Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Reading The Tea Leaves For 2015

Happy New Year to all of my readers (I have no clue how many are legit readers or web bots, but the blog will continue nonetheless)! First post of Year 3 of a blog I thought would last five posts and I figured I'd cobble together a summary of happenings for 2015. Hope that's ok.

As discussed in previous posts, the world keeps changing and pivoting AWAY from America, World Police to a more Eurasian-centric balance of power. I pound home the point that the BRICS nations are here to pluck power away from our economic system, via death by a thousand cuts. I'm not going to restate the obvious of where the wind is blowing, but when your economy is built on fraudulent derivatives, six years of 0% interest rates, and $3.4 trillion of monopoly money printed out of thin air, you are ripe for the pickens. And Vladimir Putin knows this. But lets do the appropriate 'what did you call vs what did you totally miss the boat on' for 2014. It helps gauge the accuracy of alternative media and whether or not my tinfoil hat is in need of tightening.

Here is last year's post:

http://trouserapes.blogspot.com/2014/01/what-to-watch-out-for-in-2014-fear.html


"Dude, you're onto something"
- I wrote about how Russia would become Public Enemy #1. I said watch for escalation after the Sochi Olympics. Within days, the Crimea takeover occurred. MH17 got shot down in July, blamed on Putin before the final ashes were put out. Sanctions. Alternative forms of international settlement. Etc etc.


- Ramp-up in big-ticket cyberattacks. We saw it with 'The Interview' and blamed on North Korea (though ultimately a disgruntled employee, nothing to see here folks). Continued delays in market trading on large exchanges. Big retail companies being hacked into, personal information compromised. The big ISIS attack on CentComm Monday. Source of hacks continues to be Iran, North Korea, China, Russia, ISIS. Expect anything less in 2015? Look for these to even emanate from inside the DC beltway as a pretext to map out 'comprehensive internet security regulations'. CISPA under any other name. We can blame on whomever we want. As long as we get big internet regulations, mission accomplished.
- Amnesty in 2014. Hussein Obama announced in November that there would be comprehensive changes. 5 million are impacted at last count, expected to expand in 2015.
- BRICS Currency closer to launch. Russian sanctions forced them into the loving arms of China. They are now attached at the hip. I previously recapped the financial mechanisms to launch the currency (this will be the last step). Development bank alternative: check. SWIFT alternative: check (as of May 2015). BRICS bank: check (by early 2016). Revaluation of gold reserves in 2015: oh baby you gotta watch. China revalues every xxx years. Rumors abound that their stated 2 thousand tons will be updated to 15k PLUS this year. That more than backs a gold currency.


- Watch Pope Francis on the world stage. Yup, he's officially Catholic Rock Star. Critical in the recent Cuba reset of relations (neutral, just give me my cigars), multiple overtures to other branches to unite the Christian message (good), subtle overtures to other religions for united message (ummm....slight concern), lashing out against global banking system (good but what is your alternative, if its 'one world' in nature you are playing into the Revelation trap and I distrust you). Read his new papal encyclicals on proper doctrine. Pope Frank the man: awesome. Love him. Pope Frank the transformational figure, in light of Revelation's mention of a 'false prophet' and his fulfillment of St Malachy's prophecy of the Popes (112th and final Pope): Keep one eye open.
- Obamacare nightmare. Easiest call. The Jonathan Gruber fiasco. The 2-10x anecdotal increases to John Q. Public. The subsidy nightmare that means tax implications for anybody that took one on their 'affordable' healthcare. The corporate mandate starting in 2015 with increased fees. Can only go down from here folks.

"Boy who cried wolf too many times"
I love getting less than savory feedback. In my personal life, in my professional career, on my blog posts, whatever. Hashtag 'own it'. Here are some huge-ass misses:
- End of the gold/silver smackdown. Nope. Still hovering around $1200 GLD/$16 SLV. Central planners can keep the gig going as long as it takes for the public to notice. It'll end, yes, but never on the timeline expected. Watch the BRICS gold-backed currency announcement, its the game changer.
- Deposit confiscation. Nope. Well, kinda nope. It didn't HAPPEN per se, but the European Union and...wait for it....OUR DEMOCRATICALLY ELECTED CONGRESS this past December signed into law through the cromnibus $1.1 trillion budget resolution that the public (depositors) now become creditors which means when the derivatives crisis hits (or any banking crisis for that matter), guess who is on the hook to PAY for it via 'bail-ins'? [holds up mirror to face]. So no, nothing in 2014, but the legislation was set up for a future event.
- Treasury yield explosion. Nope. Last check is was sub-2%. I called for 3%, but that never happened, mainly due to the fact that the yen, ruble, euro, etc instability resulted in capital flight to old-reliable dollar, the cleanest dirty shirt, the best smelling homeless person.
- Stock market collapse. Never happened. Will happen, just not last year. They wound down the QE, are teasing rate increases in 2015. More on that later.

So those were the hits and misses. Now onto what I think will be happening in 2015.
  • QE4 - the Federal Reserve officially wound down Quantitative Easing #3 back in November. The market has been experiencing larger swings ever since, and correspondingly the price of oil has cratered. Not to say the Dow can't climb above 18k again, but without the steroid, the athlete cannot obtain prior glory. The same can be said of an unsterilized monetary system that chases money into asset bubbles. As the oil plunge continues, and the high yield bond market of $500 billion implodes, look for the Federal Reserve to stem losses with fresh bond buying and other cash injections. Heavier than ever before. Probably third quarter 2015. 
Peter Schiff has it right, like he did in 2006

  • Greece gets kicked out of the Euro. This has been in the offing for three years, finally to come to fruition in 2015. Germany has already prepared its economy and its people for a 'Grexit'. It's technically the right thing to do for Greece, since it can revert back to the drachma, take large haircuts, and decouple from the Euro before other countries leave en masse and the whole thing falls apart. 

  • QE, Rest of World takes on a life of its own. Japan took the baton in November within HOURS of the Fed closing down QE3. As I've said before, they are the human shield for the US dollar. All currencies aligned with the United States are circling the wagons around the USD. Japan has debauched and pulverized their currency. Now the Euro is next to fall. With a Grexit on the horizon, ECB chief Mario Draghi will be initiating Euro QE within weeks. This will further drive a wedge between Germany and the EU, forcing them to pivot East (as discussed in prior posts).
  • Interest Rate increase will take place in June 2015. The Fed carefully wordsmiths every announcement because it has such an impact on the markets. 'Taper' announcements caused tantrums, 'kicking the can' on rate increases causes 1000 point Dow increases. Based on three or four sentences. They've teased it for a year, now they will make good. This will make debt more expensive due to interest and will kill whatever real estate recovery we've had. If you are buying a house this year, do it sooner than later. 
  • Oil Crash before our very eyes. I think it bottoms out at $30-$35, and hovers there for six months before slowly climbing back up to around $100-$115 by end of 2017. As mentioned in a prior post, this is CURTAINS for the shale industry that we were so happy about. Cheaper for us to gas up = great. Weekly rig closings, 200k+ job losses domestically, global slowdown, $500b of high yield energy bond exposure. All to keep Russia in line. Solid work.
  • Market Crash in September 2015. US GDP is really close to 0%, despite headlines of 5% annualized Q3 cheerleading (driven by strategically dumping all of 2014's Obamacare expenditures into one quarter). Oil crash weighing heavily on this as well as a built-up tolerance to stimulus. Contagion of energy company bankruptcies, bank exposure, derivative exposure, and lower earnings will all hit between August 28th-September 13th. 
  • The Syria attack was rekindled in 2014 under the guise of this ISIS war. We couldn't get congressional approval nor general public support for a full-scale invasion two years ago. Now we have the ISIS threat that will magically go deep into Syria and....shocker....will try to overthrow the Assad regime. We will bomb ISIS and, well lookie here - we might as well bomb Assad too! Q3 bombing campaign. 

  • Large false flag sometime in late winter/early spring in the Middle East to move things along against ISIS. We are constantly inching towards a global conflict and somehow keeping the balancing act going. Canada, Australia, France, soon country xxx will have a 'lone wolf' attack. These are small ball for the terrorists and a larger attack will solidify their power. Big happenings to go down in order to drive us deeper into Syria and 'validate' our mission. 
  • Sleeper cells awakening in the US. We've seen it in other countries and even saw several cases of radicalized jihadists domestically last year. The eternal scary muslim boogeyman must be kept alive, so expect a lot more 'lone wolf' attacks across the west. Apparently the 'violent white christian libertarian 2nd amendment activist' never materialized. The heavy rumor (as the Monday cyber attack by ISIS implied) is that US military and law enforcement are no longer safe. I pray this doesn't happen, but the suspicion is that they will be hunted down at their homes and slaughtered for 'crimes against xxxx'. 

