Saturday, February 11, 2023

"The Monstrous Thing..."

"The monstrous thing is not that men have created roses out of this dung heap, but that, for some reason or other, they should want roses. For some reason or other man looks for the miracle, and to accomplish it he will wade through blood. He will debauch himself with ideas, he will reduce himself to a shadow if for only one second of his life he can close his eyes to the hideousness of reality. Everything is endured - disgrace, humiliation, poverty, war, crime, ennui - in the belief that overnight something will occur, a miracle, which will render life tolerable. And all the while a meter is running inside and there is no hand that can reach in there and shut it off."
- Henry Miller, “Tropic of Cancer”

Musical Interlude: Soothing Relaxation, "Dance of Life"

Full screen recommended.
Soothing Relaxation, "Dance of Life"
Be kind to yourself, forget all the troubles 
for a little while and enjoy this beautiful video...

"A Look to the Heavens"

"Gorgeous spiral galaxy NGC 3521 is a mere 35 million light-years away, toward the constellation Leo. Relatively bright in planet Earth's sky, NGC 3521 is easily visible in small telescopes but often overlooked by amateur imagers in favor of other Leo spiral galaxies, like M66 and M65. It's hard to overlook in this colorful cosmic portrait, though. Spanning some 50,000 light-years the galaxy sports characteristic patchy, irregular spiral arms laced with dust, pink star forming regions, and clusters of young, blue stars.
Remarkably, this deep image also finds NGC 3521 embedded in gigantic bubble-like shells. The shells are likely tidal debris, streams of stars torn from satellite galaxies that have undergone mergers with NGC 3521 in the distant past."

"Promise Me..."


"Noticing Synchronicity: Interconnected Experiences"

"Noticing Synchronicity: Interconnected Experiences"
by Madisyn Taylor, The DailyOM

"Things happen in our lives for a reason, even if that reason is not clear to you right away. When events appear to fit together perfectly in our lives it may seem at first that they are random occurrences, things that are the result of coincidence. These synchronous happenings, though, are much more than that, for, if we look at them more closely they can show us that the universe is listening to us and gently communicating with us. Learning to pay attention to and link the things that occur on a daily basis can be a way for us to become more attuned to the fact that most everything happens in our lives for a reason – even when that reason is not clear right away.

When we realize that things often go more smoothly than we can ever imagine, it allows us to take the time to reflect on the patterns in our lives. Even events that might not at first seem to be related to each other are indicators that the universe is working with, not against, us. This idea of synchronicity, then, means that we have to trust there is more to our lives than what we experience on a physical level. We need to be willing to look more closely at the bigger picture, accepting and having confidence in the fact that there is more to our experiences than immediately meets the eye. Being open to synchronicity also means that we have to understand that our lives are filled with both positive and negative events. Once we can recognize that one event is neither more desirable nor better than the other – they all have an overall purpose in our lives -- then we are truly ready to listen to the messages the universe gives us.

While we may not be able to see everything in our lives as being synchronous, we can certainly use hindsight to be more aware of how the universe guides us. This sense of wonder at the mysteries of the universe and the interconnectedness present in our lives will help us see our overall ways of being and will in turn make it easier to work more consciously towards our spiritual evolution."

The Poet: David Wagoner, "Getting There"

"Getting There"

"You take a final step and, look, suddenly
You're there. You've arrived
At the one place all your drudgery was aimed for:
This common ground
Where you stretch out, pressing your cheek to sandstone.

What did you want to be?
You'll remember soon.
You feel like tinder under a burning glass,
A luminous point of change.
The sky is pulsing against the cracked horizon,
Holding it firm till the arrival of stars
In time with your heartbeats.
Like wind etching rock, you've made a lasting impression
On the self you were,
By having come all this way through all this welter
Under your own power,
Though your traces on a map would make an unpromising
Meandering lifeline.

What have you learned so far? You'll find out later,
Telling it haltingly like a dream,
That lost traveler's dream under the last hill
Where through the night you'll take your time out of mind
To unburden yourself
Of elements along elementary paths
By the break of morning.

You've earned this worn-down, hard, incredible sight
Called Here and Now.
Now, what you make of it means everything,
Means starting over:
The life in your hands is neither here nor there
But getting there,
So you're standing again and breathing, beginning another
Journey without regret
Forever, being your own unpeaceable kingdom,
The end of endings."
~ David Wagoner

The Daily "Near You?"

Ashburn, Virginia, USA. Thanks for stopping by!

Greg Hunter, "Weekly News Wrap-Up 2/11/23"

"Weekly News Wrap-Up 2/11/23"
by Greg Hunter’s

"Vice President Biden gave the annual State of the Union address, and it might as well have been called the State of Inflation address. The ideas presented by Biden spell big inflation and bigger debts. This is not to mention the fact of how out of touch the government seems to be with China, nuclear war with Russia and an ongoing CV19 vax genocide. Let’s pretend everything is great, and the Biden Administration is totally in control - NOT.

