Saturday, December 5, 2020

"This New Technology Will Dangerously Expand Government Spying On Citizens"

"This New Technology Will Dangerously 
Expand Government Spying On Citizens"
 by Jack Rasmus 

"If you’re worried about the capability of government to conduct surveillance of citizens engaged in political assembly and protest, or even just personal activity, then you should be aware the technological capability of government surveillance is about to expand exponentially.

The US Air Force’s Research Lab (yes, it has its own lab) has recently signed a contract to test new software of a company called SignalFrame, a Washington DC wireless tech company. The company’s new software is able to access smartphones, and from your phone jump off to access any other wireless or bluetooth device in the near vicinity. To quote from the article today in the Wall St. Journal, the smartphone is used “as a window onto usage of hundreds of millions of computers,s routers, fitness trackers, modern automobiles and other networked devices, known collectively as the ‘Internet of Things’.”

Your smartphone in effect becomes a government listening device that detects and accesses all nearby wireless or bluetooth devices, or anything that has a MAC address for that matter. How ‘near’ is nearby is not revealed by the company, or the Air Force, both of which refused to comment on the Wall St. Journal story. But with the expansion of 5G wireless, it should be assumed it’s more than just a couple steps from your smartphone.

One can imagine some scary scenarios with this capability in the hands of government snoops:

Not only would the government know your geographical location via the GPS signal to your cellphone. They’d know what you are doing. And with whom.

A political gathering would allow them to see all the owners of other cellphones in the vicinity of a protest or demonstration. How many are gathering at a particular street or location. The direction they might be heading. Or whether there’s an organization meeting in a hall or room and who (with a cellphone as well) might be attending.

If you’re driving on a winding coastal or mountain road, it would know, and could possibly access, your car’s various electronic systems to turn them off. It might access your car’s circuit board that governs your power steering when you’re driving in an area of winding roads. Or it might be able to just shut down your car’s electrical system and remotely lock all your doors. The police no longer have to engage in highway chases until capture.

The new tech would allow the government to access the data on your fitbit device while you’re jogging. Or worse, maybe even interfere with the signal on your heart pacemaker device.

The technology might be used to access your smartphone, and from there to turn on your home Alexa device to listen in and record conversations without you ever knowing. Or to listen in on your zoom conferencing on your laptop. Or maybe even worse, to shut down or bypass the safety features on your home furnace equipment. Or turn off your home security system.

And with 5G wireless broadband, the tracking might be extended well beyond the range of a bluetooth device. Add 5G broadband wireless to SignalFrame’s technology, and then wed that to the capability of machine learning and artificial intelligence, and you get instant processing of a massive amount of data on any targeted person or gathering!

This problem of government surveillance on free citizen activity is not new. It took a giant leap after 9-11 with the Patriot Act and acquisition of phone data by Homeland Security and other government agencies. It was supposed to have stopped. But it hasn’t. The snoops have continued to ignore Congressional resolutions and court decisions on privacy invasion of citizens. The latest Air Force lab testing is likely just a recent ‘tip of the iceberg’ revelation. And if the Air Force is doing it, be assured so are the Army, Navy, the NSA, CIA, FBI and all the other government snoops.

Certainly this kind of technology would be used not only by the US government. If the USA has it, you can bet other governments do too - especially China, Russia, Israel, and probably some of the Europeans as well.

Unlike in 2001, in 2020 SignalFrame’s technology takes government surveillance to a new level - given the ubiquity of smartphones, Internet of Things (IOT) devices, digital circuit board dependent autos, and all the many household devices now with MAC wireless access addresses. And now, unlike circa 2001 and the passage of the Patriot Act (and its continuation in annual NDAA legislation), we have AI, machine learning, neural nets everywhere, and massive government data processing power.

In short, Technology is becoming a growing tool and power in the hands of governments, to use to thwart democratic and constitutional rights–as well as to detect, apprehend, and ‘deal with’ those who protest and oppose those governments.

The coming decade in the USA will be not only increasingly difficult economically, increasingly unstable politically, but will prove to be a period in which technology is increasingly threatening basic civil rights as well as the very foundations of Democracy itself."

"San Francisco Economy is a Disaster: Nuclear Winter with 2nd Lockdown - Bankruptcy an Option in 2021"

Michael Zuber, "San Francisco Economy is a Disaster: 
Nuclear Winter with 2nd Lockdown - Bankruptcy an Option in 2021"

This same pattern is happening all over the country...

Musical Interlude: The Traveling Wilburys, "End Of The Line"

The Traveling Wilburys, "End Of The Line"

"A Look to the Heavens"

“While drifting through the cosmos, a magnificent interstellar dust cloud became sculpted by stellar winds and radiation to assume a recognizable shape. Fittingly named the Horsehead Nebula, it is embedded in the vast and complex Orion Nebula (M42). A potentially rewarding but difficult object to view personally with a small telescope, the below gorgeously detailed image was taken in infrared light by the orbiting Hubble Space Telescope. 
The dark molecular cloud, roughly 1,500 light years distant, is cataloged as Barnard 33 and is seen above primarily because it is backlit by the nearby massive star Sigma Orionis. The Horsehead Nebula will slowly shift its apparent shape over the next few million years and will eventually be destroyed by the high energy starlight.”

