“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Monday, January 21, 2008

Nato Chooses to Win.

The west must be ready to resort to a pre-emptive nuclear attack to try to halt the "imminent" spread of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction, according to a radical manifesto for a new Nato by five of the west's most senior military officers and strategists. Pre-emptive nuclear strike a key option, Nato told

"Forward, the Light Brigade!"
Was there a man dismay'd?
Not tho' the soldier knew
Someone had blunder'd:
Their's not to make reply,
Their's not to reason why,
Their's but to do and die:
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred."

Ian Traynor in Brussels

Tuesday January 22, 2008
The Guardian

Calling for root-and-branch reform of Nato and a new pact drawing the US, Nato and the European Union together in a "grand strategy" to tackle the challenges of an increasingly brutal world, the former armed forces chiefs from the US, Britain, Germany, France and the Netherlands insist that a "first strike" nuclear option remains an "indispensable instrument" since there is "simply no realistic prospect of a nuclear-free world".

The manifesto has been written following discussions with active commanders and policymakers, many of whom are unable or unwilling to publicly air their views. It has been presented to the Pentagon in Washington and to Nato's secretary general, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, over the past 10 days. The proposals are likely to be discussed at a Nato summit in Bucharest in April.
"The risk of further [nuclear] proliferation is imminent and, with it, the danger that nuclear war fighting, albeit limited in scope, might become possible," the authors argued in the 150-page blueprint for urgent reform of western military strategy and structures. "The first use of nuclear weapons must remain in the quiver of escalation as the ultimate instrument to prevent the use of weapons of mass destruction."

The authors - General John Shalikashvili, the former chairman of the US joint chiefs of staff and Nato's ex-supreme commander in Europe, General Klaus Naumann, Germany's former top soldier and ex-chairman of Nato's military committee, General Henk van den Breemen, a former Dutch chief of staff, Admiral Jacques Lanxade, a former French chief of staff, and Lord Inge, field marshal and ex-chief of the general staff and the defence staff in the UK - paint an alarming picture of the threats and challenges confronting the west in the post-9/11 world and deliver a withering verdict on the ability to cope.

The five commanders argue that the west's values and way of life are under threat, but the west is struggling to summon the will to defend them. The key threats are:

· Political fanaticism and religious fundamentalism.

· The "dark side" of globalisation, meaning international terrorism, organised crime and the spread of weapons of mass destruction.

· Climate change and energy security, entailing a contest for resources and potential "environmental" migration on a mass scale.

· The weakening of the nation state as well as of organisations such as the UN, Nato and the EU.

To prevail, the generals call for an overhaul of Nato decision-taking methods, a new "directorate" of US, European and Nato leaders to respond rapidly to crises, and an end to EU "obstruction" of and rivalry with Nato. Among the most radical changes demanded are:

· A shift from consensus decision-taking in Nato bodies to majority voting, meaning faster action through an end to national vetoes.

· The abolition of national caveats in Nato operations of the kind that plague the Afghan campaign.

· No role in decision-taking on Nato operations for alliance members who are not taking part in the operations.

· The use of force without UN security council authorisation when "immediate action is needed to protect large numbers of human beings".

In the wake of the latest row over military performance in Afghanistan, touched off when the US defence secretary, Robert Gates, said some allies could not conduct counter-insurgency, the five senior figures at the heart of the western military establishment also declare that Nato's future is on the line in Helmand province.

"Nato's credibility is at stake in Afghanistan," said Van den Breemen.

"Nato is at a juncture and runs the risk of failure," according to the blueprint.

Naumann delivered a blistering attack on his own country's performance in Afghanistan. "The time has come for Germany to decide if it wants to be a reliable partner." By insisting on "special rules" for its forces in Afghanistan, the Merkel government in Berlin was contributing to "the dissolution of Nato".

Ron Asmus, head of the German Marshall Fund thinktank in Brussels and a former senior US state department official, described the manifesto as "a wake-up call". "This report means that the core of the Nato establishment is saying we're in trouble, that the west is adrift and not facing up to the challenges."

Naumann conceded that the plan's retention of the nuclear first strike option was "controversial" even among the five authors. Inge argued that "to tie our hands on first use or no first use removes a huge plank of deterrence".

Reserving the right to initiate nuclear attack was a central element of the west's cold war strategy in defeating the Soviet Union. Critics argue that what was a productive instrument to face down a nuclear superpower is no longer appropriate.

Robert Cooper, an influential shaper of European foreign and security policy in Brussels, said he was "puzzled".

"Maybe we are going to use nuclear weapons before anyone else, but I'd be wary of saying it out loud."

Another senior EU official said Nato needed to "rethink its nuclear posture because the nuclear non-proliferation regime is under enormous pressure".

Naumann suggested the threat of nuclear attack was a counsel of desperation. "Proliferation is spreading and we have not too many options to stop it. We don't know how to deal with this."

Nato needed to show "there is a big stick that we might have to use if there is no other option", he said.

The Authors:

John Shalikashvili

The US's top soldier under Bill Clinton and former Nato commander in Europe, Shalikashvili was born in Warsaw of Georgian parents and emigrated to the US at the height of Stalinism in 1952. He became the first immigrant to the US to rise to become a four-star general. He commanded Operation Provide Comfort in northern Iraq at the end of the first Gulf war, then became Saceur, Nato's supreme allied commander in Europe, before Clinton appointed him chairman of the joint chiefs in 1993, a position he held until his retirement in 1997.

Klaus Naumann

Viewed as one of Germany's and Nato's top military strategists in the 90s, Naumann served as his country's armed forces commander from 1991 to 1996 when he became chairman of Nato's military committee. On his watch, Germany overcame its post-WWII taboo about combat operations, with the Luftwaffe taking to the skies for the first time since 1945 in the Nato air campaign against Serbia.

Lord Inge

Field Marshal Peter Inge is one of Britain's top officers, serving as chief of the general staff in 1992-94, then chief of the defence staff in 1994-97. He also served on the Butler inquiry into Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction and British intelligence.

Henk van den Breemen

An accomplished organist who has played at Westminster Abbey, Van den Breemen is the former Dutch chief of staff.

Jacques Lanxade

A French admiral and former navy chief who was also chief of the French defence staff.


  1. On a lighter note: Look at the he SAC patch on the left with the mailed fist and olive branch projecting from the lower cloud. Doesn't that look like a B52 going down?

  2. Of course what jumps out at one is this--

    "The first use of nuclear weapons must remain in the quiver of escalation as the ultimate instrument to prevent the use of weapons of mass destruction."

    I'm plowing through the Federalist papers. Never read them before.
    Hamilton was talking about this problem of collective defense and vetos etc, illustating with old German and other European examples, as also the Greek states. I'll try to find the relevant passages and stick 'em up.

    Does kind of have a B-52 look to it now that you mention it.

  3. So we're talking about the first use of nukes, but Bolton still thinks we ought to get the job down conventionally while we can--

    Israel may have to take military action against Iran: Bolton

    Former US ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton said on Monday that Israel may have to take military action to prevent its archfoe Iran from acquiring an atomic bomb.
    Bolton also said that further UN sanctions against the Islamic republic will be ineffective in stopping Iran's controversial nuclear programme which Israel and the US believe is aimed at developing a bomb -- a claim denied by Tehran.

