"These are galaxies of the Hercules Cluster, an archipelago of island universes a mere 500 million light-years away. Also known as Abell 2151, this cluster is loaded with gas and dust rich, star-forming spiral galaxies but has relatively few elliptical galaxies, which lack gas and dust and the associated newborn stars. The colors in this remarkably deep composite image clearly show the star forming galaxies with a blue tint and galaxies with older stellar populations with a yellowish cast.
The sharp picture spans about 3/4 degree across the cluster center, corresponding to over 6 million light-years at the cluster's estimated distance. Diffraction spikes around brighter foreground stars in our own Milky Way galaxy are produced by the imaging telescope's mirror support vanes. In the cosmic vista many galaxies seem to be colliding or merging while others seem distorted - clear evidence that cluster galaxies commonly interact. In fact, the Hercules Cluster itself may be seen as the result of ongoing mergers of smaller galaxy clusters and is thought to be similar to young galaxy clusters in the much more distant, early Universe."
"You shouldn’t have a care in the world. Everything in the economy is absolutely fantastic. Wells Fargo bank says that we are in a Goldilocks situation. Things are not too bad and they’re not too good."
“To me, there are three things we all should do every day. We should do this every day of our lives. Number one is laugh. You should laugh every day. Number two is think. You should spend some time in thought. And number three is, you should have your emotions moved to tears, could be happiness or joy. But think about it. If you laugh, you think, and you cry, that’s a full day. That’s a heck of a day. You do that seven days a week, you’re going to have something special. I just got one last thing... I urge all of you, all of you, to enjoy your life, the precious moments you have.” - Jim Valvano
“And when they found our shadows (grouped ‘round the TV sets), they ran down every lead; they repeated every test; they checked out all the data in their lists. And then the alien anthropologists admitted they were still perplexed, but on eliminating every other reason for our sad demise they logged the only explanation left: This species has amused itself to death.” - Roger Waters
“Apathy and indifference are nurtured in the modern age as most peoples’ free time is frittered away with worthless trivia like ball games, computer games, movies and soaps, and fiddling with their mobile phones. These distractions might be fun, but after most of them you’ve learnt nothing of any value, and remain ignorant, malleable and suggestible, which is just how the elites want you.” – Clive Maund
“A truth’s initial commotion is directly proportional to how deeply the lie was believed… When a well-packaged web of lies has been sold gradually to the masses over generations, the truth will seem utterly preposterous and its speaker, a raving lunatic.” – Dresden James
“A lie gets halfway around the world before
the truth has a chance to get its pants on.”
– Winston Churchill
"30 years ago (1985) Neil Postman (a professor of communications arts and sciences at New York University – until his death in 2003) wrote the best-selling book “Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business”. (Free download below.) The book exposed, among other things, the subtle but profound dangers to the developing mind from the mesmerizing (and addictive) commercial television industry.
The lessons from that book have essentially been ignored by the amoral and corrupted sociopathic capitalist system that says “damn the torpedoes/full steam ahead” and blindly and greedily promotes unlimited growth no matter what the costs and who or what gets hurt long–term in the resource-extractive, exploitive and permanently polluting processes.
But Postman’s thesis applies even more strongly today to the current internet/computer/ age-inappropriate, pornographic sex and pornographic violence-saturated televangelist/political-contaminated media reality with which the prophetic Postman was properly alarmed.
SOMA, the Drug That Predicted Prozac by 50 Years: In the classic “Brave New World” (1932) Aldous Huxley wrote about the new form of totalitarianism that has now come to pass in the developed world, thanks to the privatized profit-driven, drug, medical and psychiatric corporations whose practitioners were once (naively or altruistically?) mainly concerned with relieving human suffering and trying to holistically and permanently cure their distressed patients’ ailments (rather than lucratively “managing” said “clients” as permanently paying consumers of unaffordable prescription drugs). Nearly 30 years after he wrote the book, Huxley said,
“And it seems to me perfectly in the cards that there will be within the next generation or so a pharmacological method of making people love their servitude, and producing a kind of painless concentration camp for entire societies, so that people will in fact have their liberties taken away from them but will rather enjoy it, because they will be distracted from any desire to rebel by propaganda, brainwashing, or brainwashing enhanced by pharmacological methods.” Neil Postman’s very last sentence of his book concerned the prescription drug-infested victims of the new form of totalitarianism that Huxley had described in “Brave New World”.
Of course, Huxley’s book was all about his imaginary psychotropic drug SOMA that Prozac’s makers and promoters in the late 1980s to falsely claim to make its swallowers “feel better than well”. One of the characters in Brave New World said: “And if ever, by some unlucky chance, anything unpleasant should somehow happen, why, there’s always Soma to give you a holiday from the facts. And there’s always Soma to calm your anger, to reconcile you to your enemies, to make you patient and long-suffering. In the past you could only accomplish these things by making a great effort and after years of hard moral training. Now, you swallow two or three half-gramme tablets, and there you are. Anybody can be virtuous now. You can carry at least half your morality about in a bottle. Christianity without tears; that’s what Soma is.”
