Political Theatre Masking the March To Fascism

The Republican race to fascism is all the news right now, venting their ire and vitriol on any of the “disloyalists” that dared opposed Trump. Even though this deadbeat isn’t even in office, and is facing countless lawsuits and criminal charges, the Republican leadership has doubled down, using the Trump playbook, to never admit any wrongdoing or defeat. Now they are playing political theatre pretending they’re the party of “patriotism” and “America”, but what they’re really trying to do is foster the hatred of the past four years into a new political movement.

This movement include a march towards fascism, and the suppression of individual rights of non-white Americans.

As part of this theatre, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem signed the misnamed 1776 Pledge To Save Our Schools, which is a attempt at revisionist history reminscent of the Manifest Destiny movement that triumphs the white race and the “superiority of America” while ignoring the genocide, oppression, racism and hatred that was here from the very foundations of this country. Americans didn’t steal the land, it was “bequeathed” to them by Almighty God or some such utter nonsense.

This is a movement rooted in hatred. And it has a lot of people completely bamboozled who know next to nothing about the true American history. The Republicans are making political points among their ignorant followers that their “way of life” is under threat from actually knowing the true history of this country. Which is actually par for the course, it’s always been this way since the founding of this country. Don’t look under the covers, don’t report the crimes, don’t pay attention to the death rate or the countless cases of genocide and oppression. Pretend that none of this ever happened.

Calling it “1776 Pledge to Save Our Schools” is a complete joke too, since education in the school is exactly what they don’t want to see happen. I’ve come to view the Republican Party as the party of hate, of rape, of villainous crimes, of lies, dishonesty and racism. That’s not an endorsement for Democrats either, it’s just a statement of fact that this particular party doesn’t represent anything that I believe in. It’s now so contorted and warped as to be completely unrecognizable.

Republican members are now trying to pretend that the Capitol attack never happened. It was bad enough that the refuse to convict the Chief Conspirator, Donald Trump, but now they’re acting as if Trump is STILL in charge. Their theatre to continue to foist the lie about the “stolen election” despite this have already been totally disproved, and devour their own “detractors” and others in politics that refuse to keep lying about this has taken on a strange life of its own. This shouldn’t be happening at all, but it is, making American politics one of the strangest, most bizarre things the world has ever seen. We clearly do not have a Republic or even a democracy now, fully one-half of the country’s leadership wants fascism.

Update:
Liz Cheney secretly organized key move to block Trump from using military to overturn election: report
There’s a simple — and dangerous — reason Rep. Stefanik is the leading candidate to replace Liz Cheney

The reality is the Republican Party is assaulting democracy itself. Jerrymandering the vote methods and districts isn’t enough anymore. They do not want a free and fair democracy for anyone, they want a fascist dictatorship and their hell-bent to get it. By catering to fear, paranoia and rampant disinformation they’re still trying to incite their base that they are “under threat”. Exactly what that threat entails in real life vs. the propaganda stream emanating from the “Party” is confusing. I’m not at any threat as an American, other then the usual malfeasance from my own Government and the ongoing idiocy and rampant stupidity from my fellow Americans. Virtually NONE of my freedoms are at risk either.

I don’t fall for the propaganda and the fear-mongering that is so prevalent within politics anymore. I’m not willing to be trolled by these clowns and don’t engage with any of it. But what I’m seeing is a lock-step march to fascism under the same flag of dishonesty as before (while under Trump). This was supposed to go away after his departure from the White House, but it’s continued to grow stronger, which is perplexing as all get out. How can Americans be THIS STUPID? The Election hasn’t changed a thing. It has in fact, only made the push to fascism even worse.

While I am not rooting for the Democrats, they had still better get this march to fascism stamped out, and it’s going to take some serious balls. Americans are still buying up guns by the millions per month. Ammunition is scarce and very expensive. Companies that sell body armor and equipment for combat are selling out. Clearly, these clowns think they’re going to go to war. Whether they do or not remains to be seen, but the fact that they are still engaging in this preparedness planning for civil war is deeply disturbing. It means that millions of people still believe the lies surrounding the Election.

Update: Rick Wilson sounds dire alarm for Democrats who think Trump is going away

Trump is out there in right field trying to stir up more hatred and dissent. He’s desperate for a platform and is finding compatible ears within the Republican Party. His Big Lie is definitely his big lie, he’s still stupidly claiming that the election was stolen from him, and he’s gotten most of the Republican leadership to go along with this. Whether they believe it or not is irrelevant. The facts do not support Trump’s lie. But the Republican leadership has chosen to continue with Trump’s rhetoric, which actually makes them the enemies of the Republic. The Constitution is very clear, they are no longer fit for public office and should be removed. All of them.

