All is Well. Obey the Man Behind the Curtain.
I always loved the Far Side comic. Gary Larson has the same warped sense of humor as me. Post your favorite Far Side comics in the comments.
“The next Fourth Turning is due to begin shortly after the new millennium, midway through the Oh-Oh decade. Around the year 2005, a sudden spark will catalyze a Crisis mood. Remnants of the old social order will disintegrate. Political and economic trust will implode. Real hardship will beset the land, with severe distress that could involve questions of class, race, nation and empire. The very survival of the nation will feel at stake. Sometime before the year 2025, America will pass through a great gate in history, commensurate with the American Revolution, Civil War, and twin emergencies of the Great Depression and World War II.” – Strauss & Howe – The Fourth Turning
“Reflect on what happens when a terrible winter blizzard strikes. You hear the weather warning but probably fail to act on it. The sky darkens. Then the storm hits with full fury, and the air is a howling whiteness. One by one, your links to the machine age break down. Electricity flickers out, cutting off the TV. Batteries fade, cutting off the radio. Phones go dead. Roads become impossible, and cars get stuck. Food supplies dwindle. Day to day vestiges of modern civilization – bank machines, mutual funds, mass retailers, computers, satellites, airplanes, governments – all recede into irrelevance. Picture yourself and your loved ones in the midst of a howling blizzard that lasts several years. Think about what you would need, who could help you, and why your fate might matter to anybody other than yourself. That is how to plan for a saecular winter. Don’t think you can escape the Fourth Turning. History warns that a Crisis will reshape the basic social and economic environment that you now take for granted.” – Strauss & Howe - The Fourth Turning
“An impasse over the federal budget reaches a stalemate. The president and Congress both refuse to back down, triggering a near-total government shutdown. The president declares emergency powers. Congress rescinds his authority. Dollar and bond prices plummet. The president threatens to stop Social Security checks. Congress refuses to raise the debt ceiling. Default looms. Wall Street panics.” – The Fourth Turning – Strauss & Howe – Page 273 – Written in 1996
“In retrospect, the spark might seem as ominous as a financial crash, as ordinary as a national election, or as trivial as a Tea Party. The catalyst will unfold according to a basic Crisis dynamic that underlies all of these scenarios: An initial spark will trigger a chain reaction of unyielding responses and further emergencies. The core elements of these scenarios (debt, civic decay, global disorder) will matter more than the details, which the catalyst will juxtapose and connect in some unknowable way. If foreign societies are also entering a Fourth Turning, this could accelerate the chain reaction. At home and abroad, these events will reflect the tearing of the civic fabric at points of extreme vulnerability – problem areas where America will have neglected, denied, or delayed needed action.” – The Fourth Turning – Strauss & Howe
“History offers no guarantees. If America plunges into an era of depression or violence which by then has not lifted, we will likely look back on the 1990s as the decade when we valued all the wrong things and made all the wrong choices.” – Strauss & Howe - The Fourth Turning
“The seasons of time offer no guarantees. For modern societies, no less than for all forms of life, transformative change is discontinuous. For what seems an eternity, history goes nowhere – and then it suddenly flings us forward across some vast chaos that defies any mortal effort to plan our way there. The Fourth Turning will try our souls – and the saecular rhythm tells us that much will depend on how we face up to that trial. The saeculum does not reveal whether the story will have a happy ending, but it does tell us how and when our choices will make a difference.” – Strauss & Howe - The Fourth Turning
“Don’t think you can escape the Fourth Turning the way you might today distance yourself from news, national politics, or even taxes you don’t feel like paying. History warns that a Crisis will reshape the basic social and economic environment that you now take for granted. The Fourth Turning necessitates the death and rebirth of the social order. It is the ultimate rite of passage for an entire people, requiring a luminal state of sheer chaos whose nature and duration no one can predict in advance.” – Strauss & Howe - The Fourth Turning
“The risk of catastrophe will be very high. The nation could erupt into insurrection or civil violence, crack up geographically, or succumb to authoritarian rule. If there is a war, it is likely to be one of maximum risk and effort – in other words, a total war. Every Fourth Turning has registered an upward ratchet in the technology of destruction, and in mankind’s willingness to use it.” – Strauss & Howe - The Fourth Turning
“History offers no guarantees. Obviously, things could go horribly wrong – the possibilities ranging from a nuclear exchange to incurable plagues, from terrorist anarchy to high-tech dictatorship. We should not assume that Providence will always exempt our nation from the irreversible tragedies that have overtaken so many others: not just temporary hardship, but debasement and total ruin. Losing in the next Fourth Turning could mean something incomparably worse. It could mean a lasting defeat from which our national innocence – perhaps even our nation – might never recover.” – Strauss & Howe - The Fourth Turning
Bernanke, Bernays, Catching Fire, Crisis, debt, defiance, Dick Cheney, District 12, Edward Snowden, Federal Reserve, Fourth Turning, Hope, Hunger Games, Katniss Everdeen, Mockingjay, NSA, NYPD, Obama, OWS, Poverty, President Snow, Propaganda, rebellion, Revolution, Robert Heinlein, Ron Paul, Slavery, Steinbeck, Strauss & Howe, Surveillance State, Suzanne Collins, Tolkien, Traitor, wealth inequality
In the 1st installment of this article – May the Odds Ever Be in Your Favor – The Reaping, I addressed how wealth inequality created by men rigging the system and utilizing media propaganda ultimately leads to rebellion. In Part 2, I will show how hope and defiance can ignite the flame of liberty in the minds of men. Edward Snowden has ignited that flame.
A Lot of Hope is Dangerous
President Snow: Seneca… why do you think we have a winner?
Seneca Crane: [frowns] What do you mean?
President Snow: I mean, why do we have a winner? I mean, if we just wanted to intimidate the districts, why not round up twenty-four at random and execute them all at once? It would be a lot faster. [Seneca just stares, confused]
President Snow: Hope.
Seneca Crane: Hope?
President Snow: Hope. It is the only thing stronger than fear. A little hope is effective. A lot of hope is dangerous. Spark is fine, as long as it’s contained.
Seneca Crane: So…?
President Snow: So, contain it.
President Snow and his chief propagandist, Seneca Crane, have a discussion that could be taking place between president Obama and chairman Bernanke today. Hope is a funny thing. If the ruling class removes all hope, then the masses begin to feel they have nothing to lose and revolution becomes a foregone conclusion. For the elites of Panem, hope is used as a method of control. President Snow understood the danger of allowing the downtrodden multitudes too much hope. The Hunger Games allows one child to survive out of 24. The districts are forced to remember the iron grip of the Capitol every year, while rooting for an unlikely hollow victory of one child surviving.
The parents of children in the districts hope their children aren’t chosen. They hope they’ll scrounge up enough food to survive another day. They hope they don’t get killed in a mine explosion. They hope the peacekeepers don’t break down their doors and imprison them for illegal hunting. They hope they can endure another week. Snow knows that as long as they have only a faint hope to maintain their subsistence level lifestyle, they are unlikely to rebel. Seeing a sixteen year old girl openly defying the Capitol and awakening a spirit of humanity and courage in the subjugated masses is a huge threat to the ruling class.
Katniss Everdeen ignited the flash of hope in the districts when she befriended a young girl from District 11 named Rue. The contestants are supposed to kill each other, but Katniss protects the young girl. When Rue is killed, Katniss decorates her body with flowers as a means of memorializing Rue, which the television audience in the districts views as defying the Capitol. As she walks away from Rue’s memorial and back into the fight, she turns to the cameras and gives a three finger salute. The three fingered salute of District 12, a gesture rarely used, means thanks, admiration, and good-bye to a loved one. Her message to the people watching is they have a common enemy. They don’t have to fight each other because a tyrannical government commands them to do so. Once the beaten down and subjugated masses began to understand the other districts were not the true enemy, the flame of liberty was kindled.
Katniss had experienced an act of kindness and mercy earlier in the novel when she had reached the end of her rope and had failed to scavenge any food for her helpless mother and sister after her father’s death in a mine explosion. Her thoughts were dark and dire.
“I couldn’t go home. Because at home was my mother with her dead eyes and my little sister, with her hollow cheeks and cracked lips. I couldn’t walk into that room with the smoky fire from the damp branches I had scavenged at the edge of the woods after the coal had run out, my hands empty of any hope.”
In the world of District 12 bread signifies hope. Food symbolizes hope as freedom from hunger. When Peeta sees Katniss and her anguish, he shows compassion for her. He purposely burns some bread from his parents’ bakery and throws the bread to Katniss, who is huddled outside in the rain. Later on, as Katniss thinks about the meaning of this interaction with Peeta, she says,
“To this day, I can never shake the connection between this boy, Peeta Mellark, and the bread that gave me hope.”
One of the key undercurrents of the Hunger Game trilogy is what happens in a world where all hope seems to be lost. Through small acts of kindness, like providing a few loaves of bread or honoring a departed contestant, hope can be sparked, and a spark can turn into a flame, a “girl on fire.” In this way, Katniss comes to embody the hope of a better future, a liberated and free Panem. When an authoritarian regime can no longer keep the populace sedated with bread and circuses, they turn to oppression and force.
With 47 million people wallowing in poverty and real median household income lower than it was in 1999 a pallor of hopelessness has descended upon our land. Banking and corporate interests have captured the economic, financial and political systems to such an extent the people no longer have any say in how this country is governed. The people are given a choice of flavors in what passes for elections by the corporate interests that choose the candidates. Once a politician attains office and does what they are instructed by the financial interests that fund their campaigns, they become rich and powerful. This is why 90% of incumbents are re-elected despite Congress having a 12% approval rating in polls.
The last 13 years has confirmed the country is run by one party, as the Republican figurehead rolled out new trillion dollar entitlement programs, fought undeclared wars, created an Orwellian organization to spy on Americans, and drove deficits to staggering levels. Now the current Democrat figurehead has rolled out a disastrous new trillion dollar entitlement program, continues to fight undeclared wars, drones innocent people in foreign countries, secretly collects data on every American, and has driven deficits to epic heights.
