Saturday, February 17, 2024

Jeremiah Babe, "Restaurants Are Closing Down Forever"

Jeremiah Babe, 2/17/24
"Restaurants Are Closing Down Forever,
 A Sad Reality; Zombies Shopping online"
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Musical Interlude: The Moody Blues, “Blue World”

Full screen recommended.
The Moody Blues, “Blue World”

"Perhaps..."

"Perhaps they are not stars, but rather openings in 
heaven where the love of our lost ones pours through
 and shines down upon us to let us know they are happy."
~ An Eskimo saying.

"A Look to the Heavens"

"Gorgeous spiral galaxy NGC 3521 is a mere 35 million light-years away, toward the constellation Leo. Relatively bright in planet Earth's sky, NGC 3521 is easily visible in small telescopes but often overlooked by amateur imagers in favor of other Leo spiral galaxies, like M66 and M65. It's hard to overlook in this colorful cosmic portrait, though.
Spanning some 50,000 light-years the galaxy sports characteristic patchy, irregular spiral arms laced with dust, pink star forming regions, and clusters of young, blue stars. Remarkably, this deep image also finds NGC 3521 embedded in gigantic bubble-like shells. The shells are likely tidal debris, streams of stars torn from satellite galaxies that have undergone mergers with NGC 3521 in the distant past."

"The Worst Part..."

"Our world is not safe. It is a toxic swamp populated by predators and parasites. The odds are stacked against us from the moment of conception. We survive only because we fight the elements, hunger, disease, each other. And, although civilization promises us safe harbor, that promise is a fairy tale. Only the storm is real. It comes for each of us. And we cannot win. We can only choose how we will suffer our defeat. We can meekly take our beatings, and die like lemmings, finding solace in the belief that we shall one day inherit the earth. Or, we can plunge into the chaos with eyes wide open, taking comfort instead from the bruises, scars, and broken bones which prove that we fought to live and die as gods."
 - J.K. Franko, "Life for Life"
o
"The worst part is wondering how you'll find the strength tomorrow to go on doing what you did today and have been doing for much too long, where you'll find the strength for all that stupid running around, those projects that come to nothing, those attempts to escape from crushing necessity, which always founder and serve only to convince you one more time that destiny is implacable, that every night will find you down and out, crushed by the dread of more and more sordid and insecure tomorrows. And maybe it's treacherous old age coming on, threatening the worst. Not much music left inside us for life to dance to. Our youth has gone to the ends of the earth to die in the silence of the truth. And where, I ask you, can a man escape to, when he hasn't enough madness left inside him? The truth is an endless death agony. The truth is death. You have to choose: death or lies. I've never been able to kill myself."
- Louis-Ferdinand Celineo
o
"In the movie 'The Lion in Winter', when the sons, in the dungeon, think they hear Henry coming down the stairs to kill them:
Richard: "He's here! He'll get no satisfaction out of us! Don't let him see you beg! Take it like a man!"
Geoffrey: "You chivalric fool! As if the way one falls down matters!"
Richard:  "Well, when the fall is all that's left, it matters a great deal."

"15 Retailers Facing Imminent Bankruptcy In 2024"

Full screen recommended.
Epic Economist, 2/17/24
"15 Retailers Facing Imminent Bankruptcy In 2024"
"In 2024, many retailers are facing tough times, possibly even bankruptcy. Some big names like Ascena Retail, known for Ann Taylor and others, are struggling with high debt and stock prices dropping. Joann, the craft store, had ups and downs during the pandemic but now faces high bankruptcy risks. Even popular brands like Peloton and Beyond Meat are feeling the squeeze. With challenges like declining sales and layoffs, companies like Rent the Runway and Marley Spoon are also on shaky ground. Even well-known names like The Container Store and Fossil Watches are facing uncertain futures."
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"Wag The Dog, 2020s Edition"

"Wag The Dog, 2020s Edition"
by Addison Wiggin

“What difference does it make if it’s true?”
– Quote

"What a treat! This week availed us to a whole array of “wag the dog” scenarios in the news. "Wag the Dog," if you remember, was a satirical black comedy produced and directed by Baltimore’s own Barry Levinson. It was written by the playwright David Mamet, and stars Dustin Hoffman and Robert De Niro among a cast of up and comers. The film fictitiously relates the story of a “spin doctor” and a Hollywood producer who fabricate a war in Albania to distract voters from a presidential sex scandal. Ultimately, "Wag The Dog" is a satire about the “office behind the Oval office.”

Un-serendipitously, the film was released on Christmas Day in 1997 – one month before then-president Bill Clinton was caught trying to launder Monica Lewinsky’s blue dress. “There’s always been a relationship between Hollywood and politics and we wanted to have some fun with it,” Jane Rosenthal, who produced the film with star Robert De Niro, told Vanity Fair on the 25th anniversary of the film’s release. “But as proud as I am of the movie, it makes me very sad that you couldn’t even make up some of the shit that’s going on right now.”

The Biden administration was all too happy, yesterday, to pounce on news about the death of Putin’s political adversary Alexy Nevaly. The President declared it was “yet more proof of Putin’s brutality.” Navalny’s death “underscores the weakness and rot” of Putin’s system, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said. Vice President Kamala Harris expressed her “sorrow and outrage” in a private meeting with Navalny’s widow, the White House released.

What are the spin doctors worried about now? Where to start, eh?

The obvious “scandal” the White House would want to distract from voters’ view from today is the Commander-in-Chief’s pitched battle with his own party… and his grasp of reality. Take, for example, the special counsel’s report heard round the world. Robert Hur taking pity on president Biden, forgoing criminal charges for steali… er, storing classified documents in his garage, because he’s “a well-meaning elderly man with a poor memory.” Even the Economist took notice and deigned to write “the man supposed to stop Donald Trump is an unpopular 81-year old. In failing to look past Joe Biden, Democrats have shown ‘cowardice and complacency’.”

Tucker Carlson didn’t help. He added insult to injury by allowing Putin to declare he didn’t think Biden was in charge at the White House anyway. Putin:

PUTIN: “We’re convinced Biden is not running the country. Let’s say we have good sources that confirm that but it’s plain for anyone to see for themselves. The U.S. has now entered into a dark period. It has unaccountable leadership.”
And:
PUTIN: “Joe Biden may not even be aware of what’s going on. He may not understand the level of sanctions thrown at Russia. Who put those sanctions together? Those are our adversaries…. The elites have deserted you.” Carlson’s interview, in fact, combined both questions – Biden’s senility and the “shadow state” puppet show – and put them front and center for your attention.

