Tuesday, December 31, 2019

"Media Disappointed To Learn Armed Citizen Stopped Mass Shooting"

"Media Disappointed To Learn Armed Citizen Stopped Mass Shooting"
by The Babylon Bee

U.S.—"The nation’s media outlets announced they were grieving today as an armed citizen stopped a mass shooting. “We grieve that this tragedy we could have exploited for weeks on end was stopped by a good guy with a gun,” said one teary-eyed MSNBC reporter on the scene. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the shooter.” “We are absolutely heartbroken and in shock over here,” said one New York Times journalist. “What could have given us weeks and weeks of frothing-at-the-mouth stories about gun control will now have to be suppressed since it does not align with our agenda.” News outlets also reminded the nation that they reserve the right to immediately bury mass shooting stories that don’t help push their agenda.

Outlets like CNN, MSNBC, and ABC News confirmed that they carefully look over the facts of a given case to see if it lines up with the correct opinions before deciding to push it incessantly for weeks on end. “While we usually would exploit a tragedy like this to push our gun control agenda, in this case, the facts don’t really help us,” said CNN reporter Bob Costanza, after a recent shooting was shut down by a citizen with a gun. “It’s tragic that it ended that way, because we really could have gotten a lot of mileage out of that bad boy.” The media didn’t even try to find children who were present during the shooting to parade around talk shows and put on the covers of magazines for a full year this time around."
"A Real Hero"
by Jason Howerton

"Meet Jack Wilson. When a terrorist gunman opened fire at his church, the 71-year-old drew his firearm and squeezed off a single round, striking the moving shooter in the head from 50 feet and ending the potential massacre in roughly 3 seconds. This man is a hero."

"Updating The 2020 Edition Of The OED (For Reality)"

"Updating The 2020 Edition Of The OED (For Reality)"
 by Vladimir Golstein

"In the tradition of the Oxford English Dictionary, I recommend the following terms and their definitions to be included in a 2020 version of the same.

DNC – Democrats Nominate Clintons. A secret and nefarious body within Democratic Party that Makes Sure that only Clintons and their Clones get Nominations. The prominence of DNC is linked the futile attempts to slow down the demise of Neoliberalism.

White Helmets – a new form of birth control. It prevents members of the mainstream press from getting impregnated by truth. Any reporter travelling to the Middle East, Russia, Europe, or China is required to wear one all the time.

International News - A collection of urban legends and old wife-tales. Any news reported from Russia or China should be presumed a lie, unless proven otherwise. Under no circumstances should a proof come from the Atlantic Council, Wikipedia, Snopes, or any other propaganda outfit that calls itself “fact checker.”

Impeachment – a transgender incubus that visits nightly US Democrats in their sleep. The touch of Impeachment is so enticing, that those affected can’t think of anything else even during their waking hours. Whoever gets visited by this incubus more than two times – be it an academic, politician, diplomat, military personnel, or security specialist – turns into a script-reading zombie, as has been recently witnessed during Impeachment Hearings.

Greta – A naïve character from Brothers Grimm’s Fairy Tale. In this tale, Greta leads her brother along with thousands of trusting adults deep into dark woods, where the evil Witch, called Climate Change, inflicts endless suffering upon her victims. These sufferings include floods, droughts, locusts, boils, plagues, death of livestock, and listening to the NPR all the time. The specter of Greta continues to haunt Europe to this very day.

Ukraine – an illegitimate child of the secret love affair between the Clintons, Biden, Obama, Merkel, and assorted Polish and Swedish Blonds. The child – instead of becoming an angelic baby with blond curls – grew up into a modern Frankenstein who eats its own parts and infects anyone who touches it with hatred and paranoia. The country named in honor of this child has become a place where rich Democrats send their children to learn looting, before they can come back and start looting their own country. It is also a place where they feel the need to celebrate Nazi collaborators by turning them into national heroes. Even Poland does not do that.

Brexit – an evil uncle of Boris Johnson. When Boris’ ambitions to fill the shoes of great British Prime Ministers, like Disraeli or Churchill, has failed to realize, in comes Brexit, and relying on his network of old Etonians and angry proletarians, he helps Boris to achieve his goals.

Steele Dossier – the collection of adult cartoons that describes – in the most grotesque and ridiculous details – the sexcapades of the presidential candidate, Donald Trump. The collection is so grotesque and unrealistic that only the most sordid porn-watchers and the most valiant agents of alphabet agencies find it plausible.

