TRYING TO STAY SANE IN AN INSANE WORLD – PART 3

128 comments

Posted on 25th August 2013 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

In Part 1 of this article I documented the insane remedies prescribed by the mad banker scientists presiding over this preposterous fiat experiment since they blew up the lab in 2008. In Part 2 I tried to articulate why the country has allowed itself to be brought to the brink of catastrophe. There is no turning back time. The choices we’ve made and avoided making over the last one hundred years are going to come home to roost over the next fifteen years. We are in the midst of a great Crisis that will not be resolved until the mid-2020s. The propagandists supporting the vested interests continue to assure the voluntarily oblivious populace the economy is improving, jobs are plentiful, inflation is under control, and housing is recovering. Bernanke and his band of merry money manipulators, Obama and his gaggle of government apparatchiks, and their mendacious mainstream media mouthpieces have enacted radical measures in the last five years that reek of desperation in their effort to give the appearance of revival to a failing economic system. Stimulating the net worth of bankers and connected corporate cronies through engineered stock market gains has not trickled down to the peasants. Our owners try to convince us it’s raining, but we know they’re pissing down our backs. Our Crisis mood is congealing.

“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 – 1997

The core elements of this Crisis have been discernible for decades. The accumulation of private and public debt; the civic, moral, and intellectual decay of our society; the growing power of the corrupt corporate fascist surveillance state; growing wealth inequality created by crony capitalist skullduggery; the peak in cheap easily accessible oil; and global disorder caused by overpopulation, scarce resources, religious zealotry, and war; combine in a toxic brew of unimaginable pain, anguish and tragedy. The Crisis began in September 2008 and the sole purpose of the deceitful establishment has been to avert a catastrophe that is destined to extinguish the wealth, power and control they’ve treacherously procured over the last few decades.

The appearance of stability is illusory, as the civic fabric of the country continues to tear asunder. Record high stock markets do not trickle down. The debt engineered stock market gains enrich the .1% at the expense of the working class. Bernanke’s “wealth effect” theory is a charade. He has backed the country into a corner with no escape for the prisoners of his QE prison (he’ll escape to collect his Wall Street paycheck in January). He knows that without the combined $300 billion per month being pumped into the veins of zombie U.S., European and Japanese insolvent zombie banks by central bankers, the worldwide financial system will implode. He blathers on about tapering while awaiting the next government manufactured crisis to give him an excuse to continue or increase his money printing exercise. Control P is the only key on Bennie’s laptop. To think dropping trillions of dollars into the laps of Wall Street will somehow stimulate Main Street is beyond laughable. Some ideas are so ridiculous that only intellectuals and academics could possibly believe them.

The masters of propaganda seem baffled that their standard operating procedures are not generating the expected response from the serfs. They have failed to take into account the generational mood changes that occur during Fourth Turnings. Propaganda loses its effectiveness in proportion to the pain and distress being experienced by the citizenry. Goebbels’ propaganda enthused and motivated the German people during the 1930s as Hitler re-armed, scrapped the Versailles Treaty and took over countries, as well as when he was conquering Poland and France in the early phase of World War II. Propaganda didn’t work so well when the U.S. Air Force was obliterating Dresden, Hitler was hunkered down in his bunker about to put a bullet in his skull, and the Russians were on the outskirts of a burning Berlin. Propaganda works when the people want to believe the falsehoods. When the cold harsh reality slaps them in the face, propaganda no longer works.

    Propaganda Working Well                   Propaganda Not Working So Well

  

The American Empire propaganda machine continues to gyrate but the gears are getting clogged with the gunk of mistruths revealed. Even the willfully ignorant masses are beginning to realize they have been screwed by those running the show. After five years of debt bankrolled “no Wall Street banker left behind solutions” and Keynesian crony capitalist handouts, real median household income is 8% lower, there are 5 million less full-time jobs, there are 19 million more Americans on food stamps, gasoline prices hover near all-time high levels, health insurance premiums are skyrocketing, local, state and Federal taxes relentlessly rise, and the national debt has gone hyperbolic – up by $6.7 trillion in five years.

This 67% increase is more debt than the country accumulated in the 214 years from its founding in 1789 through 2003. The $6.7 trillion of new debt, along with Bernanke printing almost $3 trillion of new fiat dollars and handed to his puppet masters on Wall Street, have generated a pitiful $1.8 trillion of GDP growth. We know Main Street has not benefitted from this insane expansion of our empire of debt. But, someone benefitted.

Shockingly, those who profited from the actions of Bernanke, Obama, Congress, and the U.S. Treasury are the very same malevolent predators that created the financial disaster and prompted the emergency response in the first place. QE to infinity has not been a failure. It has done exactly what it was designed to do. In September 2008 every major Wall Street bank was insolvent. Orderly bankruptcy under existing law was the solution. The richest, most powerful men in the world would have seen vast amounts of their illicitly acquired wealth vaporized. Hundreds of billions in bad debt would have been written off, with no lasting impact on the average American. A brief violent depression would have ensued, but with the bad debt purged from the system and only prudent sensible bankers left, the economy would have rapidly recovered. Instead, a small cadre of financial elite hatched a plan to preserve their ill-gotten gains through accounting fraud, and manipulation of monetary and fiscal policy.

Bernanke and Paulson compelled the pocket protector wearing accounting weenies at the FASB to allow Wall Street banks to mark their assets to make believe rather than market. Bernanke then proceeded to buy up toxic assets from the Wall Street banks, providing a never ending flow of QE heroin injected directly into the veins of Wall Street bankers, and paying .25% on all deposits made by the Wall Street banks. Bernanke didn’t do this so the banks could make loans to John and Susie Q Public and small time entrepreneurs with great business ideas. He did it so Wall Street could repair their insolvent balance sheets on the backs of American taxpayers. The $2 trillion of excess reserves parked at the Federal Reserve by Wall Street banks is “earning” $5 billion of risk free profits for the Too Big to Trust autocrats. Wall Street has generated billions of additional accounting entry “profits” by pretending their future losses on worthless loans will be minimal. Lastly, the “Bernanke Put” allows the Wall Street traders to use their HFT supercomputers and advanced notice of economic data to front run the muppets and syphon billions of risk free trading profits from the real economy. The chart below reveals all you need to know about the true purpose of Bernanke’s QEfinity.

You’d have to be blind, deaf and dumb to not realize who Bernanke is really working for. But it seems the majority of people in this country don’t care, don’t understand or don’t want to know the truth, as long as the ATM keeps spitting out twenty dollar bills, there are still Cool Ranch Doritos on the shelf at the Piggly Wiggly, and the EBT card gets recharged on the first of the month.

“The mischief springs from the power which the monied interest derives from a paper currency which they are able to control, from the multitude of corporations with exclusive privileges which they have succeeded in obtaining…and unless you become more watchful in your states and check this spirit of monopoly and thirst for exclusive privileges you will in the end find that the most important powers of government have been given or bartered away….” ― Andrew Jackson

Parasite on a Parasite on a Parasite

  

“This is by no means a new idea, nor is it the least bit radical; it is deeply conservative and highly traditional. It was Aristotle who first defined the economy as an exchange of goods and services for money, commerce as a parasite on the economy (where those who create nothing extract a share by trading) and finance a parasite on commerce (which extracts a share by switching money from hand to hand – a parasite on a parasite). A typical US politician, such as the president, who counts financial companies such as Goldman Sachs among his top campaign donors, could be characterized as a parasite on a parasite on a parasite – a worm infesting the gut of a tick that is sucking blood from a vampire bat, if you like.” – Dimitri Orlov – The Five Stages of Collapse

The bastardized form of capitalism that passes for our economic system today is based upon a parasitic relationship between Too Big To Trust Wall Street banks, powerful mega-corporations, connected wealthy cronies, and bloodsucking politicians, with the American people as the debt bloated host. The parasites have put the host on life support in critical condition. It took forty years, since Nixon unleashed immoral bankers and devious politicians by decoupling our currency from gold, but the financialization and gutting of America through the false promises of globalization is almost complete. The quaint days of the 1950s and 1960s, when the country was supported by an economy that produced goods, invested in productive assets and citizens who saved money to buy things they desired, are long gone. The insane concepts espoused in the mid-1960s that created our current day welfare/warfare state required Americans to stop using their brains and start using their credit cards. The degenerate Wall Street banking cabal were thrilled to oblige by providing vast sums of debt to the government and the masses. Constant  war, uncontrolled materialism, and an ever expanding welfare state is the triple crown of profits for unscrupulous bankers and corporate CEOs. Once the inconveniant anchor of gold was cut loose by Nixon, the bankers and politicians were free to guide the U.S. Titanic towards its ultimate destination.

The decades long shift from a productive manufacturing society based on savings and investing in productive capital assets to a predatory consumption society based on borrowing and spending has enriched the Wall Street financial elite and destroyed the working middle class. An economy where 25% of its GDP was produced by manufacturing products allowed all boats to rise. A hard working middle class family had a chance to move up the social ladder. An economy where more than 20% of its GDP is dependent upon parasitical financial intermediaries that produce nothing and add no value creates the extreme wealth inequality we have in our society today. Only the yachts rise in such a society. The shift has been slow and methodical and we’ve crossed the point of no return. The propaganda being spewed by the mainstream corporate media and the connected crony capitalists like Jeffrey Immelt about a U.S. based manufacturing revival is designed to pacify the distracted masses. The pillaging by the FIRE sector will continue until the host is deceased.

The growth as a percentage of our GDP in business & professional services from 5% of GDP in 1970 to 12% today provides further evidence of a country in a downward spiral. The country wastes billions hiring “experts” (lawyers, accountants, consultants) to interpret the millions of pages of indecipherable laws, regulations and tax codes created by politicians used to control, monitor, tax and bilk the masses. The 3,300% increase in spending on healthcare and education since 1970 has created tens of millions of sickly functional illiterates. The corporate food conglomerates mass produce processed poison, Madison Avenue maggots peddle the poison to the masses through relentless Bernaysian propaganda marketing, creating nauseatingly obese human beings, and then the corporate healthcare conglomerates treat the dozens of diseases created by this insane process with their drugs, while corporate profits soar ever higher. We all know that superstar corporate CEOs like Jack Welch, Jamie Dimon, Angelo Mozillo, and Mark Zuckerberg deserve hundreds of millions in compensation for adding so much value to our everyday lives. How would we survive without a Best Buy credit card through GE Capital at 21% interest, or a JP Morgan created credit default swap sold to customers and then shorted, or a subprime negative amortization liar loan used to purchase a $750,000 McMansion, or having a place to post every inane thought we have so employers and the NSA can keep up to date on our status.

Corporate-Profits-GDP-081613

The corpulent populace have been so dumbed down by the public educational system run by social engineers and union teachers, along with the 24/7 corporate media propaganda inundating them since childhood, they are content to stare into their boob tubes, play with their iGadgets, or read what a friend of a distant relative ate for breakfast, on Facebook. The government provides enough welfare handouts to keep the increasingly larger lower classes from rioting by borrowing $1 trillion per year from future unborn generations. When the middle class shows signs of discontent regarding their declining wages and lack of jobs, the government and the military industrial complex use the bogeyman of impending terror threats and evil foreign dictators to wage undeclared wars and distract the willfully ignorant masses. Plus, there are always fantasy football leagues, paying $300 to take your family to watch drug enhanced millionaire baseball players not run out a ground ball at a $1 billion taxpayer financed stadium, shopping at a suburban ghost mall with one of your nine credit cards to dull the pain of a meaningless pathetic life, or watch eight year old Honey Boo Boo dress like whore and parade before adult judges on the Discovery Channel. Our choice to ignore the basic mathematics of our lives has resulted in creating a nation of sub-humans wandering through life like zombies in a bad horror movie.

“Anyone who cannot cope with mathematics is not fully human. At best, he is a tolerable subhuman who has learned to wear his shoes, bathe, and not make messes in the house.” ― Robert A. Heinlein

And we owe it all to the bankers and politicians that have procured undue influence over the political, economic, and financial mechanisms that control the country. The 2008 financial collapse, systematically created by the pathologically egomaniacal financial elite who are programmed to thrust their vampire squid blood funnels into every potential pot of untapped wealth in the world, should have led the American people to tear down their criminal enterprise and throw the treacherous predators into prison. Instead, the fearful masses begged the Wall Street bankers and the pandering politician flunkies in Washington D.C. to steal more of their money. The bankers won again.

“They have been able to pay off politicians with political campaign funds and have been granted informal and unspoken yet complete immunity from prosecution, setting the scene for even bigger confiscations of investor capital. With the risk of legal repercussions so small and the temptation to steal so large, why would any of them not take advantage? What do they have to do to stop people from entrusting them with their savings? Put up neon signs that say, “We steal your money”?” – Dimitri Orlov – The Five Stages of Collapse

This capturing of unwarranted power by an unelected group of rich powerful men through deceitful means has left the country at the mercy of these psychopaths as their increasingly desperate measures insure the ultimate destruction of wealth across the planet. There are four central bankers (U.S., EU, Japan, China) who are the front men for the oligarchs. They are empowered with control over 70% of all the money on the planet. Do you think they have your best interests at heart? The financial crisis was caused by excessive levels of debt, created to benefit the issuers of the debt and the politicians who used the debt to promise voters more goodies than they could ever possibly deliver. Those politicians would be long gone before the IOUs came due, but the promises got them re-elected and made them rich. The “solutions” put forth by our owners since 2008 to solve our debt crisis have been to create debt at an even more rapid pace. Total credit market debt in the U.S. has surged by $6 trillion since 2007 to $57 trillion, 345% of GDP (it was 150% in 1970). The entire world is awash in un-payable levels of debt as reckless central bankers and gutless politicians know only one response to every crisis they cause – PRINT!!!

The decline in U.S. household debt has been solely due to write-offs, as the bad debt was shifted from reckless households and gluttonous bankers to the government books, where those who prudently abstained from the debt orgy are now on the hook for trillions of newly created unfunded obligations. Despite a moribund economy, with the lowest percentage of the population employed since 1983, consumer spending tanking, interest rates rising, gas prices near record highs, and poverty levels at all-time highs, corporate profits are off the charts. It seems the “solutions” implemented by the Ivy League MBA financial elite bankers and bureaucrats have had the desired result – enrichment of the criminal class who financialized the nation. The establishment and their media propaganda machine have somehow convinced a vast swath of Americans to believe that record profits accruing to the largest corporations in the world and stock market gains accruing to the 1% are beneficial to their lives. It’s a testament to the power of propaganda that people can be convinced to cheer on their own downfall as they are dehumanized and enslaved by the plantation owners who run this country.

“Crime follows money like a shadow. The more money there is within a society, the greater are its social inequalities. Financialization dehumanizes human relationships by reducing them to a question of numbers printed on pieces of paper, and a blind calculus for manipulating these numbers mechanically; those who take part in this abstract dance of numbers dehumanizes others and, in turn, lose their own humanity and can go on to perform other dehumanizing acts. Money is, in short, a socially toxic substance.” – Dimitri Orlov – The Five Stages of Collapse

There is no more revealing statistic than real median household income to gauge the winners and losers from the financialization and dehumanization of America. The real median household income of $52,100 is still 8% below the early 2008 level of $56,600. It is still 5% lower than it was in 1999, before the Federal Reserve/Wall Street bubble blowing wealth destruction machine really got going. In fact, real median household income has only risen 9% in the last 35 years. Prior to that, most families could live comfortably with only one spouse working. I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that these calculations are based on the fraudulently manipulated CPI figures which are understated by at least 3% per year. Using a true measure of inflation would reveal median household income to be lower today than it was in the mid-1960s. The bottom 80% have seen a decline in their standard of living since the mid-1960s as inflation has robbed them of purchasing power and the financial elite have skimmed the cream off the top of our economic system. The economic gains have accrued to the top 5%, with astronomical gains being amassed by the .1% ruling elite, who have rigged the game in their favor through laws written by their lobbyists, regulatory shenanigans, tax code manipulation, and buying off politicians. Thank you Bob Rubin, Larry Summers, and Phil Gramm for repealing Glass Steagall and stopping any regulation of financial derivatives. Where would the country be without those two courageous acts on your part?

Those in control of the system have succeeded beyond their wildest dreams as 72% of all the wealth in the US is held in the hands of 5% of the population, with 42% of this in the hands of the top 1%. The top 1% now “earn” over 20% of all the income in the U.S., a level exceeded only once before in the 1920s prior to the Great Crash of 1929 and ensuing Depression. During the heyday of middle class upward mobility, from 1950 through 1970, the top 1% earned 10% of all income. Today, the top 1% is dominated by debt peddling bankers creating derivatives of mass destruction, hedge fund egomaniacs in collusion with bankers to syphon capital away from productive ventures, mega-corporation job destroying executives, entertainment personalities, and shyster lawyers preying on the weak and feeble minded. Our insane society heaps accolades on these rich and famous narcissists, who add no value, produce nothing, create economic havoc, and drain the lifeblood from the dying carcass of a once great nation. The nearly extinct middle class owes their fate to the malevolent men that turned the country into a gambling casino of debt, derivatives, delusion and dreams of jackpots that will never materialize. The bankers and their cronies run the casino and the house always wins, as the chart below confirms.

wealth-change-epi

It is mind boggling that we have allowed ourselves to be brainwashed by the ruling class about the tremendous benefits of globalization, efficiency, productivity, and profitability. When academia, the mass media, and government leaders use their power and influence to convince the masses that ever higher mega-corporation profits benefit the well-being of the country, you end up where we are today. Globalization was nothing more than a scheme by our biggest corporations to use labor arbitrage as a way to increase profits. As American jobs were disappeared overseas to countries that allow slave labor conditions and wages, median household income declined.

The banking cabal stepped to the plate and convinced the increasingly poorer middle class to replace that lost income with easily accessible debt. Just whip out that credit card and use your house as an ATM and you still give the appearance of increasing wealth. You might be in debt up to your eyeballs but, by God, at least the neighbors would think you were doing great. Until the foreclosure sign went up in front of your house in 2009. The marriage of corporations outsourcing American jobs to China with consumer debt peddled by the predator banks was a match made in heaven until the country ran out of decent paying jobs, one in six people was on food stamps, and the average middle class family was drowning in debt. People are beginning to wake up to the fact that corporate efficiency and productivity means firing American workers, cutting benefits, and bigger bonuses for corporate executives as their stock price is boosted by the announcement of more layoffs. The country has been gutted by the predator class in their unquenchable thirst for more. Human nature never changes. Greed, desire, avarice and stupidity will always rear their heads, leading to predictable outcomes.

“Indeed, it had not – not when the nation’s most sophisticated corporate financiers and their accountants were constantly at work finding new instruments of deception barely within the law; not when supposedly cool-headed fund managers had become fanatical votaries at the altar of instant performance; not when brokers’ devotion to their customers interest was constantly being compromised by private professional deals or the pressure to produce commissions; and not when the style-setting leaders of professional investing were plunging as greedily and recklessly as any amateur.” – John Brooks

The psychopaths controlling this country have fashioned untenable financial conditions by further weakening an already structurally deficient economic structure that will result in an epic flood of financial destruction destined to destroy the lives of millions in the U.S. and around the globe. Those who put their faith in financialization and interconnected globalization will reap what they have sowed. We will all feast at a banquet of consequences. Encouraging central bankers across the world to print trillions of fiat currency out of thin air as the solution to our debt problem is the ultimate in idiocracy. The unsustainability of this scheme should be evident to even an Ivy League economist. But the dimwitted government apparatchiks, overeducated economists, greedy corporate executives, vacuous media talking heads, and intellectually dishonest journalists cheer on Ben Bernanke and his central banker brethren.

When you see a Bloomberg bimbo interviewing an Ivy League Wall Street economist about the tremendous merits of QE to infinity, you have a millionaire interviewing a multi-millionaire, with both working for corporations owned by billionaires. Their jobs depend upon the sustenance and further enrichment of the establishment. Therefore, they will lie, obfuscate and mislead their audience about the criminality of their bosses and the true consequences of these crimes against humanity. The existing hierarchy will not willingly surrender their control, power and illegitimately acquired wealth. Only the process of economic collapse, war and revolution will end their reign of terror.

We’ve seen it all before. The cycles of human history have provided us with centuries of proof that a few evil men can gain control over a civilization and procure an inordinate amount of wealth and power before ultimately relinquishing it due to their myopic pathological desire to acquire more. Powerful wealthy narcissists are never satisfied with what they have. Their arrogance and hubris will always be their downfall. Their foolish belief in their own omniscience reveals their true ignorance. Their enormous egos and confidence in the linearity of history blind them to their impending demise. Time is no longer on their side. A reckoning will happen within the next decade. Their gated communities and penthouse doormen will not keep them safe.

