Saturday, October 9, 2021

Jim Kunstler, "The Mark of the Beast"

"The Mark of the Beast"
by Jim Kunstler

So, you’re feeling down and blue about the Woke Luciferian madness shading our American life under its baleful bat-wings? A lot of my friends and loved ones are down and blue. At this darkest of dark hours, I have some advice for you. Say ‘okay’ to whatever shade the universe is throwing on you. Rise! Go with it. Run with it and mount it. Ride it until you exhaust the beast that has made itself your enemy. Ride it until it goes to ground and whimpers. Because that’s is how it ends and you get your life back.

The frightful swans, black, white, and gray, are circling in the sky like those old air-traffic jams above the runways of O’Hare in bad weather. They are looking to land, and as they do, they will change everything. Enough people around the country will finally get their minds right. They will come back to themselves wondering… where have I been? This is what is coming at us (let’s count the ways):

The Covid-19 spell breaks. The beast thought it was a good idea to deprive millions of their livelihoods just to get its way and force them to submit to a medical experiment conceived in the utmost bad faith. You say your “vaccine” is defeating the plague that you schemed to create and beset the world with? We know exactly what you did. We know that most of the people getting sick now are the “vaccinated.” Look what happened in Israel. Too far to see? Look right here in Vermont. Your “vaccine” makes people sick. Soon, it will be self-evident everywhere that this “vaccine” is just another side of your boutique sickness.

Meanwhile, you’ve cleverly destroyed medicine itself by forcing the firings of nurses, doctors, and the people who clean up the hospitals. The people will not forgive you for this reckless and craven stupidity. And, of course, nobody knows the long-term effects of your jabbing spree. Has every vaxed-up person got a controlled demolition underway in their organs and blood vessels? Why are there suddenly a striking number of heart attacks and strokes tallied in Great Britain? Concerning, ya think? They’re counting, at least. In America, we’re not even tracking. This now-sinister enterprise called “The Science” doesn’t really want to see any numbers, and if any happen to come up, its minions like to play games with the math, which can tell any story they want it to.

Suddenly, as if from nowhere an energy crisis is upon us — but you knew it was there all along, or you should have known. Things don’t work well when the fossil fuels get scarce or pricey or have to come from so far away that getting them is beyond your control. When these things happen, everything you need costs more and some things quit working altogether.

The EU bureaucrats thought they would force a dozen countries to go “green” by sheer force of will. They thought that blocking the Nordstream 2 pipeline — designed to bring Russian natgas to the West — was a good idea. “Joe Bidens” first act in office was to shut down the Keystone pipeline. Look now, there’s color in the treetops and the temperatures are falling. That frost on the pumpkin isn’t so charming when there’s also frost inside your windowpanes. The lights may be going out in your house, but that will finally switch on the light in your brain. You’ve been played.

The global economy of interdependent super-systems is breaking apart. It seemed like a good idea at the time when the beast put it together… the Lexus and the Olive Tree and all that reassuring bullshit… and now times have changed. Now the supply lines are choking on their own hyper-complexity as each nation in the global “community” has to contend with its own bad decisions and the fragilities they have exposed. Chinese factories don’t work so well without Australian coal. Here’s an idea: maybe someday Australia will get back to work and learn how to make something with its own coal. (America, are you alert?)

The beast has decimated small business everywhere, leaving the people at the mercy of gigantic chain stores — with their dying business model — and now they can’t get any stuff because it comes from so far away, and the ships transporting it can’t dock because there’s nobody to unload it and there aren’t enough truck drivers to take it anywhere, all because of the beast’s reckless and craven stupidity. Let me light your fire, America: think about making your own stuff again, maybe not as much as before, but, honestly, we don’t need ten-foot-tall inflatable Santas and a lot of other plastic crap.

Sooner or later the capital markets are going to see how badly the beast has been playing them and the shock will make them roll over harshly. The markets will reach a painful insight: that there is, after all, a direct relationship between capital and what people do on-the-ground in their daily lives — either honestly and earnestly making things, and usefully serving their fellow human beings, or else becoming a multitude of Hunter Bidens, moving from one grift to the next in a haze of drugs, making nothing of value and serving no one. That clarifying bolt of insight will, alas, leave a lot of people broke and just a little farther along, as the old gospel song goes, they will understand why.

We’re in for another wave of invasion down on the US-Mexican border. This one, with hundreds of thousands marching north, will make the previous episode at Del Rio, Texas, look like a mere yoga class in comparison. Is there any doubt that this is happening because the figures behind the phantom “Joe Biden” want it to happen? The “optics” are already atrocious, but how do you think it will play with ever more Americans thrown out of work, and the prices of food, home heating, and gasoline surging upward, and as citizens are hassled at every turn to show their vaccine papers (while the border-jumpers get free bus tickets to Oshkosh, Bangor, and Spokane, along with a package of re-settlement goodies paid for with tax dollars)? It might be enough to even awaken the Woke. Played again!

How do you like your FBI and DOJ turning on the citizens of this land, you mothers of and fathers of schoolchildren getting the Woke business from the cadres of Saul Alinsky, Susan Rice, and Barack Obama? How dare you foment domestic terrorism in the town offices where the school boards meet? Were you just sucking it up before, all these months, while your kids were subjected to the Drag Queen Reading Hour and the malicious inanities of anointed MacArthur Fellow Ibram X. Kendi? Now is your time to rise and respond.  No, Merrick Garland, you depraved little prick, we will not stand this anymore. We rise against you! We dare you to send your goons in!

Are you ready, perhaps for war? Other nations may be, sensing America’s signal weakness. How would you rate our most recent military performance in Afghanistan? Does it give you a warm inclusive feeling to know that our top brass ordered flight suits for pregnant pilots? And that they are on vigilant watch to prevent any white privilege from contaminating our tactics and strategy? Things are heating up and pulsing red in the Straits of Taiwan. Will China dare to seize the island as they dared to seize Hong Kong a year ago? We probably won’t have to wait for long to find out.

