Being There

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It’s one of my favorite movies. If you haven’t seen it, you must. The metaphor is stark and relentless. It’s a brutal statement on the absurdity of this System we live in and under.

The phrase Being There also applies to the following quote I’ve lifted from James Howard Kunstler’s latest blog post entitled The Uses of Disorder here. The following is a screen print of the applicable comment.

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Below is the KTLA link to the news story.

Utah Teen Hurt in Brussels Explosion Also Survived Boston Marathon Bombings; Was in France During Paris Attacks

A teenager from Utah hurt in this week’s explosions in Brussels also survived the Boston Marathon bombings – and was on a church mission in France at the time of the terror attacks in Paris as well.

Mason Wells, 19, of Utah was 20 months into his Mormon missionary trip in France and Belgium during the attacks. He was one of four missionaries hurt in the blasts. All are expected to survive.

Wells’ parents say their son suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon, shrapnel injuries and burns on his face and hands.

“He shared with us that he was extremely close to the blast where he was burned by it,” Chad Wells, Mason’s father, told ABC News. “It’s a blessing from God he’s alive.”

Strangely enough, the family says it’s not the first time they’ve been in the center of a terror attack.

In 2013, Mason and his father were about a block away from the first explosion at the Boston Marathon. Mason’s mother, Kymberly, ran the race.

“I’m dumbfounded to be honest,” said Chad Wells.

Chad Wells said the Boston terror attack didn’t quell Mason’s desire to serve his church internationally. He also believes it helped him stay calm during the attack in Brussels.

Wells was also in France, but was not hurt, during the Paris attacks.

“The way we get back on our feet after something like this happens is a true test of character,” Chad Wells told ABC News. “He was blessed significantly by God. We see a blessing by this, not a terrible curse.”

Ordinarily, I wouldn’t have given this too much thought, but it comes on the heels of the comments I made to the previous blog post about Mormons. And, right on cue, we get this “news story” about the many brushes with death of a teen LDS missionary. As Being There asks, what are the odds? Unless.

As if anyone cares at this point. Boring podcasts by boring people are so much more fulfilling. But, for the very few who do care, and actually have eyes to see and use them, it’s for you. I’m sharing with the few as Being There has shared with me despite my testosterone.

As you read, think to yourself, have we reached the point where news-making now includes concocting the event that becomes the capitalized spectacle? I think it’s very possible we’ve arrived at that point and creating realities is quite literal.

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Or, it’s just a coincidence this poor sap was at the wrong place at the wrong time not just once, but three times and the good Lord saw fit to protect him but not everyone. I don’t know, but what I do know is, Disaster Capitalism is alive and well and it only makes sense, it’s the next logical step, to concoct the event you want to cover and turn it into a spectacle that will pay numerous dividends. If we’re not there yet, we soon will be, and at this point, or that point I should say, I really think most people won’t care if it’s a planned event or not.

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18 thoughts on “Being There

  1. Chauncey Gardner? Hah, that guy was great – an imbecile with a secret (not so much NE-Moarz?).

    Haha JHK who? Ain’t been there in 3 months – ain’t goin’ back – same ole, same ole…

    So was that Mormon in Paris, when he was in France, at the very moment? Something smells fishy – dodging those earlier 2 events – unless the Jihadi Muslims (ixil?) believe Mormons are X-tians, and target them. I swear, that d00d looks like 1 of the 2 Latter-Day-Saints that showed up on our doorstep 3 years ago, when my bro and I were grilling chicken franks (virtually begging for a free meal – and they drove a car, go figure).

  2. Zrix, you and I have witnessed the Chauncey Gardnerfication of our society in our lifetime. Look at all these podcasts being produced lately. The “creators,” if you can call their rendering creative and I don’t believe you can or should, are quite literally Chauncey Gardners. Believe me, I know. I’ve dealt with these people. I’ve interacted with them.

    It’s as though they’re another species — not quite human. Something’s missing — something significant — like the thing we call a soul, for lack of a better term. They lack the capacity, or the motivation even, for true understanding and comprehension. They move from one topic to the next never learning a thing. The only thing they know is how to exploit, otherwise, they’re rather empty or vacuous, if you will. What separates humans from the other species is the human ability and capacity to introspect. These Podcast People can’t do it and don’t do it. They are the “others” that walk amongst us introspective ones.

    They are The Walking Dead. They are the reason for all the Zombie movies and shows. Zrix, for awhile now, I’ve been saying to myself, “there’s something happening here — what it is, ain’t exactly clear.” Now it’s clear. And it’s terrible. A nightmare. The worst nightmare. And when you die, it doesn’t end. It gets worse. Dying is no escape — it just takes you further and deeper into it — like a hyperdrive. It’s the worst form of cruelty imaginable. All to please the sadistic fancies of the creators.

