Saturday, May 13, 2023

"Mushroom Cloud In West Ukraine; NATO Prepares Intervention; 24 Hours Of Carnage"

Full screen recommended.
Canadian Prepper, PM 5/13/23
"Mushroom Cloud In West Ukraine; 
NATO Prepares Intervention; 24 Hours Of Carnage"
Comments here:

"Social Security Payment Freeze; US Default Is Very Real"

Jeremiah Babe, 5/13/23
"Social Security Payment Freeze; 
US Default Is Very Real"
Comments Here:

Musical Interlude: Neil H, "Mystic Journey"

Neil H, "Mystic Journey"

"A Look to the Heavens"

“This pretty, open cluster of stars, M34, is about the size of the Full Moon on the sky. Easy to appreciate in small telescopes, it lies some 1,800 light-years away in the constellation Perseus. At that distance, M34 physically spans about 15 light-years. Formed at the same time from the same cloud of dust and gas, all the stars of M34 are about 200 million years young.
But like any open star cluster orbiting in the plane of our galaxy, M34 will eventually disperse as it experiences gravitational tides and encounters with the Milky Way's interstellar clouds and other stars. Over four billion years ago, our own Sun was likely formed in a similar open star cluster.”

The Poet: Mary Oliver, "Coming Home"

"Coming Home"

"When we are driving in the dark,
on the long road to Provincetown,
when we are weary,
when the buildings and the scrub pines lose their familiar look,
I imagine us rising from the speeding car.
I imagine us seeing everything from another place-
the top of one of the pale dunes, or the deep and nameless
fields of the sea.
And what we see is a world that cannot cherish us,
but which we cherish.
And what we see is our life moving like that
along the dark edges of everything,
headlights sweeping the blackness,
believing in a thousand fragile and unprovable things.
Looking out for sorrow,
slowing down for happiness,
making all the right turns
right down to the thumping barriers to the sea,
the swirling waves,
the narrow streets, the houses,
the past, the future,
the doorway that belongs
to you and me."

- Mary Oliver

"A Perpetual Illusion..."

"Human life is thus only a perpetual illusion; men deceive and flatter each other. No one speaks of us in our presence as he does of us in our absence. Human society is founded on mutual deceit; few friendships would endure if each knew what his friend said of him in his absence, although he then spoke in sincerity and without passion. Man is then only disguise, falsehood, and hypocrisy, both in himself and in regard to others. He does not wish any one to tell him the truth; he avoids telling it to others, and all these dispositions, so removed from justice and reason, have a natural root in his heart."
- Blaise Pascal

"The Duty..."

"There is only one basic human right, the right to do as you 
damn well please. And with it comes the only basic human duty, 
the duty to take the consequences."
- P. J. O'Rourke

The Daily "Near You?"

Argyle, Texas, USA. Thanks for stopping by!

"Could Be Worse..."

"I'd been in hairier situations than this one. Actually, it's sort of depressing, thinking how many times I'd been in them. But if experience had taught me anything, it was this: No matter how screwed up things are, they can get a whole lot worse."
- Jim Butcher

Dig your way out, they said...

"Once Upon a Time, The End"

"Once Upon a Time, The End"
by Martin Zamyatin

"Those that can make you believe absurdities
can make you commit atrocities."
- Voltaire

"The small group of devoted followers gathered around Chicago housewife Dorothy Martin sat in stunned silence as the clock on her suburban living room wall struck midnight on the twentieth of December, 1954…and nothing happened. Many had left jobs and spouses and given away all their money and possessions in order to await the arrival of alien beings from the planet Clarion, who Martin had assured them would descend at that appointed hour, carrying the faithful few off in their flying saucers just before huge floods engulfed the planet Earth. Finally, four hours after their scheduled departure time, Martin broke her silence.

As the group readjusted their bras, belts, and zippers - having been instructed to discard any metal objects which might interfere with the aliens’ telepathic radio transmissions - their tearful host revealed the reason why their intergalactic rescuers had failed to appear: Apparently it had all been only an elaborate test of faith, and the group’s advanced state of enlightenment had saved the entire planet from a watery destruction!

Surprisingly, only one or two of Martin’s followers were unconvinced by this perfectly rational explanation. Among them, however, was social psychologist Leon Festinger, who had secretly infiltrated the group. Festinger would later write about Martin - using the pseudonym of Marian Keech - in his groundbreaking 1958 book, "When Prophecy Fails." (Not surprisingly, Festinger is credited with coining the psychological term ‘cognitive dissonance.’)

Following publication of Festinger’s book, the group predictably collapsed under the weight of public ridicule. Martin fled to Peru to warn the clueless natives about the imminent re-emergence of Atlantis, before later resurfacing in Arizona, where she joined crackpot L. Ron Hubbard’s nascent pseudoscientific movement, Scientology.

It seems that for as long as people have inhabited the world, they have anticipated its imminent demise. (In fact, the oldest known apocalyptic prediction is depicted on Assyrian tablets from 2800 BC.) In what may be the earliest example in European folklore, a Frankish villager wandered off into the forest in 591, only to be accosted by a swarm of ravenous flies. Overwhelmed, the poor fellow completely lost his mind and returned to his village clothed in animal pelts, claiming he was Jesus Christ, sent to gather his flock before the coming Rapture. (Perhaps resenting the competition, a local bishop hired a gang of thugs to capture the Lord of the Flies, who they rapturously hacked into little bits.)

The failure of one apocalyptic prophecy not only failed to deter its devoted followers but in fact spawned several entirely new religions. When the world failed to end as predicted in the ‘Great Disappointment’ of 1843-44, Massachusetts preacher William Miller’s tens of thousands of followers splintered off to found the Seventh Day Adventists, as well as the obnoxious doorknockers known as Jehovah’s Witnesses. When the next fateful year of 1874 passed without the desired fireworks, the latter’s charismatic founder, Charles Taze Russell, explained that Jesus had indeed returned, but was invisible to all except the truly devout. (Predictably, few dared admit to being lacking in the requisite level of faith.)

