“Here’s a Hubble Space Telescope composite photograph of two colliding galaxies in the constellation Corvus.
Each of the three books of Dante’s “Divine Comedy” ends with the same words: “the stars.” The Inferno concludes with distant stars glimpsed through the narrow exit of hell. “We emerged,” says the poet, “and saw the stars.” The poet’s journey through Purgatory ends on Earth’s highest mountain, with the heavens seemingly not so far away. He is “ready to ascend to the stars.” Finally, Dante looks down upon the stars from above, from the luminous realm of Paradise. He has experienced “the Love that moves the sun and the other stars.” The beauty of that final destination, the Empyrean Sphere that encloses the created universe in divine brilliance, taxes the poet’s powers of description:
“I saw light in the shape of a river
Flashing golden between two banks
Tinted in colors of marvelous spring.
Out of the stream came living sparks
Which settled on the flowers on every side
Like rubies ringed with gold…”
Nothing in Dante’s experience could have prepared him for the splendors of the heavens as revealed by the Hubble. The photograph of colliding galaxies in Corvus is a work of genius in the tradition of the “Divine Comedy” – imagination in service to humankind’s loftiest aspirations and longings.
In Dante’s time, astronomy was one of the seven liberal arts – with grammar, rhetoric, logic, arithmetic, geometry, and music – required of every student who aspired to a university degree. Of all the secular sciences, astronomy was deemed most likely to lead one to the contemplation of things divine. Yesterday’s Hubble pic made the hair stand up on the back of my neck, which is about as close to the divine as I ever get. Dante’s “Divine Comedy” is based on the medieval astronomical conception of the world – a system of concentric spheres centered on the Earth and bounded just up there by the Empyrean.
In the Hubble photograph of colliding galaxies we see something akin to Dante’s paradisal vision, but it is not a cosmos centered on the Earth. Here are other Suns and other Earths being born, in prodigious numbers, massive stars destined to die soon as supernovas, and other less massive stars that will live long lives, perhaps evolving life or consciousness on their planets. We see in the Hubble photograph a universe of a fullness and dimension that makes Dante’s human-centered cosmos of concentric spheres seem like a dust mote in an immense cathedral.
Astronomy is no longer a required course of study in our universities, and it’s something of a shame. Who can look at the photograph of colliding galaxies and not be moved to rapture? An understanding of the size, age, and prodigality of the universe should be part of every liberal arts graduate’s intellectual furniture.”
“A Chinese proverb: A bird does not sing because it has an answer. It sings because it has a song. Which might be an acceptable epigraph for this blog. I can’t imagine anyone coming here looking for answers. Certainly, providing answers is the last thing on my mind. I would like to think you come for song.
We are, I think, by and large, a community who distrusts answers, at least answers that are vehemently held. We are made uncomfortable by stridency. By dogma. By the desire to proselytize. We wear our truths lightly, gaily, as a song bird wears its feathers. We are grateful to those who push back the clouds of ignorance and hold the reins of passion. With Blake, we sing their praises, a song we have spent a lifetime learning. We sing to celebrate. We sing because we have a song.”
"In these downbeat times, we need as much hope and courage as we do vision and analysis; we must accent the best of each other even as we point out the vicious effects of our racial divide and pernicious consequences of our maldistribution of wealth and power. We simply cannot live in the twenty-first century at each others throats, even as we acknowledge the weighty forces of racism, patriarchy, economic inequality, homophobia, and ecological abuse on our necks. We are at a crucial crossroad in the history of this nation - and we either hang together by combating these forces that divide and degrade us or we hang separately. Do we have the intelligence, humor, imagination, courage, tolerance, love, respect, and will to meet the challenge? Time will tell. None of us alone can save the nation or world. But each of us can make a positive difference if we commit ourselves to do so."
"Stocking Up At Kroger! Great Deals, And Coupons!"
"In today's vlog we are at Kroger Marketplace finding some great deals, and coupons we will share with you. We are here to check out skyrocketing prices, and some food shortages! It's getting rough out here as stores seem to be struggling with getting products!"
But what is a proxy war, really? It means that Russian troops are fighting Ukrainian soldiers that are intermingled with western “advisors” and most likely US and European special forces, not to mention US intelligence operatives utilizing all the information gathering technology at the disposal of the Department of Defense. In other words, Russian soldiers are being killed by Western assets. Some pro-Ukraine people might ask why this is a problem?
To understand the gravity of this situation we have to first examine the historical significance. The closest event in history that I could approximate Ukraine to is Vietnam, when communist elements within the country were receiving constant aid, weaponry and even some troops from China, along with monetary and technological aid from the Soviet Union. Vietnam was essentially a “safe” arena or cage match between the West and Communism; a place where the paradigm players could fight it out without risk of a larger nuclear exchange. The globalists could sit back, relax and watch the show while Americans sacrificed their lives over a conflict that did not need to exist.
Ukraine is similar, but the stakes this time are much higher. This is probably why the mainstream media and the White House have been in full denial that Ukraine is a proxy war at all, and have consistently downplayed the complex involvement of Western military assets. The fact is that Ukraine would have fallen completely by now had it not been for the fact that Russia is not really facing Ukraine; it is facing a proxy force of US and European support elements feeding intel, weaponry and likely direct kinetic support.
