Civil War

Peak History

gc2smFrom the keyboard of Thomas Lewis

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Published on The Daily Impact on June 14, 2016


We live in a country whose citizens — make that residents — are increasingly averse to complicated thought, indifferent to veracity, and reductionist in their thinking (every thing and every thought and every person is and must be either one kind of thing, or another kind of thing, no additional choices allowed). In such a country history has few friends.

History is too hard. You have to find out what happened, and then you have to figure out the context of the events — what led up to them and what followed — so you can tease out their significance for your time and place, and even after doing all that it may not be clear. Far easier to decide first what history means, and look up a few facts to “prove” it. Works for Fox News. And what they have made of journalism, we are making of history.

The stories of contemporary history are short and punchy, crafted for an audience suffering from Attention Deficit Disorder; their lessons are simple and obvious, as befits an audience capable of obeying rules, not of evaluating them — you know, nine-year-olds. (Soon we will have a population of adults who will not cross the street without holding a grown-ups hand, because, you know, that’s the rule.)

A recent case in point: the American Civil War. It is now almost universally spoken of as a war that was about only one thing, slavery. Knowing that, as all right-thinking folks do, it follows that everyone who fought for the Confederacy was fighting to maintain slavery. Period. Because they were wrong to do so, a very popular line of “thinking” goes, we should scrub from our history and our world every vestige of their existence, eliminating their flag from our sight, rooting out and destroying their statues from our county seats and capitals (you know, like ISIS is doing in the cradle of civilization) and reducing their biographies to simplistic diatribes.

Now we could see in this an evil hand, an intent to make sure that our children never learn that good people fight in bad wars for good reason,  that bad people support good wars for bad reasons, that causes and outcomes are complicated, and can be both good and bad at the same time. Because if they do learn that, they are far less likely to allow some tinhorn president to fight any damn war he wants to for trumped-up reasons.

But the reality is probably dumber than that. While I was trying to figure out how to express my view of it, Ken Burns did it better, not the first time that has happened. He delivered the commencement speech to this year’s graduates of Stanford University (damn him, he still looks too young to be a graduate, let alone advise them). Most of the news coverage hyperventilated over his blistering condemnation of Donald Trump. But mostly he talked about history and our misuses of it:

… we live in an age of social media where we are constantly assured that we are all independent free agents. But that free agency is essentially unconnected to real community, divorced from civic engagement, duped into believing in our own lonely primacy by a sophisticated media culture that requires you—no—desperately needs you—to live in an all-consuming disposable present, wearing the right blue jeans, driving the right car, carrying the right handbag, eating at all the right places, blissfully unaware of the historical tides that have brought us to this moment, blissfully uninterested in where those tides might take us.

We are, in other words, in the grip of a terminal case of cultural Alzheimer’s Disease, increasingly unaware of the people around us, unable to remember where we came from and who we are, deprived, in other words, of the resources we need to set a rational course, we are reduced again to children who can only follow orders. So we grasp the nearest grown-up’s hand and await instruction.  


Thomas Lewis is a nationally recognized and reviewed author of six books, a broadcaster, public speaker and advocate of sustainable living. He also is Editor of The Daily Impact website, and former artist-in-residence at Frostburg State University. He has written several books about collapse issues, including Brace for Impact and Tribulation. Learn more about them here.

Worse Than 1860

four candidatesgc2smFrom the keyboard of James Howard Kunstler
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four candidates
 
Originally Published on Clusterfuck Nation January 18, 2016
 

The lost story-line amid the food-fights and boasting contests that the “debates” have turned into is the destruction being wreaked on the two major parties themselves. I don’t see how either the Republicans or Democrats get out of this thing alive. The primary season now upon us is the event horizon that sucks these two purposeless clubs into the bottomless hole of historical bad memories. Both parties have failed so fundamentally to represent or even apprehend the interests of the nation that they are now merely obstacles to any sort of plausible future, two infernal machines blocking the road, shaking themselves to death.

The Republican Party may be closer to outright blowup since the rank and file will never accept Donald Trump as their legitimate candidate, and Trump has nothing but contempt for the rank and file. If Trump manages to win enough primaries and collect a big mass of delegate votes, the July convention in Cleveland will be the site of a mass political suicide. The party brass, including governors, congressmen, senators and their donor cronies will find some device to deprive Trump of his prize, and the Trump groundlings will revolt against that move, and the whole nomination process will be turned over to the courts, and the result will be a broken organization. The Federal Election Commission may then have to appeal to Capital Hill to postpone the general election. The obvious further result will be a constitutional crisis. Political legitimacy is shattered. Enter, some Pentagon general on a white horse.

Parallel events could rock the Democratic side. I expect Hillary to exit the race one way or another before April. She comes off the shelf like a defective product that never should have made it through quality control. Nobody really likes her. Nobody trusts her. Nobody besides Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Huma Abedin believe that it’s her turn to run the country. Factions at the FBI who have had a good look at her old State Department emails want to see her indicted for using the office to gin up global grift for the Clinton Foundation. These FBI personnel may be setting up another constitutional crisis by forcing Attorney General Loretta Lynch either to begin proceedings against Clinton or resign. Rumors about her health (complications from a concussion suffered in a fall ) won’t go away. And finally, of course, Senator Bernie Sanders is embarrassing her badly at the polls.

The Democrats could feasibly end up having to nominate Bernie on a TKO, but in doing so would instantly render themselves a rump party peddling the “socialist” brand — about the worst product-placement imaginable, given our history and national mythos. In theory, the country might benefit from a partial dose of socialism such as single-payer Medicare-for-all — just to bust up the odious matrix of rackets that medicine has become — but mega-bureaucracy on the grand scale is past its sell-by date for an emergent post-centralized world that needs its regions to get more local and autonomous.

The last time the major political parties disintegrated, back in the 1850s, the nation had to go through a bloody convulsion to reconstitute itself. The festering issue of slavery so dominated politics that nothing else is remembered about the dynamics of the period. Today, the festering issue is corruption and racketeering, but none of the candidates uses those precise terms to describe what has happened to us, though Sanders inveighs against the banker class to some effect. Trump gets at it only obliquely by raging against the “incompetence” of the current leadership, but he expresses himself so poorly in half-finished sentences and quasi-thoughts that he seems to embody that same mental incapacity as the people he rails against. Corruption and racketeering go unobserved and unchallenged. Even the amazing effrontery of Ted Cruz failing to report his Goldman Sachs campaign contributions to the FEC (with his wife employed as a managing director of that company!) hardly made an impression on public opinion last week.

Political uncertainty has never been so dangerously high in this country since the election year of 1860. Even the Watergate years pale against today’s sick scene because for all of Richard Nixon’s turpitudes and evasions in the White House, the institutions of democracy elsewhere were sound and worked impressively well. The senate committee steadfastly and systematically uncovered the crimes of Nixon and his cohorts over two years of hearings, and the House judiciary committee chugged efficiently through the preparatory work of impeachment — and then, old Tricky Dick boarded his helicopter to San Clemente with a ragged smile and a wave.

Nobody knows where the shit show of 2016 is leading. The uncertainty around it is helping to sink what remains of the old economy, and one can easily discern a very dangerous set of feedbacks creeping into place.

 

James Howard Kunstler is the author of many books including (non-fiction) The Geography of Nowhere, The City in Mind: Notes on the Urban Condition, Home from Nowhere, The Long Emergency, and Too Much Magic: Wishful Thinking, Technology and the Fate of the Nation. His novels include World Made By Hand, The Witch of Hebron, Maggie Darling — A Modern Romance, The Halloween Ball, an Embarrassment of Riches, and many others. He has published three novellas with Water Street Press: Manhattan Gothic, A Christmas Orphan, and The Flight of Mehetabel.

There is No Such Thing as Civil War

Off the keyboard of Tom Lewis

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Published on The Daily Impact on June 16, 2015

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War used to be up close and personal. Then, with artillery, we achieved enough detachment that people started to like it. (Photo by walterpro/Flickr)

War used to be up close and personal. Then, with artillery, we achieved enough detachment that people started to like it. (Photo by walterpro/Flickr)

Neocons and candidates for president and others trying to establish their patriotic bona fides bray for war — with ISIS, or Iran, or China or Russia, virtually anyone will do. When those of us who have either experienced war, or read a book about it, object that to choose war is lunacy, they condescend to reassure us. It will be a surgical strike, they say; or we will just train and advise a surrogate country, and it will do the messy part; we’ll use air power, so neither you nor any of your children (Wait, none of them is a pilot, right? Good.) need worry about it.

Well, for the same reasons that you cannot do surgery with machine guns, bayonets and grenades, there is no such thing as a surgical strike by bomb, rocket or artillery shell. Unintended consequences abound, and rebound, creating new mortal enemies and assuring that what was meant to be quick and surgical becomes a long janitorial slog.

The mantra of American policy during the first few decades of the First Iraq War was, “When they stand up, we’ll stand down.” We were teaching their army to fight, you see, and as soon as they got the hang of it we would leave. Last summer, during the runup to the Second Iraq War, when units of the Iraqi army actually got into a fight with ISIS, tens of thousands of them left not only the battlefield, but their uniforms, behind. They had put on their civilian clothes under their uniforms, just in case. How long, do you think, will it take to train them not to do that?

So we must once more unto the breach, dear friends, but fear not. We’ll use air power. Now, air power is just another form of artillery. Permit a story or two about artillery:

Historians say that the largest, loudest and most intense artillery barrage ever seen in North America — 164 cannons firing for 90 minutes — killed no one and had zero effect on the outcome of the battle at hand or the war in progress. It was intended, as artillery barrages usually are, to “soften up” the enemy position to ensure the success of the follow-on infantry attack. (Until recently, there was always a follow-on infantry attack.) But in this case, on the third day of the Battle of Gettysburg, the follow-on was Pickett’s Charge. Which failed.

Not at all an unusual occurrence. I spent eight years researching, editing, writing and presenting Civil War material — twice as long as anybody had to fight in the damn thing — and never in that time did I find an example of a battle that was decided by artillery.

Nor am I convinced that flying cannons do much better. Every Pacific Island that was attacked by the Allies in WWII experienced a preliminary “softening up” by naval guns and bombers until the island seemed to consist of a heap of rubble, bouncing. Then the Marines went ashore — and were met by ferocious resistance from entrenched Japanese who it seemed has been merely annoyed by the bombardment. Even the effectiveness of the vaunted Eighth Air Force pounding Germany late in the war — among the bravest and most costly assaults of the conflict — is open to debate. The bombing and at least partial destruction of every major German city, according to Albert Speer, chief of the German war economy at the time, did not weaken morale, but “spurred us to do our utmost.” Through it all, German war production kept rising until the end.

It is self evident that neocons and war lovers do not read. You think I exaggerate? The entire Vietnam War was fought by presidents and secretaries and commanders who thought Vietnam was a client of Communist China. Any single book on the subject would have revealed to them that the two countries were and are thousand-year, bitter adversaries. BTW, those leaders of the free world also believed, fervently, that air power would carry the day. The B-52s bombed North Vietnam down to sea level and still lost the war.

