“Massive stars, abrasive winds, mountains of dust, and energetic light sculpt one of the largest and most picturesque regions of star formation in the Local Group of Galaxies. Known as N11, the region is visible on the upper right of many images of its home galaxy, the Milky Way neighbor known as the Large Magellanic Clouds (LMC).
The above image was taken for scientific purposes by the Hubble Space Telescope and reprocessed for artistry by an amateur to win the Hubble’s Hidden Treasures competition. Although the section imaged above is known as NGC 1763, the entire N11 emission nebula is second in LMC size only to 30 Doradus. Studying the stars in N11 has shown that it actually houses three successive generations of star formation. Compact globules of dark dust housing emerging young stars are also visible around the image.”
“Bad things don’t happen to people because they deserve for them to happen. It just doesn’t work that way. It’s just… life. And no matter who we are, we have to take the hand we’re dealt, crappy though it may be, and try our very best to move forward anyway, to love anyway, to have hope anyway… to have faith that there’s a purpose to the journey we’re on.”
“The smallest decisions made had such profound repercussions. One ten-minute wait could save a life… or end it. One wrong turn down the right street or one seemingly unimportant conversation, and everything was changed. It wasn’t right that each lifetime was defined, ruined, ended, and made by such seemingly innocuous details. A major life-threatening event should come with a flashing warning sign that either said ABANDON ALL HOPE or SAFETY AHEAD. It was the cruelest joke of all that no one could see the most vicious curves until they were over the edge, falling into the abyss below.”
"We work in the dark. We do what we can to battle the evil that would otherwise destroy us. But if a man's character is his fate, it's not a choice but a calling. Sometimes the weight of this burden causes us to falter from the fragile fortress of our mind, allowing the monster without to turn within. We are left alone staring into the abyss, into the laughing face of madness."
“Now I become myself. It’s taken Time, many years and places, I have been dissolved and shaken, Worn other people’s faces, Run madly, as if Time were there, Terribly old, crying a warning, “Hurry, you will be dead before —” (What? Before you reach the morning? or the end of the poem, is clear? Or love safe in the walled city?) Now to stand still, to be here, Feel my own weight and density! Now there is time and Time is young. O, in this single hour I live All of myself and do not move, I, the pursued, who madly ran, Stand still, stand still, and stop the Sun!”
“You think you will never forget any of this, you will remember it always just the way it was. But you can’t remember it the way it was. To know it, you have to be living in the presence of it right as it is happening. It can return only by surprise. Speaking of these things tells you that there are no words for them that are equal to them or that can restore them to your mind. And so you have a life that you are living only now, now and now and now, gone before you can speak of it, and you must be thankful for living day by day, moment by moment, in this presence. But you have a life too that you remember. It stays with you. You have lived a life in the breath and pulse and living light of the present, and your memories of it, remember now, are of a different life in a different world and time. When you remember the past, you are not remembering it as it was. You are remembering it as it is. It is a vision or a dream, present with you in the present, alive with you in the only time you are alive.”
"A dear reader objects to our use of the “royal we”:
“Hello Bill, for the most part, I enjoy reading your Diary. However, I do find your use of the ‘royal we’ in all your writings very off-putting. Even though I’m Canadian, I despise the monarchy, and I’m sure that many in your great republic to the south share my feelings on this. Am I missing something? Has it already been explained, perhaps? If not, what is the rationale for this?”
The Queen uses the “royal we” to signify that she is not speaking for herself, but for the Crown… an institution that was around for hundreds of years before she was born and will, presumably, outlast her by hundreds more.
Here at the Diary, we do not use the “royal” we. We use the “common” we… a plebian, down-market, gutter kind of we, with no pretension to grandeur, nor even mediocrity.
For here we are, writing from a house we didn’t build… in a country that is not ours… wearing clothes we didn’t design… looking out on rain we didn’t cause… and passing along ideas that are not original. Even when we think we have had a new idea, we discover later that someone had the same idea 2,000 years ago.
Not one molecule in our body, thought in our brain, or feeling in our heart is of our own making. It would be vanity to use first-person singular; there is nothing singular about who we are or what we do.
No, we have neither scepter nor orb; all we have is a laptop computer.
We wear no royal purple. We favor brown and grey. We dress in dull colors so we may think in vivid ones.
We have no throne, no influence, no privilege, no position, and no armed guards to protect us.
We speak not for the Crown, but for all those common people who try to put two and two together… And we use “we” to recognize all those real thinkers whose ideas we have dragooned into our service… all those tortured poets whose songs we have misunderstood and misused… all those clever people whose insights we have purloined and presented as if they were our own… all those scientists, statisticians, and economists whose numbers we have hijacked and abused… and all those generations that have come before us and – by bad luck, bad manners, and bad judgment – learned painful lessons so we might be spared from learning them again…
“We” speak for them all – as best as we can.
Time and Love: As time passes, the conceits of youth… the illusion of timelessness… the passions and competitions – to have the biggest bank account, the biggest car, the biggest house, the biggest muscles, and the biggest you-know-what – all get dropped along the way, like discarded pianos on the Oregon Trail. All that is left is the shriveled up, naked reality… of time, love… and death.
