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Doug Casey Debunks Four Myths About Trump, Taxes, and the Economy

Doug Casey Debunks Four Myths About Trump, Taxes, and the Economy

Trump taxes debunked

International Man: For many years, President Trump has made no apologies for trying to pay the least amount of taxes possible. He’s clearly stated this in many interviews.

His desire to minimize his taxes has brought scorn from many in the mainstream media, and politicians from both sides of the aisle. These people are of the opinion that paying taxes is an honorable and necessary responsibility. It brings to mind the wrongheaded saying “taxes are the price we pay for a civilized society”, which came from US Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes. Many people believe this.

But if that’s true, how come low tax locales like Singapore, the Cayman Islands, Monaco aren’t backward hell holes, but rather sophisticated and civilized?

Doug Casey: Almost any lie can be accepted as truth if it’s said often enough and with enough certainty. That absolutely applies to what Holmes said. It’s shameful how people don’t think about its meaning, but slavishly repeat it.

Taxes aren’t the price we pay for civilized society. They’re a sign of the fact that society is becoming uncivilized. A civilized society is based on voluntarism. Taxes are all about coercion.

People don’t seem to recognize or remember that before 1913 there was no income tax in the US. There was no reporting of any kind to the US government. It was a much more civilized and far freer country then.

As far as Trump minimizing his taxes, congratulations to him. The object should be to cut the size of the US government in half, and cut it in half again, and again. And along with it, cut the tax burden that it imposes on the average American.

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

Doug Casey: “This is Going to be One for the Record Books”

Doug Casey: “This is Going to be One for the Record Books”

Just because society experiences turmoil doesn’t mean your personal life has to. And a depression doesn’t have to be depressing. Most of the real wealth in the world will still exist—it will just change ownership.

What is a depression?

We’re now at the tail end of a very long, but in many ways a very weak and artificial, economic expansion. At the same time we’ve had one of the strongest securities bull markets in history. Both are the result of trillions of new dollars created over the last decade. Right now very few people are willing to consider the possibility of tough times—let alone The Greater Depression.

But, perverse though it may seem, this is the very best time to think about it. The U.S. economy is a house of cards, built on quicksand, with a tsunami on the way. I urge everyone to read up on the topic. For now, I’ll only briefly touch on the nature of depressions. There are at least three good definitions of the term:

  1. A period of time when most people’s standard of living drops significantly.
  2. A period of time when distortions and misallocations of capital are liquidated.
  3. A period of time when the business cycle climaxes.

Using the first definition, any natural disaster can cause a depression. So can living above your means for long enough. But the worst kind of depression has not just economic effects, but economic causes. That’s where definitions 2 and 3 come in.

What can cause distortions in the way the market operates, causing people to do things they’d otherwise consider unreasonable or uneconomic? Only government action, i.e., coercion. This takes the form of regulation, taxes, and currency inflation.

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

The Frontlines in the War on Cash

The Frontlines in the War on Cash

Let’s face it, many forces are pushing for the abolition of – or at least serious restrictions on – cash.

Many businesses hate cash, because cash transactions take longer to process, and large quantities of cash pose a security risk. If you travel by air, you’ve experienced this first-hand. “Cashless cabins” are the rule for most airlines. You must purchase every glass of wine, cheese dip, or package of mixed nuts with a credit or debit card.

In Atlanta, you can’t even buy a hot dog at a pro football or soccer game with cash. In March, the operators of Mercedes-Benz Stadium, home of the Atlanta Falcons and Atlanta United, announced it would no longer accept cash at food and beverage concession stands.

Credit card companies hate cash too. And for obvious reasons – they get a cut of every purchase through the fees they charge businesses. So it’s no surprise that in 2017, Visa announced its “Cashless Challenge” and gave $10,000 to 50 small businesses that stopped accepting cash payments.

Big brother hates cash, too. For decades, governments around the globe have engaged in a War on Cash. The original justification for this war was to fight racketeering. The War on Cash then morphed into the War on Drugs, the War on Money Laundering, and subsequently, the War on Terror.

Numerous countries have placed severe limits on how much cash you can spend at one time.

Spain and France have banned cash transactions over €1,000. If you want to spend more than that, you must use a debit card, credit card, a non-transferrable check, or pay by bank transfer. In Italy, where the cash limit is €3,000, violations are punished by confiscation of up to 40% of the amount paid. In Spain, you lose “only” 25% of your cash if you violate the rules. Similar restrictions are in place in most EU countries. Later this year, Australia will ban cash transactions larger than AU$10,000 (about US$7,500).

