Wednesday, August 23, 2017

The Daily "Near You?"

Coppenbrügge, Niedersachsen, Germany.
Thanks for stopping by!

"Our Revels Now Are Ended"

"Our Revels Now Are Ended"

"Our revels now are ended. These our actors, 
As I foretold you, were all spirits and 
Are melted into air, into thin air: 
And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, 
The cloud-capp'd towers, the gorgeous palaces, 
The solemn temples, the great globe itself, 
Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve 
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, 
Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff 
As dreams are made on, and our little life 
Is rounded with a sleep." 

- William Shakespeare, 
"The Tempest", Act 4 Scene 1 

"Above the Infinite Rest"

"Above the Infinite Rest" written by David Bergen.
Featured Painting: "Above the Infinite Rest" by Isaac Levitan, 1891.
Music track: "Surfing the Clouds" from the album "Empty Sky" by Deuter.

Musical Interlude: Deuter, “Uno”

Deuter, “Uno”

"How It Really Is"

"We Have Met The Enemy..."

- Walt Kelly, "Pogo"

"The Imperial Collapse Clock Ticks Closer To Midnight"

"The Imperial Collapse Clock Ticks Closer To Midnight"
by Mike Krieger

"As I noted in last Friday’s piece, "Donald Trump Finally Comes Out of the Closet", the firing of Steve Bannon represents the most significant event to occur during the Trump administration thus far. For the purposes of this piece, it’s important to review some of what I wrote: "Irrespective of what you think of Bannon, him being out means Wall Street and the military-industrial complex is now 100% in control of the Trump administration. Prepare for an escalation of imperial war around the world and an expansion of brutal oligarchy.

The removal of Bannon is the end of even a facade of populism. This is now the Goldman Sachs Presidency with a thin-skinned, unthinking authoritarian as a figurehead. Meanwhile, guess who’s still there in addition to the Goldman executives? Weed obsessed, civil asset forfeiture supporting Jefferson Sessions. The Trump administration just bacame ten times more dangerous than it was before. With the coup successful, Trump no longer needs to be impeached.

Here’s another prediction. Watch the corporate media start to lay off Trump a bit more going forward. Rather than hysterically demonize him for every little thing, corporate media will increasingly give him more of the benefit of the doubt. After all, a Presidency run by Goldman Sachs and generals is exactly what they like. Trump finally came out of the closet as the anti-populist oligarch he is, and the results won’t be pretty."

Of course, his cheerleaders will remain enthusiastically in denial about what’s happened to their hero, but Trump has been totally brought to heel, a fact that’ll become increasingly crystal clear in the months ahead. This is now your standard Wall Street and military-industrial complex run Presidency.

Last night’s announcement of a recommitment to the Afghanistan war is the earliest evidence that Trump has been completely castrated and will now play by status quo rules with little to no friction. This Presidency will very quickly begin to look like the fifth George W. Bush term (Obama was three and four), on every single issue of genuine importance to oligarchs. Wedge cultural issues will continue to be hyped up hysterically by the corporate media since people can’t help themselves from taking the bait. It’s the perfect way to divide and conquer the populace, while pushing through what they really want. Oligarchs could care less about the outcomes of social issues, which is why they intentionally and incessantly hype them up. They’ll do anything to prevent the public from coming together in opposition to war, Wall Street bailouts and elite criminality generally, and the public is very easy to manipulate. The quicker smart Trump voters wise up to what’s happened, the better.

If you haven’t watched Trump’s Afghanistan speech by now you really should. It’s not good enough to read anyone else’s summary, you need to hear it for yourselves. It’s only 25 minutes long. As I started listening, I sensed myself getting angry. It was the same empty, bullshit propaganda I’ve been hearing from U.S. Presidents my entire life. This broken record of disingenuousness has become simply unbearable, and even worse, I know it’s going to work on millions upon millions of Americans. We refuse to think for ourselves, and we refuse to admit the obvious. There will be hell to pay for this ignorance and denial.

Trump begins by explaining to the American public why he made a flip-flop that would make Barack Obama blush. He claims there are three conclusions he came to as a result of his grand introspection and wisdom. Let’s tackle the absurdity of each of them one by one.

