Don’t Cry Wolf

NAT

Readers of this blog know that I believe that President Obama has been very effective in setting the course of the nation since his reelection. But I must point out that the news conference yesterday on the Sequester was pretty tone deaf. 

President Obama on Tuesday painted a dire picture of federal government operations across the United States should automatic budget cuts hit on March 1: F.B.I. agents furloughed, criminals released, flights delayed, teachers and police officers laid off and parents frantic to find a place for children locked out of day care centers.

To say that an $85 billion cut out of a $3.7 Trillion budget is hardly cause for alarm. After the military budget doubled in 8 years under both Bush and Obama, reducing the Pentagon budget by 6% hardly qualifies for endangering our national security. This kind of scare talk should be left to John McCain and Lindsay Graham and will only backfire on the President when it turns out that the sky did not fall after the Sequester went through. Anyone who has run a business–big or small–knows that taking 5% out of a budget can be done without killing the enterprise. The Pentagon is the most bloated enterprise in America. These cuts can only help the lazy planners realize that we live in a new Post Empire World. The quicker the President realizes that fear mongering won’t work, the sooner we can get back to the real work of American Renewal.

For me, the place to start that strategic renewal is Patrick Doherty’s amazing essay in Foreign Policy, A New U.S. Grand Strategy.

The status quo is untenable. In the United States, the country’s economic engine is misaligned to the threats and opportunities of the 21st century. Designed explicitly to exploit postwar demand for suburban housing, consumer goods, and reconstruction materials for Europe and Japan, the conditions that allowed it to succeed expired by the early 1970s. Its shelf life has since been extended by accommodative monetary policy and the accumulation of household, corporate, and federal debt. But with Federal Reserve interest rates effectively zero, Americans’ debt exceeding their income, and storms lashing U.S. cities, the country is at the end of the road.

Abroad, Washington’s post-Cold War pattern of episodic adventurism and incremental crisis management only creates further uncertainty, and rising powers will not lead. Other major economies have little appetite for altering the global order and hence are doubling down on the old system, exacerbating trade imbalances and driving record resource extraction. As commodity prices rise, global powers are hedging ever more aggressively — stockpiling resources and increasingly becoming entangled in conflicts in resource-rich areas. As the global economy falters, unrest rises and the great unresolved conflicts of the 20th century — the Middle East, South Asia, North Korea, Taiwan — grow increasingly enmeshed in the power dynamics of this new era.

Simply put, the current U.S. and international order is unsustainable, and myriad disruptions signal that it is now in a process of collapse. Until the United States implements a new grand strategy, the country will face even more rapid degradation of domestic and global conditions.

Read the whole essay and then let’s discuss. May we live in exciting times.

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38 Responses to Don’t Cry Wolf

  1. JTMcPhee says:

    Awright, I read it and am ready to throw up the old hands in despair. Do the folks at Annenberg have any magic in their tall silk hats to pull out and fix any of this? Or is this just more evidence of our near approach to Ragnarök? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ragnar%C3%B6k 7.8 billion people can’t be wrong, can they? Sure seems they can’t be stopped — how about that 3 billion just itching to “get theirs” in the next 20 years out of what wealth and goodness remains in our planet…

    And where’s the tipping point, where Obamaphilia turns sour and it suddenly appears that whether he came in planning to do all this stuff, like kill SS and approve XL and drone us to death and Austerity! and Wall Street get-out-of-any-FEAR-of-jail-free-with-a-bonus, too-cards, or has just done like others, “seen his opportunities and took ‘em,” the results for the rest of us, who do not share the protections he inherits and the nice comfortable future as long as he lives, will be the same?

  2. Hugo St. Victor says:

    Jesus, John, you’re accusing the C-in-C of caring less about his children. Please, please let’s back off or else Glorious Moi shall not deign to descend to discumfibberischen wit de idiots like you and me

  3. Hugo St. Victor says:

    …nice nimbus tho bro…why indeed does the Man behind the curtain, pretending rather than governing at any cost? President Zelig?

  4. Hugo St. Victor says:

    What’re you on about, Professor? To take your challenge, to read the President’s full intention, one must first give out personal information. I’m sorry man, but Fuck You. I’m already a member of AP and of the newspaperman’s union. Why would I haze your treehouse to see the President’s latest apologia, Professor of Communications? That’s some seriously slavish shit. You guys are better.

