TAKE IT TO THE BANK

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Posted on 17th November 2013 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

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iStock 000016651896Small 2 300x199 What to Do When Your Bank Branch Closes

Reports like the recent one from SNL Financial – Branch Networks Continue to Shrink really get my goat. As I travel the increasingly vacant highways of Montgomery County, PA I’m keenly aware of my surroundings. If I were a foreigner visiting for the first time, I’d think Space Available was the hot new retailer in the country. I’ve detailed the slow disintegration of our suburban sprawl paradise in previous articles:

Available

Are you Seeing What I’m Seeing?

More than 30 Blocks of Grey and Decay

Extend & Pretend Coming to an End

Thousands of Space Available signs dot the bleak landscape, as office buildings, strip malls, and industrial complexes wither and die. Gas stations are shuttered on a daily basis as the ongoing depression results in less miles being driven by unemployed and underemployed suburbanites. At least the Chinese “Space Available” sign manufacturers are doing well. The only buildings doing brisk business are the food banks and homeless shelters.

 

The sad part is that I live in a relatively prosperous county with a low level of SNAP recipients and primarily occupied by a white collar college educated populace. If the clear downward spiral in my upper middle class county is an indication of our country’s path, the less well-off counties across the land must be in deep trouble.

While hundreds of thousands of square feet of retail, restaurant, office and industrial space have been vacated in the last six years, the only entities expanding in my area have been banks, drug stores, municipal buildings and healthcare facilities. I have been flabbergasted by what I’ve viewed as a complete waste of resources to create facilities that weren’t needed and wouldn’t be utilized. I have seven drug stores within five miles of my house. I have ten bank branches within five miles of my house. While two perfectly fine older hospitals in Norristown were abandoned, a brand new $300 million super deluxe, glass encased Einstein Hospital palace was built three miles away by a barely above junk bond status non-profit institution. None of this makes sense in a contracting economy.

This is another classic case of mal-investment spurred by the Federal Reserve easy money policies, zero interest rates, and QEternity. Cheap money leads to bad investments. I’m all for competition between drug store chains and banks. CVS, Walgreens, and Rite Aid are the three big chains in the country. I have my pick of multiple stores close to my house. There are clearly too many stores competing for a dwindling number of customers, with a dwindling supply of disposable income. The only reason Rite Aid is still in the picture is the easy money policies of the Federal Reserve. They have been teetering on the verge of bankruptcy for the last five years, but continue to get cheap financing from the Wall Street cabal, who would rather pretend they will get paid, than write-off the bad debt. Who in their right mind would continue to lend money to a company with $6 billion in debt, NEGATIVE $2.3 billion of equity, and losses exceeding $2 billion since 2008? They are the poster child for badly run businesses that over expanded, took on too much debt and should be liquidated. There are over 4,600 zombie Rite Aid stores littering the countryside waiting to be put out of their misery.

the walking dead season 4 rick grimes  rite-aid-corner-abandoned

Rite Aid will never repay the $6 billion of debt. They know it. Their auditors know it. Their Wall Street lenders know it. The Federal Reserve Bank regulators know it. Anyone with a functioning brain knows it. Tune in to CNBC for those who are paid to keep clueless investors from knowing it. Interest rates that actually reflected risk and weren’t manipulated to an artificially low level by the Federal Reserve would make financing for a dog like Rite Aid a non-starter. Creative destruction would be allowed to work its magic, with winners separated from losers. Instead Rite Aid continues as a zombie entity, barely surviving for now. This exact scenario applies to J.C. Penney, RadioShack, Sears and a myriad of other dead retailers walking. Rather than suffering the consequences of appalling management judgment, dreadful strategic decisions, and reckless financial gambles, they have been allowed to remain on life support compliments of Bernanke, his Wall Street chiefs, and the American taxpayer.

In a truly free, non-manipulated market the weak would be culled, new dynamic competitors would fill the void, and consumers would benefit.  Extending debt payment schedules of zombie entities and pretending you will get paid has been the mantra of the insolvent zombie Wall Street banks since 2009. The Federal Reserve is responsible for zombifying the entire country. And it wasn’t a mistake. It was a choice made by those in power in order to maintain the status quo. The fateful day in March 2009 when the pencil pushing lightweight accountants at the FASB rescinded mark to market accounting rules gave birth to zombie nation. And not coincidently, marked the bottom for the stock market. Wall Street banks were free to fabricate their earnings, pretend they didn’t have hundreds of billions in bad loans on their books, and extend the terms of commercial real estate loans that were in default. With their taxpayer funded TARP ransom, ability to borrow at 0% from Uncle Ben, and the $3 trillion of QE cocaine snorted up their noses in the last four years, the mal-investment, fraud, and idiocy of the Wall Street drug addicts has reached a crescendo.

Commerce Bank

The mal-investment by zombie drug store chains has only been exceeded by the foolish, egocentric, insane bank branch expansion by the Too Big To Trust Wall Street CEOs. In the last ten years dozens of bank branches have been built in the vicinity of my house and across the state of Pennsylvania. These gleaming glass TARP palaces are on virtually every other street corner across Montgomery County. Stunning, glittery, colorful branches stuffed with bank employees pretending to loan money to non-existent customers. They have become nothing but a high priced marketing billboard with an ATM attached. By 2010, the number of bank branches in this country had reached almost 100,000. The vast majority are run by the usual insolvent suspects:

Wells Fargo – 6,500

J.P. Morgan – 6,000

Bank of America – 5,700

The top ten biggest banks, in addition to holding the vast majority of deposits, mortgages and credit card accounts, operate 33% of all the bank branches in the country. The very same banks that have paid out $66 billion in criminal settlement charges over the last three years and have incurred $103 billion of legal fees to defend themselves against the thousands of actions brought by victims for their criminal misdeeds, decided it was a wise decision to open new bank branches from 2007 through 2010. Only an Ivy League educated MBA could possibly think this was a good idea.

It was almost as if the CEO’s of the biggest Wall Street banks didn’t care about pissing away the $2.5 million to build the average 3,500 square foot bank branch, which would require $30 million of deposits to breakeven. This level of deposits isn’t easy to achieve when your customers are unemployed due to your bank destroying the American economy, broke due to their real household income declining by 10% over the past fourteen years, and your bank paying them .15% on their deposits. It also probably doesn’t help when you charge them $3 every time they withdraw their own money from your bank and you charge them $25 when their bank balance falls below $1,000 because they just got laid off from Merck on Christmas Eve. It is now estimated that one-third of all bank branches in the country lose money. Who can afford to run something that consistently losses money, other than our government? Wall Street bankers can when the taxpayer is footing the bill and Bernanke/Yellen subsidizes their mal-investment by lending to them at 0%, providing them $2.5 billion per day of QE play money, and paying them $5 billion per year in interest to park the excess reserves that aren’t getting leant to small businesses and consumers at their thousands of gleaming bank branches.

Hasn’t one of the thousands of highly educated MBA vice presidents occupying offices at the Too Big To Control Wall Street banks explained to Stumpf, Dimon and Monyihan that bricks and mortar are dead? A new invention called the internet has made in-person banking virtually obsolete. Why does anyone need to go into a bank branch in this electronic age? I’ve been in my credit union branch five times in the last ten years, twice for a refinance closing on my home and a couple times to get a certified check. With ATM machines, direct deposit and on-line bill paying, why would the country need 100,000 physical bank locations? I pay 90% of my bills on-line. If I need cash, I hit the ATM at Wawa, where there are no ATM fees (my credit union doesn’t charge me to get my own money). The only people who go into bank branches on a regular basis are old fogeys that don’t trust that new-fangled internet. The older generations are dying out and the millennial generation has no need for bank branches. Their iGadgets function as their bank connection. Plus, since they don’t have jobs or money, a bank account at the local bank branch of J.P. Morgan seems a bit trite.

The writing had been on the wall for a long time, but the reckless bank executives continued to build branches in an ego driven desire to outdo their equally irresponsible competitor bank executives. Now the race is on to see which banks can close the most branches. Bank consultant Jim Adkins succinctly sums up the pure idiocy of physical bank branches:

“There’s almost nobody in the branches. You could shoot water balloons all over the place and not hit anybody.”

It seems my humble state of Pennsylvania leads the pack in closing branches in the past year, with 149 abandoned and only 43 opened. Only two states in the entire country had more branch openings than closings.

After shuttering 2,267 branches in 2012, the industry is on track to closing another 2,500 in 2013. Shockingly, the leader of the Wall Street zombie apocalypse, Bank of America, led the pack in bank branch closings with 194 in the last year. Staying true to his hubristic arrogance, Jamie Dimon actually opened 62 more branches than he closed in the last year, despite his upstanding institution having to pay tens of billions in fines, settlements and pay-offs for their criminal transgressions.

There are now 93,000 bank branches remaining in this country, and one third of them don’t generate a profit. That percentage will grow as the older generations rapidly die out and are replaced by the techno-narcissists who never leave their family rooms.  Online banking already accounts for 53% of banking transactions, compared with 14% for in-branch visits. Younger bank customers increasingly prefer online and mobile banking, as advancing technology enables them to make remote deposits, shop for loans and manage accounts more efficiently from their desktops or smartphones. This trend will only accelerate in the years to come.

Banking industry profits reached a record level of $141 billion in 2012 as more vacancy signs appeared on Main Street. Now that the Wall Street cabal have syphoned every ounce of blood from their customers/victims through ATM fees, overdraft fees, minimum balance fees, credit card fees, late payment fees, and paying no interest on deposits, they are forced to focus on the $300,000 average loss per bank branch. QE and ZIRP might not last forever. Yeah right. AlixPartners, a New York consulting firm, expects the number of bank branches to drop to 80,000 over the next decade. They are wrong. They have failed to take into account the lemming like behavior of Wall Street banks. As their accounting gimmicks to generate fake profits dissipate, the increasingly desperate insolvent zombie banks will rapidly vacate their prime corner locations in droves. With approximately 30,000 locations already generating losses, the Wall Street MBAs will be closing branches quicker than you can say “mortgage fraud”. There will be less than 70,000 branches within the next five years. That means another 20,000 to 30,000 Space Available signs going up on Main Street. That means another 200,000 to 300,000 neighbors without jobs. But don’t worry about Jamie Dimon and the rest of the Wall Street bankers. They’ll be just fine. In addition to being endlessly fed by the Fed, they’ll get creative and charge their customers a new bank branch access fee of $50 for the privilege of entering one of their few remaining outlets. By now we should know how cash flows to Main Street in this corporate fascist paradise.

140226 600 Cash Flow cartoons

Do your part to starve the beast. Move your bank accounts to a local credit union. Don’t support criminals.

