Saturday, July 1, 2023

"What Would A Nuclear War Look Like?"

"What Would A Nuclear War Look Like?"
by Jeff Thomas

"For eight years, NATO has backed puppet rulers in Ukraine, funded attacks on Donbass, repeatedly violated the Minsk Treaties, outlawed the speaking of Russian in the Luhansk and Donetsk Republics, and has destroyed democratic opposition and free media in Ukraine, leaving it a one-party government, essentially owned and financed by the US and administrated by US operatives. Not much subtlety there. Yet, somehow, the US has managed to convince the people of the US and other Western countries that Russia is the bad boy, is out of control and must be stopped.

In spite of all the above, Russia remained stoic and sought continually to keep a lid on the situation. It did, however, state firmly that the "red line" would be if Ukraine were to go nuclear, becoming a direct threat to Moscow. That would not be tolerated. Surely, this was a sober heads-up to any sensible country that the one thing that must not happen would be for Ukraine to go nuclear. After all, once that Pandora’s Box was opened, the last barrier to possible nuclear war would be crossed.

For eight years, Russia had been goaded again and again by the West, yet they did not take the bait. Then, in February of 2022, at the annual Munich Security Conference, the President of Ukraine announced his intent to make Ukraine a nuclear country. Five days later, Russia invaded Ukraine. Immediately, the US propaganda arm went into operation, and for months, even as Ukraine was consistently losing the war, at every turn, the Western media renewed its claims that the war was turning; that Russia was faltering, and the heroes of Ukraine were beating back the Great Bear.

But all the above is old news. Why, at this juncture, should we be reviewing it? Well, its continued significance is that NATO (or the US – they are virtually interchangeable at this point) has, from the beginning, behaved recklessly with the prospect of nuclear conflict. Are they mad? Or are they so foolish as to think that they have some sort of "edge" in a nuclear conflict? Or do they see this as a game of one-upmanship in which the only important concern is which antagonist has the greater bluster?

We can only speculate as to the answer to this quandary. But, setting this aside, we should be questioning, a) what is the likelihood that the West would be so foolhardy as to actually push the button and, b) what would the outcome look like?

As to the first question, considering that it’s now becoming increasingly evident that the West have been misrepresenting the progress of the war; that the trained forces are spent and replacements cannot be trained fast enough to go against the experienced Russian forces, the US is going to have to come up with another plan… and it will need to be something dramatic. At this point, the one card they have not played is the nuke card.

They’ve claimed that the Russians have been either firing on or causing explosions in the Zaporizhzhya nuclear plant that they have held for some time. In essence, they’re being accused of bombing themselves in a facility that has long-since been taken. At this point, not many listeners are buying this explanation. So, what do they have left in their toolbox?

I’ve long felt that, as an end-run, what the West might do would rely on an old favorite technique – a false flag attack. Create a narrative and videos of an attack on, say, Kiev by Russia with a small nuclear warhead. Then announce that the warhead had been fired, killing hundreds of thousands. Then let loose the pre-prepared media blitz and invoke Article 5, justifying nuclear warfare. It just might turn the tide of sympathy. But it would also open a door that could not once again be closed.

For decades, both Russia and the US have had large numbers of nukes aimed at each other, with a system of timed releases. Once the first button is pushed, interrupting the progression is difficult. So, as to that second question – "What would a nuclear war look like?" there are many studies, but the most illustrative one I’m familiar with was produced by Princeton.
Full screen recommended.

Well, each major US city would be targeted with multiple ICBMs, each big enough to destroy it. Most of the US would be carpeted with other ICBMs. The US would be destroyed within a few hours. An estimated 90 million people would be killed initially.

Those at ground zero would be vaporized. Those on the periphery of a bomb could escape if they were to get to concrete shelter very quickly. They would then need to remain sealed up for weeks, if not longer, until the majority of fallout had settled. It would be a gamble as to when exiting the building would be safe.

The northern border of the US would be destroyed, taking in Canadian border cities, such as Vancouver and Toronto. The southern border, with Mexico, would also go.

Next would be the movement of fallout. As the video shows, those who live in or near a direct target would have no hope, but as can be seen, there are locations outside the US that are not targeted at all. Those locations that have no strategic advantage would not be targeted. So, if you were located in, say, Jamaica, you would not be hit, but, just as importantly, the Caribbean weather system – the trade winds – would carry any northern fallout away from you, as would the Gulf Stream.

Better still, the world is separated at the Equator by two weather systems that do not mix. Fallout in the north will be unlikely to travel to the south. If you’re located in South America, there are very few likely targets. It’s unknown whether, say, Rio de Janeiro or Buenos Aires would be targets, but if not, South America may be the best place to be in the Western Hemisphere. If anything, Europe and the Middle East would fare worse than North America.

Finally, there is the question of nuclear winter. No one can know whether this would last months or years and whether it would be localized or global. Nuclear war is not a certainly, yet the West has been dangerously rattling sabres as though they are invincible and only others can be destroyed. This is quite false.

