Category Archives: Collapse

Assange and the Unforgivable Sin of Disemboweling Official Narratives, by Charles Hugh Smith

Telling the truth has become the ultimate crime. From Charles Hugh Smith at oftwominds.com:

The entire global status quo is on the cusp of the S-Curve decline phase.

There is really only one unforgivable sin in the political realm, and that’s destroying the official narrative by revealing the facts of the matter. This is why whistleblowers who make public the secret machinery of the elaborately artful lies underpinning all official narratives are hounded to the ends of the Earth.

Employees of state entities such as Ellsberg, Manning and Snowden are bound by vows of secrecy and threatened by the promise of severe punishment.Outsiders such as Assange are even further beyond the pale because they can’t be accused of being traitors, as they never took the vows of secrecy required by the Deep State.

The single most damaging revelation to all the elaborate lies that make up official narratives is the truth revealed in official emails, documents and conversations. This is why virtually every document and correspondence is now “classified,” so anyone releasing even a mundane scrap can be sentenced to rot in federal prison.

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Investigation Nation: Mueller, Russiagate, and Fake Politics, by Jim Kavanagh

Jim Kavanagh dissects the Mueller investigation. From Kavanagh at counterpunch.org:

Drawing by Nathaniel St. Clair

So the Mueller investigation is over. The official “Report on the Investigation into Russian Interference in the 2016 Presidential Election” has been written, and is in the hands of Attorney General William Barr, who has issued a summary of its findings. On the core mandate of the investigation, given to Special Counsel Mueller by Rod Rosenstein as Acting Attorney General in May of 2017—to investigate “any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump”—the takeaway conclusion stated in the Mueller report, as quoted in the Barr summary, is that “[T]he investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.1”

In the footnote indicated at the end of that sentence, Barr further clarifies the comprehensive meaning of that conclusion, again quoting the Report’s own words: “In assessing potential conspiracy charges, the Special Counsel also considered whether members of the Trump campaign ‘coordinated’ with Russian election interference activities. The Special Counsel defined ‘coordination’ as an ‘agreement—tacit or express—between the Trump Campaign and the Russian government on election interference’.”

Barr restates the point of the cited conclusion from the Mueller Report a number of times: “The Special Counsel’s investigation did not find that the Trump campaign or anyone associated with it conspired or coordinated with Russia in its efforts to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election…the Special Counsel did not find that any U.S. person or Trump campaign official or associate conspired or knowingly coordinated with the IRA [Internet Research Agency, the indicted Russian clickbait operation] in its efforts.”

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Big Old Problem Just Re-Erupted on Eurozone’s Southern Flank, by Don Quijones

Italy is in recession, has debt out the wazoo, and its banking system is in bad shape. From Don Quijones at wolfstreet.com:

Italy’s fiscal health is once again in serious decline.

On Wednesday, Italy’s coalition government slashed its growth forecast for the Italian economy in 2019 to 0.2% – the weakest forecast in the Eurozone – from a previous forecast of 1%. Italy is already in a technical recession after chalking up two straight quarters of negative GDP growth in the second half of 2018.

The government’s budget for this year was based on the assumption that the economy would expand by 1% this year. Now, it seems the economy may not grow at all; it could even shrink.

One direct result of this is that Italy’s current account deficit for 2019 will be substantially higher than the 2.04% of GDP Italy’s government pledged to stick to late last year. And that can mean only thing: another standoff between Rome and Brussels over the direction of fiscal policy is in the offing.

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As the Madness Turns, by MN Gordon

Government debt is growing much faster than the economy, which can only lead to disaster. From MN Gordon at economicprism.com:

The first quarter of 2019 is over and done.  But before we say good riddance.  Some reflection is in order.  To this we offer two discrete metrics.  Gross domestic product and government debt.

GDP for the quarter, as estimated by the March 29 update to the New York Fed’s GDP Nowcast, grew at an annualized rate of 1.3 percent.  For perspective, annualized GDP growth of 1.3 percent is akin to getting a 1.3 percent annual raise.  Ask any working stiff, and they’ll tell you…a 1.3 percent raise is effectively nothing.

By comparison, the U.S. budget deficit for fiscal year 2019 is estimated to hit roughly $1.1 trillion.  This amounts to an approximate 5 percent increase of the current $22.2 trillionnational debt.  In other words, government debt is increasing about 3.85 times faster than nominal GDP, which is about $21 trillion.

These two metrics offer a rough perspective on the state of the economy.  Deficit spending is grossly outpacing economic growth.  Heavy treatments of fiscal stimulus are being applied.  Yet the economy’s practically running in place.  In short, the state of the economy is not well.

And as the economy slows and then slips into reverse later this year, and as Washington then applies more fiscal stimulus, these two metrics will move even further towards madness.  What’s more, the Fed is gearing up to promote this greater state of madness in any and every way possible…

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How the PC Movement Is Destroying America, by Justin Spittler and Doug Casey

Control what people say and you can control what they think. Justin Spittler and Doug Casey at caseyresearch.com:

Justin’s note: As longtime readers know, our founder Doug Casey isn’t just a world-class speculator. He’s a rare, independent thinker and a walking encyclopedia. Best of all, he isn’t afraid to speak his mind… even if that means offending people.

That’s a rare commodity these days.

Today, people would rather be “politically correct”…

And that’s a big mistake.

According to Doug, this “PC” movement is just “one more termite eating away at the foundations of Western civilization itself.”

