"The main legacy plan in this world is to leave your children with assets, not debts. In the UK they want to propose a 50 year mortgage that can be assignable to your children upon your death. This will leave people with nothing. This is ridiculous."
and bonds lookin' like the ugliest pig in the sty.
by Joel Bowman
Tenerife, Spain - "Okay, okay... let’s get the bad stuff out of the way first. Then, we’ll get to the ugly stuff...Stocks officially closed out their worst six month start to any year in over half a century last week. The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended lower by 1%... the broader S&P 500 fell by 1.8%... and the tech-heavy Nasdaq shrank by another 3.6%. For those of you keeping/agonizing over the score at home, the three indices are down by 15, 20 and almost 30%, respectively, for the year. Ouchie!!
As we mentioned on Friday, tech stocks alone have given up over $4 trillion dollars since their all time highs of late 2021... an amount roughly equal to the entire GDP of Germany, the world’s 4th largest economy. (If they cough-up another cool trill, they’ll have fallen by more than Japan’s annual GDP.)
The last time markets were hemorrhaging this badly, Burt Bacharach and Hal David had a couple of Billboard Top Ten hits – “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head” (recorded by B.J. Thomas) and “(They Long to Be) Close to You,” (recorded by The Carpenters). That was back in 1970, the beginning of a decade marred by persistent inflation, economic recession and high unemployment (stagflation) at home and beset by oil shocks, trade embargoes and geopolitical uncertainty abroad. Hmm... sound familiar?
Apples to Apples: Inflation, as if your memory needed jogging, is running at a white hot annualized rate of 8.6% (over the 12 months ending in May). Again, you have to go back to "That ‘70s Show" to find those kinds of numbers. And even then, you still have to believe the cheeky buggers calculating them!
As you might expect, the gate-keepers over at the Bureau of Labor Statistics love few things more in this life than a little methodological prestidigitation. It’s kind of their thing. Which is to say, they’ve rigged up various torture instruments over the years in order to make the numbers sing like proverbial canaries.
That’s why it’s good to check in occasionally with people like John Williams, over at Shadowstats.com, who tracks the data using both 1990 and 1980 baseline methodologies to get his “alternative” (read: historically comparable) prints. Comparing today’s apples to the 1990 era crate, our current inflation rate is probably closer to 13%. And using the 1980 calculation method, it looks more like 17%. (Is that in line what you’re experiencing at the pump and the store? Feel free to comment below with anecdotal observations from your own neck of the woods.)
But despite what you see and hear with your own eyes and ears, the American economy is stronger than ever. At least, that’s what President Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. told members of the press at a NATO summit here in Spain on Thursday. “America is better positioned to lead the world than we ever have been,” Mr. Biden assured the room full of reporters. “We have the strongest economy in the world, [and] our inflation rates are lower than other nations in the world.”
And it’s true. Inflation is higher in “other nations”... if those nations are Argentina... Turkey... Russia... Brazil... and a tiny handful of others. To be fair, at least he didn’t claim that inflation was higher in “every other major industrial country in the world,” right? Oh, wait... here’s the transcript from an interview Biden gave with the Associated Press earlier in the month. “First of all, it’s not inevitable,” the President said of the recession into which many economists believe we have since plunged. “Secondly, we’re in a stronger position than any nation in the world to overcome this inflation.”
Asked who is responsible for the 40-year high inflation, the man who once proudly tweeted “When somebody is President of the United States, the responsibility is total,” shirked... “If it’s my fault,” Mr. Total Responsibility snapped, “why is it the case in every other major industrial country in the world that inflation is higher? You ask yourself that? I’m not being a wise guy.” And indeed, he wasn’t. Here’s the chart:
(Source: Trading Economics)
So stocks are down. And consumer price inflation is up. Way up. That’s the bad. For the ugly, we turn to the bond market... Bonner Private Research’s own macro analyst, Dan Denning, shared the gory details with members in Friday’s update. Here, a choice snippet..."You have to go back to the 18th century - before George Washington became America’s first President - to find a worse first half of the year for benchmark US government bonds. Ten-year Treasuries are on pace for an annualized loss of 11%, according to Deutsche Bank. To give you an idea of how bad that is, the previous ‘worst’ year in recent history was a 2.4% annual loss in 1994.
Government credit - the ability to borrow on behalf of the American people - did not exist in the late 18th century. In fact, until the Constitution replaced the Articles of Confederation in 1787 and was finally ratified by nine of the thirteen States in 1788, the central government did not have the power to tax or issue bonds.
It’s a bit beyond the scope of this week’s update, but the link between government borrowing and the Warfare/Welfare State (unlimited debt and unlimited government) is at the heart of many economic and political issues we face today. In Article VIII of the Articles of Confederation, a Common Treasury was established for ‘the common defense or general welfare’ of the new nation. But the money was to be collected by the States, based on a proportional land tax.
One of the big criticisms of the Articles (by the Federalists) was that the federal government was powerless to raise money. The Constitution ‘rectified’ that in Article 1, Section 8, by giving Congress the power to ‘lay and collect taxes’ and ‘borrow money on the credit of the United States.’
You could argue that it’s been downhill ever since - that the Constitution has failed in limiting the size of the Federal government. And you could argue that by giving itself a monopoly over money, regulating the value thereof, and borrowing on the public credit, it was only a matter of time before we got to where we are: $30 trillion in debt with no end in sight. But here we are, nonetheless."
And there you have it, dear reader... where we’ve been... over the past six months... the past 40 years... and since the founding of the nation. The big question, of course, is where to next?"
“What makes this spiral galaxy so long? Measuring over 700,000 light years across from top to bottom, NGC 6872, also known as the Condor galaxy, is one of the most elongated barred spiral galaxies known.
