Category Archives: Collapse

Close Up and Long Shot, by James Howard Kunstler

The world is whirling centrifugally apart and it can only end badly. What if they held a “climactic bloodbath” and nobody came? From James Howard Kunstler at kunstler.com:

Be careful about what you see in the foreground of the news vis-à-vis what’s in the background. Sunday, the cable networks were on fire over the 30-or-so white nationalists marching across Washington DC — with much larger hordes of masked, black-clad Antifa street-fighters following them around, and an army of DC cops in fluorescent green riot vests following the Antifas and the white nationalist knuckleheads.

The event was a billed as an attempt to commemorate the clash that happened between the same contestants in Charlottesville, Virginia, a year ago in the uproar over Confederate statues. That fiasco ended in the death of a bystander named Heather Heyer. Not a whole lot has changed since then, except perhaps the Left has become more strident in its calls to penalize white people for their crimes of “privilege,” no doubt further inflaming the Unite-the-Right crew. (And the anti-statue campaign has dropped down the memory hole.)

There was plenty of “hate” to go around on both sides Sunday. But those who were waiting for a climactic bloodbath in Lafayette Park must have been disappointed after a long day of tension when a big blob of rain hunkered over the District at suppertime and the theatrics concluded. Both the Antifas and the Unite-the-Right marchers had to go home and get out of their wet clothes. At least they could agree on that.

The cable TV anchors had issued the usual calls for “national unity,” exhorting President Trump to emerge from his Bedminster, New Jersey, golfing bunker and “bring the country together,” a sadly fatuous proposition. There is nothing to come together within. There’s nothing left of an American common culture besides a few Disney movies and that’s not nearly enough. That’s what happens when you opt for multiculturalism as your number one political principle. It automatically negates shared values, so why even expect any agreement between groups contending for dominance?

To continue reading: Close Up and Long Shot

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The Real Reason Why US-Turkey Relations Have Hit an All-Time Low, by Jim Carey

This is an excellent survey and analysis of the US-Turkey relationship. From Jim Carey at theantimedia.com:

Over the past week, US-Turkey relations have hit an all-time low, but how did these two allies end up at odds with each other?

If you’ve been watching the news over the past week you may think the current hostility between Washington and Ankara is about the US pastor, Andrew Brunson. Brunson, who has been in police custody or under house arrest in Turkey since October 2016, has now apparently become a high priority for the Trump Regime.

But why did this take so long? Vice President Mike Pence has known about Brunson since day one of the administration thanks to his ties to the US evangelical community but neither he or the President have previously expressed this level of outrage. There have already been low key talks between Washington and Ankara in the past concerning the return of Brunson to the US, but what the Western media isn’t reporting now is how these talks to return a US national fit into the bigger geopolitical picture of US-Turkey relations.

Andrew Brunson and Fethullah Gulen: “A Pastor for a Pastor”

Behind the general request by the US to return Andrew Brunson is a several-year-long process involving several closed-door meetings about the pastor between US and Turkish officials. During all of these meetings, the US demand was the same as it is now, but they weren’t the only one who wanted something out of the negotiations.

You aren’t hearing much about Ankara’s demands right now but Turkish President Recep Erdogan has previously said he would be willing to return the US pastor in exchange for Turkey’s own expat “pastor,” Fethullah Gulen. Erdogan made this perfectly clear at a rally for Turkish police officers in March, saying that the trade should be a no-brainer since “the one that we have [in our hands – Brunson] is being tried, the one you have [in your hands – Gulen] is not being tried.”

Gulen is the exiled cleric and former-Erdogan ally alleged to be behind a failed coup in July 2016 with supposed US assistance. Turkey has been asking for the return of Gulen since before the dust even settled after the coup attempt but the US has so far refused to extradite the charter-school magnate and religious leader.

To continue reading: The Real Reason Why US-Turkey Relations Have Hit an All-Time Low

Is There Enough of America Left To Be Saved?, by Paul Craig Roberts

The individual rights the government protects has dwindled to the point that very few are left. From Paul Craig Roberts at paulcraigroberts.org:

As many readers of this website have noticed, the United States has lost its character and become a dysfunctional society. In place of a largely homogeneous population once united in veneration of the Constitution, there exists today massive diversity which Identity Politics has used to disunite the population into separate interest groups.

No clause or article of the Constitution, nor the Bill of Rights, is safe. The George W. Bush and Obama regimes destroyed two of the most important protections of civil liberty—habeas corpus and due process. Bush declared indefinite imprisonment on suspicion alone without evidence or trial. Obama declared execution of US citizens on accusation alone without due process. The Justice (sic) Department wrote legal memos justifying torture, thus destroying the constitutional protection against self-incrimination. One of the authors of the memos is now a professor of law at UC Berkeley. The other is now a federal judge, indications that respect for the Constitution and enforcement of US and international laws against torture is fading in law schools and the federal judiciary.

