from Brock Townsend:
After the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) was kicked out of Bolivia, the country was able to drastically reduce the amount of coca (cocaine) produced within its borders. According to data released by the United Nations, cocaine production in the country declined by 11% in the past year, marking the fourth year in a row of steady decrease.
It was just seven years ago that the DEA left Bolivia — and only three years after that, progress was finally made. The strategy employed by the Bolivian government may be a surprise to many prohibitionists because it did not involve any strong-arm police state tactics. Instead, they worked to find alternative crops for farmers to grow that would actually make them more money.
GEE, I wonder if there was/is some kind of correlation? A symbiosis, if you will…?
The Internet is replete with tales of doom and gloom.
Two of the more current (having appeared almost simultaneously) are (first)…
BERNIE SANDERS BECOMES THE NEXT PRESIDENT
Why? Because the expected Democratic front runner, Hillary Clinton is mired in all her illegal, dishonest and unethical mess – to the point where even the main-stream media couldn’t ignore it. So Bernie, who seems to be running strong, and is an avowed Socialist – became the candidate.
And Donald Trump, the RINO populist, who says what ‘the people’ want to hear (at least some people) and cannot be bought (as he is running on his own cash) scares the bejezus out of the Republican establishment. As they are not about to make him their candidate (because they cannot control him) he forms a third party. This splits the Republican base, and Bernie The Socialist wins!
Result? More editing and erosion of the Constitution, and increase in governmental power. And out-of-control spending!
WORLD FINANCIAL COLLAPSE
The People’s Republic of China (aka the PRC or ‘Red’ China), the communist behemoth to the East, is tanking financially. And our own system (Wall Street and The Fed) are failing as well. (the DJA dropped 1100 points in one day), AND, China holds our note (they are propping US up!) Translation – both East and West are preparing for a large financial hit. And failing in the preparation. International terrorism is rampant. And let’s not mention Europe and the tinder box in the Middle East (nuclear Iran – “I told you not to mention that!”))…
Quelle surprise TWO.
Expectations are (again, per the Internet-feeding your fears since 1994) that with a second, incompetent Socialist President, and a rapidly failing financial system, WORLDWIDE, the international banking system and what’s left of world stability will fail.
No access to your bank accounts, IRAs, profit-sharing funds, stocks, pensions, gold, jewels. You will be asked to bring in any valuables to the nearest federal collection station for ‘processing of your contribution’. Social Security, Medicare and disability payments will STOP.
And anarchy will ensue.
Need an Alka-Seltzer, yet?
Or a whiskey?
Me? I don’t buy into it. At least not yet.
I think the demise of the Republic will occur much more slowly and painfully, as it has been since, oh, 1930…
Because everyone else over 2 years old knows!
h/t The Feral Irishman
(No, not the pulp magazine Robert D******* purloined from the convenience store when we had a sleep-over in my Dad’s camper, when we were in junior high! :-P)
We just finished watching Season Two of True Detective on HBO. Each season had it’s own story, characters, actors and themes. Season One was in Louisiana. This one was central and northern California. Both were in part produced by the lead actors from season one – Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey. Rest assured, this is no longer the Woody from the TV comedy Cheers. They are both consummate actors.
The theme carried over to Season Two is there is something larger, deeper, more sinister going on than first appears to the on scene investigators. It takes the season to unravel the mysteries. Both seasons consist of eight episodes each.
Season One took place over a number of years, following the rise and fall of career detectives in pursuit of a serial killer. Season Two was revealed in a much shorter time frame, involving murder, political power and blackmail. Both seasons were populated with extremely flawed, alcoholic, addicted and trapped detectives and career criminals, in extreme emotional pain.
Not exactly an evening of light television.
For the record, I liked both presentations. The critics were especially hard on Season Two, as over-complicated and not living up to Season One’s standards. It is still undecided if there will be a Season Three developed.
I’m certain both seasons are available on You Tube, Netflix, and the like.
The opening to Season Two, below…
We (here at our townhouses) have been hearing for some months now about ‘improvements’ to be made on the exterior (many at our expense) by the ‘maintenance’ folks, as ordered by the HOA (homeowner’s association).
FINALLY, they are getting to it.
