Friday, July 20, 2018

Greg Hunter, "Weekly News Wrap-Up 7/20/18"

"Weekly News Wrap-Up 7/20/18"
By Greg Hunter’s

"Putin dropped a bomb in the recent Trump/Putin meeting in Helsinki, Finland. Putin charged that an investment fund manager named Bill Browder (a British citizen) took $1.5 billion out of Russia and that he (and others) made the money illegally. On top of that, Putin charged that some U.S. Intelligence Officers helped guide “$400 million as a contribution to the campaign (2016) of Hillary Clinton.” Putin suggested Russian authorities want a deal to talk to Browder. Trump has turned down Putin, but shouldn’t the U.S. ask some questions? Don’t expect the disinformation scam that is the mainstream media (MSM) to ask the hard questions because FOX and MSNBC would only get Browder’s reaction to Trump turning down the Putin request. NOBODY would ask about the $400 million that Putin says was sent via U.S. Intel Officers to the Clinton Campaign. Not asking that question of Browder, when you have him on camera for an interview, is too stupid to be stupid.

The Deep State and their MSM partners are going hysterical because of the meeting with Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin. They are calling Trump a traitor, but they know it’s a fake and phony charge. The real reason for the hysteria is they know that the Deep State is in deep trouble, and they are trying anything they can to discredit him and cast doubt. Trump is not afraid and has announced another meeting with Putin. The Deep State wanted war between the U.S. and Russia, and it looks like peace is breaking out instead. The Deep State, MSM, Democrats and RINO’s are panicked that Russia and America are working together against the New World Order and the Deep State.

Warren Buffett’s bank, Wells Fargo, is in trouble again for ripping off its customers. Why do they keep doing this sort of thing? Could it be the bank needs money anyway it can get it?"

"Join Greg Hunter as he gives his analysis on
 the week’s top stories in the Weekly News Wrap-Up."

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Musical Interlude: Elton John, “Your Starter For”

Elton John, “Your Starter For”

"A Look to the Heavens"

“The southern part of Orion, the famous constellation and mythical hunter, appears quite picturesque posing here over a famous volcano. Located in the Canary Islands off the northwest coast of Africa, the snow-peaked Teide is one of the largest volcanoes on Earth.
Click image for larger size.
In this composite of exposures taken from the same location one night last month, the three iconic belt stars of Orion are seen just above the peak, while the famous Orion Nebula and the rest of Orion's sword are visible beyond the volcano's left slope. Also visible in the long duration sky image are the Horsehead Nebula, seen as a dark indentation on the red emission nebula to the belt's left, and the Flame Nebula, evident just above and to the right of the Horsehead.”

"All The Woulda-Coulda-Shouldas..."


"Is there an answer to the question of why bad things happen to good people? The response would be… to forgive the world for not being perfect, to forgive God for not making a better world, to reach out to the people around us, and to go on living despite it all, no longer asking why something happened, but asking how we will respond, what we intend to do now that it has happened."
- Harold S. Kushner

A Timely Repost: "Neuroscience Says Listening to This Song Reduces Anxiety by Up to 65 Percent"

"Neuroscience Says Listening to This Song Reduces Anxiety by Up to 65 Percent"
By Melanie Curtin

"Everyone knows they need to manage their stress. When things get difficult at work, school, or in your personal life, you can use as many tips, tricks, and techniques as you can get to calm your nerves. So here's a science-backed one: make a playlist of the 10 songs found to be the most relaxing on earth. Sound therapies have long been popular as a way of relaxing and restoring one's health. For centuries, indigenous cultures have used music to enhance well-being and improve health conditions.

Now, neuroscientists out of the UK have specified which tunes give you the most bang for your musical buck. The study was conducted on participants who attempted to solve difficult puzzles as quickly as possible while connected to sensors. The puzzles induced a certain level of stress, and participants listened to different songs while researchers measured brain activity as well as physiological states that included heart rate, blood pressure, and rate of breathing.

