Saturday, November 18, 2023

Scott Ritter, "Iran & Hezbollah Will Destroy All Of Israel With Precision Guided Ballistic Missiles"

Full screen recommended.
Scott Ritter, 11/18/23
"Iran & Hezbollah Will Destroy All Of Israel 
With Precision Guided Ballistic Missiles"
Comments here's
Full screen recommended.
Scott Ritter, 11/19/23
"Israel Raised The Damn Flag On Gaza Hospitals, 
The Most Disgusting Military Campaign"
Comments here:

Jeremiah Babe, "Alert! Things Are Getting Very Dangerous, Prepare For Major Unrest, Time Is Running Out"

Jeremiah Babe, 11/18/23
"Alert! Things Are Getting Very Dangerous, 
Prepare For Major Unrest, Time Is Running Out"
Comments here:

"Nine Meals from Anarchy"

"Nine Meals from Anarchy"
by Jeff Thomas

"In 1906, Alfred Henry Lewis stated, “There are only nine meals between mankind and anarchy.” Since then, his observation has been echoed by people as disparate as Robert Heinlein and Leon Trotsky. The key here is that, unlike all other commodities, food is the one essential that cannot be postponed. If there were a shortage of, say, shoes, we could make do for months or even years. A shortage of gasoline would be worse, but we could survive it, through mass transport or even walking, if necessary.

But food is different. If there were an interruption in the supply of food, fear would set in immediately. And, if the resumption of the food supply were uncertain, the fear would become pronounced. After only nine missed meals, it’s not unlikely that we’d panic and be prepared to commit a crime to acquire food. If we were to see our neighbor with a loaf of bread, and we owned a gun, we might well say, “I’m sorry, you’re a good neighbor and we’ve been friends for years, but my children haven’t eaten today – I have to have that bread – even if I have to shoot you.”

There’s no need to speculate on this concern yet. There’s nothing so alarming on the evening news yet to suggest that such a problem might be imminent. So, let’s have a closer look at the actual food distribution industry, compare it to the present direction of the economy, and see whether there might be reason for concern.

The food industry typically operates on very small margins – often below 2%. Traditionally, wholesalers and retailers have relied on a two-week turnaround of supply and anywhere up to a 30-day payment plan. But an increasing tightening of the economic system for the last eight years has resulted in a turnaround time of just three days for both supply and payment for many in the industry. This a system that’s still fully operative, but with no further wiggle room, should it take a significant further hit.

If there were a month where significant inflation took place (The Feds lie say 9.1%; really now at least 17%), all profits would be lost for the month for both suppliers and retailers, but goods could still be replaced and sold for a higher price next month. But, if there were three or more consecutive months of inflation, the industry would be unable to bridge the gap, even if better conditions were expected to develop in future months. A failure to pay in full for several months would mean smaller orders by those who could not pay. That would mean fewer goods on the shelves. The longer the inflationary trend continued, the more quickly prices would rise to hopefully offset the inflation. And ever-fewer items on the shelves.

From Germany in 1922, to Argentina in 2000, and to Venezuela in 2016, this has been the pattern whenever inflation has become systemic, rather than sporadic. Each month, some stores close, beginning with those that are the most poorly capitalized.

In good economic times, this would mean more business for those stores that were still solvent, but in an inflationary situation, they would be in no position to take on more unprofitable business. The result is that the volume of food on offer at retailers would decrease at a pace with the severity of the inflation.

However, the demand for food would not decrease by a single loaf of bread. Store closings would be felt most immediately in inner cities, when one closing would send customers to the next neighborhood seeking food. The real danger would come when that store also closes and both neighborhoods descended on a third store in yet another neighborhood. That’s when one loaf of bread for every three potential purchasers would become worth killing over. Virtually no one would long tolerate seeing his children go without food because others had “invaded” his local supermarket.

In addition to retailers, the entire industry would be impacted and, as retailers disappeared, so would suppliers, and so on, up the food chain. This would not occur in an orderly fashion, or in one specific area. The problem would be a national one. Closures would be all over the map, seemingly at random, affecting all areas. Food riots would take place, first in the inner cities then spread to other communities. Buyers, fearful of shortages, would clean out the shelves.

Importantly, it’s the very unpredictability of food delivery that increases fear, creating panic and violence. And, again, none of the above is speculation; it’s a historical pattern – a reaction based upon human nature whenever systemic inflation occurs.

Then… unfortunately… the cavalry arrives. At that point, it would be very likely that the central government would step in and issue controls to the food industry that served political needs rather than business needs, greatly exacerbating the problem. Suppliers would be ordered to deliver to those neighborhoods where the riots are the worst, even if those retailers are unable to pay. This would increase the number of closings of suppliers.

Along the way, truckers would begin to refuse to enter troubled neighborhoods, and the military might well be brought in to force deliveries to take place. (If truckers could afford $4.54 a gallon diesel fuel.)

So, what would it take for the above to occur? Well, historically, it has always begun with excessive debt. We know that the debt level is now the highest it has ever been in world history. (US debt as of November 16, 2023 $33,740,140,300,745.07. World debt as of September 2023: $307 trillion.) In addition, the stock and bond markets are in bubbles of historic proportions. They will most certainly pop.

With a crash in the markets, deflation always follows as people try to unload assets to cover for their losses. The Federal Reserve (and other central banks) has stated that it will unquestionably print as much money as it takes to counter deflation. Unfortunately, inflation has a far greater effect on the price of commodities than assets. Therefore, the prices of commodities will rise dramatically, further squeezing the purchasing power of the consumer, thereby decreasing the likelihood that he will buy assets, even if they’re bargain priced. Therefore, asset holders will drop their prices repeatedly as they become more desperate. The Fed then prints more to counter the deeper deflation and we enter a period when deflation and inflation are increasing concurrently.

Historically, when this point has been reached, no government has ever done the right thing. They have, instead, done the very opposite – keep printing. A by-product of this conundrum is reflected in the photo above. Food still exists, but retailers shut down because they cannot pay for goods. Suppliers shut down because they’re not receiving payments from retailers. Producers cut production because sales are plummeting.