Quid Pro Quo – one of the most sordid stories in Steele dossier, that depicts Donald Trump sleeping with fifty-five concubines of the Ukrainian Ruler in one night; the reported feat outdoes therefore the record set by Heracles, known to have slept with fifty daughters of a Greek King in one night.

Russians – a mysterious group of people – who, similar to the demons of ancient times, the witches of the Middle Ages, and the Jews of the Modern Period — was created by the western mind for the purposes of scapegoating. Russians combine all possible contradictions: they can be simultaneously weak and strong; socialist, yet greedy and rapacious; conniving, yet very sloppy; they can pull a very sophisticated stunt, yet leave all the traces and clues that lead back to them. They can’t do anything without cheating; yet, they are always caught in their lies. General public in the west is convinced that the only way to defeat Russians is to vote for the candidate who can say “Russians” faster than his rivals.

Whataboutism - An incantation that one pronounces to dismiss legitimate concerns of one’s opponent. It is the modern day version of “catch the thief,” when a thief, to avoid being caught, starts chasing an innocent person while screaming “catch the thief.” Used primarily by the propagandists of NATO countries to deflect scrutiny of their own violent and illegal behavior.

"The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) is the principal historical dictionary of the English language, published by Oxford University Press (OUP). It traces the historical development of the English language, providing a comprehensive resource to scholars and academic researchers, as well as describing usage in its many variations throughout the world. The second edition, comprising 21,728 pages in 20 volumes, was published in 1989."
- https://www.oed.com/

Musical Interlude: André Rieu, "Auld Lang Syne"

André Rieu, "Auld Lang Syne"

Happy New Year, Folks!

"I Wish You Enough"
by Bob Perks

"I never really thought that I'd spend as much time in airports as I do. I don't know why. I always wanted to be famous and that would mean lots of travel. But I'm not famous, yet I do see more than my share of airports. I love them and I hate them. I love them because of the people I get to watch. But they are also the same reason why I hate airports. It all comes down to "hello" and "goodbye." I must have mentioned this a few times while writing my stories for you.

I have great difficulties with saying goodbye. Even as I write this I am experiencing that pounding sensation in my heart. If I am watching such a scene in a movie I am affected so much that I need to sit up and take a few deep breaths. So when faced with a challenge in my life I have been known to go to our local airport and watch people say goodbye. I figure nothing that is happening to me at the time could be as bad as having to say goodbye. Watching people cling to each other, crying, and holding each other in that last embrace makes me appreciate what I have even more. Seeing them finally pull apart, extending their arms until the tips of their fingers are the last to let go, is an image that stays forefront in my mind throughout the day.

On one of my recent business trips, when I arrived at the counter to check in, the woman said, "How are you today?" I replied, "I am missing my wife already and I haven't even said goodbye." She then looked at my ticket and began to ask, "How long will you... Oh, my God. You will only be gone three days!" We all laughed. My problem was I still had to say goodbye. But I learn from goodbye moments, too.

Recently I overheard a father and daughter in their last moments together. They had announced her departure and standing near the security gate, they hugged and he said, "I love you. I wish you enough." She in turn said, "Daddy, our life together has been more than enough. Your love is all I ever needed. I wish you enough, too, Daddy." They kissed and she left. He walked over toward the window where I was seated. Standing there I could see he wanted and needed to cry. I tried not to intrude on his privacy, but he welcomed me in by asking, "Did you ever say goodbye to someone knowing it would be forever?" "Yes, I have," I replied. Saying that brought back memories I had of expressing my love and appreciation for all my Dad had done for me. Recognizing that his days were limited, I took the time to tell him face to face how much he meant to me. So I knew what this man was experiencing.

"Forgive me for asking, but why is this a forever goodbye?" I asked. "I am old and she lives much too far away. I have challenges ahead and the reality is, the next trip back would be for my funeral," he said. "When you were saying goodbye I heard you say, 'I wish you enough.' May I ask what that means?" He began to smile. "That's a wish that has been handed down from other generations. My parents used to say it to everyone." He paused for a moment and looking up as if trying to remember it in detail, he smiled even more. "When we said 'I wish you enough,' we were wanting the other person to have a life filled with just enough good things to sustain them," he continued and then turning toward me he shared the following as if he were reciting it from memory...
"I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright.
I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun more.
I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive.
I wish you enough pain so that the smallest joys in life appear much bigger.
I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting.
I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess.
I wish enough "Hello's" to get you through the final "Goodbye."

