Instead Of Black Friday Materialism, Thanksgiving Weekend Should Be A Time To Live, Laugh And Love

thanksgiving-dinner-public-domainOn Friday, hordes of desperate zombies were spotted desperately trying to save a few dollars on toys, apparel and cheaply made electronic goods all over America.  Seemingly oblivious to the fact that virtually all of these goods were made outside of the United States in nations where it is legal to pay slave labor wages, these zombies often clashed violently with one another over items such as soap, toilet paper and jumbo-sized televisions.  Black Friday puts the worst excesses of American materialism on display for the whole world to see, but most Americans don’t seem to care how pathetic we appear to be to the rest of the planet.  The only thing that most Americans know is that it is “the holiday season”, and so now it is time to spend, spend, spend even if it means going into crippling amounts of credit card debt.

Overall, it is being projected that Americans will spend an all-time record high of 650 billion dollars this holiday season.  That is an amount of money roughly equivalent to the yearly GDP of the nation of Saudi Arabia.

But it would be one thing if we did all of this spending with some class.  But instead, many Americans braved freezing cold temperatures and stood in very long lines on Thanksgiving evening so that they could have the opportunity to fight over “great deals” such as $1.60 towels

In video apparently recorded inside a Walmart in Bainbridge, Georgia, showed shoppers fighting over towels that were on sale for $1.60 during the Black Friday rush on Thursday.

At one point, one woman so eager to get her hands on a towels that she fell into the box.

Meanwhile, shoppers at a Walmart in Houston broke into an all-out melee on Black Friday, as customers battled it out for some $99 kiddie convertibles.

We have become a nation that is entirely consumed by greed.  The average American has the television on approximately five hours a day, and that means that we are being endlessly exposed to commercials that are telling us to buy stuff.  Sadly, all of this “programming” does cause many Americans to actually behave like zombies as filmmaker Mark Dice has so brilliantly illustrated

And unfortunately, the violence on Black Friday is often not limited to the ridiculous brawls over Chinese-made electronic goods.  In fact, according to WND four people were shot around the country during the Black Friday “festivities”…

One shooting happened on Thanksgiving Day in a Walmart parking lot in Nevada, apparently as a result of a dispute over a parking spot.

In New Jersey early Friday, two people were shot, one fatally, in a parking lot outside a Macy’s store at the Hamilton Mall, the New York Post said.

Also early Friday, in Tennessee, a man was hit and injured when shots were fired at Wolfchase Galleria Mall in Memphis.

Personally, I don’t understand why people would want to deal with all of this mayhem just to save a few bucks on mass-produced trinkets that they and their families probably don’t even need.

Fortunately, a lot of people are starting to reject Black Friday altogether.  For example, one group is now promoting the day after Thanksgiving as “Buy Nothing Day”

International “Buy Nothing Day” falls on the day after American Thanksgiving each year. Celebrated since the 1990s, the day is meant to inspire worldwide action against mass consumerism, according to Adbusters, a not-for-profit anti-consumerism magazine. 

“Buy Nothing Day isn’t just about changing your habits for one day it is about rediscovering what it means to live freely,” according to Adbusters. “Join millions of us in over 60 countries on November 25, 2016, for Buy Nothing Day and see what it feels like to take a stand against corporate domination.”

And I am a big proponent of buying nothing on the day after Thanksgiving as well, but for different reasons.

Thanksgiving is one of the few holidays that virtually everyone can agree on, and it is one of the only times of the year when families all over the country gather together.

Ultimately, the experience of spending time with family and friends is far more valuable than any “deals” you may be able to pick up at the stores.  If I was going to be the next president, I would strongly consider making the entire four-day period over the long Thanksgiving weekend a national holiday.  But the only way that I would do that is if I could pass a law that the stores must shut down as well.

Because the truth is that the vast majority of us do not need any more stuff, but without a doubt we could all definitely use some more love in our lives.

It has been said that “he who dies with the most stuff wins”, but that is a total lie.

Some of the most miserable people in the world are also some of the most wealthy.  And there are lots of people out there that “make a lot of money” that are some of the coldest, cruelest people that you would ever want to come across.

Success in life is not measured by how much money you make.

Rather, it is measured by how much love you give.

And the more love you spread to those around you, the more likely it is that you will be loved in return.

Sadly, in our day and age love has become heavily linked with sex.  But having a sexual relationship with someone does not mean that you are loved.  Just ask any prostitute.

Others feel like they aren’t loved because they are not in a romantic relationship at the moment.  But that is not what love is all about either.  In fact, some of the loneliest individuals on this holiday are people that are actually married.

And even if you don’t have any family at all this holiday, that doesn’t mean that you have to miss out.  Some people have deeper and more meaningful relationships with close friends than they ever had with their family.  And even though I am very thankful for my family, I have friendships that I have cultivated over the past couple of years that I consider to be on the same level because I love those individuals so dearly.

Look, you can run out and buy stuff at Wal-Mart any time.

But how many times a year do you get to spend concentrated time with those that you love in a quiet, peaceful environment?

The long Thanksgiving weekend should be a time to live, to laugh and to love.

Unfortunately, many Americans have become completely blinded by greed and they have forgotten what really matters…

Did We Just Witness The Last Great Black Friday Celebration Of American Materialism?

