Tapping Strategic Reserves Is A Ploy

In response to the attack on the Saudi oil refinery, Trump has said he will tap the National Strategic Reserve. This is a ploy. If not for it being a ploy, I would be forced to say, “My, how SOCIALIST of him.”

The strategic reserve is in place to safeguard against a national oil and gas shortage, as happened in the early 70’s. We are not there, nor are we at risk of being there.

Not long ago, Trump was crowing about how the US is now a “net” oil exporter. Meaning we export more oil than we import. We still import oil. Lots of it from Saudi Arabia. So, what’s the problem? Stop exporting, right?

Wrong. There are several issues at play here.

First, ceasing the export of US oil would mean impacting the petrodollar system directly. Which will already see a significant impact because Saudi oil is sold anywhere in the world in dollars, a significant portion of the petrodollar system and the original petrodollar itself. For that to be reduced by half takes a huge bite out of the petrodollar system because a lot fewer dollars are being traded internationally. If we stopped exporting oil, that would result in a drop of roughly 75% of the value of the petrodollar itself. Assume import/export to be equal, so 50/50. Half of the imports gone means a reduction of 25% of the petrodollar. Reduce export by 100% and you cut another 50% of the petrodollar value.

Second, this is a giveaway to the oil companies. There is no federal oil refinery, no federal wells in operation. What comprises the strategic reserve is purchased from oil companies at roughly market price. In other words, it was replenished while the cost of oil was low. Now, if we exhaust some or all the reserves, they will have to be replenished later. At higher cost to us, higher profit to oil companies.

All of this is aside from this action being extremely dangerous. Who is to say that Yemen will not destroy another Saudi refinery? Even if they do not, what happens if we deplete the reserves while we do not need it, then run into the situation that we do need it?

The short answer is, we’d be screwed. The major purpose of the strategic reserve is so that the military and government can keep functioning in an emergency. Not the whole country. Deplete the reserves and then have an emergency, that would mean the government and military would be stopped in their tracks.

In fact, the world is watching. Including Iran. If we attack Iran, they could very well attack the other Saudi oil refinery/ies, reserves and naval ports. That would crush the petrodollar, freeze the country and partially cripple the military.

I see a ration card in your future.

Understand, we do not produce enough oil to be energy independent at current capacity. I don’t know the actual numbers but will give an example. Say we use 120 gals of oil per day. We export 50 barrels per day and use 50. That means 70 barrels of what we use is imported. If we stopped importing, we would still be 20 barrels short.

“We can just buy more oil from other countries.”

Wrong, bucko. The Saudi reduction in oil means less oil sold to all countries that buy from them, not just the US. So there will be fierce competition to buy oil from other sources. We would be one in a crowd, all fighting for the same scraps.

The fact is, a small, war torn country in the Middle East may well have just figured out a way to destroy the United States as we know it. Without ever having to threaten us directly. I don’t know about you but after all the weapons we’ve sold Saudi Arabia, I’d call that karma.

I’d say it’s about time the US stepped up to the bargaining table and stopped being the bully/bully’s friend. No threats are going to help with this. Only a diplomatic solution will do anything worthwhile.

The Root Source of Drug Abuse

The US government and media has spoken about drug abuse for decades. Constantly seeking one influence or another to blame. Migrants, minorities, drug companies, etc.

The biggest problem with nearly any discussion on drug abuse is that the root cause of drug abuse is too often ignored, downplayed or completely omitted.

While we are seeing a massive increase in opiate addiction and overdose, this is not the first instance of this in US history. Prior to the creation of government agencies to regulate drug use, opiates were common and sold over the counter. Morphine, codeine and other opiates were in everyday medications like cough suppressants. At one time, Coca-Cola contained cocaine, derived from leaves from the coca tree, hence the name of the most popular soda in world history. 7-Up once contained Lithium, which is now used as a psychiatric medication used to treat manic disorders and allegedly acts as a mood stabilizer. Today, the US comprises 5% of the world population yet accounts for 80% of global opiate consumption.

At the same time we are seeing an increase in opiate use/addiction/overdose, the US also has seen an increase in antidepressant use since 1999. Benzodiazepines such as Valium, Xanax or Ativan saw prescriptions roughly double between 2003 and 2015, that most recent data compiled which I saw in a cursory search.

In addition to opiate use, the rising trend seen in illegal drug trade is bath salts. Bath salts act as a dopamine reuptake inhibitor, causing elevated mood in the user.

Whether we are talking about legal or illegal drugs, alcohol, bath salts, opiates or antidepressants, the same trend becomes evident. Each of these substances has specific similar effects, meaning decreased anxiety/elevated mood. To be clear, increased dopamine production or slowing the reuptake of dopamine, results in a similar response. Dopamine is the “feel good” hormone produced by the brain.

So, the question is, why are we seeing a desire for chemicals to improve our mood? Some like to claim it is a matter of privilege. Yet they cannot then explain why drug use and addiction are either constant across income levels or worse among the least privileged in society. Or why countries with higher income levels do not have higher rates of use and addiction. In general, why has addiction become more common in the past few decades in the US, while income levels have remained stagnant? Why do drug and alcohol use increase during times of severe economic downturn?

There have been studies on antidepressant use among younger Americans which show clearly that their depression is very real, for very real reasons which pills cannot cure. The same reasons apply to all forms of drug use and abuse.

Here is a short list of reasons we are seeing chemical use rise in the US-

This country has been at war for 18 continuous years. Many younger Americans see family members and friends enroll in the military due to lack of other opportunities. Those family members and friends change, become different people. Then they may not come back or come back injured, damaged physically and/or emotionally. Young people who do not enroll have a very real fear of a draft being enacted at some point. That fear has a very rational basis.

From young to old, we see people struggling to make ends meet. Many working multiple jobs. Younger people are staying at home much longer than previous generations and it is all due to financial reasons.

The price of education has skyrocketed far beyond the rate of inflation, leaving millions with student loan debt for decades, along with the associated interest. Defaults on student loans are the highest they have been in the history of this country. Meanwhile, many who are graduating are unable to find employment in their chosen careers, even when their degrees are in business management, accounting or vocational occupations. Which leaves them earning low salaries with high levels of debt.

Vehicle loans are seeing high numbers of defaults, with the average car payment today being over $500 a month. Or a person has the choice of spending many hours every day on the worst public transportation system of any first world country. Imagine doing that when you have children. Or maybe you don’t have to imagine it. You may be reading this while riding the bus, for all I know.

