Podcast

David Stockman: America Now Lives Under A 'Perverted Regime'

One foisted on the nation by its bipartisan ruling elites
Sunday, October 2, 2016, 12:19 PM
The rise of Trump—and Bernie Sanders too—vastly transcends ordinary politics. In fact, it reaches deep into a ruined national economy that has morphed into rank casino capitalism under the misguided policies and faithless rule of the Washington and Wall Street elites.
 
This epic deformation has delivered historically unprecedented set-backs to the bottom 90% of American households. They have seen their real wealth and living standards steadily deteriorate for several decades now, even as vast financial windfalls have accrued to the elite few at the very top.
 
In fact, during the last 30 years, the real net worth of the bottom 90% has not increased at all. At the same time, the top 1% has experienced a 300% gain while the real wealth of the Forbes 400 has risen by 1,000%.
 
That’s not old-fashioned capitalism at work; it’s the fruit of a perverted regime of printing press money and debt-fueled faux prosperity that has been foisted on the nation by the bipartisan ruling elites.
 
To be sure, the proximate cause of this year’s election upheaval is similar to that in Reagan’s time. Back then, an era of drastic bipartisan mis-governance generated an electoral impulse to sweep out the Washington stables.
 
Now, however, it is not just the Beltway political class that is under attack. The very foundations of American economic life are imperiled. What remained of healthy market capitalism in Reagan’s time is no more.
 
It has been battered by 30 years of madcap money printing at the Fed. It labors under the $50 trillion of new public and private debt generated by that monetary eruption. And it staggers from the destructive blows of serial financial bubbles.
 
These bubbles have self-evidently resulted in a destructive boom-and-bust cycle in the financial system, but also much more. Bubble Finance has drained productivity and efficiency from the Main Street economy and has channeled vast resources to speculators and wasteful malinvestments.
 
~ "Trumped!" by David Stockman

David Stockman, former director of the OMB under President Reagan, former US Representative, and veteran financier is an insider's insider. Few people understand the ways in which both Washington DC and Wall Street work and intersect better than he does.

In his upcoming book, Trumped! A Nation on the Brink of Ruin...And How to Bring it Back, Stockman lays out how we have devolved from a free market economy into a managed one that operates for the benefit of a privileged few. And when trouble arises, these few are bailed out at the expense of the public good.

Stockman brings us his report of what 30 years of politics, degenerative crony capitalism and “bubble finance” have finally wrought. The upheaval and crossroads represented by Donald Trump’s candidacy spell economic disaster or resurgence, depending on the steps America chooses to take from here:

This election is enormously important but it’s not entirely about the candidates, per se, but about the fact that much of the country is beginning to recognize that we’ve been on the wrong path for a long time and we’re reaching a dead end. And that’s why, you know, on the cover of this new book, I have a map of America and the east and west coast are colored, shaded, and the vast area in between is in white. I call it Flyover America.

And part of the book is to try to explain the phenomena of the Trump campaign, which came out of nowhere, and why there seems to be such an unexpected ground swell of economically driven support. Of course, the elite media wants to blame it on racism and xenophobia and, you know, small-mindedness of one type or another. But I think the underlying driver here, the underlying alienation comes from an economic policy that has benefitted enormously the bicoastal elites and we go through that, a very small share of the population that lives off finance venture capital and the enormous expansion of the warfare state and welfare state in Washington. Versus the rest of America – call it the 90% to use a general term.

But the think that I try to demonstrate in the book is that since 1987 when Greenspan arrived at the Fed in this era of bubble finances I call it incepted, we basically have a bifurcated economy. The bottom 90% of the population has no more real net worth today if you use an honest inflation measure to deflate nominal values. It has no more net worth today than it did in 1987. That’s nearly 30 years of going nowhere. The top 1% has gained 300% in net worth, which the Forbes 400 to take the final clip on this, is 1,000% gain.

Now, that’s not market capitalism at work. That is a, as I called it, a deformed or mutant system of crony capitalism and finance-driven economic life coming right out of the central bank and that whole complex of unsound policy that has produced a result that is very unsustainable. Not only has there been no net worth gain as we lay out in the book but if you just go to the year 2000, real median household income – again, deflated with, I think, an accurate measure of the cost of living faced by most households – is down nearly 20% from where it was when Bill Clinton was shuffling out of the White House.

Click the play button below to listen to Chris' interview with David Stockman (49m:26s).

Transcript: 

Chris Martenson: Welcome to this Peak Prosperity podcast. I am your host, Chris Martenson, and it is September 26, 2016. Now, the 2016 US Presidential Race, just a little over a month away. And while it’s too early to call the race, it’s not too early to begin asking, “What’s going on here?” Now, as you know, I’ve been a huge critic of the role of the Federal Reserve and other central banks recently in blowing serial bubbles that have only enriched the few at the expense of the many, while enormously increasing the risk of a major financial accident, the likes of which the world has probably never before seen.

But nothing happens in a vacuum and the Fed’s policies have led to the most dramatic widening of both wealth and income gaps. And those are fueling, quite predictable and overdue, in my estimation, public resentment. And that is changing the political landscape. Now, as I said, nothing happens in a vacuum.

Back with us today to discuss all of this and much more is Mr. David Stockman, economic policymaker, politician, and financier. And as I’m sure you know, Mr. Stockman served as the Director of the Office of Management and Budget in the Reagan administration and was the youngest cabinet member of the 20th century. He’s author of The Great Deformation: The Corruption of Capitalism in America, which came out in April, 2013. Now, that’s a blunt and very realistic and honest, sometimes scathing, examination of the various fiscal and policy blunders that have degraded our current and future hopes for prosperity. And he’s got a brand new book out entitled, Trumped: A Nation on the Brink of Ruin and How to Bring it Back. Welcome back to the program, David.

David Stockman: Very happy to be with you again, Chris. There’s a lot to talk about here. And I think the one thing I should clarify is that this election is enormously important but it’s not entirely about the candidates, per se, but about the fact that much of the country is beginning to recognize that we’ve been on the wrong path for a long time and we’re reaching a dead end. And that’s why, you know, on the cover of this new book, I have a map of America and the east and west coast are colored, shaded, and the vast area in between is in white. I call it Flyover America.

And part of the book is to try to explain the phenomena of the Trump campaign, which came out of nowhere, and why there seems to be such an unexpected ground swell of economically driven support. Of course, the elite media wants to blame it on racism and xenophobia and, you know, small-mindedness of one type or another. But I think the underlying driver here, the underlying alienation comes from an economic policy that has benefitted enormously the bicoastal elites and we go through that, a very small share of the population that lives off finance venture capital and the enormous expansion of the warfare state and welfare state in Washington. Versus the rest of America – call it the 90% to use a general term.

But the think that I try to demonstrate in the book is that since 1987 when Greenspan arrived at the Fed in this era of bubble finances I call it incepted, we basically have a bifurcated economy. The bottom 90% of the population has no more real net worth today if you use an honest inflation measure to deflate nominal values. It has no more net worth today than it did in 1987. That’s nearly 30 years of going nowhere. The top 1% has gained 300% in net worth, which the Forbes 400 to take the final clip on this, is 1,000% gain.

Now, that’s not market capitalism at work. That is a, as I called it, a deformed or mutant system of crony capitalism and finance-driven economic life coming right out of the central bank and that whole complex of unsound policy that has produced a result that is very unsustainable. Not only has there been no net worth gain as we lay out in the book but if you just go to the year 2000, real median household income – again, deflated with, I think, an accurate measure of the cost of living faced by most households – is down nearly 20% from where it was when Bill Clinton was shuffling out of the White House.

Another measure I use is breadwinner jobs. I have a system for tracking those that I report on my blog but it’s basically, you know, manufacturing, energy, mining, construction, the white collar professions, business management, and the core of the economy. There are no more breadwinner jobs today – there’s about 71-and-a-half million or half of the BLS count – that number is the same as it was – in fact, slightly lower – than in January 2001.

So there’s fundamental failures going on here. Shrinking living standards and real incomes – a failure of the economy to generate real jobs and growth, and a bubble finance system that is showering a tiny fraction of the population with huge gains – and they’re inflated gains, to be sure – in the value of financial assets.

So I think it is out of that kind of economic witches’ brew that the politics in America are being unsettled and roiled like we haven’t seen for a long time, if ever. And that’s why this election is so crucial because all of these forces, I think, are being brought to bear on the campaign as it unfolds in ways that we haven’t seen for a long time.

Chris Martenson:   Now, David, all of that is obviously fuel in this fire. And lest people at this point are thinking you’ve written a book in support of Trump, per se, I want to quote from your book here. You wrote, “Our purpose at this point, however, is to dispel any illusion that Donald Trump, the man and his platform, offers any semblance of a remedy. In the great scheme of history, the Donald’s role may be to merely disrupt and paralyze the status quo.” I’m really intrigued by that view. Because what you’re saying here to me, if I’ve heard this right, is that the status quo has been in place since the Greenspan Fed. It’s created this enormous structural and deformed landscape that we see where structural wealth disparity is just part of policies. These were active policies that people pursued with some aims that I guess made sense to them, and it’s hurting the bottom 90%. Can’t even call that Middle America because this is maybe even the bottom 95%. And this now has political ramifications.

So the question is, you know, do the people in power see that? I don’t get any sense that Hillary and her handlers and the press really understand what’s happened here. And second question, how could they not understand what’s happening here?

David Stockman:  Well, that’s the heart of the matter. And you know, the point they make about Hillary, she’s experienced, she’s been there, she’s informed – those are exactly the reasons why I hope she’s not elected. Because she basically is, in some sense, the class president of a failed generation that has been running policy in the wrong direction, war abroad, debt at home, bubble finance on Wall Street, a rogue central bank that has essentially taken over economic life for all practical purposes in this country. You know, there’s a generation that has put that in place and now they’re blind – I call it Imperial Washington – is blind to the consequences and the unsustainability and the unjustness and the failures of the policies that they’ve put in place.

So in that sense, I see Trump as a disruptor, that he hasn’t spent 30 years drinking the Kool-Aid in the Imperial City. He hasn’t learned all the reasons why you shouldn’t raise questions about what the Fed is doing. He hasn’t learned all the reasons why we still need to have NATO and its 300 bases around the world when the Cold War ended, you know, three decades ago.

So what I think is refreshing about Trump is that he lets loose of common sense observations every now and then that at least begin to crack the façade of the status quo and the Washington assumption and the elite media assumption that all of this is working just as intended. And we had a scare in 2008 but that’s behind us, it was once in 100 year flood, and we can move forward with a much more optimistic outlook. I think that is just terribly wrong, it’s just completely upside down. We’ve been drifting towards the wall, kicking the can, and there isn’t a lot of runway left in this whole scheme, which is, you know, on the verge of failure.

That’s why I call it the brink of ruin. The heart of my book really is not Trump per se, it’s the brink of ruin that’s been created by 30 years of, you know, mis-rule by the Washington and Wall Street elites. And Trump is a symptom that the political system is finally waking up to that fact and something has to give. Now, I think we’re going to have a – if he wins, we’re going to have a wild and wooly time for several years, if not his entire term, because there will be no – you know, there will be no consensus about anything. And there will be questions raised about everything from foreign policy to the independence of the Fed to, you know, energy and regulatory policy and the whole gamut.

So this, in my judgment, it will not be a confidence builder in the casino. They’re suddenly going to discover on Wall Street that Washington doesn’t have any firepower fiscally because we’re heading back to triple digit deficits. And the Fed and the other central banks are out of dry powder so there is no rescue brigade when we get another shock in the financial markets. This time, I think we’re going to have a long-lasting correction that will not be instantly reversed as it was after dot-com and as it was in March 2009 when they launched into this crazy period of ZIRP and QE.

