Category Archives: Business

Starbucks Unexpectedly Joins Growing Movement of American Companies, Formally Drops All Vaccine Requirements

Jared Harris, The Western Journal
January 20th, 2022

It seems the tide has been turning against vaccine mandates.

And now one of the biggest and most unexpected names yet has dropped its own requirements for employees.

Starbucks Chief Operating Officer John Culver announced the major reversal Tuesday in a memo obtained by the Associated Press.

The company says the decision is driven largely by the recent Supreme Court ruling gutting President Joe Biden’s vaccinate-or-test rule.

Starbucks warned employees about the dangers of the omicron variant in early January. According to Culver’s original memo, the vaccine was “the best option we have, by far, when it comes to staying safe and slowing the spread of COVID-19.” While the company may still believe that is the best course of action, they are now allowing their employees to make that decision for themselves.

Since the Seattle coffee megacorporation has locations in cities across America, this reversal will impact communities from the coasts to the heartland.

The announcement undoubtedly comes as a welcome relief to those who would have otherwise lost their livelihoods as the deadline approached.

Fortunately, Starbucks is not alone in abandoning vaccine requirements.

General Electric’s own 174,000 employees, which far exceeds the 100-person vaccine mandate threshold set by the Biden administration, got their own good news last week with a major announcement from the company.

According to CNBC, General Electric suspended its own requirements on January 14. This company’s reversal also followed the decisive ruling from the high court.

While a spokesperson said workers were still encouraged to get vaccinated, it appears that nobody will be losing their jobs over a personal medical decision.

It’s not just private businesses dumping these mandates, either.

Several colleges in Virginia are now getting rid of vaccination rules previously imposed on staff.

Virginia’s WRIC reported that Virginia Commonwealth University, Virginia State University and other schools are among the institutions that have dropped strict medical requirements for employees.

The move follows not only the Supreme Court decision, but an executive order from newly-elected GOP Gov. Glenn Youngkin axing a state mandate.

Nevada schools are also taking advantage of a December vote by state legislators to make the state’s emergency vaccine mandate temporary instead of permanent. According to the Nevada System of Higher Education Chancellor Melody Rose, the vote “eliminated ‘the legal basis for student vaccines to be a requirement for registration for classes.’”

With local lawmakers, businesses, colleges, much of the public and even Supreme Court justices rejecting harsh vaccine mandates, it seems the tide is now turning against would-be medical tyrants.

If this trend continues it won’t be long before places like California and New York, both still with strict COVID controls in place, are unrecognizable compared to the rest of America.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

Stock Prices Drop for Early Pandemic Successes Netflix, Peloton as More Americans Venture Outside

Stock prices are dropping for Netflix and Peloton, each of which grew considerably during the earlier stages of the pandemic when Americans and others worldwide had to exercise and entertain themselves at home.

Netflix stocks dropped sharply Friday, amid a decline this week in market value for of other pandemic favorites. The declines are at least in part the result of investors forecasting a return to normality as more countries gradually relax COVID-19 restrictions, according to Reuters.

The selloffs for Netflix, a content streaming service, and Peloton, the maker of high-end stationary bikes, began earlier this week after they posted disappointing quarterly earnings.

Analysts think COVID’s new Omicron variant – highly contagious but apparently not as deadly – will not be as economically devastating as the first wave of cases that began roughly two years ago.

“This is a confirmation that the economy is gradually moving towards some sort of normalization,” Andrea Cicione, the head of strategy at TS Lombard, told the wire service.

Peloton shares reportedly lost nearly a quarter of their value overnight Friday erasing nearly $2.5 billion in market value after the company’s CEO said the company was reviewing the size of its workforce and “resetting” production levels.

Peloton, hurt earlier in the pandemic by shipping delays as a result of huge demand, has denied a report this week by CNBC that the company has temporarily halted production of at least some of its bikes and treadmills amid decreased demand.

Netflix shares dropped nearly 20% after it forecasted that new-subscriber growth in the first quarter would be less than half of analysts’ predictions, Reuters also reports.

The company has said its growth has been challenged by a growing and increasingly competitive streaming market. 

Despite Government and Mainstream Media Demonization the 3D-Printed Gun Business is Booming

By Matt Agorist

Since before he was elected, president Joe Biden has promised more gun control, and he is doing everything in his power to keep this one promise — up to and including executive action — specifically targeting 3D printing of guns. Or, as Biden refers to them, Ghost Guns.

The term “ghost gun” is meant to incite fear and is used by the anti-gun crowd as a slogan to sway the ignorant away from the fact that law-abiding citizens often customize their legal weapons with parts obtained online or manufactured in their homes. Some of the parts are drilled with machine tools or 3D printed and therefore do not have a serial number so it is harder for government to track the weapons. Biden will make this legal activity for law-abiding gun owners — illegal.

