Saturday, March 19, 2022

"Economy And Housing Market About To Be Crushed; Mortgage Rate Crisis; Home Sales Drop"

Jeremiah Babe, PM 3/19/22:
"Economy And Housing Market About To Be Crushed;
 Mortgage Rate Crisis; Home Sales Drop"

Musical Interlude: Vangelis, "Alpha"

Vangelis, "Alpha"
This song always suggested the March of Mankind through the ages, having the "aspirations of angels and the instincts of beasts", as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle so aptly described us, and as Pascal said of us, "What sort of freak then is man! How novel, how monstrous, how chaotic, how paradoxical, how prodigious! Judge of all things, feeble earthworm, repository of truth, sink of doubt and error, glory and refuse of the universe! Who will unravel such a tangle?" Despite ourselves, Mankind marches relentlessly on, to our unknown future... - CP

Free Download: Hermann Hesse, "Siddhartha"

by Hermann Hesse

"Siddhartha" is a novel by Hermann Hesse that deals with the spiritual journey of a boy known as Siddhartha from the Indian Subcontinent during the time of the Buddha. The book, Hesse's ninth novel, was written in German, in a simple yet powerful and lyrical style. It was first published in 1922, after Hesse had spent some time in India in the 1910s. It was published in the U.S. in 1951 and became influential during the 1960s. Hesse dedicated "Siddhartha" to Romain Rolland, "my dear friend".

The word Siddhartha is made up of two words in the Sanskrit language, siddha (achieved) + artha (meaning or wealth). The two words together mean "he who has found meaning (of existence)" or "he who has attained his goals". The Buddha's name, before his renunciation, was Prince Siddhartha Gautama. In this book, the Buddha is referred to as "Gotama".

Plot summary: It starts as Siddhartha, the son of a Brahmin, leaves his home to join the ascetics with his companion Govinda. The two set out in the search of enlightenment. Siddhartha goes from asceticism, to a very worldly life as a trader with a lover, and back to asceticism as he attempts to achieve this goal. The story takes place in ancient India around the time of Gautama Buddha (likely between the fourth and seventh centuries BC.

Experience is the aggregate of conscious events experienced by a human in life – it connotes participation, learning and knowledge. Understanding is comprehension and internalization. In Hesse’s novel "Siddhartha," experience is shown as the best way to approach understanding of reality and attain enlightenment – Hesse’s crafting of Siddhartha’s journey shows that understanding is attained not through scholastic, mind-dependent methods, nor through immersing oneself in the carnal pleasures of the world and the accompanying pain of samsara; however, it is the totality of these experiences that allow Siddhartha to attain understanding. Thus, the individual events are meaningless when considered by themselves—Siddhartha’s stay with the samanas and his immersion in the worlds of love and business do not lead to nirvana, yet they cannot be considered distractions, for every action and event that is undertaken and happens to Siddhartha helps him to achieve understanding. The sum of these events is thus experience.

For example, Siddhartha’s passionate and pained love for his son is an experience that teaches him empathy; he is able to understand childlike people after this experience. Previously, though he was immersed in samsara, he could not comprehend childlike people’s motivations and lives. And while samsara clung to him and made him ill and sick of it, he was unable to understand the nature of samsara. Experience of samsara at this point did not lead to understanding; perhaps it even hindered him. In contrast to this, Siddhartha’s experience with his son allows him to love, something he has not managed to do before; once again, the love itself does not lead to understanding.

The novel ends with Siddhartha being a ferryman, learning from a river, and at long last at peace and capturing the essence of his journey: "Slower, he walked along in his thoughts and asked himself: “But what is this, what you have sought to learn from teachings and from teachers, and what they, who have taught you much, were still unable to teach you?” And he found: “It was the self, the purpose and essence of which I sought to learn. It was the self, I wanted to free myself from, which I sought to overcome. But I was not able to overcome it, could only deceive it, could only flee from it, only hide from it. Truly, no thing in this world has kept my thoughts thus busy, as this my very own self, this mystery of me being alive, of me being one and being separated and isolated from all others, of me being Siddhartha! And there is no thing in this world I know less about than about me, about Siddhartha!”

Musical Interlude: Vangelis, "Space, Time Continuum"

Full screen recommended.
Vangelis, "Space, Time Continuum"

"A Look to the Heavens"

“Here in the Milky Way galaxy we have astronomical front row seats as M81 and M82 face-off, a mere 12 million light-years away. Locked in a gravitational struggle for the past billion years or so, the two bright galaxies are captured in this deep telescopic snapshot, constructed from 25 hours of image data.
Their most recent close encounter likely resulted in the enhanced spiral arms of M81 (left) and violent star forming regions in M82 so energetic the galaxy glows in X-rays. After repeated passes, in a few billion years only one galaxy will remain. From our perspective, this cosmic moment is seen through a foreground veil of the Milky Way's stars and clouds of dust. Faintly reflecting the foreground starlight, the pervasive dust clouds are relatively unexplored galactic cirrus, or integrated flux nebulae, only a few hundred light-years above the plane of the Milky Way.”

Kurt Vonnegut, "Requiem"


“The crucified planet Earth,
should it find a voice and a sense of irony,
might now well say of our abuse of it,
"Forgive them, Father, they know not what they do."

The irony would be that we know what we are doing.

When the last living thing has died on account of us,
how poetical it would be if Earth could say,
in a voice floating up perhaps
from the floor of the Grand Canyon,
"It is done. People did not like it here.”

- Kurt Vonnegut

Chet Raymo, “Away Above The Chimney Pots”

“Away Above The Chimney Pots”
by Chet Raymo

“So Oz finally became home; the imagined world became the actual world, as it does for us all, because the truth is that once we have left our childhood places and started out to make up our lives, armed only with what we have and are, we understand that the real secret of the ruby slippers is not that "there's no place like home", but rather that there is no longer any such place as home: except, of course, for the home we make, or the homes that are made for us, in Oz: which is anywhere, and everywhere, except the place from which we began.”

In the last paragraph of his delightful meditation on the film "The Wizard of Oz", Salman Rushdie, himself an immigrant to another land, takes gentle issue with the concluding cliche: "There's no place like home." If the net result of Dorothy's technicolor adventure is to end up where she began, in gray old Kansas, then what was the point? asks Rushdie.

Poor Dorothy, waking up in bed with Auntie Em and the others clustered around her, born again, so to speak, into the same old life. "It wasn't a dream, it was a place," she cries, piteously. "A real, truly live place! Doesn't anyone believe me?" She must begin her rebellion all over again.

Visitors here will have observed that I have reached a stage in life where I am prone to look back on the journey, reflect somewhat nostalgically upon the place I came from, and try to ascertain where it is I have ended up. It is clear that the destination was in part determined by where I began, as is true, I suppose, for all of us. We are armed, after all, only with "what we have and who we are." But it is clear too that having experienced the technicolor universe of the galaxies and the DNA, there is no going back to the dusty, gray dogmas of my youth. The Emerald City may indeed be over the rainbow, but it is still in the here and now. The Wizard's powers may not be supernatural, but his translucently turreted city sure beats Kansas. Science was my Yellow Brick Road. I'm still a "Kansas" boy, so to speak, but with no desire to be born again. For better or worse, home is here, now, in a universe of a grandeur of which I had no idea at the beginning, at a place along a Yellow Brick Road that reaches tantalizingly into the future, with no foreseeable terminus in an ultimate Oz.”

