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Sat, 14 Dec 2019
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To give something for nothing — The importance of mindful volunteering

volunteers
Every day we receive fresh solicitations requesting our time, our money, and our attention to various causes. It is not enough simply to live our lives, we must somehow justify our existence beyond earning a living and paying our taxes. According to a VolunteerHub estimate, one out of four people in the U.S. volunteer their time and effort with an average value of $24.14 per hour. The average is 22-23 percent in Europe and 19 percent in Australia. The site states that volunteering improves health and chances of gaining employment by 27 percent. So it is not an entirely selfless act.

I come not to praise volunteering but to consider its benefits and our motivations; to reflect on my experience that has led me to question what we are giving and what we are getting as volunteers. Such an assessment becomes more urgent as groups and individuals face decisions about where to invest limited resources in resolving crises such as global warming and inequities of wealth, freedom, and opportunity.

Fire

At least 6 people killed after pipeline explodes setting off multiple firestorms in Nigeria

pipeline explosions lagos

The explosion and subsequent firestorm was reportedly caused by people interfering with a Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation pipeline that runs through the area.
At least six people, including two children, have reportedly died after a pipeline exploded in the Ipaja area of Lagos, Nigeria early Thursday morning. Authorities are on the scene attempting to bring multiple fires under control.

The explosion and subsequent firestorm was reportedly caused by people interfering with a Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) pipeline that runs through the area, according to eyewitnesses. Two suspects have reportedly been arrested in connection with the incident.

Comment: As noted, Nigeria's oil infrastructure has been a target of militants in past years:


NPC

Extinction Rebellion brutally mocked after 'bee' activists glue themselves to Liberal Democrat's electric bus

Extinction Rebellion
© Reuters / Hannah McKay
An Extinction Rebellion activist is seen glued to the windscreen of Liberal Democrats' campaign bus.
Extinction Rebellion (XR) climate change activists dressed up as bees and glued themselves to the Liberal Democrats' election bus - which happens to be electric - leading to ridicule and a flurry of bee-based puns on Twitter.

Some of XR's activists were seen targeting the party's 'battle bus' on Friday in Streatham, south London. They prevented the vehicle from moving by supergluing their hands to the windscreen while donning colorful bee costumes, in protest over the Lib Dems' carbon neutral target of 2045, insisting it needs to be 2025.


Comment: Why Extinction Rebellion seems so nuts
This is the thing I find most fascinating about Extinction Rebellion: its very name is a lie. Those two words themselves are untrue. Humankind does not face extinction, and all reasonable people know this. We know that there is nothing in the IPCC reports - which themselves are often over-the-top - to justify XR's harebrained claims that we have 12 years to save the planet, and if we fail billions of people will die. They've just made this up.

As for the second word - 'rebellion' - this is a lie, too. Extinction Rebellion is not a rebellion. Rather, its ideology and misanthropy are entirely in keeping with the outlook of mainstream politics and popular culture.
More on XR:


Stormtrooper

Ukrainian neo-Nazi 'tourists' spotted amid Hong Kong protests

Uki Nazi's in HongKong
© Facebook / Free Hong Kong Center
A group of Ukrainian far-right activists traveled to Hong Kong to check out violent anti-government protests. They claimed it was merely a tourist trip, and that they were not neo-Nazis. Facts tell otherwise.

The group of muscled and heavily-tattooed young men from Ukraine descended last week upon the streets of the autonomous Chinese territory, gripped by chaotic protests for months. The 'tourists' were eager to see the sights - barricades and burning things - as well as watch the show, as in the clashes between protesters and police.

Then they shared their experience online, posting photos with local protesters and footage of the carnage. Here's a video from one of them - Serhii Filimonov, also known under nickname 'Son of Perun' - dubbed "Hong Kong gave us a family welcome."

Comment: See also:


USA

Avoiding a civil war in America: Decentralization, nullification, secession

tattered flag
It's becoming more and more apparent that the United States will not be going back to "business as usual" after Donald Trump leaves office, and it is easy to imagine that the anti-Trump parties will use their return to power as an opportunity to settle scores against the hated rubes and "deplorables" who dared attempt to oppose their betters in Washington, DC, California, and New York.

This ongoing conflict may manifest itself in the culture war through further attacks on people who take religious faith seriously, and on those who hold any social views unpopular among degreed people from major urban centers. The First Amendment will be imperiled like never before with both religious freedom and freedom of speech regarded as vehicles of "hate." Certainly, the Second Amendment will hang by a thread.

