Saturday, February 5, 2022

"A Geology Insider Explains Why The Global Energy Crisis Is Going To Get Much, Much Worse"

Full screen recommended.
"A Geology Insider Explains Why The Global 
Energy Crisis Is Going To Get Much, Much Worse"
by Epic Economist

"We’re far deeper in trouble than we think and we’re only realizing this right now because of the brave people who have been coming forward to tell us what’s really driving our problems, and exposing what our leaders and the biased media do not dare to report to the public. Since last year, the cost of all forms of traditional energy has started to skyrocket and continued to reach new highs with each passing month. And, of course, given that energy is what powers up every industry and essentially everything on our planet, these increased costs are fueling acute price increases on the consumer level as global production and transportation get significantly more expensive.

This new global energy crisis is causing some major disruptions in food production as well. One recent example is that it is pushing fertilizer prices to soar, consequently leading millions of farmers to give up on their crops this year and resulting in an increasingly tighter global food supply. It is also causing a tremendous amount of pain at the pump for millions of average Americans, with gas prices rising a staggering 70% over the past twelve months. On top of that, since everything we buy requires transportation, that’s also contributing to the inflationary spike that we’re currently witnessing. And this energy crisis is definitely going to affect many other spheres of our society, economy, and financial markets as it gradually worsen.

In fact, one expert who has been working in the oil industry for more than a decade is warning that things aren’t going to be getting any better. In a recent article published by Michael Snyder, the economist and financial analyst shared the highlights of a letter he got from a geology insider, who has patiently explained why this crisis isn’t going to be solved any time soon. “Oil is a limited resource. For a time, it was barely economic to drill shale wells because the margins of drilling in such poor rock were slightly better than what you could make on interest due to quantitative easing policy. Most of the shale companies, however, were simply Ponzi schemes and the shale industry lost billions as a whole. But the result of this loss of capital was record production.”

“This lack of investment will continue to push oil prices higher,” he continued. Oil is the top global resource upon which all of the economies on the planet are built. A spike in oil prices can immediately trigger food riots and collapse governments overnight, just as it happened during the Arab Spring. Politicians rely on cheap oil to maintain things under control, but according to the insider, they won’t be seeing low oil prices for a long time. All of this means that we’re inevitably headed to an era where we will be forced to pay much more for everything. You’ll probably be shocked when you see your next heating bill. Every time you go fill up your vehicle at the gas station, you’ll see that prices have gone up. Each trip to the grocery store will make you spend more than the last just to buy the same products you always do.

Actually, food prices are going to suffer the most given that there’s a series of other factors contributing to a persistent increase. Last week, a major food producer announced that it will start raising prices again on many of its most popular products sold in the U.S. Some of the items will face price hikes as high as 30 percent. For years and years, experts have been warning that consumer prices would get out of control if leaders failed to solve our foundational problems. And now it is happening right in front of our eyes.

Our policymakers thought that they could flood our financial system with artificial money without causing any severe consequences. And our politicians thought that they could borrow and spend trillions upon trillions of dollars without debasing the value of our currency. But they couldn’t be more wrong, and now it’s the American people who will pay for the crisis they created. We’re about to be absolutely shocked by the level of economic pain that we will soon be enduring."

Musical Interlude: Liquid Mind, "Velvet Morning"

Full screen recommended.
Liquid Mind, "Velvet Morning"
Liquid Mind ® is the name used by Los Angeles composer and producer
Chuck Wild of the best-selling Liquid Mind relaxation music albums.

"A Look to the Heavens"

“What's happening behind those houses? Pictured here are not auroras but nearby light pillars, a nearby phenomenon that can appear as a distant one. 

In most places on Earth, a lucky viewer can see a Sun-pillar, a column of light appearing to extend up from the Sun caused by flat fluttering ice-crystals reflecting sunlight from the upper atmosphere. Usually these ice crystals evaporate before reaching the ground. During freezing temperatures, however, flat fluttering ice crystals may form near the ground in a form of light snow, sometimes known as a crystal fog. These ice crystals may then reflect ground lights in columns not unlike a Sun-pillar. The featured image was taken in Fort Wainwright near Fairbanks in central Alaska.”

Chet Raymo, “The Spark of Life”

“The Spark of Life”
by Chet Raymo

"In a previous post I quoted Teilhard de Chardin referring to the discovery of electromagnetic waves as a "prodigious biological event." A biological event? What could he mean? The universe was awash with electromagnetic waves long before life appeared on Earth, or anywhere else in the universe. The cosmic microwave background radiation- the residue of the big bang- is electromagnetic. Starlight is an electromagnetic wave. You can "discover" electromagnetic waves by opening your eyes.

