Nixon

Fake News: The Russian Hacker Story

youtube-Logo-4gc2reddit-logoOff the keyboard of Albert Bates

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Published on Peak Surfer on January 29, 2017

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Discuss this article at the Newz & Multimedia Table inside the Diner

"If you can't maintain the dominant paradigm, at least you can subvert the emergent ones."

 

 

 

Jazz musician and iconoclast Harry Shearer observes that Donald Trump’s ability to openly lie and then deny he did and then move on to telling the same lie again is “profoundly transactional.

This trait is not new in US presidents, merely less concealed in our era by the RealPolitik that kept it more discrete before. We could go back and find examples from the very first presidency, but let’s just retrace to Franklin Roosevelt who, besides concealing his infidelities, of necessity had to dissemble about wartime secrets, as did Truman and Eisenhower when the wars grew cold. Nixon was profoundly secretive, arrogating to his office a false claim of constitutional authority, that, while it cost him his job, was kept around for his successors to use, more liberally with each administration.

To dissemble lubricates a slippery slope. Nixon was impeached for lying about the Watergate cover-up. Clinton was impeached for dallying with an intern. Mountains of lies invite being tunneled into and mined, and mining tools are getting better all the time. Is it any wonder then, that ‘secret’ lying by Reagan, Clinton, Obama, The New York Times, CNN, MSNBC and others begat the baldface lying of Drudge, Fox, Trump and the new generation of fake news on steroids?

In the days before Christmas it easily escaped attention — certainly that of the mainstream echo chamber — that the US Lame Duck in Chief signed into law the LDNDAA (Lame Duck's National Defense Authorization Act) which legalized government propaganda — fake news — when deployed for national security against the citizenry of the US. The law gave the government sweeping powers to feed its minions — CNN, ABC, MSNBC — and covertly take down any competing news outlets that might dare to put out an alternative narrative or question the veracity of the fakes. RT Commentator Max Keiser called it a bailout for the bankrupt mainstream press.

If you can't maintain the dominant paradigm, at least you can subvert the emergent ones.

 

 

 

When our souls are mollified, a bee can sting.

 

— Cicero (Disp Tusc. II, 22)

 

 

[T]he Democrat / Prog coastal elite, hardcore Hillary, PC-and-unicorn crowd are moving through their post-election Kubler-Ross Transect-of-Grief from denial to anger….

 

 

Lately the Democratic Party in the US has adopted its own form of birtherism, which is using the “Russians hacked my homework” excuse for losing the last election. The evidence is flimsy, but that does not stop the handwaving, pompous haranguing, or other forms of smoke and mirrors. Lets look at the evidence.

 

 

According to the Obama spook estate, Russian hackers sent out volleys of phishing emails hoping someone would click. If you have email, you’ve seen this. They tell you that you won something, you qualify for a free trip, there is a bank error in your favor, or you have to upgrade some common piece of software like Java or Flash. Maybe, as in the case of a Russian hacker group that successfully phished Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Party for 6 months in 2016, they’ll use un.org as their trojan domain. If you follow the link, they get your credit card info or your password. Maybe the password you are prompted for is the same one you use for gmail. That’s what happened to John Podesta.

He got a suspicious mail, sent it to an aide to look at, the aide thought it was legit and some lucky hackers in Moscow downloaded 60,000 messages from Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager’s gmail account. So what do you do with 60000 messages if there is no money in it? Give it to Wikileaks.

 

 

At least one targeted individual activated links to malware hosted on operational infrastructure of opened attachments containing malware. APT29 delivered malware to the political party's systems, established persistence, escalated privileges, enumerated active directory accounts, and exfiltrated email from several accounts through encrypted connections back through operational infrastructure.

 

 

 

That was the normal part. Now comes the nasty part. Unnamed “security experts” in the employ of the Democratic National Committee but now cited by the White House and cyberwar apparatchiks within the beltway “believe two Kremlin-connected groups were behind the hack.” Take that apart: Two hyphen connected groups. For Kremlin, substitute Vladimir Putin, because surely nothing in the Kremlin happens unless he directs it (?). So boom: frontpage stories that Putin stole the US election and gave it to Donald Trump, and media cheerleaders go with that because, boy does that boost ad revenues. Soon to be a major motion picture. Saturday Night Live is having a field day.

The two groups were Moscow hackers known to Microsoft as APT (“advanced persistent threat”) 28, a.k.a. Fancy Bear, and APT 29 or Cozy Bear.

“We were shocked to find our names there,” Aleksey Gubarev [who alongside his IT company, has been listed in an FBI report as the cyberlink connecting Trump and Russian hackers, told RT-TV,  saying he had “never met” anyone listed in the report. “Nobody from the intelligence agency contacted me about this story… to verify this information,” he said. Neither did any journalists reach out to him.

The published report is “fake news,” Gubarev said. "I still do not understand why our names [are] there and we do not understand a reason of this report in general." It may not matter.

We are reminded of the Italian Memo. In a story for Vanity Fair in 2006,  Craig Unger recalled:

 

Though it may be unprepossessing, the Niger Embassy is the site of one of the great mysteries of our times. On January 2, 2001, an embassy official returned there after New Year’s Day and discovered that the offices had been robbed. Little of value was missing—a wristwatch, perfume, worthless documents, embassy stationery, and some official stamps bearing the seal of the Republic of Niger. Nevertheless, the consequences of the robbery were so great that the Watergate break-in pales by comparison.

In his January 2003 State of the Union address, George W. Bush let this shoe fall: “The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.” What came next is too horrible to recount, and it continues today, with each U238-mangled baby born in Fallujah. [Footnote: The new US Secretary of Defense is General James "Mad Dog" Mattis, who ordered his marine tank corps to put a depleted uranium shell in every house in the city. More than 300,000 DU rounds are estimated to have been fired. The uranium dust in the air turned sunsets green. Birth defects are now much higher than those recorded among survivors of the nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.]

The British government, of course, had learned nothing of the sort, although Tony Blair jumped on the Cheney bandwagon, calling it the “Dossier of Doom.” Within months, polls showed 90 percent of USAnians believed Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction. National-Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice told CNN, “There will always be some uncertainty about how quickly [Saddam] can acquire nuclear weapons. But we don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud.” Unger reported:

 

 

On the same day the “mushroom cloud” slogan made its debut, The New York Times printed a front-page story by Michael Gordon and Judith Miller citing administration officials who said that Saddam had “embarked on a worldwide hunt for materials to make an atomic bomb.” Specifically, the article [planted by White House Aide Scooter Libby] contended that Iraq “has sought to buy thousands of specially designed aluminum tubes, which American officials believe were intended as components of centrifuges to enrich uranium.”

It was a clever hoax. Well, actually, not all that clever. Just repeated often, and loudly, from the bully pulpit. “That was their favorite bureaucratic technique —ruthless relentlessness,” Colonel Larry Wilkerson, former chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell told Vanity Fair. The CIA had a mole inside Saddam’s war cabinet who told them there was no WMD program. The White House told the CIA that it no longer mattered and by the way they were the designated fall guy for the ensuing “intelligence failure.”

Disinformation of this kind was not new and the Italian bit players in the Niger ruse had entered the American political arena twice before. The first was during Reagan’s election campaign when embarrassing “facts” about Billy Carter, the President’s bubba brother, taking slush money from Libyan president Mohamar Khadafi to meet with Yassir Arafat. Never mind that Billy denied it, the news came out the last week in October, just before the election, and by then it was too late to track down the source: an Italian covert agency run by militant anti-Communists that had infiltrated the highest levels of Italy’s judiciary, parliament, military, and press, and was tied to assassinations, kidnappings, and arms deals around the world.

In 1981, the same covert network orchestrated a disinformation campaign saying Mehmet Ali Agca, the right-wing nut who shot Pope John Paul II, had been taking orders from the Soviet KGB and Bulgaria’s secret service. As Unger put it:

 

 

 

In light of the ascendancy of the Solidarity Movement in Poland, the Pope’s homeland, the Bulgarian Connection played a role in the demise of Communism in 1989.

When Nixon stepped down in 1974, two individuals ascended to positions of almost unlimited power in the Ford White House. Donald Rumsfeld was the sixth White House chief of staff. Dick Cheney was the seventh. Cheney was House Minority Whip during the Reagan years, Chairman of the Republican Policy Committee and later  the Ranking Member of the Select Committee to investigate the Iran-Contra Affair. He became Secretary of Defense under George H.W. Bush and Vice President under Number 43.

Did Cheney and Rumsfeld pull the Italian strings in Billygate and the Bulgarian Connection? No one is telling. What we know is that stationary stolen from the Niger embassy was used for a forgery and ultimately combined with other papers that were already in Italian secret service archives. A codebook and a dossier with a mixture of fake and genuine documents were delivered to Blair. Among the fakes, embassy stationery was used to forge a two-page memo purportedly sent to the president of Niger concerning the sale of 500 tons of pure uranium per year to Iraq.

 

 

 

The forged documents were full of errors. A letter dated October 10, 2000, was signed by Minister of Foreign Affairs Allele Elhadj Habibou — even though he had been out of office for more than a decade. Its September 28 postmark indicated that somehow the letter had been received nearly two weeks before it was sent. In another letter, President Tandja Mamadou’s signature appeared to be phony. The accord signed by him referred to the Niger constitution of May 12, 1965, when a new constitution had been enacted in 1999. One of the letters was dated July 30, 1999, but referred to agreements that were not made until a year later. Finally, the agreement called for the 500 tons of uranium to be transferred from one ship to another in international waters—a spectacularly difficult feat.
 

* * *

 

Over the next two years, the Niger documents and reports based on them made at least three journeys to the C.I.A. They also found their way to the U.S. Embassy in Rome, to the White House, to British intelligence, to French intelligence, and to Elisabetta Burba, a journalist at Panorama, the Milan-based newsmagazine. Each of these recipients in turn shared the documents or their contents with others, in effect creating an echo chamber that gave the illusion that several independent sources had corroborated an Iraq-Niger uranium deal.


A story by Seymour Hersh for The New Yorker suggested that retired and embittered C.I.A. operatives had intentionally put together a lousy forgery in hopes of embarrassing Cheney’s hawkish followers. If that was true it backfired. Never underestimate the gullibility of the press.