  • Russia morphs into a hot shooting war with NATO. If you are paying attention, you would notice that since Crimea, Russia has refused to significantly escalate the battle for the heart of Ukraine. They've shown impressive discipline despite the fact that NATO has violated their own treaties from twenty years ago to not keep creeping up to Russia's borders (of which always noble NATO denies on their website through carefully selected verbiage). Patience is running thin, Russia wants payment for loans to Ukraine (financed by US taxpayer this past summer, thanks so much). I say towards the end of they year Russia has had enough and attacks back when the US is distracted with economic troubles. The world is waiting for Putin to go off the rails, but he continues to show remarkable restraint. As mentioned in a prior post, he is being punished by the West with crashing oil prices (premeditated action by the Saudis, contrary to public pronouncements). Call it the 'cut off nose to spite face' club. This is what energy independence looks like for the US - cratering oil prices, closure of rigs to engage in Russian/Saudi Arabia proxy wars. Russia can bear 18 months worth of sub-$60 oil. They are more disciplined than the West and more patient. Watch the Ukraine/Russia border later this year.
  • Ebola returns to the US. We had a czar named (since moved on), hospitals designated as treatment centers, and under-reporting of the explosion of cases in Africa. No flight bans were initiated and while Senegal is now Ebola-free, this has been far from contained.
So that's the view for 2015. Exciting things right now, with all of the pussy-footing around the Paris terror attack last week and the ISIS cyberattack early this week (oh sorry, 'cyber trespassing', 'cyber graffiti', 'cyber vandalism'). Happy New Year! 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Cratering Oil Prices - What It Means For US and What It Means For Russia

After a few weeks of lazy hiatus ('I'm gonna blog tonight, I swear....' only to have my head hit the pillow at 9:15 each night), I'm back with hopefully a well-timed post about the downward spiraling oil price and what it means for the markets, namely the US, Russia, and Saudi Arabia. While the low-info voters are distracted with race-baiting and organizing meaningless protests to honor their slain heroes Mike 'Thug' Brown and Eric 'Arrested 31 Times' Garner (though for the record, the grand jury got it wrong on Garner), bigger stakes are in play on the global stage. That's where I choose to focus my attention.

So if you are out of the loop, I did a post in September about the ongoing Ukraine crisis and how we got there. Instead of repeating myself, please find the link below, since things are getting a lot hotter and heavier:

http://trouserapes.blogspot.com/2014/09/supplanting-america-bric-by-bric.html

Updates on monetary systems referenced in above post - Russia has fast-tracked their SWIFT alternative transaction platform to May 2015 with a slight chance of even sooner. Southstream energy pipeline to Southeast Europe has been cancelled in light of sanctions. Capital expenditure rerouted to - you guessed it - Turkey. Behold the 'Turkstream' deal of December 2014. Turkey - the group spurned repeatedly by the EU for membership, the secret home base for ISIS, the group that facilitated the gold-for-oil hocus pocus between Iran/Russia once Iran got sanctioned for its nuclear weapons program. I'm telling you, folks, Turkey is flipping East. Very soon.

Anyway, we are engaged in a non-shooting Economic War with Russia right now. Sanctions started in the Spring after Putin took Crimea (without firing a shot). Then they intensified after MH17 got shot down (by Ukrainians, it now appears). Now we are in an environment where Russia has dumped its US Treasuries, US/Europe are cutting business ties with Russia, France has halted the delivery of two Mistral amphibious assault ships to Russia, the Russian ruble has crashed more than 50% since late September, currency brokers REFUSING to settle USD/Ruble transactions and thereby automatically closing out existing positions. Russian interest rates went up overnight by 70%  (10% to 17%) to stem the currency dumping, and the US will be voting to officially provide LETHAL aid to Ukraine by the end of the week. To employ the overused line from Anchorman - 'things escalated pretty quickly.' So what prompted this acceleration of chaos? Why, the cratering price of oil!

The currency war is playing out similarly to what was 'floated' in Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, with roles reversed somewhat:



The US and Saudis are attached at the hip when it comes to punishing Russia (though Saudi Arabia wants to punish in the short term while slowly pivoting East when the time is right. US wants Russia completely obliterated). Brent crude (sweet crude global benchmark) trades at a handle of around $60, down from $100 in mid-September, which is a 40% decline in three months! Don't tell me its supply and demand related, this is strictly punishment to keep Russia in check. Here's the aspiration - since Russia relies heavily on energy revenues (70%!!!!), stopping Putin's gravy train on the tracks will slow down his 'aggression' in the Ukraine.


So Saudi Arabia pushes OPEC to leave production as is (cutting production would result in an uptick in oil price, increasing supply or leaving as is would put downward pressure on oil prices). This means Russia gets less oil revenues, and their budget projections are all out of whack, since they probably assume $90-$100 oil when making their revenue targets. This also slows the Russian economy as well as GDP growth forecasts, spooks the Russian stock market, puts added downward pressure on the ruble, resulting in intense selling, panicked Russian central banks upping the interest rates on bonds, pisses off the citizens, makes them question whether Putin is an effective leader, military and local upstarts consider a coup, and voila - civil unrest in Russia, Putin loses control of his country, and can only reclaim credibility by tucking his tail between his legs and pulling any and all military personnel along the Ukraine border. We are in a full-fledged currency war. This worked in the 1980's to bring down the USSR and again in the late 1990's with the ruble. It's the best way to neuter a country without using bullets and missiles, which are ugly and hard to get people to support.

Let's put this in perspective, though. Saudi Arabia is playing both sides. Pretending to hurt Russia, but also smirking as lower oil prices means their main competitor (US) will suffer because of a negatively impacted shale industry here. Thus, continued dependence on Middle East oil. Mainstream media tells you that oil decreases mean lower gas prices, which is great, but it also means 1) looming global slowdown, 2) lower revenue sticker shock to shale companies in the US (remember how we just celebrated this past summer passing Saudi Arabia as top global oil producer due to our shale deposit explosions in Texas and North Dakota?). This results in more and more oil rigs taken offline since the break-even point for many of these is between $80-$100. NOT <$60. 3) According to Deutsche Bank AG, since 2010, energy producers have raised more than $550 billion in energy bonds at ZERO % BORROWING COST (thanks Bernanke/Yellen). Plummeting oil price means bond issuers run the risk of not meeting debt obligations. Think of this as a commodities/energy market subprime loan about to go bust. But thanks to the Federal Reserve's QE meaning easy money for capital formation and zero % interest rates, borrowers could get their hands on whatever amount of liquidity they wanted. Now that QE is over (or passed to Japan within 24 hours of 'ending') and rumors abound of an interest rate hike around June 2015, the Federal Reserve is out of magic bullets, and guess what usually rears its ugly head every 7.5 years? An economic recession! 2015 is smack-dab in that timeframe.


Now that I've demonstrated what the impacts are with plummeting oil prices, what will Russia do now that it is the cornered bear being poked with sticks by the international community? Putin still has a few options:

1) Cyberattack the hell out of us. He's done it before and he can do it again, Whether it's our biggest corporations, our stock market exchanges, our commodities markets, our government systems. He has the resources and we are ripe for the pickens.

2) Closer ties with China, coordinated economic warfare against US. Russia has already dumped its treasuries. China continues to dump its treasuries. Both continue to hoard any and all gold. I've spoken about the BRICS nations and 130+ others just waiting on the sidelines to flip and dump the dollar. I've spoken about the alternative institutions and payment mechanisms to sidestep the dollar and its settlement cohorts. Did you know Russia approached China to work together to flood the market with Fannie/Freddie shares, maximize Wall Street turmoil, increase bailout burden and exacerbate the 2008 Financial Crisis in the US? Did you know Russia and China salivate at the idea of a gold-backed BRICS currency? Did you know China has been buying up US real estate in various parts of the country in lieu of a game-changing bulk treasury dump? Did you know a Chinese real estate conglomerate bought JP Morgan's US HQ and now own its gold vault at fire sale prices? Sleep with one eye open if you are a USD loyalist.

