Liberty Blitzkrieg: Financial Feudalism

As usual Michael Krieger of Liberty Blitzkrieg has some insightful things to say about the sad state of financial, economic and political affairs in the United States – Financial Feudalism.

Watching politics unfold in the post-financial crisis era has been extraordinarily frustrating. While it’s been refreshing to observe the emergence of grassroots populism over the last few years, there’s a problematic lack of depth and clarity embedded in these burgeoning mass movements. Tens if not hundreds of millions of Americans now acknowledge that something’s deeply broken within the current paradigm, but we remain focused on identifying symptoms as opposed to understanding and rectifying the systemic nature of the problem.

Of course, there are numerous complexities when it comes to the administration of an imperial oligarchy, and our system didn’t emerge overnight. Perhaps the most fundamental mutation of the post WW2 era came in 1971 when the international convertibility of U.S. dollars into gold was severed. This is when the country began its long transformation from a largely industrial empire to a financial one. I’ve often highlighted how the purely fiat USD reserve currency is the most powerful weapon ever invented, and how the U.S. control of the global financial system is the true backbone of empire, but it’s equally important to understand how the predatory financial system is also used to subjugate Americans in their own country.

In order to understand how this works we need to dig into the most fundamentally important four letter word in any modern economy: Debt.

When most people consider the debilitating societal effects of excessive debt they tend to see it from one basic level. How the bottom half of the population essentially has no choice but to borrow in order to participate in the economy as constructed. This is because the cost of so many things has been inflated way beyond the capacity of most people to purchase them outright. Specifically, wage growth has failed to keep up with the soaring costs of fundamental things such as shelter, healthcare and higher education.

For instance, home prices have been rising faster than wages in 80% of U.S. markets, which means the higher cost tends to offset historically low mortgage rates. Low interest rates don’t really help such people, it just lets them maybe, barely purchase an intentionally inflated asset to live in by taking on a huge chunk of debt. An asset that could quickly become completely unaffordable should the economy turn down as it did a decade ago.

As such, you have multitudes taking on debt defensively just to keep going and avoid falling further down the socioeconomic scale. Debt doesn’t empower such people, rather, it turns them into modern day indentured servants endlessly stuck on a hamster wheel with little to no hope of getting off. This is not an accident, it’s a tried and tested tool which, when combined with incessant mass media propaganda, is an effective way of creating a submissive, confused and desperate underclass.

Many people understand this by now, but what’s far less understood, yet potentially more significant, is how the wealthy use debt.

When you own your primary home outright and you’ve got enough savings that healthcare premiums and paying for your kids college in cash doesn’t make a dent, debt becomes something else entirely. Debt’s no longer an albatross around your neck, instead it becomes a tool to increase wealth. Debt becomes leverage.

Much of the explosion in wealth inequality over the past several decades can be traced back to this systemic interclass weaponization of debt. If you’re very wealthy and connected, access to extremely cheap debt is virtually unlimited, and this access is used to make leveraged bets on all sorts of stuff, but primarily real estate and financial assets such as stocks and bonds. Hasn’t this always been the case you ask? Aren’t those with capital always extremely advantaged over those without it? Isn’t that the history of capitalism and America since the beginning? My answer would be yes and no.

The main difference between prior periods of history and, let’s say the 21st century, has been the vast increase in power of the financial services sector thanks to the Federal Reserve’s willingness to encourage and enable the insatiable reckless behavior of the speculator class. It’s no secret the Fed has been intentionally boosting assets across the FIRE sector such as real estate, stocks and bonds since the crisis. Those with the capital to ride the coattails of this irresponsible and undemocratic central planning rushed out to take on debt to buy these assets, thus multiplying the return on investment.

While the white-collar cubicle worker with enough extra income to diligently add to their retirement account over the past decade has done fine, bankers or hedge fund managers who took on massive leverage to amplify such bets made generational fortunes while creating nothing of value. It’s the way debt works for the financial services sector versus how it works for the average person in a world dominated by big finance and the central bankers who provide them unlimited welfare.

