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06.22.17-  The Way Congress Is Handling Health Care Shows Why They Only Have A 17 Percent Approval Rating

  • The Senate health care bill was unveiled on Thursday, and it appears to be dead on arrival.  At least four conservative senators say that they can’t vote for the current version because it doesn’t go far enough, while several moderate Republicans are expressing concerns that it goes too far in repealing popular Obamacare provisions.


  • Since Democrats are going to be united in voting against any bill that the Republicans put forward, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell can only lose two Republican votes if he wants something to pass.  I don’t know how that is going to be possible, and so in the end we may be stuck with Obamacare for the foreseeable future and that would be a total disaster.
  • It is astounding to me that Republicans don’t want to pass the exact same clean Obamacare repeal bill that they got to Obama’s desk in 2016.  If they got that same bill to Trump’s desk, he would sign it.  Instead of trying to do everything at once, just repeal Obamacare and then start working on various pieces of the health care system one at a time.
  • According to Real Clear Politics, Congress currently has an average approval rating of just 17.6 percent.  It is an institution that has failed the American people over and over again, and we are never going to move things in a positive direction in this country until we do something to clean up that cesspool of filth and corruption.
  • If we truly want to fix health care in this country, we need to rebuild the entire system from the ground up based on free market principles.  But of course the bill that was just unveiled in the Senate simply tries to patch up the system we already have, and that ultimately won’t work…

The bill is very similar to the version of the House bill that passed last month but with some key changes. The text released Thursday showed the Senate legislation would still make major changes to the nation’s health care system, repealing Obamacare’s individual mandate, drastically cutting back federal support of Medicaid, eliminating Obamacare’s taxes on the wealthy, insurers and others. The Senate plan however would keep Obamacare’s subsidies to help people pay for individual coverage.

  • One thing that is good about the Senate bill is that it would eliminate Medicaid reimbursements for Planned Parenthood for 12 months, but of course this is something that would need to be made permanent as soon as possible.
  • A more detailed list of major changes that the Senate bill makes was posted on Zero Hedge…
  • Gives subsidies illegal immigrants if they are working in the United States
  • Subsidies based on 350% Federal Poverty Level, not 400%.
  • Gets rid of business and consumer mandates with no penalty
  • Qualified plans don’t need to provide abortion coverage unless it’s to save the life of the mother
  • Each state gets 15-10 Billion for uninsurables
  • Cadillac tax is gone
  • OTC med tax is gone
  • HSA penalty tax is 10%
  • Prescription tax is gone
  • Medical device tax is gone
  • Business owners can deduct part d expense again
  • Deductible medical expenses are back to 7.5% instead of 10% AGI
  • Tanning tax is gone (ironic)
  • Net investment tax is gone
  • HSA deductibility will be adjusted every year for COLA
  • Both spouses can now make catch-up contributions to a family HSA
  • 60 day limitation to setting up an HSA account when first getting the plan for purposes of a current claim
  • No coverage for abortion clinics
  • Repeal of cost-sharing subsidy
  • MLR set by states
  • Grants for states battling opiod addiction (like mine)
  • CHIP is reauthorized
  • $5,000 app fee to create small business association health pool
  • Psychiatric coverage is limited to institutionalized individuals only, and for stays up to 30 days but not to exceed 90 days
  • The Senate draft health-care bill doesn’t currently include a provision penalizing people who don’t maintain continuous coverage
  • Overall, the Senate bill would be a bit of an improvement over Obamacare.
  • But a slight improvement over a major disaster is still a disaster.
  • Shortly after the bill was unveiled, four conservative senators announced that they cannot vote for the bill the way that it stands now…

However, four conservative Republican senators —Rand Paul of Kentucky, Ted Cruz of Texas, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and Mike Lee of Utah— said they “are not ready to vote for this bill” because it does not go far enough in repealing Obamacare. Separately, moderate GOP Sen. Dean Heller of Nevada said he has “serious concerns” about the bill’s impact on Medicaid patients.

“Currently, for a variety of reasons, we are not ready to vote for this bill, but we are open to negotiation and obtaining more information before it is brought to the floor,” Paul, Cruz, Johnson and Lee said in a joint statement. “There are provisions in this draft that represent an improvement to our current health care system, but it does not appear this draft as written will accomplish the most important promise that we made to Americans: to repeal Obamacare and lower their health care costs.”

  • On the other end of the spectrum, a couple of RINO (Republican in name only) senators are expected to object to the bill because it would reduce funding for Planned Parenthood…

The Senate bill would cut Medicaid funds from organizations that provide abortions for one year. It does not mention Planned Parenthood by name, but the legislation is clearly targeting the organization, which Republican leaders have promised to defund.

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, have both expressed concerns about any legislation that defunds Planned Parenthood. Murkowski said Thursday she was still reviewing the bill’s provisions.

  • President Trump says that the Senate bill is not a finished product and that it is open for negotiation.
  • But I don’t see how in the world anyone is going to be able to craft something that will be acceptable to at least 50 Republicans in the Senate.
  • Unfortunately, even if the Republicans pass a health care bill somehow it will not fix the giant mess that our system has become.
  • One step in the right direction would be to legalize the kind of national buying groups that Rand Paul has proposed…

Imagine if the tens of millions of people who belong to Credit Unions, or organizations like the NRA or ACLU, could negotiate as a group for health insurance and drug prices!  Imagine the insurance executives and drug companies coming on bended knee to negotiate for the business of tens of millions of people!

I have proposed legalizing nationwide Association Health Plans.  My Senate Bill 222 does just that.  I have advised the President to act through his Secretary of Labor to review existing law and make it explicitly known that national associations can negotiate as one to bring down insurance prices.

  • And I would also like to see an expansion of direct primary care and other models that bypass the health insurance companies entirely.
  • The health insurance companies collectively make a profit of 15 billion dollars a year, and they are a big part of what is wrong with our current system.
  • There is so much that needs to be done to fix things, and both parties are failing the American people.
  • So let’s hope that we can remove a lot of these incumbents in 2018, because we definitely need some fresh thinking in Washington.

Source: theeconomiccollapseblog.com

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06.22.17-  It Wasn’t Just The NSA: Germany Spied On The White House For Years

  • One of the profound revelations from the data released by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden was that in addition to spying on its own citizens, the NSA engaged in aggressive espionage on some of America’s closest allies, most notably Angela Merkel and her Blackberry. It now turns out that Germany had been returning the favor.