In every country that has passed through such a period, the government has eventually gotten out of the way and the free market has prevailed, re-energizing the industry and creating a return to normal. The question is not whether civilization will come to an end. (It will not.) The question is the liveability of a society that is experiencing a food crisis, as even the best of people are likely to panic and become a potential threat to anyone who is known to store a case of soup in his cellar.

Fear of starvation is fundamentally different from other fears of shortages. Even good people panic. In such times, it’s advantageous to be living in a rural setting, as far from the centre of panic as possible. It’s also advantageous to store food in advance that will last for several months, if necessary. However, even these measures are no guarantee, as, today, modern highways and efficient cars make it easy for anyone to travel quickly to where the goods are. The ideal is to be prepared to sit out the crisis in a country that will be less likely to be impacted by dramatic inflation – where the likelihood of a food crisis is low and basic safety is more assured."

MUST VIEW! Canadian Prepper, "Alert: No Ones Ready For What's Coming!"

Full screen recommended.
Canadian Prepper, 11/18/23
"Alert: No Ones Ready For What's Coming!"
"A conversation about the aftermath of societal collapse."
Comments here:

"We’re All 'Flagellants' Now"

"We’re All 'Flagellants' Now"
by Jeffrey Tucker

"The old FedEx envelope was clever, a work of art even, optimistic and colorful, signifying speed and progress. What a beautiful contrast to the plainness of the U.S. Postal Service. For years, I can recall dropping off these treasures and paying maybe $10 to assure their delivery across the country, even the world. For me, it was a fabulous symbol of an improved life, living proof that progress was baked into the historical trajectory.

But a few days ago, the clerk at the FedEx office confirmed a different ethos. There was no doing business without a scan of my government-issued ID. I asked for confirmation: So if I did not have this, there is simply no way that I could send a package? Confirmed. Then came the envelope. It was the color of the brown bag I took to school when I was a kid. Serviceable, drab, dull. Also the new one is stamped with a big green marker: recyclable. There is no design, no art, certainly no beauty. It’s all gone.

Its main message is suffering. What happened to the old envelopes? They’ve been replaced, the clerk explained firmly, with no more detail. A recycle exhortation suggests shortage. We have to reuse everything because there just isn’t enough to go around. We must sacrifice. The color suggests privation. It’s an aesthetic of sadness and penance. Then of course the price tag came: $26 for delivery not tomorrow but in two days. So compared with some years ago, we pay 2½ times as much for service half as good as it was.

Don’t complain. It’s just the new way. It’s the new way of life. What happened to progress? It’s been replaced. The new path is flagellantism: in politics, culture, economics and everywhere.

The flagellants were a medieval movement of public penitents that roamed from town to town in garbs of woe, flogging themselves and begging as penance for pestilence and war. They were infused with a fiery, apocalyptic and millenarian passion that they could see terrible moral realities to which others were blinded. The theory was that plagues were being visited upon the Earth by God as punishment for sin. The answer was contrition, sorrow and acts of penance as a means of appeasement, in order to make the bad times go away.

It’s true that there were people who did so in private but that was not the main point. The central focus and purpose of the flagellant movement was to make one’s suffering public and conspicuous, an early version of the virtue signal. In the guise of personal sorrow, they were really about spreading guilt to others. They would show up at any public celebration with a message: Your happiness is causing our suffering. The more you party, the more we are forced to bear the burden of the need to be in pain for your sins. Your joy is prolonging the suffering of the world.

Flagellantry is most recognizable in the aesthetic. The first signs I recall seeing of this occurred immediately during the panic of March 2020 when it was proclaimed from on high that a terrible virus was visiting the U.S. Read on for the ugly details…

"Flagellantism: The New Political Ritual"
by Jeffrey Tucker

"No, you couldn’t see the virus, but it is highly dangerous, everywhere present, and should be avoided at all costs. You must wash constantly, douse yourself with sanitizer, cover your face, dress in drab color and be sad as much as possible. Fun things were banned: public gatherings, singing, house parties, weddings and all celebrations. This whole scene took on a political patina, as people were invited to think of the invisible virus as a symbol of a more tangible virus in the White House, an evil man who had invaded a holy space whose malice had leaked out in the culture and now threatened to poison everything.

The more you complied with mandatory misery, the more your work made a contribution to making the pestilence go away while we wait for the inoculation. That could take two forms: driving him from the White House or releasing the vaccine which everyone would accept.

Joseph Campbell was correct about the role of religious impulses in the human mind. They never go away. They just take on different forms according to the style of the times. Every single feature of traditional religion found a new expression in the COVID religion.

We had masking rituals that were rather complicated but learned and practiced quickly by multitudes: mask on while standing and mask off when sitting. We had sacramentals like social distancing and communion with vaccination. Our holy water became sanitizer and our prophets on Earth were government bureaucrats like Fauci.

Flagellantism did not disappear once the old president left and the new one came. Even after the pandemic ended, there were new signs that God was angry. There was the ever-present climate change which was a sign of Earth’s anger for being drilled and carved up for energy sources. And the bad country said to be responsible for the unwelcome invader of the White House - Russia - was now rampaging through the holy land of its neighbors.

In addition, the broader problem was capitalism itself, which gave us things like meat, gasoline, fur and other signs of evil. And what gave rise to capitalism? The answer should be obvious: imperialism, colonialism, racism and the existence of whiteness - each of which called for mass penance.

The pandemic unleashed it all. It was during this period that corporations decided that profitability alone required signs of suffering and hence the rise of ESG and DEI as new ways to assess economic value of corporate culture. And new practices were added to the list of the highly suspect: monogamy, heterosexuality and religious traditions such as Christianity and Orthodox Judaism that should now be regarded as deprecated, even as part of the underlying problem.

