Saturday, January 13, 2024

The Atlantis Report, "The Banks Know Exactly What's Coming Next, And They're Hiding It"

Full screen recommended.
The Atlantis Report, 1/13/24
"The Banks Know Exactly What's 
Coming Next, And They're Hiding It"
"Behind the polished fa├žade of stability and prosperity, an undercurrent of concern is gaining momentum. As we navigate through the financial landscape, the ominous signs continue. Large and small banks witness consecutive weeks of non-seasonally adjusted deposit inflows while loan volumes spiral downward. This surge in total bank deposits, despite substantial losses in the previous year, prompts a closer examination of the banks' risk-averse behavior."
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Jeremiah Babe, "Bank of America On The Brink Of Collapse; Powerful Winter Storms Hit US"

Full screen recommended.
Jeremiah Babe, 1/13/24
"Bank of America On The Brink Of Collapse; 
Powerful Winter Storms Hit US"
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"Alert! Massive Attack On Russia; Radioactive Event; Nuke Tests; Blackout; Dire WW3 Warning; Yemen"

Full screen recommended.
Canadian Prepper, 1/13/24
"Alert! Massive Attack On Russia; Radioactive Event;
 Nuke Tests; Blackout; Dire WW3 Warning; Yemen"
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Scott Ritter, "IDF Are Just Stupid Kids In Combat Kits, Hamas Will Kill Them All"

Must view! Brutally honest truth...
Full screen recommended.
Scott Ritter, 1/13/24
"IDF Are Just Stupid Kids In Combat Kits, 
Hamas Will Kill Them All"
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Musical Interlude: 2002, "Return To Freedom"

Full screen recommended.
2002, "Return To Freedom"

Beautiful...

A Rousing Musical Interlude: Outlaws, “Green Grass And High Tides”

Outlaws, “Green Grass And High Tides”
Turn it up! lol

"A Look to the Heavens"

"Big, beautiful spiral galaxy NGC 1055 is a dominant member of a small galaxy group a mere 60 million light-years away toward the aquatically intimidating constellation Cetus. Seen edge-on, the island universe spans over 100,000 light-years, a little larger than our own Milky Way galaxy. The colorful, spiky stars decorating this cosmic portrait of NGC 1055 are in the foreground, well within the Milky Way. But the telltale pinkish star forming regions are scattered through winding dust lanes along the distant galaxy's thin disk.
Click image for larger size.
With a smattering of even more distant background galaxies, the deep image also reveals a boxy halo that extends far above and below the central bulge and disk of NGC 1055. The halo itself is laced with faint, narrow structures, and could represent the mixed and spread out debris from a satellite galaxy disrupted by the larger spiral some 10 billion years ago."
o
"What can we know? What are we all?
Poor silly half-brained things peering out at the infinite,
with the aspirations of angels and the instincts of beasts."
- Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

The Poet: Charles Bukowski, "The Laughing Heart"

 

"Middle East Crisis Update, 1/13/24"

Full screen recommended.
OpenmindedThinker Show, 1/13/24
"Panic In Israel: Iron Dome Fails, Massive Explosions 
Destroy Israel’s Oil Rig in Mediterranean Sea"
Comments here:
o
Full screens recommended.
Ray Mcgovern, 1/13/24
"Israel Is Going The Wrong Way As It Genocides Palestinians"
Comments here:
o
Full screen recommended.
Scott Ritter, 1/13/24
"Hezbollah And Houthis Backed By Iran; 
US-UK And Israel Both Will Lose All Wars"
Comments here:
o
Full screen recommended.
"The critical point here is not whether the Zionist State of Israel has calculatedly perpetrated an ongoing and utterly odious genocide in Gaza, as a precursor to their long-planned Gaza Strip Land Grab, it’s that all of the Western military powers have both enabled and encouraged this Palestinian Holocaust. To wit, the United States and United Kingdom are, therefore, unindicted co-conspirators in this unparalleled mass murder of mostly women and children, elderly and infirm."

"I'd Still Swim..."

"If I were dropped out of a plane into the ocean and told
the nearest land was a thousand miles away, I'd still swim.
And I'd despise the one who gave up."
- Abraham Maslow

And don't you ever give up...

Full screen recommended.
Jason Mraz, "I Won't Give Up"

The Daily "Near You?"

Kingman, Arizona, USA. Thanks for stopping by!

"Joy, Shipmates, Joy"

“Night and day the river flows. If time is the mind of space, the River is the soul of the desert. Brave boatmen come, they go, they die, the voyage flows on forever. We are all canyoneers. We are all passengers on this little mossy ship, this delicate dory sailing round the sun that humans call the earth. Joy, shipmates, joy.”
- Edward Abbey

"What Do You Value?"

"What Do You Value?"
by John Wilder

“I have been in the service of the Vorlons for centuries, looking for you. Diogenes, with his lamp, looking for an honest man, willing to die for all the wrong reasons. At last, my job is finished. Yours is just beginning. When the darkness comes, know this; you are the right people, in the right place, at the right time.” 
– "Babylon 5"

"What is the most common question asked by philosophers nowadays? “Do you want fries with that?” Diogenes is dead. When he was up and kicking around, he lived in a wine barrel at the end of town, and often was caught on the streets stark naked. Sometimes he was, um, enjoying himself. Oddly, he was also thought of as a respected philosopher. When I try to emulate him, though, all I get is a restraining order and some embarrassing YouTube® videos.

