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We Approach State Singularity

We Approach State Singularity

Many citizens of the West believe that they live in free societies, or something close. But as time goes on, public authorities increasingly insist on having a say in everything.

People cannot build things on their own land without permits. They cannot run businesses without approvals and inspections. They cannot give advice without professional designations. They cannot educate their children outside of state-mandated curricula. They cannot hire employees without triggering a myriad of workplace and tax requirements. They cannot produce and sell milk, cheese, or eggs without a license. They cannot earn money, spend money, or hold property without being taxed, and then taxed again.

Jeffrey Tucker recently described three layers of omnipotent managerial technocracy.

The deep state, he suggested, consists of powerful and secretive central government agencies in the security, intelligence, law enforcement, and financial sectors.

The middle state is a myriad of ubiquitous administrative bodies – agencies, regulators, commissions, departments, municipalities, and many more – run by a permanent bureaucracy.

The shallow state is a plethora of consumer-facing private or semi-private corporations, including banks, Big Media, and huge commercial retail companies, which governments support, protect, subsidize, and pervert. The three layers work together.

For instance, in the financial sector, as Tucker illustrates, the deep state’s Federal Reserve pulls the powerful strings, the middle state’s financial and monetary regulators enforce myriad rules and policies, and the shallow state’s “private” titans like BlackRock and Goldman Sachs dominate commercial activity. It’s a system, Tucker writes, “designed to be impenetrable, permanent, and ever more invasive.”

We are approaching state singularity: the moment when state and society become indistinguishable.

In physics, a “singularity” is a single point in space-time. Inside black holes, gravity crushes volume to zero and mass density is infinite. In computer science, “technological singularity” is unitary artificial superintelligence. At the singularity, everything becomes one thing. Data points converge. Normal laws do not apply.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Military Draft Coming? House Passes Measure To Automatically Register Men For Selective Service

Military Draft Coming? House Passes Measure To Automatically Register Men For Selective Service

The House of Representatives on Friday approved its version of the annual defense policy bill, effectively clearing the $883.7 billion National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to move forward in a 217-199 vote which largely fell along party lines. Only three Republicans opposed it.

A number of ‘controversial’ amendments are part of it, setting up a further fight with Democrats as it moves forward, including a measure empowering the National Guard to crack down on the southern border.

But among the most interesting aspects to the bill for Fiscal Year 2025 is an amendment to the NDAA which automatically registers all draft-age male U.S. residents with the Selective Service System.

File image via Fox News

This means that all able-bodied males in the country age 18-26 could potentially be drafted in the scenario of a future war declaration by Congress. The selection would be based on information from Federal databases.

While there has been a Selective Service program in effect for decades, it has long previously only been voluntary, but this new amendment will make registration automatic. The merely ‘voluntary’ system had been in effect since 1980 – but critics have said that leaving it up for young men to decide for themselves whether to register has resulted in a weak and ineffective system with not enough numbers.

According to more background for this new Congressional push:

The automatic draft registration proposal was instigated by the Selective Service System (SSS) as part of its annual budget request to Congress, introduced by Rep. Chrissy Houlahan (D-Pa.), “wholeheartedly” endorsed by HASC Chair Mike Rogers (R-Ala.), and approved by voice vote of the full committee without audible opposition. The text of Rep. Houlahan’s proposal can be read here. Her office’s press release on the proposal can be read here.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Biden Construct Exhorts Spineless Press Corps: ‘Play By the Rules’

The Biden Construct Exhorts Spineless Press Corps: ‘Play By the Rules’

In this, Our Sacred Democracy™, reporters don’t ask questions they are not granted permission to ask beforehand so that the correct response can be printed in bold 72-point font on a notecard for the alleged president to try to read.

So sayeth the Savior of Democracy™, Keeper of the Faith, the Holy Brandon Construct.

Via The Deadline (emphasis added):

“The White House Correspondents’ Association is objecting to the notion that reporters agreed to any restrictions on the types of questions they could ask of President Joe Biden at a press conference earlier today at the G7 summit in Italy.