We cannot be certain that nuclear war will be undertaken, but if so, it will be quick. There will be no time to create an escape plan. You must already be in a location that you deem to be as safe as possible."
A must view article by Jim Kunstler:
"NUKEMAP is a web-based nuclear weapons effects simulator. I created it in 2012 (and did all programming, design, and research on it). Since then it has had many updates to its effects model and capabilities. It has been used by over 20 million people globally, and has been featured in both academic and general-audience publications and television shows for depicting nuclear weapons effects"

Musical Interlude: Supertramp, "Take The Long Way Home"

Full screen recommended.
Supertramp, "Take The Long Way Home"

"A Look to the Heavens," With Chet Raymo

“Reaching For The Stars”
by Chet Raymo

“Here is a spectacular detail of the Eagle Nebula, a gassy star-forming region of the Milky Way Galaxy, about 7,000 light-years away. The Eagle lies in the equatorial constellation Serpens. If you went out tonight and looked at this part of the sky – more or less midway between Arcturus and Antares – you might see nothing at all. The brightest star in Serpens is of the third magnitude, perhaps invisible in an urban environment. No part of the Eagle Nebula is available to unaided human vision. How big is the nebula in the sky? Hold a pinhead at arm’s length and it would just about cover the spire. I like to think about things not mentioned in the APOD descriptions.

If the Sun were at the bottom of the spire, Alpha centauri, our nearest stellar neighbor, would be about halfway up the column. Sirius, the brightest star in Earth’s sky, would be near the top. Let’s say you sent out a spacecraft from the bottom of the spire that travelled at the speed of the two Voyager craft that are now traversing the outer reaches of the Solar System. It would take more than 200,000 years to reach the top of the spire.

The Hubble Space Telescope cost a lot of money to build, deploy, and operate. It has done a lot of good science. But perhaps the biggest return on the investment is to turn on ordinary folks like you and me to the scale and complexity of the universe. The human brain evolved, biologically and culturally, in a universe conceived on the human scale. We resided at its center. The stars were just up there on the dome of night. The Sun and Moon attended our desires. “All the world’s a stage,” wrote Shakespeare, and he meant it literally; the cosmos was designed by a benevolent creator as a stage for the human drama. All of that has gone by the board. Now we can travel in our imagination for 200,000 years along a spire of glowing, star-birthing gas that is only the tiniest fragment of a nebula that is only the tiniest fragment of a galaxy that is but one of hundreds of billions of galaxies we can potentially see with our telescopes.

Most of us still live psychologically in the universe of Dante and Shakespeare. The biggest intellectual challenge of our times is how to bring our brains up to speed. How to shake our imaginations out of the slumber of centuries. How to learn to live purposefully in a universe that is apparently indifferent to the human drama. How to stretch the human story to match the light-years.”

"And Yet, Sometimes..."

So, you look around in horrified astonishment at how totally insane it all really is, how the never ending bad news is everywhere you look, how truly hopeless it really is, and know there's nothing at all you can do about it, can't save anyone, can't even save yourself. So you remember what they said and how you need to be, and carry on...

“The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority,
but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.”
- Marcus Aurelius, "Meditations"

“That millions of people share the same forms of
mental pathology does not make these people sane.”
- Erich Fromm, "The Sane Society"

“Laugh whenever you can. Keeps you from killing
yourself when things are bad. That and vodka.”
- Jim Butcher, "Changes"

And yet, sometimes, at the end of another long day,
your defenses are just worn out and it feels like you're losing your mind,
and you lose control and feel like this...
Full screen recommended.
The Trashmen, "Surfin Bird - Bird is the Word," 1963

Until tomorrow, when you do it all over again...
And so it is, lol...

The Poet: Czeslaw Milosz, "Hope"


"Hope is with you when you believe
The earth is not a dream but living flesh,
That sight, touch, and hearing do not lie,
That all things you have ever seen here
Are like a garden looked at from a gate.
You cannot enter. But you're sure it's there.
Could we but look more clearly and wisely
We might discover somewhere in the garden
A strange new flower and an unnamed star.

Some people say we should not trust our eyes,
That there is nothing, just a seeming,
These are the ones who have no hope.
They think that the moment we turn away,
The world, behind our backs, ceases to exist,
As if snatched up by the hands of thieves."

- Czeslaw Milosz,
"Hope", from "The World"

"100 Laws of Life So You Don't Screw Your Life Up Like I Did"

"100 Laws of Life So You Don't Screw Your Life Up Like I Did"
"Unearth 100 life-changing laws distilled from the mistakes of those who came before us. These are the lessons hard-earned through the school of knocks. These laws are your roadmap to avoiding missteps and leading a more meaningful life."
Comments here:
And a few others...
“Never hate your enemies. It clouds your judgment.”
- "Michael Corleone"

"Forgive your enemies, but never forget their names."
- John F. Kennedy

The Daily "Near You?"

Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. Thanks for stopping by!

"When We Have Time..."

“How small a portion of our life it is that we really enjoy. In youth we are looking forward to things that are to come; in old age, we are looking backwards to things that are gone past; in manhood, although we appear indeed to be more occupied in things that are present, yet even that is too often absorbed in vague determinations to be vastly happy on some future day, when we have time.”
- Charles Caleb Colton, “Lacon”
"The problem is, you think you have time."
- Buddha
“There Is No Reality Anymore…”
by Thad Beversdorf

“I‘d love to change the world, but I don‘t know what to do,
so I’ll leave it up to you…” 

“What a great lyric that is from the late 60′s, early 70′s English band “10 Years After.”* I believe this describes that uneasy feeling of discontent that sits deep in the stomach, beneath the day to day exteriors, of so many people today. The world is like a black hole in that it seems to be getting smaller and smaller as the years go by but also heavier and heavier with each passing day.