  • According to Germany’s Spiegel, Germany’s foreign intelligence service had long spied on numerous official and business targets in the United States, including the White House. The magazine said it had seen documents showing that the intelligence service, the BND, had a list of some 4,000 so-called selector keywords for surveillance between 1998 and 2006. These included telephone or fax numbers, as well as email addresses at the White House as well as the US finance and foreign ministries.
  • Other monitoring targets ranged from military institutions including the US Air Force or the Marine Corps, space agency NASA to civic group Human Rights Watch. Additionally, hundreds of foreign embassies as well as international organisation like the International Monetary Fund were not spared, Spiegel said.
  • Germany reacted with outrage when information leaked Snowden revealed in 2013 that US agents were carrying out widespread tapping worldwide, including of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s mobile phone. Ironically, Merkel, who grew up in communist East Germany where state spying on citizens was rampant, declared repeatedly that “spying among friends is not on” while acknowledging Germany’s reliance on the US in security matters.
  • But to the great embarrassment of Germany, it later emerged that the BND helped the NSA spy on European allies. Berlin last June approved new measures, including greater oversight, to rein in the BND following the scandal.
  • In other words, spying was, is and will remain business as usual in a world where information is commoditized, and espionage is more valuable than ever. Of course, with the US relationship with Europe in general, and Germany in particular in a very sensitive position, we doubt this report will get much airplay in the popular US press.

Source: zerohedge.com

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06.21.17-  What Is the Market Telling Us?

  • The entire global economy now depends on this stripped-of-information “market” for its stability.
  • Ho-hum, another day, another record high in the S&P 500 (SPX). What is this market telling us? If you’re long, the market is screaming “you’re a genius!”:
  • The entire global economy now depends on this stripped-of-information “market” for its stability. It’s difficult to see this as healthy or sustainable.But other than that, what else is the market telling us? Is it telling us anything about the real-world economy and the open market for equities based in that real-world economy?
  • Before we can answer “what is the market telling us?” we must first ask, “what can the market tell us?” That is, what is the current market capable of communicating?
  • This is the key question, for as we all know central banks have intervened in the market in an unprecedented fashion for over eight years. Central banks have transformed stock markets into signaling devices that are intended to boost the perception of increasing wealth, whether earnings and productivity are actually increasing or not.
  • The idea is to generate a “wealth effect” that encourages people to borrow and spend more as they feel their wealth is increasing. This “wealth effect” borrowing and spending will (so goes the assumption) overcome the stagnation of wages and spending, and spark a gloriously self-reinforcing consumer credit-spending binge.
  • This is considerably different from an open market of decentralized buyers and sellers, which reflects statistical data and sentiment regarding the real-world economy of sales, profits and productivity.
  • Traditionally speaking, the stock market is a discounting mechanism, that is, the market absorbs data about the present and projects that into the future. If growth appears to be slowing, the market discounts future earnings and stock valuations decline accordingly.
  • If growth appears to be picking up, the market increases its expectations of earnings and valuations expand accordingly.
  • But even though global growth is visibly slowing, stock markets keep going up.
  • What gives?
  • There are several dynamics in play. One is that human players now account for no more than about 10% of market activity; the rest is robots and ETF (exchange traded funds) buying and selling.
  • Another is that central banks have been major buyers of ETFs and stocks, and this is unprecedented. The Swiss Central Bank is now a major shareholder of Apple and Amazon, and the Bank of Japan owns a significant chunk of Japanese ETFs.
  • Central banks once bought assets such as bonds and futures as a temporary plunge protection team tactic to stop a downturn from accelerating into a rout or crash. Now they are buying trillions of dollars in bonds and stocks during so-called “good times” to keep the market lofting higher even as growth slows.
  • This permanent intervention via buying stocks has distorted what the market can tell us. Rather than communicate a sense of how the real economy is doing, the market now reflects the will of central banks to keep the market lofting ever higher on the back of central bank purchases and liquidity.
  • This has created a disconnect between the market and the real economy, a gulf that widens daily. Can it continue? Yes, as long as central banks keep buying stocks and increasing liquidity.
  • But there is a cost to this manipulation: there is little information left in the market other than the enthusiasm of central banks to push valuations higher and suppress volatility.
  • This lack of reality-based information and the homogenizing of sentiment leaves traders and owners alike with a false sense of confidence, and sets up a Titanic Mindset: hey, we can maintain full speed through this dangerous ice field in a flat-calm sea because this ship is unsinkable: the “experts” told me so. What can a crummy little iceberg do to an unsinkable ship other than inconvenience the passengers? That’s a risk we’ll take.
 Source: charleshughsmith.blogspot.com

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06.21.17-   Caught On Video: Russian, NATO Jets In Near Standoff After F-16 Buzzes Defense Minister’s Airplane

  • A day after a Russian fighter allegedly flew within 5 feet of a US reconnaissance plane traveling over the Baltic Sea, Reuters reports that a NATO F-16 fighter jet returned the favor when it tried to improperly approach a plane carrying the Russian defense minister. The plane was traveling to the city of Kaliningrad, a Russian enclave along the Baltic coast, where Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu was scheduled to discuss security issues with defense officials on Wednesday. The NATO aircraft was warded off by a Russian Su-27 jet, according to RT.
  • In an accounting of the incident, Reuters notes that one of the Russian fighter jets escorting Shoigu’s plane had inserted itself between the defense minister’s plane and the NATO fighter and “tilted its wings from side to side to show the weapons it was carrying, Russian agencies said.” After that the F-16 promptly left the area.
  • A clip of the encounter was caught on tape by Russian journalists:
  • Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that he has no information about the incident.
 “It’s probably better to ask the Defense Ministry,” Peskov said in answer to journalists’ questions.
  • The latest provocative maneuver represents yet another escalation of tensions between the US and Russia. On Monday, Russia suspended cooperation with the US in Syria under the “memorandum of incident prevention in Syrian skies”, warning that its missile defense would intercept any aircraft traveling in Russia’s area of operation after a US fighter jet shot down a Syrian regime aircraft on Sunday.
  • Russia slammed the US for shooting down the jet, calling the attack an “act of aggression” and claiming that the move benefited terrorists in the area. The Syrian regime says its jet was pursuing a fleeing ISIS convoy around the time it was shot down.  US officials claimed they tried to contact its Russia counterparts via an established “de-confliction line,” though Russia has denied this, saying that if the US had reached out, the incident could’ve been avoided.
  • A US jet also downed a pro-regime drone on Monday in what Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy described as a “dangerous escalation” of tensions between the US and pro-Syrian regime powers like Iran and Russia.   “I think we’re getting closer and closer to open conflict between Iran and Russia and the American public need to know that we are moving very fast towards what could be another war in the Middle East – something Donald Trump promised he wouldn’t do when he ran for office.”
  • As RT notes, encounters between US and Russian warplanes over the Baltic are becoming more frequent. A Russian fighter jet intercepted a small group of US warplanes, including Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker military refueling aircraft, two B-1 bombers and one B-52, during a BALTOPS (Baltic Operations) annual training exercise on June 10.