The danger to America is very real if this is not stopped dead in its tracks. Americans are being held hostage to a massive and extremely dangerous propaganda campaign designed to overthrow the US Government and install a fascist leadership. Every American should be deeply alarmed and be prepared to put a stop to this. Civil war is still looming and the chaos that these morons are advocating for will tear this country apart.

 

 

 

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19 thoughts on “Political Theatre Masking the March To Fascism

  • May 7, 2021 at 12:49 pm
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    Anyone who has studied the history of the US knows that the founders were rapacious sociopaths who transported impoverished people and religious objectors from England to slave camps which were so badly run the inhabitants starved to death and would have been completely annihilated had not the local “Indians” (a misnomer of ever there was one!) come to their assistance; the payback for that assistance was a campaign of genocide and land-theft that saw the elimination of around 100 million indigenous people, and the isolation of the tiny remnant on ‘reservations’ that were entirely inadequate; and when minerals were discovered in or near the reservations, the tiny remnants of the indigenous populace was kicked off the land and starved to death or murdered.

    Finding that people of European ancestry fared badly in the slave camps of the early colonies, the rapacious sociopaths purchased or captured Africans and, after transporting them under appalling conditions that caused death, used the ones that survived the trip to extract wealth from the [stolen] land.

    The industrialisation that occurred in the nineteenth century led to new opportunities for exploitation, and millions of impoverished Europeans were imported to work in the factories, to make even bigger profits for the ‘land-owners’. Any attempts to obtain decent working conditions were met with the same kind of ruthlessness displayed towards indigenous people or people of African origin: beatings and murder by hire thugs from Pilkington’s ‘service to sociopaths’ agency.

    The discovery of how to extract oil from underground led to new opportunities for exploitation: the near-total monopoly of the refining process gave Rockefeller the opportunity to manipulate government and commerce, and establish a market in China for refined products, especially lighting and cooking oil, Chinese workers having been imported to build the sections of the intercontinental rail system local workers had refused to build because the working conditions were so appalling. The completion of the rail system under the watchful eye of paid thugs facilitated the extraction of yet more wealth in the forms of oil and timber, and once the ‘Indian problem’ had been solved via genocide and displacement, grains. Meanwhile, property speculators were making a fortune in the growing cities on the eastern seaboard and major waterways.

    By around 1880 America had become a fascist state, with rigged elections and assassination of dissenting voices, though the term fascism was yet to be invented [by Mussolini, who described it as the melding of corporate, military and government interests].

    Then came the empire-building phase proper (Florida, Texas, California etc., having been stolen from the decaying Spanish empire and from Mexico). Hawaii, the Philippines, parts of the Caribbean, and Central America, where Major General Smedly Butler made nations safe for American banks and corporations via the usual tactics of beatings and murder. He later recanted and wrote ‘War is a Racket’.

    When a group of fascists attempted to covert America from an covertly fascist state into an overtly fascist state in 1935 they recruited Smedly Butler to lead the assault, not realising he had switched sides and was no longer a fully-committed fascist.

    The Second World War was not a war to ‘defeat fascism’ but was a war to decide which group of fascists would control the world -the Anglo-American fascists or the German-Italian-Japanese fascists.

    It was, of course, America’s capacity to extract and refine oil, along with the capacity to extract coal and iron ore, that won teh war for America. Not to be overlooked (usually is, of course) was the stupendous sacrifice made by Russia that turned the [German] eastern front into a ‘meatgrinder’; 27 million casualties or thereabouts on the Russian side and several million on the German side..

    With total dominance of most of the world (other than the devastated USSR and impoverished China and a few minor states) America was able to export its particular form of fascism (which now included Bretton Woods financial arrangements) to many places, including [conquered] Japan, Taiwan, all of western Europe, and the remnants of the British Empire.

    That’s the short version, of course.

    As for Republicans and Democrats they are just two faces of the same coin, with slightly more overtly fascistic tendencies to the fore with the Republicans. Never forget that it was under lying Bill Clinton that reregulation of the banks was promoted, and that led to the monstrous derivatives bubbles that are on the brink of bursting.

    It’s much the same in NZ, with the so-called Labour government going fully covert fascist in 1984 under false pretences. We call them LINO now, Labour In Name Only, and filly committed to the fulfilling the short-term demands of banks and corporations and other sociopaths whilst trading under the banner of socialism.

    Betrayal and deceit are the bywords of the age we live in. And it’s going to get a lot worse as the energy supply goes into terminal decline and the environment collapses.

    • May 7, 2021 at 1:14 pm
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      They tried to use the Indians as slaves to work the land, and they died en masse and refused, so they were beaten, starved and tortured to death, thus earning the title, “the only good Indian is a dead Indian” early on.

      It wasn’t just the Founders that were rapacious bastards, the same mentality still exist here today. They’re trying to eradicate the real history as you’ve so aptly shared. How this country was “built” and by who.

