Posts Tagged ‘Brandon Smith’
Wednesday, April 25th, 2012
Submitted by Brandon Smith from Alt-Market
Has America Been Crippled By Intellectual Idiots?
As far back as I can remember, the overarching message of the American social atmosphere has been one of idolization. Oh to one day join the ranks of the “professional class”; that 5% to 10% of our culture which enjoys unparalleled respect and an assumed position of knowledge, so much so that they are rarely even required to qualify themselves to anyone besides their own compatriots. The goal of every person I knew during my formative years with a desire to succeed was to one day hold in their hands an official looking embossed document announcing their ascension to the ranks of the intellectually anointed. I was never so keen on the idea…
The dangers of academic deification are numerous. Those who dominate the educational language of the times determine the moral compass (or lack of compass) of the curriculum. They control who is accepted and who is rejected, not by measure of intelligence or skill, but by their willingness to conform to the establishment ideal. They construct a kind of automaton class, which has been taught not to learn independently, but to parrot propaganda without question. Simultaneously, those of us who do not “make the grade” are relegated to the role of obliged worshippers; accepting the claims of the professional class as gospel regardless of how incorrect they happen to be. To put it simply; the whole thing is disgustingly inbred.
Elitism has always lent itself to morbid forms of educational molestation. This is nothing new, especially within their own limited circles. However, to have such perversions of logic and reason gutting the minds of entire generations across endless stretches of our country without any counterbalance is a far more heinous state of affairs in the long run. Ultimately, this highway can only lead to a deterioration of our future, and the death of reason itself.
Recently, I attended a discussion panel on Constitutionalism at a university in Helena, the capital of Montana, and admittedly, was not expecting much insight. (At the moment of arrival I noticed the buildings had been plastered with Kony 2012 posters. The campus seemed to be completely unaware that the YouTube film is a George Soros funded ‘Wag the Dog’ farce.) Even in a fiercely independent region such as the Northern Rockies, the collectivist hardline reigns supreme on most college campuses. Sadly, very few actual students attended the discussion, and the audience was predominantly made up of local political players, retired legislators, and faculty. Surprisingly, Stewart Rhodes of Oath Keepers was invited to participate in the discussion, obviously to add at least some semblance of balance or “debate” to an otherwise one-sided affair. The mix was like oil and water.
The overall tone was weighted with legal drudgery. Many of the speakers were focused intently on secondary details and banal explorations into individual Constitutional cases without any regard for the bigger picture. When confronted with questions on the indefinite detainment provisions of the NDAA, government surveillance, or executive ordered assassinations of U.S. citizens, the panelists responded with lukewarm apathy. The solutions we discuss regularly within the Liberty Movement, such as state nullification based on the 10th Amendment, assertions of local political control through Constitutional Sheriffs, and even civil disobedience, were treated with indignant responses and general confusion.
A consistent theme arose from the academics present, trying to run damage control on Rhodes’ points on federal encroachment and ultimate tyranny. Their position? Defiance is unacceptable (or at least, not politically correct…). Americans have NO recourse against a centralized government. Not through their state and local representatives, and not through concerted confrontation. In fact, to even suggest that states act on their own accord without permission is an outlandish idea. In the end, the only outlet for the public is….to vote.
No one seemed to be able to address the fact that both major parties supported the exact same unconstitutional policies, thus making national level elections an act of pure futility. The point was brushed aside…
Sickly shades of socialism hung heavy in the room. One speaker even suggested that the states could not possibly survive financially without centralized aid. He was apparently too ignorant to understand that the federal government itself is bankrupt, incapable of producing true savings, and printing fiat Ad Nauseum just to stay afloat. Every 30 seconds I heard a statement that made me cringe.
Universities are today’s centers of connection. They are one of the last vestiges of American tribalism and community in an age of self isolation and artificial technological cultism. Adults do not meet face to face much anymore to share knowledge, or discuss the troubles of the day. The academic world provides such opportunity, but at a terrible price. To connect with the world, students must comply. To be taken seriously, they must adopt, consciously or unconsciously, the robes of the state. They must abandon the passions of rebellion and become indifferent to the truth. All actions and ideas must be embraced by the group, or cast aside. They must live a life of dependency, breeding a culture of fear, for that which others to keep for us, they can easily take away.
