Saturday, September 19, 2020

Greg Hunter, "Dems Dumb & Dumber on Economy Killing Lockdowns"

"Dems Dumb & Dumber on Economy Killing Lockdowns" 
By Greg Hunter’s USAWatchdog.com

"Legendary financial and geopolitical cycle analyst Martin Armstrong says parts of the global economy have been permanently destroyed, and nowhere is that more apparent than job losses. Armstrong explains, “You have such a collapse in the infrastructure of the world economy. You have effectively 300 million people who have lost their jobs. On top of that, you have these negative interest rates where nobody is buying European bonds where the European Central bank has been buying them all. They can’t raise interest rates because their own portfolios blow up. So, they are grasping at straws, at this point, to try to appear to be doing something. Although the Fed printing a $120 billion a month sounds like a lot of money, it’s still not going to produce inflation. We have such a contraction in the global economy, the losses are amazing. Driving down the streets in Hollywood the streets are full of people in tents. The homeless have skyrocketed dramatically, and mainstream media (MSM) won’t talk about this. It definitely seems this has all really been just political. There is just no justification for lockdowns. We have such a massive contraction with 60% of small businesses that will not reopen in America, and we are not through this yet.”

Armstrong contends the lockdowns and reaction to CV19 in big liberal Democrat controlled cities were a much bigger problem than the virus itself. Armstrong explains, “There is significant risk, and, economically, we are still in a major contraction mode. That can continue until 2022. On the other hand, you have food shortages. The number of oil wells in production in Texas alone, for example, went from 400 to 100. So, the social distancing and lockdowns have also created shortages in the commodities sector. The inflation we see going into 2024 will be coming from a shortage of supply than in the speculative demand like we saw in the 1970’s. Energy prices are going to rise, not fall.”

Armstrong goes on to say, “You have a contraction in the capital formation, which is creating this deflation economically, but, at the same time, they have created shortages and that has created escalating prices. So, food prices are rising exactly when you are throwing everybody out of work. You have food lines showing up for the first time since the Great Depression. Honestly, the management of this is more like dumb and dumber.”

On the November Election, Armstrong says, “The Election in the United States is the most important point globally, and everybody is looking at it globally. Outside the United States, Trump is much more popular than inside the United States. They look at him as Trump is the only person that is standing against these crazy people. If anybody else did what Bill Gates did, they would be in prison for multiple lifetimes.”

Armstrong thinks many European bonds will never be fully paid back. They will be a default, but it won’t be an outright default. Armstrong explains, “So, in Europe, all the bonds they have bought, they have to constantly keep rolling them over in addition to what they buy. It’s not sellable. The proposal in Europe, behind closed doors, is to convert them to ‘perpetual bonds.’ It’s a way to default. So, effectively, they will just give you the interest, and you can never redeem them.”

As far as the stock market goes, Armstrong says, “Rich people are selling stocks again.” Remember, this is just like what happened just before the CV19 lockdowns.

What can the common man do to cushion from what is coming? Armstrong says, “Buy canned food because food prices are going up.” Armstrong also like soft commodities, energy and gold and silver, especially silver. Armstrong says, “People are not going to know what a silver bar is. I would buy silver coins that are dates 1964 or earlier. The average person can look at that and know what it is. I would recommend that more than silver bars. I would say silver would actually be better (than gold) because it’s a smaller denomination that can actually be used.”

Join Greg Hunter of USAWatchdog.com as he goes One-on-One
 with cycle expert and financial analyst Martin Armstrong.

Musical Interlude: Justin Hayward, "The Way of the World"

Justin Hayward, "The Way of the World"

"A Look to the Heavens"

"Many spiral galaxies have bars across their centers. Even our own Milky Way Galaxy is thought to have a modest central bar. Prominently barred spiral galaxy NGC 1672, featured here, was captured in spectacular detail in an image taken by the orbiting Hubble Space Telescope. Visible are dark filamentary dust lanes, young clusters of bright blue stars, red emission nebulas of glowing hydrogen gas, a long bright bar of stars across the center, and a bright active nucleus that likely houses a supermassive black hole. 
Click image for larger size.
Light takes about 60 million years to reach us from NGC 1672, which spans about 75,000 light years across. NGC 1672, which appears toward the constellation of the Dolphinfish (Dorado), has been studied to find out how a spiral bar contributes to star formation in a galaxy's central regions."

Chet Raymo, “To Sleep, Perchance To Dream”

“To Sleep, Perchance To Dream”
by Chet Raymo

“To sleep, perchance to dream
What is more gentle than a wind in summer?
What is more soothing than a pretty hummer
That stays one moment in an open flower,
And buzzes cheerily from bower to bower?
What is more tranquil than a musk-rose blowing
In a green island, far from all men’s knowing?
More healthful than the leafiness of dales?
More secret than a nest of nightingales?
What indeed?”

"The poet Keats answers his own questions: Sleep. Soft closer of our eyes. I’ve reached an age when I find myself occasionally nodding off in the middle of the day, an open book flopped on my chest. Also, more lying awake in the dark hours of the night, re-running the tapes of the day. And, in the fragile moments of nighttime unconsciousness, dreaming dreams that reach all the way back to my childhood.