The Lying Legacy Media (LLM) has officially turned into a propaganda arm of the New World Order Freedom Hating Democrats. For proof, look no further than the propaganda piece attacking alternative media as spreaders of “misinformation.” This from the organization that told us the Huge lie that President Trump was a Russian asset, and they did this for years!! Same with the incriminating Hunter Biden laptop that the New York Times said was Russian disinformation - Yet, another huge lie in a sea of lies and propaganda. The NYT and the rest of the LLM will never recover from the “safe and effective” claims of the CV19 bioweapon/vax that was pushed day and night 24/7 and is still being pushed. Dr. Paul Craig Roberts has some important news on the CV19 vax too.

The economy is tanking, and the Fed is going to continue to raise interest rates for now. Companies are laying people off by the thousands, and the Fed is perplexed over the Saudis moving away from the U.S. dollar in oil trade. The dollar is not going to fall all at once from the world reserve currency perch, but the decline has started. Can the Fed hold up the value of the dollar with 2% interest rates? Of course, the answer is NO."

Join Greg Hunter on Rumble for these stories 
and more in the Weekly News Wrap-Up:

"The Only Difference..."

“The only difference between the Republican and Democratic
parties is the velocities with which their knees hit the floor when
corporations knock on their door. That’s the only difference.”
- Ralph Nader

"How It Really Is"


"I Cannot Believe..."

"I cannot believe that the purpose of life is to be “happy.” I think 
the purpose of life is to be useful, to be responsible, to be compassionate.
It is, above all, to matter and to count, to stand for something, 
to have made some difference that you lived at all.”
- Leo C. Rosten

"Millions Of Americans Face "Hunger Cliff" As 32 States Set To Slash Emergency Food Stamp Benefits"

"Millions Of Americans Face 'Hunger Cliff' As 
32 States Set To Slash Emergency Food Stamp Benefits"
by Tyler Durden

"More than 30 million Americans face a "hunger cliff," as 32 states are set to slash food-stamp benefits beginning in March. By number, California and Texas have the most people on food stamps, at 5.1 million and 3.6 million respectively.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) program notably exploded from $60.3 billion in 2019 to $119.5 billion in 2022 thanks to the Agriculture Department expanding food-stamp benefits by evading the normal process for determining eligibility and end-running Congressional review.

"The reductions are due to the end of so-called emergency allotments, which bolstered food-stamp benefits at the start of the pandemic as Americans grappled with the massive disruption to the economy. While the U.S. is certainly on more stable footing than in 2020, households are now struggling with high food costs - groceries were about 10% higher in December than a year earlier - making the timing of the SNAP cuts particularly challenging, experts say." - CBS News

"This huger cliff is coming to the vast majority of states, and people will on average lose about $82 of SNAP benefits a month," said Ellen Vollinger, the SNAP director at the anti-hunger advocacy group, the Food Research & Action Center. "That is a stunning number."

The move comes after 18 states already ended their emergency benefits, while the remaining 32 states that continued the additional aid will lose federal funding to in March as part of the 2023 Omnibus spending bill which was signed into law in December.

The changes mean that a family of four could see benefits cut by around $328 per month, while elderly Americans who receive the minimum monthly benefit could see their SNAP payments fall from $281 per month to as low as $23. In 2022, the average monthly benefit per person was $230.88, an increase from $129.83 in 2019.

And despite having the lowest unemployment rate since 1969, more than 42 million Americans remain on food stamps - 6% more than in 2020, according to USDA data. "What sometimes gets missed in that conversation is the part that so many SNAP households are employed, but often employed at low-wage levels - they aren't in jobs that are family-sustaining so they still qualify for SNAP," said Vollinger.

Food banks, meanwhile, are bracing for an increase in demand as food aid is slashed. "People are having to choose between putting food on the table and paying rent," said Food Bank of the Rockies CEO, Erin Pulling. "We are seeing more people than ever needing help with food assistance." As for the food stamp cuts, Pulling says "We're bracing for it."
A Comment: So, Good Citizen, there's nothing for you, but YOU and I and all of us can send $121 BILLION to that goddamned absolutely and totally corrupt hellhole of Ukraine? SNAP was $119.5 billion for 2022, and we can't fund it now, while the Wall St. criminals and their 1% Masters get literally trillions of dollars from the totally bought and paid for money-whore politicians? How about taking care of US for a change? No offense, but WTF isn't wrong with this country?! And it never gets better, does it?
- CP

"Massive Price Increases At Kroger! This Is Ridiculous! Not Good!"

