Thursday, April 22, 2010

Eurozone No More?

Americans should take a good, HARD look at what is going on in Greece and the rest of the Eurozone... and they should take off their politically tinted glasses when they do so.

Southern Europe's notoriously lax work ethic is likely the primary driver between the imbalances in the Eurozone (or Northern Europe's famously hardworking folks might have to tone it down a bit) (funny, the American Left always points to Europe's social welfare state with joy and envy... I wonder if they ever did the General Population/Worker calculation... Europe blows the U.S. away - they do not have a permanent and entrenched underclass consuming production (nor our military budget), and hence they would have been able to stretch out the time between here and their fiscal mushroom cloud a bit more than the U.S. - had it not been for the PIGS).
"Instead of punishing the Greeks for their free-rider and fraudulent gaming of the Maastricht rules -- either by ejecting Greece from the Union to propel them to reform and come back at a competitive exchange rate or by forcing them to restructure their debt within the confines of monetary union, either of which would have eventually strengthened and solidified the euro -- the European leaders have decided to reward the prodigal Greeks with a bailout, socializing their ills and taxing once again the prodigious Northern European workers," - Louis Moore Bacon
The U.S. public employee unions are doing the same thing to the U.S.

---------------------------------------------

If you have been reading here for a while, and you read the comments, you might have read some of the commentary made by "Pioneerpreppy"; also, you will have noticed that I LOVE to quote a guy by the name of Gene Logsdon - a guy I have never met, and probably share little in common with politically, but whose obvious intellect and, more importantly I would call Logsdon a "KEEN observer of the Human Condition" (THAT is my HIGHEST (intellectual) COMPLIMENT, and what I strive to be myself each and every day) is so overwhelming at times... anyway, here are some recent comments from these two gentlemen:

What we are really looking at is sectionalism and it hasn't really worked itself out yet. The flyover country is pissed about being ruled by the progressive coasts but yet they cannot bring themselves to admit it because of the last major sectional crisis. The problem is further complicated by progressive strong holds in the form of major cities within flyover country itself.

It is also why the various sides will never see eye to eye as someone from Manhattan can not even dream what life is like for say a small farm owner in rural Missouri, and vice versa. Yet they (the Manhattanites) wish to put in place laws that maybe logical for them without even a care for how they really effect those others who are worlds away in actuality. - Pioneerpreppy



First of all, if you let big food business rule the roost in agriculture, you are going to get just what you pay taxes for: more big food business. For example, most people don’t even know that they are eating potatoes that have been genetically modified to kill potato bugs. If sometimes you get a notion that potatoes don’t taste as good as they used to, you just might be right. The potato bugs would surely agree with you.

But there’s something else that I think is important in this regard. The fact that our country has become divided into so-called red and blue states is an outcome directly traceable to the urban-rural division of our society. This is something of a simplification, but food producers and their social allies tend to vote red and food consumers and their social allies tend to vote blue. The division is thought to be between conservative and liberal philosophies, but it much more reflects the difference between rural and urban values. (There are plenty of urban conservatives and rural liberals.) This division is hopefully coming to an end but has a long way to go yet. We are doing a fairly good job of bringing the city to the countryside but a very poor job of bringing the country to the city-side. Both sides need each others’ viewpoints for good government and social interaction. A good way that we can heal the friction is to bring farming to the city. There is nothing that will cure an overly zealous wildlife lover quicker than to make a farmer or gardener out of her. On the other hand, there is nothing that will change the overly-isolationist view of life cherished by rural people quicker than bringing them into close contact with city life. The rural dweller may think that all those rules that cities make are silly — until he is surrounded by suburbs. - Gene Logsdon
Notice anything?

More soon






39 comments:

bureaucrat said...

Those of us in cities have little interest in being in the country, with their animals and bugs and drought and lonliness. We fled such places for the cities for that very reason (also to escape the domineering, narrow-minded patriarch --- Pa Kettle -- whose words were from God himself on the farm). Now, farming may indeed be the "Wall Street" of the next 30 years, as Jim Rogers suggests (I'm betting that way -- "DBA"!!), but it isn't at this moment.

I just can't get my hands around this sectional stuff. The largest number of people on welfare is NOT those awful Negroes and Mexicans in the inner cities. The biggest number of welfare recipients in America are (poor) white, rural people. There is no real difference between the city and the country (both have bugs :)). We watch the same TV shows and movies, and the same news, and except for some convenient stereoptypes ("All In The Family" comes to mind), an American is an American. People can come together over a myriad of issues.