The reason we remember Diogenes is for two reasons: First, he invented the chicken nugget, but sadly was unable to invent any tasty dipping sauces. Second, he walked around making pithy little statements like this: “We sell things of great value for things of very little, and vice versa." It’s a very short, and very wickedly to the point piece of advice. Frankly, it points out many of the problems we are facing as a society today.

Let’s take consooming for today’s topic.Billions of dollars are spent attempting to convince people to purchase one product or another. These advertisements are hard to avoid – and they have one thing in common – a desire to get the consoomer to spend money. In some cases, the ads provide the ability to match a need with a product. If I’m cutting down trees using axes and handsaws, knowing that a thing called a chainsaw exists is providing me a real value. So, ads inform.

But ads also are used to create desire in customers, playing on emotions to drive purchase decisions for things that aren’t needs, but frivolities. I have plenty of those! I’m a sucker for some things in particular. In the sitting room (where I’m typing this now) I look around and see a map I bought as artwork a few years ago. It shows all the undersea telegraph cables in around 1871. So very cool! I walked into the store, saw it, and bought it. I consoomed. I can’t cut down a tree with it. I can’t drive it to work. It’s just... there, stuck to my wall.

Is the map of great value? No. It’s a print. It doesn’t make me better, more complete, important, or accomplished. We can look in terms of multiple ways to value things. Dollars are only one. In this case, the picture cost about what I made in about an hour or two. Was it worth an hour of my life to own that map? Yeah, I guess so. But when I start to value objects that I own, and look at how much of my life I traded for them, my equation starts to change.

If I didn’t spend that hour at work, what could I have spent that hour on? How could I have changed my life? Could I have spent more time brushing my teeth, so they were 2.3% brighter? Should I have spent that time waxing my dog? What did I overlook or not spend time on? And which of those things might have been more valuable?

I understand that money is important – those who say that money isn’t important haven’t gone without it. But money isn’t the goal, it’s what can be done with it that’s important. The true currency of our lives isn’t gold, silver, or even PEZ™. It’s time. Each of us on this planet have a finite number of hours left on this rock, and that number goes down by one each hour that we spend. It goes down by one if I spend it at a job I don’t like. It goes down if I spend it writing the best post I’ve ever written. It goes down by one if I’m sleeping. It goes down by one every hour.

Yes, I know, exercising and other positive things might extend that life, but I’m still going to die. In the endless summer of a life when I was, say, 12, I didn’t think much about time and how I spent it. Even then, though, I didn’t try to just “pass the time” since there was so much to do and see and learn in the world. Now as I’m on the back side of life, I can see that those hours I have left cannot be wasted.

They’re all I have. And learning is great, but now it has to have purpose. Will it help me write? Will it help me crack a puzzle that I can share? Will it help me with some project I’m working on? Can it help me change the world?

Again, as I get older, it ceases to be about me. It’s now about what I can do to help others, how I can help make the world a better place. Thankfully, during my career I’ve been able to do work on things that matter, and have made the world a slightly better place. If I’m trading my life for my work, I’m glad that it’s work that matters.

Diogenes? He’s still dead, but he changed the world, just a little bit. And I can, too. And so can you. Time is still all we have, but it’s up to us to make the most of it, each and every day, just like Diogenes showed us. But, I don’t recommend you do it naked. Now, I wonder how Diogenes dealt with the restraining orders?"

"People Cling..."

"People cling to their hates so stubbornly because they sense, 
once hate is gone, they will be forced to deal with pain." 
- James Baldwin

"We Are Witnessing A Tsunami Of Economic Suffering All Over America"

"We Are Witnessing A Tsunami Of 
Economic Suffering All Over America"
by Michael Snyder

"Many among the elite don’t really care that tens of millions of Americans on the bottom of the economic food chain are deeply suffering right now. It is being reported that approximately 93 percent of all stock market wealth held by U.S. households is controlled by the top 10 percent, and the stock market has been performing remarkably well in recent months. As long as their stock portfolios look good, there won’t be too much concern about the economic pain that the masses are experiencing. But they should care, because what we are witnessing is going to deeply affect all of us.

2023 was really tough for much of the country, and many of the economic trends from last year just continue to intensify.

For example, just look at what is happening at food banks all over the nation. At one location in southern California, demand is up almost 60 percent since before the pandemic…"The nonprofit Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County, which provides food for 400,000 people a month in Orange County, has seen a nearly 60 percent increase in demand since before the pandemic. “If we are really going to help lift people out of poverty, they need fresh food,” Claudia Keller, CEO of Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County."

At a food bank in the Big Apple, demand has actually doubled since before the pandemic, and now they are being forced to turn people away due to a lack of food…"The shelves at a Bronx food pantry have been bare for the past two weeks as hungry New Yorkers face heightened food insecurity at the beginning of the New Year. The Albanian American Open Hand Association (AAOHA), located in Pelham Parkway, fed around 800 weekly before the pandemic, but that has since doubled to 1,600. For the first time in 10 years, the pantry has been forced to turn people away."