In my article ‘Ukraine Learns The Value Of An Armed Citizenry, But Far Too Late,’ published on March 2nd, I noted that the Ukrainian “militia” programs being instituted at the last minute while Russia troops swiftly marched across the Donbass were a side show. The media was acting as if citizens with no more than a couple of weeks of training were going to make some kind of difference in the war; this was nonsense. In my view, the insurgency narrative was meant as cover for well trained Western assets already in place with advanced anti-tank and anti-aircraft technology. As I stated in that article:
“Today, as Russia invades, the Ukrainians don’t even have basic [defense] measures in place. Their ability to hold off the Russians at all is predicated on American missile systems like the Javelin which are being steadily funneled into the Ukrainian military. Also, the methods which Ukrainian forces are using to ambush Russian armor columns are rather advanced and familiar. I suspect the possibility that there are outside military “advisers” (perhaps US advisers) on the ground right now in Ukraine. The advanced guerrilla-style ambush tactics and the results look similar to training that is often given to Green Berets or SAS. the UK did send anti-tank weapons along with a small group of “trainers” to Ukraine in January. Maybe I am mistaken, but if this is the case it would be diplomatically disastrous if such adviser teams were ever discovered to be involved in the fighting…”
Not long after I wrote this, a stream of information leaks revealed that US and EU military involvement was far deeper than I had expected. French journalist and Le Figaro senior international correspondent Georges Malbrunot came back from Ukraine with revelations that Americans are “directly in charge” of the war on the ground. He added that he and the volunteers he was with “almost got arrested” by the officials and that they were forced to sign a contract “until the end of the war” which denied then the right to tell the public about the circumstances they witnessed.
Citing a French intelligence source, Malbrunot also tweeted that British SAS units “have been present in Ukraine since the beginning of the war, as were the American Deltas.” This was obvious from the advanced tactics being used by “Ukrainian” forces to stall the Russian advance, but the first hand accounts confirm the problem is real. The New York Times and other media outlets have been publishing rare admissions of US involvement in intelligence sharing with Ukrainians which have led directly to the deaths of multiple Russian generals as well as the destruction of major assets such as troop transport planes and the Russian flagship Moskva.
In the meantime, Pentagon officials and Joe Biden have incessantly denied that Ukraine is a “proxy war.” If it’s not a proxy war, then I don’t know what is. Without US, UK and EU involvement, there is NO WAR. It would already be over and Ukraine would have surrendered weeks ago.
People can argue whether or not this is a good thing or a bad thing. As I have mentioned in multiple articles, I have no feelings either way because the entire event appears to be a distraction from the much more important threat of global economic decline and the inflationary crisis. The thing to remember here is that this is indeed a proxy war and that the very presence of American and European military assets on the ground in Ukraine could be used as a rationale by Russia to expand their operations far beyond the Donbass region.
Not only that, but it also justifies wider tactics that directly target the US and Europe. For example, a proxy war allows Russia to reasonably argue in favor of completely cutting off the EU from oil and natural gas resources, which Europe relies on for around 40% of its energy needs. It justifies Russian economic strategies including alliances with China to cut out the US dollar as the world reserve currency. And, I continue to expect cyberwarfare attacks sometime this year as a result of the Ukraine situation. At the very least, such attacks will be blamed on Russia and China whether or not they are actually responsible.
Does the presence of US and European troops in Ukraine mean a global nuclear war is imminent? It's unlikely. Just as Vietnam did not lead to a nuclear war between Russia, China and the US despite the NVC receiving steady supplies and training from Soviet and Chinese forces, there is minimal chance that global nuclear war will erupt from the Ukraine. Mutual destruction does not serve the interests of the globalists, at least not if they hope to predict the outcome in the slightest.
That said, I would not be surprised to see at least one mushroom cloud somewhere in the world this decade within a regional conflict. Also, world war does not have to become nuclear to be disastrous. Sadly, because of Hollywood movies a large number of people have misguided notions of what World War III might actually look like. Entertainment media always depict WWIII as happening in a flash, an instant in which missiles are launched and a broken civilization of survivors is left to pick up the pieces. What they never show is a long grinding war of financial attrition, supply chain disruptions, cyber attacks, and drawn out regional battles in which Americans are shipped overseas to die for no purpose other than to pretend that these territorial disputes are somehow “our responsibility.”
What I see in Ukraine is the beginnings of a war unlike any other; a war in which the weapons are primarily indirect and financial rather than kinetic. Because of global interdependency in trade many Western nations have been left utterly defenseless in this kind of conflict. We don’t have the ability to fight back because our economic systems are built around a model that demands we abandon domestic production and rely on the resources and industry of other nations.
This is never more true than in our relationship with China, which controls around 20% of all export goods into the US. China has closely allied with Russia. This is not going to change because they know that there is nothing the West can do about it; there is far too much economic leverage involved. Furthermore, the events in Ukraine are probably a precursor to China’s own invasion of Taiwan. If this is the plan, then China would have to wait for optimal weather conditions after the monsoon season, sometime in September. This would start with missile bombardment and infrastructure attacks, followed by an amphibious assault sometime in early October.
The proxy war in Ukraine is a key moment in history going forward (along with the potential invasion of Taiwan), because it offers global power interests with dreams of a “Great Reset” the ability to offload the worldwide economic crisis they created years ago onto the “tides of fate.” They can say that the collapse only happened because of the hubris of sovereign nations and “meaningless borders.” If the US and Europe are directly involved in the killing of Russian troops, and this is widely exposed, then the Russian side of the narrative become clarified and the Western side becomes muddled. Direct Russian retribution becomes logical and rational rather than the crazed reaction of a nation led by a madman as the mainstream media claims.
Both sides of the Kabuki theater have to feel as though they are justified in escalating a small war into a world war. That is how this has always worked. When the working class population gets a little too unruly and the threat of rebellion against the establishment is at hand, the elites start a war. It’s like clockwork. This tactic weakens the general population, wears down the number of fighting age men that might have otherwise presented a threat to the ruling class and creates enough fear and panic to convince the public to trade away more of their freedoms.
The wild card right now is the US and European populations, and to some extent the Russian citizenry, and how they respond. The old joke is “What if they held a war and nobody showed up to fight?” This is a potential reality right now as it is in the hands of the public how far the Ukraine issue goes. Are most Americans and Europeans willing to send their sons and in some cases daughters to fight and die over the Donbass? Are Russian citizens willing to fight and die beyond the borders of Ukraine?