I’ve read the books about sleep and dreaming. There has been lots of research, but not much consensus about why we sleep or dream. Sleep seems to be pretty universal among animals. Who knows whether animals dream. Do we sleep to restore the soma? To knit the raveled sleeve of care? Process memories? Find safety from predators? After 50 years of work, the sleep researcher William Dement opined: “As far as I know, the only reason we need to sleep that is really, really solid is because we get sleepy.”

The Latin poet Martial supposed that sleep “makes darkness brief,” a worry-free way to get through the scary hours of the night when wolves howl at the mouth of the cave (and goblins stir under the bed). That hardly explains my dropping off after lunch into a dreamless stupor that I neither desire nor welcome.

“Low murmurer of tender lullabies!
Light hoverer around our happy pillows!
Wreather of poppy buds, and weeping willows!”

Not quite! There are the nightmares too. The tossing and turning. The hoo-has. But enough of this idle speculation. I’m getting sleepy.”

don Miguel Ruiz, “The Power of Doubt”

“The Power of Doubt”
by don Miguel Ruiz

“Have you ever asked yourself if something you heard was actually true? Have you ever wondered if someone was lying to you, or worse yet, have you ever wondered, “Am I lying to myself?” Do you believe those voices in your head that are giving you opinions? Do you tend to believe other people’s opinions? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you will understand when being skeptical is a good thing.

Right now, you’re delivering a message to yourself and to everyone around you. You’re always delivering messages, and you’re always receiving messages from one mind to another mind. But the most important messages are the ones you deliver to yourself. What are those messages? The word is a force you cannot see, but you can see the manifestation of that force, the expression of the word, which is your own life. The way to measure the impeccability of your word is to ask yourself: Am I happy or am I suffering? If you’re suffering, it’s because you’re telling yourself a story that isn’t true, but you believe it.

When you look at yourself in a mirror, do you like what you see, or do you judge your body and use the word to tell yourself lies? If you believe that you are not attractive enough, then you believe a lie, and you are using the word against yourself, against the truth.

Is it really true that you are too heavy or too thin? Is it really true that you are not beautiful? If you’re telling yourself: “I’m fat. I’m ugly. I’m old. I’m not good enough. I’ll never make it,” then be skeptical. Don’t believe yourself, because none of these messages come from truth, from life. These messages are distorted; they’re nothing but lies. The truth is, there are no ugly people. There’s no universal book of law where any of these judgments are true. Every judgment is just an opinion—it’s just a point of view—and that point of view wasn’t there when you were born.

Everything you think about yourself, everything you believe about yourself, is because you learned it. You learned the opinions from Mom, Dad, siblings and society. They sent all those images of how a body should look; they expressed all those opinions about the way you are, the way you are not, the way you should be. They delivered a message, and you agreed with that message. And now you think so many things about what you are, but are they the truth?

What is the truth and what is the lie? Humans believe so many lies because we aren’t aware. We ignore the truth or we just don’t see the truth. When we are educated, we accumulate a lot of knowledge, and all that knowledge is just like a wall of fog that doesn’t allow us to perceive the truth, what really is. We only see what we want to see; we only hear what we want to hear. Our belief system is just like a mirror that only shows us what we believe.

In our development, as we grow throughout our lives, the structure of our beliefs becomes very complicated, and we make it even more complicated because we make the assumption that what we believe is the absolute truth. We never stop to consider that our beliefs are only a relative truth that’s always going to be distorted by all the knowledge we have stored in our memory. As children, we are innocent; we believe almost everything that we learn, but everything that we learn isn’t true. We put our faith in lies, we give them power, and soon those lies are ruling our lives.

Just imagine becoming the way you used to be as a very young child, before you understood the meaning of any word, before opinions took over your mind. The real you is loving, joyful and free. The real you is just like a flower, just like the wind, just like the ocean, just like the sun. There is nothing to justify, nothing to believe. You have no mission except to enjoy life. You are here just to be, for no reason. Then the only thing you need to be is the real you. Be happiness. Be love. Be yourself. That’s wisdom. It’s the complete acceptance of yourself just the way you are, and the complete acceptance of everybody else just the way they are. The reward is your eternal happiness.

But first you have to unlearn a lot, and you only have one tool to do this. That tool is doubt. Being skeptical is an important part of recovering what you really are because it uses the power of doubt to break all those spells you’ve been under. Whenever you hear a message from yourself, or from someone else, simply ask: Is it really true? With the power of doubt, you challenge every message you deliver and receive. You challenge every belief that rules your life. Then you challenge all the beliefs that rule society, until you break the spell of all the lies and superstitions that control your world.

Once you recover all the power you invested in lies, you can see what is real; you can feel what is real. Even though lies still exist, you no longer believe them. You don’t believe everything anymore, but you can see, and what you can see is the truth. The truth doesn’t need you to believe it. The truth simply is, and it survives – believe it or not. Lies need you to believe them. If you don’t believe lies, they don’t survive your skepticism, and they simply disappear.