The founder of Mormonism, Joseph Smith, had declared way back in 1832 that 1890 would be the year of Jesus’s long awaited return engagement. (Later jailed for fraud, Smith somehow failed to predict his own deliverance by an angry mob at age 39.) Russell revised the fateful year to 1881…then 1914…and finally, 1918. (The latter dates spanned World War I and the Spanish Flu epidemic, events that while apocalyptic for many, fell short of being world ending.)

Our own time has seen the horrors of the Peoples Temple - in which 914 adults and children committed suicide in the jungles of Guyana in 1978; the Branch Davidians, an offshoot of the Seventh Day Adventists - 75 of whom died in the FBI standoff at Waco in 1993; Aum Shinri Kyo -whose poison gas attacks on the Tokyo subway in 1994-95 left 19 innocent people dead; and -neither least nor unfortunately, last - Heaven’s Gate, 39 of whose members committed suicide in 1996, fully expecting (like Dorothy Martin) their spirits to be carried away by aliens hiding in the wake of an approaching comet.

It was probably no coincidence that all of these cults were acting in anticipation of an impending Bible-inspired Day of Judgement. One is tempted to blame these kinds of incidents on the delusions of a small minority of misguided religious fanatics, except that millions of people alive today are expecting an imminent Biblical apocalypse. In a 2012 global poll, fully one out of 7 people said they thought the world would end during their lifetime - and rather ominously, Americans topped the list of doomsayers at 22%. Since their government has the means to fulfil their death wish many times over, one can only hope their gloomy prediction won’t one day become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Just call it a bedtime story for humanity."

"Has Our Luck Finally Run Out?"

"Has Our Luck Finally Run Out?"
by Charles Hugh-Smith

"Long-term cycles escape our notice because they play out over many years or even decades; few noticed the decreasing rainfall in the Mediterranean region in 150 A.D. but this gradual decline in rainfall slowly but surely reduced the grain harvests of the Roman Empire, which coupled with rising populations resulted in a reduced caloric intake for many people. This weakened their immune systems in subtle ways, leaving them more vulnerable to the Antonine Plague of 165 AD.

The decline of temperatures in Northern Europe in the early 1300s led to “years without summer” and failed grain harvests which reduced the caloric intake of most people, leaving them weakened and more vulnerable to the Black Plague which swept Europe in 1347.

I’ve mentioned the book "The Fate of Rome: Climate, Disease, and the End of an Empire" a number of times as a source for understanding the impact of natural cycles on human civilization. It’s important to note that the natural cycles and pandemics of 200 AD didn’t just cripple the Roman Empire; this same era saw the collapse of the mighty Parthian Empire of Persia, the kingdoms of India and the Han Dynasty in China.

In addition to natural cycles, there are human socio-economic cycles of debt and decay of civic values and the social contract: a proliferation of parasitic elites, a weakening of state finances and a decline in the purchasing power of wages/labor. The rising dependence on debt and its eventual collapse is a cycle noted by Kondratieff and others, and Peter Turchin listed these three dynamics as the key drivers of decisive discord of the kind that brings down empires and nations. All three are playing out globally in the present.

In this context, the election of Donald Trump in 2016 was a political expression of long-brewing discontent with precisely these issues: the rise of self-serving parasitic elites, the decay/corruption of the social contract and state finances and the decades-long decline in the purchasing power of wages/labor.

Which brings us to karma, a topic of some confusion in Western cultures more familiar with Divine Retribution than with actions having consequences even without Divine Intervention, which is the essence of karma. Broadly speaking, the U.S. squandered the opportunities presented by the end of the Cold War 30 years ago on hubristic Exceptionalism, wars of choice, parasitic elites and an unprecedented waste of resources on unproductive consumption.

Now the plan–for lack of any real plan–is to borrow trillions of dollars to fund an even more spectacular orgy of unproductive consumption, on the bizarre belief that “money” can be conjured out of thin air in essentially infinite quantities and squandered, and there will magically be no consequences of this trickery in the real world.

Actions have consequences, and after 30 years of waste, fraud and corruption being normalized by the parasitic elites while the purchasing power of labor decayed, the karmic consequences can no longer be delayed by doing more of what’s hollowed out the economy and society.

Which brings us to luck. As a general rule, historians seek explanations which leave luck out of the equation. This gives us a false confidence in the predictability and power of human will and action and cycles. Yes, cycles and human action influence outcomes, but we do a great disservice by shunting luck into the shadows as a non-factor.

If Emperor Pius had chosen someone other than Marcus Aurelius as his successor, someone weak, vain and self-absorbed like so many of Rome’s late-stage emperors, then Rome would have fallen by 170 AD as the Antonine Plague crippled finances and the army, and the invading hordes would have swept the empire into the dustbin of history. It can be argued that only Marcus Aurelius had the experience and character to sell off the Imperial treasure to raise the money needed to pay the soldiers and spend virtually his entire term in power in the front lines of battle, preserving Rome from complete collapse. That was good judgement by Pius but also good luck.

As we ponder luck, consider the estimate that had the meteorite that wiped out the dinosaurs 65 million years ago struck the Earth 30 minutes earlier or later, it would not have generated the Nuclear Winter that destroyed the dinosaurs. (A direct hit in deep water would have spawned a monstrous tsunami, but no dust cloud. A direct hit on land would have raised a dust cloud but without the water vapor/steam generated by the vaporization of millions of gallons of sea water, the cloud wouldn’t have risen high enough to encircle the planet.) That was bad luck for the dinosaurs, and good luck for the mammals who replaced them.

The global economy has been extraordinarily lucky for 75 years. Food and energy have been cheap and abundant. (If you think food and energy are expensive now, think about prices doubling or tripling, and then doubling again.)