Appearing at the press conference with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Biden took a question from Bloomberg’s Josh Wingrove.

Wingrove asked the president if he would give his assessment of Hamas’ response to the latest ceasefire proposal. ‘Do you believe that they are trying to work towards a deal or is this response against a deal?’ Wingrove asked.

Biden responded, ‘I wish you guys would play by the rules a little bit. I’m here to talk about a critical situation in Ukraine and you asked me about another subject.’”

Recognizing that I’m probably preaching to the Armageddon Prose choir here, I would hope that we’ve long moved past the mythology of “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” — the honest truth-teller with a spine who goes to Washington and sets everything right with his forthright devotion to public service or whatever.

This is nonsense; the politician has always been and will always be, with very few exceptions (like Ron Paul), a finger-in-the-wind sleazeball willing to do or say whatever he thinks will advance his personal interests (fame and money and invitations to cocktail parties, mainly).

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

In our make-believe politics, the strings pulled by the super-rich are all too visible

In our make-believe politics, the strings pulled by the super-rich are all too visible

Biden wanders offstage or walks like a geriatric robot. Yet we are meant to believe he’s carefully navigating us through the nuclear tripwires of the West’s serial wars

We live in a world of make-believe politics, a world where strings pulled in the interests of the super-rich are ever more visible. And yet we are expected to pretend we cannot see those strings. More astonishing still, many people really do seem blind to the puppet show.

1. The “leader of the free world”, President Joe Biden, can barely maintain his attention for more than a few minutes without straying off topic, or wandering offstage. When he has to walk before the cameras, he does so like he is auditioning for the role of a geriatric robot. His whole body is gripped with the concentration he needs to walk in a straight line.

And yet we are supposed to believe he is carefully working the levers of the western empire, making critically difficult calculations to keep the West free and prosperous, while keeping in check its enemies – Russia, China, Iran – without provoking a nuclear war. Is he really capable of doing all that when he struggles to put one foot in front of the other?

2. Part of that tricky diplomatic balancing act Biden is supposedly conducting, along with other western leaders, relates to Israel’s military operation in Gaza. The West’s “diplomacy” – backed by weapons transfers – has resulted in the murder of tens of thousands of Palestinians, most of them women and children; the gradual starvation of 2.3 million Palestinians over many months; and the destruction of 70 per cent of the enclave’s housing stock and almost all of its major infrastructure and institutions, including schools, universities and hospitals.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The End Of The Petrodollar

The End Of The Petrodollar

The Saudis, New Chapter in Energy Economics, De-dollarization, and the American-Made Pressure Cooker

“Oil is too important a commodity to be left in the hands of the Arabs.”
~ Henry Kissinger

Just last Sunday, one of the most significant economic deals of the century came to an end. The long-standing petrodollar agreement between Saudi Arabia and the United States officially expired on June 9th, 2024.

This system, which has been in place for 50 years, is now gone.

Despite what the mainstream media might have you believe, yes, it does point to a big change in global economics, and yes, it could seriously affect every American’s life.

So this week, I want to break down exactly what’s happening, why it’s happening, and how it will impact us and generations to come.

But first, let’s set the stage with some context, because it’s crucial…

"Rise" of the Dollar

You’ve probably heard the saying, “The one with the gold makes the rules,” right?

This was the position the U.S. was in after World War II.

The U.S. had won the war and boasted the world’s largest gold reserves. This allowed it to reshape the global monetary system around the dollar.

The new system, created at the Bretton Woods Conference in 1944, tied almost every nation’s currency to the U.S. dollar at a fixed rate. It also pegged the U.S. dollar to gold at a fixed rate of $35 an ounce.

This arrangement made the U.S. dollar the world’s premier reserve currency, effectively forcing other countries to hold dollars for trade or redeem them with the U.S. for gold.