First Case in point: the fake National Guard documents that cost Dan Rather and Mary Mapes their jobs at CBS News.

Second Case in point: Russian hackers stole my election.

Another point we observe as we follow this thread was how language is used to frame subject. The “mushroom-cloud” and “smoking gun” visuals were so visceral they were repeated by Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld and became standard NeoCon talking points in the run-up to the Second Gulf War.

 

 

When RT says that President Obama leaves behind a “vast, unaccountable permanent warfare state,” or that levels of economic inequality in the West are “obscene,” or that Trump “terrifies European leaders,” it’s worth asking if it might be Russian disinformation. But it’s also worth asking if it might be true. Distrust but verify.

 

***

With the power to persecute and prosecute journalists, the American government is a dangerous media critic. Judging by the report on RT, it’s also a lousy one.

— Stephen Bates, Lawfare


The Russian hacking story gets reframed to appeal to different echo chambers. For the left wing it assuages the cognitive dissonance that comes when you try to wrap your mind around President… Donald… Trump. Never mind that what is said to have bent the election at the 11th hour was the content of the Podesta emails, not their source. For the right, it’s a chance to blame Obama for the “Cyber Gap” and the anticipation of another wondrous pot of gold at the end of a forthcoming defense authorization rainbow. Of course, neither side questions the veracity of electronic voting machines.

Next week we will look at how the same genetic program that allows us to swallow a yarn like the Russian hacker tale keeps us from doing the right thing about climate change. Later, we will learn how to turn that gene off. In the meantime, the best antidote to fake news is to take yours from as broad a spectrum of opinions as you can find and make your own judgment.

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.

New Survey: Most Dangerous to World Peace? Results: Most Evil Recent POTUS

gc2smsurvey-says-2Off the keyboard of RE

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Published on the Doomstead Diner on August 20, 2015

 

Discuss the Results at the Survey Table inside the Diner

TAKE THE NEW MOST DANGEROUS TO WORLD PEACE SURVEY HERE

One of the greatest dangers we face in civilization collapse is the likelihood of even MORE Wars breaking out than we have already.  Or a total conflagration ending in Global Thermonuclear War.

Despite all the so-called "Nuclear Non-Proliferation" Treaties, and the attempt by the FSoA to keep this a War-Monger Trade Secret after dropping the Bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of WWII, the Ruskies got the Bomb, ostensibly courtesy of Spies Julius & Ethel Rosenberg, who were Executed for Treason.

Julius and Ethel Rosenberg NYWTS.jpgJulius Rosenberg (May 12, 1918 – June 19, 1953) and Ethel Greenglass Rosenberg (September 28, 1915 – June 19, 1953) were American citizens executed for treason and conspiracy to commit espionage, relating to passing information about the atomic bomb to the Soviet Union.

The other atomic spies who were caught by the FBI offered confessions and were not executed, including Ethel's brother, David Greenglass, who supplied documents to Julius from Los Alamos and served 10 years of his 15-year sentence; Harry Gold, who identified Greenglass and served 15 years in Federal prison as the courier for Greenglass; and a German scientist, Klaus Fuchs, who served nine years and four months.[1][2]

In 1995, the United States government released a series of decoded Soviet cables, codenamed VENONA, which confirmed that Julius acted as a courier and recruiter for the Soviets, but did not provide definitive evidence for Ethel's involvement.[3][4] Ethel's brother David Greenglass, whose testimony had condemned her, later stated that he had lied to protect his own wife Ruth, who had been the actual typist of the classified documents he stole,[5] and that he was encouraged by the prosecution to do so.[6][7] Morton Sobell, who was tried with the Rosenbergs, served 17 years and 9 months of a 30-year sentence.[8] In 2008, Sobell admitted he was a spy and stated that Julius Rosenberg had spied for the Soviets, but that Ethel Rosenberg had not.[9]

In the succeeding years, 7 other countries "got the Bomb", including such notables as Israel and North Korea.

According to a new report from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), nine nations — the United States, Russia, United Kingdom, France, China, India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea — possess approximately 16,300 nuclear weapons. in total.-Jun 17, 2014

 

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/55/d2/fd/55d2fdbe6957f98926ba5f997b540196.jpgBeside the threat of the Bomb, we have plenty of Asymmetric Warfare ongoing, with numerous "Terrorist" groups threatening a peaceful world with still other kinds of Mayhem.  ISIS of course is the Demon of the Day on this level, but we still have Al-Qaeda, Hezbollah, Boko Haram, et al.  Follow the link for a list of the Top 5 Terrorist Groups from The National Interest.

So for this week's Collapse SurveyTM, this is your opportunity to rank which Nations/Organizations are the MOST Dangerous to World Peace as the collapse progresses.

TAKE THE MOST DANGEROUS TO WORLD PEACE SURVEY HERE

survey-saysRESULTS!

For last week's Collapse SurveyTM on the Most Evil Recent POTUS, Bush II came in as Most Evil, edging out his dad Bush I by more than half a point.

 

Full Stats below:

  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Standard Deviation Responses Weighted Average
Bush II 7
(18.92%)
7
(18.92%)
7
(18.92%)
1
(2.7%)
4
(10.81%)
4
(10.81%)
0
(0%)
1
(2.7%)
2.57 37 4.43 / 13
Bush I 3
(8.11%)
5
(13.51%)
2
(5.41%)
7
(18.92%)
4
(10.81%)
6
(16.22%)
2
(5.41%)
3
(8.11%)
2.07 37 5.14 / 13
Ronald Reagan 2
(5.41%)
5
(13.51%)
8
(21.62%)
5
(13.51%)
7
(18.92%)
0
(0%)
2
(5.41%)
0
(0%)
2.48 37 5.24 / 13
Barack Obama 8
(21.62%)
3
(8.11%)
4
(10.81%)
4
(10.81%)
3
(8.11%)
2
(5.41%)
3
(8.11%)
1
(2.7%)
1.92 37 5.46 / 13
Richard Nixon 5
(13.51%)
3
(8.11%)
2
(5.41%)
4
(10.81%)
2
(5.41%)
4
(10.81%)
7
(18.92%)
4
(10.81%)
1.92 37 5.73 / 13
Lyndon Johnson 1
(2.7%)
4
(10.81%)
1
(2.7%)
4
(10.81%)
4
(10.81%)
5
(13.51%)
5
(13.51%)
7
(18.92%)
2.11 37 6.22 / 13
Bill Clinton 2
(5.41%)
1
(2.7%)
6
(16.22%)
1
(2.7%)
6
(16.22%)
3
(8.11%)
3
(8.11%)
4
(10.81%)
1.79 37 6.57 / 13
Harry Truman 2
(5.41%)
6
(16.22%)
1
(2.7%)
3
(8.11%)
0
(0%)
5
(13.51%)
4
(10.81%)
4
(10.81%)
2.6 37 6.92 / 13
Gerry Ford 0
(0%)
0
(0%)
2
(5.41%)
2
(5.41%)
2
(5.41%)
1
(2.7%)
3
(8.11%)
4
(10.81%)
2.51 37 8.62 / 13
Jimmy Carter 2
(5.41%)
1
(2.7%)
0
(0%)
1
(2.7%)
4
(10.81%)
4
(10.81%)
2
(5.41%)
2
(5.41%)
2.41 37 8.78 / 13
Dwight Eisenhower 1
(2.7%)
0
(0%)
2
(5.41%)
1
(2.7%)
1
(2.7%)
3
(8.11%)
2
(5.41%)
3
(8.11%)
1.87 37 9.05 / 13
Franky Roosevelt 3
(8.11%)
1
(2.7%)
0
(0%)
3
(8.11%)
0
(0%)
0
(0%)
1
(2.7%)
3
(8.11%)
2.63 37 9.24 / 13
Jack Kennedy 1
(2.7%)
1
(2.7%)
2
(5.41%)
1
(2.7%)
0
(0%)
0
(0%)
3
(8.11%)
1
(2.7%)
2.63 37 9.59 / 13

JFK gets the nod as Least Evil, despite the fact (or maybe because?) he banged Marilyn Monroe. 😀

https://bossip.files.wordpress.com/2014/03/jfkmm.jpg?w=700

These Rankings in NO WAY match my own.  My Most to Least Evil Recent POTUS Ranking is as follows:

Richard Nixon
Bush I
Harry Truman
Ronald Reagan
Bush II
Gerry Ford
Franky Roosevelt
Barack Obama
Lyndon Johnson
Dwight Eisenhower
Bill Clinton
Jack Kennedy
Jimmy Carter

I'm not going to go thrugh my rationale for all of them, just TRICKY DICK NIXON.

Nixon was consumate evil on all levels, from corruption and money laundering to running illegal wars to providing a springboard for Bush I.  In my lifetime, no POTUS ever did more to facilitate Corruption and EVIL.

Nixon was the Spawn of Satan.

http://crasstalk.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/nixon-devil-550.jpg

Nixon (Satan's bedfellow) photo nixonsatansbedfellow.jpg

RE

WHAT THE FED HAS WROUGHT

Off the keyboard of Jim Quinn

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Published on The Burning Platform on November 16, 2014

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Discuss this article at the Economics Table inside the Diner

The chart below might be the most powerful indictment of the Federal Reserve and our corporate fascist empire of debt ever created. Some people don’t get charts. Charts tell a story. This chart tells the story of elitist bankers supporting the agenda of a corporate fascist state, resulting in the gutting of the middle class. Anyone who views this chart in a positive manner is either a Federal Reserve banker or their paycheck is dependent upon the continuation of the pillaging of the working class. Corporate profits are at all-time highs. Profit margins have always reverted to the mean throughout modern history. If they remain at all-time highs then something is terribly wrong.

“Profit margins are probably the most mean-reverting series in finance, and if profit margins do not mean-revert, then something has gone badly wrong with capitalism. If high profits do not attract competition, there is something wrong with the system and it is not functioning properly.” – Jeremy Grantham, Barron’s

Here is the story I see in that chart. Corporate profits as a percentage of GNP have averaged 6.5% over the last 67 years. As you can see, it is a volatile figure. Corporate profits rise during expansions and fall during recessions. That has been a given over time. The reason corporate profits have always reverted to the mean was due to the basic tenets of free market capitalism. When a company is generating outsized profits, that industry will then attract new competitors, resulting in price competition and lower profits. From 1950 through 1971, corporate profits as a percentage of GNP fluctuated in a narrow range between 5% and 7%. This was a reflection of a market driven by competition, a non-interventionist Federal Reserve, and a government not captured by corporate interests.

