The Weekly Watch

The Fiasco of Finacialization

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Financialization is a term used to describe the development of financial capitalism during the period from 1980 to present, in which debt-to-equity ratios increased and financial services accounted for an increasing share of national income relative to other sectors.

In other words, we quit making things except currency (and weapons to enforce global USD use). We sent our industrial economy to China and the third world, hollowing out labor and the middle class in the process. Profits became god, people pawns...and the rich became obscenely rich and completed the purchase of the government lock, stock, and barrel.

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The global financial system and economy are a house or cards. Built on an unsustainable underpinning to ever-increasing debt the financial system is, as far as I am concerned, irretrievably insolvent.

To truly grasp this you need to understand the basics of banking and currency (what we call money, but really isn’t because it doesn’t satisfy all three necessary preconditions to be called such). This is briefly covered in this episode.

With that basic grounding we can appreciate the vast gap between the claims on true wealth and the amount of true wealth (lots of currency, not as much ‘stuff’) and now can discuss the immense pain coming to those with fewer resources to combat rapidly rising inflation.

Even worse, a true energy emergency in Europe is going to really create a lot of headaches and financial heartaches for a lot of people. With this essential context you can begin to build up a personal resilience plan to weather it all as best you can. But it all begins by having the right frame of view and sufficient information and context.

40 interesting minutes with an ad you can skip for his free crash course from 7:50 to 10:30

Although as Chris suggest above we may be creating more currency than any government in history, Max and Stacy explain this isn't the first time currency creation has been an economic strategy. They describe the situation in France in the late 18th century. (1st 15 min)

Off With The Bankers Heads!

Max and Stacy take on the "robber barons" this week too.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ry_Ey7EItCI (1st 15 min)
Max and Stacy look back to the most notorious robber baron from the Gilded Age, Jay Gould, and see what insight he could offer to the internecine conflict during the age of Robber Baron 2.0.

Rick Wolff and Chris Hedges discuss the political outcome of our finacialized economy. They break it down as America's Fate: Oligarchy or Autocracy. (28 min)

The competing systems of power in the United States are divided between oligarchy and autocracy. There are no other alternatives. Neither are pleasant. Each have peculiar and distasteful characteristics. Each pays lip service to the fictions of democracy and constitutional rights. And each exacerbates the widening social and political divide and the potential for violent conflict. The oligarchs from the establishment Republican party, figures such as Liz Cheney, Mitt Romney, George and Jeb Bush and Bill Kristol, have joined forces with the oligarchs in the Democratic Party to defy the autocrats in the new Republican party who have coalesced in cult-like fashion around Donald Trump or, if he does not run again for president, his inevitable Frankensteinian doppelgänger. The alliance of Republican and Democratic oligarchs exposes the burlesque that characterized the old two-party system, where the ruling parties fought over what Sigmund Freud called the “narcissism of minor differences” but were united on all the major structural issues including massive defense spending, free trade deals, tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations, the endless wars, government surveillance, the money-saturated election process, neoliberalism, austerity, deindustrialization, militarized police and the world’s largest prison system. The liberal class, fearing autocracy, has thrown in its lot with the oligarchs, discrediting and rendering impotent the causes and issues it claims to champion. The bankruptcy of the liberal class is important, for it effectively turns liberal democratic values into the empty platitudes those who embrace autocracy condemn and despise.

Exactly what does financialization mean?

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Here's an academic description of Financialization...

ABSTRACT
Financialization is a process whereby financial markets, financial institutions, and
financial elites gain greater influence over economic policy and economic outcomes.
Financialization transforms the functioning of economic systems at both the macro and
micro levels. Its principal impacts are to:
(1) elevate the significance of the financial sector relative to the real sector,
(2) transfer income from the real sector to the financial sector, and
(3) increase income inequality and contribute to wage stagnation.
Additionally, there are reasons to believe that financialization may put the economy at risk of debt deflation and prolonged recession.
...
Countering financialization calls for a multifaceted agenda that:
(1) restores policy control over financial markets,
(2) challenges the neoliberal economic policy paradigm encouraged by financialization,
(3) makes corporations responsive to interests of stakeholders other than just financial markets, and
(4) reforms the political process so as to diminish the influence of corporations and wealthy elites.

I'm not holding my breath awaiting those reforms. Looking at the market it is obvious inequality is about to get much worse. I first began understanding the inevitability of growing inequality from Piketty's work.

Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the 21st Century is one of the most influential recent works in the field of economics. This short 3.4 minute video explains a few of the key ideas.

French economist Thomas Piketty talks to the FT's European economics commentator Martin Sandbu about ideology, capital, and how to make societies fairer with taxes on wealth and inheritance. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=utnpOqE6Lk0 (20 min)
Short essay here.

As stock prices soar, the inequality will worsen. Since 2016, the global economy has grown 14 per cent and world market capitalisation by 34 per cent.

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So we watch the real economy tank during the pandemic...small businesses close, home foreclosures, renters kicked out on the street, student debt at record levels, and yet the stock market soars as the Fed continues the ponzi creating ever more currency for banks and other corporations to buy their own stocks driving the market (and inequality) ever higher. Note nothing is produced except profit (and debt).
Weekly development of the Dow Jones Industrial Average index from January 2020 to September 2021

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Tech companies are leading the way and are bigger than many national economies.

Apple is valued at a market capitalization of $2.4 trillion in January 2021, the GDP of Canada for 2020 is $1.6 trillion. In fact, Apple is nearly as big as the GDP of India, which has a GDP of $2.59 trillion.