Source: zerohedge.com

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06.20.17- ‘When I say cut taxes, I don’t mean fiddle with the code. I mean abolish the income tax and the IRS, and replace them with nothing’

  • The quote in the headline comes from Ron Paul, and it should be the goal of every conservative lawmaker in the entire country.  When professional politicians tell you that they are in favor of reforming the tax code or reducing taxes a little bit, essentially what they are telling you is that they are perfectly fine with the status quo.  They may want to tweak things slightly, but in general they are content with big taxes, big spending and big government.
  • I spent an entire year getting a Master of Laws in Taxation at the University of Florida Law School, and in my opinion the best thing that Congress could do to the tax code would be to run it through a shredder and put it in a dumpster.  As I noted the other day, the tax code is now more than four million words long and it takes Americans about six billion dollars a year to comply with it.  Those that believe that they are offering the American people a “solution” by proposing to tinker with this abominable mess are just fooling themselves.
  • The only long-term solution that is going to work is to get rid of the entire steaming pile of garbage.  Ron Paul understood this, and we would be very wise to take his advice.  The following is the full version of the quote from the headline above…

“By the way, when I say cut taxes, I don’t mean fiddle with the code. I mean abolish the income tax and the IRS, and replace them with nothing.”

  • If I run for Congress, and I am very strongly leaning in that direction, this is what my position on taxes is going to be.
  • Of course we are going to have to dramatically change the composition of the House and the Senate in order to get this done, so in the short-term we may have to focus on reducing tax rates and the size of the tax code by as much as possible.
  • But ultimately, the goal will be to abolish the tax code and the IRS altogether.
  • We have become so accustomed to an income tax that many of us couldn’t possibly imagine a society without one.  But today there are seven states that do not have one, and that includes very big states such as Texas and Florida.  And from 1872 to 1913, there was no federal income tax.  When a federal income tax was finally reinstituted in 1913, the rates were extremely low.  The following comes from Politifact…

The 1913 law imposed a tax of 1 percent on income up to $20,000, for both individual and joint filers. However, exemptions from the tax — the first $3,000 of income for individuals and the first $4,000 for joint filers — meant “virtually all middle-class Americans” were excused from paying, according to W. Elliot Brownlee’s book, Federal Taxation in America. The law also put in place a graduated surtax on incomes above $20,000; the highest rate paid, 7 percent, applied to Americans making more than $500,000 (about $11.4 million in 2011 dollars).

  • So how did things go for our country during the four decades when there was no federal income tax?
  • Well, if you regularly follow my work you already know the answer to that question.
  • That period of time just happened to be the best period of economic growth in U.S. history.
  • Oh, but we wouldn’t want to change from the way things work today, would we?  After all, the U.S. economy has grown at a blistering average yearly rate of just 1.33 percent over the past decade, and we are actually behind that pace so far in 2017.
  • If you want a no growth economy and a steadily shrinking middle class, then our current system is perfect for you.
  • But I believe that we can do so much better.
  • So how are we going to fund the federal government if we eliminate the income tax?
  • Well, the truth is that taxing individual incomes accounts for only 46.2 percent of all federal revenue.  The federal government has lots of other ways that it raises money, but of course we wouldn’t be able to keep the massively bloated federal bureaucracy that we have today.  We would need to reduce the size and scope of the federal government to an appropriate constitutional level, and of course most politicians on the left would resist this greatly.
  • There are some federal agencies and programs that we could completely eliminate altogether.  If it was up to me, the EPA, the Department of Education and the BATFE would be good places to start.  Any essential functions that they are currently performing could easily be absorbed by other agencies.
  • There are very few politicians in our entire country that will still talk like this, because our leaders have taken us so far down the road toward “a social state” that most Americans don’t even know what “limited government” looks like anymore.
  • I would like to share with you an old newspaper clipping that was posted to Facebook by Get Involved, You Live Here…

  • Over the past several decades, the left has made a tremendous amount of progress toward achieving the goals that Saul Alinsky originally outlined in Rules for Radicals.  Obamacare was a giant step toward federal control over our healthcare system, poverty is exploding as the middle class shrinks, we are nearly 20 trillion dollars in debt, our public schools have become left-wing indoctrination centers, and God has been pushed out of almost every corner of public life.
  • We should be very thankful that we got Donald Trump instead of Hillary Clinton, but many radical leftists consider Trump to simply be a bump in the road on the way to completely eradicating our way of life.
  • They want to criminalize what we believe by making it “hate speech”, they want to steal the minds of the next generation by dominating our system of education, and they want to use government institutions and the legal system as tools to completely reshape society in their image.
  • The only way that we are going to defeat this tyranny is if we stand up and fight for our country, and that is precisely what we are going to do.

Source: theeconomiccollapseblog.com

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06.20.17-  FOIA Request On Susan Rice’s Unmaskings Rejected Because “Records Were Moved To Obama Library”

  • Back in April, Judicial Watch filed a FOIA request for documents related to the unmasking of “the identities of any U.S. citizens associated with the Trump presidential campaign or transition team” by Obama’s National Security Advisor Susan Rice.  Unfortunately, and quite conveniently for members of the Obama administration, Judicial Watch has been informed by the National Security Council that records related to their request can not be shared because they ” have been transferred to the Barack Obama Presidential Library” and will “remain closed to the public for five years.” 
  • Here is the full letter received from the National Secruity Council:
 “Documents from the Obama administration have been transferred to the Barack Obama Presidential Library.  You may send your request to the Obama Library.  However, you should be aware that under the Presidential Records Act, Presidential records remain closed to the public for five years after an administration has left office.”

  • Here was Judicial Watch’s full request:
1.) Any and all requests for information, analyses, summaries, assessments, transcripts, or similar records submitted to any Intelligence Community member agency or any official, employee, or representative thereof by former National Security Advisor Susan Rice regarding, concerning, or related to the following:

Any actual or suspected effort by the Russian government or any individual acting on behalf of the Russian government to influence or otherwise interfere with the 2016 presidential election.

The alleged hacking of computer systems utilized by the Democratic National Committee and/or the Clinton presidential campaign.

