Saturday, September 24, 2022

"Alea Iacta Est"

"Alea Iacta Est"
by Alexander Macris

"In the closing days of 50 BC, the Roman Senate declared that Julius Caesar’s term as a provincial governor was finished. Roman law afforded its magistrates immunity to prosecution, but this immunity would end with Caesar’s term. As the leader of the populares faction, Caesar had many enemies among the elite optimates, and as soon as he left office, these enemies planned to bury him in litigation. Caesar knew he would lose everything: property, liberty, even his life.

Caesar decided it was better to fight for victory than accept certain defeat. In January 49 BC, he crossed the Rubicon River with his army, in violation of sacred Roman law, and began a civil war. “Alea iacta est,” said Caesar: The die is cast."
Full screen recommended.
Charles Bukowoski, "Roll the Dice" 

Musical Interlude: "Beautiful Relaxing Music - Calming Piano & Guitar Music"

Full screen recommended.
"Beautiful Relaxing Music - Calming Piano & Guitar Music"
"Beautiful relaxing music by Soothing Relaxation. Enjoy calming piano and
 guitar music composed by Peder B. Helland, set to stunning nature videos."

"A Look to the Heavens"

“About 70 million light-years distant, gorgeous spiral galaxy NGC 289 is larger than our own Milky Way. Seen nearly face-on, its bright core and colorful central disk give way to remarkably faint, bluish spiral arms. The extensive arms sweep well over 100 thousand light-years from the galaxy's center.
At the lower right in this sharp, telescopic galaxy portrait the main spiral arm seems to encounter a small, fuzzy elliptical companion galaxy interacting with enormous NGC 289. Of course spiky stars are in the foreground of the scene. They lie within the Milky Way toward the southern constellation Sculptor.”

Chet Raymo, “Take My Arm”

“Take My Arm”
by Chet Raymo

“I’m sure I have referenced here before the poems of Grace Schulman, she who inhabits that sweet melancholy place between “the necessity and impossibility of belief.” Between, too, the necessity and impossibility of love.

Belief and love. They have so much in common, yet are as distinct as self and other. How strange that two people can hitch their lives together, on a whim, say, or wild intuition, knowing little if nothing about the other’s hiddenness, about things that even the other does not fully understand and couldn’t articulate even if he did. Blind, deaf, dumb, they leap into the future, hoping to fly, and, for a moment, soaring, like Icarus, sunward. The necessity of wax. The impossibility of wax. We “fall” in love, they say. Schulman: “We slog. We tramp the road of possibility. Give me your arm.”


“The dictionary defines grief as: “Keen mental suffering or distress over affliction of loss; sharp sorrow, painful regret.” We’re taught to learn from and rely on books, on definitions, on definitives but in life, strict definitions rarely apply. In life, grief can look like a lot of things that bear little resemblance to sharp sorrow.

Grief may be a thing we all have in common but it looks different on everyone. It isn’t just death we have to grieve. It’s life, it’s loss, it’s change. And when we wonder why it has to suck so much sometimes, it has to hurt so bad. The thing we gotta try to remember is that it can turn on a dime. That’s how you stay alive when it hurts so much you can’t breathe. That’s how you survive. By remembering that one day, somehow, impossibly, it won’t feel this way. It wont hurt this much. Grief comes in it’s own time for everyone in it’s own way. So the best we can do, the best anyone can do, is try for honesty. The really crappy thing, the very worst part of grief is that you can’t control it. The best we can do is try to let ourselves feel it when it comes and let it go when we can. The very worst part is that the minute you think you’re past it, it starts all over again and always, every time, it takes your breath away.

According to Elizabeth K├╝bler-Ross, when we are dying or have suffered a catastrophic loss, we all move through five distinctive stages of grief. We go into denial because the loss is so unthinkable, we can’t imagine it’s true. We become angry with everyone. We become angry with survivors, angry with ourselves. Then we bargain, we beg, we plead. We offer everything we have. We offer up our souls in exchange for just one more day. When the bargaining has failed and the anger is too hard to maintain, we fall into depression, despair. Until finally we have to accept that we have done everything we can. We let go. We let go and move into acceptance.”
- “Grey’s Anatomy”

"What In the Hell Was Washington Thinking?"

"What In the Hell Was Washington Thinking?"
by David Stockman

"What in the hell were those bloody-minded Washington/NATO neocons thinking? At any time in the last nine months they could have had a diplomatic settlement with Russia that would have:

Avoided/ended the war in Ukraine, thereby saving tens of thousands of Ukrainian lives and hundreds of billion of economic cost and destruction;

Allowed the Russian speaking population of the Donbas a substantial degree of self-governance and autonomy from the hostile government in Kiev;

Permitted the historic Russian territory of Crimea to remain under Russian control per the wishes of the overwhelming share of its Russian-speaking population;

Kept NATO out of Ukraine and its missiles away from Russia’s doorstep;

Removed NATO missile bases from the the old Warsaw Pact countries, where NATO had expanded in breach of Washington’s solemn promise made at the time of the German reunification to not extend NATO "one inch to the east" .

Would this have furthered the national security of the US and Europe, permitted Europe’s then flourishing peaceful commerce with Russia to continue and avoided the current global plague of soaring energy and food prices caused by the Sanctions War? Yes, it would have. In spades!