In fact, these corporate behemoths want a seat on the UN since they are more powerful than nation states, and corporate media agrees.
Give Amazon and Facebook a Seat at the United Nations

Given the scope of their ambitions and our dependence on them, behemoth brands should be treated, and held to account, for what they really are: commercial superpowers.

Meanwhile the real economy is in shambles.

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Just this month...

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However the last week alone
https://www.forbes.com/sites/jonathanponciano/2021/09/30/new-jobless-cla...

  • About 362,000 people filed initial jobless claims in the week ending September 25, up 11,000 from the previous week, according to the weekly data released Thursday.
  • Economists were only expecting about 330,000 new claims, according to Bloomberg; the reading hit a pandemic low of 312,000 in the week ending September 4 but has ticked up every week since.
  • Despite the unexpected increase in new claims, continuing claims fell drastically from 11.3 million in the week ending September 4 to about 5 million in the week ending September 11, reflecting the expiration of enhanced federal unemployment benefits for an estimated 7.5 million Americans earlier this month.

So in summary, in September 194,000 new jobs were added yet there were 362,000 new unemployment claims last week!

Jobs are being lost in almost every sector except transportation.

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...and US employment is lower than it has been in decades.

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Additionally, we have cargo ships stacked up awaiting off loading at our ports. MSM will report stories like that. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QccPG6LfmEs (4 min)
But never explain the root cause of off shoring production and screwing US labor.

But the market is booming? It is because the Fed is both directly and indirectly purchasing it and all the bad corporate debt still hanging around from 2008...as these same corporations buy their own stocks further enriching their CEO's and stock holders, but here again adding nothing real to the economy.

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https://wolfstreet.com/2021/10/02/my-wealth-effect-monitor-for-our-money...

The Fed’s doctrine of the “Wealth Effect” is designed to enrich the top 10%, particularly the top 1%, particularly the top 0.01%, and particularly the Billionaire Class. The more they have, the more they benefit. This is official Federal Reserve policy.

But during the pandemic, the Fed went all-out: It printed $4.5 trillion in 18 months and repressed short-term interest rates to near-zero, in order to inflate asset prices to the extreme. And it succeeded.

This was the greatest economic injustice committed in recent US history. Congress could shut it down but doesn’t want to even debate it. Members of Congress mostly belong to the top 10%, or hope to soon belong to it (on their Congressional salaries, of course, hahahaha), and that’s why this continues.

The bottom 50% don’t understand what the Fed is doing to them, don’t even know what the Fed is and does, and they are too busy trying to survive in this economy that the Fed has so powerfully rigged against them.

What got me on this topic is an online course by economist, Michael Hudson.
I've been slowly moving through his series of lectures.
A 3 part lecture series for the Global University for Sustainability, Hong Kong
Part one (1.8 hours)
Part two (1.5 hours)
Part three (1.5 hours)
I've been listening for about 30 minutes at a time, and learning something every session.

He lays out the reason for US hostility toward China. In simple terms, China has developed an industrial economy based on manufacture and trade, much like the US economy of the 50's and 60's when most of the rest of the world was rebuilding from WWII. We created that transition by off shoring US production to China in order to minimize labor costs. I remember when we took pride in the quality of US products, as well as treating employees as a resource rather than expendable chattel. There were more unions which helped promote fair treatment of employees in those days too.

Starting about 1980 (though some might suggest 1972 when we left the gold standard), the US abandoned high quality production and treating employees fairly as profits became god. It wasn't as if the corporation were not making money before, but by exploiting Chinese labor (and relegating US labor to service rather than production) they could make more money. Basically the US economy morphed into a system of greed which promoted increasing inequality thereby empowering the elite oligarchic class, and suppressing the voice and rights or the remaining US work force. And that is where we are.

Labor is beginning to rise up.
F*ck Your Corn Flakes! - Kellogg's Workers At All U.S. Cereal Plants Go On Strike
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i3zk9KZancg (15 min)

Work at all of Kellogg U.S. cereal plants came to a halt Tuesday as almost 1,500 workers in Omaha, Nebraska Battle Creek, Michigan; Lancaster, Pennsylvania; and Memphis, Tennessee went on strike after more than year of negotiations over low pay, the loss premium health care, holiday and vacation pay and reduced retirement benefits.

Additionally, TV & Film Crews Overwhelmingly Authorize A Full Strike That Could Shut Down All Production https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-OCwyPM693c (13 min)

After months of failed talks between the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), workers have voted overwhelmingly to authorize a full strike that could shut down all production if their demands are not met.

Krystal provides details on the massive labor strike wave taking place around the country that is getting completely ignored by mainstream media outlets (6 min)

Despite labor's effort there is systemic failure that no series of strikes can remedy. The financialized economic system where everything is for sale and profit is always the goal would have to be dismantled. Perhaps the largest obstacle to systemic change is the miseducation, really down right theatrical spectacle, which absolutely misrepresents our collective situation...from lies of China's aggression as the AUKUS fleets cruise their seas to this week Facebook's "whistleblower". Max and Ben explain the sham designed to usher in more censorship. An interesting conversation in the first hour. The second hour (at 54 min) explores the likelihood of the CIA creating the Pandora Papers. Nothing is as it seems and is represented in the MSM.

Still don't buy the total purchase and capture of the system? Consider Steven Donziger's prosecution by Chevron within the US injustice system.
Here's the short story from Steven himself...(5 min)

And a more in depth interview with Chris https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M2K3ypt3VFc (27 min)...and Chris' detailed article about the case.

