“Is our Milky Way Galaxy this thin? Magnificent spiral galaxy NGC 4565 is viewed edge-on from planet Earth. Also known as the Needle Galaxy for its narrow profile, bright NGC 4565 is a stop on many telescopic tours of the northern sky, in the faint but well-groomed constellation Coma Berenices. This sharp, colorful image reveals the spiral galaxy's boxy, bulging central core cut by obscuring dust lanes that lace NGC 4565's thin galactic plane.
An assortment of other background galaxies is included in the pretty field of view. Thought similar in shape to our own Milky Way Galaxy, NGC 4565 lies about 40 million light-years distant and spans some 100,000 light-years. Easily spotted with small telescopes, sky enthusiasts consider NGC 4565 to be a prominent celestial masterpiece Messier missed.”
"In the climactic final episode of Cosmos titled "Who Speaks for Earth?" Carl Sagan makes an impassioned plea for nuclear de-escalation. The first nine minutes of the piece are particularly spellbinding, and the introduction draws to a close with Sagan walking along a rocky shoreline where he delivers a historic monologue:
"The civilization now in jeopardy is all humanity. As the ancient myth makers knew, we are children equally of the earth and sky. In our tenure on this planet, we have accumulated dangerous, evolutionary baggage propensities for aggression and ritual, submission to leaders, hostility to outsiders, all of which puts our survival in some doubt. We have also acquired compassion for others, love for our children, a desire to learn from history and experience, and a great, soaring passionate intelligence, the clear tools for our continued survival and prosperity.
Which aspects of our nature will prevail is uncertain, particularly when our visions and prospects are bound to one small part of the small planet earth. But up and in the cosmos, an inescapable perspective awaits. National boundaries are not evidenced when we view the earth from space. Fanatic ethnic or religious or national identifications are a little difficult to support when we see our planet as a fragile, blue crescent fading to become an inconspicuous point of light against the bastion and citadel of the stars.
There are not yet obvious signs of extraterrestrial intelligence, and this makes us wonder whether civilizations like ours rush inevitably into self-destruction. I dream about it... and sometimes they are bad dreams."
"Carl Sagan was a brilliant scientist, gifted orator, skilled teacher, and effective advocate for his strongly held beliefs. It is no exaggeration to say that Sagan is likely responsible for inspiring more people to pursue a career in the sciences than any other person in history. His 13-part television documentary "Cosmos: A Personal Journey", which first premiered on PBS in 1980 and is still stunningly well-worth watching to this day, is widely regarded as one of the best science-themed series ever produced. Sagan knew how to turn a phrase to enchant an audience and routinely did so with a level of passion and charisma that cannot be faked."
"Do you take economic warnings seriously? If the richest man in the world is concerned about the economy over the next few months, shouldn’t you be concerned as well? Farmers are talking about their wheat crops being 25% less than previous years and diesel is at an all-time high. Prepare now."
Copenhagen, Denmark - "Well, if that was the big market bounce cheery optimists were looking for, it was certainly short lived. Stocks in the US went... nowhere this past week. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq all ended Friday’s session within one percent of where they began trading Monday. Sideways, in other words. Gold was last seen treading water around the mid $1,850s. It’s up 1.65% for the year in dollar terms.
Oil closed over $120/barrel on Friday, while the national average at the pump clocked another record: $4.67 a gallon, according to the American Automobile Association. On the one hand, persistently high energy prices (like persistently high inflation), is a bane to politicos who depend on happy voters to keep them in office. (The Big Guy’s dismal approval ratings are in no small part a reflection of just such pocketbook issues – turns out American consumers don’t like “everyday higher prices.” Amazing.)
On the other hand, the current energy squeeze provides those waving their big green stick around with the kind of ammunition they need to advance their “energy transition” agenda… the one that Janet Yellen reckons will cost $100 trillion (of money the world hasn’t yet earned and doesn’t have to spend).
Folks like Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm can’t understand why you haven’t solved your $5 per gallon gas problem by simply snapping up a brand-new electric vehicle. (See our column about this here: “Let Them Drive Teslas.”)
Never mind that the average electric vehicle goes for about $20,000 more than the average “deplorable mobile.” And never mind that the component ingredients for those lithium ion batteries are in short supply... or that they’re extremely energy intensive to build... or that the elements come from (ahem…) “unfriendly” places like China and The Congo. Or that the mining required to extract these metals is terrible for the environment. As long as it’s not dreaded carbon-based fossil fuels...
Which brings us to the current state of the energy market, as Dan Denning explained to Bonner Private Research subscribers in his note on Friday. Here’s a choice snippet...
"Oil closed at over $120/barrel today. Gas prices continue to rise across the country. Interestingly enough, the White House announced President Biden would be visiting Saudi Arabia later this month. That’s after OPEC announced earlier this week that it would bring-forward planned output increases to try and curb the loss of Russian oil from international markets.
OPEC says it will increase production by 640,000 barrels per day in July and August. We’ll see if they actually do. But if President Biden expects that lower gasoline prices in time for the summer driving season (and head of the mid-term elections in November) he’s going to be disappointed. Why?
