Mark Hulbert) There are eerie parallels between the stock market’s recent behavior and how it behaved right before the 1929 crash.That at least is the conclusion reached by a frightening chart that has been making the rounds on Wall Street. The chart superimposes the market’s recent performance on top of a plot of its gyrations in 1928 and 1929.The picture isn’t pretty. And it’s not as easy as you might think to wriggle out from underneath the bearish significance of this chart.I should know, because*I quoted a number of this chart’s skeptics*in a column I wrote in early December. Yet the market over the last two months has continued to more or less closely follow the 1928-29 pattern outlined in that two-months-ago chart. If this correlation continues, the market faces a particularly rough period later this month and in early March. (See chart, courtesy of Tom McClellan of the McClellan Market Report; he in turn gives credit to Tom DeMark, a noted technical analyst who is the founder and CEO of DeMark Analytics.)One of the biggest objections I heard two months ago was that the chart is a shameless exercise in after-the-fact retrofitting of the recent data to some past price pattern. But that objection has lost much of its force. The chart was first publicized in late November of last year, and the correlation since then certainly appears to be just as close as it was before.- See more at:
began writing analysis on the macro-economic situation of the American financial structure back in 2006, and in the eight years since, I have seen an undeniably steady trend of fiscal decline.I have never had any doubt that the U.S. economy as we know it was headed for total and catastrophic collapse, the only question was when, exactly, the final trigger event would occur. As I have pointed out in the past, economic implosion is a process. It grows over time, like the ice shelf on a mountain developing into a potential avalanche. It is easy to shrug off the danger because the visible destruction is not immediate, it is latent; but when the avalanche finally begins, it is far too late for most people to escape…If you view the progressive financial breakdown in America as some kind of “comedy of errors” or a trial of unlucky coincidences, then there is not much I can do to educate you on the reasons behind the carnage. If, however, you understand that there is a deliberate motivation behind American collapse, then what I have to say here will not fall on biased ears.The financial crash of 2008, the same crash which has been ongoing for years, is NOT an accident. It is a concerted and engineered crisis meant to position the U.S. for currency disintegration and the institution of a global basket currency controlled by an unaccountable supranational governing body like the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The American populace is being conditioned through economic fear to accept the institutionalization of global financial control and the loss of sovereignty.Anyone skeptical of this conclusion is welcome to study my numerous past examinations on the issue of globalization; I don’t have the time within this article to re-explain, and frankly, with so much information on deliberate dollar destruction available to the public today I’ve grown tired of anyone with a lack of awareness.If you continue to believe that the Fed actually exists to “help” stabilize our economy or our currency, then you will never find the logic behind what they do. If you understand that the goal of the Fed and the globalists is to dismantle the dollar and the U.S. economic system to make way for something “new”, then certain recent events and policy initiatives do start to make sense.The year of 2014 has been looming as a serious concern for me since the final quarter of 2013, and you can read about those concerns and the evidence that supports them in my article*Expect Devastating Global Economic Changes In 2014.At the end of 2013 we saw at least three major events that could have sent America spiraling into total collapse. The first was the announcement of possible taper measures by the Fed, which have now begun. The second was the possible invasion of Syria which the Obama Administration is still desperate for despite successful efforts by the liberty movement to deny him public support for war. And, the third event was the last debt ceiling debate (or debt ceiling theater depending on how you look at it), which placed the U.S. squarely on the edge of fiscal default.As we begin 2014, these same threatening issues remain (along with many others), only at greater levels and with more prominence. New developments reinforce my original position that this year will be remembered by historians as the year in which the final breakdown of the U.S. monetary dynamic was set in motion. Here are some of those developments explained…Taper Of QE3When I first suggested that a Fed taper was not only possible but probable months ago, I was met with a bit (a lot) of criticism from some in the alternative economic world. You can read my taper articles*hereand*here.This was understandable. The Fed uses multiple stimulus outlets besides QE in order to manipulate U.S. markets. Artificially lowering interest rates is very much a form of stimulus in itself, for instance.However, I think a dangerous blindness to threats beyond money printing has developed within our community of analysts and this must be remedied. People need to realize first that the Fed does NOT care about the continued health of our economy, and they may not care about presenting a facade of health for much longer either. Alternative analysts also need to come to grips with the reality that overt money printing is not the only method at the disposal of globalists when destroying the greenback. A debt default is just as likely to cause loss of world reserve status and devaluation - no printing press required. Blame goes to government and political gridlock while the banks slither away in the midst of the chaos.The taper of QE3 is not a “head fake”, it is very real, but there are many hidden motivations behind such cuts.Currently, $20 billion has been trimmed from the $85 billion per month program, and we are already beginning to see what APPEAR to be market effects, including a flight from emerging market currencies from Argentina to Turkey. A couple of years ago investors viewed these markets as among the few places they could exploit to make a positive return, or in other words, one of the few places they could successfully gamble. The Fed taper, though, seems to be shifting the flow of capital away from emerging markets.The mainstream argument is that stimulus was flowing into such markets, giving them liquidity support, and the taper is drying up that liquidity. Whether this is actually true is hard to say, given that without a full audit we have no idea how much fiat the Federal Reserve has actually created and how much of it they send out into foreign markets.I stand more on the position that the Fed taper was actually begun in preparation for a slowdown in global markets that was already in progress. In fact, I believe central bankers have been well aware that a decline in every sector was coming, and are moving to insulate themselves.Is it just a "coincidence" that the central bankers have initiated their taper of QE right when global manufacturing numbers begin to plummet?http://www.agweb.com/article/us_stoc...nth-low.htmlIs it just "coincidence" the taper was started right when the Baltic Dry Index, a global indicator of shipping demand, has lost over 50% of its value in the past few weeks?http://investmenttools.com/futures/b...ry_index.htmIs it just "coincidence" that the taper is running tandem with dismal retail sales growth reports from across the globe coming in from the final quarter of 2013?http://www.businessweek.com/news/201...se-wallets/And, is it just a "coincidence" that the Fed taper is accelerating right as the next debt ceiling debate begins in March, and when reports are being released by the Congressional Budget Office that over 2 million jobs (in work hours) may be lost due to Obamacare?http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/...31B120140204No, I do not think any of this is coincidence.* Most if not all of these negative indicators needed months to generate, so they could not have been caused by the taper itself.* The only explanation beyond "coincidence" is that the Federal Reserve WANTED to launch the taper program and protect itself before these signals began to reach the public.Look at it this way - The taper program distances the bankers from responsibility for crisis in our financial framework, at least in the eyes of the general public. If a market calamity takes place WHILE stimulus measures are still at full speed, this makes the banks look rather guilty, or at least incompetent. People would begin to question the validity of central bank methods, and they might even question the validity of the central bank’s existence. The Fed is creating space between itself and the economy because they know that a trigger event is coming. They want to ensure that they are not blamed and that stimulus itself is not seen as ineffective, or seen as the cause.We all know that the claims of recovery are utter nonsense. Beyond the numerous warning signs listed above, one need only look at true unemployment numbers, household wage decline, and record low personal savings of the average American. The taper is not in response to an improving economic environment. Rather, the taper is a signal for the next stage of collapse.Stocks are beginning to plummet around the world and all mainstream pundits are pointing fingers at a reduction in stimulus which has very little to do with anything.
What is the message they want us to digest? That we “can’t live” without the aid and oversight of central banks.The real reason stocks and other indicators are stumbling is because the effectiveness of stimulus manipulation has a shelf life, and that shelf life is over for the Federal Reserve. I suspect they will continue cutting QE every month for the next year as stocks decline.* Will the Fed restart QE?* If they do, it will probably not occur until after a substantial breakdown has ensued and the public is sufficiently shell-shocked.* The possibility also exists that the Fed will never return to stimulus measures (if debt default is the plan), and QE stimulus will eventually be replaced by IMF "aid".Government Controlled InvestmentLast month, just as taper measures were being implemented, the White House launched an investment program called MyRA; a*retirement IRA program*in which middle class and low wage Americans can invest part of their paycheck in government bonds.That’s right, if you wanted to know where the money was going to come from to support U.S. debt if the Fed cuts QE, guess what, the money is going to come from YOU.For a decade or so China was the primary buyer and crutch for U.S. debt spending. After the derivatives crash of 2008, the Federal Reserve became the largest purchaser of Treasury bonds. With the decline of foreign interest in long term U.S. debt, and the taper in full effect, it only makes sense that the government would seek out an alternative source of capital to continue the debt cycle. The MyRA program turns the general American public into a new cash stream, but there’s more going on here than meets the eye…I find it rather suspicious that a government-controlled retirement program is suddenly introduced just as the Fed has begun to taper, as stocks are beginning to fall, and as questions arise over the U.S. debt ceiling. I have three major concerns:First, is it possible that like the Fed, the government is also aware that a crash in stocks is coming? And, are they offering the MyRA program as an easy outlet (or trap) for people to pour in what little savings they have as panic over declining equities accelerates?* Bonds do tend to look appetizing to uninformed investors during an equities rout.Second, the program is currently voluntary, but what if the plan is to make it mandatory? Obama has already signed mandatory health insurance “taxation” into law, which is meant to steal a portion of every paycheck. Why not steal an even larger portion from every paycheck in order to support U.S. debt? It’s for the “greater good,” after all.Third, is this a deliberate strategy to corral the last vestiges of private American wealth into the corner of U.S. bonds, so that this wealth can be confiscated or annihilated? What happens if there is indeed an eventual debt default, as I believe there will be? Will Americans be herded into bonds by a crisis in stocks only to have bonds implode as well? Will they be conned into bond investment out of a “patriotic duty” to save the nation from default? Or, will the government just take their money through legislative wrangling, as was done in Cyprus not long ago?The Final SwindleAgain, the next debt ceiling debate is slated for the end of this month. If the government decides to kick the can down the road for another quarter, I believe this will be the last time. The most recent actions of the Fed and the government signal preparations for a stock implosion and ultimate debt calamity. Default would have immediate effects in foreign markets, but the appearance of U.S. stability could drag on for a time, giving the globalists ample opportunity to siphon every ounce of financial blood from the public.It is difficult to say how the next year will play out, but one thing is certain; something very strange and ugly is afoot. The goal of the globalists is to engineer desperation. To create a catastrophe and then force the masses to beg for help. How many hands of “friendship” will be offered in the wake of a U.S. wealth and currency crisis? What offers for “aid” will come from the IMF? How much of our country and how many of our people will be collateralized to secure that aid? And, how many Americans will go along with the swindle because they were not prepared in advance?*****You can contact Brandon Smith at:**firstname.lastname@example.org
FEBRUARY 17, 2014 4:00 AMThe United States of DeclineAmerica unravels at an increasingly dizzying pace.By*Deroy Murdock
America is unraveling at a stunning speed and to a staggering degree. This decline is breathtaking, and the prognosis is dim.For starters, Obama now rules by decree. Reportedly for the*27th*time, he has changed the rules of Obamacare singlehandedly, with neither congressional approval nor even ceremonial resolutions to limit his actions. Obama needs no such frivolities.“That’s the good thing about being president,” Obama joked on February 10. “I can do whatever I want.” In an especially bitter irony, Obama uttered these despicable words while guiding French president François Hollande through Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson — a key architect of America’s foundation of limited government.
That very day, Obama*decreed*that the Obamacare mandate for employers with 50 to 99 workers would be postponed until 2016 (beyond an earlier extension to 2015), well past the November 2014 midterm elections. This eases the pressure on Democrats, whose campaigns would suffer if voters saw their company health plans canceled due to Obamacare’s unnecessary, expensive, mandatory benefits — e.g. maternity coverage for men.So, by fiat, Obama has postponed the employer mandate. When Senator Ted Cruz (R., Texas) effectively tried to do this through legislation last fall, Democrats virtually lassoed and branded him.
Also by decree last week, Obama decided unilaterally to*soften*political-asylum rules. Refugees and other immigrants who provide terrorists “limited material support” now can come to America. So what if someone merely clothed and fed Mohamed Atta or Khalid Sheikh Mohammed? After all, garments and meals don’t blow up. Welcome to America, Mustafa!Meanwhile, the Justice Department is working hard to revoke the asylum of and deport the*Romeikes. This evangelical-Christian family was granted refuge in America to escape prosecution for homeschooling their children, which German law forbids.So, Obama believes, those who are only somewhat helpful to deadly, anti-U.S. terrorists may become Americans, while religiously oppressed homeschoolers who face prison should get the hell out.The transparent electoral motive that fuels so many of Obama’s executive orders seems unprecedented. The tone is also brand new. Obama’s predecessors have signed executive orders and, more or less, left it at that. But Obama pounds his chest as he does so. As he*told*Congress at last month’s State of the Union address: “America does not stand still — and neither will I. So wherever and whenever I can take steps without legislation to expand opportunity for more American families, that’s what I’m going to do.”While appalled Republicans sat on their hands, Democrats stood up and shouted like equatorial, rubber-stamp parliamentarians: “Hooray! We are irrelevant!”Chilling.Meanwhile, as the American Enterprise Institute’s Marc Thiessen*wrote*in the February 10*Washington Post, new Congressional Budget Office figures show that Obamacare will reduce U.S. incomes by $70 billion annually between 2017 and 2024. The CBO also estimated that by 2021, Obamacare’s disincentives to hire and incentives not to work would*slash*labor hours by the equivalent of 2.3 million jobs.Rather than dispute these figures, key Democrats embraced them.“We want people to have the freedom to be a writer, to be a photographer, to make music, to paint,”*said*House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of California. She added that “people would no longer be job-locked by their [health] policies, but have the freedom to follow their passion.”So, rather than expand economic growth and jobs, Democrats*applaud*as Americans stop working — to do watercolors, draft poetry, and take naps — while exhausted taxpayers foot the bill.Clearly unafraid of Obama, Iranian warships for the*first*time are steaming toward America’s Atlantic maritime borders. Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps navy commander Ali Fadayi*said, “The Americans can sense by all means how their warships will be sunk with 5,000 crews and forces in combat against*Iran*and how they should find its hulk in the depths of the sea.” Tehran last week also aired fantasy videos of drones blasting a U.S. warship and bombing Tel Aviv. This is how Iran behaves while it negotiates with U.S. diplomats over “peaceful” uranium enrichment?
For decades, America has used its armed strength to enforce the use of the dollar as the world’s reserve currency, effectively making the US military the armed wing of the international banking cartel (IBC). Since 1971 when President Richard Nixon stopped paying US debt obligations with gold, America has increasingly used its military might to prop up the value of the dollar and enforce a global financial structure whose primary beneficiary is the US itself, and whose central bank, the Federal Reserve, serves as the IBC’s supervisory authority.
Who or what is this IBC?* It consists of Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, Citigroup and Wells Fargo along with Deutsche Bank, BNP and Barclays. Eight families reportedly control the IBC: the Goldman Sachs, Rockefellers, Lehmans, Kuhn Loebs, Rothschilds, Warburgs, Lazards and the Israel Moses Seifs.* Besides owning the US oil behemoths Exxon Mobil, Royal Dutch Shell, BP and Chevron Texaco, IBC member institutions are among the top ten shareholders of nearly every Fortune 500 company. While the IBC itself has no formal status, nevertheless its members are represented by an international body, the Financial Stability Board (FSB).* Organized as the Financial Security Forum in 1999 by G7 finance ministers and central bank governors, the FSB “seeks to give momentum to a broad-based multilateral agenda for strengthening financial systems and the stability of international financial markets.”
War is extremely profitable for the IBC, since not only do its members profit from financing arms sales to both sides during the conflicts that they themselves often initiate, but also from the post bellum reconstruction. In fact, the most powerful of the central banking institutions in the world, the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), was established in 1930 to oversee reparation payments imposed upon Germany by the Treaty of Versailles that ended the First World War. In addition to providing banking services for central banks worldwide, the BIS supervised the Bretton Woods international currency agreements from the Second World War until the early 1970s, when Nixon reneged on pledges to pay US debt obligations in gold. The BIS also works with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to expand the IBC-imposed debt-dependency cycle among the nations of the world.
The methodology for global financial domination is really quite simple: America imports more goods than it exports and therefore dollars flow out of the US and accumulate in the central banks of other countries. Since the US has refused to honor these obligations in gold, the central banks are forced to invest in US treasury bills, bonds and other US financial instruments that pay interest which is financed by the issuance of further debt. The result is a US-dominated global financial system dependent upon maintaining the value, or more correctly, minimizing the rate of depreciation, of the dollar, allowing the US to enjoy an extravagant consumer-based economy at the expense of the rest of the world.*
Regarding the insidious US debt-domination process, Wall Street analyst Michael Hudson explains that “by running balance-of-payments deficits that it refuses to settle in gold, it has obliged foreign governments to invest their surplus dollar holdings in Treasury bills, that is, to relend their dollar inflows to the US Treasury.”** The system is somewhat self-perpetuating, for should a non-US central bank decide to divest its dollars, it would effectively sabotage the economy in its own country.** Of course, foreign central banks and financial institutions are well aware that by investing in US treasury securities, they will lose money since the Federal Reserve will only turn around and “print” more dollars, thus further diluting the value of their reserves. However, if these foreign institutions would fail to reinvest their dollars in more T-bills, the rate of depreciation of their dollar holdings would accelerate dramatically. Such awareness holds most governments in check, preventing wholesale dumping of dollars, which of course would bring the entire global system down, along with the IBC.
Hence, demand for US dollars and government and agency bonds continues even as [dollar] value falls. The losses on these holdings represent a tax paid to the ‘Empire’,” writes Catherine Austin Fitts, adding, “The fundamental system is as old as the hills. It is based on force.” Conversely, this ability of the IBC to call upon the US military, which incidentally consumes 40 percent of global military spending, whenever and wherever the cartel’s interests are threatened, results directly from the global dominance of the dollar. India-based scholar and social activist Rohini Hensm writes, “It is the dominance of the dollar that underpins US financial dominance as a whole as well as the apparently limitless spending power that allows it to keep hundreds of thousands of troops stationed all over the world.”** In short, dollar dominance allows the obscenely profligate spending to maintain the US military’s global presence, which in turn insures the continuing hegemony of the dollar.
Nevertheless, an increasing number of challenges to this dollar hegemony regime has arisen, some of which have necessitated suppression by the US military.* Iraq is a good case in point. In November of 2000, former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein announced to the world that Iraq would no longer accept dollars for petroleum transactions. Despite the declining value of the Euro, Saddam demanded payment for Iraqi oil in the troubled currency while declaring dollars to be “the currency of the enemy.” By 2002, Iraqi oil was being traded in Euros, effectively dumping the dollar. Former US President George W. Bush, who was a deputy of the IBC from the oil industry, used the 9/11 terrorist attacks as a convenient excuse to invade Iraq in March 2003, thus eliminating Saddam’s threat to dollar domination.
When former Libyan leader Muammar al-Qaddafi tried to establish a state-run central bank and trade petroleum in non-dollar currencies, the IBC tapped NATO to intervene. On March 19, 2011, a mere month after initial internal unrest, the Transitional National Council “rebels” announced they were establishing the Libyan Oil Company as the supervisory authority on oil production and policies, and designated the Central Bank of Benghazi as the authority for monetary policies.* That a local group of rebels one month into a rebellion would form a national oil company and designate a private central bank astounded Robert Wenzel of the Economic Policy Journal who remarked, “I have never before heard of a central bank being created in just a matter of weeks out of a popular uprising.” Confirming suspicions of IBC involvement, the US Treasury placed sanctions on Qaddafi’s National Oil Corporation, but assured the rebels, “Should National Oil Corporation subsidiaries or facilities come under different ownership and control, Treasury may consider authorizing dealings with such entities.”
Other countries have had enough of the IBC and its armed wing. Both Russia and China have expressed their distaste for the dollar status quo and US threats of sanctions or military force. On Thursday, Sept. 6, 2012, China announced that any nation in the world that wishes to buy, sell, or trade crude oil can do using the Chinese currency, not the American dollar. Following suit the next day, Russia announced that it would sell China all the crude oil it wanted but it would not accept US dollars. In addition, Russia has recently unveiled a payment system, called the PRO 100 Universal electronic card, designed to bypass the IBC should it again decide to block credit card services to Russian banks.* “There is little doubt in my mind but that Russia and China and no doubt many other countries around the world are getting angry as hell about the US abusing its foreign currency privilege,” wrote investment banker Jay Taylor.
