Saturday, September 17, 2022

Greg Hunter, "Creating the Worst Socioeconomic & Geopolitical Crisis in History"

"Creating the Worst Socioeconomic &
 Geopolitical Crisis in History"
by Greg Hunter’s

"Renowned trends researcher and publisher of “The Trends Journal,” Gerald Celente, contends the world is going into a very dark period. Celente explains, “We are facing the worst socioeconomic and geopolitical crisis in modern history. The Covid war, this happened and that happened because of the pandemic. There was no pandemic. This happened because of politicians, little pieces of scum crap, one after another said close down your business, don’t go outside, don’t go to the beach, close down the swings and don’t let kids go and play. You have a socioeconomic crisis, the likes of which are unprecedented, and the damage caused by the Covid war is incalculable. (The CV19 Vax is part of Covid War.) 

Office occupancy rates are at about 45% tops. So, all the businesses that depended on commuters are gone. 30% of dry cleaners are out of business. No more happy hours. In New York City, there are about 1,300 less people that clean office buildings now. This is real. People forget that in 2019, Germany was going into a recession. There were protests and demonstrations going on all over the world. People were taking to the streets and protesting a lack of basic living standards, government corruption, crime and violence. It was one of our top trends. This is before the Covid war. They artificially propped up the governments. It was the Federal Reserve and the central banksters. They artificially pumped up the economies. There is almost $8 trillion pumped into the U.S. economy by the government to artificially prop it up. 

When you look at the Covid war, the draconian, demonic mandates and lockdowns that they imposed on businesses, when you look at the Ukraine war, the sanctions and the stupid things they are doing, they are creating the worst socioeconomic and geopolitical crisis in modern history.” Celente points out, “Nobody is talking about peace, and don’t you dare talk about peace. We are being driven to war by mentally ill people. All they want is control.”

Celente says the number one investment trend is physical gold. Celente explains, “I don’t give financial advice, but to me, gold is the number one safe haven asset. Gold keeps going down because interest rates are going up and bullion does not pay interest. It’s true, but gold is a safe haven asset in times of socioeconomic and geopolitical despair, which we are in now. That’s when you need to have it as I see it. Can gold go down further? Yep. It could go down a little bit more. Then only reason the dollar is strong is because all the other currencies are so weak. Sales are down, and when you put inflation into it, they are really down. So, to me, gold is the one, and I am only speaking for myself, and on Friday, I bought more gold.”

In closing, Celente says, “At The Trends Journal, we see things the way they are, not the way we want them to be.” There is much more in the 55-minute interview.

Join Greg Hunter on Rumble as he goes One-on-One with the top trends researcher on the planet, Gerald Celente, publisher of “The Trends Journal”:

Musical Interlude: Deuter, "Along the High Ridges"

Full screen recommended.
Deuter, "Along the High Ridges"

"A Look to the Heavens"

“Can the night sky appear both serene and surreal? Perhaps classifiable as serene in the below panoramic image taken last Friday are the faint lights of small towns glowing across a dark foreground landscape of Doi Inthanon National Park in Thailand, as well as the numerous stars glowing across a dark background starscape. Also visible are the planet Venus and a band of zodiacal light on the image left.
Unusual events are also captured, however. First, the central band of our Milky Way Galaxy, while usually a common site, appears here to hover surreally above the ground. Next, a fortuitous streak of a meteor was captured on the image right. Perhaps the most unusual component is the bright spot just to the left of the meteor. That spot is the plume of a rising Ariane 5 rocket, launched a few minutes before from Kourou, French Guiana. How lucky was the astrophotographer to capture the rocket launch in his image? Not lucky at all- the image was timed to capture the rocket. What was lucky was how photogenic- and perhaps surreal- the rest of the sky turned out to be.”

"For This Is What We Do..."

Sam: "It's like in the great stories Mr. Frodo, the ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger they were, and sometimes you didn't want to know the end because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end it's only a passing thing, this shadow, even darkness must pass. A new day will come, and when the sun shines it'll shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you, that meant something even if you were too small to understand why. But I think Mr. Frodo, I do understand, I know now folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn't. They kept going because they were holding on to something.
Frodo: What are we holding onto, Sam?
Sam: That there's some good in the world, Mr. Frodo, and it's worth fighting for."
- Samwise Gamgee, "The Lord of the Rings
"What keeps you going isn't some fine destination but just the road you're on, and the fact that you know how to drive. You keep your eyes open, you see this damned-to-hell world you got born into, and you ask yourself, 'What life can I live that will let me breathe in and out and love somebody or something and not run off screaming into the woods?'"
- Barbara Kingsolver
“For this is what we do. Put one foot forward and then the other. Lift our eyes to the snarl and smile of the world once more. Think. Act. Feel. Add our little consequence to the tides of good and evil that flood and drain the world. Drag our shadowed crosses into the hope of another night. Push our brave hearts into the promise of a new day. With love: the passionate search for truth other than our own. With longing: the pure, ineffable yearning to be saved. For so long as fate keeps waiting, we live on. God help us. God forgive us. We live on.”
- Gregory David Roberts, “Shantaram”

"When the Sky Is No More Than Remembered Light"

"When the Sky Is No More Than Remembered Light:
Mark Strand Reads His Poignant Poem 'The End'”
- by Maria Popova

“Not every man knows what is waiting for him, or what he shall sing, 
when the ship he is on slips into darkness, there at the end.”

“It’s such a lucky accident, having been born, that we’re almost obliged to pay attention,” the Pulitzer-winning poet Mark Strand (April 11, 1934–November 29, 2014) observed in contemplating the artist’s task to bear witness to the universe. And yet this universe in which we live is predicated on impermanence, and the lucky accident of our existence is crowned with the certitude of its end from the start. Why, then, are we always so shocked by the finitude of all we hold dear and, above all, by our own mortality? Few are those who can say with sincerity, like Rilke did an exquisite 1923 letter, that “death is our friend precisely because it brings us into absolute and passionate presence with all that is here, that is natural, that is love.” Instead, we spend our lives shuddering at any reminder of our inevitable end, unsalved by the miracle of having lived at all.