      Trying to suppress this knowledge now is absolutely absurd. What are they going to do, rewrite history in millions of books? Of course, a lot of people don’t read anymore so they’ll probably have some measure of success as they drive this country into total fascism.

  • May 7, 2021 at 1:27 pm
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    Bunch of goddamned traitors: Ohio Republican Party censures U.S. Rep. Gonzalez for voting to impeach Trump

    Americans need to remember this. There are traitors everywhere now in the Republican party. They are attempting to rewrite recent history to cover for their crimes and that of Donald J. Trump. Every member has the right to vote as they see fit – and this attack upon their vote is just one more nail in the coffin to total fascism.

    Their pathetic attempts to “purge the party” for “Trump loyalty” is going to backfire horribly.

  • May 7, 2021 at 3:31 pm
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    It reminds me of Tony B Liar, who forced Britain into the illegal war centred on the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq against the wishes of the majority of British people and hundreds of thousands protesting in the streets ‘No war for oil’.

    The wars had nothing to do with the control of the flow of oil, the currency it is traded in or the refusal of the Taliban to allow construction of an [American-owned] oil pipeline through their country. And the wars had absolutely nothing to do with the largely untapped mineral wealth in Afghanistan, just begging to be extracted by American and British corporations.

    As famously remarked: How did OUR oil end up under their sand?

    We’d better go an get it (or at least make sure it flows in the right direction, at the right price and traded in the right currency).

    But we can’t possibly mention the real reasons. So it’s always about ‘freedom and democracy’, ‘women’s rights’, ‘getting children into schools’, ‘development’ and other fabrications and deceits that are appealing to uninformed proles.

    And that’s how the whole rotten system is held together: the corporate media churning out false narratives on a daily basis t(by the second, actually) to keep the proles believing in the system.

    Just where collapse due to massive population overshoot, energy depletion and degradation of the environment fit into the ‘official’ narrative is a bit of a mystery but it seems to be centred on yet more lies.

    I watched a bit of David Attenborough’s ‘testimony’, which correctly pointed out that the extermination of the natural world was becoming all-too-apparent in the 1970s….couldn’t find living specimens of numerous species without traipsing through dense jungle to ultra-remote locations that corporations hadn’t yet reached.

    Now most of the dense jungles have been chopped down and replaced by monoculture plantations.

    David Attenborough correctly identified an extinction-level [for humans] crisis.

    But there’s hope! We can turn it all around if we just re-wild the places where wildlife has been extinguished, and we all change our diet slightly and all convert to ‘renewable’ (solar panels and wind-turbines etc.) energy sources we will be saved!

    Yay!

    The fact that so-called renewables are a subset of the fossil fuel economy and require fossil fuels for their construction and maintenance never gets a mention.

    And so it goes, the lies get bigger and bigger as the crisis unfolds.

    Meanwhile, Powell keeps the game going by obfuscation about whether the Fed will ‘taper’ (reduce money-printing) or not and whether interest rates should rise or fall.

    Over a decade ago I likened the predicament to that of the Jews of Nazi-occupied Europe.

    “You want me to wear an armband. Okay, I’ll wear and armband.”

    “Your want me to walk in the gutter. Okay, I’ll walk in the gutter.”

    “You want us to all live in one house. Okay, we’ll all live in one house.”

    “Your want us to all get on that train of cattle wagons. Okay, we’ll all get on that train of cattle wagons.”

    “You want us to undress and have a shower. Okay, we’ll get undressed and have a ‘shower.”

    It was the Jews who didn’t follow orders that had the highest rate of survival, of course.

    According the Pandora’s Box mythology, all the curses escaped except Hope, and Hope was the biggest curse of the lot.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pandora%27s_box

    Derrick Jensen describes hope as a substitute for action.

    I don’t hope the government will save me. I know it won’t.

    • May 7, 2021 at 5:51 pm
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      We have a professional liar, a self-server with zero credibility, as Minister of ‘Justice’ here in NZ. Andrew Little. He couldn’t even win the electoral seat he contested -his home city- he was so unpopular, But he did manage to talk his way into the party list, MMP and all that.

      I had dealings with him before he got his snout in the trough, and briefly after he got his snout in the trough: totally unreliable and utterly dishonest, and therefore perfect as a politician.

      Fortunately there are still some remnants of decency in the courts, even if it is all a rigged game. I think a little of it comes from the strong moral values of a few of the original settlers, a number of whom fought on the side of the Maoris during the Land Wars. And a few genuine Christians who actually believe in doing some of the things Jesus is reported to have suggested.

      None of that stops the central-bank-driven speculative bubble that has driven all first-time buyers out of the NZ housing market and is pushing increasing numbers of renters into poverty.

      Nor does it help combat the government hand-outs to ‘zombie’ companies that should never have been allowed to trade in the first place. But when you fuckwits, self-serving liars and saboteurs as the core of government, which has been the case for decades, you end up in a shocking mess that will….. implode.