    • Hah, you and your music – wavelength. I swear, about 3 months ago, I whuz all Buffalo SPR, and jammed said-same t00n. No Escape, indeed (Ray Liotta, ’94). What you really need to understand/accept is the normal curve – it says something like 25% of all Americans have an IQ less than 85 (90? haha 87.5). That’s the scary figure – you’re talking Dumbya quotient for almost 100 million b00b t00b l00zerz… Reality TV – Trump keeps lookin’ bettah and bettah…

  3. Now we have to listen (actually I don’t listen to it), endlessly it seems, about the hunt for the suspects. As if that’s supposed to provide reassurance to an audience that’s not frightened anyway. What exactly is the purpose of the Mainstream Media’s coverage of so-called “Terrorist” events? They put these turd blossom experts on that presume to know everything there is to know on the topic and yet you’re left with the impression, or I am at least, that they’re full of shit.

    One of these nattering nabobs said the other night before I switched the channel, “people are frightened.” That’s not true. What kind of expert is this? People are not frightened. If they were, they would never leave their houses, let alone fly all over the world in a bomb with seats and wings that serves you drinks before you blow up. People really don’t care. The coverage is unnecessary unless it’s for some other purpose. But what would that other purpose be except to try and frighten people? I don’t know.

    What I do know is some terrorist bombings get more sympathetic and in-depth coverage than other terrorist bombings. The bombings in Turkey several weeks ago hardly got any coverage and the coverage it did get was not the caliber of coverage the Brussels Bombings is receiving. Of course, it’s the Kurds who were presumably responsible and the Kurds are friends of The West and friends can never be terrorists or engage in terrorist activity. So, the Turkey bombings were downplayed to the point of being ignored. Here’s a great article that elaborates on my last point.

    Brussels Bombings Destroy Fiction That All Terrorism Deaths Count as Equal

    When a series of bombs went off at the Brussels airport and in a subway station yesterday, killing 31 people and injuring more than 200, the reaction of the US press was immediate and overwhelming. Every major news outlet turned its website over to coverage of the suicide attacks, often accompanied by live tickers and infographics. “Brussels Attacks Shake European Security” reads the banner headline on today’s New York Times’ front page (3/23/16); the Washington Post (3/22/16) worried that the bombings “made clear that European capitals remain perilously vulnerable despite attempts to dismantle the militant network that perpetrated the worst terrorist attack in Paris in generations last November.”

    It was a curious statement, given that just nine days earlier, another European nation’s capital had been the site of a remarkably similar suicide bombing. On March 13, a car bomb went off in Ankara, Turkey, killing 34 people and injuring 125. As in Brussels, the Ankara bombing, carried out by a Kurdish group opposed to Turkey’s military actions in Kurdish regions of Syria, targeted a transit hub—there a heavily trafficked bus stop—and the victims were likewise unsuspecting civilians going about their lives, including the father of international soccer star Umut Bulut (Guardian, 3/14/16), who was on his way back from one of his son’s matches.

    If terrorists had set out to conduct a controlled experiment on how the US media covers mass deaths overseas, they couldn’t have planned it any better. The Ankara bombing was mostly relegated to smaller stories buried in the foreign section: The New York Times (3/14/16) ran a 777-word story on page 6, noting that the attack “raised questions about the Turkish government’s ability to protect its citizens”; the Washington Post (3/14/16) ran an even shorter story reporting that “initial reports suggested at least some of the casualties were civilians waiting at nearby bus stops” — a strangely inexact account, perhaps explained by the article’s dateline of Beirut, over 400 miles away. CNN at least had a reporter on the scene — Arwa Damon, an Emmy-winning Syrian-American journalist based in Istanbul — though she was limited to a series of five-minute reports running down the basics of the attacks.

    The news reports following the Brussels bombings were dramatically different in both scale and tenor. Multiple stories on the bombings and on the growth of support for ISIS in Belgium, plus video of the bombings’ aftermath were the norm; the New York Times website added a series of interactive graphics showing the bombing sites in detail. Scrolling website tickers updated readers on related news both large and small: The Washington Post’s feed included the breaking news “Starbucks Closes All Belgian Stores,” while the Times ticker included a post reporting that Facebook hadn’t yet released a tool to overlay the Belgian flag on top of profile photos.

    It was almost an exact repeat of last November, when bombings in Beirut and Paris on subsequent days received wildly disparate attention from the US news media, with the Beirut bombings that killed 43 getting just 1/40th the US media coverage of the next day’s Paris attacks that killed 136. And the wall-to-wall coverage of Paris and Brussels is called into even greater relief when compared with the numerous other terrorist incidents in recent months that have received little US attention, such as attacks in Bamako, Mali; Tunis, Tunisia; Istanbul, Turkey; Jakarta, Indonesia; Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso; Mogadishu, Somalia; and Grand-Bassam, Ivory Coast, between November and March that collectively took 117 lives (Public Radio International, 3/22/16).