There is the constant fear of mass shootings, either in schools, churches, theaters, malls, night clubs. Meanwhile our CONgress remains in the pocket of the NRA, refusing to take meaningful action. If the same number of people died every year from an illness or certain class of vehicle as from assault weapons, we would have large sums of money thrown at it and the banning of that class of vehicle entirely.

Anyone being pulled over by police has no idea if evidence will be planted on them or in their vehicle. Road side drug tests are proven to be unreliable and are inadmissible in court, yet you can be held in jail for days before a more valid forensic test proves your innocence and even that will not help if a dirty officer plants evidence. Of course, you also have the chance of being shot while reaching for your wallet.

Racism is rampant. People of color fear being victims of hate crimes just walking or driving. Or being shot by police for the crime of not being white.

Women fear being physically and/or sexually assaulted. Men fear being accused of things they’re actually not guilty of.

People are afraid to speak to each other. Period.

Like I said, this is a short list of reasons we are seeing such an epidemic of mind-altering chemical use and abuse. Yet the discussion regarding those chemicals, the root causes for the prevalence of their use is rarely discussed. The media and government steadfastly refuse to discuss the issues leading to the problem because doing so would result in lower profits for major advertisers and donors, such as drug companies, for-profit prisons and weapons manufacturers selling to police departments. They all want to continue the failed war on drugs which has raged on for nearly 50 years and only escalated with the results being what we see today.

If we want to see a change, we have to change the approach. Up to now, it has been doing the same thing every single year and expecting different results. So it is up to us to insist on the discussion to change topics. That real problems be addressed, that new solutions be enacted. Too many lives have been destroyed by the current approach. If we don’t absolutely demand that things change, millions more lives will be destroyed.

We have no idea how many innocent people have had their lives and the lives of their families torn apart by planted evidence. Even if guilty of possession of drugs, does that alone warrant paying for it for the rest of your life?

The war on drugs to date has cost us uncounted trillions of dollars. Mock hearings, millions of people in prison, families on public assistance where they were not before, children and innocent adults caught in the crossfire, decimated careers, psychological therapy for any number of related issues and militarized police all cost us every day of our lives in ways we can never account for financially or emotionally.

The ultimate truth about our drug problem is that it leads to many other problems which are far more costly on every level. It is caused by other problems which are too often ignored or viewed separately. We will never solve the drug problem unless we address the problems which lead to it. We will never stop the problems it leads to unless we solve the drug problem.

In other words, drugs are not the problem, they are a symptom of the real problem. The real problem is capitalism. Does that mean we would have no drug problem if we lived in a Socialist society? No. It means we would address the drug problem in far different ways, ways which preserved society instead of ripping it apart. The only reason we are not doing so right now is because of the profit motive of those truly in charge of our society. If we discuss ways to reduce the cost of any problem, capitalists instantly think, “But we’ll make less money!”

If we talk about treating addiction as an illness using a nationalized treatment program, they scream, “But who will pay for it?!” We would. We would pay far less than we do now in every way. We would have more money, more freedom, less violence, less crime, less depression, less anxiety, less anger, less paranoia, fewer suicides, fewer guns, fewer families ripped apart, fewer absent parents, less racism, lower medical costs of treating poisoned chemicals made in garages in other countries…

In the end, we need to wage war against the war on drugs.

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

I am an independent writer with no corporate sponsors or backing. The only income I make from my writing comes from views. At least I have reached the point where it makes more than it costs me! lol! (Not by much.) My writing is done in between full time (and overtime) nursing, shared custody of my brilliant daughter and mundane existence.

I have opened my new website which is intended to be a central listing of protests and political rallies across the US. It’s still a work in progress but is functional. You can find it at http://RallyAndProtest.com

Please consider becoming a patron on Patreon. I try and average at least 20 articles a month, so a $1 a month donation would come down to 5¢ per article to support independent, non-corporate writing. My Patreon page is here.

If you care to share articles with those who do not have Medium or Patreon accounts, I also post most of my articles on my own website, which has no advertising and I pay for with income from writing. My website is athttps://issuesunite.com/ and all articles can be shared freely. You can always quote me, no attribution required. My goal is spreading information and awareness. The whole point is building a better, more peaceful, more equitable world for us and future generations.

The Dangers of Shadow Banking

You have probably heard the term by now, “shadow banking”. However, many people don’t understand the risks it poses because they do not understand exactly what it is.

Shadow banking by all estimates is greater in size than the global banking system. By some estimates, it is greater in size than the global economy.

Comparison. You see lots of stories about how the Chinese shadow banking system poses a threat to the global economy. However, according to Bloomberg, the US shadow banking system is nearly twice the size of the Chinese shadow banking system, with China accounting for 16% of estimated shadow banking programs, while the US accounts for and estimated 31% (almost 1/3 of all shadow banking globally). In 2016, China began enacting policies to rein in their shadow banking problem. This is aside from the fact that most Chinese banks are nationalized. Nationalized banks cannot be shadow banks or pose the level of risk that privatized shadow banking systems do. In the US, any attempt at regulating shadow banking has met with legal, economic and political resistance.

What is it? Shadow banking is comprised of financial institutions and systems which are not held accountable to regulatory agencies the way officially recognized banks are. In the US, financial products and institutions are typically regulated by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and Securities and Exchange Commission, with other regulatory agencies which oversee various smaller segments of the financial market. These agencies ideally place limits on how much financial institutions can loan out in relation to their deposits, practices that reduce fraud or economic/financial risk to the public.

Who is it? Shadow banking (I’m tired of typing that out. Let’s abbreviate it SB, okay?) is comprised of financial institutions which have a wide range of influence. You either right now or have in the past done business with SB entities without knowing it. They include such entities as hedge funds, short term lending agencies like payday lenders and vehicle title loan companies, home equity lenders, insurance companies and many investment firms. It also includes entities such as GoFundMe. However, the largest and most dangerous of all involve financial derivatives and credit default swaps.

Why are they popular? SB entities generally offer the chance of higher returns on investment compared to regulated institutions. However, a major reason they can offer higher returns is that the financial products they offer tend to be high risk. Their loans and products have a much higher default rate than standard financial products. Think of high interest loans to high risk borrowers.

