2017 Year In Review (Part 2)

If you've not yet read Part 1, click here to do so. The whole enchilada can be downloaded as a single PDF here or viewed in parts via the hot-linked contents as follows:


Part 1

Part 2

A warning for those who proceed

Part Two is contentious indeed

The "P***y Generation”

May feel agitation

From all of the truth that they read


Natural Disasters

“God always forgives. Man often forgives. Mother Nature never forgives.”

~Pope Francis

It’s easy to overlook how much Mother Nature batters the world, but this year she tore a new one through North America.313 Wildfires and extraordinary temperatures are scorching California. Los Angeles witnessed 104°F on October 4th (seems high).314 San Francisco had back-to-back triple-digit days for only the third time since 1870, reaching 115°F south of the city.315 Record-breaking wildfires are destroying neighborhoods, vineyards, and forests throughout northern and southern California.316 The risk of floods after forest fires is enormous.317 Rains earlier in the year took out the spillway of the Oroville Dam in the Sacramento Valley, threatening a Biblical flood for those downstream.318

"Yellowstone super volcano may blow sooner than thought—and could wipe out life on the planet."

~USA Today headline

Earthquakes and volcanoes have been capturing imaginations of late. A devastating earthquake in Mexico went underreported because of bandwidth-sucking hurricanes (see below).319 For decades, Oklahoma has averaged only two earthquakes a year above a magnitude of 2.7. That number has crept up to 4,000 per year, all attributed to fracking.320 The big one, however, is the Yellowstone Caldera. Six hundred thousand years ago, an eruption created the 40-mile-wide caldera that is now rising more than an inch per year and is accompanied by unusual “swarms” of earthquakes.321 NASA suggests drilling into the super volcano to dissipate the heat with water.322 And you guys call yourselves rocket scientists? Please do not touch it. The prospects of generating electricity may explain the plan: there is money to be made.

“Irma, you just became the strongest storm, what are you going to do next?

I’m going to Disney World!”

~Paraphrased tweet

Of course the big story was Harvey and his friends. Not Steve Harvey, who crowned the wrong Miss America, or Harvey Weinstein, who probably assaulted her, but rather Hurricane Harvey along with Irma, Jose, Maria, and the rest of the near-record-breaking alphabet. Irma was showing up on seismometers.323 The Caribbean Islands got totally weedwacked; it is difficult to imagine how those areas will ever recover. Mother Nature seems to be trying to take back the Everglades; it was never really meant for human habitation in the first place.

The aftermath of the hurricanes is what interests me. Economists grope to find silver linings in the destructive forces of storms. Auto industry analysts, for example, claimed that the 2017 hurricanes solved the industry’s massive inventory problem.324 Indeed, it is a new-era cash-for-clunkers program, but somebody has to pay that tab. Then there is the wholly misguided notion that a post-disaster, debt-fueled spike in GDP owing to rebuilding is good for the economy. Such idiotic thinking—so-called Bastiat’s broken window fallacy—has been fully debunked in entry-level economics textbooks.325 Once in a while, however, some unsuspecting Bieber-bright boob can’t resist:

“The long-run effect of these disasters unfortunately is it actually lifts economic activity because you have to rebuild all the things that have been damaged by the storms.”

~Bill Dudley

Embedded in such buffoonery is also the message that the Fed views fueling economic growth as “unfortunate,” which is oddly consistent with its actions. Moving along, let me digress by looking at some disasters from the past. I have a point to make.

1835: A massive fire destroyed much of Georgetown, VA. The fledgling federal government created one of its first social programs by giving the hapless victims money. As the story goes, a farmer told Congressman Davy Crockett that he would not vote for him again because of Crockett’s support for the relief: “What protects me from Congress giving even more money next time or money for a lesser cause?” the farmer queried. Crockett had his come-to-Jesus moment and purportedly gave a famous tongue-lashing to Congress saying, “It is not yours to give.”326

1889: As described in David McCullough’s The Johnstown Flood, an earthen dam in Johnstown, PA, washed out, killing 2,300 residents. Industrialists from Pittsburgh sent trainloads of goods immediately. Government troops showed up two weeks later to help with law and order.

2001: Planes hit the Twin Towers. Boats spontaneously converged at the southern tip of Manhattan. The Coast Guard, recognizing the problem, put out a call for all boats to come. Without organization or planning, 800,000 people were evacuated—more than were evacuated from Dunkirk, France, during WWII—in 14 hours. You must watch “BOATLIFT: A Tale of 9/11 Resilience.”327 Try not to tear up.

