Sunday, March 18, 2018

"One Wanders Through Life..."

"One wanders through life as if wandering through a field in the dark of night, 
wearing a blindfold and very heavy shoes, with a poisonous toad waiting patiently
beneath a clump of weeds, knowing full well that eventually you will step on him."
 ~ Lemony Snicket

"How Totalitarians Weaponize Loneliness"

"How Totalitarians Weaponize Loneliness"
by Jon Miltimore

"Thinkers as early as Aristotle observed that man is, by nature, a social creature. For this reason, there has been a surge of media attention on the “loneliness plague” which the Information Age has wrought.

Most media attention has focused on the health consequences of loneliness, which stand to overwhelm government health systems in the coming years. A popular article in The Guardian written by George Monbiot a few years ago explained all the ways loneliness is killing people-literally. “Ebola is unlikely ever to kill as many people as this disease strikes down. Social isolation is as potent a cause of early death as smoking 15 cigarettes a day; loneliness, research suggests, is twice as deadly as obesity. Dementia, high blood pressure, alcoholism and accidents- all these, like depression, paranoia, anxiety and suicide, become more prevalent when connections are cut. We cannot cope alone.”

Far less attention has been paid to the social and political consequences of loneliness. (A notable exception, of course, is Harvard political scientist Robert Putnam, whose 2001 book "Bowling Alone" focused on the decline of community and social capital in America.)  

But it would be a mistake to overlook the effects loneliness has on political systems. In her classic work "The Origins of Totalitarianism," the philosopher Hannah Arendt described loneliness as “the common ground for terror” and “the essence of totalitarian government.”

What Is Loneliness? Arendt differentiated loneliness from mere isolation or the absence of people. (Cicero, after all, noted that Cato “was never less alone than when alone.”) This distinction was first explored by the philosopher Epictetus, the Greek Stoic who was born a slave. Both he and Arendt suggest that solitude and loneliness are quite different; in fact, they are opposites.

Epictetus believed that being alone (monos) was actually a form of independence. The lonely man (eremos), however, is one surrounded by people with whom he cannot establish contact.

This distinction is a bit abstract. But Arendt offers an effective description of loneliness in a passage from "The Origins of Totalitarianism": “What makes loneliness so unbearable is the loss of one's own self which can be realized in solitude, but confirmed in its identity only by the trusting and trustworthy company of my equals. In this situation, man loses trust in himself as the partner of his thoughts and that elementary confidence in the world which is necessary to make experiences at all. Self and world, capacity for thought and experience are lost at the same time.”

What we see here is that, according to Arendt, loneliness is not the absence of people but an absence of self-identity, which is attained through companionship and community. But loneliness is preceded by social isolation, and it is in this first stage of isolation where the first seeds of terror and totalitarianism are sewn, Arendt said. 

“Terror can rule absolutely only over men who are isolated against each other… Therefore, one of the primary concerns of all tyrannical government is to bring this isolation about. Isolation may be the beginning of terror; it certainly is its most fertile ground; it always is its result. This isolation is, as it were, pre-totalitarian; its hallmark is impotence insofar as power always comes from men acting together…; isolated men are powerless by definition.”

Eventually, Arendt said, this isolation devolves into loneliness, a condition that goes beyond the political realm and corrodes the soul of man. “In isolation, man remains in contact with the world as the human artifice; only when the most elementary form of human creativity, which is the capacity to add something of one’s own to the common world, is destroyed, isolation becomes altogether unbearable… Isolation then becomes loneliness.

While isolation concerns only the political realm of life, loneliness concerns human life as a whole. Totalitarian government, like all tyrannies, certainly could not exist without destroying the public realm of life, that is, without destroying, by isolating men, their political capacities.”

A Warning Sign for America: Arendt’s comments are a bit alarming since the destruction of the public realm is precisely what America has experienced in the last 40 years. In "Bowling Alone", Putnam detailed the degree to which Americans have become disengaged from political and civic life. This includes declines in public meeting attendance, service on committees, and engagement with political parties. Participation in civic organizations ranging from the PTA, Boy Scouts, Red Cross, Freemasons, Kiwanis, and Knights of Columbus also plummeted.  

And what about churches, the backbone of American community and civic engagement? Putnam reported that young Americans are dropping religion like a bad habit - more than 500 percent faster than the historic rate.

