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Lebanon Predicts the Future USA

It will prove difficult for the US to Balkanize, even if it wanted to because every group is represented in every city and state.  Furthermore, the typical suburban American moves every 5 years or so to wherever their next job is.

If we want to simulate a mercantile society where many disparate groups are crammed together in the same territory some of which might be semi-nomadic, we need only look to the Levant where tribes have competed for a very long time over a narrow neck of valuable sea-side real estate with a Mediterannean climate that lies on top of a natural chokepoint of world trade routes.

In recent history, Lebanon provides us with the best example because it experienced a bloody civil war in that confined space after a multi-cultural democracy broke down over the issue of mass immigration.

We can roughly divide Lebanon into 3 major factions, Christians, Sunnis, and Shi’ites.  When Sunni Palestinian refugees flooded into the country after Israeli independence guess which faction started lobbying to make sure Palestinians stayed?  Then are any of us surprised that once the Palestinian camps were effectively permanent one of those 3 factions tried to count them towards a majority of seats in parliament?  No doubt they also wanted them on a “path to citizenship.”

Of course we are not surprised that the Sunnis conspired to upset the balance of power in their favor by “electing a new people.” A fatal flaw of mass suffrage democracy where any warm body can vote or be counted towards seats in the assembly is that the temptation for factions to bring in more warm bodies always becomes irresistible.

At the time the Christians were the ones with the most power so they were the ones to beat.  The Shi’ites and Druze were tempted to join the Sunnis and dogpile the Christians.  A fatal flaw of multi-cultural democracy is it always becomes a game of king of the hill.  In Lebanon, when one faction has an advantage the others are sure to join against them and so it repeats endlessly.

Most recently, the Christians and Shi’ites were aligned against the Sunnis because both feared the growth of ISIS in Syria.  Now that the threat of ISIS has dwindled, I wouldn’t be surprised if there was yet another re-alignment as the balance of power is re-assessed.
Right now, the Shi’ites led by Hezbollah are the most powerful, so perhaps the other two will join up to take them down a peg.  I’m sure Washington, Riyadh, and Tel Aviv would send them billions of dollars to make sure it’s worth their while.

Hezbollah gives us a model of what the neo-tribal state might look like as the power of nation-states recedes.  They are the de facto government in southern Lebanon while seemingly content to operate within the framework of a formally recognized nation-state.  They get to have their own territory while still participating in a larger economic zone.  They effectively carry out their own foreign policy as they maintain their special relationship with Iran while still participating in the national politics.  Hezbollah gets to enjoy all the privileges of being a nation without the strategic liabilities of nationhood.  They get the best of all worlds.

I noticed this same impulse for political arbitrage in the renewed flareups of European separatist movements.  The Catalonian government wanted regional autonomy under the protection of the larger EU economic zone, cutting out the annoying middleman so they could enjoy the best of all worlds.

I anticipate a similar sort of dissolution might happen in the United States.  The government in Washington might well still be there as the reality on the ground quietly changes.  De facto territories emerge but no one wants to disrupt commerce in a way that impoverishes everyone.  When Lebanon was embroiled in its civil war each militia had checkpoints at its borders to “tax” anyone passing through.  No one in present day Lebanon wants this.  I would figure even the most diehard Hezbollah member enjoys being able to drive into Beirut.

But what what about direct state coercion?  One lesson of Lebanon is multi-cultural national militaries only exist on paper once tensions are high.  I was shocked as I read there was still a national military in Lebanon amidst 20 years of civil war.  Once members of every group serve in the military, commanders know better than to order them into actions that will cause mass mutiny and infighting.
To the average soldier, the military is just a paycheck and that’s true for the United States as well where all the effusive praise and near-worship just papers over the fact that it’s a government jobs and training program for millions of Americans who would otherwise be barely employable with their high school diplomas.  The military is welfare for the working class.

Just as no one in Lebanon wants to charge territorial border tax anymore, the different ethnic groups in the military can all agree to sit on the easy paycheck even once bullets are flying and simply revolt or desert if someone tries to actually send them into battle.
Those soldiers who want to actually fight leave the military and join their group’s militia.
We can look at the Mexican military as a supporting example.  They go through the motions of following their orders for the most part but they have little appetite for challenging the power of emergent narco-states anymore than they need to.

The defensive power of neo-tribal militaries isn’t necessarily being able to defeat national militaries outright.  Like a sea urchin or a cactus pad, they need only represent a net energetic loss for large predators.

Another lesson we can take away from Lebanon is that coalitions are always shifting in the game of identity politics.  Euro-Americans are perceived as the strongest, most vulnerable faction right now, so all the other groups can agree to target them.  As this position is weakend, it will become progressively easier to peel factions away from the coalition of the fringes.  The same applies if the strongest faction seems to be winning.  Then the least loyal members of the coalition of the weaker start jumping ship.