How could anyone possibly sustain themselves on a diet of congealing fantasy, and personal inadequacy? The intellectual life bears other fruits as well. Where it lacks in substance, it makes up for in ego, proving that being educated is not necessarily the same as being intelligent. The following is a list of common character traits visible in the average intellectual idiot, a breed that poisons the American well, and is quickly eroding away any chance of Constitutional revival…
1) An Obsession With The Appearance Of Objectivity
I say “appearance” of objectivity because the intellectual idiot does indeed take sides on a regular basis, and the side he takes invariably benefits the establishment. He would never admit to this, though, because he believes it gives him more credibility to at least be thought of as standing outside an issue looking in. It is not uncommon to find Intellectual Idiots being contrary regardless of your view, even if they would normally agree. They often try to approach debate with the façade of detachment, as if they do not care one way or the other. The costume soon wears away, however, when they are faced with an opponent that is not impressed with their educational status. I have seen lawyers, doctors, engineers, and even politicians devolve into sniveling toddlers when they are derailed by an argument beyond their ability to tap-dance around. Their middle of the road persona evaporates, and the real person erupts like an ugly pustule…
2) Clings To Labels And Status
Like anyone else, Intellectual Idiots cradle a philosophy they believe in, or are told to believe in. But unlike most of us, they see themselves above the scrutiny of those who do not pursue a similar academic path (i.e. only a lawyer should be allowed to debate another lawyer). The reality is, anyone is privy to the information a proponent of the professional class knows. With the advent of the internet, it is easier than ever to educate one’s self on multiple subjects without aid if that person has the determination to do so. Reputation is not earned by shelling out tens of thousands of dollars for university approval. A Masters Degree or Ph.D is not a get out of logic free card. In fact, because the Intellectual Idiot often uses his position to avoid true opposition, he tends to become lazy and even more incapable of defending his methodologies when the time comes.
3) Predominantly Collectivist
The curriculum of the average college is partly to blame for this, and because the Intellectual Idiot is so desperate for acceptance and accolades, they can’t help but fall into the trap. Collectivism is marked by a distinct attachment to the state as the source of life. All social and all individual crises thus become a matter of government purview. Individual self reliance is a terrifying notion to them. In fact, many Intellectual Idiots have lived on the dole since they were born, moving from their family’s money, to state money through grants and loans. It is not unheard of for these people to become career students, avoiding work for years, and then moving on to a bureaucratic job when the free money runs out. They cannot fathom why anyone would rebel against the system, because they are a part of a select group which has always benefited from it. How could the federal government be bad when it has paid their way for half of their existence?
4) Disconnection From Reality
The Intellectual Idiot is not necessarily afraid to acknowledge that the system is troubled. For them, the federal government is not infallible, even if their favorite party is in office, but, it IS unapproachable. Academics revel in the disastrous nature of government. They see political and social catastrophe as a sort of mental gameplay. An exercise in theoretical structures. For them, America is not a country built on an enduring set of principles, but a petri dish; an ongoing anthropological experiment that they can watch through a microscope at their leisure. The idea that the disasters they view from the safety of their sub-cultural bubble might one day come to haunt them is a distant one.
5) Abhors Those Who Step Out Of Bounds
Have you ever entertained a view that went against the grain of the mainstream only to be met with accusations of extremism and sneers befitting a leper? You were probably talking to an intellectual idiot. The rules, no matter how distasteful or meaningless, hold special power for these people. They make the system what it is, and when the system is your great provider, you might lean towards defending it, even in the wake of oligarchy and abuse. This penchant for overt structure for the sake of centralization is especially damaging to our Constitutional rights, because alternative solutions are never treated as viable. During the panel discussion in Helena, pro-collectivists consistently tried to redirect the conversation away from the 10th Amendment as a method to counter federal overreach. They did this by bringing up abuses of the states, including slavery and segregation, as if that somehow negated the nightmare of the NDAA.
Ironically, they saw the use of violence by the federal government to push states to recognize civil liberties as perfectly practical. But, the use of force by states to protect the same civil liberties from Washington D.C.? That would be lunacy…
6) Believes Academia To Be Free From Bias
The Intellectual Idiot assimilates every bit of information he is given at the university level without a second look. He simply assumes it is all true, and if something appears mismatched, it is only because he does not yet fully grasp it. Very rarely will he go beyond designated source materials to get a different opinion. This habit is the root of his idiocy. Being that most universities draw from the same exact materials, and peer reviewed papers are usually tested by those with the exact same underlying educational backgrounds, I can’t see how it is possible for much variety of thought to form. Whether intentional or not, severe bias cannot be avoided in this kind of environment without considerable strength of heart.
The shock that these people express when faced with Liberty Movement philosophies is quite real. They have spent the very focus of their future life within the confines of a miniscule spectrum of truth; like seeing technicolor for the first time after a long limited existence in black and white.
It’s hard to say when it all really began, but for decades, Americans have been progressively tuned like pliable radio antenna to the song of the elitist intellectual. Many of us want to be him. Others want to follow him, straight to oblivion if need be, as long as they don’t have to blaze their own trail. This is not to say all professionals are a danger to the Republic. Some are fantastic proponents of freedom. But, without a drastic reversal in current educational trends, I see little hope of Constitutional guardians becoming a mainstay of U.S. campuses in the near term.