So the question recurs. What alternative path did Washington/NATO envision and how could the likely consequences have improved upon either the above summarized settlement, which has been possible all along or, far worse still, the disastrous end game which is now unfolding?

The fact is, after Putin’s speech the phrase "disastrous end game" is barely adequate to describe the scenario ahead. That’s because it signaled that the relative restraint of Russia’s "Special Military Operation" (SMO) is now over, and what lies ahead is full scale political and military warfare that can only end in calamity for Ukraine, NATO and indeed the world: The heart of the matter is that Putin is now :

Mobilizing Russia’s entire GDP, which is at least 15X greater than what’s left of Ukraine’s;

Mustering 300,000 fresh reserves or double the number of Russian forces now deployed in the SMO;

Abandoning the policy of not attacking Ukraine’s civilian electric power grid and railroad system, which has been crucial to Ukraine’s survival to date and the West’s massive supply of weapons across the western border and through the interior rail network;

Preparing to annex the two breakaway Donbas republics in the east and the Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions in the south after hurriedly called referendums, which will transform the war into an explicit NATO-enabled attack on Russia proper.

To be sure, Kiev and Washington are screaming loudly that these referendums are "shams", and it’s probably the case that the ballot counting will be no better than what occurred in the state of Georgia in 2020. But the fact is, these regions are populated by Russian-speakers who have no love for or loyalty to the anti-Russian government in Kiev; who have already lined-up for Russian citizenship in large numbers; and who, in any case, fear the retribution of the Ukrainian military and secret service far more than they fear the Russians.

Stated differently, the populations of the Donetsk (DPR) and the Luhansk People’s Republics (LPR) and those of the Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions are not begging to be "liberated" by Ukrainian armies, which are every bit as brutal and vindictive as the Russian military has been alleged to be, and surely don’t give a whit about Washington/NATO’s hypocritical malarkey about the rule of law and the sanctity of borders. In fact, the overwhelming share of the populations (75-90%) of these regions have voted for the pro-Russian candidate in every presidential election held in the Ukraine since the Soviet Union’s mailed fist was lifted from their governance in 1991.

That is to say, they have implicitly voted for partition of a country that never existed until it was nailed together by the tyrannical rule of Lenin, Stalin and Khrushchev after 1922. So doing, they effected an arbitrary rearrangement of borders that plopped what had been "New Russia" for upwards of 200 years into the commie designed Soviet Socialist Republic of Ukraine for no better reason than it suited their whims and convenience of rule.

But now, within a matter of weeks, Ukraine’s borders will be restored to the pre-WWI status quo ante. Whether fair and square or not, the vote will be overwhelmingly in favor of separation and upon the request of the peoples of "Novorussiya", Putin has indicated that these regions will once again become formal Russian territories.

What that means, in turn, of course, is that NATO’s war in support of the Kiev regime will become an explicit war on the territory of Russia. And that surely portends a bloody and disastrous end game because the only way it does not end up in an armistice after untold more deaths and destruction, followed by secession of the new "Russian" territories , anyway, is if Ukraine wins the war. That’s not going to happen. Not in a blue moon.

Once Moscow takes the gloves off and savages Ukraine’s electric power grid and railway system it will be all over except the shouting. The massive flow of western armaments, which has kept Kiev in the game to date, will be drastically curtailed; and the civilian population in the Kiev-controlled areas will be left high and dry, preparing to shiver in the dark as the severe Ukrainian winter approaches.

Nor does the alleged surprise victory of Ukrainian forces in the Kharkiv area in recent weeks change the scenario. What that actually accomplished was the sacrifice of thousands of Ukrainian troops in the apparent faint attack on Kherson in the south in order to regain a few thousand square miles of lightly populated open steppe around Kharkiv. Even then, the alleged hastily retreating Russian army was not that at all. The area had been mostly occupied and defended by the lightly trained volunteers of the Republic of Luhansk, not the trained professionals of the Russian armed forces.

Now that the Ukrainian army has driven out the Luhansk volunteers and occupied the open steppe lands, it remains for Russian dominance of the air and artillery war to encircle the alleged victors and pulverize them from the air and via long-range artillery that is even now being brought into position.

That is to say, in a few weeks the Ukrainian "victory "will disappear from the MSM, just as have so many other alleged setbacks to the Russian cause. Instead, the news will be about the brutality of the Russian attacks on Ukraine’s energy and transport infrastructure; the roadblocks it will put in front of what has been the demolition derby of US/NATO supplied weaponry to the battle front; and the fact that without massive new aid from Washington beyond the $50 billion already authorized, civilian life in the Kiev-controlled portions of the country will be on the verge of collapse and the regime in Kiev will be on virtual life-support from Washington.

In short, the end game in lieu of the diplomatic settlement which could have been had long ago will be either a more unfavorable partition of Ukraine, leaving Kiev and the western regions as a bankrupt landlocked rump state and ward of the west, or an escalation that involves direct military engagement by NATO and leaves the world teetering on the edge of nuclear war.

So much for using Ukraine as cannon fodder to drastically "weaken Russia" and to force the demonized Vlad Putin from power. To the contrary, by the time Europe’s cold and dark winter is underway, it will be European governments, which slavishly did Washington’s bidding, that will be falling like dominoes.

