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If You Could Design A Perfect World For Gold…

If You Could Design A Perfect World For Gold…

Are you sick of your gold just sitting there when it was supposed to have long since made you rich? Have you been fantasizing about a world in which your gold really does make you rich?

If so you’re in good – or at least numerous – company. 

So let’s sketch out such a world. 

Start by envisioning an America in which a handful of oligopolies have captured banking, media, healthcare and several other important industries, while a tiny group of super-rich neo-aristocrats control as much wealth as the 200 million least-rich citizens. 

Toss in a US president who goes out of his way to pick fights which he then proceeds to lose, leading to both falling poll numbers and derisive headlines around the world. 

That’s a good start but probably not enough to take gold to its rightful price of $10,000. So let’s add a US opposition party – which, given the above president’s declining popularity, has at least a 50-50 shot at taking power in the next election – that is skewing madly, unprecedentedly to the left. For more on the three most popular Democrats:

Elizabeth Warren proposes ‘wealth tax’ on Americans with more than $50 million in assets

Ocasio-Cortez buzz hits Davos with talk of 70% tax-rate plan

[Socialist frontrunner] Bernie Sanders set to announce 2020 presidential run

Meanwhile, imagine that that same opposition party recently gained control of the branch of Congress that can investigate the President, leading to an escalating battle between legislature and executive that adds an element of legal chaos to what would already have been a presidential campaign of off-the-charts vitriol.

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

Oil’s Wild Price Swings Set to Create Global Chaos

Oil’s Wild Price Swings Set to Create Global Chaos

Volatility is here to stay — and the political and economic implications will touch us all.

As the current global oil glut shakes up petro states around the world, oil prices are becoming more volatile than Donald Trump tweets.

Neither Canada, now the dumb owner of a marginal 65-year-old pipeline, nor Alberta, a key exporter of bitumen, a cheap refinery feedstock, has paid much attention to this revolution.

As a consequence Canada has no strategy to deal with the new normal of highly volatile oil prices.

Government incompetence explains the hew and cry in Alberta about its overproduction crisis and the various proposals to solve it, ranging from the purchase of rail cars (a bad idea) to the decision to order companies to cut production of heavy oil by about 325,000 barrels a day (a sensible idea).

Alberta’s panic attack is based on the idea that bitumen from the province’s oilsands producers is selling at a discount because of a lack of pipeline capacity.

The reality is that the dramatic 30-per-cent drop in oil prices since the beginning of October, from more than US$70 to US$50, is upsetting oil exporters, producers and markets around the world.

Different kinds of oil fetch different prices, based on their quality and transportation costs. And all are experiencing dramatic price drops. Alberta’s bitumen, a cheap refinery feedstock, is not the only crude languishing during a global market glut.

Refineries in Japan and Korea, for example, scooped up cheap U.S. oil earlier this year.

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

Preparation is Vital. 2019 is Destined for Chaos

Preparation is Vital. 2019 is Destined for Chaos

As you make your New Year’s resolutions, make sure you allot room for some much needed protection as we head into 2019 and beyond.

It may not be the rosy picture many of you were hoping for, but sadly, 2019 appears to be destined for increased chaos, turmoil and outright confusion.

The chief driver of this will undoubtedly be the current disheveled state of affairs we are seeing unfold in the United States.

As we enter another week of government shutdowns, we are getting just a small sample of what this year has in store. We haven’t seen anything yet, and I believe the madness witnessed throughout 2018 was just an opening act.

President Trump is being challenged on all sides, and I believe at this point moving forward we will see some very serious and drastic changes within his administration, as he rapidly clears house of anyone he believes belongs to the “old establishment”, replacing them with those whom he deems “loyal” to him.

In addition to this, we are going to see him use every weapon in his arsenal to jam through as much of his agenda as he possibly can within his legal powers.

This will enrage his opponents and embolden his die-hard supporters, all while doing damage to the system as a whole in the long run.

At this point, from a personal perspective, the left has left him little-to-no options, as he now fights for his and his family’s survival—all of whom his opponents would love to see behind bars, no matter the ramifications this would cause to the very fabric of the United States.

Meanwhile, emboldened by their recent victories, the radical far-left elements within the Democratic party are going to come fast and hard at Trump, attempting to take him down as viciously as they can.