The Crisis began in 2008 with the Wall Street created worldwide financial implosion, spurred by the greatest control fraud in history. The bankers and politicians have implemented “solutions” that have further enriched the kleptocratic parasite class, while impoverishing savers, seniors, and the working middle class who played by the rules. The temperament of the country has continued to darken and societal trust is imploding, just as Strauss & Howe predicted in 2007.
“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.” - The Fourth Turning
When a tyrannical privileged class has taken their greed and avarice too far, reaped the remaining spoils of a declining empire and the exploited hordes begin to grow restless, the oligarchs will always utilize their mercenaries to retain control and keep the multitudes cowering and fearful. Even though the financial elite have been harvesting the riches of our bountiful land for decades, it only started to become apparent to a few aware critical thinkers in the late 1990’s. It is no coincidence the War on Terror has been used as an excuse to pass the Patriot Act, unleash the NSA to gather every piece of electronic data generated by all American citizens, militarize local law enforcement agencies, conduct military “training exercises” in major cities, roll out drones to monitor the activities of the people, subject citizens to degrading body searches in airports and train stations, install surveillance cameras throughout the land to monitor our every move, use Bernaysian propaganda techniques and create fake terrorist plots to keep the masses trembling and terrified.
The ruling class leeches lost their blood sucking grip on the financial markets in 2000 and again in 2008. As the common people have lost their trust in the financial and political leaders and their propaganda techniques wear thin, truncheons, guns and a vast treasure trove of weapons and surveillance equipment are being prepared for use against the people.
The Party put forth an unknown hope and change teleprompter flim-flam man in 2008 in a last ditch attempt to sooth the masses and allow the fat cats to continue feasting, with the periodic purging in the vomitorium when their gullets were stuffed. The proof of a single ruling party has never been clearer, as a supposedly liberal populist democrat has fallen into line and followed the orders of the Financial Industrial Complex, Military Industrial Complex, and Sickcare Industrial Complex by not prosecuting one criminal banker, letting Wall Street write the 800 page Dodd Frank bill, ramping up our wars in the Middle East while spending more on Defense than Bush, and gladly allowing the insurance and drug industry to write the 1,000 page Obamacare abortion of a law. At the same time he has taken the Orwellian surveillance state to levels that would have been considered criminal and impeachable in 1990. The two heads of the ruling party play their parts to keep the masses distracted, believing voting actually matters, while fighting the wrong enemy.
The parallels between the Hunger Games novels and our current situation are innumerable. But the dehumanization of a society is the most significant analogy between the dystopian culture of Panem and the greed and materialism of our late stage declining empire. It will not be war, plague or famine that sets the stage for our collapse. A moral sickness has engulfed the soul of our civilization, spread by the dark forces of wickedness occupying the throne of power on Wall Street, Washington DC, and in the boardrooms of mega-corporations across the land.
“It neither kills outright nor inflicts apparent physical harm, yet the extent of its destructive toll is already greater than that of any war, plague, famine, or natural calamity on record — and its potential damage to the quality of human life and the fabric of civilized society is beyond calculation. For that reason this sickness of the soul might well be called the ‘Fifth Horseman of the Apocalypse’. Its more conventional name, of course, is dehumanization.” – Ashley Montagu
The financial elite have used the power of mass media propaganda and jurisdiction over the public educational system to turn accountable thinking citizens into irresponsible irrational consumers. The ultra-rich men, constituting the invisible government described by Edward Bernanys, have used their control of the currency and monetary system to create a plantation society of enslaved debtors who have been trained like monkeys to consume when they are not facebooking, twittering or twerking. This dehumanization is in full display on Thanksgiving/Black Friday as the corporate fascists stir the masses into a frenzied materialistic orgy of pandemonium for cheap electronics produced by slaves in China, doing jobs formerly performed by Americans. Corporate profits have reached all-time record highs as the Ivy League MBA CEOs have used global wage arbitrage to de-Americanize their work force, convinced the lowly wilfully ignorant American serfs to spend money they no longer have on crap they certainly don’t need, and paid themselves billions in bonuses for successfully destroying the former middle class by the book.
The Party has utilized the cudgel of Federal Reserve created inflation to fleece the math challenged masses for the last 100 years. The modern day financial mad scientists use inflation, consumerism, debt, and media propaganda to keep the rats in their grand experiment running faster and faster around the maze, seeking an ever dwindling hunk of cheese. The rats are trapped in this experiment and have not the time, energy, resolve or enough cheese to escape. The rats will never breakout and their progeny are born into the maze, also with no hope of getting out alive. The mad scientists periodically reorient the maze, adjust the stimuli to elicit new behavior, and increase or decrease the rewards as they deem appropriate. Through their control of the financial, political and media centers, the ruling class not only manipulates society, they convince the rats they are really free and not confined in a maze, with no possibility of escape. The ruling class has succeeded in capturing the system to such an extent that they are syphoning off the income of the nation at a rate only seen prior to the Great Depression.
The real median household income of the bottom 90% is lower than it was in 1968, as inflation has destroyed the purchasing power of the proletariat. While wages have stagnated due to mega-corporations off-shoring American jobs for the sake of quarterly profits and stock price performance, the price of middle class essentials like food, energy, shelter, tuition and medical care have skyrocketed. The demented American nobility have disregarded centuries of history with regards to inequality borne of corruption and unfettered greed. When mild deflation reigns, as it did for most of the 19th century, goods and trade are plentiful, prosperity is ample and broadly spread to the working classes. When banker created inflation causes prices to rise, trade plummets, living standards deteriorate, and extreme wealth inequality accelerates. Once poverty reaches a tipping point, unrest and discontent lead to revolution and rebellion.
It is not a coincidence the rebellion in the Hunger Games begins in the two poorest districts. District 12 is inhabited by mostly white people in the Appalachia region of the former United States. District 11 is inhabited by mostly black people in the Southern region of the former United States. The symbolism of black people picking crops and being publicly whipped if they steal any of the food for their own survival is reflective of the plantation economy we have today. Miners getting killed in mine explosions due to unsafe conditions are reflective of the corporate greed that permeates our culture. The masters of this human tragedy attempt to keep the plebs in one district angry and mistrustful of the plebs in the other districts so they don’t focus on the real enemy. It has worked for decades, but as the workers see their lots in life descend to bare subsistence levels they have nothing to lose by resisting and rebelling. The privileged ruling plutocrats have the power to lessen the burden on the slaves, diminishing the chances of revolution, but in their sociopathic gluttonous hunger for ever more riches and supremacy they seal their fate of ultimate destruction, as John Kenneth Galbraith aptly described.
“People of privilege will always risk their complete destruction rather than surrender any material part of their advantage.”
A simple act of human kindness by a young girl is what ignited a rebellion in Panem. The power of hope and courage, once unleashed, can overwhelm the wickedness of evil men. But, those men will not be defeated without an epic struggle requiring much sacrifice, suffering, death and destruction. Katniss did not realize the impact she had until on her victory tour when during her speech an old man gives her the three finger salute, leading the crowd to follow his lead and defy the peacekeepers. She had inspired the oppressed to resist their bondage.
In the most disturbing scene of the movie, the old man is grabbed by the police thugs, dragged to the podium and shot in the head, while the other thugs beat and pummel the crowd into submission. Shades of the OWS beatings by the NYPD are clear.
This is how an Orwellian surveillance state reacts to the discontent caused by the appalling treatment of their subjects. Every district is kept under the thumb of the ironically named peacekeepers. They enforce the dictatorial mandates of the Capitol at the point of a gun and threats of imprisonment, or public beatings. The technologically advanced Capitol uses surveillance cameras and spy aircraft to monitor the districts and enforce their dictates. Since the passage of the paradoxically named Patriot Act, the American surveillance state has been perfected to a level that would impress Orwell.
With the NSA gathering every piece of electronic data generated by every citizen, surveillance cameras monitoring our every movement in major cities, spy drones patrolling the skies, fascists attempting to disarm the public, and police state thugs roaming the countryside enforcing the dictates of the oligarchy, we’ve descended into authoritarian rule. The Constitution is no longer a valid document. The President is free to send boys to their death in foreign countries without the approval of Congress. He is free to ignore laws and use executive orders to implement his agenda. Any doubt regarding whether we are still free was obliterated by the police state crushing of the OWS protests and more recently the door to door illegal searches conducted by heavily armed American “peacekeeper” thugs in Watertown, Massachusetts searching for a wounded 17 year old kid.
The courageous actions of Katniss in the Hunger Games ignited a rebellion and the ultimate demise of President Snow and his evil empire. Edward Snowden’s audaciously brilliant take down of the NSA and Obama’s growing surveillance empire has awakened a slumbering public and hopefully kindled the flame of freedom in enough patriots to instigate the revolution which will drive the next stage of this Fourth Turning.
“The risk of catastrophe will be very high. The nation could erupt into insurrection or civil violence, crack up geographically, or succumb to authoritarian rule. If there is a war, it is likely to be one of maximum risk and effort – in other words, a total war. Every Fourth Turning has registered an upward ratchet in the technology of destruction, and in mankind’s willingness to use it.” – Strauss & Howe -The Fourth Turning
Defiance – Catching Fire
“At some point, you have to stop running and turn around and face whoever wants you dead. The hard thing is finding the courage to do it.” – Katniss Everdeen – Catching Fire
“The great fear that I have regarding the outcome for America of these disclosures is that nothing will change. [People] won’t be willing to take the risks necessary to stand up and fight to change things… And in the months ahead, the years ahead, it’s only going to get worse. [The NSA will] say that… because of the crisis, the dangers that we face in the world, some new and unpredicted threat, we need more authority, we need more power, and there will be nothing the people can do at that point to oppose it. And it will be turnkey tyranny.” – Edward Snowden
Now we get to the most important theme of the Hunger Games trilogy and a theme that will drive the regeneracy stage of this Fourth Turning – Defiance. There can be no change unless someone has the courage to make a stand. Generational archetypes will need to play their assigned roles, just as they did in the Hunger Games novels. The Boomers should be seeking a new vision of a better future; Gen-X should be seeking realism and implementable solutions; and the Millennials should be seeking the power to change the course of a terribly misguided country.
