Saturday, February 13, 2021

"Alert! Catastrophic Stock Market Crash Is Very Likely In The Months Ahead"

Full screen recommended.
"Alert! Catastrophic Stock Market Crash
 Is Very Likely In The Months Ahead"
by Epic Economist

"Experts are warning for a dramatic stock market crash: For the first time in history, the ratio of U.S. stock prices to U.S. Gross Domestic Product has reached a staggering 200 percent. This means that the total value of U.S. stocks is currently twice as high as the value of all U.S. economic output for an entire year. Historically, the ratio of U.S. stock prices to U.S. GDP is usually under 100 percent. That highlights how extreme this bubble has become. In the face of a bleak economic outlook, what this tells us is how stock valuations are completely disconnected from the real economy. That is to say, the stock price bubble isn't backed by real prospects, but mainly by speculation. The bubble has grown so much, experts do not doubt that it's just a matter of time until it bursts. The only debate now is how fast and how far the eventual collapse will be. The unsustainable stock prices won't stay this high for much longer, and everyone can see that the end of that bubble is approaching. That's what we're going to investigate in this video. 

The figure investors should all be paying attention to is the Shiller price-to-earnings ratio for the S&P 500. As of February 3, the Shiller price-to-earnings for the S&P 500 has reached unprecedented highs. The ratio was around 35, which is more than double the long-term average. To give you some perspective regarding this figure, there have only been five periods in history where the Shiller price-to-earnings ratio went above 30 and stayed there amid a bull market run. Amongst them, two events happened within the past three years, and led to declines of 20% and 34%, respectively, in the S&P 500. Simply put, anytime the Shiller price-to-earnings ratio surpasses and sustains 30 in a bull market rally, it has eventually suffered in a minimum correction of 20%.

The truth is that even if stock prices fell by half, the Shiller price-to-earnings for the S&P 500 would still be above the long-term average. Therefore, if the market only drops by 20 percent this year, that would be the best-case scenario and we should consider ourselves to be extremely lucky. Especially because stretched valuations are just one of the concerns at the moment. Nosebleed premiums baked into the stock market assume that the health crisis will soon disappear, but according to a recent survey that reported that roughly half of the population is unwilling to get in line for a vaccine, and this outlines that the outbreak might be far from over.

Additionally, our economy is still hurting. Millions upon millions of workers have been laid off or furloughed, and many of those who are still working have seen their hours cut. A significant number of Americans and their families are still counting on continued assistance from the federal government to make it through the recession. But if the partisan dispute continues to delay the issuance of additional fiscal stimulus, that could seriously impact consumer spending, which is the main driver of U.S. gross domestic product, and potentially lead to a remarkable increase in loan and credit delinquencies. Consequently, that would put financial stocks in huge trouble, and those are considered to be the backbone of the U.S. equity markets. 

As the stock mania is still spreading across the nation, the brand new group of investors that just entered the markets is affirming to be getting increasingly rich. However, you only truly make money when you leave the markets, and most of these earnings are still on paper. Considering that every other stock market bubble in U.S. history has ended in a dramatic crash, John Hussman recently noted that this is our generation’s moment of peak financial insanity: "nothing so animates a speculative herd as a parabolic price advance in an asset detached from any standard of value. I am convinced that future generations will use the present moment to define the concept of a reckless speculative extreme, in the same way our generation uses “1929” and “2000”.

At this point, it's just a matter of time until a stock price correction occurs, and a decline of anything over 50 percent is likely to be too much for our system to handle. In other words, it would essentially end our financial system as we know it, sparking a catastrophic collapse that would drag numerous stocks straight into rock bottom, while also causing much more economic pain than we have experienced so far. As we wait to discover what will be the next trigger event, you should start getting prepared to watch the most epic stock market crash of all time." 

"Without Rule Of Law"

"Without Rule Of Law"
by Ted

"'This is going to come to a head. I will tell you what’s coming in this country. When there’s no law and order and the politicians are all corrupted, and they’re all on the take, and the judges are totally worthless… I’ll tell you what happens. It’s called vigilantism.

It has happened throughout history. The people had to defend themselves because society could not do it. People took the law into their own hands. They had to, in order to survive. And that’s what’s going to happen. I’m not recommending that, and it would be illegal for you to do so. But I’m telling you, for society at large that is what is coming. More and more people will take the law into their own hands when the government refuses to do so. It’s that simple.'

The words typed above are a close transcript of what a popular radio talk show host said the other day. His geographical reference was his own region, San Francisco, the streets of which have apparently turned into a hell-hole, so to speak. His words got me to thinking… Let me explain: There are cities in the United States, right now, that are essentially without the rule of law in many aspects. That would include cities like Portland, San Francisco, and others where far leftist mayors and apparent corrupt leadership at law enforcement, are, in a word, corrupted and politicized. Those who have watched or read about the goings-on in those cities and others, know exactly what I’m talking about. It’s a real problem.

Here’s the thing though: There’s a very thin line between civility and civil breakdown.

Vigilantism: What is vigilantism? Taking the law into one’s own hands and attempting to effect justice according to one’s own understanding of right and wrong; action taken by a voluntary association of persons who organize themselves for the purpose of protecting a common interest, such as liberty, property, or personal security.

The history of vigilantism in the United States is as old as the country itself. In many ways, the history of the United States began with vigilantism. On December 16, 1773, American colonists, tired of British direct taxation, took part in what came to be known as the Boston Tea Party. As part of the resistance, they threw 342 chests of tea into Boston Harbor.

Since then, we have become a nation of laws. State and federal governments are given what amounts to a Monopoly over the use of force and violence to implement the law. Private citizens may use force and violence to defend their lives and their property, and in some instances the lives and property of others, but they must do so under the specific circumstances allowed by the law if they wish to avoid being prosecuted for a crime themselves.