The American people cannot shirk their responsibility for this ongoing tragedy. The evil men could only pull off this bank heist with the silent consent of the governed. And that is exactly what has happened. The American people have been gradually persuaded through propaganda and fear to willingly give up freedom, liberty and self-responsibility for safety, security and government provided succor. Over the last forty years the Americans people have allowed themselves to be enslaved in debt by bankers, corporations and politicians, who realized all the riches, while binding the citizens in chains made of credit cards and mortgages. Now that the system has reached its breaking point and the further issuance of debt no longer generates the appearance of growth, the ruling class have resorted to more authoritarian measures, all done in the name of protecting us from phantom terrorists and evil dictators. It’s for the children.

Decisions about our economy are made in secret meetings by unelected officials and with sparse details announced with great fanfare by the corporate media. The President, with the full support of the military industrial complex, chooses which dictators are evil and which are good, with each being interchangeable depending upon the circumstances. The iron fist of American democracy attacks countries at will, without a declaration of war as mandated by the U.S. Constitution. Twenty five hundred page laws, indecipherable reams of regulations, and 60,000 pages of tax code are rammed down the throats of Americans without the benefit of even a debate. Each crisis caused by the previous government solution is met with more laws and regulations, designed and written by the very entities they were supposed to control. The farce of party politics is used to give people the appearance of choice, when there is not an iota of policy difference when the opposing party assumes power.

The people are told every situation is too complicated for them to understand and they should let the “experts” solve the problems. Every authoritarian measure used to control dissent among those capable of thinking is done in the name of national security. Edward Snowden is declared a traitor for revealing the traitorous actions of our own government, and the people silently consent. The head of the NSA is caught lying to Congress, and no one cares. The Department of Homeland Security locks down one of the biggest cities in America looking for a teenager and the people cower and beg Big Brother for more protection. The NSA and other secretive government agencies treat the 4th Amendment like toilet paper, and the people feebly respond by breathlessly texting, twittering and facebooking about Anthony Weiner’s cock. The U.S. military desensitizes the masses by conducting live fire exercises in American cities, and the people just change the channel to Bridezillas or I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant.

Each new economic “surprise”; each new foreign “threat”; each new government “solution” is met with secrecy, spin, and no avenue for the people to impact the decisions made by our owners. The people no longer matter. They can’t change the course of the country through legal means or the ballot box because the system has been captured. It has happened before. The American people are under the mistaken impression we are free. That boat has sailed. Our economic, financial and political systems have been usurped by malicious men posing as gangsters in this saga. We have allowed this to happen. We mistakenly put our trust in bankers, academics and politicians and will suffer the consequences of our choices, just as the German people experienced during the last Fourth Turning.

“What happened here was the gradual habituation of the people, little by little, to being governed by surprise; to receiving decisions deliberated in secret; to believing that the situation was so complicated that the government had to act on information which the people could not understand, or so dangerous that, even if the people could not understand it, it could not be released because of national security.

Each step was so small, so inconsequential, so well explained or, on occasion, ‘regretted,’ that unless one understood what the whole thing was in principle, what all these ‘little measures’… must someday lead to, one no more saw it developing from day to day than a farmer in his field sees the corn growing…. Each act… is worse than the last, but only a little worse. You wait for the next and the next. You wait for one great shocking occasion, thinking that others, when such a shock comes, will join you in resisting somehow.” – Milton Mayer, They Thought They Were Free, The Germans 1933-45

In the fourth and final installment of this seemingly never ending treatise on a world gone insane, I’ll address how the disintegration of trust will ultimately lead to a collapse of the worldwide Ponzi scheme and how the collapse could lead to a rebirth of a society built upon family, community, cooperation, local commerce, compassion, freedom and liberty. I can dream, can’t I?

 

TRYING TO STAY SANE IN AN INSANE WORLD – PART 2

114 comments

Posted on 4th August 2013 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

In Part 1 of this article I detailed the insane solutions proposed and executed since 2008 by our owners as they attempt to retain and further expand their ill-gotten wealth, acquired through fraud, deceit, swindles, and the brilliant manipulation and exploitation of the masses through Bernaysian propaganda techniques. Madness has engulfed the entire world, with a concentration of power in the hands of a few psychopathic financial elite wielding an inordinate and dangerous expanse of power over the lives of the common man. They are a modern day version of Al Capone, except their weapons of choice aren’t machine guns, but a printing press, peddling debt, creating derivatives of mass destruction, and peddling heaping doses of disinformation. The contemporary criminal class wears Hermes suits, Rolex watches and diamond studded pinky rings, drops $500 to dine at Masa in NYC, travels by chauffeured limo, lives in $10 million NYC penthouse suites, occupies luxurious corner offices in hundred story glass towers, and spends weekends hobnobbing with the other financial elite at their villas in the Hamptons. They have nothing but utter contempt for the lowly peasants who depend upon a weekly paycheck to make ends meet. Why work when you can steal $1 or $2 billion from farmers with no consequences?

  

The willfully ignorant masses are kept at bay by the selling them a false dichotomy of Republicans versus Democrats, conservatives versus liberals, and capitalism versus socialism. The ruling class distracts the public with fake wars on poverty, drugs and terror, while using these storylines to further enrich themselves and keep the public alarmed and frightened. We’ve been “fighting” the wars on poverty and drugs for over four decades and poverty is at record levels, while drugs are easier to obtain than candy in a candy store. The war on terror is nothing more than a corporate arms dealer welfare plan. The end of the Cold War put a real crimp in the bottom lines of Lockheed Martin and the rest of the peddlers of death. 9/11 and the subsequent undeclared wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and now Syria, with Iran on the horizon, have been a godsend to the bottom lines of the corporations Eisenhower warned about in 1961. In reality, the politicians are interchangeable and bought off by corporate and special interests. The people are sold a fable, and controlled opposition is the fairy tale. They perpetuate the welfare/warfare state that enriches Wall Street, the military industrial complex, the healthcare service complex, politically connected mega-corporations and the corporate media propaganda complex. The American people are given the illusion of choice by their keepers. The system is rigged. The real decisions are made by unelected secretive men who operate in the shadows and use their wealth to direct the decision making of the politicians, government bureaucrats, and corporate entities that benefit from those decisions. Edward Bernays described a society that existed in the 19th Century, 20th Century, and has now grown to immense proportions in the 21st Century:

“Political campaigns today are all sideshows…A presidential candidate may be ‘drafted’ in response to ‘overwhelming popular demand,’ but it is well known that his name may be decided upon by half a dozen men sitting around a table in a hotel room…The conscious manipulation of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country.”Edward Bernays 

The manipulation of the masses has been perfected by the ruling class through decades of corporate mass media messaging the purposeful dumbing down of the populace through government public school education that teaches children how to feel rather than how to think. The conscious manipulation of the masses has been designed to produce obedient non-thinking consumers of corporate products, educated to believe the accumulation of material goods with debt constitutes wealth, to fear whatever the government tells them to fear, and never look up from their iGadgets long enough to actually think for themselves. We are bombarded with Orwellian memes designed to keep us sedated and pliant, as the ruling class pillages the national wealth and expands their power and control over our lives.

Conform; Stay Asleep; Do Not Question Authority; Obey; Consume; Reproduce; Submit; Watch TV; Buy; Follow; Doubt Humanity; No New Ideas; Feel, Don’t Think; Fear; Accumulate; Honor Apathy; Believe Experts; Surrender; Spend; No Independent Thought; Win; Want More; Hate; Succumb To Desire; Yield To Power; Choose Safety Over Liberty; Choose Security Over Freedom   

This insane world was created through decades of bad decisions, believing in false prophets, choosing current consumption over sustainable long-term savings based growth, electing corruptible men who promised voters entitlements that were mathematically impossible to deliver, the disintegration of a sense of civic and community obligation and a gradual degradation of the national intelligence and character.

Are You Sane?

“A sane person to an insane society must appear insane.” – Kurt Vonnegut – Welcome to the Monkey House

Vonnegut and Huxley’s social commentary reveals a basic truth that societies and human beings have been prone to bouts of madness over the course of decades and centuries. Humans are a weak species, susceptible to the vagaries of greed, lust, gluttony, wrath, sloth, envy and pride. The seven deadly sins are in full bloom today, as the American empire descends through Dante’s inferno of reality TV, celebrity worship, religious zealotry, adulation of wealthy titans, military conquest and worship of false idols. Over the centuries humans have gone mad over tulips, farm land, stocks, and real estate. The easily duped American populace has been victimized by multiple bubbles bursting since the creation of the Federal Reserve in 1913. The contention that a central bank run by private banking interests would promote a safer financial system and a stable currency is laughable. The Federal Reserve and the bankers who control it have created three stock bubbles, the largest housing bubble in history, a bond bubble and the mother of all debt bubbles, while destroying 95% of the dollar’s purchasing power in the last 100 years.

There is a common denominator in all the bubbles created over the last century – Wall Street bankers and their puppets at the Federal Reserve. Fractional reserve banking, control of a fiat currency by a privately owned central bank, and an economy dependent upon ever increasing levels of debt are nothing more than ingredients of a Ponzi scheme that will ultimately implode and destroy the worldwide financial system. Since 1913 we have been enduring the largest fraud and embezzlement scheme in world history, but the law of diminishing returns is revealing the plot and illuminating the culprits. Bernanke and his cronies have proven themselves to be highly educated one trick pony protectors of the status quo.

Greenspan’s easy money policies, manufacturing of negative real short term interest rates, regulatory malfeasance and unspoken promise to bail out Wall Street whenever their excessive risk taking threatened to burn down the financial system, led to 50% stock market crash in 2000/2001, a 40% plunge in national home prices, and another 55% stock market crash in 2008/2009. While Ivy Leaguers Bernanke, Paulson, Hubbard, Krugman, and Bush were too obtuse or too blinded by their ideology to recognize the fraudulent housing and stock market bubbles, honest clear thinking men like Robert Shiller, John Hussman, and Ron Paul recognized the bubbles well in advance and understood the consequences to the average American.

“Like all artificially-created bubbles, the boom in housing prices cannot last forever. When housing prices fall, homeowners will experience difficulty as their equity is wiped out. Furthermore, the holders of the mortgage debt will also have a loss.” – Ron Paul – 2003

What Ron didn’t realize was the peddlers and packagers of fraudulent mortgage debt on Wall Street would walk away unscathed when the bubble they created popped. Trillions of net worth was vaporized due to the policies, solutions, and programs designed and implemented by Bernanke and his Wall Street co-conspirators. The losses should have been borne by those who made the loans. Instead they were borne by the American taxpayer and future unborn generations. David Stockman, in his no holds barred book about the Wall Street and K Street crony capitalist criminals, rails against the Federal Reserve led rescue of the profligate destroyers of capital markets:

“At the end of the day, this trillion-dollar infusion of capital and liquidity from the public till had a single overarching effect: it nullified in its entirety the impact of Mr. Market’s withdrawal of a similar magnitude of funding from the wholesale money market. So the very monetary distortion – the availability of cheap overnight funding in massive quantities – upon which the Wall Street financial bubble had been built had now been recreated at the lending windows of the Fed, FDIC, and the US Treasury.

The opposite path of liquidating the Wall Street bubble was eschewed, of course, not only because it would have meant massive losses to speculators in the stock and bonds of Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan, and the remaining phalanx of the walking wounded. Crony capitalism also triumphed because in muscling the system during the white heat of crisis, Wall Street had plenty of intellectual cover. The fact is, mainstream economists of both parties were trapped in a Keynesian dead end, proclaiming that the solution to the crushing national debt load which had actually triggered the financial crisis was to pile on more of the same.

Accordingly, banks which were “too big to fail” couldn’t be busted up, since they were allegedly needed to shovel more credit onto already debt saturated household and business balance sheets. Likewise, speculators who should have suffered epochal losses during the meltdown were resuscitated by Fed-engineered zero interest rates in the money market, thereby quickly reviving the same massively leveraged “carry trades” in commodities, currencies, equities, derivatives, and other risk assets which had brought on the crisis in the first place.” David Stockman – The Great Deformation – The Corruption of Capitalism in America

The working middle class was forced at gunpoint to bail out billionaire bankers who had been fraudulently inducing feeble minded dupes and trailer trash to purchase $500,000 McMansions with negative amortization no doc subprime mortgages, while bullying appraisers into inflating appraisals, buying off the rating agencies, selling the toxic derivatives to their clients, and then shorting the very same derivatives. They subsequently committed foreclosure fraud by robo-signing legal documents. Describing these modern day Shylocks as heartless, cruel, lecherous, avaricious demons understates the vileness and contemptibility of their nature. Ben Bernanke and Hank Paulson blatantly lied to the depraved, gutless members of Congress and to the easily hoodwinked fearful American public about the threat of our financial system collapsing unless the Wall Street banks were saved. This false storyline is still peddled today and believed by millions of willfully ignorant crony capitalist devotees. The financial system wasn’t going to collapse. The stock prices of JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, Bank of America, AIG, Morgan Stanley, GE, and Wells Fargo were collapsing. The wealth of the financial elites that run the country was in peril. The depositors in these banks wouldn’t have lost a penny, but the shareholders and bond holders would have been wiped out. The personal wealth of Dimon, Mack, Lewis, Prince, Immelt, Blankfein and the other titans of finance took precedence over the rule of law and the negative consequences of excessive risk taking and control fraud.

True free market capitalism embraces the concept of creative destruction. Poorly run companies fail and are replaced by well-run companies. Bankruptcy law worked perfectly during the liquidation of Washington Mutual. The orderly liquidation of the Too Big to Trust Wall Street banks would have resulted in billions of bad debt being discharged, with the losses being borne by the executives who mismanaged the banks and the investors who were foolish enough to fund the disastrous schemes perpetrated by those executives. The FDIC would have kept depositors whole. The privatization of illicit bank profits from 2002 through 2007 and the socialization of the 2008 through 2010 bank losses are proof that we are experiencing a warped, immoral, crony capitalism that enriches the well-connected and impoverishes the working middle class. Our political, economic and financial systems have been captured by corporate and special interests. This corruption will prove fatal, as the vested interests destroy the system through their myopic greed. We’ve allowed a small cadre of malevolent men to gamble away the nation’s future with impunity from all laws, regulations and any sense of morality, under the guise of capitalism. These men and the nation will pay a high price for these transgressions. The punishment will fit the crimes.

“People of privilege will always risk their complete destruction rather than surrender any material part of their advantage.”John Kenneth Galbraith – The Age of Uncertainty

The chart below reveals the criminal plan as implemented by Bernanke, the Obama administration and the Wall Street banks. Instead of allowing insolvent financial institutions to fail, $700 billion of taxpayer funds were syphoned from the economy and handed to them. Bernanke has since stuffed their coffers with another $2.4 trillion he printed out of thin air. The purpose of this insane transfer of national wealth from the people to the parasites was not to help Main Street. Forcing the FASB to allow these criminal bankers to mark to unicorn rather than mark to market, buying their toxic mortgages, and providing billions in free money was done to cover-up the fact they are insolvent. Their balance sheets and the Federal Reserve balance sheet are choking on bad debt. The ongoing foreclosure/rent to own scam was designed to drive up home prices and allow the bankers to exit their toxic mortgages with a profit. The criminally insane bankers have used the trillions in excess funds to syphon off billions in stock market gains, with assurances from Ben that QE to infinity will always be there. They know if their gambling leads to losses, Ben will come to the rescue.

The purpose of banks was supposed to be to lend money to businesses and consumers so they could make long-term investments that helped expand the economy. These Wall Street cretins didn’t loan money to people and businesses in the real world. It was much easier to generate risk free returns and program their HFT supercomputers to buy, buy, buy. By driving real interest rates below zero for the last four years, Bernanke has stolen $400 billion per year from senior citizens living on the edge and transferred it to bloodsucking bankers. Anyone with money in a bank account is losing money. This was designed to force muppets back into the stock market where they will be fleeced for the third time in the last thirteen years.

inflation and t-bill

Bernanke’s rescue measures have been a smashing success for the .1%. Wall Street is generating record levels of profits and paying out record levels of bonuses to themselves for a job well done. The stock market is at an all-time high, while the middle class is eviscerated by relentless inflation in energy, food, healthcare, clothing, tuition, rent and taxes. Reality does not match the propaganda touted by the financial elite. Ask the 47.7 million people on food stamps.

food stamps

The economic recovery narrative propagated by Wall Street paid economists, Wall Street controlled media pundits, and Wall Street bought off politicians is nothing but unmitigated bullshit. True unemployment, that doesn’t falsely exclude the unemployed who have thrown in the towel, is north of 20%, with youth unemployment exceeding 40%. The “solutions” implemented by our owners have led to a 10% collapse in the median household income since 2008. If the middle class is seeing their real incomes decline, while their living expenses are rising by 5% per year, how can the economy be recovering? It can’t. Bernanke’s banker welfare program and Obama’s $1 trillion deficits, along with accounting fraud and under-reporting of inflation, have produced the illusion of recovery.

economix-28income-blog480

Dimitri Orlov summarizes our modern financial system and sets the table for the coming collapse:

“The main tools of modern finance are mystification, obfuscation and hypnosis. What is different now is that all the governments have already shot all of their magic bailout bullets. The guilty parties are still at large, richer than they were before this crisis and probably thinking that the next crisis will make them even richer.” – Dimitri Orlov – The Five Stages of Collapse

The questions that must be answered are: How did we allow this to happen? Are we blameless? Can our course be reversed?

Time to Look in the Mirror

“The America of my time line is a laboratory example of what can happen to democracies, what has eventually happened to all perfect democracies throughout all histories.  A perfect democracy, a ‘warm body’ democracy in which every adult may vote and all votes count equally, has no internal feedback for self-correction.  It depends solely on the wisdom and self-restraint of citizens… which is opposed by the folly and lack of self-restraint of other citizens.  What is supposed to happen in a democracy is that each sovereign citizen will always vote in the public interest for the safety and welfare of all.  But what does happen is that he votes his own self-interest as he sees it… which for the majority translates as ‘Bread and Circuses.’

‘Bread and Circuses’ is the cancer of democracy, the fatal disease for which there is no cure.  Democracy often works beautifully at first.  But once a state extends the franchise to every warm body, be he producer or parasite, that day marks the beginning of the end of the state.  For when the plebs discover that they can vote themselves bread and circuses without limit and that the productive members of the body politic cannot stop them, they will do so, until the state bleeds to death, or in its weakened condition the state succumbs to an invader—the barbarians enter Rome.” –  Robert A. Heinlein

Robert Heinlein has been dead for twenty five years. He wrote these words decades ago. His vision of a state bleeding to death is being played out as we speak. Ben Franklin had an inkling the Republic we were given would not be sustained. The success of our nation hinged upon the wisdom, self-restraint, morality, and civic mindedness of its citizens. Our form of governance was never perfect. Nothing is perfect. Adam Smith’s free market capitalism was based upon true competition, but with an underlying moral code. The rule of law meant something. Those who stole, cheated or broke the law were punished. Bankers and their usurious machinations were frowned upon. They were tolerated as a necessary evil, but they certainly weren’t admired and celebrated. When their greedy schemes to loot the populace went too far, a courageous leader would step forth and rout out the vipers and thieves:

“You are a den of vipers and thieves. I intend to rout you out, and by the eternal God, I will rout you out.”Andrew Jackson

Bankers gained more power after the Civil War as oil was discovered, the country grew rapidly, and the robber barons built their fortunes on debt and the backs of the poor. But still, there were leaders like Teddy Roosevelt who stood up to the banking and corporate interests. The die was finally cast in 1913 with the introduction of the income tax, the creation of the Federal Reserve and allowing the people to directly elect their Senators. A century of central banking has led to: a century of war; a century of currency debasement; a transformation from a hard-working, saving, producing society into an irresponsible, debt based spending, consuming society; and the degradation of our society into a mob of egotistical techno-narcissists, who have chosen bread and circuses over freedom, liberty and self-reliance. At first it happened gradually, but accelerated rapidly once Nixon removed the last vestiges of control over greedy bankers, corrupt politicians, and gluttonous voters. The transformation from an industrious nation of savers into a slothful nation of consumers has reached its zenith. Financialization Nation has been built on a pyramid of debt. The youth of today have been left with an un-payable debt burden and as Bill Bonner points out, the endgame will likely be violent and bloody:

“That’s a heavy burden. It is especially disagreeable when someone else ran up the debt. Then you are a debt slave. That is the situation of young people today. They must face their parents’ debt. Even serfs in the Dark Ages had it better. They had to work only one day out of 10 for their lords and masters. As it stands, young people in the U.S., Europe and Japan are expected to work their whole lives to pay for things their parents and grandparents consumed decades earlier.