In our complacency and hubris, we attribute this to our wonderful technologies, which we assume guarantee us permanent surpluses of energy and food. The idea that technology has reached hard limits or that it could fail doesn’t occur to us. We’ve taken good luck to be our birthright because it’s all we’ve known. We attribute this good fortune to things within our control – technology, wise investments and policies, etc. The possibility that all these powers that we consider so godlike are insignificant doesn’t occur to us because we’ve enjoyed the favorable winds of luck without even being aware of it.

We are woefully unprepared for a long run of bad luck. My sense is the cycles have turned and the good luck has drained from the hour-glass. Energy and food will no longer be cheap and abundant, our luck in leadership will vanish, and our vaunted technologies will fail to maintain an abundance so vast that we can squander the finite wealth of soil, water, resources and energy on mindless consumption.

I’m reminded of a line from an Albert King song, "Born Under a Bad Sign" (composed by Booker T. Jones and William Bell): “If it wasn’t for bad luck, I wouldn’t have no luck at all.” The next five years might have us singing this line with feeling."

Albert King, "Born Under A Bad Sign"

"How It Really Is"

 

"The Navy SEAL Who Killed Osama bin Laden Dropped Jaws With This Statement On The Woke Military"

"The Navy SEAL Who Killed Osama bin Laden 
Dropped Jaws With This Statement On The Woke Military"
By Patriot Political

"To say that the United States military has gone woke in recent years would be putting it mildly. But one man who has certainly earned the right to offer his criticism has had enough. And the Navy SEAL who killed Osama bin Laden dropped jaws with this statement on the woke military.

May 2, 2011 was a famous date in history. It’s the day Navy SEAL Rob O’Neill killed Osama bin Laden, bringing a small payback for thousands of Americans who perished nearly a decade earlier on 9/11.

O’Neill is not happy with the direction the Navy has taken in recent years and he just blasted the Armed Forces for enlisting a drag queen influencer as a “digital ambassador” to help with recruitment.

“Alright,” O’Neill began in a post on social media. “The U.S. Navy is now using an enlisted sailor Drag Queen as a recruiter. I’m done. China is going to destroy us. YOU GOT THIS NAVY. I can’t believe I fought for this bulls*it.”
After a TikTok video from drag queen influencer and U.S. Navy Yeoman 2nd Class Joshua Kelley went viral among conservative commentators this week, O’Neill evidently felt compelled to offer his thoughts. But O’Neill was not done expressing his frustration with the woke military. “You’re doing it wrong, @USNavy,” he wrote in a followup tweet. “Talk to someone whose [sic] actually done something! Not yeomen with t*ts and a Di*k!”
The Navy brought in drag queen Harpy Daniels, who is also an active-duty sailor, to participate in a pilot program targeting a wider array of potential recruits through digital platforms.
Watch the video here:

Don't you feel safer, Good Citizen? The Dept. Of Defense budget for 2023 was $870 BILLION, and this is what we get. Excuse me, but OMFGod, we have truly gone insane...

You probably need one of these, I did...

"Warning! Human Extinction: Physicist Dr. Brian Keating"

Full screen recommended.
Canadian Prepper, 5/13/23
"Warning! Human Extinction: Physicist Dr. Brian Keating"
Comments here:

"The Entire System Is Breaking"

Full screen recommended.
Dan, I Allegedly, 5/13/23
"The Entire System Is Breaking"
"We’re getting warning after warning. Business will not be the same. The meta-verse is broken. The banks are having continual issues."
Comments here:

"Col. Douglas Macgregor - Straight Calls, 5/13/23"

Col. Douglas Macgregor - Straight Calls, 5/13/23
"Either You Attack the Russians Now 
Or You Might As Well Surrender"
"Analysis of breaking news and in-depth discussion of current geopolitical events in the United States of America and the world."
Comments here:
o
Full screen recommended.
Hindustan Times, 5/13/23
"Russia Vs Ukraine - The Ultimate Battle of the Tanks
 Along the Frontline in Donetsk"
"The Russian defense ministry has released a new footage of its army of tanks crushing Ukrainian strongholds in Donetsk. T-80, T-90, T-72B3 and BMP-2 tanks can be seen in combat action launching back-to-back attacks on targets with the help of drones."
Comments here:

"Stocking Up At Kroger! Only Shopping The Sale Prices! What's Coming?"

Full screen recommended.
Adventures With Danno, 5/13/23
"Stocking Up At Kroger! 
Only Shopping The Sale Prices! What's Coming?"
"In today's vlog we are at Kroger, and are noticing some major price increases on groceries! This is not good as stores are already charging extremely high prices on most items!"
Comments here:

Friday, May 12, 2023

"15 Items That Became Impossible To Find At Retail Stores"

Full screen recommended.
"15 Items That Became Impossible
 To Find At Retail Stores"
By Epic Economist

"The shortage of everything is making its way back into U.S. stores. Retailers left and right are facing empty shelves of key products, and consumers are being forced to pay more for the items they need as demand continues to exceed supply. Conditions are getting so extreme that you may not find some summer favorites like ice cream, tequila, burgers and beer at you local supermarket in the coming months.

On top of that, farm-grown fruits and vegetables were some of the biggest victims of the fertilizer shortage that erupted during the pandemic and exponentially worsened after the conflict between Russia and Ukraine broke out, and the world lost two major producers of NPK – which stands for nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, the three primary ingredients plants need to grow. At the peak of the shortage, farmers were seeing fertilizer prices shooting up 700%, and that was right when planting season began. Consequently, many small producers that could not afford such exorbitant costs started abandoning their less profitable crops. Drought also played a major role during the summer of 2022. And now we’re seeing the effects of this at the grocery store, with produce aisles barer than normal.

Similarly, batteries have been in short supply for quite some time now. The global production of steel, zinc, manganese, potassium, and graphite – all components that make the alkaline batteries we find at our local stores is still going down in 2023. The situation doesn’t look any better for lithium or even solar-powered batteries given that demand is significantly outstripping supply worldwide. On top of that, the cost of producing batteries went up by 156% since 2020, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. This means that not only they are getting harder to find but prices are already climbing. Batteries are usually one of the first products to disappear during an emergency, so if your battery stash is running low, you should probably restock it now before inventories drop even further.