The same thing occurs within the corporate suite, as executives across industries have used access to extremely cheap debt to buyback stock and reward themselves handsomely despite creating nothing of societal value while doing so. It’s pure financial engineering. Nobody should become generationally wealthy this way, but it’s exactly what’s been happening. So you see, debt’s not just a means to subjugate a desperate bottom half of the population, it’s concurrently an effective tool to expand wealth and power at the top. ..

Click here to read the entire article at Liberty Blitzkrieg

Liberty Blitzkrieg: Three Major Imbalances – Financial, Trust, Geopolitical

Somewhat related to yesterday’s article from Chris Hedges which touched on how no one in America trusts anyone in the D.C. establish at all any longer is this article from Michael Krieger of Liberty Blitzkrieg. In Three Major Imbalances, Mr. Krieger discusses the teetering financial system, the lack of trust in institutions, and rising tenstions between the U.S.A. and China, Russia, and elsewhere.

But greed is a bottomless pit
And our freedom’s a joke
We’re just taking a piss
And the whole world must watch the sad comic display
If you’re still free start running away
Cause we’re coming for you!

– Conor Oberst, “Land Locked Blues”

It’s hard to believe 2020 is just around the corner. If the last ten years have taught us anything, it’s the extent to which a vicious and corrupt oligarchy will go to further extend and entrench their economic and societal interests. Although the myriad desperate actions undertaken by the ruling class this past decade have managed to sustain the current paradigm a bit longer, it has not come without cost and major long-term consequence. Gigantic imbalances across multiple areas have been created and worsened, and the resolution of these in the years ahead (2020-2025) will shape the future for decades to come. I want to discuss three of them today, the financial system imbalance, the trust imbalance and the geopolitical imbalance.

Recent posts have focused on how what really matters in a crisis is not the event itself, but the response to it. The financial crisis of ten years ago is particularly instructive, as the entire institutional response to a widespread financial industry crime spree was to focus on saving a failed system and then pretending nothing happened. The public was given no time or space to debate whether the system needed saving; or more specifically, which parts needed saving, which parts needed wholesale restructuring and which parts should’ve been thrown into the dustbin. Rather, unelected central bankers stepped in with trillions in order to prop up, empower and reward the very industry and individuals that created the crisis to begin with. There was no real public debate, central bankers just did whatever they wanted. It was a moment so brazen and disturbing it shook many of us, including myself, out of a lifetime of propaganda induced deception.

It’s ten years later and central banks still can’t walk back anything they did over the past decade…

While massive and global, the financial system imbalance is just one of several. Another big one is a trust imbalance, which manifests as a widening disconnect between established institutions and the people living under them. As the ruling class has been forced to resort to increasingly desperate measures over the past decade to keep their gravy train going, they’ve exposed themselves more explicitly. What was once derided as conspiracy theory rapidly becomes conspiracy fact, and an increasingly significant number of humans have begun to simply assume (for good reason) that whatever comes out of the mouths of authority figures like intelligence agencies, politicians, mass media, corporations and think tanks, etc., are lies.

This situation isn’t getting any better either. It seems every day we wake up to new in your face revelations of how craven and dishonest the ruling oligarchy and its institutions really are. For example, this past weekend we learned how a Newsweek journalist quit because his bosses at the paper refused to let him publish about OPCW whistleblowers who dispute the official conclusion that Assad launched a chemical attack in Douma, an event that increasingly looks like a false flag event which led to the U.S. bombing Syria…

The trust imbalance between rulers and the ruled has become so massive it’s all but guaranteed to detonate in a variety of unexpected and consequential ways in the years ahead. The election of Donald Trump was just the first pubic manifestation of this well deserved lack of trust…

The other major imbalance I want to highlight is the geopolitical one. It’s something I’ve been writing about a lot lately as it’s come into clearer focus that the nexus of this tension will center around the U.S. and China. At the root of this imbalance is a U.S. national security state desperate to turn back to clock to the 1990s when the U.S. was the world’s sole superpower and could essentially call the shots on all matters of international significance with little to no pushback. Certain foreign power centers, led by China and Russia, have made it explicit they will not be rewinding the clock and are have focused their foreign policy around ushering in a multi-polar world. Like the other imbalances, the geopolitical imbalance becomes more volatile and less manageable with each passing day…

Everything being done today centers around propping up and extending a decrepit paradigm in order to further enrich and empower a ruling class that has lost the respect of the people. As the actions taken to sustain such a system become more desperate and mendacious (“this is NOT QE”), the more the veneer of credibility disappears. The more the veneer of credibility disappears, the more unstable these major imbalances become. Generational change is on the horizon, keep your eyes wide open.

