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Guest Post: Bread, Circuses, Spending Cuts, Unicorns And The Appearance Of Wealth

Tyler Durden's picture


Submitted by Jim Quinn of The Burning Platform

Bread, Circuses, Spending Cuts, Unicorns And The Appearance Of Wealth

“Already long ago, from when we sold our vote to no man, the People have abdicated our duties; for the People who once upon a time handed out military command, high civil office, legions — everything, now restrains itself and anxiously hopes for just two things: bread and circuses” - Juvenal – 100 A.D.



Juvenal makes reference to the Roman practice of providing free wheat to Roman citizens as well as costly circus games and other forms of entertainment as a means of gaining political power through populism. Roman politicians devised a plan in 140 B.C. to win the votes of the poor: giving out cheap food and entertainment, “bread and circuses”. The Roman politicians realized this would be the most effective way to rise to power and stay in power.

With the revolting display of political theater in the last few weeks, I couldn’t help but consider the parallels between the Roman Empire and the American Empire. The entire debt ceiling farce was a circus on an epic scale – The Greatest Show on Earth. The American public was treated to high wire acts of near debt experiences, Senators putting their heads into the mouths of lions, and hundreds of clowns riding tiny bikes with squeaking horns. In the end, American politicians did what they do best - pretended to solve a spending problem without cutting spending. Only in America could politicians put the country on course to increase its national debt from $14.5 trillion to $23 trillion by 2021 and declare they are cutting spending. For those that need to visualize the lies of politicians, take a gander at this chart and try to find the cuts in spending.

You have a better chance of finding a unicorn in your backyard than finding actual cuts in spending from the corrupt clowns inhabiting the halls of Congress. If you are driving your car towards a brick wall at 120 mph and you slow down to 118 mph, the ultimate result will be the same. The only way to avoid disaster is to jam on the brakes. But, the liberal and conservative politicians are both enjoying the ride fueled by millions in corporate, union, Wall Street and a thousand other special interest payoffs.  

The Roman authorities provided free wheat to the peasants as a superficial means of appeasing the masses and distracting them from the fact that public policy and public service had failed, as corruption and decadence engulfed those in control of government. Free bread, chariot races, and feeding Christians to lions kept the small-minded peasants satiated and ignorant of their civic duty. Today, the authorities don’t hand out bread they hand out EBT cards to 45.5 million Americans, or 14.6% of the entire population.

There are almost 5 million Americans on welfare. There are 50 million Americans on Medicaid. There are 8 million Americans receiving unemployment compensation. There are 10.5 million Americans on Social Security disability. This is the symbolic bread being provided to the masses to keep them tranquilized, pliable, satisfied and ignorant of their civic duty. The government has renamed bread as “social benefits” and now distributes $2.3 trillion of bread per year to the ”needy”. This constitutes 15% of the country’s GDP and will continue to grow for decades or until the American Empire collapses.

Aldous Huxley in his 1958 assessment of his 1931 novel Brave New World - Brave New World Revisited said that “any bird that has learned how to grub up a good living without being compelled to use its wings will soon renounce the privilege of flight and remain forever grounded. If the bread is supplied regularly and copiously three times a day, many of them will be perfectly content to live by bread alone – or at least by bread and circuses alone. ‘In the end,’ says the Grand Inquisitor in Dostoevsky’s parable, ‘in the end they will lay their freedom at your feet and say to us, make us your slaves, but feed us.” Bread is not the opiate of the masses, it is the cyanide. Huxley saw the Welfare state arising before it really got kick started in the late 1960s. By trying to support the less fortunate by transferring trillions to them, with no strings attached, we have insured the ultimate bankruptcy of our country. Americans have willingly sacrificed liberty, freedom and civic responsibility for safety, security and bread.

Huxley hadn’t lost all hope. He seems to have foreseen the rise of the Tea Party and the coming revolution, led by the youth of this country who are being left with the bill for the bread and circuses promised by myopic politicians over the last four decades:

“When things go badly, and the rations are reduced, the grounded do-dos will clamor again for their wings… The young people who now think so poorly of democracy may grow up to be fighters for freedom. The cry of ‘Give me television and hamburgers, but don’t bother me with the responsibilities of liberty,’ may give place, under altered circumstances to the cry of Give me liberty or give me death.”

I hope Huxley is right. The welfare state is bankrupt. The rations are going to be cut. There is no choice. The money is gone. The jobs are gone. The do-do’s that haven’t flown in years are unlikely to clamor for their wings. They are already clamoring when even the potential of cuts in their bird feed are mentioned. The Millenial generation is our last great hope to reverse our decline. They have not become addicted to “social benefits” yet. Their parents and grandparents are handing them an un-payable bill as they graduate college with no jobs. A generational war is in the offing. I for one will side with the youth against the Boomers. The future of the country depends upon the outcome of this war.

Striking Similarities to Rome

“There are striking similarities between America’s current situation and the factors that brought down Rome, including declining moral values and political civility at home, an over-confident and over-extended military in foreign lands and fiscal irresponsibility by the central government”. -David Walker


David Walker, the former head of the GAO from 1998 until 2008, compared the U.S. Empire to the Roman Empire in August 2007. He has been warning the country about our unsustainable fiscal path for over a decade.

  • Since August 2007 the National Debt has increased from $8.9 trillion to $14.6 trillion, a 64% increase in four years.
  • We’ve increased our cumulative expenditure on our wars of choice in the Middle East to $1.3 trillion since 2001.
  • Our annual military spending rose from $653 billion in 2007 to the current $966 billion, a 48% increase in four years.
  • Federal government transfers for Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Unemployment, Veterans, Food Stamps, and Welfare increased from $1.7 trillion in 2007 to the current level of $2.3 trillion, a 35% increase in four years.

It goes without saying that Mr. Walker’s advice was not heeded. And regarding declining moral values and political civility, I would point you to the fine examples of morality displayed by Wall Street since 2007 along with the display of civility seen in Washington DC over the last few weeks. The striking similarities that David Walker acknowledged are in full bloom for the world to see.

English historian Edward Gibbon wrote his masterpiece The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire in 1776, ironically in the year the American Empire was born. He detailed the societal collapse encompassing both the gradual disintegration of the political, economic, military, and other social institutions of Rome and the barbarian invasions that were its final doom in Western Europe. Gibbon concluded there were five marks of the Roman decaying culture:

  1. Concern with displaying affluence instead of building wealth.
  2. Obsession with sex and perversions of sex.
  3. Art becomes freakish and sensationalistic instead of creative and original.
  4. Widening disparity between very rich and very poor.
  5. Increased demand to live off the state

Gibbon’s analysis captured the essence of what happens to all empires. It subsequently happened to the Dutch, Spanish and British empires and has been eating away at the greatest empire of all over the last several decades. Larry Elliot, writer for the UK Guardian, recently described the rot that has destroyed every empire in history:

“The experience of both Rome and Britain suggests that it is hard to stop the rot once it has set in, so here are the a few of the warning signs of trouble ahead: military overstretch, a widening gulf between rich and poor, a hollowed-out economy, citizens using debt to live beyond their means, and once-effective policies no longer working. The high levels of violent crime, epidemic of obesity, addiction to pornography and excessive use of energy may be telling us something: the US is in an advanced state of cultural decadence.

Empires decline for many different reasons but certain factors recur. There is an initial reluctance to admit that there is much to fret about, and there is the arrival of a challenger (or several challengers) to the settled international order. In Spain’s case, the rival was Britain. In Britain’s case, it was America. In America’s case, the threat comes from China.”

For the last forty years America has shifted from a society that created goods into a society that created debt. Displays of affluence like McMansions, Mercedes, BMWs, Rolexes, summer mansions in the Hamptons, designer clothes, granite and stainless steel kitchens, and 85 inch HDTVs, all purchased with debt provided like candy by the Wall Street banks and their sugar daddy – the Federal Reserve, have trumped true wealth building. The result is a nation with $52.6 trillion of debt outstanding, or 350% of GDP. The basic rule for maintaining a healthy economic system requires the population to spend less than they earn and save the difference. The savings can then be invested in domestic companies, plants and equipment which keep the country growing. Americans bought into the lie that purchasing cheap foreign goods with cheap credit was as valid as actually building wealth. The national savings rate, which exceeded 10% in the 1970s and early 1980s, dropped to less than 1% by 2005. Why save when you could whip out one of your 13 credit cards.

America’s obsession with sex and perversion of sex makes Caligula look like a Boy Scout. There are 4.2 million pornographic websites serving 72 million visitors per month and generating $5 billion of revenue for these fine capitalists. More than 40% of internet users view porn. What passes for art today is a crucifix in the artist’s urine. The true art of the American empire consists of reality TV shows like Jersey Shore and Housewives of NY, OC, NJ, Miami, and Atlanta. America has taken shallow, mindless, and superficial to an empire crushing low.

