"Northern winter constellations and a long arc of the Milky Way are setting in this night skyscape looking toward the Pacific Ocean from Point Reyes on planet Earth's California coast. Sirius, alpha star of Canis Major, is prominent below the starry arc toward the left. Orion's yellowish Betelgeuse, Aldebaran in Taurus, and the blue tinted Pleiades star cluster also find themselves between Milky Way and northwestern horizon near the center of the scene.
The nebulae visible in the series of exposures used to construct this panoramic view were captured in early March, but are just too faint to be seen with the unaided eye. On that northern night their expansive glow includes the reddish semi-circle of Barnard's Loop in Orion and NGC 1499 above and right of the Pleiades, also known as the California Nebula."
"Here is a story to break your heart. Are you willing? This winter the loons came to our harbor and died,
one by one, of nothing we could see. A friend told me of one on the shore that lifted its head and opened the elegant beak and cried out in the long, sweet savoring of its life which, if you have heard it, you know is a sacred thing, and for which, if you have not heard it, you had better hurry to where they still sing. And, believe me, tell no one just where that is. The next morning this loon, speckled and iridescent and with a plan to fly home to some hidden lake, was dead on the shore. I tell you this to break your heart, by which I mean only that it break open and never close again to the rest of the world."
"The monstrous thing is not that men have created roses out of this dung heap, but that, for some reason or other, they should want roses. For some reason or other man looks for the miracle, and to accomplish it he will wade through blood. He will debauch himself with ideas, he will reduce himself to a shadow if for only one second of his life he can close his eyes to the hideousness of reality. Everything is endured - disgrace, humiliation, poverty, war, crime, ennui - in the belief that overnight something will occur, a miracle, which will render life tolerable. And all the while a meter is running inside and there is no hand that can reach in there and shut it off."
“Over the years you get to see what a struggle life is for most people, how tough it is, how easy it is to be judgmental and criticize and stand outside of situations and impart your wisdom and judgment. But over the decades I've got more tolerant of people's flaws and mistakes. Everybody makes a lot of them. When you're younger you feel: "Hey, this person is evil" or "This person is a jerk" or stupid or "What's wrong with them?" Then you go through life and you think: "Well, it's not so easy." There's a lot of mystery and suffering and complication. Everybody's out there trying to do the best they can. And it's not such an easy business.”
"When do we get back to normal? We live in a world with extreme inflation, rising gas prices and an upcoming food shortage. People should not wait for things to get back to a certain way that they remember. We need to work from here."
"Truth: the most deadly weapon ever discovered by humanity.
Capable of destroying entire perceptual sets, cultures, and realities.
Outlawed by all governments everywhere.
Possession is normally punishable by death."
- John Gilmore
A comment: According to statistics compiled by the UN, by the time the sun rises tomorrow morning 30,000 children world wide will have died overnight from malnutrition, disease, lack of potable water, and lack of basic medical care. That's every night, all year long, 30,000 children dying because no one cared. Trillions of dollars wasted on insane wars, economies destroyed by psychopathic greed, the environment dying in front of our eyes, and no one cares. No wonder Sir Arthur Conan Doyle described humanity as, "Poor silly half-brained things peering out at the infinite, with the aspirations of angels and the instincts of beasts." The "instincts of beasts" is evident for all to see... sometimes all this wears me down, and I look around, hoping to see the "aspirations of angels," hoping desperately that we can somehow awaken from the madness crushing us all, that together we can still rise above the despair and hopelessness and make a better world, where no child dies from hunger, where wars are a distant memory, where everyone can live full, dignified and honorable lives in peace. An impossible, hopeless struggle? Perhaps, but how dare we call ourselves "Human" if we don't try to make that vision real, in any way we can, no matter the price? A dream, you say? Yes, that's all it is... but without those dreams, those aspirations, all that's left is the "instincts of beasts", and we all see very clearly what those have brought this world to...
"I’ve got a virus. It doesn’t have a common name because it isn’t a common virus. It’s difficult to catch this virus because there are only so many ways for it to enter your system. You can catch it as a result of extreme trauma which results in all of your defenses being shut down. This includes all subconscious resistance and all systemic defenses. You can catch it as a result of long term abuse. This includes abuse visited upon you or abuse you visit on yourself. Often this abuse comes about because the virus is already looking for a foothold and it will attract one of these two kinds of abuse. You can catch it through diligent and repeated efforts to catch it, in an environment of quietude, created by a relentless persistence of the mind to cease from the production of thought. There are a few other ways.
Once you’ve got this virus there’s no cure for it. Every cell in your body is going to be replaced and the world will gradually- and sometimes not so gradually- take on the appearance of an insane asylum, while also becoming remarkably predictable. People think insanity is unpredictable but that’s just one of the illusions that are part of the ordinary mindset of the collectively insane.
People who have this virus can understand one another without having to say anything at all and if they should speak they are also understood by people who are vulnerable to this virus. This is one of the ways that the virus spreads. The impact of the virus speaking induces trauma that naturally moves toward the extreme. People who do not have the virus- and who are not susceptible to catching it- will not understand a single word being said. It will make them uncomfortable and sometimes it will make them angry but at no time will it be understood.
There’s a lot of news, noise and argument about Howdy Doody’s comprehensive health plan for the Teletubbies. Most people think that some permutation of universal health care is going to be a major step up for American society. They seem to think that having it is somehow going to lead to a more general state of well being among the population. There are several reasons why this isn’t going to make the slightest difference no matter what kind of a program finally gets decided on.
