Saturday, December 26, 2020

"For 55 Percent Of Americans, 2020 Has Been 'A Personal Financial Disaster'”

"For 55 Percent Of Americans, 
2020 Has Been 'A Personal Financial Disaster'”
by Epic Economist

"To keep up with appearances and pretend that the final stretch of 2020 hasn't been as disastrous as the rest of the year, Congress has passed a new stimulus package as "damage control". But it's safe to say, the last thing they're interested in doing for us is controlling any damages. Our economy has been suffering for such a long time. Business owners have been literally begging for help. They have left us hanging for months, pushing millions upon millions to poverty and despair. And then, only when we were about to hit our lowest level, when everything around us was dramatically crumbling and people were starting to react to the absurd inaction of our authorities, they came up with $600 dollar checks as if it would solve anything. 

The worst part of it is that the biggest share of the $900 billion relief bill will stay in the hands of those who already have plenty of money. Meanwhile, over fifty percent of our entire population reported to be in the middle of a personal financial disaster. Families are deep in debt and, eventually, it won't be possible to keep extending moratoriums anymore, which means that over the next months we will inevitably see a tsunami of evictions. Although politicians and policymakers might want to shift our focus away from the mess they have created by handing us some petty cash, that won't change the fact they have enabled and fueled this economic catastrophe. That's what we discuss in this video. 

The U.S. has fallen into a brutal economic depression and the measures taken to keep things from spiraling out of control are just as effective as putting a Band-aid over an open wound. Issuing $900 billion dollars on top of the whopping 27.5 trillion dollars accumulated in national debt will certainly put us on a highway to hyperinflation since it goes without saying that we do not have this money. Apart from a small fraction of the total bill, which will be used to temporarily boost federal assistance programs, the remaining billions will be cashed into the pockets of the wealthy. 

Our citizens have been facing coup after coup since the burst of the crisis. So far, we documented over 70 million unemployment claims, and as lockdowns continue and more businesses are shuttered, this figure won't stop climbing. Right now, the economic pain has become so acute, a recent survey revealed that over half of all Americans have fallen into a personal financial disaster this year. 

According to OnePoll, 55 percent of the population reported to be facing financial hardships brought by the consequences of the health crisis. Sixty-two percent disclosed plans to take on a second job next year, but considering the dire situation of the labor market and the hundreds of thousands of businesses that closed permanently, of course, there won't be that many jobs to go around during 2021.

Never in history, we have collectively undergone so many financial strains as we are doing now. For nearly 37% - or four in 10 - that includes making dramatic cutbacks on their budgets. Keeping in mind that people are already trimming their spendings to manage to pay their rent and keep a roof over their heads, that signalizes they'll have to sacrifice themselves even more to live with some dignity. 

The staggering levels of debt in addition to impaired credit scores are likely to impact on people's housing security. Not only low-wage workers, but the American middle-class is about to be threatened by the coming tsunami of evictions. A recent report indicated that even though Congress has set aside $25 billion in rental assistance to state and local governments, this is not even half of the money that renters are projected to owe in back rent and utilities by the end of January. Moody’s forecasts that 12 million renters will owe an average of $5,850 for a total of $70 billion or almost three times as much as the current bill includes.

Soon, debt payments will come due, burdening families that still suffer from long-term unemployment and added health care costs. This could mean rising credit default rates as well as spillovers of economic pain to other households, from who people borrowed to pay their bills. As millions of Americans are financially hurting, it's pretty evident that we will need way more than a one-time relief bill with limited financial assistance to get back on our feet. But as authorities keep failing to properly evaluate and address the economic fallout of the crisis, our population keeps being pushed towards debt hysteria and austerity. In other words, the next chapters of the collapse will likely be the darkest America has ever faced, but still many do not understand the true nature of the crisis that is now unfolding all around us."

Musical Interlude: Gnomusy (David Caballero), "Virtuality II"; "Dolmen Ridge"

Gnomusy (David Caballero), "Virtuality II"
Gnomusy (David Caballero), "Dolmen Ridge"

Playlist continues...

"A Look to the Heavens"

"A bright spiral galaxy of the northern sky, Messier 63 is nearby, about 30 million light-years distant toward the loyal constellation Canes Venatici. Also cataloged as NGC 5055, the majestic island universe is nearly 100,000 light-years across, about the size of our own Milky Way. Its bright core and majestic spiral arms lend the galaxy its popular name, The Sunflower Galaxy, while this exceptionally deep exposure also follows faint, arcing star streams far into the galaxy's halo.
Extending nearly 180,000 light-years from the galactic center the star streams are likely remnants of tidally disrupted satellites of M63. Other satellite galaxies of M63 can be spotted in this remarkable wide-field image, made with a small telescope, including five newly identified faint dwarf galaxies, which could contribute to M63's star streams in the next few billion years."


"Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are princesses who are only 
waiting to see us act, just once, with beauty and courage.
Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, 
something helpless that wants our love." 
- Rainer Maria Rilke

"The Poet: Charles Bukowski, "The Laughing Heart"


“In The Long Run… We Are All Alive”

“In The Long Run… We Are All Alive”
by MN Gordon 

“In 1976, economist Herbert Stein, father of Ben Stein, the economics professor in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, observed that U.S. government debt was on an unsustainable trajectory. He, thus, established Stein’s Law: “If something cannot go on forever, it will stop.” Stein may have been right in theory. Yet the unsustainable trend of U.S. government debt outlasted his life.  Herbert Stein died in 1999, several decades before the crackup. Those reading this may not be so lucky.

Sometimes the end of the world comes and goes, while some of us are still here. We believe our present episode of debt, deficits, and state sponsored economic destruction, is one of these times.. We’ll have more on this in just a moment. But first, let’s peer back several hundred years. There we find context, edification, and instruction.