There’s a structural shortage of refining capacity in the United States. Total capacity has actually fallen by 5.4% and almost a million barrels a day (to 17.9 million barrels per day) since the beginning of the pandemic. In 2021, five separate refineries shut down. News reports this week said the Biden Administration was asking companies to re-open some of those closed down facilities.
The refineries that ARE operating are running at near capacity. Even if the President could get the Saudis to pump more oil, it would have to get here on a tanker. And there’d have to be a place where it could be turned into refined fuels. And we’d have to keep those refined fuels here, rather than exporting them to Europe to make up for lack of Russian exports. In other words, the energy sector has been underinvested in for years. No green energy transition will solve the problem this year. Or next. Or the year after that."
"Following on the heels of the Biden administration announcing it would send longer range rocket systems to Ukraine, the Kremlin has issued a veiled threat that if it's territory is hit it could strike back directly at the West.
"One of President Putin's closest allies has warned that Moscow could target western cities if Ukraine uses rocket systems supplied by the United States to carry out strikes on Russian territory," the UK is reporting. The dire warning was given by close top Putin ally and former president Dmitry Medvedev, who currently serves as the Russian security council deputy chairman. "If, God forbid, these weapons are used against Russian territory then our armed forces will have no other choice but to strike decision-making centers," Medvedev warned in the new statements.
That's when he suggested the following for the first time, marking a severe escalation of rhetoric: "Of course, it needs to be understood that the final decision-making centers in this case, unfortunately..." - with the suggestion being that those Western capitals supplying the advanced arms could come under attack in response. Previously Russia has threatened to hit "decision-making centers" within Ukraine, such as Kiev and Lviv. These cities have been targeted on occasion, but rarely, throughout the war now in its fourth month.
The US confirmed this past week that Ukraine would receive M142 high-mobility artillery rocket systems, which are medium-ranged, capable of striking targets some 50 miles away. President Biden on Tuesday stressed that "we're not going to send to Ukraine rocket systems that strike into Russia" - which the Kremlin acknowledged as a "rational" decision, while still condemning the transfer of the systems.
Ukraine's government, meanwhile, has reportedly given Washington "assurances" that it will not uses US-supplied weaponry to target Russian territory, which Moscow has long made clear would mark severe violation of its 'red lines'.
The map shows where HIMARS MLRS M30/M31 rockets can strike on the front line with a range of up to 70 km. Also, M30 / M31 missiles can hit Snake Island, 50 km from the nearest Ukrainian city. pic.twitter.com/idDDNjpK4M
This as Yahoo News has noted that "The West has been increasingly willing to give Ukraine longer-range weaponry, including M777 howitzers, as its forces battle Russians with more success than intelligence officials had predicted." Likely these fresh warnings from Medvedev serve to further warn and enforce over Russia's red line. While the longer range MLRS missiles are apparently off the table for now, which can reach up to 190 miles away, the shorter-range MLRS systems could easily be updated with the larger, more advanced and longer range systems.
On the sanctions and economic war front, Poland officials have on Saturday said the next, seventh round of anti-Russia sanctions are currently being readied - suggesting that for the time being the ongoing Russian-NATO/EU standoff will only escalate further. Negotiations are at the same time stalled completely, and diplomatic openings and communications are fewer and fewer, making the situation even more dangerous."
"Extinction is the rule. Survival is the exception."
- Carl Sagan
"We are so close to the brink... Russia is reported to have conducted a test launch of the RS-28 (15A28) Sarmat ICBM, which will replace the Soviet R-36M2 Voyevoda missile. This is the worlds largest nuclear missile that includes up to 15 warheads each with high nuclear yield. According to Russian information, on April 24, a Sarmat ICBM test launch took place from Plesetsk in the Arkhangelsk region with the final destination being the Kura training field in Kamchatka. It is worth noting that this information was leaked to the Russian media immediately after the loss of the Moskva cruiser. The Russians note that there is no reason to follow the example of the US, which canceled the test launches of Minuteman III twice in March and April of this year under the fictitious pretext of "non-escalation" of the situation. Launch is only necessary for a complete re-equipment."
“When we’re headed toward an outcome that’s too horrible to face, that’s when we go looking for a second opinion. And sometimes, the answer we get just confirms our worst fears. But sometimes, it can shed new light on the problem, make you see it in a whole new way. After all the opinions have been heard and every point of view has been considered, you finally find what you’re after - the truth. But the truth isn’t where it ends, that’s just where you begin again with a whole new set of questions.”
- Dr. Meredith Grey, “Grey’s Anatomy”
“The closer you look, the more complicated it gets… and the more you realize you don’t know.” - Bill Bonner
“It takes considerable knowledge just to
realize the extent of your own ignorance.”