However, as the Fast and Furious scandal — which happened under Biden’s tenure as VP — shows us, serial numbers on guns don’t stop anyone from committing crimes. The US gave serialized weapons to cartels, who in turn used them on Americans.

For generations, advocates of private gun ownership have been fighting exhaustively through political channels to protect their right to keep and bear arms. Gun owners even have one of the strongest lobby groups in Washington, the highly disappointing NRA. Yet over the years, gun rights continue to diminish in America, despite the constant political campaigns by the NRA and politicians who claim to support gun rights.

However, in the past few years, one guy with a good idea has managed to do more to protect gun rights than the NRA has in decades of political involvement. Cody Wilson is the founder of “Defense Distributed” and the “Wikiweapon” project, which allows anyone with a 3D printer to create their own untraceable gun in the privacy of their own home.

While alarmists claim that 3D-printed guns will be the end of humanity, the fact is that these plans have been online on torrent and dark web sites for years and we’ve yet to see an onslaught of violence with them.

What’s more, as the gruesome murder-suicide on a college campus in Walnut Creek, California illustrated is that people don’t even need these plans or 3D printers if they want to make their own untraceable gun. Scott Bertics built the gun he used to shoot himself and Clare Orton without anyone knowing and entirely through legal measures.

Psychopaths who want to cause harm to others will cause harm to others using any means necessary. Limiting the ability for law-abiding citizens to protect themselves will never change this.

Wilson makes no secret that the intention behind distributing CAD files to create homemade guns is to make gun control measures obsolete and bolster the Second Amendment, which is under continual assault from anti-gun activists.

Naturally, this has put a target on his back. This week, Forbes published an interview with Wilson, in which they referred to him as the “World’s Most Dangerous Crypto Anarchist.”

Forbes paints Wilson as some evil shadowy figure who pines away in the darkness waiting to unleash terror on the world. But in reality, Wilson is an entrepreneur who has helped make self-defense, open source.

Forbes cites statistics from the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives, which claims that from 2016 through 2020, some 23,906 suspected ghost guns were recovered from crime scenes, including 325 homicides or attempted homicides.

But, as mentioned above, these weapons are likely not 3D printed and instead are ordered as parts from various places on the internet or had their serial numbers rubbed off. Nothing is inherently immoral about building these guns either, but the feds, and Forbes, attempting to use “ghost guns” to fear monger, completely ignores the intent behind them.

In Chicago, in 2021 alone, there were 783 murders and an additional 3,592 shootings, none of which were carried out with 3D-printed or constructed weapons. During the same time period, millions of people downloaded 3D blueprints for guns and Wilson generated nearly $5 million from his company Defense Distributed.

The 3D gun business is booming and it’s not leading to massive terror attacks.

Wilson’s company sells subscriptions to his Legio site where members pay between $5 and $8 per month, giving them access to 16,000 files for making firearm and gun components. He also sells 3D printers specifically designed to circumvent the state-sponsored gun control. Coupled with his new software, dubbed the “Zero Percenter” — because it can turn a completely untouched piece of aluminum into a firearm — Defense Distributed products are a means of leveling the playing field.

“They are literally trying to control the world. But as the Zero Percenter demonstrates, blocks of metal are also guns,” Wilson told Forbes.

In short, Wilson’s small business is thriving, and largely in part thanks to the federal government’s crackdown on gun rights. Despite fear mongering from the mainstream media and the like, 3D-printed guns are a boon to liberty and will only serve to foster freedom around the world.

This is because guns — in the hands of good people — level the playing field against guns in the hands of bad people. It is this simple. Just imagine the power a 3D-printed gun would give a mother in an African village as warlords come through hacking off the limbs of children with machetes. With enough of the villagers having these guns, they could effectively defend themselves against large groups of tyrants even if they had automatic weapons.

Sadly, mainstream media, as illustrated in this Forbes piece, as well as statists, only see the potentially negative aspects of these 3D-printed guns.

This protectionist attitude is self-serving and one-sided and ignores the benefits of an armed society as well as history. And, it only serves to further the oppression of those who cannot defend themselves.

While it would certainly be an amazing thought to be able to live in a world without guns, that is simply not the case. Until it is the case, anyone who wants to defend themselves and their family, should be able to do so in any manner they see fit — including making their own 3D gun — as the only other option is tyranny.

