Tag: News

The Decay of Independent Thought to Bleakness

I no longer feel for those I kill. In a sense, the world has done me a great favor. My cross to bear, from man to man, woman to woman, child to child, is exhausting. One could call it disheartening, though I reckon many would figure I don’t have much of one to lose. Yet, an escape from this curse has never been closer…

Perhaps an escape is not the correct way to phrase it. Rather, I have been given medicine. Yes, finally, an alleviation to my long-numbed pain. But at the same time, I now hold a helpful tool. In fact, my existence has never been more simple.

Why, then, is there still something missing? A melody unsung, soaking, dissolving in a sea of cacophony. A note of confidence, forever lost in confusion’s dark haze.

Unbeknownst to me, a thin, severe-looking woman with sharp features and stark gray hair, perhaps sixty or so, meanders in front of my path. I let out a flustered sigh, and notice my error an instant too late. The woman, making contact with my icy breeze, crumples to the cold marble floor with a resounding thud. Dead.

Upon a closer glance, I identify her, not needing so much as a gaze at her business card, which protruded slightly from her charcoal suit.

Susan F Downer, Attorney at Law.

I then shift away from information visible to her clients. Age 52, mother of three. Heavily in debt, bit of a drinker.

Much like all the rest lately, an avid PubliCoreNews follower.

After gathering information from the brain, I always peer into the soul, searching for some link between the two. A lawyer, an optimistic voice in my head reasons. Perhaps she has yet to fall victim to Bleakness.

But as I examine the depths of cognizant thought, I realize both the brain and soul are as blank as their temporary resting place. As the last of her life fades away without an ounce of protest, Susan Downer’s conscience softly slips into silence. It was all over in less than a second.

This time with more care, my forever frozen lips emit a bored sigh, much unlike the last.

The Enlightened souls, those yet to succumb to Bleakness, put up a fight. However tiring and heart-wrenching it may be, there is a great degree of satisfaction, of excitement, to grappling pugnacious, resisting souls. It reassures that they had lived their lives well, and that all, if even for a moment, had truly found themselves.

In the many thousands I visit each day, I struggle to remember the last soul to oppose me.

Shuffling away from the attorney, I begin to fully take in my surroundings. I’m in a vast hallway, with grandiose stone pillars running up the walls, magnificently arched ceilings with perfectly spaced globes of light hanging from them. A courtroom. Sliding across the floor, I reach a large wooden door, the intricately carved handle longing to be pushed open, to be useful. It reminded me of the thoughts I gleaned from Susan’s consciousness; simple and limited. I give in, delivering a gentle push on the handle as the door creaks open.

I step outside and a cold, sharp wind pierces deep inside of me.

Perhaps this is what it feels like for everyone else when I come.

A saturating mist is falling from a dark, heavy sky, but it has little effect on the vicious crowds below. To one side, an army of colors battles a horde of those dressed in jet black.

Despite a clear hatred of each other, the units appear to share two things. In each of their eyes rests a burning fury. In each of their hands lies a small black screen, PubliCoreNews clearly visible on them all, blasting messages of dehumanization. PubliCoreNews shouted, and the crowds chanted, louder, fiercer, angrier.

I don’t know who threw the first ball of slush, leftover from the previous week’s storm. I don’t know who retaliated with the first stone.

But I do know the first victim.

A rock, perhaps the size of a softball, launched from the hand of a weak black-clad man. I later learned he had been aiming several feet behind the young girl’s head.

I silently float to her side, resting near her anguished mother.

Danielle McCarthy, age 6, first grade.

The mother’s screams are drowned by the louder, more pertinent rage of events. Little Danielle’s mind, however, is not empty, like Susan’s. It merely whimpers why, forever stuck on a question without an answer.

I rest a hand on the mother’s weeping head, and she falls beside her daughter. An act of kindness. Melissa McCarthy, widowed, 38, would never have to live alone in this empty world. But as I look into her soul, and find PubliCoreNews has changed how she thought, told her how she thought. I find only Bleakness, and wonder for how long she has already been alone.

Around me, PubliCoreNews blares. Rocks land, some hitting their marks. Screams of pain are muffled by barks of ferocity.

All stand oblivious to the little girl and her mother.

How could they care, with their screens pulsing every thought into their brains? There simply was no room for humanity, for morality. PubliCoreNews saw through to that.

There will be no winner to this battle, but a loser, humanity, stays fueled by the media’s iron grip as the world sinks further into Bleakness.

*  *  *  *  *

The year is 2018. The setting, a courtroom deciding upon an important verdict. Though the events and names of this story are not real, the concepts are all too much so. Bleakness infects the minds and souls of many, when opposing thought is extirpated for the sake of conformity. Despite a degree of hyperbole within this narrative, the dangers of limited media perspective in society are nonetheless present.