So you know, we’re heading into a totally different landscape that is going to really shock the financial system, even as the political system undergoes this unprecedented uncertainty that lies ahead in this election.

Chris Martenson:  Now, David, you’ve said quite a lot in there. And the pieces that really jump out at me were the words “unsustainable.” Obviously, you know, we’ve tried to print our way to prosperity and this is a wholly unsustainable system. And the core of this is that you mentioned that, you know, that the rallying cry such as it is for Hillary is that she’s the most qualified and that the Donald then is unqualified. But this is precisely why so many people are gravitating to the Donald, because he’s unqualified. Because to be qualified means that you support the ideas of this increasingly interventionist Federal Reserve that has now assumed for itself taking over all facets of our economic lives. And most people in the press distinctly seem to be unaware of this idea that money printing is a zero sum game. So you print money and look at all these people getting rich. And we point to that and it’s the American dream and oh, but wait, they’re all Forbes 400 people getting really stupid rich. Not understanding that they didn’t get rich because they were smart and intelligent and built something, they got rich because the Fed handed that to them. The second part of that question is who did they take it from? The flyover states, the regular people are being screwed, if I can be blunt about this, and we have been for a long time. That’s finally coming up into the forefront. Of course this has a political dimension. So when Yellen’s out there on her FOMC statement saying, “Oh, no, we’re very much not political.” Of course you’re political. How dare you say that your policies haven’t exacerbated the wealth gap. It’s insulting at this point, and I think that’s that my personal ire but I think people are sharing that.

David Stockman:  No, I agree with that, and that’s the reaction I had when she made that statement over and over that we’re not political. I mean, this Fed is the most ideological Fed that we’ve had in history since 1913. They’re died in the wool Keynesian interventionists. They have a view on the world that government stands at the center, that capitalism is some kind of, you know, invalid that is constantly getting sick or stumbling and heading towards recession or depression without the ministrations of the state whether it’s fiscal stimulus or monetary stimulus or, you know, pegging the interest rates and managing the yield curve and backing up the stock market. Everything else they do, that is a profoundly political point of view. And even worse, it’s un-democratic because at least if you believe those things as a fiscal Keynesian as they did back in the 60s and 70s when I was starting out in this, you had to persuade people who had been elected in the 50 states of America that this was going to help and that running up the debt was nothing to worry about, etc.

But now that the venue has changed – and this is what I quote Greenspan, you know, for he should be everlastingly faulted for this – but he essentially picked up the Keynesian brief and trotted it over to the Echols Building and essentially installed Keynesian activist interventionist policy in an institution that’s unelected, unresponsive to the electorate, and that becomes an ingrown power and center of group thing that, you know, was unimaginable even in 1987 when he stumbled on this path in the wake of the October crash.

So that, I think, is the larger point. And at least Trump has begun to let loose a few stray balls in the direction of the Fed. You know, he said this is a false market, this is an artificial interest rate. Yellen ought to be ashamed of herself. Yeah, these are just little sound bites, they’re probably no more than that, or slogans. But if you think about it, what mainstream candidate or President or, you know, advisor to a President has said one word, even mild criticism, about the Fed for the last 30 years? They haven’t. And so at least maybe we’re opening up a debate, and I hope he takes it further. The savers in America are getting killed. The retirees are getting killed. As I have a little section in my book, I point out that if you were a steel worker and had a pretty good wage and had sweated out a lifetime in the mill and were thrifty and saved 250,000 in cash over a lifetime, which would be hard to do, very high savings rate. Nevertheless, today under the Fed’s pegged interest rates, if you want to keep your retirement in a liquid bank account, which a lot of older people do, you’re earning one cappuccino worth – Starbucks cappuccino worth of interest a day – for a lifetime of work, thrift, and savings. Now that is beyond unjust. It’s almost cruel and unusual punishment, you know, in the Constitutional sense of the word. So that’s the first point.

The other point – big point I have in my book – is this idea of 2% inflation targeting is totally novel. It didn’t even exist in the 1980s when we were trying to turn around the country in the Reagan administration. I doubt if it existed even seriously in the 1990s. Inflation targeting was the brain child of Bernanke and a few other, you know, far out Keynesians who stumbled into the right positions, introduced it into policy after the turn of the century, and made it formal in 2012. But if you think about 2% inflation as a systematic matter of policy, that means that you’re targeting wagers who have to compete with a China price if you’re in a goods supplying sector of the economy, or the India price if more and more you’re in the service sectors of the economy where you do have the ability through technology communications to move jobs, you know, like data processing, call centers, and all the rest of it offshore.

So what they’re failing to realize is that 2% inflation is not a virtue and it has no relationship to economic growth or the other objectives they talk about. But it’s actually having a devastating negative impact on – again, as I call it, Flyover America, and the jobs in the lower half – let’s say middle to lower half – of the job spectrum that are in harm’s way due to offshoring both on the service and the goods side.

So you know, the idea you get from listening to Bernanke or Yellen or any of the others, as well, you know, 2% inflation, that’s the policy, everybody knows what it is. We march forward in lock step together. What counts is real as we see it, adjusted for inflation with our deflators. And so let’s, you know, move along, there’s nothing here to see. I think that profoundly wrong, destructive, and dangerous. There isn’t lock step 2% for everybody. Again, people at the top of the wage scale are in jobs like good government jobs or finance that aren’t going to be offshore and so they keep up with or stay ahead of inflation. Those that are in the global labor market get – either jobs get offshored and they lose their jobs or they’re forced to take wages that don’t keep up with inflation and they get further and further behind.

So the two evils that I’ve gone after in the book are one; 2% inflation targeting, which I think is killing the jobs market on Main Street and real living standards, and the 0% interest rate targeting after 96 months – that’s where we’ll be in December – you have to call it the permanent policy. Those two things are just devastating in their impact and profoundly anti-democratic. Because if you had put to a vote in Congress 0% interest rates for the next eight years, it wouldn’t have gotten, you know, a corporal’s guard worth of votes because the people impacted – pensioners and savers and middle class producers – would’ve responded overwhelmingly in a negative way.

The same thing with inflation targeting. I don’t think, you know, you would have a corporal’s guard of support in the Congress for inflation targeting if it was explained that the impact is not, you know, uniform but it’s highly inequitable and destructive to the people who can least deal with it.

Chris Martenson:  Now let me add potentially a third evil to that, which is targeting 2% inflation while mis-recording and mis-reporting it. I’m wondering if you tackle that third one at all in here, which is the idea that our government statistics – which we’ve been treated to a bevy of them lately, which adds zero credibility to me. The sharpest rise in median income in 20 years. We just heard that more people than ever, millions have been lifted out of poverty. And the article failed to note something you noted in your book, which was that over the past 16 years, persons in households receiving means tested benefits has more than doubled from 50,000,000 to 110,000,000. I think that had a little lifting effect.

But inflation itself, come on. If you’re living in a major metropolitan area, you’ve been renting and you have any exposure at all to prescription drugs, you are not experiencing 2% CPI inflation, you’re experiencing, I don’t know, 8% or more. And it’s really, really damaging.

David Stockman:   Yes, exactly right. In fact, we addressed that front and center. We actually created something – and I’ll use it in my blog, too, from time to time – called a Flyover CPI. And what we essentially did was take the four horsemen of inflation, which is food, energy, medical, and housing. We re-weighted them to 66% of this Flyover CPI versus 55, recognizing that that’s what the overwhelming share of household paychecks and budgets go to. We then said, “Let’s get an accurate medical deflator,” and so we’ve used a private one that is widely regarded, the Milliman Index. And then we said for housing, for crying out loud, you can’t use this owner equivalent interest, which you know, they survey a few thousand people and say, “If you’re going to rent your castle, what do you think the rent rate would be and how does that compare to last month?” It’s ridiculous.

So we took as a measure of housing expense, we took the asking rent index produced both by the BLS itself, as well as several private ones, and came up with a better measure of housing expense. Now, when you do that, the inflation rate year in and year out since 1987 has been 3.1% per annum. It hasn’t slowed down very much at all, even as we’ve gone through this commodity deflation in the last year or two. Since the year 2000, it’s up 3.1%. If we look even in the last year, it was up nearly 2% and that’s with the big one-time gain from the oil collapse and certain other commodities.

So what we then do throughout the book is whenever we’re talking about inflation adjusted values whether it’s median income or household net worth and lots of other things we can look at, we deflate those nominal values with our Flyover CPI and I think we present a profound truth. Now, let me just give two examples of this. In one chart, we basically show the change from the year 2000 between the Flyover CPI constructed as I’ve described it, and the Fed’s favorite, what I call a sawed-off measuring stick. You know, the PCE deflator less food and energy. If anyone got by without food and energy since the year 2000, more power to them. It would be some type of miracle.

But the point is if you compare those two, what we find is that the Fed’s measuring stick is up less than 40% since the turn of the – or 30% since the turn of the century. The CPI – Flyover CPI as we’ve constructed it – is up 70%. Now, this is profound because it says there’s a 40% gap just in the last 16 years between what our policymakers in the Echols Building think is going on in America in terms of inflation and real values, and what is actually being experienced out on Main Street or in Flyover America. And if they’re wrong by 40%, they’re wrong directionally on everything that’s happened. So even with last week’s phony numbers – and we can address that later on the surprising, “surprising gain and medial real income in 2015” – even with that, what we show is the real median income is down 17% since the year 2000 if you use the Flyover CPI versus a couple of percent if you use the regular BLS measures.

Chris Martenson:   Wow.

David Stockman:  There is a huge difference, obviously, between shrinking living standards for the median households – and this is, you know, out of the 119,000,000 households – the difference between kind of treading water, which is bad enough and that’s what the regular BLS deflator shows – and that going backwards by 17%, you know, that’s fundamental. And those are totally different economic circumstances and they have dramatically different economic implications – or political implications, as well.

So when people say we’re being left behind, you know, we’re not going to take it anymore, it’s not based on, you know, in my view, simply cultural prejudices or, you know, bad motivations like xenophobia and racism and all the rest that is charged by the elite media. I think it’s an indication, a signal of economic distress that is real and that policymakers in the Imperial City are oblivious to because they believe all the data that comes out of the statistical mills.

Now, the worst one at this, frankly – she’s so naïve it’s beyond belief – is the Chairman of the Fed, Janet Yellen. She seems to believe that every one of these – all this data that comes out of the BLS and other statistical mills is accurate to the decimal point and that even if the, you know, core CPI was food and energy is 1.6%, which is damn near 2%, they still have room to go to hit their target. You know, this is crazy. You can’t measure anything that precisely. There’s a whole problem that some people are aware of about what the general price level is anyway. But you know, we have a central bank being run by paint-by-the-numbers mechanical fanatics who, you know, continue to sit on the money market rate, which is the heart, is the core price in all of capitalism and all of financial markets. Because from the money market, everything else more or less eventually gets priced – the yield curve, equities, converts, everything else.

But the point is they’re literally, you know, focused on decimal point differences that aren’t even valid measures. And in the process, what they’re doing is just continuing to distort dramatically pricing in the financial market. So I mean, as we said before, if you get to December, which we will without another change in rates, that means roughly 96 months, the Fed had the economy latched to the zero bound and if there’s anything we know, and that is zero cost overnight money is the mother’s milk of speculation like no other force in the economic world. And so they have unleashed speculation that they don’t even begin to understand how it’s unfolded and worked its way into the warp and woof, really, of the economy. And what’s going to happen is when we finally hit some kind of trip wire or catalyst or black swan, whatever you want to call it, there’s going to be stuff coming out of the woodwork everywhere blowing up. And they’re going to say, “Well, you know, this is one time. We didn’t know it was there.” And of course they don’t know it’s there because there are millions of people every day being given a price signal that you can borrow money overnight and put it on an options position, you can go to your Wall Street prime broker and they’ll come up with all kinds of customized spread trades and financial – structured finance trades that, you know, are not visible to anybody but certainly not the people sitting in the Echols Building saying that, you know, valuations are normal, we don’t see any bubbles around, and there’s nothing to worry about.

