Saturday, January 15, 2022

"I'm Leaving California, It's Mad Max; You Better Worry About You; Supermarkets Run Empty"

Jeremiah Babe, PM 1/15/22:
"I'm Leaving California, It's Mad Max; 
You Better Worry About You; Supermarkets Run Empty"

"Economic Tsunami is Coming - Recession Watch"

Full screen recommended.
Dan, iAllegedly, PM 1/15/22:
"Economic Tsunami is Coming - Recession Watch"
"It’s time to prepare for what is coming. Retail sales took a dive. You have had plenty of warnings. One day JP Morgan tells us it's the best economy in 40 years. A couple of days later we are headed to the abyss. We need to raise interest rates 6 or seven times."

Musical Interlude: Gnomusy, "Shadows In The Wood"; "Footprints On The Sea"


Gnomusy (David Caballero), "Shadows In The Wood"
Gnomusy (David Caballero), "Footprints On The Sea"

"A Look to the Heavens"

“Stars are sometimes born in the midst of chaos. About 3 million years ago in the nearby galaxy M33, a large cloud of gas spawned dense internal knots which gravitationally collapsed to form stars. NGC 604 was so large, however, it could form enough stars to make a globular cluster.

Many young stars from this cloud are visible in the above image from the Hubble Space Telescope, along with what is left of the initial gas cloud. Some stars were so massive they have already evolved and exploded in a supernova. The brightest stars that are left emit light so energetic that they create one of the largest clouds of ionized hydrogen gas known, comparable to the Tarantula Nebula in our Milky Way's close neighbor, the Large Magellanic Cloud."

"In These Downbeat Time..."

“In these downbeat times, we need as much hope and courage as we do vision and analysis; we must accent the best of each other even as we point out the vicious effects of our racial divide and pernicious consequences of our maldistribution of wealth and power. We simply cannot live in the twenty-first century at each other’s throats, even as we acknowledge the weighty forces of racism, patriarchy, economic inequality, homophobia, and ecological abuse on our necks. We are at a crucial crossroad in the history of this nation - and we either hang together by combating these forces that divide and degrade us or we hang separately. Do we have the intelligence, humor, imagination, courage, tolerance, love, respect, and will to meet the challenge? Time will tell. None of us alone can save the nation or world. But each of us can make a positive difference if we commit ourselves to do so.”
- Cornel West

Chet Raymo, “Tyger, Tyger Burning Bright…”

“Tyger, Tyger Burning Bright…”
by Chet Raymo

“Divinity is not playful. The universe was not made in jest but in solemn incomprehensible earnest. By a power that is unfathomably secret, and holy, and fleet.” You may recall these words from Annie Dillard’s “Pilgrim at Tinker Creek.” There is nothing intrinsically cheerful about the world, she says. To live is to die; it’s all part of the bargain. Stars destroy themselves to make the atoms of our bodies. Every creature lives to eat and be eaten. And into this incomprehensible, unfathomable, apparently stochastic melee stumbles… You and I. 

With qualities that we have - so far - seen nowhere else. Hope. Humor. A sense of justice. A sense of beauty. Gratitude. But also: Anger. Hurt. Despair. Strangers in a strange land.

Galaxies by the billions turn like St. Catherine Wheels, throwing off sparks of exploding stars. Atoms eddy and flow, blowing hot and cold, groping and promiscuous. A wind of neutrinos gusts through our bodies, Energy billows and swells. A myriad of microorganisms nibble at our flesh.

We have a sense that something purposeful is going on, something that involves us. Something secret, holy and fleet. But we haven’t a clue what it is. We make up stories. Stories in which we are the point of it all. We tell the stories over and over. To our children. To ourselves. And the stories fill up the space of our ignorance.

Until they don’t. And then the great yawning spaces open again. And time clangs down on our heads like a pummeling rain, like the collapsing ceiling of the sky. Dazed, stunned, we stagger like giddy topers towards our own swift dissolution. Inexplicably praising. Admiring. Wondering. Giving thanks.”
“The Tyger”

“Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?
In what distant deeps or skies
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand dare sieze the fire?
And what shoulder, and what art.
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand? and what dread feet?
What the hammer? what the chain?
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? what dread grasp
Dare its deadly terrors clasp?
When the stars threw down their spears,
And watered heaven with their tears,
Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the Lamb make thee?
Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?”

- William Blake

The Poet: Rainer Maria Rilke, "I Want A Lot"

"I Want A Lot"

"You see, I want a lot.
Perhaps I want everything:
the darkness that comes with every infinite fall
and the shivering blaze of every step up.

So many live on and want nothing,
and are raised to the rank of prince
by the slippery ease of their light judgments.
But what you love to see are faces
that so work and feel thirst...

You have not grown old, and it is not too late
to dive into your increasing depths
where life calmly gives out its own secret."

- Rainer Maria Rilke

"And There Comes A Time..."