Click here to read the entire article at Liberty Blitzkrieg.

Related:

Kunstler: Two for One Holiday Special

Hillary Clinton sure got her money’s worth with the Fusion GPS deal: it induced a three-year psychotic break in the body politic, destroyed the legitimacy of federal law enforcement, turned a once-proud, free, and rational press into an infernal engine of bad faith, and is finally leading her Democratic Party to an ignominious suicide. And the damage is far from complete…

Liberty Blitzkrieg: US Dollar as a Weapon

This article is from Michael Krieger at Liberty Blitzkrieg writing about how the USA has used the US Dollar and the global financial system to maintain political hegemony across the world and how that dollar hegemony is coming to an end.

Irrespective of where you reside in the world, chances are you feel some sense of unease, a nagging concern for the future and a deep instinctual understanding that an era you knew and navigated your entire life is slipping away and won’t be coming back.

We’ve been witnessing widespread protest and unrest across countries with distinct political and economic systems, such as Hong Kong, France, Chile, Spain, Ecuador, Lebanon and Venezuela just to name a few. Those with vested interests and an ideological solution to sell insist it’s all because of socialism, capitalism or some other ism, but the truth is this goes far deeper than that. What’s actually happening is the geopolitical and economic paradigm that’s dominated the planet for decades is failing, and rather than address the failure in any real sense, elites globally are have decided to loot everything they possibly can until the house of cards comes crashing down.

You can’t properly discuss the entrenched global paradigm without addressing the American empire, and you can’t have a conversation about empire without discussing the monetary and financial system that keeps it all in place. The last time I discussed this in any detail was last year in the post, The Road to 2025 (Part 3) – USD Dominated Financial System Will Fall Apart. Today’s post should be seen as an update to that piece, taking stock of where we stand a year and a half later.

Several assumptions were made in last year’s article that must be recognized in order to understand how I see the situation. The first is a view that we’re already transitioning into a multi-polar world, in other words, the U.S. no longer holds a position of total planetary geopolitical dominance similar to what it enjoyed in the mid-to-late 1990s. Despite proclamations to the contrary, history did not in fact end.

U.S. leadership became accustomed to getting virtually whatever it wanted around the world via overt violence, covert intelligence operations or economic coercion, but this is no longer the case in 2019. Although this doesn’t sit well with much of the foreign policy establishment, it’s nevertheless reality. The most recent evidence came just last week with Denmark’s decision to approve the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, something the U.S. was adamantly opposed to.

Tom Luongo offered an interesting analysis of why this is so significant:

For the past three years the U.S. has fought the construction of the Nordstream 2 pipeline from Russia to Germany every inch of the way.

The battle came down to the last few miles, literally, as Denmark has been withholding the final environmental permit on Nordstream 2 for months.

The U.S., especially under Trump, have committed themselves to a ‘whole of government approach‘ to stop the 55 bcm natural gas pipeline from making landfall in Germany…

In a sense, this pipeline is Germany’s declaration of independence from seventy-plus years of U.S. policy setting. 

The fact the U.S. foreign policy establishment sees it as our business to determine which country the EU should buy natural gas from and how offers a glimpse into the imperial mindset. It’s the same mindset that maintains Iran shouldn’t be able to sell oil to anyone without U.S. permission. It represents an attachment to total global control, a view that the world consists of little more than the U.S. hegemon and its client states.

Which gets us to the key point surrounding the unsustainable nature of the world’s monetary and financial system. Specifically, we already live in a world where several powers (namely China and Russia) have very publicly and clearly elucidated they will not function as U.S. client states going forward. They appear to be on the winning side of history because it’s much harder to maintain global empire than to frustrate it at this point, but the U.S. maintains an enormous advantage when making moves on the geopolitical chessboard. It’s not the ubiquitous military bases or advanced technology, but a more esoteric and stealth weapon — the U.S. dollar…

Click here to continue reading at Liberty Blitzkrieg.