 

EBT SYSTEM DOWN – FREE SHIT ARMY GETTING HUNGRY

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Posted on 12th October 2013 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

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Nothing like having a dry run for the coming shitstorm. With 50 million free-shitters piling into Wal-Marts across the land stocking up on Cheetos, Twizzlers, Mountain Dew, pork rinds, Slim Jims, ice cream, and cheese whiz on a daily basis, a little computer glitch with the old JP Morgan EBT system threatens to put the obese masses on a forced diet.

There are already reports coming in from across the country about angry free shitters demanding their free shit.

I’m surprised Obama hasn’t already mobilized the military to give out free food in our urban kill zones. I sure hope they get the system operating by Monday morning when I have to venture through West Philly. They might eat my Honda Insight. One week without EBTs functioning and every Democrat controlled shithole in the country would look like this:

Foodstamp Nation In Turmoil: EBT System Goes Dark, “Glitch” Blamed

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Tyler Durden on 10/12/2013 17:03 -0400

In the past five years it has become apparent that America can survive a near-fatal financial system collapse, an economy teetering on the edge and kept ticking only thanks to the Fed’s now perpetual QE, a collapsing standard of living for everyone but the wealthiest 0.1%, declining wages, zero interest rates, surging food, energy, rent, tuition and welfare costs, and pretty much everything else, as long as the welfare state keeps humming along. Any be welfare state we mostly mean providing the daily bread to the nearly 50 million Americans living in poverty and surviving only thanks to the only thing to have exploded to epic record highs under Obama (in addition to the Fed’s balance sheet of course): foodstamp usage. However, the true stability of the US may be tested very soon following reports that due to a “possible computer glitch” the Electronic Benefits Transfer System, aka EBT, ala Foodstamps, is offline. Cue mass panic among the best-weaponized population in the world. Naturally, this latest fiasco involving a country that has grown accustomed to sucking on the government’s teat was immediately blamed on a “glitch” – just like everything else that is slowly but surely breaking in the New Normal.

CBS reports:

Reports from around the country began pouring in around 9 a.m. on Saturday that customers’ EBT cards were not working in stores. The glitch, however, did not appear to be part of the government shutdown. At 2 p.m., an EBT customer service representative told CBS Boston that the system was currently down for a computer system upgrade.

 

The representative said the glitch is affecting people nationwide. She could not say when officials expected the system to be restored.

 

People calling the customer service line were being told to call back later.

 

State officials said they were preparing a statement to further explain the issue.

 

The federal EBT website was unavailable due to the government shutdown.

AP adds:

People in Ohio, Michigan and several other states found themselves unable to use their food stamp debit cards on Saturday, after a routine check by vendor Xerox Corp. resulted in a system failure. Shoppers from Maine to Oklahoma had to abandon baskets of groceries because they couldn’t access their benefits.

 

Ohio’s cash and food assistance card payment systems went down at 11 a.m., said Benjamin Johnson, a spokesman for the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. Ohio’s cash system has been fixed, however its electronic benefits transfer card system is still down. All states that use Xerox systems are affected by the outage.

 

Xerox spokeswoman Karen Arena confirmed via email Saturday afternoon that some EBT systems are experiencing temporary connectivity issues. She said technical staff is addressing the issue and expects the system to be restored soon.

As a reminder, this is how many Americans and households were on foodstamps as of the most recent monthly update (hint: a record).

 

And now, it’s time for the sequel to @MrEBT’s hit masterpiece: “My EBT… has been rejected.”

 

 

Xerox Statement on Temporary EBT Systems Outage

During a routine test of our back-up systems Saturday morning, Xerox’s Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) system experienced a temporary shutdown. While the system is now up and running, beneficiaries in the 17 affected states continue to experience connectivity issues to access their benefits. This disruption impacts EBT beneficiaries who rely on the system for SNAP and WIC. Technical staff is addressing the issue and expect the system to be restored soon. Beneficiaries requiring access to their benefits can work with their local retailers who can activate an emergency voucher system where available. We appreciate our clients’ patience while we work through this outage as quickly as possible.

 

In short: Cue panic, because while the Nasdaq may be down for 3 hours and only a few vacuum tubes would notice, take down EBT, and you will have a full-fledged revolution in no time.

 

WHY IS OBAMA MEETING WITH WALL STREET CRIMINALS?

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Posted on 2nd October 2013 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

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Do you need any more proof about who is calling the shots in this country than the fact that the CEOs of the TOO BIG TO TRUST Wall Street are meeting face to face with Obama in the midst of a government shutdown “crisis”?

Why isn’t he meeting with the CEOs of some small credit unions and local home town banks from Iowa? Why isn’t he meeting with some unemployed middle class workers or millenials up to their eyeballs in student loan debt?

He isn’t meeting with the little people because they aren’t running the country. We don’t live in a Republic or a Democracy. This country is run by bankers, mega-corporation CEOs, and shadowy billionaires.

Doesn’t it give you a warm feeling inside that the very same evil motherfuckers that crashed the worldwide financial system in 2008, stole $700 billion from the taxpayers, created the huge debt problem that has caused this debt ceiling crisis, and are now making record profits due to Bernanke’s ZIRP and QEternity policies, are the first people Obama consults regarding the government shutdown?

The men strolling into the White House this morning should be in the same prison as Bernie Madoff. They are criminals who have stolen trillions from the American people. Their leader is none other than Jamie Dimon, the head of the criminal enterprise known as JP Morgan. Calling them a criminal enterprise is not hyperbole. They have been forced to pay $7 billion of fines in the last two years for their criminal exploits.

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-07-30/jpmorgan-7-billion-fines-just-past-two-years

The Department of Housing and Urban Development is in the process of fining them $20 billion for the largest mortgage fraud in world history. Jamie Dimon has been in charge of this criminal enterprise for over a decade.

How could the president of the United States allow criminals into the White House to give him guidance? Maybe it is because they bankrupted their own organizations and creatively used accounting gimmicks, fraud, and threats to bring down the financial system as their method to stay open and continue pillaging the muppets. Obama wants to know their tricks.

Inviting Jamie Dimon to the White House for guidance on handling this financial crisis would be on par with Franklin Delano Roosevelt inviting Al Capone to the White House for guidance about prohibition.

In case you weren’t sure yet, YOUR OWNERS ARE IN THE HOUSE!!!!

 

Wall Street CEOs to Meet With Obama as Budget Crisis Continues

TRYING TO STAY SANE IN AN INSANE WORLD – PART 3

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

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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

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

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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.

MOTHER, SHOULD I TRUST THE GOVERNMENT?

102 comments

Posted on 6th June 2013 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

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Mother, do you think they’ll drop the bomb?
Mother, do you think they’ll like this song?
Mother, do you think they’ll try to break my balls?
Ooh ah,
Mother, should I build the wall?

Mother, should I run for president?
Mother, should I trust the government?
Mother, will they put me in the firing line?
Ooh ah,
Is it just a waste of time?

Pink Floyd – Mother

The lyrics to Mother had both a literal and figurative meaning for Roger Waters. He was literally describing his overprotective single mother (his father was killed in World War II) building walls to protect him from the outside world. The figurative meaning is Big Mother sending its boys off to war and using fear to control and manipulate the masses. At the time he wrote this song in 1979, the Soviet Union was thought to be at its peak of power and the Berlin Wall represented a boundary between good and evil. Nuclear war was still a looming fear. Waters has always had a dim view of totalitarian states and institutions (English schools). Having seen his Wall Tour performance this past summer at Citizens Bank Park with a diverse crowd of 40,000, ranging in age from senior citizens to teenagers, it seems this song has gained new meaning. He sang a duet with himself from 1980 projected on the Wall and when he sang the lyric, “Mother, should I trust the government?” the entire stadium responded in unison – NO!!! This revealed a truth that is not permitted to be discussed by the corporate mainstream media acting as a mouthpiece for the ruling class. A growing legion of citizens in this country does not trust the government. This is very perceptive on their part.

In part one of this two part series – Hey You – I examined how an invisible government of wealthy, power hungry men have utilized the propaganda techniques of Edward Bernays and lured the American people into a narcissistic, techno-gadget, debt based servitude. Over the last one hundred years they have created a totalitarian state built upon egotism, material goods, and fulfilling our desires through Wall Street peddled debt and mass consumerism. It has been an incredibly effective form of control that has convinced the masses to love their servitude. The ruling oligarchs correctly chose the painless, amusement saturated, soft totalitarianism of Huxley’s Brave New World over the fearful, pain inflicting, surveillance state, house of horrors detailed in Orwell’s 1984.

“A really efficient totalitarian state would be one in which the all-powerful executive of political bosses and their army of managers control a population of slaves who do not have to be coerced, because they love their servitude.” Aldous Huxley – Brave New World

The nefarious establishment of the Federal Reserve in 1913, launch of welfare programs in the 1930s, expansion of the entitlement state in the 1960s, creation of the credit card in 1970, mass media marketing propaganda, and the formation of an empire of debt laid the foundation for a society based on triviality, egotism, irrelevance and mass delusion. The conscious manipulation of the habits and opinions of the masses by an invisible government of powerful men using media propaganda and easy to access consumer credit has reached its mathematical limit. The oligarchs built a society dependent upon exponential growth. This unsustainable prototype began to show signs of strain in the 1990s. The powerful interests have been growing ever more desperate and blatantly obvious in their looting and pillaging of the debt bloated carcass of a country. They used their control of the political system to repeal Glass-Steagall, allowing the Wall Street banking cabal to become Too Big to Control. The oligarch puppets at the Wall Street controlled Federal Reserve did the bidding of their masters by reducing interest rates and expanding the money supply to create two epic bubbles.

The Dot.com bubble was created by Wall Street utilizing hype and misinformation to fleece millions into believing we had entered a new paradigm. The only people who got rich were the Wall Street hucksters, shysters and shills.

When the Dot.com bubble burst, Alan Greenspan came to the rescue, at the urging of Nobel prize winner Paul Krugman, by creating the largest banker made bubble in the history of the world. The combination of excessively low mortgage rates, complete lack of regulatory oversight by the Federal Reserve, control fraud committed by the Wall Street banks, and buying frenzy stirred up by the corporate MSM and NAR, led to the biggest financial collapse since 1929.

The white collared psychopathic criminals on Wall Street reaped billions in profits, paid themselves millions in bonuses, and cost taxpayers trillions when it all blew up in 2008. The ruling elite have added $6 trillion to our national debt and their central banker has added another $2 trillion to our ultimate tab, while providing free money to their Wall Street bank owners. They realize their efforts to restart the exponential growth engine have failed. They gutted our productive manufacturing based economic system by shipping the blue collar jobs overseas to Chinese slave labor facilities, replaced workers with machines, stimulated consumption with unlimited distribution of high interest debt, and allowed conglomerates to drive small business owners out of business with their cheap foreign sourced goods, all in the name of capitalism. The plan worked so well that real wages haven’t risen in 40 years, inflation has destroyed the purchasing power of the middle class, 47.7 million people are dependent on food stamps to survive, and the masses can’t even afford the cheap slave labor produced trinkets anymore. There is too little cash, too few jobs, too much debt, too many takers, too few makers, too many bankers, too much delusion, and too few resources to sustain the unsustainable. We have entered the end stages of a ravenous locust swarm. The fields have been stripped barren.

