Wishing everyone a safe, healthy and happy 2021!
Thursday, December 31, 2020
"You Are Loved (Don't Give Up)"
"What strange world is this? Earth. In the foreground of the featured image are the Pinnacles, unusual rock spires in Nambung National Park in Western Australia. Made of ancient sea shells (limestone), how these human-sized picturesque spires formed remains unknown. In the background, just past the end of the central Pinnacle, is a bright crescent Moon. The eerie glow around the Moon is mostly zodiacal light, sunlight reflected by dust grains orbiting between the planets in the Solar System.
Click image for larger size.
Arching across the top is the central band of our Milky Way Galaxy. Many famous stars and nebulas are also visible in the background night sky. The featured 29-panel panorama was taken and composed in 2015 September after detailed planning that involved the Moon, the rock spires, and their corresponding shadows. Even so, the strong zodiacal light was a pleasant surprise."
"Trends in The News For 12/31/20"
"The Trends Journal is a weekly magazine analyzing global current events forming future trends. Our mission is to present Facts and Truth over hype and propaganda to help subscribers prepare for What’s Next in the increasingly turbulent times ahead."
A classic rant as only Celente can do! lol
"In These Times"
"In these times when anger
Is turned into anxiety,
And someone has stolen
The horizons and mountains,
Our small emperors on parade
Never expect our indifference
To disturb their nakedness.
They keep their heads down,
And their eyes gleam with reflection
From aluminum economic ground,
The media wraps everything
In a cellophane of sound,
And the ghost surface of the virtual
Overlays the breathing earth.
The industry of distraction
Makes us forget
That we live in a universe.
We have become converts
To the religion of stress
And its deity of progress;
That we may have courage
To turn aside from it all
And come to kneel down before the poor,
To discover what we must do,
How to turn anxiety
Back into anger,
How to find our way home."
~ John O'Donohue,
from "To Bless the Space Between Us"
"This Is What it Feels Like When a Democracy Dies"
by Umair Haque
"As nightfall does not come all at once, neither does oppression. In both instances, there is a twilight when everything remains seemingly unchanged. And it is in such twilight that we all must be most aware of change in the air - however slight - lest we become unwitting victims of the darkness.”
- Justice William O. Kennedy
"What does it feel like to live in a time really succumbing to tyranny? Would you know it if you were in such a time? Is it like the "Hunger Games", or a "Mad Max" movie? Spectacular, violent, repellent, and unmistakeable? Or is it something subtler? Something that, for example, you might not even know was happening at the very moment it was happening to you? After all, invisible poisons are the most corrosive and dangerous things of all.
Imagine that you're lying down in a park, on the grass, on a perfect summer day, your eyes closed. And from nowhere, from everywhere, a fog begins rolling in. Gentle and white, oddly out place. It washes across the tips of your feet. You feel pinpricks. Your eyes snap open. Your toes go numb. How strange, you think to yourself, as you think about getting up and running away. What is this fog doing here? Why is giving you pins and needles?
But by the time you are thinking all that, processing what is happening to you, the fog is already up to your knees. 'I really should get up!' you think to yourself. You are a little alarmed now. But as you've paused to even think that far, to register it you realize that while your knees are prickling, your feet, calves, ankles, have gone numb. And it's not entirely unpleasant. It's soothing, even, in the way that letting go is. Confused, puzzled, bewildered, you stop to think again.
Yet by now the fog, still rolling, as quiet as winter, has reached the tips of your fingers, blanketed your torso. Ahhh, you murmur. The pinpricks, you realize, only sting you where the fog's cold, icy edge is. The rest of you? It's numb. Cool. Gone. And there is a strange, disquieting peace in that. Nothing makes sense. The world seems to be vanishing and so do you. But it's not entirely a bad thing.
The fog keeps rolling. As it covers all of you, something in you cries out 'Get up!' But there is another part that is overwhelmed, which wishes to surrender to this pleasing, beautiful, gentle numbness. That longs for it. A few pins and needles, that's not much of a price for letting go, is it? After all, isn't that exactly why you were resting in the park on that perfect summer day, eyes closed? To let the whole world, including yourself, fall away?