    "One can say with some assurance that in the next year the use of force by the United States is highly unlikely," Bolton told AFP on the sidelines of the Herzliya conference on the balance of Israel's national security.

    "That increases the pressure on Israel in that period of time... if it feels Iran is on the verge of acquiring that capability, it brings the decision point home to use force," he said.

    The hawkish former diplomat said that after a US intelligence report published late last year that claimed Iran had suspended a nuclear weapons programme in 2003, the US was unlikely to take military action against it.

    "The pressure is on Israel now after the National Intelligence Estimate because, I think, the likelihood of American use of force has been dramatically reduced," he said.

    Widely considered the Middle East's sole if undeclared nuclear power, Israel considers Iran its number one enemy following repeated statements by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for the Jewish state to be wiped off the map.

    Bolton said that military action against Iran should be taken before Tehran acquires a bomb.

    "The calculus in the region changes dramatically once Iran has nuclear capability, meaning the preemptive use of force or the overthrow of the Iranian regime has to come before they get the weapon," Bolton said.

    "If you are worried about an Iran with nuclear weapons and an extreme theological regime in power, the time to take the plan of action is before Iran acquires the weapons.

    "Once it acquires the weapons there is a risk of retaliation with nuclear capability and that's why Israel is in danger -- it is a very small country and two or three nuclear weapons (and) there is no more country. The pressure to act is intensive and the window of time available is narrow."

    Bolton also said that despite Iranian threats to hit hard if it is attacked, "their response will be a lot more measured than people think."

    Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert last week said that all options were on the table to prevent an Iranian bomb. The Israeli military last week also successfully test-fired a ballistic missile said to be able to carry a non-conventional warhead.

    Bolton said that a new round of United Nations Security Council sanctions against Iran was "unlikely" and that Tehran would not be deterred by further diplomatic sanctions.

    "Maybe there will be another resolution but it will be even more toothless than the previous two sanction resolutions... International pressure through diplomacy of sanction has no chance of shifting Iran's policies over the next year."

    A senior Israeli security official said in reaction that "one should listen very closely to what Bolton has to say."

  4. When do the Saudis take possession of their new weapons systems?

  5. "If the nation happens, on any emergency, to be more united by the necessity of self-defence, its situation is still deplorable. Military preparations must be prceded by so many tedious discusions, arising from the jealousies, pride, separate views, and clashing pretensions of sovereign bodies, that before the diet can settle the arrangements, the enemy are in the field; and before the federal troops are ready to take it, are retiring into winter quarters."
    Hamilton, Federalist 19, speaking of the old German confederation. Substitute NATO, the EU and the USA for 'nation' in the above, and add nukes, and it seems about right. He is arguing of course for a strong central authority that can do something, can act.

  6. If NATO wants to act, they had best get control of their NATO Intelligence Estimates., and the people who write them. Slim chance, I'd think. Instead of using a small stick when that might be all that is needed, they talk about going nuclear, to prevent nuclear war.

  7. C'mon boys, it's Festival Time right here in New York City. I a-sure-ya it hurts.

  8. interesting people, don't approve of CIA renditions or waterboarding, but...

  9. The inevitable consequence of Empire.

  10. Rockwell, in the above link, gives a very good and informative lecture on Empire. Well worth watching.

  11. That thunderbolt on the patch puts me in mind of the following passage--

    "Virococha,(pre-Incan deity) therefore, in this manner of manifesting his ubiquity, participates in the character of the highest of the universal gods. Furthermore his synthesis of sun-god and storm-god is familiar. We know it through the Hebrew mythology of Yahweh, in whom the traits of two gods are united (Yahweh, a storm-god, and El, a solar); it is apparent in the Navaho personification of the father of the Twin Warriors; it is obvious in the character of Zeus, as well as in the thunderbolt and halo of certain forms of the Buddha image. The meaning is that the grace that pours into the universe through the sun door is the same as the energy of the bolt that annihilates and is itself indestructible: the delusion-shattering light of the Imperishable is the same as the light that creates. Or again, in terms of a secondary polarity of nature: the fire blazing in the sun glows also in the fertilizing storm; the energy behind the elemental pair of opposites, fire and water, is one and the same." J. Campbell

    And thou art that.

  12. Of what was Bill Clinton dreaming when he fell asleep at the Martin Luther King ceremony?


  13. Bob,

    Israel repeatedly said that Iran is a job it cannot and will not handle alone. If NATO countries do not want their cities eliminated by Jihadi nukes, they better consider a more active role in eliminating the spread of Jihadi nukes.

    Dreams are fine and good, but dreaming is not.


  14. "interesting people, don't approve of CIA renditions or waterboarding, but..."
    Yeah, Medved's Bigfoot, and AlBob's many "Late Nite" fantasies rank higher on my personal believability scale.

    Bush has ushered in the Era of the Inevitable Unacceptable.
    ...what is deemed unacceptable inevitably becomes the New Reality.

    Thus Nuke Proliferation is Inevitable, given that it is now Highly Unacceptable.

    Post Bush Reality Rules!

  15. The only thing more unreal than Post Bush Reality is Mat's continuing faith in the man!

  16. President Compassionate Strangelove.

  17. What would be cool would be to spike the Celebratory Ashura Tea with Cleaning Strength Heparin ala the Quaid Twins.

    Let the Flagellation Begin Boys!
    Followed by a Texas Magnitude Bleedout.

  18. Great Post and excellent Federalists comments bobal.

    If Nato isn't an entangling alliance, I don't know what is. Look what its gotten us into in Afghanistan. Partners in Peace in the war zone. Makes sense doesn't it?

    1. The Nato allies are being cajoled to man-up and pull their weight in Afghanistan lest Helmand be lost.
    2. Pervez Musharraf, et al (the world), are being put on notice about a possible future if fundies get control of Paki nukes.

  19. It's a warning that says, "Just because we're a little light on manpower, don't think we won't go nuclear."

    Of course, there are only two situations which merit that threat. Nuts with nukes in Pakistan and Iran.

    I don't believe any Democrat candidate would have the cajones to make the threat work.

  20. NATO, cut free of the apron of the member nations. The US votes no, but the Europeans vote yes, committing US to supporting the unintended consequences of a NATO nuclear strike.

    Nuclear weaponry outside the political veto system, in the hands of NATO "deciders". Elected by no one, supplied by US, without a veto on the weapons use.

    NATO holding those weapons & delivery systems outside the US command structure.

    That NATO deployment already considered by some nations to put US in violation of the NonProliferation Treaty. Allowing an armed up AND independent NATO would seem to confirm that persepective as accurate.

    Let's diminish US soverignty to secure a stronger NATO, a position supported by "conservatives", at the EB?

    You guys aren't really serious about that, are you?

  21. Also explains why the Russians said they would not rule out a preemtive nuclear strike, if NATO was about to debate the same program.
    Intel security at NATO, leaking like a sieve.