Any actual or suspected communication between any member of the Trump presidential campaign or transition team and any official or employee of the Russian government or any individual acting on behalf of the Russian government.

The identities of U.S. citizens associated with the Trump presidential campaign or transition team who were identified pursuant to intelligence collection activities.

2.) Any and all records or responses received by former National Security Advisor Susan Rice and/or any member, employee, staff member, or representative of the National Security Council in response to any request described in part 1 of this request.

3.) Any and all records of communication between any official, employee, or representative of the Department of any Intelligence Community member agency and former National Security Advisor Susan Rice and/or any member, employee, staff member, or representative of the National Security Council regarding, concerning, or related to any request described in Part 1 of this request.

  • Luckily, even if the media and Democrats are unsuccessful at getting Trump impeached in the near future, 5 years is still enough time to make sure that his reputation is sufficiently tarnished that he gets booted from office in 2020.  Even better, as The Hill points out today, Joe Biden appears to be getting groomed to take yet another shot at the White House in 2020 which means we may never actually get a shot at understanding exactly what happened in the months leading up to the 2016 election.

Source: zerohedge.com

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06.19.17- We’re in a Boiling-Point Crisis of Exploitive Elites

  • The “fixes” to the stagnation of postwar Capitalism in the 1970s were financialization, globalism, and the sustained expansion of debt–all have run out of steam.
  • Many of us have written about cycles in the past decade: Kondratieff economic cycles, business/credit cycles, the Strauss–Howe generational theory (an existential national crisis arises every four generations, as described in their book The Fourth Turning), and long-wave cycles of growth and decline, as described in seminal books such as The Great Wave: Price Revolutions and the Rhythm of History and War and Peace and War: The Rise and Fall of Empires.
    1. The exploitation of commoners by financial/political Elites reaches extremes that create systemic instability as commoners no longer have the means to improve their conditions.There is another Rhythm of American History that few recognize: the economic, social and political crises sparked by exploitive Elites. There are two dynamics that drive these crises:
  • 2. The economic mode of production that generated Elite wealth no longer functions, but the Elites cling to the failing system and enforce it with increasingly violent suppression of dissent.
  • Here are the previous Crises of Exploitive Elites:
  • 1. Slavery, 1850 to 1865. Though the toxins generated by slavery are still with us, the existential political, social and economic crisis arose in the years between 1850 and the end of the Civil War in 1865.
  • In broad brush, the rise of the American West triggered a political crisis in the U.S. as the southern states realized the non-slave West’s rising political power would doom the fragile balance between the non-slave Northern industrial-economy states and the cotton/agricultural slave-economy South.
  • It was a trend the South couldn’t possibly win, but the South’s exploitive Elites refused to concede any of their power–and that refusal to adapt tp changing conditions guaranteed the Civil War.
  • The first Industrial Revolution radically transformed the source of wealth creation. The plantation agrarian mode of production of the South was eclipsed by the vast wealth-generating might of the rapidly industrializing North.
  • The Southern political and economic Elites could not win economically or politically, so they attempted a military solution–a war they might have won had it not been for the Westerners Lincoln, Grant and Sherman. (Lincoln was born and raised in the frontiers of Kentucky, Indiana and Illinois; both Grant and Sherman were born in Ohio and served in Army postings along the West Coast.)
  • The moral tide was rising against slavery. The Christian world had long been divided on the issue of slavery, but the tide turned against slavery in the early-to-mid-1800s, both in Great Britain an the U.S. Moral turnings are powerful instigators of political crises, and once again the Southern Elites attempted to stem this tide with military force.
  • 2. The Crisis of Gilded-Age Exploitation, 1892 to 1914. The dates of this crisis are inexact and open to interpretation, but in broad brush, the Second Industrial Revolution (mass production, integrated industrial corporations, the rising dominance of Finance and Industrial Capital, emergence of monopolies and cartels, etc.) forced millions of commoners into the penury of wage-labor while concentrating the gains of capital and speculation into the hands of the few.
  • Adjusted for inflation, the wealth of the financier-industrialists in this era exceeds the wealth of today’s billionaires, and is on par with the extremes of wealth concentration that characterize the last stages of the Roman Empire.
  • Commoners attempting to unionize were brutally suppressed by hired private enforcers and the police/military forces of the American government. Radical unions such as the I.W.W. (Industrial Workers of the World, a.k.a. Wobblies) were destroyed by coordinated, concerted government suppression, much of it by means that are visibly illegal by today’s standards.
  • The conflict between exploited industrial labor and politically dominant Capital was eventually resolved by progressive anti-trust laws (aided by President Theodore Roosevelt) and the beginnings of social rights and welfare programs–universal education, limits on hours worked per week, etc.
  • 3. The Great Depression and the Failure of Debt-Based Capitalism, 1929 to 1941. Capital was increasingly concentrated in the hands of the Elites in the Roaring 20s, but the commoners had new access to the financial magic of credit: banks sprouted by the thousands, anxious to loan money to fund the purchase of more farmland, new autos, and all the other output of a consumerist economy.
  • But alas, credit is not collateral, nor is it wealth. When the debt bubble burst, so did the stock market, which was based on highly leveraged margin debt.
  • The Elite financiers resisted writing down the debt that had made them so rich, and as a result the Depression dragged on, immiserating millions who then turned to fascism or radical socialism as the political fixes to the systemic exploitation and dominance of Elites.
  • 4. Civil Rights and Global Empire, 1954 to 1973. The legacy of slavery’s oppression had lingered on for almost 100 years, and the rising prosperity of the 1950s and 60s generated a social, moral, political and economic movement to throw off the most oppressive aspects of an exploitive social/political order.
  • At the same time, the costs of maintaining a Global Empire were raised to a boiling point by the war in Vietnam, which destabilized the moral, political, social and economic orders.
  • In response the Elites instigated waves of violent, suppressive state tactics designed to disrupt and destroy the organized dissent of social movements. These tactics included the FBI’s COINTELPRO programs as well as other blatantly illegal, heavy-handed government enforcement of the dominance of exploitive Elites.
  • I’ve written extensively about state over-reach and illegal suppression of dissent: remember, the state exists to enforce the dominance of Elites: everything else is propaganda, misdirection and obfuscation.
  • Welcome to the United States of Orwell, Part 3: We had to Destroy Democracy in Order to Save It (March 28, 2012)
  • State Over-Reach: Stripmining the Citizenry for Fun and Profit (November 13, 2009)
  • When It Becomes Serious, First They Lie–When That Fails, They Arrest You (March 16, 2015)
  • For more on COINTELPRO, please read War at Home: Covert action against U.S. activists and what we can do about it.
  • Simply put: when lies no longer work, the government devotes its resources not to eliminating wars of choice, cronyism and corruption but to suppressing dissent and resistance to those extractive, exploitive policies.
  • Which brings us to the present-day Crisis of Exploitive Elites. The “fixes” to the stagnation of postwar Elite/state-dominated Capitalism in the 1970s were financialization, globalism, and the sustained expansion of debt in all sectors–state, corporate and household.
  • Now all three engines of “growth” have run out of steam. All three greatly exacerbated wealth and income inequality, as these two charts reveal:
  • Once again, the political and economic Elites are resisting the tides that are undermining their Empires of Debt and Exploitation. The Elite-controlled Corporate Media has been ordered to War Status, an DefCon-5 emergency requiring an endless spew of all-out propaganda designed to distract, disrupt and destroy organized dissent and any resistance to the dominance of Exploitive political and financial Elites.
  • The Exploitive Elites cannot turn back the clock, so they cling to their failed “fixes” and demand our compliance.
  • The Exploitive Elites cannot turn back the tides of history, but they can immiserate millions. That seems to be “solution” enough for them, but you cannot destroy rising moral revulsion to soaring inequality and the abject failure of debt-based global capitalism with mere media propaganda.
Source:  charleshughsmith.blogspot.com