A lot of people are engaging in big talk lately, but is this really the hill they are ready to die on? I think not. Why? Because deep down most people know that this war is a farce, a play on the global chess board by elitists with nefarious aspirations. They know that the reasons for the war are not pure, on either side. They virtue signal in favor of Ukraine, but they will never be willing to go and risk their lives for Ukrainian soil. Nor are they willing to risk a family member’s life for Ukraine.
I suspect that the globalists know this by now, as the narrative has been shifting away from trying to convince Americans that open military involvement is needed. They will switch to the economic side of the conflict in the hopes that fiscal disaster will fog the minds of the public and make them more willing to support wider war tomorrow."
"Decades ago, when a toddler tripped the exclamation was: “Faw down, go boom”. In the markets it’s the opposite as the mania runs until reckless speculators exhaust themselves. The boom completes, then most asset prices “faw down”, taking participants through an emotional whipsaw from euphoria to dismay. Worse, the hit initiates a recession and over the centuries – the bigger the boom the bigger the bust.
Encompassing stocks, bonds, commodities and real estate this has been the biggest bubble in history. With considerable fascination, it has been accompanied by the equivalent “boom” in radical politics determined to trash democracies from freedom and prosperity to servitude and poverty.
Why ruin people’s lives? A recurring tragedy that can be observed but never explained. Why do it? America’s Constitution was designed to ensure freedom for the individual by limiting and separating state powers. But today’s globalists are determined to corrupt every country into a one-party state. According to the WEF, “You will own nothing and be happy”.
The Davos School of Marxism’s “Great Reset”: Beginning in the early 1900s, authoritarians ran under the labels of International Socialism or National Socialism. Both experiments being destructive failed, but under “Progress” control freaks promoted “Global Warming” and “COVID” as mesmerizing banners.
Ironically the movement, as fronted by Democrats and their media, hates ordinary life and seems compelled to destroy it. As it is turning out, masks and “jabs” as well as the contrived “CO2 On-Off Switch” have enabled control freaks to, well, impose control. The lockdowns and propaganda are without precedent. As discouraging as things are now, a recession will exacerbate political tensions.
The unrelenting drumbeat of in-your-face and in-your wallet bureaucratic intrusion became “too much”, inspiring popular uprisings in a growing number of countries. These are not the riots that were allowed to trash cities in America. These are not the riots to defund the police, nor to unconstitutionally remove elections from state assemblies to federal fascists. These are not riots about gender identities being forced upon kids down to kindergarten and not the riots blatantly pushing “racism”: the universal condemnation. If you criticize “Global Warming” you are “Racist!” Same for trying to teach higher as well as basic mathematics. In a world where 2 + 2 is declared as 5, differing opinion is cancelled as “Racist”.
Regrettably even in America and Canada, the dominating movement has been authoritarian, and history records that the transition to totalitarian occurs when the governing classes grant themselves the privilege of state murder. Understandably, this is needed by brutal policymakers to impose unpopular dictates.
Polling is no longer used to form a campaign platform. If America’s Democrats or Canada’s Liberals were to run on popular policies, it would put political power back into the hands of the electorate. An elegant description of fascism fits today’s politics: “The combination of big government and big business”
Verboten! It is simple – popular policies would restore government for and by the people. And then there has been the tragedy of fascism, whereby small businesses were shut down as big businesses remained open. The SBA points out that 99.9% of businesses in the US are “small”, employing some 48% of the work force.
Inflation has been deliberate central bank policy and as usual forcing hardship upon nearly everyone. With those lower down the ladder suffering the most as too many government employees enjoy generous retirement benefits. As young adults move into Mom and Dad’s basement.
Economic and political comforts will deteriorate as the recession becomes more evident, but history provides hope that involves unrelenting ambition and inflation. Political ambition drives the inflation that in turn drives financial markets “too the moon” and then with speculative exhaustion both the markets and the economy collapse. The more radical the politics, the more radical the inflation, which drives radical speculation. Until both crash
All one needs to do is Google “Third Century Rome” and up comes: “Crisis of the Third Century”. That with further research records that what has been happening now is like the political forces that collapsed the magnificence of Rome. A mania of bureaucratic greed and wars – upon countries as well as upon Roman citizens. Ordinary folk fled the “Eternal City” shrinking the population from around 800,000 to 80,000. Without law and order, free grain and bread, it became unlivable. Barbaric bureaucrats caused the collapse, not the two “barbarian” tribes that sacked the city in 410 and 455, amounting to 17 days – altogether.
The next politically dreadful century prevailed through the 1500s, when massive amounts of gold and silver from the New World were inadequate to fund control freaks. So, with taxation at confiscatory levels governments resorted to radical inflation to fund radical expansions of the bureaucracy. With their chronic wars upon countries and their own citizens even the Church was corrupted to a murderous police state.
Communism in Eastern Europe, Progressivism in the West: But unrelenting and costly intrusion became “too much”, inspiring a great reformation, best followed in England. London grew as a financial center as a prosperous middle class also expanded – and disquieting to authoritarians – had become independent in means and opinion. Using the infamous Star Chamber, the state banned publications that were not politically correct (offenders were fined and their faces branded). Instead, determined reformers had their material published in Holland, a traditionally free country, finding a way around the attempted monopoly on information.
Absurdly, Biden’s “Disinformation Governance Board” is nothing new, recording an approval poll at 6 percent. This as well as Trudeau’s equivalent are provocative mistakes that are widely inspiring the reform movement. Representing Big Tech control freaks, Twitter is being reformed and alternative forums for uncensored information and opinion are rapidly developing.