Daunting times for sure. But they are our times and we must own them. A lot of this is truly beyond our control, but not what happens here in our country among ourselves. And one thing you can begin to do right away, right now, is to defy the regime that affects to be running your lives. We may even, very suddenly as events unspool, arrive at a surprising consensus that we need to get rid of it."

Musical Interlude: Alan Parsons Project, "Eye In The Sky"

Full screen recommended.
Alan Parsons Project, "Eye In The Sky" 

"A Look to the Heavens"

"These two mighty galaxies are pulling each other apart. Known as the "Mice" because they have such long tails, each spiral galaxy has likely already passed through the other. The long tails are created by the relative difference between gravitational pulls on the near and far parts of each galaxy. Because the distances are so large, the cosmic interaction takes place in slow motion - over hundreds of millions of years. 
NGC 4676 lies about 300 million light-years away toward the constellation of Bernice's Hair (Coma Berenices) and are likely members of the Coma Cluster of Galaxies. The featured picture was taken with the Hubble Space Telescope's Advanced Camera for Surveys in 2002. These galactic mice will probably collide again and again over the next billion years so that, instead of continuing to pull each other apart, they coalesce to form a single galaxy."

"A Refining Process..."

“Life is a refining process. Our response to it determines whether we’ll be ground down or polished up. On a piano, one person sits down and plays sonatas, while another merely bangs away at “Chopsticks.” The piano is not responsible. It’s how you touch the keys that makes the difference. It’s how you play what life gives you that determines your joy and shine.”
- Barbara Johnson

"The Scariest Economy Ever Is Getting Worse; Store Closures Pile Up; Job Creation Is A Joke"

Full screen recommended.
Jeremiah Babe, PM 10/9/21:
"The Scariest Economy Ever Is Getting Worse; 
Store Closures Pile Up; Job Creation Is A Joke"

"Unreal Economic Activity - The Meltdown is Here"

Full screen recommended.
Dan, iAllegedly, PM 10/9/21:
"Unreal Economic Activity - The Meltdown is Here"
"We have never seen economic problems like this. From Inflation to the job numbers there is no end in sight for the bad news. The stock market continues to hang on and see gains when business is horrific."

The Daily "Near You?"

Tillsonburg, Ontario, Canada. Thanks for stopping by!

Free Download: Albert Camus, “The Myth of Sisyphus”

“A Life Worth Living: Albert Camus on Our Search for
Meaning and Why Happiness Is Our Moral Obligation
by Maria Popova

“To decide whether life is worth living is to answer the fundamental question of philosophy,” Albert Camus (November 7, 1913–January 4, 1960) wrote in his 119-page philosophical essay “The Myth of Sisyphus” in 1942. “There is but one truly serious philosophical problem, and that is suicide. Judging whether life is or is not worth living amounts to answering the fundamental question of philosophy. All the rest – whether or not the world has three dimensions, whether the mind has nine or twelve categories – comes afterwards. These are games; one must first answer. And if it is true, as Nietzsche claims, that a philosopher, to deserve our respect, must preach by example, you can appreciate the importance of that reply, for it will precede the definitive act. These are facts the heart can feel; yet they call for careful study before they become clear to the intellect. Everything else… is child’s play; we must first of all answer the question.” 

One of the most famous opening lines of the twentieth century captures one of humanity’s most enduring philosophical challenges – the impulse at the heart of Seneca’s meditations on life and Montaigne’s timeless essays and Maya Angelou’s reflections, and a wealth of human inquiry in between. But Camus, the second-youngest recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature after Rudyard Kipling, addressed it with unparalleled courage of conviction and insight into the irreconcilable longings of the human spirit.

In the beautifully titled and beautifully written “A Life Worth Living: Albert Camus and the Quest for Meaning” (public library), historian Robert Zaretsky considers Camus’s lifelong quest to shed light on the absurd condition, his “yearning for a meaning or a unity to our lives,” and its timeless yet increasingly timely legacy: If the question abides, it is because it is more than a matter of historical or biographical interest. Our pursuit of meaning, and the consequences should we come up empty-handed, are matters of eternal immediacy.

Camus pursues the perennial prey of philosophy – the questions of who we are, where and whether we can find meaning, and what we can truly know about ourselves and the world – less with the intention of capturing them than continuing the chase.”

Reflecting on the parallels between Camus and Montaigne, Zaretsky finds in this ongoing chase one crucial difference of dispositions: “Camus achieves with the Myth what the philosopher Maurice Merleau-Ponty claimed for Montaigne’s Essays: it places “a consciousness astonished at itself at the core of human existence.”

For Camus, however, this astonishment results from our confrontation with a world that refuses to surrender meaning. It occurs when our need for meaning shatters against the indifference, immovable and absolute, of the world. As a result, absurdity is not an autonomous state; it does not exist in the world, but is instead exhaled from the abyss that divides us from a mute world.”

Camus himself captured this with extraordinary elegance when he wrote in “The Myth of Sisyphus”: “This world in itself is not reasonable, that is all that can be said. But what is absurd is the confrontation of this irrational and wild longing for clarity whose call echoes in the human heart. The absurd depends as much on man as on the world. For the moment it is all that links them together.”

To discern these echoes amid the silence of the world, Zaretsky suggests, was at the heart of Camus’s tussle with the absurd: “We must not cease in our exploration, Camus affirms, if only to hear more sharply the silence of the world. In effect, silence sounds out when human beings enter the equation. If “silences must make themselves heard,” it is because those who can hear inevitably demand it. And if the silence persists, where are we to find meaning?”

This search for meaning was not only the lens through which Camus examined every dimension of life, from the existential to the immediate, but also what he saw as our greatest source of agency. In one particularly prescient diary entry from November of 1940, as WWII was gathering momentum, he writes: “Understand this: we can despair of the meaning of life in general, but not of the particular forms that it takes; we can despair of existence, for we have no power over it, but not of history, where the individual can do everything. It is individuals who are killing us today. Why should not individuals manage to give the world peace? We must simply begin without thinking of such grandiose aims.”

