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REQUIEM

Below are the two final essays to be posted on Allegiance and Duty Betrayed. The first one is written by a friend -- screen name 'Euro-American Scum' -- who, over the past four years, has been the most faithful essayist here. He has written about everything from his pilgrimage to Normandy in 2004 to take part in the 60th–year commemoration of the invasion, to his memories of his tour in Vietnam. His dedication to America’s founding principles ... and those who have sacrificed to preserve them over the past 200+ years ... is unequaled. Thank you, E-A-S. It has been a privilege to include your writing here, and it is a privilege to call you my friend.

The second essay is my own farewell. And with it I thank all of the many regular visitors, and those who may have only dropped in occasionally, for coming here. I hope you learned something. I hope a seed or two was planted. But, even if not, I thank you for stopping by ... 25 March, 2010

11/22/2008

The Last Christmas

Christmas candle 3.jpg

Joanie – This commentary was put together on Veteran’s Day. I got sidetracked by pneumonia (again), so it’s late getting to you. Rather than change the text, you might want to point out the delay to your readership. Thanks.

It happens to all of us, sooner or later. We’re out and about, taking care of business. Halloween is over and Indian Summer, what there was of it, is but a fading memory. Except in California, of course, where summer goes on forever, by rule of law.

Thanksgiving is nearly a month away, but we haven’t given much thought to its preparation. After all, we’ve got three weeks or so to get our ducks in a row. Then we hear it. Could be we’re in a supermarket or a department store. Maybe we’re waiting in a dentist’s office to get our teeth cleaned in advance of the fast approaching Olympic eating season. Wherever we are, you can rest assured we’re bombarded by the cacophony of ubiquitous white noise otherwise known as elevator music that assails us everywhere we go. Only this time it’s different. Hovering above the din of human activity, we pause to digest something familiar, evocative of simpler times, childhood memories and dreams misplaced.

We’ve just heard our first Christmas carol of the season.

It comes earlier each year. In the olden golden days when I was a boy, we didn’t see so much as one Christmas decoration or hear a single note of Christmas music before Thanksgiving. Even then, it took a week or so for retail merchants to ramp up for the December crush of consumers. No longer.

In its most extreme expression, Christmas decorations along with mechanical Santas and synthetic snow have gone up in retail outlets as early as Labor Day weekend. Thankfully, that level of vulgarity has dwindled to a minimum since the wild and wooly 1980s. Come on, now. It’s hard to get in the Christmas spirit when it’s still 105° out there.

But the unwritten rule of Thanksgiving Day being the kickoff to the Christmas season is a thing of the past, all the same. The holiday promotional campaign tends to drift onto our radar screens right about now – in the nether world between Halloween and Thanksgiving. And for the lack of a more definitive benchmark of years gone by, I have always marked its onset by the hearing of the first Christmas song of the season.

That happened today. At Borders Books.

When people ask me what I do for a living, rather than respond with something like . . . “Well, I’m an underemployed bum, whose high-tech career went to India never to return,” I counter with a more measured response. “I kill time.” And when I think about it, that’s most of what I do. I’m a professional time killer. Piece of cake, right? Not really. In order to proceed in such a unique endeavor, it must be done with a certain amount of finesse, creativity and flair. And when you’re in the business of killing time, there are two places that are ideally suited for the pastime – libraries and bookstores. You can linger for hours in both, undisturbed.

Today, it was the bookstore. I tried the library in the morning, only to discover it was closed. Then it occurred to me. Aha! It’s Veteran’s Day. It slipped completely under the radar out here in the Golden State. Between the marathon Obama victory parties, still in progress, and the liberal media still popping champagne corks, I guess the public information channels forgot to cover it this year. No matter. I haven’t had Veteran’s Day off since I’ve been one, and today was no different. Being a professional time-killer is a full-time job. There is no respite in its pursuit.

So, in the absence of the three public libraries in the immediate vicinity, I opted for the bookstores. Fortunately, we have two primo stores right here in the neighborhood. Barnes & Noble rented a huge outlet in the Montclair Plaza, and Borders Books has a stand-alone store immediately adjacent to the shopping center itself. Both are excellent if you find yourself all dressed up with no place to go.