  22. This comment has been removed by the author.

  23. The Federalist Papers were refering to the challenges of vetos within a Nation State, bob.

    This would diminish the soverignty of every member nation in NATO, making NATO a Nation State, independent of its' component parts. Like the Federal Government is independent of Idaho or Arizona.

    A position well beyond its' previous Mission Statements. The North Atlantic Nation State, ruled by military buerocrats. Independent of veto by the member States.

    A Union of States, a new United States of the North Atlantic.

    While a North American Union riles the sensabilities? When a NAU is not even miltarily provocative or independent?

  24. The Globalists:
    "La SuperRaza!"

  25. "The first use of nuclear weapons must remain in the quiver of escalation as the ultimate instrument to prevent the use of weapons of mass destruction."

    geee that's brilliant, we gotta use nukes so nukes don't get used...

    almost as brilliant as Bush's not so famous line:

    "I believe the role of the military is to fight and win war and, therefore, prevent war from happening in the first place."

    Bloody muddled thinking...

  26. In the continued battle for the mind of the Americas ...

    Might Google Buy the New York Times?
    John Ellis

    In the last five years, the New York Times has declined in value by an astonishing 70 percent. There is no indication that things will get better any time soon. Indeed, as the specter of recession looms, there is every reason to believe that things will get worse. At some point here in the near future, the market capitalization of the New York Times will fall below $2 billion. At that point, a psychological floor will have collapsed and the company will be in play.

    If you're interested in the Information Wars, this is an informative article.

  27. rat, pertaining to VICTORY, here is an article you will probably find conforms to your view of things but to call it Victory and thus the troops come marching home, well...

    :While the American public is consumed by the campaign for the presidency, the American military is not. It still has to deal with a host of problems in Iraq that officers say may be more intractable now than ever before. Claims that the "surge" is working are "ludicrous", the officers tell Mark Perry. What is working is the military's strategy of engagement with Iraq's disaffected Sunnis and tribal leaders - a strategy that from 2003 to 2007 was stymied at every turn by the White House and State Department"

  28. Last week we said:..."I listened to the President's talk about a stimulus package and it sounded a little too much of the "my way or the highway" tone to it. The market must have felt the same and the nice gain in the morning headed south of Crawford. Why can't he pick up the phone and have the Europeans, Brits and the US Central Bank all notch a point off the interest rates? That would neutralize the currency swing and put some juice into the economy."

    The fed shaved 3/4 this morning, shy a 1/4, and the Euros nothing as yet. We shall see.

  29. Do you get the sense that the Fed and the Admin are Panicking? I do.

  30. Victory, ash, is defined by US, in the US.

    As long as habu is arguing the US has turned the corner and has won, that'll be more than enough for most.

    Sending Sharia lawyers, guns & money. That'll get US out of this.

    The real problem, duece, is that the economies are juiced up, already. Pouring more gas on the fire, is like fighting the proliferation of nuclear weapons by launching nuclear weapons.

    Somewhat oximoronic.

    Housing prices boomed because real estate is real. Just like gold and oil. That real estate is also as much a financial instrument as a commodity does not invalidate the underlaying real values, in inflated dollars, but makes the market more subject to financing bubbles than gold or oil.

    To pump more liquidity into the market may alliviate some short term headlines but will only increase the long term instability of the dollar.

  31. Hope your security interview goes well, cutler.

    Beyond that, it all depends on the person who processes your file. Somewhat subjective at that end, but thoroughly, bureaucratically impersonal.

    I'll light the Virgin Mother candle.

    For you and our mutual funds. Though the mutual funds probably need St. Rita, the patron saint of desperate causes. Have to go hunting for that one.

  32. Shang Dow Energy, in Hong Kong.
    That's China ...
    I just bought two hundred shares, is that COOL, or what!

    An advertisment on FOX News, globalizing the US investor, is that cool, or what?

    With the markets there in free fall and the investments not regulated by the SEC, is that cool or what?

    Suck a few billion more out of hapless US consumers, is that cool, or what!

  33. I hear the strained cry of Kevin Bacon as the young ROTC cadet in the Animal House finale: All is well! All is well!

  34. When faced with the steady deterioration of the US dollar (a few years back) I found it very handy, and profitable, to buy funds of Chinese companies. Now, contrarian that I am, I'm thinking there might be some deals in the US.

  35. "Rockwell, in the above link, gives a very good and informative lecture on Empire."

    Inveigh I did endlessly against empire; you barflies start touting Rockwell at the moment I go abroad to be its amiable shill.

    That hardly seems fair.

  36. I'm thinking there might be some deals in the US.

    Tue Jan 22, 10:47:00 AM EST

    Absolutely, ash, if you're thinking reasonably long term. Buying opportunity.

  37. One downside risk continues to be the downward trend of the dollar with the recent actions of the Fed and Admin/Congress (stimulus in spades) coupled with never ending war (time to surge in Afghanistan as well) fanning the flames of currency risk. Of course, the US dollar being the standard exchange currency mitigates that risk but the Euro could replace it if the deterioration continues (why sell oil in ever fading dollars when Euros remain stable?)

  38. For that matter look at it from the point of those that have vs. those that don't. If you are a lender, why lend in a currency where you get those dollars back worth less - answer if it gets a good yield (higher interest rate). If things are really unstable then there is less risk in dealing with something that is more stable. The current administration has talked stable dollar but acted to weaken it.

  39. What would Ronald Reagan do?

    But ride out the recession, killing inflation, while withdrawing from active US military particpation in the sectarian wars of the Middle East.

    Which is what he did do.
    In both cases.
    Lest we forget.

  40. Bush will use this opportunity to try to get some Capital Goods "Expensing" Relief through. That's really good. He'll give up a little one-year tax revenue to get this done. I like the plan.

    The 3/4 cut this morning was Really, Really Good. One more, and the Fed can sit back, and let the scenario play out. Let's hope.

  41. It might be a little "too early," but I'm starting to like This One. General Motors Corp

    I like the direction they're heading on biofuels. They're ahead of the Japs on this one.

  42. In botanical news---

    Antananarivo, Madagascar AP--

    A self-destructing palm tree that flowers once every 100 years and then dies has been discovered on the Indian Ocean island of Madagascar, botanists said Thursday.

    The name of the giant palm and its remarkable life cycle will be detailed in a study by Kew Gardens scientists in the Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society published Thursday.

    "It's spectacular. It does not flower for maybe 100 years and when it's like this it can be mistaken for other types of palm," said Mijoro Rakotoarinivo, who works for the London botanical gardens in Madagascar.

    "But then a large shoot, a bit like an asparagus, grows out of the top of the tree and starts to spread. You get something that looks a bit like a Christmas tree growing out of the top of the palm," he said.

    The branches of this shoot then become covered in hundreds of tiny white flowers that ooze with nectar, attracting insects and birds.

    But the effort of flowering and fruiting depletes the tree so much that within a few months it collapses and dies.

    Sorta spawns out, like a salmon.