The dangers. The dangers involved with SB is the fact that they do fall outside the regulations that regular banks are subject to. Regulations which require banks to maintain a certain level of collateral deposits as a percentage of how much they can loan out. If the economy or a specific entity show signs of a higher default percentage, leading to decreased returns or even loss on investment, investors in these entities can withdraw their entire investment without notice. If large investors or large numbers of investors withdraw their investments, it causes a run on that institution or even an entire SB industry category. That can have drastic effects alone but it can also have a domino effect, especially if a large SB company offers multiple products.

Not limited to non-banking entities. One huge problem with the SB system is that regulated entities often invest large sums in the SB entities or loan money to them. The SB system had a major role in the 2008 crash thanks to high risk loans and mortgages by SB companies which were packaged as lower risk loans in “bundles” which were purchased by standard banking institutions. However, banks are well known to establish their own SB companies as well. The obvious risk with this is that if these entities fail, they bring down large banks.

Regulation does not stop it. Some may believe that legislation like Dodd-Frank placed limits or regulations on the SB system. Not at all. Dodd-Frank only addressed standard banks and did not address the SB system at all. Many candidates receive campaign donations from SB companies. Some economists claim that if the SB system were eliminated that the economy would suffer greatly. However, all agree that it is an extreme danger which should be regulated.

Shadow Banking steals from the legitimate financial system. Were SB brought under control and regulation, it probably would result in less investment by some. However, it would result in greater stability in the financial system. SB investments divert funds from legitimate, regulated, more transparent financial systems. The fact is that returns on legitimate investment systems suffer as a direct result of funding diverted to the SB system, causing lower returns. SB is popular simply because of lesser regulation and oversight.

SB and regulated markets are tied together. As noted above, regulated systems and SB systems are tied together. However, even when not directly tied together, they are intrinsically tied because of shared investors. Some may believe that if the stock market and regulated systems retract that SB systems will expand. As seen in 2008, the opposite is true. When financial markets retract, they have a domino effect causing all markets to retract concurrently. Many businesses have a combination of funding from regulated and unregulated sources. Thus, when large businesses or a large number of businesses fail, it has an effect on all the above. When investors see a risk of losing because of a retraction, they pull funding from all investments in similar streams. In addition, Quicken Loans is a SB entity, now the largest mortgage lender in the country. Other mortgage lenders are also SB entities, though smaller.

Cyclic effect. As employers see reduced profits, they reduce staffing. When this happens in large numbers as we have only begun to see, it means the consumer market retracts. More consumers default on loans of all kinds. In the case of SB lenders, they are much faster to pursue vehicle repossessions, foreclosures, etc. This is an attempt to claim the property, charge the initial borrower and resell the property to a second borrower at a secondary profit. Yes, this is illegal for regulated lenders but not for unregulated lenders. In the interim and when this fails, SB profits decline. When profits decline, investments decline. When investments decline, the interest rates on any loan offers increase. This causes more rejections and more defaults. All of this reduces finances available for consumers to spend, causing a further decline in consumer spending, bringing us back to reduced profits for employers and the cycle continues. This cycle happens very quickly.

So, while shadow banking is typically described in terms which seem abstract or which affect only large investors, as you can see it absolutely affects you personally in very real terms. The fall of the stock market can mean the fall of shadow banking. The decline in each one and both can affect your credit, your employment, your housing, your retirement savings and on and on.

Wonder what Libertarians will think about this?

Where Would The US Be If Foreign Investors Pulled Out?

There has been a rising nationalistic negative attitude against foreign companies investing in and owning property in the US. I’m not going to make a final judgment on whether this is good or bad, just examine what would happen if those countries pulled their investments out or sold/abandoned their properties.

The nationalistic attitude toward foreign investors owning manufacturing locations in the US is pure folly. The negativity comes from those who make the false assumption that if foreign investors moved out, that domestic investors would increase production.

First thing to note is that in recent years, foreign investors have probably been more aggressive in investing in capital investments in the US than domestic investors have been. Toyota, Hyundai, mining companies have been building factories here. Chinese investors, as well. Have you noticed these companies have not been announcing mass layoffs while Ford, GM, GE, etc have been?

While US corporations took the bipartisan tax break handed to them and used that money to buy back their own stock and fatten the wallets of corporate executives and major investors, it has been left to foreign investors to expand manufacturing and create jobs.

This also means that if and when the stock market crashes, domestic companies will be laying off and closing factories. The only jobs with a chance of stability are going to be the ones owned primarily by foreign investors.

Under Trump, we stand the extreme chance that foreign investors whom he welcomed with open arms will either be forced out or will voluntarily pull up stakes as soon as they recoup their investments. If that happens, we have problems.

Some may believe that American investors would step in and simply take over the existing factories. It’s not that simple. First, there is the problem of establishing entirely new supply lines. Then there is the even bigger problem of intellectual property. An American company could not simply take over and produce the exact same products. They would have to come up with entirely new product designs. Then the factories would have to be retooled. Employees may have to be retrained. If they tried producing the same product, there would be legal challenges and the likelihood that other countries would boycott or ban the products due to those challenges.

Then there would be the problem of having a market to sell to. Depending on the product, like vehicles, with employment and wages taking a large hit, that would mean the market would not be open to new products enough to warrant that much of an outlay. In addition to whether consumers would spend money on major purchases on entirely new product lines meant to replace established product lines. There is a reason that you see vehicle models bearing the same name which have existed for decades. Those are product names that consumers are loyal to.

Last but not least this brings new problems and dimensions to how well American manufacturers and possibly even retailers are welcomed in other countries. One can say all they like about China’s trade policies but their policies are extremely well defined, so US corporations have not done business there and been caught off guard. They knew exactly what they were getting into before they got into it.

Personally, I’m not against each country doing their own manufacturing in their own country. I think that’s the way it should be. However, with the way things have been conducted for so many years, changing suddenly, unilaterally, in mid course will absolutely do damage to our trade agreements globally. Some will say it doesn’t matter because we can produce everything we need. Maybe you’re right, maybe not but that is not the point. If other countries choose to reduce or end trade with us, that does damage to the value of the dollar against other currencies, which will result in runaway inflation. Restoring trade deals under such circumstances would take decades because trade is built primarily on trust. Considering how many agricultural producers, retailers and manufacturers rely heavily on international trade, no small number would go out of business entirely. Don’t forget there are some items we can only get through international trade. Like rare earth minerals, most coffee and all chocolate.

Of the top 500 most profitable companies globally, 129 are in China, 121 in the US. Of the top 10 largest banks by deposits, 4 are in China, 3 in the US, 1 each in the UK, Japan and France.

