“What makes this spiral galaxy so long? Measuring over 700,000 light years across from top to bottom, NGC 6872, also known as the Condor galaxy, is one of the most elongated barred spiral galaxies known.
The galaxy's protracted shape likely results from its continuing collision with the smaller galaxy IC 4970, visible just above center. Of particular interest is NGC 6872's spiral arm on the upper left, as pictured here, which exhibits an unusually high amount of blue star forming regions. The light we see today left these colliding giants before the days of the dinosaurs, about 300 million years ago. NGC 6872 is visible with a small telescope toward the constellation of the Peacock (Pavo).”
“Here’s a deep-deep sky map of the universe from the March 9, 2006 issue of "Nature". The horizontal scale is a 360 view right around the sky; the vertical gaps at 6 hours and 24 hours are the parts of the universe that are blocked to our view by the disk of our own Milky Way Galaxy. The vertical scale – distance from Earth – is logarithmic (10, 100, 1000, etc.) measured in megaparsecs (a parsec equals 3.26 light-years). Across the top is the Big Bang, and the oldest and most distant thing we can see, the cosmic microwave background, the radiation of the Big Bang itself. A few relatively nearby galaxies are designated at the bottom. All that stuff in the middle that looks like smoke or dusty cobwebs are quasars and galaxies from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey.
A smoke of galaxies! (2 trillion galaxies according to latest estimates.- CP) A universe cobwebbed with Milky Ways! Each galaxy itself a smoke of stars, hundreds of billions of stars, many or all of them with planets. My book, “Walking Zero,” is about the human journey from the omphalos of our birth into the world of the galaxies, a journey many of us are disinclined to make. Here is how the Prologue to the book begins:
“Each of us is born at the center of the world. For nine months our physical selves are assembled molecule by molecule, cell by cell, in the dark covert of our mother’s womb. A single fertilized egg cell splits into two. Then four. Eight. Sixteen. Thirty-two. Ultimately, 50 trillion cells or so. At first, our future self is a mere blob of protoplasm. But slowly, ever so slowly, the blob begins to differentiate under the direction of genes. A symmetry axis develops. A head, a tail, a spine. At this point, the embryo might be that of a human, or a chicken, or a marmoset. Limbs form. Digits, with tiny translucent nails. Eyes, with papery lids. Ears pressed like flowers against the head. Clearly now a human. A nose, nostrils. Downy hair. Genitals.
As the physical self develops, so too a mental self takes shape, not yet conscious, not yet self-aware, knitted together as webs of neurons in the brain, encapsulating in some respects the evolutionary experience of our species. Instincts impressed by the genes. The instinct to suck, for example. Already, in the womb, the fetus presses its tiny fist against its mouth in anticipation of the moment when the mouth will be offered the mother’s breast. The child will not have to be taught to suck. Other inborn behaviors will express themselves later. Laughing. Crying. Striking out in anger. Loving.
What, if anything, goes on in the mind of the developing fetus we may never know. But this much seems certain: To the extent that the emerging self has any awareness of its surroundings, its world is coterminous with itself. We are not born with knowledge of the antipodes, the plains of Mars, or the far-flung realm of the galaxies. We are not born with knowledge of Precambrian seas, the supercontinent of Pangea, or the Age of Dinosaurs. We are born into a world scarcely older than ourselves and scarcely larger than ourselves. And we are at its center.
A human life is a journey into the grandeur of a universe that may contain more galaxies than there are cells in the human body, a universe in which the whole of a human lifetime is but a single tick of the cosmic clock. The journey can be disorienting; our first instincts are towards coziness, comfort, our mother’s enclosing arms, her breast. The journey, therefore, requires courage – for each individual, and for our species.
Uniquely of all animals, humans have the capacity to let our minds expand into the space and time of the galaxies. No other creatures can number the cells in their bodies, as we can, or count the stars. No other creatures can imagine the explosive birth of the observable universe 14 billion years ago from an infinitely hot, infinitely small seed of energy. That we choose to make this journey – from the all-sustaining womb into the vertiginous spaces and abyss of time – is the glory of our species, and perhaps our most frightening challenge.”
"International Man: The decline of Western Civilization is on a lot of people’s minds. Let’s talk about this trend.
Doug Casey: Western Civilization has its origins in ancient Greece. It’s unique among the world’s civilizations in putting the individual - as opposed to the collective - in a central position. It enshrined logic and rational thought - as opposed to mysticism and superstition - as the way to deal with the world. It’s because of this that we have science, technology, great literature and art, capitalism, personal freedom, the concept of progress, and much, much more. In fact, almost everything worth having in the material world is due to Western Civilization.
Ayn Rand once said "East minus West equals zero." I think she went a bit too far, as a rhetorical device, but she was essentially right. When you look at what the world’s other civilizations have brought to the party, at least over the last 2,500 years, it’s trivial. I lived in the Orient for years. There are many things I love about it - martial arts, yoga, and the cuisine among them. But all the progress they’ve made is due to adopting the fruits of the West.
International Man: There are so many things degrading Western Civilization. Where do we begin?
Doug Casey: It’s been said, correctly, that a civilization always collapses from within. World War 1, in 1914, signaled the start of the long collapse of Western Civilization. Of course, termites were already eating away at the foundations, with the writings of people like Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Karl Marx. It’s been on an accelerating downward path ever since, even though technology and science have been improving at a quantum pace. They are, however, like delayed action flywheels, operating on stored energy and accumulated capital. Without capital, intellectual freedom, and entrepreneurialism, science and technology will slow down. I’m optimistic we’ll make it to Kurzweil’s Singularity, but there are no guarantees.
