Kunstler: Party Of Chaos Is "Certainly Trying To Provoke Something Like Civil War"

Kunstler: Party Of Chaos Is "Certainly Trying To Provoke Something Like Civil War" Authored by James Howard Kunstler via, Boldly Into The Chaos “When you give power over law to people who see law only as a weapon with which to get enemies, you destroy the rule of law. That’s what the dumbshit white liberals have done.” - Paul Craig Roberts Everybody I talk to feels a gnawing tingle of dread in their livers and lights as our world tilts into the season of darkness. The Party of Chaos rules solely on the basis of insults to its citizens. They are certainly trying to provoke something like civil war, something they can label “white supremacy,” as if that would justify declaring a state of siege — an emergency suspension of rights to speak, to move, to assemble, to resist the sticky pseudopods of the malevolent Blob that Washington has become. These insults are all obvious untruths, and behind them, you can be sure, lurk great crimes. Crimes, of course, call for adjudication and payment. That has been the American way. So, naturally, the Party of Chaos, stolidly based against the American way, has hijacked the law to prevent it from being applied to them. They have spoiled and dishonored every authority in this land and disgracing the law is their ultimate prize. It’s hard to say which of their insults is the worst, they are all so gross and arrant, but the untruths around the Covid-19 vaccine operation seem the most conspicuously sinister. CDC director Mandy K. Cohen is still pushing these shots for all Americans down to six-month-old babies, despite a freight train of evidence that they are useless for preventing the disease and blatantly harmful, especially for children. She is either very stupid, dangerously wicked, or insane. You decide: Last autumn, the “uptake” on Covid boosters was 17 percent. That number should not induce a whole lot of confidence this time around among the CDC officials and their masters from Pfizer Inc. Papers are now circulating that say all the Covid variants coming out of the woodwork are lab-made pathogens. The CDC and its sister public health agencies lied extravagantly about the original virus, of course, and now everybody knows it. Who is left to fool in our country? If they move to surreptitiously release something with a much higher fatality rate — to reignite fear in the population — they could easily put their own lives in jeopardy, since its unlikely their labs might as quickly develop a vaccine they could protect themselves with. Calling for more lockdowns and school closures won’t go over so well this time either, and federal enforcement efforts will be laughed at in the states where a majority is not insane. Working people know they’ll be ruined financially again if the schools are not available for babysitting. Even the states under the sway of mass formation psychosis, such as my New York, will be deeply divided. New Yorkers are sick of the vile automaton Kathy Hochul, even down in New Woke City. The Ukraine war caper has pretty clearly lost its appeal as a supposed crusade for “democracy.” The yellow and blue flags vanished from the front porches and car bumpers months ago. It was a lie from the get-go that we have any national interest in that sad sack country. Our own government engineered the fiasco, and from every angle it has been a dead loss for all parties on our side. Ukraine has been reduced to a failed state in-waiting; Euroland has sacrificed its industrial economy for nothing; and the USA has squandered its last bits of prestige among other nations in this ignominious game of Lets You and Him Fight. Also, Americans have begun to notice that the billions funneled into Mr. Zelensky’s cadre of neo-Nazis and kleptocrats is money that is not going to places like East Palestine, Ohio, Lahaina, Maui, and the towns along our tortured southern border from Matamoros to Tijuana. Even the people who supposedly elected “Joe Biden” are becoming a little concerned about blundering into World War Three over the mess created by Victoria Nuland & Company. How did we come to the point that it is now illegal to question the veracity of elections in America? And to charge a former president of the US for doing it? Much as the deck is stacked against Mr. Trump, his enemies have stupidly stuffed that deck full of jokers that are liable to shriek and giggle their way out of court when turned face-up. Judge Tanya Chutkan of the DC District Court is one of the jokers, having already branded Mr. Trump a seditious insurrectionist in the trails of many J-6 demonstrators she sent to jail on longer sentences than the prosecutors even asked for. DA Fani Willis of Fulton County, Ga, is another joker who constructed a career-ending booby-trap for herself, and DA Alvin Bragg of New York County (Manhattan) will not be the one laughing when he’s finally bum-rushed out of his law license. An interesting fate awaits “Joe Biden” in the months ahead as the revenue stream of the Biden family foreign consulting firm gets audited in a House impeachment Inquiry. And an interesting-er fate awaits the Party of Chaos when it finally has to admit that it doesn’t have a candidate for the 2024 presidential election — at least a candidate anyone has ever heard of. The “president” stands (shakily) bestride a dilemma. He can gracefully bow out of office and avoid the historic humiliation of being unmasked as the crookedest chief executive ever — but if he does that, he loses the ability to pardon the son he so loves in any upcoming indictments, or pardon himself as CEO of Biden Consulting Inc. Or, just maybe, the Blob will steal into the White House residence some gloomy pre-dawn morn, and settle its quivering, gelatinous endoplasm over “JB’s” face until his struggles with Congress and everything else on this plane of existence come mercifully (for us) to their end. *  *  * Support his blog by visiting Jim’s Patreon Page Tyler Durden Mon, 09/18/2023 - 16:20.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytSep 18th, 2023

"Gradually, ...Then Suddenly!"

"Gradually, ...Then Suddenly!" Authored by Jim Quinn via The Burning Platform blog, “How did you go bankrupt?” Two ways. Gradually, then suddenly.” - Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises “I do not say that democracy has been more pernicious on the whole, and in the long run, than monarchy or aristocracy. Democracy has never been and never can be so durable as aristocracy or monarchy; but while it lasts, it is more bloody than either. Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide. It is in vain to say that democracy is less vain, less proud, less selfish, less ambitious, or less avaricious than aristocracy or monarchy. It is not true, in fact, and nowhere appears in history. Those passions are the same in all men, under all forms of simple government, and when unchecked, produce the same effects of fraud, violence, and cruelty.”  – John Adams Hemingway’s famous quote about going bankrupt connects with so many because it is true on a personal basis and a civilization basis. It applies to individuals and empires in decline – like the American democracy. John Adams realized two centuries ago democracy was no better than monarchy or aristocracy over the long haul. We were handed a Republic by Franklin and his fellow revolutionaries, but we failed to keep it almost from the very birth of this nation. As we rush towards our World War 3 rendezvous with destiny, aided and abetted by politicians placed in power by globalist billionaires hellbent on the destruction of our way of life, so they own everything and you own nothing, I can’t help but ponder who is to blame and could we have avoided this dystopian outcome. The United States has been going bankrupt gradually for the last fifty years, both financially, intellectually, and morally. Nixon closing the gold window in 1971 and opening the debt door to morally bankrupt bankers and politicians set in motion a downward spiral accelerating at hyper-speed as we speak. The American Empire was born in the shattered global debris of World War II with the Bretton Woods agreement, which left the USD as the dominant currency in world trade, specifically as the settlement currency for all oil transactions. The empire has been sustained by currency supremacy, military might, and until 1980, manufacturing superiority. Once the most highly educated nation on the planet, decades of lowering the bar, less than mediocre union teachers, and replacing education with indoctrination, has created generations of ignorant zombies incapable and uninterested in critical thought. The road to bankruptcy was very gradual at the outset of empire, with the national debt topping out at $269 billion, 119% of GDP, in 1946. In 1960 it had only grown to $286 billion but had dropped to 54% of GDP. Rebuilding the world and being the dominant economic power paid huge dividends. After a decade of guns, butter and welfare programs, the debt grew to $398 billion, but continued to drop as a percentage of GDP to 35% in 1971. After decoupling from gold, the national debt soared to $908 billion by 1980, inflation surged to 15%, and Volcker had to raise interest rates to 20% to avert disaster. What happened over the next forty years was mind boggling in its recklessness, shortsightedness, and acquiescence to the Wall Street cabal. These decade-by-decade increases were obscene: 1980               $908B            32% of GDP 1990               $3.2T              54% of GDP 2000               $5.7T              52% of GDP 2010               $13.6T            90% of GDP 2020               $27.8T            129% of GDP Today             $30.3T            130% of GDP Rogoff and Reinhart postulated in 2010 that once a country passes 90% of GDP, economic growth slows dramatically, and the chances of financial crisis increase exponentially. With annual GDP growth of about 2% since 2010, their theory has proven accurate. Now we approach the existential financial crisis which could initiate the “going bankrupt suddenly” phase of our empire of debt. Larry Kotlikoff, Harvard, and Wharton educated economic professor at Boston University, estimates the unfunded welfare liabilities of the United States exceeds $210 trillion. We are a long way from when our Founders handed us a republic. “American money was never more sound, or banking more free, than 200 years ago. Since then, it’s been a long steady decline from the gold standard and competitive banking to our Fed-run system of inflated paper currency, deposit insurance, and perpetually shaky banks on the dole.” – Lew Rockwell There is no conceivable way this debt can ever be repaid, therefore it will not. It’s just pure math, which the average dumbed down American chooses not to question or dispute. In their own lives they need to make enough income to make their mortgage payment and car loan payment. It’s the same for the government. The only way debt obligations can be met is for tax revenue to exceed expenses. Borrowing to make debt and interest payments is unsustainable, reckless, and an example of imperial empire arrogance. The only unknown now is whether the debt is defaulted upon, it is hyperinflated away, or some sort of debt jubilee and currency collapse makes it mute. No matter the solution, the people will bear the brunt of the pain and drastic diminishment of their standard of living. Those in control will position themselves to benefit from whatever scheme is implemented to eliminate the debt. The current trend of running trillions in deficits per year is unsustainable and already resulting in raging inflation, declining GDP, and pushing the world towards a global depression. There is no disputing the facts I have presented. These facts trump the willful ignorance of the masses and the false narratives of the ruling class, along with their media mouthpieces pretending all is well. Those controlling the levers of power know this shitshow can’t go on. They have fully exhausted their propaganda tools, financial derivative schemes, and monetary machinations, leaving them nothing but crashing the system and implementing a Great Reset, which would keep them in control and the rest of us in squalor and subservience. We’ve been on the road to perdition for a long time, but we came to a peak on that highway in 2019 and the path has been straight down since, with our chariot of fire accelerating at breakneck speed towards its final destination with catastrophe and ruin. The rise and fall of the American Empire will be far more rapid than the rise and fall of the Roman Empire. With the inept and reckless leadership in place presently, I only hope we still have a nation after they successfully provoke World War 3. The gradually part of going bankrupt is over. Since the end of fiscal year 2019, our fearless leaders have added $7.6 trillion to the national debt, a 33% increase in less than three years. Meanwhile, the duplicitous Fed has added $5 trillion to their balance sheet, a 125% increase, while keeping interest rates at zero and creating a tsunami of inflation, crushing the poor and middle class. But at least the Wall Street bankers are raking in record bonuses, while still sucking at the teat of Fed QE to infinity. The blatant disregard for the lives of average Americans, while propping up the Wall Street cabal, billionaire oligarchs, and corrupt politicians should be met with pitchforks and torches in a just world. But that is not the world we occupy. The last time inflation was this high (15% as measured in 1980), Volker jacked the Fed Funds rate to 20%. Spineless Jerome Powell has the Fed Funds rate at .33% today. It’s almost as if they are promoting record high inflation to make the national debt load less burdensome. Destroying the finances of hundreds of millions, creating global energy and food shortages, and instigating World War 3 as a consequence of their actions is just a minor irritation for the global elite. In fact, it appears to be part of Schwab’s Great Reset plan. At first it seemed outrageous to think anyone would want famine, starvation, energy shortages, economic depression, and global war, but watching the insane decision making of politicians, trumpeted by the Deep State bootlickers in the media, has convinced me this is chapter 2 in their Great Reset book of horrors. Once you wrap your head around how vile, evil, and demented those who are pulling the strings behind this Great Reset are, your eyes are open to how far they are willing to go to institute their plan. It appears they will stop at nothing, kill as many people as necessary, create maximum chaos and pain, wreck any civic cohesiveness left, and destroy all moral and legitimate norms of society, in order to increase their control, power and wealth on this earth. They hold all the cards. They control the governments, corporations, banks, legacy media, social media, entertainment industries, military industrial complex, sickcare Big Pharma complex, and the mental processes of the masses through their mind control/propaganda technology. Their hubris and arrogance have reached peak altitude and exuberance. They believe they are invincible. That will be their fatal weakness. The sheer cavalcade of lies, misinformation, purposely created chaos, engineered conflict, and financial market manipulation, make the daily intrigues confusing and open to misinterpretation. There are various factions competing to control the future course of history. There is not a clear good versus evil battle underway. Sometimes it is tough to distinguish the New World Order Great Reset crowd from those opposing Schwab and his Davos billionaire satanists. I know we would like to root for the good guys, but there are no good guys running any country on this earth. Only bad guys, willing to sell their souls, are ever elevated to positions of power. They are selected by oligarchs, not elected by the people. The western propaganda spewing media machine specializes in demonizing those they are paid to demonize (Putin, Trump, non-vaxxers), while glorifying anyone the ruling elite have chosen to use to further their agenda (Zelensky, Fauci, vaxxers). Putin is most certainly a bad guy, ruthless in his consolidation of power, serious in enforcing his beliefs through political or military measures, and willing to use any means necessary to achieve his aims. But he is only one of many bad men leading their countries across the globe. The Panama Papers show Zelinsky to be a corrupt puppet of Ukrainian oligarchs. He was a two-bit actor installed by the US, Soros, and NATO to play a role. As a reward, he has millions parked in offshore bank accounts and a $35 million mansion in Florida. He’s such a democratic icon, he’s spent the last eight years bombing Russian speaking civilians in Donbass and Donetsk, and he outlawed all opposition political parties and media outlets last week. It seems our far-left media outlets have no problem supporting actual far-right Nazis in Ukraine, as long as they are paid to do so. They are nothing but faux-journalist whores. The fact is Biden, Trudeau, Macron, Johnson, Erdogan, Xi, and the leaders of every country in the world are bad guys. Venezuela and Iran were evil, until our gas prices hit $4.25 a gallon because of Biden’s Russian sanctions. Now Biden is frantically negotiating with these “bad guys” to get their oil. Orwell nailed it seven decades ago with: “The past was alterable. The past never had been altered. Oceania was at war with Eastasia. Oceania had always been at war with Eastasia.” – Orwell – 1984 We have always been at war with Russia, supporting the noble democracy of Ukraine, and fully supportive of those benevolent dictatorships in Saudi Arabia, Iran, Venezuela, and China when in our economic interest, no matter how many people they kill, imprison, or behead. Of course, if you don’t toe the line of the petrodollar, you get Iraq’d, Libya’d, or Syria’d. Those in control of the message just move from villain to villain in the their never ending narrative. First Trump, then Covid, then the anti-vaxxers, and now Putin. The real villains are the media and those who manipulate the minds of the masses to achieve their insidious aims. Hypocrisy is not a characteristic that registers with empires in their late stages. Bribing, bullying, and bombing are what the American Empire does to enforce their waning power upon other nations. The over-the-top sanctions against Russia have accelerated the American decline into bankruptcy, while ignorant Americans remain distracted by their iGadgets, NCAA tournament pools and the latest season of American Idol. Every conflict is manufactured to benefit the global oligarchs, the military industrial complex, and those seeking to keep the masses enslaved in debt and distracted by technology, entertainment, and hatred towards whoever they are directed to hate by the government/media propaganda machine. It’s always about wealth, power, and control. The key financial arrangement sustaining the American Empire, even as it internally crumbles from cultural rot, institutionalized corruption, and glorified ignorance of reality, is the global dominance of the U.S. dollar in trade. This is why the empire’s bankruptcy has been gradual and to many, unnoticeable. But Dementia Joe has accidentally, or purposefully as part of the Great Reset agenda, set in motion the rapid spiral into bankruptcy and collapse of the short-lived America Empire (1946 – 2022). By creating a global energy crisis over a border dispute 6,000 miles from our shores, with no strategic interest to our country, Biden has initiated the final countdown of the petrodollar as the global settlement currency for all energy transactions. Petrodollar warfare has been the policy of the U.S. for decades as economic imperialism has been enforced militarily against Iraq, Iran, Libya, Syria, and Venezuela. Trying to enforce this policy against Russia will be a bridge too far. And the consequences are already being felt. Biden’s sanctions against Russian energy are backfiring and will bring an end to the petrodollar regime. Russia is demanding payment from Europe for their oil, gas, and coal in rubles, rather than USD. Any propaganda being peddled about the U.S. filling the gap is nothing but bullshit, as proven by this chart:   Via  Eurostat.   Russia supplies 47% of the EU coal demand, 41% of their natural gas demand, and 27% of their oil demand. They will pay Russia in rubles or have their societies grind to a halt, with starvation, chaos, depression, and revolution as the result. This doesn’t even consider Russian wheat and fertilizer exports, vital to Africa and the Middle East. Living within the propaganda bubble encasing the United States, where only the Deep State surveillance state sanctioned narrative is allowed to be broadcast by the dying legacy media and controlled social media propaganda platforms, you would be under the mistaken belief the entire world is in lockstep with Biden and his Great Reset cronies. The vast majority of the world (countries in gray in the map below) are not supporting the sanctions imposed by Biden. As already noted, even the European countries in yellow are ignoring the energy sanctions. Biden has pushed Russia and China closer together, with the petroyuan rising as an alternative to the petrodollar. India has reached agreement with Russia regarding oil imports. Africa and South America, with all their natural resources, have told Biden to shove it. America’s bullying tactics are now giving rise to alternative currency schemes, such as cryptocurrencies and discussions about a gold backed yuan and gold backed ruble. We stand on the precipice of a global conflagration, with talk of nuclear war bantered about by unserious low-IQ government bureaucrats, vacuous bimbo journalists and talking heads on the boob tube, and spurred on by the despicable hero worship of the textbook symbol of this farce – a sitcom actor who played a president in a TV show, funded by a billionaire oligarch, who was installed as president of Ukraine in a campaign funded by that billionaire, has ruled as a U.S. puppet, and who the Hollywood elite wanted to share the stage with the most dim-witted virtue signaling narcissists on the planet at the Oscars to call for the West to intervene in his losing battle and start World War 3. Instead they virtue signaled their support for Zelensky during the ceremonies. The Hollywood elite ignore the actual Nazis fighting for Zelensky, his banning of political opponents and media outlets, and his government not allowing transgenders to flee the country because they are men. He belongs on-stage at the Oscars with the freaks, frauds, degenerates, pedophiles, and hypocritical scumbags who make up the American entertainment industry. He would have gotten a standing ovation for being such a glorious upstanding symbol of democracy, freedom, and the transvestite way. He could have stripped down, grabbed his guitar, and performed for a worldwide audience, while begging for missiles, fighter jets, tanks and drones. We should all be laughing at this farce, but Zelensky and his handlers, Biden and his handlers, along with the other EU/NATO jokers and fools, have chosen to provoke Putin into war, and are now ratcheting up the rhetoric and sanctions to the point where a wider conflict is all but ensured. These reckless psychopaths clearly have not studied history or human nature when it comes to how wars can escalate rapidly with unanticipated outcomes and death on a massive scale. In a recent communication with writer Margaret Anna Alice, she described perfectly why we are headed into a horrific period in history, as the bloodiest chapter of this Fourth Turning hurtles towards its climax: “The lethal combination of incompetency, obliviousness, hubris, psychopathy, narcissism, megalomania, and every other dark triad trait is on full display in those purporting to be our leaders.” With it being quite apparent there are no good guy leaders in the world, trying to figure out the least worst outcome of this current episode of As the World Burns becomes difficult to grasp. I am convinced this engineered conflict in Ukraine is part of the bigger Great Reset plan of the global elites. But writers I respect have differing viewpoints on whether Putin is playing his part in this scheme for a new world order or whether he and Xi are partnering to fight Soros, Schwab, Gates, and the Global Reset co-conspirators. Based on what I’ve observed, I don’t believe all these bad men have the exact same goals for how the world should be run and who should run it. But no matter who wins, the winners want more power, more wealth, more control, and an autocracy, with them calling the shots. When I take into account all that has happened since 2014, who has been calling the shots, who was getting paid off, and the families implicated in this Ukrainian debacle, I conclude the Great Reset collaborators see this war as the next step (after the Covid scamdemic) in their Great Reset – purposely provoking Putin into attacking and now believing they can bleed him dry by funneling arms and cash into Ukraine. Why did the Clinton Foundation receive more “donations” from the Ukraine, prior to the 2014 CIA coup, than any country on earth? Biden was involved in the coup to overthrow a democratically elected president, friendly towards Russia. There was no conflict within Ukraine prior to the coup. No death. No destruction. So, who is to blame for the bloodshed now? It’s not Putin. Biden’s crackhead son raked in millions from selling influence to the “Big Guy”, with the U.S. installed puppet presidents doing as they were told by Soros and his U.S. surveillance state agents. There has been a simmering conflict since Putin annexed Crimea, shortly after the coup, and Ukraine began attacking the eastern Russian speaking provinces. The ratcheting up of attacks in those eastern provinces and the rhetoric about Ukraine joining NATO is what provoked Putin to attack. Despite the all-out propaganda campaign, Russia is winning and will win against Ukraine alone. This is the point in history when the Great Reset acolytes have decided they can accomplish multiple goals by turning Ukraine into a nightmarish quagmire of death and destruction, fueled by a never ending flow of armaments into this war zone, as a means to overthrow Putin, create food shortages, raise the cost of fossil fuels to astronomical heights, implement further restrictions on civil rights, increase technological controls over the populace, and institute a Chinese like social credit scoring system to enforce obedience and compliance with government demands. The Ukrainian people are just cannon fodder to these evil men. After two years of demanding submission from the peasants regarding lockdowns, masking and vaccine mandates, the ruling elite believe they will be able to enforce food and energy restrictions with the same ease upon the American people. This is where I believe their master plan goes awry. Putin will not be cowed by Biden’s toothless sanctions, empty threats, and pathetic tough guy rhetoric. He will use any means necessary to defeat his foes. Economic sanctions are an act of war. Supplying his enemy with weapons to kill Russians is an act of war. NATO and the U.S. are one miscalculation away from starting WW3. At a minimum, Biden has pushed China and Russia into closer cooperation as a new economic bloc. Biden’s weakness and inability to comprehend global strategy has probably convinced China they can annex Taiwan without the U.S. intervening in a meaningful way, other than easily avoided sanctions and threats. The new world order may end up revolving around China, with Russia and India as strategic partners and the U.S. and EU as outcasts. The underlying anger in the country is bubbling to the surface. The raging inflation is crushing poor and middle-class families. Food and energy are the two largest monthly expenditures for families struggling to survive in this Federal Reserve induced billionaire boom society. When diesel fuel supplies dwindle to nothing, destroying our just in time, truck dependent supply chain, and real food shortages start inflicting real pain, civil disobedience and rioting will occur which will make the BLM riots looks like child’s play. When people no longer have anything to lose, they will lose it and start looking for the culprits who stole their livelihoods and future. I don’t believe their propaganda machine will be able to convince the masses this was the fault of Trump or right wing conspiracists. Their pain and suffering are due to Federal Reserve bankers, corrupt politicians of the uni-party, and the media who has lied to them non-stop for the last decade. Woke is going to mean something different in the near future. Pugnacious Putin has unwittingly, or possibly purposefully, initiated the “sudden” phase of the demise of the crumbling American Empire. A PR campaign and “USD subsidies” (aka bribes) to foreign countries will not save us now. Biden lit the fuse, and it is just a matter of when it blows. And does it just blow up the remnants of our empire, or the whole world? No one knows the answer to that question, but the future of civilization on earth depends on the answer. Most of the world continues to go about their daily lives staring at their phones, oblivious to the danger of having angry senile sociopaths and egomaniacal billionaires controlling the use of nuclear weapons. We are one rash arrogant choice by a low IQ psychopath politician from the final scene in the Planet of the Apes. “You Maniacs! You blew it up! Ah, damn you! God damn you all to hell!” – George Taylor Are we destined to be victims? This Ukraine war has revealed both parties fully support never ending war. Left and right media outlets have been spewing the anti-Russian propaganda in lockstep. What has been set in motion will not be fixed at the ballot box, as if voting matters anymore in this empire of lies and deceit. Armed insurrection would not prevail with the current configuration of our society. The only option is to organize in local communities of like-minded people to try and survive the coming storm. Get out of cities. Prep as much as you are able, with enough food, water, and fuel to sustain your family for an extended period of time. Stock up on guns, ammo, cash, gold, silver, and barterable items. On whatever plot of land you occupy, try to raise some food, and if possible become friendly with local farmers. No one can escape what is coming, as it will be global in nature, but you can take steps now to increase your chances of survival. Our republic has degenerated into despotism, we’ve willingly relinquished our freedoms and liberties for the supposed safety and security of a Big Brother surveillance state, and now we will suffer the consequences of these cowardly actions. Life in America is about to become far harder than our generations of snowflakes ever anticipated. Those with no survival skills will not survive. If you are not prepared in mind, body, and spirit for what is coming, your future will be bleak. Only those already awake are likely to read this anyway, so good luck and Godspeed to you all. “A Constitution of Government once changed from Freedom, can never be restored. Liberty, once lost, is lost forever.”  - John Adams “Republics decline into democracies and democracies degenerate into despotisms.” -  Aristotle *  *  * The corrupt establishment will do anything to suppress sites like the Burning Platform from revealing the truth. The corporate media does this by demonetizing sites like mine by blackballing the site from advertising revenue. If you get value from this site, please keep it running with a donation. Tyler Durden Mon, 03/28/2022 - 17:40.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytMar 28th, 2022

Doug Casey On The 2024 Election

Doug Casey On The 2024 Election Authored by Doug Casey via, International Man: President Biden is running for reelection in 2024. However, many Americans are questioning Biden’s physical and mental faculties. He appears half asleep on many occasions—often forgetting his train of thought or stumbling on his words. Biden will soon be 81, making him the oldest president in US history. What’s your take? Doug Casey: The very fact that he’s supposedly even contemplating running in 2024 is further proof that he’s non compos mentis. He’s so far gone that he doesn’t even realize what an embarrassment he is. But it’s not a question of his age, per se. A lot of people in their eighties are sharp as a tack. Age slows you down, true. But if you’ve gained wisdom through many years of experience, you can still play the game. The problem with Biden isn’t so much that he’s decrepit and feeble—although those things are highly undesirable in a national leader. It’s that he lacks any semblance of ability, has no judgment, and is devoid of morality and ethics. The world is asking: How degraded are the American people that they could not just elect but are thinking of reelecting, such a pathetic shell? Trump is only four years younger, but he appears hale and hardy. All this should be academic, however. It should, ideally, make little difference who the president is. Switzerland is the most prosperous country in Europe, and nobody knows or cares who the president of Switzerland might be. It would be nice if the president of the US was nothing but a figurehead, someone respectable to set a moral tone and give a good example. Perhaps that’s the biggest reason Biden shouldn’t run. He’s almost the antithesis of a role model. Although admittedly superior to his thoroughly degenerate son, who he once identified as the most intelligent man he knew. International Man: Despite the countless indictments against him, Donald Trump is still the frontrunner for the Republican ticket with an enormous lead. What’s your perspective on Trump this time around? Doug Casey: I did an interview here in 2016 when he first talked of running—and nothing has changed. He has absolutely no philosophical core; he flies by the seat of his pants. Trump is popular because he’s a traditionalist and a nationalist. He wants the US to return to the values of a kinder and gentler era. However, he’s not a libertarian. He has no understanding of economics, as evidenced by the fact that he wants massive duties on imports. He has no fear of gigantic deficits. He’s fine with borrowing even more money. He’s quite willing to put on regulations when he arbitrarily thinks it’s a good idea. At a time when the US is collapsing in on itself, bankrupt, crime-ridden, and overtaken by crazy wokeness, I believe most people would prefer a traditionalist—at least someone who’s not a Jacobin looking to overturn the whole basis of society. I hasten to add that Biden himself isn’t even the real problem—as degraded as he is—it’s the people who manipulate the doddering old fool. His cabinet and top officials are an assortment of criminal personalities. They are, without exception, stupid, incompetent, and/or psychotic. That’s a radical statement, but I believe it’s factual. The overweight tranny sporting an admirals costume while masquerading as a woman is far from the worst of the bunch. At least Trump is something of an outsider. The people in the evil party hate him simply because he’s an outspoken traditionalist who resonates with the hoi polloi. They suffer from what’s known as “Trump Derangement Syndrome.” I’m not really a fan of Trump, except for the fact that he’s a traditionalist. It’s interesting that the people who do hate him, hate him just because he’s a traditionalist. I see zero evidence that he’s a criminal. He is just a successful self-promoter, a celebrity who made some money in real estate and has genuine concerns about his country. Plus, he’s very entertaining—that actually counts for something. International Man: Now that actual libertarians seem to be running the Libertarian Party, do you see anything interesting coming from them in 2024? Doug Casey: I neither follow nor care about the Libertarian Party. It only counts because it’s registered to run candidates in all 50 states. None of them have a snowball’s chance in hell of winning more than a local race for dogcatcher. That said, the major parties will each try to use it to draw votes from the other party. That was the case in 2016 when Johnson/Weld got 4.5 million votes, 3.3% of the total. That’s a big deal in a close election. Except for Ron Paul and Harry Browne, who intelligently used the election as a bully platform to spread the philosophy, the Libertarian Party’s candidates have been non-entities. I’m sure that’ll be the case this year as well. In fact, they’re worse than just narcissistic non-entities. Their 2016 candidate, Gary Johnson, was just a good-natured pothead who somehow got elected governor of New Mexico. He picked William Weld, ex-governor of Massachusetts and a classic Deep State operative, as his VP. How did that ever happen? I understand the Libertarian Party has evicted the party-archs who promoted that ticket. I used to say, if you’re going to vote, at least vote Libertarian as a protest vote. But it really is a wasted vote from every point of view these days. Not that it really matters. I understand the arguments why you should vote, but the fact is that your vote counts about as much as a grain of sand on a beach, especially if the election is rigged. International Man: Trump’s former chief strategist, Steve Bannon, suggested a Trump/RFK ticket would win in a massive landslide. Presuming the DNC rigs the primary against RFK Jr., what role do you see him playing in the general election? Doug Casey: They’re both outspoken and very entertaining—90% of politics is entertainment. They mostly agree on Covid, which is wonderful. They’re both anti-war. They’re both anti-Deep State. It’s possible that Bannon’s right; the public would love two refreshing semi-outsiders. But it would probably be like taking a couple of cats and tying their tails together. Kennedy, as I explained before, is basically an old-style “reasonable” Democrat. He believes in a “safety net” (i.e. welfare), regulation, the green agenda, and the rest of it. So does Trump, to a great extent. It’s not that Bannon’s wrong; it’s just that the two of them would always try to overshadow each other. But at least they’re not woke Democrats… In my view, the Republicans are the stupid party, and the Democrats are the evil party. Given a chance between stupid and evil, you should probably go for stupid. They might be less destructive. Although perversely, since stupidity is amorphous, illogical, and unpredictable, they could be just dangerous in a different way. It’s a classic Hobson’s Choice. International Man: What sort of dirty tricks do you see occurring in the run-up to the 2024 election? Is it possible the Deep State will find a way to cancel the election if it isn’t going their way? Doug Casey: You may recall that in 2016, I placed a money bet that, against all odds, Trump would win. In 2020, I gave six reasons why the Democrats would win. So I’m foolishly starting to think I’m a handicapper of the how hoi polloi will vote. Or at least who’s best at fixing an election. The Democrats might win simply because the American electorate has become so corrupt; they accept socialism in principle. In addition, the Dems currently control the apparatus of the State and are aggressively using it to cement themselves in power. They’re actual Jacobins, Neo-Marxists, and will do anything to stay in office. Like the way, they’re prosecuting Trump in four different jurisdictions for scores of nonsensical, fabricated charges. They’re attempting to bankrupt him with legal fees, de-legitimize him with unthinking voters, and tie up his time so it’s impossible for him to campaign. This is the type of thing, like the extraordinary sentences handed down for the Jan 6 protests, that goes on in Third World countries. Serious MAGA people could go wild. It’s possible that we won’t even have an election in 2024, as outrageous as that sounds. The Dems can’t run Biden. It’s egregious elder abuse; the old criminal is just a shell of a man. Nor can they run the cackling, dim-witted Kamala, even though many black people will predictably cry racism in today’s environment. She’s a parody of herself. So, who can the Democrats run? Michelle Obama? She is way too much of a hot potato ultra-leftist. Another option is Gavin Newsom, who’s undistinguished by anything except being good-looking and running California into the ground. I don’t see anybody else with name recognition. There are several other huge X factors. Between now and the election, we’re very likely to have a financial and economic crisis. The Greater Depression could well up from under the surface and explode like a volcano, creating chaos. The military crisis in the Ukraine could spin out of control into an actual war against Russia. The US continues to antagonize China, a big wild card. And Washington seems to be plumping for a war in North Africa. Perhaps most important is the fact that the red people and the blue people in the US actually hate each other. It’s much more serious and widespread than any culture clash we had in the past, including the late 1960s and early 1970s. It could lead to something resembling a civil war. The US Government itself is losing legitimacy with wide swaths of domestic and foreign public opinion. I know it’s outlandish to consider seriously, but is it possible that we could wind up with a military government in the US? Although the US military has become corrupt and is also collapsing on itself, it’s about the only government institution that Americans still trust. In a time of chaos, when neither party can put forward a candidate, we could get a general as a (temporary) solution. Likely an opportunistic leftist like the recently defrocked Petraeus. It’s a reasonably safe bet that 2024 is not going to be just a bad year but one for the record books. *  *  * Disturbing economic, political, and social trends are already in motion and now accelerating at breathtaking speed. The risks that lie ahead are too big and dangerous to ignore. That’s exactly why bestselling author Doug Casey and his team just released a free report with all the details on how to survive an economic collapse. It will help you understand what is unfolding right before our eyes and what you should do so you don’t get caught in the crosshairs. Click here to download the PDF now. Tyler Durden Fri, 09/08/2023 - 21:00.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytSep 9th, 2023

