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The US Is A Powder Keg #177015
11/18/2021 04:19 AM
11/18/2021 04:19 AM
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The US Is A Powder Keg

BY TYLER DURDEN
WEDNESDAY, NOV 17, 2021 - 08:20 PM
Authored by Jeffrey Tucker via DailyReckoning.com,

Last night I did my usual grocery run. I don’t shop at stores with philosophies. I go for el cheapo places that don’t have olive bars and don’t play Schubert on the intercom. I just want the stuff I need at the lowest possible prices. Even I was stunned at the 40% increase in my usual bill. I thought I was buying in a minimalist way.

Later I looked more carefully at what went wrong. I bought beef and bacon. Beef price increases are now at double-digit rates, and bacon is even higher. You are paying much more per pound than one year ago. Pork and chicken are less, but that could change.

Turkeys are in short supply for Thanksgiving. It will be the most expensive Thanksgiving meal in our lifetimes.

Stores don’t tag groceries based on the percentage increases in prices. Those you have to remember from last week and last month. Indeed, stores have every reason to disguise this. Manufacturers too, which is why packaging these days is holding ever less product. This is called “shrinkflation.” It is an epidemic right now, as manufacturers are struggling to survive huge increases in their own costs.



Biggest Inflation Spike in Over 30 Years
The Consumer Price Index came out this week. It revealed that consumer prices soared 6.2% in October, the biggest inflation spike in over 30 years. And it’s probably even worse than the official figures show.

Meanwhile, the Producer Price Index revealed that the year-over-year change in the index for construction materials is up almost 20%.

Now let’s look at gasoline. You experience it daily, the high prices at the pump. Last year at this time, the average price per gallon was $1.81. Now it is $3.40. It is also rising as demand intensifies and supply faces restrictions.

Most important here are the monetary effects, as all the money that the Fed sloshed up in the last 20 months reduces its value or what it can buy. This inflation will never hit all products and all sectors evenly. It moves from sector to sector. These days the toxin is moving so fast and in so many directions it makes one’s head spin.

Not So Thrifty

We keep hoping each month to get good news. Perhaps the Fed will prove correct that inflation is only transitory. Sadly, that is not likely. They have been way off in their predictions. The Producer Price Index is the one to watch because these price increases get passed on to consumer prices as inventory is depleted.

Clothing is a case in point. We are already facing high prices and shortages on the shelves. This is driving people to the thrift stores. The major headlines are starting to show this. Thrift store prices too are on the increase, as I predicted last month.

The percent change in the producer prices that go into making polyester clothing is now up 23.6%.

Even if monetary policy is fixed, even if supply chains are repaired, even if the clogs at the dock are unclogged, it will be months before this figures into consumer prices. Sadly, there is almost no chance that any of these good changes happen, meaning that these higher and higher prices are here to stay.

A Broken State
As I’ve mentioned before, there is something about American political culture that is especially averse to inflation. People frankly hate it, especially since we’ve lived 40-plus years without consumer inflation being a particularly pressing problem. Now looking at price trends creates shock and even hatred. It is hitting the Biden administration particularly hard.

A USA Today poll shows that Biden’s approval has sunk to 38%. The trend line here is truly devastating. We can speculate why. Inflation plays a role. But also the vaccine mandate seems to have hit the Biden approval rating very hard.

In the coming month, millions of jobs could be affected by this. The protests are growing in every city, and the people protesting are union members, city employees and even tech workers. They are furious that government would presume the right to tell people what medicines they must inject into their bodies.

Some of the protesters are themselves vaccinated against their will. They are bitter and angry about it. The news of adverse outcomes from vaccination is leaking out through family networks and alternative news venues, though it continues to be suppressed by the media. So this mandate is now being seen as a direct threat to individual health.

That’s something that will inspire people to take to the streets.

The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals has issued a stay against OSHA’s mandate on businesses. The Biden administration attempted a response, but the result was lame. It just said that it stands by the mandate on health grounds, period. Perhaps this won’t surprise you, but the president himself instructed businesses to go ahead and proceed, essentially advocating that they ignore the court ruling.

In other words, the Biden administration has gone completely lawless, not just ignoring the U.S. Constitution but also advocating that businesses ignore the courts. That’s dangerously close to announcing that we now live with dictatorship.

It’s no wonder that even Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas is talking about secession from the union. If he is saying this, I truly cannot imagine the kind of anger there is among the citizens.

If you wanted to live in exciting times, you chose a great time to be alive. The conditions are ripe not only for continuing electoral bloodbaths but more street protests, explosive town halls, hate-filled school board meetings and much worse. A more divisive and destructive policy is hard to imagine.