Things also changed with the creation of the Federal Reserve in 1913. Before that, the US used gold coinage for money. "The dollar" was just a name for 1/20th of an ounce of gold. That is what the dollar was. Paper dollars were just receipts for gold on deposit in the Treasury. The income tax, enacted the same year, threw more sand in the gears of civilization. The world was much freer before the events of 1913 and 1914, which acted to put the State at the center of everything.
The Fed and the income tax are both disastrous and unnecessary things, enemies of the common man in every way. Unfortunately, people have come to believe they’re fixtures in the cosmic firmament. They’re the main reasons - there are many other reasons, though, unfortunately - why the average American’s standard of living has been dropping since the early 1970s. In fact, were it not for these things, and the immense amount of capital destroyed during the numerous wars of the last 100 years, I expect we’d have already colonized the moon and Mars. Among many other things.
But I want to re-emphasize that the science, the technology, and all the wonderful toys we have are not the essence of Western Civilization. They’re consequences of individualism, capitalism, rational thought, and personal freedom. It’s critical not to confuse cause and effect.
International Man: You mentioned that the average American’s standard of living has dropped since the early 1970s. This is directly related to the US government abandoning the dollar’s last link to gold in 1971. Since then, the Federal Reserve has been able to debase the US dollar without limit. I think the dollar’s transformation into a purely fiat currency has eroded the rule of law and morality in the US. It’s similar to what happened in the Roman Empire after it started debasing its currency. What do you think, Doug?
Doug Casey: All the world’s governments and central banks share a common philosophy, which drives these policies. They believe that you create economic activity by stimulating demand, and you stimulate demand by printing money. And, of course, it’s true, in a way. Roughly the same way a counterfeiter can stimulate a local economy.
Unfortunately, they ignore that, and completely ignore that the way a person or a society becomes wealthy is by producing more than they consume and saving the difference. That difference, savings, is how you create capital. Without capital you’re reduced to subsistence, scratching at the earth with a stick. These people think that by inflating - which is to say destroying - the currency, they can create prosperity. But what they’re really doing, is destroying capital: When you destroy the value of the currency, that discourages people from saving it. And when people don’t save, they can’t build capital, and the vicious cycle goes on.
This is destructive for civilization itself, in both the long term and the short term. The more paper money, the more credit, they create, the more society focuses on finance, as opposed to production. It’s why there are many times more people studying finance than science. The focus is increasingly on speculation, not production. Financial engineering, not mechanical, electrical, or chemical engineering. And lots of laws and regulations to keep the unstable structure from collapsing.
What keeps a truly civil society together isn’t laws, regulations, and police. It’s peer pressure, social opprobrium, moral approbation, and your reputation. These are the four elements that keep things together. Western Civilization is built on voluntarism. But, as the State grows, that’s being replaced by coercion in every aspect of society. There are regulations on the most obscure areas of life. As Harvey Silverglate pointed out in his book, the average American commits three felonies a day. Whether he’s caught and prosecuted is a subject of luck and the arbitrary will of some functionary. That’s antithetical to the core values of Western Civilization.
International Man: Speaking of ancient civilizations like Rome, interest rates are just coming off the the lowest levels they’ve been in 5,000 years of recorded history. Trillions of dollars’ worth of government bonds trade at negative yields. Of course, this couldn’t happen in a free market. It’s only possible because of central bank manipulation. How will artificially low interest rates affect the collapse of Western Civilization?
Doug Casey: It’s really, really serious. I previously thought it was metaphysically impossible to have negative interest rates but, in the Bizarro World central banks have created, it’s happened.
Negative interest rates discourage saving. Once again, saving is what builds capital. Without capital you wind up as an empty shell - Rome in 450 A.D., or Detroit today - lots of wonderful but empty buildings and no economic activity. Worse, it forces people to desperately put their money in all manner of idiotic speculations in an effort to stay ahead of inflation. They wind up chasing the bubbles the funny money creates.
Let me re-emphasize something: in order for science and technology to advance you need capital. Where does capital come from? It comes from people producing more than they consume and saving the difference. Debt, on the other hand, means you’re living above your means. You’re either consuming the capital others have saved, or you’re mortgaging your future.
Zero and negative interest rate policies, and the creation of money out of nowhere, are actually destructive of civilization itself. It makes the average guy feel that he’s not in control of his own destiny. He starts believing that the State, or luck, or Allah will provide for him. That attitude is typical of people from backward parts of the world - not Western Civilization.
International Man: What does it say about the economy and society that people work so hard to interpret what officials from the Federal Reserve and other central banks say?
Doug Casey: It’s a shameful waste of time. They remind me of primitives seeking the counsel of witch doctors. One hundred years ago, the richest people in the country - the Rockefellers, the Carnegies, and such - made their money creating industries that actually made stuff. Now, the richest people in the country just shuffle money around. They get rich because they’re close to the government and the hydrant of currency materialized by the Federal Reserve. I’d say it’s a sign that society in the US has become quite degraded.
The world revolves much less around actual production, but around guessing the direction of financial markets. Negative interest rates are creating bubbles, and will eventually result in an economic collapse.