Source: The Free Thought Project

Nancy Pelosi’s Son Linked to Five Shady Companies Probed by Feds: Report

Ariel Zilber
January 14th, 2022

Paul Pelosi Jr., the son of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, has reportedly been linked to at least five business entities under investigation by authorities for alleged fraud.

The 52-year-old Paul Pelsoi Jr., the only son of Nancy and Paul Pelosi Sr., was hired by several firms that were subject to both federal and state probes, and meanwhile has “connections to a host of fraudsters, rule-breakers and convicted criminals,” although he has never been charged himself, according to DailyMail.com.

The website reports that in February 2007, Pelosi Jr. was hired as senior vice president by Omaha-based InfoUSA, a database marketing company that was investigated by the Iowa Attorney General’s Office several years earlier for allegedly selling consumer data to fraudsters.

The data was then used to scam sick and gullible elderly people out of money, it was alleged. The investigation was closed and no arrests were made. Pelosi Jr., who was paid a salary of $180,000 per year, joined the firm after the probe ended.

WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 02: Paul Pelosi, Nancy Pelosi and Paul Pelosi Jr attend the 35th Kennedy Center Honors at the Kennedy Center Hall of States on December 2, 2012 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Riccardo S. Savi/WireImage)
Paul Pelosi Jr, 52, is the only son of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her husband, investor Paul Pelosi, Sr.

InfoUSA was founded by Vin Gupta, a major donor to former President Bill Clinton. The Associated Press reported that Gupta and his company were investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission in 2007.

The probe was launched after Gupta was sued by shareholders who allege he misused company funds to fly Bill and Hillary Clinton on private corporate jets.

In 2010, the SEC charged Gupta and two others for “funneling illegal compensation to himself in the form of perks worth millions of dollars.” The case was eventually settled. Gupta did not admit or deny the allegations.

in 2009, Paul Jr. co-founded Natural Blue Resources Inc, an investment company whose stated mission was to “create, acquire, or otherwise invest in environmentally-friendly companies, including an initiative to locate, purify, and sell water recovered from underground aquifers in New Mexico and other areas with depleting water resources.”

But the SEC alleged that the company was secretly run by two convicted fraudsters — James E. Cohen and Joseph Corazzi. In 2014, the agency brought fraud charges against Cohen, Corazzi, former New Mexico Gov. Toney Anaya, and a former executive at the company, Erik Perry.

Vinod Gupta along with President Bill Clinton while golfing together.
In 2007, Pelosi Jr. was hired as senior vice president of InfoUSA, a data marketing company founded by Vin Gupta. Gupta, a fundraiser for Bill Clinton, was accused of fraud by the SEC.

While Cohen and Corazzi claimed to be “outside consultants,” they in fact controlled the company “without disclosing their past brushes with the law to investors.” Pelosi Jr. reportedly owned more than 10 million shares of the company.

The SEC suspended trading in Natural Blue stock. Pelosi Jr. was never charged. According to DailyMail.com, the SEC acknowledged he did not play a “meaningful role” in one of the firm’s key transactions and even testified in court against those who were indicted.

The SEC also said that Pelosi Jr. “strenuously objected” to proposed fundraising contracts and was ousted from the board by Cohen and Corazzi.

Perry and Anaya both reached a settlement with the SEC.

In October 2013, Pelosi Jr. joined FOGFuels, a biofuel company. Just prior to his being named vice president, the company founder, Paul Marshall, was charged by the SEC for allegedly stealing $3 million from elderly investors.

Marshal was accused of using the money “to pay for a variety of…personal expenses, including luxury vacations, child support and alimony payments, and private school tuition and camps for his children.”

Paul Pelosi Jr.
Paul Pelosi Jr., right, has never been charged with a crime.

FOGFuels was dissolved in 2015. Three years later, Marshall was sentenced to six years in federal prison. He was given a reduced sentence after cooperating with the FBI in a separate bribery case involving an official in Atlanta.

In 2014, Pelosi Jr. was named independent director at Targeted Medical Pharma, a Los Angeles-based firm. Seven months after his hiring, he quit the company. A year later, the Food and Drug Administration accused Targeted Medical Pharma of testing drugs on people without authorization, according to DailyMail.com.

The company was not subject to further legal action. It insisted that the investigation by the FDA was due to a “clerical issue.”

In the fall of 2014, Pelosi Jr. became “business development executive” of the Corporate Governance Initiative. An SEC filing stated that CGI was a “non-profit group” focused on “transparency, capitalism and building sustainable organization[s].””

Asa Saint Clair. (Twitter)
Pelosi Jr. also developed ties to Asa Saint Clair, a New York-based executive who was accused by the feds of running a cryptocurrency scam through a fake charity.

