Stormlight

126
Sun, Dec 29, 2013 - 12:53am

As I dismounted from my bike to walk around to the back porch to drop off the paper (as per the client’s instructions), a peculiar feeling came over me. It was almost as if time had somehow miraculously slowed down around me. The light changed, from a dreary and overcast grey to something quite difficult to describe: luminescent and softly bright. I could hear (and picture in my head) each rub of the cricket’s hind legs individually – and its sounds were short, tentative. The dragonfly buzzing in the garden seemed to slow to a hover. Birds, though visible in the surrounding trees, were both stationary and silent. The feeling was one of both serenity, but also of heightened awareness – each blade of grass and tuft of the dandelions stood out in sharp contrast. The plants and tree leaves glowed in a myriad distinct shades of green. It was as if everything had been dipped in glow-in-the-light pigment. The air around me had taken on a beautiful, golden hue. Not too much light, it felt like sunset in mid-afternoon – yet my surroundings stood out in sharper relief than if it had been high noon in the Caribbean on a cloudless day. It was as if I’d taken a drug enhancing sensory perception – even the smells and physical textures seemed more vibrant, easier to discern.

Unbeknownst to me at the time, I had just experienced my first (remembered) encounter with stormlight. The sky had been covered with leaden grey storm clouds above the entire town, but near the edge of the horizon, the late afternoon sun shone through under the clouds. I imagine the effect was both due to the refraction effect of coming at such an angle through the atmosphere, but also a result of the light-rays bouncing under the thick, impenetrable cloud cover. I marveled at the beauty of the phenomenon (which of course I can’t fully convey now) for too long – the pending thunderstorm caught me out long before I could get home from my paper route. As I poured out the water from my sneakers (at least there was no hail that time), I wondered why and how the world could look so fundamentally different just by virtue of the angle of lighting.

(photo credits: left - Thaddeus Roan: Storm Light at Sunset; right: Joseph Rossbach: September Sunrise)

That afternoon’s experience presented itself a few more times in my life – most recently earlier this week. But these days the experience is associated more with foreboding than beauty. I cannot help but be reminded of a feeling that the relative calm we are experiencing each day is merely the last bit of calm before the inevitable storm, that gathers more ferocity and size with each day that its arrival is delayed. All of the wonderful colors and textures that stand out in unparalleled contrast do little to prepare the observer for the fact or the intensity of the downpour and maelstrom that is to follow.

I often feel that the extent of the details we have collectively been able to unearth regarding how the world really works is in part due to the fact that this expectation of impending calamity is shared by millions, if not billions, across the world. Some people have already built, fortified and double-checked their shelters. Others go about their days without anything but the faintest subconscious inkling that anything out of the ordinary is happening. And some seem intent on flying a kite with antennae and/or a large key attached… But ultimately the potential energy being built up stretches the facades and stage sets, creates ripples, cracks and tears in the canvas. While we very much ‘see through the glass darkly’, we ARE afforded glimpses with ever increasing frequency of what is behind the scenes. Despite my innate sense of curiosity and desire to learn, I am becoming used to the idea that 'knowing it all' may not be possible.

The storm has been gathering apace for a while now, the half-life of crises ‘resolved’ has been just that – the time elapsed between major global economic upheaval and/or large-scale wars grows shorter with each go-around. Whether this next year truly IS the time for the heavens to open and the deluge to start is yet to be seen. But insofar as a next ‘trough’ seems inevitable to me, I’ve really stopped trying to follow and guess the daily gyrations of metals for a while now. The prices of gold and silver will be relevant when they become indicative of the depths of the waters around us, until then they are part of the scenery intended to shield our unprepared eyes from the reality. For the moment, I believe the time is to be right, and sit tight. There are now SO many situations that can be expected to tip over at any moment, that it hardly seems worthwhile to expend additional energy searching for and painstakingly exploring FURTHER black swan candidates.