So let’s do the same thing all over again and see if the results are different. Let’s just bomb ISIS until it quits. Failing that — and that is failing as we speak —  we’ll train more Iraqis to stand up so we can sit down, or however that saying goes. We’ll bomb the Houthi rebels in Yemen — along with Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, oh, and ISIS in Yemen — until they all give up. It will be easy, and they’ll greet us as liberators.

Wars, like illicit affairs, are easier to start than to end. They can be started a thousand different ways, but they are always finished by the infantry. They always, without exception, last far longer and kill far more people and do far more damage to everyone involved than anyone imagined at the beginning. They always surprise people who never read books.

Before you assent to the clarion calls to war, whatever its beginning, however “surgical” its intent, however grave the threat to the “homeland” that is portrayed, make the trumpeters read a few books on the subject. Including the one in which a guy named Hemingway said, “Never think that war, no matter how necessary, nor how justified, is not a crime. Ask the infantry and ask the dead.”

Now Eric Garner

From the keyboard of James Howard Kunstler
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Originally Published on Clusterfuck Nation December 8, 2014

The Beauty Shop had barely stopped smoldering in Ferguson, Missouri, when the Eric Garner grand jury decision came down on Staten Island — no probable cause to indict one particular cop for something — manslaughter? — in his choke-hold take-down of the 300-pound cigarette-seller. For my money, they should have indicted the whole gang of cops who were there that day, including the black female NYPD sergeant on the scene ostensibly “supervising” the action, at least for something like negligent homicide, since the infamous video shows them acting cruelly, stupidly, and indifferently as the poor guy just lay dying on the sidewalk.

Worse, the decision only muddied the public’s view of several events in recent years involving black people, police, and standards of behavior so that now a general opinion prevails that all black people are always treated badly for no reason. That was the same week, by the way, that a white Bosnian immigrant named Zemir Begic was bludgeoned to death by three black teenagers wielding hammers who were out beating on stopped cars on a St Louis street — a crime that was barely covered in the news media, and went unprotested outside the immigrant neighborhood where it occurred. It’s hard to blame the public for being confused about what may or may not be happening across the nation, but history will surely judge this as a tragic time for America.

If we can’t or won’t unpack the separate issues in these matters, the country is going to get into a lot more trouble. One issue is whether police forces in the USA are becoming goon squads. The decision by the federal government to offload tactical military equipment, including armored war wagons, on police departments far and wide was disgracefully stupid since it only gives the impression, when hauled out, that the police are at war with the citizenry. There ought to be public discussion of just flat-out taking all that stuff away from them.

Non-black America is constantly being importuned to “talk honestly” about race and then punished when they actually do. I’ll venture here to summarize what I think has actually happened, and I’m sure a lot of people won’t like it, including plenty of white people. I take a historical view. It is at least an interesting coincidence that the climax of the civil rights campaign produced a black separatist movement that has endured for half a century. It emerged at exactly the moment that the two signal civil rights acts passed congress in 1964-65 (the public accommodations act and the voting rights act).

I think the reason for the sudden rise of black separatism was anxiety among black Americans about the prospect of being formally invited to participate in what was then American common culture. By the late 1960s even colleges were chartering new, separate student unions (at the demand of black students). The sad irony of this has been lost to history. But in effect, by that time a large segment of the black population had opted out either actively or mentally from trying to join the then-dominate culture. The gulf between the two cultures has only grown wider since then, egged on by a foolish white-sponsored “diversity” campaign which had imposed the ridiculous idea that a common culture in one nation is unnecessary.

The result is a permanently oppositional black culture with an elaborate ideology of endless grievance and a guilt-tripped white political culture held hostage by it and pandering endlessly to it — and sandwiched in between those two dispositions is a whole lot of really bad behavior. The least you can say about the four incidents involving Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, and Tamir Rice is that they involved some degree of ambiguity about what was actually going on, and in probably all those cases, at least, death was not caused by sheer malice. The same is not true about the case of Zemir Begic, or of the many people victimized during last year’s “knockout” game fad, or indeed the astounding number of people being gunned down regularly on the streets of Chicago.

I don’t think we’re capable of making these distinctions anymore, and surely not of doing anything constructive about them. Instead, we just appear to be careening toward a new and different kind of civil war.

 

***

James Howard Kunstler is the author of many books including (non-fiction) The Geography of Nowhere, The City in Mind: Notes on the Urban Condition, Home from Nowhere, The Long Emergency, and Too Much Magic: Wishful Thinking, Technology and the Fate of the Nation. His novels include World Made By Hand, The Witch of Hebron, Maggie Darling — A Modern Romance, The Halloween Ball, an Embarrassment of Riches, and many others. He has published three novellas with Water Street Press: Manhattan Gothic, A Christmas Orphan, and The Flight of Mehetabel.

Bread, Circuses & Bombs

Off the keyboard of Jim Quinn

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Published on The Burning Platform on September 22, 2014

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BREAD, CIRCUSES & BOMBS – DECLINE OF THE AMERICAN EMPIRE

“Already long ago, from when we sold our vote to no man, the People have abdicated our duties; for the People who once upon a time handed out military command, high civil office, legions — everything, now restrains itself and anxiously hopes for just two things: Bread and Circuses.”

Juvenal – Satire (100 A.D.)

 

Roman satirist and poet Juvenal was displaying contempt for a degraded Roman citizenry that had shunned civic responsibility, shirked their duties of citizenship within a republic, and had chosen to sell their votes to feckless politicians for assurances of bread and circuses. Rather than govern according to noble principles based upon reason, striving for public policies that led to long term sustainability and benefitting the majority of citizens, politicians chose superficial displays and appeasing the masses utilizing the lowest common denominator of “free” food and bountiful spectacles, pageants, and ceremonies in order to retain power.

The Roman Empire’s decline stretched across centuries as the gradual loss of civic virtue among its citizenry allowed demagogues to gain power and barbarians to eventually overrun the weakened empire. While the peasants were distracted with shallow exhibitions of palliative pleasures, those in power were debasing the currency, enriching themselves, and living pampered lives of luxury. The Roman leaders bought public approval and support, not through exemplary public service, but through diversion, distraction, and the satisfaction of base immediate needs and desires of the populace. Satisfying the crude motivations of the ignorant peasants (cheap food and entertainment) is how Roman politicians bought votes and retained power. Free wheat, circus games, and feeding Christians to lions kept the commoners from focusing on politicians pillaging and wasting the empire’s wealth.

History may not repeat exactly because technology, resource discoveries, and political dynamics change the nature of society, but it does rhyme because the human foibles of greed, lust for power, arrogance, and desire for conquest do not vary across the ages. The corruption, arrogance, hubris, currency debasement, materialism, imperialism, and civic decay that led to the ultimate downfall of the Roman Empire is being repeated on an even far greater scale today as the American Empire flames out after only two centuries. The pillars of western society are crumbling under the sustained pressure of an immense mountain of debt, created by crooked bankers and utilized by corrupt politicians to sustain and expand their welfare/warfare state. Recklessness, myopia, greed, willful ignorance, and selfish disregard for unborn generations are the earmarks of decline in this modern day empire of debt, delusion and decay.

“Armaments, universal debt, and planned obsolescence – those are the three pillars of Western prosperity. If war, waste, and moneylenders were abolished, you’d collapse. And while you people are over-consuming the rest of the world sinks more and more deeply into chronic disaster.”Aldous Huxley – Island

Rome was eight and a half centuries old when Juvenal scornfully described the degenerative spiral of the Roman populace. Still, the Western Empire lasted another three centuries before finally succumbing to the Visigoths and Vandals. The far slower pace of history and lack of other equally matched competing nation states allowed Rome to exist for centuries beyond its Pax Romana period of unprecedented political stability and prosperity, which lasted for two centuries. Prior to becoming an empire, the Roman Republic was a network of towns left to rule themselves with varying degrees of independence from the Roman Senate and provinces administered by military commanders. It was ruled, not by Emperors, but by annually elected magistrates known as Roman Consuls. The Roman citizens were a proud people who had a strong sense of civic duty and made government work for the people.

During the 1st century B.C. Rome suffered a long series of internal conflicts, conspiracies and civil wars, while greatly extending their imperial power beyond Italy through military conquest. After the assassination of Julius Caesar and the ascension of Augustus to emperor in 27 BC, after a century of civil wars, Rome experienced an unprecedented period of peace and prosperity. During this era, the solidity of the Empire was furthered by a degree of societal stability and economic prosperity. But it didn’t last. The successors to Augustus contributed to the progressive ruination of the empire. The repugnant reigns of Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, and Nero reflected the true nature of the Roman people, who had relinquished their sovereignty to government administrators to whom they had granted absolute powers, in return for food and entertainment. It was the beginning of the end.

The American Republic began as a loose confederation of states who ruled themselves, with little or no direction from a central authority. The Articles of Confederation, ratified in 1781 by all 13 States, limited the powers of the central government. The Confederation Congress could make decisions, but lacked enforcement powers. Implementation of most decisions, including modifications to the Articles, required unanimous approval of all thirteen state legislatures. After winning the war for independence from England, the U.S. Constitution, which shifted power to a central authority, was ratified in 1789. The Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments to the Constitution, was passed in 1791 with the purpose of protecting individual liberties and insuring justice for all. Their function was to safeguard the citizens from an authoritarian federal government. These imperfect documents would benefit and protect the rights of the American people only if applied by moral, just, incorruptible, noble, honorable leaders and enforced by an educated, concerned, vigilant citizenry.

As with the Roman Empire, the quality of leadership has rapidly deteriorated over the last two centuries and now wallows at disgustingly low levels. These leaders are a reflection of a people who have abandoned their desire for knowledge, responsibility for their lives, work ethic, belief in freedom and the U.S. Constitution. The Juvenal of our times was H.L. Mencken who aptly and scornfully described the citizenry in 1920 as an ignorant mob who would eventually elect a downright moron to the presidency. He was right.

“The larger the mob, the harder the test. In small areas, before small electorates, a first-rate man occasionally fights his way through, carrying even the mob with him by force of his personality. But when the field is nationwide, and the fight must be waged chiefly at second and third hand, and the force of personality cannot so readily make itself felt, then all the odds are on the man who is, intrinsically, the most devious and mediocre—the man who can most easily adeptly disperse the notion that his mind is a virtual vacuum.