Postman ended his book by writing: “What afflicted the people in Brave New World was not that they were laughing instead of thinking, but that they did not know what they were laughing about and why they had stopped thinking.” A couple of years after the publication of Postman’s book, Roger Waters (of “Pink Floyd’s The Wall” fame) released a “concept” album that was inspired by the book. He titled the album “Amused to Death”. The lyrics of the title track are as follows:
"We live in a society where we have been trained not to ask the hard questions. Instead, we are just supposed to relax and let others do our thinking for us. If you do insist on asking pesky questions, you are likely to be labeled a “conspiracy theorist” or something even worse. And even those labels are a form of control. Very few of us are eager to be labeled “one of those people”, and so most of us just go along with the program. You see, the truth is that those in power do not want us to be independent thinkers. They want us to be sheep. But the good news is that more people than ever are waking up to the fact that the elitists that are running things are rotten to the core.
There is so much going on in our world right now, and the pace of change just keeps getting faster and faster. I tend to write a lot about our ongoing economic problems, but I am going to take a break from that today and focus on some of the other things that are happening. The following are 10 very important questions that I believe we should all be asking right now…
#1 Why is the mainstream media so quiet about the fact that Joe Biden and his family received tens of millions of dollars from foreign nationals in an influence-peddling scheme that went on for many years while Biden was vice-president…James Comer expects to uncover $20-30 million in illicit payments made to the Biden Crime Family: “This is going to be hard to Biden to explain, this is not going to go away, and I think eventually the mainstream media is going to start asking the real questions.”
#2 Who was behind the absolutely massive cyberattack that just hit U.S. government agencies?…"Several US federal government agencies have been hit in a global cyberattack that exploits a vulnerability in widely used software, according to a top US cybersecurity agency. The US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency “is providing support to several federal agencies that have experienced intrusions affecting their MOVEit applications,” Eric Goldstein, the agency’s executive assistant director for cybersecurity, said in a statement on Thursday to CNN, referring to the software impacted. “We are working urgently to understand impacts and ensure timely remediation.”
#3 Should we be concerned that hail “the size of baseballs” is hammering some areas in the middle of the country?…"Much of Oklahoma was under a “moderate” risk for severe storms Thursday. That’s level 4 out of 5 on the severe storm risk scale. The National Weather Service in Norman, Oklahoma, warned of a “significant severe weather” outbreak. People “should be prepared for hail up to the size of baseballs and winds up to 80 mph with the stronger storms,” the weather service said."
#4 Why is New York City introducing vending machines where addicts can get crack pipes for free?…"First, we had Joe Biden sending out free “safe smoking kits” AKA crack pipes and accessories, and now New York is placing these same types of “safe” smoking kits in their “public health” vending machines. The machine also has Narcan, an overdose rescue drug, condoms, nicotine gum, and other “health” related items."
#5 One recent survey found that 42 percent of U.S. CEOs believe that AI “has the potential to destroy humanity five to ten years from now”. Why aren’t more people sounding the alarm about the danger that AI poses to our society?…"Many top business leaders are seriously worried that artificial intelligence could pose an existential threat to humanity in the not-too-distant future.
Forty-two percent of CEOs surveyed at the Yale CEO Summit this week say AI has the potential to destroy humanity five to ten years from now, according to survey results shared exclusively with CNN. “It’s pretty dark and alarming,” Yale professor Jeffrey Sonnenfeld said in a phone interview, referring to the findings."
#6 Why has the U.S. government been “secretly stockpiling dirt” on American citizens by purchasing it from data brokers? Isn’t that sort of thing supposed to be illegal?…"The United States government has been secretly amassing a “large amount” of “sensitive and intimate information” on its own citizens, a group of senior advisers informed Avril Haines, the director of national intelligence, more than a year ago.
The size and scope of the government effort to accumulate data revealing the minute details of Americans’ lives are described soberly and at length by the director’s own panel of experts in a newly declassified report. Haines had first tasked her advisers in late 2021 with untangling a web of secretive business arrangements between commercial data brokers and US intelligence community members."
#7 Scientists are creating “synthetic human embryos” without using human eggs or human sperm. Why is this being allowed, and what are the dangers if this sort of “research” is not stopped?…"Scientists have created synthetic human embryos using stem cells, in a groundbreaking advance that sidesteps the need for eggs or sperm. Scientists say these model embryos, which resemble those in the earliest stages of human development, could provide a crucial window on the impact of genetic disorders and the biological causes of recurrent miscarriage. However, the work also raises serious ethical and legal issues as the lab-grown entities fall outside current legislation in the UK and most other countries."
