Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Where Was I?

Today's quote - "No matter how busy you may think you are, you must find time for reading, or surrender yourself to self-chosen ignorance." - Confucius

Now, where was I?

Oh, yes, I have been gardening and enjoying the spring time here in Middle Tennessee, so I have been a bit busy... my apologies... more importantly, where are WE?

Pissed off... and we want somebody to pay. Goldman Sachs, Wall Street, Washington, Republicans, Democrats, Liberals, Tea Party types... everybody I know hates somebody - and they hate them good.

Why is everybody so angry? This is unlike anything in history. The most powerful nation to ever grace the face of the earth, replete with nuclear weapons (and conventional weapons) enough to pave the place over several times, and a military expenditure to match... is as close to a powder keg type political explosion as any other convulsion in history (IMHO)... and the best our political system can do seems to be to wage silly and immoral wars over Oil and lock up more of our citizens in cages than any nation on earth, while addicting the populace to government programs that absolutely require the continuance of US$/military diplomacy in order to enforce US$ hegemony.

Sometimes I think I am the only normal person left.

Does anybody really think that fanning the flames of hate and resentment is going to come to a good end? The Left AND the Right in the U.S. are doomed, and they know it. In their death throws exactly what will they leave us? No movement or political organization ever relinquishes power once the agenda they organized for in the first place has been achieved - no, they stick around FOREVER... and in an effort to be relevant they inflame their constituents with whatever insult-de-jour is available. Groups that served a noble or honorable purpose fall into this phenomenon in addition to the not so savory groups, forever dividing and multiplying and morphing into still more special interest groups of pissed off: White People, Black People, Brown People, Yellow People, Liberal People, Conservative People, Christian People, Jewish People, Muslim People, Atheist People, Tea Party People, Coffee Party People, Peaknic People... in the past we at least had sex to hold everything together... but the Internet and the Sex Police have kerbolixed that soothing medic... so now we are just fat, pissed, frustrated, and full of hate.

What a world.


The U.S. Federal Reserve Bank and the U.S. Treasury have prevented the U.S. financial system from completely imploding FOR NOW. They have not fixed anything, the very imbalances that put the system into 2008's death spiral are now back in spades. Their answer to our collective problems? More debt. In fact, under the best of circumstances the U.S. Treasury will issue $10 TRILLION! of new debt (on top of the debt we currently have and will need to keep rolling over) over the next 8 years or so, bringing the National debt to over 150% of GDP. When, not if but WHEN, interest rates increase the U.S. will be looking at a situation wherein the taxes collected cover only 3X the INTEREST costs on the debt - and then it gets really bad.

I told my clients and partners this would be an EXCELLENT time to: take the trip they have always wanted; quit work to write that book, learn to paint, or play the guitar et al; indulge yourself in any reasonable way. Holding onto paper or intangible wealth is going to be very, very difficult in the coming years. If Life is short, the financial system's lifetime will be even shorter. Not only can't you take it with you, but soon you won't be able to hold onto it while you are here. Now is the time to enjoy the fruits of your labors. If you feel guilty, email me and I will write you back a forgiveness email. Its ok, enjoy yourself. Speaking of which, I am going to enjoy spring and summer on the farm and then head to Costa Rica for a month with the family this winter.


Dan said...

The one thing that strikes me is that while the tone has become more vicious the substantive differences have become negligible. Look at the policy differences between the Regan/Bush Sr. administration and the Clinton administration; then between the Clinton and Bush Jr. Administrations and finally between the Bush Jr. and Obama Administrations. The policy differences have gone from meaningful and substantive to the point where Obama can be described as Bush Jr’s third term. They projecting hate because it’s all they have to differentiate themselves. Meanwhile, the public is mad as hell because they want real change and there isn’t a damn thing they can do about it.

PioneerPreppy said...

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.

Not unlike pre-revolutionary American colonies really. The founders saw this issue but big government progressives have slowly chipped away at the safeguards the founders put in place to safeguard such things.

Yet the flyover sectionalist also have a deep love for the country and must place their hope somewhere so they join teaparties, libertarian, conservative etc movements and hope for November 2010.

When or if that doesn't work we may see true sectionalism take flight.

Just my somewhat educated (at least in this field) guess.

bureaucrat said...

We have never had this level of debt before in the history of the world, and, like a computer virus, it permeates everything, from the transfer of meaningful jobs to fear that the kids will have a harder life to the widening gulf between the haves and have nots to unfounded accusations that government and business aren't working for us (government is doing EXACTLY what the people want).

It all makes people mean. This is what happens when you live beyond your means on a global scale. This kills civilizations/empires (the Romans come to mind). We all have heard the sayings about debt, and what should be no surprise to anyone, here it is, in living color. The US, Japan, the UK, Europe .. all borrowing/printing currency madly and setting themselves up for asset bubbles and deflationary depressions all around. Bad stuff. 500 years of history has shown this to be near-inevitable -- everything must come to an end sooner or later, so something new can appear and take over.

Anonymous said...

It is all unraveling, fellow Amercans. The only thing keeping the 4 Billion bbls/year coming to US shores is the US military presence in critical areas. Ditto for the international acceptance of the USD as global reserve currency.