When I was a teenager and my friends and I were taking reality obscuring substances, one of my buddies (this means you Nichol) would stop us at certain points throughout the night for a reality check. This was just a few moments where we ‘d all gather our senses to make sure the world was still right and then we’d venture back into obscurity. I feel that reality is an old world term. There is no reality anymore. With advances in technology came unending possibilities of if you can dream it they can make it so. The ubiquitous flow of information ensures that the truth is always available but never known with certainty. It means there is no such thing as a reality check. It’s like that dream inside a dream inside a dream. Which reality is real anymore? How deep does the rabbit hole go?

We are raised with pretty standard ideals of what the world is meant to be but these ideals seem to take place only in the movies. It must be incredibly difficult for our young people to reconcile the two worlds, I know it is for me. That which they learn as a child and that which they find has replaced it as a young adult. Our leaders are despicable, arrogant and egotistical fools who pretend we elect them because we don’t see them for what they are. But we elect them because we feel we have no choice. We know what we want the world to be. We know what it should look and feel like. And we know it is not the world in which we live today. I know I’d love to change the world but I don’t know how and so I’ll leave it up to you. And so we continue to move forward down this path, each step uneasy as though something ungood is lurking just around the next corner.

We are able to put that feeling out of our minds for the most part but our subconscious is always aware that things are off. We have all kinds of self help books and new age theories that attempt to make sense of it all and explain why we just aren t happy the way we envision happy should be. Perhaps the only reality is the reality that the world isn’t what we had hoped it would be and we don’t know how to make that right. I’d love to say that if we just stand up and do the right thing, act from our hearts and have good intentions that it could change the world. But quite honestly there are ill-intentioned people that are constructing this new world in which we sub-exist.It is them and us, but they’d never say it that way. Certainly though their intention is not for us to co-exist along side them.

But so we carry on and we, move forward, to the best of our abilities. We accept the good with the bad and acknowledge that everything is a trade off. We believe that if we go to college we stand a better chance in life and so we borrow our first 10 years of post college wages to get an edge over the next guy who is doing the same. When we get out of school we know that it is time to buckle down and get serious. We put our lives on hold in order to focus on the future with the idea that one day we will be sitting on the porch with the person we love, the one we put on hold for all those years, and we will then enjoy our life’s work then.

But then we get further in debt because we need a sleeker car and we need a bigger house but it’s ok because we can just work a little more. And then the kids come and as far as we got to know them they are great, I think. But it’s ok because they just finished college and now they’ve moved back in as the job market is tough out there and so we’re paying off their student loans. Eventually they get away and begin their life’s journey and they take their debt with them. And then we realize, god I’m almost 60. But it feels great because that means soon I’ll be there on the porch getting to know the one I love again and life will be grand at that point.

But then we turn 65 and we realize all those policies that were implemented by all those well-intentioned decision makers have actually left us with very little. And we say it’s ok because we’d be bored anyway just sitting on the porch. And so we take a job waving at people in Walmart but feel like OMG how did I get here. But the shift ends and we go home anxious to spend time with the one we love because, although it’s a terrible thought, we are aware we’re both getting long in the tooth. And so we arrive home only to realize the one we love is now sick and that it’s too late for our days sitting on the porch getting to know each other again. We do everything we can but we cannot afford to help that person who stood quietly behind us all those years as healthcare costs are unrealistically out of touch with reality. And then it hits us that despite taking all the right steps to ensure we have a great life we failed to ever really be happy, to really love and to really accept love. And then it really hits us, this world provides but one shot.

Well, then that feeling of uneasy discontent that shadowed us when we were young is now an intense pain in our heart. And we look out at the world and we ask ourselves how could this have happened? I did everything they told me I was supposed to do, I did everything right! And it becomes clear that life was a chance to change the world, but we didn’t know what to do, and so we left it up to…”
Ten Years After, "I'd Love to Change the World" (1971)

"We Are Out Of Gas"

Full screen recommended.
Dan, I Allegedly 7/1/23
"We Are Out Of Gas"
"From one day to the next everything changes. Yesterday we were told that we were not going to enter Recession. Now we’re told that it’s inevitable, and that things are crumbling all around us."
Comments here:
"Know what's weird? Day by day, nothing seems to change,
but pretty soon... everything's different."
- Calvin, from "Calvin and Hobbes"

"How It Really Is"


Jim Kunstler, "Childhood’s End"

"Childhood’s End"
by Jim Kunstler

“When you’re born you get a ticket to the freak show.
When you’re born in America, you get a front row seat.”
– George Carlin

"The phoniest trope in American life goes like this: We must find the cause of X so that it never happens again. Of course, it will happen again. We only pretend that the cause is a mystery. Let’s count the ways that school massacres happen.

American schools are fantastically depressing places. They are designed to look like medium security prisons and insecticide factories. They send the message: Enter here and be psychologically brutalized. They are too big, overwhelmingly alienating, ugly, devoid of visible symbolism signaling the value of being human. The interiors of the schools are designed for the convenience of janitors, hard surfaces of tile and linoleum that can be hosed down easily like the quarters of zoo animals. Children act accordingly.

The “facilities,” as we call them, are deployed in the illegible landscape of a demolition derby, separated from all the other activities of daily life, which themselves have reached a culminating state of meaninglessness: big box shopping, national chain franchise food installations, strip malls of empty storefronts, parking lot wastelands, nothing that will excite a child’s imagination with emotions other than bewilderment, anxiety, and aversion.

