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Tue, 26 Mar 2019
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Depravity, frivolity, and dissent: The tell-tale signs of the end of an empire

decline of empire

Comment: This was originally published by The Daily Prepper in 2017, but the themes described are as relevant as ever...

A 40-year-old essay predicted the end of an empire and current events sure make it look like we're watching it happen in real time.

I spend a fair bit of time scanning the news every day for my site, Preppers Daily News. And some days, I just have to shake my head as I realize that people are so desperate for...something...that they just keep going to further and further extremes to try and find that elusive thing their lives are missing.

The more I read, the more likeness I see to Sir John Glubb's essay, The Fate of Empires and Search for Survival. (It's only 24 pages and you should definitely read it - it's brilliant.) Sir Glubb wrote this outstanding work when he was 79 years old, after a lifetime of being a soldier, traveling the world, and analyzing history. It's well worth a read as he goes into detail about the fall of empires past.

The final stage of the end of an empire is the Age of Decadence. Some signs of this age are political dissensions (Antifa, anyone?), an influx of foreigners (Europe, anyone?), the welfare state (America, anyone?), despair (350 million people diagnosed), depravity (see below), and the rise of frivolity as people try to fill lives that have less and less meaning.

Sound familiar?


Police declare 'far right terror incident' after man stabbed in Surrey, UK - UPDATE

Viola Avenue

Google Image caption Counter terrorism units were called to Viola Avenue
Counter terrorism police are investigating the suspected far-right inspired attack in which a man suffered non-fatal stab wounds.

The attack was on Saturday night in Stanwell, Surrey, where a man carrying a baseball bat and a knife was seen shouting racist comments.

A man aged 50 was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder and a racially-aggravated public order offence.

Counter terrorism police said it had the "hallmarks of a terror event".

The 19-year-old victim sustained non-life threatening injuries and was taken to hospital for treatment.

Comment: See also: 'Clash of Civilizations' Arrives in New Zealand: 49 Massacred by Multiple Gunmen During Multi-Site Terror Attack in Christchurch

UPDATE: Monday 18th March at 23:00

The Mirror reports:
Stanwell stabbing: Terror police continue to question man, 50

surrey stab
© Steve Parsons / PA
The suspect was seen brandishing weapons and hurling racist abuse before the stabbing

A 50-year-old local man is being held on suspicion of attempted murder and a racially-aggravated offence.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid called on society to "reject the terrorists and extremists who seek to divide us".

Officers were called at about 22:30 GMT on Saturday to reports a man was acting aggressively while carrying weapons in Viola Avenue, where vehicles had been damaged.

They then received another call reporting a stabbing nearby. Armed police swooped and arrested the suspect.

'He needs help'

The 19-year-old victim went to a nearby McDonald's for help and was taken to hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

However, the girlfriend of the arrested man has claimed he "needs help" and is in "no way a terrorist".

Nemer Salem, 24, who lives on Viola Avenue, said the man was shouting from a window "crazy things about Muslims".

Vincent Sutherland, who also lives on the road, said: "He was shouting 'kill a Muslim' and 'white supremacy'."

But he added: "He's polite, he always says hello to me."

The BBC understands complaints have been made in the past about the suspect's behaviour to A2Dominion, the housing association which owns the property in which he lives.

A spokesperson for A2Dominion said: "We are aware of the incident in Stanwell. As this relates to an ongoing police investigation, we are unable to comment at this time but will cooperate with the police if and when called upon to do so."

The girlfriend of the arrested man said: "It's not like him, he's the loveliest guy you could meet.

"He needs help. He's had a lot going on in his life and I think this was just something that tipped him.

"He's the love of my life and I will stand by him."

Check out SOTT radio's: NewsReal #30: Christchurch Massacre - Don't Fall For The Manipulation

Bizarro Earth

Illinois to require LGBT history curriculum be taught in schools

Illinois House
Lawmakers in the Illinois state House of Representatives voted Wednesday to approve a plan that includes historical figures in the LGBT civil rights movement in K-12 textbooks, NPR reported.

The measure, which now heads to Gov. J.B. Pritzker's (D) desk for a signature, requires schools to include "the role and contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people in the history of this country and this State" in official textbooks.

Supporters of the rule say the measure is intended to reduce anti-LGBT bullying in schools by teaching students about the historical place of LGBT figures in American society.


Bulgarian policemen use pepper spray against protesters...but wind blows it back in their faces

Bulgarian policemen pepper spray
© Screenshot Twitter / JasperNeve
Bulgarian policemen inadvertently pepper-sprayed themselves during a protest rally in the country's capital Sofia on Sunday, when they diffused the chemical at demonstrators against the wind.

Video has emerged online showing several police officers forming a barricade in a bid to calm the crowd of protesters, some of whom were waving national flags. One of the policemen then deploys pepper spray but it blows straight back into the cops' faces, forcing them to retreat. The footage ends with scenes of officers rinsing their eyes with water.

