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Demoralized, Depressed, Detached & Defiant

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Demoralized, Depressed, Detached & Defiant

I’ve now been running The Burning Platform blog for over ten years. It’s been over eleven years since I wrote my first article – Why We Need Ron Paul – in May 2008 during the Republican primaries. I really thought I could change enough minds through my writing to influence voters and help wake up people to the truth about our deteriorating financial situation. I would send op-eds to my local paper, and they would publish them. My articles on Seeking Alpha in 2008/2009 were the most read and commented on their site.

My assessment of the Wall Street banks, coming financial crisis and recession were accurate enough that I was being sought out by Glenn Beck on CNN, Neal Cavuto on Fox, and Maria Bartiromo on CNBC to be interviewed on their shows. I didn’t want that kind of attention, since it would likely have negatively impacted my day job – which actually supported my family.

I had already experienced negative blowback when I predicted the bankruptcy of General Growth Properties in one of my articles. It seems the CFO was a Wharton grad and large donor to the real estate department. He called the Dept. head, who called the Deputy Dean, who called my boss, the CFO. It was at this point where any mention of Wharton was forbidden on my part, or I risked being terminated.

The interesting part of the story was the General Growth CFO said none of my facts were incorrect and six months later General Growth Properties filed for bankruptcy. I sent a link of the announcement to my boss, who throughout his tenure defended my right to free speech whenever the Dean’s office received complaints about my articles. We had a good laugh about their bankruptcy.

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

Conspiracy or Chaos?

CONSPIRACY OR CHAOS?

“The main thing that I learned about conspiracy theory is that conspiracy theorists believe in a conspiracy because that is more comforting. The truth of the world is that it is actually chaotic. The truth is that it is not The Iluminati, or The Jewish Banking Conspiracy, or the Gray Alien Theory. The truth is far more frightening – Nobody is in control. The world is rudderless.” – Alan Moore

Alan Moore, the renowned graphic novel writer, and author of the dystopian classic V for Vendetta, politically identifies as an anarchist. His view that all political states are an outgrowth of anarchy, with the biggest gang taking control and dictating how things will be run, is manifested in V for Vendetta. As an anarchist, you can understand why he is doubtful of conspiracy theories and an all-powerful entity controlling the world. He believes in a chaotic world competing gangs position themselves to gain power and control.

“We live in a badly developed anarchist situation in which the biggest gang has taken over and have declared that it is not an anarchist situation – that it is a capitalist or a communist situation. But I tend to think that anarchy is the most natural form of politics for a human being to actually practice.”- Alan Moore

The Guy Fawkes mask from V for Vendetta has been adopted by anarchist groups around the world, including: Anonymous, WikiLeaks, and the Occupy protestors. Moore’s positive view of the Occupy movement was based on his belief ordinary people had the right to reclaim what had been taken from them by criminal bankers. The initial impetus for the Occupy protests was the destruction of Main Street USA by Wall Street sociopaths, who not only escaped prosecution for their crimes, but were bailed out by the taxpayers they had pillaged and further enriched as captured politicians enabled them to get even bigger.

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

Navigating Through the Storms

NAVIGATING THROUGH THE STORMS

Several weeks ago I had to drive west on the Pennsylvania Turnpike to pick up my son after his sophomore year at Penn State. I’ve made this trip a dozen times over the last few years, since this is my second son attending Penn State, with a third starting in the Fall. It’s a tedious, boring, protracted, four hour trek through the rural countryside of the Keystone State. During these trips my mind wanders, making connections between the landscape and the pressing issues facing the world. I can’t help but get lost in my thoughts as the miles accumulate like dollars on the national debt clock.

More often than not I end up making the trip in the midst of bad weather. And this time was no different. The Pennsylvania Turnpike is a meandering, decades old, dangerous, mostly two lane highway for most of its 360 mile span. Large swaths of the decaying interstate are under construction, as the narrative about lack of infrastructure spending is proven false by visual proof along the highways and byways of America.

The real infrastructure crisis is below ground in urban shitholes where 100 year old water and sewer pipes fail on a regular basis, but bankrupt Democrat politicians divert their steadily declining tax revenues to bloated pensions of government lackeys. Infrastructure spending is only interesting to politicians if they can name it after themselves and have a ribbon cutting ceremony. Replacing water and sewer pipes before they explode isn’t sexy, so it won’t be done.

