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Author Topic: The Decline, Fall, and Resurrection of America  (Read 24839 times)
Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #50 on: July 06, 2012, 10:40:25 AM »

Michael Malone: The Sources of the Next American Boom
Nanotech, 3-D printing and other innovations point to a coming golden era, if we can unleash the animal spirits of the market
By MICHAEL S. MALONE

Three years after the recession was declared officially over, unemployment remains high and there's worry that a new recession is down the road. And yet waiting in the wings for when we get our economic policies in order are a mounting number of stunning discoveries, inventions and technological breakthroughs that could set off a burst of growth and wealth creation as big as any in living memory.

The fracking technology that is making available vast new sources of recoverable oil and natural gas in North America is one such breakthrough. But all across the commercial and industrial landscape, there are exciting developments:

• Nanoculture: One of the truths of tech is that revolutions take longer than predicted, but they arrive sooner than we are prepared for them. That is the case with nanotechnology, the hot new science story of a decade ago.

Though it has largely disappeared from the front pages, nanotech is only now coming into its own. Breakthrough medicines; genetic research; new materials such as graphene (a lattice-sheet form of carbon used for everything from filters to computer chips); molecular electronics (extreme miniaturization, thus super-small sensors and other devices); and quantum computing (small, superfast supercomputers) have all been announced in recent months. Indeed, the range of emerging applications for nano materials is so wide-ranging and important that, together, they suggest an impending turning point in high tech as important as silicon and integrated circuitry were half a century ago.

Cloud Crowd: In the world of information technology, the big story these days is the shift of data management from largely in-house computing centers to rented, easily scalable computing and storage from anonymous servers located somewhere out in the Internet. Much of this shift, driven by leading providers such as Amazon, is already well under way, rapidly driving down costs and making information management much more affordable both for industry and, increasingly, consumers.

This in turn has kicked off a true revolution in what is being called "big data." Big data is the application of all of this new computing power to reach beyond the individual application of mass information to the mass application of individual data—for instance, by tracking a billion sensors in real time to monitor weather across a continent. It could mean capturing every step in the path of every shopper in a store over the course of a year, or monitoring every vital sign of a patient every second for the course of his illness.

Big data offers measuring precision in science, business, medicine and almost every other sector never before possible. It could ultimately have an impact as great as mass production did more than a century ago—creating a new world of mass personalization of products and services. The big-data revolution is already happening, with hundreds of applications already in use, for instance, tracking millions of chickens from farms in Thailand to family tables around the world, or monitoring the location in real time of every emergency vehicle in a major city like Chicago. Over the next few years, it will spread across every industry and scientific discipline.

• Printing Dreams: Three-dimensional printing is a manufacturing technology that creates specific objects from buildings to machine components, and even human organs, either by laying down layers of material or carving away from a block of existing material. It's been around for several years but will soon influence everyday life.

Using new materials such as molten polymers and metal powders, highly focused lasers and, increasingly, nanotech, 3-D printing is an incredibly powerful design and modeling tool. Because it offers the potential for the same economies at any volume, this technology, especially when it gets bolted to big data and nanotech, rewrites the very notion of economies of scale. It could transform manufacturing, eliminating the current cost advantage enjoyed by developing countries and bringing jobs back to the U.S.

You can already find hundreds of consumer products, from furniture to jewelry, created with 3-D printing. Less obvious are the thousands of gears, motors and other industrial components that are now custom-fabricated this way. Says computer scientist Christopher Barnatt, "[Imagine] a future in which the everyday 'atomization' of virtual objects into hard reality has turned the mass preproduction and stockholding of a wide range of goods and spare parts into no more than an historical legacy." Then, imagine that future with the 3-D printer in your home.

• Handheld Diplomas: The discrepancy between the cost of university tuition and the return on that investment for most students grows every year. As students, increasingly priced out of traditional education, begin to abandon the college path, colleges and universities will have no choice but to pursue them—with ever-greater numbers of virtual courses (and eventually degrees)—on laptops, smartphones and tablets. This shift is already beginning to transform higher education and bring in a host of new competitors. Its potential to raise educational achievements in K-12—where rising costs and diminishing results are even more out of control—could be even more revolutionary. And apart from formal schooling, why can't the Internet be harnessed to embed education into the daily life of people at any age, and wherever in the world they live?

• Self-Health: While Washington, the national media and the general public focus on draconian responses to the rising costs of health care, for-profit businesses are busy inventing small, affordable solutions. For example, there are now more than 12,000 new health-care apps available from independent developers for the iPhone and iPad. Examples includes the iTriage, which lets users check their own symptoms and find a nearby health provider, and iBGStar, a blood tester for diabetics that connects to the iPhone and lets users sync and manage information from test readings.

Meanwhile, the first of scores of new home diagnostic and monitoring devices—small, affordable, and increasingly connected to health professionals via the Web—are now appearing on the scene. They promise greater drug regimen adherence (the current failure of which is a huge social cost); early identification of everything from a drug reaction to a heart attack; better maintenance of chronic diseases such as diabetes and hepatitis; and virtual doctor visits that make use of home monitoring devices and communications tools such as Skype.



It's all on the way. Together, these trends offer the potential for a golden era. Getting there won't be easy, as we are currently governed by leaders who want to manage our complex and dynamic economy from the top down, to tame entrepreneurs with regulation, to tax the productive and, ultimately, to pick the next generation of winners. That's never worked well and isn't working today. But a better world awaits us if we elect leaders who can imagine a better future and fight to unleash the animal spirits of the market that will get us there.

Mr. Malone is a tech journalist and the author of several books, most recenty "Charlie's Place" (History Publishing, 2012).

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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #51 on: July 13, 2012, 10:01:20 AM »



http://pjmedia.com/michaelwalsh/2012/07/12/twilight/?singlepage=true
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #52 on: July 15, 2012, 09:23:03 AM »



George Shultz: Memo to Romney — Expand the Pie George Shultz, the former secretary of state and Treasury says America's current problems are large, and its power in the world is diminished. But the policies for revival are obvious with the right leadership

By ROBERT L. POLLOCK
Stanford, Calif.