      Important components of the system are;

      1. No official mechanisms for exposing wrongdoings.
      2. No accountability if you do get caught out.

      Indeed, one of the worst offenders, ex-PM John Key, known as Shonkey for his continuous shonky (‘dishonest, unreliable, or illegal, especially in a devious way’) dealings was given a knighthood for services to the lotters-and-polluters club. I jest not.

      We go after the ‘war criminals’ of weak, defenceless nations and honour the war criminals of the powerful nations.

      The victors write the history.

      What the ‘elites’ have yet to realise is that they are not going to win the war, however many skirmishes they win along the way.

    • May 8, 2021 at 11:41 am
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      Censorship and manipulation of the narrative have been common practice from the time of the first empires.

      In the early phase of WW2 it was all bad news for Britain -warships sunk before they even got to defend Singapore, merchant ships sunk before they delivered goods to Britain, and then the prized capital ship of the navy, the Hood, sunk on its first engagement with the enemy. British troops pushed out of much of North Africa, and pushed out of France. Churchill was reluctant to allow too much bad news reach the public and put a ban on reports, or had them doctored. The minor success of transporting most of the soldier stranded at Dunkirk was celebrated euphorically, even though all their heavy equipment was lost.

      The difference today is that there is that there is no recovery from economic or environmental setbacks, here is no ‘progress’ but just an inexorable march towards an ever-lower standard of living and an ever-lower quality of life for the vast majority of people on this planet. No wonder the ‘elites’ don’t want to talk about it or have it reported.

      It’s the same worldwide, and the media here spend more time discussing and promoting corporatised sport than presenting actual newsworthy news.

      Whatever happened to ‘Make America Great Again’?

      We had a fuckwit politician who had a Trump MAGA cap, and proudly displayed it. He lasted about 6 weeks as leader of the National Party around a year ago before resigning, not knowing how to play the game. He was such a non-person I cannot even remember his name.

      He was replaced by a formerly disgraced politician, Judith Collins, who led National to one of its worst election defeats ever. But she still hangs around. Because she knows how to play the game.

      And that’s how the system keeps going. People who have nothing to offer but know how to play the game hang around ‘forever’.

      In this system you have to be caught red-handed buggering little boys or fingering little girls to be cast aside; any amount of malfeasance, manipulation or pure dishonesty is ignored (or even admired).

      It would be fair to say that he vast majority of politicians in the western world are criminals or clowns. Those that are operating the financial system most certainly are criminals.

      ‘Planet Ponzi is here (E1694)’

      https://www.rt.com/shows/keiser-report/523152-housing-price-planet-ponzi/

      And the Green Party of NZ is almost entirely composed of clowns.

      • May 8, 2021 at 5:39 pm
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        In the interest of accuracy, Todd Muller did not last about 6 weeks as I stated; he lasted 53 days.

        https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/122129365/todd-mullers-national-party-leadership-lasted-only-53-days–heres-how-they-unfolded

        It was one of the more amusing phases of NZ political history, as one incompetent clown after another stabbed someone in the back and then made a severe cock-up.

        How anyone can believe in the system after exposure of such incompetence and back-stabbing is a mystery to me. But apparently they do.

        • May 8, 2021 at 6:41 pm
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          Well, look at the fiasco of American politics. Trump was a massive fuck-up, got caught trying to bribe foreign officials, but convinced his criminal cohorts to not convict, paving the way for the rest of his miserable tenure, only to conclude with an attack upon the election certification instituted by the Chief Liar himself! And they STILL refused to convict. Unfuckingbelievable. Banana Republic politics, through and through. The US Government is a total joke now, nobody trust it (nor should they), in the hands of rapacious assholes and monsters, manipulated by corporate powers and beholden to the rich and powerful. The government for the people and by the people has been absent for a long, long time. Endless wars and economic exploitation didn’t end with the Civil War (or begin), it’s still here, still raping, polluting, ruining everything, everywhere. This is what angers me about the bullshit Save Our Schools agenda – they want to promote endless lies and revisionist history about what this country really has done (all over the world). It’s a good way to brainwash young minds and enlist a steady stream of cannon fodder for the wars to come.

          I don’t talk about it, but my DD-214 says “honorable”. But I didn’t fall for the propaganda.

  • May 9, 2021 at 11:35 am
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    Talking of wars and cannon fodder and propaganda reminds me to say that the major war being engaged in by the ‘elites’ is a war against the populace of countries the ‘elites’ live in, i.e. US, UK, Canada. Australia, NZ etc. with the objective of transferring as much wealth as possible into the hands (bank accounts) of the ‘elites’ whilst maintaining the pretence that it is all done being as a component of ‘sound economic management’.