Montaigne articulated the central paradox of being perfectly in 16th-century meditation on death and the art of living: “To lament that we shall not be alive a hundred years hence, is the same folly as to be sorry we were not alive a hundred years ago.” Still, lament we do, and some of our greatest art gives voice to that lamentation.

That paradox is what Strand explores with transcendent courage and curiosity in his poem “The End,” found in his "Collected Poems" (public library) - the trove of truth and beauty that gave us Strand’s love letter to dreams.

In this hauntingly beautiful recording, courtesy of The New York Public Library, an aged Strand reads his poignant poem shortly before he repaid his own debt to mortality:
"The End"
by Mark Strand

"Not every man knows what he shall sing at the end,
Watching the pier as the ship sails away, or what it will seem like
When he’s held by the sea’s roar, motionless, there at the end,
Or what he shall hope for once it is clear that he’ll never go back.

When the time has passed to prune the rose or caress the cat,
When the sunset torching the lawn and the full moon icing it down
No longer appear, not every man knows what he’ll discover instead.

When the weight of the past leans against nothing, and the sky
Is no more than remembered light, and the stories of cirrus
And cumulus come to a close, and all the birds are suspended in flight,
Not every man knows what is waiting for him, or what he shall sing
When the ship he is on slips into darkness, there at the end."

Complement with the lyrical "Duck, Death and the Tulip", Marcus Aurelius on mortality and the key to living fully, and the great Zen master Seung Sahn Soen-sa’s explanation of death and the life-force to a child, then revisit Strand’s celebration of clouds and everything they mean."

"A Sad Fact..."

"A sad fact, of course, about adult life is that you see the very things you'll never adapt to coming toward you on the horizon. You see them as the problems they are, you worry like hell about them, you make provisions, take precautions, fashion adjustments; you tell yourself you'll have to change your way of doing things. Only you don't. You can't. Somehow it's already too late. And maybe it's even worse than that: maybe the thing you see coming from far away is not the real thing, the thing that scares you, but its aftermath. And what you've feared will happen has already taken place. This is similar in spirit to the realization that all the great new advances of medical science will have no benefit for us at all, thought we cheer them on, hope a vaccine might be ready in time, think things could still get better. Only it's too late there too. And in that very way our life gets over before we know it. We miss it. And like the poet said: The ways we miss our lives are life."
- Richard Ford

"When Will It End? New Money Coming"

Full screen recommended.
Dan, iAllegedly 9/17/22:
"When Will It End? New Money Coming"
"I’m in San Clemente, California at the cars and coffee auto show. There is continue chaos with our money, banking and the inflationary nightmare that we are living through."
Comments here:

The Daily "Near You?"

Pensacola, Florida, USA. Thanks for stopping by!

"Here’s Who Loves Inflation"

"Here’s Who Loves Inflation"
by Jim Rickards

"Government officials say all the right things about inflation, and how they’re trying to combat it. But secretly, they’re not that upset about inflation. Why? Because inflation makes debt much easier to bear. For a government with over $31 trillion of debt, it can use all the help it can get.

Let’s see how we got here…The U.S. government bond market was invented by Alexander Hamilton early in the first administration of George Washington around 1790. The newly formed United States of America was facing claims from creditors who had financed the Revolutionary War. The Congress had a simple solution: Default! That’s the American Way. But Hamilton had a better idea.

He said the new government should borrow more money and use that to pay off the old creditors. Once we did that, we would be deemed creditworthy and we could borrow even more money to pay off the money borrowed in the first round. This plan was so successful that the U.S. Treasury market has been around for 230 years. That’s how long the U.S. has been borrowing new money to pay off old debt. (Ahhh, but to whom do we owe all this money?  - CP) In 1835, Andrew Jackson became the first and only president who cut the national debt to zero.

Inflation Is the Only Way Out: The story of U.S. debt is not one in which the debt went up steadily for 230 years. The actual history is that the debt went up in times of war and it was paid back in times of peace. Debt went up in the War of 1812, the Mexican-American War of 1846–1848, the Civil War, World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam and under Reagan to win the Cold War. (The only major debt increase without war prior to 2000 was during the Great Depression.)

But the war debt was paid off during times of peace including the 1820s, 1870s, 1920s and 1990s. It was only after 2000 that things went off the rails and government debt went straight up under George W. Bush, Barack Obama, Donald Trump and Joe Biden.

Now the debt is unmanageable without inflation. Inflation favors debtors because they get to pay back the debt with depreciating dollars. It’s easier to pay down debt because you’re paying back debt with dollars that are less valuable than when you originally borrowed them. So inflation eases the real value of debt.

On the other hand, deflation increases the real value of debt. With deflation, the value of money increases, making it more burdensome to pay off debt. This is why debtors hate deflation.

The other way to deal with the debt is to default. But there's no reason for the U.S. to default because the debt is in dollars and we can print the dollars. That’s the great advantage of having the world’s leading reserve currency, what French Finance Minister ValĂ©ry Giscard d'Estaing termed the “exorbitant privilege” in the 1960s.

The Debt Death Trap: People who say, “We can’t pay off the national debt!” don’t understand this market. There’s no need to pay off the national debt. We just have to keep rolling it over. But to do that we need to maintain our credit standing, as Hamilton understood. Once our credit is called into question, the entire house of cards collapses.

This shows up first in higher interest rates, then in a devaluation of the dollar and finally in illiquid markets where the debt just can’t be sold except to the Fed. The final stage is hyperinflation and complete collapse of the currency and the bonds. It’s not going to happen tomorrow, but we’re getting closer to that endgame than many realize.

