tax write off. It's the same dilemma as household production writ larger. But that could change.

3/3/16, 5:44 PM

Shane W said...
I was kinda bemused by the alternatives listed on a popular website for places to move if Trump goes in--I don't think people are aware of the problems there--Sweden, Ireland were listed--wouldn't touch Europe w/a ten-foot pole, due to the refugee and debt crisis. Canada, of course, was listed. Canada was home to the precursor of Trump, Rob Ford, who showed us exactly how it's done, and Canada looks set to have a pretty nasty downturn due to the oil and housing bust.

3/4/16, 6:13 AM

Lynnet said...
@robert on the generations: I was born in 1944, and there was a tremendous difference between our high school class and the one next behind us. They were much more outspoken and politically active. Our class gift was to paint the Tower on our high school; theirs was to adopt a Korean war orphan. Never before had the class gift been anything but something to do with the physical school. They were activists from at least high school age. We were Silent, mostly.

@shane w thanks! Every generation has some good, some bad, some failed opportunities which hurt other people. Also, on the 2nd civil war, it is just possible that the South could lose the 2nd civil war too. It's no guarantee that the South would win, or anybody would win, for that matter. So be careful what you wish for!

3/4/16, 9:01 AM

Nestorian said...

I see Trump as a pathological narcissist - no question. However, that is different in important ways from sociopathy. A sociopath has no conscience whatsoever, and is ultimately indifferent to what others think of him. He may want others to capitulate to him and be totally submissive to him, but he is indifferent to whether he is loved or feared.

By contrast, classical narcissism is rooted in extreme feelings of inadequacy and shame. One feels like nothing, and overcompensates by presenting a false image to oneself and others as being everything. This is bound up with a desperate need for the affection and positive regard of others.

Beneath the bombast, Trump has always struck me as pathetically needy; consequently, I lean toward the pathological narcissism interpretation of his public persona.

And if this is true, then he may also possess a rudimentary conscience and sense of principle, which would make him considerably less dangerous than if he is an out-and-out sociopath.

The central theoretical question is this: Can a true sociopath be emotionally needy in a way that desperately craves the adulation, affection, and positive emotional regard of others? Based on my understanding of the phenomenon, which is heavily influenced by psychologists such as Robert Hare and Martha Stout, the answer is no.

3/4/16, 10:59 AM

Shane W said...
As for Trump rally assaults, so far what I've seen is that these protesters are a part of the "professionally aggrieved", SJW (social justice warrior), microagression, trigger warning crowd. I'd have hear more about where they're coming from, what they want, and how much of a grasp of reality they have before I empathize with them. I'm guessing that they're not your average, wage class person...

3/4/16, 11:50 AM

Nastarana said...
Dear John Roth, I very much doubt Sanders will accept the VP nomination from Mrs. Clinton. He does have some pride, I imagine, and a job which I think he loves in the Senate. I think that Clinton at this point has little choice but to pick a non-white VP. Cory Booker would be my best guess. He is Senator from NJ and also a creature of WS and High Finance, and I believe he could actually survive having been Mme. Hill's running mate. I rather think a lot of Democratic senators and governors are asking themselves, do I really want to do this to my career? Rising star Merkley, OR, has already made it known that he will not accept a VP nomination, should one be offered, which means Clinton can forget about carrying OR, and probably WA as well. Not to mention HA, where citizens are having a battle royal with the biotech companies.

I regard it as by no means certain that Trump will be nominated or that, if elected, he will serve four years. Republican leaders are even now having panicked conferences, trying to find a way, not to get rid of him, but to get away with getting rid of him. If they can force on him a VP whom they like--Sasse, for example, there can then be one of those unfortunate accidents. If elected, he will have to govern through a Republican Party and entrenched nomenklatura who despise him. He has not spent a decade building up his own para-military National Socialist party who can be sent out to cow the populace. I would also suggest that there is reason to doubt that the US military would be willing to take orders from him.

3/4/16, 1:00 PM

Shane W said...
I think Trump might just be our debt jubilee president. Imagine the rhetoric:
"We're not gonna pay the Chinese, we're not gonna pay Wall Street. We can't! They're just gonna hafta take a loss! I mean, I declared bankruptcy, it's no big deal! We'll have a NEW economy, a NEW dollar, it'll be a great dollar, an awesome dollar. It'll be YUGE! I've been talking to my friend, Vladimir, & he assures me default is the way to go! He defaulted, now look at Russia! So when those Wall Street politicians send me a bill to raise the debt ceiling, I'm not gonna sign it, never!"

3/4/16, 2:30 PM

HalFiore said...
I would like to thank all of those who made thoughtful, considerate responses to my comment. As for Shane W., I'd like to invite you to take your pithy little opinions somewhere else and spam some other discussion if you can't add anything constructive. You know nothing about me or what motivates me, so to suggest base, selfish motives is as uninformed as it is rude.

Actually, I would say it was when I was just such an unmannered younger man that I didn't worry too much about what the future might bring. Because, you know, it's just so intolerable to ME that injustices exist in the world that if they all can't be ended RIGHT NOW, the whole shebang just might as well come crashing down. Because it's all about making ME feel better.

Heck, if there had been comment threads on articles like there are on blog posts, I probably would have spammed them as much as you.

Now with a grandchild, I am compelled to think a little more carefully about the future and have arrived at conclusions I partially stated. You and everyone else are free to disagree. Several here have demonstrated how one respectfully does that.

3/4/16, 5:24 PM

Shane W said...
maybe Juhana can chime in on this, but European right-wing populists have a history of appealing to women and LGBT people based on endemic misogyny and homophobia in the Islamic community. Geert Wilders, for one, is famous for his gay following. IIRC, the Islamic community was opposed to same-sex marriage, and stood shoulder-to-shoulder with conservative Christians opposing same-sex marriage, so I'm not sure that appeals to tolerance or outrage over remarks work. And Trump has said the least and has the weakest record on social conservative issues--I mean, he's saying so little on social issues during primary season, let alone the general election when he's appealing to the broader electorate. The enemy of my enemy is my friend, you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours...

3/4/16, 6:15 PM

onething said...
Shane, of course we discussed sociopathy as regards Clinton. Go back and look. As for violence at rallies, I have gotten to the point I believe nothing that is reported. That is, it is likely to be distorted in various ways if even roughly true, or the whole thing could have been staged.

Nestorian, yes I agree with your analysis on all points.

3/4/16, 6:36 PM

Patricia Mathews said...
On the gutting of the salary class - Dana Blankenhorn -

For what he's worth, but his pain comes through quite clearly.

3/5/16, 6:42 AM

Patricia Mathews said...
And Part 2 of the same heartfelt scream -

3/5/16, 6:44 AM

Glenn said...
This essay gives a fairly nuanced view on Trump supporters.


in the Bramblepatch
Marrowstone Island
Salish Sea

3/5/16, 8:18 AM

Fred said...
I've gotten curious this week about people and what they have been thinking the last 30 years or so. As people have been shoved out of the economy by the oligarchs, it looks like their way of dealing with it was to take on more and more debt to make it still look like they were living a middle class lifestyle. I'm wondering now why there wasn't more of a counter movement or an intentional dropping out from the economy. Has the media had that much of an effect on our thinking that people were convinced that the next year, next president, next congress would be different and change things for the better? Maybe the shame of not succeeding at the level expected for I'm guessing mostly Gen Xer's and younger Boomer's, kept people quiet and to themselves, speaking the truth only under anonymous message boards online.

So if people have gone through shock and denial about the economy, it looks like now they are on to anger with all the support Trump is getting. The comments on what Trump posts on Facebook are really interesting. People are saying they know both parties have sold them out and the media is lying to them. They ask Trump to keep attacking the other candidates and pray for him to stay strong.

If Trump gets into office and can change the conversation so people move from anger to acceptance of the way the economy is, he just might keep us from getting into a total civil collapse. The acceptance would only come though after he actually takes down the structures that have hurt people - the illegal immigration, the trade deals, the over investment in the military, prisons and police.

I keep running out of popcorn and there is so much more to go!

3/5/16, 12:35 PM

S P said...
I'm not a white American, I'm a brown skinned Indian American. India, not native American.

I'm an immigrant myself, coming here when I was 5, but my parents were both legal. They have worked, payed taxes, and followed the law their entire lives and gave me a middle class life. I recognize I'm in a declining empire, it is what it is.

But one thing the internationalist/liberal intelligentsia (you know who you are) refuse to do, is to actually ask the there something called the American nation? Does the American nation exist, and does it have the right to enforce its laws and protect its borders?

If the answer is yes, then America has every right to enforce the border with Mexico, and not to continue to allow large numbers of Mexicans (or Indians, or anybody else) in. That is common sense.

But you know what the corporatist right and neoliberal left thinks of this. Racism! Isolationist and protectionist! You actually want a country with borders and laws! How dare you?

This is why Trump is now winning. He has the audacity to suggest that the American nation still exists and should be protected. As an Indian American I feel conflicted, but you have the wrong idea if you think that I identify with all of the people around the world who want to come here, as if they have a natural right. I am in favor of nations and national sovereignty.

3/5/16, 2:29 PM

Christopher E Johnson said...
Thank you for pointing out the reality of "malign infrastructure neglect." I have been noticing this ever since my return to America after living in Asia for a year and half. I started a small box truck delivery job in Upstate New York right after I came back to this country, and I have had a hard time driving on the roads here. Where the tolls of the New York State Thruway go are a subject of speculation among my coworkers, and when driving on local city streets coffee cannot even stay in my cup when in the truck's cup holder. Our product frequently gets knocked out of place no matter how well I strap it in, and when I repack the boxes I often find the merchandise to be too dirty for our retail customers to sell. While I acknowledge that our product is junk that keeps the status quo going, it is the source of a paycheck. A paycheck that only exists because a business can deliver it, and the state of the roads are making it harder and harder for my employer to deliver.
Yesterday I subbed a route to Rochester, delivering to grocery and drug stores in neighborhoods that have fallen upon hard times. The roads in these neighborhoods are awful, and some intersections are paved in only the bricks that have always been under the asphalt. In the middle of this area, I noticed ironically, are the waterfalls of the Genesee River, a natural feature that made the first large enterprises and creators of jobs and prosperity in Rochester possible. I realized, driving for my company through this infrastructure neglect among a natural source of wealth, that the American elite now only focus in terms of money and have therefore forgotten where they came up from.

3/5/16, 3:07 PM

Shane W said...
I don't know what to say, other than I'm sure that there were others who had the same thoughts but didn't post. I'm surprise your post went through. I reviewed JMG's guidelines above this little box here, and I'm sure that if he thought my comments didn't meet those guidelines he wouldn't let them through.
thanks for the info on farm processing. It's a tough nut to crack--having worked on organic, small farms, I know what they're up against. The average person expects to pay so little for food, that what they're willing to pay can't possibly support a form of agriculture that is remotely sustainable. I kinda see today's sustainable ag farmers as placeholders, keeping alive a tradition for the day when agribiz/high energy farming is no longer sustainable, and sustainable ag will be the only game in town. I've been told that food prices have been basically flat for a long time, that people are paying the same prices for food today that they were years ago, and that big grocers like Kroger & Walmart are the main reason prices are driven so low. My guess is as the global, just in time economy winds down, people will have to pay a lot more for food, and a much larger percentage of their check will have to go towards food, then they do today--I'm sure this will prompt a lot more people to grow their own in response.
re: Trump & black nativism:
this is definitely something Trump can go after. I saw in my local paper where there were some black Winkfields at the local high school. I went to high school w/black Winkfields, as did my mom, and there were probably black Winkfields @ the "colored" school when my grandmother was in high school. Most of the black surnames in my community have very deep roots here, far deeper than the Irish & Italian of my grandmother on my dad's side. Point is, the black community is the most native with some of the deepest roots in America, going back four hundred years. Most of them trace their roots well before the Civil War--most white people are darn near recent in comparison, not to mention Latinos & Asians. And they're tired of being leapfrogged by more recent arrivals for jobs & opportunities. Alex Haley even mentions leapfrogging in Roots. It's an age old problem. So, black nativism is definitely something somebody could tap into, especially considering how poorly the black community is doing economically

3/5/16, 5:19 PM

Caryn said...
@Glenn; That is the same article I posted above! Thank You for reposting it - in conjunction with JMG's previous essay on Drumph and the Chris Hedges article, it is a very good read! Some overlap, but between the 3, I feel that I've gotten a much better understanding, not just labeling.

@onething: I'd like to join the others in thanking you for posting these ideas on how to engage in some form of self respect and honor in a job and world that are often very dishonorable. They are great options and I would go further and suggest that ALMOST any job, any 'Dell's Bargain' one finds oneself in having to perform to get by can be one of more honor or less honor. I've personally had the misfortune, (and bad finances) of getting to know phone-debt collectors very well at various times in my life. There are definitely distinctions between good ones and bad ones. Perhaps ironically, the ones who show compassion, work with the debtor on a feasible plan of repayment, are respectful but persistent get the debt repaid. The shrill unbending demanders just get avoided. I've known landlords who were scammers and landlords who were responsive and fair. In my life, I've worked in two big garment factories, (a notoriously abusive fly-by-night industry), both were family run and not only fair but helpful and caring to us workers. It may not be possible to be perfect, as Shane said, we may all have to take that 'Dell's Bargain" in some way to some degree, but It's possible to be a good person or the best person you can be, in a not so great job.

3/5/16, 5:26 PM

Caryn said...
@Shane: Thank You for sharing with us so extensively and thoroughly your background, and your positions. Unfortunately, I think you've lost the moral high ground in your rail against all things-Boomer. It does, however, clarify for me, what we were discussing upthread about that generational divide. You see, the detested 'Social Justice Warrior' movement is what we late Boomers were working and focusing on, the goal of institutional equality and equality of opportunity for all races, religions, sexual preferences, genders. You can thank us for that.

As a tail-end Boomer, I did not grow up with more than a hazy awareness of resource depletion, peak oil, global warming; had never heard of Oswald Spengler, Toynbee or 'those books' you seem sure were in mass circulation at the time, (do you remember how limited information was disseminated before the internet - almost impossible to imagine these days!) etc… as you insist I & we all must have known intimately. If you say so, I'm sure it was all out there somewhere, competing with concerns of a Nuclear Winter, but less immediate or clear for me or anyone I knew in So. Cal.
I DID grow up with an acute awareness of the Civil Rights struggle, school bussing, Affirmative Action, and racism, (I grew up in Vista CA, next to the Southwest KKK hub in Fallbrook, CA. Racism and racial strife, was a big issue for us in the 70's. LGBT rights and the AIDS epidemic in the 80's.) So, still the picture of a black girl being manhandled by white supremacists sets off alarm bells to me. Reading of an unarmed black man or boy being shot by police every, what? every other week? for no reason at all, and with no consequences, in the US is very alarming to me. In the 80's we were protesting the arms race, nuclear proliferation and Reagan's refusal to address the AIDS crisis in the face of a plague decimating the Gay community - many of whom were still stuck living 'In the Closet' at their deaths.

These were the issues we fought for and the success of that fight is, I suppose, apparent in both the current overshoot into absurdity of some of today's SJW causes, (body-shaming, micro-agressions…); but also the current backlash against social justice, both the absurdities on the fringe and the vital basic rights at the core.

So, here, you and I fundamentally disagree and will unfortunately probably always be on opposite sides of 'the fence'.

I'm perfectly willing to examine and accept MY guilt or responsibility for my failures: ignorance and laxity on fighting the the long-range problems: Reaganomics, over-consumption and ecological mess. I realize that doesn't put ME on the high road either, but it may be the best any of us can do.

With that, I'll stop beating the dead horse of this topic.

Now: Cheers All, I'm off to vote. Democrats-Abroad have our own delegates. Feelin' The Bern!

3/5/16, 5:28 PM

Dennis D said...
As a Canadian, I notice that there seems to be a a possible misrepresentation and or conflation between Trump's position on illegals and Mexicans. I am getting the impression that Trump has a problem with those that do not follow the rule of law (those that do not follow the rules to come to the US) but not with legal immigrants. This is consistent with his other positions. For example, his proposals to reform health care is to enforce (not create) the same rules that currently govern car repair, ending the scams where different people pay different amounts for the same service.

3/5/16, 6:39 PM

Chris Balow said...

A nuanced view on Trump supporters? That article did little but equate them with Nazis--characterizing them as racist xenophobes revolting against "social change." That article identifies Trump supporters are people struggling to preserve the status quo--a bit of a laughable notion, wouldn't you say?

And Feldman's personality profile is bunk. It does not follow that one's attitude toward how children should behave correlates to one's attitude toward government. I remember Feldman's thesis from my college days--where a professor of mine simply used it as a whacking stick against the Republicans/conservatives he so despised. This, I suspect, is how Feldman intended it to be used.

3/5/16, 7:17 PM

onething said...
Christopher Johnson's last sentence reminds me of something that's been bothering me for a while. It seems like our current crop of rich people are a bum lot. If you look through the beautiful old buildings of Europe, you find that many of them were built by rich people, for example, King's College at Cambridge, and this was also true for hospitals and cathedrals and so on. These projects were then part of the public infrastructure that created usefulness and beauty for generations to come. Am I wrong or has that sort of thing diminished greatly? Our current rich seem to have no desire to leave a legacy for the public. I know they do give to certain charities but overall it seems minimal.

People have always wanted to be rich, but once you enjoy a certain opulence, there were still other priorities. Not any more, it seems. Money is the end in itself.

3/6/16, 8:26 AM

Unknown said...
(Deborah Bender)

@onething--There has been a robust tradition of philanthropy in the United States going back at least to the second half of the nineteenth century. The question you are asking about whether it has diminished is a good one.

Have the targeted beneficiaries of philanthropy changed over time? Certainly the answer is yes. Has the amount of money given as a percentage of an individual's fortune changed from decade to decade? Probably yes as well, and it would be interesting to see what the changes correlate with (obvious correlations would be tax policy and how economically secure the giver feels, but there must be social influences too). Are there differences in giving between "old money" and "new money"? Yes, and that's a question that has been studied by sociologists.

Over the past ten years or so, there has been public criticism that the people who have made fortunes in Silicon Valley startups have not been socialized to noblesse oblige and are stingy. Organizations have been created to mobilize peer pressure among these multimillionaires and billionaires to get them to give more, and other organizations to teach them how to give effectively to causes that interest them, which aren't the same causes the old money families support.

3/6/16, 2:47 PM

onething said...
Caryn, It wasn't me! I believe the praise should go to Deborah Bender.

Here's a link to an article about Trump's plan to deflate the medical price gouging:

This site is not PC at all but he's really hammering on the medical stuff and if I get to thinking that Trump will actually make good on this, well, then I just became a one issue voter. It's huge and the way he lays out these numbers really shows just how badly we've been had over the past couple of decades or so, increasingly.

If I recall there are 3 issues - lack of price transparency, lack of competition (monopolistic and illegal) and laws barring us from buying drugs from overseas and negotiating with pharma.

Fascinating to see how this corruption is affecting the economy and our everyday lives. And the situation that we have now, if this guy is right, is basically already ILLEGAL.

3/6/16, 3:05 PM

Shane W said...
I was very much a part of the SJW scene in the 90s & early 00s--I served on an LGBT employee resource group. As it exists right now, I no longer find it relevant or helpful for equality, perhaps b/c I've seen the sea-change in the under 30 crowd, and am convinced now that it's just a matter of generational replacement, old bigots dying off. The class issue, however, is still very much relevant.

3/6/16, 4:15 PM

Shane W said...
I'd love to know Juhana's take on this. It sounds like Trump not only has the establishment quaking on this side of the pond, but Europe and other nations as well. I wonder how much a Trump victory would weeken the EU and embolden Le Pen, Farage, Wilders, etc.

3/7/16, 6:53 AM

Shane W said...
I must admit I'm kinda taken by the Stump for Trump ladies, Diamond & Silk. I mean, I know black ladies like them--they look like fun! If anyone can blow open the fault line between wage & salary class and the establishment elite in the black community, I think it will be Trump. I mean, some people may be horrified by the Stump for Trump ladies, but there may be more of them than you expect.
I'm kinda ambivalent about Sanders. He'll definitely get my vote in May, but I'm not sure about volunteering. What little I've noticed, I'm thinking maybe his campaign is chock-full of clueless salary class types, but I could be wrong.
Honestly, is it really too much to ask older generations to take a vow of poverty, don hairsuits, and engage in self-flagellation repeating "mea culpa, mea culpa, mea culpa" for the rest of their natural lives? Is that really too much to ask ;) ;) ;)

3/7/16, 11:03 AM

John Roth said...
@ Chris:

I seem to have pushed one of your hot buttons, eh?

@ Nastarana:

I don’t see Hillary picking someone who won’t help the ticket win the presidency. A choice that appeals to the same demographic she appeals to won’t do it. Sanders appeals to a different demographic. It might not be Sanders, but it has to be someone who appeals to the Millenial vote. Hillary is just too seasoned a politician to make that kind of misstep.

3/7/16, 11:55 AM

Shane W said...
I'm particularly interested in what our Canadian, Ontarian, readers think of this...

3/8/16, 5:20 AM

Nastarana said...
Dear John Roth, Ok, I take your point. Two observations:

1. She owes minority communities for literally, saving her candidacy. IF she can pull out a win on the first ballot, I suppose you are right, and she can then nominate whomever she likes. Again, I am not seeing signs of anyone wanting to be her VP, but maybe one wouldn't this early. If voting goes to a second ballot, her non-white firewall will be able to demand "one of us" on the ticket.

2. Given her unpopularity with independent voters, a plurality of the electorate, she will need every last one of those firewall voters to have any hope of prevailing in November. I find it astonishing that no one at Dem party HQ seems to be counting electoral votes.

3. I think you might be attributing to Mrs. Clinton a level of intelligence, competence and basic common sense which she has so far not demonstrated.