In 1696, William Whiston, a protégé of Isaac Newton, wrote a book. It had the grandiose title, “A New Theory of the Earth from its Original to the Consummation of All Things.” In it he proclaimed, among other things, that the global flood of Noah had been caused by a comet. Mr. Whiston took his book very serious. The good people of London took it very serious too. Perhaps it was Whiston’s conviction. Or his great fear of comets. But, for whatever reason, it never occurred to Londoners that he was a Category 5 quack.

Like Neil Ferguson, and his mathematical biology cohorts at Imperial College, London, Whiston’s research filled a void. Much like today’s epidemiological models, the science was bunk. Nonetheless, the results supplied prophecies of the apocalypse to meet a growing demand. It was just a matter of time before Whiston’s research would cause trouble…

Judgement Day: In 1736, William Whiston crunched some data and made some calculations. He projected these calculations out and saw the future. And what he witnessed scared him mad. He barked. He ranted. He foamed at the mouth to anyone who would listen. Pretty soon he’d stirred up his neighbors with a prophecy that the world would be destroyed on October 13th of that year when a comet would collide with the earth.

Jonathan Swift, in his work, “A True and Faithful Narrative of What Passed in London on a Rumour of the Day of Judgment,” quoted Whiston: “Friends and fellow-citizens, all speculative science is at an end: the period of all things is at hand; on Friday next this world shall be no more. Put not your confidence in me, brethren; for tomorrow morning, five minutes after five, the truth will be evident; in that instant the comet shall appear, of which I have heretofore warned you. As ye have heard, believe. Go hence, and prepare your wives, your families, and friends, for the universal change.”

Clergymen assembled to offer prayers. Churches filled to capacity. Rich and paupers alike feared their judgement. Lawyers worried about their fate. Judges were relieved they were no longer lawyers. Teetotalers got smashed. Drunks got sober. Bankers forgave their debtors. Criminals, to be executed, expressed joy.

The wealthy gave their money to beggars. Beggars gave it back to the wealthy. Several rich and powerful gave large donations to the church; no doubt, reserving first class tickets to heaven. Many ladies confessed to their husbands that one or more of their children were bastards. Husbands married their mistresses. And on and on…

The Archbishop of Canterbury, William Wake, had to officially deny this prediction to ease the public consternation. But it did little good. Crowds gathered at Islington, Hampstead, and the surrounding fields, to witness the destruction of London, which was deemed the “beginning of the end.” Then, just like Whiston said, a comet appeared. Prayers were made. Deathbed confessions were shared. And at the moment of maximum fear, something remarkable happened: the world didn’t end. The comet did not collide with earth. It was merely a near miss.

The experience of Whiston, and his pseudoscience prophecy, shows that predictions of the end of the world come and go while people still remain. Sometimes the fallout of these predictions, and the foolishness they provoke, is limited. Other times the foolishness they provoke leads to catastrophe. Here’s what we mean…

“In the long run we are all dead,” said 20th Century economist and Fabian socialist, John Maynard Keynes. This was Keynes rationale for why governments should borrow from the future to fund economic growth today. Of course, politicians love an academic theory that gives them cover to intervene in the economy. This is especially so when it justifies spending other people’s money to buy votes. Keynesian economics, and in particular, counter-cyclical stimulus, does just that.

U.S. politicians have attempted to borrow and spend the nation to prosperity for the last 80 years. Over the past decade, the Federal Reserve has aggressively printed money to fund Washington’s epic borrowing binge. Fed Chair Jay Powell confirmed that the Fed will pursue policies of dollar destruction to, somehow, print new jobs.

The world as it was once known – where a dollar was as good as gold – has come and gone. Today, in life after the end of that world, we are witnessing the illusion of wealth, erected by four generations of borrowing and spending, crumble before our eyes. Moreover, contrary to Keynes, in the long run we are not all dead. In fact, in the long run we are all very much alive. And we are all living with the compounding consequences of shortsighted economic policies.”

The Daily "Near You?"

Acerra, Campania, Italy. Thanks for stopping by!

"Never Forget..."

"Take risks! That is really what life is about. We must pursue our own happiness. Nobody has ever lived our lives; there are no guidelines. Trust your instincts. Accept nothing but the best. But then also look for it carefully. Don't allow it to slip between your fingers. Sometimes, good things come to us in a such a quiet fashion. And nothing comes complete. It is what we make of whatever we encounter that determines the outcome. What we choose to see, what we choose to save. And what we choose to remember. Never forget that all the love in your life is there, inside you, always."
- Linda Olsson

"Everything Is More Beautiful..."


Seals and Crofts,
"We May Never Pass This Way Again"
Full screen recommended.

The Poet: Galway Kinnell, "Another Night in the Ruins"

"Another Night in the Ruins"

"How many nights must it take
one such as me to learn
that we aren't, after all, made
from that bird that flies out of its ashes,
that for us
as we go up in flames,
our one work is
to open ourselves,
to be the flames?"

~ Galway Kinnell

"Binaural Beats Happiness Frequency Brainwave Music - Serotonin, Dopamine, Endorphin Release Music"

Full Screen recommended.
"Binaural Beats Happiness Frequency Brainwave Music - 
Serotonin, Dopamine, Endorphin Release Music" 

"Brainwave Power Music dedicates ourselves to creating original sound therapy music, using unique Musical Compositions, Binaural Beats and Isochronic Tones as our primary sound elements mixed with different instruments and soundscapes to create a relaxed audio environment. We have one main goal: To help others through our music, be it for physical, emotional, mental or spiritual purposes. We constantly upload new music, and continue to work hard to provide new quality music for everyone."

Folks, we’re in the fight of our lives, and for our lives, literally. I for one will take any edge I can get, and you should, too. This works, as simple as that. I hope you use it, as I do… Stay strong!
- CP

"How It Really Is"


"No Room For Cowards..."

“Life has no victims. There are no victims in this life. No one has the right to point fingers at his/her past and blame it for what he/she is today. We do not have the right to point our finger at someone else and blame that person for how we treat others, today. Don’t hide in the corner, pointing fingers at your past. Don’t sit under the table, talking about someone who has hurt you. Instead, stand up and face your past! Face your fears! Face your pain! And stomach it all! You may have to do so kicking and screaming and throwing fits and crying – but by all means – face it! This life makes no room for cowards.”
- C. Joybell C.

