“Close to the Great Bear (Ursa Major) and surrounded by the stars of the Hunting Dogs (Canes Venatici), this celestial wonder was discovered in 1781 by the metric French astronomer Pierre Mechain. Later, it was added to the catalog of his friend and colleague Charles Messier as M106. Modern deep telescopic views reveal it to be an island universe - a spiral galaxy around 30 thousand light-years across located only about 21 million light-years beyond the stars of the Milky Way.
Along with a bright central core, this stunning galaxy portrait, a composite of image data from amateur and professional telescopes, highlights youthful blue star clusters and reddish stellar nurseries tracing the galaxy's spiral arms. It also shows off remarkable reddish jets of glowing hydrogen gas. In addition to small companion galaxy NGC 4248 at bottom right, background galaxies can be found scattered throughout the frame. M106, also known as NGC 4258, is a nearby example of the Seyfert class of active galaxies, seen across the spectrum from radio to X-rays. Active galaxies are powered by matter falling into a massive central black hole.”
"When a bull is being lead to the slaughter, it still hopes to break loose and trample its butchers. Other bulls have not been able to pass on the knowledge that this never happens and that from the slaughterhouse there is no way back to the herd. But in human society there is a continuous exchange of experience. I have never heard of a man who broke away and fled while being led to his execution. It is even thought to be a special form of courage if a man about to be executed refuses to be blindfolded and dies with his eyes open. But I would rather have the bull with his blind rage, the stubborn beast who doesn't weigh his chances of survival with the prudent dull-wittedness of man, and doesn't know the despicable feeling of despair."
"Israel is one of the most vaccinated nations in the world. 80% of their eligible population is vaccinated, far beyond what was once being touted as a “herd immunity” level necessary for life to return to normal. Despite their success in getting their population to have experimental drugs injected into their bodies, the country is suffering through a huge spike in cases. Tuesday had nearly the highest new case total the nation has seen since the pandemic began.
There have been plenty of reasons given for this. Some point to Israel opening up and letting people take off their masks for a short time. Others say it’s normal for there to be occasional spikes following mass vaccinations, ignoring literally every successful vaccine in world history. Then, there are those who are trying to move the goalpost, blaming the Delta Variant for forcing us to accept that the vaccine are more of a deterrent than protection.
One particularly clueless news anchor compared the vaccines to watches, saying “Some watches are waterproof while others are water-resistant.” She seemed to feel smart after revealing her analogy.
What you won’t hear anyone in government, mainstream media, academia, or Big Tech tell us is the only logical conclusion: The “vaccines” aren’t working.
An article at The Daily Beast discussed the circumstances in Israel. As mandated by the powers-that-be, they swayed the sentiment of the article towards promoting the vaccines despite the facts on the ground. But, as Israel’s coronavirus czar Dr. Salman Zarka said, “Unfortunately, the numbers don’t lie.”
The massive surge of COVID-19 infections in Israel, one of the most vaccinated countries on earth, is pointing to a complicated path ahead for America. In June, there were several days with zero new COVID infections in Israel. The country launched its national vaccination campaign in December last year and has one of the highest vaccination rates in the world, with 80 percent of citizens above the age of 12 fully inoculated. COVID, most Israelis thought, had been defeated. All restrictions were lifted and Israelis went back to crowded partying and praying in mask-free venues.
Fast forward two months later: Israel reported 9,831 new diagnosed cases on Tuesday, a hairbreadth away from the worst daily figure ever recorded in the country - 10,000 - at the peak of the third wave. More than 350 people have died of the disease in the first three weeks of August. In a Sunday press conference, the directors of seven public hospitals announced that they could no longer admit any coronavirus patients. With 670 COVID-19 patients requiring critical care, their wards are overflowing and staff are at breaking point.
“I don’t want to frighten you,” coronavirus czar Dr. Salman Zarka told the Israeli parliament this week. “But this is the data. Unfortunately, the numbers don’t lie.”
What happened? Here’s what happened. We were conned. We’re still being conned. The “vaccines,” which are nothing like any successful vaccines from the past, have failed miserably. For a nation to be as heavily vaccinated as Israel to be going through a spike in Covid cases cannot be categorized as anything other than proof that they do not work. Period. End of story.
Unfortunately, it’s not the end of the story. Logic has been tossed out the window. The article continues to try to explain away what’s happening: "The complex and sobering truth is that no single policy or event brought Israel to this crisis, Hagai Levine, a Hebrew University of Jerusalem professor of epidemiology, told The Daily Beast. A deadly set of circumstances came together to put Israel on the precipice, most of which can be summed up as: “We are still in the midst of a pandemic, and there is no silver bullet.” “All the vectors have influenced the rise in morbidity,” he said.
But the principal causes of Israel’s current predicament are the dominance of the extremely infectious Delta variant, which was carried into the country by Israelis returning from foreign vacations during the weeks in which Israel dropped all restrictive measures- along with the worrisome decrease in vaccine efficacy after about six months.
Israel vaccinated its population almost exclusively with the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, which received full FDA approval on Monday and remains the gold standard for the prevention of severe illness due to the coronavirus.
Notice how they try to throw lipstick on the pig by calling the Pfizer injections the “gold standard for the prevention of severe illness due to the coronavirus.” This is what we’re faced with, but there’s a silver lining to their new rhetoric. If the “vaccines” are good for preventing serious illness and not effective at preventing infection, shouldn’t that make vaccine mandates unnecessary? It comes down to personal choice if the vaccinated are just as contagious as the unvaccinated, which clearly seems to be the case.
Logic is unlikely to sway the vaccine pushers. They want mandates and it will take the combined efforts of those who love freedom to prevent America from becoming like Australia… or worse."
“Consider a turkey that is fed every day. Every single feeding will firm up the bird’s belief that it is the general rule of life to be fed every day by friendly members of the human race ‘looking out for its best interests,’ as a politician would say. On the afternoon of the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, something unexpected will happen to the turkey. It will incur a revision of belief.“
- Nouriel Roubini
“It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble.
