Saturday, September 18, 2021
1. The empire is in decline; every day, life here gets a little bit worse; all our institutions are corrupt to varying degrees; and there is no turning this situation around.
2. A crucial factor in this decline and irreversibility is the low level of intelligence of the American people. Americans are not only dumb; they are positively antagonistic toward the life of the mind.
3. Relations of power and money determine practically everything. The 3 wealthiest Americans own as much as the bottom 50% of the population, and this tendency will get worse over time.
4. The value system of the country, and its citizens, is fundamentally wrong-headed. It amounts to little more than hustling, selfishness, narcissism, and a blatant disregard for anyone but oneself. There is a kind of cruelty, or violence, deep in the American soul; many foreign observers and writers have commented on this. Americans are bitter, depressed, and angry, and the country offers very little by way of community or empathy.
5. Along with this is the support of meaningless wars and imperial adventures on the part of most of the population. That we drone-murder unarmed civilians on a weekly basis is barely on the radar screen of the American mind. In essence, the nation has evolved into a genocidal war machine run by a plutocracy and cheered on by mindless millions.
Most Americans hide from these depressing, even horrific, realities by what passes for ‘the news’, but also by means of alcohol, opioids, TV, cellphones, suicide, prescription drugs, workaholism, and spectator sports, to name but a few. This stuffing of the Void is probably our primary activity. In a word, we are eating ourselves alive, and only a tiny fraction of the population recognizes this."
Friday, September 17, 2021
MUST WATCH! “Investors About To Be Decimated As Global Crisis Could Lead To Full Blown Depression; Massive Debt”
Up until this point, there's no sign of relief for the shipping crisis, and consequently, rates are expected to continue spiking in the second half of this year, as the growing global demand will continue to be met with strained shipping capacity and congested ports. Just over the past 6 months, ocean freight from China to the US West Coast has surged three-fold, and the overall cost of freight from China soared by a shocking 200 percent.
Most ships are exposed to the spot market, only a small share of the fleet is on fixed-rate contracts. For that reason, contracts keep getting repriced every week, and shippers can never forecast with precision when a new increase will occur and how much more it will cost. As a result, companies often need to pass along those increases to consumers, which adds pressure to inflation crises erupting all over the globe. However, higher prices for goods aren't pushing the global demand down. Consumers are willing to pay more to get what they want. But on the other hand, according to Maersk chief executive Morten Engelstoft, port congestion, freight rate increases and consumer good inflation won’t go away until demand falls.
As supply chain bottlenecks aggravate and maritime transportation costs go through the roof, with the Baltic Dry Index reaching an 11-year high, companies are complaining that the top 10 international shipping companies have created cartels to keep pushing prices up all across the board.
Mike Garratt, chairman of MDS Transmodal, explained that “this high level of consolidation has the benefit of enabling lines to adjust capacity allocation in line with changing demand, but, combined with the resulting very high levels of utilization, have allowed freight rates to remain at historically unprecedented levels and imply that some potential freight may be being suppressed". Many shipping companies are guaranteeing delivery within a few short weeks - if the shippers agree to pay premium rates. Industry executives revealed that "importers are attempting to outbid one another, offering extra cash to snap up containers over their rivals".
With nearly 80% of all goods transported worldwide relying on maritime shipping, and the eight-week window before the holidays accounting for at least half of a retailer’s annual sales, it's safe to say that more strains are about to emerge in the already stressed global supply chains. This extremely challenging environment is making business owners panic as they realize that the extraordinarily high demand has stretched infrastructure to its limit, and those who cannot afford premium prices may be left at the end of the shipping list and display empty shelves during the busiest shopping season. Since the world lacks alternatives to ocean freight, it's been incredibly hard to avoid soaring transportation costs.
"I have a gut feeling that we're going to see empty shelves," warned Stavros Karamperidis, the head of the Maritime Transport Research Group, referring to the Christmas period. And while shipping companies are expected to make record profits this year, retailers may see their profit margins shrink as the price of everything - from supplies and materials to parts and freight - only keeps going up. In a recent interview with Bloomberg, Genco Shipping President, and CEO John Wobensmith, alerted that companies should brace for the worst.
by Chet Raymo
But back to that speech by the gaily philandering Gustav, now the patriarch of the Ekdahl clan and uncle to Fanny and Alexander. The family has gathered for the double christening of Fanny and Alexander's new half-sister and Gustav's child by his mistress Maj. A dark chapter of family history has come to an end, involving a clash between two world views, one- the Ekdahl's- focussed on the pleasures of the here and now, and the other- that of Lutheran Bishop Edvard Vergerus, Fanny and Alexander's stepfather- a stern and joyless anticipation of the hereafter. It is not the habit of Ekdahls to concern themselves with matters of grand consequence, Gustav tells the assembled guests. "We must live in the little world. We will be content with that and cultivate it and make the best of it."
The little world. I love that phrase. This world, here, now. This world of family and friends and newborn infants and trees and flowers and rainstorms and- oh yes, cognac and stolen kisses and tumbles in the hay. The Ekdahl's are a theatrical family; we will leave it to the actors and actresses to give us our supernatural shivers, says Gustav. "So it shall be," he says. "Let us be kind, and generous, affectionate and good. It is necessary and not at all shameful to take pleasure in the little world."