Authoritarianism isn't what you think it is. A sudden, violent, visible rupture. That's what Americans, especially, have been led to believe by too many TV shows and movies, which are a kind of especially paranoid American annihilation fantasy (the Rapture, the commies, the immigrants.)
But tyranny isn't like that at all. It doesn't feel like that. These days, if we are a little bit educated about it, we call it creeping. but even that fails to convey the feeling, the sense, the experience. My little parable is a way to begin expressing the strange feeling of collapse, not just anxiety and panic, but also, conflicting with it, a kind of yearning for surrender and submission. We'd be foolish, by now, not to understand the dark roots of our own apathy and resignation, wouldn't we? So let me continue.
The thing we misunderstand most about tyranny is that we suppose life becomes one long exercise in rigid, total certainty. You receive your orders, salute, and snap to business. That is what violent rupture implies: one day democracy, the next, a tyrant is there, precisely ordering everyone's last thought and action. But the truth is precisely the opposite.
Tyranny kills with the grey haze, the white fog, of all-pervading uncertainty. An uncertainty so total, that after a time, people will give up all that they love, and everyone they love, to escape it. The fog kills everything it touches and yet, it can't be touched, held, known, captured. You can't fight fog with fists or words or speeches, can you? If you join hands with someone you love, the fog will laugh, and weave itself right between your fingers. So what can fight it? Who can resist it? First, let me explain it a little.
Who will be dehumanized today? Will there be an election? Is this a President or something more sinister? Is the law still working? Did they raid that town? Why are those camps rising? Whose door will they knock at today? Am I in danger? Are they going to use my words against me? Should I not speak them? Where are the children? Do you see what I mean by all-pervading uncertainty? The grey haze. The white fog. That, my friends, is what tyranny really is. And you are already knee-deep in it. Only perhaps you don't quite know it yet.
After a time, the uncertainty erases everything. Cleanses everything. Kills everything. All. It covers everything it touches, and leaves nothing revealed. It is total and all-encompassing. Is that a person? Am I? Who is a citizen? What about my friends, family, cousins? Are these words mine? Did I speak them? Are those my friends? Can I trust them? Did they get rid of those people? The fog. The haze. That is how it kills everything it touches, by making all things exactly the same thing. An unanswerable question.
Do you have the sense, lately, that things are unreal? Ah, you see. You are already being blanked by the grey haze, the white fog, of uncertainty. Uncertainty is what you are feeling, only you don't know it. It is that uncertainty that has turned everything unreal. Will they really put people in camps? Then why did they build them? Will women really have to go underground to get abortions? What about my kids? Will they really live without healthcare or education or retirement? You go numb, as any sane person would, having to think these terrible thoughts. Your vision goes blurry. Reality has come apart, because nothing is or isn't anymore. Everything is just the fog.
When all is fog, uncertainty, impossibility, unknowability, reality cannot be processed anymore. That is the point. To create a world where everything, being uncertain, becomes unreal. Nothing exists, or doesn't exist, only just maybe exists, but only if it is allowed to. So nothing can be held, contained, known, and therefore, held onto. Nothing. Not the people you love most. Not yourself. Not tomorrow. Not even today.
Have you ever read stories about how in tyrannies, brothers will betray brothers, husbands wives, and mothers sons? You have always thought that could never happen to me! But why do they do it? It isn't because the tyrant commands them to. He doesn't have to. They will do it for just a tiny morsel of certainty. Here, I am a good person. Let me prove it to you. Let me tell you who is a bad person. Will you reward me now, put me in the good books, give me some certainty, instead of keeping me at the edge? No human being can survive more than a few days in a totally uncertain world. So the fog takes everything, not just from us, but also in us. It takes away, at last, our capacity to feel. When that is gone, we are hollow, empty, numb. And when we are numb, what or whom won't we sell, betray, or abuse?
The tyrant has never lifted a finger. He has only produced the fog, with a conjuring trick. By shifting the sands beneath us, and letting the mist pour out of the cracks. The fog rolls over us, little by little, inch by inch, languorous tendrils whispering. We fall and fall slowly, gently into a long, dreamless coma.
