China’s Bluster Blows Over
Did we call China’s bluff, or are they still working up to a response? Holding five days of exercises around Taiwan isn’t living up to the implied threats.
I found pictures of rows of tanks and self-propelled artillery on the Chinese shore laughable. How are they going to cross the 80 mile straight? It looked like they were lining up to give some A10 Warthog drivers easy targets. Perhaps it was just a photo op for internal purposes, because Taiwan may be an island, but it isn’t exactly lined with beaches suitable for a mass landing.
I think the U.S. could have handled this better by not talking about Nancy’s visit ahead of time. I think China could have handled it better by not over reacting. China is losing face over this, however, and they aren’t likely to forget. I expect they will become more belligerent and the chance of an accident will increase.
Global Protests Grow
While our media covers little of the global protests, inflation and food shortages continue to generate protests all around the world. For example, in the past weeks, there have been protests in Madagascar, Ghana, Ecuador, Argentina and India. Things are also tough in Pakistan, which may go the way of Sri Lanka. Protests in the Netherlands continue and are getting violent.
In Panama, strikes have shut down classrooms while protests blocked highways. The country’s government had to cap prices on 72 common food items, which is said will lead to a decrease of 30 percent on the average food bill. They also froze the cost of gasoline at $3.25 per gallon. It’s worth noting that Panama uses the U.S. dollar as their currency.
This bears watching. My prediction is that the price fixes will appear to work in the short term, but in the long run will disrupt the food supply and lead to the emergence of black markets.
While we are all grumbling about prices and wondering how we’re going to afford our heat bill this winter, things are worse elsewhere. Think of that as a preview, a look at how bad things can get on the slide downhill to collapse and prepare accordingly.
Shortage or Surplus?
While there are constant reports of a lack of eggs, shortages of pasta, empty meat coolers, and an absence of lunch meat on store shelves, warehouse space is bulging as out-of-season goods from overseas pour into the country. This includes many housewares and apparel, things that people don’t consider must-have items. When your money is being stretched, you feed your family before you worry about new throw pillows or new glassware. Expect prices on these items to drop in the near future. If you need new clothes or have kids that are growling like weeds, you may see some good deals this winter.
Recession, Depression, or Neither
After two quarters in a row of negative growth, it’s pretty clear the country is in a recession. The Biden administration claims that we can’t be in a recession if there’s low unemployment, but they apparently haven’t been reading the headlines. There are layoffs and hiring freezes at some of the biggest companies in the country, like Walmart and Meta (AKA Facebook). Amazon has also stopped building warehouses, a sign I would take more seriously than the predictions of 100 government economists.
Some stores are being closed for economic reasons. Others are closing for safety reasons. Starbucks said it is closing 16 stores because of communities in which they were located were changing and crime was rising. Many stores that are frequent targets for shoplifting have also closed.
People are Living in Sheds
There have been two articles recently on people living in sheds (one family loved it, the other couple hated it) because of the high cost of housing and #ShedLife was trending on TikTok. I’ve always wondered about those sheds they sell in the parking lots of Lowes and Home Depot as well as the shed-stores on the side of rural highways. Could you throw in some insulation, install a wood stove, and just move in?
I’m not sure what the big deal is. Is living in a shed that much different from living in a tiny house? I guess it depends on the amenities. Let’s remember that 100 years ago, people were living in one-room “shacks” that were not as nice as some of those sheds. I’d rather be in one than living under a bridge, in a tent on a street corner, or taking refuge in a homeless shelter.
Plenty of people live in container homes or yurts and no one is outraged. While a yurt may be bigger, I think I’d prefer a shed.
The Edges are Crumbling
Everywhere you look, signs of our descent are visible.
- Crime is rising because people have no hope and no money, and because leftists have defunded and demotivated the police.
- Drug use is rising, in part because more drugs are legal in more places, but also because so much fentanyl is coming across the Southern Border it is inexpensive and widely available. And it’s killing people.
- Our world-renowned medical establishment is failing, in a large part because of a lack of nurses and other employees. EMS agencies are having a hard time finding EMTs and paramedics to work on ambulances. Apparently, no one considered the downsides of firing so many nurses and other medical personnel who refused to take the COVID vaccine. Of course, having most of our medications produced overseas isn’t helping.
- Airline travel is tangled up, also due to a lack of employees and the continued spread of COVID-19.
- Monkey pox is reaching endemic proportions, with more than 5,000 cases in the U.S. I can remember when COVID-19 had 5,000 cases. It’s too late to stamp this out, but don’t worry: this will become yet another mandatory vaccine your kids will need before they can go off to school.
- The stock market is sending mixed signals and traders don’t know what to do. The Fed knows what it wants to do, but no one is sure if it’s the right thing. Their track record is terrible. In any case, anyone with some retirement savings is poorer than they were on December 31, 2021.
- Farmers are still being pinched by high diesel prices, the high cost of fertilizer, and low prices for their goods. Food processors are making money, but are farmers are losing it. This won’t last long and it spells doom for our country and its food supply.
- Last but not least, the war in Ukraine continues to rage, and the threat of war persists in other corners of the world.