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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.


Attention

Jeffery Epstein accuser says 'erotic sex in front of everyone was as normal as cup of tea' during bombshell interview

sarah ransome
© BBC One
ONE of Jeffrey Epstein's victims has told how the paedophile started having "full erotic sex" in front of everyone on his private jet that was "like making a cup of tea" in the bombshell Panorama special tonight.

Victim Sarah Ransome, who was abused by the convicted sex offender, also accused "madam" Ghislaine Maxwell of treating the women like "s*** on her shoe".

Epstein's ex-girlfriend Maxwell is accused of procuring girls for sex with Epstein and his friends.

Ms Ransome told how she took a private jet to Epstein's private island in the Caribbean.

Last night's BBC Panorama documentary also revealed: She said: "On the plane he started having full erotic sex in front of the entire plane.

"I thought I was the mad one because everyone else found it completely normal, it was like making a cup of tea."

Comment: If there's one good thing to come out of the Epstein scandal, it's the fact that more and more people are coming to realize that their leaders are liars, they cover up their crimes and debauchery, and generally you can't trust the authorities to do anything about it, because chances are they're involved or 'compromised' in one way or another. At least that's progress!


Toys

Paul Joseph Watson: The infantilization of popular culture

The Infantilization of Popular Culture
Why are superhero movies so popular?


Comment: While Watson's critiques of society and temporary culture appear to be largely on point, Dan Sanchez of the Foundation For Economic Freedom has recently had some interesting things to say about the Marvel superhero movies in particular - at least as they may compare to Martin Scorsese's own recent comments about them, and his own new film 'The Irishman'.
Why the Marvel Movies Are Better than Scorsese's "The Irishman"

Stories don't need to be realistic to be great.

After binge-eating Thanksgiving dinner and leftovers, you might be up for some binge-watching this holiday weekend. You have a cornucopia of choices, depending on your streaming service of choice. For example, if you're on the new Disney+, you could feast on the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).

But would that be the cinematic equivalent of gorging on empty-calorie junk food? According to recent remarks by iconic director Martin Scorsese, the Marvel movies don't even qualify as cinema, which would make them more akin to quasi-food products like SNL's "Almost Pizza."

Should you dine on something more nutritious instead? If you have a Netflix password, you could stream Scorsese's latest work. The Irishman is, according to Wikipedia, an "epic crime film" that, at three and a half hours, would qualify as a standalone binge-watch. Presumably it should have the essential cinematic ingredients that Scorsese finds missing in Marvel's fare.

Which is the better choice?

Superheroes or Mobsters?

I recently rewatched all 23 interconnected movies of the MCU, which Marvel calls "the Infinity Saga." I also watched The Irishman on the day of its release, right before Thanksgiving. Pound-for-pound, for my palette, Marvel's epic is vastly better than Scorsese's. I would also argue that it not only tastes better, but it is better for you.

Admittedly, I'm biased. I read superhero comics growing up. If you didn't, or if Francis Ford Coppola's wonderful film The Godfather was deeply formative for you, but not Richard Donner's Superman (a childhood favorite of mine), than The Irishman may suit your taste better.

I would simply insist that if you choose to enjoy Marvel's megafranchise, you shouldn't feel ashamed or "low-brow." The MCU is not a guilty indulgence, but its own kind of culinary masterpiece.

Moreover, The Irishman is not necessarily high cuisine. For me it was more like a pretentious microwave dinner, like Healthy Choice's Beef Merlot, containing reheated mafia tropes that miss the flavors and nutrients of earlier classics.

Badfellas

The Irishman isn't all bad. It has things to say about friendship, fatherhood, loyalty, and morality that are of some value. But ultimately it fails by Scorsese's own standards. In his critique of Marvel in The New York Times, he wrote:
For me, for the filmmakers I came to love and respect, for my friends who started making movies around the same time that I did, cinema was about revelation — aesthetic, emotional and spiritual revelation. It was about characters — the complexity of people and their contradictory and sometimes paradoxical natures, the way they can hurt one another and love one another and suddenly come face to face with themselves.
Cinema, then, is about revelation and character depth. I'm no movie expert, but I can go along with that. Yet try as I might, I could find little of either in The Irishman.

