Don’t Believe your Lying Eyes!

President Joe Brandon and the Democratic Party finally have a plan to get inflation under control and address the economic anxiety felt by millions of Americans. It’s not a plan in the conventional sense, but rather a public relations campaign to convince the American people that “despite their current misgivings, the economy is actually doing quite well.”

Everything is going to plan. Be of good cheer. Famine coming? Just look the stats, it’s part of the new normal and we don’t call it a “famine”. We’ll use another name for it.

Inflation is soaring and gas prices are through the roof, but Americans are wrong to be concerned about the direction of the country, the president and his allies will argue this month. Politico reports that Brandon has assembled a team of experts and professional communicators to make the case that, actually, the economy is good. The White House effort to “communicate on our accomplishments” kicked off on Monday with a Wall Street Journal op-ed in which Biden touted his stewardship of “the most robust recovery in modern history” and cited a bunch of macroeconomic statistics to make his case.

 

The War in Ukraine

This is a Map of the Area where HIMARS MLRS M30/M31 Rockets with a range of up to 70 km can strike inside the Russian-held Territory when fired from the Ukrainian frontlines. I don’t think that these battlefield rockets will change the dynamics because there aren’t enough of them, but they will take out ammo, fuel and food dumps, headquarters units, and critical infrastructure. They will make Russian offensives difficult to put together.

 

Inflation

The greatest inflation in Germany’s history occurred mainly from 1919-1923, but it had already started in 1914, with the outbreak of WWI. When the war began, the German government increased the money supply in order to cover the soaring costs, initially of the war itself, and afterward, of the heavy reparations that the Allies had imposed on Germany in the Treaty of Versailles. One means of increasing the supply of money was the issue of war bonds purchased by many citizens. At the same time, it was decided to cut the linkage between the German mark and the price of gold. The result was an expanding gap between the value of a gold-based currency (the gold Mark, which was actually in use until the end of the days of the German Empire) and paper currency, which could be printed in almost unlimited quantities.

Flooding the market with printed money rapidly lowered its value, so that prices rose disproportionately, while the real wage of salaried workers fell sharply. On payday, employees hurried to reach the stores before the exchange rate of the mark vis-à-vis the dollar which was usually even lower than it had been a few days earlier. Prices rose to absurd sums: at the end of the period of hyperinflation, in the fall of 1923, a loaf of bread cost many billions, and to send a single postcard from Munich to Prague required stamps worth 36 billion marks; One dozen eggs cost 4 billion marks! It was not uncommon to see shoppers hauling buckets, bags, and even wheelbarrows full of banknotes.

In such a situation, the central bank ceased investing in the design of bills and in their printed elements since it was not worthwhile to produce counterfeit bills, all of the graphic markings that were meant to serve as obstacles to counterfeiting, and some bills were even only one-sided. By mid-1923 the nation’s central banks were using more than 30 paper factories, almost 1,800 banknote printing presses, and 133 companies to print and issue banknotes. The production of paper money, ironically enough, was one of Germany’s few profitable industries. The 1923 hyperinflation forced the Weimar government to confront its own extinction. Hyperinflation was finally tamed by the issuance of a new currency indirectly pegged to gold bonds. 

 

Breaking the Baltic

(Defense News) h/t Claudio It’s a good article on the transformative nature of thought in terms of the potential military blockade of Russian Baltic Ports with Finland and Sweden taking a very active role. What a difference the invasion of Ukraine has made in NATO, Finland and Sweden.

 

Mines and Countermines

The way to defend a city does not rely upon the enemy not coming, but relies upon our own preparedness to receive them; it does not rely upon the enemy not attacking but relies upon what we have done to make ourselves unassailable.”-Sun Tzu.

Bianjing (modern Kaifeng), the capital of the Northern Song (960-1127) dynasty, boasted sophisticated siege defense installations, which were ultimately breached by the Jurchen invasion of 1126-1127. Due to the lack of experienced generals and personnel however the whole defense was disorganized.