He then began to sob and walked away. My friends, I wish you enough!"
- http://www.gaia.com/

Happy New Year, folks! I wish you and your loved ones enough,
and good health, peace, and happiness in the new year!
 And always, thanks for stopping by! See you on the other side!
- CP

The Poet: John O'Donohue, "In These Times"

"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"

These times are all we have, and will never come again...
 Seals & Crofts, “We May Never Pass This Way Again”

"New Years Resolutions..."

Click image for larger size.

"The Day Has Been So Full Of Fret And Care..."

"The day has been so full of fret and care, and our hearts have been so full of evil and of bitter thoughts, and the world has seemed so hard and wrong to us. Then Night, like some great loving mother, gently lays her hand upon our fevered head, and turns our little tear-stained faces up to hers, and smiles; and though she does not speak, we know what she would say, and lay our hot flushed cheek against her bosom, and the pain is gone. Sometimes, our pain is very deep and real, and we stand before her very silent, because there is no language for our pain, only a moan. Night's heart is full of pity for us: she cannot ease our aching; she takes our hand in hers, and the little world grows very small and very far away beneath us, and, borne on her dark wings, we pass for a moment into a mightier Presence than her own, and in the wondrous light of that great Presence, all human life lies like a book before us, and we know that Pain and Sorrow are but angels of God."
- Jerome K. Jerome

Rest, relax... it'll be Ok. It will...

Liquid Mind, “Lullaby for Grown Ups”

The Daily "Near You?"

Meudon, Ile-de-France, France. Thanks for stopping by!

"The World You Desired..."

"In the name of the best within you, do not sacrifice this world to those who are at its worst. In the name of the values that keep you alive, do not let your vision of people be distorted by the ugly, the cowardly, the mindless in those who have never achieved integrity. Do not lose your knowledge that our proper estate is an upright posture, an intransigent mind and a step that travels unlimited roads. Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark, in the hopeless swamps of the approximate, the not-quite, the not-yet, the not-at-all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish, in lonely frustration for the life you deserved, but have never been able to reach. Check your road and the nature of your battle. The world you desired can be won, it exists, it is real, it's yours."
- Ayn Rand

"Survey: 16.4 Million American Adults Think Chocolate Milk Comes from Brown Cows"

"Survey: 16.4 Million American Adults 
Think Chocolate Milk Comes from Brown Cows"
by Katherine Rodriguez

"Seven percent of adults in America think chocolate milk comes from brown cows, according to a new survey from the Innovation Center of U.S. Dairy. Statistically, that's 16.4 million people. U.S. Dairy’s Innovation Center surveyed more than 1,000 adults over the age of 18 in April and found that seven percent of respondents thought that brown cows make chocolate milk. An additional 48 percent of respondents did not know that chocolate milk is made of milk mixed with cocoa butter and sugar. The survey found only 5% of people don’t drink milk at all, and 95% have a form of cheese in their fridge. Additionally, 25% said they have visited the grocery story before 6 a.m. to buy milk, so while some Americans may not know where their milk comes from, they know where to get it.

The survey has attracted its fair share of snarky critics. “Um, guys, it comes from cows – and not just the brown kind,” wrote Elisabeth Sherman of "Food & Wine." Snarky critics aside, agricultural experts say the survey’s results show a growing trend where Americans are “agriculturally illiterate,” meaning they do not know the process of how food goes from the farm to the kitchen table or how other food items are made.

A 1990s study commissioned by the Department of Agriculture found that almost 1 in 5 adults did not know that most hamburgers are made from beef. That study also showed that Americans did not know the type of food animals eat or the size of farms in the U.S.

The problem of food illiteracy is not just isolated to adults. In one study from 2011, researchers found that more than half of the fourth, fifth, and sixth-grade students they interviewed did not know pickles were cucumbers or that vegetables such as onions came from plants.

Studies, however, say this is not representative of all of Americans. People who live in agricultural areas, as well as people with higher incomes and education levels, tend to know more about the source of food, according to the Washington Post.”
"We're so freakin' doomed!"
- The Mogambo Guru

"That's The Way Life Goes..."

"Bad things will happen and good things too. Your life will be full of surprises. Miracles happen only where there has been suffering. So taste your grief to the fullest. Don't try and press it down. Don't hide from it. Don't escape. It is life too. It is truth. But it will pass and time will put a strange honey in the bitterness. That's the way life goes."
- Ben Okri

"50 Numbers From 2019 That Are Almost Too Crazy To Believe"

"50 Numbers From 2019 That Are Almost Too Crazy To Believe"
by Michael Snyder

"One of the best ways to determine where things are heading is to look back at how much has changed over the past 12 months. 2019 has been one of the most memorable years in our history, and it has certainly set the stage for the critical events of the decade to come.  However, not everyone views this moment in our history the same way. For example, one “expert” that is being heavily quoted by the mainstream media is claiming that 2019 was the culmination of “the best decade in human history”. His main argument seems to be that since “the ecological footprint of human activity” appears to be shrinking, the world must be a better place than it was before as a result. And certainly there are many other voices out there that are boldly proclaiming that we have entered a golden new era of peace and prosperity and that the best is yet to come. You can buy that argument if you want, but there are other voices that believe that everything that is wrong with our society is reaching a very dangerous crescendo. For those with that perspective, it appears that we are very close to a societal tipping point and that the years ahead are when we will finally pay the price for decades of exceedingly bad decisions.