It doesn’t really matter whether you can see a doctor of your choice or not and have some amount of it paid for. It isn’t going to have any positive effect on your health. Health is the result of a few basic things and one of them is youth. The other things are diet and ones mental and emotional state. An awareness of ones relationship to all of these leads to making the right decisions about how one lives their life. A conscious awareness of diet has a profound effect on one’s well being. One’s mental and emotional states also play significant roles. One needs only to study how many stress-related diseases there are to understand this. If you factor bad diet into unbalanced mental and emotional states you’ve got a problem no doctor can deal with, especially if your medical system is of the allopathic variety.
The people who decide what doctors can and cannot do and what doctors can and cannot tell you are permanent bed-partners with various corporations for whom good health is a bad thing. These are the pharmaceutical concerns; the AMA, the hospital equipment industry and related suppliers of related products. These corporations have another relationship with the various food industries in the sense that they will not write or permit policy that impinges on major enterprises that bring you processed foods, fast foods, mystery meats, candy and soft drinks and whatever else hides under that umbrella. What this means is that, according to the capitalist mentality that rules this society, it is possible; it has to be possible and it damn well will be possible to eat anything you want, avoid exercise and generally break any and every rule of intelligent behavior and if there’s a problem they will either cut it out of you or suppress the symptoms until they have to cut it out of you.
Because the will of corporations is the rule of the land, there will be no change in the profit line for participating corporations. What will change will be the language that the non-change is presented in. To see into the black heart of the system in charge of American life you have only to look into the prison industry where 5% of the American public and 25% of the world’s prison population are incarcerated in American prisons. Why is this? It’s a business. Is it coincidence that America uses 60% of the world’s resources as well?
The unstated objective of American society is that a small percentage of its members shall possess the greatest amount of wealth at the expense of everyone else and will then be lauded for their efforts to assist the less fortunate where no such efforts exist. Such a system cannot survive and will not survive and is presently at the state where a number of shell games are being used to give the impression that the system is doing fine and going to get better as it approaches the lip of a high cliff. As things begin to fall from the cliff, you will see charts and graphs appear that indicate the true state and direction of the culture and economy but they will probably be holding these charts and graphs upside down.
I see these things and many other things because I have this virus. Others have this virus too and many more are on the verge of infection. The biggest concern of the TPTB is the proliferation of this virus. Their concern about all other viruses, which they manufactured to begin with, is just Slim Shady dining at the Red Herring Restaurant.
With this virus I can see that the appetites and desires being milked by corporations in order to promote and sell their products leads directly to aberrant behavior which leads to the prison industry for those who are not making the laws that route the unfortunate toward the prison or the grave with that long interlude of enslavement at the looping track of life where they chase the uncatchable dream rabbit that is already steaming in the pot of their betters.
With this virus I can look directly at the lies of politicians and religious leaders and hear the truth that spotlights the pies around the corner and their relationship to the pies in the sky which are moving on conveyor belts behind unbreakable Plexiglas. I can see that there are no pies because the pies are only video projections of pies bounced off of a series of mirrors. I can see the people who do no have the virus and I can see the world they are looking at and it turns out that this world is also just a projection bouncing off of mirrors and one of those mirrors is their minds. These projections then activate the furnace in the visceral brain which causes those without the virus to dance like millions of chickens on a hot griddle that somehow got the impression that they are auditioning for American Idol.
It is not possible to create a society, based on the principles that some of us have read and most of us have heard about, when corporations are the ruling authority of the land, because the intent of a corporation is diametrically opposed to the principles that some of us have read and most of us have heard about. You can’t make Beef Stroganoff out of pork rinds and Velveeta but you can convince people that that is what they are eating and that is the point.
There’s a debate that has been going around since Cain brained Abel and that debate centers on whether it is better to have this virus or some form of all the other viruses. The awareness that comes with having this virus can lead to the rack, the auto da fe and other less pleasant locations. Having the other viruses can lead to being a hamster or some part of a compost pile and a fire burns there as well. They can lead to being cannon fodder and the merciless hands of those who practice a form of medicine that has little to do with the stated intentions of the art. The hands of these practitioners are often more dangerous than the problem that brought you there.
Most people spend more than ninety percent of everything they have saved in their lives in the last year of their life on an industry whose purpose is exactly for that reason.
This virus of mine- and perhaps you have it too- is not an easy burden to bear. You can never pull the covers over your head again. You know there’s no monster in the closet but you also know where the real monsters dwell. You are doomed to an unending quarantine even as you move among your fellows. One thing you do acquire as a result of this virus is compassion and, as Lao Tzu said long ago, “Compassion is a weapon from the sky against being dead.” Realization may not be all the things we imagine it to be, but it is preferable to the restless sleep of nightmares wielded by the whip hand of psychopaths."
kimgary, "Streets of Philadelphia, March 12, 2022"
"Violent crime and drug abuse in Philadelphia as a whole is a major problem. The city’s violent crime rate is higher than the national average and other similarly sized metropolitan areas.1 Also alarming is Philadelphia’s drug overdose rate. The number of drug overdose deaths in the city increased by 50% from 2013 to 2015, with more than twice as many deaths from drug overdoses as deaths from homicides in 2015.2 A big part of Philadelphia’s problems stem from the crime rate and drug abuse in Kensington.