International Man: Negative interest rates are essentially a tax on savings. A lot of people would rather pull their money out of the bank and stuff it under a mattress than suffer that sting. The economic central planners know this. It’s why they’re using negative interest rates to ramp up the War on Cash - the push to eliminate paper currency and create a cashless society.
The banking system is very fragile. Banks don’t hold much paper cash. It’s mostly digital bytes on a computer. If people start withdrawing paper money en masse, it won’t take much to bring the whole system down. Their solution is to make accessing cash harder, and in some cases, illegal. That’s why the economic witch doctors at Harvard are pounding the table to get rid of the $100 bill. Take France, for example. It’s now illegal to make cash transactions over €1,000 without documenting them properly.
Negative interest rates have turbocharged the War on Cash. If the central planners win this war, it would be the final deathblow to financial privacy. How does this all relate to the collapse of Western Civilization?
Doug Casey: I believe the next step in their idiotic plan is to abolish cash. Decades ago they got rid of gold coinage, which used to circulate day to day in people’s pockets. Then they got rid of silver coinage. Now, they’re planning to get rid of cash altogether. So you won’t even have euros or dollars or pounds in your wallet anymore, or if you do, it will only be very small denominations. Everything else is going to have to be done through electronic payment processing.
This is a huge disaster for the average person: absolutely everything that you buy or sell, other than perhaps a candy bar or a hamburger, is going to have to go through the banking system. Thus, the government will be able to monitor every transaction and payment. Financial privacy, even what’s left of it today, will literally cease to exist.
Privacy is one of the big differences between a civilized society and a primitive society. In a primitive society, in your little dirt hut village, anybody can look through your window or pull back the flap on your tent. You have no privacy. Everybody can hear everything; see anything. This was one of the marvelous things about Western Civilization - privacy was valued, and respected. But that concept, like so many others, is on its way out…
International Man: You’ve mentioned before that language and words provide important clues to the collapse of Western Civilization. How so?
Doug Casey: Many of the words you hear, especially on television and other media, are confused, conflated, or completely misused. Many recent changes in the way words are used are corrupting the language. As George Orwell liked to point out, to control language is to control thought. The corruption of language is adding to the corruption of civilization itself. This is not a trivial factor in the degradation of Western Civilization.
Words - their exact meanings, and how they’re used are critically important. If you don’t mean what you say and say what you mean, then it’s impossible to communicate accurately. Forget about transmitting philosophical concepts.
Take for example shareholders and stakeholders. We all know that a shareholder actually owns a share in a company, but have you noticed that over the last generation shareholders have become less important than stakeholders? Even though stakeholders are just hangers-on, employees, or people who are looking to get in on a shakedown. But everybody slavishly acknowledges, "Yes, we’ve got to look out for the stakeholders." Where did that concept come from? It’s a recent creation, but Boobus americanus seems to think it was carved in stone at the country’s founding.
We’re told to protect them, as if they were a valuable and endangered species. I say, "A pox upon stakeholders." If they want a vote in what a company does, then they ought to become shareholders. Stakeholders are a class of being created out of nothing by Cultural Marxists for the purpose of shaking down shareholders."
Editor’s Note: This is going to be the most turbulent decade in US history…The 2020s will be more dangerous than the 1930s, the 1940s, and even the 1860s. That's because severe crises are brewing on multiple fronts and converging. The whole system will have a complete reset, and soon. It could be the BIGGEST thing since the founding of the USA."
"When are we going to wake up and admit that our system is failing? If close to half of our young adults find themselves needing to live with their parents, we have a major crisis on our hands. Yes, there are some young people that are simply lazy and don’t want to work hard enough. I definitely understand that. But most young adults in America today don’t actually want to live with their parents. Given the opportunity, they would love to have their own homes. Unfortunately, home prices have risen to absolutely absurd levels and housing in America is now more unaffordable than it has ever been before.
I feel so badly for the millions upon millions of young people that are struggling so much right now. We encourage them to pile up giant mountains of student loan debt without ever considering the consequences, and then once they get out into the real world they quickly discover that the cost of living has become extremely suffocating. As a result, vast numbers of young adults are finding that it is necessary to move back in with their parents…
Nearly half of all young adults are living with their parents - and they’re not ashamed to say it. Moving out and living on your own is often seen as a marker of adulthood. But dealt an onerous set of cards — including pandemic lockdowns, decades-high inflation, soaring student debt levels and a shaky job market - young people today are increasingly staying put. What’s more, it’s no longer seen as a sign of individual failure.
Needless to say, this is not a good thing for our society. The last time that such a high percentage of young adults were living with their parents was during the aftermath of the Great Depression…"These days, about 23 million, or 45%, of all Americans ages 18 to 29 are living with family, roughly the same level as the 1940s, a time when women were more likely to remain at home until marriage and men too were lingering on family farms in the aftermath of the Great Depression."
So why is this happening? One of the primary reasons why this is happening is because high interest rates have pushed housing costs to insane levels. This week, the average rate on a 30 year fixed mortgage reached 7.19 percent…"US mortgage rates remained flat this week, hovering over 7%, where they’ve been for six consecutive weeks as inflation pressures persist. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 7.19% in the week ending September 21, a tick up from 7.18% the week before, according to data from Freddie Mac released Thursday. A year ago, the 30-year fixed-rate was 6.29%.
“Mortgage rates continue to linger above 7% as the Federal Reserve paused their interest rate hikes,” Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist, said. “Given these high rates, housing demand is cooling off and now homebuilders are feeling the effect,” he said. “Builder sentiment declined for the first time in several months and construction levels have dipped to a three-year low, which could have an impact on the already low housing supply,” Khater added.