It would do well to always watch for opportunities to re-align and ultimately divide and conquer.
In these kinds of struggles it’s smaller factions caught in the middle of the struggle that switch sides first so they will end up on the winning side.  In Lebanon this is how the Druze, a group that’s about 5% of the population, plays their hand.

If we think of Whites as Christians, Sunnis as Mestizos and Indios, Shi’ites as Blacks, and Palestinians as Illegal Immigrants, the Druze in our situation might be Asian Americans who are ambivalent about either side and shift their allegiance wherever they feel benefits them most.  Right now, they fall behind the establishment even though the other members of the coalition of the fringes envy their wealth and power.  When the American Druze begin to waver, the Christians know there has been a change in the balance of power.

New Balance Hysteria Shows Us Meaning Beyond Markets

The burning of New Balance shoes in reaction to the culturally charged 2016 election tells us something about human nature that secular society resolutely ignores.  Markets and productivity are not ends unto themselves. In the secular enlightenment paradigm it’s irrational to destroy a perfectly good pair of shoes, or an expensive NFL licensed Kaepernick jersey, avoid a restauarant like Chic Filet, or a store like Target.
But in real life people intuitively understand that the flow of wealth represents the lifeblood of cultures.  We do not pursue commerce just for its own sake.  Without context production and the accumulation of wealth has no meaning.  We are taught to think in terms of just getting rich and selfishness is a strong motivator, but that’s not the whole story.  Getting rich as an individual means nothing if your civilization is about to get sacked and plundered and the culture you rely on subjugated.  Only by living in splendid isolation with our own entire continent to grow into could we ever have grown so naive.  Without your culture of people who believe in the dollar, it’s worth nothing.
So we can see in the right context that the economy isn’t some entity that we serve, it exists to serve us. It’s the mechanism by which a group uses wealth to its advantage.  You may be the richest empire on earth, but if all that wealth does not grow the group’s resources and power it is worth less than nothing at all.  Impoverished Somalis have clans they know will back them up no matter what.  Atomized Americans live every day knowing they are one slip away from falling through the cracks and if anyone cares to even notice, it will be to ridicule them.  In this we see the insanity and irony of the religion of enlightenment trying to treat production and wealth itself as mathematical goody points to be tallied up on a sheet.
With the age of neo-tribalism dawning, we see the supposedly monolithic economy being divided up by tribe just like land and culture.  Wealth too is territory.  

Election 2016: The War In Heaven

Every culture has its leaders and heroes that establish the legitimacy of the social order.  In a society of millions, those at the top of the prestige pyramids are effectively Olympian or Norse Gods of myth.  The human mind is only well designed to handle about 150 relationships at a time, the Dunbar limit.  To conceptualize someone at the top of a pyramid of millions, we need to conceive of a god-like figure with super-human qualities who is the very essence of what they symbolize.  The best person of a thousand is a very unusual person.  Even the lifestyle of the richest person out of every hundred strains our imaginations to the limit.  The highest ranked among millions is as distant from us as a star is from the Earth.  Sure enough, these deities are known as “stars.”

I have pointed out that Hillary Clinton is a high Goddess in the pantheon symbolizing the values of the 60s Cultural Revolution, 3rd wave feminism, civil rights, globalism, equalism, that whole generation of royalty—the boomers.  These values are at the core of everything we are taught to believe in polite homes, at school, in college, and wherever people are paid by salary in the workplace, aka. “real jobs”.  That makes Hillary goddess of our social reality, of the water in which we swim, of the air which we breathe.  Every corporate pamphlet, ad, and webpage with the clean white background, a smug, beaming, plain white woman in her early 30s surrounded by portly brown women in the front row, the non-threatening simpering Asian man to one side.  The middle aged friendly black man with the modest paunch on the other side.  And as always, back in the back row, overlapped by everyone else is one sad looking white man with a weak chin and a watery smile—every one of these images a shrine to the Goddess.  The brochure might as well be one of those portable pocket triptychs from medieval days.

Hillary in her time of need has summoned the lesser Gods to her aid.  Athletes, TV Actors, Movie Actors, Comedians, former officials, ex-presidents, newspapers, TV channels, every person of note in our culture.  They join her in the fight as we’d expect Ares to help out Zeus against the Titans or Thor to battle alongside Odin against the trolls.  Because they are from the same pantheon, they band up without hesitation against forces that challenge the social reality from which they derive their divinity.  We can imagine that even arch-enemies Horus and Set would ally against the Greek or Norse Gods.  Their existence, world view, and vision is intertwined and if they were to be defeated they would together see their power extinguished forever.   What we are witnessing in 2016 is a great war in heaven.  God and all his angels against the usurpers and their teeming legions of demons from the rift.
Against every expectation the fight has reached the gates of the Holy Kingdom itself and laid siege to the battlements of purity.  The chanting demonic legions hold aloft torches smoldering with unholy incense as a burning battering ram, a great steel wolf’s head with flaming nostrils, crashes against the gates.  As every angel, archangel, and saint has thrown themselves into the fray, so every one of them may perish and fade from the starry heavens if they fall.  It is all at stake, tonight and tomorrow.