First, he says he doesn’t think the U.S. should pull out because “our nation must seek an honorable and enduring outcome.” Let’s revisit a few facts. First, at 16 years old, this is already the longest war in American history. It was a war started after the most deadly terrorist attack on American soil, and near the height the U.S. imperial power. Nevertheless, the war’s been a complete and total failure. It was a failure under Bush, it was a failure under Obama and it will be a failure under Trump. To believe that Trump will usher in an “honorable and enduring outcome” in Afghanistan is to say he will succeed where his predecessors failed merely because…he’s Trump. Not gonna happen.

His second conclusion is that he doesn’t want to repeat what he deems to have been the big mistake made in Iraq; namely, that the U.S. left too soon. This is extremely telling. He doesn’t talk about how the war was based on a gigantic lie pushed by neocons and the “liberal” corporate press from The Washington Post to The New York Times. The biggest mistake in Iraq was starting the war in the first place. If we can’t admit such an obvious lesson from Iraq, of course all the solutions we come up will prove to be failures. The American empire is running on empty, fueled by never-ending insanity and a drive to vacuum in billions exporting weapons. There’s no vision, no wisdom and absolutely no exit strategy.

His third point revolves around how Pakistan has become a growing problem due to its harboring terrorists. He demands a change of course and increased cooperation. Guess which country he didn’t mention? The greatest sponsor of Islamic radicalization the world has ever seen: Saudi Arabia. This once again proves that Trump represents the same old tired thinking that’s been running the U.S. economy and society into the ground for decades. This is now a 100% establishment Presidency, which will be completely defined by establishment thinking. In other words, imperial collapse is coming.

Then towards the end of the speech, Trump says the following: "In every generation we have faced down evil, and we have always prevailed. We prevailed because we know who we are and what we are fighting for."

Unfortunately, here’s the cold hard truth: We have no idea who we are, and we have no idea what we are fighting for. We’ve become the very evil he claims to be fighting against as the nation morphed into a pernicious, destructive, and immoral empire. This is the heart of the problem - we are constantly lying to ourselves. Of course, we’ll never set things on the right track if we can’t diagnose the disease in the first place.

We’ve torched our national treasure and goodwill by running around the world trying to push everybody around, and simultaneously institutionalized a corrupt and predatory neo-feudal society at home. We’ve ignored our own people in a foolish and self-destructive quest to maintain and grow empire and the results will not be pretty. Finally, let’s end with a little something to contemplate:

“Deep State First”

“Deep State First”
by Bill Bonner

"Yesterday, Donald Trump, president of all the Americans, said his country would spend more blood and money trying to force the Afghans to do what it wants them to do, whatever that is. And so…a darkness covered the land.

From Sioux City to Savannah…a shadow passed between Earth and sun. Strange and fearful events were reported. A calf was born with two heads outside of Des Moines. Pomegranate trees flowered in Manhattan. An LGBTQQ+ person wondered ‘WTF?’ The people were sore afraid. Nowhere was the darkness deeper than in the nation’s capital. There, no light shone. No flicker of awareness…observation…learning…or reflection appeared.

Lighting a candle: Donald J Trump had promised to light a candle. But it was nowhere to be seen. Five years ago, he said, ‘Ron Paul is right.’ The Afghanistan adventure was ‘wasting our money.’ It was a ‘total disaster,’ he added. He asked, ‘What are we doing there? These people hate us.’ Then, a year later, he said, ‘We should leave Afghanistan immediately.’

And in his bid for the White House, he had offered something better. ‘America First,’ he called it. Instead of trying, fruitlessly, to build a better country in the Hindu Kush, he would try to build a better country at home! No more losing wars. No more strangling regulations. No more losing deals with the rest of the world. Even from the mouth of Donald Trump, these promises sounded good, good enough to win the nation’s highest office.

Democratic sham: You will recall, the election of Donald J Trump brought controversy to the Diary; many Dear Readers got very cross with us. Today, we back up to look at what the fuss was all about.

In the first place, we believe that democracy, as practiced in a big, degenerate empire, is largely a sham. Voting is a waste of time; we said so then.

In the second place, we thought the Deep State - the few insiders who really run the government - had either already made peace with Mr Trump or would soon do so, after the election.