As if that wasn’t enough, the apparatchiks convened at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. also had to contend with an exposé of new evidence regarding their own skulduggery leading up to Trump’s successful 2016 bid: Russia-gate. “It was all a lie,” independent journalists Michael Shellenberger, Alex Gutentag, and Matt Taibbi wrote in the online publication Public, exhibiting exhaustive research they’ve been doing for 8 years.

“The Trump-Russia scandal made its formal launch on January 6th, 2017, when the office of the Director of National Intelligence James Clapper published what’s called an “Intelligence Community Assessment,” or “ICA,” as it’s universally known in Washington. “Release of the ICA dominated headlines, fixed Donald Trump in the minds of millions of Americans as a Manchurian candidate controlled by Vladamir Putin, and upended his in-coming administration. “The report declared that Russia and Putin interfered in the 2016 presidential election to ‘denigrate’ Hillary Clinton and ‘harm her electability,’ thanks to their ‘clear’ preference for President-elect [Donald] Trump.”

“It was powerful stuff. And it was dead wrong…” The Russiagate “conspiracy” was meant to show that Russians wanted Trump to get elected to the presidency because Trump and Putin were buddies. The opposite is, in fact, true.

First, the Russians weren’t spying on Trump at all. It was the CIA and other members of the “Five Eyes” – the United States, United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand – the countries with which the intelligence community shared intel openly.

Second, the Russians actually preferred that Hillary Clinton win the election in 2016, because she was a known entity and represented continuity with the prior Obama group of White House occupants.

In a livestream webcast aired at 4:00 p.m. yesterday, Taibbi exhibited exactly how Lesley Stahl and the CBS flagship news show "60 Minutes" still hasn't corrected its infamous “eye-roll” over surveillance of Donald Trump's 2016 campaign. In preparation for the webcast, Taibbi wrote on his own page on Substack:

"The tale of improper CIA and FBI surveillance mixed with manufactured intelligence has been in the ether since late 2017 and early 2018. Then he listed “just a few of the names who reported stories in this direction over the years, in some cases day after day on broadcast shows. An attentive reader will notice nearly everyone on the list has been denounced at some point by the mainstream commentators who got this story horribly wrong.” The list included 11 high-profile journalists who were branded as “conspiracy theorists” and “whack-jobs,” many of whom lost their jobs. Some notable names who got smeared for writing or talking about the truth: the Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald, Fox Business’ Maria Bartiromo and realclearinvestigations.com’s Aaron Mate.

Taibbi also produced facsimiles of the documents that show how the intelligence community of the West was, in fact, spying on the Trump campaign in 2016. As well as recording conversations with members of Trump’s campaign without their knowledge.“On their YouTube page, 60 Minutes,” Taibbi writes, “still hasn’t corrected its headline: ‘President Trump repeats unsupported claim about spying.’ The ‘money’ exchange between Donald Trump and host Lesley Stahl:

TRUMP: They spied on my campaign, Leslie.
STAHL: There’s no real evidence of that.
TRUMP: Of course there is.
STAHL: No.
TRUMP: It’s all over the place.
STAHL: Sir…
TRUMP: Leslie, they spied on my campaign and they got caught.
STAHL: Can I say something? This is 60 Minutes and we can’t put on things we can't verify.

“This is 60 Minutes and we can’t put on things that we can’t verify!” continues Taibbi, “Stahl said this a year after the publication of Barack Obama appointee and Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s report on the Trump-Russia investigation that described how the FBI used ‘intrusive techniques,’ like having informants “interact and consensually record multiple conversations” with Trump aides “both during and after the time they were working for the Trump campaign.” That Horowitz report used the term CHS, or “confidential human source” - also known as an informant, also known as a spy - 1,122 times!”

Shellenberger, Gutenberg, and Taibbi are all well known for defending free speech during the crackdown and tech collusion during the pandemic. Taibbi’s project The Twitter Files blew the lid of the White House’s attempts to censor ‘tweet’s that spoke out against the mRNA vaccines and mask mandates.

Ultimately, the White House’s attempts to censor social media landed them in court. The lawsuit Missouri v. Biden, which prohibits members of Biden’s staff from contacting the major social media companies directly, is making its way to the Supreme Court. The furor also enticed Elon Musk to spend $44 Billion dollars of his “own money” to acquire Twitter and rename America’s Town Square “X.”

No doubt, during this election year, 2024, the White House would much prefer a media war against Albania (or Iran) trumped up by Hollywood than have to deal with the fallout of organized collusion between the intelligence community and the Democratic Party coming to light now. So it goes..."
o
Full screen recommended.
The Dave Cullen Show, 2/17/26
"Wag The Dog" (1997) Review
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The Daily "Near You?"

Fernley, Nevada, USA. Thanks for stopping by!

Dan, I Allegedly, "She Got Scammed Out of $50,000"

Full screen recommended.
Dan, I Allegedly 2/17/24
"She Got Scammed Out of $50,000"
"The finance reporter from a prominent magazine, got a phone call telling her that she was the victim of identity theft and that they represented the CIA. She needed to give them $50,000 and they could protect her and her family and make sure that the troubles would go away. She complied like an imbecile."
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"Being Crazy..."

“When the whole world is running headlong towards the precipice, 
one who walks in the opposite direction is looked at as being crazy.”
~ T. S. Eliot

“Are You Sane?”

“Are You Sane?”
by Charles Hugh Smith

“A sane person to an insane society must appear insane.”
– Kurt Vonnegut, “Welcome to the Monkey House”

“Madness has engulfed the entire world, with a concentration of power in the hands of a few psychopathic financial elite wielding an inordinate and dangerous expanse of power over the lives of the common man. They are a modern day version of Al Capone, except their weapons of choice aren’t machine guns, but a printing press, peddling debt, creating derivatives of mass destruction, and peddling heaping doses of disinformation. The contemporary criminal class wears Hermes suits, Rolex watches and diamond studded pinky rings, drops $500 to dine at Masa in NYC, travels by chauffeured limo, lives in $10 million NYC penthouse suites, occupies luxurious corner offices in hundred story glass towers, and spends weekends hobnobbing with the other financial elite at their villas in the Hamptons. They have nothing but utter contempt for the lowly peasants who depend upon a weekly paycheck to make ends meet. Why work when you can steal $1 or $2 billion from farmers with no consequences?