So what do you think? Will the 2020s be the best of times or the worst of times? As you ponder that question, here are 50 numbers from 2019 that are almost too crazy to believe…

#1 According to a Gallup poll that was just released, Barack Obama and Donald Trump came in tied for “the most admired man in America” this year.  They both got 18 percent in the survey, and no other man had more than 2 percent.
#2 At 10 percent, Michelle Obama topped the list in the Gallup poll for “the most admired woman in America” this year.
#3 Global stocks have increased in value by more than 25 trillion dollars over the past 10 years.
#4 In the United States, 84 percent of all stocks are owned by the wealthiest 10 percent of all Americans.
#5 The U.S. government is now more than 23 trillion dollars in debt.
#6 During the Obama and Trump administrations, we have added more than 12 trillion dollars to the national debt.
#7 Over the past 12 months alone, we have added another 1.1 trillion dollars to the national debt.
#8 Every single hour of every single day, we are stealing more than 100 million dollars from future generations of Americans.
#9 According to the IMF, total global debt has now reached the 188 trillion dollar mark.
#10 U.S. corporations are now close to 10 trillion dollars in debt.
#11 Total corporate debt has now reached 47 percent of U.S. GDP.  That is the highest level in our history.
#12 Total U.S. household debt is about to cross the 14 trillion dollar mark.
#13 A study that was recently released found that 70 percent of all Americans are struggling financially right now.
#14 The average family in the United States cannot afford to buy a home in 71 percent of the country.
#15 58 million jobs in the United States pay less than $793 a week.
#16 According to the Social Security Administration, 50 percent of all Americans make less than $33,000 a year.
#17 63 percent of the jobs that have been created in the United States since 1990 have been low wage jobs.
#18 Roughly 40 million Americans struggle with food insecurity.
#19 70 percent of Americans “have cried about money”.
#20 A recent survey found that more than two-thirds of all U.S. households “are preparing for a possible recession”.
#21 According to the most recent government figures, 24.6 million Americans have used an illegal drug within the last 30 days.
#22 If you can believe it, 46 percent of all Americans have taken at least one legal pharmaceutical drug within the last 30 days.  That is almost half the country.
#23 A New York woman named Alexa Kasdan recently went to see her doctor because she had a cold and a sore throat.  Her insurance company was billed $25,865.24 for the visit.
#24 Americans spend more than 140 billion dollars a year treating cancer.
#25 If you are an American woman, there is a 1 in 3 chance that you will get cancer at some point in your life.
#26 If you are an American man, there is a 1 in 2 chance that you will get cancer at some point in your life.
#27 Over the past decade, the suicide rate among young Americans has risen by 56 percent.
#28 The suicide rate for the overall population increased by 41 percent between 1999 and 2016.
#29 One survey has discovered that 15-year-old students in China are almost four full grade levels ahead of 15-year-old students in the United States in mathematics.
#30 A different survey discovered that one-third of all American teenagers haven’t read a single book in the past year.
#31 According to a recent survey of 2,000 adults, a whopping 88 percent of all Americans believe that the holiday season is the most stressful time of the year.
#32 48 million Americans still have holiday debt from last year.
#33 23 percent of all U.S. children live with a single parent. That is the highest rate in the entire world by a wide margin.
#34 Today, approximately 40 percent of all babies in America are born to unmarried women.
#35 The U.S. fertility rate has fallen 15 percent since 2007 and is now at the lowest level ever recorded.
#36 One very alarming survey found that the average American spends 86 hours a month on a cellphone.
#37 The average person will watch more than 78,000 hours of television programming over the course of a lifetime.
#38 Today, almost half of all homeless people in the entire nation live in the state of California.
#39 Over half of all California voters have considered leaving the state.
#40 According to an American Bar Association survey, only 38 percent of all Americans know that the U.S. Constitution is the highest law in the land.
#41 58 percent of American adults under the age of 35 agree that some version of socialism “would be good for the country”.
#42 Almost one-third of all U.S. Millennials are still living with their parents.
#43 According to the Pew Research Center, only 65 percent of Americans now consider themselves to be Christians.  That is the lowest level ever recorded.
#44 The bird population of North America has declined by 3 billion since 1970.
#45 Scientists are telling us that at the current rate of extinction, nearly all insects could be gone “in 100 years”.
#46 African Swine Fever has already killed one out of every four pigs in the world, and many experts believe this crisis is still in the very early stages.
#47 Within the last 365 days, there have been approximately 37,000 earthquakes of at least magnitude 1.5 in the United States.
#48 The upcoming election is a “significant source of stress” for 56 percent of U.S. adults.
#49 A survey that was conducted a couple of months ago found that 67 percent of all Americans believe that we are “on the edge of civil war”.
#50 The final full moon of this decade was on 12/12 at precisely 12:12 AM eastern time.  And it turns out that it was also exactly 6,666 days from 9/11."

