Thursday, March 23, 2023

"Aldi Faces Multiple Store Closings As The Retail Apocalypse Aggravates"

Full screen recommended.
"Aldi Faces Multiple Store Closings
 As The Retail Apocalypse Aggravates"
by Epic Economist

"With grocery prices shooting up to record levels amid soaring inflation, discount retailers like Aldi have become consumer favorites as shoppers struggle to stretch their dollars as far as possible. The popular grocery chain has seen demand ballooning over the past couple of years, but it hasn’t been immune to sharp increases in operational costs that ultimately led the company to raise prices on thousands of products. Now, sales are flatlining in many locations, supply chain problems are seemingly back, and the retail apocalypse is forcing Aldi to close up shop in many U.S. cities. The trend is accelerating far faster than economists have predicted, and a new report shows that over 1,000 retail stores are being shuttered across the U.S. as problems in the sector pile up.

Multiple chains just announced that they’ll be shuttering stores this summer, which means that your local hub could soon be gone for good. In recent weeks, customers have taken to social media to lament the loss of their favorite budget-friendly supermarket Aldi. This week alone, the supermarket chain is closing locations in Lower Burrel and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The shutdowns came after it decided to close up shop in Fort Worth, Texas, and Minneapolis, Minnesota just a couple of weeks ago.

It’s evident that Aldi has not been able to survive the retail crisis unscathed, and reports released by retail blog Best Life reveal that the company is hinting that several locations in Florida, Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, New York, Ohio, and South Carolina could be next in the chopping block. Not long ago, the grocer also shuttered a very popular store in the Auburn Gresham neighborhood in Chicago, Illinois. An Aldi spokesperson said that the company's decision to close was "based on several factors, including repeated burglaries and declining sales."

Another problem raised by Aldi’s loyal shoppers is that in many stores across the country, they’re spotting a very limited variety of products on the shelves. Given that the company’s business model is very different from those of Costco and Walmart, it is not uncommon for Aldi to have less inventory than other retailers. But what shoppers are seeing right now goes beyond the occasional empty shelf.

Nowadays, Aldi doesn’t save me a trip to the regular supermarket, says shopper and Motley Fool’s contributor Maurie Backman. “I've found that Aldi's product offerings are not very consistent,” she continued. “There are some weeks when I'll stop in only to find that they don't have strawberries, or cucumbers, or another common product you'd expect to see at a grocery store. That can be a frustrating thing when you only have time to stop at one store.”

Inventories are seemingly so tight that now Aldi is imposing purchasing limits on some products to avoid stocks from running out. In a recent press release, the company said that it is limiting the purchase of tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, lettuce, salad bags, broccoli, cauliflower, and raspberries to three of each item per customer.

With supply chain issues arising again, tighter credit conditions impacting the company’s finances, and the risk of systemic contagion from collapsing banks threatening the entire retail sector, the outlook is bleaker than it ever was. The economic downturn is likely to further damage sales rates and prompt brands to reduce their workforces even more as they concentrate only on the best performing stores. In the retail apocalypse, only the strongest will survive, and that means we might have to say our final goodbyes to our favorite brands sooner than we think."
Comments here:

Gerald Celente, "Trends In The News"

Strong language alert!
Gerald Celente, 3/23/23, "Trends In The News"
"The Trends Journal is a weekly magazine analyzing global current events forming future trends. Our mission is to present facts and truth over fear and propaganda to help subscribers prepare for what’s next in these increasingly turbulent times."
Comments here:

Musical Interlude: 2002, "Memory of the Sky"

Full screen recommended.
2002, "Memory of the Sky"

"A Look to the Heavens"

“The Cat's Eye Nebula (NGC 6543) is one of the best known planetary nebulae in the sky. Its more familiar outlines are seen in the brighter central region of the nebula in this impressive wide-angle view. But the composite image combines many short and long exposures to also reveal an extremely faint outer halo. At an estimated distance of 3,000 light-years, the faint outer halo is over 5 light-years across.
Planetary nebulae have long been appreciated as a final phase in the life of a sun-like star. More recently, some planetary nebulae are found to have halos like this one, likely formed of material shrugged off during earlier episodes in the star's evolution. While the planetary nebula phase is thought to last for around 10,000 years, astronomers estimate the age of the outer filamentary portions of this halo to be 50,000 to 90,000 years. Visible on the left, some 50 million light-years beyond the watchful planetary nebula, lies spiral galaxy NGC 6552.”

"I Would Rather Have..."

"When a bull is being lead to the slaughter, it still hopes to break loose and trample its butchers. Other bulls have not been able to pass on the knowledge that this never happens and that from the slaughterhouse there is no way back to the herd. But in human society there is a continuous exchange of experience. I have never heard of a man who broke away and fled while being led to his execution. It is even thought to be a special form of courage if a man about to be executed refuses to be blindfolded and dies with his eyes open. But I would rather have the bull with his blind rage, the stubborn beast who doesn't weigh his chances of survival with the prudent dull-wittedness of man, and doesn't know the despicable feeling of despair."
- Nadezhda Mandelstam

Judge Napolitano, "Is it China & Russia Against the US in Ukraine? - Scott Ritter"

Judge Napolitano - Judging Freedom, 3/23/23
"Is it China & Russia Against the US in Ukraine?
 - Scott Ritter"
Comments here:

"320,000 dead Ukrainian soldiers..."

"A Time of Unimaginable Sorrow is Upon Us"

"A Time of Unimaginable Sorrow is Upon Us"
By Stucky

"It was a nice cool sunny morning with some blue birds soaking up the sun, all in a row on the high wire. It took some time to figure out what happened. There were a few low rumbles, they seemed to be coming from north of here. We live on a farm out in the wooded hills of southern Missouri, and north would be up towards St Louis. Soon as the booming sounds started the power went off. At first, I didn’t pay much attention, but with all the military stirrings going on in the world these days, you just don’t know what to expect.