The willfully ignorant masses are kept at bay by the selling them a false dichotomy of Republicans versus Democrats, conservatives versus liberals, and capitalism versus socialism. The ruling class distracts the public with fake wars on poverty, drugs and terror, while using these storylines to further enrich themselves and keep the public alarmed and frightened. We’ve been “fighting” the wars on poverty and drugs for over four decades and poverty is at record levels, while drugs are easier to obtain than candy in a candy store. The war on terror is nothing more than a corporate arms dealer welfare plan. The end of the Cold War put a real crimp in the bottom lines of Lockheed Martin and the rest of the peddlers of death. 9/11 and the subsequent undeclared wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Syria, with Iran on the horizon, have been a godsend to the bottom lines of the corporations Eisenhower warned about in 1961.

In reality, the politicians are interchangeable and bought off by corporate and special interests. The people are sold a fable, and controlled opposition is the fairy tale. They perpetuate the welfare/warfare state that enriches Wall Street, the military industrial complex, the healthcare service complex, politically connected mega-corporations and the corporate media propaganda complex. The American people are given the illusion of choice by their keepers. The system is rigged. The real decisions are made by unelected secretive men who operate in the shadows and use their wealth to direct the decision making of the politicians, government bureaucrats, and corporate entities that benefit from those decisions. Edward Bernays described a society that existed in the 19th Century, 20th Century, and has now grown to immense proportions in the 21st Century:

“Political campaigns today are all sideshows. A presidential candidate may be ‘drafted’ in response to ‘overwhelming popular demand,’ but it is well known that his name may be decided upon by half a dozen men sitting around a table in a hotel room. The conscious manipulation of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country.” – Edward Bernays

The manipulation of the masses has been perfected by the ruling class through decades of corporate mass media messaging the purposeful dumbing down of the populace through government public school education that teaches children how to feel rather than how to think. The conscious manipulation of the masses has been designed to produce obedient non-thinking consumers of corporate products, educated to believe the accumulation of material goods with debt constitutes wealth, to fear whatever the government tells them to fear, and never look up from their iGadgets long enough to actually think for themselves. We are bombarded with Orwellian memes designed to keep us sedated and pliant, as the ruling class pillages the national wealth and expands their power and control over our lives.

Conform; Stay Asleep; Do Not Question Authority; Obey; Consume; Reproduce; Submit; Watch TV; Buy; Follow; Doubt Humanity; No New Ideas; Feel, Don’t Think; Fear; Accumulate; Honor Apathy; Believe Experts; Surrender; Spend; No Independent Thought; Win; Want More; Hate; Succumb To Desire; Yield To Power; Choose Safety Over Liberty; Choose Security Over Freedom

This insane world was created through decades of bad decisions, believing in false prophets, choosing current consumption over sustainable long-term savings based growth, electing corruptible men who promised voters entitlements that were mathematically impossible to deliver, the disintegration of a sense of civic and community obligation and a gradual degradation of the national intelligence and character.

Vonnegut and Huxley’s social commentary reveals a basic truth that societies and human beings have been prone to bouts of madness over the course of decades and centuries. Humans are a weak species, susceptible to the vagaries of greed, lust, gluttony, wrath, sloth, envy and pride. The seven deadly sins are in full bloom today, as the American empire descends through Dante’s inferno of reality TV, celebrity worship, religious zealotry, adulation of wealthy titans, military conquest and worship of false idols.

This is where the interests of those in power and those being ruled have coincided, as a fiat based monetary system allowed unlimited spending to keep the welfare/warfare state growing, enriching the crony capitalists, deepening the power of the state, and providing the masses with foreign made trinkets, baubles, corporate logoed clothing, techno-gadgets, and pimped out financed wheels. The concepts of self-restraint, discipline, saving for a rainy day, prudence, discretion, and deferred gratification are rarely displayed in modern day America. In a case of mass delusion, Americans have convinced themselves to live for today, recklessly ignore their futures, irresponsibly spend money they don’t have on things they don’t need, neglect their civic duty towards future generations, choose ignorance over knowledge, and vote for spineless politicians who promise them entitlements that are mathematically impossible to honor. The public’s foolish attitude towards debt accumulation matches the arrogance of our gutless intellectually dishonest leaders.”

"Shall We Play A Game?"

“A strange game. The only winning move is not to play.”
- "War Games"

"This is the "lesson" scene from the movie "War Games" where we learn that the only way to win in Nuclear War is not to play.

The story behind the quote: The quote comes from the 1983 science fiction thriller, "WarGames." In the film, all of the United States nuclear launch capabilities is given to a computer called “Joshua” or WOPR, which stands for War Operation Plan Response. It is programmed to consistently run military simulations to concoct the best plan of an attack if nuclear retaliation is needed. David Lightman (played by Matthew Broderick) unwittingly hacks into Joshua and causes the computer to think that the Soviet Union has launched missiles at the United States.

The quote comes from the very end of the film. David forces Joshua to play tic-tac-toe against itself in the attempt to make it understand the concept of mutually assured destruction. As Joshua obtains the final launch code, it runs through all the possible scenarios in an attempt to find a winning plan. After cycling through all of them and not finding one where anyone survives, the machine delivers the quote."
"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

Canadian Prepper, "Alert! Diplomats Flee Russia; CNN Confirms Nuclear EMP In Space! Israel Attacks Iran"

Canadian Prepper, 2/17/24
"Alert! Diplomats Flee Russia; 
CNN Confirms Nuclear EMP In Space! Israel Attacks Iran"
Comments here:

"How It Really Is"

 

"Does Anyone Know..."

"All sins, of course, deserve to be treated with mercy: we all do what we can, and life is too hard and too cruel for us to condemn anyone for failing in this area. Does anyone know what he himself would do if faced with the worst, and how much truth could he bear under such circumstances?" 
- Andre Comte-Sponville
Joe South, "Walk A Mile In My Shoes"

"You Must Be..."