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

Brace Yourself: The Next Epic Collapse Could Be Weeks Away

Brace Yourself: The Next Epic Collapse Could Be Weeks Away

There wasn’t a group of people more wrong about the 2008 financial crisis than those at the Federal Reserve.

Mere months before the disaster hit in earnest, the nation’s highest economic and financial officials were vocal that there was nothing to worry about.

Most memorable of these are perhaps two comments from former Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke…

In January 2008, he said, “The Federal Reserve is not currently forecasting a recession.”

And later that year, in July, he said Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac – the two government-sponsored enterprises that kicked off the credit crisis a few months later – were “in no danger of failing.”

And it wasn’t just Bernanke. The same delusional sentiment was echoed by almost all the top Fed and Treasury officials… as well as those in the mainstream financial media and academia.

Of course, we all know how things played out…

When the housing bubble burst in 2008, the effects rippled throughout the economy, kicking off the largest financial and economic crisis since the Great Depression.

And the S&P 500 – a good proxy for the U.S. stock market – went on to fall by over 56%.

The reason I’m telling you this today is to remind you that people exhibit laughable sentiments near the peak of bull markets.

And today, we’re hearing much of the same sentiment that was displayed before the 2008 crisis.

But as you’ll see below, it’s not the only sign I’m seeing of a coming crisis…

A Contrarian Indicator

I’ve written before about why I believe we’re near the peak of the largest bubble in human history.

And as I’m about to show you, there are clear indicators of a coming crisis… in the auto sector… the housing sector… and in the economy as a whole.

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

“Toto, I Don’t Think We’re in Kansas Anymore”

“Toto, I Don’t Think We’re in Kansas Anymore”

Recently, an American colleague commented to me, “We no longer live in a democracy but a dictatorship disguised as a democracy.”

Is he correct? Well, a dictatorship may be defined as “a form of government in which absolute authority is exercised by a dictator.”

The US today is not be ruled by dictatorship (although, to some, it may well feel that way.)

But, if that’s the case, what form of rule does exist in the US?

At its formation, the founding fathers argued over whether the United States should be a republic or a democracy. Those founders who later formed the Federalist Party felt that it should be a democracy – rule by representatives elected by the people. Thomas Jefferson, who created the Democratic Republican Party, argued that it should be a republic – a state in which the method of governance is democracy, but the principle of governance is that the rights of the individual are paramount.

He argued that, “Democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where fifty one percent can vote away the rights of the other forty nine.”

At that time, Benjamin Franklin has been credited as saying, “Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for dinner.”

Very well stated.

As Americans still legally vote, and it may well be that the voting is not altogether rigged, the US could be regarded as a democracy. Of course, to be accurate, it could also be defined as a bureaucracy – rule by officialdom, and/or a plutocracy – rule by the very rich. Both of these descriptions are undeniably accurate.

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

Crossing Borders with Gold and Silver Coins

Crossing Borders with Gold and Silver Coins

It’s well-known that you have to make a declaration if you physically transport $10,000 or more in cash or monetary instruments in or out of the US, or almost any other country; governments collude on these things, often informally.

Gold has always been in something of a twilight zone in that regard. It’s no longer officially considered money. So it’s usually regarded as just a commodity, like copper, lead, or zinc, for these purposes. The one-ounce Canadian Maple Leaf and US Eagle both say they’re worth $50 of currency.

But I’ve had some disturbing experiences over the past couple of years crossing borders with coins. Of course, crossing any national border is potentially disturbing at any time. You might find yourself interrogated, strip searched, or detained for any reason or no reason. But I suspect what happened to me crossing a few borders in recent times could be a straw in the wind.

I’ve gradually accumulated about a dozen one-ounce silver rounds in my briefcase, some souvenirs issued by mining companies, plus others from Canada, Australia, China, and the US. But when I left Chile not long ago, the person monitoring the X-ray machine stopped me and insisted I take them out and show them to her. This had never happened before, but I wrote it off to chance. Then, when I was leaving Argentina a few weeks later, the same thing happened. What was really unusual was that the inspector looked at them, took them back to his supervisor, and then asked if I had any gold coins. I didn’t, he smiled, and I went on.