For Camus, the question of meaning was closely related to that of happiness - something he explored with great insight in his notebooks. Zaretsky writes: “Camus observed that absurdity might ambush us on a street corner or a sun-blasted beach. But so, too, do beauty and the happiness that attends it. All too often, we know we are happy only when we no longer are.”

Perhaps most importantly, Camus issued a clarion call of dissent in a culture that often conflates happiness with laziness and championed the idea that happiness is nothing less than a moral obligation. A few months before his death, Camus appeared on the TV show Gros Plan. Dressed in a trench coat, he flashed his mischievous boyish smile and proclaimed into the camera: “Today, happiness has become an eccentric activity. The proof is that we tend to hide from others when we practice it. As far as I’m concerned, I tend to think that one needs to be strong and happy in order to help those who are unfortunate.”

This wasn’t a case of Camus arriving at some mythic epiphany in his old age – the cultivation of happiness and the eradication of its obstacles was his most persistent lens on meaning. More than two decades earlier, he had contemplated “the demand for happiness and the patient quest for it” in his journal, capturing with elegant simplicity the essence of the meaningful life – an ability to live with presence despite the knowledge that we are impermanent: ”We must” be happy with our friends, in harmony with the world, and earn our happiness by following a path which nevertheless leads to death.”

But his most piercing point integrates the questions of happiness and meaning into the eternal quest to find ourselves and live our truth: ”It is not so easy to become what one is, to rediscover one’s deepest measure.”
Freely download “The Myth of Sisyphus,” by  Albert Camus, here:

“It’s Extraordinary..."

“It’s extraordinary how we go through life with eyes half shut, with dull ears, with dormant thoughts. Perhaps it’s just as well; and it may be that it is this very dullness that makes life to the incalculable majority so supportable and so welcome.”
– Joseph Conrad, “Lord Jim”

The Poet: David Whyte, “The Sea”

“The Sea”

“The pull is so strong we will not believe
the drawing tide is meant for us,
I mean the gift, the sea,
the place where all the rivers meet.

Easy to forget,
how the great receiving depth
untamed by what we need
needs only what will flow its way.
Easy to feel so far away
and the body so old
it might not even stand the touch.

But what would that be like
feeling the tide rise
out of the numbness inside
toward the place to which we go
washing over our worries of money,
the illusion of being ahead,
the grief of being behind,
our limbs young
rising from such a depth?

What would that be like
even in this century
driving toward work with the others,
moving down the roads
among the thousands swimming upstream,
as if growing toward arrival,
feeling the currents of the great desire,
carrying time toward tomorrow?

Tomorrow seen today, for itself,
the sea where all the rivers meet, unbound,
unbroken for a thousand miles, the surface
of a great silence, the movement of a moment
left completely to itself, to find ourselves adrift,
safe in our unknowing, our very own,
our great tide, our great receiving, our
wordless, fiery, unspoken,
hardly remembered, gift of true longing.”

~ David Whyte,
“Where Many Rivers Meet”

Musical Interlude:Clear Focus Ambient Space Music for Concentration - Isochronic Tones

Full screen recommended.
"Clear Focus Ambient Space Music
 for Concentration - Isochronic Tones"
"Ambient electronic space music with low-intensity
 beta and alpha wave tones for clear focus."

"Upbeat study music deep focus techno mix.  Part of my peak focus for complex tasks series.  Beta isochronic tones - reach a high focus mental state. Use this track when working on advanced and complicated topics like coding/programming, mathematics, scientific formulas, financial analysis or any complex mental activity. Isochronic tones produce a stronger and more powerful brainwave entrainment effect when compared to binaural beats or standard music."
- Jason Lewis, "Mind Amend

Prepare yourself. Brace for impact...

"15 Common Dynamics Of SHTF Collapses"

"15 Common Dynamics Of SHTF Collapses"
by Fabian Ommar

When it comes to how we see and prepare for SHTF, thinking in terms of real and probable rather than fictional and possible can make a big difference. Even though SHTF has many forms and levels and is in essence complex, random, diverse and unsystematic, some patterns and principles are common to the way things unfold when it hits the fan. With Toby and Selco’s "Seven Pillars of Urban Preparedness" as inspiration, I came up with a different list of the 15 dynamics and realities of collapses.

#1 SHTF is nuanced and happens in stages: Thinking about SHTF as an ON/OFF, all-or-nothing endgame is a common mistake that can lead to severe misjudgments and failures in critical areas of preparedness. Part (or parts) of the system crash, freeze, fail, or become impaired. This is how SHTF happens in the real world. And when it does, people run for safety first, i.e., resort to more familiar behaviors, expecting things to “go back to normal soon.”

By “normal behaviors,” I mean everything from hoarding stuff (toilet paper?) to rioting, looting, and crime, and yes, using cash – as these happen all the time, even when things are normal. But no one becomes a barterer, a peddler, a precious metals specialist in a week. Society adapts as time passes (and the situation requires). That’s why preppers who are also SHTF survivors (and thus talk from personal experience) insist that abandoning fantasies and caring for basics first is crucial. This is not a coincidence. It is how things happen in the real world.

Recently I wrote about black markets and the role of cash in SHTFs, emphasizing these things take precedence except in a full-blown apocalypse – which no one can say if, when, or how will happen (because it never has?). Now, I don’t pretend to be the owner of the truth, but those insisting changes in society happen radically or abruptly should check this article about the fallout in Myanmar.

#2 Everything crawls until everything runs: Number two is a corollary to #1. SHTF happens in stair-steps, but most people failing to prepare and getting caught off-guard is evidence of the difficulty of the human brain to fully grasp the concept of exponential growth. It bears telling the analogy of the stadium being filled with water drops to illustrate this.