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06.19.17-  Russia Halts Cooperation With US In Syria, Will “Intercept Any Aircraft” In Russian Areas Of Operation

  • Shortly after Russia’s deputy foreign minister slammed the US downing of a Syrian Su-22 jet as an “act of aggression” and “support for terrorists”, Russia announced that starting June 19 it was halting all interactions with the US under the framework on the “memorandum of incident prevention in Syrian skies”, the Russian Defense Ministry said on Monday, thereby assuring the probability of even more deadly escalations between Russia and the US-led coalition.
  • In retaliation, the ministry warned that Russian missile defense will intercept any aircraft in the area of operations of the Russian Aerospace Forces in Syria,
  • “In areas where Russian aviation is conducting combat missions in the Syrian skies, any flying ojects, including jets and unmanned aerial vehicles of the international coalition discovered west of the Euphrates River will be followed by Russian air and ground defenses as air targets,” the Russian Defense Ministry announced, quoted by Sputnik.
  • Contrary to the earlier statement by the US according to which, it “contacted its Russian counterparts by telephone via an established “de-confliction line” to de-escalate the situation and stop the firing”, Russia claims the US-led coalition command didn’t use the deconfliction channel with Russia to avoid an incident during an operation in Raqqa:
 “Russian Aerospace Forces’ jets were conducting operations in Syrian airspace that time. However, the command of the coalition forces didn’t use the existing channel between the air command of the Qatari airbase al Udeid and the [Russian] Hmeymim airbase to avoid incidents over Syria.”
  • The Russian ministry also “demands a thorough investigation by the US command with the provision of its results and measures taken.”
 “We consider such actions of the US command as an intentional violation of its obligations in the framework of the memo on avoiding incidents and the safety of aviation flights during operations in Syria signed on October 20, 2015.”
  • A bilateral memorandum of understanding was signed between the United States and Russia signed in October 2015 to ensure the safety of flights during combat missions over Syria.
  • On June 18, the Syrian army said that the US-led coalition had brought down its aircraft in southern Raqqa countryside when it was fulfilling its mission against Daesh. Later, the coalition confirmed the attack saying that it shot down the Syrian government forces’ Su-22 aircraft as it had allegedly been bombing in an area where US-backed rebel forces, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), were stationed, south of Tabqa in the Raqqa province. The US-led coalition called its attack on the Syrian army’s jet “collective self-defense,” adding that it contacted the Russian military to de-escalate the situation after the incident.