In the upper section of this plate, the Jin siege of Kaifeng in 1126 is helped along by mining. A heavy wooden head cart or ‘wooden donkey’ has been pushed up against the wall of Kaifeng to cover the entrance to the mine, but the attackers are by no means just passive victims of stones and rocks from the wall, and are firing back with a crossbow and hurling grenades. Concealed safely within the head cart, a soldier hauls on the winch that slowly pulls towards the walls the other cart in which waste soil has been taken back to the Jin lines. Meanwhile, in the lower section, we see the Song using very ancient countermining measures and equipment. These include a listening device made from skin stretched over a drum. The final vignette shows what happens when an enemy mine is located. The defenders blow poisonous smoke down the passage towards the attacker.”-Stephen Turnbull.

In January 1127, Kaifeng fell to Jin forces. Emperor Qinzong and his father, Emperor Huizong, were captured by the Jin army, and they would die in captivity. Thus, the Northern Song dynasty came to an end. Song princesses became palace slaves and others were taken as slaves by Jin princes. Some Song princesses became Jin princes’ concubines. Remnants of the Song imperial family retreated to southern China and eventually relocated to Lin’an (modern Hangzhou). The retreat divided the dynasty into two distinct periods, Northern Song and Southern Song.

 

25 COMMENTS

  1. Sorry, didn’t listen in last night to the The Planted Potted Plant _Resident Dumpster Fire Trainwreck angrily saying he will – by fiat – fix the economy and remove [the absolute] 2A [by the backdoor]. Instead I was waiting with breathless anticipation for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, apparently this is a big deal. Gotta hand it to her though, 70 years of elegant figurehead status isn’t anything to sneeze at. She’s certainly the last of the class in that bunch (while at least one spent time on Epstein’s evil dungeon island with no real consequences).

    Experts: If the economists and weathermen (aka. persons/non-binary/whatever the latest mental patient identifier du jour) switched places, the results would be the same. Yellen – THE SUPPOSED EXPERT: “I didn’t know inflation would be a problem.” Another dolt who sounds like she belongs teaching a snoozer community college econ class every student was forced to take otherwise she’d be the only one in the room.

    As dad would say: “Experts aren’t worth the powder to blow them to Hell…usually their predictions are worth about the same as the paper they’re written.”

    Ukraine- Send ’em, even if it only jabs the bear, the message will be clear.

    • It remains for the next administration to undo what these people are doing. They are trying to wreck the nation economically and weaken it in every possible way. Either America allows this to go on – and on. Or at some point, they won’t. The behavior during the plague still has people wearing obedience masks around… sheep. “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.” There are a lot of timely messages in Animal Farm because none of what we see is novel.

      • It is going to take a long time to dig us out of this mess. I don’t think most of the voting population understands how painful the “fix” will be.

        Yellen must not have been listening during her very first economics class. Despite her total disaster as the head of the Treasury department no offer to resign. No repercussions for doing grave damage to the economy. It looks like your example above regarding hyperinflation in post war Germany is the roadmap the Demoncrats are using to guide our nation. It is going to be a rough couple of years.

        • The inflation-famine-power grab is designed to be a long term (long game) program. By making energy very expensive (see home heating oil/propane) and running manufacturers and farmers out of business, you weaken everyone. Rationing food – with your government issued ration coupons is not out of the question. Historically elsewhere there were/are government stores where the apparatchiks can buy high quality items that they can afford. Tying ration coupons to proven lack of firearm ownership is also possible. Maybe even likely.

  2. (Larry– I apologize in advance for this long comment. I’m not trying to hijack your blog. I just finished writing a new college freshman level World Civ textbook, and thought this excerpt might be relevant to today’s post. Feel free to nix this offering if you think it too long.)