But, by the late ’60s, splurging on welfare and the Vietnam War, along with printing money to cover the deficit, pumped tons more dollars into circulation compared to the gold reserves backing them.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Cautious US Escalation Against Russia Is Developing Not Necessarily to US Advantage

The Cautious US Escalation Against Russia Is Developing Not Necessarily to US Advantage

The feebleness of the US response to a Russian incursion into Kharviv, which was to prevent further strikes on civilian targets in the border city of Belgorod, and the quick Russian counter-moves, confirms how the Collective West has no good options, even if its leaders can’t yet admit that to themselves and come up with better alternatives than punching into air or a wall, as the case may be. Obama warned that Russia would have escalatory dominance with respect to Ukraine, and we are seeing that play out now.

The short version of what follows is that the Biden Administration may have made a tiny gain against its big objective of not losing in Ukraine before the November election, since Russia may slightly delay an expected next move, of entering Sumy oblast. An advance into Sumy would further lengthen the line of contact, increase the degree of over-extension of Ukraine forces, and thus accelerate the process of attrition, which is Russia’s big goal. But even if the US policy change did produce this effect (and since none of us have Russian plans, we can’t know if any change occurred), it is coming at considerable geopolitical cost, that of Putin suggesting, and deputy chair of the Russian Security Council Dmitry Medvedev confirming, that Russia will arm third countries in conflicts with the United States.

To recap the recent state of play: earlier this week, the US described a policy change regarding the use of US weapons by Ukraine On a superficial level it seemed simply to give permission for what Ukraine had been doing already, as in using Western (here US) missiles to hit Russian territory, as in pre-the-2014-dispute Russia.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Retail Bloodbath: More Than 2,600 Store Closings Have Been Announced So Far In 2024

Retail Bloodbath: More Than 2,600 Store Closings Have Been Announced So Far In 2024

Retail stores are being shut down at a staggering rate all over the country.  If we stay on the pace that we are on, the total number of stores closed in 2024 will be nearly 40 percent higher than the total number of stores closed in 2023.  That is what you call a crisis!  Meanwhile, banks are shuttering hundreds of branches from coast to coast, and a “restaurant apocalypse” is sweeping across the nation.  Everywhere around us, “space available” signs are going up on buildings that were once considered to be prime commercial real estate.  If someone tries to convince you that the U.S. economy is in good shape, just show them this article and ask them why so many once prosperous businesses are closing.  Needless to say, they will not be able to win the argument after that.

According to the Daily Mail, nearly 2,600 store closings were announced during the first four months of 2024…

US retailers have announced the closure of almost 2,600 stores in 2024 – just four months into the year.

Big names including Macy’s, Walmart, Walgreens, Foot Locker and 7-Eleven have all said they are closing shops.

But discount stores like Family Dollar and bankrupt 99 Cents Only have been worst hit, as have drugstores like CVS and Rite Aid.

If the U.S. economy is heading in the right direction, why are many of the largest retail chains in the U.S. shutting down stores?

That wouldn’t make any sense at all.

If this pace remains constant throughout the rest of this year, we would hit a grand total of approximately 7,800 store closing announcements by the end of 2024…

If the closures were to continue at the same rate for the rest of the year they would total 7,800 in 2024 – almost 40 percent more than the total in 2023.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

A Second-Quarter Recession This Year Looks Increasingly Likely

As I watch the evolution of consumer spending, housing starts, new home sales, and GDPNow trends, it appears the economy has peaked. Warning: I tend to be early.

GDPNow forecast from the Atlanta Fed as of 2024-06-03. Chart by Mish

The GDPNow forecast has been weakening since a peak of 4.2 percent on May 8, 2024.

The best number to follow is not the overall forecast but rather Real Final Sales (RFS). The rest is inventory adjustment that nets to zero over time.

A steep plunge occurred in the base forecast from 3.5 to 2.7 then to 1.8 on May 1 and June 3. Importantly, RFS fell from 2.9 to 2.1 to 1.8 on the same dates.

Balance of Trade

I made that call on May 30.