I went inside the house, but with the power off there’s no internet, so no way to find out what’s going on. At least until the power comes back on, or until I get the generator started up. More distant thunderous booms that echo now less like thunder and more like tremendous explosions – and I’m starting to get worried. My kids are at work and the grandkids are in school. I swear I‘m seeing sparks and smoke coming from under the hood of my car, but it’s not running. Now the power line where those bluebirds were singing looks like it’s getting really hot and smoke is coming from the bucket transformer on the poles. Wow! The transformer just blew up sending a shower of sparks and molten metal flying all around the pole! I can hear blasts all over the countryside from more pole transformers exploding. All the fences are sparking and smoking. The woods around the power lines and transformers are starting to go up in extremely violent flames. And the cars are now on fire – all of them! Even the old broken-down ones out in people’s pastures. Our emergency generators are smoking – I’ve got to get them away from the houses before they burn up.

Now I’ve got an idea of what’s happening, because I’ve heard of what an EMP event could do to electrical circuits. Electromagnetic Pulse. That’s what happens when a nuclear weapon explodes. The only other thing I can think of that would do this is a coronal mass ejection from a solar flare. It happened back in 1859 and it was named the Carrington Event. Fortunately, the world did not have much electrical infrastructure back then, just telegraphs, and the induced currents caused the wires to catch fire – sort of like what’s happening to the power lines out here right now. I don’t think it’s a solar event either, because the warmongers in Washington have been beating the nuclear drums for a while, and I’ve been afraid the Russians were going to get spooked and do a first strike. I guess this is it.

A big problem for those of us who might survive a while because we live in areas that aren’t targets is that we lose all sources of information. We don’t have any way of knowing what’s happening. Don’t know if it’s a first strike or a retaliatory strike. Does Washington DC even exist anymore, or is it just a huge radioactive smoking crater? Are those beautiful, magnificient buildings of the Kremlin still standing?

How many of our big cities are destroyed? I remember seeing pictures of the devastation that was Nagasaki and Hiroshima when that monster Truman murdered all those Japanese civilians, and thinking that those bombs were tiny compared to what the psychopaths have in their arsenals today – the Russians have bombs that could literally flatten New York City and/or Houston. I cannot, nor can anyone else, begin to fathom the destruction of a 10 or 20 megaton thermonuclear weapon could wreak on a major city.

Lights go off and then nothing. No TV; no internet. No football – the treasury department that writes all the government checks is gone. Fear-crazed citizens make runs on WalMarts and grocery stores and take everything they can. No one tries to stop them; the store employees are in a panic to get home. Problem is, with no operable vehicles, the only things people can take are what they can carry by hand. Everyone has to walk, even the police are stranded out on the highways. All troopers, city cops, and sheriff deputies are trying desperately to get home to their loved ones. No cops on duty anymore. No traffic moving anymore. Just lots of people running, screaming, hoping they can just get home, and that there still is a home.

Fires are blazing everywhere from the power lines and transformers exploding. All electrical substations in the country are smoldering and blazing chaos. Forest fires are rampant and out of control all over the nation and there are no operable fire trucks. No firefighting planes or helicopters are available to fight the fires. Houses hundreds of miles away from the many ground zeros are burning both from the unchecked wildfires, and from EMP induced electrical shorts in home wiring. Almost every building in every town is on fire with no way to put them out. And these towns are far away from the targeted places where the bombs actually hit. 

This is truly a catastrophe of unimaginable proportions, the like of which has never been witnessed in all of human history. There will never be electricity in this country again. Let that sink in. Freezers will thaw out and food will ruin. Untold thousands of people will perish, starting with those vaporized, then those being burned up in their homes, and there are no fire departments available to help anyone. No hospitals; doctors and nurses are gone, understandably abandoning useless smoldering medical facilities. No industry, no UPS deliveries, no more dog food for the pups. If your house didn’t burn to the ground, at least you may (for a while) have a (dark) shelter from the elements.

Huge blasts of radioactive winds blow hundreds of miles from the explosions, of which there have been many. The first wave was intended to take out the military establishment. No way of knowing, but there’s no reason to believe that anything remains of the Pentagon, DC or Langley, Norfolk, San Diego, Chicago, Houston, or any of the coastal cities where there are refineries. All cities with military infrastructure of any kind will be destroyed. The joke that has been for years a missile defense system has been exposed. The sick joke that a nuclear war could be “winnable” has also been exposed. The numbers of people succumbing to radiation sickness is beyond belief. There will be no schools, no stores, no food, and no government services; no disaster relief will be forthcoming. All banks will have ceased to function, so even if there is any money left, it won’t be worth anything. The bankers never were.

If you take medications to stay alive, you’d best have a good supply, because there won’t be any more. All livestock will either be dead from radiation, burned to a crisp in the fires, or promptly slaughtered by starving survivors, and it doesn’t matter to whom they belonged. Same with property. People will no longer obey private property signs, they will go anywhere they think there might be resources, food, water, at the risk of their lives, which aren’t worth much right now anyway. There will be no law!

Every military ship on and under the ocean, with the likely exception of a few submarines, will be sunk. All of the nuclear-powered ships will go to the bottom with reactors likely damaged, spewing radioactive contamination. Like dozens, maybe hundreds, of Fukushimas. Even the reactors that aren’t damaged will undergo meltdowns with no controls. The bible says that something will kill all of the fishes in the oceans, maybe this is how that happens.