I’ve said before that the U.S. is caught in a debt death trap. Monetary policy won’t get us out because the velocity of money, the rate at which money changes hands, is dropping. Printing more money alone will not change that. Fiscal policy won’t work either because of high debt ratios. At current debt-to-GDP ratios, each additional dollar spent yields less than a dollar of growth. But because it must be borrowed, it does add a dollar to the debt. Debt becomes an actual drag on growth. The ratio gets higher and the situation grows more desperate. The economy barely grows at all while the debt mounts. You basically become Japan.

The national debt is $31.5 trillion. A $31.5 trillion debt would not be a serious issue if we had a $50 trillion economy. But we don’t have a $50 trillion economy. We have about a $23 trillion economy, which means our debt is bigger than our economy. And it’s stalling.

Is It a Recession Yet? We’ve already had two consecutive quarters of negative GDP growth, which is the textbook definition of recession. Now we’re facing the real possibility of a third quarter of negative growth. The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta has published its estimate for third-quarter growth using the data we have so far. The result is a forecast of 0.5% GDP growth, down from 1.3% last week. Don’t be surprised if it goes down even further, or that third-quarter GDP will be negative. What would the recession-deniers say then?

Now the Fed is preparing to raise rates again this coming week. The hot August inflation data means the Fed will make another aggressive move, probably 75 basis points. But the Fed is tightening into weakness, which it’ll discover once it’s too late.

Heading for a Sovereign Debt Crisis: In basic terms, in the bigger picture, the United States is going broke. We’re heading for a sovereign debt crisis. I don’t say that for effect. I’m not looking to scare people or to make a splash. That’s just an honest assessment based on the numbers. Tax cuts won’t bring us out of it; neither can structural changes to the economy. Both would help if done properly, but the problem is simply far too large. You can’t grow yourself out of this kind of debt.

So an economic time bomb is ticking. Velocity is dropping. Debt is growing while growth is slowing. The explosion will come in the form of asset bubbles bursting and stocks crashing, which is already underway. There’s no way out of the debt death trap except through inflation. And that’s why they’re not as upset about inflation as they’d like you to believe."

"I Have Accepted The Fact..."

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

"Fall Like A Thunderbolt"

"Fall Like A Thunderbolt"
by William Schryver

“Let your plans be dark and impenetrable as night, 
and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt.”
- Sun Tzu, "The Art of War"

"Seventy-nine years ago what was arguably the single greatest battle of the Second World War took place in roughly the same area where battles are occurring again today. Across a broad front in eastern Ukraine and southwestern Russia, stretching from Bryansk in the north to Izyum in the south, German and Soviet forces faced each other in the summer of 1943, with a substantial bulge in the lines in the area around Kursk. It was this bulge that was targeted by German commanders for envelopment and destruction.

The campaign commenced in the first week of July with a massive German counter-offensive, and continued for several weeks. Several hundred thousand soldiers and thousands of tanks and armored vehicles took part, with massive maneuvers and counter-maneuvers over a broad landscape of forests, fields, and rolling hills.

Much has been and could be written about the conduct of this battle, but this essay will focus on an aspect of the campaign that was unprecedented: it was the first battle in which the Soviet concepts of maskirovka were aggressively incorporated into every stage of the planning and execution of their operations.

Maskirovka is a Russian word meaning literally “masking” or “disguise”, but in the context of Russian military doctrine, it incorporates a wide spectrum of undertakings designed to deceive the enemy regarding strengths, weaknesses, disposition of forces, and the intentions of those forces. In its simplest expression, it echoes the famous dictum from Sun Tzu’s The Art of War: “All warfare is based on deception. Hence, when we are able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must appear inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near.”

In the summer of 1943, the Soviet army was the stronger force in comparison to the Wehrmacht. For this reason, Stalin was aggressively pressing his generals to go on the offensive. But Soviet commanders, cognizant of German preparations for a large counter-offensive, argued against this strategy. On April 8, 1943, overall commander Georgy Zhukov wrote to Stalin: “I consider it inexpedient for our troops to launch a preemptive offensive in the near future. It would be better for us to wear down the enemy on our defenses, knock out his tanks, bring in fresh reserves, and finish off his main grouping with a general offensive.” - Glantz, David M., "Soviet Military Deception in the Second World War," p. 148

The top Soviet commanders rushed to Moscow to plead their case to Stalin in an April 12th meeting. General Shtemenko, 1st Deputy of the Operations Department, later wrote: “Ultimately it was decided to concentrate our main forces in the Kursk area, to bleed the enemy forces here in a defensive operation, and then switch to the offensive and achieve their complete destruction.” - Ibid, p. 148

The trick was going to be to assemble and conceal the forces for the envisioned counter-attack within the front-wide defensive preparations – to give the Germans the impression that they had been considerably weakened, and were therefore assuming a purely defensive posture until their offensive potential could be reconstituted. Bear in mind, up until this point in the war, the Soviets had never undertaken a summer offensive, and therefore their apparent move to the defensive in the summer of 1943 was entirely consistent with prior practice.

Their employment of maskirovka would be of utmost importance in their preparations. “… staffs prepared detailed maskirovka plans which included the concealment of preparations, creation of false troop concentrations, simulation of false radio nets and communications centers, construction of false air facilities and false aircraft, and the dissemination of false rumors along the front and in the enemy rear area. These plans emphasized secret movement of reserves, hidden preparations for counter-attacks and counter-strokes, and concealed locations of command posts and communications sites.”