    And the greatest war of all is the war on ALL children of the world everywhere via the absolute refusal of governments everywhere to implement policies that could mitigate Abrupt Climate Change to some extent via genuine immediate reductions in CO2 emissions.

    Guy McPherson’s general hypothesis -that industrial humans have been and still are promoting loss of habitat for humans- is correct. It was his timeframe for meltdown, announced out of the blue in 2016 -that was not based on good science- that led to him and me falling out. He talked in terms of the Earth being made uninhabitable ‘in a matter of months’, and still talks about the end of everything occurring in 2026 via self-reinforcing climate feedbacks. Yet the thermal mass of the oceans is stupendous, and there is still a massive amount of ice to be melted.

    We do face the prospect of the summer sea ice disappearing from the Arctic Sea by 2026 and a new climate regime. But a totally uninhabitable planet by then? I don’t think so.

    The key to this is the generation of OH ions and radicals that oxidise methane to water and carbon dioxide in the upper atmosphere. If the OH ion/radical system is overwhelmed, there could be a build-up of methane in the atmosphere, triggering much faster temperature rises. That said, the warmer the Earth gets, the faster it loses heat to space.

    It might well be climate whiplash that brings the industrial system to its knees, as witnessed recently in Texas. Temperatures swinging wildly can knock out electricity grids, and are certainly disruptive to many crops. As is lack of water, of course.

    I’m keeping an eye on the Lake Mead water level, as an indicator of how quickly mayhem will arrive in the southwestern states of the US. At 1077.56 [feet above sea level, presumably] it is still above the record low of 2016, but is falling faster than it did in 2016. Very ‘interesting’, especially since there are many more weeks of the Sun getting higher in the sky in the Northern Hemisphere. .

    The other thing that is going to ‘kill’ industrial economies is the rapid rise in prices for almost everything. With incomes more-or-less static and prices and costs rising at 5,10, 20, 30% per annum (in the case of lumber in the US reported as 340%!) it is clear nothing can continue for much longer.

    As for solving the predicament by going to war, well, in the Second World War the Germans used to call American tanks Ronsons

    https://www.ronson.com/pages/history-heritage

    because one strike and they were ablaze.

    I think it would be similar for all the US capital ships (especially the aircraft carriers) if stuck by a hypersonic missile -against which there is no defence, we are told. That’s why I think there will be no actual war, just economic and financial war and attempts to disable computer systems. Release of virulent pathogens???

    On the other hand, civil war look very likely, as impoverished people get repeatedly betrayed and lied to by the ‘elites’ and everything they thought they were entitled to gradually (or suddenly) disappears.

    I see the Dow is headed for 40,000, as money becomes increasingly valueless.

    I’m working on a formula to manufacture unobtainium because lots of things are becoming unobtainable.

    ‘Interesting times’ become more ‘interesting’ by the day.

    Ignorance is still bliss for some, for the moment.

    • May 9, 2021 at 12:47 pm
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      I’ve never bought into McPherson’s nuclear plant meltdown scenario. Does not add up. But that is not to say that there will not be a problem with shutting down flooded nuclear power plants, there will (but it can be done via emergency authorization). Nor do I think the specialists required will all “walk off the job”, this is an assumption based upon baseless speculation.

      He is right of course about the declining habitable biosphere. I’m reading Arnold Toynbee’s “Mankind and Mother Earth” (yes, that Toynbee) and he pointed out in 1974 in his last monumental work how rapacious and destructive mankind truly is; and how the livable biosphere is but a very thin skin stretching over the surface of the planet like a layer of living plastic wrap (the analogy emphasis just how thin our atmosphere and living conditions really are).

      We are witnessing the throes of collapse right now with higher and higher (absolutely insane) “prices” (price gouging at a global level). Received my third (and final) HVAC install quote, it’s fully $5000 higher then the quote I received last month and this time, from a local contractor who didn’t have far to drive to perform the work (should have been a lower bid). It’s full-on price gouging of the “consumer” now, everybody is getting in on it.

      I refuse to participate in this scamming, and although I’m raising some prices today as instructed, it will be the same margins as before. People still need to eat.

      I honestly do not know how they expect people to pay the costs they are being charged now. My wife watches a builders channel where people homestead their own land, building their own homes, and for just four cedar posts (6″ x 6″) it was $1000.

      I’ve noticed that the news is playing “catch-up” with their reporting of price increases, which are FAR higher then they’ve been willing to report. This is typical easement strategy of the pain people are experiencing by the media. Downplay the bad news and hey, what about Elon Musk? Who fucking cares???? This crap is just stupid distraction for the masses, humans will NEVER inhabit Mars as projected by the liars. Even Toynbee points this out in within the first 12 pages – a habitable biosphere will NOT be exported from Earth to Mars due to the enormous expenditure. He’s right.