And they gave us TWO DAYS NOTICE to make our yard ready for the incursion of workers, and loud noises, for up to SEVEN DAYS (beginning @ 0630) , including leaving our (broken) back gate unlocked (the one with a spring-loaded lock, making it virtually impossible to leave it unlocked), lest they hire a locksmith @ $75.00/hour to open it!
So, we spent three days moving the many potted plants – including cacti (and succulents), sized in pots 3 inch to 30 inch across, along with pavers, bricks, empty pots, yard ‘decor’, tools, and all manner of things adjacent to the North fence, so they can do their work.
J. had jury duty on the first day, so I did my part on my own, with painful results. It seems it’s preferential to wear my flat (normal) shoe in lieu of ED SULLIVAN (the really big shoe) when working physically on uneven dirt and gravel surfaces.
Lest I fall, which I did…
I careened forward, landing across some pots and pavers I had just stacked, bruising and scraping my right arm and knocking the pottery into a glass yard globe, which promptly shattered.
Fortunately, I didn’t propel forward enough to land on the glass!
THEN, I had glass to clean up!
Hopefully, this’ll all be completed soon (maybe they will fix the gate?) The arm is healing nicely, and additional pain meds are helping with the jarring of my skeleton and resulting muscle pains of physical labor.
It’s nice they chose frickin’ JULY and AUGUST to undertake these tasks, when DECEMBER would have been so much cooler!
stolen borrowed from Brock Townsend…)
On 28 July 1866 the metric system became the legal measurement system in the US, and we’ve been ignoring it ever since. Why? ‘Tain’t human. Tain’t to the human measure.
Everybody knows an inch is as wide as your thumb, a foot as long as yours, a yard stretches from your nose to your fingertip, but what’s a meter? Why, one ten-millionth of the distance from the equator to the North Pole. Sounds like the sort of “scientific” nonsense that would come out of the French Revolution, and sure enough it did.
It was always interesting to me when I lived in Germany that folks at the meat market didn’t order “grams”, but a Pfund or a halbes Pfund (pound or half pound), & I don’t think I every heard anybody order a kilo of salami.
I tell y’all, metric ain’t human.
I remember when I was in high school, and the chemistry and physics teachers (Wells and Grimm, Dave!) went on-and-on about how the U.S. WAS converting to the metric system, that the rest of the world was doing it, and we WERE getting on board! I even have a metric stick somewhere commemorating their rants!
But, it never happened…
Doppelganger (n.) a duplicate person, as in someone who looks exactly like __________.
I never used to believe in such a thing. I mean, each human being is an individual, there is no one else like them, right?
I have seen three in the past 20 years(!)
About two months ago, I was grocery shopping at the closest market to home. Not because it was my favorite, but because it was close. (Laziness? Heat?)
I’m standing in the checkout line, and five or six folk ahead of me was a familiar guy. Tall. Large. Built familiarly (if that’s even a word?) He turned to push out his cart of groceries, and I almost yelled out his name! He resembled strikingly BOB, my former PI and gun store boss! Except the previous week I was informed by the original Bob that he just has had the lower part of his left leg amputated. And I knew there was no way he would have been across the Valley, 30 miles from his home, and so ambulatory right away. And this guy had more hair, a goatee and a pony tail! Nope – not Bob!
But certainly closer looking to him than his brother!!
Another time, we were in a Mexican restaurant. Because it was cheap, not because it was good. And we were seated by the back door, and could see folks seated outside on the patio. And there was Marla, a former girlfriend. Same figure, same face, same laugh and mannerisms. Except Marla passed away in 2004 – I have a copy of the obituary!
And there was my first observance with a doppelganger. In 1995, about 4 months after the accident. You know where I’m going with this…
The ex and I were window shopping at a large mall, largely because it was late Summer and air conditioned. And a couple walks by with three children. And number-two child looked exactly like Molly, except with blond hair!!!
I’m not normally the kind of man who faints, but I leaned up against the wall and closed my eyes to keep from losing consciousness. And to keep from screaming and crying. And my ex (who obviously had not seen her) asked me what was wrong.
And I nervously pointed. At air.
There was a couple with children. TWO children! And neither resembled our daughter.