And “I”? Does it matter what “I” do? What “I” want? “I” am too small… too nothing… too ephemeral. “I” am here, but “I” will be gone soon… in a flash, vanished, like a lost civilization or a forgotten language. Not even I care what “I” think.
So let us at least speak for a group… not of royals, but of commoners… and use “we” in sympathy with all those sinners, geniuses, half-wits, saints, and jackasses that came before and will come after us…
Those who will delight in Heaven for reasons we will never understand… or cry in Hell for all eternity because they forgot to fill out their census form. Yes, let us speak for all those who feel most intensely and horribly the vacant truth… They are as meaningless as we are."
“Maybe we’re not supposed to be happy. Maybe gratitude has nothing to do with joy. Maybe being grateful means recognizing what you have for what it is. Appreciating small victories. Admiring the struggle it takes to simply be a human. Maybe, we’re thankful for the familiar things we know. And maybe, we’re thankful for the things we’ll never know. At the end of the day, the fact that we have the courage to still be standing is reason enough to celebrate.”
"Are you prepared for the extreme violence that is likely to come your way if the SHTF? No matter what your plan is, it’s entirely probable that at some point, you’ll be the victim of violence or have to perpetrate violence to survive. As always, Selco is our go-to guy on SHTF reality checks and this thought-provoking interview will shake you to your core.
If you don’t know Selco, he’s from Bosnia and he lived through a year in a city that was blockaded with no utilities, no deliveries of supplies, and no services. In his interviews, he shares what the scenarios the rest of us theorize about were REALLY like. He mentioned to me recently that most folks aren’t prepared for the violence that is part and parcel of a collapse, which brings us to today’s interview.
How prevalent was violence when the SHTF in Bosnia? It was wartime and chaos, from all conflicts in those years in the Balkan region Bosnian conflict was most brutal because of multiple reasons, historical, political and other. To simplify the explanation why violence was common and very brutal, you need to picture a situation where you are “bombarded” with huge amount of information (propaganda) which instills in you very strong feelings of fear and hate. Out of fear and hate, violence grows easy and fast, and over the very short period of time you see how people around you (including you) do things that you could not imagine before.
I can say that violence was almost an everyday thing in the whole spectrum of different activities because it was a fight for survival. Again, whenever (and wherever) you put people in a region without enough resources, you can expect violence.
We were living a normal life, and then suddenly we were thrown in a way of living where if you could not “negotiate” something with someone, you solve the problem by launching a rocket from an RPG through the window of his living room. Hate stripped down the layers of humanity and suddenly it was “normal” to level an apartment building with people inside with shells from a tank or form private prisons with imprisoned civilians for slave work or sex slaves.
Nothing that I saw or read before could have prepared me for the level of violence and blindness to it, for the lives of kids, elders, civilians, and the innocent. Again, the thing that is important for readers is that we were a modern society one day, and then in few weeks it turned into carnage. Do not make the mistake of saying “it cannot happen here” because I made that mistake too. Do not underestimate power of propaganda, fear, hate, and the lowest human instincts, no matter how modern and good your society is right now and how deeply you believe that “it can not happen here”.
I’ve mentioned warlords and gangs in several of my articles. Were they responsible for the majority of the violence or was it hungry families? Fighting of the armies through the whole period of war brings violence in terms of constant shelling from a distance from different kind of weapons. For example a few multiple rocket launchers (VBR) could bring in 30 seconds the destruction in an area of 3-4 apartment buildings, and being there in that moment and surviving it gives you a completely new view on life. Snipers were a constant threat and over time you simply grow a way of living that you constant scan area in front of you where your next steps gonna be. Are you gonna be visible and from where? Etc.
Most brutal violence was actually lawlessness and complete lack of order between different factions and militias, so in some periods there were militias or gangs who simply ruled the cities or part of the city where they were absolutely masters of everything in terms of deciding of taking someone’s life. In lawlessness, you as one person could be really small and not interesting, or join some bigger group of people to be stronger, some family or militia or gang.
An example of a gang would be group of people of some 300 or 500 people who “officially” were a unit or militia and operate for some faction, but in reality they operate mostly for themselves. That included owning part of the black market, having prison (for forced labor or ransom), attacking people and houses for resources, smuggling people from dangerous areas. Violence from those kinds of group was the most immediate violence, the most visible in terms of SHTF talking. If those people came on your door you could obey, fight, or negotiate, but mostly you could not not ask for help from any kind of authority, because there was no real authority.
In any society, no matter where you are living, there are a great number of people who are waiting for the SHTF to go out and do violent things. Small time criminals or simply violent persons who are not openly violent because system is there to punish them for that. It is like that. Some gang leaders that I knew were actually completely sick people with a strange type of charisma that makes people follow them, weird situations that can happen only in a real collapse. They are people who just waited for their time to rise. Those kinds of people together with criminal organization that are already there in any city in the world will be the backbone of SHTF gangs.