Don't wait until everyone starts rushing to the stores to get the supplies you need because by then it may be far too late. Make sure you store your products properly. During the summer months, supply and demand problems become more acute, which means that many other items are also at risk of vanishing from sight. Pay attention to empty shelves the next time you go grocery shopping so that you know which shortage is getting worse and which products to purchase before things get even more complicated. Our struggling supply chains are still coping with one challenge after the other, and this crisis may persist for longer than we're prepared for, so the time to restock our pantries is now. While some staples are already nowhere to be found, others are still available, but not for long. That's why today, we listed a bunch of products that are in short supply right now so you can make preparations for what is coming next."
Comments here:

"The FED Will Confiscate Your Bank Account; Get Ready To Lose Your Job; Society Is Collapsing"

Jeremiah Babe, 5/12/23
"The FED Will Confiscate Your Bank Account; 
Get Ready To Lose Your Job; Society Is Collapsing"
Comments here:

Musical Interlude: 2002, "Courting the Moon"

Full screen recommended. Beautiful!
2002, "Courting the Moon"
"A Mayan legend says that the hummingbird is actually the sun
 in disguise, and he is trying to court a beautiful woman, who is the moon."

"A Look to the Heavens"

“What will become of these galaxies? Spiral galaxies NGC 5426 and NGC 5427 are passing dangerously close to each other, but each is likely to survive this collision. Typically when galaxies collide, a large galaxy eats a much smaller galaxy. In this case, however, the two galaxies are quite similar, each being a sprawling spiral with expansive arms and a compact core. As the galaxies advance over the next tens of millions of years, their component stars are unlikely to collide, although new stars will form in the bunching of gas caused by gravitational tides.
Close inspection of the above image taken by the 8-meter Gemini-South Telescope in Chile shows a bridge of material momentarily connecting the two giants. Known collectively as Arp 271, the interacting pair spans about 130,000 light years and lies about 90 million light-years away toward the constellation of Virgo. Recent predictions hold that our Milky Way Galaxy will undergo a similar collision with the neighboring Andromeda Galaxy in a few billion years.”

"Fools And Knaves..."

“In the mass of mankind, I fear, there is too great a majority of
fools and knaves; who, singly from their number, must to a certain
degree be respected, though they are by no means respectable.”
- Philip Stanhope

“There are more fools than knaves in the world,
else the knaves would not have enough to live upon.”
- Samuel Butler

"Ukraine SitRep: Delayed Counteroffensive, Russian Defense Lines, Weapon Efficiency" (Excerpt)

"Ukraine SitRep: Delayed Counteroffensive, 
Russian Defense Lines, Weapon Efficiency"
by Moon of Alabama

Excerpt: "Two weeks ago the Biden administration had recognized that the announced Ukrainian ‘counteroffensive’ will fail to make much progress. The operation has still not started and Zelensky has moved its launch further into the future: "Speaking at his headquarters in Kyiv, President Zelensky described combat brigades, some of which were trained by Nato countries, as being “ready” but said the army still needed “some things”, including armored vehicles that were “arriving in batches”.”With [what we already have] we can go forward, and, I think, be successful,” he said in an interview for public service broadcasters who are members of Eurovision News, like the BBC. “But we’d lose a lot of people. I think that’s unacceptable. So we need to wait. We still need a bit more time.”

Time will not prevent that any counteroffensive will lead to high casualty rates. In fact, waiting longer means more attacks on the troops in their current positions. Any detected agglomeration of forces or material is already coming under long range Russian missile fire.

As the counteroffensive is destined to fail the Biden administration is out to move the goal posts. In Foreign Affairs two of its MIC propagandists, Michael Kofman and Rob Lee, demand to prepare for a much longer war: "Policymakers, however, have placed undue emphasis on the upcoming offensive without providing sufficient consideration of what will come afterward and whether Ukraine is well positioned for the next phase. It is critical that Ukraine’s Western partners develop a long-term theory of victory for Ukraine, since even in the best-case scenario, this upcoming offensive is unlikely to end the conflict. Indeed, what follows this operation could be another period of indeterminate fighting and attrition, but with reduced ammunition deliveries to Ukraine. This is already a long war, and it is likely to become protracted. History is an imperfect guide, but it suggests wars that endure for more than a year are likely to go on for at least several more and are exceedingly difficult to end. A Western theory of success must therefore prevent a situation in which the war drags on, but where Western countries are unable to provide Ukraine with a decisive advantage."

The delusion is strong in that assessment. A ‘theory of victory’ or ‘success’ is just that – a theory. Ukraine does not have the personnel to sustain a longer war. Nor does the ‘west’ have any spare weapons that could give the Ukraine a ‘decisive advantage’. Still the cue was picked up Ukraine’s foreign minister Dmitro Kuleba (machine translation): "If Ukraine does not succeed in its counteroffensive against the aggressor country Russia, it will prepare for the next one.This was stated by Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba in an interview with Bild published on May 10. He urged “not to consider this counteroffensive as the last one” – “because we do not know what will come of it.”

Kuleba noted that if Ukraine succeeds in its counteroffensive against Russia in liberating its territories, “in the end you will say: “Yes, it was the last one,” but if not, then you need to prepare for the next counteroffensive.” Kuleba is already asking for weapons for the next ‘counteroffensive’ to be launched after the currently announced one fails.

Dreizin published an alleged ‘battle plan’ for a Ukrainian ‘counteroffensive’ in the Zaporozhia front:

(1) Break through the Russian forward defense along the line Nesterianka-Novosyolovka (6km and 19km southeast of Orekhov, respectively) into the defense depth of Guards battalions in the Polozhsk-Orekhov sector, utilizing, in the first echelon, the 47th and 65th Separate Mechanized Brigades, 9th Army Corps (total of 2 tank and 7 infantry battalions—8300 men with up to 60 tanks, up to 200 other armored fighting vehicles, up to 110 field pieces and mortars, 12 MLRS, up to 100 motor rafts.) Breakthrough of the contact line will be in the order of the 65th which is already on the line, then the 47th. Neighboring units including the 128th Separate Mountain Assault Brigade will carry the task of harrying neighboring Russian units so as to prevent reinforcement of Russian forces at the main axis of advance.