The Rise Of Unapologetically Partisan News Reporting

The Rise Of Unapologetically Partisan News Reporting Authored by Carl M. Cannon via RealClear Wire, The Huffington Post was envisioned from its inception as a progressive answer to conservative talk radio and various right-leaning voices being amplified by new technology. Most specifically, it was designed as a counterpoint to the Drudge Report, a widely read and highly profitable website with populist sensibilities. The players involved in planning the new venture belonged to a select clique of Hollywood liberals and political activists in Arianna Huffington’s orbit. Among the cast of characters were film mogul David Geffen, a prodigious Democratic Party donor, along with Democratic political consultants Peter Daou and James Boyce. Jonah Peretti, a 30-year-old marketing whiz kid (and future BuzzFeed founder), was present at HuffPo’s inception, as was Kenneth Lerer, a New York investor who secured most of the money for the new venture. The least likely member of the core group was Andrew Breitbart, a creative and energetic conservative blogger in his mid-30s who had worked on the Drudge Report himself. Although he passed muster with the group because he was relatively liberal on social issues, Breitbart’s real connection to the enterprise was that he had known Arianna Huffington since the 1990s — when she was still an outspoken conservative. The most charismatic collaborator, of course, was the eponymous founder herself. “Arianna,” as everyone called her, first attained prominence in California politics as the wife of one-term Republican Congressman Michael Huffington, heir to a family fortune made in oil and gas exploration. Michael Huffington lost his 1994 Senate campaign, and the couple divorced in 1997. By 1998, Arianna was rejecting party labels and asserting that conventional “left-right divisions are so outdated.” Her evolution was just beginning. In 2001 she joined forces with environmental activist Laurie David in an endeavor dubbed the Detroit Project, which sought to shame automakers (and the Bush administration) into phasing out gas-guzzling cars and trucks. By April 2004, Arianna was endorsing Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry on Jon Stewart’s “The Daily Show.” In July of that year, when asked during an interview in her stylish Brentwood home what she wanted out of life, Arianna replied, “I want George Bush defeated.” Although this answer struck Los Angeles magazine writer Steve Oney as glib, it turned out to be sincere. When her wish didn’t come true — when Bush won reelection by defeating Kerry — Huffington pursued the online journalism venture that still bears her name. Meeting in that same house in the weeks after the 2004 presidential election, a new and overtly partisan outlet was fast-tracked. It launched on May 9, 2005. Many traditional reporters and editors were troubled by the new direction journalism seemed to be taking. It wasn’t only the creation of the Huffington Post. Veteran political writers at venerable news organizations complained privately how sneering at Republicans, President Bush in particular, had become commonplace in their newsrooms. The legacy media had been considered left-of-center for decades, but something was changing. Conservatives had long complained about their treatment in the press (while progressives simply denied the existence of “liberal bias”), but open partisanship in newsrooms had long been discouraged. The Huffington Post didn’t engage in any such charades. As it gained traction in the first decade of the new millennium, its editors made no pretense about which side of the ideological spectrum it occupied. Arianna certainly didn’t. “We are opposed to the war in Iraq,” she told Washington Post media reporter Howard Kurtz in 2007. “We think the troops should come home. [Huffington Post] headlines are going to reflect what is in the best interests of the country.” A handful of media critics considered this trend not just refreshing for its candor, but an improvement over the old journalism model. For starters, they found it more intellectually honest. Also, at a time when the old advertising foundation was cracking, Huffington Post’s ability to quickly attract a huge readership showed that the Fox News business model might translate to the Internet. “Attitude is a huge positive, not a negative,” Ken Lerer told Kurtz. “People don’t have to love you. Maybe people come to you because they don’t love you.” “Attitude” was only part of the Huffington Post formula. Initially, celebrity journalism was an ingredient of its secret sauce. Well-known Hollywood liberals such as Warren Beatty, Diane Keaton, Robert Redford and Julia Louis-Dreyfus graced its pages with their (typically liberal) takes. HuffPo gave space to prominent progressives ranging from Dennis Kucinich and Melinda Gates to Alec Baldwin and Bernie Sanders. Lefty activists Ralph Nader and Michael Moore were contributors, as were more traditional Democrats Gary Hart and John Conyers. Their work was supplemented by the hiring of respected journalists such as Thomas B. Edsall and Mickey Kaus. The success of the enterprise also depended on the sheer volume of the site’s content. This was accomplished by several additional strategies. One was aggressively appropriating other outlets’ work, a practice that gave way to the slightly more kosher ploy of doing quick rewrites of other journalists’ work. (“Lynn Sweet: Obama Reorganizing Campaign, Reinforcing Leadership Ranks”). Finally, traffic was also driven by an army of “citizen journalists” who reported and wrote for HuffPo without remuneration. All these efforts were overseen by a cadre of editors who carefully monitored readership traffic and changed headlines or swapped out stories that weren’t doing well. The site’s success inspired copycats, some of them on the right. Just as HuffPost was a response to Drudge, conservative properties such as the Daily Caller were launched as antidotes to what their founders considered a mostly liberal landscape, including Arianna Huffington’s new online powerhouse. (Once again, the ubiquitous Andrew Breitbart was in the middle of it.) For the most part, these imitators mimicked the ideological imbalance of HuffPo. This view of the press — as a weapon for political advocacy — has only gained traction in the ensuing years, among partisans on both sides of the political divide. “One reason conservatives hate the ‘mainstream media’ is that it pretends to be something it isn’t,” British columnist Nathan Robinson wrote in The Guardian. The editor of Current Affairs, an online socialist publication, Robinson suggested in his 2019 essay that readers are alienated by hypocrisy more than ideology. “The best course of action is to acknowledge where we’re coming from,” he wrote. “If we show an awareness of our own political leanings, it actually makes us more trustworthy than if we’re in denial about them.” Some conservatives arrived at the same conclusion. Amid the feeding frenzy accompanying the Brett Kavanaugh Supreme Court confirmation process, a headline in The Federalist gave voice to this view: “The Entire Media Is Biased: They Should Just Embrace It.” It’s a provocative point of view, but it raises other questions. Let’s start with one point raised by Nathan Robinson: “more trustworthy” to whom? Ideologues who agree with you already? Partisans who despise you, but give you credit for being honest? Perhaps. But what about moderates or political independents — or fair-minded partisans who crave a more fact-based diet of political news without the relentless spin? This cohort, which ranges from a significant minority to a plurality of the voting public depending on the issue, seems vastly underrepresented in the new landscape of political journalism. Yes, it’s true that Fox News’ regular viewers generally find the network credible. Ditto for devotees of MSNBC. But these audiences are, by design, self-selecting peer review panels. Fox News’ motto since 2017 has been “Most Watched. Most Trusted.” The logic here is circular. Fox is trusted by those who watch it precisely because they know they’ll see what they want, which is bashing of Democrats and liberal elites and reflexively defending conservative personalities, politicians, policies, and culture. MSNBC and an increasing bloc of legacy media companies are Fox’s mirror image. The original slogan at Fox News, coined by Roger Ailes when he and Rupert Murdoch launched the network in 1996, was “Fair and Balanced.” This claim, which has resurfaced recently, induced apoplexy among liberals, which was partly Ailes’ intent. But that’s not all it was meant to signify. Inside the network, the mantra was understood to represent an intention that wasn’t cynical at all. Operating in a predominately liberal media landscape, Fox was promising to be “fair” to Republicans and their voters by providing the “balance” conservatives found missing in the rest of the press. One prominent Fox News journalist told me that those who dismissed Fox programming as being targeted to “a niche” market revealed the problem — and the key to Fox’s success. “Quite a niche,” he quipped. “Half the country.” Profitability of a Partisan Press Modern journalism — or, at least, modern American journalism education — dates to 1908 at the founding of the journalism school at the University of Missouri. The “J-school” is situated in the heart of the sprawling campus, which is fitting because the program has long been a source of pride for Mizzou graduates as well as journalists who’ve never even visited the college. Walter Williams, the visionary who started the program and later became president of the university, wrote a “journalist’s creed” that has been etched in bronze at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., since 1958, the 50th anniversary of the founding of Missouri’s journalism school. Some of its language sounds stilted today, but the larger question is whether the values of the creed are considered outdated in the 21st century. Let’s consider three items memorialized by Williams’ creed: A media property is “a public trust … and acceptance of a lesser service than the public service is betrayal of this trust.” “Clear thinking and clear statement, accuracy and fairness are fundamental to good journalism.” “Suppression of the news, for any consideration other than the welfare of society, is indefensible.” Powerful forces in contemporary America are working to undermine those tenets. Financial considerations are one of them. In 2008, Fox News surpassed $500 million in annual profits. This was nearly as much as CNN ($410 million) and MSNBC ($148 million) netted combined — and a $200 million increase over 2007. What happened in the centennial year of America’s first journalism school that made a television network with a readily identifiable point of view so profitable? Here’s part of the answer: A national political campaign took place featuring two Democratic presidential candidates whom Bill O’Reilly and other Fox News commentators pilloried relentlessly. These attacks appealed to conservatives, who flocked to Fox for the nightly skewering of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Higher ratings translated into higher advertising revenues. Executives at rival networks noticed. Progressive commentators, too. One anchorman in particular had been seething over Fox’s influence for years. As Howard Kurtz noted, MSNBC anchorman Keith Olbermann had already consciously positioned his nightly program as “a liberal alternative” to O’Reilly’s show. Years before Donald Trump arrived on the political scene, Keith Olbermann conducted public discourse like a New York insult comic. Once, at a television award show, Olbermann gave O’Reilly a Nazi salute. When he wasn’t saying George W. Bush and Dick Cheney had committed impeachable offenses and should resign, Olbermann was accusing the president and vice president of being stupid, dishonest, cowardly, and hypocritical. Olbermann framed one segment on Bush thusly: “Pathological presidential liar or an idiot-in-chief?” On Valentine’s Day in 2008, he called Bush “a fascist,” and later that year urged John McCain to “suspend” his campaign. Most incongruously — and in an eerie foreshadowing of Trump’s own slurs against McCain — Olbermann declared that the acclaimed Vietnam War hero displayed a “disturbing lack of faith in America.” Periodically, the suits at NBC would give lip service to reining Olbermann in, but their hearts weren’t in it. For one thing, the feud he initiated with Bill O’Reilly led to skyrocketing ratings. Liberal audiences loved it, and his show was one of the few MSNBC ever aired that made money. And after his contract was not renewed in 2011, it was clear that MSNBC had found its own niche. Olbermann’s place was taken by Rachel Maddow, a colleague he had mentored. The new anchor was brainy and hard-working, but just as liberal in her commentary. MSNBC had moved on from Keith Olbermann’s style, but not his substance. By August 2012, New York Times media critic Alessandra Stanley wrote a story titled “How MSNBC Became Fox’s Liberal Evil Twin.” The context for Stanley’s essay was MSNBC’s coverage of the Republican National Convention that nominated Mitt Romney. Stanley wrote that the network’s “hyped up panelists” routinely dismissed Republican assertions as “lies,” while taking various cheap shots (Chris Matthews claimed that the GOP looks upon welfare recipients as “looters”). Stanley noted that in “recasting itself as a left-leaning riposte to Fox News,” MSNBC drew significantly more GOP convention viewers than CNN. “That’s because,” she added, “MSNBC offers counterprogramming, not coverage.” Four years later, Donald Trump’s victory pushed CNN into the MSNBC camp. The New York Times followed suit. What had once been known as the “mainstream media” began to feature entire platoons of Keith Olbermanns not only among commentators and anchors, but even among supposedly nonpartisan White House correspondents tasked with covering the news. In the runup to Trump’s reelection campaign, journalist Matt Taibbi wrote a book about this development called “Hate, Inc.” In it, Taibbi attributed much of the press partisanship to bottom-line concerns. I initially thought his book title was too strong and that what openly partisan journalists were selling was indignation and outrage — and fear, maybe — but not hate. The events of Jan. 6, 2021, and their aftermath revealed that this may be a distinction without a difference. Whatever one calls it, this much can be said: In contrast to New York Times owner Adolph Ochs’ 1896 vow that his newspaper would “give the news impartially without fear or favor, regardless of party, sect, or interest” (and unlike Walter Williams’ creed calling suppression of the news “indefensible”), 21st century media outlets have a habit of hyping and inventing negative information harmful to the political faction they disapprove of, while downplaying or censoring facts detrimental to the side they favor. For much of the 20th century, this wouldn’t have been considered journalism at all. Rationalizing Regression It’s not a cop-out to concede that the arrival of the digital age posed historic challenges to the economic model and cherished assumptions of traditional media. Amid the chaos, novel arguments were proffered. Many were simply acknowledgements of new realities. Some were conscious challenges to the status quo, while others sought to rationalize problematic behavior on the part of the media. Here are four such arguments: Defenders of the new free-wheeling style of journalism point out, not inaccurately, that for much of America’s history the press was unabashedly partisan. Objective, non-biased reporting aimed at a mass audience was a post-World War I development that is no longer relevant to modern audiences, or even economically viable. In an unfettered media landscape, news consumers can find a multitude of views and choose from among them. What could be more egalitarian? If you dislike Rachel Maddow, switch to Tucker Carlson. The old model was staid and boring, these advocates say — and elitist. If one disparages television or radio shows or podcasts with high ratings, isn’t one denigrating the American people? Reprising a theme from the 1960s, another critique of the traditional model comes from those who attack the very concept of objectivity. Arguing from the standpoint of identity politics, these critics dismiss the term as a standard “that was dictated by male editors in predominately white newsrooms and reinforced their own view of the world.” In this school of thought, the exigencies of covering race, sexual identity — and even climate change — necessitate going beyond what’s disparagingly called “bothsidesism.” The trend of conflating opinion and news was a defense mechanism to cope with a presidential candidate who arrived on the scene with no experience and no desire to tell the truth — and who used social media to circumvent the media’s traditional gatekeeper role. This point of view was notably offered in an influential August 2016 column by New York Times media critic Jim Rutenberg, who framed the dilemma this way: “If you’re a working journalist and you believe that Donald J. Trump is a demagogue playing to the nation’s worst racist and nationalistic tendencies, that he cozies up to anti-American dictators and that he would be dangerous with control of the United States nuclear codes, how the heck are you supposed to cover him?” Although he posed the dilemma as a question — and pointed out the pitfalls of appearing partisan — Rutenberg suggested that reporters who found the idea of a Trump presidency a danger would naturally “move closer than you’ve ever been to being oppositional.” Many did just that. For purposes of this essay, let’s stipulate that those reasons are offered in good faith by people who care about the civic life of this nation. That does not make them right. Back to the Future Whatever one thinks of partisan journalism, those who say that it’s not a new phenomenon are correct. The first newspaper to cover politics on these shores, the New York Weekly Journal, is not only the publication that inspired the name of this series. A partisan organ, it helped foster the idea of a free press on this continent in 1735. It’s also true that a partisan press helped bring America into existence. In 1776, the American Colonies had 50 newspapers, many of them agitating openly for revolution. By the time George Washington completed two terms as president, this number had quintupled. The Colonial-era press took sides in the nation’s most fractious disputes: The Federalist Party we associate with Alexander Hamilton and John Adams (and the Democrat-Republicans of Thomas Jefferson and James Madison) were identifiable by the newspapers that supported them. Six decades later, partisan newspapers stoked the passions that led to civil war. “Editors unabashedly shaped the news and their editorial comment to partisan purposes,” Harvard historian William E. Gienapp noted in a study of 1850s American newspapers. “They sought to convert the doubters, recover the wavering, and hold the committed.” “Partisanship was extreme on both sides,” Lincoln scholar Richard Allen Heckman wrote a century after the Civil War ended. In what seems like a contemporary description, Allen added, “Republican and Democratic papers often arrived at opposite conclusions after witnessing the same event.” Does this sound familiar? It should. After Hunter Biden’s business partner Devon Archer testified before the House Oversight Committee, most of the legacy media issued a verdict: Nothing to see here. Echoing Democratic Rep. Dan Goldman, The New Republic put this headline on its story: “New Transcript: Star Hunter Biden Witness Refuted Every GOP Talking Point. Hunter Biden’s former business partner, Devon Archer, undermined all of Republicans’ claims in his testimony.” Meanwhile, Fox News had an entirely different take: The headline of its online story was “Devon Archer Transcript Shows How Democrat Rep. Goldman Spun 'Illusion of Access' Narrative.” Mind you, these are competing stories reporting on the very same transcript. Not everyone sees this as a problem. But the events of Jan. 6, 2021, show what happens in a hyper-partisan political environment when “red” America and “blue” America have fundamental differences of opinion on something as basic as whether a presidential election was honest or a sham. Americans of different races, creeds, generations, religions, geography, and political affiliation have always differed in their perceptions of politics and culture. But having a baseline set of shared facts turns out to be important. Political parties deliberately skew those facts for their own purposes. However, when journalists repeat those partisan narratives word for word — or, worse, amplify them — they are interfering with the prime directive. Earlier this year, political scientists David Broockman and Joshua Kalla released a study showing how many Americans dwell in media “echo chambers” that not only bolster their existing political biases, but deepen their level of partisanship. “Most people who tune in to Fox News lean to the right, but Fox draws them further to the right,” Broockman explained. “Likewise, MSNBC is pulling those to the left further left. And neither side almost ever watches the other.” This is the succinct rebuttal to those with laissez-faire attitudes about partisan news coverage. Americans can get the other side of the story, if they try, but don’t often do so. Ken Lerer’s expressed hope that conservatives might read the Huffington Post to know what the other side is thinking is not how most people consume media. It was always thus. In “The Press Gang: Newspapers and Politics, 1865-1878,” scholar Mark Wahlgren Summers wrote how common it was for publishers to knowingly print lies or simply ignore newsworthy events that reflected poorly on their party. “The truth was not suppressed,” Summers wrote. “It was simply hard to get in any one place.” Readers who wanted to know what was really happening in local as well as national politics had to read several newspapers, not just one. The problem is that this is not how most citizens consume news, and it never was. My point here is that journalists in this country haven’t always even attempted to provide their readers, listeners, and viewers with the complete story. They haven’t always tried to tell the truth. But this elusive quest is the implied promise that helped create the idea of a free press in the first place. ‘The Best Cause’ Although rarely invoked today, the name John Peter Zenger still lingers in the recesses of American journalism’s institutional memory. The University of Arizona gives an annual award in his name. The National Press Club has a room named after him. A bronze plaque in New York City signifies the site of a local election, in 1733, covered by Zenger’s newspaper, The New York Weekly Journal. For the better part of three centuries, Zenger’s sacrifice was praised whenever freedom of the press was mentioned. Arrested in November 1734 on charges of “seditious libel” after his newspaper criticized the royal governor of New York, Zenger persisted in publishing from jail with help from his wife and sons — and the political provocateurs who wrote the offending material. Nine months later, Zenger was acquitted in a sensational jury trial. Fifty years after that, Gouverneur Morris, a signer of the U.S. Constitution, wrote: “The trial of Zenger in 1735 was the germ of American freedom, the morning star of that liberty which subsequently revolutionized America.” Although there is truth in this characterization, the story is not that tidy. Peter Zenger, as he preferred to be called, arrived in New York harbor in 1709 speaking little English and facing daunting prospects. The Zenger family — Peter, his parents and two younger siblings — were among the 2,200 German refugees from the Palatinate region who sailed in a 10-ship flotilla to America in search of religious freedom. The crossing was harrowing: Some 470 of the migrants perished, among them Peter’s father. At 13, the oldest Zenger child needed to find a trade to help support his family. The boy landed an apprenticeship with a publisher named William Bradford, a kindly Quaker who had followed his own father’s footsteps. In the early days of manual typesetting, publishing was an exacting, highly technical craft. There were other obstacles, too, including the scarcity of ink and paper. The biggest danger was running afoul of the authorities. “To understate the matter, the printing trade was not much encouraged in colonial America,” Pulitzer Prize-winning author Richard Kluger noted wryly in his authoritative 2016 book, “Indelible Ink: The Trials of John Peter Zenger and the Birth of America’s Free Press.” William Bradford knew this lesson well. He’d essentially been chased out of Pennsylvania for running afoul of William Penn and the Quaker elders who controlled every aspect of life in the colony. Bradford’s sins — for which he was fined, briefly imprisoned, and had his printing presses confiscated — included the mere mention of Penn’s name in an annual almanac and daring to reprint the colony’s official charter. But on both sides of the Atlantic, the most dreaded accusation was “seditious libel,” a felony. The American Colonies were ruled by Britain, where libel simply meant defaming or criticizing another person, especially someone associated with government. Under British common law dating to the notorious Star Chamber proceedings, truth was not a mitigating factor to the crime. “It is not material whether the libel be true or false,” the Star Chamber judges had ruled. That’s because the aim of libel law wasn’t to regulate civic discourse in a way that made it more honest. The law’s intent was to preserve order and prevent rabblerousers from riling up the populace. The controlling legal authority in British common law, and by extension in the Colonies, was titled “A Treatise of the Pleas of the Crown.” Written by an English barrister named William Hawkins, it held that printers and authors were guilty of defamation if they wrote or printed words that exposed any person, alive or dead, “to public hatred, contempt, or ridicule.” It did not matter if the defamed person already had a bad reputation. Taking Star Chamber logic to its ultimate, and ultimately perverse, conclusion, Hawkins explained “that it is far from being a justification of a libel that the contents thereof are true … since the greater the appearance of truth in any malicious invective, so much the more provoking it is.” Political factions were just getting started in New York, then a city of 10,000 souls. Newspapers were a rarity as well. The only two printers in the colony were Willam Bradford and his former apprentice, Zenger. Neither man was much interested in the news business. Mostly they reprinted religious tracts and government-approved legal notices and texts, much of Zenger’s in Dutch and German. Eight decades before the dawn of the great New York publishing houses, all books in New York were imported from London. This somnolent arrangement was disturbed by King George II’s 1732 appointment of a minor aristocrat and British military officer of little distinction named William Cosby to be the governor of New York and New Jersey. It was not an inspired appointment and Cosby’s preening nature and obvious greed immediately alienated the locals. His initial grift, which ignited the political fires in New York, was his insistence that the previous acting governor turn over the portion of his salary from the time Cosby was named to the job — even though he didn’t arrive in New York for many months. His predecessor, a well-connected Dutchman named Rip Van Dam, sued Cosby. When the colony’s chief justice, Lewis Morris, ruled against the new governor, Cosby simply replaced Judge Morris. A powerful and formidable lawyer with a habit of holding grudges, Morris used numerous machinations to fight back. One of them was teaming with his friend and ally James Alexander, another powerful lawyer, to persuade John Peter Zenger to publish a new newspaper. Appearing on Nov. 5, 1733 — 272 years before The Huffington Post — the first issue of the New York Weekly Journal carried the account of Lewis Morris’ political comeback: his election to the Assembly. For the next 10 months, in articles almost exclusively ghostwritten by James Alexander, the Journal published satire, limericks, and opinion pieces critical of Cosby, though never by name. Nobody was fooled, however, least of all Cosby, who variously ordered the newspapers burned, pressured the colony’s other printer to respond in kind, and finally had Zenger arrested and charged with a crime. In preparation for trial, Cosby tried to pack the jury with his allies and installed a crony named James De Lancey as chief justice in the colony. When lawyer William Smith and his co-counsel James Alexander (the anonymous author of the anti-Cosby material in Zenger’s broadsheet) made a pre-trial motion for De Lancey to recuse himself, the judge instead kicked them off the case — and disbarred them on the spot. This heavy-handed move backfired. Alexander sought the services of a Philadelphia lawyer named Andrew Hamilton. A native of Scotland, and not high-born, Hamilton had arrived in Virginia in his early 20s. He married into a Quaker family in Virginia, then moved to Maryland, where he helped write that colony’s laws and served in the legislature. After relocating to Pennsylvania in his 40s, Hamilton came to represent the family of William Penn, served as a member of the Pennsylvania Assembly, and supervised the construction of Philadelphia's Independence Hall. Hamilton’s career signified the possibility of upward mobility in the New World. He was also considered the best trial lawyer on these shores. He would need to be. As expected, the prosecutor argued that the libel laws of England were the de facto libel laws of New York and that any defamation against the crown — or its agents — was merely a matter of proving the identity of the author. In other words, insofar as the jury was concerned, there was no real defense at all. Without exactly explaining why, Hamilton challenged this logic. He posited that the laws of England should not necessarily apply to New York. Judge De Lancey was utterly unpersuaded. “The jury may find that Zenger printed and published those papers and leave to the Court to judge whether they are libelous,” he responded. But the defense strategy was to talk past the judge — straight to the jury and, by implication, the wider court of American public opinion. Addressing his argument to Zenger’s peers, Hamilton was going for jury nullification: “I know that [the jurors] have the right beyond all dispute to determine both the law and the fact,” he intoned. In his summation, Hamilton went further: “The question before the court and you, gentlemen of the jury, is not of small or private concern. It is not the cause of the poor printer, nor of New York alone,” he said. “No! It may in its consequence affect every free man that lives under a British government on the main of America. It is the best cause. It is the cause of liberty.” The jury agreed with defense counsel. It returned quickly from its deliberations, and foreman Thomas Hunt called out the verdict: “Not guilty!” Hurrahs rang out through the courtroom, drowning out the demands of the judge for order. Something had been started that would be hard to quell. Skeptics As early broadcaster Westbrook Van Voorhis liked to say, time marches on. In the 1960s, a questioning era like our own, a slew of revisionist historians tossed cold water on the John Peter Zenger legend. For starters, he didn’t even write the material he was jailed for, they noted. And Gouverneur Morris, the Founding Father who eulogized the Zenger trial as “the germ of American freedom” and “the morning star” of liberty on these shores, was hardly an impartial chronicler: Lewis Morris was his grandfather. Pulitzer Prize-winning constitutional scholar Leonard Levy characterized the image of Colonial America as a society that cherished freedom of expression as “a sentimental hallucination.” Stanley Katz, a star Princeton historian, wrote that libel laws were reformed, in due time, but not because of anything James Alexander wrote, Peter Zenger printed, or Andrew Hamilton argued to a New York jury in 1735. It was, Katz claimed, “as if Peter Zenger had never existed.” Today, a more subtle kind of rethinking is taking place. Richard Kluger, who persuasively debunks the 1960s-era Zenger debunkers, gets to the heart of the matter. “William Cosby was almost surely an ignoble character during his 3½-year tenure in New York, but if he was in fact half the villain his colonial critics claimed, they failed to marshal firm evidence of it.” Moreover, after its inaugural issue, the New York Weekly Journal never covered another election after Lewis Morris’ return to the Assembly. Instead, its pages were used to compare Cosby to Nero, refer to the governor as “our affliction from London,” and accuse him of cluelessly escorting a French naval officer around the town so he could see the city’s defenses. Consorting with the enemy was a serious charge then, as it is today, but Zenger’s paper wasn’t calling Cosby a traitor. It was accusing him of being “but one degree removed from an idiot.” It was this kind of thing that prompted veteran newsman Bill Keller, in his New York Times review of Kluger’s book, to compare the New York Weekly Journal to the now-defunct gossip website Gawker. It was not intended as a compliment. More generally, ideologues on both sides invoke the style of America’s earliest newspapers to question the legacy, and even the virtue, of nonpartisan journalism and the striving for objectively. In an interview with “Frontline” in the early days of online journalism, Scott Johnson, co-founder of the conservative online outlet Power Line, put it this way: “The fact that the press was partisan and wild and outrageous during the Revolutionary era, during the era in which the Constitution was ratified, was not only true then; it really is the tradition of the American press up until the Progressive Era, essentially yesterday. The press was always partisan.” He's not entirely wrong, but using this historic fact as an excuse to cover the news in a one-sided way today — trying to shape outcomes instead of merely to inform — misses the point of the jury’s verdict in the 1735 trial of Peter Zenger. His lawyer didn’t merely argue that government shouldn’t muzzle a free people. Andrew Hamilton compared a libel case in which a defendant couldn’t argue the truth of his statements to a murder trial in which the defendant couldn’t offer evidence that the victim was actually still alive. This gambit was a bluff. No witnesses could prove the truth of the contention that Gov. Cosby was “but one degree removed from an idiot” any more than Keith Olbermann could prove the same about George W. Bush. In the Zenger trial, Judge De Lancey didn’t buy it anyway. Nonetheless, Hamilton risked contempt of court by pivoting directly toward the jury and saying, “Then, gentlemen of the jury, it is to you we must now appeal for witnesses to the truth of the facts we have offered and are denied the liberty to prove.” Actually, neither side called any witnesses in that trial, but the jury took Hamilton’s point. Their verdict wasn’t an endorsement of defamation. It was a recognition that if a people are to be free, they have the right to pursue the truth and tell it as best they can — and that neither government nor any political faction has a monopoly on veracity. Pursuing truth, not partisanship, was the principle that carried the day in a New York City courtroom on Aug. 4, 1735. Citizen Journalists The Zenger saga has an instructive postscript. It occurred 273 years later, just three years after the launch of The Huffington Post. As it turned out, Arianna Huffington’s interests went far beyond creating an online media counterweight to George W. Bush’s presidency. Focusing on the future of journalism at a time when the old media’s business model was already under financial stress, Huffington joined forces with well-known New York University journalism professor Jay Rosen to create an army of “citizen journalists.” Launched in early 2007, the venture was named “OffTheBus,” a sly reference to Timothy Crouse’s classic 1973 book on presidential campaign reporting. This endeavor was a subversive response to the good-old-boy reporting network Crouse immortalized. OTB’s tag line was “Campaign coverage by people who are not in the club.” Ultimately, it engaged some 1,700 unpaid writers to cover the 2007-2008 presidential cycle. This all-volunteer army was overseen by a tiny staff of professionals. One was Marc Cooper, a progressive political writer and University of Southern California journalism professor. Another was Amanda Michel, who today is director of global engagement at The Guardian but in 2007 was a 29-year-old wunderkind with no formal journalism training. Her talent was harnessing online communities, which she’d learned while working on the Howard Dean and John Kerry presidential campaigns. Their team would produce thousands of stories and countless page views and attracted some 5 million unique visitors to Huffington Post’s website in October 2008 alone. Its best-remembered story, by far, was an account of an April 6, 2008, political fundraiser in Pacific Heights, a toney San Francisco neighborhood. The candidate was Barack Obama. The HuffPo citizen journalist in attendance was Mayhill Fowler, a 61-year-old native Tennessean who lived across the bay in Oakland. In the decades since she’d graduated from Vassar and moved to the Bay Area to study at the University of California at Berkeley, Fowler had wed and worked sporadically, by her own account, as “a teacher, editor and writer, but mostly raised two daughters.” An uncommonly thoughtful person, she had quickly emerged as a favorite among OTB’s editors — and readers. In an October 2007 piece on OTB, New York Times political writer Katharine Seelye singled Fowler out as one of the site’s “emerging star correspondents.” Fowler took a particular interest in Obama. She contributed the maximum $2,300 to his campaign, which was not only normal for OTB citizen journalists, but was encouraged, as it granted them increased access to campaigns they were covering. Fowler had previously traveled at her own expense to see Obama campaign in the Midwest and in Texas, but the San Francisco event was close to home so she wrangled an invite to the fundraiser, which was closed to the mainstream press. With Obama leading Hillary Clinton in pledged delegates, the conversation that night turned to the looming Pennsylvania primary. From the audience, some of whom were preparing to go east for the faceoff, came a question: What could they expect when they went to campaign in the Rust Belt? “You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing's replaced them,” Obama replied. “And they fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are going to regenerate and they have not.” So far, so good. Then Obama added: “And it’s not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.” Fowler had covered Obama when he campaigned across Pennsylvania and that’s not what he had said to the faces of those voters, and she was “taken aback” by his judgmental tone. “I’m a religious person, and I grew up poor in a very wealthy family — sometimes we didn’t have enough to eat, but my larger family was rich,” she told Seelye in an April 2008 story, adding that her father was a hunter. “Immediately, the remarks just really bothered me,” Fowler added. “For the first time, I realized he is an elitist.” Fowler had a dilemma. She was smart enough to know the sneering remarks about rural Americans might hurt the candidate whom she still wanted to win. She confided in her husband, who didn’t see anything particularly wrong with what Obama had said. But it nagged at her and she called Amanda Michel. To Michel’s credit, she advised Fowler, “If you’re going to cover the campaign, you have to not be partial or your coverage isn’t worth as much as it could be.” So, following her gut feeling and her editor’s supportive advice, Fowler blogged about the incident. Hillary Clinton’s campaign pounced, and the mainstream media jumped on the story (often omitting Fowler’s name). Some Obama fanboys attacked her for being disloyal, but Team Huffington rallied behind her. Arianna defended her reporter in a blog post while vacationing on a yacht, lambasting Clinton’s campaign. Jay Rosen, one of the most level-headed advocates of the proposition that disclosure of bias is preferable to feigned objectivity, examined the ethical questions thoroughly on his blog. After the campaign was over, Michel did something similar for Columbia Journalism Review. Almost two years later, Fowler published an e-book on the election, “Notes From a Clueless Journalist: Media, Bias and the Great Election of 2008.” It’s a nuanced and informative book, as anyone who read Fowler’s blog would expect. In the preface, she explains her motives, not just for writing about the Pacific Heights fundraiser, but also chronicling the inspiring saga of Barack Obama himself. “All I cared about,” she wrote, “was getting the election story.” Notwithstanding the title of her book, traditional reporters who read it or followed her writing found Fowler anything but clueless. She came across as committed, empathetic, curious, intellectually honest, and highly ethical. It gave many of us hope for the future. But here’s the rub, the postscript to the postscript, if you will: If something like that happened today, would an online media outlet with a clear point of view deign to report it? For that matter, would the legacy media? The treatment of the Hunter Biden laptop story suggests an answer, and it is not an encouraging one. Tyler Durden Fri, 09/08/2023 - 17:40.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytSep 8th, 2023

"Expect Disorder Like You"ve Never Imagined" - Kunstler Warns Of "Bumpy Ride" Ahead

"Expect Disorder Like You've Never Imagined" - Kunstler Warns Of 'Bumpy Ride' Ahead Authored by James Howard Kunstler via, “This voter is not convinced by virtues or statistics. He is convinced by dreams, visions, stories and jokes.” - Curtis Yarvin Draw back from the scene and understand that the sheer heaping-up of procedural legal bullshit in the various sham court cases against candidate Donald Trump is largely an attempt to confound, mystify, and preoccupy the public while the great scaffold of our national life collapses. The news — both legacy and alt — will be dominated day after day by analyses of every move and counter-move through endless thickets of courtroom minutiae while the US economy crashes and burns, residual wealth is confiscated, and the American social order turns into something like fiery goo. By November of 2024, somebody will be elected president, or no one will be. At this point, it is probably down to an election that more than half the country won’t believe in, or no election at all due to civil chaos so extreme it will make the 1861 weeks of secession look as tame as a middle school fire drill. Beyond the hamstringing and hog-tying of their chief adversary, the Democratic Party lawfare necromancers have set up the gameboard with surpassing precision so that their opponents will never be able to win another election. Yet, they are so self-satisfied as to apparently think no one noticed. (We’ll be coming for you, eventually, Marc Elias.) As to the parsing out of all those bogus charges against Mr. Trump, consider that we now live in a culture of no truth, only battling portfolios of narrative spin, at least according to the Marxian wokesters who have seized the machinery of law, so, there, with a snap of your fingers goes jurisprudence — as in: I swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, blah blah…. The joke is on you. There is no truth, anymore, so stop insisting that there is anything like it to determine, except whatever outcome the Party of Chaos seeks. The suspended animation of August with its sand castles, lobster rolls, and care-free cocktail cruises will soon yield to the season of hurricanes, financial fiascos, momentous military movements, and reversals of political fortune. What, for instance, becomes of “Joe Biden,” the fictitious president, and that claque of grift-bedizened relatives around him? I’ll tell you one thing: no way is this fellow running for reelection, and the mighty pretense around that hallucination makes idiots of everyone on cable TV news. Somebody has already slipped Ol’ “Joe” the black spot. Dr. Jill has crawled into a bottle. The “Big Guy” is just sulking now, drowning his sorrows in ice cream — but his fate hangs there above the Rehoboth dunes like an ominous black sea-bird suspended on an ill wind, mocking him. You have finally screwed the pooch, Joey, it cries… caw caw caw…. We are thus close to the moment when impeachment can no longer be dodged. The reams of Biden family bank records that Mr. Comer of Kentucky has unearthed hither and yon, plus deal memoranda, video and audio recordings of dark confabs, and hundreds of tell-tale emails are of a different evidentiary nature than the roster of hypothetical thought crimes confabulated by Jack Smith, Alvin Bragg, and Fani T. Willis. Personally, I would like, at least, to see impeachment hearings where all that hard evidence of Biden family bribery is methodically laid out for The New York Times and CNN to ignore. It will look like a game of chicken for a few days, but then the party honchos will “sadly” order Ol’ Joe to step aside before that grim spectacle goes too far. The Ukraine War will then be Kamala Harris’s to lose — depend on it — though nobody will care. I have a feeling that Barack Obama will not be able to… how shall we say… work with her. All that cackling must conceal an inner vacancy so vast that Judge Crater, DB Cooper, and the brigantine Mary Celeste might be roaming around in there, along with Amelia Earhart, Jimmy Hoffa, and the Lost Colony of Roanoke. And I cringe to imagine the meetings with Kamala where Susan Rice, Lisa Monaco, and Torie Nuland try to tell the poor simp what to do. It will look like one of those girlie beat-downs on an Oakland street-corner. Anyway, by that time the stock markets will be all a’crumble, all those Vanguard retirement funds will wash-up like so many writhing grunions on Cabrillo Beach, and your local bank will cap withdrawals at $500 a few weeks before executing the long-rumored bail-ins. At that magic moment, the Democratic Party will have everything it has wished for. Of course, I can’t say the melodrama will play out exactly like that, in that sequence. But expect trouble in September. Expect disorder like you’ve never imagined. Think about retrieving whatever cash you have in the bank. Consider arming yourself for safety’s sake, if you live in a part of the country that allows it. Or maybe even if you live in the other parts. Lay in some beans and rice and some batteries. Buckle your mental seat belt. When August is over, it’s going to be a bumpy ride. *  *  * Support his blog by visiting Jim’s Patreon Page Tyler Durden Fri, 08/18/2023 - 16:20.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytAug 18th, 2023