With mashed potato minds fresh from the psychological Cuisinart of public schools, the next generation in line to inherit the most fantastically schizophrenic nation in history will be like candy for social engineers; utterly unequipped for the mission. Strangely, the drastic financial slide the elites have also triggered might hold the key to our salvation. The next batch of would be statist citizens may find themselves so poor that higher educational brainwashing will be impossible to afford, giving them precious time to think for themselves, and come to their own conclusions. As they say, in all things, there is a silver lining…
Copyright © Alt-Market
Tags: Ascension, Automaton, Brandon Smith, Circles, Compatriots, Counterbalance, Deification, Deterioration, Educational Language, Elitism, Endless Stretches, Formative Years, Molestation, Moral Compass, Perversions, Professional Class, Social Atmosphere, State Of Affairs, Willingness, Worshippers
Posted in Markets | Comments Off
Friday, March 23rd, 2012
Submitted by Brandon Smith of Alt Market
The Oil Conundrum Explained
Oil as a commodity has always been a highly valuable early warning indicator of economic instability. Every conceivable element of our financial system depends on the price of energy, from fabrication, to production, to shipping, to the consumer’s very ability to travel and make purchases. High energy prices derail healthy economies and completely decimate systems already on the verge of collapse. Oil affects everything.
This is why oil markets also tend to be the most misrepresented in the mainstream financial media. With so much at stake over the price of petroleum, and the cost steadily climbing over the past year returning to disastrous levels last seen in 2008, the American public will soon be looking for someone to blame, and you can bet the MSM will do its utmost to ensure that blame is focused in the wrong direction. While there are, indeed, multiple reasons for the current high costs of oil, the primary culprits are obscured by considerable disinformation…
The most prominent but false conclusions on the expanding value of oil are centered on assertions that supply is decreasing dramatically, while demand is increasing dramatically. Neither of these claims is true…
The supply side of the oil equation is the absolute last factor that we should be worried about at this point. In fact, global oil use since the credit crisis of 2008 has tumbled dramatically. This decline accelerated at the end of 2011 and the beginning of 2012 all while oil prices rose:
In its February Oil Market Report, the International Energy Agency (IEA) forecast a reduction in the growth of demand into the Spring of 2012, despite reports from the mainstream media that oil prices were spiking due to “recovery” and “high demand”. Simultaneously, the IEA reported that petroleum inventories rose to the highest levels since October, 2008:
The Baltic Dry Index, which measures global shipping rates and the demand for freight in general, has fallen off a cliff in recent months, hovering near historic lows and signaling a sharp decline in world demand for raw materials used in production. A fall in the BDI has on multiple occasions in the past been a predictive indicator of stock market chaos, including that which struck in 2008 and 2009. A sharply lower BDI means low global demand, which should, traditionally, mean decreasing prices:
So, supply is high across the board, inventories are stocked, and demand is weak. By all common market logic, gasoline prices should be plummeting, and far more Americans should be smiling at the pump. Of course, this is not the case. Prices continue to rise despite deflationary elements, meaning, there must be some other factors at work here causing inflation in prices.
Ironically, stock market activity in the Dow has now come under threat from this inflationary trend in oil. Rising energy costs have essentially put a cap on the epic explosion of equities, and many mainstream analysts now lament over this Catch-22. The problem is that these investors and pundits are operating on the assumption that the Dow bull market is legitimate, and that the rally in oil is somehow an extension of a “healthier economy”. This version of reality, I’m afraid, is about as far from the truth as one can stretch…
In the candy coated world of Obamanomics, high priced stocks are a valid signal of economic growth, and oil is rising due to demand which extends from this growth. In the real world, stock values are completely fabricated, especially in light of record low trade volume over the past several months:
Low trade volume means very few investors are currently participating in active trade. This lack of investment interest in the markets allows big players (such as international bankers) to use their massive capital to swing stocks whichever way they choose, even to the point of creating false market rallies. Throw in the fact that the private Federal Reserve (along with helpful hands-off approach by our government) has been constantly infusing these banks with fiat printed from thin air, and one can hardly take the current ascension of the Dow or the S&P very seriously.
Another issue which should be stressed is the renewed tensions in the Middle East, namely, the very distinct possibility of an Israeli or U.S. strike in Iran, and the possibility of NATO involvement in Syria (which has extensive ties to Russia and Iran). Certainly, this is a tangible danger that would have unimaginable consequences in global oil markets. However, the threat of growing war in the Middle East is in no way a new one, and has been ever present for the past decade. It hardly explains why despite hollow demand and extreme supply, the price per barrel of oil has been an unstoppable rising tide. Attempts by Saudi Arabia to reverse inflationary trends by promising increased production in the wake of Iran turmoil has so far been ineffective.
