The Mule’s Work

When Trump miraculously won the election in 2016, the smarter observers saw that he was not going to be a reform agent, but a chaos agent. Through the ballot, the public had injected a foreign body into the political system. How the system would react to that foreign body was unknown, but after three plus years the results of the experiment are coming into focus. What we are getting is chaos. Everything about the old order is suddenly in question, as everything about it is breaking down.

The most obvious example of the chaos is the old political order. For almost a generation, national politics was Red Team versus Blue Team. Both sides agreed on most everything as they were financed by the same people. Red Team wanted to be more naked in its slobbering than Blue Team over the men behind the curtain, while Blue Team wanted to be more hysterical than Red Team. Otherwise, no matter which way the people voted, the policies never changed.

Three plus years of Trump and we have prominent national politicians calling for a moratorium on immigration. Trump just claimed he signed an executive order temporarily halting all immigration. Whether or not this is true is entirely unknown, as Trump says all sorts of things that mean nothing. That’s not the point. What matters is that things that were forbidden just a few years ago are now being said in public by people who care very deeply about the taboos of modern society.

Of course, the chaos that will soon matter most to people is the chaos in the economy, which is beginning to get real and real fast. When oil futures hit levels never seen in our lifetime, we are in a different world than existed a few years ago. The nonsense about oil trading below zero is just news hype, but there is no avoiding the fact that the world is suddenly awash in BTU’s. What’s just as significant about this event is that according to the experts, it was not supposed to happen.

That’s the thing to keep in mind about the chaos that is raging all around us. The emerging liberal democratic order promised stability and predictability. Instead of booms and bust in the economy, it was supposed to be gentle slopes up and down as the central bankers steered the ship. Oil markets would no longer be the victim of forces beyond the control of suppliers. Instead, prices would be steady as producers coordinated with world government to temper supply.

What happens in a world suddenly awash in BTU’s? No one knows. Similarly, no one knows what happens when world government tries to turn the economy back on after they have had enough of the pandemic. In fact, no one knows if they will actually try to do it voluntarily. Local officials have gotten the whiff of authoritarianism in their nostrils and they like it. They may find out they like suppressing the minor protests that have been flaring up the past week. We are in uncharted territory.

What we are seeing is the work of The Mule. In the Asimov novels. The Mule is a special character, so special in fact that he is assumed to not exist. In fact, according to the known rules of the universe, he cannot exist. Because he does exist, thus invalidating the rules of the universe, he is the ultimate destroyer of worlds. His ability “is to reach into the minds of others and “adjust” their emotions, individually or en masse, using this capability to conscript individuals to his cause.”

This is Trump. In the primary, he won mostly by causing the Republican Party to go insane and destroy itself. In the general, the media went nuts and convinced the Democrats they had nothing to fear. In Washington, the establishment has taken every opportunity to discredit itself in a mad quest to deny the reality of Trump. In this pandemic, the masters of the universe seem to be determined to do everything they can to invalidate themselves and legitimize their enemies.

The madness of self-invalidation is probably just starting. Due to the crack down on economic activity, things like advertising buys have halted. So much of the internet economy, particularly the media, depends on the belief that money spent on ads and marketing is money well-spent. It was never true, but the new reality will suddenly bring that into focus. In whatever comes next, spending lavishly on ads and marketing data harvested by social media companies will be minimized.

To date, no one has figured out how to make a large-scale media enterprise work on subscriptions alone. Small-scale operations can make it work for the same reason small business can make it work. They have low overheads and focus only on providing the customer with what they seek. Mass media is mass propaganda, financed by corporate ad dollars. In other words, it is not just the political establishment finding itself in a new chaotic world of uncertainty. Its media arm is there as well.

Obviously, the biggest bit of chaos that the people in charge have yet to confront is the world after the crackdown is lifted. We have about 30% unemployment at the moment and the signs of increased economic slowdown. People forget that in the early weeks of the crack down, there was a rush of economic activity. That has subsided and firms are now starting to hear crickets. The curve benders fear a second virus wave, but wait until they get a look at the second layoff wave.

At the various lemon parties, the sobbing and moaning about Trump was understandable, as they never understood what Trump meant. Their politics are immature and based solely on what is presented to them in the media. Like children, they giggle when happy and cry when sad. Similarly, the “Orange Man Bad!” loons could never get past their hurt feelings to grasp the significance of Trump. As the chaos rages, these two camps now cheer like toddlers at someone shaking keys.

For the simple minded, the rising chaos brings to mind their preferred result, which they imagine is right around the corner. In reality, we are just entering the interregnum described by Guillaume Faye, in which the West lurches from crisis to crisis as it tries to reconcile the incoherence and contradictions of liberal democracy. In other words, Trump is not just the end of the old order, but the starting point for a period of chaos, as the world tries to create a new “logic of the universe.”

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373 thoughts on “The Mule’s Work

  1. Given enough time, all human institutions turn to shit.

    This was always so, but the difference these days is that ordinary people are realizing the institutions are shit.

  2. I too have thought of the “mule” many times since his illogical, and near unbelievable election…glad i wasn’t the only one.

  3. I’m impressed to death at this analysis – apparently, so are other people (Instapundit, among others).
    I’m an oddball in feeling OK with chaotic systems (I married a man whose middle name is Spontaneous). I keep the important parts of my life the same, and mostly listen and nod at the nonsense.
    But, I make my decisions only after my OWN investigations. I don’t follow the fads, nor am I easily persuaded by emotional pleas. That’s true in investments, and in other facets of my life.
    I realize this makes me what Sarah A Hoyt calls an Odd; I prefer to think of myself as an outlier, particularly among women. Most women follow the crowd.
    I lead.

    • You see for 60 years you have been cowardly running from one suburb to another, you did not lift your little finger against the enemy and lunatics hoping that you are going to live the entirety of your cowardly and selfish life in comfort which your cowardice will pay for
      Yet in the holy book of inevitable it is clearly written that the day of reckoning will come
      And it does, it always does

  4. The power of the Cathedral’s megaphone is incredible. They’ve already launched the following threads into the discourse, via “papers of record”:

    1) 300k likely to die if states reopen too soon
    2) KY protests cause spike in cases
    3) CDC warns second winter wave will be worse
    4) VA study says HCQ kills people from heart failure (non-peer reviewed of course, but who cares because ORANGE MAN BAD!!!!!)
    5) Reopen protesters are a vast minority
    6) Corona can linger and replicate in the eyes

    And that’s just a sampling from one of the sections over in Libtardhivemindland.

    How do we as dissidents even compete with that?

    • There is really nothing you can do other than watch the total destruction in real time
      At one point you are going to have a total collapse of the system, total stock market crash, ran on banks, fiat money losing completely its (imaginary)value riots … 1929 will be a joke compared to the one coming
      To use a metaphor, it is like somebody shots a bullet at you from 20 yards, bullet is coming straight through you heart but somehow the laws of time are changed so bullet needs a month or two, perhaps three to reach you
      There is nothing you can do but watch the bullet coming
      On the scale of the suspended time universe your dodging the bullet would take several years
      That would be a pretty terrifying death if you ask me

    • As economic suffering increases, public regard for the media will decrease. Of course we’ll be blamed for it, even though this was their idea in the first place.

      We have three options:
      Fight (Protests or [redacted])
      Wait/Hunker Down
      Get out.

      If I had the resources, I’d get out. In fact, I still might. The narrators are just totally out of their damn minds with this.

  5. Mr. Zman,

    You say: “In reality, we are just entering the interregnum described by Guillaume Faye, in which the West lurches from crisis to crisis as it tries to reconcile the incoherence and contradictions of liberal democracy.” Doesn’t that somewhat contradict your April 19 column on Fukumomma’s *End of History*?

    Also, is China a liberal democracy? Is China at the end of its history?

    • I’m not familiar with G. Faye. From the blurb for his book *Why We Fight* at Amazon;

      “Identitarians and others making up the European resistance lack a doctrine that truly serves as a political and ideological synthesis of who they are – a doctrine that speaks above parties and sects, above rival sensibilities and wounded feelings, that brings the resistance together around clear ideas and objectives, uniting them in opposition to the Europeans’ dramatic decline. Our people today face the gravest peril in their entire history: demographic collapse, submission to an alien colonisation and to Islam, the bastardisation of the European Union, prostration before American hegemony, the forgetting of our cultural roots, and so on. In the form of an introductory text and a dictionary of 177 keywords, Guillaume Faye, one of the most creative writers of the European ‘Right’, makes a diagnosis of the present situation and proposes a program of resistance, reconquest, and regeneration. He holds out the prospect of a racial and revolutionary alternative to the present decayed civilisation….”

      Sounds pretty good. Probably has some anti-Anglo traditional French Chauvinism, but no big problem.

  6. Not only have the powers that be had a chance to experience the sweet smell of authoritariasm in the morning but their lives have become much easier. They currently don’t have to pretend to care if the economic lives or daily lives, in general, of their charges are improving. The masters can crack down on any dissent and do away with those pesky things they hate: freedom of speech, movement, religion (Christian variety) and gun ownership. The majority don’t care. They just want to be protected from the invisible enemy and are content to hide at home.

    The WHO has anyway informed us that we will never go back to life as it was. Lower your expectations boys because people will die if you want freedom and a job.

    How, our new world will hang together economically, I have no idea but it won’t be to our benefit but then what is even in normal times?

    • The majority is shifting. I think support for the lockdown is waning, and soon, should dip to around a plurality. We need enthusiastic dissent, though, because these people aren’t stopping unless we make them.

  7. OT: You know what I wish I could do? I’d like to be able allowed to get a haircut. My hair is getting longer than I prefer to wear it. I’m looking pretty damned shaggy. I’d REALLY like to have the liberty to get myself de-shaggied. Am I asking too much here? Really?

  8. very great essay, Mr Zman. yes, Faye in proper perspective really only describes the upcoming interregnum, not an objective proposal per se, rather an artsy descriptive prose of a dystopian aimless (hopefully temporary) future.

    the Mule, it has to be a Mule. the biggest one of them all, that one the mischievous pagans drew hanging from a cross when they first met His followers. later they’d know better.

    similar with our orange man, albeit without as much of the Truth that He brought, but with all the paradoxical works and upsetting of everything in regards to politics at least. the slaves, those simple and based in heart, can sense the change coming. the elites, they will blindly play their petty games, until the centurions come to storm Masada and nothing remains but a weeping wall…

    … or string us along one more time, perhaps caving in some way so they can stay safe atop while we enjoy some extra morsels. if some immigration ban and energy independence and some autarky and better welfare/less usury comes out of the appeasement package, maybe we cannot complain much. although looking at those BTUs, the way the small business loans are being misspent on/by usual suspects, and the apparent adcom-bubble-2.0 you describe (makes sense, enough startups), idk, can’t be too optimistic… even if the grey clouds are leaving, it must rain a bit, else (((they))) won’t learn to bring a coat and umbrella… whatever happens, onward Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee and other Rebels (coincidence, i think not)…

  9. Much of the media will not survive and that is a good thing. Google/YouTube is trying to fill the gap for the legacy media by pushing their views up on their platforms. The real problem is that sneaking money to the Deep State minions using advertising dollars is falling on hard times. I think the end game is going to be Biblical.

  10. I’m sorry I can’t dig for it now, but a Z-reader today mentioned that the common cold is often a common coronavirus. (There are some some 400 types of virus.)

    True, and that’s why I fear ‘nationwide testing’.

    The test only indicates if it’s a coronavirus, not if it’s specifically a Covid-19 coronavirus.

    They’ll be able to accuse you of anything they want to, basically, an excuse to take any powers or actions they wish.

    • The antibody tests are also a way for private companies to compile lists of names,addresses, and DNA profiles on millions of people.
      Just as does, they have the capability to amass huge amounts of personal biometric data. Where does it go? what nefarious purposes might it be used for? How easily will their systems be hacked, the way OPM was hacked?
      Who watches the watchers;
      Who watches the data aggregators?

    • no shit. What a great scam.

      We test for virus markers from the corona family that probably 60-70% of the population carries around most of the time outside summer and we run a police state until this is eradicated.

      As these viruses mutate quite rapidly and are extraordinarily common this never, ever ends. Its prima facie impossible to achieve this outcome.

      I would not be surprised if it was picked precisely for this reason (rather than say ebola). Imagine testing every person for the cold virus variants and reporting these as positive on death. The rate would be (as we see now) massively skewed.

      You just need to convince people that the common cold is somehow the black death, which we see has succeeded fantastically.

      The added benefit is that there are no real adult political arguments that can be made as everything is framed as an expert health narrative. meaning normal people are dismissed from the discussion and there are no historical arguments to push back on this.

      Credentialism is all that counts (your superiors and betters) and they are even more beyond reproach in the cloud than political figures.

      The added benefit is that the majority are so mind numbingly vapid from mass education that the “settled science” fuckwits are seen as an authority and any disagreement is unable to be internalized on data arguments, and so credentials must be used instead as a gauge of accuracy by the normals.

      We are always going to lose that argument when its random guy with simple maths vs Ivy league dept models and “experts”.

  11. The liberal mind at work. My brother and his wife, who live in Georgia, announced to me and my sibs that they will not be venturing out as Georgia reopens.

    None of the rest of us lives there and nobody asked. Three (of four) of the rest of us think it was foolish all along to gut the economy. But you just know how smug they feel sitting in their virtue.

    I wrote back that I’m happy to be working in a county that has had one death supposedly due to Xi’s flu and where we’ve already hit 90 degrees. Our clinic census is down only about 15% from comparable periods in previous years. People offer to shake hands. Toilet paper in the supermarket when I go, which is in the evening. Not one person in fifty has a mask on.