Sadly, these policies are dividing friends and family. Some people with vaccinations don’t see the big deal here. Just get the jab, they say, and then you can be free. Others find this idea to be outrageous, an immoral acquiescence to power that can only lead to even worse outcomes.

Powder Keg
I just watched several hours of testimony from big shots at the NIH and the CDC. It might as well have been a paid advertisement from Moderna and Pfizer. Nearly every word out of the bureaucrats’ mouths was structured to push the vaccines that most everyone knows by now have failed to live up to their promise.

Indeed, if they were as good and safe as they say, government would not need to mandate them. The mandates, ironically, undermine public confidence. It’s hard to imagine that public confidence in everything could fall further, but it will.

To top it off, making all the above much worse, the vaccination is now coming for the kids.

Mandates will surely follow. You want revolution in this country? This is a good way to foment one. The current regime has another year of unchecked power. It seems unfathomable. So far, they have not been deterred by anything, not the courts, not public opinion, not even sinking election prospects.

The U.S. has become a powder keg.


"The time for war has not yet come, but it will come and that soon, and when it does come, my advice is to draw the sword and throw away the scabbard." Gen. T.J. Jackson, March 1861
Re: The US Is A Powder Keg [Re: ConSigCor] #177246
12/27/2021 02:13 PM
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Has America gone past the tipping point? It may well have. So what now?

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Have America's much-discussed political tensions reached a point of no return? Political tribalists who sort their lives along partisan lines and despise opponents have become regular features of national life. But now researchers say polarization can reach a "tipping point" at which external threats, such as pandemics, no longer drive people together but instead become further sources of strife that spiral out of control. Their warning comes as Americans seem poised to further escalate disagreements into open violence.

"We see this very disturbing pattern in which a shock brings people a little bit closer initially, but if polarization is too extreme, eventually the effects of a shared fate are swamped by the existing divisions and people become divided even on the shock issue," Boleslaw Szymanski of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute told Cornell University interviewers. Szymanski is a co-author of "Polarization and Tipping Points," published recently in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. He added: "If we reach that point, we cannot unite even in the face of war, climate change, pandemics, or other challenges to the survival of our society."

The authors of the paper wanted to know why the COVID-19 pandemic, rather than pushing Americans to cooperate on a common threat, instead became yet another reason for disagreement. They created a model to study the effects of party identity and political intolerance.

"We found that polarization increases incrementally only up to a point," according to Cornell's Michael Macy, who led the study. "Above this point, there is a sudden change in the very fabric of the institution, like the change from water to steam when the temperature exceeds the boiling point."

The result, according to the study, is "a hard-to-predict critical point beyond which polarization becomes unlikely to reverse."

Models aren't real life, of course. But the researchers were inspired by real-life developments—developments so concerning that the issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in which the paper was published was devoted to the dynamics of political polarization. After all, we live in a country in which people sort lifestyles, recreational preferences, and careers by partisan affiliation.

"Consider, also, the growing segregation in our places of work. The academy increasingly skews to the left, especially so in liberal arts departments and among staff. Cattle ranchers, loggers, dentists, and surgeons skew right," points out the University of Michigan's Scott Page in the same publication.

Such political sorting applies to the military, too, severely limiting its utility in the country's domestic disputes, no matter that some officeholders think that B-52s are the solution to political disagreements. Just two weeks ago, three anti-Trump retired Army generals warned that Americans shouldn't look to troops to suppress escalating political strife.

"The potential for a total breakdown of the chain of command along partisan lines — from the top of the chain to squad level — is significant should another insurrection occur,"
Paul Eaton, Antonio Taguba, and Steven Anderson wrote in the Washington Post. "Under such a scenario, it is not outlandish to say a military breakdown could lead to civil war."

"Civil war" sounds like an unlikely fate for an established democracy where the population's image of the concept is tied up in images of field armies in blue and gray uniforms. But no country is any more stable than the moment allows, and internal conflicts can be far messier than even the war that marked the mid-19th century.

"We actually know now that the two best predictors of whether violence is likely to happen are, whether a country is an anocracy, and that's a fancy term for a partial democracy, and whether ethnic entrepreneurs have emerged in a country that are using racial, religious, or ethnic divisions to try to gain political power," Professor Barbara Walter of the University of California at San Diego told CNN last week. "And the amazing thing about the United States is that both of these factors currently exist, and they have emerged at a surprisingly fast rate."

Walter serves on the CIA's Political Instability Task Force, which assesses the health of countries around the world. The task force isn't allowed to turn its gaze on its home country, but Walter did so on her own (she has a book on the topic coming out in January).