According to Dr. David Lewis-Hodgson of Mindlab International, which conducted the research, the top song produced a greater state of relaxation than any other music tested to date. In fact, listening to that one song- "Weightless"- resulted in a striking 65 percent reduction in participants' overall anxiety, and a 35 percent reduction in their usual physiological resting rates. That is remarkable.

Equally remarkable is the fact the song was actually constructed to do so. The group that created "Weightless", Marconi Union, did so in collaboration with sound therapists. Its carefully arranged harmonies, rhythms, and bass lines help slow a listener's heart rate, reduce blood pressure and lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

When it comes to lowering anxiety, the stakes couldn't be higher. Stress either exacerbates or increases the risk of health issues like heart disease, obesity, depression, gastrointestinal problems, asthma, and more. More troubling still, a recent paper out of Harvard and Stanford found health issues from job stress alone cause more deaths than diabetes, Alzheimer's, or influenza.

In this age of constant bombardment, the science is clear: if you want your mind and body to last, you've got to prioritize giving them a rest. Music is an easy way to take some of the pressure off of all the pings, dings, apps, tags, texts, emails, appointments, meetings, and deadlines that can easily spike your stress level and leave you feeling drained and anxious.

Of the top track, Dr. David Lewis-Hodgson said, "'Weightless' was so effective, many women became drowsy and I would advise against driving while listening to the song because it could be dangerous." So don't drive while listening to these, but do take advantage of them:

10. "We Can Fly," by Rue du Soleil (Café Del Mar)
9. "Canzonetta Sull'aria," by Mozart
8. "Someone Like You," by Adele
7. "Pure Shores," by All Saints
6. "Please Don't Go," by Barcelona
5. "Strawberry Swing," by Coldplay
4. "Watermark," by Enya
2. "Electra," by Airstream
1. "Weightless," by Marconi Union

I made a public playlist of all of them on Spotify that runs about 50 minutes (it's also downloadable)."

"The Difference Between Stress And Burnout"

"The Difference Between Stress And Burnout"
by Kari Henley

"Clearly the stress barometer in our country, and around the world, is escalating. The reaction to the deteriorating economy are moving from shock and fear, into anger and rage, and the high hopes of "Yes We Can" have deteriorated into, "Is this ever going to end?" (Well, no, not really, since it's all a transitional process. And it will not "end" well, at all... -CP)

Research shows that some stress is important in our lives. It keeps us on our toes, helps to strive toward goals, and makes us feel alive. The hormones related to feeling stressed are designed to get us out of danger - like a fire or enemy attack. Yet the body will also surge adrenaline when driving down the highway and some jerk cuts you off. Stress hormones are not selective - they activate whether the threat is perceived or real. We are not meant to be living with the pedal to the metal 24/7 - and we are pushing our proverbial panic buttons far more than is healthy to maintain.

If stress continues to operate at full scale for an extended period of time, there is an increased risk of burnout. What is burnout? I have taught classes on stress and burnout, with Ceridian development experts who define burnout as: "a constant depletion of mental, physical and emotional energy - without expected or real needs being met."

Burnout is a normal response to putting out too much effort, without taking in what you need to balance and restore yourself. Signs of burnout include feeling overwhelmed with things that used to be exciting, thinking work or personal problems will never end, or having a pit in your stomach of constant dread. When too much of life is draining and not enough is fulfilling, a sense of hopelessness creeps in.

How many of you feel burned out at the end of the day? Studies show well over half of us do- in a steady economy. I have not yet found data for the increase in numbers of disability cases related to burnout and stress. Burnout happens with over commitment, or unrealistic expectations that lead to a feeling of powerlessness or hopelessness. Periods of stress can last for a while without long term affects, but burnout is a more serious and chronic condition. The good news: burnout is preventable - if warning signs are recognized, and actions taken to reverse the cycle.

Some of the physical symptoms of burnout are: low energy, muscle tension, headaches, digestive disorders, frequent colds, or changes in sleep patterns. Mentally, symptoms include feeling inadequate, overwhelmed, loss of meaning, bored, frustrated, sad, irritable, unappreciated or trapped. The outcomes of these symptoms can include withdrawal, increased sick days, accidents, crying or increased used of alcohol or food to self soothe.