The Presidency tends, year by year, to go to such men. As democracy is perfected, the office represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.” H.L. Mencken

A Republic was formed 225 years ago, as opposed to a monarchy, by men of good intentions. They weren’t perfect, but their goals for the new nation were honorable and decent. Ben Franklin had his doubts regarding whether we could keep a republic. He had good reason to doubt the long-term sustainability of this experiment. Freedom is not something bestowed on us by men of higher caste. We are born into this world free, with the liberty to live our lives as we see fit, the opportunity to educate oneself and the freedom to succeed as far as our capabilities and efforts allow. Only a self-reliant, virtuous, moral, civic minded people are capable of enjoying the fruits of freedom. Once corruption, self-interest, greed, and dependency upon government bureaucrats for sustenance become prevalent, the populace seeks masters who promise safety and security in return for sacrificing essential liberty and basic freedoms.

The country has defeated foreign invaders, withstood financial calamities, endured a bloody civil war, benefitted immensely from the discovery of oil under its soil, became an industrial power, fought on the winning side of two world wars, and since 1946 has become the greatest imperial empire since Rome fell to the barbarians. Over the course of our 225 year journey there has been a gradual relinquishment of the citizens’ sovereignty and autonomy to an ever more overbearing central government. Lincoln’s unprecedented expansion of Federal government authority during the Civil War marked a turning point, as state and local rights became subservient to an all-powerful central authority. Individual liberty has been surrendered and freedoms forfeited over a decades long insidious regression of a once courageous, independent, self-sufficient citizenry into a mob of cowering, willfully ignorant dependents of the deep state.

From the inception of the country there has been a constant battle between the banking interests and the common people. Bankers have used fraudulent fractional reserve banking to speculate for their own benefit, made risky loans, and created every financial crisis in the country’s history. The profits from excessive risk taking are retained by the bankers. The inevitable losses are borne by taxpayers with the excuse that the financial system must be saved and preserved. The storyline never changes. The beginning of the end of the American Empire can be pinpointed to the year 1913, only 124 years after its inception. Private banking interests captured the monetary system of the empire with the secretive creation of the Federal Reserve. The power of the central state was solidified with the implementation of the personal income tax, allowing politicians to bribe their constituents with modern day “bread and circuses”, paid for with money taken at gunpoint from them by the central state. We are now nothing but the hollowed out shell of a once noble Republic.

A century of central banking and heavy taxation of the people by bought off politician puppets has coincided with a century of war, depressions, currency debasement, overconsumption, obscene levels of consumer debt, trillions of excessive debt financed government spending, hundreds of trillions in unfunded entitlement liabilities, and a persistent decline in standard of living for the masses due to Federal Reserve manufactured inflation. We have failed to heed the lessons of history. We have repeated the blunders committed by the Romans.

The American Empire will not be murdered by an external force because it is too busy committing suicide. The moneyed interests, corporate oligarchs and their hand-picked politician front men see themselves as conquering heroes. Their colossal hubris and arrogance is only matched by the ignorance, gullibility, quivering fear of bogeymen, and susceptibility to propaganda of the general populace. The Wall Street bankers and feckless politicians are not gods, they are only men. Death is the great equalizer for emperors and peasants alike. The only thing that remains is your legacy and whether you positively impacted the world. It can be unequivocally stated that those in power today are leaving a legacy of despair, destruction, and debt.

Empires are born and empires die. The American Empire will not be sustained for eight centuries, as the swiftness of modern civilization, nuclear proliferation, religious zealotry, and sociopathic leadership ensures we will flame out in a blaze of glory before reaching our third century. The spirit of independence, idealism, self-reliance, entrepreneurship, knowledge seeking, advancement, and goodwill towards our fellow citizens that marked the height of our fledgling country has succumbed to a malaise of government dependency, cynicism, living on the dole, financial Ponzi schemes, willful ignorance, materialism, delusion, and myopic self-interest. The moral decline of the American populace has been reflected in the deteriorating quality of leaders we have chosen over the last century. Prosperity was taken for granted and no longer earned. We abdicated our civic responsibility to corrupt financiers and power seeking politicians. As time has passed, the ruling elite have grown ever more powerful and wealthy, at the expense of the peasantry. These sociopaths see themselves as god-like emperors, on par with the vilest of the Roman emperors.

Historians will mark 1980 as another turning point, when the nation capitulated to the financiers and ceded control of our destiny to Wall Street bankers, the military industrial complex, and globalist billionaires. The final deformation from a productive society built upon savings, capital investment, and goods production to a borrowing, gambling, and consumption society built upon debt and profiteering by powerful corporate and banking interests had commenced. The peak of this warfare/welfare state insanity was reached in 2000 and the road to decline and decay is now littered with the figurative corpses of a gutted middle class and the literal corpses of men, women and children across the globe, killed during our never ending imperial conquests. The ruling elite sense the futility and foolishness of their folly, but their insatiable appetite for wealth, power, triumph and glory blind them to the destructive consequences of their actions upon the nation and their fellow man. Power and dominion over others is a powerful aphrodisiac for our current day emperors and self-preservation at all costs is their mantra.

While they bask in their perceived triumph and glory, achieved through rigging the financial and political systems in their favor, they should heed the faint whisper in their ear that all glory is fleeting.

“For over a thousand years Roman conquerors returning from the wars enjoyed the honor of triumph, a tumultuous parade. In the procession came trumpeteers, musicians and strange animals from conquered territories, together with carts laden with treasure and captured armaments. The conquerors rode in a triumphal chariot, the dazed prisoners walking in chains before him. Sometimes his children robed in white stood with him in the chariot or rode the trace horses. A slave stood behind the conqueror holding a golden crown and whispering in his ear a warning: that all glory is fleeting.” George S. Patton, Jr.

The decline of the Roman Empire can be attributed to a number of supportable hypotheses, which have been documented by historians over time. They include:

  • Perpetual warfare depleted the treasury and wasted the manhood of the empire. The use of mercenary armies eventually led to the sacking of Rome by the very armies they had employed.
  • Military overexpansion and spending resulted in resources being diverted from technological advancement, maintenance of the civil infrastructure, and worthwhile investments to support economic growth.
  • Excessive welfare spending, oppressive taxation and currency debasement widened the gap between rich and poor, resulting in discontent, mistrust and rebellion.
  • The emergence of an all-powerful centralized authoritarian government ruling by mandate, racked by corruption, and kept in power by bribing its subjects with promises of bread and circuses.
  • Emperors and Senators became oligarchs and their conspicuous consumption provided proof of their corruption and decadence. The widespread corruption and incompetence of its leadership led to a waning in civic pride among the citizens.
  • The decline in productive commercial and agricultural industries due to high taxes on producers, used to support the military empire, contributed to the circumstances that allowed barbarian invasions to succeed.
  • The moral decay of the people was caused by the influx of slave labor from conquered territories, resulting in a decline in middle class work ethic, and the subsequent rise in the level of citizens on the dole. An economy based upon slave labor precluded a middle class with buying power.

In Part Two of this tale of two empires, I’ll document the parallels between mistakes made, eternal human foibles, military misfortunes, financial misconduct, and moral decay, that denote the decline of the Roman and American Empires.

Secession: Scotland to Texas to Alaska…and BEYOND!

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its-showtime_zoomDon’t miss the recent Rants on the various factions all lining up now in the Battle for All the Marbles!

Friends & Enemies, Allies & Adversaries

It’s SHOWTIME!

 

Snippet:

…The UK as an entity basically tracks the course of the Industrial Revolution, and as Industry grew, you got consolidations on every level, corporate consolidations and large monopolies forming, and Nation-States consolidating their hold over various territorial possessions which were the source of raw materials and food for the growing entities. The British Empire of the period was the most successful of these, but all the Europeans were at the game, the French and Germans too. You can think of each of these Nation-States as a large corporation with a Military arm for acquiring more resources.

They all were (and still are) in competition with each other both for acquiring control over resources as well as control over the monetary system used to distribute those resources. Although in times of “peace” the Elite in control of each of these places seem to work as a single monolithic entity, the reality is that they all are struggling to be in control over the greatest swath of the earth they can at any given time. The battle is ongoing even in times of peace on the financial level, but through the whole period from 1700 onward has been punctuated by NUMEROUS wars.

A Short List here of the Wars the UK has been involved in one way or the other for the last 300 years:

War of the Spanish Succession , American Revolutionary War , Seven Years’ War, The United Kingdom in the Napoleonic Wars , War of 1812 , Crimean War , Franco-Prussian War , American Civil War , History of the United Kingdom during World War I , Military history of the United Kingdom during World War II , The Troubles , Falkland Islands War

Not gonna detail all the rationales behind these wars or their timelines, but I will drop links down for them when I air this rant…

For the rest, LISTEN TO THE RANT!!!

Fourth Turning: The People versus Big Brother

Off the keyboard of Jim Quinn

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Published on The Burning Platform on March 13, 2014

Discuss this article at the Geopolitics Table inside the Diner

“The risk of catastrophe will be very high. The nation could erupt into insurrection or civil violence, crack up geographically, or succumb to authoritarian rule. If there is a war, it is likely to be one of maximum risk and effort – in other words, a total war. Every Fourth Turning has registered an upward ratchet in the technology of destruction, and in mankind’s willingness to use it.” 

– Strauss & Howe – The Fourth Turning

“In the need to develop a capacity to know what potential enemies are doing, the United States government has perfected a technological capability that enables us to monitor the messages that go through the air. Now, that is necessary and important to the United States as we look abroad at enemies or potential enemies. We must know, at the same time, that capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left such is the capability to monitor everything—telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn’t matter. There would be no place to hide.

If this government ever became a tyrant, if a dictator ever took charge in this country, the technological capacity that the intelligence community has given the government could enable it to impose total tyranny, and there would be no way to fight back because the most careful effort to combine together in resistance to the government, no matter how privately it was done, is within the reach of the government to know. Such is the capability of this technology.

I don’t want to see this country ever go across the bridge. I know the capacity that is there to make tyranny total in America, and we must see to it that this agency and all agencies that possess this technology operate within the law and under proper supervision so that we never cross over that abyss. That is the abyss from which there is no return.”Frank Church on Meet the Press regarding the NSA – 1975

Ever since Edward Snowden burst onto the worldwide stage in June 2013, I’ve been wondering how he fits into the fabric of this ongoing Fourth Turning. This period of Crisis that arrives like clockwork, 60 to 70 years after the end of the previous Fourth Turning (Civil War – 66 years after American Revolution, Great Depression/World War II – 64 years after Civil War, Global Financial Crisis – 62 years after World War II), arrived in September 2008 with the Federal Reserve created collapse of the global financial system. We are now five and a half years into this Fourth Turning, with its climax not likely until the late-2020’s. At this point in previous Fourth Turnings a regeneracy had unified sides in their cause and a grey champion or champions (Ben Franklin/Samuel Adams, Lincoln/Davis, FDR) had stepped forward to lead. Thus far, no one from the Prophet generation has been able to unify the nation and create a sense of common civic purpose. Societal trust continues to implode, as faith in political, financial, corporate, and religious institutions spirals downward. There is no sign of a unifying regeneracy on the horizon.