I originally planned to kill the afternoon at Barnes & Noble. It has the novelty of being new, having opened a year or so ago. But driving into the mall parking lot, I was filled with an overwhelming sense of world-weariness. Ethan Allen, Circuit City, Macy’s, all gone, out of business. Boarded up, graffiti-riddled, windows smashed in by roaming bands of late-night thugs, these once-thriving retail establishments carried with them all the ambiance of cattle skulls bleached white in the desert.

The mall itself was no better. Somehow, with ⅓ of the floor space disgustingly available, and the remaining vendors posting advertisements exclusively in Espanól, I wasn’t exactly filled with the holiday spirit. Watching the local undocumented guest workers gaze longingly at the baubles, bangles and beads they couldn’t afford if they cleaned a thousand toilets a day just made me depressed. But then, that’s a consequence of life in the global village. If the wage slaves aren’t paid sufficient compensation to buy the cheap, Chinese junk we sell in our stores, then the whole roulette wheel of global commerce comes up 00. House spin. The chatter among window shoppers was a smattering of Spanish, Arabic, Farsi and various Oriental dialects. And as they gazed into the brightly lit holiday windows, the lament was the same – “We can’t get there from here.” Funny how some sentiments remain the same in any language.

So, I opted for Borders. It had the advantage of a respectably vibrant clientelé, along with a sufficiently cozy, intimate atmosphere. That I could not hear my footsteps echo for lack of other patrons made this destination all the more appealing. And a Seattle’s Best Coffee outlet never hurt on a day that passes for fall in California.

I had just settled in with my Seattle’s Best decaf mocha latté, fully expecting to pass an uneventful afternoon with Robert McCammon’s book, Swan Song, an epic saga of the end of the world, and the struggle for dominance that follows in its wake. It’s dated, with an original publication date of 1987. And it certainly doesn’t hold a candle to Stephen King’s The Stand, to which it bears a striking resemblance. But it seemed appropriate when I picked it up last week in the wake of what happened on November 4.

Then I heard it. The melodic strains of the first Christmas carol of 2008.

It matters what the song is. I’ve never been a fan of Jingle Bell Rock, truth be told. And for a card-carrying member of the vast right wing conspiracy, Mannheim Steamroller has always left me cold. I know, I know. Rush Limbaugh will personally repossess my Golden EIB Mike lapel pin and cancel my lifetime pass to the Limbaugh Institute for Advanced Conservative Studies. Still, I’m not a fan of holiday music of that sort. No. You can keep all this newfangled, contemporary, new age holiday faire. Give me traditional Christmas music every time. And so it was today.

What coursed through the sound system at Borders Books was Linda Eder’s version of Silent Night. If ever there was a rendition that could bring tears to your eyes and a chill to your spine, this is it. Hearing it was like being washed clean as an overture to a six-week run at the end of the year when we take a break from our grim, ruthless struggle to claw our way to the top no matter what, and for a short season, we are actually kind to each another.

It’s an imperfect practice, I’ll admit. There have been so many boom years leading up to this one, that the Christmas season often morphs into just another event in the Day Planner, something we have to get through in the midst of closing the big sale before the close of the year. We have to make sure little Janie wins the holiday queen competition at the local middle school (even if she has to step over dead bodies to do it), and everybody, but everybody has to get the most expensive gadget, lest they think poorly of us. And we have to prepare for the frantic holiday travel season – either to hit the road, or dust off the convertible sofa – to gather with family most of us never see the rest of the year, and never give a second thought to between visits.

Ah, but there are moments . . . Some of us, in the midst of the holiday hysteria, get what it was all about.

    12 “And this will be a sign unto you: Ye shall find a Babe wrapped in swaddling clothes lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: 14 “Glory be to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” – Luke 2:12-14
Tell the truth now. How many of your first heard this passage on A Charlie Brown Christmas? You remember? When Charlie Brown cried out in his frustration, “Doesn’t anybody know what Christmas is all about?” And the lights went down and Linus stood alone on the stage at the end? How many of you choked up when you heard it? Come on now, admit it. I know my hand is up.