If we look back in history to the British Empire, we see that it was the strength of the British financial system that allowed Britain to militarily punch above its weight in the empire game. And also note that the US global empire works similarly- and our financial system is in it's death throes.

So goodbye US global military presence. Goodbye USD global reserve currency. And goodbye massive oil & resource flows to US shores.

Regards, Marshall

Joseph said...

Lets just save the emailing back and forth and why don't you just put a generic (Mr Jones) forgiveness email here.

The thing I keep pondering is how to preserve what little wealth/retirement/whatever that I have. The old history of land and commodities might hold true but the way it is going I'm not sure. Where do I put my measly investments...in country, out of country? Heck the way it is going I'm thinking more about Mr. Sinclair's statement about farming in Tanzania, that is how bad it appears things could get here.

Greg T. Jeffers said...


Who ARE you?! (Certainly not who I thought... just goes to show you.)

That was the most cogent, lucid, well thought and well presented description of one of the big indescribables I have ever read.

A completely accurate, if politically incorrect, assessment of the state of our National identity and politics.

I would really, really, like for you to spend some time and expound on that - perhaps as a guest post. Having grown up in Metro NYC and having lived and worked in Manhattan and South Florida... and then having moved to rural Fly-Over-Land, I cannot tell you have awe struck I am with that observation, and from someone I presume that has not lived on the "other side"?

Anonymous said...

I agree with the sectionalism idea, which can occur within a state. I live in PA, where much of the proposed state laws (including almost yearly draconian gun laws they put forward) comes from "Philly". There they have many big city problems, that don't exist where I live in the boonies.

So each year many people I know get irritated by certain laws mean to be statewide, but don't relate to the lives of farmers. Life is very different here then in Pittsburgh or Philly, having visited both places and ubiquitous laws help to anger people and reaffirm the "liberal city folk" vs. the "redneck country folk" which seems to be played upon in politics.

But I agree with Mr. Jeffer's that many libertarians are really just republicans and fans of big government, just big government they approve of. You can't be truly for "smaller government" and yet support the US being extended militarily in 130 countries and endless spending on "defense"--while most of the redneck types I know around her always carp about Welfare only, when that's not even that big a portion of the federal budgets--unless you include Medicare/SS as "welfare" as well.


oOOo said...

Costa RIca is amazing, we went down there last summer for nearly a month.
Favourite spots were osa peninsula and nicoya peninsula.

westexas said...

"Sometimes I think I am the only normal person left."

I think that most people are going crazy--just at different rates.

Anonymous said...

The elite have themselves boxed into a corner. The game has been run out as far as it can go. People on all sides have the distinct feeling that they have been gamed. And, it's true. Read Mish's piece about Lehman and the FED and the SEC. The government knew what was going on, and all supported it. The bubble got REALLY big since the end of the 90's, but it's been expanding since the mid '70s

Government became addicted to the cash flows from the expanding credit bubble to fund all the promises that it otherwise couldn't keep. Just as the government has addicted tens of millions of Americans to free money, it has become addicted to money created by fraud.

That's why this has turned out as it has. No one at the top had any other political choice. No one can stop pandering without being kicked out of office. No one can raise taxes without being kicked out of office. There are few policy differences from administration to administration because there is only one expedient course: Don't raise taxes, don't cut spending, support the bubble. The credit bubble funded the tax shortfalls, until it didn't. The credit bubble provided the appearance of prosperity until it didn't. It was a bi-partisan agreement; a deal with the devil. People are coming to realize that something VERY wrong has happened, and they are left holding the bag. They are PISSED OFF. Just where to point the anger is still unclear.

All the finger pointers from the left and right are correct, because they are all dirty. It is unclear to me how any of this can be repaired while the same pack of rats is still running things. There was a recent poll that showed that only 20% of Americans trust the government most of the time. It is scary.


Coal Guy

Shamba said...

@ westexas said...
"I think that most people are going crazy--just at different rates.""

I'm particularly crazy tired of always having imminent-or-5-years from-now-financial-collapse/peak oil-really-showing-up-in-a-couple-of-years in my head no matter what I do in my daily life and what conversations I have.

Do I have a few more months to get some work done on the house or should I hide all my cash in a waterproof envelope at the bottom of a litter box with some used litter in it? and is that better than a mattress?!


Greg T. Jeffers said...


You have plenty of time to work on your house. The world will not be coming to an end any time soon.

If you are middle class millionaire, and you are 50+, this is no time to save money IMHO. Better to use it now while it has value. Come your 60's and 70's, it may not.


Dextred1 said...

Bur you are right, everyone feels the government is working against them. I think the reason for this is the fact that the government has overstepped its key functions, defense and equal protection under the law. As the government steps into any market its very presence distorts the indicators. The government creates groups that fight for what they perceive is theirs because by the very nature of this capitalist/socialist hybrid system everyone is getting something (food stamps, earned income, house deduction, etc...). I do not think the tea parties are close to a monolithic group. Some are fighting for welfare of the old (Medicare, social security). Some are Ron Paul Libertarians and others are marginal conservatives and swing between the parties.
People are pissed because it is against our very nature to accept change. Who could not have seen this coming? As the debt rises the unrest will increase from those who want handouts and those who see that if we don’t stop the whole thing will fail. But every empire goes through the same thing before they failed. Not sure who said it "The people go from bondage to spiritual truth, to great courage, from courage to liberty, from liberty to abundance, from abundance to selfishness, from selfishness to complacency, from complacency to apathy, from apathy to dependence, from dependence back again to bondage."

westexas said...