2005: Katrina hit New Orleans, and the levees failed. Walmart sent a fleet of trucks with essential goods but were turned back by FEMA, which was doing a “heckuva job.”328 The nation watched in horror as 1,800 people died.329 The display of “bystander bias”—inaction caused by the belief that somebody else (FEMA) will act330—may be the most horrific in U.S. history.

2011: Hurricane Irene veered away from New York City, where journalists waited with great anticipation. It thwacked northern New York and Vermont instead, causing rivers to rise almost 30 feet.331 My wife became a volunteer relief coordinator while on vacation. FEMA showed up two weeks later, applied one Band-Aid, put up a banner for photos, and left. Soon thereafter, I joined my wife to find new temporary bridges, hundreds of miles of new roads, and recovery in progress.

2017: Hurricanes hit Puerto Rico and Houston particularly hard. The now-famous Cajun Navy, still smarting from Katrina, spontaneously headed to Houston with boats in tow (Figure 38).332 The navy was staffed by folks of marginal means and of the type the progressive left is quick to call white supremacists. The Antifa Army, by contrast, was nowhere to be seen. J. J. Watt of the Houston Texans raised $35 million from 200,000 donors for hurricane relief. Contrast this response with that in Puerto Rico.333 U.S. air carriers tried to get to San Juan before the storm; a heroic Delta Airlines crew made it.334 Post-storm relief stalled for weeks as political battles and government graft prevented the distribution of goods and services.335 Where was the Clinton Foundation? Still screwing up Haiti?336 William Dudley arranged to have a jet loaded with pallets of cash sent to the stricken island.337 Nice gesture, Bill, but they needed food and medicine. I wonder who got the money.


Figure 38. Cajun Navy and Antifa Army.

Here’s my point. Government response often sucks. By contrast, citizens will step up to the plate if they are unimpeded by government and bystander bias. I submit that far fewer would have died in New Orleans if FEMA didn’t exist. Knowing that it was us or nobody, We the People would have saved We the People.

“Anyone who chooses to not heed this directive cannot expect to be rescued and should write their social security numbers in permanent marker on their arm so their bodies can be identified. The loss of life and property is certain. Get out or die.”

~Official message from a judge to one Texas county during Harvey

There is also another important message: preparation for disaster is key. Figure 39 shows possible responses when disaster looms. My worldview changed with Y2K. I detected risk and mitigated it by preparing accordingly. Others did nothing. Who was right? I knew you’d get that wrong: I was right. The ant was right, not the grasshopper, as was the third little pig—not because of what happened but because of what could have happened. If you are in Miami and trying to buy water, food, gas, or transportation with a storm looming, you are not preparing: you are responding. An iconic photo of a woman being given the last generator after Hurricane Irma to save her potentially dying father shows the generosity of the human spirit but begs the critical question:338 Why didn’t she already own a generator?

Figure 39. When hurricane winds, fires, tornadoes, and floods threaten.

Half of Houstonians had no flood insurance.339 Half of all Americans have no emergency supplies in their homes.340 Even fewer have fire extinguishers. Which of the following items would be really nice to have in the aftermath of a hurricane?

Plywood Generators Food

Bottled Water Chain Saws Tank of Gas

Ice Flood Insurance Duct tape

How much does it cost to have a chain saw, 100 pounds of rice and beans, some tarps, flashlights and batteries, and bottled water before the crisis? $400 or $500? Are these items more valuable as you stare into the teeth of a hurricane? Certainly. Without them, you may join the ranks of undocumented shoppers (looters). A viral photo of a nun with a chain saw (Figure 40) reminds you how fortunate it is to have a chain saw (and makes you wonder how long before it catches her flowing habit and takes her to the pearly gates). The Northmen hit by Hurricane Irene recovered quickly because they all have tools, skills, and a work ethic that would knock your socks off. They’re always prepared. What do we do about the poor in Houston or Puerto Rico? I don’t have an answer; they always get screwed. If the rest of us are prepared, however, FEMA can focus on them. Like I said, they always get screwed.

Figure 40. Nun with a chain saw.