Some of us speak of policies, the candidates themselves, the political parties, but all of that is secondary to the war that now rages like a Boschian nightmare across the jagged dream terrain of the collective subconscious.
No matter who wins, the damage is done, they will never again rule the heavens unopposed. There has been a great schism across the entire length of the culture.
The NFL, LeBron James, Beyonce, Katy Perry, Jennifer Lopez, West Wing, the Avengers, Saturday Night Live, The Colbert Report, Jay Z, all Hollywood, the pollsters, the authors, the magazines, the newspapers…everything.  For many millions already, these cultural icons are fallen from grace, now merely the chieftains of hostile tribes screaming for war, for eradication of the Other that is us.

See Also:  The Ritual of Unity

Pic Related:

grond_breaks_through_minas_tirith

Sorting Out the Castes: Easy Disqualifiers

Within 30 seconds of looking at someone’s facebook, their room, a list of their favorite hobbies, what they’ve bought lately we get a rough sense of what type of person they are.  It’s possible we could be mistaken but generally quick judgments work.  In modern society we’re told we can’t accurately judge and categorize people but in reality it’s not only doable, it’s pretty easy.
In real life, it’s generally safe to assume that a passing frat bro is more into jack and coke and fireball whiskey than single malt scotch or that a black dude with baggy pants and expensive shoes isn’t a Babylon 5 fan.  That hipster sitting nearby at the coffee shop probably isn’t into nascar(unless he’s being “ironic”), the rugged looking man with the big pickup truck probably doesn’t listen to NPR.  There’s exceptions of course, but even very crude anecdotal stereotypes work most of the time in real life.  So it’s not that extraordinary to expect that we could sort people correctly at least 90% of the time with a very low amount of effort.  If it was broken down to more of a science, I figure people could be put in the right place almost all the time.
If all a system needs to do is sort people out better than the present system, that’s a pretty low bar.

Perhaps we start with easy disqualifiers:

-Regularly buys lottery tickets, gambles against the house.
-Regularly uses payday loans and maxes out credit cards without compelling emergency reasons.
-Buys products from infomercials, web ads, spam emails.
-Doesn’t understand basics of how government works.
-Doesn’t have a basic idea of or curiosity about nation or world outside of their area.
-Buys all junk food at the grocery store and over-indulges in it.
-Doesn’t read, watch, or listen to anything that isn’t light entertainment.
-Buys flashy cars and clothes they can’t afford.
-Hopelessly, non-functionally addicted to any drug they come into contact with.

People that meet these criteria demonstrate they lack critical thinking and judgment. They lack the brain power to understand how probability or compound interest works. They don’t have the impulse control to manage complex choices or delayed gratification. In our present system they are mercilessly parasitized and exploited and they’re fair game because we’re all “equal.” Sorted into their proper caste, kept away from all positions of responsibility, it would be understood they are inherently vulnerable to the clever and must be protected as an adult would protect children or animals.
A pretty simple computer algorithm could probably instantly remove at least the bottom 10-20% or so without having to give evaluations or examinations to millions of people. Just data mining people’s real life behavior could probably make the initial rough cuts.

Imagine just taking away the vote from the dumbest and most impulsive 10% or so of the US population. There would probably be massive systemic improvements and an upgrade in political discourse overnight as if by magic. Just ponder a moment the magnitude of this lowest-hanging fruit alone.
Just weeding out those obviously unfit for civic life and placing them in an undercaste alone opens up huge possibilities before we even get started.

Why Haven’t Americans Figured Out How to Serve Hot Food?

In the time I lived in Korea I noticed a fantastic innovation at their restaurants.  Food was brought to the table simmering in these big steel cookers for everyone to browse from.
I was amazed how these not only kept the food hot, they even had an adjustable heat dial anyone at the table could use.

Such a marvellous invention would be unthinkable, revolutionary in stodgy, joyless American culture that takes greatest pride in its prolish junk food.

When it comes to American food, a piping hot meal is one of life’s challenges.
Everything gets served in complete portions on individual plates made of thick, cold ceramic, completely open to the air.  Everyone takes great care to eat as isolated individuals, avoiding any appearance of sharing from the same source.(that would be disgusting)  Browsing from a collective pot is taboo.  Just watching a people at meal time offers great insight into how they see the world on the most visceral level!
By the time people begin to eat, especially if there’s prayer before eating, even the mashed potatoes are starting to get cold.
I never really understood what a truly hot meal was until I went to some other countries where thick sauces, flaky crusts were common, served in the same container it was baked in hot from the oven, served in cast iron cookware or thick pots with small openings or lids to hold in the heat.  It was never the same again to just eat off of a cold plate that hadn’t even been warmed up.  It’s barbaric, really.  Cold food would offend even cave people cooking over their fires.  Actually, cooking over with a fire in the remote woods is far superior to eating off a cold plate.  There’s a radiant glow of heat that warms your face when you take those foil wrapped baked potatoes and pork loin from the embers of the fire.  Something about really hot food revives the spirit even as cold, soggy food chills the mood, even down to the tips of the toes.
In the States, I still often eat out of the hot pan I cooked in instead of serving onto a plate when making food for myself.  I’ll bring a chair right up to the stove and keep the heat on low as I eat.  If I take it into another room, I keep a lid on until the moment I’m about to eat and enjoy the ebullient rush of hot, delicious-smelling steam rising into my face before I dig in.  But even this is often difficult in America since almost all cookware I encounter is designed to get damaged if it’s so much as touched with silverware.  What backwards and alien customs!