This is something that is going to become increasingly common. From coast to coast, donations are down and food costs are up, and so in the months ahead more desperate Americans that have lined up for hours at food banks around the nation will be told that there is “no food today”…"Food pantry president Alexander Nilaj told The Post Tuesday that he has had to turn them away. “It’s very heartbreaking. People line up at six or seven in the morning,” the 52-year-old said in a phone interview. “We tell them: ‘Don’t wait, we have no food today.’”

Despite all of the happy talk that we are constantly getting from the Biden administration and the mainstream media, the truth is that poverty is exploding and homelessness in the U.S. has been growing at the fastest pace ever recorded…"Homelessness is on the rise in the United States, and it’s growing at a rate never seen before, according to data released Friday by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The 2023 Annual Homeless Assessment Report shows that more than 653,000 people were experiencing homelessness in the U.S. - marking a 12% increase from 2022. The report uses compiled Point-In-Time Count data - a method that attempts to count every person living homeless one day out of the year - from across the nation to track the ebbs and flows of the nation’s homelessness crisis."

Unfortunately, our economic problems appear to be accelerating. According to the government’s own numbers, the U.S. lost a whopping 1.531 million full-time jobs in December alone. And layoffs continue to be announced at a furious pace here in January.

Earlier today, I was stunned to learn that Pixar has decided to conduct mass layoffs…"Walt Disney’s Pixar Animation Studios is set to cut jobs as the studio has completed production on some shows and now has more staff than it needs, a source familiar with the situation told Reuters on Thursday. TechCrunch reported earlier that Pixar was set to undergo layoffs as high as 20% this year, with the studio’s team of 1,300 people reduced to under 1,000 over the coming months."

Twitch is laying off workers too. In fact, more than a third of their workers will soon be searching for new employment…"Amazon’s livestreaming platform, Twitch, announced it would cut 35% of its workforce in a blog post. “As you all know, we have worked hard over the last year to run our business as sustainably as possible,” wrote Twitch CEO Dan Clancy in a blog post. “Unfortunately, we still have work to do to rightsize our company, and I regret having to share that we are taking the painful step of reducing our headcount by just over 500 people across Twitch.”

Sadly, even Google is laying off workers at this stage. We are being told that “hundreds of staff” are getting the axe…"Google has laid off hundreds of staff across the company as it tries to cut costs and focus on artificial intelligence. The tech titan confirmed the new wave of mass firings on Wednesday night, which employees claimed was more than 1,000 people.

Welcome to 2024. This is going to be such a crazy year. And as more companies lay off workers, large numbers of Americans won’t be able to pay their bills. In fact, credit card delinquency rates at all stages have already surpassed pre-pandemic levels…"More Americans are buckling under the weight of mounting credit card debt. All stages of credit card delinquency (30, 60 and 90 days past due) jumped higher during the third quarter of last year, surpassing pre-pandemic levels for the first time, according to a report released Thursday by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia."

Don’t let anyone tell you that the economy is in good shape. The elite may be doing just fine for the moment, but most of the country is really struggling. Do you remember the tremendous suffering that we witnessed during the Great Recession? Well, what is ahead will be even worse. A giant economic mess has already begun, and 2024 will be even more painful than 2023 was."

"In Retrospect..."

“In retrospect, the spark might seem as ominous as a financial crash, as ordinary as a national election, or as trivial as a Tea Party. The catalyst will unfold according to a basic Crisis dynamic that underlies all of these scenarios: An initial spark will trigger a chain reaction of unyielding responses and further emergencies. The core elements of these scenarios (debt, civic decay, global disorder) will matter more than the details, which the catalyst will juxtapose and connect in some unknowable way. If foreign societies are also entering a Fourth Turning, this could accelerate the chain reaction. At home and abroad, these events will reflect the tearing of the civic fabric at points of extreme vulnerability – problem areas where America will have neglected, denied, or delayed needed action.” 
– "The Fourth Turning", Strauss & Howe

Dan, I Allegedly, "The Scam Was Too Good"

Full screen recommended.
Dan, I Allegedly 1/13/24
"The Scam Was Too Good"
"So many people have been the victim of banking scams. Now we have a celebrity that has been a victim and it’s getting press. But the scam was so good with the way that they handled it. He had no idea that he was losing hundreds of thousands of dollars until it was too late."
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"How It Really Is"

 

Adventures with Danno, "Items At Walmart Everyone Should Be Buying In January 2024!"

Full screen recommended.
Adventures with Danno, 1/13/24
"Items At Walmart Everyone 
Should Be Buying In January 2024!"
Comments here:
o
Full screen recommended.
Travelling with Russell, 1/13/24
"A Russian Typical Supermarket 
After 700 Days of Sanctions"
"What does a Russia Typical supermarket look like in Moscow, Russia. How does this store compare to where you live? Could you shop in a store like this?"
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"Does A 1904 Geopolitical Theory Explain The War In Ukraine?"

"Does A 1904 Geopolitical Theory
 Explain The War In Ukraine?"
by John Wilder

"When I look at the war in Ukraine and other world events, I see evidence of Sir Halford John Mackinder. It would have been cool if he was the frontman for a 1910s version of Judas Priest, but no. Mackinder was a guy who thought long and hard about mountains, deserts, oceans, steppes, and wars. You could tell Mackinder was going to be good at geography, what with that latitude. The result of all this pondering was what he called the Heartland Theory, which was the founding moment for geopolitics.