3) Go scorched earth, pluck US allies and make them flip East. I've already mentioned in previous posts that Saudi Arabia, Germany, and Turkey are 'at odds' with the US/EU as it relates to foreign policy, over-indebtedness, EU flirtation but rejection, growing calls for gold repatriations, funding of ISIS, and bailing out other EU countries. Germany has had enough, and relies on Russia for energy, while Russia relies on Germany for well-made vehicles, machinery, and chemical products. Turkey has had enough, because they never seem to get invited to the EU dance, and they've just signed the Turkstream energy deal with Russia. Saudi Arabia, while at constant loggerheads with Russia, is the scared bully who doesn't know whether to stick by the US in the short-term or completely flip to Russia so that the Ruskies can act as their new military protector in the event of ISIS gains, civil unrest from depleted Saudi oil revenues, and a shattered oil industry as a whole. Getting Germany, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia to change sides 1) guts the EU and will probably encourage it to fold 2) undermine ISIS containment and 3) officially end the petrodollar scheme of energy settlement if Saudi Arabia presses the 'FU' button and flips East.

4. Continue to play chicken with the West. Russia can technically survive without unrest as long as oil trades above $40/$50. They have $450 billion of foreign cash reserves. They have 1.2k tons of gold, and all of the BRICS systems in place (IMF replacement, World Bank replacement, Bank of International Settlements replacement, SWIFT payment replacement, BRICS currency as dollar replacement). They've signed epic energy deals with China, India, and now Turkey. The cash flow will continue to be there. Wait out the storm, let Hussein Obama and the West tire out and admit defeat over Ukraine. Another unique play (suggestion courtesy of former assistant Treasury Secretary and co-founder of Reaganomics, Paul Craig Roberts) would be to buy some paper gold contracts on the market and then DEMAND PHYSICAL DELIVERY once they expire. We couldn't do it, because we don't have physical possession of the gold we currently have 'registered'. Thus the repatriation requests by Germany, France, Holland, and recently Switzerland (failed referendum on full gold repatriation notwithstanding). Won't that make for some interesting TV?

5. Start World War III. A highly likely scenario. Putin would curb-stomp NATO if they ever touched his soldiers. He would ratchet up relations with Iran and China, he would cyber-attack the US to bring us to our knees (the 'Hands Up Don't Shoot' crowd would riot due to EBT not functioning, yeah I said it), detonate an EMP above the East Coast US, move on and reclaim the Novorossiya region of Ukraine, snatch Estonia and Transnistria, and sabre-rattle against Poland. As mentioned above, the US will have voted to provide Ukraine lethal aid in their quest to contain Putin, This could be seen as an act of war to the Russians, who will undoubtedly up the ante with increased military buildup. You can bet a false flag in the Middle East will be used to turn public opinion (yet again) on Putin and his ilk (most likely Iran, since we've been trying to hit them since 2005). So let's say the winter months features escalation, and no military movements. All of a sudden, late Q1 2015, ISIS attacks a pipeline, or Iran-linked terror groups are implicated in a high civilian casualty event. Or another plane magically gets 'shot down' at the border. Remember, we tried this in Syria in 2013 and lied about Assad using chemical weapons attacks (was later determined to be US-funded rebels). We need Assad out of power to contain Russia's expansion. We need Iran nuke-free to contain their expansion. We have a need to 'stir things up' in the region to satisfy the neocons in Washington.


My bets are on Option #5 with Option #3 as a backup. Putin will not go down quietly, and never underestimate a well-timed economic crisis/ebola crisis/terrorist crisis to paralyze US in the midst of all this so that our response is muted. Stay tuned, 2015 is going to be a wild year.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Revamping the Grocery Shopping Experience

Everyone on earth has pet peeves, yet for some strange reason, my pet peeves seem to dominate my psyche minutes after an off-putting incident. This occurred recently at a Sunday grocery shopping experience. But since I am a "don't complain unless you have a better idea" advocate, I felt it best to put my money where my mouth is and provide suggestions to enhance the grocery shopping experience, weed out undesirable behavior, and streamline processes so that we obtain maximum efficiency at all times. Here goes.


Deli Line Efficiency and Waste Management

We all hate being in the deli line, but have we really ever asked WHY we are there so long? It's simple - you're all wasteful hogs who buy too many different meats and cheeses, throw out 25% of it each Sunday morning, and then go and repeat your filth when you do your weekly shopping. You're paying forward wastefulness and sloth. You then pull a ticket number, repeat your order seven times to the deli clerk, and then watch them move slowly as they cut your meat. We don't want anybody rushing, since they work with really sharp equipment and could severely injure themselves, but more importantly, get AIDS all over my salsalito turkey. So here's what we do to keep you honest, limit waste, and ensure the line moves quickly - we install usage labels with sensors that track how much of the deli meats you eat, and how much you throw away. It calculates (somehow, someway) a 3 week average of how much you consume, and maxes out how much you can request. So if you order a pound of roast beef, but throw out 50% of it each week for xxx amount of weeks, this locks in a 'waste ratio' and you can no longer order anything over a half pound (or anything above the waste %). Because you like to waste shit. You also probably get ham, turkey, two types of cheeses and then either bologna or salami, the white trash meats. And then you throw out a lot to make room for next week's items. Uh uh. Not no mo'. There's a new sheriff in town. Here's why. 


My proposal would limit interaction with the deli clerks and strictly result in you using an automated terminal. With a twist. You scan your shopper card (mandated), it pulls your 'moving averages', and then it asks you to 'apply your punishment mechanism.' The punishment mechanism (PM) is a mini-jumper cable that gets attached to your breasts or crotchal region. If you submit a dishonest deli request, and have a track record of being a waster but you are trying to trick the system, it will give a limited electrical jolt to your body. The jolt should be enough to get you back on track so that you don't make absurd deli requests again. The computer remembers your joltage, so if you pull a stunt like this the next week, the voltage will double, and so on and so forth until you are a smoking sizzling corpse. This will aim to: 1) limit deli meat waste 2) encourage folks to ask for less during each trip to the deli 3) speed up the process so that the line moves faster, and 4) Scare the shit out of you every time you go to the deli. Downside - none. 

Targeted EMP Strikes In Aisles

I hate zombie texting and oblivious shoppers, slowly meandering in and out of aisles, blocking traffic, gabbing about nothing of substance, texting things like "OMG, I'm like shopping with my pahhhrents....this is like so ratchet." My new proposal would be to have special tile lanes in the center of each aisle where an EMP kills any cell phone service, which in essence frees up the busy aisles for people to get through. You want to text? Totally fine, just do it in a designated 'texting area' or hug the sidelines of each aisle, where service is restored. But sure as hell don't be diddling your phone in front of the meats, milks, yogurts, cheeses and breads. It's high throughput areas, so moving at a fast pace is critical. This also keeps the shoppers moving at a brisk pace, with a slight sense of urgency because they can't otherwise their phone in a relaxed setting until they are done with what they need to do. Not much to dissect here. Downside - none.

Check-out Line: Forgetful Florences

We've all had situations where you are checking out and the dumb birdbrain in front of you forgets butter or olive oil or Uncle Ben's rice. They leave the line, slow things down whatever conveyor belt momentum you have, and you are left in a holding pattern while they awkwardly book it down the aisle to grab the forgotten item (which invariably becomes two or three since they have a stay of execution). No more. I want a healthy fear of failure when you go grocery shopping, and I want failure to be met with punishment. So here's what happens - a claw from one of those kiddie games at arcades comes down from the ceiling of Johnny's Food Mart. It takes all of your items and places them in the back room to be inventoried and subsequently restocked. You've basically lost every grocery item because you were forgetful and foolish. Make a list, stick to it, and don't forget shit. It's really simple. And if you forget something, don't tell those in line that you forgot it, simply finish your order, check out, and re-enter the store to obtain aforementioned forgotten item. It's like when someone needs to be in a certain lane on the highway but they didn't plan properly and now need to jump two lanes to the left with no space and inconvenience countless others in the process. You go up the road, take the next exit or street, and retrace your steps the right way - you don't screw over others, you selfish whore. You lose, start over. But guess what I guarantee won't happen again? You will never leave line to get a forgotten item again. Downside - none.