“I‘d love to change the world, but I don‘t know what to do,
so I’ll leave it up to you…”
“What a great lyric that is from the late 60′s, early 70′s English band “10 Years After.”* I believe this describes that uneasy feeling of discontent that sits deep in the stomach, beneath the day to day exteriors, of so many people today. The world is like a black hole in that it seems to be getting smaller and smaller as the years go by but also heavier and heavier with each passing day.
When I was a teenager and my friends and I were taking reality obscuring substances, one of my buddies (this means you Nichol) would stop us at certain points throughout the night for a reality check. This was just a few moments where we ‘d all gather our senses to make sure the world was still right and then we’d venture back into obscurity. I feel that reality is an old world term. There is no reality anymore. With advances in technology came unending possibilities of if you can dream it they can make it so. The ubiquitous flow of information ensures that the truth is always available but never known with certainty. It means there is no such thing as a reality check. It’s like that dream inside a dream inside a dream. Which reality is real anymore? How deep does the rabbit hole go?
We are raised with pretty standard ideals of what the world is meant to be but these ideals seem to take place only in the movies. It must be incredibly difficult for our young people to reconcile the two worlds, I know it is for me. That which they learn as a child and that which they find has replaced it as a young adult. Our leaders are despicable, arrogant and egotistical fools who pretend we elect them because we don’t see them for what they are. But we elect them because we feel we have no choice. We know what we want the world to be. We know what it should look and feel like. And we know it is not the world in which we live today. I know I’d love to change the world but I don’t know how and so I’ll leave it up to you. And so we continue to move forward down this path, each step uneasy as though something ungood is lurking just around the next corner.
We are able to put that feeling out of our minds for the most part but our subconscious is always aware that things are off. We have all kinds of self help books and new age theories that attempt to make sense of it all and explain why we just aren t happy the way we envision happy should be. Perhaps the only reality is the reality that the world isn’t what we had hoped it would be and we don’t know how to make that right. I’d love to say that if we just stand up and do the right thing, act from our hearts and have good intentions that it could change the world. But quite honestly there are ill-intentioned people that are constructing this new world in which we sub-exist.It is them and us, but they’d never say it that way. Certainly though their intention is not for us to co-exist along side them.
But so we carry on and we, move forward, to the best of our abilities. We accept the good with the bad and acknowledge that everything is a trade off. We believe that if we go to college we stand a better chance in life and so we borrow our first 10 years of post college wages to get an edge over the next guy who is doing the same. When we get out of school we know that it is time to buckle down and get serious. We put our lives on hold in order to focus on the future with the idea that one day we will be sitting on the porch with the person we love, the one we put on hold for all those years, and we will then enjoy our life’s work then.
But then we get further in debt because we need a sleeker car and we need a bigger house but it’s ok because we can just work a little more. And then the kids come and as far as we got to know them they are great, I think. But it’s ok because they just finished college and now they’ve moved back in as the job market is tough out there and so we’re paying off their student loans. Eventually they get away and begin their life’s journey and they take their debt with them. And then we realize, god I’m almost 60. But it feels great because that means soon I’ll be there on the porch getting to know the one I love again and life will be grand at that point.
But then we turn 65 and we realize all those policies that were implemented by all those well-intentioned decision makers have actually left us with very little. And we say it’s ok because we’d be bored anyway just sitting on the porch. And so we take a job waving at people in Walmart but feel like OMG how did I get here. But the shift ends and we go home anxious to spend time with the one we love because, although it’s a terrible thought, we are aware we’re both getting long in the tooth. And so we arrive home only to realize the one we love is now sick and that it’s too late for our days sitting on the porch getting to know each other again. We do everything we can but we cannot afford to help that person who stood quietly behind us all those years as healthcare costs are unrealistically out of touch with reality. And then it hits us that despite taking all the right steps to ensure we have a great life we failed to ever really be happy, to really love and to really accept love. And then it really hits us, this world provides but one shot.
Well, then that feeling of uneasy discontent that shadowed us when we were young is now an intense pain in our heart. And we look out at the world and we ask ourselves how could this have happened? I did everything they told me I was supposed to do, I did everything right! And it becomes clear that life was a chance to change the world, but we didn’t know what to do, and so we left it up to…”
“In the summer of 1959, at the Feather River Inn near the town of Blairsden in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of northern California. A resort environment. And I, just out of college, have a job that combines being the night desk clerk in the lodge and helping out with the horse-wrangling at the stables. The owner/manager is Italian-Swiss, with European notions about conditions of employment. He and I do not get along. I think he’s a fascist who wants pleasant employees who know their place, and he thinks I’m a good example of how democracy can be carried too far. I’m twenty-two and pretty free with my opinions, and he’s fifty-two and has a few opinions of his own. One week the employees had been served the same thing for lunch every single day. Two wieners, a mound of sauerkraut, and stale rolls. To compound insult with injury, the cost of meals was deducted from our check. I was outraged. On Friday night of that awful week, I was at my desk job around 11:00 P.M., and the night auditor had just come on duty. I went into the kitchen to get a bite to eat and saw notes to the chef to the effect that wieners and sauerkraut are on the employee menu for two more days. That tears it. I quit! For lack of a better audience, I unloaded on the night auditor, Sigmund Wollman.
I declared that I have had it up to here; that I am going to get a plate of wieners and sauerkraut and go and wake up the owner and throw it on him. I am sick and tired of this crap and insulted and nobody is going to make me eat wieners and sauerkraut for a whole week and make me pay for it and who does he think he is anyhow and how can life be sustained on wieners and sauerkraut and this is un-American and I don’t like wieners and sauerkraut enough to eat it one day for God’s sake and the whole hotel stinks anyhow and the horses are all nags and the guests are all idiots and I’m packing my bags and heading for Montana where they never even heard of wieners and sauerkraut and wouldn’t feed that stuff to the pigs. Something like that. I’m still mad about it.