Taking law into their own hands: By taking law into their own hands, vigilantes flout the rule of law, effectively becoming lawmaker, police officer, judge, jury, and appellate court for the cause they are pursuing. We all know the system is corrupt, right? (there’s corruption in nearly all institutions). It is the way of man. The issue however is this: We are going to see vigilantism when a tipping point are fed up with what they see as injustice, and when the entire system itself is perceived as totally corrupt. I’m not saying that I recommend it. I’m just saying what will be a logical outcome as the system decays into total corruption and injustice.

ANTIFA lawlessness/Social Injustice Warriors: We are already seeing this with Antifa (the anti first amendment group). They are violently acting out and getting away with their violence under the willingness of city mayors and police leadership which have been allowing it. It’s going to get worse. “Social Injustice Warriors” have evident “open season” on conservatives, whites, males. It’s getting ugly. If you wear a MAGA hat in these cities, you will likely end up with a cracked skull. And if you defend yourself in this instance, YOU will likely be the one in jail. This is present reality folks…

It gets worse. I’m NOT disrespecting the police. They are actually under attack by the Antifa types, anarchists, social injustice warriors, and even the public at large in some cities. What’s worse, the mayors are NOT standing up in defense of their police even as they are being attacked. The more without rule of law is allowed to happen, the worse it’s going to get!

Without Rule Of Law: As all this escalates and these far leftist vigilante groups push further and further into the faces of conservative Americans who just want to live a peaceful good life… If the rule of law does not stop these radical groups, there WILL be a tipping point. And when that happens, it’s going to be nuts. Why? Because once you flip that switch to the “ON” position, it’s going to be ON. It’s going to get really, really ugly in those regions where this is being allowed to happen.

I’m not advocating this. But I’m expressing my opinion based on what I’m seeing, reading, hearing, and observing. We don’t seem to have consistent law enforcement across this nation. In fact there is quite a lot of egregious inconsistencies and much of it is POLITICALLY MOTIVATED. It’s happening in so many places, SELECTIVE enforcement of the law based on POLITICAL IDEALS of the city/region itself. That is not good. We’re splintering."

“Auto Sales Collapse; Mental Illness Crisis; Shopping Malls Closing; Severe Economic Suffering”

Jeremiah Babe,
“Auto Sales Collapse; Mental Illness Crisis; 
Shopping Malls Closing; Severe Economic Suffering”

Deuter, "Music of the Night: East of The Full Moon"

"Music of the Night: East of The Full Moon"
Full screen recommended.

"A Look to the Heavens"

"Large galaxies and faint nebulae highlight this deep image of the M81 Group of galaxies. First and foremost in the wide-angle 12-hour exposure is the grand design spiral galaxy M81, the largest galaxy visible in the image. M81 is gravitationally interacting with M82 just below it, a big galaxy with an unusual halo of filamentary red-glowing gas. 
Around the image many other galaxies from the M81 Group of galaxies can be seen. Together with other galaxy congregates including our Local Group of galaxies and the Virgo Cluster of galaxies, the M81 Group is part of the expansive Virgo Supercluster of Galaxies. This whole galaxy menagerie is seen through the faint glow of an Integrated Flux Nebula, a little studied complex of diffuse gas and dust clouds in our Milky Way Galaxy."

Chet Raymo, “A Few Words Inspired By The Tomato Plant”

“A Few Words Inspired By The Tomato Plant”
by Chet Raymo

"Mostly we think of life in terms of individuals - this person, this tomato plant, this frog, this oak tree, this gnat. And we talk about birth and death as the beginning and ending of life. But there is another sense in which life is just one thing, whose beginning is lost in the depths of time and whose end is not in sight. Life in this sense embodies itself in matter, temporarily, as a tomato or a frog, puts on matter and puts off matter as we might don or doff clothes. By this account, I am an ephemeral conglomeration of atoms that life is using to perpetuate itself.

But what is this thing called life? It cannot exist except as embodied form, but it maintains a continuity independent of any particular embodiment. It is a strange enduring wave that stirs the material world into purposeful and directed avenues. With Johannes Kepler we might call it the facultas formatrix of nature, the formative faculty, but giving something a name doesn't explain it. Whatever life is - in the unitary, enduring sense - it would be surprising if it only existed here on Earth. If I were a betting man I would bet that life is as pervasive as matter itself, or energy. Matter, energy and complexification. We have lots left to learn.

But let's be cautious. There are lots of folks out there with half-baked biocentric theories of the universe. Someone once chided the philosopher W. V. O. Quine with a quote from Shakespeare: “There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” To which Quine is said to have responded: “Possibly, but my concern is that there not be more things in my philosophy than are in heaven and earth.”

"Anything Can Happen..."


"The Summit"; "Benedicto"

"The summit is believed to be the object of the climb. But its true object - the joy of living - is not in the peak itself, but in the adversities encountered on the way up. There are valleys, cliffs, streams, precipices, and slides, and as he walks these steep paths, the climber may think he cannot go any farther, or even that dying would be better than going on. But then he resumes fighting the difficulties directly in front of him, and when he is finally able to turn and look back at what he has overcome, he finds he has truly experienced the joy of living while on life's very road."
- Eiji Yoshikawa
“May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds. May your rivers flow without end, meandering through pastoral valleys tinkling with bells, past temples and castles and poets' towers into a dark primeval forest where tigers belch and monkeys howl, through miasmal and mysterious swamps and down into a desert of red rock, blue mesas, domes and pinnacles and grottos of endless stone, and down again into a deep vast ancient unknown chasm where bars of sunlight blaze on profiled cliffs, where deer walk across the white sand beaches, where storms come and go as lightning clangs upon the high crags, where something strange and more beautiful and more full of wonder than your deepest dreams waits for you - beyond that next turning of the canyon walls.”
- Edward Abbey

The Daily "Near You?"

Elma, Washington, USA. Thanks for stopping by!