Iran, of course, has long been targeted by the IBC for refusing to surrender to US-imposed sanctions and threats of military force. Iran had completely eliminated the use of US dollars for oil trading by December 2007 and inaugurated its Bourse (stock exchange) for trading petroleum in non-dollar currencies in February 2008, coinciding with the 29th anniversary of the victory of the Islamic Revolution. Additionally, the IBC has tried to cut off Iran from using SWIFT, Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications, for international transactions. However, with the world's second-largest gas reserves and third-largest oil reserves, Iran retains the potential to strike a major blow against US dollar hegemony.
The question is how can we put an end to this stranglehold on the global financial system by the IBC and its armed wing? Hensm gives us a simple, straightforward answer: “Destroy US dollar hegemony, and the ‘Empire’ will collapse.” If more nations join Iran, Russia and China, and opt out of the US dollar protection racket, then this evil “Empire” will surely collapse along with its armed wing.
Inside Wall Street's most secret society: The billionaire banker fraternity where cross-dressing new members make jokes about Hillary Clinton and drunkenly mock the financial crisis
By James Nye15:45 18 Feb 2014, updated 23:17 18 Feb 2014
Kappa Beta Phi was founded in 1929 and has remained secret for more than eight decades
One reporter managed to sneak into their January 2012 induction for new membersWitnessed them dressed in drag, telling jokes in bad taste and mocking Main Street and the bailout
A journalist who gate-crashed a secret fraternity of billionaire bankers has laid bare the booze fueled, cross dressing antics of its members as they openly mocked the 99 percent and made light of the enormous government bailouts of 2009.
Sneaking into the swanky St Regis Hotel ballroom in January 2012, where he was assumed to be a waiter, Kevin Roose became the first outsider to witness the Monty-Python-esque induction ceremony for Kappa Beta Phi.
New members, known as neophytes, traipsed around other masters of the universe dressed in leotards and gold-sequined skirts and wigs - to then perform vaudeville-style acts that included homophobic and sexist jokes and even a parody of ABBA's 'Dancing Queen', called 'Bailout King'.Over 200 multi-millionaire and billionaire bankers and financiers were in attendance at the annual event so chock-full of power and money that Roose felt that 'if you had dropped a bomb on the roof, global finance as we know it might have ceased to exist'.Older hands at the fraternity, which has existed since the end of the Great Depression, walk around the well-lubricated dinner wearing 'purple velvet moccasins embroidered with the fraternity’s Greek letters'.
One-Percent Jokes and Plutocrats in Drag: What I Saw When I Crashed a Wall Street Secret Society
Recently, our nation’s financial chieftains have been feeling a little unloved. Venture capitalists are comparing the persecution of the rich to the plight of*Jews at Kristallnacht, Wall Street titans are saying that they’re*sick of being beaten up, and this week, a billionaire investor, Wilbur Ross,*proclaimed*that “the 1 percent is being picked on for political reasons.”Ross's statement seemed particularly odd, because two years ago, I met Ross at an event that might single-handedly explain why the rest of the country still hates financial tycoons – the annual black-tie induction ceremony of a secret Wall Street fraternity called Kappa Beta Phi.
Duff P. Anderson (1994)
Silas R. Anthony, Jr. (1993)
Andrew Arno (2001)
Peter A. Atkins (1977)
Walter E. Auch, Jr. (2000)
Sara Ayres (2009)
George L. Ball (1975)
Vincent Banker (2003)
David C. Batten (1981)
Bernard Beal (2007)
Robert Benmosche (2002
James A. Benson (1995)
Jonathan M. Berg (2006)
Alfred R. Berkeley (2000)
Rosemary T. Berkery (2006)
Michael A. Berman (2000)
E. Garrett Bewkes III (1993)
Jessica Bibliowicz (1999)
John Birkelund (1981)
Ronald E. Blaylock (1999)
Michael R. Bloomberg (1995)
Andrew Blum (1972)
Howard L. Blum, Jr. (1986)
Magnus Bocker (2009)
Mike Bodson (2009)
Geoffrey T. Boisi (1989)
The financial world has been rattled by a rash of apparent suicides, with some of the best and brightest among the finance workers who have taken their lives since the start of the year.A majority of the eight suicides of 2014 have been very public demonstrations, which has suicide-prevention experts puzzled.“Jumping is much less common as a method for suicide in general, so I am struck by the number that have occurred in recent months in this industry,” said Dr. Christine Moutier, chief medical officer of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.Moutier also discounts the location of the act as being the driver behind the reason for the suicide.
“The suicide-research literature doesn’t help very much with the question of why the method of these suicides is so out in the open,” she added.
MARCH 12: Kenneth Bellando, 28, an investment banker at Levy Capital, was found dead on the sidewalk outside his building on Manhattan’s East Side, after allegedly jumping from the sixth-story roof, sources said.
MARCH 11: Edmund (Eddie) Reilly, 47, a trader at Midtown’s Vertical Group, jumped in front of an LIRR train near the Syosset, NY, train station.
FEB. 28: Autumn Radtke, CEO of First Meta, a cyber-currency exchange firm, was found dead outside her Singapore apartment. The 28-year-old American jumped from a 25-story building, authorities said.
FEB. 18: Li Junjie, a 33-year-old JPMorgan finance pro, leaped to his death from the roof of the company’s 30-story Hong Kong office tower, authorities said.
FEB. 3: Ryan Henry Crane, 37, a JPMorgan executive director who worked in New York, was found dead inside his Stamford, Conn., home. A cause of death in Crane’s case has yet to be determined as authorities await a toxicology report, a spokesperson for the Stamford Police Department said.
JAN. 31: Mike Dueker, 50, chief economist at Russell Investments and a former Federal Reserve bank economist, was found dead at the side of a road that leads to the Tacoma Narrows Bridge in Washington state after jumping a fence and falling down an embankment, according to the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department.
JAN. 28: Gabriel Magee, 39, a vice president with JPMorgan’s corporate and investment bank technology arm in the UK, jumped to his death from the roof of the bank’s 33-story Canary Wharf tower in London.
JAN. 26: William Broeksmit, 58, a former senior risk manager at Deutsche Bank, was found hanged in a house in South Kensington, according to London police.
Exposing what lies beneath the bodies of dead bankers and what lies ahead for us
I feel that this is one of the most important investigations I’ve ever done. If my findings are correct, each of us might soon experience a severe, if not crippling blow to our personal finances, the confiscation of any wealth some of us have been able to accumulate over our lifetimes, and the end of the financial world as we once knew it.* The evidence to support my findings exists in the trail of dead bodies of financial executives across the globe and a missing*Wall Street Journal*Reporter who was working at the Dow Jones news room at the time of his disappearance.
Death Derivatives Emerge From Pension Risks of Living Too Long
By Oliver Suess, Carolyn Bandel and Kevin Crowley*May 16, 2011 7:01 PM EDT
Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS),*Deutsche Bank AG (DBK)and*JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM), which bundled and sold billions of dollars ofmortgage loans, now want to help investors bet on people’s deaths.Pension funds sitting on more than $23 trillion of assets are buying insurance against the risk their members live longer than expected. Banks are looking to earn fees from packaging that risk into bonds and other securities to sell to investors. The hard part: Finding buyers willing to take the other side of bets that may take 20 years or more to play out.
“Banks are increasingly looking to offer derivative solutions,” said Nardeep Sangha, 43, chief executive officer of Abbey Life Assurance Co., a London-based Deutsche Bank unit that helps pension funds manage the risk of retirees living longer than expected. “Making the long maturity of the risks palatable for investors, including sovereign wealth funds, private-equity firms and specialist funds, is the challenge.”
As insurers reach the limit of how much pension-fund liability they’re willing to shoulder, companies such as JPMorgan and*Prudential Plc (PRU)*last year set up a*trade group*aimed at establishing and standardizing a secondary market for so- called longevity risks. They’re also developing indexes that measure mortality rates and securities to let pension funds pay fixed premiums to investors in return for coverage against major deviations from projections.
Swiss Reinsurance Co., the second-biggest reinsurer, sold the world’s first longevity bond in December in what it called a “test case” to sell risk to the capital markets.‘Run Dry’Goldman Sachs, based in*New York, and Deutsche Bank in Frankfurt have set up insurance companies that promise to pay pensions if retirees live beyond a certain age. They typically receive a portion of the pension plan’s assets in return. The banks, along with*Morgan Stanley (MS),*Credit Suisse Group AG (CSGN)*and*UBS AG (UBSN), are looking for ways to offer this risk to investors.
“Ultimately, reinsurance capacity for longevity risks will run dry, and that’s why it’s imperative that as the market grows and develops it is able to bring in new types of risk-takers,” Sangha said. “The obvious channel is the capital markets.”
Medical advances and healthier lifestyles have made predicting life spans more difficult for pension funds. Life expectancy in the U.K. is increasing by one to three months every year, according to Dutch insurer*Aegon NV. (AGN)*Every year of additional life expectancy typically adds as much as 4 percent to future pension requirements, Aegon said in a*report*in March.Aegon reported last week that first-quarter profit fell 12 percent as the company set aside money to cover the risk of policyholders in the Netherlands living longer than expected.
Pension funds can hedge against life-expectancy risk by transferring assets to an insurer or other counterparty that promises to pay some or all of the future liabilities. Last year,*GlaxoSmithKline Plc (GSK), the U.K.’s biggest drugmaker, became the 10th FTSE 100 firm to buy insurance on about 900 million pounds ($1.5 billion), or 15 percent, of its U.K. obligations.That means Prudential, the U.K.’s largest insurer, rather than the pension fund, will pay some GlaxoSmithKline pensioners should they live longer than expected. Most longevity risk transferred from pension funds is held by insurers.Regulators are just beginning to focus on the new products.“We’re seeing more and more sophisticated mechanisms being offered,” said Bill Galvin, CEO of the*U.K.’s Pensions Regulator. “From a regulatory perspective, we are concerned to ensure that trustees understand the extent to which longevity risk has been passed from their scheme and the precise shape of any residual risk.”
I used to be a history teacher at a private Christian school in Louisiana. I was in my mid-thirties then, unmarried and unattached. It was June and I was on a road trip, cruising up Interstate 81 through the northeastern corner of Tennessee in my Maxima. I was going to spend the month in Pennsylvania, hiking another 300 miles of the Appalachian Trail. The trail ran 2,200 miles from Georgia to Maine, and over previous summers I’d hiked it in sections, from south to north. After a school year spent dealing with self-absorbed and often hysterical teenagers, I was looking forward to the wilderness solitude.
Friday afternoon, and I was scanning the radio dial as I passed the towns and cities. The global banking crisis was in the news; the most serious problems were in Europe. Bank runs of some sort. Lucky for Europe, they ran out the clock at the close of business going into the weekend. But by then the financial contagion had spread to New York, and the stock market closed early after some kind of Wall Street emergency fuses had been blown.
Breathy voices warned of another round of dire world economic consequences, by then a familiar tune. Later news updates reported unspecified problems with the American credit card system. Computer networks were having technical problems. Some cell phone service was down. Spillover from Europe, no doubt. Other problems related to the internet, possibly coinciding with a period of high solar flare activity that affected communications satellites. Plain bad luck and Murphy’s Law were frequently cited. There was even some talk of a possible cyber attack, but of course it was pure speculation. China, Russia, Iran: the usual suspects.
Whatever the cause, the main sticking point seemed to be problems in the international currency markets. The day’s interbank trades could not be resolved; there was too much volatility in the Eurozone as some countries hinted at plans to pull out of the euro. Financial experts assured their radio audiences that it would all be straightened out by Monday. “Thank God it’s Friday” was a commonly expressed cliché laughed into radio microphones.
And that was my working knowledge of the unfolding events.
By the time I decided to top off my tank in the northeastern corner of Tennessee, every gas station was taking cash only, with long lines of cars forming. I’d stopped at an ATM before my road trip and had nearly 300 dollars stuffed in my wallet, and I wasn’t worried. I still had a quarter of a tank, so I motored on and a few exits later, just past a cluster of gas stations jammed with vehicles, I pulled into the Regal Inn Motor Lodge and got a room. The Hindu desk clerk was happy to accept cash at below the posted nightly rate.
I figured the credit card situation might be straightened out overnight. I could gas up in the morning after the lines cleared. I was in no hurry; I had all summer. That was my thinking going to bed that night.
Woke up to no power, the TV dead, everything dead that didn’t run on batteries. Anything that depended on the internet, cell service, wireless anything, that was all dead too. My smart phone was brain dead. It could show me some of my old pictures and texts, but it couldn’t make a connection. Same deal in the motel lobby: no power, no wireless connections, no credit cards.
On balance, it wasn’t such a bad location compared to many others places I might have been when the lights went out. I could have been passing through Birmingham or Baltimore. In rural northeastern Tennessee, the typical clients of the Regal Inn were long-haul truckers and families on a budget.
Next door, the Waffle House was still serving food, but only to cash customers. Their emergency generator quickly ran out of fuel. Without electricity, the food in their freezers was defrosting, but their propane tanks still cooked hot. Then the police moved into the restaurant, and the generator was fired up again, presumably with government fuel.
The restaurant was full of cops. Plenty of light inside the big glass windows and plenty of cop cars parked outside made it a safe place. By the third day the new restaurant policy was cops only, and we highway refugees were turned away. Even the parking lot was only for police. A little Alamo, ringed by a wall of police vehicles parked end to end.
The Regal Inn had no generator, but there was still some stale “continental breakfast” food, cereal and muffins, which we shared in a civil manner (the motel staff hadn’t hidden it quickly enough). Tap water was gravity fed from an elevated tank until it ran out. We had all filled our bathtubs with water before then. Many of my fellow stranded travelers wanted to stay, afraid of the chaos being reported in the cities.
Some Knoxville radio stations were still on the air, running on generator power. Their sporadic reports were equal parts confusion, terror, mayhem, and anarchy. Shooting, killing, carjacking, home invasions. Hospitals crying in desperation for help. Some motel guests rushed away, and others stayed, too afraid to move down the interstate.
The motel staff allowed us to stay, on the mutual presumption that our bills would ultimately be paid once the credit card system came back on. Their sole alternative was to demand cash and threaten to evict us, and watch more tenants bolt without paying anything.
Eventually the potable water hoarded in a bathtub runs out, and I soon learned that it runs out much faster if you have entire families, from grannies to infants, living in single motel rooms. When my neighbors begin imploring me, the obvious bachelor, for some extra water for their kids, I knew it was time to move on. Let them have the remaining tub water, and the extra bed and square feet to spread out in. I had other options—they didn’t.
Around then, a U.S. Army Black Hawk helicopter buzzed the motels and gas stations of our service road and dropped leaflets. Our little town was designated a FEMA logistical hub. Even in that Tennessee crossroads town, all of the supermarkets, restaurants, and any other places with food had been looted to the bare shelves by the third day, the police not interfering in the least. Food was not my immediate problem, though. I had camping food hidden in the trunk of my car, a carefully guarded secret. Mountain House freeze-dried entrees, just add water and heat. Protein bars, energy bars, trail mix; enough for a month.
According to the leaflets, each person applying for employment at the FEMA center would be given two weeks’ worth of emergency food rations and water purification tablets. The leaflets meant food and maybe even a paying government job; it was the talk of the motel lobby crowd. The designated FEMA location was about two miles away, in a cluster of big-box stores serving the nearby town.
My car was safest where it was, in front of my door at the motel, so I decided I’d walk over, see the show, and maybe acquire some extra rations. The government was finally swinging into action, the cavalry was arriving. I grabbed my little 8×20 trail binoculars and headed out. Always look before you leap. Optics allow you to look further.
Cresting a rise on the town’s main drag, I could see the crowd ahead of me surging toward a complex with a Walmart across from a strip shopping center. The people were being organized into lines far ahead and below me. I pulled out my little binos for a closer look. I noticed a few metal barricades, the low steel-pipe kind that come in sections and hook together around festivals and concerts. Other dividers were made of orange plastic netting and traffic cones. Some soldiers, either Army or National Guard, were running the operation. I saw lots of police cars, a few Humvees, some military trucks, and a single four-wheeled armored personnel carrier with a machine gun on top.
I sidestepped behind a corner where I could watch out of sight. The local topography gave me a good view a few hundred yards away, down to the Walmart plaza. I didn’t see anybody coming my way carrying bags full of MREs, but I did see the queue lines getting narrower and narrower, being funneled into temporary chain-link fence sections. I couldn’t read the signs or make out the words of the announcements, but I could see that men were being directed to some lines, women with small children to others. The lines went out of sight around the Walmart, but I decided I’d get no closer until I saw happy people returning with bags of food.
A mass of people in one corner surged against a temporary fence and overturned it, ignoring the police and soldiers on the other side, too thinly spread to be a physical deterrent. An echoing loudspeaker called for calm, there was enough for everybody, but everyone had to get into the proper lines—as near as I could make out. From my distant vantage point it was impossible to hear the exact words of the amplified voices, but I could see the crowds stampeding over the barricades in front of the Walmart. Police and military vehicles starting moving. Then the flow of people seemed to be reversing. Shortly two teenagers ran past me, panting, out of breath. One of them said, “They’re taking away everybody’s guns. And there’s no food, just trucks and buses back there.”
A minute later, others ran past, the faster young men mostly, and then I heard gunfire. Just a few pops at first, but after a pause, somebody was blasting away with what sounded like a pistol, and then I heard a burst of machine gun fire. Somebody was firing from the top of the APC, I could see it plainly in my binoculars. But the armored vehicle was surrounded by mobs of agitated people who either didn’t understand the warning or didn’t care. The people continued to surge around the APC, some climbing on top; it looked like they were trying to pull down the machine gunner, half-exposed out of his hatch. The driver must have panicked, and while I watched, that APC plowed right through at least a hundred feet of people like a pickup through a cornfield, leaving a trail of smashed bodies in its wake. The rest began fleeing in panic.
I jogged back to the Regal Inn on side streets and behind businesses and houses, and found my car still intact and untouched. Tossed a few items from my room into it and hauled ass eastward up my preplanned bugout route deep in the national forest. My fingers were crossed all the way against unexpected roadblocks, either government or ones thrown up by locals. I drove until I ran out of gas, ditched the car, and continued on foot. My pack and gear were prepared for the Appalachian Trail, so I was way ahead of the herd. I was even returning to a section of the Trail I’d hiked a few summers before. Familiar terrain.
And that FEMA and National Guard fiasco was the last I saw of the official United States government. I dove into the forests and have kept within them, or at least kept them on my flank, ever since. What I know I only know from word of mouth, rumor stacked on rumor. The worst rumors came from travelers who claimed to have escaped from the cities. They invariably reported complete social breakdown: anarchy, madness, race war, mass rape, torture, widespread arson, and wholesale murder. Hunger and hatred squared, madness and murder cubed, the blood fevered by fear, desperation, and the long-simmering racial hatred finally boiling over.
The consistent theme that every city survivor repeated was the utter callousness of average, ordinary people. Shoot on sight at the effective range of your weapon became the only rule of engagement. The further away, the better. Before their faces were clear. And within a month, food took on a different meaning—predator and prey within the same species.
The few city folk who found their way to the Appalachian Trail stuck slavishly to the paths marked by trees with painted blaze marks. I avoided the marked trails; they were studded with trolls waiting in ambush for the unwary traveler. The greatest danger in the forests came from hunters and other armed woodsmen, and there were plenty of them out there, especially at the beginning. If you were seen first, you might be shot without ever seeing your killer. Or you might walk into a snare, a deadfall, a tiger pit, or some other kind of trap. One of those hunters had carried a top-grade compound bow before he took a fatal tumble. I found his camouflage-clad skeleton at the bottom of a ravine, his bow hooked on the stub of a pine limb above him as if he’d left it there for me.
I spent the first winter in a little place between Greenville and Asheville, population a couple hundred in a few clusters of homes and roadside businesses spread out over a mile or two of twisting mountain roads. No name, not officially a town. Trailers, cabins, retirement homes. I was welcomed because I’d befriended a pair of brothers on the trails who later vouched for me. They were bugging out to a retired aunt and uncle’s vacation cabin. We were heading in the same direction, away from crowds and up into the mountains. They had a place to stay, maybe, and I had maps and trail skills. Even back in that early time there was strength in numbers: everybody has to sleep sometime.
The locals met at their high school gym and church hall for barter and fellowship. There was whisky and music, warmth and love, despite the fear and hunger. Bluegrass and moonshine gave us hope for the future while breaking our hearts for the pasts we’d all lost. For a while we believed we could outlast the deluge of despair, safe up in the mountains. We’d carry on, we’d rebuild. Bibles and the invaluable Foxfire books would get us through another stretch of hard times in Appalachia. And when wasn’t it hard times there? For a while some local hydroelectric power trickled into that little corner of North Carolina. Some lights burned in our corner of the world until after Christmas the first winter, so we may have had it better than most. Anyway, our last power was cut off by the end of the year.