In the end, nothing is left. People are erased. Time stands still. History vanishes. The future looks exactly like the present. Nobody is here at all. There is only the fog, the haze, the white. Nothing can be discerned in it. Nothing can be seen through it. But that is alright. There is nobody left to see nothing, anyways. There is just the white fog. And beneath it, the sleepers. Each one the same, none of them there, or not there.
If just one woke up, looked around, shocked, and roused another, and that one another, and so on maybe they might, together, strain, struggle, and lift one another up above the fog. But none of them ever quite understood that. The fog took them too fast, too invisibly, without a bullet, without a word, without a sound, just like that. It took all the fight in them, and turned it to surrender.
That is what tyranny feels like, my friends. And you might not know it, or you might, but the fog is rolling silently across you now, gentle, languorous, with love, with absolution, with death."
"There is a point of no return, unremarked at the time, in most lives.”
- Graham Greene
“When swimming into a dark tunnel, there arrives a point of no
return when you no longer have enough breath to double back.
Your only choice is to swim forward into the unknown… and pray for an exit.”
- Dan Brown
Gregory Mannarino, AM 12/31/20:
"An EPIC Worldwide Crisis Is Coming...Be Ready For It"
Must Watch! "Wealth Destruction of America; More Tent Cities, More Homeless; More Desperate Jobless Are Coming”
“Wealth Destruction of America; More Tent Cities, More Homeless;
More Desperate Jobless Are Coming”
Alert! Bank closings, ATMs down!
Wednesday, December 30, 2020
"McConnell Dooms $2,000 Stimulus Check
After Refusing To Split Trump's Three Demands"
by Tyler Durden
WEDNESDAY, DEC 30, 2020 - 15:46: "In a move that all but doomed Congressional approval for $2,000 stimulus checks (up from $600), top Senate republican Mitch McConnell said he would not separate the plan for $2K checks, from President Donald Trump’s other demands: section 230 repeal and an election fraud commission. "The Senate is not going to split apart the three issues that President Trump linked together just because Democrats are afraid to address two of them. The Senate is not going to be bullied into rushing out more borrowed money into the hands of Democrats rich friends who don't need the help," McConnell said from the Senate floor.
Over the weekend, the Democratic-controlled House approved a stand-alone bill to boost the checks to $2,000 from $600, as 44 Republicans prodded by Trump joined nearly all Democrats in backing the measure. But the Republican-controlled Senate has said it will not pass the checks without attaching other Trump priorities that Democrats consider toxic, and would sink any legislation.
The latest twist in this bizarre saga of Helicopter Money and government handouts came just as the Treasury Department started to send out the payments of up to $600 on Tuesday night. If Congress can overcome the thorny political dynamics to increase the deposits to $2,000, the government would later add on to the cash it already distributed.
On Tuesday, McConnell introduced the bill that would boost the payments to $2,000 but also repeal Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which provides legal liability protections for internet platforms, and create a commission on voter fraud, something which Trump has pushed for as he continues to challenge the outcome of the November election.
McConnell's gambit came shortly after he blocked Democrats’ efforts to quickly pass the $2,000 checks as has tried to balance a desire not to immediately add to the price tag of the $900 billion rescue package, while appeasing a GOP president who has fixated on sending more direct payments to struggling Americans, and jeopardizing Republican chances in the Georgia Senate runoff where the topic of $600 vs $2,000 checks has become especially sensitive.
Democrats - who were for the $2,000 check but against repeal of Section 230 and the election fraud commission - threw up all over McConnell's bill as expected. Top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer, said Tuesday that tying other proposals to the direct cash measure “would be a blatant attempt to deprive Americans of a $2,000 survival check.” On Wednesday, Schumer said that the House-passed bill to increase stimulus checks was the only option at this point. Making other changes/additions “is way to kill the bill. Make no mistake about it."