In the third place, we identified a chief cause of America’s economic malaise (as well as many of its other problems): the fake-money system, which encourages the build-up of debt and enriches Wall Street while reducing the real output and wealth of the Main Street economy.

In the fourth place, this fake-money system is the source of funding for the Deep State. It cannot give it up, no matter who is president. As long as this system remains in place, the Deep State will continue to grow - by legislation, regulation, hook or crook.

In the fifth place, you can’t really build a decent economy on phony money, debt, and forcing win-lose deals on the public. Each day that passes adds more debt, more complexity, and more misallocation of resources. Sooner or later, the whole shebang is going to blow up.

Just hours after the results came in last November, our view looked basically right. The new president gathered in the two most important branches of the Deep State - the Gunmen (representing the military-security industries) and the Goldmen (representing Goldman Sachs and Wall Street). Obviously, a deal had been struck - or tacitly acknowledged. Wall Street and the Pentagon - ‘my generals’ - were already part of the team. With them in place, Trump could be Trump with no fear of disrupting the Deep State’s privileges and position.

‘No…he’s going to shake things up,’ readers protested. ‘He’s our only hope.’ ‘Give him time.’ But time and money are running out.

Ticking clock: Yesterday, under pressure from the generals, Donald Trump abandoned the promise of an ‘America First’ foreign policy. The US has lost 2,350 soldiers in Afghanistan, and spent $1 trillion. And now, even more resources will be brought to bear so that the longest, most pointless war in US history can continue. Trump himself may be in favor of change. But US foreign policy under the Trump administration is the same as it was under Barack Obama. It favors the Deep State’s military-security industries - as it has for at least the last 17 years.

There is no change to Obamacare, or any other significant domestic program, either. The Deep State’s zombie support/medical-educational-retirement transfer programs remain in place, too.

But while Trump and the media focus on Confederate monuments, Russia, North Korea, transsexuals, and whirlwind crises, the clock ticks. The feds have only enough cash for about six weeks of operations. Then, they will bump up against the current debt ceiling. The Deep State must raise the debt ceiling in order to keep the fake money flowing. But raising the debt ceiling may not be easy.

Conservative Republicans will want to know: ‘With the national debt already headed to $30 trillion, just where do we think we’re going?’ ‘We’ll agree to raise the debt ceiling,’ say the liberal Democrats, ‘but only if you leave O’Care alone.’ ‘Hey, what about that bridge in my district?’ asks the independent. And so, the darkness spreads. More to come…”

Greg Hunter, “Record High Personal Debt Could Cause Financial Avalanche”

“Record High Personal Debt Could Cause Financial Avalanche”
By Greg Hunter’s USAWatchdog.com 

"Financial newsletter writer Lior Gantz is deeply concerned about the political divide gripping the nation.Gants contends, “I think the U.S. is divided politically to a point where it’s dangerous. I have not studied any time in history where the U.S. was so politically divided. Just to give you an idea, 61% of Trump supporters say that Trump cannot go wrong. Whatever he does, he cannot go wrong. Now, 57% of the people who are against him say no matter what he does, they will never support him. This country is very divided, and division is the most detrimental part of any democracy.”

Gantz also connects the dots between economic stability and political stability with the recent visit by Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin to see America’s gold held in Fort Knox. Mnuchin tweeted out, “Glad gold is safe.” Gantz says the fact Mnuchin felt he had to do this now is worrisome. Gantz contends, “The fact that he tweets about it saying the gold is here, it’s fine, I would say that is alarming, but it is also very amateur on the part of government. With the debt ceiling, it looks like this is meant to reassure foreign investors and the bond holders, people like the Chinese, the Russians and Middle Easterners, that the U.S. is solid and the U.S. is not divided, and the debt ceiling will be raised, that they won’t default. To me, it looks like a very failed attempt to create assurance with the public, either to the foreign or American public. It all plays into this volatility once September arrives.”

