Please be sure to read the latest from Jim Quinn of The Burning Platform.
As you likely recall, I first met Jim in 2012 and have been a fan of his ever since. Occasionally, he writes "big picture" articles that focus upon society, the economy and the Fourth Turning. This latest, a look ahead and a look back contains something for everyone here to read, digest and consider.
2020 – YEAR OF LIVING DANGEROUSLY
by Jim Quinn of www.theburning platform.com
“A shocking crime was committed on the unscrupulous initiative of few individuals, with the blessing of more, and amid the passive acquiescence of all.”
Tacitus, Publius Cornelius
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The shocking crime being committed during this century under the unscrupulous initiative of a few evil men is ongoing and no longer hidden from those willing to open their eyes and see the truth. As conspiracy theorists have proven to be right through the sacrifice of Snowden, Assange, and other patriots for truth, the Deep State psychopaths have double downed and are blatantly flaunting their power and control over the levers of government, finance and media.
Never in the history of mankind have such devious, unscrupulous, arrogant, narcissistic and downright evil men seized hegemony over global finance, trade and politics. A minority of billionaire oligarchs and their highly compensated apparatchiks, ingrained in government bureaucracies, surveillance agencies and media outlets refuse to relinquish their dominance and would rather burn the world to the ground than lose their ill-gotten riches, un-Constitutional power and unlawful control.
When I started pondering a theme for 2020, the “year of living dangerously” immediately popped into my mind. But I had a feeling I’d used that title before. I did a search of my site and lo and behold I wrote 2012 – The Year of Living Dangerously eight years ago. As I reread my predictions for 2012, it was a humbling experience, as not only did most of my predictions not come to fruition in 2012, they haven’t materialized during the next eight years. My facts and reasoning were sound, but my naivety regarding the extreme measures the Deep State was willing to utilize, blinded me to how long they could keep this game going. In my year-end assessment of my 2012 predictions this was my conclusion:
“It seems I always underestimate the ability of sociopathic central bankers and their willingness to destroy the lives of hundreds of millions to benefit their oligarch masters. I always underestimate the rampant corruption that permeates Washington DC and the executive suites in mega-corporations across the land. And I always overestimate the intelligence, civic mindedness, and ability to understand math of the ignorant masses that pass for citizens in this country. It seems that issuing trillions of new debt to pay off trillions of bad debt, government sanctioned accounting fraud, mainstream media propaganda, government data manipulation and a populace blinded by mass delusion can stave off the inevitable consequences of an unsustainable economic system.”
This statement has been applicable for an inexplicable length of time, with no indication of changing in the near future. I thought the national debt reaching $16.5 trillion would surely trigger a crisis and recession. Here we are eight years later, $7 trillion more in debt and still no recession. I thought global debt, particularly in Europe, would lead to a global contagion and breakup of the EU. Global debt has risen by $50 trillion, the EU is intact, and the world muddles on.
The coordinated efforts of central bankers in the U.S., Europe, Japan and China has produced a flood of liquidity, elevating all markets, enriching the .1%, impoverishing senior citizens, and creating inflation for average Americans – underreported by the BLS. By artificially propping up GDP, the economy has not officially gone into recession, which has supported the stock market going up 150% since 2011. Debt to GDP ratios and stock market valuations are meaningless when the Fed’s sole purpose is to enrich their Wall Street benefactors through money printing.
Home prices were still falling in 2011 and I expected it to continue in 2012. Again, I was unable to comprehend the lengths the ruling class would go to in order to reverse the verdict of free markets. Little did I know the Fed, Treasury, and Wall Street would conspire to buy up millions of foreclosed homes, renting them back to the people they kicked into the street, artificially suppress interest rates, and use Fannie and Freddie to again give mortgages to anyone who could fog a mirror. It worked like a charm, as home prices bottomed in 2012 and now have surpassed the 2005 peak.
