Saturday, September 4, 2021

“Collapse In Confidence As Jobs Hammered; Stock Market Should Have Collapsed; Economy Is Being Doped”

Jeremiah Babe, PM 9/4/21:
“Collapse In Confidence As Jobs Hammered; 
Stock Market Should Have Collapsed; Economy Is Being Doped”

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

Full screen recommended.
The Traveling Wilburys, "End Of The Line"

"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, "Away Above The Chimney Pots "

"Away Above The Chimney Pots"
by Chet Raymo

"So Oz finally became home; the imagined world became the actual world, as it does for us all, because the truth is that once we have left our childhood places and started out to make up our lives, armed only with what we have and are, we understand that the real secret of the ruby slippers is not that "there's no place like home", but rather that there is no longer any such place as home: except, of course, for the home we make, or the homes that are made for us, in Oz: which is anywhere, and everywhere, except the place from which we began. 

In the last paragraph of his delightful meditation on the film "The Wizard of Oz", Salman Rushdie, himself an immigrant to another land, takes gentle issue with the concluding cliche: "There's no place like home." If the net result of Dorothy's technicolor adventure is to end up where she began, in gray old Kansas, then what was the point? asks Rushdie.

Poor Dorothy, waking up in bed with Auntie Em and the others clustered around her, born again, so to speak, into the same old life. "It wasn't a dream, it was a place," she cries, piteously. "A real, truly live place! Doesn't anyone believe me?" She must begin her rebellion all over again.

Visitors here will have observed that I have reached a stage in life where I am prone to look back on the journey, reflect somewhat nostalgically upon the place I came from, and try to ascertain where it is I have ended up. It is clear that the destination was in part determined by where I began, as is true, I suppose, for all of us. We are armed, after all, only with "what we have and who we are." But it is clear too that having experienced the technicolor universe of the galaxies and the DNA, there is no going back to the dusty, gray dogmas of my youth. 

The Emerald City may indeed be over the rainbow, but it is still in the here and now. The Wizard's powers may not be supernatural, but his translucently turreted city sure beats Kansas. Science was my Yellow Brick Road. I'm still a "Kansas" boy, so to speak, but with no desire to be born again. For better or worse, home is here, now, in a universe of a grandeur of which I had no idea at the beginning, at a place along a Yellow Brick Road that reaches tantalizingly into the future, with no foreseeable terminus in an ultimate Oz." 

"A Life of Learning: Earth School"

"A Life of Learning: Earth School"
by Madisyn Taylor, The DailyOm

"Earth school provides us with an education of the heart and the soul. Life is the province of learning, and the wisdom we acquire throughout our lives is the reward of existence. As we traverse the winding roads that lead from birth to death, experience is our patient teacher. We exist, bound to human bodies as we are, to evolve, enrolled by the universe in earth school, an informal and individualized academy of living, being, and changing. Life’s lessons can take many forms and present us with many challenges. There are scores of mundane lessons that help us learn to navigate with grace, poise, and tolerance in this world. And there are those once-in-a-lifetime lessons that touch us so deeply that they change the course of our lives. The latter can be heartrending, and we may wander through life as unwilling students for a time. But the quality of our lives is based almost entirely on what we derive from our experiences.

Earth school provides us with an education of the heart and the soul, as well as the intellect. The scope of our instruction is dependent on our ability and readiness to accept the lesson laid out before us in the circumstances we face. When we find ourselves blindsided by life, we are free to choose to close our minds or to view the inbuilt lesson in a narrow-minded way. The notion that existence is a never-ending lesson can be dismaying at times. The courses we undertake in earth school can be painful as well as pleasurable, and as taxing as they are eventually rewarding. However, in every situation, relationship, or encounter, a range of lessons can be unearthed. When we choose to consciously take advantage of each of the lessons we are confronted with, we gradually discover that our previous ideas about love, compassion, resilience, grief, fear, trust, and generosity could have been half-formed.

Ultimately, when we acknowledge that growth is an integral part of life and that attending earth school is the responsibility of every individual, the concept of "life as lesson" no longer chafes. We can openly and joyfully look for the blessing buried in the difficulties we face without feeling that we are trapped in a roller-coaster ride of forced learning. Though we cannot always know when we are experiencing a life lesson, the wisdom we accrue will bless us with the keenest hindsight."
"Every person, all the events of your life are there because you have 
drawn them there. What you choose to do with them is up to you."
- Richard Bach
"Ten Rules For Being Human"

Rule One: You will receive a body. You may love it or hate it, but it will be yours for the duration of your life on Earth.
Rule Two: You will be presented with lessons. You are enrolled in a full-time informal school called 'life.' Each day in this school you will have the opportunity to learn lessons. You may like the lessons or hate them, but you have designed them as part of your curriculum.
Rule Three: There are no mistakes, only lessons. Growth is a process of experimentation, a series of trials, errors, and occasional victories. The failed experiments are as much a part of the process as the experiments that work.
Rule Four: A lesson is repeated until learned. Lessons will be repeated to you in various forms until you have learned them. When you have learned them, you can then go on to the next lesson.
Rule Five: Learning does not end. There is no part of life that does not contain lessons. If you are alive, there are lessons to be learned.
Rule Six: 'There' is no better than 'here'. When your 'there' has become a 'here,' you will simply obtain a 'there' that will look better to you than your present 'here'.
Rule Seven: Others are only mirrors of you. You cannot love or hate something about  another person unless it reflects something you love or hate about yourself.
Rule Eight: What you make of your life is up to you. You have all the tools and resources you need. What you do with them is up to you.
Rule Nine: Your answers lie inside of you. All you need to do is look, listen, and trust.
Rule Ten: You will forget all of this at birth. You can remember it if you want by unravelling the double helix of inner knowing.
- Cherie Carter-Scott, 

The Daily "Near You?"