  5. Hugo St. Victor says:

    Jon, if you’ll find a “transparent”, rather than threatening, way to review the President’s real text of intent then I and my mates would be happy to engage in close reading. But Plouffe doesn’t get my business address and my blood type first, nor my reasons for wishing to contradict His Holiness. I don’t guess you’ve ever done anything anti-journalistic, but now. Just shut it down, and say your peace or indicate what you commend to our attention, and hold fast. I don’t rust them, Jon. I trust you. Reporters and editors and photographers I worked with South of our border got picked off one by one, just for telling it true. It’s not a game. Tell Plouffe there are no shortcuts. It’s not a game man. We’re in it together. Is the President right or is he wrong? All we know is that he’s dissembling, you see. Presumed guilty, not innocent. Imprint your Social Security Number and your Nation’s leader shall disclose his master plan unto you…

  6. Hugo St. Victor says:

    Take the challenge yourself. Tap into The New U.S. Grand Strategy. Good luck.

  7. Fentex says:

    What unnecessary vitriol regarding a pay-walled page.

    You can read that article by using a slightly different url to access it without polluting ones precious bodily fluids.

  8. Hugo St. Victor says:

    You’re right. I’m an ass. I’d ask to apologize to the Host and his Table, Fentex. I’m not handling well the transition to the GOP. A paranoid crossing, everybody uncomfortable. But would you please explain how it is that the most transparent Administration requires me to “sign up” just to learn what are the President’s actual intentions, as though I believe that such a shallow, incredibly unserious young man is capable of sagacious strategic planning for the United States of America?

    I’m sick of the bluff & bluster. Put up or shut up. If it’s a coherent liberal strategy then fully OK. I’d salute. As the Chicagoan likes to say, elections have consequences. JFk had a coherent liberal strategy, of which he made no secret, and so did President Carter have. OK. No problem. But all Americans knew what those presidential plans were, because the presidents told us all, at once, rather than trying to enlist us by subscription one at a time. I’m telling you Fentex it’s unprecedented tastelessness and an historic breach of trust. Never to be forgotten.

    And believe me I’m anything but an enemy of the Democratic Party. Hence my squealing. You guys are embarrassing me.

  9. Hugo St. Victor says:

    Obviously, Fentex, the route to Presential Whole Truth that matters is not your second-generation one but rather is the subscription demand of a prominent professor of communications saying to us that our Presisident shall disclose only provided that we disclose, satisfactorily, first. I’m sorry, but you’re sycophantically ignoring that our strong friend Jon saw nothing wrong in this. It was a mistake. Even USC knows that the old Press is dead, irrelevant. Doesn’t gladden me, Fentex, and sure I realize it’s rude to stand on archaic ceremony, but kill me first. Real Liberalism’s not that dead, that the President sells his larger thoughts by subscription, pro quid pro.

  10. Fentex says:

    I’m not a U.S citizen, so I’m not going to prescribe what should be done except to agree that all government resources and political party communications should be easily available online and electors should punish the non-open and non-transparent.

    Although I’ll stretch my suggestions to saying again, the U.S needs Proportional Representation – end the two party state so actual competition for votes can occur.

  11. JTMcPhee says:

    Too bad that all the righteous anger that people are awakening to seems always to get funneled not into useful channels, but just into back-and-forth between people who see more or less of the shape of things outside the Cave, but can’t seem to see their way clear to action that would bend some more light into the Cave and maybe bring more people out into the sunshine. All this effort to force the Obaphenomenon into what pretty clearly is a corroded frame that can’t hardly support its own weight any more… Shit’s happening, every day the Kochs and folks like that, and the people in the West Wing and the Rayburn Building and Senate Office Buildings Old and New, and the third floor of Main Justice, and all up and down K and C Streets, get up, dress up and scan the memos and bullet points making a new, improved! set of ideas from their “people” on how to go about finally, totally and completely Matricizing the rest of us, to produce a nice steady increasing (up to the final inflection point that, their God willing, will be after they are dead and beyond consequence and retribution) flow, always upward and inward, of ain’t-we-cool-and-smart consumable wealth, augmented by an ever-decreasing flow of pittances that keep the mopes alive beyond their ability to create and transfer that wealth. Remember ol’ Boxer the horse, there on the Animal Farm, too weak at the end to kick his way out of the knacker’s van, on his way to becoming horsemeat in a McFakeburger in McBoogers in Britain?