What’s geopolitics? It’s the idea that one of the biggest influencers in human history (besides being human) was the geography we inhabit. Mackinder’s first version wasn’t very helpful, since he just ended up with “Indonesia” and the rest of the world, which he called “Outdonesia”.

Mackinder focused mainly on the Eurasian continent. Flat land with no obstacles meant, in Mackinder’s mind, that the land would be eventually ruled by a single power. Jungles and swamps could be a barrier, but eventually he thought that technology would solve that. Mountains? Mountains were obstacles that stopped invasions, and allowed cultures to develop independently. Even better than a mountain? An island.

There’s even a theory (not Mackinder’s) that the independent focus on freedom flourished in England because the local farmers weren’t (after the Angles, Saxons, Jutes, Mormons, and Vikings were done pillaging) subject to invasion and were able to develop a culture based on a government with limited powers, along with rights invested in every man.

Mackinder went further, though. He saw the combination of Eurasia and Africa as something he called the World Island. If the World Island came under the domination of a single power, he thought, it would eventually rule the rest of the world – it would have overwhelming resources and population, and it would have the ability to outproduce (both economically and militarily) everything else. “Pivot Area” is what Mackinder first called the Heartland.

Mackinder, being English, had seen the Great Game in the 1900s, which in many cases was a fight to keep Russia landlocked. The rest of Europe feared a Russia that had access to the sea. Conversely, Russia itself was the Heartland of the Mackinder’s World Island. Russia was separated and protected on most of its borders by mountains and deserts. On the north, Russia was protected by the Arctic Ocean, which is generally more inaccessible than most of Joe Biden’s recent memories.

Russia is still essentially landlocked. The Soviet Navy had some nice submarines, but outside of that, the Russians have never been a naval power, and the times Russia attempted to make a navy have been so tragically inept that well, let me give an example: The sea Battle of Tsushima between the Japanese and Russians in 1905 was a Japanese victory. The Japanese lost 117 dead, 583 wounded, and lost 3 torpedo boats. The Russians? They lost 5,045 dead, 803 injured, 6,016 captured, 6 battleships sunk, 2 battleships captured. The Russians sank 450 ton of the Japanese Navy. The Japanese sunk 126,792 tons of the Russian fleet. Yup. This was more lopsided than a fight between a poodle and a porkchop.

Mackinder noted that the Heartland (Russia) was built on land power. The Rimlands (or, on the map “Inner Crescent”) were built on sea power. In the end, almost all of the twentieth century was built on keeping Russia away from the ocean, and fighting over Eastern Europe. Why? In Mackinder’s mind, “Who rules East Europe commands the Heartland (Russia); Who rules the Heartland commands the World Island; Who rules the World Island commands the World.” In one sense, it’s true.

Mackinder finally in 1943 came up with another idea, his first idea being lonely. I think he could see the way World War II was going to end, so he came up with the idea that if the United States were to team up with Western Europe, they could still command the Rimlands and contain the Soviet Union to the Heartland.

There are several reasons that the United States has responded with such an amazing amount of aid to Ukraine. $120 billion dollars? Some people don’t work a whole year and get that much money. No, the idea is to bleed Putin as deeply and completely as they can. Why? If they’re following Mackinder, this keeps Russia vulnerable. It keeps Eastern Europe from being under Russia’s control – if you count the number of “Battles of Kiev” or “Battles of Kharkov” you can see that it’s statistically more likely to rain artillery in Kiev than rain water.

This might be the major driver for Russia, too. A Russian-aligned (or at least neutral) Ukraine nicely plugs the Russian southern flank. And this is nearly the last year that Russia can make this attempt – the younger generation isn’t very big, and the older generation that built and can run all of the cool Soviet tech? They’re dying off. Soon all their engineers with relevant weapons manufacturing experience will be...dead. If Russia is going to attempt to secure the south, this is their only shot. Depending on how vulnerable the Russians think they are, the harder they’ll fight. NATO nations tossing in weapons isn’t helping the famous Russian paranoia.

I think that the United States, in getting cozy with China in the 1970s, was following along with Mackinder’s theory – I believe Mackinder himself said that a Chinese-Russian alliance could effectively control the Heartland and split the Rimland, given China’s access to the oceans. And that’s what China is doing now, with the Belt and Road Initiative. Remember Mackinder’s World Island? Here’s a map of the countries participating in China’s Belt and Road Initiative:
Spoiler alert: It’s the world island."
Freely download "The Geographical Pivot of History"
by HJ Mackinder, April 1904, here:
Why is this important? Consider history, from which we learn nothing...

"The earliest evidence of prehistoric warfare is a Mesolithic cemetery in Jebel Sahaba, which has been determined to be approximately 14,000 years old. About forty-five percent of the skeletons there displayed signs of violent death. Since the rise of the state some 5,000 years ago, military activity has occurred over much of the globe. The advent of gunpowder and the acceleration of technological advances led to modern warfare. According to Conway W. Henderson, "One source claims that 14,500 wars have taken place between 3500 BC and the late 20th century, costing 3.5 billion lives, leaving only 300 years of peace." An unfavorable review of this estimate  mentions the following regarding one of the proponents of this estimate: "In addition, perhaps feeling that the war casualties figure was improbably high, he changed 'approximately 3,640,000,000 human beings have been killed by war or the diseases produced by war' to 'approximately 1,240,000,000 human beings.'" 