The core elements of this Fourth Turning continue to propel this Crisis: debt, civic decay, global disorder. Central bankers, politicians, and government bureaucrats have been able to fashion the illusion of recovery and return to normalcy, but their “solutions” are nothing more than smoke and mirrors exacerbating the next bloodier violent stage of this Fourth Turning. The emergencies will become increasingly dire, triggering unforeseen reactions and unintended consequences. The civic fabric of our society will be torn asunder.

In retrospect, the spark might seem as ominous as a financial crash, as ordinary as a national election, or as trivial as a Tea Party. The catalyst will unfold according to a basic Crisis dynamic that underlies all of these scenarios: An initial spark will trigger a chain reaction of unyielding responses and further emergencies. The core elements of these scenarios (debt, civic decay, global disorder) will matter more than the details, which the catalyst will juxtapose and connect in some unknowable way. If foreign societies are also entering a Fourth Turning, this could accelerate the chain reaction. At home and abroad, these events will reflect the tearing of the civic fabric at points of extreme vulnerability – problem areas where America will have neglected, denied, or delayed needed action.” – The Fourth Turning – Strauss & Howe

Debt

The core crisis element of debt is far worse than it was at the outset of this Crisis in September 2008. The National Debt has risen from $9.7 trillion to $17.5 trillion, an 80% increase in five and half years. It took 215 years for the country to accumulate as much debt as it has accumulated since the start of this Crisis. We continue to add $2.8 billion a day to the National debt, and the president declares it is time for this austerity to end. The total unfunded liabilities of the Federal government for Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, government pensions and now Obamacare exceeds $200 trillion and is mathematically impossible to honor. Corporate debt stands at an all-time high. Margin debt is at record levels, as faith in the Federal Reserve’s ability to levitate the stock market borders on delusional. Consumer debt has reached new heights, as the government doles out subprime auto loans to deadbeats and subprime student loans to future University of Phoenix Einsteins. Global debt has surged by 40% since 2008 to over $100 trillion, as central bankers have attempted to cure a disease caused by debt with more debt.

All of this debt accumulation is compliments of Bernanke/Yellen and the Federal Reserve, who have produced this new debt bubble with their zero interest rate policy and quantitative easing that has driven their balance sheet from $935 billion of mostly Treasury bonds in September 2008 to $4.2 trillion of toxic mortgage garbage acquired from their owners – the insolvent Too Big To Trust Wall Street banks. This entire house of cards is reliant upon permanently low interest rates, the faith of foreigners in our lies, and trust in Ivy League educated economists captured by Wall Street. This debt laden house of cards sits atop hundreds of trillions of derivatives of mass destruction used by the Wall Street casinos to generate “riskless” profits. When, not if, a trigger ignites this explosive concoction of debt, the collapse will be epic and the violent phase of this Fourth Turning will commence.

Civic Decay

The core crisis element of civic decay is evident everywhere you turn. Our failed public educational system is responsible for much of the civic decay, as a highly educated critical thinking populace is our only defense against a small cabal of bankers and billionaires acquiring unwarranted influence and control over our country. Our children have been taught how to feel and to believe government propaganda. The atrocious educational system is not a mistake. It has been designed and manipulated by your owners to produce the results they desire, as explained bluntly by George Carlin.

“There’s a reason that education sucks, and it’s the same reason it will never ever ever be fixed. It’s never going to get any better, don’t look for it. Be happy with what you’ve got. Because the owners of this country don’t want that. I’m talking about the real owners now, the big, wealthy, business interests that control all things and make the big decisions. They spend billions of dollars every year lobbying to get what they want. Well, we know what they want; they want more for themselves and less for everybody else. But I’ll tell you what they don’t want—they don’t want a population of citizens capable of critical thinking. They don’t want well informed, well educated people capable of critical thinking. They’re not interested in that. That doesn’t help them. That’s against their interest.”

The urban ghettos become more dangerous and uninhabitable by the day. The inner cities are crumbling under the weight of welfare spending and declining tax revenues. The very welfare policies begun fifty years ago to alleviate poverty have hopelessly enslaved the poor and ignorant in permanent squalor and destitution. The four decade old drug war has done nothing to reduce the use of drugs. It has benefited the corporate prison industry, as millions have been thrown into prison for minor drug offenses. Meanwhile, millions more have been legally addicted to drugs peddled by the corporate healthcare complex. The culture warriors and advocates of new rights for every special interest group continue their never ending battles which receive an inordinate amount of publicity from the corporate media. Class warfare is simmering and being inflamed by politicians pushing their particular agendas. Violence provoked by race and religion is growing by the day. The fault lines are visible and the imminent financial earthquake will push distress levels beyond the breaking point. Once the EBT cards stop working, all hell will break loose. Three days of panic will empty grocery store shelves and the National Guard will be called out to try and restore control.

Global Disorder

The core crisis element of global disorder is evident everywhere you turn. The false flag revolution in the Ukraine, initiated by the U.S. and EU in order to blunt Russia’s control of natural gas to Europe, has the potential to erupt into a full blown shooting war at any moment. The attempt by Saudi Arabia, Israel and the U.S. to overthrow the Syrian dictator in order to run a natural gas pipeline across their land into Europe was blunted by Russia. Iraq is roiled in a civil war, after the U.S. invaded, occupied and destabilized the country. After 12 years of occupation, Afghanistan is more dysfunctional and dangerous than it was before the U.S. saved them from the evil Taliban. Unrest, violent protests, and brutal measures by rulers continue in Egypt, Turkey, Thailand, Venezuela, Bahrain, Brazil, and throughout Africa. American predator drones roam the skies of the world murdering suspected terrorists. The European Union is insolvent, with Greece, Spain, Italy and Portugal propped up with newly created debt. Austerity for the people and prosperity for the bankers is creating tremendous distress and tension across the continent. A global volcanic eruption is in the offing.

It is clear to me the American Empire is in terminal decline. Hubris, delusion, corruption, foolish disregard for future generations and endless foreign follies have set in motion a chain of events that will lead to a cascading sequence of debt defaults, mass poverty, collapsing financial markets, and hyperinflation or deflation, depending on the actions of feckless bankers and politicians. There is no avoiding the tragic outcome brought on by decades of bad choices and a century of allowing private banking interests to control our currency. The “emergency” QE and ZIRP responses by the Federal Reserve to the Federal Reserve created 2008 financial collapse continue, even though the propaganda peddled by the Deep State tries to convince the public we have fully recovered. This grand fraud cannot go on forever. Ponzi schemes no longer work once you run out of dupes. With societal trust levels approaching all-time lows and foreign countries beginning to understand they are the dupes, another global financial crisis is a lock.

The Snowden Factor

With ten to fifteen years likely remaining in this Fourth Turning Crisis, people familiar with generational turnings can’t help but ponder what will happen next. Linear thinkers, who constitute the majority, mistakenly believe things will magically return to normal and we’ll continue our never ending forward human progress. Their ignorance of history and generational turnings that recur like the four seasons will bite them in the ass. We are being flung forward across the vast chaos of time and our existing social order will be transformed beyond recognition into something far better or far worse. The actual events over the coming decade are unknowable in advance, but the mood and reactions of the generational archetypes to these events are predictable. The actions of individuals will matter during this Fourth Turning. The majority are trapped in their propaganda induced, techno distracted stupor of willful ignorance. It will take a minority of liberty minded individuals, who honor the principles of the U.S. Constitution and are willing to sacrifice their lives, to prevail in the coming struggle.

Despite fog engulfing the path of future events, we know they will be propelled by debt, civic decay, and global disorder. Finding a unifying grey champion figure seems unlikely at this point. I believe the revelations by Edward Snowden have set the course for future events during this Fourth Turning. The choices of private citizens, like Snowden, Assange, and Manning, have made a difference. The choices we all make over the next ten years will make a difference. A battle for the soul of this country is underway. The Deep State is firmly ingrained, controlling the financial, political and educational systems, while using their vast wealth to perpetuate endless war, and domination of the media to manipulate the masses with propaganda and triviality. They are powerful and malevolent. They will not relinquish their supremacy and wealth willingly.

Snowden has revealed the evil intent of the ruling class and their willingness to trash the Constitution in their psychopathic pursuit of mammon. The mass surveillance of the entire population, locking down of an entire city in pursuit of two teenagers, military training exercises in major metropolitan areas, militarization of local police forces by DHS, crushing peaceful demonstrations with brute force, attempting to restrict and confiscate guns, molesting innocent airline passengers, executive orders utilized on a regular basis by the president, and treating all citizens like suspects has set the stage for the coming conflict. Strauss & Howe warned that history has shown armed conflict is always a major ingredient during a Fourth Turning.

“History offers even more sobering warnings: Armed confrontation usually occurs around the climax of Crisis. If there is confrontation, it is likely to lead to war. This could be any kind of war – class war, sectional war, war against global anarchists or terrorists, or superpower war. If there is war, it is likely to culminate in total war, fought until the losing side has been rendered nil – its will broken, territory taken, and leaders captured.” The Fourth Turning – Strauss & Howe -1997

It appears to me the Deep State is preparing for armed conflict with the people. Why else would they be utilizing Big Brother methods of surveillance, militarization of police forces  and Gestapo like tactics of intimidation to control the masses? This doesn’t happen in a democratic republic where private individuals are supposed to know everything done by public government servants, not vice versa. They know the cheap, easy to access energy resources are essentially depleted. They know the system they have built upon a foundation of cheap energy and cheap debt is unsustainable and will crash in the near future. They know their fiat currency scheme is failing.They know it is going to come crashing down.  

They know America and the world will plunge into an era of depression, violence, and war. They also know they want to retain their wealth, power and control. There is no possibility the existing establishment can be purged through the ballot box. It’s a one party Big Brother system that provides the illusion of choice to the Proles. Like it or not, the only way this country can cast off the shackles of the banking, corporate, fascist elites, and the government surveillance state is through an armed revolution. The alternative is to allow an authoritarian regime, on par with Hitler, Stalin and Mao, to rise from the ashes of our financial collapse. This is a distinct possibility, given the ignorance and helplessness of most Americans after decades of government education and propaganda.       

The average mentally asleep American cannot conceive of armed conflict within the borders of the U.S. War, violence and dead bodies are something they see on their 52 inch HDTVs while gobbling chicken wings and cheetos in their Barcalounger. We’ve allowed a banking cartel and their central bank puppets to warp and deform our financial system into a hideous façade, sold to the masses as free market capitalism. We’ve allowed corporate interests to capture our political system through bribery and corruption.

We’ve allowed the rise of a surveillance state that has stripped us of our privacy, freedom, liberty and individuality in a futile pursuit of safety and security. We’ve allowed a military industrial complex to exercise undue influence in Washington DC, leading to endless undeclared wars designed to enrich the arms makers. We’ve allowed the corporate media and the government education complex to use propaganda, misinformation and social engineering techniques to dumb down the masses and make them compliant consumers. These delusions will be shattered when our financial and economic system no longer functions. The end is approaching rapidly and very few see it coming.