Because of the high number of drugs in Kensington, the neighborhood has a drug crime rate of 3.57, the third-highest rate by neighborhood in Philadelphia.3 Like a lot of the country, a big part of this issue is a result of the opioid epidemic. Opioid abuse has skyrocketed over the last two decades in the United States and Philadelphia is no exception. Along with having a high rate of drug overdose deaths, 80% percent of Philadelphia’s overdose deaths involved opioids2 and Kensington is a big contributor to this number. This Philly neighborhood is purportedly the largest open-air narcotics market for heroin on the East Coast with many neighboring residents flocking to the area for heroin and other opioids.4 With such a high number of drugs in Kensington, many state and local officials have zoned in on this area to try and tackle Philadelphia’s problem."
“We are each our own devil, and we make this world our hell.”
- Oscar Wilde
“So this is hell. I'd never have believed it. You remember
all we were told about the torture-chambers, the fire and
brimstone, the "burning marl." Old wives' tales!
There's no need for red-hot pokers. Hell is - other people!”
Globalists Want War, Ukraine Lies & Propaganda, Economy Tanking
By Greg Hunter’s USAWatchdog.com
"Even though Russia and Ukraine have been talking, zero agreement has been reached in stopping the three-week-old war between the two countries. There is no good faith effort to end it, and it appears the Deep State globalists want this conflict to continue. The only conclusion you can come to is, ultimately, this leads to war, and that’s what they want. Be prepared for this conflict and escalating sanctions to continue for some time to come. Maybe this is why Martin Armstrong sees a big war cycle coming in 2023.
It’s been difficult reporting on Ukraine because of the lies and propaganda. For the past few weeks, the Biden/Obama Administration has been denying there are U.S. bio-weapons labs in Ukraine. They called it conspiracy theories and “fake news.” They should have told that to State Department Under Secretary Victoria Nuland because in Senate testimony under oath, she basically confirmed the U.S. did indeed have bio-weapons labs in Ukraine. Nuland said she was worried about the labs falling into the hands of the Russians, and she was not talking about the Russians finding out about a cure for cancer. This breaks a 1992 agreement by the U.S. and Russia on bio-weapons. Another example of propaganda in Ukraine is many of the videos you are seeing contain old video from other battles and even video game footage that simulate war. A big percentage are fake or total misrepresentations of what is going on in Ukraine. It’s all used to sway public opinion against Russia and for NATO. Even globalist George Soros is shilling for Ukraine, and that alone is a huge red flag.
As the sanctions on Russia increase, the economy continues to tank. The big issue is supply of goods and commodities causing spiking inflation. Just look at wheat prices. Last fall, when winter wheat was planted, the grain was around $5.50 per bushel. Today, thanks to sanctions on Russia, it is averaging more than $11.00 per bushel. Expect the free bread at Outback and every other restaurant to not be so free in the future. All indications are the tanking of the global economy will keep going because the Russia/Ukraine conflict has no end in sight. and that’s what the Deep State globalists want."
"Panic Buying Frenzy Intensifies As Fears Of Global
Supply Chain Breakdown Continues To Rise"
by Epic Economist
"A massive wave of panic buying and hoarding continues to spread all across the world as people and governments desperately attempt to hoard food and energy supplies before a total supply chain breakdown. In the U.S., drivers are risking their lives to stockpile gasoline in every container they possibly can find amid a sharp increase in prices. In the UK, authorities are warning that panic buying is going to make food and drink prices significantly higher. In some European countries, consumers are massively purchasing medicine as fears of nuclear strife intensify.
Families are facing an extremely critical situation in Ukraine, with many on the brink of starvation. That’s why food staples are flying off supermarket shelves, leading food retailers to reimpose purchase limits. Meanwhile, as the neighboring country collapses into chaos, Russians are panic-buying unusual products to resell for a profit. At the same time, governments across the globe are hoarding grains, vegetable oils, and fuel to prevent the emergence of food and energy crises in their respective countries. It seems like everyone is afraid of a supply chain disaster, and people are doing everything they can to stockpile before a global catastrophe occurs
Big names such as Shell and BP have already confirmed they will stop purchasing Russian oil following the aggression in Ukraine. This means that oil from other suppliers is also becoming significantly more expensive, and U.S. consumers are already feeling the impact at the pump. Reports of panic buying at the pumps continue to make the headlines. In St. Charles, Missouri, gas hoarders were spotted filling up dozens of plastic containers. In a video shared online by a local woman, drivers were first filling up their cars, then gas containers, and after that, they’ve started to pour gas straight into plastic bottles.
Similarly, one insider at a UK trade association is telling politicians that a panic buying frenzy is making a comeback at the country’s stations as drivers fear further surges in fuel prices. Some stations in the UK are reporting that hundreds of cars are forming huge lines as drivers rush to purchase fuel. Others are running out of a month’s worth supply of gas in a matter of days, and being forced to temporarily close. In Ukraine, too, gas stations are swamped by drivers planning to flee with their families. Local reports also highlight the dire conditions at supermarkets. Shipping companies are unable to deliver goods in the country since operations on the Black Sea coast have been halted. That’s preventing food retailers to restock supermarket inventories, and leaving millions of families in a state of utter desperation.