Full screen recommended.
Adventures With Danno, 2/11/23:
"Massive Price Increases At Kroger! 
This Is Ridiculous! Not Good!"
"In today's vlog we are at Kroger, and are noticing massive price increases on groceries! We are here to check out skyrocketing prices, and the empty shelves situation! It's getting rough out here as stores seem to be struggling with getting products!"
Comments here:

Friday, February 10, 2023

Musical Interlude: Richard Harris, "MacArthur Park"

Richard Harris, "MacArthur Park"

"Red Alert! US Launches ICBM; Russia Preps Satan Missile"

Full screen recommended.
Canadian Prepper, 2/10/23:
"Red Alert! US Launches ICBM; Russia Preps Satan Missile"
Comments here:

"15 Signs That America’s Middle Class Is Poorer Than You Think"

Full screen recommended.
"15 Signs That America’s Middle Class 
Is Poorer Than You Think"
by Epic Economist

"We have been conditioned to think that the U.S. middle class is the richest in the world, but it turns out that in terms of wealth, middle-class Americans rank fairly low compared to middle-income earners in other major industrialized countries. Homeownership rates are higher in many European countries than in the U.S., giving the average European more assets to his name than his American counterpart. In 2021, more than 70% of European middle-class workers had a home, according to the Urban Institute, but in the United States, only 59% of people in that income group had bought a place to live. Plus, it's easier for Americans to borrow money, which eats away at their household net worth, explained Jim Davies, an economics professor at Western University.

We cope with higher levels of debt, less access to health care, and a worse work-life balance, with millions of middle-class seniors actually planning to work past their 80s. Over the past three decades, the financial condition of people in this income group has greatly deteriorated, and today, most middle-class Americans are closer to the lower class than the upper class. In fact, many people are a few missing payments away from falling into poverty, and the American dream of upward mobility seems increasingly out of reach.

With millions of middle-class jobs being shipped overseas as an overwhelming number of companies turned to cheaper labor instead of strengthening our own workforce, the once-strong foundation of the U.S. economy is now cracking, and the repercussions of it will affect out whole nation. Between 2000 and 2014, the number of US households earning between $50,000 and $149,999 per year dropped by 8 million, according to a study by the McKinsey Global Institute. As a result, we have a growing wealth gap, with most middle-class workers becoming more likely to fall into poverty than to ascend to wealth.

The rise of poverty is a cancer that can ultimately destroy the fabric of our society, leaving behind only a barren wasteland of misery and despair, and the worsening inequality is a stain on the historty of the United States, a stark reminder that the prosperity and security once associated with the middle class are now nothing but a distant memory. This crisis is not simply an economic issue, but a political, social, and moral one as well. It is not just about money, but also about a loss of hope, safety, and opportunity. "

The collapse of the great American middle class, which has always been the main catalyst of growth in our country, threatens to erode our democracy and undermine our future because, at the end of the day, the multiple problems faced by this vital segment of our population also translate into a major reduction in the number of individuals with the resources and motivation to participate in democracy, contribute to the economy, and support our development.

The root cause of this downfall is not the failure of the American people, but rather decades of policies that have favored the interests of the wealthy and corporations over working families. As our population continues to lose ground financially, we endure a loss of everything that makes America great - its spirit, its values, and its promise of a better future for us all. That's why, in today's video, we compiled some numbers to prove that the U.S. middle class is financially screwed."
Comments here:

"I Have Bad News, The Damage Is Done; Consumers Have No Cash; Mortgage Crisis Will Be Epic"

Jeremiah Babe, 2/10/23:
"I Have Bad News, The Damage Is Done; 
Consumers Have No Cash; Mortgage Crisis Will Be Epic"
Comments here:

"Z-DAY Approaches as Russia Prepares Massive Assault Wave Against Ukraine and NATO"

"Z-DAY Approaches as Russia Prepares
 Massive Assault Wave Against Ukraine and NATO"
By Mike Adams

"All signs point to a Russian offensive moving against Ukraine within the next 20 days. This offensive will be much larger in size and equipment compared to the February, 2022 offensive, but it will move more slowly and methodically, avoiding Blitzkrieg tactics and instead relying on by-the-book military doctrine of a slow, steady, relentless pummeling of the enemy while gaining ground.

This offensive is being called “Z-Day” and will reportedly involve over 700 aircraft, 1,800 Russian tanks and 500,000 soldiers, all designed to take down the Zelensky regime that has functioned as a proxy for NATO’s attempts to eliminate Russia from the world map.

Importantly, with the recent revelation that the Nord Stream pipelines were blown up by the USA working with Norway, Russia is currently updating its retaliation rules to allow a first strike “preventative” attack using nuclear weapons to prevent NATO from further threatening Russia’s existence. Former US Marine and UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter just called for the arrest and criminal prosecution of Victoria Nuland and Joe Biden for masterminding the plot to destroy the Nord Stream pipelines. (See Ritter’s YouTube interview here.)

