North Korean can now build one nuke every two months. That’s somewhat alarming.
How long does it take to build good shelters, possibly in existing caves, that can house the urban population of South Korea and Japan? Seriously, the end game here is that Japan and South Korea are blackmailed to infinity by a North Korea who has 100+ nukes in 2030.
I’m antiwar usually, but if the USA supposedly has anti missle technology, maybe it’s time to set it up in east Asia, Big League, and do a preemptive strike on evil baddies North Korea. Maybe if we can get China and Russia to sign off, we should do a surprise strike on them, I’ve read some people are worried the South will do this anyway. Send the 101st and 82nd down to secure nuclear facilities, launch massive strikes on their missile sites and on the extensive artillery pieces that threaten the South. Clear out Seoul first.
The mission would only be to rek North Korea. All their base needn’t belong to us. If possibly you’d want to take as many of their citizens as possible into the south where they could be interred and screened for loyalty. You wouldn’t necessarily need to annex North Korea, just set the nuclear program back and drain their labor force. This wouldn’t be like fighting a bunch of inbred “Eye-rakies”, the North Koreans are probably hard as nails, able to go to extremes of exhaustion and deprivation not seen since Vietnam. They also have good, if outdated Soviet hardware. MiG-29s. Thermobaric rocket launchers like the sort that turned Grozny into a wasteland. I’d expect South Korean military casualties in the low hundreds of thousands, and US casualties in the 20k range. On second thought, let’s just build a good missile shield in Japan and leave the blackmail mess to those in east Asia….China’s big, let them deal with it…
Note this post may only be read by millennials
When my father was my age (30), he had two children, a wife who had no tattoos, a solid job, a house, and zero unsecured debt. Today, the most self actualized, successful man I know my age is my friend who literally owns nothing but two suitcases, a few financial accounts and travels around China and eastern Europe hitting on cuties he sees on the streets.
And people wonder why I say we’re in steep decline.
Most other guys I know are trapped in debt slavery from college, childless and jaded. It’s not everyone in my sort of ‘cohort’ of mid-80s kids, but it’s a lot. Anyway even the gogetters with stock options or a nice drip drip from the corporate-oligarch pipe are almost all childless, which bodes ill for the future of the middle and upper middle class.
You go to school because if you don’t go to school, you’re a loser. You borrow tens of thousands of dollars to do this, because a bloc of leftist academics have capture the only gateway to the middle class, effectively making a guild out of academia by their control of the commanding heights of culture and work certification.
After school you work in a box on a computer all day. You do this 48 weeks a year. Your neck flexors become shortened from working on the computer for this stupifyingly long period of time, giving you an aged posture, weak leg muscles and sporadic headaches. You’re a coward, so you don’t bother agitating for a standing desk (I’m talking about my generation here, not myself, obviously I stand). Why do you work in a box on a computer all day? So you can earn enough money to service your mountain of debt that you needed to take on so that you could go to school, so that people wouldn’t think you were a loser.
Every fucking day is like the Mike Judge film Office Space except it’s actually your life. Your mind becomes numbed by the evolutionarily novel lack of visual and physical stimulus, you struggle to stay awake and look busy. Of all your ancestors stretching back to the proto-mouse that existed in the time of the dinosaurs, you probably have the most boring, low-stakes, day-to-day life of them all. You sign up for Crossfit in an attempt to find meaning and brothership and tear your labrum.
Because of rampant female obesity and decades of feminism, your most obvious female wife candidates are a scarce lot of non-fatties who are never-the-less besmirched by a laundry list of past sexual partners which render them incapable of forming long lasting bonds, and a lack of feminine charm.
But you can buy all sorts of cool gadgets! A smart watch! A zero-down car lease! Wow man did you see the sportsball game? wow Tyrone Jackson is BEAST I love to live vicariously through his legalized barbarism! We got Amazon Prime and Youtube and online concert tickets! Wow what a great time to be alive you know? Never mind that the average household could buy more bread and butter and meat and dwelling space in 1998 than the average you can today. But we can learn to derive pleasure from beans and chilies.
I noticed a number of articles today in the lying media about “record income gains” in the US. I wanted to take a few moments to tell the real story.
We’re told that household income (which by the way is not the only way you’d want to look at these data) surged in 2015, it went up the most ever, ever! Well it went up, but it’s still below the internet bubble peak and the Bush housing bubble local maximum.
