“I used to be a conspiracy theorist. But then all the conspiracies I followed turned out to be true.” The remark was made by a friend and Wealth Prism Letter subscriber over a recent phone conversation. We’ll have more on this in just a moment. But first, some of what prompted the comment…
Here in the land of fruits and nuts things have always been a little whacky and wild. The people and the politics in the state’s urban centers have the uncanny ability to bring out the worst in each other. The coronavirus travesty has only magnified these character failings. For example, all the stimmy checks, generous unemployment payments, and eviction moratoriums have had a predictable outcome. They’ve created a burgeoning class of people who would rather loaf and invite their soul over plying their time and talents toward something gainful.
At 7.5 percent, California’s tied with Nevada for the highest unemployment rate in the country. For perspective, the U.S. unemployment rate in September was 4.8 percent. Moreover, unemployment claims in California now account for one-third of the nation’s total claims. Yet the state, while the most populous, only accounts for a little over 12 percent of the nation’s total people.
At the local level, San Francisco and Los Angeles have been in an exhilarating competition for what city can be most stupid. Los Angeles recently sprinted into the lead. Just this week, for instance, and with a nod to Mao Zedong’s Great Leap Forward, the City of Los Angeles announced a universal basic income pilot program. It’s called Big:Leap. The mechanics of the Big:Leap program are simple enough. Roughly 3,200 low-income families will be chosen at random to receive $1,000 a month for one year starting in January.
Mayor Garcetti calls the program, “an instrument of racial equality.” Why the colon mark is inserted into the syntax is a mystery. And how the program will help people in poverty is equally mysterious. Poverty, remember, for a majority of people that live with it, is more of an attitude than a financial condition. Giving someone free money for a year does nothing to adjust their attitude of poverty. Rather, it reinforces their dependence.
So it was with this backdrop, among other mad happenings, that one friend and reader offered the following anecdotes and observations…
Tin Foil Hats: “As I was saying, I used to be a conspiracy theorist. But then all the conspiracies I followed turned out to be true. Turns out the Wuhan flu, for example, did in fact originate inside the Wuhan Institute of Virology. And now we know the National Institute of Health did fund the Wuhan lab’s dangerous gain of function experiments. Fauci lied, again!
And we all know what happened to Seth Rich." “What happened to Seth Rich?” we asked, trying to recall if there was something we should know. “Let’s just say, Vince Foster. And leave it at that.
But there is one thing I can’t quite put a finger on. Do you think U.S. supply chain disruptions, and the massive logjams at the ports, are deliberate? I mean, could the lunatics in government be trying to further collapse the economy so they can create an even larger population of dependents? The deranged push to get everyone vaccinated, in some way, seems to be part of this.
These ports – LA and Long Beach – have been in operation for over 100 years. There have been world wars, economic depressions, dock worker strikes. You know… Bloody Thursday, Harry Bridges, and all that. But nothing ever backed up the cargo ships quite like this. Why now? Have you been down to Bluff Park or up to Signal Hill? The view of them all littered offshore with Catalina in the background is absolutely nuts.
I’m telling you, if something doesn’t give in the next 30 to 60 days we’ll all be up the creek without a paddle. And that’s exactly where Empty Shelves Joe wants us. And that’s exactly why I’m thinking this is deliberate.
Now I’d put my old tin foil hat on to shield my brain from mind control. But, as I said, these conspiracy theories all keep coming true. This one seems no different.”
[At this point we could tell our friend was just warming up. So, we settled back into our chair and made ourselves comfortable…]
Bidenvilles for Christmas: “I heard you were in Reno last week, yeah? You know what they say about Reno? It’s so close to Hell you can see Sparks.
Speaking of being close to Hell. What the eff’s up with the LBC? I mean, the city’s always had a seedy underbelly. Most port cities do. My dad graduated from Poly High in the early 60s. I remember him telling me the area just east of where Ocean Blvd. crosses the LA River used to be called The Jungle. It was the city’s preeminent oceanfront slum. And when the Pike and the Cyclone Racer slipped into decay and disrepair in the mid-60s it turned really ugly. The amusement seekers disappeared. But the carnies, winos, and pyromaniacs remained.
That was back when Long Beach was still a Navy town. Every now and again some sailor would get snockered at Clancy’s or Joe Jost’s and stumble down “Whore Alley” over there and get rolled and roughed up by the souteneurs and hustlers. But at least it was contained. Seems like The Jungle has now spread like a virus to infect the entire city.
Like in front of the library at the end of your block. Have you been by there at night, lately? It’s a full blown Bidenville – with barrel fires and everything. So is the lot behind the vacant Sears across the street. Several months ago I heard they were going to convert that old Sears building to a homeless shelter. But I don’t know what ever came of it.
What I do know is that Long Beach city officials are trying to out-stupid Los Angeles and San Francisco. They’re now talking about sanctioning homeless encampments. Can you believe it? Government sanctioned Bidenvilles? Maybe the city will deliver them for Christmas. Ho ho ho!
In truth, this is more Governor Newsom’s and Mayor Garcia’s doing than Biden’s. But I still call them Bidenville’s. Anytime I can hold this illegitimate President in ill-repute, I do. Let’s go Brandon! You know what that means, don’t you?”
“Blown by fast winds from a hot, massive star, this cosmic bubble is huge. Cataloged as Sharpless 2-308 it lies some 5,000 light-years away toward the constellation of the Big Dog (Canis Major) and covers slightly more of the sky than a Full Moon. That corresponds to a diameter of 60 light-years at its estimated distance. The massive star that created the bubble, a Wolf-Rayet star, is the bright one near the center of the nebula. Wolf-Rayet stars have over 20 times the mass of the Sun and are thought to be in a brief, pre-supernova phase of massive star evolution.