When the men in smoke filled rooms realized their soft totalitarianism was losing its grip on the oblivious, submissive, egoistical, distracted masses, they began phase two of their effort to retain their wealth, power and control. They began to institute Orwellian measures to strike fear into the populace. Their illusion of control is dissipating and they are resorting to force in order to maintain hegemony. It began with the immediate passage of the Orwellian Patriot Act one month after 9/11. Did the corporate media question how a 363 page all-encompassing expansion of police state power was written in a few weeks after 9/11 and passed by October 26? They did not. The bill was pre-written and ready for instant implementation when the time was right. The Orwellian version of America was launched.

“If the ideology had been a lie, then they are not heroes and gods on earth, but monsters and criminals, and their life has been self-serving and meaningless, without significance and honor. And that is the credibility trap. It is the impulse for the leaders to keep doubling down in the hope of a win, until exhaustion and collapse.” – Jesse       

Obedience to Authority

“Ordinary people, simply doing their jobs, and without any particular hostility on their part, can become agents in a terrible destructive process. Moreover, even when the destructive effects of their work become patently clear and they are asked to carry out actions incompatible with fundamental standards of morality, relatively few people have the resources needed to resist authority.”  – Stanley Milgram – Obediance to Authority

  

Just as Edward Bernays knew the unruly masses could be manipulated by propaganda and molded to believe whatever the small group of intellectually superior men wanted them to believe, conditioning using fear and authoritarian methods have also been perfected by the ruling class. Doctor Stanley Milgram unwittingly provided the oligarchs with confirmation the average citizen could be ordered to do anything by invoking expertise and authority over their subjects. Milgram started his experiments in 1961, shortly after the trial of the World War II criminal Adolph Eichmann had begun. Eichmann’s defense that he was simply following orders when he exterminated millions of Jews roused Milgram’s interest. How could millions of Germans participate and condone such genocide? Milgram’s testing suggested that it could have been that the millions of accomplices were merely following orders, despite violating their deepest moral beliefs.

Writer Kendra Cherry describes the experiment:

The participants in the Milgram experiment were 40 men recruited using newspaper ads. Milgram developed an intimidating shock generator, with shock levels starting at 30 volts and increasing in 15-volt increments all the way up to 450 volts. The many switches were labeled with terms including “slight shock,” “moderate shock” and “danger: severe shock.” The final two switches were labeled simply with an ominous “XXX.”

Each participant took the role of a “teacher” who would then deliver a shock to the “student” every time an incorrect answer was produced. While the participant believed that he was delivering real shocks to the student, the student was actually a confederate in the experiment who was simply pretending to be shocked.

As the experiment progressed, the participant would hear the learner plead to be released or even complain about a heart condition. Once the 300-volt level had been reached, the learner banged on the wall and demanded to be released. Beyond this point, the learner became completely silent and refused to answer any more questions. The experimenter then instructed the participant to treat this silence as an incorrect response and deliver a further shock.

Most participants asked the experimenter whether they should continue. The experimenter issued a series of commands to prod the participant along:

    • “Please continue.”
    • “The experiment requires that you continue.”
    • “It is absolutely essential that you continue.”
    • “You have no other choice, you must go on.”

The level of shock that the participant was willing to deliver was used as the measure of obedience. How far do you think that most participants were willing to go? When Milgram posed this question to a group of Yale University students, it was predicted that no more than 3 out of 100 participants would deliver the maximum shock. In reality, 65% of the participants in Milgram’s study delivered the maximum shocks.

Of the 40 participants in the study, 26 delivered the maximum shocks while 14 stopped before reaching the highest levels. It is important to note that many of the subjects became extremely agitated, distraught and angry at the experimenter. Yet they continued to follow orders all the way to the end. Why did so many of the participants in this experiment perform a seemingly sadistic act on the instruction of an authority figure? According to Milgram, there are a number of situational factors that can explain such high levels of obedience:

    • The physical presence of an authority figure dramatically increased compliance.
    • The fact that the study was sponsored by Yale (a trusted and authoritative academic institution) led many participants to believe that the experiment must be safe.
    • The selection of teacher and learner status seemed random.
    • Participants assumed that the experimenter was a competent expert.
    • The shocks were said to be painful, not dangerous.

The American people have been participants in their very own Milgram experiment being conducted by their government since 9/11. Since the passage of the Patriot Act, the government continues to demand that its citizens increase the voltage in the name of security. Since 2001, the Orwellian measures have included:

  • Warrantless domestic surveillance.
  • The ability to search telephone calls, emails, financial matters especially involving foreign individuals, and medical records for people who are “suspected” of endangering the country.
  • Color coded risk levels designed to keep citizens fearful of non-existent terrorists.
  • Pre-emptive invasion of foreign countries.
  • Committing U.S. forces to war without a declaration of war by Congress as mandated in the U.S. Constitution.
  • Assassination of people on presidential kill lists.
  • Extermination of “suspected” enemies by predator drones.
  • Camera systems monitoring the movements of Americans in cites and streets across the United States.
  • Torture of detainees in camps outside of the United States.
  • The authority to indefinitely detain America citizens without trial.
  • Executive orders giving the President the ability to unilaterally disregard the U.S. Constitution and take control of private industries.
  • Use of drones to monitor the activities of American citizens.
  • Allowing the very bankers that destroyed the worldwide economic system to blackmail the American taxpayers into handing them $700 billion.
  • Not prosecuting one Wall Street criminal after the largest Ponzi control fraud in the history of the world.
  • Cameras and listening devices on public transit and other public locations.
  • Military exercises conducted in U.S. cities in order to condition the masses.
  • Attempts to control and censor the internet through the introduction of the SOPA bill.
  • The use of tragic mass murders by mentally defective young men on psychotropic drugs to disregard the 2nd Amendment and disarm American citizens.
  • TSA thugs molesting little old ladies and young children to desensitize citizens to gestapo like tactics and treat them like criminals.
  • Government partnering with Facebook, Apple and other corporate entities to monitor, censor, and report the activities of citizens to the authorities.
  • The use of public schools to teach children what to think rather than how to think. Thought control is vital to an agenda of keeping the masses fearful and pliable.
  • Government agencies (FBI, ATF) creating terrorist plots, luring young dupes into the plots, providing fake explosives, and then announcing with great fanfare they have foiled a terrorist plot.
  • “See something, Say something” government media campaign designed to make citizens paranoid and fearful.

Just as Milgram pondered how the German people could follow the orders of those in authority to slaughter millions, one must ponder how the American people have allowed those in power to strip us of our Constitutional freedoms and liberties in the name of safety and security. They have conditioned the masses to passively accept their fate by utilizing fear, authoritarian measures, thought control, and propaganda. Human beings never change. They have been driven by emotions throughout history – fear, greed, love and hate. There will always be psychopathic men who seek wealth, power, glory and control. It happened during the decline of the Roman Empire and it is happening today during the decline of the American Empire.

“A shocking crime was committed on the unscrupulous initiative of few individuals, with the blessing of more, and amid the passive acquiescence of all.”Tacitus

Big Brother is Watching You

“Now I will tell you the answer to my question. It is this. The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power, pure power. What pure power means you will understand presently. We are different from the oligarchies of the past in that we know what we are doing. All the others, even those who resembled ourselves, were cowards and hypocrites. The German Nazis and the Russian Communists came very close to us in their methods, but they never had the courage to recognize their own motives. They pretended, perhaps they even believed, that they had seized power unwillingly and for a limited time, and that just around the corner there lay a paradise where human beings would be free and equal. We are not like that. We know what no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now you begin to understand me.”George Orwell – 1984

  

What the average person can’t seem to process through their government public school educated non-critical thinking brains is that there are actually a small group of bankers, politicians, corporate executives, media magnets, and shadowy billionaires who call the shots in this country. They constitute Bernays’ invisible government, run the show, mold the minds, form the opinions, suggest the ideas, and create the reality for the masses because they believe they are intellectually superior. The left/right and Democrat/Republican discord is a planned diversion for the masses. The country has devolved into a corporate fascist warfare/welfare state. We are clearly moving in the direction of Orwell’s state in which government monitors and controls every aspect of human life to the extent that even having a disloyal thought will be against the law. The longer this is allowed to progress the more likely any effort to resist like Winston Smith will be met with brutal measures.

The parallels to Orwell dystopian nightmare state grow by the day. Those in control use technology to bombard Americans with psychological inducements designed to overwhelm the mind’s capability for autonomous thought. In Orwell’s 1984 the giant telescreen in every citizen’s room blasts a constant stream of propaganda designed to make the failures and shortcomings of the Party appear to be triumphant successes. In Obama’s 2013 the 72 inch Chinese made HDTVs in every McMansion blasts a constant stream of propaganda designed to make the zombie-like occupants buy trinkets and gadgets with a thin piece of plastic and makes the failures in Iraq, Afghanistan, Egypt and Libya appear to be triumphant successes. Our corporate/fascist party uses their control over the media message to indoctrinate and control the public mind through propaganda and repetitive messaging. In Orwell’s world, the Party undermines family structure by inducting children into an organization called the Junior Spies, which brainwashes and encourages them to spy on their parents and report any instance of disloyalty to the Party. In our world children are indoctrinated in government run public schools that fill their brains with government manufactured history, social engineering claptrap and what they should think, rather than how to think. The Orwellian Department of Homeland Security (Thought Police) instructs them to report anyone they think is suspicious with their “See something, Say something” campaign. Children are “encouraged” to re-educate their parents about green energy and global warming. Corporations fund schools to advertise their products within the hallways of learning. The outputs of this corporate/fascist partnership are non-critical thinking, functionally illiterate, willfully ignorant Proles who obey the Party and consume products as instructed.

In Orwell’s 1984 the Party keeps the population in a general state of exhaustion by making them work long grueling hours at government run agencies. This was designed to keep them from thinking or having the energy to resist. About one in six workers work for the government in the United States, with a substantial portion of private jobs dependent upon government largesse. The true distinction in our society can be seen in the income levels over decades of our own Inner Party, Outer Party and Proles.

income percentile

The government educated masses were purposely not taught about the impact of Federal Reserve created inflation on their lives. Even using the government manipulated CPI, the real household incomes of the masses have barely risen in the last forty five years. Using a true measure of inflation, the real household incomes of the average family have fallen. In addition, prior to the 1980s those household incomes were predominantly provided with one parent working and the other raising the children. Today the vast majority of households require both parents to work in order to just tread water. Child rearing was delegated to the state and parents have been kept in a constant state of exhaustion, like hamsters in a cage on a spinning wheel. Household income was replaced by credit card debt, mortgage debt, auto debt, and student loan debt peddled by our very own Inner Party (Wall Street bankers). The Inner Party members have seen their incomes soar over the last four decades. This was not an accident.