I guess I feel that one of the main reasons to even bother to have a society is to make life pleasant for people.  It’s part of the implicit Contract that motivates us to cooperate with a social order at all.
First a people figures out how to invent a perfectly piping hot meal and then worry about surplus activities like missions into space.
It’s perverse in a way that the most wealthy populations on earth haven’t figured out how to apply sustained heat to their food or contain heat with insulation.
Perhaps it’s the Calvinist, Puritanical disdain for joy in this life that leads to such apathy.
Or is it misguided “enlightenment” empiricism? It has the same calories or nutrients served hot or ice cold after all.
Or is it simply a secular religion of competition and money-making that leaves no place for enjoying the smaller things that make life worth living to begin with?

I suspect it is a combination of all these that impede a culture known for innovation from serving food in containers that have a heat source and adjustable dial.  These are after all the same people who take toasters for granted.

The 3 Keys To Anglo Success

Anglo societies have succeeded tremendously over the last few centuries, but this success hasn’t meant good lives for individuals.  The secret to Anglo success has been squeezing individual men to work as hard as possible for even moderate levels of success, generating more wealth for the nation as a whole.  Getting the best wine grapes or the best hydroponic pot is about forcing the plants to respond to pressure by trying their hardest and producing their best.  Anglo society, likewise, is built on systematic sexual repression.

1. Picky Women

Through their natural sexual power, women are the de facto police force of culture.  What they desire, men clamor to give them.  Anglo women are among the pickiest on the planet.  Maybe it was the long winters combined with high population density, but whatever the reasons, we know Anglo society is intensely competitive.  If you want to get one plain Jane to consider having your kids, a car and house is the minimum price tag.  As many have noted, this basic entry ticket is no longer any guarantee.  You better stand out in some way and have at least local notability.

The Victorian period never really went away.  Anglo women are still prissy, fussy, picky creatures looking to disqualify all the men around them for a mispronounced vowel or an unfastened coat button. They’re as neurotic and unhappy as they ever were—it’s in their blood. Then as now, they obsess over their waistlines, shrinking away from anything substantial to eat while secretly cramming down starchy biscuits and gallons of heavily sugared and creamed tea.  We still indulge in upper middle class Victorian fantasies of innocent childhood and cute pets dripping with sickeningly sweet sentimental syrup.  What are modern peanut allergies and asthma but the product of Victorian smothering parenting?  What are suburbs but the happy ending of a Dickens novel?

Modern neurotic middle class Anglos do a fine job of keeping the tradition alive as sweat beads on their brow whenever someone uses the wrong fork, grit their teeth whenever someone forgets to say ‘thank you’ or ‘sorry’, or rush to clean out every last dust mote from their house and turn on the Enya music on low volume before one visitor arrives.

While women of other cultures get just enough wealth to have kids, and then have them, Anglo women demand every man build her a bower to her precise specifications until it becomes a never-ending Babel.  The kids never arrive. The insufferable females that once drove men to conquer the entire planet do little more than foster barren marriages in an age of birth control. If this was once the impetus behind Anglo greatness, it’s now a central cause of its decline.

White women are also more selective, neurotic, and bitchy than any other kind because being picky was necessary for survival. If you just need a wet hole, chasing white women doesn’t make any sense.  Until you’re an elite man, you can almost always find a better deal in the arms of a dark-skinned woman. Any British soldier of the Victorian period sent off to the colonies would readily attest to this.  The more things change, the more they stay the same.

2. Prudery

Anglo culture has long been intensely prudish.  For at least a couple centuries, Anglos have been taught myths of courtly love instead of real skills in getting laid.  This trend started to catch on in the middle ages and by the late 18th century, we have Jane Austen.
Prostitution is kept to the margins or outlawed as much as possible.  Fanatical devotion to depriving men of sexual outlets outside of the official monopoly is perhaps the foundation of Anglo dominance.  It’s all part of the plan to have men work their little hearts out for just a little taste of honey.

They would have removed liquor too if they could have so that a workhorse’s only solace in life would be the act of mounting a homely plow mare as his reward for spending every waking minute destroying his competitors.  As it is, alcohol, especially binge drinking, plays a special role in Anglo culture as almost the only (grudgingly) accepted vice.  Possibly even the most straight-lace Anglos would go insane without the alcoholic outlet.  Even Victorians could more readily indulge in tobacco and opium than our modern SWPL prudes.  Today, with even alcohol less tolerated, binge eating takes the place of binge drinking as possibly the last permitted vice.