    The usual defense of US outlets that offer lesser coverage of deaths in other parts of the world cites readers’ and viewers’ increased interest when Americans are somehow involved — at its most base, the principle expressed in McLurg’s Law that a death in one’s home country is worth 1,000 deaths on the other side of the world. (This was on full display in the Chicago Tribune’s lead story on the Brussels bombings, which was headlined “Brussels Attacks: 3rd Bomb Found; Americans Hurt.”) But while US citizens were injured in Brussels — three Mormon missionaries caught in the airport blast received widespread coverage, including in USA Today (3/22/16) and on CBSNews.com (3/22/16) and NBCNews.com (3/22/16) — and none in Ankara, another Turkish bombing this month did have American casualties: Two Israeli-Americans, Yonathan Suher and Avraham Goldman, were killed along with two others in an ISIS suicide bombing in Istanbul on March 20. Their deaths earned brief stories in the New York Times (3/19/16) and Bloomberg News (3/19/16), but no mention elsewhere in the US news media.

    Perhaps the greatest difference in post-bombing coverage, though, came in the lessons the media suggested that readers draw from the Brussels and Ankara attacks. Ankara’s bombing was treated as matter-of-fact, if not entirely unremarkable: The New York Times article’s first sentence (3/13/16) described it as merely “the latest of a string of terrorist attacks that have destabilized the country,” though it later acknowledged that it was the first of these that had targeted civilians. (By the US State Department’s definition of “terrorism”—which involves attacks on non-combatants—the earlier attacks would not be considered terrorism.) The Associated Press coverage (3/13/16) noted only that it was “the third in the city in five months,” without mentioned that the first two attacks were against military targets, not civilians.

    The Brussels attacks, meanwhile, were presented as a “shocking turn of events” (Washington Post, 3/23/16), but one explained by Belgium no longer really counting as European at all. The Post’s Adam Taylor reported that the Brussels bombing “wasn’t exactly a surprise,” noting that the Belgian capital, “once best known as a center for European culture and politics,” was now “tainted” by its “links to extremism and terrorist plots.” The problem, it specified, was centered in Molenbeek, a Brussels suburb “just across the Canal not far from some of Brussels’ more fashionable areas,” which “first began to fill up with Turkish and Moroccan immigrants around 50 years ago” and is now beset by high unemployment and “many seedy and rundown shops.”

    The New York Times, meanwhile, prominently featured a news analysis piece by Adam Nossiter (headlined “Brussels Attacks Underscore Vulnerability of an Open European Society”) warning that “the enduring vulnerability of Europe to terrorism in an age of easy travel and communications and rising militancy” would lead to a new round of soul-searching about whether Europe’s security services must redouble their efforts, even at the risk of further crimping civil liberties, or whether such attacks have become an unavoidable part of life in an open European society.

    Nossiter didn’t specify which civil liberties could be “crimped” — a term that had been toned down, by the time his article appeared on today’s print front page (3/23/16), to “impinging on.” He did suggest, though, that Belgium could face “widening derision as being the world’s wealthiest failed state” — something that raises the question of how the United States, with 31 mass killings in the year 2015 (according to USA Today’s ongoing “Behind the Bloodshed” count), should be categorized.

    (Nossiter, a longtime Times correspondent, has a bit of a history of “news analysis” pieces showing the need for a bit more analyzing, including one arguing that the displacement of New Orleans’ poor could present an “upside” of Hurricane Katrina, and another citing the African Union’s refusal to cooperate with the International Criminal Court as representative of “the gulf separating the West and many African leaders” on human rights, notwithstanding that the US has itself refused to cooperate with the ICC on numerous occasions.)

    Bloomberg News echoed the idea that freedom — either of civil liberties, of travel, or both — was to blame, noting “the vulnerability of open societies such as Belgium” while asserting that “a deluge of refugees from the Middle East is testing the 28-nation bloc’s dedication to open borders and stirring up anti-foreigner demagoguery” — a correlation that would be more believable if Europe hadn’t had a long history of xenophobia well before Syrian refugees began arriving in 2015.

    There are certainly reasons why the Brussels bombings might be considered of greater direct concern to American residents than the one in Ankara—specifically, the involvement of ISIS, which as the target of US bombing is more likely to attack the US than a Kurdish group. (Much of yesterday’s reporting on the Brussels bombings focused on what they meant for possible attacks on the US, including former US House homeland security chair Peter King helpfully telling CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, “Even though there is no indication of an attack, it could happen.”)
    Coverage in the London Independent did much more to humanize the victims of the Ankara attack than most US papers did.