Greg T. Jeffers said...

If I say you missed the point I will have been overusing the art of understatement.

bureaucrat said...

I am a simple man. I left behind Mad Scientist's blog cause he was overtechical and couldn't find ways to make his stuff readable to the average person. Good reading doesn't require "technofluff."

"Simplicity in the pursuit of understanding is no vice!" :) Indulge me. What am I missing? Talk like I'm a third grader.

Anonymous said...

Bur,

You're talking about my relatives, again.

The point is that the differences in economic reality and lifestyles between a rural and urban life cause people's politics to be different. This has caused the US to split into "red" and "blue" regions, based roughly on the ratio of rural to urban population. People on the coasts refer to the red states (east of California and west of the Appalachians as fly-over country. (No intelligent life down there).

Chicago is sort of East Coast on Lake Michigan, so I'm not sure how you should be classified. But, people in Chicago are generally friendlier than the usual East Coaster, so I guess you may be flyover material. But I digress.

The whole snotty stinking elitist attitude pisses people in red country off to no end. It pisses me off to, although I've lived on the East Coast for 30 years now. Further, the coastal elites are pressing an agenda on the rest of the country that is unwanted, disliked and doesn't fit the culture or the circumstances. This is part of the reason that the federal government was to have limited power. State law was supposed to accommodate the local culture.

Our oversized federal government has imposed an undue number of one-size-fits-all laws, rules and regs across the whole country. While a law may be pertinent and useful in one part of the country, it may be nuisance elsewhere. Something that benefits people Massachusetts may be a burden in Oklahoma, and vice versa. It is causing friction. The Left's propensity to centralize exacerbates the problem.

Coal Guy

Publius said...

Bureaucrat:
If you don't "get it", I suggest you read Tocqueville's "Democracy in America," or a part of it.
He traveled widely and is an expert at poetically and sociologically describing how differences of culture, taste, and upbringing yield WIDELY different results politically. In fact, culture determines politics, not vice versa.

Simple example: where I come from, we love to hunt deer, grouse, ducks, bear, rabbits, you name it. We love to shoot animals, kill them, clean them (which entails cutting the entrails out with your bare hands), and eat them.

Do you not see how this would lead to an opposite view of gun control compared to the view of a city-dweller who associates firearms with nothing but crime?

There have been no murders with guns in my home county for decades, other than an outsider who was hitchhiking through and killed the guy who picked him up.

It may be true that are large percentage of rural folk are getting government benefits, but I would argue that this is largely the result of what the great writer/poet/philosopher Wendell Berry refers to as the domination of the countryside by the city.

The city and their elites have turned rural America into their subdued, conquered provinces of empire, and the rural people have been horribly exploited: government policy has led to the fruits of rural labor being grossly undervalued and underpaid.

Whatever. It will all be decided by the re-imposition of energy reality and the truth of nature's laws.

bureaucrat said...

I'll have to read over your two postings, but I would remind everyone that red/blue state can also be associated with the electoral college, which is a winner-take-all thing, where one state (lets say Ohio) may go "blue" (Democrat) in the presidential election, but may have 49.999% "red" (Republican) voting. Not to mention the last few Presidential elections have been 50/50 contests (2000 Al Gore losing comes to mind). There isn't all that much difference between red and blue voters anymore, except at the extremes. Everyone wants their government benefits, and no one wants to pay for them. That is pretty consistent across the board. You'd also have to explain the rise of the Independents.

Dextred1 said...

This was really just about the same debate that the founders had. The reason that federalism was so important to them is the fact that we had a HUGE area of land to rule. Instead of a central government with monolithic rules for the whole republic they wanted a dispersed locally controlled government. Two huge advantages proceeded from this philosophy. First is that in a nation this large we have states that specialize in certain sectors (auto manufactures, furniture, food production, etc), this provides local politicians with the ability to tailor policy to the constituents of district/state. Second it lets people do their talking with their walking. New York has High taxes, no biggie; just move to Texas, Tennessee, and Florida. Problem now is that there is nowhere to go. We have a huge central government that does not collect taxes based on proportion of people in state, but according to Income. This is important because it restricted the federal government from taking money from states, then instituting programs and paying the states off with the proceeds of confiscatory taxation through program mandates.