    One size does not fit all in the US.

    Current status of Covid-19 as a major league killer: oops, not there yet. Johns Hopkins says 176K current deaths worldwide. That’s only 45% of a normal flu year, so Covid is still stuck in Double A ball.

    • “That’s only 45% of a normal flu year, so Covid is still stuck in Double A ball.” LOL, nicely put. Really? Few people in Georgia supermarkets in masks? That’d be considered highly bogus here in SoCal. Everyone wears one. Well, it’s law. Even in Home Depot. I tried to walk in through the garden center yesterday…ignoring the sign that said “enter through main entrance only”…to be stopped by a lady in charge of door entry. So I walked to the main entrance. No one was allowed in without a mask. They had a big black guy (smart) turning people away who didn’t have one. I had mine.

    • Your last paragraph really nails it.

      Even with the ridiculously juiced death numbers for Covid-1984, it’s not even just the flu, bro.

    • Maybe you could suggest they shoot themselves to save the community and keep the world safe for future generations?

  12. What if the truth of our governance and elite rule isn’t a shadowy group of elites but instead a Blob of groupthink?

    Because that’s what people who work in DC call it; The Blob.

    Its not the elites are powerless- they look after their interests nicely.

    But no one is in charge.

    Trump’s chaos is he tries to be.

  13. Trump is an apocalyptic figure – there’s no getting around it. But one thing about every good apocalypse is that everything that is hidden becomes revealed. It’s what we are seeing now with the entire establishment.

    Also, apocalypses are really hell on your 401(k).

  14. A wise, excellent essay, including this: “The most obvious example of the chaos is the old political order….[T]hings that were forbidden just a few years ago are now being said in public by people who care very deeply about the taboos of modern society.” All of which is fine; it is the kind of chaos I hoped for when I voted in 2016.

  15. ” THE conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country”

    ” In theory, every citizen makes up his mind on public questions and matters of private conduct. In practice, if all men had to study for themselves the abstruse economic, political, and ethical data involved in every question, they would find it impossible to come to a conclusion about anything. We have voluntarily agreed to let an invisible government sift the data and high-spot the outstanding issues so that our field of choice shall be narrowed to practical proportions. From our leaders and the media they use to reach the public, we accept the evidence and the demarcation of issues bearing upon public questions; from some ethical teacher, be it a minister, a favorite essayist, or merely prevailing opinion, we accept a standardized code of social conduct to which we conform ”

    Edward Bernays Propaganda.

    Don’t go reading any of those unreliable sources on the interwebs,

  16. Z Man said: “For the simple minded, the rising chaos brings to mind their preferred result, which they imagine is right around the corner. In reality, we are just entering the interregnum described by Guillaume Faye, in which the West lurches from crisis to crisis as it tries to reconcile the incoherence and contradictions of liberal democracy. In other words, Trump is not just the end of the old order, but the starting point for a period of chaos, as the world tries to create a new “logic of the universe.” ”

    Here’s a quote by professor Eric Voegelin from “Science, Politics, and Gnosticism” That I think goes well with todays topic.

    “…the spiritual disorder of our time, the civilizational crisis of which everyone so readily speaks, does not by any means have to be born as an inevitable fate; that, on the contrary, everyone possesses the means of overcoming it in his own life. And our effort should not only indicate the means, but also how to employ them. No one is obliged to take part in the spiritual crises of society; on the contrary, everyone is obliged to avoid the folly and live his life in order.”

    • “Here’s a quote by professor Eric Voegelin from “Science, Politics, and Gnosticism” That I think goes well with todays topic.”

      Is that the same Voegelin who wrote that Protestantism is a gnostic heresy?

      • David Davenport said: “Is that the same Voegelin who wrote that Protestantism is a gnostic heresy?”

        I never heard that one before. He may have. I would have to know in what context he said it. I do know that there is a guy named Philip J. Lee who wrote a book back in 1987 called: “Against the Protestant Gnostics.” Although I don’t think he meant all Protestants.
        Here is his book at good reads.

  17. How to I respond to family and friends who cry: “I know so many young healthy people who died from this! How can you be so heartless?!”

    • “Well, I’m sorry. Sometimes people are incredibly unlucky. Are you sure they had no underlying health conditions? A healthy person under 50 dying of COVID is, statistically, highly improbable. “

    • Ask for the names and addresses so that you can send the families condolence cards.
      That will shut the lying fuckers up.

    • Repeat and amplify. “Oh, you’re so right. The fact people have to die sometimes is really appalling. In the current year, it shouldn’t be allowed. What do you feel the experts should be doing about that??”

  18. Z mentioned this Faye person. Never heard of him. Looking around on Amazon it seems like Archeofuturism 2.0 is the book to get by him. Anyone read it? Worth the time?

  19. I think most here can not help but notice that governments around the world made everything worse in every way they could. From a tyrannical communist government like China to a supposedly “free” democracy like the US, we have seen governments lock-down their people and their economies in counter productive ways.

    I can not prove it from here, but I suspect that the stronger the government the greater the damage. Certainly, the more bureaucratic the government the more unnecessary damage was done.

    If a year ago you had told me that we were going to destroy the future of the young people by producing, on purpose, the greatest depression the world has ever seen to stop the spread of a corona-virus I would have called you nuts. I would have pointed out that the corona viruses mainly cause the common cold. Who would destroy the economy of the world to stop a few old people like me from getting a real bad cold and maybe dying a few months early.

    But, here we are.

      • I think they might do some good depending on the time and place. But I bet going will make you feel better and that is something in itself.

        Perhaps the governor of your state will claim that the people “made him do it” and re-open the state. Worth a shot I think.

        And the above comes from a real pessimist.

      • Protests are fine when there’s a reasonable expectation of those being protested bowing to the will of the protesters, e.g. college presidents to BLM. In this case protesters will hear one giant “lolgf”. Something stronger’s called for.

        • Mark,

          Yes, I think I will go. I’ll wear a mask and gloves for the sake of optics and not getting arrested.

          I love how the left is imputing partisan motivations upon the protesters. As though there were something partisan about losing your job, home, or business. Nevertheless, I suspect these protests are going to get a lot bigger.

          Something stronger? To what might you be alluding?

          • Lawdog,

            I am too old and not in great health. As a young man I might (yes, FBI I said “might”) have been tempted to use my long gun and send a politician to his just reward. But that itself might be counter productive. So, I don’t know.

            I would love to see a mob go crazy and invade a statehouse. But it will not happen, and it probably would make matters worse anyway.

            I got nothing really.

          • Mark,

            I am 27, and I have a kid on the way. I was finishing up training for an important jump in position and salary. Now, because that training can’t occur, we a lot have less money to raise our child. If I didn’t have a kid coming I wouldn’t be (as) pissed. Maybe that’s selfish, I don’t know.

            I just don’t see Murphy budging on this. He’s crying about needing more tests, whatever the hell that’s supposed to do.

            I hope you’re staying healthy as you can. I appreciate your advice.

          • I have never understood what testing is supposed to do. It’s just more hocus-pocus for the masses.

          • We’re still riding on the idea that testing is essential because the virus is so deadly. If Smurphy orders more testing, well, then maybe people will take it more seriously.

            But he is retarded. I hope the protests intensify. I hope he is shown options. You know, a result in which he learns that he can’t get everything that he wants.

          • The laughable testing regime is the Left’s pseudo-scientific means of establishing the pitifully tiny denominator used in the the death rate calculation.

            Anyone with more than two functioning brain cells understands the virus has spread to far more people than those who have been tested.

            This means the real denominator in the death rate equations in enormous. Even with the juiced death number they are using for the numerator, this is just the flu.

    • The most revealing slip was how the establishment concluded the CCP’s response was rational and that we had to copy it. When most of our establishment is owned by the CCP in one way or another it’s not surprising to see them emulate their owners.

      Even the “burn it all down” crowd failed to see this. “See, China welded everyone in their apartments – this must be so serious! Why aren’t you taking this seriously?!” Why do they assume China’s response was even rational in the first place?

      • CCP Ministry of Propaganda floated all that crazy “amateur” video – the fumigating truck formations, people falling on their face, hazmat suited police welding doors shut. It worked. Governments crazily over-reacted, or should I say citizens saw justifiable reason for governments to over-react. In other words, all by design, whether US governors were complicit or not.

        • It looks and smells like those fake mass shooting events, just on a massive scale. Its not just the chinks the entire state machinery in essentially every western govt/academic/health complex (see the world map for hotspots – not much in the third world – duh) is turned towards ramping this up.

          It cannot be explained by incompetence.Counter intuitively you do not need every person to be on the know. You just set the desired outcome policy at the top and they all follow along willingly and will gladly ruin you and your family to show what good little employees they are.

  20. Trump may be chaotic but calling him an “agent” assumes both agency and an agenda.

    Like every POTUS of my voting lifetime, he’s all man, no mission. From St. Ron to Zion Don, the “most powerful man in the world” has largely been a fixer and skid-greaser for the real elites behind the curtain.

    Some CINC’s have been more palatable to various factions of the Kosher Sandwich than others – Obama with Optics-NYT Lefties vs. Trump with Jignat-NY Post-Righties, for instance – but none have ever pushed a “vision thing” that was their own or that was in any real way contrary to the Davos Set’s agenda.

    From a sci-fi standpoint, Trump is more Neo than Mule. A messianic harbinger of change in Episode I-The Escalator, a puppet on his Architect’s strings in Episode II-The Bloviator.

    Unlike the Matrix, there will be no Episode 3 for NeoCon Don. The Chumpening will end not with a new balance of power in human-(((machine))) relations but rather with Installment 2’s black-pill Architectural victory-lap.

    • ” The Chumpening will end not with a new balance of power in human-(((machine))) relations but rather with Installment 2’s black-pill Architectural victory-lap.” Etc.

      You’re trying too hard at having a snappy prose style.

  21. “For the simple minded, the rising chaos brings to mind their preferred result, which they imagine is right around the corner.”

    I see this everywhere. Everybody is projecting their ideology in the future. The “Nazis” think that all this will result in a Fuhrer that will strike down their enemies and bring order and (ethnic) conformity, the commies think that the growing ranks of proletariat will inevitably lead to new communist revolutions, Greta-fans are convinced this is the end of oil etc etc.

    The virus is the magic black box that sits between before and after. Everybody gets the result they wish for.

  22. Charlie “Tall Deval” Baker has announced that MA schools will be closed for the rest of the year.

    • The Zman, above: “What happens when all of these bankrupt retailers stop paying rents?”

      You do realize that female teachers are the backbone of this consumerist economy?

      The only stable neighborhoods seem to have teachers in 2 out of 3 households.

  23. Two twisted sardine card lids of wisdom:

    “Half of the money spent on advertising is wasted. The problem is, we don’t know which half.”
    — I dunno

    From an old “Born Loser” cartoon: an old man, dressed in toga, walks around with a flashlight, shining it into people’s faces. Finally, a man asks him “I thought you used a lantern?” To which Diogenese replies, “Somebody stole it!”

  24. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to invest in integrated oil companies. They’ll be money machines going forward, especially as inflation kicks up in coming years. Buy when there’s blood in the streets as Rothschild said.

    My favorite article this week:

    Ahhhh yes! Heroes! All of them! We’ve had the “thin green line” securin’ the homeland in Iraq, then we’ve had the “thin blue line” selflessly keepin’ us safe. Now we have the “thin aqua line” who “kept us safe from the mean virus” (even though 99% of people who got it were kept safe with lemon tea and sleep.) I can’t wait to see the video of this. The triumphant people in scrubs, many of them obese, for being in the medical profession, waving to the crowd. “Like the end of WW2!” they’ll say. And then nothing will happen. Literally nothing. Many small businesses will take the loans and then never re-open their doors, defaulting on them (they can legally do that). The bubble was already ready to pop, and this economy won’t be coming back. People will get a lot angrier as that reality sets in. America and reality haven’t been acquainted since….who knows, not in my adult life.

    • The veneration of healthcare workers is most annoying to me. They’re all moral authorities now. They’re even being employed to block off protesters.

      I think it’s an important part of the plan. The state and media need a large, prestigious sect of the public as allies. They’re our soldiers now — and you DO support the troops, right?

      Addendum: I’m losing my mind by gayness again. I was watching BBC Arabic, and this Spanish video comes on of all these dancing, ponce doctors singing “You have to stay in your house! La la la la!” THAT’S the stuff they think works on us. Cutesy displays of enthusiastic obedience. Nothing better than being cute while you follow the rules, right?

      • Yep. As the healthcare industrial complex stacks in more and more childlike brown people from exotic locations like every other industry. And the freaks they have taking care of people. If you walk into a hospital you realize how quickly the latinos are going gay.

        • The most appalling thing about going into a hospital is that a large majority of the “health care professionals” display no concern for their own health and appearance. All I see among the nursing crowd are jelly rolls under pajamas.

          • When Rush said that they’re turning the frogs gay, he actually (in a metaphorical sense) wasn’t wrong. It’s like a race to the rainbow finishline. Who can do the greatest Richard Simmons impression while hopping on one foot and simultaneously admonishing the protesters?

            How are these goofy losers BEATING us? How?

          • Rush .. Working Man
            Music and Lyrics: Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson
            I get up at seven, yeah,
            and I go to work at nine.
            I got no time for livin’.
            Yes, I’m workin’ all the time.

            It seems to me
            I could live my life
            a lot better than I think I am.
            I guess that’s why they call me,
            they call me the workin’ man.

            They call me the workin’ man.
            I guess that’s what I am.