  43. In the struggle for lebensraum, you'd think a palm that reproduced only once in a hundred years wouldn't stand much of a chance, against all those other friskier palms. It must have an 'ace' up it's sleeve somehow. Maybe disease resistant. Kind of a neat plant, very poetic.

  44. Deere looks to have doubled in the last two years, Rufus. Once the farmers get done replacing their old machinery, sales may drop off.

  45. Just shows to go you Bob, that if you do it "right," you don't have to do it "often."

  46. Maybe, Bob; but, I'm thinking this "cellulosic" thing will bring demand for a whole new crop of equipment.

  47. The Economist--

    Flashing red
    Jan 21st 2008

    Why markets tumbled

    IT APPEARS to be an old-fashioned case of risk aversion. Stockmarkets are plunging (the FTSE 100 was down more than 300 points, or 5% just after noon in London, on Monday January 21st), commodity prices are dropping and investors are flocking to the safety of government bonds and currencies like the Swiss franc and yen. Speculative bonds now yield seven percentage points more than US Treasuries, the highest spread since April 2003.

    For some, this merely represents a case of stockmarkets catching up with reality. It is now a year since the subprime crisis first emerged. In that time central banks have cut interest rates, investment banks have announced big write-offs and various rescue packages have been suggested. But the end of the crisis is not yet in sight. Indeed, another leg of the debt crisis may be under way, if problems of monoline debt-insurers (an obscure but important bunch who guarantee the timely repayment of bond principal and interest when the issuer defaults) are not contained. If the American economy is not now in recession, it is close enough not to make a practical difference to sentiment.

    For much of past year equity investors knew those salient facts but chose instead to take comfort from three more bullish factors. First was that the Federal Reserve would rescue both the markets and the economy, as it has done so often before. Second, even if the American economy faltered, the rest of the world (particularly Asia) could take up the burden of producing global growth. Third, given the global picture, corporate profits could stay high.

    All three assumptions are now coming under question. Although the Fed may cut rates this month, it can take 12-18 months for the effects of monetary policy to boost the economy. On the issue of decoupling, it is not clear that either Europe or Japan can escape America’s gravitational pull. The latest data on Singapore (slowing exports and a decline in fourth-quarter GDP) suggest that other parts of Asia might not escape either. It is significant that emerging markets, which had been outperforming their developed brethren in recent months, are now starting to underperform. On Monday Hong Kong suffered its worst loss since September 11th 2001. As they review the evidence of decoupling analysts are cutting their profit forecasts.

    An indication of the change in sentiment came when America's administration announced plans for a fiscal stimulus on Friday. In good times, that would have kick-started a market rally; in the current mood, the package was seen as a sign of desperation.

    Share prices have now fallen far enough that European indices are in bear market territory having dropped 20% from their peaks. Indices for smaller stocks in Britain have fallen by a similar amount. However, it takes more than just a big percentage fall for a bear market to be officially under way; the decline also needs to be long-lasting (the 2000-02 decline was a classic example).

    The markets have had short-term 20% declines in the past (1998, for instance) only to rebound quickly. Indeed, what was remarkable about the long bull run from March 2003 to June 2007 was that it occurred without any such corrections.

    Share prices have fallen so far and so fast that an attempt at a rally seems almost inevitable. What may determine if this is a correction or a bear market is whether that rally can be sustained for more than a day or two.
    Monoline debt insurers--never heard of those fellows before. Maybe that was what Bill Clinton was dreaming about. Nah.

  48. I'm abettin that when "Ol Bill" dreams, it ain't about the "Stock Market."

  49. John Shalikashvili
    Klaus Naumann
    Lord Inge
    Henk van den Breemen
    Jacques Lanxade

    Not your average neo-cons, maybe a little cold warrior-ish. Very interesting indeed. These are not the sort of folks to normally make waves.

    Their strategy is pretty much fortress NATO - with preemptive interventions as required. The bit on nukes was wibbling about principlesn ot the actual strategy, of course the MSM seized on it
    Nuclear escalation is the ultimate step in responding asymmetrically, and at the same time the most powerful way of inducing uncertainty in an opponent’s mind.
    It is important, furthermore, to have dominance over the opponent’s
    ability to calculate his risks. It is a very important element of strategy to keep things unpredictable for the opponent,
    who must never be able to know, or calculate, what action we will take. It is essential to maintain this dimension of psychological warfare by instilling fear in an opponent, to retain an element of surprise and thus deny him the opportunity of calculating the risk.

    Interestingly, they also observe the same source civilizational problems that the EB typically bemoans.

    There is also the more philosophic problem of the rise of the irrational – the discounting of
    the rational. Though seemingly abstract, this problem is demonstrated in deeply practical
    ways. There are soft examples, such as the cult of celebrity, which demonstrate the decline of
    reason. And then there are the harder examples, such as the decline of respect for logical
    argument and evidence, a drift away from science in a civilisation that is deeply technological. The ultimate example is the rise of religious fundamentalism, which, as political fanaticism, presents itself as the only source of certainty.

    • Finally, there is what one might refer to as – despite all its benefits – the dark side of globalisation. Interconnectedness has its drawbacks. These include internationalised terrorism, organised crime and the proliferation of weapons
    of mass destruction, but also asymmetric threats
    from proxy actors or the abuse of financial and energy leverage. Migration continues to provide
    challenges across the world. And dramatic diseases such as HIV/AIDS and SARS have the potential to spread around the world faster than
    ever before.

  50. Doug,

    I've noticed the MSM is much kinder to Bush, even up here in Canada. So Bush must be doing something right. Though, I wonder what that something might be.

  51. THIS is Interesting.

    First U.S. Company to feed methane from waste directly into the power grid. Europe's been doing this for awhile.

    My mental stumbling (it's nowhere Near, Calisthenics) leads me to think that a cow puts out about a dollar's worth of methane/day.

    Rat, how much feed does a dairy cow eat in a day?

  52. And then there are the harder examples, such as the decline of respect for logical
    argument and evidence, a drift away from science in a civilisation that is deeply technological. The ultimate example is the rise of religious fundamentalism, which, as political fanaticism, presents itself as the only source of certainty.

    Oswald Spengler, in 'The Decline of the West' said that after the third worlders get done killing the goose that laid the golden egg(the west) things will drift back to 'fellaheenism', his term for what might best be illustrated as rural Afghanistan.

    "And of all these warnings and pronouncements, that of Spenler was the most disquieting. For it was based on the concept of an organic pattern in the life course of a civilization, a morphology of history: the idea that every culture has its period of youth, its period of culmination, its years then of beginning to totter with age and of striving to hold itself together by means of rational planning, projects, and organization, only finally to terminate in decrepitude, petrifaction, what Spengler called "fellaheenism," and no more life. Moreover, in this view of Spengler's, we were at present on the point of passing from what he called the period of Culture to Civilization, which is to say, from our periods of youthful, spontaneous, and wonderful creativity to those of uncertainty and anxiety, conttived programs, and the beginning of the end. When he sought for analogies in the classical world, our moment today corresponded, he found, to that of the late second century B.C., the time of the Carthaginian Wars, and decline of the culture-world of Greece into Hellenism, and the rise of the military state of Rome, Caesarism, and what he termed the Second Religiousness, politics based on providing bread and circuses to the megalpolitan masses, and a general trend to violence and brutality in the arts and partimes of the people.