A winding two lane highway, with a speed limits of 70 mph, and jam-packed with 18 wheelers driven by sometimes sleepy and often aggressive truckers already leads to a pressure packed few hours. Add rain to the mixture and you ratchet up the blood pressure.

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

Stupid is as Stupid Does

STUPID IS AS STUPID DOES

If you prefer fake news, fake data, and a fake narrative about an improving economy and stock market headed to 30,000, don’t read this fact based, reality check article. The level of stupidity engulfing the country has reached epic proportions, as the mainstream fake news networks flog bullshit Russian conspiracy stories, knowing at least 50% of the non-thinking iGadget distracted public believes anything they hear on the boob tube.

This stupendous degree of utter stupidity goes to a new level of idiocy when it comes to the stock market. The rigged fleecing machine known as Wall Street has gone into hyper-drive since futures dropped by 700 points on the night of Trump’s election. An already extremely overvalued market, as measured by every historically accurate valuation metric, soared by 4,000 points from that futures low – over 20% – to an all-time high. Despite dozens of warning signs and the experience of two 40% to 50% crashes in the last fifteen years, lemming like investors are confident the future is so bright they gotta wear shades.

The current bull market is the 2nd longest in history at 8 years. In March of 2009, the S&P 500 bottomed at a fitting level for Wall Street of 666. In a shocking coincidence, it bottomed on the same day Bernanke & Geithner forced the FASB to rollover like mangy dogs and stop enforcing mark to market accounting. Amazingly, when Wall Street banks, along with Fannie and Freddie, could value their toxic assets at whatever they chose, profits surged. The market is now 240% higher.

You have the second longest bull market in history, while stock market valuations, as measured by the Shiller PE ratio and every other historically accurate valuation method, are higher than 1929 and 2007, but the Wall Street hype machine and the business network shills adamantly declare this bull has years to go and thousands of points of upside.

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

What Is the Deep State?

What Is the Deep State?

“… there is another government concealed behind the one that is visible at either end of Pennsylvania Avenue, a hybrid entity of public and private institutions ruling the country according to consistent patterns in season and out, connected to, but only intermittently controlled by, the visible state whose leaders we choose.

My analysis of this phenomenon is not an exposé of a secret, conspiratorial cabal; the state within a state is hiding mostly in plain sight, and its operators mainly act in the light of day. Nor can this other government be accurately termed an ‘establishment.’

All complex societies have an establishment, a social network committed to its own enrichment and perpetuation. In terms of its scope, financial resources and sheer global reach, the American hybrid state, the Deep State, is in a class by itself. That said, it is neither omniscient nor invincible. The institution is not so much sinister (although it has highly sinister aspects) as it is relentlessly well entrenched.

Far from being invincible, its failures, such as those in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, are routine enough that it is only the Deep State’s protectiveness towards its higher-ranking personnel that allows them to escape the consequences of their frequent ineptitude.”

Mike Lofgren, Anatomy of the Deep State

“There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn’t true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true.”

Søren Kierkegaard

I do not think our time is all that different from those that have gone before it, insofar as the substance and types of our actions are concerned. Every age has its thieves and hypocrites, in high and low places.

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

Civil War II–Fourth Turning Intensifying (Part 1)

CIVIL WAR II – FOURTH TURNING INTENSIFYING (PART I)

“History offers even more sobering warnings: Armed confrontation usually occurs around the climax of Crisis. If there is confrontation, it is likely to lead to war. This could be any kind of war – class war, sectional war, war against global anarchists or terrorists, or superpower war. If there is war, it is likely to culminate in total war, fought until the losing side has been rendered nil – its will broken, territory taken, and leaders captured.” – The Fourth Turning – Strauss & Howe -1997

As we enter the final stretch of this vitriolic, deplorable, venomous, propaganda saturated, deceitful, rigged presidential election spectacle, it becomes painfully obvious this Fourth Turning is careening toward bloodshed, bedlam, confrontation, and civil war. The linear fixated establishment, who fancy themselves intellectually superior to the irredemables, are too blinded by their sociopathic, increasingly audacious subversion of the Constitution, to grasp the level of rage and disillusionment of a white working class that has been screwed over for decades.