Other disasters are harder to anticipate. I was shocked at how fast the California fires moved. I was in a fire in high school. Contrary to TV dramas, you have seconds to get the hell out. (Try doing so buck naked from a second-story window with temperatures at –2°F.) I have no idea how to prepare for earthquakes except to stay out of California. For the Yellowstone Caldera? Finish that bucket list.

Price Gouging

“Price gouging . . . a pejorative term . . . a seller spikes the prices of goods, services, or commodities to a level much higher than is considered reasonable or fair.”

~The Internet

Which government agency is in charge of determining what is “reasonable or fair”? Most find charging people more when they really need something ethically repugnant. Let’s ponder a few examples. Utility linemen are paid handsomely to leave their families and help hurricane recovery. That seems fair. Nobody bitches that the insurance companies pull in their shingles when the hurricane is imminent; it’s just business. My dog kennel raises fees during the holiday season. Those bastards! The captive audience at the movie theater gets totally gouged for that bucket of stale popcorn slathered with WD-40, but you don’t have to buy it. (Would butter really cut into your profits that much?) The business model of Uber causes prices to spike when demand exceeds supply, which has the effect of pulling drivers out of their houses and, in turn, driving prices back down (pun intended). What a curious concept: high prices generate supply. I smell a Nobel Prize. The price of bottled water seemed to soar at Best Buy before one of the hurricanes (Figure 41).341 Now we’re talkin’! An unvarnished example of price gouging. You know it when you see it, but are you sure?

Figure 41. Price gouging at Best Buy.

When the hurricanes arrive, the battle against price gougers commences. Hotlines are set up to report evildoers. The South Carolina Homeland Security Act of 2002 imposed penalties of up to $1,000 and as many as 30 days in prison for charging “an unconscionable price” for 30 days after the declaration of an emergency by the president or governor.342 The Florida attorney general got ahead of the problem this year (Figure 42):

Figure 42. War on price gougers.

Here’s a few questions: Aren’t the supplies needed for hurricanes more valuable during hurricane season than during the months on either side? Wouldn’t it behoove people to do their shopping during quiet periods? Do you think that woman in Figure 43 would be so slovenly greedy if the price of bottled water rose with demand? Maybe the woman behind her wouldn’t be forced to say, “Hey bitch. How about sharing?” I know: let’s add anti-hoarding laws! Let's create a Bottled Water Authority (BWA) to determine what is reasonable and fair. The free marketeers have a simpler solution: Let prices move freely, and a few hurricanes with spiking prices would reinforce the merits of planning. I bet $4 per bottle might help quench that seemingly insatiable thirst of our intrepid hoarder.

Figure 43. Hoarding and shortages.

And since you forgot to ask, who are these price gougers? Local businesses would be committing professional suicide if they price gouged their neighbors. Big chains like Walmart would suffer huge reputational damage. Best Buy certainly did for those bottled water prices, but look carefully at Figure 41: you can see through those laser-printed signs. The picture is photoshopped. Best Buy couldn’t take the time to prove its innocence and began apologizing for its rogue employee.343

The only so-called price gougers are entrepreneurial folks who take time away from family and job, fill trucks with needed goods, and at great personal and financial risk, enter the disaster zone hoping to make a buck. If you add additional legal risks to the ample risks already present, they will not come. “But...but...I need stuff and will be happy to pay!” Tough luck, dude. It’s not fair to the disadvantaged.

In short, price gouging laws impede the arrival of needed goods and services. No matter how ethically itchy—no matter how much it triggers you—the free market will find the price that is fair and reasonable. The prospects of making huge profits will generate more supply, arbitraging the price back to “fair and reasonable.” If you feel the need to help the poor, as members of a civilized society are often wont to do, add credit to some food stamp cards. Entrepreneurs will bring handheld, battery-powered card swipe devices. Send Bill Dudley down with pallets of money. What’s good enough for Puerto Rico and even Afghan warlords may be good enough for us. Of course, Davy Crockett might disagree, but he’s dead.

The carnage of natural disasters is mitigated by preparation, good Samaritans, the force of free market capitalism, and in total desperation, even pathetically inept federal assistance programs. Price gouging laws inhibit the natural flow of goods and services. Some will not see the merits of my case and be offended. Have a ball.

The Biosphere and Price Gouging

“Bring out your dead.”