- Thomas Sowell
"Happily men don't realize how stupid they are, or half the world would commit suicide. Knowledge is a will-of-the-wisp, fluttering ever out of the traveller's reach; and a weary journey must be endured before it is even seen. It is only when a man knows a good deal that he discovers how unfathomable is his ignorance. The man who knows nothing is satisfied that there is nothing to know, consequently that he knows everything; and you may more easily persuade him that the moon is made of green cheese than that he is not omniscient."
"Imagine a town of 1,000 adults and their dependents in which one person holds the vast majority of wealth and political influence. Would that qualify as a democracy? Now imagine that 100 of the 1,000 adults own 90% of all the wealth, collect 97% of all the income from capital and have virtually all the political power. How can a society in which 90% of the populace is decapitalized, disenfranchised and demoralized by political powerlessness be a democracy?
This is America: a kleptocratic autocracy that serves the few at the expense of the many, stripmining the bottom 90% under the guise of a fraudulent "democracy" in which only the few wield real power.
Here’s my Neofeudalism Principle No. 1: If the citizenry cannot replace a kleptocratic government and/or limit the power of the financial aristocracy at the ballot box, the nation is a democracy in name only. That our elected government responds only to the super-wealthy and corporations has been well-established. It's also a fact that the top 10% get virtually all the gains from the nation's capital, and this wealth is concentrated in the top 0.1%.
Exactly how can a system of governance that is nothing but an invitation-only auction of political favors in which the top 0.1% own more than the bottom 80% be a functional democracy? The answer is it cannot. Politics and government have been reduced to protecting and enriching a neofeudal autocracy while claiming to serve the stripmined public.
Not Just Bad Luck: It wasn't just bad luck that financialization and globalization hollowed out America's economy and democracy and turned the bottom 90% into debt serfs and tax donkeys; it was government policies implemented by elected officials and the appointed handmaidens of the super-wealthy. Virtually every major policy implemented by either party served the interests of the super-wealthy and corporations: Tax cuts had trivial impacts on the bottom 90% while vastly increasing the wealth of the super-wealthy.
The Federal Reserve's free money for financiers distributes gains on the order of 20-to-1 in favor of the super-wealthy: $2 trillion in gains for the bottom 90%, $40 trillion for the top tier. The list is long and painful proof that the elected government of the United States serves the interests of the top few - a reality masked by expert PR and partisanship. It’s not an exaggeration to say that the touchstone of our democracy, the consent of the governed, is slipping away.
The Glue Holding the Nation Together: The foundation of any government is the consent of the governed. Democracies and republics are founded on the consent of the governed earned via representational or direct democracy: Those who have a say and a stake in the system will give their consent to the government, even if an opposing view is in the majority because their opinion is part of the governance structure.
Even totalitarian states ultimately depend on the consent of the governed, as repressive states that lose legitimacy cannot imprison or kill a majority of their populaces, or restore legitimacy via coercion once the populace has nothing left to lose and the organs of state oppression realize the regime is doomed.
It feels like the consent of the governed is slipping away in the U.S. The reason is so obvious we dare not acknowledge it or discuss it: Those in power - elected and unelected - only give lip-service to "serving the public interest and common good." Beneath this flimsy facade of PR, every action serves the interests of a wealthy, politically potent elite or the self-interests of those in power. Commoners have no real say in governance. We are consenting to rule by self-interested elites under the guise of being represented by an elite who governs at the behest and expense of hyper-wealthy individuals, families, corporations, cartels and monopolies.
Ignoring the Public Will: Consider the issue of legalizing cannabis. Poll after poll shows the majority of the American citizenry favor legalizing cannabis, yet our federal representatives and regulators insist on ignoring the public will, public interest and the common good by continuing to classify cannabis as a Schedule I drug, as addictive and dangerous as heroin. This is patently false and absurd. Hundreds of thousands of Americans die from alcohol and opioids every year, while deaths attributed solely to cannabis use are likely zero. Yet the federal government and our elected representatives refuse to accept the reality that cannabis isn't equivalent to heroin and other synthetic opioids that continue to kill thousands every year.
Why? It's the money, honey, greasing their palms and paychecks. Big Pharma views cannabis as a competitor so it lavishes billions of dollars on campaigns, lobbying and shaping the media narrative to serve their agenda of maximizing profits by any means available. The War on Drugs Gulag of private prisons, law enforcement and the judiciary also skim billions of dollars as a result of cannabis being Schedule I (i.e., just as deadly as heroin). These powerful elites would lose billions in funding if the will of the people actually counted for something.
The realization that we're not actually being represented at the federal level has eroded the consent of the governed for the national government, and pushed the electorate to seek legitimate representation at the state and local level. In response, states are openly flouting federal statutes (for example, the Schedule I absurdity of federal cannabis regulations) and claiming sovereign rights on issues such as currency (declaring gold coins as legal tender in the state, etc.) and cryptocurrency.
Choose Your Community Wisely: We can anticipate a cross-migration as residents who disagree with the majority views in their states move to states where the majority-approved policies align with their own preferences. This cross-migration will strengthen existing majorities into super-majorities, further accelerating cross-migration as policies that were considered extreme are normalized within states. Within states, this relocalization of the consent of the governed is trickling down to counties, which are increasingly under pressure from the citizenry to ignore (or leave unenforced) state mandates that the residents disagree with.