The galaxy’s protracted shape likely results from its continuing collision with the smaller galaxy IC 4970, visible just above center. Of particular interest is NGC 6872′s spiral arm on the upper left, as pictured here, which exhibits an unusually high amount of blue star forming regions. The light we see today left these colliding giants before the days of the dinosaurs, about 300 million years ago. NGC 6872 is visible with a small telescope toward the constellation of the Peacock (Pavo).”
“Almost all Americans have had an intense school experience which occupied their entire youth, an experience during which they were drilled thoroughly in the culture and economy of the well-schooled greater society, in which individuals have been rendered helpless to do much of anything except watch television or punch buttons on a keypad.
Before you begin to blame the childish for being that way and join the chorus of those defending the general imprisonment of adults and the schooling by force of children because there isn’t any other way to handle the mob, you want to at least consider the possibility that we’ve been trained in childishness and helplessness for a reason. And that reason is that helpless people are easy to manage.
Helpless people can be counted upon to act as their own jailers because they are so inadequate to complex reality they are afraid of new experience. They’re like animals whose spirits have been broken. Helpless people take orders well, they don’t have minds of their own, they are predictable, they won’t surprise corporations or governments with resistance to the newest product craze, the newest genetic patent - or by armed revolution. Helpless people can be counted on to despise independent citizens and hence they act as a fifth column in opposition to social change in the direction of personal sovereignty.”
"Most people are completely unaware of how vulnerable NATO is. This video breaks it down. We cannot emphasize enough the prospect for a major global conflict going nuclear, more evidence is provided today. Check out this series that demystifies the prospect of global thermonuclear conflict and why it isn't being the realm of possibility and right now is quite plausible."
“If you step back and think about it, the normal man can probably list a dozen things he cannot say in public that he grew up hearing on television, usually as jokes. Then the jokes were no longer welcome in polite company and soon they were deemed “not funny” by the sorts of people who worry about such things. The same was true of simple observations about the world. Somehow noticing the obvious became impolite, then it became taboo and finally prohibited.
The reverse is true as well. Middle-aged men can probably think of a dozen things that were unimaginable or unheard of, which are now fully normal. Of course, normal is one of those things that is now prohibited. It implies that something can be abnormal or weird and that itself is forbidden. The proliferation of novel identities and activities that demand to be treated with dignity and respect is a function of the old restraints having been eliminated. When everything is possible you get everything.
The strange thing about all of this is there is seemingly no point to it. The proliferation of new taboos was not in response to some harm being done. In most cases, the taboos are about observable reality. The people turning up in the public square with novel identities or activities demanding respect did not exist very long ago. If they did, not one was curious enough to look into it. The public was happy to ignore people into unusual activities, as long as they kept it to themselves.
Of course, none of what we generally call political correctness is intended to be uplifting or inspirational. The commissars of public morality like to pretend it is inspiring, but that’s just a way to entertain themselves. These new identity groups are not demanding the rest of us seek some higher plane of existence or challenge our limitations. In fact, it is always in the opposite directions. It’s a demand to lower standards and give up on our quaint notions of self-respect and human dignity.
In the "Demon In Democracy", Polish academic Ryszard Legutko observed that liberal democracy had abandoned the concept of dignity. This is the obligation to behave in a certain way, as determined by your position in society. Dignity was earned by acting in accordance with the high standards of the community. In turn, this behavior was rewarded with greater privilege and responsibility. Failure to live up to one’s duties would result in the loss of dignity, along with the status it conferred.
Instead, modern liberal democracy awards dignity by default. We are supposed to respect all choices and all behaviors as being equal. There are no standards against which to measure human behavior, other than the standard of absolute, unconditional acceptance. As a result, the most inventively degenerate and base activities spring from the culture, almost like a test of the community’s tolerance. Instead of looking up to the heavens for inspiration, liberal democracies look down in the gutter.
Dignity comes from maintaining one’s obligations to his position in the social order, but that requires a fidelity to a social order. It also requires a connection to the rest of the people in the society. In a world of deracinated individuals focused solely on getting as much as they can in order to maximize pleasure, a sense of commitment to the community is not possible. Democracy assumes we are all equal, therefore we have no duty to one another as duty requires a hierarchical relationship.
In the absence of a vertical set of reciprocal relationships, we get this weird lattice work of horizontal relationships, elevating the profane and vulgar, while pulling down the noble and honorable. The public culture is about minimizing and degrading those who participate in the public culture. In turn, the public culture attracts only those who cannot be shamed or embarrassed. The great joy of public culture is to see those who aspire to more get torn down as the crowd roars at their demise.
The puzzle is why this is a feature of liberal democracy. Ryszard Legutko places the blame on Protestantism. Their emphasis on original sin and man’s natural limitations minimized man’s role in the world. This focus on man’s wretchedness was useful in channeling our urge to labor and create into useful activities, thus generating great prosperity, but it left us with a minimalist view of human accomplishment. We are not worthy to aspire to anything more than the base and degraded.
It is certainly true that the restraints of Christianity limited the sorts of behavior that are common today, but he may be putting the cart before the horse. The emergence of Protestantism in northern Europe was as much a result of the people and their nature as anything else. Put more simply, the Protestant work ethic existed before there was such a thing as a Protestant. The desire to work and delay gratification evolved over many generations out of environmental necessity.
Still, culture is an important part of man’s environment and environmental factors shape our evolution. It is not unreasonable to say that the evolution of Protestant ethics magnified and structured naturally occurring instincts among the people. With the collapse of Christianity as a social force in the West, the natural defense to degeneracy and vulgarity has collapsed with it. As a result, great plenty is the fuel for a small cohort of deviants to overrun the culture of liberal democracies.
Even so, there does seem to be something else. Liberal democracy has not produced great art or great architecture. The Greeks and Romans left us great things that still inspire the imagination of the man who happens to gaze upon them. The castles and cathedrals of the medieval period still awe us. The great flourishing of liberal democracy in the 20th century gave us Brutalism and dribbles of pain on canvas. The new century promises us primitives exposing themselves on the internet.