Also worthy to note that in 1913 the Federal senators went to direct election instead of votes by state house for senators. The reason the founders devised it that way is so the Senators would not be concerned with party, but stand for their respective state. The whole basis of federalism had been completely cut off. It is always party over states rights now.

Dextred1 said...

Bur,

Just saw a survey, something 80% of independents would technically be Libertarians based on answers to a list of 10 or so questions. Can't remember where I read it though. Maybe rassmussen

PioneerPreppy said...

Dextred1 is a genius. Seriously he has hit the nail on the head IMO.

To expand on that lets look at other aspects. For one law enforcement, which was never meant to become the monster it has today with private armies who do not answer to the public. It was meant to be firmly in the control of county sheriffs who require the direct support of those they enforce the law on.

Also term limits. This was not an issue with the founders since people rarely lived so long and the travel times were so daunting. The thought of a professional politician was foreign to them.

Public employee unions which have managed to get big city pay in areas which are on rural tax bases.

The list is endless, but it begins with such simple things like for instance gun control. Now I admit if I lived less than 5 minutes from an emergency visit, had 100's or 1000's of neighbors to argue with and unknown people wondering the street outside my house I may in fact deem some gun registration needed. Yet out here I am for all purposes completely on my own with rabid animals a very real and not uncommon threat. Why should I be subject to the same laws as a city dweller when I have a real need for firearms?

As for your welfare claim Bur, I would have to look that up but I suspect the numbers are twisted by smallish cities, towns and such which are in rural areas but not technically rural themselves.

Lastly one issue with rural dwellers touches on taxes used for services we will never see or use.

As I said the list is endless yet cheap energy has allowed the powers that be to rule and enforce laws the same in places they make sense as in places they don't. Distance used to create a buffer and it doesn't anymore.

To me enforcing some of these laws or regulations feels no different than British rule felt to a colonial farmer 250 years ago.

Anonymous said...

They just showed a new study of computer usage for SEC watchdog agency gov't workers--and found that a large number had significant hours of porn access, many with more time logged on porn-sites then doing investigation of wallstreet.

This is just sheer madness.
http://abcnews.go.com/WN/sec-pornography-employees-spent-hours-surfing-porn-sites/story?id=10451508

-Meiyo
Also, I would like to see the data break down of welfare being mostly "rural". If the current population breakdown is roughly 80% living in cities now, then that doesn't even make sense just based upon the sheer number of people living in cities. If half of my "town" was on welfare--that would be a pittance, compared to the small city nearby, who has 25% on welfare rolls. So IF half of my town were on welfare that would be 500 people at most, and the nearby city would is at about 25,000? So I really don't think Bur's numbers are accurate--are you talking Percentages bur, rather than actually aggregates??

I live in a rural area, and don't know anyone on welfare. Many on SS/Medicare and eligible for medicaid for healthcare costs--but none that get food stamps etc. They don't even accept them at our local stores. Yet in the city nearby, there are signs posted everywhere that they take the "Access" card for purchases etc. So you can go buy pop, chips etc at a corner store on your 'welfare' money.

Greg T. Jeffers said...

Folks:

I thank you for your excellent comments... and there was one other point I was trying to make... these 2 guys come from VERY different perspectives, experiences, backgrounds, and politics... and have essentially come to the same conclusion from very angles. Fascinating.

Dextred1:

Ok, who ARE you? What is YOUR background? I take it you have a degree in American history, too?

We seem to continue to collect people that have very much something to add to add the conversation.

Greg T. Jeffers said...

Meiyo:

Rural America is not in good shape financially. I don't remember the numbers, but the fact is that WHITE PEOPLE living outside of the inner city receiving welfare outnumber inner city minority welfare recepients....

Over 20% of the people in my rural Tn county, right outside Nashville, are receiving food assistance - right in the middle of farm country...

Dan said...

Greg;
“Europe blows the U.S. away - they do not have a permanent and entrenched underclass consuming production”

Ya just need to know how to read the paper, they are called “youths” which means unemployed, and unemployable, Africans and Asians. Employable Africans and Asians are called “Southerners.” Youths live in the “suburbs” – think high rise slums ringing the cities. Every now and then the police will have a raid in the suburbs and seize “hunting rifles” better known to us as assault rifles. N.b. by assault rifles I mean automatic weapons not their sporterized counterparts...