Fast winds from this Wolf-Rayet star create the bubble-shaped nebula as they sweep up slower moving material from an earlier phase of evolution. The windblown nebula has an age of about 70,000 years. Relatively faint emission captured by narrowband filters in the deep image is dominated by the glow of ionized oxygen atoms mapped to a blue hue. Presenting a mostly harmless outline, SH2-308 is also known as The Dolphin-head Nebula.”
"Brownwood, Texas, today is bustling like never before. The old hotel downtown is being renovated after sitting in decay for decades. The restaurants are packed. Houses are selling for 20% more than their Zillow values. The banks are experiencing a big influx of funds. New residents are pouring in from around the country. Everyone is making money. It’s a charming and happy place, except that everyone complains about the car traffic. That’s a nice problem.
One year and a half ago, life was different. It was like a ghost town. The mall was empty. The shops were closed. You could not see anyone on the streets. Maybe a straggler or two. The hotels were empty. Local businesses were struggling to stay afloat using various takeout techniques and deliveries. It seemed like a town in its death throes. What a difference between the two!
An Oasis in a World Gone Mad: I, in fact, attended a downtown street party there just a few months ago. The lust for living was on full display. No one, not one person, wore a mask. The bars were packed. Street vendors were selling their goods. It felt like some mecca of real life in a world gone crazy. Brownwood, Texas, was determined to live again.
Clearly the experience of death and life burned deeply in the hearts of many of the city’s primary stakeholders. It’s like they said: Never again. Now the town is not only back, but bustling, happy and beautiful again. The city council has just made history, as the first city in Texas to declare itself to be a “Constitutional City.”
Constitutional City, USA: What do they mean by “Constitution City”? It means that the government cannot and will not pass any laws that violate the Bill of Rights. This is clearly motivated as a response to the lockdowns that nearly wrecked the place. As a local news outlet wrote: "The resolution does not mention COVID or the COVID vaccine but states the commissioners court "is determined to stand as a constitutional county" and recited the rights including freedom of expression, speech, association, religion, press and petition, the right to keep and bear arms, the right to protection from government overreach and the right not to be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law."
The resolution states the Brown County "recognizes, respects and upholds the First and Second Amendment rights and will use "all legal means at its disposal to oppose, within the limits of the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Texas" any efforts to "unconstitutionally restrict" those rights.
Lose Freedom to Gain It: It was F.A. Hayek who wrote in 1947 that no people love freedom more than those who have more recently lost all of it. He continued that his hope was that Americans did not have to lose theirs entirely before they woke up and realized the dangerous trends of rising state power and finally stand up and say: enough.
Sadly, we did have to lose massive amounts of freedom before that day arrived. But it is arriving. Not as quickly as we might like. Not fast enough to save the economy and the dollar, both of which are going down fast. We are headed to a recession again, not having even recovered from the last one, and the dollar is tanking relative to what we can buy with it.
Even so, Americans are standing up for freedom finally. Here are some signs of hope:
● The Biden administration is down 10 points underwater and the trend of his approval ratings look very bad for the White House.
● School boards all over the country are being overthrown due to tolerating lockdowns and forced masking and testing.
● New polls show a dramatic turnaround in attitudes toward government.
It’s clear that many industries and workers are standing up to vaccine mandates:
● The airline “sickouts” have caused Southwest Airlines to back down somewhat.
● People are in the streets in Sacramento protesting the mandates.
● Alternative news sources are booming while polls show less trust for the mainstream than ever before.
● We are starting to win in the courts.
● Bitcoin just reached a new high - a clear repudiation of mainstream financial opinion.
Wait for the Media Outcry: Now, with this new movement toward Constitutional Cities we are seeing a real form of declaring independence. If the federal government doesn’t care, and state governors don’t care, at least cities can stand up for what we are supposed to believe in as a country.
It’s a beautiful idea. We can hope this model will be copied all over the country. But let’s watch: In a matter of a few weeks, the attacks on the Constitutional Cities movement will start hitting hard. CNN will discover that some activist somewhere has a sketchy background or even attended the Jan. 6 protest in D.C. The movement will be declared “far right” and “extremist” and probably “racist” and who knows what else.
Know this: It’s utter bunk. These are good citizens who care about liberty and freedom and swear to never again allow their cities and towns to be torn apart by fools, charlatans, liars and thieves, even if they say it has to happen because they are smart scientists who know how to handle disease. These cities are imposing a real restraint at least in rhetoric.
And also there is a strong economic incentive to declare one’s city to be a Constitutional City. It attracts tourists and investment dollars. If you are thinking of opening a business, wouldn’t it be a safer bet to choose such a city over a place like Chicago or San Francisco? At least you could pretty much count on some resistance to lockdowns or sudden tax increases or speech controls.
Building Back Better: I’m particularly impressed at the movement around the First Amendment. It’s become almost banned on Facebook even to post inflation numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The other day, Zuckerberg even censored a respected economist who pointed to the known data. Just because government has outsourced its violations of the Bill of Rights to private companies doesn’t make it kosher. It’s nothing but a sneaky trick to get around the courts.
Most of us have felt trapped for two years. This is what they wanted. They wanted us confused, separated, silenced and unable to find a way out. But we’ll figure it out. We are figuring it out right now. This is one promising path. It won’t stop the coming economic chaos but it lays a good foundation for rebuilding in the future."
"The division of one day from the next must be one of the most profound peculiarities of life on this planet. We are not condemned to sustained flights of being, but are constantly refreshed by little holidays from ourselves. We are intermittent creatures, always falling to little ends and rising to new beginnings. Our soon-tired consciousness is meted out in chapters, and that the world will look quite different tomorrow is, both for our comfort and our discomfort, usually true. How marvelously too night matches sleep, sweet image of it, so nearly apportioned to our need. Angels must wonder at these beings who fall so regularly out of awareness into a fantasm-infested dark. How our frail identities survive these chasms no philosopher has ever been able to explain."