Who were the most likely victims? A very simple answer would be that the most likely victims were people who had interesting things without enough defense. But it was not always that simple. For example one of the first houses that got raided in my neighborhood, right at the beginning of collapse while there was still some kind of order, was a rich family’s home. They had a nice house with bars on the windows, a pretty good setup for defense, and they had enough people inside so they could give pretty good resistance to the mob. But they got raided simply because they were known that they are rich, so they were attacked with enough force to be overwhelmed.
It was not only about how much manpower you had and how well-organized defense of your home was, it was also about how juicy a target you were. If you are faced with 150 angry people attacking your home because they are sure you have good stuff inside your chances are low, no matter how good and tough you are. People who were alone were a pretty easy target and old people without support of family or friends.
It was not always about killing someone or violence. For example, if you were alone and without resources but you had something else valuable like some kind of skill or knowledge you could easily be “recruited” for some faction or group, not by your will of course.
What were some ways to prevent yourself from becoming a victim of violence? How do you recommend that people prepare themselves for the possibility of violence? It can be done in steps, or in layers:
• Do not be interesting (or attract attention) when the SHTF. This means a lot of things, for this article I can give a few examples with shortened explanations because it is a huge topic:
• Do not look like a prepper (before or after SHTF). There is no sense in announcing that you are prepping for EMP, civil collapse, apocalypse, or whatever. With that you are risking the probability that when the SHTF, people will remember that you have interesting things in your home. Your home should look ordinary. For example, if you are living in the city on a street where all houses look similar, there is not much sense in making your home look like a fortress. You’ll just attract attention.
Your defense should be based on more subtle means. Some examples are having means to reinforce doors and windows quickly when you need it, or to reinforce them from inside. Make changes in your yard to funnel possible attackers where you want them to be (trees, fence, bush…). You can make your home look abandoned or already looted.
• Think about what survival is! Survival is about staying alive, it is not about being comfortable at the expense of losing your life. I have seen many times people lose their lives simply because they were too attached to their belongings (house, car, land, goods…) so they simply did not want to leave something and run in a particular moment.
• Everything can be earned and bought again except life. Forget about statements like “I will defend it with my life” or “over my dead body” or similar because the real SHTF is usually not heroic or noble. It is hard and brutal. When you are gone you are gone and there might be nobody to take care of your family just because you have been stubborn or trusted in movies when it came to violence. To rephrase it: Be ready to leave your home in a split second if that means you and your family will survive, no matter how many good things you have stored there.
• Be mentally ready for violence: In a way, it is impossible to be ready for violence, especially widespread violence when the SHTF, but you can minimize shock when that happens with some things. If you are not familiar with what violence is, you can try to get yourself close” to it today (in normal times). It can be done, for example, by doing some voluntary work for example in a local hospital, ER or similar… or simply by working with homeless people. Sounds maybe strange but activities like this can get you a bit of a feeling of what it is all about, not to mention that you can learn some practical and useful skills for SHTF.
• Have means and skills (physically) to defend – or to do violence: No matter how old or young you are, your gender or religion I assure you that you are capable of doing violence. It is only a matter of the situation and how far you are going to be pushed. It is not just “some people are capable of violence.” Everybody is capable. Not everybody enjoys doing it or is willing to do it so easily.
In today (normal times) you can learn some violence skills and you should do it, again no matter if you are a woman or old or young. You should own a weapon and know how to use it. You should practice with it, or have at least some basic knowledge about hand-to-hand combat. The worst case scenario is to have a weapon that you try for the first time when SHTF. Be familiar with your means for defense, let your family members know what they need to do in case of attack of your home, have plan, and go through it. Only through practice will you minimize chances for mistakes.
• Use common sense: I know lot of survivalists almost dream about how they are going to use weapons against bad guys when SHTF, and that they will be something like super heroes from movies, saving innocents and killing villains. Truth is that in a real collapse, a lot of things are kind of blurred and you are not sure who the bad guys are. Good guys turn out to be lunatic gang members who want to bring food to their kids. There are no super heroes when SHTF, and if some of them show up they end up dead quickly.
There is only you and your skills and mindset and what you prepared. Use violence as a last resort because of the simple fact that by using violence you are risking of getting killed or hurt. Remember when SHTF there is maybe no doctor or hospital to take care of your wound. It is a time when even a small cut can eventually kill you through infection and lack of proper care.
"I’m a single mom with a household full of girls. In an SHTF situation, what would our best strategies be to remain safe?" Just like I have mentioned before, strategy is always same for any part of survival, and shooting from the rifle is pretty similar no matter are you man or woman. Being single mom with household full of girls on first look make you as a ideal target in some situations, but we are talking here in prepper terms so there is no reason not to be perfectly well prepared as a single mom with girls.
But yes I admit it is not perfect situation, even if you are prepared well, some things are sure, you need to connect with other people even more. House with couple of girls will always look like easy prey for some people. It is like that.
"Were people in the city safer than people in the country? Can you tell us more about rural living during this time?" In my case definitely no. In the essence it always come to the resources and people. City meant more people less resources, country (rural) meant less people more resources, and because that level of violence simply was lower. That was most important reason.