(photo: Todd Stradford: Too Big for Beavers)

As this bold new year approaches, I will be spending more time focusing on the rest of the preps:

  • Skills that are marketable/useful under a variety of circumstances
  • Alternative revenue streams
  • Options for bug-out (route, conveyance, destination)
  • Self-sufficiency in terms of food and drink (LOTS of work still to do on that front)
  • Options for bug-in (suitable homestead, equipment, other heavy metals)
  • Network of like-minded, dependable and self-sufficient peers

My reasoning here is that there is no real way to truly anticipate the EXACT sequence of events and precise constellation of circumstances we may encounter. As many on this site have said before me, being flexible, adaptive and prepared for a variety of eventualities is a reasonable approach to a set of known uncertainties. Lacking the clarity of vision of a true oracle, my approach is to basically reduce my dependence on the current paradigm. If nothing else, I may gain a greater freedom and independence that I would value anyway. Whether next year brings a true TEOTGKE moment, or more of the grinding downward spiral, every day that the storm does not come is one which can be spent in preparation, and in enjoying the (potentially dangerous) beauty of the moments before the storm.

I hope everyone’s holidays were rewarding and peaceful, and I look forward to celebrating the coming New Year with all of you.

(photo: Ian Plant: Storm Light - Reynisdrangar, Iceland)

PS: I did not have a chance to read ZH today before posting this, but apparently the storm/water theme seems to be circulating in the collective unconscious today: Obama's Hawaiian vacation, and William Banzai's 2014 forecast.

There is also an intriguing article on the seats of global power and the pivot points between them -- as a preview from the latest Thunder Road Report. Last but not least, ZH appears to have picked up (and elaborated on) the Turkish petrogold story in light of recent government developments in Ankara (as we discussed here last week).

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  126 Comments

ivars
Dec 29, 2013 - 6:36am

@andrewscarter

In battle of curbing gold demand India, Thailand and Turkey are prime targets. It just shows how important this is. Government can be deposed if they do not comply.

What is the West anyway? When it has been good instead of rapacious? It think everyone knows the answer though it has been difficult to pinpoint more accurately the true governance structures except for CBs network. But as the fight for gold will become more aggressive and time will be pressing harder, more chaps will be dragged into spotlight. I am sure about it.

Look the Budget agreement did not include extension of unemployment benefits just for ONE reason- to get NFP data which will show below 7% unemployment already in January, 6,5% on February 7th when debt ceiling expires and probably even LESS in March and April reporting of NFP. All this is done with one goal- to execute taper as fast as possible- there will be no 10 billion tapers. I think we shall see all USG debt purchase stopped already in Jan 29 FOMC. Supported by >4% Q4 GDP on January 30th.

Taper is needed to engineer recession to move from financial assets into real ones for those who have increased their wealth disproportionately during QE. That is all there is , and its becoming transparent.

Oil price increase at least 50% (Brent, WTI less as Canadian export pipes will never be built and Mexico well be "Muniched" to serve the USA with increased oil output) - will be needed to engineer inflation so that to take focus OFF recession and asset reposession AND support FED rate increase for further tightening of money. Welcome to Yom Kippur II. Israel will hit Iran within late 2014 as Iran will obviously in Israel opinion "fail" to comply with latest 6 month (!) agreement and of course again be existential threat to Israel while Washington will at first try to calm Israelis down and ask for diplomatic action. What a joke.

Who has been spooking the world with Iran for the last 30 years, supporting Saddam Hussein in the terrible war with Iran in 1980 ties ( to get the price of oil even higher), etc? - the West. No one else believes in that out of proportion image of Iran..Is is purely Western propaganda, more so USA and UK and everyone knows who controls the media there. Iran is an ancient nation, not so happy to be trodden over again and again, and understands world games very well.

Russia will happily spur up tensions as they will play into its hand as long as oil prices move up steadily, but won't overplay as it has no reason to move aggressively against the USA directly. China will be in dire spot as it can not live with such oil prices, so it will move aggressively both monetary and militarily to secure oil/gas resources wherever it can.