There was quite a lot of Praise Jesus, but who could be against that after the collapse? A lot of the folks back there were waiting for the Rapture, but I never saw any evidence of it happening. What happened was more like a Rupture with the past as we’d known it.
But eventually the madness came even to our little corner of the world. When the ad hoc “town council” voted that cannibalism would not be considered a crime if the body was already dead when found, I took it as my cue to leave for deeper in the mountains. Before that announcement, from what I heard, vigilantes shot or hanged any cannibals they found. Anyway, I left around February, during the hungriest time, and cast my lot deeper into the forest, higher up the mountains.
My second year was spent slithering from tree to tree and cave to cave, learning basic animal survival on a belly so tight that it shrank my brain by sheer suction. But that’s a chapter I’ll never write, since most of what I remember of the second year I’m trying to forget.
By the third turning of the leaves I was traveling with Lisa, a blonde nurse in her late twenties, and Roger, my age but appearing older. He’d been a welder and a machinist, and sometimes he worked on oil rigs. Roger and Lisa. Good people. As good as they come.
How I met up with them last autumn, I’m not really sure. I was living like an animal, and then I was just with them; how we fell in together is gone from my mind. I have strong but indistinct memories of being carried by Roger, of being dragged behind them in a travois, and of being cared for by Lisa. Rain pounding on a tent made from ponchos and tarps, wet all the time. Wet but alive, and no longer alone.
As my mind improved with better nutrition and less stress, it was my set understanding that Roger and Lisa were my saviors, best friends, and closest allies. I was happy to be with them, happy for their company. We were still nearly always hungry, but we would help each other find food. We’d hunt together and share our knowledge of edible plants and other survival tricks. We’d watch over each other when we slept. But they were never lovers, it was nothing like that, not that I perceived back then.
My third winter in the mountains was spent with them in the Hawk’s Nest. This was our spot on the Blue Ridge side of the Nantahala National Forest, in the far western corner of North Carolina. The nest’s foundation was a natural cave, to which cut timber and shards of local slate had been added over the decades to make a partial roof and one wall, all chinked with mossy earth to keep out the wind and rain. Snug as bugs we were, after making rudimentary repairs. Dry, cozy in all weather, with a view shared with the hawks and eagles. Raptors constantly circled our stony fingers in the sky, wheeling on the thermals. The entrance was even kept nearly snow-free by the topography and the usual wind direction of winter snowstorms.
The nest was at the vertical end of a minor chink in a mountain ridge leading to nowhere. It terminated in sheer drop-offs on the eastern face of the Blue Ridge, forming a natural redoubt. The airy hideaway at the top of the cleft was my discovery, based on close topographical map study, experience, and a hunch. I imagined that in other hard times it had sheltered Indians, Civil War deserters, moonshiners, poachers, hermits, and other assorted outlaws and outcasts.
There was no way to the top by vehicle, so the cast-iron stove in the nest had to have been hand-carried up in pieces, I guessed maybe a century before. A natural spring was diverted into the nest by an ancient wrought-iron pipe. Enough for rudimentary washing, dipping warm water from a stove-heated aluminum basin. Lisa cut my hair short with her nurse’s medical scissors and combed it for ticks and nits. We grew closer in a special way. Roger didn’t have enough hair on his head to bother with. We both kept our beards short with her scissors.
Around the nest we were safe from discovery or attack, but constantly at danger of a crippling or fatal fall. The isolation was worth the tradeoff. The Hawk’s Nest was a perfect hunter’s lair and we didn’t starve. We didn’t freeze, with abundant deadfall wood nearby, and didn’t go completely around the bend. Cabin fever can be intense with two men and one woman occasionally snowed in for days or even weeks. One or two of us at a time would go out for meat or firewood as the mood and the weather conspired. Firewood and heavy game had to be hauled up the last fifty feet by rope.
My best memories: Lisa and I even made tender love a few times, on pleasant days when the tumblers of her safe aligned and she fell open to me while Roger was off hunting solo. Roger still imagined that our triumvirate union was asexual, transformed to a higher plane. And so had I thought, during the initial recovery of my social skills after we joined up. We were the three musketeers, buddies, comrades, super-survivors, two mountain men and a mountain gal, pals through thick and mostly thin. And we were, at first.
Lisa had been a nurse back in Chattanooga. She told us that vitamin deficiency and malnutrition lead to scurvy, rickets, beriberi, blindness and various psychological problems. Starving people often beat each other to death with rakes and hoes over failing gardens, she told us. The mental results of wintering over together in tight quarters were not unknown to us, but we were mature adults and could overcome them, we thought.
And then one day last week, Lisa fell from the cliff by a frozen waterfall. According to Roger. Fell, slipped—or perhaps she’d been given a nudge? There was no way to know for sure without reading Roger’s heart, and maybe not even then. And how can the merely mad judge the completely insane? Which is which, and who is who? It was easy enough to slip where the snowmelt and spring water froze to the steep granite. We buried her there at the base of the frozen waterfall, under a cairn of stones, sobbing quietly, not looking at each other’s faces.
Lisa’s fall could have happened to any of us at almost any time. As spring came on and we were tempted out on longer hunting forays, the risk increased. The top of a frozen waterfall was a shortcut along the path, of course it could happen. But still, I wondered, what was Lisa doing with him down by that waterfall? However it had happened, it had happened. I stayed awake that night in my sleeping bag, thinking and deciding. It came down to kill Roger and leave, or just leave. He’d saved my life when they took me in on the trail—so I let him live.
What I needed I put in my old green pack, dressed in my raggedy brown Patagonia jacket and handmade buckskin pants. Compound bow and a dozen handmade dogwood arrows. My five-foot blowgun, made of thin PVC encased in two pieces of ash wood for stiffness, one of my hand-carved inventions. My rifle scope, my maps and compass, my solar-powered radio. Water jug. A plastic bag containing a few strips of various smoked meats. A rabbit-leather pouch containing mementoes and talismans, including a lock of Lisa’s blonde hair. Spare arrowheads made from steel razor-wire barbs. Some things I’d hung on to since the beginning, and more that I’d found or I’d made.
That was some days ago, when I slipped out of the nest under the setting full moon and crept down the mountain. After a final twenty miles of shadowing the old Appalachian Trail south toward Georgia, I came to the place where I finally had to leave my detailed topo maps for the scant information of a road map. I knew from memory that the northeast corner of Georgia was just a beige-colored blank on my South Carolina map. But I knew that if I just kept traveling southeast, I was bound to strike the Chattooga River, the boundary between the tips of Georgia and South Carolina.
The Chattooga would carry me to the Savannah River, the ocean, and maybe a new life.
I’d build a raft resembling a snag of branches, drifting by day hidden low, paddling by night. Playing it by ear, dodging from river to land depending on the terrain and the local situations as I encountered them.
There were a few unavoidable dams and cities along the river to sneak around. The city of Augusta would be a major obstacle. It would be impossible to float unimpeded all the way to the Atlantic, but I considered myself an expert at stealthy land navigation with a map and compass—even if the next map was only a state road map. Three years of comparing road maps, topo maps, and the hills around me had given me a superb ability to forecast the terrain ahead. That knack was one of the reasons I was still alive.
The younger GPS generation was lost when their screens went dark. Their brains had been wired from early childhood to be led and directed from point to point by computer-generated voices and pixel arrows. By the time the grid went down most people were incapable of learning to navigate by map and compass, and anyway, almost nobody had them. I was the rare exception, already equipped with a Silva Ranger compass, my Appalachian Trail topo maps, guide books, and my previous summers’ experience hiking the Trail.
As soon as the power was lost, there were no more computer-generated dropdown menus full of helpful suggestions to the traveler. No Google, no Bing, no search engines at all. The screen addicts couldn’t light a fire with an entire pack of matches: I’d seen them wasting match after match in the rain. The concept of dry kindling wood had escaped their educations entirely. After their matches and butane lighters were used up during the first winter, they froze to death, providing gear, clothing, and eventually the meat from their very bodies to the more ruthless and better prepared. I’d seen their campsites, and I’d seen their bones. I’d worn their boots.
3. THE RADIO TOWER
I came upon the downed radio mast after a long uphill slog through not-quite-budding oaks and maples. There was good visibility through the trees, since the leaves weren’t in yet. The top five hundred feet of the northwest slope I was walking up was covered in a few inches of crusty snow that the March sun could not yet reach.
My goal had been to get to the top of this mountain for my next long view toward the southeast. I’d seen this summit days before, using my scope from another elevated vantage point now many miles behind me. In the distance I’d noticed a sharpish-something poking above the treetops of a ridge. Now I knew for certain that I was on the mountain I’d seen, and what that sharpish-something was. The wreck of the tower was running uphill and in my direction.
The three legs were six inches in diameter, the connecting struts about half that, and saplings had grown up around and through them. Alternating twenty-foot sections of the tower had been painted red and white, corresponding with the sections that had been bolted together during its erection many years earlier. In another minute I reached the top.
The bottom section was still bolted to a concrete pad, leaving a hundred feet of unbroken tower still jutting into the sky. I’d seen enough radio towers to guess what had happened. Wire-stayed towers were usually supported by three sets of wires, spread 120 degrees apart. Somebody had cut the outermost guy wires on one side, the wires that led to the upper sections of the mast. An ordinary hacksaw and a little patience could do the job.
Near the base of the mast was a single-room cement block structure, as well as large metal boxes for electrical transformers. Both tower and structures were surrounded by a chain-link fence enclosing perhaps a quarter acre. The vehicle gate’s chain had been cut, the gate left open. My natural caution warned against entering what could be a trap, but my greater curiosity sent me through (after a close look for trip lines, snares, and traps). New growth through the fencing ensured that the gate could not swing shut behind me.
There was no sign of recent human activity.
The control room and the exterior metal boxes were stripped bare of wires and cables. Generators and other machinery once bolted to the concrete pad around the base of the radio mast had been removed. Some of the thicker cables had not been chopped but were still in place. A salvage project, half completed. Was somebody wiring his own electrical grid? Otherwise, why bother? Maybe they’d gotten the wire that they needed, and good luck to them.
I stuck my pack inside the empty control room, out of sight. The sky was free of clouds, a perfect opportunity to extend my view toward distant ridges, filling in some of the blanks on the next map. I was nervous just being on the summit, much less up in the tower; I was potentially visible to a thousand hidden eyes, distant or near. But my desire to see the horizon overcame my reluctance. The chance for a long-range view was an opportunity of strategic importance, especially without topo maps going forward. I considered what I’d take with me up the tower: my South Carolina road map and compass, my rifle scope, and my solar-powered portable AM/FM radio.
I decided to take my compound bow and quiver of arrows, more for psychological reasons than for any plausible tactical advantage. I’d be visible to anybody within miles, but an arrow would be effective only against an unarmed adversary very near the base of the tower. Yet I still slung the bow across my back by its leather carrying strap. I hated the idea of being cut off without a weapon.
Iron hand-grips that doubled as steps were welded to the outside of one of the three main pillars, forming a ladder, rusty but still plenty strong. After giving another slow look around, I spat on my hands for luck and started up, one welded rung at a time. The rungs were ice cold, but my bare hands were tough enough. After fifty rungs I was even with the treetops. Fifty more and I was getting close to where the tower had buckled and twisted back down the mountain.
Below that bent and broken section, at the point where the remaining guy wires still held the tower stump erect, was an encircling array of what I guessed were microwave transmitters. A deck of metal grating had been welded between the legs of the tower as a working platform for equipment installers and technicians. With about six feet between the legs, it made a nice perch for me to sit on Indian-style, looking between two of the legs toward the southeast.
From within my coat, kept in its special pocket, I brought out my Leupold rifle scope, already turned to its maximum twelve-power magnification. The bolt-action rifle it had been mounted on was useless without its rare .264 Winchester Magnum ammunition. The scope, on the other hand, was priceless. I flipped open the lens covers and brought the scope toward my eye, assuming a rifleman’s sitting stance, elbows on knees, both hands on the scope for stability.
I could see a few miles across to the next ridges, and I did a slow, methodical sweeping search. The next mountains were miles out of the Nantahala National Forest, and homes were built on their slopes. But there was no visible smoke, no man-made sounds of planes or trucks or industrial machinery. No moving vehicles, no signs of life at all.
It was hard to tell from that far away, but it appeared that many of the homes had been burned or otherwise destroyed. The isolated vacation homes of urban retirees were low-hanging fruit for bands of marauders. The bandits who survived the first winter were hardened killers, practiced at stealth, sniping, ambush, and laying siege. All the homes I could see appeared abandoned, but perhaps that was long-range camouflage, crafted to discourage bandits from making the cross-valley hikes. It didn’t pay to advertise your continued survival in times of starvation.
The scope went back inside my coat. I partially unfolded my road map of South Carolina and spread it across my lap, compass on top to orient it, holding them down against the wind. It was from 2008; Governor Mark Sanford welcomed me to the Palmetto State. Once upon a time Sanford had pretended to be an Appalachian Trail hiker. Had he ever stepped foot on it? Now it was miles behind me in North Carolina, and I was heading in another direction, toward the sea.
The city of Augusta was halfway down the Savannah River. Navigation wasn’t going to be a problem, but encountering possibly hostile survivors would be. My map didn’t contain any population information—pre-collapse population, that is—but Augusta was big enough by the look of it on the map. As big as Chattanooga or Knoxville, and they had been horror shows by all accounts. I’d seen enough human bones in the national forests to be able to take the travelers’ words for what had happened in the cities. Atlanta and the other giant cities must have been Dante-esque hells. So what was Augusta like today? Depopulated entirely? Or did it go Mad Max, run by tribal warlords? Would I have to travel wide around it, on foot?
And on the other side of Augusta was an area marked on my South Carolina map as the Department of Energy’s “Savannah River Site.” This was a place where the federal government had made nuclear material for generations, with several nuclear reactors and countless pools full of radioactive rods. What had happened to all that nuclear material after the collapse? And what about the other hundred-odd nuclear plants spread across the country? Maybe I’d leave the river and head cross-country before I reached Augusta, but that was a decision for another day.
While pondering the distant hills, I tongued the gap where I’d removed my top left molar behind the canine. No dentist—just me, vise-grips, and whisky. Would I ever see another dentist? More of my teeth hurt most of the time. The bristles of my last toothbrush were worn nearly to the handle, toothpaste a long-forgotten luxury, a memory triggered by the scent of wild mint. I shot bearings on my compass to the most promising landmarks along my possible routes, and recorded them on the map with a pencil stub, folded the map, and put it away.
Next I removed my little solar-powered radio from my parka’s side cargo pocket. It was made of black plastic and was the size of a thick paperback book, with solar cells along the top edge. I aimed them at the sun and gave a slow turn of the dial on the AM and FM bands. Static crackled from the speaker. The old batteries inside no longer saved enough charge for the radio to make any sound after dark, but when the solar chips were aimed at the sun, the static noise it made proved the radio was still alive on some basic electrical level.
I slowly rolled through the radio bands again and again, straining to hear something besides white noise. There was nothing but static, not even from this position atop a radio tower atop a mountain. The absence of a radio signal on the tower wasn’t proof that no radio stations were broadcasting anywhere; AM radios transmitted more powerfully at night, a frustrating paradox with a solar radio that only worked in sunlight. Maybe I was still out of range of city radio stations.
Maybe when I approached Augusta, my radio would give me some advance warning of organized human activity. Or maybe not. Maybe the solar radio was capable only of producing static under any circumstances. So why didn’t I throw it away as useless weight? I suppose because it was one of the last technological treasures in my universe: a little radio that made static when it was aimed at the sun.
A funny thing about static noise is that you can start to hear things in it that are not real. Auditory hallucinations, Lisa had called them. Streams, waterfalls, and rustling trees can also play music or talk to you, when you’re ready to listen—and when you’re starving, you’re always ready to listen.
The static resolved into repeating fractal patterns, or maybe I was listening too intently. The old Pearl Jam song “Black” crept into my mind as I aimed the solar cells at the sun and slowly rotated the AM dial. The song’s refrain was playing clearly in my head, but I could recall only a few of the words: “And now my bitter hands cradle broken glass of what was everything.”
Why couldn’t I remember more of the lyrics, when the wordless chorus was so clear in my head? I tried to picture the band and the singer, and got nothing at all. They were just a rock band, so what? But I also couldn’t remember the faces of the missing real people in my life. Videos, emails, texts, skypes, youtubes, an infinity of images—all those faces turned out to be mass-deletable, both from the digital ether and from my own mind. I had believed that those memories were permanent and everlasting, and then they were gone in a blink. In my mind, only the faces of Roger and Lisa remained clear.
There were a thousand generations of humanity before the advent of photography, much less emails and the internet. Now even sending a paper letter was an impossible feat. Microchips, radio vacuum tubes, even ordinary flashlight batteries now belonged to the realm of science fiction.
The tower below me had once hummed with power. Down below, the easy copper had been hacked out where optimistic looters were able to get at it. They hadn’t gotten around to the cables in the conduits running upward between the legs before they’d quit. I hoped that the wire they did get did them some good. Part of a salvaged power grid? Bracelets and charms, more likely. The tower and all around it were ruins, already returning to the forest.
An electrical engineer I’d met during the first autumn after the Rupture had given one possible explanation for the cascade of technological disasters. Within a few weeks after the power went out, when the internet and telephones were a memory and nobody was getting paid, management and work crews of critical infrastructure sites began to melt away. With the cities on fire, the government could not keep infrastructure workers chained to their desks, not when their own families were in peril. Even the police and military deserted in droves.
The satellites, unguided by their ground control stations, began to tumble into irretrievable orientations, experienced orbital decay, and eventually came back down to earth. Without satellites, modern communications of almost every kind faltered and failed, and the world was no longer sufficiently knitted together to conduct the necessary technological business of the modern global society.
Billions of people believed that Homo sapiens had achieved a permanent higher station since the retreat of the last great ice age. Unlike destruction by a slowly grinding ice sheet, however, all our technological modernity was swept away in a blink. The last live radio programming I’d heard had been from an AM station out of Knoxville that lasted for a few weeks after the power went out. And there was a canned FEMA broadcast alleging to be from the nation’s capital, but that radio frequency, too, had gone silent.
How had it all happened so fast? I had a master’s degree in history, and I understood enough of it to come up with a few theories to explain what had happened, at least in the broad strokes.
Modern society was engineered for the maximum production of profits, providing the maximum comfort for the maximum population, using mankind’s most cutting-edge technical trickery and marketing magic for leverage. Maximum profits for producing maximum pleasures, and it would only get more maximum forever, as humanity’s greatest minds piled one technological miracle atop another, leading to ever-rising standards of living for most of the world’s billions of people. Onward and upward the towers of our modern cities soared into the sky as the suburbs spread outward and merged.
At least that’s how it was supposed to work. And it did work, for quite a while. But a few novelties unique to our time went almost unnoticed. Never before in history had so many been fed by so few, from so far away. By the end, our cities had grown into traps, with the easy creature comforts they promised as the bait. Billions of people moved into these technological beehives, where food, shelter, and (sometimes) work could be found in close proximity. City life was easier for the worker bees, and more profitable—and more controllable—for the queens.
That is, until the digital blood of the global communications network froze in all its infinite circuitry, and the machinery seized up and jammed in place. Suddenly left to their own nearly nonexistent devices, cut off from the food from distant agro-business farms, the inhabitants of our densely packed cities panicked and looted the stores and other food sources like locusts. After that, if the occasional travelers were to be believed, they literally consumed themselves. It was the modern consumer society’s final stage: Consumer, consume thyself. Did I, myself, see it? No. But what I saw with my own eyes in small-town and rural America left me in no doubt about what had taken place in the cities.
A popular historian from the end of the last century named Fukuyama had referred to the end of history, with an evolved mankind finally the master of the universe and his fate within it. Hardly the master, as it turned out. Instead, for decades we had lived inside an increasingly delicate techno-bubble, floating ever higher on digital money created from thin air, and we believed it was all as permanent as the pyramids!
As a history teacher, I considered it a massive conceit by modern man to denigrate as backward the long-lasting civilizations that existed before electricity, electronic gadgets, wireless devices, and computers. Earlier generations had built the great cathedrals, universities, and defensible walled cities on the surplus bounty of the nearby lands and the manual labor of the local folk. Buildings that have stood through the centuries, monuments to the past.