“Cowardice asks the question, 'Is it safe?' Expediency asks the question, 'Is it politic?' Vanity asks the question, 'Is it popular?' But, conscience asks the question, 'Is it right?' And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but one must take it because one's conscience tells one that it is right.”
- Martin Luther King Jr.

The Daily "Near You?"

Sherman, Texas, USA. Thanks for stopping by!

1/15/22: "Streets of Philadelphia, Kensington Ave, Winter Time"

Full screen recommended.
"Streets of Philadelphia, Kensington Ave, Winter Time"
Full screen recommended.
Bruce Springsteen, "Streets of Philadelphia"

"From Riches to Rags"

"From Riches to Rags"
by Joel Bowman

Buenos Aires, Argentina - "Any run-of-the-mill politician can ruin an economy. It’s practically written into their job description... Divide the public over trivial issues... (check!) Distract them from what’s really going on... (check!) Lure them into a state of fear and/or helplessness... (check!) Pretend to offer the only solution to problems you actually created... (check!) Accrue power and wealth to your own elite, self-serving cabal... (double, quadruple, sextuple check!)

And let’s give credit where credit is due; most politicians and career bureaucrats are pretty adept at cruising through the above checklist. Take a look around... As Bill reminded us this week, the rich have racked up $30 trillion in stock market gains since 2009, due in no small part to the funny money flowing directly from their pals over at the Fed. That money goes first to Wall Street (and the insiders who trade from their positions on Federal boards).

Meanwhile, the average working stiff - thanks to the best efforts of his elected leaders - has gone precisely nowhere. His wages are flat as a millpond, even as inflation eats steadily away at his modest savings. (The Consumer Price Index soared another 0.5% in December, putting yearly inflation at 7%, the highest in nearly four decades. It also marked the seventh straight month that the Biden Administration’s “transitory” inflation has crested 5%... a phenomenon that sent us back to our trusty Funk & Wagnalls to see if we remembered correctly the definition of the word.)

Distracted by anti-racist baby books, body positivity billboards and case numbers of the highly mild Omicron variant, our lumpenproletariat has enough to worry about just making ends meet. He has a job to hold down, errands to run and a wife to disappoint. If his politicians didn’t rob him blind while his attention was elsewhere occupied, they simply wouldn’t be doing their job.

That being said, it takes a special kind of collectivist idiocy to ruin an economy as rich as, say, Australia’s. Two weeks and ~650 days into “two weeks to stop the spread,” and Australia is in the midst of a self-induced mass psychosis. While nations the rest of the world over were dealing with the first “waves” of COVID in their own curious and bumbling ways, the Land Down Under spent the first 20 months gleefully surrendering every civil liberty it could find worthy of the description.

Businesses were shuttered (the city of Melbourne, Australia’s second-largest, at one time held the unenviable record for “most locked down city on the planet”), families were separated (your antipodean editor hasn’t seen his own kin since before the dreaded plague) and borders where slammed closed (Australians cannot travel freely between their own state borders, even today).

All in all, untold billions were squandered chasing so-called “double donut days” (Australia pursued a bizarre “Zero COVID” strategy for months, going so far as to jail people for breaking self-quarantine orders. Once a penal colony...) Night after night, breathless health bureaucrats would appear on television, reporting on single-digit cases in states the size of Texas, scaring citizens witless.

Needless to say, the petrified and browbeaten populace was hardly ready for what came next.

How to go from Donuts to 150,000 in under a month...
Click image for larger size.
“Just two weeks to stop the spread, mate!” (Source: Worldometers)

The picture above represents the fastest case rate increase anywhere in the developed world... and in the most recently jabbed, double-jabbed and freshly boosted nation on the planet. And yet, precious workers who remain “stubbornly vaccine hesitant” are forbidden from going to work... and school... and parks... and concerts... and public spaces... and hospitals... and - gulp! - even the pub! (See Western Australian Premier’s unlettered ramble here for some idea of the paternal state of affairs in that hermit state.)

Meanwhile, the nation’s extreme and Orwellian contact tracing system, coupled with mandatory quarantine for anyone testing COVID positive (and, until recently, anyone who was even in the same “exposure site” as someone who tested positive), means huge swaths of the nation’s workforce have been benched... just as cases hit record numbers in all states.

Without truck drivers to freight goods... without store and warehouse workers to stack them... without cashiers, clerks, attendants... supply chains begin breaking down very quickly. Even in a country with more head of cattle (28 million) and more head of sheep (68 million) than people (26 million), things can go from bad to worse rapidly.

A dear friend sent this photo from her local grocery store in Brisbane, Queensland. (Fortunately for her, she’s a vegetarian...)
(Photo: So much for the great Australian Barbecue!)

As regular readers of these pages will know, we’ve been monitoring Australia as a kind of “Canary in the COVID Coal Mine” since all this began, warning of what can go wrong when complex economies (even rich ones) cede power to the Central Planner Class.