The USSR detonated a bomb of around 50-megaton yield back in 1961. It was called the Tsar Bomba. The weapon had a 100-megaton capacity, but for safety they modified the yield. Awe inspiring is just too mild of a description of what that looked like. Since the bomb was so powerful, they calculated that the plane that dropped it had only a 50 percent chance of surviving – that is even after the plane released the weapon several thousand feet up in the air with a parachute to slow it down while the plane flew away from the scene at full speed. It did almost destroy the plane – they said the blast wave overtook the plane some 45 miles from the explosion and it lost over a kilometer of altitude before the pilot, Andrey Durnovtsev, could regain control and keep it from crashing. That thing made a mushroom cloud 37, yes 37 miles, (60 km) high! An uninhabited village, Severny, 34 miles (55 km) from ground zero was obliterated, and buildings 100 miles away were damaged! The blast would have caused third degree burns 62 miles (100 km) from the explosion. I would expect if they still have these in their arsenal, they would use one on Cheyenne Mountain. It would probably take out Denver and Amarillo, TX and certainly everything in between. Instantly vaporized. What are our “leaders” thinking?

It sounds crazy, but if this happens, I want to be at one of the ground zeros. As bad as being vaporized sounds, it would be infinitely better than surviving into the nightmarish existence that would ensue. There will be marauding gangs of survivors, undoubtedly armed, in various stages of hunger, disease, emaciation, and injury. It will probably be a situation where anyone you encounter will be apt to kill you. For one thing, they won’t know whether you are out to kill them too, or maybe you have something they want/need to survive. A can of tuna or a bowl of beans might cost your life.

The landscape will be nightmarish. Imagine a few days or weeks after the event. There will be burned out stumps on land that was beautiful forest, now riddled with stagnant pools of black muddy radioactive slime, full of human and animal bones, charred flesh, and entrails. Few buildings will exist intact, and many will perish fighting over them. There will be no light at night. Light would attract unwanted guests. No music. No one will have any idea what’s going on. There may be a few survivors in places like subway tunnels, abandoned train cars, or in remote wilderness areas, but such people will have resorted to the basest of behavior, including cannibalism, in short order. Imagine! Human beings who once inhabited a civilized nation and lived decent lives will have to worry about being killed and eaten by other human beings! Zombie apocalypse, just with regular people, not zombies, although with burns and wounds, hair falling out and all out of sorts with radiation poisoning, they probably will look the part.

I have heard people talking like they plan to survive and stay healthy by hunting and foraging. Well, if a nuclear winter follows a nuclear apocalypse, foraging is going to be slim pickings. And the deer won’t last long if they manage to survive the bombs, radiation, and fires, there’ll probably only be a few very unhealthy specimens left, but if a gunshot rings out, I’m pretty sure it will attract whatever starving people hear it, so there might be more to deal with than just dressing a deer.

Bedraggled survivors will wander in shock around former cities in hopes of disaster relief which will never come. Desperate people will offer anything – gold, jewelry, ammunition, their own bodies, for sustenance. Helpless parents will watch in horror as their children starve, hoping against hope that they will awaken from this nightmare, but when this all comes down, it’ll be too late for them.

And we still won’t know what happened. Who decided that a nuclear war would be a good idea? Who “won” the war? Did any of our leaders survive to sign a surrender, and to whom? Or did Russia or China surrender? Will there be hordes of soldiers from some faraway land invading our country after the radiation dies down?

And what of the wealthy folk who built the magnificent bunkers filled with the necessities of life in which to wait out the nuclear winter? Do they actually believe they will emerge into a second garden of Eden complete with succulent fruit trees and minstrels singing their praises? First of all, the bible speaks of a great earthquake, such as has not occurred since people have been on earth, so I think a big part of those individuals will be entombed in those lavish bunkers. So maybe a few do survive, and after some months, maybe a few years tucked away, they stumble blindly onto the surface, a hardly recognizable landscape littered with human skulls, burned out cars and buildings, and destroyed terrain. When they went into the holes, they were wealthy, but after what has transpired, of the few commoners left, no one will be interested in their gold – and those old bank accounts? Well the digital age has completely and utterly vanished, and all those millions or billions they had on their ledgers is now squat. 

Even by this time, there will undoubtedly still be a few scroungy survivors, but instead of the fawning proles these rich folks were used to in the old world, those survivors will undoubtedly have a taste for some well-fed and plump upper crust brisket, so thanks for preserving some. It won’t help their situation any when they discover that some of the survivors actually know they caused, or at least played a part in causing the disaster. The scenario described does not take into account the likelihood that hapless survivors will undoubtedly spend their time searching for air vents to the bunkers in which to pour gasoline or whatever else they can find to upset living conditions in said refuges down below. Any who survive this carnage will be on a mission and will not easily be placated!

Who knows what the final outcome will be. How many millions, or hundreds of millions of people will be counted among the slain? When this calamity happens, it will obviously involve the deaths of millions. This destruction, I believe is prophesied as the destruction of the modern Babylon in Revelation 18, and most people I’ve heard seem to think (as I do) that the place named as Babylon is the United States, and it is utterly destroyed in the space of one hour, by fire! Completely devastated to the point that (verse 22) “the music of harpists and musicians, pipers and trumpeters, will never be heard in you again,” and “no worker of any trade will ever be found in you again,” this decadent place will cease to be! According to scripture, it’s not a bad thing that this evil place is destroyed. “Rejoice over her, you heavens! Rejoice, you people of God! Rejoice apostles and prophets! For God has judged her with the judgement she imposed on you.”

Time will tell, but I’m afraid we don’t have much."
Hat tip to Stucky and The Burning Platform for this material.

"American Empire Expiration Date"

"American Empire Expiration Date"
by Jim Quinn

American Empire at 234 years:
“I do not say that democracy has been more pernicious on the whole, and in the long run, than monarchy or aristocracy. Democracy has never been and never can be so durable as aristocracy or monarchy; but while it lasts, it is more bloody than either. Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide. It is in vain to say that democracy is less vain, less proud, less selfish, less ambitious, or less avaricious than aristocracy or monarchy.