To deceive extensive German air reconnaissance army commanders established 15 false airfields, complete with mock-up aircraft, runways, control towers, and aircraft shelters, and installed numerous mock-up tanks to simulate armored assembly areas. German aircraft responded by bombing these false airfields nine times.” - Ibid, p. 152

Lieutentant General I.S. Konev described the situation: “The enemy thought that we were preparing only for defensive battle. Possessing a huge number of tanks and guns of a new type, the Germans hoped that it was impossible to stop them. Thus, as the enemy prepared, we prepared. The main thing was not to conceal the fact of our preparations, but rather the force and means, the concept of battle, the time of our counter-offensive, and the nature of our defense. Very likely it was the only unprecedented occasion in military history, when the strong side, having the capabilities for offensive action, went over to the defense.” - Ibid, p. 154
German tanks and troops advance near Kursk, 1943

In addition to the masking of force preparations and concentrations, once the battle had commenced, the Soviets employed substantial offensive movements in other areas of the front to draw off German forces from the primary target of the major Soviet counter-offensive: And what was the “key strategic sector”? Well, somewhat ironically, the great armored battle that unfolded in the vicinity of Kursk developed as a diversion from the primary Soviet objective: to defeat and conquer the primary locus of German power in and around Kharkov.

“Surprise was essential for Soviet forces to achieve victory around Belgorod and Kharkov, and surprise had to be a product of maskirovka. The Soviets applied maskirovka in all of its varied forms to deceive the Germans regarding the timing, strength, form, and location of the major Soviet counter-stroke.” - Ibid, p. 174
Soviet tanks and troops at Kursk – 1943

Well, a full description of the elaborate maskirovka employed in the Battle of Kursk is beyond the scope of this article. I simply wanted to introduce and elaborate on some of its fundamental aspects in order to suggest possible parallels between what was done then and what is happening now in Ukraine.

There has been much ecstatic jubilation among Ukraine-supporters, and anguished hand-wringing among Russia-supporters, that somehow Russian forces were “surprised” and “humiliated” by the recent Ukrainian counter-offensive near Kharkov. Let me therefore be perfectly clear: the notion that the Russian high command did not see this coming is, in my confident estimation, utterly absurd.

They observed its preparations over the course of many weeks. They knew much of the NATO-provided equipment shipped into Ukraine since the spring was not being used yet in battle, and had instead been diverted and hoarded to provide the backbone of firepower for an eventual counter-stroke. They also knew that substantial numbers of the remaining cadre of Ukrainian professional soldiers had been pulled from the front lines to form the core of this attack, and that they were being supplemented by a significant infusion of “foreign volunteers”.

They knew that the cream of the thousands of new Ukrainian conscripts had been sent to Poland and Britain for rapid training according to NATO standards. They knew NATO commanders had effectively assumed operational command of this force, and were calling the shots as to when and where it would be deployed. And they certainly knew that, because this force was not present in the Kherson region for the limited counter-attack that took place there earlier in August, that the southern operations were almost certainly a diversion from the primary objective, which would be in the Kharkov region.

Indeed, as the true nature of the events of the past two weeks comes into clearer focus, it is now possible to see that the Russians acted deliberately to provide the NATO commanders of this reconstituted Ukrainian force with some low-hanging fruit to blood their untested army, and provide it with a victory that would not only bolster its battlefield confidence, but more importantly serve essential political purposes at a time when western public support was flagging to a very discernible degree.

More importantly, from the Russian perspective, providing NATO commanders a temptation they could not resist would draw this fresh army into the open field of battle where it could then be isolated and ultimately destroyed.

Therefore the Russians commenced, several weeks ago, to withdraw all but a token force from the area containing the towns of Balakliya, Kupyansk, and Izyum – thereby presenting an irresistible opportunity for the commanders of this NATO-trained, NATO-equipped, and NATO-led force to demonstrate, as they imagine it, the superiority of western combined-arms warfare. The subsequent attack achieved seemingly extraordinary success against the relative handful of Donbass militia and Rosgvardia troops left to defend Balakliya and Kupyansk. The Ukrainians and their “foreign volunteer” shock troops advanced mostly unopposed and occupied a fairly significant piece of real estate extending all the way to the Oskil River.

Relatively little soldier against soldier fighting has occurred. In fact, Ukrainian reports euphorically trumpeted the fact that the Ukrainian advance could not even keep up with the speed of the Russian retreat! The “glorious victory” of this quasi-NATO army has – at least for the time being – launched the western media narrative into an unprecedented spasm of triumphalism.

Delusional reports of hundreds of abandoned tanks, thousands of casualties, and tens of thousands of captured Russian soldiers are circulating widely, willingly believed by those whose biases find them pleasing. Western think-tank monkeys and retired-generals-for-hire move from one mainstream news studio to the next spouting fantastical nonsense about next liberating the Donbass, then Crimea, followed by deposing Putin and hauling him before a tribunal at The Hague.

And if that were not enough, many have even begun to openly discuss the long-desired western pipe dream of dismantling Russia altogether; cutting it up into a dozen or more smaller republics that will then obediently fall in line with the rest of the “rules-based world order”. It’s all quite breathtaking to behold.

Few seem to be aware that the triumphant army that marched forth into the power vacuum the Russians created for them have been continually savaged by long-range artillery fire and airstrikes, which have already inflicted nearly 20% casualties upon the relatively exposed force.

Few seem to appreciate that the pace of the initially rapid advance has now effectively ground to a halt, caught between the Oskil River to the east and the Seversky-Donets to the south, and it has proven unable to achieve appreciable success against the concentrations of Russian forces it is now encountering on the other sides of those rivers. And no one seems to be asking the most pertinent question: What will the Russians do next?

There seems to be a pervasive assumption that this apparent battlefield “victory” has been so humiliatingly complete that the Russians have been ruined; psychologically broken; that they are no longer capable of operations; that they are now a beaten, trembling mob of frightened “orcs” nervously awaiting the next train back to wherever it was they came from.

Those cheering as the victory parade rolls down the streets of Kiev, London, and Washington appear to have forgotten that Russia’s “special military operation” up to this point has employed a minor fraction of its military capability, and that the Russian objective, from the beginning, has not been to conquer territory, per se, but to comprehensively destroy Ukrainian military capabilities.

