Lost in America

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by earllogjam, Sep 15, 2008.

  1. earllogjam

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    Do you ever get the feeling that our country is lacking a goal or direction for our future? Do you get the feeling that no one really cares? Or is the future just really really scary and people just don't want to think about how dire it's going to be?
     
  2. wonderland

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    Most people are so wrapped up in their own lives they don't notice what is going on around them. Ignorance is bliss.
     
  3. Principessa

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  4. Drifterwood

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    Personally I feel that the US has an enormous amount to offer the world.

    However, IMO, you need to have a long hard look at where the politics and business of the last twenty years have taken you. Isolated, aggressive, narrow minded, self-obsessed.

    It's why the No.1 No.1 mantra irritates me so much. Time for some humility, some inclusiveness, a global view in which you are a partner rather than the ruler.

    Just my 2 cents.
     
  5. Not_Punny

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    I frequently get lost in America. That's why I have one of those GPS devices -- I can't get to my front door without one.
     
  6. nudeyorker

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    And worth it's weight in gold
     
  7. ManlyBanisters

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    Let's see - 1c weighs about 2.5g and today's gold price appears to be $24.93 per gram - so today Drifter's 2c is worth $124.65. Not bad :rolleyes:

    EDIT: Of course - if Difter's 2 cents is 2 euro cents it is only worth $114.678 because a euro cent weighs about 2.3g :wink:




    .
     
    #7 ManlyBanisters, Sep 15, 2008
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2008
  8. Drifterwood

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    You know, if I were to ask the Hick Boy to spank your smart arse, he would no doubt oblige, with interest. It's a male bonding thing. :smile:
     
  9. Principessa

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    njqt466 bend over next to manlybanisters for this male ritual spanking . . . it sounds like fun :flirt:
     
  10. marleyisalegend

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    I think we need to fire every local, state, and federal official (cops, mayors, superintendents, governors, etc...), tear down the white house and start from scratch. Then....MAYBE....we'll be aight.
     
  11. Luck E 8

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    Does any country have a specific direction it's going though? We all need to understand that last century, by and large, belonged to America, and this century will belong to the Chinese, no matter what we do. What we're seeing now is an expected shift in our economy, from the best economy in the world to the second best. People have been saying this would happen for years, and it's undoubtedly going to take some time for people to adjust. The beauty about our country is it really does do a pretty good job at running itself, economically at least. We've been riding on such a high for the last 30 years, this downturn in our economy was bound to happen at some point, but still, it isn't that bad. I mean, look around. We still have transportation, electricity, easy access to food and water, a plentiful amount of jobs, air conditioning, internet, heating, plumbing, and a whole host of luxuries we still enjoy. Americans are some of the most ungrateful people in the world, and it disgusts me. I'd still rather have Bush than Putin...
     
  12. jason_els

    jason_els <img border="0" src="/images/badges/gold_member.gi

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    It's the latter...

    American taxes don't begin to cover our expenses. To meet our financial obligations the US sells bonds to other countries. These debt obligations have been as good as gold and many, many, countries back their own currencies with them instead of gold. They also need US dollars to purchase oil because oil is only sold in American dollars. If you want to buy oil, you must use US dollars. Iran does have its own oil bourse, but it's not terribly successful because nobody wants to hold Iranian currency.

    As the dollar plummets, all those debt obligations drop in value. These countries gave the US money in return for a bond plus interest. If the value of the dollar drops, then so does the value of their investment because the value of that bond drops as the dollar does.

    Why would so many countries, including China, buy all these bonds? Mostly it's because they believe the US will remain dominant in the world and, therefore, be able to press its advantage diplomatically, militarily, and economically. Or at least that's what they thought. Many countries are turning from the dollar to the Euro, and want to be able to buy oil in currency other than dollars. That way they can ditch the dollars which are declining in value and will continue to so long as we cannot be fiscally responsible. Right now, the US can press its advantage with its big stick. Like the Soviets before us, we're going to be facing a guns or butter proposition. As our standard of living and economic power wanes, so too will our ability to maintain a global military. At some point the people of the US will demand that our military money be spent on domestic needs because we won't be able to meet our fiscal obligations without doing so.