"But I don't want to go among mad people," Alice remarked.
"Oh, you can't help that," said the cat.
 "We're all mad here. I'm mad. You're mad."
"How do you know I'm mad?" said Alice.
"You must be," said the cat, "Or you wouldn't have come here."
- Lewis Carroll, 
"Alice's Adventures in Wonderland"

I know, I know lol...
Thanks for stopping by!

"Government Issuing Fraudulent Statistics To Cover Up How Bad It Really Is"

"Government Issuing Fraudulent Statistics 
To Cover Up How Bad It Really Is"
by Jim Quinn

“There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.”
- Mark Twain

“There is no means of avoiding the final collapse of a boom brought about by credit expansion. The alternative is only whether the crisis should come sooner as the result of a voluntary abandonment of further credit expansion, or later as a final and total catastrophe of the currency system involved.” – Ludwig von Mises

"Today is so reminiscent of the 2007/2008 time frame when it was clear to those of us analyzing the real data and observing what was happening in the real world that it was all about to come crashing down. The powers that be and their media mouthpieces kept assuring everyone that it was under control and not to worry. And then it all collapsed suddenly, like a covid vax recipient on a soccer field.

Politicians, bankers, and their media mouthpieces are going through the same exercise today. All is well. The stock market is at all-time highs. That proves everything is fine. It’s not. The next collapse is in motion, but the ruling class won’t let you know until they have positioned themselves to profit from your pain and suffering. Don’t believe a word they say.

Prepare for another 2008/2009 scenario, or worse. The last crisis was caused by too much debt. Global debt was $195 trillion in 2008. Today it is $310 trillion. The actions taken in the last 15 years by those running this shitshow were to increase debt by 60% in order to “solve” our debt problem. This collapse is going to be epic. There will be a huge chapter in history books about the delusional debt collapse of the American empire. I was right in August 2008 and I expect I’ll be right now.


"Every Federal Reserve bubble ends in a large fraud being exposed. Rather than only corporations or banks cooking their books we now have governments cooking their books." 
- Edward Dowd (@DowdEdward) February 16, 2024
Hat tip to Jim Quinn for this material.

Fred Reed, "Because We Say So"

“'Because We Say So': 
The Case for Cultural Authority"
By Fred Reed

"Parents of bright children learn the futility of argument over ill-advised desires of their offspring. A daughter of fourteen who wants to go to what predictably will be a drunken fraternity party will argue that they are really nice boys and daddy, you are prejudging, It isn’t fair, you don’t even know them and she will come home early and…The correct answer, promoting her wellbeing, is “No. You are not going to a frat party. Why? Because I said so. We have finished talking about it”

While anything can be argued, certain things are known to provide better outcomes than others. This is as true of societies as of raising children. The answer equally should be “Because we said so.” A healthy society enjoys a dominant culture that sets limits on behavior, especially regarding sexual expression, manners, crime, and societal obligation - and enforces them. By what authority? “Because we say so.” Everyone then knows the rules and plays by them.

Imposed authority - because we said so - is essential. It can be remarkably hard to argue against, say, pedophilia. Children are sexual beings. They play doctor, don’t they? I’ll show you mine if you show me yours. The only reason being fondled by a caring adult upsets a girl of six is the inculcation of out-moded Victorian, etc. Or: Why should I not ride a city bus stark naked? We have all seen naked people. What is the problem? It is a form of political expression against prudish norms…

The correct response to pedophilia is not legal theorizing but: Twenty years, no parole. We all know viscerally that sexual relations between adults and little girls are wrong. We know that public nudity would be unpleasant for most people. So it doesn’t happen.

“Because we say so.”

Healthy societies enforce many such prohibitions. For example, when I was a stripling many moons ago, foul language was not tolerated in mixed company. Period. There was no argument. It certainly wasn’t allowed on television. In high school boys never said, “F*ck” or “sh*t” around girls. There was no prissiness in this. The girls knew the words and body parts as well as the boys and used the Anglo-Saxon terms among themselves. But such speech was regarded as being like picking one’s nose or farting loudly. They were not done, or tolerated, in mixed company.

Saying “F**king this” and “f**king that” and “Sally’s f**king Bobby” can be defended on First Amendment grounds. It is, after all, speech. The correct response should be, and for many decades was, “No. Because we said so.” And, remember, the First Amendment was intended to protect political speech, not vulgarity.)

Over the centuries, sexual curiosities, once called perversions, have characterized decaying cultures. The Weimar Republic comes to mind. Read Juvenal’s "Satires" on ancient Rome. There is something ridiculous and, often, revolting about men in lipstick swiveling and lisping, or priests regarding the private parts of little boys as popsicles, or people of one sex pretending to be of the other, or hobbyist S&M groups piercing the body parts of others with hypodermic needles, or wife swapping.

All of these have been around forever and so can be regarded as “natural.” (So can hemorrhagic tuberculosis. Is this a recommendation?) A healthy culture may regard the libidinal curiosities practiced behind closed doors as nobody’s business if not involving children, behind closed doors is where they belong. Because we say so.

Because we say so.

There is such a thing as the tone of a society. It matters. Violeta watches international series on TV, chiefly from Korea, Japan, and China (though, she says, the last have been pulled from YouTube now that China is a designated enemy). These, she says, deal without scatology or lubricity with people who find moral solutions to life’s problems. In the America series every third word is “f**k,” and the series deal heavily with homosexual and “trans” matters, often treated as comedy. Widely ventilated on the ever-present screen, this gives society the tone of a costume party in Caligula’s basement.

All of this can be defended. Why not show explicit copulation on television? It’s natch-ur-al. Everybody knows about it. Most have done it. Our parents certainly did. Why should children not learn about this central activity of existence? Why the unnatural repression? Why not show people on the toilet? Think of the comic value. It’s artistic freedom. Why not?

Because we say so. Except we don’t.

In my pre-Cambrian youth, having on-line porn, available to children of nine, of a tied-up young woman being whipped bloody or screwed by a German shepherd would not have been tolerated. Today it is allowed because the Supreme Court mistakenly thinks it is expression protected by the Constitution. (The Constitution says “speech,” not “expression.”)