This is, you know, it’s damn near criminal what they’re doing and when this blows – and I think the great, you know, opening may occur if Trump is elected – is that when the market blows this time, if it happens during a Trump White House, there is going to be a huge investigation, a huge political recrimination against the Fed. The Republicans will finally be unshackled because this is a Fed run by Democrats and Keynesians and people have made it clear that, you know, they want to see a continuation of the status quo.

So all of this is scary because who knows how it unfolds and unwinds. But on the other hand, in some longer term way, it’s encouraging because maybe, you know, this fantasyland that we’re in is, you know, coming to an end and we’re going to get some open and honest, you know, discovery of the folly that has been underway for so many years now.

Chris Martenson:  Well, David, I love the way you’ve approached this in your book, Trumped: A Nation on the Brink of Ruin and How to Bring it Back. Because what you’ve done here, particularly in this last comment, is you said, “Look. Here’s the cognitive dissonance that people are facing in this political cycle.” There are people – the majority of people have faced a 17% erosion since 2000 in their actual living standards. Their purchasing power has shrunk, they’ve felt it, and these are even the people who kept their jobs, not the ones who even lost their job and had to take a lower paying job. They got a double whammy. So there’s all these people who are feeling this pressure and this pain, and the media takes all of that and says, “Oh, if you don’t want to continue that, you must be a racist,” right?

David Stockman:  Right.

Chris Martenson: And that’s just like there’s such a terrible gap between the reality people are facing, which is we need to start doing things differently. And being called a racist, if that’s what you want to do, that maybe Trump isn’t like the perfect standard bearer for this but he’s exposed it. And so here we are.

Now, here’s the question that’s really important. I have to ask it while we have time. I personally know plenty of very financially savvy individuals who are worried silly about the coming financial crash. And the more experienced they are, they more worried they seem to be. So leaving them aside, what’s your advice? What’s your advice for ordinary people who are spending their time coping with all this increasing complexity and the diminishing purchase power, and who maybe aren’t spending as much time as they should be learning about the true risks they face? Maybe they can’t, they don’t have time. But if you get to talk to them, what do you say to them?

David Stockman:  Well, that’s a very profound and also hard question. Because the whole financial system has been so distorted and deformed that it’s really not safe, it’s not stable. And so therefore, you know, the idea that you can get out of harm’s way by maybe buying some utility stocks because, you know, they’ll hold up better when a crash comes, or getting your portfolio mix more towards fixed income and less towards equity. You know, those are the traditional kinds of advice, and I think none of it is suitable to the uncharted waters we’re in today. The bond market is in a bigger bubble than the stock market. The stock market is in a giant bubble and it’s funded all kinds of, you know, speculation, directly and indirectly, that is spread throughout the financial system whether it’s junk bonds or, as I said, structured finance of every kind.

So the best advice to people is if you’re in the stock market, get out completely. If you’re in any kind of duration based fixed income, get out. Because you can’t have 13 trillion of government debt trading at sub-zero rates in the world and not expect that one of these days there’s going to be a huge implosion of that market. And when the sovereign debt markets start to crater, they’re going to take everything with them – corporation, you know, investment grade corporates, high yield, real estate, securitized real estate, and everything else.

So I think you have to get out of those. I think there will – the coming crisis will be a repudiation of Keynesian central banking and that means that gold will have a new era to shine. I think it will be seen as the default asset that people will believe in once the central banks have failed and become visibly discredited and under political attack. And that’s, you know, it’s another whole topic we could talk about. It’s beginning to happen both here and in Europe and in Japan and elsewhere.

So gold will, you know, have a new lease on life, I think, and could rise to incredible heights. It’s one place where you can put assets. But on the other hand, I don’t think there’s going to be any hyper inflationary blow-off so cash, at the end of the day, is going to be a very valuable commodity. Because when we go through the Big Reset, as I call it, and bond prices start becoming real, and real estate cap rates go back up to 8 or 9 rather than 3 or 4 where they are today, especially in, you know, the major urban areas; then, there are going to be great opportunities to re-enter these markets at much more reasonable, sustainable, income-based values.

So right now, it’s a threefold advice, I think. Get out of stocks, get out of bonds, get into gold, and keep your powder dry because, you know, an opportunity after the crisis is going to come of really incredible proportions.

Chris Martenson:  Great advice. I support all of that and thank you for sharing that with us. We’ve been talking to David Stockman, author of the new book, Trumped: A Nation on the Brink of Ruin and How to Bring it Back. David, we’ve hardly touched on, obviously, a portion of what’s in there. And as I know you and your writing, it’s going to be fantastically rich for people who care about the details. They matter. The details matter. And so tell people how they can get your book, when it’s available, and…

David Stockman:  Well, it’s available – yeah, Chris, thank you – it’s available on Amazon now as an e-book. The printed version, we’re rushing it to press but will be available in a week or two. It can be preordered now.

The one thing I wanted to say is besides defining this whole crisis in a historical like 30-year context, I do lay out a direction forward. And I have ten deals that, you know, Donald Trump fancies himself the greatest dealmaker of modern times. And what I say in the book is, “Okay, if that’s kind of the vocabulary you like, if that’s directionally how you can formulate how you would govern, here are ten deals. A peace deal, a jobs deal, a sound money deal, a Glass-Steagall deal, a federalist deal, a liberty deal, a regulatory deal. I lay them all out and I think that’s another part of the book that some readers might find very interesting.

Chris Martenson:  Well, you do mention in the subtitle that there is a way out of this, potentially. And of course, we’d have to start doing things very differently from the last 30 years’ trajectory. Do you believe, David, that if we did make these new deals – may be an unfortunate way to phrase that – if we did come forward with some new ways of putting these forward, that there is – that we really could avoid some of the pain? Or do we just have that pain before us and we’re going to have to make deals to make the best of it?

David Stockman:  Well, I think the pain is going to happen because the system is so inertia-ridden right now and is so dominated by, again, the Washington-Wall Street elites that until they’re kind of blown out of position and discredited in a major, dramatic, and disruptive way; I don’t think policy’s going to change. But once that opening is provided, then maybe people will say, “Yeah, maybe capitalism will work without a central bank that is basically running – turning, you know, the financial markets into a casino.” Maybe they’ll say, “Hey, wait a minute. The Cold War ended 30 years ago. Maybe we don’t need to have a confrontation with Russia. Maybe Trump should make a deal with Putin. Maybe we could actually disband NATO, maybe we could reduce the defense budget by a couple hundred billion dollars, maybe we could get out of the Middle East and let the local Shia and Sunni fight it out themselves.

So the point is if we have a big enough upheaval and the status quo comes under, you know, fundamental assault, then there might be an opening for some of these new directions. But I don’t think it’s anything that the system – if you want to use that word – is going to voluntarily embrace until it’s driven from power and you know, a big political disruption occurs. That’s essentially what Trump is. He’s a large political disruption. There are some real risks to it, obviously, but nothing, as I said in the book, compared to the status quo. I said I – you know, I lay out in some detail areas where I disagree profoundly with Trump, including all his, you know, all of his shrill rhetoric about crime being out of control, which is really not true, and I lay that out. That there are terrorists lurking in every town and village and city in America, which is not true. You’d have a much better chance of being killed by lightning than you do by a terrorist attack.

So I lay all this out. But my point is nothing could be worse than Hillary Clinton and another four years of the same thing that we’ve been doing at this late stage of the game. Because if you try it at this late stage of the game, you’re going to end up in a war with Russia, which is crazy and unnecessary. You’re going to end up with a total breakdown of the monetary system if the Fed goes into QE five, six, whatever it might be. You’re going to end up with a bankrupt country if you try huge fiscal stimulus in order to reverse a recession that’s clearly overdue and coming down the road, you know, visibly as we speak.

So you know, that’s the bottom line. We need a disruption and there is nothing worse than the status quo. That’s what’s ruined us. And if we get the disruption, then here are ten fundamental ideas to, you know, reset the whole governance process to really restore small government and vigorous capitalist prosperity.

Chris Martenson:  David, you say disruption, I say intervention for a punch-drunk empire that seems to – doesn’t know when to say no. And as we’re recording this, the news coming out of Syria regarding the United States and NATO poking at Russia even more seriously. We’re in active, open, what seems to be military conflict at this point. This is, of course, extremely worrying and I, for one, have no interest in seeing my nation go to war with Russia over reasons I can’t articulate except we don’t like it when people don’t do exactly what we say in the way we say it, no matter how bad that is for their standpoint.

So yes, could we find somebody who could actually negotiate with the world rather than bully the world? Obviously, time to begin that process long ago. So any continuation of the status quo in my mind, I agree with you completely, is just getting us two or three more rungs up an already dangerous high stepladder. The fall will be really potentially fatal if we keep up that path.

So David…

David Stockman:  I want to say, Chris, just in completing this thought here, one-third of the book, the last one-third is addressed to the international arena and the question of what I’d call imperial policy and all of the disasters that it has generated around the world, especially since 1991 when the Cold War ended and we could’ve dismantled the whole Cold War machine but they found new missions. And you know, half of what’s going on in the world today is simply mission justification and it’s very dangerous and it’s even bringing this to flash points in places like Syria or Eastern Ukraine, the Donbass, which are utterly unrelated to the security of any American in any city or town from coast to coast.

Chris Martenson: Absolutely, yeah, there’s so much more to discuss there, as well. So listen, David, this has been a fantastic conversation. I hope to continue it at some point in time and we’re out of time right now. So how can people follow you more closely? They know how to find your book, we’ll provide a link to that, of course, at the bottom of this podcast. But I want people to know about you and your website. And of course, you have a new service starting up, as well.

David Stockman:  Yeah, the site is called David Stockman’s Contra Corner. You can find that just by Googling it today. In a couple of weeks, we’re going to be converting that to a more thorough daily briefing commentary from me and some others on key issues in politics, finance, Wall Street, China, Japan, and everything in between. And it will be a subscription service but people can Google my existing site, David Stockman’s Contra Corner, and find out how to sign up.

Chris Martenson:  Well, fantastic. David, thank you so much for your time today. Best of luck with the new book. And people, you really should read it. David, of course, is going to have some of the best, most condensed and elegantly stated information in there. That book is Trumped: A Nation on the Brink of Ruin and How to Bring it Back. David, thank you so much.

David Stockman: Very good to be with you. Thank you.

About the guest

David Stockman

Mr. Stockman is the founding partner of Heartland Industrial Partners. He was formerly a senior managing director of The Blackstone Group. Prior to joining Blackstone, Mr. Stockman was a managing director at Salomon Brothers, Inc.

He served as the director of the Office of Management and Budget in the Reagan administration and was the youngest Cabinet member of the twentieth century. From 1976 to 1981, Mr. Stockman represented Michigan in the House of Representatives.

He is also the author of the book "Triumph of Politics: The Inside Story of the Reagan Revolution" and the upcoming book "The Great Deformation: The Corruption of Capitalism in America".

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81 Comments

Arthur Robey's picture
Arthur Robey
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
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Posts: 3936
Denial

I do not think that Washington is as stupid as we argue. (Although T2H's post on Wicker gives me pause.)