This shibboleth is necessary because plain speaking has been criminalized in large swaths of Europe.

Dan said...

Bur;
Here are some handy maps to illustrate the point. Scroll to the bottom where red and blue applied to counties then skewed to account for population density.

Dextred1 said...
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Dextred1 said...
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Dextred1 said...

I am finishing up my Bachelor in Multidisciplinary studies. Essentially three Minors (Criminal Justice, Christian Studies and Political Science). Working my way to law school at what is known the most conservative school in American. Let you guess :) I am conservative personally (fiscally and socially), but I am an ardent Libertarian. I own a small construction company. We do concrete, block, brick and almost anything to make money. As far as history, I just have a huge collection of books on philosophy, law, history and religion that I have been reading since I was 12. In early American History there was an amazing congruence between all four of these disciplines and read everything I can find on it. Plus I am a huge fan of Amazon. I am 28 now and I have an amazing wife, a nine month old daughter and one in the bun. Plus I am a Huge Michigan Football Fan.

Dextred1 said...

I think the thing that bothers me most about what is happening is the fact that originally the founders set up a system that would have worked perfectly to mitigate the worst effects of peak oil. As everyone on here points out, there is no way to hold the federal Government together with the spending needed to support it.

Coal Guy noticed you said your daughters teacher said “don't look at U.S. History before 1865”. He is right unfortantly. Before the civil war the United states was always "These United States of America" after the war it was the "the United States of America". The civil war codified the Madison vision of a strong central government instead of the Jefferson vision of a diffused federal government. If you ever looked at the Virginia plan purposed by their delegation it was really just replacing one despotism with another. We went from an absolute view(natural law) of law to what is commonly referred to as case law. Essentially this forces the courts to follow past decisions. In the 40’s under FDR’s threat to pack the court the constitution took one final and fatal turn. The Wickard v. Filburn case. The court ruled that a farmer growing wheat on his own property and for his own use was still subject to federal production limits, though none of his wheat left the state or even his own farm. This is what has given us the expansive view of the interstate commerce clause. They used this clause now is has been used to pass the Brady bill, bank bailouts and almost everything the government does. This is why I truly think the Health bill is completely unconstitutional, but the courts will not look at intent. They will go off of previous cases. You have to realize that even though 5 on the court are strict constructionist, all federal programs not authorized would have to change from national to state administration and taxation. There is no way they reverse SS, Medicare, food stamps and just about everything except what is mentioned in article 1, section 8 of the constitution. I could see the court saying that it is not valid to place a mandate, but cannot see them reversing past decisions.

Dextred1 said...

Was not meant to be a answer Coal Guy. Just read your comment and got to thinking and thought is was somewhat relevant to this article. I am asuming by past post by you that you already know this.

PioneerPreppy said...

Dex brings up the "original sin" case of Wickard v. Filburn I would also add in Nat. Labor... vs. Jones etc al steel corp as another New Deal era case which greatly increased Federal power through the interstate commerce clause.

The sad fact is that unless we get another conservative POTUS who isn't fooled like the last few were we will never see a contender SCOTUS court. We missed are best chance with the Burger court during the free love days. It just wasn't the time to start turning back the clock then.

An interesting side note to Wickard v. Filburn was pointed out that Filburn was trying to get caught and that over harvesting was rampant throughout the Midwest during the 40's and the federals had no hope of enforcement without local LEO help or in this case county ag agents.

This is key to the current fight brewing as the fed has no chance without local LEO support.

Personally I think we are going to see lines drawn soon between the States Reserve powers and the interstate commerce clause. It is already forming quickly with Utah taking back federal land and the gun laws in several states. Now Arizona and it's new immigration laws. Interestingly enough although the commerce clause can shut down the state gun laws since these laws are handled as criminal cases the States can still claim some jurisdiction.

More evidence of the sectionalism of rural vs. urban.

Dextred1 said...

I think the Dems really messed up with the filibusters during Bush II of supreme court nominees. They now gave the repubs the hammer to smash them over the heads with. We will see if they cry foul, or a new gang of 14 follows.

Dextred1 said...
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Dextred1 said...