Gantz says the global economy is filled with extreme debt and is susceptible to panic. Gantz says, “The refugee situation in the Middle East and the division in the U.S. is all a cause to worry about what I call discontinuity. Discontinuity means a brief market shutdown. It could be a few days when markets shut down and exchanges shut down. If you have discontinuity, that is a major game changer.  What can lead to this is a terrorist attack, a large terrorist attack like you saw on 9/11. It could be a nuclear attack or the threat of a nuclear attack, or a major bank run. If you have any of these three happening in Europe or in the United States or in China, all of these derivatives that are very problematic, they will change their value in a matter of hours or days. These effect the balance sheet of most banks, governments, institutions, sovereign wealth funds, pension funds and this is insane. So, a discontinuity is definitely the worst thing that can happen.”

Gantz says the most dangerous debt problem in the world is not debt held by governments, but personal debt held by the public. Gantz says, “Personal consumer debt is at an all-time high. When student debt is at an all-time high, when mortgage debt is at an all-time high, when you have car loan delinquencies at an all-time highs, these are debts the government will not insure. You don’t think the government will come in and save every student or people with credit card debt, do you? This is the debt people need to worry about. What happens when the people can’t pay their own debt? That is a game changer because that will not be backed by any government. This could create the avalanche that will send the markets tumbling down.”

Join Greg Hunter as he goes One-on-One with Lior Gantz, 

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Musical Interlude: 2002, “An Ocean Apart”


2002, “An Ocean Apart

"A Look to the Heavens"

“Point your telescope toward the high flying constellation Pegasus and you can find this expanse of Milky Way stars and distant galaxies. Centered on NGC 7814, the pretty field of view would almost be covered by a full moon. NGC 7814 is sometimes called the Little Sombrero for its resemblance to the brighter more famous M104, the Sombrero Galaxy.  
 Click image for larger size.
Both Sombrero and Little Sombrero are spiral galaxies seen edge-on, and both have extensive central bulges cut by a thinner disk with dust lanes in silhouette. In fact, NGC 7814 is some 40 million light-years away and an estimated 60,000 light-years across. That actually makes the Little Sombrero about the same physical size as its better known namesake, appearing to be smaller and fainter only because it is farther away. A very faint dwarf galaxy, potentially a satellite of NGC 7814, is revealed in the deep exposure just below the Little Sombrero.”

"Ten Rules For Being Human"

 "Ten Rules For Being Human"
by Cherie Carter-Scott

Rule One:
You will receive a body. You may love it or hate it, 
but it will be yours for the duration of your life on Earth.

Rule Two:
You will be presented with lessons.

 You are enrolled in a full-time informal school called 'life.' 
Each day in this school you will have the opportunity to learn lessons. 
You may like the lessons or hate them, 
but you have designed them as part of your curriculum.

Rule Three:
There are no mistakes, only lessons. Growth is a process of experimentation,
a series of trials, errors, and occasional victories. The failed experiments
are as much a part of the process as the experiments that work.

Rule Four:
A lesson is repeated until learned. Lessons will be repeated to you in various
forms until you have learned them. When you have learned them,
you can then go on to the next lesson.

Rule Five:
Learning does not end. There is no part of life that does not contain lessons.
If you are alive, there are lessons to be learned.

Rule Six:
'There' is no better than 'here'. When your 'there' has become a 'here,' you will
simply obtain a 'there' that will look better to you than your present 'here'.

Rule Seven:
Others are only mirrors of you. You cannot love or hate something about another
person unless it reflects something you love or hate about yourself.

Rule Eight:
What you make of your life is up to you. You have all the tools and resources you need.
What you do with them is up to you.

Rule Nine:
Your answers lie inside of you. All you need to do is look, listen, and trust.

Rule Ten:
You will forget all of this at birth. You can remember it if you want by
 unravelling the double helix of inner knowing.

- Cherie Carter-Scott,
From "If Life is a Game, These are the Rules"

X22 Report, “It Begins, China Pulls West Investment Dollars & Redirects It East”

X22 Report, “It Begins, China Pulls West Investment Dollars & Redirects It East”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k9M4GFSw1JY
Related followup report:
X22 Report, “Last Nights Message, Was It To The Cabal?”
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lVu2JEDgtb4

The Daily "Near You?"

Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. Thanks for stopping by!

"Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish"

"Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish."
- Steve Jobs, 
Commencement Speech, Stanford University, 2005

"When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: "If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you'll most certainly be right." It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: "If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?" And whenever the answer has been "No" for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything - all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don't want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life's change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true...