            I get home at five o’clock,
            and I take myself out a nice, cold beer.
            Always seem to be wond’rin’
            why there’s nothin’ goin’ down here.

            It seems to me
            I could live my life
            a lot better than I think I am.
            I guess that’s why they call me,
            they call me the workin’ man.

            They call me the workin’ man.
            I guess that’s what I am.

            Well they call me the workin’ man.
            I guess that’s what I am.


          • Because you only need a few smart herders. Then simply by turning the herd and stampeding in any chosen direction anyone standing in the way will get crushed.

            Its like a giant hammer that can be turned using media in any desired direction at will (look at this crap – 5 weeks in and every social convention for the last thousand years has gone out of the window as if it never existed).

            And given its hammer its only action is to smash things. People think the other target deserves it until its focused on you.

      • The adulation shown towards everyone from health care workers to cashiers is a symptom that we’ve removed God and spirituality from our world. In 1958, those spared by the influenza knelt by their beds or in the church of their choice and thanked the Almighty for what blessings and mercy He may have bestowed on them. Today, we deify the earthly among us and wag our tails at them, hoping to get a pat on the head. It’s much easier to get that dopamine rush of sanctity when you can choose your Gods from among those easily flattered.

        • That’s been my impression this this whole virus scare. It’s like the powers-that-be all looked up the the heavens, started shaking their fists at God, and declared war on death itself. Like building a sandcastle on the beach.

          • The personal injury lawyers declared war on death as well as life, with all its bad luck and pitfalls, long ago. Now there are warnings on everything. Devolution can be blamed on this in part, as well as the populace’s lack of survival skills. This current madness is the culmination of the PI attorneys’ mischief, people thinking they should never experience pain or sadness or loss. Or death.

          • Yeah, I think that’s a big part of it. There’s a commercial for a medicine that treats old people disorder where this lady says, “I’m only in my 60s. Big plans!”

        • If you notice it also cleverly bypasses nationalism as a rallying point.

          No more rally round the flag. Rally round institutions or abstract sectors.

  25. One nit to pick in this otherwise spot-on essay is that while the media reporting of crude oil going negative yesterday was hyped up and largely full of nonsense, the event itself is more than simply nonsense and has importance. First off, the price of crude oil really was negative for a while, at least for any actual transaction via a May futures contract, meaning that with any provider/producer (can’t really say seller) of a contract at a negative price will have to pay the taker (can’t really say buyer) to take the stuff away, so long as the taker stands for delivery. The fact that this happened at all reflects an (at least perceived) absolute running out and absence of any storage space for above-ground crude. It becomes like that lack of chairs in a game of musical chairs. For a producer or holder of crude oil, it can become less expensive and much less risky to pay somebody to take the stuff away than to continue storing and/or take the risk of even being capable of storing that which is not yet delivered yet already committed to (a very serious problem).

    Of course, some of yesterday’s futures market drama reflects flat out dysfunction in the crude oil market. I know some of it, a lot of it actually, is simply this. I’m not a true believe in so-called “efficient markets” or any other libertarian market religious dogma. Yesterday, while the May contract at one point fell as low as $-40 per barrel, the June contract remained calm and held around $+22 per barrel. Today, the crude oil futures market has largely recovered from yesterday’s dysfunction, with the May contract (last I looked) trading around $5/barrel and the June contract coming down to around $12/barrel. Because the May contract expires at the end of today’s session, it is now essentially the cash (spot) price, although discounted for inconvenience (must buy in bulk, must take delivery at specified date and time). Thus, it will probably go up a bit, and the crude oil price will settle in somewhere between $5 and $12 per barrel (at least for the time being).

    This tedium actually matters, because it reflects how dysfunctional and seized up everything is — absolutely everything. Everything in our society, and thus by implication in our lives, runs on crude oil. Even food these days, at least the overwhelming majority of it, is simply the energy contained in crude oil converted to our edible caloric energy. It is because of this that I largely ignore the media, all media, and its constant trumpeting of panic, sometimes tempered with “feel good” stories, mixed and matched, I suppose, in an effort to “manage” the emotions and hence the attitudes and beliefs of the viewers to the desired level. Speaking of demand destruction, while the amount in crude oil is disturbing, I hope the amount of demand destruction in the advertising market goes off the charts. The first step to the reduced power and influence of media, of all types from legacy media to Silly Con Valley social media, is for the whole lot of them to suffer a substantial and permanent loss of revenue. A loss of power and influence will follow as day follows night. One can dream, at least.

    • It was mostly speculators that lost in that market and will keep losing. The average person has no business getting into the futures market, but many are in there thanks to these get-rich-quick platforms and internet connections.

    • Crude oil update:

      I just rechecked quotes, and now the June contract is down to $9.52 and May is up to $9.40 per barrel. This is only 12 cents difference, so the crude oil market has now with certainty stabilized and found its level. Of course, how long this lasts until the next bout of dysfunction and what it will look like next time is anybody’s guess, although a couple few days prior to June’s expiration is a good guess. Still, I don’t pretend to know.

      Of course it’s mostly speculators playing their too cute by half risky business games that were in this. This reality is the 2nd most significant factor that produced the dysfunction in the first place. All but the most experienced, and more important than this the luckiest, of such players got creamed. Most of this crowd is going to stay away from crude oil for a good while and go play in a different playground (if not shut down for fear of the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man).

      Of note, while the May contract has a volume so far today of 11,653, it still has an open interest of a larger amount, 13,044. I interpret this in conjunction with the crude oil market itself having actually calmed down to mean most if not all of the open interest is standing for delivery. These are contract holders who actually have the storage space. Excellent deal for those who bought while the price was negative; rather than having to pay for the crude oil they purchase, they’ll get paid to receive and accept it! Great business, that is for those who lucky few who were able to do this transaction in the first place. Lucky bastards.

      • Keep in mind, this is a market that has been relatively untouched by the bailouts so far. But don’t worry. Trump is working on it! Right now as we speak. Some hash of a program will be hastily developed to “save” an industry that’s not in danger and needed a shakeout anyway. But it’ll be like he’s coming up to my pockets and stuffing cash in them. And then he’ll start a little blow up on the Iran border, throwing the prices into reverse. And I’ll say “thank you Orange man! Thank you!” Maybe I can retire in Jackson Hole next to Cheney after all of this.

        • I can hardly wait. 🙁

          Then we have Occasional-Cortex on the “other side” all giddy about how the big bad meanie oil companies have it coming anyway! And how now we can go “green” for energy. I can only wonder: Recycled french fry grease? Cow farts? The mind boggles.

          Ain’t it grand to have “leaders” who are all off the rails coo-coo for co-co puffs?

  26. Funny, it took the billionaire businessman to start the change engine. Change chain saw? It’s going to be a bloody mess.
    Ah well, it IS what I personally voted for!

  27. jeebus, immigration shut down. my take on things is Trump is gearing up for war with the PRC. all of the virus panic was used as a drill for co-ordinating during actual war. find all the rough spots and sand them down, shake out the rust. his second term is going to be one giant infrastructure program, paid for by chinese reparations over virus damage. and the dems are over on the sideline acting like booger eating retards…

    • Karl;
      I fear you might be right about the war with the PRC being in the offing. The stuff we *know*^ they did is pretty close to the ‘deliberate act of war’ line. If the virus was from a People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Offensive BioWeapons Program, *and this could be proven*, it’s hard to see the situation not getting kinetic at some point in the near future. This would be true even if the virus’ release was accidental. At this point who’d believe the ChiComs even if they fessed up and claimed accidental release,

      Suspicions are rightly high because the stated objective of PLA military medicine is to keep the PLA healthy and fit for combat. Therefore they had no innocent reasons to be working with bat virus. In any foreseeable conflict, the PLA will not be hiding in bat caves, which is the only real way to get infected with a bat virus.
      ^Lying about human-human transmissibility, yet locking down all travel inside China but sending a million Chinese from Wuhan to all other parts of the world, while claiming it was rayyycisss to block their entry.

      • “No better way to end a global depression than a world war”- we’ve seen that before.
        Perhaps we’re being herded again.

        Evidence: “Chinese money controls Hollywood!” with no mention of who’s raking in all that sweet Chinese money.

        Sure they do, bub. Chinese scriptwriters everywhere.

        • Not that I don’t agree, to a limited extent.

          The Han are clearly Infected by “demons”- their cruelty, callousness, and the unspeakable barbarity in those wet markets prove it so.

          I wish no ill will or suffering on any living thing, but if a population is highly susceptible to contagion, it must be contained.

          To our great misfortune, they’ll be put out to pasture by the ruling demons that raised them up- their use in pulling down the West is near an end.

        • There are lots of movies made for the international market and of you know what to look for, you can tell Hollywood from Beijing pretty easily.

          China paid for movies are cleaner with no sex and simpler plots.

          A current example is Axl whose author noted being funded by Chinese interests. You can tell from the trailer, edgy, dope imagery. The actual movie, no drugs, very 80’s

    • Karl-

      Don’t disagree with you. I think that the PRC is looking to seize Taiwan because of its strategic importance to the West. That tiny little island of 23 million punches two or three orders of magnitude above its weight with regard to microelectronics and semiconductor fabrication.

      Part of me believes that the very public stories about carriers in crisis is bait to draw the mainland into showing a few of its cards.

      Local air superiority is no longer a forgone conclusion for Taiwan and 2 or 3 USN carriers. The PLA Air Force has a large inventory of fighter aircraft that are quite competitive with the F-16s/F/A-18s/F-35s that would be fielded by the West. They have developed their own native AWACS capability.

      Also bear in mind that the Chinese are far ahead of the US in terms of hypersonic missiles. At this time it is not really clear if any Western player has a solid defensive answer to the Chinese hypersonic capability.

  28. There is also the idea that the first mouse springs the trap on himself, and the second mouse helps himself to the cheese. Part of navigating these times is to try to be the second mouse, not the first mouse.

  29. If Trump hadn’t arrived as a chaos agent, someone or something else would have. I firmly believe in Fate and the interplay between chance and initiative, yielding non-random but unpredictable results. These are the times that will be talked about for eons.

  30. >What we are getting is chaos. Everything about the old order is suddenly in question, as everything about it is breaking down

    Ppl are being forced to quarantine and willingly complying, and business forced to shut down. Mass compliance is the opposite of breakdown. Left-wing elites seem to be getting their way while Trump prevaricates as usual.

    • Ignoring the legitimate fear of disease for a second, people don’t want their business ruined, an arrest record , a mandatory month in jail (or longer, courts are closed for the emergency) or a SWAT raid so compliance makes sense unless enough people can get together to organize without being censored even trying.

      White Americans do need to learn a more collective approach to life and to thinking and axcting but it takes time and comes with risks, if the nation doesn’t work for all and ours does not, a tribal nation will fall.

  31. An important essay by Z. In a wiser world than the one we inhabit, it would get a very wide airing.

    • Wait till the book comes out. It’ll get a wide airing. Very wide. Might even become a bestseller (please ignore my creeping optimism).

      • Hopefully the fence-sitters notice it. Even Duckduckgo has been playing games with their search results lately.

  32. Side note, don’t these masks just freeze your face into scowl? I want to rip this goddamn thing off and smile at a stranger in a store — is that too much to ask? Or does the transmission of human kindness pose a threat to public health? You know what, let’s just blink morse code at each other: it’s safer that way.

    Isn’t it great to have the government control nearly every aspect of your life? How could you *not* want your grandparents to die alone, or at best, flanked by a maximum of two socially distanced kin in masks? “We’d kiss you goodbye, gramps, but we’ve gotta trust the plan!”

    How disgusting is this. Parks, businesses, the bedsides of the dying, dining halls, funeral parlors, nursing homes, churches, and that’s just off the tippy-top of my head. Places where poignant moments are supposed to transpire, gone. Shuttered because of smirking punks like Phil Murphy. You couldn’t scrape a lower piece scum off a mummified hooker’s taint.

      • I deleted some of the personal rant parts. I just needed to get stuff off of my chest, because some days, I can’t handle all this bullshit.

        Today, there was a 400 pound Hispanic woman directing supermarket customers as though she were an aircraft marshaller. She even had two illuminated signaling devices! And I saw her rat someone out to a cop for not SDing, too. I didn’t know whether to attempt to use my entire body to strangle her or to explode into laughter. What a bunch of bullshit clownery. People fighting over a box of cheerios (oh, the irony). And the best part: none of this had to happen. None of it. We could’ve just gotten sick.

        • Yeah, I met that same obese Hispanic woman directing people in the checkout lines at my local supermarket. I think there’s only one of her but she’s able to exist in multiple places at once somehow. Basically what this thing is, ultimately, is an opportunity for all the worst people in our society to get a taste of power. Most of us only deal with DMV mentality once every couple years but now you get to experience it every day, everywhere. Welcome to bio-Leninist America –

          • ROFL. Its like the correct proportions of papaya batter and grease endow people with superpowers.

            You in NJ by any chance?

          • Former Oregon Resident

            Its not a bad restriction subject to the efficiency of the operator as it creates jobs and reduces risks and possibly leakage and similar pollution which is a small amount if little cost per gallon.

            To compare (stats from Oregon Business Report)

            Oregon 900 and change stations with a shade under 10K jobs as vs just under 1800 stations with 12k employees which is like 60+% more staffing and with close to the same per capita number of stations.

    • Law;
      Transparent face shields. You could even eat out if you don’t mind taking your wine through a straw.

      Seriously, it’s not wrong to look to ingenuity for answers we don’t have yet but will.

    • You just wait until the temperatures start to get into the 90’s. Those masks will come off faster than Marilyn Monroe’s underwear around a Kennedy.