Meanwhile, Russians confessed that they’re buying all the supplies they can find to resell for a profit later on. That includes Starbucks drinks and Coca-Cola, and also goes from Victoria’s Secret lingerie to designer clothes, Rolexes, iPhones, Apple Watches, and other imported electronics. While consumers scramble to stockpile, governments around the world are also hoarding food and energy supplies as chaos reigned in the global commodity market. Food and energy security and self-sufficiency are becoming top priorities for global leaders, given that the worsening conflict between Russia and Ukraine is having a major impact on grain exports and global oil supplies.
The truth is that they can tell that a global supply chain breakdown is looming. Yesterday, Goldman warned that the world is on the verge of the worst energy crunch in history, while the UN issued an alert on a global food crisis. Consumers can also tell that things are rapidly changing and that more shortages and disruptions are about to occur. It is safe to say that this is just the beginning. A lot more unrest is going to erupt in the weeks ahead as our systems start to fall apart and the world plunges into chaos."
"In 1991 Russian political scientist Georgi Arbatov sneered to Americans: "We are going to do the worst thing we can do to you." Which was what precisely? "We are going to take your enemy away from you." We fear he was correct. As we have written previously: "A superpower needs an enemy as the policeman needs criminals… as the head shrinker needs madmen… as the bishop needs the devil. Absent an enemy a behemoth flounders - adrift, aimless and rudderless."
Between world wars, berserker Winston Churchill lamented "the bland skies of peace" that stretched above Earth. Those same bland skies of peace overhung Earth following the Cold War's conclusion. The American Colossus bestrode the world itself, pole to pole, horizon to horizon. American capitalism, American democracy represented civilization's apex. Its zenith. Its perfection. It was the very end of history.
Yet history has a ferocious will. And Churchill’s "bland skies of peace" have long since cleared on out. Heavy weather has barreled on through. And today Mr. Putin's squalls are giving the world a lovely soaking.
Some 30 years after high glory, the American Colossus features structural cracking… tarnishing… corroding. Before the pandemic its economy appeared plenty healthy from the overhead view. But if you scratched the surfacing paint and peered within, you would find: Gutted industries, stagnating growth, flat wages and a stock market captive to the central bank.
The entire system, meantime, has rotten through with unpayable debt — over $80 trillion and running. The business is not sustainable. When did the American economy go wrong? And why? Our own Charles Hugh Smith gives his answer: "In broad-brush, the post-World War II era ended around 1970. The legitimate prosperity of 1946–1970 was based on cheap oil controlled by the U.S. and the hegemony of the U.S. dollar. Everything else was merely decoration.
The Original Sin to hard-money advocates was America’s abandonment of the gold standard in 1971, but this was the only way to maintain hegemony. Maintaining the reserve currency is tricky, as the nation issuing the reserve currency has to supply the global economy with enough of the currency to grease commerce and stock central bank reserves around the world. As the global economy expanded, the only way the U.S. could send enough dollars overseas was to run trade deficits, which in a gold standard meant the gold reserves would go to zero as trading partners holding dollars would exchange the currency for gold.
So the choice was: Give up the reserve currency and the hegemony of the U.S. dollar by jacking up the dollar’s value so high that imports would collapse, or accept that hegemony was no longer compatible with the gold standard. It wasn’t a difficult decision: Who would give up global hegemony, and for what?…
The elites have cannibalized the system so thoroughly that there’s nothing left to steal, exploit or cannibalize. The hyper-centralized global money control has run out of rope as the cheap oil is gone, debts have ballooned to the point there is no way they’ll ever be paid down and the only thing staving off collapse is money printing, which holds the seeds of its own demise."
Charles tracks the course of an extended, fatal malaise. Yet we believe there is good, hard sense in it. We believe it is a competent autopsy. "Empires have a logic of their own," Bill Bonner and our own Addison Wiggin wrote in "Empire of Debt," concluding: "That they will end in grief is a foregone conclusion." We fear they are correct. Yet take heart: At least the American empire has its enemy back…
Below, Jeffrey Tucker shows you how several “decades of glory” have ended. Read on for Jeffrey’s own autopsy."
"Decades of Glory Have Ended"
By Jeffrey Tucker
"The new inflation number is out. It’s 8% or so they say. Not even that is believable. It’s already double-digit. Let’s look at the bigger picture. But first, a frightening anecdote that concerns information restriction. It provides a telling symbol of our times.
Russia Today America, with its expansive offices in D.C. and mostly American staff, has been shut down completely. By whom, and the exact circumstances, I still do not know. It was a hugely popular station. Very high quality. You can say, “Oh, it was Putin propaganda,” but I never experienced that. I appeared often, and have for years, on Boom Bust along with some very good reporters and commentators, including my friends Ben Swann and Rachel Blevins.
It was one of the few independent journalistic outlets that offered alternative points of view. I was never censored, not once. Some shows offered extended discussions that allowed me to debate and speak for 20 minutes or more, which is basically unheard of in American media. Boom Bust in particular reported on subjects that others don’t cover, like the crypto industry and the real status of inflation and other subjects.
Did they get government funding? Yes, and so does the BBC, PBS, NPR and the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. Every country has a state-funded media outlet. Oddly, they are often more independent than the ostensibly private media sources. A FOIA request also just revealed that all the major media outlets in the U.S. received billions in funding from the Biden administration to promote government virus propaganda. So there’s that.