SEC Allows MasterCard to Monitor/Cut-off “Far-Right” Customers

Thanks to ZeroHedge for catching these articles.  From Buzzfeed.com an article about Mastercard proposing to establish an internal human rights committee that would monitor and prevent supposed white supremacist groups or anti-Islam activists from using the payment system. And an interview on RT America with journalist Ben Swann on the SEC reportedly blessed that action.

MasterCard is not the only holder of purse-strings that is mulling the selective banning of individuals from their services and funds. Patreon and PayPal have previously barred individuals from receiving payments using their platforms, due to their extreme views.

But unlike crowdfunding platforms, being cut off from one of the leading American multinational financial services corporations will, most likely, have a much greater impact on the financial stability of an individual or a group, especially after the US Securities and Exchange Commission reportedly blessed MasterCard’s undertaking.

By doing this, Swann believes the government granted “big corporations the ability to control what voices are heard.”

The issue with such an approach, the investigative journalist argues, would lead to a wider crackdown on financial payments to anyone who the government would see as unfavorable.

“The fact that the SEC has given a green light to this essentially says the SEC supports the idea of censoring these groups in order to freeze out essentially anyone you don’t agree with,” the journalist said.

“It is such a dystopian 1984 world view and yet we’re living through it right now,” the journalist observed.

Watch the entire interview below:

Burning Platform: 2019 From a Fourth Turning Perspective

William Strauss and Neil Howe (both historians, among other things) wrote a book in 1997 called The Fourth Turning: An American Prophecy — What the Cycles of History Tell Us About America’s Next Rendezvous with Destiny — which introduced what is now called Strauss-Howe Generational Theory. According to that theory, there is a four stage cycles of eras, called turnings, which repeat in cycles of approximately 80-100 years, the fourth of which is the Crisis turning, an era of destruction and revolution. The theory has its critics as well as proponents, so, as with everything, use your think-thingy. The following is an excerpt from a lengthy article on The Burning Platform titled 2019 From a Fourth Turning Perspective, which gives some overview of the theory and applies it to world and US events.

“An impasse over the federal budget reaches a stalemate. The president and Congress both refuse to back down, triggering a near-total government shutdown. The president declares emergency powers. Congress rescinds his authority. Dollar and bond prices plummet. The president threatens to stop Social Security checks. Congress refuses to raise the debt ceiling. Default looms. Wall Street panics.” – The Fourth Turning – Strauss & Howe

Image result for budget impasse trump schumer

Strauss and Howe wrote their book in 1996. They were not trying to be prophets of doom, but observers of history able to connect events through human life cycles of 80 or so years. Using critical thinking skills and identifying the most likely triggers for crisis: debt, civic decay, and global disorder, they were able to anticipate scenarios which could drive the next crisis, which they warned would arrive in the mid-2000 decade. The scenario described above is fairly close to the current situation, driven by the showdown between Trump and the Democrats regarding the border wall.

It has not reached the stage where all hell breaks loose, but if it extends until the end of January and food stamp money is not distributed to 40 million people (mostly in urban ghettos) all bets are off. The likelihood of this scenario is small, but there are numerous potential triggers which could still make 2019 go down in history as a year to remember.

As we enter the eleventh year of this Fourth Turning, the fourth Crisis period in U.S. history, the mood of U.S. citizens and citizens around the globe continues to darken. Fourth Turnings are driven by generational configuration and the emotional reaction to events by the Prophet generation leaders, Nomad generation spearheads, and Hero generation cannon fodder.

As we close out this year, stock markets are gyrating wildly, central bankers are trying to reverse their nine years of interventionist strategies to sustain the establishment, civil chaos spreads across the European continent, saber rattling between the U.S., Russia and China increases, the animosity between political parties reaches new heights, the Deep State relentlessly pursues their Mueller led coup against Trump, mega-social media corporations tighten their grip on free speech by silencing conservatives, leftists push their socialist, open borders, normalizing degeneracy agenda, and global recession gains momentum as trade declines and global debt reaches unserviceable levels…

Click here to read the entire article at The Burning Platform.