Modern man built illusions of wealth instead. In the end, the glittering high-definition wall screens were just dream merchants, presenting the convincing chimera of a perpetual cornucopia. But even the illusion of modern wealth was convincing when the abundance reached our doors. Thanks to the modern miracle of global communications and computer networks, the bounty always arrived just in time, from fish captured two oceans away to our daily bread trucked hundreds of miles to our tables. Fresh flowers and succulent fruit from other continents were jetted to our local markets within a day. And we believed it was all real, because it was real, at least for a while.
But the edible products that once filled our supermarkets typically passed through a dozen processing steps in a series of plants and factories before their final delivery. It was a networked ballet choreographed by powerful computers across thousands of miles. All the purchase orders and inventories existed somewhere in the cyber cloud. All payment was by electronic fund transfer, with digital currency zipping along optical fibers and between microwave antennas on mountaintops and satellites in space. Paper had disappeared so long ago that it didn’t even exist as a meaningful backup. At best, it was used for in-house emergency record keeping, and was useless for conducting modern trade.
For those millions of people without sufficient money, the government thoughtfully zapped electronic dollars onto their Electronic Benefit Transfer cards. Money for nothing, and your kicks for free—what could possibly go wrong? Especially with so many millions of the welfare recipients packed tightly into cities where nothing grew except illiteracy, crime, and rage.
A global delivery system optimized by the power of high-speed computation was a modern miracle that turned into a curse when it disappeared. The global network’s undeniable efficiency was a tempting siren, a fatal mirage that lured its victims into barren deserts or out onto stormy seas, far beyond safety or even rescue.
There was not enough food in the warehouses to endure seven weeks of famine, much less seven years. The perfection of the just-in-time delivery system meant that, like the finest Swiss watch, it had to work perfectly or it would not work at all. Like binary code: one or zero. All or nothing.
Any critical step collapses, any vital link fails, and the chain may break. At the Rupture, dozens of steps collapsed at once, and the entire machine stalled and ground to a halt, beginning with the hundreds of thousands of freight-carrying eighteen-wheelers that ran out of diesel fuel within a matter of days. They were looted and stripped to the axles where they came to rest.
It was a little better at first in the rural and semi-rural areas, at least as far as I had personally witnessed in Tennessee and North Carolina. Farmers with trucks that still ran could take their produce to market, for as long as they had fuel. They just couldn’t get paid for their efforts. Hand-written IOUs and good intentions can’t buy gasoline or diesel fuel from looted stations. Or animal feed or crop seed, or anything edible to humans.
Sometimes in history there are social mega-tsunamis when demographic, cultural, and technological waves collide, sending up super-nodes that can be quite spectacular to observe from the distance and safety of a history textbook. They are much less enjoyable to experience personally. Pile up enough Kondratiev Waves and you might wind up at the end of a thousand-year super-cycle, this time with technology as the new rocket fuel poured on the fire.
Without food coming into the cities, latent societal fault lines exploded in a chain of sympathetic detonations. The young pushed aside the older generation that they blamed for sucking the system dry. The urban fought the rural when the cities were first emptied of food and then hope and then people. The devoutly religious battled the strident secularists. Big-government socialists, including most law enforcement, battled the libertarians and conservatives. Cross-racial tribalization fractured the fragile multicultural checkerboard.
When the power went out and the panic stampede for the last food commenced, all the fault lines ruptured at once. The government, from local to federal, never had a prayer of containing the explosion of violence and destruction that accompanied the Great Starvation.
The horror was totally unimaginable even a week before the screens went dark and everything in our world went haywire. Unimaginable because the ubiquitous entertainment screens were perfect for one thing (and they kept this distinction right to the end): distracting the masses. Better than any mule’s blinkers, the pleasure screens both attracted the eyes and fed the mind happy messages. Whatever you wanted, they were serving it 24/7 on a thousand television channels and a million interactive websites. Pick your poison. Entertain yourself to death.
What was the name of that pop star vixen at the last Super Bowl? She was wearing a dominatrix outfit with shiny sharpened rivets in the usual places. And where did she come by her Aldous Huxley, singing “hug me till you drug me, kiss me till I’m in a coma,” nearly word for word from Huxley’s Brave New World? No doubt she’d never read a book in her life, much less that one.
Before the collapse, the high-def screens had allowed each watcher to choose from a virtual infinity of customizable fantasies, but there was usually nothing behind those magical glass windows but a plasterboard wall and another stark habitation cubicle built the other way around for the next inhabitant over. Within the dying hive there was no incoming food, fuel, or running water. Not even electricity to move the stale air.
Soon after the screens went black, the pharmacy-dispensed medications ran out as well, the cold-turkey withdrawal pouring more fuel on our raging social fires. Our Brave New World featured Huxley’s “Christianity without the tears,” until the Soma was gone. A gram is better than a damn, until there are no more grams left but plenty of damnation to go around—and people are damned mad when they’re starving.
If you ask me, looking back, our society went mad long before the Rupture. Who could honestly believe that modern first-world economies could continue to borrow half their annual operating costs from their own future generations, and from foreign banks and foreign governments that were likewise borrowing from their future generations? When in history has that sweetly delusional practice ever lasted more than a few generations before cracking up? Never, that I am aware of.
Frankly, for the rapidly diminishing minority of us left who were neither mathematically nor historically illiterate, the years before the Rupture were like living on the slopes of Vesuvius around AD seventy-something, while sniffing the stink of sulfur on the wind. What’s all that smoking and rumbling? a few of us asked. Smiling mainstream media news anchors answered: We’re not sure, but rest easy. Top government experts are studying it, and they will have a full report ready soon.
In the meantime, pop another Soma and switch back to Celebrity Nation. A gram is better than a damn, so why not make it two? Who needs old-fashioned morality when we have fashioned a brave new reality better suited to our own modern tastes? New and improved, by Ford! Just Google it. Remember Google? Gone with the wind.
I’m just a former world history teacher, but I believe that the edifice of Western Civilization was already rotten and hollowed out long before the final collapse—and it was an inside job by cultural traitors. The final toppling required only a light touch. By the end the Fabians’ disciples in politics and education had rendered Western man impotent, emasculated, ridiculed for his very maleness. Men were unneeded and unwanted by the brave new world’s brave new mommies.
And what of modern woman? Increasing numbers were too busy with their newly unleashed career opportunities and personal ambitions to have children. Or they were simply too busy partying through their fertile years to bother to produce a next generation. And if a modern woman still wanted a human baby for a pet or a social statement or as a passing whim, a turkey baster and a petri dish could do the trick just as well as those vestigial appendages of the human species, those stinking Neanderthal knuckle-draggers formerly known as men.
By the end, boy toddlers were suspended from school for pointing their fingers like guns: their brainwashing couldn’t begin too soon. What a disaster for the progeny of the ancient Saxons, the Celts, the Vikings, the Normans, the Gauls, the Franks, and all the tribes who built the great universities and cathedrals of Europe!
In the end their offspring were reduced to the degraded state of reservation Indians, fed a hundred brands of Soma and Victory Gin, legal by prescription or illegal with a wink, knowingly led into the fatal addiction of welfare dependency. Turn on and tune out; nobody will judge you. The smiling government agent will both purchase your Soma and pay you for your perceived disabilities out of the same bottomless digital bank.
The cultures that built the cathedrals and universities of Europe were deconstructed and defeated from within by the prophets of post-modern anarchy and nihilism, a priesthood of elite traitors who knowingly poisoned the vigor of their own once-proud societies.
Sufficiently weakened, these cultures were then beset from without by the disciples of a seventh-century madman who fashioned a cult of desert pirates so cruel and destructive that its most faithful adherents ban music, burn and blow up ancient churches, obliterate statues of the Buddha with artillery shells, and stone victims of rape to death for adultery. These alien desert pirates had been ushered through the city gates by the same Fabian traitors, who, not up to the ultimate job of strangling their own cultures, allowed its final assassins to infiltrate and amass to strike for the kill.
Jean Raspail, where is your Camp of the Saints today? Our civilization disappeared in the long night, leaving us strangers in our own newly strange lands even before the final Rupture that tore everything and everyone down—rich and poor, saints and sinners, the good, the bad, and the ugly alike.
In the crisis that befell us, metrosexual males who recently obsessed over their own appearances couldn’t even protect themselves, much less any stray women, orphaned children, or the lost elderly of their extended clans. These pitiful Peter Pans perished outright, or they were captured and enslaved, abused without mercy, and finally consumed for food. Mohicans every last one, their tribes were not even mourned in extinction, because they were already launched upon a voluntary-human-extinction project even before the electronic coup de grace was applied.
We were a generation too busy staring at shimmering pleasure screens even to reproduce, until the moment that the fantasy windows winked to black and reality crashed down. A great truth was learned, too late: pixels, bytes, and digits do not endure when the networks driving them explode in clouds of zeros and ones and disappear forever.
And no disappearing digits loomed larger during the Rupture than those on 50 million “Electronic Benefit Transfer” food-stamp cards. The wisdom of a thousand generations of hard reality teaching stern frugality had been wiped out, encouraging generations of near imbeciles to reproduce without limit—as long as those warm bodies could be rendered into votes for the Big-Government Party (left and right versions). “It’s free, swipe your EBT” became a mantra of the age. It was racist to protest.
Instead of the historical level of under 5 percent out-of-wedlock births, guaranteeing a strong foundation of family life to undergird each new generation, we’d rocketed to an unprecedented rate of over 50 percent, the first Bastard Nation in modern history. Some 90 percent of the men incarcerated in prison were raised by fractured family fragments, and often didn’t know their own fathers. We shrugged these facts off as insignificant byproducts of modernity, and partied on.
Natural laws learned over thousands of years were mocked, ridiculed, overturned, and even outlawed. Toward the end, homosexual drill sergeants prowled the barracks grooming receptive teenage recruits. Hey, we were told, it’s their business, and who are you to judge them? Later, they could get married in the post-interfaith worship center by a military spiritual advisor (“chapels” and “chaplains” having been purged from the lexicon for favoring the Christian faiths) and then move on to adopting children.
And finally, the last old-guard bunker to fall: the Boy Scouts, completing the cycle of government-approved sodomite corruption. For a century the Scouts were morally straight? According to whose definition of straight? So why shouldn’t adult homosexual Scout leaders share tents with teenagers in our brave new world? Don’t be a homophobe, we were told. Each child can make his or her own free choice about their gender identity, but now with helpful adult mentors to guide them along the formerly forbidden paths.
If it feels good, do it. Or have it done to you. Or even do it unto the little children. Tommy wants to become Tomasina before heading to kindergarten? Her brave new mommy agrees? A government-provided surgeon will perform the “gender reassignment” operation. And if kindergarten isn’t soon enough to put the kids on the unrepressed road to gender identification, then start them on Heather Has Two Mommies and Prince and Prince cartoon books in the government-subsidized day care centers.
Smiling experts assured us that we were merely throwing off the shackles of our repressed sexualities. Dissent is hate, and hate is not tolerated around here, mister, so shut up and get with the program. Well, I couldn’t get with the program, so I quit my public high school job. As a world history teacher, moving from a public school to a Christian academy (at less pay and fewer benefits) gave me a couple more years of insulation from the social wreckage cascading down.
I kept looking up for the big asteroid, but we didn’t need God to smite us from outer space. In the end, we smote ourselves with our hubris, believing that we were replacing God’s wisdom with our own. The proud decadence and in-your-face cultural perversions didn’t cause the Rupture, but they were surely flashing red signs warning that the end was near.
It must be the history teacher in me who always seeks historical precedents and comparisons. The former USSR, with the full power of a mass-murdering totalitarian state behind it, attempted for seventy-five years to create a new society of atheist but socially altruistic New Soviet Men—and failed utterly to achieve it. The Soviets considered this a goal worth slaughtering tens of millions of their countrymen, and they still couldn’t achieve it. Not even across four generations and with an entire archipelago of Gulag slave labor camps.
But not even the mass-murdering Soviet rulers were foolish enough to attempt to outlaw sexual differences and mandate a New Genderless Person in the name of perfect political correctness. What sane person in the United States could possibly have thought that our own vastly more ambitious experiment in social re-engineering would turn out any better than the simpler economic revolution attempted by the USSR?
Our modern human folly is so easy to understand in retrospect. A gullible generation or two can be brainwashed into believing that up is down, that there is no absolute wrong or right, and that the old natural laws can be abolished according to the social and political fashions of the age.
But of course even widely held false beliefs are not the same as the truth. The belief that the law of gravity has been repealed as being unfair to the heavy can easily be tested with a single step away from a cliff. The enduring truths of other supposedly outdated natural laws took longer to test, but in the end the proofs were just as conclusive, and just as fatal, but on a much vaster scale.
When the Rupture occurred, it had been a hundred generations since Jesus carried His cross up Calvary. What a conceit of history to believe that we, uniquely among the generations that had come before, had mastered the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse and put them behind us for all time. Health and hunger reduced to economic equations and tax policies. Fukuyama’s End of History.
We believed that we had created a Brave New World, where candy-cane lies and Santa Claus promises could trump hard reality at the election booth every two years. But if all good things must come to an end, how much sooner must the corrupt and the unreal collapse into rubble and tears? Imbalances so great, in a machine running at such a high speed, could only result in calamity when the connecting struts gave way and the beast flew apart.
When was the last generation that saw such a population drop as after the Rupture? When was a population reduced to such a point that nobody was in a position even to estimate it? The Black Death of the 1300s reduced Europe’s population by a third, but even that wasn’t a truly global event. Cromwell’s invasion of Ireland in the 1600s? The Thirty Years’ War in Europe? Paraguay in the 1860s? As horrific as they were, those democides were localized events.
But what in God’s name is happening in America’s cities, if not a word comes out of a solar-powered radio high up a mountaintop tower, and not a single jet contrail can be seen across a sapphire blue Southern Appalachian sky?
Or is it me? Have I survived past my due date in remote isolation, like the Japanese soldier who hid in caves on Guam, unaware that World War II was long over? But if that’s the case, then why can’t I see a moving vehicle, or a waft of smoke from a distant ridgeline?
Oh, what I’d give for an hour-long hot soapy shower to erase three years’ worth of stink! I want to throw away these rancid buckskins and change into clean, dry cotton. Then slip between clean, dry sheets and sleep without fear for a dozen hours on a soft mattress and pillows. Then wake up and put on new clothes that were not cut off of corpses and crudely resewn, or made from animal skins. Oh, to rejoin civilization, if it still exists! Knight-errant seeks castle. Will teach a variety of subjects for room and board. Make me an offer.
I spent two months of my second snowed-in winter with only a Bible for a companion. This experience had left random Bible passages liable to float up into my mind at various times, like the suggestions in a Magic 8-Ball. Passages like Romans 1, for example. Then there was something in Psalm 106 about the Canaanites killing their own babies in order to pursue inventions and go whoring. The God of the Bible was not pleased in either case. There was one from Revelation — where else? — that came into my mind.
“Standing far off for the fear of her punishment, crying Alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city, for in one hour your judgment has arrived!”
The new Babylon was a place where modern man grew so mighty—in his own estimation—that he replaced God’s hard-learned natural laws and eternal rhythms with his own latest impulses and basest desires. The new Babylon was where mankind gorged its morbidly obese body and deconstructed spirit on endless food and limitless pleasure, grew like a maggot fattening upon the bloating corpse of Western Civilization, and then burst and devoured itself in a final death-feast.
The man-machine social engine believed that it had become God, but all man-made constructions are imperfect. The bridge to the future supporting humanity’s billions of lives was built of pixie dust suspended in the ether by magnetism. It all shattered to atoms when the props were kicked out from under the whirling techno-machine, and we all had to live on what we could grow or raise within our eyesight without murdering each other.
It had to happen sooner or later, and it happened sooner. We couldn’t even pump clean drinking water without electricity. Electricity was the oxygen we breathed, and without our technology, we died like stranded astronauts on an abandoned space station. Ground control to Major Tom, your circuit’s dead.
The primary lesson I have learned over the past three years is that it is much harder to build and sustain a stable and functioning civilization (even an admittedly imperfect one) than it is to destroy a pretty damn good civilization in the name of establishing utopian perfection by government decree.
And maybe if we hadn’t gone insane first, we might have kept it all running for a while longer.
Modern mankind’s quest for utopian perfection was a form of mass delusion. Computers lent a veneer of artificial wisdom, but they were simply powerful yet fragile tools, tools which extended our society far out over a worst-case precipice. In the end the price of computerized perfection was all or nothing, and in the pursuit of all, we wound up with nothing. The glittering screens were pretty while they lasted, but they turned into broken glass in our bitter hands.
We were led into the desert by sirens, luring us there with mirages. Alas, our brave new Babylon!
Now it’s time to descend from this broken tower and get moving again toward the sea. My route is laid in a series of compass bearings that eye-level terrain will prove laughable within a mile. No matter: it won’t take a Davy Crockett to find a river and build a raft. Southeast fetches the Chattooga River and my possible deliverance.
Adjusting my bow, I went to all fours on the cold steel grating and crawled toward the rungs. For a moment I was facing toward the path I had hiked up the snowy slope. On the far side of the tumbled upper sections of the radio tower was a line like a zipper in the thin snow, where footprints had melted and exposed the dark leaves beneath. My own fresh prints on the near side were not melted. We had either crossed trails a few days ago, or we might sometime in the near future. I was down the rungs and into the trees like a weasel, feeling watched every moment.
Now, southeast goes the hunter — after a closer look at those tracks.
Matthew Bracken is the author of the Enemies Foreign and Domestic trilogy, Castigo Cay, and The Bracken Anthology, which includes “Alas, Brave New Babylon.” The author gives permission to copy and reprint the whole story, as long as proper attribution and link-backs are given.
As America has become significantly more urban, any disruption having to do with the dispersing of basic services and needs (food, water, energy, etc) in a multi state event would be challenging. According to Wikipedia, as of June 1, 2013, the US has a total resident population of 315,968,000. In 2008, 82% of US residents resided in urban areas such as cities and suburbs. The worldwide urban rate is 50.5%, which is significantly different from the modern day United States. America has completely shifted from being an agricultural society to being an urban society. Americans depend on being able to purchase food, water, technology, and energy. Any loss of power, multistate disaster, or a multicity cyber or terrorist attack will pose an even more serious challenge because of the modern day urban environments. Large population centers will be challenged to provide basic essentials to these groups, which make up the majority of the population. In addition, federal and national aid would be delayed due to the scope of the challenge. Current unprecedented times have led us and others to feel the need to prepare for the uncertain times we live in.
Top 85 Elite Have As Much Wealth As 3.5 Billion People
(CBC) The 85 richest people in the world have as much wealth as the 3.5 billion poorest people, the United Nations said Thursday in a report that highlights the 1.2 billion people who live on less than $1.25 a day.
19 Reasons Why You Can Laugh When Anyone Tells You That The Economy Is In Good Shape
By Michael Snyder, on June 10th, 2014
Have you heard the one about the “economic recovery” in the United States? It’s quite funny, but it is not actually true. Every day, the establishment media points to the fact that global stock markets have soared to unprecedented heights as evidence that the economy is improving.
But just because a bunch of wealthy people have gotten temporarily even richer on paper does not mean that the real economy is in good shape.
In fact, as you will see below, things just continue to get even tougher for the poor and the middle class.
Retail stores are closing at the fastest pace since the fall of Lehman Brothers, the rate of homeownership in this country is the lowest that it has been in 19 years, one out of every five families do not have a single member that is employed, and one out of every five children is living in poverty. We are working harder, earning less and going into more debt. With each passing day, the middle class gets a little bit smaller and the ranks of the poor get a little bit larger. But at least the stock market is doing great, eh?
The record high stock market reflects the MASSIVE GREED, and CRIMINALITY going on in the financial world. The more high it goes, the more America gets dragged down to THIRD WORLD STATUS plain and simple!
Conference on Inclusive Capitalism: Building Value, Renewing Trust
Welcome to the Initiative for Inclusive Capitalism’s website - the home of The Conference on Inclusive Capitalism.
On 27 May 2014 global business leaders gathered at the Mansion House and Guildhall in London to attend the Conference on Inclusive Capitalism: Building Value, Renewing Trust. The Conference was hosted by the Lord Mayor of the City of London and E.L. Rothschild and organised by The Inclusive Capitalism Initiative and the Financial Times.