When I was young, there was an amazing publication called "The Whole Earth Catalog", which was one of the bibles of my generation. It was created by a fellow named Stewart Brand not far from here in Menlo Park, and he brought it to life with his poetic touch. This was in the late 1960's, before personal computers and desktop publishing, so it was all made with typewriters, scissors, and polaroid cameras. It was sort of like Google in paperback form, 35 years before Google came along: it was idealistic, and overflowing with neat tools and great notions.

Click image for larger size.

Stewart and his team put out several issues of "The Whole Earth Catalog", and then when it had run its course, they put out a final issue. It was the mid-1970s, and I was your age. On the back cover of their final issue was a photograph of an early morning country road, the kind you might find yourself hitchhiking on if you were so adventurous. Beneath it were the words: "Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish." It was their farewell message as they signed off. Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. And I have always wished that for myself. And now I wish that for you. Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish."

"Read It and Weep"

"Read It and Weep"
by The Johnsville News 
"And people ask why newspapers are going out of business."
- http://johnsville.blogspot.com/

Besides the fact that 87% of the herd can't read it...

"Where Have All The Skilled Workers Gone?"

"Only 13% of U.S. adults have English reading and comprehension
 skills considered to be proficient."

Aimed at employers, but the facts are shocking, or should be, to us all...
- http://www.youtube.com/watch

The other 87%:

As the great Mogambo Guru would say, "We're so freakin' doomed!"
- CP

Chet Raymo, “Angling For Happiness”

“Angling For Happiness”
by Chet Raymo

“There is a concept in physics called angle of repose. Set an object, a book say, on a plank. Now slowly tip up one end of the plank until the moment when the book just starts to slide. The angle between the plank and the horizontal is the angle of repose, where the component of the gravitational force down the plank becomes greater than the maximum friction force holding the book at rest. Or, in more evocative terms - as I write I am lying on the couch with the laptop in my lap, in perfect repose. If you started tipping up the couch, at some point I'd go sliding into a heap at the bottom. That's the angle of repose, or perhaps it would be more accurate to call it the angle of the end of repose.

This comes to mind because I just spent fifteen minutes on my knees in the yard watching ants excavate a nest in the ground. One by one they scurry out of the hole carrying a tiny grain of sand, which they dump in a ring around the hole. A circular pile. Now if the ants just dumped their burdens at the mouth of the hole, pretty soon the pile would get so steep that the sand grains would slide back into the hole. Instead, the circular ring gets higher and wider, with a slope that never exceeds the angle at which the grains will slip - the angle of repose. Now here's the thing: the ants almost invariably carry their grain to just beyond the top of the pile. If the grain slips, it will slide away from the hole. These tiny ants, hardly bigger than sand grains themselves, understand a little physics in their mysterious instinctive way.

Wallace Stegner has a novel titled "Angle of Repose." It is indeed an evocative phrase. In a job, in a relationship, in life itself, many of us instinctively seek that maximum degree of individual gratification that will satisfy emotional needs without doing violence to our essential repose, and that of those around us - the art of walking close to the edge, the thrill without the spill. Every day in the news we hear of folks - politicians or celebrities - who tipped the plank too far, whose lives went sliding into self-destruction, who failed to grasp, metaphorically speaking, something that a tiny ant instinctively understands.”

The Poet: Tom Disch, "What to Accept"

"What to Accept"

"The fact of mountains. The actuality
Of any stone - by kicking, if necessary.
The need to ignore stupid people,
While restraining one's natural impulse
To murder them. The change from your dollar,
Be it no more than a penny,
For without a pretense of universal penury
There can be no honor between rich and poor.
Love, unconditionally, or until proven false.
The inevitability of cancer and/or
Heart disease. The dialogue as written,
Once you've taken the role. Failure,
Gracefully. Any hospitality
You're willing to return. The air
Each city offers you to breathe.
The latest hit. Assistance.
All accidents. The end."

- Tom Disch

“The Dirty Trick That’s Destroying Us”

“The Dirty Trick That’s Destroying Us”
by Paul Rosenberg

"Every civilization has its own peculiar characteristics, and because of them, each has its own vulnerable areas, areas that a clever adversary can take advantage of. Our Western civilization is no exception. And most unfortunately, we’ve been under a sharp attack for many years by people who found our weakness and are exploiting it. I’ll explain how and what we need to do about it.