As those at the top accumulate an ever increasing percentage of the national wealth, while consolidating their power through ever more sophisticated use of technology for surveillance, warfare, and financial theft; urban decay and blight spreads across the land. Totalitarian regimes are ferociously effective at augmenting their own power and wretchedly incompetent at providing for their citizens. Just as the London in Orwell’s dystopian world was a decrepit, rundown city in which buildings were crumbling, amenities such as elevators never worked, and basics such as electricity and plumbing were exceedingly undependable, the urban killing fields that are home to tens of millions in the United States are dangerous, disintegrating, hallowed out carcasses of once thriving metropolises. Hunger, poverty, crumbling infrastructure, and violence are the earmarks of society for the Proles. True unemployment exceeds 20%, with youth and minority unemployment exceeding 40%. There are 47.7 million Americans subsisting on food stamps (program administered by JP Morgan), accounting for 20% of all the households in the country.

The incompetency and mismanagement by our totalitarian governing body is evident for all to see, as bridges collapse, water mains burst, gas lines explode, mass transit shuts down and structures deteriorate due to decades of neglect. The priorities of those in power are clearly visible as they spend trillions on weapons used to attack sovereign countries, distribute billions in “aid” to foreign dictators, provide trillions to the criminal banking cabal on Wall Street, and devote billions to technology designed to monitor and control their citizens. Our entire rotting, fetid, bloated, corrupt society has about reached its limits. It is only a matter of time until it implodes like the former Soviet Union.

Diminishing returns of ever-increasing complexity addressed with ever-more layers of complexity, larded with systematic lying based on mystifying, opaque jargon, sanctioned statistical misreporting, felonious cronyism, and scuttling of the rule of law. In short, the markets have been taken over in effect by a criminal racketeering syndicate. In doing this, so much resilience has been removed from these market structures that they are riddled with rot, like a mansion infested with carpenter ants.” – Jim Kunstler

We Have Always Been at War with Eastasia

Hush now baby, baby, don’t you cry.
Mamma’s gonna make all of your nightmares come true,
Mamma’s gonna put all of her fears into you,
Mamma’s gonna keep you right here, under her wing.

  She won’t let you fly, but she might let you sing,
Mamma’s gonna keep baby cozy and warm.
Oooh babe, Oooh babe, Oooh babe,
Of course Mamma’s gonna help build the wall.

Pink Floyd – Mother

The concepts of Doublethink and Newspeak are alive and well in our increasingly Orwellian society. The massive long-term campaign of large-scale psychological manipulation, described in detail by Edward Bernays in 1928, has succeeded in breaking down the capacity for independent thought by the masses. Those in control of the media have molded the minds of millions to believe anything the government tells them, even while possessing information that runs counter to what they are being told. On the eve of the invasion of Iraq, the government and their media propaganda mouthpieces had convinced 69% of the American public that Saddam Hussein was involved in the 9/11 attacks, even though there wasn’t a shred of evidence to support that claim. The storyline of Iraqi soldiers murdering Kuwaiti babies in their incubators during the first Gulf War was another example of propaganda designed to manipulate public opinion. By controlling the media message, those in power control the present and can manipulate the past. The government controls the curriculum in public schools and writes our history to conform to whatever storyline that supports their agenda. With 20% of the adult population in this country functionally illiterate, the formulation of ideas or critical thought is virtually impossible for these people. This is exactly what is desired by the ruling class.

The outrageous example of Doublethink in Orwell’s 1984 occurs during the Hate Week rally.  The Party shifts its diplomatic allegiance, so the nation it has been at war with suddenly becomes its ally (Eurasia), and its former ally becomes its new enemy (Eastasia). When the Party speaker suddenly changes the nation he refers to as an enemy in the middle of his speech, the crowd accepts his words immediately, and is ashamed to find that it has made the wrong signs for the event. The American people have been programmed to accept the same logic from our leaders. Saddam Hussein was our ally when he was fighting our enemy Iran, who had been our ally ever since we had overthrown their democratically elected leader in the 1950s. Then he became our enemy for using weapons of mass destruction, provided to him by the U.S., on his own people and threatening our control over Middle Eastern oil. Osama bin Laden was our ally when he was fighting our mortal enemy, the Soviet Union. Then he became our mortal enemy because we refused to leave Saudi Arabia after the first Gulf War. Ghadafi was our sworn enemy after blowing up an airliner filled with Americans, until he helped us after 9/11 and became an ally. Then he became an enemy again for fighting to maintain his dictatorship. Mubarak was an ally for decades as we provided him billions in military hardware so he could brutally maintain control. Then he became an enemy when we decided he was no longer of use. Do you get the picture?

Do you see any parallels between Orwell’s Ministry of Plenty (oversees economic shortages); the Ministry of Peace (wages war); the Ministry of Truth (conducts propaganda and historical revisionism); and the Ministry of Love (the center of the Party’s operations of torture and punishment) and our Department of Agriculture, Department of Defense, Department of Education, and Department of Homeland Security?  

“In our age there is no such thing as ‘keeping out of politics.’ All issues are political issues, and politics itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred and schizophrenia. The very concept of objective truth is fading out of the world. Lies will pass into history.”George Orwell

Should I Trust the Government?

So the oligarchs have utilized all the plays in Huxley’s playbook and are half way through Orwell’s playbook, but they are rapidly losing their credibility as a small minority of critical thinking people is using the internet to spread the truth and form phyles with like-minded citizens with similar values based on liberty and freedom. The political system is broken beyond repair as $2 billion was spent during this last “election” to maintain the status quo. The looting and pillaging of the middle class continues, while the poor are kept controlled, sedated and enslaved by entitlements, debt, drugs and prisons. The financial system is succumbing to the mountains of debt that have been accumulated trying to keep the game going. In the last ten years worldwide total credit market debt, on balance sheets, sovereign obligations, corporate debt, household debt – has grown from $80 trillion to just over $200 trillion. U.S. unfunded liabilities committed to by the politician parasites that pass for our representatives surpass $200 trillion. There are $1.2 quadrillion of interconnected derivatives outstanding in the world today, 20 times the size of the worldwide economy. The accumulation of worldwide debt, aging developed country populations, depletion of resources, perpetual war, financial fraud and rampant corruption are going to lead to a collapse of epic proportions. It may not happen in 2013, but it will happen within the next five years. Jesse explains why the status quo will never relinquish their power, illegally acquired wealth and control without a fight:

“A credibility trap is a condition wherein the financial, political and informational functions of a society have been compromised by corruption and fraud, so that the leadership cannot effectively reform, or even honestly address, the problems of that system without impairing and implicating, at least incidentally, a broad swath of the power structure, including them. The status quo tolerates the corruption and the fraud because they have profited at least indirectly from it, and would like to continue to do so. Even the impulse to reform within the power structure is susceptible to various forms of soft blackmail and coercion by the system that maintains and rewards.

And so a failed policy and its support system become self-sustaining, long after it is seen by objective observers to have failed. In its failure it is counterproductive, and an impediment to recovery in the real economy. Admitting failure is not an option for the thought leaders who receive their power from that system.  The continuity of the structural hierarchy must therefore be maintained at all costs, even to the point of becoming a painfully obvious hypocrisy.”

The people of this country must regain a sense of responsibility for their lives and the lives of future generations. Enough people need to perceive they are being manipulated, controlled and used by the thought leaders and awaken from their narcissistic materialistic debt financed lives. Our culture has failed. The animosity and anger in the country is beginning to bubble over. The masses are beginning to realize they have been screwed. They haven’t figured out who to blame because they are still trapped in the Republican/Democrat false dogma. There is one Party putting on a show, as displayed this week with the fiscal cliff farce, as the government controlled media proclaimed victory because the status quo was maintained, nothing was cut, and $4 trillion was added to the National Debt. More people need to question and challenge the authorities. We must cast aside our willful ignorance of facts and accept the consequences of decades of bad decisions and delusions of grandeur. More government is not the answer. We must break free of the conditioning and mind control used to make us love our servitude and trust those in power.

Kyle Bass recently revealed a fact about our government leaders:

“They’re not going to tell you that a collapse is coming. You’re going to have to see it for yourself. The government’s never going to tell you that it’s going to happen. These guys are never going to tell you the truth, because they can’t tell you the truth. Their job is to promote confidence, not to tell you the truth.”

We need more people to respond to Roger Waters’ question, “Mother, should I trust the government?” with this answer before we can begin to tear down the wall that seemed too high.

“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.”George Orwell

 

survival seed vault

IT’S ALWAYS THE BEST TIME TO BUY

121 comments

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

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“The continuing shortages of housing inventory are driving the price gains. There is no evidence of bubbles popping.”David Lereah, NAR mouthpiece/economist – August 2005

“The steady improvement in home sales will support price appreciation despite all the wild projections by academics, Wall Street analysts, and others in the media.” David Lereah, NAR mouthpiece/economist – January 10, 2007

“Buyer traffic is continuing to pick up, while seller traffic is holding steady. In fact, buyer traffic is 40 percent above a year ago, so there is plenty of demand but insufficient inventory to improve sales more strongly. We’ve transitioned into a seller’s market in much of the country. We expect a seasonal rise of inventory this spring, but it may be insufficient to avoid more frequent incidences of multiple bidding and faster-than-normal price growth.” – Lawrence Yun – NAR mouthpiece/economist – February 21, 2013

I really need to stop being so pessimistic. I’m getting richer by the day. My home value is rising at a rate of 1% per month according to the National Association of Realtors. At that rate, my house will be worth $1 million in less than 10 years. My underwater condo (figuratively – not literally) in Wildwood will resurface and make me rich beyond my wildest dreams. Larry Yun, the brilliant economic genius employed by the upstanding and truth telling NAR, reported that median home prices soared by 12.3% in January (down 3.7% from December) over the prior year and there is virtually no inventory left to sell – with a mere 1.75 million homes in inventory – the lowest level since 1999. The median sales price of $173,600 is up “dramatically” from last year’s $154,500 level. I’m sure the NAR meant to mention that home prices are still down 25% from the 2005 high of $230,000. Every mainstream media newspaper, magazine, and news channel is telling me the “strong” housing recovery is propelling the economy and creating millions of new jobs. Keynesian economists, Wall Street bankers, government apparatchiks and housing trade organizations are all in agreement that the wealth effect from rising home prices will be the jumpstart our economy needs to get back to the glory days of 2005. Who am I to argue with such honorable men with degrees from Ivy League schools and a track record of unquestioned accuracy as we can see in the chart below? 