#8 Why is a Republican member of the California legislature named Scott Wilk telling parents to flee the state if they love their children?…“In the past when we’ve had these discussions and I’ve seen parental rights atrophied - I’ve encouraged people to keep fighting,” the senator added. “I’ve changed my mind on that.” “If you love your children, you need to flee California. You need to flee,” he said."
#9 Why are Americans so depressed? According to a brand new report from the CDC, nearly 20 percent of all Americans have been formally diagnosed with depression during their lifetimes…"The proportion of US adults who have ever been diagnosed with depression ranges greatly depending on where they live. A new report published Thursday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds that in 2020, 18.4% of US adults reported having ever been diagnosed with depression in their lifetimes – but, state by state, that percentage of adults ranged from an estimated 12.7% in Hawaii to 27.5% in West Virginia."
#10 Why is there an “epidemic” of cancer among our young people…"This “early-onset cancer epidemic,” as one recent study published in Nature Reviews Clinical Oncology dubbed it, comprises a surge in the incidence of over a dozen different cancers in younger people since the 1990s in countries around the world.
In the U.S., the rate of early-onset cases rose by almost 18 percent between 2000 and 2019, even as cancer declined slightly in older adults, according to data from the National Cancer Institute (NCI). Among Americans between 15 and 39 years old, an age group cancer researchers refer to as adolescents and young adults (AYAs), the surge was more pronounced still, topping 20 percent."
If you want to be successful in life, you can’t be afraid to ask questions. Because good questions often lead to good solutions. Unfortunately, much of the population has been trained to no longer think for themselves, and so we all need to try to do what we can to wake them back up."
Back in the day, some of us remember the speech given by former American President Ronald Reagan when he projected U.S. blame onto the Soviet Union by blasting it as the “Evil Empire”. Many were gulled into believing the farcical American charade. Fast forward to the year 2023, and mercifully many others around the world are now seeing the light. From the very beginning of this U.S.-led NATO proxy war against Russia, the vehicle for which happens to be unfortunate Ukraine, the wicked value of NATO’s pretend war against terrorism is essentially a war against humanity.
Not by chance, the corporate stock value of Lockheed Martin jumped from 45 dollars per share to over 450 dollars. Northrop Grumman too. General Dynamics from 38 to more than 200 dollars per share. Boeing too. Aptly spoken are Roger Waters’ wise words: “War is hugely profitable; it creates so much money because it’s so easy to spend money very fast. There are huge fortunes to be made. So, there is always an encouragement to promote war and keep it going, to make sure that we identify people who are ‘others’ whom we can legitimately make war upon.”
All in all, the U.S. military-industrial complex is ladled with a hefty sum of money from 50 to 100 per cent growth over the past 20 years. There is no (both legal and illegal) money machine anywhere in the world capable of churning out such lucrative profits as the industry of death.
I personally get overwhelmed by fear when I remember the then U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell theatrically brandishing a supposed vial of anthrax while addressing the United Nations Security Council on 5 February 2003. Powell warned that the alleged contents of the vial could kill everyone in the chamber. It was a mendacious and terroristic ruse for launching an illegal war against Iraq. “My colleagues, every statement I make today is backed up by sources – solid sources,” he said. Powell was lying through his teeth before the world. He later admitted to doing, and expressed regret before he died.
Or yet another sickening example, and there are only too many on the part of the U.S., recall Madeleine Albright. That wretched U.S. Secretary of State callously said that the death of half a million Iraqi children was “a price worth paying” to achieve U.S. interests. Albright displayed the same psychopathy regarding casualties in the Balkan Wars during the 1990s and the aftermath of the NATO invasion of the Serbian province of Kosovo and Metohija and the brutal purge of Serbs from their historically owned territories.
Almost two decades after the U.S. launched its savage invasion of Iraq, it turns out that the horrendous price keeps on mounting. Following the alleged terror attacks on September 11, 2001, the United States has waged and fueled endless wars and military conflicts of all sorts in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, and Pakistan, among other countries, which have caused at least 4.5 million deaths, according to a report by Brown University.
It is worth noting that these studies are part of a regularly updated and ever-bigger database documenting the dreadful death tolls in the mostly U.S. engineered wars during the two-decade period after 9/11. It is staggering to contemplate the destruction wrought in a mere 20 years. It is even more staggering that the horror is multiplying all the time in repercussions and consequences. Twenty years from now, we can expect the death and injury tolls to at least double just from the latent impacts manifesting.
The Cost of Wars project at Brown University’s Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs that conducted this comprehensive study came up with these conclusions: "Almost a million of the people who lost their lives died in direct military combat, whereas some 3.6 to 3.7 million were indirect deaths, due to health and economic problems caused by the wars, such as destruction of infrastructure, severe diseases, and shortage of food and water."