Take the protagonist Frank Sheeran, played by Robert De Niro. This is his character arc, such as it is (mild spoilers below):
  • As a young man, he is a truck driver who eagerly becomes a petty thief for a mob family.
  • He develops lifelong gratitude and loyalty to the mob boss who brings him and acts as his benefactor (Russell Bufalino, played by Joe Pesci).
  • We learn that he fought in World War II and came out of it a dedicated moral nihilist. As such, he graduates smoothly from thief to hitman.
  • His eldest daughter becomes distant over the brutality of his occupation. That bothers him, but not enough to influence his conduct whatsoever.
  • Frank is briefly torn between loyalties, yet murders one of his dearest friends without too much fuss anyway.
  • At the end of his long life, he is melancholy and alone, having alienated his family, and yet he expresses vanishingly little grief or remorse for anything he's done.
Not once did the character experience any profound revelation or come "face to face" with himself. At most, he mumbles a grudging expression of regret. Far from being "complex," "contradictory," or "paradoxical," Frank proves himself to be a consistent lifelong sociopath who only rarely manifests the faintest flicker of human decency.

With such a dreary character study grinding on for three and a half hours, it is no wonder I often found myself bored. Worse, I found it unenlightening. Stories of tragic heroes or antiheroes, if done well, can be unrelentingly bleak and yet fascinating and edifying at the same time. Not so with The Irishman. With such a stunted character arc, there was very little to behold or learn from in the life and times of Frank Sheeran.

Iron Man & Irishman

Contrast that with the character arc of Tony Stark, the foremost protagonist of Marvel's Infinity Saga, as electrically portrayed by Robert Downey, Jr. Even if you take only the first MCU movie, 2008's Iron Man directed by Jon Favreau, the character exhibits far more complexity and undergoes far more revelation than Irishman's Frank Sheeran.

We first meet Tony as a devil-may-care playboy and cynical war-profiteer. Even his best friend rebukes him for being "constitutionally incapable of being responsible."

While traversing a war zone, he banters with starstruck soldiers in his military escort. But then the convoy is attacked and the young troops he befriended are all slaughtered. Just before a shell detonates in his face, he sees his company's brand — his own namesake — emblazoned on it.

He wakes up in a cave, a captive of terrorists armed with his own weapons, one of which riddled his chest with shrapnel that, upon reaching his heart, will kill him.

Faced with the prospect of imminent death followed by a bloodstained legacy, Tony rallies. He cobbles together a miniature reactor that holds the shrapnel at bay and a reactor-powered super-suit that he uses to vanquish his captors and escape.

After returning to civilization, he renounces the military industrial complex and, as Iron Man, dedicates his genius to saving the world, starting with cleaning up the messes his own weapons have made.

In Iron Man, Tony faced a profound moral reckoning. His past choices dropped a literal bomb on his life, and he could no longer mentally shrug off responsibility, because that bomb literally had his name on it. This plunged him into the underworld. But he emerged from his personal hell transformed. The irresponsible cynic had died and was reborn a super-responsible hero.

Now that is revelation. That is a character coming face-to-face with himself.

In Defense of Fantasy

Yes, it's unrealistic in a sense, especially compared to gritty crime dramas like The Irishman. Nobody could build a working miniature reactor in a cave. And the lessons of life don't come so neatly packaged and clearly labeled as a bomb with your name on it.

But what anti-fantasy snobs miss is that stories don't need to be realistic to be great: to not only be entertaining, but profoundly edifying.

As in the ancient myths of gods, monsters, and legendary heroes, fantasy can free a story to be symbolic, archetypal, and more real in a deeper sense, in that it grandly conveys universal truths about the human condition.