Nancy Pelosi also urged the Senate to approve the stand-alone bill before the new Congress starts at noon ET on Sunday, but this effort was promptly stymied by McConnell. "I do hope that in the days ahead - we only have a few days left in the session - that they will see the light and understand the suffering that is going on in this country," the California Democrat said of Republicans.
On the other end of the political divide, Pennsylvania Republican Senator Pat Toomey said he will move to block a potential vote on the $2,000 payments. Delays could blow up any effort to pass legislation during the current session. “It doesn’t make sense to have these universal payments. Any relief should be targeted,” he told CNBC on Wednesday morning.
Meanwhile, adding to the absurdity of the situation, the Senate also has not yet voted to override Trump’s veto of the annual National Defense Authorization Act, something which the House did on Monday. And while McConnell called lawmakers back this week to do so, and the chamber plans to take procedural steps Wednesday to move toward a vote, it may not override the veto until as late as Saturday.
As reported previously, socialist senator Bernie Sanders, blocked swift consideration of the defense measure Tuesday as he called for a vote on the stand-alone bill to increase the direct payments to $2,000. Later in the day, he told CNN that “I think we have the votes to pass” larger checks if McConnell brings the measure to a vote.
As also reported yesterday, at least four Republican senators - Josh Hawley of Missouri, Marco Rubio of Florida, and Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue of Georgia - have voiced support for the bigger stimulus check (Loeffler and Perdue are campaigning in Jan. 5 runoff elections that will determine which party controls the Senate for the next two years, while Hawley and Rubio are considered potential GOP candidates for president in 2024).
Trump continues to push Congress to approve $2,000 checks after he threatened to veto the relief bill because it included too little direct cash to Americans. And even though he relented and signed the stimulus bill on Sunday, on Wednesday, Trump again tweeted, ”$2000 ASAP!”
Hat tip to Doug Casey, Jim Quinn
Business as usual...
by Epic Economist,
"Breadlines Stretch Across America:
This Economic Collapse Is Much Worse Than You Are Being Told"
"The economic collapse of 2020 has undeniably widened the wealth gap. Now, our country is essentially divided between those who patiently wait for some food in breadlines - after losing their ability to provide for themselves and, oftentimes, the roof over their heads - and those who sit comfortably at their own homes waiting for the meltdown to be over while discovering the joy of baking bread. Breadlines vs. Bread makers, that's the ominous picture of an increasingly unequal America. That's what we're going to expose in this video.
Yesterday, Bloomberg released a piece on the faces of the collapse in the United States. The report describes that since the downturn has started, millions of lives have been affected - but in extremely different ways.
On one side, we have low-wage and middle-class workers that became reliant on food assistance programs and unemployment benefits to secure a minimum level of dignity for themselves. On the other side, we have a small affluent mass who has been largely benefiting from rising home prices, new work-at-home arrangements, and the pleasures of baking bread.
The article tells the stories behind the faces that have become a truthful representation of the struggles that emerged through the course of the year. For millions of jobless Americans unemployment checks already hit the 39-week limit and expired.
The population and our economy are now experiencing a world of low-expectations. The overall economy is leaving the year nearly 5% smaller than it would have been if the crisis hasn't happened. Only 57% of the population is still employed at this point, which is the lowest level since May 1983, if we don't count the worse months of this year.
On the flip side of the coin, financial markets have registered considerable gains in the aggregate net worth of wealthy Americans since migration patterns towards suburban areas have increased the value of their properties and made them even wealthier.
Meanwhile, as the well-off set of the population has embraced new ways of working and their own household wealth has substantially grown, for millions the worst is yet to come. In a few days, a patchwork of unemployment benefits, eviction moratoriums, rental assistance, and mortgage forbearance programs that assisted many to make ends meet is scheduled to lapse.
According to the latest projections, 10 million households are at risk of eviction. According to the U.S. Census Bureau data, approximately one in six people have fallen behind in rent payments. Over 4 million have revealed to believe they will be forced out of their homes over the next couple of months. Even employed workers have been experiencing mounting financial troubles.