~Monty Python

Mother Nature took a whack at the world’s health through the biosphere. Epidemics are beginning to reappear owing to the drop in the vaccination rate. (Sorry anti-vaxxers: I think the scientists have this one right.) A dozen teenagers contracted rabies from having carnal relations with a donkey.344 In a no-questions-asked announcement, authorities sought anyone who had “approached” and “admired” the animal closely. You guys haven’t heard of condoms? There is a bubonic plague emanating from Madagascar (east of Africa in the game Risk.)345 Plague cases are common in the Southwest US, but history shows that you don’t want it getting out of control.

Of more dire long-term concern, pharmaceutical companies appear to be losing the war against bacteria. Vancomycin was so important as the last line of defense that it was kept under lock and key. Hospitals now use it routinely: did it lose its prominent role or did the medical community simply get sloppy? An antibiotic-resistant superbug in China is said to be an “alarming evolutionary event.”346 Big-cap pharma can’t get antibiotics to market before they start losing efficacy, forcing companies to abandon their antibiotic development programs. Although technically not a health problem, the backyard mosquito situation is being dealt with by “scientists” who are about to release 20 million genetically engineered mosquitos.347 Hope you guys know what you’re doing.

The challenges to pharma companies, ironically, take us back to price gouging. We all know the face of price gouging:

Martin Shkreli was finally convicted of terminal smugness when he offered $5,000 for a strand of Hillary’s hair.348 But the debate is deeper and more nuanced, as illustrated with three examples.

Eli Lilly cranked up the price of insulin at a brisk annual compounded rate (Figure 44).349 The unseemly profits are difficult to find: a zero percent annualized capital gain over 17 years suggests that they are either hiding all this cash in secret accounts in the Caymans or that pharmaceutical research is remarkably costly.

Figure 44. Price of insulin and zero percent annualized return (ex-dividends) of Eli Lilly.

Novartis is marketing a single-dose chemotherapeutic agent for $475,000:350 living another 50 years? Priceless! (Figure 45a) Critics of the price haven’t wrapped their brains around the cost of development and production. Novartis is not printing money either, returning capital gains (ex-dividends) of 3 percent annualized to investors over the last 20 years.

Figure 45. (a) Novartis’s 3 percent annualized returns boosted by $475,000 cancer treatment,
and (b) Mylan’s 1 percent annualized gains owing to soaring EpiPen prices.

Mylan offers the most instructive example (Figure 45b). It cranked up the price of EpiPens while the share price shows a 1 percent annualized gain over 15 years. Business Insider gloated with schadenfreude:351

“Mylan’s EpiPen—the center of one of the many blistering scandals in Big Pharma price gouging—is getting hammered in the market, as competitors have burst on the scene.”

~Business Insider

Competitors bursting on the scene brought down the price? Where have I heard this before? Once again, unimpeded price discovery cures what are perceived to be unfair and excessive prices. Alas, with this kind of arbitrage, the pharmaceutical industry could become not-for-profit, possibly even nationalized. Progressives call this a victory. I’m kinda hoping they stay viable.


"A Hockey Fan Stabbed in Head With Screwdriver Refused Treatment Until Game Ended"

~Headline, Medialite

That is not me. I have little time now to watch sports, but there were some truly stupendous performances that caught even my inattentive gaze. Alex Honnold climbed the 3,000-foot of sheer cliff face of Yosemite’s El Capitan without any ropes or other climbing gear (free climbing).352 The only other guys who tried it are dead. Tom Brady engineered a miraculous comeback from a 25-point deficit to beat the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl LI. Amazingly, the Patriots won it with fewer scores than the Falcons—7 versus 8—at the end of the regular play, which according to democratic football fans, means that the Patriots stole the Super Bowl. UFC champion Conor McGregor shocked the world by going toe-to-toe with Floyd Mayweather Jr., winning the first few rounds before losing in a 10th-round technical knockout. (I saw it; he was great.) Conor pissed off professional whiners by claiming, “I turned him into a Mexican tonight” (made him fight scrappy).353 Mayweather then shocked the world by announcing he was a Trump supporter.354 To that, Conor said, “Fook ’im.”