The Brown University study also analyzed the effects of wars for instance in Libya and Somalia, which were funded and altogether engineered by the U.S. as well. It was estimated that in the countries studied, there are 7.6 million children under the age of five years suffering from acute malnutrition still today. The children live in abject poverty and are “not getting enough food, literally wasting to skin and bones, putting these children at greater risk of death”. Furthermore, in Afghanistan and Yemen, this includes nearly 50 per cent of children; and, in Somalia, close to 60 per cent.
Brown University’s Cost of Wars project carried out a separate study in 2021 in which it found that the United States’ post-9/11 wars displaced at least 38 million people – more than any conflict since 1900 if we do not take World War II into consideration. Moreover, 38 million appears to be a rather modest estimate. The total number of displaced persons could be closer to 49 to 60 million, which is comparable to that of WWII.
This latest May 2023 study cited above pointed out that substantially large proportions of innocent civilians are still perishing in that they are dying from direct combat or famine to this day. In many instances and to a great extent, the U.S.-engineered wars have impeded or destroyed access to safe drinking water and sanitation for adults and children in which case many succumb to debilitating or deadly diseases which would otherwise be treatable. Due to these U.S. and NATO-orchestrated wars, death tolls have reached imponderable proportions. Millions more innocent civilians have been casualties, suffering inestimable hardships.
After two decades of war under U.S. military occupation, Afghanistan resembles an apocalypse. “Today the Afghans are suffering in misery and dying from war-related causes at higher rates than ever,” Brown University’s Cost of Wars recorded. Significantly higher death rates and lower life expectancies were noted with a considerably high number of people who live in abject poverty and particularly those from deprived circumstances and marginalized groups. In military zones and conflict areas in close proximity, children and minors, in general, are believed to be 20 times more likely to die from, for instance, diarrheal disease than from the military conflict itself. Generally speaking, all wars tend to cause indirect deaths which sadly represent the majority of the lives lost.
In the 2023 report, many long-term war consequences for human health have not been fully accounted for. Some demographic groups, particularly women and children, bear the brunt and suffer the most due to the permanent consequences of the prior wars.
The Brown University study emphasized that the post-9/11 wars have caused widespread economic and financial hardship for people living in the war zones coupled with food insecurity and malnutrition which normally go hand in hand with poverty leading to diseases and death. The trend is particularly severe amongst children under the age of five.
The damage to infrastructure and often total destruction which occurs during wars certainly has devastating cumulative consequences. “Hospitals, clinics, and medical supplies, water and sanitation systems, electricity, roads and traffic signals, infrastructure for farming and shipping goods, and much more are destroyed, damaged and disrupted, with detrimental consequences for human health,” the report acknowledged.
As a stark reminder, we should recall some of the other major wars waged by the U.S. war machine: the Korean War (1950-53); the Vietnam War (1965-1975); and the Gulf War (1990-91).
A detailed list of instances in which the U.S. used its armed forces abroad can be seen in a Congressional Research Service report here.
Among the most prominent military interventions abroad during the Cold War are the 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba during Kennedy’s administration (here), Reagan’s deployment of U.S. Marines to Beirut during the Lebanese civil war (here), the invasion of Grenada (here) and the bombing of Tripoli in Libya, both also under Reagan (here).
Under George HW Bush, thousands of U.S. troops invaded Panama in 1989 to overthrow dictator and CIA asset Manuel Noriega (here) and thousands of troops were sent to Somalia on an alleged peacekeeping mission in the early 1990s following the dissolution of the Soviet Union (here).
Under Bill Clinton, U.S. troops were sent to Haiti (here) as well as to the Balkans as part of a larger NATO deployment (here, here).
Under Barack Obama, the United States and its NATO partners conducted months-long air strikes in Libya (here) and military operations against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (here).
Donald Trump launched military operations attacking Syrian government targets (here, here) and sanctioned the killing of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani with a drone strike (here).
Reading about these atrocities and mentally dealing with all the facts and figures somehow logically brings us to the recent blood-curdling words from the abhorrent US Senator Lindsey Graham while visiting Kiev.
Graham gloated about “Russians dying” and how U.S. military aid to the Nazi-infested Kiev regime to fight against Russia was “the best money spent”.
My own stream of consciousness brings me to a beautiful anecdote with a quote: Nikita Mikhalkov famously told prominent Serbian author Momo Kapor: “Have you noticed by any chance that there is no American movie in which at least one hundred people don’t die; they get murdered by a machine gun in rapid fire, they get blown up into the air in their cars just like that and nobody is in mourning for them afterwards, and neither do they find out who their mothers are, nor whether they might have a sister?… But 150 years ago, a student from St Petersburg, Russia, killed an old woman and academic dissertations are written on whether the student had a moral right to kill the old hag or not. Alas, that is the difference between them [Americans] and us [Russians]. The West only thinks of how to live, while we think why we live.”
