Why Is Hungary So Anti-Immigrant?

Long story short – they have a history of being the conquered rather than the guilt of being the conquerors unlike Western Europe, a smaller economy without as much as the “fluff” (tourism, dishwashers, etc) as Western Europe, a strong leader on this subject (Viktor Orban) and most importantly, while Western Europe & the USA were shifting towards neoliberalism, multiculturalism and a consumer/individualistic society, Hungary was hanging out behind the iron curtain with only their national identity and the Communist Party – they had multiculturalism pitched to them but only at the international level a la “international solidarity”.

 

Excerpt from New World Made By Hand Novel Released

http://kunstler.com/excerpt-from-the-harrows-of-spring/

 

I absolutely love the World Made By Hand series by James Howard Kunstler and I believe this would be the fourth and final installment, considering he said he intended to make a novel for each season of the year.    The first one started off in the heat of summer and this one will pick up in the lean days of spring…

I don’t think in the modern world we really get how miserable spring can be without our contemporary systems of support.   Traditionally humans would store up food over the summer and fall to make it through the winter.   By the end of the winter even the most prepared were probably down to the least desirable food.   Other than dandelions and a few other spring greens, there wasn’t much to be had growing.   Animals were lean from the winter and often nursing new offspring.   In other words, mother nature wasn’t exactly giving up a lot of sustenance in the early spring which left a gap in the year where food was difficult to come by.

One of the most commented on aspects of the series has been the discussion of food in the post-cheap oil world Kunstler imagines, ranging from meager to downright appealing.   I imagine that this novel will be really grim, as human enjoyment in the other novels is often expressed through food…   There’s nothing to be happy about when you’re down to stored acorns and boiled dandelion greens.

I thought in “History of the Future” Kunstler was a little too hard on the “rednecks” (as usual – this guy hates the South) and as a guy from Iowa I always get a little nervous when people start bashing the South because I figure we’re next on the chopping block.    In this one it looks like the antagonists come in the form of yankee “social justice warriors” from Massachusetts, so it looks like that will probably balance out Kunstler’s involvement  the contemporary political battle going on for America’s soul.

 

I’m looking forward to the book released in June and I might do a video later…

First Alcohol in 7 Years…

So about seven years ago I decided to quit drinking.  Period.   No, not even because it’s your birthday.   Right, yeah, not even a beer.   Yeah, period.

I didn’t have a huge problem or anything, but it did get to the point where pretty much every night I was off work was spent on a bar stool with a Bud in hand and consequently every morning thereafter was spent loafing around dealing with a hangover and regretting the late night pizza.

I made a handful of live-improving choices within that previous year which made me feel like I was splitting off from the dead-end “let’s go get fucked up every night” mentality of a lot of people I was around and I increasingly became jaded with the idea of drinking or spending all night at a bar.   Although it sounds kind of strange to me now, I think I was also influenced by some of the straight edge people I was around at the time.   Not to say that they were people worth putting up on a pedestal (with all due respect), but I appreciated how they stood apart from the indulgence and tomfuckery of damn near everyone else that hung around the subculture world.

Anyways, a few months later I had my last beer.   Sitting in a cafe in Paris.  A Stella Artois, after a nice meal of duck confit, pommes frites and tiramisu.    I wasn’t exactly sure at the time it was my last and to be honest even though it was memorable, I always wished it was a good ol’ Budweiser and not some faggy European beer.

I wouldn’t say that I *lost* friends in the sense that people didn’t want to talk to me after quitting drinking, but it did make friendships difficult sometimes.   Being sober in bars gets old.   Listening to drunks feel guilty about being all fucked up around me and constantly telling me that they were “cutting back” got old (“cutting back” almost always means they were too broke to go out one night last week or something, btw).   Getting asked silly questions about if I was going to drink because of this or that occasion got old.   Although I had other bonds with my friends, drinking was definitely a big one that was hard to overcome.