Too many Americans think the rest of the world cannot survive without us. We comprise only 5% of the world’s population. We account for over 1/3 of all national debt globally. Some sources state that our private debt equals 150% of GDP. In all honesty, if other countries, especially China, decided they wanted to obliterate us economically, it would not be that hard to do at this point. They are not far from getting angry enough at us to do exactly that. With other countries deeply in debt as well, they would not be able to support us in that level of a trade war, even if they wanted to. It’s doubtful they would want to by now. So it is time to rethink this isolationist, nationalistic, arrogant attitude. Put the steroids down and start thinking rationally.

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

I am an independent writer with no corporate sponsors or backing. The only income I make from my writing comes from views. At least I have reached the point where it makes more than it costs me! lol! (Not by much.)My writing is done in between full time (and overtime) nursing, shared custody of my brilliant daughter and mundane existence.

I have opened my new website which is intended to be a central listing of protests and political rallies across the US. It’s still a work in progress but is functional. You can find it at http://RallyAndProtest.com

Please consider becoming a patron on Patreon. I try and average at least 20 articles a month, so a $1 a month donation would come down to 5¢ per article to support independent, non-corporate writing. My Patreon page is here.

If you care to share articles with those who do not have Medium or Patreon accounts, I also post most of my articles on my own website, which has no advertising and I pay for with income from writing. My website is athttps://issuesunite.com/ and all articles can be shared freely. You can always quote me, no attribution required. My goal is spreading information and awareness. The whole point is building a better, more peaceful, more equitable world for us and future generations.

They Are Miscalculating

The media is reporting on the increasing risk of recession, based on Wall Street predictions. Or should I say manipulations?

By saying “recession” or “slowdown”, they are miscalculating at best, misrepresenting conditions at worst.

“Recession” is an interesting word. There is no universal definition as to what economic conditions constitute a recession or what constitutes a depression. Talk to different economists and you will get different criteria. None of those definitions establish complete collapse of an economy. They will use the term, “economic crisis”, even when that “crisis” lasts for years. Look at the conditions in Greece. Look at the conditions in Venezuela. In both of those countries, the economic conditions have basically been inflicted on those countries. For Greece, the conditions were imposed by creditors. For Venezuela, the conditions have been caused by US sanctions and seizure of assets.

Stock market decline. On 8/23/19 the DOW was down by over 600 points again. Which means we are quickly approaching a drop of 2000 points in less than three months. While the general economy has been suffering for years, the stock market, meaning rich investors, has been riding high through it all. We have been hearing how well the economy is doing but when you talk to real people on the street you hear a far different story.

Media complicity. With the 2020 election coming up, the media who touted the strength of the economy has changed their tune drastically. Now corporate economists are all getting on one page, stating a recession is eminent. A recession has been eminent for years, they just haven’t told you so. They haven’t told you so because they are complicit in the conditions which are leading us into a recession/depression/collapse. If they told you it was coming, they would lose advertising from financial firms. Where economics are concerned, most Americans do not want to hear the truth. They want to hear what makes them feel secure, safe, happy, superior to their neighbors and other countries.

What the media doesn’t say. Of course, most of the media are run by neoliberal oligarchs. They oppose Trump, yet have wanted to capitalize as much as they could from his tax cuts and reduction of the interest rate. Now they have received their tax cuts, further interest rate cuts are not promised and will not amount to much if they happen. Thus, at this point they feel confident in attacking Trump and claiming a recession is going to happen if the current trade war continues. They neglect to tell you the recession/recession/collapse will occur even if the trade war completely stopped right this minute.

That neglect is fully intentional. The timing of the gradual revelation of the economy receding is intentional. Had they previously mentioned the economy weakening, you would have seen exactly what we are seeing right now and will see accelerating rapidly, which corporate media is literally instigating- for people to withhold money from savings and reduce spending. This accelerates the process of economic slowdown. If this had happened in 2017 or even 2018 the slowdown would have occurred much sooner than now. Which would mean that much of the blame could have been laid at the feet of the Obama administration.

Diverting your focus. Much of the blame does fall on the Obama administration. However there are more things to consider. Any earlier revelation would have meant that the GOP tax cut would not have occurred. Increases in defense spending would have either not happened or would have been far less. The focus of media reporting would have had to center on the economy, rather than Russiagate. Have you even noticed that the media focus has so suddenly shifted to the economy and racism now that Russiagate is effectively over? It’s not like anything has drastically changed economically or socially since Mueller testified before CONgress. The exact same things are happening. The only thing that has changed is how the media reports on it.

It’s not the tariffs. The media has built up the rhetoric claiming the economy was doing well and even expanding while manufacturing declined and we have seen record numbers of retail closures. We have seen mass layoffs and the Labor Participation Rate has dropped severely. Student loan defaults hit a record high in 2018. Vehicle sales have been down for years, which led to layoffs in the auto industry. It had nothing to do with tariffs. If the economy were truly doing well, tariffs would cause some inflation but virtually nothing else. So tariffs are not helping but they are nothing but an excuse.

What is the goal? To understand what the goal is, one need do nothing more than look back to 2008/2009. How did Obama deal with the recession? He bailed out the auto industry and the big banks using taxpayer money. That’s what Wall Street is counting on again. They got their tax break, interest can’t go much lower than it is now. Republican and Democratic administrations deal with economic recessions differently. Republicans cut taxes on the rich, using trickle-down economics as a rationale in spite of two decades of Reaganomics proving it false. Democrats bail out the same entities who got the tax breaks. Republicans are also likely to reduce social support programs, while Democrats increase spending on those programs. So the goal is to repeat this process. Allow or even force the crash to occur, then expect to be bailed out. You pay, they collect.

No social spending increase would be enough. In distant history, the increases in social support by Democrats was much greater than in recent years. By 2021, any increase would have to be truly massive if it had any chance of recovering the economy. No increases in social support spending which will be suggested at this point and by the current parties will be sufficient to recover from where we are heading this minute. The national debt is already so high that it would be unrealistic to even expect social spending increases which could have an effective impact.

Wars and past recoveries. There are other factors involved in economic recovery in this capitalist system. Those factors no longer exist nor can they exist. Past recoveries from major economic downturns were coupled with major wars. Those wars allowed for the forced expansion of US markets into other countries. There are no more countries for the US to expand into any more. It doesn’t matter what we manufacture when there is no market for the goods produced. It will not be possible to destroy the manufacturing capacity of China, Russia, India, Mexico and other countries without doing so much damage as to make the planet uninhabitable. So they will remain competitors on global trade. Threats against allies no longer work, as those allies each benefit from global trade and the lower prices brought by competition.