Free Download: T. S. Eliot, "Four Quartets"

“Little Gidding”, Excerpt

"We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring 
Will be to arrive where we started 
And know the place for the first time. 
When the last of earth left to discover 
Is that which was the beginning; 
At the source of the longest river 
The voice of the hidden waterfall
And the children in the apple-tree.

Not known, because not looked for 
But heard, half-heard, in the stillness
Between two waves of the sea.
Quick now, here, now, always - 
A condition of complete simplicity
(Costing not less than everything)
And all shall be well and
All manner of thing shall be well
When the tongues of flames are in-folded 
Into the crowned knot of fire 
And the fire and the rose are one.”

- T.S. Eliot

The "Little Gidding" is the last of T. S. Eliot's "Four Quartets," 
which you may freely download here:

"The Monstrous Thing..."

"The monstrous thing is not that men have created roses out of this dung heap, but that, for some reason or other, they should want roses. For some reason or other man looks for the miracle, and to accomplish it he will wade through blood. He will debauch himself with ideas, he will reduce himself to a shadow if for only one second of his life he can close his eyes to the hideousness of reality. Everything is endured - disgrace, humiliation, poverty, war, crime, ennui - in the belief that overnight something will occur, a miracle, which will render life tolerable. And all the while a meter is running inside and there is no hand that can reach in there and shut it off."
- Henry Miller, “Tropic of Cancer”

"Covid-19 Pandemic Updates 2/13/21"

"Covid-19 Pandemic Updates 2/13/21"
"When you have eliminated the impossible, 
whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth."
- "Sherlock Holmes", Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
• "Doctor Admits Masks Don’t Work: “All Viruses Can Get Through”
 Feb 13, 2021 2:08 PM ET: 
The coronavirus pandemic has sickened more than 108,300,000 
people, according to official counts, including 27,756,100Americans.
Globally at least 2,836,500 have died.

"The COVID Tracking Project"
Every day, our volunteers compile the latest numbers on tests, cases, 
hospitalizations, and patient outcomes from every US state and territory.
Feb. 13, 2021,10:47 AM ET
Where I Live:
2/12/2021: "Based on the extraordinarily severe outbreak in Pinal County right now, Pinal County is at an extremely high risk level. The risk of getting Covid-19 is based on cases per capita and test positivity. Cases are very high but have decreased over the past two weeks. The numbers of hospitalized Covid patients and deaths in the Pinal County area have also fallen. The test positivity rate in Pinal County is very high, suggesting that cases are being significantly undercounted. We’ve recommended additional precautions below."
- CP
So far so good...

"How It Really Is"



by Tim Knight

"A handwritten letter arrived in my mailbox from a reader. In it was a note from whom I would guess is an elderly gentleman, thanking me for my work both on Slope and on Tastytrade, but politely asking me to use the phrase "God damn it" less frequently, since he found it upsetting. The handwriting on the paper trembled like leaves in an autumn breeze, and it was obvious it took time and effort to send me this two-page missive. It meant something to him.

It never occurred to me that I ever used this phrase in a video, let alone often enough to cause concern. All the same, the letter, as with the many other letters I have received over the years, made an impression. For one thing, it made me wonder how angry I must be in order for this kind of sentiment to seep through, since I wasn't even aware I was saying it.

Which leads me to the topic at hand. Specifically, a man. A terribly deformed man whom I think about almost daily. For now, I'll call him Sup.

One summer evening, a few months ago, I was walking with my family down University Avenue, the central boulevard in our town, and the location of dozens of high-end retail stores that cater to the insatiable appetite of the affluent consumers in my fair city. "Sup?" came from the voice from below. (As is: "What's up?") I glanced around and didn't see the speaker. That is, until I looked lower. There, standing on the brick sidewalk on the corner of Bryant and University Avenues was a person unlike any I had ever seen before.

His head, torso, and arms were normal. There were two things obviously terribly wrong with 1117-suphim: first, his back was completely malformed, with a huge hump, and second, his legs - or what passed for legs - were just a few inches long. He appeared to be mixed race (the politically incorrect term, I think, is "mulatto") and he had a big afro.

"How you guys doin' this evening?", he asked. I stammered that we were pretty good, although I confess being a little surprised. That brief exchange ended the conversation, and my family and I continued on to Umami Burgers for dinner. In the receding distance, I heard this fellow chatting up other people as they passed, asking for a dollar from anyone who would listen.

From that day forward, I paid attention to that corner whenever I passed it in my car or walked by it during my downtown errands. Sup, as I called him, was on that corner more often than not. On occasion, I'd see a special wheelchair near him, which I suppose he could hoist himself onto and roll to wherever it was he lived (if such a place existed). But he was never in it. He was also on the sidewalk at knee level.

What struck me about Sup the most was his attitude. This guy was seriously and, dare I say, grotesquely deformed. When he moved from one place to another, he typically did so by pressing his hands against the ground and swinging his torso and tiny legs forward, much like an ape at the zoo. Although his short stature made him easy to miss, once people saw him, they couldn't help but take note. I can only imagine the range of reactions he's ever received.

But back to his attitude: this guy was relentlessly positive. And I don't mean grinning, giggling, and thumbs-up positive. I'm talking about a self-evident confidence, determination, and cachet. He gave salutations to everyone who passed; he casually smoked on a cigarette while chatting up people who would talk to him; and he made verbal passes at good-looking women as they strolled by (enjoying, incidentally, a supremely good view of their legs from his two-foot high vantage point). In spite of all this, most people tried their best to ignore him. They just felt too awkward (as if they were the ones who were entitled to feel uneasy).

Since I'm an unrelentingly self-referential twit, I pondered these observations in the context of my own behavior. Here was this guy who had every reason to feel sorry for himself. His tremendous physical deformities were going to dominate whatever impression he might possibly give to someone. He was begging on a street corner for dollar bills. He was being passed every day by countless numbers of people, many of them affluent, some of them stinking rich, while he begged for a little money to eat. And yet he was totally unfazed (in spite of, I wager, some cruel reactions or mean utterances offered by heartless strangers).