3/8/16, 8:38 AM

patriciaormsby said...
@Shane, I am doing as you say. I mean, it is the least my generation can do for yours, having screwn you over so liberally. Okay, I was screaming my head off to stop screwing over the generations to come since I was in my 20s and the hip crowd around me decided that caring was so passe (well, actually it appears to have been a clever PR ploy in the 80s to make everyone think it was hip not to care and go back to money grubbing), and it was just as effective as screaming at a movie. In fact, I endured once such movie a while back when renewing my drivers license. They put me in a simulator with brakes and steering wheel and so on, but the brakes didn't work. Previous folks had pounced on them too hard, I reckon. So I went along applying full pressure on the brakes while slamming into pedestrian after pedestrian (they had really good actors for those parts). And the folks at the licensing bureau? They didn't care, it was all supposed to be merely for my edification. I suppose it was. This is the sort of reality we live in.

Here in Japan we are being entertained by ever more frantic newscasts from America, going, "Can anything be done to stop Trump?" We have a sort of Hillary over here named Shinzo Abe, who somehow got elected though nobody I know knows anybody who voted for him. Someone must have. And the Japanese are very patient, but the time will come when they too will explode, and I think they are beginning to wonder why the TV thinks it's so important to stop certain people from having a choice. Maybe they are poor people, maybe they are badly educated. If so, educate them! I am beginning to detect supportive undertones here. Japan has its own newly impoverished, they are just to ashamed to admit it.

3/9/16, 7:51 PM

N Montesano said...
Peaceful black protestors at Trump rallies have been spat on, cursed at, screamed at, shoved and punched, while security guards and police watched and did nothing, and Trump himself has encouraged the violence. There are videos.
But several people have stated here that they only find his racism "a little disturbing," not enough to stop them from voting from him, which I find disturbing, and feel reviled for finding disturbing. The conversation on this post has seemed to me to be filled with anger, blame and hate, much of it for people like me. Perhaps this is simply a reflection of the hate and rage of a nation about to explode. Perhaps there is no way to avoid it. But I thought this was the refuge, the place to soberly examine the problems, examine the roles our own choices play in a difficult and turbulent time, admit our own failings and look for ways to make better choices, for support and thoughtful suggestions for better choices, for observations about our blind spots, and to seek common ground among our many points of view. Maybe there isn't any to be found. I am feeling sick and sad and disillusioned.

3/10/16, 7:29 AM

Spanish fly said...
Meanwhile, another circus in another European corner...

3/10/16, 2:29 PM

Caryn said...

"...We have a sort of Hillary over here named Shinzo Abe, who somehow got elected though nobody I know knows anybody who voted for him. Someone must have…."

Our current mostly disliked Chief Executive, here in Hong Kong, C. Y. Leung, has garnered the nickname "689". It's a nickname that is stuck to him like glue. Out of 3.5 million voters, 250,000 LEGCO -(representative or 'delegate') voters - he only got 689 votes and yet he is now our Chief Executive - our top representative to Beijing. During the Pro-democracy 'Umbrella Revolution' two summers ago, 689 showed his true mettle and did…nothing. So the issue was resolved after about 5 months, and yet unresolved. The protestors were largely students who just eventually lost steam and went home, but the issue WILL come up again. There seems to be a theme here.

@N Montesano:
I am with you on this. I can understand why some people like Trump - when he rails openly on destructive trade policies, out of control pharmaceuticals and health insurance monopolies, and most of all the corruption in politics - I remember in one debate he was being accused of giving money to Hillary's 2008 campaign he retorted "I've also given money to everyone on this stage. I give you money and you do what I want". Even I find that kind of blunt honesty very welcome. His capitalist solution, (open nationwide competition for the insurance companies) may even be a more effective solution than Bernie's top-down socialist solution;

but as I said on a previous thread, the racial and religious division and scapegoating are a deal-breaker for me. I can't accept that he means what he says on the things I like but doesn't mean the tolerance of the KKK or racial animosity, which I can't abide. I think that's magical thinking.

The discussion here as far as I can see, can get pretty divided, but overall respectful - or maybe I'm just used to much more virulent mud-slinging arguments elsewhere, even in my HK Mommies' group!! As a late-Boomer/cross-over/early Gen-X, I can take responsibility for what I didn't do but should have. I also look around to my peers and see I ,(I really think everyone on this thread) is way out of step with the mainstream. The blind-spots, self-serving, self-imposed blinkers are still there and it's become crystal clear to me. So I totally get what the Millennials, (OK, Shane! representing the Millennials) are saying. It is valid.
We can only do what we can do now.

3/10/16, 2:39 PM

Nastarana said...
Dear Montesano, it seems to me that Mrs. Clinton's supporters could, in eight years, have come up with a candidate who did not have blood on her or his hands. Sorry, but I simply cannot bring myself to vote for Mme. "We came. he died", no matter with whom she might have long standing ties.

At the library today I saw an autobiography just released by one Sen. Cory Booker. Just in time for the VP search.

3/10/16, 3:15 PM

latheChuck said...
Can anyone explain to me what the actual purpose of a political rally is? I just don't get it. I hear that, if you have come just to protest against the candidate, then it's a "private event", and you're not allowed to attend (in fact, your presence offends us, so please go away). But if the rally is just for the supporters... is it to reinforce their support? Or, maybe it's a chance for the supporters to bring in the undecideds, in hopes of gaining their support.

I REALLY don't understand the purpose of showing up at someone else's event just to disruptively present opposing views. It seems like the least likely way to attract support. In the open contest of ideas, shouldn't the opposition organize their own events, in their own spaces? Or do they betray their own weakness by trying to insert their own messages into the events of others?

I am disturbed to notice that whenever I dig a little deeper on a report of a particularly outrageous statement by Donald Trump, I find a context (missing from the original reporting) which makes it much less outrageous. Not necessarily appealing, mind you, but nearly reasonable... if you take the words literally, at least. But then there are the charges that "reasonable words" are just code for unreasonable positions. Or that it's a "dog whistle", a message that only the "dogs" will hear in all its repugnant details (repugnant to us normal people, attractive to the "dogs"). After a while, I start to wonder whether the out-of-context reporting and the explaining of that which is NOT said is nothing more than dirty tricks of a well-embedded opposition.

3/10/16, 5:10 PM

Varun Bhaskar said...
@ N Montesano,

Wait, what? Where has anyone attacked minorities during this discussion. Most of the anger is from Shane railing against boomers, which is pretty normal. hahah, just kidding Shane, just kidding. ;)

I agree that protesters were assaulted, but I don't think that has anything to do with them being black so much as protesters. Trumps followers seem to be fanatically loyal to him, which is not surprising given that's how authoritarian figures normally build power.


Varun Bhaskar

3/10/16, 5:45 PM

Unknown said...
(Deborah Bender)

Things are heating up on the Korean peninsula.

3/10/16, 8:33 PM

Shane W said...
@Caryn, Montesano,
I'd like to refer back to JMG's original Trump post, where he talks about the "only divisions we're comfortable talking about" are those with "some basis in biology". Excepting immigrants, I just don't see anything in Donald Trump's background as a native of Brooklyn, NYC that's not standard mainstream white, cosmopolitan, Northerner. No more red flags than, say, Hillary Clinton (superpredator, etc.) As someone who has witnessed the GOP for 30 years push divisiveness and intolerance based on social issues, I find it refreshing that the front-runner is not dog whistling to religious conservatism. I think there's a major gap between the black wage class and the professionally aggrieved, microagression, trigger warning, safe space salary class SJW protesters that claim to represent all of black America. I'm not so sure that the average, wage class black person concerns him or herself much with issues such as reparations. Indeed, the salary class may even denigrate the wage class as "Uncle Tom" or oppressed & unenlightened. There is clearly a need for the issues of the black wage class to be represented, and I'm not sure that the salary class black elite is representing them well. To me, the greatest outcome of this election would be a realignment of the political parties based strictly on class, not those "categories with some basis in biology". If Trump could somehow start to unify the black & white wage class under one party (a tall order, I admit, but let's not forget "turn Lincoln's picture to the wall" in response to FDR in '32), it would be a major coup--most of Southern & American racism was designed by the elite to keep the black & white wage class divided since colonial times, so if Trump can begin to unite black & white wage class under common cause, it would be historic. Trump has already said that he's going to go for the black (wage class) vote based on economic issues. Of course, by default, then the Democrats become the party of the salary class and the establishment, which is kind of fitting, if they successfully shut out Sanders and get a lot of neo-cons "anyone but Trump" votes. This really could prove to be a realigning election if the parties realign based on class rather than "characteristics based on biology" Personally, I'm thrilled that the front runner in the GOP race is not pandering to homophobia and political fundamentalism. I'm thrilled that the GOP front runner is anti-neoliberalism (anti-free trade, selectively pro-enforcement/regulation), Trump's commentary regarding the Iraq War and other disastrous neo-cons warmongering adventures are music to my ears.
I'm thinking of going to the rally in Cincinnati and bringing back a full report to the ADR...

3/11/16, 6:33 AM

The other Tom said...
In a Trump Administration, I've been wondering who his people would be, and how he would select the thousands of appointees a President has to make. What role is Ben Carson angling for? Does Christie want to be Trump's Dick Cheney? Given Christie's bold personality and his experience in government which Trump lacks, he seems ideally situated to be a powerful Vice President.
Although most candidates for political office are good at avoiding specifics and seeming to say what we want to hear, if they have held other political positions we can guess from their track record what their proclivities are. In Trump there is nothing to go on. He seems to blur the distinction between outright racism and a resentment of political correctness that so many people feel, so that they are willing to overlook a dangerous coarsening of ideas because they are fed up with being invisible to the the government/corporate/intelligentsia power structure.
In a Clinton vs. Trump general election Trump could hold an advantage because people could hope for what they want in him, when so many already have an impression of what they don't want in Clinton. Especially the Independents, the ones without party loyalty, could go for Trump.
I am feeling a sense of gloom about this whole election. I think of it as a lost opportunity to constructively channel all the legitimate anger into a more viable future.

Regarding the generational debate, it doesn't elucidate the overall process by blaming one generation over another. More than one generation is always alive at one time, and they all vote and buy things and most of them drive cars. In the 70s I remember those who blamed the WW 2 generation for creating a crass consumer culture and a suicidal world with nuclear weapons. We grew up doing duck and cover drills in school, which were supposed to protect us from nuclear attack. To those who blamed the "greatest generation," the reasoning was that they built the superficial suburban nation of conformity, so they were responsible. I never bought into this because of individuals I knew, who were trying to find their way through terrible circumstances, like my father and uncle who were homeless during the Depression and then were in a lot of combat in WW 2. Any generation is made up of individuals who all have drastically different circumstances. I have heard this generation identity thing before and it doesn't hold any water. As a boomer, I think it was mighty pretentious for those of my contemporaries who thought we were so enlightened. There have always been some who are more enlightened or courageous than others.

3/11/16, 8:54 AM

Shane W said...
RE: "tolerance" & "equality"
I guess I'm just pragmatic about recognizing the limits of the political process. To the victor go the spoils, and our political process is no different that any other, in the process of horse trading, there are winners and there are losers. Alliances form based on interests, and can just as easily be broken when interests change. From my perspective, the SJW equality thing currently serves to keep the salaried class unified and the wage class divided based on race and religion. It serves the salary class's interests. Now, whether that is intentional or not, the fact remains that that has been its overall effect. It's widely known and reported that there is a black/brown division, and tensions between black & brown--the LA County Sheriff has been unable to desegregate the jails despite repeated court orders to do so because of racial violence. The marriage of black & brown politically is one of political expedience based on a fear & suspicion by black & brown of the white wage class. Someone could certainly come in and rearrange that by making the division "native/nonnative" or "English speaking/non-English speaking" or a non-racial class unity "wage class/salary class". Captive constituencies of either party who are tired of being taken for granted would probably LOVE to have their votes courted by the "other side" and not be quite so captive anymore. One sign that the US is really post-racial is if we finally get political parties cohesively based on class, like they have in Europe. One of the reasons we've never had strictly class based parties like they do in Europe is because of our history of racial divisions.

3/11/16, 9:18 AM

onething said...
Lathe Chuck,

" After a while, I start to wonder whether the out-of-context reporting and the explaining of that which is NOT said is nothing more than dirty tricks of a well-embedded opposition."

Of course it is; it's not like it hasn't been done before. I've been wondering if I should try to spend some time digging to see just how much awfulness is true and how much is lies, in regard to Trump.

3/11/16, 4:33 PM

Caryn said...

First of all: I don't know why, every time I sit down to write a reply to you, It ends up the size of a 19th C. Russian novel. I wish I could express my points more concisely. I never know what I'm adding that's extraneous or leaving out that's crucial. ((sigh)) Blundering on….

Thank You for your thoughtful reply. I think it would be fantastic if you can get to that rally and give us your impressions when you get back. Just don't wear a rainbow t-shirt and get thrown out! ;)

If "I" went - one thing I would most like to ask is what he thinks of and what could be done about police militarization and the random police shootings of unarmed people - mostly publicized are young black men, but I have been told and have no reason to doubt that apparently this happens to whites too on a less frequent, but very regular basis. It doesn't fit the narrative the media like to push, the story they like to shape, so these cases are rarely if ever given much attention. For it to be a norm, is unacceptable to be happening to anyone. Further, or perhaps as important - what is his take on for-profit prisons and the 'school-to-prison-pipeline'. From some of the 'in-depth' news stories I've seen, this is also a result of the privatization of local judicial and penal systems. Small infractions or traffic missteps that drag one down into a never ending labyrinth of fines and penalties to outsourced collectors, often resulting in actual jail time. Yes, disproportionately affecting the black community, but by no means exclusive to it. It's targeting the poor and vulnerable and it's very scary. I could easily see myself or my clueless teenagers making one mistake and getting caught in that sticky net.


3/11/16, 5:53 PM

Caryn said...

re: Trump brushing off the 'passionate' divisiveness of his rally attendees, waffling on accepting the endorsement of David Duke, (who I've met, incidentally) - I can't understand this. (?) the response of "it doesn't bother me so much" which looks clearly to be Trump's attitude too, I can only GUESS may be another generational/experiential divide? When one has grown up with certain conditions, even privileges, 'You', (figurative you, not literal) tend to take them for granted even having been told of the hard struggle to achieve them before you were born. It's hard to imagine what it must have been like or that the continuation of these privileges or conditions is not inevitable. I know, I am certainly not immune, so I can't imagine anyone else being so either;( but I don't get it. I'm just guessing.)

e.g.: who doesn't take the concept of weekends for granted? Even if you work retail, definitely working weekends because most other people are off and so out to shop, even if you have to work weekends, you know you're working 'extra'. You have to dig a bit even now, to get a true picture of the early union struggles of the Wobblies, Matewan, Ludlow, Haymarket, the massacres, the murders - just how violent and hard, "to-the-death" that struggle to achieve livable working conditions was, including 2 days off at the end of the week.

So while I personally have memories of the civil rights struggles, Definitely of LGBT struggles, I can see that younger people might take them for granted or think the measure of social or racial equality achieved is a given and will always be there. I think this IS one place I disagree with our venerable host in his Retrotopia. While he states that there is no reason the social injustices of the past MUST come with reduced living conditions or technology of the past; I personally think - we baser humans will still probably 'eff' that up and return to the easy clannish divisions, (kind of like Dr. Seuss's 'Star-Bellied Sneetches') We really are suckers for those divisions. They seem to be a tendency of human nature. The social circles I find myself in now are of extremely multi-cultural global expats - they, (well, WE) all have some racial peccadilloes. Bar None. No question this expat circle is all of the higher end salaried class, (genteel-ly scratching their heads over the Trump phenomenon), but they all still have biological divisions of some sort or another as well.

re: your reply on "tolerance and equality", I couldn't presume to speak for the black wage class - it will indeed be very interesting to see how the votes turn out, what they and different groups or demographic constituencies think of this. I do agree that the divisions on biological lines have been pushed and exploited, by both parties, just using different rhetoric, for political and economic expedience. Of course the goals of social justice and civil rights did not start out as cynical ploys, but like kudzu, corruption grows on everything, right?

Off to reread 'The Brothers Karamazov' to glean tips on writing shorter, more concise answers. Har Har!

3/11/16, 5:54 PM

Shane W said...
A lot of the groups under the Democrats big tent are there not out of any inherent commonality, but out of political expedience and because they find it politically advantageous to be there. That can change. Depending on the part of the country, the black community can be more homophobic & conservative (same can be said about other, more traditional ethnic groups), there are tensions between various non-white ethnic groups. If the way we discuss diversity and privilege changes and doesn't necessarily match the accepted, talking heads, politically correct conventional wisdom, then there can be a major scrambling and reordering of groups that throws the old conventions out the window.

3/11/16, 8:26 PM

Shane W said...
RE: protestors
I was in Toronto during the G20 a few years back, and I can tell you, there are roving protestors that are way outside the mainstream, who seem to exist just to protest, and have no kind of conventional life. I assume they're either trustafarians or otherwise beg, borrow or steal to live. A lot of them even cross borders just to protest. (The same can probably be said about right-wing protestors on the anti-abortion, conspiracy theory fringe, as well) So I'd be very curious about just who these Trump protestors are before I empathize with them.

3/11/16, 8:33 PM

Caryn said...
OK, never mind. From footage from his latest rallies - no need to ask Trump where he stands on the issue of militarized police. He's made it crystal clear.

For me, that's really the end of the discussion.

3/11/16, 8:35 PM

Unknown said...
(Deborah Bender)

@Shane W--If you make it to a Trump rally, I will be really interested in your observations.

It's better for the country if the two parties have clear cut policy differences on some issues. With no differences, the parties are merely rival organizations for distributing graft and spoils, which makes them totally parasitic.

Sometimes class struggle comes into the differences. From the 1930s to the early 1970s, the Democratic Party was a friend of organized labor and vice versa; before and after, not so much. You express the hope that "Trump could somehow start to unify the black & white wage class under one party." That might happen, but if so it will be accidental.

I've been watching Trump's speeches (not entire speeches, but long excerpts from them) since he got into the race. At first I was totally baffled by his appeal, because everything he said repulsed me or seemed illogical or both. However, I believe in democracy, so if someone appeals to voters and I don't understand why, I don't assume the voters are stupid or bigoted; I look for what I'm missing.

I've worked out that there are two things going on almost one hundred percent of the time in a Donald Trump speech.

The first was pointed out by others; I didn't catch it at first. Nearly everything Trump says and some of his body language is an assertion of dominance. Often he invites the audience to share the dominance by associating themselves with him. Sometimes his statements also convey some information which may or may not be true and sometimes they are nearly content-free. They always convey that Trump is the most dominant person in any category under consideration. Trump sometimes acknowledges challengers, but never rivals. Consequently, Trump appeals to people who understand life as a struggle to be on top.

The second is something I caught onto early on and it surprises me that no one else has mentioned it. Knowing Trump's background as an entertainer, it seems obvious. People hear the statements and themes in Trump's speeches and wonder whether he believes what he is saying. When one theme becomes more prominent in speeches or his expressed views change, they wonder what Trump's strategy is and whether he is making adjustments in response to the reactions he got from previous speeches. He is, but not in the way they think.

The contents of Trump's speeches made complete sense to me as soon as I figured out that his method is that of a stand-up comedian trying out new material with the goal of getting to Las Vegas. He does his act in small clubs and pays attention to what gets laughs. The comedian expands on those bits, makes them longer and more elaborate, and adds more material of that kind to his act. Any material that doesn't get laughs gets dropped. He keeps working on his material in front of live audiences and by the time he gets the Vegas gig his act is a smash. It might not resemble the material he used in the small clubs very much.

Trump is a pathological attention seeker. He wants adulation; if he can't get that, he'll settle on getting a rise. Trump's audiences are telling him what his views are, not the other way round.

3/11/16, 9:39 PM

Shane W said...
I think you're spot on re: police. I was on a farm in Ontario over the summer, and the farmer had married an American from Ill. The Canadians just couldn't understand how much anxiety an interaction with the police would provoke in us Americans. How much anxiety we would have just over a routine traffic stop. Of course, we were both white, but, as you noted, police brutality is not limited to minorities, though they are the disproportionate recipients of it. The Canadian tradition of police as public servant, and my interactions with police there (OPP, Toronto) have been very refreshing compared with stateside.
The Trump rally in Cincy was cancelled, and I don't think I would feel safe going if there is another one close by soon. I don't know what to think of it all. How come the protestors aren't screened from the events? Why don't they have barricades and other safety features like when the pro- and anti-choice protestors get together for shouting matches? Trump is certainly feeding into the rage, yet I think he's just the vehicle and not the cause--he's just the messenger. I don't think either side means well. I certainly hope Bernie doesn't get shut out of the nomination, and that maybe Hillary gets indicted, b/c I will be very conflicted come November. After seeing all this, I'm now more certain than ever that JMG's prediction that Trump is the wage class's last stand for the political process, and that if Trump doesn't work out, then it's roadside bomb & insurgency time. Honestly, hard as it may sound, Trump may actually be the LESS violent alternative...

3/12/16, 7:25 AM

Shane W said...
Okay, I've tentatively got tickets for the event in West Chester, OH--I seem to remember others on here in SW OH who said they were Sanders supporters who'd cross over to Trump in the general if Hillary was the nominee. I'm issuing an all out call for any ADR readers/Green Wizards who want to meet @ the rally for support/safety. I'm going to post something on Green Wizards.

3/12/16, 10:44 AM

Shane W said...
LGBT and Trump--if Cruz loses, we may have the spectacle of Caitlyn Jenner stumping for Trump in the general election...

3/12/16, 11:28 AM

John Roth said...
Yeah, we're coming up to what John Xenakis at Generational Dynamics calls a Crisis War, which would be similar to WW II, the US Civil War or the French Revolution. His definition is a bit circular though, since he came up with the idea by studying a lot of wars and their place in the 80-year cycle that JMG has mentioned a time or two. That's not quite the same thing as studying the 80-year cycle in a lot of different countries across history and seeing that they always have a Crisis War every 80 years or so.

Crisis Wars occur across a fault line, when the situation has gotten so intolerable that picking up a gun and starting shooting at the scapegoat du-jour seems to be the best way forward. There are possible futures where we come out the other end without a whole lot of bloodshed and with something positive, but it's not guaranteed.

As far as politics are concerned, I agree with Deborah Bender about what Trump is doing, and I also agree with Ted Cruz when he said that Trump is responsible for the climate he's creating, something that Trump seems to be in deep denial about. Contra JMG, I think Hillary is the best choice, with Sanders as her VP. People are capable of learning, and sitting on a tinder-box does tend to make most people stop and think about what they're doing.

