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Agents of Chaos: Trump, the Federal Reserve and Andrew Jackson

Agents of Chaos: Trump, the Federal Reserve and Andrew Jackson

Photo Source Eli Christman | CC BY 2.0

“It is to be regretted that the rich and powerful too often bend the acts of government to their selfish purposes.”

– President Andrew Jackson, Washington, July 10, 1832

They are three players, all problematic in their own way.  They are the creatures of inconvenient chaos.  Donald Trump was born into the role, a misfit of misrule who found his baffling way to the White House on a grievance.  Wall Street, with its various agglomerations of vice and ambition constitute the spear of global instability while the US Federal Reserve, long seen as a gentlemanly symbol of stability, has done its fair share to avoid its remit to right unstable ships, a power in its own right.

The Federal Reserve, despite assuming the role of Apollonian stabiliser, remained blind and indifferent through the Clinton era under the stewardship of Alan Greenspan.  The creatures of Dionysus played, and Greenspan was happy to watch. While he is credited with having contained the shock of the 1987 stock-market crash, he proceeded to push a period of manically low interest rates and minimal financial regulation through the hot growth of the 1990s and early 2000s. Rather than condemning “Ninja loans” and other such bank exotica, he celebrated them as creations of speculative genius.

The mood at the Fed these days might seems chastened.  They are the monkish wowsers and party poopers, those who lock down the bar and tell the merrily sauced to head home.  The sense there is that the market, boosted and inflated, needs correction after years of keeping interest rates at floor levels. Unemployment levels are at 3.7 percent; inflation levels are close to 2 percent.  “If the strong growth in income and jobs continues,” reasoned Federal Reserve chairman Jerome H. Powell in August, “further gradual increases in the target range for the federal funds rate will likely be appropriate.”

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The US Need Not Inevitably Descend into Violent Chaos If and When Disaster Strikes

The US Need Not Inevitably Descend into Violent Chaos If and When Disaster Strikes

Liberal opponents of serious, aggressive action on climate change like California Governor Jerry Brown are the strange bedfellows of right-wing survivalists on one thing: Both are quick to warn darkly that if environmentalists have their way and impose strict cuts on oil, gas and coal production or on mileage standards for automobiles and pollution controls on power plants, or in the case of right-wingers, if the banking system is allowed to continue to run US economic policy and the Fed isn’t audited, the irate citizens of the US will descend into an orgy of anarchic violence and mayhem.

The argument is that if Americans are told they can no longer drive gas-guzzling automobiles and blast their air conditioners at will, or if the US financial system again collapses as it did in 2008 leading to the Great Recession, the people of this country will essentially go mad and a lawless chaos of dog-eat-dog, kill thy neighbor for his food, will ensue.

“It will be like the Great Depression all over,” I read in one account of a recent report by one JP Morgan Chase analyst who is predicting a dramatic market crash of over 40% followed by armageddon. (I learned about this little report of impending disaster from a former cop friend who advised me to get a gun and plenty of ammo and to stock up on food to be able to protect my family.)

But this is truly ignorance regarding what actually happened when everything did collapse back in the Great Depression and Dust Bowl.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

“I’m Totally Freaked Out”: Brazil’s Elite Fleeing Bloodshed And Chaos

Amid the economic, political, and social collapse, Brazil has been described by many as being in the midst of a “zombie apocalypse” as years of corruption and violence spectacularly implodes all at once.

Horrified by the out of control violence and pessimistic about the nation’s political and economic outlook, thousands of wealthy Brazilians are now fleeing the country.

Thiago Lacerda, a high-profile actor, is one of the thousands of celebrities, bankers, lawyers and affluent Brazilians considering emigration before the next round of turmoil.

“I’m totally freaked out by what’s been happening, especially here in Rio [Rio de Janeiro],” Mr. Lacerda told The Wall Street Journal.

The 40-year-old actor said he has considered moving his family to Europe for the safety of his three children. “In several years, they’re going to want to go out, to start dating, without worrying about getting shot.”

Naercio Menezes Filho, director of the center for public policy at Insper, a São Paulo business school, commented on the situation and pointed out — the elite fleeing the country is the newest trend amid the threat of gang violence and economic instability.

