Thursday, September 23, 2021

OK, here's your soppy feel-good moment of the day!

 

I couldn't resist this.  I like kids and cats both, so how could I?




All together, now:  AAAAWWWW!



Peter


COVID and the world balance of power - an unholy relationship?

 

Two separate threads came together in my mind yesterday when reading an interesting article at Unz.  It's titled "Eurasia Takes Shape: How the SCO Just Flipped the World Order".  Here's how it opens.  Bold, underlined text is my emphasis.


The two defining moments of the historic 20th anniversary Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Dushanbe, Tajikistan had to come from the keynote speeches of – who else – the leaders of the Russia-China strategic partnership.

Xi Jinping: “Today we will launch procedures to admit Iran as a full member of the SCO.”

Vladimir Putin: “I would like to highlight the Memorandum of Understanding that was signed today between the SCO Secretariat and the Eurasian Economic Commission. It is clearly designed to further Russia’s idea of establishing a Greater Eurasia Partnership covering the SCO, the EAEU (Eurasian Economic Union), ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) and China’s Belt and Road initiative (BRI).”

In short, over the weekend, Iran was enshrined in its rightful, prime Eurasian role, and all Eurasian integration paths converged toward a new global geopolitical – and geoeconomic – paradigm, with a sonic boom bound to echo for the rest of the century.

That was the killer one-two punch immediately following the Atlantic alliance’s ignominious imperial retreat from Afghanistan. Right as the Taliban took control of Kabul on August 15, the redoubtable Nikolai Patrushev, secretary of Russia’s Security Council, told his Iranian colleague Admiral Ali Shamkhani that “the Islamic Republic will become a full member of the SCO.”

Dushanbe revealed itself as the ultimate diplomatic crossover. President Xi firmly rejected any “condescending lecturing” and emphasized development paths and governance models compatible with national conditions. Just like Putin, he stressed the complementary focus of BRI and the EAEU, and in fact summarized a true multilateralist Manifesto for the Global South.

Right on point, President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev of Kazakhstan noted that the SCO should advance “the development of a regional macro-economy.” This is reflected in the SCO’s drive to start using local currencies for trade, bypassing the US dollar.


There's much more at the link.  It's worth reading in full.

This has been building for a long time, driven by Russian and Chinese interests in diminishing the international role of the United States and taking its place as dominant powers in Asia and Eastern Europe.  Now that the USA is riven by internal dissent, governed by an administration that took office through electoral fraud and is utterly incompetent to do its job, and shadow-governed by oligarchs and internationalists who are determined to destroy America's history and reduce it to the same miserable state as the rest of the First World . . . it looks like Russia and China are moving openly and rapidly to cement their positions, and shut out US interests for the foreseeable future.  Everything the USA has tried to achieve - shutting Iran out of the international community, preventing a Taliban takeover in Afghanistan, controlling rising Third World powers and keeping them under American rather than other influence - has now been, or is in the process of being, nullified.

One can't blame them, of course.  There's an old saying in physics, dating back to Aristotle, that "Nature abhors a vacuum".  It means that a vacuum - the absence of anything, to put it simplistically - is not found in nature, because something always moves in to fill the void.  The same principle has long been applied to politics and geopolitics.  Throughout human history, when one power loses influence, another power steps up to take its place - or take it away and cling to it until an even stronger power comes along.

In recent centuries, the influence of the British Empire of the 19th century was supplanted by the influence of the American Empire in the 20th.  That, too, is now waning, and Russia and China are determined to take its place in Afghanistan, and also in as much of the rest of the world as they can manage - particularly if they can do it quickly, before a more competent, capable administration takes over here.  (That assumes it can or will happen, of course.  With our democratic elections undermined, perhaps fatally, by electoral fraud, that may no longer be possible by peaceful means.)  Once presented with a fait accompli, they hope America will find it too troublesome to resist - not to mention being too distracted with internal divisions to be able to give the problem the attention it deserves.

However, the Unz article raises another specter - that the whole COVID-19 crisis may have been engineered by international forces, and by their allies in the US establishment, to facilitate this change of power.  A couple of weeks ago, Vox Day highlighted an August article by Fabio Vighi titled "A Self-Fulfilling Prophecy:  Systemic Collapse and Pandemic Simulation".  It's profoundly disturbing in its implications.  Briefly, the author argues that the COVID-19 pandemic was deliberately engineered to allow the powers that be to use it as cover to finagle their way out of the economic dead-end to which they'd condemned the economies of the First World.  Here's an excerpt.


Joining the dots is a simple enough exercise. If we do so, we might see a well-defined narrative outline emerge, whose succinct summary reads as follows: lockdowns and the global suspension of economic transactions were intended to:

1) Allow the Fed to flood the ailing financial markets with freshly printed money while deferring hyperinflation; and

2) Introduce mass vaccination programmes and health passports as pillars of a neo-feudal regime of capitalist accumulation.

As we shall see, the two aims merge into one.

In 2019, world economy was plagued by the same sickness that had caused the 2008 credit crunch. It was suffocating under an unsustainable mountain of debt. Many public companies could not generate enough profit to cover interest payments on their own debts and were staying afloat only by taking on new loans. ‘Zombie companies’ (with year-on-year low profitability, falling turnover, squeezed margins, limited cashflow, and highly leveraged balance sheet) were rising everywhere. The repo market meltdown of September 2019 must be placed within this fragile economic context.

When the air is saturated with flammable materials, any spark can cause the explosion. And in the magical world of finance, tout se tient: one flap of a butterfly’s wings in a certain sector can send the whole house of cards tumbling down. In financial markets powered by cheap loans, any increase in interest rates is potentially cataclysmic for banks, hedge funds, pension funds and the entire government bond market, because the cost of borrowing increases and liquidity dries up. This is what happened with the ‘repocalypse’ of September 2019: interest rates spiked to 10.5% in a matter of hours, panic broke out affecting futures, options, currencies, and other markets where traders bet by borrowing from repos. The only way to defuse the contagion was by throwing as much liquidity as necessary into the system – like helicopters dropping thousands of gallons of water on a wildfire. Between September 2019 and March 2020, the Fed injected more than $9 trillion into the banking system, equivalent to more than 40% of US GDP.