Capital also manifests the consent of the governed. Capital will migrate away from states where it's treated poorly; science-based enterprises will migrate away from states that restrict or starve research and development; and manufacturing will migrate to states with willing, educated workforces and attractive infrastructure and tax structures. States and counties whose policies are detrimental to capital will become poorer as capital chooses to locate to places where it has a say in governance, just as individuals want to live in a place where they have a say.
As the consent of the governed unravels, citizens may increasingly decide which statutes they're going to obey and which ones they'll ignore. Locales with strong community values will rely less on statutes and enforcement and more on social norms and community standards to maintain social order, while locales without any coherent community standards and shared values will have to rely on enforcement to avoid social disorder or meltdown. Choose your community wisely. Thousands of pages of regulations won't preserve the social order if the consent of the governed and the social contract both unravel."
From the utopian "Yankeedom" to the conservative "Greater Appalachia" and liberal "Left Coast," looking at these cultures sheds an interesting light on America's political and cultural divides. In response to the coronavirus pandemic, some governors are acting among these factions - like California, Oregon, and Washington, of all which have parts comprising of "The Left Coast" group."
Please view this complete and fascinating article here:
"In today's vlog we are at Kroger Marketplace and are noticing a lot of price increases! We are here to check out skyrocketing prices, and a lot of empty shelves! It's getting rough out here as stores seem to be struggling with getting products! "
"Life is painful and messed up. It gets complicated at the worst of times, and sometimes you have no idea where to go or what to do. Lots of times people just let themselves get lost, dropping into a wide open, huge abyss. But that's why we have to keep trying. We have to push through all that hurts us, work past all our memories that are haunting us. Sometimes the things that hurt us are the things that make us strongest. A life without experience, in my opinion, is no life at all. And that's why I tell everyone that, even when it hurts, never stop yourself from living."
- Alysha Speer
"The joke was thinking you were ever really in charge of your life. You pressed your oar down into the water to direct the canoe, but it was the current that shot you through the rapids. You just hung on and hoped not to hit a rock or a whirlpool."
- Scott Turow
"What keeps you going isn't some fine destination but just the road you're on, and the fact that you know how to drive. You keep your eyes open, you see this damned-to-hell world you got born into, and you ask yourself, 'What life can I live that will let me breathe in and out and love somebody or something and not run off screaming into the woods?'"
- Barbara Kingsolver
“For this is what we do. Put one foot forward and then the other. Lift our eyes to the snarl and smile of the world once more. Think. Act. Feel. Add our little consequence to the tides of good and evil that flood and drain the world. Drag our shadowed crosses into the hope of another night. Push our brave hearts into the promise of a new day. With love: the passionate search for truth other than our own. With longing: the pure, ineffable yearning to be saved. For so long as fate keeps waiting, we live on. God help us. God forgive us. We live on.”
Cognition Enhancer For Clearer and Faster Thinking"
by Jason Lewis
“Headphones Required –Note: As this session stimulates each ear with different frequencies, you will need to use headphones to experience the full effect. Alternative background sounds available on Mp3 here: Orchestral, Hybrid, World Music, Rain, Brown Noise.
What does this track do? This session stimulates Beta, SMR and Alpha, alternating in 2 minute increments to help keep the user relaxed and engaged. Note: SMR (sensorimotor rhythm) relates to the frequency range between 12 – 15Hz. It’s associated with sensory processing and motor control. Stimulating this can result in relaxed focus and improved attention. This session is meant to speed up the brain while keeping the left hemisphere dominant (good for attention, concentration and reducing emotional response and hyperactivity). ADD and similar disorders are often characterized by “slow-wave” EEG patterns, particularly in the left frontal region. As such, this session stimulates the left brain hemisphere with Beta frequencies and the right with SMR.
Can it be used to help with studying and if so, when should you listen to it? Yes, it can be helpful to use while studying, and if you read through the many comments about this track, you’ll see that many people have successfully used it for studying. You can either listen to it while you are studying, to get your brain into a good mental state when you need it. Or if you are someone that gets a bit distracted by music while studying, listen to it just before you begin.
How Loud Should The Volume Be? There is varying advice and opinions on the impact of volume with brainwave entrainment, with some saying the louder it is the more impact it has. From my own experience, my advice is to play it at a volume level you feel comfortable with. The main thing to consider is that it should be loud enough to hear the repetitive isochronic tones, so you don’t want it so quiet you can hardly hear them. But you also don’t want it so loud that its uncomfortable for you. Somewhere in the middle is my recommendation.
Use this session in the morning or afternoon, to train your brain for better cognition, such as clearer and faster thinking. You can either sit somewhere quiet and comfortable with your eyes closed and give your brain a nice workout, or you can also listen to this while doing an activity that requires a boost in concentration, like studying.