(2) Subsequently, deploy the main forces. The main blow is to be from the vicinity of Orekhov, in the direction of Tokmak, ultimately towards Melitopol’. From the point of strategic value the chosen target is the right one. However, it is also the one where the Russian military has prepared its strongest defense lines."
In military books this is know as ‘echeloned defense’ with three lines of well prepared positions ten kilometer apart from each other. Each line consists of tank obstacles, mine belts, prepared anti-tank positions to monitor and counter potential breach attempts and well prepared artillery support from behind the next defense line.
To crack such a nut without air support and without significant artillery advantage is nearly impossible. It is why I think that the Zaporozhia region may not be the real target of the counteroffensive. All the talk about it may well be a diversion. The least prepared front is in the area south of Kherson."
Full article is here:
Hat tip to The Burning Platform for this material.

You and I and all of us have paid at least $120 billion
 for this horror, might as well watch the show...

The Daily "Near You?"

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

The Poet: William Stafford, "You Reading This, Be Ready"

"You Reading This, Be Ready"

"Starting here, what do you want to remember?
How sunlight creeps along a shining floor?
What scent of old wood hovers, what softened
sound from outside fills the air?

Will you ever bring a better gift for the world
than the breathing respect that you carry
wherever you go right now? Are you waiting
for time to show you some better thoughts?

When you turn around, starting here, lift this
new glimpse that you found; carry into evening
all that you want from this day. This interval you spent
reading or hearing this, keep it for life.

What can anyone give you greater than now,
starting here, right in this room, when you turn around?"

- William Stafford

"Don't Wonder..."

"Don't wonder why people go crazy. Wonder why they don't.
In the face of what we can lose in a day, in an instant,
wonder what the hell it is that makes us hold it together."
- "Grey's Anatomy"

Bill Bonner, "Debt Ceiling 81"

"Debt Ceiling 81"
A horror movie with the most predictable ending yet...
By Bill Bonner

"The fiscal recklessness of the last decade has
 been like watching a horror movie unfold."
~ Stanley Druckenmiller

Youghal, Ireland - "The debt ceiling…the debt ceiling…the debt ceiling…The horror movie continues with ‘Debt Ceiling 81.’ A sequel…to a sequel…to a sequel…etc. And, this time, poor Janet Yellen is the leading lady. CNBC: "The notion of defaulting on our debt is something that would so badly undermine the U.S. and global economy that I think it should be regarded by everyone as unthinkable," she told reporters. "America should never default."

Unthinkable? We have no problem thinking about it. And guess what. We think it would be a step in the right direction. Clearly, we are in a minority…perhaps a minority of one.

Reuters: "IMF says US default would have 'very serious repercussions' on global economy."

CNBC: "It is 'vital' that the U.S. finds a deal over the debt ceiling, Eurogroup president says."

Benzinga: "Xi Jinping Could 'Exploit' US Debt Ceiling Crisis, Warns Top Pentagon Leaders: 'China Describes Us As Declining Power'"

CNN continues: "If the United States defaults on its debt, it would undermine faith in the federal government’s ability to pay all its bills on time, affecting the government’s credit rating and unleashing massive turbulence in financial markets."

Good and Evil: There are only two options. One way is the path of reason and goodness, in which the debt ceiling is jacked up for the 81st time…and the disaster movie, otherwise known as US government spending, continues without intermission. Or…boo!...some killjoys in the hard right wing of the Republican Party…white supremacists and neo-nazis to a man…somehow prevent an increase. Then, the gates of Hell open wide…like the mouth of the devil himself, swallowing up the whole world economy. But even those knuckle-dragging Republicans who are blocking the debt ceiling increase are only doing so to get ‘concessions.’ Nobody wants a default. Except us.

As our old friend Sid Taylor used to say: “When your out-go exceeds your income, your upkeep is your downfall,” But there are two ends to that teeter totter. Out-go on one. In-come, on the other. All the commentators are focusing on adding some heft to the ‘income’ side. Without presenting any evidence, they claim the US government doesn’t have enough income…and that it needs to borrow more.

Nary a single newscaster or opinion monger – at least that we’ve seen – has looked at the other end…the out-go. Why not lighten up? When a family, or a business, reaches the end of its line of credit, it can of course just call the bank: “Hey…I went to the ATM. But, like, my card didn’t work. I called customer service. They said I have already exceeded my line of credit. Listen, could you spot me a few more dollars? I’ve got bills to pay.”

Downfall of an Empire: If you were a good credit risk…the bank might say “sure…no problem.” But what if you had already asked for an increase 80 times before? And what if there was no plausible way you could ever repay your debt? What if you had already crashed through your real debt ceiling – the amount that you could comfortably and reliably repay….and now you were just digging a deeper hole for yourself? And what if interest rates were on their way up – as they are – and it may soon be impossible even for you to keep up with the interest payments?

And what if you had lied to the bank about your liabilities? Stanley Druckenmiller: "This is what really annoys me, how no one talks about it... Do you know that the $32 trillion [in government debt] assumes the federal government will never make another Social Security or Medicare payment? [These huge obligations are not included as ‘liabilities’ in the national debt.] Only government accounting could think that the government is never going to make another payment, not one. Not to me... not to you guys when you get older. If you actually accounted for those (big) government programs…credible estimates put the value of that debt [total federal liabilities] at $200 trillion."

And what if, in your loan application to the bank, you forgot to mention your alimony payments, your mortgage, or your health insurance? Then, what would the bank say? “Uh…actually, we were just shutting down your account. Your past loans are being sent over to the collections department. We’ve sent someone over to repo your car. And your bank card has been deactivated.” What would you do? You could try to find another banker…perhaps catching him in the warm glow of a 3-martini lunch. But the 3-martini lunch is a relic of an earlier age. Like it or not, you’d probably have to cut back on your spending.