It was during this period when I found myself on an apartment hunt and observed a newly remodeled offering. I asked why the owner had not replaced the flooring. I was corrected: These are new floors. Impossible, I thought. They are gray and ghastly. That’s the new fashion, I was told. Looking it up, it was true. Gray flooring was being installed everywhere.

How does wood become gray? It dies. It starts to decay. It is swept away by rivers and floats around for years, alternatively soaked, baked by the sun and soaked again, until every bit of color is drained away. It becomes driftwood, a survivor of the elements and a symbol of the brutality of the cycle of life. Gray flooring is therefore the ideal symbol of the age of suffering, the proper material on which to move back and forth pondering the evils of the world.

In a world governed by flagellantism, ugly formlessness rises to replace aspirational art and imaginative creativity. This is why public art is so depressing and why even the clothing we can afford at the store all looks dreary and uniform. In this world, too, gender differences disappear as luxurious signs of decadence we can no longer afford.

Two other anecdotes. The overhead bins on the flight just now were largely empty, simply because most passengers chose the cheaper basic economy fare. This also requires they have no carry-on luggage and hence be forced to pay for checked luggage or travel with all their belongings in a backpack. We’ve gone from gigantic Louis Vuitton steamer trunks to stuffing things in pockets and hiding them from authorities.

Another case in point. I asked the man in the high-end shoe shop why none of the shoes had leather soles. Instead all shoes have these cushy rubber soles that seem weak and pathetic, and make no noise when one steps. “Everything has changed since COVID,” he said. “All shoes are house shoes now.”

I had no words and walked away, my entire thesis confirmed. Sure enough, all the data we have suggests the mighty triumph of flagellantism. Fertility is down dramatically. Life spans are shortening. People are sicker. Excess deaths are rising. We learn less, read less, write less, create less, love less.

Personal trauma is everywhere. The groceries are more expensive so we eat whatever we can, when we can, while hoping for breezes and whatever sunlight there is to provide just the essential energy we need to slog through another day.

Degrowth is the economic model of flagellantism, reducing consumption, embracing privation, acquiescing to austerity. We no longer declare recessions to be on their way because recession is the new way we live, the realization of the plan. The word “recession” implies a future of recovery, and that is not in the cards.

“Decolonization” is another watchword. It means feeling so guilty about the space you inhabit that your only moral action is to stay put and reflect on the sufferings of those you have displaced. You can of course say a prayer of supplication to them, so long as you never appropriate any aspect of their culture, since doing so would seem to affirm your rights as a human being.

You want joy, beauty, color, drama, adventure and love? It’s not gone entirely. Park yourself on a yoga mat on your gray floor and open your computer. Stream something on one of many streaming services you have been provided. Or become a gamer. There you will find what you seek. The experiences you seek you can only observe as an outsider looking in. It is not participatory. Social distancing never went away; it is how we live in a new age of unending penance.

So, you see, it’s not just about eating bugs. It’s about a whole theory and practice of life and salvation itself, a new religion to replace all the old ones. Cough up your government-issued ID, send your package if you must, think twice before complaining about anything on social media and figure out a way to channel your depression and despair into quiet humble gratitude and acquiescence. Don’t forget to recycle. The flagellants have taken over the world."
"In a scene from the 1975 film "Monty Python and the Holy Grail," a group of monks are depicted singing plainchant while on a procession through the streets of a medieval village. After chanting the first few lines of text, the monks abruptly hit themselves in the face and repeatedly do so during their procession. Although this scene was undoubtedly filmed for comedic purposes, and the movie, in general, propagates a number of historically questionable stereotypes of the Middle Ages, the act of monks singing while engaging in self-harm is historically sound. In fact, this scene reflects the practices of a group of traveling medieval flagellants who would whip themselves while singing songs of penance for the purpose of placating God."

Musical Interlude: 2002, "We Meet Again"

Full screen recommended.
2002, "We Meet Again"

"A Look to the Heavens"

"This fantastic skyscape lies near the edge of NGC 2174 a star forming region about 6,400 light-years away in the nebula-rich constellation of Orion. It follows mountainous clouds of gas and dust carved by winds and radiation from the region's newborn stars, now found scattered in open star clusters embedded around the center of NGC 2174, off the top of the frame.
Though star formation continues within these dusty cosmic clouds they will likely be dispersed by the energetic newborn stars within a few million years. Recorded at infrared wavelengths by the Hubble Space Telescope in 2014, the interstellar scene spans about 6 light-years. Scheduled for launch in 2021, the James Webb Space Telescope is optimized for exploring the Universe at infrared wavelengths."

Chet Raymo, “When The Morning Stars Sing Together”

“When The Morning Stars Sing Together”
by Chet Raymo

“A Chinese proverb: A bird does not sing because it has an answer. It sings because it has a song. Which might be an acceptable epigraph for this blog. I can’t imagine anyone coming here looking for answers. Certainly, providing answers is the last thing on my mind. I would like to think you come for song.

We are, I think, by and large, a community who distrusts answers, at least answers that are vehemently held. We are made uncomfortable by stridency. By dogma. By the desire to proselytize. We wear our truths lightly, gaily, as a song bird wears its feathers. We are grateful to those who push back the clouds of ignorance and hold the reins of passion. With Blake, we sing their praises, a song we have spent a lifetime learning. We sing to celebrate. We sing because we have a song.”

"What Happens When We Die"

"What Happens When We Die"
by Maria Popova

"When my atheist engineer grandfather died, my atheist engineer grandmother leaned over the body in the hospice bed that had contained half a century of shared life and love, cradled the cranium in which his stubborn and sensitive mind had dwelt, and whispered into the halogen-lit ether: “Where did you go, my darling?”

Whatever our beliefs, these sensemaking playthings of the mind, when the moment of material undoing comes, we - creatures of moment and matter - simply cannot fathom how something as exquisite as the universe of thought and feeling inside us can vanish into nothingness.