Rufo: Bring On The Counter-Revolution

Rufo: Bring On The Counter-Revolution Authored by Christopher F. Rufo via City Journal, America is trapped in the loop of 1968. The politics of that fateful year have set the patterns and bounds of our national life for decades. It’s as though we have lived an endless recurrence: the Black Panther Party reappears as the Black Lives Matter movement; the Weather Underground pamphlets launder themselves into academic papers; the Marxist-Leninist guerrillas trade in their bandoliers and become managers of an elite-led revolution in manners and mores. The ideology, narrative, and aesthetics of the left-wing social movements of that earlier time, though now often degraded through cynicism and repetition, have maintained the position of a jealous hegemon. The cultural revolution that began a half-century ago, now reflected in a deadening sequence of acronyms—CRT, DEI, ESG, and more—has increasingly become our new official morality. Many conservatives have made an uneasy peace with this transformation of values, even as the culture around them has, in many places, collapsed. This attitude no longer suffices. It is time to break the loop of 1968. We need a counterrevolution. This is the word that haunts the revolutionary mind. The French Revolution fell to the forces of Thermidor; the Revolution of 1848 fell to the empire of the bourgeoisie; the Bolshevik Revolution fell to the democratic-capitalists, the imperialist-backed juntas, and the forces of global capitalism. Marx himself viewed counterrevolution as an overwhelming threat. “Every important part of the revolutionary annals from 1848 to 1849 bears the heading: Defeat of the revolution!” he lamented. The urgent task for the political Right today is to comprehend the dynamics of revolution and counterrevolution and to create a strategy for dislodging the New Left ideology of 1968, which has solidified control over the most fundamental structures of American society. The challenge must be met not solely in the realm of policy debate but on the deepest political and philosophical grounds. Today’s counterrevolution is not one of class against class but takes place along a new axis between the citizen and an ideologically driven state. Its ultimate ambition is not to replace the new “universal class”—the heirs of the 1960s cultural revolution, who have worked to professionalize it and install it in elite institutions—or to capture the bureaucratic apparatus that the universal class currently controls; instead, it seeks to restore the nation’s founding principle of citizen rule over the state. The next conservative president should use federal tools to punish universities that pursue racial preferences. (TOM CROKE/ALAMY STOCK PHOTO) The current moment can be symbolized as a conflict between the Revolution of 1968 and the Revolution of 1776. And despite the seemingly overwhelming power of their opponents, the partisans of 1776 have some significant advantages. The 1968ers promise liberation through the destruction of old forms of order; they appeal to the romantic spirit of the revolutionary. But their campaigns inevitably collapse into nihilism. They tear away the supposed masks, denounce the great ideals, humiliate the old heroes—and leave nothing but an immense void in their place. The counterrevolution must take its bearings from the common citizen and offer to restore his dignity and mastery over his own life. It must reverse the process of institutional capture, break up centralized ideological powers, and return influence to local communities. The strategy has been described as “right-wing Leninism,” but this misunderstands a key point: while the revolution seeks to demolish America’s founding principles, the counterrevolution seeks to restore them; while the revolution proceeds by a long march through the institutions, the counterrevolution works to remove power from institutions that have lost or betrayed the public trust. The architects of the counterrevolution—intellectuals, activists, and political leaders—must develop a new political vocabulary that can break through the Left’s identitarian and bureaucratic narratives, tap into the reservoir of popular sentiment that will provide the basis for mass support, and design policies to sever the connection between the radical ideologies and administrative power. Given current circumstances, with the Left’s seemingly wholesale capture of major institutions—public education, the universities, private-sector leadership, culture, and, increasingly, even the sciences—the current battlefield can appear overwhelming. But today’s Left has an Achilles heel: its power is, to a significant degree, a creature of the state, subsidized by patronage, loan schemes, bureaucratic employment, and civil rights regulations. These structures often appear permanent, but they can be reformed, redirected, or abolished through the democratic process. With a presidential election looming, conservatives need to develop a national counterrevolutionary agenda. For some ideas for what that might look like, they can turn to a surprising guide: Richard Nixon. The movement against the Revolution of 1968 had already begun to take form in the closing stretch of that year. As the radical left-wing factions asserted themselves in the universities and in the streets, voters cast their presidential ballots for former vice president Richard Milhous Nixon, who promised to restore “law and order” on behalf of the “silent majority.” Nixon is held in contempt these days, even by many conservatives, but parts of his legacy deserve reappraisal. He acutely understood the threat of ideological revolution and anticipated the dynamics of bureaucratic capture. In his presidential nomination speech of 1968, as the forces of the New Left’s cultural revolution were rapidly ascending, Nixon set the stakes for the American public and established themes that still dominate American politics today. “My friends, we live in an age of revolution in America and in the world,” Nixon said. “We see cities enveloped in smoke and flame. We hear sirens in the night. We see Americans dying on distant battlefields abroad. We see Americans hating each other; fighting each other; killing each other at home.” Through the chaos and tumult of the cultural revolution, Nixon called to the “great majority of Americans, the forgotten Americans, the non-shouters, the non-demonstrators.” He defended this silent majority against attacks that have since become ubiquitous. “They’re not racists or sick; they’re not guilty of the crime that plagues the land; they are black, they are white; they’re native-born and foreign-born,” he told the convention audience in Miami Beach. “And this I say, this I say to you tonight, is the real voice of America.” Nixon appealed to the Revolution of 1776 as the antidote to the Revolution of 1968. “To find the answers to our problems, let us turn to a revolution—a revolution that will never grow old, the world’s greatest continuing revolution, the American Revolution,” he said. “The American Revolution was and is dedicated to progress. But our founders recognized that the first requisite of progress is order. Now there is no quarrel between progress and order because neither can exist without the other. . . . And to those who say that law and order is the code word for racism, here is a reply: Our goal is justice—justice for every American.” An early priority in Nixon’s counterrevolution was to tame the national bureaucracy. Between 1969 and 1971, Nixon unveiled a series of proposals under the concept of the “New Federalism,” designed to consolidate federal agencies under tighter presidential authority, convert entire federal programs into direct block grants to states and municipalities, eliminate specific expenditures through the budget impoundment process, and replace the Great Society’s antipoverty initiatives, which sought to reengineer human behavior, with a simple guaranteed income program for the poor. Nixon believed that the federal government should provide a financial backstop for the American people, but he wanted to curb the power of the government’s experts, managers, and bureaucrats, who, he recognized, wanted to remake organic social institutions in the service of left-wing ideology. Nixon once asked his domestic policy advisor Daniel Patrick Moynihan if his proposed basic-income program would “get rid of social workers.” Moynihan responded: “It would wipe them out.” The second element of Nixon’s counterrevolution—the most successful during his presidency—was the campaign to reestablish “law and order.” The late 1960s were marked by mass rioting, looting, and arson in America’s urban areas. The promise of the civil rights movement, which established full formal equality for black Americans in 1964 and 1965, had turned to disillusion. Members of the New Left’s coalition of white middle-class students and black urban agitators took to the streets in a cataclysm of political violence, promising to wage guerrilla war against the government and to establish a Marxist-Leninist state. Radicals planted thousands of bombs and assassinated police officers in major cities. Nixon responded with an appeal to the middle class. “When the nation with the greatest tradition of the rule of law is plagued by unprecedented lawlessness; when a nation that has been known for a century for equality of opportunity is torn by unprecedented racial violence,” Nixon said, “then it’s time for new leadership for the United States of America.” As president, Nixon ruthlessly dismantled the radical organizations, such as the Black Panther Party, Black Liberation Army, Weather Underground, and Communist Party USA, that threatened violent revolution against the state. His FBI director, J. Edgar Hoover, launched a sophisticated campaign to infiltrate, disrupt, and disperse their networks, with devastatingly effective results. Of course, some of what Hoover’s FBI did ran the gamut from questionable to flatly illegal, and these practices not only violated the rights of numerous American citizens but also undermined the authority by which the U.S. government rightly engages in containment of lawless individuals or groups. Still, by the end of Nixon’s first term, most of the subversive organizations had imploded, and many of their leaders were on the run, in prison, or in the ground. And the New Left’s intellectual leaders believed that Nixon’s drive against radical groups was succeeding. “The Nixon Administration has strengthened the counterrevolutionary organization of society in all directions,” wrote the neo-Marxist philosopher Herbert Marcuse in 1972. “The Black Panther party has been systematically chased down before it disintegrated in internal conflicts. A vast army of undercover agents is spread over the entire country and through all branches of society.” The revolution, he believed, was finished. The third element of Nixon’s counterrevolution was the formation of a counter-elite. Nixon felt besieged by the post–New Deal liberal establishment and the New Left counterculture that had captured the sympathies of the press. The bureaucracy, he believed—whether in the Communist Soviet Union or capitalist United States—would inevitably be controlled by a ruling elite that, with the advent of mass communications and administration, could wield unprecedented powers. He feared that the new elites would undermine older middle-class values, and his notorious “enemies list” was a crude proxy for the kind of individuals who would make that happen. “The leadership class is made up of highly educated and influential people in the arts, the media, the academic community, the government bureaucracies, and even business,” Nixon maintained. “They are characterized by intellectual arrogance, an obsession with style, fashion, and class, and a permissive attitude,” he wrote, a profile that has not changed much in the half-century since. Nixon was blunt: “The press is the enemy. The establishment is the enemy. The professors are the enemy,” he told advisor Henry Kissinger in the Oval Office. In their place, Nixon hoped, his administration could help “create a new establishment” to counterbalance the elite universities and the media, which, Nixon estimated, was “90–10” against him. In meetings with his chief of staff, H. R. Haldeman, Nixon shared his desire to freeze out liberal reporters, to adopt a harder line against his foes, and to “go out into the heartland” to recruit a conservative counter-elite uncorrupted by the Ivy Leagues. He believed that a resounding reelection victory could establish the conditions for a deeper shift in the nation’s power structure. “What [liberal presidential candidate George] McGovern stands for, the eastern liberal media stands for, the eastern intellectuals stand for . . . must be crushed,” he told aides in October 1972. “It cannot come back and have an opportunity to have much influence in American life for a while.” By the end of his first term, frustrated by the permanent administration in Washington, Nixon had conceived of his most important task as leading a counterrevolution against the state bureaucracy—or, as he put it in his 1971 State of the Union Address, a “New American Revolution,” in which the federal government would be put back into check and power returned to the common citizen. As Nixon aide Richard Nathan explained in his book The Plot That Failed: Nixon and the Administrative Presidency, the president increasingly saw himself as a champion of the “general interest,” caught at the center of a system arrayed against it. In November 1972, Nixon got his resounding reelection, winning with the largest popular vote margin of any candidate in the postwar era, defeating McGovern in 49 out of 50 states, including McGovern’s home state of South Dakota. The press immediately noted the significance of Nixon’s ambitions. The New York Times published a postelection editorial titled “Nixon Counterrevolution,” warning that the reelected president wanted to “advance an ideological grand design” that would reverse the progression of the New Deal and the Great Society, abolishing federal programs that imposed elite-approved views on local communities and administered society from above. “Mr. Nixon seeks to accomplish a retrogressive counterrevolution in the guise of an administrative reorganization,” the editorial cautioned. As his second term began, Nixon proceeded to abolish entire federal offices and programs that promoted left-wing social theories; suspend federal housing programs, pending review; and restrict the methods and ideological scope of federally funded social-services initiatives. He also proposed a truly ambitious system of “revenue sharing,” which would send billions in federal funding directly to states and municipalities, which, he believed, could administer social programs in greater alignment with local communities. The only way to avoid the slide into bureaucratic tyranny, Nixon believed, was to centralize control over the executive branch in the White House and to decentralize financing and administration of social programs, ensuring that they operated with minimal bureaucracy and as close to the people as possible. To be sure, not all of Nixon’s domestic policy proposals were wise or successful. He enacted wage and price controls, expanded the reach of government through the creation of the EPA and other departments, and strengthened President Lyndon Johnson’s affirmative-action policy. His guaranteed income and block-grant proposals, if adopted, might have yielded unintended consequences, disincentivizing work and enabling ideological capture at the local level, respectively. But Nixon, whatever his flaws, thought seriously about how to reshape America’s institutions and had a vision for policy that was commensurate with the problem. In the end, Nixon was subverted by the very forces he feared most. His enemies in the bureaucracy and the press were able to use the Watergate scandal to oust him and stop his plans for realignment. The tragedy of Nixon is that he accomplished his dream of winning a “new majority” but was unable to transform it into a “new establishment.” His closest aides described the experience as working in “the White House surrounded”—in a position of constitutional power, vitiated by the rise of the permanent bureaucracy. With Nixon’s counterrevolution long since halted, the process of institutional capture has only intensified. Today, the federal government spends billions of dollars yearly supporting left-wing ideology and administration. The institutional Left, both within and without government, has built a vast network of departments, programs, contracts, grants, nonprofits, and service providers that circulate money throughout the system. Further, the federal government has financed and guaranteed more than $1.6 trillion in student loans, which help subsidize left-wing academic departments and “diversity and inclusion” bureaucracies at universities across the United States. Indeed, the entire federal bureaucracy, with more than 2 million civilian employees, is now under orders to advance “diversity, equity, and inclusion”—that is, to conform all its programs to racial ideology—across every department of government. It is not just social workers, then, but doctors, scientists, law-enforcement agents, and military commanders who have been recruited, willing or not, into the Left’s ongoing cultural capture. Herbert Marcuse was premature in declaring the death of the revolution. Left-wing activists have today resurrected the militancy and tactics of the 1960s radical movements, organizing demonstrations and using the threat of violence to achieve political aims. During the summer of 2020, the Black Lives Matter movement led protests in 140 cities. Many of these demonstrations became violent—the largest eruption of left-wing race rioting since the late 1960s. Members of BLM, Antifa, and other so-called antifascist groups rampaged through neighborhoods, established street dominance in certain areas, and even launched a short-lived “autonomous zone” in Seattle. Protesters in Portland, Oregon, laid siege to a federal courthouse and rioted for more than 100 consecutive nights. The intellectual descendants of the so-called New Left have warped the national narrative in dramatic ways. Today’s master-signifiers, their grounding first developed during the earlier period—“systemic racism,” “white supremacy,” “white privilege,” “antiracism”—have pushed the Right into a posture of seemingly permanent defense. The Black Lives Matter movement has recast the country’s “greatest heroes as the arch-villains,” as one old-time activist put it. And the managers of America’s institutions have ensured that schools, universities, nonprofits, and corporations repeat these themes ad nauseam, transmitting them to the next generation. Conservatives today rarely appeal to Richard Nixon for inspiration, allowing the Watergate narrative and Nixon’s own ideological and policy inconsistencies to obscure the potential of his vision for resisting the Left’s cultural revolution. This is a mistake—but what would Nixon’s blueprint for counterrevolution look like today? The starting point is correctly to perceive the current state of play in America. The bitter irony of the Revolution of 1968 is that it has attained power but hasn’t opened up new possibilities. Instead, it has locked major institutions of society within a suffocating orthodoxy. Though it has amassed significant administrative advantages, it has failed to deliver positive results to the broad public. It has thus not gained the trust of the common citizen. Its hold remains tenuous; it can be overcome. The Oval Office can help drive the counterrevolution. Following the Nixon centralization-decentralization model, the next conservative president should establish ideological authority over the federal bureaucracy in the White House and, in partnership with Congress, decentralize as much of the federal government as possible, with an eye toward gutting the power of the social engineers. For decades, conservatives in Congress have effectively written a blank check to captured institutions, experienced dismay at the subsequent behavior of those institutions, and then continued to fund them. These are all policy choices—and they can be changed. On the first day in office, the new president could prepare executive orders targeting the concepts and formulations that have traveled from the fringes of the 1960s Left to the center of American power. At the head of this list would be a ban on the government promotion of left-wing racialist ideology, or critical race theory, and to abolish the “diversity, equity, and inclusion” bureaucracy that serves as its administrative vehicle. The order would replace all this with a system of strict color-blind equality, prioritizing the values of equal treatment, individual excellence, and race-neutral decision-making. As part of this policy, the president could also rescind Lyndon Johnson’s Executive Order 11246, which established the legal basis for “affirmative action”—a euphemism for state-sanctioned racial discrimination in the interest of favored identity groups—and forbid the use of identity-based quotas, preferences, and “disparate impact” analysis as an acceptable basis for any federal decision-making, to the fullest extent of the law. To start reshaping the culture inside federal agencies, the president should order an executive supplement to the Hatch Act, which prohibits civil service employees from engaging in partisan political activity, that would bar all social and political activism unrelated to such workers’ official duties. The policy would restrict federal employees from promoting the messages or displaying the symbols of political causes, such as Black Lives Matter or radical gender activism, while using federal resources and facilities. In principle, the restriction would apply equally to the Left and Right; in practice, it would almost exclusively restrict left-wing activism, given the left-dominated composition of the federal workforce and culture of the federal bureaucracy. Following this, as Nixon demonstrated using the budget impoundment process, the next president should aggressively “defund the Left” and assert, unequivocally, that all federal programs, contracts, grants, and projects must reflect the values of the voters who elected him or her, unless specifically required by statute to do otherwise. Existing grants and contracts that violate these principles should be canceled, litigated, and strangled with red tape. Over time, this impoundment effort could deprive the Left’s public and private networks of hundreds of billions of dollars, which are laundered through universities, schools, nonprofits, and other entities. With a willing majority in Congress, this order could be codified into law, blocking federal funding of partisan left-wing ideological programs, much as the Hyde Amendment bans federal funding for abortion. Next, reprising Nixon’s great theme of “law and order,” the next president should create a federal task force for disrupting violent left-wing activist groups. As Nixon did with the Black Panther Party and the Weather Underground, the next president should, using entirely legal means, pursue action against violent or lawless left-wing groups such as Antifa. The threat of political violence cannot be allowed to shape life in America’s cities, nor can it be used to put pressure on the electoral process—both of which occurred in 2020. With a relatively modest budgetary commitment, federal law enforcement could infiltrate groups, disrupt their financial networks, and prosecute their criminal behavior. President Richard Nixon saw how the Left was capturing America’s prestige institutions. Watergate disrupted his ambitious plans to prevent that takeover. (BRIDGEMAN IMAGES) The new president could also work toward the objective that Nixon envisioned but never accomplished: the restructuring of American institutions more broadly. This can be attained through both content and form. The federal government could use the tools of the 1968 revolution—above all, civil rights law—to advance the counterrevolution. The next administration can instruct the attorney general to set up a new civil rights enforcement office within the Department of Justice and then recruit hundreds of conservative lawyers to staff it. This new office, adhering to a conservative interpretation of civil rights law, would investigate corporations, universities, schools, and other institutions that engage in racial preferences, hostile diversity and inclusion programming, and critical race theory–style scapegoating and discrimination. These practices would all be deemed violations of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act and prosecuted with the full force of the Justice Department. The president can instruct the Secretary of Education to employ a similar method to strike at the origin point of the revolution: the universities. On the first day of the new administration, the Department of Education should announce a new unit within its civil rights division, tasked with investigating universities—beginning with the Ivy Leagues—for racial discrimination in admissions, identity-based preferences in hiring, and activist-style DEI programs. As a complement to these enforcement provisions, the DOE should also require all federally supported universities to submit race, sex, grade-point average, and standardized test data for each incoming class and tie federal student loan programs—accepted at virtually every university in the country—to specific metrics on academic merit, open debate, and civil discourse. Universities that tolerate mobs and enforce left-wing orthodoxy will be punished; universities that encourage equal treatment and academic excellence will be rewarded. As incentives change, so will the institutions. Finally, reviving the spirit of Nixon’s early New Federalism, the president, working with Congress, should decentralize the government’s colossal “health, education, and welfare” bureaucracy, block-granting large portions of federal expenditures to state governments, which are, at least in theory, less vulnerable to ideological capture. In addition, the president should pursue, in Nixon’s phrasing, an “income strategy,” similar in function to Social Security, which prioritizes direct financial assistance, rather than a “service strategy,” which seeks to manipulate values and behavior. Families, not bureaucrats and social workers, should be in charge; bonds of affection, not coercion, should be the primary shaper of human life. The cultural revolution has gained ground by imposing its values through centralized administrative structures; the counterrevolution must fight not only to overturn that system on intellectual grounds but also to provide families with the freedom and resources to build a new, decentralized system that respects their deepest rights of conscience and belief. Would this battle be winnable? Nixon himself felt a sense of urgency, writing in his diary shortly after reelection that his second-term agenda was “the only way, and probably the last time, that we can get government under control before it gets so big that it submerges the individual completely and destroys the dynamism which makes the American system what it is.” Of course, for the battle to be winnable requires that it first be waged—and that requires winning elections, a formidable task. We need to rediscover and revitalize the principles, language, and sentiments of an older revolution—that of 1776, the one that most Americans still believe in. (BRIDGEMAN IMAGES) Yet, we have some reason for optimism. For the past half-century, the left-wing revolution has relied on a high-low coalition—the “new proletariat” of the white intelligentsia and the black underclass—but its reach is inherently limited. The counterrevolution has an opportunity to build a broad, multiracial, middle-out coalition that seeks to overthrow the synthetic institutions of the Left and protect the organic institutions of the common citizen. Nixon’s “silent majority” has diversified: Latinos and Asians are beginning to revolt against left-wing ideology, including critical race theory and gender radicalism; parents of all racial backgrounds have flooded local school boards to express opposition to their ideological corruption. With a national leader drawing on the great themes of the counterrevolution, conservatives can reconstitute Nixon’s majority and wield democratic power to bring the cultural revolution to heel. The question that troubled Nixon during his presidency was the basic one of politics: Who rules? He saw that the deepest conflict in the United States was not along lines of class, race, or identity but between the bureaucracy and the people. And the Revolution of 1968, which sought to connect ideology to institutional power and to shape human society through elite guidance, was ultimately antidemocratic. Nixon understood that bureaucratic rule meant the end of our constitutional order. The telos of the counterrevolution is the restoration of political rule—rule of, by, and for the people. From the summer of 1968 through the summer of George Floyd, the common citizen has found himself continuously shamed, cowed, and degraded. But despite this, he has retained the power of his instincts, which orient him toward justice, and of his own memory, which makes possible the retrieval of the symbols and principles that once animated the republic. Indeed, most Americans still believe in the promise of the Declaration and the Constitution. The statues of America’s Founders might have been toppled, spray-painted, and hidden away; their principles might have been deconstructed, denigrated, and forgotten in the country’s elite institutions. But the vision of the Founders strikes at something eternal. The common citizen understands this intuitively. To this end, the counterrevolution’s guiding purpose must be to reanimate the instinct for self-government and to mobilize an organic movement of citizens who will reassert their influence in the institutions that matter: the school, the municipality, the workplace, the statehouse, the Congress. The antidemocratic structures—the DEI departments and the intrusive bureaucracies—must be dismantled. The rule of experts must be replaced by the rule of the people; the threat of violence must be met with the power of justice. The United States under counterrevolution will be a pluralist republic: local communities will have the autonomy to pursue their own vision of the good, within the binding principles of the Constitution. The common citizen will have the space for living and passing down his own virtues, sentiments, and beliefs, free from the imposition of values from above. The government will protect the basic dignity and political rights of the citizen, while refraining from the utopian task of remaking society in its image. The principles of the society under counterrevolution are not oriented toward sweeping reversals and absolutes but toward the protection of the humble values and institutions of the common citizen: family, faith, work, community, country. The promise of this regime lies in the particular, rather than the abstract; the humble, rather than the grandiose; the limited, rather than the limitless. The great vulnerability of the cultural revolution is that it undermines the morality and stability of the common citizen. And as it corrodes the institutions of family, faith, and community, it causes an emptiness in the human heart that cannot be filled with its one-dimensional ideology. The counterrevolution must begin at that exact point. If the culmination of America’s cultural revolution is nihilism, the counterrevolution must begin with hope. This means rediscovering and revitalizing the principles, language, and sentiments of the Revolution of 1776. “The idea that a bureaucratic elite in Washington knows best what is best for people everywhere . . . is a notion completely foreign to the American experience,” Nixon observed. “The time has now come in America to reverse the flow of power and resources from the States and communities to Washington and start power and resources flowing back from Washington to the States and communities and, more important, to the people all across America.” It is a project against cynicism. Rather than simply present itself as a force of opposition, the counterrevolution must offer the population a competing set of values, in language that clarifies our choices: excellence over diversity, equality over equity, dignity over inclusion, order over chaos. Christopher F. Rufo is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and the author of America’s Cultural Revolution. Tyler Durden Sun, 08/13/2023 - 21:45.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytAug 13th, 2023

French Riots Show That Decades Of Mass "Colonizing Immigration" Could Lead To "Collapse", Says Former Head Of French Counter-Intel Agency

French Riots Show That Decades Of Mass "Colonizing Immigration" Could Lead To "Collapse", Says Former Head Of French Counter-Intel Agency Authored by Olivier Bault via Remix News, After mass riots during the past week shocked France and the world, the former head of France’s powerful DGSE intelligence agency says the root cause of his country’s tragic situation is above all “the dominant ideology, which has justified and even glorified the massive colonizing immigration that has been taking place over the last half-century.” Firefighters use a water hose on a burnt car in Nanterre, outside Paris, France, Saturday, July 1, 2023. French President Emmanuel Macron urged parents Friday to keep teenagers at home and proposed restrictions on social media to quell rioting spreading across France over the fatal police shooting of a 17-year-old driver. (AP Photo/Lewis Joly) Pierre Brochand was head of France’s DGSE counter-intelligence agency from 2002 to 2008. Since 2019, he has made repeated calls for a radical change in his country’s immigration policy over what he says is the looming threat of civil war. In a discussion about immigration on the public radio station France Culture last April, Brochand issued a warning which found its full expression in the week of violent rioting and looting that took hold of France after the shooting of a teenager of Algerian origin on June 27: “If we do nothing or if we do little, we are going to head either towards a progressive implosion of social trust in France, that is to say towards a society where the quality of life will collapse and where it will be less and less pleasant to live, or, by successive explosions, towards confrontations that will make France a country where one will not be able to live at all.” Now, in an interview published on July 6 on the website of Le Figaro daily newspaper, Brochand exposes, as Le Figaro puts it, “the deadly cocktail of a society of individuals based on openness and democracy and the arrival of entire diasporas with totally different cultural backgrounds.” The least that can be said is that the former counter-intelligence chief’s analysis stands in sharp contrast to Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin’s own analysis made in the National Assembly on July 5. According to Darmanin, the riots of the previous days are not linked to immigration as “only” 10 percent of the rioters were foreigners. In Darmanin’s eyes, the non-White youth that caused mayhem on the streets of France for days, often invoking the Quran and the name of Allah, have no link to immigration as they are French citizens. The French minister contradicted himself, however, saying that as the average age of rioters was 17, they were born under the presidency of Jacques Chirac, and it is too late to control immigration anyway. Sadly, this is a perfect illustration of Brochand’s pessimistic observation last April on France Culture, when he said he did not think there is currently enough courage among the French political class to do what is necessary to avoid the worst-case scenario: that of confrontation. Pierre Brochand was director of the Directorate General for External Security (DGSE) from 2002 to 2008, as well as an ambassador of France in Hungary and Israel. “Closing borders in the name of the precautionary principle – the Polish way – has never been seriously considered in our country,” Brochand said to Le Figaro after the recent rioting, which has seen over 700 members of security forces injured, some 4,000 arrested, and many towns and cities devastated. For Brochand, the reason is a mixture of humanism and economic interests, i.e. the need to import cheap labor. Brochand says the changes that have led to the current decomposition of French society happened in the 1970s, when France made its transition from a modern national state to a society of individuals. Together with the immigration of workers, France began to experience what increasingly became an immigration of settlers (Brochand uses the French term “immigration de peuplement”, which can also be translated as “colonizing immigration”). The transition to a society of individuals has created what he calls a scissor effect. Hence, in Brochand’s eyes, internal partition is the natural inclination of the multicultural societies of Western Europe. This is not new, as Pierre Brochand said that he remembers when he was the French ambassador to Hungary in the years 1989-93, just after the fall of communism in that part of Europe, he would often hear from his Hungarian interlocutors: “We are lucky we can see first-hand the damage that non-European immigration is causing in your country, and we certainly don’t want to imitate you.” “In everyone’s eyes, we are now the ‘sick man’ of the continent, the Security Council, the G7, and the G20,” laments the former head of France’s counter-intelligence, as France is indeed the country with the highest proportion of inhabitants with a non-European immigrant background, and immigration figures have been beating new historic records under President Emmanuel Macron. Others, like in neighboring Italy where mass immigration began at the beginning of the 2010s when Berlusconi’s right-wing government was overthrown with the help of Brussels, Berlin, and Paris, know very well that what is happening in France now will likely happen in their country in a decade or two if nothing is done. An illustration of such apprehension can be found, for example, in an article published on July 5 by the Italian conservative daily newspaper Il Giornale with the title: “The roots of France’s ill and the fear that looms over Italy.” Meanwhile, a large majority of French people are strongly opposed to what increasingly appears to be a dangerous social engineering experiment by the liberal elites, something Éric Zemmour has called a Ribbentrop-Molotov pact between Western liberals and Islam against the White, heterosexual, Catholic French man. Indeed, 74 percent of French people now think there are too many immigrants in their country and 62 percent would want France to disobey EU treaties and EU law to stop immigration. The latter is an important point, in particular in light of the ruling by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) against Switzerland that was delivered just a few days ago, which extends the right to family reunification even to refugees who have only obtained a temporary residence permit and not asylum. Let us not forget that EU member states have the obligation, as per the EU treaties, to abide by the rulings of the ECHR. “When diasporas swell out of all proportion — with at least 5 million additional arrivals since 2005 — reaching a critical mass that makes them confusedly aware of their irresistible strength, when compromises and unilateral concessions become confessions of weakness calling for transgression, when these counter-societies have the audacity to set themselves up as competing sovereignties in the same ‘one and indivisible’ space, well, the pressure cooker’s lid blows off, as soon as the opportunity arises,” explains Brochand in his July 6 interview published in Le Figaro. “It is worth pointing out, first of all, that isolated riots have been commonplace for 40 years, in every corner of the country, under the technocratic label of ‘urban violence,'” goes on the former DGSE director, noting things have evolved “to the point where no one pays any attention to them anymore, as if they were part of the landscape.” According to Brochand, somewhere between 100,000 and 200,000 may have taken part in the urban violence, creating a situation much more dangerous than in 2005, when similar rioting took place in France’s suburbs. Nothing comparable had ever happened since the French Revolution of 1789, notes Brochand, and, this time, even provincial towns have been affected by the troubles alongside the centers of big cities, in contrast to what happened 18 years ago when most of the rioting was constricted to the so-called sensitive neighborhoods. “I would describe the present catastrophe as an uprising or revolt against the French national state, by a significant proportion of the youth of non-European origin present on its territory,” says Brochand. “Will we draw the right lessons from this, given that the country’s vital prognosis is at stake? Will we consider remedies other than yet another ‘plan for the suburbs?’ Things being what they are, I doubt it,” he concludes on a pessimistic note. Brochand’s words echo those pronounced on the CNews French news channel on July 2 by Gendarmerie Colonel Philippe Cholous: “We need to analyze this situation not in terms of what is happening now, which is terrible, but in terms of what could happen if it gets out of hand. There’s obviously anger in the suburbs, but I think there’s also anger among the middle classes, the good people, France’s working people. There’s also a great deal of resentment on the part of the forces of law and order, who are very often abandoned by politicians. (…) The level of exasperation and resentment, the level of violence, and above all, the fact that in certain areas there is a real hatred of France, with weapons circulating, means that the potential is explosive. And just because there are fewer vehicles burned or businesses attacked doesn’t mean that the potential risk is decreasing.” It is worth noting that after a week of chaos, the French government has not renounced its plans to legalize the stay of hundreds of thousands of illegal migrants who work in sectors lacking labor, which is going to greatly reinforce the pull factor for illegal immigration to Europe, as each such legalization in a major European country has done in the past. According to a July 7 poll for CNEWS television about which political leaders the French trust most to find solutions to the current situation in their country, published on July 7, where respondents were asked to give their first and second choice, 32 percent said they trust none, 27 percent pointed to Marine Le Pen, 22 percent to her party chairman Jordan Bardella, and only 20 percent to President Emmanuel Macron, and 13 percent to Éric Zemmour, who is depicted as being more to the right than Marine Le Pen. Macron’s interior minister, Gérald Darmanin, came only fifth, as he is trusted by only 12 percent of respondents, whereas only 11 percent pointed to Prime Minister Elizabeth Borne as their first or second choice of someone who could bring solutions to the unfolding crisis. Interestingly enough, the leader of the center-right party Les Républicains, Éric Ciotti, with only 6 percent of the French who trust his ability to bring solutions, lags behind far-left leaders Jean-Luc Mélenchon (9 percent) and Fabien Roussel (8 percent). Tyler Durden Sun, 07/09/2023 - 07:00.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytJul 9th, 2023

How Sergei Shoigu, Putin’s embattled one-time bestie, rose to the top of Russia’s military and survived the Wagner rebellion that called for his head