"Human beings never think for themselves, they find it too uncomfortable. For the most part, members of our species simply repeat what they are told - and become upset if they are exposed to any different view. The characteristic human trait is not awareness but conformity, and the characteristic result is religious warfare. Other animals fight for territory or food; but, uniquely in the animal kingdom, human beings fight for their 'beliefs.' The reason is that beliefs guide behavior, which has evolutionary importance among human beings. But at a time when our behavior may well lead us to extinction, I see no reason to assume we have any awareness at all. We are stubborn, self-destructive conformists. Any other view of our species is just a self-congratulatory delusion."
"Nothing is more predictable than a stock market rally starting in early November and running into mid-January - Santa's rally. And since it's so predictable, why not front-run the rally by loading up on stocks in October?
Here's the problem: Santa doesn't take kindly to punters front-running his rally. It's like opening your presents in October, and that's the equivalent of sucker-punching Santa. Santa's revenge will be served cold: no rally for you, front-runners. And nothing in your stocking or under your tree, either. Rather than give front-runners a lump of coal (that's been bought up by China), Santa will deliver trillions of dollars in losses, much to the surprise of the front-runners counting on glorious gains galore.
A funny thing happened on the way to Santa's 2021 rally: a disintegrator beam swept through the entire global supply chain. Everything is now scarce except euphoric confidence in more stock market gains and more central bank stimulus, NFTs, quadrillions in cryptos, and users who hate Meta, which I'm guessing is an acronym for me eat the addicts.
What's absolutely out of stock are 1) stability and 2) the means to restore global supply chains to their previous working order. Unbeknownst to the vast herds consuming the goodies stuffed in those 8,000 containers per ship, the entire supply chain has been optimized to function within a very narrow band. Once it veers out of than band, it unravels very quickly and cannot be restored to its previous optimization.
There are a number of reasons for this inability to put Humpty-Dumpty back together again.
1. Everything that's needed to restore stability has been stripped out by optimizing profits. Redundancy, excess capacity, stockpiles, multiple sources, domestic sources - all those cost money and are therefore the mortal enemies of increasing profits, so they've all been stripped out of the system long ago.
2. There is just enough of everything to function in the optimized band, and adding more capacity quickly is impossible. There are just enough gasoline/diesel tankers to make the optimal deliveries, and no surplus tankers to add to the network. And even if there were super-costly tanker-trucks gathering dust in a lot, there wouldn't be any surplus drivers with the credentials and experience to drive them.
When a solvent runs out because one of the only two producers goes down for any reason, everything that depends on that solvent shuts down. As for adding capacity to produce more solvent, forget it: the machinery is specialized and has to be ordered with lead times measured in months, the means to transport more petrochemical feedstocks to the plant don't exist and cannot be conjured out of thin air, workers who know how to operate the plant are scarce, and so on.
These multitudes of intermediaries generate long dependency chains which break if even one link goes down. Every intermediary is a potential disruptor, and the more intermediaries there are, the more opportunities for one link in the chain to snap. With excess capacity kept near-zero to maximize profits, there's no slack, no pool of expertise to tap, no production capacity that can be turned on with a flick of a switch.
3. The instinctive human response to scarcity is to stockpile what's scarce or even threatening to become scarce. For wholesalers and enterprises, this means over-ordering to insure enough inventory to maintain production / sales. This quickly exacerbates shortages as the fortunate few grab far more of the dwindling supply than they need, starving everyone else down the chain.
Consumers also buy more and stuff it safely in closets, pantries, garages, etc. Stockpiling is not only rational when faced with scarcities, it's also rational when price increases are guaranteed: better to buy more now before the price goes up.
But since the global system is optimized for narrow ranges of supply and demand, this panic-buying strips the system of what little wiggle-room it had. Consider gasoline and diesel supply systems. They're optimized for average drivers to maintain less than half a tank of fuel. So when everyone starts topping off their tank every time they see an open gas station, the modest excess supply is quickly drained and shortages start cascading through a system with near-zero excess capacity, storage, personnel, tanker-trucks, etc.
Count the intermediaries between the source of the stuff you need and your house and you'll have a decent grasp of your vulnerability to global supply chain breakdowns. Very few of us know enough to count the intermediaries, and we might reckon there's a few dozen at most. In many cases, the true number is in the hundreds once we count the components, specialty materials, glues, solvents, packaging, delivery, etc. in every part of the production and shipping chain.
If you make your own Christmas presents with materials you have on hand, there are no intermediaries between the giver and the recipient. That's a secure system. Depending on hundreds of intermediaries to all function perfectly as the entire chain disintegrates, that's considerably less secure.
Santa is generally a jolly fellow, but that doesn't mean he doesn't take pleasure in meting out well-deserved punishment to the greedy. All gains are guaranteed by the Federal Reserve until the magical belief in the Fed's hocus-pocus encounters the disintegration beam. Oops, sorry about your Santa rally. You got greedy with the wrong guy."
"How Close Is Total Social and Economic Collapse?"
by Jeffrey A. Tucker
"Economies and societies fall apart slowly, then a bit more, then all at once. We seem to be in the middle period of this trajectory. The slow part began March 2020 when politicians around the world imagined that it would be no big deal to shut down the economy and restart it once the virus went away. What a beautiful display of the power of government it would be, or so they believed. We’ll all have a big celebration, said the president.
The virus was never going to go away, which meant that there was no exit ramp. Congress spent money and the Fed cranked up the presses to pay the bills, while checks were stuffed into bank accounts all over the country, all to mask the growing economic devastation.