Happily, and hopefully, some of us get the message. Indeed, a lot of us get it. For six weeks at the end of the year, we are civil, considerate, kind and thoughtful. We find it easier to tolerate the intolerable, simpler to extend a gracious hand, effortless to render under Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s. We put into practice what Abraham Lincoln so aptly referred to as “the better angels of our nature.” For a short time, we put on Christ. Only for a season, it’s true. But better a season than not at all.

Linda Eder’s version of Silent Night conjured up all of that this afternoon. The Bible tells us Jesus wept. So did I today.

This season figures to be like the ones preceding it. Let’s face it, the perfect storm of wealth redistribution hasn’t broken on our shores. Not yet, at least. We’re standing firm at only 6% unemployment and most of our wallets are full, along with our bellies. But the people I see as I go wandering through my days, busy going nowhere, doing nothing and killing time, have a wariness to them that hasn’t been there in recent memory. They huddle closer, are more pensive, more cautious than in past years. They’ve cast their lot with a charismatic unknown quantity who will soon occupy the White House, and they know not what will come in his wake.

People are worried, concerned, uncertain. The dark, empty business outlets near the local mall bear silent testimony to what may be on the horizon. But even Rome was not destroyed in a day. The Stock Market may have crashed on October 29, 1929. But the nation did not wake up on October 30 to find a third of its workforce unemployed and people starving in the street. That took time.

All the same, Herbert Hoover’s response over the following two years was to raise taxes (as a budget balancing measure, an article of faith in his administration) and choke off international trade with the passage of the Smoot-Hawley tariff law. It only made a bad situation worse. Franklin Roosevelt threw money at the problem. That did little to alleviate the suffering of the populace and nothing to end the Depression. WWII accomplished that.

Barack Obama has proposed differing versions of the same thing. Raising taxes on the wealthy will certainly do nothing to assist lower income earners. As many issues as I have with Ayn Rand, I believe Atlas Shrugged is prescient in its account of what would happen if the innovation so desperately needed from our highest achievers is strangled in the cradle by confiscatory taxes and punitive government regulation. In that, Rand was right on the money. (No pun intended).

But we stand on the precipice of an unprecedented secularization of America. We witness a nation that is tired, scared, broke; a country unsure of itself and uncertain about the future. We attempt to build solidarity in the midst of an avalanche zone. We are a nation of followers. We want to be told what to do. In every revolution, there is one man on a white horse, one man with a vision. And we are a nation who, when we are hurt, tired and scared, will follow anyone who offers a way out, provided he is charismatic enough, speaks to us in comforting generalities, and assuages our pain. A generation ago, we blazed a trail and tamed a continent. Now we want to be provided for and taken care of.

Hence Barack Obama, a candidate who would have been incomprehensible if we had a remnant of a nation that understood life is hard, bad things often happen, and the way out may be long, painful and difficult. We once were a nation of faith, but that too seems to have gone on hiatus. Too bad, too. Faith in God is a fundamental requirement in these looming times of trouble if, as William Faulkner so eloquently remarked, “Man will not only endure, he will prevail.”

And so, we embark upon what might conceivably be the last Christmas season of its kind. Not because we lack the resources to make it a prosperous one, but that we can only surmise what the effects will be – both legislative and cultural – of the incoming administration that will soon ascend the heights of power.

For one thing, our wealth may be sufficiently redistributed in the coming years to render the type of Christmas celebration we’ve become used to all but impossible. That may be not altogether a bad thing. A little hardship often enhances appreciation for our largesse if and when it ever returns. But Americans are noted for being among the most generous people on the face of the planet. And if we are to continue in this practice presupposes that we will have the wherewithal to be generous with. This ability may be rendered academic if the policy of “each according to his ability to each according to his need” is put into full effect in the coming years.