Sergei Shoigu was the target of a rebellion by fighters from the Wagner Group mercenary outfit as they marched on Moscow. Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) shows mushrooms to Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu during his vacation in the remote Tuva region in southern Siberia, in August 2017.Alexey Nikolsky/Sputnik/AFP via Getty Images Russia's Minister of Defense, Sergei Shoigu, is a close ally and friend of Vladimir Putin. But as Russia's invasion of Ukraine faltered and stalled, he became a lightning rod for criticism. An armed rebellion led by Wagner's chief Yevgeny Prigozhin sought to oust him from power. This is Sergei Shoigu, Russian President Vladimir Putin's right-hand man.Russian Minister of Defense Sergei Shoigu.Contributor/Getty ImagesAs Russia's Minister of Defense, he is responsible for its invasion of Ukraine.Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu hold a meeting at the Kremlin, in Moscow on February 14, 2022.Alexei Nikolsky/Sputnik/AFP via Getty ImagesBut the stark failures of the Russian army there have undermined his decades-long ascent to the top rungs of power.Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu (L) seen during the Navy Day Parade in Saint Petersburg, Russia, on July, 31 2022.Contributor/Getty ImagesShoigu was born in 1955 in the remote town of Chadan in Siberia. The Soviet Union was a world power and the Cold War just beginning.A man outside the former central temple for Buddhists of Tuva, near the settlement of Chadan, in Russia's Tuva region.Ilya Naymushin/ReutersThe town is close to the Mongolian border.Shoigu's mother was Russian but born in Ukraine, while his father was Tuvan — an ethnic group that is indigenous to Siberia.Source: The Moscow Times   Unlike other people in Putin's inner circle, Shoigu was not educated in St. Petersburg or Moscow.Russian President Vladimir Putin accompanied by Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov (second from left), Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu (third from left), and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (third from right), waits for a meeting in Sochi, Russia on February 14, 2019.Sergei Chirikov/AFP via Getty ImagesIn 1977, Shoigu graduated from the Krasnoyarsk Polytechnic Institute in Siberia with a degree in civil engineering. He went on to work on a variety of major construction projects in the region."Shoigu is the only figure within Russian President Vladimir Putin's inner circle who isn't either an old KGB buddy or an old friend from St. Petersburg," Mark Galeotti, who heads the Russia-focused consultancy Mayak Intelligence, told Insider. Putin was born and studied in St. Petersburg and spent much of his early career there.Source: The Kyiv PostDespite being Russia's Defense Minister, Shoigu never served in the military.Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu during military exercises in the Pacific Ocean on July 16, 2013.Alexei Nikolsky/AFP via Getty ImagesHe wears awards on his uniform that look like combat medals, despite his lack of battlefield experience.Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu salutes soldiers and participants during a military parade in Moscow, Russia on May 9, 2015.Sefa Karacan/Anadolu Agency/Getty ImagesShoigu's official profile lists a string of presidential and state awards for his time in government, while his Russian-language Wikipedia page lists more than 70 separate honors.They include medals from his own defense ministry for implementing policies there, and also mass awards marking events like the 300th anniversary of the founding of St. Petersburg.Radio Free Europe, the US-funded outlet, reported last year that Shoigu has a fascination with medals, and implemented hundreds of new ones for the Russian military, many of which are not to do with combat. After working in various roles for construction companies in Siberia, Shoigu moved to Moscow in 1990 to lead the state's committee for construction and architecture.Sergei Shoigu explains the nature of the accident at the Sayano-Shushenskaya hydroelectric power station in Cheryomushky, Russia on August 19, 2009.Alexander Nemenov/AFP via Getty ImagesSource: The Moscow TimesIn 1991, while he was there, the Soviet Union collapsed, plunging Russia into a period of instability and unrest.The front page of The New York Times on December 26, 1991.National Security ArchiveOut of the chaos, Russia gained its first president — Boris Yeltsin, a personal friend of Shoigu. He was soon promoted to lead the newly-established Russian Rescue Corps.Former Russian President Boris Yeltsin shakes hands with Sergei Shoigu during an awards ceremony on October 27, 1999.ReutersIn the Russian Rescue Corps, Shoigu was responsible for the rescue and disaster response system, The Moscow Times reported.His career there soon took off.In his role, Shoigu would be the first to appear at any major or minor disaster sites, presenting himself as a hero.Russia's Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and then-Emergencies Minister Sergei Shoigu visit the site of a Polish aircraft crash near Smolensk airport, on April 10, 2010.Alexey Nikolsky/AFP via Getty Images"He had a big PR team, let's be perfectly honest," Galeotti told Insider.He stayed on the job for 21 years, even after Russian President Vladimir Putin took over from Yeltsin.Source: The Moscow TimesWhen Putin rose to power in 1999, the two became very close.Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and Sergei Shoigu in Moscow, Russia, on September 21, 2009.Alexey Druzhinin/AFP via Getty ImagesShoigu's successful record and large public profile seemed to appeal to Putin.In 1999, he picked Shoigu to be one of the leaders of his party, United Russia, giving him the opportunity to build a political base.Thirteen years later, in 2012, Putin promoted Shoigu briefly to be the governor of the Moscow region, and from there to run the defense ministry.This gave Shoigu a role on the world stage and a central place in Russia's clashes with the West.Sources: Database of Free Russia Forum, Foreign AffairsShoigu and Putin would often be photographed together. They took regular vacations in the Siberian woods, where they would go fishing or hiking.Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) accompanied by Sergei Shoigu gestures as he fishes in the remote Tuva region in southern Siberia, on August 3, 2017.Alexey Nikolsky/SPutnik/AFP via Getty ImagesTheir most recent vacation together appears to have been in March 2021.Source: The KremlinAs the president of the Russian Geographical Society, Shoigu would also indulge Putin's interest in the outdoors.Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu during a vacation in the remote Tuva region in southern Siberia, on August 26, 2018.Alexey Nikolsky/AFP via Getty Images"Putin and Shoigu are both throwbacks to Soviet times. They regard themselves as 'muzhiks' (real Russian men) who love sports and hunting," British magazine The Spectator observed in 2015.This interest may have taken a surreal, even macabre turn.Russian investigative news outlet Proekt reported in April that Putin has taken up bathing in blood extract from severed deer antlers as a form of alternative medicine. The bath is believed to improve the cardiovascular system and rejuvenate the skinThe unusual remedy was a suggestion made by Shoigu, the report said. Source: The New York Times Shoigu likes to play hockey. He also enjoys carpentry and has shown some of his work to Putin.Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu attends a hockey game in Moscow, Russia, on April 20, 2018.Alexander Nemenov/AFP via Getty ImagesSources: MK.RU, ReutersAt one point in his career, Shoigu was touted to be the next prime minister.Russian President Vladimir Putin and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu rest during a holiday in Siberia on March 21, 2021.Alexey Druzhinin/Sputnik/AFP via Getty ImagesIn the early days of his role as minister of defense, Shoigu was considered the second most popular public figure in the country and was even touted as Putin's potential successor.Source: The Daily BeastShoigu is said to have a lavish lifestyle and owns a large mansion outside of Moscow estimated to be worth around $18 million.Russian President Vladimir Putin toasts Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu at the Kremlin in Moscow on December 28, 2017.Kirill Kudryavtsev/Poo/AFP via Getty ImagesThe investigative team of jailed Putin critic Alexei Navalny photographed Shoigu's home using high-tech drones in 2015.Shoigu presides over a culture of corruption and embezzlement in the Russian military, according to some reports. An investigation by the independent Russian news outlet The Insider in 2019 claimed that he earned 6.5 billion rubles ($101.9 million) from deals with the ministries of defense and emergency situations.(The Insider is a separate publication from Insider.)Shoigu was behind the invasion and annexation of Crimea in 2014 and was also one of the architects of Russia's intervention in Syria one year later.Russian President Vladimir Putin talks to Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu during a military parade in Saint Petersburg, Russia, on July 25, 2021.Mikhail Svetlov/Getty ImagesSource: CNBC, Los Angeles TimesOne day after Russia's invasion, Shoigu was personally sanctioned by the West.Russian Minister of Defense, Sergei Shoigu (C) speaks as he virtually attends the Summit of Collective Security Treaty Organisation on May 24, 2022.Russian Foreign Ministry Press / Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty ImagesOther members of Putin's inner circle who were sanctioned alongside Shoigu included Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergei Lavrov and Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces Valery Gerasimov.Source: Department of State, PoliticoSeveral days before Putin's full-scale invasion in February, Shoigu met with British Defence Secretary Ben Wallace and denied Russia was planning to attack Ukraine.Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and chief of the general staff Valery Gerasimov in Moscow, Russia, on February 27, 2022.ALEXEY NIKOLSKY/SPUTNIK/AFP via Getty ImagesThis was despite Western intelligence services publishing extensive evidence of Russian troops amassing near Ukraine's borders, and claims from figures including President Joe Biden that an invasion was inevitable.Source: ReutersBut when Russia did invade on February 24, it did not pan out the way the Kremlin had planned.An abandoned Russian vehicle in a retaken area near Kharkiv, Ukraine, on September 30, 2022.Yasuyoshi Chiba / AFP via Getty ImagesRussia seemed to expect it could take Ukraine's capital Kyiv in a matter of days, but failed to do so.For months, their forces have struggled in the face of a staunch Ukrainian resistance that continues to receive more heavy weaponry from Western allies.Russia's partial mobilization in October was also a sign that Shoigu's military was suffering from a severe lack of manpower.The failures in Ukraine have led to claims of a rift between Shoigu and Putin.Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu at his Novo-Ogaryovo state residence, outside Moscow, on October 28, 2022.Mikhail Metzel/Sputnik/AFP via Getty ImagesOne month after Russia's invasion, there was "persistent tension" between the two friends after it emerged that Shoigu and his subordinates were sugar-coating reports of the war for Putin, The New York Times reported at the time.In March, Shoigu wasn't seen in public for 12 days, prompting concerns over his whereabouts, The Guardian reported.In August, Putin started to bypass Shoigu, further embedding himself into the war's strategic planning efforts, The Telegraph reported.Source: Insider Other prominent figures in the Kremlin have openly attacked Shoigu, including Russian oligarch Yevgeniy Prigozhin.Yevgeniy Prigozhin at a meeting in St. Petersburg, Russia, in 2016.Mikhail Svetlov/Getty ImagesYevgeniy Prigozhin, who founded the Wagner private army, confronted Putin about the mismanagement of the war in Ukraine last month, two US officials familiar with the matter told The Washington Post.Prigozhin later denied that he had spoken to Russia's president and said he has no right to criticize Russia's army.Kirill Stremousov, a pro-Russia Ukrainian politician who was installed as Putin's puppet leader in the occupied Ukrainian region of Kherson, recently suggested Shoigu should consider killing himself over Russia's recent military losses.Kirill Stremousov, deputy head of the Russian-backed Kherson administration, is pictured in his office on July 20, 2022.STRINGER/AFP via Getty ImagesStremousov was killed in a car crash in Kherson on November 9, local officials said, according to the BBC.He died hours before Shoigu ordered the withdrawal of his troops from the city.Source: Insider"Shoigu is willing to basically be Putin's bulletproof vest," said Galeotti, the Russia analyst.Russian President Vladimir Putin looks at Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu during a military parade in Pskov, Russia, on March 1, 2020.Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images"He is soaking up all the criticism that, otherwise, people might start leveling towards Putin as commander in chief," Galeotti said.  Shoigu has remained quiet despite the growing criticism...Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu in Sochi, Russia, on December 4, 2019.Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images"He's been much less evident now," Galeotti told Insider."He knows that, when he goes into public, he either has to reassure people that everything's going fine, which is an increasingly untenable position to hold, or he'd have to acknowledge things are going badly, which would potentially sound like criticism of the commander in chief," he added.... and Putin has shown no signs that he may fire him.Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu walks in the Taiga in Siberia, on September 26, 2021.Alexey Druzhinin/Sputnik/AFP via Getty ImagesGaleotti told Insider that it is difficult for Putin to fire Shoigu because it is "a card he can only play once." "If Putin absolutely felt that the situation demanded it, I imagine he would be willing to sacrifice Shoigu," he said."However, given that it's obviously not going to have any substantive impact on the progress of the war ... it will be harder to avoid the suspicion that it's not because of Shoigu, but because of Putin."On November 9, Shoigu ordered his troops to retreat from Kherson, the only major city in Ukraine that Russian forces were able to capture during the invasion.A soldier of the Ukrainian army in Kherson Oblast on November 05, 2022.Metin Aktas/Anadolu Agency via Getty ImagesThe retreat was a huge blow to Shoigu, who only a month before had told Putin that his goal to send 300,000 of Russia's reservists to fight in Ukraine had been completed, Reuters reported.After all the retreats, Shoigu stepped up his rhetoric in November, saying that Russia should use new advanced weapons systems in Ukraine.Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu talks with a cadet in Moscow, Russia, on August 20, 2022.Contributor/Getty ImagesShoigu did not specify which advanced weapons should be used, though he said he is looking at new ways of improving artillery and missile attacks.Source: Reuters Earlier this month, Shoigu's alleged ex-lover — and mother of two of his children — was exiled from Lithuania after being deemed a security threat, Lithuanian media reported.Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu seen during the SCTO Summit in Yerevan, Armenia, on November 23, 2022.Contributor/Getty ImagesLithuania's State Security Department said this month that Yelena Shebunova's presence "may impose a threat to the country's national security over her links with Russian structures," Lithuanian National Radio and Television (LRT) reported.It did not elaborate on why she was seen as a threat.According to a 2019 investigation by Russian independent media outlet The Insider, Shebunova and Shoigu have two children together, both born out of wedlock: Daria and Danila.It is unclear how old the children are, but The Insider reported that Shebunova obtained a Lithuanian residence permit in 2017.Shoigu also has two children with his wife, Irina Shoigu, The Kyiv Post reported.In February, Shoigu told military officials the Russian army is "successfully" advancing near the eastern Ukrainian towns of Bakhmut and Vuhledar.Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu at a military meeting at an undisclosed location, on January 17, 2023.Russian Defence Ministry/Vadim Savitsky/Handout via Reuters"Military operations are at the moment progressing with success in the areas around Vuhledar and Artemovsk," Shoigu told a defense meeting using the previous name for Bakhmut.Source: Russian Ministry of Defence, Moscow TimesOn June 24, 2023, Prigozhin dramatically launched an armed rebellion to oust Shoigu and chief of army staff, Valery Gerasimov.Members of Wagner group sit atop of a tank in a street in the city of Rostov-on-Don, on June 24, 2023.STRINGER/AFP via Getty ImagesIn a video message, Prigozhin said that Russian forces had bombed his mercenary group. He led his fighters as they seized control of Rostov-on-Don then advanced towards Moscow. The mercenary chief said he wanted Russia's military leaders fired over failings in Ukraine, but after brokering a deal with the Kremlin backed away from the rebellion. He said he wanted to avoid bloodshed, and went into exile in Belarus. The rebellion was the most serious challenge to Putin's authority in his two decades in power. In the wake of the mutiny, the Kremlin released video showing Shoigu visiting troops in Ukraine.Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu and Colonel General Yevgeny Nikiforov, commander of troops of the Western Military District, talk on board the aircraft as they visit the advanced control post of Russian troops involved in Russia-Ukraine conflict, at an unknown location, in this still image taken from video released June 26, 2023.Russian Defence Ministry/Handout via REUTERSThe video shows Shoigu traveling in a plane, and visiting Russian senior officers. The Kremlin did not say when or where the footage was filmed, and NBC News reported that Russian military bloggers, who've been influential critics of the Kremlin's war effort, said it was filmed ahead of the mutiny. —Yaroslav Trofimov (@yarotrof) June 26, 2023 The video appeared to be an attempt by the Kremlin to signal that Russia's chain of command remained intact after the rebellion, amid rumors that Putin may be preparing to fire Shoigu. Putin had remained silent as Prigozhin launched increasingly aggressive tirades against Shoigu and other military chiefs in the weeks leading to the mutiny, prompting speculation that he was playing them off against each other. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytJun 26th, 2023

Nigeria"s Central Bank Governor Suspended And Arrested After Waging All-Out War On Cash

Nigeria's Central Bank Governor Suspended And Arrested After Waging All-Out War On Cash Authored by Nick Corbishley via, For the moment, it is not entirely clear why Godwin Emefiele has been removed from his post and detained by Nigeria’s secret police, but there are a whole slew of possible reasons.  Something rather out of the ordinary occurred in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation and largest economy, this past weekend: the (now former) Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, was suspended from office by the country’s newly elected President Bola Tinubuand. Hours later, Emefiele — who had been at the helm of the CBN for nine years, during which time the Nigerian currency lost 65% of its value and inflation almost tripled — was taken into custody by Nigeria’s secret police, the State Security Service (SSS). Governors of central banks, which are generally independent authorities, are rarely suspended from their posts, and they are hardly ever arrested. For the moment, it is not entirely clear why Emefiele has been detained but there are a whole slew of possible reasons. The arrest follows a months-long investigation into his office by the SSS, which tried unsuccessfully to arrest him in December on allegations of “financing terrorism, fraudulent activities, and economic crimes of national security dimension.” All-Out War on Cash Those “economic crimes of national security dimension” presumably now include waging an all-out war on cash, with dire consequences for Nigeria’s already embattled economy. Between January and February, the CBN withdraw all high-denomination notes from circulation and failed to replace them with the newly designed notes it had promised, triggering a cash crunch. The central bank also placed stringent limits on the daily cash withdrawals of anyone who could access cash. As with India’s brush with demonetisation in 2016, the result was unmitigated chaos and economic pain — in a country where 63% of the population was already poor and 33% unemployed. In March, the central bank finally paused the cash swap program until the end of the year, but only at the dogged insistence of Nigeria’s Supreme Court. By then, the lives, jobs and businesses of untold numbers of people had been upended. Inflation soared to an almost 18-year high. Preliminary data showed that economic growth for the first quarter of 2023 came in more than one percentage point lower than in the previous quarter, which Nigeria’s National Bureau of Statistics attributed to the “adverse effects of the cash crunch.” What’s more, irreparable damage was done to public trust in the country’s central bank and banking system, which is ironic given that lack of trust is one of the biggest obstacles to public adoption of the country’s floundering central bank digital currency (CBDC), the e-Naira. The online newspaper Premium Times called for the arrest and prosecution of Emefiele, arguing that the cash withdrawal limits the CBN had imposed were an infringement on people’s basic rights: “[M]ost have had to live with a frightening range of infringements since the banknotes swap policy came into effect. These have ranged from the economic (loss of earnings platforms across the economy’s informal sector), through the emotional (having to beg for cash from friends, family, neighbours and strangers to meet basic needs) to the conceptual (just struggling to make sense of the policy’s design, implementation and expected outcomes).” According to the central bank and Buhari government, these infringements were a price well worth paying in order to achieve the policy’s ostensible aims (bringing more cash into the formal economy, curbing money laundering and terrorism financing, preventing vote buying in the upcoming general election, increasing tax revenues, and advancing the country’s floundering CBDC). Emefiele hailed the cash swap as a success. For Nigeria’s Finance Minister Zainab Ahmed, the “only sore point [wa]s the pain it has caused to citizens.” Among its laundry list of reasons for pursuing demonetisation, published in October, the CBN said the redesign of the currency would “help deepen our drive to entrench a cashless economy as it will be complemented by increased minting of our eNaira.” Yet most Nigerians had no chance of using the eNaira since they do not own a smart phone or have access to the Internet. Of Nigeria’s approximate population of 220 million, between 25 million and 40 million people actually have a smart phone. More than half of the population is unbanked. In other words, the overwhelming majority of Nigerians had no possible means of using digital payment methods even if they had wanted to. As more than half of the cash was drained from the economy, they had no means of transacting. Many of them took to the streets to protest. Banks were vandalised; some were even burnt to the ground. At the height of the protests, in mid-February, a coalition of civil society groups demanded that the CBN issue the new notes and end the suffering of millions of Nigerians — a demand that was rejected by the central bank and the Buhari government. IMF: “Disappointingly Low” Public Adoption of eNaira Most of the people who have been able to download the eNaira app and have chosen to do so, have not bothered to use it. In a recent working paper, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) — which played a key role in the CBDC’s development and roll-out — described the Nigerian public’s adoption of the CBDC as “disapppointingly low,” with fewer than 2% of the downloaded eNaira wallets actually being used: The average number of eNaira transactions since its inception amounts to about 14,000 per week—only 1.5 percent of the number of wallets out there. This means that 98.5 percent of wallets, for any given week, have not been used even once. The average value of eNaira transaction[s] has been 923 million naira per week—0.0018 percent of the average amount of M3 during this period. The average value per one transaction has been 60,000 naira. There are also political reasons for Emefiele’s removal from office and subsequent arrest. The (now-former) central banker tried to transition into party politics last year by running for the presidential ticket of the ruling All Progressive Congress. He had some powerful backers. As NC reader Negrodamus noted in a comment to a previous article of mine, when that bid failed, Emefiele used the country’s printing presses to try to prevent the primary victor, Tinubu, from winning the election: [The] CBN announced the deadline for the currency swap 14 days [before] a national election? Odd timing. Why? The CBN governor contested & lost in the primary that produced the eventual winner-Tinubu. It was thought that Tinubu’s entire machinery was based on money. So the governor in cahoots with a cabal in the office of the presidency decided to turn off the tap in a bid to deny him the Presidency by withdrawing currency from the economy (you simply cannot make this up). Take note, the policy was announced after the primaries and before the general elections. Unfortunately this did not work for the CBN governor & co and now the courts have forced him to backtrack as there is a new president-elect and due to huge public outcry. The current presidency cabal seeing the plot has failed has abandoned Emeifele, the CBN governor. To what extent CBN’s disastrous cash swap program was driven by Emefiele’s political ambitions is impossible to discern. Clearly those ambitions played an important role — and now that his political rival, Tibunu, is in power, he could be about to pay a very high price. A Wall of Public Resistance But it is also true that Nigeria’s e-Naira predated the CBN’s demonetisation program by well over a year. And the fact that it is the world’s first CBDC to be launched by a largish economy makes its success (or otherwise) symbolically important. By this time last year, it was clear that the eNaira was floundering and in desperate need of a jolt. And what better way than by hobbling the country’s most important payment method, cash? Indeed, the CBN has been disarmingly candid about its desire to do away with cash. In October, when the demonetisation program was first unveiled, Emefiele himself said: “The destination, as far as I am concerned, is to achieve a 100 percent cashless economy in Nigeria”. That hasn’t happened. Cash is still King in Nigeria. Even after all that has happened, most Nigerians cannot or do not want to use the eNaira. CBDCs may be all the rage among central bankers, but as long as they offer little in the way of public benefit while posing huge risks to privacy, anonymity and other basic freedoms, they are unlikely to gain traction in Africa or elsewhere. And that should perhaps offer us all a slither of hope. As the Financial Times noted in March, central banks’ digital currency plans are facing a wall of public resistance. And that wall is gradually growing higher. That doesn’t mean that the eNaira can be declared DOA just yet. The CBN’s cash-less policy predated Emefiele’s appointment as governor, and it is yet to be seen what the new management will do with Nigeria’s half-born CBDC. The CBDC may have been a total flop so far but the IMF still sees room for potential, especially now that the CBN is moving to the second phase of the eNaira’s incremental roll-out: expanding its coverage to (1) people without bank accounts (but with mobile phones) and (2) those without internet access, largely by offering eNaira to the country’s legions of poor through social cash transfer programs. But the mere fact that the eNaira has had such an underwhelming impact in its first year and a half of existence while its main architect, Godwin Emefiele, is now under arrest, might give other central banks in Africa pause before launching their own CBDCs. Just over a week ago, the central bank of East Africa’s largest economy, Kenya, which is widely viewed as a pioneer in the “mobile money” space, announced that it did not consider launching a CBDC a “compelling priority” after conducting a public consultation on the matter. It also mentioned the “challenges” that have hampered other central banks’ efforts to implement CBDCs. From Reuters: “On the global stage, the allure of CBDCs is fading,” the bank said in a statement. “Implementation of a CBDC in Kenya may not be a compelling priority in the short to medium term.” Central banks that had rushed to issue the currencies were now facing challenges that are hampering implementation, it said, adding that other problems have also arisen. Given the role Africa has long played as a testing ground for biometric ID technologies, mobile money initiatives and now CBDCs, this is a welcome development. Tyler Durden Wed, 06/14/2023 - 03:30.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeJun 14th, 2023

Gaslighting: The American People Are Trapped In A Textbook Abusive Relationship

Gaslighting: The American People Are Trapped In A Textbook Abusive Relationship Authored by Daisy Luther via The Organic Prepper blog, Imagine this. A woman, for the sake of my story, is in a marriage with a partner who does not respect her. He insults her regularly, belittles her efforts to improve herself or her situation, and minimizes her feelings. In fact, when she tries to stand up for herself, things get even worse. The partner calls into question her memories of the event. He dismisses the way things made her feel, calling the emotions “ridiculous” or “stupid.” He convinces her she’s overreacting and that he was only trying to do what was best for her. When she brings something up, he completely rewrites the event, causing her to doubt what actually happened because she’s in a vulnerable state due to the constant abuse. In a situation like this, the abused partner often feels powerless, confused, and unable to leave the situation. They are at a disadvantage because they’ve been influenced to doubt their own reality. This leaves them trapped deeper and deeper in the abusive scenario. They feel unable to escape because they’re really not sure what actually happened. Were they blowing things out of proportion? Are they, in fact, stupid, forgetful, and inept? Abusive relationships follow a pattern. There’s a period of breaking the victim down, isolating them from their support systems, and making them dependent on the abuser. Then, the abused partner is maneuvered into the belief that she can’t get by on her own. This master manipulation is how people become trapped in abusive relationships. And, as I’m about to show, not all abusive relationships are one-on-one romantic relationships. What is gaslighting? Medical News Today defines gaslighting. Gaslighting is a form of psychological abuse in which a person or group causes someone to question their own sanity, memories, or perception of reality. People who experience gaslighting may feel confused, anxious, or as though they cannot trust themselves. The term “gaslighting” comes from the 1944 classic film (and before that, the play), Gaslight. In the story, a husband tries to make his wife believe she is suffering from a mental illness. Starring Ingrid Bergman and Charles Boyer, it’s well worth a watch. Gaslighting is a form of narcissistic abuse. For a quick refresher on the definition of a narcissist and the techniques they use, go here. Forbes offers the following signs you are being gaslit: Signs to watch for include: The “Twilight Zone” effect. Victims of gaslighting often report feeling like a situation is surreal—like it’s happening on a different plane from the rest of their life. Language describing you or your behavior as crazy, irrational or overemotional. “When I asked women about their partners’ abusive tactics, they often described being called a ‘crazy bitch,’” Sweet writes in “The Sociology of Gaslighting” in American Sociological Review. “This phrase came up so frequently, I began to think of it as the literal discourse of gaslighting.” Being told you’re exaggerating. Feeling confused and powerless after leaving an interaction. Isolation. Many gaslighters make efforts to isolate victims from friends, family and other support networks. Tone policing. A gaslighter may criticize your tone of voice if you challenge them on something. This is a tactic used to flip the script and make you feel that you’re the one to blame, rather than your abuser. A cycle of warm-cold behavior. To throw a victim off balance, a gaslighter may alternate between verbal abuse and praise, often even in the same conversation. Gaslighting is a deliberate attempt to provoke self-doubt, confusion, and dependence. How does someone gaslight another person? Again, let’s look to the experts. Medical News Today provides these examples of how gaslighting might take place: Countering: This is when someone questions a person’s memory. They may say things such as, “Are you sure about that? You have a bad memory,” or “I think you are forgetting what really happened.” Withholding: This involves someone pretending they do not understand the conversation, or refusing to listen, to make a person doubt themselves. For example, they might say, “Now you are just confusing me,” or “I do not know what you are talking about.” Trivializing: This occurs when a person belittles or disregards how someone else feels. They may accuse them of being “too sensitive” or overreacting in response to valid and reasonable concerns. Denial: Denial involves a person refusing to take responsibility for their actions. They may do this by pretending to forget what happened, saying they did not do it, or blaming their behavior on someone else. Diverting: With this technique, a person changes the focus of a discussion by questioning the other person’s credibility. For example, they might say, “That is just nonsense you read on the internet. It is not real.” Stereotyping: An article in the American Sociological Review says that a person may intentionally use negative stereotypes about someone’s gender, race, ethnicity, sexuality, nationality, or age to gaslight them. For example, they may say that no one will believe a woman if she reports abuse. After a period of time, this emotional barrage results in the target of the gaslighting suffering from confusion, doubt, and self-blame. feeling uncertain of their perceptions frequently questioning if they are remembering things correctly believing they are irrational or “crazy” feeling incompetent, unconfident, or worthless constantly apologizing to the abusive person defending the abusive person’s behavior to others becoming withdrawn or isolated from others The Forbes article offered these specific examples of gaslighting in romantic relationships. “Ebony’s partner would steal her money and then tell her she was ‘careless’ about finances and had lost it herself.” “Adriana’s boyfriend hid her phone and then told her she had lost it, in a dual effort to confuse her and prevent her from communicating with others.” “Jenn described her ex-boyfriend as a ‘chameleon’ who made up small stories to confuse her, like lying about what color shirt he had worn the day before to make her feel disoriented.” “Emily described her ex-husband stealing her keys so she could not leave the house and then insisting she had lost them ‘again.’” But if you think this phenomenon is limited to women being abused by their husbands or boyfriends, you’d be wrong. Gaslighting doesn’t just happen in romantic relationships. Gaslighting is a complicated thing. While it’s common in abusive romantic relationships, it can also occur in unhealthy parent-child relationships, sibling relationships, or even workplaces. But that’s not all. It can also occur on a much broader scale. Racial gaslighting According to an article in Politics, Group, and Identities, racial gaslighting is when people apply gaslighting techniques to an entire racial or ethnic group in order to discredit them. For example, a person or institution may say that an activist campaigning for change is irrational or “crazy.” Political gaslighting Political gaslighting occurs when a political group or figure lies or manipulates information to control people, according to an article in the Buffalo Law Review. For example, the person or political party may downplay things their administration has done, discredit their opponents, imply that critics are mentally unstable, or use controversy to deflect attention away from their mistakes. Institutional gaslighting Institutional gaslighting occurs within a company, organization, or institution, such as a hospital. For example, they may portray whistleblowers who report problems as irrational or incompetent, or deceive employees about their rights. This often occurs to cover up a mistake that could result in the person who erred facing punitive consequences or to keep people “in their place.” It’s a control mechanism, pure and simple. Have we been gaslit by our own government? I don’t think it’s farfetched to say that we, the people of the United States of America, have been gaslit. Does this sound familiar? Lockdowns that keep you away from friends and loved ones? Losing your income and becoming dependent on handouts doled out by the government? Being censored and mocked when you say anything that is not in line with the official narrative? Being treated like a crazy conspiracy theorist who should be punished because of the harm you’re causing to others if you refuse to go along? When you look at it this way, it feels like the entire US government and media have colluded to abuse the people. Many of the Covid-related “truths” that were promoted by the government and the media that we were not allowed to dispute have now been proven to be false. Stories we couldn’t question about the origins of the pandemic have been proven false. In another incident of broad-scale gaslighting unrelated to the pandemic, a lot of evidence has been produced that shows the Biden family may have received money from influence-peddling, but the media tells us not to believe it. And like good little victims, it seems like a hefty portion of the country is refusing to believe the evidence, instead believing in the good intentions of their abusers. They’ve been gaslit, brainwashed, and are unable to break free of the manipulation. And it’s still going on. Recently Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote a scathing opinion of the US government’s handling of the Covid pandemic, saying that we “have experienced the greatest intrusions on civil liberties in the peacetime history of this country.” “Executive officials across the country issued emergency decrees on a breathtaking scale. Governors and local leaders imposed lockdown orders forcing people to remain in their homes. They shuttered businesses and schools, public and private. They closed churches even as they allowed casinos and other favored businesses to carry on. They threatened violators not just with civil penalties but with criminal sanctions too. They surveilled church parking lots, recorded license plates, and issued notices warning that attendance at even outdoor services satisfying all state social-distancing and hygiene requirements could amount to criminal conduct. They divided cities and neighborhoods into color-coded zones, forced individuals to fight for their freedoms in court on emergency timetables, and then changed their color-coded schemes when defeat in court seemed imminent,” he said. At the federal level, he highlighted not only immigration decrees but vaccine mandates, the regulation of landlord-tenant relations and pressure on social media companies to suppress “misinformation.” The gaslighting blowback was immediate, with breathlessly outraged headlines. Slate eloquently opined, “Neil Gorsuch’s List of “Civil Liberties Intrusions” Is, Uh, Missing a Few Things.” making sure to throw plenty of insulting talking points into their introductory paragraph in their attempt to liken a Supreme Court Justice who was educated at Harvard Law, Oxford, Georgetown, and Columbia, to an ignorant relative one merely tolerates. And they insinuated he was a racist. Gorsuch has long railed against such policies, and his opinions have taken on an increasingly shrill tone, like the Fox News–poisoned uncle who hectors you about the plandemic in 3,000-word Facebook comments. The justice’s rant in Arizona v. Mayorkas, however, hits a new low, moving beyond the usual yada-yada grievance parade to issue a thesis statement of sorts… …As Vox’s Ian Millhiser quickly pointed out, this sweeping claim leaves out two “intrusions on civil liberties” that any person with a basic grasp of history and sanity would surely rank as worse than pandemic policies: slavery and Jim Crow. An opinion piece published in the NY Times gasped, “Neil Gorsuch Has Given Himself Away,” made it seem as if the Justice was belittling every other civil rights mishap in the history of America while also blithely disregarding the folks who died during the pandemic. The New Republic condescendingly liberal-splained to the rest of us “What Neil Gorsuch Got Wrong About the Pandemic,” stating that “The justice’s vision of the judiciary’s role in public health may be more dangerous than any Covid-era restriction.” The site Above The Law literally said Gorsuch was stupid in the piece, “For An Originalist, Gorsuch Is Clearly Slacking On His Definitions And Their Historical Meanings.” The subheading reads, “Is what he said stupid? Yes. But let’s be technical here.” Law and Crime website also played the race card and did so right in the headline: Neil Gorsuch implies COVID restrictions were worse than slavery and Jim Crow, and the internet noticed. Let’s look at that definition of political gaslighting again… For example, the person or political party may downplay things their administration has done, discredit their opponents, imply that critics are mentally unstable, or use controversy to deflect attention away from their mistakes. Oof. If that textbook case of gaslighting isn’t embarrassing, it should be.  Then again, narcissists are rarely embarrassed. The gaslighting will escalate. Another thing about narcissists: they just get angry when they’re called out. They will respond by gaslighting you harder or seeking to “ruin” you. (source) They’ll punish you with a loss of “privileges,” money, material goods, and freedom. We’ve watched it happen again and again in our cancel culture media. Some of us have been unfortunate enough to have personal relationships with narcissists and learned this the hard way. The only way to end narcissistic abuse and gaslighting is to recognize it and remove yourself from the situation as much as you can. Obviously, when it’s our entire government and society, that becomes complicated. You may be stuck with just recognizing it. But that in itself gives you a certain amount of freedom and personal power. It helps you get off the hamster wheel, and you begin to spot the manipulations more easily. One thing we can be sure of is that this will escalate as more and more people say, “No, that’s not what happened.” This is something we can expect, and in some small way, maybe we can take comfort in the response. Perhaps we can smile to ourselves because we know those who were trying to manipulate us all are on the defensive. Tyler Durden Mon, 05/29/2023 - 18:20.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytMay 29th, 2023

