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CSotD: Investing our sons and daughters

I wish I thought Mike Thompson were kidding a little more about this.

Not that it’s 100 percent accurate: So far as I know, you won’t see goats and chickens wandering around the streets in Tehran. One of the oddities of Iran is that it has modern, Western-facing cities but the people out in the country live a more timeless old-line life, and the background of the post-election demonstrations a few years ago was that the mullahs are kept in power by those conservative rural voters.

It provides an odd balance, such that the nuclear agreement was negotiated by modern, western-educated professionals in suits and ties.

And, by the way, the agreement was working, until Dear Leader stuck in his oar.

It’s pure Islamophobia, and, just as we knew when W got into office that going back to Iraq was on his to-do list, it’s been plain that the chickenhawks around Old Yellowstain were looking to stir up trouble with Iran.

But, certainly, if you want to provoke a new war — because the old wars just aren’t fun anymore — Iran is a good country to pick on.

The Supreme Council — the actual mullahs who stifle the rest of the government — has the Revolutionary Guard, a militia that runs around doing stupid things that the rest of the government and the real army then have to fix.

Most often, they pop up in the Gulf running fake attacks on Allied vessels. Everybody braces and hopes they don’t actually make a move that would call for a response and they bluster and fuss and then go back to shore.

These things go unreported in the news because, so far, they’ve had enough sense to stop just short of getting their asses blowed up.

But every once in a while, they’ll seize some small vessel that has strayed into their waters and then everyone makes speeches and threats, until the grownups in Tehran prevail and make them hand back the boat and crew.

However, apparently somebody out there did something stupid the other day and it’s not clear who did what to a pair of Saudi ships and a Norwegian ship, but the Saudis reported it and they’re our friends and they certainly wouldn’t lie, so we’ll see.

But Thompson is right to suspect a little wagging of the dog, and it’s likely to work.

If you haven’t seen this, brace yourself, because the stupid is great among our fellow Americans. And if they don’t know what Arabic numerals are, they’re even less clear on the fact the Iranians aren’t Arabs anyway.


Meanwhile most Americans weren’t born when this exchange took place on the floor of Senate, following dubious reports of North Vietnamese attacks on our ships in the Gulf of Tonkin:

Hey, if Trump can’t get a wall on the Southern Border, maybe he can build one on the National Mall, next to LBJ’s.


Meanwhile, whoops.

Things appear to be a little cattywumpus in the stock markets, but there’s a cure for that, as David Rowe demonstrates. More tariffs!

I keep seeing people on social media fretting over their 401k’s but unless you are retiring today and plan to spend the entire thing immediately, that’s really the least of your worries.

A well-structured 401k should reflect the overall economy at any given time and either it will rebound before you need it, or we’ll all be screwed anyway.


The immediate impact of Dear Leader’s economic adventurism, as Steve Sack says, is on the consumer: It’s what you buy or don’t buy today and how that resonates throughout the economy and in your personal life.

It seems, from Trump’s Twitter stream, that he’s starting to acknowledge that China doesn’t pay the tariffs, Ameican consumers do, but his solution is to simply buy American.

Or, as they say in France, if the peasants have no bread, they should eat cake.

That is, it’s a great idea except that (A) American goods already tend to cost more and (B) they also tend to contain a lot of Chinese parts, which means they’ll be paying tariffs and that won’t lower their costs to the consumer.

Dear Leader seems to have some notion of an isolationist utopia in which we are completely independent of other countries, but that has never been true in history and it certainly isn’t possible today.


Meanwhile, I got a chuckle out of today’s Bliss, because, yes, it’s all our fault.

Just as everything was our parents’ fault when we were young, and, if you read that snatch of Gulf of Tonkin debate above, yes, it was.

But it was never a conspiracy, just a series of blunders.

We didn’t have the megaphone of social media. We did our bitching and moaning in underground papers with incestuously low circulation.

And yet you still got the impression that young people all had long hair and bell-bottoms then, despite the fact that a lot of us were in Vietnam or elsewhere in the military and a whole lot of others were punching in at the factory each morning and punching out each evening.

It’s all a matter of whoever holds the conch shell getting to be the one who talks.

I feel sorry about the cost-of-college thing. The Millennials got caught up in a real mess, but I notice that my grandkids’ cohort is looking at college askance.

I ran into a young friend at the dog park the other day. I’ve known him since he was about 10, but he’s a junior now, so I did the Old Man thing of asking him when school ended and what his plans were.

He plans to follow his older brother through voc-tech and has already been working to save money for some kind of college, bit by bit as he can do it, and with a real goal in sight, not some fantasy of a magical sheepskin.

I don’t think Gen Z is going to spend a lot of time blaming their parents for things.

They’ll be too busy.


Community Comments

#1 Meg Wright
@ 6:34 pm

Read the rest of the story about the “arabic numerals” survey at

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