The assault on religious expression – which has always been aimed at the heart of the Judeo-Christian foundation upon which the nation was built – could easily switch from the public sphere to the private arena. Long before Barack Obama appeared on the scene, one of our local pastors established a network of home churches. He did this on two accounts. He wanted to emulate the early Christian church which – up until the time of the Roman emperor Constantine – met in people’s homes. The second, less widely circulated reason for this network was that the time could come when we will be forced into the kind of clandestine worship of exactly the sort that may come about. And such observations have nothing to do with current political trends. They are right out of the Bible.

The radicalization of the judicial system could easily reach unprecedented levels. The globalization of the court system could easily occur under the auspices of what Yahoo! News describes as America’s first global president. You think the First, Second, Fourth and Fifth Amendments eroded under the conservative usurper, George W. Bush? Just wait. You ain’t seen nuthin’ yet.

On the positive side, church attendance is up since the economic collapse began this fall. Our own congregation at the foot of the local mountain, consisting of the local super achievers, has swelled to bursting most Sundays. The leadership has taken to reading the comment cards included in the church bulletin, and has concluded that certain excretory substances do, in fact, flow uphill. Hard times have come to the foot of the mountain. And the badge of business ownership does not preclude said owner from the winds of economic hardship that have come home to roost.

To their credit, the people have opened their wallets in the wake of unprecedented uncertainty. Would that they open their hearts as well. To the credit of the church leadership, the ensuing messages have become more mature, more substantive, more sober-minded. It could be the shift from our traditional happy-faced hamster dance to messages on the development of character, substance and faith marks a sea change more significant than the one about to occur in Washington.

Who knows? Maybe such developments mark the onset of a third great awakening. Perhaps we’ll come to the realization that hard times are part of life. We may come to appreciate the hard truth that throwing money at our economic woes only hastens the reckoning with financial as well as spiritual bankruptcy. Maybe then, we’ll realize that depressions with a “d” – as opposed to recessions with an “r” – are part of the hard edge of life in a free society. They are tangible events, with definable features. And then perhaps we’ll understand that the only way “out” is “through”.

It could be some of us will realize that in order to be free we must be active in the protection of the institutions that provide that freedom. Lincoln once said – “As a nation of free men, we will live forever, or die by suicide.” Maybe, just maybe, from the ashes of a once great nation, there will emerge a leader worthy of the legacy of its rich history. A leader who realizes that struggle, sacrifice and discipline are required – not just of the leadership of a nation, but of the citizenry as a whole – for a free nation to endure. And that subverting our birthright to a president who will take care of us and make us feel good is a betrayal of the inheritance we all share, and a return to a childlike dependence such a nation can ill-afford.

I plan to enjoy the Christmas season, as I always manage to do. This year, my season will be more threadbare than most, for many reasons. I’m irrelevant, obsolete, antiquated and without value. Other than that, everything is fine. There comes a time when the older generation realizes it has passed its prime. That time has finally come. We are being pushed off the stage, like it or not. And high time, too.

Still, that does not mean I cannot enjoy the season. I plan to indulge in as many culinary delights as come my way. I wouldn’t miss walking the local neighborhood, renowned for its spectacular Christmas lights for anything. Who knows, it might even not be too late to get Nutcracker tickets. I might even be civil to people I would never give the time of day to during the rest of the year. And then, there’s curling up with a good book at Borders Books listening to Linda Eder’s rendition of Silent Night. That’s definitely high on the agenda.

After all, it always makes me smile.

    6 “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ” – I Peter 1:6-7.
by Euro-American Scum
(contributing Team Member of Allegiance and Duty Betrayed)

Euro-American Scum can be reached at eascum@yahoo.com

28 comments:

John Cooper said...

Merry Christmas Mr. Scum. Linda Eder sings Silent Night

cw-patriot said...

E-A-S,

I envy you having heard Linda Eder's 'Silent Night' in a store this season.

Rick and I have been dejected of late over the fact that every store in which we have shopped over the past couple of weeks has been playing secular 'Christmas' songs. We have not heard one genuine carol.

We had lunch in a local fast food place the other day, and the only 'Christmas' decorations that were to be found in the entire place were a few scattered cardboard snowflakes in front of the cash registers and on the windows. It would appear that even candles and wreaths are too 'religious' anymore, for the politically correct. (Incidentally, we'll not be eating there anymore.)

