Saturday, March 6, 2021

"3 Ways The United States Could Collapse Into Chaos"

Full screen recommended.
"3 Ways The United States Could Collapse Into Chaos"
Epic Economist

Amid a ravaging economic collapse, tragedies brought on by the ongoing health crisis, and growing social agitation, 2021 has started off as one of the most turbulent years for America. Unemployment rates are still increasing, businesses are dying every day, and despite the distribution of a vaccine, new variants of the virus are being discovered all over the world, which means in addition to the painful human toll, financial and economic distresses are likely to linger for much longer than experts anticipated. All of these determinants and many others are already shaking our country to the core, and at this point, it's hard to tell how much more can our institutions sustain before they inevitably start to disintegrate.

The idea of a societal collapse may sound too absurd for some, but so was the idea that widespread business shutdowns prompted by a fatal viral infection would lead the world's wealthiest nation to an economic downturn of unprecedented proportions. And look where we are now. The truth is that every society that ever existed has hit a breaking point, and we would be foolish to think that ours would be immune from a generalized meltdown. That's why, today, inspired by an article authored by Richard Miller and published on the Urban Survival website, we are going to analyze the three most likely ways the United States could collapse into chaos in the near future.

Civil conflicts, health and hunger crises, as well as infrastructure breakdowns, can all act as key pressure points that could ultimately cause our society to crack once they become prolonged issues. When a society starts to crumble, it's only a matter of time until its foundations finally shatter. America, just as the ancient Roman Empire, is just too big to fail due to one single dramatic collapse. But, like the Romans, we will probably see a separation of our states, as political disputes and wealth disparities have been largely expanding social divides.

But it's always important to remember that you can always be prepared in advance not to be caught off-guard and see your whole life turn upside down overnight. Just like we have seen in 2020, those who had planned and prepared for the worst-case scenario before the meltdown started did much better than the ones who have to cope with empty shelves and empty wallets. As we have stressed in many of our previous videos, there's more to life than civilization as we know it.

The number one cause would be the worsening of the health crisis and an authoritarian government response. In case the outbreak aggravates to a much worse level, or if other outbreaks burst over the coming months, it would only take a few more draconian measures or a series of bad decisions from the federal government until we started to see major cities and states rebelling. So a reality in which countless rebel groups arise across the country isn't that distant, and the growing social turbulence added to a troubled economy would be the perfect recipe for problems.

The second one would be mounting social agitation and conflict. We have seen all over the news, aggressive demonstrations of discontentment that were taken into the streets and sparked panic and chaos in many big cities. When all sides have very different beliefs about the same narrative, it becomes increasingly harder to keep things under control. In essence, one of the primary aspects that have kept us calmer and friendlier towards each other was the comfort provided by modern society. Remove that out of the picture and disorder will take over.

The third cause is related to social evolution. Another intriguing viewpoint is one given by Dr. Steven Gimbel of Gettysburg College, who analyzes these matters from a sociological perspective. He affirms that "the cultural tipping point is when a society has created too much complexity; at that point, society can no longer afford it. Every previous major civilization in human history in every corner of the world has collapsed due to becoming overly complex; due to bureaucracy".

Additionally, regardless of whether you believe humans are causing it or not, climate change is causing numerous natural disasters and aggravating crises all over the planet. So whether we are facing the worsening of the health crisis, social turbulence, or more devastating natural disasters, there are many possible causes for a U.S. collapse. So make sure you keep informed and make a plan to run for the exits if you feel things are about to spiral out of control. As preppers use to say: "Prepare for the worst and you can only be pleasantly surprised."

Greg Hunter, "Everything Bubble is Reaching a Limit"

"Everything Bubble is Reaching a Limit"
By Greg Hunter’s

"Precious metals expert and financial writer David Morgan says the entire world is printing huge amounts of money, and nobody ever plans on paying any of it back. It’s all going into the so-called “Everything Bubble” that gets stretched a little more each and every day. With another $1.9 trillion Corona stimulus package that just passed in the Senate, we are getting closer to finding out how much funny money a country can print out of thin air before it all blows up. Morgan says, “It’s all about the currency reset or currency crisis that I have been writing and talking about for so long. So, if you don’t trust the currency du jour, the U.S. dollar which is the reserve currency of the world, you are going to look for some place to go that you trust more than that. I think this is what the Bitcoin phenomenon is all about. Rich people don’t need another country home of a third yacht. So, they are going to put money in something they trust more than the U.S. Dollar. I think it‘s an indicator that there is money, big money, that is scared to death about what’s going to happen with the dollar in the future, and they are seeking a place to park it. There is greed too, but the primary thing they are looking for is something that is outside the system at large.”

Morgan has long predicted a “Great Silver Crisis” is coming. While the price of the white metal has backed off recently, it is still way up from last year. Morgan thinks silver is still the most undervalued asset out there, and he expects more frenzied buying as people flee fiat currencies printed to infinity. He also predicts very big price moves higher at some point after years of manipulation. Morgan thinks, “The Great Silver Crisis’ is starting now.”

Morgan warns, “We are reaching a limit on everything across the board with the ‘Everything Bubble,’ the overvalued ‘Everything Bubble.’ What is not overvalued? It’s pretty much the commodities. We are going from a financial economy where 70% is a consumer economy to an economy of what is needed. This is the commodity sector. You need corn, wheat, rice, soybeans, cotton and look at lumber. I mean all these things are going up. The financial system that is running 40% of the economy is just paper promises going back and forth across trading desks all day. We are not a productive society.”

In closing, Morgan says, “You can hobble along with an injured leg for a long time as a metaphor, but there is a point that you can’t go any further, and I think we are reaching that point. The silver market is signaling something. The Treasury market is signaling something. I think the stock market with the NASDAQ getting hammered is signaling something. I think the Bitcoin surge is signaling something. I think there are a lot of clues out there, that if you stop and look, they are signaling loud and clear that we are getting very close to what I am calling “The Great Currency Debacle” or currency crisis I have warned about for years.”

Join Greg Hunter on Rumble as he goes One-on-One
 with David Morgan, publisher of “The Morgan Report.”

"The Inversion"

"The Inversion"
by Robert Gore

"A seamless web, they all believe because they all believe."
"The Gordian Knot," Robert Gore, 2000

"If it seems like the world has turned upside down it’s because it has. Right is wrong and wrong is right. Truth is lies and lies are truth. Knowledge is ignorance and ignorance is knowledge. Success is failure and failure is success. Reality is illusion and illusion is reality.

It would be comforting to say that this inversion is a plot by nefarious others. Comforting, but not true, in the pre-inversion meaning of the word true. Rather it stems from answers to questions that confront everyone. To think for yourself or believe with the group? To stand alone or cower with the crowd? It’s the conflict between the individual and the collective, and between what’s true and what’s believed.

We live in an age of fear. It’s not fear of germs, war, poverty or any other tangible threat that most besets humanity. It’s the fear of being disliked and ostracized by the group.

