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Fourth Turning Accelerating Towards Climax

FOURTH TURNING ACCELERATING TOWARDS CLIMAX

“At some point, America’s short-term Crisis psychology will catch up to the long-term post-Unraveling fundamentals. This might result in a Great Devaluation, a severe drop in the market price of most financial and real assets. This devaluation could be a short but horrific panic, a free-falling price in a market with no buyers. Or it could be a series of downward ratchets linked to political events that sequentially knock the supports out from under the residual popular trust in the system. As assets devalue, trust will further disintegrate, which will cause assets to devalue further, and so on. Every slide in asset prices, employment, and production will give every generation cause to grow more alarmed.” – Strauss & Howe – The Fourth Turning

Economists Predict Great Depression II for US Economy: Fast or V ...

I’ve been writing articles about the Fourth Turning for over a decade and nothing has happened since its tumultuous onset in 2008, with the global financial collapse, created by the Federal Reserve and their Wall Street co-conspirator owners, that has not followed along the path described by Strauss and Howe in their 1997 book – The Fourth Turning.

Like molten lava bursting forth from a long dormant (80 years) volcano, the core elements of this Fourth Turning continue to flow along channels of distress, long ago built by bad decisions, corrupt politicians and the greed of bankers. The molten ingredients of this Crisis have been the central drivers since 2008 and this second major eruption is flowing along the same route. The core elements are debt, civic decay, and global disorder, just as Strauss & Howe anticipated over two decades ago.

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

The Cure is Worse than the Disease

Today we look back to the recent past with singleness of purpose.  Context and edification for the present economy is what we’re after.  We have questions…

How come the recovery has been so weak?  Why is it that, nearly seven years after the official end of the Great Recession, the economy’s still mired in a soft muddy quagmire?  Squinting, focusing, and refocusing, there’s one particular week that rises above all others.

Hank the scaremongerHank the scaremonger – in meetings behind closed doors, he threatened Congressmen with financial apocalypse and even martial law if they didn’t hand over $700 billion in tax payer money with essentially no oversight. This has been independently confirmed by several Congressmen. Griffin’s “The Creature from Jekyll Island” is often decried as “conspiracy theory” by establishment shills, but it inter alia contains an eerie prediction of practically everything that eventually happened in 2008.Photo credit: Talks at Google

On Saturday September 20, 2008, Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson delivered a draft of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) to Congress for review.  If you recall, it had been another wild week.  On Monday, September 15, after 158 years of operation, Lehman Brothers vanished from the face of the earth…Dick Fuld, “The Gorilla,” be damned.

All week the sky relentlessly fell on financial markets.  Even money market funds were in full panic.  In fact, a record $169.03 billion of capital had vacated money market funds in the week ended September 17.

That same day, the Wall Street Journal’s headline was, “U.S. to Take Over AIG in $85 Billion Bailout.”  On top of that, the Primary Fund broke the buck – falling to $0.97 cents a share.  The SEC also went so far as to impose a 10 trading-day ban on short sales of 799 financial stocks.

…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…

The Most Devious Liars in the Room

The Most Devious Liars in the Room

There were a few different stories coming out over the last few days that reveal the true nature of government and the apparatchiks who use disinformation, devious machinations, fraudulent accounting, and taxpayer money to cover up their criminality, lies, and the true state of the American economy. The use of government accounting tricks to obscure the truth about our dire financial straits is designed to keep the masses sedated and confused.

A few weeks ago, to great fanfare from the fawning faux journalists who never question any Washington D.C. propaganda, they announced the lowest annual deficit of Obama’s reign of error.

For the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30 the shortfall was $439 billion, a decrease of 9%, or $44 billion, from last year. The deficit is the smallest of Barack Obama’s presidency and the lowest since 2007 in both dollar terms and as a percentage of gross domestic product.

Jack Lew, the Treasury Secretary, and Obama were ecstatic as they boasted about this tremendous accomplishment. I find it disgusting that our leaders hail a $439 billion deficit as a feather in their cap, when until the mid-2000’s the country had never had an annual deficit above $300 billion. After 183 years as a country, the entire national debt was only $427 billion in 1972. Now our beloved leaders cheer annual deficits above that figure. What a warped, deformed, dysfunctional nation we’ve become.