Degraded culture drives out healthy. Part of the culture of my youth were respect for girls and teachers, reasonably grammatical English, avoiding violence, obedience to the law (though not always involving obsessive regard for liquor laws or speed limits) and matters of dress. For example, boys didn’t wear their pants halfway down their butts. There was no rule against butt-hangers. None was necessary. If it wasn’t in the culture, it didn’t happen.

Because we said so.

Civilized behavior must be defended without discussion, since, after all, any of it can be questioned. If one group are allowed such lyrical expression as, “Dat muhfuh be dumbsh*t,” it becomes impossible to require English of anyone. Teachers cannot protect themselves against the muscularly animalic. In a healthy culture they don’t have to.

In particular, a culture that won’t defend itself will not last. The dominant culture needs to enforce its rules on others impinging on it. In the US, many of these are close enough in civilizational values as to cause only minor friction. Many of the Asian cultures, for example, and Latinos. But when incoming Afghans want to beat, grope, and rape women, they need to be slapped down, hard, or shipped back where they came from. When Moslems engage in female genital mutilation, the answer is twenty years, no parole. Because we say so. You are not going to do that to women in our country. Get used to it. Or get out.

Because we say so.

Now, every aspect of American culture as it was can be attacked as a restriction on freedom. But that is why culture exists. What have we created by eviscerating the authority of the culture? Miserable young without aim or purpose. A nation awash in drugs to alleviate the malaise. Hundreds of thousands dying of overdose. High indices of suicide. Growing semiliteracy among whites. Unwillingness to control a degree of crime unheard of in the advanced countries. Profound disunity.

Add mass shootings, metal detectors and police in schools, active-shooter drills, sharply declining academic standards, hundreds of thousands of opioid deaths, ambushes of policemen, massive nation-wide riots, high illegitimacy, fascination with sexual confusion among the young, rapidly tightening censorship, and what appears to be widespread misery.

None of this happened in, say, 1960, when a healthy culture could say, “No. Because we say so. Deal with it.”

"Homo Credulus"

"Homo Credulus"
by Joel Bowman

"Man: He’ll go along with just about anything. Given the right circumstances…a little programming…and enough time for it all to marinate in his soft, mammalian brain… there is almost nothing Homo Credulus will not learn to embrace. Don’t believe us?

Take a look at the historical record; you’ll soon wonder how we ever got this far. Sure, you’ll discover gizmos and flying contraptions, art and agriculture, music and mathematics. You’ll witness spectacular scientific breakthroughs, the number “0” and a man’s footprint on the moon. You’ll also find automobiles with so many cup holders, you won’t know where to holster your oversized 7/11 Big Gulp.

But you’ll also scratch your head. Perhaps you’ll even weep. And if you think hard enough, you’ll put a few things to serious question…“Central banks?” “Modern democracy?” “The Ellen DeGeneres Show?” How has mankind survived such atrocities? Self inflicted, no less! And why, moreover, does he rush so earnestly to repeat and replay his worst mistakes? (Ellen has been on air since 2003!) Don’t be too hard on yourself, Dear Reader. After all, repetition is nothing new…

You’ll recall that it was the Greeks who first gave the world democracy – from the Greek, dēmokratía, literally “Rule by ‘People’”. (And yes, it was those very same Greeks who put their own beloved Socrates to death, by a majority vote of 361-140.) Today, democracy is a cherished tenet of “the West.” It is woven into the civic religion, sewn into the social fabric. Men march off eagerly to fight for it, to proselytize it, and to die in forgotten ditches defending it.

At least, that’s what they believe they’re doing. As usual, the poor saps have been duped. Herewith, a little historical context…The phrase “Making the world safe for democracy” was actually a marketing slogan, coined back in the 1910s, as a way to sell “The Great War” to America. Weary from their own disastrous Civil War just a few decades earlier, in which hundreds of thousands of (mostly) young men gave up the ghost, Americans were mostly inward looking at the time. That is to say, they wanted little to do with what they largely saw as a “European affair.”

Polls might have indicated no appetite for battle, but the nation’s politicians were nonetheless starved for military misadventure. They sensed big profits abroad, both in manufacturing armaments and making onerous bank loans to foreign lands. Sure, “the nation” would have to fill tank and trench with warm young bodies, but very few soldiers would carry senatorial surnames along with their rifles. And so, after a public relations campaign of truly epic proportions, America marched off to war, wrapped in the delusion they had freshly been sold.

Eddie Bernays, the man who coined the phrase and, thus, peddled the war to America, made a fortune for his efforts. He was even invited by Woodrow Wilson to attend the Paris Peace Conference, in 1919, as a show of gratitude for his services. There, Bernays learned the full impact of his “democracy” slogan. An obviously bright fellow, the surreal experience caused him to think. If people will line up to kill one another under the influence of a mere marketing campaign they could surely be convinced to do, say and buy just about anything!

Bernays was right. In fact, he wrote a series of books, detailing his insights. They included "Crystallizing Public Opinion" (1923), "A Public Relations Counsel" (1927) and a neat little number titled "Propaganda" (1928), in which Bernays laid out the blueprint for mass social and psychological manipulation. The collected works went on to become a huge success, and the favorite of none other than Joseph Goebbles, Reich Minister for Propaganda in Nazi Germany between 1933-45.

Bernays himself, writing in his 1965 autobiography, recalls a dinner at home in 1933 where… "Karl von Wiegand, foreign correspondent of the Hearst newspapers, an old hand at interpreting Europe and just returned from Germany, was telling us about Goebbels and his propaganda plans to consolidate Nazi power. Goebbels had shown Wiegand his propaganda library, the best Wiegand had ever seen. Goebbels, said Wiegand, was using my book "Crystallizing Public Opinion" as a basis for his destructive campaign against the Jews of Germany. This shocked me. […] Obviously the attack on the Jews of Germany was no emotional outburst of the Nazis, but a deliberate, planned campaign."