"I Promise You This Much..."

"One final paragraph of advice: do not burn yourselves out. Be as I am- a reluctant enthusiast... a part-time crusader, a half-hearted fanatic. Save the other half of yourselves and your lives for pleasure and adventure. It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While it’s still here. So get out there and hunt and fish and mess around with your friends, ramble out yonder and explore the forests, climb the mountains, bag the peaks, run the rivers, breathe deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate the precious stillness, the lovely, mysterious, and awesome space. Enjoy yourselves, keep your brain in your head and your head firmly attached to the body, the body active and alive, and I promise you this much; I promise you this one sweet victory over our enemies, over those desk-bound men and women with their hearts in a safe deposit box, and their eyes hypnotized by desk calculators. I promise you this: you will outlive the bastards."
- Edward Abbey

The Daily "Near You?"

Union, Kentucky, USA. Thanks for stopping by!

"A Deal With the Devil"

"A Deal With the Devil"
Now the Devil is demanding his due…
by Charles Hugh Smith

"Unbeknownst to most people, America's leadership made a pact with the devil. Rather than face the constraints and injustices of our economic-financial system directly, a reckoning that would require difficult choices and some sacrifice by the ruling financial-political elites, our leaders chose the devil's Pact: Substitute the creation of asset-bubble "wealth" in the hands of the few for widespread prosperity.

The devil's promise: that some thin trickle of the trillions of dollars bestowed on the few would magically trickle down to the many. This was as visibly foolish as the promise of immortality on Planet Earth. But our craven, greedy leadership quickly sealed the deal with the devil and promptly inflated the greatest credit-asset bubble in human history. Rather than trade away one's soul, America's leaders traded away the future security and stability of the nation.

Sacrificing Innocents at the Altar of the Gods: By refusing to deal with the real problems exposed by the collapsing financial scams in 2008-09, our leaders – both the unelected Federal Reserve and the elected "best government money can buy" – chose to bail out the scammers who had greased their palms so generously and sacrificed the prosperity of the many to do so. This is more or less the equivalent of sacrificing innocents at the altar of the gods to ensure the leaders' rule will continue to be successful.

The devil was delighted to serve up the illusion of godlike powers to our corrupt, greedy leaders. The deal looked oh-so win-win: we enrich the top few percent and offload the costs and sacrifices on the powerless many, who were told that they would benefit from the trickle of cash leaking out of the super-wealthy's bulging pockets.

Of course, the Federal Reserve and the rest of the Savior State has saved us from the financial consequences of rampant speculation for decades. As a result, few of those in the casino have the necessary experience of hardship and losses to accurately assess risk. The vast majority have only experienced being saved: the most profitable response to a losing bet is to double-down on the next bet because the house (the Fed) will amply reward every "buy the dip."

The Devil Is Demanding His Due: But as I often point out, risk cannot be extinguished, it can only be transferred. Risk has been offloaded from speculators to the entire financial system itself, and so rather than a few speculators going down in flames, the entire casino will collapse.

Now the devil is demanding his due: the unprecedented credit-fueled bubbles in stocks, bonds and real estate are popping, and America's corrupt leaders can only stammer and spew excuses and empty promises. All this amounts to begging the devil to renegotiate the deal because now the downside is not just visible but inevitable. So sorry, America's leadership – the devil doesn't respond to pleas or threats. Sorry about that; the deal stands as agreed. All your bogus gains and powers will evaporate, and then the destruction really begins.

How does all this end? In ruin, of course. Our craven, self-serving leadership may well bleat, "the devil made us do it!" but that is not true: they fell all over themselves to sell the future stability and security of the nation for the quick-fix riches of bubbles and corruption. And of course, we’re staring at recession. But hey, look on the bright side…

Recessions Aren’t All Bad: Everyone looking at the inevitability of recession with alarm is forgetting the many upsides of recession, especially one that crushes all attempts to reverse it with the usual tricks. Let's not forget the simple joys of lighter traffic, faster commutes and the relative ease of getting a table at your favorite bistro – if it survives the bust.

Graveyard levity aside, there really is no equivalent to the positive force of crushing recessions. Only recessions which defy the usual tricks of monetary easing (create trillions of new dollars) and fiscal stimulus (give away a few of those new trillions) have the power to cleanse a system clogged with dysfunction, waste, fraud, corruption and financial zombies that soak of resources while doing little more than enriching the few at the expense of the many.

The problem with free money is that there's no mechanism to distinguish between waste and productive investment or fraud and productive utilization. All uses of free money are equally beneficial because if this free money is squandered, there's always more to spend tomorrow. In other words, in a system in which free money is the solution to all problems, there's no motivation to limit waste, friction or fraud because there's always enough free money for both waste, friction and fraud and needed spending and investment.

Time for Some Discipline: Recessions driven by inflation and the collapse of speculative bubbles aren't fixable with free money because free money fires up the afterburner of inflation. Once there are limits on how much free money can be created and distributed, squandering what's left means there's not enough left to fund essential services and to invest in the only real-world source of income and wealth. That’s productivity increases – doing more with less capital, labor and resources.

Only crushing recessions introduce the discipline of having to choose between waste, friction and fraud and essential services and investments. Waste, friction and fraud aren't simply gargantuan drains on resources… They corrupt the system by incentivizing friction (unproductive complexity and gatekeeping) and fraud (collusion, fraudulent billing, buying political favors, insider trading, etc.) and giving the recipients of friction and fraud the financial means to protect their fiefdoms with complexity thickets and political protection.

Recession Is the Only Cure: Financial systems that never experience crushing recessions can't tell the difference between a speculative mania driven by corporate buybacks and a bull market driven by improving productivity that lifts both profits and wages. The phony charade of speculative bubbles inflated by the Federal Reserve's spew of free money for financiers fatally distort the entire incentive structure of the financial system, which then balloons up and fatally distorts the entire economy.

Unbeknownst to those trembling in fear of a crushing recession, the crushing recession they fear is the only curative for a fatally distorted system which has lost touch with reality. Yes, there is a difference between speculative bubbles and bull markets. And yes, there is a difference between an economy riddled with the cancers of waste, friction and fraud and one strengthened by incentives and corrective mechanisms that bury unproductive zombie financial entities and reward those who actually increase productivity rather than destroy it. Recession will mean short-term pain but long-term gain."
Stipendium peccati mors est...
Full screen recommended.
"Doctor Faustus, Final Monologue And Ending" (1967)
"A most fantastic and moving performance by the late, great Richard Burton in this dazzling adaptation of Christopher Marlowe's astonishing work. The way the vision of Helen of Troy cackles and mocks Faust is so cruel and honest as we see the poor, lost soul accept the fate of eternal damnation, wrought entirely by his own hand." - ScarletDusk99
Freely download "The Tragical History of The Life 
And Death Of Doctor Faustus", by Christopher Marlowe, here:

"Doug Casey on What Happens Next in the Conflict With Russia"

"Doug Casey on What Happens Next in the Conflict With Russia"
by International Man

"International Man: Prior to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, we discussed the rising tensions between the US and Russia over Ukraine. What is your take on what has transpired since then?