The collapse of community perhaps explains the meteoric rise of “social” media. The problem, of course, is that social media seems to be doing more to divide people than unite them - or in Arendt’s words, isolate humans “against each other.” All of this invites an important question: If Americans do not find ways to restore its waning social capital in meaningful ways, are we laying the seeds for authoritarianism?”

X22 Report, “The Global Economic System Has Been Put On Notice, Prepare Yourself”

X22 Report, “The Global Economic System
 Has Been Put On Notice, Prepare Yourself”
Related followup report:
X22 Report, 
“Boom, Boom, Boom, Time To Bring Down The Deep State”

Musical Interlude: Chuck Wild, Liquid Mind, “My Silent Knowing”

Chuck Wild, Liquid Mind,  “My Silent Knowing”

"A Look to the Heavens"

“The most distant object easily visible to the eye is M31, the great Andromeda Galaxy some two and a half million light-years away. But without a telescope, even this immense spiral galaxy - spanning over 200,000 light years - appears as a faint, nebulous cloud in the constellation Andromeda. In contrast, details of a bright yellow nucleus and dark winding dust lanes, are revealed in this digital telescopic image. Narrow band image data recording emission from hydrogen atoms, shows off the reddish star-forming regions dotting gorgeous blue spiral arms and young star clusters. 
 Click image for larger size.
While even casual skygazers are now inspired by the knowledge that there are many distant galaxies like M31, astronomers seriously debated this fundamental concept in the 20th century. Were these "spiral nebulae" simply outlying components of our own Milky Way Galaxy or were they instead "island universes" - distant systems of stars comparable to the Milky Way itself? This question was central to the famous Shapley-Curtis debate of 1920, which was later resolved by observations of M31 in favor of Andromeda, island universe.”

"Buying Time"

"Buying Time"
Author Unknown

"A man came home from work late again, tired and irritated, to find his 5-year-old son waiting for him at the door. “Daddy, may I ask you a question?” “Yeah, sure, what is it?” replied the man. “Daddy, how much money do you make an hour? “That’s none of your business! What makes you ask such a thing?” the man said angrily. “I just want to know. Please tell me, how much do you make an hour?” pleaded the little boy. “If you must know, I make $20.00 an hour.” “Oh,” the little boy replied, head bowed. Looking up, he said, “Daddy, may I borrow $10.00 please?”

The father was furious. “If the only reason you wanted to know how much money I make is just so you can borrow some to buy a silly toy or some other nonsense, then you march yourself straight to your room and go to bed. I work long, hard hours everyday and don’t have time for such childish games.” The little boy quietly went to his room and shut the door. The man sat down and started to get even madder about the little boy’s questioning. How dare he ask such questions only to get some money?

After an hour or so, the man had calmed down, and started to think he may have been a little hard on his son. Maybe there was something he really needed to buy with that $10.00, and he really didn’t ask for money very often. The man went to the door of the little boy’s room and opened the door. “Are you asleep son?” he asked. “No daddy, I’m awake,” replied the boy. “I’ve been thinking, maybe I was too hard on you earlier,” said the man. “It’s been a long day and I took my aggravation out on you. Here’s that $10.00 you asked for.”

The little boy sat straight up, beaming. “Oh, thank you daddy!” he yelled. Then, reaching under his pillow, he pulled out some more crumpled up bills. The man, seeing that the boy already had money, started to get angry again. The little boy slowly counted out his money, then looked up at the man. “Why did you want more money if you already had some?” the father grumbled. “Because I didn’t have enough, but now I do,” the little boy replied. “Daddy, I have $20.00 now. Can I buy an hour of your time?”


We don't "buy" time, we can't "own" it. All we do is rent time, 
if you think about it. And nothing, nothing whatsoever is free, is it? 

Chet Raymo, “The Burden Of Thinking”

“The Burden Of Thinking”
by Chet Raymo

“Let me speak for gray. Not black or white. Good or evil. Truth or falsity. Yes or no. Let me speak for maybe. Sort of. More or less. I think so. 

I am reluctant to speak for gray for fear of being considered wishy-washy. Indecisive. Unprincipled. But lately it seems as if we are surrounded on every side by zealots, and it's not a pretty sight. We are surrounded by people who are so certain of their Truth that they are willing to strap bombs to their chests and walk into crowded pizza parlors. Or fly airplanes into towers. Or bomb abortion clinics. Or subvert American principles of civil liberties to fight those who have no principles of civil liberty. There's an ugly stridency in the air, too many people who are certain God is on their side. Too much certainty with a capital C. 