The Conference on Inclusive Capitalism: Building Value, Renewing Trust
The Conference on Inclusive Capitalism on 27 May 2014 has been created by The Inclusive Capitalism Initiative in order to bring together global leaders from the top institutional investors, asset managers, corporations, sovereign wealth funds and financial institutions to define concrete steps that all of modern capitalism’s stakeholders can take to renew trust and deliver better social and economic outcomes for all.
Who we are
The Inclusive Capitalism Initiative (ICI) is a non-profit organisation that seeks practical ways to renew capitalism to make it an engine of economic opportunity and shared prosperity through the adoption of inclusive business practices.
The Initiative was originally conceptualised as The Henry Jackson Initiative for Inclusive Capitalism in 2011 by The Henry Jackson Society think-tank in response to the financial crisis, which highlighted the serious dislocations caused by developments in capitalism over the last 30 years: worldwide increases in income inequality, large-scale corporate and financial scandals and the fraying of public trust in business, historically high and persistent unemployment and short-term approaches to managing and owning companies.
Towards a More Inclusive Capitalism, the founding blueprint for the Initiative, was co-authored by a Task Force of British and American business leaders and senior policy makers. The Task Force was co-chaired by Dominic Barton, Global Managing Director, McKinsey & Company, and Lady Lynn Forester de Rothschild, CEO, E.L. Rothschild.
The Mansion House and Guildhall, London - 27 May 2014
Breakfast and registration
Fiona Woolf, Lord Mayor of the City of London
H.R.H. The Prince of Wales
Lynn Forester de Rothschild, Chief Executive, E.L. Rothschild
Keynote address: A call to arms
Christine Lagarde, Managing Director, International Monetary Fund
Panel: 'The social responsibility of business is to increase its profits' ~ Milton Friedman
Milton Friedman was highly critical of attempts by business to promote “desirable social ends” over and above the pursuit of profit. In his famous essay of 1970, he argued that the responsibility of corporate executives is to act solely in the interests of the shareholders of the company. In 2014, in light of growing public resentment toward finance and business, many argue that business should actively assume a much broader role in society that addresses the demands of other key stakeholders, alongside their duty to create shareholder value. This session will explore why and how businesses and investors are changing their strategies and practices to build value and renew trust. MODERATOR: Adrian Wooldridge, Management Editor, The Economist. SPEAKERS: Jeremy Grantham, Co-Founder and Chief Investment Officer, GMO; Roger Martin, Academic Director, Martin Prosperity Institute, Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto, and author, Fixing the Game; Paul Polman, CEO, Unilever; Mark Wiseman, CEO, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board.
Lynn Forester, Lady de Rothschild (born Lynn Forester; July 2, 1954) is the chief executive officer of E.L. Rothschild, a holding company she owns with her third husband, Sir Evelyn Robert de Rothschild, a member of the Rothschild family. The company manages investments in The Economist Group, owner of The Economist magazine, Congressional Quarterly and the Economist Intelligence Unit, Weather Central, LP, the world's largest provider of weather software and data to the broadcast industry, as well as real estate, agricultural and food interests. By virtue of her marriage to a knight, she is known socially as Lady de Rothschild.
American by birth, I have lived in London for fifteen years and consider it my home. During that time I have explored many of the city’s esoteric sites and have concluded that this remarkable metropolis is only just beginning to reveal its true occult significance.
London has been inhabited for thousands of years and the diversity of its settlements has resulted in a rich, if not peculiar, collection of occult traditions. The earliest humans hunted here over four hundred thousand years ago. While a rich abundance of wildlife and a strategic riverside base would have attracted many different colonies of people, one wonders how the ancients truly saw their landscape, and how many were drawn here due to the distinctive snake-like curvature of the River Thames.
The serpent is one of the oldest occult symbols, representing many esoteric concepts, including duality, good and evil, and harmony with the earth. Thanks to the wonders of technology, an image of the serpent in the form of the winding Thames has been broadcast daily to millions of viewers across the globe for nearly three decades, courtesy of the television programme Eastenders, whose opening credits feature the unique landscape from the air.
CNBC Exec’s Children Murdered, 1 Day After CNBC Reports $43 Trillion Bankster Lawsuit -
J.G. Vibes The Intel Hub October 27th, 2012 Reader Views: 66,170 Comments (44)
This week financial news organization CNBC gave some mainstream attention to the largest money laundering and racketeering lawsuit in United States History, in which “Banksters” and their U.S. racketeering partners are being accused of laundering of 43 trillion dollars worth of ill gotten gains. The lawsuit is said to involve officials located in the highest offices of government and the financial sector.
Since this information was surprisingly revealed by the mainstream news organization there has been a very suspicious and deadly fallout at the CNBC headquarters. Within hours the original page for the article was taken down, and CNBC senior vice president Kevin Krim received news that his children were killed under very suspicious circumstances. It seems that the murder happened first and then the page was removed later.
--- Fed Economist Fired for Investigating Suspicious 9-11 Cash Transfers; and Steve Keen Exposes Financial Fallacies
Submitted by EB on 07/25/2013 07:23 -0400
Would you be surprised to learn that tens of billions in cold, hard cash was shuffled around just prior to 9-11 by none other than the Fed itself? Probably not. Here's a graph, illustrating the change in USD currency production over a ten week period prior to 9-11 compared to the average over the five years prior (which, by the way, includes the Y2K money printing orgy in the year 2000 itself, which skews the average higher):
NASA-funded study: The way to save Western civilization from collapse is communism
If the United States wants to avoid falling like the Roman Empire, it must avoid “overconsumption” and distribute resources equally, according to a study funded by NASA.
“The fall of the Roman Empire, and the equally (if not more) advanced Han, Mauryan, and Gupta Empires, as well as so many advanced Mesopotamian Empires, are all testimony to the fact that advanced, sophisticated, complex, and creative civilizations can be both fragile and impermanent,” reads the NASA-funded report published in the Ecological Economics journal.
Banker Deaths Climb to 15, as Goldman Sachs Managing Director Found Dead
Tuesday, July 22, 2014
Another high level banker has been found dead.
Nicholas Valtz, a 39-year old managing director at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. in New York, was found dead Sunday afternoon in Napeague Harbor where he had reportedly gone earlier that day to kiteboard. Valtz’ body was found still tied to his kite.
Kiteboarding, also called kitesurfing, combines elements of windsurfing and paragliding which can garner speeds of up to 40 mph. His brother told Bloomberg that Valtz was still new to the sport.
“As a cross-asset sales executive, he helped manage orders for trading clients and pitch them products and ideas among different types of securities. His wife, Sashi Valtz, also works at Goldman Sachs as head of global third-party research sales, according to her LinkedIn profile,” Bloomberg reported.
While the majority of articles have made it clear the police are still investigating this incident and the cause of death is yet unknown, the Daily Mail already ran with the headline, "Goldman Sachs managing director, 39, found dead after kiteboarding accident".
The incident marks the 15th reported death of a senior banking and finance executive in recent months as just a few weeks ago, JP Morgan Executive Director Julian Knott shot his wife Alita to death with a shotgun before turning the weapon on himself.
Zero Hedge posted the recap of recent banker deaths below after a 52-year-old female banker at France’s Bred-Banque-Populaire jumped from the 14th floor of the bank’s Paris headquarters back in April:
Billionaire Warns Yellen: Collapse 'Will Be Unlike Any Other'
Saturday, 26 Jul 2014 11:22 AM
Another horrific stock market crash is coming, and the next bust will be “unlike any other” we have seen.
That’s the message from Jeremy Grantham, co-founder and chief investment strategist of GMO, a Boston-based firm with $117 billion in assets under management.
Grantham pulls no punches when assigning responsibility for the coming financial carnage. In a recent interview with The New York Times, he calls Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen “ignorant” and says the Federal Reserve all but killed the economic recovery.
Grimly, he adds, “We have never had this before. It’s going to be very painful for investors.”
Grantham isn’t the only one worried about a market collapse.
“We have no right to be surprised by a severe and imminent stock market crash,” explains Mark Spitznagel, a hedge fund manager who is notorious for his hugely profitable billion-dollar bet on the 2008 crisis. “In fact, we must absolutely expect it."
Eurozone economy dead in the water, with crisis expected to carry on 'a long time'
By Jeremy Warner Economics Last updated: July 22nd, 2014
It's taken a long time, but the International Monetary Fund finally seems to be talking some sense about the beleaguered deficit economies of the eurozone. In a new analysis of continuing imbalances within the single currency area, it pretty much concludes that the situation is hopeless without the sort of eurozone-wide macro economic policies – monetary as well as fiscal – which are specifically rejected by the high command in Berlin. OK, so it doesn't quite say that, but even so, this will make deeply depressing reading for the struggling economies of Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Spain.
Billionaire Tells Americans to Prepare For 'Financial Ruin'
Saturday, 26 Jul 2014 11:27 AM
The United States could soon become a large-scale Spain or Greece, teetering on the edge of financial ruin.
That’s according to Donald Trump, who painted a very ugly picture of where this country is headed. Trump made the comments during a recent appearance on Fox News’ “On the Record with Greta Van Susteren.”
According to Trump, the United States is no longer a rich country. “When you’re not rich, you have to go out and borrow money. We’re borrowing from the Chinese and others. We’re up to $16 trillion in debt.”
He goes on to point out that the downgrade of U.S. debt is inevitable.
“We are going up to $16 trillion [in debt] very soon, and it’s going to be a lot higher than that before he gets finished. When you have [debt] in the $21-$22 trillion, you are talking about a downgrade no matter how you cut it.”
Ballooning debt and a credit downgrade aren’t Trump’s only worries for this country. He says that the official unemployment rate of 8.2 percent “isn’t a real number” and that the real figure is closer to 15 percent to 16 percent. He even mentioned that some believe the unemployment rate to be as high as 21 percent.
“Right now, frankly, the country isn’t doing well,” Trump added, “Recession may be a nice word.”
(Thomas Dishaw) thomas dishaw On December 12 1972 Marie-Hélène Rothschild threw a lavish illuminati ball at the Ferriéres. Social elites from every walk of life received a invitation written backwards that had to be deciphered by holding it to a mirror.
The ball was such a big deal that one social figure threatened to commit suicide unless she was invited.
Marie-Hélène is seen below wearing the head of a beast, weeping tears made of diamonds, and Audrey Hepburn is pictured in a bird cage. Below are 20 surreal pictures from The Rothschild Ball.
Is this art? Or just another “illuminati conspiracy” full of hidden meaning. You be the judge!
Matt Clinch | @mattclinch81
Thursday, 7 Jan 2016 | 7:03 AM ET
Billionaire financier George Soros is warning of an impending financial markets crisis as investors around the world were roiled by turmoil in China trade for the second time this week.
Speaking at an economic forum in Sri Lanka's capital, Colombo, he told an audience that China is struggling to find a new growth model and its currency devaluation is transferring problems to the rest of the world, according to media. He added that a return to rising interest rates was proving difficult for the developing world.
The current environment reminded him of the "crisis we had in 2008," The Sunday Times in Sri Lanka reported on Thursday morning. "China has a major adjustment problem," he added, according to Bloomberg. "I would say it amounts to a crisis."
China's CSI 300 tumbled more than 7 percent in early trade Thursday, again triggering the market's circuit breaker. As well as roiling sentiment across Asia, it also battered European risk assets with the German DAX down 3.5 percent at 11 a.m. London time.
.S. stock index futures also indicated a sharply lower open as investors focused on China's swooning currency and economic slowdown.
China, the biggest economic story of the last 30 years, has soured in the eyes of many analysts. A stock market crash that began in the country last summer has thrown the vast difficulties officials are now facing into sharp relief. A raft of data has disappointed in recent months as the country's leaders refocus the economy on consumption from manufacturing.
Analysts also point to concerns over Chinese market regulators, who they believe do not appear to have a good grasp of the market, even with the introduction of the circuit breakers. In an attempt to stabilize markets, China's securities regulator has issued new rules to restrict the number of shares major shareholders in listed companies can sell every three months to 1 percent.
Marc Ostwald, a strategist at ADM Investor Services, believes that Soros' comments — alongside a gloomy report Wednesday from the World Bank — only serve to cast a "long shadow" over global markets.
"It should be noted that the current turmoil distinguishes itself from 2008, when reckless lending, willful blindness to a mountain of credit sector risks and feckless and irresponsible regulation and supervision of markets were the causes of the crash, given that central bank policies have been encouraged and been wholly responsible for the current protracted bout of gross capital misallocation," he said in a morning note.
Trump has promised to punish Chinese currency manipulation
BY: Bill Gertz Follow @BillGertz
February 24, 2016 5:00 pm
China warned the United States on Wednesday not to adopt punitive currency policies that could disrupt U.S.-China relations after Donald Trump’s win in the Nevada caucus.
Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters in Beijing that “we are following with interest the U.S. presidential election.”
Hua was asked about China’s response to a possible Trump presidency and his announced plan to punish China for currency manipulation with a tax on Chinese goods.
“Since it belongs to the domestic affair of the U.S., I am not going to make comments on specific remarks by the relevant candidate,” she said.
But I want to stress that China and the U.S., as world’s largest developing and developed countries, shoulder major responsibilities in safeguarding world peace, stability and security and driving world development,” the spokeswoman added.
“The sustained, sound and steady growth of China-U.S. relations serves the fundamental and long-term interests of the two countries and benefits the world. We hope and believe that the U.S. government will pursue a positive policy toward China in a responsible manner.”
The comments came as Wang Yi, the Chinese foreign minister, is holding talks in Washington that include U.S. concerns about a Chinese military buildup on disputed islands in the South China Sea, and cooperation on dealing with North Korea’s nuclear and missile provocations.
Hua said Wang and Secretary of State John Kerry agreed the two sides will enhance cooperation and increase talks and exchanges.
“We stand ready to preserve and advance China-U.S. relations together with the U.S. side,” she said.
Kerry said he spoke to Wang about reducing tensions and finding diplomatic solutions to competing South China Sea claims.
“We want there to be a halt to the expansion and militarization of occupied features,” Kerry said. “Everyone benefits by true demilitarization, non-militarization.”
Kerry also said the United States remains committed to freedom of navigation and overflight, “something which China says it does not stand in the way of; it agrees that there should be peaceful freedom of navigation.”
Reports from Asia say Chinese state-run media have been ordered by the Communist Party to minimize reporting on the U.S. presidential election.
Hong Kong’s Chinese-language news outlet Oriental Daily reported Feb. 5 that the Party’s Propaganda Department, which sets policies for all state-run media, ordered all publications to ban election coverage of U.S. policies toward China and to focus election coverage on negative stories and scandals.
Trump won the Nevada caucus with 45 percent of the vote, increasing his chances of winning the Republican nomination later this year.
Last month, Trump vowed to impose a 45 percent tariff on Chinese good to offset China’s devaluation of the yuan.
“They’re devaluing their currency, and they’re killing our companies,” Trump said. “We are letting them get away with it, and we can’t let them get away with it.”
The Obama administration has adopted conciliatory policies toward China on trade and currency issues.
Trump, on his campaign website, outlined a hardline approach to dealing with China that involves officially declaring China a currency manipulator and negotiating an end to the practice.
Trump also wants to thwart China’s theft of intellectual property and adopt policies aimed at bring jobs back from overseas to the United States.
Bolstering the U.S. military and “deploying it appropriately in the East and South China Seas” are other goals.
“These actions will discourage Chinese adventurism that imperils American interests in Asia and shows our strength as we begin renegotiating our trading relationship with China,” the Trump website states. “A strong military presence will be a clear signal to China and other nations in Asia and around the world that America is back in the global leadership business.”
50-Year Veteran Warns The World Is Headed For Some Very Difficult Economic Times
March 14, 2016
With stocks flat, crude oil falling nearly 4 percent, and gold trading lower, today a 50-year market veteran warned King World News that we are headed for some very difficult economic times globally.
John Embry: “I have to open by saying that Egon von Greyerz’s weekend contribution to KWN was an epic of logic. It should be required reading for all of our feckless central bankers and theoretical economists who have gotten us into this mess…
John Embry continues: “But every once in a while you get a fascinating economic commentary from an unexpected source. That happened last week when Charles Barkley, the ex-NBA basketball star, now very outspoken commentator, opined on the state of America.
He said, ‘All politics is rich people screwing poor people. Poor people are too stupid to know they are just chess pieces in a game. All the poor white people, all the poor black people and all the Hispanics, they’re all in the same boat.’
This is the reason that despite the bogus economic statistics emanating from the government and the mainstream press, the U.S. economy is slowly crumbling. It is a consumer-based society and those with the highest propensity to consume, the poor, who actually consume more than 100 percent of their incomes, are methodically being destroyed.
Difficult Times Ahead
When one realizes that the U.S. economy is now joining Europe, South America and Russia, in recession, at the same time the Chinese economy is slowing at an alarming pace in a debt-driven disaster, it becomes apparent that we are headed for some very difficult economic times globally. With the debt burden everywhere being unsustainable, this should be something to behold.
Moving on to the gold and silver markets, anyone who believes that the gold and silver prices aren’t being manipulated evermore aggressively by the BIS, the Western central banks, and their bullion bank accomplices, is very simply denying reality. Despite dramatic improvements in the fundamentals for gold and silver, mounting demand from different sources, combined with their historic underpricing, the commercials have increased their short positions dramatically, particularly in gold.
The increase in the short positions in paper gold have risen by well over 120,000 contracts over the past couple of months. This represents more than 12 million ounces of paper gold and the physical doesn’t remotely exist to back it.
Over 80% Of Jobs Added In January Were Minimum Wage Earners
Submitted by Tyler Durden on 03/04/2016 11:00 -0400
Jobs were good; earnings were a disaster - that's the best summary of today's jobs report.
As we noted earlier, February suffered the biggest ever monthly drop in average weekly earnings, because not only did hourly earnings drop but so did hours worked, resulting in far lower overall weekly wages.
Many Independent Oil Companies Worldwide on the Brink of Bankruptcy
February 19, 2016
study by Deloitte indicates that over 35 percent of independent oil companies worldwide are likely to declare bankruptcy this year and another 30 percent may follow next year.[i] Low oil prices are making oil companies cut dividends and expenditures, lay off workers and otherwise reduce expenses to pay off debt. However, even with these steps, many companies worldwide will be declaring bankruptcy this year and next.
Deloitte analysts reviewed over 500 publicly traded oil and natural gas exploration and production companies and found 175 high risk companies worldwide that have mountains of debt (over $150 billion), and 160 others that are less leveraged but cash-flow constrained that will face bankruptcy decisions next year. This is despite oil companies having raised about $130 billion in an attempt to withstand the lower priced oil market.[ii] About two-thirds of those revenues came from means other than budget cuts, such as asset sales or issuance of new equity. In 2015, the industry was aided by access to capital markets, bankers’ support and derivatives protection, but those avenues are now waning. The cuts in 2015 and those expected in 2016 will be the first since the mid-1980s when budgets last fell for two consecutive years.
Recent U.S. Bankruptcy Filings
Between July 2014 and end of December 2015, 35 exploration and production companies in the United States filed for bankruptcy protection.[iii] During this time, oil prices fell from over $96 to less than $40 per barrel. These 35 companies had a cumulative debt of under $18 billion. Most of the filings (21 out of 35) occurred in the second half of 2015. The filings were made by firms of various sizes and business experience. Forty-three percent were in business over 10 years, and 12 percent had revenues over $500 million. Most (65 percent) were located in Texas. (See chart below.) Over 80 percent of these companies are still operating. These 35 companies are fewer than the 62 exploration and production companies that filed for bankruptcy during the Great Recession (from September 1, 2008 to December 31, 2009).
Sean Brodrick By Sean Brodrick, Resource Strategist, The Oxford Club
Wednesday, January 6, 2016
OPEC heavyweights Saudi Arabia and Iran are eyeballing each other across the Persian Gulf and cranking up the tension. And this growing unease is cranking up the volatility in the oil markets.
Most people expect both countries to keep a cool head. After all, everybody wants to make money, right?
Let me give you the case for things getting worse.
First of all, if you’re a subscriber to Oxford Resource Explorer, you know I recently predicted something big:
“OPEC will fall into chaos and perhaps split into separate groups – the haves and the have-nots. We could also see the Arab world split more rigidly along sectarian lines, further dividing some OPEC members.”
Sure enough, OPEC is separating along Shiite-Sunni lines.
Saudi Arabia and its Sunni allies have severed or downgraded ties with Shiite Iran. This was after protesters set the Saudi embassy in Tehran on fire over the weekend. Also, last week, four ballistic missiles were launched toward targets in Saudi Arabia – dispatched by Iranian allies in Yemen.