Doug Casey: I think it makes sense first to recount the genesis of this war. It started when an American-backed coup overthrew the Ukrainian government in 2014. A US-backed thug replaced a Russian-backed thug - nothing unusual, except that Ukraine shares a long border with Russia. The Russians viewed that much as the Americans would if the Russians had put a puppet government in Ottawa.

Next, the two Russian majority provinces in Ukraine, Donetsk and Luhansk (Donbas) seceded from Ukraine. Secession is usually the best way of solving a political problem between groups with radically differing religions, ethnicities, cultures, or what-have-you. It’s much better than staying “united,” with one group dominating the other. The Russians simultaneously took back Crimea, which Nikita Kruschev had arbitrarily transferred to the Ukrainian SSR from the Russian SSR in 1954.

Of course, these two new breakaway republics were not recognized by the West. They’re similar to Transnistria, South Ossetia, Abkhazia, and Nagorno-Karabakh. Or, for that matter, Northern Cyprus or Taiwan. There are plenty of other regions in the world (everyone seems to have forgotten Kurdistan, for instance) anxious to do the same thing.

Look at Kosovo, a breakaway province of Serbia. The Donbas versus Ukraine situation is exactly analogous to that of Kosovo versus Serbia (roughly 1990 and following years). The US and some NATO countries supported that secession with an active bombing campaign, killing something like 15,000 people. The secession of Kosovo, supported by the US, is viewed as “good,” but that of Donbas, supported by Russia, is supposed to be “bad.” So there’s no confusion; I support both secessions.

The US has minted a new foreign enemy, once again proving how right Randolph Bourne was when he said, “War is the health of the State.” The hoi polloi are hooting and panting like chimpanzees, pouring vodka with Russian-sounding names like Smirnoff and Stoli down the drain - even though they don’t come from Russia - and refusing to put Russian dressing on their salads. The same fools were re-christening French Fries as Freedom Fries when France declined to Iraq as the enemy du jour.

Putin has now been officially designated a madman like Gaddafi, Saddam, and Assad before him. And once somebody is designated as the new Hitler, Washington can do anything. Putin committed a criminal act by invading Ukraine, and he’s no friend of personal liberty either. But was it any different than what the US did when it bombed Serbia in 1999? Or invaded Panama in 1989? Or Grenada in 1983? Or Afghanistan. Or Iraq. Of course, Putin’s a dangerous sociopath - show me a major world leader who’s not. But that doesn’t mean he’s much more insane than any of our recent presidents.

Morality aside, Putin made a strategic error to invade Ukraine, regardless of how much the Russians were provoked. But it should be viewed as just another border war in a region that’s had nothing but border wars for the last thousand years. It’s absolutely none of our business. If the borders realign due to this Russian incursion, it’s really nothing new. And as a matter of fact, Putin has said that the war will come to an immediate end if the Ukrainians cede Crimea to Russia, recognize the two breakaway provinces, and remain neutral. These are, certainly in the context of history, entirely reasonable requests.

Again, the US provoked all this with the coup they fomented in 2014 and their attempts to get Ukraine into NATO. But that’s all history at this point. The world’s political and economic structure is being reset.

International Man: The US government and its European allies are waging economic warfare against Russia. They have imposed sanctions, confiscated assets of the Russian government and private citizens, and kicked Russian banks out of SWIFT. They’ve also made moves to target Russia’s gold reserves. How seriously is this impacting Russia, and will they capitulate?

Doug Casey: In some ways, it’s actually helping Russia because their major exports are commodities. Oil has doubled, as has wheat. Nickel has about quadrupled, as has European natural gas. Palladium is at an all-time high. Russia exports only commodities, and the West’s response and embargoes have doubled their prices. Russia will make more money than ever before.

There are lots of channels for exporting their commodities, albeit with costs. The sanctions will be inconvenient for the Russians in many ways, of course - no more Apple I-phones or Intel chips. They’ll just buy Chinese Lenovos and Huaweis. The Russians can get everything they need and want from China and other non-Western countries. They won’t really be denied that much; it’ll just be inconvenient. The international black markets work extremely well.

In the meantime, Starbucks, McDonald’s, Pizza Hut, KFC, Facebook, and scores - hundreds - of other Western corporations are shooting themselves in the foot by closing down their outlets in Russia. The net result will probably be an improvement in the general health of the Russian population.

Sure, the sanctions will hurt Russia; trade war hurts everybody. But sanctions will be about as successful as the embargo against Cuba that started 60 years ago. It’s very much as if because you don’t like the guy who lives next door, you burn down your house because you think it’ll reduce the market value of his house.

I understand that saying these things will antagonize jingoists and even a certain segment of our readership. Some will probably accuse me of shilling for the Russians since any non-interventionist who doesn’t want to get involved in a border dispute between two sh*thole countries on the other side of the world is obviously anti-American. But while I’m making non-PC observations, it may be worth mentioning that most of the multi-billionaire Russian oligarchs are Jews. Does anybody think that this might seem anti-Semitic on the part of the West to confiscate these guys’ yachts and planes?

It’s just one of the many ironies of this whole episode. Perhaps that may only become apparent if foreign countries start confiscating the possessions of the US megarich who profited from being pals with Biden, Trump, Obama, Bush, or the like.

International Man: In response to this, Russia has implemented alternatives to the US-dominated financial system. What does this mean for the power of the US dollar and US dominance in the world?

Doug Casey: Once again, the US government is shooting America in the foot. It may come as a shock to hear this, but the greatest danger America faces isn’t Moscow; it’s Washington. For decades, the major US export hasn’t been IBMs, Boeings, or wheat. It’s been dollars. We now run a trade deficit of about a trillion dollars a year, shipping fiat dollars to nice foreigners in trade for Mercedes, Sonys, and cocaine. There is probably something like $20 trillion US dollars outside the US. Dollars will soon become hot potatoes, now that they’re manifestly losing value at 20% per year.

But it’s worse than that. Electronic dollars have to be traded through New York. People have seen what’s happened to places like Iraq, Syria, Libya, and now Russia when they’re designated as enemy nations. At some point, dollars will be dumped, wholesale. By stupidly using the dollar as a weapon, the US Government is greatly speeding up America’s destruction.

For example, just last week, the Nigerian government cut a deal with the Chinese government to accept Yuan for oil. The US dollar has been cut out of the loop. Why should anyone use the fiat currency of a government that’s not only an adversary but bankrupt? I don’t doubt that the Chinese, in cooperation with the Russians, will put together an anti-SWIFT system. Soon billions of people will carry a Chinese credit card in addition to their Visa and Amex.

Will it be successful? Success is only relative in the era of The Greater Depression, where trade will diminish everywhere. The nations of the West have about a billion people. The West is still wealthy and productive, although it’s in radical decline on all fronts. The rest of the world, however, has about seven billion people. India, Iran, Russia, and scores of other countries might prefer to use a Chinese answer to the SWIFT system and the dollar.

International Man: The Canadian government infamously froze the bank accounts of Canadians associated with the trucker protests. Similarly, Western governments are now targeting anything to do with Russia. It seems that using money and the banking system has become the weapon of choice for Western governments against their perceived foreign and domestic foes. In this environment where political risk - the risk coming from governments - is exploding in the West, what could happen next?