3/12/16, 5:09 PM

David said...
(formerly buddhabythelake)

The mantra that I have to repeat to myself in order to not fall into despar at the state of things is "the system cannot be saved." I can do what I can in my corner of the world to make the decline more manageable and/or less painful, but the overall trajectory must takes its course. Rebuilding will only be possible after the nadir is reached and we are nowhere close to that yet. Our role is more palliative and preservationist. It is not an easy pill to swallow, but it is the task we are given.

3/13/16, 6:27 AM

August Johnson said...
Very interesting book written in 2006 with updates in 2008 and 2010. Very applicable to today's political climate and the rise of Trump.

Bob Altemeyer's - The Authoritarians

"This book was written in 2006, halfway through George W. Bush’s second term as president. A great deal was wrong with America then, and I thought the research on authoritarian personalities could explain a lot of it. Since then a new administration has been elected, and although it has had to deal with a very serious economic crisis brought on by others, it is taking steps to correct some of what is wrong.

However, the forces that largely caused the problems have remained on the scene, and are more active today than ever before. As I try to show in the “Comment on the Tea Party Movement” (link to the left), the research findings in this book apply at least as strongly to America today as they did four years ago. Indeed, the events of 2009 and 2010 have confirmed conclusion after conclusion in The Authoritarians. I wrote in 2006 that the authoritarians in America were not going to go away if they lost the 2008 election, that they would be infuriated if a new president tried to carry out his mandate. That has certainly been the case."

3/13/16, 1:26 PM

latheChuck said...
How are the protesters getting into Trump rallies? From what I just saw quoted (from a Facebook invitation to "come shut it down"), they don't reveal their intent until they're inside. Simple enough. Fly a false flag until the most potentially-disruptive moment.

I don't blame Trump for asking the police to remove and arrest. They're trespassing. Their right to free speech ends at the entrance to HIS event on private property.

And I hope that they do consider the possible consequences of having an arrest record. They might think that they'll have a chance to explain their noble intent when the subject comes up, but if their resume is in a stack with 49 others that don't include arrest records, there will be no such opportunity. When my wife and I filed papers to start an adoption process, that was one of the questions. Imagine trying to explain to a grieving spouse that there will be no adoption because of one's reckless political tactics!

3/13/16, 2:33 PM

latheChuck said...
By the way, back to the fundamental topic of this blog, I spotted this story today:

I'll spare you the suspense: oil production is falling, even as inventories are high, leading to the surge in price of crude oil.

3/13/16, 2:35 PM

Varun Bhaskar said...

That's pretty much the mantra that's going through my head as I make preparations. Save as much as you can, and find a way to protect those you care about. If we can bridge the divide between some of the factions here in Wisconsin, we might even be able to preserve a unified front. We shall see.



3/13/16, 4:36 PM

Shane W said...
Okay, I just got back from West Chester (OH). I got there too late to get in. Usually, I allow an hour to get to Cincy, but this was in the northern suburbs near Fairfield. Will post a full report tomorrow. It wasn't really that exciting. It was just mostly wage class people, and it felt like going somewhere wage class people go, like the dollar store, Walmart, or a tavern, or like JMG's hometown of Cumberland...

3/13/16, 4:41 PM

Shane W said...
I was thinking some about what Hal was saying, and it seems very counterproductive when people are coming w/pitchforks and rope to say that things aren't that bad and that they have nothing to complain about. To me, that would give the pitchfork & rope folks even more ammo. The reality of the situation is that THEY feel it is bad enough to grab pitchforks & rope, and that is all that really matters...

3/13/16, 5:01 PM

Shane W said...
Trump rally report:
I arrived @ 12:40, later than I had planned. West Chester is suburban Cincinnati and the rally was held in a suburban strip mall area. We've been having torrential rains lately, and I had to tromp through a sopping wet, muddy field to get to the line waiting. The crowd did not necessarily match the "other" that it has been caricatured as. Yes, it was mostly blue collar, white, wage class, but the people were generally neat, clean, and although casually dressed, not slovenly. Many of the women were wearing make up. There were few Kunstler "Honey Boo Boo" caricatures. The crowd seemed like a good representation of what you'd find where white wage class people gather, if not somewhat more put together. What surprised me was the age makeup of the crowd, there were quite a few younger people there, teenagers and young adults--I had expected the crowd to skew much older. I got in line behind a white guy talking with a Japanese couple who moved from Southern California--the white guy was praising how dependable Toyotas are, kinda surprising, considering Trump and his supporters stance on trade. An interesting thing was that the vendors selling Trump merchandise were of color, mostly black, but the were a few vendors who appeared to be Latino. I did not interact with the protestors, as I wanted to try to get in to the rally, and was not there to protest. What little I saw of them, they seemed conventional urban, pachouli & weed, left leaning. There were fewer protestors than I expected.

3/14/16, 9:10 AM

Shane W said...
The protestors seemed pretty ineffective. Their signs were mostly too cluttered to be read @ a distance (basic graphic design--few words in bold, contrasting colors). I couldn't really make out what they were chanting. They seemed to be contained to an oval shaped area in front of the building. I was expecting violence, and was prepared to flee at any moment if something broke out, and had I made it inside, I would've grabbed a spot in the back by an exit to be safe. Only one protestor was taken out of this rally. I'd come this far, so I decided to wait it out--we thought they were letting more people in as other people left, and, if a protest broke out, there might've have been a chance they'd let others in. I was kinda just taking it all in, being the eyes and ears to all of it. I was in line w/a Kasich supporter who lived nearby. I was surprised to find there was common ground to discuss: Hillary's corruption and sense of entitlement, bad trade deals, Wall Street. In addition to the number of teenagers & young adults there, I was also surprised at how many families were there--I don't consider Trump suitable for children, and considering the likelihood of violence, I wouldn't feel safe bringing children to a Trump rally. I was next to one young girl, probably 10 or so, who asked her dad, "why do they COME here, Daddy, why don't they go to their OWN rally, instead of coming to ours?" (regarding the protestors) There was some yelling across lines between protestors & supporters, but, overall, not much violence. One black woman who I thought was there for the rally was later about 500 ft back from the building, facing the line & the building, yelling and giving the finger (some other person, who I think was black, seemed to be holding her back)

3/14/16, 9:33 AM

Shane W said...
overall, the tone was pretty peaceful. No one seemed threatening or intimidating to me. No one seemed to harass the black vendors. Some of the protestors were yelling "racist" or "hate monger" at people in line, but mostly kept their distance. None of the protest seemed constructive to me, but I don't think it was meant to be--it seemed pretty ineffective. I was in line w/these adorable redheaded teenage identical triplets and their mother. At first, I didn't realize they were identical, b/c one was noticeably shorter than the other two, but finally I put it all together and said something. They were very enthusiastic, and I believe got on TV (Ch. 9, WCPO) Knowing what I know about the psychology of people in groups, I know how bad even the nicest person can turn in a violent crowd, but, overall, I did not feel unsafe or threatened. I'll do another post w/comments.

3/14/16, 9:44 AM

Shane W said...
Oh geez, I forgot to mention the Trump impersonator. There was a Trump impersonator there...

3/14/16, 1:40 PM

onething said...
"I don't blame Trump for asking the police to remove and arrest. They're trespassing. Their right to free speech ends at the entrance to HIS event on private property. "

I agree with you Lathechuck, and also they are interfering with the right of people to have an assembly and to engage in free speech. It's the last bit that disturbs me the most as I see it is quite common that people often just don't get what free speech means and do not have it in mind as a principle of our society.

It's also some kind of double standard that facebook, which has a policy of not allowing the fomenting of illegal activities on their site, has allowed this to go on without pulling them.

3/15/16, 9:29 AM

Aron Blue said...
@Shane W Thanks for posting this. It's really useful to hear a dispassionate report. After seeing a rally first hand, would you say that the media is exaggerating the violence or risk of danger at the rallies-- or is that maybe too big of a question to answer by attending one rally?

3/15/16, 9:50 AM

Phil Knight said...
Just in case anybody missed it, the "Let them eat cake" moment has just been delivered:

3/15/16, 12:11 PM

Unknown said...
(Deborah Bender)

@onething and others--In the United States there is a standard of behavior for protestors at rallies and speeches by politicians and officials that are open to the public. It has evolved as a matter of custom, not law, to respect everyone's rights to free speech.

These are the main points of the customary standard as I understand it.
1. Anyone may attend, alone or in groups.
2. People may dress as they like, including wearing colors, T shirts or buttons expressing a political message.
3. The speaker should expect a certain amount of heckling and may choose either to engage with the hecklers or ignore them.
4. Organized chants in opposition are allowed if they are brief and do not shout the speaker down. If the chants are loud or long enough to drown out the speaker, the chanters should expect to be escorted out by security. If they don't resist being escorted out, they should not be roughed up or arrested.
5. People who release a banner from a balcony can expect security to confiscate the banner and escort them out.
6. To sum up, people who attend a political meeting of their opponents are permitted to interrupt the meeting briefly without suffering any consequences other than being told to shut up or being escorted out. People who cause major disruptions or attempt to shut the meeting down can definitely expect to be escorted out, and if they don't cooperate, be arrested for disturbing the peace.

These are the customary boundaries, and like other customs, some people never learn the customs and some deliberately violate them. In the current Trump campaign, there have been violations by some (not all) of the protestors, some (not all) of the hired security, some (not all) of the police.

Trump has been giving mixed messages to the audiences attending his rallies. On the one hand, he has been instructing them to surround protestors and chant "Trump, Trump," or "USA, USA". That is a nonviolent way of dealing with organized protestors whose intent is to shut down the meeting. I don't see anything much wrong with it.

OTOH, Trump has also been inciting his followers to violence against protestors, which is not only a violation of American custom, it's illegal. The other night, a sheriff actually considered bringing charges against Trump for violence at his rally, although in the end he didn't charge him.

3/15/16, 3:51 PM

Ray Wharton said...
@ Phil.

Dang! That quote is pretty vile, who ever wrote it, and any editors that green lighted it into the National Review must not be doing well. That's one of those things where if I heard some one spout it in person I would assume they were under some dire stress.

To give the Review it's due, there is tons of room at the bottom for responsibility in the problems in our society, and there isn't much use in trying to cover that up. Still, to say "The truth about these dysfunctional, downscale communities is that they deserve to die. Economically, they are negative assets. Morally, they are indefensible." is a stupidity. What makes it most stupid is that the same worm that eats into the lower class from one end eats into the upper class more insidiously. By calling for their death this fool risks calling for his own.

By the way, the worm's name is "Failed Narrative." Loosing a narrative makes the poor wretched and the rich moronic, or wretched but comfortable.

A retort! They claim the white trash isn't even trying! They have become like the other groups that national review has critiqued for too long, that is to say they have finally learned that trying to play by the rules in a rigged system is the first step toward failure. How dare they learn!

National Review, you are darn fools. There are people in the lower class who learn to take care of themselves, but very often it is done by working outside or against the system. Believe what you must to sleep at night, but consider if you are out numbered before speaking it!

3/15/16, 5:21 PM

Nick said...
Phil, I read the original article discussed in your link with a mixture of incredulity, horror and schadenfreude.

Onething, one of the unfortunate habits of the left is the habit of forgetting all about free speech and association when it doesn't suit them. The people calling Trump a reincarnation of Hitler or Mussolini (If anything, he's the love-child of Berlusconi and Reagan) are the first to justify mob justice against Trump supporters, which ironically, was exactly what Hitler and Mussolini did.

3/15/16, 6:05 PM

N Montesano said...
Hey all,
Thanks for all the thoughtful comments; sorry haven't had time to respond or read them all-- family medical emergency. I promise to read and think about them all when there's time to breathe again.

3/15/16, 8:47 PM

latefall said...
Dear Commentariat,
I found a good occupation to take up more of your "mulling time". Certainly better than certain other theatricals. There is a wonderful digitized collection of old maps of the US. This could also serve as a good resource for the nice short stories so many here come up with here.
Check for example the map on Rates of Travel from New York City, 1800 (138A in section Industries and Transportation, 1620-1931). Such a comprehensive wealth of data, it is beautiful.
I'd love to know if we have anything similar to that in Europe (since we like to pride ourselves on our rich history it would be more than appropriate). I couldn't find a combined one (language) yet, perhaps someone else can help?

3/16/16, 2:54 AM

Shane W said...
One thing I forgot to mention was the police presence. Ohio Highway Patrol had the entrances to the venue blocked by their cop cars and were monitoring the intersection as I left. West Chester police and Butler Co. sheriffs were monitoring the crowds, protestors, and guarding the door to the venue. I was concerned about how law enforcement would respond, and how forceful they would be, but they seemed in a good mood, respectful, cordial, talking and cutting up w/those waiting. I was not as close to the protestors, but did not see any altercations between law enforcement and protestors. There were the normal number of conspiracy nuts passing out various tracts, one was some anti-Papist, anti-Catholic paranoia, the other seemed to be a more mainstream "get saved" tract. As I said before, the protestors did not seem organized, but I did notice one guy flying an American & Mexican flag bound together, and another guy in a Mexico olympic style jacket. There was some sneering about Sanders among those waiting in line in response to the protestors, and people derisively saying "feel the Bern" in a sarcastic way.
Observing the protestors, all I could think about was JMG's post "The Suicide of the American Left", and just how tired, bankrupt, and disconnected from reality what passes for "left" is today. I assume that most of the protestors come from salary or investment class backgrounds--trustafarians. Also, I was reminded of JMG's posts of how meaningless the labels of "left" and "right" are politically, that they only function for one group of people to line up on one side of a line and yell "fascist", "racist", & "bigot" (snarl words meaning "I hate you") at the other side, while the other side yells "commie" (another snarl word meaning "I hate you") This is exactly what happened in West Chester. To me, the meaninglessness of the labels "left" and "right" have reached an apex this year as you have two insurgent candidates with similar views and positions on Wall Street corruption, trade, tariffs, jobs/outsourcing, and the establishment, who, nevertheless, line up on opposite "sides" of the faux "right/left" divide and yell and sometimes even punch each other. The fact that this divide cannot be bridged in spite of similar attitudes on important issues shows how far things have come since both white Southerners, Jews, and black people were part of the New Deal Coalition of the Democratic party.
I don't think that West Chester was representative of a normal Trump rally as far as how peaceful it was. Only one protestor was taken out of the rally. There seemed to be fewer protestors. I'm thinking this is related to the nature of where the rally was held. Cincinnati has a reputation of being one of the most conservative, most staunchly Republican, cities in the nation. While most of Kentucky was a part of the "Solid South" and overwhelmingly Democratic, Northern KY stood out as Kentucky's version of Orange Co. (Calif.)--rock, ribbed, solidly Republican, and very wealthy. The Cincinnati suburbs on the Ohio side are the same, if not more so. John Boehner is from suburban Clermont Co. "Mr. Republican", Sen. Robert Taft, of Taft-Hartley Act fame, was from Cincinnati, and his home is a museum there. This is the city that shut down the Maplethorpe exhibit and arrested the museum's curator. So while there are eclectic neighborhoods like Clifton near UC, I'm not sure if Cincy has as much of a "progressive" base to draw from for protestors as other, more liberal cities.

3/16/16, 9:07 AM

Shane W said...
Regarding Trump's rhetoric, race, and violence:
I think that a lot of the pundits are missing things, as I think they're trying to force-fit the situation into an acceptable narrative that does not "get it" or capture what is really going on. I don't think Trump is playing to the "Southern strategy"--I don't see any Willie Hortons or gay baiting/bashing. Trump is playing with fire, feeding his supporters rage and anger, but he is trying to thread the needle--he is trying to keep his supporters anger focused on the elite and the establishment, and away from other scapegoats. His rhetoric is narrowly focused on the protestors disrupting his rallies, not the groups that they belong to. His rhetoric is that of a mobster, thug or tough man, which is disturbing in and of its own right, but not necessarily bigoted. For years, intellectuals have lamented that the white working class have abandoned their economic interests in favor of politicians who pander to their social anxieties, i.e. the "Southern strategy"--now, you finally have a candidate that is focusing with laser precision on their economic interests and carefully NOT pandering to their social anxieties, and, yet, pundits are still using "Southern strategy" narrative to describe Trump, if not more so. I know the optics of ethnic protestors fighting w/white supporters looks bad, but I'm not willing to judge on that alone. We do know that progressive organizations sympathetic to Bernie Sanders are behind a lot of the protests, and a lot of them seem to be of color. What we also know is that black and Latino people have overwhelmingly voted for Hillary Clinton over Sanders in the primaries, so I'm not sure how representative progressive Sanders supporters of color are of the ethnic groups they come from. If anything, they're not very politically representative at all, black & Latino voters so far seem way more conservative than Sanders supporters, based on voting patterns so far.

3/16/16, 9:31 AM

Shane W said...
I'm mistaken, John Boehner's district is not Clermont Co. but actually, where I was in Butler Co. Regarding protestors interrupting rallies, based on what footage I've seen, Hillary has as much contempt as Trump does towards having her events interrupted by protestors--"May I speak now! May I finish!", but I'm sure the optics of her well-heeled donors slugging away at protestors would look even worse the Trump's blue collar rally goers slugfests...

3/16/16, 10:33 AM

Fred said...
It's morning after another round Tuesday primaries and Trump won 5/5 states. The media continues attacking him for racism, promoting violence, telling lies, and it just strengthens his supporters. Reading through comments people post on his Facebook page, they truly believe Trump is the only one who will save this country. I would encourage everyone to go and read them. Every post by Trump has hundreds to thousands of replies and I've been quite moved by what people have written. They know the television and internet media, newspapers, elected government officials, and corporations have been working together to manipulate them for years. They are really fed up with being told what to do by someone with a college degreed management position and end up still with not enough paycheck, job shipped overseas, too high of taxes, cruddy schools, cruddy medical care, and corrupt police and government bureaucrats.

My right wing friends are so excited about Trump. My liberal friends are threatening to move out of the country. I keep running out of popcorn.

Looking at the Republican convention in Cleveland, if I had a house there, I would move everything valuable out of it and relocate for the week at least 100 miles away. There is no way Trump's supporters are going to let the nomination go to anyone else. They are going to be gathering in the streets and I'm suspecting they will be armed, unlike the Black Lives Matter protestors. If Homeland Security puts up a wall around the city and shuts down all roads like they did to Philadelphia for the Pope visit, well, it will be even uglier in terms of level of emotion of the protestors and the response.

The thought of Rance Priebus running away from an unruly mob of white people with automatic weapons is entertaining.....anyway.....

Now I am wondering if that kind of pro-Trump protest will pop up in other cities around the country. Black Lives Matter protests certainly happen in many cities regularly because sadly there are very few police departments that haven't killed unarmed people. What would Trump supporters use as a symbol to protest against? Would it finally be the banks? TV stations? Government buildings?

3/16/16, 12:15 PM

Fred said...
I have to add that I really wish Sanders would get the nomination on the Dem side because Sanders vs Trump would be interesting in terms of discussion on issues and solving problems, IF we were finally going to have an election season where we talked about things that matter.

Trump vs. Hillary is going to be a complete wrestle-mania showdown. He's already released an attack ad of her barking like a dog this morning. Its only 5 seconds long and on Instagram but its incredibly effective at making her look awful. Hillary is going to go down in flames and I would put money on seeing her in tears at some point. Her supporters don't love her the way Trump's supporter do him. And she can only play the sexism/female card so many times. I'm predicting she'd only pull 22-25% in the general election come November. Well unless she completely rigs some states which is also very possible given what has happened in the primaries. I wonder if Sander's supporters will protest the way Trump's will.

3/16/16, 12:29 PM

234567 said...
I haven't found anything in this presidential race that, A) resembles anything presidential or, B) any candidate that is not irrevocably compromised in one way or another.

There is only one direction for us to go anyway - that is to something that is closer to nature and less energy intensive. Everyone reading this blog already knows the general direction, and it puzzles me that even among the people here there is excitement about this so-called presidential race - when every single candidate ignores the world around us and what is happening, save for token lip service to specific issues that are of minimal import or else impossible to change within the current structure.

Maybe if they had an election and nobody voted it would be different, sort of like when you throw a party and nobody shows up??

Maybe I am a little disappointed that with JMG taking a break, the topics turn right back to what the MSM wants everyone to be looking at? Watching the news (rarely do I) it is very similar to watching the coverage of the Superbowl...FWIW.

NOT trying to sling mud or flame anyone here - it is just something I noticed reading the comments here versus a few other places.

3/16/16, 1:00 PM

Patricia Mathews said...
George Lakoff on who supports Trump and why:

One word: authoritarians.

3/16/16, 1:21 PM

Shane W said...
In a nutshell, the talking heads, salaried intellectuals are dismissing the legitimate wage class grievances of Trump supporters under the label of "racism" & "bigotry", ignoring the fact that these grievances are shared across the whole wage class, regardless of race.

3/16/16, 2:11 PM

Shane W said...
As far as Hitler, Ivanka is a devout Orthodox Jew who won't so much as answer the phone on the Sabbath, so, at least in that regard, Trump's not a carbon of the Fuhrer...

3/16/16, 2:28 PM

latheChuck said...
Shane - Thanks for your research and reporting!

3/16/16, 7:25 PM

donalfagan said...
I ran across this on ScienceBlogs:

I agree with Vox article that Trump is just a symptom, but I think America’s changing economic landscape is more responsible than the changing social landscape it blames for authoritarianism. Essentially, by preaching austerity for the many, but securing wealth for the few, neoconservatives and neoliberals have been laying the seeds of a populist revolt since Carter brought in Paul Volcker to respond to stagflation.

Trump may fail this year, but if you vote in politicians like Clinton that continue to hollow out the working class for the benefit of the elites, you are also voting for more dangerous populist challengers in the next election cycle. And consider that this year, one populist challenger is the very principled Sanders, and the other is the very crude Trump. In the next election we may only have a choice between more talented authoritarians on both sides.

3/17/16, 4:58 AM

Shane W said...
we've wondered on this blog many times over the years just exactly when pitchfork & rope time will arrive, and now we have a precise answer: pitchfork & rope time arrives this summer in Cleveland if the RNC denies Trump the nomination. Trump has already stated that there will be riots, and I have no doubt that his supporters will be willing to fight.