The official unemployment rate in 2011 was 8.7% and I expected it to tick higher once the recession took hold. But, QE3 was unleashed, staving off recession, propelling the stock market, and driving “official” unemployment to record lows of 3.5% today, even though 101 million working age Americans aren’t working. The combination of QE to infinity and hundreds of billions in corporate stock buybacks have worked wonders for the .1%, despite lackluster GDP and corporate income growth.
Oil reached the highest level in history during 2012 and continued higher in 2013. This normally would have triggered a recession, but QE and zero interest rates kept it at bay. Then the “shale miracle” drove supply higher, oil prices crashed into the $30s, and have remained in the $60 range ever since. The shale miracle certainly created millions of new barrels per day, but the companies fracking for the oil haven’t made a dime in seven years. The “miracle” was created by the Fed’s easy money and Wall Street bankers financing companies with no possibility of ever being profitable. With prices still hovering around $60, frackers are going bankrupt in droves, output has peaked as new investment dollars dry up, and this boom goes bust, as all fraudulent schemes do when reality meets delusion.
As the presidential election approached, the Occupy Wall Street movement was at its height. Just like the Tea Party movement before it, the Occupy movement was co-opted and trivialized within months by the Deep State and their minions in government and the media. Bloomberg did his part and wiped out the Zuccotti Park encampment in one night. Ron Paul’s libertarian attempt to capture the Republican nomination was derailed by the GOP establishment and my dreams of a 3rd party run were dashed. The country’s last chance for redemption was lost.
My expectations of a war between Iran and Israel have still gone unfulfilled, with tensions continuing to grow. But at least the military industrial complex was able to profit from war in Syria, Yemen, and the never-ending war in Afghanistan. Trump’s taking out a key Iranian general with drone strikes have certainly increased the risk of something bigger in the Middle East, but will probably not result in a bigger shooting war.
But I failed to grasp the likely twenty-year length of this crisis and how actions and reactions will develop on their own timeline, not according to the annual forecast of prognosticators and pundits. The key factors driving this crisis: debt, civic decay, and global disorder, triggered this crisis in 2008, continue to gain momentum, and will ultimately merge into a lethal combination which will end the relatively short but eventful period of the American Empire.
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My attempt at trying to predict what would happen in 2019, based on the Fourth Turning – 2019 From a Fourth Turning Perspective – turned out to be wrong once again. Not a shocker, since my timing has been off during the first eleven years of this Crisis. Nothing in my assessment has changed one year later. The three driving factors of this Fourth Turning continue to hasten towards a fateful climax. My assessment as we entered 2019 still applies as we enter 2020:
Debt, civic decay and global disorder are on center stage as we enter the fateful year of 2019. A madness seems to be gripping the nation, a melancholy realization all is not right. Everything has a chaotic feel, as financial markets are falling, politicians threaten and attack each other, government dysfunction is laid bare for all to see, Deep State snakes slither behind the scenes trying to bring down Trump, racial tensions grow, foreign governments topple, Russia and China challenge U.S. hegemony, and the global debt Ponzi scheme is entering its collapse phase.
The stock market was falling and signs of imminent recession were appearing as we entered 2019. My prediction that a Fed discount rate of 3% would trigger a recession, stock market collapse and a debt crisis looked solid, until the Treasury, Trump and Wall Street bankers pressured Powell to cease rate increases and corporate executives did their part by buying back their shares. Powell then folded like a cheap suit to Trump’s demands and lowered rates by .75% to goose the stock market over the summer.
When the repo market showed the true underlying distress in the financial system, Powell introduced QE4 and added $500 billion to the Fed balance sheet, with no sign of slowing down. This liquidity injection again boosted the wealth of the .1% to stratospheric levels as the stock market skyrockets to new records daily. There are clearly deep-seated structural issues with a financial system saturated with unpayable levels of debt. So, the Fed will continue to run their electronic printing presses at warp speed until the inevitable banquet of consequences is served to all.