"President Putin’s meeting with a group of Russian war correspondents and Telegram bloggers – including Filatov, Poddubny, Pegov from War Gonzo, Podolyaka, Gazdiev from RT – was an extraordinary exercise in freedom of the press. There were among them seriously independent journalists who can be very critical of the way the Kremlin and the Ministry of Defense (MoD) are conducting what can be alternatively defined as a Special Military Operation (SMO); a counter-terror operation (CTO); or an “almost war” (according to some influential business circles in Moscow).
It’s fascinating to see how these patriotic/independent journalists are now playing a role similar to the former political commissars in the USSR, all of them, in their own way, deeply committed to guiding Russian society towards draining the swamp, slowly but surely. It’s clear Putin not only understands their role but sometimes, “shock to the system-style”, the system he presides actually implements the journalists’ suggestions. As a foreign correspondent working all over the world for nearly 40 years now, I have been quite impressed by the way Russian journalists may enjoy a degree of freedom unimaginable in most latitudes of the collective West.
The Kremlin transcript of the meeting shows Putin definitely not inclined to beat around the bush. He admitted there are “operetta Generals” in the Army; that there was a shortage of drones, precision munitions and communication equipment, now being addressed. He discussed the legality of mercenary outfits; the necessity of sooner or later installing a “buffer zone” to protect Russian citizens from systematic Kiev regime shelling; and he stressed that Russia will not answer Bandera-inspired terrorism with terrorism.
After examining the exchanges, a conclusion is imperative: Russian war media is not staging an offensive even as the collective West attacks Russia 24/7 with its massive NGO/soft power media apparatus. Moscow is not – yet? – fully engaged in the trenches of information warfare; as it stands Russian media is only playing defense.
All the way to Kiev? Arguably the money quote of the whole encounter is Putin’s concise, chilling evaluation of where we now stand in the chessboard: “We were forced to try to end the war that the West started in 2014 by force of arms. And Russia will end this war by force of arms, freeing the entire territory of the former Ukraine from the United States and Ukrainian Nazis. There are no other options. The Ukrainian army of the US and NATO will be defeated, no matter what new types of weapons it receives from the West. The more weapons there are, the fewer Ukrainians and what used to be Ukraine will remain. Direct intervention by NATO’s European armies will not change the outcome. But in this case, the fire of war will engulf the whole of Europe. It looks like the US is ready for that too.”
In a nutshell: this will only end on Russia’s terms, and only when Moscow evaluates all its objectives have been met. Anything else is wishful thinking.
Back on the frontlines, as pointed out by the indispensable Andrei Martyanov, first-class war correspondent Marat Kalinin has conclusively laid out how the current Ukrainian metal coffin counter-offensive has not been able to reach even the first Russian line of defense (they are a long – highway to hell – 10 km away). Everything NATO’s top proxy army ever assembled was able to accomplish so far was to get mercilessly slaughtered on an industrial scale.
Meet General Armageddon in action. Surovikin had eight months to place his footprint in Ukraine and from the beginning he understood exactly how to turn it into a whole new ballgame. Arguably the strategy is to completely destroy the Ukrainian forces between the first line of defense – assuming they ever breach it – and the second line, which is quite substantial. The third line will remain off limits.
Collective West MSM is predictably freaking out, finally starting to show horrendous Ukrainian losses and giving evidence of the utter accumulated incompetence of Kiev goons and their NATO military handlers. And just in case the going gets tough – for now a remote possibility – Putin himself has delivered the road map. Softly, softly. As in, “Do we need a march on Kiev? If yes, we need a new mobilization, if not, we do not need it. There is no need for mobilization right now.” The crucial operative words are “right now”. The end of all your elaborate plans
Meanwhile, away from the battlefield, the Russians are very much aware of the frantic geoeconomic activity. Moscow and Beijing increasingly trade in yuan and rubles. The ASEAN 10 are going all out for regional currencies, bypassing the US dollar. Indonesia and South Korea are turbo-charging trade in rupiah and won. Pakistan is paying for Russian oil in yuan. The UAE and India are increasing non-oil trade in rupees. Everyone and his neighbor are making a beeline to join BRICS+ – forcing a desperate Hegemon to start deploying an array of Hybrid War techniques.
It’s been a long way since Putin examined the chessboard in the early 2000s and then unleashed a crash missile program for defensive and offensive missiles. Over the next 23 years Russia developed hypersonic missiles, advanced ICBMs, and the most advanced defensive missiles on the planet. Russia won the missile race. Period. The Hegemon – obsessed by its own manufactured war against Islam – was completely blindsided and made no material missile advances in nearly two and a half decades. Now the “strategy” is to invent a Taiwan Question out of nothing, which is configuring the chessboard as the ante-chamber of no holds barred Hybrid War against Russia-China.