There are few more reasons why it was much better in the country. People in the country (rural settings) were much more “connected to ground” they were more tough if you like, they grew their own food, had cattle, lived more simple life prior SHTF and when everything collapsed they had less problems getting use to it. Yes they also did not have electricity and phones, running water or connection to other places but they adapted easier to the new life because they had more useful skills then people in the city. Life was harder for them too than prior to the collapse, but they had means to get resources: land, woods, river…
Another thing is that people in small rural communities “in the country” were more connected to each other, people knew their neighborhood and some things were easier to organize, like community security watch, help in case of diseases and similar.
"What types of weapons did people have for self-defense?" It was different political system prior the collapse where it was not so usual to own a weapon legally. And to own one illegally could mean a lot of troubles. Right prior to SHTF, it became possible to buy different weapons on the black market but still, a majority of people did not own weapons. When it all collapsed, it was possible to get a weapon through trade.
Because of the military doctrine here prior to the collapse, we used “East Bloc” weapons. A favorite was AK-47 in all different kind of editions, or older weapons like M-48 rifle, SKS rifle, 22 and similar. People used what they had, so in one period you would be lucky if you had any kind of pistol and knife. Later through the different channels weapon become more available so people had them more. A lot of that was actually junk that some warlords somehow “imported”. Weapons 50-60 years old without proper ammunition, or not in operating condition. A lot of people simply did not have a clue how to use any kind of weapon so a lot of accidental deaths happened.
I remember people storming abandoned army barracks that was mostly looted, but they found in one building a lot of RPGs while other part of the same building was burning. Two guys were trying to figure out a single-use RPG, and while they were messing with it clearly not knowing how that thing worked, they accidentally armed it and launched a rocket that flew through the crowd, not hurting anyone and exploding in wall 100 meters from where they stood. They were smiling, clearly happy because they thought they figured out how that thing worked.
"What weapons do you suggest to have for SHTF?" It is a never-ending discussion and a favorite prepper topic, and I must say that whole discussion is overrated. I have used them in a real situation, and tried and tested lot of different kind of weapons and what works for me may simply not work for you. For example, here for me good choice is AK-47 rifle, maybe for you wherever you are it is very bad choice.
Good advice is: you need to have a weapon that most people have around you because of multiple reasons: spare parts, repairing, ammunition availability, possibility that you can pick that rifle from other people and you know how to use it. What caliber and similar is a matter of discussion again. I am talking from the point of owning a rifle. Another thing is that you need to know how that weapon works. Luckily, most of my readers live in an area where gun laws are great comparing to region where I am. You have much more choices when it comes to owning a weapon and practicing with it. Use that.
And do not forget that using a weapon in a real life situation is not like shooting at beer bottles with your friends after a barbecue. In real life you might be in a situation to use a weapon while you are tired, dirty, and hungry and while someone is screaming next to you. It is going to be maybe when you are not ready to do that, maybe in pitch dark, maybe after you have been awake for 48 hours. At least think about that.
"When should you use violence?" Contrary to some popular beliefs in the prepper community, the point is to use violence only as a last solution. The reason is as I mentioned already, the risk that you can be hurt or killed too, but also once you do violence you change your own rules, or push it more forward, and it is easy to get lost in violence. There are consequences to that, and you are not going to be the same person ever again.
Violence is a tool, not a toy. You need to know how to use it as best as possible, but also to avoid using it when it is not necessary. It is a good idea to set up a clear set of rules (mentally too) when you are gonna use violence and to try to stick to it. For example you will use weapon if someone tries to break your home and attack you, and you need to be ready to do that without hesitation.
"What else should we know about post-collapse violence?" Think with your head and research. One thing that is absolutely important when it comes to understanding how violent it is going to be and what can you expect in your own case of SHTF, is to understand how much media can influence people in making their decisions about violence.
In my case, the media built up situation where people feared so much from other people that they actually hated them. They hated them so much that they actually strip them down from humanity. In a real-life example, it works in a way that people killed other people, including kids and women, because they hated them so much because media told them.
It may look ridiculous and not possible to you, and you might again think “that can not happen here” but please trust your own resources, look for independent information, not mainstream media, in order to get the right information about what is really happening in the beginning of collapse. Do not be pulled into “popular opinion” just because the “man from TV” (whoever he might be) told you so. It is easier today. Because of the internet, you have much more choices for correct information than in my time. But still be careful, you might find yourself rioting together with 500 people just because you trusted some media."
"More information about Selco: Selco survived the Balkan war of the 90s in a city under siege, without electricity, running water, or food distribution. In his online works, he gives an inside view of the reality of survival under the harshest conditions. He reviews what works and what doesn’t, tells you the hard lessons he learned, and shares how he prepares today. He never stopped learning about survival and preparedness since the war. Regardless what happens, chances are you will never experience extreme situations like Selco did. But you have the chance to learn from him and how he faced death for months. Real survival is not romantic or idealistic. It is brutal, hard and unfair. Let Selco take you into that world."