"Covid-19 Pandemic Updates 12/5/20"

"Covid-19 Pandemic Updates 12/5/20"
Dec. 5, 2020 12:06 AM ET: 
The coronavirus pandemic has sickened more than 65,933,600 
people, according to official counts, including 14,445,813 Americans.
At least 1,518,200 have died.

"Why I Mask"

"Why I Mask"
by Sam Younnokis

"Masks are useless as well as uncomfortable. I believe they actually increase the odds of the wearer coming down with a case of COVID infection. They make it hard to have intelligible conversations and hide what few smiles people may still be having. Yet I do mask.

Maybe I'm just a coward, afraid to stand against the overbearing government. As noble and even important as such a stand would be, I value more my ability to be self-reliant. In a modern world, in an urban environment such as the one in which I live, this is at best an illusion. I'm not growing my own food or hauling water and firewood. Maybe that's practical and even essential if you have raw land that you're homesteading. It's pretty much impossible for most city-dwellers. There just isn't enough land to support us, and there are many rules about what you can do with whatever space you have. Don't suggest everybody move to the countryside. That would just destroy the countryside.

I live in an apartment. I pay rent, buy food at stores, work in an office. My self-reliance consists of paying the bills myself and doing the chores myself. I know I'm no "mountain man." The local health department has required stores to demand that customers wear masks while shopping. I don't know how zealously the stores enforce the rules. Perhaps their business licenses depend on a high level of compliance. I wear the mask and try to limit myself to buying essentials only - no impulse purchases. It doesn't fight the edicts, but it limits the time I spend in the mask.

My office also has rules requiring masks to be worn. Without income, I don't have even a semblance of self-reliance. Would I starve to death before I'd shop in a mask? Obviously not. If you would, perhaps you will forgive me for not sharing your dedication. Infringements on liberty start small and grow over time. While this is not the hill I choose to die on, I acknowledge your right to make your own choice.

Heroism is often associated with high risk of imminent death - charging into a burning building, for example, or standing in front of a tank that you know is not going to swerve. There are "everyday heroes" (AKA people) who get up every morning and try to get through another day without a disaster. There are so-called "heroes" (AKA "delivery drivers") who bring things to our homes so we can remain in social as well as physical quarantine. I don't claim to be any sort of hero.

I wear a mask because it's required in order to maintain an acceptable level of life. I expect that this is what residents of communist countries tell themselves as they submit to every new rule. Thoreau said we have the worst government we are willing to endure, and he was right. Many opinionators rail against the way government is behaving, but no one calls for violence. Too soon? Too late? Or is it all just opinionators making money off claiming that the world is headed for communism? Maybe it's a problem they don't really want solved, since then they would need to find a "real job."

My country is being destroyed, and I don't see how to save it, but I still feel as though I should do something. Perhaps in the end, the real reason I wear a mask is shame."

"A Hall of Smoke and Mirrors"

"A Hall of Smoke and Mirrors"
by Jim Kunstler

"If the drawn-out election melodrama were a movie, think: 'Seven Days in May' meets 'Six Days in October' meet 'Burn After Reading.' You get a nice serving of treason in high places with a side-dish of Cuban Missile Crisis end-of-the-world angst, and for dessert, a comic fiasco of bumbling government depravity. The Democrats, you understand, are the party of chaos, yet President Trump’s attempt to impose order on the scene has the quality of clown car driving to put out a fire.

It’s almost impossible to see through the smoke-and-mirrors of all news media. The mainstream, left-leading media won’t cover, or even pursue, legitimate news stories that counter its precooked, self-serving narratives. On the other hand, much of the news on the Right seems to emanate from TinFoilHatLand. Fact and emotion corrupt each other until truth itself is cancelled, disgraced, and deplatformed. Meanwhile, authority hides offstage wringing its hands, trying to appear impartial but powerless.

Case in point: Mr. Barr, the Attorney General, who told the Associated Press on Tuesday, “to date, we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have effected a different outcome in the election.”

Playing Games at a Crucial Moment in Political History: A curious remark, with all the weight of Justice Department authority, in a week that featured many broadcast spectacles of sworn testimony of ballot fraud before swing state committees plus videotape of vote-counting irregularities vividly in action. Perhaps Mr. Barr is just stalling so as to not taint whatever case Mr. Trump’s lawyers bring before the Supreme Court. But Mr. Barr must also be implying that his FBI - the investigative arm of his DOJ - suffers epic incompetence with a tinge of malice.

Of course, that state-of-things has been obvious for four years in the long, dirty epic of RussiaGate - another enormous, legitimacy-killing mess that Mr. Barr has appeared reluctant to resolve, even though he anointed U.S. Attorney John Durham a “special prosecutor” this week. Since his appointment two years ago, Mr. Barr has expressed more than once in formal speeches his keen concern for institutional integrity, yet he appears to be playing games with it at a crucial moment in political history.