To only be able to see her again…
Two unrelated graphs, courtesy of Joe Huffman:
ATHENS — Retirees throughout Greece mobbed banks as they tried to withdraw a maximum of 120 euros ($134) in pension payments on Wednesday, as the country teetered on the brink of economic collapse hours after an international bailout expired.
Emotions ran high outside a Piraeus Bank branch in downtown Athens as some 60 customers jostled impatiently after waiting for hours in the sweltering sun.
“This is humiliating,” said Athanasios, an 80-year-old former army officer. “I used to receive a monthly pension of 1,500 euros and now I have to line up for hours to receive 120? This is unfair.” (in part from The Ultimate Answer To Kings)
I’m reminded of the junior high boy’s joke about the guy being forced to slide backwards down a giant razor blade (using his b***) for brakes, and landing in a bucket of iodine.
And like dominoes, I fear Greece is only the beginning.
Our own government has already made noises about ‘acquiring’ 401k funds, and pensions, and increasing both the amount and items/services being taxed. And other banks in the World have ‘acquired’ ATM funds and savings of individuals!
The long slide is beginning, my friends, and unless you live largely off the grid in the middle-of-nowhere, bartering gold coin, ammo and water (Joel?), you (we) are in for a wild ride.
If anyone out there thinks bread lines, runs on banks and gas rationing are not in our future, I’d like to heard your predictions.
And ‘domestic violence’ as a result? A forgone conclusion, I’m afraid.
I truly hope I am completely wrong.
Yep. This is unfair. But no one said Life would be.
Bayou Renaissance Man (from whom I rarely
steal quote, as I’d be doing it DAILY! – translation – you should be reading him, daily!) expresses most eloquently this conundrum…
I’ve written about the military side of dealing with fundamentalist Islamic terrorism in these pages from time to time. The trouble is, a military solution isn’t a solution, because it can’t target the mindset that produces legions of suicidal fanatics. The Russians developed a very direct, pragmatic and utterly ruthless approach to Iranian-sponsored terrorism during the 1980’s. It worked, because those ‘at the top’ who were controlling the terrorists could be threatened into compliance. That doesn’t seem to be the case with an organization like ISIL in Syria and Iraq. When you believe – truly believe, with all your heart and soul – that death in battle, or by assassination, earns you a martyr’s reward in Paradise, death isn’t a threat. It’s a promise of greatness that you embrace eagerly. The same applies to Hamas and its extreme attitudes towards Israel. How can you reason with a movement that celebrates death in combat, that indoctrinates its youngest children with lessons about the praiseworthiness of martyrdom and hatred for Israel? There are many other fundamentalist Islamic terrorist groups who’ve adopted similar outlooks on life.
So, how do we deal with them? It’s easy to say “Kill them all” – but it’s also completely impractical. Despite losing thousands of its fighters in combat, ISIL appears to have a limitless supply of replacements. Young women in Europe and America even travel to areas it controls out of a desire to become brides of ‘jihadists’. Fanaticism is an inbred streak in the human race – not confined to Islam by any means – and as long as there are fanatics, there’ll be those driven to join fanatical movements. We can’t kill them all without killing the entire human race. Speaking as a member of that race, I have a profound objection to being included in that process! There is no way to completely destroy fanaticism.
The mistake politicians make is to assume that they’re dealing with rational human beings. Rationality is relative. ISIL’s leaders and its wannabe martyrs are entirely rational, according to their system of thought and belief. To change their behavior, we have to change that system. To do that, we have to radically reform the society and culture that have produced it. Attacking and militarily overrunning that society won’t inculcate contrary values – we’ve proved that time and time again, most recently in Iraq and Afghanistan. The solution has to include methods of changing the situation on the ground. However, that requires a long-term commitment and huge amounts of money, neither of which are available right now.
The only answer our politicians and leaders appear to have is to keep killing as many Islamist fanatics as possible in order to ‘control the infection’ in their society and culture, even though they must know that doing so will produce still more fanatics. Einstein defined insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”. That perfectly describes how we’ve tried to control radical Islam for the past few decades. When will we learn from our failures and try to find a better solution? Is there, in fact, a better solution? In my darker moments, I fear there may not be one at all. History suggests that may be the case, and that the struggle against fanaticism in all its forms may be a Sisyphean endeavor.
Your guess is as good as mine . . .