Category Archives: General Interest

Breaking news! Breaking news!

Guess what, I don’t have any news to share in this blog post, breaking or otherwise. Yesterday I read this piece, Reading the news is the new smoking: I quit. I feel great. You can too, by Adam Mastroianni, courtesy of a link JK provided and this is something I’ve been thinking about for a long, long time. This article felt like a breath of fresh air, dispelling all sorts of beliefs about how important following the news is to “being informed.” Mastroianni tackles all the common arguments I’ve made to justify wasting so much time following all the ins and outs of the spin information war blazing across American media every single day and he refutes them quite thoughtfully. This piece might prod you to rethink your news consumption habits, if you’re spending a lot of time trying to keep up with all the latest news flashing across your screen every day.

I’ve scaled back my news consumption for weeks at a time, but then I start drifting back to wasting too much time following the news. And yes, most of that time is wasted and does not lead to improving my life in any way or really informing me about much of anything. Before delving into the benefits this writer reports from quitting his news consumption, I’m going to explain my news habit.

I grew up with the news being just something that took up a very small part of most people’s daily lives. Radio news was a few minutes, while TV news was short broadcasts, spaced throughout the day. I read our local newspaper daily, starting in my early teens. I was married and my oldest daughter was a baby when we first saw CNN in 1981, after returning to the States from Germany. I was quickly hooked on 24/7 news.

I was in my late 30s when we bought our first PC in 1997. We were late to that trend, because I kept telling my husband a PC would just be a more expensive gaming system for our sons and I couldn’t understand why anyone would need a computer in their home. I thought of computers as tools for scientists, engineers, etc., not as a tool useful to ordinary people in their homes. My husband finally went and bought a PC and brought it home. Once the kids started using it and showing me how to use it, I quickly was hooked on cruising through search engines and clicking on links and more links. I began to spend a lot of time online reading – especially news.

Of course, cell phones came along and once most people were using their phones to access the internet and social media rather than as a phone, cell phone usage exploded too. I think most people actually read less news articles through now than in the old days and I suspect the vast majority of people who are posting content on social media about news-related information base their hot takes on headlines, what some pundit said in a short video or what other content creators posted. Few people, even professional journalists seem to really do deep dive researching events and background for stories they write or broadcast. Too many of them seem to be more invested in promulgating partisan political agenda and ideological viewpoints… and sharing their outrage, largely via virtue-signaling, rather than getting the facts right.

Even more problematic, I think, is that most of the news industry drives on fear-mongering and sensationalism, not on presenting balanced reporting. In other words, inciting people keeps them coming back for more outrage theater.

So, now on to this article about quitting news consumption and it being a positive choice. Most of the people I see on social media who get outraged or worked up daily about the hot take news events insist they’re not fearmongering and they speak like they believe how they view the events reported in the news are unbiased, fact-based, are that their reactions are perfectly rational. A whole lot of it is often fear-based reactions to news, often biased, it’s not fact-based and their reactions aren’t perfectly rational. Trust me, I’ve done this myself too, only later realizing that I overreacted or that some news I reacted to wasn’t even true. The news is designed to sensationalize events, create drama and focus on negative news, so we’re all being played by the news media – it’s all infotainment.

The author explains how he used to react to the news and while he was consuming liberal news media and you might be consuming right-leaning news media – it’s all the same animal. The news industry wants to grab your attention, stir your emotions, and create plenty of drama to keep you tuned in. They aren’t going to get many viewers if they say everything is going smoothly and all’s peaceful.

Here are the first few paragraphs of the article, https://experimentalhistory.substack.com/p/reading-the-news-is-the-new-smoking:

“One of my major pastimes used to be reading the news and being mad. I’d wake up, grab my phone, and get a quick primer on all the day’s outrages. “They raised tariffs on soybeans!” I would cry, unsure if the tariffs were bad, or if it was bad that they had waited so long to tariff them, but very sure that something about soybeans and tariffs was definitely outrageous.” 

“During the Trump administration, I would devour news of the president’s latest impropriety and imagine myself throttling one of his supporters. “WHY DID YOU DO THIS??” I would shout, squeezing the life out of them.”

“I started to feel like maybe this was a bad thing.”

“So in the summer of 2020, I stopped. I swore to only read the news on Saturday mornings. Since then, I’ve given it up almost entirely.” 

“And I feel better. Way, way better. It feels like a war that used to be fought in my backyard is now being fought on Neptune instead. I feel relieved of my duty to keep track of the whole world, and I now realize I never had that duty in the first place. My brain got quieter and I started hearing myself think instead of hearing myself worry. And I stopped imagining myself choking people to death, which was a big improvement.”

The article goes on to explain research the author has done into news consumption and includes a lot of links, which, me being me, clicked on. He raises the important point that being informed, which is why most of us say we follow the news, largely does not happen when you consume news all the time. Mostly, what we get, I believe is sound bites, partisan messaging, that’s repeated non-stop, and a whole lot of negativity.

This writer isn’t alone in writing about quitting the news habit and reporting what a positive change it made in their lives. I started googling and looking around on the internet and found several videos and articles by other people who quit the news too and reported feeling much better and talking about how much time it freed up to pursue other interests.

Reading the news is not the same thing as being informed, because to understand many things being reported in the news today, you need to understand a lot of things that led to today’s news. And that requires reading more than tweets, headlines or repeating sound bites.