On June 1, I commented Soaring US Trade Deficit Smacks the Atlanta Fed GDPNow Forecast

On June 3, the GDPNow forecast took another dive.

The following table that shows both moves.

GDPnow Contributions

Advance Economic Indicators, specifically import-export data took the Net Exports contribution to GDP from -0.06 to -0.60 on May 31.

Also on May 31, Personal Income and Outlays took the contribution for Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) from 2.28 to 1.75.

It’s not always easy to assign the numbers to specific buckets, but the plunge in net exports is clear.

ISM Manufacturing New Orders and Backlogs in Steep Contraction

ISM chart and excerpts below by permission from the Institute for Supply Management® ISM®

On June 3, I commented ISM Manufacturing New Orders and Backlogs in Steep Contraction

The Manufacturing ISM was in contraction for 16 months went positive for a month and is contracting again for two months with order backlogs falling for 20 months.

June 3 Impact to GDPNow

On June 3, the ISM and construction spending reports clobbered PCE with lesser negative impacts on Residential Investments, Equipment, and Net Exports.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

US Targets Journalists Who Criticize Administration’s Foreign Policy

US Targets Journalists Who Criticize Administration’s Foreign Policy

State-ordered Purge of Truth-Tellers in Time of War. Scott Ritter Passport Seized, WaPo Smears Indy Journalists

Truth or Loyalty in Journalism - There is No Choice – Women's eNews

Scott Ritter was pulled off a NY-to-Istanbul flight yesterday by US officials and his passport confiscated in a startling new development in the government’s open drive to censor and silence critics of the Administration’s foreign policies at a time when the United States is supplying billions of dollars in arms to foment wider war in Russia, accelerate the attacks on Gazans and set the stage for war with China over Taiwan.

A Marine veteran and true American patriot, Mr. Ritter is also a noted former Chief UN weapons inspector, author and journalist.  He was enroute to Russia to attend an international conference in St. Petersburg.

Mr. Ritter first came to my attention when he testified at a Capitol hearing I sponsored to inquire into the Bush Administration’s plans to attack Iraq. Ritter warned in August of 2002 that a case had not been made for attacking Iraq.

Had Congress listened to Mr. Ritter, the US would have been spared the loss of thousands of our soldiers and the waste of trillions of tax dollars. Over one million Iraqis died as a result of the US attack on their country. America’s financial and moral debt will never be able to be repaid, but would not exist if we had simply looked at the evidence he presented.

Mr. Ritter’s  passport was confiscated yesterday by U.S. authorities without explanation.

There are several Constitutional issues at stake here:

  1. The taking of his passport was  an illegal seizure, prohibited by the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution. Mr. Ritter asked for, but did not receive a receipt, for the seized passport.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Reaching the end of offshored industrialization

Reaching the end of offshored industrialization

Moving industrialization offshore can look like a good idea at first. But as fossil fuel energy supplies deplete, this strategy works less well. Countries doing the mining and manufacturing may be less interested in trading. Also, the broken supply lines of 2020 and 2021 showed that transferring major industries offshore could lead to empty shelves in stores, plus unhappy customers.

The United States started moving industry offshore in 1974 (Figure 1) in response to spiking oil prices in 1973-1974 (Figure 2).

Figure 1. US industrial energy consumption per capita, divided among fossil fuels, biomass, and electricity, based on data from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA). All energy types, including electricity, are measured their capacity to generate heat. This is the approach used by the EIA, the IEA, and most researchers.

Industry is based on the use of fossil fuels. Electricity also plays a role, but it is more like the icing on the cake than the basis of industrial production. Industry is polluting in many ways, so it was an “easy sell” to move industry offshore. But now the United States is realizing that it needs to re-industrialize. At the same time, we are being told about the need to transition the entire economy to electricity to prevent climate change.