    Well, I can tell you, it has been for me something of a life experience to have watched the not so gradual coming into fulfillment in this world of every bit of what Spengler promised. I can remember how we used to sit around and discuss this looming prospect, trying to imagine how it might be beaten back, and trying to guess what the positive features might be of this period of crisis and transition. Spengler had declated that in periods like ours, of the passing from Culture to Civilization, there is a dropping off and away of the Culture forms: and indeed, in my own teaching I am today encounering more and more students who profess to find the whole history of our Western Culture "irrelevant." That is the brush-off term they use. The "kids" ( as they like to call themselves) seem to lack the energy to encompass it all and press on. One notes, or at least at times suspects, a kind of failure of heart, a loss of nerve. But then, one can also regard their situation fromn another point of view and consider the concatenation of new problems now to be faced, new facts and influences to be absorbed. One might then conclude that heir energies are perhaps being directed to an expandind present and problematical future and, in line with Spengler's concept, recognize that in this period Western man is not only dropping the culture forms of the past but also shaping the civilization forms that are to build and support a mighty multicultural future.

    There was another German culture-historian also writing in those days, Leo Frobenius, who, like Spengler, conceived of culture and civilization in morphological terms as a kind of organic, unfolding process of irreversible inevitability. He was, however, an Africanist and anthropologist, and so included in his purview not only the higher civilizations but also the primitive, his leading concept being of three distinct great stages in the total development of the culture history of mankind. The first was of the primitive food-foragers, hunters and planting villagers, non-literate, greatly various, and of a time span extending from the first emergence of our species on this earth to in some quarters the very present. The second, commencing ca. 3500 B.C.was of the monumental cultures, literate and complex--first of Mesopotamia and Egypt, then Greece and Rome, India, China and Japan, Middle and South America, the Magian-Arabic Levant, and Gothic to modern Europe. And now, finally, comes stage three, of this greatly promising, dawning global age, which Frobenius looked upon as probably the final phase of mankind's total culture history, but to last, possibly, for many tens of thousand of years. That is to say, what Spengler was interpreting as the end of the Western culture cycle Frobenius saw in a very much larger prospect as the opening of a new age of boundless horizons. And indeed, the presnt season of the coming together of all the formerly separate culture worlds may well mark not only the end of the hegemony of the West but also the beginning of an age of mankind, united and supported by the great Western gifts of science and the machine--without which no such age as our own could ever have come to pass.

    However, the darker vision of Spengler foresees only desolation here, too. For science and the machine are in his view expressions of the mentality of Western man, which are being taken over by non-Western peoples only as a means by which to undo and destroy the West. And when this killing of the goose that lays the golden eggs will have been accomplished, there will be no further development either of science or of industry, but a loss of competence and even of interest in both, with a resultant decline in technology and return of the various peoples to their local styles; the world then but a broken dream. In contrast, Frobenius saw the present as an epoch of irreversile advance in the one life course of the entire human race, here passing from its youthful, locally bounded stages of cultual growths to a new and general future of as yet unforeseen creative insights and realizations. But I must confess that while in my own thinking it is to the later view that I incline, I cannot quite get that other, of Spengler, out of my mind....."
    J. Campbell

  53. :0) Talking of sewage treatment plants, Rufus, ours blew up here three days ago. Hell of a bang, and the paper today said the plant is totally destroyed, caused by a build up of methane and natural gas used in the process of breaking the turds down. So far, no 'don't take a crap order' has been issued by the City, but I don't know what's going to happen. They got to sanitize that sewage water before dumping it in the river, or the Feds and State will on their ass.

  54. Bob,

    Have you had chance to watch the video in which Rockwell gives his lecture on the inevitable consequence of Empire? There's a very strong correlation between the trend and consequences of Empire, and the trend towards the end of civilization, I think.

    I would argue that though the consequences of Empire are inevitable, the trend to Empire is not. We just need to correctly understand and perceive where we stand, and correctly understand and perceive where we're going.

  55. Gee, Bob; I wonder if that happens often. It sounds like a Great Opportunity for the town to develop another revenue stream (horrible pun, totally unintended.)

  56. Mat, I'm worried about where I will take my next crap, and you talk of civilization and its discontents. It's cold out there in the bushes.:)

    I haven't watched the video, but will do it now.

  57. Frobenius would look on the bright side, and probably say, empire is just the coming together of all mankind, a slow inexorable process.

    One sewage plant explosion, I'm back to "fellaheenism."!

  58. Bob, in the bushes, are you? What, and who, you hiding there? :D

  59. This is the solution to your poop problem, bob.

    16% Dairymen's Choice
    For Lactating and Non-Lactating Dairy Cattle
    Growing Heifers, Bulls, and Dairy Beef
    more than 12 months of age.
    Average wieght 1,300 lbs

    This high energy dairy ration contains soybean hulls which are highly digestible and palatable and stimulate the rumen to absorb maximum nutrients in rations and silage. The result is increased milk production.

    Crude Protein, not less than 16.00%
    Crude Fat, not less than 4.00%
    Crude Fiber, not more than 12.00%
    ADF, not more than 13.00%
    Calcium, not less than 0.75%
    Calcium, not more than 1.25%
    Phosphorus, not less than 0.50%
    Selenium, not less than 0.10 ppm
    Vitamin A, not less than 5,000 IU/LB

    -Feeding Directions-

    Feed at the rate of 1.5 to 2.5 pounds per 100 pounds of body weight at two feedings. This is not a complete ration, and must be fed with a minimum of 1.5 pounds of roughage per 100 pounds per body weight per day. Provide adequate fresh water at all times.

    Availability: 5/32" Pellets, bulk only.

    5.5 to 7 Lbs per 100 live weight
    78 to 86 lbs per day.

  60. Feed at the rate of 1.5 to 2.5 pounds per 100 pounds of body weight at two feedings.

    Rat, this, almost, sounds like the feed (apprx. 2 lb/100 bodyweight) ration should be "Split" between two feedings, not PER feeding. 50 to 60 lbs of high nutrient feed/day just seems like an awful lot.

  61. That's like the old chamberpots folks used to use in winter around here, Rat. Beats walking out to the outhouse on a cold mid-winters night.

    Here is a good picture of a little erosion on a typical field around here that was farmed without any soil conservation methods applied. Soil worked up fine, then planted in the fall. This article makes the problem out to be worse than it is in my view. Lots of progress has been made. Even the erosion in the picture isn't much put against what it used to be in some places. These scientists got to have something to work on. Course, they got to throw in that part about developing farmland out of existence, which is non-sense when we have millions of acres in the CRP.

  62. See that dark strip by the road? Guy's grain drill isn't working right, or he ran out of seed in that portion of the seed drill.