How long should you listen for to get a good effect? It takes around 6 minutes for your brainwaves to fall in step with the tones and become entrained. It then takes time to be guided along the frequency range used in the track. Listening to about half way through is the minimum in my opinion, but 30 minutes is the optimum and preferred length to listen for.
• Drink some water – Make sure you are well hydrated before listening to brainwave entrainment.
WHY? Your brain is made up of around 75% water, so it needs plenty of water to function well. When you stimulate your brain in this way, you’re increasing electrical activity and blood flow in the brain and giving your brain a good workout, so it can be a good idea to drink before listening, so that your brain can fire on all cylinders.
• It is not recommended to listen to this while driving or operating machinery.
WHY? Brainwave entrainment involves a process of stimulating your brainwaves and changing your mental state. While this is safe to do and use in normal situations, it can sometimes zone you out during the track, as you focus in on the sound of the tones. This could result in you being distracted temporarily, which is not a good thing while you’re driving or operating machinery. Some people also experience tingling and other sensations from the stimulation. While that might feel quite nice sitting in a comfortable chair at home, it could cause you to be distracted while driving and result in an accident.
• It is not recommended to listen to this while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or any mind altering substance.
WHY? When your brain is under the influence of drugs or alcohol it’s not operating to it’s full capacity, and you react differently to stimulation and situations, compared to when you are sober. So as a precaution and because I don’t know how you will react in that situation, I recommend you do not use it in that situation.
• Who should NOT listen to this audio? Those who should not listen to this video/audio include: Those who are prone to or have had seizures, epilepsy, pregnant or wear a pacemaker should NOT listen to this video/audio.
WHY? There is insufficient research data in this area, so as a precaution, if you are among the categories listed above, I would recommend you consult a doctor or medical professional before listening to this video/audio.”
"Belarus is mining their borders for WW3 (!!!, Russo officials talk about the "4 horseman of the apocalypse"; Oil spikes again; nuclear threats intensify; Market crash continues; food scarcity reaches apocalyptic levels; drought threatens water supply; everything is collapsing in slow motion; prepare yourself while there is still time."
"There are a multitude of fuses affixed to dozens of powder-kegs and little kids with matches are on the loose. I don’t know which of the fuses will be lit and which powder-keg will blow, but someone is bound to do something stupid, and then all hell will break loose. It could happen at any time. One military miscue. One assassination. One violent act that stirs the world. And the dominoes will topple, setting off fireworks not seen on this planet since 1939 – 1945. I can see it all very clearly."
"The U.S. economy is an absolute mess right now, and in today's video, we are going to expose several stats, signs, facts, warnings, and forecasts that prove so. Over the past two years, the state of the U.S. economy has steadily deteriorated, and millions of Americans have never recovered financially from the economic shocks brought on by the health crisis. On top of that, they've been dealing with the highest consumer prices in over four decades, and living expenses are still soaring all across the country. U.S. consumers are losing confidence in the economy and have been curbing spending as their buying power shrinks. The younger generations are in disbelief, and most of young Americans, business owners and financial experts don't see things getting any better any time soon.
"We will get a major recession," Deutsche Bank economists alerted in a recent report. The problem is that while inflation is still soaring, the economists say it will take a "long time" before it gets back down to the Fed's goal of 2%. That suggests the central bank will raise interest rates so aggressively that it hurts the economy. "We regard it as highly likely that the Fed will have to step on the brakes even more firmly, and a deep recession will be needed to bring inflation to heel," Deutsche Bank economists wrote in its report with the ominous title, "Why the coming recession will be worse than expected." That has led PayPal CEO Dan Schulman to sound the alarm about the financial situation of U.S. households. “The combination of high spending and high inflation means Americans are burning through savings at a rate that could have them running out by the end of this year,” he said. "We are already seeing a reduction in spending at lower-income levels for sure, and it's moving up to middle-income right now," Schulman said.
On the same note, a recent survey from the market research firm NPD Group uncovered that more than eight in ten US shoppers are planning to buy fewer things in the next three to six months. "There are storm clouds… it's a hurricane," JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon noted. "That hurricane is right out there down the road coming our way. We just don't know if it's a minor one or Superstorm Sandy."
Squeezed by higher prices for everyday essentials, American households are taking on record amounts of debt to help make ends meet. With all that said, it’s understandable why almost half of Americans believe that cost of living is the biggest threat to their financial security.
We are in the middle of a long-term economic decline, and it is clear that the system simply does not work as it should anymore. Thanks to decades of reckless monetary decisions, this is only the start of our problems. Things are only going to get worse from here, and the U.S. population can already feel it. That's why we gathered some important indicators that show things are getting off the rails in America once again."
"Peculiar spiral galaxy Arp 78 is found within the boundaries of the head strong constellation Aries, some 100 million light-years beyond the stars and nebulae of our Milky Way galaxy. Also known as NGC 772, the island universe is over 100,000 light-years across and sports a single prominent outer spiral arm in this detailed cosmic portrait. Its brightest companion galaxy, compact NGC 770, is toward the upper right of the larger spiral.