As the Wall Street shysters frantically accelerate their embezzlement of what remains of middle class wealth, with the Fed and the corporate media propagandists as their wing-men, the country devolves into a corporate fascist state. The disposition of the nation grows dark like the sky before an approaching deadly blizzard. As passions boil over and violence portends, this Fourth Turning hastens towards a bloody decade ahead with an uncertain climax.

If you think this is just hyperbole, you either haven’t studied history or your cognitive dissonance and normalcy bias prevent you from seeing the unavoidable societal altering clashes, which occur like clockwork on an eighty year cycle, when the portents are right in front of your eyes. Historian Arnold Toynbee’s great war cycle that arise every 80 years or so, aligns perfectly with the Fourth Turninggenerational theory. Great wars occur when the generation that doesn’t remember the last catastrophic war ascends to leadership of the country.

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

Why is the MSM Covering Up Recessionary Data?

WHY IS THE MSM COVERING UP RECESSIONARY DATA?

The Census Bureau put out their monthly retail sales report this morning. During good times, the MSM would be hailing the tremendous increases as proof the consumer was flush with cash and all was well with the economy. Considering 70% of our GDP is dependent upon consumer spending, you would think this data point would be pretty important in judging how well Americans are really doing.

It’s not perfect, because the issuance of debt to consumers to purchase autos, furniture, appliances and electronics can juice the retail sales numbers and create the false impression of strength. That’s what has been going on with auto sales for the last two years.

The retail sales figures have been propped up by the issuance of subprime auto loans to deadbeats, 7 year 0% interest loans to good credit customers, and an all-time high in leases (aka 3 year rentals). Despite this Fed induced auto loan scheme, retail sales have still been pitiful, as the average American has been left with stagnant wages, 0% interest on their minuscule savings, surging rent and home prices, and drastic increases in their healthcare costs due to Obamacare.

The retail sales for March, reported this morning, were disastrous and further confirmed a myriad of other economic indicators that the country is in recession. GDP for the first quarter will be negative. And this time they can’t blame it on snow in the winter. They have already doubly seasonally adjusted the figures, and they will still be negative. Retail sales in the first quarter were atrocious. It might make a critical thinking person question the establishment storyline of solid job growth being peddled by politicians and their MSM mouthpieces. If people had good paying jobs, they would be spending money.

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

The Boomer Retirement Meme Is A Big Lie

THE BOOMER RETIREMENT MEME IS A BIG LIE

As the labor participation rate and employment to population ratio linger near three decade lows, the mouthpieces for the establishment continue to perpetuate the Big Lie this is solely due to the retirement of Boomers. It’s their storyline and they’ll stick to it, no matter what the facts show to be the truth. Even CNBC lackeys, government apparatchiks, and Ivy League educated Keynesian economists should be able to admit that people between the ages of 25 and 54 should be working, unless they are home raising children.

In the year 2000, at the height of the first Federal Reserve induced bubble, there were 120 million Americans between the ages of 25 and 54, with 78 million of them employed full-time. That equated to a 65% full-time employment rate. By the height of the second Federal Reserve induced bubble, there were 80 million full-time employed 25 to 54 year olds out of 126 million, a 63.5% employment rate. The full-time employment rate bottomed at 57% in 2010, and still lingers below 62% as we are at the height of a third Federal Reserve induced bubble.

Over the last 16 years the percentage of 25 to 54 full-time employed Americans has fallen from 65% to 62%. I guess people are retiring much younger, if you believe the MSM storyline. Over this same time period the total full-time employment to population ratio has fallen from 53% to 48.8%. The overall labor participation rate peaked in 2000 at 67.1% and stayed steady between 66% and 67% for the next eight years. But this disguised the ongoing decline in the participation rate of men.

In 1970, the labor participation rate of all men was 80%, while the participation rate of women was just below 43%.

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

Feudalism Then & Now

FEUDALISM THEN & NOW

Pictorial Essay: Message to the Voting Cattle

Pictorial Essay: Message to the Voting Cattle

Our own awesome ‘wip’ posted this video in another thread, and asked me to listen to it. I did, and it’s freaking fabulous. I agree with about 95% of it. It explains as well as I’ve ever heard, why I say we should all vote for Candidate Nobody.

Here is the video:

Of course, not 1 in 20 will listen to a twenty-minute video, even here. So, I transcribed it. And, added some pictures for your viewing pleasure. You should be able to read it in under ten minutes. I did this for you curs and Trump-eteers. And, to send out to my brain dead friends and family, which are Legion.