Source: zerohedge.com

Economic Collapse, Dollar Collapse,Gold,Silver,Prepping,Preppers

06.18.17-  David Stockman Blasts The “Derangement & Danger On The Potomac

  • The horrific shooting spree on the practice field of the GOP’s congressional baseball team was hardly the end of this week’s madness on the Potomac.
  • As it happened, the former was apparently another random eruption by of one of America’s sicko lone wolves — a wretch in the same league as South Carolina church killer, Dylann Roof. Notwithstanding that the latter had littered the nether regions of the internet with racist rantings while the former was apparently a prolific Never Trumper left-winger, neither represented a real threat to the nation’s equanimity — even if they did bring a savage rain of violence to bear on those unfortunate dozens caught in their immediate line of fire.
  • Not so for the 325 million American citizens who were pounded upon during the balance of the day by the allegedly “sane” Imperial City officialdom which rules the roost in America.
  • Specifically, we have in mind Janet Yellen’s hideous presser in which she declared “mission accomplished” and that the US economy is blessed with “solid fundamentals” that are getting ever stronger. And in the same vein of unreality, there soon came the Senate’s 97-2 vote to smack the Donald in his ample jaws and impose even more sanctions on Russia, thereby bringing the nation another step closer to the brink of war and bankruptcy.
  • Let us unpack this. The American people are being brought to ruin by three institutions that are mortal threats to liberty and prosperity. To wit, the Federal Reserve, the military/industrial/surveillance complex and a sinecured Congress that is burying unborn generations in debt — even as it sanctimoniously presumes that it is doing god’s work by servicing the beltway racketeers who keep it perpetually in office.
  • On the latter score, it is worth reminding once again. An incumbent House member standing for reelection has a smaller chance of losing his seat than did a Politburo member during the heyday of the post-war Soviet Union.
  • So it is no wonder that the Congress is filled by Warfare State lifers like Senator John McCain. This senile old fool appears to believe that he is some kind of latter day proconsul of the American Empire — who struts around Washington spreading bellicose lies and flagrant exaggerations about Washington’s self-created enemies.
  • So doing, McCain helps to keep the Imperial City enthrall to the defense contractors and military and intelligence bureaucracies that he champions out of sheer will to power and ornery bloodlust.
  • Not surprisingly, therefore, McCain was one of the principal authors and movers behind this week’s latest spasm of anti-Russia hysteria. The bill would impose new sanctions against Russia “in response to the violation of the territorial integrity of the Ukraine and Crimea, its brazen cyber-attacks and interference in elections, and its continuing aggression in Syria,” according to the deal’s sponsors.
  • Everyone of these assertions are blatant lies, of course. Russia is in Syria at the behest of its constitutionally established government; it is the CIA and its stooges among the Persian Gulf states which provides arms and billions to the head-chopping jihadist radicals, who are the real aggressors in what is now a desolate land of ruin and refugees.
  • Likewise, it was Washington’s aggression — via funding and political support — in February 2014 that led to a coup on the streets of Kiev and the overthrow of its honestly elected President. The latter made the “mistake” of spurning NATO and the EU in favor of a more palatable economic deal with Moscow — its historic suzerain.
  • Moreover, it was the virulent anti-Russian neo-Nazi putsch — handpicked by the US Ambassador to Ukraine — that led to insurrection against the Kiev regime in the historically Russian-speaking Donbas and Crimea regions; and then to the 90 percent referendum vote of the latter to rejoin Russia, which it had been an integral part of for more than 160 years after 1783.
  • As for Russian “interference” in the 2016 elections in America — the very idea of it is ludicrous. The overwhelming source of “influence” in the American election process is the respective political parties, the legions of self-interested lobbies and PACs and the mainstream media and cable channels, which are overwhelmingly and irrationally anti-Putin.
  • So where did this nefarious “influencing” come from? The RT television network?
  • Puleese! Your editor can attest to having appeared on that network several times and to have attacked with some vigor the three rotten American institutions mentioned above—the Fed, the military/industrial/surveillance complex and the Congress.
  • But never once did we get any instructions from the Russians on the formulation of our broadsides. We thunk ’em up all on our own!
  • More importantly, we never heard from a single American viewer, either. Perhaps that’s because RT apparently has fewer than a million viewers per day in the US.
  • So all the brouhaha is apparently about two-bit cyber-hacking that may or may not be the work of Russian State actors.
  • But so what? There exists a massive $200 billion per year internet security business in the world because by its very nature the worldwide web begets legions of hackers, thieves and malicious trolls.
  • These hacking operations are overwhelmingly conducted privately for profit and malice, but there is one giant state actor that does operate for the purpose of political influence and meddling in the affairs of nearly every nation on earth.
  • We are talking about the massive multi-billion hacking operation at National Security Agency (NSA) called Tailored Access Operations (TAO). The latter spends billions not only trolling every agency and bureau of the Russian Government — and the French government and Canadian government, too, among others — but also engages in worldwide cyber-false flag operations designed to lay down the “footprint” of Russian and others foreign agencies on top of Washington’s own skullduggery.
  • And that’s just NSA. The CIA has a counterpart operation in the same kind of worldwide hacking business, and these may only be the tip of the iceberg. After all, the total acknowledged budget of the 17-agency “Intelligence Community” (IC) is upwards of $75 billion or nearly 50 percent more than Russia’s entire military budget including aircraft fuel, soldiers pay and spare boots.
  • Needless to say, the self-appointed imperial proconsuls’ like McCain never stop to ask whether or not Washington’s massive cyber warfare operations might be expected to generate counter-actions from those targeted as Washington’s enemies or, more importantly, something even more insidious.
  • That is, McCain and in his Capitol Hill war party do not even know for sure whether “fancy bear” and the other code-named Russian state malefactors constantly bandied about in the mainstream media are really anything more than a couple of fat guys siting at desks at NSA headquarters in Ft. Meade propagating false-flag cyber-attacks.
  • In any event, Senator McCain, was delighted with this week’s handiwork. The amendment allows “broad new sanctions on key sectors of Russia?s economy, including mining, metals, shipping and railways” and authorizes “robust assistance to strengthen democratic institutions and counter disinformation across Central and Eastern European countries that are vulnerable to Russian aggression and interference.”
  • Likewise, these new sanctions would be imposed on “corrupt Russian actors” and those “involved in serious human rights abuses”. They would also target those who supply weapons to the Syrian government or who work with the Russian defense industry, as well as “those conducting malicious cyber activity on behalf of the Russian government” and “those involved in corrupt privatization of state-owned assets.”
  • In short, Wednesday afternoon the US Senate just plain went nuts attacking a largely non-existent threat emanating from a pipsqueak nation that has a GDP equal to only seven percent of that of the US and no capacity whatsoever — other than one smoke-belching 40-year old aircraft carrier and a fleet rowboats — to attack the shores of New Jersey or any other place in the USA.
  • But those realities did not stop McCain from gassing effusively about his own dangerous handiwork:
 ‘We must take our own side in this fight. Not as Republicans, not as Democrats, but as Americans,’ said Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) before the vote. ‘It?s time to respond to Russia?s attack on American democracy with strength, with resolve, with common purpose, and with action.’
  • The truth is, Russia has no more attacked American democracy than did the North Vietnamese at the Bay of Tonkin or the Spaniards on the Battleship Maine in 1898.
  • More importantly, no one else in the world thinks Russia is a serious threat — except the bureaucrats of NATO who make a living concocting such threats; and some itinerate nationalist politicians in Eastern Europe who are never loathe to play the Russian card in their quest for power and attention.
  • Even the Donald’s own Secretary of State had this to say earlier in the week during his congressional testimony:
 ‘I have yet to have a bilateral, one-on-one, a poolside conversation with a single counterpart in any country: in Europe, Middle East, even South-East Asia, that has not said to me: please, address your relationship with Russia, it has to be improved,’ Tillerson said on Tuesday, testifying before the Senate appropriations subcommittee about the proposed State Department budget.
  • Folks, the point is quite simple. Unless Washington’s bloated and wasteful $700 billion national security budget is pared back drastically, there is not a snowball’s chance in the hot place of re-establishing fiscal discipline. As long the GOP hawks and pro-war Dems are pumping massive funding into the Deep End of the Swamp, the will be no cuts in domestic appropriations and no entitlement reforms, either.
  • Indeed, ever since Ronald Reagan’s mild assault on the Welfare State was decisively turned back on Capitol Hill in the spring of 1981, the “guns and butter coalition” has ruled the roost. And that insidious coalition has taken the national debt from $1 trillion to $20 trillion along the way — even has it has locked in an automatic growth to $30 trillion or 140 percent of GDP by 2027.
  • That is also why the Deep State and Washington’s bipartisan War Party will not desist until they have removed the Donald from office. And that’s for the unspeakable sin of suggesting that rapprochement with the Russians and Putin makes more sense than the path to war and fiscal bankruptcy that is underway today.
  • Self-evidently, hell hath no fury like the prospect for world peace and the dismantlement of Imperial Washington’s destructive global empire. A tiny step in that direction was all that General Mike Flynn undertook during his infamous calls with the Russian Ambassador in late December — a welcome initiative for which he was unceremoniously fired and is now under unrelenting persecution.
  • But it gets worse. Based on new leaks to the Washington Post it is now clear that the Deep State has used the Flynn Affair and the Donald’s naïve request to former FBI director Comey to “go easy” on Flynn as a pretext for obstruction of justice charges against the President himself:
 The special counsel overseeing the investigation into Russia?s role in the 2016 election is interviewing senior intelligence officials as part of a widening probe that now includes an examination of whether President Trump attempted to obstruct justice, officials said.