The disparity in wealth between the super rich and the working class has never been greater. The working middle class that built this country has been systematically destroyed as the super rich have used inflation and debt to lure them into servitude, while the unproductive parasites have learned it is easier to feed off their middle class host than work for a living. It is clear to anyone, except a Republican ideologue, that when the top 10% richest Americans abscond with 50% of the income in the nation through their control of politicians, Wall Street and the few mega-corporations that set the economic agenda, a convulsive change is necessary. It is not a coincidence  the heyday of the American Empire was from 1946 until 1971 when the working middle class was able to advance their station in life through education, hard work and a level playing field.

The playing field got tilted against the working middle class in the late 1960?s with LBJ’s Great Society welfare state and got turned upside down in 1971 when Nixon closed the gold window and allowed bankers and politicians unfettered access to money printing with no immediate consequences. The result has been a slow steady descent into hell as politicians have made $100 trillion of unfunded promises of bread to the masses and bankers have gorged themselves with riches from peddling debt to the same masses, so they could enjoy the circuses. We are now left with the top 1% hoarding 33.8% of the wealth and the top 10% clinging to 71.5% of the wealth in the country. The bottom feeders are thrown scraps of bread in the form of food stamps, welfare, disability payments, and unemployment compensation. They have grown dependent and no longer participate in productive society. With more than 50% of adults paying no income tax, they vote for politicians that promise to not “cut” their social benefits.  


When you see your leaders take actions that clearly are not in the long term best interests of the American people, you need to ask why. Since September 2008 your leaders have funneled trillions of dollars to the Wall Street bankers that nearly destroyed the worldwide economic system. They have funneled billions into the coffers of the mega-corporations that outsourced your jobs to Asia. They ramped up their wars in the Middle East to reward their friends in the military industrial complex. And lastly, they handed out a few hundred billion more to the masses to keep them from rioting in the streets.

We know for a fact QE2 was designed to prop up the stock market because Ben Bernanke told us so. And it worked. From the day he announced he was going to do it at the annual meeting of the ruling moneyed classes at Jackson Hole until it ended on July 1, 2011, the market went up 30%. The average American dealt with the 30% to 50% increases in food and energy costs, while the richest 1% partied like it was 1999. Considering they own 50.9% of all the stocks in the country, the last couple years of free money and stock appreciation created by the Federal Reserve have been a windfall for the privileged moneyed class. The bottom 50% who own 0.5% of the stocks in the country haven’t fared so well. 

When you watch the talking heads and contemptible pundits on Fox, CNBC, MSNBC, CNN and the other mainstream corporate media spinning our economic situation in a positive way, remember that every person you are listening to is a member of the top 1% richest Americans. They have large portfolios of stocks and will not let reality or truth interfere with their ambitions of further wealth and power. This country is controlled by the few for the benefit of the few at the expense of the many. Less than ten banks control more than 50% of deposits and 75% of the lending in the country. One private banking organization – the Federal Reserve – controls the currency of the country. A handful of mega-corporations control the commerce of the country. Less than ten arms dealers dictate the war spending in the country. A few media conglomerates control the message fed to the masses. A few hundred corrupt politicians pay off their corporate and banking masters with laws, tax breaks, and pork. These people make up the ruling class of America.

As their messages of “efficiency” and “job creation” have proven to be lies, the financialization of America by the ruling class is almost complete. Real earnings for real people are 10% lower than they were in 1972. They have transformed a productive society based on saving and investment into a hollowed out shell of a society based on financial manipulation and debt. The endgame approaches.

The moneyed interests have gone too far. The debts are too large. The burden placed on the middle class is too great. The Federal Reserve has proven to be the lackeys of the Wall Street fat cats and the slithering political class in Washington DC. QE2 was a miserable failure. The American middle class is angry. Their anger could lash out in many possible directions. Their benefits will be cut. Their home values will fall. Their 401ks will be cut in half. Their standard of living will fall. Will they accept this fate without a fight? I doubt it.

Democracy Never Lasts Long 

The decline of the American Empire may be a surprise to those who cling to the laughable American Exceptionalism dogma, but every previous empire in history has declined. The Dutch Empire lasted for just over a century. The Spanish Empire survived for just over two centuries. The British Empire reigned for just over three centuries. And the Great Roman Empire ruled for almost five centuries.

The American Empire has been expanding for over 220 years, but based on all indications has peaked. Were we destined to implode as all previous democracies have done, as described by Greek historian Polybius?

“Monarchy first changes into its vicious allied form, tyranny; and next, the abolishment of both gives birth to aristocracy. Aristocracy by its very nature degenerates into oligarchy; and when the commons inflamed by anger take vengeance on this government for its unjust rule, democracy comes into being; and in due course the licence and lawlessness of this form of government produces mob-rule to complete the series.” -The Histories 6.4.7-13

As a democracy this country was supposed to be governed by the people, for the people. We were supposed to have an equal say in how we were governed and participation in adopting the laws of the land. Over time civic duty was outsourced to politicians that promised the masses safety and security at the expense of liberty and responsibility. The general population has grown accustom to the bread and circuses provided by their “protectors”. The fledgling democracy has degenerated into a corporate fascist oligopoly that benefits the few in control. Recent events prove beyond a shadow of doubt the privileged few are losing control of the situation. A worldwide upheaval is brewing as the toxic debt is strangling the economic systems of the world. Confidence in this ponzi finance system is waning. The American population is beginning to realize their fatal mistake in trusting bankers and politicians to do what was right for the country.

Polybius believed that democracies always killed themselves:

“And hence when by their foolish thirst for reputation they have created among the masses an appetite for gifts and the habit of receiving them, democracy in its turn is abolished and changes into a rule of force and violence. For the people, having grown accustomed to feed at the expense of others and to depend for their livelihood on the property of others, as soon as they find a leader who is enterprising but is excluded from the houses of office by his penury, institute the rule of violence; and now uniting their forces massacre, banish, and plunder, until they degenerate again into perfect savages and find once more a master and monarch.” - The Histories 6.9.7-9

The average American does not understand what is swirling around them. They have a sense of unease, but they are still receiving their government issued bread and their 52 inch TV is providing 24 hours of circuses. The monetary system upon which that bread and those circuses are based is collapsing as we speak. Ernest Hemingway captures what is happening to the American Empire in one brief quote from his novel The Sun Also Rises:

“How did you go bankrupt?” “Two ways, gradually and then suddenly”

As the political theater of the absurd played out last week in Washington DC, it became clear to me the ruling class has no intention of changing our path. Politicians will keep spending and central bankers will keep printing more money. There are people like David Walker that will continue to sound the alarm:

“We are less than three years away from where Greece had its debt crisis as to where they were from debt to GDP. With the recent increase in the debt ceiling and continued higher budget deficits at the federal level, the US is on course for its own crisis. We are not exempt from a debt crisis. We’re never going to default, because we can print money. At the same point in time, we have serious interest rate risk, we have serious currency risk, we have serious inflation risk over time. If it happens, it will be sudden and it will be very painful.”

But, it appears we are destined to commit suicide as a nation. I doubt the American Empire will linger on for centuries. The world moves rapidly. The Vandals (Goldman Sachs) and the Huns (JP Morgan) are at the gates. The final battle is underway – the battle for the soul of America. When the existing social structure is swept away by the tsunami of un-payable debt, who and what will replace it? Will the American people turn to someone that promises them liberty and freedom with no promises of bread and circuses? Or will they turn to a strong demagogue that promises them more safety and more security?

What do you think?

“Democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts and murders itself. There was never a democracy that did not commit suicide.”  – John Adams, Letter, April 15, 1814

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Fri, 08/05/2011 - 16:04 | 1528087 caerus
caerus's picture

panem et circenses...bitchez!

Fri, 08/05/2011 - 16:35 | 1528177 Rodent Freikorps
Rodent Freikorps's picture

Tortillas y corridas de toros, putas.

Fri, 08/05/2011 - 20:23 | 1528639 pops
pops's picture

The "overness" was driven home last night when I witnessed a lady and her boy toy buy frozen pizzas, Fritos and Dr. Pepper with a foodstamp card, load it all into a new Cadillac and set sail.

Burn it down, beeyotches!  All of it.

Fri, 08/05/2011 - 21:03 | 1528843 IQ 101
IQ 101's picture

I was working across from the welfare office in Excramento, California once upon a time,

you want to see some fine cars! go their.

I of course was driving a 12 year old scuzbox as I only work for a living and am not a member of CLUB FREE SHIT, I can not join as i'm much too pale in color, and dont care much for the company,so it is cool with me.

Sat, 08/06/2011 - 12:49 | 1530753 Aragorn
Aragorn's picture


Fri, 08/05/2011 - 16:05 | 1528090 Doyle Hargraves
Doyle Hargraves's picture

The country is already zombified, Bitchez! Its all dead and like most zombies they just do not know it yet.