Even if we understand that dying is the token of our existential luckiness, even if we understand that we are borrowed stardust, bound to be returned to the universe that made it - a universe itself slouching toward nothingness as its stars are slowly burning out their energy to leave a cold austere darkness of pure spacetime - this understanding blurs into an anxious disembodied abstraction as the body slouches toward dissolution. Animated by electrical impulses and temporal interactions of matter, our finite minds simply cannot grasp a timeless and infinite inanimacy - a void beyond being.
Pillars of Creation, Eagle Nebula, Messier 16
Even Walt Whitman, who could hold such multitudes of contradiction, could not grasp the void. “I will make poems of my body and of mortality,” he vowed as a young man as he reverenced our shared materiality in his timeless declamation that “every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.” It was easy, from the shimmering platform of his prime, to look forward to becoming “the uncut hair of graves” upon returning his own atoms to the grassy ground one day.

But then, when that day loomed near as he grew old and infirm, “the poet of the body and the poet of the soul” suddenly could not fathom the total disbanding of his atomic selfhood, suddenly came to “laugh at what you call dissolution.” And then he did dissolve, leaving us his immortal verses, verses penned when his particles sang with the electric cohesion of youth and of health, verses that traced with their fleshy finger the faint contour of an elemental truth: “What invigorates life invigorates death.”

I wish I could have given my grandmother, and given the dying Whitman, the infinitely invigorating Mr g: A Novel About the Creation (public library) by the poetic physicist Alan Lightman - a magical-realist serenade to science, coursing with symphonic truth about our search for meaning, our hunger for beauty, and what makes our tender, transient lives worth living.

Toward the end of the novel, Mr g watches, with heartache unknown in the Void predating the existence of universes and of life, an old woman on her deathbed, the film of her long and painful and beautiful life unspooling from the reel of memory, leaving her grief-stricken by its terminus, shuddering with defiant disbelief that this is all. “How can a creature of substance and mass fathom a thing without substance or mass?” wonders Mr g as he sorrows watching her succumb to the very laws he created. “How can a creature who will certainly die have an understanding of things that will exist forever?”

And then, as a faint smile washes across her face, she does die. Lightman writes: "At that moment, there were 3,​147,​740,​103,​497,​276,​498,​750,​208,​327 atoms in her body. Of her total mass, 63.7 percent was oxygen, 21.0 percent carbon, 10.1 percent hydrogen, 2.6 percent nitrogen, 1.4 percent calcium, 1.1 percent phosphorous, plus a smattering of the ninety-odd other chemical elements created in stars.

In the cremation, her water evaporated. Her carbon and nitrogen combined with oxygen to make gaseous carbon dioxide and nitrogen dioxide, which floated skyward and mingled with the air. Most of her calcium and phosphorous baked into a reddish brown residue and scattered in soil and in wind.

But then we see that every atom belonging to her - or, rather, temporarily borrowed by her - truly does belong to everything and everyone, just as you and I are now inhaling the same oxygen atoms that once inflated Walt Whitman’s lungs with the lust for life: "Released from their temporary confinement, her atoms slowly spread out and diffused through the atmosphere. In sixty days’ time, they could be found in every handful of air on the planet. In one hundred days, some of her atoms, the vaporous water, had condensed into liquid and returned to the surface as rain, to be drunk and ingested by animals and plants. Some of her atoms were absorbed by light-utilizing organisms and transformed into tissues and tubules and leaves. Some were breathed in by oxygen creatures, incorporated into organs and bone.

In a passage evocative of the central sentiment in Ursula K. Le Guin’s spare, stunning poem “Kinship,” he adds: "Pregnant women ate animals and plants made of her atoms. A year later, babies contained some of her atoms… Several years after her death, millions of children contained some of her atoms. And their children would contain some of her atoms as well. Their minds contained part of her mind.

Will these millions of children, for generations upon future generations, know that some of their atoms cycled through this woman? It is not likely. Will they feel what she felt in her life, will their memories have flickering strokes of her memories, will they recall that moment long ago when she stood by the window, guilt ridden and confused, and watched as the tadr bird circled the cistern? No, it is not possible. Will they have some faint sense of her glimpse of the Void? No, it is not possible. It is not possible. But I will let them have their own brief glimpse of the Void, just at the moment they pass from living to dead, from animate to inanimate, from consciousness to that which has no consciousness. For a moment, they will understand infinity.

And the individual atoms, cycled through her body and then cycled through wind and water and soil, cycled through generations and generations of living creatures and minds, will repeat and connect and make a whole out of parts. Although without memory, they make a memory. Although impermanent, they make a permanence. Although scattered, they make a totality."

Here we are, you and me, Walt and Alan, my grandmother who is and my grandfather who is no more - each of us a trembling totality, made of particles both absolutely vulnerable and absolutely indestructible, hungering for absolutes in a universe of relatives, hungering for permanence in a universe of ceaseless change, famished for meaning, for beauty, for emblems of existence. Out of these hungers, out of these contradictions, we make everything that invigorates life with aliveness: our art and our music, our poems and our mathematics, our novels and our loves."

"Looking for a Reason to Believe: The Benefit of the Doubt Is Cracking"

"Looking for a Reason to Believe: 
The Benefit of the Doubt Is Cracking"
By Paul Rosenberg

"Those of us who pursue positive change are very often frustrated. We see the necessity of change all too clearly, and we can explain how it should come about, but it never seems to happen. The truth, however, is that change does come; it just comes more slowly than we’d like, and in ways that differ from those we imagined.

One real change I like to point out is the passing of blind trust in politicians. In the 1950s and ‘60s, most people spoke of politicians with respect and even with reverence. Now it’s almost standard for people to agree that they’re liars and thieves. That’s a very significant change, even if it did take several decades to unfold.

So, a significant change has occurred in our time, and over a very broad base. Still, most people are hanging on, and often desperately, to old ways that should really be abandoned.

The Automatic Benefit of the Doubt: It’s a bit troubling to see how blindly, and for how long, people give the benefit of the doubt to hierarchy and its operators. They can know that a system is abusing them, and they can complain about it at length, but still they grasp at reasons to keep believing in it. Here’s what I mean:

• During the bad spots of the Middle Ages, people would be abused by the clergy but say, “If only His Holiness knew!”
• During the reign of the USSR, people in the Gulag would often say, “If only Stalin knew!”
• In our time, people hold Political Party A or Political Party B as grave evils, while pretending that the combination of A + B is good and noble.

