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🎃 STABBED IN THE BUNKER ☙ Tuesday, October 31, 2023 ☙ C&C NEWS 🎃
Time magazine torpedoes Ukraine aid and the SS Zelensky sinks to the bottom; Marine Corps top commander has "medical emergency"; Matthew Perry; insurance industry starts panicking; and more.
Good morning, C&C, it’s Spooky Halloween Tuesday! Your scary roundup today includes: Time magazine just knifed Ukraine in the back and it looks like a fatal wound; Halloween mysteries abound as top Marine general has a mysterious “medical emergency” that looks very much like a non-mysterious jab injury; Matthew Perry has a mysterious medical emergency that looks very much like a non-mysterious jab injury; insurance industry’s panic volcano begins rumbling over excess deaths; and a federal judge forces the feds to stop taking down Texas’ border fences.
🕷️💬 WORLD NEWS AND COMMENTARY 💬🕷️
🚀 I’m not sure whether our first story this morning is more like “The Fall of the House of Usher” or “The Walking Dead.” Either way, I think it may mark the beginning of the end of the world as Zelenskyy knew it. Time Magazine launched a rhetorical hypersonic missile into the heart of Ukraine’s war effort yesterday, with a full-sized, bright-red cover story gaily headlined, “‘Nobody Believes in Our Victory Like I Do.’ Inside Volodymyr Zelensky’s Struggle to Keep Ukraine in the Fight.”
They didn’t come right out and call Zelensky Hitler, but they called him Hitler. I’ll show you how, in a minute.
The cover’s sub-headline didn’t help keep Ukraine in the fight. I guess keeping Ukraine in the fight is Zelensky’s problem:
As John F. Kennedy quipped after the disastrous Bay of Pigs invasion, success has many fathers, but failure is an orphan. Where are all the Counteroffensive’s™ parents now?
And that was just the cover. Now, I’m old enough to remember back when media wasn’t allowed to say anything critical about the Ukraine war effort. Slava Ukraini! and all that rot. But, between the article’s soaring rhetoric and its fascinating, behind-the-scenes personal interest anecdotes, yesterday’s long-format story (which ran for pages and pages) took a bloody dental appliance and methodically vivisected whatever is left of Ukraine’s faltering chances.
The context for the story was last months’ trip when Zelensky’s went to Washington trick or treating but went home with a mostly-empty bag, with one or two lonely homemade ziplocks down at the bottom containing nuts and raisins and no candy. His reception in D.C. was downright frosty: “Congressional leaders declined to let Zelensky deliver a public address on Capitol Hill.” No, thanks.
Time said the Ukrainian president had hoped his visit would boost lawmakers’ confidence in the war, like in times past, but this year his costume just didn’t fit right or something. Apparently, at this point most folks are no longer interested in sending any more borrowed money to further enrich corrupt oligarchs:
Public support for aid to Ukraine has been in decline for months in the U.S., and Zelensky’s visit did nothing to revive it. Some 41% of Americans want Congress to provide more weapons to Kyiv, down from 65% in June, when Ukraine began a major counteroffensive, according to a Reuters survey taken shortly after Zelensky’s departure. That offensive has proceeded at an excruciating pace and with enormous losses, making it ever more difficult for Zelensky to convince partners that victory is around the corner. With the outbreak of war in Israel, even keeping the world’s attention on Ukraine has become a major challenge.
Well, Times’ cover story isn’t going to help those poll numbers any. Zelensky is probably already regretting it, but he invited Time’s reporters to travel back to Ukraine with him, perhaps hoping for some positive coverage. Boy was he wrong. The first thing Time’s reporter did was interview the former comedian’s staff, and it wasn’t funny, at all:
On my first day in Kyiv, I asked one member of his circle how the President was feeling. The response came without a second’s hesitation: “Angry.” His usual sense of humor, his tendency to liven up a meeting in the war room with a bit of banter or a bawdy joke, none of that has survived into the second year of all-out war. “Now he walks in, gets the updates, gives the orders, and walks out,” says one longtime member of his team. Another tells me that, most of all, Zelensky feels betrayed by his Western allies. They have left him without the means to win the war, only the means to survive it.
Zelensky sounds kind of bitter. In fact, he sounds a lot like Hitler in the bunker at the end of World War Two, doesn’t he? The analogy was drawn more closely than you might think. It’s almost like Time, scribbling furiously between the lines, was secretly conjuring the image of a frail German leader pounding the table and screaming at subordinates. Consider this next paragraph that basically reported Zelensky has become delusional:
Despite the recent setbacks on the battlefield, (Zelensky) does not intend to give up fighting or to sue for any kind of peace. On the contrary, his belief in Ukraine’s ultimate victory over Russia has hardened into a form that worries some of his advisers. It is immovable, verging on the messianic. “He deludes himself,” one of his closest aides tells me in frustration. “We’re out of options. We’re not winning. But try telling him that.”