I detest end zone displays—act like you’ve been there before. That said, a Tulsa wide receiver had his touchdown negated owing to a single strut-like stride en route to the end zone.355 Let’s start with the clown who feigned lifting his leg on the goalpost. A softball team of 12- to 14-year old girls got booted from the Junior League World Series after several of them flipped the bird to an opposing team in a social media photo.356 I have mixed emotions on this one: it was a good lesson, but harsh. Not speaking of baseball, you wanna see Major League Baseball’s 2030 home run champion? Check out the bat speed on this beastly 12-year-old slugger.357

“Colin has to make up his mind whether he’s truly an activist or he’s a football player. Football is commercial. You have owners. You have fans. And you want to honor that if you’re making that kind of money.”

~Jim Brown, white supremacist

Colin Kaepernick created quite a stir in the NFL. I supported him last year when he explained that he’d simply had enough of the clowns running the country.358 Triggered by inflammatory tweets by the POTUS, the NFL and the greater sporting world found itself in a full-Nelson headlock from which it couldn’t seem to extract itself and paid dearly in lost revenues and millions of viewers (Figure 46). This comes at a time when concussions are causing the league serious trouble. The NFL has strict rules about behavior (on the field at least). Previous displays that broke from these rules, no matter how meritorious to the common man, have been stopped cold. You demonstrably cannot take a knee to pray, mourn 9/11, display support for fighting cancer, support dead police officers, or oppose domestic violence.359 (There’s some irony.) Some say the outrage against the take-a-knee movement is racism. I say it is the change from common men with uncommon football skills leaving it on the field every Sunday for low pay to a bunch of overpaid prima donnas (who still leave it on the field every Sunday). They are also millennials, but I draw a line at calling them snowflakes. Other sports seem to have avoided the take-a-knee dilemma by nipping it in the bud. In a moment of hilarity, one chap in Major League Baseball was the only one to take a knee to oppose injustice and then was arrested the next week for jamming a gun in the face of a fast-food worker.360 Injustice indeed.

“You’re free to take a knee during the Anthem. POTUS is free to criticize you. And we’re free to turn you off. And that’s what’s happening.”

~Joe Walsh (@WalshFreedom)

Figure 46. Veteran’s Day boycott of the NFL.

Viewers wish to escape to the now largely color-blind, apolitical world of sports. Many detested Carter for boycotting the 1976 Olympics in Moscow. I certainly did. More recently, ESPN’

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://peakprosperity.com/2017-year-in-review-part-2/

…didn’t disappoint! If this year’s gift of your insight continues the trend of darker, weightier content, it’s a reflection of the growing rot in society. I need to reread sections, so much to absorb and contemplate.
It takes courage on your part to call 'em as you see 'em, and to endure the personal attacks you’ve experienced. This makes your views all the more valuable.
Warm wishes to you and your family for the Holiday Season. Stay safe.

Mr. Collum,
Please, Please…you were doing so well…3/4’s of the way…then, you had to do it…you had to bring politics into the mix. Politics isn’t about truth Mr. Collum, don’t you agree? And, that being the case, how can one argue one way or the other w/regards to one action or another by ANYONE in politics. You think the federal government, or specifically the FBI is corrupt? Why don’t you start with your local sheriff’s office? Why don’t you start there first and work your way up the chain? Anyway, if this corruption is new to you, well, where have you been? This has been going on since the “king” needed gold, and those who had the gold gave it to the “king” with certain rules. it doesn’t make it right, no matter how long it’s been going on, or how many people are doing it, it doesn’t make it right. Stick with the non-political items and stay away from politics. When we inherit a “World Made by Hand,” national politics will be almost irrelevant to anyone’s daily life.
Best regards,

Thought the whole thing was good. Particularly the second half, with the author even admitting to a bias (appreciated the honesty). The rough patch about Las Vegas was also spot on.

Excellent report, as usual, David. Sorry to hear about your particular troubles on campus, glad you-mostly- prevailed. Your insight, analysis, and comprehension of the events of '17 makes me feel like I was sleepwalking through the year. Maybe that’s a defensive thing…Mahalo, Aloha, Steve.


Shame on PP for publishing this right wing tosh.

Less is more.

David Collum Writes (p. 136)

My conclusion is that fabricated collusion stories and other political hijinks implicating the Russians are dangerous games. Obama put more sanctions on Russia right before Trump’s inauguration. Senator Marco Rubio drilled Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, demanding to know why he would not publicly declare Putin a “war criminal.” I can answer that one: cause nuclear war sucks, Marco. You are a brick.