      • Masks would ruin the tans idiot White wahmen think they need. Seriously, this pathologizing of pale skin (white as a fish belly, etc.) is sickening. One reason I don’t look as old as most others my age is my skin isn’t crinkled and covered with brown spots from sunbathing. I like my God-given complexion.

        • Me, too. 3g. I look ten years younger than I am in part because I never sunbathed. Mother knew best.

      • So I (born 1966) am going through the Change just as the world is. Try having a hot flash while wearing a mask in Menards. Glasses steam up and you just kind of bump around until it passes. Dreading summer.

  33. What do we have left once we abandon the lie?
    A gaping pit waiting to swallow us all.
    Chaos isn’t a pit.
    Chaos is a ladder.
    Many who try to climb it fail and never get to try again.
    The fall breaks them. And some are given a chance to climb, but they refuse. They cling to the realm or the gods or love.
    Only the ladder is real.
    The climb is all there is.

    That’s from either game of thrones or “my struggle”, i forgot which.

  34. Trump’s spirit animal is a wrecking ball.

    He was always a means to an opening, not to an end.

    Our guys who misunderstood this in 2016 – and some who didn’t – seem hellbent on botching the even wider opening that 2020 is giving us.

  35. The glut of oil is really a glut of money. I have been reading over at ‘Our Finite World,’ that America’s shale oil production is losing money since 2010 or 2011. The $150 a barrel oil of the summer of 2008 pushed a bunch of money into oil formerly too expensive to produce. But since the world cannot afford $150 a barrel oil, it could not support the new sky-high price. I don’t know how they are able to continue drilling and producing for 10 years losing money, but I got this from several sources, everything from oil blogs to the financial press.
    The world had this same problem back in 2009 after the great recession. Oil was dropping and dropping, all the storage tanks were full and there were oil tankers parked in the ocean trying to lower supply to drive the price back up. If our government had any sense, they would be filling and expanding the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. It is fairly cheap, underground and buys a lot of security. But the gov is too busy funding leftist causes with the pandemic stimulus rather than funding a rainy day operation.

    • are you funded by the same russian sources as zerohedge? where is russia going to sell its shitty oil now? too bad they don’t have any internal industry that benefits from the cheap oild…

      • Europe needs Russian oil and gas. Even if all of the oil in the US were financially viable, we really cannot export any of it. No matter what you may be reading in the mainstream press, we are a large net importer of oil. All you have to do is look at the amount of oil we produce per day vs the amount of oil we consume per day. Unless production rises over consumption, we are net importers. We are millions of barrels per day away from that milestone.
        Also, the spot price of oil doesn’t represent most oil. Most oil is in long term contracts.

  36. Z Man said: “Through the ballot, the public had injected a foreign body into the political system.”

    So your saying the pandemic started in November 2016?

    • Thanks for picking up on that. I did not want to be too obvious with the parallels between the Chinese flu virus and the Trump flu virus.

  37. Mass media is mass propaganda, financed by corporate ad dollars.

    I wonder if a giant society like America can exist without some mass media creating an ‘official shared narrative.’ Back in the day, common religion, political beliefs and general culture probably did this but they obviously can’t do the job anymore. Without Hollywood and MSM, would America even be ‘one society’ in ANY meaningful sense. This is not to defend either, I know exactly what they are and they perversely seem to fit a society in deep, deep trouble in their current form. But I also wonder if America even IS one society today. Much of the same could be said for European countries but they have two advantages, they are far smaller and the native population is of far older stock.

    • I wonder if a giant society like America can exist without some mass media creating an ‘official shared narrative.’

      The US prior to the 1910s indicates the answer is “Yes.”

      It would just be a giant society that functions mostly through localism, as it should.

      Of course there were exercises in mass propaganda prior to that such as in the leadup to the civil war, but efforts line that were difficult.

      You couldn’t make every facet of daily life the object of a propaganda campaign the way you can today.

      Only Churches had the power to bring their message consistently into peoples’ private lives. That was a better arrangement.

      • I think there was an official shared narrative back then, a mix of Christianity, very strong commitment to ‘American ideals’, ie strong civ nat, and also 90% were white.

        Today none of these could ‘bring the country together’. And accordingly it does seem to be coming apart.

        • Who, whom.

          Who controls the shared narrative and upon whom is it being imposed? That’s the difference.

          In the days when religion imposed the shared narrative, it was imposed upon the great as well as the small.

          Note: I’m not disagreeing with you.

      • (((Special people))) agitated for multiculti for decades and control it still today. Who, whom, as always.

    • I’ve been trying to explain The Panic to myself for the last few weeks. It’s easy to just pin it all on the media but the media routinely throws out panic-bait about all sorts of stuff ranging from guns to climate change to “deadbeat dads”. Thankfully most of these campaigns fizzle and normal life goes on. Why did this one take hold so fast and so well?

      It might simply be that people (particularly women and feminized men) suddenly had a grand collective ritual to participate in and feel like they were part of something. The “general culture” in fact has been fragmenting since the 90s. First it was just geeky young guys making their own internet culture but now you see a fragmentation in popular entertainment as well with numerous watch-on-demand episodic dramas, comedies, and documentaries as well as YouTube channels vying for attention.

      The Panic may have become essentially a burst of centripetal force designed to counter all these centrifugal tendencies. Women especially felt that by putting on those goofy Halloween masks they were once again part of something greater than their Netflix queue and their next Tinder hook up.

      This is likely to be a very bad thing and could be the first shot in a sort of modern Cultural Revolution complete with gangs of Red Guard types enforcing the 6 foot rule and beating people who don’t have masks. If so it would be ironic indeed that the virus came from the country that gave us Mao and the original Cultural Revolution.

      • This is likely to be a very bad thing and could be the first shot in a sort of modern Cultural Revolution complete with gangs of Red Guard types enforcing the 6 foot rule and beating people who don’t have masks.

        So THAT’S where the hoodie-clad antifa thugs fit in! Fortunately for us (UNfortunately for them, heh,heh) we’re much better armed than the Chinese peasants were. Wasn’t it Chairman Mao who said something about power flowing from the barrel of a gun? Antifa weenies are more likely to carry an umbrella than a gun. I reckon they’d piss/soil themselves if they started to assault some guy with an umbrella (as they did in Seattle not long ago) and their intended victim drew down on them.

  38. The immigrants, including legal ones, are starting to go home. Let’s encourage them. “America is a hellhole. No work here. Your beloved family will take care of you back home. Remember Mom’s cooking? Send us Instagrams.”

  39. We are just starting to have fun. Power vacuum in North Korea! As I said a time or two, all the 80s kids know this story. It starts with global economic collapse, and ends in global thermonuclear war. Then you open: a highway. Raiders in tribally-festooned rat rods are chasing down our hero…

    All we missed was it’s China with the nukes instead of the Russkies. CCP, not CCCP. An understandable mistake.

    Oh, and that it starts with a flu-season-based mother-of-all-PsyOps campaign strategy? Because, it says here, Donald Trump is the President? Like, Trump Tower Donald Trump? Yeah, too crazy to go in a script. Truth is indeed stranger than fiction.

    • Never mind about the NK part – it looks increasingly like it is today’s bald-faced lie from the scurrilous MSM.

  40. “ In fact, no one knows if they will actually try to do it voluntarily. Local officials have gotten the whiff of authoritarianism in their nostrils and they like it.”

    This is really scary. Although many of them may not be as naked and outspoken as the dictator of Michigan, there are a LOT of local government officials who have made it clear they’re happy to let their lockdowns drag on forever and don’t care the slightest about the suffering of the people they rule.

    But they’re oh so concerned about releasing the poor criminals from jail, though! The jail space freed up from released robbers, burglars, muggers, and drug dealers (let’s not kid ourselves: most “nonviolent” crime is pled down from the more serious crime that actually occurred) is conveniently freed up for the future storage of anyone who protests lockdown.

    • Thats one of the crazier things. If this is “just the flu, bro,” are we just going to empty the prisons at the beginning and end of every winter now to coincide with the flu season? Debt jubiliee – to include relief of all convictions? Its gonna make 1991 look like 1951. Unrelated, the price of x855 has doubled and they’re selling out at the doubled price.

    • Just read DiBlassio is shocked, shocked to find recidivism in his recently released prisoners. Captain Renault agreed with his sentiment.

  41. It’s happening because it had to happen. No deus ex. Nobody blew off pressure so now it explodes. We’ll get a leftist backlash and all the knee-jerk anticommunists will get their kicks, then the right wing strongman to purge society, then we get to start over. About a decade, give or take, I’ll bet.

    DR gets the opportunity it wants. It’ll hurt, but that’s how it goes. Put your thinking caps on!

  42. Great post, Mr. Z. I love the reference to the Foundation. The disruption that Mr. Trump has brought to the system is necessary as a reset.

  43. Our society and culture is like a forest managed by the government instead of nature (hello US Forest Service). Every little lightning fire is brutally and immediately suppressed thereby enabling deadfall to accumulate year after year. Then one day, a careless camper triggers a minor brush fire than sweeps outward at lightspeed and in no time becomes a raging uncontrolled inferno. That is the coming chaos. And when the smoke clears. the tallest and strongest trees will remain (scarred but straight) and the decaying deadfall turned into ash.

    • And the careless camper goes to prison for twenty years for his carelessness, allowing an ember aloft in such a mismanaged tenderbox. But I guess we all gotta make sacrifices.

    • That is one DAMNED scary you paint. Not the aftermath but forest fire itself. Like Scott Glenn’s character , Emmett, said in 1985’s epic Western “Silverado”, “It’s gonna get mean.”

      • Well, that’s what “period of chaos” means too, Bill. (By the way…teach us how to do boldface and italics in our comments?)

        • Jim, it’s all in the use of html tags. Google the proper syntax for html tags. The ones which I know work here are: bold strike italic and

          quoted text

          I cannot actually show you the general form because the board won’t let me (or at least I haven’t figured out a usable work-around which would be meaningful. You can find a sort of list here:

  44. The Foundation Trilogy by Asimov was one of my favorites in high school. I’m glad Zman referenced it. Replace the Mule with the Hive Mind and you have a good approximation to how chaos is “managed”. Except that we now have a Disrupter-in-Chief. The Hive Mind just stepped on a rake and is reassessing its prospects in the light of this new reality. Good stuff. Strap yourself in.

    • I wouldn’t write the Hive Mind off just yet.

      It is clear they are already busy pushing several different new narrative threads to keep the fear levels up. Those threads include the second wave, reopening too soon, and virus mutation.

      I’m doing my best to live as normally as possible and avoid any engagement with hysterics. For now, I’ll put on a face-covering if it means I can purchase groceries without being confronted by some hero or some ninny calling the local Gestapo on their smartphone.

      There is no point in debating the hysterics. They have completely drunk the Flavor-Aid and are having the time of their lives in Jonestown while they await Cthulu’s return.

        • I don’t see that working because the hysterics vastly outnumber the sane at this point. Be prepared to be mobbed by them online or in meatspace.

          The entire Covid-1984 atmosphere proves the hysterics are firmly in control.

          • I think we should push back in whatever way we can. Protests included. The death projections have decreased steadily, but the restrictions are getting more stringent.

          • Wasting your time. Emotions rule them. fear has always been the go to for tyrants and manipulators to control people.

            Fear is the Mind Killer as the Bene Gesserit say in Dune. This is a truism.

      • The problem is if the shut down continues for much longer we will start seeing other sorts of shortages like food. And you really don’t want to see how people react when the shelves stay empty. They will take out their anger on the nearest a**hole Karen and leveler they can find. Empty stomachs don’t fear they just get increasingly murderous.

        In general it’s a bad idea in a country awash in guns and unemployed people who are already sweating bullets in making their mortgage payments to piss them off even further. The lies don’t fly with them and they get increasingly rebellious.

  45. “Oil markets would no longer be the victim of forces beyond the control of suppliers. Instead, prices would be steady as producers coordinated with world government to temper supply”.

    A consistent theme of the +/- 150 yrs that oil has been a busines is the wild swings in supply/demand and the price of oil, but the ZMan quote above fairly well describes the last 25 yrs.

    The most pressing issue now is that there’s no place left to store it. Tankers are floating storage. Cushing, OK about to fill up all the storage tanks. The never before seen sub-zero futures price reflect the complete unknown territory about to be entered.

    Chaos indeed.

    • People doing all kinds of crazy stuff! Like buy 300 USO at ~3 (at open) (“Well it is at a one-year low!”) and it loses 1/3 in the day, though it made some of that back. Did I mention that I am fortunate that professionals manage my most of the retirement money and I can’t get my mitts on it 😀

  46. What happens in a world suddenly awash in BTU’s? No one knows.

    That’s not really true. We’ve experienced periods of cheap abundant energy in the past. — at least, relative to what was available before. In every such instance I know, it has corresponded with a tremendous improvement in human well-being.

    The question now is, how will it interact with the shutdown. Hopefully it will have an ameliorating effect.

      • I have here. Prices down to $1.38/gallon at some discount pumps. Ramp up some Kroger points with your grocery purchases and you can get gas below $1/gallon.

        This has measurable effects. For example, we dispose of a lot of construction waste. At $1.38/gallon, it becomes economically beneficial to drive the truck to the cheaper landfill farther out of the city.

        Every mile on the road for truckers is more profitable than it was before.

        When the farmers are planting or baling hay this spring, less of their gross is going to pay for fuel for the tractor.

          • But don’t expect the airlines to benefit. The decline in passengers is much greater than the decline in fuel prices.

          • Gold miners have a twofer: Highest price for their product for decades. Their biggest expense is energy- perhaps 50%..

          • Problem is there may not be much to transport or as much demand for commercial power.