In this post, I will try to explain the situation–how fossil fuel prices have spiked many times, including 1973-1974 (oil) and more recently (coal in 2022). I will also discuss the key role fossil fuels play. Because of the key role of fossil fuels, a reduction in per-capita fossil fuel consumption likely leads to a transition to fewer goods and services, on average, per person. A transition to all electricity does not seem to be feasible. Instead, we seem to be headed for increased geopolitical conflict and the possibility of a financial crash seems greater.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Government’s War on “Backyard” Farms

The Government’s War on “Backyard” Farms

“I’m still the king of me” – Part 1

On the front page of the CDC website, is the following headline:

Which then opens into the following:

  • Are you ready to give away your chickens?
  • Move from the country?
  • Wear gloves and a mask when caring for backyard chickens?
  • Stop buying eggs from your local farmer
  • or, all of the above?

But hold your horses, reading further into the report – here are the numbers:

Out of 330 million people in the USA in 2024, 109 have gotten sick from Salmonella and have some association with backyard poultry this year.

A further dig into the CDC archives reveals that for the past six years, the CDC has conducted successive investigative “reports” on Salmonella outbreaks linked to backyard poultry. In fact, they write numerous articles on the subject each year.

Something fishy is going on here…

A search for poultry and salmonella on the CDC website reveals no such investigations or public reports for commercial poultry operations. There are NO reports for 2024, 2023, 2022, 2021, 2020 or 2019 (the archives stop at 2019).

The CDC estimates that Salmonella bacteria cause about 1 million illnesses, 19,000 hospitalizations, and 380 deaths each year in the U.S

Below are the numbers for salmonella cases linked to backyard poultry, according to the CDC webpages:

An extensive search on the CDC website could not find how many people are sickened by commercial poultry each year.

So I went to various AI services, which spat out answers about risk of transmission and statistics about being sickened backyard poultry. The exact same pablum that I had found on the CDC website.

So, then I went the USDA website, and from there I was able to extrapolate the answer.

Therefore, according to the USDA, 1 million x .23% = 230,000 people are sickened by Salmonella associated with the consumption of chicken and turkey each year.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Ideological Battle Behind the U.S. Debt Crisis

The Ideological Battle Behind the U.S. Debt Crisis

The U.S. national debt is at 34.7 trillion dollars. If you laid that many dollar bills end-to-end, it would wrap around the Earth 134,599 times. That’s enough to travel to the sun and back 17 times. Suffice it to say, we’re in a pickle.

America is slowly approaching the precipice of debt default. This is no minor dilemma. A default could cause approximately 8 million jobs to be lost. In other words, the bill would come due.

For many politicians, the debt crisis is not a pressing concern. At least not enough to take measures to fix it. The Biden administration passed a 1.2 trillion-dollar infrastructure bill in 2021, adding 256 billion dollars to the budget deficit over the next ten years. Biden has also forgiven 167 billion dollars in student loans during his tenure, which was financed through increased government spending. Despite already being one of the most indebted countries in the world, politicians continue to dig the U.S. into an even deeper hole. The problem is not simply a monetary one. There is an ideological battle underlying our descent into debt.

The ideas that have caused America’s current debt crisis were birthed during the Great Depression. In 1932, Franklin D. Roosevelt issued a series of spending measures that were intended to stimulate economic activity in what was called the “New Deal.” FDR spent over 950 billion (inflation-adjusted) dollars on the program while being touted as an economic “savior.” The deal was promoted as what released America from the bonds of the recession. In reality, it made the problem worse.

A study conducted by two UCLA economists found that the New Deal actually extended the Great Depression by seven years. By artificially increasing wages while unemployment remained rampant and below projected recovery rates, FDR’s program harmed economic health. Simply pumping money into the economy wasn’t the fix-all solution it was advertised to be.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

There’s More to China’s U.S. Debt-Dumping Rush Than Meets the Eye

There’s More to China’s U.S. Debt-Dumping Rush Than Meets the Eye

Unprintable Alternative to Debt, De-Dollarization, Not Just China, Leaving the West for the East

“Gold is money. Everything else is credit.”
~ J. P. Morgan

Earlier this week, I told you how China has accelerated its de-dollarization efforts with rapid-fire sales of U.S. debt.