I think the Ukraine supporters might be engaging in an orgy of premature exultation. I am persuaded the events of the past few weeks have been largely orchestrated pursuant to Russia’s ultimate objectives. I am convinced the Russians remain masters of the art of maskirovka, and that the masters of empire in Brussels, London, and Washington – as they always have – continue to underestimate Russian strategic acumen, operational capabilities, and clever resourcefulness.

Even as NATO commanders in Kiev clink champagne flutes filled to the brim with looted Dom Perignon, and congratulate each other on a brilliantly conceived and expertly executed plan, I strongly suspect the other shoe is about to drop – and when it does, I expect it to fall like a thunderbolt on their unjustifiably inflated heads."
Hat tip to The Burning Platform for this material. 

"How It Really Is"

Friday, September 16, 2022

Canadian Prepper, "It's About to Go Down..."

Canadian Prepper, 9/16/22:
"It's About to Go Down..."
"Everything is just fine!"
Comments here:

"Robbing Your Own Bank To Get Your Cash; FED Will Destroy The Economy; California Crime Nightmare"

Jeremiah Babe, 9/16/22:
"Robbing Your Own Bank To Get Your Cash; 
FED Will Destroy The Economy; California Crime Nightmare"
Comments here:

"15 Big Stores That Will Probably Disappear Soon"

Full screen recommended.
"15 Big Stores That Will Probably Disappear Soon"
by Epic Economist

"America’s economic landscape is rapidly changing. In recent years, hundreds of thousands of stores were permanently shut down, and as we enter a new economic downturn, many more are likely to close doors for good. Conditions for business owners are getting increasingly difficult as the compounding effects of inflation, supply chain challenges, and slower consumer spending continues to compromise their sales and profits month after month. New data suggests that pessimism in the retail sector is growing all across the board, and even big companies are struggling to stay afloat right now.

Many of the most iconic American retailers have closed thousands of stores and filed for bankruptcy as they failed to keep up with their competitors. The rise of online retailers made several brick-and-mortar stores seem redundant. Even though companies tend to think that they have something unique to offer their customers, the reality is that not enough of them actually do. Some, in fact, lose touch with what shoppers truly want and need for such a long time that when they realize there’s no turning back or quick fix, they have no choice but to go out of business.

The disappearance of so many big stores is a major signal of economic weakness. The phenomenon known as the retail apocalypse is nothing more than a reflection of a shrinking middle class that’s been too overburdened with debt and soaring living expenses. Middle-income earners have also lost so much purchasing power that they're left with too little money to spend on other goods after paying their bills at the end of each month. More and more, middle-class Americans are turning to discount stores because they can't afford to shop at brand-name stores anymore. The shift in consumer habits towards online shopping has also been the impending doom for brick-and-mortar stores. Not only that, e-commerce is much more competitive in terms of price and promotions, and you can purchase whatever you want with only a click.

Hundreds of thousands of businesses have been closed in the past five years, and according to UBS data, 80,000 more might be gone by 2026. The shutdown of each of these locations means that dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of jobs are going to be lost at a time, too. America's economic landscape is looking gloomier and emptier, and the death of big business shows us that something is terminally broken in our system. In this video, we listed a series of stores that are suffering from a lack of customers, a lack of money, a lack of viable prospects, or a combination of all of those issues. Many of them have already shuttered dozens or even hundreds of locations all across the nation, or are in the process of closing down in 2022. Soon, they may disappear from our commercial scene altogether, and we might never get the chance to shop at these stores ever again."

"The Great Pillaging"

"The Great Pillaging"
by Jeffrey Tucker

"By this time next year, the post-lockdown dollar will be worth $0.70 or less, on the way to a half dollar. In a mere five years, the dollar will have lost half its domestic value, even as its value among international currencies will likely rise. The dollar remains the least ugly currency out there even as it has been systematically destroyed in only a few years.

Still, the reality has not sunk in. The other day, when the Consumer Price Index came out, the first round of reports were (if you can believe it) rather positive. The Wall Street Journal headlined the news: Inflation is “easing.” I saw this three minutes after having looked at the actual data release from the Department of Labor. I could not believe my eyes.

Clearly, we are being lied to daily and hourly. If the American people knew the truth, there would be a revolution. At least one would hope.

The headline number was bad enough. But look at the two-year stack. It ended up at a whopping 13.6%. When the CPI was released at the same 8.3% rate in April of this year, the two-year stack was only 12.5%. That’s a signal: not better, not the same, but worse.

It took several hours before Wall Street got the hang of it. By noon, the DJIA had fallen 800 points. By the closing bell, the Dow had fallen 1,300, the worst crash in two years. The reason was clear. Inflation is not abating, contrary to what Biden said last month that inflation was 0%, a point believed only by the hopelessly stupid. It turns out that once you delete the gas price from the month-over-month increase, we are solidly in the double digits.

The Absurd Fed: The Fed’s bright idea is to keep inching up interest rates but nowhere near enough to bump short-term rates into positive territory, which is to say that the strategy will not work. Well, more precisely, it will work to crash the housing and bond markets and push people newly in credit card debt into new depths of bankruptcy. It will not cool much less stop this inflationary mess.

Let’s break it down. The good news is that gasoline is down 10.6% from the previous month and far lower than the highs of June. But such month-to-month swings mask the overall problem. From 12 months ago, gas is still up 25.6%, which is alarming by any standard. It’s much worse with fuel oil. Despite falling 5.9% last month, it is still up 68.8% from 12 months ago.

What drove this month’s numbers up were the prices of food, both at home and out, plus electricity and utility bills. You have surely noticed this. I’ve been watching the real-time data and seen this changing dramatically over six weeks.