When the government reported this tremendous accomplishment, there was no way to verify the number against the national debt figures, as the government stopped reporting the daily national debt figure because of the debt ceiling impasse with Congress. The farce of these Kabuki Theater exercises in government incompetence is almost beyond comprehension.

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

Iceland’s Bankers Face 74 Years in Prison While US Banks Profit After Your Bailout

Iceland’s Bankers Face 74 Years in Prison While US Banks Profit After Your Bailout

You could ice skate in Hell sooner than see the United States follow in Iceland’s footsteps with this move: the 26th banker was just sentenced to prison for a combined 74 years between them — each of them jailed for their roles in the 2008 economic collapse.

Five top bankers from Iceland’s two largest banks — Landsbankinn and Kaupþing — were found guilty of embezzlement, market manipulation, and breach of fiduciary duties. Though the country’s maximum penalty for financial crimes currently stands at six years, the Supreme Court is currently hearing arguments to extend the limit. Most of those convicted have so far been sentenced to between two and five years.

Do those sentences sound light to you? Perhaps. Until you consider the curious method of punishment the U.S. employed for its thieving bankers.

While Iceland allowed its government to take total financial control when the 2008 crisis took hold, American bankers — in likely the only bail handout given to criminals of mass destruction — received $700 billion in Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) funds.

Thank you, Congress American taxpayer.

Iceland certainly didn’t make it through the crisis unscathed. It repaid the IMF (the final $332 million owed was paid in fullahead of schedule, earlier this month) and other lenders for funds needed to prevent a complete financial meltdown nearly eight years ago. Icelandic bankers are still being held to task for their illegal market legerdemain that nearly brought down the financial planet.

In contrast, not one banker in America has ever (nor will ever?) be held responsible for their criminal acts. Instead, essentially in addition to the $700 billion windfall — Big Banks are now raking in over $160 billion in profit every year.

Iceland’s president, Olafur Ragnar Grimmson, described how his country not only weathered the storm, but has been labeled the first European country to fully recover from the crisis:

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

Fourth Turning: Crisis of Trust

Fourth Turning: Crisis of Trust

“Imagine some national (and probably global) volcanic eruption, initially flowing along channels of distress that were created during the Unraveling era and further widened by the catalyst. Trying to foresee where the eruption will go once it bursts free of the channels is like trying to predict the exact fault line of an earthquake. All you know in advance is something about the molten ingredients of the climax, which could include the following:

  • Economic distress, with public debt in default, entitlement trust funds in bankruptcy, mounting poverty and unemployment, trade wars, collapsing financial markets, and hyperinflation (or deflation)
  • Social distress, with violence fueled by class, race, nativism, or religion and abetted by armed gangs, underground militias, and mercenaries hired by walled communities
  • Cultural distress, with the media plunging into a dizzying decay, and a decency backlash in favor of state censorship
  • Technological distress, with cryptoanarchy, high-tech oligarchy, and biogenetic chaos
  • Ecological distress, with atmospheric damage, energy or water shortages, and new diseases
  • Political distress, with institutional collapse, open tax revolts, one-party hegemony, major constitutional change, secessionism, authoritarianism, and altered national borders
  • Military distress, with war against terrorists or foreign regimes equipped with weapons of mass destruction” 

 The Fourth Turning – Strauss & Howe – 1997

September 2015 marks the seventh anniversary of this Fourth Turning Crisis. The economic, social, cultural, ecological, political, and military distress propagates by the minute as the globe is besieged by economic turmoil, increased human suffering, and endemic corruption of the political and ruling classes. The Federal Reserve/Wall Street created global economic implosion was the spark which catalyzed this fourth Crisis period in U.S. history in September 2008. Neil Howe in a 2012 essay assessed the beginning of this Fourth Turning and why 9/11 was not the catalyst:

“Pending stunning new developments, I believe the catalyst occurred in 2008.  It’s a date that is looking better and better as time goes by.  The year 2008 marked the onset of the most serious U.S. economic crisis since the Great Depression.  