So why does the world look gray to me? After all, I was raised in a tradition of Absolute Truth. I was taught that infidels will burn in hell, at least those guilty of "culpable ignorance." "Armies of youth flying standards of Truth," we sang. But I was studying science, too, and the history and philosophy of science. I discovered truth with a lower-case t. Evolving truth. I encountered people who held their most cherished beliefs to the refining fire of experience, and who changed their minds when their tentative truths failed the test. When a group of Englishmen established the first modern scientific society in the 17th century, they took as their motto, "Take no one's word." They believed the only reliable guide to truth was the evidence of the senses. And even the senses can be deceiving. Which is why they embraced the experimental method. Reproducibility. Observations that can be repeated by anyone, and that always give the same result. 

Many people think of science as a body of knowledge- the germ theory of disease, evolution by natural selection, Newton's laws of motion, that sort of thing. Well, yes, it is. But these things are tentatively held, with varying degrees of certainty. More fundamentally, science is a way of thinking. A way that rejects absolutes. Of course, one can't blow hither and yon on a sea of uncertainty. To be useful, any system of knowledge must be confident of itself. To do scientific work at all, one must start with firm convictions. But every good scientist must be radically open to marginal change, and marginally open to radical change. 

Black and white is easy. It relieves us of the burden of thinking, of learning, of experiencing the other. Gray is more difficult- but it's the planet's best hope for a civilized future.”

The Daily "Near You?"

Pune, Maharashtra, India. Thanks for stopping by!

"Making Your Best Guess"

"Making Your Best Guess"
by Arthur Silber

“We are not gods, and we are not omniscient. We cannot foretell the future with certainty. Most often, cultural and political changes are terribly complex. It can be notoriously difficult to predict exactly where a trend will take us, and we can be mistaken. We do the best we can: if we wish to address certain issues seriously, we study history, and we read everything that might shed light on our concerns. We consult what the best thinkers of our time and of earlier times have said and written. We challenge everyone's assumptions, including most especially our own. That last is often very difficult. If we care enough, we do our best to disprove our own case. In that way, we find out how strong our case is, and where its weaknesses may lie.

Barring extraordinary circumstances, we cannot be certain that a particular development represents a critical turning point at the time it occurs. If we dare to say, "This is the moment the battle was lost," only future events will prove whether we were correct. We do the best we can, based on our understanding of how similar events have unfolded in the past, and in light of our understanding of the underlying principles in play. We can be wrong.”

The Poet: Mary Oliver, “Evidence”


“Where do I live? If I had no address, as many people
do not, I could nevertheless say that I lived in the
same town as the lilies of the field,
 and the still waters.

Spring, and all through the neighborhood now there are
strong men tending flowers.

Beauty without purpose is beauty without virtue. But
all beautiful things, inherently, have this function -
to excite the viewers toward sublime thought. 
Glory to the world, that good teacher.

Among the swans there is none called the least,
 or the greatest.

I believe in kindness. Also in mischief. 
Also in singing, 
especially when singing is not necessarily prescribed.

As for the body, it is solid and strong and curious
and full of detail; it wants to polish itself; it
wants to love another body; it is the only vessel in
the world that can hold, in a a mix of power and
sweetness: words, song, gesture, passion, ideas,
ingenuity, devotion, merriment, vanity, and virtue.

Keep some room in your heart for the unimaginable.”

~ Mary Oliver

“The Staggering Death Toll in Iraq”

“The Staggering Death Toll in Iraq”
by Medea Benjamin, Nicolas J. S. Davies 

"March 19 marks 15 years since the U.S.-UK invasion of Iraq in 2003, and the American people have no idea of the enormity of the calamity the invasion unleashed. The U.S. military has refused to keep a tally of Iraqi deaths. General Tommy Franks, the man in charge of the initial invasion, bluntly told reporters, “We don’t do body counts.” One survey found that most Americans thought Iraqi deaths were in the tens of thousands. But our calculations, using the best information available, show a catastrophic estimate of 2.4 million Iraqi deaths since the 2003 invasion.

The number of Iraqi casualties is not just a historical dispute, because the killing is still going on today. Since several major cities in Iraq and Syria fell to Islamic State in 2014, the U.S. has led the heaviest bombing campaign since the American War in Vietnam, dropping 105,000 bombs and missiles and reducing most of Mosul and other contested Iraqi and Syrian cities to rubble.