Belleville, Wisconsin, USA. Thanks for stopping by!

"The Essence Of Human Existence..."

"Curiosity is the essence of human existence.
'Who are we? Where are we? Where do we come from? Where are we going?'
I don't know. I don't have any answers to those questions.
I don't know what's over there around the corner. But I want to find out."
- Eugene Cernan

“As I’ve Aged”

“As I’ve Aged”
- Author Unknown

“You ask me how it feels to grow older. I’ve learned a few things along the way, which I’ll share with you…

As I’ve aged, I’ve become kinder to myself, and less critical of myself. I’ve become my own friend. I don’t chide myself for eating that extra cookie, or for not making my bed, or for buying that silly cement gecko that I didn’t need, but looks so avante-garde on my patio. I am entitled to a treat, to be messy, to be extravagant.

I have seen too many dear friends leave this world too soon; before they understood the great freedom that comes with aging. Whose business is it if I choose to read or play on the computer until 4 AM and sleep until noon? I will dance with myself to those wonderful tunes of many years ago, and if I, at the same time, wish to weep over a lost love… I will.

I will walk the beach in a swim suit that is stretched over a bulging body, and will dive into the waves with abandon if I choose to, despite the pitying glances from the jet set. They, too, will get old.

I know I am sometimes forgetful. But there again, some of life is just as well forgotten. And I eventually remember the important things. Sure, over the years my heart has been broken. How can your heart not break when you lose a loved one, or when a child suffers, or even when somebody’s beloved pet gets hit by a car? But broken hearts are what give us strength and understanding and compassion. A heart never broken is pristine and sterile and will never know the joy of being imperfect.

I am so blessed to have lived long enough to have my hair turning gray, and to have my youthful laughs be forever etched into deep grooves on my face. So many have never laughed, and so many have died before their hair could turn silver.

As you get older, it is easier to be positive. You care less about what other people think. I don’t question myself anymore. I’ve even earned the right to be wrong. So, to answer your question, I like being old. It has set me free. I like the person I have become. I am not going to live forever, but while I am still here, I will not waste time lamenting what could have been, or worrying about what will be. And I shall eat dessert every single day (if I feel like it). May our friendship never come apart especially when it’s straight from the heart!”

The Poet: Charles Dickens, "Things That Never Die "

"Things That Never Die"

 "The pure, the bright, the beautiful
that stirred our hearts in youth,
The impulses to wordless prayer,
The streams of love and truth,
The longing after something lost,
The spirits longing cry,
The striving after better hopes -
These things can never die.

The timid hand stretched forth to aid
A brother in his need;
A kindly word in griefs dark hour
That proves a friend indeed;
The plea for mercy softly breathed,
When justice threatens high,
The sorrow of a contrite heart -
These things shall never die.

Let nothing pass, for every hand
Must find some work to do,
Lose not a chance to waken love -
Be firm and just and true.
So shall a light that cannot fade
Beam on thee from on high,
And angel voices say to thee -
 These things shall never die. 

- Charles Dickens (1812-1870)

"How It Really Is"


Free Download: “State Of Insecurity: The Cost Of Militarization Since 9/11”

“State Of Insecurity: 
The Cost Of Militarization Since 9/11”

"Twenty years after 9/11, the war on terror has remade the U.S. into a far more militarized actor, both around the world and at home. The human costs of this evolution are many - including mass incarceration, widespread surveillance, the violent repression of immigrant communities, and hundreds of thousands of lives lost to war and violence. But of course, this militarization also has financial costs too. Over 20 years, the U.S. has spent more than $21 trillion on militarization, surveillance, and repression - all in the name of security. These investments have shown us that the U.S. has the capacity and political will to invest in our biggest priorities.

But the COVID-19 pandemic, the January 6 Capitol insurrection, wildfires raging in the West, and even the fall of Afghanistan have shown us that these investments cannot buy us safety. The next 20 years present an opportunity to reconsider where we need to reinvest for a better future."
Freely download this complete report here:

Friday, September 3, 2021

"Rental Policy Shock – 750,000 Face Eviction As Housing And Rent Prices Explode"

Full screen recommended.
"Rental Policy Shock – 750,000 Face Eviction 
As Housing And Rent Prices Explode"
by Epic Economist

"Although our politicians and policymakers insist that the runaway inflation ravaging our economy is merely "transitory", millions of Americans will soon be living under a bridge as both home prices and rents are now skyrocketing at breakneck speed. At the rate house prices are climbing right now, it won't take long before most part of the American population gets completely priced out of the market. Even the record-low mortgage rates are not being effective in helping Americans to become homeowners anymore, which means they will be doomed to pay inflated prices for rent for years if not decades to come. To make things worse, as the Wall Street Journal reported recently, would-be home buyers that have been priced out of the housing market this year are finding little consolation when they turn to the rental market. That's because rents are soaring and hitting record-breaking levels as well.