I, on the other hand, have a PhD in self-pity. I'm a white American male - by definition, a privileged class - who has a perfectly good body, good health, a zillion dollar house, and enough money to live the rest of my life without working another day. I've got a beautiful wife, magnificent children, and a good income that doesn't rob me of any personal freedom. And yet I am seized on a virtually daily basis with how miserable and rotten my life is, and how I don't deserve any of the bad things that have ever happened to me. I dare feel sorry for myself due to solvable personal problems or the fact the stupid stock market refuses to fall.

Sure, if I cornered you and shared a couple of drinks, I could probably conjure up enough tales-of-woe to get you to agree that, yeah, poor Tim is a pathetic sumbitch, and it's no wonder he's often tempted to jump in front of the next CalTrain that passes by. Indeed, most people on this planet would be able to surgically extract some sliver of their lives and make it seem sad. Hell, Elon Musk could surely give grisly tales from his multiple failed marriages, although I imagine it would be a Herculean feat for anyone to actually conjure up sympathy for the guy.

Sup, in sharp contrast to this morose malaise, was just plain cool. On more than one occasion, I'd see that he had managed to coax a couple of women - attractive young women - over to talk to him, and he was just smoking his cig, chatting them up, casual as could be. I don't know what he said to get their attention, but whatever it was, it worked. God knows the guy has chatted up more good-looking women than I ever have in my own life. That's me in the corner.

I've long been tempted to interview the guy, because there's so much I want to know about him. Where is he from? What's his background? What's his physical malady all about? What are the most interesting, kind, and nasty things people have said to him? What are some interesting stories from the many months he's been hanging out at this particular corner? What does he hope the future brings to him? How does he manage to stay so upbeat?

I haven't done the interview yet, and I'm not sure if I ever will. I mean, it takes a certain amount of gumption to start quizzing a guy up and down; he might react poorly to the whole thing. But I've got a suspicion he would be all too glad to tell his story. I'm more worried about my ability to do the interview than his interest in answering my questions.

However, I took one baby step in that direction a few days ago. I was walking by, and as usual, he tosses out - "Sup, man? Got a dollar for me?" I was on my way to my mailbox, so I replied, "In a minute." I suppose he gets this kind of brush-off all the time, but I was sincere. I was going to come back with a dollar in a minute, because there was something I wanted to buy with it.

"Yo, yo!" he said as I returned to the corner. I handed him a dollar and asked, "What's your name?" In my mind, the question was "What's your real name?", since I had known him as "Sup" all these months. "Zachary." "OK, have a good night." And I left.

So now at least I had a real name for this person. That was a more dignified, after all, since I had heretofore attached a goofy moniker to him. But I really need to interview this guy one of these days. In a way, I admire him, even though his disposition and attitude just make me loathe myself even worse than before. I mean, seriously, what right do I have? So be it. Zachary is one tough hombre. Respect."

"Discovering Your Self-Worth"

"Discovering Your Self-Worth"
by Dan Millman

"The first step is to realize that you are not alone. We have all made mistakes as part of our life and growth. We have all said, thought, felt, and done things we regret. Our worth is not dependent upon being perfect. Many of us have fallen into self-defeating cycles-behaving badly, leading to a lowered sense of self-worth, leading to more negative behaviors. If we can stop judging our mistakes so harshly, we can also stop ourselves from reactively engaging in the negative behaviors.

The second realization is that no matter what your behavior, you have done the best you could every day of your life. You may not agree with this. So before we tackle that question, consider this principle in relation to your parents or other caregivers: whether they were kind or abusive, they were doing the best they knew how in light of their own limitations, wounds, beliefs, fears, values, and anxieties. Their best may have been wonderful, or terrible, or somewhere in between. In the same way, even though you have certainly fallen short of your ideal many times and made mistakes, you have also done the very best you were capable of at the time.

Most of us have replayed in our minds an incident we wish we could do over. Maybe we could have done better on a job interview, a speech, an exam, or a performance. Or we may wish we could take back hurtful actions-moments of disrespect or dishonesty. You cannot change past mistakes, but you can avoid repeating them. The past no longer exists except as a set of memories and impressions you keep alive in the present. By focusing on doing what you can do now-by reviewing your mistakes with eyes of compassion and asking forgiveness- you do much to heal your fragmented sense of worth.

If you are sorry for never sending your mother a birthday card, send her a special one now. Even if she has passed away, write the card. And ask her forgiveness. If you hurt a brother, sister, parent, or other person, review that memory; then contact them, apologize, and ask for forgiveness. If they will not forgive you, then forgive them for not forgiving you. Then send them flowers or another gift, perhaps with a letter. Going inside and visualizing those you have hurt, and asking their forgiveness, provides a healing that begins to lift your sense of worth as it heals relationships.

The next time you feel that something good can't last, remind yourself that evolution moves in an upward spiral and that life can, and usually does, get better over time. You live and learn, stumble and evolve, rise and fall, fail and grow, expand, progress. If you pay attention and strive to improve, you become stronger, clearer, wiser, and more capable. Life is a process of rediscovering your worth and the worth of all beings.

Finally, it comes to this: To discover your worth, you have to reach within yourself and find it there. You have to create it through worthy actions. The key is to remember that even though we don't feel very kind, or brave, or even deserving, the roof over our head continues to shelter us from storms, the sun shines upon us, our chairs keep supporting us, and so do our lives. Life itself is an unearned gift- and that is the hidden meaning of grace.

Grace reveals that only this moment is real. That past and future exist only in our minds. Your scorecard is wiped clean in any moment of awareness, humility, or repentance. If you have a debt to pay, then pay it in the currency of kindness to the person it is owed, not by punishing yourself, not ever again. It is not necessary. It never has been."