I raved on this way for twenty minutes, and needn’t repeat it all here. You get the drift. My monologue was delivered at the top of my lungs, punctuated by blows on the front desk with a fly-swatter, the kicking of chairs, and much profanity. A call to arms, freedom, unions, uprisings, and the breaking of chains for the working masses.
As I pitched my fit, Sigmund Wollman, the night auditor, sat quietly on his stool, smoking a cigarette, watching me with sorrowful eyes. Put a bloodhound in a suit and tie and you have Sigmund Wollman. He’s got good reason to look sorrowful. Survivor of Auschwitz. Three years. German Jew. Thin, coughed a lot. He liked being alone at the night job – gave him intellectual space, gave him peace and quiet, and, even more, he could go into the kitchen and have a snack whenever he wanted to – all the wieners and sauerkraut he wanted. To him, a feast. More than that, there’s nobody around at night to tell him what to do. In Auschwitz he dreamed of such a time. The only person he sees at work is me, the nightly disturber of his dream. Our shifts overlap for an hour. And here I am again. A one-man war party at full cry.
“Fulchum, are you finished?”
Lissen, Fulchum. Lissen me, lissen me. You know what’s wrong with you? It’s not wieners and kraut and it’s not the boss and it’s not the chef and it’s not this job.”
“So what’s wrong with me?”
“Fulchum, you think you know everything, but you don’t know the difference between an inconvenience and a problem. If you break your neck, if you have nothing to eat, if your house is on fire – then you got a problem. Everything else is inconvenience. Life is inconvenient. Life is lumpy. Learn to separate the inconveniences from the real problems. You will live longer. And will not annoy people like me so much. Good night.” In a gesture combining dismissal and blessing, he waved me off to bed.
Seldom in my life have I been hit between the eyes with a truth so hard. Years later I heard a Japanese Zen Buddhist priest describe what the moment of enlightenment was like and I knew exactly what he meant. There in that late-night darkness of the Feather River Inn, Sigmund Wollman simultaneously kicked my butt and opened a window in my mind.
For thirty years now, in times of stress and strain, when something has me backed against the wall and I’m ready to do something really stupid with my anger, a sorrowful face appears in my mind and asks: “Fulchum. Problem or inconvenience?”
I think of this as the Wollman Test of Reality. Life is lumpy. And a lump in the oatmeal, a lump in the throat, and a lump in the breast are not the same lump. One should learn the difference. Good night, Sig.”
Property Value Drop Due To Bankruptcies & Foreclosures"
by Epic Economist
"The US economy is almost fully reopened at this point. However, several big retailers and shopping malls are either still struggling or shuttering stores and locations at alarming rates. Consumers are just now realizing how ravaging was the carnage. Over the past 12 months, the nationwide drop in retail sales for brick-and-mortar stores was simply unprecedented. It marked the biggest decline in over a decade. Only in 2020, tens of thousands of retail brands filed for bankruptcy, and at least 25,000 stores were permanently closed. But the truth is that the entire brick-and-mortar sector of retail has been suffering from low sales and plummeting foot traffic for years. In 2019, about 9,300 stores closed, and an additional 80,000 stores - which represent 9 percent of all stores in the country - will close in the next two years as a part of the phenomenon known as "retail apocalypse," predicts a report from financial services company UBS.
Already, big household names such as Brooks Brothers, J. Crew, Guitar Center, and Pier 1 have filed for bankruptcy. The most recent bankruptcy filings include Sears, Lucky Brand, Forever 21, and Circuit City. In total, more than 60 major retailers filed for bankruptcy in 2020. Department stores have been particularly hard-hit by the movement restrictions and lockdowns imposed last year as well as the exponential growth in online commerce. There's is no end in sight for the retail apocalypse: Given that consumer patterns won't turn back, nearly half of all remaining mall-based department stores will be shuttered by the end of 2021, according to the real estate research firm Green Street Advisors. And the collapse in brick-and-mortar sales, as well as the massive wave of bankruptcies, are already dramatically impacting shopping malls all across the nation. Industry executives say that there's a huge number of malls that are either facing a financial abyss or already down the abyss and currently on life support.
The past decade has seen hundreds of malls close doors for good, and according to Coresight Research estimates at least a quarter of the roughly 1,000 still remaining will be shuttered in the next three to five years. The alarmingly low revenue has left mall owners unable to keep up with mortgage and loan payments. In recent months, mall delinquency rates have soared, and many properties have seen their value face a painful crash. This chapter of the commercial real estate collapse is being called by industry analysts as the "Mallmageddon". Even though some of the debt-burdened properties are still open and doing business, they still cannot meet all the back loan payments and have defaulted on their debts. Consequently, their value has been slashed over the past couple of months as mall lenders are expiring to face huge collateral, while landlords are either walking away or filing for bankruptcy.
The one million square feet Westfield Palm Desert Mall, which is owned by commercial property giant Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield - a company that recently revealed a $32 billion debt and announced that it would get rid of all its US malls - is now facing a steep decline in its value. After all anchor stores began closing down, the Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield defaulted on the loan payment, and in June 2020, the $125 million loan was transferred to special servicing for payment default. The lenders have taken huge losses. The property, whose collateral was at $212 million is being sold to $55.2 million, amounting to a loss of 74% in value.
Now, one of the biggest worries for the sector is the giant New Jersey landmark: the American Dream mall located at the Meadowlands. The property is in extremely dire financial conditions. Since its opening, the megamall has faced a series of disruptions and it has been struggling to keep up with loan payments as the health crisis delayed its official opening for customers several times and the mall suffered from the extremely unfortunate timing of the worsening of the retail apocalypse. Some of the lenders of the project include J.P. Morgan, Goldman Sachs, and Soros Fund Management, which are bracing to face losses on about $1.7 billion in construction loans if the mall's poor financial condition doesn't show any improvements soon enough.
