Oh well…a peaceful 2020 was nice while it lasted. Iran’s revolutionary guard launched nearly a dozen rockets at a U.S. air base in Iraq a few minutes ago. I think it’s safe to say that calm heads are not going to prevail. If there is a God, I hope she protects the little kids…but judging from past slaughters and horrible deaths of children in world history – probably safe to say that 1) there is no god 2) God doesn’t care about us 3) God is a serious asshole.
Watching stock market futures plunge overnight and then watching them jolt back up as Iran said “We’re good now” and Antichrist didn’t make a sudden retaliatory move. News outlets are reporting that there were no American casualties and this might have been by design to avoid a full on war – hard to believe. These markets are being buoyed by the Federal Reserve printing a huge amount of money and injecting it into the system – and main street investors are keen not to miss out on the returns. Meanwhile, the gold and Bitcoin markets edge slowly upwards as we get nearer the inevitable collapse that must come – eventually – when the limits of monetary sleight of hand are reached.
I have no idea what’s going to happen to the USA in the next couple of years. My gut instinct tells me that there will be a massive financial meltdown similar to 2007-2008 and a political shit storm when Trump either wins or refuses to step down from the presidency.
I’m no fan of the liberal establishment but I’d much prefer to have them in power than the progressively worse fascist, false christian, racist, homophobe, woman haters on the other side of American politics. I’m not a fan of government being involved in every aspect of our lives as the Obama/Clinton left would build it but I’m less of a fan of everything being decided by billionaires and oligarchs and class structure being turned into a modern day Mitch McConnel/Donald Trump caste system with rich old white dudes having all the power and everyone else being told to serve or starve.
The one thing I’m pretty sure the future holds for Americans is disappointment. All that credit is going to run out, the retirement system and social welfare systems will be gutted and collapse, and jobs are going to disappear – all while the oligarchs crow that the economy is better than ever and the stock markets are making new highs.
My liberal friends will be faced with four years of hoping to get rid of Donald Trump being dashed against the rocks. My conservative friends will suddenly realize they aren’t a part of the club they’ve been empowering. I don’t have any Trumper friends, but if I did, they would probably be disappointed to not be getting the reward they are expecting – whatever foul thing that might be – whether it is political opponents in jail, lynchings, unchecked tyranny, or civil war.
The bottom line is – unless you are a part of the .5% then you are probably going to get fucked and be disappointed over the next couple of years – but, on the brightside – the odds are in most of our favor to not be victims of a terrorist attack – whether from foreigners or disgruntled white dudes with 2nd amendment issues.
I hadn’t noticed that Craigslist now charges you $5 to sell a car but it’s been that way for more than six months. I just hadn’t been selling a car until now.
It’s been a fun ride as the internet destroyed all the best industries in the world with freebies. All the ‘disruption’ that we’ve been experiencing over the past decade has really been good old fashioned monopoly building. Now that the competition has been destroyed and the moats are dug deep around the monopolies – we’re going to start having to pay and we’re going to start getting gouged.
Newspapers. Dead. Paywalls on news sites – on the rise.
Records with liner notes, CDs with liner notes, music you actually buy once and own forever – gone. Songs you ‘buy’ but have to pay to store on your device – here to stay. That storage fee. Our files are getting bigger and our ‘free’ allocation of storage is getting smaller. 5 GB doesn’t hold many home movies (icloud) or your music, videos, or gazillions of photos. 15 GB (Google Drive) gets used up pretty quick too. It’s only $2.99/month to upgrade…go ahead – and so it begins. The classic pusher line – first one is free.
Starbucks killed coffee houses, Walmart killed mom & pop stores, Amazon killed malls, cable killed broadcast, streaming killed cable, Netflix killed Blockbuster, Budweiser bought all the microbreweries and then Budweiser got bought, and the list goes on and on. CNN and Headline News killed the 6:00 news, streaming buried local news, Whole Foods killed local health food stores, Amazon bought Whole Foods, and so forth. Uber killed buses and taxis.
I liked newspapers. I liked coffee houses. I liked the evening news. I liked small businesses. I liked craft beer. I liked libraries and video stores. I liked record shops and book stores. I liked free local classified ad papers. I liked corkboard bulletin boards in local health food stores.
The internet and tech companies came and killed all these things. They promised leveling the playing field. Free services. Better everything. They lied. They were simply killing the competition and building monopolies. Now they have.
The 1990s were the emergence of computing and internet for the masses.
The 2000s were the decade when people moved into the digital world.
The 2010s have been the decade of disruption which was actually monopoly building.
The 2020s are going to be the most expensive decade people have ever lived – on many different levels.
I’m no longer convinced that Bitcoin will be a good hedge against that – I certainly hope so – but the powers in charge have been working very hard to limit it’s usefulness to those not in power.
It’s probably too late to stop any of this from moving forward.
To say that things seem to be precarious would be an understatement.
Climate change is having devastating effects around the world.
Totalitarianism and Fascism are on the rise and seemingly ready to march.
The act of simply living has become an increasingly expensive proposition.
Children in the US and other countries spend their childhoods staring at screens and going through lockdown and ‘active shooter’ drills.
And then there is that big fake thing – the economy – along with the other fake things like nations, freedom, and liberty.
Hate and anger rule the roads, the checkout lines, and of course – the main way that people interact with one another now – the online world.