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

The French Revolution (The Sequel)

The French Revolution (The Sequel)

Here we have an eighteenth century depiction of two-thirds of the motto of the French Revolution – Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité, or “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity.”

It’s significant that Karl Marx was inspired by the French Revolution to form his concept of a utopian society. He envisioned a worldwide revolution in which all people everywhere would do away with the rich and everyone would then be equal. He felt that this could be achieved by peaceful means in England and America, but would require force in Germany and Russia, and a “temporary” dictatorship by the proletariat in order to create the ideal society. The utopia, he said, would from then on be self-sustaining.

As we now know, his utopia was a bit naïve, as revolutionary leaders, once exposed to the heady thrill of achieving power, are extremely reluctant to then give it up. They tend to become far more autocratic and ruthless than their predecessors and, rejecting socialist abnegation for themselves, ultimately become the next aristocracy.

It’s a pity that Mr. Marx didn’t see this coming. It was certainly evident during the French revolution, as is seen in the contemporary banner above, with its prominently featured skull and crossbones. (In case the observer didn’t get the point, the artist further accentuated his composition with the addition of two guillotines.)

Had Mr. Marx been paying attention to the actual results of the revolution, he might have noticed that the “Liberty” was never intended to be liberty for all, merely for some. (The others were meant to offer up their heads to the cause.)

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

Quantitative Brainwashing

Quantitative Brainwashing

We’re all familiar with the term, “quantitative easing.” It’s described as meaning, “A monetary policy in which a central bank purchases government securities or other securities from the market in order to lower interest rates and increase the money supply.”

Well, that sounds reasonable… even beneficial. But, unfortunately, that’s not really the whole story.

When QE was implemented, the purchasing power was weak and both government and personal debt had become so great that further borrowing would not solve the problem; it would only postpone it and, in the end, exacerbate it. Effectively, QE is not a solution to an economic problem, it’s a bonus of epic proportions, given to banks by governments, at the expense of the taxpayer.

But, of course, we shouldn’t be surprised that governments have passed off a massive redistribution of wealth from the taxpayer to their pals in the banking sector with such clever terms. Governments of today have become extremely adept at creating euphemisms for their misdeeds in order to pull the wool over the eyes of the populace.

At this point, we cannot turn on the daily news without being fed a full meal of carefully- worded mumbo jumbo, designed to further overwhelm whatever small voices of truth may be out there.

Let’s put this in perspective for a moment.

For millennia, political leaders have been in the practice of altering, confusing and even obliterating the truth, when possible. And it’s probably safe to say that, for as long as there have been media, there have been political leaders doing their best to control them.

During times of war, political leaders have serially restricted the media from simply telling the truth. During the American civil war, President Lincoln shut down some 300 newspapers and arrested some 14,000 journalists who had the audacity to contradict his statements to the public.

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

This Is How the “Everything Bubble” Will End

This Is How the “Everything Bubble” Will End

I think there’s a very high chance of a stock market crash of historic proportions before the end of Trump’s first term.

That’s because the Federal Reserve’s current rate-hiking cycle, which started in 2015, is set to pop “the everything bubble.”

I’ll explain how this could all play out in a moment. But first, you need to know how the Fed creates the boom-bust cycle…

To start, the Fed encourages malinvestment by suppressing interest rates lower than their natural levels. This leads companies to invest in plants, equipment, and other capital assets that only appear profitable because borrowing money is cheap.

This, in turn, leads to misallocated capital – and eventually, economic loss when interest rates rise, making previously economic investments uneconomic.

Think of this dynamic like a variable rate mortgage. Artificially low interest rates encourage individual home buyers to take out mortgages. If interest rates stay low, they can make the payments and maintain the illusion of solvency.

But once interest rates rise, the mortgage interest payments adjust higher, making them less and less affordable until, eventually, the borrower defaults.

In short, bubbles are inflated when easy money from low interest rates floods into a certain asset.

Rate hikes do the opposite. They suck money out of the economy and pop the bubbles created from low rates.

It Almost Always Ends in a Crisis

Almost every Fed rate-hiking cycle ends in a crisis. Sometimes it starts abroad, but it always filters back to U.S. markets.

Specifically, 16 of the last 19 times the Fed started a series of interest rate hikes, some sort of crisis that tanked the stock market followed. That’s around 84% of the time.

