Monday, June 05, 2006

It Takes A Global Village....

I don't know why, but the international readership here has exploded over the past few weeks. Readers from Canada and western Europe have always been numerous, but I've noticed that the geography has really expanded. A check of the log from the past few days shows visitors from Poland, Romania, Turkey, China, Pakistan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Iran, Kenya, Ghana, Tanzania, Brazil, Ecuador, and Guatemala. A sudden global fervor for inconsequential, insomnia-driven American rants?

Welcome to all, and feel free to contribute via email or posted comments.


Anonymous Antonie said...

Everyone appreciates a voice of reason.

6/05/2006 6:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Or -- it's summer, and people are tuning in from wherever they happen to be traveling.

6/05/2006 8:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A good place for America-bashing by a real live American - the lure is irresitable.

6/05/2006 12:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You didn't mention Mexico, but I am an American volunteer for the U.S. Peace Corps who is working in Mexico. Perhaps a good chunk of your readership are also "ex-patriates", also checking in remotely on their home country. I know quite a few, in this country and in others.

I check your site frequently because you have a good eye for catching very telling yet small details about the abuse of governmental power. (In that respect, I see your claim to be "conservative" as legit, although that puts you at odds with the Neo-Cons currently holding power, and the lowing masses who follow the flags that they wave.)

You are vigilant about the abuse of power and its incompetent exercise, such as in Iraq and Katrina. But perhaps most importantly, as a financial professional you present a unique and interesting insight into the nexus between energy, the Stock Market, and all the reasons why the American economy looks like it's gangbusters by the numbers, yet totally sucks if you are a prole member of it. (I have only been deployed for six months, so my personal knowledge of the economy dates back to then.)

One of the reasons I decided to take a volunteer job in a foreign country was because I had this overwhelming feeling that, for political, energy, and economic reasons, the course America is on is unsustainable and events are rapidly reaching a crescendo. I can't, of course, be sure when or if a big crash would occur, but I just felt like I didn't want to be chained to a plain-vanilla desk job and carrying a lot of debt around when and if such a crash should occur. Your blog seems the most logical and detailed way of crystallizing / quantifying that suspicion. Knowing the probable avenues of trouble helps me think about how I want to plan to protect myself over the next few years.

I find myself spending a lot of time on the Internet, here in Mexico, watching the headlines with the same morbid fascination as watching a car wreck. I am observing a great country, my homeland, careening out of control on a disastrous course. We haven't actually launched off the cliff yet and fallen to the rocks below. There is still time to avert the crash. But in order to do that, somebody has to take control of the country's course... and to do that, they will have to address the problems of the energy/market/geopolitical nexus which you describe in great detail here.

6/05/2006 1:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's interesting.

After reading your latest post and these comments, I'm beginning to believe there's a counter culture emerging in this country, one based on the premise that America simply can't continue on its current course. That eventually, the media-driven, consumer-dependent, corruption-laden machine must falter and falter badly, and the best thing to do in the meantime is lay low, play your cards close to the vest, and take the road less traveled.

As for me, I'm an English teacher in a large metro-suburban city in the South East. Although I have the funds and the necessary credit, I've chosen not to purchase a home (despite the fact that a lender recently approved me for an unbelievable amount of credit!). I live a very modest lifestyle, saving nearly 40% of my income, and I've learned to appreciate the simple pleasures in life: A trip to the park instead of TIVO; a free art exhibit instead of the multi-plex; a visit to the library instead of cable-TV. I tell my students that I don't watch television, and they nearly fall out of their desks in disbelief.

Our collective idea of happiness, success, and fulfillment in this nation has become so grandiose, so completely warped, that a crash of some sort, either economic, cultural, or ideological, seems almost a certainty.

Can anyone else pay witness to similar views? Are there more of us than anyone realizes?

6/05/2006 5:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sometimes I come here to read and appreciate your thoughts, and the overall sanity that seems to flow from your writings. In the last few weeks I've had time to become aware of the huge number of desperate, helpless and disillusioned Americans who hang out in the blogosphere and I've been struck by their sense of impotence.

It's like they are bound to a chair in a closed room. Most of them are progressive/liberal/lefty, as I am; but sometimes I stumble upon some free-thinker conservative like you. And the feeling is very, very dark. Not that here in Europe things are, at present, much better; but the alarm comes, I think, mainly from the direction and the velocity of the changes that we see coming from that side of the Atlantic.

But guidelines - that we are somehow induced to follow - are coming, too, from that side of the Atlantic. The New-Hitler-in-sight propaganda has already re-started and a lot of people is buying it. And I'm apalled at the amount of disinformation and lies coming from the media...

6/05/2006 5:50 PM  
Anonymous wendy said...

While I appreciate the sentiment expressed in that last post, I feel there is also a danger in that we can all find happy little echo chambers here on the web that simply reinforce our own views (this was a serious wake-up call to me following the last election).

Yes, dumping TV is admirable (I may join you over the summer) however, in finding these oases of "truth" on the web, I find that we tune out our neighbors, for better or for worse.

Perhaps it is part of a trend of media "choice" that will play out well in the long run, but I still think we should all force ourselves to actually listen to voices who don't agree with ours—to stay on top of the larger picture. In fact, I force myself to listen to right-wing radio when I go on long car trips (by myself)...not only do I find benefit in the phrase "know thine enemy" it also serves to keep me awake in an incredulous rage.

Perhaps this isn't what you were getting at, but it's something I have been thinking about when I hear people talk about "tuning out."

6/05/2006 5:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


You discovered the chief virtue of right-wing radio!! In the '80s, driving by myself, I used to listen to Rush Limbaugh late at night, just to stay awake.

6/05/2006 7:36 PM  
Anonymous Jeremy said...

I think the pieces you write are as much libertarian as conservative. You are making a good deal of sense, and that is always nice to see. Thanks.

6/05/2006 7:46 PM  
Anonymous wendy said...

Rush is pretty much a harmless ass-clown (and he does a hilarious impression of Clinton, I gotta hand it to him), it's some of the other guys (and gals) I hear ranting on a.m. that set my teeth on edge.

6/05/2006 9:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I live in a very Christian, very Republican east coast Florida city.

Every Wenesday there's a demonstration complete with signs and candles. The group stands on a bridge across the intra-coastal waterway and politics to cars driving by.

This week as I stood in a group of seven people (!) I wondered at the dissatifaction in the country and marveled at how few of us there were on the bridge, wondered what a difference it would make if the whole mile-long length of that bridge were five deep in protestors.

My conclusion was that I can't think of anything, not one single thing that would have the people of this country in the streets.

6/06/2006 9:13 PM  
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