Of course, what Teilhard referred to was the conscious control of electromagnetic radiation by sentient biological creatures. Electromagnetic waves were predicted theoretically by the Scottish physicist James Clerk Maxwell in 1864, as he played with equations describing electric and magnetic fields. Then, twenty-two years later, electromagnetic waves were experimentally demonstrated by Heinrich Hertz, who in effect made the first radio broadcast and reception. At Hertz's transmitter a spark jumped back and forth between two metal spheres 50 million times a second. Across the room a similar spark was instantly produced at the receiver. Invisible electrical energy had passed through space at the speed of light.

A spark dancing between two spheres- an unpretentious beginning for the age of radio, television, mobile phones and wireless internet. That first transmitter and receiver had a basement-workshop simplicity about them. Hertz demonstrated the nature of electromagnetic waves with constructions of wood, brass and sealing wax.

Wood, brass, sealing wax and conscious intelligence. Here on Earth- perhaps throughout the universe- stardust gave rise to living slime. The slime complexified, became conscious. Invented mathematics, experimental science. Caused sparks to jump between metal spheres. Sent the signature of biological activity across a room. Across a planet. Across the universe."

"As Humans..."

“It is easy to overlook this thought that life just is. As humans we are inclined to feel that life must have a point. We have plans and aspirations and desires. We want to take constant advantage of the intoxicating existence we’ve been endowed with. But what’s life to a lichen? Yet its impulse to exist, to be, is every bit as strong as ours - arguably even stronger. If I were told that I had to spend decades being a furry growth on a rock in the woods, I believe I would lose the will to go on. Lichens don’t. Like virtually all living things, they will suffer any hardship, endure any insult, for a moment’s additional existence. Life, in short just wants to be.”
- Bill Bryson

The Poet: Mary Oliver, "The Journey "

"The Journey"

"One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice -
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
 Mend my life! 
each voice cried.
But you didn't stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do -
determined to save
the only life you could save." 

- Mary Oliver

"How Stress Affects Your Cholesterol Level: Everything You Wanted to Know"

"How Stress Affects Your Cholesterol Level:
Everything You Wanted to Know"
by Karen Reed

"You’ve heard all about how high cholesterol levels are causing ill health. More importantly, you’ve heard about how bad cholesterol is causing ill health. It affects your arteries and blood flow, putting your heart under more pressure to perform properly. Those with high cholesterol levels are more at risk of stroke, heart attacks, and heart disease.

Cholesterol has long been linked to the food we eat. There are certain foods that we’re recommended to stay away from and others that we should get more off to promote good cholesterol levels and help protect the arteries. Did you know that it’s not just food that affects the cholesterol levels? Stress has been linked to high cholesterol. In fact, some studies now show that stress is worse than the food we eat for cholesterol levels and ill health.

The problem is that stress is a silent killer. We don’t realize that our cortisol levels are up and causing these problems until it’s too late in some cases. It’s important to reduce our stress levels to keep our cholesterol levels down. Here’s a look at just how stress causes high cholesterol and what you can do about it.
What Exactly Is Cholesterol? Before you start looking at stress and how it affects to high cholesterol levels, you need to know more about it. What exactly is it and what does it do?

There are two types of cholesterol: good and bad. The bad cholesterol is known as LDL cholesterol, and you shouldn’t have any more than 100mg/dL of this type in your body. Good cholesterol is HDL, and you should have at least 60mg/dL. A good level of total cholesterol, according to physicians, is 200mg/dL and this can be made up of both good and bad. Considering you shouldn’t have more that 100mg/dL of the bad stuff, you want at least 100mg/dL of the good stuff. The more good cholesterol you have, the better it is for you. Good cholesterol can keep the bad stuff at bay and under control.

What exactly is cholesterol? It’s a fatty substance that is only found in animal products. It is naturally produced by your body, but can also be added to food. The body will make more cholesterol due to trans and saturated fats being added through food. Both types of cholesterol will enter the arteries and build up. The good stuff builds up as a lining to the arteries, protecting them from damage. The lining is soft and makes it easier for the blood to flow through the veins.

On the other hand, bad cholesterol blocks the arteries. It creates a friction layer that stops the blood flowing freely. The heart and brain don’t get the blood that they both need and clogs can appear in the arteries. You’re at a higher risk of suffering various health problems, including stroke and heart disease, because of your high bad cholesterol levels.

There are various types of people more at risk for having high cholesterol levels. There are certainly genetic factors involved, but there are also lifestyle factors. One of those is stress levels, especially in those who are overweight, smoke or have other health problems.
Stress and the Unhealthy Lifestyle: One of the reasons found for the stress and high cholesterol link is bad lifestyle habits. Those who are stressed are more likely to follow less healthy habits in other areas of their life. They’re less likely to exercise and more likely to eat bad food. After all, saturated and trans fat foods tend to be the comfort foods – those that people crave to try to boost their endorphin and serotonin levels.