Let’s say we add one drop into a watertight baseball stadium. The deposited volume doubles every minute (i.e., one minute later, we add two more drops, then four in the next minute, eight in the next, then sixteen, and so on). How long would it take to fill the entire stadium? Sitting at the top row, we’d watch for 45 minutes as the water covered the field. Then at the 48-minute mark, 50% of the stadium would be filled. Yes, that’s only 3 minutes from practically empty to half full. At this point, we have just 60 seconds to get out: the water will be spilling before the clock hits 49 minutes.

This is an important dynamic to understand and keep in mind because it applies to most things. Another example: it took over 2 million years of human prehistory and history for the world’s population to reach 1 billion, and less than 250 years more to grow to almost 8 billion.

#3 The system doesn’t vanish or change suddenly: Based on history, the Mad Max-like scenario some so feverishly advocate is not in our near future. The Roman Empire unraveled over 500 years. We may not be at the tipping point of our collapse or the last minute of the flooding stadium, as illustrated in #2 above. But time is relative, and those 60 seconds can last five, ten, fifteen years. Things are accelerating, but there’s no way to tell at which point in the curve we are.

That doesn’t mean things will be normal in that period. A lot has happened to people and places all over the Roman empire during those five-plus centuries: wars, plagues, invasions, droughts, shortages, all hell broke loose. Our civilization has already hit the iceberg, and the current order is crumbling. There will be shocks along the way, some small and some big. But SHTF is a process, not an event.

#4 History repeats, but always with a twist: That’s because nature works in cycles, and humans react to scarcity and abundance predictably and in the same ways. Also, we’re helpless in the face of the most significant and recurring events. But things are never the same. Technology improves, social rules change, humankind advances, the population grows. This (and lots more) adds a variability factor to the magnitude, gravity, and reach of outcomes.

What better proof than the COVID-19 pandemic just surpassing the 1918 Spanish Flu death toll in the US? It’ll probably do so everywhere else, too. Even if we don’t believe the official data (then or now), we’re not yet out of this new coronavirus situation.

#5 SHTF is about scarcity: A shrink in resources invariably leads to changes in the individual’s standard of living or entire society (depending on the circumstances, depth, and reach of the disaster or collapse). Then it starts affecting life itself (i.e., people dying). Essentially, when things really hit the fan, abundance vanishes, and pretty much everything reverts to the mean: food becomes replenishment, drinking becomes hydration, sleeping becomes rest, home becomes shelter, and so on. Surviving is accepting and adapting to that.

#6 The consequences matter more than the type of event: I’ll admit to being guilty of debating probable causes of SHTF more often than I should, mainly when it comes to the economy and finance going bust. That’s from living in a third-world country, with all the crap that comes with it. It’s what I have to talk, warn, and give advice about. I still find it essential to be aware and thoughtful of the causes. But it’s for the consequences that we must prepare for: instability, corruption, bureaucracy, criminality, inflation, social unrest, divisiveness, wars, and all sorts of conflicts and disruptions that affect us directly.

#7 Life goes on: Humankind advances through hardship but thrives in routine. We crave normalcy and peace, and over the long term, pursue them. Contrary to what many think, life goes on even during SHTF. And things tend to return to normal after the immediate threats cease or get contained. At least some level of normal, considering the circumstances. For example, in occupied France, the bistros and caf├ęs continued serving and entertaining the population and even the invaders (the Nazi army). It was hard, as is always the case anywhere there’s war, poverty, tyranny – but that doesn’t mean the world has ended.

#8 SHTF pileup: Disasters and collapses add instability, volatility, and fragility to the system, which can compound and cause further disruptions. Sometimes, unfavorable cycles on various fronts (nature and civilization) can also converge and generate a perfect storm. It’s crucial to consider that and try to prepare as best we can for multiple disasters happening at once or in sequence, on various levels, collective and individual – even if psychologically and mentally. And if the signs are any indication, we’re entering such a period of simultaneous challenges.

#9 Snowball effect: Daisy based her excellent article on the 10 most likely ways to die when SHTF on the principle of large-scale die-off caused by a major disaster, like an EMP or other. This theory is controversial and the object of endless discussions. Some say it’s an exaggeration. But in my opinion, that’s leaving a critical factor out of the equation.

Consider the following: according to WPR and the CDC, before COVID-19, the mortality rate in the US was well below 1% (2.850.000 per year, or about 8.100 per day). If the mortality rate increases to just 5%, this alone would spark other SHTFs, potentially more serious and harmful than the first. That five-fold jump in mortality would result in more than 16 million dead per year or 44.000 per day. That’s 5% we’re talking about, not 20 or 30. If there’s even a protocol to deal with something like that, I’m not aware. It would be catastrophic on many levels over a shorter period (say, a few months).

Early in the CV19 pandemic, some cities had trouble burying the dead, and the death rate was still below 1%. Sure, other factors were playing. But the point is, things can snowball: consequences and implications are too complex and potentially far-reaching. Think about the effects on the system.

#10 SHTF is a situation, but it’s also a place: Things are hitting the fan somewhere right now. Not in the overblowing media but the physical world: the Texas border, third-world prisons, gang-ruled Haiti, in Taliban-raided Afghanistan, in the crackhouse just a few blocks from an affluent neighborhood, under the bridges of many big cities worldwide, in volcano-hit islands. There are thousands of places where people are bugging out, suffering, or dying of all causes at this very moment. If you’re not in any SHTF, consider yourself lucky. Be grateful, too: being able to prepare is a luxury.

#11 Choosing one way or another has a price: Being unprepared and wrong has a price. However, so does being prepared and wrong. Though some benefits exist regardless of what happens, the investment in terms of time, finance, and emotion to be prepared could be applied elsewhere or used for other finalities (career, a business, relationships, etc.) rather than some far-out collapse.

Since so much in SHTF is unknown and open, and resources are limited even when things are normal, survival and preparedness are essentially trade-offs. We must read the signals, weigh the options, consider the probabilities, make an option, and face the consequences. That’s why striving for balance is so important.