The proxy attack – via Kiev hyenas – against Russophone Donbass, egged on by the Straussian neocon psychos in charge of US foreign policy, murdered at least 14,000 men, women and children between 2014 to 2022. That was also an attack on China. The ultimate aim of this Divide and Rule gambit was to inflict defeat on China’s ally in the Heartland, so Beijing would be isolated. According to the neocon wet dream, all of the above would have enabled the Hegemon, once it had taken over Russia again as it did with Yeltsin, to blockade China from Russian natural resources using eleven US aircraft carrier task forces plus numerous submarines.
Obviously military science-impaired neocons are oblivious to the fact that Russia is now the strongest military power on the planet. In Ukraine, the neocons were hoping that a provocation would cause Moscow to deploy other secret weapons apart from hypersonic missiles, so Washington could better prepare for all-out war.
All those elaborate plans may have miserably floundered. But a corollary remains: the Straussian neocons firmly believe they may instrumentalize a few million Europeans – who’s next? Poles? Estonians? Latvians? Lithuanians? And why not Germans? – as cannon fodder as the US did in WWI and WWII, fought over the bodies of Europeans (including Russians) sacrificed to the same old Mackinder Anglo-Saxon power grab.
Hordes of European 5th columnists make it so much easier to “trust” the US to protect them, while only a few with an IQ over room temperature have understood who really bombed Nord Stream 1 and 2, with the connivance of the Liver Sausage German Chancellor.
The bottom line is that the Hegemon simply cannot accept a sovereign, self-sufficient Europe; only a dependent vassal, hostage to the seas that the US control. Putin clearly sees how the chessboard has been laid out. And he also sees how “Ukraine” does not even exist anymore. While no one was paying attention, last month the Kiev gang sold Ukraine to $8.5 trillion-worth BlackRock. Just like that. The deal was sealed between the Government of Ukraine and BlackRock’s VP Philipp Hildebrand.
They are setting up a Ukrainian Development Fund (UDF) for “reconstruction”, focused on energy, infrastructure, agriculture, industry and IT. All remaining valuable assets in what will be a rump Ukraine will be gobbled up by BlackRock: from Metinvest, DTEK (energy) and MJP (agriculture) to Naftogaz, Ukrainian Railways, Ukravtodor and Ukrenergo. What’s the point in going to Kiev then? High-grade toxic neoliberalism is already partying on the spot."
"In today's vlog, we are at Kroger and are seeing some overwhelming price increases on groceries. With inflation being as high as it has ever been, we are struggling to find items that fit most of the populations budget! This is a complete nightmare!"
"We are seeing banks in Australia, limiting money that can be taken out. We now hear that crypto exchanges are freezing peoples account without notice or any explanation. Jerome Powell steps forward and says that the housing market has already bottomed out and it’s time to buy a house."
"Are you completely exhausted from seeing your bills piling up every month? Do you feel like no matter what you do, your financial situation never actually improves? Are you noticing that your purchasing power can't afford the same it used to just a few years back?
Money trouble is keeping a growing number of Americans up a night. There has been a lot of uncertainty in recent years about the U.S. economy with inflation, rising interest rates, and the threat of a deep recession. In a new survey by Bankrate, Americans rate financial concerns above health, current events, relationships, and work when it comes to the impact on their mental health. Compared to 42% just a year ago, now 52% of respondents say money has a negative impact on their well-being, causing stress, anxiety, worrisome thoughts, loss of sleep, and depression.
At this point, almost 25% of American adults are food insecure, a jump of about five percentage points from a year earlier as food inflation continues to squeeze household budgets, according to CBS News. Food insecurity indicates that someone isn't able to secure enough food for a nutritious diet, which can lead to skipping meals or cutting back on food. Those compromises, though, can have serious implications for a person's health and well-being, health specialists say. The rise in food insecurity comes as more households are struggling to pay their grocery bills given that costs have surged by over 20% since 2022.
Moreover, the pandemic and the following economic downturn have lowered the living standards of millions of US workers, and according to a study published by Newswire, nearly half of Americans, or 45% say they can't afford their previous lifestyle. Eight out of 10 or 83% of respondents expect the cost of living will become somewhat more or much more expensive in the coming year. Meanwhile, 65% of Americans agree with the statement 'My income has not increased as fast at the cost of food, beverage, and personal care products.'
Bankrate reports that more than two-thirds of Americans say they’re worried they wouldn’t be able to cover their living expenses for just one month if they suddenly lost their primary source of income. In other words, many people out there are hanging by a thread financially, and several workers are just one missed paycheck away from falling into poverty.
On top of that, more people are using their credit cards to finance everyday necessities. Credit card debt has been rising at the fastest pace of any other consumer debt, with 46% of cardholders carrying debt month to month in 2023. One year ago, only 39% carried debt month to month. Data has also shown that 30% of Americans have between $1,001 and $5,000 in credit card debt, 15% have $5,001 or more in credit card debt and about 6% have more than $10,000 in credit card debt. And even though 6% may seem like a small share, that represents over 14 million people. It’s evident that the average American is being hit from all sides, and today, we decided to compile several facts and stats to prove you're not alone in this."