    Yet the deluge of coverage of the Brussels bombing, and the paucity of attention for Ankara, began even before the bombers’ identities were known. And US news outlets steered clear of any opportunities to humanize the Ankara victims — unlike the UK’s Independent (3/14/16), which reported on a widely shared Facebook post that asked “Will you be Ankara?” and compared the site of the attack to “a bomb going off outside Debenhams on the Drapery in Northampton, or on New Street in Birmingham, or Piccadilly Circus in London.”

    Instead, the lasting impression for US readers is that deaths in Belgium are more newsworthy than an equal number of deaths in Turkey, and that if Belgium is to avoid sinking to the level of “failed nations,” it needs to address the outsiders who are dragging it down to a level unbecoming of its continent, or at least its western half. Europe, it’s clear, has no monopoly on anti-foreigner demagoguery.

  4. Hey Zrix. This is for you. It all started with these proud pricks. It hurts to look at this photo. That beautiful tree that stood there majestically for centuries tortured and ultimately murdered by these two “toughs” who only saw (pun intended) it as $’s.

    Did you ever see the movie Sometimes a Great Notion with Henry Fonda and Paul Newman? It’s a good movie, if you haven’t seen it. Loggers have a certain mentality. They work hard and play hard — the forest that sustains us be damned.

    • No, never seen it – saw Henry in that scene above, and thought, “Whoa – is that Peter?!…” Ack that scene hurt (the drowned guy did a lot of ‘stuff’ back in the 70’s). Too many logs, too much time (strike that, invert it – TYVM).

      The first pic reminds me of one I saw out here in OryGone, at Camp 51 (I believe that’s the name, out near the Pacific on Rt 26). A few years back, a windstorm took out the *1K* old Sitka Spruce, in about the same locn. So many injuns killed, so much land stolen – *we* still do it today – only to kick them off their desert res, as there’s fracking/mining operation *potential* (70’s/80’s uranium, recent nat gas/gold, etc ad nauseum)…

      PS – that rly Q below? – blowhart (sp). Jim’s completely offloaded web management, methinks. I doubt he even bothers to view his own weekly poast NE-moarz (or if so, only to make sure it poasted).

  5. I forgot to add, Zrix, you’re not missing anything over at Clusterfuck Nation. The DoD has it covered in about fifty layers of socks and Q. Shtik is their mascot. Remember when JHK had the IP Tracker on his sidebar and when you drilled down into it you quickly saw his blog was smothered in DoD hits? K-Dog brought it to light — and shortly thereafter, the IP Tracker disappeared. What a bunch of cowardly pricks — and crooks. Using the taxpayers’ hard-earned income to post bullshit all day long.

  6. Totally off topic:

    When I clicked on my Kunstler Blog bookmark this morning I got an “Account Suspended” message. I’ve written to JHK to find out why but no answer yet. I HAVE made a few innocuous spelling corrections lately… maybe that’s it.

    Anyway, if you don’t see any comments from me on CFN over the next few days you can assume I’ve been banned and I’d appreciate it if you would advise that comment section accordingly.

    Q.

    • I emailed him about it and he said he’s sick & tired of your bullshit and he’s not only banning you but he’s also thinking about suing you for harassment.

      I’m trying to talk him out of it. He and I have become close in the past year and email one another at least once a day, if not more.

      He’s a man of many dimensions, not just the dimension he presents to the public.

      Hang in there. I’ll smooth it over and work it out on your behalf.

      Be patient. Have faith. I’ll make it happen.

      • He’s a man of many dimensions, not [the] just the dimension he presents to the public.

        ===========

        Delete the superfluous “the.”

      • ” suing you for harassment”

        Haha, (I) got a “sehXaY schw33” inspiration, after ‘hearing’ that. Haha, 6-fig-salaried-govt-stalkas – I’ve been warning about “6-fig-govt-stalkas” since about, oh what? 1999?!? 2000? No, I think it whuz moar liek 1996/8 (quake3 alias)…

        Once a day? Now you’re scaring *ME*! Were you around for the “babble on moron” ad hominem guy?

  7. Okay Q. Shtik, I got you all squared away. You’re back in over at CFN. Post away, but behave yourself and mind your manners. You’ve been pushing the envelope a bit too much lately. Put the brakes on and all will be well in the garden. You’re Back In The Saddle Again.

  8. Q. Shtik, you could at least say thanks, you ungrateful bastard. Everything I do for you and yet you can show no gratitude. You shouldn’t bite, or ignore, the hand that feeds you.

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