Real-estate data company Yardi Matrix found that asking rents for houses jumped nearly 13% for the year to date through July, the highest annual increase in the past five years. Since the beginning of 2021, the national median rent went up by a shocking 13.8%. As a comparison, in the pre-outbreak years from 2017-2019, rent price growth from January to August averaged just 3.6%. Given that rents are rising virtually everywhere, even small and mid-sized markets are recording an unprecedented boom. For example, in Boise, Idaho, rents have shot up by 39 percent since March 2020. This year, rent growth is largely outpacing pre-outbreak averages in 98 of the nation’s 100 largest cities. One of the most remarkable aspects of the current market is the fact that, unlike previous price bubbles, this time around the price increase is has been consistent, with not a single downward turn over the past 9 months. This is a big change from 2020 when rents sharply dropped in expensive markets while growing aggressively in more affordable ones. In 2021, the boom is affecting every major market in the country -- rents are rising across the board.

To add insult to injury, while middle-class Americans become increasingly poorer as they are forced to spend a larger share of their disposable income on rent and other living expenses, Wall Street is, of course, getting remarkably richer with this crisis. Several wealthy investors and Wall Street firms have been buying entire neighborhoods just so that they can rent the housing units at a big, big profit. The timing is also perfect for Wall Street players since the eviction moratorium has expired and the supply of available rental units is about to go up as millions of Americans get kicked out of their homes. Throughout the past year, corporate landlords were unable to evict non-paying tenants, which left them with less supply to offer those who can actually pay. To make up for their losses, they have been raising rents on every property they can, knowing that demand in the market will support the increases.

Now that the Supreme Court struck down the federal eviction moratorium for good, millions upon millions of Americans lost the only social safety net keeping a roof above their heads. A new analysis released by Goldman Sachs on Sunday suggested that without congressional action or faster disbursement of rental assistance, about 750,000 households will face eviction by the end of the year. The analysis also highlighted that due to the strength of the housing and rental market, landlords will try to evict tenants who are delinquent on rent as fast as they possibly can. The rate of evictions could be alarmingly high in cities hardest hit by the health crisis, considering apartment markets are actually tighter in those cities. Goldman also noted that an eviction episode of this magnitude will lead to a drag on consumption and job growth all across the economy, but that will be nothing compared to the implications it will have on new virus infections and public health.

On the other hand, institutional landlords are arguing that there's a 'silver lining' in throwing hundreds of thousands of people out in the street: The mass evictions would allegedly ease the imbalances created by the housing shortage since several units would be brought back into the market. On Twitter, Darrell Owens, a housing policy analyst at California YIMBY, wrote: “750,000 households don’t just magically disappear. So why would aggregate vacancies increase under stagnant housing? Because the plan is to make them homeless". Sadly, he's right. Housing in the U.S. is about to become completely unaffordable to anyone outside of the top 1%. This means that the original American Dream of owning a home has faded away and turned into a nightmare scenario for millions of Americans."

Gregory Mannarino, "Alert! Be Ready For Anything! Expect Something Dramatic To Occur Relatively Soon"

Gregory Mannarino, PM 9/3/21:
"Alert! Be Ready For Anything! 
Expect Something Dramatic To Occur Relatively Soon"

Musical Interlude: 2002, "Cycle of Time"; "Challenge From Heaven"

2002, "Cycle of Time"
Full screen mode recommended.

2002, "Challenge From Heaven"
Full screen mode recommended.


"A Look to the Heavens"

“Sculpted by stellar winds and radiation, a magnificent interstellar dust cloud by chance has assumed this recognizable shape. Fittingly named the Horsehead Nebula, it is some 1,500 light-years distant, embedded in the vast Orion cloud complex.
About five light-years "tall", the dark cloud is cataloged as Barnard 33 and is visible only because its obscuring dust is silhouetted against the glowing red emission nebula IC 434. Stars are forming within the dark cloud. Contrasting blue reflection nebula NGC 2023, surrounding a hot, young star, is at the lower left. The gorgeous color image combines both narrowband and broadband images recorded using three different telescopes.”

"When the Sky Is No More Than Remembered Light: Mark Strand Reads His Poignant Poem 'The End'”

"When the Sky Is No More Than Remembered Light:
Mark Strand Reads His Poignant Poem 'The End'”
- by Maria Popova

“Not every man knows what is waiting for him, or what he shall sing,
when the ship he is on slips into darkness, there at the end.”

“It’s such a lucky accident, having been born, that we’re almost obliged to pay attention,” the Pulitzer-winning poet Mark Strand (April 11, 1934–November 29, 2014) observed in contemplating the artist’s task to bear witness to the universe. And yet this universe in which we live is predicated on impermanence, and the lucky accident of our existence is crowned with the certitude of its end from the start. Why, then, are we always so shocked by the finitude of all we hold dear and, above all, by our own mortality? Few are those who can say with sincerity, like Rilke did an exquisite 1923 letter, that “death is our friend precisely because it brings us into absolute and passionate presence with all that is here, that is natural, that is love.” Instead, we spend our lives shuddering at any reminder of our inevitable end, unsalved by the miracle of having lived at all.