Burnout is a cycle of negative emotions, withdrawal and paralysis. Getting out of a crash course with burnout requires putting your hands back on the steering wheel, realigning with your personal vision, surrounding yourself with support, and making time for humor. Here are a few tips for reducing burnout:

Clear the Clutter - both in your office and in your head: One of the first steps is echoed in the uprising of personal organizers- clear the clutter! There must be a reason that helping people organize their "stuff" has become a recognized and valued profession. The clutter of emails, paperwork, projects and obsessive to do lists, increases stress, and is an easy place to start. There is a great relief to tackling one small project, when the world seems overwhelming.

Stop Eating Crap - Believe me, when I am stressed out, Snickers bars and Starbucks are my best friend. It is hard to cozy up to a chopped salad and lemon water, but your body will thank you for it later.

Walk - How many of us take about 15 minutes to park at the grocery store circling round and round to get a spot right up front? Jeez. Park in the back, walk a bit during lunch, get up a few minutes early and walk around the block. Nothing strenuous, just breathe some fresh air and clear the mental cobwebs.

Take a One Minute Vacation! - This is one of my favorites as a stress management tool that can be done literally anywhere- in your car at the beginning and end of each day, in the elevator before meeting the boss, or at your desk before answering a rousing email.

Here's how it works: close your eyes and think of your absolute most favorite vacation spot - it can be a lovely white sand beach, a gorgeous mountain path by a stream, or rocking on a chair at the family's cabin in the woods. Choose a spot and sharpen it's image in your mind's eye. Check out all the details you may not have remembered. Now turn on the sound: notice what background noises are present in this place. How about the sensation of the temperature on your skin? How does it feel to fully surround yourself with a favorite place?

Once all the "dials" have been set, give yourself a full 60 seconds to enjoy it - literally set a timer on your watch or cell phone! I guarantee if you try this exercise at home, you will be amazed at how LONG one minute actually feels. I have taught this many times, and afterwards, everyone blinks their eyes as if they had a long sleep, yawns, stretches and have a softness to their faces - it works!

Burnout Management for the Girls vs. the Boys: New research in brain development show that men and women react to stress differently. Men usually respond with the classic "fight or flight" response, and can reduce stress by engaging in some sort of activity. Cleaning out the garage, fixing a broken appliance or taking a long bike ride are classic examples of letting off some steam.

For women, finding ways to trigger oxytocin is the fastest way to reduce symptoms of stress, rather than the "fight or flight" tricks, they need more of the "tend and befriend." Women often need to talk, sort, clean, cook, or nurture in some way to feel balanced and calm.

If you have a friend who appears to be on the fast track to burnout - be compassionate. Lend a hand, offer to help. We're all in this together and our country has too much on the line to lose momentum, or hope."

"The Proper Function Of Man..."

"I would rather be ashes than dust! I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry rot. I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet. The proper function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them. I shall use my time."
- Jack London

Musical Interlude: 2002, "Where the Stars and Moon Play"

2002, "Where the Stars and Moon Play"

The Daily "Near You?

Click image for larger size.
Norfolk, Virginia, USA. Thanks for stopping by!

"Finding Our Way Back..."

“Biology says that we are who we are from birth. That our DNA is set in stone. Unchangeable. Our DNA doesn't account for all of us though, we're human. Life changes us. We develop new traits. Become less territorial. We start competing. We learn from our mistakes. We face our greatest fears. For better or worse, we find ways to become more than our biology. The risk of course is that we can change too much to the point where we don't recognize ourselves. Finding our way back can be difficult. There's no compass, no map. We just have to close our eyes, take a step, and hope to God we get there.”
- “Meredith”, “Grey’s Anatomy”

X22 Report, "This Is How The Central Banks Are Covering Up The Next Collapse"

X22 Report, "This Is How The Central Banks Are Covering Up The Next Collapse"
X22 Report, "The Deep State Is Surrounded, They Are Preparing Their Next Move"

Gregory Mannarino, "Post Market Wrap Up 7/19/18: It's OFFICIALLY A TRADE WAR"

Gregory Mannarino, "Post Market Wrap Up 7/19/18:

"Their Most Precious Possession..."