Centuries ago, people believed that the earth was flat. Some said that elephants were supporting the earth, and that made them feel safe. The belief that the earth was flat was considered the truth, and almost everybody agreed, but did that make it true? It was nothing but a superstition, and I can assure you that we still live in a world of superstition. The question is: Are we aware of it?

Wherever you go, you will hear all kinds of opinions and stories from other people. You will find great storytellers wanting to tell you what you should do with your life: “You should do this, you should do that, you should do whatever.” Don’t believe them. Be skeptical, but learn to listen and then make your choices. Be responsible for every choice you make in your life. This is your life; it’s nobody else’s life, and you will find that it’s nobody else’s business what you do with your life.

For centuries, there have been prophets who predicted big catastrophes in the world. Not that long ago, there were people who predicted that in the year 2000 all the computers would fail and society as we know it would disappear. The day arrived, and what happened? Nothing happened. Thousands of years ago, just like today, there were prophets who were waiting for the end of the world. At that time, a great master said: “There will be many false prophets who claim to be speaking the word of God. Don’t believe.” You see, being skeptical is nothing new. Doubt takes you behind the words and helps you to discern the truth from lies. And this is a good thing.”

The Daily "Near You?"

 
Quinter, Kansas, USA. Thanks for stopping by!

"The Very, Very, Very Last Time..."

“What happens to people living in a society where everyone in power is lying, stealing, cheating and killing, and in our hearts we all know this, but the consequences of facing all these lies are so monstrous, we keep on hoping that maybe the corporate government administration and media are on the level with us this time. Americans remind me of survivors of domestic abuse. This is always the hope that this is the very, very, very last time one’s ribs get re-broken again.”
- Inga Muscio

"What the 432 Hz 'Miracle Tone' Sounds Like (Listen): A Healing Frequency to Raise Your Vibration"

"What the 432 Hz 'Miracle Tone' Sounds Like (Listen): 
A Healing Frequency to Raise Your Vibration"
By Kalee Brown
 
“As sound healing becomes more popular, more and more people are starting to experiment with it. You have people learning how to chant, listening to specific frequencies, and using singing bowls. It’s not just those of us who are interested in spirituality and New Age concepts that are looking into this ancient Eastern knowledge, but scientists as well, studying these sounds and how they affect the body. Though sound healing is only now beginning to enter into the mainstream, it’s been used as an ancient healing modality for many centuries in different religions. Even scientists such as Nikola Tesla and Albert Einstein spoke of the importance of viewing everything in terms of vibration, energy, and frequency.
 
“If you want to find the secrets of the universe,
 think in terms of energy, frequency and vibration.”
– Nikola Tesla
 
Science has proven that everything is made up of energy and that everything holds its own vibration and frequency, which can then be increased or decreased. One person’s vibration that they’re emitting can then affect another person’s energy, and science has proven this interrelation through studying quantum mechanics and our electromagnetic fields or auras. You can read more about the research The HeartMath Institute is conducting on the heart’s aura and how we affect other people hereWith that logic, since sounds also hold their own frequency, wouldn’t it make sense that a specific sound’s frequency would affect that of our own?
 
The Science Behind Sound Healing: Dr. Herbert Benson, professor, author, cardiologist, and founder of Harvard’s Mind/Body Medical Institute, studied how sound healing, specifically mantric chanting, can help induce the Relaxation Response. The Relaxation Response is defined as an individual’s ability to prompt their body to release chemicals and brain signals that cause muscles to relax, respiration to slow, and blood pressure to drop.
 
The Relaxation Response can reduce symptoms of IBS and counteract the physiological changes of stress and the fight or flight response, including muscle tension, headache, upset stomach, racing heartbeat, and shallow breathing.
 
Dr. Ranjie Singh, a neuroscientist, writer, businessman, and global educator, found that chanting specific mantras releases the hormone melatonin, and this in turn offers many benefits, including tumor shrinkage and enhanced sleep. Chanting has been found to oxygenate the brain, reduce heart rate, improve blood pressure, and calm brainwave activity. It can even cause the left and right hemispheres of the brain to synchronize.
 
Jonathan Goldman, American author, musician, and teacher in the fields of harmonics and sound healing, says: “Dr. Alfred Tomatis has utilized the sounds of Gregorian Monks to stimulate the ears, brain and nervous systems of clients. His work is very important with regard to the scientific and medical uses of sound and chant. He found that certain sounds that are particularly high in vocal harmonics will stimulate and charge the cortex of the brain and the nervous system. Some years ago, there was a very popular recording of Gregorian chanting that occurred just when this research was being made public. I know that many other types of chanting from different traditions have very similar effects. These are just a few of the hard physical phenomenon of mantric chanting that have been observed. There certainly are others, as well.”
 
Another study performed in 2006 looked at the effects of transcendental meditation (TM), a form of meditation whereby the practitioner continuously repeats a mantra or chants, and concluded that TM can improve blood pressure and cardiac autonomic nervous system tone and decrease risk of coronary heart disease.
 