  63. Never drink and drill. End up with a zebra field.

  64. On the other hand; given the 7 - 10 gallons of milk that one can give in a day, I Guess Not. Whew!

  65. Do not really know much about dairy cattle,

    I figured it both ways, myself, coming to the conclusion of 1.5 to 2.5 twice a day.
    If you went with 2.5 of supplement once a day and 2 lbs of roughage

    Figure 4.5 lbs per 100 live weight
    between roughage and supplemental feed. 1,200 to 1,300 lbs.

    60 lbs a day.

  66. I think I read that something like 76% of the Midwest Corn Crop is grown by "No-Till" methods. The number goes up by about 1.5% every year. When no-till is used the topsoil actually grows a bit every year.

  67. George Bush's buddies are behind this catastrophic soil loss through erosion.
    And as usual, the first to suffer will be hispanics, women, the poor, blacks, and the lesbian, bi, gay, transgendered communities.

  68. That's really a shitty deal up in Lewiston!

  69. "We just need to correctly understand and perceive where we stand, and correctly understand and perceive where we're going."
    Piece o Cake!
    Now back to my revolutionary reformulation of Eienstein's Flawed Theory of Relativity.

  70. Ash, Tue Jan 22, 09:01:00 AM EST:

    What he meant to say was:
    "Peace, through Strength."

  71. Here's a solution to the present financial crisis:

  72. Most excellent Ash!

    Depiction of illegals jumping the border:

    "Gateway to servitude."

    A fitting tribute to big business's final triumph over organized labor!

  73. Mat's off to Oz, to fight for Aboriginal Rights!
    You Go, Mat!
    Australia Bans Pornography & Alcohol For Aborgines

  74. 'Notwithstanding the common perception in the West, the origin of Islamic terrorism is not victimhood, nor an inferiority complex, but a well financed superiority complex rounded in a violent political ideology.'
    from Peackeepers link above-

    It'll boomerang on Mat, Doug, and he'll be right back where he started.:(

  75. Stunning jump in California foreclosures...

    In the Bay Area, foreclosures rose an equally stunning 482.5 percent to 4,573 in the fourth quarter, compared with 785 a year ago. Contra Costa County, with 1,558 foreclosures, up 533.3 percent from a year ago, had the most, followed by Alameda County with 1,026 (a 514.4 percent increase) and Solano County with 704 (up 528.6 percent).

    "Foreclosure activity is closely tied to a decline in home values," DataQuick President Marshall Prentice said in a statement. "With today's depreciation, an increasing number of homeowners find themselves owing more on a property than its market value, setting the stage for default if there is mortgage payment shock, a job loss or the owner needs to move."

    It was the most foreclosures since DataQuick began tracking them in 1988 and more than double the previous peak of 15,418 foreclosures in the third quarter of 1996. The fewest foreclosures recorded were in the second quarter of 2005, when 637 homes were repossessed.

  76. The time is right to call your congressperson and have 'em up the ante on this stimulus deal. Ask 'em to go $3000 or higher at a minimum. Get a bidding war going between the parties. Let's get a little of our own money back. Now's your chance. Your going to screwed on Social Security.

  77. "On a loan-by-loan basis, mortgages were most likely to go into default in Merced, San Joaquin and Stanislaus counties, DataQuick said. They were least likely to go into default in San Francisco, Marin and San Mateo counties."
    Gee, that's odd!
    The poor get poorer and the rich get richer?

  78. Like Schumer says,
    "Time is of the essence."
    The more and the quicker,
    the better!
    It's for the Children!

  79. If giving money to the masses is a good way to stimulate the economy, as even the democrats are advocating, wouldn't making the tax cuts permanent be even better?

  80. Paris Hilton: Britney's a 'Great Mother'
    If you read it Bobal, write a report, I ain't got the stomach for it.

  81. I'm gonna buy Dunkin' Doughnuts with mine, and not the stock either. Or maybe a new rifle. Or maybe both. Whatja gonna spend yours on, Doug.? You got to spend it you know, to be patriotic.

  82. Turnin into a Hell of a Mass, alright!

  83. I'm leaving mine as an offering when I go to Mass.

  84. hey, do you think they'll send me a check here in Canada?

  85. Them lawsuits against the Church is what started this meltdown anyhows.

  86. Paris loves Britney 'to death'--just what the doctor ordered.

    Paris Hilton is rooting for Britney Spears.

    "I wish the best for her and I just wish everyone would leave her alone so she could live her life," the 26-year-old hotel heiress-actress tells E! News. "She's a great mother and a great girl and I really care about her."

    In an interview that was to air Tuesday night, Hilton says: "She's a very sweet girl and I love her to death."

    Hilton and Spears were nearly inseparable following the pop star's split from ex-husband Kevin Federline.

    The tabloid magnets were photographed partying, shopping and driving in a car with Lindsay Lohan in the weeks after Spears filed for divorce from Federline in November 2006. But their whirlwind public friendship seemed to fizzle out after Spears' fans complained that Hilton was a negative influence.

    Hilton served a 23-day jail sentence in Los Angeles last June for violating probation in an alcohol-related reckless-driving case. She vowed to focus on philanthropy afterward.

    Meanwhile, Spears, 26, continued to unravel in the public eye after a rough year in which she shaved her head, checked in and out of rehab and attacked a car with an umbrella.

    She was taken to a Los Angeles hospital by paramedics earlier this month after police were called to her home because of a dispute involving her two sons. A court commissioner decided to keep in effect an order suspending Spears' right to visit Jayden James, 1, and Sean Preston, 2.

  87. No, Doug! Then the priest will spend it.

    Ash, if get some money, you got to "Spend American."

    And no mail orders!

  88. Yeah, that's what happened to Brit:
    Paris was a bad influence!

  89. "Panicking over the possibility that yet another bubble is bursting, the Fed is once again injecting liquidity into an asset-dependent US economy. That won't arrest the recessionary dynamic now unfolding but it could well set the stage for the next asset bubble in America's bubble-prone economy. Have we learned anything from the mess of the past seven years?"

  90. I'm giving mine to Albob for that priceless report.

    A true service to the Bar and all Humankind.

  91. Existing home values followed new costs. New home costs sky rocketed due to commidity based inflation.

    Wages have remained static, in real terms. Let alone adjusted for core inflation".

    Construction materials have skyrocketed, in tandem with the price of gold.

    After years of minimal cost increases, prices of many construction materials skyrocketed
    from 2004 to mid-2006. Since mid-2006, some input prices have moderated, while others have fallen. But the cumulative increase in the producer price index (PPI) for construction inputs since December 2003 (28 percent through August 2007) remains more than double the 13 percent increase in the most common measure of overall inflation, the consumer price index (CPI) for all urban consumers. Labor costs, in contrast, have risen at similar rates for construction and for the private sector as a whole.
    The cumulative difference matters because the estimates for many projects now being bid, especially public facilities, were prepared in 2003-2005 under the assumption that construction costs would escalate at the same rate as the CPI. That divergence explains why some projects are being canceled, delayed or redesigned.