    When that happens, as it will happen, then the US will collapse economically and politically because all those offshore dollars will be dumped back to us and the OPEC states who have been told, in no uncertain terms :AR15firing: by the US, to sell oil only in dollars, will be free to sell in Euros instead. Now you know why we care so much about the middle east. Did you know Saddam wanted to open an oil bourse using something other than dollars? So does Venezuela. Hmmm.

    Now you may also know why the US power structure isn't terribly keen on finding anything other than oil to power the world.

    While we have been saddling ourselves with all this debt we can't repay, Putin has been quietly busy making the ruble a hard currency. He's paid off all of Russia's debts including those made by the czars. He's buying enormous quantities of gold (while the US sells hers) to back it with, and he's balancing Russia's budget. He too wants to open an oil bourse and to sell Russian oil in rubles.

    Oil, and our ability to control it economically, is the root of American world dominance. Without it, we cannot maintain our enormous military infrastructure nor protect American imperial interests (don't think we're an empire? Have a look at where we have military bases).

    On the outskirts of the government, a few people are shouting long and hard to warn us of what is about to happen. Here's the head of the Government Accountability Office, the Comptroller General of the United States, telling us what's really going on. The GAO keeps track of what Congress really spends, not what Congress's legally illegal, but politically appealing, accounting numbers say. Here's a more digestible, and alarming, version from 60 Minutes.

    Our current socio-economic paradigm cannot be sustained.

    A number of things will happen when this does. Either the US will go to pieces as the right, unable to face the uncertainty of world where the US is just another country moves even further right in a claim to recapture US power and glory, goes into full-tilt fascist mode, or we will deflate quickly and painfully as the government literally goes bankrupt like the Soviet Union's did. Or we may be lucky and deflate softly like the British Empire. We may even break-up into separate countries. It's my guess that we will deflate quickly but have a relatively soft landing so long as the right wing is able to accept what is taking place. Everything really depends on that and the ability of governments to keep order.

    However it happens, our economy will tank hard. The 1929 crash will look like a Hamptons white party compared to what we will face. We'll have hyperinflation akin to Weimar Germany (where people were paid three times a day, went grocery shopping with wheelbarrows full of money, people paid for restaurant meals before they ate as the value of the mark plummeted so fast that people heated their homes by burning money because it lasted longer than the fuel the money would buy), social unrest on a grand scale, and a likely reorganization of government complete with a Constitutional Convention. This sort of eventuality may be why the government is building internment camps.

    Right now, we're doing the bread and circuses thing. News is now infotainment, media consolidation has allowed the power structure to minimize criticism of it, rapidly declining public education standards have left two entire generations completely unaware of the necessity of Americans to always question government to keep it in check, and we have lost the ability or desire to see where it is all going. We have reality shows and credit cards, what else do we need? People become angrier when their cable goes out than when their government passes laws that erode their civil liberties. We have been privileged for so long that we take our prosperity for granted. We're the grandchildren and children of spoiled rich kids who do not want nor care to understand how the world really works.

    Apr├Ęs nous, le deluge.
     
  13. nudeyorker

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    Are you talking to me or her?
     
  14. Luck E 8

    Luck E 8 New Member

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    You're right, OPEC probably will convert their cash to the euro, and when they do, we will be fucked if our dollar is still low, well we'll be fucked either way but especially if the dollar is at the levels it is right now. OPEC openly spoke about this in Nov. of '07 and the market freaked, I can't imagine how it would be if they actually did it...like, right now. But then again, there's a lot of risk for OPEC in doing that. If our economy collapses, so will many others throughout the world, which is why i am glad i am an American
     
  15. jason_els

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    Yes, there is a lot of risk. The key issue is that the OPEC states know the oil train has to come to an end whether because it runs out or is supplanted by another energy source. They don't want to be left with vaults full of worthless IOUs. They have to take that risk if they want to avoid that fate.

    Many countries do depend on the US and that's why I say I think it will be a softer landing than we might expect. We'll have economic assistance pour in from the rest of the industrialized world. The US does have a highly skilled work force, good infrastructure, a major monolithic market, and natural resources. It will be painful to be dictated to by the rest of the world, no question. Yet I think that once the US is forced to accept its position, we'll eventually come out prosperous as the UK did. Remember that the UK went through some horrible post-war years as Russia is going through tough times now. I suspect that we'll be in a position similar to the both of them, not Mad Max world.
     