Our Foundations: Western civilization was built upon the Judeo-Christian tradition, and primarily on the Christian tradition. Anyone who claims differently simply doesn’t understand the civilization or doesn’t want to. Whether or not the doctrines of Judaism and Christianity are true, these are the foundations of our civilization. That can’t really be disputed. These principles – things like compassion for the outsider, forgiveness, and loving your neighbor – are demands for enlightened and righteous action in the world.

So, how do you subvert people in a culture centered on righteous action? You convince them of sin of course. You find one way after another to make them feel like they – and their civilization – have failed to be righteous; that’s the weak point. Then you convince them that they need to absolve themselves in ways that suit your agenda.

Have you noticed that the guilt slingers always have a preset conclusion for you… a single thing you must do to absolve the guilt they tossed upon you?

Here’s an example: An imposer of guilt says that your community has allowed sewage to be poured into the river. And along with that comes an either/or solution: A new regulatory agency must be given sweeping powers, and if you don’t agree, you favor sewage in drinking water!

This trick has been eviscerating the West for decades. There’s even a well-known school of thought known as critical theory that promotes this. These people have dedicated themselves to criticizing everything possible about Western civilization, and have prospered by it.

Their tool is weaponized guilt… the West’s Kryptonite. So, if we’re going to survive as a civilization – and I think we really, really should – we must stop being suckers to everyone with a fresh criticism. These people are not trying to build; they're trying to tear down. Stated differently, we must stop believing that we suck. Because we don’t.

How to Ditch the Guilt: We ditch our guilt by facing up to what we’ve done in the past. And we can start that process by giving ourselves credit for the good things we’ve done. We’re not supposed to pretend that those things never happened; we’re supposed to feel good about them.

Secondly, we need to face the things we’ve actually done wrong and fix them. If you were unfair or cruel or whatever, gather up your guts and fix it. Go to the person you hurt and apologize. Make a public statement if you must. Restore what was lost any way you can. If that’s hard or embarrassing, tough. Do it anyway.

We become suckers for guilt when we leave our errors in an unfixed state. We can fool others, but we know what we’ve done and we know what we haven’t repaired. That state of mind makes us vulnerable to guilt. So face your errors and fix them.

Adding to our troubles is the fact that huge swaths of modern Christianity focus on telling people how badly they suck. It’s how they “evangelize.” I’ll pass up a dissertation on how Christianity has strayed from its roots, but I'd like you to understand that Jesus’s message was not “You suck.” In one place he repeats and defends the saying, “You are gods.” In another he says that God loves us as much as God loved him (Jesus).

But regardless of theology, we need to ditch the guilt. If you’ve done something bad, fix it. Then fix yourself so you don’t repeat it. But after that, stop complying with people who trade in guilt.

Guilt Mixed with Politics Is Nothing but a Weapon: Please remember that guilt plus politics is a toxic mixture. It serves to dethrone reason and transfer power to clever abusers. Don’t concede good intentions to people who wield this weapon against you. They aim to chop things down, not to repair them. Let me make this very clear: Guilt mixed with politics is poison. It’s a weapon designed to destroy Western civilization. So repair your errors and then reject the guilt."

Musical Interlude: Outlaws, “Green Grass and High Tides”

Outlaws, “Green Grass and High Tides”

"Say Goodbye to Your Safe Deposit Box"

"Say Goodbye to Your Safe Deposit Box"
By Jeff Thomas

"In 2013, the banks of Cyprus confiscated the deposits of many of their clients. There was no warning and there was little in the way of explanation, except to say that it was “necessary,” as the banks had been mismanaged to the point that, unless the deposits were confiscated, the banks would fail. Governments and banks the world over nodded in agreement. This was clearly the right thing to do.

But, hang on a moment. The depositors had entrusted the banks with the safeguarding of their wealth. This was a case of theft. The bankers had, in effect, robbed the banks.