Quinn: Rise To Rebellion - A Fourth Turning Perspective

Quinn: Rise To Rebellion - A Fourth Turning Perspective Authored by Jim Quinn via The Burning Platform blog, “I do not say that democracy has been more pernicious on the whole, and in the long run, than monarchy or aristocracy. Democracy has never been and never can be so durable as aristocracy or monarchy; but while it lasts, it is more bloody than either. … Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide. It is in vain to say that democracy is less vain, less proud, less selfish, less ambitious, or less avaricious than aristocracy or monarchy. It is not true, in fact, and nowhere appears in history. Those passions are the same in all men, under all forms of simple government, and when unchecked, produce the same effects of fraud, violence, and cruelty. When clear prospects are opened before vanity, pride, avarice, or ambition, for their easy gratification, it is hard for the most considerate philosophers and the most conscientious moralists to resist the temptation.” – John Adams “A Constitution of Government once changed from Freedom, can never be restored. Liberty, once lost, is lost forever.” – John Adams I have bookshelves filled with books I haven’t read yet. I’m a collector of books who doesn’t have much time to read but plans to spend my waning years catching up on all the reading I’ve been unable to do while working, blogging, and raising a family. Still, I always have one or two books on my nightstand being read in fits and starts. After finishing a Grisham novel, I sought another book to occupy my time from my living room bookshelf. I grabbed Rise to Rebellion, a Jeff Shaara historical novel I had purchased at a used bookstore in Wildwood, NJ many years ago. I don’t know why I chose that book from the dozens of options on the bookshelf, but it seems to have been a wise choice given the current state of affairs in the world. I always find the wisdom and courage of our founding fathers to be a beacon of light in the darkness slowly engulfing the world as we approach the denouement of this Fourth Turning, the fourth, and hopefully not last, in U.S. history. Probably without knowing it, most of Shaara’s historical novels revolved around events during the first three Fourth Turnings. It started with his father Michael Shaara’s brilliant 1973 Pulitzer Prize winning novel The Killer Angels, and Jeff’s bookend novels Gods and Generals (1996) and The Last Full Measure (1998) to complete the trilogy. They captured the essence of the Civil War Fourth Turning. Then he captured the spirit of the American Revolution Fourth Turning with Rise to Rebellion and The Glorious Cause. And then he attacked the World War II Fourth Turning with his four-part series: The Rising Tide, The Steel Wave, No Less Than Victory, and The Final Storm. The novels documenting the glorious victories, tragic losses, heroes, and villains of this Fourth Turning are yet to be written. What will be written depends upon the actions we take or don’t take during the remaining five or so years of this period of Crisis. You never know how or when your words or actions will have an impact, but if you remain resolute and true to yourself, maybe even after death your words can provide inspiration for future generations. Michael Shaara’s The Killer Angels was rejected by 15 publishers, received mixed reviews, and even after winning a Pulitzer Prize was still a commercial failure. He died in 1988, a broken man, dismayed his novel never received the notice it deserved. Five years after his death his book was adapted into the epic film Gettysburg, and his novel was propelled to number one on the NYT bestsellers list, 19 years after its publication. Jeff had been a coin dealer, but after the success of the movie and novel he was approached to continue the story, his father had started, despite no background in writing. He took up the challenge and has had a prodigious career bringing history to life for millions of readers. You never know when life will offer opportunity or thrust you into a cataclysm. What struck me as I read Rise to Rebellion, capturing the time period from the Boston Massacre in 1770 to the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776, told through the eyes of John Adams, Ben Franklin, George Washington, and British General Thomas Gage, was the extremely long odds of farmers, merchants, shop owners and tradesmen successfully defeating the greatest empire in history and their professional army. The chances of these undisciplined, underfunded, under armed militiamen, led by George Washington and a few professional officers, of winning their independence from an imperial empire and an army and navy unmatched on earth was virtually nil. It’s the kind of perspective valuable at this juncture of a Fourth Turning, rapidly accelerating towards conflict against a seemingly invincible arrogant Deep State imperial empire. The odds are heavily against those who have refused to knuckle under during the covid scam and continue to oppose the government’s efforts to disarm us and destroy the moral fabric of the nation. From their writings and correspondence at the time, utilized by Shaara in his novel, you realize Adams, Franklin, and Washington were all reluctant revolutionaries. Firebrands like Sam Adams and Patrick Henry had no doubts about going to war. Adams and Franklin did everything in their power to defuse the brewing conflict over many years. Adams even defended the British soldiers accused of murder during the Boston Massacre and got them acquitted by an American jury. Franklin spent years in London trying to negotiate on behalf of the colonies, while constantly being ridiculed, scorned, and humiliated by arrogant parliamentarians and an ego-maniacal king. When chosen to lead the Continental Army, Washington was hesitant to accept the position. He didn’t believe the martial skills he gained during the French & Indian War were sufficient to lead a ragtag army of militia misfits against the greatest military on earth. These men did not conclude a military revolution was necessary to end the British tyranny lightly. After much soul searching and angst, they realized there was no choice. They had been pushed far enough and it was time to push back. They also knew if they failed, they would hang. In 1770, Franklin was 64 years old, suffering from gout and bladder stones. With life expectancies of less than 40 years in those days, he had far outlived most, while accomplishing more as a scientist, writer, publisher, and statesman than almost anyone in history. He had every right to just live out his remaining years in peace and tranquility. But instead, he risked it all on helping birth a new nation, using all his wisdom, guile, and political acumen to help guide the younger revolutionaries Adams, Jefferson, Washington, among others. He was 70 in 1776 when he signed the Declaration of Independence and died in 1790, shortly after the U.S. Constitution was ratified in 1789. He spent his twilight years working tirelessly to birth this Republic. As I and many others enter our 60s, it feels like it is too late for us to make a difference in helping change the course of our troubled nation. But Franklin should be an inspiration to all real patriots fighting impossible odds to try and defeat an arrogant brutal regime bent on crushing those who believe in freedom, liberty, personal responsibility, and a Constitution written in the blood of patriots 250 years ago. When narrow minded linear thinkers scoff at the notion of the common people rising up and taking down a corrupt, evil, traitorous government, which no longer works in the best interest of the people, but for their own enrichment, I must anchor my thinking in the cyclical nature of history and inevitability of the existing social order being swept away in a river of blood during Fourth Turnings. The acolytes of the regime in political offices, government bureaucracy blood suckers, the media propaganda outlets, the woke military, and corporate boardrooms scoff at the thought of losing their wealth and power. They control the narrative. They control the technology. They control the government. They control the media. They have superior firepower in the hands of their police and military mercenaries. Their hubris knows no bounds. Their comprehension of history and human nature is non-existent as their sociopath desires overwhelm their ability to think critically and see what lies ahead. No matter how far advanced the world has become technologically over the last 250 years, one thing never changes – human nature. Technological progress has certainly made it easier to kill each other today than during the American Revolution. “Smart” phones, the internet, and 70-inch HDTVs have made it far easier to amuse and distract ourselves, and effortless for Bernays’ invisible government to control and manipulate the masses through propaganda and psychological exploitation, as proven by the last three years of this fake covid crisis. As Huxley pointed out, technology is just making us go backwards more efficiently. “Technological progress has merely provided us with more efficient means for going backwards.” ― Aldous Huxley, Ends and Means Technology hasn’t made us smarter. Technology hasn’t made us kinder. Technology hasn’t made us less violent. Technology hasn’t made us less likely to kill or wage war. Technology hasn’t made us safer. Mankind is just as prideful, greedy, wrathful, envious, lustful, gluttonous, and slothful as they were in centuries past. Human nature never changes; therefore, we can analyze the actions of King George, Lord Dartmouth, General Gage, and other key characters of the American Revolution Fourth Turning to assess how Biden, Schumer, and Miley will react and over-react to events unfolding during this Fourth Turning. There are numerous parallels between the political, societal, and military dynamics of the American Revolution Fourth Turning and our present day Fourth Turning, which is accelerating towards its bloody climax, yet to be labeled by future historians – if there are any historians left to write the history. “Once vigorous measures appear to be the only means left of bringing the Americans to a due submission to the mother country, the colonies will submit.” – King George III “A traitor is everyone who does not agree with me.” – King George III The attitude and actions of King George III and his parliamentary aristocracy leading up to and during the rebellion are consistent with the attitudes and actions of our current day monarch – Joe Biden – and the Deep State ruling elite who lord dominion over us lowly peasants. It was duly noted King George battled bouts of mental illness from 1765 until his death in 1820. He lorded over an empire constantly at war in Europe and North America. His empire was deeply indebted and sought to fill the treasury through taxing its far-flung colonies across the globe, without allowing those colonies representation in Parliament. When faced with resistance and dissension from America, his response was dismissive and threatening. In 1775, after the initial hostilities around Boston, the Continental Congress was still split between war and reconciliation. John Dickinson, the Loyalist delegate from Pennsylvania, wrote the Olive Branch Petition seeking reconciliation with the Crown. King George’s unequivocal Proclamation For Suppressing Rebellion and Sedition  declared war upon the colonists and proclaimed the members of the Continental Congress to be traitors and conspiracists. He left no room for negotiation or compromise. Were these words written by King George, or the arrogant war-mongering toadies in his court who didn’t have to do the marching and dying on battlefields on another continent. The derision and threatening language are eerily reminiscent of another dictator’s speech 247 years later, ironically given bathed in blood red in front of Independence Hall, where the founding fathers had held their rebellious proceedings. WHEREAS Many of Our Subjects in divers Parts of Our Colonies and Plantations in North America, misled by dangerous and ill-designing Men, and forgetting the Allegiance which they owe to the Power that has protected and sustained them, after various disorderly Acts committed in Disturbance of the Public Peace, to the Obstruction of lawful Commerce, and to the Oppression of Our loyal Subjects carrying on the same, have at length proceeded to an open and avowed Rebellion, by arraying themselves in hostile Manner to withstand the Execution of the Law, and traitoroursly preparing, ordering, and levying War against Us. AND whereas there is Reason to apprehend that such Rebellion hath been much promoted and encouraged by the traitorous Correspondence, Counsels, and Comfort of divers wicked and desperate Persons within this Realm: To the End therefore, that none of Our Subjects may neglect or violate their Duty through Ignorance thereof, or through any Doubt of the Protection which the Law will afford to their Loyalty and Zeal; We have thought fit, by and with the Advice of Our Privy Council, to issue this Our Royal Proclamation, hereby declaring that not only all Our Officers, Civil and Military, are obliged to exert their utmost Endeavours to suppress such Rebellion, and to bring the Traitors to Justice; but that all Our Subjects of this Realm and the Dominions thereunto belonging are bound by Law to be aiding and assisting in the Suppression of such Rebellion, and to disclose and make known all traitorous Conspiracies and Attempts against Us, Our Crown and Dignity. AND We do accordingly strictly Charge and Command all Our Officers, as well Civil as Military, and all other Our obedient and loyal Subjects, to use their utmost Endeavours to withstand and suppress such Rebellion, and to disclose and make known all Treasons and traitorous Conspiracies which they shall know to be against Us, Our Crown and Dignity: and for that Purpose, that they transmit to one of Our Principal Secretaries of State, or other proper Officer, due and full Information of all Persons who shall be found carrying on Correspondence wit, or in any Manner or Degree aiding or abetting, the Persons now in open Arms and Rebellion against Our Government within any of Our Colonies and Plantations in North America, in order to bring to condign Punishment the Authors, Perpetrators, and Abettors of such traitorous Designs. Given at Our Court at St. James‘s, the 23d Day of August, 1775, in the Fifteenth Year of Our Reign. God Save the King. The symbolism of Biden making the most divisive presidential speech in history at the most important location in the founding of the United States, Independence Hall, with blood red lighting and soldiers in the background was as clear a declaration of war against half the country as King George’s proclamation in 1775. Biden spewed hatred and vitriol towards the 74 million Trump voters, essentially proclaiming them traitors and insurrectionists. Biden and his handlers, who wrote the satanic verses demagoguery delivered by Biden, clearly were threatening to use the military against their opponents and use any means at their disposal to retain their power. Their illegal incarceration and persecution of average Americans who sauntered around the Capital taking selfies, instigated by dozens of undercover FBI agents trying to provoke violence, is proof they have declared war. The barrage of frivolous lawsuits and criminal charges against Trump by the Biden regime and their Deep State acolytes is a blatant attempt to use the power of the State against a political opponent. “MAGA forces are determined to take this country backwards — backwards to an America where there is no right to choose, no right to privacy, no right to contraception, no right to marry who you love. They promote authoritarian leaders, and they fan the flames of political violence that are a threat to our personal rights, to the pursuit of justice, to the rule of law, to the very soul of this country.” – King Joe I – September 1, 2022 – Independence Hall bathed in blood “Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans represent an extremism that threatens the very foundations of our republic. MAGA Republicans do not respect the Constitution.  They do not believe in the rule of law.  They do not recognize the will of the people. MAGA Republicans look at America and see carnage and darkness and despair.  They spread fear and lies – lies told for profit and power.” – King Joe I – September 1, 2022 – Independence Hall bathed in blood Another quote from Dementia Joe (aka Pedo Pete per Hunter) references Thomas Jefferson saying the tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time by the blood of patriots and tyrants. It seems Joe knows he is the tyrant in this scenario, as he threatens to use F-15s against his political opponents. Whether we are talking 250 years ago or today, it always comes down to guns. “I love my right-wing friends who talk about the tree of liberty is water of the blood of patriots. If you need to work on taking on the federal government, you need some F-15s. You don’t need an AR-15.” – King Joe I – January 17, 2023 Animosity between the Crown and the colonists had been brewing for a decade. The Boston Massacre didn’t start the revolution. The Boston Tea Party didn’t start the revolution. The Intolerable Acts of 1774, which were designed to punish Massachusetts for the Boston Tea Party, was the trigger for all that followed. When you treat human beings like dogs, beating them, starving them, and caging them, you better be prepared for them to bite back. John Adams realized the time to act was upon them. “So instead, you will punish us by reducing us to non-citizens. If there was an argument before about which rights, which privileges we expect to be granted, there is no argument now, no discussion about vague principles. We will have soldiers in our homes; our town, cut off from her source of survival, is plainly under siege.” – John Adams – Rise to Rebellion It wasn’t until Gage sent his men on a mission to Lexington and Concord to confiscate the guns and ammunition of the colonial militias, the revolution began in earnest. Gun confiscation is always the final straw, which pushes peaceful non-confrontational common men to justified violence, aggressive defense of their liberties, and unrestrained retribution against their enemies. The farmers, merchants and tradesmen, warned of the coming attack by Dawes and Revere, rallied and stood their ground at Concord, and then using guerilla tactics picked off dozens of British regulars during their retreat, inflicting three times as many casualties as incurred. In retaliation the panicked British soldiers burned the homes of non-combatants and killed innocent women and children. The arrogance of General Gage was again borne out at the Battle of Bunker Hill (most fighting occurring on Breed’s Hill) where his frontal assault resulted in over 1,000 casualties to 450 for the militiamen. If the rebels had not run out of gunpowder, the slaughter would have been worse. The cruel and inhumane burning of Charlestown and Falmouth by the British Navy terminated any possible reconciliation and set in motion a domino effect of events leading to great bloodshed and eventually a humiliating defeat for the British Empire. Biden and his ruling regime relentlessly threaten and use un-Constitutional means to overturn and render the 2nd Amendment null and void. Every “mass shooting” event is utilized as a means to enact restrictions on the ownership of guns. This despite 90% of mass shootings being committed by young black men against young black men in Democrat run urban shitholes with the strictest gun control laws. Up until now, those running the show and fearful of the “deplorables” legally owning approximately 400 million firearms, have tried to use regulation, registration, restrictions, and sanctions to restrict the Second Amendment. They have essentially declared half the country rebels, inflaming emotions on both sides with their rhetoric, purposeful non-enforcement of the law, witch hunts against opposition leaders, censorship and cancelling of those on the right, illegal executive orders designed to ignite rebellion, and to treat them like sub-humans. What they have not dared to do yet, is forcefully attempt to confiscate our guns. That would be the bridge too far, just as the British expedition to Lexington and Concord proved to be the action which generated the violent reaction and subsequent Revolutionary War. When Biden and his cohort of authoritarian governors and mayors attempt to use their police state to confiscate guns door to door, the unanticipated violent response will be heard round the world. The confiscators have names, addresses and families, so they may realize treating their neighbors like criminals may lead to dreadful consequences for them and their loved ones. The truth is the nation has been in a state of rebellion since the election of Trump in 2016. The divisions within the country haven’t been this deep since the Civil War. Biden’s divisive rhetoric and threats to use the military against his opponents clearly reveals his desire for confrontation. Robert F. Kennedy Jr. believes the country is in rebellion against both parties, while Trump’s words on January 6, 2021, revealed his belief we were already warring tribes. “I think there’s a rebellion happening in our country now — there’s a populist rebellion — and if we don’t capture that rebellion, for the forces of idealism and the forces of generosity and kindness, somebody else is going to hijack that rebellion for much darker purposes. I don’t think it’s a good idea to say we’re not going to talk to American populists because they’re deplorable. Americans are our brothers and sisters, and we need to listen to them. And their backs are against the wall because of policies that have come from both Republican and Democratic parties.” – Robert F. Kennedy Jr.– May 6, 2023 “Today we will see whether Republicans stand strong for integrity of our elections, but whether or not they stand strong for our country. Our country has been under siege for a long time, far longer than this four-year period.” – Donald Trump – January 6, 2021 The assault on the First and Second Amendments to the Constitution have been persistent and more strident over the last three years. We have entered the more volatile phase of this Fourth Turning where any spark can ignite the powder-keg of animosities, grudges, and disputes opposing forces have been seething over for years. The unbridled censorship unleashed by government conspiring with social media companies (aka corporate fascism) was the initial step in the regime’s plan to control, monitor, and suppress any truth which contradicts the approved narrative. The founding fathers knew 232 years ago the dangers of a tyrannical government subduing the people’s right to freedom of expression, leading us down a path to destruction. That’s why they insisted on the Second Amendment as redress in case a tyrannical regime needed to nourish the tree of liberty with their blood. “Whoever would overthrow the liberty of a nation must begin by subduing the freeness of speech.” ― Benjamin Franklin “If freedom of speech is taken away, then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.” ― George Washington Once they silence you, they believe they can then disarm you, imprison you in their 15-minute cities, control you by using central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) to restrict your purchases and punish you for social credit score violations, turn off your mandated EV at their whim, monitor your every communication, and essentially treat you like a prisoner in their electronic gulag. Jeff Shaara captured the gist of how all tyrannical governments act throughout history, and today is no different. “a dangerous thing for any state to maintain its power by plugging up the vent of complaints, stifling the voices of the people. When complaining becomes a crime, hope becomes despair. He finished” ― Jeff Shaara, Rise to Rebellion Frankly, the odds of defeating such a goliath regime, backed by the Deep State, the largest military on earth, local militarized police thugs, billionaire oligarchs, compliant media corporations, the Wall Street cabal and their central banker puppets, and millions of sheep-like government indoctrinated drones, seem impossibly long. But the truth is, the uni-party inhabiting the swamp in Washington D.C. is desperately attempting to retain control as their last act is looting the treasury, foretold by George Washington over 200 years ago. The true support of the regime is a mile wide and an inch deep. When the current “non-banking crisis” detonates into a full-fledged panic and vaporizes the 401ks of millions of angry citizens who have already been supremely screwed by the massive Federal Reserve/Wall Street created inflation, the simmering pot will be brought to a boil and all hell will break loose. The repressed anger created by the totalitarian lockdowns and vaccine mandates, which destroyed small businesses and the lives of millions of good middle-class people, is on the verge of exploding in the faces of the regime. A recent comment on my blog perfectly encapsulates the vengeance which will be doled out: “I did get fired. Specifically for non-compliance with Biden’s XO mandating the vax for all federal workers/contractors. 6 figure salary gone. Employer matched 401k contributions gone. Had to live most of 2022 off of what I had in savings, $80,000 gone. And now every fucking one of their “mandates” has been rescinded and the WHO has declared the pandemic over. White hot seething vengeance fueled rage doesn’t even begin to describe what I (and millions of others) have boiling deep inside us that we for now are somehow still able to conceal behind a smiling face. When the collapse comes, and it will, hanging is not good enough. I want these people and their families fed to packs of wild dogs.” – Anonymous Commenter on TBP blog “Now remember, when things look bad and it looks like you’re not gonna make it, then you gotta get mean. I mean plumb, mad-dog mean. ‘Cause if you lose your head and you give up then you neither live nor win. That’s just the way it is.” – Josey Wales We are now in the fifteenth year of this Fourth Turning, with a resolution likely within the next five or six years – good, bad, or disastrous. The Great Depression/WWII Fourth Turning lasted 17 years, while the American Revolution Fourth Turning took 21 years. It is a certainty violent conflict will drive this Fourth Turning to its gripping unknown climax, with both civil and global conflict playing a major role. The men who were pushed too far by the British in 1775 and pushed back had virtually no chance of victory and they won. Will those of us constituting Hillary’s deplorables, who face equivocally long odds, summon the inner-strength, resolve, fortitude, and courage to support and sustain our fellow modern-day patriots in the coming battles for the heart of the nation? We certainly aren’t going to vote our way out of this, as both parties are captured and corrupt. We’ve been pushed as far into a corner as we can be pushed. And the time for pushing back approaches. The futures of our children and grandchildren will depend on how we respond during the coming trials and tribulations. It will require tremendous sacrifice and cooperation between all generations to accomplish the task of saving this country from the forces of evil currently in control. Once the sword is drawn there will be no turning back or compromise. An elderly Ben Franklin knew what would happen if they failed. The same would apply today – ask the men kept in a D.C. dungeon for the last two years.  “We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately.” ― Benjamin Franklin Strauss and Howe provided four possible outcomes to the current Crisis, each more dire than the next. I now believe this outcome is the most likely, unless Biden accidentally pushes the nuclear button, thinking he was just ordering chocolate ice cream with jimmies. “The Fourth Turning could mark the end of modernity. The Western saecular rhythm – which began in the mid-fifteenth century with the Renaissance – could come to an abrupt terminus. The seventh modern saeculum would be the last. This too could come from total war, terrible but not final. There could be a complete collapse of science, culture, politics, and society. Such a dire result would probably happen only when a dominant nation (like today’s America) lets a Fourth Turning ekpyrosis engulf the planet. But this outcome is well within the reach of foreseeable technology and malevolence.” – Strauss & Howe – The Fourth Turning Many have already given up their liberties and freedoms for the promise of government safety and welfare payments, but will ultimately realize they aren’t safe, and the promises were hollow and false. The nation is financially and morally bankrupt, and the fall of the American Empire will be the most spectacular in world history. Thomas Paine never fired a shot during the American Revolution, but his Common Sense became the inspiration for others to stand up to tyranny. We all have a part to play in this historic episode in our nation’s history. If not us, then who? As darkness descends upon our land of liberty, it’s time to light a candle and make a stand against evil and tyranny. *  *  * It is Jim's sincere desire to provide readers of his site with the best unbiased information available, and a forum where it can be discussed openly, as our Founders intended. But it is not easy nor inexpensive to do so, especially when those who wish to prevent us from making the truth known, attack us without mercy on all fronts on a daily basis. So each time you visit the site, he asks that you consider the value that you receive and have received from The Burning Platform and the community of which you are a vital part. To donate to The Burning Platform blog via Stripe, click here. Tyler Durden Tue, 05/09/2023 - 16:20.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeMay 9th, 2023

We Have Met The Enemy

We Have Met The Enemy Authored by James Howard Kunstler via, “When we see the few truth-tellers who are the stars of their organizations jettisoned – Tucker Carlson from Fox News, Matt Taibbi from Rolling Stone, Glenn Greenwald from The Intercept, James O’Keefe from Project Veritas… we must face the fact that there is an organized conspiracy to suppress truth.”  - Paul Craig Roberts The weird part the news media isn’t telling you about World War Three is that America’s main enemy in this struggle is… the US Government itself! America is looking like that crazy person on the street, punching himself in the head. How else do you explain this epic act of national self-destruction? The “Joe Biden” regime is “standing up for our democracy” by trying to silence all and any public speech about what it does in the world and how it treats its own citizens. Meanwhile, the entire scaffold of American life crumbles and you are supposed to not notice it’s happening. The funny part is that the Democratic Party thinks this is an election strategy. The funniest part of the funny part is that we bother holding elections at all. You understand, “Joe Biden” is only pretending to run for president again, in the same way that he’s only pretended to be president the past two years. Are we to believe, for instance, that the old zombie has become a fervent Maoist? Or that he follows any known structured political philosophy at all, other than cashing checks from favor-seekers from all  over the world? “Joe Biden” is pretending to run — no matter how preposterous it seems — because his handlers know that only a titanic pretense of political strength can stave off the reveal of his family’s awesome criminality and the fall of everyone hitched to that broke-down wagon. So much for the funny stuff. Things are getting to the point where we stop laughing. It’s only a question now of how the calamity rolls out. There are so many more parts to our national fiasco and they are all out-of-hand in the most disastrous way. The Ukraine Fiasco The Ukraine project is a big part. It was prodigiously stupid to provoke a war at Russia’s door-step and the side we backed, the corrupt Zelensky regime, has already lost. You just don’t know it because the American news business is a joke on the American public. It reports nothing honestly. Ukraine is the last in a string of hapless military adventures that has exhausted America’s credibility in the world, especially as regards our military superiority. (Think: Russia’s Kinzhal hypersonic missile.) There will be many unexpected consequences of the Ukraine screw-up. One will be the crack-up of NATO, which has only been a false front for American military power. Germany couldn’t fight its way out of a duffle bag with what it’s got, and it is supposedly Europe’s leading economic power. The sad truth is that it will stop being any kind of power without the cheap Russian natural gas it was running on, and later this year Germany will be in a panic to try and restore its horribly damaged trade relations with Russia to get that natgas. Since NATO’s essential mission is to oppose Russia on everything, that will be the end of NATO. Europe will return to what it has always been: a region of squabbling national interests. Let’s hope Europe does not become again the slaughterhouse it was in the last century. You Go Broke in Two Ways The failure of the Ukraine project could easily stimulate a collapse in Europe’s banking system, which would instantly spread to America’s banking system as obligations dissolve and payments stop. The net effect of all that will be the vanishing of a whole lot of capital, including the money in bank accounts, the money invested in stocks and bonds, the money lodged in pension plans, and the money controlled by insurance companies. As I’ve mentioned before — it’s worth repeating — you can go broke two ways: you can have no money, or you can have money that’s worthless. We’ve been steadily following the latter path through the “Joe Biden” years, but we’re close to simply not having money at all. Being broke will get Americans’ attention. And the first place they’ll look is the party in power. Multiple scandals have finally caught up to “Joe Biden” and are escaping the formidable suppression apparatus erected by the Deep State’s legal department. Attorney General Merrick Garland himself is now directly implicated in obstruction of justice by an IRS whistleblower. Election Interference? The allegation is that Mr. Garland interfered in the case against Hunter Biden in the Delaware US attorney’s office and lied about it to Congress. On top of that comes a new allegation, with hard documentary evidence (testimony by former Acting CIA Director Mike Morell), that Secretary of State Antony Blinken and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan arranged, as “Biden” campaign officials in 2020, for fifty-one intel officers, including five retired CIA directors, to sign a phony letter denouncing the Hunter laptop as a Russian disinfo project, knowing it to be untrue. A case can be made for that amounting to election interference. All that is fairly fresh news. For many months, it’s been known that Rep. James Comer (R-KY), Chair of the House Oversight Committee, has possession of bank records that show more than a hundred instances of the decanting of millions of dollars from foreign lands into various Biden family accounts. Doesn’t look good. Looks impeachable. Will DOJ try to stonewall everything? Yeah, probably. A Civil War Strategy On top of all that, observers are reporting that more than ten thousand illegal immigrants a day will be crossing into the USA from Mexico in the weeks ahead. Alejandro Mayorkas’s Dept. of Homeland Security and Mr. Blinken’s State Department have made arrangements with international NGOs working through the UN, to systematically conduct these immigrants across the border, furnishing them with pre-cooked phony asylum documents. This week, Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) introduced legislation to allow unrestricted immigration to any person claiming to be LBGTQ. Co-sponsors of the bill include Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders. How is any of this a re-election strategy? It’s not. If these matters are not adjudicated, it will be a civil war strategy. Tyler Durden Tue, 05/02/2023 - 00:00.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytMay 2nd, 2023

Israel isn"t "out of the woods" even though Netanyahu paused the plan that pushed his country into chaos

"The crisis was deferred, but definitely not resolved," a former US ambassador to Israel told Insider. Anti-government protestors burn tires near Beit Yanai, Israel, Monday, March 27, 2023.AP Photo/Ariel Schalit A judicial overhaul plan pushed by Netanyahu's government sparked a major crisis in Israel. Netanyahu paused the overhaul amid mass protests, but Israel's troubles are far from over. "The crisis was deferred, but definitely not resolved," a former US ambassador to Israel told Insider. A serious crisis has been brewing in Israel, and this week, it boiled over as outraged spiked and people flooded the streets in protest. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was forced to hit pause on a deeply controversial plan to overhaul the country's judiciary, but Israel's problems are far from over. "The crisis was deferred, but definitely not resolved," Daniel Shapiro, a former US Ambassador to Israel and distinguished fellow at the Atlantic Council, told Insider.Netanyahu announced on Monday that he was delaying his proposed plan — which threw his country into chaos and saw numerous people speak out against the government — until after parliament's upcoming Passover recess in April to carve out time for debate and prevent what he said was a path to "civil war."The move came after he fired the country's defense minister, a decision that was met with widespread backlash among officials and civilians.Experts and former officials told Insider that Netanyahu's push to overhaul the judiciary represents a "major threat" to the people of Israel and that the prime minister sent a "really bad message" by axing his defense chief. They said the crisis raised both economic and security concerns. The divisive judicial plan, which Netanyahu's far-right, nationalist government pushed for as he contends with an ongoing trial over corruption charges, would give the government more power in choosing judges and grant parliament the ability to overturn Supreme Court decisions. One piece of the plan has already been passed into law, narrowing the circumstances under which a prime minister can be deemed unfit for office.An aerial view of thousands of Israelis taking to the streets in response to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's surprise sacking of his defense minister Yoav Gallant in Tel Aviv, Israel on March 26, 2023.Photo by Amir Goldstein/Anadolu Agency via Getty ImagesCritics of the judicial reforms have slammed the plan as anti-democratic — warning that it would undermine important checks on the government's power — and have accused Netanyahu of advocating for changes that would weaken the judiciary as he faces a corruption trial. Netanyahu "wants power more than any other Israeli politician and will do just about anything in order to get it." Aaron David Miller, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and former State Department official, told Insider. "The trial has created an existential problem for him."'A perfect storm that was gathering'Netanyahu's plan to overhaul Israel's judiciary has prompted months of sweeping protests across the country and even led Israeli President Isaac Herzog in mid-March to gravely warn that the country was in a "profound crisis" and at risk of "civil war." Police have used aggressive tactics to disperse demonstrators, such as stun grenades and water cannons. "This was a perfect storm that was gathering," Miller said of the government's plan. "It represented, to hundreds of thousands of Israelis, a major threat — not only to the independence of the judiciary, but to the type of country that they envisioned for themselves, which was pro-western, pluralistic, democratic, humanist, and the region's only democracy, however imperfect and flawed it is."Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends a voting session in the Knesset, the Israeli parliament, in Jerusalem, Israel on March 27, 2023.Photo by Israeli Parliament (Knesset)/Anadolu Agency via Getty ImagesThe unrest escalated this past weekend after Netanyahu sacked Defense Minister Yoav Gallant — who had called for the Israeli leader to halt the judicial overhaul a day before he was abruptly fired. Gallant, the first member of cabinet to call for a pause to the overhaul plan, had warned that the proposal was undermining the country's national security. His move came after military reservists refused to report for duty, signaling their opposition to the right-wing government's planned reforms. "That was a really bad message," Nimrod Goren, a senior fellow for Israeli affairs at the Middle East Institute, told Insider, citing the immediate fallout that came as a result of Gallant's firing. Universities shut their doors, air traffic came to a standstill at Ben Gurion International Airport, and embassies around the world halted operations."Nobody got it — it didn't make any sense," Goren added. "It's not the way Israel is governed."'You don't need militias running around'Though Netanyahu has since agreed to suspend the plan, that doesn't mean Israel's troubles are over or that he's necessarily abandoning the reforms altogether."I believe many protestors are not letting their guard down," Shapiro said, underscoring that the situation has raised both security and economic concerns for Israel. "There's a lot at risk. It's definitely not settled, and they're definitely not out of the woods."Netanyahu announced that the planned overhaul was being postponed after National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, leader of the far-right Jewish Power party, agreed to the delay, the Times of Israel reported. But as part of this agreement, a much-sought-after national guard will reportedly be established under Ben-Gvir's ministry.Thousands of Israelis take the streets as they block Ayalon highway in response to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's surprise sacking of his defense minister Yoav Gallant in Tel Aviv, Israel on March 27, 2023.Photo by Mostafa Alkharouf/Anadolu Agency via Getty ImagesBen-Gvir, an ultra-nationalist, has been convicted of supporting a terrorist organization and incitement to racism. Goren said granting Ben-Gvir this power would be "very dangerous" because of his past provocations of Palestinians, Arabs, and people on the left.  "We need to make sure that it doesn't happen, because if such a National Guard — which is independent from the other official institutions being set up under Ben-Gvir's supervision — that's not something we want to have in the current climate for sure," Goren said. "You don't need militias running around the streets in Israel."But it remains to be seen whether the National Guard plan actually comes into play, as Netanyahu has historically been cautious when it comes to the country's security and military affairs. A tricky situation for US leadershipThe recent turmoil in Israel has also led to concern in Washington. "Like many strong supporters of Israel I'm very concerned. I'm concerned that they get this straight. They cannot continue down this road," President Joe Biden said to reporters on Tuesday. Biden also said that Netanyahu would not be invited to the White House "in the near term."Israeli protesters run as police officers use water canon after clashes erupted during a demonstration against the government's judicial overhaul on March 27, 2023 in Tel Aviv, Israel.Photo by Amir Levy/Getty ImagesThe US-Israel relationship has faced strains in recent years, but both countries remain close and in January launched their largest joint military exercise ever. That said, the present situation could place Biden in an awkward position as he emphasizes the need to uphold democracy around the world amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine and historic tensions with China. Biden is hosting a virtual Summit for Democracy this week, and Netanyahu was invited to speak on Wednesday despite Israel's recent troubles. Biden has emphasized that part of what makes the US-Israel relationship "special" and "what makes it function" is that they are "bound by the common values of two democracies," Shapiro said. "That's fundamental."But, Shapiro added, if a situation arose where many Israelis — including senior officials and others in important positions in Israeli society — said the country was moving away from "democratic governance and if many other countries in the family of democratic nations started to ask that same question — obviously it would be a strain on the US-Israel partnership."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytMar 28th, 2023