The Poet: James Broughton, "Quit Your Addiction"

"Quit Your Addiction"

 "Quit your addiction
to sneer and complaint.
Try a little flaunt,
Call for comrades
who bolster your vim
and offer you risk.
Corral the crones,
Goose the nice nellies,
Hunt the bear that hugs
and the raven that quoths.
Stay up all night
to devise a new dawn..." 

- James Broughton,
 "Little Sermons of the Big Joy"

"That's Where It All Begins..."

"That's where it all begins. That's where we all get screwed big time as we grow up. They tell us to think, but they don't really mean it. They only want us to think within the boundaries they define. The moment you start thinking for yourself- really thinking- so many things stop making any sense. And if you keep thinking, the whole world just falls apart. Nothing makes sense anymore. All rules, traditions, expectations- they all start looking so fake, so made up. You want to just get rid of all this stuff and make things right. But the moment you say it, they tell you to shut up and be respectful. And eventually you understand that nobody wants you to really think for yourself." 
- Ray N. Kuili, "Awakening"

"Who Killed the Middle Class?"

"Who Killed the Middle Class?"
by Charles Hugh Smith

"What exactly is the Middle Class, and what unique role does it serve in the economy? Given that the Middle Class is constantly invoked by politicos and economists, you'd think the status quo has a solid understanding of the Middle Class. Alas, it isn't that simple. The conventional view defines the middle class by income, education, or type of labor being performed. These are all superficial attributes and ignore what actually differentiates the working class from the middle class.

Yes, the middle class tends to earn more, has higher educational credentials and performs white-collar labor rather than blue-collar labor. But getting a higher education credential and increased pay doesn't automatically provide a middle class role in the economy, nor does performing white-collar work. None of these automatically move the individual up the social mobility ladder from near-zero ownership of capital (working class) to meaningful ownership of productive capital (middle class).

The middle class is fundamentally a means of transforming labor into capital via savings and investment. The traditional ladder of social mobility from the working class to the middle class has to do with capitalizing work: time and savings are invested in higher education thus, capitalizing future labor by increasing productivity. In other words, what separates the working class from the middle class is the middle class’s ability to transform their labor into capital while the labor of the working class only funds consumption.

What Marxism Misses: The working class is defined not by credentials or type of labor but by limited access to the means to transform their labor into capital. In the classical Marxist view, there is a bright line between labor and capital: the proletariat labor in the factories owned by the capitalist industrialists who depend on monopoly capital controlled by the commercial/investment banks. The class of small business - tradecrafts, commerce, professionals, etc. - is merely a wedge between the dominant classes of labor and capital.

In this view, the exploitation of labor is the dominant force of capitalism. While labor is indeed exploited in many cases, the dynamic that this schema misses is the essential role of middle class credit/debt and consumption, which generates profits for the big owners of capital. Low-wage workers benefit their employers but not the banks or those who profit from selling goods and services to higher-wage workers - the middle class.

Debt is immensely profitable, so low-income workers have a limited pool of profitability. The financial services are expert at ripping off the working class with payday loans, check-cashing services, sky-high used auto loans, rapacious late fees and overdraft charges. But again, there is only so much blood that can be extracted from low-wage workers.

The higher, more secure wages of the middle class offer a bonanza of longer-term profits from debt taken on by the middle class. These include student loans to gain the credentials deemed necessary for middle class membership, auto loans, mortgages to buy homes, and consumer debt for all the consumption the middle class can afford: ski trips, cruises, fine dining, etc. In other words, modern capitalism stagnates without a vibrant, creditworthy middle class that borrows and spends freely. Remember, profits flow from the high levels of debt and aspirational consumption that low-wage, insecure precariats cannot afford.

Debt Serfdom: But here's the rub: most middle class debt stems from the aspiration to transform labor into capital via higher education (student debt) and home ownership (mortgages). As middle class wages lose purchasing power and incomes become more precarious (as employers offload healthcare and pension costs onto employees and shift workers from employees to gig-contract workers), the ability of the middle class to borrow and consume more falters.

Even worse, these time-honored avenues to ownership of productive capital are no longer reliable. Higher education credentials no longer guarantee stable, ample wages. Further, home ownership in a housing-bubble-addicted economy is less a means of saving and more a chip in the bubble-economy casino.

Debt serfdom awaits the aspirants to middle class ownership of productive capital. While debt payments are guaranteed, the rewards for taking on the debt are prone to sudden collapses in demand for credentials and assets purchased with debt. Debt only works for the middle class if incomes and income security rise due to improving productivity and access to productive capital. Both productivity and access to productive capital are eroding, so what made sense in past generations - borrowing for university education and a home - is now, increasingly, a pathway to debt-serfdom.

The status quo "solution" to the decline of middle class ownership of income-producing capital is an economy that is now totally dependent on speculative bubbles. The idea here is an asset bubble ever higher, and those in the middle class who own these assets will reap capital gains that will offset their declining purchasing power and income security. Unfortunately, this "solution" has only enriched the top 10%, as the bottom 90% collect a meager 3% of all income from capital.

Liabilities Instead of Assets: That disparity indicates that…

1) The bottom 90%, which includes the middle class, owns near-zero income-producing capital and...

2) What capital they do own is either rapidly depreciating "stuff" (vehicles, appliances, etc.) that generates zero income or dead-money assets such as family homes that cost a fortune but produce no income and are no longer reliable investments. The next bubble burst might evaporate the phantom homeowners’ equity generated by the serial housing bubbles.

As the middle class stagnates, so do the banks, the producers of goods and services, and the lower-wage working class who labors in services and low-productivity producers. And as the middle class awakens to the fact that the rungs of social mobility are broken, it's easy to predict a systemic breakdown.

Unfortunately, for those at the top who've benefited immensely from speculative bubbles, speculative bubbles don't create a vibrant middle class - they push what's left of the middle class off a cliff.