            Broke people now more in debt don’t buy much and the economy may have some serious long lasting changes that may not lead to any real recovery.

            A good example, 24 Hour Fitness went bankrupt today. Its far from certain whether people will even want that kind of product as much when the lock down is lifted .

            That is a lot of “gone for good” jobs with nothing to replace them and keep in mind, baring import bans of tariff , US companies will do anything to avoid paying American wages.

          • I can empathize. Where I live the average is $2.65 for regular, I hop over the state line and drive ten more minutes there are three gas stations where the price for a gallon of regular is anywhere from $1.83, to $1.91. It’s inexcusable. I get lotto from one of the other stations and I asked the manager of the station why the big disparity compared to next door and was told that the owner of the station will not lower the price. The guy couldn’t say why.

        • In the $1.81-$2.01 range in eastern Morris and western Essex and Passaic Counties, NJ, but prices vary widely throughout NJ. No doubt there will be an increase in the gas tax.

    • The world runs on energy, so yeah, cheap energy is typically good in the short run. This is something different for two reasons. One is the volume. We’re running out of storage capacity. That’s new. There’s also the fact that we have financialized the energy sector. No one knows how levered these energy contracts are or how much is pledged as collateral.

      • How expensive are those big storage tanks to build?

        I’ve heard suggestions of filling up the strategic petroleum reserve to previously unhead-of levels. I also heard that Pelosi fought against it. Seems like that’s something Trump could simply do via executive order on grounds of national security.

        The Fed is busily buying up bad debt. Buying up good oil seems like a better deal.

        • Trump has already been filling the SPR. At these prices, he’ll probably finish the job.

        • The strategic petroleum reserve is mostly held in underground caverns carved out of salt domes… a well is drilled into a dome, and water is pumped in, salt water is pumped out, and the “tank” gets bigger. Relatively quick and cheap to expand existing or new storage tanks.

      • Yep. And you don’t just ‘shut down’ complex machinery like refineries. Once shut down, restarting is expensive and time consuming. Not as much as say, shutting down a Steel Blast Furnace, Fiberglass Furnace, or Nuke Reactor, but it’s not easy, and it’s expensive.

        • But I thought there was just a big switch labelled On/Off on every large scale industrial process.

          Surely on May 7th (or whatever) the local health supervisor can walk in and on a televised ceremony push the switch to On.

      • Doesn’t oil left in the ground constitute “storage”? Where it’s been “stored” since it was created? The energy industry will have to adjust, sure, but that’s what creative destruction and bankruptcy are for, right?

    • It does not mean free energy by any stretch. The actual price paid by consumers and businesses after it is refined, has not fallen that much. Gas is still $1.8/gallon and much more expensive elsewhere in the world.
      . Cheaper oil can mean higher profits for refiners , not necessarily lower prices for businesses and consumers.

      • Gas is still $1.8/gallon and much more expensive elsewhere in the world.

        Read up to some replies to me. Gas prices aren’t holding high everywhere.Street price has fallen drastically in some areas, and that certainly means it has dropped heavily for companies that buy fuel in bulk.

    • You’re probably thinking of the early industrial revolution and that was certainly true then. The current energy glut though, is politically manufactured and the same political authoritarianism that created it will suppress the kinds of growth that might make life better. Think of how the Soviet Union had absurd amounts of natural resources available to it and yet remained poor and unproductive.

      • I’m not just thinking of that. I’m thinking of the widespread adoption of coal as an energy source. I ‘m thinking of the steam engine, which while it wasn’t a new energy source, brought portable, consistent power to wherever the user needed — it was the first time portable multi-purpose power wasn’t muscle-powered.

        Every time man has been able to bring more energy to more people cheaper, it has been a good thing.

        I agree that there will be forces trying to suppress the growth, but I think that has always been true. The glut may be politically manufactured, but it’s an act of desperation. This race to the bottom wouldn’t have happened if they didn’t feel threatened — the fact is that energy *is* cheap and abundant, and will remain so long after oil and natural gas are gone. This is a suicide dive that could well break the very powers that are trying to manage it.

        • In the UK they have made it illegal for private homes to burn coal or unseasoned wood on any open fire/burner or to generate electricity.

          I am sure its just co-incidental that this occurs now?

  47. Well we have gotten a good look at what type of citizenry we have and how society will proceed forward with them. Like you said, they are emotional and easily led or controlled.

    If we didn’t have elites who weren’t just the same , I could predict how they would use this knowledge. You are right that mostly chaos is the new order and of course all that is left is the memories of a better time and people. Gird yourself everyone.

    • If the colonists in the late 18th century were like postmodern Americans, the United States never would have come into existence.

    • Yes, there will be chaos, but Zman said, “Trump is…the starting point for a period of chaos, as the world tries to create a new ‘logic of the universe’.” That suggests that some kind of new order is expected to eventually emerge, and while it’s always a good bet that something really bad will result, that’s not an iron law of history. Maybe something good will emerge. Even if we only get rid of universal-franchise democracy (which ensures mob rule), we may be measurably better off.

  48. The potential collapse of the petrodollar, or movement from the USD as the world reserve are potential big things.
    ‘History may not repeat, but it rhymes’. So which era are we replaying?

    Warn your readers not to google ‘lemon party’.

    • The “end of the reserve currency” claims suffer from one major defect. They have no answer for what replaces it and please don’t say gold. That’s not happening anymore than we return to living in thatched huts. For the USD to cease being the world’s currency, something else must replace it.

      • I don’t see the Dollar losing its status as the reserve currency; if anything I see that it is becoming more widely used, in more countries, both by local overseas companies (who issue their corporate debt denominated in dollars rather than the local currency) and individuals who realize that in spite of constant devaluation of the dollar, it’s still less than the extreme devaluation of their local currency (e.g. Zimbabwe Dollars).
        The Federal Reserve could spend the next hundred years issuing tens of trillions of dollars, distributing them worldwide, and still not destroy its cachet or [too much] of its value. I’m no longer worried about the prospects of losing its reserve status.

        • Knowing that they manipulate their currency more severely than we do ours, would you invest in them?
          At least The Fed is somewhat restrained in their gyrations.

        • Highly unlikely. Nobody really wants the Chinese in charge. I doubt the Chinese want this either, at least for now.
          I’ve heard rumblings of the SDR, but it’s hard to imagine people wanting to use a global currency not based in any country especially if they could just use either Euros or Dollars.

        • There are a lot of flaws in that theory, but probably the biggest is that even Chinese people don’t want to hold yuan.

        • Goldman Sachs (et al) is still required to pay its taxes in US dollars, or their owners go to US prisons. Therefore, the US dollar will remain the world currency of choice.

      • What replaces it? Well, not the Euro, or the Ruble, as for the Pound, don’t make me laugh! According to Dominic Frisby the Chinese have been buying up gold in massive amounts for the last 20 years Somehow I can’t see the world going along with that. Maybe what replaces the dollar as world reserve currency is a world with no reserve currency.

        • Some international form of barter. This will really gum up world trade, but it’s probably baked into the cake anyway since everyone wants to sell and no one wants to buy.

          • Hmmm. How about barter mediated by some form of electronic record-keeping medium? Maybe something blockchain based, some form of cryptocurrency designed specifically for international barter and agreed upon among nations?

          • Mitch;
            There hasn’t been much barter in regular international trade for 3,000 years. Silver by weight was the means of settlement. Mentioned in the Bible.

          • “Some international form of barter”

            Military “aid” credits
            Foreign aid
            Carbon credits

            Seems they are trying, but nothing replaces energy, the petrodollar.

            Even SDRs are based on ‘a basket of commodities’- mining and drilling, or the energy to run the machines, in other words.

            And, to clarify about the Fed running the world- through cutouts, of course, the Fed doesn’t pay interest TO the US Treasury.
            I don’t think the World Bank pays anyone either. I wonder which other BIS banks don’t.
            Edit: oops, I see some SDR comments.

          • Direct barter isn’t that common or likely outside of a new dark age,

            The many sellers/few buyers you mentioned is the conundrum the economy faces . Growth can only happen with fertility , economic stability and increased wages but the no one is having kids and automation and cheap labor keep wages low.

            The more urban we get the more its costs to have kids and people will not in a urban environment sacrifice the benefits of that setting to have more kids nor will they have them without a mental guarantee of a couple of decades employment keeping up with costs.

            This puts a natural barrier on the number of buyers.

            The natural TFR is basically 1.5 or a bit more in essentially every developed nation and there is no way back.

            Governments and big business are strip mining the economy both to pay for retirees and to loot but its destroying the foundation, seed corm yum.

            Ultimately even if we somehow get back to the early 2018 economy which is really improbable, the TFR that year was well below repalcment already

            Now that people have been spooked , I’ll guess minus anti accidental lock down babies (which will be rare since birth control is still for sale and many fertile age people are unmarried) won’t effect fertility trends.

            The TFR may go down more since no one wants kids in the current situation.

            We’ve scrwed the pooch.

            As for trade, the less the better. Customers are a zero oer even negative sum game and only fairly extreme economic nationalism is able to provide an economy where family formation is possible.

        • “a world with no reserve currency”

          I never realized it before, but that means the Federal Reserve- a private consortium of eight banking families- controls the world.

      • I don’t know what will replace the dollar as the reserve currency but I know a lot of countries and ppl are thinking about how to replace it and it just seems to be a high wire act to count on it not happening. W America’s debts and deficits, it seems the US could implode w all that debt and hence no money to build up new productive industries.

      • The SDR is the global settlement currency no one has really heard of.

        For countries its already been used for settlement since the 70s and is used quite a bit in international shipping.

        Its a small step to perhaps detach from the underlying nation currencies, spin into an electronic currency and base it on some for of energy unit (especially if you can bankrupt oil and ban other fossil fuel) it really can be used to keep a cap o the energy expenditures by dint of the currency itself.

        • Somewhere around here I’ve done some posts advocating the SDR be pegged to a basket of energy commodities. Basically, the global reserve currency should be the BTU. That would result in a gentle deflationary system as energy efficiency gradually improves. It’s not a perfect arrangement and getting the mix of commodities right would be a challenge. Still, pegging the store of value to something that literally powers technological progress makes a lot of sense.

          • That’s what’s going to happen. It was originally proposed by FDRs Treasury Secretary, (((Henry Morgenthau))) in the 1930s. And he was correct in wanting to do that. Of course we weren’t in the strong post war position we were in in 1944 with Bretton Woods. I’m not sure it will be a SDR, but we will return to a pegged position among world currencies, likely with a commodity basket, and yes, that basket will include gold, but it won’t be the majority of it. They may even us the Goldman Sachs commodity index, SPGSCI, and just peg it one day as the dollar inflates. We’re in the late stage of Triffin’s Paradox, so we really won’t be able to keep our reserve status without some kind of structural change in four or five years. No more free floating nonsense. The problem for the Fed is that you can’t please the Eurodollar market and the domestic market at the same time, and now you have a basket case indebted government to deal with (that they enabled over 30 years).

          • Why would you assume it would be deflationary?

            That assumes a market open behavior of innovation.

            If you kill off oil and other fossil fuels and nuclear you massively do away wit the easy access and most longer term energy storage. You could then make any system you wanted if you control a centralized energy rationing. Especially if all transport is now based on non-portable energy.

            It also has the benefit of the money supply control being able to be used to strangle the economic functions by restricting the supply and therefore the energy as a system of interlinked credit allocated to each nation.

            It would be a perfect lever of technocracy.

          • “It would be a perfect lever of technocracy.”

            Now you’re scaring me.
            Once the elites own everything- the money, the capital, the assets, the bureaucracy- what do they need capitalism for?

            If they control the chokepoints of energy, healthcare, and army, then we might as well tatoo our social security numbers on our arms, and start watching Rollerball.

          • (ps- thanks for “Triffin’s Paradox”, duckduckgo says I got some more learning to do. Never could wrap my head around forex- another delayed project.)

          • Z Man;
            Intriguing idea. A fixed *peg* to BTU is maybe the way to go: A pseudo-gold standard, if you like.

            IOW, would we really want a consumable to be money_? The theory used to be that ‘money’ was, in itself, necessarily useless. Some pretty weird shyte has been used as money (woodpecker scalps among Pacific NW Native Americans, for example) but even if it wasn’t durable, almost never was it consumable.

            Money’s role is/was to be medium of exchange and a (relatively) stable storehouse of value. Consumables tend to fluctuate in value depending on supply and demand for them as consumables, per se.

            But part of the re-ordering ought to be taking a hard re-look at economic theory. The view of money (above) was a part of pre-industrial economic theory that never got so far out of whack as to be discarded. But that body of theory held that the major factors of production were Land, Labor & Capital. In the post-industrial era that we find ourselves, Energy (and Information) seem like better candidates (probably along with Material).

      • “Something else must replace it.” Okay. Prognostications, Zman? Prognostications, everyone else?

      • There’s a lot of ruin left in the petrodollar. We’ll see its end later than sooner and I don’t think one universal reserve standard replaces it, be it another nation/bloc’s currency or a basket of commodities, etc… By the time the petrodollar fails, regionalism will be stronger, with non-standardized/universal currencies in “the West” and the BRIC-Silk Road coalition (or whatever it evolves to by then) – and likely some smallish third parties as well.

      • The founding fathers wanted only gold and silver to be used as currency . That won’t happen as there isn’t enough currency to support an economy of modern scale.

        In the longer term we could end up end up without any reserve currency if global trade stays collapsed and/or the US goes even more haywire no one is going to want dollars.

        The people in charge are going to back to the cheap labor /not having to pay the real price for a clean environment China and other trade ASAP unless they are forced to do otherwise.