Mastroianni has a section in his piece, titled, “How to garden a mind,” which struck a chord with me. He describes gardening as being about keeping bad things, like pests, out and good things, like water, fertilizer and sunlight in. He uses that analogy to explain, “Cultivating a human mind works the same way. You have to keep some stuff out (lies, noise, fear) and some stuff in (knowledge, experience, love). You can’t grow your mind directly; you don’t get smarter by yanking on your frontal lobe. All you can do is create the right environment and hope your brain-folds get deeper.”

While googling other articles on quitting the news, I came across this one, Why I Stopped Reading The News, by Ryan Kane, which offers some different arguments, including one I’ve made often – focus on what you can control, not on things you have no control over.

I’ve been working on moving back to reading more books and following less news for quite a while, but I haven’t had the willpower to quit cold turkey yet. Oddly enough, I smoked when I was younger, quit cold turkey in 1993 and stuck with it. I’ve never regretted quitting smoking and I suspect if I make the leap and quit the news, I’ll feel much better for it.

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Filed under General Interest, The Media

Beware of narrative brainworms

This blog post is going to be about some Ukraine-related happenings.

To say there’s been a great deal of propaganda involved with reporting on what’s happening with the actual war in Ukraine would be an understatement. The Russians and Ukrainians have waged massive propaganda campaigns, that make it hard to even really understand what’s happening in this conflict. I’ve relied a good bit on the UK Defense Ministry assessments, but even there I’m wary. After the Afghanistan withdrawal debacle and the bold-faced lies coming from the US Pentagon, it pains me to say I don’t trust the Biden-run Pentagon to be truthful. Along with the reporting on the conflict, there’s been a massive propaganda effort to paint Zelensky as the most noble, heroic leader ever, but here’s a reality check. Zelensky deserves credit for mobilizing and uniting his country to fend off a full-scale invasion by Russia, but he’s also engaged in a massive propaganda effort, creating a staged production that he’s used to influence the world.

In this process, propaganda has masked a whole lot of truths about Ukraine, how the Russian-Ukraine situation has evolved, the US and European roles in setting the stage for this confrontation and the reality that Ukraine has been a massively corrupt country for many years and a lot of money laundering went on there… heck, just look at Hunter Biden and his Burisma deal. Since Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, Russia naturally fed stories in western media hyping the Ukraine corruption and no less than Poltifact, that “fact-checker” site run by liberals, who carry water for Democrats decreed: No, Ukraine isn’t the money laundering or child sex trafficking capital of the world. Case closed… well, not really.

Fast forward to July 20, 2022 and this story at liberal NPR caught my attention: Corruption concerns involving Ukraine are revived as the war with Russia drags on.

So, in April if you mentioned Ukraine’s history of corruption, you were subject to being labeled as carrying water for Putin or being a Russian bot, but now in July, NPR is running a story on Ukraine corruption. Here are the first two paragraphs from that NPR article:

“WASHINGTON (AP) — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s dismissal of senior officials is casting an inconvenient light on an issue that the Biden administration has largely ignored since the outbreak of war with Russia: Ukraine’s history of rampant corruption and shaky governance.”

“As it presses ahead with providing tens of billions of dollars in military, economic and direct financial support aid to Ukraine and encourages its allies to do the same, the Biden administration is now once again grappling with longstanding worries about Ukraine’s suitability as a recipient of massive infusions of American aid.”

This sort of dramatic narrative shift bugs me, because, pardon the bad puns, but the liberal mass media narratives become brainworms, that once the media yammer on about 24/7, quickly destroy all functioning brain cells and people just jump on-board the next narrative train and all memory of the previous narrative is wiped clean from their memory.

Here’s my hunch about what’s happening. The Russians slowed down gas flowing to Germany through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline (some turbines needed repair). The Germans were in a panic, worrying that Russia would shut down the flow of gas permanently, so the Germans pressured the Canadians, who had the turbines in Canada where Siemens Canada was repairing them. Some Canadian lawmakers are upset that Canada returned the turbines to Russia. Here’s a paragraph from Harretz (an Israeli news organization) article, Russia Resumes Gas Supply at Nord Stream 1, but a Full Cut-off Hangs Over Europe’s Head, dated July 21, 2022:

“German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said in an interview with RND that “The Canadians said, ‘We have a lot of questions,’ so we said, ‘We understand that, but if we do not get the gas turbine, we will not get more gas, and then we will not be able to give Ukraine any support at all, because we will be busy dealing with a popular uprising.'” However, she later clarified that her statement was “perhaps too exaggerated”, but is a possible scenario.”

I think the Germans and French want Ukraine to make a deal of some sort with Russia, as this conflict looks like it’s going to become a long, border war and Ukraine is bleeding NATO countries, the EU and the US dry, with needing a constant, massive flow of military and humanitarian aid. Many European countries also have taken in large numbers of Ukrainian refugees and added to the last round of Europeans being invaded by a largely NGO-orchestrated (imo) refugee crisis from the Syrian conflict, well, let’s just say countries can only absorb so many refugees and when push comes to shove most people become more ethnocentric and take an attitude of “we need to take care of our own people first.” Add in that several European countries rely heavily on Russian gas and oil and they have no feasible plan to deal with what to do if Russia turns off the spigots.