The winners in speculative bubbles are those fortunate enough to have bought homes, bonds, rental properties, land, etc. decades ago when a house could be had for three times median income and bonds paid solid, above-inflation returns. The bottom 90% attempting to find productive assets at affordable prices now are out of luck. Consider a 900 square foot home built in 1916 in the desirable San Francisco Bay Area community of Albany, CA. The house sold for $135,000 in 1996, 3.8 times the national median household income.

Then Housing Bubble #1 boosted the value to $542,000 in 2004, 12.2 times the national median household income. Housing Bubble #2 has pushed the value to slightly over $1 million, 14.5 times the national median household income. Only those inheriting wealth (or who chose wealthy parents), those earning over $250,000 annually, or speculators who just scored big gains in bitcoin or GameStop could afford this very small, modest house.

That's what speculative bubbles do to the middle class: they leave them behind forever. Those who bought 25 years ago entered the top 10% in wealth due to the bubblicious increase in the value of their home. A few winners in the casino who sold at the top might have edged into the top 10%, but the vast majority of gamblers in the casino cannot compete with the insiders, manipulators and pros, so they lose ground. This is why the bottom 90% collects an insignificant 3% of all income from capital.

The middle class has already collapsed, but thanks to debt and bubbles, this reality has been temporarily cloaked. All bubbles pop, and all excessive debt ends in default. When these inevitably occur, the reality can no longer be hidden."

"Double-Diapered Meltdown, Almost"

"Double-Diapered Meltdown, Almost"
by Eric Peters

"Here’s proof that mass resistance works. A large number of sane people gathered socially – and sans the Holy Rag – to watch the Super Bowl and participate in normal life, by not manifesting hypochondriacal terror of sickness. This afflicted a reporter from CNN to such a degree that she double-diapered while moaning about the mass refusal to participate in mass insanity. “Fears Grow of a Superspreader Event,” the cutline read.

Well, too bad about your fears, Freak. We’re going to live.

This is how we restore normalcy. By making it effectively impossible for these sickness psychotics to impose their psychosis. It is very hard to forcibly Diaper thousands or even hundreds of people – or even 100 of them. Twenty might be sufficient. A group that large goes into a store – or goes for a walk. It is hard to for a store to deal with that many, as it could get ugly – for the store. Also for the armed government workers the stores sic on the Unholy. Six of them vs. 20 of us is dicier than six of them on one of us.

Mass resistance is happening – though the acolytes of the Faith are doing their best to suppress coverage of it and to shame those who partake of it (e.g., characterizing them as “superspreaders” – though this is losing its punch, too since previous “superspreader” gatherings haven’t lived up to their billing because not enough or even any people have been dying).

So, enjoy – and consider joining. Show your face – and if need be, get in the face of the Faceless. Let them wear their double diapers over their quivery lips – and we’ll be glad to let them. But let’s stop letting them tell us to wear the loathsome things – in numbers!"
"Doctor Admits Masks Don’t Work: “All Viruses Can Get Through”
by Adan Salazar

"A medical doctor’s lecture explaining face masks aren’t effective at blocking viruses has gone viral. In the message, a member of America’s Frontline Doctors, Dr. Richard Urso, admits masks block little if any microscopic virus particles, contrary to what mainline health experts have been telling the public. "When I wear a mask, which is not very often fortunately, this is why." Video:
- Jeff Nelson (@vegsource) January 29, 2021

“We know what works - these don’t work against viruses. Regular masks don’t work. That’s simply what it is,” Urso explains. “It has nothing to do with Covid. Covid doesn’t even factor into the equation, because for years we’ve been looking at these issues.”

The Texas-based ophthalmologist goes on to explain there are more protective methods which would be more effective, but the N-95 masks recommended to the public still allow virus particles to pass. “So, they have these spacesuits, they’re called ‘PAPRs,’ they’re incredibly effective, they filter viruses down to .01. Basically we have materials like N-99, N-100, but N-95… only five percent of airborne particles can get through, but all viruses can get through period. Do they all get through? No, it’s just like a chainlink fence. When you throw sand at a chainlink fence not all the sand gets through.

So, I think the best example I can say is the reason we wear masks and the reason I wear a mask is because the fear is so massive in this country. I wear a mask so people don’t think I don’t care about them, but I don’t wear a mask because they work.”

Dr. Urso’s message is spreading as NIAID Director Anthony Fauci has once again flip-flopped on masks, at first claiming last week that it was “common sense” to wear two, or even up to three masks. Over the weekend, however, Dr. Fauci claimed there was “no data” to indicate that wearing two masks “would make a difference.” Fauci on double masking: “There’s no data that indicates that that is going to make a difference” Video:
- Eli Klein (@TheEliKlein) January 31, 2021
Dr. Urso interview, Dec. 30, 2020.

Friday, February 12, 2021

"Living Off Grid As The Collapse Of Society Approaches: Why Aren’t More People Doing This?"

Full screen recommended.
"Living Off Grid As The Collapse Of Society Approaches: 
Why Aren’t More People Doing This?"
by Epic Economist

"As soon as we are born, society gives us a script to tell us how we should be, how we should behave, what we like and dislike, what we should accomplish, what should be our goals and how we are supposed to manage our lives. Unfortunately, the vast majority of people are connected to the matrix and too afraid to pull the plug. Most people feel they can't quit their jobs and start over somewhere else because they have bills to cover every month, they have enormous amounts of debt they owe to giant corporate financial institutions. In essence, debt handcuffs us to the system. 