For about five years I was married to/dated a girl that didn’t drink either.   Although after a short period of time I lost the temptation to drink, I’ll admit that made the time easier.  After we separated, I didn’t even think about taking up drinking again, although drinking does make being single a lot easier.   I did go to bars with friends during that period and generally enjoyed myself but at the same time I always felt a little out of place by NOT having a drink in my hand….and it sure as fuck would’ve been weird to go sit on a bar stool on my night off and pound water and I’m sure most women would send up an internal red flag if there was a dude hanging out by himself not drinking at a bar.

Anyways, on to my decision TO drink…

As everyone knows, a big set of interests of mine are things like unusual edibles, growing things, DIY stuff, food preservation, etc.  I would read about currant wine or making wine from kiwis, dandelion wine and so-on.   Although I never was interested in craft brews, the thought of them actually became interesting.   I would hear about this or that and think “Hmm, that sounds good” or “it would be cool to try to make this or that”.

The real enabler came this summer when Mary and I decided to pick up a six pack of O’Doul’s dark lager, almost as a joke (because she isn’t much of a drinker).    I actually enjoyed it and it wasn’t my last six pack of it either…   I liked the ritual of having something like that on my night off once everything is done and I’m maybe winding down, doing some work on my computer or whatever.

Although I don’t regret the decision to not drink, I do regret not drinking on SOME occasions.   I should’ve had champagne with my hockey team when we won our league’s championship last year – what an amazing event that was for us.   I’ve traveled to quite a few places since not drinking and should’ve done it just to partake in the local culture – why not ” ‘ave a pint” in a pub in London?    Get hammered on Brains (beer) in Wales and listen to the locals tell me about our culture.   Should’ve had some nice Argentinean wine or Quilmes and loosened up with the natives in Buenos Aires.    Should’ve downed some Tecates and screamed “VAYA!!! VAYA!!! VAYA!!!!” with the rowdy crowd watching the luchadores in Guadalajara.    Fuck, should’ve had a glass of wine with my mother on Christmas or a toast with Mary on some of our most important days.

Ok, so my first drink after all that time…   Mary is able to get decent wines at damn near wholesale prices through her job.    She had a bottle of a riesling that was apparently good but relatively cheap.   I forgot what it was, but I had about two glasses of it one night and it was a complete non-event. I thought I’d get tipsy, but it didn’t happen.   Two nights later was my hockey team’s Christmas party and I had two glasses of a moscato (which was really, really good), one glass of some red wine that was ok and two New Glarus beers (which are a hot commodity outside of Wisconsin, btw).   I figured that would be enough to put me under, but I just felt “bubbly” but still in control.  I think one more drink would’ve put me over though.

I’ve had a few drinks here and there…the grocery store has a “make your own six pack” for $9.99 of craft beer and I’ve purchased two of those (and drank about six) so far to try some things out.  I figured I’d probably go nuts for the next few weeks and then watch it taper off from there.   Right now I’m having a “Pumpkin Ale” which isn’t that bad, but I can’t see myself wanting to drink more than one of these.   I guess that’s kind of a good thing though…

All things considered, I don’t feel like I’ve caved or given in.   I think I’m at a point in my life where adding the occasional alcoholic beverage will only allow me to experience more things.   If a few months from now I’m downing 10 cans of Miller Lite a day, then we need to reevaluate this decision.  For now I like the idea that I can enjoy something of a special beverage in my home as I wind down for the evening or maybe after an afternoon of working outside or fully take part in some socialization rituals….and the fact that there are now so many more products that come locally and/or from small-scale agriculture that I can now partake in.

The Camp of the Saints

Since the Migrant Crisis in Europe has been raging on, I’ve been thinking a lot about a 1973 book entitled “The Camp of the Saints”, where a million migrants from India hop on some boats and head towards France, with millions more waiting in the wings.   The book was written as a dystopia, where the arrival of so many of the refugees (?) spell the end of the world as we/they know it in Europe.