Let’s see. Deny a young person work and you deny him a career. Deny him a career and you deny him a way to support a family. Deny him a family life and who knows what happens? Will today’s young people accept their lot… and remain in docile debt servitude their whole lives? Or will they rise up and burn T-bonds in public spaces… rampage down Wall Street… and perhaps hang Ben Bernanke in front of the New York Federal Reserve?” – Bill Bonner

The pyramid of debt was built brick by brick over the last century, as an unelected, secretive, unaccountable cabal of private banker pharaohs has controlled the currency of the nation and worked on behalf of the vested corporate and banking interests that control the country. Shortly after its devious creation in 1913, they enabled Woodrow Wilson to wage a war he promised to keep the nation out of. The central bank’s easy money policies during the 1920s led to an unsustainable credit driven boom in stocks, bonds and real estate. As usual, their belated monetary tightening was too late to avoid the 1929 Crash. Federal Reserve and government intervention after the crash prolonged the Depression for over a decade. The Crash of 1929 proved once again that bankers could not be trusted. Their insatiable greed and reckless thirst for more and more riches required checks on their ability to destroy our economic system. The 38 page 1933 Glass-Steagall Act made sure commercial banking was kept separate from investment banking (gambling), keeping the productive activity of helping businesses grow isolated from the parasitic activity of speculation. This clear, concise, understandable law kept bankers from destroying the lives of millions for 66 years, until a bipartisan screw job repealed the law and unleashed the kraken upon the unsuspecting public. Bernanke’s QE to infinity driven stock market gains over the last few years are reminiscent of another historic time, and this story also hasn’t reached its ultimate climax.

“A major boom in real stock prices in the U.S. after ‘Black Tuesday’ brought them halfway back to 1929 levels by 1930. This was followed by a second crash, another boom from 1932 to 1937, and a third crash. Speculative bubbles do not end like a short story, novel, or play. There is no final denouement that brings all the strands of a narrative into an impressive final conclusion. In the real world, we never know when the story is over.”Robert Shiller

The destruction of Europe, Russia and Japan during World War II and the Bretton Woods system that made the USD supreme across the world kept the economic peace for the next quarter century. A confluence of events in the late 1960s and early 1970s set the stage for the ultimate collapse of our faith based monetary system. LBJ’s Great Society welfare programs and our disastrous foray into Southeast Asia began the insane welfare/warfare dynamic that has required more and more debt to sustain. Nixon realized the debt expansion needed to pay for an ever expanding state could never be achieved with the Bretton Woods/gold pegged currency system.  In 1971 Nixon unilaterally canceled the direct convertibility of the USD to gold. It ushered in the era of freely floating currencies, relentless inflation, financial bubbles, debt accumulation, consumerism, and the rise of the corporate/fascist propaganda state. Using government supplied CPI statistics, the dollar had lost 75% of its purchasing power between 1913 and 1971. Since 1971 it has lost 83% of its remaining purchasing power. And Ben Bernanke has the guts to publicly state his worries about the ravages of deflation.

The years 1913 and 1971 will be seen by future historians as infamous dates when marking the decline of the great American empire.  Prior to 1971, the New York Stock Exchange barred the public listing of investment banks. After the exchange repealed this ban, the large investment banks (Lehman Brothers, Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs, Bear Stearns) converted from partnerships, where the senior employees owned the company and were responsible for all of its liabilities, profits and losses, into publicly owned corporations, where executives’ incentives become aligned with outside shareholders, who demanded short-term profits and higher stock prices at the expense of long term sustainability. The partnership structure provided a mechanism of restraint, self-control, fiscal responsibility and cautiousness. If the bank failed, the partners’ net worth would be wiped out. Their incentives were for the long-term sustainability of the business and they were discouraged from taking undue risks that might produce huge short term profits, but might also destroy the firm. Shame and a sense of responsibility to fellow partners was a strong deterrent to obscene risk taking. The unholy combination of allowing investment banks to go public and repealing Glass Steagall in 1999, created a greed driven uncontrollable Too Big To Control brutish monstrosity consuming the world in its desire for more. It will only be stopped when it chokes to death while gorging on what’s left of the middle class.

The citizens, formerly known as the hard working American middle class, must accept their share of responsibility for the desperate circumstances we face. Some are guiltier than others, but we only need look in the mirror to find the culprits in allowing the bankers, politicians, military industrial complex, mass media and vested corporate interests to gain control over our country. The introduction of the credit card by Wall Street bankers as a must have for every citizen in the early 1970s coincided with the inflationary demons unleashed from Pandora’s Box by Nixon and the Federal Reserve, along with the peak of cheap U.S. oil production. Thus began four decades of real wages declining and consumer debt soaring. A nation of people that believed in saving before purchasing were given the freedom to spend money they didn’t have. The statistics paint a picture of a society gone mad:

  • Credit card debt grew from $5 billion in 1971 to $856 billion today, a 17,000% increase in forty-two years. GDP rose from $1.2 trillion to $16.6 trillion, a mere 1,400% increase. Real GDP only grew by 300%. Wages have grown from $600 billion to $7 trillion, a 1,200% increase. Real disposable personal income per capita grew from $17,200 to $36,800, a 200% increase.
  • Non-revolving debt (auto, student loan) grew from $127 billion in 1971 to $1.98 trillion today, a 1,600% increase.
  • There are over 600 million credit cards in circulation within the U.S. and Americans charged over $2.1 trillion last year.
  • Over 40% of Americans carry a balance on their credit card from month to month, with an average balance of $8,200 and an average interest rate of 13%.
  • 40% of all low and middle income households must rely on their credit cards to pay basic living expenses like rent, mortgage, utilities, groceries, real estate taxes, income taxes, along with their “needed” iPhones, HDTVs, bling, stainless steel appliances, and tattoo artwork.
  • Wall Street banks have written off over $300 billion in credit card debt since 2008 (and passing the bill to taxpayers), while bilking their customers out of $60 billion per year in late fees and overdraft fees.

Despite the storyline of austerity, consumer credit outstanding has reached an all-time high of $2.84 trillion because Bernanke and his Wall Street puppeteers require perpetual debt expansion to keep their Ponzi scheme alive. Federal government dispensation of loans to subprime student borrowers has helped mask the true unemployment rate and Federal government doling out of subprime auto loans through Ally Financial and their crony Wall Street partners has created a fake auto recovery. The Blackrock/Wall Street “rent to own” faux housing recovery was designed by our owners to lure clueless math challenged dupes back into the housing market. Our entire economy is nothing but a confidence game at this point.

The four decade long orgy of debt couldn’t have ensued if our currency had remained linked to the barbaric relic – gold. The apologists and lackeys for the vested interests scorn and ridicule the notion of our economic system being burdened with any checks or balances. This is where the interests of those in power and those being ruled have coincided, as a fiat based monetary system allowed unlimited spending to keep the welfare/warfare state growing, enriching the crony capitalists, deepening the power of the state, and providing the masses with foreign made trinkets, baubles, corporate logoed clothing, techno-gadgets, and pimped out financed wheels. The concepts of self-restraint, discipline, saving for a rainy day, prudence, discretion, and deferred gratification are rarely displayed in modern day America. In a case of mass delusion, Americans have convinced themselves to live for today, recklessly ignore their futures, irresponsibly spend money they don’t have on things they don’t need, neglect their civic duty towards future generations, choose ignorance over knowledge, and vote for spineless politicians who promise them entitlements that are mathematically impossible to honor. The public’s foolish attitude towards debt accumulation matches the arrogance of our gutless intellectually dishonest leaders.

“When people pile up debts they will find difficult and perhaps even impossible to repay, they are saying several things at once. They are obviously saying that they want more than they can immediately afford. They are saying, less obviously, that their present wants are so important that, to satisfy them, it is worth some future difficulty. But in making that bargain they are implying that when the future difficulty arrives, they’ll figure it out. They don’t always do that.” Michael Lewis – Boomerang

The manner in which our leaders are governing the country and citizens are living their lives can only be considered normal in relation to residing in a profoundly abnormal society. The American Dream of having the opportunity for upward mobility through educating yourself, working hard, accumulating wealth methodically by spending less than you earn, and reaching your full potential as a caring loving human being has been replaced by a perverted nightmare where we run on a hamster wheel for our entire lives trying to achieve the new American dream of accumulating throw away material goods, working to make the payments for McMansions, SUVs, stainless steel appliances, and iGadgets you rent from bankers, while driving yourself into an early grave by consuming mass quantities of processed poison and the stress created by trying to achieve the lifestyle sold to us by Madison Ave. maggots, Wall Street shysters and the mainstream media propagandists. The corporate fascists tell you what to believe, which “enemy” to fear, how you should look, what to eat, what drug to take for the illnesses caused by the food they lured you to eat, the kind of house you need to impress your friends and family, and the car you need to drive to impress your neighbors. As George Carlin aptly pronounced: “It’s called the American Dream because you’d have to be asleep to believe it.” – either asleep or insane.

“Normal is getting dressed in clothes that you buy for work and driving through traffic in a car that you are still paying for – in order to get to the job you need to pay for the clothes and the car, and the house you leave vacant all day so you can afford to live in it.”  – Ellen Goodman

Our profoundly abnormal society of materialistic zombies, who mindlessly obey the commands and marketing messages of the financial elite, has staked their futures and the future of the country on the wisdom and brilliance of an Ivy League academic who never worked a day in the real world, didn’t spot the largest fraudulent housing bubble in world history, and whose unlawful acts as Federal Reserve chairman have enriched the banking whores who destroyed the country and impoverished what remains of the dying middle class. It’s the height of insanity for the American people to trust these crooked high priests of finance to cure a disease they spread with their immoral, traitorous policies over the last century. Bernanke and his lackeys, in a desperate last gasp gamble to prolong their fiat currency pillaging of the peasants, have rolled the dice with QE to infinity, accounting fraud, and further enrichment of their corporate masters.

“Viewed as a religious cult, modern finance revolves around the miracle of the spontaneous generation of money in a set of rituals performed by the high priests of central banking. People hang on the high priests’ every word, attempting to divine the secret meaning behind their cryptic utterances. Their interventions before the unknowable deity of global finance assure them of economic recovery and continued prosperity, just as a shaman’s rain dance guarantees rain or ritual sacrifice atop a Mayan pyramid once promised a bountiful harvest of maize.” – Dimitri Orlov – The Five Stages of Collapse

Bernanke will eventually roll craps. When he does, the collapse will be epic and 2008 will seem like a walk in the park. In Part 3 of this article I will speculate on the timing, scope and consequences of the coming collapse. It’s not going to be a happy ending, especially for the existing social order.

ABNORMALCY BIAS

94 comments

Posted on 23rd April 2013 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

“The real hopeless victims of mental illness are to be found among those who appear to be most normal. Many of them are normal because they are so well adjusted to our mode of existence, because their human voice has been silenced so early in their lives that they do not even struggle or suffer or develop symptoms as the neurotic does. They are normal not in what may be called the absolute sense of the word; they are normal only in relation to a profoundly abnormal society. Their perfect adjustment to that abnormal society is a measure of their mental sickness. These millions of abnormally normal people, living without fuss in a society to which, if they were fully human beings, they ought not to be adjusted.” Aldous Huxley – Brave New World Revisited

 they-live-billboards-messages-john-carpenter

The political class set in motion the eventual obliteration of our economic system with the creation of the Federal Reserve in 1913. Placing the fate of the American people in the hands of a powerful cabal of unaccountable greedy wealthy elitist bankers was destined to lead to poverty for the many, riches for the connected crony capitalists, debasement of the currency, endless war, and ultimately the decline and fall of an empire. Ernest Hemingway’s quote from The Sun Also Rises captures the path of our country perfectly:

“How did you go bankrupt?”
Two ways. Gradually, then suddenly.”

The 100 year downward spiral began gradually but has picked up steam in the last sixteen years, as the exponential growth model, built upon ever increasing levels of debt and an ever increasing supply of cheap oil, has proven to be unsustainable and unstable. Those in power are frantically using every tool at their disposal to convince Boobus Americanus they have everything under control and the system is operating normally. The psychotic central bankers, “bought and sold” political class, mega-corporation soulless chief executives and corporate controlled media use propaganda techniques, paid “experts”, talking head “personalities”, captured think tanks, and the willful ignorance of the majority to spin an increasingly dire economic descent as if we are recovering and getting back to normal. Nothing could be further from the truth.

There is nothing normal about what Ben Bernanke and the Federal government have done over the last five years and continue to do today. Truthfully, nothing has been normal since the mid-1990s when Alan Greenspan spoke the last truthful words of his lifetime:

“Clearly, sustained low inflation implies less uncertainty about the future, and lower risk premiums imply higher prices of stocks and other earning assets. We can see that in the inverse relationship exhibited by price/earnings ratios and the rate of inflation in the past. But how do we know when irrational exuberance has unduly escalated asset values, which then become subject to unexpected and prolonged contractions as they have in Japan over the past decade?”

The Greenspan led Federal Reserve created two epic bubbles in the space of six years which burst and have done irreparable harm to the net worth of the middle class. Rather than learn the lesson of how much damage to the lives of average Americans has been caused by creating cheap easy money out of thin air, our Ivy League self-proclaimed expert on the Great Depression, Ben Bernanke, has ramped up the cheap easy money machine to hyper-speed. There is nothing normal about the path this man has chosen. His strategy has revealed the true nature of the Federal Reserve and their purpose – to protect and enrich the financial elites that manipulate this country for their own purposes.

Despite the mistruths spoken by Bernanke and his cadre of banker coconspirators, he can never reverse what he has done. The country will not return to normalcy in our lifetimes. Bernanke is conducting a mad experiment and we are the rats in his maze. His only hope is to retire before it blows up in his face. Just as Greenspan inflated the housing bubble and exited stage left, Bernanke is inflating a debt bubble, stock bubble, bond bubble and attempting to re-inflate the housing bubble just in time for another Ivy League Keynesian academic, Janet Yellen, to step into the banker’s box. This genius thinks Bernanke has been too tight with monetary policy. It seems inflated egos are common among Ivy League economist central bankers who think they can pull levers and push buttons to control the economy. Results may vary.

The gradual slide towards our national bankruptcy of wealth, spirit, freedom, self-respect, morality, personal responsibility, and common sense began in 1913 with the secretive creation of the Federal Reserve and the imposition of a personal income tax. Pandora’s Box was opened in this fateful year and the horrors of currency debasement and ever increasing taxation were thrust upon the American people by a small but powerful cadre of unscrupulous financial elite and the corrupt politicians that do their bidding in Washington D.C. The powerful men who thrust these evils upon our country set in motion a chain of events and actions that will undoubtedly result in the fall of the great American Empire, just as previous empires have fallen due to the corruption of its leaders and depravity of its people. Creating a private central bank, controlled by the Wall Street cabal, and allowing the government to syphon the earnings of workers through increased taxation has allowed politicians the ability to spend, borrow, and print money at an ever increasing rate in order to get themselves re-elected and benefit the cronies, hucksters and bankers that pay the biggest bribes. None of this benefit the average American, who sees their purchasing power systematically inflated and taxed away. This is not capitalism and it is not a coincidence that war and inflation have been the hallmarks of the last century.

“A system of capitalism presumes sound money, not fiat money manipulated by a central bank. Capitalism cherishes voluntary contracts and interest rates that are determined by savings, not credit creation by a central bank. It is no coincidence that the century of total war coincided with the century of central banking.” Ron Paul

 

As you can see, the bankruptcy of our country and our culture began gradually, accelerated after Nixon closed the gold window in 1971, really picked up steam in 1980 when the debt happy Baby Boom generation came of age, and has “suddenly” reached maximum velocity as we approach the true fiscal cliff. There were many checkpoints along the way where fatefully bad choices were made. They include the New Deal, Cold War, Great Society, Morning in America, Dotcom New Paradigm, Housing Wealth Retirement Plan, Obamacare, and present belief that creating more debt will solve a problem created by too much debt. The Federal Reserve allowed interventionist politicians to fight two declared wars (World War I, World War II), fight five undeclared wars (Korea, Vietnam, Gulf, Afghanistan, Iraq), conduct hundreds of military engagements around the globe, occupy foreign countries, begin a war on poverty that increased poverty, begin a war on drugs that increased the amount of available drugs, and finally start a war on terror that has increased the number of terrorists and pushed us closer to national bankruptcy. The terrorists have already won, as the explosion of stupidity and irrational fear has allowed those in power to acquire more power and dominion over our lives.

Abnormality Reigns

“We live surrounded by a systematic appeal to a dream world which all mature, scientific reality would reject. We, quite literally, advertise our commitment to immaturity, mendacity and profound gullibility. It is as the hallmark of the culture. And it is justified as being economically indispensable.” - John Kenneth Galbraith

When I critically scrutinize the economic, political, financial, and social landscape at this point in history, I come to the inescapable conclusion that our country and world are headed into the abyss. This is most certainly a minority viewpoint. The majority of people in this country are oblivious to the disaster that will arrive over the next decade. Some would attribute this willful ignorance to the normalcy bias that infects the psyches of millions of ostrich like iGadget distracted, Facebook addicted, government educated, financially illiterate, mass media manipulated zombies. Normalcy bias refers to a mental state people enter when facing a disaster. It causes people to underestimate both the possibility of a disaster occurring and its possible effects. This often results in situations where people fail to adequately prepare for a disaster, and on a larger scale, the failure of governments to inform the populace about the impending disaster. The assumption that is made in the case of the normalcy bias is that since a disaster hasn’t occurred yet, then it will never occur. It also results in the inability of people to cope with the disaster once it occurs. People tend to interpret warnings in the most optimistic way possible, seizing on any ambiguities to infer a less serious situation.

The unsustainability of our economic system built upon assumptions of exponential growth, ever expanding debt, increasing consumer spending, unlimited supplies of cheap easy to access oil, impossible to honor entitlement promises, and a dash of mass delusion should be apparent to even the dullest of government public school educated drones inhabiting this country. I don’t attribute this willful ignorance to normalcy bias. I attribute it to abnormalcy bias. In a profoundly abnormal society, adjusting your thinking to fit in appears normal, but is just a symptom of the disease that has infected our culture. There is nothing normal about anything in our society today. If you were magically transported back to 1996 and described to someone the economic, political, financial and social landscape in 2013, they would have you committed to a mental institution and given shock therapy.

Even though we’ve been in a 100 year spiral downwards, things still appeared relatively normal in 1996 when Greenspan uttered his “Irrational Exuberance” faux pas that so upset his Wall Street puppet masters. The ruling class had not yet repealed Glass-Steagall (pre-requisite for pillaging the muppets), created the internet bubble, fashioned the greatest control fraud in world history (housing bubble unrecognized by Ben Bernanke), or taken advantage of mass hysteria over 9/11 to begin the never ending war on terror and expansion of the Orwellian state. The citizens, and I use that term loosely, of this country have allowed those in control of the government and media to convince them the situation confronting us is just a normal cyclical variation that will be alleviated by tweaking existing economic policies and trusting that Ben Bernanke will pull the right monetary levers to get us back on course. The stress inflicted on their brains in the last thirteen years of bubbles and wars has made the average person incapable of distinguishing between normality and abnormality. What they need is slap upside of their head. Is there anything normal about these facts?

  • The Federal Reserve’s balance sheet in 1996 consisted of $422 billion, of which 91% were Treasury securities. Today it consists of $3.25 trillion, of which only 56% are Treasury securities, and the rest is toxic home mortgages, toxic commercial mortgages, and whatever other crap the Wall Street banks have dumped on their books. Their balance sheet is leveraged 57 to 1 and Bernanke has promised his Wall Street bosses he will add another $750 billion before the year is out. Is there anything normal about a central bank adding twice as much debt to its balance sheet in less than twelve months than existed on its entire balance sheet in 1996?
  • The National Debt at the end of fiscal 1996 was $5.25 trillion. It increased by $250 billion that year. The GDP of the country was $7.8 trillion. Our national debt as a percentage of GDP was only 67% and our annual deficit was only 3% of GDP. At the time, the country was worried about these outrageous levels of debt. Today the National Debt stands at a towering $16.8 trillion. It has increased by a staggering $1.12 trillion in the last twelve months. The GDP of the country today is $15.7 trillion. Our national debt as a percentage GDP has soared to 107%. Our annual deficits now exceed 7% of GDP on a consistent basis. Our budgets are on automatic pilot, with the $20 trillion level to be breached by 2016. Is it a normal state of affairs when the GDP of your country rises by 100% over seventeen years, while your debt rises by 320%?

 

  •  Total government spending (Federal, State, Local) in 1996 totaled $2.7 trillion, or 35% of GDP. Today total government spending is $6.3 trillion, or 40% of GDP. In 1979, before the belief in government became a religion, total government spending was only 31.5% of GDP (27% in 1965). Are you receiving twice the service from government than you received in 1996? Are you safer from terrorists due to the massive expansion of the police state? Are your kids getting a much better education than they did in 1996? Have the undeclared wars benefitted you in any way, other than tripling the price of gas? Are the higher wage taxes, real estate taxes, school taxes, sewer fees, utility fees, phone fees, gasoline taxes, permit fees, and myriad of other government charges worth it? Is it normal for government to account for almost half of our economy?