The future of the injustice system doesn't look good Trump appointed a quarter of all federal judges and they were all from the federalist society. Make no mistake these judges rule for the corporations...and sadly Dem nominees aren't much better.

And it isn't just the corporate state take over, it is also the CIA deep state as evidenced by Julian Assange' kangaroo trial. A journalist being tortured for revealing US war crimes, cyber techniques, and more malfeasance.

Shipton said the benefits of WikiLeaks publications to people around the world, and even to governments, has been obscured by the attention the case has put on Assange. This shift away from the revelation of state crimes to his son’s psychology “in itself is a scandal,” Shipton told Sydney’s Politics in the Pub in a webcast co-produced by CN Live!

“It’s the manipulations of the Crown Prosecution Service and the Department of Justice that ensure that the entirety of the focus now is on Julian’s character and his psychology,” Shipton said. “Compare this to the Himalaya of crime and the benefits brought to the publics in the United Kingdom and the West by exposure of those crimes.”

From CIA spying on Julian and his lawyers to denying him access to his on defense to here again placing tainted judges over the case this trial is also a sham.
https://consortiumnews.com/2021/10/07/key-us-witness-against-assange-arr...

A key U.S. witness in the conspiracy to commit computer intrusion charge against imprisoned WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange who earlier this year admitted to fabricating evidence he gave to the FBI has been arrested in Iceland, according to a report in the Icelandic newsmagazine Stundin.

What else is left for the oligarchs to subsume?

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The wealthy are buying farmland, and Bill Gates isn't even in the top ten. If they control food supply we will indeed become vassals in a neofuedal system.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jufc0XtbCwU (15 min)
So what do we do to survive in such a system? The ice age farmer has some suggestions.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=br2zz_v8wWg (26 min)

The energy crisis is quickly becoming a food crisis: China's harvest is faltering without electricity. Dutch are unable to heat their greenhouses, which are empty and cold. The UK's meat production is curtailed by a lack of CO2. The world's food supply chains are deteriorating rapidly -- but the tide is turning! People are more receptive to creative ideas than ever -- build and invest in YOUR food production and local food systems NOW!

If you can't grow your own, get to know and support your local farmers.
regenerative meats http://www.eatwild.com/products/index.html

There are almost two million farms in the USA. About 80% of those are small farms, and a large percentage are family owned. More and more of these farmers are now selling their products directly to the public. They do this via CSA programs, Farmers' Markets, Food Coops, u-picks, farm stands, and other direct marketing channels. Would you like to support your local farmer? Use our map to find your farmer!

For those of you overseas (as well as the US) here's another directory of regenerative farms. https://regenerationinternational.org/regenerative-farm-map

So in conclusion, yes the system is captured, bought and paid for by the elite. However we can act on our own to protect ourselves. I've been digging golden nuggets out the the ground for my future...golden nugget sweet potatoes that is. They grow in clumps.

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...And have good yields. This is the harvest of a little over half a 25 ft bed.

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Today's neofeudalist state is the outcome of moving our economy from manufacturing to one focused on profit from banking/investment and corporate power. Today's dystopia is a fusion of the authoritarian vision of Orwell in 1984, the pleasure seeking numb society of Huxley's Brave New World, and the censorship in Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451. Fellow serfs, we are on our own to make a life better than being a servant to the elite. Hone your skills and explore your options, I fear it may become worse.

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QMS's picture

To some it is the lubricant of intercourse with our social economy.
To others it represents a statement of success.
And to the rest of us, it is a means of survival.
Your perspective on the financial industry's capture of our
relative worth is very telling.

Thanks for sharing!

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Lookout's picture

@QMS @QMS

I found this fellows thoughts about money interesting...basically as a unit of value rather than a store of value. In other word it is merely a yardstick by which we compare relative value. Almost included it in the essay, but ran down enough rabbit holes already in the essay.

The explosion of QE, the epic monetisation of debt, the rise of crypto-currencies, frothy stock markets and furlough schemes seem to imply we have an endless supply of money. But it also means that we now see money very differently.

In a world where we know the price of everything but the value of nothing, Ross Ashcroft speaks to economist Dr. Howard Nicholas to help us understand what money really is.

Edit to add this clip too
Money: Humanity's Biggest Illusion (18 min)

The illusion of money is one that we never really think about. But just like the Kings of old, the governments of today understand the power of money and, as always, want more of it.

Hope your fall scenery is spectacular. Beginning to color up in these parts. One of my favoite times to walk in the woods.

Have a great day!

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

@Lookout
This was true when money was gold/silver/copper, stuff that is valuable in it's own right. Paper money is intrinsically only good as fuel for fires and digital money has zero value.
I'm not a metallist but one cannot understand something by ignoring facts. I'm bemused by commentators (are people really this ignorant?) on finance.yahoo.com, the majority (Republicans basically) who think balancing or even overbalancing the budget combined with drastic cuts in all social spending (including SS, pensions and unemployment compensation) are the solutions to lasting prosperity. Yes yes, Hoover's 1930 policies, that's what we need. Those who ignore history are condemned to repeat it. {"But what could be safer than government bonds?" "Madam, the government that issued those bonds (Imperial Austrian bonds) is dead."}

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I've seen lots of changes. What doesn't change is people. Same old hairless apes.

Lookout's picture

@The Voice In the Wilderness

unless they decide to start confiscating it for some unforeseen reason. This place is our real wealth...along with our health and relative happiness.

Hope all is well in your world and the fruit harvest was satisfactory. We've still got a few muscadines and a couple of persimmons to harvest. The rest of our fruits have come and gone.

All the best!

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

@Lookout C

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I've seen lots of changes. What doesn't change is people. Same old hairless apes.