The country offloaded $53.3 billion worth of U.S. Treasuries and U.S. agency bonds. This is the largest single sale of U.S. debt in its history.

But, as I explained, even U.S. allies like Belgium and Switzerland have recently dumped an impressive $20 billion and $43 billion worth of Treasuries, respectively.

If this trend keeps up, it could be a big problem for the U.S. government. That’s because about one-third of its debt, or $8 trillion, is held by foreign countries.

The Unprintable Alternative

Now, the main reason foreigners own such a large portion of U.S. debt is simple: the U.S. dollar is the world’s primary reserve currency.

Currently, central banks hold about 58% of their foreign reserves in U.S. dollars. To earn returns on all this cash, they invest it in U.S. Treasuries, which are considered the safest assets in the world.

There’s just no alternative… or is there?

Well, China certainly seems to think so.

Just take a look at the next graph showing China’s holdings of U.S. Treasuries and gold as a percentage of its foreign reserves since 2015.

The chart above shows that as China cut back on U.S. debt, it ramped up its gold purchases. This inverse relationship between China’s gold and U.S. debt holdings became really noticeable around 2018, when the trade war with the U.S. kicked off. And as I mentioned in my last essay, by 2019, China had given up its spot as the biggest holder of U.S. debt to Japan.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

From COVID-19 to Campus Protests: How the Police State Muzzles Free Speech

“Politicians of both parties want to use the power of government to silence their foes. Some in the university community seek to drive it from their campuses. And an entire generation of Americans is being taught that free speech should be curtailed as soon as it makes someone else feel uncomfortable.”—William Ruger, “Free Speech Is Central to Our Dignity as Humans

The police state does not want citizens who know their rights.

Nor does the police state want citizens prepared to exercise those rights.

This year’s graduates are a prime example of this master class in compliance. Their time in college has been set against a backdrop of crackdowns, lockdowns and permacrises ranging from the government’s authoritarian COVID-19 tactics to its more recent militant response to campus protests.

Born in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, these young people have been raised without any expectation of privacy in a technologically-driven, mass surveillance state; educated in schools that teach conformity and compliance; saddled with a debt-ridden economy on the brink of implosion; made vulnerable by the blowback from a military empire constantly waging war against shadowy enemies; policed by government agents armed to the teeth ready and able to lock down the country at a moment’s notice; and forced to march in lockstep with a government that no longer exists to serve the people but which demands they be obedient slaves or suffer the consequences.

And now, when they should be empowered to take their rightful place in society as citizens who fully understand and exercise their right to speak truth to power, they are being censored, silenced and shut down.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

An Empire Self-Destructs

An Empire Self-Destructs

Empires are built through the creation or acquisition of wealth. The Roman Empire came about through the productivity of its people and its subsequent acquisition of wealth from those that it invaded. The Spanish Empire began with productivity and expanded through the use of its large armada of ships, looting the New World of its gold. The British Empire began through localized productivity and grew through its creation of colonies worldwide—colonies that it exploited, bringing the wealth back to England to make it the wealthiest country in the world.

In the Victorian Age, we Brits were proud to say, “There will always be an England,” and “The sun never sets on the British Empire.” So, where did we go wrong? Why are we no longer the world’s foremost empire? Why have we lost not only the majority of our colonies, but also the majority of our wealth?

Well, first, let’s take a peek back at the other aforementioned empires and see how they fared. Rome was arguably the greatest empire the world has ever seen. Industrious Romans organized large armies that went to other parts of the world, subjugating them and seizing the wealth that they had built up over generations. And as long as there were further conquerable lands just over the next hill, this approach was very effective. However, once Rome faced diminishing returns on new lands to conquer, it became evident that those lands it had conquered had to be maintained and defended, even though there was little further wealth that could be confiscated.

The conquered lands needed costly militaries and bureaucracies in place to keep them subjugated but were no longer paying for themselves…

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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