Unfortunately, it seems that for both retailers and mall owners, the situation is about to get much worse as several companies are reporting severe supply chain issues, with manufacturers lacking capacity or materials, and distribution networks increasingly backlogged, just as we started to move closer to the busy holiday season. Mass bankruptcies, closures, and foreclosures are still imminent, with the total commercial real estate debt now nearing $21 billion. It's safe to say that things will never come back to normal, and the commercial real estate collapse has just begun."
"We’re seeing the end of trust in American institutions. The war machine and the public-health machine have faced brutal discrediting due to their long records of obfuscation, duplicity, and deception. It’s a reality that the mainstream press tried desperately to prevent. And they are still not reporting it. According to the aggregated polls on Biden’s job approval as accumulated by RealClearPolitics, Biden suddenly finds himself underwater. This is the point at which job disapproval is higher than job approval. It’s a tremendously bad sign for any president.
You probably saw it coming. I did too. It seems inevitable in retrospect. The failings of the present administration have come fast and furious, more so than with any president in living memory. The Biden-Harris administration came to power in a time of national exhaustion from division, bitterness, lockdowns, and unrelenting political frenzy. It was a perfect setup for him. Open the economy, open travel, dial back the insane restrictions, clean up the budget, and just let the country heal on its own.
In the early days of the administration, I gave several interviews in which I advised the new administration to this effect. Ever optimistic (yes I’ve been mostly wrong), I did imagine that it would be more-or-less rational. I suggested three easy steps: 1) stop the trade wars with China and Europe, 2) open up all international travel, and 3) cut it out with all the Covid restrictions that have proven to be so pointless.
It’s like the Biden administration heard my interview and did the opposite. It retained both the tariffs and travel restrictions and tightened restrictions with crazy new mask and vaccine mandates, while blowing up the federal budget and cheering more money printing. Somehow, that obvious path to success eluded this gang of fanatics. They came to power consumed by ideology taught to them in high-end colleges. They burned with a passion for getting it done right away, wiping out any public stain of the Trump administration and putting the socialist stamp on every aspect of American life, mostly by means of the executive order.
The Future of this President: To be sure, there is a problem. The last thing Republicans want right now is the impeachment of Biden for any reason, simply due to his replacement. Kamala Harris would be the worst of all possible worlds, though certainly even more unpopular than Biden himself.
What then is the result of a president who lives in the red zone of approval? He continues to serve, but goes from crisis to crisis. He loses political credibility with his own party. He is unable to muster votes in the House and Senate for his insane policies (this is already starting to happen). His hands are tied.
It’s a tragic feature of any political system that they are all relatively immune from the forces of market discipline. In private markets, consumers and investors are always in a position to punish inefficiency or wrongdoing, however imperfectly they perform at this task. But in public institutions of government, there is no real mechanism to control their operations apart from voting, which is set by the calendar in the American system. That leaves only polls, which themselves are subject to tremendous inaccuracies and exigencies of poll takers. It’s taken too long but finally the decline and fall of the Biden administration are in play.
The Wheel of Justice: Let’s examine some of the huge issues that could prove to cause a full discrediting of this administration, and, along with it, the entire media apparatus that has worked to cover up its misdeeds. I will list them in the order of seriousness.
Inflation. Everything you hear from the Fed amounts to “calm down, it’s transitory.” At some point, it’s no longer believable. The price pressure is affecting every sector of American life, and it is spreading like a cancer. It’s at the grocery store, the gas pump, in housing and rents, in travel and hospitality, and pretty much everything that people buy. It’s also affecting financials in ways that delight the people who check their IRA apps on their phone daily.
Even though these increases delight people, they represent inflation in a different form. They are also unsustainable. The whole mess could amount to a true political disaster waiting to happen. People despise inflation, as we know from the political revolution it caused 40 years ago. Biden will get the blame. If financials eventually turn South and keep going, there will be no saving this administration.
Vaccine Mandates. A bit of blunt talk here I hope you don’t mind: I was never a huge fan of the Covid vaccine, simply because I watched the rush to get it and figured that natural immunity is far safer for almost everyone. Also, I know from cell biology that unstable viruses like this one are not easy against which to vaccine. I was also surrounded by genuine vaccine experts who worried that this whole enterprise could discredit vaccines for several generations. It was hard enough to inspire people to take the jab for medicines that have gone through many years of trials, but it is taking a gigantic risk to impose this thing on a whole population, much less do it by force.
Now the data is in, we are discovering that the whole thing was wildly oversold, mainly so that the manufacturers could earn authorization. Forget the claims of 96% effectiveness; it is now admitted widely that the jab does not stop infection or transmission, and it is still unclear about the extent to which it can actually be credited with curbing severity (that was never even tested at the outset). I can’t prove this but my spider sense on this, speaking as a very close observer of the scene, is that this whole thing is unraveling quickly.
Afghanistan Scandals. This enormous mess is going nowhere. Twenty years of blood and treasure and the entire mess was revealed as pointless in the course of just a few days. If the American military and political class believe that they can just sweep this under the rug, they are mistaken. Too many families have suffered egregious harm, sons and daughters having their lives wrecked supposedly to build freedom in this country, when it just went away like the illusion it always was.
Shortages in Housing and Goods. So many people are on the move right now and discovering that they can no longer count on housing markets and rental markets to work like they once did. Housing is in shortage where people are moving to and in surplus in places where people are moving from. The moratorium on evictions – will they ever end? – has wrecked the rental market at the same time. Any marginal credit risks are being refused for obvious reasons. The poor or those with unstable job situations can forget it. This is going to lead to a genuine crisis and widespread disgruntlement.
Welfarism. The truth is that there is nothing genuinely American about welfare. As a short-term boost, perhaps it passes political muster but as a long-term way of life, as the Biden administration imagines it? No way. In fact, it is not just in America. In most places in the world, particularly with heterogeneous populations, welfare generates political instability. When you have perhaps 15% of the population living off the labors of the other 85% you have a serious basis for building resentment that will make the 80’s and 90’s anti-welfare movements look polite by comparison.