It is not true, in fact, and nowhere appears in history. Those passions are the same in all men, under all forms of simple government, and when unchecked, produce the same effects of fraud, violence, and cruelty. When clear prospects are opened before vanity, pride, avarice, or ambition, for their easy gratification, it is hard for the most considerate philosophers and the most conscientious moralists to resist the temptation. Individuals have conquered themselves. Nations and large bodies of men, never.” – John Adams
Hat tip to Jim Quinn, "The Burning Platform"

"How To Recover When The World Breaks You"

"How To Recover When The World Breaks You"
by Ryan Holiday

"There is a line attributed to Ernest Hemingway - that the first draft of everything is sh*t - which, of all the beautiful things Hemingway has written, applies most powerfully to the ending of "A Farewell to Arms." There are no fewer than 47 alternate endings to the book. Each one is a window into how much he struggled to get it right. The pages, which now sit in the Hemingway Collection at the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston, show Hemingway writing the same passages over and over. Sometimes the wording was nearly identical, sometimes whole sections were cut out. He would, at one moment of desperation, even send pages to his rival, F. Scott Fitzgerald, for notes.

One passage clearly challenged Hemingway more than the others. It comes at the end of the book when Catherine has died after delivering their stillborn son and Frederic is struggling to make sense of the tragedy that has just befallen him. “The world breaks everyone,” he wrote, “and afterward many are strong at the broken places. But those that will not break it kills.”

In different drafts, he would experiment with shorter and longer versions. In the handwritten draft he worked on with F. Scott Fitzgerald, for instance, Hemingway begins instead with “You learn a few things as you go along…” before beginning with his observation about how the world breaks us. In two typed manuscript pages, Hemingway moved the part about what you learn elsewhere and instead added something that would make the final book - “If people bring so much courage to this world the world has to kill them to break them, so of course it kills them.”

My point in showing this part of Hemingway’s process isn’t just to definitively disprove the myth - partly of Hemingway’s own making - that great writing is something that flows intuitively from the brain of a genius (no, great writing is a slow, painstaking process, even for geniuses). My point is to give some perspective on one of Hemingway’s most profound insights, one that he, considering his tragic suicide some 32 years later, struggled to fully integrate into his life.

The world is a cruel and harsh place. One that, for at least 4.5 billion years, is undefeated. From entire species of apex predators to Hercules to Hemingway himself, it has been home to incredibly strong and powerful creatures. And where are they now? Gone. Dust. As the Bible verse, which Hemingway opens another one of his books with (and which inspired its title) goes: “One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth forever…The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to the place where he arose…”

The world is undefeated. So really then, for all of us, life is not a matter of “winning” but of surviving as best we can - of breaking and enduring rather than bending the world to our will the way we sometimes suspect we can when we are young and arrogant.

I write about Stoicism, a philosophy of self-discipline and strength. Stoicism promises to help you build an “inner citadel,” a fortress of power and resilience that prepares you for the difficulties of the world. But many people misread this, and assume that Stoicism is a philosophy designed to make you superhuman - to help you eliminate pesky emotions and attachments, and become invincible.

This is wrong. Yes, Stoicism is partly about making it so you don’t break as easily - so you are not so fragile that the slightest change in fortune wrecks you. At the same time, it’s not about filling you with so much courage and hubris that you think you are unbreakable. Only the proud and the stupid think that is even possible. Instead, the Stoic seeks to develop the skills - the true strength - required to deal with a cruel world.

So much of what happens is out of our control: We lose people we love. We are financially ruined by someone we trusted. We put ourselves out there, put every bit of our effort into something, and are crushed when it fails. We are drafted to fight in wars, to bear huge taxes or familial burdens. We are passed over for the thing we wanted so badly. This can knock us down and hurt us. Yes.

Stoicism is there to help you recover when the world breaks you and, in the recovering, to make you stronger at a much, much deeper level. The Stoic heals themselves by focusing on what they can control: Their response. The repairing. The learning of the lessons. Preparing for the future.

This is not an idea exclusive to the West. There is a form of Japanese art called Kintsugi, which dates back to the 15th century. In it, masters repair broken plates and cups and bowls, but instead of simply fixing them back to their original state, they make them better. The broken pieces are not glued together, but instead fused with a special lacquer mixed with gold or silver. The legend is that the art form was created after a broken tea bowl was sent to China for repairs. But the returned bowl was ugly - the same bowl as before, but cracked. Kintsugi was invented as a way to turn the scars of a break into something beautiful.

You can see in this tea bowl, which dates to the Edo period and is now in the Freer Gallery, how the gold seams take an ordinary bowl and add to it what look like roots, or even blood vessels. This plate, also from the Edo period, was clearly a work of art in its original form. Now it has subtle gold filling on the edges where it was clearly chipped and broken by use. This dark tea bowl, now in the Smithsonian, is accented with what look like intensely real lightning bolts of gold. The bowl below it shows that more than just precious metals can improve a broken dish, as the artist clearly inserted shards of an entirely different bowl to replace the original’s missing pieces.

In Zen culture, impermanence is a constant theme. They would have agreed with Hemingway that the world tries to break the rigid and the strong. We are like cups - the second we are made we are simply waiting to be shattered - by accident, by malice, by stupidity or bad luck. The Zen solution to this perilous situation is to embrace it, to be okay with the shattering, perhaps even to seek it out. The idea of wabi-sabi is precisely that. Coming to terms with our imperfections and weaknesses and finding beauty in that.

So both East and West - Stoicism and Buddhism - arrive at similar insights. We’re fragile, they both realize. But out of this fragility, one of the philosophies realizes there is the opportunity for beauty. Hemingway’s prose rediscovers these insights and fuses them into something both tragic and breathtaking, empowering and humbling. The world will break us. It breaks everyone. It always has and always will.

Yet…The author will struggle with the ending of their book and want to quit. The recognition we sought will not come. The insurance settlement we so desperately needed will be rejected. The presentation we practiced for will begin poorly and be beset by technical difficulties. The friend we cherished will betray us. The haunting scene in "A Farewell to Arms" can happen, a child stillborn and a wife lost in labor - and still tragically happens far too often, even in the developed world.