So what to make of all this, well, I think with NPR now speaking what was deemed “Russian disinformation” only a few months ago, that the Biden administration, Germans and French want an off-ramp out of the Ukraine-Russia conflict. The UK is an unknown at the moment with their prime minister choice undecided: How Liz Truss, Russia’s Nemesis, Could Change Ukraine War if She Becomes PM. In America, we’ll likely know which way the Biden administration is headed when the liberal media/pundit crowd and blue checkmark Dem crowd on Twitter remove the Ukrainian flags next to their names and replace them with some new climate change flag or symbol. If they bug out on Ukraine virtue-signaling, that will be akin to the Vatican smoke signals... heralding a new narrative has been selected.

Yes, I believe the Ukraine conflict is about to be relegated to old news and go the way of the Afghanistan withdrawal debacle, never to be a lead news story by liberal media again, unless something unforeseen happens and things escalate. I believe climate hysteria will be igniting the news… and lots of stories pushing eating bugs. Here’s a BBC piece from July 20, 2022: For most people in Europe and the US, the idea of eating crickets and grasshoppers can seem revolting, but they are a popular snack in parts of Africa and Asia. Not only are they packed with nutrients but they are less harmful to the climate too.

Now, you now why I posted the YouTube video at the beginning…

Have a nice day.

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Filed under Foreign Policy, General Interest, Politics, Ukraine

Garden thoughts and more ponderings

I started this post yesterday and didn’t get it finished, so here it goes:

This post is going to be a garden/prepping update, then I’m going to get another post written about some Ukraine news. It was overcast and very humid here in southeast GA this morning, but I took a few photos. The flowers are looking pretty on my patio.

My vegetable garden is mostly done in by the heat and I’ve already started some seeds inside under grow lights for a fall garden effort.

I replanted cucumbers, because my cucumbers have some fungus thing, I guess it is – leaves got yellow spots, which turned into brown spots and then they got very brittle. I tried peroxide in water and sprayed that on them, but it didn’t help. The new cucumber plants are getting the same thing. It’s been very hot, very humid and I’ve got more bugs attacking my plants (and me) than I can identify.

I had a lot of cherry tomatoes, but the Abe Lincoln tomatoes didn’t produce many usable tomatoes – many had blossom-end rot or birds pecked into them (I watched the mockingbirds do this). I had planted six 18-gallon plastic totes with seed potatoes. The first three I dug up were not impressive. This morning I dug up the potatoes in the other three. Out of these six totes, I maybe broke even on the weight of the two small bags of seed potatoes I planted. It was my first time planting potatoes and although the plants grew tall and vibrant, they didn’t produce many potatoes.

Here’s today’s skimpy harvest.

That brings me to expectations vs. reality and here’s the thing, I didn’t really expect much, so I wasn’t disappointed by the reality. Even more importantly, I haven’t banked any of my emergency preparedness efforts on my little container gardening effort, so everything it’s produced is a bonus. I’ve learned a lot, from the failures as much as the successes, and I’m looking forward to the fall garden effort.

I have tried to use whatever my little container garden has produced and preserved any extra – even herbs. I will use these potatoes and be thankful for them, plus there’s a satisfaction that’s hard to describe when eating food that you grew yourself.

Along with the container garden, I’m continuing to stock up store-bought food and supplies plus encourage family and friends to stock up, even ones who don’t think inflation or shortages will get much worse. It is frustrating to feel like my advice is not being taken seriously, but I keep mentioning it. The grocery stores here have more food in stock right now than they’ve had in a long time and I assume most people see this and assume everything will be fine.

Each day I try to do something to work on being better prepared. Today I have cayenne peppers in the dehydrator and I cooked and pressure canned 16 pints of chili.

Learning to pressure can was something I’d thought about for years. I bought the pressure canner a couple years ago and it was sitting in the box in the garage. I really wanted to stock up on more canned meats, but most of that canned meat is expensive and has loads of salt. I thought home-canned meats would be a good thing to have, even though I’ve got a lot meat in the freezer and some store-bought canned meat too. I’ve pressure canned chicken, ground beef and pork a few times now and I am so glad I finally took the pressure canner out of the box and am learning how to use it. I pressure canned 20 lbs. of store-bought potatoes last week. I water-bath canned pickles too. I am going to pressure can more vegetables I buy at the store or local produce stands.

There are loads of people online who have a lot of experience and knowledge about home canning. I like the RoseRed Homestead YouTube channel for canning information, because the lady there provides the science behind home canning. I’m a total dunce at science and math, but she explains things in a way that I can grasp it. I’ve also been following instructions and recipes in my Ball canning cookbook and the USDA booklet. I reread the general canning instructions each time, so I don’t forget steps. For this chili, I used a recipe at the National Center for Home Food Preservation., with a few little changes.

Vincas I started from seeds.

I’ve been collecting seeds from the zinnias, cosmos and marigolds. Those are easy seeds to collect, but I bought two books on seed saving and have been trying to learn more. Buying more books on how to do various things has become part of my “prepping” effort.

More flowers.
These 5 succulents are still growing and a couple of them have babies started at the base of the stems. I had some green onion bulbs still left in a bag, so I planted those too.

In 2020, when I began to stock up a lot more, I went through periods of self-doubt about having so much extra food and supplies on hand, because for many years after my kids were grown and had left home, I still kept buying food and cooking like I was cooking for a family of six, when it was just my husband and me.