Many outstanding U.S. citizens found this station to be a refuge from censorship. They worked hard and strived for accuracy. They tell me that they never experienced censorship either. Now it is gone. With it goes a powerful and valuable alternative source of information. I enjoyed going on the station because it always struck me as a sign of peace between two nations that were at war for so long. It was a symbol of a better, more prosperous and peaceful world.
Now here we are today: The U.S. is in a de facto but undeclared war with Russia. No one calls it that, but when the U.S. provides armaments through intermediaries to the forces that Russia is battling on its border. The dangers right now are intense, on all fronts.
Since the end of the Cold War, the U.S. military-industrial complex has been searching for a reliable enemy that the U.S. population could hate, as a way to distract from the misdeeds of the political elite at home. After decades of cycling through them, it appears that the old enemy was the best enemy. And with a small turn of a dial, vast swaths of high-end opinion are exclusively focussed on the plight of Ukraine. Even Orwell blushes.
Meanwhile, gas prices are at an all-time high. Inflation is now arguably higher than in a century. The U.S. president blames it all on Putin, even though the Biden administration itself has worked since taking office to curb U.S. fossil fuel production. Today, the same administration is blaming the U.S. oil industry for not producing enough! The whole thing is rather mind-blowing.
I promised the big picture. Here it is. The prosperity and relatively low inflation plus economic growth - never as great as it could have been but not entirely shabby - of the last 40 years has come to an end. It seems more obvious in retrospect what happened here, even if it wasn’t entirely visible until now.
Here are the important dates…
1947: The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade was agreed to as the main structure for bringing about global free trade. It was never fully free, but the long-run trajectory was toward ever lower tariffs and barriers and ever more internationalization. This became a major contributing factor to building prosperity. It was in line with Adam Smith: The more extensive the division of labor, the more gains to efficiency and wealth.
Decade after decade, the system produced fabulous prosperity, even in the midst of the Cold War. The nuclear standoff between the U.S. and Russia, mostly mediated through diplomacy, paradoxically forestalled World War III and assured that most conflicts were regional. The secular trend in the U.S. was toward rising stocks and rising wealth.
1989: Unexpectedly, the Soviet Union completely fell apart. The Berlin Wall fell. Eastern Europe threw off the yoke. New nations were created out of old ones. At the same time, China had made enormous progress in opening up economically. This combination of events introduced billions of people to the world economy, drove up production, stabilized wages and led to a new era of astonishing growth.
1990s: The web browser was invented and the digital age began. The world was connected. New opportunities for entrepreneurship and innovation were everywhere. Competition intensified. Markets for everything exploded. The dollar was the king of the world. The Fed had new opportunities to expand money printing because the markets were everywhere and expanding. We avoided inflation generally. Americans and the world benefited enormously. It felt like there would be no end to the progress.
2018: Donald Trump embarked on his long-promised protectionist campaign, slapping tariffs on everything, pulling out of trade treaties, inveighing against any government with whom the U.S. carried a trade deficit, creating a digital iron curtain with China and generally violating every precept of the postwar consensus. He did a lot of good, to be sure, but his personal and wild fixation on economic nationalism was his undoing. It didn’t work either. It only increased prices for goods and services in the U.S. and goaded no country in the world toward better behavior. It also led to a target being put on his head. This was the beginning of the end.
2020: I don’t need to recount the grisly and grim details of this horror-filled year. It was shocking, with hundreds of thousands of businesses being destroyed. The Federal Reserve accommodated congressional spending like never before, guaranteeing a future of inflation. That should be unbearably obvious now but, truly, it was denied back then that this would be the outcome.
Here we are today in a de facto war with Russia. What poetry! What madness! The progress of 70 years has been fully reversed in a mere four years. The dangers are hugely present all around us today. We don’t really know how the public is going to respond to living amidst the dramatic weakening of the currency and the end of the American empire.
I asked a historian last night how previous empires dealt with decline, speaking in particular of Spain and England. He said that it is never obvious in the generation that most directly experiences the new chapter in history. Everyone pretends that the glory is still there and that nothing has really changed. It can take a century or more before the realization sets in that the empire and the good-old days are fully gone.
We truly did not know how good we had it. The history I just summarized pretty much covers the life of most all Americans alive. The world we are entering now is unlike anything we’ve previously experienced. Maybe two years ago, there was a chance to dig our way out of this pit of hell but that seems ever less likely with each passing day."
"Where do the dark streams of dust in the Orion Nebula originate? This part of the Orion Molecular Cloud Complex, M43, is the often imaged but rarely mentioned neighbor of the more famous M42. M42, seen in part to the upper right, includes many bright stars from the Trapezium star cluster.
M43 is itself a star forming region that displays intricately-laced streams of dark dust - although it is really composed mostly of glowing hydrogen gas. The entire Orion field is located about 1600 light years away. Opaque to visible light, the picturesque dark dust is created in the outer atmosphere of massive cool stars and expelled by strong outer winds of protons and electrons."
"The eternal silence of infinite spaces frightens me. Why now rather than then? Who has put me here? By whose order and direction have this place and time have been ascribed to me? We travel in a vast sphere, always drifting in the uncertain, pulled from one side to another. Whenever we find a fixed point to attach and to fasten ourselves, it shifts and leaves us; and if we follow it, it eludes our grasp, slips past us, and vanishes for ever. Nothing stays for us. This is our natural condition, most contrary to our inclination; we burn with desires to find solid ground and an ultimate and solid foundation for building a tower reaching to the Infinite. But always these bases crack, and the earth obstinately opens up into abysses. We are infinitely removed from comprehending the extremes, since the end of things and their beginning are hopelessly hidden from us in an encapsulated secret; we are equally incapable of seeing the Nothing from which we were made, and the Infinite in which we are swallowed up."
