In 2016 I wrote a satire about US policy in Syria, Prime Deceit. Seven years later it’s still satire–but even more cynical and black. From Jon Reynolds at antiwar.com:
Why has every US president from Obama to Trump to Biden launched airstrikes inside the country? Is the US mission in Syria actually about fighting terrorism, or does it go deeper?
In early March, Syria’s foreign ministry condemned a surprise visit by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley to an army base in northeast Syria, with Syrian media dubbing it “illegal” and a “flagrant violation of the sovereignty and integrity” of Syrian territory, adding that the US ought to “immediately” cease support for “separatist armed groups”. The article, published by VOA, also casually notes that the US has “about 900” troops deployed in “several bases and posts across northeastern Syria” allegedly as part of the fight against ISIS.
Nearly a decade since US forces officially entered Syria and ISIS is still America’s reason for staying? How is this possible after numerous assurances from US officials – including a US president – that ISIS has been defeated? Why has every American president from Obama to Trump to Biden launched airstrikes inside the country? Is the US mission in Syria actually about fighting terrorism, or does it go deeper? And most puzzling, why the hell is the US occupying Syria?
I’m going to tell you what may be the most heroic story of courage and endurance in history. It’s the story of Ernest Shackleton’s Antarctic expedition of 1914 to 1916.
Shackleton, an Anglo-Irish polar explorer, had been deeply disappointed that the British had been beaten to the North Pole by the American Peary expedition in 1909 and that Norwegians under Roald Amundsen had been the first to the South Pole.
Robert Peary, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
Credit: Olav Bjaaland (1873–1961), Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
The Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition would save Britain’s honor.
It was to be the first crossing of the continent, following the line on this map – crossing the pole, then continuing on to Ross Island.
Another team was to leave supplies in several places from the interior to the coast, where a ship would pick up Shackleton and his men.
The expedition was an utter failure. The men never even set foot on Antarctica. And yet, even in failure – in an ordeal that lasted 617 days for most of the men – it was one of the all-time great achievements against incredible odds.
When the slaves revolt, they will seek the blood of their masters.
In 2013, a century after the establishment of the Federal Reserve, I published The Golden Pinnacle. The novel’s hero is Daniel Durand, a Wall Street banker. Chapter 27, “Fools’ Gold,” features Daniel’s testimony in 1913 before a House of Representatives subcommittee against legislation under consideration that would establish the Federal Reserve. Eleanor is Daniel’s wife and Tom and Alexander are two of his four sons. As the current banking crisis unfolds, I won’t have much to say that will add in any meaningful way to what I said in “Fools’ Gold”. Why repeat myself? Perhaps I’ll just keep linking back to this post. Please share in whole or in part with attribution and a link back to this post.
From “Fools’ Gold”
Daniel sat at a table in a committee hearing room of the House of Representatives. The drafts crisscrossing the room carried the winter cold of February. There were few spectators in the gallery. Daniel glanced at Eleanor, who sat with Tom and Alexander, but she was staring in a different direction. Although she had wished him well, she had seemed preoccupied when they met briefly in the hall outside the hearing room.
Members of the subcommittee of the House Committee on Banking and Currency strolled to their seats, signs denoting the representative, at an elevated, semicircular panel at the front of the room. They chatted with each other. Nine representatives sat down. The chair for Representative Bulkley of Ohio remained empty. The chairman of the subcommittee, Representative Carter Glass, from Virginia, banged his gavel.
“The hearing in consideration of House Bill 7837, for the establishment of a federal reserve bank and the furnishing of an elastic currency, shall now come to order. The subcommittee will hear the testimony of Mr. Daniel Durand, from the firm of Durand & Woodbury, of New York.” Chairman Glass’s accent had an unmistakable Virginia lilt that reminded Daniel of Aldus Kincaid, his attorney for the court of inquiry. A dapper gentleman in his mid-fifties, Glass had prominent ears and a nose that filled a larger proportion of his face than the average nose filled of the average face.
“Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank you, members of the committee,” Daniel said. “This legislation is still in its early stages and the details of the reserve system are the subjects of dispute. However, before everyone is enmeshed in them, it’s time to consider not just the purported benefits but also the real dangers of central banking and government-created money, or an elastic currency, if you will, and to ask if this supposed innovation is in the best interests of our country.” He glanced at his notes.
“A persistent misnomer is the term ‘bank deposit,’ which is not a deposit at all. If I take an item to a warehouse and pay a fee to deposit it for safekeeping, when I exercise my contractual rights and claim it, the owner of the warehouse must give it back to me. The owner can’t lend it out, use it to secure a loan, or give it to another depositor to satisfy his claim. On the other hand, when I put my money in a bank, the banker can lend or invest it, use those loans and investments as collateral to borrow money, or use my funds to pay creditors or other depositors. I haven’t deposited my money in the same sense that I deposited the item at the warehouse.
“My deposit is actually a loan and I’m an unsecured creditor of the bank. Much of the instability of the present system stems from a fiction. The respectable bank is housed in a neoclassical fortress and prominently displays a sturdy vault, to convince the depositor his money is safe. In fact, almost all his money leaves the bank in search of a return higher than the interest the bank pays him. Only a small portion is held in reserve to meet depositor withdrawals, although all depositors are told they can withdraw their money on demand.
“The bank has made a promise that it can’t always keep. Business and financial cycles are as immutable as human nature. When famine follows feast and fear replaces greed, the demand for money inevitably increases. The banker faces his worst nightmare—a run on the bank. Banks with sufficient reserves or borrowing power survive. Those without them go bankrupt.”
Daniel looked up at the representatives. Only a couple appeared interested.
Remdesivir is a drug, not a vaccine, so its manufacturer, Gilead, can be sued. Some of the medical personnel who administered the drug reportedly nicknamed it “run, death is near.” From Dr. Joseph Mercola at childrenshealthdefense.org:
Story at a glance:
The antiviral drug remdesivir, brand name Veklury, is approved for use against COVID-19 despite research showing it lacks effectiveness and can cause high rates of organ failure.
John Beaudoin is calling for a criminal investigation into remdesivir, citing data that it may have killed 100,000 people in the U.S.
Beaudoin received all the death certificates in Massachusetts from 2015 to 2022, finding 1,840 excess deaths from acute renal failure from Jan. 1, 2021, to Nov. 30, 2022, which he believes may be due to remdesivir.
A study published in The Lancet found “no clinical benefit” from the use of remdesivir in hospitalized patients.
The U.S. government pays hospitals a 20% upcharge on the entire hospital bill when remdesivir is used.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized the experimental antiviral drug remdesivir, brand name Veklury, for emergency use against COVID-19 in May 2020.
People remember Bruce Lee as a fighter or as a movie star. But as it happens, he was also a thoughtful man. Bruce had his gaps and flaws, of course, but he also left behind a lot of useful thoughts. And since so few people know about these ideas, I’ll cover them here. (I never knew Bruce, who died while I was a teenager, but a friend of mine did, and a friend of another friend knew him very well.)
Bruce forged most of his ideas while developing and testing martial arts. In other words, his ideas came from direct application to the real world; they faced hard, objective standards. If he stuck to some old technique, merely because of its pedigree, he was likely to be hurt. That’s a must-learn environment, and it refines ideas in a hurry.
The truth is that many people, especially in our time, seek to escape objective standards: they don’t want to get slapped, and especially not to be shown wrong. But there’s a huge problem with people evading pain in that way: They simultaneously escape learning, and ultimately fail to develop wisdom.
And so it’s no real surprise that people who consistently face-off against objective standards (not just fighters, but people like engineers), tend to see the world more clearly that those who escape them.
If we haven’t reached peak absurdity, we’re pretty close. From James Howard Kunstler at kunstler.com:
“There’s a lot of stupidity in public discourse, and most of it is not worth paying attention to. But once in a while, there is a kind of stupidity that is so grotesque that its very existence to any substantive degree tells us something about our culture.” — Richard Hanania
Time, they say, is nature’s way of making sure that everything doesn’t happen at once. Whoever “they” are — and these days it is liable to be just one person — obviously hadn’t tried living in the USA in 2023, because now everything is happening at once. The cosmic weirdness has left some observers, such as the formidable and admirable Naomi Wolf, to wonder if we are under the sway of something supernatural, and not a good something.