China Aggression. The discrediting of the American empire has caused nothing but delight in Beijing and now we have a regime eyeing its neighbors for a burning desire for more control. The main target is Taiwan but there are others. U.S. influence in that part of the world isn’t entirely evaporated but it is dramatically diminished. And think of this: there is zero chance that the Biden administration could ever consider a war option insofar as China is involved. That fact alone means that every bit of warning to China from the U.S. will be completely ignored.
A Wild Ride Ahead: Yes, all these trends could change but I doubt it. So far this administration has proven itself to be economically ignorant, uncomprehending in terms of understanding the American spirit, and politically unwise, putting ideology ahead of all concerns of viability and even popularity.
Now we see Biden himself slipping into negative territory. In economics and foreign policy, it is even worse. None of this do I welcome; it cannot be good for any country to live through economic and political upheaval all at once. The means exist to avoid both, but the will to do so is not."
“Like delicate cosmic petals, these clouds of interstellar dust and gas have blossomed 1,300 light-years away in the fertile star fields of the constellation Cepheus. Sometimes called the Iris Nebula and dutifully cataloged as NGC 7023 this is not the only nebula in the sky to evoke the imagery of flowers. Still, this remarkable image shows off the Iris Nebula's range of colors and symmetries in impressive detail. Within the Iris, dusty nebular material surrounds a hot, young star.
The dominant color of the brighter reflection nebula is blue, characteristic of dust grains reflecting starlight. Central filaments of the dusty clouds glow with a faint reddish photoluminesence as some dust grains effectively convert the star's invisible ultraviolet radiation to visible red light. Infrared observations indicate that this nebula may contain complex carbon molecules known as PAHs. The bright blue portion of the Iris Nebula is about six light-years across.”
"The majority of us lead quiet, unheralded lives as we pass through this world. There will most likely be no ticker-tape parades for us, no monuments created in our honor. But that does not lessen our possible impact, for there are scores of people waiting for someone just like us to come along; people who will appreciate our compassion, our unique talents. Someone who will live a happier life merely because we took the time to share what we had to give. Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have a potential to turn a life around. It’s overwhelming to consider the continuous opportunities there are to make our love felt."
YOUGHAL, IRELAND – Some day in the future… we’re going to understand the world better. Among other things, perhaps we will have a clearer view of that wonderful, wacky world of cryptos…Are they investments? Are they alternative forms of “money”? Or are they more like an art-form… or just entertainment? Maybe they’re a kind of financial pornography… exciting, but ultimately, phony and unsatisfying? When we figure it out… you’ll be the first to know, Dear Reader.
Signal Event: Similarly, the COVID-19 panic needs a deeper insight. Our friend, and former U.S. budget director, David Stockman, reminds us that the signal event in the first chapter of the COVID-19 calamity was the isolation of the cruise ship, "The Diamond Princess." The “novel” COVID-19 virus was found on board in February last year. And the passenger list was heavy with old people – every one of whom might have been exposed to the death bug. “Order the lilies,” said one and all. “Those people are doomed.”
But they weren’t doomed. Out of the 3,711 people trapped on the death ship, only seven died, according to Stockman. While that was a much higher mortality rate than on the average holiday cruise, it was not exactly The Plague. Besides, nearly every one of the dead was over 70, the age when death normally begins peeking in through the portholes.
Blind Panic: That was then, when nobody really knew much about the virus, and the initial reports had the whole world in a panic. Now, it is 17 months later. We’ve seen that the disease, and its variants, are very hard to stop. And that it really has it in for old people. Some countries fought it tooth and nail. Yes, that got pulses racing, too – as if the planet had been invaded by hostile aliens. Other countries took a more relaxed approach. And the results – in terms of death tolls – were all over the place.
But then… Hallelujah! Suddenly, a miracle – a vaccine! The Russians… the Chinese… the British… even the Cubans had one of their own. With the shot in the arm, the human race was saved. Take the shot, says Dr. Anthony Fauci, and you are protected.
Continued Hysteria: But what’s this? Here’s a headline that appeared on Bloomberg during the week: "Get Shots or Get Out: US Employers Are Telling Workers." And here’s The Washington Post on the same theme: "More companies are weighing penalties for unvaccinated workers. Meanwhile, our better half is back in the U.S. She reports the following: We got an invitation to a lawn party. It looked like fun. So I was going to take [our grandchildren]. Then, I read it more closely and saw that the “invitation is extended to all those who are vaccinated.”
I don’t get it. Dr. Fauci was on the news today. He clearly said that the vaccines are effective and that vaccinated people don’t have too much to fear. Even if they get the virus, they suffer much less from it. So why are people so afraid? If the vaccine is as effective as Dr. Fauci says, it makes COVID-19 – to vaccinated people – no more of a threat than the common cold or the typical flu.
People who take the medicine are no more likely to catch the coronavirus, and die from it, than they are to die in a traffic accident on their way to the party. So why the fear? Why don’t vaccinated people go about their lives like normal people – without masks – and let the unvaccinated take their chances? Why the continued hysteria? Is it just a fake excitement… a porno-like thrill, full of sound and fury, panting and moaning, but signifying nothing?
Questioning Our Assumptions: We don’t know… But like cryptos, we’re on the case. And we have a suspicion that both the crypto craze… and the COVID-19 panic… are related to our subject this week. But what isn’t?
We’re exploring how an economy actually functions… and how false signals, sent out by the feds, created a kind of porno-economy… full of fake action and unrealistic expectations.
This week, we dug down to the bedrock… the hard foundation of ideas that helps us understand what is going on. If we’re wrong about them, we may be wrong about everything: Maybe you really can get rich by printing money… Maybe it’s not really sweat, toil, saving, and innovation that create wealth; maybe prosperity comes from government decrees… And maybe we owe our standard of living not to Henry Ford, Andrew Carnegie, and Steve Jobs… but to those selfless politicians and bureaucrats, who so carefully regulate and control our lives…
Don’t they make sure that the “male” and “female” ends of the iron pipe screw together properly? Don’t they tell us when we should wear our face masks… and exactly how much inflation – 2%, not 3% or 4% – the nation needs?