"When people tell you who they are, Maya Angelou famously advised, believe them. Just as important, however, when people try to tell you who you are, don’t believe them. You are the only custodian of your own integrity, and the assumptions made by those that misunderstand who you are and what you stand for reveal a great deal about them and absolutely nothing about you."
“A Life Worth Living: Albert Camus on Our Search for
Meaning and Why Happiness Is Our Moral Obligation”
by Maria Popova
“To decide whether life is worth living is to answer the fundamental question of philosophy,” Albert Camus (November 7, 1913–January 4, 1960) wrote in his 119-page philosophical essay “The Myth of Sisyphus”in 1942. “There is but one truly serious philosophical problem, and that is suicide. Judging whether life is or is not worth living amounts to answering the fundamental question of philosophy. All the rest – whether or not the world has three dimensions, whether the mind has nine or twelve categories – comes afterwards. These are games; one must first answer. And if it is true, as Nietzsche claims, that a philosopher, to deserve our respect, must preach by example, you can appreciate the importance of that reply, for it will precede the definitive act. These are facts the heart can feel; yet they call for careful study before they become clear to the intellect. Everything else… is child’s play; we must first of all answer the question.”
One of the most famous opening lines of the twentieth century captures one of humanity’s most enduring philosophical challenges – the impulse at the heart ofSeneca’s meditations on life and Montaigne’s timeless essaysand Maya Angelou’s reflections,and a wealth of human inquiry in between. But Camus, the second-youngest recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature after Rudyard Kipling, addressed it with unparalleled courage of conviction and insight into the irreconcilable longings of the human spirit.
In the beautifully titled and beautifully written“A Life Worth Living: Albert Camus and the Quest for Meaning” (public library), historian Robert Zaretsky considers Camus’s lifelong quest to shed light on the absurd condition, his “yearning for a meaning or a unity to our lives,” and its timeless yet increasingly timely legacy: If the question abides, it is because it is more than a matter of historical or biographical interest. Our pursuit of meaning, and the consequences should we come up empty-handed, are matters of eternal immediacy.
Camus pursues the perennial prey of philosophy – the questions of who we are, where and whether we can find meaning, and what we can truly know about ourselves and the world – less with the intention of capturing them than continuing the chase.”
Reflecting on the parallels between Camus and Montaigne, Zaretsky finds in this ongoing chase one crucial difference of dispositions: “Camus achieves with the Myth what the philosopher Maurice Merleau-Ponty claimed for Montaigne’s Essays: it places “a consciousness astonished at itself at the core of human existence.”
For Camus, however, this astonishment results from our confrontation with a world that refuses to surrender meaning. It occurs when our need for meaning shatters against the indifference, immovable and absolute, of the world. As a result, absurdity is not an autonomous state; it does not exist in the world, but is instead exhaled from the abyss that divides us from a mute world.”
Camus himself captured this with extraordinary elegance when he wrote in “The Myth of Sisyphus”: “This world in itself is not reasonable, that is all that can be said. But what is absurd is the confrontation of this irrational and wild longing for clarity whose call echoes in the human heart. The absurd depends as much on man as on the world. For the moment it is all that links them together.”
To discern these echoes amid the silence of the world, Zaretsky suggests, was at the heart of Camus’s tussle with the absurd: “We must not cease in our exploration, Camus affirms, if only to hear more sharply the silence of the world. In effect, silence sounds out when human beings enter the equation. If “silences must make themselves heard,” it is because those who can hear inevitably demand it. And if the silence persists, where are we to find meaning?”
This search for meaning was not only the lens through which Camus examined every dimension of life, from the existential to the immediate, but also what he saw as our greatest source of agency. In one particularly prescient diary entry from November of 1940, as WWII was gathering momentum, he writes: “Understand this: we can despair of the meaning of life in general, but not of the particular forms that it takes; we can despair of existence, for we have no power over it, but not of history, where the individual can do everything. It is individuals who are killing us today. Why should not individuals manage to give the world peace? We must simply begin without thinking of such grandiose aims.”
For Camus, the question of meaning was closely related to that of happiness- something he explored with great insight in his notebooks. Zaretsky writes: “Camus observed that absurdity might ambush us on a street corner or a sun-blasted beach. But so, too, do beauty and the happiness that attends it. All too often, we know we are happy only when we no longer are.”
Perhaps most importantly, Camus issued a clarion call of dissent in a culture that often conflates happiness with laziness and championed the idea that happiness is nothing less than a moral obligation. A few months before his death, Camus appeared on the TV show Gros Plan. Dressed in a trench coat, he flashed his mischievous boyish smile and proclaimed into the camera: “Today, happiness has become an eccentric activity. The proof is that we tend to hide from others when we practice it. As far as I’m concerned, I tend to think that one needs to be strong and happy in order to help those who are unfortunate.”