 

  • In 1996 personal consumption expenditures accounted for 67% of GDP, while private domestic investment accounted for 16% of GDP and we ran small trade deficits of 1% of GDP. Today, consumer spending accounts for 71% of GDP (despite the storyline about consumer retrenchment), while domestic investment has contracted to 13% of GDP and our trade deficits have surged to almost 4% of GDP. The Federal government has expanded their piece of the GDP pie by 130% since 1996, with the Department of War accounting for the bulk of the increase. Saving and capital investment is now penalized in this country. Is it normal for a country to borrow, consume and bleed itself to death?
  • Consumer credit outstanding totaled $1.2 trillion in 1996, or $4,500 per every man, woman and child in the country. Today, the austere balance is now $2.8 trillion, or $8,800 per every man, woman and child inhabiting our debt saturated paradise. The more than doubling of consumer debt would be acceptable if wages were rising at a similar rate. But that hasn’t been the case, as wages have only advanced from $3.6 trillion in 1996 to $7.0 trillion today. With even the massively understated CPI showing 50% inflation since 1996 and 23% more Americans in the working age population (45 million), real wages have advanced by 30%. Using a true measure of inflation, real wages have fallen. Total credit market debt in 1996 was $19 trillion, or 243% of GDP. Today total credit market debt sits at an all-time high of $56.2 trillion, or 358% of GDP. Is it normal for credit market debt to increase at three times the rate of GDP?

  total debt market owed

  • In 1996, personal income totaled $6.6 trillion, with wages accounting for 55% of the total, interest income on savings accounting for 12% and government entitlement transfers accounting for 14%. Today personal income totals $13.6 trillion, with wages accounting for 51% of the total, interest income on savings plunging to 7% due to Bernanke’s “Screw a Senior Zero Interest Policy”, and Big Brother entitlement transfers skyrocketing to 18%. In what Orwellian dystopian society is taking money from wage earners and redistributing it to non-wage earners considered personal income? Is it normal for a government to punish savers and makers in order to benefit the borrowers and takers?
  • Prior to the financial collapse and during the mid-1990s prudent risk-averse savers could get a 4% to 5% return on money market accounts. Since the Wall Street created worldwide financial collapse, Ben Bernanke, at the behest of these very same Wall Street banks, has reduced short term interest rates to 0%. The result has been to transfer $400 billion per year from the pockets of savers and senior citizens into the grubby hands of bankers that have destroyed our economy. The prudent are left earning .02% on their savings, while the profligate bankers can borrow for 0% and earn billions by re-depositing those funds at the Federal Reserve. In what bizarro world this be a normal state of affairs?

 

  • Total mortgage debt outstanding in 1996, before the epic Wall Street produced housing bubble, was $4.7 billion. Today, even after the transfer of almost $1 trillion of bad debt to the balance sheet of the American taxpayer, the amount of mortgage debt is an astounding $13.1 trillion. Despite home values rising since 1996, there are 20% of all households still in a negative equity position. Total household real estate equity was 60% in 1996, plunged below 40% in 2009, and has only slightly rebounded to 47% today because Wall Street dumped the bad mortgages on the backs of the American taxpayer. Is it normal for mortgage debt to triple and home equity to plunge in a rationally functioning world? Is it normal when 25% of all existing home sales are distressed sales and another 30% are sales to Wall Street hedge funds like Blackrock?

 

  • In 1996 there were 200 million working age Americans, with 134 million (67%) in the labor force, 127 million (63.5%) employed, and 66 million (33%) not in the labor force. Today there are 245 million working age Americans, with 155 million (63%) in the labor force, 143 million (58%) employed, and 90 million (37%) supposedly not in the labor force. The number of working age Americans has increased by 22.5%, while the number of those employed has advanced by only 12.5%. The population to employment ratio has reached a three decade low as millions have given up, been lured into college by cheap plentiful government debt, or developed a mysterious ailment that has gotten them into the SSDI program. Is it normal for millions of Americans to leave the labor force when the economy is supposedly recovering?

 

  • In 1996 there were 25.5 million Americans on food stamps, or 9.6% of the population, costing $24 billion per year. Today there are 47.8 million Americans on food stamps, or 15% of the population, costing $75 billion per year. Historically, the number of people in this program would rise during recessions and recede when the economy recovered, just as a safety net program should function. According to our government keepers the economy has been in recovery since late 2009. The number of people entering the food stamp program has gone up by 7 million since the recession officially ended. This is not normal. Either the government is lying about the recession or they are screwing the taxpayer by encouraging constituents to enter the program in an effort to gain votes. Which is it?

 

  • The price of oil averaged $20 per barrel in 1996 and it cost you $1.20 per gallon to fill your tank. Oil averaged $85 per barrel in 2012 and currently hovers around $90 per barrel. Most Americans are now paying between $3.50 and $4.00 per gallon to fill their tanks. This result seems abnormal considering the propaganda machine is proclaiming we are on the verge of energy independence. After two Middle East wars, 6,700 dead American soldiers, 50,000 wounded American soldiers, and $1.5 trillion of national wealth wasted, this is all we get – a tripling in gas prices and creation of thousands of new terrorists?

You have to have a really bad case of normalcy bias to be able to convince yourself that everything that has happened since 1996 is normal. Every fact supports the reality that we’ve entered a period of extreme abnormality and our response as a nation thus far has insured that a disaster of even far greater magnitude is just over the horizon. Anyone with an ounce of common sense realizes the social mood is deteriorating rapidly. We are in the midst of a Crisis period that will result in earth shattering change, but the masses want things to go back to normal and don’t want to face the facts. The cognitive dissonance created by reality versus their wishes will resolve itself when the next financial collapse makes 2008 look like a walk in the park. But, until then most will just stick their heads in the sand and hope for the best.

Loving Your Servitude

“Liberty is lost through complacency and a subservient mindset. When we accept or even welcome automobile checkpoints, random searches, mandatory identification cards, and paramilitary police in our streets, we have lost a vital part of our American heritage. America was born of protest, revolution, and mistrust of government. Subservient societies neither maintain nor deserve freedom for long.”Ron Paul

The most disgraceful example of abnormality that has infected our culture has been the cowardice and docile acquiescence of the citizenry in allowing an ever expanding police state to shred the U.S. Constitution, strip us of our freedoms, and restrict our liberties. Our keepers have not let any crisis go to waste in the last seventeen years. They have also taken advantage of the willful ignorance, childish immaturity, extreme gullibility, historical cluelessness, financial illiteracy and techno-narcissism of the populace to reverse practical legislation and prey upon irrational fears to strip the people of their constitutionally guaranteed liberties and freedoms. If you had told someone in 1996 the security measures, laws, and police agencies that would exist in 2013, they would have laughed you out of the room. Every crisis, whether government created or just convenient to their agenda, has been utilized by the oligarchs to expand the police state and benefit the crony capitalists that profit from its expansion. The character of the American people has been found wanting as they obediently cower and beg for protection from unseen evil doers. The propagandist corporate media reinforces their fears and instructs them to submissively tremble and implore the government to do more. The cosmic obliviousness and limitless sense of complacency of the general population with regards to a blatantly obvious coup by a small cadre of sociopathic financial elite and their army of bureaucrats, lackeys and jackboots is a wonder to behold.

The 1929 stock market crash and ensuing Great Depression was primarily the result of excessively loose Federal Reserve monetary policy during the Roaring 20’s and the unrestrained fraud perpetrated by the Wall Street banks. The 1933 Glass-Steagall Act was a practical 38 page law which kept Wall Street from ravenously raping its customers and the American people for almost seven decades. The Wall Street elite and their bought off political hacks in both parties repealed this law in 1999, while simultaneously squashing any effort to regulate the financial derivatives market. The day trading American public didn’t even look up from their computer screens. Over the next nine years Wall Street went on a fraudulent feeding frenzy rampage which brought the country to its knees and then held the American taxpayer at gunpoint to bail them out. The Federal Reserve arranged rescue of LTCM in 1998 gave the all clear to Wall Street that any risk was acceptable, since the Fed would always bail them out. Just as they did in the 1920’s, the Federal Reserve set the table for financial disaster with excessively low interest rates and non-existent regulatory oversight.

The downward spiral of our empire towards an Orwellian/Huxley merged dystopian nightmare accelerated after the 9/11 attacks. Within one month those looking to exert hegemony over all domestic malcontents had passed the 366 page, 58,000 words Patriot Act. Did the terrified masses ask how such a comprehensive destruction of our liberties could be written in under one month? It is apparent to anyone with critical thinking skills that the enemy within had this bill written, waiting for the ideal opportunity to implement this unprecedented expansion of federal police power. Electronic surveillance of our emails, phone calls and voice mails, along with warrantless wiretaps, and general loss of civil liberties was passed without question under the guise of protecting us. Next was the invasion of a foreign country based upon lies, propaganda and misinformation without a declaration of war, as required by the Constitution. Our government began torturing suspects in secret foreign prisons. The shallow, self-centered, narcissistic, Facebook fanatic populace has barely looked up from texting on their iPhones to notice that we have been at war in the Middle East for eleven years, because it hasn’t interfered with their weekly viewing of Honey Boo Boo, Dancing With the Stars, or Jersey Shore. They occasionally leave their homes to wave a flag and chant “USA, USA, USA”, as directed by the media, when a terrorist like Bin Laden or Boston bomber is offed by our security services, but for the most part they can live their superficial vacuous lives of triviality unscathed by war.

The creation of the Orwellian Department of Homeland Security ushered in a further encroachment of our everyday freedoms. They attempted to keep the masses frightened through a ridiculous color coded fear index. Little old ladies, people in wheelchairs and little children are subject to molestation by lowlife TSA perverts. Military units conduct “training exercises” in cities across the country to desensitize the sheep-like masses, who fail to acknowledge that the U.S. military cannot constitutionally be used domestically. DHS considers military veterans, Ron Paul supporters, and Christians as potential enemies of the state. The use of predator drones to murder suspected adversaries in foreign countries, while killing innocent men, women and children (also known as collateral damage), has just been a prelude to the domestic surveillance and eventually extermination of dissidents and nonconformists here in the U.S. We are already becoming a 1984 CCTV controlled nation. DHS has been rapidly militarizing local police forces in cities and towns to supplement their jackbooted thugs. Obama’s executive orders have given him the ability to take control of industry. He can imprison citizens without charges for as long as he deems necessary. Attempts to control gun ownership and shutdown the internet is a prologue to further government domination and supremacy over our lives when the wheels come off this unsustainable bus.

The last week has provided a multitude of revelations about our government and the people of this country. The billions “invested” in our police state, along with warnings from a foreign government, and suspicious travel patterns were not enough for our beloved protectors to stop the Boston Marathon bombing. After stumbling upon these amateur terrorists by accident, the 2nd responders, with their Iraq war level firepower, managed to slaughter one of the perpetrators, but somehow allowed a wounded teenager to escape on foot and elude 10,000 donut eaters for almost 24 hours. The horde of heavily armed, testosterone fueled thugs proceeded to bully and intimidate the citizens of Watertown by illegal searches of homes and treating innocent people like criminals. The government completely shut down the 10th largest metropolitan area in the country for an entire day looking for a wounded 19 year old. The people of Boston obeyed their zoo keepers and obediently cowered in their cages.

The entire episode was an epic fail. The gang that couldn’t shoot straight needed an old man to find the bomber in his backyard boat. The people of Boston exhibited the passivity and subservience demanded by their government. Since the capture of the remaining terrorist, the shallow exhibitions of national pride at athletic events and smarmy displays of honoring the police state apparatchiks who screwed up – allowing the attack to occur and looking like the keystone cops during the pursuit of the suspects, has revealed a fatal defect in our civil character. We are living in a profoundly abnormal society, with millions of medicated mindless zombies controlled by a vast propaganda machine, who seemingly enjoy having their liberties taken away. Most have willingly learned to love their servitude. For those who haven’t learned, the boot of our vast security state will just stomp on their face forever. We’re realizing the worst dystopian nightmares of Orwell and Huxley simultaneously. This abnormalcy bias will dissipate over the next ten to fifteen years in torrent of financial collapse, war, bloodshed, and retribution. Sticking your head in the sand will not make reality go away. The existing social, political, and financial order will be swept away. What it is replaced by is up to us. Will this be the final chapter or new chapter in the history of this nation? The choice is ours.

“If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face – forever.
- George Orwell

 antidepressant-facts-400x400

“There will be, in the next generation or so, a pharmacological method of making people love their servitude, and producing dictatorship without tears, so to speak, producing a kind of painless concentration camp for entire societies, so that people will in fact have their liberties taken away from them, but will rather enjoy it, because they will be distracted from any desire to rebel by propaganda or brainwashing, or brainwashing enhanced by pharmacological methods. And this seems to be the final revolution” -Aldous Huxley, 1961

 

 

 

ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS THE TRUTH

180 comments

Posted on 3rd December 2012 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

“Eyes blinded by the fog of things
cannot see truth.
Ears deafened by the din of things
cannot hear truth.
Brains bewildered by the whirl of things
cannot think truth.
Hearts deadened by the weight of things
cannot feel truth.
Throats choked by the dust of things
cannot speak truth.”
Harald Bell Wright – The Uncrowned King

I consider myself a seeker of truth. It isn’t easy finding it in todays’ world. In an alternate version of the famous scene from A Few Good Men, I picture myself telling Turbo Tax Timmy Geithner that I want the truth and his angry truthful response:

“Son, we live in a world that has Wall Street banks, and those banks have to be guarded by puppet politicians in Washington D.C. with lobbyist written laws and Madison Avenue PR maggots with media propaganda. Who’s gonna do it? You? You, Representative Paul? I have a greater responsibility than you could possibly fathom. You weep for the average middle class American family, and you curse the ruling oligarchs. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know. That the death of the American middle class, while tragic, probably saved the bonuses of thousands of Wall Street bankers. And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, increases the wealth of these same bankers who destroyed the worldwide economic system in 2008. You don’t want the truth because deep down in places you don’t talk about in the food bank line, you want me on Wall Street, you need me on Wall Street. We use words like derivative, fiscal stimulus, quantitative easing. We use these words as the backbone of a life spent syphoning off the wealth of the nation. You use them as a punch line. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very debt that I provide, and then questions the manner in which I provide it. I would rather you just said thank you, and went on your way, Otherwise, I suggest you pick up 1000 shares of Apple, and hope our high frequency trading supercomputers can ramp the market for a while longer. Either way, I don’t give a damn what you think you are entitled to.”

I find myself more amazed than ever at the ability of those in power to lie, misinform and obfuscate the truth, while millions of Americans willfully choose to be ignorant of the truth and yearn to be misled. It’s a match made in heaven. Acknowledging the truth of our society’s descent from a country of hard working, self-reliant, charitable, civic minded citizens into the abyss of entitled, dependent, greedy, materialistic consumers is unacceptable to the slave owners and the slaves. We can’t handle the truth because that would require critical thought, hard choices, sacrifice, and dealing with the reality of an unsustainable economic and societal model. It’s much easier to believe the big lies that allow us to sleep at night. The concept of lying to the masses and using propaganda techniques to manipulate and form public opinion really took hold in the 1920s and have been perfected by the powerful ruling elite that control the reins of finance, government and mass media.

Peddlers of Propaganda

“Great is truth, but still greater, from a practical point of view, is silence about truth.” Aldous Huxley – Brave New World

 File:Edward Bernays.jpg   

Adolf Hitler understood the power of the big lie over the ignorant masses who want to believe:

“All this was inspired by the principle–which is quite true within itself–that in the big lie there is always a certain force of credibility; because the broad masses of a nation are always more easily corrupted in the deeper strata of their emotional nature than consciously or voluntarily; and thus in the primitive simplicity of their minds they more readily fall victims to the big lie than the small lie, since they themselves often tell small lies in little matters but would be ashamed to resort to large-scale falsehoods. It would never come into their heads to fabricate colossal untruths, and they would not believe that others could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously. Even though the facts which prove this to be so may be brought clearly to their minds, they will still doubt and waver and will continue to think that there may be some other explanation. For the grossly impudent lie always leaves traces behind it, even after it has been nailed down, a fact which is known to all expert liars in this world and to all who conspire together in the art of lying.” – Adolf Hitler – Mein Kampf

We are all liars. We lie to friends, family and co-workers. We convince ourselves they are only small lies and just protect others from being hurt. We would rather be lied to than face the blunt truth about our deficiencies, shortcomings and failures. Willfully believing mistruths allows a person to become dependent upon those promulgating the mistruths. It relieves them of their responsibility to act upon the knowledge that something is wrong and must be fixed. It is a cowardly path to ultimate servitude and destruction. The German people chose this path in the 1930s and the American people have chosen a similar and ultimately destructive path today. The United States Office of Strategic Services prepared a psychological profile report during the war describing Adolf Hitler’s method for controlling the minds of the German masses:

“His primary rules were: never allow the public to cool off; never admit a fault or wrong; never concede that there may be some good in your enemy; never leave room for alternatives; never accept blame; concentrate on one enemy at a time and blame him for everything that goes wrong; people will believe a big lie sooner than a little one; and if you repeat it frequently enough people will sooner or later believe it.”

America’s corruptible politicians, greedy corporate chieftains, criminal banking overlords, and despicable media manipulators all learned the sordid lessons of mass propaganda from the masters. Our willingness to lie and be lied to set us up to be manipulated by those who understood the mass psychology of a nation. Goebbels and Hitler were heavily influenced by the father of propaganda – Edward Bernays. He and his disciples are professional poisoners of the public mind, exploiters of public foolishness and ignorance, and never allow truth to interfere with a good story. What master manipulators realized is that it is easier to change the attitude of millions than the attitude of one man. By analyzing and understanding the process and motives of how the group mind works, the invisible government has been able to manipulate and regulate the masses according to their will without the masses knowing they are being managed. Bernays described this elitist view of the world in 1928:

“Those who manipulate the unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized. Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society. In almost every act of our lives whether in the sphere of politics or business in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires that control the public mind.” – Edward Bernays – Propaganda

The super-rich elite believe they are more intelligent, more capable of managing the affairs of state, masters of the financial world, and chosen to decide what is best for the masses. In reality, they are egocentric, psychotic, power hungry, myopic, self-serving ravenous vultures, feasting upon the carcass of a once great nation. Truth is inconsequential and irritating to their plans for world domination and control. Therefore, no truth will be forthcoming from any organization or person that is associated with the existing political, economic, financial or social order. Every bit of information that is permitted into the public realm has been vetted, manipulated and spun for public consumption. The public does not like bad news. They do not like hard facts. They do not like to think or do math. They want to be spoon fed mindless sound bites and happy talk. The oligarchs need to keep the masses sedated and subservient while they continue to plunder and pillage, so all data is massaged to provide a happy ending.

This is where I deviate from the ideologue one-trick ponies that refuse to see both sides of the issue. The ruling oligarchs are wealthy, influential, psychotic, amoral, and few. The masses are relatively poor, easily influenced, willfully ignorant, and many. The ruling oligarchs are most certainly evil, but the masses are not the hard working, stoic, downtrodden portrayed by liberal ideologues. One just needs to walk down the street in one of our urban enclaves, saunter through a suburban mall, or click on People of Wal-Mart to witness the tattooed, pierced, butt crack showing, slovenly, obese, and ignorant, attached to their electronic iGadgets, to understand how far our society has deteriorated.  Every individual born into this world has the capability to become educated, think critically, not follow the herd, live beneath their means, and not be influenced by propaganda. Aldous Huxley understood in 1931 that those in power could use material goods to invoke passivity and egotism among the populace. He feared that truth would be obscured by an avalanche of irrelevance (500 Reality TV shows), cultural trivialities (Lady Gaga, Lindsey Lohan), distractions (Professional sports), and pharmaceutical enhanced escape (Prozac). He saw the possibility that we would grow to love our servitude as the pleasures of life provided by our controllers overwhelmed any desire to think or question authority.

“There will be in the next generation or so a pharmacological method of making people love their servitude and producing dictatorship without tears, so to speak, producing a kind of painless concentration camp for entire societies so that people will in fact have their liberties taken away from them but will rather enjoy it.”  ― Aldous Huxley

By 1962 when Huxley wrote his last book, he was certain that his worst dystopian nightmares had been unleashed. His description of Western society fifty years ago could have been written today and accurately reflected our current economic paradigm. War, debt and consumption still make our world go round, but the end is nigh.