It will not take a majority to prevail during this Fourth Turning, just an inspired courageous minority willing to sacrifice themselves for the greater good. Suzanne Collins may not have meant to place her characters into their proper generational roles, but they played their parts as would be expected during a Crisis. Plutarch Heavensbee, a 50 something Prophet Generation visionary, is the leader of the rebellion who exploits the power and courage of Katniss Everdeen, from the Hero Generation, to inspire and lead the rebellion. Haymitch Abernathy, the 40 year old drunk from the Nomad Generation, is the brains behind the plan to spur rebellion and defeat the Capitol. He made it his purpose in life to protect and support the young heroes who were required to do the heavy lifting during the Crisis.
The theme of defiance and its ability to undermine an evil, yet fragile, authoritarian regime is portrayed through the symbol of the mockingjay in the novels. The mockingjay is a surveillance state blunder, accidently fashioned by the hubristic Capitol. After the first rebellion, the Capitol left the jabberjays, a bird they created to spy on the districts and relay whole conversations to the Capitol, in the wilderness to die off. Instead, the jabberjays mated with mockingbirds and a species called the mockingjay was born. The mockingjay was a signal of weakness in the armor of the Capitol.Mockingjays had the talent of being able to relay any song or tune they hear to any species. Katniss’ father used to love to sing songs in the woods while hunting and loved to hear the mockingjays repeat his tune back to him. Katniss and Rue used the mockingjays to communicate during the Games. Mockingjays were a hardy resilient species that could survive in the harshest of environments.
The mockingjay becomes a symbol of defiance, rebellion and hope among the districts. Before the Games, a friend of Katniss’ from school gave her a gold mockingjay pin as a token from home. The television audience sees the pin on Katniss’ clothes during the Games. After the Games, the symbolism of the mockingjay becomes a rallying point for the subjugated masses in the districts. As the rebellion gathers steam, the rebelling districts use the mockingjay symbol as a primary method of communication. The rebels bake the bird symbol into breads, crackers, and other things that could easily be eaten or hidden quickly. The mockingjay becomes sign of resistance, a sign of uprising, and a sign of hope. The brush fires of rebellion are glimpsed by Katniss during the victory tour and celebration before the 75th anniversary Games. Plutarch Heavensbee, supposedly a high level Capitol apparatchik, attempted to win Katniss’ trust by showing her his watch, which viewed in the right position you could see the symbol of the rebellion – the mockingjay.
The defiance of a young girl versus the façade of an all-powerful state, through her humanity, the mockingjay symbol, and the willingness to eat poison berries as the ultimate act of rebellion against the rulers of the game, is the defining motif of our time.
“The bird, the pin, the song, the berries, the watch, the cracker, the dress that burst into flames. I am the mockingjay. The one that survived despite the Capitol’s plans. The symbol of the rebellion.” – Katniss Everdeen – Catching Fire
What is not immediately apparent to the vassals of a totalitarian regime is the internal rot, infighting among the lieutenants, and superficial level of support among the citizenry. A government racked by corruption, dependent upon financial gimmickry and massive levels of debt to give the appearance of solvency, only able to preserve domination through brutal police state thug tactics, monitoring its subjects with intrusive surveillance machines, and led by sociopathic paranoid egomaniacal men, is sickly and rotting on the inside. President Snow spitting up blood throughout the novels is symbolic of this disease. Like a gigantic 224 year old oak tree that appears imposing, robust and indestructible, but has been decaying within, a strategically placed lightning strike or sudden gust of wind is capable of toppling the once mighty tree.
Sometimes all it takes is for one person of good conscience, with the courage to accept the consequences of revealing the truth, to strike down the mighty oak and ignite brush fires of freedom in the minds of men. Edward Snowden is that person.
“I can’t in good conscience allow the US government to destroy privacy, internet freedom and basic liberties for people around the world with this massive surveillance machine they’re secretly building. I do not want to live in a world where everything I do and say is recorded. That is not something I am willing to support or live under. Everyone everywhere now understands how bad things have gotten — and they’re talking about it. They have the power to decide for themselves whether they are willing to sacrifice their privacy to the surveillance state.” – Edward Snowden
In the Hunger Games trilogy Katniss Everdeen created a problem for President Snow when she pulled out the poisonous berries and foiled the game being orchestrated by the cruel sovereigns of Panem. She refused to be a pawn in their game. She had the courageousness of spirit to illustrate to the suppressed citizens in the locked down prison-like districts that she was not owned and enslaved by the state. She was a human being who deserved to be treated with respect, not like an animal or a specimen in their malicious man made game.
“I want to do something, right here, right now, to shame them, to make them accountable, to show the Capitol that whatever they do or force us to do there is a part of every tribute they can’t own. That Rue was more than a piece in their Games. And so am I.” – Katniss Everdeen – The Hunger Games
Edward Snowden has created a problem for President Obama, his surveillance state apparatus, and the banking cabal that pull the strings in this empire of consumerism, by revealing the dirty secrets of a paranoid tyrannical ruling party. We are late in the game and pleading ignorance regarding how technology is being used by evil men for evil purposes is inexcusable. Snowden refused to remain a pawn in the NSA game and decided his fellow citizens needed to be warned about the dangers of an omniscient, secretive, malevolent state whose powers were unchecked and whose motives were geared towards oppression and coercion. He was a brilliant young cog within the government machinery, making good money, with a bright future if he conformed and obeyed, but he chose to be free. A free man can’t be bought, controlled or conquered. Edward Snowden decided someone needed to make a stand and that someone was him.
“Secrecy is the keystone to all tyranny. Not force, but secrecy and censorship. When any government or church for that matter, undertakes to say to its subjects, “This you may not read, this you must not know,” the end result is tyranny and oppression, no matter how holy the motives. Mighty little force is needed to control a man who has been hoodwinked in this fashion; contrariwise, no amount of force can control a free man, whose mind is free. No, not the rack nor the atomic bomb, not anything. You can’t conquer a free man; the most you can do is kill him.”- Robert Heinlein
The explosive disclosures of government criminality, mass spying, cover-ups, lying to Congress by government apparatchiks, and conclusive evidence of a surveillance state completely out of control confirmed another truth for those not captured by the red/blue party propaganda. Snowden was declared a traitor by Obama, Romney, Schumer, McCain, Pelosi, Boehner, Reid, McConnell, Feinstein, Rove, and of course, the blood thirsty, hate spewing, dark-lord of the neo-cons – Dick Cheney. The immediate and united venomous response from the slimy politician snakes should have removed all doubt there is really one ruling party and the rest of us are nothing but pawns in their game. We live in a corporate fascist warfare/welfare surveillance state run by ultra-wealthy unelected men with evil intentions.
“We’ve slipped away from a true republic. Now we’re slipping into a fascist system where it’s a combination of government, big business and authoritarian rule, and the suppression of the individual rights of each and every American citizen. When it comes to any significant differences on foreign policy, economic intervention, the Federal Reserve, a strong executive branch, a welfarism mixed with corporatism, both parties are very much alike. The major arguments in hotly contested presidential races are mostly for public consumption to convince the people they actually have a choice.” – Ron Paul
Snowden’s response to the murdering thug Cheney calling him a traitor makes me proud to call him a hero and a patriot, on par with George Washington, Samuel Adams, and Thomas Paine.
“Being called a traitor by Dick Cheney is the highest honor you can give to an American.” – Edward Snowden
Obama and the Party are continuously being made fools of by a 30 year old Millennial, as he periodically releases information damaging to the government’s surveillance efforts on the American people and foreign leaders. Each revelation further erodes the trust people and countries once had in the moral leadership of the United States. Snowden is our mockingjay, a creature the NSA never intended to create. The predator drone happy Obama would like nothing better than to have Snowden eliminated, but he is faced with the same dilemma as President Snow in the fictional world of Panem, captured in this dialogue:
President Snow: I have a problem, Miss Everdeen. A problem that began the moment you pulled out those poisonous berries in the arena. If a girl from District Twelve of all places can defy the Capitol and walk away unharmed, what is to stop them from doing the same?
Katniss Everdeen: It must be very fragile, if a handful of berries can bring it down.
If the mighty American empire can be embarrassed by a sole young patriot, proving to the world they are in decline financially, morally, and militarily, it must be very fragile. Snowden’s revelations did not immediately spark rebellion, but an attitude of defiance is gaining traction, as the mood in the country darkens like the sky before a blizzard whose full fury will strike with a vengeance lasting for several years. Since our entry into this Fourth Turning in 2008 there have been sparks of rebellion (OWS & the original Tea Party movement) but they were immediately subverted, discredited and crushed by the Party and their propaganda media machines. The attitude of defiance can be seen in the rise of Bitcoin, citizens buying physical gold and silver despite the Federal Reserve/Wall Street efforts to discredit it, the efforts of hackers like Anonymous to disrupt the corporate fascist state, the tireless efforts of websites like Zero Hedge, Washington’s Blog, Charles Hugh Smith, and Mike Krieger to uncover the truth, and the relentless pursuit of liberty and freedom by Ron Paul and his army of patriots. It is time for more leaders and heroes to step up and act.
“I had been looking for leaders, but I realized that leadership is about being the first to act. I understand that I will be made to suffer for my actions, and that the return of this information to the public marks my end.” – Edward Snowden
Despite the monetary manipulations of the Federal Reserve arm of the Party, supported by the propaganda efforts of the corporate media arm of the Party, the extreme level of criminally induced wealth inequality will ultimately result in a second far worse financial crash that will topple this teetering edifice of corruption. The violent stage of this Crisis will then erupt.