A series of experiments conducted by neuro-electric therapy engineer Dr. Margaret Patterson and Dr. Ifor Capel revealed how alpha brainwaves boosted the production of serotonin. Dr. Capel explained: ”As far as we can tell, each brain center generates impulses at a specific frequency based on the predominant neurotransmitter it secretes. In other words, the brain’s internal communication system—its language, if you like—is based on frequency. Presumably, when we send in waves of electrical energy at, say, 10 Hz, certain cells in the lower brain stem will respond because they normally fire within that frequency range.” Additional research upholds the beliefs of mind-body medicine in this sense, stating that brainwaves being in the Alpha state, 8 to 14 Hz, permits a vibration allowing for more serotonin to be created.
 
Why You Should Consider Listening to A=432 HZ Music: Most music worldwide has been tuned to A=440 Hz since the International Standards Organization (ISO) promoted it in 1953. However, when looking at the vibratory nature of the universe, it’s possible that this pitch isn’t actually harmonious with the natural resonance of nature and may generate negative effects on human behavior and consciousness. It’s said that A=440 HZ frequency music actually stimulates the ego and left-brain function, which can suppress our intuition. There are tons of conspiracies surrounding this frequency, and many seem plausible given the fact that the mainstream music industry incorporates propaganda and mind control.
 
432 HZ is said to be mathematically consistent with the patterns of the universe. It is said that 432 HZ vibrates with the universe’s golden mean, Phi, and unifies the properties of light, time, space, matter, gravity, and magnetism with biology, the DNA code, and consciousness. When our atoms and DNA start to resonate in harmony with the spiralling pattern of nature, our sense of connection to nature is said to be magnified. The number 432 is also reflected in ratios of the sun, Earth, and moon, as well as the procession of the equinoxes, the Great Pyramid of Egypt, Stonehenge, and the Sri Yantra, among many other sacred sites.

Listening to the 432Hz frequency resonates inside our body, releases emotional blockages and expands our consciousness. This video uses a 432Hz frequency tone mixed with the music (the music itself is in standard tuning).

“From my own observations, some of the harmonic overtone partials of A=432hz 12T5 appear to line up to natural patterns and also the resonance of solitons. Solitons need a specific range to form into the realm of density and span from the micro to the macro cosmos. Solitons are not only found in water mechanics, but also in the ion-acoustic breath between electrons and protons.” – Brian T. Collins

“Mary Oliver On How to Live ‘Your One Wild and Precious Life’”

“Mary Oliver On How to Live ‘Your One Wild and Precious Life’”
by Sanjiv Chopra, M.D.

“Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. 
It took me years to understand that this too, was a gift.”
- Mary Oliver

“The quiet, plain-spoken poet Mary Oliver died on January 17, 2019. An outpouring of emotion and tributes spanned the globe. She was both mourned and wildly revered by those for whom her words were a totem. With stark simplicity, she offered us both spiritual guidance and common sense, all of which was garnered from lessons she learned while simply meandering in the woods.

Mary Oliver’s gift was her ability to marvel at the world with an unsentimental acceptance that it (and we) are temporary. She looked clear-eyed and with unflinching certainty at the impermanence of our existence. In it she found not despair but rather joy. She chose to live in the moment and to be dazzled by it.

Mary Oliver’s roots were thoroughly midwestern. She hailed from Maple Heights, Ohio, a leafy suburb of Cleveland. From all accounts, hers was a difficult childhood. She wrote in “Blue Pastures” (winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award): “Adults can change their circumstances; children cannot. Children are powerless, and in difficult situations they are the victims of every sorrow and mischance and rage around them, for children feel all of these things but without any of the ability that adults have to change them.”

This darkness of her youth led her to escape into nature and into books. Words and woods offered her solace. She fiercely embraced them, noting that “the beauty and the mystery of the world, out in the fields or deep inside books – can re-dignify the worst stung heart.”

We know, and she acknowledged, that overcoming adversity isn’t easy: “There are stubborn stumps of shamegrief that remains unsolvable after all the years, a bag of stones that goes with one wherever one goes and however the hour may call for dancing and for light feet.” But she persisted. She said she read, “the way a person might swim, to save his or her life,” and that nature offered her “an antidote to confusion.”

She advised, “you must not, ever, give anyone else the responsibility for your life.” And in saving her life, she rekindled so many of ours, using words that were deceptively simple but that had the power to shine a bright light into the dark crevices of our pain and misfortune and to set us free from the past. She gave us clear instructions for living a life:

“Pay attention. 

Be astonished. 

Tell about it.”

And for her- and for so many of us who have long sat at the knee of her prose – it worked. Mary Oliver wrote, “Having chosen to claim my life, I have made for myself, out of work and love, a handsome life. And can do what I want to with it. Live it. Give it back, someday, without bitterness, to the wild and weedy dunes.” And when she died, she gave it back.