People who are stressed will look for ways to counter their cortisol levels, and that is usually through unhealthy methods. People are more likely to drink or smoke, which puts other strains on their body. The body isn’t able to produce the good cholesterol and is encouraged to create bad cholesterol. This reason is highly common in men. It is men who tend to deal with stress the worst, possibly due to misconceptions that relaxation techniques are for women. They also tend to have higher stressful jobs than women, since many men are in higher positions of power and authority. Men tend to be in more leadership roles, which means more responsibility and decision making. It may not seem fair, but that’s just a common view.

How the Body Reacts to Stress Causes High Cholesterol Levels: Another study found that people who suffer from high levels of stress have higher bad cholesterol due to the high levels of triglycerides. The triglycerides are the components that encourage the boost of bad cholesterol levels, causing major health problems. It doesn’t matter what your diet is like, although the unhealthier diet will put you more at risk.

The study researchers considered the reasons for the higher triglycerides. While the exact reason isn’t known, the theory is that it is due to the stress hormone cortisol. This is common is people who suffer long term stress, and leads to the release of adrenaline in the body.

Adrenaline is the body’s “flight or fight” response and helps to deal with the stress levels. It pushes people into making decisions and keeps them alert and active when they desperately need to be. Many people in trauma incidents report that they don’t know how they kept going. The adrenaline pushed them forward until they were given a chance to relax. That was when their bodies shut down, and they had the chance to allow the trauma to affect them. Adrenaline can certainly have benefits, but it causes the increase in triglycerides. This then triggers the high levels of bad cholesterol, which can later affect the body in other ways.

Stress Can Cause “Stickiness” in the Arteries: Another study has found that the arteries can be “sticky” due to high-stress levels. This may or may not be linked to high cholesterol levels. It could be a problem on its own that makes it look like someone has high cholesterol levels.

Stress makes the muscles spasm. This affects the arteries, which causes problems with the blood flow. The platelets in people with high-stress levels are commonly “sticky.” They cling to the artery walls and create bumps and friction for the blood flow. The blood is more likely to clog, and other health problems arise. The constriction of the arteries certainly doesn’t help things. When the arteries constrict, the area for the blood flow gets smaller, and it causes the blood flow to slow down. Mixed with the stickiness or high cholesterol problems, the blood gets stuck and clogs. It’s harder for the heart and brain to get the blood that they both need.

Stress causes many other health problems and affects the body in more ways that we currently know or understand. It is possible that stress isn’t just a factor for high cholesterol but makes high cholesterol worse for the health.
Reducing Stress to Prolong Life: Many scientists now recommend not focusing on reducing cholesterol as much as reducing stress. Cholesterol gained a bad rep for a long time, including good cholesterol. It’s taken time for the medical world to realize that not all cholesterol is bad and there are other factors that cause many of the same risks. One of those is the high-stress levels. It’s important to keep them to a minimum so the whole body can work effectively and we can prolong out lives.

The tricky thing is finding a way to reduce stress levels. Understandably reducing stress isn’t always easy and people can end up even more stressed because they’re trying to reduce it. Think about how you feel when you’re struggling to sleep because of stress. You get more worked up, which releases more cortisol and more adrenaline into the body. It’s harder to get to sleep, and this cycle continues until you find a way actually to reduce the stress.

Meditation and exercise are often considered the best ways to reduce stress. Yoga is a popular option since it combines the two together in many ways. You get to become one with yourself, focus on your breathing, and tone your body at the same time.

Both meditation and exercise help to release more happy hormones into your body. The right chemicals help to reduce the levels of cortisol in your body. You’ll have less adrenaline keeping you awake and fewer triglycerides causing your bad cholesterol production to increase.

It will be tempting to reach for a glass or two (or even a bottle) of wine to deal with stress. Smoking is tempting, along with binge watching a TV series while you struggle to sleep. You want to look for healthier ways to handle your stress. The negative ways will just cause more problems for your health.
Long Term vs. Short Term Stress and Cholesterol: If you have the odd day where you feel like you’re at the end of your tether, don’t worry about it too much. It’s not the short-term stress that causes the increase in cholesterol levels. The studies show that those who suffer long term stress are the ones who are most likely to see all the negative side effects.

Sure, stress isn’t good for you, but it is also a normal part of living. There are times that adrenaline and cortisol are needed. They can keep you going when you run out of energy or when going through trauma.