    The Treaty of Versailles (28 June 1919) was the most all-encompassing agreement reached during the Paris peace conference, and the most controversial and consequential. It dealt primarily with Germany, but also served as the blueprint for a complete revision of international relations along Wilsonian lines. Indeed, Woodrow Wilson insisted that the Charter of the League of Nations be incorporated into the Treaty as its first article, obliging all signatories to membership. Much like Wilson’s Fourteen Points, the League Charter was a collection of lofty ideals with no practical means of achieving them other than the goodwill of the signatories. It was guided by an Executive Council consisting of representatives of the United States, British Empire, France, Italy, and Japan as permanent members and a rotating membership of four additional nations, elected by the Assembly of all members. The League was expected to maintain general peace and establish global cooperation, but had no army, could not force arbitration of a conflict, and could not order compulsory disarmament. Major decisions had to be by unanimous vote of the Assembly, which tended to hamstring any action in a dispute between two member nations.

    The overall document is massive, almost 200 pages long and consisting of over 400 separate articles that go into extreme detail as to the minutiae of its provisions. Outside of the League protocols it can be broken down into three broad categories, however: Territorial, Military, and Economic.

    The territorial provisions were not terribly unusual, but they contained a couple of conditions that outraged German sentiment. Germany lost all of its colonies and claims in Africa, Asia, and the Pacific. This was fully expected, and had many nineteenth century precedents. These were quickly snapped up as League of Nations mandate territories, often with their borders altered to further benefit the mandate powers with adjoining colonies. Alsace-Lorraine, seized in 1871, was returned to France; Schleswig, taken in 1863, was subject to a plebiscite vote that returned the northern half to Denmark; a minor adjustment was made to the Belgian border with Eupen and Malmedy, Prussian possessions since 1815, awarded to Belgium. A reconstituted Poland was awarded historically Polish territories annexed by Prussia in the late eighteenth century, roughly 20,000 square miles. But then it got strange and unreasonable, as far as Germany was concerned. To give this new state access to the Baltic Sea, a sixty-mile-wide corridor of undeniably ethnic Germans was awarded to the Poles and the city of Danzig (modern Gdansk) was placed under League administration. German protests that this violated the principle of national self determination were ignored.

    On their western border, Germany ceded the mineral-rich Saar Basin to be administrated by a League commission. France was granted ownership of all Saar coal production for a period of fifteen years as part of its share of war reparations. A plebiscite at the end of this period would determine the ultimate fate of the region, to remain a League mandate, to join France, or to return to Germany (the 1935 vote returned it to Germany). The Rhine Valley to the immediate west of the Saar became a particular point of contention. France floated a variety of proposals to neutralize the German threat: French annexation of German territory to the Rhine River, the creation of an independent Republic of the Rhine allied to France, Belgium and the Netherlands, permanent Allied military occupation of the Rhineland…there was even a faction in the French delegation that suggested breaking the former German Empire up into its major constituent states, an independent Prussia, Hannover, and Bavaria taking its place. All of these were rejected by the British and the Americans for economic and diplomatic reasons. France had to settle for a permanent demilitarization of the Rhineland to a point fifty kilometers east of the river, coupled with the temporary Allied military occupation of three eighteen-mile-deep bridgeheads across the Rhine at Cologne (British), Coblenz (American), and Mainz (French). France was not satisfied with this arrangement, and began trying to create a separatist movement in the Rhineland, hoping it would break away from Germany of its own accord.

    The military provisions of the Treaty of Versailles were similar to the prohibitions inflicted on Austria, Hungary, and Bulgaria, but proportionately more severe. The German Army was reduced to in essence a heavily-armed police force of 100,000 men, forbidden heavy artillery, armored vehicles, and military aviation. Furthermore, these men had to sign up for a minimum of twelve years (enlisted) or twenty-five years (officer) service; Germany would not be allowed to build up a massive trained reserve by running civilians through basic training and then turning them back into civilians. While this was over three times as many men as allowed Austria, it must be remembered that Germany had over ten times the population of Austria, and even with the territories shorn from it by the treaty was still over five times as large. France at the same time maintained an army of almost a million men after demobilization. The German navy was reduced to a token force of 15,000 men. The fleet was limited to six pre-Dreadnought class battleships, six light (unarmored) cruisers, and a dozen each of destroyers and torpedo boats. Germany was not allowed to operate a submarine of any kind for any use, civilian or military.