"In today's vlog we are at Kroger Marketplace, and are trying to find some holiday deals for Thanksgiving. With all the prices skyrocketing in the grocery stores, it's getting harder to find sales for the holiday season. it's getting rough out here as stores are struggling getting in products!"
“The most dangerous man to any government,” argued Henry Louis Mencken, “is the man who is able to think things out… without regard to the prevailing superstitions and taboos.” “Almost inevitably,” continued Baltimore’s sage…“He comes to the conclusion that the government he lives under is dishonest, insane, intolerable… Every decent man is ashamed of the government he lives under.”
It appears these United States are rolling out increasing numbers of dangerous and decent men. That is, of men able to think things out, without regard to the prevailing superstitions and taboos… Men who have come to the conclusion that the government they live under is dishonest, insane, intolerable… men ashamed of the government they live under.
They are not ashamed of their country, mind you - though some may be. They are merely ashamed of the government that crowns it. For instance:
They are ashamed of the government that wrecked their lives and livelihoods and jailed them in over a manageable virus.
They are ashamed of the government that would mandate them to take aboard an experimental vaccine without adequate testing - a vaccine that has proven destructive to many - and fatal to some.
They are ashamed of the government that spawned a horrific inflation and branded it “transitory.”
They are ashamed of the government that cynically labels a $700 billion spending bill the “Inflation Reduction Act.”
They are ashamed of the government that trumpets social values often alien to their own.
They are ashamed of the government that censors them and tapes their mouths shut when they dissent.
They are ashamed of the government that tells them their national borders are “secure,” while millions jump them illegally.
They are ashamed of the government that elevates foreign and corporate interests above their own.
Here we name but some sources of ashamement. Many others exist - be assured. Are these torts accurate in every detail? Perhaps not always and in every case.
A man convinced of government treachery anywhere will tend to see it everywhere. Yet the fact is: Millions of Americans believe they are being bossed and gooned by an overbearing, abusive and rampaging government. They further believe they are languishing at the base of the economic pyramid… while the pyramid’s tip lives grandly - nearly royally - at their expense. And they are hot to change it.
The “people” give the orders in democracy, say the civics books. Yet millions and millions of Americans have come to believe that unelected and unaccountable judges, bureaucrats, pettifoggers, understrappers and jacks-in-office do the primary bossing. Thus they are prepared to heave their civics book into the hellbox.
“This is a representative republic,” some may shout, “not a democracy. We elect officials to whom we entrust these decisions. If we disagree with them, we get to vote the bums out next time. That’s how it works.” Just so. Yet when one bum goes out, another generally comes in. Not always - not always - but often enough.
And if a good man somehow makes it in? He must acquire an extravagant taste for boot polish. He must go along… else he will not get along. He will find himself in a sort of political no-man’s land, obscure and futureless. In most instances he succumbs.
Meantime, elites sob about this or that threat to “our democracy.” Yet deeper examination reveals their commitment to democracy is highly… conditional. They do not trust “the people” to do the “right thing.” The Bible-thumpers will ban abortion if you let them vote on it, say the pro-choicers. The isolationists will pull up the overseas stakes, cry the American exceptionalists… and withdraw from the world.
The gold bugs and the cryptocurrency kooks will topple the monetary system, lament our monetary mandarins. Anti-democratic hellcats will fan misinformation and disinformation among the red-necked and stump-toothed, yell the censors.
Yet the entire lot of them sing hosannas to “democracy.” In reality, they believe no more in democracy than they believe in honesty. They believe merely in their own higher vision - and the power to enforce it.
Are we too harsh? Your editor is a man of remarkable equanimity and serenity - if he can say it for himself. Yet here he is insufficiently harsh in all likelihood. Somehow the business seems beyond all human agency, beyond all control. ‘What can I do?’ a fellow wonders, defeated. He may cluck-cluck his opposition to it all - but he is largely a man resigned. His only resort is the vote booth, to which he will take this Tuesday. Will it yield the change he seeks?
It is unlikely. It will instead represent the supreme triumph of hope over experience…Below, we show you why anyone seeking high office should be feared - but also pitied. Read on to learn about the strange, sad life of a politician.
"The Sad and Strange Life of a Politician"
By Brian Maher
"A man hunting high office is a man to be watched. And the higher the office he seeks, the closer he must be watched. For this is an ambitious man. And as one fellow who raged with ambition - Napoleon Bonaparte - stated: "Those endowed with (great ambition) may perform very good or very bad acts. All depends on the principles which direct them."
We generally place our money on “very bad acts.” That is because we have canvassed the history books. Yet a man after high office - in a democracy specifically —- is also a man to be pitied. Why pitied?
All dignity, all honor, all pride, he must sacrifice in exchange for power. That is because he must face election. Consider the roles that must combine in him: He must be a magician pulling rabbits from top hats. He must be a seller of pre-owned - that is, of used automobiles. He must likewise be a street beggar. He must beg for the franchise of those whom he considers his lessers. After all… if they were not his lessers they would not require his leadership.
And so you have the aspirant of high office - by turns showman, confidence man and beggar. Thus this man is a preposterous formula - a man to be both feared and pitied at once. Is this the description of a respectable man? Of a normal man? It is not. Yet it is the description of a man seeking high office. It is the description of a man who believes he is a big deal in this world. It is the description of a man who believes he should lead you. And that you should follow him. But who respects a follower? Not his leader.