“But as the Crisis mood congeals, people will come to the jarring realization that they have grown helplessly dependent on a teetering edifice of anonymous transactions and paper guarantees. Many Americans won’t know where their savings are, who their employer is, what their pension is, or how their government works. The era will have left the financial world arbitraged and tentacled: Debtors won’t know who holds their notes, homeowners who owns their mortgages, and shareholders who runs their equities – and vice versa.” – The Fourth Turning – Strauss & Howe
The first American Fourth Turning was a rebellion against a foreign empire. The second American Fourth Turning was an internal rebellion that killed 700,000 young men. The third American Fourth Turning resulted in a foreign conflict that resulted in the deaths of 65 million people. Do these once every 80 year turnings alternate between external and internal conflict? If so, we are on the verge of events that will tear the fabric of this nation apart. The debt, civic decay, and heinousness of those in power will lead to the disintegration of our existing social order and sheer chaos, as forces battle for the soul of the nation. What it is replaced by is unknown at this time. It could be something far worse, or it could be a rekindling of our nation’s founding heritage of liberty, freedom and civic duty.
Linear thinking old timers are likely to scoff at the notion that some trilogy of novels for teenagers could capture the mood of the time in a way that explains how the people of this country will respond to the current worsening Crisis. I’m sure the works of Steinbeck and Tolkien were scoffed at during the last Fourth Turning. History is cyclical and we’ve returned to a time where leaders step forward to lead and brave heroes step forward to fight. The future of the country hangs in the balance.
“The original American patriots were those individuals brave enough to resist with force the oppressive power of King George. I accept the definition of patriotism as that effort to resist oppressive state power. The true patriot is motivated by a sense of responsibility and out of self-interest for himself, his family, and the future of his country to resist government abuse of power. He rejects the notion that patriotism means obedience to the state.” – Ron Paul
Do you reject the notion that patriotism means obedience to the state? Know your enemy.
Catching Fire, civil war, Crisis, Decline, Edward Snowden, Empire, Federal Reserve, Fourth Turning, George Washington, Grapes of Wrath, Hunger Games, Huxley, inequality, Jamie Dimon, Jon Corzine, Katniss Everdeen, Lady Gaga, Lord of the Rings, Millennials, mood, Neil Postman, NSA, oligarchs, Orwell's 1984, Poverty, President Snow, Rome, ruling class, Samuel Adams, Steinbeck, Strauss & Howe, Suzanne Collins, Tolkien, TV, Wall Street, wealth
“Human history seems logical in afterthought but a mystery in forethought. In every prior Fourth Turning, the catalyst was foreseeable but the climax was not.” - The Fourth Turning – Strauss & Howe – 1997
We are five years into the Crisis that will not resolve itself until sometime in the 2020’s. No one can predict the specific events that will fundamentally change history over the next decade, but the catalysts of debt, civic decay and global disorder were evident sixteen years ago when Strauss and Howe wrote their prophetic generational history. The volcanic eruption occurred in 2008 when the worldwide financial system blew and the molten lava continues to spew forth and flow along the Federal Reserve created channels, protecting the corrupt establishment while incinerating senior citizens, the working middle class and Millennials. Deep within the volcano the pressure is building again as the mood of the country darkens. It will blow again and the economic, social, political and military distress will catalyze into a catastrophic emergency that will tear the fabric of the country asunder. The existing social order will be swept away and replaced by a new paradigm which could be better or far worse.
“Imagine some national (and probably global) volcanic eruption, initially flowing along channels of distress that were created during the Unraveling era and further widened by the catalyst. Trying to foresee where the eruption will go once it bursts free of the channels is like trying to predict the exact fault line of an earthquake. All you know in advance is something about the molten ingredients of the climax, which could include the following:
The Fourth Turning – Strauss & Howe – 1997
Linear thinkers are incapable or unwilling to understand that history is cyclical, primarily driven by national mood changes and the interaction of generations entering different stages in their 80 year life cycle. We’ve seen this story before, but those who lived through the last Fourth Turning have mostly died out, and our techno-narcissistic populace has absolutely no interest in understanding history beyond last night’s episode of Duck Dynasty. The mood of the country during a Turning is often captured in literature and/or film produced during that period.
The last Fourth Turning encompassed the period from the Great Crash in 1929 through the Great Depression and World War II, ending in 1946 with a new world order. Four novels written during this Crisis captured the dystopian nature of the time, reflecting the fear, pain, anger, brutality, and courageousness of the common man during that perilous period. Huxley’s Brave New World (1932), Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath (1939), Orwell’s 1984 (written during WWII), and Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings Trilogy (written from 1937 through 1949) are masterpieces of literature which captured the aura of the times in which they were penned. Only one of the novels was brought to film during the Crisis, with John Ford’s brilliant Grapes of Wrath screen adaptation capturing the suffering and desperation of common folk during the Great Depression.
Most of what passes for literature and film these days is nothing more than glorified commercials or corporate created twaddle designed for narcissistic, mindless, teenage girls. Many will dismiss Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games trilogy and the film adaptations as nothing more than run of the mill teenager nonsense. They are making a huge mistake. Decades from now, if we make the right choices during this Fourth Turning, The Hunger Games will be viewed as the novels and films that captured the darkening, rebellious mood of the Crisis. It is not a coincidence the first novel was published in September 2008. The worldwide financial meltdown initiated by the Wall Street financial elite and their paid for cronies in the nation’s capital, occurred in September 2008 and marked the commencement of this Fourth Turning. Collins has brilliantly created a dystopian nightmare that combines the shallowness and superficiality of our reality TV culture with our never ending wars of choice and rise of our surveillance state, while blending the decadence and debauchery of the declining Roman Empire. She also unwittingly places her characters in their proper generational roles during a Fourth Turning Crisis.
Collins was a military brat who was fortunate enough to have a father that taught her the truth about historical events, not the propaganda taught in our public schools today.
“He was career Air Force, a military specialist, a historian, and a doctor of political science. When I was a kid, he was gone for a year in Viet Nam. It was very important to him that we understood about certain aspects of life. So, it wasn’t enough to visit a battlefield, we needed to know why the battle occurred, how it played out, and the consequences. Fortunately, he had a gift for presenting history as a fascinating story. He also seemed to have a good sense of exactly how much a child could handle, which is quite a bit.”
She learned lessons about war, poverty, oppression, and the brutality and corruption of the ruling classes. Her knowledge of history, the visual images of reality shows and the Iraq War displayed on TV created the idea for her Hunger Games trilogy.
“I was channel surfing between reality TV programming and actual war coverage when Katniss’ story came to me. One night I’m sitting there flipping around and on one channel there’s a group of young people competing for, I don’t know, money maybe? And on the next, there’s a group of young people fighting an actual war. And I was tired, and the lines began to blur in this very unsettling way, and I thought of this story.”
The central storyline of The Hunger Games is there are twelve districts subservient to the Capitol in the totalitarian nation of Panem. The country consists of the affluent Capitol, located in the Rocky Mountains, and twelve desperately poor districts ruled by the Capitol. The Capitol is lavishly opulent and technologically advanced, but the twelve districts are in varying states of poverty. As punishment for a past rebellion against the Capitol wherein twelve of the districts were defeated and the thirteenth purportedly destroyed, one boy and one girl from each of the twelve districts, between the ages of twelve and eighteen, are selected by lottery to compete in the “Hunger Games” on an annual basis.
The Games are a televised spectacle, with the participants, called “tributes”, being forced to fight to the death in a treacherous outdoor arena. It’s a combination of American Idol, Survivor, and Middle Eastern warfare. The victorious tribute and his or her home district are then remunerated with extra food and supplies. The objective of the Hunger Games is to provide superficial reality TV entertainment for the vacuous small-minded masses in the Capitol and serve as a constant reminder to the Districts of the Capitol’s supremacy and supposed omnipotence. The Capitol ruling with an iron fist over its 13 Districts is clearly founded upon the British Empire running roughshod over the 13 American colonies and harvesting resources and taxes to maintain their wealth, power and control. Collins utilizes her knowledge of ancient Greek and Roman history and merging it with our degraded shallow TV culture to meld a dystopian nightmare of brutality, child murder, voyeuristic sadism, and a fragile, rotting empire.
“A significant influence would have to be the Greek myth of Theseus and the Minotaur. The myth tells how in punishment for past deeds, Athens periodically had to send seven youths and seven maidens to Crete, where they were thrown in the Labyrinth and devoured by the monstrous Minotaur. Even as a kid, I could appreciate how ruthless this was. Crete was sending a very clear message: “Mess with us and we’ll do something worse than kill you. We’ll kill your children.” And the thing is, it was allowed; the parents sat by powerless to stop it. Theseus, who was the son of the king, volunteered to go. I guess in her own way, Katniss is a futuristic Theseus.
In keeping with the classical roots, I send my tributes into an updated version of the Roman gladiator games, which entails a ruthless government forcing people to fight to the death as popular entertainment. The world of Panem, particularly the Capitol, is loaded with Roman references. Panem itself comes from the expression “Panem et Circenses” which translates into ‘Bread and Circuses’.” – Suzanne Collins
Any similarities between propaganda posters in Panem and propaganda in America are purely coincidental, I’m sure.