Lookout's picture

@The Voice In the Wilderness

is simply unbelievable. I paid my annual $5/acre property tax this week. Lowest in the nation, which also translates to underfunded schools and crowded for profit prisons which are a larger part of the state budget. That is we spend more on prisons than schools.

Good and bad and something in between everywhere.

Take care.

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

Thank you for this extensive review. It reflects our predicament very well. I feel we are caught in a trap. Damned if we do, damned if we don’t.

You said;

Despite labor's effort there is systemic failure that no series of strikes can remedy. The financialized economic system where everything is for sale and profit is always the goal would have to be dismantled. Perhaps the largest obstacle to systemic change is the miseducation, really down right theatrical spectacle, which absolutely misrepresents our collective

I agree with that statement but that will be a mess won’t it? There is a large swath of people who do not want any kind of ‘dismantling’. Some of these people are on the very precarious edge of being OK financially, or not being OK. Some of these are of the ‘comfortable class’ and in no apparent danger (although I think that is an unreasonably optimistic position). Either way, they sense that change or any dismantling could be catastrophic to their lives. They are not wrong.

So, in essence, a large part of our society is extremely resistant to change because they know the change coming down the road will be incredibly destructive and most likely just plain bad.

I think that is one of the sources of the bitter animosity that is apparent everywhere in our interactions with other people. People do not want change and they are easily led (by corporate media, and other entities) to blame others (choose any scapegoat) for causing this change.

The Covid conversation is a case in point. People cannot allow themselves to see that the health-care system is not about health but instead, increasingly exclusively about profit. Once you see that, the whole mirage of an edifice comes crashing down. So we fight about factoids, ignoring the larger picture that shows we are all victims of terrible policies.

Many, in various ways, spent their lives gambling on, and working within this system and have a stake in its continuation. Yet we know this system is completely broken and needs to be dismantled. Is it any wonder people are going nuts. I don’t know the solution, but I understand the fear.

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Lookout's picture

@randtntx

Fear is the factor isn't it? Fear of change among them. TPTB understand fear is a factor to create change. I think of 9/11 and the way they used fear to allow for endless war created at a whim, extradition of anyone deemed a terrorist (now applied to environmentalist and protestors), droning of anyone anywhere including US citizens, and so on. And now I think fear drummed up about COVID will usher in "the great reset". So fear is both an emotion to stall and prevent change for the good of people, and also a vehicle to move the sheeple into the corral of control.

Hope all is well in your world. Thanks for the visit and insight!

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

@Lookout , is nearly impossible for me to have with my extended family and the wider circle of people I know. People are so ready to take offense or to take things personally. I wish we had a tradition of examining issues impartially. The ego (or is it the id :-))takes over the conversation and causes upset and confusion. There is no reason whatsoever that our arguments must invariable involve anger.

Conflict is good, argument is good. This is the step by step process we can use to solve problems. We get the advantage of seeing other people's insights and points of view. It's a good process if we take care to respect it as a method of seeing things more clearly.

That's one of the reasons I value this place and the people here. It helps keep me on my toes.

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Lookout's picture

@randtntx

and can only have a real face to face conversation with few friends. So many succumbed to the TDS and Russiagate, and now think Biden is doing well. Most folks I encounter are still Trumpeteers so that speaks to my situation. I bet your situation in TX is similar.

My strategy is to talk gardening or weather or wildlife...I'm sure you know the drill. I may disagree with their politics, but that doesn't mean we have to be at odds. Work together where you can.

My training as a scientist makes it natural to look at evidence and draw conclusions as best as possible. New evidence, possibly new conclusion. Sadly many become attached to their favorite hypothesis and can't let go.

So I'm in agreement about the nature of this community and also appreciate all the points of view. Thanks for adding yours!

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

@randtntx "If Jonas Salk developed the polio vaccine today, would it even be allowed to come to market?" is a vivid snapshot of exactly where we are and what we value as a society.

This f-----g guy, who has participated in our confusion/downfall, spoke some truth and I don't know how many people listened or can even understand its implications.

You can. I can. Lookout and all or at least most of our readers here can understand how broken we are.

My new question is Now What? My answer is for each of us to face what's coming squarely and bravely and prepare ouselves as best we can.

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NYCVG

@NYCVG . The focus should be on who and how and why good solutions to our problems are being so effectively blocked. I read somewhere that the senior bush said something to the effect that if the American people knew what they had done, they would chase them through the streets in rage. I know I messed up the quote but that is the gist of it. If he didn't say it, someone in his position should have.

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ggersh's picture

ameriKKKa back in 2015, that corruption is legal, I believe this study would show it to be even worse today, the country has been captured by SV/MIC/DC/WS. A govt of, by, for the people is now a govt of, by, for the billionaires.

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The correct response to someone who supports going to war if China attacks Taiwan is “Are you enlisted?”

The correct response when they inevitably answer “no” is “Then shut the fuck up.”

Caitlin

Lookout's picture

@ggersh

That study suggest items which 80% of people want will not even be voted on unless the 1% also are invested in the idea. They conclude the US is an oligarchy.

Thanks for adding that study to the conversation further proving the complete purchase of Government by the elite. Those suffering from the illusion the US is a democracy are sadly deluded.

Have a good one!

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

@Lookout
Anyone, no matter how repugnant, that is deemed anti-establishment is preferred to "politics as usual".

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5 users have voted.

I've seen lots of changes. What doesn't change is people. Same old hairless apes.

Lookout's picture

@The Voice In the Wilderness

and they couldn't have that. I remember the McGovern Nixon election where the corporate dims of the day made sure he lost too by voting Nixon.