This act of terrorism, carried out by the Pentagon, CIA, US Navy and State Dept., was also an act of war against Germany, a NATO “ally.” It makes us wonder whether Germany will declare an Article 5 violation and demand that other NATO countries attack the USA for its act of war against Germany.

In any case, Russia is on the verge of launching both a major offensive against Ukraine and also - potentially - a “preventative” nuclear strike against the USA and NATO targets across Europe. The USA may have only weeks remaining before we find ourselves in a global nuclear conflict from which no one emerges unscathed."
Video is here:

Musical Interlude: 2002, "Stillpoint"

Full screen recommended.
2002, "Stillpoint"

"A Look to the Heavens"

"The small, northern constellation Triangulum harbors this magnificent face-on spiral galaxy, M33. Its popular names include the Pinwheel Galaxy or just the Triangulum Galaxy. M33 is over 50,000 light-years in diameter, third largest in the Local Group of galaxies after the Andromeda Galaxy (M31), and our own Milky Way. About 3 million light-years from the Milky Way, M33 is itself thought to be a satellite of the Andromeda Galaxy and astronomers in these two galaxies would likely have spectacular views of each other's grand spiral star systems. 
As for the view from planet Earth, this sharp image shows off M33's blue star clusters and pinkish star forming regions along the galaxy's loosely wound spiral arms. In fact, the cavernous NGC 604 is the brightest star forming region, seen here at about the 4 o'clock position from the galaxy center. Like M31, M33's population of well-measured variable stars have helped make this nearby spiral a cosmic yardstick for establishing the distance scale of the Universe."

The Poet: John Jefferson, “Wounded But Not Slain”

“Wounded But Not Slain”

“I am wounded but I am not slain.
I’m bruised and faint they say…
I shall lay me down and bleed a while,
then I shall rise and fight again.
Just let me lie and bleed awhile;
I’ll not be long this way.

My Spirit’s low and my eyes flow.
My heart is sad and sore;
But when my pen’ent tears are gone,
I’ll stand and fight some more.

I’ll bind these wounds; I’ll dry these tears;
I’ll close this bleeding vein;
I’ll not lie here and weep and die:
I’ll rise and fight again.

‘Twas yesterday I bowed so low,
Was weak from tears and pain;
Today I’m strong; my fears are gone;
Today I fight again.”
- John Jefferson
“You cannot kill me here. Bring your soldiers, your death, your disease, your collapsed economy because it doesn’t matter, I have nothing left to lose and you cannot kill me here. Bring the tears of orphans and the wails of a mother’s loss, bring your God damn air force and Jesus on a cross, bring your hate and bitterness and long working hours, bring your empty wallets and love long since gone but you cannot kill me here. Bring your sneers, your snide remarks and friendships never felt, your letters never sent, your kisses never kissed, cigarettes smoked to the bone and cancer killing fears but you cannot kill me here. For I may fall and I may fail but I will stand again each time and you will find no satisfaction. Because you cannot kill me here.”
- Iain S. Thomas

"Hope In a Time of Hopelessness"

"Hope In a Time of Hopelessness" 
by Washingtons Blog

"Hope has two beautiful daughters. Their names are anger and courage;
anger at the way things are, and courage 
to see that they do not remain the way they are."
- Augustine of Hippo

"Several long-time activists have told me recently they are overwhelmed, worried, and think that we may be losing the struggle. One very smart friend asked me if there is any basis for hope.

Hope is an act of will, not a passive mood. Admittedly, things are easier when circumstances bring hope to us, and we can just receive the hopeful and inspiring news. But if we care about winning, we have to be able to decide to have hope even when outer circumstances aren't so positive.

I have children who are counting on me to leave them with a reasonably safe and sane planet. As I've said elsewhere, I care too much about my kids and my freedom to be afraid. I care enough about them that it gets my heart beating, connects me to something bigger than myself, and that gives me courage, even when the chips are down. 

If I allowed myself to lose hope about exposing falsehoods, about protecting our freedom and building a hopeful future, I would be dropping the ball for my kids. I would be condemning them to a potentially very grey world where bigger and worse things may happen, where their liberties and joys are wholly stripped away, where every ounce of vitality is beholden to joyless and useless tasks.

Many of us may be motivated by other things besides kids, and only you can know what that is. But we each must dig down deep, and connect with our most powerful motivations to win the struggle for freedom and truth.

I don't know about you, but I don't have the luxury of giving up hope. When I get depressed, overwhelmed or exhausted by the stunning acts of savagery, treason, and disinformation carried out by the imperialists, or the willful ignorance of far too many Americans, I will myself into finding some reason to have hope. Because the struggle for life and liberty is too important for me to give up." 

"You Can Avoid Reality..."