And so on.. recession will be engineered , net beneficiaries and losers identified...it is only the hurry with the USD going down the drain that will make these moves more open to public as the real "invisible hand" has to move to the frontlines to ensure execution.

This triangle below puts limit to Israel attack on Iran close to 2014 elections in the USA- to be expected..but either shortly before or shortly after?

Winter
Dec 29, 2013 - 7:21am

Thanks for all your hard work

Thanks for all your hard work. Your thoughts, analysis and the comments of those participating on this site do help us to put the pieces of a complex puzzle together. I wish you to enjoy the holiday season with your loved ones.

As for the coming year, there is indeed a gigantic storm forming on the horizon. Will it reach us in 2014, 2015 or 2016, nobody really knows. However, I fear that none of us will gain anything from it as those at the top of the pyramid are about to unleash Hell on the masses. Our small financial gains with gold and silver will not make up for the destruction of our societies. The greedy, selfish and psychopathic banksters have been working around the clock to make sure that our freedom, liberty, human rights and most of all important things that made our civilization so great will be destroyed. I fear that this storm will bring upon us a new period of Dark Age. The rapid and seemingly unstoppable emergence of totalitarian States in the Western World can only be compared to the velocity in dumbing down and putting asleep the sheeple.

ivars
Dec 29, 2013 - 7:43am

JY896

Amazing pictures...and a great chart in one of the links which I upgraded a bit in line with my instincts of recession to come to the USA mid 2014- full 2015 2016.

Green Lantern
Dec 29, 2013 - 8:47am

JY,Very Henry David

JY,Very Henry David Thoreau-ish. One of my favorite writers. Over a 100 years ago he mused on the very same subject that we are discussing here, society, government, economics. His keen observations came as a result of the time he spent in nature. His masterpiece "Walden" sits on my night table by my bed. Especially noteworthy is his chapter on economics that reads as fresh as it did when he first penned it in the late 1800's.

“The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation. From the desperate city you go into the desperate country, and have to console yourself with the bravery of minks and muskrats. A stereotyped but unconscious despair is concealed even under what are called the games and amusements of mankind. There is no play in them, for this comes after work. But it is a characteristic of wisdom not to do desperate things.”

Thoreau lived a simple live without many of the trappings that society now embraces. The simplicity which he espoused free'd him from the claws of government for they can take what one does not have. He reduced his wants and his happiness was derived from the intangible things of life. I know it is not every man's cup of tea. Nor do I live a life as free of modern trappings as Thoreau. But this was his way of freeing himself from what he called a slave government.

The alternative media is ages old. We are simply another generation who have woken up to the ways of government. I suspect there will always be a group of men and women who see society and the men they put into goverment for what they are.

From Thoreau's essay "Civil Disobedience" Could have been written yesterday. Society is slow at recognizing the truth's that have been under their noses for decades.

This American government — what is it but a tradition, though a recent one, endeavoring to transmit itself unimpaired to posterity, but each instant losing some of its integrity? It has not the vitality and force of a single living man; for a single man can bend it to his will. It is a sort of wooden gun to the people themselves. But it is not the less necessary for this; for the people must have some complicated machinery or other, and hear its din, to satisfy that idea of government which they have. Governments show thus how successfully men can be imposed on, even impose on themselves, for their own advantage. It is excellent, we must all allow.

Yet this government never of itself furthered any enterprise, but by the alacrity with which it got out of its way. It does not keep the country free. It does not settle the West. It does not educate. The character inherent in the American people has done all that has been accomplished; and it would have done somewhat more, if the government had not sometimes got in its way. For government is an expedient by which men would fain succeed in letting one another alone; and, as has been said, when it is most expedient, the governed are most let alone by it. Trade and commerce, if they were not made of India rubber,(3) would never manage to bounce over the obstacles which legislators are continually putting in their way; and, if one were to judge these men wholly by the effects of their actions, and not partly by their intentions, they would deserve to be classed and punished with those mischievous persons who put obstructions on the railroads.