One thing I just don't get is the refusal of the court to not act like the 10th amendment gets incorporated like parts of the other nine. (incorporation is based on the Idea that originally court could only interpret use of amendments to protect citizens against federal government, the 14th changed this and made citizens members of the United States and not the specific state where they reside. This is the reason that we had state churches for yrs. after the constitution was signed) By definition the 10th amendment is a amend or change of document. It took all power not delegated to federal legislature and gave it to states.

Anonymous said...

Ultimately, although chronic welfare be it for rural or urban dwellers can be a major problem for those families/children, if not used as a temporary measure during hard times--but rather is used as a "career" of sorts.

The additional aspect of "welfare" that has ballooned this past decade is SSI money, for mental illnesses for children. In my former job I saw many, many chronic welfare parents who were focused on getting their children diagnosed with a severe mental illness to get the monthly SSI checks. I've see many families that make sure to get all their children diagnosed with "disabilities" and bring in that 650$/per child. I have seen this in the rural areas as well--it seems to have been the new way to get income. I have seen many people that never-ever--try for a job and consider SSI their income, and become nervous when their children get older, since they will potentially "lose income".

But as Mr. Jeffer's points out, yes White folks are the largest welfare recipients. Although, may note was just following the urban/rural issues, not ethnicity.

Again, in the scheme of things, welfare money is still small potatoes compared to the big entitlement programs for the elderly etc--military spending, but alas people focus on welfare, as if that's the line item that is bankrupting the country--it is a problem, but by far is not in the top few.

-Meiyo

Anonymous said...

Dex,

Thanks for filling in a lot of the blanks for me. I am not well read in Am. History. I'm more of grazer, picking up bits here and there and organizing them in my mind. I have however read the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, and so much Federal law doesn't fit AT ALL.

One thing gives me hope, and that is there is a very large cadre of 20-somethings who feel totally screwed by big government, and are very conservative/libertarian. They look into the future an see a life of wage slavery with half of it confiscated to support those who don't work. This is pretty much unprecedented. It is amazing to see how many young Ron Paul supporters there are. The usual path is from liberal to conservative as we age.

Regards,

Coal Guy

Anonymous said...

Meiyo,

I have a pack of relatives who have lived that way for generations...

Welfare is not the largest financial problem, as you point out. I think that what grates most is the moral hazard that it creates, and I'm including SSI abuse here. Economics is by far the most powerful social force. Welfare creates its own pathological culture in those addicted to it. In addition to those directly damaged, that culture passes upward and poisons the US culture as a whole. The damage is visible in many wide-spread attitudes including the general sense of entitlement that has grown throughout society.

Regards,

Coal Guy

Dextred1 said...

Preamble to Bill of Rights, not often printed in constitutions.

"THE Conventions of a number of the States having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added: And as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government, will best insure the beneficent ends of its institution"

This was based on the Idea of State Sovereignty. This gave a way for federal government to interrupt the Bill of Rights. Let’s repeat that again “in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive should be added”

Very Similar to Clause in Articles of Confederation

""Each state retains its sovereignty, freedom, and independence, and every power, jurisdiction, and right, which is not by this Confederation expressly delegated to the United States, in Congress assembled."

Is was important to original intent to make sure the Bill of Rights restricted federal courts from overstepping states rights issue. It also restricted the congress from making laws denying the right of States. One of the proposed amendments by Madison was to Give Federal Judiciary the power to force states to follow their ruling. That amendment was not accepted by congress to pass along to states for vote. The preamble inserted states rights at beginning of bill of rights and the tenth inserted them at the end of the Bill of Rights.

“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

Dextred1 said...

It is interesting to note that a higher proportion of minoritys live in Red states. Something like 25% to 30% minority in red states compared to 7% on average in blue states. If you look at the major cities in Red states you will notice that 80% of recipents are in the cities. This is probably partial do to just the huge populations of these areas. 80% of those receiving benefits vote democrats while the average population goes 60-40 republican.

Dextred1 said...

anecdotal evidence for the problem with welfare. One of my freinds dates a girl from this family. The Mom and Dad are both on disability for Back Problems, the dad came over to my freinds house and grabbed up a 40inch t.v. like it was nothing. He got hurt I think at one of the big three. The mother collects SSI for injuries. Back are nortoriously easy to get disability for. My freinds girl friend has her parents watch her kids for the state which they receive 600.00 a month for. They have custody over one of the other daughters kids that she gave up and receive state aid for that, not sure how much. They also receive food stamps through the federal government. Add in state healthcare and Earned Income credit for the one kid and you are talking easy 40 to 50000 a yr. They have two newer cars, a paid of trailor and building a home in northern michigan for vacation.