Those who suffer long term stress will have prolonged cortisol and adrenaline levels. Those hormones will be much higher than they need to be and in the body for much longer. They cause a range of health problems when around for long periods of time, including high blood pressure, insomnia, and even Type II diabetes. It shouldn’t be surprising that high cholesterol levels are also a problem.

Healthy eating is an important lifestyle choice. Not only will it help to reduce the foods that cause cholesterol production but it can also reduce the cortisol release. Healthy foods protect the body, supply energy, and help to boost the production of happy hormones, which help to reduce the stress hormones.

When you suffer from long term stress, you will want to look for ways to eliminate the reason for stress as much as possible. I know this isn’t always going to be easy. You may enjoy your career, but there will be times that you struggle to cope with all the demand your job throws at you. It’s not like you can just pick and choose. However, if there is a way that you can reduce the stuff you do that causes stress, such as delegation, then you want to do it where you can.

Long term high-stress levels may not cause immediate problems. There are links to issues years down the line because of the stress levels that you have felt at some point in your life. This issue is linked more with long term stress, but some bouts of short-term stress can also be a problem.

Stress Isn’t the Only Culprit: It is important to note that stress isn’t the only reason we suffer from high cholesterol levels. While it’s a silent killer and common, there are many other reasons your cholesterol levels could be high. Diet is certainly a factor, but so are genetics and other lifestyle choices that you make. The place you work or the chemicals that you inhale from where you live can also cause cholesterol levels to increase.

This is something that scientists are still trying to understand. We have come a long way since believing that all cholesterol was bad. Now we know that some cholesterol is good, and we want it to our bodies, but we need to make sure that it is good. While stress isn’t the only culprit, it is one of the main reasons for high cholesterol levels and other health problems. It’s best to keep the stress levels at bay as much as possible.”

The Daily "Near You?"

Jewett City, Connecticut, USA. Thanks for stopping by!

"Retail Carnage is Coming to City Near You"

Full screen recommended.
Dan, iAllegedly 2/5/22:
"Retail Carnage is Coming to City Near You"
"It makes no difference where you live. Retail carnage is coming to a city near you. Today I am at the outlets at Lake Elsinore. This was once a thriving mall and now it is abandoned, desolate shell of what it once was."

"And Never, Never..."

"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."

"Delusions of Grandeur… Or Cloak of Modesty?"

"Delusions of Grandeur… Or Cloak of Modesty?"
by Bill Bonner

"On Monday we received a familiar letter from a new reader. And since we have so many new readers here at our new project, we thought it would be helpful to answer it again, lest you think we are full of ourselves. Here’s the question, from reader Patrick Neff: "Hello Bill. Please tell us again why you write as We instead as I."

We’ll try! And please be advised there is nothing in today’s essay of any urgency. But we you an explanation. And we want you to understand that no matter how pompous we may sound at first, it’s the common man we’re for.

The Queen uses the “royal we” to signify that she is not speaking for herself, but for the Crown… an institution that was around for hundreds of years before she was born and will, presumably, outlast her by hundreds more. Here at the Diary, we do not use the “royal” we. We use the “common” we… a plebeian, down-market, gutter kind of we, with no pretension to grandeur, nor even mediocrity. For here we are, writing from a house we didn’t build… in a country that is not ours… wearing clothes we didn’t design… looking out on rain we didn’t cause…and passing along ideas that are not original. Even when we think we have had a new idea, we discover later that someone had the same idea 2,000 years ago.

Not one molecule in our body, thought in our brain, or feeling in our heart is of our own making. It would be vanity to use first-person singular; there is nothing singular about who we are or what we do.

No, we have neither scepter nor orb; all we have is a laptop computer. We wear no royal purple. We favor brown and gray. We dress in dull colors so we may think in vivid ones. We have no throne, no influence, no privilege, no position, and no armed guards to protect us.

We speak not for the Crown, but for all those common people who try to put two and two together… And we use “we” to recognize all those real thinkers whose ideas we have dragooned into our service…all those tortured poets whose songs we have misunderstood and misused…all those clever people whose insights we have purloined and presented as if they were our own…all those scientists, statisticians, and economists whose numbers we have hijacked and abused…and all those generations that have come before us and – by bad luck, bad manners, and bad judgment – learned painful lessons so we might be spared from learning them again…

“We” speak for them all – as best as we can.

Time and Love: As time passes, the conceits of youth… the illusion of timelessness… the passions and competitions – to have the biggest bank account, the biggest car, the biggest house, the biggest muscles, and the biggest you-know-what – all get dropped along the way, like discarded pianos on the Oregon Trail. All that is left is the shriveled up, naked reality… of time, love… and death.