I’ve always wondered that Westerners created a science of economics yet never applied the same principles to sexual markets.
It’s a testament to the stubborn prudery of Anglo nations that there never was a ‘sexenomics’ until enough disposable males had access to mass networks. Even when it came to the sciences, prude Anglos and like-minded Westerners felt compelled to strategically cover up one particular area with a well-placed fig leaf.

3. Snobbery

You’re not white until you earn $30,000 a year, and that’s just entry level. To really be white, European blood is not enough.  You better have the car, that house in the suburbs, and the obligatory white collar job complete with white rumpled-up button-up shirts and ill-fitting khakis. You don’t have that, forget it. You’re what was once known as a “scalawag” today more commonly called “trash.” Part of the Anglo formula for success is casting out those who don’t make the cut.  If they can’t be gotten rid of in distant colonies or wars, make them live and breed in a separate underclass.

Are you white trash?  Don’t try to deny it just because you have that useless degree.  It pays to own up to it.  If you’re realistic, you’ll see you have more interests in common with Mexicans and blacks than with your overseers and the planter aristocracy.

Hard experience has taught me a key truth.
White” is a social, cultural, economic movement.
European is a group of related ethnicities that share common traits, pale skin among them.  Getting the two confused leads to endless strife.  Until you understand who you really are, you can’t live life as you should.

Conclusion

Many seem to mourn the decline of the old Anglo culture, but I for one am happy to see it go.  It always was just another exploitative system that took advantage of men with limited access to information.
The classic Victorian Anglo culture can’t continue to exist among a population of males informed of market conditions on the internet—it has become obsolete.

Even Ben Franklin in the 18th century lamented that white men fled over the Anglo socio-sexual Berlin Wall to live with the Indians whenever they could.  If anything, this problem was just one more reason Anglo society and the Indians couldn’t co-exist.  That Franklin’s very name means “Freedman” a peasant who beat all the odds and made it into the very small skilled middle classes speaks for itself.

The problem with a repressive system is that it collapses as soon as a better alternative becomes available or can even be imagined!  The Anglo system took over the entire world, an impressive feat.  But I am an individual, not a monolithic society.  I care about getting the best deal for myself, just like the men who fled to Indian tribes in colonial America.
Any new system that lasts must take the interests of human beings into account.  In an age of information, no longer can deception be the foundation of a social order.

Brookings Institute Talk on Russia and America

I attended a talk today at the Brookings Institution about the future of Russian-American relations.

Naturally there was considerable focus on current issues such as Syria and Snowden being given asylum, and how it might affect the upcoming G20 summit.

I didn’t wonder about it much, really.  There’s nothing in Syria that’s central to Russian interests and Snowden, while a nasty diplomatic slap in the face, does nothing to change the larger situation.

I was more interested in bigger political and economic developments and where they might be headed.

Interestingly, the experts pretty much all agreed that the present political order in Russia is dependent on Putin’s cult of personality – that without his influence there would be nothing to hold Russia’s oligarchs together.
And – there is no plan for succession should something happen to Putin tomorrow…

They addressed how Putin’s main objective with his anti-American gestures is to boost his popularity at home.   His anti-American posturing has a huge appeal to his base – Russia’s working classes.
The urban middle and upper middle class has little loyalty to Putin, often protesting him in Moscow and St. Petersburg, so it’s only natural Russia’s ruler tailors his image to the vast majority he relies on.

While Syria is, relatively speaking, a sideshow, the fate of former Soviet republics is not.  Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, among Russia’s first concerns is to bring countries like Ukraine closer to Moscow and prevent them from aligning with Western Europe.

If we look at the numbers, though, it seems to me Russia’s agenda is doomed to fail.

Russia’s entire economy is worth 1.8 trillion.  This is enough to make it one of the world’s bigger economies, but to put Russia’s imperial goals in perspective, Italy’s economy is considerably bigger at 2.2 trillion with 1/3rd the population.

Let’s pretend we are Ukraine for a moment:

Which would we align with:  A 1.8 trillion Russia or a 17 trillion European Union?!

Not to mention, Russia’s economy to this day is based heavily on commodities like natural gas rather than skills or tech.
Indeed, one subject to arise during the question and answer session with the experts was brain drain from Russia…

With no Soviet Union any more that can keep their best talent captive, skilled Russians are increasingly ditching their home country for places like Silicon Valley.  And Russia itself with its feudal oligarchs and powerful crime lords tends to be very unfriendly to commerce.
So long as Russian small businessmen are parasitized by protection rackets and foreign investors are confronted with corruption, their economy is not likely to become truly “modern” any time soon.

A main theme of the talk was to ask what Putin really wants and how to get Russia to work more closely with US objectives.  Even the experts seemed to regard Putin as a mystic, inscrutable, Eastern Czar.
If we look at the numbers, though, it seems clear why the US can’t seem to get Russia to budge.