More importantly, it will also be the new Republican majority on Capitol Hill asking our opening question of Biden’s infinitely foolish national security team: Indeed, what in the hell were you thinking?!"

The Daily "Near You?"

Spencer, West Virginia, USA. Thanks for stopping by!

"Nothing New Under the Sun"

"Nothing New Under the Sun"

"Yes, the times change with the tides; yet the tales, like the surf, sound on in familiar perpetuity and with steady repetition. In the modern era, during the great clash of civilizations currently underway, there will be no new, great and ghastly crusades. Only resistance or surrender. In America, just as her tide recedes from the world, in the end it may become Man overboard, and every man for himself. The sun rises. The sun sets.

As sand through an hour-glass, or waves rolling over every shore, so too, do our journeys mark passageways through time; and, in the end, our navigation may, indeed, depend upon guidance, like stars, shining down from heaven upon what we know, over the decisions we make; on the destinies we choose. And, of course, there will be losses incurred during the storms.

So, we raise our sails and pray for the prosperous winds of Providence to guide our ways and guard our lives through uncharted seas. Perhaps it's true that fortune finds and favors the faithful above all. Even still, those who believe, and those who doubt, and those who sleep, all do drift and blow by the same breeze. The winds of change are on us. They've always been here, steadfast and old as time itself. Like the earth. Nothing new under the sun."
- Doug "Uncola" Lynn

The Poet: Charles Bukowski, "The Mind, Go All The Way"

Full screen recommended.
- Charles Bukowski, "The Mind, Go All The Way"
Read by Tom O'Bedlam

"Life Is Hard?"

"Life is hard? True - but let's love it anyhow,
though it breaks every bone in our bodies."
- Edward Abbey
"When I hear somebody sigh, "Life is hard,"
I am always tempted to ask, "Compared to what?"
- Sydney Harris
RedFrost Motivation, 
"Be Unshakable - Ultimate Stoic Quotes Compilation"
"Powerful wisdom from Marcus Aurelius, Seneca and Epictetus"
Performed by Chris Lines

"We suffer more often in imagination than in reality. 
You want to live but do you know how to live? 
You are scared of dying but tell me, 
is the kind of life you lead really any different to being dead?"

'How It Really Is"


"'Have They Gone Completely Mad?' They Know That They Are Killing The Economy, But They Are Doing It Anyway"

"'Have They Gone Completely Mad?' They Know That 
They Are Killing The Economy, But They Are Doing It Anyway"
by Michael Snyder

"They know exactly what they are doing. The “experts” that run the Federal Reserve know that if they dramatically hike interest rates it will cause countless American workers to lose their jobs and it will absolutely crush the housing market. And even though those two things are already starting to happen, they just announced another massive rate hike. If there was a school for central bankers, one of the very first things that they would teach you is that you should never, ever raise rates as an economy is plunging into a recession. Every Fed official knows what has happened in the past when rates have been hiked at the beginning of an economic slowdown, but they are doing it anyway. To call this “economic malpractice” would be a major understatement, and the American people should be deeply alarmed about what they are doing to us.

After everything that has already happened, it is hard to believe that Fed officials would continue to be so reckless. On Wednesday, it was announced that rates would be raised by another 75 basis points…"The Federal Reserve on Wednesday raised its benchmark interest rate by 75 basis points for the third straight month as it struggles to bring scorching-hot inflation under control, a move that threatens to slow U.S. economic growth and exacerbate financial pain for millions of households and businesses.

The three-quarter percentage point hikes in June, July and September - the most aggressive series of increases since 1994 - underscore just how serious Fed officials are about tackling the inflation crisis after a string of alarming economic reports. Policymakers voted unanimously to approve the latest super-sized hike."

It was a unanimous vote. There wasn’t even one dissenting voice. Have they gone completely mad?

Wall Street certainly did not like this decision. The Dow plunged hundreds of points immediately after it was announced…"The Dow Jones Industrial Average slid 522.45 points, or 1.7%, to close at 30,183.78. The S&P 500 shed 1.71% to 3,789.93, and the Nasdaq Composite slumped 1.79% to 11,220.19. The S&P ended Wednesday’s session down more than 10% in the past month and 21% off its 52-week high. Even before the rate decision, stocks were pricing in an aggressive tightening campaign by the Fed that could tip the economy into a recession."

For ages, the Fed coddled the financial markets, but now it is almost as if they don’t even care anymore. Personally, I am far more concerned about what will happen to ordinary hard working Americans in the months ahead. Even Jerome Powell is admitting that “an increase in unemployment” is likely because of what the Fed is doing…“I think there’s a very high likelihood we will have a period of… much lower growth and it could give rise to an increase in unemployment,” he said.

Will that mean a recession? “No one knows whether that process will lead to a recession or how significant a recession it will be,” Powell said. “I don’t know the odds.” Actually, we are in a recession right now. And Powell and his minions just made things a whole lot worse.

Even Democrats understand this. After the rate hike was announced, Senator Elizabeth Warren went on Twitter and warned that “millions of Americans” could soon lose their jobs… .@federalreserve’s Chair Powell just announced another extreme interest rate hike while forecasting higher unemployment. I’ve been warning that Chair Powell’s Fed would throw millions of Americans out of work - and I fear he’s already on the path to doing so."