 

Mr. Lereah added to his sterling reputation with his insightful prescient book Why the Real Estate Boom Will Not Bust—And How You Can Profit from It, which was published in February 2006. I understand Ben Bernanke has a signed copy on his nightstand. According to David, he voluntarily decided to leave the NAR in mid-2007 as home prices began their 40% plunge over the next four years. He then admitted in an interview with Money Magazine in 2009 that he was nothing but a shill for the real estate industry, no different than a whore doing tricks for $20. Except he was whoring himself for millions of dollars and contributing to the biggest financial fraud in world history:

“I was pressured by executives to issue optimistic forecasts — then was left to shoulder the blame when things went sour. I was there for seven years doing everything they wanted me to. I worked for an association promoting housing, and it was my job to represent their interests. If you look at my actual forecasts, the numbers were right in line with most forecasts. The difference was that I put a positive spin on it. It was easy to do during boom times, harder when times weren’t good. I never thought the whole national real estate market would burst.”

After Mr. Lereah slithered away from his post he was replaced by the next snake – Lawrence Yun. He proceeded to put the best face possible on the greatest housing collapse in recorded history, assuring the public it was the best time to buy during the entire slide. Five million foreclosures later he’s still telling us it’s the best time to buy. Why shouldn’t we believe the National Association of Realtors and the mainstream media that report their propaganda as indisputable fact? These noble realtooors only have the best interests of their clients at heart. Remember when they warned people about the dangers of liar loans, negative amortization loans, appraisal fraud, nefarious mortgage brokers, criminal bankers, corrupt ratings agencies and the fact that home prices had reached a high two standard deviations above the normal trend? Oh yeah. They didn’t make a peep. They disputed and ridiculed Robert Shiller and anyone else who dared question the healthy “strong” housing market storyline. In late 2011 this superb, above board, truth telling organization admitted what many financial analysts and “crazy” bloggers had been pointing out for years. They were lying about home sales. Their data was false. Between 2007 and 2010, the NAR reported 2.95 million more home sales than had actually occurred. This was not a rounding error. This was not a flaw in their methodology, as they claimed. It was an outright fraudulent attempt to convince the public that the housing market was not in free fall. These guys make the BLS look accurate and above board.   

  

We are now expected to believe their monthly reports as if they are gospel. The mainstream media continues to report their drivel about the lowest inventory level in 14 years without the slightest hint of skepticism.

The Incredible Shrinking Inventory

We are told by good old Larry Yun that there are only 1.74 million homes left for sale in this country and at current sales rates we’ll run out of inventory in 4.2 months. Oh the horror. You better buy now, before it’s too late. We must be running out of houses. Someone call Bob Toll. We need more houses built ASAP, before this becomes a crisis. But there seems to be problem with this storyline. Existing home sales are falling. Even using the NAR seasonally manipulated numbers, sales in January were lower than in November. In a country with 133 million housing units, there were 291,000 existing home sales in January. If there is an inventory shortage, why have new home sales fallen every month since May of 2012? There were a total of 10,000 completed new homes sold in December in the entire country. Housing starts plunged by 8.5% in January. Does this happen when you have a strong housing market? Do you believe the NAR inventory figure of 1.74 million homes for sale? The last time the months of supply was this low was early 2005 – during the good old days.

 

Let’s examine a few facts to determine the true nature of this shocking inventory shortage. According to the U.S. Census Bureau:

  • There are 133 million housing units in the United States
  • There are 115 million occupied housing units in the country, with 75 million owner occupied and 40 million renter occupied.
  • For the math challenged this means that 13.5%, or 18 million housing units, are vacant.
  • Only 4.3 million are considered summer homes, and 3.9 million are available for rent. That leaves 9.8 million homes completely vacant.
  • The Census Bureau specifically identifies 1.6 million of these vacant housing units as up for sale.

So, with 9.8 million vacant housing units in the country and 1.6 million of these identified as for sale, the NAR and media mouthpieces have the balls to report only 1.74 million homes for sale in the entire U.S. This doesn’t even take into account the massive shadow inventory stuck in the foreclosure pipeline. Of the 75 million owner-occupied housing units in the country, 50 million have a mortgage. Of these houses, a full 10.9% are either delinquent or in the foreclosure process. This totals 5.4 million households, with 1.9 million of these households already in the foreclosure process. The number of distressed households is still double the long-term average, even with historically low mortgage rates, multiple government mortgage relief programs (HARP), and Fannie, Freddie and the FHA guaranteeing 90% of all mortgages. Do you think the NAR is including any of these 5.4 million distressed houses in their inventory numbers?

 

Then we have the little matter of a few home occupiers still underwater on their mortgages. After this fabulous two year housing recovery touted by shills and shysters, only 27.5% of ALL mortgage holders are underwater on their mortgage. This means 13.8 million households are in a negative equity position. Those with 5% or less equity are effectively underwater since closing costs usually exceed 6% of the house’s value. That adds another 2.2 million households to the negative equity bucket. Do you think any of these 16 million households would be selling if they could?  

U.S. homeowners with a mortgage are slowly gaining equity back in their homes. 

The negative equity position of millions of homeowners gets at the gist of the effort to re-inflate the housing bubble. By artificially pumping up home prices, the Wall Street titans and their co-conspirators at the Federal Reserve and Treasury Department are attempting to repair insolvent Wall Street bank balance sheets, lure unsuspecting dupes back into the housing market, reignite the economy through the old stand-by wealth effect, and of course enrich themselves and their crony capitalist friends. The artificial suppression of home inventory has been working wonders, as 2 million homeowners were freed from negative equity in 2012. If they can only lure enough suckers back into the pool, all will be well. Phoenix must have an inordinate number of chumps with home prices rising by 22.5% in 2012 as investors and flippers poured into the market with cheap debt and big dreams. Of course everything is relative, as prices are still down 44% from the peak and 40% of mortgages remain underwater. I strongly urge everyone without a functioning brain to pour their life savings into the Phoenix housing market. Larry Yun says it’s a can’t miss path to riches.  

Despite the propaganda, hyperbole, and cheerleading from the corporate media, the fact remains that national homeowner’s equity is barely above its all-time low of 38%, down from 62% in 2000 and 70% in 1980. The NAR shills, Federal Reserve drug pushers, Wall Street shysters, and pliant media lured the middle class into the false belief that housing was an asset class that could make you rich. Homes became the major portion of middle class net worth. As prices were driven higher from 2000 through 2006, the middle class took the bait hook line and sinker and borrowed billions against their ever increasing faux housing wealth. This set up the impending collapse of middle class net worth, created by the 1%ers on Wall Street, in Washington DC, and in corporate executive suites across the land.  The median American household lost 47% of its wealth between 2007 and 2010. Average household wealth, which is skewed dramatically by the richest Americans, declined by only 18%. Real estate only accounts for 30% of the net worth of the rich. For the middle 60%, housing has risen from 62% to 67% of total wealth since 1983. Middle class families’ saw their cash cushion fall from 21% in 1983 to 8% before the crash. They were convinced that living on Wall Street peddled debt was the path to prosperity. After the crash, the middle class has been left with no cash, underwater mortgages, declining real wages, less jobs, and a mountain of credit card debt. Delusions have been crushed. But an on-line degree from the University of Phoenix funded by a Federal student loan of $20,000 will surely revive the fortunes of the average unemployed middle class worker.  

 

Despite the destruction of middle class hopes, dreams, and net worth, the ruling plutocracy has decided the best way to revive their fortunes is to lure the ignorant masses into more student loan debt, auto debt and mortgage debt.

Don’t Look Behind the Curtain

“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

 

What is normal in a profoundly abnormal, manipulated, propaganda driven society? The NAR and Federal government issue their public relations announcements every month and attempt to spin straw into gold. The media then fulfill their assigned role by touting the results as unequivocal proof of an economic recovery. This is all designed to revive the animal spirits of the clueless public. Statistics in the hands of those who have no regard for the truth can be manipulated to portray any storyline that serves their corrupt purposes. When I see a story about the housing market referencing a percentage increase as proof of a recovery I know it’s time to check the charts. You see, even a fractional increase from an all-time low will generate an impressive percentage increase. So let’s go to the charts in search of this blossoming housing recovery.

The media, NAHB, and certain bloggers look at this chart and declare that new home sales are up 20% from 2011 levels. Sounds awesome. I look at this chart and note that 2011 was the lowest number of new home sales in U.S. history. I look at this chart and note that new home sales are 75% below the peak in 2005. I look at this chart and note that new home sales are lower today than at the bottom of every recession over the last fifty years. I look at this chart and note that new home sales are lower today than they were in 1963, when the population of the United States was a mere 189 million, 40% less than today’s population. Do you see any signs of a strong housing recovery in this chart?    

 

The housing cheerleaders look at the chart below and crow about a 75% increase in housing starts. I look at this chart and note that housing starts in 2009 were the lowest in recorded U.S. history. I look at this chart and note that total housing starts are down 60% and single family starts are down 70% from 2006 highs. I look at this chart and note the “surge” in housing starts is completely being driven by apartment construction, because the student loan indebted youth can’t afford to buy houses. I look at this chart and note that housing starts are 40% below 1968 levels. Do you see any signs of a strong housing recovery in this chart?   

 

Those trying to lure the gullible non-thinking masses into paying inflated prices for the “few” houses available for sale declare that existing home sales are up 50% in the last two years. Of course, the 3.3 million low in 2010 was the lowest level in decades. Existing home sales are still 30% below the 2005 high of 7.2 million and the abnormal structure of these home sales is dramatically different than the normal sales of yesteryear.

 

The wizards behind the curtain don’t want you to understand how the 50% increase in existing home sales has been achieved. They just want you to be convinced that a return to normalcy has happened and it’s the best time to buy. The NAR wizards and the media wizards don’t publicize the composition of these skyrocketing sales. At the end of the NAR “buy a home before it’s too late” monthly press release you find out that distressed homes (foreclosed & short sales) now make up 23% of all home sales and have accounted for well over 30% of all home sales since 2010. Another 28% of home sales are all-cash sales to investors looking to turn them into rental units or flip them for a quick buck. Lastly, 30% of homes are being bought by first time home buyer pansies who have been lured into the market by 3.5% down payment loans through the FHA, with the future losses born by middle class taxpayers who had no say in the matter. Prior to the housing crash, normal buyers who just wanted a place to live, accounted for 90% of all home purchases. Today they make up less than 30% of home buyers. Does this chart portray a normal market or a profoundly abnormal market? Does it portray a healthy housing recovery based upon sound economic fundamentals?      

 all cash buyers

The answer is NO. The contrived elevation of home sales and home prices has been engineered by the very same culprits who crashed our financial system in the first place. This has been planned, coordinated and implemented by a conspiracy of the ruling oligarchy – the Federal Reserve, Wall Street, U.S. Treasury, NAR, and the corporate media conglomerates. Ben’s job was to screw senior citizens and drive interest rates low enough that everyone in the country could refinance, attract investors & flippers into the market, and propel home prices higher. Wall Street has been the linchpin to the whole sordid plan. They were tasked with drastically limiting the foreclosure pipeline, therefore creating a fake shortage of inventory. Next, JP Morgan, Blackrock, Citi, Bank of America, and dozens of other private equity firms have partnered with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, using free money provided by Ben Bernanke, to create investment funds to buy up millions of distressed properties and convert them into rental properties, further reducing the inventory of homes for sale and driving prices higher. Only the connected crony capitalists on Wall Street are getting a piece of this action. The Wall Street big hanging dicks have screwed the American middle class coming and going. The NAR and media are tasked with what they do best – spew propaganda, misinform, lie, cheerlead and attempt to create a buying frenzy among the willfully ignorant masses. The chart below reveals the truth about the strong sustainable housing recovery. It doesn’t exist. Mortgage applications by real people who want to live in a home are no higher than they were in 2010 when home sales were 33% lower than today. Mortgage applications are lower than they were in 1997 when 4 million existing homes were sold versus the 5 million pace today. The housing recovery is just another Wall Street scam designed to bilk the American middle class of what remains of their net worth.