Electricity was up 1.5% in August and utilities in general up 3.5%. Over 12 months, that’s 15.8% and 33% respectively. That’s some very serious inflation, and notice the migration of the virus across the energy sector. It comes to gas and leaves gas and then infects electricity and utility bills.

U.K. to the U.S. Europe and the U.K. are reverting fast to the Middle Ages without power. But the U.K. prime minister and the European Commission are instituting price caps, which only means rationing as we head into winter. In Europe, the policies are even more stupid: They have imposed a tax (a tax!) on windfall profits by energy companies, which is a way of punishing producers for producing at a time of grave shortages. It boggles the mind.

Something about Americans today: We believe it cannot and will not happen here. Nonsense. We could find ourselves in this exact position in a matter of months. The Biden administration has gone on a holy war against gasoline while trumpeting the glory of electricity, wind and sun. And now look: Electricity, wind and sun are breaking the bank while gas is relaxing a bit in price.

You might be sad that you bought that electric vehicle, especially if you live in California, which is already rationing electricity for drivers. Just wait for it: The Bidenites will soon be inveighing against electricity too on grounds that the main source is not clean but dirty: coal. They want us all living like pure spirits in some Rousseauian fantasy, basking in sun and wind.

Somewhere I had read that new and used cars had fallen in price over the last month. Nope: That’s more propaganda. New cars are up 0.8% in August and 10.1% for the year. Used cars fell only slightly in August by 0.1% but year over year are up 7.8%.

Transportation services rose by 0.5% in August and by 11.3% for the year. Housing prices have not fallen either but rather the opposite: 0.7% for the month and 6.2% for the year. And so far in this inflationary wave, medical services have been protected from price pressure. No more. We are seeing sudden shifts here too: 0.8% for the month and now clocking 5.6% for the year.

Sure enough, they are in a serious pickle today, with this inflation report that defies every prediction and raises a serious fire alarm. Producer prices released today make the point: Once you delete the gas prices, producers are paying more than ever.

The Great Pillaging: Goldman Sachs announced this week that it would kick into gear a new round of layoffs. Based on what they are seeing, they fully expect a painful recession that hurts not only financials but the entire business sector. That’s significant because it reveals how the pain is spreading from Big Tech to all sectors of economic life.

With politics so intense these days, we cannot get even close to an objective accounting of the most basic facts. Last month we heard that inflation was gone and now we see that it is as bad as ever, even by the official data, once you look at a range of prices. In a matter of months, given present trends, we could find ourselves in a U.K.-like situation with cries for price caps and rationing. Don’t think for an instant that they won’t do it. They will.

There are very few means of escape anymore. My father’s bag of gold and silver coins, and his five acres on a rural lake, are looking better and better."

Musical Interlude: Leonard Cohen, "Anthem"

Full screen recommended.
Leonard Cohen, "Anthem"

"A Look to the Heavens"

"Colorful NGC 1579 resembles the better known Trifid Nebula, but lies much farther north in planet Earth's sky, in the heroic constellation Perseus. About 2,100 light-years away and 3 light-years across, NGC 1579 is, like the Trifid, a study in contrasting blue and red colors, with dark dust lanes prominent in the nebula's central regions.
In both, dust reflects starlight to produce beautiful blue reflection nebulae. But unlike the Trifid, in NGC 1579 the reddish glow is not emission from clouds of glowing hydrogen gas excited by ultraviolet light from a nearby hot star. Instead, the dust in NGC 1579 drastically diminishes, reddens, and scatters the light from an embedded, extremely young, massive star, itself a strong emitter of the characteristic red hydrogen alpha light."

Chet Raymo, "Starlight"

by Chet Raymo

"Poor Calvin is overwhelmed with the vastness of the cosmos and no small dose of existential angst. He is not the first, of course. Most famously the 17th-century French philosopher Blaise Pascal wailed his own despair: "I feel engulfed in the infinite immensity of spaces whereof I know nothing and which know nothing of me. I am terrified...The eternal silence of these infinite spaces alarms me."

And he didn't know the half of it. Not so long ago we imagined ourselves to be the be-all and end-all of creation, at the center of a cosmos made expressly for us and at the pinnacle of the material Great Chain of Being. Then it turned out that the Earth was not the center of the cosmos. Nor the Sun. Nor the Galaxy. The astronomers Sebastian von Hoerner and Carl Sagan raised this experience to the level of a principle -- the Principle of Mediocrity -- which can be stated something like this: The view from here is about the same as the view from anywhere else. Or to put it another way: Our star, our planet, the life on it, and even our own intelligence, are completely mediocre.

Moon rocks are just like Earth rocks. Photographs of the surface of Mars made by the landers and rovers could as well have been made in Nevada. Meteorites contain some of the same organic compounds that are the basis for terrestrial life. Gas clouds in the space between the stars are composed of precisely the same atoms and molecules that we find in our own backyard. The most distant galaxies betray in their spectra the presence of familiar elements.

And yet, and yet, for all we know, our brains are the most complex things in the universe. Are we then living, breathing refutations of the Principle of Mediocrity. I doubt it. For the time being, Calvin will just have to get used to living in the infinite abyss and eternal silence. He has Hobbes. We have each other. And science. And poetry. And love."

"The Cruelest Joke Of All..."

“The smallest decisions made had such profound repercussions. One ten-minute wait could save a life… or end it. One wrong turn down the right street or one seemingly unimportant conversation, and everything was changed. It wasn’t right that each lifetime was defined, ruined, ended, and made by such seemingly innocuous details. A major life-threatening event should come with a flashing warning sign that either said ABANDON ALL HOPE or SAFETY AHEAD. It was the cruelest joke of all that no one could see the most vicious curves until they were over the edge, falling into the abyss below.”
- Sherrilyn Kenyon

"That's Where It All Begins..."