When I first read it 8 years ago or so, it sounded outlandish, even though immigration to Europe was high then.   Today there’s a flow of over a million refugees streaming into Europe due to the turmoil in the middle east, so in a way we’re kind of living out The Camp of the Saints.   It’s a little eerie how much in the book lines up with what’s actually happening across the pond.

This video is my off-the-cuff review of the book and some thoughts on how it compares to the events of today.   I might make another one a little more refined later, but this is where we’re at now with it.    I have a lot to say about the book that probably didn’t make it into the video….I can’t believe how long-winded I can be!

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AiXJmEDSTAo

Columbus Day Is The Worst Day On The Internet All Year

So tomorrow is Columbus Day 2015 and just like every year, the bullshit is already flowing on facebook.

If you want to say that Columbus was an asshole, genocidal maniac or whatever, that’s fine, but let’s address all the other trimmings that go along with that…

“He didn’t discover America, he landed in the Caribbean” 

Ugh…  “America” means “the Americas” which is NOT the same as “the United States of America”, although the US is part of America.   Basically everything from Tierra Del Fuego to the Canadian Arctic is “America”.   Toronto, Nebraska, Brazil, Cuba, Jamaica, Alaska, Paraguay, etc.   All “America”.   Now if someone says he discovered the United States then yes, they are incorrect.

“There were already people here, how could he ‘discover it’?”

There most certainly were other people inhabiting the Americas…and no one in Europe were certain that they were there before him.  No one is suggesting that he was the first human being to find this land mass.   What is being suggested is that his discovery opened up the Americas to Europe, which of course was an extremely significant historical event.   While the natives did have their own history, the overwhelming majority of what’s happened here since has been an extension of Western/European history rather than theirs.   I’m sitting here in Iowa right now.   I’m sure the tribes that lived here before the arrival of my ancestors were solid dudes, but all I know of them is some (presumably) butchered place names that we still use.  Just because I live here doesn’t mean that I inherited their history.   I’m a continuation of European history and pretty much all the nations and institutions of the Americas were formed in the image of Europe.

The impact of Europe on this land mass AND this land mass on Europe cannot be understated.   Columbus bringing back this info was not a trivial event…

“So what if I just walked into your home and said ‘hey, I discovered this!'”

First, I’d probably shoot you or kick your ass.    If I didn’t, it wouldn’t matter because your “discovery” wouldn’t have any impact on anything.  No one’s mind would be blown by knowing that my land I were there and you certainly wouldn’t have the gumption to build empires out of it/us.  When Columbus did it, it really was earth-shattering for all involved.

“The Vikings were here first”

True, but their voyages basically happened in a bubble.   They showed up, didn’t stick around long and that was that.  After they left there was no continuation of European settlement in the Americas and 99.999% of the American natives had no fucking clue they were even there.   They didn’t bring back any concrete info on what lies at the other end of the ocean to Europe.

I get the sore feelings about the atrocities and all of that, but let’s be smart about this, people.

Well, I Grew Kiwis in Iowa

Within the past couple of weeks I’ve harvested kiwis here and there.   Unfortunately something (birds, squirrels, the wind, etc.) took most of them but I was able to at least taste a few of them.

Holy shit, are they delicious!   They taste like the kind of kiwis you would buy in the store, but instead of the fuzzy coating they’re about grape size and with a skin similar to grapes.

Next year I’m going to have to put netting on them or harvest them early and let them ripen on the counter, because I started off with a ton of them and ended up with a handful.   Not cool, but at least I FINALLY got to taste them.

…and the horticulture guy on Talk of Iowa said kiwis don’t grow in Iowa.   Showed him.

The Collapse of Rand Paul and Maybe Libertarianism

https://niskanencenter.org/blog/news/the-collapse-of-rand-paul-and-the-libertarian-moment-that-never-was/

The Ron Paul campaigns of 2008 and 2012 were actually kind of exciting.   Although no one really thought he would win the general election, new ideas were buzzing around America.   Granted many of those ideas were largely shot down by the American public (i.e.  “I like Ron Paul but not his foreign policy”) enough of them weren’t shot down by enough of the American public to the point where his presence and words actually did have an effect on the national consciousness just by influencing the political outlook of a small but noticeable segment of the country.