Still, such blind biases do eventually break. Stalin, after all, is gone, along with his USSR. The Protestant reformation broke the domination of the Church. And the delusions of our time will die as well.

“Still, I Look to Find a Reason to Believe”: If there were such a competition, I’d nominate Rod Stewart’s song, "Reason To Believe," as the Anthem of the Age. Regardless of how badly they are abused, people have a very hard time letting go of their hierarchies; they’ve taken emotional refuge in them, after all. Even when sharp pain forces them to examine the hierarchy that constantly tells them, “Obey or we’ll hurt you,” the impulse to maintain belief erupts. Here’s how the song expresses it:

"If I listened long enough to you,
I’d find a way to believe that it’s all true.
Knowing that you lied,
straight-faced while I cried.
Still I look to find a reason to believe."

Humans have a real problem with that last line: looking for reasons to believe. It flies in the face of both logic and honesty, but people not only do it, but vigorously defend it. As for specific reasons to believe, they’re endless. Seldom are humans quicker and cleverer than when justifying their previous actions.

Why This Is a Good Sign: When people are desperately grasping for reasons to believe, it’s because the benefit of the doubt is cracking beneath them. Otherwise, why would they fight so wildly? The circumstances of our modern world are propelling people toward this break. Every time a ruling system tells gigantic lies, censors the public square, surveils their own people and frightens the masses for their own benefit, belief in their system cracks a little.

More and more people are conceding that it’s not just “one bad actor” here or there, but that Joe Stalin really is evil, that the clergy really is corrupt, and that hierarchies are abusive by nature. The whirlwind of distractions and slogans arrayed against moral clarity are losing their effectiveness. Little by little, humanity’s blind devotion to authority is cracking. Someday, it will break."
Rod Stewart, "Reason To Believe" 

The Daily "Near You?"

Cluj-napoca, Cluj, Romania. Thanks for stopping by!

"Real Courage..."

"I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It's when you know you're licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what. You rarely win, but sometimes you do."
~ "Harper Lee", "To Kill a Mockingbird"

Dan, I Allegedly, "Car Crash Economy - Used Car Prices Plummet!"

Full screen recommended.
Dan, I Allegedly, 11/18/23
"Car Crash Economy - Used Car Prices Plummet!"
"Hey, I have a riveting update on the car market. The numbers don't lie - we're in a bear market for the auto industry, and used car prices are dropping faster than ever. In this video, we'll dissect the shocking stats from Manheim and discuss how car inventory spikes and interest rates are reshaping the industry. Plus, we've got some insights on ransomware attacks and the latest in cybercrime – you won't believe what these hackers are doing!"
Comments here:

"Toxic People..."

"Toxic people systematically destroy others because if they cannot bask in the light then no one else deserves to. Lost people suffer in their darkness, happily dragging your light down into their personal hell so you can listen to all their woes. Soulless people, lacking empathy, suck the light from others to taste that which they can never understand. People can't be helped until they want to be helped. You can't be there for others who need you if any one of these types destroy you. Save yourself... it's not a sin to love from a distance."
- L.M. Fields

"How It Really Is"


"Huge Warning Signs From Big Banks JP Morgan, Bank Of America & Morgan Stanley"

Full screen recommended.
The Atlantis Report, 11/18/23
"Huge Warning Signs From Big Banks
 JP Morgan, Bank Of America & Morgan Stanley"
"Troubling signs are emerging from major financial institutions such as JP Morgan, Bank of America, and Morgan Stanley, casting a cloud over the economic landscape. The sudden shift of Bank of America from a cautious stance to a more aggressive one raises concerns about a significant downturn. Concurrently, the Federal Reserve is scrutinizing Morgan Stanley's wealth division for client vetting practices, prompting questions about overall financial stability. These developments strongly show an impending economic crisis, underscoring the need for investors to exercise caution and engage in strategic planning during these uncertain times."
Comments here:

"A New Type Of Dementia Plagues America"

"A New Type Of Dementia Plagues America"
by John Mac Ghlionn

"In the United States, it's estimated that at least 7 million people over the age of 65 have dementia. If current trends continue, by the end of the decade, more than 9 million Americans are expected to suffer from this loss of cognitive functioning - that's equivalent to the population of New York City.

Memory impairment isn't just affecting the elderly. By 2050, the number of U.S. adults over the age of 40 living with dementia is expected to more than double, from 5.2 million to 10.5 million. To compound matters, there’s a new type of dementia plaguing Americans, one that’s affecting people much younger than 40. It’s called digital dementia, and millions of unsuspecting, young Americans are at risk.

A major health epidemic, digital dementia occurs when one part of the brain is overstimulated and another part of the brain is understimulated. When we mindlessly use digital devices, the frontal lobe, which is responsible for higher-level executive functions, gets little, if any, use. Meanwhile, the occipital lobe, the visual processor located at the back of the brain, gets bombarded with sensory input. Slouched over and spaced out, people, both young and old, are abusing their brains, day in and day out. Preteens and teens are particularly at risk for two reasons:An American 8 to 12-year-old spends an average of 4.7 hours a day scrolling their lives away. That’s around 70 days in a given year. The prefrontal cortex (PFC), the brain region responsible for planning and decision-making, doesn’t fully develop until the age of 25.

Digital dementia impedes both short-term and long-term memory. Moreover, as research shows, excessive screen time during brain development increases the risk of Alzheimer's disease, the most common form of dementia, in adulthood. Not surprisingly, excessive screen time is intimately associated with digital addiction. This, in turn, fuels digital dementia, which results in the shrinking of the brain’s gray matter. White matter facilitates communication between gray matter areas. But without gray matter, which plays a critical role in emotions, memories, and movements, there’s really nothing to communicate. White matter helps the traffic get from A to B. Grey matter, on the other hand, is the traffic.