        Modern CEO’s have the long term thinking capability of a three year old for the most part and more greed than H-Lacks cells but its hard to sell goods if there aren’t enough jobs for nay one to buy them

        I could very well see a Basic Income being a big thing, problem is it will all end up with landlords , utilities or food which the economy of Nepal basically

        Ultimately there are either good US jobs or whatever recovery will be a bullet’s and beans recovery which make the USD a lot less valuable to anyone as there isn’t much to buy with it a

        Any assets they want to snatch up cheap won’t be useful as they lack a customer base and the whole point of the exercise being cheaper labor which means less stuff sold.

        Deflation is baked into the cake unless wages go up faster than debt and any inflation they may cause.

        Not likely though even in a semi closed economy because of automation . I describe that poetically as “for every computer sold, one less baby is born” Its

      • Maybe. Maybe what replaces it is a floating mix of local currencies.

        Here’s the thing. The petro dollar, dollar as world reserve currency, whatever you want to call it has really only existed since the 80s. In a way, it’s a driver of and function of globalization. If globalization abates, so does the need for a global reserve currency.

    • The consequences of the USD losing reserve currency status will be so horrific and so bad that it is hard to fathom life after reserve currency status. It will affect everyone. It would probably cause something akin to hyperinflation where the dollar loses 90% of its value in a couple of years and a worldwide economic collapse. One assumes they would change all the rules in order to avoid it.

      • Makes me want to move down south, out to the country. I’m done with NJ, as much as I love our peoples’ benighted wit.

    • > The potential collapse of the petrodollar, or movement from the USD as the world reserve are potential big things.

      Are those two different things?

  49. You’ve correctly noticed that Red-Team and Blue-Team are not [two sides of the same coin] but actually the same side of the same coin. As far as them going against what the voters voted for, one only need look at the votes against legalizing [gay] sodomized marriage, which were quickly overruled by courts. Other examples of Federal and local governments going against the will of the [people] subjects are rife.
    Oil futures were traded at historic lows, which is just the way futures trade — they beome worthless the moment they expire — but the more important data point is that oil itself is trading around $20-$24, which after accounting for inflation is cheaper than the $10 per BBL it traded at in 1999.
    You mention Asimov’s The Mule; I might as well again mention that Isaac Asimov’s brother was the editor of New York Newsday, and that his niece writes for the San Francisco Chronicle, and his nephew writes for the New York Times.
    You use the phrase “At the various LEMON PARTIES, the sobbing and moaning about Trump was understandable”.. has the following to say: One of the unholy trinity of internet pictures which all must witness to be ‘jaded internet users’ (tubgirl, goatse, and lemonparty), lemonparty is probably the tamest of the three by just being hardcore old man gay orgy sex. Believe me, the other two are worse.

    • I read somewhere that goatse is dead. Apparently he attempted anal intercourse with a horse and expired of complications resulting from a ruptured colon. Seems somebody thrust a bit too forcibly.

    • I hit the link and read what those terms referred to and now am a worse person for knowing.

      • I’ve read Ris_ for awhile and he seems like a sensible fellah. I’ll take the pass, thank you.

      • Sorry, what has been seen cannot be unseen. Thanks though for the warning: You enabled me to avoid seeing it.

    • You are too “hard on” homosexuals. 🙂 After centuries of being relationships at best hidden, but sometimes punished with prison or worse, finally with the legitimization of gay marriage, at last two fudge packers could be Man and Husband, just as Nature intended, well no, but just as they wanted. Indeed, now blessed with the toleration of society, at least of a Supreme Court majority, the alternate lifestylers can even have their um, union blessed by one of the progressive “Christian” churches. 😀

  50. What happens to law enforcement in poorly-run municipalities when the tax revenue that pays for them collapses?

    • Many of them will continue to do it without pay because they can extort more from the public and business than they can make holding a hand-lettered sign at a freeway exit.

      • Ya know? I don’t see NEARLY as many folks “holding a hand-lettered sign at a freeway exit” as I used to. Course there’re a WHOLE LOT fewer cars on the streets, too. Getting so a grifter can’t make a dishonest buck any more. 😉

      • Or they can revert to the tried and true method of surcharging fines and then writing tickets out to everyone on everything. Things were so bad in NYC once that police were writing tickets for sitting outside of bodegas on milk crates. Not sure if it was a loitering ordinance or improper use of a milk crate.

    • With law enforcement and all other local functions, what happens is centralization of power. The one thing local and state governments can’t do is print their own money. The tempatation of fresh fiat dollars will cause them to willingly hand over what independence they have left.

      Sure, we’ll fund your police force, but you have to prove to us you are aggressively policing White Supremacist Terrorism, by which we mean “badwhites who don’t want to go along with the program.”

      • Our small police force out here in the province is made up of people from all over the country. Most of them don’t know us local folks. Half of them are assholes.

        • Same here. The small local force brought in all these fat, over the hill ex cops from all over. I chatted one up parked at the end of my road napping, when he was new. There is one obligatory butch female one too.

          Our local “police” actually do NOTHING except serve as a financial unit, speed trap. These “heroes” allow the Staties and Country cops to do everything else.

      • The local officials here are in the DFW area people’s republic are the boot heel on everything – even though wheelchair gov’ has not banned everything the local goodWhites (and all their IKAGOs – both elected and appointed) just luv them some authoritarianism.

      • Where I live it is patrolled by rural Sheriff’s Deputies. I guess because they live here and oftentimes don’t have backup they are pretty judicious on enforcement and quite friendly. Most of their time is spent dealing with local meth addicts, 51-50s and gangbanger types that hover around the casinos.
        I’ve never actually seen them ticket the locals, and we have some dizzy locals here.

        Sorry y’all have crappier cops working your areas.

    • The local police where I live no longer pull over anyone except for drivers creating “hazardous” conditions, but that won’t last. Whenever the full economic impact to local governments is understood I highly suggest not going 1mph over the speed limit, and heaven help you if you have a broken taillight.

        • Not good for most of the speed traps here as they are set up to nail people in the 30 mph zones, local driving.

          What DOES work for over the road travel are cheap radar detectors. Years ago there was an ‘arms race’ between John Law and detector manufacturers. X Band was replaced by K Band. Replaced by Ka, instant on, then finally laser. The issue with laser is it is a line of sight tool, so the cops actually have to do some work. I have spoken to a couple of them and asked why they use radar when they have laser right in their car.

          “Too much work.” They can set the radar to go off at a speed threshold. Here is the thing. The arms race ended when the authorities gave up. Even a $65.00 Cobra is going to pick up K and Ka at plenty of distance on the highway. And since so many cops just drive around brain dead with this shit turned ON in their cars – it lets you know where they are, even locally.

          Not perfect, but if your aim is to avoid that one moment of exposure when the speed limit drops from 65 mph to 55 mph, 55 to 35, 45 to 30, all the usual trap zones and you are not looking to speed per se, running a detector wired to come on when you start your car…. I say “don’t leave home without it.”

          I don’t.

          • Well, really there needs to be an integrated speed control system that automatically sets your speed for whatever the local limit is using Google map data and takes data from multiple radar and laser sensors in the car. They probably already offer this in luxury models but I drive a cheap car so I need to actually look at the road signs.

          • I think I’ve already mentioned my latest Toyota automatically films the speed limit signs and posts it on the dashboard. Very minor step from there to limit acceleration to match the posted signage. Big bro is always watching.

          • I was thinking of this as way of protecting yourself from the cops, not something mandatory. If it exists, I’m sure the schoolmarms will want it to be mandatory and controlled by the government but that doesn’t mean we need to listen to them.

          • Seconding this recommendation.

            My co-pilot is a Beltronics GT-360, which is a rebadged Escort model. It picks up stationary traps and rolling patrols plenty far off.

            It also provides GPS-based speed readouts and uses GPS to build its own internal database of stationary X-band door alarms and K-band radar signs/photo cameras.

            Most police are just out there blasting Ka-band radar all over. My unit picks up the leakage from the back of their radar guns long before I ever see the speed trap.

            I also agree with the comment about laser (lidar) being too much work for the average cop, especially in moderate to extreme traffic volumes. I had previously deduced this conclusion on my own, so it is good to have confirmation from an actual officer.

            The only thing my detector doesn’t have is the EMI/RFI shielding that makes it invisible to VG-2 and Spectre radar detector detectors. This is only an issue in jurisdictions where radar detectors are illegal.

      • My local city (county seat) did away with its police force last year! Not sure why, I’d guess to save money. The same city, actually County Breeding Colony Authority, has had one of its managed ghettos (Motel-style section 8 homes) unoccupied for years because they can’t find a [nonprofit?] buyer.

    • If you read the accounts of the Yugoslavia conflict, they point out the Police mostly vanished and lots rapidly became a large and very armed gang that everyone had to avoid.

  51. This whole mess has shown how many are unable to think things through. They are struggling now, just wait to see what happens when things turn ugly.

    • Z has commented on this, but the widespread, facile acceptance of the official models and total refusal to understand that the authorities are completely juicing the death counts shows that 90+% of the global population is horrifically innumerate.

      • As demonstrated by the assumption that when the ‘authorities’ lift the ban, suddenly all economic activity will resume. Without jobs and income there is no demand (although I still saw plenty of empty shelves at the store yesterday – and one even had arrows indicating I had to go up one aisle and down the other, rather than wandering as I wished). My younger son was just furloughed last Sat. Interesting times ahead.

        • It has been shocking to me how the Branch Covidians honestly believe the $22T US economy can be flipped on and off like a light switch.

        • Grocery store shopping is metaphor for America and its subjects. The shepherds order shoppers to stay “two carts apart” from one another and herd them down one aisle and up the next. The shoppers, in ovine fashion, obey, all while wearing their silly masks. Shopping has become an exercise in human beings turning into sheep.

          • Yes, and it seems like it’s getting worse—even without new mandates. Last trip was enough for me. Too depressing. How did we come to this point that my grocery store has had to hire private security guards to man the doors and “mad dog” the customers coming in?

          • Ironically, the more incontrovertibly the facts show that Coronageddon is actually a nothingburger, the more draconian the measures against it become. There is madness here. There is a wallowing in authoritarianism. And there is a mule-headed refusal by the pissant tyrants to admit they were wrong.

          • Doubling down on their beliefs is exactly what cults do when their prophecies fail.

            Hence, Branch Covidians is a wholly accurate label.

          • “Longitude” was a great book AND docudrama on A&E. Michael Gambon and Jeremy Irons were both perfect in their roles.

            Highly recommended reading and viewing!

          • This is going to make people want to shop a lot less unless they stop all this nonsense in its tracks.

            Otherwise people who have just spent ,months doing with less with keep doing with less.

            This means no recovery at any point.

            That said there are protests all over the place. Media ignores them, Facebook tries to stop them .

            Problem is the system will not yield and the results of enough to push back to force them to yield would be worse than the current problem.

            Right now the options are endure and hope it goes back to semi normal or everything gets very very very very bad.

            This calculus may change though if the economy fails to recover which is the highest probability result. Very bad might seem OK with a hope true or false.

          • That’s been my refrain. If death projections keep getting walked back, why aren’t restrictions being gradually relaxed? Actually, they’re getting worse!
            I’m starting to think that they’ll string this along interminably, and that I’m going to have to just go and protest. Never thought I would.

            I think it’s going to get bad.

          • There is a pushback movement going on but its being fought online with leaks since the media is avoiding covering anything that could possibly help President Trump.

            For example the Timcast has a lot of stores today about media saying “we don’t need masks” and about a viral picture that Buzzfeed (yes them) of Nurses blocking anti lockdown protestors very probably being fake and other older ones.

            There are lots of other stories out there as well on YouTube and elsewhere.

            The thing to remember is the Democrats and to a lesser degree Never Trumper allies don’t care very much about the little people or the economy only power.

            They’ll do damned near anything to get it even destroy the economy.

            This kind of behavior might end up fracturing the union in any number of unpleasant ways but no one is thinking long term these days.

          • Compsci,

            It’s been a long time coming. We’ve been luxuriating in the surplus from past harvests and are now into the beginning of the seed corn. Like Z says, lurching from crisis to crisis with a system that is no longer able to handle anything with resiliency sans overreaction or blatant incompetency. Interesting times we shall bear as required, God willing. If we can’t avoid it, relish the fact you shall be tested and be tough and flexible. As the old infantry joke goes when you hear incoming artillery, “For that which we are about to receive, let us be truly thankful..”

      • Most ‘smart’ people I’ve worked with in the *data* field are shockingly innumerate, as well as being unable to understand complex information relationships (especially in regard to uncertainty and time-orientation). The ‘system’ becomes the truth. Big Tech’s ‘big data predictions’ about who you are or what you do sometimes are shockingly accurate, but just as often insanely inaccurate (but we tend only to hear about the accurate predictions).

        “The Map is Not the Territory” is pretty much an unknown aphorism these days.

        I go back to John Gall’s Systemantics all the time. Though this specific aphorism comes from Alfred Korzybski, whom I have yet to read.

        • Systematics, which I devoured forty years ago, informs a fair amount of our kind of thinking whether we know it or not. And it is deadly serious no matter how much it will make you laugh.

      • 90% of them have an IQ 100 or less. They can’t be expected to understand complex ideas especially when the experts do not have a clue either.

        I’m not defending the stupid but it is a novel virus and our experts aren’t all that smart, They go by models and rote and rarely think.

        Worse very few of them have any understanding of other disciplines or exposure to other experts and complexity requires an interdisciplinary approach to be successful.

    • The Left’s cancel culture will not work very well on people that have nothing left to lose.

