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February 26, 2024

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You very clearly and accurately diagnosed the illness that afflicts the population of the US Empire.

Trump is just a symptom. Kind of like an orange rash around the anus of the country.

The patient is resistant to treatment which consists of a salve of truth and knowledge. Apply twice daily with a spatula and hold in place with an adult diaper.

The prognosis is not promising.

Is the disease airborne?

Sort of, it's spread by the media.

The view from north of the 49th: Trump will VERY likely win the upcoming contest. The United States (sadly) is NOT indispensable (except as a trading partner, and that isn't going to go away.) The concept of "exceptionalism" has devolved into cult status. My theory is that, per capita, the numbers of wingnuts, idiots, and just plain evil folks is roughly the same wherever in the world you go.

I can agree with most of this, but I do think you may want to reconsider your characterization of RFK Jr. He's described as an antivaxxer by the corporate media when in reality he just wants to ensure that vaccines are safe and drug companies can be held liable when they aren't. As for the rest of his views, he is the only candidate who actually upholds the ideals of freedom and liberty as described in the Constitution.

I have Barzun's Dawn to Decadence. Being an engineer and not a historian, I have to admit I only made it to about page 70. I bought it on the strength of the forward from Alistair Cooke, whose weekly Letters to America I had listened to since 1972. Cooke mentioned Barzun's book in one of his later broadcasts before he died in 2004.

But the decadence, as you and Barzun describe, is clear enough. In the US we've gone from a lifting of all (most) boats to a kind of predatory culture of winners and losers: my profit must come at someone else's loss.

The motivation for a disinformation outlet like Fox News is not hard to see: far better for viewers to vilify immigrants than to reform the tax code that has hollowed out the middle class and enriched Murdoch & Friends.

It's an open question whether we can preserve an electorate competent enough to keep the republic. As for the decadence of the present civilization - well, the renaissance ended the Dark Ages, through the recovery of Greek/Arabic texts which ignited scientific thought and method.

Similar paradigm changes can't be ruled out in the future - they should be expected. An example - the eventual discovery of other intelligent life outside our home planet - would change history much like the natural sciences and printing press did.

As a technologist, I have helped amplify the power of the individual human being (think cell/smartphone). I'm afraid this has caused harm to our culture, by making predation easier in all its dimensions: political, economic, social. Ultimately we are limited by the aggression inherent in our biology, ever since the first organisms competed for food in the first tide pools. We could use the wisdom of a neighbor civilization with a billion years on us - that would be a paradigm shift.

Correction: "Letters from America"

Thanks, Jon. This puts me in mind of Morris Berman’s 3 books on the topics: Twilight of American Culture, Dark Ages America, and Why America Failed. Good, if dispiriting reading. During G.W. bush curiosity about the country’s trajectory made we wish to live long enough to track it well into the 2030’s. I don’t feel that way now.

I’ve been a Jon Talton fan since 2000. He’s one the THE best and this excellent piece is a clear demonstration of his many talents and vision. As I have mentioned to him, like a broken record, until we give up the very costly global empire (in real and opportunity cost dollars) and work to fix this place, the toilet swirl continues for USA USA......Biden or Trump. War is not an investment in freedom, but education, infrastructure and healthcare is! My Vermont real estate taxes are about to go up 20% this year due to total chaos in education for a small, rural state with fewer kids spread all over. Maybe Lockheed could spare a few nickels.


.....the 2024 winner, either one, will be impeached and removed by 2027 mid summer. Blowback is on a narrower sine wave each election cycle. I disagree about Whitmer. I think she could handle Trump in a debate. She is likely the only Democrat, other than your Washington State Inslee, I would vote for at this time. Genocide Joe will never get my vote, too many neoconjobs running his foreign policy for me. However, my North Carolina vote is pretty worthless since it will go to Trump no matter who I vote for. My biggest worry is Trump carries the full slate here, especially governor, and most other state races with him.


But……in the end Mose Allison said it all........https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sqd3W9NNkbo

Excellent column.
Excellent comments.

