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Yes, Dave, sad but true. I had trouble sleeping last night because I was fretting about the latest SCOTUS ruling on buying elections. I had trouble sleeping when Bush Jr. was elected by a five to four vote. I had trouble sleeping when we invaded Iraq. When I think about how we irradiated Iraq with depleted uranium it interferes with my sleep. Knowing Afghanistan is ruined for generations whether we stay or leave bothers me. The non-stop lying about the economy from sources private and public gets on my nerves. Knowing that a little better access to overpriced insurance hardly improves health care makes me uneasy. Observing my overweight, over-entertained, non-thinking countrymen makes me anxious about the future. So, I need to suck it up and get used to the 'new normal'. To me it really does seem different from the old normal I grew up in.

Have a good day, as the saying goes.

Best regards and thanks for continuing to write.

Dave Cohen

Thanks for saying something, Dennis.

The simple fact is that people (even DOTE readers) seem to be unable to respond when I write stuff like this.

As you know, I didn't make up those April 2nd news stories. Anyone can follow the links. Those stories are self-explanatory.

My interpretation of them and all the other events of recent years surely can not be controversial at this point.

The fact that posts like this meet with utter silence, well, in some ways maybe that's the most depressing thing of all.


-- Dave

Mike Roberts

I hope you don't think that silence in the comments means that readers don't care. Maybe you've said it all for them here. I don't live in the US but I can see echoes in the societies that I do or have lived in. It's good that you remind us of the situation from time to time. Many of us realise what's going on but can become blase about it, as there seems to be no end to the decline stories and so that is the new normal, in many places, or even globally. We've now become used to it - shifting baselines and all that. So an occasional jolt is "good".

Here in New Zealand, we have an election coming up (luckily, they only last for about 6 months, not 3 years, which is just as well, since they are held every 3 years). The current government has lied, ignores referenda, rides roughshod over privacy and explicitly says that it doesn't care about other views. But the voters seem to continue to like them. So we'll probably get more of the same (including increased areas made available for oil/gas exploration). It makes no sense but then the world seems to make no sense these days.


Dave - don't take silence as necessarily negative. Your words in this piece are thunderous truths and sometimes one just has to sit in awe and try to add something cogent in response.

In 2010 or so, some Norwegian philosopher (can't remember his name at present and I detest google) said that the USA was "finished" and this would become completely evident by 2020. Your 2014 marker in today's post is a prescient historical document.

Dave Cohen


I don't take silence as negative. I take it as another example of the passivity which I discussed in this post.

When people are presented with bad news, even when they have the ability to process it, they tend to shut down (a psychological term).

Which pretty much makes people next to useless. It certainly makes writing this stuff pointless.

-- Dave



Gil Scott-Heron's Comment No. 1 Who Will Survive in America?


The current form of government on the geographical area now called the United States of America was not the first form found on these lands, nor was it ever likely to be the last. Eventually, something will supercede this form of governance and society. I personally tend to put the fork in around 2010 (with the Citizens United decision), but 2014 will do just as well. Indeed, in historical terms, a few decades either way matters not at all, even less so in geologic terms.

So, the the old normal took over for an older normal, which took over from an older normal than that. And now (or soon, or recently) a new normal takes over for the old normal. Eventually, a newer normal will replace that one. Such is the nature of humans and time.

I agree with you that things will get worse. I would like to think that they will get worse, but eventually get better, and I think there is some historical support for short-moderate term improvements (sort of a "dead cat bounce"). But such bounces are almost always the result of either newly available resources or no-longer-bearable suffering. The days of the former are past for this planet. Unfortunately, as you point out, people can suffer much more than they think they can, especially when starting from the historically unprecedented levels obtained in this country. So our bounce, if it is to come, will probably be a very long time coming.

A new normal, indeed.

As for the silence, perhaps it is also reflective of the fact that sometimes you just nail the idea such that any response seems capable only of taking away from the message. There are certainly plenty of times I think, "Well, you know, there it is then. What can I possibly add to that? Nothing at all." It doesn't mean the message wasn't received, nor does it mean that the message wasn't understood and appreciated (even when it may be depressing, as is often the case when discussing human beings). As for the point of writing, the value there is clearly subjective. However, I think that your writing helps many of use crystallize our thoughts on these subjects, and that, in turn, helps us navigate Flatland, where, like it or not, we have to interact with its denizens. So, it seems to me that if the writing helps anybody (even yourself, even just to blow off steam!) then it has a point and has value. Anyway, that's how I see it and why I appreciate the effort you put into it. Thanks.


The Supreme Court stuff is the most immediately alarming to me - Citizens United and now this. The last remaining safeguard is individual limits, and at least one judge on the bench wants to overturn those as well:

Justice Clarence Thomas agreed with the outcome of the case, but wrote separately to say that he would have gone further and wiped away all contribution limits.

“This case represents yet another missed opportunity to right the course of our campaign finance jurisprudence by restoring a standard that is faithful to the First Amendment. Until we undertake that reexamination, we remain in a ‘halfway house’ of our own design,” Thomas wrote.

Could Thomas have sway on the matter in future cases?

Jim Bowron

I don't think that anyone who follows the political scene in the US, and readers of this blog especially, was surprised by the 5-4 split and the majority decision in this case. Maybe those 5 want to get you back, as closely as possible, to the original Constitution (strict constructionists) which restricts the right to vote to land holders etc. To say so directly would not work, so they do the best they can to narrow meaningful participation in the democratic process to those who have the most spare money.

A Farewell To Kings

Dear Sir,

I came across your work here perhaps just over two years ago and very much resonated with what you say and how you say it : )

I commented feverishly from 01NOV11 through 01MAR12 at OWS trying to support the idea of a "National General Assembly" aka a Continental Congress. Your TJ quote above stirred those memories. I accumulated a +1500 karma score at ows.org and duked it out at NYCGA too. I learned A LOT and met many many interesting people there (likely including the link to you Dave) but it was exhausting.It was frustrating and depressing at times but I can't say OWS was pointless to society or me personally. "The force goes into the flow". DOTE helps keep it flowing which you personally may not realize some days.

I had to hang up the 'post comment' button. Alas for me, events, kicked off by Neven's arctic sea ice blog and then news of the coming AR5 with Paris 2015 approaching fast has made me dust off the button. I rediscovered DOTE too. I have been considering the climate change issue since I saw James Burke's After The Warming almost 25 years ago. I would enjoy offering you occasional bits for you to consider including on your very valuable website.

Thank You

p.s.Paris 2015 = the end of the beginning of the end of the Empire ! It won't be about IPCC, UNFCCC, or some lunatic that decides to pull a Liz Wahl and quit as the COP opens a la Copenhagen. I think the gloves are going to come off in Paris and obviously it won't be Chavez doing the pounding this time...

Only two more melts till Paris ; )

Yours Truly,

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