Are We (Collectively) Depressed? by Charles Hugh Smith

Is repressed anger leading to widespread depression? From Charles Hugh Smith at oftwominds.com:

We need to encourage honesty above optimism. Once we can speak honestly, there is a foundation for optimism.
Psychoanalysis teaches that one cause of depression is repressed anger.
The rising tide of collective anger is visible in many places: road rage, violent street clashes between groups seething for a fight, the destruction of friendships for holding the “incorrect” ideological views, and so on. I Think We Can Safely Say The American Culture War Has Been Taken As Far As It Can Go.
A coarsening of the entire social order is increasingly visible: The Age of Rudeness.
This raises a larger question: are we as a society becoming depressed as we repress our righteous anger and our sense of powerlessness as economic and social inequality rises?
Depression is a complex phenomenon, but it typically includes a loss of hope and vitality, absence of goals, the reinforcement of negative internal dialogs, and anhedonia, the loss of the joy of living (joie de vivre).
Depressive thoughts (and the emotions they generate) tend to be self-reinforcing, and this is why it’s so difficult to break out of depression once in its grip.
One part of the healing process is to expose the sources of anger that we are repressing. As psychiatrist Karen Horney explained in her 1950 masterwork, Neurosis and Human Growth: The Struggle Towards Self-Realization, anger at ourselves sometimes arises from our failure to live up to the many “shoulds” we’ve internalized, and the idealized track we’ve laid out for ourselves and our lives.
The recent article, The American Dream Is Killing Us does a good job of explaining how our failure to obtain the expected rewards of “doing all the right things”(getting a college degree, working hard, etc.) breeds resentment and despair.
Since we did the “right things,” the system “should” deliver the financial rewards and security we expected. This systemic failure to deliver the promised rewards is eroding social mobility and the social contract while generating frustration, anger, etc.
To continue reading: Are We (Collectively) Depressed?
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The Rise of the Generals, by Patrick J. Buchanan

Patrick J. Buchanan asks, and attempts to answer, the key question: Has President Donald Trump outsourced foreign policy to the generals? From Buchanan at buchanan.org:

Has President Donald Trump outsourced foreign policy to the generals?

So it would seem. Candidate Trump held out his hand to Vladimir Putin. He rejected further U.S. intervention in Syria other than to smash ISIS.

He spoke of getting out and staying out of the misbegotten Middle East wars into which Presidents Bush II and Obama had plunged the country.

President Trump’s seeming renunciation of an anti-interventionist foreign policy is the great surprise of the first 100 days, and the most ominous. For any new war could vitiate the Trump mandate and consume his presidency.

Trump no longer calls NATO “obsolete,” but moves U.S. troops toward Russia in the Baltic and eastern Balkans. Rex Tillerson, holder of Russia’s Order of Friendship, now warns that the U.S. will not lift sanctions on Russia until she gets out of Ukraine.

If Tillerson is not bluffing, that would rule out any rapprochement in the Trump presidency. For neither Putin, nor any successor, could surrender Crimea and survive.

What happened to the Trump of 2016?

When did Kiev’s claim to Crimea become more crucial to us than a cooperative relationship with a nuclear-armed Russia? In 1991, Bush I and Secretary of State James Baker thought the very idea of Ukraine’s independence was the product of a “suicidal nationalism.”

Where do we think this demonization of Putin and ostracism of Russia is going to lead?

To get Xi Jinping to help with our Pyongyang problem, Trump has dropped all talk of befriending Taiwan, backed off Tillerson’s warning to Beijing to vacate its fortified reefs in the South China Sea, and held out promises of major concessions to Beijing in future trade deals.

“I like (Xi Jinping) and I believe he likes me a lot,” Trump said this week. One recalls FDR admonishing Churchill, “I think I can personally handle Stalin better than … your Foreign Office … Stalin hates the guts of all your people. He thinks he likes me better.”

FDR did not live to see what a fool Stalin had made of him.