The question is, as always, what will we do with this? How will we respond? Because that’s all there is. The response. his is not to dismiss the immense difficulty of any of these ordeals. It is rather, to first, be prepared for them - humble and aware that they can happen. Next, it is the question: Will we resist breaking? Or will we accept the will of the universe and seek instead to become stronger where we were broken?

Death or Kintsugi? Fragile or, to use that wonderful phrase from Nassim Taleb, 'Antifragile?' Not unbreakable. Not resistant. Because those that cannot break, cannot learn, and cannot be made stronger for what happened. Those that will not break are the ones who the world kills. Not unbreakable. Instead, unruinable."
Freely download "A Farewell To Arms", by Ernest Hemingway, here:

The Daily "Near You?"

Kingman, Arizona, USA. Thanks for stopping by!

"I'd Still Swim..."

"If I were dropped out of a plane into the ocean and told
the nearest land was a thousand miles away, I'd still swim.
And I'd despise the one who gave up."
- Abraham Maslow

And don't you ever give up...

"Buying Time"

"Buying Time"
Author Unknown

"A man came home from work late again, tired and irritated, to find his 5-year-old son waiting for him at the door. "Daddy, may I ask you a question?" "Yeah, sure, what is it?" replied the man. "Daddy, how much money do you make an hour?" "That's none of your business! What makes you ask such a thing?" the man said angrily. "I just want to know. Please tell me, how much do you make an hour?" pleaded the little boy. "If you must know, I make $20.00 an hour." "Oh," the little boy replied, head bowed. Looking up, he said, "Daddy, may I borrow $10.00 please?" 

The father was furious. "If the only reason you wanted to know how much money I make is just so you can borrow some to buy a silly toy or some other nonsense, then you march yourself straight to your room and go to bed. I work long, hard hours everyday and don't have time for such childish games." The little boy quietly went to his room and shut the door. The man sat down and started to get even madder about the little boy's questioning. How dare he ask such questions only to get some money?

After an hour or so, the man had calmed down, and started to think he may have been a little hard on his son. Maybe there was something he really needed to buy with that $10.00, and he really didn't ask for money very often. The man went to the door of the little boy's room and opened the door. "Are you asleep son?" he asked. "No daddy, I'm awake," replied the boy. "I've been thinking, maybe I was too hard on you earlier," said the man. "It's been a long day and I took my aggravation out on you. Here's that $10.00 you asked for." 

The little boy sat straight up, beaming. "Oh, thank you daddy!" he yelled. Then, reaching under his pillow, he pulled out some more crumpled up bills. The man, seeing that the boy already had money, started to get angry again. The little boy slowly counted out his money, then looked up at the man. "Why did you want more money if you already had some?" the father grumbled. "Because I didn't have enough, but now I do,"  the little boy replied. "Daddy, I have $20.00 now. Can I buy an hour of your time?" 

"They Want More..."

"When people pile up debts they will find difficult and perhaps even impossible to repay, they are saying several things at once. They are obviously saying that they want more than they can immediately afford. They are saying, less obviously, that their present wants are so important that, to satisfy them, it is worth some future difficulty. But in making that bargain they are implying that when the future difficulty arrives, they’ll figure it out. They don’t always do that.” 
– Michael Lewis, “Boomerang”

"A Poisoned Broth"

"A Poisoned Broth"
Terrible cooks, lethal ingredients, excess liquidity...
by Bill Bonner

“Would I say there will never, ever be another financial crisis? You know probably that would be going too far but I do think we’re much safer and I hope that it will not be in our lifetimes and I don’t believe it will be.”
~ Janet Yellen, June 20, 2017

San Martin, Argentina - "According to a recent study, the US banking system – heavily regulated by Janet Yellen, her forerunners and successors – faces huge losses. We are not experts in banking, but we think we understand the basic model. Banks take in cash from depositors and ‘lend’ it out or ‘invest’ it. The depositors can ask for their money back at any time. But the loans and investments only come back when they are ready. Between the two time periods, long and short, the banks can get squeezed…if depositors suddenly want their money back. Central banks were set up to prevent it. In a crisis, they provide solvent banks with liquidity.

But what if the banks aren’t solvent? What if their ‘assets’ – loans and investments – go down? What if they loaned out money at 3% interest…and then interest rates go up to 5%? What if their investments – say in Amazon or Rivian – lose so much money that they can never give depositors back their money?

Broke and Broken: Here’s the money line from academic researchers Erica Jiang, Gregor Matvos, Tomasz Piskorski and Amit Seru: "The U.S. banking system’s market value of assets is $2 trillion lower than suggested by their book value of assets. The net worth (book value) of the entire US banking industry is only $2.1 trillion. Which means, the whole banking system is already nearly insolvent. Busted. Broke. You can imagine what would happen if stocks went down another 10%...20%....or 40%. There would be Hell to pay."

No one would suggest subsidizing plumbers who install leaky pipes, nor providing grants for restaurants that make customers sick…but those groups don’t have lobbyists! The gist of the next 500 words: better keep the Pepto-Bismol on hand.

Banks that can’t manage their risks…and match assets to liabilities…are a threat to their depositors. Like a pig with an epizootic, they may need to be shot before they infect the whole herd. Diners don’t starve just because a bad restaurant goes out of business. They simply go to a different one. Nor do they go hungry when poisonous food is removed from the grocery stores. Life goes on, better than before.

Cooks and Crooks: But the banking industry is among the richest and most powerful in the country. It holds money…and money is what makes the world go ‘round. Money is also what the rich and powerful covet…and what they’ve given to the banks to hold for them. Banks are also protected by central banks, who can ‘print’ money. So, in an attempt to prevent paying Hell, central banks all over the world are conspiring with large depositors to backstop the losses. Banks that are judged “systemically important” are bailed out. Which banks are “systemically important?” Those with the worst cooks!

In the case of Credit Suisse, the bank lost $143 billion last year – a record. It invested in jackass deals and overpriced assets…and lent out money at underpriced interest rates. Then, when interest rates rose and asset prices fell, Credit Suisse was no longer viable. That’s the way it is supposed to work. You make too many mistakes; you lose. But in the new world of managed markets and government-controlled finance the rules have changed: you make mistakes; someone else pays.