As Mark Twain once said, history may not repeat itself, but it often rhymes. Time continued drawing an invisible line directly between Ukraine in 2023 and Berlin in 1945. For instance, Time said Zelensky’s military commanders are starting to ignore his increasingly clueless orders:
(A senior Ukrainian military officer reports that) some front-line commanders have begun refusing orders to advance, even when they came directly from the office of the President. “They just want to sit in the trenches and hold the line,” he says. “But we can’t win a war that way.”
Some commanders have little choice in second-guessing orders from the top. At one point in early October, he said, Kyiv demanded an operation to “retake” the city of Horlivka, a strategic outpost in eastern Ukraine that the Russians have held and fiercely defended for nearly a decade. The answer came back in the form of a question: With what? “They don’t have the men or the weapons,” says the officer. “Where are the weapons? Where is the artillery? Where are the new recruits?”
That was bad enough. But then Time really started sticking the surgical blade in even deeper. This next sentence may have changed history. It’s difficult to underestimate the impact of this next assessment, an assessment made by a single Time reporter quoting an anonymous Ukrainian official, but it will echo a million times down Congress’s marble halls.
Time reported that sending more expensive weapons and ammo would be useless at this point:
In some branches of the military, the shortage of personnel has become even more dire than the deficit in arms and ammunition. One of Zelensky’s close aides tells me that even if the U.S. and its allies come through with all the weapons they have pledged, “we don’t have the men to use them.”
All the young soldiers are dead now. Ukraine’s remaining fighters have an average age of forty-three. And, said Times, they aren’t exactly the healthiest bunch of men you ever saw. “This is Ukraine, not Scandinavia.” Time even found a way to make it Zelensky’s fault.
Responding to Western criticism of the widespread, corrupt practice of Ukrainian families paying conscription agents for medical waivers, Zelensky — maybe channeling President Reagan during the Air Traffic Controller strike — fired them all. Buh bye.
It wasn’t the best idea he ever had:
On August 11th, Zelensky fired the heads of the draft offices in every region of the country. The decision was intended to signal his commitment to fighting graft. But the move backfired, according to the senior military officer, as recruitment nearly ground to a halt without leadership. The fired officials also proved difficult to replace, in part because the reputation of the draft offices had been tainted. “Who wants that job?” the officer asks. “It’s like putting a sign on your back that says: corrupt.”
At this point in the article, Time had pretty conclusively won the argument that sending more aid to Ukraine would be effectively useless, because there aren’t enough men to use more weapons, and there’s no way for Ukraine to recruit any more men, since its conscription service has collapsed. But, to make sure its intended victim was completely dead, Times piled on.
The article explained, even if the manpower problem could be solved, more aid would just be stolen at this point anyway:
Amid all the pressure to root out corruption, I assumed, perhaps naively, that officials in Ukraine would think twice before taking a bribe or pocketing state funds. But when I made this point to a top presidential adviser in early October, he asked me to turn off my audio recorder so he could speak more freely. “Simon, you’re mistaken,” he says. “People are stealing like there’s no tomorrow.”
Doesn’t sound like a very good advertisement for sending even more money to Ukraine, does it?
Channelling even more Zelensky-as-defiant-Hitler, the Times article began and ended the same way: Zelensky stubbornly refuses to consider any kind of peace deal, or anything short of complete victory against the Russians. The reporter didn’t come right out and say it, but the hint that Zelensky is completely delusional and should be immediately replaced could not have been more strongly suggested.
Finally — this morning, all the major Establishment Media outlets ran headlines referencing Time’s story. They are making sure the bad news gets broad coverage. If I had to bet, I would bet that Zelensky is living on borrowed time. It is very difficult to conceive how any kind of substantial Ukraine aid package could possibly survive this report.
💉 Another Halloween mystery! Let me tell you, when I saw the Washington Post’s pathetic headline yesterday, I was so glad I’ve taken the time the last couple weeks for a Friday “medical emergencies” roundup. The article simply stated: “Marines’ top general hospitalized after medical emergency.”
A medical emergency! You know that that means. It means his “medical emergency” fits the jab-injury profile. I’ll bet anyone who wants to lose their money that it was a heart attack, stroke, or a blood clot. The whole thing already reeks of coverup, and get ready — I’m about to have a field day with the word “mysterious.”