There is something about the liberal democratic order that seeks to strip us of our dignity and self-respect. Look at what happened in the former Eastern Bloc countries after communism. Exposed to the narcotic of liberalism they immediately acquired the same cultural patterns. Fertility collapsed. Religion collapsed. Marriage and family formation collapsed. These suddenly free societies got the Western disease as soon as they were exposed to western liberal democracy.
The reaction we see today is not due to these societies being behind the times, but due to seeing the ugly face of liberal democracy. It is much like the reaction to the proliferation of recreational drugs in the 1970’s. At first, it seemed harmless, but then people realized the horror of unrestrained self-indulgence. That’s what we see in the former Eastern Bloc. Their leaders still retain some of the old sense of things and are trying to save their people from the dungeon of modernity.
That still leaves us with the unanswered question. What is it about liberal democracy that seems to lead to this loss of dignity? It is possible that such a fabulously efficient system for producing wealth is a tool mankind is not yet equipped to handle without killing ourselves. Maybe we are just not built for anything but scarcity. Want gives us purpose and without it, we lose our reason to exist. Either way, without dignity, we cannot defend ourselves and the results are inevitable.”
"For a moment in time, it looked as if reality had managed to finally carve its way through the dense fog of propaganda-driven misinformation that had dominated Western media coverage of Russia’s “Special Military Operation” in Ukraine.
In a stunning admission, Oleksandr Danylyuk, a former senior adviser to the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense and Intelligence Services, noted that the optimism that existed in Ukraine following Russia’s decision to terminate “Phase One” of the SMO (a major military feint toward Kiev), and begin “Phase Two” (the liberation of the Donbass), was no longer warranted. “The strategies and tactics of the Russians are completely different right now,” Danylyuk noted. “They are being much more successful. They have more resources than us and they are not in a rush.” “There’s much less space for optimism right now,” Danylyuk concluded.
In short, Russia was winning. Danylyuk’s conclusions were not derived from some esoteric analysis drawn from Sun Tzu or Clausewitz, but rather basic military math. In a war that had become increasingly dominated by the role of artillery, Russia simply was able to bring to bear on the battlefield more firepower than Ukraine.
Ukraine started the current conflict with an artillery inventory that included 540 122mm self-propelled artillery guns, 200 towed 122mm howitzers, 200 122mm multiple-rocket launch systems, 53 152mm self-propelled guns, 310 towed 152mm howitzers, and 96 203mm self-propelled guns, for approximately 1,200 artillery and 200 MLRS systems.
For the past 100-plus days, Russia has been relentlessly targeting both Ukraine’s artillery pieces and their associated ammunition storage facilities. By June 14, the Russian Ministry of Defense claimed that it had destroyed “521 installation of multiple launch rocket systems” and “1947 field artillery guns and mortars.” Even if the Russian numbers are inflated (as is usually the case when it comes to wartime battle damage assessments), the bottom line is that Ukraine has suffered significant losses among the very weapons systems — artillery — which are needed most in countering the Russian invasion.
But even if Ukraine’s arsenal of Soviet-era 122mm and 152mm artillery pieces were still combat-worthy, the reality is that, according to Danylyuk, Ukraine has almost completely run out of ammunition for these systems and the stocks of ammunition sourced from the former Soviet-bloc Eastern European countries that used the same family of weapons have been depleted.
Ukraine is left doling out what is left of its former Soviet ammunition while trying to absorb modern Western 155mm artillery systems, such as the Caesar self-propelled gun from France and the U.S.-made M777 howitzer. But the reduced capability means that Ukraine is only able to fire some 4,000-to-5,000 artillery rounds per day, while Russia responds with more than 50,000. This 10-fold disparity in firepower has proven to be one of the most decisive factors when it comes to the war in Ukraine, enabling Russia to destroy Ukrainian defensive positions with minimal risk to its own ground forces.
Casualties: This has led to a second level of military math imbalances, that being casualties. Mykhaylo Podolyak, a senior aid to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, recently estimated that Ukraine was losing between 100 and 200 soldiers a day on the frontlines with Russia, and another 500 or so wounded. These are unsustainable losses, brought on by the ongoing disparity in combat capability between Russia and Ukraine symbolized, but not limited to, artillery.
In recognition of this reality, NATO Secretary General Jen Stoltenberg announced that Ukraine will more than likely have to make territorial concessions to Russia as part of any potential peace agreement, asking, “What price are you willing to pay for peace? How much territory, how much independence, how much sovereignty…are you willing to sacrifice for peace?”
Stoltenberg, speaking in Finland, noted that similar territorial concessions made by Finland to the Soviet Union at the end of the Second World War was “one of the reasons Finland was able to come out of the Second World War as an independent sovereign nation.”
To recap - the secretary general of the trans-Atlantic alliance responsible for pushing Ukraine into its current conflict with Russia is now proposing that Ukraine be willing to accept the permanent loss of sovereign territory because NATO miscalculated and Russia - instead of being humiliated on the field of battle and crushed economically - is winning on both fronts. Decisively. That the secretary general of NATO would make such an announcement is telling for several reasons.
Stunning Request: First, Ukraine is requesting 1,000 artillery pieces and 300 multiple-launch rocket systems, more than the entire active-duty inventory of the U.S. Army and Marine Corps combined. Ukraine is also requesting 500 main battle tanks - more than the combined inventories of Germany and the United Kingdom. In short, to keep Ukraine competitive on the battlefield, NATO is being asked to strip its own defenses down to literally zero.
More telling, however, is what the numbers say about NATO’s combat strength versus Russia. If NATO is being asked to empty its armory to keep Ukraine in the game, one must consider the losses suffered by Ukraine up to that point and that Russia appears able to sustain its current level of combat activity indefinitely. That’s right - Russia just destroyed the equivalent of NATO’s main active-duty combat power and hasn’t blinked. One can only imagine the calculations underway in Brussels as NATO military strategists ponder the fact that their alliance is incapable of defeating Russia in a large-scale European conventional land war.