      The madmen and the insane are in charge of the distraction and profit-exploitation, enriching themselves to obscene levels of greed. Bezo’s Gigantic Fucking Boat is a prime example. What a joke. Greed on global display, extreme excess and dick swinging by a ignorant fool.

  • May 10, 2021 at 10:51 am
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    I really think ‘it’ is coming this year.

    ‘Madagascar’s worst drought in 40 years has left more than a million people facing a year of desperate food shortages.

    The south of the island will produce less than half its usual harvest in the coming months because of low rains, prolonging a hunger crisis already affecting half the Grand Sud area’s population, the UN estimates.

    The south saw 50% of its usual rains during the October planting season, in a fourth year of drought.

    Julie Reversé, emergency coordinator in Madagascar for Médecins Sans Frontières, said: “Without rain, they will not be able to return to the fields and feed their families. And some do not hesitate to say that it is death that awaits them if the situation does not change, and the rain does not fall.”

    https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2021/may/10/at-least-1m-people-facing-starvation-madagascar-drought-worsens

    ‘Dozens of suspected Covid victims wash up on Ganges River banks
    Locals believe bodies were dumped in river because cremation sites are overwhelmed’

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/may/10/india-dozens-of-suspected-covid-victims-wash-up-on-ganges-river-banks

    ‘A hopeless situation’: oxygen shortage fuels Nepal’s Covid crisis
    Terrible scenes seen in India of a healthcare system in collapse are being repeated across the border’

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/may/10/hopeless-situation-oxygen-shortage-fuels-nepal-covid-crisis

    “The accumulated world industrial output between 1953 and 1973 was comparable in volume to that of the entire century and a half which separated 1953 from 1800. The recovery of war-damaged economies, the development of new technologies, the continued shift from agriculture to industry, the harnessing of national resources within ‘planned economies,’ and the spread of industrialization to the Third World all helped to effect this dramatic change. In an even more emphatic way, and for much the same reasons, the volume of world trade also grew spectacularly after 1945…”

    Common sense held that the economic conditions of the post-war boom were “normal,” when in fact they were an historical anomaly brought about by the once-and-done conversion of the European economies from coal to oil in the aftermath of the war. Nevertheless, even as late as the 1970s, those economies continued to support the institutions of a coal-powered economy. Prior to the 1986 “Big Bang” financial deregulation, national economies imposed strict capital controls in order to force investors to finance domestic industry. On the other side of the same coin, mass trade unions born out of coal-based industries like mining, steel working, railways and ship building, continued to exercise a powerful veto on industrial policy and practice.

    Productivity – effectively the deployment of technologies to increase the exergy­ obtained from energy – had allowed workers to reap a far larger share of the profits than had occurred throughout the industrial age. Where in the 1920s, a worker on the average wage struggled to rent a small terraced home with basic amenities, the average worker during the boom could purchase a house, raise a family, run a car and take an annual holiday. The price rises of the 1970s threatened to bring those gains to an end. And so conflict broke out between investors and workers over the apportionment of the profits.

    Both trades unions and investors went on strike. At the same time, governments which had become conditioned to intervening in the economy in the post-war years, sought to pour oil on these troubled waters by opening the printing presses and spending new currency into existence – a trick which appeared to have worked in the aftermath of the war itself. But it is one thing to generate massive volumes of new currency into an economy which has both massive slack – unemployed workers and stored up capital – and vast untapped energy and resources. It is another matter entirely to open the spigots when the economy is already at full employment and when energy and resources are in short supply.

    Additional currency which, because of financial controls, had to circulate within national economies worked to raise prices – i.e., devalue the currency – across the economy. In addition, the USA’s establishment of an oil standard to replace the post-war gold standard allowed US inflation to be exported to its trading partners; who were obliged to buy oil in US dollars. And so, governments struggled both to curb industrial unrest and to quash inflation with varying degrees of failure prior to the collapse of the post-war consensus in the 1980s.

    Helped by the influx of new – albeit more expensive – oil production in the North Sea, North Alaskan Slope and Gulf of Mexico, the Reagan and Thatcher governments had been able to shift the key focus of government policy away from full-employment to sound money and stable prices. The ensuing unemployment helped to finally break the backs of the coal-based mass trade unions; while the relaxation of financial controls opened the way for the debt-based casino economy of the 1990s and early 2000s. What could possibly go wrong?

    Importantly, few of the conditions which fed into the inflationary crisis of the 1970s are present in the post-pandemic world. Trade unions are largely impotent in the face of deregulated global finance. As they have learned from bitter experience since the early 1980s, industrial disputes and strikes most often result in the offshoring of their members’ jobs. In the European Union, for example, a determined employer could dismantle a car assembly plant in, say, Spain and move it to Slovakia in the course of a long weekend. The unions would be left picketing an empty warehouse. In reality, few need contemplate such action because it was already taken in the form of offshored supply chains in the 1980s and 1990s.