Then there was the weird event on Wednesday in Alpharetta, Georgia, featuring freelance lawyers Sidney Powell and Lin Wood before a so-called rally, at which they told the rowdy crowd to boycott the January Senatorial runoff election – say, what…? Do they really want both Republican candidates to lose, handing the Senate to the Democrats?

What’s the Strategy? There was a lot of whooping and hollering, though Miz Powell seemed a little unnerved by the lack of decorum. One infers that they’re angry at Republican candidates Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue for not taking a public stand on the Georgia voting mischief. And especially for not rebuking Republican Governor Brian Kemp and SoS Brad Raffensperger, who failed to do anything about all that in the month following the election. But, really, what did it serve their case to go down that rabbit hole?

The bigger questions for Mr. Wood and Miz Powell surround what kind of evidence they will bring into a courtroom. Miz Powell, especially, because of her relationship with General Michael Flynn, the former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, appears to have inside Department of Defense (DOD) information that goes deep into the Dominion vote tabulation company’s origins, history, and abnormal activities in the 2020 election. That includes the seizure of Dominion servers at the giant U.S. military complex outside Frankfurt, Germany, where the CIA maintains its chief cyberwarfare IT center outside the USA.

Martial Law? General Flynn has been bottled up since 2017 in a corrupt prosecution eventually dropped by the DOJ, but stalled for half a year by Judge Emmet G. Sullivan even after he was ordered by the DC Circuit to dismiss the case. But now General Flynn has been liberated by presidential pardon to speak and act, and he’s doing both in startling terms. On Wednesday, he joined with retired three-star general Thomas McInerney in calling for the president to declare martial law in order to use military tribunals to investigate and prosecute treason in the election.

They’re not the only ones chattering about that. They allege that Dominion Systems - which is not an American-owned company - invited meddling by several foreign nations and, in fact, enabled it through connections to the Internet. There is evidence that Chinese companies linked to the CCP are majority investors in the holding company out of Switzerland, UBS Securities, that owns Dominion. And lurking in the background of that is the evidence exposed from Hunter Biden’s laptop, of multi-million dollar deals for the Biden Family to represent Chinese companies affiliated with China’s Intel service.

Outlandish? Is it outlandish to wonder if Joe Biden is a national security risk? Is it, at least, worth looking into, considering the evidence trail? Many people who read and view only the leftish mainstream news media, may know nothing about Hunter B’s laptop and the tales it told because social media blacked out all the news about it and the mainstream media went along with the blackout.

Meanwhile, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg gave $350-million to a “safe elections” project run by the non-profit Center for Tech and Civic Life (CTCL), that was chiefly active in setting up Democratic vote-harvesting operations. Could he be liable for prosecution in enabling ballot fraud? Has the FBI asked him any questions? Another story ‘out there’ says that behind the election hijinks a war is underway between the Defense Department and the CIA.

Power Struggle: On Wednesday, acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller announced that all special operations run by the CIA would henceforward report to the Secretary of Defense. In effect, the President has ordered the dismantling of the CIA’s troublemaking capabilities, reducing the agency to the task of intel analysis. This means, for instance, ending the CIA’s ability to foment “color revolutions” (coups d’├ętat) in foreign lands - with the implication that irregularities around the Dominion System may have amounted to an attempted color revolution in the USA.

Is it worth wondering whether former CIA Director John Brennan, who was probably an architect of RussiaGate, was involved in any of the election ops? If the FBI won’t question him about it, who will? (Answer: The Department of Defense.) Ditto Gina Haspel, current CIA Director. After all, what were the Dominion servers doing at the CIA’s server farm in Germany?

Events are moving quickly under the plodding surface of the ongoing swing state hearings, which are largely concerned with on-site mail-in ballot fraud shenanigans. Will the Supreme Court take a case in the few days left before the state vote certification deadline next Tuesday? Will Mr. Trump intervene with some extraordinary measure - martial law, the Insurrection Act? - to actually abort the election and bring about some kind of do over? Will the country survive its own feckless inability to hold a credible vote? Stand by with me on all that."

"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”

The Daily "Near You?"

Brainerd, Minnesota, USA. Thanks for stopping by!

"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?" 


"Compassion is not at all weak. It is the strength that arises out of seeing the true nature of suffering in the world. Compassion allows us to bear witness to that suffering, whether it is in ourselves or others, without fear; it allows us to name injustice without hesitation, and to act strongly, with all the skill at our disposal. To develop this mind state of compassion... is to learn to live, as the Buddha put it, with sympathy for all living beings, without exception."
- Sharon Salzberg

"95 Questions to Help You Find Meaning and Happiness"

"95 Questions to Help You Find Meaning and Happiness" 
by Marc

"At the cusp of a new day, week, month or year, most of us take a little time to reflect on our lives by looking back over the past and ahead into the future. We ponder the successes, failures and standout events that are slowly scripting our life's story. This process of self-reflection helps us maintain a conscious awareness of where we've been and where we intend to go. It is pertinent to the organization and preservation of our long-term goals and happiness. The questions below will help you with this process. Because when it comes to finding meaning in life, asking the right questions is the answer.