And this isn’t even going to be the peak. In fact, NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun is warning that “in the short run, it’s possible that mortgage rates may go up to 8%.” 8 percent?Are you kidding me? Even now, mortgage payments have escalated to absolutely crazy heights. Earlier this week, the following example was posted on Twitter by Amy Nixon…"This home sold in 2021 for $685,000. Buyer’s monthly payment? $3526. Buyer’s monthly payment today? $8402. “But wages went up!” “But people have cash now!” NO - THIS IS COMPLETE INSANITY. STOP PRETENDING IT IS NOT."
She is right. This is nuts. Only a very small percentage of the population can afford such monthly payments, and so millions of potential buyers are being sidelined. And millions of potential sellers are being sidelined as well, because most of them would need to purchase another home if the current home they are living in was sold. So the vast majority of us are trapped in our homes right now. Most of us simply cannot afford to move because the mortgage payments would be way too high.
Obviously, this is one of the main things that is greatly depressing home sales right now. Sales of previously owned homes declined again in August. If you can believe it, they were actually down a whopping 15.3 percent from the already depressed level that we witnessed in August 2022. If you want to thank someone, thank the officials at the Federal Reserve, because they created this mess.
Overall, Fannie Mae is projecting that this will be the worst year for home sales since 2011: "US home sales are headed for the biggest slowdown since 2011, according to Fannie Mae. The government-sponsored mortgage finance company forecasted total home sales to slump to just 4.8 million this year, marking the slowest sales environment since 2011. That figure will only improve slightly in 2024, with total home sales expected to hit 4.9 million, Fannie Mae economists said.
If our young adults cannot afford to purchase homes, at least they can afford to rent places to live, right? Wrong. In recent years, rents have skyrocketed all over the country. At this point, the national median asking rent in the U.S. is over $2,000 a month…"Landlords are continuing to ask near record-high rents amid a tight housing market, but tenants in some parts of the country are still finding deals, according to a new study from Redfin. The asking rent in August was $2,052, up slightly (0.7%) from just a month earlier when the asking rent was $2,038."
When I was a young adult, I remember renting an apartment for $300 a month. And I thought that was expensive. Unfortunately, I don’t see much help for our young people on the horizon. The Federal Reserve does not plan to cut interest rates any time soon. And it will be quite some time before housing prices decline enough to be considered “affordable”. So if you are a parent, please be patient with any young adults that you currently have living at home. Factors outside of their control have made housing more unaffordable than it has ever been before, and economic conditions are going to continue to get harsher all around us."
"They speculate that there are over 15,000 homeless vans and RVs parked in Los Angeles alone. These people rent these vans out and they do not run. They have no sanitation. They have no electricity and these people are living in squalor."
Biden Backlash, US Russia War, Economic Warning Signs
By Greg Hunter’s USAWatchdog.com
"This is the number that explains it all - 9.5% Biden approval rating. No, the Lying Legacy Media (LLM) will not tell you this, but the people at the top know the real approval rating and it’s 9.5%. My private sources that compute this number also are seeing a huge Biden backlash for everything from the Ukraine war, wide open borders, huge inflation, CV19 vax and being forced to think drag queens are really women. These are just a few of backlashes brewing and brewing big.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says, in no uncertain terms, that the “U.S. is waging war against Russia.” Let that sink in. When is the last time you heard this from a Russian Foreign Minister? NEVER. Lavrov is signaling there is a war coming if the U.S. does not stop funneling billions of dollars into Ukraine for unending war against Russia. (Probably a good chunk of that money is being returned to the swamp in kickbacks.) This week, Vice President Biden coughed up another $325 million for more war in Ukraine. Senators on both sides of the swamp have publicly stated this is “a good investment.” America is being run by corrupt, compromised morons, and the Ukraine war more than proves this.
Economic warning signs abound, and most Americans are sleepwalking into the Greatest Depression ever seen. The federal debt is unpayable, and it is now exploding at an exponential rate. America went another $1 trillion in the hole in the last three months alone. Congress cannot even debate the next budget, which is setting the country up for a government shutdown in 10 days. Meanwhile, Treasury income, according to the St. Louis Fed, is off by more than $100 billion in the last year alone. Something is very wrong with the finances of America. It’s not a question of if the wheels fall off but when. It could be sooner than many believe. This cannot go on forever."
"Russia accused the U.S. of planning to supply the 'most dangerous' weapons to Ukraine. Russia said that the U.S.' move comes to keep Kyiv's failed counteroffensive afloat. Moscow warned that supplying weapons to Kyiv would further escalate the war."
So we provide Ukraine with long range missiles and encourage them to strike targets in Russia, the missiles being guided by the US military controlled StarLink system. How is this not an act of war? We're just begging for a Russian preemptive first strike nuclear attack, and we deserve it, too...
"To some, it looks like a giant chicken running across the sky. To others, it looks like a gaseous nebula where star formation takes place. Cataloged as IC 2944, the Running Chicken Nebula spans about 100 light years and lies about 6,000 light years away toward the constellation of the Centaur (Centaurus).
The featured image, shown in scientifically assigned colors, was captured recently in a 12-hour exposure. The star cluster Collinder 249 is visible embedded in the nebula's glowing gas. Although difficult to discern here, several dark molecular clouds with distinct shapes can be found inside the nebula."