The “teaching” that supposedly goes on in schools is a broken remnant of preparation for an economy that no longer exists. We’re no longer a society of people who do things, but rather a society of people to whom things are done, many of them harmful, humiliating, and arbitrary. America’s demoralized teaching corps is so unhinged by their own anomie that they resort to imposing sadistic fantasies on the children in their charge.

Thus, all the inappropriate curricula around adult preoccupations with sex, such as the Drag Queen Story Hour, for which mentally ill men are invited to act-out impersonations of women-as-monsters for young people who can’t possibly be expected to make sense of the spectacle. (I suspect that even six-year-olds, hard-wired to function as successful animals in this world, understand it as some kind of affront to reality.) Otherwise, American teachers are out of ideas, and are themselves damaged by the same forces in culture that they are now asked to direct.

America has become a malfunctioning pageant without feasible roles that children can realistically project themselves into. What ten-year-old longs to become the Burger King fry-o-later boss in a brown apron and an asinine cardboard crown? Rather, they are prompted to aspire to become sports star millionaires, of which there are perhaps fewer than 5,000 positions in a land of 340-million. By age twelve, they probably comprehend the unlikelihood of that outcome, or of becoming the next Kardashian… or Spiderman. (Superheroes are supplied by the entertainment cartels to occupy the imaginative realm of children because American culture is bereft of reality-based roles worth aspiring to.)

In this tumult of cultural impoverishment, psychotic grandiosity creeps in. Be big if you can’t be anything else. Hence, one achievable role for young persons in American life is mass murderer. It is a way of becoming important, of having an effect on other people and society in general. Your name may be forgotten, but the act itself will endure in the collective memory of a people. It will be some kind of a mark in history, even better remembered, perhaps, than whoever played third-base for the Atlanta Braves in 1994… or the woman who once capered down the red carpet at the Oscars in a dress fashioned on a slaughtered swan.

The mayhem unleashed in a school shooting is just the rectified essence of the manifold derangements in our national life. Everything is out-of-whack, including our perception of what’s going on and what it means. There is almost nothing left of childhood in this land, in the way of young, unformed creatures assisted by adults who love them into a future worth being part of. We have forgotten how to be grateful for having come into this world at all, leaving us unworthy of being here. The quality of virtue, meaning that some things and some doings are recognizably better than others was deceitfully replaced by the equity of nothing being allowed to be better than anything else. Truth and beauty have gone outlaw. Bad faith and wickedness rule, led by the Party of Chaos. So, really, what do you expect? And what do you deserve?"

"America Has Just Destroyed a Great Empire"

"America Has Just Destroyed a Great Empire"
by Michael Hudson

Herodotus (History, Book 1.53) tells the story of Croesus, king of Lydia c. 585-546 BC in what is now Western Turkey and the Ionian shore of the Mediterranean. Croesus conquered Ephesus, Miletus and neighboring Greek-speaking realms, obtaining tribute and booty that made him one of the richest rulers of his time. But these victories and wealth led to arrogance and hubris. Croesus turned his eyes eastward, ambitious to conquer Persia, ruled by Cyrus the Great.

Having endowed the region’s cosmopolitan Temple of Delphi with substantial silver and gold, Croesus asked its Oracle whether he would be successful in the conquest that he had planned. The Pythia priestess answered: “If you go to war against Persia, you will destroy a great empire.”

Croesus therefore set out to attack Persia c. 547 BC. Marching eastward, he attacked Persia’s vassal-state Phrygia. Cyrus mounted a Special Military Operation to drive Croesus back, defeating Croesus’s army, capturing him and taking the opportunity to seize Lydia’s gold to introduce his own Persian gold coinage. So Croesus did indeed destroy a great empire, but it was his own.

Fast-forward to today’s drive by the Biden administration to extend American military power against Russia and, behind it, China. The president asked for advice from today’s analogue to antiquity’s Delphi oracle: the CIA and its allied think tanks. Instead of warning against hubris, they encouraged the neocon dream that attacking Russia and China would consolidate U.S. control of the world economy, achieving the End of History.

Having organized a coup d’état in Ukraine in 2014, the United States sent its NATO proxy army eastward, giving weapons to Ukraine to fight an ethnic war against its Russian-speaking population and turn Russia’s Crimean naval base into a NATO fortress. This Croesus-level ambition aimed at drawing Russia into combat and depleting its ability to defend itself, wrecking its economy in the process and destroying its ability to provide military support to China and other countries targeted for seeking self-dependency as an alternative to U.S. hegemony.

After eight years of provocation, a new military attack on Russian-speaking Ukrainians was conspicuously prepared, ready to drive toward the Russian border in February 2022. Russia protected its fellow Russian-speakers from further ethnic violence by mounting its own Special Military Operation. The United States and its NATO allies immediately seized Russia’s foreign-exchange reserves held in Europe and North America, and demanded that all countries impose sanctions against importing Russian energy and grain, hoping that this would crash the ruble’s exchange rate. The Delphic State Department expected that this would cause Russian consumers to revolt and overthrow Vladimir Putin’s government, enabling U.S. maneuvering to install a client oligarchy like the one it had nurtured in the 1990s under President Yeltsin.