"How It Really Is"

Good luck!

"How To Cure A Hangover, Or Not"

"How To Cure A Hangover, Or Not"
By Colleen Graham
"Now you've done it and it's official, you have a hangover. Now what? No matter what you do sleep and water or juice should be included. There are many folk cures that are supposed to help cure a hangover. Many of them will help you cope by replenishing the vitamins and liquid you lost over night, while some like avoiding caffeine are very important to a quicker recovery. There is no one size fits all cure, find what works for you but the list below is a good place to start. There are also a few suggestions from readers who found their own way to cope.

Difficulty: Hard
Time Required: As long as it takes to feel better. 
Here's How:

• Sleep. Rest is your best friend at this point to give your body a recover. It is best to stay in bed so call in to work if you have to, tell them you have the stomach flu. You will sound so horrible on the phone they may believe you (unless they saw you at the bar, not a good idea then).
• Replenish your body with fruit juice and water.
• Avoid caffeine. A weak cup of coffee may be okay but a lot of caffeine will continue to dehydrate you, the opposite of what you want right now.
• Drink orange juice for Vitamin C.
• Drink a sports drink like Gatorade or Powerade.
• Eat mineral rich food like pickles or canned fish.
• In Poland, drinking pickle juice is a common remedy.
• Drink a Bloody Mary. While the popular phrase “hair of the dog that bit you” may sound logical with a shot of whiskey left in the bottle next to your bed, it’s only temporary. Try a Bloody Mary instead, while your blood is dealing with the new alcohol it is ignoring the old and in the mean time tomato juice and celery are full of vitamins. If you drank the last of the vodka make a Virgin Mary. Another spicy morning after drink option is Hair of the Dog, in which gin and hot sauce are sure to bite your hangover back.
• Take a shower, switching between cold and hot water.
• In Ireland it was said that the cure for a hangover is to bury the ailing person up to the neck in moist river sand.
• Try Alka Seltzer Morning Relief. One reader says that it's all that he and his wife have found that really works for them. He stumbled across this "cure" while his wife was still suffering after two days, within 15 minutes after taking the Alka Seltzer she was fine.
• Get some exercise. Another reader suggests doing some sort of physical activity. He writes, "In the rare case of having hangover I usually drink about 1-2 liters of water and go outside to do some exercise like mountain climbing, swimming, cycling or just about anything that keeps me sweating." It takes willpower to move like that when standing seems like a challenge, but it is a good theory. 
• The side effects of aspirin, Tylenol and ibuprofen can be magnified when alcohol is in your system, so it is best (even though it may be the first thing you reach for) to avoid them to kill the hangover pain. Aspirin is a blood thinner, just like alcohol, and can intensify its effects and Tylenol (or acetaminophen) can cause more damage to your liver. Ibuprofen can also cause stomach bleeding. So be cautious when going for the quick relief.
• Watch the video: "Hangover Remedies." Jonathan Stewart demonstrates how to make a blended hangover remedy. There are a more than a few ingredients so you may want to have everything organized prior to overindulging.
• As an antidote, one reader takes a little extra multi B vitamin and drinks a lot of water before going to sleep."
“How To Prevent And Cure Hangovers, According To Science”
Related:
"Hangover Cures: Myth, Legend, and Fact"

"The Lumpy Circle Of Life"

"For thirty years now, in times of stress and strain, when something has me backed against the wall and I'm ready to do something really stupid with my anger, a sorrowful face appears in my mind and asks... "Problem or inconvenience?" I think of this as the Wollman Test of Reality. Life is lumpy. And a lump in the oatmeal, a lump in the throat, and a lump in the breast are not the same lump. One should learn the difference." 
~ Robert Fulghum, "Uh-Oh"