Want to add that in Ypsilanti, Mi there are corner stores that except food stamps to make payments on prepaid phones and to buy gasoline. Welfare is a evil that needs to be destroyed. At least the commies killed people if they were not economically viable. :)

Stephen B. said...

I've been watching this rural vs. suburban/urban thing for several years now. As others have said in some most excellent comments, this divide goes back to the early days of our country. In my observations, however, I think the divide has grown and intensified over the past decade or so especially. Rich people moving in and "taking" the land, taking it out of traditional uses especially and turning it into office parks, malls, people bringing all their demands for high taxes and fancy services, posting land, closing land to access, getting local officials to close even nearby public land to access. Of course, that's on top of all the other issues such as rich, urban people trying to take their guns via "assault weapons" bans, forcing gay marriage on them, taxing them to pay for TARP, killing their local economies so as to entice their youngings to sign up for Iraq/Afghanistan military service etc. This is but only part of the list of grievances, both real and imagined.

It *is* funny to see, however, in light of the fact that poor, white (and black) rural folk use handout services just as much as city folk do, though a stroll through modern, getto Boston might challenge that thought a bit. At least in New England, the handout culture is still most evident in the cities.

Having said all that, Bureaucrat, you really ought to get out of the city and suburbs some time. Get out into the *true* country and experience the people there. Your opening comments above left me breathless.

Also, people didn't flee the country for the city when they had the chance, at least not in all cases. Many were forced by economics into moving as rural economies came under attack by governmental, taxation, and corporate forces. Even today, rural life lives in people's dreams FAR more than city living does, and that says something right there I think.

Dextred1 said...
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Dextred1 said...

Steven B. Great post

As you point "Rich people moving in and "taking" the land, taking it out of traditional uses especially and turning it into office parks, malls, people bringing all their demands for high taxes and fancy services, posting land, closing land to access, getting local officials to close even nearby public land to access." The township I live in has more than doubled taxes in ten yrs to pay for the indulgences of the people that move in from the suburbs of Detroit (Livonia, Plymouth, Canton and Ann Arbor. We now have a grocery store within five miles no matter what direction with attached strip malls. I do bemoan the loss of the way of life I had growing up. The difference was amazing. My town went from mostly indigenous population growth to a massive influx of suburbanites. It was not unusual for half the kids on the football team to be the kids of dad’s that played yrs past when I started playing in 7th grade. By the time I left the High School the shift was already evident. I started 1st grade with around 125 kids in my class and finished high school with 350. You could see the difference in the parking lots. All of my friends growing up had old trucks and cars they worked for and the kids from suburbs had Lexus, BMW and one even had a Ford GT. A lot of these were the so called Limousines liberals. They wanted to live in our area for the peace, beauty, low crime and fled the high taxes and then when they get here voted for repeal of the Hyde amendment (taxes under it could not grow faster than rate of inflation.) You hit it on the head.

Anonymous said...

No one has mentioned the SEC--porn usage finding, mentioned now in many media sources. So the 'watchdogs' of wallstreet--were busy watching porno at work, were not talking one guy here--but many people. Don't they have filters on their computers for such things?!! Good to see Tax money well spent, paying for large salaries to pervs who can't wait till they get home to look at porn!?!

Stories like this are nearly surreal, the future is looking more like it will go the way of the movie Idiocracy--methinks :)

-Meiyo

Dextred1 said...

I love "Idiocracy". You are right; those bastards were in there chocking the chicken while banks were leveraging to the tilt. I heard that when the SEC went to investigate Madoff some of them brought resumes 

Stephen B. said...

As for "loneliness" in the country, I think back to what urban person-turned rural VT sheep farmer and writer Don Mitchell, in Moving Upcountry once said about the subject, something to the effect that it's not possible to be anonymous in the country. People in a smaller town see you coming and going, what you're doing in your yard, what you voted for at the last town meeting (in New England anyhow.) This versus in the city, where one can live in an apartment or condo surrounded by people, and nobody need ever know you, who you are, what you do, etc.