A third important protection of civil liberty—freedom of speech which is necessary for the discovery of truth and to serve justice—is being destroyed. Apple, Google/Facebook, Twitter, Spotify, university speech codes, legislation against protesting Israel’s atrocities against Palestinians, and the presstitute media that has been turned into a propaganda organ in behalf of vested interests are all actively involved in protecting lies against truth.

Glenn Greenwald reported that “the single greatest threat to free speech in the West — and in the U.S. — is the coordinated, growing campaign to outlaw and punish those who advocate for, or participate in, activism to end the Israeli occupation” of Palestine.https://theintercept.com/2016/02/16/greatest-threat-to-free-speech-in-the-west-criminalizing-activism-against-israeli-occupation/

To continue reading: Is There Enough of America Left To Be Saved?

Could California Flame Out? by John McNellis

California definitely could flame out, and probably will. From John McNellis at wolfstreet.com:

High housing costs & taxes lead to this: “Once we decided we had to get our employees out of California, we went about our search systematically.”

The phone rang early the other day. “Well, our center’s still standing,” my partner said. “The fire’s only a couple blocks from us, the whole town of Lakeport’s been evacuated. I think we’ll be ok, but it’s out of control.”

That fire is still raging as of this writing, the town is empty, the stores are closed, our shopkeepers are suffering daily losses that, while nothing compared to the loss of life and home that California’s wildfires are claiming, will never be recovered.

Not so very long ago I thought that global warming was a tragedy of epic proportions, but that it would have at least a few winners: Southern California might become truly unbearable, but Eureka would be the next Laguna Beach. I was wrong again. Writing in the New York Times about Montana, Sara Vowell summarized it like this, “Here in the Mountain West, there are no longer four seasons, only two: winter and wildfire.”

While not that apocalyptic, California’s wildfire season has been starting earlier and ending later. In the past, the season lasted a couple months, August through early October. This year it began the first week of July and last year–the deadliest and costliest wildfire season ever–it went on forever, finally petering out in the north in November and still devastating the south as late as December. The Thomas fire in Southern California, the largest single fire ever, broke out on December 4th.

In California, we pay the highest taxes in America. No other state has a base sales tax as high as our 7.25% nor does any state match our top marginal income tax rate of 13.3% (Hawaii’s a distant second at 11%). One resigned pundit called it a “Shangri-La tax,” the price we must pay to live in the Golden State. And thanks to what passes for political brilliance in Congress, Shangri-La became way more expensive as of January 1st when the Republicans eliminated the deductibility of state income taxes at the federal level, smacking the high-tax Democratic states they already had no chance of winning. All things being equal (they never are), a rich liberal will pay another 6.5% or so in federal taxes for the privilege of living in California this year.

To continue reading: Could California Flame Out?

“I’m Totally Freaked Out”: Brazil’s Elite Fleeing Bloodshed And Chaos, by Tyler Durden

Many well to do Brazilians are fleeing their nation’s hellish descent. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

Amid the economic, political, and social collapse, Brazil has been described by many as being in the midst of a “zombie apocalypse” as years of corruption and violence spectacularly implodes all at once.

Horrified by the out of control violence and pessimistic about the nation’s political and economic outlook, thousands of wealthy Brazilians are now fleeing the country.

Thiago Lacerda, a high-profile actor, is one of the thousands of celebrities, bankers, lawyers and affluent Brazilians considering emigration before the next round of turmoil.

“I’m totally freaked out by what’s been happening, especially here in Rio [Rio de Janeiro],” Mr. Lacerda told The Wall Street Journal.

The 40-year-old actor said he has considered moving his family to Europe for the safety of his three children. “In several years, they’re going to want to go out, to start dating, without worrying about getting shot.”

Naercio Menezes Filho, director of the center for public policy at Insper, a São Paulo business school, commented on the situation and pointed out — the elite fleeing the country is the newest trend amid the threat of gang violence and economic instability.

According to a study published in June by Brazilian polling agency Datafolh, about 52 percent of the wealthiest Brazilians — those with a monthly income of more than $2,500 — want to emigrate, while 56 percent of college graduates have plans on leaving the country.

“The hope that Brazilians once had in their country has gone out the window, and many people are now reaching the conclusion that things are unlikely to change in the next few years,” said Mr. Menezes Filho.