It is indeed chilling to think of such a heinous undertaking as being engineered, blueprinted, premeditated and carried out according to some kind of script. And yet, there it is, in Bernays’ own words, the “Father of Propaganda.” Having acquired somewhat of a tainted reputation-by-association, propaganda, itself, underwent a “strategic rebranding” after WWII. But make no mistake, the very same métier thrives to this day, under the more socially palatable designation, “Public Relations.” Still, a ruse by any other name…

“Could we be so stupid again?” wonders the gentle reader. “Might the mob still be swayed by what Charles Mackay termed ‘extraordinary popular delusions and the madness of crowds?’” Why, of course! That’s the nature of the mob! Whether in love, finance, politics or any other matter, man is wont to be convinced, assured, persuaded, often against his own best interests. Few are the absurdities in which he will not take refuge, invest his hard-earned capital or squander his morality. All he needs is a good story, something to arrest his imagination and cauterize his capacity for reason. A distraction from his lonely, quotidian existence. That, and a few crumbs to pass his lips.

The Roman poet, Juvenal, recognized as much when he mocked the panem et circenses (bread and circuses) stratagem almost two millennia ago. In his "Satire X", he referred to the Annona (a kind of grain dole) and the famous circus games, held in the Colosseum and elsewhere, as designed to keep the unthinking population fed and happy.

Look around you today, Dear Reader. What do you see, two millennia later, in the Year of Their Lord, 2024 AD? We’ve got reality television and stadium sports matches, food stamp programs and an Everest of transfer payments, we’ve had mask mandates at schools and the whole pretense of safety and security, there’s $34 trillion in national debt and government spending out the wazoo., plus a collapsing workforce, an opioid epidemic (out-killing COVID-19 in < 65s) and Whoopi Goldberg in the sin bin...

And behind it all, the greatest bread and circuses show ever: modern representative democracy. Now, as then, the show goes on!"

"Bread And Circuses"

"Give them bread and circuses and they will never revolt."
- Decimus Iunius Iuvenalis, in English "Juvenal"

"Take away my bread and circuses and all I have left is my pitchfork."
And the bread and circuses are ending...

Canadian Prepper, "Terrifying! This Changes Everything, My Reaction To What They're Planning"

Full screen recommended.
Canadian Prepper, 2/16/24
"Terrifying! This Changes Everything,
 My Reaction To What They're Planning"
Comments here:

Friday, February 16, 2024

Jeremiah Babe, "Stop Buying Dumb Stuff; If You Are Struggling Just Don't Eat"

Jeremiah Babe, 2/16/24
"Stop Buying Dumb Stuff; 
If You Are Struggling Just Don't Eat"
"People need to stop buying dumb stuff buy things that will benefit you in 
tough times. Layoffs are exploding do whatever you can not to lose your job."
Comments here:

Musical Interlude: 2002, "Spirit Moves"

Full screen recommended.
2002, "Spirit Moves"

"A Look to the Heavens"

"Some spiral galaxies are seen nearly sideways. Most bright stars in spiral galaxies swirl around the center in a disk, and seen from the side, this disk can appear quite thin. Some spiral galaxies appear even thinner than NGC 3717, which is actually seen tilted just a bit. Spiral galaxies form disks because the original gas collided with itself and cooled as it fell inward. Planets may orbit in disks for similar reasons.
The featured image by the Hubble Space Telescope shows a light-colored central bulge composed of older stars beyond filaments of orbiting dark brown dust. NGC 3717 spans about 100,000 light years and lies about 60 million light years away toward the constellation of the Water Snake (Hydra)."

"Chat And Walk Down Kensington Ave., Home To The #1 Xylazine/Fentanyl Epidemic In America"

Full screen recommended if you can stand it.
Drones R Eagles, 2/16/24
"Chat And Walk Down Kensington Ave., 
Home To The #1 Xylazine/Fentanyl Epidemic In America"
Comments here:

The Daily "Near You?"

Alexander City, Alabama, USA. Thanks for stopping by!

"10 Grocery Products That Won’t Be Available Next Month!"

Full screen recommended.
Epic Economist, 2/16/24
"10 Grocery Products That 
Won’t Be Available Next Month!"
"The disruptions to the economy due to the pandemic have only exacerbated our country’s monetary, political, and health crises. For many Americans, suffering due to these shortages has already become apparent. With the current wars spread throughout the world, the real inflation rate is much higher than our government’s official rate. In the next few months, however, we may see shortages at grocery stores increase as the pandemic seems to be subsiding and supply chains have already been stressed. Even now, the food prices are skyrocketing, but these ten foods will most likely become hundreds of times more expensive as shortages continue to grow along with increased demand. Let's take a look at the ten critical grocery products that won't be available next month!"
Comments here:
o
Meanwhile, elsewhere...
Full screen recommended.
Travelling with Russell, 2/16/24
"Russian Typical (Low Budget) Supermarket: Svetofor"
 Svetofor is considered the lowest priced supermarket in Russia. 
How do the prices compare to other Russian typical supermarkets?
Comments here:

Adventures With Danno, "Insurance Prices Are Going Up Again! This Will Be Devastating!"

Adventures With Danno, PM 2/16/24
"Insurance Prices Are Going Up Again! 
This Will Be Devastating!"
"Insurance companies are raising prices again. This is a devastating blow to the economy as we continue to see prices go up on everything!"
Comments here:

Bill Bonner, "Ashes to Ashes"

"Ashes to Ashes"
Biden's memory turns to dust, Putin weighs in on US elections, 
the brief miracle of life and more...
by Bill Bonner

"From the sins of thought, word and deed,
From the lusts of the flesh,
From the deceits of the world and the snares of the devil
…save us, good Lord."
~ Prayer at Ash Wednesday service

Youghal, Ireland - "Yesterday, the US president got an unexpected boost – from Vladimir Putin. The Financial Times: "Vladimir Putin has said Joe Biden would be a better US president for Russia than Donald Trump and dismissed concerns over his counterpart’s age and acuity for the role. Putin suggested on Wednesday that concerns over Biden’s age and mental acuity were part of the US election campaign “getting more and more vicious” and said he had seen no evidence his counterpart was not fit for office. At their last meeting in Geneva in 2021, Putin recalled, “they were already saying Biden wasn’t competent but I saw nothing of the sort. Yes, he looked at his notes, and to be honest, I looked at mine. No big deal. So he banged his head on the helicopter when he was getting out of it - who of us hasn’t banged their head on something?”