Automation. Increasing production capacity no longer means creating jobs when too much of the work is done by robots and automated systems. I’ve written about automation many times but the concept is simple. Automation does not create jobs, it eliminates jobs. That’s the whole point of automation. It reduces cost of production by the process of eliminating incomes, so fewer people can afford even the lower prices. Past technological advances nearly all created or were incorporated in the creation and expansion of new industries. In the past 20 years or more, what we have witnessed is the automation of existing industries. There have not been any actual new industries since the dawn of the internet and social media.

Major miscalculation. Other than being bailed out, there cannot be any goal in the revelation that the economy is declining. Ultimately, the rationale involved is the concentration of wealth into even fewer hands than what we see now. However, what they are not taking into account is the actual collapse of the economy. This is something we can see coming under current conditions. The decline of the economy is not just national, it is global. Reduction in income have led to reductions in consumer spending (retail decline) in nearly every country. That results in decreased production, which means reduced freight. Reduced income and spending means less taxation. At every level more jobs are lost.

Decades in the making. Right now we cannot prevent what is coming. It has been decades in the making. When it finally does happen it will appear to be sudden but anyone who has paid attention has been able to see it coming for at least the last decade. Not only is it eminent, it is intentional, hence the gradual concentration of wealth and reduction of rights. Both major parties are complicit while blaming one another. Keep in mind it was a Democratic majority under Obama that bailed out the banks, indicted not one person, enacted a corporate welfare program for health insurance and made the GWB tax cuts for the rich permanent. Both sides increase “defense” spending every year. Both sides approved the Trump tax cut for the rich. Both sides voted to suspend the debt ceiling until July 2021. Republicans cut social spending, Democrats restore a fraction of that spending, moving ever further to the right. One step forward, three steps back in a continual dance theater performance.

What they do not count on. While the rich are counting on the concentration of wealth, what they do not take into account is the ultimate response. We have seen revolutions in world history where the oppressed masses rose up to seize the accumulated wealth of the elite. This is becoming a very real scenario under the circumstances forming right now. They may have the idea of creating a global modern form of feudal system, which is what exists to a degree right now.

However, even as we bemoan educational standards, we now live in a world with the highest level of education in world history. We also have the best communications in world history. That combination of factors make today far different than any time in the past where large masses were oppressed. We, the people, have more advantages in our capacity to fight back than at any point in history. We don’t need violence and that would be counter-productive. We can turn off corporate media completely. We can call and write elected officials and media, tell them they do not represent our views. Boycott support for candidates who take corporate money. We can pull money out of corporate investments and buy precious metals.

Most of all, we can talk to each other. Stop attacking one another and instead talk about issues. Leave names out of the discussion unless it involves policies. Stop closing our eyes, ears and minds to the flaws in candidates. Stop making excuses. Stop voting AGAINST and know what we vote FOR. Our unity is what is feared most by the oligarchy.

Capitalist Challenge

Capitalists and capitalist wannabe puppets (who own no capital yet support the agenda of the ultra-rich) are fond of claiming that Socialism has never worked. Of course, they leave out the trade sanctions and militaristic threats or outright military destruction imposed by capitalistic countries (mostly the US) on Socialist countries.

Be that as it may, here is a challenge for anyone who supports any level of Socialism to present to said capitalists:

Ask them to name one single country in all of world history in which capitalism has worked for all citizens. That has to include high wages, low taxes, affordable healthcare, no crushing poverty, no slavery, little to no homelessness, no debtors prisons, no wars for profits, protection of the environment, worker safety laws, consumer protection laws, high rate of home ownership and freedom of the independent press with no censorship.

Hell, it doesn’t even have to be a country. It can be a city.

What you can consistently expect is going to be diversion. They will try to redefine the question, the challenge, even the definition of capitalism. They will try to throw around terms like “free market”, which they will refuse to actually define. Yes, I fully expect responses which will focus on that last sentence and ignore the challenge. Just wait for it. They will try and claim capitalism is about small business, yet not explain how limits are imposed on business growth without Socialist-leaning policies.

The reason they do this is because capitalism has never worked for the population. It does not work for the general population now. It will never work because it cannot work. It is not designed to work for the general population.

The entire design of capitalism is intended to work only by force, subjugation, oppression, propaganda, brainwashing, poor education and legal control of all resources available to a society.

In the most prosperous years in the history of this country, we had controls and limits on capitalism. We had price controls on certain necessities. The subsidies we have in place right now are relics of Socialist-leaning policies meant to help the middle class and poor. Such as subsidies on fossil fuels, coal, milk and corn. The original intent was to protect society. Over time, the subsidies grew ever larger while profit caps were removed. Thus today we will hear capitalists rage against profit caps and price controls while they never mention subsidies.

During the same prosperous years, taxes on the rich were the highest they have been in US history.

Yet that prosperity did not reach all our citizens by any means. Many lived in abject poverty, often with no plumbing or electricity.

Some reading this may recall or have heard of “urban blight” from the late 60’s through the 70’s. Yet few recall what brought that blight into being. Give you one guess. It was capitalism. Elitism. Gentrification which drove up rents and property values. Racism played a heavy hand. This was topped off by the reduction of taxes on the rich. This resulted in insufficient resources to maintain public transportation and infrastructure. As desegregation spread, the affluent white moved away from city centers to the suburbs, often taking their retail and possibly manufacturing businesses with them. There was often little to no public transportation to these areas, so the living wage jobs they offered were typically off limits to the poorest in society. What remained in city centers were vacant, decaying business locations with high rent, so if less affluent businesses with less affluent customers moved in, the conditions were poor and crime escalated.

This was not a new pattern. Look at the history of slums across major cities in the US. Nearly all slum sections of major cities were once wealthy, thriving middle class white neighborhoods. Harlem is a good example, should you care to look into the history. Yes, Harlem was a white neighborhood before it later was largely segregated. Today in some areas we are seeing these areas renovated. Though that is not typically good. The renovations lead to gentrification, bringing back high rents and property costs by equity owners seeking to make fast, easy, often unrealistic profits. Thus we have the poor who cannot afford the increased rents and taxes forced out. Sometimes with no place to go. If employment is in these areas, we now have people sleeping in cars and tent cities to have access to their jobs because they cannot afford the rent.

