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Missive #210

All I have for a posting today are some news items that interested me. I am feeling better after the psoriasis flare but still not 100%. I have reduced the distance on my walks somewhat but got back to the usual yesterday. The extremely heavy sweats have mostly gone away and the resting heart rate is almost back to what I consider normal. I have apparently survived another one but really would like to fine a way to avoid them.

The Decline of the West
Sputnik columnist Pepe Escobar reviews French historian Emmanuel Todd’s latest book, which focuses on the key reasons that have led to the West’s downfall. Among them: the end of the nation-state; de-industrialization (which explains NATO’s deficit in producing weapons for Ukraine); the “degree zero” of the West’s religious matrix, Protestantism; the sharp increase of mortality rates in the US (much higher than in Russia), along with suicides and homicides; and the supremacy of an imperial nihilism expressed by the obsession with Forever Wars. Unlike virtually any Western “analyst” across the mainstream NATOstan sphere, Todd understands that Moscow is set to win against the whole of NATO, not merely Ukraine, profiting from a window of opportunity identified by Putin in early 2022. Todd bets on a window of 5 years, that is, an endgame by 2027. Whatever the deadline, inbuilt in all this is a total Russia victory – with the winner dictating all terms. No negotiations, no ceasefire, no frozen conflict – as the Hegemon is now desperate spinning. In tandem with several analysts in Russia, China, Iran, Todd is sure that the US obsession – since the 1990s – to cut off Germany from Russia will lead to failure: “Sooner or later, they will collaborate, as “their economic specializations define them as complementary”. The defeat in Ukraine will open the path, as a “gravitational force” reciprocally seduces Germany and Russia. — Five Variables Defining Our Future by Sputnik @ X

This is from a report by the Bureau of Economic Analysis explaining the 4Q GDP numbers.

The increase in consumer spending reflected increases in both services and goods. Within services, the leading contributors were food services and accommodations as well as health care. Within goods, the leading contributors to the increase were other nondurable goods (led by pharmaceutical products) as well as recreational goods and vehicles.

This is what they then said much later in the report.

  • Personal consumption contributed 1.91%, more than half of the 3.280%. On an annualized basis, this amounted to a 2.8% increase, better than the 2.5% expected, but down from 3.1% last quarter.
  • Fixed Investment also dipped, adding 0.31% to the bottom line number, down from 0.46% in Q3
  • The change in private inventories was flat, contribuing 0.07% of the bottom line number, and denying expectations of a decline due to Q4 destocking after last quarter’s 1.27% inventory change surge.
  • Also in the unexpected column was the contribution from net exports, which added 0.43% to the bottom line number, up from 0.03% last quarter, as exports supposedly surged despite the sharp jump in the dollar in Q4.
  • Finally, government contributed another 0.56% of the bottom line number, which while down from 0.99% in Q3, has continued a bizarre series where government remains one of the largest GDP contributors.

Therefore we have a growing economy, based on GDP numbers, that is virtually all based on more sick people, more people buying RVs because they can’t afford a house, more restaurant and rental spending and the list goes on with durable good way down it.

The following is from Two Questions For Postmodern Conservatives by Night Wind.

Today we’re going to ask a couple of questions to those who still believe that the Republican Party is capable of running our lives when they can’t even manage a competent political campaign. 

    Question 1: A poll released today showed that 1/4 Americans aged 18-25 identify as nonbinary. The generation following them will probably see even higher numbers since—thanks largely to both parental and political neglect—those children and teens have grown up under such indoctrination. Add to this the fact that the US now ranks at bottom of Developed Nations in infant mortality; that marriage is declining and that half of pregnancies end in an abortion mill; that nearly 1/5 of young Americans are clinically infertile; that scores of thousands are dropping dead for no apparent reason while just about as many are dying from suicides and overdoses. Add also to this that over half of Americans can’t read above a 6th-grade level, about a third use narcotics, and about a third are morbidly obese. 

  Query: How is getting rid of immigration going to fix that?

       Question 2: Over the last three decades, we’ve permitted Corporate Robber Barons to outsource and offshore our industrial and agricultural bases. We’ve destroyed organized labor, can’t produce even the simplest basic necessities on our own soil, and let both our physical and educational infrastructure get to the point of near collapse. Extended power outages, the effects of natural phenomenon, wildfires, floods, droughts, failures of dams and bridges: all of these increasingly are becoming commonplace and the after-effects long-standing. We’re no longer the leaders in space or undersea exploration, and our technological superiority is declining.

   Query: How is containing China supposed to help any of that?

It would seem as if the rulers of our time sought only to use men in order to make things great; I wish that they would try a little more to make great men; that they would set less value on the work and more upon the workman; that they would never forget that a nation cannot long remain strong when every man belonging to it is individually weak; and that no form or combination of social polity has yet been devised to make an energetic people out of a community of pusillanimous and enfeebled citizens.
— Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America: Volume 2

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