“At least once every human should have to run for his life, to teach him that milk does not come from supermarkets, that safety does not come from policemen, that ‘news’ is not something that happens to other people. He might learn how his ancestors lived and that he himself is no different–in the crunch his life depends on his agility, alertness, and personal resourcefulness.” - Robert Heinlein
“War, terrible war. Widows, orphans, a motherless child. This was the uprising that rocked our land. Thirteen districts rebelled against the country that fed them, loved them, protected them. Brother turned on brother until nothing remained. And then came the peace, hard fought, sorely won. A people rose up from the ashes and a new era was born. But freedom has a cost. When the traitors were defeated, we swore as a nation we would never know this treason again. And so it was decreed, that each year, the various districts of Panem would offer up in tribute, one young man and woman, to fight to the death in a pageant of honor, courage and sacrifice. The lone victor, bathed in riches, would serve as a reminder of our generosity and our forgiveness. This is how we remember our past. This is how we safeguard our future.” – President Snow – Hunger Games
A major theme in the novels is the tremendous wealth inequality between the Capitol and most of the districts. District 12, the home of Katniss Everdeen the protagonist, is the most desperately poor. District 12 is located in the Appalachian region of the former USA. They are tasked with providing the Capitol resources obtained from dangerous mines. The population lives a bleak existence in poverty and squalor, with starvation always looming like an apparition of death. The districts are essentially slave plantations to be pillaged for whatever the dictatorial Capitol demands. The districts exist to harvest resources, such as fish, coal, lumber, crops, and gems, all sent to fulfill their quotas. Many districts, such as 12 and 11, don’t have enough coal to power their own district or enough food to feed their citizens. Districts 1, 2 and 4 are closer and more allied with the Capitol, resulting in them receiving more support, better food, consumer goods, and military protection. The wealth inequality between the ruling class and the working class in the districts is the primary cause of discontent and increasing rebelliousness.
The parallels with our corporate fascist surveillance state are unmistakable. The wealth and power in our country is concentrated in the hands of ruling elite who primarily reside in the nation’s capital of Washington D.C. and the financial capital of New York City. The top 1% control 42% of the nation’s financial wealth, while the bottom 80% control less than 5% of the financial wealth.
Table 1: Income, net worth, and financial worth in the U.S. by percentile, in 2010 dollars
Wealth or income class
Mean household income
Mean household net worth
Mean household financial (non-home) wealth
Top 1 percent
Top 20 percent
Bottom 40 percent
From Wolff (2012); only mean figures are available, not medians. Note that income and wealth are separate measures; so, for example, the top 1% of income-earners is not exactly the same group of people as the top 1% of wealth-holders, although there is considerable overlap.
The concentration of wealth in the hands of the few if achieved through superior work ethic and/or intellectual advantage would not cause discontent among the masses. Henry Ford, Steve Jobs and Bill Gates were admired for creating businesses and employing people. They earned their wealth. Today, it has become clear to all critical thinking people that a small cabal of super-rich men constituting an invisible ruling class have captured our financial and political system. They are the .1% who run the Wall Street banks, control the Federal Reserve, buy off the politicians of both parties, and pay lobbyists to write the laws and tax regulations. They use their ill-gotten wealth to maintain the status quo and further pillage the wealth of the working class through financial market manipulation, man-made inflation and outright theft. As 47 million Americans depend upon food stamps and other welfare programs to get by and real unemployment exceeds 20%, the wealth inequality in the nation has reached levels only seen in 1929, prior to the Great Crash outset of the last Fourth Turning. The mounting anger and discontent among the former working middle class is palatable. Those at the top of the food chain have rigged the system and get richer by the day. They bribe the lower classes with welfare benefits, taken from the working middle class, in an effort to stave off riots in the streets.
Rentier capitalism, the economic practice of parasitic monopolization of access to physical, financial, and intellectual property, has replaced free market capitalism, with the rentier class generating billions of illicit financialization profits while contributing nothing to society. We’ve become a modern day Panem, an imperialistic state thriving on the slave labor of other countries and inflicting our bastardized form of democracy at the point of Tomahawk missiles. In order to survive, Katniss defiantly and illegally hunts outside the District 12 fence perimeter and the famished citizens openly defy the law with their black market trading at the Hob. Desperate times lead to desperate measures.
When people despair, laws designed to maintain the status quo are deemed inconsequential by the peasants. You can see this happening in our society today. Welfare fraud among the lower classes is rampant. Bartering and working under the table for cash to avoid the crushing tax burden is growing. The rise of bitcoin as an alternative currency and the growing popularity of having possession of physical gold and silver is a reaction to the banker/politician fiat currency debt scheme to impoverish the masses. When the people see the bankers (Jamie Dimon) and former politicians (Jon Corzine) breaking laws with impunity, they feel no obligation to obey laws designed to keep them under the thumb of the ruling class. The fallacy of all men being created equal, with the American dream achievable for everyone, is still propagated by the government media propaganda mouthpieces. You’d have to be asleep to believe it.
In reality the ultra-rich have captured the system and have stacked the deck in their favor. This theme is captured in the Hunger Games during the reaping process, which is supposed to be random, with rich and poor equally likely to get chosen. In reality, the poor are much more likely than the rich to be reaped as tributes. In exchange for extra rations of food and oil necessary to keep from starving or freezing to death, called tesserae, those children eligible for the Hunger Games can enter their names into the reaping additional times. Most children of poor families have to take tesserae to survive, so the children of poor families have more entries in the reaping than children of wealthy families who need no tesserae. The odds are never in their favor. The current version of the Hunger Games for our youth is loading them up with government peddled student loan debt, with no jobs available when they graduate, leaving them enslaved in unpayable debt.
The rich who do become tributes from the more prosperous districts have an additional advantage, because they are often trained to take part in the Games and volunteer to do so. They are bigger, stronger, well fed and groomed to win. The poor tributes face certain death. The fact is you can only push people so far before they fight back. The arrogance and hubris of the rich governing class leads them to disregard the misery of the lowly peasants, while they intensify their pillaging and burning of the countryside. Eventually a spark ignites a revolutionary spirit and unleashes a torrent of violence and retribution. History is ripe with instances of the downtrodden masses rising up and throwing off the yoke of authoritarian despots. Fourth Turnings are when the existing social order is swept away in an avalanche of violence and bloodshed.
“What must it be like, I wonder, to live in a world where food appears at the press of a button? How would I spend the hours I now commit to combing the woods for sustenance if it were so easy to come by? What do they do all day, these people in the Capitol, besides decorating their bodies and waiting around for a new shipment of tributes to roll in and die for their entertainment?” – Katniss Everdeen – Hunger Games
The name of the nation – Panem, derives from the Latin phrase panem et circenses, which translates into ‘bread and circuses’. The idiom is meant to describe entertainment used to distract public attention from the corruption and vices of the governing class. By the government providing basic food and ample entertainment, the citizens voluntarily sacrifice liberties and rights for safety, security, and sustenance. The debauched occupants of the Capitol are the wealthiest and most decadent of all Panem, and the city’s affluence is fueled by the compulsory labor of the districts. The degenerates of the Capitol are known for their “creative” outfits, outrageous hair and ridiculous sense of fashion, even to the extent of dying the color of their own skin, or having whiskers implanted. Food and amusement are major drivers of the Hunger Games plot. The impoverished citizens, particularly in Districts 12 and 11 are on the verge of starvation, while the Capitol has food in abundance and throws lavish parties with extravagant and copious quantities of cuisine.
The superficial decadent upper class in the Capitol embraced overindulgence to such an extreme they purposely drank a concoction which would force them to throw up, so they could consume more. The analogy to the Roman vomitoriums during the depraved final days of their declining empire is distinct. Today in America, 47 million lower class Americans are reliant upon food stamps to be fed, while the majority are left to ingest processed poison packaged as food by mega-corporations and relentlessly marketed on television to a dumbed down populace. The ultra-rich dine on caviar and champagne in their penthouse suites, mansions in the Hamptons, or make reservations at restaurants not available to the 99.9%.
Appearances are extremely important in the post-apocalyptic pretentious world of the Hunger Games. Style and ostentatious fashion are everything to the affluent citizens of the plutocratic Capitol. It is natural to tattoo and dye their bodies’ in bright colors, as well as undergo plastic surgery to improve their looks. Some people of the Capitol have gems implanted in their skin, as well as talons. Capitol residents regularly wear wigs in a multitude of shocking colors. The degradation of our society can be seen in the worship of Hollywood created stars and pop singers freaks like Lady Gaga. The filthy rich deform their bodies with plastic surgery to change their natural appearance. By mutilating their bodies with surgery and tattoos, the media glorified fashionistas set the tone for a cultural decay. The lower classes can’t afford expensive plastic surgery, so they cover themselves in hideous tattoos in a pathetic attempt at individuality, when they are just conforming like lemmings to what they are told is trendy. The vain and narcissistic are too ignorant to realize their worship of celebrity and purchase of the latest fashions in clothes and jewelry are the sheep-like behavior of conformists.
The voyeuristic exploitation of children is taken to an extreme in The Hunger Games with their terror, suffering and slaughter televised for the enjoyment of a blood thirsty public. Murder as mass entertainment in a reality TV game show format illustrates a truly depraved culture. The American TV culture turns news, tragedy, childhood and war into morbid reality TV entertainment. The news, as reported by the corporate legacy media, is nothing more than propaganda generated by the establishment to support their continued control over the financial and governmental levers. It is designed to distract, misinform and obscure the truth. What the news cameras show is not reality and facades are more consequential than the truth – a Wag the Dog world. Virtually half of prime time TV is a staged voyeuristic display of moronic triviality, requiring no thought and providing a form of passive sedation for low IQ imbeciles. The sexual exploitation of children in shows such as Toddlers & Tiaras and Honey Boo Boo is considered normal in a thoroughly abnormal society. Television is nothing but show business and we are amusing ourselves to death, as revealed by Neil Postman.
“When a population becomes distracted by trivia, when cultural life is redefined as a perpetual round of entertainments, when serious public conversation becomes a form of baby-talk, when, in short, a people become an audience, and their public business a vaudeville act, then a nation finds itself at risk; culture-death is a clear possibility.” – Neil Postman – Amusing Ourselves to Death
The Hunger Games are televised and discussed incessantly in Panem’s media, just as the pointless Iraq War and faux War on Terror are ceaselessly analyzed, evaluated and hyped by talking heads with bleached teeth, like the smarmy Caesar Flickerman in the Hunger Games movie. The Roman gladiatorial games and the televised “Shock & Awe” of obliterating the city of Baghdad with thousands of cruise missiles are both forms of barbaric entertainment, with the poor sacrificed on the altar of entertainment. The ruling class have successfully dehumanized our culture and turned real people into commodities to be manipulated, used and even killed for profit. Their value becomes determined by how much entertainment they provide, and as such they lose their identities as people. Reality television is a form of objectification. The world has become a stage for our Contollers, their stage managers on Madison Avenue and the mainstream media.