The optimism among the financial class has reached all-time highs. As long as their sugar daddy Powell keeps the candy flowing, all is well on Wall Street. Meanwhile, most economic indicators continue to point downward and our national debt grows by $4 billion per day. Average Americans are up to their eyeballs in debt, as they need their credit cards to survive, student loan delinquencies soar, auto loan debt is going bad at a higher rate than the 2008 crisis, and home prices are now 15% above the previous bubble peak.
Rent and healthcare costs continue to grow at a much higher rate than reported by the government. It feels like something has to give. Reasonable, critical thinking, intelligent observers are flabbergasted by the outrageously blatant disregard for future generations being exhibited by the ruling class, as they pillage whatever is left of our national wealth. The children be damned.
The social distress I noted last year continues unabated today as the glorification of abnormality reaches new heights. The flames of division and disarray are fanned unceasingly by the left-wing media in order to distract from the true desperate financial situation of the country. As young generations, dumbed down and socially engineered in government run schools, are lured into believing socialism is the answer by corrupt lying politicians, they are willfully ignorant of what socialism has wrought in Venezuela and other 3rd world shitholes.
Rather than focus on how politicians of both parties, the Deep State and the Wall Street cabal have destroyed their financial futures through corrupt schemes and rigging the system for their benefit, they worship a thirteen year old regarding the climate change hoax. The puppeteers using Greta as their puppet seek control of your lives, more taxes, and the power to take away your liberties and freedom, while enriching themselves.
The political distress as we entered 2019 was already at looming civil war intensity. If possible, the decibel level has actually risen higher, to 11 on a 1 to 10 scale. The Mueller investigation turned into a big nothingburger as the ongoing Deep State coup against Trump relentlessly marches onward. The Democrats and their Surveillance State co-conspirators have determined the best way to cover-up their treasonous acts is to stay on the offensive by impeaching Trump on bogus charges. Their media mouthpieces produce prodigious levels of propaganda designed to convince the masses Trump should be removed from office. The majority of the public aren’t buying it, as the fake news media has lost its credibility after three years of lies and misinformation.
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END OF PART ONE. CONTINUE BELOW TO PART TWO.
In PART ONE of this article I detailed my inability to predict the timing of events during this Fourth Turning, while maintaining the catalysts of debt, civic decay, and global disorder continue to drive the world towards a cliff.
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“Every schoolchild will know what happened next, from the Oh-Ohs to the 2020s, as the Fourth Turning unfolded—but academics will surely debate how and why it came to pass. In his history, this great-great-grandson of today’s baby girl will reflect on what the Fourth Turning came to mean for his own time and generation. His history is not yet written. What will it be?” – Strauss & Howe
The Trump team is now poised to go on the offensive as this Constitutional crisis intensifies and hurtles towards a violent conclusion. Barr and Durham are busy building a case against the Obama administration and their illegal activities before and after the election. As the election approaches and Durham concludes his investigation, indictments handed down on Clapper, Brennan, Comey or any of the other conspirators would lead to turmoil not seen since the Civil War. No matter the result of the upcoming election, neither side will accept the outcome.
This country is irretrievably broken and there will be no compromise or negotiated agreements. With Virginia Governor “Blackface” Northam attempting to overturn the 2nd Amendment and forcefully confiscate lawfully owned firearms from his citizens a modern-day Harper’s Ferry confrontation could be in the offing. There are no viable political solutions to our current dilemmas. It’s just a matter of when and where the conflict goes hot and blood is spilled.
The domestic turmoil and disintegration of societal norms is a big enough risk by itself, but the international conflicts swirling across the globe add a particularly dire dimension to the twelfth year of this Fourth Turning. As we entered 2019 I thought the likely global recession would lead to further international tensions and possible military conflict. The flooding of the entire world with central bank produced liquidity has continued to shroud the deteriorating economic conditions in the U.S, EU, China and Japan.