No, you will never need to build your own superhero suit to escape a terrorist's cave and to right your past wrongs. But you will probably have a "dark night of the soul" at some point in your life: maybe several. And the only way you will be able to dig yourself out of it is by taking up responsibility: by reckoning with your own past contributions to your present predicament and changing your future life direction accordingly.

That is the moral truth that Iron Man's origin story speaks to. It's a message that audiences pick up on some level, even if they can't articulate it. And it's a message that rings true, because it jibes with human nature, and therefore with human experience. That's why so many find Tony's heroic journey so thrilling, while other superhero movies (ahem, DC) with comparable pyrotechnics leave them flat.

A True Saga

Astoundingly, Tony Stark's character arc continued to be fascinating and edifying throughout several films (with different creative teams) across the whole "Infinity Saga."

Each film added new layers to Tony's complexity. He didn't attain perfection in that cave. Following the events in The Avengers (2012), his newfound sense of responsibility became overgrown and distorted, contributing to a debilitating case of post-traumatic stress disorder in Iron Man 3 (2013) and even disastrously warping him into a semi-tyrannical control freak in Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015) and Captain America: Civil War (2016).

But by Avengers: Endgame (2019), the climax of the Infinity Saga, his most heroic traits triumphantly returned to the fore. In that film, several character arc threads (relating to such grand themes as guilt, redemption, family, and sacrifice) that began 11 years earlier in Iron Man are tied up beautifully. It is no wonder that, as my colleague Sean Malone posted on Facebook:
...every time I went to see that film in the theaters... People cried.

They also laughed, and cheered, and booed, and gasped, and did *all* the things good art should compel an audience to do.
And for the record, as much as I love the character, Tony Stark isn't even my favorite Avenger. I found the story of Steve Rogers (Captain America) even more emotionally and morally impactful (but that's for another article).

Mythic Cinema

Joe and Anthony Russo, the directors of Endgame as well as other MCU movies, responded trenchantly to Scorsese's critiques in an interview with Hollywood Reporter:
"When we look at the box office [of] Avengers: Endgame, we don't see that as a signifier of financial success, we see it as a signifier of emotional success," says Joe of the film, which earned $2.78 billion globally. "It's a movie that had an unprecedented impact on audiences around the world in the way that they shared that narrative and the way that they experienced it. And the emotions they felt watching it."
Scorsese has noted that he has tried to watch a few Marvel films, but quickly abandoned them. The Russos note it's challenging to have a dialogue about cinema if the acclaimed director hasn't seen the films he is talking about.
The creative and commercial minds behind Marvel's Infinity Saga have weaved a 23-film mega-story that over 11 years has brought joy, inspiration, and catharsis to millions. That is a staggering feat of cinema.

So don't be ashamed if a superhero movie succeeds with you: if it wins over some of your time and money, if it moves you emotionally, if it inspires you to become a better person. Fantasy stories about larger-than-life heroes and adventures have been nourishing souls since the dawn of civilization.

Loving modern myths doesn't mean you're low-brow. It just means you're human.

Dan Sanchez is the Director of Content at the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) and the editor of FEE.org.



NPC

'Mr. Men' children's characters in WOKE firing line, publisher stands ground against manufactured outrage

Mr Man
© Egmont UK
It seems a week doesn't pass without someone digging up culture from the past and throwing in onto the pyre of politically incorrect things. Called 'Mr. Men', one famous British book and TV series is just asking for trouble.

The books were written by English author Roger Hargreaves in 1971, with the Little Miss series following 10 years later. The books have sold more than 100 million copies across 28 countries, featuring the popular characters Mr. Tickle, Little Miss Chatterbox, Mr. Rude, and many others.

Fast forward to 'everything is offensive 2019', and a student of feminist issues from Glasgow, Shelby Judge, shared a picture of the book on social media with the over-the-top heading "Mr Mansplain."