#12 SHTF is dirty, smelly, ugly: This is undoubtedly one of the most striking characteristics of SHTF: how bad some places and situations can be. Most people have no idea, and they don’t want to know about this. Those who fantasize about being in SHTF should think twice. Abject misery and despair have a distinct smell of excrement, sewage, death, rotting material, pollution, trash, burned stuff, and all kinds of dirt imaginable. And insects. The movies don’t show these things. But bad smells and insects infest everything and everywhere, and it can be maddening.

During my street survival training, I get to visit some really awful places and witness horrible things. The folks eventually going out with me invariably get shocked, sometimes even sickened, when they see decadence up and close for the first time. Even ones used to dealing with the nasties – it’s hard not to get affected.

For instance, drug consumption hotspots are so smelly and nasty that someone really must have to be on crack just to stand being there. It’s hell on earth, and I can’t think of another way to describe these and other places like third-world prisons, trash deposits, and many others. Early on, being in these places would make me question why I do this. It never becomes “normal.” We just adapt. But seeing these realities changes our life and the way we see things.

#13 The Grid is fragile: It’s baffling how this escapes so many. Most people I know are in constant marvel with modern civilization. They look around, pointing and saying, “Are you crazy? Too big to fail! There’s no way this can go away! Nothing has ever happened!“.

We have someone to take our trash, slaughter, process our food, treat our sick, purify our water, treat our sewage, protect us from wrongdoers and evil people (and keep them locked), control the traffic, and defend our rights. Peeking behind the curtains is a red pill moment. What keeps The Grid up and running is not something small, but it’s fragile. The natural state of things is not an insipid, artificially controlled environment. On the positive side, it makes us feel more grateful, humble, and also more responsible.

#14 The frog in the boiling water: That’s you and me and everyone around us. There’s no other way around it. We’re the suckers who get squeezed and pay the bill whenever something happens, anywhere and everywhere. It’s always our freedom, rights, money, and privacy that gets attacked, threatened, stolen.

Not only because the 1% screws us at the top, but because we’re the big numbers, the masses. And only those who work and produce something can bear the brunt of whatever bad happens to society and civilization. Make no mistake: whenever the brown stuff hits the fan, it will fall on us. It’s no reason to revolt but to acknowledge that, ultimately, we’re responsible for ourselves.


Conclusion: Sometimes, the mechanics, brutality, and harshness of SHTF end up in the background of personal narratives and emotional accounts. Being more knowledgeable and cognizant of some general aspects of collapses may allow flexibility, creativity, improvisation, adaptation, resiliency, and other broad and effective strategies. Or, simply provide material for reflection and debate, really.

Either way, even those who haven’t been through collapse can still learn from history, from others’ experiences, from human behavior, from the facts. Just be sure to see the world for what it is and not from what you think. Because it will go its own way, and reality will assert itself all the same. 

What are your thoughts about the dynamics of an SHTF scenario? Are there any you want to add? Does this match up with your personal expectations? Let’s discuss it in the comments."

"How It Really Is"

 

"Grey's Anatomy"

"Grey's Anatomy"

“Whoever said, "What you don't know can't hurt you." 
was a complete and total moron.
 Sometimes not knowing is the worst thing in the world." 
-Meredith Grey

"Knowing is better than wondering. 
Waking is better than sleeping, 
and even the biggest failure, even the worst,
beats the hell out of never trying." 
-Meredith Grey

“Yes or no. In or out. Up or down. Live or die. 
Hero or coward. Fight or give in. 
I'll say it again to make sure you hear me. 
The human life is made up of choices. Live or die. 
That's the important choice. And it's not always in our hands." 
-Derek Shepherd

"The Approaching Tsunami"

"The Approaching Tsunami"
by Charles Hugh Smith

"Hey, is the water in the bay receding? Never mind, free drinks are on the Federal Reserve, so party on, life's a beach, asset bubbles will never pop, we're safe. Of course you are. The Fed is all-powerful and would never let a rogue wave turn all its precious phantom wealth into broken detritus.

The water is fast receding and a wave is visible if you care to look, but nobody cares to look. Why bother? The Fed is invincible. That's all you need to know to mint another fortune. Just to keep life interesting, let's look anyway. Gordon Long and I discuss four monster waves that are about to crash onto the Fed's beach party and sweep away the unwary revelers:

1. Declining liquidity: While everyone is focused on the Fed's ceaselessly repeated reassurance that the liquidity spigot will never be closed, never, ever, ever, so party on, and asset bubbles will never pop, never, ever, ever, other central banks have already started reducing global liquidity while domestically, the Treasury General Account (TGA) is soaking up liquidity to fund the federal government's monumental deficit spending.

2. Declining global growth: Long before the pandemic swept ashore in 2020, global growth was faltering. The business cycle had not been abolished, despite Fed assurances that growth and asset bubbles will continue expanding until they reach Alpha Centauri and beyond (Dow 1 trillion, yowza, baby!). Growth by any conventional measure (PMI, ISM, industrial production, global trade flows, etc.) had stagnated or rolled over. Profits had also topped out and the expansion of leveraged debt had started to wobble, hence the Fed's frantic unleashing of a repo flood in late 2019 to cover up the putrid stench of rapidly decaying debt.

3. Global supply shock: As we all know, global supply chains that everyone assumed were unbreakably robust turned out to be extremely fragile, tightly bound systems of endless dependency chains that fell to pieces once any one link snapped.

4. China credit impulse shock: While everyone in America focuses on the Fed's We walk on water claims of unlimited power to inflate asset bubbles forever, the rest of the world lives or dies on China's credit impulse, which has long been a reliable leading indicator of global expansion or contraction. For a variety of reasons, China's gargantuan credit bubble is no longer expanding, and so China is not going to save the world from recession and asset bubbles popping.

It would be easier to put one's faith in the unlimited power of the Fed to inflate asset bubbles if the humans behind the screen weren't hopelessly compromised by self-serving corruption. But alas, they are corrupt and self-serving, and their claims of unlimited power to inflate asset bubbles forever are about to be tested. Not looking won't stop the waves from washing the beach party away.