Our regrettable Tyrannical Century began in the early 1900s, with compelling banners – Communism in Eastern Europe, Progressivism in the West. However, the authoritarian experiment has run for more than a hundred years, which with the two prior examples is enough to climax the mania in radical political and financial markets. In the early 1600s, veteran London merchants scorned enforced nonsense as “Tyrannical Duncery”, which today is clearly rampant in the swamps of DC and Ottawa.
"30 Signs That China Is Absolutely Destroying America"
by Epic Economist
"China is rapidly overthrowing America on the global economic stage. Since the global financial crisis, the U.S. economy has decayed and declined while the Chinese economy has skyrocketed, recording what some define as "miracle economic growth" year after year. The eastern superpower has established itself as the key trading partner of most countries in the world. It has now a leading position in global supply chains. It produces more commodities and automobiles, and it exports more tech than the United States. It sends way more goods to America every year than America exports goods to China. In fact, our trade deficit with China has become the largest trade deficit that one nation has had with another nation in the history of the world.
On top of all that, China has now accumulated more than 1 trillion dollars of U.S. national debt in its reserves. We have been shipping high-tech jobs overseas at a blistering pace. Every single year, we lose more jobs, more businesses, and more of our national wealth to China. In America, a great disconnect between corporate earnings and worker wages has taken place over the past five decades. Just because big corporations in the U.S. are reporting record profits, that does not mean that they are going to provide good jobs for workers in the U.S.
Ever since China joined the World Trade Organization, it has become way too easy for big corporations to ship jobs to Chinese markets, where it is perfectly legal to pay workers extremely low wages. At the same time, as the number of manufacturing jobs declines in America, so does the middle-class. This also means that the number of Americans dependent on the government has been steadily increasing.
Unless systemic changes happen, the U.S. will be left with chronic structural underemployment and unemployment problems for decades to come. To make things worse, there are many pieces of evidence suggesting that the U.S. economy is about to experience another downturn. And the coming recession may be the leverage China needs to finally overthrow America on the global economic stage. In short, China is beating the living daylights out of us, and if we want to preserve our status of world's wealthiest country, we must start stepping up our game right now.
In other words, if the global economy was a game, America would be losing very badly and China would have all the momentum. If you do not believe that China is wiping the floor with America in front of the rest of the world, keep tuned with us to discover some mind-blowing stats about the rise of the Chinese economy and the downfall of the U.S. economy in the global market."
"The year began with promises that the bad times would end soon. Inflation would subside. Financial markets would calm down and start rising again. Supply chains would be fixing themselves. Markets would normalize, just wait and see. Now we are headed to the summer of our discontent.
Headline writers have begun competing with each other for just how dreary they can be. The Wall Street Journal this week went all out, predicting a “lost decade” for financials. But the message was even broader: it will take another 8-10 years to straighten all this out. I might add: if it ever gets straightened out.
The trouble is that the people in power now seem to have no clue about the source of the problem or the fix. The ignorance is truly astonishing. It would appear that several decades of miseducation in every field (from economics to history to biological science) have taken their toll. The miseducated youth eventually got jobs and rose up the ranks to be in charge. Now we have utterly blind leadership in every sector.
Always More Force: A good example was on display this week with the great baby formula fiasco. Shortages had been growing for months but they became ever more intense. The administration ignored the problem for as long as possible. But the online cry from new moms became absolutely deafening. Finally, the government decided to act: by invoking the Defense Production Act. It’s a dangerous tool because it essentially takes control of private industry.
And yet, a hundred years of central planning should have taught us that you cannot make products and services magically appear merely by waving around an edict. Plus, there is a vast regulatory thicket governing baby formula.
The FDA has to approve and monitor its production in the name of safety. They don’t do this for any other food or drink sold at the store but because this involved babies, the FDA presumes it to be their purview. With that of course comes corruption. The FDA has approved only three large companies to make it, and the program called WIC further distorts the market because it too massively subsidizes the cartel. So when one producer, Abbott, became concerned about one of its plants, it used the cautionary principle and shut it down. The FDA took its own sweet time to reauthorize the opening.
I’ll stop with the details here: suffice it to say that this was a massive disaster in the making.
Want in the Land of Plenty: So here we are in the land of plenty and suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere, the babies can’t get food! Cross the border to Mexico and the shelves are full of product. Same anywhere in the world. This is a U.S. problem, owing to our disastrous deep state. So what does Biden do? He invokes the worst-ever Cold War emergency law, to mandate that planes fly formula into the U.S. from abroad, but that too faced a problem because laws and regulations strictly control these imports. So the administration is working to liberalize that too. Trouble is that none of this will happen in time. The fix is likely months away.
The very clear answer here would be to simply free the market. Let all kinds of producers jump in right away, with the full knowledge that this is not rocket science. Another option would be to allow imports of all kinds immediately. Even without any edicts, and enough of a profit opportunity, the market would be cleared in a matter of days. But no! For these people the answer is always and everything the same: more force!
The Poor Fed: All financials are now under intense pressure. By now, the usual response by the Fed would be to support the markets. But look at where we are: the Fed is babbling on and on about how they are dedicated to crushing inflation by reducing their balance sheet. So you have a stated policy at war with a long-practiced policy. How will this be resolved? If anyone expects bravery from the Fed at this point, they haven't been paying attention.
We can fully expect some sporadic interventions day to day from the Fed with various attempts to protect against plunges, in the hope of walking down the highs more gradually than the market wants to go. This is because the Fed truly does fear contagion.
Meanwhile, inflation is running loose as never before. Gas price pressures are rising. It is now running $5..50 in parts of Massachusetts, for example. Food prices have started to rise again. Rents are way up. Meanwhile, defaults in cars and housing loans are already starting to make an appearance. What a world: load defaults amid inflation and falling financials! No one is prepared for what this reality could mean for American life.