[3] But, to speak practically and as a citizen, unlike those who call themselves no-government men,(4) I ask for, not at once no government, but at once a better government. Let every man make known what kind of government would command his respect, and that will be one step toward obtaining it.

Green Lantern
Dec 29, 2013 - 9:02am

Rick RuleMarket capitulation

Rick Rule

Market capitulation on the horizon?

Eric Sprott betting 50 million that the metals turn around this year.

https://bullmarketthinking.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/12132013rule1.mp3

DeaconBenjamin
Dec 29, 2013 - 9:29am

Gold at center of Turkish corruption money laundering allegation

Gold has been the focus of corruption allegations that are hitting the Turkish government, as some of the suspects of the case are alleged of being involved in Turkey’s gold-for-gas trade with Iran and money laundering through gold deposits

This Jan 19 file photo shows a plane that was allegedly carrying 1.5 tons of unregistered gold worth $65 million from Istanbul, revealed to be belonging Reza Zarrab. DHA photo

Corruption operations that topped Turkey’s agenda and caused ministers’ resignations are continuing with focus on gold.

The operations, encompassing three different investigations, including land planning frauds, the exploitation of public assets and else, but for now the most striking allegations that horrified the public are the ones including “gold,” briberies paid over it and minister’s sons accused of receiving those briberies...

Gold has become the main subject of “money laundering” claims since recognizing Turkey’s bullion gold trade’s boom since 2011. Turkey exported $1.5-billion worth of gold, while importing $6.2-billion gold in 2011, but the export explosion came in 2012 and reached $13.3 billion in one year. The country’s import was $7.6 billion that year. In 2013, import came to the forefront again and reached $13 billion. What was happening, why did gold trade burst?

Turkey could not pay for the natural gas it buys from Iran in foreign exchange due to U.S. sanctions on banks. So, how could it return the money? A way to bypass sanctions was found: Iran was going to be paid in Turkish Liras and then the country would use those liras to buy gold in Turkey, which would look like Turkey is exporting gold to Iran. Since there are not billions of dollars’ worth of gold bullion in Turkey, it needed to be imported from Switzerland. An intermediate station was also found to avoid the U.S.’ rage and that was the United Arab Emirates (UAE). A part of the gold looked like it was exported from Turkey to the UAE and was transferred to Iran’s accounts. In the same way, gold was imported from the UAE.

Overall, Turkey’s gold exports within the past four years, between 2010 and 2013, have amounted to $27 billion and its imports have appeared to be $18 billion. Some $8 billion of the exports seem to be exported to Iran, while exports to the UAE also constitutes $6 billion, which can also be regarded as going to Iran.

Therefore, $15 billion of Iranian natural gas was paid for in this way. Most of this gold was procured by Switzerland, while a small part has been brought by Dubai.

Many argued this payment system’s being recorded as “export,” caused export figures to falsely rise; the country’s current account deficit looks smaller than it actually is and national income is exaggerated. Moreover, some analysts also warned the transfer method may cause headaches for Halkbank and others involved in the scheme.

https://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/gold-at-center-of-corruption-money-lau...

alan2102
Dec 29, 2013 - 9:50am

U.S. Department of Education...

... a profitable enterprise? I had no idea!

Jack Lessenberry:

https://metrotimes.com/news/politics-and-prejudices/not-enough-support-for-higher-education-1.1594852

[snip]

You might think that, with millions of kids forced to take out student loans and some unable to pay them back on time, Washington was losing money on the deal. You’d also be dead wrong. The U.S. Department of Education is rolling in dough from the profit it makes on student loans! How much? More than the entire federal education budget!