Saviors and Protectors Didn’t Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal pull us out of the Great Depression? Didn’t Federal Reserve chief Ben Bernanke’s “Courage to Act” save us from another great depression in 2008? Didn’t Dr. Fauci protect us from a catastrophic plague?
Tune in again on Monday… We’ll back up the tape and take a closer look."
"Well, it is our fate to live in a time of crisis. To live in a time when all forms and values are being challenged. In other and more easy times, it was not, perhaps, necessary for the individual to confront himself with a clear question: What is it that you really believe? What is it that you really cherish? What is it for which you might, actually, in a showdown, be willing to die? I say, with all the reticence which such large, pathetic words evoke, that one cannot exist today as a person – one cannot exist in full consciousness – without having to have a showdown with one’s self, without having to define what it is that one lives by, without being clear in one’s mind what matters and what does not matter.”
"To confess that the fate of the entire global economy now rests on the mumblings of a fossilized Politburo fanatically devoted to making the rich richer is to 1) state the obvious and 2) admit the extreme fragility of the global financial system. That it has come to this - all global markets soar or collapse in unison based on the addled spew of the fossilized Politburo's chairman - is overwhelming evidence that 1) the system is broken and 2) the fossilized Politburo has way too much power and 3) the fossilized Politburo is abusing its power by enriching the already-rich, decade after decade, to the detriment of the bottom 90% and systemic stability.
Let me translate the incoherent ramblings of Chairperson Powell: let them eat cake (or more precisely, let them eat brioche), for increasing wealth and income inequality has been the Fed's prime directive since The Maestro Alan Greenspan began the Fed's manipulation - oops, I mean management - of the stock, bond and risk markets in the early 1990s.
The fatal synergies unleashed by the Fed's abuse of power were already apparent to Greenspan by December 5, 1995 when he issued his famous warning that equities were exhibiting "irrational exuberance." The irrational exuberance of those early days of the Fed's abuse of power - stripmining the middle class to boost the wealth of America's top tier - now look positively quaint compared to today's Fed-fueled speculative mania which has poisoned the entire society and hoisted the economy on a rickety ladder to the sky that will crush everything below when it finally snaps.
It would be refreshing to dispense with the Fed's pathetic, tissue-thin rationalizations for making the rich richer: we're just trying to boost inflation (the surest way to impoverish the bottom 90%) and increase employment... oh right, which must be why labor's share of the economy has been in a free-fall for the past 30 years of Fed manipulation/ buse of power. (see chart below)
Let the record show what the Fed has accomplished: 1) inflating three ever-more destructive speculative bubbles and 2) unprecedented extremes of wealth and income inequality. The Billionaires are grateful for the free trillions the fossilized Politburo showers on the super-wealthy while destroying the safe yields that once benefited the middle class.
One phrase describes the Fed's pillaging of the nation to benefit the few at the expense of the many: abuse of power. When will America finally end the Fed's reign of inequality and ever more extreme abuse of power? When will we finally ease this disastrously fossilized Politburo into the dustbin of history? If we cannot do so, the nation's financial collapse is easily foretold."
"Say what you will about President Joe Biden, he has stuck to his guns on ending America’s 20-year involvement in Afghanistan’s forever war. His decision not to delay our departure after Aug. 31 was fortified by hard intel that the terrorist ISIS-K was preparing attacks at Kabul airport. Thursday evening, the two bomb attacks occurred.
It now seems inevitable that the withdrawal will be completed by Aug. 31, with all U.S. military forces following the last civilians out. Before yesterday’s attacks, the airlift had been going far better than in its chaotic first days. Some 100,000 Americans and Afghans had gotten out of the country since Aug. 14.
Biden held his ground, refusing to be stampeded by Democratic critics, NATO allies, Republican hawks or media demanding he extend the deadline for departure until all Americans were out. His adamancy testifies to the convictions Biden came by during decades at the apex of the U.S. government during our longest war. Those convictions: Even if the end result of a withdrawal is that Afghanistan falls to the Taliban, the cause is not worth a continuance of the U.S. commitment or the blood and treasure that four presidents have invested. Better to accept a U.S. defeat and humiliation than re-commit to a war that is inevitably going to be lost.
Biden’s decision and the botched early days of the withdrawal have not been without political cost. Polls show the president’s approval rating sliding underwater. A Suffolk poll has him down to 41%. Yet, on his basic decision to get out now and accept the costs and consequences, his country appears to be with him. After all, former President Donald Trump was prepared to depart earlier than Aug. 31, and a majority of Americans still support the decision to write off Afghanistan and get out. Still, we need to realize what this means and what is coming.
According to the secretary of state, 6,000 Americans were still in Afghanistan when the Afghan army collapsed and Kabul fell. Some 4,500 of these have now been evacuated. The State Department is in touch with 500 other U.S. citizens to effect their departure. As for the remaining 1,000, we do not know where they are. What does this mean?
Hundreds of Americans are going to be left behind, along with scores of thousands of Afghan allies who worked with our military or contributed to the cause of crushing the Taliban. And many of those Afghans are going to pay the price of having cast their lot with the Americans. After Aug. 31, the fate of those left behind will be determined by the Taliban, and we will be made witness to the fate the Taliban imposes. This generation is about to learn what it means to lose a war.
When the war for Algerian independence ended in 1962, and the French pulled their troops out, scores of thousands of “Harkis,” Arab and Muslim Algerians who fought alongside the French, were left behind. The atrocities against the Harkis ran into the tens of thousands. Such may be the fate of scores of thousands of Afghans who fought beside us.
