Category Archives: Collapse

How Washington’s Reaction to Trump’s Budget Justifies the Rise of Bitcoin, by Tho Bishop

In a world in which many governments, particularly the US government, will somehow default, Bitcoin looks like a viable wealth preservation strategy. From Tho Bishop at mises.org:

Earlier this week the Trump administration announced their proposed budget for 2018. The plan bears some striking resemblance to Trump’s first budget attempt in three key ways: it contains some legitimate cuts to a number of government programs, it features increases to America’s irrational war budget, and all together it reflects a significant increase in government spending from current levels. It also has zero chance of passing in Washington, which may be the most significant aspect of the budget.

As soon as details emerged, it was already being torn apart by a web of pundits, think tanks, and politicians. Not because it doesn’t adequately address America’s growing debt bomb, but because it promoted an “extreme” view of austerity. In spite of its refusal to address the trillions in entitlement obligations for Social Security and Medicare, the budget’s modest reductions to Medicaid were deemed “radical.” New York City mayor Bill de Blasio warned that proposed cuts to additional social programs will literally kill children. Meanwhile, the dependably absurd Jennifer Rubin was up in arms because Trump wasn’t spending enough on war.

As such, Republicans in both the House and Senate have made it clear that they aren’t interested in Trump’s “New Foundation for American Greatness.”

In spite of the obvious failings within the Trump budget, it’s hard not to sympathize with his Director of Budget and Management, Mick Mulvaney. In defending the proposed cuts, he told Congress on Thursday:

This is a moral document and here’s the moral side: If I take money from you and have no intention of ever giving it back, that’s not debt — that is theft. If I take money from you and show you how I can pay it back to you — that is debt.

This makes sense in the real world, but not in a city that hasn’t had to worry about paying off its debt in quite some time. By controlling the world’s reserve currency and placing massive entitlement programs off the books, politicians have mastered the art of kicking the can down the road.

Of course, this can’t last forever.

To continue reading: How Washington’s Reaction to Trump’s Budget Justifies the Rise of Bitcoin

 

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The Trump Collapse Scapegoat Narrative Has Now Been Launched, by Brandon Smith

Brandon Smith reiterates his hypothesis that the world’s financial powers that be, including central banks, are conspiring to bring down the world’s financial and economic systems and blame it on Trump and populist movements. From Smith at alt-market.com:

Last week was a rather crazy one for the news feeds, with cyber attacks and “Comey memos” and a host of other wild mayhem, it may have been difficult for many people to keep track of it all. That said, there was one event that I think went partly under the radar, and I think it is an important signal for anyone concerned with the ongoing process of economic collapse in the U.S.

Generally, the American public holds very little vigilance when it comes to economics. They are distinctly unaware of fundamental indicators such as commodities demand, energy usage, manufacturing, imports, exports and international shipping, etc. What they do take note of, and what the mainstream news will tell them about in 30 second blurbs, is the state of unemployment and whether stock markets were down for the day or up for the day. These two “indicators” are the extent of the average person’s exposure to fiscal health.

This is why the Federal Reserve and the establishment have been meticulous over the past several years in their efforts to keep employment statistics highly manipulated to the positive side and why they have been injecting untold trillions into stocks around the world through various measures including no cost overnight loans.

However, over the past couple of years something has changed. As I warned they would do in 2015 in my article The Real Reasons Why The Fed Will Hike Interest Rates, central banks including the Fed have been backing off of stimulus measures and they have now begun a series of interest rate hikes. Look at it this way — imagine the economy has a terminal disease and the only thing keeping it alive is a highly addictive drug called “free money.” It’s a rather terrible life, barely worth living, but the economy still has a faint pulse as long as the drug is administered. Now, what would happen if the Fed suddenly cuts off the drug supply? Well, the economy will die in a very frantic and horrible way.

To continue reading: The Trump Collapse Scapegoat Narrative Has Now Been Launched

 

The Republic Has Fallen: The Deep State’s Plot to Take Over America Has Succeeded, by John W. Whitehead

The swamp will not be drained anytime in the near future. From John W. Whitehead at rutherford.org:

No doubt about it.