This demonization of Russian (the Soviet Union) is a resurrected page from an old playbook, first unveiled in 1979. Permit a little trip down memory lane as how all this got going.
The problem the elite had was to create a story, a myth (in the sense of Leo Strauss), that clearly defined who was good and who was evil. This myth would be an anchor for the sale of policies to the public. It turns out that this myth was brilliantly effective as it sold well in many nations and to all of the (first tier) Spiral Dynamic memes. Everyone could get behind it and feel righteous about their warfare, surveillance and the need for greater state control of everything.
The myth centered newly coined term “terrorism,” which would become the central marketing strategy. This myth told us who was good and evil. It was nonspecific making it flexible.

Good: Democracy, the West, civilization, America, Israel, Freedom Evil: The Soviet Union, Palestinians, Muslims, Terrorists, the barbarians
And the SOURCE of this evil was declared to be the Soviet Union.

This post is drawn from four (4) main sources:

  1. Netanyahu’s writings a) Terrorism: How the West Can Win, b) Fighting Terrorism: How Democracies can Defeat the international Terrorism Networks.
  2. “International Terrorism”: The Propaganda War, 1982, Philip Paull, Masters Degree Thesis, Hard Copy in the UC Berekely Library, (quoted by Christopher Bollyn and others). Philip Paull attended the Jeruselum Conference on International Terrorism and wrote his UCB Masters Degree Thesis as a very critical analysis of the presentation.
  3. The Terror Network: The Secret War of International Terrorism. A 1981 book by Claire Sterling, who argued that the USSR was using terrorists as a proxy force to destabilize western democracies.(Here and here) She worked with Michael Leeden, arch-Neocon, to popularize this viewpoint on US talk shows.
  4. Disciplining Terror: How Experts Invented ‘Terrorism,’ by Lisa Stampinsky. She traces the propagation of the terrorism meme and the appearance of self appointed “experts” who propagated the meme and sold it to the public.
Definition of Terrorism: --the unlawful use of violence and intimidation, especially against civilians, in the pursuit of political aims.
Noam Chomsky helps to clarify the diagnosis further:
"It is only terrorism when they do it to us. When we do even worse to them that is not terrorism."
Thus a more accurate definition might be:
Terrorism is a pejorative term to describe the uses of violence against the Established Order and the TPTB, something that they define as unlawful and evil.
Not a terrorist. And not a terrorist attack.

Here is Lisa Stampinsky’s summary report on the public launch of this motif beginning at its inception at The 1979 Jerusalem Conference

It was at the July 1979 Jerusalem conference on international terrorism that the new narratives of Soviet terrorism sponsorship and of terrorism as an attack on civilization were first introduced to a number of the individuals who would go on to be crucial to their dissemination. ….. As Netanyahu wrote in the widely distributed book that came out of the conference, “[ T] he major contribution” of the conference was to counter “a curious reticence about the massive evidence of Soviet involvement with terror movements” and to “reveal the nature and full extent of this involvement” (Netanyahu 1980: 7). Judging the conference a success, he reported, “Whatever else was achieved, international terrorism can no longer be examined without considering the pivotal role played by the Soviet Union” (Netanyahu 1980: 9).
The conference was organized with the goal of bringing together experts who shared this view and political leaders who might be persuaded to adopt and disseminate a new framework of understanding, comprising several interrelated narratives about terrorism: that terrorism was a movement as well as a tactic, that terrorism was a threat directed specifically at “civilization,” “democracies” and “the West,” and that terrorism was a (more or less directed) product of the Soviet Union in its struggle against the West.
Senator Henry M. Jackson’s talk, “Terrorism as a weapon in international politics,” asserted (Netanyahu 1980: 33) that international terrorism is a modern form of warfare against liberal democracies. I believe that the ultimate but seldom stated goal of these terrorists is to destroy the very fabric of democracy.
Cline asserted that “[ t] he Soviet Union has provided the logistic support and political rationale that ties the terrorists together strategically in ways they themselves may not fully realize and which American scholars, journalists, and political leaders have failed to focus on” (Netanyahu 1980: 91– 2).
Robert Moss’s talk, “The terrorist state,” accused those who hoped to achieve détente with the Soviet Union of perpetuating “a conspiracy of silence” (Netanyahu 1980: 128), proclaiming: “International terrorism [is] exploited by the Soviet Union and other interests in the effort to undermine Western societies” (Netanyahu 1980: 133).
In a later section
Some of the most contentious public debates over the politicization of terrorism were spurred by the Reagan administration’s adoption of the Soviet “terror network” theory, first popularized in the United States by two articles in The New York Times Magazine; Robert Moss’s November 1980 article “Terror: a Soviet export” (Moss 1980) drew directly on the 1979 Jerusalem conference, while Claire Sterling’s March 1981 cover story “Terrorism: tracing the international network” (Sterling 1981a) drew on her forthcoming book, asserting that “for the last decade the Soviet Union and its surrogates have provided support for terrorists around the world.” Sterling (1981a) summarizes:
"Such connections within the terrorist network have long been evident. What is now beginning to emerge is the degree to which the links in this network have been purposefully forged – and continue to be maintained – by the Soviet Union and its two chief proxies in this regard – Cuba and the Palestinians."
Daniel Schorr wrote in The New York Times that The Terror Network “bursts upon the scene like an answer to a Reagan prayer,” noting: “The publisher’s ads proudly claim that the book ‘proves’ what Secretary of State Alexander Haig proclaims – that Moscow consciously fosters international terrorism” (Schorr 1981). Stampnitzky, Lisa. Disciplining Terror (pp. 117-118).