Mary Oliver’s religion was simple. It could best be described as “gratitude.” And so, as she departed this world leaving for us so many gifts, we offer this prayer for her – thank you. To honor her, we share here one of Mary Oliver’s most powerful poems, one that offers sage advice about accepting imperfection.”

“The Ponds”

“Every year

the lilies

are so perfect

I can hardly believe
their lapped light 
crowding
the black

mid-summer ponds.


Nobody could count all of them -
the muskrats swimming

among the pads and the grasses

can reach out

their muscular arms and touch
only so many, 
they are that 
rife and wild.


But what in this world 
is perfect?
I bend closer and see

how this one is clearly lopsided -

and that one wears an orange blight -

and this one is a glossy cheek 
half nibbled away -

and that one is a slumped purse

full of its own
 unstoppable decay.

Still, what I want in my life

is to be willing

to be dazzled - 

to cast aside the weight of facts
and maybe even

to float a little

above this difficult world.


want to believe I am looking
into the white fire 
of a great mystery.

I want to believe that the imperfections are nothing -
that the light is everything - 
that it is more than the sum 

of each flawed blossom rising and fading. 
And I do.”

-  Mary Oliver

"How It Really Is"

 

“Albert Camus on Strength of Character and How to Ennoble Our Minds in Difficult Times”

“Albert Camus on Strength of Character 
and How to Ennoble Our Minds in Difficult Times”
by Maria Popova

“In 1957, Albert Camus (November 7, 1913–January 4, 1960) became the second youngest laureate of the Nobel Prize in Literature, awarded to him for work that “with clear-sighted earnestness illuminates the problems of the human conscience in our times.” (It was with this earnestness that, days after receiving the coveted accolade, he sent his childhood teacher a beautiful letter of gratitude.)

More than half a century later, his lucid and luminous insight renders Camus a timeless seer of truth, one who ennobles and enlarges the human spirit in the very act of seeing it – the kind of attentiveness that calls to mind his compatriot Simone Weil, whom he admired more than he did any other thinker and who memorably asserted that “attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity.”

Nowhere does Camus’s generous attention to the human spirit emanate more brilliantly than in a 1940 essay titled “The Almond Trees” (after the arboreal species that blooms in winter), found in his “Lyrical and Critical Essays” (public library) – the superb volume that gave us Camus on happiness, despair, and how to amplify our love of life. Penned at the peak of WWII, to the shrill crescendo of humanity’s collective cry for justice and mercy, Camus’s clarion call for reawakening our noblest nature reverberates with newfound poignancy today, amid our present age of shootings and senseless violence.

At only twenty-seven, Camus writes: “We have not overcome our condition, and yet we know it better. We know that we live in contradiction, but we also know that we must refuse this contradiction and do what is needed to reduce it. Our task as humans is to find the few principles that will calm the infinite anguish of free souls. We must mend what has been torn apart, make justice imaginable again in a world so obviously unjust, give happiness a meaning once more to peoples poisoned by the misery of the century. Naturally, it is a superhuman task. But superhuman is the term for tasks we take a long time to accomplish, that’s all.

Let us know our aims then, holding fast to the mind, even if force puts on a thoughtful or a comfortable face in order to seduce us. The first thing is not to despair. Let us not listen too much to those who proclaim that the world is at an end. Civilizations do not die so easily, and even if our world were to collapse, it would not have been the first. It is indeed true that we live in tragic times. But too many people confuse tragedy with despair. “Tragedy,” [D.H.] Lawrence said, “ought to be a great kick at misery.” This is a healthy and immediately applicable thought. There are many things today deserving such a kick.”

In a sentiment evocative of the 1919 manifesto “Declaration of the Independence of the Mind” - which was signed by such luminaries as Bertrand Russell, Albert Einstein, Rabindranath Tagore, Jane Addams, Upton Sinclair, Stefan Zweig, and Hermann Hesse – Camus argues that this “kick” is to be delivered by the deliberate cultivation of the mind’s highest virtues: “If we are to save the mind we must ignore its gloomy virtues and celebrate its strength and wonder. Our world is poisoned by its misery, and seems to wallow in it. It has utterly surrendered to that evil which Nietzsche called the spirit of heaviness. Let us not add to this. It is futile to weep over the mind, it is enough to labor for it.

But where are the conquering virtues of the mind? The same Nietzsche listed them as mortal enemies to heaviness of the spirit. For him, they are strength of character, taste, the “world,” classical happiness, severe pride, the cold frugality of the wise. More than ever, these virtues are necessary today, and each of us can choose the one that suits him best. Before the vastness of the undertaking, let no one forget strength of character. I don’t mean the theatrical kind on political platforms, complete with frowns and threatening gestures. But the kind that through the virtue of its purity and its sap, stands up to all the winds that blow in from the sea. Such is the strength of character that in the winter of the world will prepare the fruit.

Elsewhere in the volume, Camus writes: “In the depths of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.” Each time our world cycles through a winter of the human spirit, Camus remains an abiding hearth of the invisible summer within us, his work a perennial invitation to reinhabit our deepest decency and live up to our most ennobled nature.