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

The pillars are crumbling. The $1.4 trillion wasted on two worthless wars of choice in the Middle East, the trillions wasted and liberties sacrificed for the never ending unwinnable War on Terror, the Keynesian spending frenzy that has driven the National Debt from $9 trillion to $16.3 trillion in the last five years, the looting of the American taxpayer by Wall Street and their co-conspirators at the Federal Reserve and in Congress, and the belief that ramping up the debt driven consumption that drives 71% of our GDP is our path to prosperity is absolutely freaking nuts. The pillars will not be abolished willingly. The ruling class depends upon their continued existence and expansion. There is the rub. The math doesn’t work. We’ve reached the point where continued expansion of debt and money printing no longer works. With a national debt to GDP ratio of 102% and a total credit market debt to GDP ratio of 350%, we have passed the Rogoff & Reinhart point of no return. This time is not different. A country cannot run trillion dollar deficits indefinitely and expect to not suffer the consequences. This is why those in power are increasingly resorting to propaganda, data manipulation, and outright lies to convince the masses of their omnipotence and brilliance in managing the fiscal affairs of the state.

 “One believes things because one has been conditioned to believe them.” Aldous Huxley – Brave New World

Through decades of mass media messaging the masses have been conditioned to believe whatever those in power want them to believe. To our invisible government rulers we are nothing but rats to be manipulated through food pellets and shock therapy. Pleasure and fear of pain are the drivers of our warped society. The ruling oligarchs truly think they know what is best for the masses and believe any means is worthwhile as long as the ends support their agenda. This is blatantly obvious to anyone with their eyes open and their brain functioning. Sadly, the government run educational system produces mostly drones that are barely able to tie their own shoes, spell Cat, or make change from a one dollar bill. Only 20% of all high school seniors score high enough on the SAT test to get a B minus in college and most of these kids come from private and parochial schools. This is exactly what those in power prefer. They want non-critical thinking, mindless consumers, who don’t understand the criminal nature of Federal Reserve created inflation or their enslavement in the chains of debt at the hands of their Wall Street slave owners. They certainly don’t want the masses to understand that real median household net worth is lower today than it was in 1969. Luckily for the oligarchs, 95% of the public couldn’t define the terms: real, median or net worth. Math is hard.

The average person is inundated on a 24/7 basis with pabulum from liberal network media talking heads, CNBC Wall Street shills regurgitating whatever their sponsors desire, Fox News blonde bimbos and neo-con war mongers programmed to spew Rupert Murdoch talking points, MSNBC tingling leg faux journalists, NYT intellectually corrupt Nobel prize winners, NAR nitwits repeating “best time to buy” on a daily basis for the last 12 years, and government agencies whose sole purpose is to manipulate data in a way that supports the agenda of those in power. The intellectually lazy and willfully ignorant masses are no match for those who control the message and the media. How else can you explain their ability to convince millions of drones to line up for hours in front of a store and stampede like crazed hyenas to grab a $5 crockpot, the Chinese produced gadget of the moment or a designer top made by slave labor in safety conscious Bangladesh factories? How else can you explain a population willing to be molested by government TSA dregs in the name of security from phantom terrorists, the passive acceptance of military exercises in US cities, unquestioning submissiveness as Presidential Executive Orders allow the government dictatorial powers based on their judgment, the monitoring of internet and voice correspondence of all citizens, and believing that FBI agents luring clueless teenage Muslim dupes into fake terrorist plots, providing the fake explosives, and then announcing with great fanfare how they saved us from another 9/11?

But, the prize for boldest, most outrageous, blatant use of propaganda and misinformation to cover-up their criminal looting of America goes to Ben Bernanke, his cronies at the Federal Reserve, and the Wall Street banks that own and control our Central Bank. Having the gall to portray themselves as the stabilizer of our economic system over the last 100 years is a putrid joke on the dying and broke middle class. Their mandate has been stable prices, full employment, and avoiding financial crisis. It is a tribute to Bernays and the rest of the public relations swine that the average American actually believes inflation is a good thing and it is under control despite the FACT that 96.2% of their purchasing power has disappeared since 1900, with the most rapid decline occurring since Nixon closed the gold window in 1971.

inflation-currency

The average American actually believes Ben Bernanke saved us from a Great Depression when in actuality he saved the owners of the Federal Reserve from accepting the losses they generated through the greatest financial fraud in history. His “solutions” have zombified our economic system, just as the Japanese Central Bank did 20 years ago. He has destroyed the concept of saving, while rewarding the indebted and profligate with his QE to Infinity money printing policies. And the ignorant masses have been convinced by the corporate media and their corrupt government lackeys that Ben did this for them. Kyle Bass knows otherwise. He knows how the Fed and their backers have preyed upon the masses through their understanding of human psychology:

“Humans are optimistic by nature. People’s lives are driven by hopes and dreams which are all second derivatives of their innate optimism. Humans also suffer from optimistic biases driven by the first inalienable right of human nature which is self-preservation. It is this reflex mechanism in our cognitive pathways that makes difficult situations hard to reflect and opine on. These biases are extended to economic choices and events. The primary difficulty with this train of thought is the bias that most investors have for the baseline facts: they tend to believe that the central bankers, politicians, and other governmental agencies are omnipotent due to their success in averting a financial meltdown in 2009.

Central banks have become the great enablers of fiscal profligacy. The overarching belief is that there will always be someone or something there to act as the safety net. The safety nets worked so well recently that investors now trust they will be underneath them ad-infinitum. Markets and economists alike now believe that quantitative easing (“QE”) will always “work” by flooding the market with relatively costless capital. Unlimited QE and the zero lower bound (“ZLB”) are likely to bankrupt pension funds whose expected returns happen to be a good 600 basis points (or more) higher than the 10?year “risk-free” rate. The ZLB has many unintended consequences that are impossible to ignore.

Our belief is that markets will eventually take these matters out of the hands of the central bankers. These events will happen with such rapidity that policy makers won’t be able to react fast enough. The fallacy of the belief that countries that print their own currency are immune to sovereign crisis will be disproven in the coming months and years. Trillions of dollars of debts will be restructured and millions of financially prudent savers will lose large percentages of their real purchasing power at exactly the wrong time in their lives. Again, the world will not end, but the social fabric of the profligate nations will be stretched and in some cases torn. Sadly, looking back through economic history, all too often war is the manifestation of simple economic entropy played to its logical conclusion. We believe that war is an inevitable consequence of the current global economic situation.” Kyle Bass

What’s Normal in a Profoundly Abnormal Society?

“The real hopeless victims of mental illness are to be found among those who appear to be most normal. Many of them are normal because they are so well adjusted to our mode of existence, because their human voice has been silenced so early in their lives, that they do not even struggle or suffer or develop symptoms as the neurotic does.” They are normal not in what may be called the absolute sense of the word; they are normal only in relation to a profoundly abnormal society. Their perfect adjustment to that abnormal society is a measure of their mental sickness. These millions of abnormally normal people, living without fuss in a society to which, if they were fully human beings, they ought not to be adjusted.” Aldous Huxley – Brave New World Revisited

No sane person could honestly say that what has happened to our society over the last forty years, and particularly in the last five years, is normal. But somehow those in power have convinced the masses that $1.2 trillion deficits, 0% interest rates, declining real wages, the highest average gas prices in history, pre-emptive wars, policing the world and buying rubber dog shit produced in China with a credit card is normal and beneficial to our economy. It seems that I and a few million other people in this country are the abnormal ones. We choose not to be led to slaughter by our masters. The seekers of truth have turned to the alternative media and are able to connect with like-minded critical thinking individuals on websites like Zero Hedge, Jesse’s Americain Café, Of Two Minds, Mish, Financial Sense, among many other truth seeking blogs. This is dangerous to the powers that be and they are using their political clout and extreme wealth to try and lock down and control free speech on the internet. If this is accomplished all hope at disseminating truth will be lost.

Abraham Lincoln once said that he believed in the people and that if you told them the truth and gave them the cold hard facts they would meet any crisis. That may have been true in 1860, but not today. The cold hard facts are available for all to see:

  • A $16.3 trillion National Debt
  • 47 million people on food stamps
  • Over $222 trillion of unfunded Federal entitlement liabilities
  • Over $5 trillion of unfunded State entitlement liabilities
  • True unemployment above 20%.
  • True inflation above 5%.
  • A stock market at the same level as 1999, with a 10 year expected annual return of less than 4% – Stocks for the really, really long run. 10 year bond returns of 0% will be a miracle.
  • A savings rate of 3.7% and with Bernanke’s ZIRP, no incentive to save. Real hourly earnings continue to fall.

  • Baby Boomers within 10 years of retirement have saved an average of only $78,000, and more than a third of them have less than $25,000. More than half of U.S. workers have no retirement plan at all.
  • A crumbling, decaying infrastructure, with 150,000 structurally deficient bridges, bursting water mains, and an overstressed electrical grid.
  • Horrific government public education producing millions of low functioning morons.
  • Rotting social fabric, with 40% of children born out of wedlock (72% of black children) and a 50% divorce rate.
  • An energy policy based upon unicorns farting rainbows and press releases about green energy and the miracle of shale fracking, as average gas prices in 2012 and 2011 were the highest in U.S. history.

As the pitiful excuses for statesmen in Washington D.C. pander and posture about the dreaded fiscal cliff which was purposely created by the oligarchs as a show for the masses, none of the true issues above are being addressed. The dramatic compromise that will ultimately be reached between the equally corrupt parties will be hailed by the corporate media and Wall Street shysters and an HFT supercomputer engineered stock market rally will ensue. The cowardice of these politicians is revolting. As Huxley knew in 1958, politicians and propagandists prefer nonsense and storylines to truth, knowledge and honesty.

“Human beings act in a great variety of irrational ways, but all of them seem to be capable, if given a fair chance, of making a reasonable choice in the light of available evidence. Democratic institutions can be made to work only if all concerned do their best to impart knowledge and to encourage rationality. But today, in the world’s most powerful democracy, the politicians and the propagandists prefer to make nonsense of democratic procedures by appealing almost exclusively to the ignorance and irrationality of the electors.”Aldous Huxley – Brave New World Revisited

We want to be lied to because the truth is too painful. Hope and denial with a dash of delusion is the recipe the mindless masses prefer. The average person doesn’t want to understand the chart below. They want to believe the U.S. will dominate economically and lead the world for decades to come. We are still the bright shining beacon of democracy on the mountaintop. Even though the facts unequivocally reveal a declining empire, the masses desperately grasp at straws in the wind. The United States share of world GDP will be vastly lower in 2021, as the hubris of declining empires never allows them to take the necessary steps to reverse the decline (Rome, Great Britain).  

It is fitting that during this magical Christmas season of fantasy, delusion, debt fueled material over-consumption and fairy tales, we look at the biggest fairy tale of all – the great jobs recovery. I know from the two thousand Obama campaign commercials I was forced to watch in the last few months and 500 robo-calls at dinner every night that we’ve added 4 million jobs due to Obama’s wise economic policies. The magical journey from a 10.3% unemployment rate to a 7.9% rate is a humdinger. I stumbled across a myriad of charts on those truth-telling websites that I had previously mentioned.

 “You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you mad.” Aldous Huxley

The first chart that grabbed my attention shows the historical relationship between the U3 unemployment rate reported to the masses versus the U6 truer picture of unemployment, along with the percentage of people unemployed for longer than 15 weeks. A funny thing happened shortly after the election of Barack Obama. From 1994 through 2008 the gap between the U3 and U6 rates consistently ranged between 3% and 4%. Suddenly, the gap surged to 7% and currently sits at almost 8%. The figure reported to the masses of 7.9% is so much easier to digest than the 15% to 17% that captures the truer level of unemployment. If the gap between these two figures had remained at the levels of the previous 14 years, the unemployment that should be reported to the masses would be 11%. That is unacceptable to those in power, so the data is massaged and the propaganda machine spins the storyline necessary to confuse and mislead the masses.

 

The next two charts from Mike Shedlock again reveal truths the existing social order doesn’t want you to know. Even though the working age population has grown by 10 million people since 2008, the BLS expects critical thinking people to believe the labor force has only grown by 1.3 million people. You see, the unemployment rate is calculated using the labor force. If your economic policies don’t create jobs, just adjust the labor force dramatically lower based on nothing. In desperate economic times, people do not voluntarily leave the workforce. Only a non-thinking drone would believe that 8.7 million Americans voluntarily left the workforce since 2008, when only 4 million left the workforce from 2003 through 2007. It is not a coincidence that student loan debt, which was taken over by the Obama administration in 2009 rose by $300 billion. Those in power have doled out these billions with no concern for credit risk or academic credentials in order to reduce the number of people in the labor force. Unemployed union Twinkie workers seeking a new career in lesbian studies can get a $20,000 loan from the American taxpayer to sit in their basement along with the 500,000 other University of Phoenix enrollees. The future $300 billion taxpayer bailout was worth it to keep the unemployment rate low enough to insure Obama’s re-election.      

The Obama PR machine never fails to expound upon the fact that the economy added 4.9 million jobs since January 2009. In the same timeframe, uncovered employment rose by 6.6 million. Inquiring minds might want to know what an “uncovered” job entails. Selling your accumulated Chinese crap on Ebay is an uncovered job. Calling yourself a consultant while sleeping until noon is an uncovered job. Day trading Facebook and Apple stock is an uncovered job. Trash picking is an uncovered job. The truth is that real jobs are 1.7 million lower than they were at the depths of the recession, while bullshit jobs paying virtually nothing and offering no benefits have surged by 6.6 million. These facts don’t make a great campaign commercial. The number of employed Americans is at the same level as mid-2005, even though the working age population has grown by 18 million. Since 2008 there are 3 million less full-time jobs and 3 more part-time jobs. This trend is accelerating as small businesses react rationally to the oncoming Obamacare train, resulting in aggregate work hours declining and wage growth stagnating.

Zero Hedge reveals more truth about our glorious jobs recovery with the following two charts. They obliterate the false narrative spun by liberal ideologues that the reason for the increase of those not in the labor force is due to Baby Boomers retiring. The truth is that while those in the 55-69 age brackets have gained nearly 4 million jobs under President Obama, everyone else has lost just over 2.5 million jobs. Is this a positive development or a sign of extreme desperation among older Americans who have seen their interest income vaporized by Ben Bernanke and there food, energy, and healthcare expenses skyrocket?

Those in their prime earning years of 25 to 54 still have a net cumulative loss of 2.2 million jobs since 2009. Recent college graduates, with their billions of student loan debt, have nabbed 400,000 TGI Fridays jobs, singing happy birthday to 3 year olds, with their newly minted college degrees. This is the “normal” healthy jobs market sold to the American public by the propagandists and politicians.

The final jobs chart that portrays the truth of what has been a decades’ long spiral downward paints a picture of a country that once created wealth through producing goods from the 1940s through 1970. Since 1970 we’ve degenerated into a debt creating country that consumes foreign produced goods and makes entitlement promises it can never keep. Selling houses to each other, peddling crap on Ebay, and eating out three times a week has shockingly failed to propel our economy. The jobs picture has deteriorated rapidly since 2008 and is not improving, despite the best propaganda money can buy. There is absolutely no chance of any substantive improvement over the next four years based on the policies in place and refusal to acknowledge the economic realities that we face.

The accumulation of material possessions through the use of consumer debt, peddled by bankers and reinforced through relentless corporate marketing propaganda has left the country’s citizens weary, miserable, greedy, indebted and sick. Our obsession with technology has merely provided another means of distracting ourselves from confronting the dire challenges that must be addressed. We can ignore the facts but that doesn’t mean they do not exist. The abnormality that grips this nation is breathtaking to behold, as the status quo cheer on and encourage consumers to buy more things with money they don’t have in order to support an economic recovery that is dependent upon zero interest rates for Wall Street banks, QE to infinity, and the delusional desire for a miraculous return to the good old days when getting something for nothing was possible. We can no longer deny reality. If we want to add 30 million people to Medicaid, it must be paid for. If we want to wage never ending wars and police the world, it must be paid for. If we want a Federal government to spend $3.8 trillion per year, it must be paid for. Nothing is free in this world, but more than 50% of Americans seem to believe that to be true.

“Our economy is based on spending billions to persuade people that happiness is buying things, and then insisting that the only way to have a viable economy is to make things for people to buy so they’ll have jobs and get enough money to buy things.” Philip Elliot Slater

We are seen by those in control as nothing more than common house flies caught in their web of lies. Your owners don’t care about you. They only care about their own wealth and power. They want to control and manipulate you. They want to keep you enslaved in debt and running on the treadmill of consumption. They want passive, non-critical thinking drones to do the menial service jobs that remain in this country, while they use their control of our financial, political, tax, and legal systems to ransack and pillage the wealth of the dwindling middle class. The truth is the continuation of our current economic system is mathematically impossible. Your owners know this. This is why the use of propaganda, misinformation, fake data, and false storylines has taken on astronomical proportions. The time for passivity and accepting the deceitfulness of our leaders is coming to an end. While you’re waiting in line this Christmas season at Wal-Mart to purchase a fabulously priced shirt that only required the deaths of 112 Bangladesh slave laborers, try to figure out how we got here. Your owners think they have you by the balls.

“They spend billions of dollars every year lobbying to get what they want. Well, we know what they want; they want more for themselves and less for everybody else. But I’ll tell you what they don’t want—they don’t want a population of citizens capable of critical thinking. They don’t want well informed, well educated people capable of critical thinking. They’re not interested in that. That doesn’t help them. That’s against their interest. You know something, they don’t want people that are smart enough to sit around their kitchen table and figure out how badly they’re getting fucked by a system that threw them overboard 30 fucking years ago. Because the owners of this country know the truth, it’s called the American Dream, because you have to be asleep to believe it.” George Carlin

How many Americans are awake enough to handle the truth?

All I want for Christmas is the truth.

DYSFUNCTIONAL, DISHONEST, INSANE & INTOLERABLE

170 comments

Posted on 21st October 2012 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

“I agree to this Constitution with all its faults, if they are such: because I think a General Government necessary for us, and there is no Form of Government but what may be a Blessing to the People if well-administered; and I believe farther that this is likely to be well administered for a Course of Years and can only end in Despotism as other Forms have done before it, when the People shall become so corrupted as to need Despotic Government, being incapable of any other.” Ben Franklin

In my last article – Decline, Decay, Denial, Delusion & Despair I tied my observations about the obesity epidemic after a weekend in Wildwood NJ to the overall decay and degradation of the American culture. I had further reflections, but the article was already too long. These musings centered upon the complete dysfunction of government and delusion of politicians who think they can create value by seizing money from taxpayers, creating programs and controlling our lives. The incompetence, arrogance, ineptitude and insanity of government officials at the Federal, State, and Local level are stunning to behold. A story from the local Wildwood newspaper crystallized why Wildwood and thousands of municipalities across the country continue to spiral downward as government assumes more hegemony over our economy and day to day lives. We need to ask ourselves whether we the people are getting better government service and efficiency today; with government spending at 35% to 40% of GDP, than we did in the 1950’s and early 1960’s when government spending was 20% to 25% of GDP.

I doubt that most people are getting 60% more value from our benevolent government today than they did in the 1950’s. The GDP of the United States was $300 billion in 1950. Today it is $15.6 trillion, a 5,200% increase in 62 years. Sounds pretty impressive until you realize that 4,500% was due to Federal Reserve scientifically created inflation. But don’t worry. Ben Bernanke’s assures us inflation is well contained. The 5,200% increase in GDP was blown away by the 9,100% increase in total government spending since 1950. When most people talk about government spending, they refer to the $3.8 trillion per year spent by the corrupt politicians and obtuse government bureaucrats in Washington, D.C. But, witless state and local politicians spend another $2.6 trillion of your tax dollars per year. The charts below detail the descent into a nanny state over the last six decades, where government has stepped in to the breach as the provider of healthcare, retirement savings, welfare, food stamps, housing, phones, cable, and SSDI if you get depressed by that non-existent inflation.

 

In the 1950’s defense accounted for a significant portion of government spending due to the Cold War and Korean conflict. Government did provide a safety net for the less fortunate during the 1950s, but people were also supported by their extended families, neighbors, churches, local communities, and charitable organizations. Medicare, Medicaid, and Food Stamps did not exist in the 1950s, and somehow, without government intervention, people were not dying in the streets or starving to death. The economy boomed as America was the manufacturer for the world. The middle class grew as blue collar jobs were plentiful and Americans took advantage of educational opportunity to move into white collar professions. Government did useful things like creating the Interstate highway system and beginning space exploration. What government did not do was create a class of dependent people who relied upon the government for their day to day existence. The transformation to a nanny state has not only created millions of non-productive members of society, but it can only be sustained by borrowing and passing the bill on to future unborn generations. This un-payable liability is the ultimate consequence of government spending outpacing GDP by 75% over the last six decades.