None of it worked. You cannot turn off an economy and normal social functioning and then turn them back on like a light switch. The attempt alone will necessarily cause unpredictable amounts of long-term breakage, not only of economic structures but also of the spirit of a people. Everything going on now reflects the disastrous presumption that doing that would be possible and not cause dramatic and lasting damage.
It was the greatest failure of politics in a century or perhaps in all of human history, when you consider just how many governments were involved in committing the same idiocy all at once.
Here it is 19 months later. Hundreds of thousands of small businesses are destroyed, while big tech that thrived during lockdowns (which it advocated and supported via censorship) is buying up major swaths of Manhattan. The kids have lost two years of education, and 40% of people report serious financial problems.
Disposable diapers are in short supply and parents are turning to cloth, reversing one of the great innovations of the postwar period. School lunches are dwindling due to food shortages and now fewer people available to work the lunch counters. After all, workers are being fired for declining a vaccination that many people do not want or believe they need.
In US ports, ships are lined up waiting for goods to be unloaded but there is a lack of transportation out. Truckers are in short supply, many having quit before (due to unwarranted regulatory impositions) and during lockdowns and now uninterested in coming back. In addition, domestic flights that once were a reliable means of shipping have been curtailed.
President Biden, like in a scene out of "Atlas Shrugged" has ordered the ports to stay open 24 hours to get the job done. Just work harder! No one believes that this order will make any difference.
The hashtag #emptyshelves is trending for a reason. It’s very alarming to wander into a random grocery store in this country. Products we’ve always believed would be there are not. Consumers are on the verge of panicking. Their hoarding will soon be denounced by the press office of the White House. If we stay on this path, rationing comes next, then script printed to enforce the rationing as in wartime.
Existing inflation data is bad enough but it is masking the current trends. Producer prices are soaring 20% year over year. Heating oil is in short supply as we head into the winter months. People are talking about having to choose between food on the table and not freezing at night.
This is in a country that only two years ago seemed like the richest place on the planet in all of human history, with good growth prospects. It all ended so quickly and deliberately. What’s next? Foraging for food? At what point do we need to start guarding our pets from human predators?
Everyone talks about broken supply chains but few know what that means. It’s not just a matter of getting a finished product from port to shelves. The production structures of the global economy are too complex for the human mind to fathom. Every product goes through multiple thousands of stages involving producers all over the world. Break the availability of one critical and non-substitutable input and you break everything.
A good example is computer chips, which went into short supply last fall. Manufacturers had cancelled orders during lockdown on the belief that they could simply reorder when the economy reopened. When they placed those orders, the factories had already retooled to serve other products and other countries. There seems to be no hope of fixing this problem anytime soon.
This problem of input availability is affecting every manufacturer in the world, creating more shortages and more upward price pressure. Those price increases are already outstripping wage increases. In the “wage illusion,” people are getting raises but they can buy ever less with their money, so in real terms, their wages are falling.
Meanwhile, 4.3 million workers have gone missing. Data indicate that this affects mostly women and minorities, or least disportionately so, reversing decades of advances in including these groups in the labor force. News media is ignoring this issue, and implausibly so given the demographics of the damage. This reflects an unwillingness to draw attention to the failures of policies that have been widely celebrated by the media and its chosen experts for the better part of 20 months.
The conflict between the federal government and some Republican-ruled states is intensifying, with each side declaring the edicts of the other side as illegal. This has squeezed businesses and workers, so that any choice they make on vaccines will be illegal. In airlines that believe they are bound by federal rules, pilots, mechanics, traffic controllers, and flight attendants are getting the rest of their sick leave in anticipation of final dismissal. Faced with mass absenteeism, the airlines have had to cancel thousands of flights, and then lie about it (“unusual weather”).
What’s remarkable is the near-silence on the cause of this whole crackup. It all traces to a fateful attempt to control a virus using compulsion. That has been followed by an unwillingness to admit error and a doubling down on that error with more mistakes such as vaccine mandates. We are faced with a stunningly cruel policy that is forcing more firings during a widespread labor shortage.
The firings for non-compliance intensify this week, affecting academia, military, education, health care, digital tech, police and fire departments, and a whole range of services. They are being thrown out of their jobs, denied income in the name of improving public health. It’s like a scene out of V for Vendetta. Or The Matrix. Or The Hunger Games. Today it feels like the middle section of Atlas Shrugged when everything is grinding to a halt.
Generous people all over the country are rallying to care for friends and members of their communities who are being brutally purged from institutions that they have served faithfully for decades, people suddenly finding themselves without the ability to provide for their families. Lawyers are too expensive, judges don’t care in any case, and the politicians are trying to look the other way and pretend not to notice the carnage all around them.
Tragically, science itself, or at least the government’s version of it, stands discredited, simply because it was the basis on which all this destruction has been justified. They said they would improve our health, even as drug overdoses hit record highs, the murder rate that had fallen for decades has reversed course, cancer screenings have been missed thereby putting millions at risk of early demise, and depression has soared to levels never seen in our lifetimes.
People are raging on the streets of Rome, Paris, Melbourne, London, and many other major cities around the world, even while the national press ignores them for fear of spreading discontent. In the US, the protests are taking the form of quiet seething, illustrated in part by a president who is ramping up the controls by the day, even as his approval ratings are underwater by double digit numbers. Crowds chanting “#uck Joe Biden” are re-rendered by the press as “Let’s go Brandon,” as if that is going to fool anyone.
The arrogance of the political establishment meanwhile appears boundless. They are infallible: believe them and not your eyes and ears. Most of the mainstream press of the past has their back and assigns “fact checkers” to affirm that the lies are real and that the corrections to the lies are fakes.
How does all this end? It doesn’t end. History rolls forward in the current direction of decline so long as no one is there to stand athwart it and yell stop and reverse course. How bad must it get before human rationality and reason take over from political egos and careerist duplicity? We are going to find out in the next 12 months. It’s going to be a very long winter, as two weeks to flatten the curve gradually and painfully turns into three years of remarkable and wholly preventable wreckage.