If every age has its emblematic technology, ours is social media, with its cloying likes and thumbs up and its vicious cancellations, doxing, and deplatforming. No longer must you wander through life plagued by that nagging insecurity - am I liked? Now you can keep virtual score: you not only know if you’re liked or disliked, you know how much and by whom. Unfortunately, that knowledge doesn’t seem to help; the scoreboards only amplify the insecurity. What was once an occasionally troubling question, privately asked of one’s self, has become a widely held, public obsession.

The official Covid-19 response is the apotheosis of inversion and probably the one that runs it off the rails. There’s a model that has repeatedly erred predicting infection and death rates by orders of magnitude. Use it! Politicians and bureaucrats, the two most power-hungry groups on the planet, are clamoring for unlimited powers to destroy jobs, businesses, economies, lives, and liberty. Give it to ’em, no questions asked! Sunshine, Vitamin D, fresh air, and exercise prevent diseases and lessen their symptoms’ severity. Lock ’em up! Lockdowns aren’t working. Lock ’em up harder! Masks don’t prevent or hinder viral transmission, their packaging says so. Double, triple, or better yet, quadruple mask! 

At high cycle thresholds, the PCR test throws off many false positives, inflating case counts. Crank up the cycle thresholds until Biden gets in office! Cheap medicines hydroxychloroquine, and ivermectin both prevent and cure the disease, provided it’s not too far advanced. Discourage their use! They work better than expensive vaccines. Make vaccinations mandatory! Scores of reputable and eminent doctors and scientists are questioning and criticizing the protocols. Censor them and follow our shapeshifting science! Death counts are inflated because hospitals have a financial incentive to attribute deaths to Covid-19 and anybody who has tested positive and subsequently dies of whatever cause is labeled a Covid-19 death. If they scare people into saving just one life…. The cure is far worse than the disease. Shut up or we’ll shut you up! There’s always germs out there and they constantly mutate, this horseshit could last forever. New Normal, Great Reset. It will last forever, and it will get worse, won’t it? We’ll circle back on that.

Peer pressure is the fundamental force of the social universe. Anyone who’s part of a collective will be pressured to accept its consensus on matters trivial and important. Congruence between what a collective believes and truth is happenstance. The larger the group, the higher the chance of incongruence.

Groups don’t think, they perpetuate and enforce belief. Collectives collectivize what passes for thought, none more so than governments. There’s always the danger that someone might ask why those who rule get to club everyone else into submission. Rulers either suppress that question or try to provide a nominal justification. If they have the clubs, what are they worried about?

The ruling caste is always small compared to the ruled. No matter how many clubs it has and how overmatched the subjects may be, the ruling caste knows its position is more secure if their subjects believe their propaganda and consent to their rule. The underpinnings of frightened compliance with, “Do as you’re told or else!” are rickety compared to a chorus chanting in unison “We’re all in this together!” or some such rot.

None are so enslaved as those chained to group belief. Truth is irrelevant, group acceptance paramount. Belief is unquestioned and unchallenged, truth the shunned and hated enemy. Governments have promoted this inversion for centuries, always telling the same lies. Faith in government may be the strongest and longest-lived secular religion, and it’s certainly the one most resistant to questions, investigation, or contrary evidence.

The script never varies. We’re good, they’re bad, exterminate them. Conquest, domination, and empire are our nation’s greatness. Need not greed: those who earn it are selfish for trying to keep it; we’re virtuous for taking it away. Our pieces of paper are good as gold. Your squalor has nothing to do with our opulent lifestyles; be grateful for your bread and circuses. Dissidence must be suppressed; opposition is traitorous. Ruination and death are everyone’s fault but ours. You just weren’t good enough to live up to our ideals.

Inversions can only last so long. People consciously or unconsciously reject them, and reality doesn’t invert. A small coterie in Washington may believe they run a global empire, but Russia and China refuse to kowtow, even nominal allies are backing away, and the costs of maintaining its crumbling empire are helping drive the US into bankruptcy. What US cheerleaders call the best military in the world hasn’t won a significant war since World War II and its fighting forces are being ideologically culled or indoctrinated in wokesterism, systematically rendering it even less fit to fight.

The censors no longer hide their censorship. There are stories that cannot be reported, questions that cannot not be asked, investigations that cannot be launched, platforms that cannot be allowed, and issues that cannot be discussed within the captured media. It cried foul when Donald Trump made “fake news” a catch phrase, but it caught on because it confirmed what millions know: much of today’s “news” is fraudulent propaganda.

After a month-and-a-half of one-party rule it’s clear that suppression is only going to get worse. Among those who intellectually stand outside the collective, suppression neither decreases belief in what is suppressed nor increases belief in the party line. They know the truth lies in what’s being kept from them. Subconsciously, even adherents to the party line never completely believe it. Fully “woke,” you may “know” that Western civilization is a discredited product of the white male patriarchy. However, do you throw yourself from the top of a tall building because the properties of gravity were first described by white English patriarch Isaac Newton?

Psychological dissonance plagues true believers. What are they going to believe: dogma or their own senses and thought processes, such as they are? It’s the root cause of their psychic brittleness: the inability to answer questions or engage in debate, the insistence on ostensible agreement, and the need to suppress anyone who doesn’t go along.

The fragility that tries to adjust reality to belief runs head-on into the desire among those whose behaviors are to be adjusted to live their own lives as they see fit, not to mention reality itself. America’s divide is between those who want to be left alone and those who want to tell them what to do. It’s so much easier for the latter if they can impose at least the appearance of consent on the former through suppression, fraud, or force.

Reality doesn’t invert, no matter how many people believe otherwise. Governments and central banks will debase their fiat debt instruments until the illusion that they’re worth something is discarded. They have every incentive to do so and it’s happening now as governments go broke. Empires crumble because they require more energy and resources to maintain than they generate. The American empire will be no exception. The more production is taxed. regulated, and otherwise penalized, the less production you get. The more indolence is rewarded, the more indolence you get. As government’s power expands, people’s freedom shrinks. You can make people engineers or brain surgeons based on their race, ethnicity, gender, sexual preference or any other irrelevant factor, but it increases the likelihood that the bridge collapses and the patient dies on the operating table.

A society that corrupts science, the basis for discovering, describing, and employing reality, is doomed. Honest science requires free inquiry and debate. It is a never-ending process of proposing, testing, evaluating, revising and discarding hypotheses for new ones with more explanatory and predictive power. There is no such thing as settled science. The claims that there is with regards to climate, coronaviruses, or any other scientific issue are nothing more than admissions that the purported science is propaganda. Unchallenged science is a contradiction in terms; challenge is the lifeblood of science.