However, hope is not lost, as 71 Republic is reinventing journalism. With a free speech platform and a variety of perspectives on key issues, we at 71 Republic emphasize independent thought and quality journalism. Rather than mandating how to think, we hope to explain why we think. To help support 71 Republic’s mission of overcoming Bleakness, please fuel our Patreon. The time to act is now. Can we count on you?

Support our work by donating to our Patreon, which can be found by clicking here.


Switzerland’s Long Fight for Fiscal Policy Independence

By Daniel Szewc | Switzerland

Switzerland has long been known for being a fiscally responsible (most often caused by internal competition between the Cantons) banker nation. Yet since the EU has grown in influence, so has their unitarian nature. With this comes an extreme blood-thirst for monotony, as well as a lack of competition.

In March 2011, the European Central Bank in Frankfurt, Germany, pressured the Swiss national bank to cap the swiftly strengthening Franc to the Euro. This was the natural conclusion of Switzerland, which already had ditched the gold standard on the first of May, 2000. How ironic is it, that it happened on the communist holiday of 05/01? This capping, whilst certainly hurting the Franc’s fame as a sure way to keep one’s assets intact in cases of war, lasted for 3 years, until 2014.

In a frantic move by Swiss elites, who sensed that EU leaders were too busy with Middle-Eastern immigrants, tried to also force down the partial re-institution of the gold standard via expanding the national bank’s fractional reserve (modern banking system) banking from an 8% coverage of the Franc’s value in gold to 20%. This would lead to investors being more likely to use the Franc and would help their economy greatly. Yet, as Karl Marx said, “Democracy is the road to socialism”. The referendum failed, with only about 20% of the population voting to support the fiscal counter-revolution.

However, citizens do realize when something was better in the past – there is still hope! Switzerland is going to have another referendum in June, this time proposing the complete abolishing of the Fractional Reserve Banking, and the abolishing of debt currency. The referendum, organised by the Vollgeld Initiative, will have a bigger effect on you than you can imagine.

Right now, a bank may lend you money that it does not have. It “creates” it using computer code, automatically stripping away part of the money’s value, and increasing inflation. All the bank needs to hold is a fraction of the money it lends. This was the reason why many irresponsible banks collapsed in 2008. Most international banks have their main headquarters in the ever-neutral Switzerland. If this referendum gets over half the votes, all of these banks will adopt these rules, making a global difference. Expect the value of money to deflate considerably less.

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Nikolas Cruz Pointed Gun at Family, Report Says

By Jason Patterson | United States

19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, suspected to be responsible for killing 17 students at Parkland Highschool, has also reportedly had other family incidents. These include pointing a gun at his brother and his mother.

The suspect’s younger brother, Zachary Cruz, spoke to the Miami Herald in an interview about his sibling.

Zachary, 18, told the outlet his brother once pointed a loaded gun at him. The incident came after a spat when their mother came home from food shopping. Zachary said he’d knocked a jar of Nutella from his brother’s hands after he saw Nikolas stick his fingers in it.

He claimed that his brother then ran up to his room and retrieved his gun, loaded it when he came down and then held it up to his older brother as their mother watched, according to the report.

“If you’re gonna shoot me, shoot me!” Zachary said he yelled at his brother.

” Thankfully ” The moment de-escalated quickly, with Nikolas putting the gun away and returning to watch TV, he told the Herald. But Zachary said the moment stuck with him and he “never messed with him again.”

He also recalled a time that he did the same to his mother, Nik got his AR-15 and put it to my mom’s head,” Zachary said. “He was yelling at her because she wouldn’t take him to a cabin”. It wasn’t clear if the weapon was loaded. The brother said their mother ran to her car and drove away.

“He was in the middle of the driveway, in the middle of the street with his AR-15,” Zachary told the Herald. “I had 911 ready to go on my phone. I guess he just came up and he put his gun away and I hung up.”

He also told the reporter that his brother suffered a depressive disorder and often self-harmed.

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What Will The New Normal Look Like?

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By Craig Axford | United States

The chaotic presidency of Donald Trump and the disruption that has followed closely in its wake is often described by the pundit class as “the new normal.” This is incorrect. The disruption we are currently experiencing indicates we’re a culture seeking fresh norms rather than one that has settled into a new status quo.

It’s easy to conclude that everything that has happened in the months since Brexit and the election of President Trump follows directly or indirectly from these electoral upsets. However, these events were merely the unmistakable signs that a social transformation that had been building for years had finally arrived.

Social and environmental change always leaves large segments of the population disoriented and alienated, creating fault lines that can release their stored up energy through major cultural earthquakes. In 2018 the aftershocks are still being felt and we’re still cleaning up the debris. It’s going to take a while for the dust to settle. Rebuilding is likely going to take a generation or more to complete.

. . .