In December 2015, Pelosi Jr. was promoted to the position of executive director. During his time at CGI, he reportedly established ties with Asa Saint Clair, a New York-based executive who was accused of running a cryptocurrency scam through his charity, the World Sports Alliance.

The Department of Justice alleged that World Sports Alliance was a “sham affiliate of the United Nations.”

“Saint Clair allegedly defrauded investors in IGObit, a digital currency he claimed WSA [World Sports Alliance] was developing, but which turned out to be the fraudulent bait with which to lure victim investors,” the federal prosecutors alleged.

Saint Clair, who was charged with wire fraud, has pleaded not guilty. He faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

Pelosi Jr. endorsed the fake cryptocurrency on its website in January 2018, according to DailyMail.com, writing: “IGOBit is the absolute best offering I have ever seen.”

He has never been charged in connection with IGOBit or Saint Clair.

In July 2016, Pelosi Jr. became a senior adviser at Oroplata Resources, a lithium mining company.

A month before coming on board, Oroplata executives allegedly issued $26 million worth of fraudulent shares and then awarded some of them to themselves and others without board approval.

The allegation was made in a civil lawsuit filed in Nevada in 2018.

Pelosi Jr. is reported to have received 2.8 million of the allegedly fraudulent shares in July 2016, according to DailyMail.com.

Court documents cited by DailyMail.com show that Pelosi Jr. bought the shares for $2,800 — even though the real market value was between $4,228,000 and $5,152,000.

The fraud was allegedly masterminded by Roger Knox, a Swiss asset management firm owner, who was convicted for a “pump-and-dump” scheme totaling $164 million.

Oraplata was one of several firms entangled in Knox’s fraud, according to federal prosecutors.

Knox pleaded guilty two years ago. He faces a prison sentence of up to 20 years as well as possible fines totaling some $5 million.

Paul Pelosi Jr.
Pelosi Jr., who was never charged with a crime, makes no mention on his LinkedIn page of any of the entities that were subject to scrutiny.

Pelosi Jr. was not named in the civil lawsuit or in the federal complaint against Knox.

On his LinkedIn page, Pelosi Jr. makes no mention of his prior positions at InfoUSA, Natural Blue Resources, FOGFuels, Targeted Medical Pharma, CGI, and Oroplata Resources.

His LinkedIn page currently lists Pelosi Jr. as strategic adviser to EVSX, an eco-mining and recycling company based in Quebec, Canada.

Last month, Nancy Pelosi revealed in filings that she and her husband made as much as $30 million in stock trades involving Big Tech firms.

The financial windfall has spurred lawmakers from both parties to push forward legislation that would ban members of Congress from trading in stocks.

Pelosi, the powerful Democrat who represents San Francisco, has been accused of profiting off companies which she is responsible for regulating.

Pelosi is one of the richest members of Congress, with an estimated net worth of more than $106 million, according to an analysis by The Post.

That’s an average of the maximum and minimum estimated value of her assets and liabilities — the methodology used by the Center for Responsive Politics — using her most recent financial disclosure from August, which pegs the maximum at $252 million and the minimum at $40 million underwater.

Pelosi’s husband, Paul Pelosi, is a businessman who runs the venture capital and investment firm Financial Leasing Services and has made countless bets on high-profile companies his wife is supposed to regulate, like Amazon, Apple, and Google.

When asked last month whether the opportunity to profit on trades could create a conflict of interest, the speaker flatly said “no” to the idea of supporting a ban on trading individual stocks.

“We’re a free-market economy,” Pelosi told reporters. “They [members of Congress] should be able to participate in that.”

As Store Shelves Get Barer, Food Industry Insiders Are Warning That Supplies Will Get Even Tighter In The Weeks Ahead

Michael Snyder
January 11th, 2022

It is happening again.  In December, Joe Biden stood in front of the American people and boldly declared that he had defeated the supply chain crisis, but of course, that wasn’t true.  There have been persistent shortages for months on end, and now fear of Omicron is taking things to an entirely new level once again. 

On Monday, the hashtag #BareShelvesBiden was trending on Twitter, and that is because shelves are alarmingly bare in supermarkets from coast to coast.  We are being told that these shortages are only “temporary”, but of course that was what we were told when nationwide shortages first began to pop up all the way back in early 2020.

Unfortunately, food industry experts are warning us that supplies are going to get even tighter in the weeks to come.  For example, the following is what billionaire John Catsimatidis just told Fox News

“Omicron is taking its toll at different levels of the supply chain, whether it’s the warehouses, whether it’s the selectors, the drivers the loaders – and as they call in sick there are interruptions in the system,” Catsimatidis told Todd Piro during an appearance on “Fox & Friends First.”