3/17/16, 7:06 AM

Shane W said...
I pretty much agree, all the frustration about Trump is wasted. Trump is exactly what's supposed to happen when it's supposed to happen, and has been building to this for 40 years. To those in Europe, rage all you want against Trump, but be prepared to be set free & unleashed from the US, and make good & cozy up to Putin if you ever expect any help w/the debt & refugee crisis. Canada, start making MORE overtures to China if you want to maintain your economy. Mexico & the rest of the world, the era of the US global superpower is over, we're focusing inward whether you like it or not. Put a fork in US based globalization. The US: we're exactly where supposed to be when we're supposed to be, and nothing happens by mistake...

3/17/16, 7:14 AM

David said...
(formerly buddhabythelake)

@Varun -- Thanks. It is nice to know that I'm not alone in feeling this this way. It is difficult to remain positive at times, but we can only do what we can do and our energies, I believe, are best spent locally (in our communities and in our personal networks) where we can make the most difference.

@All -- A quick update on the political scene here in Two Rivers, WI. The county chapter of the League of Women Voters held their regular city council candidate forum last night and I managed to put in a passible performance. There was good attendance, despite crappy weather, and the questions submitted by the audience were meaningful and relevant. I am greatly encouraged by the experience. Self-governance by an informed community is perhaps not a lost concept after all. We'll know in another two and a half weeks whether or not I land a seat, but by and large, the community has a solid field of candidates to select from.

3/17/16, 7:33 AM

Shane W said...
I'm reminded of JMG's adage: (paraphrasing) "you CAN'T get people to understand something if their livelihood depends on their NOT understanding it." That, in a nutshell, reflects the salary class's (including the talking heads) blindness to the Trump phenomenon...

3/17/16, 11:11 AM

Shane W said...
This comment has been removed by the author.

3/17/16, 1:21 PM

onething said...

Yes, I think those rules are what I think of when I imagine a protested assembly. What I heard is that they were trying to shut him down.


"Dang! That quote is pretty vile, who ever wrote it, and any editors that green lighted it into the National Review must not be doing well."

Not only that but the commentariat openly sided with the feelings within the quoted text, even though the point of the author was to show how much contempt the Republican elites have for their base.


"Onething, one of the unfortunate habits of the left is the habit of forgetting all about free speech and association when it doesn't suit them."

I'm sadly seeing more and more the truth of that.


I agree that our candidates are a sorry lot except perhaps Sanders but it's odd for you to criticize this political discussion of the presidential race. That is what this final post was about after all, and that following the one about Trump quite recently. I generally agree that the winner doesn't matter much, but this time I'm pretty scared of one of them and predict WW3 in short order if that one is elected. Actually, there are two like that and McCain was similar.

3/17/16, 5:26 PM

pygmycory said...
I've been paying some attention to the violence that has started turning up at Trump rallies. One thing I found very interesting was Trump being delighted at a black protestor being arrested, and telling him that now he'd have to go home and explain to his parents why he couldn't get a job. Supposedly the guy was arrested for stepping off a sidewalk, I don't really know.

This suggests to me he isn't going to be very helpful in stopping the excessive use of prisons and arrests for small offenses that then make it very hard for people to find work for the rest of their lives.

It seems to me that some people here are being more hopeful about Trump than the man deserves, and are reading into him whatever they want to see.

3/17/16, 6:35 PM

pygmycory said...
the basic income is an old idea that seems to have suddenly gained new traction. It has been tried on a single-town scale in Canada, Namibia, and other places, and reportedly worked very well in reducing poverty and some related expenses.

There's a lot of arguing about what size it should be, if it is affordable, if everyone should get it or an altered version that excludes people with high incomes (this is technically a guaranteed minimum income), and if people with disabilities should get a top-up.

I like the idea if it can be given at a high enough rate to be survivable on without breaking the bank. I would really love not to have to deal with the bureaucracy examining every little thing I do and the ritual humiliation involved with receiving welfare or disability, and the constant fear of losing it. If everyone got it there would be no reason for people to hate the poor.

3/17/16, 7:00 PM

donalfagan said...
Now that the adoptions are final, here's a nice picture of Sharon Astyk and her family.

3/18/16, 5:05 AM

Shane W said...
People all over the spectrum seem to have lost their minds regarding Trump. The anti-Trumps are starting to scare me more than the man himself. A good dose of "keep calm & carry on" would be very useful right now. There are many ways of facing this stage of catabolic collapse, imperial overshoot & contraction, and the senility of the elite/kleptomania that JMG has been discussing on here, & Trump is by far not the worst option. There are many more disturbing options out there. Not exactly a ringing endorsement, but the insanity I'm reading of the plots to stop him seem far more damaging. Geez, folks, we're a banana republic now, need to learn how to deal w/day-to-day life in one w/out losing our minds. Stuff like this happens every day in third world countries, and people still get up each day & put their pants on one leg at a time & go about their lives...

3/18/16, 6:13 AM

Varun Bhaskar said...

Isn't that how Caesarism normally works? The population projects it's hopes, dreams, and fears onto the figure of the Caesar?

I don't know what the except from Trump, other than the further weakening of checks and balances. Best us small folk can do is add other garden bed and carry on.



3/18/16, 7:11 AM

234567 said...
@ Onething -

I had hoped the comments would take a turn to perhaps something alternative - like what might happen after this clown parade for these two parties. The left seems to be heading in quite the fascist direction, vigorously gnawing at free speech via their SJW and hypocrisy. That entire spiel of Jenner speaking non-leftist opinion and the others walking out was pricelessly inclusive. The right seems to have its own troubles with milquetoast candidates or those obviously compromised in other ways, and then the man made by bankers - Trump.

The real vote here with Sanders and Trump seems to be "anything but more of the same". The "hope and change' thing was a good idea, but it was just another rope-a-dope. But the true problem, IMO, is that every single candidate is beholden to the financial or banker class of the 1/10%, including T-rump.

The amount of money and barter (backroom deals) makes honesty disappear for the most part. Lobbyists and politicians and financiers run in the same circles, kiss each others wives on the cheek, play golf together and attend the same parties unless it is an election year. Intentions mean little when the only way for anything new is execution of change - and the people involved in elections do not want change, just the appearance of it.

So yes - I was hoping for something other than diving into a race where there is nothing new except the sound bites and the faces. I was hoping that the mechanics of why fair elections don't matter and cannot happen in the USA might be discussed, maybe bringing up how to get to something more equitable.

How representative can it be when unelected delegates can change the rules at the outset of the conventions, AFTER they see the field of candidates? Just one example mind you...

3/18/16, 7:31 AM

Nastarana said...

Canadians, I respectfully urge you, sorry Shane, don't cozy up to China or any other great power. You still have sufficient wealth to develop your own resources for your own benefit. I don't know, but does Commonwealth status still benefit you? Or were Canadian resources among the things being negotiated about when the current leader of China visited London recently? It seems to me that a tripartite alliance between Canada, Australia and Japan could perhaps keep the peace in the Pacific Ocean, while an agreement between Canada and Russia might allow for peaceful and sustainable management of the Arctic.

The USA is becoming isolationist because we must, not because we hate foreigners. Our urgent necessity is to rebuild our country on, one hopes, the basis of self-reliance and voluntary cooperation, while not reviving the bigotry of the past.

3/18/16, 9:48 AM

Shane W said...
yes, Trump may certainly be a part of the corrupt elite, as you say, but, certainly a narcissist such as he knows exactly where his popularity stems from, and the anger he is stoking, and that, if he sells out--there goes his popularity, and the anger he's stoked gets turned on him instead? As JMG has said, Trump's brilliant, and not stupid, and I'm sure he knows exactly the severe implications among his supporters if he sells out.
The idea that the wage class of color & the white wage class have mutually exclusive goals, such that you can't benefit one w/out depriving the other, is a very fascinating idea to me. That, and that the white wage class's very real economic priorities are secondary to their bigotry, and their fervent wish to lynch minorities, is very bizarre to me as well. Scapegoating by any other name...
Bolivia survived Evo Morales, Venezuela survived Chavez, the US will survive Trump...

3/18/16, 1:00 PM

pygmycory said...
Varun Bhaskar, you won't find me arguing against growing more food! That probably is one of the better responses possible.

I'm just worried when I see people projecting stuff onto Trump as if he's a messiah. And I think that his likely policies have a big potential dark side that shouldn't be ignored.

Among many other things, how are his policies likely to affect people who lose a job in this economy, or who are already out of work or who cannot work? He seems to have no respect for them, and cuts to the social supports for the most vulnerable tend to kill people. So I feel compelled to point this out.

3/18/16, 2:03 PM

pygmycory said...
Canada has the blessing/problem that we have a large area with a lot of resources, and not many people because of the harsh climate over much of the country. This makes us a nice target and makes it hard for us to defend Canada's territory if push comes to shove. I don't honestly like how much we've cosied up to China already, as I don't like how much control they seem to want over our resources, or how much influence I think they have in Ottawa and in the Oil Sands.

I wouldn't want to go up against China with Australia and Japan as allies. For one thing, I don't believe any of us have nuclear weapons, and we are all very distant from each other physically. Australia and Canada also produce enough similar products, such as farm and mine products, that means a certain amount of economic competition between us.

In some ways I wish we could do the isolationist thing, but I doubt we'd be allowed to if we tried.

An agreement with Russia would be a bit hard to get, given past historical alliances and the cold war. We are also in economic competition with products such as fossil fuels and food. They are a lot more powerful than we are militarily, and I think they would rapidly end up very dominant in such an alliance. I'd want other countries involved in such a thing as well to dilute their influence.

Commonwealth status... it becomes less relevant with each passing year. I suppose it might be useful if a bunch of countries decided they wanted to make it work. At the moment it is a bit like the human appendix. It used to be important, but these days it doesn't do much and I tend to forget about it - with one exception. Canada is still strongly legally connected to Britain, and Queen Elizabeth is still our queen. This seems like more of an anachronism as time passes and fewer of the people in Canada have close personal connections to Britain. At the moment there's still enough for there to be an emotional attachment to England and the crown, but it is noticeably weaker than when I grew up.

3/18/16, 2:19 PM

Dennis D said...
With Trump, there is hope that he will start actually enforcing the law, and since the establishment still controls the House and Senate, maybe they will realize that the checks and balances put into the system are there for a reason. With any luck, some of the more blatant corruption will be prosecuted, which is the main power of the president, and the house and senate will rediscover their designed checks on presidential power. This of course would expose the double talk coming out of Congress, as they could defund any program that they truly didn't like (remove all funds from the NSA, and see how much domestic spying they can do). Of course, without the presidents cooperation, it's very difficult to start foreign wars, so their powers are mostly those of refusal. Anyway, that's how it would work in my fantasy world

3/18/16, 5:46 PM

onething said...

Hmm, well I agree with you, but why do you say that Trump is also beholden to the bankers? At least he seems very much less beholden, and its not only about bankers. The medical system is the item I care about most.

3/18/16, 7:49 PM

latheChuck said...
The entire subway system ("Metro") of Washington DC shut down for 28 hours this week, after a second underground fire. The first one, last year, caused one fatality (due to smoke inhalation), but they claimed to have the situation under control after that. A second fire, which could have been just as serious if it had happened during operating hours, got their attention.
Is this:
* a uniquely complex problem because the system spans a little bit of Maryland, a little bit of Virginia, and most of DC?
* another song of decaying infrastructure in the key of catabolic collapse?
* chronically underfunded?
* it run by a poorly-motivated organization that expects to get paid the same, whether the system is safe, clean, and reliable or not?

* all of the above.

3/19/16, 12:10 PM

Shane W said...
I'm just worried when I see people projecting stuff onto Trump as if he's a Satan...

3/19/16, 12:59 PM

Shane W said...
The whole Trump sellout idea is fascinating to me in the extreme. It pretty much goes like this: Trump panders to the white wage class, stokes their anger, and rides this into the White House. Once in office, he sells out, says basically "psych, sorry suckers!" and continues BAU. There's absolutely no logic to this. The same thing is behind all the fantastic schemes to deny him the nomination at the convention. Here's the brick wall that all this runs into: the RNC, as senile an elite as it may be, certainly is aware of the implications of scheming to deny Trump the nomination @ the convention, and will acquiesce in due time if nothing more than to keep the peace & prevent widespread violence. Trump, having cultivated this anger, certainly knows the implications if he sells out in office. Trump's supporters are not like Sanders or Obama's supporters--they can fully be expected to resort to violence if their preferred candidate sells out. Any sort of sell out scenario that doesn't take this into account is delusional, IMHO. I think this comes from people who have made a God/Satan out of the neoliberal consensus, and doesn't realize that it is manmade, not a God/Satan, and therefore, fallible.

3/19/16, 1:16 PM

Patricia Mathews said...
And Argentina survived Evita?

3/19/16, 2:35 PM

John Roth said...
Are plastics really going to be all that long-lived? Some bacteria just turned up that like to munch on one of the more common plastics.

3/19/16, 2:52 PM

Shane W said...
JMG WOULD have to go on sabbatical when things get good & interesting, & leave us with this topic. Sigh. LOL

3/19/16, 7:22 PM

onething said...
Basically the nice, progressive, conscientious people who like Bernie are going to hold their noses and vote for Hillary, whom they almost loathe, because they are utterly terrified of Trump. But I think they also have some of his faults confused. Yes, he's often foul-mouthed, embarrassing, somewhat racist and pandering to the dumb rednecks who are xenophobic, but what they don't see is that he is much less likely to start WW3. They take his belligerence and somewhat worrisome tendencies toward increased harshness in the home front to mean he's interested in war. I think he's interested in business.

3/19/16, 9:48 PM

Shane W said...
BTW, the guy that got arrested for punching a long haired, white protestor, Tony Pettway, is black...

3/20/16, 6:57 AM

Varun Bhaskar said...

Um, you can't think of any countries with a large, young population, that is part of the commonwealth, and that might want to check Chinese expansionism? I would like to point out that India has large diaspora in Australia and Canada, and growing strategic ties with Japan. A three party alliance, supported by the Indian navy might not be impossible to work out.

One thing you guys might want to consider with the Archdruid's predictions about the future of the global power structure, is that none of the predictions include India in their assessments.



3/20/16, 8:37 AM

Shane W said...
The "progressives" I've encountered recently (w/in the last few years) really frighten me. In keeping w/JMG's prediction that fascism is just as likely to rise from the "left" as the "right", I'd like to make a prediction: in the face of Trump & Sanders' failed campaign, the "left" implodes/self-immolates in a fantastic show of self-destruction, and, from its ashes arises the true Fred Halliot... Beware the "progressives"...

3/20/16, 9:44 AM

Fred said...
@Shane said "... the RNC, as senile an elite as it may be, certainly is aware of the implications of scheming to deny Trump the nomination @ the convention, and will acquiesce in due time if nothing more than to keep the peace & prevent widespread violence."

This is hilarious. You meant it ironically, right? Why would the RNC "keep the peace"? Rance Priebus and his ilk want their pre-approved, go along with the power brokers guy in the White House. They don't care what "those people" think or feel. RNC is going to do what the RNC does which is pretend who is in office is all some Machiavellian game and they can choose who they want and given the right messaging and media inputs, we the people will just accept it. They have been shoving candidates down our throats my whole adult life and the first election I could vote in was Bush the First.

Given what people are openly stating on Facebook (which I take as a little more attached to real people than what is on Twitter which has so many pretend profiles), there is a large percent of the population that supports Trump. I heard on a media self-soothing itself interview with a another member of the media that they put Trump support at 12% nationally. I believe it is way higher. And if it is only 12%, that 12% can still cause havoc.

3/21/16, 4:52 AM

Fred said...
I have to add that the media coverage of the whole Trump journey has had me laughing out loud more than ever in the car. Every time NPR brings on some expert to interview about it, I have to make sure I'm on a stretch of road where I can pull off if needed. David Brooks actually said the other day he totally missed the Trump rise because he doesn't associate with people that are not in his class. JMG these people must be reading your essays. Brooks said if he had had a conversation with people who earn hourly wages he would have gotten a clue of how much they are hurting. Nice confession he wrote and said, and still hasn't had the conversations with anyone. And I laugh because it is just so absurd. Yes David Brooks, your writings don't represent anyone but the narrow circle of people you associate with in Washington.

3/21/16, 4:52 AM

David said...
(formerly buddhabythelake)

As a general observation, it is interesting to note the vehemence of the push-back I have gotten on some of the political sites on the handful of occasions that I've commented that I might not vote for Clinton in a Trump-Clinton general election, even (or more so, particularly) after I self-identified as a Sanders supporter.

"Ignorant" was one of the kinder terms used.

3/21/16, 8:58 AM

Shane W said...
I'm getting the same thing when I tell people that Trump is my 2nd choice after Sanders. See above comment about scary proto-fascist "progressives". I think by the time this election season is up, broken "friendships" and people not speaking to me again will probably be the least of it. Most of my soi-dissant "progressive" friends thought process goes so far as "well, he's a bigot & a racist, and that's bad, and I want no part of that." sigh...

3/21/16, 2:43 PM

Shane W said...
there are already quite a few "go along to get along" voice in the GOP establishment, namely, Paul Ryan and others. More will be reluctantly getting on the Trump train as things go along. Trump's already got Senators & Rep's endorsing him...

3/21/16, 2:45 PM

onething said...
It looks like Palin has been stumping for Trump. That might be a deal breaker for me.

3/21/16, 5:25 PM

Shane W said...
There's more to the black Trump supporter punching the white protestor. Apparently, the white protestor was waving a Confederate flag & attempting to don a Klan hood when the black guy laid into him...

3/21/16, 6:53 PM

August Johnson said...
I'll be very happy when JMG comes back to moderate this forum. It's become much more unpleasant to read since he left.

I really would advise reading the link I posted about Authoritarians and their followers. It wasn't written about Trump, it was written in 2006, however it describes him and his fawning followers exactly. Don't agree with his "godliness", get ready for the name calling and anger. The same, just to a lesser degree, can apply to Clinton's followers.

You know who you are, you can't blame all your problems on MY generation. It's so disgusting to blame all your problems on all the "boomers" when you don't know the least bit about me or what I was doing when I was your age.

I can't wait for some decent moderation to return. I think this is just an example of what sort of future we have to look forward to and it's not pretty!

3/21/16, 7:58 PM

latefall said...
@August re authoritarians
Thanks for the advice, I've started reading it a little. Another factor that I find interesting is the "dark triad" and how it is filtered or promoted in society. The dark triad is a (useful search) term for a set of traits that include the tendency to seek admiration and special treatment (narcissism), to be callous and insensitive (psychopathy) and to manipulate others (Machiavellianism).
I guess there is some overlap between the concepts, and arguably the authoritarian path seems the more threatening one at the moment. I find the wikipedia page not very satisfying in this instance, and your rather suggest a google scholar search in case anybody is interested. The "dirty dozen" search string will give you something akin to the RWA that Altemeyer uses in the book you reference.

I also agree very much on the results of the reduced moderation. Although, it is probably partly "the season" and partly the fact that most of our current implementations of electronically aided discourse are severely lacking from a conceptual stand-point.

3/22/16, 4:02 AM

Fred said...
@Shane My comment about the RNC was related to the selection of the the presidential candidate in the convention and you reply about congress getting along and going along. The power isn't in the Congress. Its been stuck and ineffective for the past dozen years. If they were doing their job, we wouldn't be bombing civilians with drones and invading countries with oil (done without Congress's vote on it). The only thing they can agree to do is NOT do their job - budget stalemate, and now Supreme Court nomination. Its so obvious that Obamacare only got through because the lobbyists paid off both sides because the corporations would profit.

So to go back to the RNC, they made Donald Trump sign a pledge that he would not become a third party candidate. They assumed they could defeat him in the Republican primaries. But they have not. The media coverage is hysterically funny because Trump will get 30 or 40% of the vote in a field of 5 or 3, and the broadcaster will say "this doesn't mean anything". If it was anyone else, it would be fawned over - the people love him, he support is all grass roots, and on and on.

The media has been priming the pump for violence come convention time. They said Trump said it, and yes he made an off-handed comment, they act like it was a multiple point reasoned argument. The RNC is counting on that violence by Trump supporters. They will have their talking points ready so you'll see John McCain, Romney, Ryan, and whoever else thinks they have a future with this failing party, stand in front of the cameras and say "its shameful that this man inspires this in people. We can't have a president who does this." blah blah blah.

Then the real protests begin all over the country. Taking the nomination from Trump will be seen as "not fair" and Americans have this overly large sense of fairness. I suspect his support will triple at that point. A political party will be demonstrating that the votes of the people do not matter in whom the party selects as a candidate. People feel this to be true and now they will have proof.

Does Trump run third party? I don't know the rules in each state if he can. I don't know if a candidate has to file in all states in order to win the presidency. My electoral college knowledge is not all there but I'm sure there will be "think pieces" from our glorious press soon enough on it.

3/22/16, 4:57 AM

donalfagan said...
@Onething, Several of my friends and I are Sanders supporters. We do not support Clinton, and will not kick the can down the road by voting in another neoliberal. I've unfriended several people who were angrily dismissing any of our criticisms of Clinton as Republican talking points. If Clinton is the nominee, who will we vote for? Some of my friends have mentioned Jill Stein, some will write-in Sanders. I expect a lot of young people will stay home.

3/22/16, 5:14 AM

Shane W said...
I've often thought the same thing, that Canada & India were a good fit to check Chinese ambitions. India does style itself the "world's largest democracy". They're both Commonwealth.
I'm often mystified by how many "progressive"/"left" commentators there are on here--it's almost as bizarre as if there were a lot of neocons, Ayn Rand supporters here. I mean, JMG voted with his feet to leave left coast, Sanders country, with the north facing solar panels, and plop down right in the heart of Rust Belt/Appalachian Trump country. I wouldn't be surprised if his county isn't carried by Trump by a wide margin when Md. votes, and I don't think that bothers him in the least. He self-identifies as a Burkean conservative, is writing Retrotopia, wrote "After Progress", and has discussed the myth of Progress at length. I'm fascinated by the cognitive dissonance here...