The mainstream narrative should therefore be reversed: the stock market did not collapse (in March 2020) because lockdowns had to be imposed; rather, lockdowns had to be imposed because financial markets were collapsing. With lockdowns came the suspension of business transactions, which drained the demand for credit and stopped the contagion. In other words, restructuring the financial architecture through extraordinary monetary policy was contingent on the economy’s engine being turned off. Had the enormous mass of liquidity pumped into the financial sector reached transactions on the ground, a monetary tsunami with catastrophic consequences would have been unleashed.

As claimed by economist Ellen Brown, it was “another bailout”, but this time “under cover of a virus.” Similarly, John Titus and Catherine Austin Fitts noted that the Covid-19 “magic wand” allowed the Fed to execute BlackRock’s “going direct” plan, literally: it carried out an unprecedented purchase of government bonds, while, on an infinitesimally smaller scale, also issuing government backed ‘COVID loans’ to businesses. In brief, only an induced economic coma would provide the Fed with the room to defuse the time-bomb ticking away in the financial sector. Screened by mass-hysteria, the US central bank plugged the holes in the interbank lending market, dodging hyperinflation as well as the ‘Financial Stability Oversight Council’ (the federal agency for monitoring financial risk created after the 2008 collapse), as discussed here. However, the “going direct” blueprint should also be framed as a desperate measure, for it can only prolong the agony of a global economy increasingly hostage to money printing and the artificial inflation of financial assets.

At the heart of our predicament lies an insurmountable structural impasse. Debt-leveraged financialization is contemporary capitalism’s only line of flight, the inevitable forward-escape route for a reproductive model that has reached its historical limit.


Again, more at the link.  I'm very grateful to Vox for linking to the article;  without that, I might have missed it.  I think it's going to become a seminal analysis of the whole COVID-19 episode that informs future scholars for decades, perhaps generations.  Highly recommended reading.

If you put those two articles together - the replacement of US influence with Russian and Chinese leadership in Eastern Europe and Asia, and the use of the COVID-19 pandemic to manipulate economic problems in the First World and postpone what would otherwise have been inevitable collapse - they take on new depth and meaning.  I postulate the following:

  1. First World governments and the powers/oligarchs/whatever behind them (in North America and Europe) are facing, and know they are facing, an economic impasse that cannot continue.  There is no way the old economic models of tax-and-spend, borrow-and-deficit-spend, financialization of debt, etc. can continue, except in the fevered imagination of progressive far-left ideologues.  They've led to ever-increasing deficits and an economic strait-jacket that now cripples the administration of most First World economies.  This not only hampers effective government, it forces First World governments to concentrate on their internal problems and give less attention to the international spheres of influence they previously dominated.
  2. Russia and China are not blind to this.  They've both been through economic and political hard times, one through the collapse of the Soviet Union, the other through the "Great Leap Forward" and the decades of economic ruin it fostered.  Both nations have clawed their way out of the mire, and are forging ahead based on their own interests, rather than those of the rest of the First World.  China is now the economic engine of the world, without question;  and Russia, although very much playing second fiddle to China in that sense, retains a strategic perspective and international influence that China can't (yet) do without.  It's in China's interests to promote Russia's interests, and vice versa, so that both nations have a trustworthy ally in each other.  (Needless to say, neither of them regards the USA or Europe in that light.)
  3. Russia and China will therefore take advantage of the internal preoccupations of Europe and North America to take control of as many economic and natural resources as they can, using diplomatic means, economic pressure, and any other tools that come to hand to do so.  They calculate that by the time the "Old World" comes to its senses and sorts out its internal woes (if, indeed, it's capable of doing so at all), they will dominate the rest of the world, have a "lock" on its resources, and be able to dictate terms to the newly beggared economies of their former rivals.  Frankly, it's hard to see how they're wrong.
There are many signs pointing to what's going on, dating back over many years.  For a start, I encourage economics buffs to examine the enormous purchases of gold made by Russia and China in recent decades, boosting their reserves of the precious metal to unprecedented highs (and, not coincidentally, soaking up almost all available supplies, so that the rest of the world is finding it very hard to get its hands on the metal).  If they plan to destabilize the dollar as the world's reserve currency, they know they'll need an alternative store of wealth - and now they have one.  At the same time, they're trying to reduce their holdings of US dollars (still the world's reserve currency, but of diminishing importance), and trying to position their own currencies to take over the dollar's place in international commerce.  (I'll be very surprised if the Chinese renmimbi doesn't do that within the next decade.  By now, it's probably inevitable, given the wholesale expansion of the US money supply by reckless, feckless Federal Reserve money-printing.)

I think it's clear that the USA and Britain, at least, understand what's going on.  They can't stop it, but they're turning to other nations threatened by it in an attempt to cement relations with them, and build up some sort of counter-weight.  Consider their recent so-called AUKUS partnership with Australia - forging a diplomatic and military alliance to offset the growth of a rival's power base, even at the expense of causing a rift with an older, long-term ally.  If they move fast, the three nations can offer important short-term economic and military assistance to each other.

I think these two articles, taken together, offer no comfort whatsoever to the USA or the European Union.  Those of us with an eye to the future should read them both very carefully, and more than once;  think about them;  and consider our personal exposure to whatever risks may flow from them and the events they predict.  We won't be able to stop what's coming, but we can at least try to protect ourselves and our families from the worst effects by choosing jobs and careers, educations, areas to live, etc. that won't be crippled by such developments.