The lower figure is more plausible, but could still be on the high side considering that the 100 deadliest acts of mass violence between 480 BC and 2002 AD (wars and other man-made disasters with at least 300,000 and up to 66 million victims) claimed about 455 million human lives in total. Primitive warfare is estimated to have accounted for 15.1% of deaths and claimed 400 million victims. Added to the aforementioned figure of 1,240 million between 3500 BC and the late 20th century, this would mean a total of 1,640,000,000 people killed by war (including deaths from famine and disease caused by war) throughout the history and pre-history of mankind. For comparison, an estimated 1,680,000,000 people died from infectious diseases in the 20th century."
"It would indeed be a tragedy if the history of the human 
race proved to be nothing more than the story of an 
ape playing with a box of matches on a petrol dump."
- David Ormsby-Gore

"Reality Avoidance: This Is Who We Are"

"Reality Avoidance"
by Morris Berman

"It’s quite amazing how the news is endlessly about nonsense. Filler, is what I call it. Very little of this has anything to do with reality, which the Mainstream Media and the American people avoid like the plague. What then is real?

1. The empire is in decline; every day, life here gets a little bit worse; all our institutions are corrupt to varying degrees; and there is no turning this situation around.

2. A crucial factor in this decline and irreversibility is the low level of intelligence of the American people. Americans are not only dumb; they are positively antagonistic toward the life of the mind.

3. Relations of power and money determine practically everything. The 3 wealthiest Americans own as much as the bottom 50% of the population, and this tendency will get worse over time.

4. The value system of the country, and its citizens, is fundamentally wrong-headed. It amounts to little more than hustling, selfishness, narcissism, and a blatant disregard for anyone but oneself. There is a kind of cruelty, or violence, deep in the American soul; many foreign observers and writers have commented on this. Americans are bitter, depressed, and angry, and the country offers very little by way of community or empathy.

5. Along with this is the support of meaningless wars and imperial adventures on the part of most of the population. That we drone-murder unarmed civilians on a weekly basis is barely on the radar screen of the American mind. In essence, the nation has evolved into a genocidal war machine run by a plutocracy and cheered on by mindless millions.

Most Americans hide from these depressing, even horrific, realities by what passes for ‘the news’, but also by means of alcohol, opioids, TV, cellphones, suicide, prescription drugs, workaholism, and spectator sports, to name but a few. This stuffing of the Void is probably our primary activity. In a word, we are eating ourselves alive, and only a tiny fraction of the population recognizes this."
o
Read it and weep...
"Morris Berman On A Dumbed-down America"
by RoryLitwin

Excerpt: "I am sharing a passage from Morris Berman’s book from a few years ago, "The Twilight of American Culture." Berman has generously agreed to let me share this passage, which is about the deplorable state of ignorance of the American people. The facts and data in this passage are a bit old, but all signs suggest that things have gotten worse since then, not better. "The Twilight of American Culture," pp. 33-40.

Turning to Item (c),The collapse of American intelligence, we find a picture that is unambiguously bleak. The following data are going to seem invented; please be assured, they are not.

• Forty-two percent of American adults cannot locate Japan on a world map, and according to Garrison Keillor (National Public Radio, 22 March 1997,) another survey revealed that nearly 15 percent couldn’t locate the United States (!). Keillor remarked that this was like not being able to “grab your rear end with both hands,” and he suggested that we stop being so assiduous, on the eve of elections, about trying to get out the vote.

• A survey taken in October 1996 revealed that one in ten voters did not know who the Republican or Democratic nominees for president were. This is particularly sobering when one remembers that one of the questions traditionally asked in psychiatric wards as part of the test for sanity is “Who is the president of the United States?”

• Very few Americans understand the degree to which corporations have taken over their lives. But according to a poll taken by Time magazine, nearly 70 percent of them believe in the existence of angels; and another study turned up the fact that 50 percent believe in the presence of UFOs and space aliens on earth, while a Gallup poll (reported on CNN, 19 August 1997) revealed that 71 percent believe that the U.S. government is engaged in a cover-up about the subject. More than 30 percent believe they have made contact with the dead.

• A 1995 article in the New York Times reported the results of a survey that revealed that 40 percent of American adults (this could be upward of 70 million people) did not know that Germany was our enemy in World War II. A Roper survey conducted in 1996 revealed that 84 percent of American college seniors cannot understand a newspaper editorial in any newspaper, and a U.S. Department of Education survey of 22,000 students in 1995 revealed that 50 percent were unaware of the Cold War, and that 60 percent had no idea of how the United States came into existence.