To continue reading: The Rise of the Generals

UN To Trump: Obamacare Repeal Would Violate “International Law”; Would Also Be Racist, by Tyler Durden

Anyone looking for fodder for one-world government theories, here it is. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

A confidential memo from the United Nations, sent shortly after Trump moved into the White House, made an “urgent appeal” to the Trump administration that a repeal of Obamacare could violate international law.  Oh yeah, and it would also be racist as well.  Unfortunately, this is not hyperbole.

The letter was written by Dainius Puras whose official title is:

“Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health”

Unfortunately, that also is not hyperbole…that is his real, official title as signed on the letter below.

Apparently the letter was originated after Puras received some “information”, undoubtedly from the Obama administration, suggesting that a repeal of Obamacare would leave 30 million people without any access to healthcare and doomed to a sudden, painful death.

“I would like to bring to the attention of your Government information I have received concerning the possibility to repeal core elements of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) with negative impacts on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standards of physical and mental health in the United States, in particular those with moderate or low income and in situations of poverty or social exclusion.”

“Recent reports have assessed the negative impact that this reform may have on the right to health of almost 30 million people in the U.S.”

“In this context, I would like to draw the attention of your Government to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).  The UDHR has become a source and expression of international customary law and all States, including the United States of America, are obliged to protect and guarantee the rights enshrined therein.”

Why do we suddenly feel like Brandt in regards to Puras’ revelation of “certain information, man.”

 

Ann Coulter Backs Out from Berkeley: For Patriots, It’s Still On, by Jack Kerwick

The left has descended into violence and its Democratic partisans have not denounced or tried to stop it. The Republicans have failed to use their control of many state and local governments to address the violence. From Jack Kerwick at lewrockwell.com:

After a highly publicized ordeal involving UC Berkeley and Ann Coulter, and after the latter insisted as recently as just a few hours before the time of this writing that she would speak at Berkeley irrespectively of the fact that administrators had done all that they could to prevent her from being heard, Ann has decided to…cancel her event.

“There will be no speech,” she wrote in an email to Reuters. Two groups that originally planned on sponsoring her had backed out.  “I looked over my shoulder and my allies had joined the other team.” Ann added: “I have no sponsor, no lawyer, no court order.  I can’t vindicate constitutional rights on my own.  I was just supposed to give the speech.”

Whether these were the only considerations that led a defiant Ann Coulter to reverse course as dramatically and abruptly as she did is questionable.  For the time being, they are also beside the point.  The points that are worth focusing on here are three-fold.

First, the left has thrust the country into a new era of political violence. That’s right.  It is on the collective shoulders of the militant, neo-communist left, and no one else, on which the burden for this violence directly rests.  That being said, while the domestic terrorists of Black Lives Matter, the so-called “antifa,” and those who are physically attacking their opponents are directly responsible for the mayhem, their ideological ilk in the Democrat Party and its network of propaganda organs—the “media” and Hollywood—own this as well.

Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi—they have both fueled the flames with their reckless rhetoric and sat in silence as the anti-American terrorist wing of their party victimized innocents.

They deserve and, God-permitting, will receive their comeuppance.

To continue reading: Ann Coulter Backs Out from Berkeley: For Patriots, It’s Still On

 

The Corporatocracy, by Robert Gore

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The interests of Washington and large corporations have merged so completely they are now inseparable.

America’s large corporations and its government have merged. Or was it an acquisition? If the latter, who acquired whom? Unfortunately, the labels affixed to purely corporate combinations lose their analytical usefulness here. While the two retain their own distinct legal structures and managements, so to speak, such a close community of interest has evolved that it’s no longer possible to separate them or delineate their individual contours. Political labels are no help; the ones most often used have become hopelessly imprecise. The Wikipedia definition of “fascism” is over 8,000 words, with 43 notes and 16 references.