The protest took place in front of the parliament in Sofia, where people were demanding a referendum that would change the country's constitution and transform the country to a "direct democracy," according to local media.

Commenters online suggested that local police were not experienced enough to use pepper spray as violent protests are extremely rare in the country.

Alarm Clock

New Zealand gov backs tighter gun laws following Christchurch shootings

Jacinda Ardern

PM Jacinda Ardern says details of gun law reforms will come within days
New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern has said she will announce detailed gun law reforms within days, after an attack on two mosques left 50 people dead.

Ms Ardern said her cabinet had backed gun law changes "in principle".

Australian Brenton Tarrant, 28, a self-described white supremacist, has been charged with murder.

Police say the killer used military-style assault weapons modified to make them more deadly - which is not illegal under current legislation.

What has the cabinet agreed?

Comment: See:


Heroes who stood up to Christchurch shooter: 'We would all probably be gone'

new zealand mosque shooting memorial
© Reuters / Jorge Silva
‘We would all probably be gone’: Heroes who stood up to Christchurch shooter
Mourners lay flowers outside the Masjid Al Noor mosque in Christchurch
As New Zealanders of all races and religions gather to pay respect to the dozens of victims of Friday's deadly mass shooting, stories of those who heroically tried to thwart the attacker are coming to light.

28-year Australian Brenton Tarrant opened fire on the congregations of two Christchurch mosques as worshippers gathered for Friday prayers, killing 49 and injuring dozens others. However, if it wasn't for the courageous actions of several people, the death toll may have been much higher.

At the scene of the first attack in the al Noor Mosque, Naeem Rashid was left badly wounded after he launched himself at the attacker in an attempt to shield other worshippers from the gunman's bullets. The Pakistani later died from his wounds in hospital.

Comment: Tributes pour in for the heroes of the massacre:
A Pakistani man who died after heroically throwing himself in front of the gunman who attacked two New Zealand mosques on Friday, will be bestowed with a posthumous national award, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan said Sunday.

Father-of-three Naeem Rashid, 49, was among nine Pakistani citizens killed in the shootings, which targeted Friday prayers in two mosques in the city of Christchurch. His 21-year-old son Talha Naeem is also among the 50 people who lost their lives.

Writing on Twitter, Khan said: "We stand ready to extend all our support to the families of Pakistani victims of the terrorist attack in Christchurch. Pakistan is proud of Mian Naeem Rashid who was martyred trying to tackle the White Supremacist terrorist & his courage will be recognized with a national award."

Stories of Rashid's bravery came to light on Saturday, after he was identified in the video of the attacks recorded by the gunman and posted online. He was left badly wounded after he tried to tackle the shooter at the Al Noor Mosque, later dying of his injuries in the hospital.

"I still can't understand or believe why and how this happened," Rashid's wife Ambreen told the Khaleej Times. "But, I do know that my husband is a hero. He always helped people and even in his last moments, he did what he could to help others."
New Zealanders remember the victims:
Members of one of New Zealand's most prominent street gangs are among those who performed an emotional Maori ceremonial dance, in memory of the victims of Friday's deadly mass shooting at two Christchurch mosques.

Standing near the cordon outside the Al Noor Mosque, members from the Black Power gang performed their tribute while surrounded by dozens of mourners, who gathered on Sunday to leave flowers and pay their respects to the victims.

Speaking ahead of the performance, the leader of the group said, "we are gathered here to express our love and sadness... this is all our community."

Sunday's vigil was one of several events that attracted thousands across the country. Over NZD$5 million (US$3.42 million) has been raised to support the families of the victims.

Made up of predominantly Maori and Polynesian members, Black Power is one of the biggest and oldest gangs in New Zealand. The haka is a ceremonial Maori dance made famous by New Zealand's rugby team, who perform it before every game. Several versions of the dance exist for different occasions such as funerals, when welcoming distinguished guests, and honoring great achievements.

Black Power's touching tribute was just one of several haka dances performed by mourners across New Zealand and Australia this weekend and shared on social media in honor of the victims.


Overreaction? 22-yo New Zealand man arrested for allegedly distributing video of Christchurch mosque shooting

police policía New Zealand Nueva Zelanda Christchurch
© Edgar Su / Reuters
A 22-year-old man from New Zealand has been arrested in connection with distribution of the video recording of Friday's tragic mosque shootings that killed 50 people.

Brenton Tarrant, 28, who has been charged with murder in the mass shooting, filmed the massacres at Al Noor Mosque and Linwood Masjid in Christchurch on a Facebook livestream. Facebook was notified of the video and immediately took steps to remove the user and the recording, but not before it had been downloaded and reposted across the internet.

The 22-year-old, who has not been named by police, will be charged under the Films Videos and Publications Classification Act. He is expected to appear in court Monday.