But there is another conclusion that these numbers reveal - that no matter what the U.S. and NATO do in terms of serving as Ukraine’s arsenal, Russia is going to win the war. The question now is how much time the West can buy Ukraine, and at what cost, in a futile effort to discover Russia’s pain threshold in order to bring the conflict to an end in a manner that reflects anything but the current path toward unconditional surrender.
The only questions that need to be answered in Brussels, apparently, is how long can the West keep the Ukrainian Army in the field, and at what cost? Any rational actor would quickly realize that any answer is an unacceptable answer, given the certainty of a Russian victory, and that the West needs to stop feeding Ukraine’s suicidal fantasy of rearming itself to victory.
Enter The New York Times, stage right. While trying to completely reshape the narrative regarding the fighting in the Donbass after the damning reality check would be a bridge too far for even the creative minds at the Gray Lady - the writing equivalent of trying to put toothpaste back in the tube. But the editors were able to interview a pair of erstwhile “military analysts” who cobbled together a scenario that transformed Ukraine’s battlefield humiliation.
‘Military Analysts’: They described a crafty strategy designed to lure Russia into an urban warfare nightmare where, stripped of its advantages in artillery, it was forced to sacrifice soldiers in an effort to dig the resolute Ukrainian defenders from their hardened positions located amongst the rubble of a “dead” city - Severodonetsk. [Ukraine forces withdrew from the city Friday.] According to Gustav Gressel, a former Austrian military officer turned military analysts, “If the Ukrainians succeed in trying to drag them [the Russians] into house-to-house combat, there is a higher chance of inducing casualties on the Russians they cannot afford.”
According to Mykhailo Samus, a former Ukrainian naval officer turned think-tanks analyst, the Ukrainian strategy of dragging Russia into an urban combat nightmare is to buy time for rearming with the heavy weapons provided by the West, to “exhaust, or reduce, the enemy’s [Russia’s] offensive capabilities.”
The Ukrainian operational concepts in play in Severodonetsk, these analysts claim, have their roots in past Russian urban warfare experiences in Aleppo, Syria and Mariupol. What escapes the attention of these so-called military experts, is that both Aleppo and Mariupol were decisive Russian victories; there were no “excessive casualties,” no “strategic defeat.” Had The New York Times bothered to check the resumes of the “military exerts” it consulted, it would have found two men so deeply entrenched into the Ukrainian propaganda mill as to make their respective opinions all but useless to any journalistic outlet possessing a modicum of impartiality. But this was The New York Times.
Gressel is the source of such wisdom as: “If we stay tough, if the war ends in defeat for Russia, if the defeat is clear and internally painful, then next time he will think twice about invading a country. That is why Russia must lose this war.”
And: “We in the West…all of us, must now turn over every stone and see what can be done to make Ukraine win this war.” Apparently, the Gressel playbook for Ukrainian victory includes fabricating a Ukrainian strategy from whole cloth to influence perceptions regarding the possibility of a Ukrainian military victory.
Samus likewise seeks to transform the narrative of the Ukrainian frontline forces fighting in Severodonetsk. In a recent interview with the Russian-language journal Meduza, Samus declares that: “Russia has concentrated a lot of forces [in the Donbass]. The Ukrainian armed forces are gradually withdrawing to prevent encirclement. They understand that the capture of Severodonetsk doesn’t change anything for the Russian or the Ukrainian army from a practical point of view. Now, the Russian army is wasting tremendous resources to achieve political objectives and I think they will be very difficult to replenish…[f]or the Ukrainian army, defending Severodonetsk isn’t advantageous. But if they retreat to Lysychansk they’ll be in more favorable tactical conditions. Therefore, the Ukrainian army is gradually withdrawing or leaving Severodonetsk, and upholding the combat mission. The combat mission is to destroy enemy troops and carry out offensive operations.”
The truth is, there is nothing deliberate about the Ukrainian defense of Severodonetsk. It is the byproduct of an army in full retreat, desperately trying to claw out some defensive space, only to be crushed by the brutal onslaught of superior Russian artillery-based firepower.
To the extent Ukraine is seeking to delay the Russian advance, it is being done by the full-scale sacrifice of the soldiers at the front, thousands of people thrown into battle with little or no preparation, training, or equipment, trading their lives for time so that Ukrainian negotiators can try to convince NATO countries to mortgage their military viability on the false promise of a Ukrainian military victory.
This is the ugly truth about Ukraine today - the longer the war continues, the more Ukrainians will die, and the weaker NATO will become. If left to people like Samus and Gressel, the result would be hundreds of thousands of dead Ukrainians, the destruction of Ukraine as a viable nation-state, and the gutting of NATO’s front-line combat capability, all sacrificed without meaningfully altering the inevitability of a strategic Russian victory.
Hopefully sanity will prevail, and the West will wean Ukraine off the addiction of heavy weaponry, and push it to accept a peace settlement which, although bitter to the taste, will leave something of Ukraine for future generations to rebuild."
Scott Ritter is a former U.S. Marine Corps intelligence officer who served in the former Soviet Union implementing arms control treaties, in the Persian Gulf during Operation Desert Storm and in Iraq overseeing the disarmament of WMD.
Editor’s note: Since Monday is July 4th, it is a fine time to reflect on the virtue of patriotism - what we believe it is - and what we believe it is not. So today, we republish our musings on a patriotism of the heart and why it is different from what many consider patriotism to be.
"A Patriotism of the Heart"
by Brian Maher
"Here is the trouble with America’s jingos, warhawks, drum-beaters, glory hounds, world-improvers, do-gooders and idealists: They are not patriotic. A jolting, nearly scandalous claim, it is true. Do these Americans not cry tears red, white and blue? Do they not yell about American “greatness”... American “exceptionalism”... the “shining city” atop the hill? That and more they do, yes. Yet they are not patriotic. That is the curious case we haul before the jury today.