Gradually, over the years I tried to downsize on stocking up and with my recipes, especially after a Walmart Neighborhood Market opened very close to my home several years ago. That store was open 24 hours a day, but 2020 changed my views completely. My confidence in almost every American system, that I took for granted, has been shaken since then. I never thought America would face serious shortage situations, especially not food shortages, but here we are. I had a high degree of trust in American medical experts – that’s been demolished since the pandemic. I trusted Americans would pull together in a crisis and now I have serious reservations about that too. I admit I hadn’t had much faith or trust in our political leaders for decades, but now I worry that the federal government is creating more problems than it solves.

Beyond the food storage and supplies, I’m trying to learn how to do more types of home repair things, since my husband died. He was very good at that sort of thing, but I’m not, so I’m working on learning how to do more basic home repair things. Of course, I’ll still have to hire a professional for many things, but I’m now browsing the aisles at Lowe’s, beyond the gardening section, and when I purchased a pack of washers at the Ace Hardware a few months ago, the cashier asked if my name was in their system and she asked for my phone number. I gave her the home phone number and my husband’s name was in their system, so I asked her to change it to my name. It felt weird.

My days of second thoughts or caring what anyone thinks about my focus on becoming better prepared are long gone and these days I wonder why everyone isn’t working hard to stock up food and basic supplies. I often think about a neighbor I had, who didn’t even have a flashlight in her home in case the power went out. I gave her an LED battery-operated lantern when we had a hurricane warning years ago I wonder how prepared her adult children are and worry that there are millions of totally unprepared people in America.

I bought this little box a few years back and I keep small office supplies in it on my desk. I like things with sayings on them and “Be grateful for this day,” is a good reminder.

I still remain hopeful for the future and remind myself daily to be grateful for the many blessings and the abundance that life in America still offers, but truly I believe everyone should be taking steps toward being better prepared and acquiring more skills to become more self-reliant.

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Filed under Gardening, General Interest

Running on empty

This blog post is going to be some short news bits.

Russia has basically shut-off gas to Germany. Today the EU announced a new gas deal with Azerbaijan, to increase gas imports to the EU. The deal will increase gas flowing from Azerbaijan to the EU from 8.2 billion cubic meters in 2021 to 12 billion cubic meters in 2022, with a goal to increase to 20 billion cubic meters by 2027.

Of course, in 2021 the EU imported 155 billion cubic meters of natural gas and 40% of that was from Russia. If my math is correct that means Russia was supplying 62 billion cubic meters of gas to Europe and while 12 billion cubic meters sounds positive, that’s a far ways from 62 billion cubic meters.

It took the Germans until mid-June to decide to restart coal plants, but still not their nuclear. Austria just decided to restart coal plants at the end of June. France had been on a green energy plan too and this year 28 of their 56 nuclear power plants were offline, although France has some plan to build new nuclear plants… by 2050… that’s not going to help them this winter.

Here’s a report, Europe’s plans to replace Russian gas are deemed ‘wildly optimistic’ — and could hammer its economy, from June 29th:

“The European Union’s best shot at replacing Russian gas imports this year is likely to miss the mark, analysts predict, exerting further pressure on the region’s economy.”

“The EU plans to replace two-thirds of Russian gas imports by the end of the year, as Russia’s war in Ukraine continues to wage on.”

“The shift away from the country’s gas supplies became even more urgent after the country’s state-backed Gazprom reduced flows to Europe by 60%, citing a delay to repairs on the Nord Stream 1 pipeline that runs to Germany beneath the Baltic Sea.”

“The European Commissioner for Energy, Kadri Simson, will meet with EU energy ministers on Monday to discuss potential coordinated measures, including demand reduction and contingency plans should the situation deteriorates further.”

Russia invaded Ukraine in February and the EU leaders are just now jumping into panic mode about Russia cutting off gas, even though this seemed obvious once the EU and US started imposing punishing sanctions on Russia. Russia has now basically given Europe a big middle finger. Here’s a Reuters report from today: Exclusive: Russia’s Gazprom tells European buyers gas supply halt beyond its control

In other gas and oil news, President Biden made a trip to Saudi Arabia to grovel trying to make a deal to import more oil rather than unleash Americans fossil fuel. He came home empty-handed and facing backlash from within his own party, who are still outraged about the assassination of journalist, Jamal Khashoggi, who is believed to have been murdered by agents of the Saudi government.

As a reminder, during President Trump’s presidency America became energy independent for the first time in my life and here were are not even two years later and the American president is groveling to despots and autocrats trying to cut deals to import more oil.

These are all deliberate choices that President Biden and European leaders have made to outsource critical energy needs, all to cling to the green energy agenda. They have placed the green agenda above their own national security.

I’m not very optimistic that leaders in the free world are really prepared to plan anything competently, let alone “defend democracy” and western civilization.

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Some thoughts on The Great Reset

I am posting this video, but I’ve been reading, COVID-19: The Great Reset, by Klaus Schwab and Thierry Malleret and taking notes, so I’m going to add some thoughts to this Will Cain explainer, which does a decent job explaining some of the major policy objectives in The Great Reset and laying out some historical perspective.

COVID-19: The Great Reset was written by Klaus Schwab, a German economist, engineer, founder and chairman of the World Economic Forum and Thierry Malleret, a French economic, investment banker, and founder of the The Global Risk Network at the World Economic Forum in July 2020. It’s important to keep this in mind, because their book lays out historical parallels to other pandemics and events, then their theorizing and predicting on how the unprecedented massive pandemic-related disruptions (especially economic ones) to all aspects of life around the globe would impact life afterwards. Then they put forth plans to not let the pandemic crisis go to waste. They planned to take charge of the post-pandemic chaos and be ready with plans for how to reshape the world to their vision of a more equitable, just, sustainable world.