According to a study published in June by Brazilian polling agency Datafolh, about 52 percent of the wealthiest Brazilians — those with a monthly income of more than $2,500 — want to emigrate, while 56 percent of college graduates have plans on leaving the country.

“The hope that Brazilians once had in their country has gone out the window, and many people are now reaching the conclusion that things are unlikely to change in the next few years,” said Mr. Menezes Filho.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Syria, Iran and ‘chaos in international relations’

Syria, Iran and ‘chaos in international relations’

Any meaningful political resolution to the turmoil in the Middle East now seems more elusive than ever

Syrian boys walk along a destroyed street in Douma on the outskirts of Damascus on April 16. Photo: AFP/Louai Beshara

Syrian boys walk along a destroyed street in Douma on the outskirts of Damascus on April 16. Photo: AFP/Louai Beshara

Putin Warns Of Global “Chaos” If West Hits Syria Again

Shortly after US Ambassador Nikki Haley revealed that Russia would be slapped with a third round of sanctions on Monday for “enabling the Syrian government’s use of chemical weapons in civil war,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said that further attacks on Syria by Western forces, “in violation of the U.N. Charter,” would send international relations into “chaos.”

In a telephone conversation with his Iranian counterpart, Hassan Rouhani, Putin and Rouhani agreed that the Western strikes had damaged the chances of achieving a political resolution in the seven-year Syria conflict, according to a Kremlin statement. –Reuters

The US-led strike was denounced by Putin as an “act of aggression,” and a “war crime” by Iran’s Supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei.

“Vladimir Putin, in particular, stressed that if such actions committed in violation of the U.N. Charter continue, then it will inevitably lead to chaos in international relations,” the Kremlin statement said.

The United States, France and Britain launched over 103 missiles on Saturday night at three Syrian facilities in retaliation for a suspected poison gas attack in the city of Douma seven days prior. While the West has conclusively blamed the Assad government for the attack, serious questions have arisen over everything from Assad’s motive, the type of nerve agent used, to the credibility of the first responders – an NGO known as the White Helmets who have a reputation for staging evidence.

France cited social media posts and YouTube evidence as justification for their participation in the strikes.

The French services analysed the testimonies, photos and videos that spontaneously appeared on specialized websites, in the press and on social media in the hours and days following the attack.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Saudi Officials Worried About Oil’s Future

Saudi Officials Worried About Oil’s Future

Saudi delegation

Saudi government officials like talking to the media about oil. They invariably come across as upbeat, confident that the OPEC deal will achieve its goal of shrinking the global oversupply, and equally confident that U.S. shale will not seriously eat away at their oil revenues, however fast it grows.

The general message seems to be: We can handle everything. Behind the scenes, however, things look differently, Time reports, citing former and current U.S. government officials with experience in the Kingdom.

Following an interview with Crown Prince Mohammed, in which he anticipated a bright future for crude oil thanks to new strong demand, Time talked to several U.S. officials who shared their concern about how realistic this view of the industry actually is.

In fact, these officials believe Saudi Arabia is still overdependent on crude oil, and this could spell trouble for the barely contained powder keg that is the Middle East—a ripple in crude oil would likely set the region all ablaze. What’s more, they say, Saudi Arabia is still unable to make ends meet, even at the current higher oil prices. If prices fall and its deficit deepens further, the Kingdom would be hard pressed for an urgent change in its heavily subsidized economic model. There is even a danger of the economy crashing, one U.S. official said, and should this happen, chaos will ensue.

It is possible that Saudi officials are downplaying some very real threats to all the ambitious economic reform plans initiated by Mohammed bin Salman. However, it seems difficult to gauge the importance of these threats when Saudi sources are often at opposing ends of the opinion spectrum. Some, U.S. officials say, are adamant that everything around the reforms is proceeding smoothly. Others are equally adamant that the Kingdom is running on fumes that will soon evaporate.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

New, little-seen report warns the nation’s power infrastructure is increasingly vulnerable to physical attacks

Image: New, little-seen report warns the nation’s power infrastructure is increasingly vulnerable to physical attacks

(Natural News) It’s looking more and more like it will take a major attack against the U.S. power grid before the government and electric industry come together and get serious about protecting it.