None of this has to be. It is indeed fixable now. Everyone involved in the lockdowns and mandates needs to follow the lead of Congressman Chip Roy of Texas. He said what thousands, millions, need to say: "I admit my shame. Against my gut, I accepted 15 days to flatten the curve out of deference to POTUS & the possibility the virus would be worse. I immediately (w/in 15 days) called for a firm re-open date (& took heat for that), but I admit my error & I apologize. #TakeBackAmericahttps://t.co/8weAXQAy7X
Off Coast Of California As Shipping Crisis Aggravates"
by Epic Economist
"Extreme port congestion is causing serious systemic failures across the entire U.S. supply chain as the global shipping crisis continues to get worse. Industry executives are warning that the unprecedented backlog of containers won't go away this year, and it could become one of the biggest problems of 2022. According to Goldman Sachs, "backlogs and elevated shipping costs are likely to persist at least through the middle of next year". "No immediate solution for the underlying supply-demand imbalances at US ports is available," the bank's economists concluded in the latest research report. That means more headaches are coming for the economy and American consumers because supply chain bottlenecks are pushing prices up, delaying shipments and deliveries, and leaving shoppers with limited options.
Over the past year, consumer prices have risen at the fastest pace since 2008. Overall inflation jumped nearly 6 percent, according to official numbers, but non-official figures point to a spike of roughly 14 percent. The amount of out-of-stock products in online platforms rocketed by 172 percent compared to the same period in 2020, Adobe Analytics data showed. Now, the most telling evidence that more shortages, price increases, and disruptions are about to emerge is the immense backlog of containers stranded off the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Island. Estimates suggest that over one million containers are sitting in more than one hundred cargo ships that are waiting to get offloaded outside the two ports.
Nationwide, including the ports of Savannah, New York, and New Jersey, at least 1.5 million containers that are sitting in 171 cargo ships are still waiting to dock, and these figures continue to escalate as more and more ships arrive with holiday goods. Outside the California ports alone, Goldman estimates that there is a shocking $24 billion in goods stuck in those containers. The U.S. is currently experiencing the worst phase of the shipping crisis so far.
In an attempt to alleviate this crisis, the White House announced that ports will implement 24/7 operations until the end of the year. However, due to a severe labor shortage, that may only aggravate the problem since there's not enough personnel to move those goods around. Goldman also found that it takes three times more than normal to unload a single container due to the lack of qualified workers to properly handle the cargo, operate forklifts, and drive trucks. And if you think port congestion is intense right now, just wait for what comes next. On Wednesday, several industry leaders attended the National Shippers Advisory Council inaugural meeting. Early this week, the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach announced that from November 1 on, there will be a $100 charge for containers dwelling nine or more days that move by truck and those dwelling six days or more that move by rail. The fee will increase by $100 every day, and it will be charged to carriers, which will certainly pass the fee along to shippers, which will then pass those increased costs to consumers.
According to Daniel Miller, global container lead at Cargill, California’s emergency charges are “crazy fees” that will only make everything more expensive. "We know this is all going to come back to us. I had a couple of calls with carriers yesterday and they’ve already admitted that yes, they are going to come back to us.” According to Miller, “I don’t think anybody on this committee would admit to using the port to let containers sit there because they want to. Everybody has the full intention to get these containers out, but they physically can’t.” At some point, the problem starts to feed on itself, and of course, those who will ultimately pay for these fees will be the end consumers. This is yet one more example of ineffective government policies that are only aggravating a crisis that is already pushing the price of everything up.
We might enter 2022 in a far worse state than we're now. And what's truly alarming is that most Americans have no idea of the true scope of this crisis. They don't imagine how hard the challenges ahead are going to be. We will be lucky if further disruptions don't emerge in the coming months. Neither the short-term nor the long-term outlook seem promising. We're moving towards a turbulent era of broken supply chains, hyperinflation, and widespread shortages in proportions never seen before. So you better be prepared before things start to spin out of control."
"You never wanted to live through such times. I didn’t either. My own mindset two years ago was essentially that of a Victorian intellectual. I believed that we mostly had life figured out, mostly had unity on the basic principles of life. We should protect liberty through law. Government should be frugal or at least have plans in place to pay for what it spends. That peace is better than war. That the military is brutal and should be deployed sparingly and never against masses of the domestic population.
Yes, sure there were bad things going on, and plenty of messes out and about. But generally, innovation was keeping up, stocks were rising, inflation was mostly flat or tolerable, war was in the process of being discredited and health care and inflation could be reformed in a way that was market oriented.
Taxes could even be cut more, provided the right people controlled the Congress. There were crazy ideological groups on the loose - left and right - but they were far from being mainstream, much less a threat. In other words, I believed that things could only get better, maybe not right away, but over time.
The darkness fell in March 2020. We had no idea (at least I did not) that the foundations of civilization itself had cracked. The ceiling too. Both collapsed at the same time. What that month revealed to us - and the subsequent 19 months further underscored - is that we were far worse off culturally and intellectually than I ever knew.
I talk to people all the time who still think that we can get through this without paying a heavy price. It’s nonsense. You can move to a red state. You can save your money. You can disappear from social media. You can stock up on essentials. All of those are worthy ideas. But there will be no one who will be safe from the coming storms.
The Insane Spending: Congress has been on a wild spending spree ever since those days, simply because they could. It was this binge that allowed the insanity at the state level to continue on and on. Essentially, Congress paid for the country to destroy itself.
I will illustrate the astonishing shock of what happened with a chart that, for some odd reason, I’ve never seen printed in the mainstream press. It shows total public debt as a percentage of GDP.