Biden’s diplomats may be negotiating with the Taliban to prevent the war crime of using U.S. citizens left behind as hostages. But we are not going to be able to save all of our friends and allies who cast their lot with us and fought alongside us. Yet, while the promises of the Taliban are not credible and ought not to be believed, we are not without leverage. As The New York Times writes, the Afghan economy is “in free fall.” “Cash is growing scarce, and food prices are rising. Fuel is becoming harder to find. Government services have stalled as civil servants avoid work, fearing retribution.”
The Taliban’s desperate need is for people to run the economy and for money from the international community to pay for imports of food and vital necessities of life. What will also be needed from us, soon after the fall of Afghanistan, is a reappraisal of America’s commitments across the Middle East. We have 900 U.S. troops in Syria who control the oil reserves of that country and serve as a shield for the Syrian Kurds. How long should we keep them there? We retain several thousand troops in Iraq. Why?
These are questions for which new answers are going to be needed. Indeed, there will be a temptation to counter our defeat and humiliation with defiant gestures or precipitate action to restore our lost credibility. Henry Kissinger’s advice on any such action today seems wise: “No dramatic strategic move is available in the immediate future to offset this self-inflicted setback, such as by making new formal commitments in other regions. American rashness would compound disappointment among allies, encourage adversaries, and sow confusion among observers.”
As for Afghanistan and the Kabul airport, there comes a time when even a great nation needs to accept the reality that Corregidor is lost."
"It would only be cruel to burden readers with more opprobrious denunciation of the pathetic figure pretending to lead the nation, but it might be fair to ask: what is to be done about him? It’s looking a little bit as though “Joe Biden” is skidding toward resignation. His body language suggests defeat. When newsman Peter Doocy asked him Thursday evening on live TV about the thirteen American soldiers blown up outside the Kabul airport, he folded up in front of the cameras like a broken accordion. Poor optics, as they say in the spin business. This was after he kept the country waiting for five and a half hours to even make an appearance when news of the bombing broke.
His managers installed a “poison pill” named Kamala Harris as his vice-president, and even members of her own party get the vapors at mere fugitive thoughts of her trying to run the country, giggling from one crisis to another. Meanwhile, the veep cut short her tour of Southeast Asia, rushing to aid beleaguered California Governor Gavin Newsom at a rally to fight his recall vote… but then cut short her Newsom rescue mission to fly on to Washington. Electioneering during the greatest hostage crisis in US history probably equals more poor optics. She will presumably spend the days ahead “standing by” on developments, within reach of the Xanax vial - while a claque of party bigwigs importunes her to get rolling on the 25th amendment.
Some of said bigwigs, including the managing parties behind “Joe Biden,” might be cooking up a neat operation in which “Joe Biden” resigns, Ms. Harris gets elevated to POTUS… Ms. Harris appoints Barack Obama vice-president… and then Ms. Harris resigns, making the popular ex-president president again. The 22nd Amendment only prevents presidents from being elected more than twice, not from being appointed by happenstance. Would they dare? Well, why not? They dared to engineer some pretty audacious election hijinks in 2020.
One thing you can count on, the situation has the potential to get a whole lot worse, both for the nation and for “Joe Biden”. Our new Taliban “partners,” assigned to provide security in-and-around Kabul, may prove to be less than steadfast in their duties as hoped. Thursday’s bloodbath hints at their inadequacies. The number of Americans stranded in Afghanistan remains hypothetical, a thousand… six thousand…nobody seems to know. Plus, Gawd knows how many NATO-ally civilian personnel, international NGO workers, and other people of, shall we say, the Western persuasion, remain trapped.
The ISIS suicide bombings made a pretty bold statement, too. If one ventured to say that our new Taliban partners are something less than gentlemen, how would you describe the cadres of Al Qaeda and ISIS? Poor sports? Ruffians? Misogynists? They have the run of Kabul now, the ability to go from door-to-door, rooting Westerners out, something they probably regard as fun. Do you remember from just a few years ago what kinds of things they like to do to their captives? Cut their heads off. (Notice I didn’t say chop.) Roast them in cages. That could start any minute. What then, “Joe Biden”?
But, then, maybe something else happens, something rather shocking: a play to remove the current president by unorthodox means, say, a rising up of parties seemingly outside of US government, including a select group of current and former US military officers? An extraordinary hiatus in the long-running usual procedures around the transfer of power? I can say no more about that because I know no more about it - except there are rumors in the wind and this is at least as dark a moment in our history as Valley Forge, Fort Sumter, Pearl Harbor, Nine-eleven. You can’t overstate how ticked-off some resourceful folks are about the current situation.
Let’s not forget that “Joe Biden” still faces some additional adversities. The Arizona election audit results can be released at any time. They will indicate that the officially certified November 3, 2020, Maricopa County vote bears little resemblance to what has been actually discovered by a scrupulous and exhaustive review of the ballots. The upshot will be a powerful intimation that perhaps “Joe Biden” arrived in his latest federal position by nefarious means… provoking moves in other states to revisit their certified 2020 conclusions, too. The optics will be poor.
Then there is the ongoing Covid 19 hysteria, a world-beating fiasco of tricked-up data and deadly mischief. “Joe Biden” is determined to get everyone in the nation vaccinated with pharmaceutical cocktails that the public has reason to be skeptical about. We know that there have been more serious adverse reactions and deaths from these mRNA shots than anything previously called a “vaccine.” There is reason to believe that the number of these mishaps is, even so, wildly under-reported.
There is plenty of reason to suspect the number of Covid-19 cases reported. The PCR tests have been ruled unreliable, and yet the medical establishment is permitted to use them until December. Is that how we’re still calculating the number of cases? I’ve heard of no other method. What if a substantial number of Covid cases are not Covid at all, but rather reactions to the spike proteins in those already vaxed-up? My guess would be: plenty of them are just that. And is it not clear by now that “vaccinating” half the population does not eradicate the disease but rather creates more variants that are resistant to these mRNA concoctions? The nations around the world that are most fully vaxed-up are also the ones with the highest rates of Covid cases now.