Check-out Line: Ill-prepared Isabelles

Not sure if this is common knowledge for some, but here goes - when I food shop, I intend to pay with either soft fiat currency or debit card. There is a 100% change that I will have to pay for my groceries at a given time whilst in the grocery store. To that end, the second my last grocery is on the conveyor belt, I remove my wallet and get in ready position to pay. The numbers are in - 8 out of every 10 unprepared shoppers are women. The pocketbook comes into play AFTER the final system tabulation. The purse gets unclicked, the credit card is fumbled, or change is foolishly counted even though you are about to give an amount back to the cashier that results in them just staring at you cause it doesn't even make sense. The new automated prompt will come from a sensor on the grocery cart that identifies when the last item has been removed. User will be reminded, "Please ensure your method of payment is ready for processing. You have 10 seconds." Once those ten seconds are up, the cashier presses a button and you're either safe to proceed or.....Alternative B - instant removal. You see, as you are unloading, you are stepping on collapsable tiles that are connected to a grid on the cashier's register. If you are bobbling your money and coins and not ready to pay after your 10 seconds, then the cashier presses a button and you fall through the floor into a dank, dungeony environment and have to fight either an angry centaur or some Gamorrean guard creature from Star Wars. If you survive, you get to come back upstairs and reshop (cause that claw has since come down and taken all of your items for restocking purposes). If you die, then I don't have to worry about you not being ready to pay for your groceries in a timely fashion. Downside - none



Fire All Baggers

I have nothing against baggers, but they are going the route of the elevator button presser. Let's free up space, keep things moving, and utilize technology. The bagging area becomes a circle 'tub' with a hole in the middle where you press a button and a bag it flayed open like a dissectible frog. Items circle the 'tub drain' and land in the back, and when a certain threshold is reached, the bag closes/ties itself and is moved via robot arm into your cart. Your cart goes in a 'loading zone', you sit on a bench and watch this all unfold. Next bag is automatically queued up to load. Sensitive items like eggs, deli meats, cheeses etc get put to the side (I mix them together with dish soap and fruit because.....gasp.....nothing actually happens if you mix them). Delicate items then get hand packed into the bag and put in manually by the cashier. This solves two problems: 1) Gets rid of baggers and their minimum wage demands for simple work and 2) speeds up the throughput and gets you out of line and out of the store faster. Downside - none

Boxing Gloves At The Express Lane

Why would there be boxing gloves at the Express Lane, you ask? Real simple. In case someone disobeys one of life's five golden rules (ie - don't get more items than the Express Lane allows), boxing gloves rest on top of the scanning terminal. If someone of any age, gender, race, creed, or religion decides to purchase more items than the Express Lane, an alarm goes off, metals bear-traps wrap around the perp's feet and holds the in place while the boxing gloves get deployed and hit the them about the face and upper torso. Cashier also has a yard stick with a plastic index finger and middle finger on it that they shove into your eyeballs, 3 Stooges-style. A bucket of semen gets dumped on your head from above and then sawdust gets shot out of a hidden compartment underneath the Nestle's Crunch bars. You are then thrown out of the store and have to do the walk of shame to your car. You will never make that mistake again, you hear me? Downside - none.


Now, these are some very simple ways to improve the shopping experience. I guarantee earth is a better place (less waste), people are more considerate (lest they be shamed), and you are in and out about ten minutes faster due to the technological advancements. Feel free to float your own ideas. 

Monday, November 3, 2014

Why We Shouldn't Get Excited About The GOP Tidal Wave On Election Day 2014

Here we are, 24 hours away from another mid-term election and if this were the World Series, the police on horses would be lined up in anticipation of a GOP blowout victory. Years ago, I'd normally be a sore winner, taunting, rubbing in, bragging about how much more wonderful life would be under Republican leadership. Then I woke up.

Hate to deliver some perspective here, but the GOP winning back the Senate and maintaining the House will not lead to anything of substance. I'll be thrilled to see that sack of monkey shit Harry Reid lose his job as Senate Majority Leader. But we can expect more of the same from the Republican Establishment. Mitch 'The Turtle' McConnell will be Senate Majority Leader (yawn). John 'Blubbering Vagina' Boehner will keep his job (undeserved as he's a scoundrel sissy). Lindsey Graham, leader of the lisping warhawk wing of the party, will get re-elected in South Carolina. The same Establishment wusses who survived their Tea Party/Libertarian primary competitors will beat their Democrat counterparts. And I'm supposed to be excited for these bozos? What are they going to do to make our lives better? NOTHING. Let's break down 25 years of the Two Party Pendulum:


2001-2006 - Republicans own the White House, Senate, and House of Representatives. 9/11, Patriots Act, DHS and TSA launched, Iraq War, Afghanistan War, Recession, snail-like recovery, eventual full employment. Wiretapping. Nothing to write home about. Debt increases significantly.
2006-2010 - Democrats win back the House, the Senate, and win the White House in 2008 when a junior senator/community organizer from Chicago who used to snort coke and give blowjobs to old elite men in crime-riddled Chicago ('Down Low Club' within Jeremiah Wright's Trinity Church of Christ) wins the Presidency. Global Economic Crisis. Bailouts. Iraq and Afghanistan wars drag on. Zero % Interest Rate Policy. More bailouts. Obamacare passed. Debt increases significantly.
2010-2016 - Democrats keep the White House. Lose the Senate and the House. US credit downgrade Fiscal Cliff theatrics. Sequester theatrics. Government shutdown. Benghazi. Fast & Furious. NSA spying. Wiretapping. IRS scandal. Solyndra scandal. VA scandal. Obamacare atrocity. Quantitative Easing. Zero % Interest Rate Policy continued. ISIS created/funded/trained by CIA and Western allies. US-initiated Ukraine debacle. Obama signs official amnesty in Nov/Dec 2014. Ebola. Stock market on steroids. QE3 ends and QE4 rumored. Epic market crash between Dec 2014 and Oct 2015. Hillary Clinton wins Presidency. Debt increases significantly.
2016-2024 - Republicans squander House, keep Senate. Middle East spirals out of control, ISIS flourishes, US/Mexico border gradually melts into an amorphous North America. Hillary Clinton gets re-elected. US gets downgraded twice. US dollar falls. Resurgent Yuan/Ruble gold-backed BRICS currency becomes new official reserve currency of record. Debt increases significantly.

Do you see the trend here? A hot potato gets passed between two parties who average a 10-14% approval rating, yet get re-elected 90% of the time by schizophrenic voters who insist on the status quo. We get what we deserve. It was over 9/11/2001, but reiterated 11/6/2012. We basically have Stage 4 cancer but act like we just got told to lose five pounds. There's $1.5 quadrillion of derivatives on the market right now. $200 trillion plus of unfunded liabilities. $18 trillion debt right now. So much momentum and inertia is behind that figure that no matter WHO wins the White House, Senate, House we are STILL going to incur $750 billion -$1 trillion of incremental deficit a year (don't pay attention to politicians saying the deficit has been cut in half. They quote the highest annual deficit and then use an unconfirmed estimate on the lower end, which always gets revised upward by 25%). But you didn't know that, because.....'war on women' and 'RAAAACISSSTTT!!!'

Both parties got us here - Democrats with chronic bleeding heart syndrome and 67% of the mandatory budget spend on entitlements, with the other 33% of mandatory budget spend going to Republican-sponsored military industrial complex that shoots anyone that may smell remotely like camel semen. You know, links Saddam to 9/11, refuses to attack the source of the nineteen 9/11 hijackers in Saudi Arabia, let ISIS run roughshod over the Middle East, expanded drone programs, 2 billion + of hollow point bullets, etc etc. The normal numbers I spout on this blog. So THOSE are the neocons that will inherit Congress and push the GOP agenda. Remember John McStain taking selfies with Free Syrian Army rebels who ultimately joined ISIS? And the old coot couldn't put two and two together? That's our neocon leadership in action! Can't wait!


Here's a quick rundown of how the Republicans will use their newly won Senate majority and reigning House leadership to 'change Capitol Hill':

Immigration Reform - Remember what the GOP did with immigration from 2001-2006 when it had total control of the WH and Congress? Jack shit. Now Bathhouse Barry is going to amnesty 10-34 million illegal aliens and turn them into Democrats (cards already printed, look it up). What will the GOP Establishment do to block it? Nothing. Cause they can't. They need the cheap labor under the table and barely registering on payrolls too. They'll do the Paul Ryan approach of making it as painful as possible to gain citizenship here (good, fine so far). Maybe throw in some incentives to sweeten the deal of playing by the rules (we'll give you a pass on the whole initial trespassing part). Marco Rubio did this by sticking his little toes into the debate and almost gotten them bitten off. Expect nothing except capitulation.

Bear in mind the two lowest years for Obama either haven't happened yet or will be revised upward

Budget Discipline - The debt exploded under Bush due to the combined defense spending and sizable tax cuts. You do one or the other, but not both. Entitlements increased a good deal (albeit not at the accelerated rate that Obama increased them). Homeland Security was launched, as were thousands of federal subsidy programs. All told, the debt shot up about 50% in the Bush years, which were mostly dominated by Republican Congress. Why would NOW be any different because they are back in power?