So, let’s start with what is the World Economic Forum (WEF)? The WEF is one of the most influential international, non-governmental foundations in the world, that lobbies and advises governments, businesses and the influential elites of the world. The WEF was founded in 1971 by Klaus Schwab and is funded mostly by mega-rich companies (5 billion US dollars or more turnover-type mega-rich), who are members of the WEF and get invites to the annual meeting of the world’s elites in Davos, Switzerland.

From Wikipedia:

“Next to Davos, the organization convenes regional conferences in locations across Africa, East Asia, Latin America, and India and holds two additional annual meetings in China and the United Arab Emirates. It furthermore produces a series of reports, engages its members in sector-specific initiatives[3] and provides a platform for leaders from selected stakeholder groups to collaborate on multiple projects and initiatives.[4]

“The Forum suggests that a globalised world is best managed by a self-selected coalition of multinational corporationsgovernments and civil society organizations (CSOs),[5][6] which it expresses through initiatives like the “Great Reset[7] and the “Global Redesign”.[8][9] It sees periods of global instability – such as the financial crisis of 2007–2008 and the COVID-19 pandemic – as windows of opportunity to intensify its programmatic efforts.[10]

Here’s a link to the WEF Global Risk Report 2022, where the WEF ranks the top risks facing the world, both short term, 0-2 years and long-term, 10-year. The pandemic fall-out impacted their 0-2 year risk report:

“Beyond environmental concerns, other top risks include livelihood crises, the erosion of social cohesion, and an uneven pandemic recovery. The report warns that the risks of growing social gaps will continue to be exacerbated by the pandemic, and experts caution that the global economic recovery will likely be uneven and potentially volatile over the coming years.”

https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2022/01/global-risks-report-davos-agenda-2022-leaders-mobilize/

The WEF is a group of self-selected elites, who think they should run the world. Rather than get fearful or hysterical when hearing about “The Great Reset,” I think leaders and concerned people opposed to The Great Reset plans would do better to think of ways to build a better mousetrap, so to speak, for dealing with the very real post-pandemic problems. Republican leaders run around repeating lame catchphrases, but so far I’m not seeing any ideas or policies to deal with the problems, only reacting to the left’s policies. Democrats on the other hand have been ramming through policies and legislation pushing the global climate change agenda, regardless how disastrous or destructive to Americans’ lives and to American prosperity. Just yesterday, Rep. Jason Crow, a Democrat, gave a speech asserting that climate change is the largest national security threat facing America: https://video.foxnews.com/v/6309536032112#sp=show-clips. I don’t like using all FOX News clips or all one news organization as a source, but I can’t locate the tweets I saw yesterday of Rep. Crow’s statement.

Democrats are fully-committed to the WEF policies, as are many wealthy Republicans, who may not be broadcasting that, because it’s politically-damaging to them when conservatives and most Republicans are opposed to the climate change agenda. The reason many wealthy Republicans go along with the WEF policies, is because that’s the entry pass to making big money in America.

In America, I believe, bolstering federalism in every way we can, can put the brakes on federal control over our daily lives and the encroachment of globalist policies that erode not only our personal freedoms, but even worse will crush small businesses, small farmers, and the middle class. Certainly, Democrat-controlled cities and states will advance the initiatives laid out in The Global Reset plans, but if more and more states and Americans pushback against these policies and come up with other ideas and ways to deal with the very real post-pandemic problems, perhaps America won’t go the way of countries, that will likely start to become a line of dominoes falling (like Sri Lanka), as the global food and fuel crises intensify.

The post-pandemic world has left many large systems we took for granted faltering, teetering, and some are already collapsing. The Great Rest crowd has plenty of global policy initiatives, but what Americans opposed to those initiatives should focus on is creating policy initiatives and streamlined plans, that allow Americans to weather the storms as the global systems begin collapsing all around us. Federalism, where our federal government has limited enumerated powers, with all other powers residing to the states, offers Americans a thin layer of protection that other governmental systems lack. On a personal level this could take the form of start building your own support network of family, friends and like-minded people, to share and help each other with supplies, services, figuring out alternatives and more local sources for goods and services.

At each level in America, from small town, to county, to state and then networking across America, creating less cumbersome and more flexible systems to keep America functioning could start creating more resilient communities, who aren’t waiting for Washington or some Davos-connected elites to advise us to eat bugs or just get used to shortages. Highly-motivated individuals can act without the chains of bureaucracy dragging them down. Small flexible systems can innovate, adapt and be more resilient than complex global systems. Certainly, wherever the global systems remain working, we should continue to take advantage of that, but getting some back-up smaller systems functioning quickly can help prevent mass panic and total chaos.

The global elites have been planning for how to reshape the world as post-pandemic chaos impacts, but so far the people opposed to those plans only react. It’s way past time for Americans who don’t want their daily lives controlled by The Great Reset plans to start planning and organizing ways to counter that and to do some reshaping of their own lives. If you don’t like the Davos crowd’s plans, start working to change it. America was founded by brave individuals, who forged their own path, not by the rich elites sitting in London, who were trying to micromanage the colonies from afar. Don’t wait for Washington or “experts” to tell you what to do and not do.