Yes, we are stepping away from our normal beat of manna and markets… and reflecting upon the virtue of patriotism. (We first doff our cap to the late writer Joseph Sobran, upon whose insights we rely today).
Country or Empire: Famed English writer G.K. Chesterton once denounced Rudyard Kipling’s “lack of patriotism.” The fellow’s lack of patriotism? What did Chesterton mean? Kipling was chief rah-rah man for the British Empire, its loudest bugler. English civilization overtopped all rival powers, he believed - as Everest overtops all rival peaks. And as was proper… Great Britain gave the law in all four corners of Earth.
From Kipling’s story "Regulus", citing Virgil’s "Aeneid": “Roman! let this be your care, this your art; to rule over the nations and impose the ways of peace…” Substitute Britain for Rome, and you have Kipling. Why then did Chesterton deny his patriotism? The reason is subtle. Subtle… yet critical.
“He Admires England, But He Does Not Love Her” Chesterton argued that Kipling admired England because she was powerful. He did not love her because she was England: "He admires England, but he does not love her; for we admire things with reasons, but love them without reasons. He admires England because she is strong, not because she is English."
Now Chesterton. He loved England as England — its customs, its eccentricities, its people. Even, if you can believe it, its “food.” A man loves his mother. It is a wordless love, wide and deep. He requires no reason. He requires no justification. And as he loves his mother, so he loves his country. Be it China, be it Russia, be it Chile, be it Romania… it is all one.
Sobran: "Of course Chesterton was right. You love your country as you love your mother - simply because it is yours, not because of its superiority to others, particularly superiority of power."
A Spacious Patriotism: Does the other fellow believe his own mother towers high over all others? Well, friends, maybe he does believe it. But that in no way irritates, annoys or threatens the other fellow. No harm flows from it. After all... Adults allow children to cherish the fiction that reindeer fly and round men descend chimneys... A husband allows his wife to cherish the fiction that she is a superior cook or automobilist… as a wife allows her husband to cherish the fiction that he is a skillful and formidable lover... or that his bald head is actually ennobling.
These are benevolent fictions conducive to the domestic peace and happiness. In that spirit, the patriot’s attitude toward the foreigner is relaxed. It is accommodative. It is spacious. He understands this fellow’s affection for his country is essentially the affection for his mother. But a Kipling does not love his country as a man loves his mother. His country must show all others its dust. It must outrace them all… else he feels diminished.
The Patriot Loves His Country Regardless: The United States of America stables many such gentlemen. They are dizzied, wobbled, staggered by a higher American vision. Their eyes roll perpetually heavenward. To these fellows, America must always be up to something big in this world.
She must be forever charging up San Juan Hill, going over the top, storming Omaha beach, bearing any burden, paying any price... She must be beating the Russians to the moon, beating the world at basketball, beating democracy into someone’s head. Tall deeds, some of these, and fantastic attainments.
But would the patriot love America less if she fell short of the glory… if her history was a page mostly blank? He would not. It is - after all - his country. And he loves her as he loves his mother. But to that certain species of American, America must dazzle and glitter upon the world’s stage. She must be the “indispensable nation.” If not indispensable… then dispensable. If dispensable, then unworthy of his love. Hence his lack of patriotism. He is Kipling.
The Difference Between the Patriot and the Nationalist: Sobran takes their measure: "Many Americans admire America for being strong, not for being American. For them America has to be “the greatest country on Earth” in order to be worthy of their devotion. If it were only the second greatest, or the 19th greatest, or, heaven forbid, “a third-rate power,” it would be virtually worthless… Maybe the poor Finns or Peruvians love their countries too, but heaven knows why - they have so little to be proud of, so few “reasons.”
And so Sobran trains his cannons on the nationalist ideologue: "The nationalist, who identifies America with abstractions like freedom and democracy, may think it’s precisely America’s mission to spread those abstractions around the world - to impose them by force, if necessary. In his mind, those abstractions are universal ideals... the world must be made “safe for democracy” by “a war to end all wars”... Any country that refuses to Americanize is “anti-American” - or a “rogue nation.” For the nationalist, war is a welcome opportunity to change the world."
We might list some names in point... but our legal counsel is wagging his finger and shaking his head. The patriot and the nationalist babble the same American tongue. The one is therefore mistaken for the other. Yet lean in. Listen closer. You will find they speak alien languages: "Because the patriot and the nationalist often use the same words, they may not realize that they use those words in very different senses. The American patriot assumes that the nationalist loves this country with an affection like his own, failing to perceive that what the nationalist really loves is an abstraction - “national greatness,” or something like that. The American nationalist, on the other hand, is apt to be suspicious of the patriot, accusing him of insufficient zeal, or even “anti-Americanism.”
A Patriotism of the Heart: The patriotism Sobran hymns is a relaxed, natural, healthful patriotism. It is a patriotism of the heart. This patriotism flies no ideological flag, hauls no missionary cargo, steers by no heavenly star. It is the patriotism of the prairie, of the plain, of the lonely jackrabbit crossroad, of the greasy spoon, of the truckstop, of the front porch, of the pool hall... of Main Street. And his fellow countrymen? The patriot takes them as he finds them.
Might they sometimes neglect to wash behind the ears? Might they mistake the salad fork for the dinner fork? Well, sometimes they may. But they are his countrymen… and that is enough. The patriot allows himself to laugh - not at his fellow Americans - but with them.
The nationalist, meantime, does not laugh. He hectors. He preaches. He scolds.
“Patriotism Is Relaxed. Nationalism Is Rigid.” “Patriotism is relaxed,” as Sobran concludes. “Nationalism is rigid.”
We in turn conclude, paraphrasing Chesterton: "The relaxed patriot, the average American, the American who tends to his own business and sweeps his own stoop, the American who loves his country as he loves his mother - this fellow is all right. But the rigid American, the uber American, the zealous American, the American nationalist hot to put the world to rights - the American who admires America for her strength - but fails to love her as herself? This fellow... he’s all wrong."