We're told we must dedicate our entire lives to work, and starting living when we retire. We pass our lives pouring money into corporate securities in the rigged game that we call "the stock market”, but the financial system isn't as indestructible as it seems to be. And what happens when our economy and the markets start to crumble? What are we supposed to do? Should we just accept we are doomed to go down with them? The answer is a big fat NO. There is life to be lived outside the molds that are presented to us. Things don't have to go that way. You can set yourself free and live a life that is worth living. In this video, we decided to bring the example of some brave risk-takers that decided to live off the grid and started to find joy and fulfillment away from the chaos of modern society. So stay with us, don't forget to share and leave a thumbs up in this video, and subscribe to our channel, and turn on the bell to keep updated with our latest notifications. 

“If the Great Recession was a crack in the system, [the health crisis] and climate change will be the chasm," said Bob Wells, the nomad who plays himself in the film Nomadland, an early Oscar contender starring Frances McDormand, is helping people to adopt the nomad way of life and change their perspectives about the world. Today, Wells lives exclusively on public lands in his GMC Savana equipped with 400 watts of solar power and a 12-volt refrigerator. He will never have to make a mortgage payment or pay rent ever again. Now his life goal is to teach people how they can practice nomadic tribalism living in a car, van, or RV, and, in that way, they can save themselves from homelessness and began living more sustainably. 

For some, living in a van isn't a practical choice, especially for families with kids and for those who need more space in order to have a comfortable experience. But there are several options one can choose to start rearranging their lifestyles. In essence, living off-grid is more about your mindset than about social rules and conventions. That's what a British couple named Matthew and Charis Watkinson defends. In an interview, the Essex vets disclosed they gave up the rat race to find a good life in the Welsh countryside after they came across and fully embraced a philosophy known as “collapsology”. In short, the movement is based around the consideration that society as we know it could entirely collapse. But as opposed to doomsday preppers, rather than lonely bunkering down in a deserted nuclear facility and preparing to fight the storm alone, the movement envisions to save society as a society - introducing rural, communal lifestyles while also welcoming communication with the wider world.

If the current collapse starts to quickly accelerate, they are ready. Besides, they don't have to get up every morning and drag themselves to corporate jobs that suck the life out of them. Matthew and Charis might have a simple lifestyle, but they are just overjoyed to be free from the chains of the system. “We’ve built a farm for a lot less than £100,000 and it’s all ours. We don’t owe anybody any money and we don’t have any bills – why aren’t more people doing this?” they questioned. That's exactly it: why aren’t more people doing this? We just like to remind you that there are options, there are alternatives and there's much more life to live outside what we call "civilization". People are finally waking up to that fact and getting free from the system, and you can do it too."

Musical Interlude: Gandalf, “Once in a Star-Brightened Night”

Gandalf, “Once in a Star-Brightened Night” 

"A Look to the Heavens"

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

"Every Human Decision..."

"Except for totally impulsive or psychotic behavior, every human
decision comes down to the choice between two alternatives."
- Jeff Duntemann

"How Stress Affects Your Cholesterol Level: Everything You Wanted to Know"

"How Stress Affects Your Cholesterol Level: 
Everything You Wanted to Know"
by Karen Reed

"You’ve heard all about how high cholesterol levels are causing ill health. More importantly, you’ve heard about how bad cholesterol is causing ill health. It affects your arteries and blood flow, putting your heart under more pressure to perform properly. Those with high cholesterol levels are more at risk of stroke, heart attacks, and heart disease.

Cholesterol has long been linked to the food we eat. There are certain foods that we’re recommended to stay away from and others that we should get more off to promote good cholesterol levels and help protect the arteries. Did you know that it’s not just food that affects the cholesterol levels? Stress has been linked to high cholesterol. In fact, some studies now show that stress is worse than the food we eat for cholesterol levels and ill health.

The problem is that stress is a silent killer. We don’t realize that our cortisol levels are up and causing these problems until it’s too late in some cases. It’s important to reduce our stress levels to keep our cholesterol levels down. Here’s a look at just how stress causes high cholesterol and what you can do about it.
What Exactly Is Cholesterol? Before you start looking at stress and how it affects to high cholesterol levels, you need to know more about it. What exactly is it and what does it do?

There are two types of cholesterol: good and bad. The bad cholesterol is known as LDL cholesterol, and you shouldn’t have any more than 100mg/dL of this type in your body. Good cholesterol is HDL, and you should have at least 60mg/dL. A good level of total cholesterol, according to physicians, is 200mg/dL and this can be made up of both good and bad. Considering you shouldn’t have more that 100mg/dL of the bad stuff, you want at least 100mg/dL of the good stuff. The more good cholesterol you have, the better it is for you. Good cholesterol can keep the bad stuff at bay and under control.

What exactly is cholesterol? It’s a fatty substance that is only found in animal products. It is naturally produced by your body, but can also be added to food. The body will make more cholesterol due to trans and saturated fats being added through food. Both types of cholesterol will enter the arteries and build up. The good stuff builds up as a lining to the arteries, protecting them from damage. The lining is soft and makes it easier for the blood to flow through the veins.

On the other hand, bad cholesterol blocks the arteries. It creates a friction layer that stops the blood flowing freely. The heart and brain don’t get the blood that they both need and clogs can appear in the arteries. You’re at a higher risk of suffering various health problems, including stroke and heart disease, because of your high bad cholesterol levels.

There are various types of people more at risk for having high cholesterol levels. There are certainly genetic factors involved, but there are also lifestyle factors. One of those is stress levels, especially in those who are overweight, smoke or have other health problems.
Stress and the Unhealthy Lifestyle: One of the reasons found for the stress and high cholesterol link is bad lifestyle habits. Those who are stressed are more likely to follow less healthy habits in other areas of their life. They’re less likely to exercise and more likely to eat bad food. After all, saturated and trans fat foods tend to be the comfort foods – those that people crave to try to boost their endorphin and serotonin levels.