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You cannot begin to imagine in how many ways the world is the opposite of what you have been taught to believe.

You see the guy who sells drugs to willing customers so he can feed his family as the scum of the earth, while you see the hypocrite who gives away stolen money in the name of government, as a saint.

TAXATION THEFT

You see the guy who tries to avoid been robbed by the federal thugs as a crook and a tax cheat, but see as virtuous the politician who gives away the same stolen loot to people whom it does not belong.

every-51-seconds-there-is-a-marijuana-arrest

You see the cop as a good guy when he drags a man away from his friends and family and throws him in prison for ten years for smoking a leaf  [every 51 seconds in Amerika]. And you see anyone who defends himself from such barbaric fascism as the lowest form of life … a cop-killer. In reality, most drug dealers are more virtuous than any government social worker, and prostitutes have far less to be ashamed of than political whores, because they trade only with what’s rightfully theirs, and only with those who want to trade with them.

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

Deranged Central Bankers Blowing Up the World

DERANGED CENTRAL BANKERS BLOWING UP THE WORLD

It is now self-evident to any sentient being (excludes CNBC shills, Wall Street shyster economists, and Keynesian loving politicians) the mountainous level of unpayable global debt is about to crash down like an avalanche upon hundreds of millions of willfully ignorant citizens who trusted their politician leaders and the central bankers who created the debt out of thin air. McKinsey produced a report last year showing the world had added $57 trillion of debt between 2008 and the 2nd quarter of 2014, with global debt to GDP reaching 286%.

The global economy has only deteriorated since mid-2014, with politicians and central bankers accelerating the issuance of debt. These deranged psychopaths have added in excess of $70 trillion of debt in the last eight years, a 50% increase. With $142 trillion of global debt enough to collapse the global economy in 2008, only a lunatic would implement a “solution” that increased global debt to $212 trillion over the next seven years thinking that would solve a problem created by too much debt.

The truth is, these central bankers and captured politicians knew this massive issuance of more unpayable debt wouldn’t solve anything. Their goal was to keep the global economy afloat so their banker owners and corporate masters would not have to accept the consequences of their criminal actions and could keep their pillaging of global wealth going unabated.

The issuance of debt and easy money policies of the Fed and their foreign central banker co-conspirators functioned to drive equity prices to all-time highs in 2015, but the debt issuance and money printing needs to increase exponentially in order keep stock markets rising. Once the QE spigot was shut off markets have flattened and are now falling hard. You can sense the desperation among the financial elite. The desperation is borne out by the frantic reckless measures taken by central bankers and politicians since 2008.

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

Consumer Drowning Sorrows at the Bar

CONSUMER DROWNING SORROWS AT THE BAR

Month after month I watch as the MSM mouthpieces try to spin declining consumer spending in a positive light. They are practically out of excuses. They are befuddled, because month after month they report “awesome” job gains and can’t understand why all these gainfully employed Americans aren’t buying shit they don’t need like they used to. These faux journalists, spouting propaganda for their ruling class bosses, are willfully ignorant of the fact the job gains are in low paying part-time jobs and the fact that Obamacare and record high rents are sapping any discretionary income households would use to buy stuff.

Despite the propaganda from the media and happy talk from the Liar-in-Chief, the country is currently in a recession and the Fed has no ammo to fake another recovery. We are going down and going down hard. When 70% of your economy is based on Americans buying shit they don’t need from China on credit cards, a dramatic slowdown in consumer spending equals recession. When sales actually fall from November to December during the holiday season, you are in recession. We’ve arrived.

The December report was a disaster and portends horrible retailer results coming down the road. More ghost malls coming to your neighborhood. The annual results were pitiful, with the more recent months even more dreadful. So after adding 10 million jobs, according to Obama, spending declines? They must be great jobs.

I think the results are even worse than portrayed in the results presented by the Census Bureau. Retail sales grew by only 2.2% in 2015 versus 2014. That is significantly less than the real inflation being experienced by real people, so on an inflation adjusted basis they fell. Even the 2.2% increase is artificially pumped up by the Fed induced auto debt fueled boom in car sales (or long-term rentals in reality).

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

The Big Short–A Review

THE BIG SHORT – A REVIEW

“The truth is like poetry, and most people fucking hate poetry.”