People are fond of comparing the postwar United States to the ancient Roman Empire. For neoconservatives like former Vice President Dick Cheney and Trump’s new National Security Advisor John Bolton, being the modern equivalent of ancient Rome is the point. For those more inclined toward international cooperation, however, imperialism as a means of spreading a nation’s influence is an approach that should be consigned to the dustbin of history and largely forgotten.

Regardless, recent events have produced a bumper crop of speculative articles about America’s decline by authors from both sides of the political divide. Many contain at least a few comparisons to Rome and suggest America’s current situation is at least somewhat analogous.

Broadly speaking, every civilization’s story follows a remarkably similar pattern. Understanding this pattern can certainly help us recognize shifts within our own society that need to be adapted to if we are to avoid complete collapse.

With that said, analogies to ancient empires only get us so far. For one thing, none of them were democratic. Even democracy in ancient Greece was extremely limited by modern standards. In that case, it lasted relatively briefly at a small scale within a city state.

. . .

In addition, technological innovation in the ancient world moved at a snail’s pace by today’s standards. If it were possible to transport a sleeping Roman living under Caesar Augustus forward 200 years to the reign of Marcus Aurelius, they would certainly notice some architectural additions to their city when they woke up, but would still readily recognize the vast majority of the tools and other implements of daily living. These would virtually all be fundamentally the same as they were two centuries earlier, with changes being largely stylistic rather than functional.

During my lifetime, however, technology has changed far more than it did during the two centuries known as Pax Romana. In fact, there’s been far more technological and scientific development during my lifetime than occurred during the entire Roman period, or, for that matter, from the birth of agriculture to the fall of the Roman Empire.

My mother was born just a couple of years after Charles Lindbergh completed the first transAtlantic flight. I was born just a month before Neil Armstrong and “Buzz” Aldrin landed on the moon. When my daughter was born, the Internet was just beginning to become widely available. In 2015, I received the news of my granddaughter’s birth on a device that makes the communicators held by the Star Trek characters that were on TV when I was an infant look positively primitive.

When I was in high school, there were nine known planets in the universe (they still counted Pluto as a planet at the time). As of this writing there are nearly 3,000 confirmed planets outside our solar system and roughly 2,600 more exoplanet candidates. Thirty of the confirmed planets are less than twice the size of earth and exist within their sun’s habitable zone. That we could find evidence of life elsewhere in the universe during my lifetime is hardly a remote possibility. That it will be found during my granddaughter’s lifetime now seems a near certainty. What the religious, philosophical, and social implications of this discovery will be are impossible to predict, let alone calculate.

. . .

In the early 1970s, systems theory was still in its infancy. As a discipline it was arising from other fields that were themselves relatively new arrivals on the scientific scene. These included ecology, sociology, anthropology, and evolutionary psychology. All of these pursuits were heavily influenced by the discoveries of the nineteenth century and had spent the better part of the 20th century defining themselves.

If anyone felt that forest ecology had anything to teach us about how societies develop, breakdown, and ultimately either renew themselves or collapse completely they had kept it pretty much to themselves. Then, in 1973, a forest ecologist by the name of C.S. [Buzz] Holling published a paper that began to change all of that. By the end of the decade scholars like Joseph Tainter had taken the idea and begun running with it. The resulting cross fertilization between ecology, sociology, history and anthropology gave rise to what today is referred to as panarchy (Gunderson & Holling, 2001).

“Holling and his colleagues use a three-dimensional image to represent the relationship between a system’s rising potential and connectedness and its declining resilience. The shape looks like a distorted figure eight or infinity symbol floating in space. In the foreground is the growth phase-a curve that moves upward as the system’s potential and connectedness increase. At the same time, the curve moves forward in three-dimensional space-toward the observer-as the system’s resilience declines. Holling and his colleagues call this part of the adaptive cycle the ‘front loop.’ It represents a process of incrementally rising complexity. At the top of this curve, the system collapses. Things then happen fast as the system descends into the ‘back loop,’ where it undergoes a rapid process of reorganization before beginning once more the slow process of growth.” (Source: Our Panarchic Future, World Watch Institute)

The possibility that cultures and ecosystems might follow similar patterns of development, change, decay and renewal has, in retrospect, a certain slap to the forehead quality to it. As the years have gone by, the notion has become increasingly obvious in retrospect. Even though thinkers like “Buzz” Holling and Joseph Tainter have remained largely unknown outside of academic circles, their ideas have begun working their way into the zeitgeist.

The implications of panarchy for contemporary society are incredibly profound. Dramatic disruptions like Brexit and the election of Donald Trump look, even to those unfamiliar with the theory, like the kind of event which the panarchy model depicts as a systemic release. Such events mark the beginning of the breakdown triggered when a system has reached peak or near peak complexity.