3/22/16, 7:02 AM

Patricia Mathews said...
August: Over three quarters of a century I have noticed that when something is missing in the culture, the youth coming up feel the lack and make every effort to restore what's missing. Right now, it's civility and common decency. And I have observed how my grandchildren (the ones I see more regularly) are being reared. Oh,yes, they will restore "Please" and "Thank you" and in midlife, "The honorable Senator from ....", I am totally convinced.

Because the process starts with parents trying very hard not to make their parents' mistakes. That they make the mistakes of their grandparents instead is in the very nature of things. Take it from a creaking relic of the last cycle of history!

3/22/16, 8:20 AM

Nastarana said...
Dear pygmycory, Have you considered that China is also feeling the effects of financial implosion and will continue to do so? It might be an open question how big a navy they would be able to build. While Chinese people are known for their personal frugality, I can't help but notice that Chinese civilization seems to me to be extremely resource intensive, even by profligate American standards. The Huang Ho, one of the world's great rivers is said to be two feet wide at its' mouth. Imagine the destruction to the former delta. Us dumb Americans just ran out of money; chickens ain't got no more feathers; even if we wanted to, we can't spend anymore, so folks who might have based their prosperity on our spending habits are out of luck. BTW, that reality is what is behind the increasingly shrill cries of "comparative privilege". As for Japan not having nuclear weapons, I very much doubt that the world's best engineers have not come up with some next generation form of defense, and, no, it wasn't hidden at Fukushima. Some hunk of rock in the Pacific would be my guess, probably north of the typhoon belt.

Dear Varun Bhaskar, I did not include India, a country I much admire, in my speculations because I don't see India as having a strategic interest in the Pacific Ocean. Perhaps you could explain why I am wrong about that. I do tend to think that India will re-emerge as the dominant power in the Indian Ocean, perhaps in alliance with Indonesia, just as I believe it was for millennia.

Emerging hegemonic powers enjoy great prestige during the centuries or decades of their rise. See for example the prophet Isaiah on the rise of Cyrus the Persian. The Senate and People of Rome were so well thought of that Hellenistic monarchs actually willed their kingdoms to the Roman Republic, in spite of details like the destruction of Carthage and Corinth. This kind of prestige the Chinese, it seems to me, have already blown away by their conduct as people and as a country. It turns out that the ugly Chinese is at least as bad if not worse than the ugly American or Brit. Chinese investment in your country turns out to mean the importation of tens of thousands of Chinese into your country, with demands on your resources, especially water, illegal mining, poaching and so on.

About the election, I think there might be some extremely cynical calculation taking place in the upper echelons of the Democratic Party, to the effect that the GOP will do whatever it takes, including asassination, to take out Trump and then the Democrats' very unpopular candidate gets to clean up in the wake of GOP disarray.

Dear Shane W, I would invite you to consider that fascist movements usually don't arise without some kind of (hidden) elite support--you do remember the ties between one Prescott Bush, and friends, and the National Socialists of Germany? This kind of support the self styled progressives do not have nor are they likely to attract it. As for Trump and the bankers, whom do you think financed his real estate ventures? Through four! bankruptcies? I would suggest that part of the story of this year's elections is fighting among various factions of the oligarchy itself, the neo-cons backing Clinton, Wall Street backing Trump, and various factions of the military Deep State waiting it out.

3/22/16, 9:30 AM

David said...
(formerly buddhabythelake)

@August Johnson -- I can understand your sentiment, though as an X-er, I often get lost in the inter-generational battles between Boomers and Millennials. Much of this fight, though, is an over-simplification of the problem. The US started on the path of empire many, many generations ago (at the very least, the McKinley administration, though one could argue that it goes back as far as the 1830s and 1840s), so the backside of empire that we are experiencing now is as much the consequence of those decisions as they are of any that the Boomer generation made.

Re: the Trump issue, I am for Sanders, but I do see Trump as the least dislikeable of the remaining bunch. (I asked once who'd I pick between Trump and Cruz -- I said Trump, hands down. I'll take bombastic arrogance over theocratic arrogance any day.) Between Trump and Clinton, it is as much a question of who's positions are the least bad. She gets Fs on trade and foreign policy, whereas I find myself rather agreeing with his assessments on tariffs and withdrawing from foreign entanglements and closing overseas bases. Obviously, his xenophobia and racist comments hurt his grade, but I see him as a D or D- overall.

3/22/16, 12:01 PM

Shane W said...
isn't Soros behind MoveOn & a lot of other "progressive" orgs? Hasn't he been behind color revolutions? (I'm just going by this week's Club Orlov, among other things. I know there's money behind certain "progressive" orgs.
As far as the Trump assassination, it's the same as denying him the nomination--you're not thinking of the blowback. Remember what happened in the wake of the MLK assassination? And wage class whites are WAY more proficient in the constructive use of violence than urban African Americans. Making a martyr of Trump is not likely to help things, which is why I think it won't happen.

3/22/16, 2:15 PM

Shane W said...
I think I'm sounding like the American Juhana lately. geez. oh well, i don't think he is gay, tho, but I do picture him as an attractive, working class guy, tho (never seen his picture)

3/22/16, 2:18 PM

Shane W said...
us from the South would argue that the Civil War was the first imperial conquest and set the tone for future imperial conquests...

3/22/16, 2:25 PM

Shane W said...
honestly, I see Trump as a possibility of an orderly step down from empire, away from the abyss, whereas I see Hillary as BAU, which is slamming into the brick wall, going over the cliff. To me, voting for Hillary is nothing less than guaranteed voting for the next war & more maimed & killed soldiers...

3/22/16, 7:08 PM

Robert Mathiesen said...
No, Shane, the Civil War was not the first US war of imperial conquest. The Mexican War was earlier, and had the same purpose. And before that, there were quite a lot of wars against the Native American peoples ... We were imperial even before we were an independent nation.

3/22/16, 8:18 PM

Nastarana said...
Dear Shane W. You are right. I forgot about Soros. I knew about his activities in Eastern Europe, not so much about his domestic funding. However, full blown fascism requires not only a figurehead, but an ideology and a para-military party as well. I don't see self-styled progressives commanding that kind of resources.

As for stopping Trump by any means possible, no one ever said the GOP elites were smart. I imagine they think they can count on their militarized policia, forgetting how many of those are Trump voters themselves.

It is beginning to look to me like both major parties are toast. A Senator Sasse of Nebraska has said he will lead a walkout at the GOP convention if Trump is nominated. You can see where that might go, a hastily assembled third party challenge might attract enough disaffected voters across the spectrum to force the election into the GOP controlled House, and Sasse becomes president, which has apparently been his ambition since pre-school.

3/22/16, 11:23 PM

donalfagan said...
My former co-blogger is interviewed by Salon regarding progressive, populist movements:

3/23/16, 3:58 AM

David said...
@Shane -- as one who grew up (primarily) in SC, I can certainly understand that sentiment. (I appreciate the careful language and symbology of the rather large Greek-style heroic statue by Charleston Harbor honoring the 'defenders of Charleston' -- the small Wisconsin city I live in now has a statue in front of City Hall honoring the 'defenders of the Union'. It makes for interesting internal dialogue, if nothing else.)

Northern Mexico (as JMG has observed) has the Confederate South beat by a couple of decades, though.

3/23/16, 6:31 AM

Shane W said...
JMG seems to think that global empires will still be possible in the scarcity industrialism era, and India does seem to check China the same way the USSR checked China. They have fought wars over their border...

3/23/16, 7:17 AM

234567 said...
@ Onething -

First generation billionaires are made, not born. One of the first rules of business is to risk someone else money before your own. If one has a mortgage outstanding or a business loan or a board of directors - then one is beholden to banks or at a minimum, the financial asset class. You basically own the business in name, but the bank or financial house is the true owner, as they put up the capital. Banks take these things on as a matter of course, but not without strings - as in this person's son in charge or this guy needs to be on your board of directors or "you need a" CEO, pick from this list".

Trumps disgustingly sycophantic address to AIPAC tells me this is not a revolution, or else if it is, it is controlled opposition. He will do whatever he needs to do. to be Trump, and Trump is the consummate business wheeler-dealer - scruples are secondary to business, and BAU is the desired way forward, unless one has the inside track. I would think President of any nation would be very much an inside track, wouldn't you? So upsetting some applecarts is fine with him, if he gets a cut of the action. But nothing major because BAU must move forward to keep the rentier class fat.

At this juncture in the financial, resource and social 'scheibe sturm', whoever is elected will be presiding over the deck chairs of the Titanic and little else. Everyone here has read at least chunks of what JMG has written here, everyone should know these things are not much different from pro football - and yet everyone is 'abuzz' with the election in spite of knowing better.

I find that very curious - that perspective is so easily lost in the midst of spectacle.

No - I don't vote when the vending machine is filled with the same stuff in different wrappers - and that is my right, as I pay taxes. And, at least as of today, I can still comment on these things for the same reason - citizenship and taxes I pay make it my right to vote, or comment, or not.

3/23/16, 9:37 AM

John Roth said...
@August Johnson

He’s still moderating the forum; he’s just not posting.

re: the left and fascism

I’ve seen that tendency on certain parts of the left as long as I’ve been alive. It’s not fascist in the strict sense of the term, since fascism, by definition, requires a charismatic leader, and there isn’t one. What you’re seeing is one of the workings of the 80-year historical cycle that began with “the 60s,” and will culminate in the next 10 years or so with a new period of stability. That period of stability, like all periods of stability before it, will not tolerate significant deviations from social norms. Exactly what they're going to be, and who will set them, is the question.

@August Johnson

I read Altemeyer’s work some time ago. Scary stuff, and pretty true. When anybody asks me who I’m going to vote for, I tell them Cthulhu, and if they continue, I give them its campaign slogan. That usually stops that conversation dead in its tracks - unless the guy happens to like Lovecraft, of course.

@Patricia Matthews:

Yep, you can see the start of the return to civility in a number of places. The most recent I’ve seen is a program called “Civil” that’s a comment moderation system. It’s gotten rave reviews, although it probably needs a much larger volume of comments than these blogs.

3/23/16, 11:24 AM

David said...
(formerly buddhabythelake)

An interesting story on today's (3/23) Water Cooler notes on Naked Capitalism (under The Trail). I particularly marked the editor's observation at the end (emphasis in the original):

“I queued up in the general admission line and entered the massive space just as the national anthem was starting. The assembled crowd of about 5,000 was reverently quiet — a massive flag billowed, police officers and firefighters stood at attention, and the sickly gray sky seemed more like swirling marble than the dull harbinger of rain it had been only moments ago. Something stirred deep beneath my layers of reportorial cynicism; I got chills” [FiveThirtyEight]. “This part of the appeal of Trump rallies is not talked about much. … Along with the fighting, though, something inspirational seems to be happening among the assembled — a sense of collective identity being discovered.” Trump rallies are far too little written about. Just because Trump is a master of kayfabe — in which the audience is part of the action — does not mean that the collecti[ve] emotions he engineers are not real.

That last point is too often overlooked.

3/23/16, 12:48 PM

Unknown said...
(Deborah Bender)

Assassins aren't always rational, but any rational opponent of Donald Trump has to take into account that a failed attempt will propel him into the White House on a sympathy vote. The better play for the house would be to try to pick Trump's running mate.

After Eisenhower was elected and before he took office, someone made a remark about the difference between being Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces and POTUS. It was along the lines of, "Poor Ike, he's going to give an order . . . and absolutely nothing will happen." The first year or two of the Trump administration will make Obama's first term look like The Era of Good Feelings. Trump is canny and reckless enough to win some of those battles, but I doubt his popularity and power base will prevent him from being impeached, convicted and removed from office in Year Three or Four.

If I've overestimated the residual strength of our government institutions, including Washington bureaucracies, I could be wrong about that.

3/23/16, 2:14 PM

Varun Bhaskar said...
Nastarana and Shane,

Right now the idea of resource depletion, and peak oil have very little penetration in Indian Strategic circles. I expect that to change, especially since this just popped up on my newsfeed:

Admittedly, Col. Gautam isn't exactly highly received in strategic circles, but he isn't ignored either.

India has huge diaspora in Canada, Australia, and the Western US. Add to that a young, ambitious, population, the ability to operate with far fewer resources than China, and international goodwill and you have the makings of an empire.

We'll see, but I have high hopes that a democratic alliance will manage to check Chinese ambitions.

3/23/16, 3:26 PM

Shane W said...
It seems like JMG said that Trump wouldn't have to do MUCH to win accolades from the wage class, if he could just put SOMETHING of a brake on the neoliberal consensus and give the wage class SOMETHING, it might be enough for now...

3/23/16, 5:03 PM

Shane W said...
I think we can all agree, Pandora's box has been opened this year. I see no way of undoing what's been set loose...

3/23/16, 5:07 PM

Shane W said...
I think JMG said that you have to have SOME support from the elite to even run for president, so that would include both Trump & Sanders...

3/23/16, 5:09 PM

Caryn said...
Slow Spring break week here as the weather is rainy, cold and grey - can't get out much. I ran across these videos which I think you-lot would all find very interesting. More from Adam Curtis, BBC. They kind of skim in places and lag in others, but overall - fascinating, informative back-history of how we got to where we are now.

Well worth the viewing if you have time. Linking part 1 of each. You can get the the subsequent parts from the side-bars.

Pandora's Box:

I do remember a lot of this stuff - the fight for the Clean Drinking Water Act, No Nukes rallies, Erin Brokovich and Karen Silkwood. There was a fair amount of activism and struggle for a livable planet in those days.

The Mayfair Set:

The Mayfair Set, I found most interesting were parts 3 & 4 describing the emergent power of the Pension Fund managers - who like the Private financial buccaneering, 'New Industrialist' Pirates before them only continued to strip assets from every company they could get their hands on. This vid is focused on the UK, I'm not sure, but I think something similar was happening in the US at the time.

It echoes/illustrates Shane W.'s drumbeat of the older generation cannibalizing the next generation, ( increasing pension fund share prices, by laying off younger folks still working and stripping assets)- only it wasn't the Boomers at that cannibal's banquet.

I hope some of you get a chance to view them, they are worth it and a welcome change from 'election-mania-fatigue'. :)

3/23/16, 6:24 PM

Sojan Shieldbearer said...
While I agree that Trump has said some pretty cringe-worthy things, he also makes a lot of legitimate points. At this point, I am strongly leaning towards him.

I can't stand Hillary, who I think is without a doubt one of the sleaziest and most egregiously corrupt politicians to crawl out of the sewer that American politics has become.

I like Bernie, but there's no way he's going to get the nomination. As for Ted Cruz, I think Solomon said it best on his blog: "I just can't get past the slimy used car salesman with Cruz. They're all full of sh*t, but his tank seems to overflow."

3/23/16, 7:38 PM

Shane W said...
There was a difference between the Guadalupe-Hidalgo lands confiscated and the South--what became the American Southwest was taken from Mexico, but it was very sparsely populated, and remained so well up into the 20th century, so there were relatively few "conquered" people compared to the much more populated Confederacy. Global warming looks set to make the Southwest sparsely populated once more, even when it goes back into Mexican hands.
I think the fixation on Trump is missing the anger that he is tapping into, which exists independently of the man himself, it existed before he tapped into it, and it will still exist if he is shot, denied the nomination, or sells out in office. The times make the man, and the anger that Trump is so skillfully manipulating is the anger behind pitchforks & rope. It exists independent of him, based on very valid reasons (see JMG's Trump post), and can just as easily be turned on him if he lets his base down, and merely eliminating the man himself does not dissipate the anger he has so successfully tapped into. Just like the Treaty of Versailles, Weimar, and all the other things paved the way for a Hitler to come to power in Germany, so the neoliberal consensus has paved the way for someone like Trump to tap into the anger it bred...

3/23/16, 8:00 PM

Shane W said...
I'm waiting for his anti-immigrant/free trade pitch to the black community once the primaries are over, and I fully expect him to seek Democratic support & alliances once elected...

3/23/16, 8:03 PM

onething said...

I was rather surprised by your impression that things have gone downhill without moderation. I'm not seeing any real change in tone here. As to blaming the boomers, that's not new at all! Also, I suppose that there is moderation. I don't think that unacceptable comments would be put through.
I know I probably missed it when it happened, but why would Trump take a pledge that he will not run 3rd party? Why ever would he promise such a thing?

I see your point, however I am still not sure that Trump's obligations are nearly as pervasive as the others. But from what I heard about his AIPAC speech, I tend to agree that he may be mainstreaming himself. Still, at his website, his platform on medical reforms are what interest me the most.

I've used my vote for the past 24 years as a symbol of the need for change, (3rd party) and yet I find myself caught up in this one, perhaps because of the way things are heating up. I see a Clinton presidency as a near guarantee of going over the cliff, whereas there is at least the snowball's chance in hell of walking it back with Trump or Sanders.

3/23/16, 8:07 PM

Robert Mathiesen said...
Oh, poppycock, Shane! The Southwest was quite heavily populated by Native Americans at the time of the Mexican War, and they count for as much as Spanish-speaking Mexicans and English-speaking Southerners in this historical argument. And Santa Fé was the thriving center of European conquest in North America long before Jamestown was ever settled, let alone Plymouth Colony. The oldest Christian church still in use in North America is in Santa Fé. European North America began in the Southwest, not along the Atlantic seaboard. -- It's a bit of hangover from the old wars between Protestant England and Catholic Spain that even now our popular history of the rise of European North America is wrongly reframed as the rise of English-speaking, Protestant North America. -- And, of course, the whole settlement of the Atlantic seaboard from England was also an imperial war against the large Native American populations of that region.

3/24/16, 3:48 AM

donalfagan said...
I was checking up on Tom Whipple, and ran across this OpEd instead, Who Wants the Blue Collar Vote?, which will sound familiar to TADR readers:
"So why are these establishment Republicans so adamant to stop Trump?

An explanation comes from considering not Trump, himself, but his impassioned electoral base. Here’s where the problem really exists for the ruling class. While there is a distinctly racist element to this constituency, it is also marked by other things, most importantly anger and frustration over the failure of their leaders to return them to any measure of the economic gains they’d achieved prior to the Great Recession."

3/24/16, 5:40 AM

234567 said...
@ Onething -

I see Sanders as an acceleration into the abyss - merely looking at the current alleged national debt, unfunded pension plans and increasing middle men at every level - socialism is unlikely to work in a country with declining exports and ever increasing taxes. At some point, the mules back will break. Adding social programs into this mix will be like adding gas to a fire, IMHO.

Trump is not a wild card - he is a businessman. Oligarchs are actually, what? Perhaps businessmen?? I do not believe that there will be any significant changes with Trump, and if there are, it merely forces one or another group of government addicted minions into poverty, while raising another into the 'good life'.

There are many things that have already been 'baked in" the cake at this point - a severely radical U-turn is what is needed to salvage anything. The people in this race, supporting these candidates with big money, do not want a U-turn, but will happily accept something with the 'appearance' of change. As long as things with banking and the MIC remain mostly business as usual, then those entities will remain and things will move ahead along the same general path.

Taxes are RARELY repealed - and ACA is just that - a tax. When was the last time the federal government repealed a tax, much less one that was not even declared a tax? They have the revenue stream coming in more each day - they may relabel it, make it seem more palatable, talk a good story - but the tax will not go away until the clowns that rely on it for their largess are gone or the people simply cannot pay the tax.

The whole negative interest rate thing + cashless society is the final means of extracting wealth from the herd - by being able to take it at will before any of us can get our hands on it.

Collapse now and avoid the rush - it is much easier than trying to fix what must be broken.

3/24/16, 6:39 AM

Shane W said...
"Nice guys finish last", I think adequately describes Sanders. We're in an 1860 mood right now, and it just doesn't favor him. There's no momentum there, and the fact that we're bankrupt makes it hard to see what wealth will be redistributed. The wealth the Chinese & Russians have absconded with? The Wall Street hallucinations? He's also too willing to be PC on important issues like immigration, and cave. How did he go from being against immigration b/c it was bad for American workers, to supporting it? Why did he cave on gun control? Why couldn't he have just been uncompromising & principled on these issues and taken the hit from the PC/SJW brigade? If he caves to pressure on immigration & gun control, what else will he cave on?

3/24/16, 6:59 AM

Shane W said...
a Trump presidency could crystalize a para-military organization among "progressives"--they're very rigid in their SJW demands, which Trump refuses to play along with, when they demand an apology, one must be forthcoming, but Trump never apologizes. They're so rigidly shrill that the fact that he's successful without cowing in the least to their demands could crystalize a fascist, para-military response. Although, the doctrinaire non-violence could be the achilles heel...

3/24/16, 7:12 AM

David said...
(formerly buddhabythelake)

It looks like I will have to watch the polling into next week closely before voting. (I usually take advantage of the early voting window and would have liked to have voted tomorrow.) Given the opportunity to vote my heart (Sanders) or vote more defensively (Trump), I want to cast my one primary ballot in the most effective manner. And by defensively, I mean doing anything I can to keep Ted Cruz from getting anywhere near the Presidency. @Sojan mentioned the used-car salesman vibe, which I find entirely accurate. There is a sliminess to Cruz that one finds difficult to wash off -- not to mention that I am not a fan of Christian Dominionism (or evangelical social conservatism) generally, even though I consider myself to be Christian (of an unorthodox vein, admittedly). Hopefully, Trump will show a clear lead going into the primary on the 5th, otherwise I may have to foresake Bernie.

3/24/16, 7:33 AM

David said...
(formerly buddhabythelake)


I concur with you that no one can save the system. As I mentioned (a ways) earlier, that is the tihing that I must remind myself of continuously -- that the system cannot be saved. It must collapse so that the new can grow out of the ashes of the old. We living today will not see this new thing any more than 5th or 6th century Romans would get to see the Carolingian Renaissance (not to mention the Italian Renaissance some 500 years after that).

I can try to work for a less-hard landing, but most of those efforts must be local if they are to have much impact. So I would agree with you in principle on the efficacy (or rather, the lack thereof) of energy spent on this election, even if I don't necessarily agree with your assessments of the some of the individual candidates.

3/24/16, 12:59 PM

Patricia Mathews said...
And on top of all this, THE ATLANTIC had a long, detailed, thoughtful article about Obama's foreign policy, which merely confirmed my opinion:

1) He's Eisenhower redux. Or trying to be Eisenhower. That's his obvious temperament.
2) His foreign policy is good old fashioned Containment, out of the same era.
3) He's not a relic from the past: he's premature. During the coming Recovery, after the fertilizer has hit the rotary air conditioner and has been cleaned up and added to the Victory Garden, he and his policies would be dead-on. Alas, this is not the time nor situation for them.