Here is another way to look at the same problem. This chart shows the percentage increase in federal government spending. What has happened in the last two years makes every administration we’ve ever had look like a pillar of frugality.
This is not an illusion. It represents the grim reality. The world as we know it was blown up. This is all reality: This debt will need to be paid. I can count a number of ways:
1. Inflation. This is already in double digits among producer prices. Next month’s consumer price index is going to come as a shock. Except that it will be reported with as much calm nothingness as possible, so that the natives won’t get restless.
This inflation itself will be underreported simply because we have a nation full of empty shelves. Everywhere. On random things. I was poking around some stores last night and observed that there were rows and rows of empty shelves in the store. This is nuts. Stores fight for shelf space. They keep as much inventory out as possible. Now they are moving shelves around to disguise the lack of goods.
The rationing is already here with liquor and random goods in stores, but the Biden administration won’t hesitate to impose it on a broader class of goods as we approach year’s end.
The Fed right now is toying around with the idea of restricting inflationary monetary policies, possibly raising rates and curbing its debt purchases. Jerome Powell is making ever louder noises as a warning to Wall Street that the party could be ending soon. You know why markets have stopped listening to him? Because they do not believe him. They know that he will not do this because the damage is too deep and wide. For the Fed to end its policies would cause rates to soar, lending to collapse and the economy to tumble into a depression like we’ve never seen before.
Therefore the chairman of the Fed is, for now, about as influential for current markets and policies as the pumpkin I will soon carve for All Hallows’ Eve. He has one job right now and he knows it: keep this illusion alive as long as possible. When the chaos finally happens, his plan is to stay out of the way.
2. Taxation is the second way to pay. The IRS will certainly be monitoring more money coming and going from your bank account. The protests against the idea are feeble and temporary. This will happen within the year. Will it work at raising revenue? I doubt it. It will however be used as another tool for targeting regime enemies. This power will reveal everyone as a viable subject for a tax audit. They can continue for years and drive people to despair and suicide. They usually cost more than they raise.
What about taxing the billionaires? Even if that works, and it will not because there is a reason these people are billionaires (they are smart), it would only pay the debt of a few days. When the total productivity of a nation falls below the accumulated debt that a nation owes, you are technically in default. Speaking of which:
3. Find new markets for the new debt. Five years ago, there were markets for U.S. debt all over the world and they were expanded. But in the meantime, the U.S. gave up its world leadership position. It encouraged a decoupling from trade, the destruction of supply chains, the ruination of traditional trade partnerships and the disintegration of decades of policies that promoted global integration. Now the U.S. finds itself in a strange position of being nearly alone, while China and the entire region develops new trade strategies and policies. At this stage, default might be the wisest move. Sure, that would ruin the U.S. as a credit risk for a generation. But that might happen in any case.
The Denialists: The first lecture I ever delivered on economics was about government spending and how it was going up dramatically in the mid 1980s. Yeah, we didn’t know what dramatic was! In any case, I recall explaining this to the kids there. They didn’t believe me. The entire media complex was complaining about spending cuts. How could they say this if spending was going up? I held up the chart. I passed around the chart. They questioned my source. I showed them the government document.
They never did come around to believing me. People believe what they want to believe. So too, people imagine that life can be normal again very soon. But reality has a way of prevailing over what we imagine to be true."
"Spooky shapes seem to haunt this dusty expanse, drifting through the night in the royal constellation Cepheus. Of course, the shapes are cosmic dust clouds visible in dimly reflected starlight. Far from your own neighborhood, they lurk above the plane of the Milky Way at the edge of the Cepheus Flare molecular cloud complex some 1,200 light-years away.
Over 2 light-years across and brighter than most of the other ghostly apparitions, vdB 141 or Sh2-136 is also known as the Ghost Nebula, seen at the right of the starry field of view. Inside the nebula are the telltale signs of dense cores collapsing in the early stages of star formation. With the eerie hue of dust reflecting bluish light from hot young stars of NGC 7023, the Iris Nebula stands out against the dark just left of center. In the broad telescopic frame, these fertile interstellar dust fields stretch almost seven full moons across the sky."
“My suspicion is that the universe is not only queerer than we suppose,
but queerer than we can suppose.”
- J. B. S. Haldane
“Legend has it that after reciting his official recantation, kneeling on the floor of the Holy Office in Rome before assembled officials of the Inquisition, Galileo whispered, “And yet it moves.” To save his life, or at least to avoid some dank dungeon and perhaps torture, the old man had publicly denied that he ever believed or taught that the Earth orbits the Sun, rather than the other way around. The public recantation was real enough. Whether Galileo whispered the private qualification we’ll never know. It makes a lovely story. In any case, he was allowed to go back to Florence under house arrest and in the final years of his life invented (I will dare to assert) mathematical physics.
And yet it moves. The Earth goes spinning around the Sun with its sister planets. The Sun whirls with its neighboring stars around the center of the Milky Way Galaxy. The Milky Way drifts with its attendant galaxies toward the Andromeda cluster. The Milky Way Galaxy, the Great Andromeda Galaxy, and their lesser galactic companions, the so-called Local Group, dance somewhere near the outer edge of the Local Supercluster of galaxies. Which are but the tiniest swarm of galaxies in the whole outward-racing shebang.
It moves. Oh, yes, it moves, and Galileo didn’t know the half of it. His inquisitors didn’t know any of it, but they thought they knew all of it. And their descendants still claim infallibility. But let me not beat up on the dogmatists. We should all whisper to ourselves now and then, “And yet, and yet.” Our descendants may be surprised at our own naivety. Wholly new paradigms may be required before we understand the origin of the universe or the mysteries of biological development and consciousness.
Such a little word, “yet.” Maybe the most significant word in our vocabulary.”