What's more, we'd better be prepared to defend what we've got against the mass of people who are going to be left stranded when the structures and support on which they currently rely are no longer there.  That applies to nations, and communities, and individuals.

Peter


Rum infused with the world's hottest pepper. What could possibly go wrong?

 

The Hot Dang Show is a Web site and YouTube channel dedicated to all things hot and spicy - particularly those requiring a modicum of insanity to try.  (Side note:  the host is deaf and suffers from a speech impediment, so he sounds "different", but is still understandable.)

Recently, the host decided to try something new:  "overproof rum infused for three months with Carolina Reapers".  It's called "The World's Hottest Shot", and comes with a warning:  "Do not consume if you have heart, respiratory or digestive conditions or any other serious illness".

If the video below is to be believed, I'd say it lives up to its name and the warning!  The action begins at about the four-minute mark, if you want to skip the introduction.




Note to self:  never, ever buy that stuff except as a gift for enemies, and those whom you want to become your enemies!



Peter


Wednesday, September 22, 2021

"A Hinge Moment of History"

 

That's the title of a long, insightful article by Mark Steyn, a transcript of an address he delivered to the Gatestone Institute earlier this year.  I think it's one of the best-structured and best-argued articles by him I've ever read, and I plan to re-read it more than once.  It's right up there with the best of the late Prof. Andrew Codevilla, whose loss we acknowledged with sadness earlier this morning.

Here are a number of the introductory bullet points from Mr. Steyn's address, plus a few selected paragraphs.


  • I have lived in countries that have real domestic terrorism movements.... No country blessed enough not to have a domestic terrorism movement should be inventing one.
  • We are living in a blizzard of lies.
  • [W]e are more dependent on a handful of woke billionaires to tell us what reality is. They are far more open than ever that they get to determine what are the agreed facts. Google made an explicit announcement about this recently. They said that sometimes they would put warnings on things that are factually accurate because, even though they are true, they do not think it is in society's interest for people to be seeing it.
  • [N]ow you will be banned or deleted or blocked or silenced simply for disagreeing with the official version of events. For example, the Great Barrington declaration, which was written by three of the most prominent epidemiologists in the world from Harvard, Oxford, and I think it was Stanford. That was basically deleted from YouTube, banned from Facebook, simply because it contradicted the WHO, CDC official version of events.
  • It is just groupthink enforced by a cabal of woke billionaires, who have more power than anyone else on the planet.
  • The other thing that emerged during this year very quickly is that we are at a hinge moment of history. We were told a generation or two back that, by doing trade with China, China would become more like us. Instead, on issues such as free speech, we are becoming more like China.
  • American companies are afraid of offending China. American officials are afraid of offending China. We are adopting Chinese norms on issues such as free speech and basic disagreements with the government of China.
  • We're living in the early stages of a future that is the direct consequence of poor public policy over the last couple of generations. We are not even aware of that...
  • Right now, we are witnessing a non‑stop continuous transfer of power to a country that is serious about using that power. This is China's moment. Take it as someone who grew up, in large part, in a great power in decline. There's no real explicit handover day. People, in hindsight, expect to pinpoint the day that the baton was passed.... My great worry is that actually, the transfer to China has already happened. The baton has already been passed. We just haven't formally acknowledged that yet.
  • I'll say it straight out loud. I do not think that Joe Biden "won the election." I don't think it is a question of "widespread fraud." I think the way the system works with the Electoral College, you only need actually to spread fraud in six key cities in six key states.
  • If you have no basic election integrity, essentially, all the other issues are irrelevant.
  • At some point, if we're not prepared to stand up... My whole thing, in all the years, is that Western civilization is sliding off a cliff and most citizens of most Western nations are not even aware of it.
  • There is a moral component that we are overlooking. We live in an insane world where moral narcissism attaches to whether or not you rampage around some statue of a Confederate general who died 150 years ago. The fact that you're rampaging around the Confederate general while wearing shoes made by child labor somehow does not impact on your moral virtue at all.

Lord Moulton said that what matters in any healthy society are not the small number of things that one is obliged to do, or, at the other end of the spectrum, the small number of things that one is not permitted to do, but the big chunk in the middle. It is not a question of whether you have to do it, or you are forbidden to do it, but whether we decide for ourselves about those aspects of our lives through what he called the realm of manners. By his estimation, about 80 percent of life should be within the realm of manners rather than within the realm of law.

Now everything is law: How far you have to stand away from people. The realm of manners, in Lord Moulton's phrase -- choice -- has shrunk to nothing.

Everything now, is regulated by the state from above. We are now seeing, for example, influential voices. "The Guardian" newspaper in the UK for example, said the other day that whatever happens to the pandemic, and the COVID, and all the rest of us, they would like us to go into lockdown once every two years. It would supposedly be good for climate change. You do not see this in America, but you quite a lot on overseas news reports. BBC, in the early days of the pandemic was doing all these encouraging reports on how Ireland where it is illegal for you to go more than three miles from your home.

On how Ireland had, fantastically -- and this is really terrific news – they have managed to lower their carbon footprint simply by confining people to their homes and a three‑mile radius. The idea that this is the new normal is deeply disturbing.

At the same time, we have had a serious crackdown on free speech, particularly in America during election year, and culminating on January 20th by the convergence of the Big State and Big Tech.


There's much more at the link.  Recommended reading.

One of the greatest tragedies of the breakdown in the American educational system is that our young people are no longer taught how to think, but rather what to think.  If you ask the average young person today to analyze Mr. Steyn's article, or the article by Prof. Codevilla that we cited earlier this morning, they might mumble and mutter, but they'd find themselves hard-pressed to summarize their main points simply and concisely.  Their analytical abilities have been deliberately suppressed, it seems to me - which may be the entire goal of the progressive-left-dominated educational system in this country.  If future voters don't know how to evaluate the electoral pablum they're being spoon-fed, how will they know whether to support it or not?  Instead, they'll follow the propaganda with which the mainstream news and social media are bombarding them.  It's easier to do that, than to think for themselves.