And “Joe Biden” is moving heaven and earth to get every company and institution in America to coerce their employees into getting a shot. Do you have any idea how pissed-off the nation is getting over this - not to mention the avalanche of lies put out by government health officials and the news media for two years about the true origins of the disease and of the mRNA “vaccines?” It’s obvious that this so-called pandemic has become an excuse to push people around.
Events are rushing ahead at a gallop, and events are in charge now, not personalities. “Joe Biden” has days left in the Oval Office. It’s really only a matter of how he gets removed… and what replaces him. Do the people who installed him in office and all his election partisans feel any buyer’s remorse? We’re finding out."
"There are certain moments that just make you want to cry. The bombings in Kabul that killed 13 U.S. troops and at least 90 Afghans didn’t have to happen. If we didn’t have completely and utterly incompetent political leaders and completely and utterly incompetent military leaders, things could have turned out very differently. The end of a 20 year war is being capped off in humiliating fashion, and nobody is going to be afraid of the United States after this. And that is actually a really bad thing, because fear of U.S. retribution has kept China, Russia, North Korea, Iran and a whole host of terror groups largely in check for the past several decades. Now that the U.S. is seemingly unable to play the “restrainer” role any longer, the stage is set for tremendous global instability.
For years, our generals were telling us that the Taliban had been defeated. Obviously, that wasn’t even close to the truth. And ISIS had supposedly been bombed into oblivion, but apparently that wasn’t true either.
Everyone knew that having so many evacuees crammed into such a small area would be a really tempting target, and our leaders were depending on the Taliban (the guys we have been shooting at for 20 years) to protect us. Needless to say, that was a recipe for disaster, and that is precisely what we got.
In the aftermath of the bombings, Joe Biden promised to hunt down those that had attacked us… "Speaking to the American people in the wake of a devastating terror attack at the Kabul airport that left scores dead on Thursday - including numerous U.S. troops - President Biden promised the U.S. would strike back against those responsible. “To those who carried out this attack, as well as anyone who wishes America harm, know this - we will not forgive, we will not forget, we will hunt you down and make you pay,” the president said in a somber White House address.
Yes, I am sure that they are shaking in their boots. At this point, nobody is afraid of our “woke military” and the snowflake generals that are leading them. The head of U.S. Central Command was asked if the Taliban allowed the ISIS terrorists to get close to the Marines, and “there’s a failure somewhere” was the best that he could come up with in response… "The commander of U.S. Central Command said Thursday he did not know if the Taliban - whose members the U.S. was relying on to screen individuals getting to the airport - let Islamic State suicide bombers get through and conduct at least two bombings that have so far killed 12 Marines and injured 15 more. “Clearly if they were able to get up to the Marines…at the entry point of the base, there’s a failure somewhere,” said Marine Gen. Kenneth McKenzie at a press briefing on Thursday."
We know that more ISIS terrorists are lurking in the vicinity right now. So will there be additional attacks in the days ahead? One source told Fox News that it is “likely” that there will be more… "A source briefed on the situation in Kabul told Fox News that some Americans stranded in Afghanistan will likely be left behind after Thursday’s bombings. The source told Fox News that “hundreds” of ISIS-K fighters remain in the vicinity of the Kabul airport and that the attacks are “likely to continue.”
Hearing that “some Americans stranded in Afghanistan will likely be left behind” should make your blood boil. What in the world is wrong with our leaders? Trump was impeached over a phone call. How much more does Biden deserve to get impeached if he leaves Americans behind in the hands of the Taliban?
And what makes things even worse is the fact that the Biden administration has actually given the Taliban a list of Americans and others that needed to be evacuated… "U.S. officials in Kabul gave the Taliban a list of names of American citizens, green card holders and Afghan allies to grant entry into the militant-controlled outer perimeter of the city’s airport, a choice that’s prompted outrage behind the scenes from lawmakers and military officials. The move, detailed to POLITICO by three U.S. and congressional officials, was designed to expedite the evacuation of tens of thousands of people from Afghanistan as chaos erupted in Afghanistan’s capital city last week after the Taliban seized control of the country. It also came as the Biden administration has been relying on the Taliban for security outside the airport."
Some are calling this a “kill list”, and that is exactly how the Taliban could choose to view it once all U.S. military forces are gone for good. And thanks to our recklessness, Taliban fighters are going to be armed to the teeth as they begin their new reign… "A government watchdog group says the U.S. military is leaving behind 75,000 vehicles, 600,000 weapons and 208 aircraft in Afghanistan as forces evacuate the country after a 20-year war.
We’ve made the Taliban into a major U.S. arms dealer for the next decade,” said Adam Andrzejewski, CEO of Open the Books. “They now control 75,000 military vehicles. This is about 50,000 tactical vehicles, 20,000 Humvees, they control about 1,000 mine-resistant vehicles, and even about 150 armored personnel carriers.”
To make matters worse, you and I paid for all of that equipment. How can any of the brass at the Pentagon keep their jobs after such a debacle? I just keep looking at those numbers and I keep wondering how our military leaders could possibly be so grossly incompetent. And the rest of the world is watching.
If a ragged group of opium dealers and goat herders can absolutely humiliate the once mighty U.S. military, why should anyone else ever be afraid of us ever again? What the Taliban has pulled off is going to greatly inspire terror organizations all over the globe, and it is going to embolden America’s most prominent enemies.
I think that the Biden administration was hoping that withdrawing from Afghanistan would be a move toward peace, but instead their incompetence has set the stage for more war.
As America is humiliated in Afghanistan, there have been lots of news stories about how China has been practicing for an invasion of Taiwan… China’s long-standing threats to invade Taiwan would require the biggest amphibious invasion in human history - and analysts say recent military activities, including exercises using commercial ferries, appear designed to practice exactly that. If you think that global supply chains are messed up now, just wait until that happens.
I know that a lot of people are cheering the fact that things are becoming more unstable geopolitically, but this new period of instability will not end well. For decades, the United States dealt with everyone else from a position of strength. But now the rest of the world can see that the emperor doesn’t have any clothes, and a power vacuum will always be filled."