This wasn’t a case of Camus arriving at some mythic epiphany in his old age – the cultivation of happiness and the eradication of its obstacles was his most persistent lens on meaning. More than two decades earlier, he had contemplated “the demand for happiness and the patient quest for it” in his journal, capturing with elegant simplicity the essence of the meaningful life – an ability tolive with presencedespite the knowledge thatwe are impermanent:”We must” be happy with our friends, in harmony with the world, and earn our happiness by following a path which nevertheless leads to death.”
But his most piercing point integrates the questions of happiness and meaning into the eternal quest to find ourselves and live our truth: ”It is not so easy to become what one is, to rediscover one’s deepest measure.”
“Time passes in moments. Moments which, rushing past, define the path of a life, just as surely as they lead towards its end. How rarely do we stop to examine that path, to see the reasons why all things happen? To consider whether the path we take in life is our own making, or simply one into which we drift with eyes closed? But what if we could stop, pause to take stock of each precious moment before it passes? Might we then see the endless forks in the road that have shaped a life? And, seeing those choices, choose another path?”
San Martin, Argentina - "CBS News reports: "Inflation around the U.S. reached a new 40-year high in February, with consumer prices jumping 7.9% from a year ago - the fastest annual rate since the Reagan administration. Rising costs of energy, housing and food drove the increase, the Labor Department said on Thursday. The price of energy has surged 26% over the last year, sharply increasing the cost of gasoline, fuel oil and natural gas for home heating. Groceries were up 8.6% from a year ago, while clothing rose 6.6%."
America can stand a lot of things. Cheating politicians. Goofball wars. Incompetence. Money-printing. Market rigging. Facebook. Can it stand $10-a-gallon gasoline too? Maybe. But only if it can blame it on someone else. Our beat here is money, not politics. But everywhere we look, politics intrudes. And the purest expression of politics is war. Yesterday, we discussed America’s new way of war. Today, we explore it further.
Flat Earth Mentality: After 1989 and the collapse of the Soviet Union, the ‘liberal world order’ stood astride the world. Its globalized markets delivered cheap goods and services. Its financialized economies made the elites (who own stocks and bonds) richer and richer. Its technocrats, coming out of international business schools and top universities, turned the knobs, while making sure the deplorables were kept away from the controls.
Francis Fukayama described the triumph of the Western, democratic model as the ‘End of History’ essay in 1992. Then, New York Times columnist Tom Friedman laid out this economic Valhalla in his 2005 book, “The World is Flat.”
But lo… suddenly, the world is full of dangerous cliffs and treacherous canyons. In the three… now four… epic bamboozles of the 21st century – the War on Terror, the Billionaire Bailout, the Covid Panic, and now the Russia-Ukraine war – history sprang back to life.
Like it or not, the world is full of humans and homo sapiens sapiens does not lie flat for long. Instead, he is prone to volcanic eruptions, tectonic hallucinations, and Everest-like vanities. We all want to feel superior, the heroes of our own stories. Individually, it is hard to feel superior to others. Whether we are stout or skinny… swift or slow… we go with what we’ve got. And if we are lucky, we have someone near and dear to us ready to remind us that we have a spot of mustard on our shirt.
But on a collective level… our bibs are spotless. And we join with others to flatter ourselves in remarkable ways. If the Ravens win the SuperBowl, every cripple and half-wit in Baltimore feels he has kicked the winning field goal. And if our boys kick butt in some godforsaken dogsh*t country, we all feel like locking and loading for the next mission.
And now cometh a new way to kick butt. Tom Friedman explains: "Putin has now figured that out - and said so explicitly on Saturday: The U.S.- and E.U.-led sanctions are “akin to a declaration of war.” (Vladimir, you haven’t felt the half of it yet.) Because the world is now so wired, superempowered individuals, companies and social activist groups can pile on their own sanctions and boycotts, without any government orders, amplifying the isolation and economic strangulation of Russia beyond what nation-states are likely to do. These new actors - a kind of global ad hoc pro-Ukraine-resistance-solidarity-movement - are collectively canceling Putin and Russia. Rarely, if ever, has a country this big and powerful been politically canceled and economically crippled so fast."
Friedman is a fan. He sees the world in child-like, Rams vs. Bengals, good vs. evil, terms. And for him, the ‘liberal world order’ is good: "The free world has been aroused. America and liberal societies in general can often look and act dumb and divided - until they aren’t. Ask Adolf Hitler."
Or ask Saddam Hussein. It doesn’t matter whether we are the aggressor or the defender… (Friedman backed the invasion of Iraq in 2003 too.) The point is, for Friedman, along with Entire Establishment Elite (EEE) the ‘liberal world order’ – is the home team. And the sanctions program – with all of its social media cluster bombs – is like a new Manhattan Project. Moscow is the new Hiroshima. Friedman:
Barron’s reported, but “the dollar-denominated secondary listings of Russian companies in London are still trading. The destruction of market value is astonishing.”…"On Thursday the rating agencies Fitch and Moody’s “downgraded Russia by six notches to ‘junk’ status, saying Western sanctions threw into doubt its ability to service debt and would weaken the economy,” Reuters reported."
Yes…the radioactive fallout is killing Russia…or so Friedman believes. Oh, and by the way, in this wired world, guess who owns a significant portion of Russia’s commercial airline fleet.