2023: Fourth Turning Meets Mass Formation Psychosis, Part 2

2023: Fourth Turning Meets Mass Formation Psychosis, Part 2 Authored by Jim Quinn via The Burning Platform blog, In Part 1 of this article, I laid out the mass formation psychosis theory postulated by Mattias Desmet in his book The Psychology of Totalitarianism and how totalitarian minded politicians and bureaucrats manipulated the masses by creating the covid crisis. Now I will focus on how this will impact the Fourth Turning we are currently trying to survive. Decades of social indoctrination and degraded ability to think critically has left most people hopelessly unable to resist the vitriolic opinions of those under the spell of coronavirus mass formation. Even though they didn’t necessarily believe the covid narrative, especially when it became clear only the very old (especially when tyrant governors inserted infected patients into nursing homes) and the very obese actually died with covid, these people still went along. Even the CDC admitted only 6% of deaths were attributable to covid alone. Based upon research like the Milgram Experiment, we know average people will obey authority without question, even when they know their actions are causing pain. The conformity research done by Solomon Asch explains why a huge percentage of the global population just conformed to what appeared to be a majority opinion. Asch’s experiment had 8 test subjects, but 7 of them worked for Asch. They asked them which line was the same length as Exhibit 1. The 7 Asch employees answered C. Only 25% of the case subjects consistently answered A. They were cowed into giving a patently absurd answer due to peer pressure and lack of faith in their own judgement. When you have 30% of the population as true believers of the covidian religion, with their savior Fauci, prophets Walensky, Birx, Gottlieb, Biden, the pope, a slew of Big Pharma paid priests for hire, Hollywood elites, low IQ athletes, and a highly compensated mass media campaign of fear and loathing, the 40% in the middle really had no chance to not be pulled into the vortex of pandemia. From the outset they were inundated with data like Neal Ferguson’s Imperial College model of death. Putting up a scary chart, even though it was based on absurd assumptions, is considered fact by the lazy, non-thinking masses. Shutting down the world was based on this worthless fraudulent model. Add some fake videos of dead people piling up in the streets in China, with media talking heads declaring hospitals being overrun (even though nurses had time to do coordinated dance routines on Tik Tok), and graphics on CNN, MSNBC, and Fox showing cases rising (based on a faulty PCR test set too high), and Fauci knowingly lying about the effectiveness of masks and the ineffectiveness of ivermectin and hydroxychloquine, and you’ve got panic. Cases were not sicknesses. Covid deaths were deaths from something else, while testing positive for covid. The average age of “covid” deaths was 83. The overall survival rate was 99.7%. If you were under 70 it was 99.9%. If you were under 40 it was 99.999%. It was nothing more than the annual flu, with a multi-billion-dollar marketing budget, paid for by the same taxpayers who were locked down and out of work. Anyone with the gall to dispute the narrative with factual data, sound reasoning, and pointing out the cure was worse than the disease, became an enemy of the state and subject to intolerant attacks, cancellation from society, and censorship on par with the worst totalitarian regimes in history. The physicians’ principle of Do No Harm was discarded for the almighty buck. The measures taken to “defeat” a relatively benign virus wreaked havoc upon the world economically, socially, and psychologically. The damage they caused and the unintended consequences they unleashed will have a profound negative impact on the world forever. The animosity, mistrust, fear, and suffering created by those running this shitshow will fuel the coming chaos, havoc and war which always arrives during the waning years of a Fourth Turning. The 30% still firmly under the sway of their mass formation psychosis will never hold Fauci, Biden and the myriad of covid cronies responsible for their crimes against humanity. As Desmet explains, everything can be rationalized by the covidian cult. “Another consequence, that is very typical for totalitarian states, is that people become radically intolerant for dissonant voices. Because if someone tells another story, if someone claims that the official story is wrong, then this person threatens to wake the people up and they will get angry because they’re confronted with the initial anxiety and the initial psychological discontent. So, they direct all that aggression at these dissonant voices, at the other voices. And at the same time, they are radically tolerant for their leaders, for the people who pronounce the mainstream narrative. These people can actually cheat and lie and manipulate and do everything they want, but they will always be forgiven by the crowd because the crowd seems to think that they do it for their own sake. That’s also part of the mechanism of mass formation.”  - Mattias Desmet – The Psychology of Totalitarianism Being wrong means nothing to those who have latched onto a narrative that gives their lives meaning. This is what explains how seemingly intelligent people could believe an utterly absurd narrative, built upon falsified data, inaccurate statistics, and irrational hype. Subjective conclusions pronounced by those who benefited from those conclusions are not objective facts. The last two years have been a far greater psychological calamity than biological catastrophe. The mental illness which has infected the masses has opened the Pandora’s box of totalitarianism and a surveillance state never envisioned by Orwell in his worst dreams. The lockdowns and vaccines have caused more death than they prevented. Suicides, overdose deaths, deaths due to preventative healthcare not accessed, deaths by ventilators and Remdesivir, deaths due to not allowing doctors to prescribe ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine, and now sudden deaths from the Pfizer and Moderna jabs are all verifiable and factual, but no empathy from the covidian cult is forthcoming for these victims. As Desmet points out, once the mass formation began it encouraged various factions to keep it going for their own self-interest. The cult never wants it to end. “But this is also being constructed by politicians who are under pressure from public opinion and feel compelled to act decisively, by leaders who have lost control of society and are now able to regain control because of the virus, by experts who have to hide their ignorance and choose the flight ahead, by academics who see an opportunity to assert themselves, by the inherent tendency in man for hysteria and drama, by pharmaceutical companies that sense a golden opportunity, by media that thrive on sensational stories, through testimonials of unique cases in which the course of the disease was exceptionally difficult.”  - Mattias Desmet So here we are in early 2023, with the mass formation psychosis still thoroughly intact, authoritarian measures still in place, anger building among all three factions, as the 30% dissenters have been proven right without being given credit, the hypnotized 30% who were wrong want more restrictions and punishments, and the go along to get along 40% are slowly realizing they were duped and experiencing massive regret. We face a multi-pronged situation which is likely to result in a tragedy of untold proportions over the next few years. Having a major segment of your population proud of their willful ignorance and believing their opinions based on emotions and what they are told by mass media, is as valid as someone who basis their judgement on critical well researched thought and factual data, sets the stage for tragic denouement to this Fourth Turning. The superficiality of the citizenry, celebration of deviancy, financial illiteracy, unserious culture, technology obsession, and devastating level of governmental, academic, media and corporate corruption, are a perfect recipe for the fall of the American empire. The mass formation needs an object of fear to keep its intensity at a hypnotic level. First it was masks and lockdowns. Next it was the vaccines and destroying the lives of anti-vaxxers. Next it was Putin and Russia as the evil antagonist. Then it was climate change and banning gas stoves. Everything these people believe is based on absurdities and purposeful ignorance of facts. The societal woes which allowed this to blossom have not dissipated and until our culture undergoes a wrenching reset forced upon it by an inevitable financial collapse and likely global conflict, our chances to survive as a nation are slim. This is what must happen during a Fourth Turning. The existing social order is swept away and replaced by something better or worse. We will either continue down this path towards global totalitarianism, where you own nothing, are under government surveillance 24/7, ask permission to travel more than 15 minutes from your home, accept your regular booster shots, and are tagged like cattle through social credit scores tied to your use of their central bank digital currencies, or the minority of resisters and critical thinkers recapture control and steer this ship back towards liberty, freedom, sustainable local communities, and lives which regain meaning and purpose. Where I disagree with Desmet is regarding his opinion the leaders (Fauci, Gates, Soros, Schwab, Biden) being followed during this mass formation psychosis event were also under a self-hypnosis driven by their ideological beliefs. He doesn’t give much credence to the “conspiracy theorists” who believe this was an engineered event to promote the Great Reset and introduce authoritarian measures upon the masses. As one of those “conspiracy theorists” I no longer believe in coincidences. Fauci stated in early 2017 Trump would face a deadly pandemic during his term, when we hadn’t experienced a real pandemic in decades. Fauci illegally funded the gain of function research at the Wuhan bio-weapon lab. Gates, Soros, and Fauci ran the Event 201 pandemic simulation in October 2019, a few months before covid. Pfizer and Moderna already had their gene therapies (which had failed miserably in previous trials) waiting for the green light from those running the show. The Build Back Better campaign was orchestrated across the world in every western country. I could go on, but it is plainly evident this plandemic was not organic but coordinated by the global elite. Our best hope is for the vocal 10%, who refused the jabs, have defied the overlords at every turn, and understand the dystopian path we are being herded towards, can slowly but surely convince their fellow 20% of unjabbed and the middle 40% on the fence to join them in a mass resistance to the Great Reset/New World Order being jammed down our throats by the Davos elite, shadowy billionaire globalists/satanists, the captured pliant corporate media, bought off Soros installed politicians and bureaucrats, and thousands of feckless apparatchiks around the globe, saying anything they are told for a buck. Unless we can break this mass formation psychosis, this Fourth Turning will surely end in our enslavement to a totalitarian global state and the horrific consequences for humanity if we let it happen. Desmet’s advice for humanity reminds me of Andy Dufresne’s quote from the movie Shawshank Redemption, “It comes down to a simple choice, really. Get busy living or get busy dying.” “Don’t let freedom – especially the right to speak freely – be subordinated to the fear of any virus. Generations and generations have fought and given their lives to realize a certain freedom. Show that you are worthy of that freedom. If you want a life worth living, you have to be able to accept a certain amount of risk. Don’t give up everything for a sense of security that may eventually turn out to be false.” -  Mattias Desmet The core elements of this Fourth Turning (debt, civic decay, global disorder) are still driving this crisis, as they juxtapose and feed on each other, creating the environment and atmosphere for the coming storm, in which the hundreds of millions still entrapped in this mass formation are perfect fodder for those seeking to capitalize on their inability to comprehend facts and reality. This is how the totalitarians hope to succeed in creating a centralized global techno-gulag, where they control 8 billion people (while culling billions to make their prison more manageable), and are arrogantly sure their “science” based pronouncements from on high will be implemented flawlessly, leading to a utopian world – for them. It is this hubris that will lead to their downfall. Everything they do and propose makes the world a worse place. Their ludicrous ideas, assumptions, postulations, and beliefs cannot and will not succeed, either through utter failure when implemented or by armed resistance from those unwilling to bend the knee. I find a distinct relationship between mass formation, totalitarianism, and Fourth Turnings. Evidence of mass formation and support for totalitarians among populations during the Civil War Fourth Turning and Depression/World War II Fourth Turning is obvious to me. A major percentage of the Northern population was convinced their abolition of slavery cause was just, and therefore allowed Lincoln to ignore Constitutional civil liberties and ultimately override state’s rights, while consolidating more power at the Federal level. A majority elected FDR four times, supported his socialist New Deal programs, and patriotically died on his behalf in a war he helped provoke. Simultaneously, the German people became enthralled and mesmerized by the rhetoric of Hitler and his promise to undo the treachery inflicted upon the German people at Versailles. Stalin convinced a major percentage of Russians to kill and imprison tens of millions of their fellow citizens, and then fought Germans to the death on Stalin’s behalf. It appears 2023 could be a tipping point year in this Fourth Turning, much like the 15th year of the last Fourth Turning (1943-1944) when the tide turned during WWII with the Battle of Stalingrad and Normandy Invasion. Biden’s corrupt administration appears to be imploding. Inflation, rising interest rates, a $31 trillion national debt, $200 trillion of unpayable obligations, a USD that has lost 97% of its purchasing power, out of control surveillance state agencies running amok, broken education system, rampant worship and promotion of deviancy, ghetto crime rampaging in every major urban city, transferring $120 billion to the Ukraine (actually US arms dealers) to instigate WWIII, provoking China over Taiwan, and allowing unelected officials at non-governmental organizations (WEF, WHO, UN, NATO, World Bank) to impose their rules, regulations and mandates on our lives, has set the table for the disintegration of our financial, political, social, and cultural institutions. The downward spiral, decades in the making, is irreversible at this point. Will all of these lit fuses ignite their powder kegs simultaneously in 2023? Probably not, but a few will explode, producing unintended consequences and start a process of falling dominoes and chaos for the average human on this earth. Having already ruined the livelihoods of tens of millions across the globe, destroying thousands of small businesses, igniting inflation not seen in forty years, causing food shortages, and making our lives far worse, the sudden deaths of children, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, and friends from their mandated gene altering, spike protein inducing therapy should be the last straw and provoke a violent response from the awakening masses. After the collapse of our warped, dehumanizing, immoral, irresponsible, greed based system, building back better is not going to mean what the Davos elite think it means. All the trappings of modernity will fall away and we will be left with the task of daily survival, based upon our hard work, strong supportive families, like minded neighbors, intelligence, wisdom, local community collaboration, and the promise of a more meaningful and useful life. Building personal relationships with people you trust, preparing for crisis now, growing food or befriending farmers, improving your health, making sure you are armed and trained in using those arms, and readying yourself for when courage, honesty, fortitude, and guile will be required to insure a better future for your children and their children, is essential. I’m just an average guy, like most people reading this article, trying to understand what is happening, why it is happening, and what will happen next. We are three-quarters through this Fourth Turning Crisis, with the nastiest, bloodiest episode lying ahead. I’m more prepared than most, not as prepared as many, and wondering whether it will even matter if the madmen and psychopaths controlling the levers in this world decide to destroy it. All I can do at this point is to proudly count myself among the 10% vocal resisters to those attempting to destroy our society and hope my efforts and the efforts of others make a small contribution towards breaking this mass formation psychosis. “The risk of catastrophe will be very high. The nation could erupt into insurrection or civil violence, crack up geographically, or succumb to authoritarian rule. If there is a war, it is likely to be one of maximum risk and effort – in other words, a total war. Every Fourth Turning has registered an upward ratchet in the technology of destruction, and in mankind’s willingness to use it.”  – Strauss & Howe – The Fourth Turning Here’s to an uneventful 2023, but I’m not counting on it. Good luck and Godspeed. Our choices will matter. *  *  * It is Jim's sincere desire to provide readers of The Burning Platform with the best unbiased information available, and a forum where it can be discussed openly, as our Founders intended. But it is not easy nor inexpensive to do so, especially when those who wish to prevent us from making the truth known, attack us without mercy on all fronts on a daily basis. So each time you visit Jim's site, he asks that you consider the value that you receive and have received from The Burning Platform and the community of which you are a vital part. He needs your help and support to keep it alive. Please consider contributing an amount commensurate to the value that you receive from this site and community, or even by becoming a sustaining supporter through periodic contributions.  Tyler Durden Wed, 01/25/2023 - 17:02.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytJan 25th, 2023

Elon Musk Takes Stand to Defend Controversial Tweets. Here’s What to Know About the Trial So Far

“Just because I tweet about something doesn’t mean people believe it or will act accordingly," he said in front of a nine-person jury Elon Musk is on trial for a Twitter-related controversy dating back to 2018, and on Friday he defended his actions in a San Francisco court. The trial revolves around Musk’s tweets from August 2018 where he claimed that he had secured financing to take Tesla private, spurring a stock frenzy that many of the automaker’s shareholders claim ruined their shares. Musk said in court that it was difficult to link Tesla’s stock price to his tweets, and also said that his tweeting was “the most democratic way” to share information. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] “Just because I tweet about something doesn’t mean people believe it or will act accordingly,” he said in front of a nine-person jury. The class-action lawsuit was brought on behalf of shareholders who owned Tesla stock during the instability in 2018, alleging that Musk used his platform to commit fraud Here’s what to know: What happened in 2018? On August 7, 2018, more than four years before Musk bought Twitter, he tweeted that he had “funding secured” for a $72 billion buyout of Tesla, and that he would take the company private for $420 a share. A few hours later he followed up with a second Tweet that many believe made the deal sound imminent. “Investor support is confirmed. Only reason why this is not certain is that it’s contingent on a shareholder vote,” Musk tweeted. At the time of the tweets, Tesla’s stocks had been doing poorly—one of the most heavily shorted stocks on the market—and the company was experiencing widespread production issues. Musk’s Tweets caused an immediate surge and seemingly caused a rally in the company’s stock prices for the next 10 days until Musk said that there would be no buyout. When Tesla’s shares climbed so high, it put short sellers at substantial risk of loss. It became clear that a deal wasn’t and may never have been on the horizon and Musk ended up paying a $40 million settlement to securities regulators who also required him to step down as Tesla’s chairman. The Securities and Exchange Commission charged both Musk and Tesla with civil securities fraud and each party had to pay $20 million in fines. Not long after the buyout fiasco in 2018, Tesla’s production picked up and subsequently, so did its shares. The company was manufacturing enough cars that its stock soared, and in 2021 Musk became the wealthiest person in the world. His acquisition of Twitter last year knocked him out of that spot, but he remains one of the most influential billionaires in the world. The trial unfolds The trial began Jan. 17 with a nine-person jury selection. Musk’s legal team has argued that as a savvy businessman, Musk had been in preliminary talks with Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund as a potential investor. They said that Musk had spontaneously tweeted about the opportunity in an effort to be transparent. Former Tesla shareholders have already begun testifying that amid all the chaos that week in 2018, many of them sold off their stocks and saw significant dips in the shares they kept. U.S. District Judge Edward Chen is presiding over the trial and ruled that the plaintiffs can’t bring up Musk’s $40 million settlement. The case rests on the plaintiffs’ argument that Musk knowingly drove up Tesla’s stocks and never truly had plans to take the company private. Some of Tesla’s top executives and board members from 2018 are on the witness list, including Oracle CEO Larry Ellison and media mogul Rupert Murdoch’s son, James Murdoch. Although the court adjourned for the weekend, Musk is due back in the courtroom on Monday. The trial is set to span three weeks, continuing through Feb. 1......»»

Category: topSource: timeJan 23rd, 2023

How Sergei Shoigu went from Putin"s wilderness bestie to the scapegoat for Russia"s failures in Ukraine

Sergei Shoigu was once touted to be Russia's next prime minister — until a series of problems in the Ukraine war made him a target of scathing criticism. Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) shows mushrooms to Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu during his vacation in the remote Tuva region in southern Siberia, in August 2017.Alexey Nikolsky/Sputnik/AFP via Getty Images Russia's Minister of Defense, Sergei Shoigu, is a close ally and friend of Vladimir Putin. He had a steady ascent through Russia's elite, and was considered a possible Putin successor. But as Russia's invasion of Ukraine faltered and stalled, he became a lightning rod for criticism. This is Sergei Shoigu, Russian President Vladimir Putin's right-hand man.Russian Minister of Defense Sergei Shoigu.Contributor/Getty ImagesAs Russia's Minister of Defense, he is responsible for its invasion of Ukraine.Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu hold a meeting at the Kremlin, in Moscow on February 14, 2022.Alexei Nikolsky/Sputnik/AFP via Getty ImagesBut the stark failures of the Russian army there have undermined his decades-long ascent to the top rungs of power.Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu (L) seen during the Navy Day Parade in Saint Petersburg, Russia, on July, 31 2022.Contributor/Getty ImagesShoigu was born in 1955 in the remote town of Chadan in Siberia. The Soviet Union was a world power and the Cold War just beginning.A man outside the former central temple for Buddhists of Tuva, near the settlement of Chadan, in Russia's Tuva region.Ilya Naymushin/ReutersThe town is close to the Mongolian border.Shoigu's mother was Russian but born in Ukraine, while his father was Tuvan — an ethnic group that is indigenous to Siberia.Source: The Moscow Times   Unlike other people in Putin's inner circle, Shoigu was not educated in St. Petersburg or Moscow.Russian President Vladimir Putin accompanied by Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov (second from left), Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu (third from left), and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (third from right), waits for a meeting in Sochi, Russia on February 14, 2019.Sergei Chirikov/AFP via Getty ImagesIn 1977, Shoigu graduated from the Krasnoyarsk Polytechnic Institute in Siberia with a degree in civil engineering. He went on to work on a variety of major construction projects in the region."Shoigu is the only figure within Russian President Vladimir Putin's inner circle who isn't either an old KGB buddy or an old friend from St. Petersburg," Mark Galeotti, who heads the Russia-focused consultancy Mayak Intelligence, told Insider. Putin was born and studied in St. Petersburg and spent much of his early career there.Source: The Kyiv PostDespite being Russia's Defense Minister, Shoigu never served in the military.Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu during military exercises in the Pacific Ocean on July 16, 2013.Alexei Nikolsky/AFP via Getty ImagesHe wears awards on his uniform that look like combat medals, despite his lack of battlefield experience.Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu salutes soldiers and participants during a military parade in Moscow, Russia on May 9, 2015.Sefa Karacan/Anadolu Agency/Getty ImagesShoigu's official profile lists a string of presidential and state awards for his time in government, while his Russian-language Wikipedia page lists more than 70 separate honors.They include medals from his own defense ministry for implementing policies there, and also mass awards marking events like the 300th anniversary of the founding of St. Petersburg.Radio Free Europe, the US-funded outlet, reported last year that Shoigu has a fascination with medals, and implemented hundreds of new ones for the Russian military, many of which are not to do with combat. After working in various roles for construction companies in Siberia, Shoigu moved to Moscow in 1990 to lead the state's committee for construction and architecture.Sergei Shoigu explains the nature of the accident at the Sayano-Shushenskaya hydroelectric power station in Cheryomushky, Russia on August 19, 2009.Alexander Nemenov/AFP via Getty ImagesSource: The Moscow TimesIn 1991, while he was there, the Soviet Union collapsed, plunging Russia into a period of instability and unrest.The front page of The New York Times on December 26, 1991.National Security ArchiveOut of the chaos, Russia gained its first president — Boris Yeltsin, a personal friend of Shoigu. He was soon promoted to lead the newly-established Russian Rescue Corps.Former Russian President Boris Yeltsin shakes hands with Sergei Shoigu during an awards ceremony on October 27, 1999.ReutersIn the Russian Rescue Corps, Shoigu was responsible for the rescue and disaster response system, The Moscow Times reported.His career there soon took off.In his role, Shoigu would be the first to appear at any major or minor disaster sites, presenting himself as a hero.Russia's Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and then-Emergencies Minister Sergei Shoigu visit the site of a Polish aircraft crash near Smolensk airport, on April 10, 2010.Alexey Nikolsky/AFP via Getty Images"He had a big PR team, let's be perfectly honest," Galeotti told Insider.He stayed on the job for 21 years, even after Russian President Vladimir Putin took over from Yeltsin.Source: The Moscow TimesWhen Putin rose to power in 1999, the two became very close.Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and Sergei Shoigu in Moscow, Russia, on September 21, 2009.Alexey Druzhinin/AFP via Getty ImagesShoigu's successful record and large public profile seemed to appeal to Putin.In 1999, he picked Shoigu to be one of the leaders of his party, United Russia, giving him the opportunity to build a political base.Thirteen years later, in 2012, Putin promoted Shoigu briefly to be the governor of the Moscow region, and from there to run the defense ministry.This gave Shoigu a role on the world stage and a central place in Russia's clashes with the West.Sources: Database of Free Russia Forum, Foreign AffairsShoigu and Putin would often be photographed together. They took regular vacations in the Siberian woods, where they would go fishing or hiking.Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) accompanied by Sergei Shoigu gestures as he fishes in the remote Tuva region in southern Siberia, on August 3, 2017.Alexey Nikolsky/SPutnik/AFP via Getty ImagesTheir most recent vacation together appears to have been in March 2021.Source: The KremlinAs the president of the Russian Geographical Society, Shoigu would also indulge Putin's interest in the outdoors.Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu during a vacation in the remote Tuva region in southern Siberia, on August 26, 2018.Alexey Nikolsky/AFP via Getty Images"Putin and Shoigu are both throwbacks to Soviet times. They regard themselves as 'muzhiks' (real Russian men) who love sports and hunting," British magazine The Spectator observed in 2015.This interest may have taken a surreal, even macabre turn.Russian investigative news outlet Proekt reported in April that Putin has taken up bathing in blood extract from severed deer antlers as a form of alternative medicine. The bath is believed to improve the cardiovascular system and rejuvenate the skinThe unusual remedy was a suggestion made by Shoigu, the report said. Source: The New York Times Shoigu likes to play hockey. He also enjoys carpentry and has shown some of his work to Putin.Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu attends a hockey game in Moscow, Russia, on April 20, 2018.Alexander Nemenov/AFP via Getty ImagesSources: MK.RU, ReutersAt one point in his career, Shoigu was touted to be the next prime minister.Russian President Vladimir Putin and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu rest during a holiday in Siberia on March 21, 2021.Alexey Druzhinin/Sputnik/AFP via Getty ImagesIn the early days of his role as minister of defense, Shoigu was considered the second most popular public figure in the country and was even touted as Putin's potential successor.Source: The Daily BeastShoigu is said to have a lavish lifestyle and owns a large mansion outside of Moscow estimated to be worth around $18 million.Russian President Vladimir Putin toasts Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu at the Kremlin in Moscow on December 28, 2017.Kirill Kudryavtsev/Poo/AFP via Getty ImagesThe investigative team of jailed Putin critic Alexei Navalny photographed Shoigu's home using high-tech drones in 2015.Shoigu presides over a culture of corruption and embezzlement in the Russian military, according to some reports. An investigation by the independent Russian news outlet The Insider in 2019 claimed that he earned 6.5 billion rubles ($101.9 million) from deals with the ministries of defense and emergency situations.(The Insider is a separate publication from Insider.)Shoigu was behind the invasion and annexation of Crimea in 2014 and was also one of the architects of Russia's intervention in Syria one year later.Russian President Vladimir Putin talks to Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu during a military parade in Saint Petersburg, Russia, on July 25, 2021.Mikhail Svetlov/Getty ImagesSource: CNBC, Los Angeles TimesOne day after Russia's invasion, Shoigu was personally sanctioned by the West.Russian Minister of Defense, Sergei Shoigu (C) speaks as he virtually attends the Summit of Collective Security Treaty Organisation on May 24, 2022.Russian Foreign Ministry Press / Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty ImagesOther members of Putin's inner circle who were sanctioned alongside Shoigu included Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergei Lavrov and Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces Valery Gerasimov.Source: Department of State, PoliticoSeveral days before Putin's full-scale invasion in February, Shoigu met with British Defence Secretary Ben Wallace and denied Russia was planning to attack Ukraine.Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and chief of the general staff Valery Gerasimov in Moscow, Russia, on February 27, 2022.ALEXEY NIKOLSKY/SPUTNIK/AFP via Getty ImagesThis was despite Western intelligence services publishing extensive evidence of Russian troops amassing near Ukraine's borders, and claims from figures including President Joe Biden that an invasion was inevitable.Source: ReutersBut when Russia did invade on February 24, it did not pan out the way the Kremlin had planned.An abandoned Russian vehicle in a retaken area near Kharkiv, Ukraine, on September 30, 2022.Yasuyoshi Chiba / AFP via Getty ImagesRussia seemed to expect it could take Ukraine's capital Kyiv in a matter of days, but failed to do so.For months, their forces have struggled in the face of a staunch Ukrainian resistance that continues to receive more heavy weaponry from Western allies.Russia's partial mobilization in October was also a sign that Shoigu's military was suffering from a severe lack of manpower.The failures in Ukraine have led to claims of a rift between Shoigu and Putin.Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu at his Novo-Ogaryovo state residence, outside Moscow, on October 28, 2022.Mikhail Metzel/Sputnik/AFP via Getty ImagesOne month after Russia's invasion, there was "persistent tension" between the two friends after it emerged that Shoigu and his subordinates were sugar-coating reports of the war for Putin, The New York Times reported at the time.In March, Shoigu wasn't seen in public for 12 days, prompting concerns over his whereabouts, The Guardian reported.In August, Putin started to bypass Shoigu, further embedding himself into the war's strategic planning efforts, The Telegraph reported.Source: Insider Other prominent figures in the Kremlin have openly attacked Shoigu, including Russian oligarch Yevgeniy Prigozhin.Yevgeniy Prigozhin at a meeting in St. Petersburg, Russia, in 2016.Mikhail Svetlov/Getty ImagesYevgeniy Prigozhin, who founded the Wagner Group paramilitary, confronted Putin about the mismanagement of the war in Ukraine last month, two US officials familiar with the matter told The Washington Post.Prigozhin later denied that he had spoken to Russia's president and said he has no right to criticize Russia's army.Kirill Stremousov, a pro-Russia Ukrainian politician who was installed as Putin's puppet leader in the occupied Ukrainian region of Kherson, recently suggested Shoigu should consider killing himself over Russia's recent military losses.Kirill Stremousov, deputy head of the Russian-backed Kherson administration, is pictured in his office on July 20, 2022.STRINGER/AFP via Getty ImagesSource: Insider"Shoigu is willing to basically be Putin's bulletproof vest," said Galeotti, the Russia analyst.Russian President Vladimir Putin looks at Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu during a military parade in Pskov, Russia, on March 1, 2020.Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images"He is soaking up all the criticism that, otherwise, people might start leveling towards Putin as commander in chief," Galeotti said.  Shoigu has remained quiet despite the growing criticism...Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu in Sochi, Russia, on December 4, 2019.Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images"He's been much less evident now," Galeotti told Insider."He knows that, when he goes into public, he either has to reassure people that everything's going fine, which is an increasingly untenable position to hold, or he'd have to acknowledge things are going badly, which would potentially sound like criticism of the commander in chief," he added.... and Putin has shown no signs that he may fire him.Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu walks in the Taiga in Siberia, on September 26, 2021.Alexey Druzhinin/Sputnik/AFP via Getty ImagesGaleotti told Insider that it is difficult for Putin to fire Shoigu because it is "a card he can only play once." "If Putin absolutely felt that the situation demanded it, I imagine he would be willing to sacrifice Shoigu," he said."However, given that it's obviously not going to have any substantive impact on the progress of the war ... it will be harder avoid the suspicion that it's not because of Shoigu, but because of Putin."Shoigu was last seen at a meeting with Putin, which was broadcast on state television on October 28.Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu (R).Maxim Shemetov via ReutersShoigu told Putin that his goal to send 300,000 of Russia's reservists to fight in Ukraine, which he announced in October, "has been completed," Reuters reported.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 7th, 2022

"It"s Already Happening" - Roubini Warns "World War III Has Effectively Begun"

"It's Already Happening" - Roubini Warns "World War III Has Effectively Begun" Economist Nouriel Roubini, who's been dubbed 'Dr. Doom' for his gloomy-yet-correct prediction of the 2008 market meltdown, is making headlines again during a series of interviews promoting his new book "Megathreats". "We have to worry about everything at the same time, as all these megathreats are interconnected..." When asked if we're "there again" in reference to the 2008 great financial crisis, Roubini replied: "Yes, we’re here again." "But in addition to the economic, monetary, and financial risks - and there are new ones - now we’re going towards stagflation like we’ve never seen since the 1970s." Private and public debt levels globally have exploded from 200 percent of GDP in 2000 to around 350 percent of GDP today, he said, blaming ultra-loose central bank policies that made borrowing cheap and encouraged households, businesses, and countries to take on ever greater debt loads even though many were barely solvent. But now, facing persistently high inflation, central banks led by the Fed have embarked on aggressive rate hiking cycles, with Roubini predicting that highly indebted and operationally fragile “zombie” institutions are going to go bankrupt. “That’s why we’re not only going to have inflation and stagflation but we’ll have a stagflationary debt crisis,” Roubini predicted. In the 1970s, debt levels were far lower than today and so advanced economies didn’t suffer debt crises when the Fed jacked up rates to around 20 percent. “Today we have the worst of the 70s with a massive amount of stagflationary negative supply shock,” he added. Roubini has called predictions for a brief and mild U.S. recession “delusional.” He told Bloomberg in an interview at the end of July that he expects the United States to be hit by a “severe recession and a severe debt and financial crisis.” Roubini said that, in addition to economic, monetary, and financial risks currently in play, the world faces higher geopolitical risks. During an extensive interview with Der Spiegel, the economist said he preferred "Dr. Realist" as he detailed some of the world's most acute problems. When speaking about major global threats, Roubini mentioned the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine, adding that Iran and Israel are “on a collision course” as well. "It is already happening. The U.S. has just passed new regulations banning the export of semiconductors to Chinese companies for AI or quantum computing or military use. Europeans would like to continue doing business with the U.S. and China, but it won't be possible because of national security issues." "...just this morning, I read that the Biden administration expects China to attack Taiwan sooner rather than later. Honestly, World War III has already effectively begun, certainly in Ukraine and cyberspace." He believes that a breakup of the globalized world is looming. “Trade, finance, technology, internet: Everything will split in two,” he predicted. Finally, Roubini said debt levels are higher than they’ve ever been, adding that all this represents a confluence of “mega trends” that he predicts will combine into a stagflationary storm that will engulf many of the world’s economies. The economist said that the worst possible outcome would be if all eleven “mega trends” materialize and feed on each other, leading to a “dystopian future.” “It’s not just the end of the world economy... it could be even global war.” Recalling a recent event hosted by the IMF, Roubini referred to historian Niall Ferguson who “said in a speech there that we would be lucky if we got an economic crisis like in the 1970s — and not a war like in the 1940s.” After all that, we think 'Dr. Doom' remains a more appropriate nickname. *  *  * Read the full Der Spiegel interview below: DER SPIEGEL: Professor Roubini, you don't like your nickname "Dr. Doom." Instead you would like to be called "Dr. Realist." But in your new book, you describe "ten megathreats" that endanger our future. It doesn’t get much gloomier than that. Roubini: The threats I write about are real – no one would deny that. I grew up in Italy in the 1960s and 1970s. Back then, I never worried about a war between great powers or a nuclear winter, as we had détente between the Soviet Union and the West. I never heard the words climate change or global pandemic. And no one worried about robots taking over most jobs. We had freer trade and globalization, we lived in stable democracies, even if they were not perfect. Debt was very low, the population wasn’t over-aged, there were no unfunded liabilities from the pension and health care systems. That's the world I grew up in. And now I have to worry about all these things – and so does everyone else. DER SPIEGEL: But do they? Or do you feel like a voice crying in the wilderness? Roubini: I was in Washington at the IMF meeting. The economic historian Niall Ferguson said in a speech there that we would be lucky if we got an economic crisis like in the 1970s – and not a war like in the 1940s. National security advisers were worried about NATO getting involved in the war between Russia and Ukraine and Iran and Israel being on a collision course. And just this morning, I read that the Biden administration expects China to attack Taiwan sooner rather than later. Honestly, World War III has already effectively begun, certainly in Ukraine and cyberspace. DER SPIEGEL: Politicians seem overwhelmed by the simultaneity of many major crises. What priorities should they set? Roubini: Of course, they must take care of Russia and Ukraine before they take care of Iran and Israel or China. But policymakers should also think about inflation and recessions, i.e. stagflation. The eurozone is already in a recession, and I think it will be long and ugly. The United Kingdom is even worse. The pandemic seems contained, but new COVID variants could emerge soon. And climate change is a slow-motion disaster that is accelerating. For each of the 10 threats I describe in my book, I can give you 10 examples that are happening as we speak today, not in the distant future. Do you want one on climate change? DER SPIEGEL: If you must. Roubini: This summer, there have been droughts all over the world, including in the United States. Near Las Vegas, the drought is so bad that bodies of mobsters from the 1950s have surfaced in the dried-up lakes. In California, farmers are now selling their water rights because it's more profitable than growing anything. And in Florida, you can't get insurance for houses on the coast anymore. Half of Americans will have to eventually move to the Midwest or Canada. That's science, not speculation. DER SPIEGEL: Another threat you describe is that the U.S. could pressure Europe to limit its business relations with China in order to not endanger the U.S. military presence on the continent. How far are we from that scenario? Roubini: It is already happening. The U.S. has just passed new regulations banning the export of semiconductors to Chinese companies for AI or quantum computing or military use. Europeans would like to continue doing business with the U.S. and China, but it won't be possible because of national security issues. Trade, finance, technology, internet: Everything will split in two. DER SPIEGEL: In Germany, there is a dispute right now about whether parts of the Port of Hamburg should be sold to the Chinese state-owned company Cosco. What would your advice be? Roubini: You have to think about what the purpose of such a deal is. Germany has already made a big mistake by relying on energy from Russia. China, of course, is not going to take over German ports militarily, as it could in Asia and Africa. But the only economic argument for this kind of agreement would be that we could strike back once European factories are seized in China. Otherwise, it's not a very smart idea. DER SPIEGEL: You warn that Russia and China are trying to build an alternative to the dollar and the SWIFT system. But the two countries have failed so far. Roubini: It's not just about payment systems. China is going around the world selling subsidized 5G technologies that can be used for spying. I asked the president of an African country why he gets 5G technology from China and not from the West. He told me, we are a small country, so someone will spy on us anyway. Then, I might as well take the Chinese technology, it's cheaper. China is growing its economic, financial and trading power in many parts of the world. DER SPIEGEL: But will the Chinese renminbi really replace the dollar in the long run? Roubini: It will take time, but the Chinese are good at thinking long term. They have suggested to the Saudis that they price and charge for the oil they sell them in renminbi. And they have more sophisticated payment systems than anyone else in the world. Alipay and WeChat pay are used by a billion Chinese every day for billions of transactions. In Paris, you can already shop at Louis Vuitton with WeChat pay. DER SPIEGEL: In the 1970s, we also had an energy crisis, high inflation and stagnant growth, so-called stagflation. Are we experiencing something similar now? Roubini: It is worse today. Back then, we didn't have as much public and private debt as we do today. If central banks raise interest rates now to fight inflation, it will lead to the bankruptcy of many »zombie« companies, shadow banks and government institutions. Besides, the oil crisis was caused by a few geopolitical shocks then, there are more today. And just imagine the impact of a Chinese attack on Taiwan, which produces 50 percent of all semiconductors in the world, and 80 percent of the high-end ones. That would be a global shock. We depend more on semiconductors today than on oil. DER SPIEGEL: You are very critical of central bankers and their lax monetary policy. Is there any central bank that gets it right these days? Roubini: They are damned either way. Either they fight inflation with high policy rates and cause a hard landing for the real economy and the financial markets. Or they wimp out and blink, don't raise rates and inflation keeps rising. I think the Fed and the ECB will blink – as the Bank of England has already done. DER SPIEGEL: On the other hand, high inflation rates can also be helpful because they simply inflate the debt away. Roubini: Yes, but they also make new debt more expensive. Because when inflation rises, lenders charge higher interest rates. One example: If inflation goes from 2 to 6 percent, then U.S. government bond rates will have to go from 4 to 8 percent to keep bringing the same yield; and private borrowing costs for mortgages and business loans will be even higher. This makes it much more expensive for many companies, because they have to offer much higher interest rates than government bonds, which are considered safe. We have so much debt right now that something like this could lead to a total economic, financial and monetary collapse. And we're not even talking about hyperinflation like in the Weimar Republic, just single digit inflation. DER SPIEGEL: The overriding risk you describe in your book is climate change. Isn't rising debt secondary in light of the possible consequences of a climate catastrophe? Roubini: We have to worry about everything at the same time, as all these megathreats are interconnected. One example: Right now, there is no way to significantly reduce CO2 emissions without shrinking the economy. And even though 2020 was the worst recession in 60 years, green house gas emissions only fell by 9 percent. But without strong economic growth, we will not be able to solve the debt problem. So, we have to find ways to grow without emissions. DER SPIEGEL: Given all these parallel crises: How do you assess the chances of democracy surviving against authoritarian systems like in China or Russia? Roubini: I am worried. Democracies are fragile when there are big shocks. There is always some macho man then who says »I will save the country« and who blames everything on the foreigners. That's exactly what Putin did with Ukraine. Erdogan could do the same thing with Greece next year and try to create a crisis because otherwise he might lose the election. If Donald Trump runs again and loses the election, he could openly call on white supremacists to storm the Capitol this time. We could see violence and a real civil war in the U.S. In Germany, things look comparatively good for now. But what happens if things go wrong economically and people vote more for the right-wing opposition? DER SPIEGEL. You have become known not only as the crash prophet, but also as a party animal. Do you still feel like partying these days? Roubini: I always hosted art, culture, and book salons, not just social events. And during the pandemic I rediscovered my Jewish roots. Today, I prefer to invite 20 people to a Shabbat dinner with a nice ceremony and live music. Or we do an evening event where I ask a serious question and everyone has to answer. Deep conversations about life and the world at large, not chitchat. We should enjoy life, but also do our bit to save the world. DER SPIEGEL: What do you mean? Roubini: All of our carbon footprints are much too big. A significant part of all greenhouse gas emissions alone come from livestock farming. That's why I became a pescatarian and gave up on meat, including chicken. DER SPIEGEL: You used to be famous for being on the road for three-quarters of the year. Roubini: I still do travel nonstop. But I will tell you one thing: I love New York. During the pandemic, I didn't flee to the Hamptons or Miami like many others. I stayed here, I saw the Black Lives Matter demonstrations, I volunteered to help the homeless. I saw daily the desperation of many artist friends who lost jobs and incomes and couldn’t afford their rent. And even if there is another hurricane like Sandy in New York that could lead to violence and chaos, I will stay. We have to face the world as it is. Even if there is a nuclear confrontation. Because then the first bomb would fall on New York and the next one on Moscow. Tyler Durden Tue, 11/01/2022 - 20:25.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 1st, 2022