It gets worse. As Gurwinder Bhogal, an excellent British-Indian writer, recently noted, not only is “gray matter shrinkage in smartphone-addicted individuals” a growing problem, the Western average IQ is declining - rapidly, he added.

This has been the case for decades. The decline of brain power has been particularly notable in America. Lead exposure, and, more recently, the effects of draconian lockdowns, have had deleterious effects on Americans’ IQs. As technology continues to rise, IQ continues to decline. Is there an association? The answer appears to be yes.

What we're witnessing is the Flynn effect in reverse. Named after James R. Flynn, the renowned intelligence researcher who passed away in 2020, the Flynn effect refers to a steady upward shift in IQ test scores across generations. In recent times, however, that steady upward shift has transformed into a spiraling nosedive. This isn't surprising. In fact, as our lives become more intertwined with technology, and as we outsource more of our thinking and doing to search engines and ChatGPT-like systems, we should expect this nosedive to increase in velocity.

As Mr. Bhogal noted, common sense suggests that the decline in IQ is “at least partly the result of technology making the attainment of satisfaction increasingly effortless, so that we spend ever more of our time in a passive, vegetative state.” “If you don’t use it," he added, “you lose it.” Indeed. By "it," of course, he means your brain. But brain function isn't the only thing being lost.

The rise of digital dementia, digital addiction, and lower IQ scores is a reflection of a much broader problem. The United States isn’t just struggling with demographic decline; it’s also wrestling with the unholy trinity of spiritual, psychological, and intellectual decline. The country is becoming fatter, sicker, older, and dumber. The movie "Idiocracy" wasn’t a parody; it was a prophecy.

As intelligence levels continue to plummet and test scores continue to fall in the likes of math and reading, the United States risks becoming a society of brainless, aimless individuals, a nation consisting of millions of obese zombies. Contrary to popular belief, societal collapse doesn’t occur overnight; it occurs in increments, a death by a thousand cuts. The biggest threat to the United States isn't necessarily external; it's posed by the numerous digital devices in our hands and homes. Technology has consumed both our minds and our souls; are we going to get either of them back?"
Hat tip to ZeroHedge for this material.

Col. Douglas Macgregor, "Middle East Crisis Analysis"

Full screen recommended.
Begin Invest, 11/18/23
Col. Douglas Macgregor, 11/18/23
"Middle East Crisis Analysis"
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Scott Ritter, "Israel Will Lose; Netanyahu Will Be Overthrown; Palestinian State Will Be Established"

Full screen recommended.
Scott Ritter, 11/18/23
"Israel Will Lose; Netanyahu Will Be Overthrown;
 Palestinian State Will Be Established"
Comments here:
Full screen recommended.
Scott Ritter, 11/18/23
"No Bunker, No Guns Under Al-Shifa Hospital; 
Israel 100% Violates Laws Of War"
Comments here:
"Scott Ritter is a former Marine intelligence officer who served in the former Soviet Union, implementing arms control agreements, and on the staff of General Norman Schwartzkopf during the Gulf War, where he played a critical role in the hunt for Iraqi SCUD missiles. From 1991 until 1998, Mr. Ritter served as a Chief Inspector for the United Nations in Iraq, leading the search for Iraq’s proscribed weapons of mass destruction. Mr. Ritter was a vocal critic of the American decision to go to war with Iraq. His new book, "Disarmament in the Time of Perestroika: Arms Control and the End of the Soviet Union," is his ninth.

Adventures With Danno, "Strange Prices At Dollar Tree!"

Full screen recommended.
Adventures With Danno, 11/18/23
"Strange Prices At Dollar Tree!"
"In today's vlog, we are at Family Dollar and are noticing some strange price increases on groceries. We continue to see many stores raise prices on many food items, as families continue to struggle to put food on the table!"
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Friday, November 17, 2023

Jeremiah Babe, "Stop Using Walmart Self Checkout; The Economy is Failing"

Jeremiah Babe, 11/17/23
"Stop Using Walmart Self Checkout; The Economy is Failing"
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Musical Interlude: Ludovico Einaudi, "Una Mattina"

Full screen recommended.
Ludovico Einaudi, "Una Mattina"

"A Look to the Heavens"

"Why does this galaxy have such a long tail? In this stunning vista, based on image data from the Hubble Legacy Archive, distant galaxies form a dramatic backdrop for disrupted spiral galaxy Arp 188, the Tadpole Galaxy. The cosmic tadpole is a mere 420 million light-years distant toward the northern constellation of the Dragon (Draco). Its eye-catching tail is about 280 thousand light-years long and features massive, bright blue star clusters. 
One story goes that a more compact intruder galaxy crossed in front of Arp 188 - from right to left in this view - and was slung around behind the Tadpole by their gravitational attraction. During the close encounter, tidal forces drew out the spiral galaxy's stars, gas, and dust forming the spectacular tail. The intruder galaxy itself, estimated to lie about 300 thousand light-years behind the Tadpole, can be seen through foreground spiral arms at the upper right. Following its terrestrial namesake, the Tadpole Galaxy will likely lose its tail as it grows older, the tail's star clusters forming smaller satellites of the large spiral galaxy."

Dan, I Allegedly, "Alexa? Am I Getting Fired?"

Full screen recommended.
Dan, I Allegedly 11/17/23
"Alexa? Am I Getting Fired?"
"A fantastic internal memo from Amazon was exposed. It showed that there were going to be hundreds of people in the Alexa division getting fired. Plus, I went to the practice round for the Formula One race in Las Vegas and you get to see some of the footage of that too."
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"Ranchers Warn The Worst Collapse In Cattle Production Will Make Meat Prices Double This Winter"

Full screen recommended.
Epic Economist 11/17/23
"Ranchers Warn The Worst Collapse In Cattle 
Production Will Make Meat Prices Double This Winter"

"Being a carnivore has never been so expensive. According to the USDA, beef prices soared to another record high this week, and are expected to face a 100% increase next month compared to the same period a year ago. Steaks will likely be out of the dinner table of many Americans in the coming months as shortages already started leaving grocery shelves empty. Even cheap meats like ground beef are about to shoot up in price due to the lowest supply in decades, the Department said.