The banking sector that saw the most growth over the past 10 years was commercial real estate. In the Bubble Epoch, it paid to borrow money at very low interest rates – from banks – in order to buy commercial buildings. But then, what happened? At first, prices rose nicely and speculators made money. Cometh the Covid Hysteria, however, the bets went bad. Buildings emptied out. And still, 3 years after Trump’s emergency decree, they’re far from back to normal. Our employees in Baltimore, for example, have learned to work from home. They don’t want to come back to the office. And as a result, we have buildings that are half empty…and some that are completely empty.

We have no mortgages on the properties…and no loans against them. But what about those who do?

An Important Life Lesson: The prime rate has doubled since 2021. Real estate investors now have to pay twice as much in interest as they did 2 years ago. And their rental incomes are going down, as renters negotiate for less space at lower prices. Office vacancy rates are rising. San Francisco reports that nearly a third of its offices are empty. On the other side of the country, in Manhattan, the office vacancy rate has jumped to 22%. Not a good situation for the banks holding commercial property loans. Their collateral is falling in value as their borrowers have trouble repaying or refinancing their loans.

But no review of the bank crisis, 2023, would be complete without mentioning Janet Yellen, Ben Bernanke and the other crackpot chefs who’ve been adding salmonella to the broth for the last 14 years. They were the ones who made it irresistible to lend money at impossibly low interest rates. The aforementioned Prime Rate, in 2021, was actually 3.5% BELOW the level of consumer price increases. James Freeman, writing in the Wall Street Journal:

Life appears to have delivered a perfect lesson in the destructiveness of government regulation in the failure of Silicon Valley Bank … But it wasn’t bank management or God who created the larger financial environment that did so much to roil the institution. For that we can thank official Washington for policy calamities, starting with banking rules, the massive economic distortions of the Covid shutdown policies, and the inflation created by the Biden Democrats and the Federal Reserve. Yes, life is delivering another lesson. Bad banks will be subsidized. The public will be punished."

"Past the Point of No Return"

Full screen recommended.
Dan, iAllegedly 3/23/23
"Past the Point of No Return"
"The Fed has lost it. Not only did they tell us that they’re going to continue to raise interest rates but they admit that inflation is not going to be controlled anytime soon. We are in for a bumpy ride."
Comments here:

"How It Really Is"


"Oh, that could never happen here!" Really?
Well, you ain't seen nuthin' yet. Watch and see...

"Massive Russian Offensives Are Underway To Terminate Ukraine"

Col. Douglas Macgregor, Straight Calls, 3/23/23
"Massive Russian Offensives Are Underway To Terminate Ukraine"
"Analysis of breaking news and in-depth discussion of current geopolitical events in the United States of America and the world."
Comments here:

"Major Price Increases At Kroger! Not Good! What's Next?"

Full screen recommended.
Adventures With Danny, 3/23/23:
"Major Price Increases At Kroger! 
Not Good! What's Next?"
"In today's vlog we are at Kroger, and are noticing massive price increases on groceries! This is not good as we are also seeing some empty shelves! It's getting rough out here as stores seem to be struggling with getting products, and also charging extremely high prices!"
Comments here:

Greg Hunter, "Medical, Financial, Political & War Disasters Getting Worse – Dr. Chris Martenson"

"Medical, Financial, Political & War Disasters 
Getting Worse – Dr. Chris Martenson"
By Greg Hunter’s

"Dr. Chris Martenson holds a PhD in toxicology from Duke University, is a futurist and economic researcher. He is also a Wall Street Journal best-selling author with his new revised book called “Crash Course.” Martenson said in August 2021 on USAWatchdog that the FDA approval of Pfizer’s CV19 vaccine named Comirnaty was “actually a fraud.” He was right. Now, Martenson is warning that medical, financial and war troubles abound and people need to get ready to deal with a reality that no human has ever seen before. Martenson starts with the medical disaster called the CV19 vax and explains, “As you give these (CV19 injections) to people,, their immune system gets worse and worse and worse. That’s what is about to come through with common knowledge. You can see them fighting it, but people are starting to notice, hey, my friend who is quadruple jabbed is getting sick all the time now with colds, Covid, whatever. It is very clear this is the single most disastrous medical intervention in all of human history.” In short, the death and disabilities from the CV19 so-called vaccine will continue and be a huge drag on the economy and society.

Then there is the debt-based economy that is in the process of collapsing under a mound of unpayable debt. The problem was started with 0% and negative interest rates that went on for almost a decade. When interest rates went up, the value of the debt went way down. Dr. Martenson says, “Now, they are sitting on huge, massive losses. That is a small example of what happened to Silicon Valley Bank (SVB). In 2019, there were $19 trillion in negative interest rate bonds. The bonds are not just under water, there are trillions of dollars in losses, and the question is who is going to eat those losses? We don’t just have a banking crisis. This is just a reflection of the monetary sickness because we were led by idiots or intentionally harmful individuals. Zero percent interest rates caused damage every year it was done, and now the damage is already done. To me, a very long period of very stupid monetary policy is now about to erupt.”

Martenson says, “People need to be ready for a vast punishing return of inflation, and a decade of shortages on everything because of years of price suppression.”

Martenson also says we have been lied to about the Ukraine war. Russia has been winning and not losing. Martenson predicts it will not end well for NATO.

On the political front, Martenson says a Trump indictment signals banana republic time, and that will “guarantee Trump will win in a landslide in 2024.” There is much more in the 54-minute interview.

Join Greg Hunter on Rumble as he goes One-on-One with Dr. Chris Martenson, founder of, and best-selling author of the revised book called “Crash Course”. 