    And let us all pray that our rewards will be great in Heaven, since the freakin’ Omnikleptocrats won’t give us jack-shit down here… Except tidbits of limbic-system-stirring Dysinformation, to keep us clawing at each other instead of at their throats…

  12. JTMcPhee says:

    Just to add another nail to the coffin lid of dying liberal discourse and this thread that seems to have run its course after a promising start, how about a reminder of what a whole big part of our “innovative” culture is working on, which of course “Terminator” is just just a SciFi fable made up by Hollywood, and the people who write the laws and spend our tax money have just repealed the Four Laws of Robotics so all the stuff you see in the link is just A-OK! and you can trust that the only people who have to be afraid of all this Innovation is people who, according to the folks who code the drone drivers, are doing Something Bad, or about to, or inclined to, or well, you know:

    The Coming World of Killer Mini Drones

    If you think drones are bad enough, the military industrial complex is already working on the second generation. [Actually, it's more like the fifth or sixth generation]

    This video (or more accurately, the part I want you to watch, which starts at 4:46) ran a few days ago on the Atlantic, and the author was duly freaked out. It depicts a world in which no one (or at least no ordinary person) will be safe from constant surveillance and the possibility of immediate execution…

    Clik to see the interesting, innovative prognostication/sales pitch for that Wonderful Future! Maybe the Annenberg Folks can come up with some Antidrone Spray, to be met by an AntiAntidrone Spray, to be met by an AntiAntiAntiDrone Spray…

    “Oh,” you say, “that would never ever happen HERE! We exceptional Americans are much better than that! We value the Individual, and Freedom’nDemocracy! LifeLibertyandthePurfuitofHappineff!

    Read more at http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2013/02/the-coming-world-of-killer-mini-drones.html#5r10hvdzLhAWqxCy.99

    Je Proteste! while I can… in the idiot knowledge that It Makes No Fucking Difference To What’s Going To Happen…

  13. Hugo St. Victor says:

    JTM, about the virtual danger, I know man. Said so more than four years ago. Please get that about nobody wants to demilitarize more than you and me.

    As for the animus of which you complain, it’s my fault. The full text of the President’s grand plan, however, remains a mystery. Ergo no lo condere. Whom do you serve?

  14. Hugo St. Victor says:

    Granted this is poetic, McPhee–and probably I want our Canadian friend too–but isn’t that capability what we’ve been building toward, a 24/7 Hawkcycle, here and abroad? Len warned of this. It has nothing to do with party registration, nor with which presidential administration is more to blame. (Jesus, nor am I a Libertarian). The thing is, out of some shared sense of national duty we should, but cannot, get our elected leaders to denounce this as beyond the pale of our democracy. But yet we can’t restrain, can’t circumscribe, can’t delimit them. They’re out of our hands man.

    I trust you so much more than they do. You and I are too disengaged. Leaders of my political party invite me to gatherings every week, but I don’t go. For almost 20 years I worked for the other team and kept stories sacrosanct, so I’ve got nothing to discuss now. All I care about is obscene overspending and, frankly, that’s not a topic that can sustain converse. In my strange position I might as easily have been discomfited with Democrats, but, liberal as I am thank you, still I’d be as worried about disastrous over-expenditure of political Fun Money. Is there anybody, of any political stripe, serious about this fiat-money spendelelephenthlyntitis? Really, that’s what’s killing us. The parties probably are reluctantly tertiary. That’s why the People prefer a manchild for their President. They’d rather not face down.