I suspect the only way we can combat this insidious destruction from within of our society is to try to educate and inform our own young people, and those we meet, to think for themselves.  Discussing worthwhile articles like this one is a good start.

(By the way, having shared a number of experiences similar to Mr. Steyn's, I can confirm from personal experience that many of his comments are entirely correct.  For example, he says "No country blessed enough not to have a domestic terrorism movement should be inventing one".  I couldn't agree more!  Having lived for eighteen years, in uniform and out of uniform, in a terrorism-plagued, civil-unrest-torn society, and seen its worst excesses "up close and personal", allow me to assure you:  we do not, at this time, have a domestic terrorist movement in the United States worthy of the name.  If that ever changes, you'll know about it without needing to be told.  Trust me on this.)

Peter


Why do Amazon's prices change, depending on whether one's logged in or not?

 

I'm finding, more and more often, that when I look up products on Amazon.com, the price advertised will depend on whether or not I'm logged in to the site.  Just yesterday, for example, I looked up a cleaning product, a 10-pack of Chore Boy scourers.  The exact URL used in both cases was this:


https://www.amazon.com/Chore-Boy-Cer-Scouring-Pack/dp/B007VGICGK


When I was not logged in, and using the Brave browser, this is what was returned (clickit to biggit):



When I was logged in, using the Chrome browser but the identical URL, I got a different price:



I contacted Amazon's customer support chat, and asked the lady who responded why I was getting a different price like that.  She could not answer my question, and asked me to submit screenshots of the differences to the customer service department.  I've done so, but haven't yet had any response.

Even more intriguing, when I went to the same URL this morning, one of the prices were different.  "Not logged in" still showed a price of $10.25, but "logged in" showed $11.50.

That's not the only product where I've observed such differences in pricing, depending on whether or not I'm logged in to Amazon's Web site.  Are they assuming that loyal customers can safely be charged more, because we won't actually compare prices?  Are they trying to attract what their algorithm might consider "new" (or at least not-logged-in) customers with lower prices, only to spring a switcheroo on them when they do log in?

Can anyone suggest what's going on with Amazon's pricing algorithm?  Something ain't right, for sure!  If you've noticed anything similar, please let us know about it in Comments, giving the specific product URL if possible.  It'll be interesting to find out how widespread this problem is becoming.

Peter


America has lost one of its most incisive, insightful voices

 

Professor Angelo Codevilla, whom we've met in these pages many times before, has died of injuries he suffered from a vehicle accident.  He was apparently knocked down by a drunk driver.

It may be a measure of the cynicism and suspicion that dominate American politics today that not a few people - including myself - upon hearing the news, instantly harbored dark suspicions that the "establishment", the "ruling class" as he famously dubbed them, had finally had enough of him, and had taken steps to get rid of what they doubtless regarded as his pernicious influence.  That's probably not true (at least, I sincerely hope so) . . . but if anyone did more to expose the malicious, malignant influence of the current powers that be and the oligarchy behind them, I don't know who that might be.

Prof. Codevilla's voice will continue to resound long after his death.  You'll find a fairly comprehensive list of his important essays and articles here.  I very highly recommend that you bookmark it, visit it often, and select - at random, if you prefer - one of his articles to read and ponder.  He's that important a chronicler of our decline and fall as a nation, and offers insights and potential "cures" that few others could match in his lifetime.  A good overview of his thought may be found in this interview, which I recommend to your attention.

As a way to honor this great man, here are excerpts from, and the conclusion to, his most recent article, " Epitaph for the ‘War on Terror’ ", published just six days ago.  I think it's as powerful as any of those that preceded it.  Bold, underlined text is my emphasis.


Progressive thought had always looked away from the reality of war as the midwife of nations and the gravedigger of decadences. Kissinger wrote that America should only fight “wars that it could afford to lose”—as if there were such things. Thus it blurred distinctions between war and peace. Intellectually crippled in this way, U.S. military forces therefore have not aimed for victory.

Instead and because of this, military operations have been planned and executed on the basis of what will fulfill our foreign policy establishment’s personal and institutional interests, as well as its evolving ideological criteria. Contact with reality, having produced results very different from those the ruling class envisions, that class explains defeat in terms of its most fundamental animosities—toward its domestic competitors.

. . .

Treating the American people, especially conservatives, as the main threat results from the growth and clarification of attitudes endemic to Progressivism and already translated into policy and lack thereof ... America’s defeat by foreigners does not threaten these progressives’ prerogatives and identities as do their domestic rivals

Blaming domestic rivals to deflect defeat’s consequences in foreign wars is all too usual. Nevertheless, statements by Joe Biden’s Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Joint Chiefs Chairman Mark Milley that “domestic extremists,” whom they functionally define as whomever opposes the ruling class, pose the greatest danger of terrorism—especially if they are white—is egregious in history. The official reorientation of the U.S. armed forces’ focus on fighting what is arguably the American people’s majority, is even more so. A grassroots progressive group called the Democratic Coalition leaves no doubt about the ruling class’s 2021 practical agenda: “we cannot rest until all of Trump’s traitorous, insurrectionist foot soldiers face justice.” Insofar as they are serious, and even if they are not, this augurs civil war.

. . .

Estimates of the “War on Terror’s” cost in money start at $8-10 trillion. Cui bono? To whom did that money go? Yes, millions, maybe even billions, went to rent the cooperation of Iraqis, Afghans, etc. But the trillions went chiefly to Americans—to the national security establishment; the armed forces and intelligence community, for enhanced careers and operations, and to their contractors; plus to the horde of civilian specialists employed to improve health, education, welfare, and social practices in foreign lands; our transportation network; and all manner of manufacturing and servicing. The consultant class also took it to the bank, and the people who run the conferences.