"Any formal attack on ignorance is bound to fail because the masses are 
always ready to defend their most precious possession - their ignorance. "   
Hendrik Willem van Loon

The Poet: Charles Mackay, "Differences"


"The king can drink the best of wine -
So can I; 
And has enough when he would dine - 
So have I; 
And can not order rain or shine -
Nor can I. 
Then where’s the difference - let me see - 
Betwixt my lord the king and me?
If happy I and wretched he, 
Perhaps the king would change with me."

- Charles Mackay (1859)

"How It Really Is"

"The Bamboozle..."

"One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we've been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We're no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It's simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we've been taken. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back." 
 - Carl Sagan

Free Download: Charles Mackay, "'Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds"

"Every age has its peculiar folly: Some scheme, project, or fantasy into which it plunges, spurred on by the love of gain, the necessity of excitement, or the force of imitation. Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one."
- Charles Mackay

"'Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds" is an early study of crowd psychology by Scottish journalist Charles Mackay, first published in 1841. The book chronicles its subjects in three parts: "National Delusions", "Peculiar Follies", and "Philosophical Delusions". MacKay was an accomplished teller of stories, though he wrote in a journalistic and somewhat sensational style.

The subjects of Mackay's debunking include alchemy, crusades, duels, economic bubbles, fortune-telling, haunted houses, the Drummer of Tedworth, the influence of politics and religion on the shapes of beards and hair, magnetizers (influence of imagination in curing disease), murder through poisoning, prophecies, popular admiration of great thieves, popular follies of great cities, and relics. Present-day writers on economics, such as Michael Lewis and Andrew Tobias, laud the three chapters on economic bubbles. Scientist and astronomer Carl Sagan mentioned the book in his own discussion about pseudoscience, popular delusions, and hoaxes.

In later editions, Mackay added a footnote referencing the Railway Mania of the 1840s as another "popular delusion" which was at least as important as the South Sea Bubble. Mathematician Andrew Odlyzko has pointed out, in a published lecture, that Mackay himself played a role in this economic bubble; as leader writer in the Glasgow Argus, Mackay wrote on 2 October 1845: "There is no reason whatever to fear a crash."

Freely download "Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds"

"West Coast Cities Struggle With An Unprecedented Surge In Homelessness"

"West Coast Cities Struggle With
 An Unprecedented Surge In Homelessness"
by Michael Snyder

"Even though it has always been kind of crazy, at one time Portland, Oregon was quite an attractive place to live, but now those days are long gone. Today, the city streets are strewn with garbage, drug paraphernalia and human feces. Mentally ill homeless people and drug addicts wander about like zombies, and there are certain areas of the city that you absolutely do not want to visit at night. In essence, the city is slowly becoming a post-apocalyptic version of its former self, and those that love the city are seething with frustration. Of course Portland is simply experiencing the same surge in homelessness that so many other west coast cities are struggling to deal with. As housing prices have risen dramatically, many on the lower end of the income scale have been priced out of the market entirely, and an increasing number of people are being forced to sleep in vehicles, in shelters or on the streets.

The president of the police union in Portland has had enough. His officers are overwhelmed by the needs of the homeless on a nightly basis, and he is calling on the mayor to finally do something to resolve this crisis. The following is the first paragraph from a statement that PPA President Daryl Turner just released: "Our City has become a cesspool. Livability that once made Portland a unique and vibrant city is now replaced with human feces in businesses doorways, in our parks, and on our streets. Aggressive panhandlers block the sidewalks, storefronts, and landmarks like Pioneer Square, discouraging people from enjoying our City. Garbage-filled RVs and vehicles are strewn throughout our neighborhoods. Used needles, drug paraphernalia, and trash are common sights lining the streets and sidewalks of the downtown core area, under our bridges, and freeway overpasses. That’s not what our families, business owners, and tourists deserve."