George Shultz has one of the most preposterously impressive résumés in recent American history. World War II Marine (1942-45); distinguished academic economist; business executive; secretary of labor (1969-70); director of the Office of Management and Budget (1970-72); secretary of the Treasury (1972-74); chairman of Ronald Reagan's economic transition team; and the secretary of state (1982-89) who wound down the Cold War.

He's also been an active adviser to GOP leaders including George W. Bush in the years since. And, as I just learned, he's not a bad singer either.

When I called out of the blue on Wednesday morning, the 91-year-old éminence grise was in his office at Stanford University's Hoover Institution and willing to meet for an interview that afternoon.

The executive summary? On the economy: "We have some big problems in this country." He's very concerned about debt, and about monetary, tax and regulatory policy. On foreign policy: "We're weaker, much weaker" abroad than we were two decades ago.

But despite it all, Mr. Shultz is confident that if we get the policies right again, America can regain its footing: "When Ronald Reagan took office, inflation was in the teens, the prime rate was in the 20s, and the economy was going nowhere. We still had the remnants of wage and price controls, particularly in oil and gas. And Jimmy Carter said we were in 'malaise.' It was a bad time. I'm convinced the economy can be turned around because I watched Ronald Reagan do it."

"It took long-term thinking," Mr. Shultz emphasizes. "I'll give you an example. [Reagan] knew and we all advised him you can't have a decent economy with the kind of inflation we've got. . . . The political people would come in and say 'You've got to be careful, Mr. President. There's gonna be a recession [if the Federal Reserve tightens the money supply]. You're gonna lose seats in the midterm election.'

"And he basically said, 'If not us who? If not now when?' And he held a political umbrella over [Fed Chairman] Paul Volcker, and Paul did what needed to be done. And by late '82 early '83, inflation was under control, the tax changes that he made were kicking in, and the economy took off. But it took a politician with an ability to take a short-term hit in order to get the long-run results that we needed."

Is inflation a primary threat today? Not an immediate one, says Mr. Shultz, "but it's a building problem because of all this liquidity that's being stored up. . . . They [the Fed] think their contribution to doing something about [our economic troubles] is very easy money. Well, by this time money is very easy. It doesn't have to get any easier. . . . It takes other things to get the economy going—not more money."

Mr. Shultz dwells at length on the national debt, and on the Fed's role in enabling it: "It's startling that in the last year, three-quarters of the debt that's been issued has been bought by the Fed and the balance has been bought by other countries, so U.S. citizens and institutions are not on net buying U.S. debt. . . . The Fed doesn't have an unlimited capacity because when it buys the debt what it's doing is monetizing the debt. Sooner or later that has got to get out into the economy. Can't be held forever. And when it does in that kind of volume—as Milton Friedman taught us, inflation is a monetary phenomenon—it's gonna be hard to control."

As Mr. Shultz sees it, there is plenty of empirical evidence about which policies promote growth and which don't.

"I think the things that need to be done are sort of in the air, and you almost feel as if everybody knows what they are," he says. "It's quite apparent that we need to have another round of the 1986 tax act. That is, clean out the preferences and lower the rates. . . . It's also not a mystery that our corporate tax rate is way too high and there are preferences there that could be cleaned out."

For Mr. Shultz, the tax issue is not just about rates—though he believes lower rates often produce more revenue than higher ones, and "it's the revenues you're looking for"—but about predictability.

He asks me what sports I like. "Let's talk about football. . . . You want to know the rules and have an impartial referee, but you also want to make sure somebody isn't going to come along and change the rules in the middle of the game. . . . Now it's as though we have all these people who have money on the sidelines and we say 'Come on and play the game,' and they say 'Well what are the rules?' and we say 'We'll tell you later.' And what about the referee? Well, we're still struggling for who that's gonna be. . . . That's not an environment designed to get people to play."

Mr. Shultz cites the handling of the auto bankruptcies as an important deviation from rules-based economic policy. The question was "are we gonna have a political bankruptcy or a rule-of-law bankruptcy? Political bankruptcy was chosen. So the result is that the unions got paid off and the regular creditors didn't."

He also cites Washington's "habit of passing bills that are thousands of pages long and you know most legislators haven't even read what they're voting for."


That would be ObamaCare, of course. "I fear that the approach to controlling costs in the health-care business is moving more and more to a wage-and-price-control approach. And one thing you know from experience is when you control the price of something, you end up getting less of it. So if you control the price of health-care providers, you will have fewer of them and that's gonna wind up as a crisis. The most vivid expression of that . . . was Jimmy Carter's gas lines."

Experience. Examples. Evidence. Shultz themes.

As we turn to foreign policy, the national debt again looms large: "Now remember something. Alexander Hamilton, our first secretary of the Treasury, and a very good one, redeemed all of the Revolutionary War debt at par value, and he said the 'full faith and credit' of the United States must be inviolate, among other reasons because it will be necessary in a crisis to be able to borrow. And we saw ourselves through the Civil War because we were able to borrow. We saw ourselves able to defeat the Nazis and the Japanese because we were able to borrow. We've got ourselves now to the point where if we suddenly had to finance another very big event of some kind, it would be hard to do it. We are exhausting our borrowing capacity."

Mr. Shultz is not an alarmist about the rising power of China. He believes Chinese leaders understand their interest in having good relations with the United States. He is withering in his critique of those who would blame cheap Chinese labor or a cheap Chinese currency for U.S. economic problems:

"We are consuming more than we produce and we've done that a while and we're complaining about the fact that we have an imbalance of trade with China. But if you consume more than you produce, you have to import. It's just arithmetic. And if you spend more than you earn, you have to borrow. It's just arithmetic."

Mr. Shultz is more concerned about the Middle East, an area where he concedes even the Reagan administration struggled, "just like everybody." So what would he do about the threat of an Iranian bomb? Is he concerned we haven't seized the current opportunity to weaken Iran's ally in Damascus?

"[Syrian President Bashar al-Assad] and the Iranians have been a strategic adversary. Gadhafi was sort of a tactical adversary. . . . I think I would have said to the Turks, 'I see you are providing safe havens on your border and probably you could use some help. We're there with you.'"