"Peculiar spiral galaxy Arp 78 is found within the boundaries of the head strong constellation Aries, some 100 million light-years beyond the stars and nebulae of our Milky Way galaxy. Also known as NGC 772, the island universe is over 100,000 light-years across and sports a single prominent outer spiral arm in this detailed cosmic portrait.
Its brightest companion galaxy, compact NGC 770, is toward the upper right of the larger spiral. NGC 770's fuzzy, elliptical appearance contrasts nicely with a spiky foreground Milky Way star in matching yellowish hues. Tracking along sweeping dust lanes and lined with young blue star clusters, Arp 78's large spiral arm is likely due to gravitational tidal interactions. Faint streams of material seem to connect Arp 78 with its nearby companion galaxies."
“I first became intimate with the night sky on the sleeping porch of my grandmother’s house on Ninth Street in Chattanooga, Tennessee, during the early 1940s. A screened sleeping porch might be found attached to any southern home of a certain vintage and substance, usually on the second story at the back. On sultry summer nights you could move a cot or daybed onto the porch and take advantage of whatever breezes stirred the air. I slept there when I visited because it was the only place to find a spare bed. I was usually alone in that big spooky space, with only a thin wire mesh separating me from the many mysteries of the night.
Far off in the house I could hear the muffled voice of the big Stromberg-Carlson radio in the parlor, where grown-ups listened to news of the war or the boogie-woogie tunes of the Hit Parade. Outside was another kind of music, nearer, louder, pressing against the screen, which seemed to come from everywhere and nowhere, a million scratchy fiddles, out-of-key woodwinds, discordant timpani. These were the cicadas, crickets and tree frogs of the southern summer night, but to me at that time they were the sounds of the night itself, as if darkness had an audible element.
Some nights the distant horizon would be lit with a silent, winking illumination called “heat lightnin’.” And closer, against the dark grass of the badminton court, the scintillations of fireflies- “lightnin’ bugs”- splashed into brightness.
The constellations of fireflies were answered in the sky by stars, which on those evenings when the city’s lights were blacked out for air-raid drills, multiplied alarmingly. I would lie in my cot, eyes glued to the spangled darkness, waiting to hear the drone of enemy aircraft or see the flash of ack-ack. No aircraft appeared, no ack-ack tracers pierced the night, but soon the stars took on their own fierce reality, like vast squadrons of alien rocket ships moving against the inky dark of Flash Gordon space.
In time I came to recognize patterns, although I did not yet know their names: the Scorpion creeping westward, dragging its stinger along the horizon; the teapot of Sagittarius afloat in the white river of the Milky Way; Vega at the zenith; the kite of Cygnus. As the hours passed, the Big Dipper clocked around the Pole. And sometimes, in late summer, I would wake in the predawn hour to find Orion sneaking into the eastern sky, pursuing the teacup of the Pleiades.
One memorable Christmas of my childhood, my father received a star book as a gift: “A Primer for Star-Gazers” by Henry Neely. As he used the book to learn the stars and constellations, he included me in his activities. The book was Santa’s gift to him. The night sky was his gift to me.
That book, now long out of print, is still in my possession. A glance takes me back half a century to evenings on the badminton court in the back yard of our own new home in the Chattanooga suburbs, gazing upwards with my father to a drapery of brilliant stars flung across the gap between tall dark pines. He told me stories of the constellations as he learned them. Of Orion and the Scorpion. Of the lovers Andromeda and Perseus, and the monster Cetus. Of the wood nymph Callisto and her son Arcas, placed by Zeus in the heavens as the Big and Little Bears. No child ever had a better storybook than the ever-changing page of night above our badminton court. My father also taught me the names of stars: Sirius, Arcturus, Polaris, Betelgeuse, and other, stranger names, Zubenelgenubi and Zubeneschamali, the claws of the Scorpion. The words on his tongue were like incantations that opened the enchanted cave of night.
He was a man of insatiable curiosity. His stories of the stars were more than “connect the dots.” He wove into his lessons what he knew of history, science, poetry and myth. And, of course, religion. For my father, the stars were infused with unfathomable mystery, their contemplation a sort of prayer.
That Christmas book of long ago was a satisfactory guide to star lore, but as I look at it today I see that it conveyed little of the intimacy I felt as I stood with my father under the bright canopy of stars. Nor do any of the other more recent star guides that I have seen quite capture the feeling I had as a child of standing at the door of an enchanted universe, speaking incantations. What made the childhood experience so memorable was a total immersion in the mystery of the night- the singing of cicadas, the whisper of the wind in the pines, and, of course, my father’s storehouse of knowledge with which he embellished the stars. He taught me what to see; he also taught me what to imagine.”