If trillions of fiat had not been electronically pumped into the system during 2019, as the ruling oligarchs panicked at the thought of reality setting in, the global economy would have crashed, along with stock markets around the world. GDP only appears to be positive due to Fed money printing and the government running trillion-dollar deficits. They have managed to delay the inevitable crash, but they have only ensured it will be the worst in history.
I’ve found it fascinating how the various factions have reacted to the assassination of Soleimani and the subsequent reactions and over-reactions of the competing narratives. It provides a window into the thought processes of Republicans, Democrats, neo-cons, the left-wing media, Iranians, Iraqis, Israelis, Russians, and Chinese. Soleimani has been described as a brutal terrorist responsible for the deaths of over 600 American soldiers. He has also been given credit for defeating ISIS in Syria. We’ve been told he was beloved by the Iranian people. We are now being told he is despised by the Iranian people.
We were told this act by Trump would lead to World War 3. Shortly thereafter, the initial Iranian response was tepid, except for their military incompetence in shooting down a civilian airliner. Iraq’s response was to demand all American troops leave. Trump’s response was no, revealing we are actually an occupying force and not an ally of Iraq. Israel quietly foments discontent and turmoil across the region to keep the focus off itself. Russia and China support Iran economically and militarily in order to offset Americans dominance of the region. Confusion reigns.
The right is ecstatic over the developments since the assassination. Trump is on the offensive. The left-wing politicians and their media lackeys look like fans of terrorism and a teetering religious extremist regime. The goal of the neo-cons is for regime change in Iran, just as it was in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Syria. Look how well that worked out. Everything we touch in the Middle East turns to shit. We were told taking out Sadaam Hussein and Gaddafi would lead to the glorious democratization of these nations.
Instead it turned them into dangerous, terrorist infested, hell holes where the population despises America. We were unsuccessful in creating ISIS to bring down Assad in Syria, with Russia and Iran doing the dirty work in destroying ISIS, and Trump taking credit. No one knows what happens if Khamenei and his regime are overthrown. But I’m sure the result won’t be what we were told it would be. Blood will spill and society will disintegrate just like every country we have “helped” achieve freedom.
It almost seems like that’s the plan. None of the guys running these Middle East countries are good guys. Of course, the guys running Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Israel are bad guys too, but we aren’t bombing them or assassinating their leaders. As has been clearly revealed during the ongoing coup attempt against Trump, the U.S. government/Deep State/Surveillance State is overflowing with bad guys doing bad things around the globe. Xi and Putin are brutal dictators who will resort to any tactic to retain power and enforce their will upon the world scene.
Essentially, the so-called leaders of this world are corrupt power-hungry arrogant oligarchs. The average Iranian, Iraqi, Syrian, Russian, Chinese, and American are decent people trying to make a living and enjoy some semblance of happiness during their short stay on this planet. It’s our “beloved” leaders who create turmoil, wage wars, steal the money of their citizens, exhibit hubristic pomposity in their actions, and wield far more power than the people should allow them.
Anyone with an ounce of critical thinking skills knows none of this is about freedom, democracy or doing the right thing. It’s about oil and it’s about the military industrial complex requiring enemies to keep the profits flowing. The tripe about America being energy independent is easily sold to a dumbed down willfully ignorant populace who believe any propaganda emanating from the boob tube. The shale “miracle” is just another delusion built upon easy money pumped out by the Fed. No one can make profits on shale oil at $60 per barrel.
The powers that be know the truth. That is why the Deep State promotes global disorder, particularly in the countries with the largest oil reserves – Venezuela, Iran and Iraq. By installing puppets in these countries, the oligarchs are trying to ensure a continued flow of cheap oil to power their military and keep their debt saturated Ponzi scheme alive. Keep rooting for the good guys, except they don’t exist. The world is filled with good people, governed and manipulated by bad people.
