#VanLife · Culturalism · Federal Government

Can You Even Survive?

Throughout my life I’ve heard people on the Internet and in-person speculate about an apocalyptic future. They’ll speak in lurid terms of how things will go down, the number of rounds they have stacked, and which battle lines shall be drawn. It usually ends up as some variation of patriots vs. fascists/communists, Christians vs. Muslims, or one race against the other. Everything appears settled, and they employ a princely authority in making these fixed conclusions about the days to come.

Yet something typically gets left out: how long will they actually live under such circumstances? It is easy enough to talk tough, but the realities of such an event suggest far less stringent lines being drawn. Just for starters, does the expectant “freedom fighter” have the following:

  • Reliable transportation that is not too much of a gas guzzler, especially if supplies get cut off.
  • Ability to grow food and pump water without ready access to supermarkets or public utilities.
  • Secure lodgings that are actually defensible (not most apartments or townhomes).
  • Practical hand tool skills to help with fortifications.
  • Knowledge of compasses and maps, in case GPS service is unavailable.
  • Not only a supply of defensive hardware, but at least respectable training with them.

The last point is worth honing in on where the “I’ve got 5000 rounds stored up” fellers are concerned. Despite what Hollywood makes us believe, the typical “gunfight” is short and conservative in nature. People are not spitting off hundreds of rounds while crouching behind cover, Gears of War style, unless they happen to be poorly-trained. Proper education emphasizes the importance of trigger discipline and sight picture, not Rambo mayhem, because it is easier to miss than do justice.

Individual readiness matters because the average joe is liable to be on his own, at least for a while. Apart from family or close friends, the notion that you will quickly enlist in some organized group led by military tacticians who proceed to do all the hard work is fantastically low. Such nodes are likely to be haphazard and nonuniform in nature, while also potentially hostile to the existence of our patriotic liberty-monger.

In short, any dramatic occurrence of that fashion (and God forbid it ever materializes), would very probably weed out the most determined jockstraps in the mix, plus a lot more. Sure, being a Gadsen-toting activist with empowered bumper stickers and opinions might feel great, but when a mob of the historically oppressed and butthurt is bearing down on your location, waving around an oversized piece of equipment in panic will close those curtains quick.

To be fair, I guess everyone just wants to go down like Custer in their own head, even if the reality is quite different.   

Culturalism · Federal Government

Of Masks and Men

Perhaps the most amusing aspect to the coronavirus panic has been the complete chaos in messaging around masks, varying from the fiercest concerns to passive indifference, at least until a change occurs. The government refers to it as “science-based evolution,” but we know better. Now masks are being required to enter public places, as if things suddenly shifted in that direction.

What makes it so fascinating is how authorities adapt and weave to escape responsibility. You might recall that I pointed out back on February 11th how a suspicious number of Chinese were being spotted wearing safety masks in public in response to the Rona. The normal reaction was to claim it was due to their experience with SARS, or simply a sense of precaution.

In the United States, our Surgeon General actually made the following tweet on February 29th:

Adams’ rage can be explained by considering the projected supply shortage, yet at the same time American firms were shipping MILLIONS of masks to China to help with their response. Of course it only took about a month for our man Jerome to produce this video:

Oh so now masks are more effective, or per chance he just wanted to demonstrate his mad KonMari skills with cloth origami. Around the same time, the CDC updated their own guidelines in support of wearing masks, I suppose because production might have picked up by that point.

Now that all is well in the world, we can go out, only face masks have become a requirement at most stores, because science. The same science that had no evidence before, but now does, because the government decided it exists. Maybe the next advisory will recommend wearing Trojans over the tongue to prevent ingestion of particles from a TikTok celeb.

Do you still trust science?

Federal Government · investing · Personal Finance

That Kind of Hertz

In an eleventh hour weekend move, the car rental company Hertz filed for bankruptcy, sending its shares for a lovely ride:

“Give you a lift?”

I’m curious what stands to follow, especially as many states continue their draconian frighten in place orders despite the economic bleeding. The travel industry and airlines might raise particular concern, but even some restaurants could hit the chopping block due to their brick and mortar ways. And that’s all excluding oil, which has a lot of livelihoods attached to it throughout various parts of the U.S.

If nothing else, this crisis should inform politicians of how fragile the financial web remains in our country. Sending over thirty million to the welfare rolls in order to save them from the invisible enemy strikes the mind as nanny state idiocracy, which we surely don’t have in America. After all, this is the greatest country on earth.