 

The multi-faceted plan to keep this teetering edifice from collapsing is being executed according to the mandates of the financial class:

  • Distribute hundreds of billions in student loans to artificially suppress the unemployment rate, while the BLS adjusts millions more out of the labor force – CHECK
  • Have Ally Financial (80% owned by Obama) and Wall Street banks dole out subprime auto loans to millions and offer 7 year financing at 0%, while GM (Government Motors) channel stuffs its dealers, to create the appearance of an auto recovery – CHECK
  • Drive mortgage rates down, restrict home supply through foreclosure market manipulation, shift the risk of losses to the taxpayer, and allow Wall Street to control the housing market – CHECK
  • Have the corporate mainstream media continuously spout optimistic, positive puff pieces designed to convince an ignorant, apathetic public that the economy is improving, jobs are being created, and housing has recovered – CHECK

Free money, government subsidies, no regulation, Wall Street hubris, get rich quick schemes, media propaganda, and an ignorant public – what could possibly go wrong?   

Here is what could and will go wrong. Everyone in the country that could refinance to a mortgage rate of 4% or lower has done so. Contrary to Bernanke’s rhetoric that “QE to Infinity” would lower mortgage rates, they have just risen to a six month high as the 10 Year Treasury rose 60 basis points from its 2012 low. If mortgage rates just rose to a modest 5% the housing market would come to a grinding halt as no one would trade a 3.5% mortgage for a 5% mortgage. As I’ve detailed earlier, there are 3.9 vacant housing units available for rent. Almost half of the new housing units under construction are apartments. The Wall Street shysters are converting millions of foreclosed homes into rental units. This avalanche of rental properties will depress rents and destroy the modeled ROI calculations of the brilliant Wall Street Ivy league MBAs. These lemmings will all attempt to exit their “investments” at the same time. The FHA is already broke. The mounting losses from their 3.5% down payment to future deadbeats program will force them to curtail this taxpayer financed debacle. There will be few first time home buyers, as young people saddled with a trillion dollars of student loan debt are incapable of buying a home.

These are the facts. But why trust facts when you can believe Baghdad Ben and the NAR? It’s always the best time to buy.

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“All that said, given the fundamental factors in place that should support the demand for housing, we believe the effect of the troubles in the subprime sector on the broader housing market will likely be limited, and we do not expect significant spillovers from the subprime market to the rest of the economy or to the financial system.  The vast majority of mortgages, including even subprime mortgages, continue to perform well.  Past gains in house prices have left most homeowners with significant amounts of home equity, and growth in jobs and incomes should help keep the financial obligations of most households manageable.” – Ben Bernanke – May 17, 2007

 

APPARITIONS IN THE FOG

85 comments

Posted on 22nd January 2013 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

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After digesting the opinions of the shills, shysters and scam artists, I am ready to predict that I have no clue what will happen during 2013. The weekend weather last week was a perfect analogy for attempting to forecast the future. The professional highly educated meteorologists predicted sunny warm weather, just as the PhD Wall Street paid economist mouthpieces assure the multitudes 2013 will be the year when zero interest rates and $1.2 trillion deficits will finally lead to sunny economic skies. Instead, the weekend was overcast and damp. As I was writing this article and watching the miraculous Baltimore Ravens comeback against Denver, I received a two minute warning from my wife. I had to pick up my son and his buddies at the Montgomery Mall. As I pulled the car out of the garage, I backed out into fog that was thicker than pea soup. I’ve driven the roads to the Montgomery Mall hundreds of times, but the fog was so thick I couldn’t see ten feet ahead. I drove hesitantly, wondering what might be just over the horizon or what might dart out from a side street. I see 2013 as a year of maneuvering through thick fog with startling apparitions lurking to surprise us and force a deviation in our normal course. As I proceeded cautiously through the murky mist there were few cars on the roads and the strip centers and fast food joints resembled haunted houses and grave yards. I expected to see Dracula, Frankenstein’s monster, and Wolfman panhandling on the corners.

The fog of uncertainty is engulfing the nation, making consumers hesitant to spend and businesses reluctant to hire or invest. It was like being in a commercial real estate horror film, with SPACE AVAILABLE, NOW LEASING, and STORE CLOSING signs startling me everywhere I turned. The trip took a spooky turn as I passed branches of those zombie banks – Bank of America and Citigroup. They don’t even know they’re already dead. I finally arrived at the Mall passing thousands of empty parking spaces with a few cars huddled close to the zombie starring in Night of the Retailing Dead – Sears. In the miasma, the few visitors appeared to be automaton like consumers programmed to shuffle through the mall and buy things they don’t need with money they don’t have. To say the road ahead for this country in 2013 is foggy would be an epic understatement. Let’s hope it doesn’t have a Nightmare on Elm Street like ending.

Virtually all of the mainstream media, Wall Street banks and paid shill economists are in agreement that 2013 will see improvement in employment, housing, retail spending and, of course the only thing that matters to the ruling class, the stock market. Even among the alternative media, there seems to be a consensus that we will continue to muddle through and the day of reckoning is still a few years off. Those who are predicting improvements are either ignorant of history or are being paid to predict improvement, despite the overwhelming evidence of a worsening economic climate. The mainstream media pundits, fulfilling their assigned task of purveying feel good propaganda, use the 10% stock market gain in 2012 as proof of economic recovery. The facts prove otherwise:

  • Real GDP, using a dramatically understated inflation rate, has barely grown by 1% in 2012. Using a true measure of inflation, the GDP was -2% during 2012. Even this pitiful growth was generated by 0% interest rate deals for subprime auto loans through Ally Financial (85% owned by you the taxpayer) and 7 year 0% home furnishing financing deals through GE Capital and the other government subsidized Too Big To Control Wall Street banks. The Federal government chipped in by guaranteeing FHA subsidized 3% down payment loans on houses and handing out billions in loans to students so they can find themselves, keep the unemployment rate down, get drunk, and if they graduate – enter debt servitude for decades.

  • The number of people who have left the workforce since last December (2.2 million) almost matched the number of newly employed (2.4 million), as the labor participation rate has collapsed to a three decade low of 63.6%. The propagandists attempt to peddle this dreadful condition as a function of Baby Boomers retiring. This is obliterated by the fact the 55 to 69 age bracket has added 4 million jobs since Obama became president, while the younger age brackets have lost 3 million jobs. The working age population has grown by 13 million since 2007 and there are 4 million less people employed.

  • Another 1.5 million Americans were forced onto food stamps during 2012, bringing the total increase to 17 million since Obama assumed office. With 47.5 million depending on assistance to feed them, a full 20% of all households in the U.S. are dependent on this program, costing taxpayers $76 billion, versus $34 billion in 2008. Another 4.8 million have joined the ranks of the disabled since 2009, with a dramatic surge when the 99 week unemployment benefits began to run out. These trends are surely signs of recovery.

  • Real average hourly earnings were flat in 2012, and have fallen 1.5% since Obama became president. The average middle class worker is making less than they were forty years ago. Using a true measure of inflation would reveal the true devastation wrought on the middle class. As the things we need (food, energy, shelter, education, healthcare) have grown more expensive and the things we are brainwashed to buy (iGadgets, HDTVs, luxury autos, bling) by the masters of propaganda have been made easily accessible through credit, the middle class has enslaved themselves in chains of debt. The declining average wages since 1973 have forced families to have both spouses work outside the home, with the consequence of more divorces, children raised by strangers, and the proliferation of depressed human beings. The lost real income has been replaced by credit card, auto, mortgage, and student loan debt.

Jan2_Real Wages

The reason Bernanke, Geithner, Obama, Wall Street, corporate titans, and media pundits focus their attention on the stock market is because they are looking out for their fellow 1%ers. The working middle class, once the backbone of this country, own virtually no stocks. The 88% stock market increase since March 2009 hasn’t benefitted the middle class one iota. The Federal Reserve engineered stock market recovery has benefitted moneyed bankers and wealthy corporate executives, the very people who collapsed the worldwide financial system and received the bailouts when they should have gone to jail.

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Those who continue to tout a non-existent economic recovery have focused on the manufactured stock market and housing recovery, extrapolating those trends without understanding how it has been achieved. A master plan implemented through the collusion of the Federal Reserve, Treasury Department, Executive branch, Wall Street cabal, and corporate media conglomerates has created the illusion of recovery. Make no mistake about it, those in power held clandestine meetings and had covert discussions that will never see the light of day in transcripts or recordings. They developed a strategy to save themselves, their fellow cronies, and the corporate interests that run this country. They threw the middle class, senior citizens, and young people under the bus in their sordid determination to retain their power, wealth and control. Their multi-faceted scheme has been rolled out as follows:

  1. Reduce interest rates to 0% so Wall Street banks could borrow for free and reinvest in Treasuries, therefore earning risk free profits so they could rebuild their non-existent capital. The Wall Street banks also used the free money to generate trading profits using their HFT supercomputers, with only the occasional glitch (JP Morgan London Whale $9 billion slipup, Corzine blowing up his firm and stealing $1.2 billion from ranchers & farmers). The ability to borrow at 0% has spurred these financial institutions to make 0% loans to subprime auto buyers and offer 7 year 0% interest deals on behalf of furniture, electronics, and appliance retailers. This Keynesian solution is supposed to spur demand and generate new jobs. The reality is that Bernanke’s ZIRP has transferred $400 billion of annual interest income from savers and senior citizens to the Wall Street bankers, while setting the table for more massive bad debt write-offs when the millions of subprime borrowers default.
  2. The Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department forced the FASB to scrap mark to market accounting, allowing the Wall Street banks to fraudulently value their worthless assets. The Federal Reserve than tripled their balance sheet from $900 billion to $2.95 trillion by purchasing almost $1 trillion of toxic mortgage debt from the Wall Street banks at full face value of the debt. The Fed purchased Treasuries to artificially lower mortgage rates and attempt to spur a housing recovery.
  3. The Wall Street banks have purposely manipulated the foreclosure process and restricted the inventory of foreclosures available to purchase. In conjunction with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, large inventories of foreclosed properties have been sold in bulk to connected Wall Street firms at above market prices and positioned as rental properties. The FHA has done their part by guaranteeing 3% down payment mortgages and putting taxpayers on the hook for the billions in losses to come. Fannie and Freddie have already lost $200 billion of taxpayer money since 2008 on behalf of the Wall Street banks. The concerted effort to restrict the supply of homes available for sale resulted in the price of homes sold rising in 2012. Those in power are attempting to resuscitate the millions of heavily indebted underwater home occupiers at the expense of the young and frugal who would buy when home prices dropped to a clearing level. The same people who created the first housing bubble are attempting to re-inflate it as a solution to our economic woes.
  4. Despite the fact that individual investors have pulled billions out of the stock market over the last three years, the stock market has managed to approach all-time highs. This has been the lynchpin of their plan. The sole purpose of every QE initiated by Bernanke has been to elevate the stock market. Academics like Bernanke and Krugman sell the “wealth effect” storyline to the masses as a way to spur consumer spending. The only wealth effect is to shift the wealth of the working middle class to the ruling class who own the stocks and control the markets. As each QE has further enriched the 1%, the inflationary impact on energy, food, and clothing has destroyed the lives of millions in the middle class who own virtually no stocks. The gap between the uber-rich ruling class and the peasants has never been wider.

The master plan has succeeded in delaying the worst of the Crisis, further enriching the oligarchs, further impoverishing the middle class, fanning the flames of revolution across the globe, provoking foreign adversaries, inciting anger among the populace and darkening the mood of the country. Those predicting a return to the peaceful autumn like days of the late 90s reveal their ignorance of history. Winter is here and there are many dark days ahead before Spring is discernible. The linear thinking crowd who hang their hats on never ending progress spurred by technological innovation and a limitless supply of cheap resources are denying reality. Delusion and hope for a better tomorrow is not a strategy. We have entered the 5th year of this ongoing Crisis. Fourth Turnings do not fizzle out; they build to a societal earth shattering crescendo (American Revolution, Civil War, Great Depression/WWII). Economic, financial, social and global conditions do not progress during a twenty year Crisis period, driven by the generational configuration that arises once every 80 years. An epic struggle between good and evil, rich and poor, government and governed, young and old, nation and nation, awaits us over the next fifteen years. No matter what happens in 2013, it will be driven by the core elements of this Crisis – Debt, Civic Decay, and Global Disorder.

“In retrospect, the spark might seem as ominous as a financial crash, as ordinary as a national election, or as trivial as a Tea Party. The catalyst will unfold according to a basic Crisis dynamic that underlies all of these scenarios: An initial spark will trigger a chain reaction of unyielding responses and further emergencies. The core elements of these scenarios (debt, civic decay, global disorder) will matter more than the details, which the catalyst will juxtapose and connect in some unknowable way. If foreign societies are also entering a Fourth Turning, this could accelerate the chain reaction. At home and abroad, these events will reflect the tearing of the civic fabric at points of extreme vulnerability – problem areas where America will have neglected, denied, or delayed needed action.” – The Fourth Turning – Strauss & Howe -1996

Until Debt Do Us Part

The storyline of austerity and deleveraging perpetuated through the mainstream media mouthpieces is unequivocally false, as consumer debt has reached an all-time high of $2.77 trillion, driven by a surge in subprime auto loans and subprime student loans. The reason for the surge in these loans, while credit card debt lingers 15% below the 2008 peak, is because the Federal Government is doling out these loans with your tax dollars. Ally Financial (aka GMAC, aka Ditech) is under the complete control of the Federal Government and doesn’t care about future losses. The taxpayers won’t notice another $1 billion in losses. There are Cadillac Escalades, Silverados and RAM pickups to peddle to morons without money.

Could there be a more subprime borrower than a 20 year old majoring in African literature or a 40 year old former construction worker enrolled at the University of Phoenix with 500,000 other schmoes? The Federal government assumed control over the student loan market in 2009 and has proceeded to blow a new bubble. They have driven tuition higher and enabled millions of barely functioning morons to enter college, where they will not only fail, but also be burdened by un-payable levels of non-dischargeable debt. Now the government solution is to pass those bad debts onto you the taxpayer while encouraging even more debt for students. Here is an assessment of the new “Pay as you Earn” program from your owners:

“(BusinessWeek) We have one example of someone who might look similar to an MBA student. He starts out with a starting salary of $90,000 and by the end of 20 years is making $243,360. Under the old IBR program, he’ll have paid $409,445 by year 25 and be forgiven $23,892 of his loan balance. Under the new IBR repayment plan he’ll pay less than half of that, or $202,299, and be forgiven $208,259 by year 20. The old IBR plan was punitive if you borrowed a lot of money, made you pay more over time and trapped you, so there were serious consequences to doing that. It was a downside and a pretty big risk, which is why you didn’t see people borrowing without regard to how much it will cost. The new plan essentially eliminates any downside or risk for that type of behavior, and cuts payments in half and then some.”

The enslavement of our children in student loan debt and handing them the bill for $200 trillion of unfunded entitlement liabilities will be the spark that ignites the worst part of this Crisis.

Student Loan Projections

Those in power realized very quickly that without continued credit growth, their entire corrupt, repugnant, fiat currency based debt system would implode and they would lose all of their fraudulently acquired wealth. That is why total credit market debt is at an all-time high of $56 trillion, and 350% of GDP. The National Debt of $16.5 trillion is now 103% of GDP, well beyond the Rogoff & Reinhart level of 90% that always leads to economic crisis and turmoil.

As Wall Street bankers acted like lemmings leading up to the 2008 financial collapse the famous July 2007 quote from Charles Prince, CEO of Citigroup, summed it up nicely:

“When the music stops, in terms of liquidity, things will be complicated. But as long as the music is playing, you’ve got to get up and dance. We’re still dancing,”

Now central bankers across the globe are dancing an Irish Jig. Every major central banker in the world is lemmingly following Bernanke’s lead and printing money at hyper-speed. The Europeans have surpassed the Japanese in their quest to become the first casualty in the coming debt collapse. Bernanke, in his quest to not be outdone, has committed to taking his balance sheet to 25% of GDP within the next year. Japan has vowed not to be outdone. The currency debasement race is gathering steam. The devastation, anger, resentment and ultimately war caused by these bankers will engulf the world when it reaches its apocalyptic ending.   

Will the grain of sand that collapses the pile be a debt ceiling crisis as postulated by Strauss & Howe?

“An impasse over the federal budget reaches a stalemate. The president and Congress both refuse to back down, triggering a near-total government shutdown. The president declares emergency powers. Congress rescinds his authority. Dollar and bond prices plummet. The president threatens to stop Social Security checks. Congress refuses to raise the debt ceiling. Default looms. Wall Street panics.” – The Fourth Turning – Strauss & Howe – 1996

I don’t think so. The Democrats and Republicans are playing their parts in this theater of the absurd. Neither party has any desire to cut spending, reduce our debt, or secure the future of unborn generations. In 2013, I see the following things happening related to our debt crisis:

  • The debt ceiling will be raised as the toothless Republican Party vows to cut spending next time. The political hacks will create a 3,000 page document of triggers and create a committee to study the issue, with actual measures that slow the growth of annual spending by .000005% starting in 2017.
  • The National Debt will increase by $1.25 trillion and debt to GDP will reach 106% by the end of the fiscal year.
  • The Federal Reserve balance sheet will reach $4 trillion by the end of the year.
  • Consumer debt will reach $2.9 trillion as the Feds accelerate student loans and Ally Financial, along with the other Too Big To Control Wall Street banks, keep pumping out subprime auto loans. By mid-year reported losses on student loans will soar and auto loan delinquencies will show an upturn. This will force a slowdown in consumer debt issuance, exacerbating the recession that started in 2012.
  • The Bakken oil miracle will prove to be nothing more than Wall Street shysters selling a storyline. Daily output will stall at 750,000 barrels per day and the dreams of imminent energy independence will be annihilated by reality, again. The price of oil will average $105 per barrel, as global tensions restrict supply.
  • The home price increases generated through inventory manipulation in 2012 will peter out as 2013 progresses. The market has been flooded by investors. There is very little real demand for new homes. Young households with heavy student loan debt and low paying jobs will continue to rent, since the oligarchs refused to let prices fall to a level that would spur real demand. Mortgage delinquencies will rise as job growth remains stagnant, leading to an increase in foreclosures. Rent prices will flatten as apartment construction and investors flood the market with supply.
  • The disconnect between the stock market and the housing and employment markets will be rectified when the MSM can no longer deny the recession that began in 2012 and will deepen in the first part of 2013. While housing prices languish 30% below their peak levels of 2006, the stock market has prematurely ejaculated back to pre-crisis levels. Declining corporate profits, stagnant consumer spending, and increasing debt defaults will finally result in a 20% decline in the stock market, with a chance for losses greater than 30% if Japan or the EU begin to crumble.

case shiller and stocks

  • Japan is still a bug in search of a windshield. With a debt to GDP ratio of 230%, a population dying off, energy dependence escalating, trade surplus decreasing, an already failed Prime Minister vowing to increase inflation, and rising tensions with China, Japan is a primary candidate to be the first domino to fall in the game of debt chicken. A 2% increase in interest rates would destroy the Japanese economic system.
  • The EU has temporarily delayed the endgame for their failed experiment. Economic conditions in Greece, Spain and Italy worsen by the day with unemployment reaching dangerous revolutionary levels. Pretending countries will pay each other with newly created debt will not solve a debt crisis. They don’t have a liquidity problem. They have a solvency problem. The only people who have been saved by the actions taken so far are bankers and politicians. I believe the crisis will reignite, with interest rates spiking in Spain, Italy and France. The Germans will get fed up with the rest of Europe and the EU will begin to disintegrate.