Doug Casey: One extremely dangerous megatrend is the rise of central bank digital currencies, CBDCs. They’ll be a total disaster from the point of view of individual freedom and privacy, but a boom for governments. The US government will certainly try to turn the US dollar into a completely digital currency, eliminating paper money and giving everybody an account with the Fed. It will be sold as a benefit, something that’s convenient and “patriotic.”

The only practical defense for the average guy is to accumulate gold and silver in his personal possession; the price of those two metals is going way up. That’s because the only financial asset that’s not simultaneously somebody else’s liability is gold. Unfortunately, the average American neither understands gold nor has any. Will that change in the future? Watch these highly amusing videos by Mark Dice, and you tell me (here and here).

What is really scary is that Western governments have found they can lock down their societies with impunity. And cut off citizens from their financial accounts. And get away with it. The West is closing the “freedom gap” with China and Russia. There’s less and less difference every day between Oceania, Eurasia, and Eastasia - the three megastates Orwell predicted in "1984."

International Man: The propaganda emanating from all sides is aggressive and pervasive. How does one tell what is really happening?

Doug Casey: You absolutely can’t know what’s happening because all the news is basically directly or indirectly controlled and propagandized. It’s been said that the first casualty in war is the truth. I have subscriptions to the London Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the South China Morning Post. The opinions and the snippets about what’s happening are sometimes interesting, but I don’t trust any of them. As Mark Twain said, if you don’t read the papers, you’re uninformed, and if you do, you’re misinformed.

Most older people in the US still rely on things like CNN, MSNBC, and Fox, even though they’re collapsing in popularity and credibility. People assume that no really big lies could be sold on public media. That’s completely untrue. A perfect recent example is The Ghost of Kiev. There are lots of youtube videos explaining how he shot down six Russian fighters in a day. There are thousands of loving comments on the impossible feat from gullible newly-minted Ukraine lovers. I just hope that nobody running a Nigerian prince scam gets their addresses.

The fact is that you can’t really know what’s happening in the Ukraine. We can only parse American propaganda because Russian propaganda is cancelled in the West. I’ve heard it said that the Russians have taken 30,000 casualties, they’re bombing maternity hospitals, and their troops are deserting in mass. Is it true? I doubt it. In a way, this is a good thing because it’s training the public not to believe anything. Perhaps an increasing number will start thinking critically as opposed to just inhaling whatever they’re told wholesale.

International Man: Commodities have soared amid the conflict. How is this all going to end, and how should investors and speculators be positioned?

Doug Casey: When I look at what the price of a commodity “should be,” the most central, basic factor is the cost of production. Commodities always revert to the mean, which is their cost of production.

Right now, just about every commodity in the world is selling for significantly more than its cost of production. The higher they go, the more will be produced, and the less will be consumed. Prices will revert to the mean. Therefore the higher they go, the less bullish I am on commodities. But on the other hand, all the production costs are going up radically. For instance, the prices of the three major fertilizers - phosphorus, potassium, and nitrogen - have approximately tripled in the last year. Farmers are making good money on grains, but margins will drop next season when you add in the cost of fertilizers, as well as the doubled price of gasoline and diesel. The bottom line is that all commodities are now establishing new and higher baseline prices.

Building the bullish case for commodities is easy, even from these levels. Trillions of newly printed currency units guarantee that. In addition, there’s tremendous supply destruction because building a new mine for copper, nickel, uranium, or any mineral is hard to impossible. It can take ten years to even get approvals. Permitting, obstructions from Greens and NGOs, shakedowns from native groups, ESG rules, government royalties, taxes, and a dozen other things are onerous. Lots of supply is being destroyed.

But at the same time, demand is being destroyed. People who were happy to buy a pickup truck when gas was $2.00 will simply stop driving, except for emergencies, when it costs $200 to fill the tank.

This is creating lots of distortions concerning where people live, what they do, and where they can work. That’s part of what an economic depression is about. A depression is both necessary and inevitable to return the economy to sustainable - that’s a popular word I hate to use - patterns of production and consumption.

To fight the effects of their currency inflation, governments will likely return to wage and price controls to show that they are “doing something.” Capital controls will be for everybody, not just the Russians. Governments will make up all kinds of excuses why you can’t transfer your money abroad without prior approval and permission. The Greater Depression is going to get much worse as currencies are destroyed, and businesses fail.

The next three years in the US are guaranteed to be bad because the regime in Washington DC has exactly the same philosophical and psychological views as the Jacobins and Bolsheviks; they’re spiritual twins. The situation will likely persist for not just the next three years but for the rest of the decade or more. Why? Because several generations have been indoctrinated to believe what the authorities are doing is morally correct. And people like to do what they think is right, even if it causes a disaster.

Things will get even worse when some “strong man” presents himself in the US, promising to kiss everything and make it better. He’ll need near-dictatorial powers to set things aright, of course, and Boobus americanus will clamor to hand them over."

"Beware of Phishing Scams - Your Bank and Credit Cards are at Risk!"

Full screen recommended.
Dan, iAllegedly 3/19/22:
"Beware of Phishing Scams - 
Your Bank and Credit Cards are at Risk!"
"The amount of fraud that we can fall victim to is increasing every day. You need to be aware of different phishing scams. I’m going to show you how the thieves do this and what you can do to combat this."

"How it Really Is"


Friday, March 18, 2022

"Russia Is Winning, America Is Self-Destructing... Prepare For Extreme Poverty"

"Russia Is Winning, America Is Self-Destructing...
 Prepare For Extreme Poverty"
by Mike Adams

"Do not confuse the headline of this analysis with any conclusions of who we’re rooting for. We are rooting for America and the American people, yet we simultaneously realize that the current occupying US government is an illegitimate, treasonous crime cartel that rigged the 2020 election, built the covid bioweapon and is trying to mass exterminate the American people with mRNA “vaccine” injections. They do not represent the true “America.”

We root for all humanity and universal liberty, truth, health, abundance and peace. These are universal concepts that nearly all Democrats, Leftists, journalists and bureaucrats have utterly abandoned. And the crime cartel in the D.C. swamp at the moment is actively trying to exterminate millions of Americans with engineered bioweapons and DNA-altering gene therapy injections.

Thus, when I say, “America is self-destructing,” it is with horror that such conclusions must be shared with you. The “extreme poverty” coming for America is not an outcome any of us want anyone to experience, but it is the inevitable outcome nonetheless.

If you and I are flying on a commercial airline at 30,000 feet, and I look out the window to see the entire wing burst into flame, I would scream out, “This airplane is going down! Brace for impact!” It does not mean I am rooting for us all to die in a fiery demise of twisted steel and ignited jet fuel. The analysis is simply the truth, regardless of how unpopular it may be to those who are still living in denial. And yes, most Americans are living in denial. They are oblivious to what has already been unleashed and the ramifications that are headed their way. 

The controlled demolition of an entire nation and its currency. The America we once knew is being systematically (and rapidly) taken down via controlled demolition (like Building 7). The dollar is headed to zero. The petrodollar system is collapsing and the reserve currency status of the US dollar will soon be abandoned.