So add science that isn’t science to the long list of inversions that collectively could spell humanity’s doom. Consequences don’t recognize wishful thinking or political diktat. Climate and coronavirus dogma masquerading as science is the Trojan horse ushering in the great reset of a new world order. Global governance, state-approved science, political and cultural canons enforced with jihadist zeal, top down economic command and control, the eradication of any vestiges of liberty, and billions of unthinking adherents will destroy rather than build, compounding today’s inversions and creating new ones.

The danger to all this is individuals who think and act for themselves, those who are woke to the woke, so to speak. The key to standing on the outside, critically examining what’s within, is to abandon any desire to be on the inside. The docile dreck and their puppet-masters within are usually sufficient inducement to stay outside. Once that decision is made, independence of thought is almost assured. (Those who see the inside for what it is and still want in are corrupt beyond redemption.)

Challenge dogma and propaganda and you’re a dissident. Not always a comfortable position, but the dissidents will have the best shot at surviving the coming collapse. The insiders will suffer shattering disillusionment as reality obliterates cherished belief…and the insiders.

The historically unprecedented scale of present inversions guarantees upheaval and change beyond reckoning when reality’s full force can no longer be denied or subverted. Even those who see things as they are and regard themselves as fully prepared will be shocked by what’s to come. At least they will retain the existential essentials of observational power and logic as they sort through the smoldering intellectual landscape, discard the inversions, and get on with the rebuilding."
Hat tip to the Burning Platform for this material.

"Millions Reliant On Payday Loans; Middle Class Eaten Alive; US Dollar Safe Haven; State Bailouts"

Jeremiah Babe,
"Millions Reliant On Payday Loans; Middle Class Eaten Alive; 
US Dollar Safe Haven; State Bailouts"

Musical Interlude: Paul Mauriat, "Love is Blue"

Full screen recommended.
Paul Mauriat, "Love is Blue" (1968)
A pure delight...
"Paul Mauriat Best World Instrumental Hits" Playlist

"A Look to the Heavens"

“The constellation of Orion holds much more than three stars in a row. A deep exposure shows everything from dark nebula to star clusters, all embedded in an extended patch of gaseous wisps in the greater Orion Molecular Cloud Complex. The brightest three stars on the far left are indeed the famous three stars that make up the belt of Orion. Just below Alnitak, the lowest of the three belt stars, is the Flame Nebula, glowing with excited hydrogen gas and immersed in filaments of dark brown dust.
Below the frame center and just to the right of Alnitak lies the Horsehead Nebula, a dark indentation of dense dust that has perhaps the most recognized nebular shapes on the sky. On the upper right lies M42, the Orion Nebula, an energetic caldron of tumultuous gas, visible to the unaided eye, that is giving birth to a new open cluster of stars. Immediately to the left of M42 is a prominent bluish reflection nebula sometimes called the Running Man that houses many bright blue stars. The above image, a digitally stitched composite taken over several nights, covers an area with objects that are roughly 1,500 light years away and spans about 75 light years.”
"Perhaps they are not stars, but rather openings in
 heaven where the love of our lost ones pours 
through and shines down upon us to let us know they are happy." 
~ Eskimo saying

Chet Raymo, “To Sleep, Perchance To Dream”

“To Sleep, Perchance To Dream”
by Chet Raymo

“What is more gentle than a wind in summer?
What is more soothing than a pretty hummer
That stays one moment in an open flower,
And buzzes cheerily from bower to bower?
What is more tranquil than a musk-rose blowing
In a green island, far from all men's knowing?
More healthful than the leafiness of dales?
More secret than a nest of nightingales?”

What indeed? The poet Keats answers his own questions: Sleep. Soft closer of our eyes. I've reached an age when I find myself occasionally nodding off in the middle of the day, an open book flopped on my chest. Also, more lying awake in the dark hours of the night, re-running the tapes of the day. And, in the fragile moments of nighttime unconsciousness, dreaming dreams that reach all the way back to my childhood.

I've read the books about sleep and dreaming. There has been lots of research, but not much consensus about why we sleep or dream. Sleep seems to be pretty universal among animals. Who knows whether animals dream. Do we sleep to restore the soma? To knit the raveled sleeve of care? Process memories? Find safety from predators? After 50 years of work, the sleep researcher William Dement opined: "As far as I know, the only reason we need to sleep that is really, really solid is because we get sleepy."

The Latin poet Martial supposed that sleep "makes darkness brief," a worry-free way to get through the scary hours of the night when wolves howl at the mouth of the cave (and goblins stir under the bed). That hardly explains my dropping off after lunch into a dreamless stupor that I neither desire nor welcome.
“Low murmurer of tender lullabies!
Light hoverer around our happy pillows!
Wreather of poppy buds, and weeping willows!”

Not quite! There are the nightmares too. The tossing and turning. The hoo-has. But enough of this idle speculation. I'm getting sleepy...”

The Poet: David Whyte, "In the Beginning"

"In the Beginning"

"Sometimes simplicity rises
like a blossom of fire
from the white silk of your own skin.
You were there in the beginning
you heard the story, you heard the merciless
and tender words telling you where you had to go.
Exile is never easy and the journey
itself leaves a bitter taste. But then,
when you heard that voice, you had to go.
You couldn't sit by the fire, you couldn't live
so close to the live flame of that compassion
you had to go out in the world and make it your own
so you could come back with
that flame in your voice, saying listen...
this warmth, this unbearable light, this fearful love...
It is all here, it is all here."

~ David Whyte

"Reading John Gray In War"

"Reading John Gray In War"
by Andy Owen

"All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s 
inability to sit quietly in a room alone."
- Blaise Pascal (1623-62)

"I first read the English philosopher John Gray while sitting in the silence of the still, mid-afternoon heat of Helmand Province in Afghanistan. In "Black Mass: Apocalyptic Religion and the Death of Utopia" (2007), Gray showed how the United States’ president George W Bush and the United Kingdom’s prime minister Tony Blair framed the ‘war on terror’ (which I was part of) as an apocalyptic struggle that would forge the new American century of liberal democracy, where personal freedom and free markets were the end goals of human progress. Speaking at the Sydney Writers’ Festival in 2008, Gray highlighted an important caveat to the phrase ‘You can’t have an omelette without breaking eggs,’ which is sometimes used, callously, to justify extreme means to high-value ends. Gray’s caveat was: ‘You can break millions of eggs and still not have a single omelette.’ In my two previous tours of Iraq, I had seen first-hand – as sectarian hatred, insurgency, war fighting, targeted killings and the euphemistically named collateral damage tore apart buildings, bodies, communities and the shallow fabric of the state – just how many eggs had been broken and yet still how far away from the omelette we were.

