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E: "The happy-go-lucky attitude of American and British financiers are not mindful about the dangers in tweaking the Dragon's tail."

During the frantic drive to develop the atomic bomb in WW2, a number of American scientists were witnessing a demonstration put on by one of the scientists. It consisted of manually closing the gap between two chunks of fissible uranium with a prying screwdriver, when the experimenter slipped and the gap closed too far, resulting in the air around the metal turning blue. This ionized air indicated that the uranium chunks had reached near critical mass before the experimenter reacted to separate them again. Several observers and the experimenter died later from the radiation effects.

This story appeared many years ago in Readers Digest. It was titled 'Tickling the Dragon's Tail'.


I live in Finland. GE has started to hawk instant loans through TV ads, you can get a loan from € 2.000 to 50.000 euros instantly...

I suspect Carlyle has been looted of its funds. It used to be at the cutting edge of the dirty business. Now the Bushes, Majors et al have probably bailed a long time ago. Not too long ago they allowed the Arabs, I believe Dubai, to by a share for a few billions, just in time for the collapse.

I wonder if the Arabs truly are that naive. People like Prince Bendar certainly know how the game is played. If they think the US has begun to swindle them out of huge sums of money it will be interesting to see how they react. They can make life for the US in the ME region very very uncomfortable, that is for sure. Indirectly of course. Not to say if they squeeze oil production even further to get their money back leading to even higher oil prices...


Building an economy on high finance was intended to be complex, incomprehensible to many insiders and designed to stay that way - Of Human Bondage. But that was relevant only on the road to the mess we're now in. One only needs to know how a confidence game works going forward. The NY Observer wrote an article about Elaine's former hood called "The Creative Crescent in a Drought". They lament the exodus of artists and writers because both the boom and prices are unrelentingly up (i.e., get in and buy while you still can). Yet, the news is pouring out about growing foreclosures in Brooklyn and home owners in the Hamptons that haven't made mortgage payments for a year. My all time favorite is actually a local furniture operation where I live that runs TV ads incessantly hawking "make no payments until 2010" and "pay no interest until 2014" - while never showing a stick of furniture. Hell, they aren't in the furniture business stupid! They're in the "terms" business!

I sense the game shifts to who is to blame for the debacle. Exactly who: spilled the beans, pulled a rabbit out of the hat, let the cookie crumble, walked whistling past the graveyard, showed their cards, spit into the wind, opened Pandora's Box, put the cart before the horse, let the cat out of the bag, yanked on the Wizard's curtain, let the shit hit the fan and walked on their grandmother's grave. Some troll on another site called bloggers and honest analysts cheap shots to our time honored system who are below the belt, sucker punching us. He wisely counsels that fallacious beliefs and misplaced priorities are our collective bread and butter without breaking into a sweat. Now, everything from fast food to weight loss centers has to worry about rising food costs affecting peoples' ability to afford to stay fat. The service economy of the unneeded and unwanted is a frightening thing. A great many people have hitched their career wagons to non-essential consumption and lifestyles.

Elaine Meinel Supkis

I had to swim in the shark infested waters of the big stagflation years of the 1970s. My major was, believe it or not, German Languages! Medieval German. Talk about useless.

I still read it for fun. But I had a child and then my husband found he had a fatal form of cancer all in the same year. I went from just fine to total poverty in that year! I moved to NYC and when winter came, had no shoes, just sandals. A lady gave me a pair of boots, another gave me gloves after watching me shiver at a bus stop!

I had to work like hell to pull us through this horror. I went into the slums and decided to pull everyone together and upwards and this was DAMN DANGEROUS. I must be the only white woman ever allowed to address the Black Muslims on their home base in Newark, talking about street patrols and how to pull minority kids out of the downward cycle they were trapped in.

The fact is, these forces are hard to fix and I did quite well. Made money, I also learned I could walk on metaphoric broken glass barefooted. A useful thing to know.

There will always be work. Our comfort level rises or falls. We lived without airconditioning before 1960. We can do it again. I lived without it in DEATH VALLEY in the early 1950's. We dug this deep pit and piled boards and then dirt on top. It was cool inside this cave of ours. This is where we kids played or slept during the hottest hours of summer.

And so on! Humans are not nearly as weak as we think. I remember when nearly no one had air conditioners in NYC. My husband's parents and friends all slept outside on the fire escapes, balconies and roof tops. I did this too! In the 1970's. It actually made the streets SAFER. TV and modern climate controls are huge factors in the rise of street crime. People used to be outside in the evenings back when I was a child.


And when you say Carlyle you are saying the Bush and Bin Laden families. Paraguay and aquifers come to mind. We can do without a lot but water is fundamental.

Elaine Meinel Supkis

Yes, the bin Ladens were with Bush Sr. at a Carlyle business meeting on 9/11.


Ha... we didn't have a/c until 1972 and that was a window unit...(our house sat in the mouth of a holler and it cooled off at night and the a/c was turned off) that was after we got telephone service in 1969... the phone co would not run the lines across the river, but we finally got our mailbox one mile from the house (guess it was a good thing we lived 2 miles off the highway). In fact it was 20 years later that I learned why my mom put down the carpet samples from the store for our liv rm carpet ( I thought it was because she wanted it colorful, I didn't know it was because we were poor!)
The young people have no clue what is coming up upon us..... but hopefully it will draw families and communities closer together.
It does aggravate me that while the Federal reserve is lowing interest rates for the ARMS that are due to reset this year, the elderly/fixed income people are truly suffering because of food, energy (utility bills) and medical are soaring... someone in Congress needs to wake up and put price controls on these 3 items if they're gonna trash the economy.

Gary W

Nice picture from the "Hell" panel, looks like we are headed there. Could you write another of your fine articles about the vast commitment to fantasy that is derivatives? When that begins to unravel, the collapse is near.

Elaine Meinel Supkis

Poverty is all in the mind. The people who lived in stone huts with straw roofs in Ireland, for example, had very rich social and musical lives. The poor of Wales had the best bards and poets.

Much of great art swelled up out of the loins of poverty.

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