Foreign Policy - Republicans get the bad rap as warmongers. Though Obama bombing seven different countries in his first six years, fomenting unrest in Ukraine, Middle East, and Libya has to count for something. They sold us on WMD's in Iraq, used 9/11 to give us a blank check to attack any country we wanted, push boots on the ground at will, insist on regime change, overuse the word 'liberty' and 'freedom'. McCain and Graham, the warhawks of the party, wanted Syrian war badly. They wanted Iraq war badly. They want Putin pushed back along the Russia/Ukraine border. The neocons want boots in every country to export American Democracy on uneducated, rock throwing, goat molesting Middle Eastern theocracies. Democrats are just more slick about it, and instead of boots on the ground they pay unsavory rebels to cause chaos so that public opinion is easily manipulated. Do we think the Republicans will suddenly show an isolationist streak?


Growing The Economy  - 2001 through 2006 featured 'ehhhh' growth, 5-6% unemployment, slow stock market rises, the Real Estate Bubble, The Stock Market Bubble Part I, The Derivatives Bubble Part I, and the Bailout Bubble. Republicans allow themselves to be blamed for 2008, but weren't vocal enough five years earlier when signs of a bubble in these asset classes were evident. A few wise members of the GOP cautioned the need to curb sub-prime lending, insisting on tougher regulations to buying a house, more documentation, cutting down on 'liar loans', and not giving Fannie/Freddie cart blanche to loan to any slob they wanted to. Investment Banks were allowed to continue investing in derivatives even though like seven people on earth could accurately price them. Nobody of substance was prosecuted for the near collapse, other than Bernie Madoff, black sheep of the hedge fund industry. Republicans took their eye off the ball, kept their mouths shut, embraced the 'steady as she goes' mentality, never fought back, never pushed innovation, never pushed domestic pipelines other than ANWR, didn't revamp the tax system, didn't foster innovation for the small business owner, didn't give significant tax breaks to John Q. Entrepreneur, looked the other way while corporations exploited loophole after loophole. Stuff went bust, Republicans were stuck holding the bag, allowing the Democrats to simply point fingers and save the day. The Obama administration has been living off of QE, ZIRP, and a dead cat bounce on GDP growth for six years. Workforce participation is at a 40 year low. "Oh but the unemployment rate is 5.9% and I operate in five second sound bytes so can't peel the onion back for context." Would a GOP landslide tomorrow night suddenly cause growth in the economy, better workforce participation, spurn job creation and innovation? Hells no. They didn't do it last time they had power, and haven't really been effective since the Reagan Recovery of the 1980's. Don't hold your breath children.

These are but a few issues that show no significant solutions and differences. As has oft been stated, the Democrats are the party of BAD ideas, the Republicans are the party of NO ideas. Both suck, Republicans are the lesser of two evils, so if you have to vote, hold your nose and press R. Or do what I will be doing and vote for either the libertarian candidate or write in names like Joren Van der Sloot, Zombie Robin Williams and Thomas Eric Duncan. Get some wine, candy, and chips. Sit back and enjoy another useless midterm where one party pretends to claim things can only get better only to watch things get worse. As if that's possible.


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Reimagining The Catholic Mass (I Don't Think This Is What They Had In Mind)

Sorry its been awhile since my last post (pretty sure two people give a shit, but they're too busy finishing their homework and NEED TO CLEAN THEIR ROOMS AND STOP FIGHTING EHEMMMMMM). Anyway, an esteemed colleague and I were shooting the breeze today and he suggested, out of the blue, that Sunday Mass would be a lot more exciting if they had a concession stand in the back. We then expanded on some other suggestions. Figured this needed to be blogged about. So enjoy.

Disclaimer - Catholic bashers can pound sand. I don't want your synopsis about your views on the church, organized religion, how your life is over since the Hobby Lobby decision came down, and that you're thinking of leaving Christianity because there aren't enough women priests and 'people hate the gays' (not true). If that's your reason, good riddance. There's always Unitarianism and Buddhism, so have at it. This is a 100% serious attempt to bring people back to the Catholic Mass. I repeat - 100% serious. So have an open mind. Remember, it's easier to complain about the darkness than light a match.

The Procession

I am a huge pro wrestling fan. This is well known by those close to me. Last I checked, there's nothing in the Bible that forbids the incorporation of WWE theatrics into the Sunday Mass. Therefore, my first proposal is to have the clergy process down the aisle in the motorized little rings from WrestleMania III:


Priest and Deacon carry the Word in their own ring, while the lectors and eucharistic ministers cram into another ring (but ahead of the officiants). Altar boys walk to the side and are never allowed to ride in the ring. Part of the lawsuit settlement(s). These rings will go up to the altar, where the officiants depart, make a respectful bow, and begin ceremonies. Aforementioned rings will then automatically use their built-in Roomba technology to juxtapose themselves next to the choir section, where they will wait until the Mass concludes. and crew will take their positions and exit the aisle in reverse procession format. Entrance music changes based on calendar, but suggestions include 'King of Kings' by Motorhead, 'Welcome To The Jungle' by GNR, or 'Royalty' by Gang Starr.

Removal of Children, Mine Included

Before Mass even begins, local volunteers will call forward the children, who will then be spirited away to go play dodgeball in the church basement. Other games include: 'Pin The Tail On The Heathen', 'Chutes and Jacob's Ladders', 'Catechism-...gories', and Monopoly (JK - Jesus HATES that game, he was the original inspiration for flipping out and knocking tables/games over, just ask the money changers). There's also a religion Q&A section where kids can ask church elders popular questions, like 'Why was Mohamed so violent?' 'Was Martin Luther really a dick?' 'Can my iPhone go to Heaven too?' and 'Seriously, why was Mohamed so effing violent?' Kids will be kept in the basement until the Eucharist is put in the tabernacle. This will prevent the hellfire that awaits those who exit immediately after receiving Communion (more on this later).


Five Minute Sermons with 360 Degree Feedback

Ever sit through a sermon that feels like it's never going to end? Was the point lost in the translation? Not when you have a 'shot clock' in the background. Priests have no more than five minutes to get their point across. No rambling, no tangents, no corny jokes, no pandering to the crowd about the local sports team. There will be a clock that starts counting down the second the sermon starts. Five minutes, no more, no less. This ensures the crowd is attentive and hanging on their every word. Buzzer goes off when five minutes is up. Make it good, Pastor Courvoisier. When you are done, you will ask the crowd a simple question - "Fist or five?" Five fingers for a top rating, fist for a zero rating on the quality of your sermon. Priests get ranked nationally on 'Most Exciting Sermons' based on moving 52 week average. Those with the highest three year average are eligible for Archbishop status or Vatican appointment. Those who can't hack it will be given the GE treatment - bottom 10% in the rankings will be let go or will be set up with a falsified story as a pretext to boot them from the parish. But like a Benghazi witness, they can be relocated and start over on the other side of the country.


Groundbreaking Choir

In order to jazz things up, the lead cantor will be equipped with a T-Pain autotune straw/mic whatever the hell its called. DJ Skrillex would remix all of the popular hymns with a dubstep beat to get the crowd more involved. The kids choir would merge with the adult choir to create a Sister Act 'slow-begets-fast' song layout. Those who were caught falling asleep at last week's sermon were thrown into a windowless van by masked churchgoers the morning of and trained/forced to dance against their will at this week's Mass to the aforementioned dubstep music. This ensures dual participation/dual accountability to stay engaged in both sermon and sing-a-longs.

Concession Stands In The Narthex

Mass can be long. As an Armenian-American who happens to be Roman Catholic, I've been in Armenian Masses that last as long as two hours. I clocked a 15-second 'Amen' in 2003 at my grand-aunts funeral. Now, in case you didn't know, Armenian Apostolic is the closest textbook branch of Christianity to Catholicism. In a two hour ceremony, folks get tired. Folks zone out. Folks fall asleep. If a concession stand is set up in the narthex of the church (ie - 'the back' or the 'front lobby'), then people can come and go during the ceremony and drop a dollar in the bucket for candy, pretzels, or coffee. Those that are adventurous can get a hot dog for $2.50 or even a microwaveable pizza for $4. All money goes back to the church. Think of it as a kind of 'Church Boosters Club'. This supplements the two collection plate offerings during the actual ceremony. Additional funds can come from lotto tickets (old people love that shit to supplement their income). Convenience stores sell them to the church at an agreed 10% discount because they feel guilty and then the church turns around and marks them up 25%. Rules are rules. Beer will be sold (strictly Guinness and Merry Monks ale), but with a significant markup. Doesn't float your boat? Be a eucharistic minister and help the priest down the port wine after communion/post-Mass.

