Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Fred Ain't Dead!

Several months ago, Fred Reed went radio silent. Given his age and health problems, I feared the worst. But instead of being dead, he had switched to a different platform. Woohoo! Fred is Back!

Friday, May 06, 2022

We're Here, We're Here, We're Here!!!

...and very little chance our little dust speck will get boiled. We are in Michigan and right now and it's a balmy 49 degrees. As I type this, I'm sitting in the cabin wrapped in blankets: my dust specks could certainly use a little boiling. The recent radio silence here was due to all the closing up of our Florida place and getting settled into my parents' cabin for the summer. It's amazing what you can forget in six months. The first couple days were just the two of us wandering around the cabin trying to find things we knew we had left here, but had no idea exactly where we had stashed them for the winter. 

Our sticker shock over food prices continues. Just when we think they cannot get any more absurd, they do. On our last foray into Sam's Club, we just cracked up laughing when we saw the packages of precooked bacon for nearly $18. And it wasn't even a full pound. It was some odd amount like 10.7 ounces. Like the stuff was some sort of rare and exotic meat harvested from the livers of new-born baby seals or some such. Incredible. Of course we stopped laughing a couple days later when gas jump 40 cents over night. It sure is a good thing this inflation is just transitory.

A while back I commented how the Federal Reserve had painted itself into a corner with near-zero interest rates (which means negative real rates when inflation gets factored in). If they left them where they were, inflation would keep screaming higher, but if they raised rates to tap the brakes on inflation, they would destroy all the various bubbles as well as crush anyone with large amounts of debt (which is pretty much everyone). Well, it looks like they chose door number 2 with a quick rate hike of .25 percent followed by another one for .5 percent just a few days ago. But that is just the opening act for another five or six more rate hikes by the end of the year. Anyone with a variable rate mortgage may want to start packing now and avoid the rush. 

It will be interesting to see just how much damage this will do to the economy. It will certainly bring an end to the huge bubble that's been blown in real estate. House starts have already taken a nose dive, and a similar crash in housing prices is sure to follow. We may also see more wild gyrations in auto sales. Higher rates may finally end the silly bidding wars that saw dealers getting thousands over sticker price, but may exacerbate the ridiculous prices in used cars, at least in the short term. That will likely end later in the year if the Fed follows through on its threat of even more rate hikes.

Not that any of this was unexpected or that getting interest rates back the something closer to sanity is a bad thing. Free money from the Fed is like pounding down a bottle of Jack Daniels. Sure it feels good for a short period of time, but then the puking starts and the fun is all over. Inflation clearing 8% with no end in site was our economy's response the to the alcohol poisoning of free money from the Fed. Next comes the long painful hangover of crashing prices in everything from stocks to houses, followed by a general contraction in economic activity as everyone resets to a lower standard of living.

One thing I love to watch is how gas prices going up over $4 dollars/gallon shoved Greta Thunberg and the rest of the merry band of climate change misfits right in the gutter. We're back to "Drill baby, drill!!" The Russia-Ukrainian war has caused huge price increases not just in oil, but natural gas and all the unpronounceable metals used in solar panels and windmills resulting in countries from Germany to Australia dusting off those old CO2-belching coal plants. It seems that when faced with the choices of freezing to death in the dark today vs. screwing up the climate 50 or 100 years from now, the world has decided to roll the dice on the second option. Not that solar panels and windmills were ever anything other than a technological gimmick to make a few high-income liberals feel a little less guilty about their own massive carbon footprint. I know I've said this before, but anytime you hear some rich dick helmet talking about reducing CO2, you need to chant the phrase, "CO2 is people!" over and over. And I mean that quite literally. Prior to humanity tapping into the earth's long-term carbon stores, there were maybe a billion people on the planet. Since we've started burning first coal, then oil and natural gas, that number has shot past 8 billion and looks to top 9 billion sometime in the next few decades, assuming the four horsemen stay in their stables. 

That currently looks to be a rather optimistic assumption. The red horse of war has, of course, been a regular feature of human history, but everyone is paying attention now that it involves white Europeans. Nobody gave a shit about refugees and dead children when they were just niggers, ragheads and coin slots (thank you Racial Slur Database; you really can find anything on the internets). But oh Good Lord have Mercy when it's white European refugees and dead children! The white horse paid us a recent visit with covid and the black horse looks to be stopping by this summer as world-wide food shortages start kicking in. Which means the pale horse won't be far behind and carbon emissions will fall. Isn't climate science fun? What was that faux-Chinese thing about living in interesting times?