MUST VIEW! Judge Napolitano, "This Russian Offensive in Ukraine - Scott Ritter"

Judge Napolitano - Judging Freedom, 2/10/23:
"This Russian Offensive in Ukraine - Scott Ritter"
Comments here:
Full screen recommended.
Hindustan Times, 2/10/23:
"The Russian President, Vladimir Putin, accused Ukraine and the U.S. of starting the conflict way back in 2014. Speaking with the executives of the aviation industry in Moscow on Thursday, Putin said that "we did not start the military activities; we are trying to end them." He also attacked the U.S. for backing Kyiv in the 2014 coup, accusing Washington of using Ukrainians as "cannon fodder" in a geopolitical proxy war against Russia. Watch this video to know what happened in 2014."
Comments here:

"The Real State of the Union with Gerald Celente"

Dan, iAlllegedly 2/10/23:
"The Real State of the Union with Gerald Celente"
"We are so lucky to get Gerald Celente Back for Round 2. 
 He talks about the Real State of the Union."
Comments here:

"ChatGPT on The Dollar"

"ChatGPT on The Dollar"
Human stupidity vs artificial intelligence... 
Bill vs a fiery bird from hell... 
the US Dollar vs gold and plenty more...
by Bill Bonner and Joel Bowman

Youghal, Ireland - "Sometimes, stupidity alone isn’t enough. You also need to pay attention to what we call, pretentiously, the ‘Darwinism des moeurs.’ That is, we follow the evolved rules, customs and habits that have stood the test of time. It’s better not to kill or steal, for example, even if it seems like a good idea at the time. And that is true for governments as well as individuals.

But sometimes the living think they know better than the thousands of dead generations that came before them. And lately, we’ve completely despaired of today’s human intelligence. So, we’re giving the artificial kind a chance. Specifically, we wanted to know what ChatGPT, the latest thing in AI, sees coming for the dollar. Does it draw on the wisdom of the corpses? Or look to the latest claptrap and wishful thinking from Paul Krugman and Janet Yellen? Here’s the answer (admittedly, after a leading question): "The US dollar was once the king of currencies, but [in 2023] its reign was about to come to an end.

Step 1: The monster rises: Government spending spirals out of control, creating deficits that ballooned to unsustainable levels. As debt levels reached new heights, the once-great American economy began to show cracks. Inflation took hold, wiping out the purchasing power of ordinary Americans. The cost of living skyrocketed, making it harder for people to make ends meet.

Step 2: The monster attacks: The once-strong US dollar was no match for the monster of inflation. Its value plummeted as investors around the world sought safer investments. Foreign countries, including Japan and oil-producing states, stopped buying US government bonds, reducing demand and sending the US dollar into a downward spiral.

Step 3: The aftermath: The collapse of the US dollar changed America forever. Prices rose to levels never seen before, leaving ordinary people struggling to make ends meet. The once-great American economy was in shambles, and the world would never be the same.

Hey…humans guess. AI can guess too.

Like a Crow Outta Hell: And since it’s Friday….we will spare you our own guess about the “end of the world” until Monday. For now, let us tell you about the flaming crow incident. It began when we brought in some local lads to replace the wire on top of our chimneys. There are thousands of crows that make their home somewhere nearby. They get into chimneys and build nests, clogging them up.

One of the men who came to solve the problem was a big man, beefy, with fleshy features and a shaved head. He looked a little like “Curly” of the Three Stooges.

“Are you going up the ladder to put these new protectors on?” we asked. The answer was obvious; of course, he was; that’s what he was here for. The man looked at us blankly. “He must be Polish,” we said to ourselves. “He doesn’t understand a word we’re saying.”

Then, suddenly, as if a switch had been turned on, he came to life, and in perfect local patois, he replied: “Tat’s what um here for.” He wasn’t Polish at all; maybe just a little slow.

Coming back down the ladder, he reported…“Ye have some crows in dere. Better smoke dem out before ye put de wire on.” We filled the fireplace with lightly–packed newspaper. We struck a match. In seconds, the weekend edition of the Financial Times was alight. It flared up fast, as intended.

And then came a terrible screech…and a rustling up in the flue…all of a sudden, a firebird appeared in the fireplace…its wings aflame…like a fowl from Hell itself. It flapped its wings amid the inferno; the flames shot higher. And still screeching it headed straight for us.

Confronted by this diabolical animal…and gripped by a cold fear, we gave out a cry of terror and fell back. The crow passed over us, still with its wings ablaze… Its feathers thus consumed by the conflagration, it couldn’t fly. So, it raced around on foot. We had seen chickens run with their heads cut off, but never a crow whose wings had been scorched. Soon, the flames were out; a trail of ash and burnt feathers circled the room.

After a few moments, the crow had only tattered, stubby feathers left….still smoking. We jumped to our feet and chased the bird around the room…moving a canapĂ© and an electronic piano to get at it. Finally, we cornered it and managed to trap it in a wicker trash basket. We took it out the door and gave it its freedom in the nearby woods. Its prospects were poor…but not hopeless.