"Sigmund Wollman's Reality Test"
by 
Robert Fulghum
  
"In the summer of 1959, at the Feather River Inn near the town of Blairsden in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of northern California. A resort environment. And I, just out of college, have a job that combines being the night desk clerk in the lodge and helping out with the horse-wrangling at the stables. The owner/manager is Italian-Swiss, with European notions about conditions of employment. He and I do not get along. I think he's a fascist who wants pleasant employees who know their place, and he thinks I'm a good example of how democracy can be carried too far. I'm twenty-two and pretty free with my opinions, and he's fifty-two and has a few opinions of his own. One week the employees had been served the same thing for lunch every single day. Two wieners, a mound of sauerkraut, and stale rolls. To compound insult with injury, the cost of meals was deducted from our check. I was outraged.

 On Friday night of that awful week, I was at my desk job around 11:00 P.M., and the night auditor had just come on duty. I went into the kitchen to get a bite to eat and saw notes to the chef to the effect that wieners and sauerkraut are on the employee menu for two more days.

That tears it. I quit! For lack of a better audience, I unloaded on the night auditor, Sigmund Wollman.

I declared that I have had it up to here; that I am going to get a plate of wieners and sauerkraut and go and wake up the owner and throw it on him.

I am sick and tired of this crap and insulted and nobody is going to make me eat wieners and sauerkraut for a whole week and make me pay for it and who does he think he is anyhow and how can life be sustained on wieners and sauerkraut and this is un-American and I don't like wieners and sauerkraut enough to eat it one day for God's sake and the whole hotel stinks anyhow and the horses are all nags and the guests are all idiots and I'm packing my bags and heading for Montana where they never even heard of wieners and sauerkraut and wouldn't feed that stuff to the pigs. Something like that. I'm still mad about it.

I raved on this way for twenty minutes, and needn't repeat it all here. You get the drift. My monologue was delivered at the top of my lungs, punctuated by blows on the front desk with a fly-swatter, the kicking of chairs, and much profanity. A call to arms, freedom, unions, uprisings, and the breaking of chains for the working masses.

As I pitched my fit, Sigmund Wollman, the night auditor, sat quietly on his stool, smoking a cigarette, watching me with sorrowful eyes. Put a bloodhound in a suit and tie and you have Sigmund Wollman. He's got good reason to look sorrowful. Survivor of Auschwitz. Three years. German Jew. Thin, coughed a lot. He liked being alone at the night job - gave him intellectual space, gave him peace and quiet, and, even more, he could go into the kitchen and have a snack whenever he wanted to - all the wieners and sauerkraut he wanted. To him, a feast. More than that, there's nobody around at night to tell him what to do. In Auschwitz he dreamed of such a time. The only person he sees at work is me, the nightly disturber of his dream. Our shifts overlap for an hour. And here I am again. A one-man war party at full cry.

"Fulchum, are you finished?"

"No. Why?"

Lissen, Fulchum. Lissen me, lissen me. You know what's wrong with you? It's not wieners and kraut and it's not the boss and it's not the chef and it's not this job."

"So what's wrong with me?"

"Fulchum, you think you know everything, but you don't know the difference between an inconvenience and a problem. If you break your neck, if you have nothing to eat, if your house is on fire - then you got a problem. Everything else is inconvenience. Life is inconvenient. Life is lumpy. Learn to separate the inconveniences from the real problems. You will live longer. And will not annoy people like me so much. Good night."

In a gesture combining dismissal and blessing, he waved me off to bed.

Seldom in my life have I been hit between the eyes with a truth so hard. Years later I heard a Japanese Zen Buddhist priest describe what the moment of enlightenment was like and I knew exactly what he meant. There in that late-night darkness of the Feather River Inn, Sigmund Wollman simultaneously kicked my butt and opened a window in my mind.

For thirty years now, in times of stress and strain, when something has me backed against the wall and I'm ready to do something really stupid with my anger, a sorrowful face appears in my mind and asks: "Fulchum. Problem or inconvenience?"

I think of this as the Wollman Test of Reality. Life is lumpy. And a lump in the oatmeal, a lump in the throat, and a lump in the breast are not the same lump. One should learn the difference. Good night, Sig."
http://www.livinglifefully.com/

And always expect the unexpected...
"Despite my firm convictions, I have been always a man who tries to face facts, and to accept the reality of life as new experience and new knowledge unfolds it. I have always kept an open mind, which is necessary to the flexibility that must go hand in hand with every form of intelligent search for truth."
- Malcolm X

"Maddest Of All..."