  92. Lew Rockwell foresaw the economic turmoil that the "War on Terror" would induce.

    Right on target

  93. Bullshit.
    Bubbles are bubbles, always have been bubbles since way before Tulipmania.
    The Escalation of prices far outstripped cost inflation.
    ...and thanks to illegals, no labor inflation.

  94. "The cumulative difference matters because the estimates for many projects now being bid, especially public facilities, were prepared in 2003-2005 under the assumption that construction costs would escalate at the same rate as the CPI. That divergence explains why some projects are being canceled, delayed or redesigned"
    And a far bigger factor was that governments, giddy with a doubling of property taxes and more in some areas like here, committed to spending it all, as govts do, and now it's time to pay the piper.

  95. "Police 'no obvious sign of suicide'...
    Friend: 'We Saw It Coming'...
    'He barely slept; dealing with terrible mood swings'...
    Sounds like Albob and me!

  96. Invest in renewable energy. Renewable energy is that tree that grows money.

  97. No, doug, the costs of materials have tracked the costs of oil and gold, tripling since 2000 and the beginning of the "War on Terror".

    Existing homes tacked right along with the new home costs, lagging a tad, but staying in the wake.

    That the financial institutions developed new products that allowed the purchase of the inflated properties.

    Here is a chart of median home prices in Phoenix from '89 to present.

    While here is a chart pricing gold over the same period.
    Third down, left side.

    Both begin to spike in 2005. As the effects of the funding of "War on Terror" were beginning to be felt in the general economy.

  98. Empty pill bottles were found near the body but no obvious sign of suicide, police reported.

    Here, we just found the charred remains of a building and a debris field, but no obvious sign of a fire or explosion, fire investigators reported.

  99. Couldn't find the chart, but I'll be Hawaii and Coastal Calif. New York City, Boston, Seattle, Portland, and some others exceeded Phoenix and Costs.

  100. "Debris Field"
    Shitpile, for short.

  101. Pill bottle but...

    That's the way it was at the Zoo in San Fran:
    Footprints on the fence, dope, booze, and a woman with her family who saw them taunting the Tiger,
    but Police found no evidence to indicate Tiger was taunted.
    Go Figure!

  102. Besides, a tripling of materials shouldn't necessitate a tripling of price, given that labor didn't come close to tripling.

  103. National Prices
    The Bubble areas far exceeded the national.

  104. Even if they "taunted" the tiger, the tiger should have been contained in its' compound, not have been able to jump out and eat the taunters.

    The Zoo was negligent, at best.
    The cage, not a cage at all.
    The containment wall was about half the height it should have been. Not the fault of a drunk patron in the zoo. Not the fault of the tiger, either.

    It is the fault and the responsibility of the Zoo keepers to have built a containment compound that did not contain and for a compound that allowed taunting, if taunting the tiger was a dangerous act.

  105. But the national spike from the projected track was due to the inflation caused by the war funding policy.

    The extremes of the premium locales could well have been a tulip fever, but not that national deviation from the track.

    That is Team43 at its' worst, as bad as Carter.

  106. Phoenix inventory - looks like one of the worst:

    2005 08/14 ---- 6,447
    2006 08/14 ---- 22,450
    2006 01/01 ---- 42,015
    2007 03/01 ---- 47,616
    2007 06/10 ---- 48,378

  107. No, worse than Carter cause of the illegal invasion!

    Newt's new book is amazing, do you know any sites where I can put the audio?

    ...gotta get a website again!

  108. Credit Expansion, Economic Inequality, and Stagnant Wages by George Reisman

  109. They don't practice safe much of anything in San Francisco, sex or zoos. According to KGO the height of the fence wasn't up to the national or international zoo keepers offical manuel for such things. Add to that some major taunting and you have a tiger on the loose. Everyone is to blame but the tiger, who paid with his life.

    Why would Iraq by itself drive up the price of lumber? Oil price rise for sure, if all the increase can be placed on the war, which is uncertain. Other than that, building demand, here, and export demand overseas. Far as I know there is no shortage of lumber at the source, like in wheat a bad harvest will drive up prices. Just asking.

  110. Doug, try rapidshare or megauploads.

  111. Inventories have spiked, prices have moderated by about 10%, not nearly enough to stimulate demand.

    If you wonder why the immigrants are "moving" it is not because of the labor law, it's because here is little demand for their labor.

    The charted national number of $210,000 20% lower than the Phoenix metro median of $260,000.

    The blood will be flowing in the streets, worse than during the S&L debacle. AZ will go blue as blue can, $350 tax rebate will not stem the tide.

  112. The Belmont Club: "Open Secrets"
    If Carey Baldwin is to be believed, the keepers of the SF Zoo have known for nearly sixty years that the tigers kept within their enclosures only out of ...
    And well known in zoo lore is the story about an entomologist who, as a teenage science student in the late 1950s, visited the tiger grotto with former zoo director Carey Baldwin to see if the enclosure was secure enough to contain the tiger.

    "Mr. Baldwin had been told by one of the zookeepers that the tiger might be able to escape by jumping across the moat and onto the flowerbed between the public guard rail and the moat," the entomologist, David Rentz, recalled in a posting on his Web log.

    "We got a large piece of meat and tied it to a long bamboo pole and approached the tiger enclosure. We were at the other end of the bamboo pole - about 15 feet away from the meat. Baldwin held the pole at the edge of our side of the moat. Once the tiger saw it, he literally flew across the moat from his position on the other side, grabbed the meat, and sprung back to the grotto all in one graceful movement.

    "It happened so quickly that it was hard to believe what we had seen," Rentz said Saturday in a telephone interview from his home in Queensland, Australia. "It scared the hell out of me. It scared the hell out of both of us.

    "Then Mr. Baldwin closed the tiger's access to the outside - supposedly forever," Rentz wrote on his Web log. "Notes were left to the zookeepers to never let this tiger outside again."
    Carey grew up in the Farmhouse we bought!
    Used to take care of the Animals at hearst Castle, which were then moved w/him to SF
    His family was amazing, a story I will tell someday.
    Baldwin families in New York and Hawaii were exceptional also, don't know if there's a connection. (Baldwin Locomotives there, the Plantations here)

  113. Course it'll take IRS six months to get it out, if it ever gets outta congress.

  114. Because, bob, since 2001 the US has spent $1 trillion dollars on the War, that equals about 7% of Federal expeditures over that timeline.

    That 7% of the budget was injected into the economy, but there is no corresponding goods for that money to chase. On top of the normal Federal spending which accounted for 3% "core" inflation over that same timeframe.

    As rufus told us the other day, inflation occurs when more money chases the same or fewer quantity of goods. Which is just what is happening, the dollars become worth progressively less with each dollar spent on bullets and bombs.
    Soldiers and Sailors.

    The cash enters the economy, but can only be spent on what is all ready available. Prices rise, due to the larger supply of money and a stable supply of goods

    Greater demand w/stable supply = rising prices

  115. Thanks Mat, but Honeydos are calling, later!

  116. mats,

    I, admittedly, just skimmed the article but one thing that doesn't seem to be addressed m is the role that the financial 'service' industry plays in the game. i.e. the hedge fund, bank, repackaging of securities and reselling them while taking juicy fees. How does that fit in the capitalist model?


    no money orders eh? seems to me that would put the money in the US proper (assuming I mail ordered to the US) but how about internet porn, is that an allowed expense for an 'rebate check' burdened American in Canada? If I spend it on milk for my kids ain't nothin' being repatriated to 'merica.