Catsimatidis went on to say that many of these interruptions will continue over the next 6 weeks as the COVID-19 variant impacts the labor market. The United Refining Company owner added that the Northeast in particular is seeing the price of various products, including eggs, poultry, and beef, go up because of low supply and high demand.

That sounds rather ominous.

Of course he is not alone.  Egg Innovations CEO John Bruunquell is specifically warning that current conditions are likely to prevent his industry from supplying enough eggs to the general population…

Meanwhile, Egg Innovations CEO John Bruunquell, who acquired the first U.S. patent for reduced fat and cholesterol eggs, echoed Catsimatidis’ sentiment on “Fox & Friends” with co-host Ainsley Earhardt, warning that an uptick in demand coinciding with labor, freight and vendor issues may soon hamper egg supply.

So if shelves that normally hold meat and eggs are already bare in your area, they may be staying that way for a while.

And if the shelves that normally hold meat and eggs are not bare in your area, you may want to grab what you can while you still have the opportunity to do so.  The shortages are escalating, and shelves appear to be getting emptier with each passing hour.  According to Zero Hedge, Americans from coast to coast have been posting photographs of bare shelves on social media…

Before Christmas eve, President Biden declared his administration’s efforts to eliminate supply-chain bottlenecks ahead of the holiday season had succeeded. Ten days into the new year, we can firmly say that is not the case.

The hashtag “BareShelvesBiden” has been trending on Twitter for the last 24 hours. The hashtag ranked on Twitter’s most trending list as of late Sunday evening.

People from around the country tweeted pictures and videos of bare supermarket shelves as Biden’s Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force fails to address pandemic-induced disruptions.

In recent months I have been writing a lot of articles about this supply chain crisis, but even I didn’t anticipate that things would be this bad in early 2022.

If we simply had enough workers to do all of the jobs that needed to be done, that would go a long way toward resolving this crisis.

In industry after industry, vast numbers of workers seem to have “disappeared” from the system, and this is causing a whole host of problems.  For instance, FedEx is warning that a lack of staff will result in significant delays

FedEx Corp warned on Friday that rising cases of Omicron variant has caused staff shortage and delay in shipments transported on aircraft.

“The explosive surge of the COVID-19 Omicron variant has caused a temporary shortage of available crew members and operational staff,” the company said.

I don’t know why FedEx is using the word “temporary”, because they have been operating without enough people for many months.

Of course it is just human nature to want to put a positive spin on things.  So many people out there want to believe that the future is going to be brighter, because the last couple of years have really stunk.

In fact, just check out the words that Americans used when one recent survey asked them to describe 2021

Among the words volunteered in response to the open-ended question to describe 2021 in a single word:

1. Awful/terrible/bad/sucked – 23%

2. Chaos/confusing/turmoil – 12%

3. Challenging/hard/rough – 11%

4. Disaster/train wreck/catastrophe – 6%

5. (Tied) Okay/good – 6%

Looking ahead, our economy is now the number one thing that Americans are concerned about

The U.S. economy is the top priority for Americans, with inflation worries rising and pandemic-related fears waning, a poll released Monday showed.

Sixty-eight percent of Americans mention the economy in some way when asked an open-ended question about the top five priorities for the government to work on in 2022, according to a year-end poll taken by the Associated Press. Just 37 percent cited the virus, down from 53 percent a year earlier.

The American people want the supply chain crisis to be resolved, they want inflation to go back down, and they want life to return to the way that it used to be.

Unfortunately, none of those things are going to happen.

It has become exceedingly clear that our health authorities are completely incapable of defeating the pandemic, and it has also become exceedingly clear that our leaders in Washington are completely incapable of fixing the economy.

And if you think that things are bad now, just wait until we get a few more years down the road.  Virtually everything that Joe Biden and his minions do makes things even worse, and we still have at least three more years of either him or Kamala Harris in the White House.

If you are waiting for the government to pull us out of this mess, you are going to be waiting an awfully long time.

Decades of very foolish decisions have brought us to this point, and it would take a miracle of epic proportions to turn things around now.

BREAKDOWN: Basic Services And Supply Chains Are Rapidly Breaking Down All Over The Globe

By Michael Snyder
January10th, 2022

I warned you that things would get even worse in 2022, and that is exactly what is happening.  Throughout the latter stages of 2022, I documented how basic services were breaking down all across the country, but this was a trend that was largely ignored by the mainstream media until now.  Fear of the Omicron variant has taken things to an entirely new level, and at this point things have gotten so bad that even the mainstream media is full of stories about this crisis.  For example, over the weekend this was one of the Drudge Report’s main headlines: “NATIONWIDE BREAKDOWN OF SERVICES”.  The following is an excerpt from that story

Ambulances in Kansas speed toward hospitals then suddenly change direction because hospitals are full. Employee shortages in New York City cause delays in trash and subway services and diminish the ranks of firefighters and emergency workers. Airport officials shut down security checkpoints at the biggest terminal in Phoenix and schools across the nation struggle to find teachers for their classrooms.