An Iraqi Kurdish intelligence report estimated that at least 40,000 civilians were killed in the bombardment of Mosul alone, with many more bodies still buried in the rubble. A recent project to remove rubble and recover bodies in just one neighborhood found 3,353 more bodies, of whom only 20% were identified as ISIS fighters and 80% as civilians. Another 11,000 people in Mosul are still reported missing by their families.

Of the countries where the U.S. and its allies have been waging war since 2001, Iraq is the only one where epidemiologists have actually conducted comprehensive mortality studies based on the best practices that they have developed in war zones such as Angola, Bosnia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Guatemala, Kosovo, Rwanda, Sudan and Uganda. In all these countries, as in Iraq, the results of comprehensive epidemiological studies revealed 5 to 20 times more deaths than previously published figures based on “passive” reporting by journalists, NGOs or governments.

Two such reports on Iraq came out in the prestigious The Lancet medical journal, first in 2004 and then in 2006. The 2006 study estimated that about 600,000 Iraqis were killed in the first 40 months of war and occupation in Iraq, along with 54,000 non-violent but still war-related deaths.

The US and UK governments dismissed the report, saying that the methodology was not credible and that the numbers were hugely exaggerated. In countries where Western military forces have not been involved, however, similar studies have been accepted and widely cited without question or controversy. Based on advice from their scientific advisers, British government officials privately admitted that the 2006 Lancet report was “likely to be right,” but precisely because of its legal and political implications, the U.S. and British governments led a cynical campaign to discredit it.

A 2015 report by Physicians for Social Responsibility, "Body Count: Casualty Figures After 10 Years of the ‘War on Terror,”" found the 2006 Lancet study more reliable than other mortality studies conducted in Iraq, citing its robust study design, the experience and independence of the research team, the short time elapsed since the deaths it documented and its consistency with other measures of violence in occupied Iraq.

The Lancet study was conducted over 11 years ago, after only 40 months of war and occupation. Tragically, that was nowhere near the end of the deadly consequences of the Iraq invasion.

In June 2007, a British polling firm, Opinion Research Business (ORB), conducted a further study and estimated that 1,033,000 Iraqis had been killed by then.  

While the figure of a million people killed was shocking, the Lancet study had documented steadily increasing violence in occupied Iraq between 2003 and 2006, with 328,000 deaths in the final year it covered. ORB’s finding that another 430,000 Iraqis were killed in the following year was consistent with other evidence of escalating violence through late 2006 and early 2007.  

Just Foreign Policy’s “Iraqi Death Estimator” updated the Lancet study’s estimate by multiplying passively reported deaths compiled by British NGO Iraq Body Count by the same ratio found in 2006. This project was discontinued in September 2011, with its estimate of Iraqi deaths standing at 1.45 million.

Taking ORB’s estimate of 1.033 million killed by June 2007, then applying a variation of Just Foreign Policy’s methodology from July 2007 to the present using revised figures from Iraq Body Count, we estimate that 2.4 million Iraqis have been killed since 2003 as a result of our country’s illegal invasion, with a minimum of 1.5 million and a maximum of 3.4 million.

These calculations cannot possibly be as accurate or reliable as a rigorous up-to-date mortality study, which is urgently needed in Iraq and in each of the countries afflicted by war since 2001. But in our judgment, it is important to make the most accurate estimate we can.

Numbers are numbing, especially numbers that rise into the millions. Please remember that each person killed represents someone’s loved one. These are mothers, fathers, husbands, wives, sons, daughters. One death impacts an entire community; collectively, they impact an entire nation.

As we begin the 16th year of the Iraq war, the American public must come to terms with the scale of the violence and chaos we have unleashed in Iraq. Only then may we find the political will to bring this horrific cycle of violence to an end, to replace war with diplomacy and hostility with friendship, as we have begun to do with Iran and as the people of North and South Korea are trying to do to avoid meeting a similar fate to that of Iraq.”
Judge for yourself...
Wikileaks, “Collateral Murder - Iraq”

THIS is what we are... ?