• At one point in 1996, Jay Leno invited a number of high school students to be on his television program and asked them to complete famous quotations from major American documents, such as the Gettysburg address and the Declaration of Independence. Their response in each case was to stare at him blankly. As a kind of follow-up, on his show of 3 June 1999, Leno screened a video of interviews he had conducted a few days before at a university graduation ceremony. He did not identify the institution in question; he told his TV audience only that the students he had interviewed included graduate students as well as undergraduates. The group included men, women, and people of color. Leno posed eight questions, as follows:

1. Who designed the first American flag? Answers included Susan B. Anthony (born in 1820,) and “Betsy Ford.”

2. What were the Thirteen Colonies free from, after the American Revolution? One student said, “The East Coast.”

3. What was the Gettysburg Address? One student replied, “An address to Getty;” another said, “I don’t know the exact address.”

4. Who invented the lightbulb? Answers included Thomas Jefferson

5. What is three squared? One student said, “Twenty-seven;” another said, “Six.”

6. What is the boiling point of water? Answers included 115 degrees?

7. How long does it take the earth to rotate once on its axis? The two answers Leno received here were “Light years” (which is a measure of distance, not time,) and “Twenty-four axises [sic].”

8. How many moons does the earth have? The student questioned said she had taken astronomy a few years back and had gotten an A in the course but that she couldn’t remember the correct answer.

It is important to note that not a single student interviewed had the correct answer to any of these questions. Leno’s comment on this pathetic debacle says it all: “And the Chinese are stealing secrets from us?”

• A 1998 survey by the National Constitution Center revealed that only 41 percent of American teenagers can name the three branches of government, but 59 percent can name the Three Stooges. Only 2 percent can name the chief justice of the Supreme Court; 26 percent were unable to identify the vice president. In the early 1990s, the National Assessment of Education Progress reported that 50 percent of seventeen year olds could not express 9/100 as a percentage, and nearly 50 percent couldn’t place the Civil War in the correct half century–data that the San Antonio Express News characterized as evidence of the “steady lobotomizing” of American culture. In another study of seventeen year olds, only 4 percent could read a bus schedule, and only 12% could arrange six common fractions in order of size.

 Ignorance of the most elementary scientific facts on the part of American adults is nothing less than breathtaking. In a survey conducted for the National Science Foundation in October 1995, 56 percent of those polled said that electrons were larger than atoms; 63 percent stated that the earliest human beings lived at the same time as the dinosaurs (a chronological error of more than 60 million years;) 53 percent said that the earth revolved around the sun in either a day or a month (that is to say, only 47 percent understood that the correct answer is one year;) and 91 percent were unable to state what a molecule was. A random telephone survey of more than two thousand adults, conducted by Northern Illinois University, revealed that 21 percent believed that the sun revolved around the earth, with an additional 7 percent saying that they did not know which revolved around which.

• Of the 158 countries in the United Nations, the United States ranks forty-ninth in literacy. Roughly 60 percent of the adult population reads as much as one book a year, where book is defined to include Harlequin romances and self-help manuals. Something like 120 million adults are illiterate or read at no better than a fifth-grade level. Among readers age twenty-one to thirty-five, 67 percent regularly read a daily newspaper in 1965, as compared with 31 percent in 1998.

• In a telephone survey conducted in 1998, 12 percent of Americans, asked who the wife of the biblical Noah was, said “Joan of Arc” (reported on National Public Radio, 13 June 1998.)

• In 1997, as a hoax, the attorney general of the state of Missouri submitted a proposal to an international academic accrediting agency (not identified) to establish an institution he named Eastern Missouri Business College, which would grant Ph.D’s in marine biology and genetic engineering, as well as in business. The faculty would include, Inter Alia, Moe Howard, Jerome Howard, and Larry Fine - that is, The Three Stooges; and the proposed motto on the college seal, roughly translated from the Latin, was Education Is for the Birds. The response? Academic accreditation was granted."
Complete article is here. Read it and weep...
o
o
As the great Mogombo Guru said, "We're so freakin' doomed!"
And that's why...

David Stockman, "Why Stalin and Hitler Should Never Have Happened"

"Why Stalin and Hitler Should Never Have Happened"
by David Stockman

"Herewith is a capsulized dissection which attempts to explain why Stalin and Hitler should have never happened. Accordingly, the hot, cold and Forever Wars wars that followed thereafter condemn the case for the American Empire, not make it; and they show that Trump’s America First is a far more appropriate lodestone for national security policy than Imperial Washington’s specious claim that America is the Indispensable Nation.

The Great War had been destined to end in 1917 by mutual exhaustion, bankruptcy and withdrawal from the utterly stalemated trenches of the Western Front. In the end, upwards of 3.3 million combatants had been killed and 8.3 million wounded over four years for movement along blood-drenched front-lines that could be measured in mere miles and yards.

Still, had America stayed on its side of the great Atlantic moat, the ultimate outcomes everywhere would have been far different. Foremostly, the infant democracy that came to power in February 1917 in Russia would not have been so easily smothered in its crib.

There surely would have been no disastrous summer offensive by the Kerensky government to rollback Germany on the eastern front where the czarist armies had earlier been humiliated and dismembered. In turn, an early end to Russia’s bloody and bankrupting impalement on the eastern front would also likely have precluded the return of Lenin to Russia in a German boxcar and the subsequent armed insurrection in Petrograd in November 1917. The flukish seizure of power by Lenin and his small band of fanatical Bolsheviks, in turn, would most certainly never have happened.