Johnny Can’t Add – Send Him to College

“The average American college fails… to achieve its ostensible ends. One failure… of the colleges lies in their apparent incompetence to select and train a sufficient body of intelligent teachers. Their choice is commonly limited to second-raters, for a man who really knows a subject is seldom content to spend his lifetime teaching it: he wants to function in a more active and satisfying way, as all other living organisms want to function. There are, of course, occasional exceptions to this rule, but they are very rare, and none of them are to be found in the average college. The pedagogues there incarcerated are all inferior men who really know very little about the things they pretend to teach, and are too stupid or too indolent to acquire more…. Being taught by them is roughly like being dosed in illness by third-year medical students.” H.L. Mencken

I watched the two candidates, chosen for us by our overlords, debate this past week and blather on endlessly about education being the key to our future success. As you can see from the charts above, government spending on education has remained constant at 14% of total government spending. In 1950, education spending totaled 3.3% of GDP. Today it totals 5.6% of GDP. We are spending $900 billion per year on education and making our kids dumber by the day. There are 50 million government controlled public school students and $600 billion is spent to educate them. One wonders where the $12,000 per student per year is being allocated, considering the lack of critical thinking skills, ability to write a comprehensible sentence or even the most basic math skills of the dullards that are being matriculated into society. The majority of that funding couldn’t possibly be wasted on administration, bureaucracy, union pension and healthcare benefits, and supporting the 5,000 control freaks at the Department of Education and their $100 billion budget.

The rest of the $300 billion of government spending on education is being funneled towards luring young people into debt so they can attain a college degree that will land them a part time job at Ruby Tuesdays. The hundreds of billions in Federal student loans being syphoned from the taxpayers and handed out to unsuspecting dupes has resulted in $1 trillion of student loan debt outstanding, up from $600 billion in 2008 and $200 billion in 2000. This mountain of debt makes subprime mortgages look like a good risk. Since 2008, the Federal government has intentionally accelerated the disbursement of student loans in an effort to obfuscate the true level of unemployment in this country, as people enrolled in college are not considered unemployed. The looming bailout of this grand taxpayer theft will be colossal, as the delinquency rate of student loans not in their grace period already exceeds 18%. This should not come as a surprise, as even though 10 million more people have entered the working age population since 2008, there are 3 million less people employed than in 2008. Subsidizing kids who aren’t intelligent enough to graduate community college and shelling out billions to middle aged laid off blue collar dudes so they can get an on-line degree from the University of Phoenix or the myriad of other worthless blood sucking diploma mills, is a despicable waste of taxpayer money.

Politicians continuously churn out talking points about how they are going to fix education, when it has been government control and intervention in the education market that has devastated the youth of our country. The government controlled education system has produced a vast swath of non-critical thinking, non-questioning, vacuous, materialistic, iGadget addicted nimrods. By subsidizing students who don’t have the aptitude, intelligence or preparedness to achieve a college degree, the government has artificially created the large increases in tuition. False government subsidized demand combined with limited supply leads to higher prices. It happened with housing and it is happening in college education. Government bureaucrats are so proud of their achievement in driving college enrollment to a record high of 21.6 million, up from 15.4 million in 2000. The percentage of 18- to 24-year-olds enrolled in college has soared from 35.5% in 2000 to over 42.0% today. The trend of young people enrolling in college has been relentlessly higher. Based on this data, you would think the youth of our fine country are the best and brightest in history. You’d be wrong.

There is one slight problem with that storyline – FACTS. SAT scores for the high-school graduating class of 2012 fell in two of the test’s three sections, with Reading dropping to the lowest level in four decades on the college-entrance test. Only 43% of the 1.66 million private and public school students who took the college-entrance exam posted scores showing they are prepared to do well in college, according to data released by the College Board, the nonprofit group that administers the SAT. The SAT data mirror scores from the ACT college-entrance exam which showed about 75% of students failed to meet college-readiness standards. The graduating class of 2012 posted an average score of 496 (491 for public school seniors) in Reading, a one-point drop from 2011 and a 34-point decline since 1972. Writing dropped to 488 (481 for public school seniors) this year from 489 in 2011, the lowest score since that section was introduced in 2006. The average Math score was 514 (505 for public school seniors), virtually unchanged since 2007, but down by four points since 2006 and essentially flat over the last forty years. The decline from 1960 is even more dramatic.

SAT

To put it bluntly, the dumbest graduating high school class in forty years has the highest college enrollment percentage in history. To put the dreadful results detailed above in further perspective, there will be 3.4 million graduating seniors in the country. The 1.7 million seniors who took the SAT exam were the cream of the crop. Imagine how dumb the 50% who didn’t even attempt to take the exam must be. These results show that only 700,000 of all the graduating high school seniors (21%) are capable of getting a B minus or above in college. A critical thinking individual might ask why 42% of all 18 to 24 year olds are enrolled in college. And the answer is The Government. There are 13 million 18 to 24 year olds enrolled in college and at least 6 million of them should not be in college, based upon their actual intellectual abilities. Do you think tuition rates would be skyrocketing if these 6 million kids were not being subsidized with Federal government loans to occupy space at second rate colleges and for profit diploma mills across the land?

Where’s My Daddy

“Every third American devotes himself to improving and lifting up his fellow citizens, usually by force; the messianic delusion is our national disease.” H.L. Mencken

While the government continues to promote, encourage and subsidize insane solutions to our educational dysfunction, they declare we must “invest” more in education. We need more teachers, more money, more programs, more standardized government created tests, and more government control. This drivel is peddled to the dumbed down masses by politicians and the mainstream media and who could possibly disagree? We must invest in our children. They are our future. Again, facts keep getting in the way of a good yarn. The United States spends $3,000 more per student than the average OECD country. We spend 75% more than South Korea per student.

Based on spending alone, our children should have the highest test scores on earth. We missed by that much. Sadly, the average American high school graduate doesn’t have the math skills to understand the chart below, so I’ll interpret it for them. We suck at math. Math is hard and hurts our brains, so we would rather twitter and text. Korea seems to be getting a nice bang for their buck. I wonder if it has anything to do with two parent families that care about education, good teachers, a rigorous curriculum, and hardworking students. I wonder if Korean schools concentrate on social justice, multi-culturalism, the joys of diversity, promoting ego enhancement and rewarding mediocrity. Despite being 2nd in the world in spending per student, our students ranked 25th out of 34 countries in math and science scores. We’ve kept this information from our children because we don’t want to hurt their self-esteem. Everyone gets a trophy in America just for showing up. The job of teachers and educators is to inspire children and create a desire to learn, question and think. Filling their minds with rote government sanctioned pabulum and drugged up on Adderall is not the way to create critical thinking young adults.

The government bureaucrats and teachers unions declare that if we just had more teachers all would be well. Our top notch, dedicated, overburdened union teachers are just being crushed by their unbearable 9 month workload, one month of holidays, snow days, and in-service days, the grind of an 8 hour day and an average class size of 16 students. The facts are that in 1965, when SAT Reading scores were 542, the average class size for a public school teacher was 25 students. The number of students per teacher has dropped by 36% since 1965 and the public school SAT Reading scores reached a new low of 491 in 2012. Imagine how low the scores could go if we just hire another million teachers. Let’s be truthful. The majority of public school teachers in this country are mediocre at best. They are glorified babysitters. Students are unmotivated and distracted by their social media techno-gadgets. Parents, if there are two parents, are consumed by working, commuting, and their own techno-obsessions. The slow descent into national imbecility is almost complete.

Let’s not beat around the bush. As students learn less and less, taxpayers pay more and more. The Department of Education was created in 1979. This year they will spend over $80 Billion of your tax dollars on programs that will fail again. Teachers’ unions demand higher wages, pension payouts, and healthcare benefits, while thwarting efforts to fire poor performers. The Department of Education has not improved education. Its mandates, programs, and subsidies have destroyed any incentive to improve the system. The Department of Education should be eliminated, but neither party would ever do it. As States and municipalities across the land are forced to acknowledge the $2 trillion of unfunded pension liabilities owed to government union employees cannot be honored, the end of collective bargaining with the teacher’s unions will arrive. Taxpayers will revolt and refuse to pay for the gold plated benefits of second-rate teachers that produce students who can’t read, write or add.

In the politically correct society we inhabit today, you are not allowed to state the other obvious reason for the non-stop slide in test scores and the educational underachievement of our precious cherubs. In 1960, only 8% of families with a child under 18 were single parent households. Today, that number is 30%. The percentage of children born out of wedlock in this country is 41%, with 72% of black children born out of wedlock. Again, you can thank the government. You get more of what you encourage and subsidize. Government control over our educational system has created a nation of useful idiots who are compliant and malleable to whatever storyline their overlords announce through their media mouthpieces.

It’s no accident that in 1960, according to the Pew Research Center, five years before President Lyndon Johnson signed into law his War on Poverty, 61% of black adults were married. By 2008, this was down to 32%. In 1960, 2% of black children had a parent that had never been married. By 2008, this was up to 41%. The results speak for themselves:

  • 63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes
  • 90% of all homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes
  • 85% of all children who show behavior disorders come from fatherless homes
  • 80% of rapists with anger problems come from fatherless homes
  • 71% of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes
  • 75% of all adolescent patients in chemical abuse centers come from fatherless homes
  • 85% of all youths in prison come from fatherless homes.

By encouraging dependency and reliance upon the all-powerful government, the motivation to educate yourself, get married before having children, work hard, and pull yourself out of poverty is diminished. Self-reliance and responsibility for your own life is lessened because the government is there to provide the basic needs of all. It sounds wonderful until you consider the $100 trillion bill being passed to future generations so we can sustain our nanny state today. After decades of ever increasing government control over our lives and the accumulation of a Himalayan mountain of debt, why anyone would conclude that more government is the solution is beyond my comprehension.

May I Have Another Voucher Please?

“The most dangerous man to any government is the man who is able to think things out for himself, without regard to the prevailing superstitions and taboos. Almost inevitably he comes to the conclusion that the government he lives under is dishonest, insane, and intolerable…” H.L. Mencken

This brings me to the story in the Cape May County Herald that captures the insanity of government and how government solutions create unintended consequences that require more government solutions, ultimately creating such havoc and disarray that intelligent people just give up and move somewhere else. The story detailed all of the undercover operations of the Middle Township police department and the 77 arrests they made in Rio Grande for narcotics distribution, robberies, and assaults over the last year and a half. Rio Grande is a backwater town of 2,670 people living in a 3 square mile area, a few miles from Wildwood. One might wonder how a sleepy tiny seashore town could have such a crime epidemic. Well this one sentence from the article provides a clue:

With the majority of the twelve motels in the township that accept social services vouchers lining the highway, Route 47 seems to be a hotbed for crime in the township.    

It seems the community of Rio Grande supports the 43 Middle Township police officers with a tremendous level of job security. The police were confused as to why so much crime was centered at the year-round motels in Rio Grande. It seems their fellow government associates like to play hot potato with convicted criminals. The State Department of Corrections paroles the lowlife felons and puts them on a bus back to the county in which they were sentenced. The Cape May County Social Services then uses taxpayer money to provide a free housing voucher to the criminals whose families refuse to take them back. The dilapidated motels that have to accept these social services vouchers in order to survive in this terrible economy then end up filled with drug dealing troublemaking delinquents. In case you were considering a nice vacation stay at a Rio Grande motel, you should know there are currently 24 parolees living in Rio Grande motels as well as 20 Megan’s Law offenders. I bet they have some wild parties on Friday nights. I’m sure this news will do wonders for property values in Rio Grande. I was thrilled to find out that my home away from home – Wildwood – is the only place with more motels accepting these social services housing vouchers, with 15. That may help illuminate the reasons for the ten blocks of squalor that make up the heart of downtown Wildwood.

The story actually gets better. Governmental dysfunction and insanity has been taken to a new level, as described by the chief of police:

“What we found out with this funding, and this is particularly disturbing, is that the only way someone’s funding can be revoked is if they are involved activities that result in their own homelessness,” said Leusner. He gave an example of a resident at a motel that might commit a theft, break into someone’s car or shoplift and be arrested. If let go on their own recognizance, that person still receives a voucher. “They can’t revoke their funding,” said the chief. “I think that’s wrong. If you commit a crime and you victimize someone in that general area, your funding should be revoked.”

So the taxpayer has already footed the bill for a criminal’s stay in prison, pays for their free housing while still making their own mortgage payment, pays for the added police personnel to arrest them for their new crimes, and still pays for their housing after they are arrested again for committing crimes in their community. I’m sure Paul Krugman would see this as a wonderful example of Keynesian economics propelling the nation’s GDP. Government spending on housing vouchers results in more employment of police officers, revenue for motel owners, revenue for the construction industry to repair the motels after the drug crazed parties, revenue for the drug dealers, revenue for security firms and gun dealers as citizens scramble to protect themselves, and ultimately more employment of prison guards when the derelicts are eventually sent back to prison. It’s a government created dysfunctional cycle of insanity.

The cherry on top of this atrocious example of a bloodsucking government destroying its host is what happened when motel owners met with police and agreed to police the situation themselves. The motel owners immediately contacted Social Services whenever one of their parasite guests were seen doing or dealing drugs and would tell them they didn’t want them in their motel. Due to governmental confidentiality rules Social Services could not inform the police of this information. These government drones would then place the drug addict at another motel two blocks away without informing them about the prior complaints. This is the ultimate result of government run amuck. By putting complete faith in the wisdom of politicians and bureaucrats, we are left with a system that is consuming itself and what little remains of our national wealth.

Liberty & Critical Thinking

“All government, of course, is against liberty.” H.L. Mencken

Nothing in this world gets better as it gets bigger. The bigger an organization becomes, the less efficient, less responsive, less fair, less compassionate and less functional it becomes. Government attracts mediocre, low IQ, power hungry, narrow minded, paper pushing, rules oriented, dimwits who think they can run your life better than yourself. This applies across the board from the highest levels in Washington D.C. to your local school board. There is no problem that another law, statute, program, or initiative, funded by your tax dollars or future generations, that a politician or government pencil pusher doesn’t think they can’t solve. They are just too dense to anticipate the unintended consequences of their arrogant belief in their own wisdom.

Government programs created in the 1960s created a culture of dependency, government control, relentlessly higher debt, materialism, and willful ignorance. As government has grown in power, the people have sunk to the level of feudal serfs living in indentured servitude to their overlords. The government overlords and their banking and corporate co-conspirators created the educational system that produces the flaccid, oblivious, pliable dolts that make up the majority of the populace. As we’ve seen, government subsidization of dysfunctional lifestyles and dreadful government education provided to children from these households creates a corrupt, criminal culture that engenders calls for more government programs to fix the problems created by previous government programs. This is why government spending has far outpaced GDP growth over the last six decades. It’s a cycle of dysfunction and ultimately destruction, as the crony capitalists and government parasites suck the remaining life from our decaying economic system.

It always comes back to who benefits from such a dysfunctional, dishonest, insane, intolerable system. If the population had not been dumbed down through our educational system and was capable of critical thinking they would realize the corporate media propaganda used to turn them into materialistic, narcissistic consumers, along with easy access to consumer debt has lured them into debt servitude and impoverishment, while their overlords are enriched and empowered. Our education system sucks because our overlords need it to suck.

“There’s a reason that education sucks, and it’s the same reason it will never ever ever be fixed. It’s never going to get any better, don’t look for it. Be happy with what you’ve got. Because the owners of this country don’t want that. I’m talking about the real owners now, the big, wealthy, business interests that control all things and make the big decisions.

I’ll tell you what they don’t want—they don’t want a population of citizens capable of critical thinking. They don’t want well informed, well educated people capable of critical thinking. They’re not interested in that. That doesn’t help them. That’s against their interest.” George Carlin

The question remains. Can a small minority of critical thinking citizens lead a revolution that topples the existing social order and restores the Republic to its founding principles of liberty, self-responsibility, civic duty, and mutual obligation to future generations? The original Ron Paul led Tea Party movement was hijacked and defused by the overlords. The original OWS movement, with its focus on the criminal Wall Street banks, was crushed through brute force and corporate media propaganda. The few remaining citizens capable of critical thought need to decide whether they will fight for the country we should be or bow down to the overlords and accept that we have become so corrupted as to need a despotic government, being incapable of any other. The choice is ours.



 

 

FOR A FEW DOLLARS MORE – PART ONE

345 comments

Posted on 29th September 2012 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Where life had no value, death, sometimes, had its price. That is why the bounty killers appeared. - For a Few Dollars More

 

“Tell me, isn’t a sheriff supposed to be courageous, loyal and, above all, honest?” - Man with No Name – For a Few Dollars More

Whenever I get an idea for an article I plan to keep it short and sweet. But it never seems to work out that way. Once I start typing, the articles tend to grow exponentially. It happened again with my attempt to make sense of how the United States of America managed to screw our finances up so badly, that an epic collapse is within view to people with their eyes open to facts and the truth. You don’t end up in the predicament we find ourselves in today due to a couple minor mistakes over a short time frame. It took thousands of horrible choices, colossal doses of delusion, a heaping of stupidity, and a mountain of denial over decades to put us on the brink of economic collapse. An unholy amalgamation of demographics, fiat currency, debt, taxes, power and greed have led us to this point. Next we experience collapse, revolution and ultimately, retribution.

Since I’ve identified four major rationales for our impending doom, I’ve decided to write a four part series that can be read in small doses, rather than one enormous article. I don’t want anyone to miss tonight’s episode of Dancing With the Stars, get distracted from the Royal Wedding preparations, or skip the best reality TV show ever – Ben Bernanke’s press conference, while reading an 8,000 word article about the end of America. The four part series will have a Clint Eastwood theme. For a Few Dollars More will address the Baby Boomer impact on America’s decline. A Fistful of Dollars will examine how the creation of the Federal Reserve and the income tax in 1913 set us on a path to ruin. Outlaw Josey Wales will scrutinize the looting of America by a small group of powerful, connected, super rich men lurking in the shadows, but pulling the strings on our puppet politicians. Lastly, Unforgiven  will detail the impending collapse of our economic system and the retribution that will be handed out to the guilty.

Over the last few weeks there seems to be consensus among many financial bloggers, whose credibility is far more trustworthy than the corporate mainstream media, that the country is teetering on the verge of economic collapse due to the complete capture of the government, financial, regulatory, and media by a small group of oligarchs. They have also been described as the super rich, plutarchs, ruling elite, and scum sucking leeches. The bloggers that I have the utmost respect for, including Jesse, Charles Hugh Smith, Mike Shedlock, Yves Smith and Gonzalo Lira have all come to the logical conclusion the horrific economic situation of the country is a direct result of the greed, corruption, fraud, and plundering by a powerful connected group of rich financiers operating without fear of being brought to justice by the authorities.

While pondering the ruminations of these dedicated truth tellers, I was reminded of the Clint Eastwood Spaghetti Western For a Few Dollars More. The quotes above are representative of living in the USA today. There are supposed to be courageous, loyal and honest sheriffs that protect the citizens from crime, corruption and evil doers. But, just as we saw in the Old West of Clint Eastwood movies, the sheriffs are always corrupt and bought off by the evil cattle barons. In a world where life has no value and you can’t rely on law enforcement to protect your interests, the citizens eventually will need to turn to bounty hunters to take care of the bad guys. The bounty hunters of truth reside on the internet. They reside at Zero Hedge, Jesse’s Café Americain, Of Two Minds, Mish, Chris Martenson, and dozens of other anarchist websites. When you can’t trust your government, your bankers, your church, your media, or mega-corporate CEOs, you need to seek the truth where it can be found. The insightful bloggers who courageously print the truth on a daily basis have unanimously concluded that a small band of powerful elite have accumulated undue influence and control over this country, having brought it to the verge of economic collapse. How did this happen? Who is responsible? Why were they permitted to gain this power?

Boomers Come of Age

“If those in charge of our society – politicians, corporate executives, and owners of press and television – can dominate our ideas, they will be secure in their power. They will not need soldiers patrolling the streets. We will control ourselves.” – Howard Zinn

Whenever I direct any blame for our economic woes towards the Baby Boom generation they react as expected. They blame the GI Generation for creating the welfare state. They declare that Generation X and the Millenials are just as greedy and self centered as the Boomers. Boomers are great at blaming, ridiculing and acting pompously, while taking no responsibility for their actions and more importantly their inaction. This generation cannot avoid their responsibility for the state of affairs. They like to take credit for their stand against the Vietnam War and their protests against the man during the 1960s. They don’t like to take credit for turning into materialistic, greedy, selfish, short-term focused bastards. When a generation of 76 million people decides to go in a particular direction, the country will go in that direction. While blaming FDR and the GIs who stormed the beaches of Normandy for creating the unfunded Social Security and Medicare liabilities, the Boomers have been voting since the mid-1960s and have been in control of corporate America and the levers of government since the early 1980s.