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

"Would They Crash The Economy On Purpose? Avoid Economic Suicide"

Jeremiah Babe, 3/22/23
"Would They Crash The Economy On Purpose? 
Avoid Economic Suicide"
Comments here:

"Brace For A Housing Market Meltdown As Property Values Are Crashing Harder Than In 2008"

Full screen recommended.
"Brace For A Housing Market Meltdown As 
Property Values Are Crashing Harder Than In 2008"
by Epic Economist

"The U.S. housing market is in big trouble. While mortgage rates are spiking and worsening affordability all around the nation, property values are crashing hard. Redfin data shows that over the past eight months, U.S. homes have lost a combined $2.3 trillion in value, and we aren’t even close to seeing a bottom just yet. Things are getting so scary that even Federal Reserve officials are warning about a double-digit drop in home prices, and saying that “bubble theorists” have been right all along. Home sales are falling precipitously, mortgage applications just hit a low last seen in 1995 and several other indicators are signaling that more turmoil is ahead. According to an expert that has accurately predicted previous downturns, many properties will halve in value by the end of 2023 and a wave of foreclosures is now emerging on the horizon. Since the summer of 2022, the housing market has been weakening every month, with the home prices in some bubbly markets falling over 21% since June, which has been the case in San Francisco, California; Boise, Idaho, and Austin, Texas, according to the S&P Case-Shiller index of prices in 20 major metro areas.

Last month, mortgage applications fell to 1995 levels, according to Fannie Mae data. But the truth is that despite recent price declines, the housing market remains significantly overvalued all across America, and property values have a lot more room to fall. No wonder why now even Federal Reserve officials are alerting about a double-digit drop in prices on top of the declines we have already witnessed so far. In a research report released last week, Dallas Federal Reserve economists warned that the U.S. housing market would face a worrying price correction this year, and more rate hikes from the central bank could make a crash even worse. "If the observed price-to-rent ratio grows at an explosive rate relative to its fundamental-based ratio estimated with long-term interest rate and rent growth data, bubble theorists merit attention," they said.

For the housing market to return to its fundamentals, they estimated that a 20% correction would still be necessary. That decline would add to the 8% nationwide drop in home prices that already occurred last year, meaning that we are set to see property values falling even more sharply than they did during the 2008 housing crash when U.S. homes lost a quarter of their value. And that’s the “modest baseline scenario,” they said. “More hawkish monetary policy could trigger a much steeper correction.”

And over the past eight months, the housing market suffered the biggest drop in value since 2008. Real estate brokerage firm Redfin released data that shows that the value of U.S. homes tumbled from $47.7 trillion in June 2022 to $45.3 trillion this month — a decline of $2.3 trillion, or 4.9%. That represents the biggest drop in percentage terms since the 2008 financial crisis when home values plunged by 5.1% from June to March.

Jeremy Grantham alerted about an "everything bubble" that could halve the value of U.S. homes, and plunge the U.S. economy into a much more painful recession. The price of real estate and other investments have ballooned to unsustainable highs during the pandemic, Grantham said. The current bubble is pretty damn big compared to previous ones, and dwarfs 2008 in scope, the market historian observed. If the US gets lucky, the housing market might slump by around 29%. But if events pan out poorly, a 50% crash is not unlikely, the bubble expert predicted.

Investors are panicking, policymakers are desperate, but still most people remain unaware of the risks that lie ahead. As Grantham emphasizes: this is going to be the implosion of a superbubble. And we all should expect the consequences of it to be extremely destructive."
Comments here:

"The Curse of Interesting Times"

"The Curse of Interesting Times"
Things are the most interesting they've been
 in 80 years, 250 years, and, well, ever.
by Contemplations on the Tree of Woe

"The Chinese curse their enemies with the phrase “may you live in interesting times.” Or, rather, Americans think that Chinese curse their enemies like that; according to Infogalactic, “despite being widely attributed as a Chinese curse, there is no equivalent expression in Chinese.”

Fortunately, there’s an actual Chinese phrase that’s much more interesting. It’s found in a 1627 short story collection by Feng Menglong called "Stories to Awaken the World," and it states "better to be a dog in a peaceful time, than to be a human in a chaotic times.” And to be a dog in 17th China didn’t mean being a beloved fur baby with your own YouTube channel. It meant being a workbeast that got eaten when times were lean. The Chinese still have an annual dog meat festival.

Whichever adage you prefer, our times are both chaotic and interesting. In fact, they are monumentally interesting - they are so interesting as to beggar coherent description, to put to shame historical comparison, so remarkable that every single one of us would be justified in screaming from the rooftops in shock and awe. And yet we don’t. We keep calm and carry on, sturdily gripped by our bias for normalcy, by our human ability to adapt to even the most bizarre circumstances. It’ll be fine, we tell ourselves. This is fine.

But what if we put aside our normalcy bias for a moment and look at how just how “interesting” our times really are? What do we see then?

Once Every 80 Years…Once every 80 years, a country enters a crisis. That is, at least, the assertion of Strauss-Howe Generational Theory. According to Strauss and Howe, human history is organized into repeating patterns marked by four “turnings”: the High, the Awakening, the Unraveling, and the Crisis. Each turning is approximately 20 years long, and an entire cycle of four turnings is therefore about 80 years long. According to Strauss and Howe, American history looks something like this:

○ American Revolutionary Crisis, 1765 - 1785
○ American Civil War Crisis, 1855 - 1875
○ Great Depression and World War II Crisis, 1930 - 1950
○ You Are Here, 2010 - 2030

If we believe Strauss-Howe Generational Theory, we are in the midst of what they call a Fourth Turning - a moment of Crisis.

Are we in a Fourth Turning? I certainly believe so. As I documented in "Running on Empty," the United States now stands at a financial precipice. US inflation is at its worst in 40 years because the monetary system we established under Truman and rejuvenated under Nixon is now about to collapse. With that crisis have come challenges from a resurgent Russia and burgeoning China that could lead to a Third World War or, at best, a post-American world order. The Thucydides Trap has never been so close to springing. It’s no wonder then that US fears of nuclear war have surged to levels not seen since the Cold War. But unlike the Cold War, no one wants to ‘ask what they can do for their country’ anymore. US Army recruitment is at its worst in 50 years. And why would they want to serve? Our nation is divided into warring camps. US partisan distrust of the opposing party is at its worst in 30 years.