The move by Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III to investigate Trump?s own conduct marks a major turning point in the nearly year-old FBI investigation, which until recently focused on Russian meddling during the presidential campaign and on whether there was any coordination between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin. Investigators have also been looking for any evidence of possible financial crimes among Trump associates, officials said.

  • In this context, it is truly amazing that the “markets” have not yet woken from their stupor. The drive to unseat the Donald will leave the Imperial City in ungoverned chaos during the interim — meaning an unending crisis over debt ceilings, continuing resolutions and government shutdowns.
  • Still, perhaps by the looks of today’s sea of red, the whopper told by Yellen during her presser yesterday may finally be sinking in.
  • Our clueless Keynesian school marm not only falsely claimed “mission accomplished” and that the US economy is heading for the promised land of permanent full employment and unprecedented prosperity. She also claimed that the Fed would soon begin normalizing its balance sheet to the tune of $50 billion per month of bond holdings runoff (i.e. effectively bond sales) — ultimately shrinking its holdings by more than $2 trillion — and that there would be nary a negative ripple effect thereupon.
  • As we will soon document further, the first part of Yellen’s proclamation is a risible lie. There has been zero net gain in industrial production since September 2007; no net gain in breadwinners jobs since January 2001; and zero gains in real median family incomes since 1989. And that’s permanent full employment prosperity?
  • But the real whopper was her assurance that the Fed’s balance sheet normalization would be of no more moment than “watching paint dry” on a wall.
  • Say what?
  • Surely, Yellen does not mean that the law of supply and demand in the bond market has been repealed — such that $2 trillion of extra supply will not have any impact whatsoever on the price and yield of government debt securities. After all, if that is true when the Fed is selling bonds, why would it not have been true when it was buying them hand-over-fist?
  • Indeed, by the Fed’s own lights its $3.5 trillion balance sheet expansion after the financial crisis caused bond yields to decline by more than 100 basis points — and we think that sharply understates the matter because it does not account for the “front-runners” effect.
  • That is, the hundreds of billions of bond purchased by carry trade gamblers, who were given free overnight funding to the tune of 97 percent of their investment, in order to by the very same bonds — down to the exact CUSIP numbers — that the Fed had announced it would be buying.
  • Stated differently, what was the point of QE if it was not to falsify and suppress bond yields in order to goose economic activity — even if that “stimulus”, as it happened, never really left the canyons of Wall Street?
  • By the same token, why in the world would Yellen expect that the front-runners who fueled the bond bubble during QE will not find is profitable to short-sell what the Fed will be selling once its balance sheet shrinking campaign gets started?
  • Needless to say, the 100-300 basis points rise in the 10-year bond year bond yield that would result from the combination of Fed selling and speculators piling on would cause the entire global bond bubble to implode, and all the economic rot that is built upon it to shatter.
  • How long, for example, would the $2.6 trillion market in junk loans and bonds last under that regime. Given that the Fed’s own action fueled a manic stampede toward yield, the havoc implicit in the chart below is nearly unfathomable.
  • The fact, is when there are no new breadwinner jobs, there is no gain in living standards or real prosperity. Indeed, Janet Yellen is lost in a Keynesian puzzle palace — and that is extremely bad news for the casino punters who still refuse to acknowledge the obvious.

Economic Collapse, Dollar Collapse,Gold,Silver,Prepping,Preppers

06.17.17-  Fear of Contagion Feeds the Italian Banking Crisis

  • At first, deny, deny, deny. Then taxpayers get to bail out bondholders.
  • Spain’s Banco Popular had the dubious honor of being the first financial institution to be resolved under the EU’s Bank Recovery and Resolution Directive, passed in January 2016. As a result, shareholders and subordinate bondholders were “bailed in” before the bank was sold to Santander for the princely sum of one euro.
  • At first the operation was proclaimed a roaring success. As European banking crises go, this was an orderly one, reported The Economist. Taxpayers were not left on the hook, as long as you ignore the €5 billion of deferred tax credits Santander obtained from the operation. Depositors and senior bondholders were spared any of the fallout.
  • But it may not last for long, for the chances of a similar approach being adopted to Italy’s banking crisis appear to be razor slim. The ECB has already awarded Italy’s Monte dei Paschi di Siena (MPS) a last-minute reprieve, on the grounds that while it did not pass certain parts of the ECB’s last stress test, the bank is perfectly solvent, albeit with serious liquidity problems.
  • By contrast, Popular was also liquidity challenged but, unlike MPS, it passed all parts of the ECB’s 2016 stress test, which shows you how ineffectual these tests are — and how subjective the resolution process of a European bank can be.
  • In a speech to the Italian Banking Association on Thursday, the Vice President of the ECB, Vítor Constâncio, suggested that under certain circumstances, it might be wiser to save a bank than to resolve it. What’s more, taxpayers should be called upon not only to save banks like MPS but also to make whole all holders of the bank’s subordinate debt, under the pretext that they were misled into purchasing them (as indeed some retail customers, but certainly not all, were).
  • A taxpayer-funded bailout of bondholders is also on the cards for the two mid-sized Veneto-based banks, Banca Popolare di Vicenza and Veneto Banca, which have already received billions of euros in taxpayer assistance. Italy’s Minister of Economy Pier Carlo Padoan continues to insist the two banks will not be wound down. This is the same man who insisted last year that a) there would be no need of any future bail outs; and b) Italy did not even have a banking problem on its hands.
  • Padoan has no choice but to deny all rumors of a bail-in; otherwise there would be a massive rush for the exits. In the weeks and even days leading up to Popular’s collapse, Spain’s Economy Minister Luis de Guindos repeatedly reassured investors that the bank was perfectly safe and solvent. All the while government agencies, including Spain’s social security fund, and regional government authorities were emptying the deposits they held with the bank as fast as they could. The total is unknown but it certain ran into billions of euros.
  • To avoid a similar fate, Banca Popolare di Vicenza and Veneto Banca were instructed by the European Commission last week to find an additional €1.25 billion in private capital. That money still hasn’t arrived, and now Italy’s government is trying to persuade the European Commission and the ECB to water down the requirement to €600-800 million, while also urging Italian banks to chip in to the bank rescue fund. If they don’t and the two Veneto-based banks end up being wound down, they will have to cough up as much as €11 billion to refund the banks’ depositors.
  • If the money is found in time, another bailout will proceed with the ECB’s full blessing. As Constâncio reassured Italy’s senior bankers, the ECB’s rules on bank resolution allow for precautionary recapitalization of banks by the public sector in cases of significant financial stability concerns. “We have to bear in mind that it is not only direct public support for banks that has a cost for taxpayers, but also financial instability – indeed, the costs of the latter may, in some circumstances, be higher,” he said, invoking unpleasant memories of the global fallout from the collapse of Lehman Brothers.
  • As Constâncio well knows, in Italy financial stability concerns are off the charts. So chronic and widespread are the banking sector’s structural problems that there is a very real risk that bailing in one or two midsize banks could prompt depositors and investors to move funds from weak banks to stronger ones (including banks outside the country), accelerating liquidity stress and even bank runs.
  • Even in Spain, which already restructured its banking sector years ago at a total cost to taxpayers of around €300 billion (including government guarantees), it didn’t take long for contagion to spread after Popular’s collapse. The most affected bank was Liberbank, Spain’s eighth largest lender, whose shares collapsed by a third in the three days following the bail-in of Popular. By Monday morning Spain’s stock market regulator, the CNMV, was sufficiently spooked to institute a one-month ban on shorting the bank’s shares, which, at least for now, seems to have stalled the rout.
  • In Italy, the contagion from a banking crisis would be a lot more difficult to contain. That’s the main reason why MPS was given such a generous stay of execution. If Banca Popolare di Vicenza and Veneto Banca are also bailed out with public funds, the message from the ECB will be resoundingly clear: banks will not be wound down if the banking system they operate in is deeply unstable. It’s a whole new variant of moral hazard: as long as the banking system is in terrible shape, the bank investors will be bailed out with public money.
  • Liberbank’s stockholders and junior bondholders fear a “bail-in.”