The gains made “for the cause of liberty” by Ron Paul’s campaign in 2012 have been handed off…..to his son, Rand.  Now it’s always been stated that “Rand isn’t Ron” and that there were some fundamental differences between the two, but Rand has always been presented as “our guy” and the bigger, badder future of libertarianism in the US.   I think he’s always been sold as a guy that more or less had the same views as Ron, but a more traditional conservative bent…in common political parlance, “a guy who can win”.

Instead of steamrolling on, Rand’s campaign pretty much floundered.   Ron’s base lost interest and about the only positive things you hear about him is that he’s “not as bad as the other ones”.   That might be true and I think he has done some good things in his political career but nothing that leads me to believe that he’s on the same level as his father.    Politically, he hasn’t done much to make him stand out from the other candidates and at the same time he’s done enough to maybe make him stand out from the other candidates where the typical GOP voter (who his “moderation” is meant to woo) gets a slightly sour taste from him.

This leads me to ask, was the surge in popularity of Ron Paul in the past elections a function of truly being sold on libertarian ideals OR is it a function of a lot of people just being fed up with what we currently have and gravitating towards the political theory that runs the most interference against “the man”?

I think it’s somewhere in the middle.   I think some of Ron’s main points really did resound with the American public – the government is way to big and they need to leave us alone (and stop taxing us so much), the wars are bad, spying on us is bad too and who cares if someone wants to smoke dope and two dudes want to marry?    I think others didn’t really strike a chord, like some of the “free market solves everything” thinking and his stance on immigration, which was a little wish-washy but usually tended towards “borders are bad”.   His foreign policy turned a lot of people off, but I think that was mainly people who wouldn’t have considered him anyways.

Right now Donald Trump is the candidate that is getting the most excitement, at least on the GOP side.   I promise you not a single person that wouldn’t have voted Republican anyways can say that they’ve been brought out to vote/participate by being inspired by Scott Walker, Ben Carson, etc.  I think Trump is resounding with a lot of people that normally wouldn’t care – the same with Ron Paul.   Although the author of the article is a tad condescending towards the “birthers, truthers and conspiracy theorists” that he claims made up both the Paul and Trump campaign, he is on to something.  I prefer to call us “alternative issues voters” though.

Now Trump’s success isn’t because of his “star power” as some bitter Republicans have suggested and it certainly isn’t any profound ideas.   It’s all about attacking an establishment that a large segment of the population feels failed them.  The author of this article brings up the “white working class” and it’s absolutely true that most of them (us?) have more or less written off the democratic party for various reasons…like pandering to the poor, minorities, wealthy urbanites, etc.   The republican party hasn’t been good to these (us??) people either – pandering to big business, putting our kids on the chopping block with the wars and focusing on the “religious right” over populist economics and contrary to the whiny liberal’s belief, the GOP has been absolutely terrible on immigration.

Ron’s support may not completely overlap Trump’s on the venn diagram, but their support comes/came from the segments of the population that doesn’t feel represented by the current system.    Rand just can’t tap into that because of his attempts at being a moderate and he’s not pleasing anyone.

A few years ago I thought the country would see a large lean towards libertarianism as the GOP became increasingly unelectable nationally and we would see discussion from the red states/working class whites turning towards distancing themselves from Washington.   Now I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw a viable populist campaign that slams Republican economics AND Democrat social justice before we see a real circling of the wagons from large swaths of the country.

 

My other observation is that it’s a real shitty state of affairs that someone like Paul or Trump has to latch on the GOP in order to be taken seriously.   I suppose it’s the same for Bernie Sanders on the other side.    It says something about our system when you pretty much have to work within the two party framework in order to be anywhere near competitive in an election.   I think this is on the way out (eventually though), and the fact that the GOP establishment’s guy that was supposed to woo all of us alternative issues voters (ha, I like that) has fallen as flat as he has shows this.    We’re still in for some interesting years ahead….

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