According to a new investigative report that likely won’t get much attention outside of certain circles, the U.S. electric grid is increasingly vulnerable as power companies lag behind in adopting better security measures.

And the result, someday soon, could be catastrophic — as in near-complete societal breakdown.

As reported by the Washington Free Beacon, the report from the North American Electric Reliability Corporation, or NERC, says that the grid’s vulnerability is heightened by an unprecedented wave of attacks that threaten to cripple the entire country.

NERC notes further that amid a wave of stepped-up attacks against key power stations, the organization has had difficulty convincing power companies to step up their protective measures meant to thwart would-be attackers and terrorists.

Since 2014, according to the Congressional Research Service, which cited from the NERC report, “security risks to the power grid have become an even greater concern in the electric utility industry,” though the power sector “has not necessarily reached the level of physical security needed based on the sector’s own assessments of risk.”

The Free Beacon noted further:

In the three years since federal overseers implicated a series of new standards for physical security of grid locations, the industry has worked to improve its defenses but has struggled to implement all of the government’s recommendations, according to the report.

The slow moving pace of reforms, combined with an increased threat level and inability of the federal government to warn of upcoming attacks, has fueled concerns that the U.S. electric grid could be easily taken down by a rogue actor.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

How the SHTF in Bosnia: Selco Asks Americans, “Does this sound familiar?”

How the SHTF in Bosnia: Selco Asks Americans, “Does this sound familiar?”

Selco interviewed by Daisy Luther

I was recently emailing back and forth with Selco and we were discussing the situation in the US right now, with the political polarization, the rage, and the general cognitive dissonance. I asked him if he saw any similarities between our situation and the one in Bosnia when the SHTF there during the war. When he replied I knew I had to share this information with you.

While we might like to think it could never happen here, the current events here are eerily similar to what happened there in the 1990s.

When you read this. think about recent events. The anger about immigration. The destruction of Civil War monuments. The unease between the races. The deep rage about the recent presidential election. The scorn and derision for neighbors who think differently. The way the media fans the flames of dissent between our fellow Americans.

You’ll realize that it definitely CAN happen to us…and there’s not one darn thing we can do except to be prepared.

What parallels do you see with events in the US and Bosnia before the SHTF?

US and Yugoslavia (in 1990) on first look do not have anything in common because people are going to say, “The USA cannot have anything similar to any socialistic system.”

This is true but only on first look.

Yugoslavia had somewhere around 20-22 million citizens, six republics (similar to states in the US), 3-4 main religions, and many national groups (ethnicity).

The official state policy was to build Yugoslavian “nationality” (from the end of WW1) and through different ways that effort was successful until the 90s.

We were “something big, united through differences with a strong connection to make something big.”

 

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

SELCO: The Brutal Truth About Violence When the SHTF

SELCO: The Brutal Truth About Violence When the SHTF

Are you prepared for the extreme violence that is likely to come your way if the SHTF? No matter what your plan is, it’s entirely probable that at some point, you’ll be the victim of violence or have to perpetrate violence to survive. As always, Selco is our go-to guy on SHTF reality checks and this thought-provoking interview will shake you to your core.

If you don’t know Selco, he’s from Bosnia and he lived through a year in a city that was blockaded with no utilities, no deliveries of supplies, and no services. In his interviews, he shares what the scenarios the rest of us theorize about were REALLY like.  He mentioned to me recently that most folks aren’t prepared for the violence that is part and parcel of a collapse, which brings us to today’s interview.

How prevalent was violence when the SHTF in Bosnia?

It was wartime and chaos, from all conflicts in those years in the Balkan region Bosnian conflict was most brutal because of multiple reasons, historical, political and other.

To simplify the explanation why violence was common and very brutal, you need to picture a situation where you are “bombarded” with huge amount of information (propaganda) which instills in you very strong feelings of fear and hate.

Out of fear and hate, violence grows easy and fast, and over the very short period of time you see how people around you (including you) do things that you could not imagine before.

I can say that violence was almost an everyday thing in the whole spectrum of different activities because it was a fight for survival.

Again, whenever (and wherever) you put people in a region without enough resources, you can expect violence.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

“The Market Is On The Edge Of Chaos, A Zone Where Rare Events Become Typical”

According to Fasanara Capital, which has long argued  that the market’s systemic fragility is approaching its breaking point, markets stand at a critical juncture, ready to snap, as the following note from Fasanara’s Francesco Filia lays out.