General Eric M. Smith, 58, who is right in the jab-induced cardiac failure “sweet spot” (male, 50-60 years old), is the highest ranking American official to suffer a suspected shot injury. General Smith heads the entire Marine Corps and is a key member on the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
But despite his critical jobs, his public offices, and the overall newsworthiness of anything affecting General Smith, since it affects the rest of us too, notwithstanding all that, all the Marines would say was the General was hospitalized Sunday night after suffering what military officials only described using the horrible euphemism “medical emergency.”
Here’s the Marines’ entire Press Release:
Needless to say, the useless corporate media lapped up those three short sentences like good little doggies and said they were full. No further questions!
It’s another pandemic mystery. It’s an enigma wrapped inside a riddle, wrapped inside an egg roll. Clearly they do NOT want to talk about the cause of General Smith’s hospitalization, for some reason. It could only be a jab injury or some kind of weird autoerotic sprain that nobody wants to talk about. Either way.
They won’t even say which hospital is treating the top general. The Washington Post blamed all the secrecy on his family, a claim that gave away the secret that General Smith is so sick he can’t talk for himself right now:
Officials have not said where Smith, 58, is being treated or when he could be released. A Marine Corps official told The Washington Post that the general’s family requested that no further details be made public for now.
Would you agree that, considering all the wars President Peters has planned, General Smith’s injury is kind of bad timing? I’m sure there are many capable officers in the Marines who can take over, but they cannot easily replace all General Smith’s institutional knowledge, internal thoughts and plans, and command philosophy.
If only somebody had pointed out the risks of jabbing the entire military back in 2021.
Like messy Peter, the WaPo suggested the injury might have come from … (drum roll) … exhaustion and overwork! The sub-headline claimed without evidence: “Gen. Eric Smith had said in recent weeks that the hours he was working were ‘not a sustainable thing’.” The paper also hinted that it could have been a really bad case of sunstroke due to the hellish temperature during Smith’s final outdoor address before being hospitalized: “bright sunshine pushed the temperature up to around 80 degrees.”
What would we do without the corporate media to tell us what not to think?
💉 Everyone was confused yesterday when I didn’t cover Matthew Perry’s sudden and unexpected death. I did cover it, on Sunday — the day the story broke — but it was paywalled. After popular request, I now re-post the piece, slightly edited.
Another mysterious A-list Hollywood tragedy struck Saturday, as every major media outlet in the country headlined Matthew Perry’s sudden and unexpected hot tub death. In case you’ve been in a coma: Perry, 54, famously starred as “Chandler” on NBC’s hit TV series Friends.
Corporate media seemed completely uninterested in the mysterious nature of Perry’s death. But it wasn’t for privacy this time, since the articles extensively covered Perry’s well-known decades of drug and alcohol addiction (all during the Friends years) and his various surgeries, slyly suggesting the actor died from a drug overdose. Officially Chandler “drowned” alone in a hot tub.
But, bless them, ripping the heart out of corporate media’s first attempt at covering up Perry’s real cause of death, the police specifically reported there were no signs of foul play and no drugs were found on the scene.
It’s now common knowledge that first responders on the scene initially called it in as a ‘cardiac arrest.’ But most media reports omitted that fact. Now, we have seen plenty of these solo “drowning accidents” over the last two years. For instance, just yesterday — totally unrelated — a friend told me about recently attending a 17-year-old girl’s funeral after she died while showering. (There was no head trauma.)
Perry’s life was headed upwards. A few years back, after he got sober, Perry started his ‘Perry House in Malibu,’ a sober-living facility for men. He told one reporter that, because of his addiction experience, if an alcoholic ever asked him for help, Perry stopped everything he was doing and did whatever he could to assist. Earlier this year Perry also published his first book, a memoir describing his career, his alcoholism, his road to sobriety, and his coming to a saving faith.
Matthew also was showing a very positive outlook about the future.
Perry overcame his personal demons. But he couldn’t overcome the demons from the medical-industrial complex. You’ve surely heard by now, but Perry asked in 2021 — in his iconic witty style — “Could I BE any more vaccinated?” And, defying belief, Perry was even selling a t-shirt with that tagline on his website:
Go with God, Matthew. We loved your wit and humor and we salute your good works. We’ll see you soon enough.
🔥 Insurance NewsNet ran a jittery story last week headlined, “‘Excess mortality’ continuing surge causes concerns.” The insurance industry is finally paying attention to excess deaths, after all.