What Politicians and Salesmen Really Think of You: A political candidate and a salesman are brothers. The one solicits your trade, the other your vote. Each pitches his whim-whim at you until he fetches his game. Assume you end up in the bag. He is thrilled to have your sale, to have your vote. But he merely regards you as a means to a rewarding end. He disesteems you inwardly. Behind his flashlight smile he disdains you. You have been duped by his razmataz.
He regards you as an all-day sucker. Who then does he respect? He respects the man who refuses the sale, the man who yawned in his face or who voted against him. That is, he respects the man who sizes him accurately. This man he will look straight in the eye... and extend a firm handshake of respect.
An Intoxicating yet Horrifying Power: Picture our office-seeker in his natural habitat. He stands upon a podium gazing out upon a rustling crowd. What does he see? He does not see individuals. He sees rather a vast, undifferentiated mass. That is, he sees a forest - but no trees. Or to switch metaphors: He is addressing a wheat field. His whoops and shouts raise a mighty breeze. The entire field sways in the wind, this way then that way, back then forth... on his command. He is at once intoxicated by the power he wields over the great human mass, yet horrified that it can be so easily throttled up. It is fearsome to behold.
Pressing the Flesh: Our candidate must also appear directly among smaller chunks of this human mass. He considers them his inferiors, yet pretends to be their equals. Their equals? No - their servant! He must visit factories and feign interest in their goings-on. Though he despises others’ children he must plant kisses on infant foreheads. He must attend local eateries, munch bad food and battle bellyaches while shaking countless hands and jabbering with idiots. Invariably, a man takes him by the ear and will not let go. He babbles about his family, his job, his bowling trophy. All the while he longs to be loafing on his sofa in his underwear, looking at the television.
The sufferings he must endure in pursuit of power! Enduring his terrific breakfast, he is tortured further by the realization that he must repeat the act at lunch in Columbus and dinner in Wilkes-Barre. Then there is tomorrow in Ocala, Macon and Raleigh. It is dreadful business.
The Price to Pay for Power: In his private moments, in the silent watches of the night, he wonders if it is all worth it. He decides - begrudgingly - that it is. Such is his lust for office. It simply overwhelms and envelops him. He assures himself it will all be a distant memory once he is secure in office. He will then be free to renege on all the promises he had made to those half-wits and quarter-wits on the campaign trail...
“Don’t these people realize that they’re being used as political pawns? Do they think that eating pancakes with me and telling me about their mother is going to somehow influence me?” Let us assume our seeker of high office has pulled enough wool over enough eyes… and wins the election.
The Money Is Great: He is relieved that he can proceed straight to the business of governing. That is, to the business of picking pockets, trading horses, scratching backs, greasing palms, cracking skulls... and breaking promises. But his reprise is brief. In two years or four years or six years, he will seek reelection. And the entire process must begin anew. Only next time his cynicism has doubled - no, tripled. The political process has worn the very soul out of him.
Yet he is consoled and soothed by this one central fact: He has grown extremely wealthy being a humble servant of the American people. As we indict this morally bankrupt fellow, we must nonetheless turn and face a mirror. “Every nation gets the government it deserves,” said 18th-century French philosopher Joseph de Maistre. We must conclude that we deserve the scoundrel above described - and others like him. The admission brings pain, yet truth often does.
Is there a way out? Inaction! Another long-deceased Frenchman - Monsieur Étienne de La Boétie - holds out one potential escape, for those in search of one: Inaction. Inaction breaks the politician’s spell. That is, action is not required - merely inaction: "You can deliver yourselves if you try, not by taking action, but merely by willing to be free. Resolve to serve no more, and you are at once freed. I do not ask that you place hands upon the tyrant to topple him over, but simply that you support him no longer; then you will behold him, like a great Colossus whose pedestal has been pulled away, fall of his own weight and break into pieces."
Perhaps the time has come to abandon the ramparts, lay down the muskets… and twiddle the thumbs…To reclaim our power, perhaps it is time for inaction."
"When did we stop asking what people died of? The curiosity, or at least the information about a death just seemed to go away. Is it because people don’t want to know or are they afraid to find out? Or has the medical industry just taken another thing away from us - without us really thinking about it? Aren’t you curious?"
There was a slight error in The Reason: Redux. The statement "About Sixty One Hundred Lives Perished" is incorrect. This video gives the correct amount of deaths "About Sixty One Thousand Lives Perished"
"A year ago, after a melancholy Halloween that more resembled a funeral than a holiday, I published an article I called “A War against Humanity.” I wanted to explore not so much the dramatic statistics that can readily claim readers’ attention but the more insidious ways in which the COVID coup has infected our inner lives.
I wrote: “I cannot get used to the subtle encroachment of fear into every aspect of our collective existence. I cannot accept the slow poisoning of all the interactions between one human being and another by the relentless tide of COVID19 propaganda.” Alas, very little has changed since then. In fact, the subtle markers of the propaganda-inflicted damage remain so much in place that I cannot do better than to republish what I wrote last year. And so the original “A War against Humanity” appears below, with the kind support of the Brownstone editors.