  15. JTMcPhee says:

    I think we’re losing our audience. I’d just defer with another “It’s complicated,” with a silent nod to my usual schtick about the Real Nature of Humans. But then there are all the delicious “stories” in The News, little bits of what’s really happening in all the niches ecological and social and political, stuff “we the people” don’t see, don’t want to see, actively look away from because to look at the bits would make us maybe reflect on what we really are, the huge gulf between the shallow paint job of Honor and Ethics and Belief and the stuff, the Dark Matter, that makes up according to smart people most of the mass of the universe. So the Pope, “spiritual leader” of 1.18 billion Catholics of various degrees of credulity and holiness, handed in his resignation. Rather than maybe being garotted or poisoned, as in days of yore. And behind that, he archly says, is some Cheshire Cat of a tale of homosexual special interests, which supposedly according to the three octogenarian, no doubt preternatually skilled and wise Bishops who were assigned to report, has been going on for maybe millenia. Boytoys that the guys in mitres and cassocks actually PAID for, in addition to all the fresh-washed young people delivered up to the Altar to be defrocked and deflowered by members of what by simple inspection was and is a highly organized element of the “Mother Church hierarchy,” as skilled at protecting its perversions as all the shits in all the State Security and Pentagram offices and gulags and corporate phalluses that pointillize the planet to the point they are beginning to obscure the other day-to-day culture that gives them their benefices and sustenance. All in the face of ranks and arrays of Believers, offering up candles and canned prayers and the best of their sentiments and the worst of their behaviors to Jesus, Mary and that ghostly Paulist eminence grise, all forgiven, all in grace, world without end, and what is so terribly wrong, WRONG, with that last phrase? Since the Saudi royalty, continuing the skill they have developed so well, is now extracting “fossil water” from the aquifers under their rocky demesne, using grossly wasteful center-pivot irrigation to force the blooms in the desert, secure like all the other worst of us omnipredaceous monsters that so what? if that ancient rainwater is gone in, say, 50 years? they will have drunk and doped and fucked and killed their way to the end of their personal time, secure in the knowledge that they face no consequences, no horrors of thirst or heat, licking Beluga out of the fresh-cut figs of any number of virgins they care to go down on. In the meantime, in quaint little research facilities everywhere, technological wizardry having long ago outstripped whatever genetic wisdom of the survival-of-the-species kind God ever gave us, microdrones with macrodeath in them are being Innovated and Procured and Deployed. And the people of Pantex are still waiting, hoping, eating their meals out of doors, in the hope of being Raptured Up from Amarillo just before the nukes they maintain are also, finally, deployed. And for a few bucks, you can get some little Asian critters in far-off places to assemble from whole atoms a nice little virus or prion to your design, as long as you pay them the going rate that gets cheaper, ever cheaper, for the little vials of Biodeath they can create as easily as some reparatory RNA or DNA that might prolong the life or rebuild the wasted organs of some Player who is rich enough to pay the freight, something you will not get under Obamacare, oh no, no fucking way.

    And still the ladies in their Mantillas go to Mass, pay their tithes, arm the priest with the tidbits of their confessions, touch the reliquaries, all that superstitious stuff that assures them of something or other, makes a frame for their lives. And Procreate! Every sperm is sacred! Go forth and dominate the earth and the beast thereof…

    But what the hell, it’s only Monday morning quarterbitching. We are minute, and so far have not figured out how to fuck up whole galaxies in the name of Greed the Father, Grope the Son, Grab the Holy Ghost. Maybe Mary Mother of God will reveal her true divinity, strip away all that plaster of Paris and bland “flesh colored” paint, and send us to our rooms with no dinner. Divinely to be hoped…

  16. Hugo St. Victor says:

    You’re right, man.

  17. JTMcPhee says:

    @Hugo St. Victor
    Sure wish I could figure out a way to have people pay me to have this shit in my head and to write it down out where others can look, and also be afraid…

    They say we all have a book inside us. Mine is “What’s Wrong With Practically Everything, And Why It Will Never Get Any Better.” Maybe it would best stay right where it presently is…

  18. John Papola says:

    So during the debt ceiling, the people were told that Social Security checks wouldn’t go out… a pure lie that would have required the US to default.Now, we’re being told that even this fake cut (total spending is increasing everyone, so this is all fraud) will somehow lead to fired teachers and police? Jeez.

    He could offset the whole darn thing, which was his administration’s ideas to begin with, by simply slashing crony corporate subsidies. Again, though, not a single aspect of this discussion is legit. It’s not a cut. There’s no way in hell it needs to lead to fired teachers or suspension of air traffic control and food inspection.

    I know you, beyond all reason and accountability, continue to like this guy, Jon. I have no idea why. Last summer you told me that sequester was his masterstroke to reign in the MIC. Now, it’s once again been demonstrated as nothing more than a combination of false premises, fraud, lies and unforgivable fear tactics. In other words, it’s politics as usual.

    Think for a minute about what this man’s actual behavior has demonstrated. He instantly puts the most important services on the chopping block while protecting his crony boondoggles. That means he doesn’t actually care about retirees, teachers, police, etc. If he did, he’d cut everything else to the real bone before touching those. Nope. He’s happy scare grandma and the kids time and again in order to get what he wants and protect dollars for his precious drone war. What a guy.