A byproduct of this confrontation with Russia has been to lock in America’s control over its Western European satellites. The aim of this intra-NATO jockeying was to foreclose Europe’s dream of profiting from closer trade and investment relations with Russia by exchanging its industrial manufactures for Russian raw materials. The United States derailed that prospect by blowing up the Nord Stream gas pipelines, cutting off Germany and other countries from access to low-priced Russian gas. That left Europe’s leading economy dependent on higher-cost U.S. Liquified Natural Gas (LNG).

In addition to having to subsidize domestic European gas to prevent widespread insolvency, a large proportion of German Leopard tanks, U.S. Patriot missiles and other NATO “wonder weapons” are being destroyed in combat against the Russian army. It has become clear that the U.S. strategy is not simply to “fight to the last Ukrainian,” but to fight to the last tank, missile and other weapon being deleted from NATO stocks.

This depletion of NATO’s arms was expected to create a vast replacement market to enrich America’s military-industrial complex. Its NATO customers are being told to increase their military spending to 3 or even 4 percent of GDP. But the weak performance of U.S. and German arms on the Ukrainian battlefield may have crashed this dream, while Europe’s economies are sinking into depression. And with Germany’s industrial economy deranged by the severing of its trade with Russia, German Finance Minister Christian Lindner told the Die Welt newspaper on June 16, 2023 that his country cannot afford to pay more money into the European Union budget, to which it has long been the largest contributor.

Without German exports supporting the euro’s exchange rate, the currency will come under pressure against the dollar as Europe buys LNG and NATO replenishes its depleted weaponry stocks by buying new arms from America. A lower exchange rate will squeeze the purchasing power of European labor, while lowering social spending to pay for rearmament and provide gas subsidies is plunging the continent into a depression.

A nationalist reaction against U.S. dominance is rising throughout European politics, and instead of America locking in its control over European policy, the United States may end up losing – not only in Europe but most crucially throughout the Global South. Instead of turning Russia’s “ruble to rubble” as President Biden promised, Russia’s balance of trade has soared and its gold supply has increased. So have the gold holdings of other countries whose governments are now aiming to de-dollarize their economies.

It is American diplomacy that is driving Eurasia and the Global South out of the U.S. orbit. America’s hubristic drive for unipolar world dominance could only have been dismantled so rapidly from within. The Biden-Blinken-Nuland administration has done what neither Vladimir Putin nor Chinese President Xi could have hoped to achieve in so short a period. Neither was prepared to throw down the gauntlet and create an alternative to the U.S.-centered world order. But U.S. sanctions against Russia, Iran, Venezuela and China have had the effect of protective tariff barriers to force self-sufficiency in what EU diplomat Josep Borrell calls the world “jungle” outside of the US/NATO “garden.”

Although the Global South and other countries have been complaining about U.S. dominance ever since the Bandung Conference of Non-Aligned Nations in 1955, they have lacked a critical mass to create a viable alternative. But their attention has now been focused by the U.S. confiscation of Russia’s official dollar reserves in NATO countries. That dispelled the thought of the dollar as a safe vehicle in which to hold international savings. The Bank of England’s earlier seizure of Venezuela’s gold reserves kept in London – promising to donate them to whatever unelected opponents of its socialist regime U.S. diplomats designate – shows how sterling and the euro as well as the dollar have been weaponized. And by the way, what ever happened to Libya’s gold reserves?

American diplomats avoid thinking about this scenario. They rely to the one unique advantage the United States has to offer. It may refrain from bombing them, from staging a color revolution to “Pinochet” them by the National Endowment for Democracy, or install a new “Yeltsin” giving the economy away to a client oligarchy.

But refraining from such behavior is all that America can offer. It has de-industrialized its own economy, and its idea of foreign investment is to carve out monopoly-rent seeking opportunities by concentrating technological monopolies and control of oil and grain trade in U.S. hands, as if this is economic efficiency, not rent-seeking.

What has occurred is a change in consciousness. We are seeing the Global Majority trying to create an independent and peacefully negotiated choice as to just what kind of an international order they want. Their aim is not merely to create alternatives to the use of dollars, but an entire new set of institutional alternatives to the IMF and World Bank, the SWIFT bank clearing system, the International Criminal Court and the entire array of institutions that U.S. diplomats have hijacked from the United Nations.

The upshot will be civilizational in scope. We are seeing not the End of History but a fresh alternative to U.S.-centered neoliberal finance capitalism and its junk economics of privatization, class war against labor, and the idea that money and credit should be privatized in the hands of a narrow financial class instead of being a public utility to finance economic needs and rising living standards.

The irony is that America’s historical role has been that although it itself was not able to lead the world forward along these lines, its attempts to lock the world into an antithetical imperial system by conquering Russia on the plains of Ukraine and trying to isolate China’s technology from breaking the U.S. attempt at IT monopoly have been the great catalysts pushing the global majority along these lines."

"My 'Massive Shopping Haul' At Kroger! Saved $80 Doing This, Extreme Couponing!"

Full screen recommended.
Adventures With Danno, 7/1/23
"My 'Massive Shopping Haul' At Kroger!
 Saved $80 Doing This, Extreme Couponing!"
"In today's vlog, we are at Kroger and are showing our massive grocery haul and how we saved over $80 by doing some extreme couponing. Grocery prices keep rising all around the world, and we are showing some techniques we use on how you can save the most money possible!"
Comments here:

Friday, June 30, 2023

"It Strikes Me..."