Below, I show you how risk was never low, just hidden. Plus, eight consequential triggers of a cascading market crash. Read on.
"Risk Was Never Low, It Was Only Hidden"
by Charles Hugh Smith

"But judging by euphoric gambler - oops, I mean "investor" - sentiment and measures of volatility, risk of a market drop has been near-zero for the past 18 months. But risk was never actually low, it was only hidden. When it emerges, it's a surprise only to those who mistakenly thought risk had vanished.

As Benoit Mandelbrot explains in his book "The (Mis)behavior of Markets," crashes are an intrinsic feature of systems like stock markets. These risks are not generated by specific human actions or sentiment but by the system itself. Just as humans make subconscious decisions and then conjure up quasi-rational justifications for their choice after the fact, market participants always conjure up some event or decision as the cause of the crash. Favorites include central bank policy error, black swan events ("bolts from the blue"), earnings surprises, technical levels were breached and so on.

Mandelbrot's insights reveal why markets crash without any policy error or other fabricated-after-the-fact justification: As those who witnessed the collapse of Japan's massive credit-asset bubble in 1989–1990 observed, markets just stopped going up and started falling.

Risk is a reflection of many dynamics, but the key dynamic few participants seem to understand is the inherent instability of complex systems: Surface tranquility is not an accurate reflection of the actual state of stability or risk, no matter how long the period of tranquility stretches.

The human mind rebels at the dominance of quasi-random crashes, as our hubris and need to be in charge generate an illusion of control: Rather than accept that markets can crash more or less "out of the blue" without any black swan or other trigger, we place our faith - yes, faith - in central bank policies, readings of sentiment, technical indicators and the like.

This illusion of control blindsides us to the reality that no policy tweak can stave off the quasi-random meteor strikes that are intrinsic features of complex systems. Wallowing in our hubris-soaked illusion of control, we believe that if there were no policy errors or black swans, markets could move smoothly higher forever. That is a fundamental misunderstanding of the systemic foundations of markets.

The ideal setup for a crash is a consensus that a crash is impossible - in other words, just like the present: Sure, there are carefully measured murmurings about a "correction" but nobody with anything to lose in the way of public credibility is calling for an honest-to-goodness crash, a real crash, not a wimpy, limp-wristed dip that will immediately be bought.

What I'm calling for is a rip your face off, weeping bitter tears over the grave of the speculative wealth that you thought was forever crash. All those buying the dip because the Fed will never let the market go down will be crushed like scurrying cockroaches and all those trying to rotate into the next hot sector or asset class will also be crushed like scurrying cockroaches because when the Everything Bubble pops, well, everything pops. There is no shelter in a risk-off cascade.

The crash is coming as a result of multiple mutually reinforcing dynamics, the first being that no "serious person" believes a crash is possible, much less imminent. In no particular order, here are a raft of other causally consequential triggers of a cascading market crash:

1. As I noted in my call for the top, “Is Anyone Willing to Call the Top of the Everything Bubble?” (Sept. 6, 2021), there is no history to support the widespread confidence that the extremes of overvaluation, leverage, euphoria and speculation last forever, or even much longer than the lifespan of a cockroach. We're well past that benchmark into unprecedented insanity. So what happens next: squish. Just for the record, the Dow topped out on Aug. 16, the S&P 500 topped out on Sept. 3 and the Nasdaq topped out the day after my call, Sept. 7. (Close enough for gummit work...)

2. The credibility of the Federal Reserve is in the dumpster, which just caught fire. The Fed is corrupt on multiple levels - thoroughly, completely corrupt, and so are all its minions, proxies, apparatchiks, toadies, apologists and lackeys. This is finally leaking through the Fed corruption-containment vessel as even the lackeys in the billionaire-owned corporate media are now fearful of losing whatever tattered shreds of credibility they still possess by refusing to acknowledge Fed corruption, overreach and hubris.

And so at long last, the Fed no longer walks on water. The Fed's fraudulent travesty of a mockery of a sham scam has finally breached the three-foot-thick containment walls and the putrid stench of Fed corruption can no longer be bottled up.

Like any good kleptocratic politburo, the Fed cashiered the two most indefensible scapegoats to divert attention from the equally corrupt incumbents presiding over the collapse of Fed credibility. Don't be surprised if the scapegoats are airbrushed out of official photos, per officially approved propaganda.

3. The fuel of the inflation rocket has just ignited and the clueless, corrupt Fed is watching the boost phase in abject, humiliating confusion, as the Fed is now completely powerless, having blown the opportunity to get ahead of the curve by reducing their making billionaires richer "stimulus" a year ago. Inflation is not just embedded, it's global. Natural gas prices could triple in entire regions without even breathing hard, and the costs of other essentials could just as easily triple without breaking a sweat. Inflation crushes risk-on speculative markets like, well, scurrying cockroaches. Squish.

4. The Fed has lost control of yields. We all know that liars reveal their dishonesty via microsignals, and with this in mind, slow down the video of Fed politburo speakers, starting with Chairperson Powell. Wealth inequality soaring? It's not our doing! etc.

Oops, the cat is out of the bag: The Fed has lost control of yields. Trust in the Fed's godlike powers is wavering, as punters and players realize the Fed's shuck-and-jive has finally lost its power to wow the greedy and the credulous. Rising yields crush risk-on speculative markets like, well, scurrying cockroaches. Squish.

5. China is not "saving the world" this time. China has other fish to fry and it isn't bailing out global markets as it did in previous bubble pops. Squish.

6. The rising U.S. dollar is Kryptonite to speculative markets, emerging-market debt and risk-on euphoria. Sorry about that, but you know what happens next: squish.

7. The retail bagholders are now all-in. The retail punters have finally gone all-in on the "this bubble will never pop" Everything Bubble. The retail bagholders have poured more cash into the Everything Bubble than they did in the past decade or two. This is of course the most reliable signal that a bubble is about to pop. Sorry about that: squish.