Against this assessment from a sober foreigner, we have a report from Biden’s own troops, telling the world that his mind isn’t working properly. Robert Hur, special counsel for the Justice Department, who oversaw Biden’s handling of classified documents: In his interview with our office, Mr. Biden’s memory was worse. He did not remember when he was vice president, forgetting on the first day of the interview when his term ended (“if it was 2013, when did I stop being Vice President?”), and forgetting on the second day of the interview when his term began (“in 2009, am I still Vice president?”). He did not remember even within several years, when his son Beau died. And his memory appeared hazy when describing the Afghanistan debate that was once so important to him.”

All God’s Creatures: Poor Joe Biden. The whole world watches as he stumbles on steps and fumbles his speeches. Like all of God’s creatures, he is getting old. But rather than slide gracefully into old age, he desperately clings to the deceits of the world – power…prestige…and status. He could be bouncing grandchildren on his knee…and, wearing a flannel shirt and a sweater with holes in the elbows; he could be working in his woodshop, making Christmas presents. And then occasionally, he could put on a tie and use his accumulated wisdom, such as it is, to guide his family…and himself…in the remaining years of his life, with gravity and poise. Consulting with local hospitals, advising school boards…and giving tips to pizza delivery boys and politicians – those are the proper jobs for a man his age.

‘Here is what you should do,’ he might say to a candidate for town counsel. ‘Pretend to be an American Indian, like that Pocahantas woman…what was her name…from up North somewhere…that’ll get you the ethnic vote. And I remember that advice I got when I ran for the senate: don’t get caught in bed with a dead girl or a live boy. Or was it the other way around? And did I tell you the joke about the Irishman and the Polack? I didn’t? Well an Irishman enters a bar. And…and…well, it was very funny.”

A Brief Miracle: We arrived at the ferry terminal at Rosslare, Ireland, on Ash Wednesday. It was so foggy that we could barely make out the dock even when we were tied up to it. The officer at passport control had cinders on his forehead. He was marked as one of God’s own with the sign of the cross. From dust…to dust we go, happily celebrating that brief miracle that is life itself.

Nietszche referred to an “amor fati,” loosely translated as ‘the love of fate.’ As to the ‘whyfors’ and the ‘what’s nexts’ we are all fog-bound forever. All we can do is accept…with as much appetite as we can and muster…whatever God dishes out for us, and watch – for instruction as well as amusement – as the devil snares his own.

Joe Biden, for example. He could have retired with some residual dignity. Instead, he craved power so much he wouldn’t let it go. And now it won’t be too many years before he meets his maker; he’ll have some tough questions to answer. Did he not aid and abet the murder of 28,000 civilians in Gaza…and sacrifice hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians in order to continue his proxy war with Russia ?

We don’t know the verdict; who knows which side God is on? But we’d love to see the trial. And while no Vegas odds-maker will let us put money on it, our guess is that odds against acquittal run more than 2-1.

Election Disputes: Yes…the poor president is headed for that bourne from which no traveler returns… along with the rest of us. There, he’ll have some ‘splaining to do. And with his diminished mental faculties, it won’t be easy. But for now, he remains in the nation’s highest office…the president of all the Americans…and the world’s laughingstock.

Our sympathies are with him. He is just a few years older than we are. Already, we search the clutter of our own brains…looking for a single word amid 75 years of accumulated sales jingles, hit songs from 1965, and recipes for curing hams. Often, we come up empty handed. And last weekend, we slipped on the steps and fell hard onto the ground. Then again, we are not so vain as to think we would make the best president America could find. And if by some fluke of bad judgment on the part of voters, we were chosen president…like Donald Trump himself, we would dispute the election results."

"Putin’s Real Doomsday Device"

"Putin’s Real Doomsday Device"
by Addison Wiggin

“If the doomsday scenario happens, 
will it help if you have heaps of paper money?”
- Bjorn Ulvaeu

“Watching the news is a bit like watching a bad opera,” we quote from the introduction to Empire of Debt. “You can tell from all the shrieking that something very important is supposed to be happening, but you don’t quite know what it is. What you’re missing is the plot.” Let’s begin today by noticing that this is a comic opera that seems as though it might veer into tragedy at any moment. The characters on stage are familiar to us - consumers, economists, politicians, investors, and businesspeople.

They are the same hustlers, clowns, rubes, and dumbbells that we always see before us. But in today’s performance, they are doing something extraordinary: They are some of the richest people on the planet, but they have come to rely on the savings of the world’s poorest people just to pay their bills. They routinely spend more than they make - and think they can continue doing so indefinitely. They go deeper and deeper in debt, believing they will never have to settle up. They buy houses and then mortgage them out - room by room, until they have almost nothing left. They invade foreign countries in the belief that they are spreading freedom and democracy, and depend on printing press money to pay for it. They run trillion-dollar deficits, routinely, giving almost no thought to who will eventually pay… or how.

Alas, people come to believe whatever they must believe when they must believe it. All these conceits and illusions that we find so amusing come not from thinking, but from circumstances. As they say on Wall Street, “markets make opinions,” not the other way around. The circumstance that makes sense of this strange performance is that the United States is an empire - whether we like it or not. It must play a well-known role on the world stage, just as you and I must play our roles, not because we have thought our way to them, but simply because of who we are, where we are, and when we are there.

We, citizens of today’s great empire, have our roles to play, too, and the empire itself must do what an empire must do. Fish gotta swim. Birds gotta fly. Empires gotta be empires. One of the things we have to do is believe that Russia, and its bloodthirsty leader, “Comrade Vlad,” is trying to resurrect the “Evil Empire.” Why else would he invade Ukraine, try to block vital shipping in the Black Sea, or launch satellite-destroying nukes into space?

The trouble with the news cycle is it doesn’t often follow the script. Tucker Carlson’s interview with Vladimir Putin, for example, was a hot story all over the world last week. It began with a partial transcript, sent around in the morning; the video followed that evening. We let our coauthor Bill Bonner pick up the story from here…

"The Evil Empire Reboot"

"Sending the Putin interview in two parts was important for several reasons. First, Carlson seems to have bolted from the Democratic/Republican juggernaut. The two mainstream parties, along with the whole Establishment of universities, press, Wall Street, Pentagon, and the federal government itself – all have embraced a childish ‘good guys vs. bad guys’ narrative. Russia, in their minds, is a bad guy.