    It goes without saying that capital is no longer national, and may disappear faster than it arrived. As historian David Edgerton observes:

    “Today there is no such thing as British national capitalism. London is a place where world capitalism does business – no longer one where British capitalism does the world’s business. Everywhere in the UK there are foreign-owned enterprises, many of them nationalised industries, building nuclear reactors and running train services from overseas. When the car industry speaks, it is not as British industry but as foreign enterprise in the UK. The same is true of many of the major manufacturing sectors – from civil aircraft to electrical engineering – and of infrastructure…”

    Since the 1980s, capital has been free to move to wherever in the world it can secure the greatest rate of return. Allegiance to nation only exists so long as states resist the temptation to hike taxes and to impose new regulation. And the “beneficial” consequence of this for western consumers is that the prices of consumer goods and services are driven down accordingly.

    Beyond these changes in the real economy, in the years since 1980 a cancerous financial system has metastasised to suck the life out of anything which attempts to return to a free market based on manufacture and trade. Today there is an almost closed loop within which central bank reserves and government bonds are used to contain new currency within a series of asset bubbles – stocks, property, fine art and collectables, etc., from where they cannot escape to cause inflation across the wider economy.

    This massive explosion of nominal “wealth” at the top mirrors the ebbing tide of prosperity at the bottom. The old, relatively well-paid working class has been largely replaced by a burgeoning precariat working in low-paid self-employment, part-time jobs and zero-hours contracts. Where giant steel works, ship yards, railway depots and mines dominated the labour market, today’s fragile employment is within shopping malls, hotels and restaurant chains. Only in a few shrinking pockets around the top-tier universities and financial centres do we find enclaves of prosperous, salaried employment.

    It is into these new conditions that massive volumes of pandemic-mitigating currency are now flowing. And it should go without saying that the majority of the new currency is still flowing into the various asset bubbles that substitute for profitability in the post-2008 economy. But still, sufficient volumes of new currency have been used to prop up or replace wages for the spectre of inflation to be taken seriously. Although there are both psychological and structural reasons to believe that collapsing profitability is going to be a bigger issue than inflation… at least in the short-term.

    Price increases are of course, inevitable as a result of the active sabotage of the global, just-in-time supply chains which used to serve to drive costs down. Production processes have been shut down – some never to reopen – ships have been scrapped, and shipping containers are lying idle in the wrong ports. Migrant workers too, are no longer available to employers in the big cities; where they provided far cheaper labour than indigenous workers who insist on the minimum wage. During the pandemic, for example, London experienced a haemorrhage of Eastern Europeans, who decided that it was safer and easier to ride out the pandemic at home than to remain in the cramped and shared accommodation provided by spendthrift employers. One consequence has been that as Britain began to unlock in April, said employers were unable to recruit cheap enough workers.

    The common sense expectation here is that this will fuel inflation because workers have the upper hand and will force businesses to increase wages. This though, ignores half a century of economic history. In the 1970s, for example, eating out was largely a pastime of the salaried classes. Working people did it very occasionally; on special occasions like anniversaries. And when they did, the fare on offer would be considered a joke by today’s standards. The reason that – at least prior to 2008 – ordinary people have been able to enjoy quality food at a relatively low price, is precisely because these businesses have driven down the cost of everything from rent and labour to the quantities of salt and dressing provided with each meal. In short, in business across the retail and hospitality sector, there is no possibility of raising wages to meet shortages without undermining profit margins… closure is the only option.

    The same is true for the many materials which are in short supply as a consequence of the response to the pandemic. Things as ubiquitous as a microchip or a fuel derived from oil might be expected to increase in price as businesses and consumers compete to obtain them. And in the short-term, this is happening. But in the longer-term, it is the ability of consumers as a whole to purchase, rather than the needs of businesses to remain profitable which will win the day.

    We have already seen this occur with oil in the years since 2008. After the big increases in oil prices either side of the crash, in 2012 Michael Kumhof and Dirk V Muir from the International Monetary Fund published a paper anticipating $200 per barrel oil by the end of the decade. Given what had been happening around that time, the proposition appeared entirely plausible:

    But that wasn’t how things worked out. For sure, the cost of producing oil had risen dramatically following the global peak of conventional oil extraction in 2005. There was plenty more oil to be found, but it was in expensive to produce deep sea, tar sands and shale deposits. Oil companies need prices of $200 or more to keep increasing the global yield; but prices collapsed after 2015:

    Importantly, in the years since the financial crash, there has been a widening gap between the average wage so beloved by the establishment media, and the less mentioned median wage; the halfway point on the income ladder. In the UK just prior to the pandemic, the average wage was nearly £6,000 above the median; reflecting the growth of the low-paid precariat and its downward drag on the lowest-skilled employment sectors:

    A similar, pre-tax $10,000 gap can be seen in the USA, reflecting the growth of low-paid employment in that economy since the crash.