I remember, as a child, driving down the street with my Dad at Christmastime and being almost overcome by the warmth and beauty of the decorations in the town square, outside the stores and on the lamp posts -- beautiful, life-like nativity scenes, lovely wreaths, glowing candles. Now Christmas decorations consist of cardboard cutouts, or blow-up representations of snowmen or Santa Claus.

As a nation, our celebration of the birth of our Lord and Savior has become a commercial venture, accompanied by half-hearted attempts to 're-invent' tradition.

I believe this may be your finest contribution to AADB. Your insights into the degradation of Christmas, and your assessment of where we stand as a (once) free republic, are austere ... as the bare and unvarnished truth so often is these days.

Thank you for the courage to describe what is so uncomfortable for many others to tackle ... and for your always realistic take on the insanity we once called 'leadership'.

God bless you and yours at Christmastime, and thank you, as always, for the privilege of including your writing here.

~ joanie

marcus aurelius said...

Your analysis of historical precedent and your prediction of future events are spot on.

Merry Christmas to you, and I hope your health matters improve in the New Year.

I'm looking forward to reading more of your writing in 2009. We're going to need rational minds to dissect the tragedies that lie ahead.

daveburkett said...

For one thing, our wealth may be sufficiently redistributed in the coming years to render the type of Christmas celebration we’ve become used to all but impossible. That may be not altogether a bad thing. A little hardship often enhances appreciation for our largesse if and when it ever returns. But Americans are noted for being among the most generous people on the face of the planet. And if we are to continue in this practice presupposes that we will have the wherewithal to be generous with. This ability may be rendered academic if the policy of “each according to his ability to each according to his need” is put into full effect in the coming years.

It looks like that's going to happen.

6 “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ” – I Peter 1:6-7

This one's a sure thing!

Thank you for the honest evaluation, and the inspiring words.

robmaroni said...

It could be the shift from our traditional happy-faced hamster dance to messages on the development of character, substance and faith marks a sea change more significant than the one about to occur in Washington.

This is an accurate description of what seems to be happening in churches across the country. Even though it's a shame that it took the election of a charlatan to accomplish it, it's a welcome and much needed change in direction.

Anonymous said...

Great work! If people like you continue to sound the alarm, maybe there's some hope that the idiots will wake up. Even if they don't, you did your duty.

Rositta said...

That was an amazing post. You've written what I think but can't put into words. It is time that Christmas became more than just the latest gadgets and toys and more spiritual. We will survive this, humans are very resilient...ciao

euro-american scum said...

cw-patriot said . . .

Thank you for the courage to describe what is so uncomfortable for many others to tackle ... and for your always realistic take on the insanity we once called 'leadership'.


What can I say to that, Joanie? I've got the gift for encapsulating heart-rending, depressing expressions of angst.

Just lucky, I guess. -:)

Anonymous said...

"The radicalization of the judicial system could easily reach unprecedented levels. The globalization of the court system could easily occur under the auspices of what Yahoo! News describes as America’s first global president. You think the First, Second, Fourth and Fifth Amendments eroded under the conservative usurper, George W. Bush? Just wait. You ain’t seen nuthin’ yet."

It used to be in this country that if you were wronged your aveune of last resort was to take someone (including the federal government) to court. We'll soon be losing our last resort and even the courts will be stacked against us. Talk about an uneasy feeling.

Brad Zimmerman said...

You describe our "situation" very well. I think the real message in all of what is happening is that we need a major "earthquake" to shake up our government, our economy and our society, if we're going to survive as a free country.

The government is doing everything it can to escape that quake, but they're only postponing it and probably making it worse.

I hope to be around, and free, when the dust settles.

Anonymous said...

Maranatha!

James said...

To hear real Christmas music tune in to BBN radio or BBN on the internet starting Dec.1. Slowly Christ has been removed from Christmas. I went in to Lowes, Home Depot and Walmart looking for Christ related Christmas decorations. Each store had maybe 3 or 4 items out of the hundreds. I started last year and continuing this year to build a large outdoor manger seen. No reindeer, trains, popsicles, snowmen etc. I know to some it might be a little thing, but hey, that's me.

cw-patriot said...