    The economic provisions of the treaty were an act of criminal insanity on the part of the Allies. With a bit of American browbeating, the European allies agreed to limit their demands to compensation for damages to civilian losses and forgo laying any of their military expenditures to the German account. The Americans took the moral high ground, seeking nothing but the repayment of the wartime loans made in good faith to European nations and asking nothing in the form of reparations from any enemy nation. The Europeans wanted compensation for their war damages and a way to pay off their wartime debts. They also had to determine how the reparations were divided among the recipient nations. Should it be based on how much they had spent during the war, or on how much damage their nation had sustained as a direct cause of enemy action? In the former case, Britain would receive the lion’s share, while if the latter, France should have first claim on German reparations. This complicated deciding where to draw the line between legitimate compensation and a punitive looting of Germany. That being said, some nations – I am looking at you, France – were all for leaving Germany a nation of paupers living in rags.

    The section on reparations opens with Clause 231, the infamous (and demonstrably false) “War Guilt Clause:”

    “The Allied and Associated Governments affirm and Germany accepts the responsibility of Germany and her allies for causing all the loss and damage to which the Allied and Associated Governments and their nationals have been subjected as a consequence of the war imposed upon them by the aggression of Germany and her allies.”

    The Supreme Council quickly set up the “Commission on the Reparation of Damage,” which quickly deadlocked over how much to demand from Germany and how these monies would be allocated among the Allied powers. Public opinion would not allow a rational course in determining reparations policy. Anybody who had so much as lost a chicken to German foraging felt entitled to an entire new henhouse. Britain wanted $120 billion, while France thought $220 billion was a more equitable figure. The Americans proposed a comparatively modest $22 billion.

    When the Kaiser’s government collapsed in November 1918 Germany almost dissolved into a civil war between political factions on the right and left. Out of this maelstrom emerged the Weimar Republic, a coalition of Social Democrat, Catholic Centre, German Democrat (between them holding 76 percent of the seats in the National Assembly), and a host of smaller political parties winning seats in a general election held on 19 January 1919. Its name comes from the site of their Constitutional Convention, the city of Weimar. The Weimar economy was already saddled with the war bonds they had inherited from the Imperial government they replaced, an evaporation of foreign trade, and a host of obligations in the form of pensions for soldiers, widows, and orphans that could not be ignored if the government expected to survive. John Maynard Keynes, an economist advising the British delegation until he resigned in disgust, estimated that Germany could perhaps survive a reparations demand of $10 billion. Anything more would result in their economic collapse and political revolution. This was in part the reason for the inflated damage claims filed by the British, French, and Belgians. They treated the reparations like a bankruptcy in which the creditor with the highest claim gets the highest percentage of the funds available. Another was that their damage claims were entirely estimates at this point. The accounting had to be done in areas that had been shelled into oblivion for four years; the very terrain features had been altered. It would take years to accurately assess the damages and estimate the costs of their repairs. Wilson was adamant that the treaty must contain a definitive figure. The European victors protested that they could not possibly arrive at a definitive figure in any rapid fashion. So they compromised.

    The Treaty of Versailles was signed on 28 June 1919 with a minimum reparations figure of 20 billion gold marks (equal to about $5 billion in 1919 dollars) to be paid in cash and commodities by 1 May 1921. At the same time, it stipulated that Germany accepted responsibility for the final figure yet to be determined by the Commission on the Reparation of Damage, still busy totaling up the damages. After a bit of acrimonious debate, the Allies decided that France deserved 52 percent of the reparations, Britain merited 28 percent, and that the remainder be divided among the smaller nations with claims against Germany. Germany, its army disarmed and with Allied troops holding bridgeheads across its primary natural defense of the Rhine River, had little choice but to accept the treaty as presented and hope for the best concerning the final bill.

    In Wilson’s vision of a new world order, the League would bring impartial justice to international relations, guided by American Progressive idealism to correct mistakes made or circumstances unforeseen in the post-war treaties. Whether or not this would have actually been the case remains a point of debate, as the American Senate refused to ratify the Treaty of Versailles precisely because it mandated League membership of its signatories. The American absence removed any hypothetical Progressive check or balance on the League’s actions. France and Britain dominated the League, particularly in the early inter-war years, and used it largely to further their own ends.