This is one of the rare occasions when Elizabeth Warren is right on target. As I have been documenting on my website for weeks, large numbers of Americans have already been getting laid off. In fact, things are already so bad that even Facebook is trimming their numbers…"As growth stalls and competition intensifies, Facebook parent Meta has begun quietly cutting staff by reorganizing departments, while giving ‘reorganized’ employees a narrow window to apply for other roles within the company, according to the Wall Street Journal, citing current and former managers familiar with the matter. By shuffling people around, the company achieves staffing cuts “while forestalling the mass issuance of pink slips.”

So why would the Fed choose to raise rates when layoffs are already beginning to spike? Higher rates are also having a devastating impact on the housing market. This week, we learned that sales of existing homes have now fallen for seven months in a row…"Home sales declined for the seventh month in a row in August as higher mortgage rates and stubbornly high prices pushed prospective buyers out of the market. Sales of existing homes - which include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops - were down 19.9% from a year ago and down 0.4% from July, according to a report from the National Association of Realtors."

Someone should start putting “Jerome Powell did this” stickers on for sale signs all over the nation. Because this didn’t have to happen. Now the housing market is already in a “deep recession”, and the Fed just keeps making things even worse…"The prolonged downturn in confidence shows the housing market has been “in a tailspin for the whole of this year,” according to Pantheon Macroeconomics chief economist Ian Shepherdson.

“Activity tracks mortgage applications with a lag, and the early September numbers are grim, even before the full hit from the rebound in mortgage rates in recent weeks works through,” Shepherdson said in a note to clients on Monday. In short, the housing market is in a deep recession, which is already hammering homebuilders and will soon depress housing-related retail sales,” he added."

The Fed seems determined to kill the economy. But why? Why would they do this? One analyst that was just quoted by Fox Business is warning that “times are going to get tougher from here”… “With the new rate projections, the Fed is engineering a hard landing — a soft landing is almost out of the question,” said Seema Shah, chief global strategist of Principal Global Investors. “Powell’s admission that there will be below-trend growth for a period should be translated as central bank speak for ‘recession.’ Times are going to get tougher from here.”

Yes, times are definitely going to get tougher from here. In fact, we are eventually headed for a meltdown of epic proportions. But instead of working to prevent a historic crisis, the Federal Reserve is actually encouraging one. The American people deserve some answers, because there is something about all of this that really stinks."

"A Central Bank Goes Bust"

Full screen recommended.
Dan, iAllegedly 9/24/22:
"A Central Bank Goes Bust"
"We are in the middle of an economic nightmare. Now we are seeing that central banks are going out of business. You have to prepare yourself because this does not end well."
Comments here:

"I Have Chosen My Side..."

"I make no bones about being partisan for my country. I also feel no shame whatever because of it. I absolutely disagree that "great thinkers don't let that affect the thoughts". I would say exactly the opposite: someone who refuses to let love-of-country affect their thoughts is a moral cripple irrespective of their intellectual prowess. I can look dispassionately at the situation, and I have done so repeatedly. But I will never forget which nation I love and support.

We Americans have a saying: “It’s more important what you stand for than who you stand with.” I do not rely upon peer opinion to decide what is right and what is wrong. I make those decisions for myself, and even if I discover that every other human alive chose differently, that doesn’t mean I was wrong.

There comes a time in every man’s life when he has to choose sides. I have chosen my side. I am comfortable with my decision. I do not think everyone on my side is a saint, but I know that those on the other side are much, much worse.

Sometimes a man with too broad a perspective reveals himself as having no real perspective at all. A man who tries too hard to see every side may be a man who is trying to avoid choosing any side. A man who tries too hard to seek a deeper truth may be trying to hide from the truth he already knows. That is not a sign of intellectual sophistication and “great thinking”. It is a demonstration of moral degeneracy and cowardice.”
- Steven Den Beste
“Each man must for himself alone decide what is right and what is wrong, which course is patriotic and which isn't. You cannot shirk this and be a man. To decide against your conviction is to be an unqualified and unexcusable traitor, both to yourself and to your country, let men label you as they may.”
- Mark Twain

Friday, September 23, 2022

"As We Move Closer To WW3, It’s A Good Time To Reassess Our Priorities In Life"

"As We Move Closer To WW3,
It’s A Good Time To Reassess Our Priorities In Life"
by Caitlin Johnstone

"As the US empire continues to escalate aggressions against both Russia and China, as Moscow warns that “strategic nuclear weapons” may be used to protect the territories it plans on annexing from eastern Ukraine even as Washington prepares to ramp up its proxy war spending in that nation once again, as nuclear-armed powers which refuse to compromise with each other accelerate toward direct confrontation with nobody’s foot anywhere near the brake pedal, it’s probably a good time to pause and re-evaluate our priorities in life.

One who is sincere and courageous about having an authentic relationship with reality will take seriously the very real possibility that this could all be ending fairly soon. They will face this possibility directly and let it inform the way their humanity expresses itself in the world, rather than compartmentalizing away from it and avoiding it.