There was no doubt that Iraq’s underexploited oil reserves were part of the US strategic decision-making, and that the initial mission in Afghanistan was in response to the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001 on the US, but both invasions had ideological motivations too. I had started the process to join the British military before 9/11. The military I thought I was joining was the one that had successfully completed humanitarian interventions in the Balkans and Sierra Leone. I believed we could use force for good, and indeed had a duty to do so. After the failure to prevent genocides in Rwanda and Srebrenica, the concept of the ‘responsibility to protect’ was developing, which included the idea that when a state was ‘unable or unwilling’ to protect its people, responsibility shifted to the international community and, as a last resort, military intervention would be permissible. It would be endorsed by all member states of the United Nations (UN) in 2005 but, under the framework, the authority to employ the last resort rested with the UN Security Council, who hadn’t endorsed the invasion of Iraq.

Despite the lack of a UN resolution, many of us who deployed to Iraq naively thought we were doing the right thing. When Lieutenant Colonel Tim Collins delivered his eve-of-battle speech to the Royal Irish Battle Group in March 2003, he opened by stating: ‘We go to liberate, not to conquer.’ We had convinced ourselves that, as well as making the region safer by seizing the Iraqi president Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction (WMD), we were there to save the people of Iraq from their own government and replace it with the single best way of organizing all societies: liberal democracy. This feeling was so persuasive that it led to many troops feeling that the Iraqis were somehow ungrateful when they started to shoot at us for invading their country.

By my second tour of Iraq in 2005, it was clear that no WMD would be found and the society that was evolving was far from the one envisaged. Morale was at a low ebb as the gap between the mission and what we were achieving widened. We were stuck in a Catch-22. We would hand over to local security forces when the security situation improved enough for us to do so. However, the security situation couldn’t improve while we were still there. It would improve only if we left. The conditions that would allow us to leave were us already having left. Most troops were stuck inside the wire, their only purpose seemingly to be mortared or rocketed for being there. I was asked why we were there, especially when soldiers witnessed their friends being injured or killed, or saw the destruction of the city we’d come to liberate. They needed meaning, it couldn’t all be pointless. Meaning was found in protecting each other. My team of 30 or so men and women found purpose in trying to collect intelligence on those planting deadly improvised explosive devices along the main routes in and out of the city. Members of both the team before and the team after us were blown up trying to do so.

Much of the criticism levelled at the post-invasion failure focused on the mistake of disbanding the Iraqi state, the lack of post-conflict planning and the lack of resources. There was less focus on the utopian aims of the whole project. But it was only through Gray that I saw the similarities between the doctrines of Stalinism, Nazi fascism, Al-Qaeda’s paradoxical medieval, technophile fundamentalism, and Bush’s ‘war on terror’. Gray showed that they are all various forms (however incompatible) of utopian thinking that have at their heart the teleological notion of progress from unenlightened times to a future utopia, and a belief that violence is justified to achieve it (indeed, from the Jacobins onwards, violence has had a pedagogical function in this process). At first, I baulked at the suggested equivalence with the foot soldiers of the other ideologies. There were clearly profound differences! But through Gray’s examples, I went on to reflect on how much violence had been inflicted throughout history by those thinking that they were doing the right thing and doing it for the greater good. 

A message repeated throughout Gray’s work is that, despite the irrefutable material gains, this notion is misguided: scientific knowledge and the technologies at our disposal increase over time, but there’s no reason to think that morality or culture will also progress, nor – if it does progress for a period – that this progress is irreversible. To think otherwise is to misunderstand the flawed nature of our equally creative and destructive species and the cyclical nature of history. Those I spoke to in Basra needed no convincing that the advance of rational enlightened thought was reversible, as the Shia militias roamed the streets enforcing their interpretation of medieval law, harassing women, attacking students and assassinating political opponents. By the time bodies of journalists who spoke out against the death squads started turning up at the side of the road, Basra’s secular society was consigned to history. Gray points to the re-introduction of torture by the world’s premier liberal democracy during the war on terror as an example of the reversibility of progress. The irreversibility idea emerged directly from a utopian style of thinking that’s based on the notion that the end justifies the means. Such thinking is often accompanied by one of the defining characteristics of the Iraq and Afghanistan campaigns: hubris.

The myth of progress was a key theme of Gray’s bestseller "Straw Dogs: Thoughts on Humans and Other Animals" (2002). There he attacks what he believes is the illusory faith that our species is apart and above the rest of nature, uniquely privileged in the Universe with the gifts of self-consciousness and reason. He attacks the idea of ‘humanity’, saying that ‘there are only humans, driven by conflicting needs and illusions’. Due to the plurality of human needs and illusions, it’s utopian to imagine that any one political system or social order could be universally good for all. For Gray, human nature is an inherent obstacle to advancing ethical or political progress. There’s no end of history as was once proclaimed when the Cold War finished and US hegemony was assured. Instead, our ceaseless attempts to try to find some meaning to life invariably drive us into the embrace of religious belief systems and their secular imitations – and, consequently, to continual conflict. Writing in 2020, Gray highlights that, throughout history ‘killing and dying for nonsensical ideas is how many human beings have made sense of their lives’, and notes the irony of attempting immortality through death.

Gray acknowledges the theories of the cultural anthropologist Ernest Becker, outlined in his book "The Denial of Death" (1973). Becker believed that human activity is largely driven by unconscious efforts to deny the inevitability of our demise. We invest in activities, institutions and belief systems that we think will allow us to transcend our brief time in the world. Becker wrote: ‘We build character and culture in order to shield ourselves from the devastating awareness of underlying helplessness and terror of our inevitable death.’ The stories we create give us a sense that we’re part of something greater than ourselves, which will continue after we die. In Collins’s speech, he placed the invasion of Iraq in an epic context, linking our presence on the ground there to the great stories of our shared past, saying: ‘Iraq is steeped in history. It is the site of the Garden of Eden, of the Great Flood and the birthplace of Abraham.’ These stories are the result of what the 17th-century French philosopher Blaise Pascal says is our ‘inability to sit quietly in a room alone’. Literature is awash with stories that examine this inability. For me, Herman Melville’s novel "Moby-Dick" (1851) is the exemplar. Melville not only captures the desire of young men to search for meaning and purpose in adventure, but also the role of charismatic individuals in developing a sense of belonging and a shared worldview. Motivated by hate, Ahab causes harm to real entities, his crew, in the name of a fictional creation: the vengeful whale, given an agency it didn’t possess.

For Gray, ‘liberal humanism’ – the belief system that led us to Iraq – is a quasi-religious faith in progress, the subjective power of reason, free markets, and the unbounded potential of technology. He identifies the Enlightenment as the point at which the Christian doctrine of salvation was taken over by a secular idealism that has developed into modern-day liberal humanism. (Gray argues that global capitalism has its origins in positivism, the secular cult influenced by the late-18th-century French philosopher Henri de Saint-Simon, who believed that science would end all human ills.) Interestingly, Gray identifies the Enlightenment as the point where our utopias became located in the future, rather than in the past or in some fantasy realm, where it was clear they were exactly that: fantasies. With the failures of Iraq, Afghanistan, the 2008 financial crisis, the climate crisis and now the COVID-19 pandemic, faith in the future utopia that liberal humanism once promised is waning. It’s being replaced by beliefs that again look backwards in history, through the distorting lens of nostalgia, to imagined better times to which we hope to return.