And what is the administration’s answer? Publicly, it is nothing but prattle about making the rich pay their fair share. The new White House spokesperson stumbled very badly on this point. She tried three times but failed to explain how raising taxes fixes inflation. Meanwhile, the more radical voices in the party have already started pushing price controls in the form of anti-gouging legislation, exactly as I predicted last fall. This is absolutely certain to happen: no strict and legislated prices (not yet) but just threats not to raise too many prices, too fast!
No History, No Future: This week I wrote about the tragedy that people cannot learn from history. Check this weird and not-at-all unexpected news from the WSJ yesterday morning: "Consumers with low credit scores are falling behind on payments for car loans, personal loans and credit cards, a sign that the healthiest consumer lending environment on record in the U.S. is coming to an end. The share of subprime credit cards and personal loans that are at least 60 days late is rising faster than normal… Delinquencies on subprime car loans and leases hit an all-time high in February."
Will cars be the new version of housing in 2008, a trigger that causes financial disruption in all lending markets? Maybe, but housing is not off the hook either. Commentators today are utterly mystified how slowing sales can coincide with continual rising prices. Gosh, no one can explain this, hahaha! What sector will be hit next with the brutal effects of the great bust? If we really are talking about a lost decade, we have a very long way to go before this ends. And a lot of pain to endure."
"I strongly urge you to pick up "Forgotten Civilization; New Discoveries on the Solar Induced Dark Age," by Robert Schoch. Schoch: In "Forgotten Civilization" covers a lot of ground, including the very important issue of the cataclysm that ended the last ice age, approximately 12,000 B.P. (before the present). Schoch shows (to my satisfaction) that it was almost certainly a solar eruption that did in the ice age mega-fauna (and almost all of our ancestors), and not a comet. Schoch is almost certainly right. Read Schoch’s book if you’re interested in this. But be forewarned: Schoch doesn’t pull any punches about the coming cataclysm. He gives us multiple lines of evidence that mean it’s overdue."
Hueyatlaco is an archeological site in the Valsequillo Basin near the city of Puebla, Mexico. After excavations in the 1960s, the site became notorious due to geochronologists‘ analyses that indicated human habitation at Hueyatlaco was dated to ca. 250,000 years before the present (my emphasis).
These controversial findings are orders of magnitude older than the scientific consensus for habitation of the New World (which generally traces widespread human migration to the New World to 13,000 to 16,000 ybp). The findings at Hueyatlaco are the subject of continued debate by the scientific community, and have seen only occasional discussion in the literature." 
"This fantastic skyscape lies near the edge of NGC 2174 a star forming region about 6,400 light-years away in the nebula-rich constellation of Orion. It follows mountainous clouds of gas and dust carved by winds and radiation from the region's newborn stars, now found scattered in open star clusters embedded around the center of NGC 2174, off the top of the frame.
Though star formation continues within these dusty cosmic clouds they will likely be dispersed by the energetic newborn stars within a few million years. Recorded at infrared wavelengths by the Hubble Space Telescope in 2014, the interstellar scene spans about 6 light-years. Scheduled for launch in 2021, the James Webb Space Telescope is optimized for exploring the Universe at infrared wavelengths."
"Well, it is our fate to live in a time of crisis. To live in a time when all forms and values are being challenged. In other and more easy times, it was not, perhaps, necessary for the individual to confront himself with a clear question: What is it that you really believe? What is it that you really cherish? What is it for which you might, actually, in a showdown, be willing to die? I say, with all the reticence which such large, pathetic words evoke, that one cannot exist today as a person – one cannot exist in full consciousness – without having to have a showdown with one’s self, without having to define what it is that one lives by, without being clear in one’s mind what matters and what does not matter.”
"You’re not going to hear it from the western media or politicians, let alone NATO, but overnight the Ukraine war, or special operation, ended. And Russia won, on all fronts and on their own terms. There’ll be some more skirmishes, and a few more body bags, but not because the outcome of the war could still be changed. It’s done.
It’s funny to see how the nazi Azov “soldiers” that surrendered are now portrayed as heroic defenders of Ukraine, after hiding in a steel plant for 80 days, but they still lost. There are probably a few hundred left there, the ones who have most to fear from being captured, and all Russia has to do is to wait for them to come out. Or not.
The reason they went from nazis to heroes in no time at all in the western and Ukrainian press was that they were counted on to be the “real fighters” their country needed. Now that they’ve surrendered, without “fighting to the end”, the country, army and civilians alike, will see its morale plummet. Ukraine lost, Zelensky lost, and NATO lost. While at the same time, “our” press keeps on coming up with stories of Russian losses and weakness etc. And war crimes.
The only sensible thing left to do is to negotiate a peace in the conflict, in which Russia will see - most of - its demands (no nukes, no nazis, no NATO) granted. It’s either that or Zelensky will become guilty of the death and long drawn-out misery of many of his compatriots, without gaining an inch, and it’s hard to see him desiring that. Don’t be surprised if Zelensky surrenders soon as well, or leaves the country, claiming that Russia wants him dead and his escape was “heroic”.
There is one alternative: a full scale NATO attack on Russia, but that would seem far-fetched. Behind the western rhetoric there are too many minds who have read about the defeats of Napoleon and Hitler when they tried that, and who also don’t like the risk of one of Russia’s 6,000 nuclear warheads landing on their territory.
The saddest thing is that there was never any reason for this. You can paint off Putin as a crazy monster a million times, and the special action as completely unprovoked, but you would have to ignore all of Russia’s warnings over decades that this is an “existential” issue for their country. Which means they won’t back down. And everybody knew.
And besides, a lot of NATO countries’ governments have an idea what would become of them without Russian resources, fertilizer, crops, oil, gas etc. They’re willing to support NATO only up to a point, including sanctions. They don’t want to be responsible for cold and hunger for their people. If only because that would end the careers of many a politician.