Kudos to you, James, for seeking to keep the 'Christ' in your Christmas!

I have observed the very same sad deterioration, in 'Christmas music', 'Christmas decorations', and the 'Christmas spirit' -- the genuineness of all three becoming diluted more with each passing year.

It is extremely rare these days to hear real Christmas carols (Silent Night, Joy to the World, God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen ... ) played in public places. As it has become equally rare to see evidence of the celebration of Christ's birth in decorative public/private displays.

Rick and I have gone so far as to favor shopping in stores, or eating in restaurants, that focus on real Christmas music and decor. (We even found a local restaurant just last week that played nothing but beautiful, meaningful carols. I complimented the manager, asked him for the name of the CD and ordered it on amazon.com.) :) We intend to frequent that restaurant much more often now, as a result.

When you complete your nativity, would love to have you post a pic. :)

~ joanie

calbrindisi said...

Wow! Painful to read. But necessary to understand.

Thank you.

kathymlynczak said...

Your comments about what the celebration of Christmas has become, and about what our country has become, are all dead on.

I look forward to reading more of your writing. You never pull any punches.

Merry Christmas, Euro American Scum!

First_Salute said...

Bloomberg this morning ...

"U.S. Treasury and Federal Reserve will unveil as soon as today a lending program to shore up the consumer-finance market..."

"The Treasury and the Fed will help fund new loans packaged into securities for sale to investors..."

Yes, you guessed it. The GUBMINT will create CDO's for what is broke, and expects to sell them.

The investor expects to receive interest payments.

The GUBMINT theory is that what is now broke, the credit card business, will make those payments to the investors; but the GUBMINT will back the payments --- this means the GUBMINT will meet the obligations to make the interest payments to investors.

So, here is the deal:

In exchange for your giving the GUBMINT some of your "bread," the GUBMINT claims that it will guarantee interest payments to you, Mr./Mrs. Investor.

Basically, this is the creation of a kind of U.S. bond, that is actually backed by a wish, that when times are good, the credit card business will meet the interest payments, but when times are bad, the GUBMINT will meet the payments.

When times are good, and your U.S. Credit Card Bond comes due, you might see your final interest income payment plus the return of principal.

When times are bad, and your U.S. Credit Card Bond comes due, you will see your final interest income payment, but you will probably be handed a Promise to Pay You The Principal ... Note, from the GUBMINT.

This means, that the risk for these U.S. Credit Card Bonds will be higher, and the interest payments will be higher, because the investor is willing to take on the chances of consumers' making their credit card payments for their purchases.

Like I said, too funny. Who in their right mind, would risk the loss of their principal, into the hands of people who are swamped by tantalizing credit cards ... which causes personal debts that *when times were good, people could not pay?*

This GUBMINT GAMBIT is the CDO-MENTALITY approach to solving a cash flow problem on Wall St.

It's really kind of incredible.

You, as an investor, might like this opportunity, if only the GUBMINT actually comes through on its promise to pay.

You, give up some of your money, in exchange for steady payments from the GUBMINT.

I'm no expert on this, but it really sounds like this GUBMINT SOLUTION is a fixed income ANNUITY.

Consumers back it in good times, and the GUBMINT claims that it will back this CDO in bad times.

It's amazing. The GUBMINT plan to create a U.S. *INDUSTRY SECTOR* Bond for each industrial sector that it nationalizes.

My point is, this replaces the "work" of Wall St., for these industrial sectors.

These are National Corporate Bonds, replacing "corporate America" bonds.

There cannot be any big future for our stock market, when the value of its stocks and bonds are so up-ended by GUBMINT factors in the valuation equations for stocks and bonds.

A stock market investor, formerly took a risk of investing on the prospects of the security instrument's company's industrious-outlook.

Now, the GUBMINT says, there will be consumption, regardless of industrial output.

That is, there are now on Wall St., two basic classes of investment instruments:

- private sector
- GUBMINT

GUBMINT has taken over the financial industry sector.