It is no coincidence since Nixon closed the gold window in 1971 and unleashed greedy bankers, feckless politicians, and self serving corporate executives to utilize easy money and prodigious amounts of debt to financialize our economic system and deform capitalism. The Fed created booms and busts are clearly evident on the chart. Nixon toady Arthur Burns created an inflationary boom in corporate profits to 8% of GNP in the late 70’s followed by the collapse to 3% caused by Volcker having to raise rates to extreme levels to crush the Burns created runaway inflation.

You can see exactly when the Maestro assumed command at the Fed and proceeded to introduce the Greenspan Put, encouraging speculation, borrowing and mal-investment. His easy money boom led to the dot com bubble that doubled corporate profits from their 1987 low. Of course the profits vaporized in an instant and plunged to 4% of GNP in 2001. Greenspan and then Bernanke  proceeded to drive interest rates to record lows creating a prodigious housing bubble resulting in the greatest level of mal-investment and financial fraud in world history. Corporate profits as a percentage of GNP skyrocketed from 4% to 10% in the space of six years. The banking cabal had captured the system.

The Fed orchestra kept the music playing and Wall Street kept dancing the rumba with their corporate CEO dates. The Keynesian acolytes were ecstatic. The Austrians warned of the impending bust. No one listened. The collapse of the worldwide financial system was portrayed by the corporate mainstream media, bankers like Dimon, corporate CEOs like Immelt, billionaires like Buffet, captured government bureaucrats like Paulson, and politicians like McCain and Obama, as a systematic risk that required a taxpayer rescue of criminals.

The $800 billion gift to bankers and mega-corporations by the Washington DC Party of captured politicians was chicken feed compared to the $3.5 trillion of newly printed fiat handed to Wall Street and corporate America by Bernanke and Yellen. Five years of 0% interest rates have impoverished senior citizens and savers, but they have done wonders for Wall Street and mega-corporation profits, along with executive bonuses. Corporate profits soared from 4.5% of GNP to an all-time high of 10.5% in the space of three years and have remained at this elevated level.

Who Needs Wage Earners Anyway?

Is it a coincidence that corporate profits as a percentage of GNP are at record highs while employee compensation as a percentage of GNP is at record lows? Is it a coincidence that employee compensation as a percentage of GNP peaked at 51% in 1971? That year certainly seems to be a turning point in U.S. economic history. Gold’s purpose as a check on statists, Keynesians, politicians, bankers, and the military industrial complex couldn’t be any clearer. The decline has multiple causes, but the storyline about technology being the major cause is patently false. My observations are as follows:

  • From the end of World War II until the mid-1970s employee compensation as a percentage of GNP was consistently between 49% and 51%. The middle class saw their standard of living rise as wages outpaced inflation, savings rates were high and led to capital investment, debt was used for long term purchases like a home or automobile, and bankers accepted deposits and made safe loans. Technological progress over the thirty years was constant, but did not result in declining wages.
  • From the moment Nixon closed the gold window, employee compensation as percentage of GNP relentlessly declined for the next quarter of a century from 51% to 44%. Over this time frame our economy deformed from a goods producing system driven by savings and capital investment into a service/financial economy built upon consumer debt, conspicuous consumption and market gambling. Our iconic mega-corporations fired Americans and hired Chinese slave laborers, lobbied for tax breaks, invested in their own stock, kept wage increases below the level of true inflation, and paid extravagant compensation packages to their Harvard MBA executives.
  • The brief upturn created by Greenspan’s irrational exuberance 90’s boom was short lived. The relentless decline resumed after the dot com collapse, even as Greenspan and Bernanke blew their epic bubble. Their financial engineering machinations on behalf of Wall Street did nothing for the average worker on Main Street. Employee compensation as a percentage of GNP declined from 47% to 44% BEFORE the financial collapse.
  • Unequivocal proof that Bernanke’s sole purpose of QE and ZIRP was to benefit his Wall Street owners can be seen in the continued decline from 44% to 42% since 2008. There has been no recovery for the average American. Wall Street is rolling in dough. Corporate America is rolling in dough. Politicians are rolling in dough. The average American worker is rolling in dog shit.

The mouthpieces for the Deep State insist corporate profits have reached a permanently high plateau. It’s another new paradigm. Just like 1929, 1999, and 2007. Jeremy Grantham is right. The system is broken. The inmates are running the asylum. But financial engineering will not work permanently.  Baijnath Ramraika and Prashant Trivedi in their outstanding article Why Jeremy Grantham is Right about Corporate Profit Margins prove that corporate gross margins have not grown, technological advancement has not been a major factor, innovation and capital investment are non-existent, and corporate CEOs have utilized one time schemes to boost profits.

There are a few major reasons for record corporate profits. The Fed’s gift to banks and mega-corporations of zero interest rates have allowed S&P 500 corporations to refinance their existing debt and take on new debt at below market interest rates. The average interest rate paid by S&P 500 companies is now at all-time lows. Any normalization of interest rates would crush corporate profits.

Even though you hear constant propaganda from the corporate MSM, corporate CEOs, and captured politicians about the dreadful level of corporate taxes, the truth is that mega-corporations are paying record low levels of actual taxes. When profits are at record highs and tax payments at record lows you know they have captured the system. “Creative” tax avoidance and the FASB allowing banks to mark their assets to fantasy have played an enormous role in record profits.

The short term oriented casino mentality of corporate CEOs can be plainly seen in the fact depreciation expense as a percentage of revenue is at 25 year lows, resulting in short term profits but long-term decline. Instead of investing in capital to increase efficiency or expand their business, greedy myopic CEOs have chosen to buy back their own stock at all-time high prices. They did the same thing in 2005 – 2007. Driving up quarterly earnings per share to boost their own stock option compensation is how it rolls in corporate America today. Investing in their workers through higher wages isn’t even a consideration. They don’t teach that in Ivy League MBA programs. SG&A expenses as a percentage of revenue have been driven to all time lows, as outsourcing, downsizing, and working people to death have done wonders for corporate profits.

Ramraika and Trivedi reach damning conclusions of corporate America, based on their detailed unbiased research:

As the world moved increasingly towards the idea of shareholder-value maximization, time horizons for management and the shareholders have shortened. As Montier shows, the average lifespan of a company in the S&P 500 in the 1970s was about 27 years and is down to about 15 years now. In tandem, the average tenure of CEOs is down from about 10 years in the 1970s to about 6 years now. Combine this with the incentive systems prevalent today (think stock options), and it is only logical that a CEO who is going to be around for as few as six years and is going to get a large chunk of her rewards in stock options will want to see higher stock prices.

Cutting SGA expenses and postponing capital investments — actions that carry positive short-term earnings impact at the expense of a business’ competitiveness in the long-term — look promising to managers whose payoffs depend on stock prices in the short-term. Not surprisingly, the renters (there are hardly any owners any more) clamor for just such actions. The problem with this thinking is that the long-term eventually shows up. And when it does, profit margins will have no choice but to remember their long forgotten tendency to revert to mean.

Are interest rates going to be driven lower for corporations? Are taxes going to be driven lower? How many more people can corporations fire? Have economic downturns been eliminated by the Federal Reserve? Will record profits not result in increased competition and price wars? Can wages be driven even lower?

The financial, economic and political system has been captured by corporate fascist psychopaths. The Federal Reserve has aided and abetted this takeover. Their monetary manipulations have resulted in this deformity. Psychopaths always go too far. The American middle class has been murdered. Decades of declining real wages have left them virtually penniless, in debt up to their eyeballs, angry, frustrated, and unable to jump start our moribund economy by buying more Chinese produced crap. Yellen, her Wall Street puppeteers, and the corporate titans should enjoy those record profits and record stock market highs. It won’t last. Short-term profits will be wiped out, as long-term consequences always arrive when you least expect it. The artificial boom will lead to a real depression. Luckily for the oligarchs, most middle class Americans are already experiencing a depression and won’t notice the difference.

“True, governments can reduce the rate of interest in the short run. They can issue additional paper money. They can open the way to credit expansion by the banks. They can thus create an artificial boom and the appearance of prosperity. But such a boom is bound to collapse soon or late and to bring about a depression.” – Ludwig von Mises

SNAP to RIOT 3: Bring on the National Guard

Off the microphone of RE

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Aired on the Doomstead Diner on August 19, 2014

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SNAP to RIOT 2 in #ferguson             SNAP to RIOT IN #ferguson

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Filed Under: Ferguson, Food Stamps, Militarization, Missouri, National Guard, Nixon, Obama, Police State, Poverty, Race War, Riots, St. Louis, Unemployment, Welfare, Death Penalty, Cop Killers

National Guard troops arrive at a mall complex that serves as staging for the police in Ferguson, Missouri.

Protesters face off with police after tear gas was fired at crowds in Ferguson, Missouri, on Sunday night.

Not such a great holiday: President Barack Obama follows through on a swing while golfing on the island of Martha's Vineyard.

Snippet:

…I was intending on moving on tonight to more International Doom, but #ferguson is the Doom Gift that Keeps on Giving.

For the 3rd night in a row with no sign of slowing down, the looting and rioting continue. The livestreams and pics from tonight’s action look like a War Zone, gas and smoke bombs being fired all over the place, and numerous shots fired, though no reports yet of anyone getting hit.

The Obamanista still hasn’t made an appearance there, you would think after a solid week of this shit escalating it might be worthwhile to fly Air Force 1 into Lambert Field and make an appearance. Even George Bush eventually got the GPS coordinates for where Katrina hit and made it to NOLA.

Even as far as making some speeches are concerned, Potus Telepromptus has so far only been given complete pablum to read by his speechwriters, and Goobernator Jay Nixon hasn’t pitched out anything substantive either.

The Gestapo agent who pulled the trigger has disappeared, his house shuttered and dark. Perhaps he is being given a New Identity by the FBI Shooter Relocation Program. Obviously what the community there wants is to see this guy “brought to justice”, which for them would mean conviction for Murder in the 1st Degree followed by a trip to the High Voltage Recliner. Missouri is a state with the Death Penalty of course…

For the rest, LISTEN TO THE RANT!!!

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

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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!