Montaigne articulated the central paradox of being perfectly in 16th-century meditation on death and the art of living: “To lament that we shall not be alive a hundred years hence, is the same folly as to be sorry we were not alive a hundred years ago.” Still, lament we do, and some of our greatest art gives voice to that lamentation.

That paradox is what Strand explores with transcendent courage and curiosity in his poem “The End,” found in his "Collected Poems" (public library) - the trove of truth and beauty that gave us Strand’s love letter to dreams.

In this hauntingly beautiful recording, courtesy of The New York Public Library, an aged Strand reads his poignant poem shortly before he repaid his own debt to mortality:

"The End"
by Mark Strand

"Not every man knows what he shall sing at the end,
Watching the pier as the ship sails away, or what it will seem like
When he’s held by the sea’s roar, motionless, there at the end,
Or what he shall hope for once it is clear that he’ll never go back.

When the time has passed to prune the rose or caress the cat,
When the sunset torching the lawn and the full moon icing it down
No longer appear, not every man knows what he’ll discover instead.

When the weight of the past leans against nothing, and the sky
Is no more than remembered light, and the stories of cirrus
And cumulus come to a close, and all the birds are suspended in flight,
Not every man knows what is waiting for him, or what he shall sing
When the ship he is on slips into darkness, there at the end."

Complement with the lyrical "Duck, Death and the Tulip", Marcus Aurelius on mortality and the key to living fully, and the great Zen master Seung Sahn Soen-sa’s explanation of death and the life-force to a child, then revisit Strand’s celebration of clouds and everything they mean."

Chet Raymo, “Try To Remember…”

“Try To Remember…”
by Chet Raymo

“In a sleepless hour of the night, I was trying to remember the last name of a person I have known well for more than forty years. When my spouse stirred in her sleep, I asked her. She couldn't remember either. One again I started mentally through the alphabet. "I think it starts with B," I said. Ten minutes later she rolled over and said, "The next letter is R." Bingo! The name popped into my head. Or I should say, "popped out of my head." Because it was in there somewhere, recorded in a tangle of neurons as materially as if it were written on a piece of paper.

There was a time, back when I was a young man, when some scientists thought memory might be molecular - stored as proteins or RNA molecules that have somehow been modified by experience. The molecule theory of memory rested on experiments with worms (I remember the cover illustration on Scientific American). The worms were taught to navigate a simple maze. Then they were ground up and fed to untrained worms, which seemed to navigate the maze without training. Only molecules, it was thought, could have survived the transfer. Those experiments have been discredited. Scientists now overwhelmingly believe that memories are stored as webs of connections between spider-shaped brain cells called neurons. Each neuron is connected through electrochemical connections to thousands of others. According to the current view, experience fine-tunes the connections, strengthening some, weakening others, creating a different "trace" of interconnected cells for each memory.

But truth be told, memory is still deeply mysterious. How exactly are a lifetime of memories stored and retrieved at will? We know how it works for computers, but how for the human brain? What is self-consciousness? What are dreams? This is the primary scientific agenda for the 21st century. In the middle of the night I go fishing, in that sea of potentiated synapses that are the human soul, for a name that becomes ever more difficult to extract as I get older. I troll the alphabet: A, B, C, D… The name is in there, along with a face and more that forty years of interactions. The Nobel Prizes are waiting.”
Graphic: Salvador Dali, "The Persistence of Memory"

The Poet: James Baldwin, "Amen"


 "No, I don't feel death coming.
I feel death going:
having thrown up his hands,
for the moment.
I feel like I know him
better than I did.
Those arms held me,
for a while,
and, when we meet again,
there will be that secret knowledge
between us."

- James Baldwin

“There Was A Tale He Had Read Once..."

“There was a tale he had read once, long ago, as a small boy: the story of a traveler who had slipped down a cliff, with man-eating tigers above him and a lethal fall below him, who managed to stop his fall halfway down the side of the cliff, holding on for dear life. There was a clump of strawberries beside him, and certain death above him and below. What should he do? went the question. And the reply was, Eat the strawberries. The story had never made sense to him as a boy. It did now.”
- Neil Gaiman

"They Are Saying..."

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

“Bank Accounts Disappear As People Panic; Auto Sales Crash, New York Paralyzed, Are You Prepared?”

Jeremiah Babe, PM 9/3/21:
“Bank Accounts Disappear As People Panic; 
Auto Sales Crash; New York Paralyzed; Are You Prepared?”

The Daily "Near You?"

Port-of-spain, Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago
Thanks for stopping by!

"Feeling Fed Up with Humanity, In the World and in Ourselves"

"Feeling Fed Up with Humanity,
 In the World and in Ourselves"
by Madisyn Taylor, The DailyOM

"We are all capable of the best and the worst that humanity has to offer and knowing this allows us to find compassion. From time to time, we may all feel fed up with humanity, whether it’s from learning about what’s going on around the world, or what’s going on next door. There are always situations that leave us feeling as if people are simply not capable of behaving in a way that is coming from a place of awareness. Often it seems as if people are actually geared to handle things in the worst possible way, repeatedly. At the same time, none of us wants to linger in a judgmental mood about our own species. As a result, we might tend to repress the feelings coming up as we take in the news from the world and the neighborhood.