Even if I am not a citizen of the United States I still have a horse in this race and that gives me a box stand on.

What the US needs to do is to look after number 1. It's not hard.

Identify where you are bleeding and staunch the flow. I'm just guessing buy perhaps you cannot afford your military? You have perfectly functioning moat.

Maybe you need to stop fearing death and start practicing real medicine. It would appear that your entire Pharmaceutical /medical insurance thing is motivated by profit. Instead of Pursuing the Capitalist Ideal for is its own sake, consider nationalizing the whole shebang.  After all,  is good health and a reasonable life span not more important than a lot of digits in a bank account? 

Abandon this failed Ideal.  Stop making excuses for it. Grow up. It's not the Wild West anymore.

Let me make myself perfectly clear. Embrace National Socialism. Your current path has brought us all to the brink of nuclear war.

Jim H's picture
Jim H
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Posts: 2391
A Sanders supporter chooses Trump

From the Stockman interview lead in;

Stockman brings us his report of what 30 years of politics, degenerative crony capitalism and “bubble finance” have finally wrought. The upheaval and crossroads represented by Donald Trump’s candidacy spell economic disaster or resurgence, depending on the steps America chooses to take from here:

I am hopeful that we can have a resurgence.. at least of the things that the US was once known for, like rule of law, and a free press for instance.  

This piece is very dense... but seems to be a very sincere exposition of the thought process that led one Sanders voter to choose Trump over Clinton.   I recommend it for anyone on the fence or leaning toward Clinton;

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-10-02/im-bernie-sanders-voter-heres-w...

 
My vote for Trump will be the first Republican vote in my life, and I hope that this will be the only time in my life when the Democratic candidate is so abysmal that I’ll have to do this. It’s not because I like Trump; it’s because he’s vastly better than the Democratic nominee, whom I consider to be by far the worst Democrat ever. To me, choosing between Trump, who has no political record, and Hillary, who has the worst record in public office of any Democrat ever, is easy. On all other ballot lines, I shall, as always, vote Democratic. In fact, that will be the best way to block from getting to President Trump’s desk the Republican bills that he’ll likely be wanting to sign, such as any bill to eliminate the estate-tax. But I don’t expect that Democrats will at all oppose what might be his boldestprogressive initiatives, such as, perhaps, a European-style healthcare system. If Democrats would block something like that, they’d then be killing their own Party (and cursing their country), and there aren’t many Democrats who are (like Hillary Clinton would be) corrupt enough to carry things quite that far in the conservative direction, as to persist in sustaining healthcare-by-corruption. (As former President Jimmy Carter says of today’s U.S.: “Now it's just an oligarchy with unlimited political bribery being the essence of getting the nominations for president or being elected president.”) Perhaps a President Trump would get so many congressional Democrats and Republicans to vote for a single-payer health insurance proposal, that such a piece of legislation could be signed into law much likelier than if a President Sanders (who would be voted against in Congress by virtually every Republican member) were to be pushing for exactly the same type of legislation and getting only some congressional Democrats (and no Republicans then) to vote for it. Indeed, we all might even turn out to be surprised to find that a President Trump will be the most effective progressive President since FDR. If Democrats control Congress, then he might turn out that way, and become widely revered — and the neoconservatives, who are America’s fascists, will then have to become curses upon some other land, perhaps Israel, because they wouldn’t be able, any more, to make life hell for Americans (such as by our invading Iraq and Libya). They’ll then be like the Soviet Union’s die-hard communists were, after communism ended: failed ‘prophets’ without a country.....
..............
 
We’re going to be placing this country into the hands of either Hillary Clinton’s enemies, or else Donald Trump’s enemies, and the latter group are by far the worse of the two. Not to vote, in such a situation, or else to vote for a ‘protest’ candidate and so throw one’s vote away (even if the voting-machine will only be programmed to misreport it), is irresponsible. If America is not a democracy, then, still, a voter’s obligation is to do whatever he or she can in order to maximize the chance that it might become one. As between the two viable options here, Clinton is the clear police-state option, but Trump might possibly fight to restore America’s democracy. The choice of Trump over Clinton is easy to make, because, even in the reasonable worst-case scenario, the damage Trump would likely cause the country (and the world) is vastly less than the damage — nuclear war against Russia — that Clinton would likely cause. This is certainly no ‘Tweedledee, Tweedledum’ election. Not even close to that.
 
 
By voting for Trump, you add 1 vote to him, and 0 vote to Hillary, and so that’s a real action in the real world of electoral politics: it puts Trump up 1. By voting for Hillary, you add 1 vote to her, and 0 vote to Trump, and so that too is a real action in the real world of electoral politics: it puts Hillary up 1. Either vote is a real vote.

   

 

Uncletommy's picture
Uncletommy
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Appropriate, given the situation?

Borrowed from Goodreads:

“Free election of masters does not abolish the masters or the slaves.” 

― Herbert Marcuse

climber99's picture
climber99
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Posts: 188
It's all about energy

"In fact, during the last 30 years, the real net worth of the bottom 90% has not increased at all"

It's all about energy.  In the last 30 years the increase in Net energy extracted from fossil fuels has barely matched the increase in population.  Hence no real increase in net worth.  Very simple explanation.

What about the top 1% you ask? The top 1% may have most of the wealth but in energy terms they can only drive one car at any one time, live in one house at any one time etc etc. so in energy terms they are not consuming anything like as much energy relative to everyone else as their amassed wealth would suggest.

climber99's picture
climber99
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Posts: 188
.

As for a choice between Clinton or Trump, both are equally clueless. Both cannot conceive that we may be entering our energy descent beyond (maybe at a subconscious level) by either collapsing foreign nations one by one, starting in the Middle East or building 'fuck off' walls around you.

levin's picture
levin
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Posts: 23
Trump is RISK

Let's not be so quick to think that Trump is our Saviour.  He has provided anything but evidence that he could cope with a Federal Reserve crises much less with anything else.  I'm getting the distinct impression that a tacit endorsement for Trump is being offered by this site.  I hope this is not the case.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/film/the-choice-2016/

 

 

Snydeman's picture
Snydeman
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I'm sorry..

I'm sorry, but the notion that a member of the very same elite class that has fucked over the middle and lower classes over the last 30 years could somehow represent an "outsider" is just plain ludicrous. The man wouldn't know the middle class if it smacked him in the head.

 

Granted, Clinton isn't great, but this notion that Trump will stand up for the middle class? Please.

 

No one in the ruling political class OR ruling economic elite gives a fuck about any of us, period. For the record, I'm not voting for either one. As much as it will be wasted, I'm voting Jill Stein and the Greens. At least they represent something other than business as usual, and they are as "outsider" as it gets. Either way, change won;t come from voting; it comes from transforming your expectations and community to fit the reality of what's coming. All else is froth and chaff.

Hotrod's picture
Hotrod
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Posts: 187
Trump advisers

Not a show of support for Hillary, but the fact that Pence recently had good things to say about Dick Cheney and a quick review of Trump's advisers should scare the hell out of everybody.   Snydeman is 100% correct, the elites could care less whether you lived or died.  As my deceased next door neighbor, a WWII veteran of the Battle of the Bulge said, when asked about his experience in the war,"Your life ain't worth a plug nickel to the higher-ups."

Jim H's picture
Jim H
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Posts: 2391
Trump is Risk?

Of course he is risk.. he has no political record.  He says really stupid stuff much of the time.. but there is no way he is more risky than Hillary.  Voting for Hillary is voting for more of everything... more war, more needless prodding of Russia, more loss of constitutional freedoms, more FED and more Wall Street.  Good luck with that.  I am with Stockman here;

David Stockman:  Well, that’s the heart of the matter. And you know, the point they make about Hillary, she’s experienced, she’s been there, she’s informed – those are exactly the reasons why I hope she’s not elected. Because she basically is, in some sense, the class president of a failed generation that has been running policy in the wrong direction, war abroad, debt at home, bubble finance on Wall Street, a rogue central bank that has essentially taken over economic life for all practical purposes in this country. You know, there’s a generation that has put that in place and now they’re blind – I call it Imperial Washington – is blind to the consequences and the unsustainability and the unjustness and the failures of the policies that they’ve put in place.

So in that sense, I see Trump as a disruptor, that he hasn’t spent 30 years drinking the Kool-Aid in the Imperial City. He hasn’t learned all the reasons why you shouldn’t raise questions about what the Fed is doing. He hasn’t learned all the reasons why we still need to have NATO and its 300 bases around the world when the Cold War ended, you know, three decades ago.

So what I think is refreshing about Trump is that he lets loose of common sense observations every now and then that at least begin to crack the façade of the status quo and the Washington assumption and the elite media assumption that all of this is working just as intended. And we had a scare in 2008 but that’s behind us, it was once in 100 year flood, and we can move forward with a much more optimistic outlook. I think that is just terribly wrong, it’s just completely upside down. We’ve been drifting towards the wall, kicking the can, and there isn’t a lot of runway left in this whole scheme, which is, you know, on the verge of failure.

Go ahead.. find anything good to say about Hillary.  We have a binary choice here... 

 

Time2help's picture
Time2help
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FYI

LesPhelps's picture
LesPhelps
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Posts: 811
Arthur Robey wrote:I do not
Arthur Robey wrote:

I do not think that Washington is as stupid as we argue. (Although T2H's post on Wicker gives me pause.)

Even if I am not a citizen of the United States I still have a horse in this race and that gives me a box stand on.

What the US needs to do is to look after number 1. It's not hard.

Identify where you are bleeding and staunch the flow. I'm just guessing buy perhaps you cannot afford your military? You have perfectly functioning moat.

Maybe you need to stop fearing death and start practicing real medicine. It would appear that your entire Pharmaceutical /medical insurance thing is motivated by profit. Instead of Pursuing the Capitalist Ideal for is its own sake, consider nationalizing the whole shebang.  After all,  is good health and a reasonable life span not more important than a lot of digits in a bank account? 

Abandon this failed Ideal.  Stop making excuses for it. Grow up. It's not the Wild West anymore.

Let me make myself perfectly clear. Embrace National Socialism. Your current path has brought us all to the brink of nuclear war.

Arthur,

Surely, you don't think the average US Citizen wants military expenditures as large as the rest of the planet combined, or wants to have to pay 3 times as much for health care as the second highest country?

The vote, in the US, is only for form, allowing us to feel a power we do not possess.  We get to choose between two candidates who are bought and paid for, candidates who will say anything to get the vote and then do exactly what they are told.  And, if the vote goes the wrong way in a key election, then the right person gets elected anyway and the exit polls for some reason don't match the final vote tally in key precincts. Go figure!

I get a kick out of the "concern" over here that Russian hackers may tamper with our voting system.

All other arguments aside, I do not believe that Trump is bought and paid for in advance.  I can't predict what he will do exactly if elected, but I can predict what Hillary will do.  That makes the vote decision easy for me.

Having said that, I do not believe the true rulers of the US will allow Trump to be president.

Edwardelinski's picture
Edwardelinski
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 23 2012
Posts: 338
Nouriel Roubini on Trumps Policy Team:

"A bunch of white male billionaire supply side nuts who will find policies to help blue collar workers?Laughable joke."Make coal great again in West Virginia,use Chinese vs Pennsylvania steel to build your skyscrapers because its cheaper?Sure why not.I did see the Pence interview with Martha Raddatz and his role model is in fact Dick Cheney.Tha last 8 years have been majority ruled by the republicans.They have succeeded in knocking down every idea brought forth by the opposition.At the expense of the nation.If that is where your loyalties lye,then Trump away...Across the board landslide...Thankfully Women,Latinos,African Americans and other minorities now have a voice.They are the ones who have been hardest hit in the nation.They have been devastated....

thc0655's picture
thc0655
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Apr 27 2010
Posts: 1714
Who's the "Perverted Regime" (TM) afraid of?