Fri, 08/05/2011 - 16:18 | 1528123 I Got Worms
I Got Worms's picture

"Crossing the Rubicon" can serve as an antidote to zombieness.

Fri, 08/05/2011 - 16:56 | 1528181 Doyle Hargraves
Doyle Hargraves's picture

Yeah if you can get the masses to cross and get their EBT cards and 52 inch LCD remotes to go away, EDIT: better yet persuade them that the gubmint dole is akin to living in a zoo cage rather than being free to do as one wishes. I am all for it, unfortunately there will be only one shot at it and with bread and circuses the dominate force, I don't see a willingness of the masses to leave their comfort zones and cross.

Fri, 08/05/2011 - 16:38 | 1528185 Rodent Freikorps
Rodent Freikorps's picture

iacta alea est

Fri, 08/05/2011 - 17:11 | 1528231 Doyle Hargraves
Doyle Hargraves's picture

Yes it has been cast and there is an 1861 moment fast approaching. The question is will Caesar win out, or will it be a slaughter?!

Fri, 08/05/2011 - 21:29 | 1528993 Mike in GA
Mike in GA's picture

Both. :(

Fri, 08/05/2011 - 23:19 | 1529402 Doyle Hargraves
Doyle Hargraves's picture

You are probably right if it is any consolation I soon will be amongst the other Georgians and will do my part whatever it is.

Fri, 08/05/2011 - 16:41 | 1528195 caerus
caerus's picture

mmmm...golden parabola...

Fri, 08/05/2011 - 16:08 | 1528100 Gubbmint Cheese
Gubbmint Cheese's picture

S&P closed green? SPY's were off $0.18...

wtf? my quotes are still runnin...


Fri, 08/05/2011 - 16:09 | 1528103 sellstop
sellstop's picture

"All of human unhappiness comes from one single thing. Not knowing how to remain at rest in a room."

Blaise Pascal

Our modern economy could cloth and feed many more than there is, if only they would not require to be entertained while they live out their lives.

C'est la vie,


Sat, 08/06/2011 - 04:24 | 1529885 smore
smore's picture

"All of human unhappiness comes from one single thing. Not knowing how to remain at rest in a room."

One of my favorite quotes.  The internet circus is quickly making that acheivable and enjoyable for the masses.  Rejoice, universal happiness is at hand!


Fri, 08/05/2011 - 16:07 | 1528106 jjsilver
jjsilver's picture

All roads lead to the federal reserve and the crown!

Fri, 08/05/2011 - 16:39 | 1528187 RemiG2010
RemiG2010's picture

All roads lead to ... history doesn't repeat itself, but it does rhyme and it seems we're on a right path of repeating the same mistakes as in the first half of last century.

And I would be far from calling it fall of Roman Empire but Peak Civilization.

Lastly, 'Crossing the Rubicon' by M. Ruppert a very good book. I read it few years ago. A must read.



Fri, 08/05/2011 - 17:12 | 1528278 escargot
escargot's picture

I read 'Crossing the Rubicon' just last week, coincidentally.  Ruppert is definitely not short on information.  Definitely some eye-opening stuff there.

Fri, 08/05/2011 - 16:41 | 1528196 Rodent Freikorps
Rodent Freikorps's picture

Omnes viae Romam ducunt

Fri, 08/05/2011 - 16:11 | 1528110 Internet Tough Guy
Internet Tough Guy's picture

The lights are growing dim Otto. I know a life of crime has led me to this sorry fate, and yet, I blame society. Society made me what I am.

Fri, 08/05/2011 - 16:44 | 1528208 Rodent Freikorps
Rodent Freikorps's picture

Otto: That's bullshit. You're a white suburban punk just like me.


Fri, 08/05/2011 - 17:26 | 1528317 Dadburnitpa
Dadburnitpa's picture

Repo man.  Love it.

Fri, 08/05/2011 - 19:28 | 1528502 Bicycle Repairman
Bicycle Repairman's picture

"Wherever you go, there you are."

Fri, 08/05/2011 - 16:12 | 1528111 Jeronimo
Jeronimo's picture

Although elegantly written and timely, it is what we know. What we don't know is how to turn it around or when will it end and be turned around.  

Where do we go from here; that is the question of the day and seemingly the answer continues to elude until some future day.

Thanks, none the less.

Fri, 08/05/2011 - 19:44 | 1528548 o2sd
o2sd's picture

Unfortunately, your country is already past the point of no return.

If you have fungible assets, liquidate them, and move to a country that you haven't bombed yet. It will be difficult to find one, but not impossible.

Wait it out.


Sat, 08/06/2011 - 09:39 | 1530151 NumNutt
NumNutt's picture

Hey there is an idea! Maybe I could get a mowhawk hair cut, and relocate to Austrailia. My wife could drive the suburban with the kids in the back while I jump onto unsuspecting big rigs to steal gas. MAD MAX Bitches!!!!!

Fri, 08/05/2011 - 16:13 | 1528113 Misean
Misean's picture



Fri, 08/05/2011 - 16:14 | 1528114 I Got Worms
I Got Worms's picture

Bread and Circus = Food Stamps and Football

Fri, 08/05/2011 - 16:17 | 1528115 SwingForce
SwingForce's picture

Food Stamps won't buy alcohol, it will buy Pringles and Doritos. That's not the problem, as a stimulus program FOOD STAMPS get 100% SPENT, nothing is hoarded, it goes into the economy immediately without delay. QE3- Bottoms up!

Fri, 08/05/2011 - 20:39 | 1528710 BigJim
BigJim's picture

Ah, the old 'hoarding' canard.

Here, do yourself a favor and read this:

Sat, 08/06/2011 - 10:50 | 1530286 sun tzu
sun tzu's picture

Food stamps will buy alcohol and drugs for those who are willing. Many will trade their EBT dollars for 70 cents on the dollar or less in order to buy cigarettes, alcohol and drugs. Many small grocers have been busted for running these scams. Back when the states were passing out actualy food stamps, the cops used to find bundles in the drugs dens they raided.

Fri, 08/05/2011 - 16:16 | 1528116 High Plains Drifter
High Plains Drifter's picture


those who are about to die salute you.......

Fri, 08/05/2011 - 16:48 | 1528224 Rodent Freikorps
Rodent Freikorps's picture

Batiatus: Come with us. See to it I don't misuse the money.
Gracchus: Don't be ridiculous. I'm a Senator.


Fri, 08/05/2011 - 16:14 | 1528117 High Plains Drifter
High Plains Drifter's picture


Fri, 08/05/2011 - 16:16 | 1528119 the not so migh...
the not so mighty maximiza's picture

no hot roman women orgies this time, this version sucks.

Fri, 08/05/2011 - 16:26 | 1528156 Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

You obviously missed out on Plato's Retreat.....

Fri, 08/05/2011 - 19:09 | 1528453 Vendetta
Vendetta's picture

what do you know of what goes on with the wall street banker crowd

Fri, 08/05/2011 - 16:19 | 1528127 Bobby Lee
Bobby Lee's picture

Sensationalist fearmongering. I am much happier worrying about the possibility of a collapse than I would be picking through the ruins of the certain collapse that faced us in 2008.

Fri, 08/05/2011 - 20:41 | 1528725 BigJim
BigJim's picture

Yes, because the actions our overlords took in 2008 are going to make the consequences of the resultant next collapse soooooooo much more mild.

Sat, 08/06/2011 - 10:53 | 1530288 sun tzu
sun tzu's picture

They fixed everything when they put all the toxic crap onto the public books and increased tripled the annual deficits. All is well. Drink your kool-aid and BTFD

Fri, 08/05/2011 - 16:30 | 1528133 SwingForce
SwingForce's picture

Jim- I like your posts, you are a very smart man. I don't disagree with you either. But everybody's not gonna die, the people of the United States won't even be hurt the worst. As the US Treasurys get downgraded, and the Federal Reserve debases the U$D, we have companies like ALTRIA!, Exxon, IBM, who pay more in dividend interest that US Tbonds. Once we get Apple & Google to see the light, the US becomes the Reserve STOCK currency. Get a fukkin' BUSINESSMAN in the White House and cut the shit, CONGRESS! (with a knife, in slices). Ha ha have a nice weekend!

Fri, 08/05/2011 - 16:57 | 1528239 Pay Day Today
Pay Day Today's picture

They're already all big money "business" people in gubbmint. That's the problem. And putting a Tyrant into the White House able to ignore Congress? That's a brand new world of hurt.