Glory or Ruin?

The scenario I envision is a collapse of our debt saturated financial system, with a domino effect of corporate, personal, and governmental defaults, exacerbated by the trillions of currency, interest rate, and stock derivatives. Global stock markets will crash. Trillions in paper wealth will evaporate into thin air. The Greater Depression will gain a choke-hold around the world. Mass bankruptcies, unemployment and poverty will sweep across the land. The social safety net will tear under the weight of un-payable entitlements. Riots and unrest will breakout in urban areas. Armed citizens in rural areas will begin to assemble in small units. The police and National Guard will be unable to regain control. The military will be called on to suppress any and all resistance to the Federal government. This act of war will spur further resistance from liberty minded armed patriots. The new American Revolution will have begun. Leaders will arise in the name of freedom. Regional and local bands of fighters will use guerilla tactics to defeat a slow top heavy military dependent upon technology and vast quantities of oil. A dictatorial regime may assume power on a Federal level. A breakup of the nation into regional states is a distinct possibility.

With the American Empire crumbling from within, our international influence will wane. With China also in the midst of a Fourth Turning, their debt bubble will burst and social unrest will explode into civil war. Global disorder, wars, terrorism, and financial collapse will lead to a dramatic decrease in oil production, further sinking the world into depression. The tensions caused by worldwide recession will lead to the rise of authoritarian regimes and global warfare. With “advances” in technological warfare and the proliferation of nuclear warheads, this scenario has the potential to end life on earth as we know it. The modern world could be set back into the stone-age with the push of a button. There are no guarantees of a happy ending for humanity.

The outcome of this Fourth Turning is dependent upon the actions of a minority of critical thinking Americans who decide to act. No one can avoid the trials and tribulations that lie ahead. We will be faced with immense challenges. Courage and sacrifice will be required in large doses. Elders will need to lead and millennials will need to carry a heavy load, doing most of the dying. The very survival of our society hangs in the balance. Edward Snowden has provided an example of the sacrifice required during this Fourth Turning. How we respond and the choices we make over the next decade will determine whether this Fourth Turning will result in glory or ruin for our nation.

 

“Eventually, all of America’s lesser problems will combine into one giant problem. The very survival of the society will feel at stake, as leaders lead and people follow. The emergent society may be something better, a nation that sustains its Framers’ visions with a robust new pride. Or it may be something unspeakably worse. The Fourth Turning will be a time of glory or ruin.” – Strauss & Howe – The Fourth Turning

Click these links to read the first two parts of this three part series:

Do No Evil Google – Censor & Snitch for the State

Google, China, the NSA and the Fourth Turning

No Way to Run a Railroad…

Off the keyboard of Steve from Virginia

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Published on Economic Undertow on October 15, 2013

Discuss this article at the Economics Table inside the Diner

A lot of confusion in the capital of the World’s Greatest Nation, more like what would be expected in Italy: House G.O.P. Backs Off Plan, Leaving Fiscal Talks in Limbo, (NY Times), House GOP scrambles for support on new funding plan, (WaPo), Competing Budget Plans Cloud Talks, (WSJ) … Default Usa, accordo lontano ma si spacca il fronte repubblicano, (La Repubblica).

Cliffhanger, anyone? It should be said that there is still time, the US is not likely to default; the managers are likely to come to some sort of accommodation, first.

Then again, time is running short … for the US government to get its act together and start governing. A few more days and the Treasury will either fail to make payments upon obligations to lenders or fail to make payments to its own dependent citizenry. What comes after that is hard to say; maybe the dreaded ‘taper’ in some (inadvertent) form. Keep in mind, Treasury securities are collateral for every sort of money/credit exchange, they are deemed to be ‘risk-free’, same as cash. The nation’s word is its bond … what if? Should the US default, risk-free must be redefined throughout finance and politics, (Feliz Salmon/Reuters):

If Treasury payments can’t be trusted entirely, then not only do all risk instruments need to be repriced, but so does the most basic counterparty risk of all. The US government, in one form or another, is a counterparty to every single financial player in the world. Its payments have to be certain, or else the whole house of cards risks collapsing — starting with the multi-trillion-dollar interest-rate derivatives market, and moving rapidly from there.

There you have it, the Freudian slip that reveals our greatest human endeavor to date is entertainment for bored children, a distraction. There is something to be said — and gained — from letting the entire mess collapse, if only to end its pointless and destructive wastefulness. At the same time, the card collapse would render much of the world citizens into paupers over a short time, this would be equally wasteful — and over the longer term, extremely dangerous. There are too many of us, we are too angry and filled with fear. The time is now for cooler heads to find the larger perspective … and kick that can one more time!

The US government has defaulted in the past, the effects have been generally beneficial for both business and the citizens. After the Revolution, the young country defaulted on its war debts, during the Civil War the US suspended convertibility and issued what amounted to scrip — which remained in circulation until 1971. In 1934, the government removed specie from circulation and eliminated ‘gold clauses’ in all contracts, in 1971 Richard Nixon famously closed the Treasury ‘gold window’ and ended the convertibility of dollars to gold in trade between nations. In some cases such as 1934, default bailed out the country’s ruined banks and jump-started a moribund economy. The Revolutionary War debts were ultimately paid with interest … after the US had restructured itself and ratified a new (somewhat excellent) Constitution. Both accelerated US trade both domestically and across the Atlantic.

Using scrip — demand notes — allowed the Union to end slavery and industrialize, then become a world economic power, something it could not have hoped to do as a pastoral state. Ironically, the US since 1900 using credit money has de-industrialized to the degree it has been able to shed its manufacturing work force; it has become a financial- or loan shark state, structurally little different today … from the Confederate South.

With the passage of time, US defaults, like everything else, offered diminished returns. Closing the gold window sparked OPEC’s ire leading to the oil embargo which took place two years later. The oil producers were disgruntled about not receiving gold in exchange for their precious petroleum; unlike other US trading partners they were in a position to do something about it. Not forever, the producers were forced to satisfy themselves with empty US promises of ‘prosperity’ because there were no feasible alternatives … only emptier promises by others, or to leave their petroleum in the ground and gain nothing.

In 1979, the US Treasury failed to make coupon payments on $120 million in Treasury Bills. The causes were a debt ceiling debate, much like today’s; a flood of investors seeking securities at the same time and a word-processing failure. Ultimately, the overdue payments were made with interest: the US was always and at all times solvent, it could always pay its bills. The default was expensive, however; there was a narrow increase in risk premium added to bonds over the next ten+ years that added up to billions of dollars. This was an interest penalty paid to banks by ordinary citizens: the taxpayers penalizing themselves.

To some degree, default is already starting to be ‘priced in’ at the short end of the borrowing spectrum. This is the same short end that the Fed has endeavored to suppress since 2008. The danger here is the Fed and other central banks lose control of the policy rate altogether. Even a small rise would amount to a cash loss in credit markets of many trillions of dollars, the cost to business of increased rates would be much higher. Businesses would be unable to afford credit and would fail, this would cause a recession that central banks would be unable to remedy because they could not lower rates. This in turn would eventually trigger deleveraging across finance, (WSJ);

If Congress doesn’t raise the debt limit before Oct. 17, the date when it is expected to reached, and the U.S. government feels it has no choice but to default, it will in effect “debase the currency” of the repo market, says Lou Crandall, an analyst at market research firm Wrightson ICAP LLC. And that will force dramatic changes in how institutions deal with their cash needs.

They’ll have to make costly and cumbersome changes to margin requirements, a process that if it gets out of hand could convert the temporary liquidity problem into a full-blown credit problem. We learned during the great panic of 2008, when repo transactions were also at the epicenter of the crisis, how a mushrooming “bank run” can occur when one lender imposes tougher collateral restrictions on its counterparties, which in turn impose the same on theirs. In this case, increased margins will be applied to a single asset class in a one-off, across-the-board manner. That might mitigate the risk of a “collateral spiral,” but it’s impossible to gauge all the possible spillover effects.

If credit concerns do arise among counterparties then we’re off to the races: fears about bank defaults, about cascading triggers in the credit default market, about money market funds potentially “breaking the buck.”

A big problem is absence of imagination on the part of the managers who are, a) engaged in a mud-fight with each other, b) pursuing their personal agendas at the expense of the citizens, and, c) locked into doctrinaire economic approaches.

What the Treasury cannot gain from tax receipts, ongoing sales and royalties and interest payment on assets it holds it must borrow. Right now, banks and finance offer (ledger) loans to the Treasury at very low rates. These are secured loans, the Treasury IOU is collateral.

The Treasury has borrowed already a very massive amount, this net amount is not required to shrink but it cannot grow, either. The Treasury can roll over existing loans as they mature, but they cannot increase their level of borrowing.

On the largest scale, the economy is divided into two; the private sector and the public sector. Consider both together to make up a national ledger that must zero out: what follows is not economics but simple bookkeeping on the order of balancing a checkbook. The private sector is made up of firms that have no choice but to earn profits (borrow) in order to remain in business. For the private sector to gain those profits some other sector must run a deficit. The private sector obviously cannot run a surplus and a deficit at the same time; business failures would exponentially increase relative to the rest until the entire sector was bankrupt. Instead, the public sector runs a perpetual deficit. By doing so it creates the necessary surplus within the private sector, that is: public sector deficit is private sector wealth.

The real limit to the size of the deficit is the perceived credibility of the system’s managers. There is no limit within a credit-money system to the public sector borrowing capacity. The public sector cannot ‘run out of money’ any more than a football team can run out of touchdowns. The public sector using its own currency can always pay its bills … and will do so until the managers decide they don’t want to anymore … because the bills are unpleasant or there is some illusory ideological- or political advantage to not doing so.

The alternative to this wealth-making process is the exponential private sector bankruptcy. Our current default theater illuminates the hazards associated with the public sector failing to run deficits … and of the foolish managers destroying what remains of their credibility.

This does not mean that the sectors aren’t over-extended. The problem is not the creation of credit as much as what is done with it after it’s created. Finance has generated hundreds of trillions of dollars worth of credit along with pumping a trillion barrels of crude oil out of the ground. What is there to show for this expenditure besides used cars and smog? Anything?

If the managers had any imagination there are many alternatives to default;

Right now, the private sector is eager to lend to the Treasury because doing so = free money. Not much but at the current rate of borrowing the free-money return adds up. The US needs to set up a money laundry.

– Taper, Baby, taper: Treasury ordinarily can issue IOUs at will — that is, borrow — but cannot do so now due to debt ceiling. However, the Fed and primary dealers hold plenty of Treasury paper in their inventories that can be offered as collateral for loans. The Fed can ‘pretend’ to be the Treasury and borrow from finance using some of its Treasuries as collateral. It can then label the proceeds as ‘interest’ and forward them to the Treasury Department. The Fed holds more than two-trillion dollars worth of Treasuries in its inventory that it can offer in a form of ‘inverse QE’ that would fund the government for almost two years.