If that sounds familiar, that is because many other west coast cities are dealing with the exact same issues right now. For example, new San Francisco Mayor London Breed recently admitted that there “is more feces on the sidewalks than I’ve ever seen”“There is more feces on the sidewalks than I’ve ever seen growing up here,” Breed told KNTV. “That is a huge problem and we are not just talking about from dogs - we’re talking about from humans.”

The streets of San Francisco are littered with a “dangerous mix of drug needles, garbage, and feces”, KNTV’s investigative team reported in February after surveying the city’s streets. And a lot of other San Francisco residents have noticed the exact same thing. In fact, during one recent seven day period 16,000 complaints were submitted to the city about human feces. Sounds like a great place to live, right?

It is important to keep in mind that San Francisco supposedly has a “booming economy” and some of the highest real estate prices in the entire nation. If this is happening in a “prosperous area”, what are things like in major cities where things are not so prosperous?

Down in L.A., there was a nearly 26 percent increase in homelessness in 2017, and overall homelessness in L.A. has risen 75 percent over the past 6 years.

Let that sink in for a moment.

During this supposed “economy recovery”, our second largest city has seen homelessness go up 75 percent. Sadly, it is estimated that 25 percent of the nation’s entire homeless population now lives in California: "While it’s tough to say precisely how many Californians are experiencing homelessness, the federal Housing and Urban Development Department estimates the number statewide at 130,000 on a given night. That’s 25 percent of the entire nation’s homeless population. Since 2016, California experienced a larger increase in homelessness than any other state.

At one time, L.A.’s “skid row” was limited to a single street, but now it goes on mile after mile.  I just have to share with you the following excerpt from an excellent article about what life is like for those living on this famous stretch of real estate: "Most of its 2,000 residents sleep in tents or under tarps. Those with more status occupy the sides of streets shaded by trees. Location, location, location. The lowest caste sleep on cardboard or nothing. Some people rent tents for a few bucks a night.

There are no liquor stores so businessmen buy alcohol from shops a few miles away and sell it at a steep mark-up. Loan sharks collect debts by taking control of the debit cards issued to homeless people by government agencies.

A guy sits at a table on the sidewalk selling cigarettes and joints. The city has installed sidewalk restrooms. Ruffin pointed to one and figured people inside were shooting up or smoking. Meth, heroin and crack are the scourges of choice. Needles litter the gutter, as does a dead rat. On another block, homeless entrepreneurs chop and assemble bicycles for sale."

And let us not forget about Seattle. Homeless encampments have become so pervasive in “the Emerald City” that authorities started building “tiny house villages” for the homeless out of desperation. But these “tiny house villages” are a lot more depressing than they sound: "In the nearby neighborhood of Wallingford, a newly erected outpost of small wooden shacks offer shelter for 22 of Seattle’s homeless residents. This is a “tiny house village,” sanctioned by the city as a kind of middle ground between living at a street address and on the street. The buildings sit in the corner of a parking lot across from a seafood restaurant, shielded from view by a metal fence. Each shack, painted with one of the bold colors of a Crayola starter pack, offers electricity and a roof sturdier than the tents in Seattle’s increasingly common homeless encampments. Every resident is issued a window fan for the occasional hot day, and the people here hope to receive heaters before winter. But the small collections of potted petunias and pothos that sit in front of their temporary homes are unlikely to survive the city’s harshest months."

Unfortunately, this is probably only just the beginning of this crisis. Homelessness always explodes during a recession, and many believe that we are rapidly approaching another one. West coast cities are really struggling to deal with this crisis right now, and it is hard to imagine how they will deal with the tsunami of human suffering that is coming their way once economic conditions begin to sour."

Well, yes, I do understand, as some frequently remind me, "That could 
never happen here!" Or to YOU, personally, right Good Citizen? Right?
Don't be so sure... And if it did... what?

"A Clear Possibility..."

“When a population becomes distracted by trivia, when cultural life is redefined as a perpetual round of entertainments, when serious public conversation becomes a form of baby-talk, when, in short, a people become an audience, and their public business a vaudeville act, then a nation finds itself at risk; culture-death is a clear possibility.”
- Neil Postman, "Amusing Ourselves To Death"

Full text of "Amusing Ourselves To Death", By Neil Postman, is here:

"Deep State Turns on Trump"

"Deep State Turns on Trump"
by Bill Bonner

YOUGHAL, IRELAND – "We left off yesterday with a provocative question: Has Trump really gone to war with the Deep State? Or was he just mouthing off in Helsinki… off message… and out of control? There are a couple more hypotheses, too… but we’ll get to them in a moment.