He also thinks we can have a deterrent effect without major military strikes. He recalls an episode from the 1980s when the U.S. Navy became aware of Iranian efforts to mine the Persian Gulf: "We boarded the ship. Took off some mines for evidence. Took off the sailors, sank the ship. Took the sailors to Dubai, I believe, and said to the Iranians 'Come and get your sailors and cut it out.'"

What about Mitt Romney? Is he running on the right themes? Will he have a mandate if he wins?

"He made one speech that I thought was outstanding, addressing a long-term problem. And that was the speech about K-12 education, and he pointed out the degree to which the United States is falling back. . . . We know that economic growth in the long run is correlated to education achievement."

Could he recommend one book for Mr. Romney to read this summer? "This book that John Taylor"—the Stanford economist and Mr. Shultz's colleague at Hoover—"has just published, 'First Principles: Five Keys to Restoring America's Prosperity.' You don't have to spend weeks reading it."

Mr. Shultz also mentions the memo his economic transition team wrote for President-elect Ronald Reagan in 1980, recently excerpted in The Wall Street Journal ("Advice for a New President," May 26): "If you just took that and put that into effect again, then we'd be in business."

I try hard to pull Mr. Shultz back toward despair. Aren't we an older, more poorly educated society than the one that climbed out of similar debt after World War II?

"Well, we gotta get after these things! Somehow people are locking into the idea of chronological age. There's another way of calculating age. That is what is the probability of your dying within the year. If you use that way of calculating, people who are 75 today on that basis are 65 as of some earlier time. . . . We need to gear our retirement system in such a way that people keep working longer."

He suggests ending Social Security taxes for people who have paid in for 40 years. The way to meet our demographic challenge is to keep people in the labor force longer, Mr. Shultz says, and not fall for European notions that there is some fixed amount of work to be divided up. "The trick is to keep expanding the pie."


We end on some wistful and optimistic notes. "There's no lack of creativity in the United States." Silicon Valley, he says, "is a giant Stanford spinoff." He waxes lyrical for a moment about Steve Jobs. "My wife tells a story," he says about a party with Jobs's wife. "[My wife] says well 'Where's Steve?'" "Steve is thinking. He's decided to take six months off and think" is the response. "He was a creative genius," adds Mr. Shultz with admiration.

Shultz conservatism is not dour, budget-balancing conservatism. Nor was Reagan's. It is a belief in the human spirit.

And, of course, in economic policies based on evidence. As the interview closes, I am treated to a song—not a note out of place—that was sung by the secretary on Milton Friedman's 90th birthday:

"A fact without a theory is like a ship without a sail. Is like a boat without a rudder. Is like a kite without a tail. A fact without a theory is as sad as sad can be. But if there's one thing worse in this universe, it's a theory . . . without a fact."

Mr. Pollock is the Journal's editorial features editor.

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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #53 on: July 17, 2012, 02:50:40 PM »

IMHO the following considerably underestimates the drawbacks to shale oil, but its positive viewpoint is not without a goodly amount of merit.