Or as they said 40 years ago, "He's a Ford, not a Lincoln."

3/24/16, 1:09 PM

onething said...

I've had similar thoughts re Sanders as to whether what he wants to do is remotely realistic. Just yesterday I read somewhere that some countries may get socialism right, and the US will never be one of them. It's just that he's a real human and the others are some combination of sociopathic, criminal or crazy (say, two of the three). It seems that both Rubio and Cruz are involved in illegal activities.

The severe, radical U-turn, absolutely agree. And it Trump won't even do it partially, then yes, it will be broken.

Yes, the ACA is a tax but this medical problem is really serious and I don't think many people get it. Obama actually said in 2008 that if nothing was done to contain costs it would bankrupt the nation. This is so and it is why I have some interest in Trump. There are reasons why medical costs have quadrupled in a mere 12 years or so and some of those reasons are addressed by his platform.

I've not been watching the negative interest/cashless idea because I have assumed it will not work here. Perhaps it's because I live in Appalachia but I can't imagine Americans not insisting on cash. If it means that all money must be kept electronically in an institution that then takes at least a little because of the negative interest rate - hoo boy!

3/24/16, 5:53 PM

Unknown said...
(Deborah Bender)

@Patricia Mathews--Obama's Iran policy definitely springs from a philosophy of containment, and I'm all for it. It's the only choice with any chance of success, the least reckless, and certainly the cheapest. Like the containment policy directed against the USSR, the goal is harm reduction until conditions become favorable for regime change. Unlike the Soviet Union, I do not expect the end game to take seventy years; they are already at the Brezhnev stage.

3/25/16, 2:20 AM

Nastarana said...
Dear Shane W, I do wish you would stop typing in code. I have no idea what a SJW might be when it's at home. If you are referring to various shrill factions of the Democratic Party, do realize that those very factions are about to get their heads handed to them, on account of having made extremely foolish bets on the Clinton candidacy.

If Sanders can pull out a miracle and gain the nomination he wins the general, if only because the Republicans are not about to put their vote stealing apparatus at Trump's disposal. In that event, the Clintonistas will hardly be on short lists for appointments. And that means, those factions, if that is whom you mean, will no longer be able to stymie legislation and executive action on issues which are important to some of the rest of us, such as environmental protection and regulation of genetic engineering technology, revival of water and rail transport and so on.

I do not see Clinton being elected at all, even taking into account the Democrats vote stealing apparatus. In which case, I think the Sanders supporters will bolt and form their own party. If they have the sense to seek alliances with some of the groups the Democrats recently been ignoring, like environmentalists and good food activists, to name just two, they have a winning coalition. I find it interesting to note that a few up and coming Democrats are rather publicly declining to endorse Mrs. Clinton (Merkley, D-OR) or publicly feuding with the party leadership, (US Admiral, Ret., and former Congressman Joe Sestak, currently favored to win the nomination for the Senate from Penn.) Both of these men are persons of substance and accomplishment and either would be a believable standard bearer for a new party in a general election. The great weakness of third parties recently has been their inability to field candidates who are not either crazy drama queens (Buchanan) or nose in the air academics (Stein).

Then there is future president he thinks and hero of his own movie Ben Sasse who is promising to lead a convention walkout if or when Trump is nominated. The GOP, who hate Trump, will naturally put its entire apparatus at his disposal, and as we all know, most of the electorate, other than the above mentioned factions, can't stand Clinton. And if a Sasse or someone similar is elected, I think the Sandersistas still bolt.

My point Shane W., was that an effective fascist is always backed up with a para-military party, like National Socialists, which he will have spent the previous 10 years building up, and an ideology to motivate that party. Restore American Greatness is an advertising slogan, not an ideology. Trump has never displayed the patience to work for a goal ten years out.

So, get out the popcorn or nibbles and beverage of your choice, maybe send a little cash wherever you like, and watch the show with the rest of us.

3/25/16, 8:57 AM

Shane W said...
@Varun, I never thought about it until you posted, but India does have a good image and generate a lot of goodwill among other countries. People do generally view India much more favorably than China...

3/25/16, 9:43 AM

Patricia Mathews said...
Deborah - you really think Iran is at the Brezhnev stage right now? That's worth thinking about. Of course, I think that if Dubya hadn't upset the balance of power there, both Iran and Iraq would only be minor nuisances in that part of the world, if that. The question is, what stage is Syria in? Of course, Putin rather settled that one, more or less.

3/25/16, 11:36 AM

Shane W said...
we've repeatedly written out "Social Justice Warrior" countless times, how many times do we have to write it out in long form before we just write "SJW" instead. Seems like once of "SJW--Social Justice Warrior" should be enough. After you've done it once, you should be able to just write SJW, and expect that they'll remember...

3/25/16, 1:18 PM

David said...
(formerly buddhabythelake)

So much for cold, calculated tactics. I went ahead and voted for Bernie (and myself). Bring on Apr 5th!

3/25/16, 1:53 PM

Unknown said...
(Deborah Bender)

Nastarana writes, "In which case, I think the Sanders supporters will bolt and form their own party. If they have the sense to seek alliances with some of the groups the Democrats recently been ignoring, like environmentalists and good food activists, to name just two, they have a winning coalition."

It won't be a winning coalition unless it proportionally includes as many black and brown people as the Democratic Party does. That's starting to happen, but I don't think it's there yet.

Environmentalists and good food activists are not necessarily captive constituencies because they have lobbying organizations which are capable of influencing state parties. In my state, Democrats who are committed to environmental priorities get elected to the legislature and sometimes head committees. The assemblyman from my district is an expert on water policy.

It is true that the national Democratic Party has been ignoring good food activists, but Obama hasn't totally ignored environmentalists. He has created several marine sanctuaries and national monuments with the stroke of a pen. He delayed the Keystone Pipeline to death. He's made some good appointments.

Totally agree that we don't get a full-on Fascist President without a paramilitary apparatus and an ideology. I said the same here months ago. It bears repeating. Might not take a full ten years, but certainly more than one election cycle. Trump's tactics may get him into office, but he doesn't seem to have many goals beyond self-aggrandizement. It's the people around him we have to watch out for, IMHO.

3/25/16, 4:13 PM

The other Tom said...
I just read the Washington Post interview of Trump from earlier this week. I'd be interested to know what other commenters make of it. One of the reasons I like this blog so much is that we seem to be all over the political spectrum, and we can discuss issues in terms of sustainability and limits here.
From the interview I got the impression that Trump is either interested in a topic or he is not. He seems to be focused and practical about some foreign policy and military issues, and then drift into rambling incoherence on social issues. The one question I wish they had asked is what he wants to do about American infrastructure. He says we need jobs, that spending trillions on foreign wars is foolish, and comments on the sorry state of American infrastructure that he sees when returning from overseas. He says he likes to build things. I would have asked, "are you thinking of a large federal program, CCC style, to train people and build what we really need?"
Several people here have mentioned the possible irrelevance of this election, taking a long term view. I at least partially disagree because some of what we do now will leave an imprint on future versions of North America. All empires leave repercussions far beyond their lifetimes and a future Lakeland Republic may be glad that we put in certain infrastructure and preserved environmental and cultural resources.
@Patricia Mathews. Regarding Eisenhower, I would vote for him over the candidates we have now. As Supreme Commander he always looked at the long range, big picture. He meticulously prepared, never took unnecessary risks, was averse to collateral damage, and continuously reigned in his more reckless colleagues like Patton and Montgomery. These are good qualities for a President, and seem to be lacking in most of the candidates who are prone to slap together whatever position will work for them at the moment.

3/25/16, 4:33 PM

Sojan Shieldbearer said...
Speaking of Ted Cruz as a slimy used car salesman:

Have ya'll seen the latest? It seems that an astro-turf lobbying group ran an attack ad featuring a salacious picture of Trump's wife. Cruz of course claimed that the group was an independent organization with no link to Cruz's campaign. Yah, right. Like anyone's falling for that particular load of malarky.

Well, now someone just leaked a bunch of info to the National Enquirer about Cruz's alleged extramarital affairs.

Personally, I think Cruz's people made a really stupid move in attacking Trump's wife. Trump doesn't play by the rules, he fights fire with fire. Shane compared Trump's rhetoric aimed at the protesters attempting to disrupt his rallies to those of a mobster, thug or dockyard tough. I think Cruz is finding out that if you start a fight with Trump like he did, Trump will punch back even harder, he isn't afraid to fight dirty and he really couldn't care less what the chattering classes, the Social Justice Warriors and the perpetually offended activists say about him.

No doubt that will turn some people off, but I think will draw a lot of support as well because it reinforces Trump's image as a tough guy and a strong leader who isn't afraid to do what must be done and can't be bullied. Most people understand instinctively that in times of crisis, strong leadership is what is needed. In much the same way, Putin's tough guy image is one of the major reasons for his popularity, and not just among Russians.

PS - Why is it that so many of these Christian conservative politicians and preachers have a whole bunch of skeletons in the closet, usually of a sexual nature? Cruz is only the latest in a long line of Dominionist and Fundamentalist hypocrites.

3/25/16, 5:45 PM

Sojan Shieldbearer said...
As a follow-up to my previous comment, it seems that there were quite a few pseudoconservative media outfits that knew about Ted Cruz's serial philandering and sat on the story.. There was apparently quite a bit of buzz on Twitter earlier this month among right wing journalists and conservative activists about "The Thing", hehehe...

Also, it appears that at least three of the women that are alleged to have had affairs with Cruz have now been outed. One had publicly advocated creating a blacklist of conservatives who support Trump. Bet she feels really stupid about right now. Like I said earlier, Cruz and his paid flacks made a really stupid move when they decided to go after Trump's wife.

3/25/16, 6:38 PM

Fred said...
There was some question about Trump's pledge to stay in the Republican party - this is it "The text of the pledge: “I [name] affirm that if I do not win the 2016 Republican nomination for president of the United States I will endorse the 2016 Republican presidential nominee regardless of who it is. I further pledge that I will not seek to run as an independent or write-in candidate nor will I seek or accept the nomination for president of any other party.”

Read more:
Follow us: @politico on Twitter | Politico on Facebook

3/26/16, 4:37 AM

Fred said...
I'm still curious what everyone thinks Trump supporters will protest against/attack if he doesn't get the nomination. Obviously the convention in Cleveland, but not everyone will be able to get to Cleveland.

3/26/16, 4:39 AM

Fred said...
@Nastarana Trump has been working on this campaign since 2008 at least. Each election cycle he has teased he would get in and made some bombastic statements about other candidates. My brother has been supporting him all along and needless to say after a decade, I am tired of Trump for president discussions at the dinner table on Sunday nights.

In listening to why such support of Trump for so long, it is very clear to me that my brother feels all his struggles in his business and his finances are all because of the economy, regulations, and Obama. Logically the president of the US has just about zero influence on a plumbing business in a small town, but nevertheless this is his true belief. He is convinced that a businessman as President would totally turn around the economy and well, make America great again.

Your comment about para-military force supporting a dictator is good to keep in mind. The large amount of military weaponry held by republican supporters could really come into play here. The wildlife refuge was such a joke. The next occupation of a building might not be.

3/26/16, 4:49 AM

Fred said...
Summary of all the times Donald Trump said he was running for president -

3/26/16, 4:52 AM

Shane W said...
I remember over 20 years ago, when healthcare & health costs first started becoming an issue (I believe it was during Bush I admin), discussions of extreme markups and exponential cost increases--I can't imagine things have gotten any better since then...

3/26/16, 7:12 AM

Shane W said...
Regarding fascism & para-military, I don't think it will be immediate--it will take 5-10 yrs to organize, but the election of Trump may very well catalyze and set in motion the necessary steps for a Fred Halliot to arise among the SJW/left wing set in 5-10 yrs...

3/26/16, 2:34 PM

Shane W said...
This comment has been removed by the author.

3/26/16, 2:36 PM

Nastarana said...
Shane W, sorry, but you are still begging the question and typing in code. Might an aggressive pro-life advocate be considered a Social Justice Warrior? How about the folks who get in your face, like about a foot away, and proclaim that Jesus Loves You? (Jesus might love you, too, but I don't). How about the angry conservatives who threaten mayhem online against anyone who doesn't agree with them? Would you call them SJWs?

Sojan Shieldbearer, maybe not so stupid a move. Remember that more than half the electorate is women, who already don't like Trump. For many women, it is a matter of importance what lady gets to live in the White House.

Dear Unknown Deborah, why must a new party "proportionally include as many black and brown people as the Democratic Party does?" I am genuinely curious here. I am talking about a hypothetical new party based on common interests, not on ethnicity. Perhaps I should not have typed "winning coalition". I meant to say that such a coalition might be large enough to compel attention to its' issues, like a food supply which is clean, nourishing and fair, and banning of dangerous chemicals, in return for support for someone's else's issues.

3/26/16, 4:00 PM

Shane W said...
Trump might just be crazy enough to bring back bipartisanship, in true Art of the Deal fashion. Since he's not really conservative, and notoriously hard to pin down, I see him as more willing than any to break gridlock. But considering both major parties are bought & paid for by the same interests...

3/26/16, 4:03 PM

Shane W said...
if it makes you feel any better, the Democratic race seems close in Wis as well, tho it's not winner-take-all...

3/27/16, 7:43 AM

Shane W said...
speaking of Cleveland, there's a movement afoot pushing for an armed convention, so the angry, armed mob may not be confined to the perimeter of the convention center. Sigh.
People really are just totally loosing it over Trump, I really think this is when all remaining civility/cohesion goes out the window. People on all sides are just going insane...

3/27/16, 8:04 AM

John Roth said...
@Shane W

I've seen the articles about allowing weapons in the Republican convention as well. Having a firefight break out on the convention floor might be a good scene in an over-wrought political novel, but in real life? I want to stay far, far away.

SJW is a term used by a certain faction of the right to label a certain faction of the left. I find it does as well to label the people using it as people I'm unlikely to have a productive conversation with.

3/27/16, 2:15 PM

Unknown said...
(Deborah Bender)

@Nastarena--My remark was directed at your "winning coalition" statement. If the aim of the third party organizing is merely to create an effective pressure group, the ethnic or racial makeup of the group can be anything.

I interpret "winning coalition" to mean the ability to get politicians who are loyal supporters of its interests elected as a majority or at least a veto proof minority in one house of Congress, or the ability to defeat any Presidential candidate who opposes them outright. I think that requires reducing one of the existing major parties to third party status. The Republican Party is not currently vulnerable to a challenge from left of center, so your coalition has to take down the Democrats, and that will not happen while most African Americans and a plurality of other non-whites are voting Democratic.

The history of American third parties (e.g. Socialist, Farmer-Labor, American Independent) indicates that such a party can achieve some success at the local and state level, but on the national level the major parties will either refuse to enter into coalitions or will sabotage their coalition partner. The USA does not have a parliamentary system and under the setup we have, only the top two get power over Congress.

Apart from the hypothetical Fascist Party of the Middle, I think the best strategy (albeit a very difficult and probably bloody one) for a third party to replace one of the existing parties would be for that party to put its highest priority on two things: devolving power back to the states and to voluntary compacts among states, and changing the legal framework in which corporations operate. Those are ideological positions, not slogans of convenience. If those were serious aims and not a bait-and-switch, they would be radical demands which would create an entirely new coalition, including social conservatives and some of the more radical elements in the environmental community.

It should go without saying that unlike the various minor hobby parties we have right now, the organizing strategy for such a party must concentrate on organizing and electoral politics at the local level, move from there up to the states, and leave national politics alone until it has both popular and institutional support in the states.

What I'm describing is utterly a castle in the air at the present time. Depending on how badly things go, it might be possible in about ten years.

3/27/16, 5:35 PM

Patricia Mathews said...
Dana Blankenhorn continues his analysis of "Trumpistan vs Techville." This is one series where Blankenhorn has a good grip on things, I think because he's dealing in concrete observation instead of pie-in-the-sky futurism.

Of course, as one of my friends pointed out, both Trumpistan and Techville" are also Guyville. In fact, an article on why black women are backing Hillary pointed out that the very aspects of Hillary that make her unpopular with a good many people, hit a lot of the black women's buttons dead-on. A strong woman, who has been much battered by insults and scorn and a cheating husband, who has stood up to all that and is still standing, resonates with their own experience very strongly.

It didn't help that The Guardian had a really stupid article on what Bill's role would be. Their first question, harking back 30 years ago over here, was "What would he be called?" That one has been settled this side of the pond for years; "First Gentleman." That's the title used in states where the governor is a woman, and if The Guardian doesn't know that (or isn't just taking cheap shots)they have reached surprising depths of ignorance.

Their second, asked in the same snickering tone one got in lady-president sitcoms from decades ago, was, essentially, "would he be asked to do wifey things?" Showing a total cluelessness about Bill's known strengths: schmoozing, glad-handing, speechifying, and all that good PR stuff; the flower arranging and hostessing would almost certainly be outsourced.

Finally, it notes that both Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama have been slammed for being too string, not 'wifey' enough. Interesting, that that paper never once notes "slammed by whom?" And "why?"

It does lead one to wonder if the British media* has joined our hyperpolarized manure-slinging contests?

*grammar nazis: 'media' used here as a collective noun.

3/27/16, 7:56 PM

onething said...
"PS - Why is it that so many of these Christian conservative politicians and preachers have a whole bunch of skeletons in the closet, usually of a sexual nature?"

I dunno, but it sure is fun.

Trump's wife, I rather like her.

3/27/16, 8:43 PM

Shane W said...
To me, the whole SJW phenomenon is the end implosion of what started as the Civil Rights movement. JMG discussed this quite a while back when discussing the implosion of the left, and in posts since then. It's kind of gotten into a navel gazing, self-referential loop that is very disconnected with reality. To me, they're not taking into account the inherent limitations of Western industrial civilization and its inherently unequal, imperial nature. JMG discussed this in the original posts. There's only so much equality you can achieve in an inherently unequal imperial system. Even MLK has that famous quote late in his life, before he was shot, where he laments "leading his people into a burning church"--he understood the inherent problems with Western industrial society. The whole SJW thing is just window dressing that has nothing to do with structurally changing things. And it taps into that hideous American hypocrisy that allows things like Prohibition, the 55 MPH speed limit, and other things to continue way past their pull date. That's why people are so apoplectic about Trump--it isn't so much what he says or does--I've seen worse from self-identified SJW's, but that he doesn't give deference publicly to the whole PC SJW demands. Also, you have a difference between people like JMG, who believe that the changes in society regarding race and sexuality are structural, and not subject to change, vs. the SJW's, who see these as tentative changes that will revert any moment they stop being vigilant.
I'm very eager to read JMG's education post. He seems to think that many prestigious institutions will go under when the student loan bubble pops. I'm wondering if the popping of the student loan bubble will also deflate the whole SJW insanity as well.
As the whole "Trump--racist, bigot, Nazi" thing heats up, I'm reminded of what JMG said in his original post about the only differences Americans are comfortable talking about being those w/some basis in biology. I guess this is just the SJW's way of reframing the discussion in terms they're more comfortable with, while ignoring the underlying class issues JMG brought up. Also, you see this when Sanders is pressured to reframe his class differences/inequality in racial terms.

3/28/16, 6:14 AM

David said...
(formerly buddhabythelake)

With only a week of our fast left to go (Oh John! Where art thou?), there is certainly ample fodder for discussion. I ran across an interesting article this morning, wherein the author essentially confesses to have a Caribbean bolt-hole for the coming social unrest looming in the U.S.

I am unsure how to react to this article. Frustration with the rats abandoning the ship is one emotion which comes up. A certain astonishment at the brazenness of the statement is another ("this place is going to heck and I'm bailing"). I have to shift my thoughts from any form of retributive anger to focus on what I can do to make my small part of the world a better place. Not always easy, but most necessary.

3/28/16, 6:39 AM

Varun Bhaskar said...
Shane and others,

I'm increasingly beginning to think that an authoritarian regime in the US may not rise from only one side. From the anger festering on both sides, and the clear radicalization on both sides, I feel it's going to be different authoritarian factions duking it out.

As the archdruid pointed out the centre cannot hold. I realize he was discussing the centralization of power, but I think there's an important part we all missed – moderation is the ideological centre, and it won't hold either. Stop making predictions on what Trump, Sanders, and their rivals will or will not do. The system has become too dynamic to properly predict, all we can reasonably say is that trouble is coming. Just wait and watch.

Shane, and I apologize for picking on you, but you need to stop projecting your hopes onto Trump. None of us have any idea of what the man will or won't do.

Above all be careful of the stories you're telling yourselves, remember there are authoritarian figures on all sides now, and reality is spinning around them like a maelstrom. They're weaving their own stories with the threads of your hopes, your dreams, your anger, and your fear. Resist the pull of their spinning wheels.



3/28/16, 9:00 AM

Joe Roberts said...
If you're still putting comments through on this post, please take a look at this recent book review/column by uber-traditionalist conservative George Will.

The title of the piece is "Why the Future Will Disappoint," and he's reviewing Robert Gordon's “The Rise and Fall of American Growth." Admittedly I haven't read the whole thing, but it shows a shift in zeitgeist that this would even be on Will's radar. He's long been a moral nanny (and thus a "pessimist" in that regard), but this is new territory.

3/28/16, 11:25 AM

David said...
(formerly buddhabythelake)


While I know we have more than enough material to discuss with the election and other society shifts afoot, I wonder if you'd be willing to devote a future post to the IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things) and AR (Augmented Reality) -- two memes that are getting more and more play in the manufacturing/industrial trade press. My gut-level take is that we are simply adding yet another layer of complexity to existing processes, in true Tainterian fashion, but I'd be very curious to hear your thoughts.

Enjoy this last week of your break, though I must admit I am looking forward to your return with great anticipation!

3/28/16, 11:37 AM

Eric S. said...
@Varun: I'm increasingly beginning to think that an authoritarian regime in the US may not rise from only one side. From the anger festering on both sides, and the clear radicalization on both sides, I feel it's going to be different authoritarian factions duking it out.