Speaking of the red horse, can we stop already with the deification of Zelensky? He is absolutely not some Hero of Democracy. Even before the Russian invasion, he had placed the head of the opposition party under house arrest and had shut down and disappeared the heads of any media organization that dared to express even mild dissatisfaction with the Zelensky government. Imagine if Joe Biden put Trump under house arrest, shut down Fox News and had Suzanne Scott hauled off to some CIA black site. Not impossible, of course and the move would be wildly popular with our current crop of illiberal liberals. I mean, shit-damn-hell, Homeland Security just opened up a Ministry of Truth at the mere suggestion that Twitter's new owner, Elon Musk, may actually allow free speech. But regardless of likelihood, such a move could certainly not be seen as "defending democracy". Since the invasion, Zelensky has only gotten worse; outlawing all political parties other than his own and the Nazi parties, and nationalizing all the media. Why do Americans always have to paint every conflict as white hat vs. black hat? I mean, other than our general lack of intelligence and a collective memory that would embarrass a rather dull goldfish? There are no white hats here. Not us, not the Russians, not the Ukrainians, not NATO. And if we are so concerned for Ukrainian civilians, why are we doing everything we can to prolong the war? We are sending tens of billion of dollars in weapons and cash into a black hole. The Ukraine was a cesspool of corruption and grift before the war; why would everyone suddenly turn into angels? It's a safe assumption most of the weapons that manage to avoid being vaporized by Russian artillery or aircraft are going on the black market, not to front-line soldiers. And we already know from pallets of $100 bills disappearing in Afghanistan what happens to money in a war zone. All we are doing is giving false hope and guaranteeing even more (white) Ukrainians will get killed or be driven out of their homes. Stop the madness already.

Well, the sun's coming up which means I need to stop playing around here and get to work, work, work!

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Will Smith (Briefly) Grows a Pair

So the world is all up in a tizzy because Will Smith bitch-slapped Chris Rock for making a tasteless joke about his wife. Liberal men (balls removed by feminists and stored in a jar on a shelf) jumped all over Will Smith for committing such a heinous act (Jon Katz will serve as a good example). I say, "Bravo, Will!" Of course, Hollywood being Hollywood, Will's publicist immediately pulled him aside for a quick talking-to, and Will, crying like a woman, apologized to the world for his indiscretion. But for a brief moment, one man acted like a man should act when his wife is attacked by some moron comedian.

Yes, I am aware that Will's wife talks about her medical condition. So what? That somehow makes her fair game? Who made that rule? Several members of my wife's family have the same condition. They talk about it frequently and even laugh about it. Does that mean I can make tasteless jokes at their expense? If I did, I would hope their husbands have the balls to punch me dead in the face, not just slap me.

I don't know that this post has any real point other that to say, "Well done, Will Smith. Well done!" Even if he did try to walk it all back a few minutes later.

Sunday, March 27, 2022

Russia, Russia, Russia!!

 

So anyone with friends or family that insist that our news media and government couldn't possibly be lying to us about Ukraine, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, etc., etc., just show them this video and ask them to explain how what should have been the biggest story of the 2020 election was written off as "Russian propaganda". Now that it's too late to do anything about it, the New York Times admits that everything was true all along. No apologies, no one who was smeared as a "Putin Stooge" has been re-hired with back pay. Nothing. Not only is the MSM, our government, FBI, etc. a bunch of liars, they're don't even have enough sense to be embarrassed when caught at it.

Speaking of the Ukraine: Don't believe anything you see or hear from anyone. Russia, the US, Ukraine and everyone else is pumping out the propaganda hard and fast. As always, we have the fog of war to contend with, but that doesn't explain why footage from decades-old disaster movies is being put out there as factual coverage of the war. From my sources (some inside Russia), the war in Ukraine is going more-or-less as Russia had planned. The Ukrainian military is no longer a viable entity. There are still pockets of resistance, but they have been encircled and all supplies cut off. As far as the casualty figures being bandied about by both sides, again, I wouldn't believe any of it. And keep in mind that all the US is doing with it's propaganda and weapons is prolonging the agony for the Ukrainian people.

And speaking of Hunter's laptop, it is now more or less accepted fact that the US military was funding research into bio weapons in the Ukraine. Just like we were funding gain-of-function research at Wuhan. This is just another example of the US government being unaccountable to the American people. We (through our elected officials) made this very kind of research illegal. So the military or some branch of HHS that no one even knew existed prior to 2020 offshores the research. Perfect. Those of you who think voting actually matters, take note.

Now that Russia is the latest Great Satan, the Russia-bashing is in full bloom. Russian kids are getting the shit beat out of them at school, restaurants serving Russian food are being vandalized, Tchaikovsky (who lived and died before the Russian Federation, the Soviet Union and the Bolsheviks) has been canceled. Even my parent's church is getting into the act. I recently attended a men's prayer breakfast where the entire time of actual prayer (as opposed to stuffing our faces) was devoted to asking God to smite Putin (the latest incarnation of the antichrist if not Satan himself), smite his soldiers, smite the Russian people, etc. The longer I'm outside of Evangelicalism, the more confusing it gets. First, we had the Adoration of Trump, the most openly vile, amoral, profane human being to defile the office of President. Did he do some good things? Sure. Was he the least-bad alternative in 2016? Absolutely. But why are Evangelicals, with all their rules about proper behavior, ignoring it all in order to worship at the feet of Donald Trump? Now here we go again with pastors and other leaders in the church submitting prayers to God that fall so far outside of basic Biblical theology, they're in a different universe. But then, why would Evangelical churches be any different than every other failing institution in this country?

OK; enough for now.

Sunday, March 06, 2022

Jump!!

It likely means I'm a horrible person, but I can't stop laughing.... (rated NSFW by the MPA)