Who's the "Perverted Regime," IMF, UN, G-20, Bush Family, US Lamestream Media, Hollywood leftist celebrities all afraid of? Who do THEY unanimously say threatens their profits, power, prerogatives, plans and procedures?  You know who it is (and who it isn't).  

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-10-04/existential-threat-to-world-order-confronts-elite-at-imf-meeting

I'm voting for The Clown because that gives me a rare chance to express a hearty F. U. to Them.  They will get my unambiguous middle finger.  And I'm voting for The Clown even though I know he's not a solution to anything.  I don't expect him to fix anything.  In fact my simple hope is not that he will fix Washington and NY, but that he will BREAK THEM.  I would like nothing more than for the whole Perverted Regime to be left nothing but a smoking pile of rubble.  Just like the economy can't be fixed until it's allowed to crash, the Perverted Regime can't be reformed until it's destroyed.  If there's still a USA after Trump breaks Washington, then we can rebuild and reform.

That's why I could never vote for The Evil Witch. She's the class president of the Perverted Regime, a pathological liar, and was voted "Most likely to keep the status quo, Perverted Regime, going as long as possible."  And to accomplish her mission she will have to crush the last vestiges of freedom left in this country -- which she would gleefully do.

Wait until that Evil Witch turns her evil eye on US.

 

cmartenson's picture
cmartenson
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Posts: 5975
War on the little people
thc0655 wrote:

I'm voting for The Clown because that gives me a rare chance to express a hearty F. U. to Them.  They will get my unambiguous middle finger.  And I'm voting for The Clown even though I know he's not a solution to anything.  I don't expect him to fix anything.  In fact my simple hope is not that he will fix Washington and NY, but that he will BREAK THEM.

Great quote Tom.

And here’s the NYTimes weighing in telling us that when people vote, they mess things up. Seriously, the NYTimes just weighed in against democracy…which is the very same concept they routinely trot out to justify bombing some other country that needs to have more democracy.

Colombia and ‘Brexit’ Show Why a Referendum Can Be Dangerous

Oct 4, 2016

The voters of the world have had quite a year: They rejected Colombia’s peace deal; split Britain from the European Union; endorsed a Thai Constitution that curtails democracy; and, in Hungary, backed the government’s plan to restrict refugees, but without the necessary turnout for a valid result.

Each of these moves was determined by a national referendum. Though voters upended their governments’ plans, eroded their own rights and ignited political crises, they all accomplished one thing: demonstrating why many political scientists consider referendums to be messy and dangerous.

When asked whether referendums were a good idea, Michael Marsh, a political scientist at Trinity College Dublin, said, “The simple answer is almost never.”

“I’ve watched many of these in Ireland, and they really range from the pointless to the dangerous,” he added.

Now I’ll be the first to point out that 51% of the vote may not be the wisest decision on the block, because let’s face it, a lot of people are in fact dreadfully uninformed, but the thrust of this article is that referendums are never appropriate…unless they happen to go the way of the political “experts” and prevailing wishes of the status quo. Then democracy is great.

If the people of Crimea had voted to remain part of Ukraine, that would have been 100% A-OK with the US and routinely trumpeted across NPR, NBC, FOX and all the rest. Annoyingly, they voted 90%+ to rejoin Russia and that’s decidedly not OK. That’s an annexation, goddamn it!

The larger version of what’s happening here is that the war on cash is that same as the war on voting – the little people cannot be trusted. We need more government and more experts…you know, the same ones that have gotten us so deep into our nested sets of predicaments.

Well, if Trump wins here’s why I would cheer that outcome.

There were supposed to be three branches of government, the legislative, the judicial and the executive, with the media making up the so-called ‘fourth estate.’

Now all of that has gone decidedly off the rails over the past few decades and I, for one, deplore the cult of CEO worship that now infects the executive branch.

Hey, the president was supposed to just be one person, with a team, and they were not supposed to have a lot more power than either of the other branches. But over the past series of president more and more power has been greedily accumulated into the office of the president and now there’s entirely too much.

The president now apportions money and declares war without any votes being secured or cast in the legislative branch. The president and his staff routinely violate laws and then thumb their noses at the judiciary.

And, in the same vein as worshipping the Kardashians or shrugging when CEO’s grant themselves $100M paychecks, we’ve allowed the presidency to become far too big for its britches.

If Trump gets elected and then makes a mockery of the presidency, which many people fear will happen, is not a failure in my mind but a sought-after feature of his presidency. Go ahead! Knock that office down a few pegs.

Bring it back in line. Force Congress and the Senate to reassert their enumerated powers. Make them!!

If the US wants to go to war, then the legislature needs to cast that vote and be counted. If money is spent, then that decision needs to be made by the elected representatives. If anybody in government breaks the law then they need to be held accountable.

Period.

So that’s the benefit I see of a Trump presidency – knocking the office of the president back down to a manageable and appropriate size.

Enough already with this idol worshipping.

Time to reverse the era of bigger government and bigger financial institutions back towards individual rights.  It begins by breaking the current mold.

sand_puppy's picture
sand_puppy
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Perkins: More Confessions of An Economic Hitman

This Time They are Coming for Your Democracy

ZH had this piece, originally from YesMagazine.com

Perkins was recruited, ... to generate reports that justified lucrative contracts for U.S. corporations, while plunging vulnerable nations into debt. Countries that didn’t cooperate saw the screws tightened on their economies. In Chile, for example, President Richard Nixon famously called on the CIA to “make the economy scream” to undermine the prospects of the democratically elected president, Salvador Allende.

If economic pressure and threats didn’t work, Perkins says, the jackals were called to either overthrow or assassinate the noncompliant heads of state. That is, indeed, what happened to Allende, with the backing of the CIA.

He describes the same kind of dynamic now being aimed at US cities.  This reminds me of the migrant crisis in Europe and the getto / BLM / Police crisis in US cities.

Perkins has just reissued his book with major updates. The basic premise of the book remains the same, but the update shows how the economic hit man approach has evolved in the last 12 years. Among other things, U.S. cities are now on the target list. The combination of debt, enforced austerity, underinvestment, privatization, and the undermining of democratically elected governments is now happening here.

....

Sarah van Gelder: What’s changed in our world since you wrote the first Confessions of an Economic Hit Man?

John Perkins: Things have just gotten so much worse in the last 12 years since the first Confessions was written. Economic hit men and jackals have expanded tremendously, including the United States and Europe.

Back in my day we were pretty much limited to what we called the third world, or economically developing countries, but now it’s everywhere.

And in fact, the cancer of the corporate empire has metastasized into what I would call a failed global death economy. This is an economy that’s based on destroying the very resources upon which it depends....

-------

van Gelder: ... the dynamic about debt...

Perkins: Yes, when I was an economic hit man, one of the things that we did, we raised these huge loans for these countries, but the money never actually went to the countries, it went to our own corporations to build infrastructure in those countries. And when the countries could not pay off their debt, we insisted that they privatize their water systems, their sewage systems, their electric systems.

--------

van Gelder: I wanted to ask about your time spent in Ecuador with indigenous people. I’m wondering if you could talk about how that experience has changed you?

Perkins: Many years ago when I was a Peace Corps volunteer in the Amazon with the Shuar indigenous people there, I was dying. I got very ill, and my life was saved in one night by a shaman. I’d come out of business school this is 1968, ’69, and I had no idea what a shaman was, but it changed my life by helping me understand that what was killing me was a mindset—what they would call the dream.

I spent many years studying all this, and working with many different indigenous groups, and what I saw was the power of the mindset.

The shamans teach us—the indigenous people teach us—once you change the mindset, then it’s pretty easy to have the objective reality change around it. So, instead of the kind of economy we have now, a death economy, if we can change the mindset we can very quickly move into a life economy.

Building a world worth inheriting (hats off to Chris and Adam)

van Gelder : You quote Tom Paine in your book: “If there must be trouble let it be in my day that my child may have peace.” Why did you decide to use that quote?

Perkins : Tom Paine wrote that statement in December 1776.

[T]here’s nothing that rallies people more than to think about their children. ... I’ve got a daughter and I’ve got an 8-year-old grandson. Bring on the trouble for me, OK, but let’s create a world they’re going to want to live in. And let’s understand that my 8-year-old grandson cannot have an environmentally sustainable and regenerative, socially just, fulfilling world unless every child on the planet has that. ... we can’t have peace anywhere in the world, we can’t have peace in the U.S., unless everybody has peace.

[Compare Perkins YELLOW vision of how "to pursue peace" with that of the RED/BLUE faction that pursues peace by killing and dominating all current and potential competitors.]

Doug's picture
Doug
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Posts: 3200
agree and disagree

I agree with much of what you say wrt the take-over of the executive branch by the corporatocracy, but must point out that they have also taken over the Congress and half of the Supreme Court.  More on that in a bit.

My long held belief is that democracy's only virtue is that when things become so unbearably bad that everyone recognizes they are horrible, we can vote the rascals out (and probably replace them with another set of rascals).  Witness the votes you cited in the Brexit, Columbia and Thailand.  Oh yeh, lets not forget Hitler.

Well, I don't think, from the voters' perspective, things have gotten all that bad yet.  You can credibly make the argument that the economy is being destroyed by the Fed, the corporatists and the gigantic debt bubble they have created, but those are kind of deep weeds arguments.  Most of the electorate don't, and don't want to, understand those forces.  Generally, since the great recession economic conditions have improved slowly for the average citizen.  With something close to full employment, at least as measured by the gov't and msm, most people are not in a revolutionary state of mind.  Even if mildly dissatisfied with the status quo, they will tend to vote for the candidate who most represents the traditional values they have been electing for the last half century.  That is relative peace (no full scale war), an economy that isn't tanking, the appearance of competence in their elected officials and (metaphorically) the trains running on time.

The only demographic solidly in Trump's corner is the poorly educated white males.  That population is no longer large enough to elect someone President without at least minimal support from other demographic groups.  He has successfully alienated most of them and, if my guess is correct, will further do so before election day.

So, the only realistic choice is between Trump, a loose cannon who knows nothing of the real issues facing us and has no interest in learning them, and Hillary, who, despite the far right's campaign to vilify her, still represents stability and tradition in most peoples' minds.  She isn't likely to wander far off the reservation to which we have become habituated.  That means there probably won't be much in the way of paradigm shifts during her administration, particularly if Republicans continue to rule Congress.  Continued low level war is likely as are favoritism toward the corporatocracy, support of the Fed and little or no action on really big issues like climate change or the debt bubble.  In fact, if Congress remains Republican, we probably won't have much action on anything except annual budget extensions to keep the gov't running.  IOW, she will renege on her campaign promises, but in totally predictably ways.  So, realistically the choice will be between more of the same and chaos.

Maybe during the next administration things will get truly ugly (debt bubble burst, real war, depression, hyperinflation, or something else in the parade of horribles).  If Trump is elected those possibilities will probably be enhanced, but who really wants that?  I think most people (i.e. the electorate) would choose to keep kicking the can as long as possible.  When and if the worst happens, then the American people will have the opportunity to throw the rascals out and begin the cycle again.  Why rush it?

Apropos of absolutely nothing:  This morning I was watching a news report from the college where the VP debate will take place tonight.  There was a small crowd of students of all possible political persuasions behind the reporter.  There were many signs pushing many agendas, but one made me snort my coffee through my nose.  In large red and blue letters it said "Feel your Johnson"

pyranablade's picture
pyranablade
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Posts: 206
Vote 3rd Party

So far it doesn't appear that any of us really wants either Trump or Clinton in the White House.