"I’ve never written anything before that made me want to go to a hospice and slap a bunch of old dying people, but this particular post led me there. I’ll explain. It’s okay, it’ll all make sense in the end. I’m a trained professional.
I have made many mistakes in my life. Most of them I don’t remember – they were small and didn’t have any consequences, or at least any consequences I’ve seen yet.
Then there were some slightly larger mistakes – let’s call them medium size mistakes. There have been consequences to these. Again, medium-sized mistakes most often lead to medium-sized consequences. A scar here (carve away from your thumb, not towards it), a stock gone to zero there (thanks a lot, Enron®) and one really bad car trade when I was 24 . . . medium-sized. Medium-sized mistakes are big enough for a big sting, but whatever permanent impacts there might be aren’t immediately fatal.
The biggest ones – I won’t give a laundry list of those. Most of those were where either passion, inexperience, a momentary lapse of character or judgement, or (worst of all) when all three contributed to a mistake. Some mistakes lasted longer, some were short. But all stung. The biggest include a marriage that led to divorce, underestimating a sociopathic boss, and wearing that white dress to my little sister’s wedding. I mean, I look fabulous in it, but some brides just have to be the center of attention. Also a bit weird because she wasn’t really my sister.
To put it bluntly, I am the author of almost every problem I have. If I didn’t cause the problem, I’m probably complicit in creating the problem or not dealing with the problem. But I don’t regret it. None of it. Not the victories, certainly, and not the failures. Why?
Life is a one-shot deal. And life is a ratchet. It only turns one way – we can’t take anything back. Regret isn’t a one-shot deal, though. If there’s anything that will burn a hole in your soul, it’s regret. Regret never comes alone – it brings guilt along for the ride.
If I were to dig more deeply into those feelings – regret and guilt are just ways that fear manifests itself. Fear of... what? Regret is a fear that the consequences of your choices or actions will impact you negatively, and cannot be changed. Here is a list of some of the common regrets from people on their deathbed (from a former palliative care nurse named Bronnie Ware, and, yes, I spelled that right – blame her parents, not me):
“I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”
“I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.”
“I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.”
“I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.”
“I wish that I had let myself be happier.”
Even a quick look at this list tells me one simple thing: regret is for losers. I have never seen a whinier pack of self-serving weakness since I last watched a Democratic presidential debate. Everything, absolutely everything on this “top five” list is just, well, sad.
Would you like to go to your grave worrying about any of those things? I can’t imagine doing it. I refuse to let regret rule me. And I refuse to let any decision I made twenty years ago rule me. Hell, I refuse to let any decision I made last week rule me, except for choosing that convenience store egg/muffin sandwich – I don’t need to explain why. Deal with the consequences? Certainly. But regret? No.
Let’s go down the “top five” list:
Not living a life “true to yourself”? I’ve never heard such nonsense in my life. I was talking with a guy the other day who quit his job because his boss asked him to do something illegal. That’s being true to yourself – he walked away without a paycheck but with his values and beliefs intact. If you’re not being true to yourself, you’re either weak or flighty. The good news? Anyone who reads this blog is neither.
Wishing you hadn’t “worked so hard”? That’s also nonsense. A soul thrives on doing good work that matters. Doing good work excellently is hard. The Mrs. teaches, and works hard at it – I can see from her talking about her students, talking about the ones who learned and improved, the ones who keep coming back to her classroom to report on their lives that her work matters. Working hard at work that matters is what makes us the best humans we can be. If you think you worked too hard, you weren’t doing anything worth doing. The good news? Change now. You have an entire lifetime to fix that mistake.
Didn’t have the “courage to express my feelings”? Wow. This is the weakest on the list, so far. Number one: do you have feelings that matter? Most feelings are stupid – and I have stupid feelings, too. Thankfully, I’m not a five year old – I am at least twelve. I get to examine my feelings and reject those that don’t reflect my values, my virtue, my beliefs. I get to choose. If I feel slighted by something silly or petty? I get to choose to understand what a fool I’m being and ignore that feeling. Again, if you don’t express your feelings, that’s not always a bad thing. Your feelings are often stupid.
I’m sorry that “staying in touch with your friends” was so hard. But it’s really not. The people you care about, that care about you, are there. They always have been, they always will be. I don’t Facebook® much – why? I call my friends, on an actual phone. I text my friends. Am I often the one that calls first? Sure. Do we develop different lives, does life pull us away for a while? Do hundreds or thousands of miles separate us? Maybe. But I make quite a few phone calls. And mostly my friends pick up. Sure, it’s true that the biggest miracle Jesus exhibited in the Bible was having 12, 11 close friends (thanks, Judas) after the age of thirty – but you just need a few – a few that will have your back. A few you can share with.
Seriously – number five on the list is a wish for “letting themselves be happier.” Happy is easy ("All You Will Ever Need To Read About How To Be Happy* (*Most of the Time")), being significant is hard. It requires hard work while being true to yourself. It requires expressing those feelings that your virtue allows to exist. Friends? The good ones will be with you forever, and you can restart your conversations with the slightest hint of time passing, even if you haven’t talked regularly in a decade, if they’re true friends.
I’ve never thought about going to a hospice and slapping someone, but this list made me want to do it. I know, I know, it’s too late for them. And this is the list of people who had regrets. People like me? I don’t have a single regret at this moment of my life. Not one. In a hospice, I hope I’d be the, “Regrets? No. More clam chowder, please,” guy.