"That's where it all begins. That's where we all get screwed big time as we grow up. They tell us to think, but they don't really mean it. They only want us to think within the boundaries they define. The moment you start thinking for yourself- really thinking- so many things stop making any sense. And if you keep thinking, the whole world just falls apart. Nothing makes sense anymore. All rules, traditions, expectations- they all start looking so fake, so made up. You want to just get rid of all this stuff and make things right. But the moment you say it, they tell you to shut up and be respectful. And eventually you understand that nobody wants you to really think for yourself."
- Ray N. Kuili, "Awakening"

"The Economic Annihilation Of Eurpoe"

"Gonzalo Lira, the Ukraine-based, Chilean-born American who has made waves with his uncensored videos (see his YouTube channel here) and roundtable discussions about Russia and Ukraine, joined me for an epic 2+ hour interview late last night. We discussed topics like:

 Why Ukraine’s counter offensive was a victory for Russia.
 of the losses of Ukraine’s military men and equipment.
 Western politicians and media talking heads are incompetent and wrong.
 “Suicide sanctions” and the self-inflicted annihilation of Europe.
 How Western Europe will be reduced to an impoverished wasteland.
 Why Putin prefers to AVOID escalation of this war.
The destruction of European industry, followed by finance.
 Details on the expected wave of civil unrest across Europe, and the weaponization of government to brutally repress public protests.

In summary, he described the coming winter of energy scarcity and economic collapse as causing the “economic annihilation of Europe,” adding that in the aftermath of this coming collapse, Western Europe would be transformed into an impoverished, desperate region of the world, utterly lacking the financial, economic and industrial power dominance it has enjoyed in recent history."
Interview here:

Video here:

Gregory Mannarino, "In Your Face Lies! Economic Whistleblowers Say: "The Data Doesn't Add Up" (Its Fake)"

Gregory Mannarino, PM 9/16/22:
"In Your Face Lies! Economic Whistleblowers Say: 
"The Data Doesn't Add Up" (Its Fake)"
Comments here:
You didn't really expect anything else, did you?

The Daily "Near You?"

Richmond, British Columbia, Canada. Thanks for stopping by!

Bill Bonner, "Following the Leader"

"Following the Leader"
From spouses to Fed Heads to
 Primary Trends, here's what to watch...
by Bill Bonner

Blenheim, England - "What are we doing in Blenheim, readers might wonder? We wonder too. When a man is building his career, his wife and children are often dragooned into service… moving from place to place, keeping his dinner warm when he gets home late, ironing his shirts so that he will look more presentable in business meetings. Later in life, after his career has peaked out and he has alienated his family, it is he who follows and they who lead. He attends weddings and christenings… family gatherings and birthday parties. And, when his wife is an ‘equestrian,’ he goes to Blenheim Palace Horse Trials. More about that later.

Cultivating Failure: Oh my… looks like we were wrong about the Kherson offensive. It looked like a sure loser to us. But the media now says it is a great success. Some reporters and opinion mongers say it means the war has turned in the Ukraine’s direction… and may soon be over. Which just goes to show – well, we don’t know what it goes to show. But there are so many things to be wrong about; choosing the right ones is the main challenge in life.

Here at BonnerPrivateResearch we are not always right. Sentimentally, we favor the lost cause, the diehard and the underdog – which is the losing side. But we don’t know in advance which side will lose. And wars have a way of backfiring… and success has a way of cultivating failure.

How much better it would have been for the young Jerome Powell, fresh out of Georgetown Law Center (in our class!) to have taken up chasing ambulances. He could have put up a billboard along the DC beltway: “Stay out of jail…even if you’re guilty. Collect $$$ – even if you have no case. Call Jay today!” Instead, he made such a success of his career, after joining the Federal Reserve, that he now feels the weight of the whole world economy on his weak, rounded shoulders.

Humans can survive defeat… and learn from it; victory is a much bigger danger. And Zelensky… the actor who once amused crowds by pretending to play the piano with his penis? We don’t know, but we suspect that the current narrative by the western press – describing him as if he had just captured Moscow – is subject to amendment, too.

As for the progress of the war… the effectiveness of the Russian air force… the morale of the troops… or the cleverness of the officer class – we have nothing to say. We are as lost in the fog of war as everyone else…

Time and Tide: Money is our beat. And all we can do, still subject to error, is to try to look for the Primary Trend… and see where it leads us. In our markets, we think we see the beginning of the new trend, circa 2022. Bonds topped out, after a 40-year bull market, in 2020. Stocks topped out a year later. Now – if we’re right – we’re in for a long period of falling real values – for stocks, bonds and real estate.

The primary financial trend works together with a dark trend in the economy. Growth rates have been falling for the last 20 years. Recently, US growth has been negative… meaning, we are going backwards, and getting poorer. Wage gains have been negative (adjusted for inflation) for the last 17 months straight. This calculation probably flatters the situation. In terms of the major costs in a person’s life – food, housing, and transportation – ‘inflation’ is actually worse than the feds say.

Despite a slight decline in the Consumer Price Index last month, the cost of food is still going up at a double digit rate. Houses, too. The average house sold for $161,000 in 1999. Now, it’s $428,000. In terms of the years you need to work to buy a house, it was 5.75 in 1999. Now, you’ll have to work for 7.5 years. And fuel? It took less than 2 hours of work to fill a 20-gallon gas tank in 1999. Today, it takes 2 and a half.

We’re measuring these things in time, because time doesn’t change. An hour in 1999 was exactly the same as an hour today. And when you need to spend more time to earn life’s necessities, you are poorer. Looking at a long term chart of wages, adjusted for inflation we see that real US earnings stopped going up in the early ‘70s. Today, an average American worker earns about the same as he did in 1972.

The Road to Nowhere: Now, that’s a Long-term Primary Trend!…a trip to nowhere over half a century. What should you have done, Dear Reader, if you had realized what a zero-sum hand the working class was holding in 1973? You should have joined the capitalists! The way to get ahead in the post-70’s America was to join the rentiers… you know, the people with capital. Yes, now it is obvious. After Richard Nixon freed the US dollar from its golden shackles, the place to be was where the new footloose dollars were going – to Wall Street.