I could go on about the big stuff – but what about the small stuff – Craigslist now charges for ads -after killing all the little free ad papers in America. Starbucks isn’t a ‘3rd place’ to spend time and make friends any more but it killed all the little coffee shops that were. All the ‘craft breweries’ and microbreweries are now owned by big international conglomerates and those hundreds of cereal brands in the grocery store are all made by the same three companies.
People are waiting in line for hours to have a ‘new chicken sandwich’ and literally stabbing each other over them.
Cord cutting is now more expensive than cable.
Not only do you have to pay for your phone but also data and storage plus any apps you might think you need.
All the ‘free’ places that used to be good for kids or a relaxing day are filled with sometimes violent and psychotic homeless – for god sakes don’t leave your kid alone at the park or the library and don’t try to spend a quiet afternoon there unless you want to smell pee and hear someone on their cellphone.
No hike in the mountains is complete without some asshat blasting music on a portable speaker as the go down the trail looking for an ‘epic selfie spot’
A new car costs more than a house did when I was a child (the 1970s) – and yet annual wages are about the same or less when inflation is considered.
A trip to the dentist used to be $100 for a cleaning and checkup, no insurance required and if you needed a filling you would get it that day for $100 more or a root canal for $500. Now, they won’t see you without insurance and your co-pay on the root canal will be $1500 and the cleaning, filling, and root canal will require 4-5 appointments that will total in the thousands at the very least.
As for the doctor – just forget it. Let the sickness run its course and die if you have to rather than leaving your kids with huge medical debts.
Everything is more expensive – and yet our schools constantly are sending home fund-raising notices so the kids can have field trips, drama, music or anything else.
National Parks are no longer free and often require reservations just to see them.
The internet is no longer a reasonable place to search for information because you are so bombarded by paid search results and advertisements that the chances of finding what you are looking for are slim to zero unless you are a highly paid search professional. There are no more random exciting discoveries on the internet – only clickbait.
People no longer write letters – email has become so overwhelmed with spam that it is useless. People no longer answer their phones because of robo calls, no one checks their voicemail – most are over-full, and texting is following the same trajectory. The end result is isolation and loneliness.
Social media is filled with malicious ads, fake news, and mind control material – not to mention trolls and hate mongers.
I could go on. I don’t really need to. Let me just lay it out for you in simple terms.
The world is not as good as it used to be. The world sucks. It’s not your imagination or bad attitude. It really sucks.
We’ve created this world and now we have to live in it. If you pray, you should pray for divine intervention, the arrival of aliens, a takeover by artificial intelligence, or the birth of some sort of viral movement that has the ability to sweep all of the world around us away. Those are the only things that can change the trajectory we are on.
Otherwise, we just need to hang on, keep struggling, and make the best of what has become – at best- a very sucky situation for the majority of us in 2019.
The yield curve inverted this morning – which historically has been a bad sign for the American economy. It’s indicated a recession before – but we all know the rules no longer apply. Markets are being manipulated with such a heavy hand and without regard for the human consequences that it’s entirely possible that Trump and his cronies will manipulate the markets back to all time highs before the end of the year.
He has to. The economy is his main tool in the election in 2020 – that’s part of the reason why they are playing with it so heavily right now – the way I see it is that here is the likely scenario –
Trump will make the economy blast higher and higher using every dangerous and questionable technique they can to make sure that he wins the election of 2020 – they will use the economy as a bludgeon and all those old white people with 401ks won’t want to give back their gains
If and hopefully when he loses the election – they will pull the carpet out from underneath the economy, scream ‘communist plot’ and refuse to give up power. They will declare an unprecedented national emergency and stay in power – never giving it up.
Or, alternatively, the magicians have run out of tricks and we can expect the coming months to see a crash that will put 2008 to shame. Personally, I think the global economy needs an actual reset and a huge crash could be just the thing. After that we get someone like Andrew Yang or Bernie Sanders in office and we begin to have a more human centered governance – rather than the rape-bro culture we currently have.
I joined some of my guide friends yesterday for some tree climbing. Banyan climbing is more like it. It was my first time and I am stoked. What a great hobby to pick up. A better work out than the gym, for sure. Below is a pic of me on my way up Tree Beard (82′ to the anchor) and another pic from my phone of Rodolph on belay.
Never fear folks. Now we got the solution to everything. It’s so easy now that Trump is putting it into action.
Got a problem with young people protesting? Start a war of if you already have one, just expand it.
Got a problem with opium based addiction? Start a war with the largest opium producer on the planet.
Got a problem with Muslims? Start a war with an opium producing, Islamic nation bordering another Islamic nation and then bring a hindu nation into it which borders the other Muslim nation.
Got a problem with black people? Start a war and get em fighting for the motherland – hey, get the black people to kill the Islamic people and you got a two birds with one stone situation because both populations are going to get smaller.
Got a problem with a nuclear rogue state? Start a problem between two less stable nuclear states.
Got a Global Warming problem? Cool things down with a Nuclear Winter!
Here it is…the Trump plan…unfolding before our eyes…combine the war on opiods with the war on terror, reinstate the draft at some point, bring on the nuclear winter, and whitey on the moon.
In light of the recent spate of cars being used as terrorist weapons, I think it bears consideration to look at banning all automobiles. Britain and France have already chosen to ban all gas and diesel vehicles by the year 2040. Self driving vehicles with built in safeguards are a reality already that only needs a push from governance to become a reality. Bike share programs are taking off. Rail and hyperloop are realities. It would be good for the environment, it would be good for our mental health, and I think it would be good for our security. I support a ban on cars starting right away.