The old movie Poltergeist comes to mind. Remember? Every evil entity in the pop culture universe came spewing out of a TV all at once, to disorder a perfectly banal and serene suburban neighborhood, representing all of us, of course. These days, when I drive to the supermarket to behold the astounding price of tomatoes, I half-expect to see a giant projection of Joy Reid, piggyback on a hoofed-and-horned Klaus Schwab, ride across the sickening red twilight sky, her shrieks making the leafless trees cringe and the asphalt crack. The shadow-side of everything in American history and posterity is loose upon the land, and our country has finally come to look exactly like Dylan’s Desolation Row: They’re selling postcards of the hanging, and painting the passports brown, all right. The beauty parlor’s filled with sailors, the circus is in town.
Daniel Ellsberg at a press conference in New York City, 1972.
I think it best that I begin with the end. On March 1, I and dozens of Dan’s friends and fellow activists received a two-page notice that he had been diagnosed with incurable pancreatic cancer and was refusing chemotherapy because the prognosis, even with chemo, was dire. He will be ninety-two in April.
Last November, over a Thanksgiving holiday spent with family in Berkeley, I drove a few miles to visit Dan at the home in neighboring Kensington he has shared for decades with his wife Patricia. My intent was to yack with him for a few hours about our mutual obsession, Vietnam. More than fifty years later, he was still pondering the war as a whole, and I was still trying to understand the My Lai massacre. I arrived at 10 am and we spoke without a break—no water, no coffee, no cookies—until my wife came to fetch me, and to say hello and visit with Dan and Patricia. She left, and I stayed a few more minutes with Dan, who wanted to show me his library of documents that could have gotten him a long prison term. Sometime around 6 pm—it was getting dark—Dan walked me to my car, and we continued to chat about the war and what he knew—oh, the things he knew—until I said I had to go and started the car. He then said, as he always did, “You know I love you, Sy.”
So this is a story about a tutelage that began in the summer of 1972, when Dan and I first connected. I have no memory of who called whom, but I was then at the New York Times and Dan had some inside information on White House horrors he wanted me to chase down—stuff that had not been in the Pentagon Papers.
We’ve reached some sort of climactic upheaval and life for most people is about to radically change. From James Howard Kunstler at kunstler.com:
” If, however, as Pareto suggested… a governing elite is inevitable, then we are certainly under the wrong elites. Whether a circulation of elites can be completed in time to save the world economic system from ruin and the majority from destitution and veritable slavery is a question of no little urgency.” — Michael Rectenwald
Imagine that on an April evening in 1912, the captain of the RMS Titanic had announced a grand ball at which the male passengers were asked to wear their wives’ clothing and vice-versa…. That was approximately the condition of Western Civ verging on springtime in 2023: preoccupied with silliness while the iceberg awaits.
But who would have thought the sinking of civilization would occur with such fantastic comic ornamentation? Men, in more ways than mere costuming, pretending to be women… incompetence honored, feted, even worshipped… intellect reduced to anti-thinking… anything of value thrown overboard in some weird post-modern potlatch ceremony of twisted moral righteousness…? But the hour is late, the party is near its end, and the iceberg is struck. The rest of the story will be you holding onto a few valuables, including your life, while the lifeboats get lowered.
From here forward, things get pretty interesting. And from here on, nobody is really in charge. The vacuum of leadership we’ve been living in becomes impossible to ignore, and nature (it’s rumored) hates a vacuum. For the moment, circumstances are in charge, not personalities.
The World Economic Forum is pushing fascism. From Dr. Joseph Mercola at lewrockwell.com:
Curious about the inner workings of the World Economic Forum (WEF), the driving force behind The Great Reset? Set aside 30 minutes to watch investigative journalist Whitney Webb speak with MintPress News in the video above.1 Every year in January, WEF holds its annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland.