Sat, 08/06/2011 - 10:57 | 1530300 sun tzu
sun tzu's picture

The government is run by lawyers. I've worked there before. The departments and agencies are all headed by lawyers. You get a token Wall Street banker once in a while, but all of the top regulators are lawyers, including 0bama and Holder. Don't confuse businessman with Wall Street bankers. A businessman provides a useful service or product to the market. Wall Street bankers are parasites.Bring back Glass-Steagall and put a few hundred big bankers into prison

Fri, 08/05/2011 - 19:21 | 1528480 Vendetta
Vendetta's picture

I have known countless "businessmen" in middle AND executive management throughout my career who were totally worthless and actually cost large companies millions upon millions because of their stupidity and arrogance.  I thought some people might have figured that out after GW, ... guess not.   Commonsense, integrity, ethics, honesty and the will for a just and productive society is worth much more than mere business experience.

Sat, 08/06/2011 - 10:59 | 1530308 sun tzu
sun tzu's picture

In 0bama's case, he has neither

Fri, 08/05/2011 - 23:14 | 1529381 piceridu
piceridu's picture

I've know a lot of business and most have not been worth a damn. Remember, Jamie Dimon is a businessman, we need an entrepeneur that understands the sacrifice, honor and respect it takes to build a successful business.

Sat, 08/06/2011 - 10:04 | 1530215 ATM
ATM's picture

The "reserve stock currency'?? WTF dude? I suppose that reserve stock currency you will be betting on and the above tbond dividend will be paid in the same debased US$ you mention earlier.

How the hell does that make sense? Did Zimbabwe stocks become the reserve stocks of the world because their price increases were the tops in the world for a decade? Did their dividends outpace anything?

Sorry Swing but the debasement will always outrun the increase in prices of those stocks and value of dividends. It has to be otherwise we would not be in the current shitty position we are in leveraged beyond all resonable measures.

We are fucked and anything priced in dollars will be fucked as well. Learn that leasons before you wake up broke, hungry, and with nothing left. 

Fri, 08/05/2011 - 16:21 | 1528135 Caviar Emptor
Caviar Emptor's picture

Just wait till you read about the new "tax Reform" package that's going to get passed. 

Pays for tax cuts to upper income by eliminating the mortgage interest deduction. And medical expense deduction and charitable contributions. 

Sat, 08/06/2011 - 18:24 | 1531799 Rhodin
Rhodin's picture

Is there a way we don't have to wait?  Do you have a link, proposer, or a bill #?

Fri, 08/05/2011 - 16:21 | 1528136 Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

Another parallel with the Roman Empire is the erosion of the citizen-soldier.. As the empire declined, there was an increased reliance on mercenaries. This is echoed today as Congress does not have the balls to reopen the draft. A draft would save ~250 billion a year in outsourced defense contracts. The flipside is that a draft would make the Vietnam war protests look like a picnic in the park..... 

Fri, 08/05/2011 - 16:26 | 1528155 malikai
malikai's picture

When people truly believe in their country, they volunteer to fight for their country.

Fri, 08/05/2011 - 16:28 | 1528164 Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

A quibble... when they believe in and understand what they are fighting for, then they volunteer in droves. Hell, the Bushites (Cheneyites??) couldn't look the country in the eye and tell them the real reason for Iraq.

Fri, 08/05/2011 - 16:44 | 1528204 malikai
malikai's picture

Agreed. They've tried everything to lure people into the military. And it's been very successful at tempting people, all considering. But really, if the fight is just, and the people do believe in what they fight for, why do we need to tempt them to join with ads about all the skills they learn, all the places they go, all the adventures, and the GI bill?

What's more, why isn't it working anymore?

They do know why. They simply cannot accept why.

Fri, 08/05/2011 - 16:40 | 1528188 Abitdodgie
Abitdodgie's picture

Here is an idea how about stopping fighting all together , people don't want to fight send the politicans they are the ones that start them. 

Fri, 08/05/2011 - 17:13 | 1528280 malikai
malikai's picture

Same for laws. The political class must be subject to the laws they create. They must also be accountable. Marxism won't work for humans, but Marx did have a good point about recalling politicians. If people could automatically recall any politician at any time, I think they would make much different choices.

Sat, 08/06/2011 - 11:28 | 1530390 Bam_Man
Bam_Man's picture

We do have a draft military in this country today.

It is a poverty draft.

The sons and daughters of the rich and powerful however are exempt.

Fri, 08/05/2011 - 16:22 | 1528139 Gringo Viejo
Gringo Viejo's picture

For a very involved, in depth look at the astonishing similarities between ancient Rome and contemporary America, I suggest you read "Caesar and Christ" by Will and Ariel Durant. This married couple were the foremost historical scholars of the first half of the 20th century. This book runs about 900 pages and covers all aspects of Roman life over a span of 700 years. Political, economic, artistic, you name it. It  proves beyond any doubt that "there is nothing new under the sun."

Fri, 08/05/2011 - 16:27 | 1528148 malikai
malikai's picture

Great read. Very well put.

Will the American people turn to someone that promises them liberty and freedom with no promises of bread and circuses? Or will they turn to a strong demagogue that promises them more safety and more security?

That depends on who and how many die. Ultimately, survivors of the conflict must accept a new regime. I would suspect that the side of freedom is more prepared, but there are far, far more unprepared who will not accept standing on their own feet for fear of an uncertain future. But who knows? All bets are off when the check doesn't come or doesn't buy dirt.

Fri, 08/05/2011 - 16:23 | 1528150 newstreet
newstreet's picture


Fri, 08/05/2011 - 16:53 | 1528238 Rodent Freikorps
Rodent Freikorps's picture

Kill them all. God will know his own.

Sat, 08/06/2011 - 04:32 | 1529894 smore
smore's picture

That's Cato.  New version, FED DELENDA EST.  (Ron Paul)

Fri, 08/05/2011 - 16:25 | 1528151 lolmao500
lolmao500's picture

The big question is, what the US will turn into once the violence phase has been done... back to the constitution and to the people... or turning into a facist state?

Fri, 08/05/2011 - 17:17 | 1528294 Cobb
Cobb's picture

I agree.  That is indeed the question.  I'm thinking fascist.  The psychological and military weapons of the state are powerful.

Sat, 08/06/2011 - 18:37 | 1531825 Rhodin
Rhodin's picture

Likely (but not certian) you are correct.  Breakup could come first, it comes eventually, sooner or later.  An EMP grid failure and/or New Madrid seismic zone megaquake would tip it toward breakup.

Fri, 08/05/2011 - 19:08 | 1528449 Uncle Remus
Uncle Remus's picture

the constitution and to the people



Fri, 08/05/2011 - 16:26 | 1528154 RockyRacoon
RockyRacoon's picture

Things that are suspected are illustrated by graphs and charts.   Cold comfort for sure, but necessary nonetheless.   I'm passing this one on to others.

Thanks for your work.

Fri, 08/05/2011 - 16:29 | 1528166 Praetorian Guard
Praetorian Guard's picture

Bua no Bas!


Remember Thermopylae

Fri, 08/05/2011 - 16:33 | 1528174 ElvisDog
ElvisDog's picture

Historical nitpick - the Roman elite didn't provide bread and circuses to buy the votes of the poor. By that time, "voting" was pretty much irrelevant. Bread and circuses were intended to distract the masses and keep their bellies full.

Fri, 08/05/2011 - 16:38 | 1528190 DarkStarDog
DarkStarDog's picture

yeah man ...  they trip'n  hard  orange sunshine or purple microdot. 

Fri, 08/05/2011 - 16:42 | 1528197 aerial view
aerial view's picture

nice piece Jim. What's next: just like 235 years ago when a group of people from England said enough is enough and started a new colony in a new land called America another courageous group of people will have to do the same here; let's pick a state, secede from the oligargy and begin anew! 50 experiments in a new type of democracy will produce something far better than what we have now.

Fri, 08/05/2011 - 17:45 | 1528361 duo
duo's picture

I think the last two weeks have shown that American "democracy" is inferior to parliamentarian democracy.  The kind of bipartisan crap that went down over the debt ceiling would have played out much differently in Japan, Germany, or even England.

By "inferior" I mean the ability of said democracy to be corrupted by monied interests. 

Fri, 08/05/2011 - 18:07 | 1528387 takinthehighway
takinthehighway's picture

Already have folks working on this as we speak...

Fri, 08/05/2011 - 19:53 | 1528572 Rhodin
Rhodin's picture

THere are several New South movements gaining momentum.  I wish them luck but am staying north.

Two others to consider:

Sat, 08/06/2011 - 01:23 | 1529711 Milestones
Milestones's picture

It is the best, most logical step forward. That is how it will start--and it will be in the rocky mountains. Small population, large areas hard to defend and a very heavily armed citizenery with the advantage of mountain terrain.      Milestones

Sat, 08/06/2011 - 19:07 | 1531890 Rhodin
Rhodin's picture

I know of three states with siginificant independence movements. There may be others,

Fri, 08/05/2011 - 16:44 | 1528201 InconvenientCou...
InconvenientCounterParty's picture

As enlightened as homo sapiens imagine themselves, there are undeniable biological constraints.