1. In one sentence, who are you?

2. Why do you matter?

3. What is your life motto?

4. What's something you have that everyone wants?

5. What is missing in your life?

6. What's been on your mind most lately?

7. Happiness is a ________?

8. What stands between you and happiness?

9. What do you need most right now?

10. What does the child inside you long for?

11. What is one thing right now that you are totally sure of?

12. What's been bothering you lately?

13. What are you scared of?

14. What has fear of failure stopped you from doing?

15. What will you never give up on?

16. What do you want to remember forever?

17. What makes you feel secure?

18. Which activities make you lose track of time?

19. What's the most difficult decision you've ever made?

20. What's the best decision you've ever made?

21. What are you most grateful for?

22. What is worth the pain?

23. In order of importance, how would you rank: happiness, money, love, health, fame?

24. What is something you've always wanted, but don't yet have?

25. What was the most defining moment in your life during this past year?

26. What's the number one change you need to make in your life in the next twelve months?

27. What's the number one thing you want to achieve in the next five years?

28. What is the biggest motivator in your life right now?

29. What will you never do?

30. What's something you said you'd never do, but have since done?

31. What's something new you recently learned about yourself?

32. What do you sometimes pretend to understand that you really do not?

33. In one sentence, what do you wish for your future self?

34. What worries you most about the future?

35. When you look into the past, what do you miss most?

36. What's something from the past that you don't miss at all?

37. What recently reminded you of how fast time flies?

38. What is the biggest challenge you face right now?

39. In one word, how would you describe your personality?

40. What never fails to frustrate you?

41. What are you known for by your friends and family?

42. What's something most people don't know about you?

43. What's a common misconception people have about you?

44. What's something a lot of people do that you disagree with?

45. What's a belief you hold with which many people disagree?

46. What's something that's harder for you than it is for most people?

47. What are the top three qualities you look for in a friend?

48. If you had a friend who spoke to you in the same way that you sometimes speak to yourself, how long would you allow that person to be your friend?

49. When you think of home,what, specifically, do you think of?

50. What's the most valuable thing you own?

51. If you had to move 3000 miles away, what would you miss most?

52. What would make you smile right now?

53. What do you do when nothing else seems to make you happy?

54. What do you wish did not exist in your life?

55. What should you avoid to improve your life?

56. What is something you would hate to go without for a day?

57. What's the biggest lie you once believed was true?

58. What's something bad that happened to you that made you stronger?

59. What's something nobody could ever steal from you?

60. What's something you disliked when you were younger that you truly enjoy today?

61. What are you glad you quit?

62. What do you need to spend more time doing?

63. What are you naturally good at?

64. What have you been counting or keeping track of recently?

65. What has the little voice inside your head been saying lately?

66. What's something you should always be careful with?

67. What should always be taken seriously?

68. What should never be taken seriously?

69. What are three things you can't get enough of?

70. What would you do differently if you knew nobody would judge you?

71. What fascinates you?

72. What's the difference between being alive and truly living?

73. What's something you would do every day if you could?

74. At what time in your recent past have you felt most passionate and alive?

75. Which is worse, failing or never trying?

76. What makes you feel incomplete?

77. When did you experience a major turning point in your life?

78. What or who do you wish you lived closer to?

79. If you had the opportunity to get a message across to a large group of people, what would your message be?

80. What's something you know you can count on?

81. What makes you feel comfortable?

82. What's something about you that has never changed?

83. What will be different about your life in exactly one year?

84. What mistakes do you make over and over again?

85. What do you have a hard time saying "no" to?

86. Are you doing what you believe in, or are you settling for what you are doing?

87. What's something that used to scare you, but no longer does?

88. What promise to yourself do you still need to fulfill?

89. What do you appreciate most about your current situation?

90. What's something simple that makes you smile?

91. So far, what has been the primary focus of your life?

92. How do you know when it's time to move on?

93. What's something you wish you could do one more time?

94. When you're 90-years-old, what will matter to you the most?

95. What would you regret not fully doing, being, or having in your life?"

From the wonderful "Marc and Angel Hack Life" blog:


"Sometimes even to live is an act of courage."
- Lucius Annaeus Seneca

"Life is an end in itself, and the only question as to whether 
it is worth living is whether you have had enough of it."
- Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

That ultimately is the question...
Adrian Lester as Hamlet: "To be or not to be..."
William Shakespeare, "Hamlet", Act III, Scene I

"The Truth Virus: The Most Dangerous Virus in the World"

"The Truth Virus:
The Most Dangerous Virus in the World"
by Dog Poet

"I’ve got a virus. It doesn’t have a common name because it isn’t a common virus. It’s difficult to catch this virus because there are only so many ways for it to enter your system. You can catch it as a result of extreme trauma which results in all of your defenses being shut down. This includes all subconscious resistance and all systemic defenses. You can catch it as a result of long term abuse. This includes abuse visited upon you or abuse you visit on yourself. Often this abuse comes about because the virus is already looking for a foothold and it will attract one of these two kinds of abuse. You can catch it through diligent and repeated efforts to catch it, in an environment of quietude, created by a relentless persistence of the mind to cease from the production of thought. There are a few other ways.