  19. JTMcPhee says:

    Papola once again is just sure he has the diagnosis, and given what he has said about the nature of relations between humans, contract and all that Hrandyekian stuff, I can’t hardly wait for the prescription and treatment regimen, in five courses of therapy, that will make us all well and happy:

    http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2011/11/journey-into-a-libertarian-future-part-i-%E2%80%93the-vision.html

    http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2011/11/journey-into-a-libertarian-future-part-ii-%E2%80%93-the-strategy.html

    http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2011/12/journey-into-a-libertarian-future-part-iii-%E2%80%93-regulation.html

    http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2011/12/journey-into-a-libertarian-future-part-iv-%E2%80%93-the-journey-into-a-libertarian-past.html

    http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2011/12/journey-into-a-libertarian-future-part-v-%E2%80%93-dark-realities.html

    And there is commentary, of course, including this piece by Dittmer himself, http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2011/12/journey-into-a-libertarian-future-response-to-reader-comments.html#dwCxVLS7jg3U7kBr.99, which includes

    “Barack Obama frequently expresses his support for the “free market” and talks about the “burden” of taxes; Republican candidates feel no corresponding obligation to express verbally their support for “democracy,” or for the existence of some taxation. If candidates of both parties now talk in ways that are conditioned by libertarian preferences, it is clear that libertarianism has made great strides.”

    And it sure looks like all those kind and decent and hopeful people looking for change, away from the long glissade down into neofeudalism or whatever the endpoint is likely to be called, need to wake up and do the only thing that has ever stood in the path of Kleptocracy: organize, value their labor, resist the rentiers any way they can. And hope not to be sucker-punched by folks like the Pauls and other flavors of “libertarians,” who are learning to soft-pedal the steel, grasping fist at the central matrix of their apologia, and wave subtle blandishments and seductions to draw in the unwary…

    I will give Papola this: Obama is great advertising and marketing; he is not a “great man,” in any sense that I would value, and neither are any of the people he inflicts on us in positions of power, and there’s nothing timeless about the way he is playing us, he and all his subtle persuaders and now the iron-fist of justification for Imperial fiat to the point of Star Chamber murder to put down the unorthodox or any who might challenge the ascendancy of the Few. Who are, of course, the same people that Papola’s system would saddle us under. So fucking sick that we humans have this marvelous ability to paint the insides of our glasses with scenes of what we hope to see, or that fit with our prejudices and fears and greeds, while monstrous critters surround us and eat us for snacks and we refuse to hear the screams or lend a hand or even, faintly, protest! at the huge difference between the myths, like “strong defense,” and realities, like “subjugation and runaway technology.”

    C’mon, all you innovators with knowledge of How The System Really Works, and deep mines of lore about and faith in the Liberal Tradition and the Wisdom of Crowds and the Trend to the Healthy Center and What Moves People, whether it’s music or video or bits of code — where are the real strategies and tactics for the purblind rest of us to implement, to keep from being, finally, nothing but bloody carcasses hung on hooks? Or is all that is left is the choice of what color of remora to be, and whether to eat ANY kind of rotted scrap left by the ripping predations of the mindless, soulless, but perfectly suited sharks, or just the fresher stuff, hoping to grow into a shark one day oneself?

  20. Hugo St. Victor says:

    Yeah, you guys, he could do a number of things. In politics we’d have collated those into literally a loose-leaf “play book”. But this man is not an adult, capable of picking plays. Rather, he’s a matinee idol afraid of losing his blush. It’s ludicrous to bill him as a thinker. Hell, show me his tenure, anywhere. Pig in a poke for eight years. Thank you, Democratic Party.

  21. Hugo St. Victor says:

    If you really want a window on the longer horizon then don’t look to the burgeoning West Wing for chrissakes, just ask Taplin.

  22. Hugo St. Victor says:

    JTM I wish you’d know what Kierkegaard, Mr. Esoteric, was actually doing journalistically in Copenhagen, 1855. It wasn’t at all so…involved. Like you he argued that all our social institutions are flat moribund. The problem is that he proved it so efficiently. His self-published monographs (really, diatribes) of that time still are, I believe, issued by Princeton University Press, and really I think they speak for his larger work, which took me two years of (my self-) funding to plow through: you’d get this, John, he basically felt that we Westerns had reasoned ourselves into an epistomological cul-de-sac, and for a few years I’ve seen you trying to curve our snoots toward that same shitty conclusive stink. OK. Uncle. What now?