Feed hungry mouths and provide shelter so I can enjoy being rich. Thx.

Fri, 08/05/2011 - 16:59 | 1528246 Rodent Freikorps
Rodent Freikorps's picture

The English elites considered themselves quite the humanitarians for giving the peasants the head and feet of the christmas pig. Didn't you ever wonder why lower class brits eat such disgusting shit?

Fri, 08/05/2011 - 20:44 | 1528749 BigJim
BigJim's picture

They eat the same disgusting shit lower class Americans eat: McDonalds

Fri, 08/05/2011 - 22:07 | 1529147 Rodent Freikorps
Rodent Freikorps's picture

No self-respecting American has ever eaten haggis or soused hog's face.

Even blood pudding is creepy.

Sat, 08/06/2011 - 04:43 | 1529906 smore
smore's picture

Wrong.  I'm a self-respecting American. Love haggis.  Eat blood pudding all the time.  It's called "real food", not the synthetic crap most Americans eat.  Haven't heard of soused hog's face, but it sounds intriguing.  Get the hog drunk just before slaughter? I'll be looking into it...

Fri, 08/05/2011 - 16:46 | 1528211 r101958
r101958's picture

Great article and it reminds me of an article I read about 7 years ago. I thought so highly of it that I kept a copy all these years. I will post it below:

By Dennis Todd/Amelia Island
Nov 03, 2004

A recent radio program jolted me into recalling university history courses I had always considered somewhat tedious because I was more interested in Freud than Rome. I appreciate history now and I'm becoming convinced that it is not unidirectional, but circular, certain to replicate destiny for all who find themselves in similar circumstances.

The program's topic was about the great historical novel by Edward Gibbon, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. It's quite interesting to note that the first of three volumes was published in 1776, the same year that began the American Revolution. It's even more fascinating that Gibbon's work seems to describe our circumstances today.

Gibbon assigns Rome's decline in part to its increasing vulnerability to barbarians who gained power by infiltrating the country and terrorizing the people, eventually decimating traditions, authority and the military.

Gibbon faults divisive beliefs; melting the spiritual glue that had held the empire together and separating Rome into two polarized political and social camps. Rome eventually became so divisive and bureaucratically paralyzed that it was unable to defend itself from its enemies.

Gibbon's historical work is massive and the causes for demise of the empire are way too complex for any brief summary.

However, he lists five primary reasons for the fall of Rome. They sound eerily familiar.

--Rapid increase of divorce, with the undermining of the sanctity of the home, which is the basis of society.

--Higher and higher taxes; the spending of money for bread and celebrations.

--The mad craze for pleasure, sports becoming every year more exciting and more brutal.

--The building of gigantic armaments, when the real enemy was within; the decadence of the people.

--The decay of religion, faith fading into mere form, losing touch with life, and becoming impotent to guide it.

We may disagree with one or more of Gibbon's reasons but it's difficult to deny how well they apply to modern America. The structure of the family has radically changed.

Marriage is being re-defined to mean anything anyone wants it to mean. Children are no longer the primary responsibility or purpose for marriage. Government taxation divides our nation so that one half of our citizens pay little or nothing while the other half shoulders the majority of the burden. Decadence has now become cool.

Pleasure and entertainment dominate our lives, corrupting the morals of our young. Terrorist barbarians build nuclear armaments while the spiritual glue holding America together gives way to relativism and value-free tolerance for things antithetical to our survival.

America's freedom and democracy have depended upon the transfer of traditions and values to our children. That role is changing. Gibbon's work is an alarming description of a how the most powerful society in the world discarded religion, values and tradition until all that was left were barbarians. Sound familiar to you too?

Fri, 08/05/2011 - 20:50 | 1528763 BigJim
BigJim's picture

Terrorist barbarians build nuclear armaments...

But I thought Israel was our ally?

Fri, 08/05/2011 - 23:53 | 1529499 Marin Homeland
Marin Homeland's picture


Rome collapsed because the  gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgendered people were not given their full rights to exercise their freedoms. Also, there was the horror of animal abuse...oh, and they drank too much wine  out of lead cups. Haven't you heard?


One thing that we can do is make some serious friends, learn how to use hand tools, grow food and most of all, educate ourself as to what's going on and may be coming down the road.


Sat, 08/06/2011 - 05:02 | 1529920 smore
smore's picture

The big question about Gibbon has always been whether he confused causes and effects of Rome's decline. The military parallels apply to some extent to America's excessive military presence around the world, but the arguments about decadent sexual attitudes are shakier.  For one thing, they are now worldwide.  The whole world is in a cultural decline in some ways.  A strange new world culture is being born, and we will very soon enter the age of widespread human genetic modification. 

When the going gets weird, the weird get going, so if you're weird, don't worry, be happy!

Fri, 08/05/2011 - 16:46 | 1528213 Arch Duke Ferdinand
Arch Duke Ferdinand's picture

Must Read

8 Reasons Young Generations Around the World Will Not Stand Up or Fight Back for Change

The ruling elite has created social institutions that have subdued young Americans and broken their spirit of resistance....

OT: 2 min video...hilarious...

Sat, 08/06/2011 - 05:06 | 1529921 smore
smore's picture

Yeah, looks like they'll be the lamest Hero generation EVERRRRRRR!

Fri, 08/05/2011 - 16:47 | 1528217 Burgess Shale
Burgess Shale's picture

The window of opportunity for non-chaotic transition has closed.

Fri, 08/05/2011 - 16:52 | 1528219 Ghordius
Ghordius's picture

Had a dinner with a friend that likes this themes: he says that Athens (before the "Greatness") had a similar problem. A big state silver mine, cheap credit getting increasingly difficult to handle, a growing population of debtors-converted-to-slaves (literally), the rich starting to feel threathened.

Their solution: they charged one man, Solon, to give the citystate a new constitution.

One key aspect of Solon's constitution, he says, was a cap on the maximum wealth (at that time the level of their Forbes's list Nr. 300), something like "50 Mansions" (today 250 millions?). The idea is that as soon as a citizen has more than a certain level of wealth, he starts to be as poisonous to the freedom of the others than "those that have nothing to lose"...

Another key aspect was that the lowest of the five classes (first time this word was used), some 20-40% of the population, were forbidden to be in the army. This to make sure an army would not come back and give a crisis of workless, armed, battlehardened "nothing-to-lose-men"...

Sat, 08/06/2011 - 00:19 | 1529572 Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

This comment was worthy of a reply and unfortunately I could not earlier. The Ancient (notice the capital) Greeks figured things out. It becomes obvious after any true self reflection. In Stoicism lies the foundation of Christianity; that is not a coincidence.  

The Greeks pondered the question "What is enough?. It is self evident to a rational person there is a point where one can reach "enough". We may fairly argue about what is enough, I'll throw out that liquid assets of $1,000,0000,000 defines enough. Is there anyone out in the Hedge that will argue that the world would not be a better place if there was no person that had more than $1,000,000,000?

Sat, 08/06/2011 - 13:17 | 1530889 The Alarmist
The Alarmist's picture

Puhhleeeez!  We see what a moral powerhouse Athens lived on to be after this bout of enlightenment,


Fri, 08/05/2011 - 16:52 | 1528229 Praetorian Guard
Praetorian Guard's picture

Much of what you see in America stems from the Rothchilds and other who met over 100 years ago to discuss how to control the masses. It was acknowledged that you can control the people by two methods - One is WAR, the othe is influencing the educational system. Do a research on Foundations in America and why they were formed. These people have dumbed America down from learning and understanding a concept to visual recognition and no need to grasp a concept. Change starts from within. The people will continue to sit on their asses doing nothing, while a small group stand up to the giant and possibly get their asses handed to them. In the end, those who try and those who do nothing pretty much have the same eventuality. The only difference is knowing you tried to do something about it, and did not sit on your ass enjoying the bread and circus, at least while it lasts...

Fri, 08/05/2011 - 17:04 | 1528253 Bobby Lee
Bobby Lee's picture

I find that the negativity here verges on helpless nihilism. And that the level of political discourse here verges on sedition. If you are an American, what America do you live in? Obviously not the America I live in. Quit bitching. Vote with your feet. Move where things are more to your liking. America is alive and well. But probably not where the bitchers live.

Fri, 08/05/2011 - 17:20 | 1528283 iNull
iNull's picture

Wow. I could not disagree more. Bitching is probably the only thing that keeps half the people here from strapping on a C4 vest and walking into 85 Broad Street. I'll take kvetchin', moanin' & bitchin' over gunpowder and ball bearings any day. But that's just me.