The U.S. Congress is dominated by Baby Boomers today and has been dominated by this generation since the 1990s. The Senate has 60 Boomers out of 100, while the House of Representatives has 254 Boomers out of 435 members. Boomers occupied the White House from 1992 through 2008. They have had the political power and control of the agenda for two decades and have failed miserably. Rather than do what was best for the country for the long-term, they took the expedient, easy, vote getting route. Promise more than you could ever deliver and let future generations worry about the consequences. Not one true noble statesman has arisen from this generation of myopic, self centered “Me Generation” political hacks. Even as the country nears the precipice, they continue to address the great issues of the day with talking points supplied by other Baby Boomer PR maggots from Park Avenue. These weasels care not for the country, but worry only about poll numbers and the next election cycle. An apathetic public, dominated by the Baby Boom generation, has the attention span of a gnat. As long as they can make the lease payment on their Escalade, use one of their 15 credit cards at the Mall, be entertained by 600 cable TV stations, play with the latest iSomething, live in their McMansion for two years without making a mortgage payment and consume massive quantities of fast food, then any thoughts of future generations or civic duty are unnecessary. Live for today has been the rallying cry for the Boomer generation. Pot was their drug during the 1960s. Debt has been their drug since 1980.

The drug (debt) dealer for the Baby Boom generation has been the Wall Street mega-banks, coincidentally, run by Boomers. The entire corrupt financial industry is being run by Boomers. The CEOs, CFOs, and the thousands of Harvard MBA VPs that created the fraudulent derivative scheme to bilk billions from clueless municipalities, pension funds and American taxpayers are all Boomers. It is no coincidence that the great debt delusion began in the early 1980’s. Jim Kunstler captured the essence of Boomer transformation:

“The Baby Boomers came back from the land, clipped their pony tails, discovered venture capital, real estate investment trusts, securitization of “consumer” debt, and the Hamptons. Greed was good.”

The Boomer CEO hall of scam has been built on the brilliance and financial acumen of Lloyd (god’s work) Blankfein, Charlie (keep dancing) Prince, Jamie (friend of Obama) Dimon, and the king of the Boomers, Hank (the system is sound) Paulson. These mainstays of crony capitalism led the Boomer charge of greed, greed and more greed. The Baby Boomer generation has been the proverbial pig in a python working its way through the decades as presented below. By 1985, Boomers had entered the work force in full force with the entire generation between the ages of 25 and 42. It will be a great day when the python craps this pig of a generation out the other end.

It is not a coincidence the National Debt growth has far outstripped GDP growth since 1980. Boomers had been spoiled their whole lives and felt they deserved the goodies today while passing the bill to future generations. They voted for politicians who promised them more benefits, more programs, more subsidies, more tax breaks, more military adventures, and more pleasure. And this was “paid for” with more debt. Thirty five years of government debt declining as a percentage of GDP was reversed over the next thirty years starting in 1980, pushing it past the 90% tipping point in the last year. The country is over-indebted to the tune of $9 trillion on a current basis and $100 trillion on a long term accrual basis.

There is no better picture of Boomer decadence and myopia than an historical view of the national savings rate. The parents of the Boomers understood the meaning of sacrifice and investing in the future of the country. During World War II they bought US War Bonds to support the cause. From 1950 through 1985, the savings rate consistently ranged between 7% and 12%. Americans had this odd notion that if you saved more than you spent, you actually got ahead in life. Excess savings were used to invest in new plants and equipment that were used to produce goods and employ more Americans. By 1985, the Boomers considered these notions as quaint and old fashioned. The savings rate methodically declined until it went negative in 2006, just prior to the worldwide financial conflagration. Our inspirational Boomer president George (Mission Accomplished) Bush while waging two wars of choice, asked for the ultimate sacrifice from the Boomers. He solemnly urged them to buy a GM SUV with $0 down and 0% interest for 7 years, so we could defeat the terrorists. The Boomers who ran GMAC were more than happy to make loans to people with no income so they could “purchase” a $40,000 ostentatious gas guzzling hog. They were doing their patriotic duty for the good of the nation. It brings a tear to my eye just thinking about it.

The Boomers not only heeded George’s call, but they did him proud by buying 8,000 sq ft McMansions with $0 down and negative amortization ARMs. Luckily, the executives at the mortgage origination sweatshops were Boomers. They found no good reason to verify income or assets before loaning someone $600,000, because they knew their fellow Boomers at the rating agencies would rate the bundles of these toxic shit loans as AAA so the Boomers on Wall Street could sell them to greater fools. GMAC’s exemplary subprime mortgage arm – Ditech, did a bang up job getting migrant Mexican workers into $450,000 homes in California’s inland empire. As the tsunami of bad debt swept toward shore, delusional Boomers across the land borrowed $500 billion against the inflated value of their McMansions and installed granite counter tops, stainless steel appliances, home theatres, elegant patios, Olympic sized pools, and with the excess home equity, leased a BMW or two. The first devastating tsunami wave hit in 2008 and wiped out billions in faux Boomer wealth. Instead of learning a brutal lesson and reverting back to saving and frugality, the “never say sacrifice” Boomers ventured out to where the waves had subsided looking for more trinkets and treasures.

Tsunami Warning by Mobile Phone

The next tsunami wave is on its way. The delusional Boomers will be surprised again.

The Boomer persona has been formed over the last five decades and the country will deal with the consequences for decades to come. The clean cut Beaver Cleaver children of the 1950s turned into the pot smoking Dobie Gillis of the 1960’s, then into the slimy Gordon Gekkos of the 1980s and ultimately into the eternal wealth seeking Gollums of today.

 

  

This Boomer debt orgy over the last thirty years would have made Caligula blush. Of course, none of this could have happened without the Creature from Jekyll Island. I will address this aspect of our fate in Fistful of Dollars – Part Two.

Now for the righteous indignation from the Boomers that think I have unfairly lumped them all together as one. Their reactions are predictable. Even though they have had the means, the power and the time to reverse the course of USS Titanic, they plowed full steam ahead into the abyss. The GI Generation is dead. Generation X doesn’t hold the reins of power. The Boomer generation needs to look in the mirror to recognize who is to blame.  I’m sure there are a few good Boomers out there somewhere, but as a generation they have failed this country and our unborn generations miserably.

THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY – PART THREE

94 comments

Posted on 29th September 2012 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

“You see in this world there’s two kinds of people, my friend. Those with loaded guns, and those who dig. You dig.” –  Blondie – The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

“There are two kinds of people in the world, my friend. Those who have a rope around their neck and those who have the job of doing the cutting.” – Tuco – The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

The economic peril that we find ourselves confronted with, has been ninety-eight years in the making. The confluence of debt, demographics, delusion, and denial has left the country at the precipice of annihilation. There are two kinds of people in the world, those who control the money and those that are controlled by those who control the money. The last century has been marked by a methodical looting of the good (working middle class) by the bad (Federal Reserve & bankers) and supported by the ugly (Washington D.C. politicians). When historians pinpoint the year in which the Great American Empire began its downward spiral they will conclude that year to be 1913. In this dark year for the Republic, slimy politicians, at the behest of the biggest bankers in the country, created a private central bank that has since controlled the currency of the United States. This same Congress staked their claim as the most damaging group of politicians in US history by passing the personal income tax in the same year. These two acts unleashed the two headed monster of inflation and taxation on the American people.

The government began keeping official track of inflation in 1913, the year the Federal Reserve was created. The CPI on January 1, 1914 was 10.0. The CPI on January 1, 2011 was 220.2. This means that a man’s suit that cost $10 in 1913 would cost $220 today, a 2,172% increase in ninety-eight years. This is a 95.6% loss in purchasing power of the dollar.  The average American does not understand the insidious nature of central bank created inflation. It makes you think you are wealthier while you are driven into abject poverty. The Federal Reserve and politicians have pulled the wool over your eyes. The CPI was 30.9 in 1964. Today, it is 223.5. This means prices have risen 723% since 1964. The only problem is your wages have not risen at the same rate, even using the government manipulated CPI. Using a true CPI figure, average weekly earnings are 64% below what they were in 1964. This explains why a family of five could live well with one parent working in 1964, but even with both parents working and accumulating debt in prodigious amounts, the average family cannot live as well today.

It is not a coincidence that the percentage of the working age population employed bottomed in 1964 at 59%. The participation rate rose steadily for the next thirty six years, topping out in 2000 at 67.1%. The employment to population ratio also bottomed at 55% in 1964. It rose to 64.4% by 2000. It seems that future historians will mark the year 2000 as the peak of the American Empire. Apologists for the Federal Reserve and politicians who have steered this country since 1964 would argue the increase in the percentage of the population working was a positive development. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The American middle class was forced to send both parents into the workforce just to keep up with the ever declining real weekly earnings. The Federal Reserve created inflation has methodically destroyed the American dream for the middle class. As both parents had to go into the workforce, American children were left to fend for themselves or be raised by strangers in daycare centers. The pressure of trying to keep up with inflation strained families to the breaking point. The number of divorces per thousand marriages was 10 in the early 1960s. It more than doubled to 22.6 by 1980 and still resides at 17 today. There are many factors for the disintegration of the traditional family unit, but the financial strain on families to maintain a consistent standard of living due to relentless inflation has been a key factor.

From the founding of our country there had been constant conflict between corrupt bankers trying to control the currency of the nation to further their own enrichment at the expense of the people and a few courageous leaders willing to fight them. The bankers won the century old battle in 1913.

Den of Vipers & Thieves

“I too have been a close observer of the doings of the Bank of the United States. I have had men watching you for a long time, and am convinced that you have used the funds of the bank to speculate in the breadstuffs of the country. When you won, you divided the profits amongst you, and when you lost, you charged it to the Bank…You are a den of vipers and thieves. I have determined to rout you out and, by the Eternal, I will rout you out.” - Andrew Jackson

The First Bank of the United States was created in 1791. Alexander Hamilton, the 1st Secretary of the Treasury, proposed this bank and convinced a hesitant President Washington to agree. John Adams and Thomas Jefferson were against the concept. It favored the moneyed classes of the North versus the agrarian South. The bank was given a 20 year charter and President James Madison let it expire in 1811. He understood the true nature of the banking interests:

“History records that the money changers have used every form of abuse, intrigue, deceit, and violent means possible to maintain their control over governments by controlling money and its issuance”.

Madison had to renew the charter in 1816 as the War of 1812 resulted in large government debts. Politicians always turn to bankers when funding wars and programs to get them re-elected. As usual, once unshackled, the bankers immediately caused a boom through their loose monetary policies. The Bank created a fake boom by 1818 through its reckless lending, which encouraged speculation in land. This lending allowed almost anyone to borrow money and speculate in land, sometimes doubling or even tripling the prices of land (remind you of another time in recent history?). In the summer of 1818, the national bank managers realized the bank’s massive over-extension, and instituted a policy of contraction and the calling in of loans. This recalling of loans simultaneously curtailed land sales and slowed the U.S. production boom due to the recovery of Europe. The result was the Panic of 1819. There was a wave of bankruptcies, bank failures, and bank runs; prices dropped and wide-scale urban unemployment struck the country. By 1819 many Americans did not have enough money to pay off their property loans. Do you see any difference between 1816 – 1819 and 2005 – 2011? Central banks don’t eliminate financial panics, they cause them. Booms and busts have always existed. They have become more common and extreme since the unleashing of greedy corrupt central bankers in the U.S., going back two centuries.

Andrew “Old Hickory” Jackson became President in 1829 and proceeded to declare war on the Second National Bank. He was the first and only President in U.S. history to pay off the National Debt. He worked tirelessly to rescind the charter of the Second Bank of the United States. His reasons for abolishing the bank were:

  • It concentrated the nation’s financial strength in a single institution.
  • It exposed the government to control by foreign interests.
  • It served mainly to make the rich richer.
  • It exercised too much control over members of Congress.
  • It favored northeastern states over southern and western states.

President Jackson believed that only Congress should be responsible for the issuance and control of the currency. Delegating that duty to powerful New York bankers was distasteful to him:

“If Congress has the right to issue paper money, it was given to them to be used … and not to be delegated to individuals or corporations”

President Jackson vetoed the extension of their bank charter in 1832. He redirected government tax revenue to other state banks.  The Second Bank of the United States was left with little money and, in 1836, its charter expired and it turned into an ordinary bank. Five years later, the former Second Bank of the United States went bankrupt. Those who believe that a central bank is essential to economic progress need to examine the “free banking” period from 1837 to 1861. In the last five years of the Second Bank’s existence prices rose by 28%. Over the next 25 years, prices in the U.S. fell by 11%. We experienced the dreaded deflation. Did deflation destroy America? Not quite. GDP grew from $1.5 billion in 1836 to $4.6 billion in 1861. Deflation is only fatal to debtors. Inflation is the friend of lenders and the moneyed classes.

The American Civil War brought about the National Banking Act of 1863, which created a network of national banks. Politicians always need bankers to fight their wars and Abraham Lincoln was no different. By 1870 there were 1,638 national banks. This did not eliminate the booms and busts that punctuate human history, but the booms and busts were not scientifically created by a small cabal of bankers. With thousands of banks, those who made bad lending decisions failed. The economy withstood the periodic panics and continued to grow. The GDP of the U.S. grew from $7.6 billion in 1863 to $39 billion by 1913, with virtually no inflation. The Federal government ran surpluses or very small deficits during this entire time period. These facts refute the argument that a strong central bank was necessary to keep our economic system operating smoothly. It seems the Big Lie was not invented by the Nazis.

Creature from Jekyll Island – Control the Money, Control the Country

“I am a most unhappy man. I have unwittingly ruined my country. A great industrial nation is controlled by its system of credit. Our system of credit is concentrated. The growth of the nation, therefore, and all our activities are in the hands of a few men. No longer a government by free opinion, no longer a government by conviction and vote of majority, but a government by the opinion and duress of a small group of dominant men.”President Woodrow Wilson

Any impartial assessment of inflation throughout the history of the United States confirms that from the beginning of our nation through the War of 1812, the Mexican American War, the Civil War, the Spanish American War and the Industrial Revolution, the country experienced virtually no inflation as bankers were kept from controlling the U.S. currency and our legal tender was backed by gold. The creation of the Federal Reserve in 1913 and the closing of the gold window by Richard Nixon in 1971 unleashed a tsunami of inflation that continues to inundate our country today, killing the once prosperous middle class.

The Rothschilds of London understood that a fiat currency system would benefit the few (bankers & politicians) who understood it and the masses would be too ignorant to understand they were being screwed:

“Those few who can understand the system (check book money and credit) will either be so interested in its profits, or so dependent on it favors, that there will be little opposition from that class, while on the other hand, the great body of people mentally incapable of comprehending the tremendous advantage that capital derives from the system, will bear it burdens without complaint, and perhaps without even suspecting that the system is inimical to their interests.”

The House of Rothschild had been the dominant banking family in Europe for two centuries. They were known for making fortunes during Panics and War. Some claimed they would cause Panics in order to take advantage of those who panicked. American bankers learned the lesson well. The Panic of 1907 was the used as the reason for creating the Federal Reserve. A small cabal of powerful U.S. banking interests understood that if they could control the currency of the U.S., they could control the country, its politicians, and its people.

In 1906, Frank Vanderlip, Vice President of the Rockefeller owned National City Bank, convinced many of New York’s banking establishment they needed a banker-controlled central bank that could serve the nation’s financial system. Up to that time, the House of Morgan had filled that role. JP Morgan had initiated previous panics in order to initiate stronger control over the banking system. Morgan initiated the Panic of 1907 by circulating rumors the Knickerbocker Bank and Trust Co. of America was going broke. There was a run on the banks creating a financial crisis which began to solidify support for a central banking system. During this panic Paul Warburg, a Rothschild associate, wrote an essay called “A Plan for a Modified Central Bank” which called for a Central Bank in which 50% would be owned by the government and 50% by the nation’s banks.

In November 1910 a secret conference took place on Jekyll Island off the coast of Georgia. Those in attendance were:  Paul Warburg, Bernard Baruch, Senator Nelson Aldrich, Colonel House, Frank Vanderlip, Benjamin Strong, Charles Norton, Jacob Schiff, and Henry Davison. From this meeting of the most powerful bankers and politicians in the country came the plan for a Central Bank. This conference was unknown until 1933. In 1935, Frank Vanderlip wrote in the Saturday Evening Post: “I do not feel it is any exaggeration to speak of our secret expedition to Jekyll Island as the occasion of the actual conception of what eventually became the Federal Reserve System.”

Behind the scenes these powerful men were formulating the plan for a Federal Reserve System. There was no outcry from the public to implement this plan. The public knew nothing of this. The Aldrich Plan was renamed the Federal Reserve Act and pushed forward by Paul Warburg and Colonel House. Warburg essentially wrote the Act and pressured Congressmen to see his way or lose the next election. Colonel House, who had socialist leanings, was the top advisor to President Wilson.

 

The Glass Bill (the House version of the final Federal Reserve Act) had passed the House on September 18, 1913 by 287 to 85. On December 19, 1913, the Senate passed their version by a vote of 54-34. More than forty important differences in the House and Senate versions remained to be settled, and the opponents of the bill in both houses of Congress were led to believe that many weeks would elapse before the Conference bill would be taken up. The Congressmen prepared to leave Washington for the annual Christmas recess, assured that the Conference bill would not be brought up until the following year. The creators of the bill then pulled the ultimate swindle on the American public. In a single day, they ironed out all forty of the disputed passages in the bill and quickly brought it to a vote. On Monday, December 22, 1913, the bill was passed by the House 282-60 and the Senate 43-23. This meant that the single most important piece of legislation ever passed by the Senate was missing the votes of 26 Senators because it was passed during the Christmas recess. President Wilson, at the urging of Bernard Baruch, signed the bill on December 23, 1913.

File:Fed Reserve.JPG

The Road to Hell is Paved by Central Bankers

“Banking was conceived in iniquity, and was born in sin. The Bankers own the Earth. Take it away from them, but leave them the power to create deposits, and with the flick of the pen, they will create enough deposits, to buy it back again. However, take it away from them, and all the great fortunes like mine will disappear, and they ought to disappear, for this would be a happier and better world to live in. But if you wish to remain the slaves of Bankers, and pay the cost of your own slavery, let them continue to create deposits.” – Sir Josiah Stamp (President of the Bank of England in the 1920’s, the second richest man in Britain)

 

The results speak for themselves. The Federal Reserve has been in existence for ninety eight years and over that time the U.S. Dollar has lost 95.6% of its purchasing power. In other terms, the bankers who have controlled our currency since 1913 have generated 2,172% of inflation in just under a century. In the prior one hundred years, when the country was growing by leaps and bounds, there was virtually no inflation. I’m not sure the average person fully understands this concept. To put it in layman’s terms, something that cost $4.40 in 1913 will cost you $100 today. A pair of boys’ school shoes cost 98 cents in 1913. You could purchase three loaves of bread for 10 cents. You could purchase six rolls of toilet paper for 26 cents. The truly frightening impact on the American middle class has happened since Richard Nixon closed the gold window in 1971 and allowed the Federal Reserve to print money unfettered by consequences and slimy politicians to make irresponsible unfulfilled promises as bribes for votes. This chart should worry even the most ignorant of the masses.

Items 1971 2010/11 % Increase
Average Cost of new house $28,000 $273,000 975%
Median HH Income $10,300 $47,000 456%
Average Monthly Rent $150 $750 500%
Cost of a gallon of Gas $0.40 $3.80 950%
Average New Car Price $3,430 $29,200 851%
United States postage Stamp $0.08 $0.44 550%
Movie Ticket $1.50 $7.89 526%

 

Even with the proliferation of two worker households since 1971, household income has not come close to keeping up with the costs of daily living. The average American’s standard of living has declined dramatically over the last forty years and they don’t even know it. Americans have become the slaves of bankers and pay the cost of their own slavery through inflation and debt. It is not a coincidence that consumer debt, which was virtually non-existent prior to the 1960s, began to take off in the 1970s and went nearly parabolic from the early 1990s until the 2008 financial collapse. As the Federal Reserve and political class created inflation, which reduced your standard of living, the bankers who own the Federal Reserve and control the politicians used their slick marketing machine to convince you that acquiring goods using vast quantities of debt was just as good as buying things with cash you saved.

Who benefits from inflation and the issuance of trillions in debt to average Americans? Based upon the decades of gargantuan Wall Street profits, mammoth bonuses paid to bank executives, and fact that Washington politicians absconded with trillions from American taxpayers to save their Wall Street masters, it appears that bankers and politicians are the beneficiaries. A gutted, indebted, jobless, demoralized middle class were the recipients of the downside of inflation and debt. Without a Central Bank issuing a fiat currency, with no constraints, none of this could have happened.