NGC 770's fuzzy, elliptical appearance contrasts nicely with a spiky foreground Milky Way star in matching yellowish hues. Tracking along sweeping dust lanes and lined with young blue star clusters, Arp 78's large spiral arm is likely due to gravitational tidal interactions. Faint streams of material seem to connect Arp 78 with its nearby companion galaxies."
“There are no accidents. If it's appeared on your life radar, this is why: to teach you that dreams come true; to reveal that you have the power to fix what's broken and heal what hurts; to catapult you beyond seeing with just your physical senses; and to lift the veils that have kept you from seeing that you're already the person you dreamed you'd become. There are no accidents. And believe me, that was one heck of a dream.”
“Suddenly the window will open and Mother will call, it's time to come in. The wall will part, I will enter heaven in muddy shoes. I will come to the table and answer questions rudely. I am all right, leave me alone. Head in hand I sit and sit. How can I tell them about that long and tangled way? Here in heaven mothers knit green scarves; flies buzz. Father dozes by the stove after six days' labor. No - surely I can't tell them that people are at each other's throats.”
“On the meridian of time there is no injustice: there is only the poetry of motion creating the illusion of truth and drama. If at any moment anywhere one comes face to face with the absolute, that great sympathy which makes men like Gautama and Jesus seem divine freezes away; 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.”
“You ask me how it feels to grow older. I’ve learned a few things along the way, which I’ll share with you…
As I’ve aged, I’ve become kinder to myself, and less critical of myself. I’ve become my own friend. I don’t chide myself for eating that extra cookie, or for not making my bed, or for buying that silly cement gecko that I didn’t need, but looks so avante-garde on my patio. I am entitled to a treat, to be messy, to be extravagant.
I have seen too many dear friends leave this world too soon; before they understood the great freedom that comes with aging. Whose business is it if I choose to read or play on the computer until 4 AM and sleep until noon? I will dance with myself to those wonderful tunes of many years ago, and if I, at the same time, wish to weep over a lost love… I will.
I will walk the beach in a swim suit that is stretched over a bulging body, and will dive into the waves with abandon if I choose to, despite the pitying glances from the jet set. They, too, will get old.
I know I am sometimes forgetful. But there again, some of life is just as well forgotten. And I eventually remember the important things. Sure, over the years my heart has been broken. How can your heart not break when you lose a loved one, or when a child suffers, or even when somebody’s beloved pet gets hit by a car? But broken hearts are what give us strength and understanding and compassion. A heart never broken is pristine and sterile and will never know the joy of being imperfect.
I am so blessed to have lived long enough to have my hair turning gray, and to have my youthful laughs be forever etched into deep grooves on my face. So many have never laughed, and so many have died before their hair could turn silver.
As you get older, it is easier to be positive. You care less about what other people think. I don’t question myself anymore. I’ve even earned the right to be wrong. So, to answer your question, I like being old. It has set me free. I like the person I have become. I am not going to live forever, but while I am still here, I will not waste time lamenting what could have been, or worrying about what will be. And I shall eat dessert every single day (if I feel like it). May our friendship never come apart especially when it’s straight from the heart!”
“We're all going to die. We don't get much say over how or when, but we do get to decide how we're gonna live. So, do it. Decide. Is this the life you want to live? Is this the person you want to love? Is this the best you can be? Can you be stronger? Kinder? More Compassionate? Decide. Breathe in. Breathe out and decide.”
- “Richard”, “Grey’s Anatomy”
"Life's funny, chucklehead. You only get one and you don't want to throw it away. But you can't really live it at all unless you're willing to give it up for the things you love. If you're not at least willing to die for something - something that really matters - in the end you die for nothing."
(Statue of Giordano Bruno in the Campo de Fiori, Rome,
as snapped by Dan Denning, 2018.)
A disturbing message from the alleged center of the universe...
by Bill Bonner
Youghal, Ireland - "But the earth still turns." ~ Galileo Galilei, recanting his recantation. Giordano Bruno might have thought it funny. Or maybe not. He was hanging upside down, stark naked, in the Campo de Fiori in Rome. It was February 17, 1600. A crowd had gathered to watch. He could not call out to them… nor even beg for mercy. Because his ‘tongue was imprisoned because of his wicked words.’ Those wicked words had been judged heretical by the elite of the 16th century. He held opinions ‘contrary to the Catholic faith,’ they said. He doubted that the bread and wine received in communion really were the body and blood of Christ, for example. He questioned the virginity of Mary and the idea of the Trinity. And he maintained that planets circled the sun, not the other way around.
But the church could not tolerate dissent or doubt. Its grip had been loosened by both. Henry VIII of England had broken with Rome. Martin Luther had led a ‘reformation’ movement in the German-speaking world. And Galileo was already at the University of Padua carefully watching the heavens. Later, threatened with the same fate as Bruno, Galileo denied his heresy and confirmed the earth as the center of the universe.