Trying to Stay Sane in an Insane World- At World’s End

Off the keyboard of Jim Quinn

Published on The Burning Platform on September 10, 2013

Cuckoos_Nest

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In the first three parts (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3) of this disheartening look back at a century of central banking, income taxing, military warring, energy depleting and political corrupting, I made a case for why we are in the midst of a financial, commercial, political, social and cultural collapse. In this final installment I’ll give my best estimate as to what happens next and it has a 100% probability of being wrong. There are so many variables involved that it is impossible to predict the exact path to our world’s end. Many people don’t want to hear about the intractable issues or the true reasons for our predicament. They want easy button solutions. They want someone or something to fix their problems. They pray for a technological miracle to save them from decades of irrational myopic decisions. As the domino-like collapse worsens, the feeble minded populace becomes more susceptible to the false promises of tyrants and psychopaths. There are a myriad of thugs, criminals, and autocrats in positions of power who are willing to exploit any means necessary to retain their wealth, power and control. The revelations of governmental malfeasance, un-Constitutional mass espionage of all citizens, and expansion of the Orwellian welfare/warfare surveillance state, from patriots like Julian Assange, Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden has proven beyond a doubt the corrupt establishment are zealously anxious to discard and stomp on the U.S. Constitution in their desire for authoritarian control over our society.

Anyone who denies we are in the midst of an ongoing Crisis that will lead to a collapse of the system as we know it is either a card carrying member of the corrupt establishment, dependent upon the oligarchs for their living, or just one of the willfully ignorant ostriches who choose to put their heads in the sand and hum the Star Spangled Banner as they choose obliviousness to awareness. Thinking is hard. Feeling and believing a storyline is easy.

 

A moral society must be inhabited by an informed, educated, aware populace and   governed by honorable leaders who oversee based upon the nation’s founding principles of liberty, freedom and limited government of, by and for the people. A moral society requires trust, honor, property rights, simple just laws, and the freedom to succeed or fail on your own merits. There is one major problem in creating a true moral society where liberty, freedom, trust, honor and free markets are cherished – human beings. We are a deeply flawed species who are prone to falling prey to the depravities of lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy and pride. Men have always been captivated by the false idols of dominion, power and wealth. The foibles of human nature haven’t changed over the course of history. This is why we have 80 to 100 year cycles driven by the same human strengths and shortcomings revealed throughout recorded history.

Empires rise and fall due to the humanness of their leaders and citizens. The great American Empire is no different. It was created a mere 224 years ago by courageous patriots who risked their wealth and their lives to create a Republic founded upon the principles of freedom, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; took a dreadful wrong turn in 1913 with the creation of a privately held central bank to control its currency and introduction of an income tax; devolved into an empire after World War II, setting it on a course towards bankruptcy; sealed its fate in 1971 by unleashing power hungry psychopathic elitists to manipulate the monetary and fiscal policies of the nation to enrich themselves; and has now entered the final frenzied phase of pillaging, currency debasement, war mongering, and ransacking of civil liberties. Despite the frantic efforts of the financial elite, their politician puppets, and their media propaganda outlets, collapse of this aristocracy of the moneyed is a mathematical certainty. Faith in the system is rapidly diminishing, as the issuance of debt to create the appearance of growth has reached the point of diminishing returns.

 

Increase in Real GDP per Dollar of Incremental Debt

“At the root of America’s economic crisis lies a moral crisis: the decline of civic virtue among America’s political and economic elite. A society of markets, laws, and elections is not enough if the rich and powerful fail to behave with respect, honesty, and compassion toward the rest of society and toward the world.”Jeffrey Sachs

Five Stages of Collapse

The day of reckoning for a century of putting our faith in the wrong people with wrong ideas and evil intentions is upon us. Dmitry Orlov provides a blueprint for the collapse in his book The Five Stages of Collapse – Survivors’ Toolkit:

Stage 1: Financial Collapse. Faith in “business as usual” is lost. The future is no longer assumed to resemble the past in any way that allows risk to be assessed and financial assets to be guaranteed. Financial institutions become insolvent; savings wiped out and access to capital is lost.

Stage 2: Commercial Collapse. Faith that “the market shall provide” is lost. Money is devalued and/or becomes scarce, commodities are hoarded, import and retail chains break down and widespread shortages of survival necessities become the norm.

Stage 3: Political Collapse. Faith that “the government will take care of you” is lost. As official attempts to mitigate widespread loss of access to commercial sources of survival necessities fail to make a difference, the political establishment loses legitimacy and relevance.

Stage 4: Social Collapse. Faith that “your people will take care of you” is lost, as social institutions, be they charities or other groups that rush to fill the power vacuum, run out of resources or fail through internal conflict.

Stage 5: Cultural Collapse. Faith in the goodness of humanity is lost. People lose their capacity for “kindness, generosity, consideration, affection, honesty, hospitality, compassion, charity.” Families disband and compete as individuals for scarce resources. The new motto becomes “May you die today so that I can die tomorrow.”

The collapse is occurring in fits and starts. The stages of collapse do not necessarily have to occur in order.  You can recognize various elements of the first three stages in the United States today. Stage 1 commenced in September 2008 when this Crisis period was catalyzed by the disintegration of the worldwide financial system caused by Wall Street intentionally creating the largest control fraud in world history, with easy money provided by Greenspan/Bernanke, fraudulent mortgage products, fake appraisals, bribing rating agencies to provide AAA ratings to derivatives filled with feces, and having their puppets in the media and political arena provide the propaganda to herd the sheep into the slaughterhouse.

The American people neglected their civic duty to elect leaders who would tell them the truth and represent current and future generations equally. They have neglected the increasing lawlessness of Wall Street, K Street and the corporate suite. The American people have lived in denial about their responsibility for their own financial well-being, willingly delegating it to a government of math challenged politicians who promised trillions more than they could ever deliver. The American people have delayed tackling the dire issues confronting our nation, including: $200 trillion of unfunded liabilities, the military industrial complex creating wars across the globe, militarization of our local police forces, domestic spying on every citizen, allowing mega-corporations and the financial elite to turn our nation from savings based production to debt based consumption, and allowing corporations, the military industrial complex, Wall Street, and shadowy billionaires to pick and control our elected officials. The civic fabric of the country is being torn at the points of extreme vulnerability.

“At home and abroad, these events will reflect the tearing of the civic fabric at points of extreme vulnerability – problem areas where, during the Unraveling, America will have neglected, denied, or delayed needed action. Anger at “mistakes we made” will translate into calls for action, regardless of the heightened public risk. It is unlikely that the catalyst will worsen into a full-fledged catastrophe, since the nation will probably find a way to avert the initial danger and stabilize the situation for a while. Yet even if dire consequences are temporarily averted, America will have entered the Fourth Turning.”  – The Fourth Turning – Strauss & Howe – 1997

Our Brave New World controllers (bankers, politicians, corporate titans, media moguls, shadowy billionaires) were able to avert a full-fledged catastrophe in the fall of 2008 and spring of 2009 which would have put an end to their reign of destruction. To accept the rightful consequences of their foul actions was intolerable to these obscenely wealthy, despicable men. Their loathsome and vile solutions to a crisis they created have done nothing to relieve the pain and suffering of the average person, while further enriching them, as they continue to gorge on the dying carcass of a once thriving nation. Despite overwhelming public outrage, Congress did as they were instructed by their Wall Street masters and handed over $700 billion of taxpayer funds into Wall Street vaults, under the false threat of systematic collapse. The $800 billion of pork stimulus was injected directly into the veins of corporate campaign contributors. The $3 billion Cash for Clunkers scheme resulted in pumping taxpayer dollars into the government owned union car companies, while driving up the prices of used cars and hurting lower income folks.

Ben Bernanke has peddled the false paradigm of quantitative easing (code for printing money and airlifting it to Wall Street) as benefitting Main Street. Nothing could be further from the truth. He bought $1.3 trillion of toxic mortgage backed securities from his Wall Street owners. He has pumped a total of $2.8 trillion into the hands of Wall Street since September 2008, and is singlehandedly generating $5 billion of risk free profits for these deadbeats by paying them .25% on their reserves. Drug dealer Ben continues to pump $2.8 billion per day into the veins of Wall Street addicts and any hint of tapering the heroin causes the addicts to flail about. Ben should be so proud. He should hang a Mission Accomplished banner whenever he gives a speech. Bank profits reached an all-time record in the 2nd quarter, at $42.2 billion, with 80% of those profits going to the 2% Too Big To Trust Wall Street Mega-Goliath Banks. It’s enough to make a soon to retire, and take a Wall Street job, central banker smile.

“The money rate can, indeed, be kept artificially low only by continuous new injections of currency or bank credit in place of real savings. This can create the illusion of more capital just as the addition of water can create the illusion of more milk. But it is a policy of continuous inflation. It is obviously a process involving cumulative danger. The money rate will rise and a crisis will develop if the inflation is reversed, or merely brought to a halt, or even continued at a diminished rate. Cheap money policies, in short, eventually bring about far more violent oscillations in business  than those they are designed to remedy or prevent.” Henry Hazlitt – 1946

Any serious minded person knew Wall Street had too much power, too much control, and too much influence in 2008 when they crashed our economic system. When something is too big to fail because it will create systematic collapse, you make it smaller. Instead we have allowed our sociopathic rulers to allow these parasitic institutions to get even larger. Just 12 mega-banks control 70% of all the banking assets in the country, with 90% controlled by the top 86 banks. There are approximately 8,000 financial institutions in this country. Wall Street will be congratulating themselves with record compensation of $127 billion and record bonuses of $23 billion for a job well done. It is dangerous work making journal entries relieving loan loss reserves, committing foreclosure fraud, marking your assets to unicorn, making deposits at the Fed, and counting on the Bernanke Put to keep stocks rising. During a supposed recovery from 2009 to 2011, average real income per household grew pitifully by 1.7%, but all the gains accrued to Bernanke’s minions. Top 1% incomes grew by 11.2% while bottom 99% incomes shrunk by 0.4%. Therefore, the top 1% captured 121% of the income gains in the first two years of the recovery. This warped trend has only accelerated since 2011.