"Covid-19 Pandemic Updates 12/26/20"

"Covid-19 Pandemic Updates 12/26/20"
 Dec. 26, 2020 12:07 AM ET: 
The coronavirus pandemic has sickened more than 79,826,600 
people, according to official counts, including 18,797,958 Americans.
At least 1,749,800 have died.

"The COVID Tracking Project"
Every day, our volunteers compile the latest numbers on tests, cases, 
hospitalizations, and patient outcomes from every US state and territory.

Friday, December 25, 2020

"Panic And Shoplifting Sweep Across America As Fears Of An Economic Collapse Continue To Rise"

"Panic And Shoplifting Sweep Across America As 
Fears Of An Economic Collapse Continue To Rise"
by Epic Economist

"Today, the lives of millions of Americans is about to be greatly shaken, as the federal benefits that were helping several families to stay afloat during this period of economic collapse are scheduled to expire, and no one really knows if the new stimulus package is going to come into force as soon as expected. It's no news that this year's economic meltdown led a large chunk of our population to unemployment, and consequently, to fall into poverty and face housing and food insecurity, but as of tomorrow, these households will officially lose their safety net, and we can’t tell for sure they will be able to qualify for the next round of benefits while we head towards a very dark winter. If this isn't the saddest Christmas the U.S. has ever had, we wonder how much worse things could get, because at this point, the situation has become so dire it is just heartbreaking to watch our citizens and our country go down this tortuous path. 

Panic and Desperation has been taking over the nation. Amid the worst hunger crisis this country has ever recorded in modern times, and the reduction of programs like SNAP and WIC as well as miles-long waiting lines in food banks, numerous people already started stealing food to survive. Authorities, retailers, and loss prevention researchers are reporting a surge in shoplifting, but differently from other recessions, the items taken aren't highly-priced merchandise, but everyday staples such as hygiene products and dried food, signaling the extent of the misery and anguish many in our society are currently suffering with. That's the ominous sign of the times we expose in this video. 

When the economic collapse becomes so intense people start panicking and stealing to survive, there we can see how authorities completely failed our country. The reckless response to the repercussions of the sanitary outbreak in the economy has destroyed our businesses, our jobs, and our finances. As unemployment benefits and the extension of several food assistance programs lapse this Christmas, and we have no confirmation whether the new round of stimulus will be issued right away, many will be left without viable alternatives to find enough to eat, especially considering food pantries across the country have been increasingly overwhelmed by the unprecedented demand.

Since the institution of new lockdown orders, several publishings have been addressing the growing rates of shoplifting throughout the U.S. Most notably, the Washington Post has recently described the dramatic situation of a great number of Americans that have been secretly hiding essential products in their bags during their trips to grocery stores. The article also covers business owners' dilemma in face of the public's mounting struggle to afford food, and just as worryingly, to provide enough for their children. That's what Capitol Supermarket manager Joo Park explained in the article. Theft rates have more than doubled at his store, and Park usually tends to avoid calling officers, choosing instead to ban offenders from coming back. “It’s become much harder during the [health crisis],” he points out. “People will say, ‘I was just hungry.’ And then what do you do?” the manager exclaimed. 

Stores located in low-income areas, such as Dollar Tree and Family Dollar, have oftentimes seen increasing instances of theft during the past year. And with over 26 million adults, or approximately 1 in 8 Americans, already dealing with food insecurity, if the economic context doesn't show any improvements nor reinserts its workers into the labor market soon enough, the situation might spiral out of control fairly quickly. According to local law enforcement agencies, in cities like Philadelphia, shoplifting has climbed roughly 60 percent this year. 

This is the clearest picture of the great American tragedy. In the world's richest country - a nation that once made us proud of its achievements - our citizens are now being forced to steal when they shouldn’t have to. Federal safety nets have proven to be ineffective when our people don't have real conditions to restructure their lives. The more they distract us with petty stimulus proposals while continue to let our businesses and our economy struggle, the more our suffering will linger. The United States is doomed to a dreadful fate in the hands of such deceitful leaders and this economic collapse is only the tip of the iceberg."

Brace for a very heavy impact folks, here it comes...
with a vengeance. God help us all...

Musical Interlude: Josh Groban, "You Are Loved (Don't Give Up)"

Josh Groban, "You Are Loved (Don't Give Up)"
Full screen recommended!

"A Look to the Heavens"

"Orion always seems to come up sideways on northern winter evenings. Those familiar stars of the constellation of the Hunter are caught above the trees in this colorful night skyscape. 
Not a star at all but still visible to eye, the Great Nebula of Orion shines below the Hunter's belt stars. The camera's exposure reveals the stellar nursery's faint pinkish glow. Betelgeuse, giant star at Orion's shoulder, has the color of warm and cozy terrestrial lighting, but so does another familiar stellar giant, Aldebaran. Alpha star of the constellation Taurus the Bull, Aldebaran anchors the recognizable V-shape traced by the Hyades Cluster toward the top of the starry frame."

"Vitae Summa Brevis"

"Vitae Summa Brevis" 

"They are not long, the weeping and the laughter,
Love and desire and hate:
I think they have no portion in us after
We pass the gate.
They are not long, the days of wine and roses;
Out of a misty dream
Our path emerges for a while, then closes
Within a dream."

- Ernest Dowson
“Vitae summa brevis spem nos vetat incohare longam” 
is a quotation from Horace’s “First Book of Odes”:
 “The shortness of life prevents us from entertaining far-off hopes.”

"The Bewildered Herd..."