All right. That all sounds bad. But if Strauss-Howe Generational Theory is true, the Fourth Turning will be over in about 5-10 years and we’ll move into the next Turning, the High. And those are awesome! But what if we won’t be heading into another high?"
Full, fascinating, most highly recommended article is here:
Freely download "Stories to Awaken the World", 
by Feng Menglong, here:

Musical Interlude: 2002, "Believe"

Full screen recommended.
2002, "Believe"

"A Look to the Heavens"

“Massive stars, abrasive winds, mountains of dust, and energetic light sculpt one of the largest and most picturesque regions of star formation in the Local Group of Galaxies. Known as N11, the region is visible on the upper right of many images of its home galaxy, the Milky Way neighbor known as the Large Magellanic Clouds (LMC).
The above image was taken for scientific purposes by the Hubble Space Telescope and reprocessed for artistry by an amateur to win the Hubble’s Hidden Treasures competition. Although the section imaged above is known as NGC 1763, the entire N11 emission nebula is second in LMC size only to 30 Doradus. Studying the stars in N11 has shown that it actually houses three successive generations of star formation. Compact globules of dark dust housing emerging young stars are also visible around the image.”

Chet Raymo, “Mortal Soul: The Great Silence”

“Mortal Soul: The Great Silence”
by Chet Raymo

“If there is one word that should not be uttered, it is the name of – no, I will not say it. Any name diminishes. In the face of whatever it is that is most mysterious, most holy, we are properly silent. It is appropriate, I think, to praise the creation, to make a joyful noise of thanksgiving for the sensate world. But praising the Creator is another thing altogether. When we make a big racket on His behalf we are more than likely addressing an idol in our own image. What was it that Pico Iyer said? “Silence is the tribute that we pay to holiness; we slip off words when we enter a sacred place, just as we slip off shoes.” The God of the mystics whispers sweet nothings, as lovers do.

In a diary entry for “M.”, near the end of his too-short life, Thomas Merton wrote: “I cannot have enough of the hours of silence when nothing happens. When the clouds go by. When the trees say nothing. When the birds sing. I am completely addicted to the realization that just being there is enough.” The natural world was for Merton the primary revelation. He listened. He felt a presence in his heart, an awareness of the ineffable Mystery that permeates creation. It was this that drew him to the mystical tradition of Christianity, especially to the Celtic tradition of creation spirituality. It was this that attracted him to Zen.

There come now and then, perhaps more frequently in late life than previously, those moments of being (as Virginia Woolf called them) when creation grabs us by the shoulders and gives us such a shake that it rattles our teeth, when love for the world simply knocks us flat. At those moments everything we have learned about the world – the invaluable and reliable knowledge of science- seems a pale intimation of what is. In Virginia Woolf’s novel “The Waves”, the elderly Bernard says: “How tired I am of stories, how tired I am of phrases that come down beautifully with all their feet on the ground! Also, how I distrust neat designs of life that are drawn upon half sheets of notepaper. I begin to long for some little language such as lovers use, broken words, inarticulate words, like the shuffling of feet on the pavement.”

In moments of soul-stirring epiphany, it is reassuring to feel beneath our feet a floor of reliable knowledge, the safe and sure edifice of empirical learning so painstakingly constructed by the likes of Aristarchus, Galileo, Darwin and Schrodinger. But at the same time we are humbled by our ignorance, and more ready than ever to say “I don’t know,” to enter at last the great silence. Erwin Chargaff, who contributed mightily to our understanding of DNA, wrote: “It is the sense of mystery that, in my opinion, drives the true scientist; the same blind force, blindly seeing, deafly hearing, unconsciously remembering, that drives the larva into the butterfly. If the scientist has not experienced, at least a few times in his life, this cold shudder down his spine, this confrontation with an immense invisible face whose breath moves him to tears, he is not a scientist.”

The whole thrust of the mystical tradition, the whole thrust of science, is toward the great silence- an awareness of our ignorance and a willingness to say “I don’t know.” A lifetime of learning brings one at last to the face of mystery. We live in a universe of more than 2 trillion galaxies. Perhaps the number of galaxies is infinite. And the universe is silent. Achingly, terrifyingly silent. Or, rather, the universe speaks a little language such as lovers use, broken words, inarticulate words, like the shuffling of feet on the pavement.”

The Poet: Langston Hughes, "Dreams"


"Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.
Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go
Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow."

- Langston Hughes

"It's Just... Life"

“Bad things don’t happen to people because they deserve for them to happen. It just doesn’t work that way. It’s just… life. And no matter who we are, we have to take the hand we’re dealt, crappy though it may be, and try our very best to move forward anyway, to love anyway, to have hope anyway…to have faith that there’s a purpose to the journey we’re on.”
- Mia Sheridan

'Here's A Question..."

“Here’s a question every angry man and woman needs to consider: How long are you going to allow people you don’t even like – people who are no longer in your life, maybe even people who aren’t even alive anymore – to control your life? How long?”
- Andy Stanley

“That goes for old wounds, too, you know. I really wish we’d had the chance to talk before this,” he says, cracking the window so the smoke can escape. “There’s a Longfellow quote I have stuck on my bulletin board at the church office – ‘There is no grief like the grief that does not speak’ – and it’s true. I’ve found that keeping pain inside doesn’t give it a chance to heal, but bringing it out into the light, holding it right there in your hands and trusting that you’re strong enough to make it through, not hating the pain, not loving it, just seeing it for what it really is can change how you go on from there. Time alone doesn’t heal emotional wounds, and you don’t want to live the rest of your life bottled up with anger and guilt and bitterness. That’s how people self-destruct.”
- Laura Wiess