Amplifying natural disasters with man-made catastrophes is nothing new, of course. Nor is such a phenomenon restricted to “lucky countries.” As Bill and Dan have noted this past week, complex energy markets are breaking down all around the world. From Germany to Kazakhstan to America’s northeast, flatfooted governments and helpless citizens are witnessing the beginning of what we’ve quietly been calling the Winter Catastrophe of 2022."

"How It Really Is"


"It Shouldn't Be A Bragging Point..."

"This country is like a college chick after two Long Island iced teas: We can be talked into anything, like wars, and we can be talked out of anything, like health care. We should forget the town halls, and replace them with study halls.

Listen to some of these stats: A majority of Americans cannot name a single branch of government, or explain what the Bill of Rights is. Twenty-four percent could not name the country America fought in the Revolutionary War. More than two-thirds of Americans don't know what's in Roe v. Wade. Two-thirds don't know what the Food and Drug Administration does. Some of this stuff you should be able to pick up simply by being alive. 

Not here. Nearly half of Americans don't know that states have two senators, and more than half can't name their congressman. And among Republican governors, only three got their wife's name right on the first try. People bitch and moan about taxes and spending, but they have no idea what their government spends money on. The average voter thinks foreign aid consumes more twenty-four percent of our budget. It's actually less than one percent.

A Gallup poll said eighteen percent of us think the sun revolves around the earth. No, they're not stupid. They're interplanetary mavericks.

And I haven't even brought up religion. But here's one fun fact I'll leave you with: Did you know only about half of Americans are aware that Judaism is an older religion than Christianity? That's right, half of America looks at books called the Old Testament and the New Testament and cannot figure out which came first.

I rest my case.”
- Bill Maher

"I Enjoy..."


"Doug Casey on the End of Western Civilization"

"Doug Casey on the End of Western Civilization"
by International Man

"International Man: The decline of Western Civilization is on a lot of people’s minds. Let’s talk about this trend.

Doug Casey: Western Civilization has its origins in ancient Greece. It’s unique among the world’s civilizations in putting the individual - as opposed to the collective - in a central position. It enshrined logic and rational thought - as opposed to mysticism and superstition - as the way to deal with the world. It’s because of this that we have science, technology, great literature and art, capitalism, personal freedom, the concept of progress, and much, much more. In fact, almost everything worth having in the material world is due to Western Civilization.

Ayn Rand once said "East minus West equals zero." I think she went a bit too far, as a rhetorical device, but she was essentially right. When you look at what the world’s other civilizations have brought to the party, at least over the last 2,500 years, it’s trivial.

I lived in the Orient for years. There are many things I love about it - martial arts, yoga, and the cuisine among them. But all the progress they’ve made is due to adopting the fruits of the West.

International Man: There are so many things degrading Western Civilization. Where do we begin?

Doug Casey: It’s been said, correctly, that a civilization always collapses from within. World War 1, in 1914, signaled the start of the long collapse of Western Civilization. Of course, termites were already eating away at the foundations, with the writings of people like Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Karl Marx. It’s been on an accelerating downward path ever since, even though technology and science have been improving at a quantum pace. They are, however, like delayed action flywheels, operating on stored energy and accumulated capital. Without capital, intellectual freedom, and entrepreneurialism, science and technology will slow down. I’m optimistic we’ll make it to Kurzweil’s Singularity, but there are no guarantees.

Things also changed with the creation of the Federal Reserve in 1913. Before that, the US used gold coinage for money. "The dollar" was just a name for 1/20th of an ounce of gold. That is what the dollar was. Paper dollars were just receipts for gold on deposit in the Treasury. The income tax, enacted the same year, threw more sand in the gears of civilization. The world was much freer before the events of 1913 and 1914, which acted to put the State at the center of everything.

The Fed and the income tax are both disastrous and unnecessary things, enemies of the common man in every way. Unfortunately, people have come to believe they’re fixtures in the cosmic firmament. They’re the main reasons - there are many other reasons, though, unfortunately - why the average American’s standard of living has been dropping since the early 1970s. In fact, were it not for these things, and the immense amount of capital destroyed during the numerous wars of the last 100 years, I expect we’d have already colonized the moon and Mars. Among many other things…

But I want to re-emphasize that the science, the technology, and all the wonderful toys we have are not the essence of Western Civilization. They’re consequences of individualism, capitalism, rational thought, and personal freedom. It’s critical not to confuse cause and effect.

International Man: You mentioned that the average American’s standard of living has dropped since the early 1970s. This is directly related to the US government abandoning the dollar’s last link to gold in 1971. Since then, the Federal Reserve has been able to debase the US dollar without limit. I think the dollar’s transformation into a purely fiat currency has eroded the rule of law and morality in the US. It’s similar to what happened in the Roman Empire after it started debasing its currency. What do you think, Doug?