New Zealand Police Commissioner Mike Bush and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern have repeatedly urged citizens and the media not to share footage of the attack.

Mia Garlick, a spokesperson for Facebook New Zealand, said 1.5 million videos of the attack had been removed from the platform globally within the first 24 hours of it occurring. That included 1.2 million that were blocked during the upload stage.

Comment: See also:


3 dead, 9 injured in suspected terror attack on tram in Dutch city of Utrecht - suspect arrested

utrecht shooting
© AFP / Robin van Lonkhuijsen
Police stand at the 24 Oktoberplace in Utrecht where a shooting took place
Three people have been killed and nine others injured in a terrorist attack that took place in the Dutch city of Utrecht. A nationwide manhunt for a 37-year-old Turkish suspect is now underway, police said.

The Dutch counter-terrorism unit has surrounded a building where the gunman may be located, local media has reported. The perpetrator managed to escape the scene of the crime earlier, despite police cordoning off the area and adjacent streets.

The shooting has left three people dead and nine injured, the city's mayor has confirmed.

Comment: There were reports of shooting in several locations, which were contradicted by police spokesman Bernhard Jens, who said that "reports about shootings other than at 24 Octoberplein are not correct." The Netherlands government raised the terror threat level in response to the shooting:
The National Anti-Terrorism Coordinator (NATC) said it raised the terrorism threat level to 5 in all of Utrecht area, the highest for the emergencies of this kind. The alert will be in place until at least 18:00 local time.

The government authority said the decision was made after the shooting on a tram in Utrecht, where rescue efforts and a manhunt for possible perpetrators are still underway. The incident "currently has all the characteristics of a terrorist attack," NATC said.
The main suspect was arrested following the manhunt. No details on the circumstances of his arrest are available yet, however.


A case against universal basic income

Given recent progress in the development of artificial intelligence, many policy conversations take for granted that such advancements will lead to mass technological unemployment and could even create a permanent underclass. Once these "facts" are established, a radical and sweeping policy solution typically follows, most often an argument for the necessity of a Universal Basic Income (UBI). But despite their growing popularity, such apocalyptic predictions about the role of AI in replacing human labor and the need for a UBI are greatly overblown. Although I've written on this topic previously (one article even garnering a response from Democratic Presidential Candidate Andrew Yang), the doomsayers' case seems to be in need of a robust response.

When thinking about UBI, it's important to understand the reasons why some may suggest it as a necessary solution in the first place and why the case is frequently overstated. Even beyond those issues, the concept of implementing UBI as a public policy solution has significant shortcomings that should be discussed.

Several years ago, there were some alarming reports that estimated that up to 47 percent of jobs in the U.S. were at "high risk" of being automated over the following 20 years. These kinds of studies prompted some initial discussions of technological unemployment and what a public policy response might include. However, a more recent study by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) puts that figure at only 10 percent. Additionally, the World Economic Forum predicts that robots will displace 75 million jobs globally by 2022 but create 133 million new ones - a net positive. So, more recent data suggests that the effect of technology on job opportunities will be negligible. This conclusion applies to our current situation and into the future, as echoed by the World Bank.

Comment: Predictions by most professional economists are notoriously wrong. Keep that in mind when reading the catastrophizing predictions and the less extreme ones.

Comment: Big societal and policy changes are usually plagued with uncertainty. The best thing they have going for them is that they sound good to one demographic or another. What's actually needed is a change in the culture of policy-making where new policies are tested empirically to see which will actually do what they are ostensibly designed to do. If they fail the test, they shouldn't be widely implemented. Perhaps some will eventually pass the test. So it's time to get thinking and experimenting on a small scale, as with the UBI trials referenced above. Of course that assumes there is the political will to do so.

No Entry

Illegal aliens rescued from freezing, snowy mountain by Arizona Border Patrol

illegal aliens stranded
© U.S. Customs and Border Protection
Crews were called to rescue illegal aliens who had become stranded atop a snowcapped mountain in southern Arizona.
Border Patrol agents worked together to rescue five illegal aliens who were trapped on a snowy mountain in Arizona on Thursday, U.S Customs and Border Protection (CBP) revealed.

Officials say late in the day on Wednesday, Tucson Sector Border Patrol and the Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office (SCCSO) received 9-1-1 calls from one of the men, who managed to contact their number and ask for assistance. SCCSO coordinated efforts with a Department of Public Safety (DPS) aircrew who spotted the group on the mountain south of Tucson just after 1:00 a.m. Thursday morning, but had to postpone rescue operations until dawn as conditions worsened during the night.

At daybreak, CBP said agents at the Border Patrol Search Trauma and Rescue team hiked to reach the stranded group. When they arrived, agents performed a medical check on the five men to stabilize their conditions and determined they weren't fit enough to walk back to safety.