Believing the stories we tell ourselves leads us to suppose that we’re far superior to our fellow creatures, but Gray likens our fate to that of the straw dogs of ancient Chinese rituals that were used as offerings to the gods. During such a ritual, these dogs were treated with the utmost reverence. But when it was over, and they were no longer needed, they were tossed aside. Gray quotes Lao Tzu, the 6th-century BCE Chinese philosopher and founder of the Chinese philosophical tradition of Taoism: ‘Heaven and earth are ruthless and treat the myriad creatures as straw dogs.’ To many, this vision is too bleak. One review of "Straw Dogs" described Gray as possessing ‘extravagant pessimism’ and the book as so ‘remorselessly, monotonously negative that even nihilism implies too much hope’. A further criticism is that Gray preaches a politics of inaction. He has been asked more than once: if he believes what he claims, how can he get out of bed in the morning? Gray has never bought into the idea that his work outlines a philosophy of pessimism and despair. He has proposed antidotes to the ills he identifies at both the political level and at the level of the individual.

At the political level, in the face of our history of violence, Gray counsels that we have to abandon the belief in utopias and instead adopt a form of political realism that accepts that there are moral and political dilemmas for which there are simply no solutions. Building on the work of one of his key influences, the Latvian-born British philosopher Isaiah Berlin, Gray proposes that we should aspire to an approach of modus vivendi. This recognizes that there is a plurality of human values that determines many ways of living, and these values – and those that hold them – will inevitably clash. Modus vivendi is the search for a way of living together despite this, embracing the multiple forms of human life as a good thing in itself. While that’s the aim, we must accept that, as many pre-Enlightenment societies did and many non-Western societies still do, the current reality is that war is followed by periods of peace, which are followed by war again. Conflict will always play a part in maintaining the uneasy equilibrium in which our competing societies and ideologies find themselves. History makes more sense as a cycle than as a straight line of progress, and there is no right or wrong side of history to be on. This is something that the Afghans I met in Helmand intuitively grasped better than we, the forgetful invaders, did. They saw our arrival as another phase in the ebb and flow of our presence in the region, picking up from the Third Anglo-Afghan War of 1919. The shifting alliances of tribal and political leaders to meet their own changing needs frustrated our diplomats and military leaders who couldn’t work out whose ‘side’ they were on.

At the individual level, Gray has frequently taken inspiration from our animal cousins, as well as from Taoism, and encouraged us to try to de-attach ourselves from the pressures of feeding our personal narratives and attaining to unreachable overarching purposes. We must renounce the delusion that one’s life is a narrative, that is – an episode in some universal story of progress. Instead, he advocates a more contemplative life, one lived moment to moment, that appreciates the immediate joys of existence in the skin we are in. The last line of "Straw Dogs" asks: ‘Can we not think of the aim of life as being simply to see?’ In his later book "The Silence of Animals" (2013), Gray promises temporary respite from our all-too-human world if, freed of the perpetual need for meaning and transcendence, we become more like other animals. In "Black Mass", Gray writes: ‘Taoists taught that freedom lies in freeing oneself from personal narratives by identifying with cosmic processes of death and renewal.’ The contemplation he advocates isn’t a turning away from the world like those of some Eastern philosophies but one that allows us to turn back to it and embrace its folly.

In his latest book "Feline Philosophy" (2020), Gray goes further than any of his previous work in offering practical advice on how to embrace this folly. As he ponders the essential nature, or soul, of the cat through an examination of the lives of both fictional and historical cats, he compares them to humans and identifies some key lessons we can learn from them. Gray notes that cats live for the sensation of life, not for something they might achieve or not achieve. They have the innocence that Gray believes we would have had before the Fall. They have no concept of striving to become the perfect specimen of their type or attain the good life by approaching the perfection of a divine being (or even a concept of what a divine being would be). The knowledge we received in the Garden of Eden is viewed as unequivocally good by Western liberalism, but it has a downside that religions have always recognized. Without the self-awareness that humankind was gifted by the tree of knowledge, the pressure to find meaning in our life, even in the most desperate circumstances, is removed. The search for meaning is now so hardwired into us that we struggle with the idea that there’s no deeper meaning to find. This explains our desire for conspiracy theories that reveal a hidden order in times of uncertainty, when the precarious and contingent nature of our world is exposed, such as during the current global pandemic.

It is the sensation of life that Gray observes in his feline companions that we lose when we focus on some overarching purpose or commit to ideologies and religions. Gray believes that an acceptance of human limits shouldn’t be seen as a defeat, but rather as a source of wonder and enrichment. He concludes that: ‘The meaning of life is a touch, a scent, which comes by chance and is gone before you know it.’ At the end of the book, Gray offers ‘10 feline hints on how to live well’ that condense the key elements of his thought into pithy maxims, such as ‘Do not look for meaning in your suffering’; ‘Life is not a story’; and ‘Never try to persuade human beings to be reasonable.’ The most clearly cat-influenced lesson is perhaps ‘Sleep for the joy of sleeping.’ Yet it’s the penultimate maxim that likely best encapsulates his political philosophy, and the maxim probably least obviously gained from watching cats: ‘Beware of anyone who offers to make you happy.’

The 19th-century German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche claimed that ‘He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.’ Gray’s challenge is to bear the how without the why. He concedes that, for many, this task is too much to bear. Gray is sympathetic to those who can’t bear it, and cites the French Renaissance philosopher Michel de Montaigne and his recognition that in grief he needed a distraction. The last of Gray’s 10 feline hints states: ‘If you cannot learn to live a little more like a cat, return without regret to the human world of diversion.’ But diversion in the consolations of the ‘mystics, poets and pleasure-lovers’ rather than the utopian thinkers who, as I saw in Iraq and Afghanistan, break lives in the name of unobtainable goals.

My need for meaning and purpose, and my desire to be part of something bigger than myself, were likely motivators for joining the military. People assume that it’s the bad experiences soldiers have endured that make it difficult to adjust to life after the military. While this is sometimes true, very often it’s the absence of what soldiers valued that makes the transition difficult – the loss of meaning, sense of purpose and belonging. Those who sign up for service are likely more hard-wired than most to seek these things, making the loss all the keener. Under Gray’s influence, I recognize the difficulty of this loss and have found solace in his advice about how one can aspire to move past these innate human needs. I am not yet living in a way that Gray would approve of, hope for progress is more intoxicating than the dry lessons of history, but I am more selective in my choice of distractions today, and aspire one day to just be able to sit still in a room and live in that scented moment, before it’s gone."
Full screen recommended,
James Blunt, "No Bravery"
"The official video for "No Bravery" uses footage from James
 live at the BBC, and his own footage taken from the Kosovo War in 1999."

Musical Interlude: Leonard Cohen, "Anthem"

Full screen recommended.
Leonard Cohen, "Anthem"

The Daily "Near You?"