Complement this particular excerpt from the thoroughly elevating “Lyrical and Critical Essays” with Nietzsche on what it really means to be a free spirit and Susan Sontag on how to be a moral human being, then revisit Camus on happiness, unhappiness, and our self-imposed prisons and our search for meaning.

"The Bamboozle"

“One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It’s simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we’ve been taken. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back.” 
- Carl Sagan

“Fear Is A Viral Monster”

“Fear Is A Viral Monster”
by Donald Boudreaux

“Reading the late Hans Rosling’s 2018 book, “Factfulness”, during the summer of 2020 creates a sensation of surrealness that would have been absent had I read this volume in 2018 or 2019. On nearly every page of “Factfulness” Rosling busts the popular myth that we denizens of modernity face imminent calamities that will destroy us and the earth. Widespread fears – such as of overpopulation, of terrorism, and of the rich getting richer while the poor stagnate – are methodically revealed to be either completely unjustified or exorbitantly exaggerated.

But today, in the midst of the ongoing lockdowns and with no end in sight to the hysteria over COVID, I’ve lost all of the natural optimism that has long resided within me and that would have otherwise been fortified by Rosling’s splendid work.

Sledgehammered: The image that keeps coming into my head is of a sledgehammer. With brute force, a blunt and heavy instrument was swung down on society by the state. Sledgehammers crush. They demolish. That’s their only function. They do not build. And for as long as the dreadful weight of this particular sledgehammer – the massive mallet that is the COVID-19 lockdown – continues to press down on the rubble that it caused, there is very little opportunity for the human creativity and work effort unleashed by markets to bring about the kind of improvements that Rosling documents.

Will humanity recover? Will we – when the sledgehammer is lifted – rise, dust ourselves off, and climb back on to the happy track that we were on before March 2020? Of course it’s possible. But there’s now a novel reality that makes a renewed continuation of pre-COVID progress much less likely: the sledgehammer itself.

When this sledgehammer is lifted off of us, it won’t be lifted for long. We now know that this awful hammer is there, looming overhead. We have good reason to worry that government officials are likely to smash it down upon us when another communicable pathogen emerges and makes news – as such a pathogen inevitably will, for viral pathogens have been part of human existence from the start. How will entrepreneurship and investment be changed by this ever-present threat of a smashing sledgehammer? The creation, funding, and operation of venues in which individuals come into close physical contact with each other – either for recreation or for work – will surely be much less attractive.

More generally, the newly demonstrated willingness of state officials to destroy, with just a few executive diktats, hundreds of billions of dollars of capital value cannot but push some entrepreneurs and investors into inactivity. Why build, or build grandly, when some pompous governor or mayor – someone whose only ‘skill’ and most intense itch is to exercise power over fellow human beings – can, with a mere signature, smash down a sledgehammer and turn to mush the fruits of years of hard work and sacrifice?

And how will those in power – and those who seek power – be affected by the display by so many people of a sheepish willingness to be ordered by the state into house arrest? Did prime ministers, governors, and mayors know in mid-March just how easy it would be for them to herd millions of the rest of us away from the activities that we human beings have for generations enjoyed? Were these officials aware of their power to convince so many people under their command that each individual poses a poisonous threat to every other individual?

To prosper, we human beings must cooperate in production – Adam Smith called it the division of labor – and trade extensively. Most of these activities require face-to-face contact among individuals who see each other as partners in cooperation and exchange rather than as threatening carriers of death. And to enjoy what we produce also requires face-to-face contact, for we are a social species.
In possession of dictatorial power unknown just a few months ago, government officials – a group undeserving of much trust even in the best of times – will not shy away from wielding their newly discovered powers. The results will be ugly.

Attentive to Fear: Ironically, in his upbeat book Hans Rosling himself unintentionally offers justification for my pessimism. He does so in a chapter titled “The Fear Instinct.” Here’s a key passage: “When we are afraid, we do not see clearly… Critical thinking is always difficult, but it’s almost impossible when we are scared. There’s no room for facts when our minds are occupied by fear. This undeniable reality means that a people in fear are a people who are unlikely to assess with much rationality the pros and cons of government policies. And the greater the fear, the less able people are to detect and resist government overreach.

Who is so na├»ve as to deny that this reality gives to government officials strong incentives to stir up fear? People who seek positions of political power generally are people who, by this very seeking, reveal that they are especially keen on exercising power over fellow human beings. And so if more power for the state grows out of more fear in the people, state officials have every incentive to exaggerate real dangers and to concoct fake ones. The result is a vicious cycle. The possession of power includes a disproportionately great ability to stir up fear, and stirred-up fear creates more power.”

Further, Rosling’s insights about the media imply that they contribute to this vicious cycle. Here again is Rosling: “We have a shield, or attention filter, between the world and our brain. This attention filter protects us against the noise of the world: without it, we would constantly be bombarded with so much information we would be overloaded and paralyzed. Most information doesn’t get through, but the holes [in our attention filter] do allow through information that appeals to our dramatic instincts. So we end up paying attention to information that fits our dramatic instincts, and ignoring information that does not.