At that time, I wrote on the subject, stating that, by endorsing the theft as “necessary,” the banks and governments of the world had given the act their seal of approval. Well, of course they would. They’re all in the confiscation business, jointly and severally. Their approval is much the same as a sheep and two wolves voting on what will be had for dinner. With the depositor in the role of the sheep, the outcome of the vote is pre-ordained.

And yet, partly because the “respectable” banks and governments publicly agreed with the theft and partly because Cyprus is just a tiny, inconsequential island, the people of the larger world accepted the concept that, when a bank gets itself in trouble, it should have the authority to rob its depositors in order to create a bail-in. The precedent has been set. And, for this reason, we can, in future, expect banks and governments to further pillage those who are foolish enough to store their wealth in banks.

As I’ve mentioned in previous essays, the EU now has a bail-in law that allows any bank within the EU to confiscate deposits if it unilaterally decides that it’s in an “emergency” situation. This law was passed in 2014. Canada had already passed its bail-in law in 2013 and the US pre-empted the trend by passing its bail-in law in 2010 – three years prior to the Cyprus theft. Cyprus was therefore the trial balloon to see if the banks and governments could pull off such a theft without causing rebellion. They were imminently successful and therefore opened the door for further confiscation.

But what form will that take? As I suggested at the time, we should expect that the most obvious next step would be the confiscation of the contents of safety deposit boxes located in banks and, indeed, there have been EU countries that have made inroads into this area.

And, in the US in April, 2015, Chase Bank advised clients who rent safe deposit boxes that the storage of “cash or coins other than those found to have a collectible value,” was no longer acceptable.

But now, Greece has led the way with the next trial-balloon – mass confiscation of safe deposit boxes, plus confiscation of securities and wealth held in private homes. The new confiscation legislation has been termed a means of addressing tax evasion, which suggests that the only persons who will lose their wealth will be those who have defrauded the tax system. However, it will be up to the Greek government to unilaterally decide whether assets contained in a safe deposit box have been adequately explained as to their origins and funding.

So, what might they have planned? Will it be the occasional confiscation, as situations arise in which a taxpayer is not forthcoming with requested information? Apparently not. The Greek Parliament is set to pass regulations “permitting the mass confiscation of safe deposit box contents and financial assets such as securities.”

“Once the necessary regulations are in place for the operation of an automatic system to collect debts, the tax authorities will be able to issue online confiscation notices and immediately get their hands on the contents of safe deposit boxes, confiscating cash, precious stones, jewelry and so on. They will also be able to confiscate shares and other securities.” (as stated in Zero Hedge)

The Independent Authority for Public Revenue expects to collect 690 million euros of “new debts” from “major debtors.” If this projected number sounds more to the reader like a government revenue target than an assessment of unknown levels of wealth currently in safe deposit boxes, he can be forgiven for being suspicious. In fact, the mere existence of such a large projected number is more suggestive of a looting expedition.

But, of course, it would be easy to view this development as being of little importance, as it’s taking place in Greece, a country that’s known to be in economic difficulty, due to its unpayable debt. Not to worry, then. Except… Europe in general is over its head in debt and EU membership assures that all countries in the EU share that debt. Across the pond, in Canada and the US, the debt level is even greater. We can therefore anticipate that Greece will prove to be the trial balloon for each of the latter jurisdictions.

And of one thing we can be sure: there will be no announcements that such confiscatory laws will be passed, since the other confiscatory laws were also unannounced. Since no notice is required that a confiscation is going to happen, you’re unlikely to know of your loss until you hear that the safe deposit boxes of other individuals have been emptied. At that point, yours may also have been emptied.

In periods of economic crisis, banks and governments have a habit of resorting to desperate measures to save their skins. Such a period is presently unfolding. The warning flag is out – soon, a “safe” deposit box will be anything but safe.

There are two ways to say goodbye to your safe deposit box. The first is to wait until it has been emptied by the bank. The second is to clear it out yourself. I would wholeheartedly recommend that you choose the latter."

"How It Really Is"

"Tell Me, And Tell The Truth..."