Still it does mean something, and it beats lower income. 2014 was the year when NGDP seems to have caught up with the slower-growing wage level, and when the labor market started to tighten, not so that wages would go up faster, but just that there weren’t loads people actively looking for jobs and unable to find them. Clearing out that glut of involuntarily unemployed workers helped boost average income.
Still, it’s a rather disappointing picture, and I believe it looks similar if you look at per capita, rather than household figures. It’s like Peter Thiel said, people used to dream about flying cars and space travel, now we can’t even get household income to hold on an upward trend! It’s a real sign of decline and is part of the reason I think we live in a more Malthusian world than the nerds who blog about economics all day would have you believe.
A lot of the improvement in income in the later part of the 20th c. came from moving women away from home production, and into market production. People deemed this necessary to keep up with the rat race of consumer product consumption, as well as to afford a house in an area that was reasonably safe. Plus the TV told them it was what the cool people did. The switch from a norm of female home production to market production caused a real measurement issue though, as there’s no substitute for having a mom around, for non industrial food &c. The 1950s mom was producing valuable output, but it wasn’t measured by statistics because there was no transaction. But that’s a topic for another day, the point is it was a one-time trick and by the 1990s women had ‘caught up’ with men in terms of being useful production assets for the oligarchs and state. Now that women are living the cubicle dream as much, or more than men, we have to rely on pure productivity to boost average and household income. That’s hard and requires better policies than we can muster today.
Donald Trump will be our next president
We made it out of Odessa by bus. It turned out that we had just booked our AirBnB in a district that’s the equivalent of Atlantic City or Old Orchard (for you New Englanders). That is to say it was especially run down and seedy, by Ukrainian standards. The town center of Odessa was much better. It was still decaying badly, with buildings looking like they hadn’t been renovated since 1900 or so, but the people were better dressed and I didn’t feel like I was at any real risk of anything bad happening.
The bus ride was pretty cool. We got to see a lot of country, 7 hours to Kiev. At one of the rest stops some townies tried to pull an inept scam on us which involved dropping their wallet, which was the closet thing to something bad happening. Really though, incredible material poverty. We probably stopped 5 times at various rest stops. People aren’t starving here, but the material conditions are abysmal and the idea of the Ukraine joining the EU any time in the next 30 years is just absurd.
In one sense I think it’s good that Ukrainians can go to Poland or the UK or the US to escape this place where there really isn’t much opportunity. But on the other hand, emigration just means there’s a path of least resistance, a safety valve for the more talented people to boil off. It might be better if they instead stayed and worked to try to get the place on the same track as Poland.
Kiev feels like a different country. Much more developed and maintained in the city center where we are staying. The highways coming in were in good shape too, and the apartment buildings on the edge of the city looked almost like something you’d see in Finland or Sweden. Kiev could probably be a pretty good budget holiday destination for the moderately adventurous traveler. It feels safer, than say, Philadelphia or Washington DC (faint praise?) and unlike pricey hell holes like San Francisco, there are no homeless. I guess in Ukraine it’s not a human right to defecate in the street or camp on the sidewalk! I don’t know what happens to the homeless in Ukraine, but it’s probably not a happy story and they aren’t in the nice areas.
Kiev has lots of beautiful churches. The outside of them is a bit of an acquired taste, but the insides are stunning, almost beyond words. Its like being transported through time to Byzantium, really something special. I don’t know what it is, I’ve always been turned off by catholic church interiors, with the garish colors, musty old smell and creepy statues. I find Orthodox churches more welcoming, holy feeling and beautiful on the inside.
The food here is outstanding. We got ripped off at a fish restaurant that we probably should have left as soon as we realized it was a fish place. But the Ukrainian places are so great, really some of the best food I can remember eating. I like fancy cuisine I guess, but for me, something honest and straight forward like the Ukrainian borsch is hard to beet (forgive me).
I will go back to Texas in a few days. It will probably be strange to see the outstanding infrastructure, ugly modern buildings, hordes of debilitatingly fat, non Slavic faces. The idea of working remotely from a low cost country has always intrigued me, Ukraine would be on that list, but I’d also want to check out more countries in the former communist part of Europe. Ukraine is low cost, but it might not be worth pinching a few extra pennies if you could buy a more high-trust culture or functioning system for slightly higher prices.