To be clear – it’s not that I don’t care. It’s not that I’m not blameless. It’s not that I was always right. Not one of those things is true. But I have done the most important thing I can think of: When I do something I regret, I’ve changed myself so that I won’t ("Clintoncide", "John Bolton’s Waifu", and "October Market Crashes: Knock on Wood") do that thing again. I cannot change the past. But if I have learned, if I can help others not make the same mistakes while not repeating my own mistake? Like an algebra teacher for the soul, I have taken something negative and turned it into something positive. The bonus is I get to end the dreams of high school freshmen in the process.
And I’m not planning on having any regrets tomorrow. If you have regrets? Fix them now or recognize them for the dead weight they are and cut them loose. The alternative? Trust me, you don’t want to have me chasing you down in a hospice and slapping you silly."
“All of the available data show that the typical American citizen has about
as much interest in the life of the mind as does your average armadillo.”
- Morris Berman
“Think of how stupid the average person is,
and realize half of them are stupider than that.”
- George Carlin
"Are People Really Stupid?"
by Fred Russell
"On the face of things, judging from the general level of knowledge and understanding, not to mention the intellectual pursuits, of most of the human race one is tempted to say that the overwhelming majority of mankind lacks the intellectual capacity, the intelligence, to contribute to human progress. And it is in fact a very small elite that has carried us beyond Neanderthal Man, without whom, if the truth be told, we might still be living in caves. It is, in a word, appalling to contemplate the level at which ordinary people use their minds, what they read, if at all, what they watch on TV, the movies they go out and see, and the ease with which they are seduced and manipulated by the technicians of the psyche, namely, politicians and advertisers.
The impression one gets when contemplating these tens and hundreds of millions of people glued to their TV screens for the reality shows and sitcoms or fiddling with their smartphones from morning till night is of complete empty-headedness. This is not to say that such people cannot be shrewd, resourceful, or, for that matter, simply decent. It is to say that at the average level of intelligence displayed by the human race, the great intellectual achievements of mankind seem to be beyond the scope of the vast majority of men and women. But are people really stupid? And if they aren't, who or what has held them back?
Now one may be inclined to place all the blame for our ignorance on the television producers and gadget makers, but the truth is that by the time they get to us the damage has already been done. All they really succeed in doing is dragging us down a little further. The problem starts in childhood. It starts in the schools with all those empty cells waiting to be filled and no one, not entire educational systems, really knowing how to fill them. In fact, the opposite result is achieved. By the time the child finishes elementary school, unless he is destined to join the intellectual or scientific or economic or political elite and is self-motivated, as the saying goes, he will have developed an aversion to the learning process that will persist for the rest of his life.
It is not hard to understand why. School bores him, and oppresses him. Its premise, fostered in the West by the Church the virtually exclusive supplier of teachers until fairly recent times, historically speaking is that as a consequence of Original Sin all men are born evil and must therefore be coerced into doing what is good. The result has been rigidly structured frameworks where teachers hammer away at the captive child until his head is ready to explode. Within just a few years, the public school system thus destroys the natural curiosity of the child and dooms him to a life of total ignorance, dependent, for whatever sense of the world he does have, on second rate journalists, who themselves lack the knowledge, understanding, discipline and integrity to be historians or even novelists and therefore shape his perception like the ignorant clerics of the Middle Ages, raining down on his head a disjointed and superficial body of information presented largely to produce effects, and even this is beyond his capacity to retain.
The man in the street may thus be said to have a great many opinions but very little knowledge, mindlessly repeating the half-truths of experts and analysts who reflect his own biases and constructing out of them a credo of dogmatic views that remain embedded in his mind for an entire lifetime like bricks in a brick wall.
Does it matter? After all, we have all the scholars and scientists we need, and besides, a world where everyone became one would be a dull place indeed. It can even be argued that it is better for the race if progress is opposed, since, judging from its products, it mostly expresses itself materially and economically in an unholy alliance of greed and technology. However, progress of this kind cannot be fought if all that people have on their minds is to wire themselves into this technology, and that is what they will be doing until their minds are engaged in less frivolous pursuits. They are thus doubly victimized, first by the schools, whose methods are not attuned to the temperament and capacity of the average child, and then by the economic elites who control the technologies and consequently the flow of information and whose only interest in the man in the street is as a consumer of their products.
Unfortunately, there is very little hope that any of this will change. The wrong people control human society and will continue to do so, because they created the model and are the only ones who know how to operate it. The sad truth is that today's man in the street is neither wiser nor more knowledgeable than a medieval peasant. Calling ourselves Homo sapiens, or even Homo sapiens sapiens, seemed like a good idea once but very few of us have lived up to the billing."
“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.”
"Dark clouds are emerging all over the U.S. economy. This fall, many events can make the outlook even grimmer for companies. That's why many major retail chains are shuttering multiple locations right now. Some brands are taking an extra step to ensure their financial stability in the near future, so they are eliminating underperforming stores from their system before they impact their long-term profitability. At the same time, many others are in the process of liquidating their inventory and going out of business this fall.
That’s the case with Bed Bath & Beyond. Bankrupt since April, the big-box home retailer had been trying to restructure its business. But prospects for a revival were looking bleak. In an updated bankruptcy plan, the chain reiterated the bad news to shareholders. It said in an agreement that eliminates particular interests or claims related to Bed, Bath & Beyond that those holding these interests will not receive any compensation or benefits. Put simply, shareholders will leave empty-handed. Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter pointed out that the company's debt exceeded its assets even after Overstock paid $21 million for the intellectual property for the Bed, Bath & Beyond brand a few months ago. On September 12, the company finally confirmed that it would liquidate all of its assets and close all of its remaining 360 stores, across 40 states.