A few questions:
1. Does this sound like our parents did about us?
2. This is clearly the US being referred to as chest thumper of old. However, many of our past political/military actions have led to much of our current international chagrin.
3. “My unified theory” is a contradiction in terms.
4. Does this assume that the entire younger generations have no emerging leaders? They are the few not the many. And I know some of them.
5. “Reading” and “Scholarship’. They are being done for corporate america. OR they actually ARE working toward the nfuture. Or perhaps a mix.
6. This hand wringing is definitely done largely by well-off white men in the US. Take a cross country trip OFF the freeway and see what has been done to blue-collar America, at decayed Victorian neighborhoods and shuttered, once solid middle class, houses. Take a drive through black and hispanic inner cities, where freeways WE built destroyed once vibrant neighborhoods of color, and access to good supermarkets and pharmacies are miles, not blocks, away. Where red-lining STILL exists, and people were warehoused into tenements.

UNTIL the Democratic Party, in Full, says Education is Number One Priority, it won’t go back to the “old way”.
Who knows where that could lead??

Maybe it’s hands-on instead of academic.
I personally know 10 young folks - under 35 - who are busting butt to make a difference! And then there’s their friends!
***
I know, I’m a dysfunctional optimist…
🫣

Anyone know why the column grinds to a halt after the dreaded tenth comment? This doesn't count, it's a question.

On tonight's (March 1) episode of WWE Smackdown, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson is a heel (villain) again. WWE was in Glendale and Rock said "Phoenix Was No. 1 for cocaine and meth addiction." He drew cheers for about 30 seconds before being booed, but the cheers were louder.

Make of it what you will.

Are we entering a new Dark Age? I'm reminded of the old saying, "You're never as good as you look when you're wining, and you're never as bad as you look when you're losing". I see tougher times ahead, but not a new Dark Age. We just need to start addressing our problems instead of demagoguing them and punting. We will ultimately have to address them or they will address us.

Planet Earth will put closure to the human issue.
The big cock WWE and the Rock is a fake jerkoff show.
Percentage of population drug use makes me suspect of tje Rocks comment.

A QUICK GOOGLE sEARCH SHOWS Mesa #2 and Phoenix #6

Bro, the people crossing the southern and northern borders aren't doing so because they're all of a sudden too sweaty in Central America because we drove too many cars and it got too hot. They're coming for the free stuff.

Doesn't matter if Trump or Biden or whichever other puppet wins. All will have their agenda dictated to them by the Israelis. Could be Trump though, as the Israelis are trying to get the US to fight the whole Muslim world for them, and Russia, and China, and need the good ol' boys to do their fighting, rather than the Trannified Forces. Latest army ads are all white southern & midwestern boys doing manly things like jumping from planes.

I've lived in China, it's pretty chill. The young men are not drug and porn addicted and are optimistic/working hard for their futures. Student loans aren't a thing, and the older generation didn't set up a Saturnine ponzi scheme like social security. It's true they don't get to choose between 2 Israeli-controlled puppets every 4 years, but on the other hand there are no junkies belligerently asking for uh dolla, and no homeless black people shoving people onto train tracks. They're ok with that.

And if you want to whine about CeNsOrShiP or "u CaNt CritiCize GoVerNmEnt There", try posting "The Israelis control the US Government" on your social media and see what happens...hint: the same thing that'll happen to this comment.

How about the book
"Our Palestinian Question" 1950/1970 by
Geoffrey Levin.
And "American Jewish
McCarthyism."

Or Don Peretz 1993 book "Palestinian Refugees and the Middle East Peace Process."

Michael,

Everywhere in your post take the word Israeli out and replace it with:

Rothschilds

Oil companies

Wall Street

Oligarchs

Ivy League secret societies

God (choose your flavor)

We're 98% chimpanzee. You give us too much credit. We play with ourselves and fling shit at strangers. That's it.

The new Dark Ages have already hit Florida:

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2024/mar/03/florida-measles-outbreak-preventable

Michael,

Did you notice , comments only , no censorship here.

“The far-left is mostly concerned about how [climate change] will affect "people of color" (as if white isn't a color, too).”