The coup d’etat has been successful.

The Deep State—a.k.a. the police state a.k.a. the military industrial complex—has taken over.

The American system of representative government has been overthrown by a profit-driven, militaristic corporate state bent on total control and global domination through the imposition of martial law here at home and by fomenting wars abroad.

When in doubt, follow the money trail.

It always points the way.

Every successive president starting with Franklin D. Roosevelt has been bought—lock, stock and barrel—and made to dance to the tune of the Deep State.

Enter Donald Trump, the candidate who swore to drain the swamp in Washington DC.

Instead of putting an end to the corruption, however, Trump has paved the way for lobbyists, corporations, the military industrial complex, and the Deep State to feast on the carcass of the dying American republic.

Just recently, for instance, Trump agreed to sell Saudi Arabia more than $110 billion in military weapons.

Meanwhile, Trump—purportedly in an effort to balance the budget in 10 years—wants to slash government funding for programs for the poor, ranging from health care and food stamps to student loans and disability payments.

The military doesn’t have to worry about tightening its belt, however. No, the military’s budget—with its trillion dollar wars, its $125 billion in administrative waste, and its contractor-driven price gouging that hits the American taxpayer where it hurts the most—will continue to grow, thanks to Trump.

This is how you keep the Deep State in power.

The rich will get richer, the poor will get poorer, the military will get more militaristic, America’s endless wars will get more endless, and the prospect of peace will grow ever dimmer.

As for the terrorists, they will keep on being played for pawns as long as Saudi Arabia remains their breeding ground and America remains the source of their weapons, training and know-how.

Follow the money.  It always points the way.

To continue reading: The Republic Has Fallen: The Deep State’s Plot to Take Over America Has Succeeded

Why the Left Refuses to Talk About Venezuela, by Ryan McMaken

If you ask leftists and socialists about socialist states like the USSR, North Korea, Cuba, or Venezuela, you invariably get a “That’s not what I mean,” and then a description of a socialist utopia not found on this planet. Frm Ryan McMaken at mises.org:

During the 2016 presidential election, Bernie Sanders refused to answer questions about Venezuela during an interview with Univision. He claimed to not want to talk about it because he’s “focused on my campaign.” Many suggested a more plausible reason: Venezuela’s present economy is an example of what happens when a state implements Bernie Sanders-style social democracy. 

Similarly, Pope Francis — who has taken the time to denounce pro-market ideologies for allegedly driving millions into poverty — seems uninterested in talking about the untrammeled impoverishment of Venezuela in recent years. Samuel Gregg writes in yesterday’s Catholic World Report:

Pope Francis isn’t known as someone who holds back in the face of what he regards as gross injustices. On issues like refugees, immigration, poverty and the environment, Francis speaks forcibly and uses vivid language in doing so.

Yet despite the daily violence being inflicted on protestors in Venezuela, a steadily increasing death-toll, an explosion of crime, rampant corruption, galloping inflation, the naked politicization of the judiciary, and the disappearance of basic food and medical supplies, the first Latin American pope’s comments about the crisis tearing apart an overwhelming Catholic Latin American country have been curiously restrained.

This virtual silence comes in spite of the fact that the Catholic bishops who actually live in Venezuela have denounced the regime as yet another illustration of the “utter failure” of “socialism in every country in which this regime has been installed.”

Thus, for many Venezuelans, the question is: “Where is Pope Francis?”

As with Sanders, it may very well be that Francis has nothing to say about Venezuela precisely because the Venezuelan regime has pursued exactly the sorts of policies favored by Bernie Sanders, Pope Francis, and the usual opponents of market economics.

It’s an economic program marked by price controls, government expropriation of private property, an enormous welfare state, central planning, and endless rhetoric about equality, poverty relief, and fighting the so-called “neoliberals.”

To continue reading: Why the Left Refuses to Talk About Venezuela

 

Full Circle: An Encore Performance, New Venue, Fresh Actors, by Doug “Uncola” Lynn

People make the same mistakes over and over and thus, history repeats itself. From Doug “Uncola” Lynn at theburningplatform:

History is written by the victors.

Winston Churchill

The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender.