The median household income has fallen by $2,400 to $52,100 since the government proclaimed the end of the recession in 2009. Real wages for real people continue to fall. A record 23.1 million households (20% of all households) are receiving food stamps. After four years of “recovery” propaganda, we are left with 2.2 million less people employed (5 million less full time jobs) and 22 million more people on SNAP and SSDI. A record 90.5 million working age Americans are not working, with labor participation at a 35 year low. Ben’s money has not trickled down, but his inflation has fallen like a load of bricks on the heads of the middle class. Bernanke’s QE to infinity constitutes a transfer of purchasing power away from the middle class to the bankers, mega-corporations and .1%. This Cantillon effect means that newly created money is neither distributed evenly nor simultaneously among the population. Some users of money profit from rising prices, and others suffer from them. This results in a transfer of wealth (a hidden tax) from later receivers to earlier receivers of new money. This is why the largest banks and largest corporations are generating the highest profits in history, while the average person sinks further into debt as their real income declines and real living expenses (energy, food, clothing, healthcare, tuition) rise.

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Ben works for your owners. Real GDP (using the fake government inflation adjustment) since July 2009 is up by a wretched 5.6%. Revenue growth of the biggest corporations in the world is up by a pathetic 12%. One might wonder how corporate profits could be at record levels with such doleful economic performance. One needs to look no further than Ben’s balance sheet, which has increased by 174%. There appears to be a slight correlation between Ben’s money printing and the 162% increase in the S&P 500 index. With the top 1% owning 42.1% of all financial assets (top .1% own most of this) and the bottom 80% owning only 4.7% of all financial assets, one can clearly see who benefits from QE to infinity.

The key take away from what the ruling class has done since 2008 is they have only temporarily delayed the endgame. Their self-serving exploits have guaranteed that round two of the financial collapse will be epic in proportion and intensity. This Fourth Turning Crisis is ongoing. The linear thinkers who control the levers of power keep promising a return to normalcy and resumption of growth. This is an impossibility – mathematically & socially. Fourth Turnings do not end without the existing social order being swept away in a tsunami of turmoil, violence, suffering and war. Orlov’s stages of collapse will likely occur during the remaining fifteen years of this Crisis. We are deep into Stage 1 as our national Detroitification progresses towards bankruptcy, with an added impetus from our trillion dollar wars of choice in the Middle East. Commercial collapse has begun, as faith in the fantasy of free market capitalism is waning. The race to the bottom with currency debasement around the globe is reaching a tipping point, and the true eternal currencies of gold and silver are being hoarded and shipped from the West to the Far East.

Monetary Base (billions of USD)

When the financial collapse reaches its crescendo, the just in time supply chain, that keeps cheese doodles and cheese whiz on your grocery store shelves, Chinese produced iGadgets in your local Wal-Mart Supercenter, and gasoline flowing out of gas station hoses into your leased Cadillac Escalade, will break down rapidly. The strain of $110 oil is already evident. The fireworks will really get going when ATM machines run dry and the EBT cards stop functioning. Within a week riots and panic will engulf the country.

“At some point we are bound to hear, from across two oceans, the shocking words “Your money is no good here.” Fast forward to a week later: banks are closed, ATMs are out of cash, supermarket shelves are bare and gas stations are starting to run out of fuel. And then something happens: the government announces they have formed a crisis task force, and will nationalize, recapitalize and reopen banks, restoring confidence. The banks reopen, under heavy guard, and thousands of people get arrested for attempting to withdraw their savings. Banks close, riots begin. Next, the government decides that, to jump-start commerce, it will honor deposit guarantees and simply hand out cash. They print and arrange for the cash to be handed out. Now everyone has plenty of cash, but there is still no food in the supermarkets or gasoline at the gas stations because by now the international supply chains have broken down and the delivery pipelines are empty.”  Dmitry Orlov – The Five Stages of Collapse

We are witnessing the beginning stages of political collapse. The government and its leaders are being discredited on a daily basis. The mismanagement of fiscal policy, foreign policy and domestic policy, along with the revelations of the NSA conducting mass surveillance against all Americans has led critical thinking Americans to question the legitimacy of the politicians running the show on behalf of the bankers, corporations and arms dealers. The Gestapo like tactics used by the government in Boston was an early warning sign of what is to come. Government entitlement promises will vaporize, as they did in Detroit, with pension promises worth only ten cents on the dollar. Total social and cultural collapse could resemble the chaotic civil war scenarios playing out in Libya and Syria. The best case scenario would be for a collapse similar to the Soviet Union’s relatively peaceful disintegration into impotent republics. I don’t believe we’ll be this fortunate. The most powerful military empire in world history will not fade away. It will go out in a blaze of glory with a currency collapse, hyper-inflation, and war on a grand scale.

“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

In Whom Do You Trust?

“Use of money concentrates trust in a single central authority – the central bank – and, over extended periods of time, central banks always tend to misbehave. Eventually the “print” button on the central banker’s emergency console becomes stuck in the depressed position, flooding the world with worthless notes. People trust that money will remain a store of value, and once the trust is violated a gigantic black hole appears at the very center of society, sucking in peoples’ savings and aspirations along with their sense of self-worth. When those who have become psychologically dependent on money as a yardstick, to be applied to everything and everyone, suddenly find themselves in a world where money means nothing, it is as if they have gone blind; they see shapes but can no longer resolve them into objects. The result is anomie – a sense of unreality – accompanied by deep depression. Money is an addiction – substance-less and unreal, and sets itself up for a severe and lengthy withdrawal.” Dmitry Orlov – The Five Stages of Collapse

Our modern world revolves around wealth, the appearance of wealth, the false creation of wealth through the issuance of debt, and trust in the bankers and politicians pulling the levers behind the curtain. The entire world economic system is dependent on trusting central bankers whose only response to any crisis is to create more debt. The death knell is ringing loud and clear, but people around the globe are desperately clinging to their normalcy biases and praying to the gods of cognitive dissonance. It seems the only things that matter to our controllers are stock market levels, the continued flow of debt to the plebs, continued doling out of hush money to those on the dole, and of course an endless supply of brown skinned enemies to attack. With every country in the world attempting to the same solution of debasing their currencies, we are rapidly approaching the tipping point. India is the canary in the coal mine.

Government, Household, Financial & Non-Financial Debt (% of GDP)

An exponential growth model built upon cheap plentiful energy and debt creation has its limits, and we’ve reached them. With the depletion of inexpensive, easily accessible energy resources, higher prices will continue to slow world economies. Demographics in the developed world are slowing the global economy as millions approach their old age with little savings due to over consuming during their peak earnings years. Bernanke has already quadrupled his balance sheet with no meaningful benefit to the economy or the financial well-being of the average middle class American. Financial manipulation that creates nothing has masked the rot consuming our economic system. The game has been rigged in favor of the owners, but even a rigged game eventually comes to an end. Americans and Europeans can no longer maintain a façade of wealth by buying knickknacks from China with money they don’t have. The US and Europe are finding that their credit is no longer good in the exporting Far East countries. This is a perilous development, as the West has depended upon foreigners to accommodate its never ending expansion of credit. Without that continual expansion of debt, the Ponzi scheme comes crashing down. As China, Japan and the rest of Asia have balked at buying U.S. Treasuries with negative real yields, the only recourse for Ben has been to monetize the debt through QE and inflation. The doubling of ten year Treasury rates in a matter of three months due to just talk of possibly slowing QE should send shivers down your spine.

We are supposedly five years past the great crisis. Magazine covers proclaimed Bernanke a hero. If we are well past the crisis, why are the extreme emergency measures still in effect? If the economy is growing and jobs are being created, why do we need $85 billion of government debt to be monetized each and every month? Why are the EU, Japan, and China printing even faster than the Fed? The answer is simple. If the debt was not being monetized, it would have to be purchased out in the free market. Purchasers would require an interest rate far above the 2.9% being paid today. The debt levels in the U.S., Europe and Japan are so large that a rise in interest rates of just a few points would explode budget deficits and lead to a worldwide financial collapse. This is why Bernanke and the rest of his central banker brethren are trapped by their own ideology of bubble production. Just the slowing of debt creation will lead to collapse. Bernanke needs a Syrian crisis to postpone the taper talk. Those in control need an endless number of real or false flag crises to provide cover for their printing presses to keep rolling.

There are a couple analogies that apply to our impending doom. The country is like a 224 year old oak tree that has been slowly rotting on the inside due to the insidious diseases of hubris, apathy, selfishness, dependence, delusion, and debasement. The old oak gives an outward appearance of health and stability. Winter has arrived and gale force winds are in the forecast. One gust of wind and the mighty aged oak will topple and come crashing to earth. I think an even more fitting analogy is the sandpile with grains of sand being added day after day. Seven out of ten Americans receive more in government benefits than they pay in taxes. Goliath corporations and the uber-wealthy use the tax code and legislation to syphon hundreds of billions from the national treasury every year. We spend $1 trillion per year on past, current and future wars of choice. Annual interest on the debt we’ve racked up in the last few decades already approaches $400 billion per year. The entire Federal budget totaled $400 billion in 1977. The sandpile grows ever higher, while its instability expands exponentially. One seemingly innocuous grain of sand will ultimately cause the pile to collapse catastrophically. Will it be an unintended consequence of a missile launch into Syria? Will it be a spike in oil prices? Will it be the collapse of one of the EU PIIGS? Will it be an assassination of a political figure or banker? No one knows. But that innocuous grain of sand will trigger the collapse of the entire pile.

Worried people are looking for solutions. They often get angry at me because they don’t think I provide answers to the issues I raise about our corrupt failing system. They want easy answers to intractable problems. Sadly, I’ve come to the conclusion that our system and majority of citizens are too corrupted to change our course through the ballot box or instituting policies along the lines of those proposed by Ron Paul and many other thoughtful liberty minded people. We are experiencing the downside of a representative democracy.  Once a person is democratically elected a gulf is created between the electors and the person they elected, as the representative becomes corrupted and bought by moneyed interests. Elected officials become a class unto themselves. The political class grows to be puppets that resemble human beings but are nothing but cogs in a vast corporate run machine, pawns in an enormous game of chess played by powerful vindictive immoral men.

There are no cures for our disease. It’s terminal. Anyone telling you they have the answers is either lying or trying to sell you something. More people and organizations are on the take than are playing by the rules. The producers are being overrun by the parasites. The barbarians are at the gate. An implosion of societal trust is underway. The next stage of this crisis, which I believe will materialize within the next twelve months will try the souls of the weary.