It’ll take some time to fabricate the language that allows for such a defeat to be presented as a victory, but Spin Doctors “R” Us. And all of the people who’ve displayed Ukrainian flags wherever they could will need to find a narrative to defend that as well, but time heals many wounds, also the imaginary ones.
And yes, all this changes the face of the world enormously. The US, and through it NATO, is officially no longer the unipolar ruler of the world. They will have to share that limelight with Russia, China, India and others (Brussels has sidelined itself). That may be bad news for whoever is in power in US/NATO, but for citizens it’s a different story. They have nothing to fear from Russia’s military, but a lot from missing out on Russian resources.
In short: the war is over. The US will try to send over another $40 billion in “aid” -at least half of it weapons-, but there’ll be nobody left to handle the small fraction that is not destroyed by Russia. And just like the Russians can simply wait for the last Azov troops to leave the steel compound, they can also sit back and track any NATO weapons deliveries, and then take them out. It is really over. Unless we go all out Napoleon. I don’t think we will.
Meanwhile, we should all be happy that the war is over. Well, are we?"
"Now we’re hearing from the CEO of Wells Fargo bank to tell us that we need to get ready for something that will be worse than a recession. Entire industries will be wiped out and retail is suffering knockout punches on a daily basis."
"If you thought that the economic news was crazy during the first half of 2022, just wait until we get to the second half. So many of the problems that we are experiencing now are going to continue to intensify, and Americans are becoming more pessimistic about economic conditions with each passing day. In fact, as you will see below, a whopping 85 percent of us believe that it is “very likely” or “somewhat likely” that the economy will go through a recession at some point during the next year. Of course the truth is that if all we have to suffer through is a “recession”, we would be extremely fortunate. Our leaders have lost control of the economy, and many of us are extremely concerned about what is coming next. The following are 12 nightmarish economic trends that we should expect to see during the second half of 2022…
#1 Gas prices will continue to surge higher, and many Americans will be shocked by how high they eventually go. If you can believe it, in Washington State at least one gas station has now reprogrammed their gas pumps “to make room for double-digit pricing”… At the 76 Gas Station in Auburn, Washington located at 1725 Auburn Way North, gas pumps have been reprogrammed to make room for double-digit pricing. In March, they still had single-digit programming.
A spokesperson at 76 confirmed to The Post Millennial that the gas pumps were reprogrammed to allocate for double-digit pricing. Although not confirming that they are expecting prices to increase up to $10.00 or more, the current trend suggests the possibility. Supplies of fuel will continue to get even tighter in the months ahead. Earlier today, I heard from a reader on the east coast and a reader in the middle of the country that both said that diesel is now being rationed where they live. So far, I have not been able to confirm that this is happening on a widespread basis.
#2 We are being warned that there could be extended blackouts in some parts of the nation during the summer months. It is being reported that the middle of the country is particularly at risk…"About 100 million Americans face power blackouts this summer as roasting weather, overstretched powerplants and unreliable green energy sources combine to create a perfect storm of problems. States stretching from the Great Lakes to the Pacific Ocean which are home to tens of millions of Americans could have a hard time producing enough power for their residents this summer. The ‘MISO’ part of America’s power grid – whose full name is the Midcontinent Independent System Operator is at greatest risk of a large-scale outage."
#3 Everyone pretty much agrees that food prices will continue to rise. Of course they have already reached levels that are absolutely insane…"Take the case of Jeff Good, who co-founded three restaurants in Jackson, Mississippi. Around 18 months ago, a 40-pound box of chicken wings cost him about $85. Now, it can go as high as roughly $150. Expenses for cooking oil and flour have nearly doubled in the past five months, he said. But it’s not just ingredient prices going up. He’s paying more for labor and services, too. Even the company that maintains his air conditioners has tacked on a $40 fuel charge per visit. To cope, he’s raised menu prices.
A 15-piece order of chicken wings, a signature dish at his Sal and Mookie’s pizzeria, went for $13.95 before Covid hit. Now, wing costs can vary so much they’re labeled at “market price,” like some restaurants do with lobster. At peaks, the menu price can be be about $27.95 - but that represents a barely-there margin - and Good estimates the “real cost” is closer to about $34. He’s trying to decide whether to keep raising prices or take wings off the menu. I don’t know about you, but I don’t ever see myself paying 34 dollars for an order of chicken wings.
#4 As our supply chains endure even more stress, shortages will continue to intensify. The extreme baby formula shortage that we are witnessing right now is just a preview of coming attractions…"Two children in Memphis have been hospitalized after needing IV fluids and nutritional support due to the baby formula shortage. The preschooler and toddler, both from different families, were rushed to Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital after their parents failed to secure formula as shelves across America go bare."
#5 The UN is telling us that we are heading into the worst global food crisis since World War II. In some parts of Africa, the number of people suffering from “extreme hunger” has already more than doubled…"More than 23 million people are experiencing extreme hunger in Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya, according to a new report by Oxfam and Save the Children. That’s up from over 10 million last year. The region’s worst drought in 40 years is being exacerbated by conflict and the pandemic. And the war in Ukraine has sent food prices soaring to record levels."
#6 Widespread hunger will almost certainly lead to more civil unrest. Recent events in Sri Lanka give us an indication of what may be coming…"Protesters in Sri Lanka have burned down homes belonging to 38 politicians as the crisis-hit country plunged further into chaos, with the government ordering troops to “shoot on sight.” Police in the island nation said Tuesday that in addition to the destroyed homes, 75 others have been damaged as angry Sri Lankans continue to defy a nationwide curfew to protest against what they say is the government’s mishandling of the country’s worst economic crisis since 1948."