Fri, 08/05/2011 - 17:20 | 1528303 Praetorian Guard
Praetorian Guard's picture

...and that will be coming to a city near you... wait and see...  I agree with you that bitching and moaning are relief vents for most

Fri, 08/05/2011 - 17:16 | 1528290 Praetorian Guard
Praetorian Guard's picture

Yes, everyone has that option. However, given the current economic infrastructure this does not make it possible, or even beneficial. So you move to Montana, out in the middle of nowhere - how do you work, especially if you are not able to self employ? Moving to another location is not the end all be all, taxes, local economy, people, crime, etc. all have to be taken into account, then there is the agenda of the community (liberal/conserv) - so you may love the area and have a great job but the people end up being green assholes...

Fri, 08/05/2011 - 17:17 | 1528296 caerus
caerus's picture

i tried voting with my feet but i couldn't reach the lever

Sat, 08/06/2011 - 05:14 | 1529925 smore
smore's picture

Sorry, Bobby Lee, this is a "reality based community", not the fantasy America you inhabit. Stop telling us to be positive.  What you really mean is "sit down and shut up". 


Sat, 08/06/2011 - 10:07 | 1530219 NumNutt
NumNutt's picture

I guess Bobby is one of the top 1% and can afford to relocate any place of his chosing. He probably doesn't have older family members that are that age that need your attention. What are you supposed to do tell them "Well mom, dad thanks for all the good times but I think I am leaving, good luck!" Bobby, if your theory was so simple you don't think a lot of people would not have done it already? Have you tried selling a house lately?

Fri, 08/05/2011 - 17:04 | 1528255 Dr. Porkchop
Dr. Porkchop's picture

You can say what you will about food stamps and bread & circuses, but don't you talk down to my internet porno. At least it's honest work.



Fri, 08/05/2011 - 17:05 | 1528257 lesterbegood
lesterbegood's picture

Democracies have never been by and for the people. Democracy is rule by the majority (mob rule), led by a tiny elite class; by the majority, for the majority. The rights of the minority are crushed. Only in a republic are the rights of all are protected by law, i.e. by the people, for the people.

Fri, 08/05/2011 - 20:31 | 1528668 YuShun
YuShun's picture

A republic is "a state in which the head of government is not a monarch or other hereditary head of state."

A republic may choose to protect the "rights of all", but Pol Pot, Hitler, & Stalin were leaders of republics.

Fri, 08/05/2011 - 17:10 | 1528266 iNull
iNull's picture

De Toqueville said democracy had inherent risks, namely tyranny of the majority. Plato was less polite. In "The Republic" he said democracy was the lowest form of government.

Fri, 08/05/2011 - 20:54 | 1528801 BigJim
BigJim's picture

Whereas Plato considered rule by philosopher kings to be the highest form of government.

By some interesting coincidence, his descriptions of these 'philosopher kings' made them all sound uncannily like Plato.

Fri, 08/05/2011 - 21:51 | 1529089 iNull
iNull's picture

Chuckle. Yes, that was not lost on me. And I think you will find this to be true of all philosphers, even Nietzsche.

Sat, 08/06/2011 - 00:24 | 1529588 Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

Are not all tracts on political philosophy a reflection of the writers inate wish to propose a system where they see themselves as the most qualified to lead?

As a rule, the sons of philosopher kings have not worked out that well....

Sat, 08/06/2011 - 05:22 | 1529929 smore
smore's picture

What an extremely unfair jab at Rome's only real "philosopher king"!  Marcus Aurelius was one of the best leaders they ever had, and people cannot be held reponsible for how their children turn out.

Sat, 08/06/2011 - 10:25 | 1530252 Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

No jab at Marcus....just the observation that "king" usually implies a hereditary sucession....BTW, I have read Meditations...

Somewhat related is the founding of the Kriegsakademie in Prussia; after Frederick the Great they realized that War was too important to be left to chance, i.e. having a king that understood strategy and tactics...

Fri, 08/05/2011 - 17:11 | 1528272 Orange Pekoe
Orange Pekoe's picture

I guess this is what monkeys do when they come down from trees.

Fri, 08/05/2011 - 17:27 | 1528329 andybev01
andybev01's picture

At least the shit-slinging is more or less a metaphor down here.

Fri, 08/05/2011 - 17:11 | 1528273 JLee2027
JLee2027's picture

The guys who keep talking about the American "Empire" always miss several facts:

1) America is not an "Empire". Never have been, never will be. Empires conquer, occupy and rule over others against their will. Who have we conquered and occupied again? And don't give me that Native American crap. They are sovereign states.

2) The World is in the same situation that America is. When/if America "falls", so does the rest of the planet. Hello.


I'm not going to discuss this, so don't expect a reply.

Fri, 08/05/2011 - 17:12 | 1528285 Dr. Porkchop
Dr. Porkchop's picture

Empires conquer, occupy and rule over others against their will. Who have we conquered and occupied again?

You're fucking joking? Right?

Fri, 08/05/2011 - 17:26 | 1528321 andybev01
andybev01's picture

Apparently it's already happy hour in jlee's neck of the bayou.

He seems to forget that the native americans were allowed sovereign status as long as they did it on the shit-hole land we so graciously let them live on.

As for empire building, since 'nations' and 'borders' no longer exist outside of speculative theory, we are comfortably occupying and in charge of most of the middle east.

Fri, 08/05/2011 - 19:17 | 1528469 Citxmech
Citxmech's picture

Someone needs to review that John Perkins "Confessions of an Economic Hitman" thread methinks. . .

Fri, 08/05/2011 - 19:25 | 1528503 karzai_luver
karzai_luver's picture

He is and has been a hopeless troll and clown from day1.

He doesn't have a choice to discuss or not , his kind are not of reason.


What's even more hopeless is he uses "we" as if he is PART OF THE CLUB THAT WOULD RULE.


clown show is kind.


Fri, 08/05/2011 - 17:19 | 1528295 iNull
iNull's picture

I won't expect a reply but you can't make such an outrageous statement and expect others not to reply. I just Googled American Military Bases and came up with numbers that range from 700+ to 1000+. Let's take the lower number. So what you are telling me is that a country that has four simultaneous wars going on and 700+ forward deployed military bases is NOT an empire??? (!)

C'mon dude. Get real.

Fri, 08/05/2011 - 20:59 | 1528816 BigJim
BigJim's picture

Jeez, give the guy a break - anyone can forget a </sarc> tag.

Fri, 08/05/2011 - 21:44 | 1529067 iNull
iNull's picture

No no no. We're not talking <sarc> tags here. This guy made an asinine statement and not in a humorous vein either. What, are you defending him? Give me a break. It was a stupid, asinine comment and deserved the minuses. Case closed.

Fri, 08/05/2011 - 17:32 | 1528337 andybev01
andybev01's picture

And; "I'm not going to discuss this, so don't expect a reply." is a pussie cop-out.

This is still fight club, after all.

Fri, 08/05/2011 - 17:38 | 1528352 iNull
iNull's picture

Fuckin' A

Fri, 08/05/2011 - 19:06 | 1528450 Piranhanoia
Piranhanoia's picture

The empire has only been popular since the 1600's when it started. The nice people just turned west and started killing.  If you have an open mind, you will enjoy school. 

Fri, 08/05/2011 - 23:58 | 1529517 Marin Homeland
Marin Homeland's picture

That's right! They have casinos and reservations, so cut off all welfare to Indians!

If we are not an empire, why are our "fighting men and women in over a hundred different countries"...that's what they say when they praise 'em at NASCAR races...

Fri, 08/05/2011 - 17:26 | 1528315 iNull
iNull's picture

"Shadow of Death" my friends. Mark my words. Bloodbath come Monday. Bloodbath. 


Fri, 08/05/2011 - 17:39 | 1528347 Segestan
Segestan's picture

    “Juvenal makes reference to the Roman practice of providing free wheat to Roman citizens as well as costly circus games and other forms of entertainment as a means of gaining political power through populism. Roman politicians devised a plan in 140 B.C. to win the votes of the poor: giving out cheap food and entertainment, “bread and circuses”. The Roman politicians realized this would be the most effective way to rise to power and stay in power. With the revolting display of political theater in the last few weeks, I couldn’t help but consider the parallels between the Roman Empire and the American Empire. The entire debt ceiling farce was a circus on an epic scale – The Greatest Show on Earth”
  Poor Romans, even 2150 years later the multitude curses them. They not only distributed corn, but also made usury outlawed. None of this was surprising . After the class struggles , between plebeians and patricians , Roman society was filled with many multitudes of freedmen and a confused medley of Italians ( non-Romans) these multitudes freely mingled with the Ancient Romans, who had themselves lost the dignity of misery, who now were mixed with the freedmen and Italians  who still retained the minds of slaves.  In 139 the Romans enacted the Sabinian law; providing for the purity of elections.
 The disorders of the government In Rome were increased by the defective harvests of 144 and 143 BC and by the absence of colonization during more than 30 years , beginning in 168 BC. The only resource left to the impoverished multitude was to enter the service of the patricians or of the wealthy Knights; but these classes preferred Slave-Labour , and besides , the example of Cato been extensively imitated; arable land was generally changed into pasturage as being more profitable. The poor were now reduced to the alternative of eat or of revolution.; which might improve but certainly could not aggravate their condition.
 So you see trying to distort the Romans giving Bread and Circus is an unjust populist tactic by the ignorant.