Later that day…We were working outside…painting our hand-made conservatory. (Your editor’s handiwork. Photo: Bill)
Suddenly, crows appeared overhead. It was like a scene from an Alfred Hitchcock movie. They gathered in the big oak tree near where we were painting. A few dozen. Then hundreds…and finally what seemed like thousands. Quiet…and then calmly chattering…and then, in a great rush, they took to the air…calling to each other in anger as they circled overhead. We guessed what they were squawking about…..

“You set our cousin on fire…and you’re not going to get away with it.” “It wasn’t intentional,” we replied meekly. “We were just trying to get him out of the chimney.” The flock was unmoved by our excuses…Extenuating circumstances meant nothing to this jury. “Besides, the bird is not dead. He’s in the trash heap, eating some of yesterday’s dinner.” The birds seemed to take this in, perhaps wondering where the scrap heap was located. But inasmuch as defense yielded no progress, we went on the offense. We clapped our hands…making a noise a little like the sound of a small caliber rifle. The birds dispersed and didn’t trouble us again.

Cluster Incoming: But let us return to Mr. Powell before signing off for the weekend. We’ve already subjected our long term dear readers – who did us no harm – to no fewer than 5,000 of these commentaries. We’re not going to stop now. And so far, we were mostly right. At least about the big things. In 2000, the dot-coms did crash as predicted. The real estate market took a dive in 2007-2009, also as we predicted. And inflation rose up in 2021…again, following the script we had laid out years in advance.

Now, we think the whole Primary Trend has shifted…from bull market to bear market…from disinflation to inflation…and from growth and prosperity (especially in the best zip codes) to stagnation and poverty (especially in the middle zip codes.) This analysis stems not from our own native stupidity, but from the record of the past. Primary Trends reverse…white shoes aim for mud…and the best of times become the worst of times.

We also think that this major financial shift will be accompanied by a whole “cluster” of self-inflicted, cyclical, and inevitable political and social disasters. Did you see the State of the Union, dear reader? Did you get a good look at our elected officials? Did they remind you of Franklin, Washington, Madison and the others gathered in Philadelphia in 1787 for the Constitutional Convention? We didn’t think so. And isn’t their way of doing business – spending trillions of dollars they don’t have – bound to cause disasters?

But we remind our long-suffering readers that most analysts think we are wrong. They see moderating inflation…softening Fed policies…victories against Russia, China, germs, and carbon…and blue skies from here to eternity.

Yes, we are in a minority. Held in contempt by the Krugman school of economists…despised by the imperialist war mongers…mocked by bulls…ignored by bears…scorned by Republicans…detested by Democrats and dissed by earnest True Believers of all persuasions…hated by the crows…and wouldn’t it be nice if we were wrong?"

PS. "We’re sorry we set the crow on fire."
Joel’s Note: Speaking of fiery birds from Hell, how ‘bout that flapping, floundering fiat conflagration known as the US Dollar? Measured against real money – gold – the greenback lost 0.4% of its purchasing power in 2022…and this despite one of the most aggressive rate hike campaigns in recent history. It’s lost another 2% so far in 2023, even as Mr. Powell’s Fed remains committed to fighting the very inflation they didn’t see coming and then largely ignored when it inevitably arrived. (As Tom Dyson pointed out in a recent note to BPR members, the dollar index (DXY) is down from its high of 114 in October last year to 103 today…a 9.6% decline.)

Of course, gold is but one tape against which to measure the dollar’s terminal atrophy. Stack your USDs up against airfares…or a dozen eggs…or school lunches…and see how far they stretch (or don’t). The aforementioned items were up 28.5%… 59.9%… and (incredibly enough) 305% in dollar terms during 2022, a year that saw inflation rip to a four decade high.

The dollar simpered against other real world items last year, too. Flour was 23.4% more expensive in dollar terms…lettuce was up 24.9%…butter by 31.4%…and margarine by 43.8%. Overall, the cost of eating at home rose 11.8%. As for dining out, many working Americans – squeezed by rising costs on the one hand…and falling real wages on the other – simply can’t afford the luxury. (Though we doubt Mr. Powell or Ms. Yellen will be missing a lobster lunch anytime soon…)

Of course, this is only a brief snapshot of a much longer, inexorable trend… that of gradual dollar debasement. No doubt you’ve seen one of a million charts on the Internet depicting just this phenomenon. Here’s one of the better ones, from the folks over at Visual Capitalist…
Click image for larger size.
You can see the key dates on there…from the creation of the Federal Reserve, under President Woodrow Wilson, back in 1913…through to Roosevelt’s Great Gold confiscation, in 1933…to Nixon’s finally abandoning the gold standard altogether, in 1971…through to the massive inundation of freshly inked dollars that flooded the globe in the Great Covid Panic of 2020…(which definitely didn’t cause the subsequent inflation, or so we were told…)

As over a century of data makes clear, parking all your hard earned in one place leaves you vulnerable to the forces of the politicos, who have been cheating hard working citizens out of the value of their savings since time immemorial."