“It goes against the American storytelling grain to have someone in a situation he can’t get out of, but I think this is very usual in life. There are people, particularly dumb people, who are in terrible trouble and never get out of it, because they’re not intelligent enough. It strikes me as gruesome and comical that in our culture we have an expectation that man can always solve his problems. This is so untrue that it makes me want to cry - or laugh.”
- Kurt Vonnegut

"Emergency Update: Russia 'Evacuating' Nuclear Plant On July 5, Ukraine Planning 'Special Event' Article 5"

Canadian Prepper, 6/30/23
"Emergency Update: Russia 'Evacuating' Nuclear 
Plant On July 5, Ukraine Planning 'Special Event' Article 5"
Comments here:
“The crucified planet Earth,
should it find a voice and a sense of irony,
might now well say of our abuse of it,
"Forgive them, Father, they know not what they do."
The irony would be that we know what we are doing.

When the last living thing has died on account of us,
how poetical it would be if Earth could say,
in a voice floating up perhaps
from the floor of the Grand Canyon,
"It is done. People did not like it here.”
- Kurt Vonnegut

Stipendium peccati mors est...

Scott Ritter, "Ukraine: The Impregnable Defense"

Scott Ritter, "Ukraine: The Impregnable Defense"
Comments here:

Greg Hunter, "Weekly News Wrap-Up 6/30/23"

"Weekly News Wrap-Up 6/30/23"
Fake Trump Recording, Bidenomics Tanking, Smoke Poison
by Greg Hunter’s

"Could the Trump phone call being leaked to CNN be an AI fake? Some say yes, and today’s AI technology would make it easy to do. Remember all the evil Deep State made up on Trump and the so-called Russian collusion? There was the fake “Dossier,” fraudulent spy warrants and FBI and DOJ lying at every turn. Pulling off an AI fake audio recording of Trump admitting guilt is outrageous and should be investigated thoroughly. I want to see and hear the original recording playing on the original recording device that was used. I think they are just making it all up - again.

They have a new name for Biden’s dismal economy, and that is “Bidenomics.” Does the Biden Administration think the economy is going so well it needs the name of the cheated-in President? According to a recent NBC poll, 74% of Americans think the country is going in the wrong direction, and only 20% think it’s going the right way. Remember, this is NBC of the Lying Legacy Media, and that’s the best they can make this look? It’s looking dismal, and people think the economy is getting worse, not better. Meanwhile, Fed Head Jay Powell says he is raising rates again and again by the end of the year. That should help the economy.

The fires that are burning over a large part of Eastern Canada and the Northeast have spread to the Midwest. Severe toxic smoke is causing breathing problems in Chicago and elsewhere. Some are saying the smoke is not just wood smoke, other dangerous chemicals are in it. Are people trying to poison us at every turn? How can these fires start all at once if someone or some group is not coordinating setting these fires?" There is much more in the 54-minute newscast.
Join Greg Hunter on Rumble as he talks about these
 stories and more in the Weekly News Wrap-Up for 6/30/23.

"Walmart Is Now A Luxury; Dollar Stores Conquer America As The Consumer Taps Out"

Jeremiah Babe, 6/30/23
"Walmart Is Now A Luxury; 
Dollar Stores Conquer America As The Consumer Taps Out"
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"20 Items To Stock Up On Before They Disappear From Retail Stores"

Full screen recommended.
"20 Items To Stock Up On Before They 
Disappear From Retail Stores"
by Epic Economist

"Seasonal demand is rapidly shifting and now the price and availability of certain products at our local grocery stores is going to face a dramatic change. Now it's time to check our pantries and see which items are running low before retailers introduce another wave of price hikes due to dwindling inventories.

Many of our favorite beverages, snacks, and everyday essentials will become harder to find as shoppers rush to the stores and start stocking up for colder months and the holidays. For example, demand for prescription and flu medication tends to go up during the winter, and so do prices. That means that now is the best time to stock up on essential medications before shortages and higher prices hit US drugstores in the coming months. Many commonly used medications are currently in short supply, causing a lot of stress for patients and medical staff. In some cases, unexpectedly stopping a prescribed medication can lead to detrimental health effects. Adderall, for instance, is a stimulant—which means patients can experience harsh withdrawals if they suddenly interrupt their treatment. Over the summer, you can still find sales and promotional prices on other pharmacy goods, but a few months from now, shelves will be barer and you may have to pay a lot more for these same products. So start preparing now because later it will be far more expensive.

Beans are incredibly nutritious and typically sold in two forms on grocery shelves – dried in bags and cooked in cans. They’re an important source of fiber, protein, and antioxidants, and extremely versatile. There’s probably no better inflation-resistant food than dry beans. Although they’re not a very popular item at stores because of the long preparation time if stored properly they can last for decades, and they can be much cheaper than canned beans, which are also a great choice because they’re ready to go. According to data from the U.S. Agriculture Department, beans were the only commodity in the grain category that decreased in price in 2023, falling by 8.3% in May. With price increases expected to hit all food categories in the second half of the year, stocking up on beans now will be worth the investment when everything else starts to get more expensive in the months ahead.

If you have been shopping at the produce aisle lately, chances are you’re experiencing some serious sticker shock. Last year’s production of fruits and vegetables faced massive losses due to extreme weather events, and now fewer supplies are being sent to grocery stores and prices are skyrocketing. Expect to see this trend worsening during the winter, especially as seasonal demand picks up, and people prepare for weather emergencies. That’s why stocking up on canned veggies now is the smart thing to do. If you have any coupons or find sales at your local store, buy some for now and save some for later. In chains such as ShopRite, Costco, and Aldi, those $10 bucks you would spend on fast food could actually buy you up to 15 cans of veggies, which you could use to create dozens of meals while saving some cash.