GUBMINT is on the verge of taking over the transporation sector.

At that moment, the actual stock and bond market will be less than half of what it was a year ago. Awfully risky to own / buy stocks and "corporate America" bonds until the DJIA falls to 5,000.

I expect the DJIA to get down into the 3,000's

No, I'm not kidding.

Everything is riding on the GUBMINT stepping up to pay for:

- failed home mortgages
- failed credit card payments
- failed transporation industry

... which all failed because phony money that was un-earned, chased up the prices of items in all three categories beyond where Wall St. gimmicks could keep the chase going.

Now, GUBMINT claims that it can renew the chase, using its facsimile "corporate" bonds.

Capitalism will exist only in areas not-yet-nationalized.

Envision that, if you will, and there will be the actual stock market, much less in value than it is now.

You can make money in it, then, but not now, and not until it becomes more clear, as to what industrious-ness it represents, and what its value is.

That probably will not happen for a couple years.

First_Salute
(DISCLAIMER - you know what you are doing and I do not, so don't take my word for anything! Don't blame me for your money and banking and investing decisions.)

cw-patriot said...

First_Salute,

Very well said, as always.

The 'good times' (at least financial ones) are a long long way off, I am afraid, if ever.

As for you theory that the Dow will fall to 3000 ... no, I don't think you're kidding. I actually quite agree. We'll be on a roller coaster ride until it hits that terrible point, but hit it it will.

Which is precisely why I invested most of our market money in three market vehicles whose share prices correspond to twice the inverse of the S&P 500/Dow/Nasdaq. They're doing quite well (but, of course would have done significantly better had I wised up much sooner). :)

The socialism that is resulting/will result from your accurate scenario will affect us exactly as you have described, but it's the social/cultural aspect of the transformation that will bring to tears those of us who value freedom and human initiative.

Thank you, as always, for your insightful and eloquent contribution, dear friend!

~ joanie

Anonymous said...

We Say Merry Christmas!

Robert Masterson said...

Christmas-friendly retailers — prominent acknowledgment of Christmas

Cabela's
Crate&Barrel
Dillard's
Eddie Bauer
JCPenney
Kohl's
L.L.Bean
Lands' End
Linens 'n Things
Lowe's
Macy's
Neiman Marcus
Nordstrom
Pier 1 Imports
Sears
The Home Depot
Target
Toys R Us
Wal-Mart

Christmas-negligent retailers — marginalized use of Christmas

Barnes & Noble
Bed, Bath & Beyond
Best Buy
Borders
Circuit City
Dick's Sporting Goods
GAP
KB Toys
Kmart

Christmas-offensive retailers — apparent abandonment of Christmas

American Eagle
Banana Republic
Bloomingdale's
Lane Bryant
Old Navy

Courtesy of Citizen Link and Focus on the Family

LouBarakos said...

We are a nation of followers. We want to be told what to do. In every revolution, there is one man on a white horse, one man with a vision. And we are a nation who, when we are hurt, tired and scared, will follow anyone who offers a way out, provided he is charismatic enough, speaks to us in comforting generalities, and assuages our pain. A generation ago, we blazed a trail and tamed a continent. Now we want to be provided for and taken care of.


America's eugoly, perfectly written, sad to say.

ralph ebersole said...

Today's terrorist attacks in India surely bring home the fact that we're going to have an Obama instead of a McCain dealing with this violence from now on. I wasn't a big McCain fan, but I sure as hell would rather he were sitting in the White House when the next one occurs on American soil.

First_Salute said...

Something is up, maybe ...

We are monitoring SPAM e-mails directed toward a client's computers, received once every 21 minutes, from a computer in Washington, DC, that is on a node operated by PCCW Global, a subsidiary of China Netcom.

The e-mails have the exact same Subject: but the last characters of the Subject: are 10 - 12 numbers and a few letters. It appears to be a code. That is, the only significant variable in each e-mail, is this last "set" of alphanumeric characters of the Subject: header line reconstituted ASCII or something?).