"The Party of Chaos is draping its narrow shoulders in black crepe this Fourth of July, putting on funereal airs, which is actually just another cynical act in their remorseless performance of pretending to care about our country, as everything they touch goes to shit, blood, and ruin. Anything not that, they would like you believe, is “right-wing extremism” and “domestic terrorism.” Such as reminding your fellow citizens that there’s an upside to the rule-of-law and free speech, two niceties of the constitution the Party of Chaos is working hard to dispose of.
Understand that this Party of Chaos is insane, and rejoice this holiday weekend that you are not them. Independence, after all, was not just throwing off the yoke of King George III, but of establishing conditions for a people to thrive and pursue happiness without nefarious interference by vicious authorities of a leviathan state. That was something worth fighting for in 1776 and worth fighting for now.
One such battle was decided this week in the US Supreme Court: West Virginia v EPA, about US government agencies under the executive branch usurping legislative and judicial prerogatives - in this case to enforce “Green New Deal” policies on the electric power industry by agency fiat, as if by law. No-can-do, the SCOTUS said in a 6-3 decision. The ruling will tend to quash the growing tyranny of the unelected federal bureaucracy issuing diktats that nobody has voted for, like the Department of Education’s increasingly insane use of the 1972 Title IX [nine] update of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to jam biological male transsexuals into women’s sports and locker rooms.
Much of this agency mischief has emanated in recent years from whoever is in the White House issuing executive orders to get around a recalcitrant Congress. Barack Obama was especially prolific at it and now the junta behind “Joe Biden” is trying to emulate Mr. O. The upshot is that the Green New Deal is dead because even a Democratic majority Congress is too chicken to vote for measures likely to bring down the electric grid and put an end to mass motoring (though current trends suggest exactly that outcome is in the cards even without government action).
The ruling also tends to foil the World Economic Forum’s effort to re-set Western Civ as a transhuman technocratic “green” nirvana. Rather, the USA and Euroland are on the express track to a Palookaville of grubby, post-industrial, neo-medieval hardship. Try to imagine Mark Zuckerberg’s Metaverse minus reliable electric service. All you’re left with is an ill-dressed schmuck wearing goggles in a dark, empty room. Not to mention the technocrat elite’s wished-for boons of computer-enabled eternal life and never-ending orgasm. Fugettabowdit. Mr. Zuckerberg will be lucky months from now if he can avoid being clamped to a stake and torched by the angered new peasantry he helped to create.
War is not the glorious romp it used to be, either, in the days of caparisoned hussars and grenadiers in colorful enfilade. Now it’s more like being a swarm of gnats in a bug-zapper: pfffftttt… and you’re just one of ten thousand fellow gnats parlayed into the plane of ignominious nonexistence, sans accolades and salutes. Thus, our supremely stupid campaign against Russia in Ukraine, which is so not going well that it is hard to find a comparable strategic fiasco in history.
Of course, strategic fiascos are “Joe Biden’s” specialty. Even his former running mate, Mr. O, acknowledged that “you can’t overestimate [“JB’s”] ability to f*ck things up.” The alleged current president wanted desperately to bog down his nemesis, Vlad Putin, in the Ukrainian buzzard flats, hoping that Russia would roll over and die. But, lo and behold, it’s not working, not even with that $50-billion “JB” supposedly wired to Kiev. Instead, it’s America and our NATO allies who are circling the drain. Remember all those humming factories we won the Second World War with? They don’t exist anymore. Try prosecuting an industrial war without any industry. Decreasingly, too, our oil production, thanks explicitly to “Joe Biden’s” policies. Next, he’ll beg Mr. Putin for a discount on Russian oil while threatening to punch him in the face. I hope you’re prepared to lose this one as badly as we lost Afghanistan.
Life for us will get simpler, for sure, but it doesn’t have to be a trip back to the eleventh century. Mere months remain before the Party of Chaos has its near-death experience at the polls and we can begin to contemplate a change of course that allows us to remain a civilized nation of law and liberty, despite all the damage done. I’m celebrating this Fourth of July by mindfully declaring the independence of the country I love from the regime of grifters, tyrants, and sadists temporarily occupying the power centers of Washington, DC. I hope you will join me and do likewise."
"Think for a moment of other failed experiments in human history. One that comes to mind is the Bolshevik Revolution. Its leader, Vladimir Lenin, never really expected to take power, much less be put in charge of implementing the system he had spent a career promoting. He was asked to speak to what communism would mean. He fished around and came up with the idea of electrification of Russia. It didn’t work. In fact nothing worked. By 1920, electricity was even failing in Russia itself, and food shortages were everywhere. The experiment had already flopped and the workers and peasants were furious.
The answer was the “New Economic Policy” which liberalized the economy and bought the party time. The point is that the communist experiment had failed already, only two years in. The issue of failing plans from elites has vexed rulers from time immemorial. We live in such times today, arguably on a larger global basis than ever. They said they would suppress a virus but everyone got it anyway.
They said they would print and spend their way out of recession but now we have inflation plus recession. They said they would minimize the social and economic carnage but it is everywhere.
Notice that no one has taken responsibility. No one has admitted error. Or more precisely, what people like Bill Gates say now is that their theory was fine and their plans were brilliant, but there were periodic missteps in judgment owing to a lack of information, but keep trusting them because they will get better at this.
Just wait and see.
The FDA: Another tactic they are using is to claim that only now can we treat the Coronavirus like a normal pathogen because the new mutations, though more widespread, are also less severe. Fine. Except that with the mutations, the threshold for herd immunity is also rising. We might have been done with this nonsense two years ago had we lived life normally. The FDA’s latest blather is designed to cover that up.
Also, you will notice that last weekend, the FDA put major new warnings on the J&J vaccine, as if it has uniquely dangerous adverse effects. They did this at the same time massive documents from Pfizer are being dumped all over the Internet, and they all show sketchy trial methods and very serious side effects. The FDA’s announcement looks highly suspicious: like an attempt to seem scrupulous while letting the biggest offenders off the hook.