The nation’s shrinking cattle herd combined with surging input costs at U.S. farms and ranches have pushed wholesale meat costs to over $8 per pound, official data shows. Analysts predict that the figure could jump above the $ 10 mark in December due to the seasonal spike in demand. As a comparison, beef costs in 2022 were hoovering around the ten-year average of $5 per pound. The rapid price appreciation means that you will have to pay double what you paid a year ago to bring your favorite cut home this winter.

In fact, meat inflation at U.S. stores can be even higher given that the USDA forecast was for wholesale prices, not consumer prices. Adding rising labor and transportation costs to the mix, a pound of ground beef could be selling for $8.99 next month. A pound of sirloin is expected to reach $14.00, while T-bone, and ribeye, can reach $15.39 and $21.99 per pound, respectively.

“Relative to other proteins, beef prices are likely to stay elevated for the next couple of years due to tighter supplies,” according to Wells Fargo Agri-Food Institute sector manager Courtney Schmidt. “All consumers will be paying more for all beef products for several more years,” added Wells Fargo’s Chief Agricultural Economist Michael Swanson.

Retailers are already reporting leaner deliveries and falling meat supplies at stores. Ranchers, who would normally thrive on record prices, are instead struggling to maintain their business. Low rainfall in prime cattle-raising land is turning green pastures into dust fields. Limited supply and increasing costs are likely to cause changes in food service menu items. “The prices of menu items may go up, including burger patties, as businesses try to maintain their profit margins,” Wells Fargo’s Swanson said.

Fast food chains, including McDonald’s, Burger King, and Shake Shack, are some of the biggest buyers of meat in the U.S. market. In 2024, they might have to conduct another round of price hikes to offset the rising cost of beef. These companies are also being encouraged to launch more plant-based alternatives to reduce their environmental footprint amid climate change.

In other words, we will have to get used to eating meat alternatives instead of the real thing. Beef is becoming a delicacy reserved only for the bourgeoisie. For now, this crisis will continue to add pressure on ranchers, restaurateurs, and average consumers. Until cattle numbers grow, input costs decline, and the economic storm abates, Americans will be forced to either change their diets or pay the price."
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Canadian Prepper, "Massive Grid Down Event, What You're Not Being Told"

Full screen recommended.
Canadian Prepper, 11/17/23
"Massive Grid Down Event, What You're Not Being Told"
Comments here:

"It's Not the End of the World"

"It's Not the End of the World"
by Jeff Thomas

"Periodically, I’ll encounter someone who has read one of my essays and has decided not to pursue them further, stating, "You’re one of those ‘End of the world’ guys. I can’t be bothered reading the writings of someone who thinks we’re all doomed. I have a more positive outlook than that." In actual fact, I agree entirely with his latter two comments. I can’t be bothered reading the thoughts of a writer who says we’re all doomed, either. I, too, have a more positive outlook than that.

My one discrepancy with such comments is that I don’t by any means think that the present state of events will lead to the end of the world, as he assumes. But then, neither am I na├»ve enough to think that if I just hope for the best, the powers that be will cease to be parasitical and predatory out of sympathy for me. They will not.

For any serious student of history, one of the great realizations that occurs at some point is that governments are inherently controlling by nature. The more control they have, the more they desire and the more they pursue. After all, governments actually produce nothing. They exist solely upon what they can extract from the people they rule over. Therefore, their personal success is not measured by how well they serve their people, it’s measured by how much they can extract from the people. And so, it’s a given that all governments will pursue ever-greater levels of power over their minions up to and including the point of total dominance.

It should be said that, on rare occasions, a people will rise up and create a governmental system in which the rights of the individual are paramount. This was true in the creation of the Athenian Republic and the American Constitution, and even the British Magna Carta. However, these events are quite rare in history and, worse, as soon as they take place, those who gain power do their best to diminish the newly-gained freedoms. Such freedoms can almost never be destroyed quickly, but, over time and "by slow operations," as Thomas Jefferson was fond of saying, governments can be counted on to eventually destroy all freedoms.

We’re passing through a period in history in which the process of removing freedoms is nearing completion in many of the world’s foremost jurisdictions. The EU and US, in particular, are leading the way in this effort. Consequently, it shouldn’t be surprising that some predict "the end of the world." But, they couldn’t be more incorrect.

Surely, in 1789, the more productive people of France may have felt that the developing French Revolution would culminate in Armageddon. Similarly, in 1917, those who created prosperity in Russia may well have wanted to throw up their hands as the Bolsheviks seized power from the Romanovs.

Whenever a deterioration in rule is underway, as it is once again now, the observer has three choices:

Declare the End of the World: There are many people, worldwide, but particularly in the centers of the present deterioration – the EU and US – who feel that, since the situation in their home country is nearing collapse, the entire world must also be falling apart. This is not only a very myopic viewpoint, it’s also quite inaccurate. At any point in civilization in the past 2000 years or more, there have always been empires that were collapsing due to intolerable governmental dominance and there have always concurrently been alternative jurisdictions where the level of freedom was greater. In ancient Rome, when Diocletian devalued the currency, raised taxes, increased warfare and set price controls, those people who actually created the economy on a daily basis found themselves in the same boat as Europeans and Americans are finding themselves in, in the 21st century.

It may have seemed like the end of the world, but it was not. Enough producers left Rome and started over again in other locations. Those other locations eventually thrived as a result of the influx of productive people, while Rome atrophied.

Turn a Blind Eye: This is less dreary than the above approach, but it is nevertheless just as fruitless. It is, in fact, the most common of reactions – to just "hope for the best." It’s tempting to imagine that maybe the government will realize that they’re the only ones benefitting from the destruction of freedom and prosperity and they’ll feel bad and reverse the process. But this clearly will not happen. It’s also tempting to imagine that maybe it won’t get a whole lot worse and that life, although not all that good at present, might remain tolerable. Again, this is wishful thinking and the odds of it playing out in a positive way are slim indeed.