“The bewildered herd is a problem. We've got to prevent their roar and trampling. We've got to distract them. They should be watching the Superbowl or sitcoms or violent movies. Every once in a while you call on them to chant meaningless slogans like "Support our troops!" You've got to keep them pretty scared, because unless they're properly scared and frightened of all kinds of devils that are going to destroy them from outside or inside or somewhere, they may start to think, which is very dangerous, because they're not competent to think. Therefore it's important to distract them and marginalize them.”
- Noam Chomsky
"Those who can make you believe absurdities
 can make you commit atrocities."
- Voltaire

"Christmas Awokenings"

"Christmas Awokenings"
by Jim Kunstler

"And so, on Christmas morning, having suffered the night visitations of vexing spirits - or was that just the strange interaction of Zyprexa and Zolpidem - Joe Biden woke up (in a manner of speaking) to find himself transformed. He was no longer dogged by the prospect of being president of the US, but, rather, was convinced he had become the provincial plenipotentiary of a Chinese overseas possession known as Golden Wok West, where CCP General Secretary Xi Jinping can order up any asset for take-out. What a relief, Joe thought, as they brought in his morning meds. Here, now, was a one-horse pony of a different color, Joe mused, chugging down his 5mg of Haldol.

Ol’ Joe went to bed on the blessed silent night fretting that soon he’d have to answer to all those caterwauling losers about to be tossed from their McHouses and apartments after nearly a year of nonpayment. But no, the shabby dwellings would now just become the property of the People’s Liberation Army, as that very fine organization prepared to sort things out in the flea market once known as America.

Was there anything left of value? Wasn’t that a puzzlement? The former so-called Yang-kees had squandered all their laid-up treasure turning their continent into a demolition derby - six-laners lined by muffler shops, chain stores, and fried food shacks - and when all their financial resources were used up, they’d borrowed so much more money that all the certified public accountants who ever lived could not keep up with the compounded interest calculations if they worked double-shifts until the end of time. In short, the self-demolition of America was fait accompli.

Now, all that was left for Joe Biden to do was to sign some paperwork and, maybe three times a week, emerge from his basement to smile and explain to eager members of the inquisitive news media why he preferred General Tso’s Chicken over Hunan Beef. At least that’s how things seemed to shake out in Joe Biden’s brain on Christmas morning as Dr. Jill helped him to the bathroom…

Then, there was the Golden Golem of Greatness, a.k.a. President Donald Trump. He arose from his rococo bed in Mar Lago unmolested by spookish visitations, but, rather, faced with some rather stark decisions about how to proceed with the possible takeover of the USA by agents of China. There was some sentiment among his advisors to send out US marshals and start arresting hundreds of persons suspected of gaming the recent election by means of ballot fraud and fiddling with Dominion vote tabulation machines. Or, other advisors countered, he might just tough it out until the great showdown in Congress January 6, when Vice President Mike Pence would preside over the touchy matter of which electoral delegation was worthy of pitching its votes one way or the other.

All this was a procedure that few Americans actually understood, but it did follow the recondite passages in the constitution regarding disputed elections… and it had been trotted out a couple of times before - 1824 and 1876 - in our now longish history of operating as a republic. It would require the state legislators of various swing states to search their very souls as they appeared to defy the official vote tabulation, and therefore some sense of the democratic underlayment to this complex business of legitimizing government. But the language of the constitution did, in fact, leave it up to them.

Half the nation would howl and commence to torching whatever was left to destroy in cities owned by Democratic Party mayors and governors - who would just stand by and let it rip. The 2018 Executive Order 13848 provides a justification for contending with foreign interference in a federal election (and its unfortunate potential after-effects, like rioting and looting). Ironic, I’m sure you are thinking, after Mr. Trump’s antagonists pressed that same foreign interference stratagem falsely back in 2016, and used it as a bludgeon to beat him about the head for four years. But perhaps there is something to it this time, and maybe the foreign power in question this time is China, not Russia. Where’s the evidence? You might prepare yourself to see it. I think it’s coming. This was a hard enough year, of course, without completely demolishing what little remained of America’s battered Christmas spirit. But that will be over in a few hours. And now that you’ve opened your meager presents, and gone through the other ritual motions of the holiday, the nation’s mood shifts from nervous repose to a determined resolution of this disgraceful affront to our honor. Are you ready for it?"

The Daily "Near You?"

Schererville, Indiana, USA. Thanks for stopping by!

“Thucydides in the Underworld”

“Master, what gnaws at them so hideously their lamentation stuns the very air?” 
“They have no hope of death,” he answered me…” 
- Dante Alighieri, “The Inferno”

“Thucydides in the Underworld”
by J. R. Nyquist

“The shade of Thucydides, formerly an Athenian general and historian, languished in Hades for 24 centuries; and having intercourse with other spirits, was perturbed by an influx into the underworld of self-described historians professing to admire his History of the Peloponnesian War. They burdened him with their writings, priding themselves on the imitation of his method, tracing the various patterns of human nature in politics and war. He was, they said, the greatest historian; and his approval of their works held the promise that their purgatory was no prologue to oblivion.

As the centuries rolled on, the flow of historians into Hades became a torrent. The later historians were no longer imitators, but most were admirers. It seemed to Thucydides that these were a miserable crowd, unable to discern between the significant and the trivial, being obsessed with tedious doctrines. Unembarrassed by their inward poverty, they ascribed an opposite meaning to things: thinking themselves more “evolved” than the spirits of antiquity. Some even imagined that the universe was creating God. They supposed that the “most evolved” among men would assume God’s office; and further, that they themselves were among the “most evolved.”

Thucydides longed for the peace of his grave, which posthumous fame had deprived him. As with many souls at rest, he took no further interest in history. He had passed through existence and was done. He had seen everything. What was bound to follow, he knew, would be more of the same; but after more than 23 centuries of growing enthusiasm for his work, there occurred a sudden falling off. Of the newly deceased, fewer broke in upon him. Quite clearly, something had happened. He began to realize that the character of man had changed because of the rottenness of modern ideas. Among the worst of these, for Thucydides, was that barbarians and civilized peoples were considered equal; that art could transmit sacrilege; that paper could be money; that sexual and cultural differences were of no account; that meanness was rated noble, and nobility mean.