A Little Threat: Poor Bruno. He was too early. Too outspoken. Too inflexible. In England, he allegedly spied on ‘Catholic conspirators,’ using the alias ‘Henry Fagot’ for a pseudonym. Did he find it at all amusing that he was to be roasted over a pile of burning faggots? Or would he find it gratifying that – partly because of his martyrdom – future generations generally came to believe that it was better to listen to dissenters than to fry them? After all, Bruno was right about the heavens. Maybe he was right about other things, too.
Today, the church elite poses little threat. You can take it or leave it. But the profane elite – those who rule us – cannot be ignored. And they’re gathering tinder. The ruling caste promises miracles – abolishing poverty… eliminating terrorism… making everyone richer and more ‘equal’… controlling the earth’s temperature. But, so far, their programs have all flopped. Their wars have not made the world safer. Their ‘science’ is far from ‘settled.’ Their rigged lending rates resulted in $300 billion in debt, worldwide.
The whole world is now trapped. It cannot go back to ‘normal;’ normal interest rates would collapse the entire global economy. It can only go forward… living with an ‘inflation tax’ that lifts prices for essential food, shelter and energy… and threatens millions with chaos, revolution and starvation. But more and more, ‘the people’ – like Giordano Bruno – are beginning to notice the failures of public policy. And more and more, the elite want to shut them up.
“They Make Us Sick”: “It’s too bad,” began a thoughtful comment from a thoughtful wife. “They seem to have gotten exactly the wrong idea.” She was talking about the people who recently filled the luxury restaurants of Davos, Switzerland… and are still bellying up to bars in Washington DC and state capitals all across the nation.
She might also have had in mind all the influencers, deciders, policy makers… today’s equivalent of the Catholic hierarchy in 1600… and all those who care what the New York Times has to say. “All of human progress has come out of conflict, competition, debate,” she continued. “Even our bodies… we competed with animals… and fended off tiny bacteria and viruses. We are rarely attacked by wild beasts anymore. But we are routinely set upon by bugs. They make us sick, but we come away with a strengthened immune system.
Our material progress comes from competition between enterprises – each trying to find better ways to please the customer and make more money. Technological progress too comes from opposition, not obedience. Inventors and innovators try to come up with something better. Something different. Autos competed with horse drawn carriages…iPhones competed with the pony express… central heating had to prove itself in competition with open fires.
Our intellectual progress comes from people with different ideas challenging one another’s arguments. Nobody has the complete and final truth. And our moral progress comes as bad ideas - like burning witches and heretics, slavery, hatred, the ubermensch and all – are confronted and rejected.
Our political progress is painfully slow. But if there had been no alternative, I suppose we’d all be worshiping pharaohs and pulling giant rocks across the Mojave desert to build pyramids in Los Angeles.”
Wicked Words: Elizabeth was regretting the movement to prohibit ideas that make us uncomfortable. Civilization advances by confronting unpopular ideas, not by prohibiting them, she pointed out. And yet, today, scholars are fired. Speeches are canceled. Websites are de-platformed. Commentators are censored. Contrary opinions are blocked as ‘misinformation.’ The idea is to create a consensus, not by free discussion, but by blocking alternative views. Those who don’t go along are branded as ‘white supremacists’ or ‘Russian assets’… or ’science deniers’… or simply ‘deplorable.’
“Today’s elite,” Elizabeth concluded, “is a lot like the Catholic Church during the Inquisition. It believes it has the full and final truth… that science has been ‘settled’… and that any contrary views must not be allowed in public. But at least they’re not burning dissenters – like Bruno – at the stake. At least not yet.”
"The Trends Journal is a weekly magazine analyzing global current events forming future trends. Our mission is to present Facts and Truth over fear and propaganda to help subscribers prepare for What’s Next in these increasingly turbulent times."
"International Man: Nations in decline often experience cultural degeneracy. We saw that in the Roman Empire and Weimar Germany, for example. Today, in the US, we see increasing signs of cultural degeneracy in Hollywood, advertisements, academia, science, corporations, politics, and other areas of life. What is your take?
Doug Casey: There have been a number of major turning points throughout history. Rome in the third century was one of them. It was a period of economic, political, and military chaos, aggravated by the social chaos accompanying the rise of Christianity. These things set the stage for the complete collapse of the old civilization in the West with the barbarian invasions after Adrianople in 378.
The Renaissance changed the nature of life in Western Europe starting in the 15th century, as did the Enlightenment in the 18th century. And, most important, in many ways, the Industrial Revolution overturned the pre-existing economic order starting in the early 19th century.
Whenever the public was in a frenzy about something or other, my friend Herman Kahn (look him up) liked to quip, "There are only two important things that have happened since the dawn of history - and this isn't one of them." He was referring to the Agricultural Revolution around 5000 years ago and the Industrial Revolution. It's good to keep things in perspective…
Of course, there have been plenty of bloody episodes, great discoveries, and breathtaking inventions along the way. The American Revolution, the French Revolution, WW I, WW II, the collapse of the USSR, and the rise of China are among them. But in the great sweep of history, they're really just footnotes. It bears emphasis, though, that almost everything of any importance that has happened in the last 500 years has been about or because of Western Civilization.