==========================

Energy Revolution 2:
Walter Russell Mead

Forget peak oil; forget the Middle East. The energy revolution of the 21st century isn’t about solar energy or wind power and the “scramble for oil” isn’t going to drive global politics. The energy abundance that helped propel the United States to global leadership in the 19th and 2oth centuries is back; if the energy revolution now taking shape lives up to its full potential, we are headed into a new century in which the location of the world’s energy resources and the structure of the world’s energy trade support American affluence at home and power abroad.
By some estimates, the United States has more oil than Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Iran combined, and Canada may have even more than the United States. A GAO report released last May (pdf link can be found here) estimates that up to the equivalent of 3 trillion barrels of shale oil may lie in just one of the major potential US energy production sites. If half of this oil is recoverable, US reserves in this one deposit are roughly equal to the known reserves of the rest of the world combined.
Edward Luce, an FT writer usually more given to tracing America’s decline than to promoting its prospects, cites estimates that as early as 2020 the US may be producing more oil than Saudi Arabia.
So dramatic are America’s finds, analysts talk of the US turning into the world’s new Saudi Arabia by 2020, with up to 15m barrels a day of liquid energy production (against the desert kingdom’s 11m b/d this year). Most of the credit goes to private sector innovators, who took their cue from the high oil prices in the last decade to devise ways of tapping previously uneconomic underground reserves of “tight oil” and shale gas. And some of it is down to plain luck. Far from reaching its final frontier, America has discovered new ones under the ground.
Additionally, our natural gas reserves are so large that the US is likely to become a major exporter, and US domestic supplies for hydrocarbon fuels of all types appear to be safe and secure for the foreseeable future. North America as a whole has the potential to be a major exporter of fossil fuels for decades and even generations to come.
Since the 1970s, pessimism about America’s energy future has been one of the cornerstones on which the decline theorists erected their castles of doom; we are now entering a time when energy abundance will be an argument for continued American dynamism.
The energy revolution isn’t a magic wand that can make all America’s wishes come true, but it is a powerful wind in the sails of both America’s domestic economy and of its international goals. The United States isn’t the only big winner of the energy revolution — Canada, Israel and China among others will also make gains — but the likely consequences of the energy revolution for America’s global agenda are so large, that the chief effect of the revolution is likely to be its role in shoring up the foundations of the American-led world order.
I will look at the global consequences for geopolitics and the environment in some upcoming posts, but first things come first and I’d like to look at the domestic consequences of the boom before moving on to its impact on the world.
Domestically, the energy bonanza changes the American outlook far more dramatically than most people yet realize. This is a Big One, a game changer, and it will likely be a major factor in propelling the United States to the next (and still unknown) stage of development — towards the next incarnation of the American Dream.
The energy revolution is first and foremost a revolution that affects jobs. We are in the very early stages, but since the financial crisis of 2008, fracking alone has created something like 600,000 new jobs in the United States, says the FT. Throw in more jobs in both extracting and refining the new energy wealth, and add the manufacturing and processing industries that will return to US shores to benefit from cheap, secure and abundant energy and feedstock, and it is clear that the energy revolution will be a jobs revolution.
These jobs pay well; for the first time in a generation we are looking at substantial growth of high-income jobs for skilled blue collar workers. Some of these jobs, especially with overtime, will pay in the six figures; most offer wages well above the national blue collar average.
The boom has the potential to change the debate over immigration. The best blue collar jobs in the new oil and gas patches will demand workers with good English language skills and some technical background — good junior colleges and strong vocational high schools will prepare workers for these new jobs. Low skilled, non-English speaking workers will have a hard time competing for these jobs but will work instead in less well paid jobs servicing the energy sector and its workers. They will build houses for the oil workers to live in and staff the restaurants where they eat. As more blue collar native-born Americans see their living standards rise, it is likely that (legal) immigration will lose some of its political salience.
Towards A New Geography of Power?
There’s another advantage: these jobs will mostly be located away from the coasts. The hollowing out of Middle America has been one of the tragedies of the last generation. Looking at the depopulation of the northern Great Plains, planners began to speculate about returning large chunks of whole states to the wild: the “Buffalo Commons” idea that would have taken up to 20 million acres out of private hands. The buffalo will have to move over now for the oil rigs and the people who work them; North Dakota will not be reverting to the wild anytime soon.
But there are large oil and/or gas reserves in other downtrodden areas. Western New York State and much of Pennsylvania and Ohio appear to have commercial quantities of fossil fuel. The revival of the Rustbelt may be getting under way. And Dixie will not lose out: the US share of the Gulf of Mexico is now believed to have the potential to produce 2 to 3 million more barrels per day than the 1.2 million that it currently pumps.
Overall, the new energy geography points toward a revival of the Mississippi-Ohio-Missouri river system as the axis of American growth. That’s likely among other things to be good for America’s political climate; the Midwest has traditionally been something of a swing region — less liberal than the coastal northeast and less aggressively conservative than Dixie. Middle Westerners have tended to be pragmatic optimists over time, and it would be interesting to see how a revival of this political tendency would work out in our politics today. In any case, we may be looking at a decline in the power of the northeast and (unless California embraces its inner tycoon and begins to exploit its own energy riches) the Pacific, while Dixie continues current rates of growth and the Middle West booms.
Energy frontiers tend to be individualistic places. Canada, where the oil boom is a few years ahead of the US, has shifted to the right as power and money flow from blue Ontario and Quebec to Alberta. Prosperous blue collar workers and aspiring oil tycoons are not generally the strongest supporters of expensive welfare states, and American greens are already feeling the political consequences of a newly energized hydrocarbon sector. They are also not very interested in subsidizing the fiscal problems of other states; should California’s woes worsen and the state come to Washington for more help, the energy rich states and their representatives are likely to take a hard, skeptical look at its requests.
Even so, the Middle West’s traditional moderation is going to soften the rough edges a bit; much of the oil is coming to places where people historically have valued community ties and concerned themselves about the well being of the less fortunate. This won’t be the second coming of Ayn Rand.
Heartland Economics
There are significant economic benefits in having all this prosperity in the heartland. North Dakota and Wyoming are states where shipping costs from China and Japan are high — but Chicago and St. Louis are much better placed to serve them. Put cheap and secure energy in the Middle West, and build large new cities and centers of economic demand in the neighborhood, and the energy revival in a few states will support general economic growth in many more.
The long term outlook for the dollar and even for the federal government’s accounts will also improve. Even quite recently people assessing the long term health of the United States pointed toward inexorably rising energy imports as an important drain on the balance of trade and on the health of the dollar. But oil imports are going to decline, and exports — especially of natural gas — will help offset them. The federal government is also going to be collecting taxes on the new energy production — and on all the incomes of the individuals and companies involved, directly or indirectly, in the new energy boom.
The United States will be a more attractive place for foreign investment. Building the infrastructure required to get the new energy industry up and running and to transport its products to the market offers some very profitable and secure investment opportunities. And with the US much less dependent on foreign oil (and with the foreign oil it does need coming largely from Canada), the US economy will be much less exposed to the risks associated with turmoil in the Middle East. That is the kind of thing investors look for: high growth in safe places.
Few places are going to look more secure in the 21st century than America between the Rockies and the Appalachians, between the Gulf of Mexico and the Canadian frontier. Some of the world’s largest energy reserves will be sited next to the world’s most fertile crop land. Geopolitically, few places on earth are as secure from war; politically few can match its record of stable governance; legally, few offer as much protection for property rights and few have as long a record of offering foreign investors the equal protection of the law.
Avoiding the Pitfalls
Every silver lining has a cloud, and the energy bonanza isn’t all good. We will have to watch out, for example, that the hydrocarbon boost to the dollar doesn’t price American manufacturing goods out of world markets. Here we will need to look at Europe, and see how some countries — like Germany — responded in a more disciplined way through the years when the euro was high to reduce costs and improve quality so that German goods remained internationally competitive.
We will also have to work to keep the political classes from distributing the oil wealth to the rent-seekers. We don’t want to be either the Nigeria or the Russia of the new century, in which corrupt rent-seeking elites hijacked the political process and appropriated the lions’ share of the hydrocarbon wealth to themselves. Cheap, attractive subsidies for the masses, while the real wealth goes into the Swiss bank accounts of the well connected and the unscrupulous: that could very well happen here and there are plenty of people in leading positions in American life — in both parties — who stand willing and ready to sequester the loot.
But the first great wave of oil discoveries did not turn America into a corrupt petrostate when the oil discoveries of the late 19th and early 20th centuries made the US the world’s greatest producer of fossil fuels. One important reason that still holds true today is that the US economy was so diversified and so high tech (by the standards of the day) that the oil tsunami was only one part of a much larger story of innovation and development.
Innovation remains a big part of the American energy picture. The United States has very large reserves of these new fuels, but we are not alone on the planet in having this wealth. But America is getting to the energy revolution early because our oil companies and drillers were ahead of other people in developing the technologies that can bring the new resources on line. We don’t just happen — like the Saudis and others — to be sitting on incredibly large pools of oil which the skills of other people discover and pump out of the ground. We haven’t exactly made our own luck, but we’ve made the discoveries that enabled us to take advantage of it.
That spirit of innovation and the culture that supports it are the true sources of American wealth. That is how we found oil in the first place and built our first energy economy; it is what enables us to benefit from these additional reserves — and it is what will get us on to the next thing when the new energy sources begin to run dry.
Thankfully, the United States is not a Russia or a Nigeria. Our economy and our political system are strong enough and diverse enough to benefit from an energy boom without being overwhelmed by it. The energy boom will stimulate the development of new technologies and new products in the non-energy sectors and will likely to usher in an era of broad prosperity and social advance across many industries and regions rather than just in a few.
Nature — or perhaps Nature’s God — seems to love mocking pundits. Just when the entire punditocracy, it sometimes seemed, had bought into the “American decline” meme, Europe collapsed and huge energy reserves were discovered underneath the United States. The “special providence” that observers have from time to time discerned in America’s progress through history doesn’t seem to be quite finished with us yet.
Getting the new oil and gas raises complicated technical and environmental issues, and it may take some time before the dust settles and we understand exactly what we are looking at here. And drilling is a notoriously uncertain business. The energy revolution may fall short of the full hopes it stirs up. Yet the rapid progress of extraction technology is making these unconventional reserves look more real and more ‘gettable’ all the time. Rather than coping gracefully with the consequences of inevitable decline, America’s job in the 21st century looks like handling its new set of opportunities wisely and well.
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ccp
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« Reply #54 on: July 17, 2012, 05:07:01 PM »