Similarly, mass store shutdowns and layoffs are on the horizon for JoAnn Fabrics. This month, the retailer confirmed more store closings for 2023 and staff layoffs at its corporate office. A spokesperson for Joann, Amanda Hayes, stated that certain positions across various departments are being eliminated to align the company’s corporate structure and expenses with its business needs. The exact number of layoffs and store shutdowns has not been disclosed yet. The latest financial results are very concerning, particularly considering that the company has only $19.1 million in cash on hand while it has over $1 billion in debt. The retailer also saw its quarterly loss rise to $73 million compared to $56.9 million in the previous quarter. On top of all that, the chain is at risk of being delisted, a move that would make it harder to raise needed capital. Today, JoAnn shares are down 68% compared to a year ago, and off 95% from its peak in 2021. With all that said, it's not hard to see how bleak the chain's reality has become or why the company is now on Moody's bankruptcy watchlist.
Every day, new reports detail the huge wave of store closings that is now taking form. Unfortunately, those store closings aren't the only losses Americans are dealing with right now. Hundreds of thousands of retail workers are being laid off while these companies fight for their place in the market, or quit it entirely. The impact on our major economic indicators, including the nation's gross domestic product, will be significant. But for countless hard-working Americans, the retail crisis will completely turn their lives upside down. Even though it is too early to measure the scope of this downturn, one thing is certain: the American retail landscape will look a whole lot different in early 2024. In this video, we investigate which popular brands are reducing their store counts to survive the ongoing recession."
Poitou, France - "How about you, dear reader? Are you a man…a woman? Are you free from boundaries set by nature? Or do you lie awake at night, worrying that you might be ‘just prejudiced?’ Well, you can stop worrying. You are prejudiced. Enjoy it.
Here at Bonner Private Research, we take great pride in our prejudices. We were in London last week. We learned that Professor Kathleen Stock was bullied, harassed and chased from her job for daring to voice the mainstream view that “trans women are not the same as biological women.” Singer Roisin Murphy was cut from the BBC’s line-up after she described puberty blocker drugs as “absolutely desolate” and called for “little mixed-up kids” to be protected from them. These women were both women perpetrators of prejudice…and victims of it. Herewith, a primer on what prejudices are in style…and which you shouldn’t admit. First, a quick update.
Higher for Longer: Yesterday, the Fed said nothing surprising. But it was not what investors wanted to hear. They sold stocks. CNBC: "Dow tumbles more than 300 points to notch third day of losses amid fears of higher rates, government shutdown. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 370.46 points, or 1.08%, to close at 34,070.42. The S&P 500 slid 1.64% to 4,330. The Nasdaq Composite retreated 1.82% to 13,223.98."
Back to the wonderful, wacky world of prejudice…The newspapers are full of it. The Sunday Telegraph relayed this story: “The General Medical Council has removed all mention of “mothers” from a maternity document for its staff.” What’s the General Medical Council got against ‘mothers?’ We don’t know. In place of the word, “mother,” the GMC is using “parent” or “birthing parent.” And if the GMC goes on to develop a prejudice against “parent,” perhaps it could use “homo sapiens with the double X chromosomes.”
Meanwhile, the same edition of The Telegraph had an interview with a man who spent a lot of time studying chromosomes, Richard Dawkins. An evolutionary biologist, he’s the author of the “Selfish Gene” which was a real barn-burner back in the ‘70s. We may like redheads because we think they are pretty. We may not like Russians, because we think they have bad manners. But the theory of evolution suggests that our prejudices have deeper roots than we realize. Biased we may be. Unbiased, we ain’t.
The Selfish Gene: The idea of the “selfish gene” is that our basic programming has its own prejudices. It wants to replicate. So, it re-purposes its hosts – us – to seek things that increase the odds of its own survival.
We want to live in a ‘good’ neighborhood, for example. We don’t really know good from bad, but our genes must think some of that ‘good’ will rub off on us. We don’t want to live in a bad neighborhood. We say we ‘don’t like it.’ But what makes us ‘like’ anything? Do we like sugar donuts because of some process of rational thought, made possible by our large, computer-like crania? Or, is it the genes that like them, because they help them survive…from one generation to the next?
“It is better to be a Spartan, than an Athenian,” said the Spartans. “It is better still to be a Roman,” said the Romans. “It is better to get a perfect score on your SAT,” says the Korean mother. “Or practice the violin 7 hours a day.”
Some families have a bias in favor of working for the government. “You have security with the feds,” they say. “It’s better to start a business,” say others. “It’s the only way to make real money. Start a business. Take it public.”
We don’t really know what will turn out to be “better” any more than we know what is “good;” we can’t predict the future. It’s just a prejudice. Of course, prejudices are often not very well thought out…or very attractive to others. If you are opening a Chinese restaurant, you may want to rid yourself of your prejudice against Asians. If you are coaching a basketball team, a prejudice against Black players is not likely to be an advantage. And if you’re selling milking machines how helpful would it be to have a prejudice against dairy products?
