J Y's Contributions

Bread, Circuses and Bogeymen

Tuesday, June 7, 2016 - 2:55am

Heightened anxiety, reduced capacity for rational thought and decisions, greater likelihood of reverting to the mental shortcuts of stereotypes, heuristics and biases – just what a propagandist needs, when there is a populace whose hearts and minds need swaying. Projecting bogeymen to garner support, silence opposition and consolidate power? It’s a tactic as old as civilization itself. Just the like body mounts its stress response – so does society as a mass of people. And just like the body gives up higher-order functionality to focus on an immediate existential threat (whether real or merely perceived), so too does society as a whole.

Turdville Meet-up Redux

Wednesday, February 25, 2015 - 6:44pm

I often get a sense of (false?) déjà vu, of having met someone before – but never had I felt so with a whole tableful of people. It literally was like coming home, listening to a large Christmas dinner conversation between a large, extended family of Turdites. In the course of just a few hours, I learned quite a bit that was more than just the (somewhat vain and self-serving) reassurance that I am not alone – even though that itself is of course nothing to sneeze at. I learned specific, immediately useful and low-cost survival skills that will help me whether TEOTGKE happens tomorrow, next year or a decade hence. Even more important, I had the privilege of meeting independent thinkers who believed in freedom, and were coming together to help themselves and each other achieve it.

Secret Society of the Turd

Saturday, January 31, 2015 - 5:44pm

I would like to propose an inaugural meeting of the Secret Society of Turd (SST©). Will there be others, organized locally by other Turdites interested in the same? Go forth and multiply these local gatherings. I challenge the community to come up with at least 3 more gatherings for next weekend. There are, at a minimum, a few THOUSAND readers of the site out there -- reach out and touch someone today.


Thursday, November 13, 2014 - 4:00pm

Some light musings on the usually incomprehensible economic prognostications of the Maestro, the notoriously fickle pronouncements of career politicians, and the direction of gold pricing in the near future.

It works better if you click the chart at the end (fixed it now so it actually opens larger)...

Happy Birthday

Wednesday, October 8, 2014 - 6:34am

WARNING: This piece is a shameless attempt to distract you from the world of precious metals, finance, economics and geopolitics to draw attention to a ‘strictly human interest’ story. Please do not make ANY decisions, let alone investment ones, based on the information presented. This is purely for entertainment purposes.

Politicians and governments garner favor, popularity and support from their constituents in different ways. Birthdays are naturally occurring opportunities to fortify and enhance the popular image of beloved leaders. I, for one, gladly welcome the fact that our wise and benevolent overlords/puppets statesmen have now grown to “present their appeals more intelligently”.

Rays of Hope (extended)

Thursday, July 31, 2014 - 7:58pm

If this small, relatively insignificant NATO-member and formerly staunch Keynesian lackey can indeed change, and brave the perilous waters of taking on the Fin_Mil_Industrial_Gov complex, there may yet be hope for the rest of Europe, for the rest of the world. I have no idea whether this truly a real ‘exit’ from the current world order. But my lineage and upbringing dictate that I continue to believe in the indomitability of the human spirit. Light will eventually prevail, and victories that seem pyrrhic may topple symbols and thus ideologies.


Saturday, May 17, 2014 - 10:12pm

“The main principle of ideological subversion is TURNING A STRONGER FORCE AGAINST ITSELF. Just like in the Japanese martial arts: you do not stop the blow of a heavier more powerful enemy with an equally forceful blow. You may simply hurt your hand. Instead you catch the striking fist with your hand and PULL the enemy in the direction of his blow until he crashes into a wall or any other heavy object in his way.” - Yuriy Bezmenov a.k.a. Tomas Schuman

Continuity of Government

Tuesday, April 29, 2014 - 5:15pm

The Russian establishment has been playing the game of manipulating the opinions of the masses just as long as their modern Western counterparts, and they have become arguably just as adept at it, if not more so. The enemy of your enemy is not always your friend. Be mindful of information, but be aware of whence it comes, and why you are presented with it and by whom. While of course current developments ARE historic in many ways, and apparently that history is speeding up as we speak, there is also a need to consider the longer game.

Non-Relational News Roundup

Sunday, April 13, 2014 - 5:07am

“Now if anybody thinks we are getting average daily news items this week, I will not try to differ with them, as this is an admittedly subjective side to what I do, but just allow the rest of this week bring us whatever it will.”

It seems his observations hold just as true now, if not more so. To be honest, I am having trouble keeping all of the global, regional and nation-level geopolitical developments all in frame as a single interconnected whole – there are simply too many simultaneous events. It certainly feels like the time remaining on the clock is rapidly running out for at least one of the players, and the little buttons on top are getting whacked at an ever more furious pace.