Think of all the reputations, careers, retirements on the golf course, second homes, fancy cars and vacations all this made possible. 

Think also of how fast and far the “War on Terror” advanced the ruling class’ perennial objective to limit the freedoms of Americans outside its orbit, and perhaps shut down domestic opposition.

When leftist Americans (alumni of Americans for a Democratic Society, a covert CIA subsidiary) hijacked airliners to Cuba, the ruling class would not hear of ending the problem by forcing Castro to give them up. Instead, they made it a crime for ordinary air travelers to defend themselves. After 9/11, the Department of Homeland Security set about establishing a new way of life in America, based on badges and regulations about what clearance would be needed to go where. The ruling class cares nothing of their effect (or, overwhelmingly, the lack thereof) on terrorism, just as it does not care what effect its shifting, contradictory mandates concerning COVID have on public health. And it does not even try to explain how adding minuscule amounts of CO2 to the atmosphere adversely affects the planet’s climate. No. The ruling class takes any and all occasions to advance its overriding objective in its own domination.

Terrorism, however, is especially useful. The premise that since we cannot know who is most likely to pose threats, that hence we must refrain from focusing on (profiling) Muslims and assume that the folks next door are as capable of mayhem as anyone shouting Allahu Akbar, has done much to make America what it is today. Especially because it is an in-your-face lie. The lie serves to free the ruling class to absolve or indict for terrorism whomever it chooses.

Surprise, surprise! Turns out that not everyone is as likely a source of terrorism as anyone else. The real, congenital, terrorists are conservative white folks. U.S intelligence properly profiles them to prevent the worst of them from taking part in society. And if anyone suggests that this relates to the fact that these white folks don’t vote for the Democratic Party, the Wall Street Journal tells us that the U.S. justice system is fair and competent: “The privacy of Americans hasn’t been threatened, while the Patriot Act has provided the feds with tools to break up domestic terror cells.” You must believe that, or else!

That is why the New York Times formulated the “War on Terror’s” official epitaph: “A War on Terror Accounting Since 9/11. The fall of Kabul shouldn’t obscure the successes over 20 years. Experts say it is the success of a multilateral effort that extends to as many as 85 countries.”

Who are you to disagree, white man?


There's more at the link.

We are greatly diminished as a nation by Prof. Codevilla's loss.  May his surviving relatives receive what comfort they may in their loss;  may his sins be forgiven him;  and may his soul, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.  He will not be forgotten.



Peter


Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Well, well, well... FBI agents identified from gay pride parade photographs?

 

As we mentioned earlier, there were an unknown, but large number of FBI agents operating under cover at last Saturday's demonstration in Washington D.C.  This photograph of what are presumed to be some of them was later memed by Lawdog.



One of Michael Yon's legion of supporters has apparently done his homework.  He found a photograph of very similar-looking people participating in what appears to be a gay pride parade, wearing FBI T-shirts.  This morning, the following appeared on Yon's feed.


Found this on Twitter - idk but it's kind of a coincidence.


Click the image for a much larger view, to see the lines connecting individuals in both photographs.

Not proof positive, as far as I'm concerned, but a very strong indicator.

Peter


Well... it's different!

 

I had to laugh at an odd-looking Halloween party product (link goes to Amazon.com) that somebody mentioned on MeWe the other day.



Yes, it's soft drinks of some kind packaged in intravenous infusion containers - or, as the manufacturer calls them, "blood bags".  I understand they're supplied empty, and you fill them with whatever you wish (which gives you plenty of latitude for mischief with adults - not so much with kids, though).

The advertising blurb was clearly written by someone who's not a native English speaker.  As evidence:  "send this to people you love, like friends, classmates, family and so on, making them experience a sense of joy and delight".  Joy and delight???  For a reminder of your last ER visit???



Actually, I think kids would love these as a Halloween trick-or-treat prop, to wheel from house to house on IV stands, trailing IV tubes (to their mouths, of course!) and trying to look as bloodstained as possible.  Of course, it would end up with their parents doing the pushing of the stands, whilst trying to get the kids to stay close enough that they didn't pull the tubes out or the bags off the stands every few seconds.

They might also be a lot of fun to take to hospital with you when you visit sick or injured friends.  If they already have a bag or two of saline solution, or whatever, plumbed into their arms, try adding a couple of bags of brightly-colored drinks in non-medical hues to the same stand, with artistically draped IV tubes leading down to their arms.  The next time the nurse checked on them, she might have a heart attack until she figures out she's been had.  (Perhaps you should fill them with something to help her recover, so she won't be too mad at your friend.  They can drink it together!)

I think these would also be great for a Rocky Horror Picture Show performance party.  Hmmm... I wonder how Old NFO would look with one of these hanging by his side and over his head, filled with puke green crème de menthe?  It would probably remind him of Navy partying days he'd rather forget!  On the other hand, if we sent pictures to his kids and grandkids, they'd never let him live it down...


Peter


The more things change, the more they stay the same...

 

French journalist Jean-Baptiste Karr is known for his aphorism "Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose" ("The more things change, the more they stay the same").

I was reminded of his well-known saying when I read this article over at Didact's Reach (a blog I recommend highly to those who are willing to take a long, hard, objective, sometimes painful look at reality - which is often very uncomfortable to those who've cocooned themselves in false optimism).


Very few generations, ever, can lay claim to having witnessed two different empires fall. Ours will be among that select group. Within my lifetime, we have seen the Fall of the Soviet Union – with, as it happens, nary a shot fired – and we will almost surely live to see the Fall of the American Empire.

Unfortunately, the latter Fall will likely be bloody, brutal, and barbaric beyond our limited ability to comprehend.

. . .

But it is worth asking what happened to Rome in the years between 120 AD, approximately the high-water mark of the empire itself, and 476 AD. How did Rome go from a city of roughly half a MILLION, that controlled most of the ancient world, and at its peak determined the fortunes of roughly one quarter of that world’s population, end up as a broken backwater town of less than 5,000 inhabitants where wolves roamed what was left of the Forum?!?!