Relatively speaking, the US really is not that important to Russian interests so it simply doesn’t have that much leverage.
The vast majority of Russia’s foreign trade is with the European Union and with China in a distant second place.   Commerce with the US takes a comparatively puny 4th or 5th place with just a few percent of the total.  Also, the US is just about on the other side of the planet from Russia’s major cities while China and Europe are much more immediate neighbors.
It really shouldn’t come as a surprise that US requests take a back seat compared to more immediate concerns.  What decisive advantage does America offer in exchange for Putin’s cooperation?  Putin is a pragmatist, so clearly what he’s being offered isn’t worth as much as he gets from slighting the US to boost his domestic approval ratings.

The economic reality on the ground is that Russia is already just a big commodity provider for the EU, and thus in every meaningful sense, already part of Europe.
If we look at the facts, Russia as a modern great power, is pure fantasy.

During the talk, there was mention of a new, more Western generation of Russians just waiting for the older oligarchs to die off.  Such a generation is bound to reconcile Russia’s political reality with the economic reality.
Instead of trying to keep states like Ukraine from being sucked into Europe, Russia will itself be sucked into the Euro zone.

Even if Russia somehow remains an aloof oligarchic kleptocracy, it will still be useful for its resources as a lesser partner of Europe.

Graph Russia Trade Partners

Does the Decline Make Statistical Sense? Does the American Way Make Financial Sense?

The American economy is worth 15 trillion, still over twice as big in absolute terms as a distant 2nd place, China a desperately poor nation with a huge population…
But is that wealth proportionally useful compared to other places?
If we consider GDP by purchasing power parity, China with many times more people still has only 75% as much relative wealth as the US.

The US national debt has passed 100% of GDP but the US remains one of the worlds most reliable debtors: 2% of GDP, 7-8% of Federal Revenue more than pays off all the
interest each year.  The federal government spends 4x as much each on social programs and the military!
The American debt burden would not impress struggling European powers during the Napoleonic wars.
Nations like Japan are far worse off with close to 150% GNP in national debt or Greece at 200%. Germany isn’t that much better off at 85%

The net US trade deficit is by far the largest in the world at about 450 billion, but another 30-40 billion a year of exports could plug the gap and the difference still pales in comparison next to the massive size of the US economy.

The numbers tell us that the US is a monster, yet those of us who live there are experiencing relentless and accelerating decline.  How do we explain this against awe inspiring numbers?
After all even a US in relative decline is still surpassed only by the entire EU.

Here’s some reflections on reconciling the reality on the ground with the statistics?

Virgin Bride: Unbuyable

Wife: Average income just an entry ticket to the arena

Girlfriend: Average income just an entry ticket.

Job Security: Unbuyable

House: At least $200,000 (realistically far more paid after interest, no one can afford that out of pocket)

Car: At least $10,000 if new. (realistically far more paid after interest, no one can afford that out of pocket)

Rent: At least $600/month, $7200/year even in cheap areas after utilities and fees.

Education: 16 years to satisfy basic prerequisites, consuming at least 6 years from age able to enter workforce. Possibly more than a decade with higher degrees. A doctor or successful lawyer may earn a lot but has to compensate for 10+ years of working part time or not at all. Filling a big black hole of years of tuition + living expenses.

Children, Family Before Age 30: The price is a life of grinding poverty.

How much just to break even?  A couple million dollars earned over a couple of decades? Even if everything goes as planned, break even by middle age?

The simple truth that stares us in the face: The “normal” lifestyle with house/apartment, car, job doesn’t make financial sense.
It entails a huge expenditures of time and energy in a desperate bid to break even.
In the past, people may have had prospect of having a family and securing their genetic futures, but now even this basic reward(readily available to many poor peoples all over the world) is elusive.

Just a glimpse at these basic expenses shows us that rent seeking, fees, tuition, royalties, interest on assets and payments is where wealth can actually be made.

Right now what keeps people going? Fear that the only alternative to the “break even track” is to live in true uncertainty of survival.

The United States remains fantastically wealthy on paper yet is the average person’s life essentially any different than the average across time and place?

Is someone in a poorer country who can hope for a genetic future in their reproductive prime, surrounded by supportive family, with an ancestral home to live in, a family trade to aspire to, in fact, better off?

Are Americans as atomized individuals a whole that’s less than the sum of its parts?
Are Americans despite their unprecedented wealth undermined by backwards and wasteful social institutions and culture?

Or is the present trend of declinism as the numbers suggest, a misguided fad?

Insights on this matter?

An American Mercenary Who Invaded Mexico With An Army of 45 Men

Back in the 1850s, a Tennessean named William Walker and his band of mercs launched an offensive on Baja California and successfully captured the Baja del Sur capital City, La Paz.
He proceeded to declare a Republic of the Sonora complete with territorial boundaries and its own flag.

Republic of Sonora Flag

Republic of Sonora map

More amazing still, he and his men managed to get out of there alive again after the Mexican government started sending armies into the region.