Doug Casey: All the world’s governments and central banks share a common philosophy, which drives these policies. They believe that you create economic activity by stimulating demand, and you stimulate demand by printing money. And, of course, it’s true, in a way. Roughly the same way a counterfeiter can stimulate a local economy.

Unfortunately, they ignore that, and completely ignore that the way a person or a society becomes wealthy is by producing more than they consume and saving the difference. That difference, savings, is how you create capital. Without capital you’re reduced to subsistence, scratching at the earth with a stick. These people think that by inflating - which is to say destroying - the currency, they can create prosperity. But what they’re really doing, is destroying capital: When you destroy the value of the currency, that discourages people from saving it. And when people don’t save, they can’t build capital, and the vicious cycle goes on.

This is destructive for civilization itself, in both the long term and the short term. The more paper money, the more credit, they create, the more society focuses on finance, as opposed to production. It’s why there are many times more people studying finance than science. The focus is increasingly on speculation, not production. Financial engineering, not mechanical, electrical, or chemical engineering. And lots of laws and regulations to keep the unstable structure from collapsing.

What keeps a truly civil society together isn’t laws, regulations, and police. It’s peer pressure, social opprobrium, moral approbation, and your reputation. These are the four elements that keep things together. Western Civilization is built on voluntarism. But, as the State grows, that’s being replaced by coercion in every aspect of society. There are regulations on the most obscure areas of life. As Harvey Silverglate pointed out in his book, the average American commits three felonies a day. Whether he’s caught and prosecuted is a subject of luck and the arbitrary will of some functionary. That’s antithetical to the core values of Western Civilization.

International Man: Speaking of ancient civilizations like Rome, interest rates are about the lowest they’ve been in 5,000 years of recorded history. Trillions of dollars’ worth of government bonds trade at negative yields. Of course, this couldn’t happen in a free market. It’s only possible because of central bank manipulation. How will artificially low interest rates affect the collapse of Western Civilization?

Doug Casey: It’s really, really serious. I previously thought it was metaphysically impossible to have negative interest rates but, in the Bizarro World central banks have created, it’s happened.

Negative interest rates discourage saving. Once again, saving is what builds capital. Without capital you wind up as an empty shell - Rome in 450 A.D., or Detroit today - lots of wonderful but empty buildings and no economic activity. Worse, it forces people to desperately put their money in all manner of idiotic speculations in an effort to stay ahead of inflation. They wind up chasing the bubbles the funny money creates.

Let me re-emphasize something: in order for science and technology to advance you need capital. Where does capital come from? It comes from people producing more than they consume and saving the difference. Debt, on the other hand, means you’re living above your means. You’re either consuming the capital others have saved, or you’re mortgaging your future.

Zero and negative interest rate policies, and the creation of money out of nowhere, are actually destructive of civilization itself. It makes the average guy feel that he’s not in control of his own destiny. He starts believing that the State, or luck, or Allah will provide for him. That attitude is typical of people from backward parts of the world - not Western Civilization.

International Man: What does it say about the economy and society that people work so hard to interpret what officials from the Federal Reserve and other central banks say?

Doug Casey: It’s a shameful waste of time. They remind me of primitives seeking the counsel of witch doctors. One hundred years ago, the richest people in the country - the Rockefellers, the Carnegies, and such - made their money creating industries that actually made stuff. Now, the richest people in the country just shuffle money around. They get rich because they’re close to the government and the hydrant of currency materialized by the Federal Reserve. I’d say it’s a sign that society in the US has become quite degraded. The world revolves much less around actual production, but around guessing the direction of financial markets. Negative interest rates are creating bubbles, and will eventually result in an economic collapse.

International Man: Negative interest rates are essentially a tax on savings. A lot of people would rather pull their money out of the bank and stuff it under a mattress than suffer that sting. The economic central planners know this. It’s why they’re using negative interest rates to ramp up the War on Cash - the push to eliminate paper currency and create a cashless society.

The banking system is very fragile. Banks don’t hold much paper cash. It’s mostly digital bytes on a computer. If people start withdrawing paper money en masse, it won’t take much to bring the whole system down. Their solution is to make accessing cash harder, and in some cases, illegal. That’s why the economic witch doctors at Harvard are pounding the table to get rid of the $100 bill.

Take France, for example. It’s now illegal to make cash transactions over €1,000 without documenting them properly. Negative interest rates have turbocharged the War on Cash. If the central planners win this war, it would be the final deathblow to financial privacy. How does this all relate to the collapse of Western Civilization?

Doug Casey: I believe the next step in their idiotic plan is to abolish cash. Decades ago they got rid of gold coinage, which used to circulate day to day in people’s pockets. Then they got rid of silver coinage. Now, they’re planning to get rid of cash altogether. So you won’t even have euros or dollars or pounds in your wallet anymore, or if you do, it will only be very small denominations. Everything else is going to have to be done through electronic payment processing.