This is all a capitalist cycle we will keep repeating until we put an end to it. No capitalist can ever explain how paying profits and reducing profits for the rich is better than what Socialist-leaning policies offer. Capitalists always claim the higher taxes, price controls, higher wages and any limits at all will destroy the economy. The opposite has been proven true every single time, with no exception.

So, when you encounter a “capitalist”, go back to the challenge above and issue that challenge to them. Accept no diversions, no excuses. If they try it, drag them kicking and screaming back to the subject. Once they predictably resort to personal insults, walk away. You’ve already won that debate. No need to continue the discussion further.

There Is A Massive Difference Between Populism and Rationality

Right now in America we have people claiming to be political supporters, radicals, dissidents, activists, revolutionaries and patriots.

One one side we have so-called patriots who think that their rights are being taken away if they’re not allowed to personally own a Vulcan large bore, 6 barrel, 6600 round per minute machine cannon. Meanwhile they are perfectly fine with allowing corporations to think for them and determine what rights they do or do not have. Tune in to Fox News.

On another side, we have neoliberals who support the DNC manipulating and rigging elections. Also allowing corporations to determine their rights and think for them. Just tune in to Rachel Maddow and the corporate heads at MSNBC or CNN.

Then we have Libertarians and MMT cultists, who want to hand the entire economy, environment, healthcare and wages to capitalists.

Then there are the Communists who want all wealth seized and redistributed. No need to study or understand basic psychology and human motivation.

The one thing all groups agree on is that our government is not representing our interests. What is bad is that these groups have been driven to despise one another so much that they refuse to talk to each other. They have been conditioned to respond to any attempts at civil discourse with extremism, offense and aggression. All think they represent this country and anyone outside of their exact mindset is “the enemy”.

This is what causes me the most emotional distress. Some people try and portray me as or accuse me of being an extremist. Why? Because I refuse to join an extremist cult or follow any candidate/group blindly. Because I always promote the concept of paying attention to policies. Because I listen and illustrate not just what is being stated but what is not being stated. I ask questions and demand answers.

What is popularly called centrism is not centrist. Being pro-corporate, pro-war, pro-WAR Street, pro-party, pro-hate-Trump, pro-Trump is not centrism. Every one of these attitudes are extremist.

The very term centrist means being in the middle. It means striving for balance. It means being against war while agreeing defending our own country is necessary, defending corporate profits at the cost of human lives is not necessary or desirable. It means being in favor of capitalism while imposing strict controls on capitalism. It means allowing the rich to be rich but not so much that they destabilize the entire global and national economic balance. It means being in favor of election reform so that our governmental structure represents the people of this country and should not be in any way attached to the bribery of the most privileged. It means knowing our service members should be respected, not worshiped. The same is true of our police. It means knowing our media should be forced to equally represent opposing views and opinions are not news.

Our entire government and media have devolved into partisan bickering and attacks with no discussion on the merits of policy. Political ethics, if there were such a thing in this country, would demand that to be the focus of all political discourse. Any and every elected official should be sanctioned for name-calling, personal attacks or intentional partisan division.

This tends to be the entire goal of my writing. To discuss the pros and cons of policies and attitudes. To explain where things are damaging, what the damages are, what options are better choices and detailing exactly why.

We cannot continuously be cheer leaders for populism. Just because a given candidate is popular or has one or two policies you approve of does not mean you should be ignorant or dismissive of the dangers their other policies pose. There is far too much of this going around.

This is how we got where we are right now. By Americans reacting emotionally with no critical thought. Many people voted for Trump not because they supported Trump but because they opposed Clinton. In most cases on both sides, the candidates had no definitive policies that supporters approved of, in some cases their supporters did not even know what the policy proposals the the candidate were. Now we are headed into 2020 and many are either blindly supporting Trump because of his false and ludicrous claims or supporting certain opposition because of an emotional claim that, “We have to beat Trump”.

That’s not good enough.

No matter how much you tell yourself that that is good enough, it’s NOT good enough.

Simply getting rid of Trump as a singular goal means running the risk of winding up with far worse than we have now. It is mandatory that we move leftward on policies starting immediately if we want effective change.

It is mandatory that you know what you are voting FOR, not just against.

It is mandatory that you are not assuming that a candidate represents your values. They must actually state that they will work toward peace and explain precisely how they will do so. Universal healthcare will count for nothing if we wind up in nuclear war. Guaranteed jobs means nothing if there are no jobs. Increasing wages means nothing if the economy collapses and inflation runs double and triple digits.

I really do not care how popular your chosen candidate is. Joel Osteen is popular. NFL football is popular. Professional wrestling is popular. Trailer park wives of whatever are popular. The Kardashians are popular. Popularity doesn’t mean anything at all. If candidates only speak about domestic economic issues, that’s not enough. They HAVE to address international relations in terms which do not include bullets, bombs, sanctions and threats. We will NEVER have prosperity without peace. They HAVE to address election integrity and methods of permanently removing corporate money from politics. Peace and election integrity cannot be vague, meaningless talking points. They cannot be assumptions you make. Incremental change is not an option.

You know what the truth is. Stop denying it. Stop making excuses.

Decline of The US As The Leading Economic Superpower

For over a year economists have been discussing the fact that China has emerged as the largest global consumer market.

Meanwhile the US has claimed jobs and income growth, which has been demonstrably proven false. It is not possible to have expansion of jobs and income while concurrently having mass layoffs and retail closures. It simply doesn’t work that way.

Some have pointed to the stock market numbers as indications of economic health. I’ve covered many times how the stock market is an inverse indicator of the general economy at worst or completely unrelated at best.

Now new numbers are telling more of an advancing tale of the decline of the US market. Perhaps this will be enough for more people to awaken to the truth.

In the most recent Global Fortune 500 list, the US is headquarters to 121 of the most profitable companies. China is headquarters to 129 of the most profitable companies. 20 years ago, in 1999, China was headquarters to 8.

In the global list of the largest banks, 3 are headquartered in the US. China is headquarters to 4. There are one each in Japan, the UK and France. JP Morgan Chase is the highest on the list of American banks and it comes in at number 6. The Chinese banks occupy spots numbers 1,2,3 and 5. This has remained unchanged for several years, even as US media makes claims that China’s economy is declining and US economy is growing.

In the last few months, cryptocurrency has seen a resurgence with Bitcoin as of this writing valued at $11, 834 and precious metals are increasing in value with gold spot price now $1499 per oz, while bonds have shown an inverted yield curve, with short term bonds having more return value than long term bonds.