It’s just a fact that based on what we know about what nuclear war would mean for life on this planet and how we’re hearing more and more often that we’re now already closer to armageddon than we were during the last cold war, humanity as we know it may not be around for much longer. Our end could very well come not in millennia or even centuries, but in months or years. And we can just be real with ourselves about that, and let it shape the way we live our lives.

"The US Empire Is Accelerating Toward Global Conflict On Two Fronts"
"And that's just Russia; tensions are rapidly escalating between the US-centralized empire and China as well."
- Caitlin Johnstone (@caitoz) September 22, 2022

To be clear, I am not telling you that you should do this. Life is hard, and there’s only so much we can each deal with. You are under no obligation to directly confront humanity’s looming proximity to nuclear annihilation and let it inform your life if that’s not where you’re at right now.

But I’m not pointing toward this line of inquiry to make people depressed and despondent; just the opposite in fact. For those who are willing and able to face our situation where it stands, it’s a useful object of contemplation which brings up a lot of highly relevant questions about how to better live life to its fullest. Questions that kind of demand answers.

Questions like, would I be happy with the way I’ve been spending my time lately if it turned out that tomorrow is the day the ICBMs start flying?

Would I be content with the things that my interest and attention have been focusing on, not just in my outward expression but silently in my mind?

What would I wish I had done? What would I wish I had done more of? What would I wish I had stopped doing?

Are there any chances I’d wish I’d have taken? Chances on love? Chances on life? Things I’ve held off on saying to people because it would require making myself more vulnerable than I am comfortable?

Am I happy with who I’ve been spending my time with? Have they been making the experience of this life more fulfilling than it would be without them in it, or less? Are they the people I’d want with me in the end?

Has my political energy and attention been spent wisely? Have I been focusing on the most important issues I could choose to focus on, knowing that nuclear war could be right around the corner? Or have I been getting lost in vapid partisan bickering, sectarian infighting, or dopey culture war distractions?

Have I done everything I possibly can to prevent a nuclear exchange between the US power alliance and Russia and/or China? Could I have helped draw more public awareness to this supremely important issue?

Have I been doing my best to really be present in each moment, or is my attention mostly consumed by my churning mental monologue? Is there anything I can do to spend more time in the present instead of in my head?

Am I really relishing my time here on this earth? Appreciating the thunderous beauty which surrounds me? Treasuring my encounters with my loved ones? Cherishing the sensory kiss of each moment? Adoring this world while it lasts? What intentions can I set for myself to help me really live this terrestrial life to its fullest?

Have I been living a life of truth and integrity? Have my behavior, speech and thinking aligned with what I know to be true? With what I believe to be valuable? With what I think of as an authentic human being?

Only you can answer these questions for yourself, but they do deserve answers. Whether this turns out to be the home stretch for humanity’s run on this planet or not, these are good things to come to terms with and integrate into our way of living. Whether we all say goodbye together or whether we end up saying goodbye separately, eventually we’ve all got to say goodbye."
Listen To A Reading Of This Article:

Canadian Prepper, “Red Alert! Share This Everywhere!”

Canadian Prepper, 9/23/22:
“Red Alert! Share This Everywhere!”
“This is not an exercise. The Government is stockpiling,
 mass military mobilization is occurring. Mass exit is underway.”
Comments here:

"As Walmart Shelves Get Barer, Insiders Are Warning That Supplies Will Get Tighter In The Weeks Ahead"

Full screen recommended.
"As Walmart Shelves Get Barer, Insiders Are Warning 
That Supplies Will Get Tighter In The Weeks Ahead"
by Epic Economist

"If you have been to your local supermarket lately, you probably have noticed empty shelves where some of the most popular grocery staples should be. This year, a series of food retailers, including big names such as Walmart and Target, are experiencing shortages of a wide range of products as a result of supply chain disruptions, higher costs of fuel and fertilizers, and extreme weather events. Now, industry insiders are telling us that the outlook for agricultural production in the U.S. is extremely grim. No one really knows for sure when the supply of many of these everyday essentials will bulk back up. And while shortages persist, prices continue to climb higher – with some painful increases that range from 10 to over 40 percent just over the past 12 months.

American farmers and ranchers – who have done everything in their power to keep the nation’s supermarket shelves supplied over the past two years, are now on the edge of desperation. They are seeing their crops being destroyed by the ongoing drought, their livestock headcounts have shrunk by the millions, and they’re also dealing with some of the most expensive prices of critical materials and energy ever recorded. Much of the food that has been grown in the past year won’t ever make it to our food system, and this means, we’re about to see shelves get even barer at our local stores in the coming weeks and months.

In 2022, nearly three-quarters of US farmers saw a reduction in harvest yields due to the dry weather, with 37% saying that they were tilling over fields that won’t produce anything because of a lack of water, a 13% increase from last year. According to Farm Bureau data, one-third of orchard farmers nationwide, and 50% in California, said they were ripping up trees, an increase from 17% in 2021. Ranchers are also having to make some very tough decisions. A new report revealed that two-thirds of the country’s ranchers are selling off animals or birds, with average herd sizes dropping by 36%. The biggest herd declines are in Texas (collapsing 50%), New Mexico (43%), and Oregon (41%), a clear example of the wide geographic distribution of the distress.