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9 users have voted.

“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

@Lookout

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I've seen lots of changes. What doesn't change is people. Same old hairless apes.

front page news on the NY Times and WashPo. We are lucky to have it here. Thank you, Lookout.

I have been reading and following much of the same information as you have for many years, and my conclusions are identical. Thomas Piketty and the financial crisis began my studying of the money but as I've admitted here and freely, my vision was clouded for some time by my (idiotic) love for Barack Obama. I bought into his Sisyphian vision that he was pushing a rock uphill and that he would hand the baton over to the next in line (mixed metaphor) when his term was up.

Clearly, I was unnable to see reality. Obama was more the goal tender for the 1% protecting them at all costs, than a president working on behalf of us, the ordinary people.

Which leads me to ---Now. I am taking preparation for what's coming very seriously.

This morning's project---completed--- in the living room, anyway, was to prepare myself for a little to no heat winter. My landlord, who turns the heat on and off at whim, now has a cover story.

My building was fininshed in 1975 and like many of that building's era its heating system is centrally controlled so that some apartments are too cold and others are too hot. If you drive around NYC on a 15 degree day, you will see many open windows. Here is why.

This is because apartments like mine which face East and South get overheated and North and West facing apartments get cold. Consequently, I have generally not focused on making my home draft proof. The exception was during Hurricane Sandy when we had no heat for 6 days in November and I understood what that can be like. That sent me to Bed Bath and Beyond for a Door Snake which stops drafts from coming thru my front door.

We are lucky enough to have New double paned well fitted windows, so that plus the solid brick construction work very well. I'm warm enough without much heat.

This morning I addressed the obvious problem. We have through-the-wall Air Conditioning units and it is very difficult to seal them up properly and until this morning, I have not tried terribly hard.

This year is different. I purchased excellent high quality two part AC covers from Home Depot over the summer. I knew I'd need something efficient eventually and this item leaves all the others on the market in the dust! Previous items ignored the fact that the AC cord is a problem to solve not to ignore and this item has holes in both of its layers for the plug to go through.

Then, each layer has tightening cords and velcro to seal the top layer to the bottom.

Add in some strategic taping and I doubt a single drop of air will be coming through, so, even with little to no heat, I will not freeze.

Still, I looked for Battery Powered heating systems and found out that hand warmers are the extent of that product. There are also some ceramic and propane contraptions that I will not attempt.

What I will get is an electric room heater. So, if we have electricity and gas for cooking, I will be snug and comfy. If not, a well insulated nest will keep me alive if not happy.

Caucus 99 is a preparation minded group. I bet we are all facing what we thnk is coming in our own ways. Not as deliciously as Lookout's sweet potatoes, maybe. yum yum top of my favorite foods list.

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NYCVG

Lookout's picture

@NYCVG

to prevent loss of heating and cooling. We like the creativity of the vanlife nomads and sailors. From them I learned about 12V electric blankets. Could be a nice emergency item.

We have several "space" blankets we use when camping to cover coolers and windows and such. The cheap mylar ones. A little loud to sleep under (unless you were cold).

Sounds like you're thinking ahead. Preparing for unknown change is difficult, but thinking power outages is an excellent guess!

Hope your weather is pleasant and fall unfolds with beauty as leaves flutter in the wind.

Edit to add:

I drank Obummer's koolaid too. Many of us were duped. Sadly I felt more hope and perhaps disappointment with Bernie. To my mind, clearly politics will not provide solutions, just distraction as the corporate elite continue their conquest.

Good to "see" you.

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

@Lookout good tip.

Fall will be postponed a bit.

It is rainy and cool right now but the week is predicted to be another mid seventy degrees with sunshine. No leaves so much as turning, let alone falling

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NYCVG

Lookout's picture

@NYCVG

dogwoods getting red and some yellows coming on...leaves are already falling. Gutters will need tending here directly.

Well enjoy the day you have!

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

CB's picture

@Lookout
Try using 2, 3 or more layers of cotton (not polyester) sheets topped with a blanket. It's surprisingly warm yet breathable. I've always used this method when camping even with snow on the ground. Down sleeping bags are good but you can overheat in a warmer spell. They're also a bitch to clean when you're in the wilderness for extended periods. A cotton sheet can be washed in a large pot of hot water.

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Lookout's picture

@CB

space blankets are for coolers and sometimes windows. The bed is in the truck and kitchen living out under the tarp. Works well for our folk fest camping scene.

Did some backing packing on the AT in my youth. So it is sissy camping these days.

If it is cold we carry a down comforter...now that's warm. Layering is right, excellent suggestion and I prefer cotton too especially if it is hot.

We've got a battery pack that we can charge when driving and use at night to power a fan in hot weather too.

We all just will have to face what comes and adjust as best we can. Glad to have the community here to share ideas.

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

Lookout's picture

another of the oligarchs wet dreams.

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

ggersh's picture

@Lookout How fucked are the elites that run this place...

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The correct response to someone who supports going to war if China attacks Taiwan is “Are you enlisted?”

The correct response when they inevitably answer “no” is “Then shut the fuck up.”

Caitlin

Lookout's picture

@ggersh

Delhi bar offers 15-minute hits of clean OXYGEN to people in the world's most polluted city

Oxy Pure charges around £3 for hits of pure oxygen lasting 15 minutes
Ayavir Kumar, who owns the bar, says he serves around 40 people per day
Kumar also sells bottled oxygen which people can use anywhere in the city
Delhi has consistently ranked as the most polluted city on earth

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

@Lookout

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NYCVG

Lookout's picture

Here's an interesting take:

At the end he finally mentions homesteaders as allies of small scale producers.