At least we aren’t going the way of China. Xi Jinping announced to the party congress over the weekend that he will tolerate no dissent against the zero Covid ideal. The pathogen will be crushed everywhere it appears. China now (if you can believe the official data) has one of the lowest rates of infection of anywhere in the world. That means that another billion or so people still will get it, and that means rolling lockdowns for the duration.
If this really happens, the great promise of this great country will be torn down by the arrogance and crankishness of one single dictator. That’s a tremendous tragedy, one that will have a profoundly negative impact on the global economy for many years to come.
Roiling Crisis: It’s almost difficult to keep up with the ongoing disasters taking place these days. Let’s talk about the impending shortage in electricity, the stuff we are all supposed to be using as a replacement for fossil fuels in the brave new world being created for us by our lords and masters.
Reports the Wall Street Journal, in a piece that went largely unnoticed: "California’s grid operator said Friday that it anticipates a shortfall in supplies this summer, especially if extreme heat, wildfires or delays in bringing new power sources online exacerbate the constraints. The Midcontinent Independent System Operator, or MISO, which oversees a large regional grid spanning much of the Midwest, said late last month that capacity shortages may force it to take emergency measures to meet summer demand and flagged the risk of outages. In Texas, where a number of power plants lately went offline for maintenance, the grid operator warned of tight conditions during a heat wave expected to last into the next week.
The risk of electricity shortages is rising throughout the U.S. as traditional power plants are being retired more quickly than they can be replaced by renewable energy and battery storage. Power grids are feeling the strain as the U.S. makes a historic transition from conventional power plants fueled by coal and natural gas to cleaner forms of energy such as wind and solar power, and aging nuclear plants are slated for retirement in many parts of the country."
In summary, another central plan born of arrogance and presence seems to be on the verge of complete failure, even to the point of blackouts, like a third world has experienced for many years. Green energy is becoming no energy. Zero emissions is becoming zero power.
Further: Speeding the build-out of renewable energy and batteries has become an especially difficult proposition amid supply-chain challenges and inflation. Most recently, a probe by the Commerce Department into whether Chinese solar manufacturers are circumventing trade tariffs on solar panels has halted imports of key components needed to build new solar farms and effectively brought the U.S. solar industry to a standstill.
So here we see the combination of consequences of many different cockamamie ideas: tariffs, green energy policy, fiscal irresponsibility, plus money printing. Amazing. We have high inflation, the breakdown of global trade, plus a failed attempt to dial back fossil fuels and rely on wind and water. It’s absurd, and we could pay the price sooner rather than later.
Glorious Food: If that weren’t bad enough, there are people raising alarms about an impending food shortage to complement the shortage of so much else. Plus we are less than three months away from the declaration of recession. And while inflation has calmed down a bit for now, there is every reason to believe that it will kick back up again by late summer. This will give us a combination of inflation, recession, blackouts, and food shortages.
That’s a politically toxic mix, to say the least. And let’s add one more piece to the puzzle: weakened and falling financials. The terrible year seems ever less an aberration and more and more the beginnings of an enduring bear market in nearly everywhere. This has even affected the crypto market, as large institutional investors have gotten squeamish about a technology they never understood but only embraced in hopes of return.
Looking back, there is nothing terribly surprising about any of this. It’s a consequence of safety culture and a belief that powerful, rich, and intelligent people can manage the world better than the rest of us. We’ve been here many times in history, and it has always foreshadowed a long period of suffering.
Lenin failed just as Gates, Powell, Fauci, and Psaki have failed. Few things are more dangerous to the future of humanity than a failed and humiliated ruling class that still possesses power. They cannot and will not admit error, so their only plan is to double and triple down on failure. The term “scorched-earth” is usually used metaphorically. Maybe this time it will become real."
"When we were young, we still had hope for America. We thought that if we worked as hard as our parents, we would have about the same living standards. We used to think that we were going to be able to own a home, or maybe get a college degree, or buy a new car, and also afford everyday expenses just as our parents and grandparents did back in the day. But living conditions have sharply deteriorated since then. The cost of virtually everything has skyrocketed to unprecedented levels, but our salaries have not. Things have gotten dramatically worse in the United States since we were kids, and now we're the ones having to cope with a broken economy that makes millions of families struggle to make ends meet every month.
What in the world has happened to our country? Most of us still have very fond memories from when we were younger - “the good old days” that seem so far away by now. But those times aren't coming back. Our problems keep growing bigger and bigger, and the more time passes by, the fewer Americans can afford to live in this country. That's why today, we decided to compile some shocking numbers comparing how life used to be a few decades ago to what we are living today.
Having a child has always been expensive, but today it costs more than ever to raise your kids in the US. Adjusting for inflation, the average weekly childcare costs increased to $216 in 2021 from $84 in 1985, according to the US Census Bureau. On top of that, childcare and pre-college education make up 18% of the total cost of raising a kid, compared with 2% in 1960, according to a Young Invincibles report.
You’re probably going to spend around 50% in healthcare than your parents and grandparents did back in the day. Parents today are also paying more than double for electricity than they did in the 1970s. Car prices have also skyrocketed in the last five decades. The average cost of a new car in 1970 was just $3,450.0, while in 1980, Americans paid $7,200.00, and in 1990, they spent $16,950.00. In contrast, this year, if you want to buy a new car you’ll face an average price of an astounding $47,000. Compared to home prices in the 90s, today, American adults spend on average 128.49% more on housing. On top of that, Americans who were born in 1970 have seen their purchasing power decline by a shocking 653.34% over the past 52 years.
All of this shows that the United States is in a giant mess right now, and we desperately need to get things turned around. We are deeply, deeply troubled as a society, as a nation, and as a declining economic superpower. America has fallen from greatness and needs to be restored. But we must act now because the window to start making that change is closing very rapidly. Here are 20 Examples That Show That America Is Far More Messed Up Than When You Were A Kid."