I've been noticing people moving to the radical extremes of every issue too. I keep thinking back to this piece from the Egyptian Revolution a few years ago (which quite closely resembles what's unfolding in the US right now in a lot of ways:

""The moderate voices are badly needed and it should be a group of people who are willing to sacrifice, I call them living martyrs. They will be condemned and accused by both sides, but if they're sincere, they shouldn't care at all. It's an attempt to save the country."

3/28/16, 12:20 PM

Shane W said...
I'm not sure about leaving. JMG said it's not good to be somewhere during a Civil War, and that he expects one to break out soon, and will leave if it does. I have enough of a pulse on the local Latino migrant community that I may leave with them if it gets bad enough. Their expectations of Americans are low enough that if you speak Spanish & are well mannered, you can be accepted and welcomed--when in Rome...

3/28/16, 12:21 PM

Shane W said...
he's not taking into account global warming & the meltwater pulse, LOL--the Caribbean will be under water!

3/28/16, 12:30 PM

Nestorian said...
Right on cue, here is an article filled with the sort of intergenerational anger that has generated so much controversy on this thread over at the conventionally left wing CounterPunch website:

As for blindly projecting one's hopes onto The Donald: For a paramount example, see Karl Denninger's Market Ticker for the last 6 months running:

3/28/16, 2:10 PM

Shane W said...
Well, I'm not sure that "a step back from the abyss" is a ringing endorsement. Trump is definitely the devil you don't know, although I was fleshing out what will happen with Hillary or Cruz and continued neoliberal consensus with a friend. The economy goes into severe recession later this year, under Hillary or Cruz, that means can kicking exercises, bailouts, stop gap measures, jerry rigging, etc.--anything to keep "the economy" chugging. Then, of course, there's the next war, which is baked in with either of the two. If they make it through their full term unscathed, I'm thinking the reaction will make Trump seem tame. My thought is, if Sanders is out come Nov., if not Trump now, then who in 4 yrs? When everyone is reacting to Trump, my thoughts are, "who after the next recession is done?"--then he seems more like the devil you do know...

3/28/16, 2:34 PM

patriciaormsby said...
I went over to Kunstler, and it said "Account Suspended"! Now where am I gonna get my fix?

@Varun, good advice to Shane. Trump entices with his attacks on the powers-that-be, but then he turns around and disappoints in the most disgusting and frightening ways. I might just wind up voting for him, but I consider him a spin of the revolver cylinder. The fact we might have to turn to the extreme right to thwart the reign of a clever, destructive war criminal-racketeer is one of the most disturbing new exudations in the worm can of American politics.

@JMG, thank you for continuing to post these comments! I've been avoiding bothering you during your well-deserved break. Please forgive us!

3/29/16, 5:30 AM

Patricia Mathews said...
@ Nestorian. Wow. A lot of rage there. But see this, from back in the day ... the sentiments are nothing new.

3/29/16, 2:58 PM

David said...
(formerly buddhabythelake)

@Varun, @Shane, et alia -- re projecting onto Trump

I must admit to doing some of that myself, if only due to the deap-seated desire to strike an active blow against the establishment, as opposed to simply withholding my vote (and voting 3rd party). Perhaps it is only an illusion of action, however. From our discussions here, and our host's thesis more generally, I wonder if the more profound change is not more powerfully manifested in the "long road" of smaller action which denies the establishment of its power and legitimacy (Gandhi's disobedience campaigns, for example, rather than armed uprisings). In my comment on that recent article, I mentioned that desire for retributive action, but I do realize that as alluring as that is, it is not the wisest path.

I don't watch much television at all, but with the primary looming close here in WI, it is impossible to avoid campaign adds if the TV is on for longer than 15 minutes. One pro-Trump commercial was enough for me to question my projections (I cannot support torture, even of the most vile, evil, and soulless of corporate executives), so in the case of a Clinton-Trump general, I will be voting 3rd party.

3/30/16, 7:01 AM

Nastarana said...
Citizens who don't like the choices offered on their ballots can legally write in the person they do favor.

Shane W, you might want to stop and consider that one way to stop a loudmouth is to ignore him or her. Another way is to insist on simple courtesy, keeping one's tone and posture neutral while not projecting fear, use of statements like I don't think I know you. or My name is not honey or sweetie, can be quite useful. You should never, IMHO, try to "win" an argument you have not yourself begun. If the other person was the initiator of a confrontation, let that person be the one who looks stupid when you decline to be baited. And, it should go without saying, don't give angry people an opening. Keep hands and feet to oneself, mouth shut and eyes looking elsewhere is not being "fearful", it is a strategy to make someone have to work at initiating a confrontation. My experience is that 9 times out of 10, the person will go looking for easier targets elsewhere. Especially when you have enough self-discipline to not respond to deliberately raised voices.

3/30/16, 7:37 AM

onething said...
Well, well, well. I read the article that Nestorian posted about Grandma and Grandpa. Or at least as much as I can stomach of it. This is sad and so bad that I am not sure I can really believe this comes from just a regular person. It looks to me more like the divide and conquer strategy that has been dividing factions of the right and dividing right from left. Basically, the person is saying, Grandma and Grandpa, you are a neocon corporatist who did all these things. To be sure, people should have been more alert and realized the consequences of a lot of what was going on. But, to say "You did this"? They did no such thing. I am not Monsanto. I am not the Pentagon. I do not own a megacorporation and I did not bribe congress. No doubt there is somewhat greater awareness among younger people about how all this stuff went wrong, but I am sure not seeing it clearly divided by age. The misinformation and propaganda is the main reason most people don't know what to think.
True though, that older people are voting Clinton.

3/30/16, 9:04 AM

Candace said...
If anyone is interested in a longer discussion of the history of the "salaried" or "professional" class, Thomas Framk has written a book called "Listen Liberal: What ever happened to the party of the people". I've been enjoying getting more detail on how this group has had an impact on our politics.

3/30/16, 10:43 AM

Hoyt King said...
Cthulhu has been located.

3/30/16, 11:58 AM

Varun Bhaskar said...
Eric S.,

Two years ago I read an article on that said something similar. The words from that article and the archdruid's phrase “the center cannot hold” keep ringing in my head everytime I hear about the elections.

I'm afraid right now. I'm afraid because I've started printing a paper that is called “reasonable” by everyone who reads it. I'm afraid because I know what happens to editors and writers of reasonable papers once society gets this polarized. I'm afraid because I don't want to get drawn into the anger that's swallowing people on either side of the line, because I know how easily lost I become when I get angry. It's so easy to get lost, to drink from those wells of outrage and see everyone else as the enemy.

Moderation seems to lose during unreasonable times, simply because moderates are unprepared to deal with the violence of unreasonable people. How does a center built on reason survive unreasonable times? Do moderates have to be prepared to do unreasonable things to protect the center?



3/30/16, 12:38 PM

Jim R said...
Here's a link for you, Michael. This seemed like the easiest way to pass it along:

An alternative power distribution network. I had no idea that this stuff had been used on a town/city scale, up into and beyond the late 19th century. Hydraulic motors, etc. have been known for some centuries, and their efficiencies are amazingly close to 100%!

3/30/16, 7:10 PM

Jim R said...
Oh, and I hope you are enjoying your break! Rest up, in anticipation of your return to TADR. :-)

3/30/16, 7:11 PM

Chris Travers said...
Just an observation from a global wanderer. I moved to Indonesia, lived there for 4 years, moved to Sweden a bit over a year ago.

People here talk about what happens in the US affecting Europe, but I can't help but think the influence is going the other direction this time.

When I arrived in Sweden, I started work for a consulting company that had me commuting 5 days a week over the Swedish/Danish border (the Orsund Bridge). My family moved up in September. I started to see people glaring at my (mixed-race) kids. I began to see racism.

Then in November everything changed. I remember sitting at my office at the client's site and getting a panicked call from my son (12 years old), telling me that the trains had been cancelled and he couldn't get home (we live about 50km from where he goes to school).. Because there were weather advisories, I called my wife, told her I was leaving then, and she should wait to hear from me further. I assumed the closures were weather-related. I was wrong. It took me over an hour to get to Malmo, where I was greeted by police demanding to see ID. It took me 2 hours to get to the school from Copenhagen including this delay. My son was waiting in the school building but everyone was leaving. The train lines were all listed as cancelled because the timetables had been thrown out of whack by a decision to enact emergency measures and put border controls in place. The Paris attacks occurred within the next week. And now the border seems more or less permanent. My Swedish ID card is not enough -- I am told I have to show my passport and residency permit every time I enter Sweden (which is now down to 3 days a week).

This got me thinking about the political changes going on in Europe, where we have seen a rise of far-right and far-left parties over the last couple years. The old center-right and center-left parties are declining and the old far-right and far-left parties are ascendant. But what the formerly extreme parties have in common is different than what the formerly center parties have in common. We are seeing a shift, I think, from neoliberalism to a nationalist communitarianism that is deeply skeptical of the EU. Matters in Europe are made worse by the way that the Franco-German powers want to set EU policy on things like immigration or debt, and make those at the margins pay for it and so parties both right and left on the margins of the EU are rebelling both against the current arrangement (the Dublin Agreements) and against Merkel's proposals to change them (by giving resources to the margins in exchange for even more central control over these issues).

I watch Trump and Sanders and think that there is something similar going on in the US, a shift away from mass immigration and free trade towards, dare I say protectionism and a larger social safety net, and that what was center is no longer center.

3/30/16, 10:14 PM

pygmycory said...
Varun Bhaskar, good point about India. I'd been thinking that since the queen is not the Empress of India since Independence, (she's still queen of Canada), India wasn't properly part of the Commonwealth, and that is wrong. It is. I obviously need to learn more about the Commonwealth and how it operates. I tend to think of it as a historical relic that doesn't really do much, but I could be wrong there too.

3/31/16, 9:58 AM

pygmycory said...
Varun Bhaskar,
I've looked up a bit more info on the Commonwealth. It looks like its work is a lot higher-profile in some countries than others recently. Canada is one of the ones where it isn't paid much attention to any more by most people.

I think it would take a lot of work to try to activate it as the basis for a militarily-relevant alliance.

There are a lot of different factors in play at the moment, making the future alliances of states very unpredictable. I think some things that have been in place since WW2 are in the process of beginning to rearrange themselves. What configuration they'll end up in I really don't know.

One thing I tend to think of with regard to India that worries me: water. I understand the glaciers in the Himalayas are melting and will largely disappear over the course of the rest of the century, and that groundwater overpumping is a dangerous problem in some major food basket regions. This could easily lead to major food problems in the future, given that India's population is huge and still growing. That in turn could well lead to instability and civil unrest. What's your take on the risks for India in this area?

3/31/16, 2:07 PM

Shane W said...
Well, I think it's important to remember that whatever happens, however violent, extreme, etc.--it won't be anything new, and it's just part of human nature, and it was accurately predicted if we ignored limits to growth, so I tend to agree with David that there's not much we can do now but sit back and watch events unfold, and take cover and flee if it comes to that. People are ever more disinclined to listen now than ever before. Something is hitting the fan, and we are starting the next step of catabolic collapse, and for all but maybe the young adults, it will probably last the rest of our lives. Now would be the time to read memoirs of people who have lived through other similarly troubled times, to see how they got through it.

3/31/16, 2:43 PM

Lynnet said...
The Counterpunch article is another case of rage totally eroding any semblance of good sense. The author blames EVERY ONE of the people in his parents' and grandparents' generations. EVERY ONE of us is a 0.01%er, keen on destroying the
Earth for our profit, filthy with ill-gotten gains. Come on now! If he despises his own parents and grandparents so much, it has more to do with him than them.

It is so easy to blame your parents. But the fact is, the Earth is full, and
in fact overfull. The population of the Earth has more than doubled since I was a child, but they're not making any more land, water, or air. If you can find the
Colinvaux book: The Fates of Nations, it will open your eyes. Or, read the blog, starting Jan 16, 2016, where he wrote a long series of posts starting from the ideas in this book, about the state of the world as it is and how we got here. The author posts here sometimes as escapefromwisconsin. It's pretty clear that the blame game is totally pointless.

3/31/16, 4:05 PM

Shane W said...
I'm not really going to open the intergenerational can of worms anymore other than to point out that there are A LOT of people in the under 40 cohort that share the views of the Counterpunch author. Now, we can certainly discuss whether they're justified or not in their rage, but it's kinda like I said earlier about telling people coming with pitchforks that they don't have it that bad. It might not be a very productive approach, and I don't know how many of the people who share the views of the Counterpunch writer would even be open to listening to someone from the post-war generations. I'm just trying to be pragmatic here. There's a lot of rage going on right now, and I'm not sure that attempts to diffuse it won't backfire. I'm thinking that trying to diffuse the rage right now might be as productive as trying to stop the Civil War in the late 1850s. Man, if JMG had left us w/a Green Wizard, peak oil, global warming, or Lakeland post, I doubt there'd be over 500 comments. LOL

3/31/16, 5:52 PM

onething said...
Perhaps people ought to learn to direct their rage at the proper targets.

3/31/16, 8:59 PM

John Roth said...

One of the things about the 80-year historical cycle is that you always get this kind of rage from the younger (Civic/Hero) generation for the preceding (Idealist/Prophet) generation at this point in the cycle. It's nothing new. The Millenials were going to blame the Boomers for most of what they see wrong. That was baked into the cake from day one and, from what I see of the 80-year cycle, a lot of it's perfectly justified. In fact, I happen to agree with them from the other end of the spectrum (at 72, I'm a Silent, not a Boomer, and I got to see them ripping up a working system up close and personal).

That's not, however, a very productive attitude to take. We have problems, they need solutions, and to quote the sign on Harry S. Truman's desk: "The buck stops here." We need to chart a direction and figure out how to get it implemented rather than sit back with the bowl of popcorn to watch the debacle or to play the blame game.

3/31/16, 9:38 PM

Nastarana said...
About the Counterpunch article, I find it entirely reasonable that the author asks us oldsters to get out of the way.

Having said that:

I think ginning up generational antagonisms is a scam intended to deflect attention from analyses of social class differences, such as the one offered by our host a few weeks ago.

I reject in principle the notion of collective guilt. An auto worker who lost his job to downsizing years ago is not equally as guilty as a predatory Wall Street finance capitalist.

Folks who care about things like good, clean food, replacing individual cars with mass transit and environmental protection have been trying to get the attention of high urbanite leftists for years with no success. BTW, protecting wilderness areas is fine, but what needs to happen now is banning of dangerous chemicals like glyphosate and the bee-killing neoconitids. Glyphosate, IMHO, is worse than DDT, for use of which there was at least the excuse of eradicating dangerous diseases. Now, all of a sudden, Counterpunch is paying attention. Better late than never, I guess.

4/1/16, 7:45 AM

Varun Bhaskar said...

The commonwealth is going to take a lot of work to make it useful again, but it does provide a framework for an alliance when things start going sour. I'm pretty sure all the midrange powers are going to be working their butts off to check Chinese expansionism.

As for India...I'll be honest, I have no idea. India is one of those countries that is full of surprises. There are some hopeful signs. The Modi administration has enacted a bunch of programs to clean the rivers, plant trees, dig 500,000 rain-water harvesting ponds in rural areas, push an organic "green revolution," and improve water conservation. Know what's still missing? Soil restoration. I think it'll happen, but how well it'll be done is another matter. All programs enacted by the Union Government always fall short because of a lack of support from local governments, or just plain obstruction from opposition parties.

Civil unrest is a matter of course in India. The security forces and government haven't had a moments rest since independence. They're adept at dealing with problems with very few resources, and as experts at disaster management. If the government ever reforms the country's first responder problem (they're under-manned, poorly trained, and badly equipped) it'll be a sea change.

India has the same advantage as every other democracy, change can flow from bottom to top and from top to bottom.



4/1/16, 10:50 AM

Nestorian said...
Wonders never cease!

Now, in yet another interesting sign-of-the-times, the same conventionally hard-left CounterPunch website that I referenced earlier (in reference to championing generational anger) has just published an article warning of imminent economic collapse, heavily referencing the 1972 "Limits to Growth!"

Granted, CounterPunch is not as monolithically and fanatically worshipful of the religion of progress as, say, the World Socialist Website on the conventional Hard Left end of the spectrum. (

Still, I would say that the publication of such an article on such a website represents a pretty remarkable development in the shifting sands of mass-consciousness.

4/1/16, 12:03 PM

Nestorian said...
Oh, and the article even features an entire section devoted to Peak Oil!!!

4/1/16, 12:09 PM

Nestorian said...
Wow, it even mentions "John Michael Greer" by name!

Folks, maybe our message is finally, finally, finally breaking out into "mainstream" consciousness.

4/1/16, 12:11 PM

latheChuck said...
Jim R-

The "do the math" blog had a calculation comparing the total energy in a single AA battery to various other forms of energy storage, including "elevated mass".

"If we were willing to hoist a mass 3 m high, how much mass would we need to replace the AA battery? Have a guess? The answer is 360 kg, or about 800 lb."

That's just stored energy, and says nothing about how to transport it from the point of storage to the point of use. On the other hand, I CAN imagine how to build a windmill and pump that would lift water, so the pressure could be used to do work, and I cannot imagine how to make my own AA battery. As has been said here many times, the point isn't that we can't have ANY technology in the future, it's just that we can't sustain our current usage.

4/1/16, 1:24 PM

John Michael Greer said...
Okay, I'm actually going to have to pop out of lurking mode for a moment. Nestorian, many thanks for flagging that article. Hell has officially frozen over, and I will be checking the sky tonight to confirm that the moon is blue; I can draw no other conclusion from the fact that Counterpunch, for the first time in decades, has dared to utter the dread words "limits to growth." (The fact that they quoted the ravings of an archdruid is sheer lagniappe.)

BTW, I want to thank everyone for keeping the conversation going, and keeping it civil even though the topic du jour (or rather du mois) touches on some highly explosive issues, generational equity high among them. You might be interested to know that at this point, my post "Donald Trump and the Politics of Resentment" is the most-read post in the history of The Archdruid Report, and this post -- "The Decline and Fall of Hillary Clinton" -- is in second place. Hit a nerve? Why, yes, I think so.

4/1/16, 1:25 PM

Jim R said...
LatheChuck --
Yes yes, I know all that. The accumulator in a hydraulic system isn't really much storage, but it would even-out the input from a noisy source like a one-lung diesel or hit-and-miss engine.

I just thought the site was interesting. How did the Romans or the Egyptians move all those heavy stone blocks thousands of years ago? The low-tech site has the information, without resorting to space aliens and such.

The analogy is obvious, as it is used frequently in introductory courses on electricity -- [ pressure <=> voltage ], and [ fluid volume <=> current ]. And viscous/frictional losses are similar to resistance. The reason electricity won the contest is obvious: all those heavy cast iron pipes are hard to install, hard to maintain, and relatively expensive compared to simply stringing a length of copper wire. And the analogue of a transformer is a messy arrangement of pistons. On the plus side, a water leak is less dangerous than a bare wire (given that the pressure isn't too terribly high)

I pictured it as a power solution in Retrotopia. A water wheel powered accumulator for municipal Toledo, and a distribution network. Our narrator enters a fine upscale building and there's an elevator (with an operator) -- he requests the fifth floor, the operator pulls a lever, and it silently ascends. Piston elevators are really neat things..

4/1/16, 2:37 PM

Caryn said...
Just throwing this out there re: the generational debate:

* Rereading this - just kind of rambling out my thoughts. It's already too long, but to help keep it slightly shorter, I've made some generalizations. I accept that they do not apply to everyone, and apologies in advance to those folks here for whom they don't apply. I still think the generalization of "we" is OK, as societally, it applies. These folks are and were sadly, the outliers.

The other night I watched "The Big Short" with my teens. Very happy they were able to follow and got the basic schematic of what happened in the housing market collapse. My older one pointed out to me something astoundingly fundamental that I missed. A kind of 'Elephant in the Room', the thing we all knew and know, but I think, many of us don't really take note of.

Everyone had their hand out. Everyone, from top to bottom thought only of themselves. Everyone thought in a narrow, short term gain myopia.

Everyone refused to see the big picture because they were looking out for #1 and #1 only. The film and book are very worthwhile for breaking down a complicated process clearly for us lay-people to grasp, but equally worthwhile in that through the storyline - we saw and 'met' participants in the whole scheme from top to bottom. There were the poor schlubs who bought too much house because they were told they could flip it fast and get rich, the local mortgage brokers who laundered the schlubs's credit to profit off of the sales, the middle players to the big players. Even those savants, prescient enough foresee the collapse turned their immediate attention into shorting - "how can I profit on this information?", not "Holy cr@p! How can stop or mitigate this disaster, this looming catastrophe for all!?"

I'm coming to the conclusion, (& yes, I may be very slow on the uptake) that if we Boomers, X'ers, (and we are not alone in this, Millennials - suck it up - you are right behind us in the same boat of guilt); if we are guilty COLLECTIVELY of screwing it all up - this is at the root of it. This lack of collective or civic responsibility in our macro and micro day to day or longterm dealings.

4/1/16, 7:06 PM

Caryn said...

Growing up, I know we didn't have any civics classes in public school, that was meant to be left to the family or religious affiliations. It wasn't even integrated into social studies or history classes. It wasn't a "thing". I remember a multitude of tiny examples of shunning 'collectivism', or individual sacrifice for communal good. e.g.: I never heard anything about taxes other than what an evil they were and to be thwarted any way possible. Even amongst the most 'virtuous' of adults, no one saw anything wrong with skirting or cheating on their taxes if they could get away with it. On the contrary, they were simply thought of as foolish if they didn't take every single exemption possible, access every single loophole they could. Even as a kid, I thought that didn't make sense. This is a mindset. This mindset was ubiquitous almost unanimous in the pre-Reagan years - so when Grover Norquist made that famous statement about drowning Govt. in the bathtub - it was largely embraced. When Reagan himself said "Govt. IS the problem", it was largely embraced. another e.g. is the recent and current derision of 'other' voters for "Not voting their own interests". WHY is not voting in your own interest a bad thing necessarily!? The refrain was not "Being duped into voting for the shysters who plunder our country", it was "Not voting your own interests".