Update: We’ve been hearing about ESG scores a lot, and with Sri Lanka’s government collapsing, many news reports mentioned that Sri Lanka had a near-perfect ESG score of 98.1 So, what is an ESG score and who determines ESG scores?

An ESG score is a investment risk rating of companies and governments on environmental, social and governance issues. A high score makes you a good investment risk and a low score a bad risk. The idea of an ESG framework is being advanced to assess individuals too, so individual people could be given a social credit score.

MSCI, of which Morgan Stanley is the largest shareholder, manages and asses the ESG ratings. So, if you’re wondering why American companies have jumped on board the environmental, far-left social agenda, and the COVID mitigation bandwagon, well, this is why. Investment prospects depend on them falling in line, just as governments around the world jumped on board the ESG train, for the very same reason. This agenda is being driven by the wealthy elites around the world, not by some crackpot activists taking to the streets. In fact, I suspect much of the street theater global protesting on climate change and gender politics is funded by people and organizations with ties to the WEF crowd. The hyped fear of companies being cancelled by online activists masks the real drivers of the ESG agenda and the insidious advance of how this “woke agenda” has permeated major corporations, academia and how the environmental and social justice language has spread so rapidly in our institutions and in corporate America. I believe corporate America and the elite class in America’s institutions are pushing this. It’s a top-down movement by the wealthiest and most powerful people in the world masquerading as a movement of the people.

It sure looks like the World Economic Forum of self-selected elites want to (and do) run the world – literally.

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Filed under COVID-19, General Interest, The Great Reset

Yay for the Biden economy (not)

Up, up and away:

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Filed under General Interest

Lots of worries ahead

A frequent commenter on my blog, JK, asked me a question about US military readiness this morning and I’m going to post my response as a blog post. I will be writing more blog posts to expand on several issues in my response. Suffice it to say, way back in February 2022, when Russia invaded Ukraine, many people, including the world-famous Russian chess champion, Gary Kasparov, warned of Putin cutting off gas and oil to Europe and the prospect of a very cold, dark winter across the European continent this year. I am not ahead of the curve here warning about any of the things in my response, but too many leaders in Washington (on both sides of the aisle) got caught up in the “Zelensky Show” propaganda war and allowing that spin drama to cloud their judgment. This is especially true for the Dem retired general crowd who fill mainstream media with their military expertise, in my opinion. Here’s the comment (and there will be more blog posts upcoming):

JK, I was all for aiding Ukraine, because the big picture of Russia steamrolling across Ukraine unimpeded had my Cold War warrior feathers way beyond being ruffled – I was fighting mad and still am on that big picture strategic necessity for the West to remain steadfast against Russian and Chinese aggression. Period…. and then we come to the BUT.

But Western leaders and the Biden WH are craven, wimpy, globalists who have always believed they can cut deals with the Russians and Chinese. With Biden, there’s the nightmares of the Afghanistan withdrawal debacle fresh in my mind, which assures me the Biden Team is more like the WeHateAmericaTeam – total sell-outs to America’s adversaries and corrupt nitwits.

But… they still push their crazy leftist pipedreams like their climate change/green agenda, along with all their other pet causes, all while ignoring the cold hard truths about the real world, where the rubber meets the road and military might, national defense and protecting and defending national interests outweighs hand-wringing about cow flatulence. Their leftist agenda has taken priority over actually stopping Russia. Instead, it seems they believed they could “win” by spending more time “fighting” the Ukraine propaganda war, thinking a Hollywood production of the “War in Ukraine” starring Zelensky, with cameo appearances by Western leaders in Kiev was a substitute for the real nuts and bolts strategic planning that real war requires. Most of the rest of the world will cut deals for Russia and China goods if Russia and China can deliver what their own countries need. This is how the real world works.

Unfortunately, many Dem retired generals and some new military “expert” faces started getting heavily invested in the Zelensky Show too. Russia made disastrous mistakes, but they’ve regrouped and too many of the Dem Twitter military experts, who should know better, seem to have gotten high on CNN and MSNBC spin fumes and it’s clouding their judgment. Ditto this for too many leaders in Washington, on both sides of the aisle. I always place American national interests above other countries and I refuse to wrap myself in other countries flag, just like I chafed at the US military ever allowing UN blue hat adventures to supersede over direct US control of US forces. Our top priority should always be US national defense.

That said, I don’t know what the real state of US military combat readiness is, what level our military stockpiles are at, the morale of the troops and the competency of leadership from the top down. All I can say is I’ve seen a lot of warning signs for several years now. Accidents being a huge one. Add in the Biden administration recklessly depleting the Strategic Petroleum Reserve and no one’s asking what are the plans to replenish that reserve stockpile.

Also, add in I have no idea what level our nation’s emergency food and other emergency stockpiles are at, from federal programs to many states have programs. There seems to be no reality-based comprehensive national security assessments – it’s all partisan talking points.

I suspect during the Obama years and now in the Biden administration, federal assets were and are quietly used for humanitarian pet projects, sent to private entities, many of which are religious-based (thanks, GWB), who run these programs to house, feed, transport, illegal immigrants around the country, while making big bucks from the US govt. And who knows where else federal US assets have been sent. No one’s addressed the stockpile issues on vital assets we need for domestic emergencies and national defense.

I’m fleshing out a blog post on what in the Hades, big picture catastrophes, I think, are brewing that no one seems to be talking about. The state of the US military is a huge one, but there are plenty of others.