Walker was a real filibuster. Not one of our modern gerontocrats deadlocking sessions of congress. No he was a filibuster in the original sense of the word. A freebooter trying to conquer a sovereign state without permission from any state.
The age of manifest destiny in America fostered an entire generation of filibuster mercs who tried to take over countries and found their own colonies.

For Walker, his personal war with Mexico was just the beginning of his career.

Next, he showed up in Nicaragua with a private army of 60 men and tried to take over the country. He actually succeeded and declared the foundation of (another) new country complete with (another) new flag.

Walker's Nicaraguan Flag

As if taking on one country wasn’t enough, Walker soon found himself at war with Costa Rica as well.
He held on for awhile despite the odds and still managed to escape with the help of the US Navy.

Still not discouraged, Walker next tried to invade Honduras but this time he was caught by the British Navy, who had no intentions of allowing an American to mess around in a zone of influence so close to where they were already planning a canal.

The British simply turned Walker over to the Hondurans, who lost little time in putting him in front of a firing squad.

Walker had no military experience and little grasp of strategy, achieving many of his impressive victories with superior firepower. Both in Mexico and Nicaragua his campaigns were ended by disastrous incidents that led to his forces being cut off from their supply lines.
An impulsive fool, he actually seized steamships from Vanderbilt, the Robber Baron sponsor who was supplying him with food, arms, and transport.
Vanderbilt retaliated by giving gold and guns to Walker’s enemies instead to get revenge and to recover his steamships.
Predictably, Walker found himself suddenly stranded in a foreign country and would have gotten himself and his men killed then if the US Navy hadn’t picked them up.

Walker got his way as a crazily charismatic dreamer in spite of his ineptitude. Newspaper articles about his crazy exploits always got him new followers no matter how badly he screwed up…until his luck finally ran out.

William Walker picture

William Walker, a 5″2 120 pound dynamo of reckless ambition that got himself and lots of his followers killed while trying to found a private Latin American empire.

LINK

Scandinavians Invented the American Log Cabin

Swedish and Finnish settlers in the colony of New Sweden, near modern day Wilmington, Delaware introduced log cabins to the states in the 1640s.

The design was later adopted by the Scots-Irish frontiersmen who became known for bourbon whiskey, long rifles, and clan feuds.

LINK

The Fundamental Problem of Middle Classness

“The middle class man is scared.

As C. Wright Mills notes, ‘He is always somebody’s man, the corporation’s, the government’s, the army’s…’

One can’t be too careful.

One management advisor told Studs Terkel: ‘Your wife, your children have to behave properly. You’ve got to fit the mold. You’ve got to be on guard.’

In Coming Up for Air (1939) George Orwell, speaking for his middle-class hero, gets it right:

‘There’s a lot of rot talked about the sufferings of the working class. I’m not so sorry for the proles myself…The prole suffers physically, but he’s a free man when he isn’t working. But in every one of those stucco boxes there’s some poor bastard who’s never free except when he’s fast asleep.’ ”

Class, Paul Fussell, 1983. p.36-37

Drought-stricken American corn should feed people, not cars

America’s Fat Asses – Turning Our Greatest Weakness Into A Glorious Triumphant Strength

It’s no secret we’re the fattest nation in the world.

If you want to take a gander at how much damage this is doing both in terms of actual costs and opportunity costs, turn to the Jihad:

http://www.fatgirljihad.com/267/fatties-are-destroying-society

The medical costs were estimated to be as high as $117.2 billion, and that was in 2000. The fat lobby prevents further estimations to be made. A more recent estimate says it’s $147 billion a year, which is 9 percent of all medical spending. Everyone wants to blame the infidel insurance companies for rising health care but a lot of that blame should go on the fatties, the biggest public burden on American citizens.

While the nuclear family and competitive capitalism has increased the cost of childbirth making it less attractive for the middle class, it also true that fat women lose their fertility much faster than normal ones. Their children also suffer more complications than normal weight women, further increasing the expense and depriving society of valuable human capital:

“Consuming a diet high in fat causes damage to eggs stored in female ovaries. As a result, when fertilised these eggs are not able to undergo normal, healthy development into embryos,” Ms Minge says. Source

Obesity is a known risk factor for ovulation problems, but it also contributes to infertility in women who ovulate normally, new research shows Women in the study who were severely obese were 43% less likely to achieve pregnancy than normal-weight women or women who were considered overweight but not obese during the yearlong study. Source

Studies indicate obesity doubles a woman’s chances of having a baby with neural tube defects, and even adequate folic acid intake does not fully protect against the increase in risk. Compared with normal-weight women, obese women have a greater risk of developing complications during pregnancy. Their babies are also more likely to be admitted to neonatal intensive care units. In a report published today, the public affairs committee of the Teratology Society officially declared obesity a pregnancy risk factor, adding that women should be told about the risk in the same way that they are warned about the dangers of smoking and drinking alcohol during pregnancy. The Teratology Society studies the causes and processes of birth defects to improve diagnosis and prevention. Source

 Imagine being so fat that you poison your own child in your womb.