Here is a sample of these, each line is the "set" from an incoming e-mail of today:

423241z-423r
25178z-25r
303682z-303r
481750z-481r
200439z-200r
303889z-303r
160237z-160r
8222z-8r
346894z-346r
42171z-42r
124906z-124r
185890z-185r
979607z-979r
138571z-138r
211569z-211r
600473z-600r
52745z-52r
263619z-263r
582518z-582r
589572z-589r
276163z-276r
26695z-266r
838630z-838r
145595z-145r
99672z-99r
466224z-466r
709646z-709r
787144z-787r
979283z-979r
569143z-569r
926864z-926r
968642z-968r
538383z-538r
906337z-906r
810195z-810r
165823z-165r
725297z-725r
682431z-682r
372661z-372r
591383z-591r
59195z-59r
552813z-552r
130392z-130r
849951z-849r
777441z-777r

We have never seen this kind of consistency in SPAM. Exactly every 21 minutes, the client receives an e-mail with characters such as the above, as the last "set" of characters in the Subject: line.

This, along with another directed stream of e-mails, coming from servers in the former Soviet Union ... clearly turned on for *one time only* run, then off ... has been a puzzle.

Usually, SPAM is randomly generated. You might see the same info, but it comes from different machines and not like clockwork.

Usually, a certain amount of creativity is included in the writing of SPAM, so that no two are exactly alike.

Most SPAM is obsessed with language, in an attempt to either market some idea or bug your system administrators' attempts to filter out the SPAM.

The above e-mails are a reverse of that; they are repetitive (except for the "code" - above example) and clearly meant to be easily captured and processed --- run them thru a seive, and what comes out, is the "code" you see.

So ... I thought I would make a record of it ... also "just in case."

First_Salute

Mary Norelli said...

You're absolutely right Scum. There's something very different about this Christmas. There's a kind of fear in the air, fear of the unknown. I've been around a long time and I've never seen anything like it.

I agree with you that this may be the "last Christmas" that seems like all the others we've known. We live in a very dangerous world and we don't have leaders to rely on to keep us safe anymore.

You do good work.

First_Salute said...

We continue to see the reception of the specific code, mentioned above (on 11/26/08). Including the Soviet blips.

Luis said...

On the issue of a "secular Christmas", Britain has for some time been a leader in taking the "Christ" out of Christmas.

One of the most infamous examples was when Birmingham (Britain's second city) City Council "rebanded" Christmas as "Winterval".

This was an attempt to be "inclusive". Birmingham is a very ethnically mixed area with large numbers of people with Pakistani, Indian and Bangladeshi origins. Therefore, so went the "logic", the City Council should not promote Christmas over other festivals such as the muslim Eid or Hindu Diwali. Therefore they created a meaningless festival that meant nothing to anyone.

This inclusive approach has been the hallmark of British "multiculturism", the officially preferred method of responding to Britain's large scale immigration since the 1950s. The result has been separate and alienated communities. It is perhaps no surprise that the London bombs that killed over 50 in 2005 and several other terrorist plots in Britain have involved British born terrorists. The secularisation of a previously Christian nation has not meant inclusiveness but separate communities who owe their allegiances elsewhere and in extreme cases are quite prepared to use violence against the country of their birth and the country of their passport.

Euro-American Scum said...

Brad Zimmerman said...

I think the real message in all of what is happening is that we need a major "earthquake" to shake up our government, our economy and our society, if we're going to survive as a free country.


And I think that earthquake is well underway. Old Chinese proverb say "Be careful what you wish for . . . You may get it."

euro-american scum said...

cw-patriot said . . .

The 'good times' (at least financial ones) are a long long way off, I am afraid, if ever.


I had a conversation with a good friend who lives in Las Vegas (actually Henderson) and sells real estate in that ocmmunity.

She said we've entered a phase of live which will soon to be considered the "new normal." So don't expect things to change anytime soon.

euro-american scum said...

ralph ebersole said...

Today's terrorist attacks in India surely bring home the fact that we're going to have an Obama instead of a McCain dealing with this violence from now on.


Could be a curtain-raiser on the next wave of global terrorism -- including domestic attacks -- considering that regime change in Washington is soon to be upon us.