The media can’t waste time on stories that won’t pass our attention filters. Here are a couple of headlines that won’t get past a newspaper editor, because they are unlikely to get past our own filters: “MALARIA CONTINUES TO GRADUALLY DECLINE.” “METEOROLOGISTS CORRECTLY PREDICTED YESTERDAY THAT THERE WOULD BE MILD WEATHER IN LONDON TODAY.” Here are some topics that easily get through our filters: earthquakes, war, refugees, disease, fire, floods, shark attacks, terror attacks. The unusual events are more newsworthy than everyday ones.”

An invisible virus is the perfect troublemaker to portray as an existential monster. Like an evil spirit, it can live, usually silently, within the breast of each of us. And so if a large enough number of us can be convinced that an unseen, vile monster lurks in everyone else, the resulting widespread fear empowers government officials to do what government officials do best – and what they’ve done so horribly over the past seven months: destroy.”

"Covid-19 Pandemic Updates 9/19/20"

  

SEP 19, 2020 12:05 AM ET:
 Coronavirus Map: Tracking the Global Outbreak 
The coronavirus pandemic has sickened more than 30,485,500 
people, according to official counts, including 6,747,516 Americans.

      SEP 19, 2020 12:05 AM ET: 
Coronavirus in the U.S.: Latest Map and Case Count
 ◆
Updated 9/19/20, 4:22AM ET
Click image for larger size.

Musical Interlude: Marvin Gaye, "Inner City Blues" (Make Me Wanna Holler)

Marvin Gaye, "Inner City Blues" (Make Me Wanna Holler)

Friday, September 18, 2020

“Middle Class Eaten Alive; Pension Time Bomb; 401K Robbed; System Collapse; Medical Debt Crisis”

Jeremiah Babe,
“Middle Class Eaten Alive; Pension Time Bomb;
 401K Robbed; System Collapse; Medical Debt Crisis”

"Election Wildcards"

"Election Wildcards"
By Jim Rickards

"We need to be on guard against one or more surprises that can come without warning. I call these the “wildcards” in the election season. It’s hard to know which one might emerge, but it’s not hard to forecast that at least one of them will. Investors should prepare accordingly. Here they are:

The Replacement of Joe Biden: The first wildcard is the potential that Joe Biden will be removed from the ticket soon and replaced by a more acceptable candidate, possibly New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. This is not as far-fetched as it sounds.

Biden is suffering acute cognitive decline. Whether this is dementia, early-onset Alzheimer’s Disease or the result of Biden’s two aneurysm-related neurosurgeries in the 1970s is hard to say without direct medical examination. Still, the cognitive impairment is obvious based on Biden’s vacant stare, confused demeanor and his inability to form sentences, complete thoughts or stay on topic.

The Biden campaign strategy so far has been to keep Biden under wraps and stuck in his basement. He does not do press conferences and his few interviews involve soft-ball questions and pre-scripted answers. Policies aside, the thought of Biden having to react in the midst of a crisis or a war will embolden America’s enemies and should chill Americans to the bone.

The crunch will come on September 29. That’s the date of the first presidential debate. Trump is an underrated debater with more command of the facts than critics give him credit for. He did well against Clinton in 2016 and will do the same if he faces Biden.

The real problem is not whether Biden can win a debate; it’s whether he can stand on the stage and speak and act coherently. Even with rehearsal and medication, this will prove exceedingly difficult. The Democrats’ options are to replace Biden before the debate (which can be done at the DNC level without new primaries or a new convention), cancel the debates or go ahead and hope for the best.

The candidate replacement option doesn’t just solve the debate problem, it also gives the Democrats a better chance of a win in November. Canceling the debates (no doubt by playing the COVID-card) is a solution but it carries its own costs and highlights the problem (cognitive decline) it was meant to solve. Letting Biden go onstage live with Trump may be the riskiest choice of all.

There are no good solutions to having a mentally impaired candidate. In a normal election against a conventional Republican incumbent, Biden wouldn’t stand a chance. Of course, Trump’s not a conventional Republican incumbent, so a Biden vote is really an anti-Trump vote. Any of the above choices set the race up for an unexpected shock, especially since Biden’s condition has been largely covered-up by a compliant media. You should brace for a shock on this front in the coming weeks.

Mail-in Ballots: Another shock-in-the-making is election day chaos resulting from the surge in mail-in ballots. These are not traditional absentee ballots that have long been used and have proved useful. This involves tens of millions of mail-in ballots intended to replace polling places and voting booths.

We can leave aside the issue of fraud in mail-in ballots (that’s a big issue but will likely not arise on election day itself; it can take weeks or months to identify and investigate such cases). The immediate problem is counting the ballots. Many mail-in ballots arrive at the last minute or even after election day. There will be issues concerning postmarks, matching signatures, timely delivery and the sheer time it takes to open the mail and visually inspect each ballot.