Seven-eighths of the world’s population belong to countries which have not sanctioned Russia. Only about one-eighth of the world has sanctioned Russia (the USA, UK, Western Europe, etc.), whereas the two largest nations in the world (India and China) are happy to take up trade with Russia and purchase the nation’s abundant mineral and energy resources. Turkey is also happy to trade with Russia, as are most Middle Eastern, Asian and African nations.

Far from being an effective weapon against Putin, the West’s economic sanctions against Russia are a form of self-induced economic suicide. It’s not just that the wing of the airplane is on fire, it’s that Joe Biden is kneeling over the edge of that wing and sawing it off. The decisions by Biden (Obama) and the other puppet masters controlling the illegitimate enemy occupying force in D.C. are deliberately working to obliterate the United States of America and erase it from history. They are doing this because they are controlled by China and the WEF globalists. America stands as the last defense against a totalitarian global regime. So they’ve decided to take down America by whatever means necessary.

First, they tried releasing the covid bioweapon, followed by crushing economic sanctions against the American people. Both of these actions were clearly acts of war, which means it is Fauci, Collins and other US “leaders” who are guilty of war crimes, by the way. Because of the resilience of the American people, these tactics failed to bring down the country. So they unleashed deadly depopulation “vaccines” to cause millions of deaths. So far, 1.1 million excess deaths have already taken place in America since the vaccines were introduced, just as we predicted six months ago. Millions of Americans will die from vaccines over the next decade as the vaccine-induced cancers, heart attacks, autoimmune disorders and strokes take their toll.

But even this isn’t accomplishing their genocidal death goals quickly enough - and the people caught on to the covid scam - so now the tyrants are trying to push America into a global war with Russia. According to recent polls, one-third of the American people - mostly the oblivious, brainwashed lunatics who also wore masks for two years - are thrilled about the idea of nuclear war with Russia. They can’t wait to enjoy the radioactive fallout, it seems, and most of these oblivious sheeple live in Democrat-controlled cities which will be among the first targets in any nuclear exchange. This indicates they are utterly detached from reality and are living in bizarre bubbles of disinformation and lies perpetrated by the New York Times, CNN, MSNBC, USA Today, etc.

Suicidal U.S. political leaders are actively trying to escalate the Ukraine conflict to a nuclear exchange with Russia. It is now rather obvious that the US deep state is going to fake a chemical attack against Ukrainian civilians and blame it on Russia. This is probably just days away. Once accomplished, the US population will be traumatized with media-broadcast images of children with their skin melting off. The emotional appeal will be used to justify the rapid escalation of war with Russia, including increased calls for “nuking” Russia and sending troops into Ukraine. (Democrats always argue with emotions rather than facts, which is why they routinely need to murder children and parade them for CNN’s cameras as they run their false flag operations.)

This is exactly what the Obiden regime wants: A Russian launch of nuclear weapons against the United States. Once key military and strategic targets are taken out by Russia, China will be given the green light to invade the USA using pre-positioned troops that are already waiting for orders in Mexico and Canada.

With the Pentagon now run by treasonous, virtue-signaling libtards who have near-zero combat effectiveness, the only thing that’s going to repel that attack is the 500+ million firearms that exist in the United States, which is why Obama and Biden worked so hard to run false flag “gun violence” operations (Operation Fast & Furious, for example) in order to try to nullify the Second Amendment. That didn’t work, but they have another plan.

What they’re about to pull now is a declaration of war with Russia, followed by the suspension of the US Constitution and the declaration of what is essentially military martial law in America. This will be quickly followed by an attempted nationwide gun confiscation effort which will also fail. But it will set off a civil war in America, which is also what China and the globalists want. This will provide the justification for UN “humanitarian” troops to enter the USA, where they will predictably start kidnapping women and children to feed their global human trafficking operations (a UN specialty). This is China’s ultimate plan for North America: The complete genocidal decimation of the North American people and the taking over of the continent for China’s expanding global empire.

Americans are not prepared for the extreme poverty that has already been set into motion (to be felt later in 2022 and for a generation to come). If that invasion plan by China is delayed by several years - which is certainly possible - the United States of America is going to suffer extreme poverty starting very soon, simply due to the economic sabotage that has already been implemented by Biden. These sabotage decisions include:

● Shutting down America’s energy independence (Keystone XL pipeline, etc.).
● Weaponizing the SWIFT system to de-bank Russia and Belarus.
● Insane levels of fiat currency money printing, leading to the demise of the dollar.
Government suppression of free energy technologies such as LENR which could bring unlimited energy to the economy while ultimately replacing oil.

Because of these truly insane decisions by Biden/Obama - which are of course designed to destroy America - the American people are about to be hit by a combination of price inflation and asset devaluation that they have never experienced and probably cannot even imagine. The Great Depression is a walk in the park compared to what’s coming. Covid supply chain shortages were just a blip compared to the total collapse of logistics, transportation and financial transactions that we’re about to witness."
Gonzalo Lira, who still has a channel on YouTube (but will likely be deplatformed soon, so we welcome him on gets it. Speaking with remarkable clarity and intelligence while reporting from Kharkov in Ukraine, Gonzalo reveals why Americans are about to be “poor” at a level they never imagined.

(We have reposted his video on Brighteon in good faith, giving him credit, hoping to protect this important message before YouTube deletes it. We request Gonzalo Lira to reach out to us so we can mirror all his videos with his permission and help support his channel on Brighteon.) Gonzalo has a Patreon page if you wish to support his work there."
Gonzalo Lira , "America, You’re About To Be POOR"
Get the full details in today's feature podcast here.

"Bank Accounts Closed; ATMs Frozen; Gas Theft; 401K Frozen; It's A Mad World - Accelerating The Crash"

Jeremiah Babe, PM 3/18/22:
"Bank Accounts Closed; ATMs Frozen; Gas Theft;
 401K Frozen; It's A Mad World - Accelerating The Crash"

"Rush To Hoard Food And Energy Supplies Intensify As Panic Buying Frenzy Collapse Supply Chains"

Full screen recommended.
"Rush To Hoard Food And Energy Supplies Intensify 
As Panic Buying Frenzy Collapse Supply Chains"
by Epic Economist

"The 2022 panic buying frenzy just continues to get worse all over the world: As supply chain problems compound and transportation costs rise uncontrollably, consumers have been rushing to hoard food and energy supplies before more shortages emerge. In Russia, the middle class is wiping out store shelves at record speed as western sanctions disrupt shipping deliveries and push the price of everything to soar. Many nations in Europe are suffering from shortages of food and medicine, which is leading companies to ration food supplies to ensure inventories in an attempt to fight against panic-buying. Meanwhile, in America, gas prices have jumped to such absurd levels that drivers can not afford to panic buy anymore – some of them are resorting to gas theft instead.

Russians are now suffering with crushing inflation as the effects of western sanctions ripple through the economy and collapse the country’s currency. The markets have recently become overwhelmed with panic buyers emptying grocery stores and shopping malls. From medical devices to staple goods and electronics, shoppers are snapping up every valuable item on their reach as the rouble plunges in value. Prices of imported goods are already going through the roof. New cars made by foreign brands have experienced a 16 percent price surge over the past three weeks, according to the state statistics service, The price of TVs climbed 20 percent, while vacuum cleaners rose 17 percent, and smartphones 12 percent.