Civic Decay Accelerates  

“History offers no guarantees. If America plunges into an era of depression or violence which by then has not lifted, we will likely look back on the 1990s as the decade when we valued all the wrong things and made all the wrong choices.” – Strauss & Howe - The Fourth Turning

The liberal minded Op-Ed writers that decry the incivility of dialogue today once again show their ignorance for or contempt for American history. They call for compromise and coming together. They should see Spielberg’s Lincoln to understand the uncompromising nature of Fourth Turnings and how conflicts are resolved. They should watch documentary film of Dresden, Hiroshima, and Guadalcanal during World War II. Compromise and civility do not compute during a Fourth Turning. It is compromise that has brought us to this point. Avoiding tough decisions and delaying action occur during the Unraveling. We’ve known the entitlement issues confronting our nation for over a decade and chose to do nothing. The time for delay and inaction is long gone. The pressing issues of the day will be resolved through collapse, confrontation and bloodshed. It’s the way it has always been done and the way it shall be. The current conflict over banning guns is just a symptom of a bigger disease. Government, at the behest of the owners, has been steadily assuming more power and control over the everyday lives of citizens who just want to be left to live their lives. Government has used propaganda, fear and misinformation to convince large swaths of the populace to voluntarily sacrifice their freedom and liberty for the promise of safety and security. Warrantless surveillance, imprisonment without charges, molestation by TSA agents, military exercises in cities, drones in our skies, cameras watching our every move, overseas torture, undeclared wars, cyber-attacks on sovereign countries, and now the threat of disarmament of the people have all contributed to the darkening skies above. A harsh winter lies ahead.

Civic decay is being driven by two main thrusts. Lack of jobs and destruction of middle class wealth by the oligarchs is resulting in the anger and dismay overwhelming the country. The chart below reveals the truth about our economy and the fraudulent nature of BLS reported data, skewed to paint a false picture. The 25 to 54 year old age bracket captures Americans in their peak earnings years. In 2007 this age bracket had 83% of its members in the labor force and 100.5 million of them employed. Today, according to the BLS, only 81.4% are in the labor force and there are 6.3 million less employed. The BLS has the gall to report that since 2009, even though the number of employed people in this age bracket has declined by 1 million, the number of unemployed people has dropped by 1.5 million people. To report this drivel is beyond laughable. The horrific labor market situation is confirmed by the fact that despite a 3.6 million person increase in this age demographic since 2000, there are 7.8 million more people not employed.

The reduced earnings and savings of the people in this demographic is having profound and long-lasting impact on our society. Household formation, retirement savings, tax revenues, and self-worth are all negatively impacted. The mood of desperation and anger is materializing in this age bracket. The resentment of these people when they see the well-heeled Wall Street set reaping stock market gains and bonuses while they make do on food stamps, extended unemployment and the charity of friends and family is palpable. More than 100% of the employment gains since 2010 have gone to those over the age of 55, further embittering the 25 to 54 workers. There is boiling anger beneath the thin veneer of civility between Millenials, GenXers, and Boomers. The chasm between the ultra-rich and the masses widens by the day and is leading to a seething animosity. The country has lost 2.4 million construction jobs and 2 million manufacturing jobs since 2007, but we’ve added 250,000 fry cook jobs and 440,000 University of Phoenix jobs stimulated by $500 billion in student loans. The complete transformation of a producing society to a consumption society has been accomplished.

stock market and total jobs

When the average person sees Wall Street bankers not only walk away unscathed from the crisis they aided, abetted and created through their fraudulent inducements and documentation, but be further enriched at taxpayer expense, their hatred and disgust with high financers like Corzine, Dimon and Blankfein burns white hot. The mainstream media propaganda machine tries to convince the average Joe that stock market highs and record corporate profits are beneficial to him, even though the gains and profits have been spurred by zero interest rates, fraudulent accounting and outsourcing their jobs to third world slave labor factories. A critical thinking human being (this rules out 95% of the adult population) might question how corporate profits could surpass pre-collapse levels when the economy has remained stagnant.

Shockingly, the entire profit surge was driven by Wall Street. Accounting entries relieving billions of loan loss reserves, earning hundreds of millions in risk free interest courtesy of Bernanke, and falsely valuing your loan portfolio can do wonders for profits. We’ve added 6.9 million finance jobs in the last 20 years as this industry has sucked the lifeblood out of our nation. A country that allows bankers to syphon off 35% of all the profits in the country without producing any benefits to society is destined to fail, with the dire consequences that follow.

My civic decay expectations for 2013 are as follows:

  • Progressive’s attempt to distract the masses from our worsening economic situation with their assault on the 2nd Amendment will fail. Congress will pass no new restrictions on gun ownership and 2013 will see the highest level of gun sales in history.
  • The deepening recession, higher taxes on small businesses and middle class, along with Obamacare mandates will lead to rising unemployment and rising anger with the failed economic policies of the last four years. Protests and rallies will begin to burgeon.
  • The number of people on food stamps will reach 50 million and the number of people on SSDI will reach 11 million. Jamie Dimon, Lloyd Blankfein, and Jeff Immelt will compensate themselves to the tune of $100 million. CNBC will proclaim an economic recovery based on these facts.
  • The drought will continue in 2013 resulting in higher food prices, ethanol prices, and shipping costs, as transporting goods on the Mississippi River will become further restricted. The misery index for the average American family will reach new highs.
  • There will be assassination attempts on political and business leaders as retribution for their actions during and after the financial crisis.
  • The revelation of more fraud in the financial sector will result in an outcry from the public for justice. Prosecutions will be pursued by State’s attorney generals, as Holder has been captured by Wall Street.
  • The deepening pension crisis in the states will lead to more state worker layoffs and more confrontation between governors attempting to balance budgets and government worker unions. There will be more municipal bankruptcies.
  • The gun issue will further enflame talk of state secession. The red state/blue state divide will grow ever wider. The MSM will aggravate the divisions with vitriolic propaganda.
  • The government will accelerate their surveillance efforts and renew their attempt to monitor, control, and censor the internet. This will result in increased cyber-attacks on government and corporate computer networks in retaliation.

Global Disorder Spreads

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

The entire world resembles a powder-keg in a room full of monkeys with matches. As economic conditions worsen around the world the poor, destitute and unemployed increasingly have begun to revolt against their banker masters. Money printing, reporting fraudulent economic data and pretending to make debt payments with newly issued debt does not employ anyone or put food in the mouths of the people. With worldwide unemployment surpassing 200 million, food and energy prices surging, peasants in the Far East treated like slave laborers, politicians stealing from the people to enrich their banker owners, and young people losing hope for a better tomorrow, the likelihood of strikes, protests, armed revolution, and war is high.

The world is about to find out the downside to globalization, as turmoil in Europe or Asia will swiftly impact those in the rest of the world that are interconnected through trade and financial instruments. The trillions of derivatives that link financial institutions across the world will ignite like a string of firecrackers once a spark reaches the fuse. Treaties and alliances between countries will immediately enlarge localized military conflicts into world-wide confrontations. Dwindling supplies of cheap oil and potable water, a changing climate (whether cyclical or human activity based) that is creating droughts, floods and super-storms on a more frequent basis, and religious zealotry set the stage for resource wars and religious wars around the globe and particularly in the Middle East. Fourth Turnings always intensify and ultimately lead to total war, with no compromise and clear winners and losers. The proxy wars that have been waged for the last 60 years will look like kindergarten snack time when the culmination of this Fourth Turning war results in death on a scale that would be considered incomprehensible today. And it will happen within the next fifteen years. The climactic war is still a few years off, but here is what I think will happen in 2013:

  • With new leadership in Japan and China, neither will want to lose face, so early in their new terms. Neither side will back down in their ongoing conflict over islands in the East China Sea. China will shoot down a Japanese aircraft and trade between the countries will halt, leading to further downturns in both of their economies.
  • Worker protests over slave labor conditions in Chinese factories will increase as food price increases hit home on peasants that spend 70% of their pay for food. The new regime will crackdown with brutal measures, but the protests will grow increasingly violent. The economic data showing growth will be discredited by what is happening on the ground. China will come in for a real hard landing. Maybe they can hide the billions of bad debt in some of their vacant cities.
  • Violence and turmoil in Greece will spread to Spain during the early part of the year, with protests and anger spreading to Italy and France later in the year. The EU public relations campaign, built on sandcastles of debt in the sky and false promises of corrupt politicians, will falter by mid-year. Interest rates will begin to spike and the endgame will commence. Greece will depart the EU, with Spain not far behind. The unraveling of debt will plunge all of Europe into depression.
  • Iran will grow increasingly desperate as hyperinflation caused by U.S. economic sanctions provokes the leadership to lash out at its neighbors and unleash cyber-attacks on Saudi Arabian oil facilities and U.S. corporations. Israel will use the rising tensions as the impetus to finally attack Iranian nuclear facilities. The U.S. will support the attack and Iran will launch missiles at Saudi Arabia and Israel in retaliation. The price of oil will spike above $125 per barrel, further deepening the worldwide recession.
  • Syrian President Assad will be ousted and executed by rebels. Syria will fall under the control of Islamic rebels, who will not be friendly to the United States or Israel. Russia will stir up discontent in retaliation for the ouster of their ally.
  • Egypt and Libya will increasingly become Islamic states and will further descend into civil war.
  • The further depletion of the Cantarell oil field will destroy the Mexican economy as it becomes a net energy importer. The drug violence will increase and more illegal immigrants will pour into the U.S. The U.S. will station military troops along the border.
  • Cyber-attacks by China and Iran on government and corporate computer networks will grow increasingly frequent. One or more of these attacks will threaten nuclear power plants, our electrical grid, or the Pentagon.

So now I’m on the record for 2013 and I can be scorned and ridiculed for being such a pessimist when December rolls around and our Ponzi scheme economy hasn’t collapsed. There is no disputing the facts. The economic situation is deteriorating for the average American, the mood of the country is darkening, and the world is awash in debt and turmoil. Every country is attempting to print their way to renewed prosperity. No one wins a race to the bottom. The oligarchs have chosen a path of currency debasement, propping up insolvent banks, propaganda and impoverishing the masses as their preferred course. They attempt to keep the masses distracted with political theater, gun control vitriol, reality TV and iGadgets. What can be said about a society where 10% of the population follows Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga on Twitter and where 50% think the National Debt is a monument in Washington D.C. The country is controlled by evil sycophants, intellectually dishonest toadies and blood sucking leeches. Their lies and deception have held sway for the last four years, but they have only delayed the final collapse of a boom brought about by credit expansion. They will not reverse course and believe their intellectual superiority will allow them to retain their control after the collapse.

“Washington has become our Versailles. We are ruled, entertained, and informed by courtiers — and the media has evolved into a class of courtiers. The Democrats, like the Republicans, are mostly courtiers. Our pundits and experts, at least those with prominent public platforms, are courtiers. We are captivated by the hollow stagecraft of political theater as we are ruthlessly stripped of power. It is smoke and mirrors, tricks and con games, and the purpose behind its deception.”- Chris Hedges

Every day more people are realizing the con-job being perpetuated by the owners of this country. Will the tipping point be reached in 2013? I don’t know. But the era of decisiveness and confrontation has arrived. The people will learn there are consequences to our actions and inaction. The existing social order will be swept away. Are you prepared?

The era of procrastination, of half-measures, of soothing and baffling expedients, of delays, is coming to a close. In its place we are entering a period of consequences…” – Winston Churchill

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