In one of his essays, he coined the term "omnimity" versus the common idea of anonymity. It was written in the 1980s, first for Boston Magazine, but it still holds true. I suppose one can be lonely anywhere, but you'd be surprised at how hard it can be to remain alone in the country versus the city.

(continued in next post)

Stephen B. said...

(Begin Mitchell quote:)

An acquaintance in a nearby town, newly transplanted to Vermont from northern New Jersey, visited his town clerk to register to vote.
"I live on the Swamp Road," my friend volunteered.
"I know that," replied the clerk.
"You do?"
"Bought the old Irving place, didn't you? Looks like you're fixing to spruce it up a bit."
"Yeah."
"See where you fixed some shutters. Put a new wood stove in old Irving's fireplace. Hear you bought a brand new refrigerator too."
At this point, the newcomer felt vaguely disturbed. He'd been unaware he was a guppy in a goldfish bowl. He cleared his throat and said he'd come to register to vote.
The town clerk reached for a spiffy new quadruplicate form that the State of Vermont has produced recently to streamline voter registration. Multi-colored, pressure-sensitive carbons with questions about date of birth, place of birth, place of prior registration - all a person might expect. First, the clerk administered the Freeman's Oath; then he uncapped his pen to fill out the official form.
"Last name?"
"Adamson."
"First name?"
"Roger."
"Middle initial?"
"D."
The town clerk entered this onto the application, bearing down hard so as to penetrate through all the copies. Blue for the voter, white for the town's records, pink to be sent to the registrant’s previous polling district - to remove him from its rolls - and yellow to report the decision of the Board of Civil Authority regarding the citizen's application. Now however - having merely entered my friend's name - the clerk tore off the original copy of the form and handed it over to Adamson. "There, that's for you." he said.
"Wait a minute," Adamson protested. “There’s eight more lines to be filled out, here.”
“Ayup. But they don’t make no never-mind.” The clerk took the three pressure-sensitive carbons of the state’s form, and he tossed them into the nearest wastebasket. “That’s what we do with those,” he said.
“Now,wait!” In his hand Adamson held a form that had his name on it, period. The fancy copies lay with used Styrofoam coffee cups and sundry office waste. “First you don’t complete this form – then you throw your copies in the trash! What’s going to happen to me when I come in here to vote?”
“Beg pardon?”
“How are you going to know who I am?”
“Oh – don’t worry about that!” The town clerk smiled disarmingly. “We know who you are!

Urban folk are known to complain, from time to time, about the anonymity in which they’re forced to live the great bulk of their lives. Daily transactions with shopkeepers, grocers, waiters, bus drivers, public servants of every stripe, mechanics, bakers, banker, barber – all have a faceless quality. Even neighbors, inhabitants of the same apartment building, pass like strangers in the hall every day for years. Lamentable? Listen: there’s something to be said for anonymity.

(End of quote.)

Mitchel's essay goes on from here to show that it's hard to be anonymous and lonely in the country. I wish I could type it all in.

Anyhow, every urban to rural transplant needs to read this book. http://www.amazon.com/Moving-Upcountry-Yankee-Way-Knowledge/dp/089909031

Dextred1 said...

Yrs ago they changed the township charter and said that we have to register equipment for tax reasons and livestock numbers for total amount allowed per acre so we could be assessed on our tax bill. Funny thing happens every yr though; the township forgets to assess taxes on equipment because half the township is farms. The people that move here do not run for local elections or even come to township meetings, leaves us open to not report or enforce crappy laws. The Subdivision voters that push for this crap take one farm and turn it into a 150 homes and they don’t want people to have animals or equipment lowering their property values. One indication of the dichotomy is that our township now votes about 55% to 60% democrat, but all of the commissioners are republicans.

Steven that story says it all. I know every family on my road. I grew up with their kids and Hunted their land.

Anonymous said...

Stephen's comments and story jive with my personal experience. People wave to me--everyday now, from Amish to neighbors I don't know.

My mother got stuck alongside the road here--and had 4 people stop, within an hour (the only 4 people who drove by that hour) to help get her out.

Loneliness certainly doesn't exist in the country or the city, and some people find nature to actually soothe their sense of aloness--whereas living in the hustle bustle surrounded by people, yet often not talking to them, makes them feel more lonely--not less.

-Meiyo

Dextred1 said...

Stephen I meant. Not steven.