But even more dangerous will be the deep state's return to a vaunted position of enjoying a near-total absence of opposition from elected officials in the civilian government. The FBI and CIA will go to even greater lengths to ensure the voters are never again "allowed" to elect anyone who doesn't receive the explicit imprimatur of the American intelligence "community." The Fourth Amendment will be banished so that the NSA and its friends can spy on every American with impunity. The FBI and CIA will more freely combine the use of surveillance and media leaks to destroy adversaries.

Comment: See also:


Info

The masses are unaware of the next economic meltdown

monetary rainy day
People will be crying; they will be scratching their heads in disbelief, shaking and trembling, but nothing will stop the blistering carnage of the next economic meltdown.

The greatest bubble in history is unfunded liabilities, and the biggest financial bubble is treasury bonds.

America is so overrated, and anyone who has ever visited it and seen firsthand that what Hollywood sells is not reality, knows this very well.

I think highly of America's enterprises, its leading corporations, but the masses - probably more than half of the country - are oblivious to their own predicament and lack of preparation in advance of a slowdown.

10 years - that's how long this expansion has been happening; how much does the average person have saved up? NOT MUCH, I can tell you that.

Comment: See Gregg Hunter's recent interview with Michael Snyder as well. The bleak picture presented above is indeed corroborated.

Debt Bubble to End All Bubbles
Journalist and book author Michael Snyder says corporate debt is at record highs standing at $10 trillion. Snyder points out debt is setting records in every aspect of the economy and contends, "If you include all other forms of corporate debt not listed on the stock exchanges, that brings the total to $15.5 trillion, which is equivalent to 74% of GDP. We've never seen anything like this before in all of U.S. history. That is just one form of debt and how our society has grown the debt. People need to realize the only reason why we have any prosperity in this country today is because it is fueled by debt.

We have been building up this bubble, and it is the bubble to end all bubbles. Look at consumers. U.S. consumers are now $14 trillion in debt, which is an all-time record. State and local governments are at all-time debt record levels. The U.S. government . . . we just hit $23 trillion in debt, more than double since the last financial meltdown. . . . We are stealing from future generations more than $100 million every single hour of every single day. This is a crime beyond comprehension, and it's been going on more than a decade. . . .All the debt has bought for us is more time to expand the bubble for relative stability. Meanwhile, we are literally committing national suicide and literally destroying the future of this country and the future of this republic. We are destroying everything the founders built by insatiable greed in this generation."


Snyder says you don't have to wait for the next recession because it's already started. Snyder says, "Eventually, this whole thing is going to come crashing down. This thing is not sustainable. Here in the United States, we are already in a manufacturing recession. We are already in a transportation recession. We're already in a corporate earnings recession. We are already in trouble that I document regularly on my website. We are already seeing dozens of data points that an economic slowdown is already happening. This is what we will notice first.

We will go into a recession, and things are going to start getting bad, but beyond that . . . we are headed for the Greatest Depression. It's the perfect storm. . . . We are talking about the breakdown of trade with China. . . . We have witnessed the complete and total breakdown of relations between the United States and China. . . . They (China) view us (America) as their primary global enemy. So, there is not going to be any kind of comprehensive trade agreement. You can forget that, and that has been one of the only things holding this stock market up."

Snyder says no China trade deal will cause the stock market to "lose hope for the future." Snyder predicts stocks will "fall at least back to its long term averages, which is 40% to 50% lower than stocks are today."

Snyder also says, "The system is failing. People that have faith in Wall Street, people that have faith in Washington, people that have faith in the Federal Reserve and in the system, ultimately, they are going to be extremely, extremely disappointed. Most Americans are going to be blindsided by this, and most people have no idea what's coming, absolutely no idea. We're not just talking about Mad Max. We're not just talking about Armageddon. We're talking about the end of America. In the long term, if you want to prepare, you need to prepare for the end of our country."

Join Greg Hunter as he goes One-on-One with Michael Snyder, creator of TheEconomicCollapseblog.com.



Gold Seal

Why Sexual Morality May be Far More Important Than You Ever Thought

The Proposal by Sir Alma Tadema, 1892

The Proposal by Sir Alma Tadema, 1892
One winter afternoon I was relaxing with a half-dozen fellow graduate philosophy students discussing theories of law and punishment. About an hour into the discussion, it occurred to me that some moral laws are necessary because, although they might limit pleasure and enjoyment in the short term, they actually minimize suffering and maximize human fulfillment in the long term.