#7 The Federal Reserve is likely to continue to aggressively raise interest rates. In fact, Fed Chair Jerome Powell is openly admitting that his institution’s battle against inflation could cause “some pain” in the months ahead…"Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell warned Tuesday the U.S. could feel “some pain” as the central bank raises interest rates to fight inflation, insisting the Fed would do whatever it takes to curb price growth. During a live interview for The Wall Street Journal’s “Future of Everything” summit, Powell said the Fed will continue to raise interest rates until inflation starts to fall and the forces driving prices higher fade, even at the risk of a deeper economic slowdown."
#8 Higher interest rates will be devastating for the housing market in the United States. And that is very troubling news, because home sales have already fallen for three months in a row…"Home sales fell for the third consecutive month in April as rising mortgage rates and affordability challenges pushed many would-be home buyers out of the market."
#9 Defaults are likely to continue to rise higher. Just like we saw right before the last financial crisis, defaults on subprime loans are really starting to surge…"Consumers with low credit scores are falling behind on payments for car loans, personal loans and credit cards, a sign that the healthiest consumer lending environment on record in the U.S. is coming to an end.
The share of subprime credit cards and personal loans that are at least 60 days late is rising faster than normal, according to credit-reporting firm Equifax. In March, those delinquencies rose month over month for the eighth time in a row, nearing their prepandemic levels. Delinquencies on subprime car loans and leases hit an all-time high in February, based on Equifax’s tracking that goes back to 2007."
#10 As the economy slows down, we should expect layoffs to increase and jobless claims will eventually start to spike. In fact, we just learned that they have now hit a four month high.
#12 Many are warning that a recession is either already here or will arrive soon. And Americans are increasingly becoming more pessimistic about the economy. One survey that was recently conducted found that 85 percent of Americans believe that it is “very likely” or “somewhat likely” that there will be a recession at some point in the next year…"An overwhelming majority of Americans are expecting there to be a recession within the next year, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday. The poll found that 85 percent of Americans think it is likely for the country to go through an economic recession in the next year. Of those who responded, 45 percent said it is “very likely,” and 40 percent said “somewhat likely” for a recession."
The sort of historic economic meltdown that I have been warning about for years is rapidly approaching, and the mood of the nation will dramatically shift as conditions greatly deteriorate. Already, we are starting to see a tremendous amount of anger out there. Earlier today, I came across the following post on a very popular Internet discussion forum…
"Just want to vent. I am from middle Missouri, I am a single mom of 2 teens. My day job pays well and pays the bills well, a year ago my income would support us, bills, food, gas etc. i now have to work a second job just to feed us and put gas in my car. Eggs here went from .99 a carton to 1.99, ground beef went from 2.89 a pound to 4.99, and it goes on and on. Gas went from 1.90 to 4.29 a gallon. I am out of my mind scared it will only get worse. I have democrat friends that say “that’s how the economy works”. No it’s because Biden was giving out “covid” bucks to non working people taking advantage of the system, giving our money to Ukraine, shutting down gas lines in the US etc."
I can understand her anger. Most Americans are working as hard as they can, but our standard of living is being systematically destroyed by the very foolish policies of our leaders. Unfortunately, we are still only in the very early chapters of this crisis. It looks like the second half of this year will be even more challenging than the first half, and that is going to have enormous implications for all of us."
"What is about money that makes people do bad things? It seems a fair question when the news is dominated by misdeeds of the rich and powerful. "To researchers who study wealth and power, it's dismaying but not surprising, because it tracks so closely with our findings. The effect of power is sadly one of the most reliable laws of human behavior," said Dacher Keltner, a psychologist at the University of California at Berkeley who has spent decades studying wealth, power and privilege.
Six years ago, Keltner and a then-graduate student in his lab, Paul Piff, published influential innovative experiments that confirmed many of our worst assumptions about the rich and the corrupting power of wealth.
In one experiment, the researchers stationed themselves at a busy intersection with four-way stop signs and tracked the model of every car whose driver cut off others instead of waiting their turn. People driving expensive cars - like a brand-new Mercedes - were four times more likely to ignore right-of-way laws than those in cheap cars like an old beat-up Honda. "It told us that there's something about wealth and privilege that makes you feel like you're above the law, that allows you to treat others like they don't exist," Keltner said.
Next, they had a researcher play a pedestrian trying to cross at a crosswalk and tracked which cars stopped as the law requires and which blew right past him. The results were even more stark. Every one of the cheapest cars stopped, while half of the expensive cars ignored the pedestrian in the crosswalk - many even after making eye contact.
There have been warnings throughout the ages about the corrupting effects of wealth and power. Buddha, for example, gave up the rich life of a prince for enlightenment. Jesus warned his disciples a camel would have an easier time squeezing through the eye of a needle than a rich man trying to get into God's kingdom. Rapper Biggie Smalls reached a similar conclusion before his untimely death: "Mo money, Mo problems."
In one of the more surprising findings from their 2015 paper, Keltner and Piff found the rich are more likely to literally take candy from children. In that experiment, they first asked 129 subjects to compare their finances with people who had either more or less money. Then they gave their subjects a jar of candy and told them the sweets were intended for children in a nearby lab but they could take some if they wanted. Those who felt richer after comparing their finances to poorer people took significantly more candy for themselves.
The findings build on similar research in recent years that suggests wealth and power strip people of their inhibitions, increase risk taking and feelings of entitlement and invulnerability. At the same time, power makes people less empathetic and able to see others' perspectives.
"Wealth is basically a mechanism for power, and power has a freeing effect on people. It takes away the constraints of society and frees people to act according to their dominant desires," said Adam Galinsky of Columbia Business School, whose experiments have explored how power often propels people's actions.
In some cases, those desires may be altruistic or helpful to society, so power heightens those goals and can give rise to effective philanthropists. Often, however, power leads to self-serving behaviors unrestrained by the usual concerns over rules or the consequences for others.