there is 14 pages of shale gas writings in the past Economist mag.

the contamination of ground water, earthquakes, use of water, issues seem overblown but that guy at Columbia is probably right that it is not unreasonable for the oil/gas industry to spend a reltively small amount to monitor and study the situation rather than go in full bore (pun intended) and then risk (albiet small) a very big problem when it becomes obvious.

OTOH, I wonder if he wonders they should pick HIM to advise such proposed monitoring with 'appropriate' enumeration.

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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #55 on: July 17, 2012, 07:29:03 PM »

"that guy at Columbia is probably right that it is not unreasonable for the oil/gas industry to spend a reltively small amount to monitor and study the situation rather than go in full bore"

Agreed 100%!!!
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DougMacG
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« Reply #56 on: July 17, 2012, 10:07:04 PM »

"it is not unreasonable for the oil/gas industry to spend a relatively small amount to monitor and study the situation rather than go in full bore"

Agreed 100%!!!
-----------------------------

Absolutely.  Note that many who are most skeptical of shale also don't want to allow use of light, sweet crude out of Alaska either.  There isn't a plan for prosperity that doesn't include the energy to power it.  If not oil or coal, then natural gas.  If not any fossil fuel, then nuclear.  But you must legalize and produce something or get used to the idea of becoming a third world economy.

Isn't it interesting that the war against energy production that drove prices up actually caused the shale oil and fracking revolutions.

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bigdog
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« Reply #57 on: July 18, 2012, 06:30:56 AM »

http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/economy-a-budget/238487-the-not-so-great-green-fleet-president-obamas-skewed-national-defense-priorities

An interesting view of the greening of the military from Senator Inhofe.
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bigdog
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« Reply #58 on: July 18, 2012, 06:48:15 AM »

http://blogs.the-american-interest.com/wrm/2012/07/15/energy-revolution-2-a-post-post-american-post/
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #59 on: August 02, 2012, 02:06:32 PM »



http://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/EW5IdwltaAc?rel=0
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #60 on: November 11, 2012, 11:02:24 PM »

THIS thread and the American Creed threads are where our attentions and postings should now be focused.  The 2012 election thread should be winding down.

For example, the outstanding piece by Mark Steyn that GM posted on the 2012 thread belongs here, not there.  Indeed, GM may I please ask you to post it here.

TIA
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bigdog
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« Reply #61 on: November 12, 2012, 12:18:55 AM »

By a warrior scholar.

http://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/ff1206s.pdf
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #62 on: November 12, 2012, 07:58:04 AM »

BD:

I just took a look and see that this speaks inter alia to a theme I have raised on the Foreign Policy thread-- the return to a multi-polar world from the uni-polar moment.  May I ask you to post it in the Foreign Policy thread?

TIA.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #63 on: November 12, 2012, 08:00:08 AM »

BD:

I just took a quick look and see that this speaks inter alia to a theme I have raised on the Foreign Policy thread-- the return to a multi-polar world from the uni-polar moment.  May I ask you to post it in the Foreign Policy thread as well?

TIA.
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G M
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« Reply #64 on: November 12, 2012, 04:16:55 PM »


At least we just elected a skilled businessman and a budgetary guru as his VP , so we have a chance.


Oooooof.
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G M
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« Reply #65 on: November 13, 2012, 02:21:20 PM »


http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/therootdc/post/food-stamps-once-associated-with-the-poor-now-commonly-used-among-college-students/2012/11/05/36971aee-275f-11e2-b4f2-8320a9f00869_blog.html

Food stamps: Once associated with the poor, now commonly used among college students
By Breanna Hogan
President Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney were both criticized throughout the election season for focusing their campaigns almost exclusively on middle class voters. The needs of the poor were rarely debated at length or in detail. When the issue was discussed by the candidates, it was more to criticize each other’s positions than to explain how they would actually help the poor.
(For The Washington Post)
Obama criticized Romney’s record of shutting down companies and putting people out of work. Romney blamed Obama for the record number of Americans now relying on food stamps.

Howard University sophomore Breanna Hogan takes on the food stamp issue, with a twist, in the article below. She reports on the increasing number of college students relying on food stamps. Subsequent student stories will tackle homelessness, poverty among women and children, and other social issues that were minimally addressed or ignored altogether by candidates Obama and Romney.

This campaign season, Barack Obama and Mitt Romney’s heated debates over who can best fix the economy has pushed the issue of food stamps into the national discourse.

Nearly 47 million Americans rely on federal food assistance benefits, a 12-year high attributed to the weak U.S. economy and high rates of unemployment over the last five years. Lesser known is that college students are among the increasing numbers of people relying on food stamps. As tuition rates have risen and financial aid has fallen — and parents who were once a source of financial support have lost jobs or homes and become ineligible for college loans for their children — students have had to fend for themselves.

Some college students now work two and three part-time jobs to cover living expenses and some of their tuition. They’re applying for more student loans and claiming financial independence on their tax forms to become eligible for financial aid that does not factor in parental contributions. They’re cutting corners by renting required textbooks instead of buying them or simply making due without some textbooks. They’re also bypassing expensive college meal plans and applying for food stamps, an option that once carried a social stigma on campus but no longer does now that food stamp usage is more commonplace at colleges around the country.