This is a huge disaster for the average person: absolutely everything that you buy or sell, other than perhaps a candy bar or a hamburger, is going to have to go through the banking system. Thus, the government will be able to monitor every transaction and payment. Financial privacy, even what’s left of it today, will literally cease to exist.

Privacy is one of the big differences between a civilized society and a primitive society. In a primitive society, in your little dirt hut village, anybody can look through your window or pull back the flap on your tent. You have no privacy. Everybody can hear everything; see anything. This was one of the marvelous things about Western Civilization- privacy was valued, and respected. But that concept, like so many others, is on its way out…

International Man: You’ve mentioned before that language and words provide important clues to the collapse of Western Civilization. How so?

Doug Casey: Many of the words you hear, especially on television and other media, are confused, conflated, or completely misused. Many recent changes in the way words are used are corrupting the language. As George Orwell liked to point out, to control language is to control thought. The corruption of language is adding to the corruption of civilization itself. This is not a trivial factor in the degradation of Western Civilization.

Words - their exact meanings, and how they’re used - are critically important. If you don’t mean what you say and say what you mean, then it’s impossible to communicate accurately. Forget about transmitting philosophical concepts.

Take for example shareholders and stakeholders. We all know that a shareholder actually owns a share in a company, but have you noticed that over the last generation shareholders have become less important than stakeholders? Even though stakeholders are just hangers-on, employees, or people who are looking to get in on a shakedown. But everybody slavishly acknowledges, "Yes, we’ve got to look out for the stakeholders."

Where did that concept come from? It’s a recent creation, but Boobus americanus seems to think it was carved in stone at the country’s founding. We’re told to protect them, as if they were a valuable and endangered species. I say, "A pox upon stakeholders." If they want a vote in what a company does, then they ought to become shareholders. Stakeholders are a class of being created out of nothing by Cultural Marxists for the purpose of shaking down shareholders.

Right now, the US is the most polarized it has been since the Civil War. The stakes are higher than they’ve ever been in living memory. The consequences of this could be crippling to the average person."


"Curious how often you humans manage to
obtain that which you do not want."
- Mr. Spock

"Shopping At Dollar General! Checking Prices, And Empty Shelves!"

Full screen recommended.
Adventures with Danno, AM 1/15/22:
"Shopping At Dollar General! 
Checking Prices, And Empty Shelves!"
"In today's vlog we are at Dollar General with empty shelves everywhere! We are here to check out rising prices, and to get a few items of course they don't have. It's getting rough out here as stores seem to be struggling with getting products!"
Full screen recommended.
1/15/22: "Pittsburgh Food Shortages UPDATE. 
Empty Shelves at Walmart & Grocery Stores"

Friday, January 14, 2022

Musical Interlude: Two Steps From Hell, "Two Steps From Hell - Evergreen Extended"; "Downstream"

Full screen recommended.
Two Steps From Hell, "Evergreen Extended"
Full screen recommended.
Two Steps From Hell, "Downstream"

"A Kind Of Stubborn, Unrecognized Courage..."

"For many great deeds are accomplished in times of squalid struggle. There is a kind of stubborn, unrecognized courage which in the lowest depths tenaciously resists the pressures of necessity and ill-doing; there are noble and obscure triumphs observed by no one, unacclaimed by any fanfare. Hardship, loneliness, and penury are a battlefield which has its own heroes, sometimes greater than those lauded in history. Strong and rare characters are thus created; poverty nearly always a foster-mother, may become a true mother, distress may be the nursemaid of pride, and misfortune the milk that nourishes great spirits."
- Victor Hugo

"The Ironic, The Tragic Thing..."

“One can fight evil but against stupidity one is helpless… I have accepted the fact, hard as it may be, that human beings are inclined to behave in ways that would make animals blush. The ironic, the tragic thing is that we often behave in ignoble fashion from what we consider the highest motives. The animal makes no excuse for killing his prey; the human animal, on the other hand, can invoke God’s blessing when massacring his fellow men. He forgets that God is not on his side but at his side.”

“There is no salvation in becoming adapted to a world which is crazy.”
- Henry Miller

"Buying Time"

"Buying Time"
Author Unknown

"A man came home from work late again, tired and irritated, to find his 5-year-old son waiting for him at the door. "Daddy, may I ask you a question?" "Yeah, sure, what is it?" replied the man. "Daddy, how much money do you make an hour?" "That's none of your business! What makes you ask such a thing?" the man said angrily. "I just want to know. Please tell me, how much do you make an hour?" pleaded the little boy. "If you must know, I make $20.00 an hour." "Oh," the little boy replied, head bowed. Looking up, he said, "Daddy, may I borrow $10.00 please?" 

The father was furious. "If the only reason you wanted to know how much money I make is just so you can borrow some to buy a silly toy or some other nonsense, then you march yourself straight to your room and go to bed. I work long, hard hours everyday and don't have time for such childish games." The little boy quietly went to his room and shut the door. The man sat down and started to get even madder about the little boy's questioning. How dare he ask such questions only to get some money?