The US is at a "greater risk" of civil conflict now than during the Great Depression, according to a presidential historian

"Tragically, I think we will see more of civil chaos," presidential biographer Jon Meacham told NPR. "I think we are going to see it with violence." Historian Jon Meacham speaks during a discussion on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 6, 2022, on how "to establish and preserve the narrative of January 6th."Al Drago/The New York Times via AP, Pool Historian Jon Meacham said the US may soon experience a period of civil chaos. The Abraham Lincoln biographer said it is due in part to a "passionate minority." While he doesn't believe there will be armies, he does think "we are going to see it with violence." The US is at "greater risk" of civil conflict than during the 1930s, a presidential biographer says, in part due to a "passionate minority that is putting its own interests ahead of those of the nation."In an interview with NPR's "Morning Edition," historian Jon Meacham, who occasionally served as a speechwriter for President Joe Biden, reflected on the current political landscape ahead of contentious midterm elections.The Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer, who has an upcoming book about Abraham Lincoln, spoke about how Lincoln set an example by putting democracy ahead of politics."He was under immense political pressure to say, 'We'll settle all that in due course,'" Meacham said. "Well, guess what that meant: If the Confederacy came back, it would all be set and settled and slavery likely would have endured again."He added: "And Lincoln said no, that he had made his position clear. Ultimately, we would get the 13th Amendment a few months later, but he was willing to go down politically for that principle."Meacham said he thinks that there's a greater chance that the US could see more "civil chaos" now than during the Great Depression, "when there was such a lack of confidence in our institutions.""Tragically, I think we will see more of civil chaos. I think we are going to see it with violence," he said. "I do not believe we're going to see the massing of great armies in the way we did in the 19th century. But we are at greater risk of that kind of civil conflict far more, I believe, than we were even in the early 1930s during the Depression, when there was such a lack of confidence in our institutions.""And part of it is that there is a passionate minority that is putting its own interests ahead of those of the nation," Meacham continued. "And without the capacity to both vote perhaps against your short-term interest, without the capacity to recognize that there is a larger force that requires your support of the Constitution over your narrow partisan interests, without that, then we will continue to descend into ever greater chaos."On the anniversary of the January 6 attack on the Capitol earlier this year, Meacham discussed the historical significance of the insurrection, referring to it as an "inflection point" in US history."It's either a step on the way to the abyss, or it is a call to arms, figuratively, for citizens to engage and say, 'No, we are more important," Meacham said. "The work we are about is more important than the will and the whim of a single man, or a single party or a single interest.'""To lose this gift through selfishness and a greed for power through autocratic impulse would be beyond tragic," he added. "I don't believe that's going to happen, but I believe we're as close to that as we have been since Sumter," referring to the battle that started the Civil War.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 18th, 2022

Gen X is late to the leadership table in US politics, prompting the question: Will it ever produce a president?

Boomers have been in charge of the country for most of the past 30 years. Now Gen Xers fret millennials may beat them to the White House. Tyler Le/Insider By historical standards, Gen X should be in charge of the US by now.  Boomers (and the Silent Generation) still hold prime positions of power, including the presidency.  Gen X has yet to secure a majority of seats in Congress and the Supreme Court. Read more from Insider's "Red, White, and Gray" series. Generation X's tardiness on the biggest of political stages explains a good deal about why the United States is mired in gerontocracy.By historical standards, today's middle-agers should be right there, right now, in the most important positions of power — like the presidency.But the best they have to show so far are a handful of consolation prizes: Paul Ryan's tumultuous three-year run as House speaker, four seats on a divisive US Supreme Court, and a spirited debate over whether Barack Obama even is a Gen Xer (he's not, but we'll get to that later).A big part of Gen X's leadership impediment: finding the winning message in a country that for most of the past 30 years has been led by baby boomers. President Joe Biden represents an even earlier cohort — he's a member of the Silent Generation, born less than a year after the country he now leads entered World War II under President Franklin D. Roosevelt."I thought that the country wanted, you know, a generational candidate," Rep. Eric Swalwell, the 41-year old California Democrat who barely made it onto the 2020 presidential-primary debate stage because of low polling numbers, told me earlier this summer."But what I found when I actually talked to people in Iowa, and New Hampshire, and South Carolina, was that the voters, especially with Trump as president, were so risk-averse to a younger candidate that they saw in Biden a seasoned hand, someone who kind of just, could like, restore sanity in governing," Swalwell said. Moving aside any blame toward Donald Trump and Biden, Gen Xers are making some inroads. Should things break their way in November's 2022 midterms, the group born between the start of 1965 and the end of 1980 could finally make up the majority of members in the US House.It's taken way longer than many thought, with nearly a decade of prognostications that this important torch-passing moment in history was just about to happen with each coming election cycle. If Republicans score a majority in 2023, Rep. Kevin McCarthy is also next in line to be the country's second Gen X speaker following Ryan's brief tenure that got consumed in the chaos of the Trump presidency.And should Biden and Trump opt against running again in 2024, the presidential field for both parties is expected to be packed with Gen X governors and members of Congress.They won't be shoo-ins. But Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida, as just one example, would be the fourth-youngest president in US history, at age 46, behind Bill Clinton, John F. Kennedy, and Theodore Roosevelt, were he to run for and win the White House.Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, shown here in April 2021 at a press conference for a UFC event in Jacksonville, Florida, would be 46 years old upon his inauguration should he run and win the White House in 2024.Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLCAs they make their calculations about seeking the most powerful job on the planet, some Gen Xers are eager to shed their reputation as the "Slacker Generation." They say the US needs a new approach to politics and policy."Look, we've seen a whole series of presidential leaders who were baby boomers, and they had a particular set of policies and a style of governing," said Sen. Ted Cruz, the 51-year old Texas Republican, during a chat this summer while walking through the US Capitol.Echoing a line I heard often from Republicans about the septuagenarian president who was in office when many Gen Xers came of age, Cruz continued, "I do think the country would benefit from leadership that embodies what I described as the children of Reagan, that embodies a commitment to being happy warriors and to appealing to our better angels."But the Gen Xers also know they are late.The oldest members of their group could have first been running for president back in 2000, when the dot-com bubble had yet to burst and September 11 was just a date on the calendar. The boomers George W. Bush and Al Gore had something to say about that, and there's hardly been much of a serious peep from Gen X in the five ensuing presidential races. The nation isn't in the final two years of the Martin O'Malley administration. President Beto O'Rourke isn't about to launch his White House reelection campaign.But "it's inevitable that it's going to happen," Sen. Cory Booker, a 53-year old who made his own ill-fated 2020 presidential bid, told me in a conversation about when he thought a fellow Gen Xer might finally make it to the White House."Unless, of course," the New Jersey Democrat added, with a reference to the 40-year-old transportation secretary, Pete Buttigieg, "we get a millennial president."Democratic Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey ran for president in 2020. He told Insider it's "inevitable" a fellow Gen Xer like him will make it to the White House, but added a millennial could make it their first.Pat Greenhouse/The Boston Globe via Getty ImagesBiden made generational history — very lateInsider's "Red, White, and Gray" series explores the costs, benefits, and dangers of life in a democracy helmed by those of advanced age, where issues of profound importance to the nation's youth and future — technology, civil rights, energy, the environment — are largely in the hands of those whose primes have passed.Gen Xers — now roughly 41 to 57 years old — are ripe to be president considering the ages of those who have held the job.Of the 45 people who have served as US president, almost three in four fit smack in that age range upon taking office, including George Washington (57), Abraham Lincoln (52), and John F. Kennedy (43). Of course, no generation can automatically stake a claim to the presidency. But the presidential historian Douglas Brinkley argues it is also uncommon and unhealthy for the country's growth if one age group does get skipped."Each generation deserves to have a president from their ranks," he said. "It shows the maturation of life in America. There's a semblance of one generation passing it on to the next. That's the seamless quality of the United States."A missing generation in the White House is nearly what happened before Biden finally won in 2020 — after unsuccessful bids in 1988 and 2008.By the time he did make it, at age 78, Biden was the oldest president in US history to be sworn into office and the first member of the Silent Generation to get there. His senior citizenry is apparent not just in the ever-present question of whether he'll run for a second term, but also in the number of funerals he's attended as president where he grieves and often eulogizes friends and political contemporaries who helped shape his career.Then-President Barack Obama in May 2009 wearing his famous dad jeans while on the sidelines at his daughter Sasha's soccer game.Mandel Ngan/AFPObama, 'Generation Jones'One important thing we are going to dispense with: Obama doesn't really count as a Gen Xer.We know this is subject to intense debate. And yes, his personal background has some common characteristics with Generation X, like being the mixed-race son of divorced parents who embraced technology to win the presidency. He was also born in 1961, the same year as Douglas Coupland, the author of the book responsible for coining the phrase "Generation X."But have we all seen the future president in those dad jeans?The social commentator Jonathan Pontell said Obama told him back in 2007 that he identified with what's known as "Generation Jones," a micro generation consisting of people born between 1954 and 1965 who don't quite fit as the archetypal boomer or Gen Xer. Think of them as the godparents of the "Xennials" — those born in the late 1970s or early 1980s who aren't fully Gen X or millennial."I remember reading his original autobiography, 'Dreams from My Father,' and thinking this guy is Generation Jones through and through," Pontell, who invented the term, told me in recounting his brief conversation with Obama during a Los Angeles fundraiser emceed by Cedric the Entertainer.Please just don't call me Gen XGenerational boundaries are also anything but an exact science or official. There's plenty of debate and competing visions about when one cohort ends and another begins.Swalwell, for instance, wants nothing to do with Gen Xers even though he was born on November 16, 1980 — six weeks away from what many demographic experts say is the dawn of millennials."I'll humor you with your questions. I want it reflected in the story that I don't accept your premise," he told me in an interview in which he described himself as "a pioneer of the millennials."No matter whether you deny the 61-year-old Obama is a boomer, Gen X is starting to get up there in age.Sen. Tim Scott, as just one example, is the Senate's oldest Gen Xer and someone who's been mentioned as a possible 2024 White House candidate. He'd be the country's 13th-oldest president if he were to win the next election and get sworn in — at age 59 — in January 2025.South Carolina GOP Sen. Tim Scott, shown here in February 2020 with then-President Donald Trump, is the oldest member of Gen X in the Senate. He's been mentioned as a possible future White House candidate.Saul Loeb/ AFP via Getty ImagesWhether Scott or any other Gen Xer gets to make a serious run in 2024 will depend largely on the decisions of a late-vintage Silent and early-blooming boomer. Both Biden and Trump are sending strong signals they intend to run for their respective parties' nominations and force a 2020 rematch. And even if they forgo runs, Gen Xers will be competing with boomers such as Mike Pence, Mike Pompeo, and Vice President Kamala Harris — and perhaps millennials such as Buttigieg and even Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.It's a crowded-enough field that some political operatives say Gen Xers should brace for an even longer wait to take their most serious shot winning the White House. "I think the '28 cycle would be very much more likely," one longtime Gen X GOP aide from Trumpworld predicted, noting the challenge long-shot candidates will face in finding donors willing to shift horses at this early stage of the 2024 race. "That's where the window opens up."In 2016, Gen X Sens. Marco Rubio (left) and Ted Cruz (right) challenged Donald Trump for the Republican presidential nomination.Michael Ciaglo-Pool/Getty ImagesWhat's the US missing without a Gen X president?Several of the US's closest allies — the United Kingdom, France, Canada, New Zealand, Sweden — are led by Gen Xers.Gen Xers in politics and people who study the issue told me the US was missing out on plenty by not following suit in electing a president and other government leaders who were born in the mid- to late 1960s and through the 1970s. Generally speaking, Gen Xers bring a sense of individualism and pragmatism to politics that comes with growing up in an era when divorce rates spiked and parents seemed to care less about maintaining more traditional families, as evidenced by the popular culture hits from their childhood such as "Rosemary's Baby" and "Home Alone." As adults, many of the older members of Gen X carry an independent, bordering-on-libertarian streak that's distrustful of politics and institutions — some of the same traits that Trump relied on to win the White House in 2016."When you think about what populism draws upon, if there was ever a generation that thought of itself as 'the deplorables,' it's the 'We're not worthy!' generation," said Neil Howe, a demographics expert who helped come up with the term "millennial."Gen Xers also came of age during a time that straddled extraordinary changes in geopolitics, including the end of the Cold War and the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Most also made it through the bulk of their schooling without worrying about their high-school pictures spreading via Facebook or Instagram, their online experiences formed largely on now-archaic platforms such as AOL, Hotmail, and Ask Jeeves."It's the one generation that has sort of had formative experiences in both the Old World and the new one," said Sen. Marco Rubio, a Gen Xer who first won a seat in the Florida House in 2000 at age 28 and, by age 34, became speaker of the state chamber. Spencer Cox, the 47-year-old first-term Republican governor of Utah, told me in a recent interview that he hoped the next president would come from Gen X.Utah Gov. Spencer Xox, shown here in May 2021 with his wife, Abby, greeting First Lady Jill Biden. He told Insider he hopes the next president comes from Gen X.Carlos Barria/pool/AFP"I'm biased because I am one, but I do believe that that's really what the nation is searching for but hasn't been able to find yet," he said. Asked what Americans would get should they elect one of his peers, Cox mentioned the World Wide Web."I think what we're missing out is someone who kind of has a leg in both the pre-internet era, and the post-internet era," he said. "I think there's value in understanding what it was like before knowing how to use it, what it's like after, and how to bridge those gaps and in healthy ways."Thanks to their boomer parents' low birth rates, Gen Xers have always been a smaller group than boomers or millennials."Which I always think is interesting," Booker said. "It's like we're this relatively tiny group of public servants."But that will soon change as boomers — the oldest are pushing 80 — die. Gen Xers are finally projected to outnumber their parents' generation by 2028, according to Pew. Former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (right) was the only Gen Xer on the stage competing against Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton during the 2016 Democratic presidential primary debatesJoe Raedle/Getty ImagesDunking on Ted Cruz, even if he's a Gen XerGore set the standard for youthful presidential campaigns. In 1988, he ran for the Democratic nomination at 39 years old. Had he won, he'd have been the youngest president in US history. That didn't happen, though Gore four years later did win the vice presidency as part of the first all-boomer ticket with Bill Clinton. He also nearly won the White House in 2000 against Bush.But in subsequent presidential races, Gen Xers failed to follow Gore's youthful path to the campaign trail. Not in 2000, and not in 2004. Even the 2008 presidential election was bereft of Gen Xers: Yes, the eventual Republican nominee John McCain's comparatively youthful running mate, Sarah Palin, falls within the boomer bracket.And while Ryan did make history in 2012 as the first Gen Xer on a major-party ticket, that happened only when the GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney opted for a fresh face that would contrast with then-Vice President Biden.Paul Ryan, shown here with 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, made history that election cycle as the first Gen X vice presidential nominee. In 2015, Ryan became the first Gen X speaker of the House.Justin Sullivan/Getty ImagesNot until the 2016 and 2020 campaigns did the presidential field take on the veneer of a race driven by Generation X.But even then, candidates such as O'Malley, O'Rourke, Booker, Rubio, and Cruz were competing on debate stages packed with boomers and Silents — Trump, Biden, Hillary Clinton, and Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders.For one reason or another, all the Gen Xers flamed out."For me, this is about who the people are," Warren, the 73-year-old Massachusetts Democrat who also came up short against Biden in 2020, said in an interview while speed-walking through the underground Senate tunnels. "I'm not a big fan of Ted Cruz just because he's 30 years younger than somebody else. He's still Ted Cruz."Gen Xers on boomers: Necessary, or necessary evil?Gen Xers aren't just behind in winning the White House. It's a similar phenomenon in other parts of government, too.Entering the 2022 midterm elections, only 14 of 50 governor slots are in the hands of Gen Xers. And while the four most recent Supreme Court appointees are children of the mid-'60s and '70s, they still remain a seat shy of being their own majority bloc. On Capitol Hill, Gen Xers' numbers have been slowly building but are still nowhere near the size of their elders. The 435-member US House opened the current session with 144 Gen Xers compared with 230 boomers and 27 Silent Generation members (the numbers have since changed slightly because of six deaths since January 2021, as well as nine resignations).The breakdown is much starker in the US Senate, which opened the current session with 11 members of the Silent Generation and 68 boomers, compared with just 20 Gen Xers.While those numbers are in flux even now as senators retire or resign from office early, historical trends suggest the Senate won't reach a plurality of Gen Xers until somewhere in the 2030s, if not later. By then, millennials will be entering their political primes, with Gen Zers not far behind."Yeah, I won't be here at that point," said GOP Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma, an early-era Gen Xer at 54.Many Gen Xers insist that it's a-OK to still have so many Silent Generation and boomer senators hanging around, even if it means they need to wait for their own opportunities.Kirsten Gillibrand, a New York Democrat, became the first Gen X senator in January 2009.Jonathan Ernst/Getty Images"I respect a lot of the people in our leadership. I've learned a lot from them. And I think they continue to make a huge difference," said Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, who in 2009 became the nation's first Gen X senator.Donna Brazile, the longtime party operative who served as Gore's 2000 presidential campaign manager, said she'd recently been trying to think up ways to get Generation X politicians to step up "without asking anyone to step aside.""Remember, there is no such thing as entitlement in politics or public service. You have to get in the game and follow a path or wait for a lucky break," she said in an email. "There's too much at stake and much more to be done. What are they waiting for?"When we talked again a few days later, Brazile, who in 2016 chaired the Democratic National Committee, quickly rattled off the names of several Gen X leaders who did currently hold office in Congress, as governors and in state and local government.Anyone from Gen X who wants to contribute at the top, she said, needs to get off their duffs and stop fretting so much about the boomers and any others who will step aside when they're darn good and ready."No generation can replace another generation," she said. "I can't replace my parents' generation. But I can be an extension of the vision they had for my generation and future generations."With America in a gerontocracy, she acknowledged "there's a vacuum" for future leaders that shouldn't prevent them from getting involved now."It's like seeing a ghost that doesn't appear," she said of any expectation the presidency would just suddenly open up for Gen X. "There's nothing stopping them from leading."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytSep 28th, 2022