Using Holling’s original comparison with a forest ecosystem, such occurrences are analogous to a fire or windstorm that takes out many older trees and disrupts (or in extreme cases destroys) the complex relationships that exist within a diverse mature forest. Ideally, this kind of event will stop short of causing a complete collapse. Instead, the release will make room for new growth and the formation of new relationships, causing the cycle to begin again following the exploitation and reorganization trajectories that eventually lead to the reestablishment of a highly complex interconnected system.

But sometimes ecosystems, like societies, collapse more or less completely. The void these failed systems leave behind is ultimately filled by something distinct enough from the previous system to qualify as a new system in its own right. This is widely considered to have been the case with the Mayan and Anasazi civilizations in the Americas, and ultimately with the Roman Empire as well. Naturally these civilizations still left a legacy that lives on to this day. However, for all practical purposes these societies were completely replaced by their successors.

None of this is to say that we are on the verge of collapse. Predictions of imminent societal collapse have consistently outnumbered the actual events themselves. More often than not, societies experience disruptions that trigger a period of breakdown followed by some kind of renewal.

A culture might even survive several such events before ultimately experiencing complete failure. When breakdown does occur, the society experiencing it might never regain its former glory, but will live to fight another day. The British Empire is a classic contemporary example. Britain did not cease to exist following its devolution from empire to titular leader of a commonwealth of former colonies. Its cultural influence in the world remains great even if its military power and political influence is substantially diminished.

The United States, in all likelihood, is headed for a fate more like Great Britain’s and less like that of the ancient Romans. Its role in the world will be permanently diminished, but it won’t be coming to an end. Internally, power has already begun to shift away from a substantially weakened federal government and back toward the states and local communities. We’ve seen similar movement toward decentralization in the UK as Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland have gained greater autonomy from London.

In a 2006 paper on navigating complexity, the anthropologist Joseph Tainter argued, “It is important to emphasize that complexity is not inherently detrimental. If it were, we would not resort to it so readily.” Tainter continued, “Complexity is always a benefit-cost function. We increase complexity to solve problems because most of the time it works, and the costs either seem affordable, are not evident, or can be shifted onto others or the future. It is the cumulative costs of complexity,” Tainter warned, “that causes damage.”

Every challenge is, in the end, an opportunity. Resiliency is defined not by the ability to preserve the status quo, but the capacity to adapt to changing circumstances. We have entered a period of heightened uncertainty and disruption. There’s no going back. For the United States the coming years will be about redefining its role in the world and reassessing its values at home.

The United States is hardly alone. Nations are no longer as isolated from one another as they once were. For the world too, old roles and values are being challenged. As the nation-state becomes less important and regional/international cooperation becomes more critical, continental organizations like the EU have a chance to emerge as new and influential players. China and India are also now far more likely to become central figures on the world stage given America’s recent abdication. Looming over all of these changes are global problems like climate change and mass migration, both of which are undermining traditional notions of sovereignty. These environmental and social disruptions will make moral, economic, and technological leadership far more important in the future than brute military power was in the past.

Growing up during the Great Depression, my mother could not possibly have imagined that just months after she turned 40 people would be walking on the moon. Likewise, I can’t begin to imagine what may be in store for the second half of my life, let alone the remainder of my daughter’s and granddaughter’s. In The Upside of Down: Catastrophe, Creativity, and the Renewal of Civilization, Thomas Homer-Dixon wrote, “In a moment of contingency, the struggle over how we should frame our options and our future is a battle of ideas.” We had better get busy thinking up and experimenting with some new ones, and get used to doing so for a while. This transition won’t be ending any time soon.

Follow me on Twitter or read my work on Medium.com.

Other stories by Craig Axford that you may enjoy:

Kodak Raising Crypto Funds for Image Copyright Blockchain

Eli Ridder | @EliRidder

Kodak, famed for its photography products, is working with Wenn Digital in raising money for its blockchain image copyright system in a token offering for a partner cryptocurrency. 

On May 21, the Wenn-created KODAKCoin will be offered to the public with the aim of raising $50 million USD and to fund the KODAKOne blockchain that seeks to protect the copyright of image media registered on the platform.

Shares in Kodak bounced upwards to $13.25 in January when the Wenn deal was announced, before dropping to below half that when news of the blockchain’s rollout delay was announced due to regulatory issues.

“We really took a step back and decided that we would ensure that all Ts were crossed and Is dotted before we embark on a public sale,” Cam Chell, chairman and co-founder of KODAKOne, told Reuters news agency in an interview.

“I think $50 million is our sweet spot,” Mr. Chell said.

Blockchain is the digital system behind the likes of Bitcoin, and is a shared database of information that maintained and kept in check by a network of computers connected to the internet.

A similar strategy was utilized by Filecoin in the late summer and early Autumn of last year, and some $200 million was raised by the network that facilitates the storage, retrieval and transmission of data, reported Reuters.

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