Getting ready in advance can help you in many ways that go beyond the monetary benefit. You can assess your family's needs and gradually start stockpiling in the way that works for you. Check out for sales both at physical and online stores, and don't forget to shop consciously! The best way to beat inflation is to stay ahead of it, and when you know better, you can do better too. For that reason, today, we listed some of the supplies that are worth stocking up on right now before shelves get emptier."
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A Blues Musical Interlude: "Make it Rain"

Foy Vance, "Make it Rain"
The original, Ed Sheeran's version is the cover.

Ed Sheeran, "Make it Rain"

"A Look to the Heavens"

“Magnificent island universe NGC 2403 stands within the boundaries of the long-necked constellation Camelopardalis. Some 10 million light-years distant and about 50,000 light-years across, the spiral galaxy also seems to have more than its fair share of giant star forming HII regions, marked by the telltale reddish glow of atomic hydrogen gas. The giant HII regions are energized by clusters of hot, massive stars that explode as bright supernovae at the end of their short and furious lives.
A member of the M81 group of galaxies, NGC 2403 closely resembles another galaxy with an abundance of star forming regions that lies within our own local galaxy group, M33 the Triangulum Galaxy. Spiky in appearance, bright stars in this colorful galaxy portrait of NGC 2403 lie in the foreground, within our own Milky Way.”

Chet Raymo, “At Home In An Infinite Universe”

“At Home In An Infinite Universe”
by Chet Raymo

“They are questions that bedeviled thinkers for thousands of years: Is the universe infinite or finite, eternal or of a finite age?  It is certainly hard to imagine a universe that extends without limit in every direction, or a universe without a beginning or end. It is equally difficult to imagine a finite universe; what is beyond the edge? Or a beginning or end in time; how can something come from nothing? how can what is cease to be?

The problems are so intractable philosophically that their resolution has generally been left to the theologians, which from a philosophical (or scientific) perspective offers no solution at all. Giordano Bruno was burned at the stake for proposing a philosophical resolution (an infinite universe) that offended theology.

An escape from befuddlement is provided by Einstein's theory of general relativity, which- for example- can describe a finite universe without a boundary, as the "two-dimensional" surface of a sphere is finite and without an edge. Unfortunately, multi-dimensional curved space-time is so counterintuitive that it is difficult to get one's head around it without mastery of the mathematics. Given a choice between the ancient myths of your local preacher and the obtuse mathematics of the physics professor, it's not hard to guess what most folks will opt for.

Meanwhile, I'm reading a meditation on infinity by physics professor Anthony Aguirre, in a collection of essays called "Future Science." He discusses contemporary cosmological theories based on general relativity, and in particular the rehabilitation of the idea of an infinite and eternal universe, or, more precisely, that our universe might be just one of an infinity of infinite universes. He writes in conclusion: “What seems clear, however, is that infinity can no longer be safely ignored; beautifully constructed, empirically supported, self-consistent theories have brought infinity from idle curiosity to central player in contemporary cosmology. And if correct, the worldview these theories represent constitutes a perspective shift unlike any other: in comparison to the universe, we would be not just small but strictly zero. Well, I can't imagine many folks racing to embrace that conclusion.

Oh, but wait. Aguirre adds one final sentence: "Yet here we are, contemplating- if not quite understanding- it all.”
Full screen recommended.
 Vangelis, “Cosmos: A Tour of the Universe”

"The Illusion Of Freedom..."

“The illusion of freedom will continue as long as it’s profitable to continue the illusion. At the point where the illusion becomes too expensive to maintain, they will just take down the scenery, they will pull back the curtains, they will move the tables and chairs out of the way and you will see the brick wall at the back of the theater.”
- Frank Zappa

"It was strange, she thought, to obtain news by means of nothing but denials, as if existence had ceased, facts had vanished and only the frantic negatives uttered by officials and columnists gave any clue to the reality they were denying."
- "Atlas Shrugged," Ayn Rand, 1957
"If you saw Atlas, the giant who holds the world on his shoulders, if you saw that he stood, blood running down his chest, his knees buckling, his arms trembling but still trying to hold the world aloft with the last of his strength, and the greater his effort the heavier the world bore down upon his shoulders - what would you tell him to do?"
"I... don't know. What could he do? What would you tell him?"
"To shrug."
- Ayn Rand, “Atlas Shrugged"
"Then you will see the rise of the men of the double standard - the men who live by force, yet count on those who live by trade to create the value of their looted money - the men who are the hitchhikers of virtue. In a moral society, these are the criminals, and the statutes are written to protect you against them. But when a society establishes criminals-by-right and looters-by-law - men who use force to seize the wealth of disarmed victims - then money becomes its creators' avenger. Such looters believe it safe to rob defenseless men, once they've passed a law to disarm them. But their loot becomes the magnet for other looters, who get it from them as they got it. Then the race goes, not to the ablest at production, but to those most ruthless at brutality. When force is the standard, the murderer wins over the pickpocket. And then that society vanishes, in a spread of ruins and slaughter.