    My God we’re all so wrong that I can’t breathe without prayers of forgiveness and it pains and deflates me when people sling stuff not knowing how doomed they are however long it takes.

  23. JTMcPhee says:

    Any new opinions, like today, now that we’ve been led over whatever bump or cliff that SEQUESTER represents on the downhill to killing the New Deal to further enrich and empower the very few, on how well The Only President We Currently Have is, what was the phrase, being “very effective in setting the course of the nation”? Or are we still in Multi-Dimensional Chess mode, trusting that the one-man rule will somehow result in something other than more war, more kleptocracy, more serfdom?

    It’s interesting: My memory is not silicon or polarized bits of magnetite, but I recall some discussion here about Futilitarianism, and some links that used to exist to some very good exegesis of what that notion meant, in the real world. Those links, including the content in Wiki, seem to have disappeared. Or maybe I am over the cliff myself. What are the strange attractors that might draw us back and in, might keep us from poisoning and starving ourselves so a very few can indulge themselves like THIS?

  24. Hugo St. Victor says:

    JTM as usual I’ve said far too much already. Trying to represent what I gather as the Oposition’s thinking, in hopes that the missing element helps you all to make it out for the Good.

    Two things I take. One, the stupid hubris that Democrats, fresh from a 3.8 margin of victory, are convinced that they hold the power to destroy the opposing party. That’s an adolescent fantasy whereas I want both parties to grow up or else I feel weak and unprotected. It’s as true as that. So, second, even though it’s unseasonal the second thing is that Democrats from states like Illinois, California, New York can swim and breathe only by spending ever more and more. For them, even a spending freeze, which President Carter inherited, is tantamount to Species extinction. They know no other way.

    It must sound insincere but I’d love to see each party play against type. Since working for John Anderson in 1980 I haven’t cared for third-party titillation and really none of that has done any good, either side. The Democrats should dare to lead now, as best they can. As positively as possible. After all they have a two-thirds advantage, excepting the Judicial Branch. The Senate has covered for the presidential boy-Pretender too long, and it’s ridiculous for the media to pretend that Silvertongue can get it up.

    I’m sorry, but in Sacramento we ever found Chicago fairly easy to make and take. So where is that thing the First Amendment identifies, bestows, charges as The Press? I’d far rather see one of the two major parties disappear than see the Press go. Yet the Press already has flown; it never should have been an estate credentialed by graduate schools got to.

  25. Hugo St. Victor says:

    …well, and you have to acknowledge that Jon’s point, that the President cried Wolf on the sequester, was really right. These bozos deny their bozos together. My God, they’re all my bozos. None of them goes away at the wish of a wand. Next game, reluctuctant leadership. Or else Endgame.

  26. JTMcPhee says:

    …as long as it’s possible for a couple of us born or bred with extra-long arms to reach across their neighbors at table and grab all the food off the common platters, and not enough of us either spear their greedy paws with a sharp fork or slap them away or make them Put It All Back! Every Bit Of It! Right Now! by twisting their ears, or pinching that tender flap of skin over the upper triceps, or whacking them with a ruler, we are all inside a pressure vessel with the release valve welded down and, planet-wide, with the heat being turned up higher and higher. The people serving only their or their lord and masters’ pleasure might get off repeatedly and die off before the Big Boom, but how about the rest of us? Including the women and girls of Afpakinagistan, that some here and many elsewhere were so all horribly concerned about when that was the latest justification for that “war” thing over there… And all that other kind of stuff…

  27. Hugo St. Victor says:

    What does it take to conclude the costly violence? Obviously it depends, case by case. Sometimes the superior killers tell, and sometimes the better diplomatic negotiators, and sometimes the holier idealogues or the more determined mole rats, by which point the Good is pretty irrelevant. In any event it’s no longer significant, which cause flies the cleanest flag. In peacetime you can discuss ways of living, whereas in wartime only the ways of destruction. No doubt some things need destroying, but surely only so that we can live more largely. It’s head wringing that so many baddies have organized and killed to stop this growth of ours, and it’s idiotically foolhardy to pretend that they haven’t done so in spite of us.