"Just look at us. Everything is backwards; everything is upside down. Doctors destroy health, lawyers destroy justice, universities destroy knowledge, governments destroy freedom, the major media destroy information and religions destroy spirituality"
- Michael Ellner
"Archimedes said, "Give me a fulcrum and I will move the Earth"; but there isn't one. It is like betting on the future of the human race - I might wish to lay a bet that the human race would destroy itself by the year 3000, but there is nowhere to place the bet. On the contrary, I am involved in the world and must try to see that it does not blow itself to pieces. I once had a terrible argument with Margaret Mead. She was holding forth one evening on the absolute horror of the atomic bomb, and how everybody should spring into action and abolish it, but she was getting so furious about it that I said to her: "You scare me because I think you are the kind of person who will push the button in order to get rid of the other people who were going to push it first." So she told me that I had no love for my future generations, that I had no responsibility for my children, and that I was a phony swami who believed in retreating from facts. But I maintained my position.
As Robert Oppenheimer said a short while before he died, "It is perfectly obvious that the whole world is going to hell. The only possible chance that it might not is that we do not attempt to prevent it from doing so." You see, many of the troubles going on in the world right now are being supervised by people with very good intentions whose attempts are to keep things in order, to clean things up, to forbid this, and to prevent that. The more we try to put everything to rights, the more we make fantastic messes. Maybe that is the way it has got to be. Maybe I should not say anything at all about the folly of trying to put things to right but simply, on the principle of Blake, let the fool persist in his folly so that he will become wise."
“This is a beautiful planet, filled, in the main, with decent, cooperative humans. And yet, I want out. Give me any kind of functional spaceship and any reasonable chance, and I’ll take it. This place is anti-human. It chokes the best that’s in us, aggressively and self-righteously. I was struck not long ago by a comment of Ludwig Wittgenstein’s, in which he expressed the same kind of feeling: “I ought to have become a star in the sky. Instead of which I have remained stuck on earth…”
All of us who’ve had a moment of transcendence - who made some type of contact with what is truly the best inside ourselves - have also sensed that life in the current world is incompatible with it. I think we should stop burying that understanding beneath piles of “that’s the way things are,” “we should be realistic,” and “you can’t fight City Hall.”
Everywhere I turn, some kind of ruler, sub-ruler, enforcer, regulator, or “right-thinking” quasi-enforcer demands not only my money but also for me to make myself easy to punish, thus showing myself to be a good subservient. That’s not just wrong; it’s a disease. I don’t care whether such people are “following orders,” “just doing their job,” or whatever else they tell themselves to soothe their rightly troubled souls. That mode of living is perverse, and these people are enforcing a disease.
Let me make this part very clear: The desire to control others is disease; it is corruption. Willing controllers are a morally inferior class. And the truly deranged thing is that these people rule the world! Forget about why this is so - we can debate that later - focus rather on the utter insanity of this: A minority of moral defectives, who think extortion is a virtue, rule people who are happy to live and let live, by force.
That’s outright lunacy. And to support the lunacy, we have lies, intimidation, and slogans: “In a democracy, you’re really ruling yourself,” “Only crazy people disagree,” “It’s always been this way,” and so on. To all of which I reply, How stupid do you think we are? You drilled that crap into us when we were children, but we’re not children anymore. And if “our way” isn’t as bad as North Korea, that makes it right? Only to a fool.
And the results of “the way it’s always been”… my God, the results… A study from the 1980s found that since 3600 BC, the world has known only 292 years of peace. During this period there have been 14,531 wars, large and small, in which 3.6 billion people have been killed.
This is what I’m supposed to serve with all my heart and soul? A Bronze Age system that can’t keep itself from slaughter? We’re talking about a 5,600-year track record of mass death, and yet fundamental change is considered unthinkable? Well, screw that too, because I think deep, fundamental change is called for, and was called for a long time ago.
Again, this is a wonderful planet and most of the people on it are decent, but it is ruled by insanity, and I want out. Yes, I know, there’s really nowhere to go. Every place I might go is dominated by the same diseased model, and dissent is punished the same, and in some places worse. That’s one of the reasons space appeals to me; it gives me a chance to escape this madness.
I’ll draw this to a close with a passage from C. Delisle Burns’s wonderful "The First Europe," describing why the Roman Empire collapsed: “Great numbers of men and women were unwilling to make the effort required for the maintenance of the old order, not because they were not good enough to fulfill their civic duties, but because they were too good to be satisfied with a system from which so few derived benefit.”
I, for one, am unwilling to expend any effort to maintain the present order. It is by its nature incompatible with the best that is in us, and always will be. Those of us who want to be more and better cannot support the current order without opposing what’s best in ourselves. Screw that.”