And “I”? Does it matter what “I” do? What “I” want? “I” am too small… too nothing… too ephemeral. “I” am here, but “I” will be gone soon… in a flash, vanished, like a lost civilization or a forgotten language. Not even I care what “I” think.

So let us at least speak for a group… not of royals, but of commoners… and use “we” in sympathy with all those sinners, geniuses, half-wits, saints, and jackasses that came before and will come after us… Those who will delight in Heaven for reasons we will never understand… or cry in Hell for all eternity because they forgot to fill out their census form.

Yes, let us speak for all those who feel most intensely and horribly the vacant truth…They are as meaningless as we are."

"How It Really Is"

"Any Other View..."

"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."
- Michael Crichton, "The Lost World"

"No Precedent in Our Lifetimes"

"No Precedent in Our Lifetimes"
by Jeffrey Tucker

"The only reliable way to get a full sense of today’s economic dislocations is to get out and about and see what’s going on. Talk to merchants. Look at what’s available and what’s not. Hear from employees themselves about how they are handling price increases, shortages and customer anger. I have three stories based on my weekend excursions.

The first concerns the wide eyes and ominous looks from a clerk behind the counter at a convenience store. I mentioned what struck me as higher prices in everything. He explained that they waited a very long time to raise prices, partly because the durable products had already been priced in relation to cost. But with products more difficult to get and shelves emptying, they needed to act. There is no formula on what to do. There is no price chart that comes from the government. You have to look at what you paid plus the time it took to arrive and make an assessment on what consumers are willing to shell out.

As a result of this rough calculation, they started adding $1 to most products. That includes candy that is sitting right there at the checkout counter. What was $1.25 is now $2.25.

The “Price Elasticity of Demand”: I asked how people are dealing with this. He said that most people still do what they want, pay no attention to what is being charged, swipe the card and they are done. What economists call the “price elasticity of demand” curve is relatively flat for most products now. This is because 1) people are not paying attention and 2) some bank accounts are still flush with cash as a result of the helicopter money dropped on them over the last year.

My second story is not as interesting. I paid $4.60 per gallon for mid-grade gasoline. I’m looking at prices nationwide. They’re very high actually by national standards. The average is $3.60 but that includes California’s record highs and Texas’ national lows. So yes, the station was seemingly ripping me off. But I paid it. I’m not yet in the habit of shopping around for the cheapest possible gas, even though gas prices are up 45% year over year (in real terms they have been relatively stable through the decades). In fact, most people in our lifetimes have not really had to do much of this price-comparison stuff. We’ve pretty much counted on stable money and predictable prices. That’s a culture and it is slow to break.

Panic Prices: My concern now relates to the way prices are being handled by the sellers. We might be starting to see panic prices increase. This stems from the reality that most sellers have spent a full year or more in a state of denial. They had their product and knew their prices. Now they look around and see hardship in getting products and the increasing costs of everything.

The third story is the most interesting one. It’s from the owner of a large Liquor Barn. I had noticed many missing products. Empty shelves. Clever approaches to positioning things here and there (actually I’ve seen this in many retail locations)I got the owner to open up on his supply problems. There are certain types of big sellers that he hasn’t been able to obtain for three months. He hangs around in the aisles and tries to steer customers to other products but it is not easy. People know exactly what they want and they want it right now.

This Liquor Barn has been able easily to accommodate this for 35 years. No more. It’s all changed. The owner talked to me about inflationary pressures. He said that years ago, he developed a good rule.

The Beer Index: Whatever the going price for a Sam Adams six-pack of beer is equal to the hourly wage he would pay employees. This fits with an old intuition that a worker should be able to get a good six-pack for every hour of work. It’s not some law. It’s an intuition he developed after long experience. So in the early days, a Sam Adams six-pack was $5. So too was the hourly wage he would pay new employees. Then it became $7 and so too did the wages rise. Then it was $10 that he had to pay in order to attract workers. That was only last year.

Today, he says that he has to pay $15 an hour to attract and keep workers. He also feels that this is rising along with all other costs, including rent and shipping. But he is looking now at the Sam Adams price: $10 for a six-pack. He predicted right there on the spot that within six months, that price will rise to $15. Can you even imagine? That’s the point at which people start looking at discount brands. In fact, that is already happening across the board, as people are leaving retail outlets for thrift stores and fancy-pants grocery stores for discounted shops. Habits are changing.

Rental Weirdness: Housing is facing the pressure of course, and rents in particular, which very much hurts the working poor and really anyone who is on the go too much to put down roots in the form of taking on mortgage debt (or maybe some people would just rather stay out of debt!). Rents are up 14% nationwide, but this masks huge changes that have come with massive demographic shifts.