Once you’ve got this virus there’s no cure for it. Every cell in your body is going to be replaced and the world will gradually - and sometimes not so gradually - take on the appearance of an insane asylum, while also becoming remarkably predictable. People think insanity is unpredictable but that’s just one of the illusions that are part of the ordinary mindset of the collectively insane.

People who have this virus can understand one another without having to say anything at all and if they should speak they are also understood by people who are vulnerable to this virus. This is one of the ways that the virus spreads. The impact of the virus speaking induces trauma that naturally moves toward the extreme. People who do not have the virus- and who are not susceptible to catching it- will not understand a single word being said. It will make them uncomfortable and sometimes it will make them angry but at no time will it be understood.

There’s a lot of news, noise and argument about Howdy Doody’s comprehensive health plan for the Teletubbies. Most people think that some permutation of universal health care is going to be a major step up for American society. They seem to think that having it is somehow going to lead to a more general state of well being among the population. There are several reasons why this isn’t going to make the slightest difference no matter what kind of a program finally gets decided on.

It doesn’t really matter whether you can see a doctor of your choice or not and have some amount of it paid for. It isn’t going to have any positive effect on your health. Health is the result of a few basic things and one of them is youth. The other things are diet and ones mental and emotional state. An awareness of ones relationship to all of these leads to making the right decisions about how one lives their life. A conscious awareness of diet has a profound effect on one’s well being. One’s mental and emotional states also play significant roles. One needs only to study how many stress-related diseases there are to understand this. If you factor bad diet into unbalanced mental and emotional states you’ve got a problem no doctor can deal with, especially if your medical system is of the allopathic variety.

The people who decide what doctors can and cannot do and what doctors can and cannot tell you are permanent bed-partners with various corporations for whom good health is a bad thing. These are the pharmaceutical concerns; the AMA, the hospital equipment industry and related suppliers of related products. These corporations have another relationship with the various food industries in the sense that they will not write or permit policy that impinges on major enterprises that bring you processed foods, fast foods, mystery meats, candy and soft drinks and whatever else hides under that umbrella. What this means is that, according to the capitalist mentality that rules this society, it is possible; it has to be possible and it damn well will be possible to eat anything you want, avoid exercise and generally break any and every rule of intelligent behavior and if there’s a problem they will either cut it out of you or suppress the symptoms until they have to cut it out of you.

Because the will of corporations is the rule of the land, there will be no change in the profit line for participating corporations. What will change will be the language that the non-change is presented in. To see into the black heart of the system in charge of American life you have only to look into the prison industry where 5% of the American public and 25% of the world’s prison population are incarcerated in American prisons. Why is this? It’s a business. Is it coincidence that America uses 60% of the world’s resources as well?

The unstated objective of American society is that a small percentage of its members shall possess the greatest amount of wealth at the expense of everyone else and will then be lauded for their efforts to assist the less fortunate where no such efforts exist. Such a system cannot survive and will not survive and is presently at the state where a number of shell games are being used to give the impression that the system is doing fine (nicely recovering from a bad scare) and going to get better as it approaches the lip of a high cliff. As things begin to fall from the cliff, you will see charts and graphs appear that indicate the true state and direction of the culture and economy but they will probably be holding these charts and graphs upside down.

I see these things and many other things because I have this virus. Others have this virus too and many more are on the verge of infection. The biggest concern of the TPTB is the proliferation of this virus. Their concern about all other viruses, which they manufactured to begin with, is just Slim Shady dining at the Red Herring Restaurant.

With this virus I can see that the appetites and desires being milked by corporations in order to promote and sell their products leads directly to aberrant behavior which leads to the prison industry for those who are not making the laws that route the unfortunate toward the prison or the grave with that long interlude of enslavement at the looping track of life where they chase the uncatchable dream rabbit that is already steaming in the pot of their betters.

With this virus I can look directly at the lies of politicians and religious leaders and hear the truth that spotlights the pies around the corner and their relationship to the pies in the sky which are moving on conveyor belts behind unbreakable Plexiglas. I can see that there are no pies because the pies are only video projections of pies bounced off of a series of mirrors. I can see the people who do no have the virus and I can see the world they are looking at and it turns out that this world is also just a projection bouncing off of mirrors and one of those mirrors is their minds. These projections then activate the furnace in the visceral brain which causes those without the virus to dance like millions of chickens on a hot griddle that somehow got the impression that they are auditioning for American Idol.