“As the Crisis catalyzes, these fears will rush to the surface, jagged and exposed. Distrustful of some things, individuals will feel that their survival requires them to distrust more things. This behavior could cascade into a sudden downward spiral, an implosion of societal trust. This might result in a Great Devaluation, a severe drop in the market price of most financial and real assets. This devaluation could be a short but horrific panic, a free-falling price in a market with no buyers. Or it could be a series of downward ratchets linked to political events that sequentially knock the supports out from under the residual popular trust in the system. As assets devalue, trust will further disintegrate, which will cause assets to devalue further, and so on.”The Fourth Turning – Strauss & Howe – 1997

As a nation we have squandered our inheritance, born of the blood of patriots. A freedom loving, liberty minded, self-responsible, courageous people have allowed ourselves to fall prey to selfishness, apathy, complacency and dependency. Once we allowed our human appetites of greed, power seeking, and control to override the moral responsibility for our own lives and the lives of future unborn generations, collapse was inevitable. The danger now is what happens after the unavoidable collapse. Will the millions of dependency zombies beg for a strong dictator to protect them, provide for them and lead them into further bondage? Or will the spark of liberty and freedom reignite, allowing citizens to throw off the shackles of banker and corporate control? I believe most of the people in this country are good hearted. We are merely pawns in this game of Risk being played by those seeking power, wealth and world domination. We are all trapped in our own forms of normalcy bias. Have I cashed out my retirement funds, sold my suburban house and built a doomstead in the mountains? No I haven’t. Do I second guess myself sometimes? Yes I do. But even the aware have families to support, jobs to go to, bills to pay, laundry to do, lawns to mow, and lives to live. I can’t live in constant fear of what might happen. We only get 80 or so years on this earth, if we’re lucky. The best we can do is leave a positive legacy for our children and their children. A drastic change to our way of life is coming, but most of us are trapped in a cage of our own making.

Each living generation will need to do their part during this Crisis if we are to survive the coming storm. Since no one knows the nature of how the next fifteen years will unfold, it would be wise to at least make basic preparations for food, water, heat and protection. This is easier for some than others, but you don’t have to star on Doomsday Preppers in order to stock up on items that can be purchased at Wal-Mart today, but won’t be available when the global supply chain breaks down. Make sure you have neighbors and family you can rely upon. A small community of like-minded people with varied skills is more likely to succeed in our brave old world than rugged individualists. With no financial means to maintain our globalized world, living locally will take on a new meaning. After much turmoil, chaos, violence, and likely mass casualties the best outcome would be for the Great American Empire to break into regional republics, incapable of waging global war, led by law abiding moral liberty minded individuals, and willing to trade freely and honestly with their fellow republics. Daily life would revert back to a simpler Amish like time. Would that be so bad?

This Fourth Turning could end with a whimper or a bang. There are enough nuclear arms to obliterate the world ten times over. There are enough hubristic egomaniacal psychopathic men in power, that the use of those weapons has a high likelihood of happening. It will be up to the people to not allow this horrific result. I love my country and despise my government. The Declaration of Independence clearly states that when a long train of abuses and usurpations lead toward despotism, it is our right and duty to throw off that government and provide new guards of liberty. My family comes first with my country a close second. I will fight with whatever means necessary to protect my family and do what I can to influence the future course of our country. Time is running out. Will we have the courage, fortitude and wisdom to make the right decisions over the next fifteen years? Will we choose glory or destruction? The fate of our nation hangs in the balance. Are you prepared? Are you ready to fight for your family and your rights?

The Fourth Turning could spare modernity but mark the end of our nation. It could close the book on the political constitution, popular culture, and moral standing that the word America has come to signify. The nation has endured for three saecula; Rome lasted twelve, the Soviet Union only one. Fourth Turnings are critical thresholds for national survival. Each of the last three American Crises produced moments of extreme danger: In the Revolution, the very birth of the republic hung by a thread in more than one battle. In the Civil War, the union barely survived a four-year slaughter that in its own time was regarded as the most lethal war in history. In World War II, the nation destroyed an enemy of democracy that for a time was winning; had the enemy won, America might have itself been destroyed. In all likelihood, the next Crisis will present the nation with a threat and a consequence on a similar scale.The Fourth Turning – Strauss & Howe – 1997

 

 IT’S OUR CHOICE.

Slogger Trifecta

Off the keyboard of John Ward

Published on The Slog on August 19, 2013

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Discuss this article at the Epicurean Delights Smorgasbord inside the Diner

August 19, 2013 · 9:25 pm

At the End of the Day

Over the last few days, cheated preferentes depositors in the Novagalicia Bank  have been demonstrating in Spain. At this morning’s demo they rightly proclaimed themselves to be hard working, thrifty savers who had simply kept their savings there. They can no longer withdraw their life savings, because some hastily manufactured legality has told them they are creditors, not customers.

When, after twenty years hard graft, I finally in 1988 received a large cheque at 3am one morning for my shares in an ad agency I’d helped found, seven hours later I dashed down to the local Building Society and whacked the cheque in. When it cleared three days later – and only then – did I phone my first wife to say “The money’s safely banked”.

Safely. What a rare word that is these days in financial services.

Exactly who do these language-manipulating sociopaths think they are? They are bankers who took money in at minimal sight rates, making eternal profits from their customer base – and then had the gall to introduce service charges. They are blank-faced, goggle-eyed  bureaucrats in Whitehall, Brussels and Washington who approved this weasel terminology as if they might be rubber-stamping the train times to Auschwitz. And they are the multi-faced politicians who perpetually apologise for the indefensible behaviour of those whose money they so desperately need…having failed, year in year out, to keep within budgets.

Feeling safe is about having trust. The EC finally lost the trust of the lenders after the 37th dithering lie about the problem being solved. The ECB lost the trust of the bond markets when it illegally subordinated holders of Greek debt, and then went on to rape Cypriot investors for no good reason at all. Bernanke lost the trust of the American people when he carried on chucking their dollars at an intractable problem intrinsic to neoliberal economics. Parliament lost the last vestige of my trust when it said nothing against the theft of money from Cooperative Bank depositors to save its own neck. David Cameron lost the trust of millions of Britons when he continued to insist there had been nothing improper in his personal relationships with senior Newscorp officials. Congress lost the trust of the entire world when it bickered about the biggest deficit in US history. And last but not least, the Church of England lost any last vestige of trust when it began trying to profit from fracking.

Everything from love to money is based on trust and mutual respect. I no longer love my country, because it is a whore. There isn’t a single institution there I would trust. I can’t even feel that banked money is safe.

But still the apologists for this insane f**ked up fiat currency version of globalist ‘free market’ capitalism witter on, failing as ever to acknowledge that not a single investment market anywhere on the planet is free from artificial (and usually illegal) interference.

Please Britain, don’t put off your protest or jump off the cliff because they tell you to. Switch off the telly, get off the sofa, and tell the bastards where to get off.

· 7:11 am

CRASH2: China plans new gold standard for dominant Yuan

Uncle Sam goes foot-shooting, gets felled by snipers

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Last week I posted about how Bernanke has run out of road in his attempt to keep everyone happy. As so often in such circumstances, he’s pleased nobody in the end: not the brokers, not the Asian creditors, and most definitely not the US consumer.

I also posted last week about the huge percentage of US bond-offloading accounted for by Chinese and Japanese dumping. And I’ve posted ad nauseam about the inability to generate spending from people who’s wages one just spent a decade eroding by 30%.

But as America shoots itself in the foot, snipers are busy targeting its head. What follows will explain how.

♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦

From Day One of QE, Ben Bernanke insisted he was showering American consumers with money. Along with millions of other sites, The Slog always maintained he did it to get dividends up, keep the Dow high, and create liquidity/solvency/new business at the banks. Some neat new charts now show us precisely why we were right and he was telling porkies.

In this one, we can see how the supply (aka printing) of money went stratospheric during and after Greenspangling and Bernankenomics, and then upcurved further after 2010:

Fredcrop1There are today almost exactly twice as many dollars in circulation than there were…..but middle America’s share of it went down 30%. So they had less money with less spending capacity. So they spent less, took out more credit – and bought cheap Asian imports. Bang! There go the toes in your right foot.

Now let’s look at what happened as that Nixonian shift off the Gold Standard inevitably turned into Uncle Ben’s buck-showering bonanza:

Fred3cropWhile the supply of Fiat paper rocketed, consumer purchasing velocity fell even faster under QE than it had been doing during the previous pauperisation of the populace. And as blue-collars are now working fewer hours for less money with little chance of further credit, most of the money never reached them….and if it did, they paid off debt rather than indulging in retail therapy. Bang! There goes your right instep. Try to keep your balance now…

There is a growing feeling around the globe (if my contacts are even remotely typical) that after all this mess has finally covered every Westerner in excrement, there will be pressure to end the era of fiat paper. Not only would this be a disaster for the US, it would be a major coup for Beijing: there is every chance that a Yuan set against a new gold standard would make it the dominant reserve currency in short order….especially as the Dollar even now is predictably drifting down in value. China, it seems, has the aim of de-linking the Yuan from the US dollar. And Asian media are increasingly of the view that they will, when the time is right, fix it to gold instead.

China continues to amass gold. In June alone, it imported 104.6 tonnes from Hong Kong. That would bring China’s gold imports from Hong Kong to 1,160 tonnes since the beginning of this year. Officially, China hat around 1,000 tonnes of the stuff. But past experience has shown the Beijing suddenly pops up one day far more of shiny metal than you thought. The real figure is estimated to be around 8,000 tonnes….and likely to pass the US total, audited at 8,113 tonnes.

Yao Yudong, major money-man on the China Bank MPC, has of late been talking about fiat paper being a disaster, and his admiration for Bretton Woods. Further, China has been doing currency swap contracts big time with other countries to bypass the Buck. It has currency swap agreements with Brazil, Russia, Iran, Australia and the UK, to name a few. This aim here is clearly to get Westerners accustomed to the idea of dealing with the Yuan, and seeing it as a new ‘Central Currency’.

Bang! That first assassin’s bullet went straight through your neck. Breathing is getting difficult.

And of course, as I posted in recent days, those interest rates that were never going to rise are, um, rising. Very fast. The American cost of borrowing just doubled. And the Chinese are far and away the biggest sellers of those T-Bonds….which must now offer higher yields.