“Television is our culture’s principal mode of knowing about itself. Therefore — and this is the critical point — how television stages the world becomes the model for how the world is properly to be staged. It is not merely that on the television screen entertainment is the metaphor for all discourse. It is that off the screen the same metaphor prevails.” ― Neil Postman – Amusing Ourselves to Death
We’ve spent the last five decades learning to love our oppression, adoring our technology, glorying in our distaste for reading books, and wilfully embracing our ignorance. Huxley’s vision of a population, passively sleep walking through lives of self- absorption, triviality, drug induced gratification, materialism and irrelevance has come to pass. Only in the last two decades has Orwell’s darker vision of oppression, fear, surveillance, hate and intimidation begun to be implemented by the ruling class. We’ve become a people controlled by pleasure and pain, utilized in varying degrees by those in power. Stay tuned for our modern day Hunger Games after this commercial for your very own Duck Dynasty Chia Pet.
In Part 2 of this article – May the Odds Ever Be in Your Favor – Hope & Defiance, I’ll address how Edward Snowden is our mockingjay who has ignited a fire that will lead to revolution and the next phase of this Fourth Turning.
I know that what you’ll encounter in today’s Outside the Box is not macroeconomics. But we all have to live in the real world, and our health is as real as it gets. So this is just one guy telling his friends about something he found that has helped make his world a lot better.
My friend and colleague Pat Cox is always finding something new and different. When Pat first introduced me to this idea, I thought he was being a little over the top. But I happened to be in Palo Alto the following week and met with the scientists Pat mentioned and saw their results. Then I got a beta unit and used it for the first time on my last birthday last year.
I am in reasonable shape for my 64 years. I can do 50 pushups relatively easily and then go on to other parts of the gym, but I could never get past 40 for the second set and then even less if I attempted a third set. I would hit maybe 8 machines and exercises as part of one full upper-body set. The first time I used the AVAcore device you’re going to read about, I did three sets of everything, including 3×50 pushups over about 75 minutes, then went home and told the kids – who expressed a certain amount of skepticism. I immediately dropped and did another 39. All in less than two hours. It was a good birthday.
And I was not sore the next day, which was even stranger. But let Pat explain the science. It all makes sense. I have talked with and seen interviews with lots of real athletes who swear by this. This is for real, but as Pat emphasizes, it is not Miracle-Grow. It will do nothing for you if you don’t work out, and baby workouts won’t cut it, either. But if you train seriously – and you should –this is the coolest thing ever (pardon the pun). It will increase your stamina and workout effectiveness.
This is really the first time the device has been offered to a general public audience. And yes, in one year it will be a different and better model and likely cost less. That’s the way of the world. So you can keep your current workout if you like, or you can do much better workouts, starting today. And you’ll amaze your friends. This is a rather cool thing to take to the gym.
Your keeping cool and pounding reps analyst,
John Mauldin, Editor
Outside the Boxsubscribers@mauldineconomics.com
By Patrick Cox
Two Stanford University biologists have discovered a way to dramatically increase the benefits of exercise. I’ve used this technology for the last year and, like many other early users, have seen remarkable improvements in strength, endurance, and muscle mass. In fact, my results are better than they were thirty years ago when I was in my thirties.
I understand, by the way, that this sounds like the claims made in spam e-mails. Fortunately, you don’t have to take my word for it. Multiple third-party studies from important academic institutions have verified that the device, about the size of a coffee maker, delivers benefits that are superior to those associated with moderate doses of anabolic steroids – with none of the negative side effects.
Moreover, use of this biotechnology is spreading rapidly through the world of professional athletics. Though these organizations are not quick to publicize competitive advantages, we know that the San Francisco 49ers, the Seattle Seahawks, and some US Olympic training facilities use it. Internationally, at least one major soccer team is employing the device, but they haven’t said so publicly. The same is true in professional MMA and basketball.
If I have to convince you that exercise should be a priority in your life, you’re probably not the person I want to talk to. Nevertheless, I’ll point out that research has shown that cardiovascular and strength training can increase your life expectancy by preventing or reversing many serious health risks. These include arthritis, osteoporosis, obesity, loss of muscle mass (sarcopenia), age-related loss of function, diabetes, and cardiovascular and other chronic diseases. Exercise improves sleep, mood, metabolism, appearance, and creativity. Investors who do not recognize the economic value of their own health and longevity are not truly serious investors.
I understand, however, that it can be hard to find time for fitness. It can also be frustrating when results are slow in coming and the aftermath of exercise includes joint pain and muscle soreness. This is particularly true for those of us who are older, and the older you are the more true it becomes.
Until I started using the device a year ago, I felt I was only slowing my descent into age-related frailty. It was a fight I took seriously, but slow failure is not fun. Since integrating this technology into my workouts, however, I’ve put on serious muscle mass while increasing flexibility, strength, and endurance.
You’re not going to see me on stage in a bikini bottom any time soon, but now I’m having serious fun and feeling better than I have in many, many years. I look forward to every workout and start planning the next one as soon I’ve finished the last. In the interest of full disclosure, I’m also engaged in a program of nutritional supplementation that includes clinically validated but little-known products. I don’t have the space to get into that area today, however.
So, please allow me to give you the big scientific picture so you understand how this device radically improves the results of exercise. I should emphasize that I’m not speaking for the inventors of this technology. Some of what I say about cellular processes probably falls into the realm of speculation, but it is my best attempt to explain why this technology is so important and why it works as well as it does.
The story begins with two esteemed Stanford biologists, Drs. Craig Heller and Dennis Grahn, the world’s leading authorities in the field of mammalian thermoregulation. Thermoregulation, the ability to moderate body temperature, is the key to steroid-like exercise gains, as I’ll explain shortly.
Grahn and Heller are not minor actors in the area of biological research. Grahn is a senior research scientist in the Biological Sciences Department at Stanford University who has authored numerous important papers. Heller is past chairman of the Biological Sciences Department at Stanford and former chairman of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). He has coauthored a leading biology text and numerous research papers. I could go on, but I need to get to thermoregulation.
Heller and Grahn have studied hibernating mammals for decades, puzzling out the means by which animals maintain core body temperatures in both freezing cold and intense heat. Using modern electronics, including remote sensors and infrared photography, they solved a medical mystery that goes back to the time when researchers began dissecting corpses in ancient Egypt and Greece.
Specifically, I’m referring to the masses of densely packed veins found in the palms of your hands as well as the soles of your feet and cheeks. These veins are capable of expanding many times to carry large quantities of blood.
These are the retia venosa, and they present an evolutionary puzzle. Why, after all, would we have veins that bleed so profusely, if cut, near the surface of the skin, located where we are most likely to be injured? Ask any chef who has sliced a palm on a mandoline or a swimmer who has lacerated the arch of the foot on a sharp seashell.
Heller and Grahn solved the puzzle by observing bears and other well-insulated hibernating animals. Infrared photography of bears, who are covered in layers of fat and thick fur, revealed heat being vented from the pads in their paws as well as their noses. Humans are not furred animals, but we share the same characteristic of heat dissipation through our extremities.
Further research revealed that all mammals, including humans, have an alternative circulatory system that kicks in when core body temperature rises. Arterial blood is rerouted away from the normal capillary system that handles oxygen and nutrition delivery. Instead, blood moves into the arteriovenous anastomoses (AVA).
Seriously, this is so cool. When your body heats up, blood is routed away from the other tissues in your limbs and into the specialized AVA, where it travels directly to the retia venosa in your extremities. The veins of the retia venosa swell to many times their normal size to enable venting of excess heat. As you radiate heat, cooled blood then flows directly back to the heart and is used to protect the vulnerable brain, heart, and other organs of your core from overheating.
This is a marvelous system, of course. Unfortunately, this cooling system has its limits. Vigorous exercise can overwhelm your thermoregulatory system. When this happens, very bad things can happen, starting with heat stroke. However, your body, has several defense mechanisms to stop the overproduction of heat that can cause permanent damage to your brain and other organs.
One safety mechanism resides right in the brain, which tells you to stop exerting yourself. Exertion becomes extremely unpleasant. You may try to exert yourself at maximum force, but your brain won’t send the signals needed to do it. You can still move your muscles, but with much less force.
On the cellular level, important changes are also taking place in muscle cells. As blood is routed away from limbs to protect the core, the normal flow of nutrients and oxygen is cut off. Heat and waste materials, such as lactic acid, build up. The mitochondria that convert food into usable biological energy (adenosine triphosphate) stop functioning, so cells run out of power.
While all these responses to overheating may seem dire, they are actually extremely important safety mechanisms. If you work out seriously, you’ve undoubtedly “hit the wall.” The wall is your body’s way of stopping the heat production that could seriously damage the organs of your core.
What’s good for your core, however, can be hard on muscle and connective tissues, which are second-class citizens in the hierarchy of your body’s priorities. While critical organs are being protected, muscle and connective tissues “slow cook” until core temperature and normal circulation are restored.
Delayed-onset muscle soreness is one result of this heat buildup, but it’s by no means the most serious. Exercise provokes adaptation and strengthening, of course, but too much can create enough heat to cause serious cellular damage. If you hit the wall often and hard enough, overtraining can erase the health benefits of working out. Serious overtraining can cripple the immune system and lead to illness and death.
As a result, we have to walk the line between too little and too much exercise. One way to shift the balance toward muscle growth is through the use of anabolic steroids, which promote protein synthesis and recovery. Steroids, however, entail risks.