* * *

The Market System Is Tight In All Directions

The Four Pillars Holding Markets Up Are Strained, All At The Same Time

Viewed as a combination of intertwined components, each component is showing growing signs of pressure and seem to be running out of road for further advancing. The synchronicity of them, more than any single component taken independently, is what should draw attention, as it compounds systemic risk.

Here are the four components, characterizing the basin of chaotic attraction for markets nowadays:

What happens when the system is tight in its key possible directions of expansion? That it expands no more. Stochastically, on one of the components a tipping point is reached, which jumpstarts the autolytic effect, spreading back through the vectors of the complex system, and snapping the unstable equilibrium into an alternative stable state. That is our thesis.

In this recent interview, we discuss the impending tipping points for markets due to a synchronicity of excess valuations, excess indebtedness, excessively low cash balances and a drawback in excessive public flows.

Let’s give a cursory look across the four components. Again, the list is by no means exhaustive, but rather a work-in-progress (seemingly endless) collecting of data points, following on to our previous work of ‘a long list of anomalies’ here and here.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Pandemonium: Atlanta Airport Power Outage Grounds Flights, Traps Travelers; Evacuation Underway

Pandemonium: Atlanta Airport Power Outage Grounds Flights, Traps Travelers; Evacuation Underway

Update: Delta has canceled all remaining Sunday flights ”to allow the operation to best reset for Monday,” it said in a statement on its website. The company now anticipates a near-full schedule Monday in Atlanta ”pending full resumption of power”; adding that some delays and cancellations can be expected. Delta noted that it has canceled approx. 900 mainline and Delta Connection flights Sunday as a result of the outage. Full Delta statement below:

The Atlanta airport lost power Sunday across concourses and terminals affecting all airlines. As a result of the ongoing outage, Delta will cancel its remaining Sunday domestic schedule to allow the operation to reset for Monday. The airline has canceled approximately 900 mainline and Delta Connection flights Sunday as a result of the outage and 48 flights have diverted to alternate airports due to a nationwide groundstop for Atlanta-bound flights.

Pending full resumption of power, Delta anticipates a near-full schedule Monday in Atlanta, though some delays and cancellations can be expected.

Delta continues to deplane the remaining customers from aircraft that have not been able to park at terminal gates that require power to operate. The airline will also work to reunify customers with their luggage once power is restored.

The Atlanta Airport, along with Atlanta Police Department, are restricting the vehicles allowed to the terminal drop-off and pick-up area due to congestion. Delta customers are encouraged to check the status of their flight via the Fly Delta mobile app or delta.com before heading to the airport. A travel waiver has been issued for Delta customers flying to, from or through Atlanta allowing customers to make one-time changes to their travel plans. Details are available at delta.com.

Delta has temporarily embargoed unaccompanied minors from traveling Monday due to the power outage. Unaccompanied minors who already began their travel Sunday may continue.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

In Just 5 Days Without Trucks, Chaos Would Erupt in America

In Just 5 Days Without Trucks, Chaos Would Erupt in America

Have you ever thought about how fast things could go sideways in America?  What if we went 5 days without trucks moving supplies across the country? Have you considered how JUST ONE THING could change the world as we know it?

The video below has been around for several years, but if you haven’t seen it in a while, it is worth watching again.

Think for a moment about what would happen if the trucks stopped running. The trucking industry is the lifeblood of this country, and according to this, it would only take 5 days without trucks for all hell to break loose.

Watch.

In only 5 days without trucks, everything would change.

In only five days, with only one component of our economy missing, we could be without medication, food, gasoline, and sanitation. We would be unable to travel great distances easily, as airports would close.

Think about it:

  • No toilet paper.
  • No laundry detergent.
  • No fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • No fresh milk.
  • No garbage trucks picking up waste and no way to get to the dump.
  • The banks would close.
  • No parts would be available for things that need repair.
  • We couldn’t refill prescription medications.
  • No gasoline would be available.

Panic would erupt.

It’s that easy for all hell to break loose. Five days without the regular delivery of supplies and our country could devolve into chaos. And if it was longer than 5 days without trucks, the initial panic would be a G-rated movie compared to what would come next.