Do you wish to know whether that day is coming? Watch money. Money is the barometer of a society's virtue. When you see that trading is done, not by consent, but by compulsion - when you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing - when you see that money is flowing to those who deal, not in goods, but in favors - when you see that men get richer by graft and by pull than by work, and your laws don't protect you against them, but protect them against you - when you see corruption being rewarded and honesty becoming a self-sacrifice - you may know that your society is doomed."
An excerpt from “Atlas Shrugged,” by Ayn Rand.
Full text of “Francisco’s Money Speech” is here:

Freely download "Atlas Shrugged", by Ayn Rand, here:

The Daily "Near You?"

Campton Lower Village, New Hampshire, USA.
Thanks for stopping by!

"Ukraine: They've All Been Killed, It's Over"- Col. Douglas MacGregor

Full screen recommended.
Redacted, 6/30/23
"Ukraine: They've All Been Killed, It's Over"
- Col. Douglas MacGregor
"The New York Times reports that Ukraine failed to take advantage of the political chaos in Russia this weekend. They couldn't mount so much as a raid on an artillery battery while Putin was dealing with a so-called "coup". Now Putin has a big decision to make either continue to slow grind down Ukraine's final defenses or unleash a massive invasion with the full weight of the Russian army. It seems sentiment leans towards the second option. We ask Colonel Douglas MacGregor what he thinks about it."
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Bill Bonner, "Towns Down"

"Towns Down"
The plight of America's cities and what it portends 
for the once affluent heart of commerce...
by Bill Bonner

"I’d rather be dead than in Philadelphia."
~ W.C. Fields

Paris, France - "Zombies shuffle along the streets. Broken windows. Trash blowing through the allies. Abandoned buildings. Deep holes in the pavement. Are we describing Bakhmut? Baltimore? Or all America’s major cities 30 years from now? This week, we’ve seen that the big cities have been hit hard…by incompetent and parasitic local governments that have turned them into infernos of crime, filth, sloth, and insolvency…by federal programs that create anti-poverty bureaucracies, welfare-dependent citizens…and a thriving illegal drug trade…by the covid lockdown, which normalized working remotely…by the Fed’s fake low interest rates - which pushed up home prices to levels where the middle class couldn’t afford them…and now, by higher interest rates which make it hard to refinance urban commercial property…But wait. There’s more.

Where the Money Was: Arriving at London’s St. Pancras station, we stood in line for 45 minutes to get a taxi. Then, it took nearly another half hour to get to the office…weaving through heavy traffic…and frequently halted by road construction crews. Air travel can be worse. It can take as long to get through a big airport as it does to get to it. If you’ve ever flown through London Heathrow airport, you know what a nightmare it can be. The place is huge. Good luck finding the parking lot. And how long does it take to get from one side of LA to the other? Buenos Aires? São Paulo?

Cities arose naturally. They were centers of transportation, trade, commerce, manufacturing, crime, corruption, finance and entertainment. Most are situated on trade routes or have convenient harbors. They were handy places to send products to market. As they grew, they benefited from the ‘network effect.’ You were in close contact with others – producers and consumers – so it was easy to make deals…to learn…and to innovate. Cities were where the money was – including the government mints and tax offices. Ambitious people hastened thither.

Typically, people are better looking and more fit in chic urban areas than they are in the countryside. Economic and social opportunities draw the best-looking men and women…the richest entrepreneurs…the smartest writers and inventors…the most famous actors…the most powerful politicians - everybody who is anybody - to the urban zip codes.

Diminishing Returns: But as cities grew, problems grew too. Traffic slowed. It became hard to find a parking place. Real estate prices rose. And bigness – which used to be an advantage – worked against them. The traffic congestion was eased by putting trains underground. But property prices continued to rise. Exchanging goods and services became more difficult. Trucks slowed down. And the cost of doing business increased.

In Paris, for example, farmers used to bring their produce into the famous ‘night market’ at Les Halles. It was a jolly place, where you could go at all hours of the night to drink, eat or just pass the time. Piles of cabbages…prostitutes…animal carcasses…the smell of onion soup…truck drivers, porters, restaurant owners – the place was a delight. By a stroke of luck, we were there on the jolliest…and saddest night of all…the night they closed it down. Parisians bid farewell to the night market with singing and dancing in the streets until the morning. “Those were the days, my friend,” was heard from every bar and street-corner.

Cometh the World Improvers: But the night market had to face the harsh light of big city growth. Even at night, Paris couldn’t handle the delivery trucks coming into the city. The market had to be moved to the suburbs. Old industries, generally, either closed up…or moved out. Retailers moved to suburban malls – with parking! What was left were the ‘suits’ – insurance, finance, medical care, government, universities. These were ‘knowledge workers’ who could do their jobs remotely.

And now, big cities face a whole new threat: the world improvers! There is an ideological movement afoot to abandon the big cities in favor of smaller, better organized communities that will presumably be more energy efficient. Part of the plan for the ‘Great Transition,’ from fossil fuel to ‘clean’ energy, involves getting people to live in “15 minute cities.” The idea is that people should never be more than a 15-minute walk from schools, work, shops and entertainment.

In order to get everyone concentrated enough to stay within the 15-min. border, we are all supposed to live in simple, functional apartments…eat food grown locally (how this is to be done has never been clarified)…and keep a bicycle available for longer commutes. How it will turn out, we don’t know any better than anyone else. But looked at from almost any direction – political, financial, or economic – big city real estate looks like a bad investment."