    As Gail Tverberg at Our Finite World has argued on many occasions, the key driver in the modern economy is the lack of aggregate consumer spending power. In the 1990s and early 2000s, this was hidden via a combination of offshoring – to lower the wage bill – and wider access to debt – to allow western consumers to keep buying. This was the system that imploded – and should have been allowed to reset – in 2008. Since then, governments across the developed economies have been playing a game of extend and pretend in which rising stock and bond prices are used to mask the decline in prosperity which was already fuelling a retail apocalypse long before SARS-CoV-2 embarked on its world tour.

    There is no reason to believe that the rising prices brought about by pandemic-related supply-side shocks will follow a different course. That is, initial price spikes caused by businesses attempting to pass increased costs onto consumers, will be met by swings in consumer spending away from discretionary items in favour of essentials. As a consequence, businesses in the larger, non-essential, sectors of the economy will experience rapidly falling demand. If they still have some cost-cutting capacity, they may attempt to stay in business by such things as re-financing debt, renegotiating rent and cutting their wage bill. But these, of course, serve to lower aggregate consumer demand – and generate a psychological wariness of new spending or borrowing – making the problem worse. And many businesses have already taken these actions in response to the pandemic…..

    And as unemployment and under-employment increases, so the contagion will spread. For example, shop and hospitality closures result in falling commercial property rents which, in turn, drive pension funds toward bankruptcy. And just as nobody could know in advance which goods would be affected by supply chain disruption, we cannot know in advance which businesses will fail in the face of rising costs and falling demand. What we can say though, is an awful lot of the nominal wealth locked up in bonds, shares and the other giant asset bubbles will evaporate in the face of the coming crisis of profitability./

    https://consciousnessofsheep.co.uk/2021/05/06/a-crisis-of-profitability/

    • May 10, 2021 at 12:04 pm
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      That is, initial price spikes caused by businesses attempting to pass increased costs onto consumers, will be met by swings in consumer spending away from discretionary items in favour of essentials. As a consequence, businesses in the larger, non-essential, sectors of the economy will experience rapidly falling demand.

      I am definitely not see this happening. Spending on non-essentials is sky-rocketing. Spending on things like storable food has dropped like a rock after the inauguration (it’s back to the same levels as under Trump, piss poor). People are buying up all kinds of useless, non-essentials right now. In other words, common sense does not prevail (and rarely does). Look at the ridiculous cryptocurrency ‘investments’ by greedy wanna-be millionaires. Crypto does not produce anything, but wastes enormous amounts of energy. Tons of ‘investors’ throwing their money at this.

      Americans will not, cannot seem to do the ‘right thing’ (look out for themselves) and wait until it’s too late (every time). This would be a perfect time for people to stockpile and be ready for the crash / collapse, but it’s not happening even though the signs are everywhere.

      Addendum: The Nepalese situation is tragic. This is my own fear for the United States and other countries. Variants that kill quickly and a stupid population that refuses to take protective measures. Americans are already acting like the pandemic is over, but it’s far, far from being over. When China locked down, I knew immediately that we were going to get hit hard (it was inevitable), but not many people took this seriously. And then it happened – but Americans have become very lackadaisical about this.

      I got my second shot today, glad I did. Getting COVID is far worse then getting the shots with devastating long term effects.

      Covid-19 Infections Complicated By Deadly Fungus

      • May 10, 2021 at 2:11 pm
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        There is an interesting dynamic in play in which shortages and rising prices stimulate people to buy now while something they want is still available and/or affordable versus being short of money and not wanting to buy.

        One of the exceptionalisms of American society is the tendency to live from week to week and to buy items on credit. Indeed, the whole economic philosophy of ‘modern economics’ is centred on creation of credit to facilitate the purchase of goods and services nobody actually needs (and which are actually bad for the purchaser in many cases).

        Considerable research has gone into the psychology of ignoring warnings…even fire alarms in buildings. People are very prone to ignore warnings when someone ‘in authority’ assures them everything is fine and there is no cause for alarm

        At the same time, we have the ridiculous situation whereby people become extremely alarmed about things that do not matter at all or are just part of the natural world and therefore to be expected.

        The dumbing-down procedures that have been implemented over the past 4 or 5 decades in most ‘civilised’ nations has been extraordinarily successful. People actually believe what they see on television screens or digital devices.

        It will be AFTER the crash that people will recognise the extent they have been lied to.

        A now-deceased friend sent me some sage advice many years ago:

        “Don’t try to teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time and it annoys the pig!”

        • May 10, 2021 at 2:15 pm
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          Another very good one is this:

          “Those who could not hear the music looked upon the dancers and thought they were mad.”

          One of the best is Dr Colin Calmpbell’s:

          “You can ignore reality but you can’t ignore the consequences of ignoring reality.”

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