It is not possible to create a society, based on the principles that some of us have read and most of us have heard about, when corporations are the ruling authority of the land, because the intent of a corporation is diametrically opposed to the principles that some of us have read and most of us have heard about. You can’t make Beef Stroganoff out of pork rinds and Velveeta but you can convince people that that is what they are eating and that is the point.

There’s a debate that has been going around since Cain brained Abel and that debate centers on whether it is better to have this virus or some form of all the other viruses. The awareness that comes with having this virus can lead to the rack, the auto da fe and other less pleasant locations. Having the other viruses can lead to being a hamster or some part of a compost pile and a fire burns there as well. They can lead to being cannon fodder and the merciless hands of those who practice a form of medicine that has little to do with the stated intentions of the art. The hands of these practitioners are often more dangerous than the problem that brought you there.

Most people spend more than ninety percent of everything they have saved in their lives in the last year of their life on an industry whose purpose is exactly for that reason.

This virus of mine - and perhaps you have it too - is not an easy burden to bear. You can never pull the covers over your head again. You know there’s no monster in the closet but you also know where the real monsters dwell. You are doomed to an unending quarantine even as you move among your fellows. One thing you do acquire as a result of this virus is compassion and, as Lao Tzu said long ago, “Compassion is a weapon from the sky against being dead.” Realization may not be all the things we imagine it to be, but it is preferable to the restless sleep of nightmares wielded by the whip hand of psychopaths."

“Lessons From the Inbox on Divisiveness and Unity”

“Lessons From the Inbox on Divisiveness and Unity”
by Rich Manieri

“I collect my hate mail. Not because it makes me angry or because I want to obsess over it. It's just so interesting and I want to understand it. I receive a lot of emails in response to columns and most are generally positive. But the negative ones are really negative. This fascinates me.

For example, in a recent piece on how the media will miss President Trump when he's gone, and vice versa, a reader unleashed a stream of conscious under the subject "Absurd!" He went on to call me "demented" and then took a shot at Kentucky, where I currently live. Mind you, he sent this email to me on Thanksgiving. The funny thing is the piece wasn't really partisan in any way and I still can't figure out how it could enrage someone to the point where he would still be thinking about it a week after it was published.

There's a lot of anger out there, folks, though that's not exactly breaking news. Here's another. "Your column, 'Lessons learned from the 2020 election,' validates the axiom 'to assume makes an ass of you and me.'" That was it, the entire email. I'm not sure how the axiom applies in this case but these things don't have to make sense.

I sometimes read my hate mail to my students who find it entertaining and often sit, slack-jawed and incredulous that people can be so mean. In response to a column about California Gov. Gavin's Newsom's draconian rules for holiday celebrations, a reader responded with a question. "What overdramatic nonsense did I just read?" It got worse. She called me "dim" and "childish." She ended with "keep your uninformed views in your own disastrous state." Again, a swipe at Kentucky? I never realized there was so much latent Kentucky hate among the populace.

Prior to the election, several readers responded with dire prophecies. Interestingly, predictions of the "end times" came from both sides of the political aisle. My favorite was from a man who began his email with, "I've got news for you pal... ." The poor guy was so worked up he wrote some 500 words on the pending disintegration of our economic and political systems.

I respond to every email I receive, even the mean ones. It seems to me that those of us who do this kind of writing have a responsibility to at least attempt to understand why someone who disagrees with me believes what he believes. This is not always easy, of course, especially when the one who disagrees begins his email, "Dear boil on journalism's rear... " That's me, if you didn't put it together.

The reader was responding to a column about the conduct of reporters and the president at White House press briefings. I was critical of both but the reader didn't see it that way. We had a back-and-forth during which he seemed to gradually soften. Then, after about the sixth email exchange, he wrote, "Thank you for your conversation. I wish more people would talk or argue viewpoints... " It struck me that maybe the man just wanted someone to listen to him, about anything. We never came to an agreement on the issue at hand but, by the end of the conversation, that didn't seem to matter.

Not all of these exchanges have happy endings. One concluded with a simple suggestion: "Shut up!" Not necessarily bad advice.

In the New Testament, James writes, "Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry... " James 1:19. I'm challenged by this because, apart from my dependence on the grace of God, I can't do it. I'd much rather do exactly the opposite ,' react, quickly and angrily, and get my adversary in checkmate. Twitter and other social media outlets understand this better than anyone. They've turned this basic, human inclination into a multi-billion dollar phenomenon.

I don't claim any unique insight into the human condition but I have realized that if we are willing to listen and keep our mouths shut for a while, we'll take a significant step toward understanding one another. That doesn't mean everyone is going to like us. But as I tell my students, if everyone likes us, we're probably doing something wrong."

"How It Really Is"

"Covid Is Revealing the Cancerous Underbelly of U.S. Healthcare"

"Covid Is Revealing the Cancerous Underbelly of U.S. Healthcare"
by Charles Hugh Smith

"I've long been making the distinction between healthcare and sickcare: healthcare is the service provided by frontline operational caregivers (doctors, nurses, aides, technicians, etc.) and sickcare is the financialized system of Big Hospital Corporations, Big Insurers, Big Pharma, etc. and their lobbyists that keep the federal money spigots wide open.