  16. Phil Ayesho

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    Jason-- much of what you say is possibly true...

    but not fated to be so...


    It IS possible to change the direction of this country-- its just not possible to do it thru the corporate media.


    Whether we will see the kind of leadership that will inspire even the conservatives to recognize that substantive change is essential... is the real question.



    As to this century belonging to China...
    I seriously doubt that.

    China will certainly be a force in the world... but they do not have the cultural stamina to hold world leadership against the challenges that are coming.
    I have been there and experienced a lot of what it is like to try and get good work out of the chinese.

    When their systems are strained, They tend to default to authoritarian answers, rather than innovative ones....
    And keep in mind they have the same Millstone of Communist corruption around their neck that has hamstrung Russia from becoming a true world leader.
    Democratic reforms can not undo the culture of collusion and graft and black market manipulations that become the norm during long terms communist rule.

    China is far more likely to become an oligarchy of capitalists... in which case it will skip right over the "American Dream" period and straight to where we are now... with a small handful of ultra rich manipulating all media and all money and all law.

    And, in doing so, they will be immediately just as economically precarious as the US is today.


    The great period of US economic growth was largely predicated in a population that believed strongly in civic virtue above profit.

    The Chinese do not have that background any longler- Mao killed it.
    From putting melamine in baby formula to lead in kids toys, China is, and will continue to be, a place where world wide success will be at peril for their failure to act in good conscience when it comes to money.


    Already, half the factories I used in China have re-located to Vietnam and Thailand. Partly due to the rapidly increasing cost of labor in China ( they want disposable cash, too ) and partly due to the wide scope of bribery and corruption that makes doing business there so difficult.

    Because the rate at which new areas CAN be developed in today's world is constantly accelerating... what COULD be CHina's dominence will be tempered by the growth of India and, ultimately Africa.

    The big thing is that no matter what- India and China will be fighting over the world's resources- in particular, Energy.


    The US could STILL be a huge player in geopolitics if we would simply dedicate ourselves to being the nation that focuses on developing the technological solutions to the problems we can see coming.

    Clean energy... clean cars.... more efficient energy distribution....

    We could maintain our position in the world... but only by being the ones breaking new ground.

    Rather than dissipating our energies and wealth fighting useless warts over nothing.
     
  17. jason_els

    jason_els <img border="0" src="/images/badges/gold_member.gi

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    I also doubt the whole, China Century thing. China's deepest flaws are in its wealth inequity and system of government. It's impossible to dismiss China, but to see it as a monolithic political and economic entity is to buy the propaganda. Unless the Communists truly reform by transitioning government to a democracy, there will be yet another period of luan as the Mandate of Heaven is lost. Oligarchy isn't too awful when you have a large middle class, but there are tens of millions of very poor Chinese who are wondering why Comrade Xao gets a Rolls-Royce while they're still stuck with an ass. There are uprisings and general strikes in the provinces that the Chinese media will not report on and which the western media largely ignores under threat of expulsion from the Chinese government. Things are not as rosy as they appear. One recent visitor described his last visit to China, "I felt like Michael Corleone visiting Cuba."

    My bet is on Russia and a reformed (if they manage it) EU. In 100 years I wager it may well be Canada and Brazil.

    The problem with the US developing alternative energy is that it disenfranchises the petromilitary complex that currently dominates government. A wise oil company would transition to being an energy development company but the history of industry is that very few companies have proven able re-invent themselves to become something they weren't to begin with. Economics tends to favor the upstarts when paradigms shift. I suspect that like Detroit, they'll go kicking and screaming rather than evolve. The only way they will lose power is when there is no more oil to exploit. These folks underwrote the Iraq war, few industries can command that kind of power. If they're willing to use American lives to fatten their bank accounts, then there is nothing they will not do to keep the status quo.
     
  18. D_Gunther Snotpole

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    What do you mean, Jason?
    Is that really the word you want?
     
  19. jason_els

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    Underwrote by financing PNAC and their candidates, George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and their henchmen.
     
  20. D_Gunther Snotpole

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    Ah.
     
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