    The mistakes made did not take long to manifest themselves. Germany became increasingly uncooperative as the Allies tallied up their final accounts in early 1921, and with British approval, the Belgians and French moved to occupy the cities of Duisburg and Dusseldorf on 8 March 1921 as a bit of bayonet diplomacy to discourage any rash German reaction. The final reparations figure was announced on 27 April 1921, demanding 132 billion gold marks (about $31.5 billion in 1919 dollars) to be paid off in annual instalments of two billion marks plus an amount equal to 26 percent of Germany’s annual exports. It was to be paid in both cash and in industrial raw materials. German Chancellor Konstantin Fehrenbach resigned rather than accept the outrageous demand, and his successor, Joseph Wirth, brought it before the National Assembly for ratification only after the Allies threatened to occupy Germany’s industrial heartland, the Ruhr Valley, if Germany did not pay.

    Germany simply could not pay, however. Its economy had barely sputtered along under the demands of the preliminary agreement, and what had been unpleasant wartime inflation was becoming a desperate brake on restarting German production. The Kaiser’s government had purposefully inflated the currency during the war to ease its bond obligations. The mark traded at four to the dollar in 1914; by 1919 it traded at 32.85 to the dollar. The drain of reparations on German finance further depleted the currency. In 1921 the mark traded at 83.02 to the dollar, then the full brunt of the reparations hit in 1922 and the bottom began to fall out. By the end of the year the mark had plummeted to 430.47 to the dollar. With falling tax revenues and virtually no capital to keep industries rolling, Germany defaulted on a shipment of reparations timber due in December 1922. France and Belgium sent troops into the Ruhr in January 1923 and began trying to extract reparations in kind by force. The German government ordered a passive resistance to their efforts, encouraging sit-down strikes and non-cooperation while banning any further deliveries of reparations goods. To compensate these workers for lost wages, the government began providing relief funds, printing money as fast as the presses could run. The situation escalated, with the occupation forces arresting thousands of people, deporting German government officials, and sealing off the border between the Ruhr and the rest of Germany. The mark fell into a hyperinflationary black hole: by November 1923 it took 4,200,000,000,000 marks (yes, 4.2 trillion) to buy a single dollar. Let’s put this into a bit of perspective. Say you were a German who had worked an entire lifetime, been frugal with your spending and careful with your saving, and on the eve of the First World War you had saved up a cool one million marks (yeah, you had a really good job) in your bank account. That would have bought 250,000 American dollars in 1914. Fast forward to November 1923. Your one million marks is now worth 0.0000002 cents. Political unrest rocked the nation, with revolts and rumors of outright revolution at both ends of the political spectrum in Bavaria, Thuringia, Saxony, and the city of Hamburg.

    With passive resistance’s failure to get the French and Belgians out of the Ruhr, a reshuffling of the government brought Gustav Stresemann to the Chancellorship in August 1923. He invoked Article 48 of the Weimar constitution, declaring a state of emergency, and used the army to restore order in the rebellious regions. The government introduced a new unofficial ersatz currency, the Rentenmark, backed by a mortgage on the nation’s productive resources and in limited issue. There would be no unsupported, wild printing of currency. The currency gradually stabilized, and in August 1924 the government revalued the official Reichsmark at roughly pre-war par. The inflated currency of the previous year was exchanged for the new at the rate of one trillion to one.

    A primary reason this was even possible was a reevaluation of the war reparations structure. When the Germans collapsed in 1922, it proved that the payment scheme established in 1921 was unworkable. An international commission headed by American banker and diplomat Charles G. Dawes revised both the amount of the reparations, lowering it by a couple of billion dollars, and reducing the amount Germany had to pay each year to one billion. At the same time, the Dawes Plan called for American investment capital to “prime the pump” of the German economy so it had something with which to satisfy reparations demands. Thus, American capital got German industry back in business, allowing Germany to make their reparations payments to Britain and France, which allowed Britain and France to make their payments on wartime loans to their American creditors, which meant there was American capital to invest in the German economy, so Germany could make its reparations payments, so Britain and France could pay off their loans, so the American capitalist had money to invest in Germany, so Germany could make its reparations payments, so…. Continued reparation payments were tied to an evacuation of the Ruhr, which was completed by summer 1925. The Belgians and French had profited little by the attempt to coerce payments, and the brutality of the occupation tarnished their international reputations. There was a general rejection of militarism in the post-war years, and the occupation of the Ruhr was the last gasp of armed diplomacy between Western powers until the mid-1930s.