Bradford, Pennsylvania, USA. Thanks for stopping by!

"Most Do Not Fully See..."

“Most do not fully see this truth that life is difficult. Instead they moan more or less incessantly, noisily or subtly, about the enormity of their problems, their burdens, and their difficulties as if life were generally easy, as if life should be easy. They voice their belief, noisily or subtly, that their difficulties represent a unique kind of affliction that should not be and that has somehow been especially visited upon them, or else upon their families, their tribe, their class, their nation, their race or even their species, and not upon others. Problems do not go away. They must be worked through or else they remain, forever a barrier to the growth and development of the spirit.”
- M. Scott Peck

"How The Fight Over American Freedom Will Probably Escalate"

"How The Fight Over American Freedom 
Will Probably Escalate"
by Brandon Smith

"Three months ago in December I published an article titled ‘Is The Globalist Reset Failing? The Elites May Have Overplayed Their Hand’. I was specifically interested in the development of the pandemic “crisis”, the lockdown mandates of governments worldwide, the bizarre vaccination campaign for the new and under-tested mRNA cocktail which was rushed out to the public in the span of six months, the World Economic Forum’s open statements that they hoped to exploit the pandemic as a springboard for their globalist agenda, and the public’s reaction to it all.

I have to say, I continue to see a divergence in what the elites clearly wanted to happen vs. what has actually happened. If the Event 201 pandemic war game on a coronavirus outbreak, held two months before the actual outbreak occurred in China, is any indication, then the globalists greatly overestimated the fear effect of Covid.

They predicted at least 65 million deaths from a coronavirus outbreak, but over a year has passed since the pandemic went international and the official death count stands at 2.5 million, with over 40% of deaths in the US attributed to nursing home patients that were ALREADY dying from preexisting conditions. Removing suspect nursing home deaths from the equation, the death count is probably closer to 1.5 million, again, if we adhere to official estimates.

To put this number in perspective, the CDC states that global deaths from the flu virus peak at around 649,000 depending on the year. Deaths from the flu and pneumonia reach as high as 1.4 million globally per year. Studies funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation find annual pneumonia death stats that are comparable to the CDC’s. Yet, we never saw Bill Gates calling for economic lockdowns, mask mandates and medical passports because of the flu or pneumonia. Why is that?

Today, the death rate of covid is 0.26%, FAR below initial predictions by globalist institutions and governments. It is now widely proven that the lockdowns did NOTHING to slow the infection spread of the virus, and now many areas of the US are starting to experience what the lab coat “professionals” affectionately call “herd immunity”. Infections and deaths are plunging, and the lockdowns and mask mandates were useless.

Like the vast majority of all viral illnesses, humans simply get sick, endure, build immunity and get healthy. Some of us die, as we always have, and government intervention is not needed nor is it welcome. This is why large portions of US and European populations are refusing to accept the lockdowns and the vaccines. Why destroy the economy and submit to a potentially dangerous genetic cocktail over a disease that 99.7% of the population is sure to survive?

The establishment elites really blew it this time. My suspicion, my “conspiracy theory” if you will, is that the globalists announced their reset agenda under the assumption that the death rate for covid would be MUCH higher than it is. They were expecting something biblical, and instead they got something not much more dangerous than the flu and pneumonia.

There is now mass public resistance to the vaccinations and medical passports. This is probably why they rushed out the vaccines in the span of 6 months instead of a year to 18 months as they hinted at in early 2020. They are trying to get as many people as possible to take the experimental vaccines before the citizenry realizes that covid is a nothing-burger.

I can say that in my area the majority of people never wore the masks and the majority of local businesses never tried to enforce them. And though they initially went along with the first economic shutdown, they will not be complying with another. In my state of Montana, there are 1,300 deaths attributed to covid. In my county, the estimated infection rate is over 25% (which means almost everyone has probably already been infected), and there are only 13 deaths total.

No one is scared of this thing. Almost no conservative is going to wear a mask, and many people in Red states (and some in Blue states) are going to refuse to take the vaccines or accept medical passports.

This means that the globalists have a big problem. They obviously invested a lot into this pandemic. It is the key to their entire Reset agenda. Without a frightening pandemic killing tens of millions, the globalists will not be able to lock down the public and prevent them from traveling or organizing. They will not be able to institute the medical passports and contact tracing apps that would allow them to watch the public 24/7. They certainly won’t get most Americans to go along with the cashless society and the centralized global governance the elites are so obsessed with.

The fear of coronavirus is waning. The globalists have indeed failed in epic fashion. But, this doesn’t mean that they are going to give up. If my experience studying psychopathic people tells me anything, it is that when these lunatics are cornered they tend to double and triple down on their failures.

The question is, what will happen next? The establishment will need maximum instability and chaos in the near term if they hope to salvage their Reset project. If they wait too long awareness will spread and they might not get another chance for many decades to come, if ever. Here are the events I expect to see over the course of the next year…

Covid Mutation Hype: The globalists are doomed unless they can keep the pandemic panic rolling forward. For now, puppets like Biden and Fauci are going to pretend as if a full reopening of the economy is going to happen. This us a lie. Already we are seeing Biden waffling on when a reopening will take place. He has indicated that it will be at least a YEAR before the shutdowns will completely end, and this is predicated on the majority of Americans submitting to vaccinations and medical passports.

In other words, the establishment is telling us that they intend to hold the economy hostage until we take the jab and give up our freedoms.

Now, are these inbred totalitarians just out of their minds? Well, probably, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have a Plan B. Just look at all the hype surrounding “covid mutations” in places like South Africa and Brazil; the narrative will be that a “new covid variant” that is more dangerous and deadly than the first virus is spreading, and that the lockdowns must return for the greater good of the public.

As a recent article from ‘The New Scientist’ states: “Existing vaccines should stop people getting severely ill and dying if they do get infected by the P.1 variant. However, because many people remain unvaccinated, plans to ease lockdown restrictions would have to be rethought if this variant causes a resurgence in case numbers. Plus, any variant that circulates widely will have more opportunities to evolve into a more dangerous form.”

The New Scientist does not seem to understand basic science. The overwhelming majority of viruses circulating in the world usually evolve into less deadly forms of their original iteration. Viruses need to survive too, and they don’t do this by mutating into more and more deadly monstrosities that kill their favorite hosts. There is still no evidence that the new covid mutations are any threat whatsoever, but the establishment is already staging the narrative that new lockdowns are coming.

Federal Lockdowns: If the mutation narrative continues on the path it seems to be following, then I expect the Biden Administration to attempt a national federalized lockdown similar to the Level 4 lockdowns used in Europe and Australia, and it will be announced sometime this year. This program will trigger several reactions; most importantly, most conservative states and counties will refuse to follow federal mandates. I know that my county and probably most of Montana will defy any new shutdown. There will be several economic consequences that will erupt from this conflict; some positive and some negative.