A few days ago I finished studying Sex and Culture for the second time. It is a remarkable book summarizing a lifetime of research by Oxford social anthropologist J.D. Unwin.[1] The 600+ page book is, in Unwin's words, only a "summary" of his research — seven volumes would be required to lay it all out.[2] His writings suggest he was a rationalist, believing that science is our ultimate tool of inquiry (it appears he was not a religious man). As I went through what he found, I was repeatedly reminded of the thought I had as a philosophy student: some moral laws may be designed to minimize human suffering and maximize human flourishing long term.

Unwin examines the data from 86 societies and civilizations to see if there is a relationship between sexual freedom and the flourishing of cultures. What makes the book especially interesting is that we in the West underwent a sexual revolution in the late 1960's, 70's, and 80's and are now in a position to test the conclusions he arrived at more than 40 years earlier.

Airplane Paper

They're rebranding climate change [again] — "Global Meltdown" is on the table

global meltdown
Writing for AdAge this week, Aaron Hall argues that in order to get people to "take action" against climate change, "rebranding" is crucial, since people have become too used to the idea that climate is changing and need to be shocked into the notion that the world as we know it is ending.

Aaron turns up the heat...

What he and his marketing team came up with was a series of much more frightening labels to stick on climate change in the hope of jolting people into meaningful engagement.

The terms "Global Meltdown" or "Global Melting," for instance, deliver a more negative image than mere "Global Warming," he contends. "The names signal that ice caps are melting, but also create a more visceral image in the mind — that real feeling of 'melting' when it's too hot outside. A meltdown is a disastrous event that draws from the ultimate terror of a nuclear meltdown, an apt metaphor for global destruction."

Comment: See also:


Snakes in Suits

Australian court to decide whether Indigenous people can be deported via citizenship test

Thoms and Love
© ABC
Brendan Thoms • Daniel Love
The high court of Australia will this week examine a complicated question: can Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islanders be deported as aliens if they don't hold Australian citizenship? The federal government says yes. But lawyers for two Indigenous men facing removal from the country, backed up by the Victorian state government, say there is another option: non-citizen non-alien.

The special case hearing on Thursday before the full bench will examine a series of propositions, which were unusually put forward by the high court itself, and which go beyond the contentious issue of deportations.

The Australian government contends it is an issue of binary definitions and that, because the men are not citizens, they are therefore aliens and the minister has the power to cancel their visas. Parties have already invoked significant precedents, including the Mabo ruling and the original act of colonisation, in arguing their cases.

The plaintiffs, Daniel Love and Brendan Thoms, have accused the commonwealth of alarmism and say if the high court rules in their favour it would not open borders to anyone claiming Indigenous heritage, but simply prevent the government detaining and deporting bona fide First Nations people.

Yellow Vest

France paralyzed by largest general strike in decades - Hundreds of demonstrations take place against Macron's pension reforms


Comment: Nobody strikes like the French. When they strike, they strike EVERYWHERE!

The last time they went on strike like this, they forced president Chirac to back down from implementing... neo-liberal 'pension reform'.

Will Macron back down this time around though? The unions are threatening to keep it up right through Christmas if they have to...


strikes in France
In what appears to be the biggest disruption to French society since the gilets jaunes demonstrators nearly torched Paris last year, public workers across the country stayed home on Thursday, immobilizing public transit across the country as the first general strike in more than 20 years began.

The walkout was called by unions angry at President Emmanuel Macron's pension reforms (not unlike how a planned - then scrapped - gas tax hike sparked the gilets jaunes).

On the fist day of the strike, parts of Paris resembled a ghost town during what are typically busy morning-commute hours. Roads were empty, and train stations were deserted, according to the Times of London.


The biggest industrial action of Macron's tenure is, so far, staggering in scale: 50% of French teachers are off work, nine out of ten trains were cancelled and eleven of the fourteen underground lines in Paris are closed. A total of 245 separate demonstrations have been announced across France as students, firefighters, healthcare workers and others joining in. Strikes at Air France forced a wave of flight cancellations, leaving thousands of travelers scrambling for a workaround. Air France cancelled 30% of its domestic flights and 10% of international short- and medium-haul flights on Thursday, RT reports.

Comment: What a turnout. Here's the workers' march in Toulouse:


The CGT union estimates that 1.5 million people hit the streets nationwide - despite there being no public transport. And French media is reporting that 69% of the country supports the strike.

Things got hot by the day's end however:


The firefighters union's intervention couldn't prevent battles breaking out between police and protesters, or 'casseurs' (vandals), as the French govt refers to both Black Bloc Antifa anarchist types and legitimate protesters...


In the city of Nantes, riot police tear-gassed the workers' march:


But the main action took place in Paris this evening:





It looks like it's going to be another long seething winter in France.