The Big Short opens nationwide today. But it happened to have one showing last night at a theater near me. My youngest son and I hopped in the car and went to see it. I loved the book by Michael Lewis. The cast assembled for the movie was top notch, but having the director of Anchorman and Talledaga Nights handle a subject matter like high finance seemed odd.

The choice of Adam McKay as director turned out to be brilliant. The question was how do you make a movie about the housing market, mortgage backed securities, collateralized debt obligations, collateralized debt swaps, and synthetic CDOs interesting for the average person. He succeeded beyond all expectations.

Interweaving pop culture icons, music, symbols of materialism, and unforgettable characters, McKay has created a masterpiece about the greed, stupidity, hubris, and arrogance of Wall Street bankers gone wild. He captures the idiocy and complete capture of the rating agencies (S&P, Moodys). He reveals the ineptitude and dysfunction of the SEC, where the goal of these regulators was to get a high paying job with banks they were supposed to regulate. He skewers the faux financial journalists at the Wall Street Journal who didn’t want to rock the boat with the truth about the greatest fraud ever committed.

What makes the movie great are the characters, their motivations, their frustrations, their anger at a warped demented system, and ultimately their hollow victory when the entire edifice of fraud came crashing down on the heads of honest hard working Americans. The movie does not glorify the men that ended up making billions from the demise of the housing bubble. But it clearly defines the real bad guys.

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

On Conspiracy Theories

On Conspiracy Theories

“In many nations, rational people end up believing crazy things, including (false) conspiracy theories. Those crazy thoughts can lead to violence, including terrorism. Many terrorist acts have been fueled by false conspiracy theories, and there is a good argument that some such acts would not have occurred in the absence of such theories. The key point—and, in a way, the most puzzling and disturbing one—is that the crazy thoughts are often held by people who are not crazy at all.”

Cass Sunstein- White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs

If you don’t know who Cass Sunstein is, or what he does now would be a good time to do some research. Not only because of his position with the White House and the power that entails, but because he understands quite clearly what problems are posed by people who, in his own words are, “…neither ignorant, not ill-educated. On the contrary they can be spectacularly well informed…”

Conspiracy theories are, in short, the belief that others conspire in secret to commit criminal acts. They do, no secret there. In fact the majority of prisoners in Federal Penitentiaries are serving time not for a specific crime, but for conspiracy to commit a felony, more simply discussing their intentions with another person in secret. It must be difficult indeed to simultaneously prosecute large numbers of people for the very activity that you are assigned to debunk and then somehow explain to people that it’s dangerous to believe in them. Yes, yes, you can imagine them saying, other people do engage in conspiracies, but we never would and you’d have to be crazy to even consider it.

Point taken, Mr. Sunstein.

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

Deja Vu All Over Again

Deja Vu All Over Again

Janet Yellen will increase interest rates for the first time in nine years on Wednesday. She isn’t raising them because the economy is strengthening. The economy just happens to be weakening rapidly, as global recession takes hold. The stock market is 3% lower than it was in December 2014, and has basically done nothing since the end of QE3. Wall Street is throwing a hissy fit to try and stop Janet from boosting rates by an inconsequential .25%. Janet would prefer not to raise rates, but the credibility and reputation of her bubble blowing machine is at stake. The Fed has enriched their Wall Street benefactors over the last six years, while destroying the real economy and the middle class.

The quarter point increase will be reversed in short order as soon as we experience market collapse part two. It will be followed with negative interest rates and QE4, as these academics have only one play in their playbook – print money. They created the last financial crisis and have set the stage for the next – even bigger collapse. John Hussman explains how their zero interest rate policy has driven speculators into junk bonds as the only place to get any yield.

Over the past several years, yield-seeking investors, starved for any “pickup” in yield over Treasury securities, have piled into the junk debt and leveraged loan markets. Just as equity valuations have been driven to the second most extreme point in history (and the single most extreme point in history for the median stock, where valuations are well-beyond 2000 levels), risk premiums on speculative debt were compressed to razor-thin levels. By 2014, the spread between junk bond yields and Treasury yields had fallen to less than 2.4%. Since then, years of expected “risk-premiums” have been erased by capital losses, and defaults haven’t even spiked yet (they do so with a lag).

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

Olduvai IV: Courage
In progress...

Olduvai II: Exodus
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