The data shows that employment income has dropped this year for almost half of those living in households earning less than $100,000 a year. Compared to those who earn over $200,000 a year, the figure is less than one-third. More concerningly, roughly 40% of those earning less than $50,000 a year have disclosed they expect their income to decline in the coming month.
The labor market has been battered by so many rounds of restrictions, and every month that passes it regains fewer jobs than the month before. The November jobs report showed that only 245,000 jobs were added, a disappointing figure compared to the 432,000 jobs economists were expecting. The unemployment rate has fallen a mere 0.2%, sparking concerns amongst experts.
As long as we keep failing to keep the health crisis under control and strict measures continue to be applied to business operations, there will be gradually less jobs to go around next year. That is to say, there isn't a change of perspective in sight for the millions still unemployed and dealing with food and housing insecurity.
The collapse has laid bare just how unequal our system is. As euphoria on Wall Street sends stock prices to astronomical heights, Main Street remains in crisis, with roughly 8 million Americans joining the ranks of the poor since June. The numbers are even letting some billionaires worried that the enormous inequality may lead to mass conflicts in months ahead. And when even the establishment is showing to afraid that things could suddenly get out of hand is because much more turbulence is about to emerge."
"What's that below those strange clouds? Presidents. If you look closely, you may recognize the heads of four former US Presidents carved into famous Mount Rushmore in South Dakota, USA. More obvious in the featured image are the unusual mammatus clouds that passed briefly overhead. Both were captured together by a surprised tourist with a quick camera in early September.
Click image for larger size.
Unlike normal flat-bottomed clouds which form when moist and calm air plateaus rise and cool, bumpy mammatus clouds form as icy and turbulent air pockets sink and heat up. Such turbulent air is frequently accompanied by a thunderstorm. Each mammatus lobe spans about one kilometer. The greater mountain is known to native Lakota Sioux as Six Grandfathers, deities responsible for the directions north, south, east, west, up, and down."
PM 12/30/20: "BE WARNED:
The US Dollar Free-Fall Is A Prelude To A Debt Market MELTDOWN"
Click image for larger size.
“The 11 Nations Of The United States”
by Andy Kiersz and Marguerite Ward
“The map above shows how the US really has 11 separate ‘nations’ with entirely different cultures. Author and journalist Colin Woodard identified 11 distinct cultures that have historically divided the US. His book “American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures in North America” breaks down those cultures and the regions they each dominate. From the utopian “Yankeedom” to the conservative “Greater Appalachia” and liberal “Left Coast,” looking at these cultures sheds an interesting light on America’s political and cultural divides. In response to the coronavirus pandemic, some governors are acting among these factions – like California, Oregon, and Washington, of all which have parts comprising of “The Left Coast” group.”
Please view this complete and fascinating article here:
"The Top-10%'s Bubble Is About To Burst"
by Charles Hugh Smith
"When the top 10%'s bubble pops in 2021, the loss of illusions/delusions of security and wealth will be shattering to all those who believed artifice and illusory "wealth" were real. A great many people are living in bubbles that are about to pop. The largest bubble is the one inhabited by people who complacently believe in time travel, i.e. that the world of 2019 is about to replace the nightmare of 2020 and we can all go back to our carefree debt-funded consumption frenzy and illusions of ever-greater wealth forever and ever.
The greater one's sense of security, the more durable the bubble. Those in America's top 10% who have reaped virtually all the gains in income and wealth of the past 20 years live in a bubble that they view as unbreakable: no matter what problems arise, their personal income and wealth is secured by the government, central bank, etc.
Put another way, the top 10% are confident their position atop the wealth-power pyramid is secure no matter what happens. Any dip in stocks, bonds, real estate, bat guano futures, etc. that causes their personal wealth to decline (horrors!) will be instantly bought because the Federal Reserve will print another couple trillion dollars and funnel it into risk assets, as it has done for the past 20 years.
Any spot of bother in the gravy trains that fund the top 10% - local and state government, universities, Big Tech, Big Pharma, Department of Defense, Wall Street, hedge funds, venture capital, etc. - will be doused with trillions of dollars borrowed or printed into existence by the Treasury or Fed. No matter what spot of bother arises, the solution - more trillions - is just a few keystrokes away.