Oh look America, you just fell over, and your lungs are filling with blood….just as the traders, brokers, and big banking dicks get back to their desks next week, only to see a topping Dow, a falling T-Bond, and a backfiring, stuttering economy. And even though you’re manipulating the gold downwards to repair those bank balance sheets, it becomes even easier for Beijing to fill its boots with that gold.

Bang! That was the rear of your cerebrum coming off. It’s over.

August 18, 2013 · 9:02 pm

At the End of the Day

Lines on the nature of being united in idiocy

I think top marks tonight must surely go to Spain, for its unique ability to get Tom Watson agreeing with David Cameron. Yes, there can be no doubt about it, as long as Spain wants Gibraltar “back”, then the Iberian peoples have the capacity to unite Britain…a set of Islands not so much great any more as disintegrating.

It’s a useful distraction for both sides of course, but none of the fuss from Senor Rajoy holds any water at all. Britain has actually ‘owned’ Gibraltar for far longer and more continuously than the Spanish ever did and – as in the case of the Falklands with Argentina – its inhabitants have no desire at all to be Spanish. But if things get very nasty, I can’t wait to see how Operation Barbarossa van Pumpy in Brussels “handles” it.

At the same time, however, one must recognise the ability of almost any event in the Middle East to have Brit and US pols united in myopia, their respective leaders drivelling on about a Special Relationship that deserves the adjective only in the context of kids who require special needs education. After the demonisation of Assad in Syria comes the glorification of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. I came across some Brits down here on holiday this morning, and they clearly didn’t have the remotest notion which way was up about Egypt’s tragedy….or indeed, who was for what, and why David Cameron wants to galvanise the EU into condemning the wicked military “coup”.

A simple analysis of the Egyptian dilemma doesn’t require that many brain cells. Early in July this year, I posted to say that “What [the US] State [Department] has done is bestow respectability upon the Muslim Brotherhood without in any way changing its truly ghastly attitudes and barbaric behaviour.” Tracing the lineage of this dynasty of deranged thinking, as long ago as November 2011, The Slog suggested that “the [Egyptian] military is playing upon a real fear: Egyptian liberals are sympathetic to the military’s attempt to dominate the constitution-writing process, being rightly fearful of Muslim Brotherhood dominance”.

Now we have MB fanatics desperate to present themselves as martyrs – and the usual figures of dead demonstrators growing with every report by Western news agencies. I can only repeat what I’ve been saying for nearly three years about the ‘Arab Spring’: it is based on Anglo-Saxon ignorance about the fundamental nature of Arab liberalism and Islamist fascism.

Very few international situations are as cut and dried as our mamipulative politicians would suggest: in the end – despite the EU nonsense and the Levitt myth of globalism – every nation is out for itself most of the time. The “deposed” President Mohamed Morsi had, from Day One of his term, worked overtime to marginalise a pro-secular Military in favour of his rabidly fundamentalist associates. There is no discernible difference between what Morsi was up to, and what Recep Erdogan has been up to in Turkey – viz, purging all those elements in the political and military class who support the secular aims of the hero Kemal Ataturk, in favour of his own closet Islamist agenda.

From the very start of this dire history of needless death in the name of a religious leader who is a myth, David Cameron and the US State department have placed themselves cynically on the side of authoritarianism: Cameron because he wants trade deals with Turkey, and the US because they want the oil. Yet  again, it is all about munneeeee. And that root of many evils has placed allegedly liberal democracies on the side of a neo-Nazi, misogynist bunch of religious maniacs.

And in other dramatic news developments today, the BBC’s Newsnight anchor Jeremy Paxman has a beard. I realise that in gay circles this means he has a girlfriend to hide an aberrant sexuality, but there haven’t really ever been any doubts about Paxo when it comes to which way he swings: basically, he would I suspect like to see 95% of politicians swinging from a lamppost. So it is especially sad to see that by far the biggest brain and toughest interviewer at the BBC needs to grow facial hair to catch the fickle gnat’s-length attention of the British public for longer than a tweet.

When the David Kelly affair began the sad descent of the BBC into Government lapdog, Paxman was a steady influence in favour of telling all politicians TGF themselves. After the McApine scam, he once again urged the Governors to face this unpleasant opportunist down. When the Jimmy Savile drivel about him “grooming a whole nation” went full-on tabloid, yet again our Jeremy tried to find some evidence of a spine in the Beeb’s management tier. Having discovered that his employer is, effectively, a mollusc, it is little wonder that he now carries a care-worn, slightly bored air around with him.

To relegate Jeremy Paxman to the margins of our national broadcaster is rather like taking Robin Day’s knighthood away because he gave Thatcher what-for. I’m afraid it symptomatically defines what is wrong with Britain.

Capital Flight and Unions: 40 Years of Economic History in the FSofA

Posted originally on TBP  on 21st February 2011 by Reverse Engineer  in Economy

Discuss this post in the Frosbite Falls Daily Rant in the Diner

 

40 Years of Economic History in the FSofA

 

Back in the 1970s our beloved POTUS Tricky Dick “I am not a Crook” Nixon took a trip over to China, “opening” the closed doors of the then “Communist” nation to the wondrous world of Capitalism. Just around the same time, the same Tricky Dick slammed shut the Gold Window on Charlie DeGaulle’s fingers, Women were out on the streets Burning their Bras and at about the same time as all of that we hit local Peak Oil here in the FSofA and became a net Oil Importer. Interesting Coinkidinks, no? Of course, it is no coincidence, all of these factors are integrally related. This Rant will explain all these relationships, and how Unions and the Capitalist model functioned from the period between 1970 and 2011. It will also explain why the spin down occurring now was inevitable regardless of the economic behaviors of the participants, although the spin down might have occurred differently had other paths been pursued. Pretty big undertaking to complete inside of 3600 Words, no? 41 years of economic and political history squashed down into 3600 words is damn good condensation as I see it, so anyone who accuses me of being too wordy here will get a piece of my mind for sure. Besides which, included in the Grand Rant are a few VERY funny (IMHO) Mini-Rants which should entertain you and make reading the whole fucking thing a bit more bearable. LOL.

In the Capitalist model of production and consumption, you seek to produce at the lowest cost while you sell at the highest price the consumer will pay for the product. The difference between those two represents your profit, the Holy Grail of the Capitalist. In the FSofA as the 60s were winding down and most of Europe leveled during WWII had been rebuilt, we no longer had a ready market over there funded by the Marshall Plan for what our industry was producing, so the main market had to be ourselves. Nobody in the 3rd world of course could afford to buy the toys we were building at the time.

Embedded in the cost of each product is the labor and the energy it takes to make that product. In order for the workers to afford to buy the products, they need to make a good wage, which Unions had the job of negotiating for the workers. As long as the energy came cheap and local, the capitalist could still make a profit on the value added by the cheap energy while still paying a good wage to the worker, who then could afford to buy the product. The profit margin was coming from the amazingly low cost of energy, practically free up until the 1960s. Even I remember when gas was 15 cents/gal. Even with 200% inflation since 1960 you would still only be at 60 cents/gallon today, and while inflation has occurred, it wasn’t that bad. The REAL price of energy has been increasing steadily since we hit local Peak Oil in the early 70s.

Once Local Peak Oil was reached here and energy began its relentless upward climb, the amount of profit that could be extracted from the amount it cost to produce versus what the consumer could afford to pay began to shrink. A squeeze on margins of course. How does the Capitalist seek to resolve this problem? By driving down the labor cost, which in the 1970s began to happen as factory jobs started getting offshored to China where the Capitalist could buy a slave for $1 a day, courtesy of Tricky Dicky’s Ping Pong Diplomacy. Got offshored other places as well of course.

Before packing his bags and heading for China, the Kind & Caring Capitalist goes first to the Union Shop Steward in his local factory before he picks up his factory and lays down the LAW with him. If you don’t take a pay cut to $15hr, we will move the plant to China! Or any other place they could arbitrage a cheaper wage.

What does this pay cut mean to J6P Unionista? Well it means he will no longer be able to afford the very products he is making, nor will he be able to afford the cost of his house he is living in and paying a mortgage on or anything else that in his community was all based on the economics of him making $20/hr, not $15/hr. So he refuses, and the Capitalist goes ahead and picks up the machine tools and all the rest from the factory floor and loads them on a container ship bound for China, where Mao provides him with millions of slaves who will work for $1/day.

The Capitalist is now Happy, he is making a profit again, but J6P is Sad, because he no longer has a $20/hr factory job, but rather has a $10/hr service sector job. He is out of his house completely, and his nice little factory town becomes a Ghost Town. Starts looking like Detroit or Gary, IN. He might have had a $15/hr factory job a while longer had he agreed to take the pay cut, but it would have eventually been arbed out by cheaper Chinese labor to much less than that down the line. Nothing short of protective tariffs could have stopped the migration of capital toward the lowest possible labor costs, and of course protective tariffs were anaethema to “free trade” globalists.

The Capitalist does have a significant problem here though, which is now that J6P here is only making $10 on average in the service sector, he can’t sell as many products to him, and he sure can’t sell them to his Chinese slaves who are making $1/day. This problem is first resolved by having the Women Burn their Bras and head out into the workforce also to bring the combined family income back up to nearer $20/hr. However, this brings with it two things, first is that it drives down wages still further here as more people are competing for fewer available jobs, second is that the family now has added expenses in day care as well as the general structure of the family starting to fall apart. J6P and Wife are running harder to stay in place economically, and this gets harder and harder to do as the price of energy continues its inexorable climb upwards. The gas bill for the 2 cars they now need to commute to two different jobs keeps going up, the cost of electricity for the house keeps going up, and of course the taxes keep going up. Why? Because all the Unionistas employed by Da Goobermint have the same problems here and keep negotiating bigger pay packages of course. Besides the fact that of course bureaucracies always continue to increase in size until they crash under their own weight.