Off the Reservation: Even some of Mr. Trump’s dearest supporters seemed to think Mr. Trump he has gone too far off the reservation. Newt Gingrich, for example, seemed to suggest that the president needed to edit his transcript: “It is the most serious mistake of his presidency and must be corrected – immediately,” he tweeted.

And here is Dan Coats, the president’s own Director of National Intelligence, sticking to the Russians-are-bad-guys trope and referring to allegations of election interference: "These actions are persistent, they are pervasive, and they are meant to undermine America’s democracy."

From Senator John McCain: "He and Putin seemed to be reading from the same script…"

And here is Indiana Representative Jim Banks: "I want President Trump’s diplomatic efforts to be successful, but I’ll take the word of a Hoosier over Vladimir Putin any day."

Who-Dunnit: The word he was taking was what U.S. intelligence agencies were putting out – that is to say, the word of Deep State operatives. Their claim was that Russia hacked into U.S. computers, specifically the systems of the Democratic National Committee, to try to influence the presidential election of 2016. We bring the Deep State into the conversation because it may turn out to be the “who” in this “who-dunnit.”

Regular readers will remember that the Deep State is the loose collection of special interests… government insiders… and financial elites that control the country. Remember, too, that Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto described how all governments are taken over by the “foxes” – aka the Deep State – smart, elite insiders who use the power of the state for their own purposes.

The Deep State is the major beneficiary of the Warfare State, the Welfare State, and the Police State. And if Donald J. Trump really was a threat to any of them, the insiders had a better motive than the Russians for wanting to slow him down.

Besides, U.S. intelligence agencies had much more money to work with… much more talent to draw on… and many more opportunities to get up to mischief. That’s why some analysts believe that the mischief at the heart of the Russiagate story was more likely gotten up to by U.S. spooks rather than foreign ones.

Two retired NSA and CIA analysts, William Binney and Ray McGovern, with a combined 63 years of experience, came forward over the weekend and made an astounding charge. They said the hack – made by a program called “Guccifer” – was almost certainly an inside job, carried out by America’s own intelligence professionals and made to look like a Russian job. Want to know where Guccifer came from? “Ask the FBI,” proposed the two intelligence experts.

Trimmed Wings: In the last half-century – since Eisenhower spoke out and JFK was assassinated – no president has ever seriously challenged the Deep State. There was one brief moment, early in the Reagan administration, when it looked as though the feds’ wings might be trimmed. Our colleague, David Stockman – who, as President Reagan’s budget advisor, had the clippers in his hands – tells the tale in his marvelous memoir, "The Triumph of Politics: Why the Reagan Revolution Failed."

Writing on the inner workings of The Swamp, David recalls: "More than anything else, I was struck by the dramatic contrast between how hard and with what care, pride, and discipline the nation’s citizens worked to earn our national income and wealth on the one hand, and the feckless, inconsistent, and muddled manner in which it was shunted around the halls of Washington on the other."

But there was never any effort to restrain the deepest elements of the Deep State – the military and the spooks. And despite initial successes – budget and tax cuts – the insiders were soon back in control, and Stockman left Washington. By the end of its second term, the Reagan administration had added more spending and more debt than any previous administration.

Here at the Diary, we don’t trust Hoosiers or Putin. After all, Mike Pence is from Indiana. And when Donald Trump says, “I’d rather take a political risk in search of peace than risk peace in the name of politics,” it makes sense to us. But Deep State warmongers can’t stand peace; it endangers their supply lines. In the absence of a real enemy, huge wealth transfers to the Warfare and Police States make no sense.