After an hour or so, the man had calmed down, and started to think he may have been a little hard on his son. Maybe there was something he really needed to buy with that $10.00, and he really didn't ask for money very often. The man went to the door of the little boy's room and opened the door. "Are you asleep son?" he asked. "No daddy, I'm awake," replied the boy. "I've been thinking, maybe I was too hard on you earlier," said the man. "It's been a long day and I took my aggravation out on you. Here's that $10.00 you asked for." 

The little boy sat straight up, beaming. "Oh, thank you daddy!" he yelled. Then, reaching under his pillow, he pulled out some more crumpled up bills. The man, seeing that the boy already had money, started to get angry again. The little boy slowly counted out his money, then looked up at the man. "Why did you want more money if you already had some?" the father grumbled. "Because I didn't have enough, but now I do,"  the little boy replied. "Daddy, I have $20.00 now. Can I buy an hour of your time?" 

"The Worst Part..."


"Life's Funny..."

"Life's funny, chucklehead. You only get one and you don't want to throw it away. But you can't really live it at all unless you're willing to give it up for the things you love. If you're not at least willing to die for something - something that really matters - in the end you die for nothing."
- Andrew Klavan

"Memento Mori"

"Memento Mori"
by Ryan Holiday

"Were all the geniuses of history to focus on this single theme, they could never fully express their bafflement at the darkness of the human mind. No person hands out their money to passersby, but to how many do each of us hand out our lives! We're tight-fisted with property and money, yet think too little of wasting time, the one thing about which we should all be the toughest misers."  - Seneca

Born with a chronic illness that loomed large throughout his life, Seneca was constantly thinking about and writing about the final act of life. "Let us prepare our minds as if we'd come to the very end of life," he said. "Let us postpone nothing. Let us balance life's books each day. The one who puts the finishing touches on their life each day is never short of time."

Most interestingly, he quibbled with the idea that death was something that lay ahead of us in the uncertain future. "This is our big mistake," Seneca wrote, "to think we look forward to death. Most of death is already gone. Whatever time has passed is owned by death." That was Seneca's great insight - that we are dying every day and no day, once dead, can be revived.

So we should listen to the command that Marcus gave himself. He wrote,"Concentrate every minute like a Roman on doing what's in front of you with precise and genuine seriousness, tenderly, willingly, with justice. And on freeing yourself from all other distractions." The key to this kind of concentration? "Do everything as if it were the last thing you were doing in your life."

That's the power of Memento Mori - of meditating on your mortality. It isn't about being morbid or making you scared. It's about giving you power. It's to inspire, to motivate, to clarify, to concentrate like a Roman on the thing in front of you. Because it may well be the last thing you do in your life.

The Stoics were philosophers, but more than that they were doers. They didn't have room for big words or big ideas, just stuff that made you better right here, right now. As Marcus Aurelius said: "Justice, honesty, self-control, courage, don't make room for anything but it - for anything that might lead you astray, tempt you off the road, and leave you unable to devote yourself completely to achieving the goodness that is uniquely yours."

"Your Enemies..."

“Never hate your enemies. It clouds your judgment.”
- "Michael Corleone"

"Forgive your enemies, but never forget their names."
- John F. Kennedy

"Is Someone About To Light The Match Which Will Spark A War With Russia?"

"Is Someone About To Light The Match 
Which Will Spark A War With Russia?"
by Michael Snyder

"What if the Russians aren’t bluffing? Western leaders seem to think that they can just keep provoking the Russians over and over again without any consequences. It was pretty obvious that western hands were behind the recent riots in Kazakhstan, and now the head of NATO has come out and publicly said that a decision has already been made to make Ukraine and Georgia members of NATO. He was referring to a decision that was made many years ago, but publicly reaffirming that decision in this exceedingly tense environment is extremely counterproductive if the goal is peace. The Russians have repeatedly warned that adding Ukraine to NATO is a red line that must never be crossed. And unlike many western leaders, Russian officials tend to be deadly serious about their “red lines”.

Unfortunately, it appears that time for making peace may be coming to an end. On Friday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told the press that Russia has “run out of patience” with the games that western leaders are playing, and he wants some straight answers within a week… "Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says Moscow has “run out of patience” with the West and expects a written response to its demands for security guarantees within a week after diplomatic talks with NATO and the United States failed to make headway on the issue amid a buildup of Russian troops on the border with Ukraine."

So what is going to happen if western leaders refuse to give the Russians the answers that they are seeking? Will the Russians make a move? According to Lavrov, if western leaders are not serious about coming to an agreement the Russian government will consider all of their “options”… "Lavrov said Russia, too, wants the standoff over security in Europe to be resolved with mutual respect and a balance of interests, but has warned it will consider various options to respond if the West spurns Russia’s security proposals."