Saudi Arabia has had enough.
Iranians burned the Saudi embassy because the Saudis executed a radical Shiite cleric, Nimr al-Nimr. Nimr was just one of the 47 individuals executed on January 2.
Tags Global Economy, Money and Banks, Money and Banking, Political Theory
In this article, Claudio Grass, Managing Director at Global Gold Switzerland, talks to economist and Mises Institute Senior Fellow Thomas DiLorenzo. This exclusive interview covers central bank monetary policies, Keynesian economics, the economic“recovery,“ political correctness, and much more.
Claudio Grass: Thomas, it is an honor to have this opportunity to talk to you. I am also pleased to announce that you will be delivering the keynote speech at the BFI Inner Circle Wealth Forum in Florida on April the 18th and 19th. Let’s get started! Given the limited impact of loose monetary policy thus far, where do you think we are headed on the central bank front? Do you think it is likely that the Fed moves interest rates into negative territory, like many central banks across the globe have already done? What would the implications of such a step be?
Tom DiLorenzo: On the central bank front, we are headed where Japan has been over the past twenty years or so: more and more easy money in a quixotic quest to push interest rates into negative territory, a truly crazy idea. The craziness of this stems from the fact that the entire academic economics profession abandoned Keynesianism in the 1970s. Its failure to explain stagflation was considered to be the final nail in the Keynesian coffin. Franco Modigliani’s presidential address to the American Economic Association in the late '70s was a remarkable white-flag-of-surrender speech by one of the prominent Keynesians. He confessed that Keynesian “stabilization policy” had been a failure. Then, like a bad horror movie, Keynesianism reared its ugly head fifteen or twenty years later as though it had never been discredited. Thus we now have the crazed policy of negative interest rates based on the thoroughly-discredited idea that only “aggregate demand” matters, and if we can just have the central bank push interest rates low enough, people will spend more and businesses will invest more, and all will be good. After the crash of 2008, caused by these same Fed policies, I recall the old Keynesian propagandist/economist Alice Rivlin on TV advising everyone to go out and spend wildly on anything. “It doesn't matter what you spend it on,” she said, “just spend it.”
In reality, what this new policy — which is the same as the old policy — does is induce businesses to invest more on durable goods like cars and houses, which is why there are new bubbles in these markets, at least in some regions. The price-per-square-foot of Las Vegas real estate, for example, is now higher than it was just before the crash of 2008. There’s also a student debt bubble and a stock market bubble, in my opinion, thanks to the Fed’s single-minded and very simple policy of print, print, and print some more. Rather than reducing some of the wild and reckless speculation on Wall Street, the government bailouts of the speculators created a “moral hazard problem” that will encourage even more reckless speculation. If the speculative investments pay off, they keep the profits; when they go bust, they can count on another round of “too-big-to-fail” bailouts.
CG: The only way it seems feasible to move interest rates substantially into negative territory would be to either ban or at least massively restrict the use of cash. In our view, there is a clear “war on cash” being promoted in the media. Do you have any thoughts on the issue and are we headed toward a cashless society?
TD: Yes, there is a war on cash being promoted by the Fed, in particular, and the government, in general (and its lapdog supporters in the media). The main reason for this is that if people can hold cash, it makes it more difficult for the Fed to centrally plan the economy. Also, Keynesianism has always been at war with savings since its principle tenet is that savings are bad, consumption is good (there you have all of Keynesianism in a nutshell). This began with the silly theory of the “paradox of thrift” that said that savings is harmful to the economy; therefore, the more we save now, the poorer we will all become, and the less able we will be to save (and consume) in the future. The Keynesian central planning authorities at the Fed and elsewhere would like to see a cashless society because keeping cash can be a form of savings instead of consumption. I think we are headed toward a cashless society unless the public wakes up and begins to protest this.
CG: What do you think the implications of a cashless society are when we combine this with other legislation like the PATRIOT Act? Do you think we are headed toward a totalitarian state in the US, where private property rights will no longer be protected?
TD: An important reason why the state would like to see a cashless society is that it would make it easier to seize our wealth electronically. It would be a modern-day version of FDR’s confiscation of privately-held gold in the 1930s. The state will make more and more use of “threats of terrorism” to seize financial assets. It is already talking about expanding the definition of “terrorist threat” to include critics of government like myself. The American state already confiscates financial assets under the protection of various guises such as the PATRIOT Act. I first realized this years ago when I paid for a new car with a personal check that bounced. The car dealer informed me that the IRS had, without my knowledge, taken 20 percent of the funds that I had transferred from a mutual fund to my bank account in order to buy the car. The IRS told me that it was doing this to deter terrorism, and that I could count it toward next year’s tax bill.
Property rights in the US have been under assault for a very long time and the assault is proceeding at an accelerated rate with such monstrosities as “Obamacare,” which forces Americans to buy government-prescribed “health insurance,” and all the Soviet-style regulation and regimentation of financial markets in the wake of the government-created Great Recession of 2008.
Figures from Sweden's central bank suggest that coins and banknotes could be almost gone from Swedes' wallets in five years, according to a report by Sweden's public radio broadcaster.
•Swedes among world's biggest card users (29 Feb 16)
•Swedish thieves use mobile app to rob man (30 Jul 15)
•Cashless society faces backlash from losers (03 Jul 15)
Last year Sweden introduced a series of new banknotes replacing its old kronor notes. But figures suggest these too could be gone from circulation in half a decade if the development towards a cashless society continues.
The Nordic country has already earned a global reputation for its cash-free culture. Cash transactions today represent no more than two percent of the value of all payments made in Sweden, according to the central bank (Riksbanken).
And a report by Swedish Radio on Friday estimates that the figure will drop to below 0.5 percent within the next five years – a trend welcomed by the majority of retailers, banks and card companies.
“Sometimes you have to learn new things. It's a little awkward for a transitional period, but I think it's going to be so simple that you pretty soon realize that this is a lot easier and better than having cash,” said working environment ombudsman Krister Colde of the Commercial Employees' Union (Handels).
However, Riksbanken's experts believe the trend may not be moving as fast as it seems.
"About 20 percent of all payments over the counter are still made in cash. (...) We think that cash will stick around until the 2030s," press spokesman Fredrik Wange told the TT newswire.
Earlier this week a study by Visa suggested that Swedes use their debit cards three times as frequently as most Europeans, making an average of 207.1 payments per card in 2015, compared to France where the figure was 141.7.
Obama to Flood Streets With 50000 Drug Dealers and Gang Bangers
Wednesday, 07 October 2015 13:08 Written by Posted By Editor
WASHINGTON In an attempt to downsize and provide relief to the over crowed Federal prison system, Obama has come up with a plan to release the Drug Dealers and Gang members into the streets of America. The Justice Department is set to release about 6,000 inmates early from prison - the largest one-time release of federal prisoners - in an effort to reduce overcrowding and provide relief to drug offenders according to U.S. officials.
I agree U.S. prisons are beyond capacity. The United States is a penal Country with laws against things that are absurd, and the length of sentences for these crimes are unbelievably long. But doesn't it make more sense to release the non violent offenders like white collar crime offenders.
I know a man that bought too many lobster for his restaurant in Key West and he was sent to Federal Prison for his crime (National Park).
I know a man that is serving 5 years in prison for declaring his income incorrectly. He declared $150 more than his actual income on a mortgage application. That is a Federal crime (FDIC).
Releasing these type of individuals to the streets present no risk to the communities.
Are these types of crimes, being released early under this massive release? No! Only Drug Dealers and Gang Bangers.
This leaves one to wonder the true objective of the Department of Justice and Obama. Especially when one of the financial supporters of this plan are the Koch Brothers.
'Forced diversity' to 'destroy' living environment
Published: 12/27/2015 at 5:58 PM
The Housing Authority of Baltimore City is secretly relocating Section 8 subsidized housing families from the inner city into suburban homes – and some critics are charging it is part of a plan to deliberately cause damage to the communities there.
“They’re going to be destroying every suburb that they move into, just as they’ve done the inner cities,” said Jesse Lee Peterson. “This is ‘forced diversity.'”
The “forced diversity” to which Peterson objects has been pursued by the Obama administration in several ways, from new regulations putting the federal government’s thumb on the pulse of local zoning actions to immigrant programs that have dumped illegal aliens, both from south of the border as well as the Middle East, into American cities without so much as a notification to the local governor or mayor.
Critics have cited it as a goal of socialist-minded and left-leaning interests who want to assure themselves of power in the federal government for the foreseeable future through the electoral process. The inner cities, with their heavily government-dependent populations, already reliably vote Democrat. Critics charge that moving large numbers of dependent populations into suburbs and other areas is intended to change the voting nature of those populations.
In the Baltimore situation, local officials in Baltimore County complain they were not even notified when suburban homes in their districts were purchased and repurposed as city public housing.
According to the Baltimore Sun, $12 million has been spent to purchase housing in communities surrounding Baltimore, and more than $50 million has been spent to pay the rent of Baltimore residents who are being moved into pricey suburban neighborhoods.
The New World Order (NWO) is presently dissolving our borders, forming a common economic union between Mexico, Canada, and the United States, and fighting a war of subjugation in Iraq with our troops and resources.
As Bob Dylan said, “The times they are a’changin” and unfortunately, what’s changing is how we are governed. Most Americans are unaware of what is happening and even more incredibly, of those in the know, many condone and support what is being done. I do not and this is why I sit at this keyboard trying to wake people up.
Americans take pride in our government. This is because the government we think we have is something to be proud of. However, the simple truth of the matter is that we no longer have the government we think we have and instead, have something that is the brainchild of the New World Order. This here-to-fore secret organization has placed our present government under the thumb of their new government and by so doing, has turned the government we have into a figment of what it once was.
The question is should we be proud of our new government and pledge allegiance to it?
My answer to both of these questions is no and in case you fail to get my drift, let me state for the record that I am an American who is ashamed of the kind of government we have and also ashamed of my fellow Americans who by living in denial are unwitting participants in our subjugation and enslavement.
The problem is that the NWO, up to recently, has planned and plotted in secret. Fortunately, this has changed and we now know a lot more about who they are and what they are trying to accomplish.
Recently, David Rockefeller, a NWO principle and founder went public with the following statement.
“We are grateful to the Washington Post, the New York Times, Time Magazine and other great publications whose directors have attended our meetings and respected their promises of discretion for almost forty years. It would have been impossible for us to develop our plan for the world if we had been subjected to the light of publicity during those years.
But now the world is more sophisticated and prepared to march towards a world government. The supra-national sovereignty of an intellectual elite and world bankers is surely preferable to the national auto-determination practiced in past centuries.”
Note: Purported remarks at a Bilderberg Group meeting in Baden-Baden, Germany in June 1991. The remarks are said to have been printed in several right-wing French publications shortly thereafter; as quoted in Programming, Pitfalls and Puppy-Dog Tales (1993) by Gyeorgos C. Hatonn, p. 65. Skepticism is in order for the accuracy or attribution of alleged remarks from these exclusive meetings, particularly those which could be manifestations of either satire, sarcasm - or outright fraudulence.
David Rockefeller Says Conspiracy About ‘One World Order’ Is True
Posted on February 11, 2016 by Edmondo Burr in Conspiracies // 4 Comments
David Rockefeller is a part of American history and the only billionaire in the world who is over 100 years old. The richest oldest man on the planet turned 100 in June 2015.
He is part of a family dynasty whose name is associated with America and has become legend. His grandfather John D Rockefeller who died in 1937 was the founder of Standard Oil and the world’s richest individual. The name Rockefeller has been associated with wealth, power, politics, finance, diplomacy, philanthropy, marijuana prohibition, aliens, UFO’s and conspiracy theories.
One such conspiracy theory is the creation of a ‘one world order’, according to which a group of ‘Elites’, including David, are milking the system for their own benefits and the benefit of their friends and fellow conspirators against the interest of the United States.
They have been accused of setting up institutions such as the ‘Trilateral Commission’ and the ‘Bilderberg Group’ among others to advance their interests nationally and globally.
Their aim is to create an international world order under a single umbrella, to deal with global issues, initiated and controlled by western countries. Obviously such a hefty vision could be seen as a conspiracy, by the powerful and the well connected, to dominate and manipulate the weak and the fragmented people of the world.
David Rockefeller, the last former member of the unofficial royal family of America, has admitted that if he is accused of such conspiracies to bring about a ‘one world order’, then he is proud and guilty as charged.
He says: “Some even believe [the Rockefellers] are part of a secret cabal working against the best interests of the United States, characterising my family and me as ‘internationalists’ conspiring with others around the world to build a more integrated global political and economic structure – one world, if you will. If that’s the charge, I stand guilty, and I’m proud of it.”
Although the name ‘Rockefeller’ still retains its resonance, its influence is fading. Being a Rockefeller these days ain’t what it used to be.
The Independent reports:
David, patriarch of that family and of a vanished Wasp establishment, celebrated his 100th birthday.
These days he is pretty low in the billionaires’ pecking order: 603rd according to Forbes magazine, the chronicler of such matters, with a fortune of “only” $3.2bn. Even the family’s total wealth, much of it locked away in trusts, is put at a relatively modest $10bn – enough to buy fleets of yachts, private jets and a couple of mansions in Belgravia, but not a patch on his grandfather John D Rockefeller. When he died in 1937, “Senior”, the founder of Standard Oil and a contender for the world’s richest ever individual, was reckoned to have assets equal to 1.5 per cent of US GDP, about $250bn today. Compared with that, Carlos Slim, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett are distant also-rans.
From almost the moment of his birth, on 12 June 1915, in the embers of the Gilded Age, David was the favourite grandchild: the one, according to “Senior”, who was “most like myself”. The others of John Rockefeller Jnr’s six children are now long gone. Winthrop, a former governor of Arkansas, died in 1973. Abigail, David’s only sister, died in 1976, followed by John in 1978, and by Nelson – his most famous sibling, governor of New York and Gerald Ford’s vice-president – in 1979. Laurance Rockefeller, an airline magnate, survived until 2004. David is the last one left. And in his day, Nelson notwithstanding, he was probably the most influential of them all.
World Bank Whistleblower Karen Hudes Reveals How The Global Elite Rule The World
By Michael Snyder, on September 30th, 2013
Karen Hudes is a graduate of Yale Law School and she worked in the legal department of the World Bank for more than 20 years. In fact, when she was fired for blowing the whistle on corruption inside the World Bank, she held the position of Senior Counsel. She was in a unique position to see exactly how the global elite rule the world, and the information that she is now revealing to the public is absolutely stunning. According to Hudes, the elite use a very tight core of financial institutions and mega-corporations to dominate the planet. The goal is control. They want all of us enslaved to debt, they want all of our governments enslaved to debt, and they want all of our politicians addicted to the huge financial contributions that they funnel into their campaigns. Since the elite also own all of the big media companies, the mainstream media never lets us in on the secret that there is something fundamentally wrong with the way that our system works.
Remember, this is not some “conspiracy theorist” that is saying these things. This is a Yale-educated attorney that worked inside the World Bank for more than two decades. The following summary of her credentials comes directly from her website…
Karen Hudes studied law at Yale Law School and economics at the University of Amsterdam. She worked in the US Export Import Bank of the US from 1980-1985 and in the Legal Department of the World Bank from 1986-2007. She established the Non Governmental Organization Committee of the International Law Section of the American Bar Association and the Committee on Multilateralism and the Accountability of International Organizations of the American Branch of the International Law Association.
Today, Hudes is trying very hard to expose the corrupt financial system that the global elite are using to control the wealth of the world. During an interview with the New American, she discussed how we are willingly allowing this group of elitists to totally dominate the resources of the planet…
A former insider at the World Bank, ex-Senior Counsel Karen Hudes, says the global financial system is dominated by a small group of corrupt, power-hungry figures centered around the privately owned U.S. Federal Reserve. The network has seized control of the media to cover up its crimes, too, she explained. In an interview with The New American, Hudes said that when she tried to blow the whistle on multiple problems at the World Bank, she was fired for her efforts. Now, along with a network of fellow whistleblowers, Hudes is determined to expose and end the corruption. And she is confident of success.
Citing an explosive 2011 Swiss study published in the PLOS ONE journal on the “network of global corporate control,” Hudes pointed out that a small group of entities — mostly financial institutions and especially central banks — exert a massive amount of influence over the international economy from behind the scenes. “What is really going on is that the world’s resources are being dominated by this group,” she explained, adding that the “corrupt power grabbers” have managed to dominate the media as well. “They’re being allowed to do it.”
Previously, I have written about the Swiss study that Hudes mentioned. It was conducted by a team of researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, Switzerland. They studied the relationships between 37 million companies and investors worldwide, and what they discovered is that there is a “super-entity” of just 147 very tightly knit mega-corporations that controls 40 percent of the entire global economy…
The inside story of how banks and bankers control our politics
BY Nomi Prins /
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS /
Thursday, April 10, 2014, 5:06 PM
New York is a wonderful town — if you run a mega bank. Because for over a century, the Big Six banks and their leaders have dominated not just the U.S. banking industry, but American and global finance, traversing the power corridor between the White House and Wall Street to help themselves, their families and their friends in good times and bad, in partnership with the President.
But in the process of placing personal enrichment over the public interest and fair practices, particularly in recent years, they have created an atmosphere where the next big crisis is not a question of if, but of when. History has shown that absent true reform, those holding the power and the money can and will wreak havoc on the rest of the population.
For the first 80 years of the 20th century, four families largely controlled the nation’s top three banks: Morgan, Aldrich, Stillman and Rockefeller. National, financial and foreign policy was fashioned through personal connections to the Presidents — forged through blood, marriage, mentorships and connections made at Ivy League colleges, and through social activities like yachting, golfing, ranch barbeques and exclusive parties and clubs.
In October 1907, Manhattan was struck by a major bank panic. People from Fifth Ave. to Harlem rushed to extract their money from the Knickerbocker Trust Company because one of its leaders had made a horrendous bet on copper, which precipitated a wider panic. A fear of greater ramifications caused the “Trust-Buster,” President Teddy Roosevelt, to turn to the one man he believed could help — a banker, J.P. Morgan.
The Statistics Do Not Lie! Welfare Is the Best Paying Entry Level Job In 35 States!
Recently, a friend asked me what would I recommend his daughter major in as she begins college this fall. I thought for a moment and answered “welfare”. The father was quite taken back as I took out my IPAD and forwarded him some of my files which contains our recent economic statistics.
There are 35 states in this country in which it is better to accept welfare than work at an entry level job. Much like crack cocaine or heroin addicts, much of our nation is hopelessly addicted to living in the welfare state. This has real implications for the emotional and even spiritual health of our nation. The most distressing aspect of the present economic conditions we find ourselves mired in, is the fact that we are allowing our young people to have their dreams and their very sense of hope stolen away from them. Fear monger, naysayer, doomsday profit are terms ascribed to people who dare to criticize the existing economic system and speak about the real implications for our people. I dare the most liberal of you to read the following facts, engage in your own fact checking and then not to be able to conclude that the American dream, for most of our people, is dead and buried.
The Average American Is Taking a Beating
It is not just our nation that is taking a beating, our individual financial situations in this country have grown to a crisis level. America is no longer just in a depression. We have entered third world status, a kind of permanent depression, if you will. Yes, we have skyscrapers and modern technology, but only the elite control these resources and the average Americana’ standard of living is in a state of economic free fall.
The U.S. Economy Has Collapsed: “This Is A Monstrous Negative Revision”
June 25th, 2014
Read by 71,638 people
For months the administration, financial pundits and Wall Street analysts made it a point to inform Americans about the healthy state of our economy. One of the key metrics they’ve used as proof of recovery was the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) which measures the productive output of the U.S. economy as a whole.
Earlier this year the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis noted that this measure was showing positive growth. But now, after a second official revision, all of that purported growth used to goad consumers into spending more money on homes, cars and other goods has been revealed to be nothing but conjecture. According to the BEA, not only did economic growth stall during the first quarter of 2014, it completely collapsed, signalling a significant shift in consumption habits amid increasing food and energy prices:
Beast System: How They Are Creating The Future And Final Civil War - 'A Purge Is Taking Place'
By Susan Duclos - All News PipeLine
There is a saying "forewarned is forearmed," meaning if you know about something beforehand, you can prepare for it.... so let this be your warning.
Watching the events of the last six years unfold, stories in the news and headlines that have dominated news cycle after news cycle, we see a theme play out. A theme of division, racial, political, religious... literally dividing the population into sub-groups, then pitting them against each other, turning brother against brother, familiy against family, neighbor against neighbor and state against state.