  28. Hugo St. Victor says:

    “…born with extra-long arms”. JTM sometimes I wonder whether anybody understands as you do the sheer efficiency of poesy, but man that little phrase packs a punch. The octopus sleeps in many long arms. These school-graduates who now operate our government so well seem not to understand that the octopus is what you wanna be: just left alone, but with great reach and lethal potential. It depends on how you regard the octopus. Is it the octopus in the tank or the one in the Wild, beneath the Reef? The one political party trusts in domestication whilst the other risks the wilds. K Street intervening, of course.

  29. len says:

    And the bad news is in. Furloughed.

    Tough year ahead.

  30. JTMcPhee says:

    @len
    I’m sure I speak for all of us — so very sorry. Prayers for some common sense and decency in DC.

  31. len says:

    Thanks JT.

    Too bad. This was the perfect job. As this works, I still am employed in the benefits sense for a short while. Then if the budgets don’t get approved, hit the bricks in toto. Meanwhile, since it’s been a short job and I don’t have enough vacation to survive a furlough, it’s unemployment and look for job. We knew the sequestration wouldn’t be painless.

    It will be interesting to see how the numbers work when we all hit the unemployment lines at one time. Time to tune the guitar and go begging.

  32. Hugo St. Victor says:

    Len, I too am very sorry. You’ve written so knowingly of better forms of fiscal husbandry, particularly in the Defense sector, that I have to think that eventually they’ll lay down the hatchet and come around to ask you, rather than tell you, how to proceed. As your units of analysis are larger, you’ll more readily see that the country is headed into a sixth wave of demilitarization. In this context, who better than you? Hang fire. I’ll help in whichever unlikely way, if you’ll let me know. Again, I’m sorry. It’s horrible that you saw this coming, and maybe just as bad that they’re firing blind. Blindfolded.

  33. len says:

    All said and done, I should have become a professional songwriter. Bad as that can be, it’s a matter of taste.

    Not looking forward to telling Dana in a half hour.

  34. len says:

    The ironic bit: they stood around to a man and woman and blamed Obama as if nothing the Republicans have said or did mattered in the least.

  35. JTMcPhee says:

    @len
    And where’s the wisdom that understands and can explain and work with and maybe remedy and deflect that apparently ineluctable process of demonization and canonization that seems so too, too inevitable in all our wise and trendy behaviors?

    Maybe I mentioned, but I was at the VA hospital recently, and yes, Obama’s picture hangs where the Bush-heads and Reagan hung, Commander-in-Chief and all that shit, but on every flat screen yakking and buzzing in every waiting area, of which there are many and waiting is endemic to how the VA works, was the world according to FOX, and the conversation among most of those present was all about how fucked Obama is and how he and the “libruls” and, immune as they are to irony and self-awareness, “the guvrnmant,” are just ruining our Sacred Freedoms and Constitution and Nation. (I buy the Obama-is-fucked, but for much different reasons. The rest is why we are facing feudalism descending into Ragnarok, in my tiny humble meaningless opinion.)

  36. Hugo St. Victor says:

    That’s not right, man. We all did it. We aimed the gun square at your foot because it was the nearest, laziest target. You know that I’m doubly culpable, because I’m faithful to both parties, having played courier too long. There’s shit you can see coming from beyond the sunrise but you can’t crow because there’s no use, and betrayal is out of the question unless you’ve got Ellsberg’s eyes of blue and can pull off that cutesy messianic schtick. The thing is, you’re already a compelling songwriter, Len, so keep doing that please. To boot, you also shape and command tools that will see us out of this hyper-militarized mess whilst still keeping us safe, and if you forsake that part of your existence then you’ll really have let us down. The country needs you to help it to pick its shots far more accurately and economically, or else eventually we’ll all be gutshot and will sound like it too. If you ask the somewhat astonishing Dana I expect she’ll tell you that this isn’t a blowing of smoke, Len. Count that blessing omigawd, O lucky gent

  37. len says:

    Ok Hugo. :) More songs and look for job. Finishing up a new song tonight after finishing Mbube. A return to the days of Chad and Jeremy because they were innocent. Video in an hour. No choice about job. The government can sign a contract and only pay when it says it can. I wish mortgages worked like that. Meanwhile if anyone has paying work, now’s the time to talk.

    I know the whole Googlesphere sucks for money, but GoogleArt has charms. I wish they would work out a way to pay the photocs and notedocs instead of us working for shack to hang it in.

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