Here, I will only mention a few things that have actually deepened my worries since the piece was originally published.
Remember all the obstructions suddenly thrown up between human beings in early 2020 – plastic barriers, masks and “social distancing” measures – to erode the communal solidarity that is the presupposition of democracy? I noted in the article that those barriers seemed to be here to stay. And it looks as though I was right. Anthony Fauci’s yelping about the “profound risk” allegedly posed by monkeypox, a “rare” disease that even the usual suspects admit is “difficult to spread,” is depressing evidence that social atomization is still a high priority for the folks who brought us illegal mass quarantines and muzzling mandates.
The same is true of those mysterious shortages the press still blames on an unspecified “supply-chain crisis.” Recently, authorities in several states started a deluge of strongly-worded warnings about an insect called the Spotted Lanternfly, which, we were told, “is a threat to many fruit crops.” The official literature has been conspicuously silent about any damage to crops actually caused or even threatened by the colorful bugs – and just as silent about any plan to control them – but the fear porn is clearly having an impact on my neighbors. “Our food supply is going to be decimated” by the insects, I heard one say recently. I take this to mean that food shortages are likely to get worse in the immediate future – and the fact that the ruling class is throwing itself a cover story for this is an ominous sign.
A year ago, I lamented in particular the damage COVID policy was inflicting on the world’s children. That damage is now officially conceded in mainstream media, though still without a hint of apology for its reckless support of the measures that did the most harm. Even the staid Economist admits that the school shutdowns demanded by the COVID fanatics were responsible for a “global disaster” in children’s education, including rocketing illiteracy rates. And things are no better closer to home: the New York Times reported in September that school closures and lockdown policies “erased two decades of progress in math and reading” for 9-year-old schoolchildren, according to a testing program known as the National Assessment of Educational Progress.
“The setbacks could have powerful consequences for a generation of children who must move beyond basics in elementary school to thrive later on,” the Times confessed. If only the editors had been willing to say it when speaking up might have made a difference…
And what about those experimental COVID drugs? Well, with the news media firmly in tow, political bosses don’t seem to be worried about trampling on the Nuremberg Code. The public school system of the District of Columbia now requires that “all students 12 and up be vaccinated against COVID-19” – with the result that as many as 40 percent of the city’s black teens will be barred from attending school. And the city’s mayor has made it clear that if these kids decline to be injected with drugs whose safety the government specifically refuses to ensure, the city may take punitive action against both the children and their parents.
Nor have things improved for adults. According to September’s Census Bureau figures, “3.8 million…renters say they’re somewhat or very likely to be evicted in the next two months.” Meanwhile, workers in healthcare facilities that receive federal funds are being forced to choose between their livelihoods and submitting to untested drugs.
And if you were hoping for some relief in that quarter from the “conservative” Supreme Court, recent developments have been equally ominous: earlier this month, the High Court “turned away an appeal…after a lower court declined to immediately consider…claims that the vaccine rule violates federal administrative law and tramples over powers reserved for the states under the U.S. Constitution.” As I wrote a year ago, totalitarianism has gone mainstream. So the war against humanity continues. And will continue – until we stop it."
Please view complete article here, very highest recommendation:
"This crazy economy isn’t sparing anyone. Even the world’s largest retailer is feeling the heat, and this suggests that soon Walmart may lose its coveted position as an industry leader to the online retail giant Amazon. Despite being the largest brick-and-mortar retailer and the largest employer in the U.S., Walmart’s business model is getting obsolete and causing some severe profit losses for the superstore chain that operates on paper-thin margins. Whereas Amazon’s online operations allow the e-commerce retailer to spend significantly less on real estate and also provide a clearer picture of changing consumer habits, which results in faster market adaptation, fewer expenses, and higher profit margins – all that without compromising pricing and providing great deals for their customers. That’s probably why Amazon’s sales are rising almost three times faster than Walmart’s.
While Walmart has hardened its lock on brick-and-mortar stores and groceries, shopping online is growing significantly faster, and Amazon captures 41 cents of every dollar spent online in the United States, according to eMarketer. The e-commerce retailer is rising exponentially because it lets marketplace sellers list their products alongside items it buys and resells itself. That greatly expands the selection of items and Amazon’s market presence. Wall Street analysts estimated how much customers spend on Amazon, regardless of whether it comes from Amazon’s inventory or a seller’s, and they found that people spent more than $610 billion on Amazon over the 12 months ending in June. While Walmart on posted sales of $566 billion for the 12 months ending in July.
And even though the latest stock market downturn led Amazon’s stocks to plummet, the losses faced by Walmart this year were far greater. To make things worse, as the brick-and-mortar retailer continues to struggle to boost its revenue back up, investors are still seeing its shares as a no-buy right now. Many pieces of evidence show that the tables are turning, and the end of Walmart’s retail supremacy may be closer than we think.