However, the conjoined blob is so big, rapacious, and intrusive that akin to Justice Potter Stewart’s famous non-definition of obscenity, everybody knows it when they see or otherwise come into contact with it. This article will use the term “corporatocracy.” It’s less letters, dashes, and words to type than “the corporate-government-combination.” No serviceable understanding of either US history or current events is possible without close study of the corporatocracy. Unfortunately, such study, like entomology or cleaning septic tanks, requires a stout constitution. But take heart, entomologists grow to love their creepy crawly things, and septic tank cleaners say that after a few minutes you don’t even notice the smell.

A cherished delusion of naive liberals holds that big government is a counterweight, not a partner, to big business. Such a rationale is touted when the righteous demand new regulation, the public and media endorse it, the legislators pass it, and the president signs it into law. However, there are always unpaved stretches on the road to hell—once regulation is law, the righteous, public, media, legislators, and president, and their ostensibly good intentions, are on to the next cause.

In the quiet obscurity they relish, regulators and regulated get down to doing what they do best: bending the law to their joint benefit. Business, whose P&L’s can be powerfully affected by regulations, hire armies of lobbyists and lawyers in a never ending effort to tilt the playing field in their direction, and improve bottom lines, stock prices, and executive bonuses. The return on such investment is far higher than on old fashioned expenditures like research and development, plant and equipment, and job-creating expansion.

PRIME DECEIT TORCHES THE SWAMP!

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Not-so-naive liberals, professed conservatives, and apolitical opportunists work both sides of the street. The revolving door ensures that all concerned do well. Playing this game isn’t cheap, which serves as a barrier to entry to scrappy competitors who compete those old fashioned ways: innovation, hustle, and better products and services at lower prices. Regulation cartelizes industries; look, for instance, at banking and medicine. No surprise that regulatory barriers are one of Warren Buffett’s favorite “moats”: deep and hard-to-cross waterways that protect durable commercial advantages.

Washington doesn’t just fortify favored corporations’ business plans. A $4-plus-trillion-a-year enterprise, the government is the world’s largest purchaser of goods and services. Procuring those contracts employs more armies of lobbyists and lawyers, and has a powerful effect on policy. The shoddy premises supporting the welfare and warfare states, and their epic waste, are obvious to many of the taxpayers forced to underwrite them. They’ve decried them for decades, and voted for candidates promising to cut welfare, waste, war, and taxes. However, beyond voting, taxpayers can devote little time to stopping or slowing the gravy train. Their resources are infinitesimal compared to the resources its passengers expend to keep it running.

The modus operandi for Washington and big business have converged. Debt, its issuance and marketing, is the pillar of the financial nexus and revolving door between Washington and Wall Street. The government and its central bank artificially pump up the economy and hide its deterioration with debt and machinations: ultra low interest rates, quantitative easing, and debt monetization. Big businesses lever their balance sheets to pump up their stock prices or make acquisitions, machinations that do nothing to improve core businesses but often hide ongoing deterioration.

The history of any long-running government program is a catalogue of failures and expanding budgets. Washington cherishes failure, the fountainhead of larger appropriations and more power. Success would put bureaucrats out of work and give politicians less influence to peddle. Likewise in business, failure has become much more acceptable than it was during those bad old days of cutthroat capitalism. Marissa Mayer’s undistinguished five-year tenure at Yahoo, while perhaps not a complete failure, certainly can’t be termed a success. Nevertheless, she’s walking away from the company with at least $186 million for her middling endeavors. Given all that discrimination out there against women, one can only imagine what she would have made if she were a man.

Silicon Valley puts billions into companies like Uber, AirBnb, Snapchat, and Lyft that lose those billions and will continue to do so for the foreseeable—and probably the unforeseeable—future. Private equity shops load up companies with debt that gets paid out as special dividends to the private equity shops, leaving the indebted and enfeebled companies unable to compete and the rest of us wondering how such rape is legal in our rape-conscious age. This recipe for inevitable failure is now playing out in the beleaguered retail sector, which would be nowhere near as beleaguered if it wasn’t so beset with debt.