Reagan got bamboozled into big “defense” increases because he feared communism. The Warfare State hawks and intelligence insiders lit up his imagination with images of Soviet hordes streaming across Europe… infesting Latin America… and rolling tanks towards Singapore. We found out a few years later that it was all nonsense. The Soviet Union could not even hold itself together, let alone attack the world’s number one military power. Besides, communism is a self-correcting malady.

(In the late 1980s, another of our colleagues, who had been working with former CIA director William Colby, predicted that the Soviet Union would soon go out of business. He was dismissed and laughed at, not only by the mainstream media, but by Washington’s security professionals. The Soviet state collapsed a few years later.)

Kompromat: So what is going on? We don’t know, of course. But we’ll take some guesses. Senator Chuck Schumer and The Washington Post wonder whether Putin has something on the U.S. president – a kompromat. Did he do something naughty with hookers? Does he owe the Russians a lot of money?

Anything is possible… but it is even more likely that the Deep State has something on Mr. Trump, as it might have on almost everyone. So the “hidden-motive hypothesis” could go either way. And Mr. Trump is no fool. He’s not really going to enter a serious, protracted war with the Deep State. If he did, he would soon be isolated… marginalized… driven out of town… or worse.

He has already made peace with the Warfare, Welfare, and Police States. What would he gain from stirring up trouble now? The best hypothesis is probably the most obvious one: The Helsinki meeting was just another episode in Mr. Trump’s reality TV show. The ratings were great. Nothing else matters much. Business as usual. Bankruptcy and depression still lie ahead.:

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Musical Interlude: Kevin Kern, "Out of the Darkness, Into the Light"

Kevin Kern, "Out of the Darkness, Into the Light"

"A Look to the Heavens"

Young suns still lie within dusty NGC 7129, some 3,000 light-years away toward the royal constellation Cepheus. While these stars are at a relatively tender age, only a few million years old, it is likely that our own Sun formed in a similar stellar nursery some five billion years ago. Most noticeable in the sharp image are the lovely bluish dust clouds that reflect the youthful starlight. But the compact, deep red crescent shapes are also markers of energetic, young stellar objects. 
Click image for larger size.
Known as Herbig-Haro objects, their shape and color is characteristic of glowing hydrogen gas shocked by jets streaming away from newborn stars. Paler, extended filaments of reddish emission mingling with the bluish clouds are caused by dust grains effectively converting the invisible ultraviolet starlight to visible red light through photoluminesence. Ultimately the natal gas and dust in the region will be dispersed, the stars drifting apart as the loose cluster orbits the center of the Galaxy. The processing of this remarkable composite image has revealed the faint red strands of emission at the upper right. They are recently recognized as a likely supernova remnant and are currently being analyzed by Bo Reipurth (Univ. Hawaii) who obtained the image data at the Subaru telescope. At the estimated distance of NGC 7129, this telescopic view spans over 40 light-years.”

"All Has Passed..."

"All that threatened the cave man- dangers, darkness,
 famine, thirst, ghosts, demons- all has passed to the interior 
of our souls, all troubles us, grieves us, threatens us from inside."
- E. Morin

"Those Monsters..."

"We are in the hands of those gods, 
those monsters, those giants: our thoughts."
- Victor Hugo

"Just Remember..."

"I know the world seems terrifying right now and the future seems bleak. Just remember human beings have always managed to find the greatest strength within themselves during the darkest hours. When faced with the worst horrors the world has to offer, a person either cracks and succumbs to ugliness, or they salvage the inner core of who they are and fight to right wrongs. Never let hatred, fear, and ignorance get the best of you. Keep bettering yourself so you can make the world around you better, for nothing can improve without the brightest, bravest, kindest, and most imaginative individuals rising above the chaos."
- Cat Winters

"The Quacking of Ducks"

"The Quacking of Ducks"
by Eric Peters

"Here’s the trouble. Most people can’t read… and so, can’t think. Not quite literally, perhaps. But, meaningfully. They have been taught– very deliberately– to be sloppy and fluid with words. A given word has a vague, constantly shifting meaning– that meaning transmitted and accepted by a kind of semi-conscious collective osmosis. You “get the drift”– and the word is henceforth used accordingly. It is not necessary to formally announce the new meaning. It just sort of happens.