Black Friday - Photo by PowhuskuAmericans are going to spend more than 600 billion dollars this Christmas season, and on Friday we got to see our fellow citizens fight each other like rabid animals over foreign-made flat screen televisions and Barbie dolls.  As disgusting as this behavior is to many of us, there may soon come a time when we will all fondly remember these days.  Most Americans are completely unaware of what is currently happening in the financial world, but right now there are deeply troubling signs that we could be on the verge of another major global financial collapse.  If the next great economic downturn does strike in 2015, that could mean that we may have just witnessed the last great Black Friday celebration of American materialism.  As you read this, stock prices are approximately double the value that they should be, margin debt is hovering near all-time record highs, and the “too big to fail” banks are being far more reckless than they were just prior to the last major stock market implosion.  So many of the exact same patterns that we witnessed back in 2007 and 2008 are repeating right now, and as you will see below, this includes a horrifying crash in the price of oil.  Anyone with half a brain should be able to see the slow-motion financial train wreck that is unfolding right before our eyes.

Every year, it has been my tradition to write an article about the mini-riots that erupt in retail stores all around the country on Black Friday.  This year things were a bit calmer because so many stores opened up on Thanksgiving itself, but there was still plenty of chaos.  For example, in the video posted below you can see women viciously fighting one another over discounted lingerie and underwear…

But instead of launching into another diatribe about how we are committing national economic suicide by buying hundreds of billions of dollars of foreign-made goods with money that we do not have, I want to focus on what is coming next.

You see, I believe that in the not too distant future many of us will be wishing for the days when the debt-fueled U.S. economy was healthy enough for people to be wrestling with one another on the floor over good deals in our retail establishments.

The next great financial crash (which many have been anticipating for years) is rapidly approaching.  So many of the same things that happened last time are happening again.  As I noted above, this includes a crash in the price of oil.

In the months prior to the last stock market collapse, the price of oil began plummeting dramatically in the summer of 2008.  This was an “early warning signal” that something was deeply amiss in the financial world…

Oil Price 2007 - 2008

Many people assume that a lower price for oil is good for the economy, but the exact opposite is actually true.  The oil industry has become absolutely critical to the U.S. and Canadian economies.  And in recent years, the “shale oil boom” has been one of the only bright spots for the United States.  If the shale oil industry starts to fail because of lower prices, a lot of the boom areas all over the nation are going to go bust really quickly and a lot of the financial institutions that were backing these projects are going to feel an immense amount of pain.

Unfortunately for us, the “shale oil revolution” simply does not work at 80 dollars a barrel.

And it certainly does not work at 70 dollars a barrel.

As I write this, U.S. crude is sitting at about 66 dollars a barrel due to OPEC’s recent decision to not cut output.

That is the lowest price for U.S. crude since September 2009.

So just like we saw during the summer of 2008, crude oil prices are collapsing once again.  The chart below comes from the Federal Reserve, but it is a few days out of date.  Now that the price of crude is down to about 66 dollars, you have to imagine the price actually going below the bottom of this chart…

Oil Price 2013 - 2014

Needless to say, this price collapse is having a huge impact on the stock prices of oil companies.  The following information about what happened in the markets on Friday comes from Business Insider

Here were some of the biggest losers on Friday:

  • BP (BP), down 5%
  • Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A), down 6%
  • Total (TOT), down 5%
  • Statoil (STO), down 14%
  • Exxon Mobil (XOM), down 5%
  • ConocoPhillips (COP), down 9%
  • Marathon Oil (MRO), down 13%
  • Occidental Petroleum (OXY), down 7%
  • Anadarko Petroleum (APC), down 14%
  • Linn Energy (LINE), down 13%
  • Whiting Petroleum (WLL), down 28%
  • Oasis Petroleum (OAS), down 32%
  • Kodiak Oil & Gas (KOG), down 28%

And this list goes on.

But this could just be the beginning of the oil price declines.

The most powerful oil official in Russia believes that the price of oil could fall below $60 next year…

Russia’s most powerful oil official Igor Sechin said in an interview with an Austrian newspaper that oil prices could fall below $60 by mid-way through next year.

Sechin, chief executive of Rosneft, Russia’s largest oil producer, also said U.S. oil production would fall after 2025 and that an oil market council should be created to monitor prices, the same day the OPEC cartel met in Vienna and left its output targets unchanged.

“We expect that a fall in the price to $60 and below is possible, but only during the first half, or rather by the end of the first half (of next year),” Sechin told the Die Presse newspaper.

And one oil industry analyst just told CNBC that he believes that the price of oil could ultimately plunge as low as $35 a barrel…

“When you look at the second half of 2015, that’s when you see oil beginning to dwarf demand by about a million, a million and a half barrels a day,” he said. “Thirty-five dollars is a possibility if they don’t get an agreement next spring because that’s when the oil really starts to build and you can have a billion barrels of oil with really no place to put it.”

This comes at a time when there are already a whole host of signs that the global economy is slowing down.  Three of the ten largest economies on the planet have already slipped into recession, and the economic nightmare over in Europe just continues to get even worse.  In fact, we just learned that the unemployment rate in Italy has shot above 13 percent for the first time ever recorded.

In addition, it is important to remember that the “real economy” in the United States is in far worse shape than it was just prior to the last financial crash.  Just consider these numbers…

-In the United States today, the number of payday lending locations is greater than the number of McDonald’s and the number of Starbucks.

-One recent survey found that about 22 percent of all Americans have had to turn to a church food panty for assistance.

-This year, almost one out of every five households in the United States celebrated Thanksgiving on food stamps.

-The rate of government dependence in America is at an all-time high and approximately 60 percent of U.S. households get more in transfer payments from the government than they pay in taxes.

-According to a report that was just released by the National Center on Family Homelessness, the number of homeless children in the U.S. has soared to a new all-time record high of 2.5 million.

If things are this bad now, what are they going to look like after the next great financial crash?

And without a doubt, the next crash is coming.  Hopefully we have at least a couple more months of relative stability, but many experts are now urgently warning that time is quickly running out.

By this time next year, Black Friday may look a whole lot different than it does today.

 

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