Awakened from the sleep of death, Thucydides remembered what he had written about his own time. The watchwords then, as now, were “revolution” and “democracy.” There had been upheaval on all sides. “As the result of these revolutions,” he had written, “there was a general deterioration of character throughout the Greek world. The simple way of looking at things, which is so much the mark of a noble nature, was regarded as a ridiculous quality and soon ceased to exist. Society had become divided into two ideologically hostile camps, and each side viewed the other with suspicion.”

Thucydides saw that democracy, once again, imagined itself victorious. Once again traditions were questioned as men became enamored of their own prowess. It was no wonder they were deluded. They landed men on the moon. They had harnessed the power of the atom. It was no wonder that the arrogance of man had grown so monstrous, that expectations of the future were so unrealistic. Deluded by recent successes, they could not see that dangers were multiplying in plain view. Men built new engines of war, capable of wiping out entire cities, but few took this danger seriously. Why were men so determined to build such weapons? The leading country, of course, was willing to put its weapons aside. Other countries pretended to put their weapons aside. Still others said they weren’t building weapons at all, even though they were.

Would the new engines of destruction be used? Would cities and nations be wiped off the face of the earth? Thucydides knew the answer. In his own day, during an interval of unstable peace, the Athenians had exterminated the male population of the island of Melos. Before doing this the Athenian commanders had came to Melos and said, “We on our side will use no fine phrases saying, for example, that we have a right to our empire because we defeated the Persians, or that we have come against you now because of the injuries you have done us – a great mass of words that nobody would believe.” The Athenians demanded the submission of Melos, without regard to right or wrong. As the Athenian representative explained, “the strong do what they have the power to do and the weak accept what they have to accept.” 

The Melians were shocked by this brazen admission. They could not believe that anyone would dare to destroy them without just cause. In the first place, the Melians threatened no one. In the second place, they imagined that the world would be shocked and would avenge any atrocity committed against them. And so the Melians told the Athenians: “in our view it is useful that you should not destroy a principle that is to the general good of all men – namely, that in the case of all who fall into danger there should be such a thing as fair play and just dealing. And this is a principle which affects you as much as anybody, since your own fall would be visited by the most terrible vengeance and would be an example to the world.”

The Athenians were not moved by the argument of Melos; for they knew that the Spartans generally treated defeated foes with magnanimity. “Even assuming that our empire does come to an end,” the Athenians chuckled, “we are not despondent about what would happen next. One is not so much frightened of being conquered by a power like Sparta.” And so the Athenians destroyed Melos, believing themselves safe – which they were. The Melians refused to submit, praying for the protection of gods and men. But these availed them nothing, neither immediate relief nor future vengeance. The Melians were wiped off the earth. They were not the first or the last to die in this manner.

There was one more trend that Thucydides noted. In every free and prosperous country he found a parade of monsters: human beings with oversized egos, with ambitions out of proportion to their ability, whose ideas rather belied their understanding than affirmed it. Whereas, there was one Alcibiades in his own day, there were now hundreds of the like: self-serving, cunning and profane; only they did not possess the skills, or the mental acuity, or beauty of Alcibiades. Instead of being exiled, they pushed men of good sense from the center of affairs. Instead of being right about strategy and tactics, they were always wrong. And they were weak, he thought, because they had learned to be bad by the example of others. There was nothing novel about them, although they believed themselves to be original in all things.

Thucydides reflected that human beings are subject to certain behavioral patterns. Again and again they repeat the same actions, unable to stop themselves. Society is slowly built up, then wars come and put all to ruin. Those who promise a solution to this are charlatans, only adding to the destruction, because the only solution to man is the eradication of man. In the final analysis the philanthropist and the misanthrope are two sides of the same coin. While man exists he follows his nature. Thucydides taught this truth, and went to his grave. His history was written, as he said, “for all time.” And it is a kind of law of history that the generations most like his own are bound to ignore the significance of what he wrote; for otherwise they would not re-enact the history of Thucydides. But as they become ignorant of his teaching, they fall into disaster spontaneously and without thinking. Seeing that time was short, and realizing that a massive number of new souls would soon be entering the underworld, the shade of Thucydides fell back to rest.”

The Poet: William Stafford, “Starting With Little Things”

“Starting With Little Things” 

“Love the earth like a mole,
fur-near. Nearsighted,
hold close the clods,
their fine-print headlines.
Pat them with soft hands -
Like spades, but pink and loving; they
break rock, nudge giants aside,
affable plow.
Fields are to touch;
each day nuzzle your way.
Tomorrow the world.”

- William Stafford

"I Can't Convince Myself...

“I can’t convince myself that it does much good to try to challenge the everyday political delusions and dementias of Americans at large. Their contained and confined mentalities by far prefer the petty and parochial prisons of the kind of sense they have been trained and rewarded for making out of their lives (and are punished for deviating from them). What it costs them ultimately to be such slaves and infants and ideological zombies is a thought too monstrous and rending and spiky for them even to want to glance at.”
- Kenneth Smith

“If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they’ll kill you.” 
- Oscar Wilde

"How It Will Never Really Be"

"End The Great American Myth - Secession, Not Revolution"

"End The Great American Myth - Secession, Not Revolution"
by Tom Luongo

"I remember the 1970s driving around New York City with my family during the holidays like they were yesterday. Back then the talk in the front seat of the car between my parents was New York City's bankruptcy. My dad, NYPD at the time, was as much a part of this as anyone since the Police pension fund helped bail out the city government back then.

The West Side Highway fell down and because of that I grew up with a fear of heights and, especially bridges. I really hated taking the back way (New Jersey) into Staten Island. The mere mention of the Outer Bridge crossing would nearly put me into a panic attack. I remember thinking then, 'If these people can't pay the bills now, what's it going to be in ten or twenty years?' Sure, I was a naive ten or eleven at the time and had no idea about capital flight, but the sentiment was sound.