    • The thing our financial wizards fear more than anything is asset deflation. Nothing deflates mortgage assets faster than people not paying their mortgage. In the mortgage crisis, we did not also have a collapse of energy assets and commercial paper. That’s a dob that has yet to bark. What happens when all of these bankrupt retailers stop paying rents?

      • That’s why apartments and public storage facilities were popping up like mushrooms. If you’re a real estate developer, you have to develop real estate or maybe become a Walmart greeter. After the 2008 debacle the financial guys became unwilling to sort through a bunch of mysterious mortgage failures to straighten things out. They realized that loaning money for apartment complexes was less risky because when the rent doesn’t get paid the tenant moves out and is replaced. The owner that’s paying the mortgage remains the same. So there are new, fancy apartments all over the place.

        Even before this February there was wonder over what the occupancy rate was in these new developments. Where were the tenants coming from? Where had they lived before? Government statistics indicate that the national vacancy rate in January was 6.4%, a fairly low number historically. But, with newer complexes being opened to renters, this number must climb.

        • 1M+ “legal” foreigners / year. There are complexes outside of DC (and most major cities, tbh) that are full of Indians. Add in all the illegal Mexicans going to the older complexes.

          • Thus, can we all agree that Trump’s executive order prohibiting ALL immigration for the time being is a good idea?

          • “for the time being”?

            It’s a great idea all the time, unless white Europeans want to move here.

          • Not to worry. “Asylum” seekers will (likely) still be allowed. Illegal crossings will remain unaffected. White Europeans? ha ha ha! That hasn’t happened since 1965, hardly.

            I haven’t heard this discussed yet, but topic: If we do enter a depression, will millions of “born-here” Americans suddenly out of work take a dimmer view of the millions of illegals here? Impacts on politics?”

          • Ben asked what millions of Americans unemployed will do with respect to immigration, both legal and illegal: “Impacts on politics?” he asks. I reply: “Beneficial. GREATLY beneficial. REALLY greatly beneficial.” Just watch.

          • You get what you can get, Citizen. The Left always says “We demand all power,” and then takes what they can get. That always becomes permanent, and they use it as a platform from which to make further demands. Works great. Is there some reason we shouldn’t be doing the same to advance our values?

          • We don’t want white western Europeans. Look what they’ve allowed to happen to their countries.

          • We’ve been trying as a family of four now for 2 years. The kids and I all have ‘merican passports but the wife is a Dutch heathen, we have to continuously jump hoops.

            Just submitted our final paperwork mid March only to see today immigration stopping. All we wanted to be was good little American tax payers.

          • Why would they? For nearly all of them, life is far safer, more stable and better at home.

            Even if White fertility stabilizes, there is zero reason for most anyone to come to the US unless you are a grifter or carpetbagger

            South Africa might be the exception but they are heading to Oz or Russia

          • It’s three years too late. People telling me I should praise him at this point is like an employee who comes to work late every day and then expects to be praised the one day he finally comes in on time.

          • (This is a reply to Nailheadtom above; don’t know how it wound up down here.)

            That’s dead right. I live in an “upscale” apartment complex in northern Virginia. Tenants here are (based on a visual and auditory estimate) 30 to 40 percent Indian and Paki, 40 percent Hispanic, 15 percent white, the rest black and go-figure-it.

            They are well behaved. I don’t want to think about what life is like in some of the apartment developments for the economic and social washouts.

            My wife and I want to move away from the D.C. area but of course we’re stuck here for the duration.

          • Honest question: how does it work socially there? Do you talk to your neighbors? Do you have friends in the neighborhood?

            My experience in a diverse neighborhood is that people just talk to their own ethnic group, while whitey tries to be friends with everyone. But in reality whitey just doesn’t fit in and doesn’t really make friends with the other whites.

            Just wondering what it’s like for you.

          • UFO, your experience is what it’s like here. The best I can say — and it’s no small thing — is that everybody seems to get along. I am unaware of any hostile acts or words among members of different ethnic species.

            Aside from standard pleasantries when residents are required by circumstance to be in others’ company, there seems to be zero social interaction except with members of the same race or background. That’s not entirely because of diversity; a lot is down to the alienation you find in urban areas.

            The neighborhood around the apartment complex includes quite a few government and defense industry employees. They have long enjoyed unusual job security and good salaries, and their self-confidence seems to remain even in the face of the current political and social debacle. They don’t get in fights at the grocery or criticize people who don’t keep enough air around them. They’ll stay calm while people in less prosperous regions, already broken, think about Whatever It Takes.

            I like the idea of some of our techno-gentry sliding into reduced circumstances. But I can’t deny that for now they are a stabilizing influence in this neck of the woods.

          • Check out the GTA (Greater Toronto Area) for a taste of your future.

            Brampton, Ontario, known as “Browntown” or “Bramptadesh” is 44% “South Asian”, 13% black, demographically. It’s really 90% Indian outside of a few older subdivisions with whites and ghetto apartment buildings of blacks. Population is 600,000 and only 26% are white.

            Markham Ontario, is 45% Chinese, and only 22% white. Population 330,000.

            After a while they stop pretending to care about their host country and it just becomes India or China in Canada. It’s very sad and I hope that Trump actually bans immigration.

      • But we kind of did. Not to the extent of negative prices, but they had fallen a lot more than they have today. In the summer of 2008 oil was $150 a barrel and it fell to like $30. The world was so out of storage that they were using oil tankers for storage and they were running out of them as well.

      • “What happens when all of these bankrupt retailers stop paying rents?”


        The lesson from ’08-09 – at least to the Fed and Congress – is you can print and borrow all you want to save the system. The Fed just figures that money is credit so if credit (mortgages, bonds, etc.) is falling by around the same amount as you inject money into the system, everything remains in balance. (Also, the velocity of money is crazy low so money isn’t going anywhere anyway.) For Congress, borrowing doesn’t change the amount of money in the system; it just moves it around.

        Granted, this time around the Fed is moving from buying treasuries and govt-back mortgages to, well, everything. Buying treasuries from financial institutions that just sit on the money is one thing; buying commercial paper, corporate bonds, munis, commercial mortgages, etc., is another.

        As I’ve said before, the really scary thing – to me, at least – is that the Fed and Congress have said that they will do anything and everything to fix this. They’ve put their reputation, the trust that people have in them, on the line. If cracks start to show and people lose faith that the Fed/Congress can stop all of this, we’ve got nothing left to fall back on.

        I honestly hope that doesn’t happen.

      • I’m not sanguine about an economic recovery of any kind for a generation or two myself.

        The usual solutions by the people at the top, money printing and war won’t work

        Money printing won’t help largely because none of the money drives demand enough to grow the economy and frankly new suckers err children aren’t being born at any rate

        Any war would result in far too many loses. The damage caused by Kung Flu was probably accidental. I can’t imagine what an actual intentional Captain Trips would do and even assuming our decaying nuclear arsenal works, everyone else has them too.

        More locally. my cities mall, not wealthy but functional and decently run is obviously a ghost town and while I didn’t go there for anything but the bookstore when it was open , the general assumption of many is that its not going to reopen ever.

        I guess all the edgy kids will have to live without hot topic

        A side effect of this is this crisis will exacerbate the surplus of mall capacity we already have and to hammer commercial real estate is smaller developments too.

        Another nasty side effect is that even if somehow the economy recovers, spending is going to shift. You’ve just given every younger millennial and Gen Z kid a crisis/prep/scarcity mindset.

        Gen Y already has been shanked several times as they’ve tried to start out,hence the super low fertility rate but this crisis will put them into the “Do I need that or more stored food , TP and ammo” mindset

        Good to remove R selection, bad for consumer society

        And yes even Liberals are buying guns at a clip, 75% of the current surge is first time buyers many city liberals.

        Changing to spend/abundance mindset would require a minimum of two decades fast growth which will never happen even with cheap oil.

        There is also not going to be an Amazon driven recovery. They don’t pay enough or employ enough.

        Lastly, the cheap oil is going to gank future production and thus any broom will be short lived if it happens at all. Oil price down, production stops, cheap oil gone, any recovery driven by that gone.

        And note this is the optimistic outcome. It can get hella worse . God help us all.

    • “Imagine what is going to happen when 25+% of mortgages go unpaid….”

      The old solution to keep the mortgage market going was for the banks and their elite overlords to support increased immigration, hoping for a combination of factors: (1) sheer numbers, legal and illegal, out of which some, accustomed to working hard and not blowing their money on material things, would come up with down payments, maybe in conjunction with other legal or illegal family members, and (2) Chinese immigration and the Chinese investment in real estate that would bring, more than likely Chinese government money financing a big part of that. Both circumstances helped to inflate prices, which was to the banks’ liking.

      Maybe, just maybe, what’s good solely for the banks won’t matter quite as much anymore. The economic priesthood gets out the garlic when talking about deflation, but it is not the bogeyman the elites make it out to be, and can actually be beneficial.

      • I am looking for a nice, fat default by all student loan debtors. These kids, buried in debt by the same society that drains much of the earnings of an entire life during “end of life care” … made it so perpetual renters = Millenials.

        And speaking of draining all the wealth while keeping dementia patients alive long enough to make sure their reverse mortgages preclude homes being passed down to the next generation, conveniently creating new mortgage holders to buy, or renters forever … all this ‘clap for an hour’ bullshit is not for me. I know, everyone is a “hero”.

        The lights in your rear view that pull you over, conveniently because you are the right, um, demographic to pay a fat fine.

        The Surprise Medical Bills, hidden costs, that then force you at gunpoint to PAY UP OR ELSE we will ruin your “credit” in a society that lives on DEBT.

        Not “heroes”. STFU and do your job. You got to get fat off the calf of our middle class lives with your $400 ear wax clearing. Now suck it up and clap for yourselves or get another job. And stand in front of my rightful protest by car, I might get out and beat your ass hard, hero. Like your Antifa “heroes”.

        • Not only should the student-borrowers go belly up, but schools like Harvard, with its $40billion endowment, should have that money clawed back by the government entities that “guaranteed” those student loans. Selling a defective product indeed.

          re: “$400 ear wax clearing.”
          I was recently billed $950 for a tetanus shot.

          • “but schools like Harvard, with its $40billion endowment, should have that money clawed back”

            This × 1,000. I hear this, often, from people I know.

            “I was recently billed $950 for a tetanus shot.”

            For me an my house, I have instituted a NO MEDICAL CARE (unless emergency, and then within reason) without knowing EXACTLY how much it costs. How much it would be billed for non covered people. Medical providers hate-hate-hate having to answer these questions but will when you make them.

            Also, do not pay these Surprise Medical Bills. Serve formal dispute letters via Certified Mail, Return Receipt on the service providers. Especially for the ones that are not enough to get sued for – they are going to be BURIED in these, and there is no way they are litigating for a the usual threshold of a couple of grand or less.

            If you get placed for collection, never treat with a collection agency. Ignore them, do not respond in any way.

            The concepts of strategic default and force majeure will soon be household words. Mark my words. Time to get your fight on against these financial predators, and I am sorry, the medical and pharma fields are full of charlatans and predators … led by their charlatan in chief, the monopolist Gates.

          • Harvard just put its hand out out for a $9 million handout.

            $9 million pays the salary of the manager of its $40 billion endowment fund for 4 months.

          • Good news…
            re: Harvard just put its hand out out for a $9 million handout.

            According to Mnuchin, Harvard has just said it will be returning that $9million bailout.

          • Homer;
            I’d venture that the reason medical providers “hate hate hate” telling you what something ‘costs’ is that they have no clear idea themselves.

            For example, take the ‘simple’ problem of how to assign the cost of an MD degree, say $250k up front, to patient visits. It is clearly a critical asset, and it’s too big to just ignore. Common economics dictates that its cost must be recovered (else who’d go into medicine). Yet, if you say to amortize it pro rata, you must guesstimate how many patients you’d see in a lifetime. Who can do that_?

            I don’t know about you, but I don’t have any great ideas how to go about it.

          • Big Al, I don’t disagree with you. I also just assume it is human nature to resent doing work that you are not getting paid for, or in a more bureaucratic world, ‘not my yob man.’

            I have a GP that has been with me for some 30+ years. Great guy, swears like a pirate, really looks out for me and my family. He has told me that some procedures cost less than my co pay if billed as a non insured. The guy does his best to skirt the system, pro patient.

            So when Obamacare risked me and my family losing this valuable asset, I let him know I would have none of that. I told him that if my carrier was not accepted there, who the fuck cares. I (and my family) am staying as a cash patient. He said he had never thought of that – shows you how even well intentioned people can fail to think outside the box.

            There was no problem with remaining, and it turned out at the time that our new Obammy ordered carrier was picked up by the GP’s medical group. Although I doubt Obammy was speaking of my approach when he promised people could “keep your doctor”….

    • I am already thinking about that $10,000 beach house I always wanted but could not justify at $350,000.

      Or that $2,000 sports car I could not justify when it was $32,000.

      Of course, it’s gonna hurt when that loaf of bread is $159.95.

        • Right now the missus bakes her own for pennies a loaf. And she makes a damn fine loaf, sourdough, italian … keeps and feeds starter.

          • I tried to create some starter sourdough last year and it was a total failure.
            I bake a lot of bread, but I cannot get costs that low. Even the store brand flour is like $5 for 10 pounds. For convenience I bake it in a small toaster over that is pretty efficient and it’s still like 15c in electricity cost (about a kwh) The store brand bread is .99 loaf. It only lasts 2 days. I wish I knew what to add to it to make it last a week.