"The United States is pretty close to being at high risk of civil war," she concluded.

That said, and on a more positive note, just as the stability of a country isn't written in stone, neither is its descent into chaos. The authors of "Polarization and Tipping Points" emphasize that they "make no claims about the model's predictive accuracy." Likewise, retired generals Eaton, Taguba, and Anderson, as well as Walter can't know what is to come, they can only point to warning signs that have them concerned. We don't have to live up to the worst expectations.

While America's dominant political factions seem determined, like two kids in the back of a car, to poke and prod each other until they come to blows, the solution, as in that road trip to hell, might be to separate the parties without allowing either one the upper hand. Both the thuggish nationalism of Republicans and the elitist presumption of Democrats are authoritarian prescriptions best reserved for true believers, with the rest of us left to run our own lives as we please.

The election of Joe Biden to the presidency on promises of normalcy after the Trump years, promises which were promptly broken, indicates that Americans have some appetite for a less extreme and intrusive brand of governance. Unfortunately, 2020 was a lost opportunity to separate the feuding factions, and instead we traded one brand of overreach for another. Pushback against progressive excess in 2021's off-year elections looked like another attempt by the public to achieve a little balance, or at least to escape the ambitions of a faction that wants to transform society to suit its vision, other people's preferences be damned. The question is whether that pushback will be enough to avert a collapse into conflict.

"The process resembles a meltdown in a nuclear reactor," Cornell's Macy said of his tipping point research. "If the temperature goes critical, there is a runaway reaction that cannot be stopped. Our study shows that something very similar can happen in a 'political reactor.'"

If we're smart, the U.S. won't be the test case for that hypothesis. Assuming that Americans can learn to leave each other alone, we won't have to discover what it means to pass a national point of no return.


Onward and upward,
airforce

Re: The US Is A Powder Keg [Re: ConSigCor] #177251
12/29/2021 11:50 AM
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I’m highly skeptical that America could descend into civil war in either the near-term or mid-term, except by the intentional and profound influence of our extremely resourceful betters. The probability that our oligarchs would choose to produce such a circumstance is highly unlikely, as I perceive no benefit, yet an incredible cost. Meanwhile the American right has become so docile, especially now after years of bitter submission and political hopelessness, that they’ve largely come to terms with the new order and have firmly planted their heads in the sand to avoid further exposure to unsettling information, or unpleasant implications. Americans appear to exist in a state of Mass Psychosis, Cognitive Dissonance and Dunning-Krueger Effect. We’re talking about a nation of people who are almost exclusively bereft of the capacity for critical thought, who are wildly uninformed and who are both selfish and unprincipled.

What could motivate such a people to willfully commit their treasure, blood and toil to an all-or-nothing struggle of total war? The left are by far the most aggressive and audacious group of Americans, but they’ve already emerged victorious from their cultural revolution and the momentum shows that complete victory is precisely inevitable for them. They have infiltrated and ceased control over every influential aspect of our society and are presently shifting every aspect of our society to the far-left, while using their control over corporations, media, social media and education to indoctrinate every malleable adult and virtually every child. The right, on the other hand, has done nothing meaningful and has hardly even engaged in trivial counter-revolutionary action.

The radicalized left have no need to initiate a civil war, and the neutered right have no inclination to initiate it. What future event could inspire the right otherwise? Firearms confiscation? The right haven’t seen fit to use those arms to defend any of the myriad interests which have been compromised or rights which have been nullified. That was the very point of their right to keep and bear arms - to preserve an avenue of effective resistance should the interests and rights of the people be trampled by a tyrannical government. The right didn’t utilize those tools for their intended purpose, so why should the right now sacrifice their very lives in order to secure possession of those tools which they won’t even otherwise use appropriately?

I’m confident that another US Civil War in our lifetimes is highly unlikely, unless a societal collapse occurs in the long-term, which I judge to be unlikely.


Liberty and Prosperity, by Right or Might
Re: The US Is A Powder Keg [Re: ConSigCor] #177252
12/29/2021 01:08 PM
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No one ever plans on a civil war years in advance. Things just have a way of falling into place, and suddenly it's there.

Look at our own civil war. Both John Brown, who conducted the raid on Harper's Ferry, and Lysander Spooner who supported him, were adamantly opposed to a civil war. Both wanted a slave revolt or, better yet, for slave owners to be so terrified of a slave revolt that they themselves would free them. Yet their actions were simply one in a long string that inevitably led to the war.