People who are stressed will look for ways to counter their cortisol levels, and that is usually through unhealthy methods. People are more likely to drink or smoke, which puts other strains on their body. The body isn’t able to produce the good cholesterol and is encouraged to create bad cholesterol. This reason is highly common in men. It is men who tend to deal with stress the worst, possibly due to misconceptions that relaxation techniques are for women. They also tend to have higher stressful jobs than women, since many men are in higher positions of power and authority. Men tend to be in more leadership roles, which means more responsibility and decision making. It may not seem fair, but that’s just a common view.

How the Body Reacts to Stress Causes High Cholesterol Levels: Another study found that people who suffer from high levels of stress have higher bad cholesterol due to the high levels of triglycerides. The triglycerides are the components that encourage the boost of bad cholesterol levels, causing major health problems. It doesn’t matter what your diet is like, although the unhealthier diet will put you more at risk.

The study researchers considered the reasons for the higher triglycerides. While the exact reason isn’t known, the theory is that it is due to the stress hormone cortisol. This is common is people who suffer long term stress, and leads to the release of adrenaline in the body.

Adrenaline is the body’s “flight or fight” response and helps to deal with the stress levels. It pushes people into making decisions and keeps them alert and active when they desperately need to be. Many people in trauma incidents report that they don’t know how they kept going. The adrenaline pushed them forward until they were given a chance to relax. That was when their bodies shut down, and they had the chance to allow the trauma to affect them. Adrenaline can certainly have benefits, but it causes the increase in triglycerides. This then triggers the high levels of bad cholesterol, which can later affect the body in other ways.

Stress Can Cause “Stickiness” in the Arteries: Another study has found that the arteries can be “sticky” due to high-stress levels. This may or may not be linked to high cholesterol levels. It could be a problem on its own that makes it look like someone has high cholesterol levels.

Stress makes the muscles spasm. This affects the arteries, which causes problems with the blood flow. The platelets in people with high-stress levels are commonly “sticky.” They cling to the artery walls and create bumps and friction for the blood flow. The blood is more likely to clog, and other health problems arise. The constriction of the arteries certainly doesn’t help things. When the arteries constrict, the area for the blood flow gets smaller, and it causes the blood flow to slow down. Mixed with the stickiness or high cholesterol problems, the blood gets stuck and clogs. It’s harder for the heart and brain to get the blood that they both need.

Stress causes many other health problems and affects the body in more ways that we currently know or understand. It is possible that stress isn’t just a factor for high cholesterol but makes high cholesterol worse for the health.
Reducing Stress to Prolong Life: Many scientists now recommend not focusing on reducing cholesterol as much as reducing stress. Cholesterol gained a bad rep for a long time, including good cholesterol. It’s taken time for the medical world to realize that not all cholesterol is bad and there are other factors that cause many of the same risks. One of those is the high-stress levels. It’s important to keep them to a minimum so the whole body can work effectively and we can prolong out lives.

The tricky thing is finding a way to reduce stress levels. Understandably reducing stress isn’t always easy and people can end up even more stressed because they’re trying to reduce it. Think about how you feel when you’re struggling to sleep because of stress. You get more worked up, which releases more cortisol and more adrenaline into the body. It’s harder to get to sleep, and this cycle continues until you find a way actually to reduce the stress.

Meditation and exercise are often considered the best ways to reduce stress. Yoga is a popular option since it combines the two together in many ways. You get to become one with yourself, focus on your breathing, and tone your body at the same time.

Both meditation and exercise help to release more happy hormones into your body. The right chemicals help to reduce the levels of cortisol in your body. You’ll have less adrenaline keeping you awake and fewer triglycerides causing your bad cholesterol production to increase.

It will be tempting to reach for a glass or two (or even a bottle) of wine to deal with stress. Smoking is tempting, along with binge watching a TV series while you struggle to sleep. You want to look for healthier ways to handle your stress. The negative ways will just cause more problems for your health.
Long Term vs. Short Term Stress and Cholesterol: If you have the odd day where you feel like you’re at the end of your tether, don’t worry about it too much. It’s not the short-term stress that causes the increase in cholesterol levels. The studies show that those who suffer long term stress are the ones who are most likely to see all the negative side effects.

Sure, stress isn’t good for you, but it is also a normal part of living. There are times that adrenaline and cortisol are needed. They can keep you going when you run out of energy or when going through trauma.

Those who suffer long term stress will have prolonged cortisol and adrenaline levels. Those hormones will be much higher than they need to be and in the body for much longer. They cause a range of health problems when around for long periods of time, including high blood pressure, insomnia, and even Type II diabetes. It shouldn’t be surprising that high cholesterol levels are also a problem.

Healthy eating is an important lifestyle choice. Not only will it help to reduce the foods that cause cholesterol production but it can also reduce the cortisol release. Healthy foods protect the body, supply energy, and help to boost the production of happy hormones, which help to reduce the stress hormones.

When you suffer from long term stress, you will want to look for ways to eliminate the reason for stress as much as possible. I know this isn’t always going to be easy. You may enjoy your career, but there will be times that you struggle to cope with all the demand your job throws at you. It’s not like you can just pick and choose. However, if there is a way that you can reduce the stuff you do that causes stress, such as delegation, then you want to do it where you can.

Long term high-stress levels may not cause immediate problems. There are links to issues years down the line because of the stress levels that you have felt at some point in your life. This issue is linked more with long term stress, but some bouts of short-term stress can also be a problem.

Stress Isn’t the Only Culprit: It is important to note that stress isn’t the only reason we suffer from high cholesterol levels. While it’s a silent killer and common, there are many other reasons your cholesterol levels could be high. Diet is certainly a factor, but so are genetics and other lifestyle choices that you make. The place you work or the chemicals that you inhale from where you live can also cause cholesterol levels to increase.

This is something that scientists are still trying to understand. We have come a long way since believing that all cholesterol was bad. Now we know that some cholesterol is good, and we want it to our bodies, but we need to make sure that it is good. While stress isn’t the only culprit, it is one of the main reasons for high cholesterol levels and other health problems. It’s best to keep the stress levels at bay as much as possible.”