Even then the Emperor was naked to this child's eyes. This was Rome near the end and the Sword of Damocles hung over the heads of my generation in ways we could barely articulate. So, for me, the idea of the U.S. breaking up into its component parts has been a constant companion most of my adult life. And, as a libertarian, I always think in terms of secession first, rather than revolution. It sits on my shoulder whispering in my ear the truth of what's in front of us.

We've reached a very important moment in world history. It is that moment where the promises of classical liberalism are failing in the face of a creeping totalitarian nightmare. America as mythology has always stood as the shining house on the hillfor this enlightened idea that the wishes of the individual pursuing his bliss creates the community and culture which lifts the world out of a Hobbesian State of Nature.  The war of all against all, (bellum omnium contra omnes).

But America as Mythology and America as Reality are two vastly different rough beasts. And it is that difference between them that is being exploited today by The Davos Crowd to set the process in motion for their next victory. Brandon Smith at Alt-Market brought up the trap conservatives are being led into today in his recent article. He argues, quite persuasively, that the rightis being radicalized into thinking about an armed civil war to fight the corporatist left-wing useful idiots in an orgy of violence.

To be clear, what I believe is happening is that conservatives are being prodded and provoked, not to separate and organize but to centralize. I think they want us to support actions like martial law which would be considered totalitarian. Conservatives, the only stalwart defenders of civil liberties, using military suppression and abandoning the Bill of Rights to maintain political power? That is a dream come true for the globalists in the long term. And despite people's faith in Trump, there are far too many banking elites and globalists within his cabinet to ensure that such power will not be abused or used against us later.

Nothing would give Klaus Schwab and The Davos Crowd more pleasure than turning us into them - willing to use indiscriminate violence to push otherwise humble and decent people into crazed killers and repudiate their inherent meekness, their inherent desire to pursue their bliss, allowing everyone else that same courtesy. But, leftism as practiced today, is aggressive. It is rapacious and rests on the idea that no one can exist outside their preferred outcome lest anyone see their world for the nightmare it truly is.

Secession is not only not an option, it is expressly verboten. I've made the argument that violence, not secession, is one very possible outcome of where the current political divide is taking us. Brandon uses the situation in Germany in the 1920s/30s as his historical guide. In short, Fascism rose to meet the violence of the Communists with the old monied elite providing the means for the conflict.

The parallels to today are striking. In November's issue of "Gold, Goats n Guns" I likened the rising frustration of the American right to that of the Fremen Jihad of Frank Herbert's classic "Dune." When you marginalize the tens of millions of people who produce the goods which sustain their false reality, when you remove their ability to speak their mind and make their voices heard, when you insult them, berate them, hector them and beat them then you will bear the consequences when the sleeper awakens, in Herbert's words.

This isn't a threat or an open letter of defiance. This is an observation of what always comes next. These people know that they have been lied to, their children spiritually separated from them. The election was a cruel joke meant to rub our noses in their complete power over us. You can see it every day on Twitter.

What comes next will be nothing short of a Fremenesque jihad by the 70+ million people who voted for Donald Trump. If his allies prove the systematic thievery of the election it will fuel a simmering anger to boiling over into a near-religious frenzy. Because these are people who still believe in the Mythology of America, they are very susceptible to this programming. That mythology is worth fighting for in their minds.

Brandon Smith, however, is making a finer point which I tend to agree with. And that is that secession, not revolution, is always the better option rather than the pre-packaged violent one which the oligarchs always seem to prepare for us. To broaden Brandon's point, I want to challenge the precepts of that American mythology in the hope we can avoid the kind of religious war that is brewing.

There are two wars which bear most of the weight of that mythology - The American Revolution and the U.S. Civil War. The first one is the good war. It is the foundation of the mythology. We know the narrative: brave colonials fought a war of independence, a war of secession, from the evil English. It brought forth the Founding Fathers, the Declaration of Independence and all the symbology of our shared American identity.

That mythology, while simplistic, held a core truth, that there are some things worth fighting for, when pushed to an extreme. However, was 1770's America that extreme a place? Was war the only practical outcome? Or was it the dream of those men whose tolerance for tyranny shallower than the norm. In other words, could America have seceded more peacefully in ten or twenty years time?

Viewed that way, this was a war of secession that the English and the Colonies didn't have to fight. There may have been an equitable way out of conflict. But the colonies chose war just as much as the Crown did if we're being honest with ourselves.

The Civil War, on the other hand, is supposed to be the shameful one. And from the Mythology side it truly is. Lincoln's war can only be characterized as a war to prevent secession in the same way that Crown fought to prevent the colonies from seceding. The mythology states this was the war we had to fight to prevent slavery's survival into the 20th century. But, was it that? Slavery may have been a dividing line to stoke the passions but it wasn't the big factor driving the states apart, the Tariff of Abomination was.

Again, if we're being honest with ourselves wasn't Lincoln's war where the ideals of the American Revolution -  a compact between the sovereign states -  were finally betrayed? Aren't we reaping the whirlwind of that war today with a Supreme Court who believes it has the power to ignore interstate grievances because none of the justices, even Thomas and Alito, believe in the compact of equals today?

Remember, the South was more than willing to leave in peace. And any reasons Lincoln had for fighting the war over the seizure of Federal property, i.e. the proximate cause for the events at Fort Sumter, could have been worked out, again, equitably as gentlemen, rather than through the butchering of 700,000 Americans over four years.

From the Mythology Lincoln is the Great Uniter and Buchanan, his predecessor, the Worst President in History simply because he refused to either bail out the railroad banks in 1857 or prevent the South's secession in 1860. What if the mythology of America today has these two wars backwards? What if all the conservatives mourning the Constitution today thanks to a feckless Supreme Court and treasonous Congress have it all wrong? What if the America they mourn the death of today died in 1865 not 2020?

Would that America still be worth finally fighting a bloody civil war for? Because that's what The Davos Crowd is daring Donald Trump to do. What if the better response is to do what the South tried to do and failed. Simply walk away and say, "No more." Because fighting the bloody war of all against all, becoming raving fascists rising up to stop the rapacious (and economically backwards) communists in the process is always the wrong option.