The current explosion of omicron-fueled coronavirus infections in the U.S. is causing a breakdown in basic functions and services — the latest illustration of how COVID-19 keeps upending life more than two years into the pandemic.

This is happening almost everywhere, and it is deeply affecting industry after industry.

Last week, I wrote about how one man in St. Louis had to wait 10 hours for an ambulance to show up.

I still can’t get over that.

And once people get to our hospitals, often they can’t get treated in a timely manner because there aren’t enough workers.  Of course hospitals are trying to hire as fast as they can, but finding qualified people is extremely difficult these days.  For example, one hospital in Nebraska has been advertising for an ultrasound technician for six months and still has not received one single application

Troy Bruntz runs Community Hospital, a 25-bed critical access facility in McCook, Nebraska. He’s been trying to recruit a third ultrasound technician for at least six months without getting a single application.

For lower-level positions, the hospital competes with the local Walmart store, where wages are rising. He monitors the pay offered by the retailer as well as the other large local employers, a hose manufacturer and an irrigation equipment supplier.

Isn’t that nuts?

There are more than 10 million open jobs in the United States today, but the U.S. economy only added 199,000 workers during the month of December…

The US economy added 199,000 jobs in December, the Labor Department reported Friday. That was the fewest jobs added in any month of 2021.

That was a major disappointment: Economists had forecast jobs growth of double that number.

So how could forecasts be so off again?

In the old days, adding 199,000 workers would have barely kept up with population growth.

But we can’t really talk about “population growth” these days, can we?

Our hospitals are being absolutely overwhelmed with the sick and the dying, but most of those same hospitals are now severely undermanned thanks to Biden’s absurd mandate for healthcare workers.

As a result, members of the National Guard are being forced to serve hospital duty in quite a few states

An incoming tide of patients is slowly drowning UMass Memorial Medical Center, and the US military’s National Guard is working to plug the gaps. In wave after daily wave, the emergency crews pull up to the ambulance bay, dropping off patients for which there is no room.

“It’s just the perfect storm for a nightmare here in the emergency department,” says Dr. Eric Dickson, the CEO of the hospital and an emergency physician.

So if you show up at your local emergency room because you are dying, you may get “treated” by a member of the National Guard with no medical training whatsoever.

Meanwhile, our nightmarish supply chain crisis just continues to escalate.

In the waning days of 2021, optimists assured us that the computer chip shortage would soon go away, but the numbers are telling us that it has gotten even worse.  In fact, the wait time for chip delivery is now the longest that it has ever been

Delivery times for chips jumped in December, signaling the semiconductor shortage is worsening into the new year, according to research by Susquehanna Financial Group.

On average, lead times increased six days to approximately 25.8 weeks last month compared with November. This is the longest wait time since the firm began monitoring the data in 2017.

And thanks to fear of Omicron, we are starting to see very alarming shortages of meat and eggs at supermarkets from coast to coast…

SEVERAL American supermarkets are reporting incidents of “bare shelves” as fears grow over an imminent meat and egg shortage amid a surge in Omicron cases.

Food chains have been one of the first to be disrupted by the new super strain as workers fall ill and productivity drops.

If you are a “meat and potatoes” kind of person, I have some more bad news for you.

It turns out that there is a “growing global potato shortage” too…

There’s a growing global potato shortage — a real problem for a planet addicted to french fries and chips.

A number of popular items, including marmite and cream cheese, have faced scarcities amid supply chain disruptions wrought by the coronavirus pandemic and extreme weather. Potatoes are the latest to join the list, becoming unevenly available in some countries and fast-food chains because of a confluence of factors.

I tried to warn everyone that this was coming.  If you don’t want a spoiler about where all of this is eventually headed, then definitely don’t read my latest book.

The economic optimists assured us that the shortages would be gone by 2022, but instead we are starting to see truly bizarre things happen.

In Norway, the military is actually issuing used underwear to the troops because shortages have become so intense

The Economic Winners And Losers Of The Pandemic

While the coronavirus pandemic is still ongoing, the economies of most OECD countries have started to bounce back from the effects of 2020.

As Statista’s Florian Zandt notes, according to data accumulated by The EconomistIreland is the nation with the highest GDP uptick between Q4 2019 and Q3 2021, increasing its domestic product by 22.3 percent. While impressive, this result is the exception rather than the norm as Statista’s chart indicates.