However, rich European countries aren’t immune to the disruptions brought on by the conflict. And consumers are already suffering, too. In a recent article published by the Financial Times, shoppers reported shortages of basic food supplies and medicine. With supply chain bottlenecks aggravating and the memory of shortages still fresh on their minds, after witnessing the effects of the sanitary outbreak on global trade, Europeans are now panic buying and stockpiling food as uncertainty over the duration of the global strife continues to rise.

Italy imports much of its wheat from eastern Europe and about 80 percent of its sunflower oil from Ukraine, as well as large amounts of corn used to feed animals. The country is now seeing shortages of bread and meat as well, while prices reach extraordinary levels. A loaf of bread currently costs up to €8 per kilo in Milan. In November, it would have cost an average of €4.25. “It’s ridiculous that bread, which has always been poor people’s food, has become a luxury item,” complained Di Leto, saying that she had stockpiled flour to bake her own and save money.

At the same time, food rationing is becoming the main alternative for German grocers coping with declining supplies. They’ve been recently forced to introduce purchase limits and ration some staples such as cooking oil.

In the U.S., Americans are panic-buying potassium iodide tablets. According to CNN, manufacturers of the medication in the U.S. have recorded rapidly depleted inventories recently in light of Russia's retaliation to Western sanctions. The enormous increase in demand has led some online sellers to price gauge customers looking to buy these pills. Packs that typically sell for around $14 are now on eBay for $150 - with the manufacturer's website listing them as out of stock. And it seems that U.S.-led sanctions imposed by the federal government on the Russian economy are also having huge consequences for American drivers. As the price of gasoline really spirals out of control, gas theft is on the rise, reported the AAA. In North Carolina, nearly 400 gallons of gas were stolen from a station this week. In Texas, a group of thieves stole over $5,000 worth of diesel fuel in a family-owned gas station in Houston.

These are definitely crazy times, and people are acting out of panic and desperation. As the price of gasoline continues to go up, this will probably encourage even more theft. People’s rush to hoard food and energy supplies will also make it more difficult for ordinary families to afford their grocery and energy bills. The world has effectively entered a full-blown energy and supply chain crisis, and we hope you are prepared for the new normal because we are about to see absolutely unprecedented things in the months ahead."

Musical Interlude: 2002, "We Meet Again"

Full screen recommended.
2002, "We Meet Again"

"A Look to the Heavens"

“Riding high in the constellation of Auriga, beautiful, blue vdB 31 is the 31st object in Sidney van den Bergh's 1966 catalog of reflection nebulae. It shares this well-composed celestial still life with dark, obscuring clouds recorded in Edward E. Barnard's 1919 catalog of dark markings in the sky. All are interstellar dust clouds, blocking the light from background stars in the case of Barnard's dark nebulae. For vdB 31, the dust preferentially reflects the bluish starlight from embedded, hot, variable star AB Aurigae.
Exploring the environs of AB Aurigae with the Hubble Space Telescope has revealed the several million year young star is itself surrounded by flattened dusty disk with evidence for the ongoing formation of a planetary system. AB Aurigae is about 470 light-years away. At that distance this cosmic canvas would span about four light-years.”

"What Would Orwell Say?"

"What Would Orwell Say?"
by Jeffrey Tucker

"Just the other day, Vladimir Putin gave an address to the nation that urged his country to be patient with the current pain. He said he is working to restructure economic life to deal with the ongoing disaster in employment, good access, productivity, technology and inflation. It’s transitory, he explained, and all the fault of the West. He has this totally under control, he says. Just trust the government. Many people do. People in cities are skeptical but he remains widely popular in rural areas. Meanwhile the government works to silence dissent, punish those who protest and control the media.

This story sounds strangely familiar, doesn’t it? Biden’s White House daily urges this country to be patient with the current pain. They are working on ways to address the ongoing mess with inflation; declining financials; goods shortages; supply-chain woes; mail that barely functions; and a medical system that is throttled, distorted and wildly expensive. It’s all the fault of Putin for invading Ukraine, thus necessitating severe economic sanctions and driving up the costs of everything.

The Price of Freedom: It’s the price we pay for freedom! All we are supposed to do is trust the government. Biden has this totally under control. People are skeptical but he remains popular in some circles, mostly in large blue states. Meanwhile, the government works to silence dissent, punish those who protest and control the media.

It’s getting creepy how government policies are increasingly copying each other. It’s not unlike the final global equilibrium in Orwell’s "Nineteen Eighty-Four": three large states that are indistinguishable in despotism, constantly trading places to demonize the other.

Copycat Policies: Ever since the end of the Second World War, we had a sense that governments of the world were competing over economic systems. Which had the most freedom? Which nations were rich versus poor? What kinds of policies did nations have, and which policies were best at promoting economic growth, human rights and peace?

There was of course the Cold War that pitted the “free world” against the captive world. What an innocent time that was! It lasted 40 years, which in retrospect seemed like mostly pretty good years for the West. We had a sense of what we were and what we were not. We had a model of what we never wanted to become, and that was a tyrannical communist state.

The changes from 1989 and forward fundamentally altered that perception. Communism went away and even the remaining communist empire of China itself opened up its economy to trade, ownership and enterprise. That binary world was blown apart. Our lizard brains that look for easy stories were challenged by new forms of what not to be. Terrorism fit the bill for some years but it couldn’t last.

One System for the World: As we now look at the large world alliances - dominated by Russia, China and the U.S. - it is increasingly difficult to distinguish their policies. There is a push in the U.S. for a China-style social credit system. Russia uses brutal tactics for suppressing dissent that it copied from China. China copies the U.S. system of industrial subsidies and fiscal and monetary stimulus. Each government aspires to the same: total political and social control, while allowing just enough freedom to keep the wealth machine running to provide the revenue.

What burned this copycat system in place were the lockdowns of 2020. They began in China, expanded to Italy and were quickly copied by the U.S. That was a devastating moment because it told the world: This is good science! If the Bill of Rights and the Constitution in the U.S. were not enough to stop this from happening, surely this virus could kill us all! Very quickly after that, most states adopted that very system. Amazing.

The New Freedom Index: They also copied the wild spending, the monetary expansion, the police-state tactics, the vaccine mandates, the surveillance and the demonization of dissent. All governments in the world blew up in size and scope. They have stayed that way. Now we are left with the results of massive and ubiquitous authoritarianism plus rampant inflation and debt, along with slow economic growth and goods shortages. All these nations too have kept media empires that reflect the prevailing line plus a small dissident press that is barely tolerated and often fighting for attention and even existence.

What states in the world resisted? There are only a few. Sweden. Tanzania. Nicaragua. Belarus. South Dakota. Later, the most open states in the world were in the U.S.: Georgia, Florida, Texas, South Carolina. These are now the outliers in the world, actual places of freedom. Other quasi-rational places are Denmark, Norway and the Netherlands. As far as I know, 10 years ago, there were zero predictions out there that these would be the new free lands in the whole planet Earth.

The Great Struggle for the Future: The world is fundamentally different now than two years ago. The internet is no longer open. The censorship has become brutal. Ten years of programming from RT America were deleted by YouTube. For reasons we do not know, the entire channel was closed by some decision somewhere. All employees were fired.