Government figures show the number of Brazilians filing emigration notices with the federal tax office reached 21,700 in 2017, that is nearly three times the number in 2011, when officials started recording the data. WSJ notes that many are moving to the Portuguese Riviera and to US cities such as Orlando and Miami.

To continue reading: “I’m Totally Freaked Out”: Brazil’s Elite Fleeing Bloodshed And Chaos

How Inflation Destroys Civilization, by Nick Giambruno

Nick Giambruno connects the dots between inflation and the desire for socialism. From Giambruno at internationalman.com:

Yesterday I told you about the unstoppable trend towards more socialism in the US.

I think inflation is the primary factor driving this trend. Americans feel squeezed because the cost of rent, medical insurance, and tuition, as well as other basic living expenses, is rising much faster than their wages.

This creates very real problems for ordinary people. In response, more and more turn to Santa Claus politicians that promise supposed freebies, like a $15 minimum wage or universal basic income.

Why the Cost of Living Has Exploded

This is all a predictable consequence of the US abandoning sound money.

By every measure—including stagnating wages and rising costs—things have been going downhill for the American middle class since the early 1970s.

August 15, 1971, to be exact. This is the date President Nixon killed the last remnants of the gold standard.

Since then, the dollar has been a pure fiat currency. This allows the Fed to print as many dollars as it pleases. And—without the discipline imposed by some form of a gold standard—it does precisely that. The US money supply has exploded 2,106% higher since 1971.

The rejection of sound money is the primary reason inflation has eaten up wage growth since the early 1970s—and the primary reason the cost of living has exploded.

The next chart illustrates this dynamic. It measures US hourly wages priced in gold grams (the number of gold grams the average person’s hourly income could buy).

Measured in gold, wages in the US have fallen over 84% since 1971. That’s an astounding drop.

The next chart measures the federal minimum wage in terms of gold grams. Priced in gold, the minimum wage has fallen 87% since 1968.

Note that the federal minimum wage was $1.60 in 1968. It’s $7.25 today, or 353% higher in dollar terms.

But that $7.25 buys 87% less than $1.60 did back in 1968. That’s the story you won’t hear from the mainstream press.

This is why millennials and millions of others are gravitating toward socialism.

To continue reading: How Inflation Destroys Civilization

As Long As Assange Is Silenced, Claims Against Him Are Illegitimate, by Caitlin Johnstone

The Julian Assange “debate” is now completely one-sided—and thus not a debate—because Julian Assange has been completely silenced. From Caitlin Johnstone at medium.com:

As attempts to evict Julian Assange from the Ecuadorian embassy in London get more and more aggressive, we are seeing a proportionate increase in the establishment smear campaign against him and against WikiLeaks. This is not a coincidence.

The planned campaign to remove Assange from political asylum and the greatly escalated smear campaign to destroy public support for Assange are both occurring at the same time that Assange has been cut off from the world without internet, phone calls or visitors, completely unable to defend himself from the smear campaign. This, also, is not a coincidence.

The ability to control the narrative about what is going on in the world is of unparalleled importance to the plutocrats who use governments as tools to advance their agendas. The agenda to make an example of a leak publisher with a massive platform who has repeatedly exposed the corruption of the establishment upon which western plutocrats have built their empires will require continuous narrative spin, since the precedent set by prosecuting a journalist for publishing authentic documents would arguably constitute a greater leap in the direction of Orwellian dystopia than the Patriot Act.

WikiLeaks is run by an anti-Semitic alt-right troll, leaked DMs from its Twitter account show. How embarrassing for people who celebrated this organization. https://t.co/wx2ltLEvCW

— @michaeldweiss

Among the latest components of this campaign has been a viral dump of Twitter DMs being promoted as a hot news item by outlets like Motherboard, The Hill, Forbes and Think Progress and across #Resistance Twitter. The fact that the juicy bits from those DMs had already been published months ago by The Intercept, and the fact that the smears and spin we’re seeing reruns of today were long ago ripped to shreds in journalist Suzie Dawson’s epic essay “Being Julian Assange” after the Intercept publication, has not dampened the orgiastic frenzy with which this non-story is being bandied about by establishment loyalists and defenders of power as evidence of Assange’s nefariousness.

This is entirely illegitimate. It is not legitimate to make claims about someone who has been deliberately deprived of the ability to defend himself. It is not legitimate to spin a narrative about someone whose ability to participate in that narrative has been deliberately cut off. You don’t get to silence a man and then legitimately take over the public narrative about him. That is not a valid thing to do.

To continue reading: As Long As Assange Is Silenced, Claims Against Him Are Illegitimate