I don’t know why the corporate media in the western world is not paying more attention to all of this, because this is a really big story. Within the last 24 hours, government websites in Ukraine were hit with a massive cyberattack…"Ukraine was hit by a cyberattack that splashed a warning across government websites to “be afraid and expect the worst”, while Russia, which has massed 100,000 troops on its neighbor’s frontier, released pictures of more of its forces on the move."

Were the Russians behind that cyberattack? It is entirely possible. But of course it is also possible that it was the work of western intelligence agencies. At this point, it is not really clear who was responsible.

Also within the last 24 hours, the Pentagon accused the Russians of getting ready to launch a “false flag attack” in order to have a pretext for invading Ukraine… "Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said the Defense Department has credible information indicating Russia has “prepositioned a group of operatives” to execute “an operation designed to look like an attack on them or Russian-speaking people in Ukraine” in order to create a reason for a potential invasion.

The allegation echoed a statement released by Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense on Friday, which said that Russian special services are preparing provocations against Russian forces in an attempt to frame Ukraine. National security adviser Jake Sullivan hinted at the intelligence during a briefing with reporters on Thursday."

Without a doubt, the Russians are fully capable of pulling off false flag attacks. But history has shown that the U.S. frequently likes to use that page in the playbook as well. Of course we wouldn’t even be talking about a potential conflict with Russia if western leaders were willing to come to some sort of an agreement. Theoretically, it should be really easy. Russia would promise to never invade Ukraine if western leaders would promise to never add Ukraine to NATO and to never move western missiles into that nation.

To me, this is something that could be over and done with in an hour. But western leaders seem to want this confrontation with Russia. In fact, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg just publicly reaffirmed the fact that a decision to add Ukraine to NATO has already been made… "NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has stated that the alliance has already made the decision that Ukraine and Georgia will become members of the bloc. In an interview for the Italian news outlet La Repubblica, Stoltenberg said that the decision had been made in 2008 during a summit of NATO states.

The NATO chief noted, however, that nothing was said about when either of the states will be accepted into the alliance’s ranks. Neither Ukraine, nor Georgia has been accepted into the bloc so far and no timeline has been given for it to happen."

Why would he say something like that? Does he actually want to push the Russians over the edge? Now that the Russian media has learned of his comments, they are going to have a field day with this. Nobody that I know wants a war with Russia. But if the American people don’t wake up and start objecting to the foolishness that is going on, we might just get one.

At this point, the Biden administration is even publicly telling us what they plan to do if they are successful in provoking the Russians into an invasion of Ukraine. First of all, the Biden administration plans to hit them with some really tough “sanctions”… "Economic sanctions remain one of the most powerful tools the United States has in its foreign policy arsenal. And as Russian forces continue to amass along the border with Ukraine, officials in the U.S. hope the threat of those sanctions can deter a full-scale invasion.

“The thing about sanctions is they’re most effective if you don’t have to use them,” said Olga Oliker, program director, Europe and Central Asia at the International Crisis Group. “They’re most effective if you can credibly threaten something that the other guy doesn’t want enough that they don’t then do whatever it is you’re trying to keep them from doing.”

Secondly, the Biden administration is suggesting that they may fund an “insurgency” in Ukraine after the Russians have invaded… "Now, in what would be a major turnaround, senior Biden administration officials are warning that the United States could throw its weight behind a Ukrainian insurgency should President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia invade Ukraine.

How the United States, which just exited two decades of war in Afghanistan, might pivot to funding and supporting an insurgency from fighting one is still being worked out. But even a conversation about how far the United States would go to subvert Russian aims in the event of an invasion has revived the specter of a new Cold War and suddenly made real the prospect of the beginnings of a so-called great power conflict."

I can’t even begin to tell you how stupid this is. Whether it is chess or foreign policy, you never tell the other side what you are going to do if they make a certain move. If U.S. officials really believe that a Russian invasion is imminent, the best thing to do would be to leave them guessing about our response. Fear of the unknown can be a very powerful thing.

But if the Russians know precisely how the U.S. will respond, that actually makes a Russian invasion far more likely. As I discussed yesterday, Joe Biden is surrounded by the worst foreign policy team in U.S. history. And that is saying a lot. At this hour, tensions continue to rise, and Russia continues to conduct very alarming military exercises along the Ukrainian border… "The exercises took place at the Kuzminsky and Kadamovsky training grounds in the south-western Russian region of Rostov Oblast, on the border with Ukraine. According to The Russian Ministry of Defense, a total of over “2,500 servicemen of the Southern Military District took part in the combat training events, and around 100 T-72B3 tanks were involved.”

For years, I have been warning about the steady deterioration of U.S. relations with Russia, and now events appear to be building up to a grand crescendo. But a war doesn’t have to happen. It should be so easy to reach an agreement with Russia that will bring stability to the region. Unfortunately, the Biden administration can’t seem to do anything right, and pretty soon someone might end up crossing a line that will never be able to be uncrossed."