This ‘inverse QE’ would be spent to the government’s workers, beneficiaries as well as back to the banks — as real interest. The Fed simply has to rename its lending as ‘interest payments to the Treasury’ there is nothing out of the ordinary about making these payments … and nothing Congress can do about it, either. After the crisis is over, the Treasury can issue new IOUs, unwind the trade and repay the Fed … or not. The Fed doesn’t really need the money*.

– Issue More Scrip: When the Congress and president finally decide to raise the debt ceiling, they should agree to allow the Treasury to issue more scrip, that is, create more US notes. The government has always been able to create currency at will to meet any obligation including the repayment of debts and interest. This makes the US government ‘default proof’. United States Notes or greenbacks were in circulation longer than any other kind of US currency; the original idea for ‘demand notes’ was offered by Edmund Dick Taylor as a means to finance Union efforts during the US Civil War, (Wikipedia):

A United States Note, also known as a Legal Tender Note, is a type of paper money that was issued from 1862 to 1971 in the U.S. Having been current for over 100 years, they were issued for longer than any other form of U.S. paper money. They were known popularly as “greenbacks” in their heyday, a name inherited from the Demand Notes that they replaced in 1862. Often called Legal Tender Notes, they were called United States Notes by the First Legal Tender Act, which authorized them as a form of fiat currency. During the 1860s the so-called second obligation on the reverse of the notes stated:

This Note is Legal Tender for All Debts Public and Private Except Duties On Imports And Interest On The Public Debt; And Is Redeemable In Payment Of All Loans Made To The United States.

They were originally issued directly into circulation by the U.S. Treasury to pay expenses incurred by the Union during the American Civil War. Over the next century, the legislation governing these notes was modified many times and numerous versions have been issued by the Treasury.

Congress would authorize the Treasury to issue $2 trillion in US notes, these would be used to extinguish the same amount of debt. Actual currency would not be necessary, only a ledger-entry repayment to retire ledger entry obligations. There would be no inflation or increase in ‘money’ by way of this process. this is because the money increase occurred at the time the original loan to the Treasury was made. Instead, the residue of bad loans carried forward on ledgers year after year would be wiped out.

Bankers would be unhappy with ledger repayments, they hold out for payments in blood in the form of circulating currency. This is the same way OPEC oil ministers complained about not gaining any gold in exchange for their crude. Like gold was after 1972 circulating money is in inadequate supply and unaffordable, the alternative to the banks is outfight repudiation. A ledger-entry repayment is better business for the banks than no repayment at all.

– Issue More Scrip 2.0: Any of the EU countries could do the same thing: the Italian Treasury could ledger into existence EUR 2 trillion and reliquify the entire EU by reducing the burden of bad (ledger) loans festering on Europe’s books.

– Cancel, Baby, cancel: The Treasury could simply cancel all intra-governmental debt, that is obligations between US agencies. Doing so would reduce the US government deficit by at least $2 trillion at zero cost (about half of intragovernmental debt is held by the Federal Reserve).

Of course, none of the above would solve either Europe’s or the United States’ energy shortages and capital-related business constraints. To actually address these issues would require stringent conservation. However, taking the above steps would buy sufficient time to put conservation strategies into effect.

There would be consequences to Fed’s ‘inverse QE’. Cash on the repo market does not fund the Treasury, it funds shadow banking. Without repo there would be an excess of cash but not for long, the demand for cash would grow as it would be the remaining risk-free security. The demand would mushroom, this would unwind overseas- and internal dollar carry trades, then dollar deflation and business contraction.

The carry unwind would shift dollar inflation overseas as dollar funds dry up and local currencies depreciate sharply. Witness India’s currency collapse along with that of the Brazilian real. The inflation was baked into the cake from the beginning of Bernanke’s accomodative policy … so was the carry trade which shuffled it toward assets overseas.

The investment represented by all those dollars occurred in emerging markets … US workers were left on the outside looking in. If those dollars had ‘stayed home’ wage-push stagflation might have indeed taken place here in the US, that in turn would have put an end to the easing program without ‘curing’ the economy; the recession that stares us in the face right now would have occurred already.

There is a panic about the dollar with many believing it will be substantially depreciated; this has been the panic about the other reserve currencies including sterling, the euro and yuan. Like the others, the current panic will end, in a few months the panic will be about another currency and other credit systems. All of this is symptomatic of the greater ills; capital destruction along with the inevitable reversal of the easing process set into motion by Ben Bernanke and other central bankers beginning in 2008. One way of the other this process will be undone … with or without a default.

Another process being undone is the dominion of private sector money over the governing process. The chaos underway in the US capital is the result of pampered tycoons using their political surrogates to advance their now-conflicting aims against each other, conflicted also against reality. The outcome is the management structures falling apart in disgrace. At the end of the day there is nothing to do but start again with a new political regime that excludes the billionaires’ money, one way or the other the money is gone. Doing business as we are now is no way to run a railroad.

* The danger of central banks making unsecured loans is offset by few in the markets recognizing that the central bank has made an unsecured loan.

** Please take the time to read Grant William’s take on this bit of nonsense right HERE!

Secession

Off the keyboard of RE

Discuss this article at the Geopolitics Table inside the Diner

About a month ago I wrote an article based on the Secessionary Movements in Spain by the Catalans and in the UK by the Scots called Panarchy & The One to The Many-The Final CountdownIn that article right at the beginning I made the comment that Secesssionary Movements like this had not yet gained much traction here in the FSofA, but of course that was a month ago and things are moving faster all the time in this spin down. My Lead for the article ran this way:

Although Secessionary Movements still appear to be a bit far off into the future here in the FSofA, this aspect of the Collapse has already hit over in Eurotrashland, most notably right now in Spain where the Catalans are making a lot of noise about splitting off from the Castillian control of Spain to form their own “new” country.

A month later, Secessionary talk is all over the MSM and the Whitehouse.gov website, in the form of Petitions filed by 19 different states to seceed from the FSofA.  In Texas, where becoming part of the Union was always a contentious idea to begin with, said Petition has ALREADY exceeded the 25,000 Signatures “required” for an Official Response from Obama-sama

From the Statesman.com website:

By Chuck Lindell

American-Statesman Staff

A petition calling for Texas to secede from the United States, created on a White House website designed to foster citizen involvement, became a minor Internet sensation this week as it grew by thousands, then tens of thousands, of signatures before spawning a counterprotest movement on the site.

Secession, the Texas petition said, would protect “the original ideas and beliefs of our founding fathers which are no longer being reflected by the federal government” and defend Texans from “blatant abuses to their rights” from the Transportation Security Administration and other agencies.

Petitions that receive 25,000 signatures within a month are forwarded to administration policy experts for an official response. The Texas petition, created Friday on the White House’s “We the People” site by an Arlington user identified only as “Micah H,” passed that threshold Monday and kept going, surging past 83,000 by Tuesday evening.

There is a certain amount of  “Gaming” going on here with these Petitions, at least two in a couple of different states were created by the same User, who clearly cannot be living in BOTH states at the same time.  Also, I don’t think there is any restriction on the website of a user who lives in say CA signing the petition for TX Secession.

Nevertheless, the Rules are clear here, and regardless who signs the Petition or where they live (could even be a Towel Head living in Tehran, actually), as long as said Petition gets 25K Signators inside a month, the White House is supposed to issue an “Official” response to it.  It certainly will be interesting to see exactly how Obama-sama’s Handlers and Speechwriters concoct a response to this, but overall you already know what the “official” line is, which is that Secession is Unconstitutional, Illegal and not in the “Best Interests” of the Amerikan Peoples.

Not going to try in this article to analyze 19 different states and their Secession petitions, I’ll just focus here on Texas, since that State is probably the most Secession Oriented here to begin with, plus it is Big Enough with its own set of Resources to in THEORY, POSSIBLY function as an Independent State.

Over on my old Haunt The Burning Platform, Jim Quinn recently dropped on an article asking the question Is Secession Possible, and said article has received commentary from BOTH sides of this question, some saying Secession is Unthinkable and Impossible, and others projecting out scenarios they consider possible and even more important, worthwhile as reasons to pursue Secession as a paradigm here.  Long time Commenter on TBP, Hope at Zero Kelvin dropped on the following scenario:

Here’s how Texas secedes:

1) All tax revenues due the federal government are diverted to the newly made Bank of Texas. The BOT has a 1 dollar capital rule and is backed by gold. All Medicare/SS/Medicaid rate schedules stay the same and are paid out from the BOT, not DC. The Univ of Texas gets their gold back from the HSBC toot sweet.

2) Texas raises a Militia of Texans, men & women, probably can get at least 1 million out of a population fo 22M. These work with the National Guard and Airforce in securing the oil/gas refineries and pipelines, the Strategic Oil Reserve, NASA, the Port of Houston, the nuclear plant, the electrical grid,and the major interstates. Martial law would have to be declared in the Blue counties to keep our FSA population in line.

3) No EBT cards will be honored and no Section 8 housing will have water/power within 48 hours of the declaration. Buses to a job site or to one of the borders will be provided for these people. Looters/rioters will be shot on sight.

4) All electrical transmission, all oil/gas pipelines are shut off at the western border of Texas, northern borders of OK/LA and the eastern border of LA. Service will only resume when new contracts are forged.

5) The commanders of Ft. Hood, Sam Houston and Bliss are given the option to join with the Texans or be escorted to the border. Since about 50% or more of the troops at these bases come from Texas, they face either cooperating or mutiny. Either way it neutralizes them as a threat.

6) The souther border will be sealed. Anyone attempting to cross illegally will be shot on sight. Illegal aliens will be given the chance to pay $20K and get a path to citizen ship (only for non-criminals) OR repatriate back to whereever they came from after liquidating all their property here an handing over 50% of the proceeds to the Bank of Texas.

7) In the event the Port of Houston or Galveston are blockaded, Texas will send all exports through Mexico, forcing the fed.gov to blockade even another sovereign country.

8) All federal properties in the Republic of Texas become our property, the workers are given a choice to stay and work as non-union civilian employees or be bused to the border (same treatment as the illegal aliens).

This is just off the top of my head, mind you, but I think I am on the right path.

Pretty clearly, if this set of actons is undertaken, Texas ends up at WAR with the rest of the FSofA that does NOT undertake Secession at the same time.  It really only has a moderate chance of success if it occurs in TANDEM with numerous other States seceeding with them , so that no Coordinated Response from the still functional FSofA Military could be organized up.  If Texas is set upon by Military Units formed up from all the rest of the States in the Union, they are of course TOAST.  So such an action has to wait until numeorus states all are looking to do this at the SAME TIME.

In time, that is likely to occur, much as it did for the Soviet Union.  As with most of these questions, it is about TIMELINES, how long does it take for each of these Individual States to become so unravelled and receiving no real Benefit from the Union that they will say NO MORE, and attempt the very difficult and dangerous road to Secession?