Right?

Is your degree worth it? · Is your major worth it?

Colleges Are Going Bankrupt

It’s a weird thing in many respects, but the COVID-19 panic-demic has helped highlight the profound weakness of the modern economy, and in particular those sectors which are still stuck in the Dark Ages. At the crown of this sordid pile would be institutions of “higher education,” such as colleges and universities.

The virus’ malevolent hamstringing of normal economic behavior means that schools which desperately held on to the brick and mortar model for years to keep the debt-financed tuition payments flowing now find it difficult to get paid – or secure payers in the future. They are finally coming to terms with the corrupt and usury-enslaving system which they helped propagate, and the image is a grim one.

Current reports suggest smaller liberal arts colleges will be the first to suffer, because they are “extremely tuition-dependent.”

Imagine that. Names of the at-risk parties included in various articles are Alma College, Albion College, The King’s College, Wheaton College, Mount Ida College, and more. The mighty (and rich) have fallen.

Part of the problem might be the higher education industry’s blatant lack of association with reality. According to a summary of author John Ellis’ insights into the university sector:

“American universities keep grinding out more PhDs (writing theses no one may ever read) than they have tenure-track teaching jobs so that an increasing number accept hourly wages as adjuncts and look forward to increases in the minimum wage.”

Exactly. These wage slave and government-funded institutions have never cared about the actual employment market, even as technology makes tenured professorships and secure faculty admin jobs a thing of the past. They were all in the money.

Sadly, the casualties of their folly will fall on the recent PhD graduates and support staff who have invested their time in hopes of a vanishing career. Even Harvard, with its $37 billion dollar endowment, is finding ways to shed low wage contract employees. But they STILL tried to get bailout money.

Speaking of bailouts, higher education will shortly be on the list. Moody’s has reported that over 30 percent of public and private colleges are already running deficits, and it will get worse as they come knocking. We just have to get through with pensions, the Post Office, Big Oil, and maybe healthcare too.

Life is good.

Federal Government

The SBA’s Dramatic Failure

For all the desperate hand-wringing about the need for Congress the pass SOMETHING, the outcomes are usually pretty poor. Several weeks ago our federal legislatures enacted the CARES Act, a $2 trillion juggernaut meant to prop up the flailing economy. In its assorted blubber they inserted the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program, designed to provide up to $2 million in working capital for small businesses.

Thus far, it’s not working too well. Instead of that magic number, firms are being promised closer to 25-35k, with strains making the current disbursement around 15k, at least for the time being.

It’s truly remarkable. The government capable of mass printing and borrowing to fund gigantic programs and nation-building wars is bumbling where the fate of its own business owners are concerned. The Small Business “Administration” has been swamped by requests in a heartbeat, despite having over 3,000 employees and a budget of $710 million.

Is the solution an increase in their budget, which Trump has already attempted as recently as February? Perhaps an even larger stimulus is needed, because money appears to be the magic solution for every problem Congress faces.

Or, we could structure programs in a manner that makes sense, and not demand an archaic application process which many cash-based companies will inevitably struggle to complete.

Just a suggestion.

Personal Finance

Did Nature Punish Humanity With Corona?

The empowered conservative blogosphere was recently alight with outrage over Papa Frank’s suggestion that the coronavirus might be one of nature’s responses to climate change. Breitbart commenter John Truman Jr. received over a thousand upvotes for responding as follows:

“Francis preaches the anti-gospel of Karl Marx. He is a leftist activist when we need a spiritual leader. Worst. FakePope. Ever.”

Laying petty politics aside, the Supreme Catholic Diversity Warrior might have a point, although he reaches poor conclusions elsewhere. Frank’s opinion harkens back to the George Carlin bit where the comedian predicted that nature would eventually get rid of humans and then proceed to “heal and cleanse itself.” He added that the planet might use VIRUSES to eliminate the human population, referencing HIV.

Sure, coronavirus hasn’t been all that devastating yet, but some peculiar data did emerge concerning pollution. In Venice, a drop in canal boat traffic left the waterways looking clear and beautiful when compared to before. Across the Atlantic, reports suggest a 30 percent decline in air pollution for the Northeastern United States, attributed in large part to the lower flight totals caused by the outbreak. Similar information has emerged in India due to less airline usage.