That is, the 20th century would not have been saddled with what inexorably morphed into the Stalinist nightmare. Nor would a garrisoned Soviet state have poisoned the peace of nations for 74 years thereafter, while causing the nuclear sword of Damocles to hang precariously over the planet.

Likewise, there would have been no abomination known as the Versailles peace treaty because it was a toxic peace of victors. But without America’s billions of aid and munitions and two million fresh dough-boys there would have been no Allied victors, as we demonstrate below.

Without Versailles, in turn, there would have been no "stab in the back" legends owing to the Weimar government’s forced signing of the "war guilt" clause; no continuance of England’s brutal post-armistice blockade that delivered hundreds of thousands of Germany’s women and children into starvation and death; and no demobilized 3-million man German army left humiliated, destitute, bitter and on a permanent political rampage of vengeance.

So, too, there would have been no acquiescence in the dismemberment of Germany at the Versailles "peace" table. As it happened nearly one-fifth of Germany’s pre-war territory and population was spread in parts and pieces to Poland (the Danzig Corridor and Upper Silesia), Czechoslovakia (the Sudetenland), Denmark (Schleswig), France (the Saar, Alsace-Lorraine and the neutralized Rhineland) and Belgium (Eupen and Malmedy).
This sweeping loss of territory also meant Germany lost 50% of its iron production capacity, 16% of its coal output and 100% of its far flung colonies in Africa and East Asia to England and France.

Needless to say, God did not create the map of Europe on the 6th day of his labors. But it is absolutely the case that it was the vast German territories and peoples "stolen" at Versailles that provided the fuel for Hitler’s revanchist agitation during the years before his seizure of power; and it was that campaign to regain the lost territories which nourished the Nazis with patriotic public support in the rump of the fatherland.

Likewise, the French-Belgium occupation of the Ruhr in 1923 would not have happened because the justification for that invasion of German lands was that the latter had not paid its oppressive war reparations–a staggering sum that would amount to more than $500 billion in today’s purchasing power.

As it happened, it was the reparations crisis that led to Germany’s insane printing press monetary spree and the destruction of the German middle class in the 1923 hyperinflation. And without that society-crushing development along with all of the above, the history books would have never recorded the Hitlerian ascent to power and all the evils that flowed thereupon."

Friday, January 12, 2024

"10 Retailers At Risk Of Bankruptcy In 2024"

Full screen recommended.
Epic Economist, 1/12/24
"10 Retailers At Risk Of Bankruptcy In 2024"
"We delve into the financial challenges faced by some of your favorite retail brands. From iconic giants to trendy fashion outlets, discover why these household names are on the brink of bankruptcy. Join us as we explore the factors leading to this precarious situation and what it means for the future of the retail industry.

Join us in understanding the financial troubles in the retail industry as we dissect the issues affecting the retail sector in 2024. From declining sales to shifting consumer preferences, find out why these troubles are causing retail giants to tremble.Discover why retail giants facing bankruptcy is a headline in 2024. We explore the financial woes of prominent retailers and their battle to stay afloat in a competitive market. Gain insights into the strategies they're employing to avoid bankruptcy.

The future of retail brands is uncertain as we examine the challenges faced by struggling retailers. Explore the possibilities of reinvention and survival in the ever-changing world of retail. In struggling retail companies 2024, we shed light on the difficulties faced by retail brands in the current economic climate. learn why some of these companies are teetering on the brink of bankruptcy and what it means for their future."
Comments here:

Musical Interlude: Ludovico Einaudi, "'Divenire', Live at Royal Albert Hall, London"

Full screen recommended.
Ludovico Einaudi, 
"'Divenire', Live at Royal Albert Hall, London"

"A Look to the Heavens"

"The rim of the large blue galaxy at the right is an immense ring-like structure 150,000 light years in diameter composed of newly formed, extremely bright, massive stars. AM 0644-741 is known as a ring galaxy and was caused by an immense galaxy collision. When galaxies collide, they pass through each other and their individual stars rarely come into contact. The large galaxy's ring-like shape is the result of the gravitational disruption caused by a small intruder galaxy passing through it. When this happens, interstellar gas and dust become compressed, causing a wave of star formation to move out from the impact point like a ripple across the surface of a pond. 
Other galaxies in the field of view are background galaxies, not interacting with AM 0644-741. Foreground spiky stars are within our own Milky Way. But the smaller intruder galaxy is caught above and right, near the top of the frame taken by the Hubble Space Telescope. Ring galaxy AM 0644-741 lies about 300 million light years away toward the southern constellation Volans."
o
"The eternal silence of infinite spaces frightens me. Why now rather than then? Who has put me here? By whose order and direction have this place and time have been ascribed to me? We travel in a vast sphere, always drifting in the uncertain, pulled from one side to another. Whenever we find a fixed point to attach and to fasten ourselves, it shifts and leaves us; and if we follow it, it eludes our grasp, slips past us, and vanishes for ever. Nothing stays for us. This is our natural condition, most contrary to our inclination; we burn with desires to find solid ground and an ultimate and solid foundation for building a tower reaching to the Infinite. But always these bases crack, and the earth obstinately opens up into abysses. We are infinitely removed from comprehending the extremes, since the end of things and their beginning are hopelessly hidden from us in an encapsulated secret; we are equally incapable of seeing the Nothing from which we were made, and the Infinite in which we are swallowed up."
- Blaise Pascal