Geezers and Relics: We’re not breaking any new ground here… but the federal government receives plenty of money. It borrows because it chooses to, not because it needs to. This year tax receipts will be about the same as total government outlays in 2019. What are we missing? Was 2019 so horrible? We don’t recall any catastrophe that year. Would it be so awful if the feds couldn’t squander any more in 2023 than they did in 2019? And suppose the federales did default. Then, they’d find it harder to borrow. In effect, they’d have a real debt ceiling, not a fake one. They’d be forced to spend the money they had…and no more.

We watched Ms. Yellen’s speech at the G7 meeting. We had the impression that we were seeing a person, no longer at the top of her game, and not really saying anything. "There is no good alternative [to borrowing more money] that will save us from catastrophe.”

It was a sad show. We presume she once sounded as though she knew what she was talking about. Perhaps it’s time for her to stop talking. Ms. Yellen collected some $7 million for blah-blah speeches to Wall Street between her gigs at the Fed and the Treasury. Wasn’t that enough?

The top echelons of the US government are almost all relics. These geezers – Yellen is 76 – should have retired a long time ago. Their time is over. Their era is past. Their tricks no longer work. Spend, borrow, print…and raise the debt ceiling! You could get away with it only as long as inflation remained on the bench. Now that CPI increases of 5% are running loose on the field, it’s a whole new ball game.

And now, surely Ms. Yellen deserves better. She should learn from Lou Gehrig’s graceful performance in 1939. Gehrig was suffering from ALS, now known as “Lou Gehrig’s disease.” Though soon to die of the disease, he told the fans gathered in Yankee Stadium that he was “The luckiest man on the face of the earth” and retreated from public view. Poor Ms. Yellen’s age, her decrepitude and her incapacity are still on display. Maybe it’s time for her…along with Joe Biden, Donald Trump, the debt ceiling, ‘stimulus’ spending, $1 trillion deficits, and a long list of relics…to go the way of the three-martini lunch."
o

"How It Really Is"

 

"Peak Focus for Complex Tasks With Beta Isochronic Tones"

Full screen recommended.
"Peak Focus for Complex Tasks 
 With Beta Isochronic Tones"
by Jason Lewis - Mind Amend

"This is a high-intensity audio brainwave entrainment session, using isochronic tones. Listen to this when you need a strong burst of intense focus to concentrate and study things like advanced mathematics, scientific formulas, financial analysis or any other complex mental activity. Listen to this track with your eyes open while doing the task/activity you want to focus on. Use this session in the morning, afternoon or early evening, to train your brain for better cognition, focus and thought processing. You can either sit somewhere quiet and comfortable with your eyes closed and give your brain a nice workout, or you can also listen to this while doing an activity that requires a boost in concentration.

Headphones are NOT REQUIRED for this video. Although headphones are not required you may find they produce a more intense effect, because they help to block out distracting external sounds.
o
"Isochronic tones are a fast and effective audio-based way to stimulate your brain. Among many of the benefits, they can help improve focus, relaxation, energy levels, sleep and more, without taking drugs or needing any special equipment. What isochronic tones essentially do is guide your dominant brainwave activity to a different frequency while you are listening to them, allowing you to influence and change your mental state and how you feel."
I strongly suggest you read Comments here:
"Isochronic Tones –
How They Work, the Benefits and the Research"
This is a brainwave entrainment audio session using isochronic tones combined with music. The isochronic tones are the repetitive beats you can hear on top of the music throughout the track. If you are new to this type of audio brainwave entrainment, find out how isochronic tones work and how they compare to binaural beats here: 
Listen folks, we're out of time! Whether you want to know it or not we're literally in the fight of our lives, for our lives, right now, and it's going to get much, much worse. Some of you reading this will not survive, and I may not either, so I'll take any edge I can get, and you should too... This works for me. Prepare yourself, brace for impact...
- CP

"US Debt of $30 Trillion Visualized in Stacks of Physical Cash"

Full screen recommended.
"US Debt of $30 Trillion Visualized in Stacks of Physical Cash"
For conceptualizing the amount of debt being discussed. This was 2 years ago when the debt was only $30 trillion. Now it's $31.4 trillion, and about to explode higher. Try to imagine $2.5 QUADRILLION of derivatives, an impossibility really, inconceivable. As the glorious Mogambo Guru said, "We're so freakin' doomed!" Oh, we are...
Comments here:
o
So, if it's truly hopeless, and it is, then why bother?
If you were facing a firing squad, and we all are...
wouldn't you at least want to know why? 
And who stood you against the wall? I would...

“Parasitic Derivatives: $1.5 – 2.4 Quadrillion Dollars, Too Big to Understand”

“Parasitic Derivatives: $1.5 – 2.5 Quadrillion Dollars,
Too Big to Understand”
By David Hague

“I recently returned from two weeks of ‘high level’ meetings with a group of Bankers [this is code for two weeks of subsidized debauchery with bankers] in Rome. As I sat at my desk, I was hoping to motivate myself to pursue a more chaste and pure existence. Unfortunately the Polar Vortex experienced by North America drained me of my good intentions. The bone chilling cold once again had me reaching for my trusty bottle of Jack Daniels for warmth and inspiration. My time in Rome had not been completely ‘wasted’, so to speak. I had secured a contract from the European Central Bank [ECB] to research the topic of Derivatives. I was to present my findings at the upcoming World Economic Forum in Davos later that month.