It is natural to feel let down and disappointed when we see our fellow humans behaving in ways that are greedy, selfish, violent, or uncaring, but there are also ways to process that disappointment without sinking into despondency. As with any emotional response, we honor our feelings by feeling them fully, without judging or acting on them. Once we’ve done that—and we may need to do it every day, as part of our daily self-care—we can begin to consider ways that we might help the situation in which humanity finds itself.

As always, we start with ourselves, utilizing our awareness of the failings of others to renew our own commitment to be more conscious human beings. We are all capable of the best and the worst that humanity has to offer, and remembering this keeps us in check, as well as allowing us to find compassion for others. We may find ourselves feeling compelled to serve people who are suffering injustices at the hands of other people, or we may begin to speak out when we see something that we don’t think is right. Whatever the case, the only thing we can do is pledge to serve the best, rather than the worst, of what humanity has to offer, both in the world, and in ourselves."
"What can we know? What are we all?
Poor silly half-brained things peering out at the infinite,
with the aspirations of angels and the instincts of beasts."
- Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

"And Then What?"

"Pandemic unemployment benefits end in September and states aren’t extending them. Around 7.5 million people are poised to lose *all federal unemployment benefits* in a week. They’re going to $0 in jobless aid as delta cases + hospitalizations surge. The looming UI cliff is 3x larger than previous biggest one in 2013, so it’s not really close"

And then what, indeed...

"This Is Definitely Going To Be “Not A Normal September” For The Rapidly Imploding U.S. Economy"

"This Is Definitely Going To Be “Not A Normal September”
 For The Rapidly Imploding U.S. Economy"
by Michael Snyder

The “good times” were supposed to be rolling by now, but instead the wheels are starting to come off, and the economic outlook for the rest of the year is not good at all. Just yesterday, I warned my readers that things were about to get worse, and it only took exactly a single day for that to actually happen. As you will see below, major factory shutdowns were just announced, and that is going to make shortages even worse. Fear of COVID is restricting production all over the globe, and meanwhile national governments and central banks have been absolutely flooding their systems with fresh cash. As a result, we now have way too much money chasing way too few goods and services, and anyone that has taken ECON 101 will tell you that will inevitably result in higher prices and shortages.

As I discussed yesterday, if there is something that you need to buy, run out and get it now because the shortages are only going to get worse in the coming months.

On Thursday, General Motors shocked the entire nation when it announced that it is going to be closing down almost all of its manufacturing facilities due to our ongoing shortage of computer chips… "General Motors will idle nearly all its assembly plants in North America starting Monday as the COVID-19 pandemic affects production of semiconductor chips overseas. GM said its Arlington Assembly in Texas, where it makes its highly profitable full-size SUVs, will run regular production next week, along with Flint Assembly in Michigan, where it makes its heavy-duty pickups, Bowling Green Assembly in Kentucky, where it makes its Corvette, and a portion of Lansing Grand River Assembly in Michigan, where it will make some Chevrolet Camaro and Cadillac Blackwing cars."

I knew that things were bad, but I didn’t know that they had gotten this bad. Ford also announced that it will be slashing production due to a lack of chips… "Ford Motor is once again cutting production of its F-150 pickup truck and other highly profitable vehicles due to the ongoing global shortage of semiconductor chips. The automaker informed employees Wednesday of the cuts, which also impact production of its larger Super Duty pickups and Expedition SUV."

This was supposed to be a time when vehicle sales were soaring to all-time highs, but thanks to a lack of chips the number of new Ford vehicles that were sold last month was down by a whopping 33 percent compared to a year ago… "U.S. sales of Ford Motor’s new vehicles last month declined by 33.1% from a year earlier due to an ongoing global shortage of semiconductor chips that’s wreaking havoc on the automotive industry, the company said Thursday. The Detroit automaker’s sales capped off a dismal month of U.S. auto sales in August, which plummeted to an adjusted selling rate of 13.09 million vehicles. That’s the worst pace since June 2020 and down from this year’s peak of 18.5 million in April, according to auto data firm Motor Intelligence."

Demand is not the problem. There is simply not enough Ford vehicles to go around right now, and this has pushed dealer inventories to frighteningly low levels… Dealers only have about 942,000 vehicles in inventory for retail sale, compared with roughly 3 million before the coronavirus pandemic two years ago, according to Thomas King, president of the data and analytics division at J.D. Power.

Of course it isn’t just the auto industry that is dealing with these sorts of problems. Supply chains all over the globe are in a state of complete and utter chaos, and it just seems to keep getting worse with each passing day. I really like how Wolf Richter has described the current state of affairs… "Yesterday, just outside the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, a record 44 container ships were anchored, waiting. And there are hundreds of these ships hung up somewhere globally, trying to get into a port, or they’re being rerouted to different ports. And all this takes time.