For instance, Virginia spent $447,000 in SNAP benefits for college students in January 2007 but by January of this year the total had risen to $2.9 million, according to the state’s Department of Social Services. The state spent $30 million in food assistance benefits to college students in 2011.

“I never thought I would be on food stamps as a student, but with this economy I had no choice,” said student Courtney Davis, a second year student at Howard University majoring in maternal health and childcare.

Although most people still use the term “food stamps” for the program that provides low-income families food payment assistance, the name was formally changed to SNAP, or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Funds are now allocated electronically through an EBT, or Electronic Benefit Transfer, card instead of with paper vouchers that were used as cash.

Davis, 18, applied for SNAP benefits last July after loosing some financial aid and parental support. At one point she was bouncing from one friend’s couch to another, moving from dorm to dorm until finally securing university housing. She says, under the circumstances, survival would have been nearly impossible without SNAP.

“Even with the money I’m making from working 22 hours a week, I wouldn’t be able to afford tuition, living expenses and food,” she said.

Davis is not alone. At Howard University, where tuition increased by 13 percent this year, more and more students are openly discussing their use of the SNAP benefits.

“I didn’t realize so many students here were on food stamps, but it’s becoming a trend from what I’ve noticed,” said Darius Thomas, a junior who has been receiving $200 in benefits for over a year.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service, which administers SNAP, does not track the number of college students participating in the program It breakdowns the number of participants by age but some states do keep track and have seen an increase in the number of college students relying on food stamps.

Student use of SNAP is not limited to regional or urban areas; students are using EBT cards across the country.

“I am receiving about $200 worth of food stamps per month, and I can’t imagine living without them,” said Sheena Vails, a sophomore at the University of Missouri who lives in an apartment with three other student SNAP participants.

During the second presidential debate Romney blamed President Obama for the weak economy that led to an additional 15 million people using food stamps since his term began. Republicans have dubbed Obama “the food stamp president” and Romney has campaigned on a platform that promises to cut federally funded programs such as SNAP.

But students seem less embarrassed about using food stamps now that many of their peers use them.

“When I was growing up, being on food stamps was frowned upon as it meant that your family was poor, but now that so many people have been forced to take advantage of it, it’s become socially acceptable,” said student British Fields, who also attends Howard, adding: “Without them, I simply would not eat.”

The increased food stamp use on college campuses has raised questions about whether students are abusing the program and applying less for need than as a means to save money.

Some states, concerned about student abuses, are cracking down by limiting eligibility requirements and strengthening the verification process. Last year, Michigan’s Department of Human Services kicked 30,000 students off the program and saved $75 million. Such efforts to crack down on potential fraud may end up hurting the students that are actually in need.

“While I don’t appreciate the program being abused by students who don’t really need them, I don’t think that cutting the program and placing restrictions on eligibility requirements are the answer, because that would eliminate many students who need the assistance, like me,” Fields said.

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DougMacG
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« Reply #66 on: November 13, 2012, 02:34:35 PM »

GM, Same college students now own our debt. 
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G M
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« Reply #67 on: November 13, 2012, 02:37:39 PM »

GM, Same college students now own our debt. 

At least they'll have an EBT in hand when they graduate.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #68 on: November 17, 2012, 02:43:50 PM »



Occasionally people have the vocabulary to sum up things in a way that can be quickly understood; this quote - from the Czech Republic was translated into English from an article in the Prague newspaper, … Prager Zeitungon

"The danger to America is not Barack Obama, but a citizenry capable of entrusting a man like him with the Presidency. It will be far easier to limit and undo the follies of an Obama presidency than to restore the necessary common sense and good judgment to a depraved electorate willing to have such a man for their president. The problem is much deeper and far more serious than Mr. Obama, who is a mere symptom of what ails America. Blaming the prince of the fools should not blind anyone to the vast confederacy of fools that made him their prince.
The Republic can survive a Barack Obama, who is, after all, merely a fool. It is less likely to survive a multitude of fools, such as those who made him their president."
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G M
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« Reply #69 on: September 26, 2015, 02:34:45 AM »

http://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2015/09/tolerating_pederasty.html

Decline.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #70 on: September 27, 2015, 12:55:04 PM »

I happen to know Fay.

http://www.cnsnews.com/commentary/fey-voshell/europe-may-survive-if-she-mounts-effective-defense-christian-faith
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G M
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« Reply #71 on: October 21, 2015, 07:44:43 PM »

http://relentlessroot.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/SPECIAL%20REPORT-%20Answer%20Guide.pdf

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G M
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« Reply #72 on: October 24, 2015, 11:37:49 AM »

http://www.thecollegefix.com/post/23709/

Everything is now rape. Something to keep in mind before you send your son to school.
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DougMacG
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« Reply #73 on: October 24, 2015, 03:32:15 PM »

"Everything is now rape...".   - except for real rape committed by radical islamists.  Then it is just cultural differences.
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G M
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« Reply #74 on: October 24, 2015, 04:28:54 PM »

http://behindtheblack.com/behind-the-black/essays-and-commentaries/the-coming-dark-ages/
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G M
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« Reply #75 on: October 25, 2015, 04:57:14 PM »

http://theothermccain.com/2015/10/24/west-hollywood-house-of-horrors-radical-lesbian-feminists-from-hell/

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G M
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« Reply #76 on: October 27, 2015, 06:23:28 PM »

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/426080/progressives-western-civilization

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ccp
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« Reply #77 on: October 28, 2015, 07:25:27 AM »

GM thanks for the post.

VDH  says what we already know, but a great read because he expresses it SO eloquently and much more effectively then I could have probably ever done.

That said it is the sad truth that hurts.  cry
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G M
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« Reply #78 on: October 28, 2015, 05:50:35 PM »

http://www.steynonline.com/7254/fings-aint-wot-they-used-tbe

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ccp
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« Reply #79 on: October 28, 2015, 06:16:49 PM »

Why not call the Justice Department, FBI, and look for the highest bidding attorney and also why is not the bottomless pocketed taxpayer on the hook for this?

http://www.cnn.com/videos/us/2015/10/28/principal-body-slammed-cafeteria-fight.ktxl/video/playlists/caught-on-camera/
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ppulatie
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« Reply #80 on: October 28, 2015, 06:23:00 PM »

Resurrection?