My main worry is the stage may be setting for massive populist flashpoints in many Western countries, if people can’t heat their homes this winter or afford food or there are strikes, civil unrest and other major disruptions to the food supply. Then there’s the reality that many Dem fools (and probably some Republican governors too) may try to reimpose Covid restrictions this fall, which will add to the chaos. Ditto this for Canada, Australia and in Europe.

I’ll stop here, JK. Should have gone with the short answer – it’s a cluster… you-know-what brewing.

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Filed under Foreign Policy, General Interest, Military, Politics

I was wrong about Sri Lanka

This blog post is about politics, foreign affairs, and some of my thoughts on the global progressive movement.

Today there are reports that Sri Lankan protestors have stormed the presidential palace, so I think this March 5, 2022 article, In Sri Lanka, Organic Farming Went Catastrophically Wrong, from Foreign Policy is very informative on how the global green agenda led to this chaos, just like it led to the chaos unfolding in Europe with the Dutch farmers protesting their government trying to impose new green laws that fall in line with the global green initiatives.

From the Foreign Policy piece on Sri Lanka, the first two paragraphs lay out what happened:

“Faced with a deepening economic and humanitarian crisis, Sri Lanka called off an ill-conceived national experiment in organic agriculture this winter. Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa promised in his 2019 election campaign to transition the country’s farmers to organic agriculture over a period of 10 years. Last April, Rajapaksa’s government made good on that promise, imposing a nationwide ban on the importation and use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides and ordering the country’s 2 million farmers to go organic.”

“The result was brutal and swift. Against claims that organic methods can produce comparable yields to conventional farming, domestic rice production fell 20 percent in just the first six months. Sri Lanka, long self-sufficient in rice production, has been forced to import $450 million worth of rice even as domestic prices for this staple of the national diet surged by around 50 percent. The ban also devastated the nation’s tea crop, its primary export and source of foreign exchange.”

I want to post this, because I did not know about this green push in Sri Lanka and I was completely wrong about saying what happened in Sri Lanka isn’t an indicator of what might happen here, while the Dutch farmer protests are a good indicator. It looks like the menace of the global green movement is at the heart of the problems in Sri Lanka, the Netherlands and the tentacles of the global green movement, with the Biden administration working to supercharge their green policy push in America has already caused gas prices in America to sky-rocket and helped fueled inflation in the retail sector.

The global green movement is a huge part of the global elite progressive movement, but there are other tentacles from the pandemic “trust the science” rules, to the alphabet gender activism, the effort to control information on social media, and in America, there’s a massive progressive push to federalize policing, which President Obama made a top-tier policy goal.

What happened in 2020 with the “Defund the Police” effort was a part of that progressive effort to federalize policing. Every time the left in America demands federal control over issues that constitutionally are state powers, it’s a safe bet it’s another power grab, to hamstring federalism, which is a safeguard against a Big Brother, total federal control over Americans’ lives. That “Defund the Police” effort used a massive spin effort to incite public outrage with the George Floyd case as a cover to destroy local control of policing in America and push for federalizing control of policing.

Along with those big fronts of the progressive movement there’s also a massive, ongoing effort to demonize all traditional civic and religious values.

It’s total insanity fueled by epic hubris. These global elitists who fly into Davos, fund and run these big, progressive foundations and think tanks, I think, believe they’re the smartest, most enlightened people in the world. Almost every “trust the science” Covid mitigation effort now has failed to work as promised by the “experts”- especially the remote learning, when schools closed their doors.

For many years, I’ve believed that protecting and bolstering federalism in America will be our best storm surge barrier against these massive waves of global progressive policies crashing against our constitutional republic framework. And that’s why working to build even small pockets of community, especially local community, matter so much. As these insane global progressive policies create more and more chaos, the wealthy globalist elites sound confident that their big ideas will prevail. There’s often a dismissive tone about ensuing chaos their policies cause, like the collapse of some governments, wars, anarchy, and famine. It often sounds to me like many of these progressives believe these problems will be transitory and just growing pains that are worth the cost.

They believe their massive, complex global systems, will prevail and then people all over the world will submit to their new ideas and new ways of living in this new imposed “equitable and sustainable” paradise. At the heart of this is a belief in global governance managed by a bunch of elites.

The inherit vulnerability with large and overtaxed, complex logistical systems applies to progressive globalist movements just as it does to militaries. In military systems, if you overtax your supply system, small guerilla groups will be able to function, while the military reliant on a failing complex supply chain will lose its effectiveness.

In a totally lawful and peaceful effort, I believe working to build local communities and then networking with like-minded people around the country can allow ordinary Americans to share, barter and sell food and other items that become hard to find as the big supply system we’re used to hiccups and sputters. Building local community also provides a social support network, along with people to turn to in emergencies. A national hotline number to call is useless if you’re facing a personal or local emergency situation. You want people who are nearby, know the area, and can pool local resources quickly.

Simple systems always have a resiliency that complex systems lack, is my belief.

Yes, I’ve been reading more Klaus Schwab crapola… oh my word, it’s a dreary slog.