Fri, 08/05/2011 - 19:22 | 1528490 r101958
r101958's picture

I guess Gibbon was wrong....thanks for setting us all straight.

Fri, 08/05/2011 - 20:59 | 1528833 BigJim
BigJim's picture

People will be reading Segestan long after that chump Gibbon has been forgotten.

Fri, 08/05/2011 - 17:44 | 1528359 Dick Fitz
Dick Fitz's picture

This is my first post on ZH, and you are an idiot tool. The US isn't an empire? Are you conscious? Hell, do you even have a head?

Fri, 08/05/2011 - 23:09 | 1529352 Jim Quinn
Jim Quinn's picture

The ignorant masses chime in.

Sat, 08/06/2011 - 01:49 | 1529561 DavidPierre
DavidPierre's picture



The ignorant SmokeyQuinn chimes in !!!

Did you even read CROSSING THE RUBICON before you used only the book cover in your latest rehashed article ???

I doubt it! 

In an argument of over 600 pages and 1,000 footnotes, Crossing The Rubicon makes the case for official complicity within the U.S. government and names Dick Cheney as the prime suspect in the crimes of 9/11.

There are 3 major points made within this book that are crucial to proving Cheney's guilt.

Means - Dick Cheney and the Secret Service: Dick Cheney was running a completely separate chain of Command & Control via the Secret Service, assuring the paralysis of Air Force response on 9/11. The Secret Service has the technology to see the same radar screens the FAA sees in real time. They also have the legal authority and technological capability to take supreme command in cases of national emergency. Dick Cheney was the acting Commander in Chief on 9/11.

Motive - Peak Oil: At some point between 2000 and 2007, world oil production reaches its peak; from that point on, every barrel of oil is going to be harder to find, more expensive to recover, and more valuable to those who recover and control it. Dick Cheney was well aware of the coming Peak Oil crisis at least as early as 1999, and 9/11 provided the pretext for the series of energy wars that Cheney stated, "will not end in our lifetime."

Opportunity - 9/11 War Games: The Air Force was running multiple war games on the morning of 9/11 simulating hijackings over the continental United States that included (at least) one "live-fly" exercise as well as simulations that placed "false blips" on FAA radar screens. These war games eerily mirrored the real events of 9/11 to the point of the Air Force running drills involving hijacked aircraft as the 9/11 plot actually unfolded. The war games & terror drills played a critical role in ensuring no Air Force fighter jocks - who had trained their entire lives for this moment - would be able to prevent the attacks from succeeding. These exercises were under Dick Cheney's management.

Best you take the time, and dispell your total ignorance of the facts behind 9/11 ... and actually read Michael Ruppert's book before inserting it into your regurgitated and inane pop-culture puff piece.


Sat, 08/06/2011 - 04:45 | 1529908 Peter K
Peter K's picture

Van Jone, calling Van Jones. Telephone.........

Sat, 08/06/2011 - 06:56 | 1529979 smore
smore's picture

Mr Quinn is NOT ignorant.  But you seem to imply that he believes the 911 fable, if so, that's a pity.

11 Reasons Why The 9/11 Fable is So Popular

1. The bigness of the lie. Adolf Hitler said: "Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it." William Hazlitt said, "the greater the lie, the more enthusiastically it is believed and greedily swallowed." And Hannah Arendt said:

This doubt of people concerning themselves and the reality of their own experience only reveals what the Nazis have always known: that men determined to commit crimes will find it expedient to organize them on the vastest, most improbable scale. Not only because this renders all punishments provided by the legal system inadequate and absurd; but because the very immensity of the crimes guarantees that the murderers who proclaim their innocence with all manner of lies will be more readily believed than the victims who tell the truth. (The Portable Hannah Arendt; pg. 120).

2. Mythical archetype of Osama Bin Laden and Islamic terrorists. Osama Bin Laden's iconic image and the creed of Islamic jihad against Western civilization is exciting historical material. It makes for a good Hollywood script. People are captivated and scared at the thought of Muslims rising against their oppressors, striking at the heart of the West and destroying America's two biggest cultural artifacts, the Pentagon and World Trade Center. But it is fiction, not reality. The imperial masters of fiction crafted the Osama Bin Laden myth to symbolically represent the new spirit of the times and the changing nature of the global order in the post-Soviet Union collapse. How do you lead a disoriented and leaderless mob? The Neocons, CIA, Mossad, and MI6 know the trick. You put your own manufactured revolutionary figurehead in front of the mob to mislead it and misdirect it towards violence and vengeance. In this case that figurehead is Bin Laden. This trick works the same in every society and in every age. Getting in front of the mob with a flag and a simplistic creed to follow is one of the ancient tricks of statecraft. 3. Most people are children who are easily controlled by fear and mentally guided by authoritative rhetoric. They will believe any absurdity if voices of authority tell them it is true. Authority is their father, and government is their mother. The State is infallible to them. They are psychologically incapable of mental rebellion and of questioning government stories and government statements. 4. Peer pressure, and the fear of mockery and ridicule. A lot of people, especially on the left, are afraid of being called a kook and a conspiracy theorist so they don't ever go out on a limb and tell the truth as they know it. They believe it is insane to question the foundations of the official 9/11 story so they don't even bother to examine the facts and evidence that serves as the bedrock of the 9/11 truth movement. The human herd stampedes on the fields of facts and the valleys of truth to get to the desert of ignorance. 5. Terrorism is regarded as a mysterious, hidden and arcane phenomena, and by showing proof that the CIA, Mossad and MI6 are behind terror attacks in the West we give people the knowledge to re-examine their beliefs and to act. The idea that false flag terrorism can be explained by examining historical data (Operation Gladio in Europe, Pearl Harbor Attack, Gulf of Tonkin, U.S.S. Liberty) and by researching all the evidence complied by average citizens is an idea that discomforts a lot of people. They are put on the spot, because suddenly their false perception of the 9/11 events and terrorism in general unravels and shatters. 6. The financial-terrorism-media-military-industrial-Zionist-congressional complex is a beast of prey that puts out propaganda everyday to create a culture of disinformation and myth. This beast controls the most sacred opinions of the people. As a result of the government-media war against the public mind the truth is mistaken for a product of insanity while the lie is cherished and protected. In this state most people are like fish in the water, they have no grasp that they are living and breathing in an ocean of lies. 7. Mass social, cultural, and political brainwashing. Western society is controlled by totalitarian governments and a totalitarian media system that includes television, print media, publishing companies, films, music, and other aspects of the culture industry. Conformity is preached and uniformity of thought is encouraged. A radical diversity of opinion about the war on terrorism, 9/11, and other government myths is not allowed. 8. A lack of knowledge of history. A lot of people are unaware of Operation Gladio, the U.S.S. Liberty attack, and the reality of false flag terrorism. 9. A lack of skepticism, curiosity and a sense of wonder. 9/11 truth deniers believe all knowledge about terrorism is settled, and that the government has a monopoly on truth. So they feel free to give up their mental independence on the question of 9/11 and go with the flow instead of using their analytical skills to dig deeper. 10. A lack of humility to admit ignorance. 9/11 truth deniers have a very high opinion of themselves and a low opinion of 9/11 truth-tellers. Why? Because they are arrogant, fearful and close-minded individuals. 11. The 9/11 lie is sacred. To question the lie and say the shadow governments of the United States and Israel were behind the attacks is sacrilegious and blasphemes. Questioning the lie threatens not just an entire worldview, but civilization as we know it. The individual's sense of well-being is based on the lie being real, and he/she undergoes the terror of psychological transformation when coming to face to face with the monstrous truth about 9/11. The lie is a psychological attack on the community, the individual, and nature. The criminal conspirators behind the attacks and the cover-up want to destroy not just the truth and the dark history of that day, but the very idea of truth itself. ---------------------------------------------------------------- And I'll add number 12, any mention of Israel in a negative light results in an immediate mental switch-off by most Americans, because they are AFRAID of being thought anti-semitic.  There is nothing intrinsically wrong with being anti-semitic any more than there is with being anti any other group.  Moreover, there are very good reasons to be anti-semitic.  If you are curious about what they are, check out this site:

And remember, there are many good ex-jews, who have turned their backs on that poisonous culture.