"How It Really Must Be"

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Musical Interlude: Vangelis, “Message”

Vangelis, “Message”

"A Look to the Heavens"

“The dark Horsehead Nebula and the glowing Orion Nebula are contrasting cosmic vistas. Adrift 1,500 light-years away in one of the night sky's most recognizable constellations, they appear in opposite corners of the below stunning mosaic. 
 Click image for larger size.
The familiar Horsehead nebula appears as a dark cloud, a small silhouette notched against the long red glow at the lower left. Alnitak is the easternmost star in Orion's belt and is seen as the brightest star to the left of the Horsehead. Below Alnitak is the Flame Nebula, with clouds of bright emission and dramatic dark dust lanes. The magnificent emission region, the Orion Nebula (aka M42), lies at the upper right. Immediately to its left is a prominent reflection nebula sometimes called the Running Man. Pervasive tendrils of glowing hydrogen gas are easily traced throughout the region.”

Chet Raymo, “Retirement”

by Chet Raymo

    "Farewell, thou busy world! And may
    We never meet again!
    Here I can eat and sleep and pray,
    And do more good in one short day
    Than he who his whole age outwears
    Upon the most conspicuous theatres,
    Where naught but vanity and vice do reign."

"The first verse from a poem called "The Retirement" by Charles Cotton (1630-1687), a friend of Izaak Walton, about his private fishing retreat on the river Dove. The poem was incorporated into Walton's "The Compleat Angler."

And what do I make of it, now, in retirement? All these hours on hand to eat, sleep and pray all I want? "Good God! How sweet are all things here!" enthuses Cotton, "How beautiful the fields appear!...How happy here's our leisure!...How innocent our pleasure!"

Yes? No?

As I've mentioned, I've been rummaging lately in the junk room upstairs, which has been accumulating the intellectual detritus of my life for 50 years. It seems from the accumulated evidence that I always had sufficient hours on hand to eat, sleep and pray, if by prayer one means paying attention.

I have mixed feelings about retirement. On the one hand I have all these hours of the day to use as I want, to read and walk and meditate. On the other hand, I miss the stimulation of the unending buzz. It is clear as I rummage through the upstairs archive that I got more done that was spiritually and intellectually rewarding while juggling what in effect were three full-time jobs than I do now without a care in the world.

    "How calm and quiet a delight
    Is it, alone
    To read and meditate and write,
    By none offended and offending none!
    To walk, ride, sit, or sleep at one's own ease;
    And, pleasing a man's self, none other to displease."

And yet, and yet. Where is the rush and dither of creativity, the frenzy of fantasy and foolishness, the clash and clamor of happenstance? Here I sit now, on the rocking-chair porch of life, with no one but myself to please, grateful for those of you who stop by to visit these increasingly self-indulgent ramblings. Nudge me. Keep me awake. I feel a nap coming on.”

"What They Long For..."

“Caged birds accept each other but flight is what they long for.”
- Tennessee Williams, “Camino Real”

“Noam Chomsky: Why Americans Are Paranoid About Everything (Including Zombies)”

“Noam Chomsky: 
Why Americans Are Paranoid About Everything (Including Zombies)”
by AlterNet

“The following is a transcript of a part of an interview Noam Chomsky recently did with a group of students via Skype. Towards the end, a student asks the linguist and critic the quirky question why zombies figure so prominently in American popular culture. He replied with a brilliant analysis of the history of fear in America. 

Question: This might sound kind of random, but I would really like to ask your opinion of why you think there's this preoccupation with the apocolypse and with zombies right now in our culture. 

Noam Chomsky: I've never seen a real study, but my guess is that it's a reflection of fear and desperation. It's a very frightened country. The United States is an unusually frightened country. And in such circumstances, people concoct either for escape or maybe out of relief, fears that terrible things happen.  

Actually, the fear of the United States is a pretty interesting cultural phenomenon.  It actually goes back to the colonies. There are some good studies out there. A very interesting book by a literary critic, Bruce Franklin. It's called War Stars. You might want to take a look at it. It's a study of popular literature, the kind of literature that most people read from the earliest days to the present. When it gets to the present it switches to television, things like that. Just kind of popular culture.  

There are a couple of themes that run through it that are pretty striking. For one thing, one major theme in popular literature is that we are about to face destruction from some terrible, awesome enemy. And at the last minute we are saved by a superhero or a super weapon, or in recent years high school kids going to the hills to chase away the Russians, things like that. That's one theme that runs through constantly. And there's a sub-theme. It turns out this enemy, this horrible enemy that's about to destroy us, is somebody we're crushing.  