Second, he has also broken ranks with the media itself. The American press operates as a propaganda arm for the government. Press releases from the White House and the Pentagon are passed along as ‘news.’ Enemies are identified…and then described as ‘brutal’…’terrorists’…who make ‘unprovoked’ attacks and are often ‘backed’ by even more evil opponents. The last thing the U.S. press will do is go to the source and get an alternative opinion.

Third, real journalism could even get you put in jail. Newsweek magazine reported that the European Union might block Carlson’s visit since he could be seen as ‘assisting’ a ‘war criminal.’ [Putin].

A Dark Period: Of course, in these days of fake news and deepfake voice and visuals, you can never be sure what you’re seeing. The interview was undoubtedly authentic; nobody could portray Mr. Putin as well as he plays the role himself. But we were unable to match up the advance transcript with the actual interview. Here’s a key exchange from transcript:

TUCKER: What is your opinion of President Biden?
PUTIN: We’re convinced he is not running the country. Let’s say we have good sources that confirm that but it’s plain for anyone to see for themselves. The U.S. has now entered into a dark period. It has unaccountable leadership.
PUTIN: … Joe Biden may not even be aware of what’s going on. He may not understand the level of sanctions thrown at Russia. Who put those sanctions together? Those are our adversaries…. The elites have deserted you.
TUCKER: So who do you think is running the U.S. then?
PUTIN: The same forces which have always run it. You may change presidents, but you do not change those in real power. That is who we have to deal with. Joe Biden is just a facade for this power structure.

What gives? Is this a special Artificial Intelligence-generated version, just for us? Because Putin’s pensée is remarkably close to our own!

Losing the War: In our view, America’s elites really have abandoned the people they are meant to serve. The rich get richer, on fake money and fake wars. But the country goes broke. Meanwhile, the West seems to have lost the shooting war in the Ukraine and the ‘sanctions war’ against Russia; most reports insist that the Russian economy is in good shape. VOAnews: "The Russian economy in 2023 outpaced both the United States and Europe in terms of growth, increasing in size by 3.6% despite being subject to a wide array of powerful economic sanctions and being cut off from major global markets."

And here’s The American Conservative magazine with a review of new book by French analyst Emmanuel Todd: "From 2000 to 2017, from roughly the beginning of Putin’s reign, the Russian rate of death from alcoholism dropped from 25 per 100,000 citizens to 8; from suicide, 39 to 13; from murder, 28 to 6. As for infant mortality, long the gold standard signifier of the level of a country’s development, under Putin it fell from 19 per 1000 live births to 4.4. Todd quotes UNICEF to note the American rate is currently 5.5 per 1000.

He goes on to cite several sectors where Russia has made stunning progress in the last 20 years (agriculture, internet access) before speculating about how it is that Russia, dwarfed by the United States in per capita income statistics, is somehow able to keep pace during wartime and produce as many armaments as the United States.

An interesting clue is that 23 percent of Russians in higher education study engineering, versus 7 percent in the U.S. The result is that Russia, with a far smaller population, produces more engineers than the U.S., which helps it keep pace with Goliath.

Perhaps even more remarkable in the actual video interview is Mr. Putin himself. Launching directly into a very long discourse on Russian history - beginning in 862! - the man has a depth of knowledge that would be almost unthinkable in a modern, glib American politician. And while his conclusions are subject to argument - as all are - it is clear that he’s thought them through…and holds them sincerely. This, too, is something we don’t expect from our own politicos. Then again, perhaps it doesn’t matter. If we (and Mr. Putin) are right, our front-facing ‘deciders’ do not really decide anything important.

The Biden Façade: Take the momentous decision to blast away at 85 targets said to be ‘Iran-backed proxies.’ Does Mr. Biden have any idea about the complex rivalries and twisted politics of the Middle East? Did he know who, exactly, he was trying to kill…or why? Instead, his pollsters told he had to ‘do something’ to look tough…and his firepower industry advisors told him what to do.

But if Biden doesn’t actually ‘run things,’ who does? Mr. Putin says he had no need to meddle in U.S. elections, because “the same people end up running things anyway.” Who are these people?

PUTIN: There are strong financial entities in whose interest it is to keep us as adversaries. One of your presidents warned against that.

That is more or less what we’ve concluded here at Bonner Private Research. Every society has its elites. The elites are the deciders. After many years of rising power and wealth, they become incompetent and corrupt. Looking out for themselves, they abandon the rest of the people.

But we let Putin have the final word (from the video interview): "It is not about the personality of the leader. It is about the elites’ mindset…If the idea of domination at any cost, based also on forceful action, dominates the American society, nothing will change. It will only get worse. But if in the end, one comes to the awareness that the world has been changing due to the objective circumstances, and that one should be able to adapt to them in time using the advantages that the U.S. still has today, then perhaps something may change." Mr. Putin is an optimist!"

P.S. As we detailed yesterday, Putin will play host to the next BRICS nation summit at an undisclosed location in Kazan, Russia on an as yet to be determined day in early October of this year, 2024. Time’s a tickin’.

The Russian meeting will mark the first time the new member nations will include Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, and the United Arab Emirates. Most notably, Saudi Arabia and Iran – the principle benefactor and detractor, respectively – of the U.S.’ “petrodollar” will also be there. While an alternative BRICS currency is not currently viable, it will be first on the list for discussion… as it happened to be when Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva forced the issue last August in South Africa.

You’ll recall from yesterday’s missive, with the new members, the BRICS nations now account for 40% of the world’s population. Another 23 nations have applied for membership. That would be a sizable portion of the world economy who could avail themselves to an alternative currency to the U.S. dollar.

Following the last BRICS meeting in South Africa in August, 2023, Donald Trump warned economist Larry Kudlow, “The U.S. dollar is losing its dominance.” “Our country is going to hell,” the former president added for good measure, “the U.S. is like a Third World country.”

“The U.S. dollar served its purpose since the end of WWII and became the major foreign exchange reserve currency,” said Brazilian economist Ricardo C. Amaral. But, “the days of the U.S. dollar playing that special role…has reached the end of the line… [and] today that system is very sick.”

Presiding over the next BRICS meeting in his home country could well put Vladmir Putin’s fist on the real doomsday button – unseating the U.S. dollar as the world’s reserve currency. Such a move would be a logical step in the history of reserve currencies… but could wreak havoc on the standard of living of those citizens of the west who’ve come to depend on the dollar’s ‘exorbitant privilege.’"