I get that the modern American left is a laughing stock even amongst those who identify as such, but the only times I ever see this form of identity politics is when it is done so by (liberal) thinktanks and (liberal) sensationalist journos like yourself. Thank you for not personally falling into such a trap, but speak to any serious lefty who isn’t poisoned by the internet and you’ll see there’s a pretty universalist concern surrounding climate change.

Anyways, I’m still voting this year but I think it’ll just be more of the same regardless of who is elected. Though with Trump we will probably get more culture war, abortion ban adjacent garbage which I’m not looking forward to. The Inflation Reduction Act was great and all, but I don’t think Biden is going to fix global climate change when it’s unlikely he will even live to the end of his potential second term. We can’t undo centuries of carbon emissions by slowly reducing them over the next few decades. Now there is only damage control, as the earth slowly kills us all off. I’m not saying we shouldn’t try to fix things, and I definitely don’t think we should deny that it is happening, but the climate is fucked regardless of who wins the election this year, or any year. Sorry!

Anthropocene - While scientists say this era is not officially here, we are seeing the extinction of thousands of species in addition to the discovery of thousands of newly discovered species. So, business as usual.

What is unusual is the appearance of interbreeding which is quite troubling. A new species has been discovered in the Washington DC area which can only be described as something out of a George Romero movie. The animal has the head of a human male republican, the body of a worm, no spine and no genitals. The mouth makes a sucking sound anytime anything orange is within eyesight. The species has been named the McConnell-Barasso-Thune-vermis. Several sub-species have been found, Graham and Cruz vermi.

Species go extinct, new species adapt.

It is the way of the earth.

To touch on 2002 Subaru Outback's comment, all of the efforts to decarbonize are to stop the growth in temperatures that set off a chain reaction of climate-change catastrophes that affect everything from the frequency and intensity of natural disasters, to sea level rise inundating coastal area and upending economies, to crop and seafood die-offs, to more frequent pandemics and transmission of fast-evolving micropathogens ...


Earth has crossed so many tipping points that the enormity of decarbonization will only achieve the end result of higher temperatures staying high. It's demoralizing once you accept it. Transitioning away from fossil-fuel-intense activity leaves humanity much like Elvis Presley leading up to the moments where he literally shat himself to death. All of the hard living he did in his youth accumulated to his body failing him.

Had he changed up his diet, quit alcohol, and instead of the pills he was taking substituted them for modern pharmaceuticals dealing with chronic conditions, he might have lived another couple of decades. He'd be alive, but in the same decrepit condition as his final years.

For the most part, humanity is unable and unwilling to comprehend the crisis climate change is posing. For one, most people's brains aren't "wired" for the complex thinking required to understand climate change. Typically, the mind looks for direct-cause patterns. Like "burning fossil fuels causes climate change" is true on a most superficial level and that's all people can process.

Climate science, on the other hand, works on the level of something like predicting the trajectory of every billiard ball after the break shot. There's too much randomness, probability and risk to make it all make sense.

I told you.
8 billion and counting.
Malthus

Ruben u read that article on Super worms.
A human replacement with no borders.

Gosh, what a dark, sad, dystopian place this has become.

I think I'll fix myself a nice strong drink, listen to some music, and look out the window at a beautiful day.

Since we are all "born astride a grave", we might as well enjoy what little time we have.

And, whatever happens, the earth will be fine, with or without us.

Oh, by the way, it's the people who think there isn't any real difference between Biden and The Traitor who are the real problem.

Morris Berman! Haven’t heard that name in a while. Used to read his blog about living in Mexico and about the US. Likewise, Joe Bageant wrote about Belize and rednecks. Miss them both.

Michael II, bro you have no idea how many comments I've had deleted here.

Rogue even made a "stunning and brave" unprompted proclamation that "All comments criticizing Israel or Jewish people (antisemitic comments) will be deleted."

The one a week ago stayed up though, that was cool. Thanks Rogue.

I think things are different after Oct 2023, the mask kinda came off regarding "our greatest ally."

Not 14 May 1948?

Cal,
For the Palestinians, the mask came off on April 9, 1948.

For many Democrats here it's been the last few months.