It happened because the Romans lost track of what made them great in the first place.

They allowed for a vast gulf to emerge between their elites and their people. Then they permitted nearly unlimited immigration from barbarian nations into their own territory. They simultaneously embarked on empire-breaking wars of conquest and expansion, taking the Roman Way wherever they went. And they did an amazing job of that, no question – the entire reason why Western civilisation exists as a thing today, is because the Romans exported their engineering, laws, roads, and culture all over Europe.

But they forgot that empires destroy nations, by definition. And they forgot that, in order to sustain an empire, you need VAST amounts of military expenditure to make it work. To do that, you need to tax your productive base – or you need to print lots of money. And to do that, you will INEVITABLY impoverish the very people upon which your empire depends to keep everyone fed and warm.

Does any of this sound familiar or applicable to our current pickle? Yeah. I thought so.

The Western world is repeating, almost line for line, every single mistake made by its predecessors among the Romans. With a bit of luck, whatever is left of the shattered remnants of our civilisation will remember what idiots our predecessors were, and will avoid making those same mistakes, at least for a few generations.

For the hard truth is that, as bad as things appear to be right now, humanity never really learns. We are flawed, Fallen, and broken by nature, and as such we are condemned to keep doing the same old stupid **** until we finally pull our collective head out of our collective arse and point ourselves back to the Truth.


There's more at the link.

I wish I didn't have to agree with the author, but it's very hard to find a flaw in his argument.  All the mistakes he identifies, we are indeed making (or, rather, our so-called "leaders" are).  They appear to be oblivious to the consequences of their actions, and utterly ignorant of the lessons of history.  It's as if they think they can decree Utopia, and it'll magically happen.  Sunshine and roses, milk and honey, rainbows and unicorn farts . . . all appearing at their command, pretty as can be.

Oh, boy, are they in for a rude awakening!  Sadly, the rest of us will have no choice but to experience it, too.

Peter


He understands how we feel...

 

Stephan Pastis gets it.  Growing older is just like this!



Click the image to be taken to a larger view at the "Pearls Before Swine" Web page.



Peter


Monday, September 20, 2021

A devastating critique of the FBI

 

Sundance offers a long, in-depth article analyzing the FBI's criminal actions and failures over decades, and concludes:


What the Federal Security Service (FSB) is to the internal security of the Russian state; so too is the FBI in performing the same function for the U.S. federal government.

The FBI are a U.S. version of the Russian “State Police”; and the FBI are deployed -almost exclusively- to attack domestic enemies of those who control government; while they protect the interests of the U.S. Fourth Branch of Government.  That is the clear and accurate domestic prism to contextualize their perceived mission: “domestic violent extremists pose the greatest threat” to their objective.

Put another way, “We The People”, who fight against government abuse and usurpation, are the FBI’s actual and literal enemy.

Let me be very clear with another brutally obvious example.  Antifa could not exist as an organization; capable to organize and carry out violent attacks against their targets; without the full support of the FBI.   If the FBI wanted to arrest members of Antifa, who are actually conducting violence, they could do it easily – with little effort.

It is the absence of any action by the FBI toward Antifa, that tells us the FBI is enabling that violent extremist behavior to continue.  Once you accept that transparent point of truth; then, you realize the FBI definition of domestic violent extremism is something else entirely.

The FBI is not a law enforcement or investigative division of the U.S. Department of Justice.  The FBI is a political weapon of a larger institution that is now focused almost entirely toward  supporting a radical communist agenda to destroy civil society in the United States.


There's much more at the link.

It's a truly devastating article, amassing evidence of wrongdoing that's overwhelming in its cumulative damnation of the agency.  I can't possibly reproduce it all here, so I recommend very strongly that you click over to his place and read the whole thing for yourself.

If anyone still needed to be warned not to talk to any Federal law enforcement officer or agency unless in the presence of your lawyer, and with a recorder running, consider this that warning.  Remember, too, that making a false statement - deliberately or inadvertently - to a federal officer is itself a federal offence that can get you up to five years behind bars.  That's why you need your lawyer present, to analyze the questions asked and prevent you from saying something that might be interpreted as misleading or false, even if you didn't mean it that way.

Furthermore, considering their overwhelming presence at last Saturday's "demonstration" in Washington D.C., where police and federal agents appeared to outnumber the demonstrators, you should take it as given that if anyone - or any group - suggests, encourages or proposes anti-government action, the odds are very good indeed that they're federal agents provocateurs.  That applies particularly if they look like this, as photographed at that demonstration and memed by our friend Lawdog:



Kinda obvious, aren't they?

If Sundance is right, I guess "draining the swamp" in Washington D.C. is going to have to include abolishing the FBI as a whole, and probably much of the Justice Department with it.  The rot appears to have set in very deeply there.

Peter


The COVID-19 lies are falling apart before our eyes

 

There's been so much lying, scare-mongering and general propaganda surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic that it's very hard to get to the truth - or, rather, it's been hard until recently.  Inevitably, lies are exposed and liars are found out.  That's happening in an ever-growing cascade right now.  In this post, I'm going to put together a few things to illustrate that point.

To begin with, let's take the massive propaganda campaign against the use of Ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19.  You've doubtless seen the jokes, memes and official scorn about people treating the disease with "sheep medicine" or "deworming medicine", and claims that Ivermectin can't possibly be of any use against the pandemic.  (The Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, with a population of well over 200 million, would beg to differ - and that's just one of many success stories.)

To begin with, Ivermectin was developed to deal with parasite infestations, including river blindness (endemic in Africa), scabies, parasitic elephantiasis (also common in parts of Africa), and so on.  It was developed for human use, and later applied to animal use as well.  So successful was it that, as Wikipedia points out:


William Campbell and Satoshi Ōmura won the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for its discovery and applications. The medication is on the World Health Organization's List of Essential Medicines, and is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as an antiparasitic agent.