The Federal Reserve is primarily responsible for the destruction of the American middle class. In 1915, according the Federal Reserve annual report, they operated with 35 total employees. Today, they operate with over 20,000 employees and the cost to operate the system exceeds $3.3 billion. The Federal Reserve has failed on every one of its stated mandates:

  • It was created to stabilize the banking system and keep bank panics from occurring. Within sixteen years of its creation it caused the near collapse of the banking system and the Great Depression. The stagflation of the 1970s was caused by Fed policies. The Savings & Loan crisis was created by their policies. The internet bubble, housing bubble and eventual financial collapse were caused by Federal Reserve blunders. There have been 18 recessions since the creation of the Federal Reserve.
  • The stable prices mandate has been a wretched failure, as the Fed has manufactured 2,171% of inflation and destroyed 96% of the currency’s purchasing power. This manufactured inflation has enabled the creation of our welfare/warfare state.
  • The Federal Reserve mandate of moderate long-term interest rates has clearly not been met. The Fed Funds Rate has plotted a path of extremes over the decades, ranging from 0% to 19%, not exactly stable. The Federal Reserve has consistently set rates too low, leading to credit bubbles, which always pop and end in recession or depression.
  • The mandate of maximum employment has also been a miserable failure. The easy credit policy of the Federal Reserve during the 1920s led to the Great Depression with unemployment rates exceeding 20%. Unemployment has averaged between 5% and 15% consistently since the formation of the Federal Reserve. The true unemployment rate today exceeds 15%.
  • The Federal Reserve was supposed to supervise and control the activities of banks. Instead, under Alan Greenspan and Ben Bernanke, they stepped aside and let banks take preposterous risks while giving an unspoken assurance that the Fed would clean up any messes they caused with their debt based enrichment schemes. This total dereliction of duty and gross regulatory negligence led the greatest financial collapse in history.

The American working middle class (Good) have been deceived by the Federal Reserve, the banks that control them (Bad) and the Washington DC political class (Ugly) into believing that a fiat currency, un-backed by gold, supported by systematic inflation is beneficial to their wealth. This has been the Big Lie for the last century and has positioned the country for an epic collapse. Presidential candidate Ron Paul has been the lone voice of sanity in Washington DC for the last two decades and his assessment of the Federal Reserve while questioning Ben Bernanke in 2009 needs to be understood by every American:

“The Federal Reserve in collaboration with the giant banks has created the greatest financial crisis the world has ever seen. The foolish notion that unlimited amounts of money and credit created out of thin air can provide sustainable economic growth has delivered this crisis to us. Instead of economic growth and stable prices, (The Fed) has given us a system of government and finance that now threatens the world financial and political institutions. Pursuing the same policy of excessive spending, debt expansion and monetary inflation can only compound the problems that prevent the required corrections. Doubling the money supply didn’t work, quadrupling it won’t work either. Buying up the bad debt of privileged institutions and dumping worthless assets on the American people is morally wrong and economically futile.”

I’ve now completed three parts of the five part series, documenting the downfall of the great American Empire. Part four, Outlaw Josey Wales, will scrutinize the looting of America by a small group of powerful, connected, super rich men lurking in the shadows, but pulling the strings on our puppet politicians. Lastly, Unforgiven  will detail the impending collapse of our economic system and the retribution that will be handed out to the guilty.

The smell of revolution is in the air.

Part One – For a Few Dollars More

Part Two – Fistful of Dollars

ARE YOU SEEING WHAT I’M SEEING?

242 comments

Posted on 17th September 2012 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Is it just me, or are the signs of consumer collapse as clear as a Lowes parking lot on a Saturday afternoon? Sometimes I wonder if I’m just seeing the world through my pessimistic lens, skewing my point of view. My daily commute through West Philadelphia is not very enlightening, as the squalor, filth and lack of legal commerce remain consistent from year to year. This community is sustained by taxpayer subsidized low income housing, taxpayer subsidized food stamps, welfare payments, and illegal drug dealing. The dependency attitude, lifestyles of slothfulness and total lack of commerce has remained constant for decades in West Philly. It is on the weekends, cruising around a once thriving suburbia, where you perceive the persistent deterioration and decay of our debt fixated consumer spending based society.

The last two weekends I’ve needed to travel the highways of Montgomery County, PA going to a family party and purchasing a garbage disposal for my sink at my local Lowes store. Montgomery County is the typical white upper middle class suburb, with tracts of McMansions dotting the landscape. The population of 800,000 is spread over a 500 square mile area. Over 81% of the population is white, with the 9% black population confined to the urban enclaves of Norristown and Pottstown.

The median age is 38 and the median household income is $75,000, 50% above the national average. The employers are well diversified with an even distribution between education, health care, manufacturing, retail, professional services, finance and real estate. The median home price is $300,000, also 50% above the national average. The county leans Democrat, with Obama winning 60% of the vote in 2008. The 300,000 households were occupied by college educated white collar professionals. From a strictly demographic standpoint, Montgomery County appears to be a prosperous flourishing community where the residents are living lives of relative affluence. But, if you look closer and connect the dots, you see fissures in this façade of affluence that spread more expansively by the day. The cheap oil based, automobile dependent, mall centric, suburban sprawl, sanctuary of consumerism lifestyle is showing distinct signs of erosion. The clues are there for all to see and portend a bleak future for those mentally trapped in the delusions of a debt dependent suburban oasis of retail outlets, chain restaurants, office parks and enclaves of cookie cutter McMansions. An unsustainable paradigm can’t be sustained.

The first weekend had me driving along Ridge Pike, from Collegeville to Pottstown. Ridge Pike is a meandering two lane road that extends from Philadelphia, winds through Conshohocken, Plymouth Meeting, Norristown, past Ursinus College in Collegeville, to the farthest reaches of Montgomery County, at least 50 miles in length. It served as a main artery prior to the introduction of the interstates and superhighways that now connect the larger cities in eastern PA. Except for morning and evening rush hours, this road is fairly sedate. Like many primary routes in suburbia, the landscape is engulfed by strip malls, gas stations, automobile dealerships, office buildings, fast food joints, once thriving manufacturing facilities sitting vacant and older homes that preceded the proliferation of cookie cutter communities that now dominate what was once farmland.

Telltale Signs

 

 

I should probably be keeping my eyes on the road, but I can’t help but notice the telltale signs of an economic system gone haywire. As you drive along, the number of For Sale signs in front of homes stands out. When you consider how bad the housing market has been, the 40% decline in national home prices since 2007, the 30% of home dwellers underwater on their mortgage, and declining household income, you realize how desperate a home seller must be to try and unload a home in this market. The reality of the number of For Sale signs does not match the rhetoric coming from the NAR, government mouthpieces, CNBC pundits, and other housing recovery shills about record low inventory and home price increases.

The Federal Reserve/Wall Street/U.S. Treasury charade of foreclosure delaying tactics and selling thousands of properties in bulk to their crony capitalist buddies at a discount is designed to misinform the public. My local paper lists foreclosures in the community every Monday morning. In 2009 it would extend for four full pages. Today, it still extends four full pages. The fact that Wall Street bankers have criminally forged mortgage documents, people are living in houses for two years without making mortgage payments, and the Federal Government backing 97% of all mortgages while encouraging 3.5% down financing does not constitute a true housing recovery. Show me the housing recovery in these charts.

Existing home sales are at 1998 levels, with 45 million more people living in the country today.

New single family homes under construction are below levels in 1969, when there were 112 million less people in the country.

Another observation that can be made as you cruise through this suburban mecca of malaise is the overall decay of the infrastructure, appearances and disinterest or inability to maintain properties. The roadways are potholed with fading traffic lines, utility poles leaning and rotting, and signage corroding and antiquated. Houses are missing roof tiles, siding is cracked, gutters astray, porches sagging, windows cracked, a paint brush hasn’t been utilized in decades, and yards are inundated with debris and weeds. Not every house looks this way, but far more than you would think when viewing the overall demographics for Montgomery County. You wonder how many number among the 10 million vacant houses in the country today. The number of dilapidated run down properties paints a picture of the silent, barely perceptible Depression that grips the country today. With such little sense of community in the suburbs, most people don’t even know their neighbors. With the electronic transfer of food stamps, unemployment compensation, and other welfare benefits you would never know that your neighbor is unemployed and hasn’t made the mortgage payment on his house in 30 months. The corporate fascist ruling plutocracy uses their propaganda mouthpieces in the mainstream corporate media and government agency drones to misinform and obscure the truth, but the data and anecdotal observational evidence reveal the true nature of our societal implosion.

A report by the Census Bureau this past week inadvertently reveals data that confirms my observations on the roadways of my suburban existence. Annual household income fell in 2011 for the fourth straight year, to an inflation-adjusted $50,054. The median income — meaning half earned more, half less — now stands 8.9% lower than the all-time peak of $54,932 in 1999. It is far worse than even that dreadful result. Real median household income is lower than it was in 1989. When you understand that real household income hasn’t risen in 23 years, you can connect the dots with the decay and deterioration of properties in suburbia. A vast swath of Americans cannot afford to maintain their residences. If the choice is feeding your kids and keeping the heat on versus repairing the porch, replacing the windows or getting a new roof, the only option is survival.

US GDP vs. Median Household Income

All races have seen their income fall, with educational achievement reflected in the much higher incomes of Whites and Asians. It is interesting to note that after a 45 year War on Poverty the median household income for black families is only up 19% since 1968.

real household income

Now for the really bad news. Any critical thinking person should realize the Federal Government has been systematically under-reporting inflation since the early 1980’s in an effort to obscure the fact they are debasing the currency and methodically destroying the lives of middle class Americans. If inflation was calculated exactly as it was in 1980, the GDP figures would be substantially lower and inflation would be reported 5% higher than it is today. Faking the numbers does not change reality, only the perception of reality. Calculating real median household income with the true level of inflation exposes the true picture for middle class America. Real median household income is lower than it was in 1970, just prior to Nixon closing the gold window and unleashing the full fury of a Federal Reserve able to print fiat currency and politicians to promise the earth, moon and the sun to voters. With incomes not rising over the last four decades is it any wonder many of our 115 million households slowly rot and decay from within like an old diseased oak tree. The slightest gust of wind can lead to disaster.

Eliminating the last remnants of fiscal discipline on bankers and politicians in 1971 accomplished the desired result of enriching the top 0.1% while leaving the bottom 90% in debt and desolation. The Wall Street debt peddlers, Military Industrial arms dealers, and job destroying corporate goliaths have reaped the benefits of financialization (money printing) while shoveling the costs, their gambling losses, trillions of consumer debt, and relentless inflation upon the working tax paying middle class. The creation of the Federal Reserve and implementation of the individual income tax in 1913, along with leaving the gold standard has rewarded the cabal of private banking interests who have captured our economic and political systems with obscene levels of wealth, while senior citizens are left with no interest earnings ($400 billion per year has been absconded from savers and doled out to bankers since 2008 by Ben Bernanke) and the middle class has gone decades seeing their earnings stagnate and their purchasing power fall precipitously.

 

The facts exposed in the chart above didn’t happen by accident. The system has been rigged by those in power to enrich them, while impoverishing the masses. When you gain control over the issuance of currency, issuance of debt, tax system, political system and legal apparatus, you’ve essentially hijacked the country and can funnel all the benefits to yourself and costs to the math challenged, government educated, brainwashed dupes, known as the masses. But there is a problem for the 0.1%. Their sociopathic personalities never allow them to stop plundering and preying upon the sheep. They have left nothing but carcasses of the once proud hard working middle class across the country side. There are only so many Lear jets, estates in the Hamptons, Jaguars, and Rolexes the 0.1% can buy. There are only 152,000 of them. Their sociopathic looting and pillaging of the national wealth has destroyed the host. When 90% of the population can barely subsist, collapse and revolution beckon.

Extend, Pretend & Depend

As I drove further along Ridge Pike we passed the endless monuments to our spiral into the depths of materialism, consumerism, and the illusion that goods purchased on credit represented true wealth. Mile after mile of strip malls, restaurants, gas stations, and office buildings rolled by my window. Anyone who lives in the suburbs knows what I’m talking about. You can’t travel three miles in any direction without passing a Dunkin Donuts, KFC, McDonalds, Subway, 7-11, Dairy Queen, Supercuts, Jiffy Lube or Exxon Station. The proliferation of office parks to accommodate the millions of paper pushers that make our service economy hum has been unprecedented in human history. Never have so many done so little in so many places. Everyone knows what a standard American strip mall consists of – a pizza place, a Chinese takeout, beer store, a tanning, salon, a weight loss center, a nail salon, a Curves, karate studio, Gamestop, Radioshack, Dollar Store, H&R Block, and a debt counseling service. They are a reflection of who we’ve become – an obese drunken species with excessive narcissistic tendencies that prefers to play video games while texting on our iGadgets as our debt financed lifestyles ultimately require professional financial assistance.

What you can’t ignore today is the number of vacant storefronts in these strip malls and the overwhelming number of SPACE AVAILABLE, FOR LEASE, and FOR RENT signs that proliferate in front of these dying testaments to an unsustainable economic system based upon debt fueled consumer spending and infinite growth assumptions. The booming sign manufacturer is surely based in China. The officially reported national vacancy rates of 11% are already at record highs, but anyone with two eyes knows these self-reported numbers are a fraud. Vacancy rates based on my observations are closer to 30%. This is part of the extend and pretend strategy that has been implemented by Ben Bernanke, Tim Geithner, the FASB, and the Wall Street banking cabal. The fraud and false storyline of a commercial real estate recovery is evident to anyone willing to think critically. The incriminating data is provided by the Federal Reserve in their Quarterly Delinquency Report.

The last commercial real estate crisis occurred in 1991. Mall vacancy rates were at levels consistent with today.

The current reported office vacancy rates of 17.5% are only slightly below the 19% levels of 1991.

As reported by the Federal Reserve, delinquency rates on commercial real estate loans in 1991 were 12%, leading to major losses among the banks that made those imprudent loans. Amazingly, after the greatest financial collapse in history, delinquency rates on commercial loans supposedly peaked at 8.8% in the 2nd quarter of 2010 and have now miraculously plummeted to pre-collapse levels of 4.9%. This is while residential loan delinquencies have resumed their upward trajectory, the number of employed Americans has fallen by 414,000 in the last two months, 9 million Americans have left the labor force since 2008, and vacancy rates are at or near all-time highs. This doesn’t pass the smell test. The Federal Reserve, owned and controlled by the Wall Street, instructed these banks to extend all commercial real estate loans, pretend they will be paid, and value them on their books at 100% of the original loan amount. Real estate developers pretend they are collecting rent from non-existent tenants, Wall Street banks pretend they are being paid by the developers, and their highly compensated public accounting firm pretends the loans aren’t really delinquent. Again, the purpose of this scam is to shield the Wall Street bankers from accepting the losses from their reckless behavior. Ben rewards them with risk free income on their deposits, propped up by mark to fantasy accounting, while they reward themselves with billions in bonuses for a job well done. The master plan requires an eventual real recovery that isn’t going to happen. Press releases and fake data do not change the reality on the ground.

I have two strip malls within three miles of my house that opened in 1990. When I moved to the area in 1995, they were 100% occupied and a vital part of the community. The closest center has since lost its Genuardi grocery store, Sears Hardware, Blockbuster, Donatos, Sears Optical, Hollywood Tans, hair salon, pizza pub and a local book store. It is essentially a ghost mall, with two banks, a couple chain restaurants and empty parking spaces. The other strip mall lost its grocery store anchor and sporting goods store. This has happened in an outwardly prosperous community. The reality is the apparent prosperity is a sham. The entire tottering edifice of housing, autos, and retail has been sustained by ever increasing levels of debt for the last thirty years and the American consumer has hit the wall. From 1950 through the early 1980s, when the working middle class saw their standard of living rise, personal consumption expenditures accounted for between 60% and 65% of GDP. Over the last thirty years consumption has relentlessly grown as a percentage of GDP to its current level of 71%, higher than before the 2008 collapse.

If the consumption had been driven by wage increases, then this trend would not have been a problem. But, we already know real median household income is lower than it was in 1970. The thirty years of delusion were financed with debt – peddled, hawked, marketed, and pushed by the drug dealers on Wall Street. The American people got hooked on debt and still have not kicked the habit. The decline in household debt since 2008 is solely due to the Wall Street banks writing off $800 billion of mortgage, credit card, and auto loan debt and transferring the cost to the already drowning American taxpayer.

The powers that be are desperately attempting to keep this unsustainable, dysfunctional debt choked scheme from disintegrating by doling out more subprime auto debt, subprime student loan debt, low down payment mortgages, and good old credit card debt. It won’t work. The consumer is tapped out. Last week’s horrific retail sales report for August confirmed this fact. Declining household income and rising costs for energy, food, clothing, tuition, taxes, health insurance, and the other things needed to survive in the real world, have broken the spirit of Middle America. The protracted implosion of our consumer society has only just begun. There are thousands of retail outlets to be closed, hundreds of thousands of jobs to be eliminated, thousands of malls to be demolished, and billions of loan losses to be incurred by the criminal Wall Street banks.

The Faces of Failure & Futility

My fourteen years working in key positions for big box retailer IKEA has made me particularly observant of the hubris and foolishness of the big chain stores that dominate the retail landscape.  There are 1.1 million retail establishments in the United States, but the top 25 mega-store national chains account for 25% of all the retail sales in the country. The top 100 retailers operate 243,000 stores and account for approximately $1.6 trillion in sales, or 36% of all the retail sales in the country. Their misconceived strategic plans assumed 5% same store growth for eternity, economic growth of 3% per year for eternity, a rising market share, and ignorance of the possible plans of their competitors. They believed they could saturate a market without over cannibalizing their existing stores. Wal-Mart, Target, Best Buy, Home Depot and Lowes have all hit the limits of profitable expansion. Each incremental store in a market results in lower profits.

My trip to my local Lowes last weekend gave me a glimpse into a future of failure and futility. Until 2009, I had four choices of Lowes within 15 miles of my house. There was a store 8 miles east, 12 miles west, 15 miles north, and 15 miles south of my house. In an act of supreme hubris, Lowes opened a store smack in the middle of these four stores, four miles from my house. The Hatfield store opened in early 2009 and I wrote an article detailing how Lowes was about to ruin their profitability in Montgomery County. It just so happens that I meet a couple of my old real estate buddies from IKEA at a local pub every few months. In 2009 one of them had a real estate position with Lowes and we had a spirited discussion about the prospects for the Lowes Hatfield store. He assured me it would be a huge success. I insisted it would be a dud and would crush the profitability of the market by cannibalizing the other four stores. We met at that same pub a few months ago. Lowes had laid him off and he admitted to me the Hatfield store was a disaster.

I pulled into the Lowes parking lot at 11:30 am on a Saturday. Big Box retailers do 50% of their business on the weekend. The busiest time frame is from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm on Saturday. Big box retailers build enough parking spots to handle this peak period. The 120,000 square feet Hatfield Lowes has approximately 1,000 parking spaces. I pulled into the spot closest to the entrance during their supposed peak period. There were about 70 cars in the parking lot, with most probably owned by Lowes workers. It is a pleasure to shop in this store, with wide open aisles, and an employee to customer ratio of four to one. The store has 14 checkout lanes and at peak period on a Saturday, there was ONE checkout lane open, with no lines. This is a corporate profit disaster in the making, but the human tragedy far overrides the declining profits of this mega-retailer.

As you walk around this museum of tools and toilets you notice the looks on the faces of the workers. These aren’t the tattooed, face pierced freaks you find in many retail establishments these days. They are my neighbors. They are the beaten down middle class. They are the middle aged professionals who got cast aside by the mega-corporations in the name of efficiency, outsourcing, right sizing, stock buybacks, and executive stock options. The irony of this situation is lost on those who have gutted the American middle class. When you look into the eyes of these people, you see sadness, confusion and embarrassment. They know they can do more. They want to do more. They know they’ve been screwed, but they aren’t sure who to blame. They were once the very customers propelling Lowes’ growth, buying new kitchens, appliances, and power tools. Now they can’t afford a can of paint on their $10 per hour, no benefit retail careers. As depressing as this portrait appears, it is about to get worse.

This Lowes will be shut down and boarded up within the next two years. The parking lot will become a weed infested eyesore occupied by 14 year old skateboarders. One hundred and fifty already down on their luck neighbors will lose their jobs, the township will have a gaping hole in their tax revenue, and the CEO of Lowes will receive a $50 million bonus for his foresight in announcing the closing of 100 stores that he had opened five years before. This exact scenario will play out across suburbia, as our unsustainable system comes undone. Our future path will parallel the course of the labor participation rate. Just as the 9 million Americans who have “left” the labor force since 2008 did not willfully make that choice, the debt burdened American consumer will be dragged kicking and screaming into the new reality of a dramatically reduced standard of living.

Connecting the dots between my anecdotal observations of suburbia and a critical review of the true non-manipulated data bestows me with a not optimistic outlook for the coming decade. Is what I’m seeing just the view of a pessimist, or are you seeing the same thing?

A few powerful men have hijacked our economic, financial and political structure. They aren’t socialists or capitalists. They’re criminals. They created the culture of materialism, greed and debt, sustained by prodigious levels of media propaganda. Our culture has been led to believe that debt financed consumption over morality and justice is the path to success. In reality, we’ve condemned ourselves to a slow painful death spiral of debasement and despair.

“A culture that does not grasp the vital interplay between morality and power, which mistakes management techniques for wisdom, and fails to understand that the measure of a civilization is its compassion, not its speed or ability to consume, condemns itself to death.” – Chris Hedges

order non hybrid seeds