For the Zionized evangelical "Christians" it'll probably be never. But they're not so bright.

Michael lets not quibble over a few days.. least we argue about December 1901.

Michael. Regarding your comments about being censored or deleted over the years was that under an assumed name?
Is Michael your real name. Michael what?
I've not been censored or deleted and I've been here since,
even before the column existed.
Im a proponent of posting by who you really are in real life.

So who today is that righteous man following in Seths footsteps? Benjamin Netanyahu? Donald Trump?
Bernie Sanders.
Saul became Paul.
The human species is insane.

Cal,
Of course you haven't had any of your comments deleted. You don't say anything except 'ohh people are bad. I love the desert.'

Michael is not my real name. I'd love to use my full name, except there's a certain powerful group of people that will try to ruin your life for saying they are a powerful group of people.

On this snowy April fools day I'm going to TELL you the future. It is my own personal nightmare and regardless of all the pontificating to come from the experts this is how it's going to be.

One assumption for this future to occur- between now and the election neither candidate will peg out due to age.

Ready?

Sorry all you MAGAts out there. Trump is not going to win. No way, no how.

Biden will win.

After taking office, Biden will be incapacitated either through death or mental/health issues. It is written in the actuarial charts of the world.

Kamala Harris will become President.

And there is the nightmare.

Deal with it.

Ruben,You dont know?
Joe is dead! That is a robot built and paid for for by George the Billionaire.
Pamela and Antony are in bed together running the world.
Scary shit!

Joe dead is still better than anything the Republicans can come up with.

I'm voting for "Robbie" and Susan Calvin.

Comments heard during the official start of the dark age in the United States of Stupid.

THE TOTAL ECLIPSE OF THE SUN

Even though a total eclipse occurs every seventeen years:

"It's the end of the world."

"It's a sign from above."

"God wants Trump to win."

The media, "WE'VE NEVER SEEN ANYTHING LIKE THIS !!!!!"

"Does the sun rest during an eclipse?"

"The sun may never reappear, oh wait, never mind."

And so it goes......

Good news and bad news: The Taiwanese TSMC chip fab in Arizona, beset by construction union and environmental review delays, is now back on track.

Economist Noah Smith has the details in Noahpinion: https://www.noahpinion.blog/p/at-least-five-interesting-things-d27

The bad news is that TSMC used the delays as a shakedown tactic.

Smith: Except…it turns out that all the news stories about the huge delays, including all the ones I cited in my hand-wringing posts, were wrong. The instant that the CHIPS Act handed TSMC its $5 billion in subsidies, the company suddenly declared that the Arizona plant is ahead of schedule and will begin operating later this year:

...

OOOOOPS!!! So much for that whole story. Assuming this report is confirmed, it appears that the delays were intentional sandbagging by TSMC in order to make sure it secured its CHIPS Act money. As soon as the check was safely in the mail, the company started going full steam ahead.

Bob you know what they call this.
A SCAM!
Reminds me of
Glenn Canyon.
Another dam scam.
Perpetuated by evil Humonids.

Regarding The New Dark Age (this column), what are the geezers among you thinking about the Arizona Supreme Courts' decision to uphold an ancient anti-abortion law? Will it have any effect on AZ elections this fall, especially down ballot?

They gave a gift to democrats and the finger to Trump.

The Hill reports handicappers now give the the edge to Arizona democrats due to Arizonas Supreme Court ruling on Abortion

Even if everything "bad" that so many folks worry about comes to pass here in the New World,, the world will continue on in its bloody fashion. America will just be relegated to the sidelines - at this point, maybe not necessarily a bad thing for the rest of the world. We've had our day in the sun. But we brought this inevitable collapse upon ourselves. It's way too late to point fingers; all that's left for us is to move somewhere else, or ride this bitch into the ground. But, even if we move somewhere else, the climate...ah, the climate will still follow. But perhaps dealing with the climate will be easier in a place that isn't also riven by the strife that I see coming our way - no matter who wins this November. Pessimistic? Why, yes I am. Thanks for asking.

Good post Jimmy C.
See new posts on the Road Ahead.

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