Read on to see why…

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US government’s net worth is now NEGATIVE $75 TRILLION, by Simon Black

One guess as to who is on the hook for that negative $75 trillion. From Simon Black at sovereignman.com:

Usually around the middle of February each year, the US Treasury Department releases an annual report of the federal government’s financial condition.

It’s called the Financial Report of the US Government… and it looks a lot like an annual report that you might see filed by a big company like Apple or Facebook.

Except that, unlike Apple and Facebook, the US government’s annual report is absolutely gruesome.

This year’s report is no exception, save for one humorous anecdote: they -just- released it. In other words, they’re a month and a half LATE (given that the report is typically released in mid-February).

I actually CALLED the Treasury Department myself in early March, asking when they would publish the report.

The bewildered individual on the other end of the line said that he had no earthly idea, given that the government had been shut down for so long earlier this year.

Anyhow, if you want to see the report for yourself, you can download it here.

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25% of Millennials no longer having sex due to financial problems, by Simon Black

In many ways Americans are a lot poorer than they used to be. From Simon Black at sovereignman.com:

My grandfather was just a toddler when soldiers came home from World War One in 1918.

They brought the deadly Spanish Flu with them, which killed well over 50 million worldwide.

As a young adult, my grandfather struggled through the Great Depression with the rest of the world.

And just as things started looking up, World War II broke out.

Lucky for me, he survived it all.

After the war, my grandfather took a job as a teacher. And on that single salary he was able to buy a house, provide for his family, afford a car, and have a secure pension for when he retired.

His wife (my grandmother) started a small hair salon in the family living room to earn money on the side.

They saved nearly every penny they ever earned. They never went into debt.

And they invested conservatively, often buying short-term government savings bonds that paid  over 4% by the late 1950s– well above the rate of inflation.

This wasn’t just my grandparents’ experience either.  Back then, this was the fundamental promise of America: you were rewarded for working hard and saving money.

But now things are entirely different.

For starters, cost of living is totally out of control. My grandfather’s teaching salary was more than enough to support his family in a comfortable, middle class lifestyle.

Today that would be almost impossible.

More often than not, it takes two working parents to make ends meet in a typical household.

Census statistics show that just 25% of married households with children were dual income in 1950. Today it’s nearly 70%.

Plus, to even qualify for a lot of jobs today, you must have a university degree… which carries its own enormous costs.

Even after adjusting for inflation, a typical university education in the US costs over five times as much as it did in 1960, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

A typical young person today emerges from university with student debt exceeding $40,000. And millions of young people have student debt exceeding $100,000.

Speaking of debt, my grandparents had none. And they had plenty of cash savings, as was typical of their generation.

But today’s median household (according to Federal Reserve data) has racked up consumer debt exceeding $30,000, with a bank balance of less than $5,000.

And that bank balance earns a pitiful interest rate of just 0.02%. So even for people who have savings, the interest they earn doesn’t keep up with inflation.

Housing costs are also out of control.

Home prices are near record highs, making it extremely difficult for young people to afford a  down payment.

And rents have been steadily rising for years, far outpacing the rate of inflation (and lackluster wage increases.)

Perhaps that’s why a survey from Zillow last year found that nearly 25% of 24-36 year olds were living with their parents. They simply can’t afford their own housing.

Coincidentally, a study from the University of Chicago last year showed that roughly 25% of people in their 20s reported having zero sex in the previous 12 months, almost the same amount as people living with Mom and Dad.

While this might sound comical, it matters: young people are putting off children as well.

In fact, the US fertility rate is now at its lowest level in DECADES, well below the amount necessary to maintain a stable population.

It’s simply too expensive to have kids.

When my grandparents started having children, the hospital bill was about $100.

Today it can easily be more than 100x that amount. And the cost of rearing a child today through the age of 18 can now exceed $200,000, not including university tuition.

Then there are retirement challenges as well.

Back in my grandparents’ era, it was common for workers to have well-funded private pensions.

Today private pensions are nearly extinct. And of the few that still exist, about 25% are insolvent.

Public pensions (as we discuss frequently) are in terrible condition, with a mutli-trillion dollar funding gap worldwide.

And then there’s Social Security, which is in such financial ruin that even the Social Security Administration admits the program’s trust funds will run out of money in 2034.

I also think back to how easily my grandmother was able to start her own hair salon. She bought a pair of scissors one day and started cutting hair in her living room. Simple.

Today you’d have to navigate a mountain of permits, licenses, bureaucracy, and legal liability, the cost of which is prohibitive for most people who dream about starting their own business.

Unsurprisingly, Census data show that the number of new startups in the US continues to decline.

This is a long way from the original Promise of America, where the average person could work hard, save money, and afford to retire.

Today, the system is no longer designed to provide any of that.

Wages and savings don’t keep pace with inflation. Debt has exploded. People are working harder and becoming less prosperous. And retirement is anything but secure.

These problems can’t be fixed in a voting booth. Or by waiting for the Bolsheviks to engineer prosperity for all. And certainly not by following the status quo.

A better solution is to walk a different path altogether– one of self-reliance and independence.

For example, you CAN secure your retirement. Not by relying on a broken pension, but by taking matters into your own hands with a more robust structure like a solo 401(k).

You can obtain a top quality university education by studying abroad at a fraction of the price.

You can start a new business in a tax-advantaged jurisdiction (like Puerto Rico, where you can pay just 4% tax on your profits).

There are countless solutions to fix these challenges. It just takes a little bit of education and the will to take action.