"Purpose, Calculus, and the 'Why' of Life"

"Purpose, Calculus, and the 'Why' of Life"
by John Wilder

“As you will find in multivariable calculus, there
are often a number of solutions for any given problem.”
– "A Beautiful Mind"

"Often as I go through my daily life, I have to step back and ask the question, “Why?” “Why” is a really important question, but Sir Isaac Newton was focused in his science on “What”. Newton figured out (to the best of available information and measurements possible at the time) a very large amount of the “What”. His equations of motion and gravity are really, really accurate, right up until the point where very large speeds (think how quickly illegals pass over our “border”) or very large masses (think your mother) change the game. Newton’s rules allow us to predict the orbits of most of the planets with precision. This is all based on based on 1690’s tech, which your mother would have been familiar with.

Gottfried Leibniz, though, was really focused on the “Why” question even though he and Newton discovered calculus about the same time. For Newton, the “Why” was a given. Newton spent more time in study of the Bible than he did in study of nature or of economics (Newton was the Grand Baron of the Mint, or some such, and was really in favor of executing counterfeiters and people who clipped coins. Like I always say, for every problem there is a very simple solution.

Leibniz wanted to go further and understand why gravity existed. Ultimately, that was a question that he couldn’t solve with the measurements available at that time, and we still really don’t have a good idea for the “why” of many basic features of the reality that allows us to make and enjoy PEZ™, watch movies, or sit in a hot tub. Yeah, things like “time”, “inertia”, “why everyone likes Italian food”, and “why we are even here in the first place”. Those are things that are, so far, beyond the ability of physics and science in general to explain. And that’s okay.

When I look at my own life, I often wonder “why” about a ton of different issues. I really believe that I’m fortunate in many ways that I really can’t understand the “why” of. I remember when teachers would tell me that my kids were smart, well, I’d feel proud.

Now? I realize that I had (almost) no impact on that, at all. They were born with it – as Rush Limbaugh (PBUH) used to note that he had “talent on loan from God.” When I first heard that, I thought it was braggadocio, but then realized that Rush was acknowledging that his way with words and skill at communicating, even his sense of humor were nothing for him to be personally proud of – they were on loan from God. I get it now.

The events of our lives are like that, too. Some are random, and some have a deeper meaning that either is immediately apparent or is apparent at some future point in time. The random ones are just that, random. It doesn’t generally matter (much) if a leaf falls on the east side or the west side of my house – I can ignore them perfectly well on either side. It’s meaningless.

But I’ve observed that little delays in my life, the “where did I put my keys” moments that slow me up getting out the door have several times saved me from getting into accidents. A small thing? Certainly. But there are bigger ones that happen, too, things that are so unlikely to happen that they are effectively miracles – those have occurred far too frequently in my life for me to ignore. Yes, once you’ve lived through 10,000 or more days, 5,000 or more commutes, some unlikely stuff is going to happen.

But we all know the bigger coincidences when we see them – the events that occurred in our lives that, looking backward, were either omens or led to situations we never expected.

This leads, ultimately, to a contradiction in my life there is John Wilder who:
• Tries to prepare all of the important things so that everything is covered, and tries to live a virtuous and Godly life,
And,
• Sees the outcome of the planning slowing turning into a colossal mess and the attempts at being virtuous leading to negative personal outcomes and says, “Meh, whatever.”

It’s true – virtue and grace don’t guarantee economic success – soulless creatures like George Soros prowl the world like a Lovecraftian Monster, using their money to spread chaos and disrupt cultural traditions dating back thousands of years. And he’s rich. If Soros has even a single positive virtue, I have yet to hear of it.

There is a scene from that great classic of cinema, 'BASEketball", where the main character (Joe Cooper) has reached rock bottom, he’s been abandoned by his childhood friend, his girlfriend is filled with contempt for him and he’s being publicly vilified. His boyhood friend, however, has gotten everything: public acclaim, money, and gets into a hot tub with a Playboy® playmate (they used to be girls). Spoiler: Joe Cooper sticks to the path of virtue, and in the end, everything is returned to him. That’s the way that, as humans, we want to see life work out, so the good guys win.

But it doesn’t always do that, and that’s okay – Soros will be rich until he leaves that money (along with control of dozens of Evil Foundations) to his son. I can’t change that, and I won’t be upset about it. It just is.

In the end, I’ll try to be like both Leibniz and Newton. Like Leibniz, I’ll work as hard as I can to try to understand the “why”, but like Newton, if I don’t get there, I’m good with that. I mean, they were okay with your mom, so you should cut them some slack."

"The Minds Of Men..."

"The minds of men were gradually reduced to the same level, the fire of genius was extinguished. The name of Poet was almost forgotten; that of Orator was usurped by the sophists. A cloud of critics, of compilers, of commentators, darkened the face of learning, and the decline of genius was soon followed by the corruption of taste. This diminutive stature of mankind was daily sinking below the old standard." 
- Edward Gibbon, 
"The Decline And Fall of The Roman Empire"
o
"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

Apologies to armadillos for the comparison...