Examples include liberal and fascist. A liberal was once a person who believed that people ought to be let alone; that government, if it has any role in human affairs, ought to have a very minimal and background role. That it was tyrannical to control other people, to interfere in their lives, to deprive them of their property, to compel them to fund things they abhorred. Thomas Jefferson was a liberal in this sense. We all know what is meant by “liberal” today. It is not Thomas Jefferson.

What about “fascist”? It is among the most inaccurately used words in the language. Trump was derided as a fascist for criticizing open borders – and (key thing) open-ended federal entitlements. In other words, it is racist– the new meaning of “fascist”– to object to or even question “helping” (another much-abused word) random strangers from other countries who are helping themselves (with help from the government) to the contents of our wallets.

But “fascism”– properly defined– is simply the marriage of Big Business and Big Government. Which Trump may represent– but his recent opponent (the not-“racist”) represented far more virulently. What, for example, could be more textbook fascist than the partnering of the privately-owned/for profit health insurance cartels with the government? The former using the power of the state to compel people to do business with it?

Fascism is Big Business helping itself to the contents of our wallets, with the “help” of Big Government. The car industry and Wall Street bail-outs are further textbook examples of fascism– but that meaning (the proper meaning) isn’t used because it doesn’t serve the purposes of the ruling entente. The new– political– meaning, on the other hand, does.

Question the economic sanity (let alone the morality) of not merely inviting the huddled masses of the world to come to the New World but of “helping” them with increasingly dwindling resources and you are a fascist. That is, a racist. You do not like certain people on account of their ethnicity– and actively seek to harm them. Even though you don’t and aren’t. You just want them out of your wallet. Very effective at stifling discussion. A kind of linguistic photon torpedo aimed at people who aren’t racists– but who do object to having their pockets picked.

Incoherence reigns.

What is a “conservative”? Does anyone know? Is there a defining principle that can be used to identify one? Beats me. It seems a “conservative” can be pretty much anyone who says he is one– from a George W. Bush authoritarian (and much closer to actual fascism) to the “kindler, gentler” sort his father claimed to be. They want “less” government – but not really. Support “freedom”… to do as they think you ought to. It is a very big tent, indeed.

When words have no meaning– or their meaning is fluid– thought becomes impossible. In its place, reaction. People are taught to be instinctive rather than reflective. To respond emotionally to certain triggers. Thus, if you are on the political left, you will respond in a certain very predictable way when the word “choice” is uttered. Even though choice is entirely peripheral to the issue at hand. (For purposes of this discussion, I am not going to debate the moral rightness– or wrongness– of terminating a pregnancy. I merely point out that the issue is precisely that. Not “choice.”)

The government has co-opted terms such as “market” and “customer.” But markets– properly defined– are defined by free exchange, which means one is free to not exchange. When government is involved, that is never an option. Just as it is etymologically abusive to speak of people being “customers” of state organs such as the IRS and the DMV, which one must do “business” with.

Few people raise their hands– or even stop to think about this. It just sort of seeps into the general consciousness and becomes the unspoken basis for conversation. Which is exactly what is desired. To abort certain lines of thought before they even form into thoughts. To channel consciousness along certain lines only.

More than 2,400 years ago, in ancient Greece, Aristotle laid the foundation of Western civilization on the principle that a thing is what it is. A is A. It cannot be something else. A cannot also be B. To topple Western civilization, it was necessary to render the mind of the West no longer able to make this distinction. To accept that A can also be B. Or, C. Or any of them.

It is why people– most of them– can no longer speak coherently about such things as slavery and theft. Because these words no longer have meaning. Or rather, they have fluid meanings. It is not– according to modern usage– theft to have your neighbor’s property taken for your purposes when his property is taken by others acting on your behalf under color of law. It is only theft when you actually do the taking yourself.

You are not allowed to own another human being. Meaning, to force him to work for your benefit, deprive him of his freedom to act, dictate to him how he will live, even to the extent of what he may and may not do with his own body. But the government does all these things routinely. Legally.

It happens because A is no longer A. Because people can’t read. And so, can no longer think."