Sunday, April 6, 2014 - 4:10am

No matter how jaded and frustrated I feel with the markets, how depressed I feel reading the daily news (both due to events and the determined effort of media owners to control and mislead the populace), no matter how futile my wage slave existence seems sometimes, there is always a beacon of light reminding me to stop whining and start doing things better, smarter, faster.


Sunday, March 30, 2014 - 6:21am

The smaller country sat astride a fault-line. While not exactly a recently developed one, the line had moved back a few countries in the past few decades. Its neighbor was much larger, and a rising new-old power that had set its sights on reclaiming what it considered part of its homeland. Centuries of shared culture and language, not to mention shared rulers and borders, combined with the actual intent of many in the small country made conditions ripe for the rising empire to make its move.


Sunday, March 23, 2014 - 6:02am

A long, long time ago (not so long, really), around 400M people lived in a strange, double-tiered system. The currency issued by the state was pure scrip, forced into being by the will of the committees ruling the lands. It was not convertible into any currency used by other countries EXCEPT those within the same trade zone, and then only generally with restrictions. Nothing could be bought from any other country, except those within the trade zone.

Since both supply and price was centrally controlled, even those items which WERE being manufactured were often scarce goods. Having cash was not enough to make a purchase, you had to be friends with the store manager, the butcher, the department store clerk (or know someone who WAS), so the item would be reserved for you (generally in exchange for a surcharge or an owed favor).

Plunder and Pillage (extended remix)

Saturday, March 15, 2014 - 5:06am

There is an oft overlooked global empire that has had rather bad PR over the centuries, and is little-remembered in history books beyond brief mention. While having earned the reputation of sadistic, homicidal maniacs in the public lore of Europe, there was a method to the Mongol madness.

The horde being sent to conquer new vassals these days is not (for the most part) a physical set of boots and hooves on the ground, but rather the tentacles of finance. I wanted to share a possible bright spot and (grudgingly acknowledged) positive example of trying to stand up the monetary machine.

Ides of March

Saturday, March 8, 2014 - 5:21am

Pretty much everyone here knows (or should know) the story of Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov, and the sealed train provided by the German government that brought him to St. Petersburg. Whether it truly WAS the government itself, or industrialist and bankers (and of WHICH country) matters little – the Soviet propaganda films did not lie about the fact that the shot from the Aurora truly WAS heard around the world.

However, here’s a fun little fact I am pretty sure most people don’t know...

Shadow Theater

Saturday, March 1, 2014 - 5:48am

Looking upon the current and recent events in world affairs, it may seem like the West is stumbling from one miscalculation into another. I would caution against assumptions that the currently unfolding scenario has not been simulated, run and re-run, and on continuous loop since at least the last few days (if not weeks, months and years).

Echoes and Rhymes

Friday, February 21, 2014 - 7:50pm

A playful look at how closely history rhymes. The analogy only goes so far, the situation and circumstances are significantly different in their details. But the similarities are eerie. One thing is for sure: never, EVER trust a neighboring (super)power which comes bearing gifts and promising sovereignty -- nor a far-away superpower offering 'moral support' and 'forceful condemnation' -- let alone hinting at military support.

The truly oldest 'profession'

Sunday, February 16, 2014 - 2:37am

Thought starter on the possibilities of non-currency transactions. Despite the countless lurid tangents such a title might inspire, I have no desire to talk too much about prostitution. It is rather the core element of barter itself that has been on my mind quite a bit recently.

Astroturf war

Saturday, February 8, 2014 - 3:56am

The concurrent investigations from regulatory bodies in the UK , Germany and the US are somewhat coincidental, both in the areas of foreign currency trading, gold and silver trading and derivatives. The fact that major banks are divesting themselves of commodity trading platforms and units (not to mention warehouses and VAULTS) also has nothing to do with any of the ongoing violence. The (quickly retracted) trial balloon of Ms. Masters on the CFTC advisory panel is also pure coincidence. Why would anyone think there is a muscling-out going on as we speak?

Work 'til you drop

Saturday, February 1, 2014 - 4:39am

No need to worry about which mutual fund to pick. No headaches about whether you can buy HUI or short bonds inside your account. No need to worry your pretty little head about anything, your friendly benevolent government will take care of EVERYTHING for you. It’s Guaranteed by the Government ™. And of course, for those who so choose to remain reckless and take needless risks, individual IRAs and Roth IRAs are still available. For now…

Ukraine redux - Photo essays about revolution in Kyiv/Kiev (updated with 1/27 series)

Sunday, January 26, 2014 - 7:35pm

This is a follow-on post to my initial article from yesterday. Photographer and blogger Ilya Varlamov put together a remarkable series of photo essays of events on the ground in Kiev, Ukraine from the last week or so (since January 22). They say a picture says a thousand words -- it certainly rings true in this particular case. There are reports from both sides of the barricades.

This post is VERY LONG (in column-inch terms, due to lots of photos) so please be prepared for that if reading on a smartphone or tablet.