A Nobel Prize for its discovery?  Designated by the top medical and health organization in the entire world as an "essential medicine"?  Doesn't that sound like just a little bit more than "sheep medicine" or "worm medicine"?  It should!  In Africa, where Ivermectin is available over-the-counter in most countries, it's regarded as a miracle medication.  Nothing else has been so effective in reducing river blindness and other parasite-related infections.  Similarly, hydroxychoroquine is a commonly used prophylactic medication against malaria, which is endemic in Africa.  I used to take hydroxy on a daily basis for months at a time while I was in malaria-infested areas.  Like Ivermectin, it was an over-the-counter medicine that cost pennies per tablet.  It still is, in Africa.

(Ever wondered why African nations are reporting COVID-19 infections at a rate 4-5 times lower than other parts of the world?  I suspect it's because so many Africans are already taking Ivermectin and/or hydroxychloroquine to treat other medical issues that COVID-19 finds the continent a hostile environment.  It can't get established, because so many people are already taking medications that inhibit it.  That's my theory, anyway.)

Note, too, the propaganda scare tactics about Ivermectin "poisoning" that have been appearing across US news media.  The Desert Review has an excellent article on the subject.  Here's an excerpt.  Bold, underlined text is my emphasis.


The lesson is not about Ivermectin being poisonous because it isn't, but about the pervasiveness of a type of new internet propaganda termed "informational flooding.”

. . .

Are you kidding me? Nine telephone calls are enough to make the news? We have 2,213 deaths on August 26 from COVID-19, but these nine telephone calls are enough to make the headlines?

We have a media blackout on how India used cheap Ivermectin to obliterate the Delta variant while we struggle unsuccessfully to sell the public on problematic yet profitable vaccines. 

 https://www.zerohedge.com/covid-19/indias-ivermectin-blackout

. . .

Suddenly we see hundreds of articles on so-called "Ivermectin poisoning.” Indeed, we see more ARTICLES published than there were TELEPHONE CALLS in August on Ivermectin to poison control centers in the ENTIRE NATION.

. . .

Rolling Stone Magazine published an interview with an Oklahoma osteopathic physician, Dr. Jason McElyea, who claimed that Northeastern Hospital System’s emergency departments were overrun with so many Ivermectin overdoses that gunshot victims were having difficulty getting treatment. Dr. McElyea stated,

“The ERs are so backed up that gunshots victims were having a hard time getting to facilities where they can get definitive care and be treated.”

Multiple networks repeated the story, and it went viral ... But the report turned out to be false.

Rolling Stone was forced to publish a retraction of sorts, a correction to their report, wherein they stated the truth of the matter was the opposite ... . Northeastern Hospital System Sequoyah informed them that Dr. Jason McElyea, although affiliated with them, had not worked in the Sallisaw location in the last two months.

Furthermore, in a statement issued September 5, 2021, Northeastern Hospital System Sequoyah reported that no patients had been treated for Ivermectin overdose. Indeed no patients were treated for any complications of taking Ivermectin - and no gunshot wound patients or otherwise had been turned away from seeking emergency care.

It was all untrue. We were all lied to.


There's more at the link.

Please note, I'm not denying that COVID-19 is real, or that it's a health risk.  It's both.  I've so far had two bouts with COVID-19, and neither was fun . . . but I had medication (including both Ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine) to deal with it, and they worked as advertised, and I recovered without needing hospitalization or advanced care.  (That's despite being in several high-risk brackets, including age, respiratory impairment, weight and others.)  I have both medications in my medicine cabinet right now, and I'll use them again if I get another dose.  I have no doubts about their effectiveness.

However, I have HUGE doubts about the efficacy and safety of the vaccines on offer.  So does the FDA.  In a mammoth eight-hour virtual meeting last week, the agency analyzed data about the vaccines' effect on patients, and came to some truly horrifying conclusions.  Aesop has listened to the recording of the meeting (which you'll find here), and highlights these points.


This was an FDA livestream of an open virtual meeting their own officials and medical professionals, along with multiple other outside parties, from yesterday. This is a US Government-sponsored meeting:

"Herd immunity using the vaccine is impossible." 4:15:00ff

"The vaccine caused 71x more heart attacks in the vaccinated than any other vaccine." 4:20:00ff

"...vaccines, boosters, and mandates are all nonsensical." 4:21:00

"We killed two people to save one life." 4:21:30

"[The number of deaths per million doses administered - 411:1M] translates into about 150,000 people have died (from receiving the vaccine in just the U.S.)." 4:21:50ff

"The real numbers confirm that we kill more than we save." 4:22:00ff

"In the most optimistic study (for 90-year-olds) it means 50% of the vaccinated died, and 0% of the unvaccinated died." 4:22:20

Most of that was from the presentation of Steve Kirsch, Exec. Director of COVID Early Treatment Fund.

This guy is throwing hand grenades out with the pins pulled, every 5 seconds, the kind of headlines that would get a newsreader from BFEgypt a featured position at 60 Minutes.

Presenter after presenter beat the vaxx pimps over and over about the dearth of proper testing protocols, and utter lack of actual scientific data for any of the claims to date made by them and TPTB.

The entire meeting left the reservation, and stayed there.


There's more at the link, and in the recording of the eight-hour-long discussion.

Let's repeat Aesop's emphasis.  That was an official US government meeting, of an official US government agency, considering official US government statistics about the effectiveness (or otherwise) of COVID-19 vaccines.  Their conclusions were - to put it mildly - catastrophic.

In a comment to a follow-up post, Aesop notes:


At the linked section in the previous post, one of the presenters noted the ratio of deaths to vaccinations was 411:1M.

He goes on to state that would equate to 150K dead from the vaccines.

The US has done 383.5M vaccinations. X 411 = 157,618 deaths.