One Quadrillion Dollars: Too Big to Understand: Dear Reader, please resist your natural instinct to click away from this commentary at the mere mention of the word ‘Derivatives’. I am acutely aware of the boredom and befuddlement that this word instills in you. At this point I would simply remind you that the derivatives market is estimated to exceed one quadrillion dollars. [This incredibly large number is actually an accurate estimate of the size of the derivatives marketplace]. (In addition, unfunded liabilities, like medical care and pensions, are at least $300 trillion globally. If we add gross derivatives of $1.5 quadrillion, which are likely to turn into real debt as counterparties fail, the total debt and liabilities are above $2 quadrillion. Source - CP) Despite the fact the derivatives market eclipses the market capitalization of the NYSE by an exponential factor, it is not discussed, reported or tracked because it is simply too complicated and opaque. Warren Buffet’s, comment about ‘weapons of mass financial destruction’ seem to be the beginning and end of any discussion on the topic.

Derivatives are a parasitic financial instrument: For those of you who are unschooled on the topic of derivatives, allow me to explain. Derivatives are abstract financial instruments, which, like parasites, can attach themselves to all manner of stocks, bonds, mortgages, commodity, debt obligations, currency exchange, interest rate fluctuations… in short, anything. Derivatives exist in the ‘twilight zone’ of the banking industry. Like black holes, their presence and massive influence are acknowledged yet the true influence on the global economy of this quadrillion dollar ‘event horizon’ is only theoretical. The near catastrophic disasters at Barings, JP Morgan and AIG are small examples of their destructive powers. However I will offer you Investorpedia’s more clinical definition. “A security whose price is dependent upon or derived from one or more underlying assets. The derivative itself is merely a contract between two or more parties.”

You got to know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em, {Kenny Rogers}: One might think of derivatives as a random game of online poker: you don’t know who your opponents are [your counterparty], you do not know if you will be paid [counterparty risk], you do not know if the game is legitimate, [lack of regulation], and your opponents are probably able to see what cards you are holding, [market domination by large banks]. As well, you are making bets that in many instances neither you nor your opponents fully grasp [complexity of the market]. With each wager you are potentially risking not only your current assets, but your future assets as well. [Leverage]. In some cases you do not know how much you are betting. Imagine as well, that you play this game every day with trillions of dollars that you do not have. This is the global derivatives market.

It is all Greek to me: Alternately, as derivatives are often created as a form of insurance, think of them as an insurance policy in which you:
• Do not know the name, address or any contact information relating to your insurer.
• Do not know if your insurer has the resources to pay a claim.
• Do not understand the insurance contract as it is written in Greek.
• Must rely on a shadowy third party [ISDA] to decide what constitutes a claim. [Credit event]
• Do not know whether your insurer is itself vulnerable to the particular risk you have contracted with it to insure.

His moral lassitude allowed him to excel: Dear Reader, I digress, let me return to my narrative. The aforementioned lucrative contract was secured by two key factors. The first factor was my friendship with Gustavo Laframboise-Pierre, the European Central Bank’s [ECB] Global Director of Statistical Creation. My relationship with such an esteemed member of the ECB traced its roots back to Gustavo’s days as a bookie for Wall Street’s elite. I referred so much business to him we became very good friends. His station in life took a remarkable turn when a senior member of the ECB, while in New York on a ‘fact finding mission’ [this is code for visiting his favorite escort] made an outrageously large and incorrect wager on the outcome of the 2010 World Cup. (Perhaps unsurprisingly, the term ‘derivative’ is commonly used in sports betting!) The only way the debt could be settled was for the banker to offer Gustavo a highly paid sinecure at the ECB. Gustavo became the Global Director of Statistical Creation with the responsibility of making up statistics to support whatever fantastical and deranged policies Central Banks around the world were initiating. Remarkably Gustavo’s aptitude for numbers, coupled with his moral lassitude allowed him to excel at his job. It was Gustavo who invented the term ‘Quantitative Easing’ as a benign euphemism for runaway money printing.

Where ignorance is bliss, ‘tis folly to be wise’: The second factor that secured the contract for me was a chance remark I made as Gustavo and I enjoyed a ‘working lunch’, with several senior executives who represented many of the world’s largest banks. The working lunch was held at Rome’s exclusive Blue Moon Gentleman’s Club. As the featured dancer left the stage I happened to mention to the assorted luminaries that I had read an article on the subject of derivatives. The bankers looked at me with something akin to awe and reverence. Gustavo whispered to me that the topic of derivatives had been discussed in a recent conference call by the world’s bankers. The conclusion reached at that time was that derivatives were too boring and too complicated for bankers to grasp. Despite JP Morgan’s very public, expensive and monumentally stupid 5 billon dollar derivatives trading loss bankers still choose to remain cocooned in a ‘Cloak of Ignorance’ as it relates to derivatives. Thomas Gray’s lament that ‘where ignorance is bliss, ’tis folly to be wise’ could easily be the mission statement of the global banking industry.

I had read a complete article, I was a ‘de facto expert’: Dear reader, I am not being rude and offensive in my remarks about JP Morgan. Surely you would agree with me that any large bank that loses $5 billion in derivatives trading is ignorant of the properties and risks of derivatives? The fact that I had actually read a complete article on the subject made me a de facto expert on the topic. Gustavo, in an act of kindness, seized the opportunity on my behalf and pressed his colleagues to retain me to research the topic and make a presentation at the upcoming World Economic Forum in Davos. Thus I found myself preparing to dazzle the world’s financial elite with my insights into the risks and opportunities presented by the global derivatives market. In a rush to complete the deal before the next dancer took the stage it was agreed that I would receive the standard banker’s honorarium of $5,000/hour up to a maximum of ‘whatever it takes’.

At $5,000/hr., you would surely not expect me to be brief: I sat at my desk, sipping ‘Gentleman Jack‘ while I looked out at the bleak weather that made Brooklyn so depressing in the winter. My TV was tuned to CNBC, as I waited for Wall Street to open. I put my crack pipe in its case. Dear reader like many of you [especially those of you who work in the banking industry], I have learned all too well, the dangers of mixing crack cocaine with whiskey on an empty stomach. [Have we not all indulged, to our regret, that particular venial sin at least once?] I collected my thoughts and began to write my lengthy tome on the derivatives market. Dear reader at $5,000/hr., you would surely not expect me to be brief.