This financialized sickcare system is being consumed by the cancer of greedy profiteering pursued by self-serving insiders. The delivery of healthcare is secondary to maximizing revenues and profits by any means available. To believe such a corrupt system is sustainable is magical thinking at its most destructive.

Covid-19 is revealing this cancerous underbelly. Knowledge of the inner workings of corporate administration is not evenly distributed, so every participants' experience of the systemic dysfunction will vary. Here is one MD's observations of the system's priorities. Others may have different views but the maxim follow the money is clearly the correct place to start any inquiry of how America's financialized sickcare functions in the real world:

"From what I'm hearing from the front line, a not insignificant number of admissions are of folks who would not have been admitted in March when there was fear of both the unknown and systemic failure and, not coincidently, when COVID diagnoses didn't pay as much.

Today, the admission criteria for COVID is so much more flexible than for standard diagnoses like CHF, and pays so much better than other diagnoses that our 'healthcare' system is rapidly becoming a 'COVID care' system. The surge in hospitalizations and subsequent COVID-identified deaths may be driven, in part, to health systems adapting to new COVID revenue streams.

This would seemingly be good news, after all if it's the hospital administrator's desire to fill empty beds that's driving admissions rather than infection rates, then systemic failure can be averted through moderating those admission rates based on system capacity. If your hospital fills up, just start sending the marginal cases home - inpatient/outpatient; the outcome for the patient will be pretty much the same and you've made as much money as your capacity will allow.

Unfortunately, our healthcare 'system' doesn't work like that. Health systems are in the business of generating revenue, not value. Recent COVID-related demand destruction has crushed that revenue so they're hungry for more.

Those in health-system operations and those in leadership live in two different worlds. Leadership will push COVID admissions far beyond any operational limits in their quest for short term performance. One cannot overstate their mendacity and drive for lucre.

Hospitals are becoming 'COVID factories' with all other admissions (which pay far less) relegated to second tier status. Health systems are evolving into an 'all COVID, all the time' format with the emphasis on testing and (soon) vaccination, at the expense of all else. Not a few systems of my acquaintance are laying off outpatient medical staff because their supporting personnel have quit and are not replaced - those resources are being re-directed to COVID testing and in preparation for mass vaccination.

For the health system in the business of generating revenue, it's an excellent tactic. They save themselves significant overhead by not paying the clinicians and they make up the revenue through high-margin COVID services and government bailout payments. For patients who actually need healthcare, though, this tactic is deadly.

The perversion is end-stage, the health systems pretend to deliver healthcare and the government pays them to continue the pretense. There is no long term thinking here, no empathy for the workforce, no thought to the mission beyond window-dressing - just a relentless, risk-adverse financialization machine. Think of COVID as a new widget for which the customer will pay 2.5 times the going price with no quality control, but only for a limited amount of time. Add in talentless, rent-seeking leadership and all becomes clear.

Of course the real risk is that maxed out hospitals could find themselves in a situation where admissions suddenly become driven by demand rather than the business model, with a true non-linear path to failure laying beyond.

The longer daily national hospital occupancy stays above the approximate pre-COVID capacity of 100k, the more likely you'll see systemic breakdowns - local at first, then regional. You won't see it in the press, the healthcare cartels have a pretty good lock on the local media. Once news starts getting censored on social media, though, then you know it's happening. Hold me to that, And call me out in three months if I'm not right."

If you still believe that America's sickcare is "the finest in the world" and is endlessly sustainable, please study these three charts and extend the trendlines." (Click images for larger size.)

Friday, December 4, 2020

"China On The Brink Of A Major Food Shortage! Prepare For Worldwide Starvation"

"China On The Brink Of A Major Food Shortage!
 Prepare For Worldwide Starvation"
by Epic Economist

"A massive food crisis seems to be looming over China. The country has faced multiple challenges in 2020. Floods, plagues, and the trade dispute with the U.S. all contributed to seriously affect the production and distribution of food. Although the Chinese government has made everything to keep this situation under the wraps, many indicators point out that shortages have been happening in a wide range of food products and the nation has been relying on imports to meet the demand. Food prices have been soaring like never before, and experts have been warning for a hunger emergency at the same proportions as the 1959 Great Chinese Famine. In this video, we disclose how several supply disruptions have left China struggling to ensure food for its citizens. 

China's list of problems keeps growing. It started with the burst of what turned out to be a global health crisis, which caused record-high unemployment rates, an economic meltdown, led millions to poverty, and sparked a global backlash. Now, the Chinese government has been secretly dealing with a food emergency in an attempt to avoid the public's commotion. Despite Chinese premier Xi Jinping's constant denials that the country could be facing hardships on its food supply chains, experts have been claiming on local reports that China was indeed in the middle of a food crisis. 