The difficulties any individual location faces in trying to break off from a greater Union are IMMENSE.  Really, the Battle here is on the Economic Level, not the Military one.  You can play all sorts of “War Games” projecting out how Secessionary Militias battle against Big Hardware from NATO, but you CANNOT make good predictions on how long the Militias have enough Ammo for their Ar-15s nor can you predict how long the Abrams Tanks will have GAS to keep rolling around the battlefield or the Apache Helicopter Gunships will have fuel to fly.  In a protracted battle along these lines, infrastructure for refining fuel will be destroyed, transport ships of all kinds will be scuttled, ammo of all sorts and calibers will become scarce, it just deteriorates to Mano-a-Mano eventually.

It is a War that cannot be won by either side really, so the real problems are the Economic ones for Secessionary states to handle once such a One-to-the-Many Secession Movement gains real Steam here.  Can you really call it a “Secession” though, when the reality is that the Union simply collapses as a result of its Conduits becoming dysfunctional or non-functional?

Besides the numerous infrastructure and distribution problems any given State or Region will have resultant either from Secession or Civil War, the major economic problem all face is how to replace the currency of the Dollar?  Obviously, if TX Seceeds from the Union, no Retired Texans will be able to collect their Social Security from the FSofA.  In all likelihood, any Texan with an account on the NYSE will have all of it Confiscated on account of Treason.  Whatever portion of the Gold in Fort Knox and in the Basement Safe of the NYFRB that is NOT Tungsten and might belong to Texas obviously will not be handed over to Texas after they Seceed.   They can kiss any Gold they don’t have inside Texas borders goodbye.

So, this basically leasves them with trying to establish a currency based on the Oil they have left, which might last just Texans a while but not if they start exporting it as a Trade good.  Not sure what other Trade goods Texas makes at a competitive price with what the Mejicanos across the border make, so then you work your way into being a self-contained, independent and self-sufficient economy.  Given the Drought problems Texas has experienced lately, as a self-sufficient economy for Food & Water, it is not real clear exactly how many people Texas has carrying capacity for by itself, even if it was allowed to Seceed.

Far from being “impossible” though as numerous commenters on the TBP Blog maintain, even if there is no “legal” means to effect a Secession by Petitions, eventually Da Federal Goobermint is going to be so dysfunctional that States or Regions will eventually start drifting off and the Power Vacuum gets filled by more Local Power Brokers and Warlords.  Eventually when the Dollar Fails, various Military Bases and Commanders will declare Martial Law in their localities, and form Defacto Military Dictatorships of these Regions.  Factions within the Military will vie for control, and there will be disputes between regions over shared resources like the water supply.  Eventually gas will become unavailable for the military to move around, and then these larger Regional groupings will go through another round of One-to-the-Many fracturing.

The Secessionary movements we are reading about here NOW are the political manifestation of people realizing that the large Nation-States they are a part of have ceased to function.  There is however no real “legal” means to Seceed from such Unions, just as the EU has no mechanism in place for countries like Greece and Spain to exit and reinstitute their own currencies.  The Consolidation phase  of Civilization has been underway since the beginnings of Agriculture, and always seen by the Illuminati as a One Way Street to a One World Order.  Sadly for them, they were wrong.  This is about as close as they got, and now that the Energy necessary to hold together such a complex system is diminishing in availabilility, this Consolidation Phase is coming to an end.

What will follow is anybody’s guess, but I GUARANTEE that it won’t be large Nation States, and the FSofA will pass into the Dustbin of History.  Industrial Civilization will go the way of the Dinosaur also, and then it will be the job of whoever is left at the end of this Final Countdown to build a Better Tomorrow.

RE

For Whom the Bell Tolls

Off the keyboard of RE

Discuss this article at the Geopolitics Table inside the Diner

The Anniversary date of Occupy Wall Street has passed, barely a Blip on the Radar in the pantheon of major Newz Events unfolding around the world these days.  Die hard OWSers showed up on Wall Street, vastly outnumbered by the Massed Force of the World’s 7th Largest Army, the NYPD of Billionaire Mayor Micheal Bloombug.

With the exception of a few Striking Teachers in Chicago who Capitulated after a mere 6 Days of Striking, Amerika mostly proceeds onward here in gradual deterioration of Opportunity for most people, while a few at the top have access to the now ENDLESS supply of ZIRP Funny Money being produced by Da Fed.

Over in Asia, disgruntled Chinese are taking their Anger out on the Japanese, who didn’t manage to succeed in dominating China though WWII, but as the Chief Agent for Anglo-Illuminati Bizness Interests have done a pretty good job dominating China in the post-War years, accessing their Cheap Labor  and sieving profit out of that land mass for their Illuminati Masters.

Now the Nipponese are in their own World of Shit as Fuk-u-shima inexorably poisons their water supply, agricultural produce and fisherie, and so they covet some disputed Islands that they say they “own”, while the Chinese say they “own” them.  Mixed into that Ballgame, NATO is working on setting up more Oz Military fortresses and the Chinese are Talking a Bond War on the Nips, while their Hackers mess around with a few dozen websites to show they are SERIOUS.

Over in MENA, Syria remains a sewer, the Israelis keep Trash Talking the Iranians and Putin occasionally flexes Ruskie Muscle.  So the Flashpoints for International War between major Global Nation States are all in place here in many places, A False flag or even a REAL Flag might at some point get any of these rolling onward here.  But is INTERNATIONAL WAR, aka Global WWIII the most likely outcome here?  It may happen, but IMHO is subsidiary to the CIVIL WARS which are going to Sprout like Mushrooms as time goes by here.

Ambrose Evans Pritchard of the UK Telegraph  had this to say about the recent shenanigans going on over in Spain:

Tens of thousands marched in Madrid at the weekend to protest against drastic cuts, including a 7pc cut in public wages. A man set fire to himself in Portugal, where clashes turned violent.

The protests followed a traumatic week in Catalonia, where 1.5m took to the streets amid a wave of secessionist demands. Catalan leader Artur Mas has been swept by events into open confrontation with Madrid. Mr de Guindos pleaded for time, insisting that the reforms would lay the foundations for recovery. “These sacrifices are absolutely unavoidable.”

His claims were badly undercut by Nobel economist Joe Stiglitz, who told a Spanish forum that German austerity medicine is “utterly misguided” and will push Spain deeper into a downward spiral. It would be “suicidal” for Spain to accept a rescue if it involved more fiscal tightening, he said.

You know what the word secession means of course.  Same thing it meant here in the FSoA in the 1860s.  Southerners will often refer to the Civil War as the War of Secession or the War of Northern Aggression.

In another of the remakes of 1930s Cinema, Spain is on the brink of Civil War.

Like the Civil War here, the Spanish Civil War was really about the transition from the Agricultural Economy to the Industrial one.

From Wiki:

At the end of the 19th century, the owners of large estates, called latifundia, held most of the power in a land-based oligarchy. The landowners’ power was unsuccessfully challenged by the industrial and merchant sectors.[9] In 1868 popular uprisings led to the overthrow of Queen Isabella II of the House of Bourbon. In 1873 Isabella’s replacement, King Amadeo I of the House of Savoy, abdicated due to increasing political pressure, and the short-lived First Spanish Republic was proclaimed.[10][11] After the restoration of the Bourbons in December 1874,[12] Carlists and anarchists emerged in opposition to the monarchy.[13][14] Alejandro Lerroux helped bring republicanism to the fore in Catalonia, where poverty was particularly acute.[15] Growing resentment of conscription and of the military culminated in the Tragic Week in Barcelona in 1909.[16] After the First World War, the working class, the industrial class, and the military united in hopes of removing the corrupt central government, but were unsuccessful.[17] Fears of communism grew.[18] A military coup brought Miguel Primo de Rivera to power in 1923, and he ran Spain as a military dictatorship.[19] Support for his regime gradually faded, and he resigned in January 1930.[20] There was little support for the monarchy in the major cities, and King Alfonso XIII abdicated;[21] the Second Spanish Republic was formed, whose power would remain until the culmination of the Spanish Civil War.[22]

In Spain between WWI and WWII, it was finally the Industrialists time to take control over this country, which they had not been successful with in the 19th Centruy as they had with Britain, Germany and the FSoA.  A Military Coup d’Etat was organized up with Generallisimo Francisco Franco as the Strongman, backed by the other Fascist States of Europe at the time, the Italians led by Il Duce Benito Mussolini and the Krauts led by Der Fuehrer Adolf Hitler.  The Ruskies were funding the Loyalists, which ironically represented the traditional Landowners of the Feudal system but had a large Grassroots component which represented the Peasant class of Spain at the time.

The Spanish Civil War was particularly violent (though all such conflicts really are pretty nasty), and is best known to Amerikans through the writings of Ernest Hemingway in his Novel “For Whom the Bell Tolls“, nominated for a Pulitzer Prize and made also into a film starring Gary Cooper and Ingrid Bergman.  At the end of the story, Hemingway’s Protagonist Robert Jordan is wounded  and makes his Last Stand to take out as many Fascists as he can while his Guerilla Fighter friends and True Love Maria make their escape.

The theme of Self-Sacrifice in Civil War and the conflicts to come in this Go Round are ones often explored around the Tables inside the Diner, as each person attempts to work out for themselves how they will react when confronted with such situations.

For those of us currently living inside the FSofA, these choices still seem Far Off, far enough off that most folks do not even want to consider them.  More often the discussions are about how you might try to AVOID becoming Cannon Fodder in such a war and how to achieve basic survival with enough Food and Fresh Water and Shelter once the current systems holding our society together begin to break down.

It is however unlikely that most of us will be able to avoid the consequences of the breakdown of Industrial Society, already well in progress across much of the world as we speak.  The ongoing Wars both Civil and International all throughout MENA now are the direct consequence of diminishing Available Energy from Fossil Fuels, and the diminishing ability to bring the “benefits” of Industrial Civilization to more societies, or even to maintain them in the societies that took them on in the aftermath of WWI and WWII.

This diminishing capacity to maintain the Industrial Society is already most apparent in the Western societies in Greece and now Spain as well.  Greece is a relatively small economy though, and in order to keep the banking system from suffering a Cascade Failure numerous Kludges have been undertaken to prevent an outright Officially recognized Default from occurring there.  The Greeks themselves are not doing any better with the perpetual Bailouts of their banking system, but their political organization is in complete dissarray and Greece is well on its way to becoming a Failed State on the model of Somalia or Zimbabwe.  Critical difference there in terms of general perceptions is that this is in EUROPE, not in AFRICA.

While the problem inside Greece can be masked somewhat, it is not so easy to mask the SAME problems occurring on a larger scale in Spain.  The much larger scale of the problem along with long standing animosity between the Castillians and Catalonians have now created a clear division in Spain, not dissimilar in many respects to the division in the Muslim world between Sunni and Shiite Muslims.  Like that situation where all are Muslims, in Spain they are all Roman Catholics.  The division here is more along traditional Tribal Lines rather than all that much disagreement on Religious principles.