Domestic Economic Warfare: This phase of the crisis will happen within a month to two months of any national shutdown. Red states will refuse to comply. State politicians, even if they are part of the agenda, will be too scared to try to enforce federal mandates. They will be compelled by the conservative citizenry to keep their states open. Most people in these areas will ignore mandates.

This will lead to a red state fiscal boom, at least in the beginning, as business continues to thrive in conservative areas while blue states suffer under medical tyranny. Companies will flee leftist states by the thousands and move to any states that remain open and accommodating. This will be short lived, though.

Biden and the federal government will try to retaliate, first by cutting off federal funds to any state that does not bow to their power and refusing to give stimulus to any businesses that relocate. Blue states will be flush with stimulus cash while red states will be forced to reduce or eliminate welfare programs and some pension funds.

Of course, the government has no real money to give, they only have our tax dollars and the fiat that the central bank creates from thin air. The likely response will be that conservative states and citizens will simply stop paying federal taxes. Another reaction will be red states taking over federal lands and utilizing the resources on those lands to rejuvenate their industry and make up for the federal dollars lost.

What this amounts to is a soft secession of conservative regions, which will eventually lead to federal attempts at physical intervention (the economic war will turn into a shooting war). The argument from the establishment will be that conservatives are putting the rest of the country “at risk”, that we are “selfish” and “literally killing grandma”.

Complete Erasure Of Conservatives From The Internet: I expect Biden and Big Tech to further pursue their current witch hunt against conservative voices, far beyond what we have already seen. In order to win a fight with conservatives they will first have to silence us so that our side of the argument is never seen or considered by the rest of the population. If they allow us to be heard, we will undoubtedly win because facts and moral reason are on our side.

It is hard to demonize people that simply want to be free. But, if you can silence conservatives and moderates, then the narrative can be rigged. The establishment spin doctors can tell people that we don’t actually want freedom; we want something else, something evil and nefarious. They can tell people we are “fascists”, and that we are “racists” and that we actually want tyranny. Who is going to tell the public otherwise when we are removed from all available platforms and our websites are booted off service providers due to “dangerous ideas”?

Gun Control Madness: I know that some people think that leftists under Biden will not try to carry out a widespread gun crackdown and that much of the current talk is merely hollow rhetoric. I disagree. I think the globalists are going for broke, and they need to get as many combat capable firearms as they can from Americans soon. Democrats will push hard for legislation like HR 127.

They will then offer a “compromise” with Republicans and the NRA, cutting out portions of the bill. This will be a trick to make the public think that the new restrictions are a “reasonable compromise”. They think we will breath a sigh of relief and say “Well, at least they didn’t take everything…”

The gun grabbers are delusional. What will really happen is millions of gun owners will pass local and state laws negating federal restrictions. No conservatives are going to give up their gun rights, allow red flag laws to be implemented or allow high capacity firearms to be limited; not at this stage in the game.

International Intervention: Eventually, leftists and the establishment will realize that conservatives will be harder to subjugate than they expected. They will discover that a large part of the US military and law enforcement is on our side. They will start to see mutiny among the people that they rely on as cannon fodder to carry out their dictates.

Even now, there are sheriff’s departments across the country refusing to enforce lockdown orders. And, 30% to 50% of medical professional say they will not be taking the covid vaccine depending on the state. When the rebellion goes live, this is when the globalists will have to pursue extreme options. They will not be able to win using domestic forces. Instead, they will seek out an international response, probably through the United Nations.

The rationale will be that the US has an enormous nuclear arsenal and that the international community cannot allow these weapons to fall into the hands of “white supremacists”. This is when the real fight will begin. If international intervention fails in the US, the globalists will find their heads on the chopping block. If the globalists win the fight in the US then there will be very few people left to resist them in the years going forward.

I have had numerous readers from all over the world write to me, saying that they believe in the face of the pandemic lockdowns it is now all up to Americans to turn the tide. I agree. A successful rebellion against globalism in America will lead to rebellions elsewhere, but the fact remains that if we lose, no one else will dare lift a finger. The future is in our hands."

"How It Really Is"


"The Global Financial End-Game"

"The Global Financial End-Game"
by Charles Hugh Smith

"For those seeking a summary, here is the global financial endgame in fourteen points:

1. In the initial "boost phase" of credit expansion, credit-based capital ( i.e. debt-money) pours into expanding production and increasing productivity: new production facilities are built, new machine and software tools are purchased, etc. These investments greatly boost production of goods and services and are thus initially highly profitable.

2. As credit continues to expand, competitors can easily borrow the capital needed to push into every profitable sector. Expanding production leads to overcapacity, falling profit margins and stagnant wages across the entire economy. Resources (oil, copper, etc.) may command higher prices, raising the input costs of production and the price the consumer pays. These higher prices are negative in that they reduce disposable income while creating no added value.

3. As investing in material production yields diminishing returns, capital flows into financial speculation, i.e. financialization, which generates profits from rapidly expanding credit and leverage that is backed by either phantom collateral or claims against risky counterparties or future productivity. In other words, financialization is untethered from the real economy of producing goods and services.

4. Initially, financialization generates enormous profits as credit and leverage are extended first to the creditworthy borrowers and then to marginal borrowers.

5. The rapid expansion of credit and leverage far outpace the expansion of productive assets. Fast-expanding debt-money (i.e. borrowed money) must chase a limited pool of productive assets/income streams, inflating asset bubbles.

6. These asset bubbles create phantom collateral which is then leveraged into even greater credit expansion. The housing bubble and home-equity extraction are prime examples of theis dynamic.

7. The speculative credit-based bubble implodes, revealing the collateral as phantom and removing the foundation of future borrowing. Borrowers' assets vanish but their debt remains to be paid.

8. Since financialization extended credit to marginal borrowers (households, enterprises, governments), much of the outstanding debt is impaired: it cannot and will not be paid back. That leaves the lenders and their enabling Central Banks/States three choices:

A. The debt must be paid with vastly depreciated currency to preserve the appearance that it has been paid back.

B. The debt must be refinanced to preserve the illusion that it can and will be paid back at some later date.

C. The debt must be renounced, written down or written off and any remaining collateral liquidated.

9. Since wages have long been stagnant and the bubble-era debt must still be serviced, there is little non-speculative surplus income to drive more consumption.

10. In a desperate attempt to rekindle another cycle of credit/collateral expansion, Central Banks lower the yield on cash capital (savings) to near-zero and unleash wave after wave of essentially "free money" credit into the banking sector.

11. Since wages remain stagnant and creditworthy borrowers are scarce, banks have few places to make safe loans. The lower-risk strategy is to use the central bank funds to speculate in "risk-on" assets such as stocks, corporate bonds and real estate.

12. In a low-growth economy burdened with overcapacity in virtually every sector, all this debt-money is once again chasing a limited pool of productive assets/income streams.