. . .

And yes, the VAERS reports tally 15K deaths.

And multiple statisticians have pointed out that probably only 1 adverse event in 10 is reported, even deaths.

Which gets us right back to 150K deaths.

What's breathtaking is that there is absolutely NO interest or curiosity in investigating to nail the number down: not officially, not journalistically, not medically.

No one wants to look, because they're afraid of what they might find. Or worse, they already know.

53 vaccine deaths in the '1970s got the Swine Flu vaccine pulled forever.

15,000, or 150,000 deaths now, and no one even wants to look.

This isn't simple bureaucratic inertia or laziness, it's studied indifference to reality.

But it explains why Israel's COVID deaths spiked concurrently with vaccinations, and why ours peaked starting last December, just as we were beginning to vaccinate people here.

You can only look the other way from Mt. Everest for so long, before it becomes too big to not notice.


Carl Bussjaeger highlights another scary figure from that FDA meeting.


Myocarditis affected 1 in 1,000 who took the vaccine.

1 in 1,000

Myocarditis in itself can be lethal. It can lead to cardiomyopathy which is deadly. According to a retired RN, the only “cure” is a heart transplant. According to MDs, the five-year morbidity rate for cardiomyopathy is 66% to 77%.

One in a thousand. In the United States. Globally, the annual myocarditis incidence rate is 1.5 in 100,000. The pseudo-vaxxed are 100 times more likely to experience this than the non-vaxxed.

. . .

I finally found the number of Pfizer doses administered.

218,872,070, as of September 16, 2021. The good slightly less worse news is that isn’t 218,872,070 individuals; mostly that appears to be people who got both jabs. But it’s a minimum of 109,436,035 individuals who got at least one (fairly close to my earlier guesstimate). We’re still looking at the potential need for 10,000 more transplant hearts.

I think we’re gonna need Nivenesque organ banks, stocked with serial speeding ticket offenders.


Again, more at the link.  Since I suffer from a form of cardiomyopathy myself, and am much more intimately familiar with the disease than I'd prefer, I can confirm his comments about its dangers.

I'm sure China, which presented us - one way or another - with the COVID-19 virus in the first place, will be delighted to sell us the human hearts we need to transplant into those ten thousand-odd patients.  After all, they have a long tradition of harvesting organs from executed prisoners to sell to Westerners desperate for replacements . . . and they have all those millions of Uighurs in "re-education camps", just waiting to be exploited.

Another data point:  when the vaccines were tested, there was a vaccinated group of volunteers, and a "control group" who were injected with something innocuous (usually saline solution) rather than the vaccine.  The idea was (as always in such medical studies) to compare one group against the other to assess the efficacy of the vaccines, not just short-term, but long-term as well.  However, the control group were later offered the vaccine, thus wiping out any possibility of testing the vaccine against a known factor.


Dr. Steven Goodman, a clinical trials specialist at Stanford University, says losing those control groups makes it more difficult to answer some important questions about COVID-19 vaccines.

"We don't know how long protections lasts," he says. "We don't know efficacy against variants — for which we definitely need a good control arm — and we also don't know if there are any differences in any of these parameters by age or race or infirmity."


More at the link.

To sum up:  I don't think we should have any faith in official propaganda pressuring us to be vaccinated against COVID-19, or accept "booster shots".  I think the growing body of evidence outlined above suggests very strongly that the risk of adverse side-effects is far greater than official pronouncements will admit.  Yes, the vaccines may provide benefits to a great many people . . . but how do you know that you won't be one of the many people to suffer an adverse reaction?  If the odds of such a reaction were very low - as they are with most other vaccinations - then I think most of us would accept them as worthwhile.  When they're as high as the FDA has just admitted . . . not so much.


I emphasize that none of the evidence provided above is "conspiracy theory" crackpot nonsense.  It comes from the FDA and reputable medical and other sources.


Do your own research (follow the links above for a good start), draw your own conclusions, make up your own mind, and proceed accordingly.

Peter


Memes that made me laugh 76

 

Gathered from hither and yon over the past week.  Click any image for a larger view.
































































More next week.

Peter


Sunday, September 19, 2021

Sunday morning music

 

Here are some pieces to drive the sleep from your eyes and wake you up properly this Sunday morning.  They're bagpipe renditions (with frequent collaboration from other instruments) of well-known tunes, plus one that's new to me.  A "pop bagpiper" calling herself The Snake Charmer, an Indian lady who taught herself to play the pipes, has an extensive collection of them on her YouTube channel.  She says of herself:


My name is Archy J, i play the Bagpipes, im from India.

Awarded by the President of India as  "India's First Professional Female Bagpiper". I am a self taught musician and hence do not play by any rules ;)

Everything you did not know or see a Bagpipe could do, is here on my channel. I make unique versions of popular songs, movie themes, anime openings, metal songs on the Bagpipes. I play an electronic Bagpipe to be able to transcend over different genres of music & has much less limitations.

Being self taught was one of the toughest thing to do for me, as i didnt have a teacher here but my determination and passion for this instrument sailed me through the impossible.

This is the only "JOB" i do, and i rely on music for my income. So if you'd like to support me please try to buy my songs from iTunes, Google play or Stream it on Spotify.

If you want to get a little more personal with my career, please support me on Patreon -https://www.patreon.com/thesnakecharmer


First, here's a medley of "Shipping Up To Boston" by the Dropkick Murphys, and "Enter Sandman" by Metallica.




Next, on bagpipe and cello, one of the theme songs from the "Pirates of the Caribbean" franchise.




Here's the 1980's dystopian hit, "The Final Countdown".




And, to conclude, here's a real foot-tapper:  a blend of Irish and Punjabi music, with a little rap thrown in.  Weird, but fun!




You'll find plenty more on The Snake Charmer's YouTube channel.  Her music is also available on Amazon, or through the channels she mentions above.

Peter