Tesla, a stock market darling and the quintessence of companies in which failure is the business plan, milks Wall Street for financing and Washington (and a bunch of state and local jurisdictions) for subsidies. It has lost billions during its ten years of existence, but its many admirers sing the praises of CEO Elon Musk, always using the term “consummate salesman”—perhaps it’s on his business card. Musk and fan club dream of “the next big thing” and engage in mutual masturbatory fantasies of transforming the world…and Mars. All this is harmless enough as fodder for dazzling audiovisual presentations and slick speeches, but downright dangerous when real billions, private and public, gets sucked in.

Meanwhile, the corporatocracy crucifies an old-line, profitable corporation, Volkswagen, that cheated on one of its hundreds of thousands of regulations. It undoubtedly wasn’t the cheating that got VW in trouble. Regulations are made to be cheated—it’s impossible to run a business without doing so—but the proper offerings must be made to the corporatocracy. If that were not the case, there would be Wall Street, Pharma, and Defense Contractor wings at federal penitentiaries. VW didn’t kowtow low enough or pay high enough to the bureaucrats and politicians, who retaliated, probably “nudged” by a VW competitor.

As a successful businessman, President Trump knows many of the corporatocracy’s skims, scams, and schemes. Perhaps that will enable him to keep his pledge and drain the swamp. However, it’s extensive, fetid, and teems with loathsome creatures, so a bet he’ll succeed involves exceedingly long odds. You’re probably better off buying Tesla stock.

A BLESSED TIME WHEN THERE WAS NO SWAMP

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The Appalachian Messenger, 4/28/17

This week’s Appalachian Messenger.

He Said That? 4/27/17

From Pater Tenebrarum at acting-man.com, a brilliant compendium of brilliant quotations from the brilliant candidate for the French presidency, the brilliant Emmanuel Macron:

Macron at a feminism conference: “The identity is “A” equals “A”. There exist at least “A’s” and “B’s”. I didn’t want that “A” equals “B”.”

Macron during an interview: “You don’t want to live in a box, do you? I don’t. And so, our life always happens “at the same time”, it is more complex than what we want to reduce it to.”

Macron writing in “Le Journal du Dimanche”: “I have always accepted the vertical dimension, the transcendence, but at the same time, it has to be fully anchored in the immanent, in the material.”

Macron delivering a speech: “I, my life, my memories, they are made of childhood memories of my grandmother and that professor of philosophy, whom I have never seen…  and yet, I have the feeling I know his face.”

Another Macron interview: “What constitutes the French spirit is a constant aspiration to the universal, that is, this tension between what has been and the part of identity… this strict ipseity, and the aspiration to a universal, that is to say, that which escapes us.” [ed. note: “ipseity” = “selfhood” – a term to be found – no kidding – in the “Dictionary of  Untranslatables”;  apparently French deconstructionist philosopher Jaques Derrida used the term ‘ipséité’ frequently in his writings. We incidentally also have to thank Derrida for books like “Specters of Marx” and sayings like “To pretend, I actually do the thing: I have therefore only pretended to pretend. And lastly, from another interview comes what we would at this stage call Macron’s piece de résistance… something for true connoisseurs, the high point – so to speak the Mount Everest of his pseudo-philosophizing and improbable reasoning. Just a few sentences of oddly poetic nonsense, declaimed with such moving sincerity one sits spellbound as the  magniloquent imagery unfolds – until either the last sentence, or… We made the terrible mistake of watching the facial expression of the TV presenter, who listened to it live when it premiered and managed to preserve a deadpan, slightly bemused expression throughout, with a degree of self-control worthy of a Shaolin warrior monk. We probably sprained something in the process (the septum transversum? If Macron were in the US, we could sue him now).  So here goes, Macron has the word:

We all have our roots. And because we are all deeply rooted, there are trees next to us… there are rivers, there are fish… There are brothers and sisters…”

The French, needless to say, will be lucky to have this guy as president.

http://www.acting-man.com/?p=49227