“Time passes in moments. Moments which, rushing past, define the path of a life, just as surely as they lead towards its end. How rarely do we stop to examine that path, to see the reasons why all things happen? To consider whether the path we take in life is our own making, or simply one into which we drift with eyes closed? But what if we could stop, pause to take stock of each precious moment before it passes? Might we then see the endless forks in the road that have shaped a life? And, seeing those choices, choose another path?”
"A lot of people aren’t going to want to hear this. There are a lot of people out there that just want to hear that the future is going to be filled with rainbows, lollipops and unicorns, but that isn’t the truth. Months ago, I warned my readers that the global chip shortage wasn’t going to end any time soon and that it would deeply affect thousands of other industries, and that is precisely what is happening right now. Industry after industry is deeply hurting, and a lot of executives are really starting to freak out. Earlier this year, many among the blind optimists assured us that the chip shortage would be resolved by the end of 2021, but obviously that has not happened. In fact, the corporate media is now telling us that it is getting even worse. For example, the following comes from a Wall Street Journal article entitled “Global Chip Shortage ‘Is Far From Over’ as Wait Times Get Longer”…
Wait times for chip deliveries have continued to climb above a healthy threshold of 9-12 weeks. Over the summer, the wait stretched to 19 weeks on average, according to Susquehanna Financial Group. But as of October, it has ballooned to 22 weeks. It is longer for the scarcest parts: 25 weeks for power-management components and 38 weeks for the microcontrollers that the auto industry needs, the firm said.
Those numbers are unlike anything that we have ever seen before. And we are rapidly getting to a point where some wait times will start to be measured in years. Manuel Schoenfeld placed an order for transmission chips in May 2021, and he is now being told that they will probably be delivered in May 2022… "Manuel Schoenfeld placed an order in May for transmission chips for the utility-monitoring devices made by his New York-based firm PowerX. He was told the chips would arrive by summer, then fall, then winter and now doesn’t expect to get them until May 2022. “This is far from over,” Mr. Schoenfeld said."
How bad does it have to get before people start waking up? The entire global economic system is experiencing stunning breakdowns on a widespread basis, and yet a lot of people still assume that everything is going to work out just fine somehow.
Due to a lack of chips, new vehicle production has dropped precipitously and dealers around the nation have seen their inventories drop to alarmingly low levels. As a result, demand for used vehicles has skyrocketed, and this has pushed used car prices to absolutely insane heights… :The 2019 Honda Civic that kicked off a used-car auction earlier this month would have been nothing special before the pandemic. But as automotive dealer Brad Wimmer watched, the online bidding quickly became, to quote him, “bananas.” As a new car, the Civic would have had a sticker price of around $21,000. But within seconds at the wholesale auction, the two-year-old model, with 4,000 miles, sold for $27,200. If you have an old clunker that you don’t need anymore just sitting around, you may want to check what it is worth now.
We are witnessing a similar phenomenon with farm equipment. A lack of chips has suppressed production, and used equipment is now in very high demand. So just like we are seeing with used cars, many pieces of used farm equipment are now selling for much more than when they were brand new… "Joel Everett said he was astounded when a lightly used 2009 John Deere tractor sold at his last auction in Strawberry Point, Iowa, for tens of thousands of dollars more than it had cost fresh off the production line more than a decade ago.
Bought new for $109,000, the tractor sold for $143,000 at auction, he said. It’s not an isolated incident, said Everett, who has run Joel’s Tractor and Auction since 1992. A lot of farm equipment, particularly used tractors, is selling for 30 percent to 50 percent more than it was two years ago at his auction house."
Food prices are shooting up at a very brisk pace as well. According to Bloomberg, global food costs have jumped “by a third” over the past year… "The jump in global food prices to a decade high risks leading to even more expensive grocery bills, and the energy crisis is threatening to make things even worse. Harvest setbacks, strong demand and supply chain disruptions have sent a United Nations index of food costs up by a third over the past year. The latest leg up last month came as prices for almost all types of foodstuffs gained, adding to inflationary headaches for consumers and central banks."
In my latest book, I have an entire chapter entitled “Hyperinflation and Shortages”, and in that chapter I specifically warned that this would happen. In fact, in that chapter I specifically warned about the impact that the chip shortage would have on global food prices. We knew in advance that this was coming, and now it is here.
As global food supplies get tighter and tighter, shortages are going to become more intense and prices are going to become increasingly painful. Even now, we are being told that this will be the most expensive Thanksgiving ever, and stores shelves just seem to keep getting emptier and emptier.
Earlier today, I posted footage that one man took in an alarmingly empty Walmart in Connecticut. We are seeing similar things happen all over the nation, but authorities continue to insist that everything is just fine. In fact, the USDA is specifically telling us that there are “no nationwide shortages of food”…
Full screen recommended.
"There are currently no nationwide shortages of food, although in some cases the inventory of certain foods at your grocery store might be temporarily low before stores can restock. Food production and manufacturing are widely dispersed throughout the U.S. and there are currently no wide-spread disruptions reported in the supply chain. USDA and the Food and Drug Administration are closely monitoring the food supply chain for any shortages in collaboration with industry and our federal and state partners. We are in regular contact with food manufacturers and grocery stores."
Well, the USDA has spoken, and so I guess that settles it. I am sorry for alarming all of you with the facts that I presented earlier in this article. The USDA says that there are no “wide-spread disruptions reported in the supply chain”, and the federal government always tells us the truth. So that means that everything is going to be okay, and you can go back to sleep now."
“Knowing can be a curse on a person’s life. I’d traded in a pack of lies for a pack of truth, and I didn’t know which one was heavier. Which one took the most strength to carry around? It was a ridiculous question, though, because once you know the truth, you can’t ever go back and pick up your suitcase of lies. Heavier or not, the truth is yours now.”