What’s interesting is that prior to these developments, suggesting policies to avoid sharp population growth in the West (and the accompanied pollution it entails) was responded to with the “Ecofascism” or “EcoNazism” slurs. Now we see how much of a toll globalization, mass immigration, and liberal transport policy have had on the environment, all because of a pandemic.

Will attitudes change for the good of the planet, or are we destined for a Carlinist judgment day?

Federal Government

Politicians Are Never “Ready”

Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York was just quoted saying his state is “not yet ready” for the anticipated coronavirus peak over the next week.

Newsflash: politicians are never prepared. Maybe it says something about the nature of government, although one would think “use or lose” federal budgetary strategies make an increased medical stockpile quite sensible. Instead, they whiz the money away on nothing and then claim there is a massive equipment crisis when things go bad.  

The bigger issue is this: no one gets rewarded politically for thinking ahead. Humans have been trained to expect a state-sanctioned RESPONSE, something to calm their nerves and fill the headlines. Thus being the dutiful worker ant doesn’t help where attentions are concerned.

Suppose Trump and Co. had 600 million reusable facemasks in storage, a containment plan ready to go, and “a hospital ship for every diversity region.” Would the media cheer? Might we count on Democrats to clap their hands? Probably not, because the issue itself would be less threatening. The politician is only paid election-wise for effectively putting on a show, not demonstrating foresight. If Trump’s reaction looks good, he will benefit, but otherwise his opponents win. Simple as that.

For all these reasons, individuals need to prepare. The government can do marvelous things, but it rarely thinks out of the box, or even about the future.

Culturalism · investing · Personal Finance

The Federal PRESERVE of Wall Street

Some people ask me how I’m able to stay sane as an investor during times like these. The answer is quite simple: just pay attention to the federal government.

As most already know, the Congress approved a $2 trillion monstrosity by voice vote yesterday, with the only visible opposition coming in the form of representatives AOC and Thomas Massie. Beyond its inclusion of various stimulus programs, the legislation creates a fat bailout fund for larger companies, and allows the Federal Reserve to leverage up to $4 trillion in support of the economy (Read: Wall Street ).

In the words of Powell the Owl:

“Effectively one dollar of loss absorption of backstop from Treasury is enough to support $10 worth of loans. When it comes to this lending we’re not going to run out of ammunition.”

Some Democrats openly demanded oversight for $500 billion in assistance that corporations will have partial access to through the bill, and succeeded in establishing an inspector general to monitor disbursement of the money. In response, Republicans began to weep miserably.

Just kidding. In reality, El Orangelo was several steps ahead of them, placing his ink on the bill accompanied by a fancy signing statement, which effectively allows him to ignore parts he doesn’t like. According to the man himself:

“I do not understand, and my Administration will not treat, this provision as permitting the [inspector general] to issue reports to the Congress without the presidential supervision required.”

In relation to congressional oversight requirements for specific funds he added:

“These provisions are impermissible forms of congressional aggrandizement with respect to the execution of the laws.”

In other words, the money is already compromised. If that wasn’t enough, the legislation also shrouds Federal Reserve meetings in deeper secrecy, establishing an effective wall against FOIA requests.

So Wall Street will be fine, although your currency is another question. But don’t worry, you can forget all that and just rage against Thomas Massie.

Culturalism · Personal Finance

Paranoia Nation

We have already considered the negative impacts of Corona Derangement Syndrome (CDS) on the economy and the world. But even all that pales in comparison to a new story on the block.

On Hufflepuff.net, an article was published with the title “My Grandma Isn’t Taking Coronavirus Seriously Enough And It’s Terrifying.”

At first glance, the piece might come off as a touching tribute to an elderly relative at risk from the advancing virus. That is, until the reader reaches sentence two:

“In New Jersey, a quick 18 miles and two river crossings from where I am in Brooklyn, my 88-year-old nana is probably sleeping after another long, semi-quarantined day of watching the news, chain-smoking cigarettes and worrying about me.”  

Yes my economic chickens, our author is petrified over an octogenarian who apparently partakes in multiple cigarettes daily. God bless the grandma for her old age, and I wish her 88 more, but doesn’t the granddaughter’s reaction seem a bit odd? Her nana was presumably warned of the risks of smoking at some point, yet continues on regardless. She has lived longer than most people, and still appears tough as a cookie. Coronavirus would probably die trying to make her sneeze even once.

As it has been said, what makes a crisis devastating is less the cause, and more the reaction.