Secession is always an option. Opting out of the hyper-collectivizing impulses of in-group/out-group bias is always the right choice. They want us to throw the first punch, to lash out, fire first out of fear, c.f. Fort Sumter, to justify their brutality afterwards. But, as I said in the quote above, the states with the grievances today are the ones that produce the wealth of this fiction known as the U.S. It's where the food is grown, the electricity generated, the goods produced and people aren't shitting in the streets. The food lines may be long in Texas but there's still food to distribute.

The balance of power in the U.S. today in real terms is reverse of what existed in 1860. Post-Trump America looks a lot different than pre-Lincoln. Because of that and the reality that the people pulling off this great coup against sanity are some of the most unimpressive leaders in history, the potential for a successful secession is far higher than it was for the Confederacy.

Brandon Smith is right that they invoke the Confederacy to shame conservatives as racists, conflating issues separated by more than 150 years of history. This is why the all-out assault on the history of the war, whitewashing it of any nuance. Theirs is a mind-virus that grows beyond the ability of the oligarchy to control. And it is truly best to not just walk but run away from such people. Better to let them sink into their own cesspit of ideological rabbit holes while keeping the lines of trade open, if they have anything worth selling, of course. They will turn on themselves soon enough.

Having grown up a Yankee and matured as a Southerner I've seen this descent of the American mythology from both perspectives. The eleven year-old me knew this day would come.

The Mythology of America is just that, mythology, worth using as the basis for the new story rather than a shackle keeping us chained down, staring at the Abyss and despairing at what was lost. New York was a dream, not a fixture in the night sky. God didn't put his finger on the Empire State Building and spin the world. Because Texas was too big for it to ever stay in balance, even if he did. And California is one bad day away from the Big One which washes it from our memory."

Musical Interlude: Moody Blues, "The Story In Your Eyes"

Moody Blues, "The Story In Your Eyes"

"The Cruelest Joke Of All..."

“The smallest decisions made had such profound repercussions. One ten-minute wait could save a life… or end it. One wrong turn down the right street or one seemingly unimportant conversation, and everything was changed. It wasn’t right that each lifetime was defined, ruined, ended, and made by such seemingly innocuous details. A major life-threatening event should come with a flashing warning sign that either said ABANDON ALL HOPE or SAFETY AHEAD. It was the cruelest joke of all that no one could see the most vicious curves until they were over the edge, falling into the abyss below.”
- Sherrilyn Kenyon

"A Time Of Great Tragedies..."

“We live in radical times surrounded by tasks that seem impossible. It has become our collective fate to be alive in a time of great tragedies, to live in a period of overwhelming disasters and to stand at the edge of sweeping changes. The river of life is flooding before us, and a tide of poisons affect the air we breathe and the waters we drink and even tarnish the dreams of those who are young and as yet innocent. The snake-bitten condition has already spread throughout the collective body. However, it is in troubled times that it becomes most important to remember that the wonder of life places the medicine of the self near where the poison dwells. The gifts always lie near the wounds, the remedies are often made from poisonous substances, and love often appears where deep losses become acknowledged. Along the arc of healing the wounds and the poisons of life are created the exact opportunities for bringing out all the medicines and making things whole again.”
- Michael Meade, “Fate And Destiny”

"The Gray Curtain Descends"

"The Gray Curtain Descends"
by Robert Gore

"Democracy is also a form of worship. 
It is the worship of jackals by jackasses."
- H.L. Mencken

"It’s a close contest between which officially approved story is more implausible: Coronavirus as the Scourge of Humanity or America’s Free and Fair Election. The former enabled the latter, and they were propagated by the same people pursuant to an all-in power grab. Both are riddled with glaring inconsistencies and fraud, none of which are mentioned in polite society.

"It was strange, she thought, to obtain news by means of nothing but denials, as if existence had ceased, facts had vanished and only the frantic negatives uttered by officials and columnists gave any clue to the reality they were denying."
- "Atlas Shrugged," Ayn Rand, 1957

The stories’ propagators don’t address the inconsistencies and fraud because they can’t; they simply deny their existence. They suppress questions, inquiry, and exploration of actual evidence and facts, and promote mindless slogans. The legacy media censorship has been overt, but not as effective as hoped, thanks in large part to the alternative media. The censorship itself is a red flag. If the approved stories are Shining Truth, why can’t they bear challenge?

The propagandists are suppressing free inquiry and debate, and they’re about to eliminate it entirely. With next month’s ascension of Biden and Harris and the predatory and parasitic ruling cabal to which they answer, the prize is in sight. They see no need to continue feigning fealty to anything other than subjugation and control.

For the most part they’ve even dropped their shopworn rhetoric of concern for their subjects. In the good old days there was “for the people” codswallop with the goodies, which you got as long as you did what you were told. The new diktat will be to do as you’re told or else, but there will be no goodies; governments are bankrupt and the ruling cabal has no ability to produce. They will not be bothered by destitution and deaths among the ruled, that’s a feature, not a bug. Indeed, any detectable concern would be grounds for immediate expulsion from the cabal.

Let’s dispense with the obscenity that expressed intentions excuse all crimes and consequences. Totalitarianism has never produced anything but destruction, destitution, and death and never will, regardless of the totalitarians’ lofty rhetoric. Totalitarians are vultures, not eagles, and the current kettle of vultures intend to dine on the corpse of history’s most advanced civilization.

Draft animals work harder for a morsel or kind words than for the whip or switch, but somehow humans are different. Whips, switches, prisons, and subjugation pave the road to utopia. When they instead lead to a charnel house, that’s not the fault of the whippers, switchers, wardens, or subjugators. Except it is. Orwell said it best: “The object of power is power.” Power’s trite slogans and rationalizations don’t excuse its murderous depredations, they only increase its inescapable guilt.