- Sue Monk Kidd
“To love. To be loved. To never forget your own insignificance. To never get used to the unspeakable violence and the vulgar disparity of life around you. To seek joy in the saddest places. To pursue beauty to its lair. To never simplify what is complicated or complicate what is simple. To respect strength, never power. Above all, to watch. To try and understand. To never look away. And never, never to forget.”
BALTIMORE, MARYLAND – "Two remarkable stories have been taking shape this week – indicating a further separation of the ridiculous from the sublime. Like castaways on icebergs, drifting farther and farther apart… doomed… damned… dismally dipping into the dark, dank deep…Evergrande and Shiba Inu might have waved to each other…as each waited to sink. And today, Evergrande, its feet already wet, approaches its moment of truth.
Iceberg Season: Evergrande is a real company. It operates in the real world and provides a real product – real estate. But it borrowed money at an unreal rate – made artificially low by the flood of U.S. dollar credit washing over the globe. It used the money to buy real things – cement, steel, and labor. And it earned real money, too, when it sold or leased its properties.
The details hardly matter. All you need to know is that Evergrande is huge… the biggest developer in the world’s largest property market – China. Misled by low interest rates and seemingly inexhaustible demand, Evergrande is also deeply in debt, with more than $300 billion of liabilities. Today, it faced a deadline to pay $45 million in overdue debt service. (Word on the street this morning is that it looked under the seat cushions and found the cash… to be confirmed later.) And if it really made today’s payment, it has five more just like it to make before the end of the year.
Investors are wary… they’re selling off Evergrande and its bonds, which yesterday, were going for about an 80% discount. And the beleaguered company is not alone. Icebergs fill the oceans.
In China alone, several major developers – Fantasia Holdings, China Properties Group, Modern Land China, and Sinic Holdings – have defaulted this month. Others can hear the ice cracking beneath their feet.
Tianji Holding (a subsidiary of Evergrande) has $82.5 million in coupon payments due November 6. And all together, China’s property sector will have to pay $84 billion in debt service over the next five quarters.
Different Kind of Reality: If only…instead of building malls, houses, apartments, offices… and other useful things…it had merely bought nothing… well… nothing in the form of the parody of the joke of the farce… of the enigma… known as Shiba Inu.
While Evergrande faces its moment of truth, Shiba Inu, still high in the water, approaches its moment of maximum falsity. Shiba Inu operates in a different kind of reality. It has no corporate headquarters. Nor any shareholders. Nor any sales. Nor any credit. Nor does it provide any product or service. It owes no money. It answers to no board of directors. And it doesn’t seem to give a “woof” about its creditors; it has no debt… no obligations… no quarterly “earnings” calls with investors… not even a parking lot where it is obliged to pick up the trash. It is just something that you can buy… for no apparent reason, other than it is available for purchase.
Shiba Inu is a breed of dog. It became popular with crypto enthusiasts in 2013, after it became the face, or let us say the image, on the Dogecoin (DOGE), which was meant as an inside joke by its creators, Billy Markus and Jackson Palmer. Then, the Shiba Inu coin (SHIB) was created as a “dogecoin killer” by someone, who – like the creator of bitcoin – wisely decided to remain anonymous, but who goes by the name Ryoshi, which means “hunter” in Japanese. There is also a Shiba Inu “meme,” which involves putting adjectives and adverbial modifiers together inappropriately, such as saying, “The coin is much valuable… Wow.”
Hypersonic: Knowing these facts, however, would in no way give you an advantage as an investor. You might conclude, for example, that the whole thing was like a game you weren’t invited to play. You buy a coin. Others buy one, too. Noticing that it is moving up, you buy more. And then you ask: Why did anyone buy it in the first place?
With a quadrillion coins in circulation, the “Shib” would not seem a very likely improvement on the U.S. dollar, neither as a store of value nor as a means of exchange. Nevertheless, the Shiba Inu has gained value, not steadily… but more like the rocket the Chinese recently tested. It went hypersonic, say the papers. In the case of the Shiba Inu, it gained 33% on Wednesday… bringing it up more than 158 million percent since its debut in August 2020. The coin… or whatever it is… is now worth more than Deutsche Bank.
Evergrande could disappear beneath the waves any day. As for the Shib… it may soon be doing the very cereal, much wow doge-paddle, too."
"It’s getting so bad that the Deep State globalists are firing anyone who stands up to these experimental vax mandates. You cannot make fun of it either as well-known cartoonist Michael Leunig has been fired for a take-off of China’s infamous unknown “Tank Man” standing up to the CCP in 1989 Tiananmen Square in Beijing. The cartoon was never published, but I feel compelled to post in on USAW.
The Biden Administration is not as firmly in control as the CCP was back in 1989. Biden and his Administration are tanking on many levels, and that’s why even the phony pols are showing Biden has lost major ground among the public, especially Democrats. It’s only going to get worse for Biden and “We the People.”
The FDA is full of monsters because only a monster would vaccinate children as young as 5 years old with a totally unproven, unnecessary and experimental injection. The FDA says it’s one third the dose, but the children are one third the size of an adult. There have been thousands of death and hundreds of thousands of debilitating injuries reported, and that only represents less than one percent of the problems. Parents, take your children and run as fast as you can. This is not science. It is evil quackery and totally reckless disregard for the life of children. There is also more news that the so called vaccinations for adults are not working, and the majority of the deaths are now “fully vaccinated.” There is no stopping the bad news at this point, and it will get worse - much worse.
Don’t let the record high stock market fool you. The economy is tanking, and GDP estimates have been slashed in more than half from just a few months ago. The trajectory is not good. By middle of next year or earlier, the Biden Administration will have totally tanked just like the economy. Watch Evergrande because it reportedly did NOT make an interest payment as reported. This implosion could take the economy down hard long before the end of 2021. Evergrande is a Chinese property company five times larger than Lehman Brothers.”