Not Russia. Roughly two-thirds of Russia’s commercial airliners were made by Boeing (334 jets) or Airbus (304), Reuters reported. A significant portion of those are owned by Irish leasing companies. The Dublin-based AerCap, the world’s biggest airplane-leasing company, owns “152 aircraft across Russia and Ukraine valued at almost $2.4 billion,” The Irish Times reported. In addition, the Dublin-based companies SMBC Aviation Capital and Avolon own 48 aircraft between them that are leased to Russian airlines…. "On Saturday, Russia’s state airline, Aeroflot, said that it would suspend all international flights because of “additional circumstances that prevent the performance of flights.” Domestic flights are sure to follow."
Hooray! We’re winning. He’s right, of course. A new kind of war is underway. A powerful new weapon has been brought out; the dollar and the US-dominated money system have been turned against the Russians. The press, social media, Hollywood, and Wall Street’s ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) movement have all reported for duty, too.
On Monday, we’ll look at what kind of collateral damage this new brand of war inflicts… and how it proliferates. Enjoy your weekend..."
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"Historians of the future, boiling acorns over their campfires, will wonder that amidst all the global strife of the 2020s, Americans barely noticed that the US government went to war on its own citizens. Was there something in the water - or, more specifically, in the Pepsi Cola? Or did those “vaccines,” which were so popular as an emblem of their obedience to The Science, turn their brains into something like an Oreo McFlurry? However it happened, said citizens marched themselves ardently into the VAERS database to receive gold stars on their vaxx passports thinking: jabs will make us free!
Speaking of The Science, the nation learned this week, via a strangely staged colloquy between Senator Marco Rubio and Under Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, that contra to official denials days before, our government was indeed running quite a few - I believe the actual number was 29 - science projects in the foreign land called Ukraine, discovered in the course of Russian military operations there. Loose talk about “bioweapons labs” was efficiently quashed by Ms. Nuland, who styled the work as an inventory of “biological research materials.” These included such science-y playthings as ebola, bubonic plague, anthrax, and sundry viral curiosities of nature. It looked like she was trying to get ahead of the story, as they say in the agit-prop industry.
Speaking of Russia and agit-prop, that’s all we hear on the air-waves, the cable channels, and the webstreams. “Russia, Russia, Russia.” And “Putin, Putin, Putin.” American news reporters must be living in Vladimir Putin’s head because they are so adept at reading his thoughts. Putin thinks this, Putin thinks that, they declare so brashly. They are all so sure of Mr. Putin’s every thought that Mr. Putin must have to check-in with American news media to find out exactly what he’s thinking. Lately, according to CNN, The New York Times, and the rest of the gang, Mr. Putin - or maybe it’s The Putin, as in The Science - is thinking of gobbling up all the other quaint little countries at Russia’s border like so many tater tots.
For your consideration: is it possible that Russian intel knew a little something about those Ukraine labs before February 24, 2022 and became concerned that another concocted freak-of-nature pestilence might get loose there on the Eurasian frontier? And you must wonder: America saw Russian troops mustering along Ukraine’s border for many weeks before their dastardly operations got underway, and yet nobody in those bio-labs thought to maybe stuff their bio-playthings in the incinerator? Weird, little bit. But, notice, of-a-piece with the sloppy-ass way that the US has handled the entire Covid-19 fiasco: a Chinese fire-drill inside a clusterf**k garnished with the rankest dishonesty from start to finish.
And to what purpose, after all? The cartoon character Klaus Schwab of the World Economic Forum crowed repeatedly about what a fine opportunity Covid-19 was to smash the operating system of Western Civ in order to Build Back Better: a new system in which the zombified masses would have nothing and be happy - at least for the weeks and months they remained in the earthly plane of existence before the “vaccines” they were induced to take infarcted their livers and lights, finally carrying them off to sprout wings and receive their issued harps and halos in cloud-land. And then Herr Schwab and his tiny band of ubermenschen would be free to enjoy their transhuman nirvana free of the swine-like multitudes previously cluttering up the planet.
Yes, life in the early twenty-first century looks more and more like a bad horror movie. And now the critics are moving in, savaging the production. “A massive murderous fraud,” many are saying of the Covid-19 extravaganza, and the audience, once back out in the blinding, clarifying daylight, are saying to themselves, Yeah, kinda seems like it was. Fraud vitiates liability protection. It is a well-known principle among the artisans of law. Moderna stock is down 70 percent and Pfizer more than 20. Wall Street has sniffed out a motherlode of rot, according to Mr. Edward Dowd, BlackRock investment advisor emeritus, who is saying it loudly over the alt-streams, making a whole lot of public health officials and doctors nervous as roaches when the lights flash on.
Mom impersonator Rochelle Walensky, chief of the CDC has concealed much dire information about the number of “vaccine” injuries and fatalities of the past year, while still importuning everybody to vaxx-up and boost-up, knowing they might be harmed by it. Does she just skate on that? And then, of course, there is Dr. Fauci, missing in action lately. (Anybody look for him down in Paraguay?) The clock is ticking on when the millions of lawsuits might commence along with prosecutions for crimes against humanity.
Cue “Joe Biden,” then, to crash the global economy and give folks other things to think about — like, how am I going to keep driving sixty miles each way to work with gasoline at $8 a gallon? How, indeed, is anything like an advanced economy going to stagger forward now that nobody in the world will sell each other anything? Well, it probably just won’t. All that’s left is the sound of money being shot out of cannons, and nobody seems to notice that it gets shredded in the process. America has gazed into the abyss and apparently decided to sign a lease and move in."