In our world view we embraced the cowboy fantasy of the strong self reliant rugged individual, but it IS just a fantasy. Pioneers and cowboys of the old west were deeply interdependent on their small communities, on each other. In a harsh unforgiving land, they wouldn't have survived without being so. Even the trappers and mountain men were intermittently interdependent on each other and often native American tribes in their vicinity. So rugged self reliance and individuality must walk hand in hand with collectivism/community, with interdependence for us to thrive. I don't think it's a big leap to say Capitalism must walk hand in hand with socialism/communism - and so it is with all economic systems throughout history. They were and are all mixed to some degree or another. They don't work on their own, but that is not represented in our underlying world view.

The world view that it's everyone for him/herself, championing individual gain over anything else permeates our micro and macro decisions. We (well, we smarter-than-thou-Liberal) "Vote our own interests", we shop for the lowest prices, even if they're in a going out of business sale or at Walmart - undercutting our jobs and communities, (yes, I know there are people who are exceptions to this re: Walmart specifically.) So pushed further - I think this explains why the Schlubs could so easily be convinced to knowingly buy more than they could afford. This explains why the mortgage brokers eagerly laundered credit for them, knowing that what they were doing was shady, if not illegal. This explains why the investors and banks accepted and shuffled bad loans like a shell game, again, knowingly shady if not illegal. This explains why the few savants jumped on the big short instead of ringing alarm bells when they saw it would definitely fall to pieces.

4/1/16, 7:06 PM

Caryn said...
-3- (LAST ONE!)

Again - this is the mindset surrounding me, growing up and even now. IMHO, If we Boomers have dropped the ball - each and every one of us - accepting this mindset, not questioning it is What we did wrong. I definitely saw it, but I always thought "I" was the one who was wrong because I was out of step with everyone else. For me personally, I think this is where I failed and now - I don't think I'm out of step in that failing.

So, apologies to Millennials for eff'ing up the world, but also a warning - don't fall into the same trap. Here on these threads, JMG and other have stressed that wherever, however you perform your Collapse, COMMUNITY IS MOST IMPORTANT, easily AS important as your own strides in self-sufficiency.

4/1/16, 7:09 PM

Nestorian said...
Yes, and I would also draw attention to yet another sequential pair of articles recently published on CounterPunch that I think cut to the heart of the Peak Oil/Limits to Growth story:

These two articles consist of an edited transcript of a conversation between Chris Hedges and economist Michael Hudson.

The central limits-to-growth theme operative in these articles is that trying to arrange a limitless-growth-oriented paradigm of economic productivity and finance in a physically bounded world inevitably leads to what is essentially a Ponzi scheme.

This being the case, the recognition by the conventional Hard Left of the fact that our economy IS essentially a Ponzi scheme, as these articles do, amounts to an implicit acknowledgement that we REALLY DO live in a world of limits.

Some of you may recall that Peak Oil commentator Nicole Foss, aka "Stoneleigh," extensively articulated the essentially Ponzi nature of a limitless-growth-oriented system of production and finance superposed upon an environment of physical limits back in 2008-2009. Other well-known Peak Oil commentators, such as Orlov and Heinberg, have also pointed this out, if I remember correctly.

In short, the religion-of-progress soaked Hard Left is now acknowledging yet another important piece of the Peak Oil narrative to be factual.

4/2/16, 11:08 AM

Lynnet said...
OK, Shane, I think I finally get it. There are a number of Millenials that are blind with rage. Not listening to rational arguments, not concerned with fairness. The only good senior citizen is a dead senior citizen, and senior citizenhood starts at about age 40. Then the Millenials can have all the goodies for themselves, as they deserve, instead of seeing others with more than they have. This is certainly not all the Millenials, it's a small portion, but with rage far out of proportion to their numbers. And in the US, of course, most of them are armed. The eventual destination of overblown feelings of entitlement is a towering rage that the promised goodies have not materialized. Their parents and grandparents bear a certain amount of responsibility for making rash promises that could not be kept even if we had 7 Earths at our disposal.

Thanks for giving us a heads-up on this. It's frightening. Could be a rough road ahead.

4/2/16, 11:18 AM

Shane W said...
I'm sure we'll get JMG's take on things in due time, but I really feel like what we're seeing right now among "conservative" and "liberal" opposition to Trump and the coming together of both "sides" is the stark raving fear of the salary, and perhaps investment, class(es) that their destiny with the pitchfork, or the underside of the bus, is fast approaching. I really think that hits the nail on the head--we've even seen that panic/fear here in comments...

4/3/16, 6:16 AM

Shane W said...
Whenever I hear white salary class people pushing the "racism" and "bigotry" issue w/Trump, I'm very suspicious b/c of the effect it has dividing the white & black wage class. Who could have ever imagined that white salary class people could use "equality", "social justice", etc. as effectively as slavery & Jim Crow to keep the black & white wage class divided and fighting amongst each other. It's really a brilliant strategy when you think about it. Use "equality" & "civil rights" to accomplish the same results as slavery & Jim Crow. Brilliant!

4/3/16, 6:24 AM

Nestorian said...
Oh, and by the way, the Counterpunch article sequence by Chris Hedges and Michael Hudson that I referenced in my last post also contains explicit mention and prediction of a new dark age dawning as a result of the implosion of the current financial Ponzi set-up.

This brings to my mind an introductory essay by JMG that used to be (still is?) posted somewhere on this site entitled "The New Dark Age."

Folks, the tattered remnants of the American Left seem to be on the verge of "getting it."

4/3/16, 8:48 AM

onething said...
John Roth,

Calling yourself a silent might be a bit of a stretch. I know a few bona fide hippies who are 70 and 71. But what did you mean that they ripped apart a working system?

I've been thinking about that article for some days and do have some misgivings about my tendency to get my back up about the generational blame game. It's not that I fully disagree. I ran into a 70-year-old lady recently and came away thinking, boy it would indeed be great if this type would sit this one out and get out of the way. It's just that there are also plenty of 70-year-olds who are not like that at all.

Yesterday we went with our friends to look at the first farm they bought here in 1973 as part of the back to the land movement, largely fueled by the loss of McGovern to the presidency instead of Nixon. They moved here on April Fool's Day so it was the 43rd anniversary. If you haven't seen roads like this it might be hard to imagine. They bought a place at the head of a hollow with about 3 miles of unpaved road with such big ruts in it, and probably mud, that they had to put snow chains on their truck to get up the road. Keep in mind that it's steep. They used to do really hard things, like get out big mallets and try to break up rocks to put in the holes in the road to make it better. The husband had a job using a scythe up steep hillsides in the summer to clear electric path lines. One time a friend brought a girlfriend out to see the place, and my neighbor was washing outside in cold water using a washboard. The girlfriend freaked out.

But there was a little, narrow hollow running up the side of that property, with a tiny rivulet stream and soft spring grass, quite magical. We ate wild flowers there and I sensed a perfect fairy land. I said to them, I can't see you, but I know you're there.

I haven't seen the current couple of younger generations having much unified vision, trying as hard to effect change, or taking on such personal difficulties as these people did.
But it may be coming and some things are being done. So, we'll see. But it does seem to me that the younger set today are way, way more spoiled than those who grew up in the 40s and 50s, maybe 60s.
Mostly, I agree with what Nastarana has said above.

4/3/16, 10:48 AM

Shane W said...
FWIW, I'm actually a late X'er, just turned 40 this year. We're the smallest generation, I believe, even smaller than the Silents (you all have been nicknamed "the Lucky Few", FWIW). I think you hit a nail on the head w/the entitlement issue. The millennials are the peak of a trend in permissive, entitled parenting that started with Dr. Spock & the Boomers & hit critical mass with the Millennials. It's almost the polar opposite of the "I'm hard on you, but the world's gonna be MUCH harder on you" kind of strict, old-fashioned parenting my 101 year-old grandfather received. Millennials have the misfortune of being the most coddled, most overpromised, overprotected generation at a time when those are the most lethal qualities to raise a child, when the old-fashioned "hard on you" parenting is what is needed for our future. That's the one recurring theme in my encounters with millennials, white-hot, seething rage. If we get a Fred Halliot, it will be a millennial, with generation Z minions marching in lock step.

4/3/16, 3:04 PM

Shane W said...
I really think you hit the nail on the head. The lack of concern for community & society is the biggest generational change I've seen since the Greatest Generation and those that came after, and i attribute their concern for community & society solely to their experiences during the Depression.

4/3/16, 3:07 PM

Shane W said...
there's just so much RAGE going on right now, it's hard to determine who's guns are going to be pointed at whom. You've got wage class rage in the Trumpistas, you've got Millennial & Generation Z rage a la the Sanderistas. The fact that the two candidates line up on most of the issues, but their supporters can't stand each other should tell you something. It's hard telling who's gonna be shooting whom once it all breaks out...

4/3/16, 5:54 PM

Shane W said...
I've said it before, if you want to help Millennials in their minimum wage, burger flipping jobs, stop withholding social security & medicare from their paychecks. Like right now, like yesterday. They need the money, and they're never gonna see a penny of social security or have medicare pay for their old-age ailments anyway.

4/3/16, 5:58 PM

Yucca Glauca said...
Dear John Michael,

Please don't die for a very long time. It's a lot less fun without you.

4/3/16, 7:06 PM

John Roth said...

There are always people who don't march to the same drummer as the rest of the people in a particular "generation"; before they were called "hippies" they were called "beatnicks." The standard breakpoint between Silent and Baby Boom generations is 1946; I was born in 1943, as I like to say between the first stored program computer and the first sustained atomic chain reaction. Strauss and Howe put the dividing line at 1943, but it's not a hard and fast line. I frankly feel a lot more attraction to the Silent ideals than to the Boomer ideals. You know - civic mindedness, working together, keeping things stable, all those ideals that got trashed during "the 60s."

It's popular to look back on the period between the end of WW II and the Kennedy assassination as the "dark ages." Granted, there were a lot of things that weren't optimal from one viewpoint or another, but it was the last stability period in the 80-year cycle. I believe that JMG has mentioned that collapse seems to go in 80-year cycles with periods of stability and periods of collapse. We seem to be talking about the same thing: the generation that comes of age after a stability period always finds it stifling, materialistic and a whole lot of other pejoratives, and works very hard to legitimize it.

We're living in the time frame that we're living in; wishing we were in another time frame is not productive. The task is to come together and build the framework for the next period of stability. There's an old saying: be careful what you wish for, you may get it.

4/4/16, 3:09 PM

pygmycory said...
I'm not sure that comparing those who went back to the land in the 1970s with the average millenial in today's system is a relevant comparison.
More relevant would be either a)those who didn't go back to the land then compared to those who don't care now, or b) those who went back to the land then compared to young urban farmers and/or WOOFERs (willing workers on organic farms) today. You're comparing the exceptional of one generation to the average of another.

4/4/16, 3:35 PM

onething said...

Mostly I agree with your points, and kudos to your son for noticing that. It's indeed a big part of what's wrong with us. But I do want to say that not voting one's interests and being duped by the oligarchy really are the same thing. There's nothing wrong with voting one's interests if it means keeping laws and regulations that prevent price gouging, price fixing, and monopolistic practices such as is going on in medicine now, or the deregulation of banking that allowed the recent crisis as well as the next one. They voted against their CLASS interests because they were duped into a misidentification of which sorts of regulations and big government was really meant.
I, too, noticed that people like Peter Schiff and others made a big profit off the housing crash, but I think he did try to get the word out. No one would listen. At least, not any big media.


The salary class is afraid of Trump because their talking heads told them what to think. It's the investment class and even higher that are united against Trump, for the reasons you say.

4/4/16, 6:27 PM

Unknown said...
(Deborah Bender)

@Shane W--

There may be a happy medium between the extremes of parental attitudes you mention. If that strict discipline is not leavened with love and appreciation for the child as an individual person, or the restrictions and demands are excessive compared to what the child is likely to deal with in the wider world, all it produces is resentment and a lot of emotional baggage the person will have to work through later in order to not be abusive to his or her own children.

Caring parents try to equip their children with the skills and outlook they will need to be successful adults, but they can only guess what conditions their offspring will be facing later in life, and in a changing and unstable culture, those guesses are not going to be very accurate. There's a difference between self respect based on adhering to high personal standards and self esteem based on listening to flattery. Also children are born with different personalities and may react differently to the same treatment.

4/5/16, 1:53 AM

Fred said...
I have to say this again, if you aren't reading the Facebook comments and Twitter replies of Donald Trump supporters, you are missing out. People see Trump as the only person capable of taking on a corrupt system rigged to work against them. These statements are being made from people from all walks of life - retired, veterans, recent college grads, and many many working class people. Its very moving to read what they have to say.

Bringing it to the very local level, a friend of mine who is a scout troop leader asked for ideas on how she could give clothes to one of the kids in her troop. The child shows up dressed in clothes too small or too large, shoes too. Mom works at CVS, dad works at Lowes, the family lives with grandma and has two kids, five years apart. It makes me so angry that they can barely make enough money working two jobs to clothe their family. And its like this everywhere I live. People rely on handouts of free food and clothes from churches so they have money to pay bills. They don't want handouts. They want what was promised to them their whole life - work a full-time job, have a house, car, two or three kids, a vacation once a year, and some fun money. Our country can't even provide people what would have been considered "the basics" a generation back.

4/5/16, 5:04 AM

donalfagan said...
Grad Student/Reviewer Sexton pooh-poohs many of the ideas in Yuval Harari's new book, Sapiens, but it sounds interesting:

These days, people tend not to think of the arts as advancing in the same way as the sciences, but the question of whether scientific progress has corrupted or purified our morals — that is, the question of whether such progress is good, whether it makes people better as well as happier — is still with us. The question can be asked in a different way: What is history? Is it the story of the advancement and improvement of the human race, or is it the story of a “fall”? Or perhaps a story of advancement that inevitably involves a fall? Or is history just “one damn thing after another,” or “a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing”?

“All of the above” seems to be the answer of the Israeli historian Yuval Noah Harari. His book Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind is an effort in the genre of universal history. Like many such efforts, it does not contain much actual history. Rather, it is a speculative reconstruction of human evolution, supplemented by the author’s thoughts on recorded history and the human condition. The book is fundamentally unserious and undeserving of the wide acclaim and attention it has been receiving. But it is worth considering the book’s blind spots and flaws — the better to understand the weaknesses of the genre and the intellectual temptations of our age.
And sometimes, perhaps because his book was originally written in Hebrew before he translated it into English, Harari manages to be unintentionally funny when he is trying to make a serious argument. For instance, when claiming that modern institutions are as much dependent as those of the past on belief in nonexistent entities, he says that “modern businesspeople and lawyers are, in fact, powerful sorcerers.” Really, in fact?

4/5/16, 5:32 AM

Patricia Mathews said...
Shane: the Millennials were also micromanaged to within an inch of their lives, and pushed to excel in certain narrow ways that has apparently driven some of the kids growing up in Techville (ref: a Dana Blankenhorn column I've been following) to suicide. This would be - has been - very hard on the square pegs among them, splintering as they were relentlessly pounded into the salary-class academic round hole.

And then to get none of the promised results after all that work and being trimmed to shape? Having to incessantly SELL! themselves to interviewers. Have the right IMAGE!Be UPBEAT! and ENERGETIC! and PERKY! AND TIRELESS. And have the right ATTITUDE! (Caps and exclamation points deliberate, a feeble attempt to reproduce the felt tone of voice of these demands.) For heaven's sake, read the job-seeking advice routinely dished up to the poor suckers who are still trying. OR for that matter, read the want ads. I could not live up to those standards, and fracking well know it.)

But rather, a ton of debt to pay off on a part-time burger-flipper's wage? Which job they got by showing all those attributes so savagely listed above.

If they don't have *cause* for all that rage, then neither does anybody else short of being criminalized and forced under equal pressure into prison like their wage-class contemporaries. Whose parallel imperative is to instantly obey anything any cop chooses to tell them and pray that the cop takes nothing amiss. I daily thank my gods I can pass for a respectable middle-class old lady, but being hard of hearing and slow of reflex has given me a certain fear respectable little old ladies never had to face before unless they were in a protest march.

4/5/16, 6:07 AM

Nastarana said...
Dear onething, Thank you.

About the sixties, and radicals and such: the largest group of boomers were regular folks who hoped for family, good jobs and good lives like most of us do. Back then you could graduate from HS, or not graduate, get married, walk down the street, and find a job that would let you support a family. I knew contemporaries who did just that. Often a couple would combine savings from their after school jobs for their house or apartment, car, furnishings and such. The cultural ferments of the 70s, NOT 60s, 70s, and the economic dislocations of the 80s, knocked those folks for a loop and many have never to this day recovered. People who had grown up with the expectation of stable, steady lives were forced into serieses of ad hoc arrangements which went on for years. For some working class folks, the SS check is the first stable income they have seen in decades.

Radicals tended to be East Coast urbanite 2nd or 3rd generations scions of immigrant families from Eastern Europe and they literally hated, and still can't stand, American small towns and rural people and customs. They engineered a takeover, or partial takeover of he Democratic Party in the early 70s, after which the Democrats simply wrote off whole swaths of non-urban American voters.

People tend to forget that hippies and radicals didn't like each other much. The back to the land youngsters were mostly into reviving remembered pioneer ways of life. They had learned, from Betty Friedan and others, that if you refrained from consumer spending, you could save a lot of cash, and you could buy houses or start businesses or even buy or at least rent, small farms. I suspect they were very influenced by trips to Mexico, and we need to recall that the Mexico of the late 60s was not the Mexico of today. These young people were not afraid of hard work. They were forever starting up little businesses, cooking, planting, building, quilting and sewing and so on. Their bible was the Whole Earth Catalogue which was a compendium of where you can obtain the useful tools Sears and Wards didn't carry. Some of them connected with old time farmers and crafts people and founded what was to became the organic farming sector of today.

The radicals were the sell-outs, as is detailed in the books of Christopher Lasch. They became willing lackeys of elite and business interests in return for comfort and privileges for themselves.

4/5/16, 9:07 AM

Shane W said...
The one unmentionable behind all this is that with limits to growth kicking in, someone HAS to go under the bus--there just isn't enough resources for everyone in America to live an American lifestyle. So basically, we're fighting over who gets to go under the bus: millennials, Boomers/Silents, wage class, salary class, investment class. It's a game of musical chairs--someone isn't going to get a seat @ the table, and the groups that traditionally got thrown under the bus (younger generations, wage class) are fighting back their traditional positions. Keep in mind that the average American is not like the readership here, and has no clue about limits to growth, so has no clue what's happening and why.
regarding your post, keep in mind what JMG says about rationality & humans--humans are not rational creatures, and do not respond well to rational entreaties...

4/5/16, 10:05 AM

sv koho said...
JMG's review of the Clinton campaign written way back in Feb remains the best analysis of the abject failure of Hillary to inspire anyone outside of the deep dark benighted South. Greer's piece belongs on the OP Ed of the NYT. Fat chance of that.

4/6/16, 7:53 AM

Sojan Shieldbearer said...
I little to add to the discussion except to say that there have been some excellent comments as usual. I am looking forward to getting my weekly Archdruid fix tonight, after a long hiatus. With nearly 600 comments and counting, I am beyond impressed.

4/6/16, 10:27 AM

Sojan Shieldbearer said...
Shane wrote:

"The one unmentionable behind all this is that with limits to growth kicking in, someone HAS to go under the bus--there just isn't enough resources for everyone in America to live an American lifestyle."

I think you just hit the nail straight on the head. As the Long Descent gains momentum, more and more individuals and groups will get tossed under the bus and the fighting to determine who goes under the bus right now and who gets to put off having tires tracks across their backs for the time being will get fiercer and fiercer.

In the end, its an attempt to delay the inevitable and the ultimate exercise in futility. There is no way to preserve the present American lifestyle. The resources aren't there and as we've discussed already, so much of that lifestyle is entirely dependent on hypercomplex structures that are simply not sustainable without unlimited amounts of cheap fossil fuels.

4/6/16, 10:35 AM

Sven Eriksen said...
Couldn't resist putting in the 600th, just for the heck of it...

4/6/16, 11:40 AM

The other Tom said...
Regarding who gets thrown under the bus, even though we all agree here that the resources will not be sufficient for everyone living an American lifestyle of prolific consumption, I think inequity of wealth still matters, even as we all circle the drain together. It takes some wealth to get housing, land, tools, education, and even the experience that will be required to adapt to all the brutal changes that are coming. Just the time required for trial and error, and to be self-educated requires a modicum of wealth. Our health requires enough wealth to meet basic needs and have leisure to study and experiment. The people at the very bottom are going to be at a disadvantage, unless they already have done their preparations and know how to live without money. For the other 99% though, lack of financial resources would be a major impediment to preparation. This is what is really terrifying to me about the American future: that so many people are so mired in poverty that all their attention is devoted to surviving the present to the exclusion of a long range plan, so even if they do see catastrophe coming they will be flattened it.

4/6/16, 1:46 PM

brett rasmussen said...
Just a breif correction regarding "Julius Caesar" and not of earth shattering importance, more like interesting trivia really. Full name Gaius Julius Caesar where Gaius is the first name like our christian names, and Julius is the family or surname (hence the Julian caledar). Caesar is the cognomen or what we think of as a nickname and refers to some characteristic, habit or deed of it's subject, in the case of Gaius Julius the cognomen is Caesar which means hairless and is definitely his family name.
As to the assertion that he was "a very rich man", he was actually deep in debt a the time when he crossed the Rubicon owing to the fact that his family although patrician was not at that time in good financial order.

4/6/16, 7:25 PM

Unknown said...
(Deborah Bender)

Today's (5/19) entry on The Wild Hunt blog is about a community of Pagans in Lincolnshire who are doing something constructive for the region where they live. They organized an annual Pagan-themed festival to raise money for the community fund of the village of Theddlethorpe.

5/19/16, 2:27 PM

Ethan La Coursiere said...
I may be a bit late to the party, but I just want to congratulate you on another beyond-fantastic post. Certainly, Hillary "Hillary Clinton" Clinton is only using her vast wealth and influence for a one-way ticket to history's trash compactor, along with other political figures that never quite managed to get their goals established in the way they wanted. Like, say, Adolf Hitler or Benito Mussolini.

I do like your analogy of a vending machine. If that is true, then we're already seeing the tantrums. Hillary is bashing the machine, shaking it, and even calling store staff to help her (rigging CNN to shill endlessly).

10/17/16, 1:57 PM