So you go back to the early years, the terrible enemy was the Indians, who were going to destroy us. The colonists were, of course, invaders. They were invading the continent. Whatever you think about the Indians, they were defending their own territory. There's a scene in the Declaration of Independence, people read it every July 4th, but not many people pay attention to what they're reading. It's kind of like a prayer book, you move on somewhere else. But if you read it and pay attention, there are some pretty remarkable passages. So one passage is a list of a bill of indictment against King George the Third of England explaining why the colonists were revolting. One of them is “He unleashed against us the merciless Indian savages, whose known way of warfare is torture and destruction” and so on. Well, Thomas Jefferson, who wrote that and is a very great thinker of the Enlightenment, knew perfectly well that it was the merciless English savages whose known way of warfare was destruction and murder and were taking over the country and driving out or exterminating the natives. But it's switched in the Declaration of Independence and nobody comments on it for years. That's another sign of the same concern.  

After that it became the slaves. There was going to be a slave revolt, a terrible slave revolt, and the slave population, the black population was going to rise up and kill all the men, rape all the women, destroy the country, something like that. Then it goes on through the centuries. It becomes modern times, Hispanic narco-traffickers are going to come in and destroy the society. One thing after another. And these are real fears.  

That's a lot of what lies behind the extremely unusual gun culture in the United States. It's quite unique. Homicides, deaths by guns in the United States are way outside—there's a kind of hysteria about having guns. A large part of the population believes they just have to have them to protect themselves. From who? From the United Nations. Or from the federal government. From aliens. Maybe from zombies. Whoever it is. We just have to have guns to protect ourselves. That's not known elsewhere in the world. Maybe in, say, Syria, a country that's warring you might find something like that. But in a country that's not only at peace but has an unusual security and a great degree of freedom, that's quite remarkable.  

I suspect that what you're bringing up is part of that.  I think it's, much of it is kind of just a recognition, at some level of the psyche, that if you've got your boot on somebody's neck, there's something wrong. And that the people you're oppressing may rise up and defend themselves, and then you're in trouble. And another is strange properties the country has always had of fear of invented dangers. There is a kind of paranoid streak in the culture that's pretty unusual.”

Paulo Coelho, "The Mouse And The Books"

"The Mouse And The Books"
by Paulo Coelho

"When I was interned in Dr. Eiras Hospital, I began to have panic crises. One day, I decided to consult the psychiatrist in charge of my case: “Doctor, I am overcome by fear; it takes from me the joy of living.” “Here in my office there is a mouse that eats my books”, said the doctor. “If I get desperate about this mouse, he will hide from me and I will do nothing else in life but hunt him. Therefore, I put the most important books in a safe place and let him gnaw some others. In this way, he is still a mouse and does not become a monster. Be afraid of some things and concentrate all your fear on them – so that you have courage in the rest.”

The Daily "Near You?"

Demopolis, Alabama, USA. Thanks for stopping by!

"To Choose Well..."

“To live is to choose. But to choose well, you must know who you are and
what you stand for, where you want to go and why you want to get there.”
 - Kofi Annan

“Rome, France, Germany; Now Washington/Wall Street (W^2)”

“Rome, France, Germany; Now Washington/Wall Street (W^2)”
by W K Darcy

"For the last two decades, a common theme amongst “non pro-government” journalists and writers has been the comparison of the W^2 duumvirate to the Roman Empire citing the parallelsexcessescorruptionmore corruptionMORE corruption and EVEN MORE! Corruption and breakdowns which are part of the life-cycle of all empires.

Since WWII, but greatly intensifying under the reign of Bush the First (after the fall of the Soviet Union), Washington and its deep-state complex have consistently created wars around the world to justify the continual expansion of deep-state spending and military actions to threaten and intimidate any country which does not bow to their demands.

And just as with Rome, France of the 18th and early 19th centuries, and Germany in the 20th century, the W^2 duumvirate is on course to destroy what remains of the former United States and possibly the world if it goes nuclear.

With a government reported debt of over $21 Trillion and climbing, with the real unemployment rate at 96 million unemployed, prices inflating far beyond what the propagandists at BLS are reporting, but with Wall Street profits and bonuses in the stratosphere, the economic and societal crisis is already upon us.

All empires crumble when they run out of what people will accept as money. W^2 has exceeded the typical life expectancy of empire with the fiat petro-dollar, their non-GAAP accounting methods, and re-defining words, procedures and laws to suit their needs to borrow ever more without limit.