Lions and Tigers and Bears [and derivatives] Oh My!: I do not want to frighten you. However I will share with you some facts about derivatives that will have you reacting as nervously as Dorothy did in the Wizard of OZ when confronted with the thought of Lions and Tigers and Bears. ‘Derivatives, Oh My’, will I suspect be the words that escape your lips.
• Size of the derivatives market: 1.5 – 2.4 QUADRILLION dollars
• Size of Global Stock and bond markets: 175 trillion dollars
• Who regulates the Derivatives market? LOL, Regulation is a ‘work in progress’ dominated by the big banks.

How dangerous are derivatives? They almost destroyed the world’s largest insurance company, AIG, as well as the global economy. Seriously, you don’t remember? Just Google the words AIG and collapse. Alternately you might call Jamie Dimon at JP Morgan and ask him if Derivatives are dangerous. Have recent regulatory changes made the world economy less likely to implode from a derivative fuelled explosion? Actually as one might expect, thanks to regulatory enhancements that had to run the gauntlet of bank lobbyists prior to their approval, the world’s economy is in more danger than ever from a derivatives inspired meltdown.

‘Duck Dynasty’ and ‘Real Housewives’ to the rescue: How much attention does the Main Street pay to the world’s largest and riskiest casino? [AKA: the Derivatives market]. If one were to Google the word derivatives, one will get 34 million ‘hits’. Alternately, if one does a similar search for the words stocks bonds and markets one will get 400 million ‘hits’. The 34 million ‘hits’ generated by a Google search of the word derivatives compares unfavorably with the 37 million ‘hits’ generated by a search of the term ‘Real Housewives of Atlanta’, the 209 million ‘hits’ generated by a search of the term ‘Duck Dynasty’ or the 713 million ‘hits’ generated by searching the word ‘Sex’. One must conclude that only when derivatives are discussed by one of the ‘Real Housewives of Atlanta’ posing nude in bed with one of the cast members of ‘Duck Dynasty’ will derivatives receive the attention they deserve.

Reality bites: Derivatives can only be discussed as ‘Fake News’: Where can one find insights and coverage of the Derivatives Market in the mainstream media? Is Fox News or CNN my best choice? Sadly Dear reader your best choice would have been The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Despite the calamitous risk and obvious importance of this topic only Mr. Stewart and his team dared to share information with the general public. Given the outlandish and frightening risks derivatives constitute to the Global Economy, perhaps Mr. Stewart was correct that it can only be discussed in the ‘Fake News’ format.

Derivatives: better suited for Ripley’s Believe it or not than the Wall Street Journal: How bizarre is the derivatives market? How is the concept of money for nothing propagated by the derivatives market? What is the difference between a chump and a champion in the derivatives market? I will leave it to Shah Gilani in his excellent post in “Wall Street: Insights and Indictments“ to explain. Suffice to say that one is able to buy insurance in the derivatives market. One can then cause the insured event to occur by collaborating with a third party. All that remains is to collect the insurance proceeds. [To be clear the proceeds are usually in the tens of millions of dollars.] The derivatives market makes the Ponzi-like money printing of the Central banks look like ‘Amateur Hour’.

Who needs ‘Crack’? Dear reader, usually I needed a little help from my friend Mr. Crack to feel as paranoid and euphoric as I did at this moment. Paranoid, because it was clear to me that the derivatives market was truly a weapon of mass financial destruction. Euphoric because I knew that my research would make my ‘Derivatives’ presentation at the World Economic Forum a groundbreaking ‘tour de force’ that would vault me to the forefront of ‘talking heads’ that pass for experts on mainstream media. Fame, fortune, a book deal and perhaps that elusive Nobel Prize would surely follow. My twenty minutes of painstaking research, had made me one of the world’s foremost experts on this complex subject. [BTW Dear Reader by reaching this point in my commentary, you surely now know more about derivatives than most bankers and traders on Wall Street. You should be quite pleased.]

David, you are an imbecile: I decided to reach out to my pal Gustavo and share some of my findings. I knew that it was 3:30 in the afternoon in Paris so I would be able to catch Gustavo just as he arrived for another day of work. “Gustavo”, I intoned, breathless with excitement. “I have uncovered some startling, controversial, and frightening information about derivatives. The luminaries and leading lights who attend my presentation in Davos will be utterly gobsmacked by my revelations. The media will undoubtedly ensure that my findings go viral. The topic of derivatives will no longer exist only in the dark shadows of the banking industry. The danger that derivatives pose to the global economy will permeate the consciousness of Main Street.” Gustavo sighed, “David, I do not know if you are stupid or na├»ve. Every September when you bet $1,000 that the perennially atrocious Toronto Maple Leafs will win the Stanley Cup, I assumed you were simply ingenuous. Your comments today have convinced me that you are an imbecile. Let me assure you that those will not be the findings that you present at the World Economic Forum. Rather you will inform the world that derivatives are a financial instrument that is being used by brilliant and prudent financial professionals to mitigate risk and make the world a safer place.”

The ‘Truth Will Out’: “Gustavo”, I groaned, “that would be a lie. I cannot in good conscience, sacrifice my integrity, my honor, my core beliefs and my good name simply to placate Wall Street and the Central Banks. I have a responsibility to my readers on Main Street to inform them, to warn them, to prepare them for the likely financial chaos that derivatives will cause”. “Gustavo”, I said with iron willed determination, “the Truth Will Out”. “David”, Gustavo snarled, “If you change the tenor of your presentation and indicate that derivatives are the most benign form of financial instrument, somewhat akin to Treasury bills, we will double your fee”.

Move along nothing to see here: Dear Reader, in summary let me say that derivatives are the most benign form of financial instrument, somewhat akin to treasury bills. Gustavo’s immutable logic and persuasive argument was instrumental in helping me reach the correct conclusion regarding the risks to the Global economy posed by derivatives. So Dear Reader, move along, there is nothing to see here.”