Because much of the psychological research into wealth and power is relatively new, many of the findings are still being tested and need to be confirmed by replication, researchers say. "I wouldn't say these questions are settled. There are disagreements about the exact effect of wealth and ethics and how large the effect is," said Michael Kraus, a social psychologist at Yale's School of Management.
But the research has never seen such booming interest and momentum - with growing inequality in America. "There's a lot of reasons we should care about the ethics of wealthy people," Kraus said. "Even if research found that they were no more unethical as anyone else, their influence on the world is so much greater. If someone like me steals something, it only affects only a handful of people. But if someone like them steals or lies or cheats, it affects so many more people. There are foreign governments and banks involved. You start getting into that area where it can affect the whole country and the course of democracy."
left behind by their dear leaders' best laid plans...
by Bill Bonner
"Let's drink to the hard working people,
Let's drink to the lowly of birth.
Raise your glass to the good and the evil,
Let's drink to the salt of the earth
Say a prayer for the common foot soldier,
Spare a thought for his back breaking work.
Say a prayer for his wife and his children
Who burn the fires and who still till the earth."
~ "Salt of the Earth" by the Rolling Stones
Youghal, Ireland - "Oh my… Today, we say a prayer for the hard working people… the factory girls and long-haul truckers… They’re going to need it.
Fox News: "The national average cost of a regular gallon of gasoline hit $4.589 early Thursday morning. This price topped Wednesday's previous record of $4.567, which had beat Tuesday's record of $4.523, which in turn had beat Monday's record of $4.470."
And here’s CBS News, looking ahead: "California drivers are grappling with the most expensive gas in the nation, shelling out an average $6.06 per gallon as of Thursday. That could soon be the fate of drivers in the rest of the nation, according to a JPMorgan analyst, who predicts the national average per gallon price could reach $6.20 this summer."
Rising house prices (thanks to the Fed’s ultra-low interest rates) forced middle- and lower- income workers to move further and further away from their work. Now, they may commute 40 miles or more just to get to the job. That’s about 2 gallons of gas… or about $12 worth. One way. At an average blue-collar wage, commuting alone costs over 10% of income. “Too bad…” say the elite. “But this will encourage them to use less fossil fuel. They should buy electric cars.” If that weren’t galling enough, there are early signs that the two legs of middle class prosperity – housing and jobs – are beginning to buckle.
Unsteady She Goes: First, the labor market may be rolling over. The New York Post: "The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits unexpectedly rose last week, reaching a four month-high and potentially hinting at some cooling in demand for workers amid tightening financial conditions."
Second, house prices are rising at a double-digit annual rate. But with mortgage rates edging up, who can afford to buy them? CNBC: 'Home sales drop 18% in April' "The April drop in closings is the largest one-month decline since July 2010, when the homebuyer tax credit, a federal stimulus resulting from the subprime mortgage crash, expired. The average new house in the US now sells for $523,000. That’s up from $400,000 in January of last year. Interest rates are also up – by nearly 3%. If the entire amount were financed, that would mean a monthly mortgage payment about $1,500 higher."
So, yesterday we were wondering… How come… with so many problems here in the USA – stocks crashing… consumer prices rising by double digits… the baby formula crisis… and people killing shoppers in retail establishments or robbing them on the streets… our leaders go to a foreign country, give the folks there $40 billion, and promise undying support for their war with Russia? “You do the dying,” they say… “we’ll just send you our taxpayers’ money.” McConnell, Pelosi, Yellen... et al – from both wings of the Deep, Deep State… Republican and Democrat – are supposed to represent ‘the people.’ And yet… where’s the love?
We turn to Newsweek Magazine: “The Divide Isn’t Right v. Left; It’s Us Blue Collar Workers Fighting Elite Contempt”. "Charles Stallworth thinks the real divide is not a matter of Republican vs. Democrat or Black vs. White. It’s a matter of ‘class.’ He says the people who do the real work – butchers, carpenters, truck drivers – don’t get any respect. In the Covid panic, for example, the elite kept drawing their paychecks – working remotely – while the factories and workshops were shut down. The only working class people with jobs were the ones who delivered Door Dash food and Amazon packages to white collar homes."
Rules for Thee: And now that the Covid Panic has faded, the class divide is more visible than ever. In restaurants, stores, banks – clerks and servers wear masks; customers don’t.
Salt-of-the-earth commoners pay taxes to support local schools… where their children are taught that their non-college educated parents are failures. The only route to success is via ‘higher education,’ the youngsters are told. They are assured that if they go to college they will not only do more meaningful work – saving the planet! – they will also earn more money.
And now, the Biden Administration wants to cancel student debt. Who benefits? The fellows waiting tables, driving trucks or swinging hammers? Or the college graduates who waited tables and paid their own way through school? Un un. Bloomberg: "At least 30 senior White House staffers have student loan balances, according to 2021 financial disclosures Bloomberg News obtained from the Office of Government Ethics, including Biden’s new press secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre, and Bharat Ramamurti, deputy director of the National Economic Council."
The poor working stiffs will end up paying the elite’s college expenses… and then, the educated upper classes can thank them: “Waiter… I said no ice in my [imported from Italy] sparkling water. I care about the environment. Thank you.”
Mr. Stallworth doesn’t mention the Fed. Twice this century, it bailed out the rich man’s stock portfolio with trillions of dollars in crisp new bills. But not a penny for the sweating masses.
We are waiting to see if it will repeat the trick. Already, some $30 trillion has been lost, worldwide, in the retreat from Peak Bubble. As the losses mount, the class divide will come front and center. Grosso modo, the ruling elite benefits from rising asset prices. The middle and lower classes benefit from falling consumer prices. It’s one or the other. The Fed can try to bail out the fund managers once again. But it will mean much higher prices for the truck drivers. Or, it can tackle inflation… but the elite will lose trillions. Which way will it go? Say a prayer for the hardworking people. More to come…"