I propose we apply the can-do American attitude to obesity, and turn one of our greatest weaknesses into a great strength. Until pre-commitment devices can force people to stop shoveling crap down their throats, we’re stuck with less techno-utopian methods, like plastic surgery.

Enter the Brazilian Buttlift & Breast Fat Transfer:

About six months ago, and because of the reabsorption dilemma, the Viel brothers – who have been carrying out forms of fat transfer surgery for 18 years – decided to offer the recently developed PIFT, which had been proving successful in America.

During the two-hour procedure, liposuction is used to remove fat from the patient’s stomach or thigh area.

‘Traditional liposuction involves the surgeon manually breaking up the fat with a cannula – a tube that removes fluid – often rupturing blood vessels within the fat, causing bruising, bleeding and possibly nerve damage,’ says Dr Roberto Viel.

‘So we use Vaser Lipo, a machine that uses ultrasound waves to liquidise the fat, allowing us to remove fat cells while causing minimal damage.’

Dr Roberto Viel says: ‘We believe the platelets slow the reabsorption process. Traditional fat transfers last approximately six months in total and require top-ups once a month. The PIFT enhancement should last for up to two years.

‘Fat can be refrigerated safely for up to two years before it starts to decompose, so we take a little more than is needed. We expect patients to have a first top-up at eight weeks and then one every six months, or until the supply runs out. After that, we would need to repeat the whole procedure. Link

 See, they have an excuse for getting fat now. The spare parts are actually useful, not just for making soap like in Fight Club.

This process is not without complications from the ultrasonic lipo, however there is no better place to test it than on women who have virtually no sexual market value:

Fat injection consists of mainly dead cells, with a disputed amount of living cells (Our research showed 20-25% alive, other studies have shown as low as 3% if you look at the ability of the cells to “breathe” (metabolize).

Those dead cells, when injected into the breasts, either are dissolved away by the body’s white blood cells, or form chronic inflammatory reacitons and are walled off (granulomatous reactions) or form fatty cysts. Lumpiness can also occur with the above problems as well.

It is the walling off process that causes the most worry. Calcium formation is common in granulomatous reactions. Calcium is what clues off mammographers to the presence of cancer. So will there be false positive mammograms for cancer in patients who have this technique? We’ll have to wait and see.

In five years’ time, we will have our answers. Until then, patients receiving this technique will take a certain risk. We won’t be using this technique in our practice until more data are available.

UAL, by the way, (and also the laser) melts and destroys fat cells with ultrasound waves (or laser heat). This technique would guarantee only dead cells are introduced. Lintk

As for the classic hip-to-waist ratio and fat-but-flat ass syndrome, the brazilian butt lift provides solutions. Behold an entire gallery of sort of safe for work images:

http://www.realself.com/brazilian-butt-lift/before-and-after-photos

It not only lifts but provides an eye pleasing hip to waist ratio, for the appearance of a coke bottle figure.

We must learn from Korea, and begin augmenting our own not so passable women.

One way or another, the sexual marketplace is going to be completely overturned in the coming decade.

P.S. The sexbots are coming: http://www.projectaiko.com/faq.html

Alternate Reality Shows

Present reality shows are reflections of the society that created them:

Jillian michaels yelling

-Obsession with zero sum competition.
Nearly every show focuses on eliminating others, often by isolating and removing the ‘weakest.’ This weakest is usually the one who made the least ‘friends’ or who may have been good, but simply lacked the right demographic appeal.

-Popularity is strength, money, virtue…winning.
There is often a host and/or judges, but this doesn’t change the fact that it’s a popularity contest. Approval of the collective body is what separates winners from the losers.

Whether on a tropical island or in a Hollywood studio, these shows are high stakes versions of the typical school or workplace social life.

This fundamental lack of imagination is the hallmark of reality shows as we know them.

What sort of alternate, worthwhile reality shows could be come up with?:

I know what alternate reality show I’d create.

I’d make a show that organizes groups of people into different types of governments and social structures and then observe the dynamics that develop over the course of several months. I’d explicitly keep the ‘losers’ on the island to see how the society deals with them. No voting out undesirables. Real societies have to find a place and role even for those on the margins.

Better yet, I would have society ‘teams’ in direct competition. Thus, groups that alienate their less competitive members would have to deal with the formation of an entire disloyal caste if they chose to be heavy handed with domestic policy.

For me, at least, this would be pure fun. Fun with a purpose. I don’t think English really has a commonly used word for something fun done for a higher end.
Meanwhile, ‘entertainment’ seems synonymous with something that is gratifying but pointless.

Visualizing The U.S. Electric Grid

The U.S. electric grid is a complex network of independently owned and operated power plants and transmission lines. Aging infrastructure, combined with a rise in domestic electricity consumption, has forced experts to critically examine the status and health of the nation’s electrical systems. Link

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