8. The buy the dip crowd has been so well-trained that they will provide the necessary buying to keep the cascade from gathering too much momentum. A stairstep down that sucks in buy the dip buyers is ideal for those profiting from the decline. First up: a rally to close the quarter positively to make it appear that every money manager beat the index funds. And so on. But the net result is still: squish. Consequences can be put off for quite some time, but the rot beneath the machinations only amplifies the eventual collapse.

The vast majority of market participants are about as ready for a semi-random "volatility event" as the dinosaurs were for the meteor strike that doomed them to oblivion. Financial oblivion awaits those ensnared in the quasi-religious faith of Federal Reserve power and other hubris-soaked illusions of control. The banquet of consequences is being served, and risk-off crashes are, like revenge, best served cold."
Related:
"'Catastrophic' Property Sales Mean 
China's Worst Case Scenario Is Now In Play"
"No ponzi scheme can continue if the participants lose faith in a favorable outcome, and at $62 trillion, China's housing sector is the world's biggest ponzi scheme."

Friday, October 8, 2021

"An October Stock Market Crash Is About To Burst With 80% Catastrophic Drop"

Full screen recommended.
"An October Stock Market Crash Is About 
To Burst With 80% Catastrophic Drop"
by Epic Economist

"A 48-year market veteran is warning about an imminent 80% stock market crash and he's stressing that investors should "prepare for more wealth destruction than we've ever seen". In fact, he isn't alone. According to a recent survey, more than half of all big Wall Street investors are bracing for a significant crash in the coming weeks and months. This is the type of news you won't see on the mainstream media, which wants us to believe we're marching towards a prosperous future when, in reality, we're headed to what may be the greatest financial meltdown in modern history.

Most people are still in denial that a stock market bubble even exists. The bubble is not only here, but already set for a brutal burst, an event some argue that will rival the 1929 Wall Street crash. For that reason, today, we decided to expose the truth. And it is ugly. We're going to echo the voices of market insiders who have been trying to alert us about the dangers lying ahead. If we look at the latest numbers, we will see that stocks' performance is reflecting this cautious outlook. The S&P 500 dropped by about 4.5% since its September 2 peak of 4,536. The decline has sparked questions about whether the market is close to its peak or if it has already peaked. 

According to the chief macro strategist at Contrarian Macro Advisors, David Hunter, the timidness on Wall Street and among investors right now signals that stocks are about to top out in this bull market. Hunter, a 48-year market veteran who knows how cycles work and when threats are emerging, says that the S&P 500 will go to 5,000 before crashing down. And everything will start to fall apart when the Federal Reserve begins to cut back its balance sheet and taper its asset purchases. The market insider reiterated his call for a steep pullback in stocks: The S&P 500 to drop as much as 80% from its peak, he warns. "We're going to see more wealth destruction than we've ever seen," Hunter stressed. The veteran also alerted that this brutal stock market crash is likely to come around the fourth quarter, as inflation will rise beyond the Fed's expectations and it will cause the central bank to taper more aggressively and more quickly than investors have anticipated. 

It is hardly surprising at this point that most big bulls on Wall Street are starting to experience a bearish sentiment. Many of them have started selling off their riskiest assets and turning to the exits before the carnage begins. Even big banks, such as Morgan Stanley, have been recently warning their clients about an impending correction and urging them to back off and reposition. In fact, according to a survey released by insurer Allianz, most US top investors now foresee stocks heading toward a crash, as they fear resurgent virus cases will throw the economy back into recession. 

Over 1000 investors in the market's top tier were interviewed and the survey found that a 54% majority say they are "worried that a big market crash is on the horizon". That rate is the highest of 2021, largely surpassing the 45% of respondents in the previous quarter. Nearly 70% revealed that they believe inflation will hurt Americans' purchasing power in the next six months. Inflationary pressures are only growing worse in recent weeks, with the core personal consumption expenditures index, a key inflation measure watched by the Federal Reserve, rising to 3.6% last month, the highest rate since May 1991. 

The tension is intensifying across financial markets given that October is known as the most volatile month for stocks. Stocks suffered their two worst crashes in U.S. market history in the month of October, and with only seven trade days in, it already looks like we will have another rough fall. Few investors still remember the trauma of the 1987's Black Monday. Many prefer to reassure themselves that a similar crash couldn’t happen nowadays, given market reforms that were instituted in the wake of the selloff. But they're only kidding themselves, said Xavier Gabaix, a professor of economics and finance at Harvard who conducted a study that emphasized the growing chance that the stock market will experience a one-day crash as bad as 1987’s Black Monday by the end of this month. In essence, overbullish sentiment, economic weakness, excessive debt levels, and reckless monetary policies are key ingredients for a disastrous recipe. 

Today's stock market is facing dangers much bigger than during previous bubbles. If these expert predictions turn out to be even half-correct, this means that we will be facing a financial apocalypse earlier than most people dare to imagine. https://www.epiceconomist.com​

Musical Interlude: Vangelis, “Beautiful Planet Earth”

Full screen mode recommended.
Vangelis, “Beautiful Planet Earth”

"A Look to the Heavens"

"A gorgeous spiral galaxy some 100 million light-years distant, NGC 1309 lies on the banks of the constellation of the River (Eridanus). NGC 1309 spans about 30,000 light-years, making it about one third the size of our larger Milky Way galaxy. Bluish clusters of young stars and dust lanes are seen to trace out NGC 1309's spiral arms as they wind around an older yellowish star population at its core.
Not just another pretty face-on spiral galaxy, observations of NGC 1309's recent supernova and Cepheid variable stars contribute to the calibration of the expansion of the Universe. Still, after you get over this beautiful galaxy's grand design, check out the array of more distant background galaxies also recorded in this sharp, reprocessed, Hubble Space Telescope view.”

"I Remember..."