The Daily "Near You?"

Patrick Springs, Virginia, USA. Thanks for stopping by!

"Luddites Were Right, You Know…"

"Luddites Were Right, You Know…"
By Chris Black

"The term “Luddite” originated in the early 19th century and refers to a movement of English textile workers who protested against the increased use of machines in their industry. The term “neo-Luddite” was later applied to those who similarly oppose technology for similar reasons, but in a contemporary context.

Everywhere you go, you see people with their faces in their phones. Constantly, constantly, constantly. At the bus stop. On the train. In the driver’s seats of their moving cars. Their kid makes a bit of noise at the restaurant table? Shove the iPad in their face.

Boomerisms aside, it really can’t be overstated how f**ked up this is, and not because “people don’t interact” anymore. It’s actually much worse than that… Nobody ever allows themselves even a moment of peace inside their own heads. The real insidiousness of the smartphone is that it encourages you to constantly consume content, endlessly, never ever stopping. It’s common for people to spend their entire day with earphones in, listening to podcasts and watching Tiktoks literally constantly.

Our brains did not evolve to be bombarded with constant microbursts of hyper real stimulation this way. Attention spans are getting measurably shorter. Reaction times are getting longer. None of this sh*t is good for your brain.

Everyone always says, “Well, what about TV and the radio?” Inherently limited and fundamentally different because of the fact that they’re pre-programmed and don’t act as “magic mirrors” of you and your personal inputs into them. Your smartphone is designed to learn everything about you so that it can be as addictive as possible and maximize the amount of data it squeezes out of you. Nothing about TV or the radio - or even Web 1.0 internet - ever came anywhere close to this.

Even so, we have known for decades that TV is horrible for your brain on account of many of the same mechanisms that affect attention span and cognitive development. So imagine how much worse the smartphone is. Unfathomably worse. We already know it’s worse, but we won’t know exactly how much worse it is until at least another decade, when the younger Zoomers and Gen Alphas are a few years into adulthood after an upbringing that revolved around Web 2.0.

Millennials were lucky enough not to take the full brunt of the experience. We got our first taste as we came of age instead of growing up being marinated in it. The saddest part is that the only reason any of this even caught on or is the least bit operable is because of the fact that it hijacks the mechanisms that make us feel satisfied and good. We didn’t evolve to handle this level of stimulation, but BOY do we respond to it. It’s so excessive that it’s impossible for some people to resist. So there are no f**king brakes.

You have to cast The Ring into the fire or it totally consumes you. That’s the reality for most people. And that, my friends, is just sick.

Look at your screen usage on your phone and tell me I’m wrong, how you totally don’t need it and can stop whenever you want. You are no better than a crack head, and you won’t realize that until you actually do try to stop for real. It’s unprecedented in human history to think this way. We are truly in uncharted waters here. Just wait until the sensory overload most people are bathing in all day, every day becomes fully automated instead of just partially automated like it is now."

"And The Hell Of It Is..."

"You go up to a man, and you say, "How are things going, Joe?" and he says,  "Oh fine, fine... couldn't be better."  And you look into his eyes, and you see things really couldn't be much worse. When you get right down to it, everybody's having a perfectly lousy time of it, and I mean everybody. And the hell of it is, nothing seems to help much.
- Kurt Vonnegut

"People are sad. People are broke. People are worried about money, people are worried that they're not enough and not amounting to anything and they don't feel good about themselves. People have rough times, and everybody's pretending it's not true, and we need to break that veneer."
- Eve Ensler

"When We Describe America’s Largest Cities As “War Zones”, We Aren’t Exaggerating One Bit"

"When We Describe America’s Largest Cities 
As 'War Zones', We Aren’t Exaggerating One Bit"
By Michael Snyder

"Crime rates are soaring all over the nation, and this is especially true in heavily populated urban areas. The complete and utter lawlessness that we are witnessing has caused many pundits to describe our largest cities as “war zones”, and unfortunately that is not an exaggeration at all. In fact, there are some zip codes in Chicago where young adult males are more likely to be shot and killed than U.S. soldiers were during the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq…"For some residents, Chicago is more dangerous than Afghanistan was for U.S. troops during the Iraq war, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medicine Association. The study found that young men are more likely to be shot and killed in ZIP codes with the most violence than American soldiers were in Afghanistan or Iraq."