We live in a just-in-time society.

Most retail stores no longer stock up on food but have a “just in time” ordering system that relies on regular shipments.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Real Risk to the Global Economy

THE REAL RISK TO THE GLOBAL ECONOMY

WASHINGTON, DC – One of the great mysteries of today’s global markets is their irrepressible enthusiasm, even as the world around them appears on the verge of chaos or collapse. And yet, investors may be more rational than they appear when it comes to pricing in political risks. If investing is foremost about discounting future cash flows, it’s important to focus precisely on what will and will not affect those calculations. The potential crises that may be most dramatic or violent are, ironically, the ones that the market has the easiest time looking through.

Today’s market is easy to explain in terms of fundamental factors: earnings are growing, inflation has been kept at bay, and the global economy appears to be experiencing a broad, synchronized expansion. In October, the International Monetary Fund updated its global outlook to predict that only a handful of small countries will suffer a recession next year. And while the major central banks are planning, or have already begun, to tighten monetary policy, interest rates will remain low for now.

Political crises, however sensational they may be, are not likely to change investors’ economic calculus. Even after the greatest calamities of the twentieth century, markets bounced back fairly quickly. After Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor, US stock markets fell by 10%, but recovered within six weeks. Similarly, after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, US stocks dropped nearly 12%, but bounced back in a month. After the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, stock prices fell less than 3%, and recovered the next day.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

How America Spreads Global Chaos

How America Spreads Global Chaos

The U.S. government may pretend to respect a “rules-based” global order, but the only rule Washington seems to follow is “might makes right” — and the CIA has long served as a chief instigator and enforcer, writes Nicolas J.S. Davies.


As the recent PBS documentary on the American War in Vietnam acknowledged, few American officials ever believed that the United States could win the war, neither those advising Johnson as he committed hundreds of thousands of U.S. troops, nor those advising Nixon as he escalated a brutal aerial bombardment that had already killed millions of people.

Air Force F-105s bomb a target in the southern panhandle of North Vietnam on June 14, 1966. (Photo credit: U.S. Air Force)”

As conversations tape-recorded in the White House reveal, and as other writers have documented, the reasons for wading into the Big Muddy, as Pete Seeger satirized it, and then pushing on regardless, all came down to “credibility”: the domestic political credibility of the politicians involved and America’s international credibility as a military power.

Once the CIA went to work in Vietnam to undermine the 1954 Geneva Accords and the planned reunification of North and South through a free and fair election in 1956, the die was cast. The CIA’s support for the repressive Diem regime and its successors ensured an ever-escalating war, as the South rose in rebellion, supported by the North. No U.S. president could extricate the U.S. from Vietnam without exposing the limits of what U.S. military force could achieve, betraying widely held national myths and the powerful interests that sustained and profited from them.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

How to Cope with Inevitable Chaos

How to Cope with Inevitable Chaos

And that’s okay. You don’t need to. And neither does governments.

Is it me or does it seem like current times are more chaotic than ever?

The world seems to be constantly threatened by mass shootings, terrorism, war in the Middle East, nuclear proliferation, and lack of international diplomacy. Turn on the news and you’re bound to find a new threat that purports to destabilize the order of the world.

Right here at home, the national debt continues to soar to new heights, and the student-debt bubble seems more concerning as each day passes. Congress is failing to repeal and replace Obamacare, even with a Republican majority. News circulates about Trump’s administration constantly changing, while he still has over 1,000 top-level positions to fill. It seems like the people in charge of our domestic order can’t even seem to accomplish the very thing we elected them to do.

It makes one question just what is going on in our modern society? Are we seeing the social fabric unravel before our eyes? Why have things gotten so disorderly?

The Struggle Against Chaos

These are the questions posed, but something is missing. A certain historical context is left out. The real question we should be asking is, are current times truly more chaotic than ever before, or have things always been this way?

The history of humanity has been a struggle between order and disorder. Mankind has always been walking that fine line, struggling to find a balance.

This story goes all the way back to the Garden of Eden. A land of harmony and order, but man descends into chaos when a snake is let in and convinces Eve to eat the apple. Ever since, mankind has been subject to a world of disorder, struggling to keep a grasp on a life that seems random, and chaotic.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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