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Lookout's picture

Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) - Eurythmics cover feat. Reina del Cid and Josh Turner
I like their eclectic tastes and musical skills

I've been wanting to do this tune for awhile, and it was really fun putting this all together on guitars. This is one of those songs that you hear and instantly recognize within just a few notes because the synth lines are so iconic, not to even mention how perfect Annie Lennox's vocal delivery is. Huge thanks to Reina and Josh for lending their talents on this one and making it happen! Massive appreciation for Kelly Oden lending her video shooting skills, too, and getting this to look so good with just the one take.

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Dawn's Meta's picture

The work of Thomas Piketty has been so good and instructive. I don't know how we will get out of this.

I'm on the fourth chapter of JFK: The Unspeakable. When we step into the 50s and the 60s we can clearly see the the coalescing of the various large entities which wanted things to go a particular way. The CIA and other intelligence agencies; the military industrial complex; the Chamber of Commerce, big business and Wall Street.

The generals kept pushing and sabotaging to get a nuclear war going. They ignored direct orders from JFK and sent signals that said 'our way or the highway' in spite of the President's specific turn toward neutralizing Laos; rapprochement with the Soviets and eventually Cuba; finally turning away from militarily supporting the Diem brothers in South Vietnam; pushing back on Big Steel and many others.

He was working toward a domestic agenda that meant cutting off adventuring in other countries. In the process he pissed off almost all the big players.

The forces he fought at his own peril we are now seeing at full throttle imho.

Your column today is a tour de force. Thank you.

ETA: I wrote the other day that two beautiful kittens somehow were at our gates just like Ira and George last year at this same time. We caught them using pork fat, which they were desperate for.

We took them to our vet clinic which seems very good. They have no means to hold them for adoptions, so I asked for a quiet end. They charged my 3euros for the 'product' and took them. I cried all the way home. But it was the right thing to do. Too many kitties and not sterilized.

Extra love for my guys today. It had to go somewhere.

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A society grows great when old men plant trees in whose shade they know they shall never sit. Allegedly Greek, but more possibly fairly modern quote.

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Lookout's picture

@Dawn's Meta

seems an infinite task. Money, economies, wealth, worth, value it is very hard to sort through. Took me over a week to assemble this WW, just peruse what is of interest. I cycle back to the homestead for grounding... literally and metaphorically.

The CIA story and JFK link is powerful and the books you've read make that plain. Sadly they still pull strings and wreak havoc.

I would rather ease an animal on than have it suffer. I've had to shoot a couple of my beloved pets who would have suffered more in a trip to the vet than a rapid exit. That is also hard to do, but love is a powerful motivator.

Have a lovely day on your beautiful homestead!

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

@Dawn's Meta JFK: The Unspeakable book when it first came out, 10-15 yrs ago, and recall it as one of the most powerfully written books laying out the case and motive for conspiracy in the assassination but not from an author associated with the easily-dismissed "conspiracy" crowd of authors. I also seem to recall the book drew the attention of members of the Kennedy family and helped motivate a few of them to go public with their doubts about the official story, and particularly how Bobby privately never believed the Warren Commission story.

The only objection I had to the otherwise wonderful book was that it had JFK as president starting as a Cold Warrior and growing into a Cold War Skeptic by the end. But my reading of that history shows his skepticism was there to see as early as the early 50s and his trip with Bobby to Vietnam when he was a congressman where he arranged for a solid, honest American expert on the area to give him a frank assessment, not the usual pablum members of Congress usually got. The advisor said the outsider French were not well liked by the locals and it was only a matter of time until they would be forced to leave. JFK concluded the US military would be treated no differently and Bobby believed that one brief trip 10 yrs prior greatly shaped Kennedy's decision always to draw the line against sending combat units into that country.

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@Dawn's Meta You are to be commended for doing the right and best thing for those kittens. Fate gave you the task of making sure they never suffered again. I know it hurts. I am just so sorry. I sent $100 with my recent stray kitten, so the new owner can vet her. I sent $135 with my rescue of a few months ago.
The shelters around here focus on dogs and horses and donkeys. Cats, not so much.
I dread the day when all I can do is take them to kill shelters.
I fear an economic crash will be bad for us, worse for the critters.
Again, I am sorry you had to take such a courageous, heartbreaking action.

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.
Great essay.

I want to elaborate on one idea presented in it:

.

But the market is booming? It is because the Fed is both directly and indirectly purchasing it and all the bad corporate debt still hanging around from 2008...as these same corporations buy their own stocks further enriching their CEO's and stock holders, but here again adding nothing real to the economy.

.
This reminded me of the late, great John Kenneth Galbraith. Educated as an agricultural economist in Canada, he became a prominent figure in the USA when he worked in the Roosevelt wartime government. He became famous for his very entertaining books for the general audience that called most of the Received Wisdom in Economics into serious but very humorous question.

When I was in college in the early 1970's, all the hip, knowledgeable economics students would quote the gaslighting meme of the day: "Galbraith? Yes, as an economist, he is a great novelist." That kind of pithy crapola always makes me more interested in the voice being mocked. That Party Line snark on Galbraith induced me to read several of his books and I cite it now as an endorsement.

I tried but failed to find the exact wording of my favorite Galbraith quote, so I will recite it from my spotty memory:
.
There is no mystery so profound for the investors of the world as to why there is not necessarily a willing buyer when you want to cash in.
.