  117. Remember when Rufus assured us the New Century Deal wouldn't amount to nothin?

  118. An amazing sight to behold:
    Specially ten feet away!

    " Once the tiger saw it, he literally flew across the moat from his position on the other side, grabbed the meat, and sprung back to the grotto all in one graceful movement.

    "It happened so quickly that it was hard to believe what we had seen," Rentz said

  119. rat, cruise missles and their brethern are things are they not? They don't do much, though, in the real economic world. I do buy your Kenysian view of inflation though....or is it the Friedman view - money supply is the cause of inflation. I can't keep my economic 'school' names straight (the Cognac does actually have some effect it seems).

  120. Then throw in easy credit, of which the Federals were proponents, the "Ownership Society" that was a GOP core value, with the Dems trying to catch up, we had a lessening of credit standards.
    Which the Regulators approved of.

    When prices finally got to the point that they could not be sustained, based upon dollar income stagnation, the smoke cleared and the problem became evident.

    Commidities that have international demand, gold, oil, wood products etc ... reflect actual dollar value, more so than internalize labor markets.

  121. "Ownership Society" that was a GOP core value, with the Dems trying to catch up, we had a lessening of credit standards.
    Which the Regulators approved of.
    Rush says Congress instructed them (Banks) to do it, and now put the blame on them!

  122. Ash, if you ask Mat, if you keep on good terms, you can probably download his porn for free.

    I quess a mail order would be alright. You wouldn't have to pay your travel costs that way, leaving more for you to spend in our common patriotic effort to save the free world.

    Democrats should recall, however, when blowing about the halcyon days of Clinton, that things didn't turn around then till Newt & Company got hold of Congress.

  123. The bullets and bombs are not realy "goods".
    Their purchase price is paid to Lockheed, the alumimuium is paid for, the electronics and the explosives and the labor to assemble the pieces. But then there is no product for those dollars to buy, the "product" is not on the market, but either expended or stored for future use.
    But adds no economic value to the marketplace.

    There are some still saying that, about New Century.

  124. Los Angeles Real Estate correction

    When real estate corrections happen, home values eventually drop back down to renting costs. Take a look at the Los Angeles housing price correction that began in the early 90's.

    Editor's Hypothesis:
    The coming correction (crash) in the housing market will deflate home prices back to the norm just like last time. however, this time, expect a more severe and sudden drop due to the crazy financing and speculation that has taken place during the current bubble!! You will also notice that rent prices flattened out as home prices dropped in the same period during the early 90's. Don't buy into the realtor hype that rents are going to surge upwards in the next few years.

  125. That's when they cut the increases in spending, while the revenues continued to flow in.

    Then Tom DeLay and Team Bush43 took over and it was Nellie bar the door. Spending went into the drunken sailor mode.

  126. I had an investment advisor who tried to tell me war was good for the economy...


    porn is free these days, if you know where to look. Bit Torrent is the game for many, many, free things.

  127. Japan 14 year real estate decline:
    Sparked by low interest rates, Japans average home value more than doubled from the early 1980's to 1990 (sound familiar?). Now, over 16 years after prices peaked, home values are still declining and are nearing the average price of 1980!!
    He goes on,
    but I'd guess Japan doesn't have a growing population like we do here in Amexico does it?

  128. ...and Larson would always cite chapter and verse from the WSJ, why it was A-OK!
    ...just like Pakistan.

  129. Especially in California, doug, where internal immigration is way down. The rust belt refugees are moving to Nevada and AZ, still.
    We will eventually absorb the housing inventory, at a lower price point though.

    Government per capita spending is about a third in NV & AZ what it is in CA.
    The numbers of folk that are moving from CA to AZ & NV is still huge.

  130. Things started to heat up here real estate wise after 9-11, when interests rates went to nothing. That was when the big boom hit on prices. Before much had been spent on Iraq. They are backtracking somewhat now, though you can't tell anything from Moscow, as it is kind of an isolated special case. A bad economy is good for Moscow, as people come back to school for more education for some better career. One thing that is cheap here now is apartment rentals. We are getting overbuilt again, as happens periodically. We still receive a slow but steady stream of refugees from the big cities, though some can't take the cold and leave. We had a doctor leave recently, for the simple reason he wasn't used to the cold, which will hit zero tonight. Only the strong survive in Moscow.:)

  131. Ash,
    Depends on the War:
    Papa Bush got the Sauds et al to pay up.
    Shrub, the opposite.

  132. That place is a shithole, Albob!

  133. Short wars can be, the provide a stimulous. Long Wars become inflationary.

    In and out & done.

    The inflation started to spike in '05.
    If the War had ended then, the expeditures moderated to normal, we'd not have had the disruption, just the stimulation.

  134. Ash,

    Another form of redistribution, no? Generally, such things are a drag on the economy. See: welfare/military.

  135. Rufus considers that "spending" in CA to be an INVESTMENT Rat!
    How can you lose on "Education?"

    Detroit graduation rate 22%, twice as bad as LA.

  136. WWII was good for the economy. And Hitler was great for the German economy, while it lasted, which wasn't long. But it's a damned poor reason to have a war, in my opinion.

    That's Lewiston, Doug, I'm talking about Moscow, the Pride of the Palouse, Lentil Capital of the World, Home of the Toilet Bowl Vandals, Berkeley on the Prairie.

  137. ...then there's the incarceration costs for the Dropouts.
    Not to mention wasted lives.

  138. :) The Mt. Fuji Theory of Economics, in one simple graph.

    Or, I toid you so!

  139. This was the all time high point in Presidential Debates!
    "The second half of the debate was less personal, and Obama even allowed that former President Clinton had earned his enormous affinity in the black community when he was asked if Clinton deserved his title as the "first black president."

    "I have to say that, I would have to investigate more of Bill's dancing abilities and some of this other stuff before I accurately judge whether he was in fact a brother," Obama said.

  140. Gonna getcha in Gullah Geechee.

    Bill Clinton's attacks on Obama, Clyburn said in a CNN interview, were unfair because a former president's viewpoint "carries with it extra weight." Watch Clyburn tell Clinton to 'chill' »

    "I think they would say in 'Gullah Geechee' country he needs to chill a little bit. I hope he understands what that means," Clyburn told CNN.

    "I can understand him wanting to defend his wife's honor and his own record, and that is to be expected. But you can't do that in a way that won't engender the kind of feelings that seem to be bubbling up as a result of this."

    "Gullah Geechee" refers to African-Americans who live in South Carolina's Low Country region near the Atlantic coast.

  141. Yeah, I hoid that exchange. He pulled if off really well.

  142. "and some of this other stuff "

    I guess that means the bro's don't need to use a cigar?

    I can see why Bill has stuck to accepting only the dance portion of the challenge.