Compromise between good and evil spells death for the good. If I ask you to drink a cup of cyanide and you refuse, but we compromise on half a cup, who wins?

It’s these sort of compromises, exacted bit by bit over decades, that have destroyed a once great nation. It’s understandable how it happened. There’s a problem and more power for the rulers is always the solution: a Civil War, central bank fiat debt, an income tax, make the world safe for democracy, a New Deal, Frontier, or Covenant, Hope and Change, leader of the Free World, wars on poverty, drugs, terror, and now, germs, and so on.

The compromises serve as precedents that launch the next compromises and consequent government accretions of power. (The Civil War was precedent for both the income tax and fiat currency 48 years later.) Solutions are always presented in a blinding blaze of propaganda. There are always the unblinded few who question and dissent. They are always ostracized or worse.

The rest learn the lesson. Herd behavior is hard-wired. Like a pack of wildebeests after one spots a lion, there are times when reflexive flight is the right response. However, nothing government does is quick enough to be considered reflexive; there’s been time enough to question, analyze, and protest virtually everything the US government has done since its inception. Unfortunately, at the individual level, sticking with the pack often makes perfect sense. To be the one who refuses to obey, or to even question the dictates of a powerful government that is both stoking and benefiting from herd frenzy, is to risk ruin, imprisonment, and sometimes, death.

The crowd does what the crowd does. Regardless of the arguments, and perhaps the insults and deprecations from the few outside the crowd, it rationalizes its own behavior. Who are we to question? It’s still a great nation, it could be worse. Why risk our comfortable lifestyle for intangible principles? Better safe than sorry. And there’s the secret thought: yes, there may be unfortunate consequences, but I’ll be dead by then.

Except the unfortunate consequences have arrived. We’re confronted by a dystopian totalitarianism the design of which the totalitarians are no longer trying to hide. Virtually everything has already been compromised and the meager remnant of freedom is on the table. As the crowd is prodded into the cattle cars (not social distancing, their well-being no longer even a faux concern) uneasy whispers circulate: is the final destination the abattoir?

However flimsy the excuses offered by the ruled have been, they’ve at least had the usual rationalizations of cowardice. There’s no excuses or rationalizations for our rulers. They want to impoverish, subjugate, or kill us. Don’t give them too much credit believing the latter isn’t the preferred option. Such deeds never spring from motives other than all-encompassing, unremitting malice and hate. The honest and honorable are left to wonder what, if anything, has replaced those forfeited souls. We may never know the answer.

What do they get from their brave new world? Adding to their already substantial fortunes? Still more power over an impoverished, cowed population, more transhuman robots than people, dutifully following orders but unable to produce anything beyond what is programmed into their quantum microchips, bereft of the sparks of inquiry, innovation and joy that propels humanity and make life worth living? Do they not know that a gray curtain will descend over the dazzling world of wealth and privilege they now inhabit? That turning people into appliances plugged into an all-seeing internet will leave everyone in a electric panopticon that’s as sterile and joyless for the watchers as the watched?

The gray curtain descends. What further demonstration is necessary of impoverish, subjugate, and kill than Coronavirus totalitarianism, which has done all three? It’s the preview of coming attractions. The last flimsy excuse for the ruled is the one that would presumably be offered by roadkill if it wasn’t dead: it was too stunned by the headlights to think or act. The moment is nigh: you’ll be totalitarian roadkill if you’re too stunned by the brazen evil unfolding to think and act, now.

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are no more the rightful president and vice president than I would be the rightful owner of your house if I forced my way in, held a gun to your head, and made you sign over the deed. Unlike the solipsistic plaints after President Trump won a semi-legitimate election in 2016 (“Not my president!”), Joe Biden will not be my or anyone else’s rightful president in 2021. (The 2016 election probably was rigged - for Hillary - the riggers just didn’t do an adequate job, unlike 2020.) Biden and his partner in crime are usurpers and SLL will not refer to either one by their stolen titles. Until the inauguration SLL will refer to Biden as Not Our President-Elect, or NOPE. They’re small gestures, but revolutions start with small gestures.

NOPE and Vice-NOPE will be nominal capos of the largest organized crime syndicate in history. Unchallenged crime and evil are not static; they get worse. Investing any hope in “things will get better” has been a loser for more than a century. Governments generally do nothing but get worse - more taxes, more laws and regulations, more debt, more fiat fraud, more wars, more corruption, and more power -as the freedom of individuals who must live under them vanishes. Hope without action is not a strategy, but there is cause for hope if it’s coupled with action."
Part Two will be posted next week."

Thursday, December 24, 2020

"Promise Me..."


Merry Christmas!

I wish you all a safe, happy and peaceful Christmas!

Josh Groban, "You Are Loved (Don't Give Up)"
Full screen recommended.

Christmas Musical Interlude: "The 100 Most Beautiful Christmas Songs Performed by the Legends of Music with a Fireplace (Classics)"

Christmas Music, "The 100 Most Beautiful Christmas Songs 
Performed by the Legends of Music with a Fireplace (Classics)"
(Perry Como, Ella Fitzgerald, Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra, 
Dean Martin, Elvis Presley, Bing Crosby )

Full screen mode highly recommended!

"A Look to the Heavens"

"Big, beautiful spiral galaxy NGC 1055 is a dominant member of a small galaxy group a mere 60 million light-years away toward the aquatically intimidating constellation Cetus. Seen edge-on, the island universe spans over 100,000 light-years, a little larger than our own Milky Way galaxy. The colorful, spiky stars decorating this cosmic portrait of NGC 1055 are in the foreground, well within the Milky Way. But the telltale pinkish star forming regions are scattered through winding dust lanes along the distant galaxy's thin disk.
Click image for larger size.
With a smattering of even more distant background galaxies, the deep image also reveals a boxy halo that extends far above and below the central bulge and disk of NGC 1055. The halo itself is laced with faint, narrow structures, and could represent the mixed and spread out debris from a satellite galaxy disrupted by the larger spiral some 10 billion years ago."