I'm doing like Snydeman and voting 3rd party. As long as you vote for somebody you can feel good about, then you're not wasting your vote!

Doug's picture
Doug
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Sorry

I believe the correct quote was: Feel the Johnson.

New_Life's picture
New_Life
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Posts: 396
President Martensen?

I mean why not?  The US, and the rest of the earth deserves someone like Chris as a leader.

Oh that's right, you need to be a power hungry, ego centric narcissistic type to be Pres. & appeal to the masses in the modern era.

Shame.

mememonkey's picture
mememonkey
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Posts: 257
Trump is an idiot but Hillary is an existential threat
Edwardelinski wrote:

"A bunch of white male billionaire supply side nuts who will find policies to help blue collar workers?Laughable joke."Make coal great again in West Virginia,use Chinese vs Pennsylvania steel to build your skyscrapers because its cheaper?Sure why not.I did see the Pence interview with Martha Raddatz and his role model is in fact Dick Cheney.Tha last 8 years have been majority ruled by the republicans.They have succeeded in knocking down every idea brought forth by the opposition.At the expense of the nation.If that is where your loyalties lye,then Trump away...Across the board landslide...Thankfully Women,Latinos,African Americans and other minorities now have a voice.They are the ones who have been hardest hit in the nation.They have been devastated....

The  notion that Hillary Clinton somehow represents a voice for women, Latinos, African Americans and other minorities is ludicrous.   It is equivalent to saying that Goldman Sachs and Raytheon are committed to lifting up the downtrodden and disenfranchised.

This is a woman who is demonstrably a sociopath with the blood of thousands directly on her hands. Millions if you count her support for ' The war on terror'  a false flag generated, self perpetuating myth that serves foreign interests and the voracious appetite of our military/security industrial complex.

  You might want to check in on the status of minorities and women in Libya,  her signature achievement as State Dept head.   Or check with the generations of "Super Predators" locked away in the prison industrial complex for life as a function of the Clinton 94 crime bill.  She seems fine with taking money for influence from Saudi's and Qatari's and fomenting the spread of Salafist extremism for geopolitical and monetary interests.  Not exactly a beacon of women's rights. Unless Genital mutilation, and sex slavery  is now a right.  

http://www.thedailysheeple.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/libya-before-and-after-1.jpg

While I find Trump to be a loathsome, misinformed narcissist with a fragile ego.  I agree with Tom, Jim and others that given this odious binary choice he represents the only rational choice or more accurately a chance albeit a small one.

I have no illusions that he will fix anything either.  I won't be voting for trump because, Hillary will win my State regardless,  but If i lived in a swing state, if I thought my vote counted, I would have to vote Trump as a vote against Hillary, not because I believe in trickle down economics or that global warming is a hoax,  but for his potential function as a disrupter to the status quo but most importantly for his stance on Putin and the NeoCon agenda. 

The NeoCon's represent an existential threat to humanity.    The continuation of the NeoCon wars of aggression in the Mideast at the behest of Israel and the military Industrial complex are both morally wrong and insanely dangerous.  The encirclement and aggression towards Russia, a Nuclear power capable of sending us back to the dark ages in flash and the notion that we can achieve full spectrum dominance acting unilaterally in a multipolar world is suicidal.

Hillary is the Neo Con Candidate and has proven she will carry water for these insane policies.

Ultimately I am pessimistic about Trumps ability to check the Neo Con's.  I suspect the power of the deep state and military /monetary is such that Trump, were he to be elected he would be co-opted, duped into their bidding or killed.    Pence's praise of  Cheney might just be signaling his availability to play ball in that latter scenario.

mememonkey

Edwardelinski's picture
Edwardelinski
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I did not mention Clinton

You are a nasty SOB....A whole lot of that.Check Pence on twitter today.Planned Parenthood,LGBT,the African Americans and Latinos had plenty to say today... 

russiaways's picture
russiaways
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Posts: 18
beware the lag and therefore the blame

Such an optimistic election cycle!  Tweedle dum- more of the same ol' shit, or tweedle dee- no clue but hopefully everything will break in a good way!  And if that ain't bad enough, be aware to beware that when things do go bad for the masses whosoever is wearing the crown gets targeted for the blame (for all previous policy repercussions), and the pitchforks.  I recall badly wanting Yeltsin to lose reelection to the communists so as to let them take the blame for the impending post Soviet economic disaster in Russia......but no, democracy triumphed in a more aspirational direction only to take all the heat as the currency burned and a powerful Putin set things straight.  Yet another way that makes the future oh so unpredictable no matter the intended strategies employed.  Resiliency for an uncertain future seems warranted regardless of way we get into trouble.

mememonkey's picture
mememonkey
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Edwardelinski wrote:You are
Edwardelinski wrote:

You are a nasty SOB....A whole lot of that.Check Pence on twitter today.Planned Parenthood,LGBT,the African Americans and Latinos had plenty to say today... 

 

Call me what you want,  my conscience is clear.  The Nasty SOB here is Clinton and trying to educate the useful idiots that buy into the mainstream propaganda that she is somehow on the side of the disenfranchised or takes principled stands ( as you apparently do) is a public service.

Oh and I'll get right on that twtter feed. Lots of good in depth analysis there!  thanks for the tip.

 

mememonkey

Arthur Robey's picture
Arthur Robey
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Posts: 3936
Mmmm. I seem to have a

Mmmm. I seem to have a dialogue box within a dialogue box.

Lets see what happens.

In my arrogant opinion I observe that the reason for our wierding times is the internet.  In the old days (10 years ago) the PTB would have been able to control the media, and the Don would have not have had a chance.

This error is being repaired as we speak.

https://redice.tv/news/obama-successfully-gives-the-internet-away-to-mul...

Edwardelinski's picture
Edwardelinski
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Posts: 338
Again mememonkey

Clinton was never mentioned.Stop insulting and attacking others.I expect sides to be chosen up any minute.I am quite clear on the positions that pence holds....

dryam2000's picture
dryam2000
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Posts: 293
Truly Sad Days

The election is all one great shit show.  Trump is just a stooge playing his role in getting HRC elected.  His job was to clear the path by knocking out all the republicans who could beat HRC.  It was easy as all he had to do was appeal to the large group of angry republican voters in the primaries.  He has, and will continue to say just enough vile things to lose voters in every demographic group....latinos, women, veterans, blacks, you name it.  Instead of really nailing HRC when she went completely limp on Sept. 11 from "pneumonia" (whatever, I'm an internist & there is absolutely no way that diagnosis explains those events), Trump started talking about his medical records (which he never released after making a big deal of it & going on Dr. Oz's show) taking the spotlight off what was going on with HRC.  He was a real candidate he would have said something about her stamina then or during the debate.  If you recall, the HRC campaign originally said she was very dehydrated because of the heat....79 degrees and low humidity.  Then, like the man or not, Trump has a dreadful debate when we all know he's a much better debater than that.  He could have killed her on so many points.  I would recommend everyone at least consider the hypothesis that Trump is just a stooge candidate and there is no real election this year.  Watch the daily events play out with this hypothesis in mind.  So far it all fits on my scorecard.

The debate topics are mostly distraction topics.  It's not the election or the candidates that disgusts me the most.  What disgusts me the most is how the sheeple buy in to this whole shit show illusion of democracy, and then get suckered into arguing & debating about it with coworkers, family, friends, social media, and internet forums like this.  Everyone is being played, and very few realize it.  Sad days indeed.

 

Transcend's picture
Transcend
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Posts: 62
Obama and Hillary carefully selected for other reasons?
russiaways wrote:

And if that ain't bad enough, be aware to beware that when things do go bad for the masses whosoever is wearing the crown gets targeted for the blame (for all previous policy repercussions), and the pitchforks.

 

Canadian chiming in...this has been my thought for a while and I'm sure it's my paranoia, but is it possible the black man and white woman were purposely and carefully selected for the reason russiaways stated above. Probably too far fetched, but something I still consider as possible, which is just as frightening as everything else....sigh. For the record, I support neither and think it's quite sad where we are in the story on way too many topics. Good luck to all :(

Edwardelinski's picture
Edwardelinski
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Posts: 338
Principled Stand?

Dont put words in my mouth.There hasnt been a minority group Trump hasn't taken a shot at.I don't need protection from the mainstream media either.I have a stable of respectable journaliststs I rely on like Dave Sirota who investigated the Clinton foundation years ago before it hit mainstream.He wrote the playbook for the investgations that followed years later...No fear here...

LogansRun's picture
LogansRun
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Posts: 1444
I can't believe anyone on this site...

still believes this shit is real!  WTF is wrong with you guys/gals?  Neither of these idiots would be on the ballot sheet if they weren't hand picked by TPTB! 

 

Friggin idiots.

pinecarr's picture
pinecarr
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Posts: 2259
Binary choice or unary choice?

Mememonkey said:

"While I find Trump to be a loathsome, misinformed narcissist with a fragile ego.  I agree with Tom, Jim and others that given this odious binary choice he represents the only rational choice or more accurately a chance albeit a small one." [bold mine]

I agree with what mememonkey (and others with similar opinions) have to say in arguing for Trump vs Clinton.  Where I get stuck is on the premise that we really do have a choice, or that Trump represents a different result.

Do we really have a binary choice?  Or is this a "choice" between different sides of the same coin (different figureheads for the same underlying power-brokers)?  If people here really believe that we've been given a false choice between 2 candidates in past elections, are we so sure that this time is different?

I don't know the answer, and so will probably vote for Trump on the chance a binary choice really does exist.  But I am not sure that's the case.

davefairtex's picture
davefairtex
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Posts: 5693
speech vs action

EE-

I think Clinton says all the right things many of us want to hear.

But when I look at her campaign donor list, I am pretty sure she'll end up working for them, and won't remember all the fine things she said during the campaign.

That happened with Obama.  He said many fine things - I voted for him, was happy when he won - but he took money from the banks, and when push came to shove, they didn't get prosecuted, they got rescued.

So would it be surprising if Hillary did the same thing, if she gets money from the same places?

The Clinton Foundation got money from MYL, head of which is a woman, daughter of a senator from somewhere-or-other.  MYL created the $600 epi-pen from $1 in generic medicine and a great deal of influence over what got approved.

I believe this method of doing business will continue under Hillary.

I certainly understand your hope that Hillary will actually do all the things she talks about, but I have zero faith that she will, given her campaign donor list and her clear record of favoring those donors once she's in office.

https://www.opensecrets.org/politicians/contrib.php?cid=N00000019&cycle=Career

In the top 7: JPM, Goldman, Citi, and Morgan Stanley.  And was just her campaign.

Donors to her "charity" include Saudi Arabia to the tune of $25 million.  Do you get the sense the Saudis run around handing out money but expecting nothing in return?

When it comes to helping "the people" or helping the companies on her donor list, I believe she'll come down on the side of the donors almost every time.  I understand if you prefer to believe differently, but her record for accepting appointments while Sec State suggests otherwise.

I also believe, based on her emails, that she was entirely in favor of the destruction of the Syrian regime.  We know how that turned out: a flood of refugees (and migrants) that most likely will tear Europe apart.  She's not a careful thinker - she's way too willing to destroy a country, even after seeing the evidence of how badly it worked out in Iraq.

Rector's picture
Rector
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Posts: 515
No Longer Manageable

Sadly what we need is a TOTAL COLLAPSE.  Martial law; zombie apocalypse, Armageddon.  This is what will be required to bring the people to the point of desperation.  Desperation will bring introspection and reset expectations.  Like a junkie in a gutter, we need to hit rock bottom first.  Until we overcome the curse of wealth, we will never get out of this mess.  There are NO POLITICAL SOLUTIONS.  Stop wasting your time.