I cannot square the common sense of that aphorism with the idea that is frequently advanced about the preposterous price inflation of stocks and real estate during the forced reduction of business activity and employment since March of 2020. It is the most obvious Ponzi scheme in history, but most of my fellow lefties on the internet do not read it that way. Instead the prevalent anti-establishment take of this is that The Billionaires or the O.01 percent are buying up "assets" like dwellings and common stock which increases their respective "wealth" dramatically.

No, it does not. It increases their paper holdings which may or may not ever turn into "wealth." The prices of stocks and dwellings could collapse, and all that "wealth" suddenly becomes bad debt.

That leftish interpretation of Asset Ripoff is supported by the various Billionaire Rosters that show Bezos et al. going from being "worth" too many billions to even more billions. Uh, as Ken Galbraith pointed out about half a century ago, all that kind of wealth is "worth" exactly what somebody else is willing to pay for it. And if the Fed ever stops pumping "liquidity" into these speculative bubbles, there will be a crash that makes 2008 and 1929 seem like minor hiccups.

Or, if the Fed never stops printing joke money, the gap between the Dow Jones Industrial Average and Economic Reality will continue to grow until some sharpies decide it is time to cash in. Then the ultra crash will follow.

Who wants either of these things to happen? Is there any way that just pumping more debt into the world economy can last more than a few years?

If not, what the fuck is going on?

.

Here are some more brief quotes and aphorisms that are relevant to the debt financed economic boom of 2021. I think they make a thought provoking poem:
.

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“All crises have involved debt that, in one fashion or another, has become dangerously out of scale in relation to the underlying means of payment.”
― John Kenneth Galbraith, A Short History of Financial Euphoria

“The process by which money is created is so simple that the mind is repelled.”
― John Kenneth Galbraith, Money: Whence It Came, Where It Went

“If there must be madness, something may be said for having it on a heroic scale”
― John Kenneth Galbraith, The Great Crash of 1929

“Wealth is the relentless enemy of understanding”
― John Kenneth Galbraith, The Affluent Society

“Do not be alarmed by simplification, complexity is often a device for claiming sophistication, or for evading simple truths.”
― John Kenneth Galbraith

“In the world of minor lunacy, the behavior of both the utterly rational and the totally insane seems equally odd.”
― John Kenneth Galbraith, The Affluent Society

“In economics, it is often professionally better to be associated with highly respectable error than uncertainly established truth.”
― John Kenneth Galbraith, The Affluent Society

“In economics, hope and faith coexist with great scientific pretension and also a deep desire for respectability.”
― John Kenneth Galbraith

“The process by which wants are now synthesized is a potential source of economic instability. Production and therewith employment and social security are dependent on an inherently unstable process of consumer debt creation. This may one day falter.”
― John Kenneth Galbraith

“Recurrent descent into insanity is not a wholly attractive feature of capitalism.”
― John Kenneth Galbraith

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I cried when I wrote this song. Sue me if I play too long.

Lookout's picture

@fire with fire
Galbraith was a friend of my political mentor, they were in a car pool for awhile and she often had to ride in his lap....according to her story.

The left right thing no longer holds water these days. They have become meaningless terms to me. Both over used and misuse cause them to be merely divisive, IMO.

During the last feudal age, trades people fared better than serfs.

Feel like I lived in the golden age.

Thanks for your thoughtful insightful comment!

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

@Lookout .

In terms of ideology, left and right have indeed become virtually meaningless. That is a topic worth further thought. How did that happen and what is a more realistic way to understand our political culture?

How else can we ever find unity?

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I cried when I wrote this song. Sue me if I play too long.

Lookout's picture

@fire with fire

How else can we ever find unity?

For example, I'm on a different page from both of the Paul's when it comes to social spending (like M4A), but I'm right there with them on their antiwar, antiFed stance. We must find allies where we can and look more for common interests and less at every position a person holds.

So we work issue by issue: peace, public education, M4A, coop development and support, and so on. You regularly hear my calls for independent small farms. That reaches across the spectrum from old hippies, to religious approaches, to the escape of right wingers.

We align when and where we can and quit trying to define ourselves in outmoded boxes.

My 2 cents. YMMV

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

@fire with fire JK Galbraith. Although I am more familiar with him from my youth for his public intellectual appearances and debates on tv. Never did understand his close friendship with WFBuckley.

True story though I cannot recall all the specifics nor in which book I read about it: JFK named JKG, his good friend and trusted advisor on a number of issues, as US Ambassador to India. In 1962, JFK was quietly trying to find a way to disengage completely from VN. He decided he would try the 3d party intermediary route, using persuasive leaders of non-aligned countries to help negotiate a satisfactory settlement of the situation to permit the US to get out.

He chose Galbraith to be the person on the scene in India to approach leaders there to initiate contacts with the North Vietnamese and to begin the settlement process. Kennedy prepared a memo that was to be sent to Galbraith in Bombay, and sent it through the usual State Dept channels.

But one Averill Harriman, Ass't Sec'y State for East Asian Affairs (or some such) got his hands on the memo, didn't like the content, and -- here my memory fails me -- decided to water it down to remove the core message and the sense of urgency. I'm not sure whether JFK learned about what had happened and who was responsible -- the rest of the story I don't recall ever reading about -- but a fascinating What If about that important part of history.

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Dawn's Meta's picture

@wokkamile JFK: The Unspeakable. Just read it this week. Good memory you have. Mine is abysmal.

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A society grows great when old men plant trees in whose shade they know they shall never sit. Allegedly Greek, but more possibly fairly modern quote.