Accept the Truth, But Do Something About It: This, of course, is the hard one. Begin by recognizing the truth. If that truth is not palatable, study the situation carefully and, when a reasonably clear understanding has been reached, create an alternative. When governments enter the final decline stage, an alternative is not always easy to accept. It’s a bit like having a tooth pulled. You want to put it off, but the pain will only get worse if you delay. And so, you trundle off to the dentist unhappily, but, a few weeks after the extraction, you find yourself asking, "Why didn’t I do this sooner?"

To be sure, those who investigate and analyze the present socio-economic-political deterioration do indeed espouse a great deal of gloom, but this should not be confused with doom. In actual fact, the whole point of shining a light into the gloom is to avoid having it end in doom.

It should be said here that remaining in a country that is tumbling downhill socially, economically and politically is also not the end of the world. It is, however, true that the end result will not exactly be a happy one. If history repeats once again, it’s likely to be quite a miserable one.

Those who undertake the study of the present deterioration must, admittedly, address some pretty depressing eventualities and it would be far easier to just curl up on the sofa with a six-pack and watch the game, but the fact remains: unless the coming problems are investigated and an alternative found, those who sit on the sofa will become the victims of their own lethargy.

Sadly, we live in a period in history in which some of the nations that once held the greatest promise for the world are well on their way to becoming the most tyrannical. If by recognizing that fact, we can pursue better alternatives elsewhere on the globe, as people have done in previous eras. We may actually find that the field of daisies in the image above is still very much in existence, it’s just a bit further afield than it was in years gone by. And it is absolutely worthy of pursuit."

Bill Bonner, "Fake Capital"

"Fake Capital"
How fake money, lent at fake rates to
 fake investors, produced fake gains...
by Bill Bonner

Paris, France - "The most important thing to happen in the financial world so far this century is the sell-off in the US bond market. MarketWatch reports: "An investment in 10-year U.S. Treasury notes has lost a third of its value, in real, inflation-adjusted terms, in just over three years. Investments in long-term Treasurys have lost about half their value. They have fallen as much as U.S. stocks did during the global financial crisis. 10-year Treasury bonds have been a worse investment than gold bullion this year, last year, the year before that, and all the way back to 2018."

US 10-year Treasury notes have actually underperformed gold for the last 33 years. According to data reported by MarketWatch, if you’d put $10,000 into 10-year Treasuries in 1990, adjusted for inflation, you’d have approximately doubled your money. Holding gold, on the other hand, would have given you a little profit – about 15% more than if you had simply held Treasuries.

Dear Imprudence: Gold enjoys no ‘full faith and credit’ of the US government. No one backs it. No grand empire issues it or guarantees to pay interest on it. It issues no press releases, pays no dividends, has no DEI director…and doesn’t give a damn what you think. And yet this ‘nothing’ of an investment has proven more valuable than the strongest credit ‘the West’ had to offer. And in America’s publicly traded businesses, an investor might have fared even worse. Stocks have roughly tripled in this century. The broadest index, the Wilshire 5,000, has risen from 13,800 in 1999 to around 45,191 today. But gold has gone from an average around $270/oz to $2,000/oz today – a 7 times increase.

What we take from this is that something went seriously wrong with American capitalism; its best stocks and bonds have been disappointments. Speculators put billions of dollars into cryptos, NFTs, and zombie stock – leading to huge losses. Prudent investors, meanwhile, tried to protect their wealth with US Treasury bonds which pretended to be ‘safe;’ they lost a third of their money over the last 38 months.

At the peak of the bond bubble, even the smartest bankers, the most experienced corporate treasurers, and the wizzy-est whizzes on Wall Street were fumbling. JP Morgan analysts, for example, said WeWork should go public at $100 million. It turned out to be worth less than nothing.

Multiply those miscalculations and nonsense speculations by millions…all up and down the capital structure…and you get one weird, fakey economy – in which real values were falsified by fake money, lent out at fake interest rates, to fund fake investments by fake entrepreneurs in fake industries that produced fake gains. This fake capitalism did not produce real prosperity; it only worked to enrich the elite.

A Whole Bag of ****: But in July, 2020, the Primary Trend of the previous 40 years came to an end. A new Primary Trend, towards lower stock and bond prices, began…one that will probably last for decades. But we have to ask some questions; what caused* the other big moves in the bond market? What caused* the fall in bond yields (rise in bond prices) from 1920 to 1945? The answer is simple: the Great Depression and World War II.

What caused* the rise in bond yields from 1945 to 1980? Another easy question: the Eisenhower boom, followed by overspending on the Vietnam war and the Great Society.

What caused* the following Primary Trend, the spectacular fall in bond yields (and the rise in bond prices) from 1980 to 2020? Easy peasy: Paul Volcker broke the back of inflation; then, Bernanke pushed real rates below zero.

You will note the asterisk*. It reminds us that this is not science. We never know what really causes events and trends of this scale. You may say with some certainty that Gavril Princip shot Archduke Ferdinand in Sarajevo in 1914. But as for what caused WWI, that is a whole different question with no sure answer.

The New Trend? So, we ask: what will cause the next Primary Trend, from 2020-? The obvious answer: too much spending, too much debt, too much inflation…and the Decline of the West. It’s that last item that will need most of the ****. The subject is so big…so slippery…so vague, it will be hard to get a grip on it. But for our amusement, if nothing else, let us push on, with a whole bag of **** at our side.

Executive summary: in 1980, America’s institutions were still vigorous enough to bring inflation under control. Today, they have been so enfeebled and corrupted by easy money policies, neither Congress, the White House, nor the Fed can be expected to make tough decisions. Budgets won’t be balanced. Wars won’t be stopped. Inflation won’t be brought to heel. The ‘West’ is in decline. Stay tuned..."