They all had various effects, but none of them really attacked the basis of Western civilization itself. Psychopaths like Marx, Lenin, Stalin, and Mao were, even in their heydays, really just jackals barking at a lion.
But then things started changing in the 1960s. The 60s were fun at the time, but from a cultural viewpoint, they turned out to be an overture to the collapse of Western Civ. You may recall the motto of many college students at demonstrations was, "Hey, hey, ho, ho, Western Civ has to go." They were yahoos, of course, but it's actually happening now, 60 years later. Thomas Cole's superb series of five paintings, "The Course of Empire," done about 200 years ago, says it all.
Full screen recommended.
The thing to remember is that Western civilization is built on a certain set of values and virtues that have given the world something unique in history. Before the rise of Western Civ, people everywhere in the world survived by piling sticks and stones on top of one another and grubbing for roots and berries, freezing in the winter and starving in the spring, expecting an early and likely violent death.
Western Civ changed the very nature of life. It is, in fact, the only civilization worth talking about. China may have given the world Taoism, martial arts, and General Tso's Chicken. India developed yoga, and curries are tasty. But on the whole, Ayn Rand was right when she said East minus West equals zero.
We're now undergoing our own Great Cultural Revolution. It's much more serious than what the Chinese attempted in the '60s. Why? Because a whole complex of destructive ideas have now captured the apparatus of most governments, academia, media, entertainment, charities, and large corporations. The public has been both subtlety and overtly indoctrinated for generations. It's not easy to reverse a trend this large.
But maybe you think I'm being too inflammatory. Perhaps you don't believe Western civilization in general, and the idea of America in particular, are dying. Fair enough. Let me give you the dozen things that made Western Civilization and America not only unique but vastly better than any other country or civilization in history. I've listed 12 concepts. These things are the essence of Western Civ - and are unique to it. Ask yourself if attitudes towards them haven't changed radically in recent years. Ask yourself if the trend towards collapse of the West hasn't accelerated since then.
1. Free thought has been replaced by Political Correctness, and it's discouraged. We're approaching the stage of Orwellian thought crime.
2. Free speech is subject to cancel culture at universities, Google, Facebook, Twitter, and society in general. In totalitarian societies, free speech is cause for imprisonment or worse. We're headed in that direction.
3. Free markets mean the freedom to act. They're gone as an ideal, replaced by socialism as a goal. Regulation is now considered essential by most people.
4. Limited government has been replaced by State control of almost everything.
5. Individualism is seen as bad, or at least antisocial. Identity politics is preferred. You're not an individual so much as a member of a race or a party.
6. Rationality is white and therefore racist. Science, logic, and fact are replaced by superstition. Group think is the new secular religion.
7. Liberty is seen as a danger. Snowflakes need shelter in safe spaces for fear of being triggered.
8. The concept of Progress is dangerous because it leads to inequality, and no one should be left behind.
9. Privacy has been replaced by Transparency. God forbid you might have a secret. Everything is monitored. The Chinese Social Credit system is becoming a model.
10. Property Rights - Fuhgedaboudit. You'll own nothing and better be happy. On the bright side, your masters may give you food, housing, education, meds, and a Guaranteed Annual Income - if you're obedient.
11. The classic Rule of Law is gone, replaced by thousands of micro rules. Everything that's not obligatory is forbidden.
12. Industry and enterprise are evil since they lead to "greed," inequality, and using the planet's resources.
Statists and collectivists have largely succeeded in corrupting the public's attitudes towards the twelve things which made the West unique. The trend is accelerating, and trends tend to stay in motion until they reach a crisis. Once they reach a crisis - it's called a revolution in the case of a country, or a collapse in the case of a civilization - things usually get even worse, at least for a while.
There's much more to be said about the 12 attitudes and institutions that I've listed. But it's not just a matter of academic or philosophic interest because when these foundations of civilization disappear, the good things they brought us will also wash away. They're essential to everything - art, music, literature, science, and technology. They're the basis of our high standard of living.
Other civilizations, like the Japanese and Chinese, have based their progress on adopting these Western attitudes and principles. But just as they've been accused of copying machines and technologies, it's arguable they've only mimicked some of these values. Africa, most of Asia, and the Third World generally haven't even done that. I doubt these 12 things are in the cultural DNA anywhere outside of the West - and they're being deleted from the West.
If you're looking for a template of what could happen in the US and all over the world in this coming decade, you might look at some news articles on Sri Lanka.
My guess is that for years to come, we're going to see a serious devolution of civilization everywhere. The world has become top-heavy with the fruits of civilization. Hundreds of millions rely on those fruits, with no clue about how they came about. Meanwhile, the roots of the tree that produced them are rotting.
As a result, we could be looking at not just a historic financial meltdown, accompanied by a really serious economic upheaval, with wars and serious shortages. But an overthrow of traditional cultural norms, social chaos, and political totalitarianism. Of course, mankind has survived all that for at least five millennia so far. And I suppose we'll handle this as well. There will just be more unpleasantness and inconveniences than usual in the decade to come..."