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And Now for Something Completely Different by Philip Giraldi

Decline and fall of Western Civilization part one
My wife and I completed a cruise recently that started in Venice, visited islands and historic sites in the Eastern Mediterranean, and concluded in Rome after stops in Valletta, Palermo and Naples. There were inevitably good things and bad things in terms of how the shore excursions were programmed, more bad than good unfortunately, and the costs of the extras provided by the carrier seem to have skyrocketed in the developing post COVID era, apparently making up for the losses sustained in dry dock over the past three years.
Most of the passengers on our ship were American or Canadian, but there were also large numbers of Europeans and residents of Australia and New Zealand. Being at close quarters with the Europeans in particular provided an interesting opportunity to learn what is driving the Old World to self-destruct like lemmings diving suicidally off the Norwegian cliffs. As both my wife and I are functional in a number of European languages, it also provided a good opportunity to exchange views in a non-threatening way and even to eavesdrop on those nearby in the ship’s bars and restaurants when they were discussing political and social developments in their homelands. It was also interesting nevertheless to note how politics intruded into an otherwise a deliberately apolitical experience, with the ship hosting a parade-around-the-deck march to raise money for and celebrate the Ukrainian refugees. My wife and I did not participate.
The days spent in Venice before the cruise began were enlightening, not to mention perilous when I had my pocket picked at a crowded vaporetto stop outside the Accademia Museum. The Filipino waiters in our ship’s bar were quite amused to learn that a former CIA officer, who regularly called for “gin martini shaken not stirred,” had had his wallet taken, with one bright spark asking “uh, how many people have you killed?” When I was explaining that I had not killed anyone he interrupted to say that “They probably deserved it.”

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