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

U.S. cybersecurity experts scrambling to thwart major attacks on power, water, gas infrastructure by “bolting on” fixes to old vulnerable systems

Image: U.S. cybersecurity experts scrambling to thwart major attacks on power, water, gas infrastructure by “bolting on” fixes to old vulnerable systems
(Natural News) Crammed into a small building in Idaho Falls, Idaho, a group of about 50 cyber security experts and researchers are working around the clock to protect American infrastructure from debilitating attacks.

As The Associated Press reports, much of what goes on at the Idaho National Laboratory, once known as the country’s primary nuclear research facility, isn’t discussed. But what is known is that those who fill the dimmed rooms full of wires, cables, computers, and detection gear are diligently trying to guard against the unthinkable: Attacks on power grids, water treatment facilities, financial institutions, and even traffic lights that could bring large sections of the country to a standstill.

Followed by chaos.

The lab’s director of cybersecurity, Scott Cramer, admits that the task at hand is a difficult one and that the United States is playing catch-up, of sorts. He describes the cybersecurity work as “bolting on” protections for infrastructure control systems that are decades old with the belief that many of them have already been infiltrated by malicious actors — nation-states and non-state actors alike — who are waiting for the time to launch attacks.

“This is no joke — there are vulnerabilities out there,” Cramer told the AP. “We’re pretty much in reaction mode right now.”

That’s not hyperbole. A recently released report from the President’s National Infrastructure Advisory Council lays out a similarly dire warning. After interviewing “dozens of senior leaders and experts” as well as conducting an in-depth review of existing studies and statues, the NIAC “found that existing national plans, response resources, and coordination strategies would be outmatched by a catastrophic power outage,” the report noted.

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

Reports warn of disabling attacks to U.S. power grid that could wipe out “democracy” and the “world order”

Image: Reports warn of disabling attacks to U.S. power grid that could wipe out “democracy” and the “world order”
(Natural News) A pair of reports released in the past month from two separate federal entities both warn of dire, devastating consequences from the destruction or disabling of a substantial portion of the U.S. power grid.

In late November, the Pentagon released an eye-opening analysis of the effects of a potential  electromagnetic pulse (EMP) stemming from the detonation of a sizable nuclear weapon above the United States. The report by the Electromagnetic Defense Task Force at Air Force University noted that, “Based on the totality of available data, an electromagnetic spectrum attack may be a threat to the United States, democracy, and the world order.”

The report culled information from a mostly classified summit of government officials from 40 agencies who met just outside of Washington, D.C. over the summer and forcefully calls for a new focus by Congress and the Trump administration for making preparations either for an enemy EMP attack or a naturally occurring event such as a major solar storm, the Washington Examiner reported.

Much of the report focuses on the negative effects of an EMP event as it pertains to U.S. military capabilities. However, the report also appears to substantiate a congressional warning from 2017 that claimed up to 90 percent of the population along the East Coast could die within a year of the event.

Citing information from the Union of Concerned Scientists, the report said:

— Approximately 99 nuclear reactors would very likely melt down because there would be no electricity to power infrastructure that keeps them cool;

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

2018 Chaos, 2019 Mayhem

Titian The rape of Europe 1560-62

It took me a while to decide which word(s) best define the past year and the next one, but I think this is pretty much it. 2018 was chaotic more than anything else, and that chaos will give rise to mayhem in 2019.

What I think is striking is that this is true across the board, in all walks of life so to speak. In finance, in politics, in energy markets, in ecological matters, and perhaps most of all in the ways all these topics are being covered by what once were trusted media.

I’m going to have to come back to all these topics separately, so it’s promising to be a very busy holiday season, but it’s also good to try and put them together in one place, if only to show how interconnected everything is. And how futile it is to look at the economy without seeing its connection to energy flows and ecosystems. And vice versa.

In finance and economics, we’ve seen an avalanche of falling numbers recently, in stock prices, bond prices, housing, across the globe, and obviously that evokes a lot of comments in the financial press. But that press, and bankers investors on their own, still talk about markets.

However, as I wrote in April 2018, if there is no price discovery, and there isn’t, there ARE NO markets, and it would be good and beneficial if many more people absorb that simple reality. Many more so-called traders and investors would be a start, but by no means enough. Lots more people who have nothing to do with the ‘markets’ should understand why there is no such thing anymore.

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

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…

Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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Olduvai III: Cataclysm
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