I know that we’ve all heard that Florida, which has stayed open, is the new hotspot. It turns out that five of the 15 highest increases in a nationwide survey are from cities in Florida. Talk about booming. In Austin, Texas, rents are up an astonishing 40%. Like most inflationary trends now, this finds an explanation in structural and demographic shifts and disruptions, not monetary depreciation as such. Or so we believe.

Revolutionary Pressures: This is all fascinating stuff, to be sure, but there is a bigger picture here. Have a look at the Truckers’ Revolt in Canada, now spreading to the U.S., Brazil and worldwide. The revolt is on. Trudeau of Canada and Ardern of New Zealand are in hiding. Trudeau says he has symptomatic COVID despite being triple vaccinated. He denounced the truckers as a fringe minority. The truth came from Elon Musk: The government is the fringe minority.

These are astonishing times: a brewing economic crisis in the forms of goods and labor shortages in the midst of a political crisis with no precedent in our lifetimes. How will it turn out?"


“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

Streets of Philadelphia, “True Story, Winter, Feb. 5, 2022"

Full screen recommended.
Streets of Philadelphia, “True Story, Winter, Feb. 5, 2022"
Full screen recommended.
Bruce Springsteen, "Streets of Philadelphia"

Friday, February 4, 2022

“California Passing Out Free Money? Jobs Report Scam; Amazon Won’t Save Economy; FED Mega Collapse”

Jeremiah Babe PM 2/4/22:
“California Passing Out Free Money? Jobs Report Scam; 
Amazon Won’t Save Economy; FED Mega Collapse”

Musical Interlude: Medwyn Goodall, “Eyes of Heaven”

Full screen mode recommended.
Medwyn Goodall, “Eyes of Heaven”

"A Look to the Heavens"

“Separated by about 14 degrees (28 Full Moons) in planet Earth's sky, spiral galaxies M31 at left, and M33 are both large members of the Local Group, along with our own Milky Way galaxy. This narrow- and wide-angle, multi-camera composite finds details of spiral structure in both, while the massive neighboring galaxies seem to be balanced in starry fields either side of bright Mirach, beta star in the constellation Andromeda. Mirach is just 200 light-years from the Sun. But M31, the Andromeda Galaxy, is really 2.5 million light-years distant and M33, the Triangulum Galaxy, is also about 3 million light years away.

Although they look far apart, M31 and M33 are engaged in a gravitational struggle. In fact, radio astronomers have found indications of a bridge of neutral hydrogen gas that could connect the two, evidence of a closer encounter in the past. Based on measurements, gravitational simulations currently predict that the Milky Way, M31, and M33 will all undergo mutual close encounters and potentially mergers, billions of years in the future.”
"Everything passes away- suffering, pain, blood, hunger, pestilence. The sword will pass away too, but the stars will still remain when the shadows of our presence and our deeds have vanished from the earth. There is no man who does not know that. Why, then, will we not turn our eyes towards the stars? Why?"
- Mikhail Bulgakov, "The White Guard"

The Poet: Theodore Roethke, “The Return”

“The Return”

“Suddenly the window will open
and Mother will call,
it's time to come in.
The wall will part,
I will enter heaven in muddy shoes.
I will come to the table
and answer questions rudely.
I am all right, leave me
alone. Head in hand I
sit and sit. How can I tell them
about that long
and tangled way?
Here in heaven mothers
knit green scarves;
flies buzz.
Father dozes by the stove
after six days' labor.
No - surely I can't tell them
that people are at each
other's throats.”

- Theodore Roethke


"Life is not what you see, but what you've projected.
It's not what you've felt, but what you've decided.
It's not what you've experienced, but how you've remembered it.
It's not what you've forged, but what you've allowed.
And it's not who's appeared, but who you've summoned.
And this should serve you well until you find what you already have."
- The Universe

"Just Another Government Lie"

"Just Another Government Lie"
by Brian Maher

"On Wednesday we razzed economists for preposterously overguessing - by 481,000 - January private-sector payrolls. Today we must yank their whiskers once again. For they have mangled yet another forecast… and very nearly as badly. Only this time they erred 180 degrees the other way — to the downside.

The United States Department of Labor issued the January unemployment numbers this morning. A Dow Jones survey of economists had projected a January nonfarm payroll gain of 150,000. What did today’s report reveal? Today’s report revealed a January payroll gain not of 150,000 - but of 467,000 - a 317,000 surpassing of consensus guesses. Goldman Sachs had even divined a 250,000 net job loss… a 717,000 botching.

A Blowout: Mr. Cliff Hodge, chief investment officer with Cornerstone Wealth, thus gushes that: "The jobs report blew away expectations across the board. The headline number of 467,000 was multiples above expectations, wages came in hot and most importantly the labor force participation rate rose all during a period where Omicron cases spiked."