According to some of these reports, there are many reasons behind this situation. The Chinese premier even launched a public campaign aiming to reduce food wastage. Oftentimes the measures adopted by government officials to make sure the population continues to follow the rules are considered invasive and aggressive. Throughout the year, the Chinese media have been dismissing any discussions about a potential food shortage, but the relation with economic partners and the expansion of imports have been showing otherwise. For instance, a recent article has exposed that as China edges towards a food crisis, it looks at India to feed its citizens. 

China is importing rice from India shows that the country is in desperate need of rice. It has contracted Indian traders for the import of 100,000 tonnes of broken rice for $300 per tonne. On top of that, local news announced in September that prices of corn were soaring as the country was headed towards a substantial shortage of corn in the upcoming 2020/2021 season. 

One of the main drivers to the spike in corn prices was also the occurrence of the African Swine fever outbreak that infected and decimated 40% of the total Chinese pigs’ population, consequently decreasing the supply but increasing the prices on pork. According to China’s National Bureau of Statistics, pork prices went up 52.6% in August compared to the same time last year, while corn prices, which is the main porcine fodder, climbed 20% compared to 2019. The United States Department of Agriculture divulged that China imported 195,000 more tonnes of American corn than the year before.

Furthermore, the country has suffered from severe floodings and droughts this year, which declined the agricultural productivity of the country and resulted in a considerable increase in food prices. Overall, food prices have increased by 11.2% compared to last year's statistics. The price level of vegetables climbed 6.4% in one month, while egg prices surged by 11.3% within the same timeframe. Evidently, pork prices grew the most, by 52.6% compared to 2019.

Lockdowns also worsened China's food difficulties. Workers had problems getting to work, which caused a shortage of physical labor that affected production levels. While some crops were not picked, others were not even planted. That's why the overall supply of agricultural goods inevitably decreased. 

With all evidence on the table, there's no wonder why experts have been questioning the Chinese premier's statements that no shortages are happening. According to Associate Professor of the National Defense University, Shen Ming Shih, the figures released by China officials aren't likely to be true, while also pointing out that when the country experienced natural disasters that culminated in a hunger crisis in what is known as the 1959 Great Chinese Famine, Chinese officials released similar orders to prevent people from wasting food, which might be an indicator that a hunger crisis is indeed on the horizon.

Earlier this year, the UN predicted that the world would face a food crisis so acute that the last time it was witnessed at the same level was at least 50 years ago. Now it appears to have arrived, and China seems to be in the middle of such a crisis and might be buying all the grains available on the global markets to ensure the survival of its citizens."

“Borrowers Can’t Pay Debts; Economic Reality Will Be Vicious; US Jobs Smashed; Student Loan Bubble”

Jeremiah Babe,
“Borrowers Can’t Pay Debts; Economic Reality Will Be Vicious; 
US Jobs Smashed; Student Loan Bubble”

Musical Interlude: Mason Williams, "Classical Gas"

Mason Williams, "Classical Gas"

"A Look to the Heavens"

“To some, the outline of the open cluster of stars M6 resembles a butterfly. M6, also known as NGC 6405, spans about 20 light-years and lies about 2,000 light years distant. M6 can best be seen in a dark sky with binoculars towards the constellation of Scorpius, coving about as much of the sky as the full moon. 

Like other open clusters, M6 is composed predominantly of young blue stars, although the brightest star is nearly orange. M6 is estimated to be about 100 million years old. Determining the distance to clusters like M6 helps astronomers calibrate the distance scale of the universe.”


“So, how do you beat the odds when it’s one against a billion? You’re just outnumbered. You stand strong, keep pushing yourself against all rational limits, and never give up. But the truth of the matter is, despite how hard you try and fight to stay in control, when it’s all said and done, sometimes you’re just outnumbered.”
- “Meredith”, “Gray’s Anatomy”
“In the movie “The Lion in Winter”, when the sons, in the dungeon, think they hear Henry coming down the stairs to kill them:

Richard: ”He’s here! He’ll get no satisfaction out of us! Don’t let him see you beg! Take it like a man!”
Geoffrey: “You fool! As if the way one falls down matters!”
Richard: ”Well, when the fall is all that’s left, it matters a great deal.”

"Market Fantasy Updates 12/4/20"

"Market Fantasy Updates 12/4/20"
Down the rabbit hole of psychopathic greed and insanity...
Only the consequences are real - to you!
"The more I see of the monied classes, 
the better I understand the guillotine."
- George Bernard Shaw
Gregory Mannarino, PM 12/4/20:
"Economy Cratering; A Trifecta Of New Record Highs For Stocks"
Updated live.
Daily Update (Dec. 4th to Dec. 10th)
And now... The End Game...

Covid-19 Pandemic Updates 12/4/20"

Covid-19 Pandemic Updates 12/4/20"
Dec. 4, 2020 2:11 PM ET: 
The coronavirus pandemic has sickened more than 65,638,100 
people, according to official counts, including 14,331,210 Americans.
At least 1,513,000 have died.

The Daily "Near You?"

Black Hawk, South Dakota, USA. Thanks for stopping by!