At the last meeting of the Federal Reserve board, the interest rate was decreased by 0.25% to between 2% and 2.25%. This is unprecedented, as the only time to interest rate has ever declined has been when the economy was showing signs of recession and the interest rate was decreased to encourage spending to spark growth. If our economy is doing so well, why do we need to decrease the interest rate, which is already extremely low? That leaves virtually no buffer for safety if we enter an officially recognized recession/depression.

Of course, those of us paying attention know the US has remained in a recession since the 2008 crash. Yes, it was a crash. Not a “crisis”, not a small event, a crash.

Yet the China trade war still has major implications.

Last year, China temporarily halted purchases of soy from the US, leading to Trump announcing a bailout of mostly corporate farmers to the tune of $16 billion. As of this week, China responded to increased tariffs on Chinese goods with a complete ban on agricultural purchases from the US.

Trump’s response? Threatening even more tariffs on Chinese goods by as much as an additional 15% on top of the recent 10% tariffs.

Last year, China temporarily stopped buying oil from the US. They began buying oil again in February this year but at much lower amounts, less than 50% of their previous purchases. China is likely to respond to this recent threat with banning all oil purchases from the US for good.

Many alleged economic “experts” say the loss of sales to China is basically no big deal and the US will gain additional revenue by selling to Europe. They do not explain where any “additional” sales are going to magically appear from. I haven’t heard of Europe having a sudden increase in their desire for soybeans.

Many countries are banning the import of many US agricultural products because of concerns regarding GMO’s and glyphosate, declared a likely carcinogen by the World Health Organization. The “experts” too often fail to mention these concerns or the fact that the US State Dept has literally tried to sue other nations to force them to accept sales of our produce in contradiction to the will of their own people, who demanded the bans. Alternative agricultural producing countries have primarily already turned away from GMO’s and glyphosate, meaning they are more likely to buy and sell from each other than from the US at this point. Even a large percentage of Americans have objections to the same things.

As of this past week, Trump announced another bailout of farmers to the tune of $28 billion. Combined with the $16 billion already mentioned, that adds up to $44 billion, which comes to a cost of $130 each for every man, woman and child in this country. Plus he has promised he will bail the farmers out again next year if necessary. Of course, the major recipients of these bailouts are corporate farm owners and investors.

Trade deals, especially with such contentious issues as China is facing with the US at this moment, once China establishes trade agreements with other countries, they will not easily be swayed to change those agreements back to the US. They are in the process of negotiating new trade agreements with other countries right now. Which means future sales may be lost indefinitely.

No matter how we look at it, the US cannot force other countries to buy from us. This is even more true when we try and force our sales onto other nations at the point of a gun, literally or figuratively. We cannot sue other nations into submission. Other nations see the fact that we are threatening all of them. The likely outcome is that they will form alliances in opposition to our government. That risk increases when considering that we have a trade deficit with most of the countries we trade with. It increases more when those countries view our massive national debt which has only increased every year for 18 years now and the suspension of the debt ceiling. All those nations are acutely aware that we do not have the resources to pay off that debt.

The road to where this nation is at this moment began decades before Trump. He did not cause all of it but is definitely making it worse. Of course, Trump was merely a logical progression of what came before him with each successive administration since Reagan, at the very least. The flow of wealth to the top is now about to capsize this country. The Panama Papers. Tax cuts for the rich while our own citizens suffer. Collapsing infrastructure, rising “defense” costs.

In terms of international relations, we have been following the same path for well over 100 years. Trade agreements under threats, regime change, the fiat petrodollar, American “investors” who then try to rule over other countries.

We are now in the precise circumstances where all empires in history have fallen. Only on a larger scale.

The Real Cost of Gas and Oil

Americans think when they fill up their gas tank that the price displayed on the pump is what they are paying. Many of these people also think they hate Socialism. Yet when they fill up their tank, they are benefiting from what comes down to Socialism.

Oil companies receive direct government subsidies from the federal government of roughly $38 billion a year. However, that’s not nearly all they get from the taxpayer.

Some oil companies have government contracts, federal, state and/or local. Some of those contracts are with the US military, the singular entity which uses more oil than any other entity on earth. More than all of Europe, the UK and all South American military organizations combined. You pay for that.

In many cases, oil tankers have military escorts for their security, whether the tanker is coming in or leaving. We have military vessels in the Persian Gulf and Strait of Hormuz, providing security for tankers that are not American owned, not delivering anything to or from America. You pay for that.

If a US oil company has a major spill or explosion anywhere in the world, our government pays for 90% of the cleanup. In fact, it does not have to be a US company. Remember BP with the largest oil spill in history? The fine levied on them paid for maybe 10% of the cleanup cost, the US government funded the rest. You pay for that.

When an oil company had a standoff with the Water Protectors over the DAPL using militarized police, you paid for that. Each time police respond to any protest against corporate interests of any kind, you pay for that.

When the government hands money to oil companies which the nation goes further in debt for, including the interest on national debt, you pay for that.

When our government spends trillions bombing other countries for decades for the sake of seizing that country’s resources, you pay for that.

Both major parties approved a tax cut for corporations, which they used to buy back their own stock. That’s still happening. You pay for that.

The thing to keep in mind is that oil subsidies are absolutely a form of Socialism. We all pay for the subsidies, even if a person does not drive or lives off the grid. In other words, they are not buying gas and oil yet they are paying for you to pay less at the pump. Which makes you a Socialist.

You subsidize low gas and oil prices for corporate fleets. You pay subsidies in the form of higher taxes on every dollar you earn, even if you get nothing in return. This helps corporations state higher profits and boost their stock prices. Rich investors and CEO’s get subsidies for their stock values and dividends. You pay for that.

No matter how you view it, this is welfare and Socialism for corporations and the rich. You insure the continued profits for them, no matter what the economy looks like, no matter how many workers they lay off. Capitalism for you, Socialism for them.

Add all the above to how much you pay at the pump and ask yourself how much you are really paying. What is the real price of that gallon of gas? You have no idea and neither do I. Nobody does because it cannot truly be calculated.

Even if you think climate change is not real, how is renewable energy looking now?

Fed Announces Rate Cut, Stock Market Tanks

This week the Federal Reserve announced a reduction in the interest rate of 0.25%, bringing it down to between 2.0 and 2.25%. Concurrent with the rate cut, the DOW declined by 736 points in 4 days. This came after a milder decline the previous week.