It was not supposed to be this way. In the old days, people believed that a major advantage of the internet was that it was forever. Now it has become a tool of the censors. The lack of concern for freedom and truth is utterly appalling. In Orwell’s book, there are three superstates that forever rule the world: Oceania, Eurasia and Eastasia. Is this our future? Maybe. I actually doubt it. What we actually see happening is a global awakening for freedom. It’s happening. Slowly, but it's out there.

Good News and Bad News: A major factor here is just how poorly the elites have performed. Their plans have failed and they have only generated poverty and chaos. Biden, Putin and the CCP all face the same problem: They preside over systems that are underperforming and generating enormous unrest at all levels. We are just at the beginning, but this could end very badly for the arrogant political class that imagines no limit to their power. Unfortunately, things could get a lot worse before they get better."

"So Often..."

“So don’t ask yourself what people want. Ask instead, What is true? What really inspires me, excites me? What will really help people and take away their confusion and suffering? It’s sort of a funny, crazy way to go, but I think it’s the only way to bring water to the wasteland Joseph Campbell described. When I read something truthful, something real, I breathe a deep sigh and say, “Fantastic – I wasn’t mad or alone in thinking that, after all!” So often we are left to our own devices, struggling in the dark with this external and internal propaganda system. At that point, for someone to tell us the truth is a gift. In a world where people all around us are lying and confusing us, to be honest is a great kindness.”
- David Edwards

Gregory Mannarino, "Prepare For Record Breaking Oil Shock! Says The International Energy Agency"

Gregory Mannarino, PM 3/18/22:
"Prepare For Record Breaking Oil Shock! 
Says The International Energy Agency"

"Siege And Squeeze: The Mainstream Media In The West Doesn’t Understand Russian Military Tactics In Ukraine"

"Siege And Squeeze: The Mainstream Media In 
The West Doesn’t Understand Russian Military Tactics In Ukraine"
by Michael Snyder

"The Russians are employing the exact same tactics that we witnessed in Syria and during the two Chechen wars, but the mainstream media doesn’t seem to understand this. Up to this point, the mainstream media has used the fact that many major Ukrainian cities have not yet fallen as evidence that the war is not going too well for Russia. But the truth is that the Russians did not intend to recklessly send their forces into dense urban areas immediately. That is something that western military leaders do way too often, and it is a way to get thousands of troops needlessly gunned down. Instead, the Russians are encircling the largest Ukrainian cities. A perimeter is established which cuts off all food and supplies, and then the circle is slowly but surely squeezed tighter as the “cauldron” is relentlessly pummeled by Russian firepower.

It is essentially ancient siege warfare adapted for modern times, and the Russians have previously used such tactics with devastating effectiveness…"The siege is a military tactic popularized in medieval times and designed to crush a population through starvation and violence, allowing an attacking force to spare its own soldiers the cost of entering a hostile city. Instead, civilians are the ones left to die, slowly and painfully."

Putin has refined the tactic during his years in power, first in the Chechen city of Grozny in 2000 and then in the Syrian city of Aleppo in 2016. By the time those two sieges were over, Grozny and Aleppo were both totally leveled.

Now “siege and squeeze” is being employed against a number of the largest Ukrainian cities simultaneously, and that includes the capital of Kiev…"As the number of people driven from the country by war eclipsed 3 million, large explosions thundered across Kyiv before dawn from what Ukrainian authorities said were artillery strikes, as Russia’s assault on the capital appeared to become more systematic and edged toward the city center. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said barrages hit four multi-story buildings in the city, killing dozens of people. The shelling ignited a huge fire in a 15-story apartment building and spurred a frantic rescue effort."

The good news for the Ukrainians is that Kiev has not been entirely encircled just yet. But the situation is much more dire in Ukraine’s second-largest city…"In Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, time is elastic. It’s close to the border with Russia and the nightly shelling from Russian artillery and warplanes gives no rest. The past two weeks have seemed like an eternity, yet peace can be remembered as if it were yesterday.

In a frozen landscape on the city’s north-eastern edge, 21-year-old Lieutenant Yevgen Gromadsky stands with hands outstretched. There are trenches dug in nearby. “Outgoing,” he says, lifting his right hand to accompany the thump of fire from his positions. “Incoming,” he says, and his left hand ticks up. With a crump, Russian shells are fired from their positions 900m away across snow-covered fields."

Let us pray for peace in Ukraine, because countless more people are going to die in the weeks and months to come if this conflict drags on.

Perhaps the best example of “siege and squeeze” right now is the southern city of Mariupol… "Russian forces have successfully encircled Mariupol and are conducting daily assaults on the western and eastern outskirts of the city. Russian air, missile, and artillery strikes continue to target residential areas and civilian infrastructure to force the city to capitulate. Russian forces have encircled the city to a depth that will likely prevent the defenders from breaking out and prevent Ukrainian efforts to relieve the defenders. Russian forces will likely be able to capture Mariupol or force it to capitulate despite strong Ukrainian defenses. The Russian capture of Mariupol will free up Russian forces, likely including large portions of the 8th Combined Arms Army, to threaten Ukrainian defenders along the line of contact in Donbas with encirclement or alternatively reinforce a Russian offensive toward Mykolayiv and Odesa. This assessment assumes that the defenders in Mariupol will run out of ammunition and/or water at some point in the relatively near future."

I think that the Russians feel a particular sense of urgency to “finish the job” in Mariupol because of the Azov Battalion and other forces that are based there. If you have been following the situation in Ukraine for an extended period of time, then you know exactly what I am talking about. If the Russians are planning to agree to a ceasefire in the not too distant future, it is likely that they would like to wipe out the Azov Battalion and their allies before that happens.

And right now Mariupol is being pounded like no other major city in the entire country…"Each airstrike and shell that relentlessly pounds Mariupol - about one a minute at times - drives home the curse of a geography that has put the city squarely in the path of Russia’s domination of Ukraine. This southern seaport of 430,000 has become a symbol of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s drive to crush democratic Ukraine - but also of a fierce resistance on the ground.

In the nearly three weeks since Russia’s war began, two Associated Press journalists have been the only international media present in Mariupol, chronicling its fall into chaos and despair. The city is now encircled by Russian soldiers, who are slowly squeezing the life out of it, one blast at a time."

The Russians said that one of their goals was to “demilitarize” Ukraine, but way too many civilians are dying. Millions upon millions of Ukrainians are deeply suffering because of a war that the politicians started, and that isn’t right. And ultimately this conflict in Ukraine could spark a much broader war between the western powers and Russia.

If that happens, it would be way too easy for things to “go nuclear”. In fact, even the Secretary General of the United Nations is warning that nuclear war is “now back within the realm of possibility”…"U.N. Secretary General António Guterres said Monday that the prospect of nuclear conflict is “now back within the realm of possibility” after Russian President Vladimir Putin raised the alert levels of the country’s nuclear forces last month. In remarks to reporters, Guterres called Putin’s move a “bone-chilling development” and said further escalation of the war in Ukraine would threaten all of humanity. “It’s time to stop the horror unleashed on the people of Ukraine and get on the path of diplomacy and peace,” he said."

Stopping a nuclear war is in all of our interests, because a nuclear war would mean the end of civilization as we know it. But instead of pursuing peace, leaders on both sides just continue to escalate matters. This didn’t have to happen. Politicians on both sides should have been able to sit down and find a diplomatic way out of this mess. But now war is here, and nothing will ever be the same again."