          • I can’t speak on your personal experience. I can say that my missus puts a lot of work into starting and maintaining starters. I see her daily feeding of water, flour. She bakes bread in a full sized oven and buys supplies in bulk since she is practically proofing or baking every day. It really is amazing the amount one person can produce, to the point that store bought sweets and bread are not needed. Plus home baked is so much better, not to mention the fun of having it happen in the house, the upbeat scents and outcomes. Not everything is a big success, sometimes bread fails to rise enough, or too dense. All edible and all natural and compares to the $6.99 artisan loafs.

          • Buy a bread box and store your loaves there. Your bread will last a week at room temperature. You can find cheap ones at discount stores but for reference:

            I prepare all my home meals from scratch, including bread. Say what you will. I keep Amish friendship bread starter in my fridge but not sourdough.

            My customary bread-making technique involves baking yeast dough in an 8-quart enamel-coated dutch oven situated inside my standard kitchen oven and wrapped with baking parchment. I coat the parchment with cornmeal and flour, then unceremoniously dump the dough ball out, twist the parchment and toss the ensemble into the preheated dutch oven with the lid tightly sealed then place this back into the kitchen oven. 50 minutes later pull it out, remove lid, cut the top off the parchment and reinsert into the oven without the lid for 10 minutes and let cool on a wire rack. This method give me easy, cheap and delicious bread.

            I grind my own flour from grains in a Vitamix blender. The flour I find locally on-sale, and it’s often grains originating from Bob’s Red Mill. I let my dough rise in the microwave oven with the door closed as that’s insulated the dough from vibration and temperature shocks. I acquired a cheap hand-cranked grinder for when the electricity fails, as happened for a week once. Stay at it.

          • I second SearsTower. Sourdough shouldn’t be hard.

            1. You don’t have to feed the starter every day. You can keep the starter in the fridge for weeks without feeding and then fire it back up over a day or two to get it back to full health.

            2. Get a bread box. Sourdough naturally stays fresh for around a week.

            3. Use the no-knead method for making the dough. Breadtopia has good video showing how. Just Google “no-knead breadtopia”. Doesn’t take hardly any time.

            4. Cook the bread in either a dutch oven or, much easier, a Lodge combo cooker. (It’s hard to drop the dough correctly i the dutch oven. The combo cooker gets rid of that problem.) This will give you the oven spring that you want.

            5. Use bread flour as well.

            Honestly, sourdough isn’t hard. Stick with it. Also, sourdough is much better for you. Look it up.

          • Looky what we have going! Ok, caveat is that I am the bread EATER and breadmaker observation post. I see that starting a starter means daily feeding for a week or two, but since I am the beneficiary of marrying well, that is based on my observations. I am no bread maker.

            However, I have observed the Dutch Oven in action. The brand Bob’s Red Mill. Our oven has a proofing setting.

            This is more fun than absorbing fear porn!

          • HomerB,

            The Lodge combo cooker is much easier to use than the Dutch oven. Put the dough on parchment paper first. Score it. Then put it on pan part of the combo cooker and finally place the pot part on top.

            No more trying to drop the dough into the dutch oven like some WWII bombardier. Also, remember, use the no knead method. Simple and easy.

          • A new loaf was born today, to be part of tonight’s dinner. I am going to copy this breadmaking feedback to share. Decades of successful marriage is partly due to not being overbearing on my part about her things and I trust she does not make too many “suggestions” when I am laying under her car fixing it.

            That said, some valuable points here, the parchment paper info piques my interest. Again noting that I am not the breadmaker. I can do lots of things, but respect this craft from just watching and enjoying the results.

          • I used a name brand “organic” wheat bread flour for the sourdough starter. Everything was going well until about a week in. I’m going to try it again.

            I generally use regular flour for my regular loaves.
            Does the bread flour work better?
            I have one of those wooden bread boxes with the rolling lid. It’s one of these:

            The best thing I’ve found for improving the bread is proofing the dough in the oven with a pot of boiling water. You get a much lighter loaf and much better rising.
            I’ve never made the no-knead dutch oven bread, though I’ve seen a bunch of YT videos on it.
            I don’t have a Dutch oven. Maybe I’ll pick one up when the world goes back to normal.

            Homemade bread is just way, way better than store bought bread, absolutely no argument there. Hot homemade bread with supper is unbeatable.

          • I have a Dutch oven and have tried the no-knead recipe (from youtube vids) several times. My loaf is always still doughy in the middle. Perhaps my oven (gas) just doesn’t come up to temp. I don’t have an oven thermometer so don’t know for certain.

            I avoid buying breads and baked goods as I generally try and reduce carbs in the ol’ diet, but it would be good to get the bread-baking skills down to a predictable quality outcome like some of you appear to have done.

          • I just picked up a 10 pound bag on sale for like $4 at Shoprite, which is where I shop. It’s a big chain. Funny, but there is another big chain here called Acme.

          • My girlfriend is obsessed with the Acme monopoly sweepstakes.

            “Babe, we just won a free 6-pack of petroleum jelly sticks!”

          • Freeze it. Bread thaws fast and doesn’t get soggy. Buy pre sliced or slice before you freeze. You can pry it apart pretty easily.

            I’ll throw extra hamburger buns from memorial day in the chest freezer and use them the next year sometimes. You have to watch for frost during long storage though.

      • I dropped about $150 yesterday and all I bought was paper products, beverages, some produce. No meat. Only a few cans (of olives, on sale). Prices are about double what they were, particularly compared to what I used to pay (on sale/with coupon). But none of that counts as inflation.

    • The Fed will step in and buy the mortgages, probably leveraging money from the Treasury, and/or Congress will start a program to pay those mortgage payments.

      Defaulting mortgages (due to renters not paying) destroys asset prices, i.e. deflation. Powell lies awake at night in fear of deflation. They will do whatever they can to prevent it, but it’s a battle. There’s too much debt relative to income. The Fed and Congress are trying to counter the lower income via money printing and borrowing. That works until it doesn’t.

      • I agree. But look at the big success these masters of the universe have had with oil. They may be in over their heads.

        As one of those weird savers, I am exposed in the event of a significant currency devaluation. And I am not naive enough to think it could happen. My plan is to live as if 75% of the value of my cash holdings are gone already and equities are worth zero.

        Protect my home, a place where we can pack the entire family if need be. Expect the worst, hope for something not the worst.

        • The dirty secret is that the Fed and Congress can only try to push the head of the beast. If that animal wants to go left, it will go left no matter what the Fed or Congress do. They can plug holes and push at the margin, but they can’t “be” the market.

          Btw, you’ll probably see deflation before you see inflation. Plan for both. Cash and bonds are great for deflation, terrible for inflation. Stocks definitely don’t like deflation and aren’t too keen on inflation, but they’re still good to have around long-term. Nothing wrong with keeping 5% to 10% of your portfolio in gold. Real estate, particularly farmland, is good for inflation. Cash/bonds, stocks, real estate and a touch of gold is a nice combination. It’s the Talmud portfolio.

        • Yeah, we’ve got a place to go, too. Infinite water supply (practically.) However, we’ll probably only have two or three guns to defend ourselves, with about 7 or 8 men of fighting age. I fear roving packs of vibrants.

          But I still doubt it’ll get that bad.

          • Best to be ready. I can reach a loaded weapon while in bed. Plus I like looking at a nice firearm for a lot of reasons.

          • Lawdog,

            Experience has shown me the “roving packs of vibrants” don’t really much do the rural thing. As a matter of fact, they are as uncomfortable as a hoo-arh in church. I’ve had some humorous encounters. It’s the land of crazy-ass white men and all the animals are scary, in their eyes. Hispanic compasinos (rural or farm-area originating Mexicans) are the exception. They are about as “redneck” as our rednecks and probably have more in common with you than some big city Anglo barista does.

            On the practical note of too many hands and not enough boomsticks I suggest looking at gun stores for used shotguns. I’ve seen older serviceable breach-loading shotguns for as low as $79. I have a buddy who keeps these things in every vehicle he owns and scattered throughout his house. He doesn’t fret over their possible theft. He showed off one day and was single loading aimed shots down range at about one per 2.5 seconds. 12g buck, depending on load, that’s roughly 28 to 36 x 32 caliber rounds down range every 10 seconds. That’s a lot of lead.

            You can train up your extra hands in a day or two with these and it beats Quaker guns. Ammo is relatively cheap and while it’s not true that scatter guns require no aiming, they are forgiving on lack of skill. Press the breach-break lever, crack open, load, aim and fire. Not finger fumbling the load is the only tricky part. You can kit out a fireteam for less than $1000. Save your long arms for distance, aimed shots and fire suppression. Shotguns up closer.

            Sorry to drone on with unsolicited advice just thought it could be helpful. I live in a rural area and it’s always our methheads and local bad boys you have to watch, even when it’s just localized power outage.the rest stand out and the unwelcome mat is easy to roll out.

      • The reason we have so much debt and subsequent deflation is of course wage arbitrage .

        This combines with low fertility to basically create a zero sum market and ends up with a few people owning too much stuff to actually have an economy .

        Unless wages go up, keeping asset prices from free fall is difficult, in times of a general depression like we are going to enter is like pushing on a string.

        The smart thing to do is a general default and jubilee but that won’t happen unless there is a total collapse or its goes big igloo.

        What interesting beyond the insane damage to the economy this lock down has done is guns sales. All time record, 75% of them first time buyers many city people and liberals.

        That changes the calculus from “probably not” since its easy enough to avoid pushing risk and violence adverse conservatives too far too “it takes only a match.” since the Left has no issue with violence.

  52. Great article! Most salient line? There are several, but this one pretty well sums it up:

    The curve benders fear a second virus wave, but wait until they get a look at the second layoff wave.

    • The curve bender cultists are worse still.

      They immediately label anyone who dares question the “official” curves as a moron, kook, or intellectual terrorist, regardless of the fact that the questioner may have substantial mathematical experience in their own right.

      Save your energies for something far more productive than engaging with these cargo cultists!

      • I also like how healtcare workers have become a defacto military wing of the cultists. In one city, they were using a wall of nurses (or something gay like that) to block protesters.

        • Healthcare in my experience are the most rule following script oriented morons pretending to be a science based discipline I have come across.

          The vast majority have little understanding outside the models taught at med school and even less interest in research. They blindly follow guidelines and parrot official guidance like some sort of priesthood. They could not develop their own diagnostic techniques to save their life.

          Even within the discipline the few doctors who actually bother to do empirical research tend to be pilloried and hounded even in their own profession if it goes against the dogma of the day.

          • I balefully admire your vitriol, almost the equal of mine 😀 Two comments:
            Many of the rules in a system were set up as the best known way to manage a system, perform a mission or whatever. Even the best designed system will break under some stress.

            You didn’t mention that government and other regulation often stiles innovation.

          • People who work in health care have to be first and foremost great at memorization not problem solving or concern for patients. Being selected for the ability to memorize what you are told is important doesn’t lend itself to a group of people who color outside of the lines

          • When the $20 Trump pills were shown to be the best way out of the mess, many of the vaunted expert doctors refused to accept this unwanted reality. No what we need are un discovered vaccines and 1000 dollar anti-viral medications.

          • every system that has hard scripted rules, I have found, is basically like the trouble shooting section in a 80’s vcr manual…the trouble I am experiencing is not there! In a world of sociopathic script followers and box checkers, that’s a problem.
            there are 2 types of people in the world,
            1. those that can extrapolate the next step from the supplied data,

        • Which was Fake News worthy of Pallywood. The other fake thing going on is the, ”We’re all in this together.” meme. Another is the trite, virtue signaling of “Thank You First Responders” signs.

      • Uh uh! White bring come back, bring more candy bars and cigarettes! 😀 — By Ben, who has in his real-life, seen a TV documentary about cargo cults!

        • If it’s going to be clown world, I think we should treat this like Halloween. Let’s all just dress up like samurai and ninja turtles.

          • I have a mannequin in hazmat suit, gloves and plague mask with a sprayer on my front porch. Her suit says CAUTION PLAGUE. Lots of people out walking and biking in our retirement community stop and speak. I’ve had Branch Covidians express concern. When I laugh, they peddle on.

      • “Are the CDC, FDA, NIH and WHO warehouses where the medical profession puts their fascist schoolmarms, race-baiting clowns and third rate opportunists? They had one job. They failed. In fact, their confusion and misinformation made a bad situation worse.”

    • Some at Sailer have actually been pushing back. My fav: “More case studies like this will only result in unbearable costs, bureaucratic paralysis, and a whole lot of spurious conclusions based on the illusory degree of precision and accuracy they foster, meanwhile more businesses tank, more livelihoods are lost, and more power accrues to an objectionable species of apparatchiks and busybodies.

      Is it your objective to replace the gender studies of the Left with your own equally useless cargo cult of meaningless data manipulation? Did the hierophants of intersectionality draw your ire not because they were wrong but because they were competing with you in the limited market of occultic nonsense peddling?”

      • The indefatigable poster known as “Hail” is doing God’s work at iSteve.

        I believe the poster known as “Je Suis Omar Mateen” was shut down by the proprietor himself.

      • Sailer was the biggest surprise to me. The only thing I can think of is that:

        1.HBD is getting old hat and he is looking for a new focus that will get him back into the mainstream or

        2. The invisible enemy has punched an emotional button and is providing us with more evidence that, in spite of all the fancy analytics, smart people, like everyone else, are primarily driven by emotion.

      • Damn it, and I just bought this oxi-meter iSteve recommended.
        It’s really cool. If you have the Corona virus and you feel like shit, look at the oximeter. It will confirm that feeling and before they can stick you on a ventilator, which will kill you, you rush to the hospital and show them your oxi-meter results and they’ll treat you with meds instead. And you’ll live bro!

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