From the article, we learn two things about the insurance industry’s slow response to soaring death rates. First, they had already expected above-average deaths from the pandemic (though not lasting this long). Second, they were also expecting a post-excess offset. Meaning that historically, after any period of excess death, there has also been a “rebound.” Since so many sick people died during the excess period, death rates — and claims — would remain lower for a while after that. It’s a pull-forward effect.
But the article’s author was concerned about a developing sense that, for some reason, there won’t be a rebound this time. This time, it’s going to get worse. (Of course, the article never ever mentioned the jabs.)
The good news was that some industry experts think excess deaths are starting to trend down. The bad news is that other experts do NOT see a downward trend in the data. Consider this somewhat alarming paragraph, that coldly splashed reality in deniers’ faces:
Statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control show mortality rates alarmingly rising for different categories. For example, younger adult mortality rates are up more than 20% in 2023, the CDC said. Cause of death data show increased cardiac mortality in all ages. And even as COVID-related causes declined in 2022, others rose, particularly stroke, diabetes, kidney and liver diseases.
Then the article posed the gigantic question that we have all been asking for two years now. I guess they are finally catching up with the rest of us:
“The real concern for life insurers lies in preparing for an unexpected wave of death claims and the impact on their assets under management,” (industry executive Samantha Chow) said. “Do they have enough reserves to weather these outflows, given the excess deaths? It's not just about death or health. It is about the industry's ability and readiness to manage this monumental outflow.”
(Capgemini’s recent) World Life Insurance Report (predicted) a massive outflow of nearly 40% of life insurers’ assets under management (AUM), totaling $7.8 trillion, by 2040.
“When we factor in the rise of payouts on death claims, the magnitude of the situation demands urgent attention by the industry,” (the report) said.
In the neutered, bland language of risk management professionals, that statement rings a four-alarm financial fire, and screams from the industry’s burning rooftops. I don’t blame this author for avoiding speculation about the cause of excess deaths, it’s not the insurance industry’s job. The CDC should be researching that question with great urgency.
A regular C&C reader in the insurance business wrote to me this week. He asked me to remind you guys that now is the time for all working-age jabbed folks to buy a solid life and long-term disability insurance policy from a stable provider. Hopefully they’ll be fine, of course, but if something did happen because of the shots, it would be too late. They can drop the extra coverage after a few years.
It sure seems like prudent advice to me. If I were in my twenties to fourties and jabbed I’d buy the biggest long-term disability policy I could afford. Ditto for life insurance if married.
🔥 Finally, in terrific but extremely surreal legal news, the New York Times ran a dystopian story yesterday headlined, “Judge Orders Border Agents to Stop Cutting Texas’ Barbed Wire Fence.”
It’s totally surreal to imagine that Texas was forced to sue the federal government to stop its officials from cutting up Texas’s concertina wire blocking the border. But Judge Alia Moses of the Western District of Texas grudgingly granted Texas a temporary injunction yesterday, in a terrific lawsuit filed by Texas’s outstanding Attorney General Ken Paxton.
Paxton reasonably argued that federal agents were illegally destroying Texas property and allowing migrants into the country. “Biden created this crisis & has tried to block us at every turn,” Texas Governor Greg Abbott tweeted yesterday after the restraining order was issued. “Attorney General Paxton & I are pushing back.”
One thing mysteriously missing from this article — and all the other articles about this developing story — is the federal government’s argument why it should be allowed to take down Texas’ barbed wire fences. I mean, what could possibly be the rational justification? The closest the Times’ article got to an explanation was citing that the order lets border agents remove migrants who get caught in the fence for medical treatment, and vaguely referenced the federal government’s powers to control immigration.
Last week, Texas lawmakers passed a law criminalizing illegal border crossing, which allows local police to arrest migrants for breaking the new Texas law, since local police lack jurisdiction to enforce federal immigration laws. Last week, the Times ran a gloomy article observing this new law “poses a direct challenge to the federal government’s authority over policing the borders” and will almost certainly wind up in court.
Texas democrats opposed the new law because … it was racist. “My community is being attacked,” one Latino representative, Armando Walle, a Houston Democrat, told his Republican colleagues. “Y’all don’t understand,” he said. “It hurts us personally.”
There is also a fascinating discussion to be had about a thinly decided (5-4) Supreme Court decision in 2012 about the federal government’s right to stop states from enforcing federal border laws. It looks like the Court may soon get a chance to revisit that decision.
Happy Halloween, C&C. Be sure to check your kids’ candy for vaccine needles! And come on back here tomorrow, as we head into November and the thick of the holiday season.
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