"Tell me yourself, I challenge you— answer. Imagine that you are creating a fabric of human destiny with the object of making men happy in the end, giving them peace and rest at last, but that it was essential and inevitable to torture to death only one tiny creature... and to found that edifice on its unavenged tears: would you consent to be the architect on those conditions? Tell me, and tell the truth.”
- Dostoevsky, "The Brothers Karamazov"

"A Darkness Is Spreading Across the US”

"A Darkness Is Spreading Across the US”
by Bill Bonner

"Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And the process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right."
- George Orwell, “1984”

"Today, a darkness spreads across the country. From coast to coast, we are benighted…in a total eclipse of good sense. We ended yesterday wondering what future generations will think of us. We take away our monuments in the dead of night, and spit on the graves of our ancestors in the light of day.

Smashing statues: A now-famous photo shows a stout young woman in North Carolina stomping on a statue of a Confederate soldier:


It is not a monument to the Confederacy or to the generals or to slavery. It is merely a statue remembering the sacrifices and suffering of ordinary soldiers. The common man in the South had no truck with slavery. He owned no slaves. Instead, his earnings were reduced because he had to compete with slave labor. But when the call went out to defend his country, he took the patriotic bait, as men always do. More than a quarter of a million soldiers died on the Southern side alone - killed by bullets or disease, hunger or cold.

You’d think that people today - comfortable in their air-conditioned apartments, fed to a fault, and succored by student loans, Obamacare, unemployment comp, and disability - could find it in their plump little hearts to forgive the mistakes of their forebears and honor their suffering.

Nope. Instead, we trash our grandfathers’ heroes, kick their gods, and smash their statues. Yes, dear reader, today we are under assault, too. We suffer neither cold nor hunger. We take up arms not to protect our homeland, but to inflict murder and mayhem on people half a world away who can do us no real harm. But today, we are attacked by one preposterous thing after another, each of them even more absurd than the last.

Doom update: Before we get to that, we promised to revisit our Doom Index. You’ll recall that our research department has put together 11 indicators that - when aggregated - have coincided with the last two major blow-ups. Has doom come closer? We asked our chief researcher, Joe Withrow: ‘U.S. junk bond prices - one of our 11 indicators - have fallen nearly 2% since our last update. The ISM Manufacturing Index and railcar use - two of our other indicators - have fallen as well. None of these moves are extreme enough to warrant the crash flag prior to getting third-quarter data, but they are worth mentioning.'

‘And on a side note relating to your Diary entries this week: I got a call from family in western Virginia. Rumors are the young lefties are planning to march on the historic Robert E Lee Hotel in Lexington. The fruits of an American education, I suppose. It is beginning to look as though there is an inverse correlation between total student loans outstanding and total logic outstanding. If we could only figure out how to make that a Market Insight!’ Yes, Joe is onto something. The more time people spend in schools, the dumber they get. And now, the typical American’s brain has been so dulled by the internet and education that he can’t think straight.

Bigger storm: We were supposed to believe, for example, that the Russians hijacked the US presidential election, putting Donald J Trump in the White House. Congress imposed stiffer sanctions on Russia by an almost universal vote in favor, despite a lack of evidence the hack ever happened. Even if it had happened, it is hard to see how disclosing the internal deliberations of the Democratic National Committee would have made voters less able to make an informed choice!

Then we were supposed to believe that the president of Syria had attacked his own people with chemical weapons. In response, Team Trump committed an act of war against a foreign nation, even though many experts thought it unlikely that the Syrian government was behind the chemical attack.

And now, we are supposed to believe that Mr Trump is a ‘racist’ and a ‘white supremacist’. His Treasury secretary, Steve Mnuchin - a Jew - was urged by his Yale classmates to resign. No more proof that today’s education system turns its students into morons is needed. These are Yale graduates…hundreds of them: ‘We call upon you, as our friend, our classmate, and as a fellow American, to resign in protest of President Trump’s support of Nazism and white supremacy. We know you are better than this, and we are counting on you to do the right thing.’

What? There is no evidence of any kind showing Trump to be a Nazi supporter. A fool? An imbecile? An opportunist? Maybe. But with all his obvious and egregious faults, why accuse him of being something he isn’t?

But behind the flurries lies a much bigger storm. There, the howling winds of fake finance blow up so much dust that the typical person cannot see clearly. If he is ready to believe that we can all get rich by borrowing money that never existed from people who never earned it…and never pay it back…he is ready to believe anything! Today, the sun hides its face in shame and embarrassment.”