    • Chuck, I’ll let it go, but in the future, it’s better to link this sort of thing rather than to post your entire paper/chapter in the textbook on somebody else’s blog. What you wrote is on point but could be excerpted.

  3. I love the morons all saying “there might be a recession coming”. We’ve been in that for at least a year. It’s a Depression that’s coming, for a certainty. The real kind, like in the old days.

    -Kle.

  4. Looking for something uplifting from the Xiden Abomination to write about, I find it in robust employment for “spin doctors”.

  5. Interesting photo of The Most Popular President Evar.
    Most facial expressions are symmetric; disdain/contempt is the only expression where one side of the mouth is pulled up. (Or the man’s had a stroke.)

    So we have contempt, plus bonus points for discount Samuel L. Jackson out-of-focus in the background.

  6. A Publicity Campaign??? How the ever lovin’ F*** are they going to explain away the cost of fuel? The cost of food? The cost of power?

    Man, talk about Wag The Dog, Part Deux or what…..

    Wasn’t dig under the fort, place explosive, light it and run done once or twice in the Civil War?

    • The Battle of the Crater is famous. The Union is responsible and unfortunately, they botched the job and it led to severe Union losses.

      They don’t have to do anything – you did get your ration book from your local democrat party HQ, right?

  7. Another canary in the coalmine drops dead: Indonesia has banned restaurants and food stalls from selling the national dish, which is a chicken and rice thing. Reason: they can’t import anymore chickens. Why? Malaysia, the chief exporter of chickens to Indonesia can’t get fertilizer…ergo, no more chickens to export. The domino effect is in full swing and people have no idea how bad things are going to get. The collapse has begun. I bought a mid-size chest freezer two weeks ago and It’s almost full of stuff that is getting hard to find or prohibitively expensive. Only the strong will survive. Lord of the flies revisited. Biden: “No joke! Things are fine. The economy is better than ever, best in history.” “Look over there! Gun control! Depp/Heard trial!” “I think we should nuke the sight from orbit, it’s the only way to be sure.” Where’s my beer?

    • Good move. Hopefully, your power stays on.

      The question of how long the famine will last and how deep it will cut is a political one. Republicans will be blamed.

  8. Ah, Steven Turnbull. Nice guy, knew him, sad he’s dead. He researched the Yakuza (with their permission) to write the seminal treatis on said group(s), of which it would be published X number of years after Steven’s death. That will make a rather rousing book if it ever gets published.

    And… So? Yes, the Chinese had formalized countersiege warfare. So did the Greeks, the Romans, the Byzantines, the Normans, the Vikings, the…

    It’s a simple thing in warfare. Every action creates a reaction. Every reaction creates a further reaction. All which gets forgotten in 50-100 years and has to be relearned by the next generation.

  9. Why do I have BB King’s “The Thrill is Gone” running through my head this morning?

    The Dem’s are pushing for civil war, which is partly why they want to eliminate 2A by a soft coup while screaming it from the podium.

      • Obama tried to create a corps of inner-city people to deal with threats from Americans who owned firearms. They had uniforms, they drilled and had all the Schlitz they could drink, but it never went anywhere. Not enough inner city people joined even though they got sort of a band uniform and a beret.

        If they want to seize firearms they’ll need a BIG group of inner city people – maybe mobilize BLM to go into the countryside raiding homes and stealing firearms and whatever else they can lay their hands on. I’m sure that regular Americans would immediately surrender… They should try it on for size in Arizona or Alaska where the Constitutional Carry rules are fully in place.

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