This morning 04:30 we landed in Odessa. After passing through a quick passport check we went into an area with two small U shaped conveyor belts. There were people everywhere, pushing to get to the belts. When we got off the plane people cut ahead from the rows behind us, unlike a US flight where the rule is you wait for the early rows to clear out. It was like China in that regard, though the rush seemed more desperate than the Chinese more ritualized, half-hearted rudeness. The baggage claim was similar. I only had a moderate sized rucksack but they made me check it, so I was stuck in the mob, angling around to find my bag.
I had to track two conveyor belts at the same time, looking back and forth. After about 10 minutes of madness, trying not to knock over old ladies as I was pushed out of the way by people coming from behind me, I spotted my bag. It had fallen in between the U shape of the conveyor belt. I had no idea why they’d set it up like this, so that luggage could fall in between, but what the hell. When a gap in the bags appeared, I hopped my 240 lb self on to the belt and walked into the U shape, grabbed my bag and walked back over the conveyor. People seemed startled by this. I didn’t see another way to get the bag. if you’re going to run your airport like a goddamned madhouse I’m going to do what must be done.
We walk out front. There are throngs of people waiting to pick others up. All sorts of strange characters. There’s an ATM with a sign on it that says “Partner of BNP Paribas” I say to myself “I sure hope the Ukrainians wouldn’t set up a phony ATM!” and get a quick 1000 local currency units, the highest amount suggested on the first screen, this is $39.
We are told by our AirBnB host that a ride should cost 300 LCU. We hire a guy who looks like he’s on amphetamines, who wouldn’t balk at killing a rat for dinner, to drive us, negotiating down to 500 from 800. The son of a bitch.
The cabbie drove like a madman. The roads were surprisingly good, really no worse than Vermont, but he drove way too fast for them, passing all sorts of innocent people at high speed. He spoke a bit of English. We told him we were Canadians, he was miserable. He spoke on the phone with our AirBnB host, my friend says to me “he shouldn’t be talking this long” and he was right. In the US or Sweden or Germany, you’d get the communication done quickly so you could end the torment of speaking to a stranger “take them to xyz street, then call me, I’ll be waiting with my lights off, parked on the side of the road” but not in Ukraine apparently. They talked for about 3 minutes, long enough to negotiate who got the cash and who got the organ harvesting rights, presumably.
When we came to a dead end road, blocked by a big excavator digging machine, I was 25% certain we were about to be killed. But then he backs up, and takes a different street. It occurs to me that other Ukrainians I’ve known have been a bit long winded, so maybe it was normal for them to talk so long.
Shortly, we make it to our destination. Our host is a man in his late 40s, with a beard, an honest face, faded tattoos and a BMW 7 series. This is all very comforting. He asks me if I speak Russian, I say “no”. He looks at as if to say “well then”. To reassure him I repeat the Russian phrases I’d learned he says “your pronounce good, like Russian”. Was kind of him.
I’m on what the English call a “holiday” in Prague. I’ve finally recovered from my jet lag and am glad I didn’t publish the first post I’d written when unable to sleep and suffering its effects.
This is the first time I’ve been to Europe in five years, six years since I was really on the continent (does Scandinavia count?). It’s also the first time I’ve been to a Slavic country, though I have been to Hungary. It’s quite beautiful. It actually feels like a coherent, rooted society unlike urban north Texas, which is really just a place to make money and go shopping. Though I like Texas, don’t get me wrong.
What also stands out, compared with Texas, are the near total absence of the waddling obese or even regular old fat people. This, combined with whatever selective process made the Slavic phenotype distribution, also means there’s, you know, impossibly high numbers of gorgeous women. So that’s pretty cool. The buildings are great too. A nice mix of everything from the middle ages up to the early 20th century, which was a good place to stop. There are plenty of 1990s and 2000s buildings, and thankfully modern architecture had become a bit less of an insult to the human spirit by that time.
One thing I want to look into over the next few years is buying property, if it is possible as a foreigner, in one of the Visegrad countries, or possibly the Baltics. I understand that one can’t do this in Poland, due to understandable concerns that the Germans would try to buy their land back, buy hopefully it can be done in some of the other high-functioning central European countries. I expect tourism to boom in central Europe in coming decades, and perhaps even for western Europeans to move here in some numbers. It’s really nice.