This mail-in ballot chaos won’t matter in states such as California or New York where Trump has almost no chance to win. The mail-in ballots will affect the final vote count, but they won’t affect the election winner because those states are solidly in the Biden column. But, it could be crucial in swing states such as Michigan where Trump won in 2016 by 10,700 votes, and where millions of mail-in ballots are expected to be cast. What this means is that the election will not be decided on election day; it may take days or weeks to count the ballots and announce the winner in key states that will determine the electoral outcome.

Both sides are gearing up for this. The Trump and Biden campaigns have hired over 600 lawyers each to fan out across fifty states on election day demanding court orders on extended voting hours, impoundment of mail-in ballots and mandatory injunctions against certifying results. Neither side will concede the election until these legal contests are resolved. A similar stalemate ensued in the 2000 election between George W. Bush and Al Gore. But, that was confined to a few counties in a single state, Florida. This stalemate will involve perhaps seven to ten states, all crucial to the outcome.

Two-time presidential loser Hillary Clinton added fuel to this fire by telling Showtime: “Joe Biden should not concede under any circumstances because I think this is going to drag out.” This reveals the Democrats are already preparing for election day chaos. The recent hoax about supposed efforts by the U.S. Postal Service to remove mailboxes to frustrate mail-in ballots is laying the predicate for election day charges of malfeasance. The reality is that mailboxes are routinely relocated for normal logistical reasons and the vast majority of mailbox relocations were done during the Obama administration.

The Chaos After Election Day Is Coming: Is there anything on the horizon worse than chaos on election day? Yes. It’s the prospect of chaos on the day after. The one certain forecast is that the next two months will be a wild ride.

The Black Lives Matter and Antifa factions are preparing for a possible Trump victory. For them, it will be a vindication of their view that American democracy is inherently flawed, and the only solution is to destroy the system and start over. The destruction will begin within 24 hours of a Trump victory in cities all over America. The riots and looting in Portland, Seattle, New York, Chicago and other major cities are just a warm-up for what will happen in the aftermath of a Trump victory.

The bottom line is that the next 70 days will be among the most volatile in U.S. political history. An uncertain election outcome with extreme differences between the candidates would be enough to cause great volatility. When one factors in a possible candidate switch, Biden’s cognitive decline, a delayed result due to mail-in ballots, refusal to concede the outcome, coast-to-coast election litigation and widespread riots, we are facing a minefield of hidden dangers and catastrophic outcomes."
Related:

"Retail Apocalypse Getting Worse: 60 Percent Of Closed Stores Will Never Reopen Again"

 
"Retail Apocalypse Getting Worse: 
60 Percent Of Closed Stores Will Never Reopen Again"
by Epic Economist

"Today, we are going to present to you the new unfoldings of the retail apocalypse, with several businesses struggling to stay afloat during this ground-breaking economic meltdown. The retail apocalypse has spread out so fast that the traditional Black Friday and Holiday shopping are now jeopardized. Hundreds of thousands of retail store closures are happening around the country, and more than half of them won't ever resume their activities. We are going to analyze a recent study that indicated that over 60 percent of the business closures that occurred so far turned out to be permanent, and all of these jobs were lost for good. If you have been keeping up with us, a while ago, we have reported how the generalized bankruptcy that is taking place all over the country will only add pressure to the giant debt bubble that America has created. Will that bubble burst by the end of the year? Let's examine together! Without further ado, let's jump into this video, and please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to our channel if you haven't already.

The aftermath of the health crisis is accelerating the deterioration of the economy at a pace never witnessed before in all American history, leaving deep economic scarring in several sectors, and every attempt to rescue it haven't come without major consequences. The downturn boosted by the outbreak has made the economy fall into a "liquidity trap," in which interest rates will potentially be maintained on the zero lower bound until 2023, that is to say, the monetary policy is likely to face further challenges on stimulating the real economy having to do much more than artificially inflating asset prices. 

While the federal government keeps pumping one fiscal injection after the other into the real economy, forging a volatile and artificial growth, the latest gap in fiscal support, 48 days now, has sent the economy into another meltdown, with retailers failing to manage their way through the crisis and online spending rates nearing zero. Comparing to the prominent reopening background of other countries, the US rates were, at the very least, disappointing. In the retail sector, the observed rise was merely 0.6%.

According to Bloomberg, apart from foodservice and drinking places (4,7%), all the remaining retail sectors either presented a derisory growth or dropped below zero. Electronics and appliance stores recorded an 0.8% upswing, same as health and personal care, while gasoline stations recorded the marginal rates of 0.4%. On the other hand, paradoxically, food and beverage stores had seen a decrease of -1.2% in their sales, sporting goods and book stores noted a -5.7% fall, and general merchandise stores -0.4%. Online shopping sales remained unchanged, meaning that they flatlined and their growth is now close to 0%.

Furthermore, the deep economic disruption goes beyond the deterioration in the labor market, with more and more businesses registering that they won't ever be able to open doors again. A recent report published by Yelp revealed that up until August 31st, over 150,000 businesses have closed on the platform, marking a 23% increase since mid-July. The report also pointed out an increase of almost 100,000 permanent business closures over the past six months, which indicates that 60% of closed businesses will never reopen again."