A better solution would be to rapidly cool the core during and after exercise. Normal circulation would then be restored to muscle and connective tissues. Excess heat would be cleared out within minutes and mitochondrial energy production would resume.
Cellular repair and adaptive strengthening would therefore be accelerated. The flow of oxygen and nutrients would return to muscle and connective tissues while waste gases and other products would be cleared. In short, adaptive strengthening would be maximized while the damage done by exercise, as well as the associated pain, would be minimized. The capacity to exercise would go up and recovery would be much more rapid. The gains from exercise would therefore be significantly greater.
This is not just theory; it is clinically validated reality. The story of how it came to pass is, in my opinion, fascinating.
Once Heller and Grahn understood how the body deals with excess heat, they began to wonder if they could give it a hand. And they succeeded.
First, they figured out that they could drain heat and accelerate core cooling using cold moving water. Construction workers, by the way, already knew this. If overcome by heat, some know to put their palms under cold running tap water until they feel better.
Heller and Grahn, through exhaustive research, learned that they could do this optimally by putting the palm of one hand in contact with cold water at precisely the right temperature range. For convenience sake, they learned to move the cold water through a kind of soft plastic network of tubes called a perfusion pad. The big breakthrough, though, was discovering that a slight vacuum caused the veins in the retia venosa to expand and give up heat much, much faster.
Initially, they concentrated on the many medical uses that their technology opened up. By accident, however, they discovered that post-exercise recovery was radically improved, making workouts far more productive. So, while continuing to work on medical applications, they decided to make their technology available to people interested in maximizing the outcome of physical exercise.
The device has two parts. One contains ice water, a pump, and the microchip that controls water temperature and vacuum. The other portion is a kind of vacuum glove that seals around one hand. In it, water at the optimal temperature passes through the perfusion pad in contact with the palm.
This device, called AVAcore CoreControl, can restore core temperature in just a few minutes for individuals who are heated due to exercise. Typically, it can take hours after intense exercise for normal temperature to be restored.
In practical terms, this means that the cellular damage done by exercise is minimized while recovery is accelerated dramatically. This applies both to resistance and cardiovascular training. Results of resistance training, according to various studies, are comparable to the use of 600 mg of testosterone enanthate weekly, which is significant.
Unlike with steroids, however, the benefits of thermoregulatory augmentation accrue to aerobic and endurance training as well as strength training. Though it’s not practical to run with the device at this time, it can be used on a treadmill, elliptical, or other stationary cardio machine.
Moreover, gains that come with use of the device can be maintained through normal exercise even if you stop using it. Personally, I think that the advantages of this device are particularly important for older people, because thermoregulatory abilities decline with age. As I said earlier, my current progress is better than it was when I was half my current age of 62.
Though studies have not been done yet to prove it, I believe the most important benefit to older people will be proven to be that the device protects and allows the strengthening of connective tissues. I’m doing exercises now that I couldn’t do a year ago because of joint problems.
I feel like I should share some of what I’ve learned about optimizing the use of this technology after a year of regular usage, but this article is already long. Maybe I’ll discuss supersets and other techniques on my own website, TransTechDigest.com, for those who do buy the AVAcore CoreControl.
I could easily go on for another ten thousand words, as I’m completely obsessed with this breakthrough and enormously grateful to Heller and Grahn. I believe thermoregulatory augmentation is the most important advancement in fitness technology since the ancient Greeks pioneered progressive training.
I’m also enthusiastic because this entirely unexpected breakthrough demonstrates a central premise of my work, that the most important impact of computer technology is its ability to unlock and exploit the secrets of a much older and more sophisticated system: human biology.
Regardless, I ought to make it clear that this is a relatively new technology and the device is, in a sense, at the beta testing stage. It’s a little bit kludgey right now and will undoubtedly be improved in years to come, shrinking in size and improving in ease of use. I would not wait, however, if you want to improve your level of fitness.
If you are already serious about exercise, the AVAcore CoreControl device could help you recover quicker from your workouts and derive more impressive gains from your current fitness routine.
AVAcore’s CoreControl device sells for $995. If you are interested in obtaining a CoreControl device for yourself or a family member, you may learn more and place your order here. If you want the device delivered in time for the upcoming holiday, you should place your order by noon on Thursday, December 19, and be sure to select the 3-day shipping option.
In the interest of full disclosure, you should know that Mauldin Economics will receive a referral fee if you purchase a CoreControl device. But as I mentioned earlier, I use the CoreControl device myself to aid in workout recovery. John uses the device as well and has reported gains similar to those I described. We are both serious about fitness and love AVAcore’s technology.
I reiterate, however, that CoreControl is meant for you only if you already have a rigorous exercise routine in place. If you are more casual about exercise, this is probably not for you. But if you are serious, this product could help you reach the next level of health and fitness.
Here’s the link to the company’s website.
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Outside the Box and MauldinEconomics.com is not an offering for any investment. It represents only the opinions of John Mauldin and those that he interviews. Any views expressed are provided for information purposes only and should not be construed in any way as an offer, an endorsement, or inducement to invest and is not in any way a testimony of, or associated with, Mauldin’s other firms. John Mauldin is the Chairman of Mauldin Economics, LLC. He also is the President of Millennium Wave Advisors, LLC (MWA) which is an investment advisory firm registered with multiple states, President and registered representative of Millennium Wave Securities, LLC, (MWS) member FINRA, SIPC, through which securities may be offered . MWS is also a Commodity Pool Operator (CPO) and a Commodity Trading Advisor (CTA) registered with the CFTC, as well as an Introducing Broker (IB) and NFA Member. Millennium Wave Investments is a dba of MWA LLC and MWS LLC. This message may contain information that is confidential or privileged and is intended only for the individual or entity named above and does not constitute an offer for or advice about any alternative investment product. Such advice can only be made when accompanied by a prospectus or similar offering document. Past performance is not indicative of future performance. Please make sure to review important disclosures at the end of each article. Mauldin companies may have a marketing relationship with products and services mentioned in this letter for a fee.
Note: Joining The Mauldin Circle is not an offering for any investment. It represents only the opinions of John Mauldin and Millennium Wave Investments. It is intended solely for investors who have registered with Millennium Wave Investments and its partners at http://www.MauldinCircle.com (formerly AccreditedInvestor.ws) or directly related websites. The Mauldin Circle may send out material that is provided on a confidential basis, and subscribers to the Mauldin Circle are not to send this letter to anyone other than their professional investment counselors. Investors should discuss any investment with their personal investment counsel. You are advised to discuss with your financial advisers your investment options and whether any investment is suitable for your specific needs prior to making any investments. John Mauldin is the President of Millennium Wave Advisors, LLC (MWA), which is an investment advisory firm registered with multiple states. John Mauldin is a registered representative of Millennium Wave Securities, LLC, (MWS), an FINRA registered broker-dealer. MWS is also a Commodity Pool Operator (CPO) and a Commodity Trading Advisor (CTA) registered with the CFTC, as well as an Introducing Broker (IB). Millennium Wave Investments is a dba of MWA LLC and MWS LLC. Millennium Wave Investments cooperates in the consulting on and marketing of private and non-private investment offerings with other independent firms such as Altegris Investments; Capital Management Group; Absolute Return Partners, LLP; Fynn Capital; Nicola Wealth Management; and Plexus Asset Management. Investment offerings recommended by Mauldin may pay a portion of their fees to these independent firms, who will share 1/3 of those fees with MWS and thus with Mauldin. Any views expressed herein are provided for information purposes only and should not be construed in any way as an offer, an endorsement, or inducement to invest with any CTA, fund, or program mentioned here or elsewhere. Before seeking any advisor’s services or making an investment in a fund, investors must read and examine thoroughly the respective disclosure document or offering memorandum. Since these firms and Mauldin receive fees from the funds they recommend/market, they only recommend/market products with which they have been able to negotiate fee arrangements.
PAST RESULTS ARE NOT INDICATIVE OF FUTURE RESULTS. THERE IS RISK OF LOSS AS WELL AS THE OPPORTUNITY FOR GAIN WHEN INVESTING IN MANAGED FUNDS. WHEN CONSIDERING ALTERNATIVE INVESTMENTS, INCLUDING HEDGE FUNDS, YOU SHOULD CONSIDER VARIOUS RISKS INCLUDING THE FACT THAT SOME PRODUCTS: OFTEN ENGAGE IN LEVERAGING AND OTHER SPECULATIVE INVESTMENT PRACTICES THAT MAY INCREASE THE RISK OF INVESTMENT LOSS, CAN BE ILLIQUID, ARE NOT REQUIRED TO PROVIDE PERIODIC PRICING OR VALUATION INFORMATION TO INVESTORS, MAY INVOLVE COMPLEX TAX STRUCTURES AND DELAYS IN DISTRIBUTING IMPORTANT TAX INFORMATION, ARE NOT SUBJECT TO THE SAME REGULATORY REQUIREMENTS AS MUTUAL FUNDS, OFTEN CHARGE HIGH FEES, AND IN MANY CASES THE UNDERLYING INVESTMENTS ARE NOT TRANSPARENT AND ARE KNOWN ONLY TO THE INVESTMENT MANAGER. Alternative investment performance can be volatile. An investor could lose all or a substantial amount of his or her investment. Often, alternative investment fund and account managers have total trading authority over their funds or accounts; the use of a single advisor applying generally similar trading programs could mean lack of diversification and, consequently, higher risk. There is often no secondary market for an investorâ€™s interest in alternative investments, and none is expected to develop.
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I’m not certain how many interviews I’ve done over the last decade. Hundreds? I know it is a lot. There are some interviewers who can somehow tease out what you really have in you. Tom Keene at Bloomberg, for instance, forces you to bring your A game, at whatever level you play. He brings it out of you. You know that he is smarter than you will ever be and that you should really be asking him the questions. Except that you’re not smart enough to ask the questions. I have to confess that every time I walk into the room with Tom I’m a little intimidated. I try never to show it, somewhat like the new kid on the block trying to put on a brave face, but inside I keep looking for the exit doors just in case I throw up all over myself. At the end of the day I’m still a small-town country boy from Bridgeport, Texas, trying to figure out how the big city works.