"Do I have a few more months. . . "

I'll let you know in five years--if I'm not too far off the deep end by then.

bureaucrat said...

I think you misunderstood what I said. :) In reality, the American people rely on the U.S. government implicitly. When they feel they have been wronged, when they take a drug they pray to God won't kill them, when they demand their Social Security checks, when they want all the people in Haiti taken care of no matter what the cost, we Feds give them what they want. Since they don't want to pay for all that they want, we have budget deficits. And that's where the big time debt begins.

PioneerPreppy said...


Sorry if this is long, since you made a new post I figured it would be ok to answer you on this one without causing any disruption.

I am no one special. I tried embracing the liberal views of multi-cultural progressiveness etc in my youth. I went so far as to get my BA from a historically black University and continue on with my Masters hoping for a PHD spot at either Wisconsin or Ohio. Those two were then thought of as the premier early American studies Universities for doctorate work. I am sure it has changed now.

Honestly whether anyone wants to believe me or not I was up front told that I was the wrong race and/or gender to be allowed to fill so valuable a spot in any prominent University at that time. It wasn't even hidden as I was told straight up my academic record had zero leverage and these institutions were required to close spots to white males.

Oh well. I took up teaching but quickly learned that if I forced myself to teach the revisionist history I was required to I would either snap and be put in jail or snap and put a gun to my head.

In those days the military was being forced to downsize so there was little chance of my commission being upgraded from USAR and it seemed then and still seems the rush to diversify left little to no opening for me anywhere.

Finally I took a management job with an international software company which required almost constant travel. I did that for years and was just overwhelmed by the number of discrimination complaints and saddened by the number of men who were axed on nothing but the word of another as long as that other was a minority class that is. The company was so afraid that they just fired the man period.

When that company merged I took what I could, turned down the position offered and fled back home to what remained of my families' property and haven't looked back since.

So sorry to bore you but yes I do at least have an MA in American History but liberal arts degrees have been made worthless for some years now. I like to think of myself as the most highly educated forklift driver on earth :)

I guess in the end I played my life like I do the stock market. Once I made enough to lock in profits and had enough to continue on why risk more? I sold what I needed to get back my investment took the money and ran.

If I had been smart I should have followed the path you took. It seems to me the financial world wasn't as saturated as fast as academia.

Greg T. Jeffers said...


Well, I'l be dipped in sh*t. I had you pegged for something a bit different... my sectionalist prejudices, me thinks... but after reading your first comment herein it dawned on me that you had had some sort of formal training and education in either history or political science, so the MA in history makes sense.

Your experiences are yours alone to interpret, I have nothing to add... other than to say that if you are correct in you interpretation of your professional environments it is politically and socially unacceptable to mention or discuss openly in most forums.

I went to work on Wall Street because it was a 50 cent (back then) subway ride away. Just luck.

Greg T. Jeffers said...


Living in South Florida we traveled to South and Central America quite a bit.

I love Costa Rica - I could EASILY see myself living there in my "golden years", starting next year.

PioneerPreppy said...


All good, and I did catch the hint. No worries I just interpret things as the product of feminism and let it go these days.

I just see cheap energy as the horse that allowed it all to ride in on. This is what brought me to your site and although we disagree on some social issues I noted your honest and knowledgeable observations in several areas so I became a follower.

It seems in a way we have both come to the same type of view on our own private utopia which are strikingly close as in the land, small scale farming etc. even the chosen areas are relatively close geographically. Yet I renounce PCness completely but in my own defense I am just anti-feminist not any other kind of IST.

As a student of history I am interested in how this turns out but my days of being a player in society are over.

Love reading your blog though!!!

Greg T. Jeffers said...


I said MOST forums. Not THIS forum. I encourage all comments from reasonable people that not just trying to get a rise out of someone. Clearly, you are not running for office, or seeking a government job... so you are saying what is on your mind. Right or wrong, the very people that wish to discourage and censure you NEED to hear your point of view (and you, theirs).

A former commissioned officer who is white that went to a "Black College" and majored in history, went through a divorce, lost custody, gained custody... sounds to me like somebody that has some experiences that are worth listening too _ EVEN IF WE DON"T LIKE YOUR CONCLUSIONS.

The only hint you should take from me is to speak your mind truthfully as you see it.

Anonymous said...


Concerning revisionist history, my daughter at BU was told by her American History prof that all American history before the Civil War was irrelevant and that the thought and philosophy that resulted in the Constitution was obsolete. Too bad there is no effective way at present to fight that disease.


Coal Guy

Dextred1 said...

Yeah read your post again, maybe I got two mixed together. :)

PioneerPreppy said...


Yes attitudes like you speak of and others are what drove me away from main stream academia and teaching.