Electronic Padded Benches

There's that part of the Mass where the priest has a seven-minute schpiel that re-enacts the Last Supper. "Take this all of you, and drink from it - for this is my body, which will be given up for you." Usually the lame, the lazy, and the young will use this as an opportunity to lean their ass cheeks on the bench while still keeping their knees on the pews. We don't do both. Jesus died on a cross for your salvation. The least you can do is sweat it out for seven minutes. I get it - it's hard. I am clenching my butt-cheeks together so hard to keep from farting and singeing the eyebrows of the poor slob behind me. So I compromise here - the benches will be padded and a lot more comfortable when you come to church, but during specific times when you should be kneeling, electric currents will be shot through them so that anyone (other than designated rows) will have their asses shocked with electricity if they lean against them. This ensures that we are all leaning forward for the Eucharistic Prayer. The electric shock dulls the haunches and loosens the glutes to the point where the perpetrator will literally shit their pants if they lean back. Bet you'll think twice about being lazy next time you go to Church.

Hellfire and Brimstone to Early Leavers

One facet of church-going that gets my goat is the early leavers. Those that leave after communion to beat traffic because it's more convenient to them. Kinda like an abortion. When you leave Mass early, you take a dump on the previous 45 minutes of the service. You want to get home and watch football or go food shopping or rake leaves. You are a jerk for doing such activities. This process improvement involves shooting EMP sensors and/or food dye water balloons at your car so A) your car doesn't start or B) it gets multi-colored dye spilt all over it so you drive home in shame, and people say to themselves, "That color combo implies that they left Mass early. What a bunch of assholes." Each of the well-placed 'ushers' have a remote in their pockets that instantly EMP's the parking lot so that any scoundrel leaving early sits in a dead car. Almost as dead as their black souls.


Strict Dress Code

As I get older, I become more disgusted with humanity. Sunday Mass is no different. What used to get me excited 17 years ago now makes me shake my head in disgust. Teenagers and other young adults dress for Mass like they're going clubbing. Yoga pants, mini-skirts, super tight low-rise leggings, form-fitting tops, and the boys wear meathead gear - Ed Hardy shirts, designer jeans, curb-stomping steel-toe boots. I should never see a thong or a human labia poking out, and yet I do. Routinely. Why do people dress disrespectfully to enter the Lord's house? I want standard attire for folks when they attend Mass - men wear slacks and a blazer, women wear dresses to the knees and a bonnet or if not a bonnet, then they need to braid their hair in thin strands and then tuck behind their ears cause that's kinda hot. This is not negotiable. We need to bring respect and reverence back to the service, and this is one of the last vestiges of yesterday that can be preserved.

Kiss of Peace Fist Bump

No longer a handshake. Too many viruses going around. This has been downgraded (or is it upgraded?) to a fist-bump. Less germs change hands, sweaty palms do not come into play, and you can bump without having to say 'Peace be with you' cause the fist bump is universal and implied. I also don't want your AIDS or Ebola to get on me. Nothing personal.


End-Cap Communion Holders

In order to limit the lines and shuffling of human freight, each row will have the Host(s) in a container that sits in a cupholder pre-positioned before Mass. At the proper time, the first person in each row will take a communion, and pass to the person to their right. Once complete, the container will have moved from left to right across the row and then fastened to the cupholder on the right hand side of the aisle. Everyone will have gotten their communion, taken a knee, and prayed to the Lord for guidance and blessings for the upcoming week.

Wrap-Up

The Mass in its new format should be no more than 30 minutes due to the shortened sermon and the self-serve communion process. The message has been more enriching and the assembly have gotten more out of it, since their kids are in the basement and not spilling Cheese-Its and fruit snacks all over the pews and screaming 'butthole' every five minutes. Now the priest will say a quick word in summary, and hop in his WWE mini-ring and ride up the aisle. People are free to depart henceforth, which is standard protocol. Anyone displaying road rage in the parking lot will have to get out of their car and wait for everyone else to leave (since the ushers will have their EMP remote control devices to monitor behavior). You've learned nothing if you exit Mass and become an asshole again. You have to stay and make small-talk with some old women about their grandkids until the traffic dissipates.

Hope this provides enhanced enjoyment for your church-going experience. As always, ideas are welcomed (to be ignored/discarded).

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Supplanting America, BRIC by BRIC

It's been a very interesting year so far if you are following world news (note - following 'X-Factor' or the Royal Dutchess' pregnancy does not constitute 'world news'). One of the main hot topics this year is the ongoing conflict in the Ukraine, one that I've already addressed in previous posts but something germane to the ongoing 'repositioning' of global superpowers. You are probably hearing the phrase 'BRICS' if you are loosely following the global markets and the world's geopolitical landscape. Simply put, BRICS consists of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, but also includes 130+ other nations quietly waiting to latch their wagon to whatever horse ballsy enough to supplant the United States and its western cohorts as the globe's new superpower. Anyone not drinking the Kool-Aid knows that we are slowly being replaced, and the watershed/Waterloo moment is the Ukraine Crisis. This post aims to distill, clarify, simplify, and inform the reader on what is really going on behind the scenes.

The Players

The West (primarily the United States, but also England, France and select others) - current world superpower. $18 trillion in debt, responsible (with London) for $1.5 quadrillion in derivatives exposure through sketchy, opaque financial instruments. Home to Citi, JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs, and the creature from Jekyll Island, the unaudited Federal Reserve. $3 trillion of Monopoly money printed since 2008. Trained, funded, and armed what we now know as ISIS. Funded the Ukrainian uprising aimed at making Russia Public Enemy #1. Lied about WMD's. Rehypothecated China's gold, Germany's gold. Took Saddam's gold, Gaddafi's gold, and Ukraine's gold to keep the scheme going. You get the point. This ain't Reagan's America anymore.

Russia - resurgent sleeping bear that Hussein Obama poked back awake (dumbass). Biggest energy provider on planet earth. Government-controlled Rozneft and Gasprom are some of the biggest energy companies in the world. While just as corrupt as any other leader, Putin has a 61% approval rating among his people (compared to Bathhouse Barry's approval of 41%). He also has his hand on the energy spigot and drooling at the prospect of a veddy veddy cold winter coming to Eastern Europe, who source about 75% of the their energy needs from Russia. Now phasing heavy sanctions (boomerang sanctions that also hurt Europe) from the West.


Ukraine - biggest free agent on planet earth now that Lebron went back to Cleveland. While they are not technically members of NATO or the European Union, they are a pivotal country that could make or break western dominance. Strategic gas pipelines go through Ukraine, reserves sit in the eastern regions, and they are split between pro/anti-Russian sentiment. See: Crimea, Donetsk, Luhansk. They are the main pivot point that has enabled BRICS nations to expedite their plans to supplant America as dominant superpower.

China - Crooked, corrupt, mischievous emerging superpower (based on sheer volume, size, and momentum). Limited transparency of GDP growth as advertised (averaging 7% over the past decade, while we putter along at around 2.5%), but noteworthy nonetheless. Ghost cities litter the landscape due to overbuilding, overmanufacturing, overindustrializing. Recent 'Holy Grail of Energy Deals' was signed with Russia a few months back. Russia and China, through the recent Russian sanctions, have now skipped the bilateral foreplay and are officially an item, attached at the hip. Also - 100+ countries are waiting in the wings to enter into swap agreements with China. Second biggest US creditor to the Federal Reserve. Victim of rehypothecated gold scheme of the 1990's. Placated with US real estate (including landmarks and JP Morgan HQ). The only thing stopping them taking over the United States is the unilateral disarming of US citizens (forthcoming).


Germany - the main adult in the room among the EU. While damn near close to a recession, they, along with faltering France, are the only ones holding up the European economy right now. Constantly asked to bail others out, their patience is wearing thin. An unspoken alliance to export vehicles, chemical products, and agricultural produce to Russia (a Top 10 trading partner) in exchange for continued energy from Gazprom persists. Germany is also pissed about the NY Fed dithering on the return of their 330 tons of already rehypothecated gold. In the two years since Germany request it repatriated, the US has returned a paltry 10% of it. Germany is now Free Agent #2 on planet earth, and if they join the BRICS, well, sayonara EU and USD/Euro two headed dragon.

Honorable mention:
Saudi Arabia - pumping out 90% water instead of oil. Scared. Funding ISIS along with US, Turkey, Qatar. Free Agent #3 - want to keep things civil with Russia, despite destabilization efforts with regards to Chechen rebels under their control. Pivotal country rumored to be flipping East to the BRICS.
Turkey - Free Agent #4. ISIS benefactor and training post. Assessing current repositioning of global assets to the BRICS. Pivotal country rumored to be flipping East to the BRICS.
Syria - allied with Russia, Iran. Blocking Qatari pipeline to Eastern Europe. Wants to be part of Iran/Russia pipeline through Syria/Turkey/Jordan. Saudi Arabia says No. Victim of false flag chemical weapons attack via rebels, world doesn't fall for it in 2013. Cue up Saudi/Turkey/CIA-created ISIS to destabilize and allow a beachhead for eventual attack on Assad (next blog post).