Sat, 08/06/2011 - 15:53 | 1531447 falak pema
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OBL is a renegade to muslim tradition. He is more like Hassan Ibn Sabah, the man who created the Hashashin sect that was a splinter Shia group and justified assassination against the Sunni Abbasid regime and its Seljuk satrapy that became more powerful than the Caliph. Ibn Sabah from Alamut is not a man the muslims revere. His tradtion was hated by all successive leaders until the Mamelukes finally killed the last remnants off in Syria. The Ismailis today are a peaceful sect that reveres the Agha Khan; an irony of how the most blood thirsty evolve over time.

Sat, 08/06/2011 - 20:30 | 1532016 Rhodin
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13.  If they were to admit to themselves that their rulers/owners were responsible for mass murder on USA soil they might have to get off their asses and do something about it.  That in addition to being unpaid work, and dangerous, might interfere with NFL, NASCAR, American Idol, and posting on Facebook.

Sat, 08/06/2011 - 12:47 | 1530736 Jim Quinn
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The really really nutjob ignorant sheep fucking masses chime in.



Sat, 08/06/2011 - 20:17 | 1531996 Rhodin
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Their points are valid, though they do not look into motives in depth.  Securing more oil supply was only one of many motives for 9/11.   Among the other motives were: shutting down the investigation of missing trillions at the Pentagon (by hitting the investigators with a missile).  Shutting down multiple investigations being conducted at WTC7 that would impact Bush family and JPM (among others) by having the building magically implode in sympathy with the towers!  Turning around the stockmarket with war business. Turning around unemployment with massive military and mercenary recruiting, Homeland Security, TSA, and huge defence contracts.  The excuse to pass many of the repressive laws sitting on the shelf for years was probably a small part of it.  One notes that the state oif emergency declared then has been renewed every year since.

DIck Cheney is a most logical suspect.  "When all else fails, expand the problem."  is a known motto of his and 9/11 solved many expanded problems for the oligarchs.  Who else had the means and opportunity to carry this out?  Not some "disaffected" intel asset in a cave in Afghanistan!

Despite the above,  there is much more to 9/11 that would come out if an actuall investigation were conducted.  A full list of the unanswered questions and avenues for investigation that have not been persued would fill a large book.

You are too smart by far to be blinded by the cover story.  Your writing exhibits a desire to get to the basis of things, so i doubt you have ignored the facts.  Thus i conclude, either you are the enemy, or the fear demon has you by the balls.

Does "mission closure"  continue??

or "c'est la guerre"?


Fri, 08/05/2011 - 17:46 | 1528363 newbee
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Good article, but it still has the false underlying assumption that we have unlimited resources and all we have to do is get our mental game in order to win.  This time 'round, I don't think it'll be that easy.  We have to fundamentally change how we as a species exist on our planet, truly living within our means on a multi-century long term basis.  Figuring out how to continually grow is a losing game in the end.  Unfortunately that's what our society's based on.  I'm not sure we have the mental capacity for that, at least as a collective free society.  Who knows what the answer is, but I bet it ain't gonna be fun.

Fri, 08/05/2011 - 17:48 | 1528370 Praetorian Guard
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Here is the definition of Empire:



a. A political unit having an extensive territory or comprising a number of territories or nations and ruled by a single supreme authority. b. The territory included in such a unit. 2. An extensive enterprise under a unified authority: a publishing empire. 3. Imperial or imperialistic sovereignty, domination, or control: "There is a growing sense that the course of empire is shifting toward the . . . Asians" (James Traub).
Fri, 08/05/2011 - 18:55 | 1528423 iNull
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I've been thinking of a concise, pithy way to sum up this discussion and I think I found it:

"Do you exist for the state, or, does the state exist for you?"

We know what Caesar thinks, don't we.

Fri, 08/05/2011 - 17:53 | 1528376 New_Meat
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Striking Similarities to Rome

I'm of the opinion that the first similarity is to Augustus Ceasar, e.g.:

After the first two years of his reign, everything was returned back to "normal"

But everything had changed.  Mrs. O workin' the change as well:

- Ned

Sat, 08/06/2011 - 04:42 | 1529905 Peter K
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I think the more correct analogy would be Augustus to Reagan. It was Reagan who returned "everything back to normal" and then came the Julio-Flavins which match off quite closely with our post Reagan presidents. The old Clausius to HW Bush, Caligula to Clinton, and Tiberius to W. And the icing on the cake would be Obama who is Nero reincarnate. Buning down the place, er.. transformational change, while partying like it was 64 AD.



Sat, 08/06/2011 - 10:53 | 1530290 Flakmeister
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I'll quibble.... Eisenhower was Augustus, it was during his tenure that we witnessed the American Golden Age. Carter was the closest to the "Good Emperors", I'd call Reagan our Diocletian, reforms that gave the illusion of stablility but ultimately insured the collapse....

Sat, 08/06/2011 - 11:36 | 1530404 falak pema
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How would you classify GWB ? 

Caligula, Nero, Commodus, Trajan, Titus, Caracalla, S. Severus (more like Barry to me)...the list is long!

I have left out Marcus Aurelius from list...but you could put it back in! He did fight a lot of wars...was it in the name of 'clash of civilizations...good question about a philosopher king! GWB outsourced to Huntingdon his role of philosopher.

Sat, 08/06/2011 - 11:43 | 1530455 Flakmeister
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Obviously at some point the parallels break down.... Going out on a limb, W = Constantine-lite...

Sat, 08/06/2011 - 15:49 | 1531452 falak pema
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right, love your sense of real politik and diplomacy.

Fri, 08/05/2011 - 18:08 | 1528390 falak pema
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If you like history then read this

Fri, 08/05/2011 - 19:04 | 1528444 Downtoolong
Downtoolong's picture

The true art of the American empire consists of reality TV shows like Jersey Shore and Housewives of NY, OC, NJ, Miami, and Atlanta. America has taken shallow, mindless, and superficial to an empire crushing low.

Let’s not leave out the evening news and the endless stream of absurd advertisements.

Few things make me feel more angry, insulted, and ashamed than I do after watching an hour of prime time MSM television. It feels like someone is pounding on my intelligence, common sense, and dignity with a sledge hammer.  But, there’s always solace in knowing relief is just one click of the on/off button away. I wonder how long it will be before they remove that from everyone’s remote?  

Sat, 08/06/2011 - 01:56 | 1529760 HungrySeagull
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Satellite is no escape either. 7 minute bytes chopped up into 4 minute long info-mercials...


And the games go on.

Fri, 08/05/2011 - 19:23 | 1528494 Mark_BC
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Great artcile. One issue not really addressed though is Peak Oil and resource overconsumption. Given that we are now likely beyond Peak Oil, and that overall we have done virtually nothing to reduce our requirement for oil to power economic activity (I wonder why...), then this implies that the economy can no longer grow, even if it had decent fundamentals otherwise. Economic growth is what prevents debt from getting out of control in a debt based monetary system, because the larger an economy gets, the smaller its previous debt becomes in relative terms. However, in a debt based system, the debt is always racing behind you and when growth stops, it takes over and you see the results we are now seeing.

The other thing worth mentioning is that economies and labour do not produce wealth. They TAKE waelth from the natural world. What happens is that wealth is taken and transformed by the middle class, and transferred to the upper class who sits on money and doesn't do anything productive, those who have their "money work for them". This theft is enabled by low tax rates for the wealthy and of course all the other corruption explained in the article. The system is designed to prevent the middle class from reaping rewards from the wealth that they themselves are taking and transforming from the natural world.

Over the last 50 years, the efficiiency with which technology enables labour to "produce" things has increased dramatically, which has proven disastrous for the average worker. Now, the only significant source of employment is in providing for economic growth; building new roads and infrastructure provides jobs. Without growth, unemployment will go up by that much, especially now that we have automation replacing so many previous jobs that people used to do. So our economic problems have NOTHING to do with lazy inefficient workers because technology enables workers today to do what our grandparents did with a fraction of the effort as they used to.

Of course unemployment is going to go up! The US has lost its manufacturing base to China due to artificial currency manipulation (no, it's not because of lazy workers) and it has automated so many jobs. And for a variety of reasons, it can no longer grow (the lack of oil being the most significant reason). How can you maintain full employment in this situation with 40 hours per week? It's imppossible, a fairy tale delivered by Bernanke. WHat specifically alre all those peopel goign to do for 40 hours a week when the economy is no longer growing and no longer needs more infrastructure?

The solution? Reduce the work week, increase taxes for the wealthy, and of course completely gut the financial system and rework it so that it can function in a zero growth environment, which will be happening regarless, we can't stop that.

Fri, 08/05/2011 - 20:24 | 1528641 Rhodin
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While i mostly agree as to the problem, i doubt your solution (though an improvement) will will work. 

Major factories in China are currently planning on replacing $5-10 per day workers with robots.

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