"When life itself seems lunatic, who knows where madness lies? Perhaps to be too practical is madness. To surrender dreams - this may be madness. To seek treasure where there is only trash. Too much sanity may be madness - and maddest of all: to see life as it is, and not as it should be!"
- Miguel de Cervantes in "Man of La Mancha"
“A man who is "of sound mind" is one who keeps 
the inner madman under lock and key.”
- Paul Valéry, 
“Mauvaises Pensées et Autres”, 1942

Must Read: "Dr. Fed Frankenstein Kept Alive by Zombies"

"Dr. Fed Frankenstein Kept Alive by Zombies"
by David Haggith

"Did you know Dr. Frankenstein created a monster that stays alive to this day by eating zombies? Neither did the zombies. Neither, apparently, did Dr. Frankenstein. In fact, the zombies, being braindead as zombies are, do not realize that they are also keeping alive the diabolical doctor who made the monster that is eating them.

This little article, however, is going to tell you how all of that has become the strange case of the world as we all know it today. And, at the end of the article, I’m going to give everyone access to the first “Patron Post” I wrote as my thank-you to supporters who chose to keep this blog alive at the close of last year. That post was titled “2019 Economic Headwinds Look Like Storm of the Century.”

Before I do, I want to recap 2019 by shining a light on the occulted diabolical nature of the single most important economic event this past year… so that you can read the article in an appropriate frame of mind. You would not, after all, watch a horror movie without first turning out the lights to set the mood. In this case, however, I must also turn on a single small lamp to shine a light on the face of the monster hidden the dark corner of the banking world. Then we will be ready to review the article in context of all that transpired.

One purpose I had for laying out what I thought would be the prevailing headwinds in 2019 was, of course, to help people realize what they should keep their eyes on for their own sakes. That may or may not give them information they factor into investment decisions, but investments decisions are not at all what this blog is about. Investment decisions depend on personal tax considerations, appetite for risk and prosperity versus safety and security, which changes with age in life, and all kinds of other factors.

My main purpose, henceforth, was and is to develop my continuing saga about the Great Recession in which Dr. Frankenstein - Dr. Fed Frankenstein, to be precise - created the monster that still ravages the earth to this day and to lay out the completely predictable death of Dr. Fed’s monster for the dismal comfort of those the dred doctor pretends to be curing with his gift of reincarnate life that is eating away at them, limb by wasting limb.

You see, I was almost certain 2019 would eventually become the big year to prove out this central theme of my past decade of writing, a period which I have devoted to covering the life of the resuscitated monster and its demi-creator. To put it in the doctor’s own technical terms, the Fed’s failure at its “balance sheet unwind” would become, in my terms, the “Great Recovery Rewind” toward the end of the year, establishing once and for all that Fed Frankenstein did not ever create self-sustaining life.

With that certainty burning in my fevered mind, the one point I continued to drum home throughout the year that followed this January, 2018, post of which I am writing, was the development that would impact us all by the time the Fed’s tightening of the rack on which its recovery monster was bedded came to a scheduled close at the end the summer of 2018.

In anticipation of your reading the full tome, I present you with a summary sample of the pre-gloom enlightenment you are about to receive."
In my opinion this blog is a Must Read. 
Please view the complete article here:

Monday, December 30, 2019

"Economic Market Snapshot PM 12/31/19"


PM 12/31/19, Updated frequently as available.


Gregory Mannarino, PM 12/31/19: 
"This REPO Scam Is A Looming Black Swan Event"
 - https://www.traderschoice.net/
MarketWatch Market Summary, Live Updates

CNN Market Data:

CNN Fear And Greed Index:

Buffett Indicator: Where Are We with Market Valuations?
"As of 12/31/19 (updates daily): The Stock Market is Significantly Overvalued. Based on historical ratio of total market cap over GDP (currently at 153.2%), it is likely to return -2.9% a year from this level of valuation, including dividends. As of today, the Total Market Index is at $33006.7 billion, which is about 153.2% of the last reported GDP. The US stock market is positioned for an average annualized return of -2.9%, estimated from the historical valuations of the stock market. This includes the returns from the dividends, currently yielding at 1.7%."
https://www.gurufocus.com/stock-market-valuations.php

Daily Job Cuts, Updated daily.
https://www.dailyjobcuts.com/

Daily Essentials, Updated Frequently:
"You could look it up." You should...
- Yogi Berra

And soon enough, the End Game...