The Timeline (skipping Arab Spring, Libya, Egypt, Yemen, etc disaster)

Fall 2011 - BRICS Forum held to build cooperation and chart united effort to supplant the current economic world order (40% of world's population, 20% of global GDP, but over 50% of the world's growth over the past decade!!!!)
Spring 2013 -BRICS Summit yields proposal for a global financial institution. Cyprus bank deposit confiscation. It's the 'Cayman Islands' for rich Russian oligarchs and billionaires. Subtle reminder to back off of the middle east and Ukraine. The first salvo lobbed against Russia.
Summer 2013 - botched Syria invasion. As mentioned repeatedly (and now on mainstream dinosaur media), the failed effort to villainize Assad in Syria still stings the globalists. Putin stuffs Obama at the one yard line. No invasion, no soup for you.
Winter 2014 - as the Sochi Olympics dominate the globe, Ukrainian protests persist, US/Soros-funded provocateurs stage a coup on the democratically elected government, President Yanukovych flees to Russia. Puppet regime installed.
Spring 2014 - Putin takes Crimea. Referendums in Donetsk and Luhansk follow. Russian sanctions. Putin now PE#1.
Summer 2014 - Sabre-rattling on the Ukraine border with the Russia-controlled separatists. More sanctions against Russia.
July 15, 2014 - $100 billion BRICS Development Bank officially created, led by Russia/China.
July 17, 2014 - MH 17 gets shot down (false flag if you ask me - aimed at tilting pubic opinion against Putin). Before final embers hit the ground, the world points its insolvent, fiat-currency tinged finger at Putin. Suspicious. More Russian sanctions.
August 2014 - David Cameron calls for the ceremonial removal of Russia from the SWIFT banking transaction system

How does the BRICS arrangement impact current geopolitics?

Energy
Current scheme: Middle Eastern nations, led by Saudi Arabia and OPEC, dictate world energy flow and are the anchor to the petrodollar arrangement forcing settlement for energy in USD. If that arrangement falls, the dollar falls, the west falls, WE fall.
Proposed BRICS scheme: Russia, Russia, Russia as new provider of energy. China, India, Eastern Europe, and secretly Germany/Turkey/Saudi Arabia on board for the big pivot. No longer mandated USD settlement. Remember - sanctions work on intended target, but can also boomerang and impact others (ask Poland, whose seen a 40% reduction in gas from Russia over the past month). When we sanctioned Iran over nukes, sure, they felt the pinch. They also emboldened Russia to circumvent the USD for energy settlement, which was brokered by Turkey via GOLD settlement. Beware unintended consequences. Look for gold/yuan/ruble settlement.

Internet
Current scheme: Eurasian nations under certain leadership can have censorship, and NSA has the power to enact the global internet killswitch, shutting out any country it wants from internet access. Just ask Syria what happened in 2012 for two days.
Proposed BRICS scheme: set up BRICS internet pathway to bypass NSA spying:


It also warrants mentioning Friday's largest IPO in NYSE history via the Alibaba (newest e-commerce juggernaut) launch. In one day, market cap of $220b surpassed Facebook, eBay, and Amazon. China's here to stay, independent of it's lack of financial and economic transparency. Some of our biggest hackers originate from Iran, North Korea, China, and Russia. A fortified BRICS cable blunt impact and leaves a flaccid western tactic to isolate.

Financial Institutions and Mechanisms of Transacting
Current scheme: the IMF (International Monetary Fund) and World Bank both serve to foster global monetary cooperations, facilitate global trade, and promote economic growth. They are dominated by pro-Western leadership aimed at preserving the USD as world reserve currency but also ensuring the Euro is a stable backup currency. Primary transactions occur through the SWIFT banking transaction, of which over 200 countries conduct confidential financial telecommunications. This is the default medium for institutional and sovereign transactions. To be excluded from SWIFT is a death sentence.
Proposed BRICS scheme: Due to the recent Cameron proposal to boot Russia from SWIFT, along with NSA having unfettered access to every SWIFT transaction, Putin has proposed that Russia create it's own national payment settlement system. These national settlement mechanisms have already gained traction in China and Japan, and should there be closer cohesion among BRICS nations, a BRICS-based SWIFT equivalent would undoubtedly create global economic upheaval. From a financial institution perspective, the $100b BRICS development bank will rival the IMF (growing over time), and the BRICS Emergency Fund will rival the World Bank. They are starting small with $50b, but will ultimately increase steadily over time.


Death Knell: The Gold-Backed BRICS Currency
Current scheme: As mentioned earlier, the USD is the default global reserve currency. Severed from the hard-asset of gold backing in 1971 by Nixon, the impact was seismic to the dollar stability, which resulted in severe devaluation over the subsequent decade until interest rates were juiced to the ceiling by the Volker/Reagan administrations. Luckily, globalist pig/former Sec of State Henry Kissinger brilliantly negotiated a decades long petrodollar scheme that basically forced the world to settle only in dollars, which meant continued interest in US treasuries. It's now widely assumed that Fort Knox and the NY Fed are either empty (in Ft Knox' case - by empty I actually mean 'nerve gas pumped into vaults in the off-chance people want to know the real truth'), or running on empty (in NYFed's case, by empty I actually mean 'underground tunnel system to JPM's recently sold HQ to China real estate company).


Proposed BRICS scheme: It's no secret that the vast majority of any above-ground or currently-mined gold is going STRAIGHT to the East (has been for the past decade, but accelerating since 2011). China/India have a culture of precious metals accumulation, and Russia is loosely behind, albeit at a slower pace. They are hoarding as <3% of Americans invest in precious metals. Cause it's evil to not rely on King Dollar around here. Anyhoo, the ultimate nail in the coffin to the USD is the announcement of a gold-backed yuan or ruble or new currency altogether. This brings the post home - Putin (energy), Saudi Arabia (petrodollar), China (largest sovereign US investor) all have the ability to press the 'Eff You' button and sink America. They are biding their time, and once the alternative institutions are set up, the alternative transacting systems are set up, and the alternative currencies are set up, the world will pivot to the BRICS nations. And we'll be stuck with our trendy iPhone 6's, insurmountable debt repayments, hyperinflation, and a crappy Fantasy Football roster.


I realize this sounds harsh - after all, China and Russia are immature economies without a stable currency that the world can trust (I get that). Their military isn't as good as ours (I get that). Their leaders are corrupt (I get that). But for the love of God, stop being a 'homer'. You know the people who never think 'their' team can lose? 1998-2001 Yankees fans, 2007 Patriots fans, 2013 Broncos fans, you know what I'm talking about. Stop thinking we are unsinkable like the Titanic. Stop thinking we can't crash the economy (psssst - we never recovered from 2008). We are basically Johnny Football Hero that returns to his old high school to sling passes to sophomore wide receivers thinking we've 'still got it'. Everyone acts polite, gives Johnny Football the microphone, let's him think he still has the stuff, but when he leaves, they exclaim to one another, "He's lost some zip on his throws (lower GDP growth). I heard he's a drug addict now (QE/debt addiction) and gets in barfights all the time (foolish wars in Iraq/Afghanistan/Libya, and now the looming abortion that is the rebel-arming to stop ISIS). He doesn't work well with the new guys (BRICS) and has a real big ego and worships himself instead of God (insert any narcissistic American you know here)." The show is about to conclude. Still remember our great country for what it was, not for what it's about to become.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Ferguson and the Emerging Police State

There's been much ado about the recent fatal shooting of 18 year old Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO on Saturday, August 9th. It started as a news headline later that day, when 'a white cop shot a defenseless african american who had his hands up and his back turned for no good reason.' Instant response by most (myself included) - 'This is despicable. Why would a cop do that, especially with all of the recent police #fails over the past year (botched SWAT team missions, injuring babies in their cribs with explosives, choking out a Notorious BIG look-a-like for loitering in front of storefront)?'


As usual, media reports THEN does their due diligence. Predictably, the official story unraveled and completely reversed over the past week. What started out as innocent Mike Brown minding his own business turned into 1) surveillance video showing him reaching over the counter to steal handfuls of cigar packages 2) putting the tiny indian store manager in a headlock despite being twice his size 3) hot pursuit by local police once the robbery was reported 4) taunting his eventual shooter, Officer Darren Wilson while he bum-rushed him in his car 5) busted up Wilson's face in an altercation to gain possession of Wilson's gun (unconfirmed reports of a broken eye socket). And we're supposed to riot and protest against cops in defense of Mike Brown, who officially became human fecal matter the second he robbed a store and choked out a cashier?