And containers are stuck in ports because railroads are backlogged, trucking companies are troubled by driver shortages, and containers are hung up in railyards and clog them up to where some railroads have stopped routing trains to those particular railyards until the backlog is cleared, thereby further contributing to the pileup of containers at ports. And each extra day that a loaded container doesn’t get to its destination is a day that it cannot be unloaded and returned to the flow of containers, and cannot be sent to a manufacturer that has goods ready to ship but cannot ship them because they cannot get empty containers."

In my last article, I discussed the fact that experts are already warning that Christmas has been ruined because of all the mayhem. And now fear of Delta and other variants threatens to gum up the works even more. Most Americans had assumed that we would be “returning to normal” by now, but instead we seem to be going in reverse in a lot of ways

"The delta variant of the coronavirus is preventing a return to normal and pumping the brakes on the economic recovery. Major corporations such as Apple, Facebook and Ford have pushed back their return-to-office dates from September to January. Schools are reinstating mask mandates and, in some cases, dealing with virus outbreaks, sending students home to quarantine. Restaurants and retailers are scaling back hours, as workers remain hesitant to return to lower-paying service jobs in which they are also more exposed to the virus. Meanwhile, brands including Nike and Gap are warning that factories in Vietnam and elsewhere aren’t operating at full capacity and that some items may not be available as the coronavirus surges around the world."

Authorities thought that they would be able to have the pandemic under control by now, but they have dramatically failed. As long as these variants are sweeping across the globe like wildfire, there definitely will not be a return to “normal” any time soon.

The machinery of our economy is being shaken at a very basic level, and many believe that this is just the beginning. For many years there have been warning signs, but our leaders have somehow been able to hold the U.S. economy together. But now inflation is out of control, shortages are becoming exceedingly painful and confidence in our national leaders has plummeted to extremely low levels. We haven’t even reached the official end of summer yet, and things are already starting to become very, very interesting."

"Kicking the Common Man"

"Kicking the Common Man"
by Bill Bonner

"Let’s drink to the hard-working people,
Let’s think of the lowly of birth,
Spare a thought for the rag taggy people,
Let’s drink to the salt of the Earth."
- "Salt of the Earth", The Rolling Stones

“You know, I've been around the ruling class all my life, and I've
 been quite aware of their total contempt for the people of the country.”
- Gore Vidal

YOUGHAL, IRELAND – "Yes, today, we say an Ave Maria for the salt of the Earth. The poor folks are going to get whacked. By whom? Jagger and Richards, of The Rolling Stones, had that figured out, too:

"Spare a thought for the stay-at-home voter,
His empty eyes gaze at strange beauty shows.
And a parade of the gray-suited grafters
A choice of cancer or polio."

Yes, the masses need leading… but they get gamblers… jokers… and gray-suited grafters instead. The deathly cancer of Trump… or the crippling polio of Biden. Take your pick. And this just in… Breitbart on the War on Terror: "Brown University’s Costs of War project reveals the cost since September 11, 2001 exceeds $8 trillion and that wars have directly killed an estimated 897,000 to 929,000 people."

One of the questions surrounding America’s appalling retreat from Afghanistan is: Seeing how easily the Taliban took over the country last month, why didn’t they do it sooner? That question was answered by Matthew Hoh, former U.S. Marine Corps captain. The U.S. was spending millions of dollars every day on the war in Afghanistan. Much of it was going to – well, the Taliban. We’re talking about a fountain of money that the Taliban were happy to take. Whether they took it directly or it was the Taliban commander’s cousin that was the contractor, it doesn’t matter. The absurdity of all this – and everyone knew it was going on!

No Ticker Tape Parade: Our Diary is longer than usual today. We’re trying to understand more clearly how America’s “hard-working people” get ripped off. Every society has its elite. The common people depend on it. After all, who has time to understand how a nuclear reactor really works? But we still live with atomic power. And who knows which of the Afghan tribes are friends and which are enemies? We have experts to keep them straight, right?

And which King of Queens or Family Guy really understands what the Federal Reserve is up to? We expect those with PhDs in finance and economics to make sure it is doing the right thing. But did the common foot soldier gain anything from the elite’s $27 trillion forever wars? Do you remember the ticker tape parade when our troops marched through the center of Manhattan, celebrating their victory in the wars against poverty and drugs? How about the war against COVID-19?

Elites Versus the Common Man: A hunter-gatherer tribe might not need an elite. Everybody knows approximately the same thing. But the more advanced a society becomes, the more it depends on the few people who know how things work – its politics, as well as its nuclear submarines. Then, as an empire ages and expands, the elite becomes further and further removed from the people it is meant to serve.

The rich and powerful live in special zip codes – especially those around the Capital Beltway. They shop at Saks, not dollar stores. They drink pinot grigio, not Old Milwaukee. And they insist on remaking the whole world in their own grotesque image.

Worse, they cheat the common man in order to take more money for themselves. They stab him in the back with their Wall Street bailouts (three so far this century!). And they despise him for his beliefs… and his naivete. Didn’t he invade the Capitol to hijack “our” democracy? Doesn’t he refuse to believe “the science?” Doesn’t he drive a carbon-spewing pickup? But now, it is getting late in the cycle. The elite has become incompetent and degenerate. It loses its wars. Its “investments” all go bad. And it’s desperate to keep its privileges.