The 2023 theme was “cooperation in a fragmented world,” with WEF noting, “The world today is at a critical inflection point. The sheer number of ongoing crises calls for bold collective action.”2
Their actions, however, while carefully packaged to appear altruistic — and steeped in warm-and-fuzzy buzzwords like “green” and “sustainable” — will ultimately propel its small circle further into power while all but guaranteeing a downtrodden populace. If you so much as dip your finger beneath WEF’s surface, it becomes clear that corporatism and, more aptly, fascism, are its modus operandi.
WEF Promotes Fascist Ideology
WEF often speaks about the “transformative potential of public-private partnerships.” According to WEF:3
“The private sector needs to speak the language of social change, and the public sector needs to create economic incentives to harness the private sector’s innovation and expertise to address society’s challenges. With shared goals, targeted action and monitored impact, we can move beyond dialogue and aspiration to the co-creation of a more inclusive, prosperous and sustainable future.”
It sounds good in theory. But what, exactly, is a public-private partnership? It’s when private entities like multinational corporations join with the public sector, putting the two on equal ground. The problem is that most politicians receive money and other favors from these same multinational corporations, so many facets of the government are essentially owned by these corporations.
A society’s well being is directly calibrated to its adherence to the brain standard.
The world is moving towards multipolarity. One axis, the West, is led by the U.S., the other—Eurasia and the global south—by Russia and China. Ukraine currently serves as a cauldron of the military conflict between the two axes. Taiwan may become a second such cauldron.
Through sanctions, the West has made economic and financial warfare a part of the conflict. The longest arrow in the U.S.’s quiver is the dollar’s reserve currency status. Western economies are based on credit. Central banks serve as the focal point of fiat debt issuance and monetization, interest rate manipulation, and currency debasement. Russia, China, and their cohorts are exploring alternatives to the dollar’s role and the West’s fiat currency, debt, and financialization, discussing arrangements based on gold and commodities, and economic activity centered on agriculture, mining, petroleum, manufacturing, and trade.
It’s a common sense conclusion that these are a more durable economic foundation than fiat debt, whose value is wholly dependent on the ever-shifting whims of politicians and monetary functionaries. Several commentators have hailed the shift away from the West’s fiat currencies and credit to that which is tangible and real. Currently, however, Russia and China’s currencies and credit are just as fiat as the West’s.
Oil was as tangible and real in 1600 as it is now. Why was it regarded as a useless nuisance back then and now it trades at around $76 (or about 1/24th of an ounce of real money, or gold) per barrel? What made oil valuable, the linchpin of the global economy, for which countries have been invaded and wars fought? Somebody figured out how to unlock and control oil’s energy and use it to generate light and power, and to distill it to derive chemicals now used in everything from fertilizers and plastics to pharmaceuticals and cosmetics.
Direct barter is the means of exchange in primitive economies. Money is the intermediary agent that allows a producer to indirectly trade his or her production for someone else’s, to the benefit of both parties. Gold’s suitability as money has been recognized for millennia. Credit allows those who consume less than they produce to invest their surplus in economic activity that generates returns higher than the interest charged.
Do you like what you’re reading? SLL cuts through the reams of intellectual clutter, nonsense, and lies that bombard us daily. SLL is based on the premises that freedom is the foundation of human progress and happiness, truth is paramount, and inquiry and logic are the essential tools for realizing those objectives. What readers value the most are its clarity and understanding. Please consider compensating SLL for value received. The payment links are on the right or click the button below. Thank you.
There is no mystery what the best and brightest seek: freedom to think, express, and produce; protection of property and contract rights; security from crime and war. The conundrum is how few times those conditions have even come close to being fulfilled. They stand out like isolated lighthouses, beacons shining through history’s all-too-frequent darkness and tempest tossed seas. There are no such beacons today; the world shuns the brain standard.
It is the human mind and productive activity that imparts value to oil, gold, and credit. The mind is the fountainhead of human progress and wealth. The world has always run on the brain standard. A society’s well being is directly calibrated to its adherence to that standard. Its requirements are not conceptually complicated, but throughout history its sporadic implementation has proven problematic.
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