The top 10% are supremely confident in the godlike powers of these agencies and solutions: the idea that these "solutions" become insoluble problems does not compute, just as a decline in asset valuations that doesn't rebound within three weeks thanks to Fed intervention is firmly outside the realm of possibility.
The top 10% are also supremely confident in the rightness of their position atop the heap. That their position atop the heap is largely the result of a web of privilege and a long run of extraordinarily good fortune does not enter their bubble at all; in their bubble, their wealth, status, prestige and income are all the result of hard work and merit.
While this is certainly true for some, it is not true for all, and even those who scraped their way to the top the hard way do not recognize that their success over the past 20 years (and arguably the past 50 years) has been largely the result of a financialized rising tide raising all boats. In a Bull Market in virtually everything (except commodities), everyone is a hard-working genius who got it all via merit.
On top of this myopic belief that their success is all the result of their own endeavors rather than a tide of financialization, the top 10% are equally blind to the toxic consequences of the wealth/income inequality that has so richly benefited the few at the expense of the many. The idea that the bottom 90% might rebel against the financial/political system that has favored the already-wealthy for a generation is outside the top 10%'s realm of possibility.
But tides do not run in one direction forever, and a revolt against the unprecedented inequality that heavily favors the top 10% is not "impossible," it's a certainty. The top 10% are accustomed to being admired and respected for their accomplishments, expertise, wise investing and professional acumen. They are accustomed to viewing themselves as the essential technocrat class that keeps the U.S. system functioning.
The problem with this self-congratulatory perspective is the U.S. system is now in thrall to process rather than results. The technocrat class has been trained to follow needlessly complex procedures and compliance processes as the path to professional advancement while avoiding accountability for the increasingly dismal results of America's bloated, sclerotic, insider-dominated systems.
All this needless complexity will be jettisoned once printing/borrowing trillions become the problem rather than the solution. The bottom 90% will demand not just a fairer distribution of income and wealth, they will also demand a system that actually functions for the greater social good rather than for insiders, parasites, leeches and technocrat processors who declare victory not from results but from their success in following approved processes/narratives.
Once costs must be cut and results take precedence over process, much of the technocrat class will find itself replaced by automated software. Those that remain will be valued for getting results by whatever means are available, up to and including ignoring all compliance procedures and bureaucratic box-ticking.
The top 10% - the rentier-technocrat class - will find the bottom 90% can no longer pay their rent, insurance, etc. - all the "services" that employ and enrich the top 10%. In other words, the losses as unproductive complexity unravels will finally fall on the top 10%, many of whom have been protected from exposure to market forces and risk.
Lastly, the top 10%'s ownership of assets will be crushed by asset deflation as insolvency can no longer be papered over by liquidity. Assets that are the foundation of top 10% wealth (that the bottom 90% own very little of) will go bidless as phantom wealth dissipates into the thin air from whence it came.
The top 10% reckon they're untouchable, safe and protected in their asset lifeboats, and the sinking of the 90% won't affect them. The top 10%'s bubble is about to burst. Not only will their lifeboats prove unstable, every level of government will come after whatever is left as taxes will soar on virtually every form of income and wealth.
Unlike the bottom 60%, who have few illusions about the rampant unfairness and predation of real-world America, the top 10%'s bubble is 90% illusion seasoned with 10% absolute delusion. The comfortable are about to experience some of the discomfort that is everyday life for the bottom 60%, and an increasing percentage of the next 30% who still aspire to fantasies of middle-class security will find social mobility is an escalator down.
We cannot print wealth, or borrow it into existence. All we can print/borrow is artifice, phantom representations of illusory "wealth" that will vanish into thin air, in a reverse of how the "money" was created - out of thin air.
When the top 10%'s bubble pops in 2021, the loss of illusions/delusions of security and wealth will be shattering to all those who believed artifice and illusory "wealth" were real. What's real is the tide of financialization and globalization reversed over a year ago. The tide is now running out, but few loading their "wealth" into lifeboats have noticed...yet."