Not if the clowns in the Undercard Debate are any indication. I watched about 5 minutes and bailed.  They should follow my lead and bail out of the election.
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PPulatie
G M
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« Reply #81 on: January 26, 2016, 11:19:33 AM »

http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2016/01/25/glenn-reynolds-polling-confidence-government-obama-elections-column/79264470/

When Americans have more faith in the military than the political class, democracy is in trouble.
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DDF
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« Reply #82 on: January 26, 2016, 01:18:21 PM »

http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2016/01/25/glenn-reynolds-polling-confidence-government-obama-elections-column/79264470/

When Americans have more faith in the military than the political class, democracy is in trouble.


Exactly how I feel.
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It's all a matter of perspective.
G M
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« Reply #83 on: July 11, 2016, 11:12:53 AM »

http://www.theonion.com/article/fbi-uncovers-al-qaeda-plot-to-just-sit-back-and-en-35788


FBI Uncovers Al-Qaeda Plot To Just Sit Back And Enjoy Collapse Of United States
A recent al-Qaeda video shows a militant training to carry out his mission of lying back and watching America’s status as a superpower erode
NEWS
April 15, 2014
Vol 50 Issue 15    News · Terrorism · World · Government · Al-Qaeda

WASHINGTON—Putting the nation on alert against what it has described as a “highly credible terrorist threat,” the FBI announced today that it has uncovered a plot by members of al-Qaeda to sit back and enjoy themselves while the United States collapses of its own accord.

Multiple intelligence agencies confirmed that the militant Islamist organization and its numerous affiliates intend to carry out a massive, coordinated plan to stand aside and watch America’s increasingly rapid decline, with terrorist operatives across the globe reportedly mobilizing to take it easy, relax, and savor the spectacle as it unfolds.

“We have intercepted electronic communication indicating that al-Qaeda members are actively plotting to stay out of the way while America as we know it gradually crumbles under the weight of its own self-inflicted debt and disrepair,” FBI Deputy Director Mark F. Giuliano told the assembled press corps. “If this plan succeeds, it will leave behind a nation with a completely dysfunctional economy, collapsing infrastructure, and a catastrophic health crisis afflicting millions across the nation. We want to emphasize that this danger is very real.”

“And unfortunately, based on information we have from intelligence assets on the ground, this plot is already well under way,” he added.

A recently declassified CIA report confirmed that all known al-Qaeda-affiliated organizations—from Pakistan to Yemen, and from Somalia to Algeria—have been instructed to kick back and enjoy the show as the United States’ federal government, energy grid, and industrial sector are rendered impotent by internal dissent, decay, and mismanagement. According to statements made by top-level informants and corroborated by leading Western terrorism experts, if seen through to its conclusion, al-Qaeda’s current plot could wreak far more damage than the events of 9/11.

In the past year, money transfers to al-Qaeda cells around the world have reportedly been accompanied by instructions to use the funds to outfit safe houses with the proper equipment to receive American cable news broadcasts and view top U.S. news websites, allowing terrorists to fully relish each detail of the impending demise of the last global superpower.

Additionally, FBI officials made public an internal al-Qaeda video today in which the terrorist organization’s leader Ayman al-Zawahiri chillingly exhorts his followers to “take a load off” and “unwind” in the name of jihad, and really cherish the victory over their enemy.

“Praise Allah, for soon every American city shall be plagued with disaster and hardship,” al-Zawahiri said in the video, which includes several minutes of footage of young, masked al-Qaeda militants casually sipping beverages as they thumb through the latest issues of Time and U.S. News And World Report. “The infidels have brought this pain and destruction upon themselves through their arrogance and callousness. Soon, the United States will watch in horror as its bridges crumble, its desperate citizens suffer in want of medicine and paying employment, and its once vast riches are reduced to naught. The righteous warriors among our ranks must now unite, get comfortable, and look on from afar at the calamity unfolding in the West.”

“We vow that we will not cease sitting around and laughing it up until America is reduced to rubble,” he continued.

Al-Zawahiri, who is seen in the video reclining back in his chair, putting his feet up, and flipping on CNN, later shouts “Allahu Akbar!” when a story is aired about the decade-long trend of stagnant wages among American workers.

The FBI has also warned that numerous al-Qaeda agents may have established sleeper cells for the purpose of “getting a kick out of” the nation’s downfall on American soil. The bureau urged U.S. residents to use caution around schools, hospitals, legislative bodies, prisons, and other decaying institutions whose imminent failure terrorists may wish to observe up close.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, one high-ranking U.S. counterterrorism official has described the present situation as a massive failure of intelligence.

“The warning signs were there all along, but unfortunately we failed to heed them,” said the official, who advised Americans to brace for widespread devastation. “If we’d listened to experts or even our own common sense, we would’ve realized that this plot was being actively orchestrated within our own borders. But we didn’t, and now every one of our citizens and our very way of life is at risk from this threat.”

“Sadly, al-Qaeda has us right where they want us,” the official added, “and at this point, I fear it is too late to do anything about it.”

Responding to the allegations, a spokesperson for al-Qaeda reportedly confirmed the terror group’s plot and praised the American people as martyrs of the highest order.
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G M
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« Reply #84 on: July 12, 2016, 09:57:35 PM »

https://straightlinelogic.com/2016/07/12/bring-it-on-by-robert-gore/

Bring It On, by Robert Gore
Posted on July 12, 2016 | 15 Comments
20 TO 1

Five words are important now: failure, exposure, rejection, repression, and war. The status quo has failed on multiple fronts. Its failures and corruption are being exposed, its governance and legitimacy questioned and rejected. The response is all too predictable: repression at home, war abroad. The Clintons represent the toxic confluence, the maelstrom’s vortex, and Hillary Clinton will press the powers’ response.