Prepare accordingly.  Tempus fugit.

Rector

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Rector
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Posts: 515
PS. Finalized Preps Today

As a side note to my cheery commentary above.  

When I began preparing for our new future 7 years ago, I took the approach of working on the problem from the most likely (economic collapse) to least likely (grid down systemic collapse).  I did and bought things that would be useful regardless of the outcome.  As time has passed, my certainty of a total failure has increased to this point:

Today I reached the final phase as I self defined it - I knew I would be near the end of the prep cycle when I relented and purchased serious NIGHT VISION equipment for a total grid down apocalypse.  It's a sad day when I arrived at the rational conclusion that such a purchase was worth it.  

Rector

Transcend's picture
Transcend
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Joined: Jan 28 2012
Posts: 62
Rector
Rector wrote:

purchased serious NIGHT VISION equipment for a total grid down apocalypse.  

 

Can I come live with you?  Nice work!

AKGrannyWGrit's picture
AKGrannyWGrit
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 6 2011
Posts: 498
Introspection

When the collapse comes people will be looking for someone or some group to blame.  Introspection, for a great many people that means is my stomach growling.  Not holding my breath for a birth of enlightenment by the masses anytime during this millennium.

AKGrannyWGrit

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Time2help
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When Freedom becomes Slavery, and Slavery Freedom
LogansRun wrote:

still believes this shit is real!  WTF is wrong with you guys/gals?  Neither of these idiots would be on the ballot sheet if they weren't hand picked by TPTB! 

Friggin idiots.

 

davefairtex's picture
davefairtex
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Posts: 5693
night vision

Rector-

I reject the premise that night vision equipment must necessarily be driven by the expectation for something horrible.  I think that stuff is the coolest thing ever, and - I must confess, I love owning things like that.

Ever since I saw my friend (a US army training officer at Ft Irwin) driving in the desert with night vision goggles, I was totally hooked.  This Stuff Was Cool!

Now then, do I have such equipment?  I do not.  But I was very close to buying a pair - not because of its utility in a grid down situation, but just because I thought it was just such nifty gear.  And you just never know when such a thing might be useful.  :)

 

 

reflector's picture
reflector
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Posts: 279
$30,000 was just stolen from you

greg hunter just put out an excellent interview with catherine austin fitts.

among other topics is the recent disclosure that $9 trillion is "missing" from the defence budget.

that's $30,000 per man, woman, and child in the united states.

CAF speculates that the neocons may use war with russia to cover-up this astronomical theft.

many of us remember how on sep 10th 2001, rumsfeld disclosed that $3 trillion was "missing" from the defence budget.

then the next day sep 11th happened, and the missing trillions was the last thing on anyone's mind.

curious timing, that - it's almost as if the bush administration knew what was about to happen the next day.

CAF gives some great insight, but is still a bit naive, talking about how the constitution would work if only the rulers would obey it. she refuses to accept that the very system of government itself is a system of control fraud, a system of enslavement of, and plunder from the people, for the benefit of the ruling class.

at any rate, we live in interesting times...now would be good for any last minute prepping.

 

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sand_puppy
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Posts: 2039
PVS-14 Night Vision

James Wesley Rawles loves the Military Grade (Mil-Spec) 3rd generation night vision monocular PVS-14.  I gotta admit that I would love to get one.  But they are expensive:  $3,000!

 

JWR Replies: If you want to buy the best, then you need to get a military specification Gen 3+ AN/PVS-14 monocular that comes with a Litton factory data sheet.  Have one hand-picked for the maximum number of line pairs and minimal scintillation. (Scintillation is an image degradation commonly called “the sparklies”.) If possible, make arrangements visit the seller’s store on an evening, and do side-by-side tests with multiple scopes. (Or offer to pay the vendor to do so, if you can’t travel there.) Even with data sheets, the image quality differs a bit. This is because even though night vision equipment is mass produced, their michochannel plates are hand-assembled into image tubes in a clean room. This is very delicate and precise work. It is as much an art as it is a science. Some of ITT’s assemblers have been doing these tasks for 20+ years.

You can order a mil-spec night vision monocular with confidence from any of SurvivalBlog’s advertisers. But beware of those fly-by-night sellers who’s idea of “re-manufacturing” is rebuilding surplus scopes on their kitchen table. There are also a few vendors that are selling scopes with forged data sheets. Again, buy only from reputable dealers.

 

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lambertad
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Posts: 185
Monocular NVGs

Just wanted to give my 2 cents on the Monocular NVGs. The cost of PVS-15s (binocular, standard issue for special forces when I left the military) is astronomical unless you're swimming in money, but in my estimation the benefit is hard to put a price on. The main beef I had with PVS-14s (the ones I used in the military) was the lack of depth perception. Driving without depth perception was one of the hardest things I had to do, and any sort of light, even from over the a ridge from a city 20 miles away would wash out the foreground and leave you with little ability to see directly in front of you. Add to this a lack of depth perception and you're in trouble, like off the road onto a hillside trouble. 15s wouldn't solve the washout problem, but they would give you depth perception. On patrols, I regularly fell when crossing wadis, rough terrain, off the backs of helicopters, etc. because  of the lack of depth perception. It didn't happen every patrol, but it made it so much more difficult. 

However, if you don't plan on walking, driving, patrolling with your NVGs then maybe you don't need depth perception. The 14s worked great when pulling guard. 

With that being said, not sure if anyone has experience with NVGs that have a binocular ouput but that feed from monocular input like the PVS7-3 below. If these offer depth perception, I would personally spring for these over a monocular any day of the week based off of my experiences overseas. Like Sand_Puppy said above, it doesn't seem unreasonable to test out your NVGs prior to buying them and I would include a field walk or walk over somewhat rough terrain if you can include this in your test of the product. 

 

jtwalsh's picture
jtwalsh
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Posts: 268
Salus Populi

The 26th Amendment to the United States Constitution was adopted on July 1, 1971. I turned eighteen on January 5, 1972 and was eligible to vote for the first time in the presidential election of 1972.  Nixon vs. McGovern.

The Vietnam war had been raging for a number of years.  The student anti-war demonstrations had come and gone for a number of years.  Kent State was still a fresh scar in everyone’s mind. Young men had been arbitrarily called up to serve.  Snatched from their classrooms, jobs and homes to be given rudimentary basic training and then to be dumped into the killing fields of south-east Asia.  Many died. We all knew men who had died in the war. Many were lost.  Many returned home injured and lost. Many served honorably and returned home to a county that was embarrassed by their presence, that didn't want to be reminded of what we had wrought. In September 1972, at my freshman orientation to college there was a table with volunteers who would assist you in avoiding the draft.  There was also a table with clean shaven young men in uniforms advertising the college’s ROTC program.  The country was schizophrenic.  It appeared ready to tear itself in half and then have each side attempt to devour the other.

My contemporaries were old enough to remember the Cuban Missile Crisis, the assassinations of John Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Robert Kennedy.  We witnessed the inner city riots and watched the horror of the war with dinner each night. The culture was engaged in a battle between Mayberry/Leave it to Beaver and the Timothy O'Leary world of free sex, free drugs, no rules, no authority. When I think back I realize that we had grown up very early.  The world put unavoidable life and death demands on us while we were still teens.

I took my first vote very seriously, as I have taken every vote since that election. For the first time in forty-four years I am completely confounded.  None of the four candidates have any appeal for me. I see my country propelling itself down a very dark path. None of the candidates has a real plan. For that matter, none have a clue, as to how fast we are approaching the abyss. My present inclination is to not vote at all.  Which would be a first.

The vice presidential display last night was pitiful.  My high school debate coach would have pulled both of them from the team and removed the moderator from being a judge.  Nothing of substance was addressed, discussed or clarified. 

Having taken the red pill, in the midst of the financial explosion of nine years ago, I have now come to this.  The entire thing seems no more than a sham.  Window dressing.  Kabuki theater. Farce.  Image over substance. The real issues are not addressed.  The truth is buried in lies.  Fending off ad hominem attacks to preserve an image is more important than the lives of the people and the success of the republic. 

My normal pessimism has kicked into overdrive.

(Salus Populi Suprema Est Lex) The welfare of the people is the ultimate law. (Cicero)

An ideal not honored in this election.

JT
 

LogansRun's picture
LogansRun
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Joined: Mar 18 2009
Posts: 1444
You didn't take the red pill...

7 years ago.  If you had, you'd have realized that the reality that you'd been living (voting and thinking that one candidate was different than the other....and many more things!!!!) was a false reality.

Wake the FUK up people.

 

 

jtwalsh wrote:

The 26th Amendment to the United States Constitution was adopted on July 1, 1971. I turned eighteen on January 5, 1972 and was eligible to vote for the first time in the presidential election of 1972.  Nixon vs. McGovern.

The Vietnam war had been raging for a number of years.  The student anti-war demonstrations had come and gone for a number of years.  Kent State was still a fresh scar in everyone’s mind. Young men had been arbitrarily called up to serve.  Snatched from their classrooms, jobs and homes to be given rudimentary basic training and then to be dumped into the killing fields of south-east Asia.  Many died. We all knew men who had died in the war. Many were lost.  Many returned home injured and lost. Many served honorably and returned home to a county that was embarrassed by their presence, that didn't want to be reminded of what we had wrought. In September 1972, at my freshman orientation to college there was a table with volunteers who would assist you in avoiding the draft.  There was also a table with clean shaven young men in uniforms advertising the college’s ROTC program.  The country was schizophrenic.  It appeared ready to tear itself in half and then have each side attempt to devour the other.

My contemporaries were old enough to remember the Cuban Missile Crisis, the assassinations of John Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Robert Kennedy.  We witnessed the inner city riots and watched the horror of the war with dinner each night. The culture was engaged in a battle between Mayberry/Leave it to Beaver and the Timothy O'Leary world of free sex, free drugs, no rules, no authority. When I think back I realize that we had grown up very early.  The world put unavoidable life and death demands on us while we were still teens.

I took my first vote very seriously, as I have taken every vote since that election. For the first time in forty-four years I am completely confounded.  None of the four candidates have any appeal for me. I see my country propelling itself down a very dark path. None of the candidates has a real plan. For that matter, none have a clue, as to how fast we are approaching the abyss. My present inclination is to not vote at all.  Which would be a first.

The vice presidential display last night was pitiful.  My high school debate coach would have pulled both of them from the team and removed the moderator from being a judge.  Nothing of substance was addressed, discussed or clarified. 

Having taken the red pill, in the midst of the financial explosion of nine years ago, I have now come to this.  The entire thing seems no more than a sham.  Window dressing.  Kabuki theater. Farce.  Image over substance. The real issues are not addressed.  The truth is buried in lies.  Fending off ad hominem attacks to preserve an image is more important than the lives of the people and the success of the republic. 

My normal pessimism has kicked into overdrive.

(Salus Populi Suprema Est Lex) The welfare of the people is the ultimate law. (Cicero)

An ideal not honored in this election.

JT
 

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Rector
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Nope

I have extensive experience with PVS7s and they offer no depth perception. Two screens looking at one tube. No one uses these any more. Buy the 14s. Trust me. 

Rector

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Sleepdoc
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Chris: I have respected and

Chris:

I have respected and admired much of what you have said and written over the years, but I have to admit that I am surprised at your conclusion that Trump would be a good thing for our country and the world.