 

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

Why the Bear of 2015 Is Different from the Bear of 2008

Why the Bear of 2015 Is Different from the Bear of 2008

Are there any conditions now that are actually better than those of 2008?

It’s tempting to see similarities in last week’s global stock market mini-crash and the monumental meltdown that almost took down the Global Financial System in 2008-2009. The dizzying drop invites comparison to the last Bear Market that took the S&P 500 from 1,565 in October 2007 to 667 on March 9, 2009.

1. Then: Markets and central banks feared inflation, as WTIC oil had hit $133 per barrel in the summer of 2008.But this Bear is beginning in circumstances quite different from 2007-08. Let’s list a few of the differences:

Now: As oil tests the $40/barrel level, markets and central banks fear deflation.

2. Then: China had a relatively modest $7 trillion in total debt, considerably less than 100% of GDP.

now: China’s debt has quadrupled from $7 trillion in 2007 to $28 trillion as of mid-2014, an astonishing 282% of gross domestic product (GDP)

3. Then: Central banks had a full toolbox of unprecedented monetary surprises to unleash on the market: TARP, TARF, BARF (OK, that one is made up) rescue packages and credit guarantees, quantitative easing (QE), zero interest rate policy (ZIRP) and direct purchases of mortgages, to name just the top few.

Now: The central bank toolbox is empty: every tool has already been deployed on an unprecedented scale. Every potential new program is simply a retread of QE, yield curve bending, asset purchases, etc.–the same old bag of tricks.

4. Then: Central banks had a relatively clean slate to work with. Interventions in the market and economy were limited to suppressing interest rates in the post-dot-com meltdown era.

Now: Central banks have never stopped intervening since 2008. The market is in effect a reflection of 6+ years of unprecedented central bank interventions. Rather than a clean slate, central banks face a global marketplace that is dominated by incentives to speculate with leveraged/borrowed money established by 6 years of central bank policies.

 

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

 

BREAKING BAD (DEBT) – EPISODE TWO

BREAKING BAD (DEBT) – EPISODE TWO

‘If you’re committed enough, you can make any story work. I once told a woman I was Kevin Costner, and it worked because I believed it’ – Saul Goodman – Breaking Bad

“As calamitous as the sub-prime blowup seems, it is only the beginning. The credit bubble spawned abuses throughout the system. Sub-prime lending just happened to be the most egregious of the lot, and thus the first to have the cockroaches scurrying out in plain view. The housing market will collapse. New-home construction will collapse. Consumer pocketbooks will be pinched. The consumer spending binge will be over. The U.S. economy will enter a recession.” – Eric Sprott – 2007

In Part One of this article I provided the background of how our current debt saturated economy got to this point of ludicrousness. The “crazy” bloggers, prophets of doom, and analysts who could do basic math were warning of an impending financial crisis in 2006 and 2007, which would be caused by the issuance of hundreds of billions in subprime slime by the Too Big To Trust Wall Street shysters. Subprime mortgages, auto loans, and credit card lines provided the kindling for the 2008 conflagration.

Under normal circumstances we wouldn’t have seen such irrational, reckless, greedy behavior from Wall Street for another generation. But, Wall Street didn’t have to accept the consequences of their actions. They were bailed out and further enriched by their puppets at the Federal Reserve, the lackey politicians they installed in Washington D.C., and on the backs of honest, hard-working, tax paying Americans. The lesson they learned was they could continue to take excessive, reckless, unregulated risks without concern for losses, downside, or consequences.

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

 

 

Occupied by Wall Street – The Latest TARP Taxpayer Screw-Job is Revealed

Occupied by Wall Street – The Latest TARP Taxpayer Screw-Job is Revealed

The Treasury-created market has benefited a few savvy investors, while saddling taxpayers with a loss. Three private funds, which the report didn’t name, have won almost half the shares available at auction, often netting either a profit on paper or on the resale, according to the special inspector general for the Troubled Asset Relief Program. The Treasury, which has held 185 auctions to date, said it has raised about $3 billion on TARP investments that were originally valued at $3.8 billion, for a loss of $800 million at the auctions.

