22 February 2009

Trouble at Home, Throwing in the Towel

I apologize for not having written in awhile, but I've been out of the country for a job interview and orientation in Bangkok, plus I have to get all the shit in my house ready to move out. ABWF asked me to write something about the experience so here it goes. They say that spending time in far off lands gets you some perspective on your home country, and that was certainly evident in my recent escapades. I'm going to work for an NGO that promotes economic development in rural areas in Thailand and Cambodia later this year. They took me to some villages in the Isan (Northeastern) area of Thailand, which is characterized as the most economically depressed and depending mostly on agriculture. I wasn't sure what to expect, but it wasn't similar to wandering into a bamboo hut village in the middle of the jungle like in old Vietnam movies and it was anything but pathetic.

Everywhere you look people were loading up trucks full of rice bound for the markets in the city. Children were busying themselves going to and from schools on scooters. And, vendors were attempting to sell us coconuts with the tops chopped off for 10-20 baht a piece. In short, these people were working diligently to improve their situation and not waiting on the revolving door government in Bangkok to come give them a handout.

If you compare this reality with what's happening in America, it's downright frightening to experience how quickly our own country is declining due to our lack of gumption. The massive government giveaway program was passed by the President while I was away and our deficit is expected to approach WWII-era levels, which is no small chunk of change. It comes as no surprise that the stock market continues to tank as there is little hope for prosperity in the future under such a crushing amount of debt as politicians continue to buy voting blocs off with tax dollars. Instead of pulling ourselves up by the proverbial bootstraps, most Americans just seem to be looking for more handouts to continue funding living beyond our own means. The well-deserved rant of CNBC's Santelli against using taxpayer dollars to pay for people's irresponsible investment in the real estate market was met with scorn by the White House Press Secretary. I didn't know that it was the White House's job to attack critical media, but I guess Gibbs is taking notes from the Hugo Chavez playbook. These rubes received extensive tax breaks to build their little shrines to their own egos out in the burbs, and now we have to bail out these assholes? Fuck that. And look how these sheisters are repaying us using the Puget Sound area as an example.

The traffic from Seattle to suburban Bellevue is a complete clusterfuck and in serious need of better mass transit options to alleviate congestion and uphold Washington state's green image. But skeezy homeowners are already mounting opposition. From the Seattle Times:

But that convenience would unleash construction, congestion and noise upon the area, and some neighborhood residents are determined to keep light rail away from their streets.

"I believe when we bought into this neighborhood we bought into the single-family lifestyle," said Renay Bennett, president of the Bellecrest Neighborhood Association. "We like the 'burbs."
What the hell. It's like people want to live in their own little enclaves with all the benefits of civilizations minus all the inconveniences. Hemingway was certainly correct when he opined years ago on the suburbs as having "Wide Lawns and Narrow Minds". Because of attitudes like this, I have great pessimism about the future of America. This, of course, kills me to say, because I want America to be the best and brightest and spent 6.5 years in her service. But, looking at modern trends and our sad attempt to live in a Ponzi economy, it just seems like we are going to wither away. Our best bet is going to be to make sauces and trinkets for Asian tourists who come visit our country to see what a fallen giant looks like. They say that the children are our future, but looking at how they are perceiving our current fundamentals, they aren't inspiring confidence either.
(pic from Moonbattery)


Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting about your experiences. I was going to write Welcome Back, but didn't think it would really fit in with this post ;)

My family has some really cool rubbings an uncle made from some temple walls in Thailand in the late 60's (not all of them are exactly "kid friendly). I've always wondered what the temple itself was like.

I share your concerns about the future of this country and don't like a lot of things that seem to be accepted as societal/cultural norms these days.

(for some reason I'm not being allowed to post with my WordPress ID. Not sure why...)

M said...

hey, welcome back! congrats on the job - looks like your goal of becoming an ex-pat is gonna happen. this post really cheered me up, thanks! who knows, maybe those of us that are sticking around to watch the U.S. fall will be able to help pick itself back up...maybe...

Lisa said...

Ponzi economy, indeed. The audacious venality of the Masters of the Universe is hard to wrap one's mind around. Everyone's getting handouts, but the greedy stand to benefit the most. What a shame for those who have lived within their means, and played fair.

Wither away, indeed; not with a bang, but a whimper.

Shea said...

being an ex pat will be great.
especially when in a few years the revolution happens, and you can be safe and prosperously away from that tragedy

Shea said...

You hit the nail on the head with that phrase, Ponzi Economy.
Everyone knows it, and the rich, elite, have been, still are, making a mad dash, like a wide reciever in the super bowl, going for the winning touch down, to get all they can, however they can, while they can, and then they'll probably all leave the country

Nixon said...

The "Ponzi Economy" line was stolen from Peter Schiff, who I linked above. Check him out, he seems to know what's up.

olgreydog7 said...

Just remember to do your trafficing in persons GMT before you head off for good. Do a search for Louis CK everything is great people are unhappy. Great little rant on Conan about people today.

Nixon said...

I already did that GMT, and it was a pretty big schnoozer. The whole human trafficking thing is really overblown anyways.

Girl in the Middle said...

I agree that we are in a world of shit right now. But I refuse to believe that this country can be taken down by a bunch of greedy idiots and sleazy politicians.

Anyway, sounds like you are a man with a plan. Good for you!

You're not going to stop blogging are you? :(

Lisa said...


I hope that a "bunch of greedy idiots and sleazy politicians" won't take us down, but surely the blindness and greed of the average citizen complicates matters.

Certainly, a bunch of terrorists could not have taken us down. Only we could do that, and it remains to be seen how well we have bollixed matters.

A-ro said...

It's really great that you might work for that NGO. You really seem to be into the whole "service" thing! I know you're not doing it for the admiration of the likes of me, but you have it anyway.

Now, my question regarding your commentary on the "massive government giveaway program" (a.k.a. fiscal stimulus): do you think it will not work? (By "work" I mean two things: shorten the recession and reduce the misery caused by the recession by lowering unemployment). Or do you think it might "work" but that we should still not do it because people need to get what's coming to them from their bad decisions.

It seems like you're agnostic or negative on the effectiveness, but that you kind of view the economy as a morality play, and think a recession might be good for our moral character as a nation. Like maybe we'll start acting like the admirable Thai subsistence farmers and coconut entrepreneurs. Do I have that right?

Ms. Kiyum said...

Welcome back, Brother. Good luck with your new endeavor.

Nixon said...


I'm mostly concerned with hyper-inflation down the line...like the Weimar Republic in the 1920s.