Infographic: The Economic Winners and Losers of the Pandemic | Statista

You will find more infographics at Statista

Source: ZeroHedge

Washington State’s Marijuana Tax Has Raised More than $3b

Brett Davis, The Center Square
January 8, 2022

Washington state’s tax coffers are much higher because of legal marijuana.

That’s according to a recent report by the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), a Washington, D.C.-based group advocating for legal reforms on cannabis. The report looks at tax revenue generated from state-legal, adult-use cannabis since 2014 when sales began in Colorado and Washington state.

For every $1 billion in revenue collected from the state’s cannabis retail tax, nearly $600 million is funneled into public health initiatives, including a fund that provides health insurance for low-income families.

Marijuana is big business Washington, one of 18 states with laws that legalize, tax, and regulate cannabis for adults 21 and older. In Washington state, a 37% excise tax is levied on the retail transaction price. The state levies a 6.5% sales tax.

Washington state collected an estimated $480.9 million in marijuana tax revenue through the first nine months of 2021, not counting millions more in local taxes levied by cities and towns where recreational pot is sold in retail establishments, according to the report. Local taxes totaled an estimated $188.3 million from July 2014 through October 2021, per the report.

In 2020, the figure for statewide marijuana tax revenue was an estimated $614.5 million, and in 2019 it was $477.3 million. The Evergreen State collected a higher amount of tax revenue from legal marijuana than the state did from alcohol in those two fiscal years, the report notes.

During the June 2014–October 2021 time period, marijuana tax revenue is estimated to have filled state coffers with more than $3 billion.

Washington is a pot-pioneering state. It became one of the first two states, along with Colorado, to legalize adult recreational use of marijuana when voters passed Initiative 502 on Nov. 6, 2012.

Marijuana has since become more mainstream than ever, not just in Washington state but throughout the nation, if the money generated by legal weed is any indication.

As of December 2021, states reported a combined total of $10.4 billion in tax revenue from legal, adult-use cannabis sales, with more than $3 billion reported so far for last year, according to the report.

The other 16 states that legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana are Alaska, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Vermont, and Virginia.

Continue Reading

First-Ever Fully Autonomous Semi-Truck With No Human On Board Traverses Arizona Highway

Hardly a day goes by without some truck drivers thinking their days are numbered as AI, machine learning, and robotics could soon take their jobs.

In an industry that moves over 70% of U.S. freight by weight and labor and fuel costs are becoming more expensive, transportation companies are itching to swap human drivers for robot ones.

The latest example that automated semi-trucks could be available for commercial use in the next few years was the recent test by San Diego-based TuSimple.

According to a TuSimple press release, the company tested a class 8 vehicle (otherwise known as a trailer tractor) on a public road without human intervention. The nighttime test was conducted on Dec. 22 on an 80 mile stretch of highway between Tucson, Arizona, and Phoenix.

TuSimple “successfully completed the world’s first fully autonomous semi-truck run on open public roads without a human in the vehicle and without human intervention,” the press release said.

The one-hour and 20-minute drive is the first time a class 8 autonomous truck has operated on open public roads without a human in the vehicle and without human intervention and is part of an ongoing test program that will continue into 2022. 

The test was performed in close collaboration with the Arizona Department of Transportation and law enforcement. The autonomous driving test was 100% operated by TuSimple’s ADS without a human on-board, without remote human control of the vehicle, and without traffic intervention. – TuSimple 

TuSimple’s Autonomous Driving System can navigate streets, read traffic signals, maneuver on and off highways, and even change lanes while interacting with other vehicles.

Over the years, we’ve shown readers there is no shortage of reports (read: here & here) suggesting that robots can potentially displace jobs. The signs we see today, focusing on transportation, are that automated trucks could be maneuvering roads and highways by the end of the decade, perhaps as early as 2027. With that being said, all those newly minted drivers who are taking advantage of snarled supply chains might want to come up with a backup plan once automation begins to displace drivers.

Source: ZeroHedge

The Great Worker Shortage Is Causing Basic Services To Really Break Down All Across America

By Michael Snyder

Where did all the workers go?  That is a great mystery that continues to be unsolved.  All over America, businesses are literally hiring anyone with a pulse and there are “help wanted” signs all over the place.  But the number of people who are actually working is still close to four million below the pre-pandemic peak.  What happened to all of those extra workers?  They certainly aren’t on unemployment, because claims for unemployment benefits are the lowest that we have seen “in decades”.  So where are they?  It is almost as if millions upon millions of people have disappeared from the system completely over the past couple of years.