No empire can conduct intergenerational war on the scale that we’ve witnessed since Vietnam without constantly expanding its revenues either through conquest or looting or borrowing. Hence, a large part of the $21 Trillion government debt. Especially when any denizen of the White House can send $50 Million (or more) worth of missiles on a whim (killing scores of civilians resulting in more hatred of NATO) and the cost of maintaining 1 soldier in Afghanistan for 1 year is now $2.1 Million (up from about $1 Million in 2012).

Especially noteworthy is the cost to get one gallon of energy into the war machines inside Afghanistan and the methods and routes of delivery.

Which brings us to Rome, France and Germany. The reader can do their own research, but in summary Rome, France and Germany reached their expansion limits due to lack of real money, insufficient energy (whether food for troops and animals or fuel for tanks, airplanes and ships), and logistical limits to supply their militaries.

Rome stopped at Hadrian’s Wall, Napoleon’s 500,000-man Grand Army was stopped at Moscow (with only 20,000 returning to France), and Germany’s defeat in both wars was a direct result of over-stretched supply lines (as well as a depleted treasury).

W^2 has over-stretched its militaryplundered the economy and populace, and still not understanding that there is a limit to everything, is spending even more money for war in space with the outlook to be generations into the future!

Patience of the countries (including North America) which have suffered from this W^2 hegemony, bribery, corruption and aggression (both military and financial), I believe, has now reached its limit.

There is defiance from the most servile of W^2 lapdogs, Angela Merkel, doing what is in the best economical interest of Germany, as well as getting the middle finger from a former ally who W^2 has used and abused in its Afghanistan debacle. And the EU is not only wanting to diversify their energy dependence away from Russia, but also the expensive LNG from North America.

Just as a school-yard bully will have his followers who rally around him due to his strength and success, he eventually meets some spunky little guy who not only defies him, but puts up one hell-of-a-fight showing that the bully is not so tough after all (even if the little guy takes a “whoop’in”). This is when the bully starts losing his support and the small-fry unite against the bully.

Even Caribbean nations are cozying up to Eurasia and Russia. And if you look at and understand the history of the “Banana Wars”, and other W^2 aggressions, it becomes quite clear that W^2 has worn out its welcome in these smaller countries.

As the petro-dollar continues to lose its primacy for creating dollar “demand”, W^2 has been doing everything possible to create a new “Energy” dollar, by artificially creating demand for North American LNG and coal exports (even when the natural gas boom resulted primarily because of artificially low interest rates last two paragraphs) while attempting to restrict supplies of LNG and coal from competing countries by using energy sanctions as a weapon against countries which are not subservient to W^2.

The world may even be on the verge of an “energy war” in the eastern Mediterranean which would certainly restrict competing sources while spiking prices and profits significantly.

And W^2 foments many of the sources of these situations and conflicts with no consideration for long-term consequences (as Australia is experiencing) of creating “artificial” demand, only short-term profits and re-election to power.

With the W^2 empire buying off the politicians in smaller countries while trying to isolate Russia, as well as the intense vilification of Russian emanating from W^2 and its vassal states, Russia is now drawing a line in the sand regarding nuclear retaliation if Russia or their allies are attacked.

What is to prevent Russia from sending weapons to the Taliban (if they haven’t already started) to fight against W^2, just as Reagan sent weapons to the Taliban to fight the Soviet Troops in the 80’s? How long before Pakistan shuts down land and air access to the W^2 forces in Afghanistan? Russia closed the supply route through their country in 2015.

Will the W^2 forces find themselves facing the same fate as the British Retreat from Kabul in 1842?

Or will the young men and women of the W^2 forces go on strike as the French Army did in 1917? Or will the troops start “fragging” their officers (as in Viet Nam). Will sons and grandsons be fighting the same war 10? 20? 30 years from now? For the profits of military contractors? How many deaths and maimed service men AND women must be sacrificed? Ask Major General Smedley Butler.

And now W^2 is recruiting foreigners for military service with the promise of citizenship in as little as 6 months. Rome in the making?

If the “dispensable” countries of this world are held hostage with nuclear annihilation to keep the dollar afloat in this “military first” economy, this “slow-burn” of destruction for profits may continue for the foreseeable future.

How long can this W^2 empire continue to bleed money, lives and resources? As long as they and the Fifth-Column media can manipulate the minds of the populace to support/fear W^2But logistics, lack of real money, and insufficient/too-costly energy will kill the W^2 empire, just as surely as those which preceded it."