You will hear much of this in the excellent video below by TheScariestMovieEver, who encourages listeners to research every word he says and every example he gives, which is exactly what I did, so before listening to it, let me provide just a few examples I remember from over the last six years where I have noted an extreme acceleration of this dangerous game being played by the puppet-masters controlling everything from behind the scenes.
CREATING RACIAL DIVISIONS
Trayvon Martin, shot by George Michael Zimmerman, leading to protests and marches, many of which turn extremely violent. Tensions deliberately stoked by Barack Obama, who before the investigation was even complete, came out with a statement saying " this could have been my son" and "could have been me."
Multiple deaths of blacks killed by whites, with the media deliberately manipulating the masses to the point where there were riots, vandalism, arrests and wall-to-wall coverage, despite the fact that the latest collection of information provided by the FBI shows that "blacks killed by whites" is the lowest percentage of murders, topped by "whites killed by blacks by over ten times the amount. (Chart below)
Meet Peter Thiel: How Bilderberg Controls Ron Paul & The Libertarian Movement
By Susanne Posel – May 9, 2013
In 2002, Peter Thiel sold his PayPal corporation to eBay and walked away with $55 million dollars. The next investment for the German-born elite was a reported half million loan to Mark Zuckerberg to begin Facebook, convert his monies into a 7% ownership stake and turn his share into a worth of 1 and half billion dollars.
His involvement in Big Brother surveillance comes from co-founding Palantir Technologies that provides software that solves “technical problems” like “combating terrorism, prosecuting criminals, fighting fraud and eliminating waste.” While they claim to support open software, they collaborate with the US government to facilitate spying on users of the internet.
Thiel has had an interesting career filled with
• BA in Philosophy and Juris Doctorate from the globalist – controlled Stanford University
• Working as a securities trader for the technocrats at Credit Suisse
• Speech writer for William Bennett, secretary of the US Education Department
• Investor in Friendster
World's Richest People Meet, Muse On How To Spread The Wealth
Updated June 10, 2014·9:53 AM ET
Published May 27, 2014·2:38 PM ET
Talk of economic mobility and the wealth gap is hardly new. From the Occupy movement to President Obama's re-election campaign, income inequality has been in the spotlight for years.
Even so, the "inclusive capitalism" conference in London on Tuesday broke new ground. Not because of the conversation, but because of the people having it.
The 250 people from around the world invited to attend this one-day conference do not represent "the 99 percent," or even the 1 percent. It's more like a tiny fraction of the 1 percent.
"We have $30 trillion of assets under management in the room," says conference organizer Lynn Forester de Rothschild, who runs E.L. Rothschild, a major investment firm she and her husband, of the storied Rothschild banking family, founded in 2003.
That amount — $30 trillion — is roughly one-third of the total investable wealth in the world. If money is power, then this is the most powerful group of people ever to focus on income inequality.
"If this bulk of capital decides that they are going to invest in companies that aren't only thinking about the short-term profit," says Rothschild, "then we will see corporate behavior change."
The titans of commerce and finance didn't necessarily fly to this meeting in London out of a sense of ethics or moral duty, though that may be a motivation for some. For many, says Rothschild, it's a sense of self-preservation. Capitalism appears to be under siege.
40 percent of unemployed have quit looking for jobs
Jeff Cox | @JeffCoxCNBCcom
Wednesday, 20 May 2015 | 12:29 PM ET
At a time when 8.5 million Americans still don't have jobs, some 40 percent have given up even looking.
The revelation, contained in a new survey Wednesday showing how much work needs to be done yet in the U.S. labor market, comes as the labor force participation rate remains mired near 37-year lows.
A tight jobs market, the skills gap between what employers want and what prospective employees have to offer, and a benefits program that, while curtailed from its recession level, still remains obliging have combined to keep workers on the sidelines, according to a Harris poll of 1,553 working-age Americans conducted for Express Employment Professionals.
On the bright side, the number is actually better than 2014, the survey's inaugural year, when 47 percent of the jobless said they had given up.
"This survey shows that some of the troubling trends we observed last year are continuing," Bob Funk, CEO of Express Employment Professionals and a former chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, said in a statement. "While the economy is indeed getting better for some, for others who have been unemployed long term, they are increasingly being left behind." (Tweet this)
Henrietta Howland "Hetty" Green (née Robinson; November 21, 1834 – July 3, 1916), nicknamed the "Witch of Wall Street", was an American businesswoman and financier known as "the richest woman in America" during the Gilded Age. Known for both her wealth and her miserliness, she was the lone woman to amass a fortune when other major financiers were men.
Birth and early years
She was born Henrietta Howland Robinson in 1834 in New Bedford, Massachusetts, the daughter of Edward Mott Robinson and Abby Robinson (née Howland), the richest whaling family in the city. Her family were Quakers who owned a large whaling fleet and also profited from the China trade. She had a younger brother who died as an infant. At the age of two, Hetty was living with her grandfather, Gideon Howland. Because of his influence and that of her father, and possibly because her mother was constantly ill, she took to her father's side and was reading financial papers to him by the age of six. When she was 13, Hetty became the family bookkeeper. At the age of 16, she enrolled at the Eliza Wing School where she remained until the age of 19.
Abby Robinson died in 1860 leaving her daughter $8,000 (equivalent to $211,000 in 2016). Shortly after her mother's death, an aunt bequeathed Hetty $20,000 (equivalent to $527,000 in 2016). Edward Robinson died in 1865 leaving Hetty approximately $5 million (equivalent to $77,293,000 in 2016) which included a $4 million trust fund that drew annual earnings. She used the money to invest in Civil War war bonds Hetty's aunt Sylvia Ann Howland also died in 1865. After Hetty learned that Sylvia Howland had willed most of her $2 million estate (equivalent to $30,917,000 in 2016) to charity, Hetty challenged the will's validity in court by producing an earlier will which allegedly left the entire estate to Hetty, and included a clause invalidating any subsequent wills. The case, Robinson v. Mandell, which is notable as an early example of the forensic use of mathematics, was ultimately decided against Robinson after the court ruled that the clause invalidating future wills, and Sylvia's signature to it, were forgeries. After five years of legal battles, Hetty was awarded $600,000 (equivalent to $11,228,000 in 2016).
Hetty Green's stinginess was legendary. She was said never to turn on the heat or use hot water. She wore one old black dress and undergarments that she changed only after they had been worn out, did not wash her hands and rode in an old carriage. She ate mostly pies that cost fifteen cents. One tale claims that Green spent half a night searching her carriage for a lost stamp worth two cents. Another asserts that she instructed her laundress to wash only the dirtiest parts of her dresses (the hems) to save money on soap.
Green conducted much of her business at the offices of the Seaboard National Bank in New York, surrounded by trunks and suitcases full of her papers; she did not want to pay rent for her own office. Later unfounded rumors claimed that she ate only oatmeal, heated on the office radiator. Possibly because of the stiff competition of the mostly male business environment and partly because of her usually dour dress (due mainly to frugality, but perhaps in part related to her Quaker upbringing), she was given the nickname the "Witch of Wall Street".
She was a successful businesswoman who dealt mainly in real estate, invested in railroads and mines, and lent money while acquiring numerous mortgages. The City of New York came to Green for loans to keep the city afloat on several occasions, most particularly during the Panic of 1907; she wrote a check for $1.1 million and took her payment in short-term revenue bonds. Keenly detail-oriented, she would travel thousands of miles alone—in an era when few women would dare travel unescorted—to collect a debt of a few hundred dollars.
Green entered the lexicon of turn-of-the-century America with the popular phrase, "I'm not Hetty if I do look green." O. Henry used this phrase in his 1890s story "The Skylight Room" when a young woman, negotiating the rent on a room in a rooming house owned by an imperious old lady, wishes to make it clear she is neither as rich as she appears nor as naive.Her frugality extended to family life. When her son Ned broke his leg as a child, Hetty tried to have him admitted to a free clinic for the poor. Mythic accounts have her storming away after being recognized; her biographer Slack says that she paid her bill and took her son to other doctors. His leg did not heal properly and, after years of treatment, it had to be amputated.
The One Reason That Trump Will Win Today’s Primary Elections
Tuesday, March 15, 2016 6:10
Today, for the first time in America, average people are talking about free trade agreements, instead of NFL free agents. Trump has won the info war that Brezezinski and Hillary Clinton have lamented that they are losing. Millions of Americans are finally realizing that their have jobs have been lost, or will be lost, so a few rich corporate owners can make obscene profits off of the demise of the United States.
A Quick Primer on Free Trade Agreements
When something is secret and kept from you, it is usually very bad for you.
Following World War II, the American people were best paid, the best educated and had the highest standard of living in the world and it was not close. A factory working in an auto plant in Detroit EVENTUALLY made $20 per hour with great benefits and job security.
The owners of this industry and other industries in America, sought to lower labor and production costs by relocating abroad and taking advantage of cheap foreign labor and subservient foreign governments.
However, there was one fly in the ointment and that was the omnipresent tariffs on foreign goods shipped into America. These high taxes were designed to keep American manufacturing plants and their jobs at home. These tariffs were designed to protect price stability in the stores. Because tariffs keep American jobs intact, the local tax base is well-supported and this shows up in road maintenance, lower utility costs, funds for schools, etc.
It was no accident that Cloward and Piven were present at the signing of NAFTA.
Then came Cloward and Piven along with their friend Saul Alinsky and his Rules for Radicals. These three set the stage for financial rape of America.
Free trade agreements became the way around protectionist tariffs. Free trade agreements, such as NAFTA, would erase all tariffs between signatories of free trade agreements. Then businesses would be free to move to anywhere within the confines of the agreement and the nation states that signed them.
This was the beginning of the end for the American worker as we know it. America has lost 86% of its manufacturing. Generally, and adjusting for inflation, since NAFTA, the average American works 20% longer (hence the shift from hourly wages and time and a half to salary workers) for almost 20% less. This is why the second job industry has become such an art form. I remember, the movie Sicko, President GW Bush said to a lady on the campaign trail “You have three jobs? How uniquely America”. Need I say more?
America must fall for the New World Order to be implemented. The way to destroy American is through economic means. Therefore, the free trade agreements have taken front and center in Trump’s campaign and people are getting Trump’s watered down nation. However, most Americans know a bad deal when they see it.
And how did the multinational corporations get Congress on board? Simple, they bribed them with campaign donations and other perks. As long as America allows its politicians to be bought off, in the form of campaign donations, we will continue to mourn for our lost Republican form of democracy. Simply put, my middle class friend, you do not matter and you are not even a consideration until four more years have passed and it is time for another sham of rigged election cycle.
There is nothing that Trump could do to erode his base because the people of America, at least those who are waking up by the millions, are voting for their survival.
Free trade agreements and saving American jobs is what this election is becoming and people are seeing the corporations and the banks as their enemy for the first time on a collective basis. We are living history in the making.
What Is At Stake
Donald Trump’s message regarding the devastation of the free trade agreements is so resounding, that he is correct when he says that he could literally shoot someone and his base of support would not erode. As we approach today’s important Republican Primary, Americans have a clear sense of what is at stake. Below are a list of alternatives to Trump. The emptiness and the foolhardiness of the following three choices are becoming apparent for for all to see.
1.Ted Cruz does work for the Council on Foreign Relations. His wife is a senior executive for Goldman Sachs, one of the primary supporters of NAFTA, CAFTA and now the TPP free trade agreements. Cruz’s wife works for the Council on Foreign Relations. Further, he supports unlimited illegal immigration, as he is saying so in his rounds in Florida as he panders to the Latino community on the issue. What he is discovering is that the majority of the Latino community does not support these views.
2.Marco Rubio is a politician who is eloquent, handsome and is totally without depth and substance. There is nothing for the voters to latch on to, because there is nothing of substance to this man as he continues to try and run from his sordid, Obama-like past.
3.John Kasich is a man who could not inspire his shoes to go into the closet. His public persona is so predictable and repetitive that I literally cannot listen to him more than 30 seconds of his rants of “I have done that….”. In the raucous debates, Kasich once appeared to a mature person, the only adult in the room, if you will. However, his recent and desperate rhetoric has brought him back to the pack and exposed his “insider” status on immigration as he has now reversed himself on immigration in Cruz-like style.
All three men have PRESIDED OVER THE COUNTRY AT VARIOUS LEVELS AS IT FELL INTO THE ABYSS OF FAILED NATION STATES.
Why would America vote for any of these three with their losing track record? They are part of the problem. If one votes for any of these three, they are voting to continue the status quo.
All three establishment candidates and their campaigns are supported by corporate money. The same corporate money that underwrote NAFTA, CAFTA and the TPP. These are same free trade agreements that have turned Detroit into a war zone. And now we see Baltimore, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Cleveland and at least 50 more cities following in the footsteps of Detroit in which free trade agreements have devastated the lives of the people in America as millions of jobs have been moved to foreign countries.
America is becoming a hell-hole. We have pockets inside of America that are literally a third world country and, under the aforementioned politicians, things are only going to get worse.
The Corporate Elite, Bought-Off Politicians and the Media vs. The People of the United States
Today, on this day when some very important set of primary races will be decided, Americans have a chance to unify and send a clear message that includes “we are as mad as hell and we are not going to this anymore”.
We are living in very unique times. We are witnessing not only a political canrevolution, but a revolution of consciousness in which average people are no longer willing to acquiesce to the elite and their one-sided policies.
If Trump wins both Ohio and Florida, the teachings of Cloward and Piven will surface and this country will face violence like we have never seen before. If Trump does indeed prevail today, and I think he will, minus major voting fraud, Part two of this series will explore the depth of devastation and violence the liberal left is willing to participate in. Soon our country could look Syria.
Donald Trump needs to be careful. Assassination threats have begun to pile up on social media at a record rate and the left's radical tactics of division and artificial conflict have swung into full force. The unraveling that took place in Chicago on March 11 – just blocks from my own apartment – had the hallmarks of an organized strategy that has defined leftwing king-making since 1971. The tactics are frightening and they threaten to damage our republic beyond repair.
The disciples of Saul Alinsky were young and impressionable college students when he released his book Rules For Radicals in 1971. They've since grown up and risen to the top of our political and social ranks. Black Lives Matter, Occupy Wall Street and Barack Obama's White House were all born from the philosophies of the great leftwing radical. The divisions that have lingered and poisoned American culture were supposed to be cured by our great Healer-In-Chief, but instead they've been exasperated. The rules written for radicals, by Saul Alinsky, promote revolutionary social and political change through deep division and resentment. The problem with these rules is that they have often backfired and have seldom resulted in positive change.
“While each settlement reacted differently, in no one case could the Alinsky/settlement interaction be regarded as a success by both sides.” – Social Change: Settlement Houses And Saul Alinsky by Judith Ann Trolander, 1982.
In 1982, Judith Trolander argued that Alinsky's tactics of dividing and stirring conflict weren't successful in alleviating poverty and social crises in low income projects in Chicago where they were tried. Alinsky's tactics of creating “artificially stimulated conflict” have been criticized by social scientists for tearing apart communities that have thrived on unity and cooperation. Often, these communities couldn't be repaired following the application of Alinksy's destructive strategies.
What are these destructive strategies and how were they evident in Chicago at a Donald Trump rally on March 11?
Saul Alinsky was a community organizer and his famous book was an inspiration to America's 44th president, who followed almost identically in Alinsky's footsteps as a community organizer in Chicago before becoming an Illinois senator and then the principal occupant of the White House in 2008. The runner up to replace Barack Obama on January 20, 2017 for the Democratic Party is Hillary Clinton, another adoring fan of Saul Alinsky.
“You are being rediscovered again, as the left-type politicos are finally beginning to think seriously about the hard work and mechanics of organizing.” – Letter from Hillary Clinton to Saul Alinsky, 1971
The second runner-up in the Democratic field is Bernie Sanders, a devoted democratic socialist with almost identical political leanings as Saul Alinsky. There aren't a lot of links between Alinsky and Sanders, except that they both attended the University Of Chicago and both volunteered for the Congress Of Racial Equality at different times. However, it has been suggested and proven that many of the Trump rally disruptors on March 11 were Bernie supporters who carried Bernie signs and shirts and tweeted their involvement in the disruption.
They Created The Problem
“In the beginning, the organizer's first job is to create the issues or problems.” – Rules For Radicals, Saul Alinsky
This quote from Alinsky's primer could be taken in many ways, from a macro perspective or from a micro perspective. On a macro level, the tactic of creating problems like false gender gaps and racially driven police shootings has been the norm since Barack Obama officially assumed office in January of 2009. Although white-on-black police shootings haven't risen at all since 2008, the idea that racially motivated police shootings are an epidemic has become the mea culpa of “white America”. This phenomenon of excessive media coverage coincides almost suspiciously with Barack Obama's tenure as the 44 president.
On a micro level, the protesters who disrupted the Trump rally created and incited violence that would later be blamed on the general environment and atmosphere at Donald Trump rallies. The very next day, Barack Obama confirmed the Alinsky tactic by blaming Donald Trump and the GOP's tone rather than condemning the protesters who were recorded throwing punches, tearing signs out of people's hands and assaulting Trump supporters.
“This is not about political correctness. It's about not having to explain to our kids why our politics sound like a schoolyard fight.” – Barack Obama, March 12
Chicago Cop: Anti-Trump Mob More Aggressive and Destructive than Reported
by Warner Todd Huston14 Mar 2016Chicago, IL
The protests launched by militant leftists who shut down Donald Trump’s Chicago rally were far more aggressive and destructive than reported, says a Chicago Police officer.
“It seems the [media] aren’t broadcasting footage of the debris being thrown across Harrison by Sanders/Hillary supporters at Trump fans,” the officer wrote shortly after the canceled Trump event.
The officer, who posed anonymously on the Second City Cop blog, also noted the media didn’t report that protesters were running through parking lots and breaking windows of cars with Trump stickers on them, or that the department called out emergency Incident Teams to cope with the anti-Trump riot at the University of Illinois in Chicago.
Later that same day the officer posted a second, much longer post, to detail the failures of the police leaders to plan for and respond to the protests.
The officer insisted there was “pretty much zero in terms of a unified Command Post” for the event, and that officers had no central command to report to or coordinate response from.
“Who wrote this plan?” the officer wrote. “We’ve seen and heard reports that UIC was woefully unprepared for this. They had their own people and Monterey Security inside. The Secret Service had a presence, but they’re restricted to dignitary protection. The ISP had a squad there. And CPD. So where were the people geared up for a riot? For NATO we had an entire strike force geared up and ready to go. We had the Mounted Unit up and running. Tens of dozens of bikes. Did no one see this coming?”
The officer went on to insist that suddenly emptying the pavilion of Trump fans and “putting a few thousand people out on the street as targets” was a terrible decision. This decision led to many unnecessary confrontations between Trump fans and the anarchist protesters, the officer said. It also led to unnecessary property damage, the officer said.
Next came a long list of questions:
Who gave up the expressway? Who let them block ambulances? Why did they not assemble citywide Incident Teams as soon as they knew the rally was canceled? Tact Teams? We even heard Mass Arrest kits weren’t available and only one transport wagon on scene in case arrests were made.
The criticism went farther.
Who ever drew up this order failed miserably. Whatever the Intelligence Section was doing wasn’t nearly enough. The On Scene Incident Commander failed to anticipate even the best case scenario and every other appointee showed how incompetent they really were by not ordering up more reinforcements and more units on stand-by.
Elites Link Anti-Government Thought to Mental Illness, Lay Groundwork for Incarceration
By Daily Bell Staff - March 11, 2016
Believe in conspiracy theories? You’re probably a narcissist: People who doubt the moon landings are more likely to be selfish and attention-seeking … Psychologists from the University of Kent carried out three online studies … -UK Daily Mail
We are seeing an increasing number of academic studies analyzing the psychology behind “conspiracy theorists” and those who question government propaganda. The idea being that people who don’t trust government may be mentally ill.
These analyses are published in prominent publications in the UK and are building a “scientific” literature revolving psychological dysfunction and “conspiracy theory.”
Do you think the moon-landings were faked, vaccines are a plot for mind control, or that shadowy government agencies are keeping alien technology locked up in hidden bunkers?
If so, chances are you’re a narcissist with low self-esteem, according to psychologists. In the internet age conspiracy theories can incubate in quiet corners of the web, but it may be psychological predispositions of believers which keep them alive, rather than cold hard facts.
The article goes on to explain that researchers at the University of Kent have used online studies from hundreds of people to generate the study’s conclusions.