Those working at the very root of the U.S. food supply chain can’t catch a breath. They’re also facing labor shortages, surging processing costs, and transportation delays. Meanwhile, food retailers are specifically warning that current conditions are likely to prevent the industry from supplying enough supplies to the general population. Egg Innovations CEO John Bruunquell recently alerted that an uptick in demand coinciding with labor, freight and vendor issues may soon hamper grocery supplies. Bruunquell noted that businesses are already operating at 100 percent capacity, but that still may not solve the problem. "If that trend continues it’s going to put us in a challenging situation with meeting the demand," he stressed.

On social media, a flood of posts on Facebook and Twitter expose that even the world’s biggest retailer isn’t immune to shortages and supply chain challenges. In a series of short videos, shoppers exposed empty meat and produce aisles at Walmart. Of course, empty shelves are being spotted in many other supermarkets across the U.S., but the fact that the largest and most well-resourced big-box retailer on the planet is having supply issues should be a wake-up call for all of us. That’s a very ominous sign for US consumers, the retail sector, and the broader US economy. At this point, we all want the supply chain crisis to be resolved, inflation to go back down, and life to return to the way that it used to be. Unfortunately, none of those things are going to happen. We must start bracing for a future where scarcity is the new normal. Everyone in the industry is telling us to prepare for the worst, so it would be unwise to ignore their alerts."

Musical Interlude: Deuter, "Endless Horizon"

Full screen recommended.
Deuter, "Endless Horizon"

Be kind to yourself, relax and savor this...

"A Look to the Heavens"

"A gorgeous spiral galaxy some 100 million light-years distant, NGC 1309 lies on the banks of the constellation of the River (Eridanus). NGC 1309 spans about 30,000 light-years, making it about one third the size of our larger Milky Way galaxy. Bluish clusters of young stars and dust lanes are seen to trace out NGC 1309's spiral arms as they wind around an older yellowish star population at its core.
Not just another pretty face-on spiral galaxy, observations of NGC 1309's recent supernova and Cepheid variable stars contribute to the calibration of the expansion of the Universe. Still, after you get over this beautiful galaxy's grand design, check out the array of more distant background galaxies also recorded in this sharp, reprocessed, Hubble Space Telescope view.”

"For Nothing Is Fixed..."

"For nothing is fixed, forever and forever and forever, it is not fixed; the earth is always shifting, the light is always changing, the sea does not cease to grind down rock. Generations do not cease to be born, and we are responsible to them because we are the only witnesses they have. The sea rises, the light fails, lovers cling to each other, and children cling to us. The moment we cease to hold each other, the sea engulfs us and the light goes out."
- James Baldwin

"We are fast moving into something, we are fast flung into something like asteroids cast into space by the death of a planet, we the people of earth are cast into space like burning asteroids and if we wish not to disintegrate into nothingness we must begin to now hold onto only the things that matter while letting go of all that doesn't. For when all of our dust and ice deteriorates into the cosmos we will be left only with ourselves and nothing else. So if you want to be there in the end, today is the day to start holding onto your children, holding onto your loved ones; onto those who share your soul. Harbor and anchor into your heart justice, truth, courage, bravery, belief, a firm vision, a steadfast and sound mind. Be the person of meaningful and valuable thoughts. Don't look to the left, don't look to the right; we simply don't have the time. Never be afraid of fear."
- C. JoyBell C

The Poet: Wendell Berry, "The Circles Of Our Lives"

"The Circles Of Our Lives" 

"Within the circles of our lives
we dance the circles of the years,
the circles of the seasons
within the circles of the years,
the cycles of the moon,
within the circles of the seasons,
the circles of our reasons
within the cycles of the moon.

Again, again we come and go,
changed, changing. Hands
join, unjoin in love and fear,
grief and joy. The circles turn,
each giving into each, into all.
Only music keeps us here,
each by all the others held.

In the hold of hands and eyes
we turn in pairs, that joining
joining each to all again.
And then we turn aside, alone,
out of the sunlight gone
into the darker circles of return,
Within the circles of our lives."

- Wendell Berry

"The Most Precious Gift I Have..."

"Bad things do happen; how I respond to them defines my character and the quality of my life. I can choose to sit in perpetual sadness, immobilized by the gravity of my loss, or I can choose to rise from the pain and treasure the most precious gift I have - life itself."
- Walter Anderson

"Stock Market Crippled Today, It's Time To Worry; Stop Laughing, The FED Ain't Gonna Save You"

Jeremiah Babe, 9/23/22:
"Stock Market Crippled Today, It's Time To Worry;
 Stop Laughing, The FED Ain't Gonna Save You"
Comments here:

Gregory Mannarino, “Millions Will Die, And Not By Accident”

Gregory Mannarino, 9/23/22:
“Millions Will Die, And Not By Accident”
Comments here:

The Daily "Near You?"

Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Thanks for stopping by!

"Yes, Your Leftist Friends Are Mentally Ill. You’re Not. Share This Post With Them To Trigger Them." (Excerpt)

"Yes, Your Leftist Friends Are Mentally Ill. You’re Not. 
Share This Post With Them To Trigger Them."
by John Wilder

Excerpt: "A Dutch dude named Erasmus of Rotterdam (who died in 1536) made a famous quote that I’m sure you’re all familiar with, namely, “In regione caecorum rex est luscus.” Presumably, Erasmus said this before he died. I was going to follow this up with a joke about the Dutch, but then I looked at my site statistics, and found that the Netherlands is number 5 on the countries that come to visit here at Wilder, Wealthy, and Wise.