Who Pays? But who will pay for its mistakes… its lies… and its larcenies? “Hey… all this money-printing,” Fed chief Jay Powell might admit, “it was just to enrich Wall Street, Washington, and the elite. But now, we’re getting rising inflation… so we’re going to have to stop.”

Honesty would be easy, but expensive. The elite would have to give back much of its ill-gotten gains. Stocks would crash. Government spending would be slashed. The goofy boondoggles – along with the contracts and jobs that go with them – would have to end.

So would the preposterous “wars” that benefit only the insiders. Forget the $1.2 trillion “infrastructure” bill. Forget the $3.5 trillion “human infrastructure” budget. Forget the “pivot” to Asia; it would be time to mind our own business. In other words, the costs would fall primarily on those who deserved to pay – the elite.

Social Insecurity: But they are the deciders. And they will never decide to do that. Truth will have to wait, while the costs of three decades’ worth of foolish “investments” get passed on to… can you guess? The rich have their portfolios. The professors have their tenure. The politicians and bureaucrats have their fat pensions. What does the common man have?

Social Security. He trusts the elite to make sure it is solvent… so he will get what is coming to him. But the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget reports: "The Social Security and Medicare Trustees released their annual reports on the long-term financial state of those programs. The Medicare Trustees’ report shows that the Part A Hospital Insurance trust fund will be insolvent in just five years, the trust fund faces a shortfall of 0.77 to 1.61 percent of payroll, and Medicare spending will grow significantly over the next few decades. […]"

Along with the two Social Security trust funds and the Highway Trust Fund, all four major trust funds are headed for insolvency in the next 13 years. Of course, even those gloomy projections are based on a remarkable premise: that nothing goes wrong.

How It Goes Wrong: But something will go wrong. And the results will be worse than expected. The feds will continue “printing” money. And inflation will run riot through the economy. Social Security payments are pegged to inflation… but only as the feds compute it. Inevitably, the “adjustments” will lag.

Already, the official U.S. inflation rate is 5.4%. But as we saw yesterday, housing is going up at an 18% annual rate. Used auto prices have gone up by more than 40% the last year. And global producer prices for food, according to the IMF, are rising at a 25% rate. There is no way the $28 trillion in national debt… not to mention the other $57 trillion in corporate, household, and other debt… will ever be repaid. Not in honest money.

Bad Solution: The only “solution” is inflation. The elite must “print” more money to keep the jig going. Social Security payments will be reduced – by inflation. Medicare support will be another victim. Prices for housing, transportation, food, and just about everything else, will keep going up. And standards of living for most people – the uncounted masses… the wavering millions… the faceless crowd – will go down.

Trusting Soul: So, this Labor Day weekend… say a prayer for the laboring masses… the salt of the Earth. The common man is a trusting soul… long suffering… and loyal. Most of the time, the chain around his neck rests lightly. No matter how he is mistreated, he still licks his master’s hand. His sons and daughters still answer the call… and put on uniforms, ready to attack whatever poor, helpless third world nation the elite targets. And he goes to the voting stations in the belief that his ballot will change things.

Even when he is kicked, he still wags his tail. But watch out… Kicked too many times, he may show his teeth."

"Our Economy is in Complete La La Land - Bad News Continues to Shine"

Full screen recommended.
Dan, iAllegedly, AM 9/3/21:
"Our Economy is in Complete La La Land -
 Bad News Continues to Shine"

"No Ways Tired in A Sea of Lies"

"No Ways Tired in A Sea of Lies"
by Chris Floyd

"I think we are living in a world of lies: lies that don't even know they are lies, because they are the children and grandchildren of lies. One of the hardest things to accept is that the reality of our world is buried under so many layers of official deception and well-cultivated public ignorance about our history and our political system. Even if you break through somehow, momentarily, and hold up a fragment of the truth, most people have no context for dealing with it. It's like a bolt from the blue, they can't process the information. And so the sea of lies closes over us again, and again, and again. And yet the reality of our future is now upon us, denial be damned, an irresistible tsunami of destruction, changing all our lives forever.

These are the facts, and they can't be altered. But how to respond to this catastrophe? Shall we weep, moan, rend our garments, cover ourselves with sackcloth and ashes? Shall we sit upon the ground and tell sad stories of the death of republics? Shall we cower in the shadows and sing glamorous dirges for the Lost Cause, for vanished glories and broken dreams?

Or shall we come out fighting, unbowed, heads high, laughing fools to scorn, rejecting at every turn the moral authority of murderers and thieves to rule our lives, determine our reality, act in our name? Let's dispense with lamentation - give not a single moment to that emotional indulgence - and get right back to work, more determined than ever to bear down harder, dig deeper and excavate the radioactive nuggets of truth still glowing beneath the slag-heap of ruin.

Let's fight, let's reject, let's resist - without violence, the weapon of the stupid, the hormonal secretion of evolutionary backsliders in thrall to the chemical soup in their heads, dull primitives dressing up their ape-lust for power with scraps of religion, philosophy and cant. Let's fight these pathetic, malfunctioning wretches who lay their hands on our world and rape it like beasts in a mindless rut. Fight them with the truths we find, exposing their crimes and deadly hypocrisies to the people they've suckered, perverted and betrayed.