"Get Your Money Out Of The Banks, Danger Is Coming; Blackrock Will Own You; FED Is Too Late; Bailin"

Jeremiah Babe, PM 1/14/22:
"Get Your Money Out Of The Banks, Danger Is Coming; 
Blackrock Will Own You; FED Is Too Late; Bailin"

Musical Interlude: Deuter, "Sound of Invisible Waters"


Deuter, "Sound of Invisible Waters"

"A Look to the Heavens"

“To some, the outline of the open cluster of stars M6 resembles a butterfly. M6, also known as NGC 6405, spans about 20 light-years and lies about 2,000 light years distant. M6 can best be seen in a dark sky with binoculars towards the constellation of Scorpius, coving about as much of the sky as the full moon.
Like other open clusters, M6 is composed predominantly of young blue stars, although the brightest star is nearly orange. M6 is estimated to be about 100 million years old. Determining the distance to clusters like M6 helps astronomers calibrate the distance scale of the universe.”

Gregory Mannarino, "The Entire System Is FRAUDULENT! Lies, Deceptions, Distractions, And Propaganda"

Gregory Mannarino, PM 1/14/22:
"The Entire System Is FRAUDULENT! 
Lies, Deceptions, Distractions, And Propaganda"

"Global Economy Heading For "Mother Of All" Supply Chain Shocks As China Locks Down Ports"

Full screen recommended.
"Global Economy Heading For "Mother Of All" 
Supply Chain Shocks As China Locks Down Ports"
by Epic Economist

"Economic optimists have been betting on a stronger US growth for 2022 - something that may never actually materialize. Global events are suggesting that we're heading into an alarming growth slowdown. And the place where this growth slowdown is already emerging is China, our biggest trade partner. The country's strict health policies have locked down several ports over the past few weeks, as a new outbreak is spreading across the country right ahead of the Winter Olympics.

A recent report by Bloomberg disclosed that the effects of the new restrictions are already having a severe impact on the supply chain region of the nation. And as a result of the slow movement of goods, with some of China's busiest and most important ports completely shutdown, shippers are now diverting vessels to Shanghai, and that's causing the types of knock-on delays at the world’s biggest container port that provoked massive congestion and disruptions last summer.

Sailing schedules are already facing delays of over a week, and freight forwarders are warning that congested ports in the US and in several countries in Europe will suffer from even worse backlogs and traffic jams this year as conditions deteriorate in Chinese ports. For that reason, HSBC economists are alerting that the world economy is headed for the “mother of all” supply chain shocks, as the highly contagious new variant of the virus spreads across Asian countries, and most notably in China, resulting in severe disruption to manufacturing plants. "Temporary, one would hope, but hugely disruptive all the same," they wrote in a research note this week referring to the recent port shutdowns.

Over the past two weeks, scattered infections cases have already sparked shutdowns to clothing factories and interrupted gas deliveries in one of China’s biggest seaports in Ningbo. It also caused further disruptions at computer chip manufacturing plans in the locked-down city of Xi’an and led to another citywide lockdown in Henan province. Right now, according to Russell Group, a risk modeling consultancy, each week of the closure of China's Ningbo port is disrupting approximately $4 billion worth of trade. Amongst the hardest-hit industries are the $236 million integrated circuit board industry, which is essential to the production of all types of electronics, and the $125 million clothing industry, including companies like Nike and Adidas, the consultancy added.

Ningbo is one of the main ports for Chinese exports to be sent to the US, having exported more than $385 million worth of goods in the first eight days of January, the Russell Group estimated. It's also the third-largest container port in the entire world. One of the key catalysts to the new interruptions is the health-crisis-induced shortage of dockworkers at several U.S. terminals. Right now, the number of container ships waiting for berths in Southern California is once again nearing a record high.

Just yesterday, at least 150 ships were either in port waters or queueing in deep seas outside the coast of Mexico waiting for a slot to enter the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. Ship-positioning data from MarineTraffic confirms that the backlog is so large that some of these vessels are lining up to 150 miles to the west of the ports, all the way into the Baja peninsula. Today, there are more than three times as many container ships waiting for a berth at the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports as there were at the same time last year, and 11.6 times more than in June, and 31% more than in October. Of course, the traffic jam isn’t just affecting Los Angeles and Long Beach. As of midday today, MarineTraffic data showed heavy congestion in the ports of Oakland, San Francisco, Seattle, Tacoma, Houston, Charleston, Virginia, New York, and New Jersey, bringing the total backlog of container ships to over 200.

One industry executive with the firm FINAT warned that “what we experienced in 2021 was only the beginning of a prolonged trend of global supply chain disruptions that is about to explode in 2022”.“Currently there are shortages of almost everything: energy, chemicals, pulp, paper, plastic, inks, transport, laminates, chips, components, and people,” he added. There are major challenges emerging all across the board, and we’re only in January. Unfortunately, this means that if the shortages and price increases of 2021 were already painful, what we’re going to experience in 2022 is nothing short of horrifying."