Anything but free market economics is a redistributive shell game with a sell-by date. Government debt, spending, and programs, redistribution, and central bank debt monetization and interest rate suppression have passed their expiration, leaving mountains of IOUs that will never be repaid and prostrate economies in the first thralls of a deflationary contraction that will be one for the ages. Particular rancid: illusory, credit-based wealth has gone to a small, well-connected coterie who access microscopic interest rates for financial engineering and speculative fun and games. Left behind: honest producers and savers, who have seen their incomes shrink and the economy wither.

Not content to lay waste to their own countries, the powers have visited their destructive and murderous mayhem upon wide swathes of the globe. Seeking to impose order they have instead promoted chaos, failed states, refugee flows, and the spread of terrorism. Stuck in costly and inconclusive quagmires in second-tier states, the US war lobby seems intent on provoking decidedly first-tier Russia and China, with a concomitant escalation of negative consequences. You can’t get any bigger, or potentially more suicidal, than war with the second and third largest nuclear-armed powers.

Propaganda, indoctrination, a captive press, and widespread obliviousness and passivity will only take the incompetent and corrupt governing class so far. There’s too much to be swept under the rug. Eventually notice is taken of the telling details. The economy is going nowhere. The US has been in Afghanistan for fifteen years and in Iraq for thirteen. The capital is an overflowing cesspool; the Clintons being the most visible and malodorous turds floating by on that river of filth. The Internet has shone a light on failure and corruption, but even the mainstream media take note, if only in passing, before it exculpates those responsible.

Exposure and anger concern the powers—they threaten the façade of legitimacy—but outright rejection would be intolerable. Never has an aristocracy exercised such power, lived so opulently, and received such publicity, adulation, and deference. Popular discontent given full vent and expression would threaten all that, and could lead to prison, or worse.

Hillary Clinton embodies the power, wealth, and corruption of the aristocracy, which confronts the most serious threat yet to the world order it erected after World War II. It embraces her not merely because she is emblematic, but because she will implement naked repression and wage wars, its last resorts to hold on to power. She’s never met a “national security” measure or war she didn’t love. The FBI’s refusal to recommend charges despite Hillary’s obvious criminality appears to be the aristocracy’s take-off-the-kid-gloves moment.

In their folly, the rulers have isolated themselves from the ruled. Never underestimate the former’s stupidity, born of isolation and arrogance, nor the intelligence and resourcefulness of the latter. Resort to repression and war is weakness, not strength, and in so doing, the aristocracy is taking a gamble it cannot win.

It is a curious sort of tyranny that extracts its sustenance from the tyrannized, must borrow from them, and relies on them to accept its intrinsically valueless scrip as a medium of exchange. How strong can a tyranny be if it can be brought to its knees if the tyrannized were to stop working, lending, or accepting its scrip? If that seems farfetched, observe the frantic exertions the powers undergo to stop systemic runs on banks and other financial institutions. Why? Because all financial institutions are leveraged speculators, and if what they hold as assets decline in price sufficiently, their equity is gone and they are bankrupt. Bankrupts by definition cannot pay all their liabilities, and those liabilities are the public’s assets.

As we saw in 2008, once enough assets are meaningfully impaired (as they inevitably will be, again), the whole scrip-based financial system unravels. Ultimately governments backstop much of the financial system’s scrip-based liabilities with…scrip based liabilities! The only thing that gives those liabilities any value are people’s willingness to accept them and an implicit and often broken promise by politicians and central bankers not to create too many of them. Right now, they are breaking that promise and doing everything possible to undermine the value of their own scrip. That’s Alice in Wonderland, not 1984.

If the aristocracy’s dreams come true, they will destroy what’s left of the illusion of value of their scrip and consequently, destroy their ability to acquire resources outside commandeering them, or theft. That’s a one-off, as Venezuela has demonstrated. People stop producing; businesses close or flee. Totalitarianism isn’t free. Prisons, concentration camps, weapons, soldiers, surveillance, and police cost money, and the expense is only partially offset by slave labor, which, once all its costs are properly accounted for, confers very little, if any, economic benefit.

But, never underestimate the stupidity of the aristocrats. Let’s say the US government descended into full-on totalitarianism. This is the same government that couldn’t subdue Vietnamese in Vietnam, Afghans in Afghanistan, Iraqis in Iraq, Syrians in Syria, Libyans in Libya, or Yemenis in Yemen. Nevertheless, it will attempt to subdue Americans in America, who collectively are far better armed (thank you, NRA) than any of the insurgencies in those other countries.

Of course, many Americans are sheep so the resistance would be a subset, but the daunting math of fighting insurgents on their own territory, according to military expert Richard Maybury, is about 20 military personnel for each domestic guerrilla fighter. So even if only a million US insurgents resist, probably a low estimate, it would require 20 million government personnel to suppress them, not to mention what would be necessary to maintain order should any collateral chaos and violence, including racial and ethnic animosities, erupt. Currently, there are a little over 2 million active and reserve personnel in the military, and about 1.1 million in law enforcement, and some of both are administrative personnel who would not participate in suppression or combat. The government is stockpiling weaponry, but where does it find at least 17 million recruits to pull the triggers and drive the MRAPS, and with what will it pay them?

Pity the police and the military. They will be caught between the dictates of an aristocracy that couldn’t care less about them and an insurgency bent on killing them. They would be ordered to fire on fellow Americans: neighbors, friends, and family members. There are plenty of praetorian thugs who would do so, but some would quit. Some might join the resistance, providing expertise and leadership. Already retired police and military, disgusted by the current state of affairs, would be another potential resistance recruiting pool.

Incidentally, today’s command and control systems require computers. The Chinese and Russians have hacked sensitive government computers with impunity. If the US government went after its own people, would there be any shortage of home-grown hackers volunteering to bring down its systems?

To paraphrase John F. Kennedy, if the aristocrats make peaceful and necessary change impossible, they will make violent resistance inevitable. It’s not a war they can win, but if it’s a war they are too foolish and arrogant to avoid, bring it on.
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ccp
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« Reply #85 on: July 13, 2016, 11:10:26 AM »

"To paraphrase John F. Kennedy"

Interesting he would rant about the "governing class"
then quote JFK.
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G M
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« Reply #86 on: July 23, 2016, 12:11:16 PM »

https://pjmedia.com/richardfernandez/2016/07/22/munich-follows-cleveland/?singlepage=true

Coming soon.
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