Even farmers, non-farmers and techno/agrologists can understand this article and the thin edge of the wedge. What’s your poison:

"But the long-term victim is agriculture as a whole. The lack of humility and leadership by many of the proponents of this technology, those with no small financial stake in its continued use, hurts not just them, but all of us involved in farming. This is not stewardship. It’s not license. It’s short sighted and reckless.
http://sprayers101.com/the-misplay-of-our-generation/ Talk about terrorism! Even the Putin's Duma has outlawed glyphosate!

I experience these thoughts as uncharacteristic vitriol for a group that generally has used its differences to good effect. I don’t appreciate it in the slightest. Wish I could unread it.

When I did my undergrad work at an Ivy League campus in the mid 80’s my experience of it was ruined by the toxic PC left which dominated the campus even back then. I can’t fathom what it would be like today or how David has managed to spend a career in such a place. Hats off to him.
PS though I know the site tries to avoid partisan politics, the comments basically telling Dave to shut up about politics only prove his point that the threat to free speech today is from the left. It’s his review, if you don’t like it, go write your own.

Yeah. Moving to a YELLOW concept of discourse, here.
It is OK to have a strong opinion and to voice it clearly and colorfully.
It is OK to disagree with another’s strong opinion and to voice the disagreement. Keep clear whether you are objecting to the content or the person. By focussing on the content you avoid name calling and personal slights. Speak to a specific point and explain why you see it differently. Others may be impressed by the accuracy and clarity of your viewpoint and modify their thinking to match yours.

My favorite example of discussion badness from zerohedge:
Person A: “Debt as a percentage of GDP has risen by 200% in the last 7 years.”
Person B: “Yeah, but you fornicate with farm animals – so who listens to you?”

I remember how Chris Martenson explained his justification for spending years of his life developing the original Crash Course and original website Chrismartenson.com - It was all because he tried to get his knowledge of important issues discussed in the US 2004 presidential election cycle - but neither major party paid him any attention.
Thinking about the Crash Course’s stadium example - the thing about how crises and shortages come at us exponentially [that is, faster than you would imagine], I’ve been surprised [for years] at the extent to which people on this site haven’t been able to move past a Republican vs. Democrat mindset. If those are still the two major parties, then a discussion of their candidates is appropriate, but aren’t we losing our focus? The two major American political parties still don’t give a damn about the PP message.

The Saker’s thoughts on current events.
2018 - War or no war?

Now let’s sum this all up.

The chances are high that in 2018 the US will

  • Escalate the war in Afghanistan
  • Renege on the nuclear deal with Iran
  • Back an Ukronazi attack on Novorussia

It is quite possible that the US will also

  • Shoot down a Russian aircraft over Syria

I find it unlikely that the US will

  • Invade Syria
  • Invade Venezuela

I am unable to evaluate whether the US will:

  • Disconnect Russia from SWIFT or seize Russian assets
  • Attack the DPRK
Frankly, I am not very confident about this attempt as analyzing the possible developments in 2018. All my education has always been based on a crucial central assumption: the other guy is rational. That is a huge assumption to make, but one which was fundamentally true during the Cold War.