Typically, a reduction in the interest rate is coupled with a rise in the stock market. Why is it different this time?

Some are pointing to Trump’s announcement of additional tariffs on Chinese goods. However, that announcement was made the day after the rate reduction. The day of the announcement was the same day that saw the largest decline in the market.

The two factors that influenced the decline were: 1- The reduction was not nearly as much as many investors had desired. 2- The announcement of the reduction was accompanied by a statement by the Fed chairman that this will NOT be the beginning of a series of reductions.

Granted, he did not state unequivocally that there will not be any future reductions, he just made clear that this is not the plan at this time.

Basically this announcement means, that while interest rates remain extremely low, the era of free money is over. Large investors and corporations have been forcing an artificial high in the stock market for years now and had hoped to continue that trend. They had even hoped interest rates would reach negative territory, as has happened in some other countries. Which would literally mean they could get paid to borrow money. (Yes, for real.) Even as they used the money they borrowed to buy back stocks, forcing stocks to go even higher, making even more personal profits.

The whole problem with this is something I have noted before. It doesn’t matter if money is borrowed at 0% interest or even with some small negative interest percentage paying them to borrow. A loan is still a loan and must be repaid at some point. Unless.. Unless the entity which borrows that money then declares bankruptcy.

Liquidity for major borrowers has been drying up over time. Companies may state they have a certain level of cash reserves but too often those reserves are held in negative equity. That is, they have more debts than reserves on hand. They use stock values to declare as assets, yet even the most ardent Wall Street economists admit the stock market is tremendously over-valued. The vast majority of stocks aren’t worth the paper they are printed on. Many of the companies behind the highest valued stocks produce little or nothing of value.

Behind the scenes and not much reported on are the facts of judgments against and losses by these companies. Netflix has announced that they are losing subscribers, leading to decline in their stock. Apple announced far lower than expected sales, as did Ford Motors. Google has had multiple legal judgments levied against them with massive fines by the EU. Google is currently being investigated by the DOJ for antitrust violations as well.

The craziest part of all is how interdependent most of the FAANG stocks are- Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google. Of the five, Netflix is the most independent yet is highly dependent on the content produced by other entertainment companies, with whom they have a love/hate relationship. Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple depend heavily on one another for the tracking and selling of data both between them and to third party advertisers. Which means that if one falls, they all suffer in the stock market.

Yet I have pointed out many times that the stock market tends to be a negative image of the real economy. If employment and wages are doing well, stocks literally go down. We have seen this phenomenon several times in the last two years when jobs and wages reports were released. If jobs and wages are up, stocks do down. When employment and wages decline, stocks go up. This is because investors view wages as a cost. Your job is literally a liability to your employer and investors when considering their profit margin and stock value.

There are other issues playing into the stock decline. Like the fact that the Fed also announced that they are reducing their aggregate holdings two months earlier than previously anticipated. This is basically stating that the Fed holds bonds, mortgage backed stocks, precious metals and multiple currencies in reserve. The statement that the Fed will be reducing “aggregate holdings” is a vague, nonspecific statement which leaves more questions than answers. Exactly what holdings will they be reducing? Only time will tell.

The practice of the Federal Reserve is market manipulation of the highest order and should be illegal by any means. In fact, it would be illegal if the Fed were a government agency but it is not. If the US Treasury has holdings of precious metals like the gold (allegedly) in Ft Knox, that is considered a reserve which is for the purpose of backing the value of the currency, which many countries have done since the creation of national currencies and going back further to the Knights Templar. Those reserves belong to the people of the country. With central banks like the Fed, such is not the case as they are corporate enterprises. Keep in mind that Trump and our media viciously attacked China for claims of currency manipulation and industry subsidization. All while the Federal Reserve and our government do the exact same thing both separately and in conjunction with each other.

For many years, the actions of Western central banks and governments have inflated the value of the dollar, Euro and stocks while suppressing the value of precious metals. The creation of currency has continued unabated since 2008 in numerous countries, which should have reduced the value of the currencies. Multiple nations have been buying huge amounts of precious metals, especially gold and silver, most notably by Russia and China. So the value of precious metals should be much higher than they are. This is just beginning to show because the control has slipped beyond their grasp.

Last week, JP Morgan issued a newsletter to their largest investors (those with holdings in excess of $200 million just with JP Morgan, while such investors typically diversify) advising them to divest significant portions of their holdings away from the dollar into foreign, mostly Asian, currencies and into precious metals, mostly gold. So to move away from the dollar means moving away from US stocks.

As other countries and investors move away from the dollar, at some point we will see the effect on the value of the dollar in relation to other currencies, resulting in accelerated inflation.

For the record, I said in June of 2018 that the crash had begun. In truth, I was correct. It has been since then that mass layoffs have been announced, retail closures accelerated beyond anything seen in US history and the consolidation of wealth began the final stages. We are now witnessing the end of that stage, meaning that the illusion can no longer be sustained much longer. Hundreds of thousands of people have lost their jobs since then and millions more must work multiple jobs for mere survival.

As the stock market declines, the first to suffer will be smaller investors with retirement accounts like 401k’s. This will be an undeniable event which even corporate media will be hard pressed to explain. I’ll be watching to see what lies they try to tell as it happens. By small investors, I mean those with less than the $200 million minimum mentioned above. You may have $1 million in stocks and think you’re a big investor but you’re not.

I still expect a stair step decline in the stock market, which will be investors trying to extract the final pennies out of stocks before the final crash occurs. Though it will be muted by comparison to what we have seen.

Buckle in and fasten your crash helmets. This is going to get rough.

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

I am an independent writer with no corporate sponsors or backing. The only income I make from my writing comes from views. At least I have reached the point where it makes more than it costs me! lol! (Not by much.)My writing is done in between full time (and overtime) nursing, shared custody of my brilliant daughter and mundane existence.

I have opened my new website which is intended to be a central listing of protests and political rallies across the US. It’s still a work in progress but is functional. You can find it at http://RallyAndProtest.com

Please consider becoming a patron on Patreon. I try and average at least 20 articles a month, so a $1 a month donation would come down to 5¢ per article to support independent, non-corporate writing. My Patreon page is here.

If you care to share articles with those who do not have Medium or Patreon accounts, I also post most of my articles on my own website, which has no advertising and I pay for with income from writing. My website is at https://issuesunite.com/ and all articles can be shared freely. You can always quote me, no attribution required. My goal is spreading information and awareness. The whole point is building a better, more peaceful, more equitable world for us and future generations.