The Treasury “set up this market where investors could come in quickly and flip and profit,” said Christy Romero, TARP’s special inspector general, in an interview.

– From the Wall Street Journal article: Hedge Funds, Private Equity Win Big at TARP Auctions

One story that I’ve told several times on this site has to do with the day TARP passed. How I got into work extremely early and starting irately yelling about how TARP represented the end of America as we knew it. There weren’t many people on the trading floor at the time, but my boss was there and he told me to take a “walk around the block.” I politely declined, but continued to seethe at my desk.

It’s almost shocking to see the horrific transformation that has occurred in the subsequent six years. It’s so bad, that many people now take things that would’ve been considered unconscionable just a few years ago as part of the “new normal.” There will be a horrible price to pay for this perspective.

The latest scam unveiled by the Wall Street Journal is just the latest example of how and why all the income during the oligarch recovery has gone to, well, oligarchs.

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

 

A Solemn Pause|Kunstler

A Solemn Pause|Kunstler

Events are moving faster than brains now. Isn’t it marvelous that gasoline at the pump is a buck cheaper than it was a year ago? A lot of short-sighted idiots are celebrating, unaware that the low oil price is destroying the capacity to deliver future oil at any price. The shale oil wells in North Dakota and Texas, the Tar Sand operations of Alberta, and the deep-water rigs here and abroad just don’t pencil-out economically at $45-a-barrel. So the shale oil wells that are up-and-running will produce for a year and there will be no new ones drilled when they peter out — which is at least 50 percent the first year and all gone after four years.

Anyway, the financial structure of the shale play was suicidal from the get-go. You finance the drilling and fracking with high-yield “junk bonds,” that is, money borrowed from “investors.” You drill like mad and you produce a lot of oil, but even at $105-a-barrel you can’t make profit, meaning you can’t really pay back the investors who loaned you all that money, a lot of it obtained via Too Big To Fail bank carry-trades, levered-up on ”margin,” which allowed said investors to pretend they were risking more money than they had. And then all those levered-up investments — i.e. bets — get hedged in a ghostly underworld of unregulated derivatives contracts that pretend to act as insurance against bad bets with funny money, but in reality can never pay out because the money is not there (and never was.) And then come the margin calls. Uh Oh….

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

 

The Greater Abomination: Washington’s Lies About TARP’s “Success” Are Worse Than The Original Bailouts, Part I | David Stockman’s Contra Corner

The Greater Abomination: Washington’s Lies About TARP’s “Success” Are Worse Than The Original Bailouts, Part I | David Stockman’s Contra Corner.

The mainstream economics narrative is so far down the monetary rabbit hole that the blinding clarity of the chart below has no chance whatsoever of seeing the light of day. That’s because it dramatizes the real truth regarding all the Fed gibberish about “accommodation” and “stimulus”. Namely, that what lies beneath its “extraordinary measures”, such as ZIRP, QE, wealth effects and the rest of the litany, is a central banking regime that systematically destroy savers.  Period.

Just take the simple case of a worker who joined the labor force in 1969 at $100 per week or $5,200 annually, and worked at the average non-supervisory weekly wage posted by the BLS every year through 2009. By that point he or she would have attained an ending wage of $600 per week or $31k annually, and a 40-year average annual income of about $20k in nominal terms. With a normal load of payroll and state and local withholding, the latter would have left about $15,000 per year on an after-tax basis.

Upon retirement this BLS tracking worker could have possibly accumulated $100,000 in a savings nest egg—-but only if he or she had been completely atypical and set aside an average of 17% of after-tax income each and every year. Needless to say, that would have precluded nearly all everyday “luxuries” such as  a regular new car, an occasional trip to Disneyland, a bass boat for weekend fishing and most other like and similar modest indulgences. Instead, deep thrift would have been the omnipresent watchword of this household.

…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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