And then there’s Steve Forbes. If I’ve done hundreds of interviews, then Steve has done many thousands, on the presidential campaign trail with the best of the best, and gods did he learn the craft. I’ve done multiple interviews with Steve, and every time I sit down with him I feel that I’m with my best friend. Maybe it’s because we have a ton of shared values and I have read and admired him for years. I truly think he would’ve made a great president in the mold of Ronald Reagan, but for whatever reason New Hampshire did not agree. As I think even Steve will admit, while he may have a philosophical mind meld with Reagan, the Gipper had some small genetic extra, call it what you will.
But for whatever reason, Steve seems to bring out the passion in me. When I think about what central bank policies are doing to savers and investors, how we are screwing around with the pension system, circumventing rational market expectations because of an untested economic theory held by a relatively small number of academics, I get a little exercised. And Steve gives me the freedom to do it.
And so a few weeks ago, philosophically like-minded old friends sat down at his offices in New York to talk about the world in general. Monetary policy, Janet Yellen, gold, stocks, commodities, the time value of money, grandchildren, and a lot of other stuff, all folded together into what I think may be the best interview I’ve ever done in my career. Steve gives me the room to be me and allows that passion that has always been inside me to come to the fore. And with his smile and gentle demeanor, he eggs it on.
So this week, for the first time in 14 years of Thoughts from the Frontline, I offer you a wide-ranging interview with John Mauldin, as conducted by the inimitable Steve Forbes. You can watch the video on our home page (lower right, under “Latest Video”) or read the transcript below.
John Mauldin, investor and co-author of the new book Code Red, recently sat down with me to discuss monetary policy, a still-lagging economy, and how he might operate the Federal Reserve if he were in Ben Bernanke’s or Janet Yellen’s shoes.
Steve Forbes: John, good to have you back again.
John Mauldin: Steve, it is always fun to be with you.
Forbes: You’ve got a new book out, called Code Red.
Forbes: Hot off the press.
Mauldin: Yeah, show it up twice now. There we go.
Forbes: Code Red, Jack Nicholson, A Few Good Men. Explain first the title.
Mauldin: Well, in that movie Jack Nicholson famously felt that he had to protect America. He was in charge. And so he issued his famous “code red,” and his line was, “You need me on that wall.” So at the beginning of the book I paraphrased his speech as if it were Ben Bernanke talking or now Janet Yellen:
“You need me on that committee. You want me on that central bank. Yes, you work for savers and creditors, but I’m responsible for whole economies. I have greater things to worry about.”
So in 2008 the central banks of the world had to issue a code red.
It’s like, a patient is brought by ambulance to the hospital, and instead of operating you put him on morphine. Or it’s like asking the arsonist to put out the fire. Part of the reason we had this very crisis was because of central bank policies and government regulations and the interweaving of large investment banks and politicians and central bankers. I don’t want to get into conspiracy theories; I think it’s just people’s self-interest.
Forbes: How about a stupidity theory?
Mauldin: Some of it was stupid, but some of it was just greed. Nonetheless, we had a crisis. The banking system froze up. We went to the edge of the abyss. We looked over and it was a long way down. And I believe central banks appropriately provided liquidity. That was their function, and I would argue that almost the sole true function of a central bank is to be there when the stuff hits the fan.
Forbes: To be what Bagehot called the lender of last resort.
Mauldin: Yes, the lender of last resort. That being said, they never took the patient off morphine. At your and my age, we’ve had the unpleasant experience of caring for friends who are in the hospital. And in today’s world, my mother has a hip operation, and they have her up and walking the next day.
They just opened up her hip, put a new hip in. One of my good friends, the same thing – the next day he’s up and walking. Forget this morphine stuff. Forget lying around in a hospital bed like we used to have to do. Well, the central banks are still operating with 1900s medicine, so they just kept the patient on morphine.
And now the patient is addicted. The problem is, when you want to end that addiction, whether it’s alcohol or drugs or quantitative easing, withdrawal is not going to be pretty. But the Fed’s hope is that somehow or other, “We can get the economy going. We can create animal spirits,” and that people won’t notice when they start withdrawing a trillion dollars a year of monetary easing out of the global system.
To continue reading this article from Thoughts from the Frontline – a free weekly publication by John Mauldin, renowned financial expert, best-selling author, and Chairman of Mauldin Economics – please click here.
© 2013 Mauldin Economics. All Rights Reserved.
Thoughts from the Frontline is a free weekly economic e-letter by best-selling author and renowned financial expert, John Mauldin. You can learn more and get your free subscription by visiting www.MauldinEconomics.com.
Please write to email@example.com to inform us of any reproductions, including when and where copy will be reproduced. You must keep the letter intact, from introduction to disclaimers. If you would like to quote brief portions only, please reference www.MauldinEconomics.com.
Thoughts From the Frontline and MauldinEconomics.com is not an offering for any investment. It represents only the opinions of John Mauldin and those that he interviews. Any views expressed are provided for information purposes only and should not be construed in any way as an offer, an endorsement, or inducement to invest and is not in any way a testimony of, or associated with, Mauldin’s other firms. John Mauldin is the Chairman of Mauldin Economics, LLC. He also is the President and registered representative of Millennium Wave Advisors, LLC (MWA) which is an investment advisory firm registered with multiple states, President and registered representative of Millennium Wave Securities, LLC, (MWS) member FINRA and SIPC, through which securities may be offered. MWS is also a Commodity Pool Operator (CPO) and a Commodity Trading Advisor (CTA) registered with the CFTC, as well as an Introducing Broker (IB) and NFA Member. Millennium Wave Investments is a dba of MWA LLC and MWS LLC. This message may contain information that is confidential or privileged and is intended only for the individual or entity named above and does not constitute an offer for or advice about any alternative investment product. Such advice can only be made when accompanied by a prospectus or similar offering document. Past performance is not indicative of future performance. Please make sure to review important disclosures at the end of each article. Mauldin companies may have a marketing relationship with products and services mentioned in this letter for a fee.
Note: Joining The Mauldin Circle is not an offering for any investment. It represents only the opinions of John Mauldin and Millennium Wave Investments. It is intended solely for investors who have registered with Millennium Wave Investments and its partners at http://www.MauldinCircle.com (formerly AccreditedInvestor.ws) or directly related websites. The Mauldin Circle may send out material that is provided on a confidential basis, and subscribers to the Mauldin Circle are not to send this letter to anyone other than their professional investment counselors. Investors should discuss any investment with their personal investment counsel. John Mauldin is the President of Millennium Wave Advisors, LLC (MWA), which is an investment advisory firm registered with multiple states. John Mauldin is a registered representative of Millennium Wave Securities, LLC, (MWS), an FINRA registered broker-dealer. MWS is also a Commodity Pool Operator (CPO) and a Commodity Trading Advisor (CTA) registered with the CFTC, as well as an Introducing Broker (IB). Millennium Wave Investments is a dba of MWA LLC and MWS LLC. Millennium Wave Investments cooperates in the consulting on and marketing of private and non-private investment offerings with other independent firms such as Altegris Investments; Capital Management Group; Absolute Return Partners, LLP; Fynn Capital; Nicola Wealth Management; and Plexus Asset Management. Investment offerings recommended by Mauldin may pay a portion of their fees to these independent firms, who will share 1/3 of those fees with MWS and thus with Mauldin. Any views expressed herein are provided for information purposes only and should not be construed in any way as an offer, an endorsement, or inducement to invest with any CTA, fund, or program mentioned here or elsewhere. Before seeking any advisor’s services or making an investment in a fund, investors must read and examine thoroughly the respective disclosure document or offering memorandum. Since these firms and Mauldin receive fees from the funds they recommend/market, they only recommend/market products with which they have been able to negotiate fee arrangements.
PAST RESULTS ARE NOT INDICATIVE OF FUTURE RESULTS. THERE IS RISK OF LOSS AS WELL AS THE OPPORTUNITY FOR GAIN WHEN INVESTING IN MANAGED FUNDS. WHEN CONSIDERING ALTERNATIVE INVESTMENTS, INCLUDING HEDGE FUNDS, YOU SHOULD CONSIDER VARIOUS RISKS INCLUDING THE FACT THAT SOME PRODUCTS: OFTEN ENGAGE IN LEVERAGING AND OTHER SPECULATIVE INVESTMENT PRACTICES THAT MAY INCREASE THE RISK OF INVESTMENT LOSS, CAN BE ILLIQUID, ARE NOT REQUIRED TO PROVIDE PERIODIC PRICING OR VALUATION INFORMATION TO INVESTORS, MAY INVOLVE COMPLEX TAX STRUCTURES AND DELAYS IN DISTRIBUTING IMPORTANT TAX INFORMATION, ARE NOT SUBJECT TO THE SAME REGULATORY REQUIREMENTS AS MUTUAL FUNDS, OFTEN CHARGE HIGH FEES, AND IN MANY CASES THE UNDERLYING INVESTMENTS ARE NOT TRANSPARENT AND ARE KNOWN ONLY TO THE INVESTMENT MANAGER. Alternative investment performance can be volatile. An investor could lose all or a substantial amount of his or her investment. Often, alternative investment fund and account managers have total trading authority over their funds or accounts; the use of a single advisor applying generally similar trading programs could mean lack of diversification and, consequently, higher risk. There is often no secondary market for an investor’s interest in alternative investments, and none is expected to develop. You are advised to discuss with your financial advisers your investment options and whether any investment is suitable for your specific needs prior to making any investments.
All material presented herein is believed to be reliable but we cannot attest to its accuracy. Opinions expressed in these reports may change without prior notice. John Mauldin and/or the staffs may or may not have investments in any funds cited above as well as economic interest. John Mauldin can be reached at 800-829-7273.
Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past. — George Orwell