Certain types of prejudices are frowned upon. If you don’t like Jews, you’re thought to be an ‘anti-semite.’ You can dislike Lithuanians, vegetarians or Baptists all you want. But after 1945, not liking Jews was considered sinful.
ou can still openly discriminate against different kinds of food, art, or automobile. You can have prejudices against fat people or skinny people…or against stupid people…or against people with accents you don’t like. There are some people no one seems to like – such as Adolph Hitler or Amber Heard. But you can’t discriminate against people with a stutter. That could be a ‘disability’ and protected by the courts.
“Contemptuous Ridicule”: You can discriminate against people with dark skin. You might suspect that people with deep tans spend too much time in the sun and not enough on the ball. But the law forbids discrimination against “people of color.” The effect of this law is probably to hurt the people it was meant to help. An unidentified employer in America was quoted as saying she quietly rejects every resume from men named ‘Dante’ or women named ‘LaToya.’ Did she have a prejudice against the names…or the people behind them? Alas, racism can be very subtle. And the employer or landlord who tries to avoid being charged with “racism” is ipso facto “racist,” no matter how he goes about it.
Political opinions can still be openly mocked. Richard Dawkins has a prejudice against “woke” people, who should be treated, he says, with “contemptuous ridicule.”
Some prejudices are required. In the elite media – along with the universities, government, Wall Street, ESG corporate America – you must have a prejudice against “white supremacy,” whatever that is…against Confederate statues and memorabilia…against MAGA Republicans…against oil…against guns (unless they are being used to kill foreigners in a righteous war)…against genuine religious feeling…and anything else that gets in the way of the Elite Agenda.
You can dislike women or you can dislike men. But you cannot have a prejudice against “women” who used to be considered men…or “men” who used to be considered women. Genders are considered “fluid.” There are no women. No men. We are “non-binary,” they say, ready to hop into bed with man or beast, depending on social conditioning. No other view is permitted. But prejudice and discrimination on the basis of sex have been with us from the get-go. They’re not going away. Here’s Dawkins: “I speak as a biologist. There aren’t many absolutely clear distinctions in biology. Mostly what we have is a spectrum. But the male-female divide is exceptional in biology. It really is a true binary.” Prejudices run deep. And it is by our prejudices that we shall be known."
“Our government has not failed us. To fail implies there
was at least a good faith effort to do the right thing.”
- Eric Matheny
"The new science of blobology informs us that political blobs blow up like dying stars gorging on runaway fusion.The blob expands beyond the viable limits of its internal contradictions and implodes in a spectacular vacuum of absurdity. The Washington DC blob’s dire pulsations lately signal that it’s about to blow its toxic endoplasm all over our nation’s capital, drowning many denizens in deadly slime.
Did you catch Attorney General Merrick Garland’s performance Wednesday before the House Judiciary Committee? The absurdity ran pretty rank in the chamber as the AG artfully evaded explaining how it is he doesn’t know a darn thing about the consequential cases in process at his DOJ - and if he did happen to know, he wouldn’t be able to say because… reasons.
For instance, the strange inability of one US attorney David Weiss to generate charges after five whole years of investigation in the sundry matters involving the president’s son, Hunter Biden, until the statute of limitations on tax evasion dribbled away. And then, after concocting a booby trapped plea deal on a Mickey Mouse gun rap that blew up under a judge’s scrutiny, the selfsame Mr. Weiss is appointed Special Counsel (i.e. prosecutor) over those very cases. Say, whu…? Not to mention that it’s against the regulations to appoint anyone special counsel from within the DOJ.
Well, you see, Mr. Weiss is a splendid fellow, Mr. Garland explained. When asked if he could give a working definition of professional incompetence, the AG affected to be stumped. In the course of all this play-acting, Mr. Garland maybe perjured himself several times, and he seemed painfully aware of his own possible looming legal difficulties.
One suspects through all this mummery and confabulation that Merrick Garland is not actually in charge of the US DOJ. Then who is? My guess would be the ultra low profile Deputy AG Lisa Monaco, a mitochondria of the DC blob, one of its energy cells. Ms. Monaco was up to her eyeballs in the Obama regime’s prep work for the Russia Collusion Hoax of 2016, and since her appointment as DAG in April, 2021, is a behind the scenes architect of the new American police state. The Washington Post pretends that she doesn’t exist. One also wonders when a House committee will become interested in deposing her, especially on the subject of her involvement with J-6 prosecutions.
So far, the blob has gotten away with its many depredations because the DC federal district court is one of its pseudopods, able to reach out, engulf, and dissolve anyone who poses a threat. But a turning point in America’s struggle against blobbery may have been crossed far away from there. Down in Texas, which is lately afflicted with blobitis, the state Attorney General Ken Pxton escaped an impeachment trap laid by Party of Chaos state legislators and blob allies revolving around Karl Rove and the next-gen Bush family, losing its legacy as owners of the Texas GOP.
Mr. Paxton must be royally pissed off by these shenanigans and maybe ready to rumble with blob agent Homeland Security Sec’y Alejandro Mayorkas and his putative boss, “Joe Biden.” As it happens, with Autumn here and temperatures along the border moderating, crossings of illegal aliens are at 10,000 a day. A few days after Mr. Paxton’s aquittal in the Texas Senate, Governor Greg Abbot officially declared “an invasion.” Under the US Constitution, federal failure to defend the border allows the states to repel the invaders with force. It also pretty explicitly spells out an impeachable offense against “Joe Biden” - failure to defend our country. The blob quivers and throbs."