13. This drives returns to near-zero while at the same time increasing the risk that the resulting asset bubbles will once again implode.

14. As a result, total credit owed remain high even as wages remain stagnant, along with the rest of the real economy. Credit growth falls, along with the velocity of money, as the central bank-issued credit (and the gains from the latest central-bank inflated asset bubbles) pools up in investment banks, hedge funds and corporations.

The net result: an over-indebted, overcapacity global economy cannot generate real expansion. It can only generate speculative asset bubbles that will implode, destroying the latest round of phantom collateral."

Friday, March 5, 2021

"The Trial of Winnie the Pooh"

"The Trial of Winnie the Pooh"
by Jim Kunstler

"A solemn silence turned collective gasp in the District of Columbia Woke Circuit courtroom as two bailiffs entered the door beside the jury box with the small cream-colored bear suspended between them, his stumpy hind legs wheeling fruitlessly to seek purchase in the unavailing air. The Queen of Hearts, presiding, banged her gavel as the little bear was seated at the table for the defense beside another rather small, darkish, furtive figure.

The Queen of Hearts peered over her half-glasses at the defendant and snarled, “State your full name and residence.”
“Winnie-the-Pooh,” the defendant said. “From the Hundred Acre Wood.”
“What is your personal pronoun?”
The bear looked perplexed. “Oh, bother,” he said. “Nobody I know has such a thing?”
“Of course they do,” the Queen said.
“Perhaps it’s ‘the’,” the bear said.
“That is a definite article, not a pronoun!” the Queen barked. “Are you an imbecile?"
“I’m not sure. Maybe it’s ‘dear'”—
“That’s enough out of you!” the Queen said. “And let’s have no more impertinence! Do you have counsel?"
“Why, yes,” the bear said. “Mr. Kafka, who is seated beside me.”
“You are mistaken,” the Queen said. “That is a cockroach seated beside you, and the court is displeased to see it. Bailiff, please remove that disgusting cockroach from my court.” Mr. Kafka, gesticulating in protest with all six arms and legs, had to be dragged out.

“First witness!” the Queen screeched. “Counsel for the prosecution….”

"Calling Uncle Remus,” said the prosecutor, Andrew Weissmann, famous for his exploits in the Enron case and with The Mueller Team in the old Russia collusion days. An elderly gentleman-of-color with white beard and a kindly face limped forward and took the witness stand.

“Do you know this bear?” Weissmann asked.
“I knows a Brer B’ar,” Uncle Remus said. “But he a black b’ar. Dishyere one a white b’ar.”
“Exactly!” Weissmann said. “Dismissed.”
“Dat all?” Uncle Remus asked.

“It’s plenty,” Weissmann retorted and smirked at the jury, composed of members from the United Federation of Teachers, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and Antifa, who all nodded amongst themselves. “A white bear!” Weissmann repeated for emphasis, shaking his head. “And not a polar bear, either. A white bear. From England. Think about it…!” The jurors emitted growls of opprobrium.

“Next witness,” the Queen cried.
“Calling N-Word Jim,” Weissmann said.
A strapping middle-aged gentleman-of-color, dressed in ragged clothes, strode to the witness chair.
“You reside in libraries all over the world, is that correct?” the attorney asked.
“Yassuh, dat is so. But I’se originally fum Hannibal, Missouri.”
“Are you acquainted with the defendant?”
“I done seen him on many a shelf ‘round de worl’.”
“How much shelf space does he occupy compared to you?”
“Well, fur as I knows, ‘bout double.”
“Does that seem fair to you?”
“Way I sees it, he in mebbe twice as minny books as me and Huck.”
“Huck! Who is this Huck?”
“White boy I done made a journey down de ribber wif one time.”
“What is your experience with white folks, Jim?”
“Well, dey runs mos’ everything, I ‘spect. Leas’ as fur as I kin see.”
“Exactly!” Weissmann argued. “Is it not white privilege to — as you say — run everything?” he added, shaking his head gravely. “Hegemonizing and colonizing literature everywhere you look.”
“Say, what…?” the witness rejoined and pulled his chin.
“You can go back to your raft, Jim,” Weissmann said. “Dismissed. Calling Mr. Christopher Robin.”

A very old man, bent and trembling, shuffled forward to the stand, leaning on his brass-headed cane.
“You’ve been acquainted with the defendant for how many years?”
“Oh, yes, many, since…let’s see… uh, nineteen hundred and twenty-six, I’d say.”
“In all those years, did he ever… touch you?”
“We held hands. And hugged frequently.”
“I see,” Weissmann sneered. “And this ‘touching’ started when you were, what? About five years old?”
“I suppose. Yes. It was a very long time ago.”
“Do you recall an incident involving the defendant, a person named Piglet, and a broken balloon?”
“Yes… yes, I do!”
“That was not really a balloon, was it, Mr. Robin?”
“At the time, I thought…”
“You thought!” Weissmann barked. “We all think, don’t we? Sometimes maybe a little too much! I’ll tell you what I think: I think the jury can see exactly what was going on between you and the defendant, this very privileged bear. And if they think the way I do — that is, as a normal person with healthy morals — they’ll think that this was depraved behavior on the part of this bear, routinely abusing a five-year-old boy, year after year after year!”

The jury members all nodded avidly and buzzed between themselves.
Christopher Robin looked up at the bench.
“Balloon, indeed!” the Queen snorted, wagging her finger at both the bear and Christopher Robin. “I think we’ve heard enough.”

“No! I have one other witness,” Weissmann said. “Calling Peter Pan….” A figure wearing a leaf-green tunic and tights, and a feathered cap, flew across the room and landed in the witness seat.

“You’ve had occasion to work at the Disney Studios with the defendant, have you not?”
“I would see him around the lot on lunch breaks,” Pan said. “But we weren’t on the same pictures — except one time for a TV Christmas special where we all did cameos.”
“And what was your impression of this bear?”
“He made a crack about not believing in fairies. I didn’t know if he was kidding or not.”
“Were you hurt by that remark?”
“Not personally, but I saw what it did to my sidekick, Tinkerbelle. Her light almost went out.”
“Your honor, ladies, gentlemen, and non-binaries of the jury, We have definitely heard enough.”

“The defense rests!” the Queen of Hearts screeched. “Mr. Pooh, you have led a life of disgusting racism, colonialism, hate-ism, white supremacy, and depravity. I am directing the jury to find you guilty as charged and sentence you to be cancelled.” She pounded the bench with her gavel.
“Oh, bother,” Winnie the Pooh said, still perplexed and bewildered.
“Take him out, burn all those wicked books of his, and put him on top of the fire.”
“Lawks a’mercy,” Uncle Remus cried from the back of the room.
“See you up in sweet Beulah-land, Pooh, honey,” N-Word Jim said.
“Next case!” the Red Queen yelled above the commotion. “The people versus Robin Hood and his so-called Merry Men.”

Roll credits.
Fade to black…"