My biggest fear has always been, as the anglo-american empire starts it final decent, that TPTB would not be willing to go quietly into the night as the world shifts from a single to a multipolar world, but would be willing to let their drive to maintain control drive the rest of humanity and planetary ecology to the point of extinction. My fear is that the SOBs would rather see us all dead rather then give up control, fueled by insane fantasy that there is such a thing as a winnable nuclear war.
It seems that that final decent is now upon us as the petro dollar faces its first significant challenges since its establishment so many years ago. It may take a while for these challenges to finally weaken and destroy the system, but its all but inevitable at this point. Seems the multinational corps and banks have long ago abandoned the US as a big munitions factory and poverty draft resource to rule their empire, while we the little people struggle to make other plans. The jobs aren’t coming back, we need to start to create our own.
I have heard it said that Israel wanted Syria before they would help the empire take out Iran. Since that debacle didn’t go so well, seems like we may be trying to go after Iran anyway, Gerald Celente seems to think so. If there was a serious economic meltdown in the near term, would that slow down the war plans or accelerate them, not sure anybody knows. Despite the economic woes, seems the republicrats can’t throw enough money at the military. Here’s to praying for the best, but preparing for the worst.

Clean Break II: Iran Hawks Decide to Burn It All Down (Lobe Log)

Writing for Fox News on December 25, Michael Makovsky—who is no fringe figure, being CEO of the neoconservative Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA)—suggests just such a strategy for countering Iranian influence in the Middle East: "Maintaining Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen in their existing forms is unnatural and serves Iran’s interests. There is nothing sacred about these countries’ borders, which seem to have been drawn by a drunk and blindfolded mapmaker. Indeed, in totally disregarding these borders, ISIS and Iran both have already demonstrated the anachronism and irrelevance of the borders. Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen are not nation-states as Americans understand them, but rather post-World War I artificial constructs, mostly created out of the ashes of the Ottoman Empire in a colossally failed experiment by western leaders. With their deep ethno-sectarian fissures, these four countries have either been held together by a strong authoritarian hand or suffered sectarian carnage."
But let’s focus on the proposal Makovsky makes: redrawing borders in the Middle East, creating what he calls “loose confederations or new countries with more borders that more naturally conform along sectarian lines,” in order to counter Iran. The proposal strongly resembles recommendations found in “A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm,” a 1996 publication of the Jerusalem-based Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies that was prepared in collaboration with several other neoconservative think tanks—including JINSA.
If any of this sounds familiar the following read (pdf) may be of interest (circa 1982): The Oded Yinon Plan (The Zionist Plan for the Middle East)

This mornings headlines on DrudgeReport are about the political rallies in Iran rock the status quo.
Iran hard-liners rally as new protests challenge government.
Though I have little information on what is happening on the ground, I do know that the AngloZionist Empire has the destruction of Iran as its immediate priority. See the Saker’s post above. And many others. The fragmentation of the ME must continue until Israel is the last nation standing and unchallenged regional hegemon.
The Brookings Institute, in 2009 produced a paper Which Path to Persia in which they debate how Iran should be destroyed. There is no mention of WHY Iran needs destruction – this is apparently simply a given. But the Brookings Institute is a neoconservative think-tank, dedicated to the military ascendance of Israel.
The tone is dispassionate and reasonable. Professional policy maker tone. There is not the slightest mention of the 80 million human beings, their families, homes, schools, weddings, shops and streets. Not the slightest flicker of shared humanity. The children who will cry under the beds at night. Just, How can we destroy them for our benefit.

Chapter 6: The Velvet Revolution: Supporting a Popular Uprising Chapter 7: Inspiring an Insurgency: Supporting Iranian Minority And Opposition Groups Chapter 8: The Coup: Supporting a Military Move Against the Regime
BLUE Meme builds resentment which gives rise to rage. The Hatfields beget the McCoys. Do not for a moment wonder where anti-Semitism comes from. This is it. And Anti-Americanism. My children and grandchildren will be living in the time of the blow-back.

Zerohedge carries an article advising that "regime change" is underway in Iran as we speak.


My first exposure to Prof Collum. It is encouraging that enclaves of sanity still exist in academia. The exposure to these opinions and perspective are precisely the reason I subscribe to Peak Prosperity. Even if I had found some issue(s) to criticize or disagree with, I would recommend Prof Collum’s writings as required reading for all students, politicians, and citizens. I have a renewed appreciation for Chemistry.