You can see some of the more prominent examples in the chart below.

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

How to Survive the “Deep State”

How to Survive the “Deep State”

Almost everyone looks for a political solution to problems. However, once a Deep State situation has taken over, only a revolution or a dictatorship can turn it around, and probably only in a small country.

Maybe you’re thinking you should get behind somebody like Ron Paul (I didn’t say Rand Paul), should such a person materialize. That would be futile.

Here’s what would happen in the totally impossible scenario that this person was elected and tried to act like a Lee Kuan Yew or an Augusto Pinochet against the Deep State:

First, there would be a “sit-down” with the top dogs of the Praetorian agencies and a bunch of Pentagon officers to explain the way things work.

Then, should he survive, he would be impeached by the running dogs of Congress.

Then, should he survive, whipped dog Americans would revolt at the prospect of having their doggy dishes broken.

Remember, your fellow Americans not only elected Obama, but re-elected him. Do you expect they’ll be more rational as the Greater Depression deepens? Maybe you think the police and the military will somehow help. Forget it…they’re part of the problem. They’re here to protect and serve their colleagues first, then their employer (the State), and only then the public. But the whipped dog likes to parrot: “Thank you for your service.” Which is further proof that there’s no hope.

So what should you do, based on all this? For one thing, don’t waste your time and money trying to change the course of history. Trying to stop the little snowball rolling down the mountainside might have worked many decades ago, but now it’s turned into a gigantic avalanche that’s going to smash the village at the bottom of the valley. I suggest you get out of the way.

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

It’s Not the End of the World

It’s Not the End of the World

Periodically, I’ll encounter someone who has read one of my essays and has decided not to pursue them further, stating, “You’re one of those ‘End of the world’ guys. I can’t be bothered reading the writings of someone who thinks we’re all doomed. I have a more positive outlook than that.”

In actual fact, I agree entirely with his latter two comments. I can’t be bothered reading the thoughts of a writer who says we’re all doomed, either. I, too, have a more positive outlook than that.

My one discrepancy with such comments is that I don’t by any means think that the present state of events will lead to the end of the world, as he assumes.

But then, neither am I naïve enough to think that if I just hope for the best, the powers that be will cease to be parasitical and predatory out of sympathy for me. They will not.

For any serious student of history, one of the great realisations that occurs at some point is that governments are inherently controlling by nature. The more control they have, the more they desire and the more they pursue. After all, governments actually produce nothing. They exist solely upon what they can extract from the people they rule over. Therefore, their personal success is not measured by how well they serve their people, it’s measured by how much they can extract from the people.

And so, it’s a given that all governments will pursue ever-greater levels of power over their minions up to and including the point of total dominance.

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

Shining a Light on the Sociopaths in Politics

Shining a Light on the Sociopaths in Politics

There are at least seven characteristics that define a sociopath, although I’m sure the list could be extended:

  1. Sociopaths completely lack a conscience or any capacity for real regret about hurting people. Although they pretend the opposite.
  2. Sociopaths put their own desires and wants on a totally different level from those of other people. Their wants are incommensurate. They truly believe their ends justify their means. Although they pretend the opposite.
  3. Sociopaths consider themselves superior to everyone else, because they aren’t burdened by the emotions and ethics others have – they’re above all that. They’re arrogant. Although they pretend the opposite.
  4. Sociopaths never accept the slightest responsibility for anything that goes wrong, even though they’re responsible for almost everything that goes wrong. You’ll never hear a sincere apology from them.
  5. Sociopaths have a lopsided notion of property rights. What’s theirs is theirs, and what’s yours is theirs too. They therefore defend currency inflation and taxation as good things.
  6. Sociopaths usually pick the wrong target to attack. If they lose their wallet, they kick the dog. If 16 Saudis fly planes into buildings, they attack Afghanistan.
  7. Sociopaths traffic in disturbing news, they love to pass on destructive rumors, and they’ll falsify information to damage others.

They’re chronic, extremely convincing, and even enthusiastic liars, who often believe their own lies. That means they aren’t easy to spot, because normal people naturally assume another person is telling the truth. They rarely have handlebar mustaches or chortle like Snidely Whiplash. Instead, they cultivate a social veneer or a mask of sanity that diverts suspicion. You can rely on them to be “politically correct” in public. How could a congressman or senator who avidly supports charities possibly be a bad guy?