“Large, dusty, spiral galaxy NGC 4945 is seen edge-on near the center of this rich telescopic image. The field of view spans nearly 2 degrees, or about 4 times the width of the Full Moon, toward the expansive southern constellation Centaurus.
About 13 million light-years distant, NGC 4945 is almost the size of our own Milky Way Galaxy. But X-ray and infrared observations reveal even more high energy emission and star formation in the core of NGC 4945. The other prominent galaxy in the field, NGC 4976, is an elliptical galaxy. Left of center, NGC 4976 is much farther away, at a distance of about 35 million light-years, and not physically associated with NGC 4945.”
“A sane person to an insane society must appear insane.”
– Kurt Vonnegut, “Welcome to the Monkey House”
“Madness has engulfed the entire world, with a concentration of power in the hands of a few psychopathic financial elite wielding an inordinate and dangerous expanse of power over the lives of the common man. They are a modern day version of Al Capone, except their weapons of choice aren’t machine guns, but a printing press, peddling debt, creating derivatives of mass destruction, and peddling heaping doses of disinformation. The contemporary criminal class wears Hermes suits, Rolex watches and diamond studded pinky rings, drops $500 to dine at Masa in NYC, travels by chauffeured limo, lives in $10 million NYC penthouse suites, occupies luxurious corner offices in hundred story glass towers, and spends weekends hobnobbing with the other financial elite at their villas in the Hamptons. They have nothing but utter contempt for the lowly peasants who depend upon a weekly paycheck to make ends meet. Why work when you can steal $1 or $2 billion from farmers with no consequences?
The willfully ignorant masses are kept at bay by the selling them a false dichotomy of Republicans versus Democrats, conservatives versus liberals, and capitalism versus socialism. The ruling class distracts the public with fake wars on poverty, drugs and terror, while using these storylines to further enrich themselves and keep the public alarmed and frightened. We’ve been “fighting” the wars on poverty and drugs for over four decades and poverty is at record levels, while drugs are easier to obtain than candy in a candy store. The war on terror is nothing more than a corporate arms dealer welfare plan. The end of the Cold War put a real crimp in the bottom lines of Lockheed Martin and the rest of the peddlers of death. 9/11 and the subsequent undeclared wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Syria, with Iran on the horizon, and a proxy war with Russia have been a godsend to the bottom lines of the corporations Eisenhower warned about in 1961.
In reality, the politicians are interchangeable and bought off by corporate and special interests. The people are sold a fable, and controlled opposition is the fairy tale. They perpetuate the welfare/warfare state that enriches Wall Street, the military industrial complex, the healthcare service complex, politically connected mega-corporations and the corporate media propaganda complex. The American people are given the illusion of choice by their keepers. The system is rigged. The real decisions are made by unelected secretive men who operate in the shadows and use their wealth to direct the decision making of the politicians, government bureaucrats, and corporate entities that benefit from those decisions. Edward Bernays described a society that existed in the 19th Century, 20th Century, and has now grown to immense proportions in the 21st Century:
“Political campaigns today are all sideshows. A presidential candidate may be ‘drafted’ in response to ‘overwhelming popular demand,’ but it is well known that his name may be decided upon by half a dozen men sitting around a table in a hotel room. The conscious manipulation of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country.” – Edward Bernays
The manipulation of the masses has been perfected by the ruling class through decades of corporate mass media messaging the purposeful dumbing down of the populace through government public school education that teaches children how to feel rather than how to think. The conscious manipulation of the masses has been designed to produce obedient non-thinking consumers of corporate products, educated to believe the accumulation of material goods with debt constitutes wealth, to fear whatever the government tells them to fear, and never look up from their iGadgets long enough to actually think for themselves. We are bombarded with Orwellian memes designed to keep us sedated and pliant, as the ruling class pillages the national wealth and expands their power and control over our lives.
Conform; Stay Asleep; Do Not Question Authority; Obey; Consume; Reproduce; Submit; Watch TV; Buy; Follow; Doubt Humanity; No New Ideas; Feel, Don’t Think; Fear; Accumulate; Honor Apathy; Believe Experts; Surrender; Spend; No Independent Thought; Win; Want More; Hate; Succumb To Desire; Yield To Power; Choose Safety Over Liberty; Choose Security Over Freedom
This insane world was created through decades of bad decisions, believing in false prophets, choosing current consumption over sustainable long-term savings based growth, electing corruptible men who promised voters entitlements that were mathematically impossible to deliver, the disintegration of a sense of civic and community obligation and a gradual degradation of the national intelligence and character.
Vonnegut and Huxley’s social commentary reveals a basic truth that societies and human beings have been prone to bouts of madness over the course of decades and centuries. Humans are a weak species, susceptible to the vagaries of greed, lust, gluttony, wrath, sloth, envy and pride. The seven deadly sins are in full bloom today, as the American empire descends through Dante’s inferno of reality TV, celebrity worship, religious zealotry, adulation of wealthy titans, military conquest and worship of false idols.
This is where the interests of those in power and those being ruled have coincided, as a fiat based monetary system allowed unlimited spending to keep the welfare/warfare state growing, enriching the crony capitalists, deepening the power of the state, and providing the masses with foreign made trinkets, baubles, corporate logoed clothing, techno-gadgets, and pimped out financed wheels. The concepts of self-restraint, discipline, saving for a rainy day, prudence, discretion, and deferred gratification are rarely displayed in modern day America. In a case of mass delusion, Americans have convinced themselves to live for today, recklessly ignore their futures, irresponsibly spend money they don’t have on things they don’t need, neglect their civic duty towards future generations, choose ignorance over knowledge, and vote for spineless politicians who promise them entitlements that are mathematically impossible to honor. The public’s foolish attitude towards debt accumulation matches the arrogance of our gutless intellectually dishonest leaders.”