Bill Bonner, "Who We're Fightin' For"

"Who We're Fightin' For"
by Bill Bonner

"The fool doth think he is wise, 
but the wise man knows himself to be a fool."
~ Shakespeare

San Martin, Argentina - We promised to explain the real reason for America’s meddling in the affairs of the Eurasian steppes. This will require more space than usual, but we will just continue connecting the dots until we get a better picture.

“What are we fightin’ for?” We posed the question on Wednesday and were unable to come up with a convincing answer. The obvious ones – protecting the US, protecting our families, saving lives, matter of principle, making money etc. – didn’t seem to apply. So let us rephrase the question: Who are we fightin’ for? Now the picture becomes clearer.

What we see is the US elite… spoiled, corrupt and incompetent. Instead of looking out for the nation… and helping its people avoid the obvious pitfalls of imperial vanity… it has joined a global caste determined to pursue its own goals. Widely known as the ‘liberal world order,’ it is not ‘liberal’ at all, not in the classic sense of favoring free trade and free speech. Nor is it at all conservative. Instead, it is a caste of busy-bodies who aim to reshape the world in their own image.

Let’s begin with a wide perambulation, in which we condense tomes of history, philosophy, the Bible and the Encyclopedia Britannica into a few paragraphs. (Readers who think we are ‘over-simplifying’ are probably right!)

The Right to Inequality: The goal of ‘equality’ is a fraud. Nobody wants to be equal. We want to be superior. We take pride in whatever we’ve got. Smarter… more cunning… bigger muscles… a brighter smile… a flashier car… a sharper wit. Whatever it is, it marks us as ‘better,’ not equal. This desire for superiority is probably hard-wired, and probably derives from the desire to make ourselves attractive to the best possible mate, but there’s no need to go into that. Whatever is behind it, we are a very competitive species. We’re always trying to get a leg up on everyone else. We want to win games… get richer… and make our enemies flee in terror before us.

Our ability to feel superior individually is hampered by the closeness of the facts… or a spouse. Elizabeth is so competitive that she wants to win even in a blood test. She’s convinced that her O positive is ‘better’ than our O negative. In a wine tasting, she races to pick out the flavors, identify the ‘terroir,’ and guess the vintage, while her husband can barely tell the red wine from the white. Then, we look in the mirror or climb onto the scales… and we don’t feel so superior, after all. But join with a group… and the sky’s the limit.

Humans discovered long ago that they could compete more effectively by forming cooperative groups rather than going it alone. One tribe won. Another lost. One chief puffed out his chest and strutted across the battlefield. The other lay on the ground, dead.

Cooperation was greatly amplified in the modern, civilized era. A small primitive force with bows and arrows is no match for a large army, equipped with drones and coca-cola. Modern cooperation – based on trade, trust and reliable money – is what produced our prosperity… and our drones. In the modern world, in order to make money and feel superior, you have to provide goods and services to others. So the drone maker aims to make the best drones he can, not because he loves his fellow man or hates him, but because he wants his money. A whole world of people who are trying to bake better bread, build faster computers, and look better in bikinis is not a bad world!

But competition takes many forms. Sports teams mimic tribal combat. The fans feel the warm light of glory reflected upon them after a SuperBowl win. And it is not surprising that they send their boys onto the field of battle even when there is nothing really at stake, except their feeling superior. That is why people have such contempt for shirkers, malingerers and free-thinkers – they don’t help the team win.

Yes, dear reader, it is a wicked world as well as a wonderful one. And the mob – prone to hysteria, bred to compete, readily manipulated – is, like all of us, neither good nor bad, but always subject to influence.

That’s why an honest elite is so important. It is supposed to be wise… the ‘voice of reason,’ of calm deliberation and patient reflection. It is supposed to know we are all fools, in other words, and do its best to restrain us. Instead, in the 21st century, the American elite led us into the dumbest, most hysterical campaigns in US history.

Control-Freak Complex: In 2001 a tiny group of terrorists attacked the World Trade Centers. Instead of tracking down the perps, the US launched a war against millions of people who had nothing to do with the attack. The elite in military-related industries made fortunes. But the result was nearly a million dead… and $8 trillion added to US debt.

In the big hysteria of the Mortgage Finance Crisis (caused by the Fed’s too-low rates for too-long), Ben Bernanke, to his everlasting shame, panicked the whole nation with his absurd ‘we may not even have an economy’ remark to Congress. The big pay-off went to Wall Street, whose bonuses and stock options were protected. Rich investors, too, gained about $30 trillion in the stock market alone. The cost: approximately $44 trillion more debt – public and private – added since 2008.

Then, in the COVID hysteria, it was the Pharma/medical/public health/control-freak complex that hit the jackpot. Life-long bureaucrats, such as Anthony Fauci, became celebrities. Pfizer, now recommending a 4th booster shot, got richer than ever. Pfizer stock price approximately doubled after March, 2020. And yet another $8 trillion in government debt that Americans will have to pay. Hardly had we gotten over that hysteria when the elite whipped up another one. Yes, it’s time for another boost to the empire’s military/industrial/empire/surveillance complex with a new panic over the Russo-Ukrainian war. 

The US could have perfectly well sat this one out. “The Ukraine” carries the article “the” to distinguish it from a nation state. We do not say The Britain or The France. We say “The Ukraine” because it is a place, like the Northwest Territories, the Caribbean Islands, the Argentine, the Sahara Desert, not a real country. But the elite has dropped the ‘the’… and acts as though its borders were permanent and inviolable.

Chris Hedges imagines where this will lead: "The roads across the earth will be clogged with desperate refugees. All dissent will be treason. The young will be sacrificed for the tired tropes of glory, honor, and country. The vulnerable will suffer and die. The only true patriots will be generals, war profiteers, opportunists, courtiers in the media and demagogues braying for more and more blood. The merchants of death rule like Olympian gods. And we, cowed by fear, intoxicated by war, swept up in the collective hysteria, clamor for our own annihilation."

Meet the EEE: But what kind of a scammy system is this? The EEE (Enlightened Elite Establishment) comes up with one Big Threat after another. Each one brings it more money and more power. Meanwhile, the average American is worse off. Every penny that is squandered on these serial hysterias must come – one way or another – from him. Not from Wall Street. Not from Washington. But from people who sweat and bus and toil… people who make things and satisfy customers. People in Georgia or Idaho. Each hysteria costs them wealth… and freedom.

And freedom too is not just an abstract principle. It is the ability to decide. Where to live, what to do, how to spend your money and how to live your life. Take the decisions away from the individual, and they do not disappear. Instead, they go to a new decider. Who? Yes, who. Here is the ‘who’ we were looking for. The western liberal elite. Instead of restraining and channeling the barbarous impulses of the wild masses, they gin up a new hysteria… and use it to transfer more money and more power to themselves.

The loss of freedom is hard to measure. The money is not. The top 1% has tripled its wealth in the last 20 years. No other group even comes close. The next richest-group – from 91% to 99% – doubled their wealth. And everybody else remains approximately flat. The elite gained, in other words; nobody else. Who are these people? What do they want? Are they really looking out for the rest of us… or just for themselves? Tune in Monday… we will name names."