The competition between the two retail titans will only intensify as they attempt to keep up with each other. It's clear that Amazon is already outpacing Walmart in many areas, including profit margins, customer satisfaction ratings, and overall sales growth. In fact, one market research study found that Amazon is on track to overtake its competitor in terms of gross merchandise value within less than three years. A study from Edge by Ascential estimated that Amazon's gross merchandise value will reach $631.6 billion by 2025, a compound annual growth rate of 14% between 2020 and 2025. That means that the digitally native powerhouse is set to eclipse Walmart as the largest retailer in the United States. Walmart's gross merchandise value is slated to rise to $523.3 billion by 2025, which means its annual growth rate will be of mere 3.9%. The report also found that 29% of total chain retail sales will come from e-commerce by 2025 and that online sales in the US alone will increase by over $1 trillion by then.
With its commitment to providing affordable goods for its customers, it looks like the e-commerce giant is setting itself up to become the one to beat in the retail industry. Today, we compiled some major signs that prove that Amazon is quietly overthrowing Walmart."
"Problem-Reaction-Solution has been the playbook of the Left for a long time. What’s that? First, there’s a problem. It may be a real problem, or it may be entirely invented, like my résumé.
Obama’s chief of staff, Rahm Israel Emanuel, was famous for saying “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.” In his own words, Rahm explained, “What I said was, never allow a good crisis to go to waste when it’s an opportunity to do things that you had never considered, or that you didn’t think were possible.” Yes. He said that. It is probably not true that he stood next to a South American quadruped and a doorbell for his senior picture, because that would leave us with Rahm, a llama, ding-dong.
Rahm’s crisis is really just a way to restate the Problem-Reaction-Solution paradigm. It’s a way to make people do things that were otherwise unthinkable. Why? Because some leaders want their people to accept what would otherwise be unthinkable. This has long been the playbook of the Left.
It has been used by the Left since, well, forever. The problem-reaction-solution is often called a Hegelian Dialectic, but that has too many syllables for 1:43AM. And Hegel died in 1831, so I’ll just leave it that this sort of crisis-seeking isn’t a new thing.
The Left turns out to be pretty good at this stuff. Examples? Well, in Australia, all it took was one mass shooting and the politicians convinced the Aussies to turn in their guns. The problem was that single shooting. The reaction? A well-formed media manufactured panic. The solution was to turn in all the guns. The Australian Leftists certainly didn’t let that problem go to waste.
The end result? Australia had some of the most oppressive COVID-19 restrictions on the planet including concentration camps. Which is just what government wanted – to turn citizens into subjects. Taking guns away is a good way to do just that. The joke is that everything in Australia can kill you easily. Now that includes the police.
The same attempts were made in the 1990s with the assault weapons ban in the United States. It went into effect. Without the Internet, I imagine it would still be in place. But, luckily, there was a way to bypass the media, and people got together to push back. I’m not sure that George W. Bush was in favor of rolling it back, but every Republican that had a job and wanted to keep it knew that making it go away in the next election was in their best interest.
So the problem wasn’t big enough, and (at least so far) hasn’t been big enough because events like Uvalde proved one thing: waiting for the police to come and save you isn’t a good strategy. In a way, using the Australia example just isn’t going to work in America.
But what about other things, like money? It has worked before. One of the first things that Franklin Roosevelt did after becoming president was to confiscate almost all the gold of American citizens and then make the dollar worth less. It was the same formula. The problem was the economy had cratered. The reaction was that people were panicking. The solution? Almost anything Roosevelt wanted to try, he could try, up to and including taking the country (eventually) into a World War.
Whereas Americans seem to have a strong distrust of government taking their guns, the distrust with politicians destroying our money doesn’t seem nearly so strong. Which brings us right back to today.
The economy has been a mess, for quite a long time. I could delve back into history even more than I’ve done so far, but I don’t want to write a 20,000 word post. But where we are today is precarious. It is certainly the problem unfolding. In 2008, when inflation was “tolerably” low, the Federal Reserve® could print money at will. This allowed bankers to keep the profits that they had made, while the financial system used the Bounty™ Currency Quicker Printer Upper® to socialize the losses.
This wasn’t without creating ripple issues, but it kicked the can down the road for more than a decade. Then, COVID. Same playbook: print all the cash!!! This time, however, the cash didn’t just go to cover paper losses at banks. People got the cash, and did what people do: they spent it. Another part of the idea was to inject as much money as is possible into infrastructure projects.
So, the problem is here. The reaction is going to be significant as the economy continues to wobble and waver, and I believe is headed for even darker days. Forget Netflix™ and avocado toast: people get grumpy when they can’t afford to eat or buy gas. The normal solution (printing cash and making it rain) can’t be used. That leaves us with a crisis that would make Rahm Emanuel drool. The idea from the government will be to create a solution that, right now, we’d consider unthinkable.
Just like our pushback on the unthinkable banning of guns, it’s our job to push back on whatever nonsense is coming, because I can assure you that it will leave most of us poorer and with less freedom. Why most of us? Remember, there’s a reason why people like Rahm Emanuel look forward to things like this. And it’s not because they lose power or money."