The financial trend meant that money went to money… and the money was in Wall Street. And all you had to do was to borrow a lot of money… refinancing every time interest rates went down – which they did (after 1980) for the next 40 years. Borrow $100,000 in 1980… buy the 30 Dow stocks… refinance… refinance… refinance.

By 2020, you are paying about $350 a month on your outstanding balance (still $100,000… which is now worth only $28,000 in 1980 money)… but your Dow investment is now worth $3.5 million. What luck! What a success! What a genius you were! And now? The primary trend that pushed asset prices so high, seems to have turned around. That $3.5 million of 2020 is already down to $3.1 million… and it looks like it could go much lower. What to do now? Tune in on Monday…"
Joel’s Note: Speaking of paybacks, we all know a great debt reckoning is coming due… that money borrowed from the future must eventually be paid back, and with interest. But what happens when your national credit card is bumping up against $31 TRILLION dollars outstanding, as is the case in the U.S. of A., and interest rates are on the march? (For those keeping score at home, that’s about $93,700 in national debt per citizen… or $245,000 per taxpayer.)

Well, for one thing, interest payments start to look pretty hefty, both in absolute terms and as a percentage of total income. Rising rates, which push up the cost of borrowing, only add to that pressure. “Net interest expense is $471 billion year-to-date (the government fiscal year ends in September),” Dan Denning wrote in a private note to the BPR team yesterday. “That makes it 10% of total government tax receipts.” (Total receipts were $4,408 billion over the same period.)

Put another way, for every $10 you pay in taxes, $1 is going on interest payments to service the national debt. And there’s only one way it’s going from here…"

"Is There An Answer..."

"Is there an answer to the question of why bad things happen to good people? The response would be to forgive the world for not being perfect, to forgive God for not making a better world, to reach out to the people around us, and to go on living despite it all, no longer asking why something happened, but asking how we will respond, what we intend to do now that it has happened."
- Harold S. Kushner

"Them Are Fightin’ Words"

"Them Are Fightin’ Words"
by Addison Wiggin

“Life is a fight for territory; so is your success.”
-Nkem Mpamah

“What if the Founding Fathers had moved off to Belize instead of helping sort out what surely must have been a similar mess right here?” writes reader Zeke L from Oklahoma. Reader mail comes in all forms. We assume Zeke is commenting on the conversation on the Empire of Debt Bill Bonner and I had on The Wiggin Sessions this week.

The very “Idea of America” – as reimagined by Bill Bonner and Pierre Lemieux in 2003 – is by its nature as much a geographical event as an historical event. The triple crown of climate, crops, and the religiously ostracized coalesced into the prime conditions for the seed of American civilization to be planted. “The idea is really very simple,” Bill says.

“Cooperation, win-win deals, is what allowed civilization to go forward.” The colonists were left to their own devices. The climate cooperated. And there was a burgeoning global trade in commodities. There are a lot of pieces to civilization,” Mr. Bonner tries to explain, “but that is probably the critical one, that when you see somebody, you can't kill them and you can't steal their stuff. You have to work with them. You have to work out a deal.”

This is high-level, philosophical stuff, made simple and accessible with everyday language. He continues: "Once you win-win, that means you have to create something. There are other things that go along with civilization. That rule is probably the cornerstone, but you need property rights. If you don't have property rights, then you can't really build because you can't protect what you've got.

And you need money. You need money to be able to exchange your product with other people. And you need a language. You need a written language. Otherwise, you can't make any progress. So all these things sort of came together over thousands of years and these things are different from what a lot of people think of as civilization.

A lot of people think the government can pass a law and make us richer or make us more civilized or whatever. But it ain't so. It doesn't work that way. Civilization arises from the bottom. It doesn't come down from the top and from the bottom people make deals with each other, which are essentially win-win.

We have to remember that the Founding Fathers were revolutionaries in the eyes of the British Crown. Their Declaration of Independence was a declaration of war. And let us not forget the deracination of the Native Americans from the original Thirteen Colonies and the horrors of Amistad. That's why I called it win-win or lose,” Bill says. “Because the opposite, the losing, is what happens all the time when the government gets into the picture and they start a war or something and everybody loses. Civilization goes backward.”

From the Declaration of Independence, in what is called “The Indictment” of the Crown’s overbearing governance: "Such is now the necessity which constrains them [the new Americans] to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world."

As they’d say in Baltimore… them are fightin’ words. On Wednesday we were ruminating on the anniversary of Francis Scott Key’s poem turned national anthem which happened here in ‘Bawlmer.’ So… I guess we’ve got patriotic themes on the brain.

The true nature of civilization, however, is more than history and geography. Blessed as we may have been to happen upon such a land. Each generation, in choosing to live somewhere – somewhere real, with land and toil and natural rights – a deal must be made. Whether that deal is win-win or lose, is up to those who declare, those who speak up, those who present their case for independence.

This is nothing new, Bill exclaims: "There's nothing new in my book that you can't find in Adam Smith or the texts of Free Market economists or Milton Friedman. A lot of people write about the same sort of thing. And everybody comes at it from a different angle. What I tried to do was to come at it from an angle that made sense to me and this does. And I think so far it's been missed. In fact, our current civilization or our current status of society is going in the other direction, with more and more people who think that they can get something by using political means, which are essentially the opposite of win-win."

A political move, anything political is win-lose by definition. Would such an idea have arisen and manifested had Jefferson, Madison and Hamilton fled to Belize, as Zeke wants to know? Probably not. America could only have happened where it did. “We need all hands on deck to help guide America back in the coming years,” Zeke concludes, and we concur.

It’s Friday folks. Follow your bliss,"