Adds a certain Andrew Hunter - senior U.S. economist for Capital Economics: "The 467,000 gain in non-farm payrolls in January is even stronger than it looks, as it came despite the spike in absenteeism driven by the Omicron virus wave… The headline gain appears to make a mockery of our fears that Omicron would weigh heavily on the payrolls figures…"

Just so. Yet are the blockbusting numbers truthful? Are they truly as they appear? Let us seize our sleuth’s kit. Let us step into our gumshoes. Let us hunt clues... in search of answers. But first, how did the stock market take this morning’s news?

It’s All About the Fed: Recall that sweet news on Main Street often goes down sour on Wall Street. And a “blowout” unemployment report would only affirm the Federal Reserve’s intentions to begin money-tightening in March. As notes Mr. Barry Gilbert, strategist with LPL Financial: "For markets, the jobs report is all about the Fed, and today’s upside surprises in both job creation and wage growth keep the Fed on track to begin raising rates in March and hike four or more times this year."

Thus stocks opened trading today with pursed lips, ensoured. The major averages gave off winces. By late morning stocks mounted a reversal, motored ahead by favorable earnings from Amazon. The Nasdaq Composite posted a 219-point gain on the day. The S&P, a 23-point gain. The Dow Jones lost courage late this afternoon, turning in a modest 21-point loss. Yet stocks did initially recoil from the unemployment numbers - and that is precisely the point.

Meantime, the 10-year Treasury yield leaped to 1.93% today. That is its highest level since August 2019… incidentally.

Why So Wrong? Yet to return to today’s unemployment numbers: How did economists so badly miss their mark? Recall, consensus undershot by 317,000. Goldman Sachs men undershot by a canyoning 717,000. Today’s 467,000 figure exceeded all 78 projections. HSBC came nearest to the mark at 225,000. Yet even that represents a 242,000 underguess.

Again, why the atrocious aiming - that is, why more atrocious than usual? Here is our clue: seasonal adjustments. Seasonal adjustments, as Investopedia explains them: "Are intended to smooth out aberrations in certain types of financial activity. For example, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) uses seasonal adjustment to achieve a more accurate portrait of employment and unemployment levels in the United States. They do this by removing the influence of seasonal events, such as the holidays, weather events, school schedules and even the harvest period. These adjustments are estimates based on seasonal activity in previous years."

“Statistics in the Wrong Hands Are a Gun in the Wrong Hands”: Seasonal adjustments are intended to clarify, to distinguish signal from noise, to flatten seasonal bumps and variations. Yet in the hands of government number-torturers, they do not clarify. They put out fog. They obfuscate. A seasonal adjustment is - after all - a statistical technique. And statistics in the wrong hands are a gun in the wrong hands.

The government statisticians cannot demonstrate that January witnessed 467,000 fresh payrolls. They merely infer it; 467,000 is itself a guess based upon seasonal activity in previous years. In fact, the numbers men at SouthBay Research claim "there has never been a January seasonal adjustment of this magnitude."

Unadjusted Numbers: What if you “unadjust” the numbers? Zero Hedge: "Looking at just the December to January change we find that while the seasonally adjusted number rose by an impressive 467,000, the unadjusted number collapsed, tumbling from 150,349,000 to 147,525,000, a 2.8 million drop (as it tends to do every time the year shifts from December to January) meaning that the entire [change] in the January number - somewhere in the 3 million-plus range - is due to arbitrary adjustments overlaid on top of the data… If [you normalize] the January seasonal adjustment, the payrolls number is some 309,000 lower, or ends up being 166,000, right on top of expectations."

Did you catch it?: 309,000 fewer payrolls than trumpeted! At this point the answer to what is behind the massive January beat should be becoming clear: How did a 2.8 million actual drop in jobs translate into an adjusted 467,000? If you said seasonal, COVID and population control adjustments, you are right.

Time Discovers Truth: We cannot verify these or any other numbers. Yet we suspect - strongly - that 467,000 is a statistical mirage, a phantom, a chimera. It is the product of a vast seasonal misadjustment. It is no more authentic than a set of false teeth, a bald man’s toupee or a congressman’s handshake.

Yet we have come to expect little else in these our days. We have a vastly inauthentic stock market and a vastly inauthentic economy erected upon vastly inauthentic credit. Time discovers truth, argued the Roman philosopher Seneca so many centuries ago. We fear he was correct. But please, Lord, not in our lifetime."

"R.I.P. Fiat"

"R.I.P. Fiat"
A Monetary Memento Mori
by Bill Bonner

 "Where have all the currencies gone,
Long time passing.
Where have all the currencies gone,
Long time ago.
Where have all the currencies gone
Gone to graveyards every one
When will they ever learn
Oh when will we ever learn..."