The findings appeared in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science with the suggestion that those who adopt conspiracy theories have “outwardly inflated self-confidence” but may be “overcompensating for a lack of belief in themselves.”
The article mentions a previous study conducted by Oxford’s Dr. David Robert Grimes.
From what we’ve written on this study:
Grimes had the idea that mathematics could prove or disprove certain conspiracy theories. A physicist, he “developed a mathematical equation to derive the truth of conspiracy theories,” according to the Christian Science Monitor …
Grimes calculated that the moon landing and climate change conspiracies “would require about 400,000 secret-keepers each, the unsafe vaccination conspiracy would involve 22,000 people, and the cancer cure conspiracy would involve over 710,000 people.” Even with the utmost secrecy, Grimes reports, his equations show within four years the conspiracies would be exposed nonetheless.
At the time, we commented on Grimes’s apparent “earnestness” in struggling to “understand how people can even engage in conspiratorial thinking to begin with.” We made this comment in relationship to yet a third article on the psychology of conspiracy.
This commentary appeared in the Guardian and, as we pointed out, “argued against conspiratorial thinking based on a new book, Suspicious Minds … written by Rob Brotherton.”
Basically, the idea is that people are naturally prone to conspiracy theories because of the way their brains have evolved. “Identifying patterns and being sensitive to possible threats,” the article explains, “is what has helped us survive in a world where nature often is out to get you.”
Brotherton explains in the article that he decided that the best way to present his thesis was to avoid confronting conspiracy theories head on. Instead, he wanted to explain how people adopted such theories for psychological reasons.
“I wanted to take a different approach, to sidestep the whole issue of whether the theories are true or false and come at it from the perspective of psychology. The intentionality bias, the proportionality bias, confirmation bias. We have these quirks built into our minds that can lead us to believe weird things without realising that’s why we believe them.”
So here we have three explanations of conspiracy theories presented by major publications in less than three month’s time. And, who knows, perhaps there were more.
In the conclusion to our Grimes’ analysis, we noted that: “It looks as if a more powerful and disciplined program may be underway. Something to ponder along with a further moderation of certain public declarations.”
By “public declarations” we meant those of individuals prone to mentioning conspiracy theories in non-appropriate contexts. As it turns out, we anticipated the current news cycle only by a couple of months.
Just this week, in fact, Attorney General Loretta Lynch attended a Senate Judiciary Hearing and acknowledged discussions at the Department of Justice of taking civil action against “climate change deniers.”
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) questioned her on the issue and drew comparisons between such deniers and the tobacco industry that claimed for decades that the tobacco was not proven to cause ill health.
The Clinton administration eventually brought a successful civil suit against Big Tobacco. And Whitehouse suggested that civil or criminal charges might be brought against “anti-warmists.”
The forces of intolerance are gathering in the US, just as overseas.
We have urged in the past that people pay close attention to these growing trends. By turning statements of opinion into a psychological condition they are trying to discredit anyone who speaks out against the government.
In the Soviet Union, people who spoke out against government policies were often placed in mental asylums. At the time, concerned citizens in the West protested such incarcerations as barbaric abuses. Yet now, if our supposition is correct, these practices are about to expand in the West as well.
Conclusion: This attack on dissent is serious. Educate your family and friends about what’s going on. Do not be fooled by their propaganda, but beware of the risks of speaking out too freely.
We got a flurry of new frontline reports from the war on cash yesterday, after a reader told us his account was shut down — perhaps because his wife used it once too often to send money to family in China. “Suspicious transactions,” you know…
“I was at one of the ‘Big Bad Wolf’ banks,” reads one of these emails, “to deposit some money into my son’s account.
“I used to deposit cash into my son’s accounts for living expenses in college. The bank said that’s no longer allowed. When I asked why not, they said to prevent money laundering. Mind you, I had made the same deposit consistently every month for two years.
“But the most recent experience blew my mind. I was paying my credit balance at this bank with cash in an amount less than $600. The bank clerk asked to see my ID. I asked why does he need my ID when I am only making a payment with a statement in my hand?
“I was told that when making payment in cash, they need to see an ID.
“Has anybody else experienced such mind-boggling lunacy?”
We’ll share more reader emails later. For now, we want to draw upon this reader’s experience to illustrate a critical point…
Yes, there’s the maddening surveillance-state aspect of it all. But there’s also the inconvenience aspect — which might be an even more effective tool in the war on cash.
How many more times will our reader put up with the ID harassment before simply doing an electronic transfer to pay the bill?
Even without the ID harassment, it’s just easier to transact without cash, right? Pull out a credit or debit card. Heck, just swipe your smartphone!
“We are witnessing an accelerated move toward digital currencies, or the so-called cashless society,” Jim Rickards writes in his latest book, The New Case for Gold.
That makes it easier to enforce negative interest rates: Rather than earn a small percentage on your checking account each month (remember those days?), a small percentage would be deducted from your account.
“Eliminating cash also makes it easier to force bail-ins, confiscations and account freezes,” Jim writes. “To lock down depositors’ money, it is helpful to herd everybody into one of a small number of megabanks (Citi, Wells Fargo, Chase, Bank of America) that take orders from the U.S. government. Then the stage is set.”
The template for the war on cash was created a century ago — with a war on gold, waged however subtly.
After all, it’s not as if G-men were going house to house in 1933 carrying out FDR’s gold-confiscation order. People had already voluntarily surrendered their gold during the early decades of the 20th century.
How, you ask? “Banks slowly took the coins out of circulation (the way cash is going out of circulation today), melted them down and recast them into 400-ounce bars,” Jim explains. “Nobody is going to walk around with a 400-ounce bar in her pocket.
“Then they said to people, in effect, ‘OK. You can own gold, but it’s not going to be in the form of coins anymore. It’s going to be in the form of these bars. By the way, these bars are very expensive.’ That means you needed a lot of money to have even one bar, and you weren’t going to take it anywhere. You were going to leave it in a bank vault.”
And just as with the war on cash today, Americans were lured down the garden path with the promise of convenience. Why lug around those $5, $10 and $20 gold coins when you had those handy paper “gold certificates”?
China to Close 240 Steel Mills, Fire More Than 1 Million Workers
By Paul Ausick March 16, 2016 1:45 pm EDT
The provincial governor of Hebei province said that by 2020 the government will shut down operations at 240 of the 400 steel mills that currently operate in the northern province that encircles Beijing. Hebei currently produces about a quarter of all the steel made in China.
The country’s slower economic growth rate has reduced demand for steel and caused prices to fall. At the end of February, we noted that global steel production had fallen by 7.1% year over year in January and that capacity utilization was just 66%. China, which produces about half the world’s supply of steel, saw output fall by 7.8% in January.
The closure of the Chinese mills over the next few years will put even more pressure on the iron ore and bulk shipping industries. Andrew Mackenzie, CEO of BHP Billiton PLC (NYSE: BHP), told a conference in Melbourne on Tuesday that the supply of cheap iron ore continues growing faster than demand. BHP is one of the world’s largest producers of iron ore, and Mackenzie said that of all the products his company produces, iron ore “has the greatest risk of price downside.” The answer for BHP and its competitors is lowering costs and hoping that demand will rise.
Suspicious Deaths of Bankers Are Now Classified as “Trade Secrets” by Federal Regulator
By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: April 28, 2014
It doesn’t get any more Orwellian than this: Wall Street mega banks crash the U.S. financial system in 2008. Hundreds of thousands of financial industry workers lose their jobs. Then, beginning late last year, a rash of suspicious deaths start to occur among current and former bank employees. Next we learn that four of the Wall Street mega banks likely hold over $680 billion face amount of life insurance on their workers, payable to the banks, not the families. We ask their Federal regulator for the details of this life insurance under a Freedom of Information Act request and we’re told the information constitutes “trade secrets.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the life expectancy of a 25 year old male with a Bachelor’s degree or higher as of 2006 was 81 years of age. But in the past five months, five highly educated JPMorgan male employees in their 30s and one former employee aged 28, have died under suspicious circumstances, including three of whom allegedly leaped off buildings – a statistical rarity even during the height of the financial crisis in 2008.
There is one other major obstacle to brushing away these deaths as random occurrences – they are not happening at JPMorgan’s closest peer bank – Citigroup. Both JPMorgan and Citigroup are global financial institutions with both commercial banking and investment banking operations. Their employee counts are similar – 260,000 employees for JPMorgan versus 251,000 for Citigroup.
Both JPMorgan and Citigroup also own massive amounts of bank-owned life insurance (BOLI), a controversial practice that pays the corporation when a current or former employee dies. (In the case of former employees, the banks conduct regular “death sweeps” of public records using former employees’ Social Security numbers to learn if a former employee has died and then submits a request for payment of the death benefit to the insurance company.)
Wall Street On Parade carefully researched public death announcements over the past 12 months which named the decedent as a current or former employee of Citigroup or its commercial banking unit, Citibank. We found no data suggesting Citigroup was experiencing the same rash of deaths of young men in their 30s as JPMorgan Chase. Nor did we discover any press reports of leaps from buildings among Citigroup’s workers.
Given the above set of facts, on March 21 of this year, we wrote to the regulator of national banks, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), seeking the following information under the Freedom of Information Act (See OCC Response to Wall Street On Parade’s Request for Banker Death Information):
We Have Just Witnessed The Last Gasp Of The Global Economy
Wednesday, 05 November 2014 07:00 Brandon Smith
It is difficult to find the motivation to write about the state of the global economy these days, if only because there is not much left to say. I feel like I am composing multiple obituaries for the same long dead corpse. Most of the Liberty Movement and I suspect a small portion of the mainstream market understand that there is no tangible or legitimate recovery, let alone a stable fiscal ladder to rest our feet upon. There is literally nothing left to the financial system but rigged statistics, false promises, and ever expanding debt. In fact, the concept of debt creation is the only thing holding our facade of an economy together.
You and I probably find this rather strange. We come from a long forgotten school of economics, in which demand, supply, and savings actually mean something in terms of our fiscal health. I have come across many mainstream economic acolytes and cultists in recent months who disregard ALL logic and reason, forsaking the realities of demand based trade and immersing themselves in a grand delusion in which central bank generated debt and inflation are the real source of “prosperity”. I feel sorry for them in a way, because the truth is right in front of their faces, and yet, they will never see it, not until they are buried alive in it.
Nothing makes this problem more apparent than the behavior of equities in the past month.
Stocks are, of course, a sham of the highest magnitude, but they do still say something about the greater truth behind our financial condition. The fact that many market traders clearly KNOW that it's all a farce, and are actually banking and betting on the scam, tells me exactly how close we are to the end of the line. The recent near 10% drop in the Dow at the beginning of Fall must have certainly been a shock for the day trading community as well as mainstream pundits. The assumption for the past few years has been that central bank stimulus guarantees a constantly growing bull market, and to experience a considerable decline in equities even while QE was still in action was at least a noticeable wake up call.
ALERT: Gerald Celente Issues Trend Forecast On Gold And The Fed
March 16, 2016
The top trends forecaster in the world just announced a trend alert for gold and the Fed! He also discusses the unprecedented moves by central banks.
March 16 (King World News) – Gerald Celente – Once upon a time, in a pre-smartphone and Facebook Age, workers of the world with a little extra cash did what the millennial generation would never dream of and probably never heard of. They’d deposit their money in savings accounts or buy certificates of deposit…
Will A Trump Presidency Really Change Anything For The Better?
Wednesday, 16 March 2016 02:32 Brandon Smith
I want to start this analysis by stating that I fully understand the whirlwind of public interest in Donald Trump’s campaign. However, for those that don’t get it, let me break it down for you.
A sizable portion of the American population considers themselves “conservative.” More than 38% of U.S. citizens,*according to Gallup, hold conservative political and social views. Only 24% of the public considers themselves “liberal.” Now, I realize that the term “conservative” means different things to different people, so I would apply a simple rule to categorize them — a conservative is easiest to identify by his or her distaste for normally liberal ideological views. Beyond that, different factions of conservatives disagree on a whole host of issues.
The goal of any conservative candidate that hopes to be publicly “popular,” whether he actually intends to follow through with his promises or not, is to appear to be all things to all factions; to avoid alienating one faction to appease another. After he is elected (or, after he is placed in the oval office by the powers that be), he may abandon any care for appeasing any of his constituents. Until then, he plays the game so that Americans can maintain faith in the system for at least one moment every four years.
Trump’s popularity is predicated on the fact that past Republican candidates have done little to make friends with true conservatives and have not sought alliances with the factions of conservatism that have been growing in momentum and power the past two decades. In fact, the Republican candidates presented to the citizenry in recent memory have ALL had characteristics more akin to liberal Democrats than conservative stalwarts. Mitt Romney, for instance, was essentially a carbon copy of Barack Obama in terms of political policy and voting record, with only slightly greasier complexion and equally mysterious religious background.
Election after election, conservative Americans have been offered one RINO (Republican In Name Only) candidate after another: politicians whose rhetoric sounds principled but whose record is littered with big government policies, constitutional violations, and a disregard for the intentions of the founding fathers. It is very difficult to call yourself a “conservative” in America unless you respect (or at least claim to respect) the tenets of limited government, constitutional law, and a regard for the heritage of our founding principles. U.S. conservatives have not had a candidate sharing their views for a long time.
Democrats may finally be experiencing a similar disenchantment with establishment candidates considering the surprising popularity of Bernie Sanders this election. The problem is, democrats are trapped in the big government mindset and are for the most part a lost cause. Their anti-establishment candidate is a self-categorized socialist, after all. The only hope for a constitutional small government candidate and a return to our founding principles in politics rests in the hands of Republicans, being that third parties are quashed before they get a chance to put their foot in the door.
So, you have most if not all Democratic candidates working for bigger more powerful government which leads to increased corruption and less liberty. You also have most Republicans working for bigger and more powerful government and less liberty. And you have few, if any, candidates that represent the majority of voters seeking limited constitutional government.
Those of us in the liberty movement call this the “false left/right paradigm". It is the most insidious form of social control present in our nation and it makes a mockery of the election process. That is to say, elections are now nothing more than a way for international financiers and elites to keep the masses in line by allowing them to believe (falsely) that they have a “choice” and thus power to determine the future of our country. In fact, our choice is contrived and we have no political power whatsoever. The rest of America is finally starting to become aware of the false paradigm that liberty proponents have been warning about for generations. Is it any wonder that people are becoming fed up with the system?
China’s Central Bank Chief Sounds Warning Over Rising Debt… $590 Billion Problem With Unpaid Bills… Now Asking Advice From The Federalreserve On How To Deal With Stock Market Meltdown
China’s*Central Bank*Chief Sounds Warning Over Rising Debt
Bloomberg*–*?Mar 20, 2016?
Leaders including the PBOC’s Zhou have stepped up efforts to cushion China’s economic slowdown, with the*central bankannouncing on Feb. 29 a 0.5 percentage point cut to the amount of deposits banks must hold as reserves. Excessive monetary policy*…
People’s Bank of China Governor Zhou Xiaochuan sounded a warning over rising debt levels, saying corporate lending as a ratio to gross domestic product had become too high and the country must develop more robust capital markets.
China still has a problem with illegal fundraising and financial services are insufficient, Zhou said in a speech at the China Development Forum in Beijing on Sunday. He said the country still needs regulation to guard against excessive leverage in foreign currencies.
“Lending as a share of GDP, especially corporate lending as a share of GDP, is too high,” Zhou said. He said a high leverage ratio is more prone to macroeconomic risk.
Chinese leaders are struggling to balance between the meeting a target of at least 6.5 percent average annual growth to 2020, while addressing growing debt levels. In a briefing on March 16, Premier Li Keqiang said a high corporate debt ratio*“is not new in China”*and China would seek to bring it down with capital-market reforms.
Corporate debt alone now stands at 160 percent of China’s GDP, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. The group’s secretary-general, Angel Gurria, said earlier in the day that sectors with especially high leverage include cement, steel, coal and flat glass, and China must address the issue. He called it a short-term risk.
China Has a $590*BillionProblem With Unpaid Bills
Bloomberg–22 hours ago
Record corporate*debt*levels have left many firms struggling to meet their liabilities, with corporate insolvencies jumping by 25 percent in 2015, according to*…
Not since 1999 have China’s companies had so much trouble getting customers to actually pay for what they’ve bought.
It now takes about 83 days for the typical Chinese firm to collect cash for completed sales, almost twice as long as emerging-market peers. As payment delays spread from the industrial sector to technology and consumer companies, accounts receivable at the nation’s public firms have swelled by 23 percent over the past two years to about $590 billion, exceeding the annual economic output of Taiwan.
The raft of unpaid bills — bigger than at any time since former Premier Zhu Rongji shuttered thousands of state-run companies at the turn of the century — shows how cash shortages at the weakest firms threaten not only banks and bondholders, but also China’s vast web of interconnected supply chains. With corporate bankruptcies projected to climb 20 percent this year, more Chinese businesses may be forced to choose between two unpleasant options: keep extending credit to potentially insolvent customers, or cut off the taps and watch sales sink.
“There is a knock-on effect through the economy,” said Fraser Howie, the Singapore-based co-author of “Red Capitalism: The Fragile Financial Foundation of China’s Extraordinary Rise,” who has followed the nation’s markets for more than two decades. “Part of the end game is default and closure.”
China asking advice from the Federal Reserve on how to deal with stock market meltdowns
Confronted with a plunge in its stock markets last year, China’s central bank swiftly reached out to the U.S. Federal Reserve, asking it to share its play book for dealing with Wall Street’s “Black Monday” crash of 1987.
The request came in a July 27 email from a People’s Bank of China official with a subject line: “Your urgent assistance is greatly appreciated!”
In a message to a senior Fed staffer, the PBOC’s New York-based chief representative for the Americas, Song Xiangyan, pointed to the day’s 8.5% drop in Chinese stocks and said “my Governor would like to draw from your good experience.”
It is not known whether the PBOC had contacted the Fed to deal with previous incidents of market turmoil. The Chinese central bank and the Fed had no comment when reached by Reuters.
Central banks are already doing the unthinkable - you just don't know it
*By Mehreen Khan*
19 MARCH 2016 • 7:00PM
The Lords of finance are losing there touch.
Institutions which dragged the world from its worst depression since the early 20th century are finally seeing their magic desert them, if conventional wisdom is to be believed.
Eight years on the from the Great Recession, voices as authoritative as the International Monetary Fund and the Bank of International Settlements - dubbed the 'central bank of central*banks' - have called time on the era of extraordinary monetary policy.
Having hoovered up $12.3 trillion (£8.5 trillion) in financial assets and carried out 637 interest rate cuts since 2008, central banks have been stunned back into action in the last six weeks.
The Bank of Japan kicked off a new round of global easing with its decision to cross the rubicon into negative interest rate territory on January 29.
Eurozone policymakers*followed suit earlier this month*with a triple whammy of interest rate cuts, €20bn in additional asset purchases a month, and an unprecedented move to allow commercial banks to borrow money at*negative rates.
The Federal Reserve has also taken its foot off the pedal by slashing its expected interest rate hikes*from four a year to just two.
But the new wave of policy accommodation *has ushered in fresh panic that monetary policy*is suddenly subject to dwindling returns.
Instead, talk has turned to*governments*finally pulling their weight to support the shaky global recovery. *
Fiscal policy has been largely dormant in the wake of the crisis as countries*have concentrated on bringing down debt and deficits levels, binding*themselves to stringent spending rules in the process.*
But without*tax breaks and greater state investment,*the world is at risk of*another*"economic derailment",*the IMF has warned.*
In its*latest*communique the G20*paid lip service to the idea that*global governments will adopt policies to*"strengthen growth,*job creation and confidence".
Realistically, there are*little signs that politicians *are*ready to jettison their fixations*on low debt and balanced budgets*to support global growth.
Helicopter Money: Global Central Banks Consider Distributing Money Directly To The People
*By Michael Snyder, on March 21st, 2016
Should central banks create money out of thin air and give it directly to governments and average citizens?* If you can believe it, this is now under serious consideration.* Since 2008, global central banks have cut interest rates 637 times, they have injected 12.3 trillion dollars into the global financial system through various quantitative easing programs, and we have seen an explosion of government debt unlike anything we have ever witnessed before.* But despite these unprecedented measures, the global economy is still deeply struggling.* This is particularly true in Japan,*in South America, and*in Europe.* In fact, there are*16 countries*in Europe that are experiencing deflation right now.* In a desperate attempt to spur economic activity, central banks in Europe and in Japan are playing around with negative interest rates, and so far they seem to only have had a limited effect.