"I remember my youth and the feeling that will never come back any more – the feeling that I could last for ever, outlast the sea, the earth, and all men; the deceitful feeling that lures us on to joys, to perils, to love, to vain effort – to death; the triumphant conviction of strength, the heat of life in the handful of dust, the glow in the heart that with every year grows dim, grows cold, grows small, and expires – and expires, too soon, too soon – before life itself."
- Joseph Conrad, 1857-1924, English writer, "Youth"

"The Grinch Who’d Steal Christmas"

"The Grinch Who’d Steal Christmas"
by Jeffrey Tucker

"Sunday was once my favorite day. Church, then mimosas, then falling asleep on a hammock while reading The New York Times. Those were the days. Then church was canceled and replaced by public health messaging. Now Sunday is the day that the insufferable Anthony Fauci holds court on TV. Whatever he says dominates the headlines for the rest of the week. Reporters let him talk and talk and are either unable or unwilling to ask any hard questions.

This time he pushed more vaccine mandates, threatened people who refuse with job loss and economic hardship and refused to say whether people should gather for Christmas this year. With that, he tips his hand: He is going for a COVID-zero strategy. It’s impossible. The attempt alone will finally shatter the economic and social order that we once knew.

I found his comments alarming, as I always do. My friends in Florida and Texas have been pushing back on this, pointing out that life seems perfectly normal in these states, and that’s been true for the better part of a year. They tell me just to settle down, but here’s the thing. Two-thirds of this country and the world are still in the grip of an insane idea that is wrecking the liberty we once knew. And it’s about to get much worse thanks to these vaccine mandates.

Lawlessness: People mostly do not know this, but the Biden administration has yet to release any sort of printed directive about these mandates that pertain to all companies with more than 100 employees. Why is this? Probably because the administration knows for certain that what it is doing won’t pass a legal test. OSHA was not set up as a vaccine-compliance outfit. Tagging this agency for this purpose would surely be shot down by courts at all levels.

How, then, can they get away with this? By reducing the edict to no more than a press conference and a few public statements, the government is inspiring human resources departments in every company to retool and act. They are counting on the private sector to do the dirty work for them. This way the deed is done and it faces no legal challenge. And this is precisely what has happened.

It’s affecting the public sector of course. Police departments around the country are being gutted. Hospitals are firing workers. The universities are being purged. All local and state governments are dealing with a genuine crisis. And over the coming weeks, every business will have to decide to comply or land on the wrong side of the wrath of the Biden administration and openly declare themselves to be Enemies of the State. It feels like war because it has many features of war.

I’ve noticed a subtle change in the framing of all public statements related to this. The lockdowners and pushers of mandates have been steely and cold, impervious to logic and disregarding of public opinion. They seem to be adopting a sadistic pose, not unlike what you would always find among the leadership of totalitarian countries. It’s a chilling thing to behold an entire ruling class lose all empathy.

The Revenue Grab: This tendency to outsource tyranny to the private sector is really catching on with the ruling class. I was in a store the other day when the owner put on his mask when I walked in. I was the only customer in the store. I said that he could take off his mask. He said that if he did that he would get fined thousands of dollars just like the merchant next door.

He said that the same would be true if he failed to enforce the mask mandate against me. I wouldn’t get in trouble with the police. He would. I asked how in the world anyone would know. He said there are two ways. Another person could walk by the shop and see me without the mask and call public health, which would then call the police. They could take a picture and the merchant would be fined.

He said that a second way would be for the cops to directly enforce this. They would come and sit in the parking lots, sometimes wearing plainclothes, watching for employees who failed to enforce the mandates. If they spotted them, they would walk in a few minutes later and issue all kinds of citations.

They can do this any time, any day. What they are after is not public health. They want money. The average local government lost 6% of its revenue in 2020 after many years of anticipating 3–5% increases in revenue year after year. They are now desperate to make it up.

Local and state governments don't have little Federal Reserves to print money for them. They can only spend what they can tax or raise through bond sales. So COVID compliance enforcement has become a form of taxation done in the name of public health. At this point, hardly anyone really pretends that this is somehow slowing or stopping the spread. It doesn’t do anything, but it provides great opportunities for government to further pillage private enterprise.

What matters here is that the merchants don’t actually have to believe in these mandates. They really don’t care either way. They would mostly rather see the faces of the customers, and they would probably like to enjoy the freedom to breathe. But they would rather mask up and make others do the same to avoid the tax. The Land of the Free!

Deck the Halls: Let’s return to this Christmas issue. I have some instinct that Fauci might have gone too far this time. Of course I’ve said that before. But it’s kind of like the old rule: Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me. Fauci tricked people last year. Actually most houses of worship were closed for the better part of 2020, much to their eternal shame. But now we know that it was all a ruse. This time it likely will not work.

That New Zealand has given up its zero-COVID policy is encouraging. Actually, it’s inevitable that every state in the world will have to relent, simply because the virus cares nothing about government policies. But even after that date, we’ll be left with a rapacious ruling class that has taken from this fiasco that the public will put up with a lot more despotism than we ever believed possible, provided people are fearful enough.

Lose the fear and we find our freedom again. Unfortunately, too many people have a vested interest in maintaining that fear."

The Daily "Near You?"

Grimsby, North East Lincolnshire, United Kingdom.
Thanks for stopping by!

"When People Tell You..."

"When people tell you who they are, Maya Angelou famously advised, believe them. Just as important, however, when people try to tell you who you are, don’t believe them. You are the only custodian of your own integrity, and the assumptions made by those that misunderstand who you are and what you stand for reveal a great deal about them and absolutely nothing about you."
- Maria Popova

"Economic Market Snapshot AM 10/8/21"

"Economic Market Snapshot AM 10/8/21"

"Capitalism is the astounding belief that the most wickedest of men will
do the most wickedest of things for the greatest good of everyone."
- John Maynard Keynes
"The more I see of the monied classes,
the better I understand the guillotine."
- George Bernard Shaw

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