What disparate incidents could lead to a modern civil war? Well, a year ago, the left was so terrified by a bunch of trespassers that they're still going bonkers over these "insurrectionists" and "traitors." Clearly, a civil war or a societal collapse doesn't seem so unlikely to them. They were so afraid of some nutso with horns that they threatened him with twenty years in prison. So yes, the Left is afraid. And you saw what they did to Kyle Rittenhouse.

Right now, most of the "battles" are Antifa and the Proud Boys trading insults and trying to goad each other into throwing the first punch, pretty much schoolyard stuff. What could incite a real war or insurrection? Or a societal collapse? I don't know, my ESP was never that good. But history tells us it's certainly possible. And it appears to be getting more likely every day.

Onward and upward,
airforce

Re: The US Is A Powder Keg [Re: airforce] #177253
12/29/2021 02:59 PM
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Originally Posted by airforce
Look at our own civil war. Both John Brown, who conducted the raid on Harper's Ferry, and Lysander Spooner who supported him, were adamantly opposed to a civil war. Both wanted a slave revolt or, better yet, for slave owners to be so terrified of a slave revolt that they themselves would free them. Yet their actions were simply one in a long string that inevitably led to the war.

Brown and Spooner were both wealthy entrepreneurs who used their uncommon resources to influence the direction of the nation. One might argue that they were therefore minor oligarchs. In modern civil wars, we observe foreign powers and oligarchs organizing and inciting civil wars, and it appears unlikely any of those civil wars would have occurred without that action. I’m unsure that “minor oligarchs” could drive a superpower like modern America to civil war, but it’s certainly possible, as would be one or more foreign powers organizing the same. It would undoubtedly require extensive resources, effort, and risk, but absolutely possible.

Originally Posted by airforce
What disparate incidents could lead to a modern civil war? Well, a year ago, the left was so terrified by a bunch of trespassers that they're still going bonkers over these "insurrectionists" and "traitors." Clearly, a civil war or a societal collapse doesn't seem so unlikely to them. They were so afraid of some nutso with horns that they threatened him with twenty years in prison. So yes, the Left is afraid. And you saw what they did to Kyle Rittenhouse.

In recent years, both the left and the right commonly perceived a civil war as reasonably possible. I don’t think very many had more than a vague recognition of mutual hostility and national dysfunction for that perception, and I’m not sure that I place much value in the perceptions of the mass man anyway.

Originally Posted by airforce
Right now, most of the "battles" are Antifa and the Proud Boys trading insults and trying to goad each other into throwing the first punch, pretty much schoolyard stuff. What could incite a real war or insurrection? Or a societal collapse? I don't know, my ESP was never that good. But history tells us it's certainly possible. And it appears to be getting more likely every day.

You’re absolutely right. A civil war is possible, and a high intensity conflict of that nature could begin a year from now or even a day from now via a catalyst which both of us are oblivious of. I’m just saying, if an American civil war does kick off of the near-term or mid-term, it must certainly be due to causes I’m unaware of, because I’m not seeing any strong indicators for one at this time.


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Re: The US Is A Powder Keg [Re: ConSigCor] #177254
12/29/2021 04:00 PM
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Don't get me wrong, I'm not really expecting an all-out war. But an economic collapse and a break-up, like the old Soviet Union? Quite possible, maybe even probably if we don't get our financial house in order soon. And I think we may be past the point of no return on that.

If it's any consolation - which it's not - China's economy will probably collapse before ours does.

Onward and upward,
airforce

Re: The US Is A Powder Keg [Re: ConSigCor] #177255
12/29/2021 05:40 PM
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With the global supply chain as interconnected as it is, and with as heavily invested the west is in China… when China’s house of cards tumbles it will twist s world with it. As we’ve seen the last 1 3/4 years, the powers that be will always jump at the first hint of an emergency to restrict liberty and expand centralized power in their hands. A global economic meltdown would in their eyes be used as evidence of how capitalism doesn’t work


"Government at its best is a necessary evil, and at its worst, an intolerable one."
 Thomas Paine (from "Common Sense" 1776)
Re: The US Is A Powder Keg [Re: Huskerpatriot] #177258
12/29/2021 06:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Huskerpatriot
[bA global economic meltdown would in their eyes be used as evidence of how capitalism doesn’t work.[/b]


Yes, and that would be a tragedy. The free market will have nothing to do with China's collapse. Quite the opposite, in fact.

Quote
China’s personal information protection law, implemented this month, is the latest factor adding to a challenging political environment for businesses operating in the country and altering the cost-benefit analysis. While the untapped business potential of 1.4 billion consumers was once an irresistible draw, this is increasingly changing.