So, my conclusion is this: people of the Netherlands are amazing people who have impeccable taste in fine writing and I’d be glad to give them all a free bikini wax, but I’m pretty sure that they’re so tall, blonde, disciplined and perfectly proportioned that they’ve trained their bodies to not grow hair where they don’t want it. Go Netherlands! I’m pretty sure they have flying cars in the Netherlands now.

Anyway, what Erasmus was saying was originally in Latin, but Latin isn’t a dead language – it’s still Roman around. My initial translation was, “Near the gas station in the skanky part of town, never pick up women after 3am.” These are wise words, but what Erasmus really meant was, “In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.”

That’s one of those phrases that sounds really cool. In fact, I imagined being able to see in a country full of blind people. I mean, the only actor that would be able to play Batman would be Christian Braille. And, using my crazy superpower of sight, I’d be able to break into their houses at night and steal all of their PEZ®. But that’s not the way it would work.

I would probably try to explain to them that I could see – a sense that they didn’t have at all. The concept of photons and colors and would sound crazy to them. In fact, they’d probably think I was crazy and come at night while I was sleeping and give me blanket parties or worse until I shut up or left.

In the modern world, it’s similar, but it’s what’s commonly referred to as “Clown World” where everything is inverted. Things that are beautiful are corrupted, and people are expected to applaud the bravery inherent in people reveling in the corruption. I’ll let Stonetoss lead the introduction of the topic at hand.

If you’re not familiar with what Stonetoss is writing about, there is a “teacher” in Canada who decided, apparently, to wear comically large and obscene fake breasts to shop class. How do we know they’re obscene? YouTube® banned them.
But, yet, these Z-cups are allowed because a “teacher” showed up to work wearing them, and the school board is apparently afraid to confront the dude. When a parent tried to bring the subject up, the local school board shut down the meeting rather than confront the amazing amounts of silicone (or foam rubber?) being paraded in their classrooms. In fact, they say it’s illegal to criticize the “teacher”.
In my assessment of the situation, there are two possibilities. The first is that the “teacher” is so mentally insane that allowing him to dress like this is similar to allowing him to claim that he’s made of string cheese and now has a mouse phobia. That’s the first possibility. The second is that the “teacher” is gaming the system and seeing how far he can push things so he can get mental disability payments and not have to show up to work, or not be graded based on his job performance. I actually consider this more likely, but, hey, it’s 2022 so he just might be bonkers.

This was actually the plot to a South Park® episode where a teacher became more aggressively, explicitly gay in front of his students in an attempt (I recall) to get fired. Instead, the people celebrated his inappropriate behavior because of his bravery. So, yeah. Blame Canada. I’m sure that this is what the Canadian troops were thinking about when they hit the beach at D-Day, the freedom for shop teachers to don Z-cup fake breasts."
- Full article, well illustrated, is here:

"World War III Has Already Begun, But The Truth Is Being Withheld From The Public"

"World War III Has Already Begun, 
But The Truth Is Being Withheld From The Public"
by Mike Adams

"World War III has already begun. You simply aren't being told this because your government and dishonest media outlets are dedicated to keeping you in the dark. Conditions are already long past the point of negotiation or de-escalation between Russia and the west. Unfortunately, the insanity of western nations has escalated this conflict to a condition where whoever launches nukes first has the advantage.

Anyone living in Western Europe should prepare for economic collapse, famine and nuclear war. Those living in North America should prepare for economic collapse and worldwide nuclear fallout that will disrupt crops for years to come. Those who don't store food will end up eating radioactive food, if they can find any at all."
Get the full story in today's article and podcast here:

Judge Napolitano, "Scott Ritter - Ukraine Russia War Update"

Full screen recommended.
Judge Napolitano - Judging Freedom, 9/23/22:
"Scott Ritter - Ukraine Russia War Update"
Russia-Ukraine war latest: 
what we know on day 212 of the invasion.
Comments here:
"'Return To Our Historical Motherland': 
4 Ukrainian Regions Vote In Referendums On Joining Russia"
Excerpt: "On Friday Russian-occupied regions of Ukraine kicked off voting in referendums on joining the Russian Federation, according to announcements by a series of separatist leaders, in the biggest political development on the ground thus far in the seven-month long invasion.

These 'popular referendums' are taking place in four areas of Ukraine in the east and south, namely the self-declared republics of Donetsk and Luhansk, and in large parts of Kherson and Zaporizhzhia - despite these not yet being under full Russian military control. The voting is expected to continue over a period of five days.

In total the four regions make up nearly 20% of Ukraine's territory, and signals huge escalation given this week President Vladimir Putin vowed to use "all the means at our disposal" - including the potential of nuclear arms - to defend Russia's "territorial integrity". Of course, by bringing whole swathes of Ukraine into Russia, Putin effectively issued a 'by all means' declaration for military defense of these territories."
Full article here:
"Ex-CIA Ray McGovern:
 Conditioned For War With Russia"
Excerpt: "Thanks to Establishment media, the sorcerer apprentices advising President Joe Biden - I refer to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, National Security Advisor Jacob Sullivan and China specialist Kurt Campbell - will have no trouble rallying Americans for the widest war in 77 years, starting in Ukraine, and maybe spreading to China. And, shockingly, under false pretenses.