Still the Capitalist is doing OK because the labor is so Cheap in China and Walmart here marks down to the LOWEST Price Every Day so J6P can still buy some stuff, assuming he is bombarded with enough advertisement convincing him he needs the stuff. Sadly now for the Capitalist though, the energy input price for his products ALSO continues to rise, and he has now arbed down his labor costs as low as he possibly can, there simply is nowhere on earth to find cheaper labor than the Chindians or Egyptians or the Mexicans will work for. The cost of the products begin to rise at Walmart, and unless the Capitalist can figure out some way to put more money in the pockets of J6P to buy said products, he is going to go outta biz. Does he find a way to do this? Of COURSE he does. VISA! For everything you ever wanted but could not afford, there is VISA! By the time the 1990s are underway, the consumer credit binge has begun, and not only that because J6P cannot afford to pay higher taxes also, in order to keep funding Da Goobermint it ALSO runs up its own credit card bill, selling debt to those frugal, smart and hard working slaves over in China.

Frantically now as we move into the 2000s the whole fucking House of Cards is going to fall down along with the WTC unless more money gets injected into the system. Enter Stage Left the Maestro Alan Greenspan, who Blows the biggest fucking Bubble of all time in the RE market and Banksters start issuing no doc LIAR loans to anyone who has a pulse, putting all sorts of funny money into the system, some of which does get distributed out to J6P since he is now employed again at $20/hr construction jobs in the housing industry building McMansions while his Wife the RE Agent takes home megabucks Commissions selling the $300K McMansions to Janitors and Burger Flippers, on ARM loans with low teaser rates said Janitor can barely afford for a few years, but he then takes out a HELOC on his ever increasing in value McMansion to live the good life a while longer still. LOTS of funny money flowing around here during this period, and Banksters create still MORE of it in the Shadow Banking industry. You get fucking geniuses like Blythe Masters, the Limey Economic Bimbo from Trinity College of Cambridge University who create CDS so everyone can start betting on who will be first to fail. Man, there are days I wish I had hung on as a Pigman at Merrill, because I sure would have enjoyed having a Blackboard Contest with that fucking Bimbo. What kind of Bullshit Math was she pitching out there anyhow? Was she smoking Crack or was she just too busy Blowing her Boss to think straight? The fucking Stooges over at JP Morgan never could do a decent regression analysis anyhow. Don’t even get me started on the jackasses over at Goldman, although my College Roommate was one of them. Those guys actually DID know their math, the fucking problem with them was they FAKED shit on PURPOSE. Goldman math wizards will take a fucking TURD and PROVE to you why it’s a profitable Turd to invest in, and the Due Diligence you have to do to figure out exactly HOW they fake the analysis is virtually impossible to do they are so fucking good at it. You would have to hire out the entire graduating class from MIT and rent out a year’s worth of time on a Cray Supercomputer to figure it all out, except you can’t do that because Goldman already hired the geeks and leased out the time for the next 50 years! Those guys turned Financial Fraud into a goddamn Science, a whole new branch of mathematics.

Anyhow, Stockbroker Pigmen are making money hand over fist through this time period, and again some of this money drifts into the Main Street economy as these guys spend megabucks at fancy restaurants eating with $5000 Hookers now also making a decent living for a night of flatbacking. Besides that, they are taking their “hard earned” funny money and investing Venture Capital in some Geek who creates Guitar Hero software, who then again uses his new found “wealth” to buy still more shit for himself and buys his own $5000 Hookers and Hamptons Cottage. Said Geek goes Public and the Goldman Pigmen set up an IPO for him and Pension Funds fork over megabucks to him buying the stock. In a year out of college, the dude goes from Nerd beating off to Internet Porn in his Dorm Room to Master of the Universe dipping his wick into Ford Models after he stuffs their noses full of enough Coke to energize the entire Defensive Line of the Dallas Cowboys. The “Virtuous Cycle” of wealth creation, right? Problem of course is Guitar Hero is just a fad, the Pension Funds that bought the IPO lose their shirts, but the Goldman Pigmen did quite well by underwriting the IPO and so did the Nerd that wrote the original software. Does he CARE that Guitar Hero went Belly Up? Hell no, he collected up $200M or so in the IPO, made some more money while it was a fad, then the company goes belly up, BFD. He’s still got plenty of money to buy $5000 Hookers, and he now has plenty of time to work on his next project, Hooker Hero. His Goldman Pigman buddies will package up that Turd ALSO and PROVE to you why it’s the greatest fucking Investment of ALL TIME.

Obviously the whole thing was going to implode, and implode it did in 2008. Bang, all the LIARs start defaulting on their mortgages, the Banks are in crisis and Hank the Skank Paulson rides to the rescue with his Bazooka pointed at the CONgress Critters, explaining to them that if they don’t simply shower the TBTF Banks with MORE Funny Money, Human Civilization as we know it will come to an end. This actually was and remains more or less true. Despite what some pundits here in the blogosphere believe, once we let the TBTF Banks fail, other smaller banks well run and managed won’t ride to the rescue like the 7th Cavalry of George Custer. The TBTF Banks are the OWNERS of the Fed, and when they go, so also goes the Fed, and so also goes the Dollar. All the mortgages, all the securities issued by the TBTF Banks go worthless, which means practically everybody’s Pension gets wiped out. You can’t fix this with a few prudent small banks who watched their pennies stepping in here, because there simply won’t be any functioning money for them to step in with. Virtually all of this money is debt which would be repudiated once you let the TBTF Banks fail.

Anyhow, this brings us from 1970 to where we are today, and the questions here are, was this avoidable, and would it have made a difference if J6P Union Man had taken the pay cut from $20/hr to $15/hr to keep the industrial job in His Hometown? My answer to that is no it would not have made a difference.

You see, if J6P had taken that pay cut, it would have reduced by 25% his discretionary income to buy the products he was making. In fact it would have reduced it by more than that, because he has quite a few fixed costs that are not getting reduced while his paycheck is. At this point the Capitalist will be selling fewer products, so unless he gets J6P to take another pay cut to further reduce the product cost so he can sell more of them he is going out of biz anyhow. Add to that the fact that energy keeps increasing in its real price, his margins are going to get squeezed no matter what here. I don’t even think the timeline would have been all that much different had the Union dudes taken the haircut, though without injecting more debt into the system through the time period we would have seen an ever decreasing standard of living and perhaps might have eased our way into a power down. As it was, by utilizing cheap Chinese labor and taking on infinitely more debt we sold to those SAME Chinese slaves, we were able to perpetuate the ILLUSION of wealth for around 30 years. Although clearly that illusory wealth was not evenly distributed as the rich got richer and the poor got poorer.

Now, the poor really cannot get any poorer, certainly not in Egypt anyhow. Who is left to get poorer then? Well, first the Middle Class will become poorer, then the Rich will become poorer. A few Power Brokers at the top will remain Rich a while longer, but they will all begin Cannibalizing each other as they fight to retain control of a failing system. In the end, we should see quite a leveling across all societies resulting from this spin down.

Unions were a by-product of the Industrial Era, at the beginning they served to prevent the kind of exploitation that the modern Chinese factory worker faces. This of course was the time of Tom Joad and the Grapes of Wrath. That they became corrupt and in many cases in fact counterproductive is without question, but whether in the Private Sector or the Public sector, their fundamental job was to get the best wage and bennies package they could from the employer for their members, be it a Private Enterprise Capitalist or Da Goobermint. That is essentially a Free Market idea, the Worker is Free to Organize, the Capitalist is free to pitch him out on his ass if he thinks he can replace ALL of them at the same time. This was of course done many times in many ways, the most popular modern example being Ronald Rayguns firing all the Air Traffic Controllers en masse back in the 1980s. Generally speaking though, trying to replace everyone in a Union at the same time is pretty difficult, so rather than doing that the Capitalists made a whole heck of a lot of Promises they could not keep. Read that generous Pension packages and so forth. This kicked the can down the road some, until of course the workers started retiring en masse and the math no longer worked. Corporation goes Belly Up, Capitalists walk away with all the profit they sieved out of the company for those years, and the Pensions get chucked into the soup of the Pension Guarantee fund the Federal Goobermint currently runs to handle this problem.

By paying the Union Workers the good wage they negotiated, for a while at least their members got to live a decent Middle Class life, able to afford a House and a Car. They hardly got rich, not Pigman rich anyhow. A few Union Bosses got Pigman rich though, and a few Pension Fund managers got Pigman rich, that is for sure. The GM Production line UAW worker could afford to buy the car he himself helped to produce, he could afford to buy a nice little house which some other J6P Carpenter built, earning his wage as an effect of the GM worker having a good wage. Whether the GM worker took a pay cut or lost his job completely, a spin down in standard of living all through the chain would have begun back in the 1970s without the expansion of credit and taking on the irredeemable debt. By offshoring the production to China, we first got the benefit of their cheap labor, and second got the benefit of handing them all our irredeemable debt. Got a nice 30 year long party out of it. The Chinese are stuck with the worst hangover, they ended up with the most polluted and degraded environment, and moreover they never got to Party like its 1999. Well a few of their Elites did, but not most Chinese.

As we move into the future here, it is a foregone conclusion that what is left of the Unions will be broken once and for all, but so also of course will the Capitalists be broken with them. You see, they all depended on the Thermodynamic Energy of Fossil fuels for this system to run. In this sense Karl Marx was quite wrong in his perception of the future, because he predicated it on the industrial model continuing onward. This will not happen because “proletariats” he writes about are Industrial workers, and they are going the way of the Dinosaur here, along with the Capitalists who run the show.

What will replace this model? Well, nobody can be quite sure of that, and likely different solutions are undertaken in different places. There may be a return to Feudalism in some places, along with a return to explicit slavery. There may be experiments with Agrarian Communism. There may be Fascist Dictatorships in some places. There may be Mad Max and complete Anarchy in some places. And in some places very far from the center of Human Civilization with very low populations and good resources, there may be a return to Tribal living. What there will NOT be in any of these places is quite the number of people living in them that currently are living in them, of this you can be quite sure. Nor will there be whole heck of a lot of Freedom anywhere through the spin down. Even in complete Anarchy with NO Goobermint are you very free, because you are constrained by the danger which lurks about you. No law to protect your property, no safety from the Highwaymen you will run into each day you venture out of your house.

In the end, if Humanity is to survive, some sort of Social Contract will be established again somewhere so that the People can work together cooperatively to build a Better Tomorrow. Where will that place be? I don’t have the answer to that one either, but I can tell you for damn sure where it will NOT be, and that is in the Big Shities. For myself I am unlikely to see where it will be during the rest of my time walking the earth. See it I will though, from the Great Beyond.

See YOU on the Other Side.

RE

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