The Economy? Toast or Just Lousy? (#16-03D)

Libertarian Commentary, 20 JAN 2016, #16-3D by Nathan Barton

What is the state of the economy here in the Fifty States, and in the entire world? Not good, and the most recent indicator of that, as reported by the Washington Times, is a massive store closure and layoff announced by Walmart: 269 stores including ALL 102 of its “small format” Express neighborhood stores (many quite new), and 15,000 employees. 154 are being closed in the Fifty States. The WaPo tried to minimize the report with its headline, but this is a worldwide event, and shows that things are NOT doing well.

A similar report is found in shipping news. The Baltic Dry Index, a standard measure of oceanic shipping, is way down (dropping below 400 on Thursday the 14th, according to one blog, and reports are that there is virtually NO shipping on the world’s oceans, according to the Dollar Vigilante earlier in the week. I find this hard to believe, but even if there are just very few, it is a sign that the world economy is weakening day by day.

Mama’s Note: There are a growing number of changes coming in the retail world, such as the closing of many Macy’s stores, as well as a lot of changes in how most “big box” stores operate – even where they continue to exist. It’s not all due to the falling economy, of course. The massive increase of internet sales, via such retailers as, has squeezed a lot of business away from WalMart and other mass sellers. They are changing to meet the changing buying patterns of their customers.

I don’t think people will completely give up wanting to go to a physical store, however. One of the frustrations of on line shopping is not being able to pick up the merchandise and evaluate it for quality on my own. The fact that I have to drive 80 miles away to have that opportunity means I must compromise when the item I want isn’t in the little stores nearby and it is not cost effective to drive, even if the price in the city was less… which it hardly ever is anymore.

Canadian “currency collapse?” Slow motion, maybe, but there is some support for the claim: the Loonie is now worth only 69 US cents, and has been dropping steadily but slowly since 2013. However, it lost three cents just since Christmas, according to the Mail & Globe of Toronto. That is spurring inflation, as the cost of US goods goes up (and as US inflation continues to ravage all of us). I suspect at least a PART of this is the result of long-term Canadian policies and especially the election of a socialist, Trudeau, as Premier, recently, coupled with the apparent demise of the Keystone XL Pipeline project and the drop of oil prices, which can be considered catastrophic collapse, even if the Canadian dollar’s drop is not.

Back to the Home Front:

FBI fakers? This brings another aspect to one of the events reported last week from Harney County, Oregon. Mama Liberty and I joined many other people in taking the occupiers (led by the Bundy brothers) to task for some pretty stupid tactics, such as going to the homes of FedGov employees in the area to debate with them. Now, it seems that the former fire chief and now-former fire marshal of Harney County discovered that the people going to hassle FedGov employees were NOT part of the occupation, but rather were FBI agents in disguise AS occupiers or militia. Or so Freedoms Phoenix and other news outlets (including local station KATU) are now reporting. The mainstream media is NOT reporting this, for what would seem to be obvious reasons. So the false information will be the ONLY information that reaches millions of people.

Mama’s Note: This has also been verified by trusted people on the ground there, such as the OathKeepers. Many are convinced that the whole thing was started, or at least used by someone… gov?… as a propaganda stunt. The fact that they have not been able to incite violence – in spite of a few fool moves of the occupiers – has to keep their nickers in a wad. We can all hope and pray that the peaceful nature of the occupation and protest, despite some stupidity, will prevail. In any case, it seems to have drifted out of the MSM spotlight and will probably die quietly soon.

Freedom’s Phoenix also has a report of an interview of a rancher’s daughter who has spoken with news and with the Bundy brothers at the Mahleur National Wildlife Refuge, discussing her insights into the situation. It is definitely worth reading and contemplating. It counters at least some claims of people in the area opposing the occupation.

Part of this has to do with FedGov actions in the next county to the west, Mahleur County, where the White House is reported to be readying an executive action to declare yet another large national monument, similar to those done in Utah and Colorado in the last few years (“Escalante-Staircase” and “Canyons of the Ancients”) and also rumored to be in the works for a quarter-million MORE acres (the “Bears Ears” National Monument) in southeastern Utah (discussed in Free Press articles HERE and HERE). In such actions, land that is “federal land,” that is, part of the “public lands” and managed by the Bureau of Land Management or US Forest Service, is given “additional protections” by being made a national monument, which allows MORE rules to be enforced.

It almost ALWAYS results in no mining or drilling operations, via leases, and often results in many other activities (such as four-wheel off-road travel, mechanized vehicle travel, sometimes grazing of livestock) being curtailed, making private land within the boundaries of the new national monument subject to various federal regulations as “inholdings.” This can and has resulted in closure of roads which have been in use for 100-140 years, or prevents local governments from maintaining and improving those roads. It can and has prevented private landowners in or adjacent to the new monuments from using their land well, sometimes by direct FedGov action and sometimes by allowing environist groups to pressure local governments because the proposed private land use is “incompatible” with the new federal facility.

It also brings in money from environist groups (like the Nature Conservancy) who attempt and often succeed in pressuring landowners to sell their land, which is then sold to the FedGov and added to the “public lands.” All in all it is a nasty rather tyrannical business. It is difficult to explain, especially to Easterners and urban dwellers, who have not the slightest idea of how public lands work, and the power of the FedGov to dominate the Western States and the local governments.

The killer cops are still with us in the new year. In central Pennsylvania on Tuesday, the 12th, a constable (who has limited law enforcement duties and apparently are mainly process servers in PA), was seeking to evict a man from an apartment, according to the Epoch Times. The man was armed and the constable claimed he tried to bring his .223-cal rifle up to point at the constable. Who drew his .40-cal pistol and shot the man through the arm: the bullet passed through the evictee’s arm and hit and killed his 12-year-old daughter. No doubt, the killing will be brushed off as “self-defense” and the father may even be charged with killing his own daughter because he is claimed to have “resisted” the officer.

About TPOL Nathan

Follower of Christ Jesus (a christian), Pahasapan (resident of the Black Hills), Westerner, Lover of Liberty, Free-Market Anarchist, Engineer, Army Officer, Husband, Father, Historian, Writer, Evangelist. Successor to Lady Susan (Mama Liberty) at TPOL.
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