Most Americans are oblivious to the reality that Western media are owned and operated by the same corporations that make massive profits by helping to stoke small wars and then peddling the necessary weapons. Corporate leaders and Ivy-mantled elites, educated to believe in U.S. “exceptionalism,” find the lucre and the luster too lucrative to be able to think straight. They deceive themselves into thinking that (a) the U.S. cannot lose a war; (b) escalation can be calibrated and wider war can be limited to Europe; and (c) China can be expected to just sit on the sidelines. The attitude, consciously or unconsciously, “Not to worry. And, in any case, the lucre and luster are worth the risk.”

The media also know they can always trot out died-in-the-wool Russophobes to “explain,” for example, why the Russians are “almost genetically driven” to do evil (James Clapper, former national intelligence director and now hired savant on CNN); or Fiona Hill (former national intelligence officer for Russia), who insists “Putin wants to evict the United States from Europe. As he might put it: “Goodbye, America. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.”
Full article here:

"Workingman’s Dead"

"Workingman’s Dead"
by Addison Wiggin

“I ain't no communist necessarily,
 but I been in the red all my life.”
- Woody Guthrie

"Sacco and Vanzetti are rolling in their graves. Never in a million years would they have imagined the strength of the Federal Reserve in dictating the lives and liberties of the American people and their jobs. And yet we listen – and cringe – as “the Growth Recession” is slowly but surely realized with every coming Powell interest rate hike.

“We think it's necessary to have a growth slowdown,” preaches the Chairman. He continues: "Growth is going to be slowing down this year for a couple of reasons. One of which is that we’re coming off of the very high growth of the reopening year of 2021. You're also seeing tighter monetary policy. We actually think we need a period of growth below potential, in order to create some slack so that the supply side can catch up."

You know Powell's theory. It’s simple. The Fed raises rates in an effort to lasso inflation by purposefully slowing “aggregate demand.” As Jim Rickards kindly explained in our latest Wiggin Session, much of the inflation in the system right now is the result of the government lockdowns and subsequent supply chain issues.

The Fed is a bank. It doesn’t drill, ship or refine oil. It can’t unload Samsung TVs from cargo barges off the coast of Long Beach. It can’t drive a truck full of oranges from Central Florida to a Wegmans in King of Prussia, PA. What the Fed can do is crush the consumer’s spirit… and try to dampen the demand for gas, flat screens and morning meditation smoothies.

Kill the demand. Supply will catch up, eventually. The unfortunate and very real side effect rears its fugly head in Powell’s next statement: "We also think that there will be, in all likelihood, some softening in labor market conditions. And those are things that we expect, and we think that they're probably necessary if we were to have – to get inflation."

The Fed’s original mandate from the 1913 Federal Act was “price stability.” In 1978, the Full Employment and Balanced Growth Act, better known as the Humphry-Hawkins Act, allowed the Fed mandate to include “full employment.”

Every Fed Chair since Arthur Burns has considered employment as part of their dominion. With Powell’s mutterings about “creating some slack” in the system, he has effectively jettisoned the full employment mandate of 1978. Strangely, there’s still more slack in the system than your garden variety inflation-fighting scenario…

When the “barbarians of specialization” locked down the economy during the Pandemic, millions of Americans simply quit their jobs. The result: Despite two… maybe three… quarters of negative growth, the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) hasn’t officially declared a recession. One reason is the massive number of “Help Wanted” signs still hanging on storefronts across the country.
The sharp uptick on the right is “The Great Resignation” of 2020. 
(Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics)

What makes this “recession” different? If the Fed keeps raising rates, as Goldman and others of their ilk expect, those job openings will magically dissipate. Rising rates will knock out zombie businesses, zombie households, zombie college students… and inject the debt-virus into small businesses. Borrowing to expand or make payroll is easy when rates are low to negative.

Doing the same when interest rates are high and projected to go higher, businesses find themselves working on smaller margins. Find it harder to pay back debts. Find it more difficult to hire new employees. Business owners find themselves spending more money on interest than on strategizing the “next level.” They may even find themselves laying off otherwise trustworthy old employees.

Expect a “soft labor market,” Powell sweet talks…it’s exactly what he wants! When you’re rich and, ahem, powerful, you don’t worry about this kind of thing. But if you ain’t, well… it matters a lot. You’re less likely to finance that new Hyundai Iconiq 5 if you’re not sure you’ll even have a job in the next few months. This winter is going to be rough.

So it goes,

P.S. Another unintended consequence of an extended recession… “labor” gets busy.
Workers line up to vote on unionization at Amazon's
 warehouse in Staten Island. (Source: Associated Press)

“We, as workers,” brays Chris Smalls, man on the street in New York, “the working class, we got to realize our value. If we don't go to work, these CEOs don't make their money. So if workers can realize that no matter where you work in this country, what you're doing, then you will realize that you can form something that can collectively bargain.” Yep. Here we go again."