In writing what I am about to write, I am not endorsing Clinton, as I have serious reservations about her. However:

Your teachings have been to focus on Environment, Economics, and Energy in understanding the world, its problems, in finding solutions.  Central to your concept of working through things has been the focus on Community.  I have embraced your words in many ways.  For those reasons, I cannot imagine how a Trump presidency would further those ideals.   He has built his business by focusing on self over anyone else and has done very little to engender community. All of his power seems to be based on threat, fear, and jealousy of what he has.  Many of his supporters embrace his history of stereotyping and division while others look beyond it for the vision of success and his promises that are largely backed with only his word and his reports of his greatness and success. 

A Trump presidency would likely have little regard to protecting the environment from exploitation for the present at the expense of the future. In fact, it would likely be an acceleration of that process.

His stated economic concepts, from the limited plans that have been outlined, are so clearly beneficial to the super elite, that they would only exacerbate the social divides and more likely lead to a chaotic battle between the classes with a racial edge.  The supply side economics that he supports clearly undercuts the concept of sound money, as it will be based on further debt. 

I agree with concerns of veracity from both sides, but Trump has consistently said one thing and then lied about it later.  With all of his double speak, you cannot trust a thing out of his mouth.

He has a history of aggressively attacking his opposition, and will likely have a real struggle with congress that is as bad if not worse than what Obama has gone through (largely because the Republicans simply wanted his Presidency to fail, leading to the need to exert more executive power simply to get anything done). Additionally, an egocentric, rule from the top president who has little understanding of constitutional law or process could be catastrophic to our democratic institutions.  While the power elite is not guiding us well now, our institutions have guided us through times of transition in the past more peacefully than could otherwise have occurred when you compare our experience to other countries. 

In the end, I do understand your desire for a change in the way things work, but going with a Trump path is likely to create chaos and hurt many of the people that we desire to help.  Once unleashed, chaos can quickly spiral out of control. 

My hope is that Trump loses, but that the winner understand the gravity of the experience that has lead to whatever strength he and Bernie have demonstrated such that the democratic process can work to positively change while maintaining our community and keeping us out of undesired and unneeded external conflict. 

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Time2help
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Don't forget to vote

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treebeard
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The Office

 We should not confuse the office of the president with the person.  The power of office has not grown as the result of the greed of the individual, or even group of individual office holders, but the desire of those behind the scenes to circumvent what little is left of the shell our democracy.

I would argue the more powerful the office has become the more impotent the actual office holders has become.  What could be more telling than reading of "My Pet Goat" while the intricate machinations of the military industrial complex pulled off one of the most frightening crimes in American history.  Which still remains shrouded in mystery, for which no one has been held in account for.  Yet we still walk around as if everything is OK, things are normal, we have not changed..........yet.

We are sold candidates the same way we are sold tooth paste. "I am not a doctor, but I do play one on TV.........".  There has not been substantive discussion on policy in an election in years. All the discussion revolves around strategies, how to play the game, which is what our elections have been reduced to.  They are marketing campaigns to appeal to this "vote" or that "vote".  The gay conservative vote, the straight ethnic liberal vote, the women's vote, the conservative white vote, on and on and on, sliced in some many directions that it make your head spin.  Yet nary a whisper about actual substantive policy.

Yet still there is brand loyalty out there, like Pepsi vs. Coke, Yankees vs. Red sox, Democrats vs Republicans.  This is understandable, to be politically passionate is normal, to want to have a voice in the course of ones nation.  But it is a fraud, through and through.  If GW didn't discredit the office how possibly could Trump? We have already sunk to the depths of incoherence, if we read recent history in a novel, we wouldn't believe it.  Have we lost our sense of self dignity and self respect?

You thought the problem was that we just had white males as presidents, ha!  Now you have a African American president, nothing changed.  Next you'll have women,  nothing will change.  We can buy and control everything.......ultimately what we are are really being sold is hopelessness.  Don't buy what is being sold.

We collectively still hold all the cards, we still have all the power.  It is ours for the taking once we abandon the idea that voting for either Trump or Clinton has anything to do with it.

 

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I can agree with that...
treebeard wrote:

 We should not confuse the office of the president with the person.  The power of office has not grown as the result of the greed of the individual, or even group of individual office holders, but the desire of those behind the scenes to circumvent what little is left of the shell our democracy.

I would argue the more powerful the office has become the more impotent the actual office holders has become.  What could be more telling than reading of "My Pet Goat" while the intricate machinations of the military industrial complex pulled off one of the most frightening crimes in American history.  Which still remains shrouded in mystery, for which no one has been held in account for.  Yet we still walk around as if everything is OK, things are normal, we have not changed..........yet.

The deeper truth is that I don't think it matters in the slightest who's president because there's a machine running in the background, the gears of the deep state grinding along, and this machine is especially powerful and violent.

The nation has had in its possession for forty years the Zapruder films which clearly show Kennedy's head rocketing backwards and to the left, so he was shot from the front and right.  F=MA.  

Despite having that right there on film, when the 50 year anniversary came along the press dutifully repeated the lone gunman angle, but a few allowed that maybe there was still some controversy but that it was too far in the background now to ever know.  Nope.  F=MA 50 years ago and it will still be as true 50 years from now.  It's not controversial in the slightest.  It's just physics.  It's also not subject to debate or differing expert opinions.  It just is.

Then, as you mention, 9/11 comes along and the president is sitting in a classroom while the security apparatus knew one of two things; (1) a major terrorist event was underway or (2) an event they had helped stage was underway.

If it was (1) then the first duty of the Secret Service would have been to immediately spirit the president away from a scheduled public event but they did not do this.  And, no, the SS does not take orders from the Chief of Staff when it comes to safety.  They act.

So you are right, we had all the confirmation we needed right then that the office of the president was irrelevant, and you're even further correct that if GWB didn't prove to the public that having a complete moron sitting in the seat was reason to limit the powers of the office, then maybe Trump wouldn't either.

Heck, I don't know.

I do know that Hillary is with the neocons and they are working overtime to gin up a new war, this one with Russia.  I do hold out hope that the president could, should they choose to, provide a stumbling block to their ambitions, as Obama has done recently in Syria.

Obama, has proven to be a real pain in the butt to the neocons by refusing to bomb Syrian and Russian forces and they've recently gone around him (which is what the bombing of the Syrian government forces was, in my opinion; an attempt at goading Russia into doing something in response and therefore a unilateral declaration of war by the deep state).

So maybe it doesn't matter who is in the president's seat, or maybe it slightly does.  Maybe it is just Coke vs. Pepsi and we're still getting sugar water with a very powerful sugar industry in the background rubbing its hands with glee.  

But anything that can help pull the cover back for people so we can finally have a substantive conversation is something I support.  Hillary will be more of the same, guaranteed.  Further, she's up to her eyeballs in supporting whatever the neocons want, and they want more death and destruction.

I've just written a very long report on Russia which will be coming out on Friday, unless something happens sooner requiring us to hit the 'publish' button today.  

It is a sobering alignment of dots that conclusively point to the fact that Russia is being goaded into war, by the US, for reasons that are entirely unclear, but deadly serious.

Meanwhile, Clinton's campaign is hiring child actors to ask fake questions at fake "rallies" so Clinton can expound on the importance of women's body image and self-confidence, as if that were either the most important thing to be discussing even as a major nuclear super power is being herded into a corner, or something Clinton herself has any actual interest in.  

In the end, I know a lot of people who are desperately afraid of Trump precisely because they think he would be an embarrassment.  There's nothing more terrifying to an intellectual than being outed as dumb...not one of the "in" crowd, smart and witty.

Projecting that outward, it would be a disaster if Trump somehow got in the office, reflecting to the world that the US is neither smart nor witty, but crass and crude.

I guess once you've decided that the president runs very little and the deep state runs a lot, it takes the pressure off of erecting the right president...it really doesn't matter...and because of this all that's left is picking one that soothes your inner ego because they will reflect best on how your wish to see yourself.  Not at all unlike "picking" a preferred sports team or forming an identity with a car brand. 

The brand is there to soothe your ego, not confront any of the falsities that lie beneath the surface ("Hey, I'm not actually a rugged outdoorsman that needs a FWD pickup truck, I'm sort of a wimp really."), and create a bonded indentity that gets you to choose the same brand/team/party over and over again without putting any additional thought into the matter.

So before we get all wrapped up in which president is the best flavor of president (and let's face it, they are both awful reflections on the actual condition of the US) maybe we need to start with this question; does it even matter who is president at all?

 

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Bankers Slave
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Lunatic leader already at the helm

in Scotland. I read an article in a political paper of some description that was trumpeting the virtues of the SNP.

Within the article, they had interviewed Sturgeon. "Who would you most like to go on a dinner date with" was one of the questions. She answered "Hillary Clinton".

Need I say anymore!

My back is completely turned to politicians in every respect in the UK. Because they know who pays the piper! And so do you and I!

 

 

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Rector
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Posts: 515
Exactly. As Always.

Another excellent articulation of the situation - it must be tiring screaming at the mountain.

In my mind I constantly return to the "why" and I have come to the understanding that the "deep state" has always existed - it is just now unbridled and unmasked.  This is possible because so many of us (members of Western Civilization) have allowed it to prosper.  Each of us falls into some category of individual indifference.  I invite your expansion and correction of this breakdown.

1.  The great mass of zombie-like citizens who occupy the bottom half of every distribution.  The world has always had these folks and they are not aware of, interested in, nor do they apprehend what is happening.  Nascar, cheetos, pornography, Kardashian, poverty, "The Bachelor", zero savings, no job, no education (real education).  Many of these are good people that happened to grow up in a toxic culture.  60% of the population. 

2.  Those who are fully capable of understanding but are totally uninterested in what the hell we are talking about.  Think "man on the street" interview. Can't name the Vice President etc.  Many talented professionals fall into this category - as they are "too busy" to "worry about" the real predicaments.  This is the friend you shared The Crash Course with two years ago, but hasn't had time to "check it out". 20%

3.  Partisans who have bought the left/right paradigm and branding hook, line and sinker.  The ends justify the means for some in this crowd.  Others are "true believers" - Bernie and Ted Cruz supporters come to mind.  Deeply principled, but they cannot see the deep state without an epiphany.  This is our target audience.  No one else can concentrate long enough to read an article written by Chris. 15%

4.  The evil ones who are consciously (or not) part of the machine and are actively working to screw up our society, culture, politics, etc. - Hillary's staffers, corporate thieves, criminals in office, insurance scammers, Media, lobbyists, etc.  This crowd operates some portion of the deep state's apparatus.  3%

5.  Us.  We disagree over the particulars perhaps, but see the situation and are able to work out a solution set using civilized methods, compromise, principles, etc.  2%  Expect this group to be criminalized in the idiocracy to come.

This situation persists because we are too self interested and too comfortable to see it and stop it.  This is why I think a collapse is the only solution, albeit a risky proposition.  I don't know who will come out on top in the shake up - but it can't get worse.  (I hope).

Rector

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Edwardelinski
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Posts: 338
Um,Dave?

Im not sure if your Clinton explanations were directed at me,but I never voiced a political preference.That was a projection of another reader.As a women there are many issues that matter to me.The Mylan fiasco was a result of a ground swell from women.Who dragged there rear ends up to the hill?A women.Who created the the Consumer Financial fraud Bureau?A women.Who is in the precess of forming an alliance to prevent crony capitalists from entering the financial walls of power if elected?A women.Toxic chemicals in our childrens food?A women.When a political party believes they have a say in reproductive rights and has shut down planned Parenthood clinics in rural Indiana who will have a say over that?WOMEN.The neocon agenda is very popular here at peak prosperity.That is only one of many that I care about.Supreme Court justices up for grabs?Who will make sure to the best of there ability they have a say?A women.So yes,voting does matter..The insults hurled on this thread  by a so called like minded community?I have no words.... 

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