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard contributed a bit more to this yesterday in another article about the possibilities for Secession by the Catalonians:

 

Catalonian independence graffiti

It is the latest move in a fast-escalating clash between Catalan nationalists and Spanish nationalists, the latter backed by King Juan Carlos and the Spanish military.

Jose-Manuel Garcia-Margallo, the foreign minister, threw down the gauntlet, calling Catalan secession “illegal and lethal”. He warned that Spain would use its veto to stop the region of Catalonia becoming an EU member “indefinitely”.

The constitutional crisis has eclipsed the parallel drama of a Spanish bail-out request from the European Stability Mechanism. It is no longer clear whether premier Mariano Rajoy can deliver on any austerity deal with Brussels.

Catalan leader Artur Mas held high-stakes talks with Mr Rajoy in Madrid on Thursday, armed with a mandate from the Catalan parliament and with charged emotions left from an unprecedented protest by 1.5m people in Barcelona 10 days ago.

He demanded an independent treasury for the rich Catalan region, with control over its own tax base akin to the model already enjoyed by Basques. The 9m Catalans have an economy the size of Austria’s.

“It did not go well,” he said. The Rajoy government said Spain’s constitution allows no margin for compromise. Mr Mas refused to meet the press in the prime minister’s offices, retreating to the Catalan delegation, where he spoke before the Catalan and EU flags. “Constitutions may or may not be modified, but they do not subjugate the will of the people,” he said.

Catalonia’s parliament will meet next week to “think deeply” about its next fateful step. “Catalonia will follow its path. We have no enemies but we will build our own project as a country,” said Mr Mas.

The newspaper Confidencial reported that his Convergència i Unió (CiU) party and coalition partners have asked the European Commission whether Spain can prevent Catalans exercising democratic self-determination, and whether a sovereign Catalonia could remain part of the EU’s single market and the euro.

The speed of events has caught almost everybody by surprise, including Mr Mas himself. His CiU has, until now, pursued a policy of calculated ambiguity over secession. Mr Mas has pivoted quickly, embracing what he calls the “popular outcry” as his own.

The antagonisms date back to the Franco era and, above all, to 1714 when Philip V abolished all Catalan institutions, and imposed Castilian laws and absolutism by right of conquest.

Diplomats say Mr Rajoy’s Partido Popular has provoked the latest eruption of fury by exploiting the economic crisis to break the power of the regions. This came to a head over the summer when Catalonia was forced to request a €5bn rescue from Madrid, though it is a net contributor to the Spanish state.

Spain’s economic slump has frayed nerves across the country, much as it did before the Civil War in the 1930s. Unemployment has risen to 25.1pc and may go higher as the delayed effects of austerity bite deeper.

Citigroup expects the economy to contract by 3.2pc next year and 0.8pc in 2014, pushing public debt to 100pc of GDP.

Chief economist Willem Buiter said the mix of austerity and reform will not restore Spain to “fiscal sustainability”, even if EU loans keep Spain going for another couple of years. He expects “debt restructuring” in the end. The warm glow of the European Central Bank’s bond plan helped Spain sell 10-year debt at 5.66pc on Thursday, the lowest since February.

Mr Rajoy appears to determined to play for time, hoping that he can muddle through without a rescue.

Traders say such gamesmanship is unlikely to succeed for long. Mr Rajoy also hopes to siphon off part of the €100bn in EU rescue package for Spanish banks, but this is certain to infuriate Germany’s Bundestag.

Spanish politics are now intruding, in any case. An EU bail-out memorandum would have to include fiscal restraint for the regions, further inflaming Catalonia.

The risks of a misjudgement are growing. The king caused irritation in Catalonia this week by warning against the seduction of “chimeras” – his first such crisis intervention since 1981.

A serving army officer, Colonel Francisco Alaman, has fuelled the flames by comparing the crisis with 1936 – when Gen Francisco Franco seized power – and by vowing to crush Catalan nationalists, described as “vultures”.

“Independence for Catalunya? Over my dead body. Spain is not Yugoslavia or Belgium. Even if the lion is sleeping, don’t provoke the lion, because he will show the ferocity proven over centuries,” he said.

Retired Lt-Gen Pedro Pitarch, a former army chief, said the words reflect “deeply-rooted thinking in large parts of the armed forces”. He also accused Madrid of bungling the Catalan drama disastrously.

“Are we looking at a failed state?” he asked. Investors holding Spanish debt are listening carefully.

Catalonians unhappy with the general distribution of Wealth and Taxation throughout Spain now wish to form their OWN seperate Country recognized by the European Union in general.  Though why anyone would care or want to be recognized by that bunch of scumbags I have no clue whatsoever.

What this represents is much the same as the breakup of the Soviet Union after the fall of the Berlin Wall, which is One-to-the-Many dissolution; as opposed to Many-to-the-One Consolidation which has been underway since the beginning of the Agricultural Revolution 10 Millenia ago or so.  This Many-to-One consolidation accelerated tremendously of course in the aftermath of the Industrial Revolution, as the War machine of the Military-Industrial Complex moved around the world basically beginning with the War of Northern Aggression and the forcible openning of Japan by Matthew Perry’s Gunboats.  WWI and WWII were the final steps in Consolidation of Power by the Industrialist Illuminati, and Bretton-Woods brought the entire World under the domination of the BIS, utilizing the Dollar as World Reserve Currency.

The Dissolution of the Soviet Union along with the progressive dissolution of many smaller Nation States into their separate components is the Beginning of the End for Globalization.  The opposite side to the Secessionists in Catlaonia are of course the Krauts and their Client states in Northern Europe who all wish to perpetuate the European Union under THEIR control, forcing all the PIIGS nations to accept a loss of Soveregnty and Fiscal Watchdogs from the IMF dictating to them how they spend their money, which of course is not their money at all but money created out of thin air by the Bankster Cabal of the Illuminati.

To me, the obvious loss of control here throughout the system with evermore Nation-States devolving into this type of internal bickering spells the Death Knell for Globalism, and with that the withering of the Power of the Illuminati.  Not that they will go Quietly into this Good Night of course, but without the Cheap Oil to power the War Machine and maintain the vast connections of the Electric Grids and the World Wide Web, this kind of Global Power simply cannot continue to function.

As it decays, certainly you see the International Wars being fought here for Oil in MENA, but really the more important and critical wars are the Civil ones already underway, and those still to come.  Anyone who believes that the FSoA will hold together as a Unit once the spin down works its way inward from the Peripheral Economies into the Central Ringfenced ones is positively nuts.  CBs can print Money in perpetuity, but they CANNOT Print Oil or Print Food.  You CANNOT MAKE SOMETHING FROM NOTHING!

It is just a matter of time before the Spanish problems migrate to Italy also, from there to France and then finally work their way inward past the Ruhr Valley into Krautland.  In fact it may not even take that long, since it remains unclear that the Krauts can split themselves off from the collapsing economies of the PIIGS either.  Europe is bound to fracture, and then after that the FSofA and China and Russia and Japan will all fracture also.  Countless and endless Civil Wars everywhere is the outcome of that, not really International Wars fought by integrated Nation States.

In such a time, with so much strife coming to your neighborhood in due time, for anyone to believe they will be able to manage a Peaceful Doomstead is mostly a pretty unreasonable hope.  Similarly unreasonable are hopes that having a large stash of Possessible Gold and Junk Silver Coins will help you all that much either.

Like the Spaniards in Hemingway’s “For Whom the Bell Tolls”, you have to come to grips with the fact inside your own country, nay inside your own COMMUNITY there will be Competing Interests at work, those with a stake in the Game of Globalism who wish it to continue onward, and the vast majority of the disenfranchised with little stake in this other than their dependence on the Systems it uses for control.  In every community in one way or the other you will be forced to line up on one side or the other as the society fractures along the lines of Haves and Have Nots.

When it does, it behooves all to remember the words of John Donne

 from
Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions
MEDITATION XVII.
N
UNC LENTO SONITU DICUNT, MORIERIS.
Now this bell tolling softly for another, says to me, Thou must die.

PERCHANCE he for whom this bell tolls may be so ill as that he knows not it tolls for him.  And perchance I may think myself so much better than I am, as that they who are about me, and see my state, may have caused it to toll for me, and I know not that.  The church is catholic, universal, so are all her actions; all that she does, belongs to all. When she baptizes a child, that action concerns me; for that child is thereby connected to that head which is my head too, and ingraffed into that body, whereof I am a member.  And when she buries a man, that action concerns me; all mankind is of one author, and is one volume; when one man dies, one chapter is not torn out of the book, but translated into a better language; and every chapter must be so translated; God employs several translators; some pieces are translated by age, some by sickness, some by war, some by justice; but God’s hand is in every translation, and his hand shall bind up all our scattered leaves again, for that library where every book shall lie open to one another; as therefore the bell that rings to a sermon, calls not upon the preacher only, but upon the congregation to come; so this bell calls us all: but how much more me, who am brought so near the door by this sickness.

There was a contention as far as a suit (in which, piety and dignity, religion and estimation, were mingled) which of the religious orders should ring to prayers first in the morning; and it was determined, that they should ring first that rose earliest.  If we understand aright the dignity of this bell, that tolls for our evening prayer, we would be glad to make it ours, by rising early, in that application, that it might be ours as well as his, whose indeed it is.  The bell doth toll for him, that thinks it doth; and though it intermit again, yet from that minute, that that occasion wrought upon him, he is united to God.  Who casts not up his eye to the sun when it rises?  But who takes off his eye from a comet, when that breaks out? who bends not his ear to any bell, which upon any occasion rings?  But who can remove it from that bell, which is passing a piece of himself out of this world?

No man is an island,  entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend’s or of thine own were;  any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.

Neither can we call this a begging of misery, or a borrowing of misery, as though we were not miserable enough of ourselves, but must fetch in more from the next house, in taking upon us the misery of our neighbors.  Truly it were an excusable covetousness if we did; for affliction is a treasure, and scarce any man hath enough of it.  No man hath afflicion enough, that is not matured and ripened by it, and made fit for God by that affliction.  If a man carry treasure in bullion or in a wedge of gold, and have none coined into current moneys, his treasure will not defray him as he travels.  Tribulation is treasure in the nature of it, but it is not current money in the use of it, except we get nearer and nearer our home, heaven, by it. Another may be sick too, and sick to death, and this affliction may lie in his bowels, as gold in a mine, and be of no use to him; but this bell that tells me of his affliction, digs out, and applies that gold to me: if by this consideration of another’s danger, I take mine own into contemplation, and so secure myself, by making my recourse to my God, who is our only security.

Remember the Words of John Donne when the Big Show Comes to a Theatre Near You, for it most surely is coming now to about ALL Homo Sapiens who Walk the Earth at the End of the Age of Oil.  Go With God my Friends, and…

SAVE AS MANY AS YOU CAN

RE

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