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Azazello's picture

Lots of cool charts and links. Looks like you put in a lot of work. That Michael Hudson series looks good, I'll watch it later. I read Killing the Host and got a lot out of it.
Fall has fell for sure in the Gadsden Purchase. It was cool enough today to take a stroll around the neighborhood at noon, for the first time in many months.

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It didn't have to be this way.

Lookout's picture

@Azazello

you can get out and about. Nothing like it to lift spirits and make you feel good. Finished harvesting that bed of sweet potatoes. Still two more beds to go. Lots of other tasks too, but it is nice to have plenty to do.

The Hudson series is good. Must admit I've only made it through lecture 1, two more to go. Like I said a half hour at a time works for me. I get saturated otherwise, but you may have better cognition.

Have a great week. Hope you got through your roof repairs. I've got to clean my roof this week. Got a battery powered leaf blower that is the ticket.

Always a pleasure!

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Azazello's picture

@Lookout
But we have to wait for a cloudy day and get out to the trailhead by 5:30 and back home by 8. Now we can take a walk any old time, finally. Roof all fixed, ceiling next; new insulation, sheetrock and etc. Agree on the left/right thing. I still use these terms in my head 'cuz they still have meaning for me, but in common conversation forget it. I've been calling myself an "economic populist" when asked.

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Lookout's picture

@Azazello

"economic populist"

If I'm asked to define my position I use, "Alabama hillbilly homesteader". I think it is a pretty good descriptor.

Congrats on the roof and all the best for the ceiling. It is always something. Good to have a home to repair and look after. So much better off than many.

Be well and enjoy your fall!

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

such interesting, and educational articles for everyone.
Your sweet taters look great. Enjoy! FWIW, the homeopathic cancer clinic in Mexico gave me a food list for my husband. At the top of the list was sweet potatoes. When I was a kid, farm workers carried sweet potatoes with them to eat for lunch. They could work all day on that.
No matter the crazy, I have some acreage here and in Colorado. I have space, privacy, not up to a garden if we follow a plan of 4 or 5 months here during winter, Colorado during summer. However, we could plant, my brother could tend and harvest. We will try to incorporate the growing season into future retirement plans.
We have cotton sheets. Cannot recommend them enough. I have 2 douvets, one stuffed with down, the other stuffed with silk. I bought it in China at a factory near Shanghai. Silk stuffing, silk cloth cover. Beautiful, and a forever item I pass down to relatives.
We may try to find a wood stove, just in case. It is hard to imagine what may not be available or affordable in the future. I have enough wood to last years.

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Lookout's picture

@on the cusp

Don't forget to check out the small farm directory for both locations. If you know farmers, when the grocery store may be short, your relationship with your local farmers will assure some food if SHTF. Besides, they're interesting folks.

Thanks for the visit. Hope y'all are doing well!

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

@Lookout We are trying to stock up on quality footwear. Good shoes, good boots. Not necessarily for fashion, but for use 10 years down the road. We can find them, afford to buy them, now. How do we know that will be the case in the near future? You can find quality clothing for all seasons and occasions at resale stores, yard sales, and consignment stores. But boots? Maybe, but not likely.
The discussion of sheets reminded me a friend gave me a $100 gift card from Wayfair. I intend to use it on cotton sheets purchases.
Stay safe and well.
I did discover yesterday that I have COVID antibodies. The amount suggest it was a while ago. I date it to a horrible cough and back to back bouts with pneumonia, Dec. 2019 through April, 2020. That has never happened to me in my life. Now, I know why.

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Lookout's picture

@on the cusp

Now, no worries! I need to do the test as well.

I just mail ordered new boots last month. Same kind I always wear - Georgia boots (made in China). They're water proof and have a tread which doesn't hold dirt and mud, but do grip well. Worn this model for years. With daily wear they last 2-3 years with my rough use.

Wishing you both the best!

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dystopian's picture

Hi all! Hey LO! Hope all are well. Great stuff, great post. Bad situation these days.

The fetishization of finacialization is what we suffer from. Capitalism is the worship of capital. The worship of money. Sad as it is shallow. Neoliberalsim resulted in a modern version of an authoritarian autocratic fascist imperialist plutocratic oligarchy. Like the Stones song said... It's gonna be the death of us all.

But other than that things are great. Wink

I tell people I am an evolutionary biolgist. Scares the shit out of 'em. They are not sure they could define it. They definitely do not seem to appear anxious to talk religion or politics with me. Smile

Actually I am a revolutionary biologist. Just waitin' for it. Wink

Great post LO! Thanks!

Be well all!

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We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.
Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.
both - Albert Einstein

Lookout's picture

@dystopian

I recognized your painted bunting avatar, but don't know what your blue bird avatar is now?
Would love to go birding together some time in the future. Do you lead trips these days?

Yes, we're pawns in a crony capitalist world. Not much we can do about it, but it is best to be aware and prepare as best we can.

Hope all is well in your world. Plenty of chores for me this week, but I enjoy staying busy.

Take care and be well!

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dystopian's picture

@Lookout The new avatar is a Green Jay. A spectacular tropical jay that just enters the U.S. in southmost Texas. The bunting was a little darkish and a bit hard to see...

That El Cid cover was great... as all of theirs seem to be. Very well done.

I have not been guiding since Covid but if you ever pass through central TX nearish San Antonio, ya better holler! Would LOVE to go birding with you. The April-June period is best here when all the neotropical migrant breeders are present.

One of my all-time favorite lines was Alex Karas as Mongo (punched a horse) in Blazing Saddles: "Mongo just pawn in game of life". Me too. Wink

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We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.
Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.
both - Albert Einstein