The year we have entered has all the makings of other historically important years which have fallen during the eighty-year cycles ending in a period of crisis. Eighty years ago we entered 1940, with World War 2 underway, the U.S. still experiencing the effects of the Great Depression, and 65 million future deaths over a five year period, as destiny and the generational configuration of the world assured the destruction of the existing social order.
Eighty years before World War 2 was the somewhat eventful year of 1860. The American experiment was about to go through the bloodiest most tumultuous five years in its history. Over 700,000 men, 8% of the fighting age males in the country, brutally killed in a no holds barred fight to the finish. The country would never be the same, as the Federal government assumed ever increasing power and states lost power. Eighty years prior was 1780 as George Washington and his ragtag army of farmers were on the verge of defeating Cornwallis and his professionally trained army. A new nation was about to be born.
2020 is destined to be an eventful year just by the fact it is a presidential election year. The result of this election will not be accepted by the losers. The months leading up to the election will be a circus. Propaganda, misinformation, and outright lies will be spread like manure. Of course, voting will not alleviate the issues which will continue to drive this Fourth Turning towards its climax – debt, civic decay, global disorder.
We have entered the extreme greed phase of this debt-based Ponzi scheme. The stock market is in the blow-off stage, where earnings, valuations, and rational thinking are meaningless. Momentum and a delusional belief in the infallibility of the Fed are all that matter. Who knows how far it will go, but fear will eventually rear its ugly head, and a cascading collapse will make a lot of useful investing idiots very angry for the third time in the last two decades.
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“Modern fanaticism thrives in proportion to the quantity of contradictions and nonsense it pours down the throats of the gaping multitude, and the jargon and mysticism it offers to their wonder and credulity.” – William Hazlitt
As the daily chaos of our modern existence hastens towards its tumultuous denouement, the masses are too distracted by their iGadgets, non-stop social media trivialities, games of sport, and ceaseless propaganda from corporate fake news media, to understand they are being used and will bear the brunt of the coming storms. The system is rigged, but the riggers are arrogant, and their arrogance will be their undoing.
The continuation of the current lull in this greater depression is completely dependent upon an ever escalating level of unpayable debt and an ever increasing level of delusional belief by the willfully ignorant financial elite that there will be no negative consequences to their deceitful actions. I expect this bubble to burst during 2020, but I’ve been wrong for a long time, so my level of confidence in this prediction is low. I am soberly convinced my assessment for the remainder of this Fourth Turning in last year’s 2019 preview still applies:
Based upon history, the resolution will not be based on compromise, civility, reason, or peaceful means. The combustible combination of unpayable debt, civic anarchy, and global chaos are set to detonate, creating an era of maximum darkness, death, destruction, and decisions. Making America Great Again will require personal sacrifice, dreadful choices, survival skills, intelligent decisions, and the courage to win at all costs.
I don’t know what events will dominate the coming year, but I do know the intensity of hate and vitriol will increase. I do know military conflict in the Middle East will expand. I do know the political machinations in this country will surge as the election approaches. I do know the Deep State will do everything in their immense power to undermine Trump. I do know the Fed will QE and Trump will cheer every new stock market record. I do know I will be lied to and propagandized by the mainstream corporate media.
Lastly, I do know the risk of catastrophe rises as we approach the climax of this crisis. The outcome is uncertain, but the trials awaiting will surely test our strength and fortitude. I hope enough patriots will do the right thing and lead the country to a new beginning.
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“The risk of catastrophe will be very high. The nation could erupt into insurrection or civil violence, crack up geographically, or succumb to authoritarian rule. Thus might the next Fourth Turning end in apocalypse – or glory. The nation could be ruined, its democracy destroyed, and millions of people scattered or killed. Or America could enter a new golden age, triumphantly applying shared values to improve the human condition. The rhythms of history do not reveal the outcome of the coming Crisis; all they suggest is the timing and dimension.” – Strauss & Howe