Source: wolfstreet.com – By Don Quijones.

Economic Collapse, Dollar Collapse,Gold,Silver,Prepping,Preppers

06.16.17-  Can We See a Bubble If We’re Inside the Bubble?

  • We want this time to be different so badly, we can almost taste it.
  • If you visit San Francisco, you will find it difficult to walk more than a few blocks in central S.F. without encountering a major construction project. It seems that every decrepit low-rise building in the city has been razed and is being replaced with a gleaming new residential tower.
  • Parking lots have been ripped up and are now sprouting condos and luxury rental flats.
  • This boom is not overly surprising, given the centrality of San Francisco and the S.F. Bay Area in the Hipster-Techie Mental Map which I have sketched here for those who may still suffer from delusions that Washington D.C. and New York matter–(hint: they don’t.)
  • The influx of mobile/software tech into the S.F. Bay Area has triggered not just a boom in tech but in all the service sectors that cater to well-paid techies. This mass of new people has created traffic jams that last virtually all day and evening, and overloaded the area’s BART transit rail system such that trains at 11 pm are as jammed as any during rush hour.
  • This phenomenal building boom is truly something to behold, as it has spread from S.F. to the East Bay as workers priced out of S.F. move east across the Bay, driving up rents to near-S.F. levels.
  • Yes, rents and home prices are starting to soften, but this hasn’t changed the general view that this is only a moderation of a long-term uptrend with no end in sight.
  • This is of course a modern analog of the Gold Rush in the 1850s, and the previous tech/building boom in the late 1990s: an enormous influx of income drives a building boom and a mass influx of treasure-seekers, entrepreneurs, dreamers and those hoping to land a good-paying job in Boomland.
  • The same phenomenon has been visible in the Oil Patch states every time oil/gas skyrocket in price.
  • We know how every boom ends–in an equally violent bust. Yet in the euphoria of the boom, it’s easy to think this one will last longer than the others.
  • I distinctly recall the mass excitement of COMDEX in 1999, the big computer-tech trade show in Las Vegas. The city was packed, the convention centers were packed, and an enormous banner announcing the then revolutionary slogan “the network is the computer–Sun Microsystems” welcomed the faithful.
  • I saw Bluetooth demonstrated for the first time in that show (at a Motorola booth), and dozens of other consumer technologies that never quite caught on–kits to turn your PC into a TV, etc.
  • Now we see the same euphoria in the FAANG stocks, Big Data, A.I., crypto-currency Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) and so on.
  • A year later the bubble had burst, and a decade later Sun Micro had lost its edge and would end its glorious run in the ignominy of being sold to Oracle for pennies on the dollar.
  • Rents in San Francisco are now so obscene that there is even a parody in which Hitler tries to rent a flat in S.F.
  • Across the Bay in Oakland, new relatively large 1-bedroom flats with Bay views are asking $3,300 a month. The same flat in S.F. would fetch $4,000 or more per month. Techies working for free on a buddy’s start-up have famously rented the space beside the washing machine in a laundry room for $400 a month.
  • How many average workers can afford to pay $40,000 a year in rent? After taxes, even techies earning $80,000/year would have little to show for their labor once they paid $40K after $20K in taxes and deductions have been subtracted from their annual wage.
  • The current Gold Rush will collapse, and as the newly fired marginalized workers pack up and leave, nobody will be renting the flats for $4,000/month. The owners will try reducing the rents to $3,000/month, and with no takers, they will go bust and the gleaming towers will be auctioned off. Eventually rents will decline to what people can actually afford.
  • This process will take a few years, as owners are reluctant to accept secular declines in rent and the resulting insolvency. Restaurants and other secondary businesses that arose to serve the techies will hang on, paying insane rents, for a few months and then give up losing money and close.
  • The bubbles in Seattle and Portland that so many view as permanent features of their rising wealth will also succumb to gravity.
  • We naturally cling to the euphoria and glory of a boom; they generate such hope and positive emotions. The bust is no fun at all, a slow cascade of layoffs, insolvencies, moves to cheaper and far less exciting locales, busted dreams and all the mourning that accompanies the shattering of dreams and hopes.
  • Knowing all this doesn’t prepare us for the bust, any more than the initial signs of a boom prepared us for the bubble. We want this time to be different so badly, we can almost taste it. But this time is only different on the margins; the flavor of the bust remains the taste of ashes.

Source: charleshughsmith.blogspot.com

Economic Collapse, Dollar Collapse,Gold,Silver,Prepping,Preppers

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