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

The Future of Privacy

The Future of Privacy

Roughly one hundred years ago, the people who “ran things,” – the drivers behind governments, big business and banking – formulated a concept which became known by a number of names, but, predominantly, as the “New World Order.”

The concept was to put an end to unnecessary competition and warfare and have a central, unelected group of people run the entire world. It was not considered necessary to completely eliminate individual countries; the idea was to control them all centrally. It also didn’t necessarily mean that wars would end. Warfare can be quite useful for rulers, as they provide an excellent distraction from resentment toward the leaders who impose control over a people.

Ever since that time, this same rough group of people has continued generationally. Sometimes, but not always, the family names change. Useful people are added on and less useful ones removed. But the concept itself has continued, evolved and, in fact, gained strength.

But, as yet, the process remains incomplete. Several facets to a New World Order are not yet in place. It’s proven difficult to “fool all of the people all of the time,” so the effort to subjugate an entire world has taken more time than originally anticipated.

An essential component of this control is the elimination of the personal holding of wealth. Whilst the leaders intend to expand their own wealth in an unlimited fashion, they seek to suppress the ability of the average person to increase his own wealth. Wealth leads to independence and independence from a New World Order is unacceptable. Wealth gives people options. They must be taught to accept being herded like cattle and being compliant, or they will become troublesome.

Not surprising then, that, recently, organisations like the OECD have been created to eliminate the individual’s ability to create and maintain wealth for his own benefit.

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

The Great Depression II

The Great Depression II

Whenever a movie has been a huge hit, the film industry tries to follow it up by doing a sequel. The sequel is almost invariably far more costly, as there’s the anticipation by those who create it that it will be an even bigger blockbuster than the original.

The Great Depression of the 1930’s is seen by most people to be the be-all and end-all of economic catastrophes and there’s good reason for that. Although the economic cycle has always existed, the period leading up to October 1929 was unusual, as those in the financial sector had become unusually creative.

Brokers encouraged people to buy into the stock market as heavily as they could afford to. When that business began to level off, they encouraged people to buy on margin. The idea was that the buyer would only put up a fraction of the money for the purchase and the broker would “guarantee” full payment to the seller. As a condition to the agreement, the buyer would have to relinquish to the broker the right to sell his stock at any point that he wished, should he feel the need to do so to get himself off the hook in the event of a significant economic change.

Both the buyer and the broker were buying stocks with money that neither one had. But the broker entered into the gamble so that he could charge commissions, which he would be paid immediately. The buyer entered into the gamble, as he had been promised by the broker that stocks were “going to the moon” and that he’d become rich.

Banks got into the game, as well. At one time, banks took money on deposit, then lent that money out at interest. They would always retain a percentage of the deposited money within the bank to assure that they could meet whatever the normal demand for withdrawals might be.

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

Professional Wrestling and the Media

Professional Wrestling and the Media

As a boy, I was quite non-violent, but I confess to having been fascinated with professional wrestling. For one hour, every Saturday morning, I’d watch Yukon Eric, Haystack Calhoun and Killer Kowalski attack each other in the ring in what was called, “professional wrestling.”

Of course, even as a boy, it was evident that it was a sham. Some wrestlers played the role of angry bullies; others were practically cartoon characters. The threats each made to the other before the match, the silly outfits, the absurd holds and body slams – it was clearly phony.

And yet, each Saturday, my friends would say, “Okay, maybe some of it’s phony, but did you see that guy bleedin’? That was real!”

Were my friends as gullible as that? Well not by nature, possibly, but, if they’d accepted that televised wrestling were totally phony, it would have lost all its excitement. Viewers would grow bored with it and cease to watch it. And, of course, it was so compelling – seeing two tough guys dramatically fighting it out in the ring.

And, of course, there was the tension created, since the protagonists always seemed to have been fairly evenly matched. Some viewers rooted for one wrestler, some rooted for the other. Right until the end of the match, it remained uncertain which would win. Tension was maximized.

But, today, wrestling has been taken to another level. The outfits are more theatrical, the drama is greater and, best of all, pretty women have been introduced. In fact, some had previously been beauty pageant contestants. Somehow it seems that the prettier they are, the more likely they’ll be capable wrestlers.

But, as adults, we’ve matured and are no longer so easily taken in.

Today, as responsible adults, we turn off wrestling and watch network news.

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

Olduvai IV: Courage
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