Multipolar World Order – Part 1

Multipolar World Order – Part 1 Authored by Iain Davis via, Russia’s war with Ukraine is first and foremost a tragedy for the people of both countries, especially those who live—and die—in the battle zones. The priority for humanity, though apparently not for the political class, is to encourage Moscow and Kyiv to stop killing men, women and children and negotiate a peace deal. Beyond the immediate confines of the conflict, the war is also seen by some as representative of an alleged clash between great powers and, perhaps, between civilisations. All wars are momentous, but the ramifications of Ukrainian war are already global. Consequently, there is a perception that it is the focal point of a confrontation between two distinct models of global governance. The NATO-led alliance of the Western nations continues to push the unipolar, G7, international rules-based order (IRBO). It is opposed, some say, by the Russian and Chinese-led BRICS and the G20-based multipolar world order. In this 3 part series we will explore these issues and consider if it is tenable to place our faith in the emerging multipolar world order. There are very few redeeming features of the unipolar world order, that’s for sure. It is a system that overwhelmingly serves capital and few people other than a “parasite class” of stakeholder capitalist eugenicists. This has led many disaffected Westerners to invest their hopes in the promise of the multipolar world order: Many have increasingly come to terms with the reality that today’s multipolar system led by Russia and China has premised itself upon the defense of international law and national sovereignty as outlined in the UN Charter. [. . .] Putin and Xi Jinping have [. . .] made their choice to stand for win-win cooperation over Hobbesian Zero Sum thinking. [. . .] [T]heir entire strategy is premised upon the UN Charter. If only that were so! Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear to be the case. But even if it were true, Putin and Xi Jinping basing “their entire strategy” upon the UN Charter, would be cause for concern, not relief. For the globalist forces that see nation-states as squares on the grand chessboard and that regard leaders like Putin, Biden and Xi Jinping as accomplices, the multipolar world order is manna from heaven. They have spent more than a century trying to centralise global power. The power of individual nation-states at least presents the possibility of some decentralisation. The multipolar world order finally ends all national sovereignty and delivers true global governance. World Order We need to distinguish between the ideological concept of “world order” and the reality. This will help us identify where “world order” is an artificially imposed construct. Authoritarian power, wielded over populations, territory and resources, restricted by physical and political geography, dictates the “world order.” The present order is largely the product of hard-nosed geopolitics, but it also reflects the various attempts to impose a global order. The struggle to manage and mitigate the consequences of geopolitics is evident in the history of international relations. For nearly 500 years nation-states have sought to co-exist as sovereign entities. Numerous systems have been devised to seize control of what would otherwise be anarchy. It is very much to the detriment of humanity that anarchy has not been allowed to flourish. In 1648, the two bilateral treaties that formed the Peace of Westphalia concluded the 30 Years War (or Wars). Those negotiated settlements arguably established the precept of the territorial sovereignty within the borders of the nation-state. This reduced, but did not end, the centralised authoritarian power of the Holy Roman Empire (HRE). Britannica notes: The Peace of Westphalia recognized the full territorial sovereignty of the member states of the empire. This isn’t entirely accurate. That so-called “full territorial sovereignty” delineated regional power within Europe and the HRE, but full sovereignty wasn’t established. The Westphalian treaties created hundreds of principalities that were formerly controlled by the central legislature of the HRE, the Diet. These new, effectively federalised principalities still paid taxes to the emperor and, crucially, religious observance remained a matter for the empire to decide. The treaties also consolidated the regional power of the Danish, Swedish, and French states but the Empire itself remained intact and dominant. It is more accurate to say that the Peace of Westphalia somewhat curtailed the authoritarian power of the HRE and defined the physical borders of some nation states. During the 20th century, this led to the popular interpretation of the nation-state as a bulwark against international hegemonic power, despite that never having been entirely true. Consequently, the so-called “Westphalian model” is largely based upon a myth. It represents an idealised version of the world order, suggesting how it could operate rather than describing how it does. Signing of the Peace of Westphalia, in Münster 1648, painting by Gerard Ter Borch If nation-states really were sovereign and if their territorial integrity were genuinely respected, then the Westphalian world order would be pure anarchy. This is the ideal upon which the UN is supposedly founded because, contrary to another ubiquitous popular myth, anarchy does not mean “chaos.” Quite the opposite. Anarchy is exemplified by Article 2.1 of the UN Charter: The Organization is based on the principle of the sovereign equality of all its Members. The word “anarchy” is an abstraction of the classical Greek “anarkhos,” meaning “rulerless.” This is derived from the privative prefix “an” (without) in conjunction with “arkhos” (leader or ruler). Literally translated, “anarchy” means “without rulers”—what the UN calls “sovereign equality.” A Westphalian world order of sovereign nation-states, each observing the “equality” of all others while adhering to the non-aggression principle, is a system of global, political anarchy. Unfortunately, that is not the way the current UN “world order” functions, nor has there ever been any attempt to impose such an order. What a shame. Within the League of Nations and subsequent UN system of practical “world order,”—a world order allegedly built upon the sovereignty of nations—equality exists in theory only. Through empire, colonialism, neocolonialism—that is, through economic, military, financial and monetary conquest, coupled with the debt obligations imposed upon targeted nations—global powers have always been able to dominate and control lesser ones. National governments, if defined in purely political terms, have never been the only source of authority behind the efforts to construct world order. As revealed by Antony C. Sutton and others, private corporate power has aided national governments in shaping “world order.” Neither Hitler’s rise to power nor the Bolshevik Revolution would have occurred as they did, if at all, without the guidance of the Wall Street financiers. The bankers’ global financial institutions and extensive international espionage networks were instrumental in shifting global political power. These private-sector “partners” of government are the “stakeholders” we constantly hear about today. The most powerful among them are fully engaged in “the game” described by Zbigniew Brzezinski in The Grand Chessboard. Brzezinski recognised that the continental landmass of Eurasia was the key to genuine global hegemony: This huge, oddly shaped Eurasian chess board—extending from Lisbon to Vladivostok—provides the setting for “the game.” [. . .] [I]f the middle space rebuffs the West, becomes an assertive single entity [. . .] then America’s primacy in Eurasia shrinks dramatically. [. . .] That mega-continent is just too large, too populous, culturally too varied, and composed of too many historically ambitious and politically energetic states to be compliant toward even the most economically successful and politically pre-eminent global power. [. . .] Ukraine, a new and important space on the Eurasian chessboard, is a geopolitical pivot because its very existence as an independent country helps to transform Russia. Without Ukraine, Russia ceases to be a Eurasian empire. [. . .] [I]t would then become a predominantly Asian imperial state. The “unipolar world order” favoured by the Western powers, often referred to as the “international rules-based order” or the “international rules-based system,” is another attempt to impose order. This “unipolar” model enables the US and its European partners to exploit the UN system to claim legitimacy for their games of empire. Through it, the transatlantic alliance has used its economic, military and financial power to try to establish global hegemony. In 2016, Stewart Patrick, writing for the US Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), a foreign policy think tank, published World Order: What, Exactly, are the Rules? He described the post-WWII “international rules-based order” (IRBO): What sets the post-1945 Western order apart is that it was shaped overwhelmingly by a single power [a unipolarity], the United States. Operating within the broader context of strategic bipolarity, it constructed, managed, and defended the regimes of the capitalist world economy. [. . .] In the trade sphere, the hegemon presses for liberalization and maintains an open market; in the monetary sphere, it supplies a freely convertible international currency, manages exchange rates, provides liquidity, and serves as a lender of last resort; and in the financial sphere, it serves as a source of international investment and development. The idea that the aggressive market acquisition of crony capitalism somehow represents the “open markets” of the “capitalist world economy” is risible. It is about as far removed from free market capitalism as it is possible to be. Under crony capitalism, the US dollar, as the preferred global reserve currency, is not “freely convertible.” Exchange rates are manipulated and liquidity is debt for nearly everyone except the lender. “Investment and development” by the hegemon means more profits and control for the hegemon. The notion that a political leader, or anyone for that matter, is entirely bad or good, is puerile. The same consideration can be given to nation-states, political systems or even models of world order. The character of a human being, a nation or a system of global governance is better judged by their or its totality of actions. Whatever we consider to be the source of “good” and “evil,” it exists in all of us at either ends of a spectrum. Some people exhibit extreme levels of psychopathy, which can lead them to commit acts that are judged to be “evil.” But even Hitler, for example, showed physical courage, devotion, compassion for some, and other qualities we might consider “good.” Nation-states and global governance structures, though immensely complex, are formed and led by people. They are influenced by a multitude of forces. Given the added complications of chance and unforeseen events, it is unrealistic to expect any form of “order” to be either entirely good or entirely bad. That being said, if that “order” is iniquitous and causes appreciable harm to people, then it is important to identify to whom that “order” provides advantage. Their potential individual and collective guilt should be investigated. This does not imply that those who benefit are automatically culpable, nor that they are “bad” or “evil,” though they may be, only that they have a conflict of interests in maintaining their “order” despite the harm it causes. Equally, where systemic harm is evident, it is irrational to absolve the actions of the people who lead and benefit from that system without first ruling out their possible guilt. Since WWII, millions of innocents have been murdered by the US, its international allies and its corporate partners, all of whom have thrown their military, economic and financial weight around the world. The Western “parasite class” has sought to assert its IRBO by any means necessary— sanctions, debt slavery or outright slavery, physical, economic or psychological warfare. The grasping desire for more power and control has exposed the very worst of human nature. Repeatedly and ad nauseam. Of course, resistance to this kind of global tyranny is understandable. The question is: Does imposition of the multipolar model offer anything different? Signing the UN Charter – 1948 Oligarchy Most recently, the “unipolar world order” has been embodied by the World Economic Forum’s inappropriately named Great Reset. It is so malignant and forbidding that some consider the emerging “multipolar world order” salvation. They have even heaped praise upon the likely leaders of the new multipolar world: It is [. . .] strength of purpose and character that has defined Putin’s two decades in power. [. . .] Russia is committed to the process of finding solutions to all people benefiting from the future, not just a few thousand holier-than-thou oligarchs. [. . .] Together [Russia and China] told the WEF to stuff the Great Reset back into the hole in which it was conceived. [. . .] Putin told Klaus Schwab and the WEF that their entire idea of the Great Reset is not only doomed to failure but runs counter to everything modern leadership should be pursuing. Sadly, it seems this hope is also misplaced. While Putin did much to rid Russia of the CIA-run, Western-backed oligarchs who were systematically destroying the Russian Federation during the 1990s, they have subsequently been replaced by another band of oligarchs with closer links to the current Russian government. Something we will explore in Part 3. Yes, it is certainly true that the Russian government, led by Putin and his power bloc, has improved the incomes and life opportunities for the majority of Russians. Putin’s government has also significantly reduced chronic poverty in Russia over the last two decades. Wealth in Russia, measured as the market value of financial and non-financial assets, has remained concentrated in the hands of the top 1% of the population. This pooling of wealth among the top percentile is itself stratified and is overwhelmingly held by the top 1% of the 1%. For example, in 2017, 56% of Russian wealth was controlled by 1% of the population. The pseudopandemic of 2020–2022 particularly benefitted Russian billionnaires—as it did the billionaires of every other developed economy. According to the Credit Suisse Global Wealth Report 2021, wealth inequality in Russia, measured using the Gini coefficient, was 87.8 in 2020. The only other major economy with a greater disparity between the wealthy and the rest of the population was Brazil. Just behind Brazil and Russia on the wealth inequality scale was the US, whose Gini coefficient stood at 85. In terms of wealth concentration however, the situation in Russia was the worst by a considerable margin. In 2020 the top 1% owned 58.2% of Russia’s wealth. This was more than 8 percentage points higher than Brazil’s wealth concentration, and significantly worse than wealth concentration in the US, which stood at 35.2% in 2020. Such disproportionate wealth distribution is conducive to creating and empowering oligarchs. But wealth alone doesn’t determine whether one is an oligarch. Wealth needs to be converted into political power for the term “oligarch” to be applicable. An oligarchy is defined as “a form of government in which supreme power is vested in a small exclusive class.” Members of this dominant class are installed through a variety of mechanisms. The British establishment, and particularly its political class, is dominated by men and women who were educated at Eton, Roedean, Harrow and St. Pauls, etc. This “small exclusive class” arguably constitutes a British oligarchy. The UK’s new Prime Minister, Liz Truss, has been heralded by some because she is not a graduate of one of these select public schools. Educational privilege aside, though, the use of the word “oligarch” in the West more commonly refers to an internationalist class of globalists whose individual wealth sets them apart and who use that wealth to influence policy decisions. Bill Gates is a prime example of an oligarch. The former advisor to the UK Prime Minister, Dominic Cummings, said as much during his testimony to a parliamentary committee on May 2021 (go to 14:02:35). As Cummings put it, Bill Gates and “that kind of network” had directed the UK government’s response to the supposed COVID-19 pandemic. Gates’ immense wealth has bought him direct access to political power beyond national borders. He has no public mandate in either the US or the UK. He is an oligarch—one of the more well known but far from the only one. CFR member David Rothkopf described these people as a “Superclass” with the ability to “influence the lives of millions across borders on a regular basis.” They do this, he said, by using their globalist “networks.” Those networks, as described by Antony C. Sutton, Dominic Cummings and others, act as “the force multiplier in any kind of power structure.” This “small exclusive class” use their wealth to control resources and thus policy. Political decisions, policy, court rulings and more are made at their behest. This point was highlighted in the joint letter sent by the Attorneys General (AGs) of 19 US states to BlackRock CEO Larry Fink. The AGs observed that BlackRock was essentially using its investment strategy to pursue a political agenda: The Senators elected by the citizens of this country determine which international agreements have the force of law, not BlackRock. Their letter describes the theoretical model of representative democracy. Representative democracy is not a true democracy—which decentralises political power to the individual citizen—but is rather a system designed to centralise political control and authority. Inevitably, “representative democracy” leads to the consolidation of power in the hands of the so-called “Superclass” described by Rothkopf. There is nothing “super” about them. They are ordinary people who have acquired wealth primarily through conquest, usury, market rigging, political manipulation and slavery. “Parasite class” is a more befitting description. Not only do global investment firms like BlackRock, Vanguard and State Street use their immense resources to steer public policy, but their major shareholders include the very oligarchs who, via their contribution to various think tanks, create the global political agendas that determine policy in the first place. There is no space in this system of alleged “world order” for any genuine democratic oversight. As we shall see in Part 3, the levers of control are exerted to achieve exactly the same effect in Russia and China. Both countries have a gaggle of oligarchs whose objectives are firmly aligned with the WEF’s Great Reset agenda. They too work with their national government “partners” to ensure that they all arrive at the “right” policy decisions. US President Joe Biden, left, and CFR President Richard N. Haass, right. The United Nations’ Model of National Sovereignty Any bloc of nations that bids for dominance within the United Nations is seeking global hegemony. The UN enables global governance and centralises global political power and authority. In so doing, the UN empowers the international oligarchy. As noted previously, Article 2 of the United Nations Charter declares that the UN is “based on the principle of the sovereign equality of all its Members.” The Charter then goes on to list the numerous ways in which nation-states are not equal. It also clarifies how they are all subservient to the UN Security Council. Despite all the UN’s claims of lofty principles—respect for national sovereignty and for alleged human rights—Article 2 declares that no nation-state can receive any assistance from another as long as the UN Security Council is forcing that nation-state to comply with its edicts. Even non-member states must abide by the Charter, whether they like it or not, by decree of the United Nations. The UN Charter is a paradox. Article 2.7 asserts that “nothing in the Charter” permits the UN to infringe the sovereignty of a nation-state—except when it does so through UN “enforcement measures.” The Charter states, apparently without reason, that all nation-states are “equal.” However, some nation-states are empowered by the Charter to be far more equal than others. While the UN’s General Assembly is supposedly a decision-making forum comprised of “equal” sovereign nations, Article 11 affords the General Assembly only the power to discuss “the general principles of co-operation.” In other words, it has no power to make any significant decisions. Article 12 dictates that the General Assembly can only resolve disputes if instructed to do so by the Security Council. The most important function of the UN, “the maintenance of international peace and security,” can only be dealt with by the Security Council. What the other members of the General Assembly think about the Security Council’s global “security” decisions is a practical irrelevance. Article 23 lays out which nation-states form the Security Council: The Security Council shall consist of fifteen Members of the United Nations. The Republic of China, France, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics [Russian Federation], the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and the United States of America shall be permanent members of the Security Council. The General Assembly shall elect ten other Members of the United Nations to be non-permanent members of the Security Council. [. . .] The non-permanent members of the Security Council shall be elected for a term of two years. The General Assembly is allowed to elect “non-permanent” members to the Security Council based upon criteria stipulated by the Security Council. Currently the “non-permanent” members are Albania, Brazil, Gabon, Ghana, India, Ireland, Kenya, Mexico, Norway and the United Arab Emirates. Article 24 proclaims that the Security Council has “primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security” and that all other nations agree that “the Security Council acts on their behalf.” The Security Council investigates and defines all alleged threats and recommends the procedures and adjustments for the supposed remedy. The Security Council dictates what further action, such as sanctions or the use of military force, shall be taken against any nation-state it considers to be a problem. Article 27 decrees that at least 9 of the 15 member states must be in agreement for a Security Council resolution to be enforced. All of the 5 permanent members must concur, and each has the power of veto. Any Security Council member, including permanent members, shall be excluded from the vote or use of its veto if they are party to the dispute in question. UN member states, by virtue of agreeing to the Charter, must provide armed forces at the Security Council’s request. In accordance with Article 47, military planning and operational objectives are the sole remit of the permanent Security Council members through their exclusive Military Staff Committee. If the permanent members are interested in the opinion of any other “sovereign” nation, they’ll ask it to provide one. The inequality inherent in the Charter could not be clearer. Article 44 notes that “when the Security Council has decided to use force” its only consultative obligation to the wider UN is to discuss the use of another member state’s armed forces where the Security Council has ordered that nation to fight. For a country that is a current member of the Security Council, use of its armed forces by the Military Staff Committee is a prerequisite for Council membership. The UN Secretary-General, identified as the “chief administrative officer” in the Charter, oversees the UN Secretariat. The Secretariat commissions, investigates and produces the reports that allegedly inform UN decision-making. The Secretariat staff members are appointed by the Secretary-General. The Secretary-General is “appointed by the General Assembly upon the recommendation of the Security Council.” Under the UN Charter, then, the Security Council is made king. This arrangement affords the governments of its permanent members—China, France, Russia, the UK and the US—considerable additional authority. There is nothing egalitarian about the UN Charter. The suggestion that the UN Charter constitutes a “defence” of “national sovereignty” is ridiculous. The UN Charter is the embodiment of the centralisation of global power and authority. UN Headquarters New York – Land Donated by the Rockefellers The United Nations’ Global Public-Private Partnership The UN was created, in no small measure, through the efforts of the private sector Rockefeller Foundation (RF). In particular, the RF’s comprehensive financial and operational support for the Economic, Financial and Transit Department (EFTD) of the League of Nations (LoN), and its considerable influence upon the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA), made the RF the key player in the transformation of the LoN into the UN. The UN came into being as a result of public-private partnership. Since then, especially with regard to defence, financing, global health care and sustainable development, public-private partnerships have become dominant within the UN system. The UN is no longer an intergovernmental organisation, if it ever was one. It is a global collaboration between governments and a multinational infra-governmental network of private “stakeholders.” In 1998, then-UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan told the World Economic Forum’s Davos symposium that a “quiet revolution” had occurred in the UN during the 1990s: [T]he United Nations has been transformed since we last met here in Davos. The Organization has undergone a complete overhaul that I have described as a “quiet revolution”. [. . .] [W]e are in a stronger position to work with business and industry. [. . .] The business of the United Nations involves the businesses of the world. [. . .] We also promote private sector development and foreign direct investment. We help countries to join the international trading system and enact business-friendly legislation. In 2005, the World Health Organisation (WHO), a specialised agency of the UN, published a report on the use of information and communication technology (ICT) in healthcare titled Connecting for Health. Speaking about how “stakeholders” could introduce ICT healthcare solutions globally, the WHO noted: Governments can create an enabling environment, and invest in equity, access and innovation. The 2015, Adis Ababa Action Agenda conference on “financing for development” clarified the nature of an “enabling environment.” National governments from 193 UN nation-states committed their respective populations to funding public-private partnerships for sustainable development by collectively agreeing to create “an enabling environment at all levels for sustainable development;” and “to further strengthen the framework to finance sustainable development.” In 2017, UN General Assembly Resolution 70/224 (A/Res/70/224) compelled UN member states to implement “concrete policies” that “enable” sustainable development. A/Res/70/224 added that the UN: [. . .] reaffirms the strong political commitment to address the challenge of financing and creating an enabling environment at all levels for sustainable development [—] particularly with regard to developing partnerships through the provision of greater opportunities to the private sector, non-governmental organizations and civil society in general. In short, the “enabling environment” is a government, and therefore taxpayer, funding commitment to create markets for the private sector. Over the last few decades, successive Secretary-Generals have overseen the UN’s formal transition into a global public-private partnership (G3P). Nation-states do not have sovereignty over public-private partnerships. Sustainable development formally relegates government to the role of an “enabling” partner within a global network comprised of multinational corporations, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), civil society organisations and other actors. The “other actors” are predominantly the philanthropic foundations of individual billionaires and immensely wealthy family dynasties—that is, oligarchs. Effectively, then, the UN serves the interests of capital. Not only is it a mechanism for the centralisation of global political authority, it is committed to the development of global policy agendas that are “business-friendly.” That means Big Business-friendly. Such agendas may happen to coincide with the best interests of humanity, but where they don’t—which is largely the case—well, that’s just too bad for humanity. Kofi Annan (8 April 1938 – 18 August 2018) Global Governance On the 4th February 2022, a little less then three weeks prior to Russia launching its “special military operation” in Ukraine, Presidents Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping issued an important joint statement: The sides [Russian Federation and Chinese People’s Republic] strongly support the development of international cooperation and exchanges [. . .], actively participating in the relevant global governance process, [. . .] to ensure sustainable global development. [. . .] The international community should actively engage in global governance[.] [. . .] The sides reaffirmed their intention to strengthen foreign policy coordination, pursue true multilateralism, strengthen cooperation on multilateral platforms, defend common interests, support the international and regional balance of power, and improve global governance. [. . .] The sides call on all States [. . .] to protect the United Nations-driven international architecture and the international law-based world order, seek genuine multipolarity with the United Nations and its Security Council playing a central and coordinating role, promote more democratic international relations, and ensure peace, stability and sustainable development across the world. The United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN-DESA) defined “global governance” in its 2014 publication Global Governance and the Global Rules For Development in the Post 2015 Era: Global governance encompasses the totality of institutions, policies, norms, procedures and initiatives through which States and their citizens try to bring more predictability, stability and order to their responses to transnational challenges. Global governance centralises control over the entire sphere of international relations. It inevitably erodes a nation’s ability to set foreign policy. As a theoretical protection against global instability, this isn’t necessarily a bad idea, but in practice it neither enhances nor “protects” national sovereignty. Domination of the global governance system by one group of powerful nation-states represents possibly the most dangerous and destabilising force of all. It allows those nations to act with impunity, regardless of any pretensions about honouring alleged “international law.” Global governance also significantly curtails the independence of a nation-state’s domestic policy. For example, the UN’s Sustainable Development Agenda 21, with the near-time Agenda 2030 serving as a waypoint, impacts nearly all national domestic policy—even setting the course for most domestic policy—in every country. National electorates’ oversight of this “totality” of UN policies is weak to nonexistent. Global governance renders so-called “representative democracy” little more than a vacuous sound-bite. As the UN is a global public-private partnership (UN-G3P), global governance allows the “multi-stakeholder partnership”—and therefore oligarchs—significant influence over member nation-states’ domestic and foreign policy. Set in this context, the UN-DESA report (see above) provides a frank appraisal of the true nature of UN-G3P global governance: Current approaches to global governance and global rules have led to a greater shrinking of policy space for national Governments [. . . ]; this also impedes the reduction of inequalities within countries. [. . .] Global governance has become a domain with many different players including: multilateral organizations; [. . .] elite multilateral groupings such as the Group of Eight (G8) and the Group of Twenty (G20) [and] different coalitions relevant to specific policy subjects[.] [. . .] Also included are activities of the private sector (e.g., the Global Compact) non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and large philanthropic foundations (e.g., Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Turner Foundation) and associated global funds to address particular issues[.] [. . .] The representativeness, opportunities for participation, and transparency of many of the main actors are open to question. [. . .] NGOs [. . .] often have governance structures that are not subject to open and democratic accountability. The lack of representativeness, accountability and transparency of corporations is even more important as corporations have more power and are currently promoting multi-stakeholder governance with a leading role for the private sector. [. . .] Currently, it seems that the United Nations has not been able to provide direction in the solution of global governance problems—perhaps lacking appropriate resources or authority, or both. United Nations bodies, with the exception of the Security Council, cannot make binding decisions. A/Res/73/254 declares that the UN Global Compact Office plays a vital role in “strengthening the capacity of the United Nations to partner strategically with the private sector.” It adds: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development acknowledges that the implementation of sustainable development will depend on the active engagement of both the public and private sectors[.] While the Attorneys General of 19 states might rail against BlackRock for usurping the political authority of US senators, BlackRock is simply exercising its power as valued a “public-private partner” of the US government. Such is the nature of global governance. Given that this system has been constructed over the last 80 years, it’s a bit too late for 19 state AGs to complain about it now. What have they been doing for the last eight decades? The governmental “partners” of the UN-G3P lack “authority” because the UN was created, largely by the Rockefellers, as a public-private partnership. The intergovernmental structure is the partner of the infra-governmental network of private stakeholders. In terms of resources, the power of the private sector “partners” dwarfs that of their government counterparts. Corporate fiefdoms are not limited by national borders. BlackRock alone currently holds $8.5 trillion of assets under management. This is nearly five times the size of the total GDP of UN Security Council permanent member Russia and more than three times the GDP of the UK. So-called sovereign countries are not sovereign over their own central banks nor are they “sovereign” over international financial institutions like the IMF, the New Development Bank (NDB), the World Bank or the Bank for International Settlements. The notion that any nation state or intergovernmental organisation is capable of bringing the global network of private capital to heel is farcical. At the COP26 Conference in Glasgow in 2021, King Charles III—then Prince Charles—prepared the conference to endorse the forthcoming announcement of the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ). He made it abundantly clear who was in charge and, in keeping with UN objectives, clarified national governments role as “enabling partners”: The scale and scope of the threat we face call for a global systems level solution based on radically transforming our current fossil fuel based economy. [. . .] So ladies and gentleman, my plea today is for countries to come together to create the environment that enables every sector of industry to take the action required. We know this will take trillions, not billions of dollars. [. . .] [W]e need a vast military style campaign to marshal the strength of the global private sector, with trillions at [its] disposal far beyond global GDP, and with the greatest respect, beyond even the governments of the world’s leaders. It offers the only real prospect of achieving fundamental economic transition. Unless Putin and Xi Jinping intend to completely restructure the United Nations, including all of its institutions and specialised agencies, their objective of protecting “the United Nations-driven international architecture” appears to be nothing more than a bid to cement their status as the nominal leaders of the UN-G3P. As pointed out by UN-DESA, through the UN-G3P, that claim to political authority is extremely limited. Global corporations dominate and are currently further consolidating their global power through “multi-stakeholder governance.” Whether unipolar or multipolar, the so-called “world order” is the system of global governance led by the private sector—the oligarchs. Nation-states, including Russia and China, have already agreed to follow global priorities determined at the global governance level. The question is not which model of the global public-private “world order” we should accept, but rather why we would ever accept any such “world order” at all. This, then, is the context within which we can explore the alleged advantages of a “multipolar world order” led by China, Russia and increasingly India. Is it an attempt, as claimed by some, to reinvigorate the United Nations and create a more just and equitable system of global governance? Or is it merely the next phase in the construction of what many refer to as the “New World Order”? Tyler Durden Sat, 09/24/2022 - 19:40.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 24th, 2022

Jim Quinn: The Fading Smile Of A Dying Empire

Jim Quinn: The Fading Smile Of A Dying Empire Authored by Jim Quinn via The Burning Platform blog, “All that is human must retrograde if it does not advance.” – Edward Gibbon “Woe, destruction, ruin, and decay; the worst is death and death will have his day.” – William Shakespeare, Richard II We moved to our corner of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania twenty-seven years ago. We raised our three boys here. We spent hundreds of hours on local baseball fields, in hockey rinks, in school gyms for basketball games, concerts, plays and donuts-with-dads. It’s still a nice place to live, with virtually no crime, decent roads, and reasonable property tax rates. But I would have to say there has been a degradation in the overall quality of life in my community, which is consistent with the downward spiral of our society in general. When we planted our roots in this community it was still more farm-like than suburban. Family farms and open space were more prevalent than housing tracts, strip malls, fast food joints and cookie cutter commercial buildings. A beautiful farmhouse a few miles from our home, freshly painted white, proudly displayed the iconic yellow smiley face. It symbolized good times. We’ve been driving on this road for twenty-seven years on the way to baseball games, hockey practices, the car dealer for service, and lately to our gym, as we try to fend off father time.  Driving by that barn in the early days would always brighten your day. A bright yellow smiley face against a white background represented a positive, happy view of the world. We moved to this area in 1995 while Clinton was president, unemployment was 5.6%, CPI was 2.8%, GDP growth was 2.7%, the annual deficit was $164 billion, the national debt was $4.9 trillion, the Fed balance sheet was $500 billion, the U.S. population was 263 million, total household debt was $4 trillion, you earned 5.5% on your money market fund, the U.S. bailed out Mexico, the Oklahoma City bombing happened, and OJ Simpson was found not guilty of killing his ex-wife. The military industrial complex was being starved by lack of wars and the stock market soared by 33% as the beginning of irrational exuberance began under the reign of Greenspan and his Put. A lot has happened over the last twenty-seven years and the faded, barely visible smiley face, on a now mold ridden decaying barn, is truly representative of a society, culture and economic system dying a slow torturous death, as apathy, technological distraction, myopic indolence, and the greed of powerful elites combine to ensure the eventual collapse of the short-lived American Empire. Much of this quarter century of decline is borne out in the change in economic numbers noted above. The unemployment rate is reported as 3.5% today with 158 million out of 264 million working age adults employed. That leaves 106 million not employed, or 40% of working age adults not working. Back in 1995, 125 million out of 199 million working age adults were employed, leaving 74 million not working. Over a quarter century we’ve added 65 million people to our population, but only 33 million to the employment rolls. Either we’ve devolved into a nation of freeloaders on welfare/disability, or the BLS is lying about the 3.5% unemployment rate, or both. The BLS currently tries to convince the ignorant masses inflation is only 8.5%, up tremendously from the 2.8% in 1995. Since the Fed/Wall Street induced financial crash of 2008, the government had been reporting inflation of between 0% to 3%, when in reality, as measured the way it was measured in 1980, it had been between 7% to 10%. Today’s actual inflation rate is 17% in case you were wondering. Revealing the true cost of living to the peasants might induce a revolting outcome for our overlords. The government prefers to treat the math challenged masses like mushrooms, by keeping them in the dark. The corrupt Fed, feckless politicians, media mouthpieces for the empire, and Wall Street shysters were shocked I tell you by skyrocketing inflation after the Fed increased their balance sheet from $3.7 trillion to $8.9 trillion and the D.C. swamp creatures increased the national debt from $23.2 trillion to $30.7 trillion since the beginning of 2020. This generated inflation in financial assets for the global elite and their minions, while destroying the finances of the middle and lower classes. The rot grows like a cancer in this empire of debt. The annual deficit of $164 billion in 1995 was racked up in 17 days in 2021. We have run annual deficits of $3.1 trillion in 2020 and $2.8 trillion in 2021, and the scumbags in Washington just keep passing $700 billion spending bills, writing off student loan debts for gender fluidity majors and sending billions in weapons to the most corrupt regime on the planet – Ukraine. The degradation and downward trajectory of this empire of debt, delusion and despair can be most clearly defined by comparing our GDP growth since 1995 to the growth of debt by both our government and the populace. Total U.S. GDP in 1995 totaled $7.6 trillion and today checks in at $24.8 trillion. That is a growth of 326% over twenty-seven years. The national debt has grown by 626%. Seems unsustainable, but why question our glorious leaders. The Fed balance sheet has grown by 1,780%. Household debt has grown by 400%. Median household income in 1995 was $34,000. Today it is $73,000. That is a 214% increase over 27 years. With real inflation averaging between 5% and 10% per year during this time frame, average working Americans have seen their standard of living methodically decline, replacing the income with debt. The only beneficiaries of debt are the banking cabal and the mega-corporations selling their cheap Chinese crap to clueless dupes who believe driving a leased BMW and living in a cookie cutter McMansion with an $800,000 mortgage makes them wealthy. The selfie generation is too distracted checking in on Facebook, posting pictures of their food on Instagram, doing a dance routine on Tik Tok or counting their likes on Twitter to realize how badly they’ve been screwed over by those pulling the strings of this society. The propaganda and psychology of fear utilized by the powerful interests has reached a level that would make Edward Bernays burst with pride, as manipulating the masses to believe falsehoods is a key requirement in implementing their Great Reset agenda. This entire charade seems to be bursting at the seams, with raging inflation, a recession in process (despite Biden’s lackeys trying to redefine recession), a Green New Deal Great Reset agenda purposely creating energy and food shortages, government agencies running roughshod over the Constitution, and a tyrannical administration attempting to crush their political adversaries using any means necessary. Smiles are fading as we head into either a hyperinflationary depression or a deflationary depression, with some world war mixed in. The economic decay is easily provable, but our cultural and societal degeneration has exceeded our economic deterioration. Just as the Roman Empire exhibited particular traits of a dying culture, the American Empire displays similar characteristics, such as: concern with displaying affluence instead of building wealth; obsession with sex and perversions of sex; art becoming freakish and sensationalistic instead of creative and original; widening disparity between very rich and very poor; increased demand to live off the state. Of course, our dying culture has also been turbocharged by the climate cult attempting to destroy our fossil fueled economic system by purposely sabotaging our energy and food systems as the driving force for their Great Reset. Weaponizing the annual flu as a means to inject billions of people with a DNA altering, sometimes lethal, concoction is part of Bill Gates’ depopulation agenda. They have taken the sex and gender perversion to new levels of child abuse, grooming and mutilation. The rampant pedophilia and child trafficking by the global elitists is the most despicable aspect of our cultural degeneracy. Anyone with a conscious can no longer be proud of this country and should be desperately concerned about its future. “A growing sense of unease presently pervades the American consciousness. Americans are no longer as confident in their nation and self-assured as they once were. A sense of frustration and anger underscores American consciousness. Americans are looking over our shoulder at other emerging economic juggernauts and wondering if we can still be world’s social, political, and economic leader when Congress cannot even manage to balance the national budget. The thought that we are diminishing in stature in the eyes of the international community constantly torments Americans. Faded glory strikes a crippling blow to the American psyche. Analogous to an aging beauty queen, America might still possess a golden crown, but she lost her luster. In an eroding empire, Americans feel like second-class citizens in the union of nations.” ― Kilroy J. Oldster The terms modern and progress have become warped and used as an excuse for destroying localization, small businesses, what worked, what was good, and what benefitted society, replacing it with globalization, mega-corporations, complex technology, profits at any cost, and benefits accumulating to the few with suffering borne by the many. Two examples come to mind within a few miles from my home. Just a couple miles from the fading smile barn is a property that was once a thriving family farm. I snapped a picture last week as I was driving past. The decaying abandoned farmhouse, dilapidated barn, and rusting farm machinery are being engulfed by weeds, as the memories of a productive useful family farm fade like that yellow smiley face. I don’t know why it was abandoned, but I’m sure the corporate farming conglomerates and the corporate meat processing plants were a major factor. When you can buy cheap meat at Wal-Mart produced in China or some industrial farm, why pay a little more for fresh non-GMO meat sold by a local farmer? Gone are the roadside vegetable stands and buying fresh meat from your local farmer neighbor. Maybe the patriarch of the homestead got too old, and his sons had been indoctrinated by the government schools to get corporate jobs in some of the commercial office campuses that have replaced open space and farmland. Whatever the reason, it provokes melancholy about a better simpler time whenever I pass by. The governmental actions taken in the early 2000s still irk me to this day. The area around the intersection of Forty Foot Road and Sumneytown Pike in the late 1990s was still reminiscent of simpler times, before smart phones, hyper-consumerism, and proliferation of big box retail. Small businesses were important and viable. There was a family run diner near the turnpike entrance where all the locals ate breakfast and talked sports and politics. Township police were friendly, driving older basic vehicles and housed in a small unassuming one-story township building. Nicely kept older homes lined one side of Forty Foot Road and the other side was an eclectic mixture of old-time baseball fields, with no lights and little to no ground’s maintenance, and the old Henry Sprecht grade school, built in 1909 to honor a long-time educator and local historian, which had been replaced by newer schools and creatively repurposed into a quaint antiques mall. We spent many a summer evening watching my oldest son play little league baseball on those fields while trying to keep our four-year-old and three-year-old sons from getting into trouble. We loved wandering through that antiques mall as individual vendors selling all manner of antiques, hand crafted woodwork, baseball cards, toys, occupied nooks, and crannies in this ancient school. We bought a handcrafted cabinet by a local artisan for our kitchen, which we still employ today in our storage area. My fondest memory was at Christmas time when it would become a Christmas wonderland and I would take the boys there to see the spectacular miniature train show, where local train aficionados would set up amazing displays. The kids were mesmerized. There was also a family-owned home center in Hatfield called Snyder’s that sold everything for your home and also had a great train display at Christmas for kids to enjoy. All this unpretentious delight ended abruptly in the early 2000s, as progress, commercialization, and greed took hold of the country and our little community. As you may remember, Greenspan coined the term irrational exuberance in 1996 to describe financial markets, then turbocharged stocks by cutting rates, causing the bubble and responded to the stock market crash by cutting rates and causing the biggest real estate bubble in history, until now. These ephemeral paper riches caused local government bureaucrats to use phantom tax revenues to envision delusions of grandeur by building useless unnecessary projects. This is exactly what the government drones running Towamencin Township did. They produced a grand master plan, gave it a fancy name, spent tens of millions of our tax dollars, and produced an embarrassing mess. They used eminent domain to acquire homes, forced the dozens of small business owners out of the antique mall and flattened the building, closed off the baseball fields to little kids, and closed Forty Foot Road for over a year to build a glorious $13 million bridge to nowhere. This bridge stands as a tribute to all those Chinese ghost cities, as it serves no purpose except as an example of government incompetence, wastefulness, and misuse of taxpayer funds with no consequences for the government drones. Rather than wait for actual retail tenants to sign on to their glorious project, the government geniuses built the bridge knowing they would come. They never came. The real estate retail bubble popped. It’s now fifteen years later and those four baseball fields are still sitting there, untouched, undeveloped, and unused. They stuck a Walgreens where the charming antique mall once sat. No pedestrians cross the pedestrian bridge because there is nothing on either side. A four- story commercial building was built on spec a block from the bridge and stood vacant for five years. The family-owned Snyder’s home store was driven out of business by the Home Depot and Lowes built within a few miles. There are now cookie cutter townhouses where Snyder’s stood. Another successful retail center in the 1990s up the road, anchored by a family owned Genuardi supermarket and a Sears Hardware, along with a pizza place, drugstore, Blockbuster, and kids play center has been vacant and rotting for over a decade, as bankruptcies, mergers, and the relentless downward economic spiral made it untenable. In addition to wasting taxpayer money on the ghost bridge to nowhere, these financial government geniuses decided their police station built in 1975 no longer met the needs of their fast-growing police force in a township with no crime, because it is 88% white/Asian. They built themselves a complex three times the size of their old station. Lucky, because they now have a police force of 23 officers, all decked out with souped-up brand-new SUVs. You need that level of manpower and firepower for all those speed traps, fender benders and writing tickets for illegal basketball nets. There hasn’t been a major crime in Towamencin in over a decade, but the taxpayers pay over $1 million per year to be harassed and pay for their donut budget This level of government waste is happening in every locality and state in America. And the Feds put them all to shame with their corrupt, wasteful, traitorous spending, bribing, and war mongering across the globe, to the tune of trillions. The decline I’ve personally seen in my local community is not just a localized cancer but has metastasized across the land and around the globe. As our economic system accelerates towards inevitable implosion, either as a planned demolition or due to the hubris of central bankers, the fraying social fabric of our civilized society is unmistakable, as the moral state of our country has deteriorated to a level seen only in debauched empires on the brink of failure. The global elite and their moral depravity have engulfed the world, as their ravenous greed, insatiable appetite for dominion over the masses, immoral deceit, manipulative use of propaganda, and satanic decadence have created economic, social, political, and military distress across the globe. As Toynbee and Solzhenitsyn note, the lack of morality and courage among those who profess to be leaders has permeated throughout society, leading to a dearth of citizens taking civic responsibility for the path of the country. “Of the twenty-two civilizations that have appeared in history, nineteen of them collapsed when they reached the moral state the United States is in now.”― Arnold Joseph Toynbee “A decline in courage may be the most striking feature that an outside observer notices in the West today. The Western world has lost its civic courage. Such a decline in courage is particularly noticeable among the ruling and intellectual elite, causing an impression of a loss of courage by the entire society.” ― Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn We are a lost society, ruled by emotions, captured by technology, misinformed, uneducated, indifferent, fearful, passively accepting of whatever government and media tell them is true, and entranced by materialism funded by debt. We are a sick dying culture where common community standards, self-responsibility, hard work, kindness, and manners have been superseded by the worship of abnormality, celebration of degeneracy, living off the government, spreading hatred, and waging undeclared wars across the world. There is an empty shallowness to our civilization, with the vacuum filled with gadgets, pathetic displays of fake affluence, trivialities like social media, and superficial displays of virtue signaling regarding the latest woke craze shoved down our throats by those controlling the levers of society. There is an overwhelming feeling of hopelessness, fear, and foreboding mood of impending doom, as this Fourth Turning accelerates towards its bloody denouement. The aura of pessimism about the future and fear that our superpower status, only in existence since 1946, is rotting from within permeates the psychology of those actually willing to think critically and see what is really happening. The existing social order will be extinguished during the waning years of this Fourth Turning. We are in the interval between the decay of the old and formation of the new, whatever that may be. This transition will be one of uncertainty, turmoil, miscalculation, fanatical misrepresentations, war (civil & global), false prophets, bloodshed, and clear winners and losers. Decay and death of empires have happened for centuries and are necessary to expunge the excesses and abuses which always occur as empires expand and its leaders exhibit a hubristic arrogance towards their people and the world. “Just as floods replenish soil and fires rejuvenate forests, a Fourth Turning clears out society’s exhausted elements and creates an opportunity.” – The Fourth Turning It is hard to believe the prognostications of Strauss & Howe a quarter century ago, just after I moved to my community, could be so eerily accurate. But, when you are sure of the catalysts: debt, global disorder, and civic decay, the volcanic eruption of distress can only flow along certain channels, preordained by choices made over decades by our leaders and ourselves. “Imagine some national (and probably global) volcanic eruption, initially flowing along channels of distress that were created during the Unraveling era and further widened by the catalyst. Trying to foresee where the eruption will go once it bursts free of the channels is like trying to predict the exact fault line of an earthquake. All you know in advance is something about the molten ingredients of the climax, which could include the following: Economic distress, with public debt in default, entitlement trust funds in bankruptcy, mounting poverty and unemployment, trade wars, collapsing financial markets, and hyperinflation (or deflation) Social distress, with violence fueled by class, race, nativism, or religion and abetted by armed gangs, underground militias, and mercenaries hired by walled communities Political distress, with institutional collapse, open tax revolts, one-party hegemony, major constitutional change, secessionism, authoritarianism, and altered national borders Military distress, with war against terrorists or foreign regimes equipped with weapons of mass destruction”  This Fourth Turning has created tremendous distress in all four categories noted by Strauss & Howe. With over $200 trillion of unfunded liabilities, the country is already in default, but unwilling to admit it. The Social Security fund will run out of money in a few years. State and local pension funds are underfunded by trillions. With Powell and his minions in control, hyperinflation and deflationary depression are on the near-term horizon, with financial assets crashing once again, for the fourth time this century. The social distress has been initiated and promoted by the global elite through their complete control of the media propaganda outlets. They are attempting to spur violent upheaval, as this will give them the excuse to disarm and electronically imprison dissenters and Great Reset resisters. Class, race, religion, and gender are all being used to stoke unrest. The political distress is the biggest gaping wound in our national body today. If critical thinking individuals didn’t acknowledge the existence of a Deep State before, they surely can’t deny its existence now. It has existed for decades, but has been forced out into the open, as threats to their power and control multiply due to their arrogance, ineptitude, wickedness, and avarice. Anyone who dares to deviate from their directives and threatens their fiefdom is either killed, neutered, or destroyed (JFK, RFK, George Wallace, Perot, Assange, Trump). Russiagate, two impeachments, J6 witch trial, and now the rogue DOJ/FBI raid on Trump’s compound has driven the political stress to heights not seen since 1860. The desires of the globalist elites for a Great Reset into a new world order where you own nothing, and they own everything is the goal of all this engineered chaos. The military distress may be the most concerning and potentially most destructive aspect of this Fourth Turning as we enter the normally bloody phase. The flailing U.S. empire is provoking and stoking global conflict to keep feeding the Deep State military industrial complex. The Ukraine conflict was initiated by the U.S. in 2014 and is being used as a justification to fight Russia without getting our hands dirty. Continuing to poke the nuclear armed bear, has the potential to escalate the conflict to a point of no return. Throwing fuel on the fire by provoking China over Taiwan’s independence is irrationally reckless and the mark of a desperate empire seeing the sun setting on its 76-year reign as the one global superpower, and willing to risk global war in a fruitless effort to remain king. The U.S. can let its empire expire with a whimper (e.g. British Empire) or a bang. Based on their ham-handed, stumbling, absurd endeavors to maintain their dominance over the world, they have initiated global food and energy shortages, caused unbearable economic hardship upon the middle and lower classes, and have pushed the world to the brink of nuclear war with countries run by serious men. While we are supposedly led by an ancient fossil lost in a fog of dementia and unable to string two coherent sentences together, even with a teleprompter. Obama, the Deep State, and a plethora of diversity hire apparatchiks are really calling the shots. The smile has faded on this empire of debt, delusion, denial, and destruction, just as it has on the barn near my house. The coming trials will require levels of courage, fortitude, and sacrifice which many might think they are not capable of summoning, but we have no choice. You can’t sit out Fourth Turnings. Sides will need to be chosen and life or death decisions made. The future of this country and the world hang in the balance. Choosing your allies and forming local communities of like-minded people with the skills to survive and thrive in the world created after the coming conflict is resolved, is all you can do at this point. Preparation may not be enough, but not preparing guarantees a bad outcome for you and your family. Whatever you do, put absolutely no faith in any government solution to our predicament. They are the enemy and you can’t vote your way out of this. Tyler Durden Tue, 08/23/2022 - 16:20.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeAug 23rd, 2022