James Zimmerman, a Beijing-based American lawyer, said that the China market had become “less and less palatable for Western companies” because of “reputational risks of operating in an environment with extreme content censorship, and tighter regulatory conditions.”

The trade war brought politics into U.S.-China business to a much greater degree, with Beijing and Washington wielding tariffs and consumer product boycotts in their power struggle. Domestically, Beijing has launched a populist campaign against big business, effectively making the market less profitable for many companies under stricter new regulations.


Onward and upward,
airforce

Re: The US Is A Powder Keg [Re: ConSigCor] #177260
12/29/2021 11:54 PM
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Indeed… liberal “logic” is never rooted in reality or reason. Always short sighted lies of opportunity to push their agenda in any way possible!

Last edited by Huskerpatriot; 12/30/2021 10:32 AM.

"Government at its best is a necessary evil, and at its worst, an intolerable one."
 Thomas Paine (from "Common Sense" 1776)
Re: The US Is A Powder Keg [Re: airforce] #177262
12/30/2021 05:18 PM
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Originally Posted by airforce
Don't get me wrong, I'm not really expecting an all-out war. But an economic collapse and a break-up, like the old Soviet Union? Quite possible

The CIA organized the Soviet breakup, and that occurred after many years of extensive planning, preparation and investment. I could imagine, for instance, Russia one day organizing the secession of Alaska, China organizing the secession of Cascadia (California, Oregon and Washington). Either accomplishment would bare tremendous benefit to them, and would be a severe blow to the United States. As far as a natural breakup, one would expect that to involve a split along political lines, the left and right separating from one another. I find that implausible, because the left and right are both distributed throughout the nation and neither Left America nor Right America would be continuous. Both groups are angry toward and desire to dominate the other anyway, so I would sooner expect a civil war in which each group fights for dominance until one group conquers all of the territory of the other. As the left are already imminently victorious in their revolution and on the path to absolute political, economic and social control of the nation, this would have to be a conflict initiated by the neutered right, which appears highly unlikely. Without societal collapse, I can’t imagine a Balkanization of America in which many nations are carved out of it, united for reasons beyond the left-right paradigm.

Originally Posted by airforce
maybe even probably if we don't get our financial house in order soon. And I think we may be past the point of no return on that.

Historically, any nation which has seen the debt-to-GDP ratio which America holds never recovered and always failed. However, America utilizes fiat currency, which is relatively new, and the warning signs and reasons for such an economy to collapse isn’t yet established. It’s therefore entirely possible that fiat America is immune to such things, especially for as long as it remains the world’s dominant Great Power.

Originally Posted by Huskerpatriot
With the global supply chain as interconnected as it is, and with as heavily invested the west is in China… when China’s house of cards tumbles it will twist s world with it.

If PRC were ever to, for whatever reason, cease trade with nations highly dependent on its goods, like America, it would certainly be devastating, and could absolutely result in societal collapse. To give an adversary the power to potentially destroy you simply by ceasing trade with you is rather unwise.


Liberty and Prosperity, by Right or Might
Re: The US Is A Powder Keg [Re: ConSigCor] #177263
12/30/2021 07:54 PM
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There is nothing new about fiat currency. See Genesis 47:15.

Quote
12 And Joseph nourished his father, and his brethren, and all his father's household, with bread, according to their families.
13 And there was no bread in all the land; for the famine was very sore, so that the land of Egypt and all the land of Canaan fainted by reason of the famine.
14 And Joseph gathered up all the money that was found in the land of Egypt, and in the land of Canaan, for the corn which they bought: and Joseph brought the money into Pharaoh's house.
15 And when money failed in the land of Egypt, and in the land of Canaan, all the Egyptians came unto Joseph, and said, Give us bread: for why should we die in thy presence? for the money faileth.
16 And Joseph said, Give your cattle; and I will give you for your cattle, if money fail.
17 And they brought their cattle unto Joseph: and Joseph gave them bread in exchange for horses, and for the flocks, and for the cattle of the herds, and for the asses: and he fed them with bread for all their cattle for that year.
18 When that year was ended, they came unto him the second year, and said unto him, We will not hide it from my lord, how that our money is spent; my lord also hath our herds of cattle; there is not ought left in the sight of my lord, but our bodies, and our lands:


The CIA did have a hand in the collapse of the USSR, by making the Russians think we were on the verge of making the "Star Wars" antimissile defense system a reality and goading them to spend more on military technology. But the reality is, the USSR's financial problems were already terminal. They had a disastrous war (in Afghanistan, no less), and the Baltic states were getting restless. It was going to fail anyway, it was only a matter of time.

Onward and upward,
airforce


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