This is not an insurmountable task, no matter how impervious the Machine - that monstrous conglomeration of judicial bagmen, Congressional rubber stamps, psychopathic media moguls, dopehead radio ranters, sex-crazed theocrats, war profiteers, think-tank bleaters, Wall Street sharks, oilmen, Moonies, and woman and man haters - might appear at the moment.

I don't know what else we can do, except to keep on telling as much of the truth as we can find, to anyone who will listen: reclaiming reality, fragment by fragment, one person at a time. It's an endless task - maybe a hopeless task - but the alternative is a surrender to the worst elements in our society - and in ourselves. It's worth the fight. Let's take it on. In the words of the old spiritual, let us be in no ways tired. The road back to sanity starts now."

"How It Really Is"


"Coiling and Rattling"

"Coiling and Rattling"
by Jim Kunstler

"Actually, Progressive-Liberal abortion policy never went far enough. If only abortion were retroactive! We could send “Joe Biden” (and maybe all of Wokedom) back to the pre-embryonic cosmic darkness preceding conception? Otherwise, we’ll have to run him out of the Oval Office like some short-timer Guatemalan generalissimo, since he has completed the transition of the USA into a Third World backwater… and thus, served his purpose.

Was that it, by the way? Was “Joe Biden” a kind of suicide bomber sent into the White House overtly by dimly-perceived parties to blow up the ragged remnants of a once-dignified republic? There’s a cohort of observers, including many sage commenters on this blog, who would say so. One way or another, Ol’ White Joe’s days at the helm are numbered now. Even the claque of quasi-literate brown-nosers in the news media are turning on him since he glanced at his watch too many times while the dead Marines’ bodies were rolled out before him at Dover AFB. At least he didn’t yawn or light a cigarette, too.

These cool and lovely, pre-Fall nights, Kamala Harris must be chugging Gray Goose by the liter, chasing her Xanax, up at the Veep’s mansion, the old Naval Observatory, probably the nicest house she’ll ever live in because she’s not ever moving into 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., nosiree. The parties dimly-perceived behind all this… this meshugas… got it so wrong with her. She was supposed to be an insurance policy against removing “JB,” while he acted as an automatic legislation signing machine.

But it’s rock-and-a-hard-place time now for the power players in our nation’s capital, and I’m thinking that Kamala’s thinking that they’re thinking that maybe Kamala has to go, too… and maybe not in a pretty way… like maybe something goes wrong on Air Force Two a hundred miles east of Ascension Island in the South Atlantic en route to Botswana… and the long-awaited official meet-and-greet with President Mokgweetsi Masisi… which never happens… Wake up Kammie!!!! Oh no, it’s even worse than a bad dream, she’s thinking. It’s reality!

Those parties dimly perceived surely think they can get away with anything now. There is no accountability, nor any memory of what it used to mean. Things just happen and unhappen, like in some raw, pre-conscious nasty-and-brutish animal kingdom, which is exactly what our country has become when you factor-in mass Woke lobotomization, meth and fentanyl addiction, social media mind-f**kery, and Covid hysteria. Klaus Schwab, you are taking this a little too far now, yes? It’s one thing to own nothing and be happy, but to remember nothing, too? That compliant surviving population of a half-billion serfs you wish to reserve to peel your grapes won’t even be able to carry out the simplest instructions. Something has gone very wrong with your Great Reset… if that’s what this is.

I prefer to label it the long emergency, simply the endgame of the techno-industrial hypertrophic phase of history. You could see it coming from a hundred months away, but now that it’s here, Western Civ has turned from tragedy to farce to psychosis. The pharmaceutical lobbying group known as the American Medical Association called this week for an “immediate end” to the use of ivermectin to treat Covid-19. They forbid member doctors to prescribe it. They follow the CDC and the FDA in condemning the drug, sentencing it to the ducking stool… burning it at the stake! “Use of ivermectin for the prevention and treatment of COVID-19 has been demonstrated to be harmful to patients,” they say.

They lie, of course. And they want all the doctors to lie. How many of them will go along to get along? Do they care if this psychotic nonsense destroys what remains of medical practice just as race-and-gender studies have destroyed higher ed? One not-so-distant day the docs will show up for work, but the overgrown hospitals will be out of business, doors shuttered, and the docs will be back to making house-calls with a little black bag… no more German cars for you… and maybe a chicken in exchange for a little bootleg Ivermectin, if you’re lucky! As it happens, I take the veterinary-grade Ivermectin myself as a prophylactic, because that’s all you can get easily around here. I haven’t felt better in years. Perhaps I had pinworms (Enterobius vermicularis). Anyway, I don’t have Covid. I also take Vitamin D3 and zinc. Anathemize that, you chiseling bastards!

Everybody I consort with has had enough of the whole nauseating game - the lying politicians, the lying media, the lying medical bureaucrats, the lying generals, the lying teachers, the lying celebrities, the lying tech moguls, the entire armature of counter-reality you want to impose on a once-fair land. We will never do your bidding. We will never peel your grapes. There are more of us than you. Go ahead, push just a little bit harder."