Patriotman on American Partisan has his own take on the article, The Fourth Turning & The Future, As I See It:

…I think that the article was very closely aligned with my fears. The biggest threats we face as a country are all intertwined (thus, don’t consider this a ranked list) and are: civil unrest due to a growing divide between ideologies, economic slowdowns due to massive debt and employment trends, and outside challenge of the unipolar world by China and Russia.

I don’t think that any of these are the causation for the others, but if I was forced to choose it would be the differing of ideologies that is driving the other two. The urban and rural divide has always been present obviously, but the obvious disconnect between the coastal elites in their ivory towers and those in the hinterlands seems unsolvable at the moment. The problem mostly lies with the former as the latter would like nothing more than for everyone to be left alone by everyone else. It is the liberal elites who insist on forcing their culture, norms, and ideology on those conservatives in rural America and continually try to remake the system in their permanent favor. They attack our religion, our culture, and our lifestyle because they do not approve of it…

 

 

Emergency Essentials: Financial Preparedness

The fine folks over at Emergency Essentials have a brief blog post on preparing to weather financial storms.

For those of us who are old enough to have experienced the Great Recession in our adult life, the thought of another economic crash occurring is a very real worry. Even the most prepared individuals felt the effects of a crashing economy in the years between 2007 and 2009. Some of us still haven’t fully recovered. Although the possibility of another recession is always in the air, unfortunately, most people are less prepared today than they were before the Great Recession began. If the economy were to crash tomorrow, could your finances survive?

If the answer is, “I’m not sure”, you should definitely continue reading. In the following post, we will present five questions to test your financial preparedness and help you to get completely ready for an unexpected economic future.

Do You Spend Too Much On Your Debts?

Truth is, many people are simply overextended with their debts, using their credit as a way to live beyond their comfortable means. Even in an economic recession, your debts will not stop and your debtors likely won’t “give you a break.” If you lost your job today, would you be able to afford your debts next month or would you suddenly find yourself having a hard time keeping up with your mortgage and car note?

Many financial consultants recommend a debt-to-income ratio of 1:3. This means that your debts should be equal to or less than 33% of your monthly income. This rule ensures that if you were to become unemployed today, you would still be able maintain your debts with only ⅓ of your current income.

What To Do About It

Assess your monthly debts and compare them to your monthly income. If your debt-to-income ratio is already lower than 33%, great, keep it that way. On the other hand, if you find that your ratio is higher than this, here is some advice:

  • Pay Down Your Debts: The most obvious way of decreasing your debt-to-income ratio is to maintain your income, while decreasing your debts. Examine how you spend your money each month. Identify areas where you can save money (eliminate or decrease cable services, etc.) and use this extra money to make additional payments on your debts. Every debt that you are able to eliminate equates to one less worry in the event of another economic recession!
  • Refinance for Better Interest Rates: High interest rates that you carry on your debts can add significantly to your debt-to-income percentage. Work on improving your credit so that you can refinance your mortgage and car loan debts for better rates. Speak with banks and other credit card providers to see if one of them will offer you a credit card with a lower interest rate than what you are currently receiving.

How Large Is Your Emergency Fund?

Unfortunately, for many people, the answer is “not large, whatsoever.” According to a GoBankingRates survey, 35% of all adults in the U.S. only have “several hundred dollars” in their savings account and 34% have no money at all in savings. It is generally recommended that you keep 3-6 months of income in your savings as a safety net, in case your income becomes restricted for any reason. While this is a great start, is it enough? The Great Recession lasted two whole years, and the effects, much longer. During this recession, many people found themselves without a job for much longer than 3-6 months. Some financial advisors, like Suze Orman for example, suggest an emergency fund equal to at least 8 months of your income.

What To Do About It…

Click here to continue reading at beprepared.com.

Related:

FEMA: Emergency Financial First Aid Kit (pdf)

Emergency Essentials: Financial Preparedness 101