According to the Huffington Post, in the year ending Sept. 30, the U.S. Department of Education made $42.5 billion in profit from its loans to students like my Sarah. Nor was that a one-time quirk. That federal department made $47.9 billion in 2011.

This year, the figure might have been $50 billion, if Congress and the president hadn’t decided to (temporarily) reduce student loan rates last summer.

That strikes me as obscene. U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), a fast-rising star in Congress, said, “… with college costs exploding and students being crushed by more than a trillion dollars in debt, I think we should invest in our students, not make obscene profits off them.”

Yet few in Congress seem eager to grant students relief. They did pass a law tying student interest rates to the federal treasury rate. That may help students a little now, but when times get better, student loan payments will soar.

This is manifestly obscene. Sadly, we live in a state where the lawmakers think it appropriate to spend far more on prisons than higher education....

...........................................................

addendum:

Searching google for the phrase "abolish the department of education" brings up 157,000 hits, from the usual conservative/libertarian sites, many of them wringing their hands about "wasteful big government". (And there's NO QUESTION WHATSOEVER THAT BIG GOVERNMENT IS MASSIVELY WASTEFUL. But it may be the case that it is not massively wasteful in this one particular area.) I wonder if they are aware of the above? Here's some examples; sorry, but google mangled some of the links so they are not clickable, but you can easily look them up if you wish:

Abolish the Department of Education | The American Spectator
spectator.org/articles/33844/abolish-department-education

Blog: Abolish the Department of Education? - American Thinker
www.americanthinker.com/.../abolish_the_department_of_education.htm...

Abolishing the Department of Education is the Right Thing to Do ...
www.freedomworks.org/.../abolishing-the-department-of-education-is-th...

Top Five Reasons To Abolish the Department of Education
directorblue.blogspot.com/.../top-five-reasons-to-abolish-department.htm...

Wanting to Abolish the Department of Education Is Not Radical ...
www.nationalreview.com/articles/229936/wanting...not.../mona-charen

Abolish the Education Department? Abandoned Idea Gets New Life ...
www.foxnews.com/.../eliminating-education-department-still-option-but-...

Abolish Federal Education Spending - DownsizeDC.org
www.downsizedc.org/etp/abolish-fed-ed/

.... and many more

¤
Dec 29, 2013 - 10:02am

JY

Really nice piece of writing there JY

All of the guest contributors continue to impress me.

You just conveyed my sentiments regarding a feeling of uneasiness at this point that's been within me the past few months. It's been tough to ignore and I'm usually not prone to carry worry or concern around with me.

It's not really a fearful thing on my part, but as you pointed out it's more of an acute awareness of some important moving parts you can sense that will align themselves in an uncomfortable way soon enough in several area's.

The turbulence in Turkey is interesting to watch unfold and part of my recent uneasiness. It was about a year ago that I specifically mentioned my concern and recognition that the alliance between Turkey and the US would fracture and the implications of it were regionally critical. It's now happening.

And now we have a fractured (and somewhat silent/almost too quiet) breach of trust between Saudi Arabia/Israel regarding Syria/Iran and future new energy cartels. Meanwhile, one year later, Egypt is increasingly fighting the Muslim Bro'hood (recently designated a terrorist group and enemy of the state) in the Sinai in what can only escalate militarily from this point on.

Many of the things I've harped on and conveyed concern about are lining up. The game of Stratego/Risk continues.

Lets just hope nothing out of the ordinary happens (ie. Saudi influenced) in Sochi at the Olympics. I won't even discuss Japan/China and where that's headed.

Trying to predict anything (especially controlled financial markets/sectors) is a fools game at this point and probably has been so for the past few years. Unbiased trend recognition is one thing, predictions are something entirely different.

I'll stop there...so that I don't bum out everyone on a Sunday morning with some topics I could easily expound upon.

Have a great day....and a Happy New Year.

dgstage
Dec 29, 2013 - 10:33am
dgstage
Dec 29, 2013 - 10:43am

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