Proverbs 22:7

The Wheel of Time is a notion shared by many religions and philosophies.  In modern paganistic traditions, like those celebrated by Wiccans today, annual festivals are arranged into what is called the Wheel of the Year and marked by various equinoxes, solstices, and the dates in between. The ancient Greeks and Romans considered destiny as spinning like “yarn” on a wheel; and the Roman emperor, Marcus Aurelius, once wrote how the universe is “change”, life is what “our thoughts make it”, and of time’s cycling to and from infinity while aligned into a succession of finite periods.  From the days of the earliest Druids through the life of the Viking Leif Ericson, the most commonly used nomenclature for Wheel of the Yearfestivals are descended from the Celtic and Germanic cultures.

When the Roman emperor Constantine the Great proclaimed his Edict of Milan, in AD 313, it eventually allowed the pagan festivals-of-old to be later claimed by the Christians.  The Roman Saturnalia, and the Germanic Yule, became Christmastide; and the spring celebrations of rebirth and fertility combined with the resurrection of Jesus Christ into what was henceforth known as Easter Sunday.  Today, the two-faced, Janus, the god of beginnings, gates, transitions, time, duality, doorways, passages, and endings, is celebrated worldwide as New Year’s Eve and Day;  the wine-infused, Cupid pierced, bacchanalian, ancient Roman fertility orgies of Lupercalia are now acknowledged as Saint Valentine’s Day; and the ancient Roman festivals of Lemuria, Parentalia, and the Celtic Samhain, are today commemorated as Halloween.  Just as the hands rotate around a clock, so are the holidays repeated within the turning of seasons, year after year.

The Irish playwright, George Bernard Shaw, once said:

If history repeats itself, and the unexpected always happens, how incapable must Man be of learning from experience.

The Spaniard author, essayist, and philosopher George Santayana, claimed “those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it” and the American author, Mark Twain, believed history “rhymes” instead of actually repeating.   In the more recent past, however, it was the historians William Strauss and Neil Howe who in their books, Generations (1992) and The Fourth Turning (1997), identified twenty-year generational cycles spinning as the four seasons while stamping their impressions upon the flux of linear time.

To continue reading: Full Circle: An Encore Performance, New Venue, Fresh Actors

Paris Afterparty, by James Howard Kunstler

Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” instead of the French national anthem? Emmanuel Macron is off to an auspicious start. (See “She Said That? 5/7/17“) From James Howard Kunstler at kunstler.com:

First mistake: Emmanuel Macron’s handlers played Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” instead of the French national anthem at the winner’s election rally. Well, at least they didn’t play “Deutschland Über Alles.” The tensions in the Euroland situation remain: the 20 percent-plus youth unemployment, the papered-over insolvency of the European banks, and the implacable contraction of economic activity, especially at the southern rim of the EU.

The clash of civilizations brought on by the EU’s self-induced refugee glut still hangs over the continent like a hijab. That there was no Islamic terror violence around the election should not be reassuring. The interests of the jihadists probably lie in the continued squishiness of the status quo, with its sentimental multiculture fantasies — can’t we all just get along? — so En Marche was their best bet. LePen might have pushed back hard. Macron looks to bathe France’s Islamic antagonists in a nutrient-medium of Hollandaise lite.

The sclerosis of Europe is assured for now. But events are in charge, not elected officials so much, and Europe’s economic fate may be determined by forces far away and beyond its power to control, namely in China, where the phony-baloney banking system is likely to be the first to implode in a global daisy-chain of financial uncontrolled demolition. Much of that depends on the continuing stability of currencies.

The trouble is they are all pegged to fatally unrealistic expectations of economic expansion. Without it, the repayment of interest on monumental outstanding debt becomes an impossibility. And the game of issuing more new debt to pay the interest on the old debt completely falls apart. Once again, the dynamic relationship between real capital creation and the quandaries of the oil industry lurks behind these failures of economy. In a crisis of debt repayment, governments will not know what else to do except “print” more money, and this time they are liable to destroy faith in the value of “money” the world over.

To continue reading: Paris Afterparty

 

The Appalachian Messenger, 5/5/17

This week’s Appalachian Messenger.