Yes, things really have gotten that bad. We have reached a point where it is literally safer to go to war than it is to go to the most dangerous parts of Chicago. And for the worst zip codes in Chicago, the numbers are not even close…"Specifically, in Chicago’s 60624 ZIP code, the homicide rate for young men is more than 1,200 for every 100,000, and it’s not the only ZIP code with numbers like this. The average annual deaths per 100,000 for American soldiers who were heavily engaged in combat numbered at 395 in Afghanistan and 330 in Iraq."

Sadly, the violence in Chicago just continues to intensify. Crime was up 61 percent during the first four weeks of this year, and many Chicago residents are completely fed up with Mayor Lori Lightfoot…"It caused one Twitter user to say: ‘Since [Lightfoot]’s term began, Chicago has suffered 2,278 homicides and over 9,000 shot. Since January 1, the city has endured 41 homicides and 194 shot. Yet here Lightfoot is blissfully dancing and asking voters to return her to office. Lightfoot is detached from reality.’ In addition to rising crime – overall crime is up a shocking 61 percent in the first four weeks of 2023 from the same period last year – Lightfoot has overseen vacancy rates of nearly 30 percent after flagship stores on the Magnificent Mile bailed."

So is Chicago the worst major U.S. city for crime? No, actually it is being reported that overall crime per capita is now even higher in Denver…"Crime statistics for Denver, Colorado’s capital city, are astounding. They now put the Mile High City at the very bottom of the safest cities ranking at Neighborhood Scout. Crime in Denver is now worse than that in New York City or Chicago.

Some statistics from the Denver Police Department: Aggravated assaults, robberies, and homicides, through mid-December 2022, numbered 6,810. Three years ago, that number was 4,924. Property crimes in 2019 were 26,133. In 2022, through mid-December: 42,100. In Denver, the murder and assault rates are twice the national rates, and three times the national rate for rapes and robberies."

Denver was once such a nice place to live. So what happened? Unfortunately, it appears that illegal immigration is fueling much of the crime that is happening in the Mile High City, and every year it just gets even worse. Earlier this week, an official from U.S. Customs and Border Protection admitted to Congress that he has “tremendous concern” about the vast numbers of “gotaways” that are constantly pouring into our communities…

"A U.S. Customs and Border Protection chief patrol agent told lawmakers during a Tuesday Congressional hearing that he has “tremendous concern” that felons and terrorists are among the millions of “gotaways” crossing the southern border into the United States, the New York Post reported. Tucson Sector Chief Patrol Agent John Modlin, who has been with the Border Patrol since 1995, explained that the law enforcement agency needs more resources to improve border security and handle the influx of migrants attempting to enter the country."

If people come into this country legally, they are likely to obey our laws once they are here. But if people come into our country illegally, they are not likely to magically transform into law-abiding residents later on.

Of course illegal immigration is only part of the equation. Violent crime rates are exploding all over the nation, and this includes cities that are very far from the southern border. In Seattle, the number of homicides in 2022 was 24 percent higher than it was in 2021…"Seattle’s violent crime rate rose to its highest point in 15 years in 2022, with reported homicides surging by about 24% compared to 2021, according to the Seattle Police Department’s (SPD) Year-End Crime Report, more than a year after the city cut its police budget."

Property crime rates are also escalating dramatically. For example, cargo theft has become an absolutely massive problem in the state of California…"California led the way with 417 reported cargo thefts in 2022, a 41% year-over-year increase, followed by Texas with 223 and Florida with 153. CargoNet’s 2022 data showed the average value of cargo stolen in a theft was $214,104, a 20% increase compared to 2021." Cargo theft hot spots are typically areas around major ports, as well as intermodal facilities, distribution centers and truck stops.

Needless to say, none of this should surprise any of us. Moral decay has been eating away at the foundations of our society for decades, and that was inevitably going to lead to rampant social decay. If we want to turn things around, one place to start would be our ridiculously pathetic system of public education.

Many young people are turning to crime these days because the public schools have simply not equipped them with the tools that they need to be successful in life. According to test results that were just released, only 7 percent of all eighth graders in Baltimore City are proficient in math…"The Maryland State Department of Education recently released the 2022 state test results known as MCAP, Maryland Comprehensive Assessment Program. Baltimore City’s math scores were the lowest in the state. Just 7 percent of third through eighth graders tested proficient in math, which means 93 percent could not do math at grade level."

What in the world are they teaching these kids? And it turns out that not one single student was proficient in math at 23 of the schools…"Project Baltimore found, in 23 Baltimore City schools, there were zero students who tested proficient in math. Not a single student." What kind of future do you think that most of those kids will have? We have failed an entire generation of children, and most Americans don’t seem to care.

For years I have been writing about the relentless decline of our culture, but most people didn’t think that our cultural decline was a big deal. Unfortunately, now our major cities are crime-ridden, drug-infested hellholes, and it is getting worse with each passing year. Our society has become a giant mess because of the choices that we have made. Wake up America, because time is running out."