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Filed under Foreign Policy, General Interest, Politics

Entering the leftist ideological realm

Last night I started a new book and it pained me to spend money on this – COVID-19: The Great Reset by Klaus Schwab. I also bought the follow-up – The Great Narrative (The Great Reset Part Two). I ordered kindle versions, because they were cheaper and I don’t care about having hard copies of these in my book collection. I bought them because I have heard Schwab’s name tossed around right-wing media and social media with ominous warnings about “The Great Reset,” but I want to try to understand the ideas and ways they intend to structure this remaking of the post-Covid world. Hearing alarming phrases tossed about doesn’t really provide any understanding of what ideas underpin this Great Reset plan or their umbrella of policy proposals to reorder the global system, so I want to get a better understanding myself.

What prompted me to read Schwab’s books is with the populist backlash by the farmers in the Netherlands and seeing how quickly that populist anger is spreading to Germany, Poland and even Italy now, well, it’s bound to come here to America too – probably sooner rather than later. In fact, it was set to explode earlier this year following Canada’s efforts to crackdown on the trucker’s protests and both Trudeau and Biden enacting Covid policies targeting truckers who cross the US-Canada border. What interrupted the US trucker protests was Russia invaded Ukraine and then all eyes pivoted to that hotspot. Despite that short reprieve, I expect protests like what happened in Canada earlier this year and what’s happening in Europe now to hit US shores soon too.

After reading only a small portion of Schwab’s book, it’s obvious to me he takes a systems analysis approach and I like studying systems too. Before Schwab coined this “The Great Reset,” globalists have been tossing these sorts of ideas among the elites, like the Davos crowd and in ivy-league academic circles for decades. Giving old globalist ideas a fresh look with bright new terminology and catchy phrases doesn’t ever really change the globalist structure underneath, so I’m expecting a lot of the same old globalist ideas gussied up in shiny new terminology. I presume the second part is the narrative that’s being proposed to sell “the great reset” ideas and policies.

On my blog I’ve written about the spin information war for years and it seems obvious that the spin information war is going to remain, not only the American partisan political battlefield, but the main battlefield for the larger global ideological war. I expect many efforts to silence voices opposed to the globalist agenda (the green agenda is a huge front of the globalist agenda), to target and try to silence right-wing and more populist voices in America. I expect populist sentiments will intensify as ordinary people feel their livelihoods threatened and the pain of economic turmoil spiraling out of control threatens more people’s daily lives.

The liberal (mainstream) media has been avoiding giving a lot of attention to the Dutch farmers protesting, while they’re trying to fuel anger about Roe being overturned and hyping the J-6 committee hearings. No one in the liberal media is asking why on earth the Dutch government decided to limit farm production, ostensibly to meet environmental goals, with the war in Ukraine impacting the global food supply and the UN warning of catastrophic food shortages this fall. Why would the Dutch government try to limit food production with a massive global food shortage projected in just a couple months?

This is similar to President Biden releasing oil from the US Strategic Petroleum Reserve, supposedly to lower soaring US gas prices, but then selling millions of barrels of that oil overseas, even to China. Biden has jeopardized American national security by putting our reserves at such a low level and limiting fossil fuel production at the same time.

Nothing makes sense.

Nothing has made sense with how Biden and European leaders have handled the war in Ukraine either. While railing about Russian aggression and Putin’s villainy, European leaders and Biden imposed all sorts of sanction against Russia, but they were still buying massive amounts of natural gas and oil from Russia. At this point the entire Ukraine war effort seems more like a theatrical production by the West and not a serious effort to stop Putin. I suspect Biden and most European leaders would happily bargain away sections of Ukraine, cut a deal with Putin and keep buying Russian gas and oil, all while blathering on about how serious the Russian threat is. The hypocrisy and dishonesty of the Biden administration is breathtaking.

If I learn anything interesting reading these Schwab books, I’ll share it in a blog post. Wish me luck as I plod into the leftist ideological realm… a place I always find oppressive, dystopian and filled with ideas on how to crush individual liberty.

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Filed under General Interest, Politics

The Biden oil spill just spread

There’s a Washington Free Beacon article today, Biden Sold a Million Barrels From US Strategic Petroleum Reserve to China-Owned Gas Giant, that made me wonder where on earth the liberal mainstream media is. They aren’t reporting on the Biden administration sending oil from the US Strategic Petroleum Reserve overseas – to our adversaries.

“Biden’s Energy Department in April announced the sale of 950,000 Strategic Petroleum Reserve barrels to Unipec, the trading arm of the China Petrochemical Corporation. That company, which is commonly known as Sinopec, is wholly owned by the Chinese government. The Biden administration claimed the move would “address the pain Americans are feeling at the pump” and “help lower energy costs.” More than five million barrels of oil released from the U.S. emergency reserves, however, were sent overseas last month, according to a Wednesday Reuters report. At least one shipment of American crude went to China, the report said.”

Surprise, surprise, the article goes on to state that Hunter Biden has ties to Sinopec: : “In 2015, a private equity firm he cofounded bought a $1.7 billion stake in Sinopec Marketing. Sinopec went on to enter negotiations to purchase Gazprom in March, one month after the Biden administration sanctioned the Russian gas giant.” The corruption with this is so grotesque and unconscionable, considering millions of Americans are struggling to pay these high gas prices and rapidly climbing inflation at the grocery store. This is wholesale public corruption that demands an investigation.

The liberal media instead is gearing up for a J-6 committee hearing that’s being scheduled for prime time. There’s not even any facade of being objective reporters among the liberal media anymore – they are just part of the Democratic Party communications operation.

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Filed under General Interest, Public Corruption