"Batten Down the Hatches"

"Batten Down the Hatches"
by David Stockman

"For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind: it hath no stalk; the bud shall yield no meal: if so be it yield, the strangers shall swallow it up."
– Hosea 8:7 (King James Version)

"The Turbulent Twenties begin in two days. It will be the decade when the chickens come home to roost. The 2020s will mark an era when today’s economic and political fantasies give way to…

• the spectacular failure of Keynesian central banking;
• a violent implosion of America's fiscal accounts;
• a prolonged, painful reversal of the three-decade long hyper-inflation of financial asset prices that has resulted in the Everything Bubble;
• a ferocious global economic headwind arising from the demise of the Red Ponzi;
• an outbreak of unprecedented partisan acrimony rendering Washington completely dysfunctional and imperiling America's very constitutional foundation;
• the lapse of Imperial Washington into retreat and failure all around the planet;
• a grinding halt to US economic growth while the Baby Boom retirement tsunami causes entitlement spending to soar and generational conflict to erupt like never before; and
• a virulent outbreak of class warfare and redistributionist political conflict unprecedented in American history owing to a stagnating economic pie.

These baleful developments are not just possibilities – they are well-nigh certainties. And they’re ultimately rooted in a common cause: the three-decade-long explosion of debt and speculation initiated in October 1987 when Alan Greenspan bailed out Wall Street speculators and launched a toxic regime of monetary central planning.

America is today saddled with $74 trillion of public and private debt. The global figure exceeds $250 trillion. These Brobdingnagian figures didn’t materialize because everyday people suddenly lost their senses; folks didn’t just become addicted to unsustainable levels of debt, leverage, and speculation.

The people here and abroad were misled. They were induced and baited into burying themselves in debt by agents of the state – especially its central banking branch. The means were falsified interest rates, artificially inflated asset prices, and a hoary theory that debt-fueled “stimulus” injections can create a permanent increase in growth and wealth.

As a matter of keeping score, incremental debt does purchase added gross domestic product (GDP) in the current period. But that’s because of defective national accounting conventions promulgated more than a half-century ago. GDP accounting is inherently incomplete because it views the economy as simply a matter of period-by-period flows – the more “spending” the better – without regard to balance sheets and the accumulated cost of debt carry over time. And this blindness has gotten far more consequential since October 1987.

The price of debt has been deeply and systematically falsified by central banks, providing a powerful artificial incentive to borrow and a misleading signal to debtors about its longer-run implications. In the case of households and governments especially, balance sheets have been deeply impaired in order to fund current spending. Yet these two sectors – virtually by definition – do not borrow in order to acquire productive assets capable of defraying the accumulating cost of carry. Over time, they suffer a progressive diminution of their ability to spend as interest costs on past spending/borrowing absorb an ever-larger share of current income.

Even in the case of the private business sector, where borrowings used to fund new assets that can add value if they generate returns in excess of the cost of debt, the relentless repression of interest rates has resulted in severe balance-sheet deterioration. And, in the long run, that too means slower growth and impaired wealth generation.

The cost of benchmark debt – the rate on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note – is really the master capitalization rate for the entire financial market. Artificial and sustained reduction of cap rates results in proportionately higher asset prices and increased price-to-earnings multiples. Yet cheaper debt and richer share prices are one of the most toxic consequences of monetary central planning. It provides powerful incentives to the CEOs and CFOs to borrow at sub-economic costs, use the proceeds to fund stock buybacks, increasing per-share earnings, and expand multiples.

Likewise, cheap debt causes a huge distortion in the mergers-and-acquisitions market. Acquisitions are made to look “accretive” not because the make business sense or because there are true, sustainable synergies. They happen because they carry cost of purchase debt is so low.

These forms of financial engineering redistribute financial wealth to the top 10% and 1% of households, which own 40% and 85% of the stock, respectively. But that comes at the expense of reduced investment in productive assets and therefore lower growth and employment over time.

At the end of the day, the relentless and ever-deepening interest-rate repression of the last 30 years has generated modest gains in output and jobs on Main Street and a massive inflation of asset prices on Wall Street. But, now, this bad money regime has finally taken itself hostage. Our monetary central planners have fostered such massive, egregious bubbles that they’re terrified by the prospect of another stock market meltdown like those of 2000 and 2008-2009.

Another event like that would bring a renewed bout of desperate restructuring, layoffs, and liquidations by Corporate America and a new recession on Main Street. The Federal Reserve has simply launched another Hail Mary. It’s so transparent and so incendiary that it will surely catalyze the final blow-off top early in the 2020s. And it seems as if the whole world has, indeed, gone mad."