~ "An Ode to Fallen Money"

Youghal, Ireland - "A new currency was born this week. Its sponsors traveled to Bethlehem for the occasion. The US SUN: "Mystery as gold cube worth $11.7million ‘pops up’ in NYC’s Central Park – and it has its own security guards. The cube, composed of 186 kilograms of pure 24-karat gold, was rolled out in front of a snowy Naumburg Bandshell at 5am in the morning surrounded by photographers and NYPD officers. The hollow gold block is the creation of 43-year-old German artist Niclas Castello, who has branded it the "Castello Cube."

And here is where it gets interesting: "The 410-pound work is not for sale but was used as publicity for the launch of accompanying cryptocurrency, the Castello Coin. With gold currently priced at $1,788 per ounce, it is worth up to $11.7 million if it were to be put up for sale."

But wait… “The cube can be seen as a sort of communiqué between an emerging 21st-century cultural ecosystem based on crypto and the ancient world where gold reigned supreme,” Viennese gallerist Lisa Kandlhofer added to ArtNet." The Castello Coin is being traded as $CAST and is trading at an initial price of $0.44. Is that cool, or what? We’ll find out.

To Axe and Rot: It costs almost nothing to launch a crypto coin… and nothing to add more of them. So, however much people buy the coin… it’s almost pure profit to the creator. Cool. But…but…the Germans must have a word for this… it’s the grim, uncontrollable need to look into the future… and weep. You see your new car… rusting away in a junkyard. You get a puppy… and see a cross on the edge of the garden where the old, faithful dog is buried. And that oak tree you just planted; you know it will eventually rot and fall to the woodsman’s axe.

Yes, we’re still cogitating about yesterday… today… and tomorrow. We have a smattering of information about yesterday. And today is all around us. But tomorrow? One day, we stayed up until after midnight to try to catch a glimpse of tomorrow. But there we were. Our eyes closed. The bell tolled 12 times; we counted them. And then, when we opened our eyes. And we missed it; it was already today again.

One of the problems with new forms of money is that tomorrow they are gone. You open your eyes, and they’re not there anymore. Hundreds – thousands – of new currencies have been born over the years. Now, they’re almost all dead. Sniff. Sniff. At least, let us bow our heads in remembrance of them. did a study of 775 ‘fiat’ currencies. A ‘fiat’ currency is simply one that is declared – by decree – to be the lawful currency of a country by its rulers. It found that the average one had a life expectancy of just 27 years. Like the soldiers at Colleville-sur-Mer, they were cut down in the prime of life. And where are their graves? The assignats, the Chinese ‘flying money’, the French livre.. the French franc, the German Papiermark… the German Reichsmark… or just the plain old German Mark?

Unmarked! No widows grieve before them. No grandchildren come to see them. They are just forgotten. But let us not think of them moldering in dark graves. Let us try to remember them as they were… so happy, optimistic and lively. They lived yesterday, remember… when it was all upside. Downside always comes tomorrow.

How charming their money heaven must be… with so many hopeful currencies – the confederate ‘grayback,’… the Roman Denarius… the Mexican silver peso… the Moroccan Franc… the Romanian Silver Leu… the Maryland shilling… the 1924 Estonia marka… the Japanese oban… the Hungarian Bilpengoe… the Brazilian Crusado novo… the Argentine Austral… the Ukrainian Karbovanetz… the Serbian reformed dinar…

What fun they must have frolicking in their Valhalla… cavorting one with another… forever counting and exchanging – two to one… five to one… 50,000 to one… or like the Zimbabwe dollar… one hundred-trillion to one! And all totally worthless.

Staying Power: Many years ago, we came into possession of a display of defunct currencies. They hung on our office wall… a monetary memento mori… reminding us of the Way of All Paper. But wait… what about the cryptos? What about the newly minted Castello Coin? It is not paper. It is not a ‘fiat’ currency. It’s something new.

If gold represents 50 centuries of relative monetary stability in the ‘ancient world,’ will this new coin provide us with 5,000 years of purchasing power in the new ‘cultural ecosystem?’ Or should we prepare the black crepe and sympathy cards already, knowing that it will soon be gone? Already, more than a thousand cryptos have passed away. How long will the Castello Coin last? We don’t know. But our guess is that the golden cube will last a lot longer."

Gregory Mannarino, "The Single Key To The Coming Meltdown; One Thing, and One Thing Only"

Gregory Mannarino, PM 2/4/22:
"The Single Key To The Coming Meltdown; 
One Thing, and One Thing Only"