As I write this, media and National Guard have pulled out of Ferguson, MO. Protests have died down (ironically as more evidence was released), and the facts of the case are starting to make the looters and aggressive demonstrators second guess their blind racially-based support for the deceased. So that's promising at least. We had the corrupt Attorney General Eric Holder fly in to ensure things were 'going smoothly'. Hint - if you want Eric Holder to be actively engaged with an issue, make sure the victim is black. See also: Fast & Furious, Benghazi, IRS, AP wire-tapping, and at least five other scandals. Had the victims painted their faces, those responsible would feel the full force of the law! So now you have the AG, the police chief, and the Governor Jay Nixon using suggestive language to encourage an indictment of Darren Wilson.....cause.....cause he shot a black kid!!!! Circumstantial evidence be damned! At this point Mike Brown could have pushed a geriatric out of a wheelchair, stolen ice cream from a toddler, and hijacked a police car and people would still be on his side 'because he was black'. Contrast this circus with the recent shooting of 20 year old Dillon Taylor by a non-white cop. Bet you didn't hear about it. Cause no one rioted. And the media ignores it:

http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2014/08/nonwhite_cop_kills_unarmed_white_youth_national_media_ag_and_potus_ignore.html

Where am I going with this? Real simple - I'm not losing sleep over the Mike Brown shooting. One less thug on the streets (look it up - he had a juvenile criminal record and was arrested in a case involving second degree murder, not to imply that he COMMITTED the murder. But 'Gentle Giant' is not how I would describe this guy). There, I said it. Was Dillon Taylor a budding criminal? Don't know, but if he was, we no longer have to worry about it. I don't see black or white, I see contributor to society or future goon. What I DO care about is the police response to general unrest. That's what folks seem to be missing here. These controversial cases flare up from time to time, but the real concern is how the police forces are martialed, how they treat the peaceful demonstrators, and what means they resort to. Here are some recent developments in Ferguson that will be connected to a wider theme:


- Repeated injury or harm to journalists or various members of the news media. This one sticks out in my mind, only because the media should never, under any circumstances, be touched by police if they are simply doing their job. Independent of how you feel about media bias or slanted reporting, they cannot and should not be manhandled. Well guess what - they were in Ferguson:

1) Washington Post/Huffington Post reporters Ryan Reilly (WP) and Wesley Lowery (HP) were roughed up and accused of resisting arrest in a McDonalds. The video was recorded here (not shown: cuffing and arrest):

http://www.washingtonpost.com/posttv/national/post-reporter-detained-in-ferguson/2014/08/13/b0fc5720-2354-11e4-8b10-7db129976abb_video.html

2) Al-Jazeera news crew reporting Ferguson school closings hit by tear gas canister. Video here:

http://www.ksdk.com/story/news/local/2014/08/14/crews-hit-with-bean-bags-tear-gas/14042747/

3) Irate officer approaching 'photojournalist' (whatever the hell that is) and threatening to 'f*cking kill' him. Video here:

http://photographyisnotacrime.com/2014/08/20/cop-ferguson-aims-gun-photographer-will-fucking-kill/

Honorable mention:
- tear gas on protesters. Not the first time, not the last time. BTW - tear gas is not allowed to be used in international wars.
- rubber bullets fired at close range. Remember Victoria Snellgrove, shot through the eye after the Red Sox won the 2004 ALCS? Rubber bullets cause damage.
- deployment of MRAPS (used in the Iraq/Afghan war, now on our streets).
- gas masks
- 40mm wooden baton rounds
- M4 carbines

Should we be shocked by anecdotal bush-league incidents, or should we come to expect this? I tend to side with the latter. Expect more 'police state gone-awry' as we increasingly move to throw any and all high-grade military equipment at local police in an effort to further militarize/federalize them to be in full alignment with their Department of Homeland Security big brothers. Here's some interesting developments in the past decade:

“Since 2006, state and local law enforcement have acquired at least 435 armored vehicles, 533 military aircraft and 93,763 machine guns, according to an investigation by the New York Times published in June. This was made possible under a department of defense program that allows the agency to transfer excess military property to US law enforcement agencies. More than $4.3bn worth of gear has been transferred since the program was created in 1997, according to the Law Enforcement Support Office (LESO)."
- SWAT team raids are through the roof. 3000 estimated raids per year in the 1980's, up to 45,000 annual by 2005 (and over 50,000 by 2013). 62% for drug-related raids, and 79% in private homes, of which only 7% were related to the initial intended use of hostage situations and barricades. 
- The oft-debated '1.6 billion rounds of Genova-convention-banned hollow point ammunition' purchased by DHS, recipients including National Weather Service, Fisheries Office of Law Enforcement, Social Security Office and countless others. To be fair, these were renewals in bulk but no one seems to be questioning the overall NEED to have them.
- The gun confiscation/martial law in New Orleans after Katrina, especially around the Superdome.
- The limited martial law in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy
- The infamous Watertown martial law in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing. 10,000+ militarized police with Humvees, K9's, scary guns, raised voices, SWAT team gear, shut down subways, 'stay in your homes' (cause that's a normal response to a glorified manhunt - how many murderers have 'escaped' and been on the run and we do nothing other than report on the 6 o clock news to 'be on the lookout'? And GUESS WHAT? Some sweaty slob goes out to his back yard to smoke a cigarette and notices blood on his boat and solves the crime. Case closed. Civilian saves the day. 


The government loves strife. Us versus them. Police vs civilian. Black vs white. Man vs woman. Rich vs poor. Straight vs gay. Christian vs Muslim. They need to keep themselves relevant, so these types of flare-ups help reinforce the need for the police state to exist and expand. We always need a bad guy - communists, Nazis, ISIS, Al Qaeda, the Japanese, the British, you name it. Guess who the next enemy on the list is - the US citizen. And this all proves that. Watch the mission creep as unrest begins to become widespread. We've pumped over $3 trillion of Monopoly funny money into the zombie banks and created the worst asset bubble in history. We still have 100 million people on some type of government assistance. We are approaching $18 trillion of debt. The government is broke, the system could fall at any time. What will the government do when EBT cards stop functioning? You saw this last year at select Walmarts where folks started looting and rioting. And that was over a few HOURS of no service. The police need to know how to respond. Ferguson, Watertown, New Orleans are all SCRIMMAGES for the grid shut down, the mega terrorist attack from (insert bad guy here), the solar flare, the cyber attack, the New Madrid fault rupture, the economic crash, you name it. 


It's no secret the FBI/DHS have run urban warfare training in over 38 cities in the past three years alone. Look it up. Youtube the scary videos. Youtube the news reports warning 'its only a test'. Why is there coordinated training for urban unrest? Is something coming? Or is it just wasted money? Why don't we train for mass Zoo Evacuations? Because it's NOT LIKELY to happen. Why do we not plan for alien landings? Because it's NOT LIKELY to happen. Why do we not plan for crazed nuns going trigger happy during 8:30 Mass? Because it's NOT LIKELY to happen. Urban warfare is likely to happen when the system goes down. Subject of another blog post, but over 200 military leaders have stepped down from their positions after the Obama administration questioned them on whether or not they would fire on US civilians in a time of need. Rand Paul famously filibustered over the droning of US civilians on domestic soil after we droned US civilians (terrorists, mind you) abroad. Drones + NSA snooping + attack on 2nd amendment  = Scared US civilians. Check out what DHS/Armed Forces now qualifies as a domestic terrorist in the various links below:

http://info.publicintelligence.net/SLATT-TerrorismTraining/terrorismindicators.pdf

http://www.scribd.com/doc/162321199/2161-docs#page=32

http://joemiller.us/2013/04/101st-battalion-commanders-outrageous-e-mail-to-subordinates-characterizing-traditionalists-as-haters/

http://thetruthwins.com/archives/72-types-of-americans-that-are-considered-potential-terrorists-in-official-government-documents

That should get you scared enough. The last link especially - it appears devout Christians, constitutionalists, 2nd amendment advocates, libertarians etc are eventually going to be targeted. Can't wait. You saw it with the IRS scandal. You see it with all of the domestic shootings - the first people blamed are the 'gun nuts' or the 'preppers' or the 'tea party', and then silly things like facts emerge to dispel those theories. Expect more of it. It's ironic - we impose a police state with guns and weapons we try to get out of the hands of everyday Americans and if you don't go along with it, well, you get put on some type of terrorist watch list. This is the future of America. Whether under Obama, Hillary Clinton, Jeb Bush, Chris Christie or whomever - be afraid, be very afraid.