Needless to say, this lack of workers is having a dramatic impact on the delivery of basic services all over the country.

For example, some of the biggest banks in the U.S. are “temporarily” closing lots of branches due to a lack of staff


Big banks are temporarily closing branches across the nation as they cope with labor shortages and ongoing complications from Covid-19, including the arrival of the more contagious Omicron variant.

It mirrors widespread branch closures at the start of the pandemic in March 2020 when many thought the economic lockdown would be measured in weeks. The new round of temporary closures — sometimes occurring sporadically — are sparking anger, confusion and angst among customers.

If your local bank branch is now closed, it may be quite a while before it opens again.

In fact, Bank of America is telling their customers that some branches may be shut down “for an extended period of time”

“Many of our locations may have reduced hours, alternate days of operations or may have been temporarily closed,” Bank of America Corp. (NYSE: BAC) tells customers on its website. “We are doing everything we can to reopen as soon as possible, though some locations may remain closed for an extended period of time.”

Even more alarming is what staffing shortages are doing to hospitals all across the nation.

Without enough qualified personnel, many hospitals are having a really difficult time delivering basic services right in the middle of this pandemic, and the cost of hiring replacements has even pushed some facilities into bankruptcy

The U.S. health-care profession is suffering its own Great Resignation, pushing more hospitals into financial distress just as a winter surge of the coronavirus hits.

Across the country, hospitals are buckling under the strain of nursing shortfalls and the spiraling cost of hiring replacements. For Watsonville Community Hospital on California’s Central Coast, those costs became too much to bear, and contributed to the facility’s bankruptcy this month, according to a person familiar with the situation.

Because there is such a lack of nurses, any that become available are often the subject of bidding wars, and those with the biggest checkbooks end up winning…

“This is like survival stakes,” said Steven Shill, head of the health-care practice at advisory firm BDO USA. Winners are “whoever’s highest on the food chain and who has the biggest checkbook.” The staffing companies — agencies that provide nurses and other staff on a temporary basis — are “really, really, really gouging hospitals.”

I specifically warned that a lot of these hospitals in blue states were going to be facing severe personnel shortages as a result of the absurd mandates that were being imposed.

Now, these institutions have been put in an untenable situation right in the middle of a raging pandemic, and the ones that instituted the mandates are the ones that are responsible for this state of affairs.

Meanwhile, patients just continue to pour into our hospitals at an alarming rate.  At one hospital in Ventura County, large numbers of people are coming in complaining of “unexplained heart problems, strokes and blood clotting”, and this has pushed the patient census at that hospital to the highest level ever

Dana, another ICU nurse, says the number of sick, critically ill people in her Ventura County hospital has become “overwhelming,” pushing her facility’s patient census to the highest levels she has ever seen.

“It has never been this busy, and none of it is Covid-19,” Dana says. “We don’t normally see this amount of strokes, aneurysms and heart attacks all happening at once. … Normally we’ll see six to ten aortic dissections a year. We’ve seen six in the last month. It’s crazy. Those have very high rates of mortality.”

Similar scenarios are playing out at countless other hospitals all across America.

And staffing shortages are likely to continue to intensify because one recent survey found that a lot more nurses plan to leave their posts in the months ahead

Two-thirds of nurses surveyed by the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses said their experiences during the pandemic have prompted them to consider leaving the field. And 21% of those polled in a study for the American Nurses Foundation said they planned to resign within the next six months. Another 29% said they might.

Air travel is another industry that is experiencing unprecedented nightmares due to severe staffing shortages.

Over the past week, we have literally seen thousands upon thousands of flights either canceled or delayed due to a lack of workers

Although Christmas might be over, holiday travelers won’t be able to escape the airport chaos on Sunday as 913 US flights have been canceled and 2,975 more are delayed due to staffing shortages caused by the COVID Omicron surge.

The new wave of interruptions comes after nearly 1,000 flights into, out of or within the US were cancelled on Christmas and more than 3,000 were delayed.

What a mess.

Sadly, this is a crisis that is not going to be cleared up any time soon.

People are dropping dead all around us, and so worker shortages are likely to be a major league headache throughout 2022 and beyond.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the population of the United States grew at the slowest pace ever recorded during the 12 months ending on July 1st…

When the final numbers come out for the full year of 2021, I believe that they will show a significant population decline for the nation as a whole.

So many have already died, and countless more will die in 2022.

And of course, what we have witnessed so far is just the beginning.

Our society is in the process of collapsing all around us, and now we have gotten to a point where even our most basic services are starting to fail.

I wish that I could tell you that 2022 is going to be better, but I can’t do that, because it wouldn’t be the truth.