Off the coast of Ireland:
Massive fields in Mongolia have been uncovered:
And of course, the vast shale oil fields in North Dakota and Montana are finally being tapped:
Oil supply has been ample and large oil reserves are being discovered yearly. Speculation would be the next obvious assumed culprit, and there are certainly some signals of such activity. Oil speculators traditionally use the forced accumulation of oil inventories to reduce market supply and artificially increase prices. Inventories have indeed been high. However, as previously stated, demand for oil has been static or fallen in most countries around the world since 2008, and there has been NO petroleum shortages due to manipulated markets. In fact, there have been no petroleum shortages period. Speculation has the potential to cause sharp but short term shifts in markets, but one must take into account the long term trend of a particular commodity to understand the root cause of its increasing or decreasing value. Again, inadequate supply is NOT the trigger for the ongoing oil price problem, whether by threat of war, or by reduction through speculation.
This schizophrenic disconnection between the stock market, and oil, and true supply and demand, is, though, a symptom of one very disturbing illness lurking in the backwaters of the U.S. fiscal bloodstream; dollar devaluation.
We all understand that the Federal Reserve has been engaged in non-stop quantitative easing measures in one form or another since 2008. We don’t know exactly how much fiat the Fed has printed in that time, and won’t know until a full and comprehensive audit is finally enacted, but we do know that the amount is at the very least in the tens of trillions (be sure to check out page 131 of the GAO report below to find their breakdown of Fed QE activities. This is just the money printing that has been ADMITTED TO, in excess of $16 trillion):
The dollar is being thoroughly squashed. Why is this not showing in the dollar forex index? The dollar index is yet another example of a useless market indicator, being that it measures dollar value relative to a basket of world fiat currencies, ALL of which also happen to be in decline. That is to say, the dollar appears to be vibrant, as long as you compare it to similarly worthless paper currencies that are being degraded in tandem with the greenback. Once you begin to compare the dollar to commodities, however, it soon shows its inherent weakness.
The dollar’s only saving grace has long been its status as the world reserve currency and its use as the primary trade mechanism for oil. This, however, is changing.
Bilateral trade agreements between China, Russia, Japan, India, and other countries, especially those within the ASEAN trading bloc, are slowly but surely removing the dollar from the game as these nations begin to replace trade using other currencies, including the Yuan. I believe commodities, especially oil, have been reflecting this trend for quite some time. The consequences of the dollar’s ties to oil are detrimental to all nations that consume petroleum, and they are clearly moving to insulate themselves from further devaluation.
Even after the release of strategic oil reserves back in the summer of 2011 in an effort to dilute prices, and the announcement of an even larger possible release of reserves this month, oil has not strayed far from the $100 per barrel mark. High Brent crude price have held for years, even after numerous promises from government and media entities admonishing what they called “speculation”, and promises of a return to lower energy costs. Not long ago, $100 per barrel oil was an outlandish premise. Today, it is commonplace, and some even consider it “affordable” compared to what we may be facing in the near future, all thanks to the steady deconstruction of the last pillar of the U.S. economy; the dollar, and its world reserve label.
Ultimately, no matter how manipulated and overindulged the stock market becomes, no matter how many fiat dollars are injected to prop up our failing system, the price of oil is the great game changer. As inflation is reflected in its price, and energy costs burn out of control, the Dow will begin to fall, regardless of any low volume or quantitative easing. In all likelihood, this conundrum will be blamed on as many scapegoats as are available at the moment, including Iran, or China, or Russia, or Japan, etc. Each and every American, and especially those involved in tracking the economy, will have to remind themselves and the public that at bottom, it was the Federal Reserve that created the conditions by which we suffer, including currency devaluation and high oil prices, NOT some foreign enemy.
The one positive element of this entire disaster (if one can call anything “positive” in this mess), is the manner in which the high price of oil tends to dash away the illusions of the common citizen. It is an issue they simply cannot ignore, because it affects every aspect of their lives in minute detail. Costly energy awakens the otherwise ignorant, and forces them to see the many dangers lurking on the horizon. Hopefully, this awakening will not be too little too late…
Tags: Assertions, Brandon Smith, Commodities, Commodity, Conundrum, Credit Crisis, Culprits, Disinformation, Economic Instability, Energy Prices, False Conclusions, Global Oil, Iea, International Energy Agency, Inventories, Mainstream Media, Markets World, Oil Market Report, Oil Markets, Oil Prices, Russia, World Oil Demand, Wrong Direction
Posted in Markets | Comments Off
Sunday, March 4th, 2012
Submitted by Brandon Smith from Alt-Market
Americans Will Need “Black Markets” To Survive
As Americans, we live in two worlds; the world of mainstream fantasy, and the world of day-to-day reality right outside our front doors. One disappears the moment we shut off our television. The other, does not…
When dealing with the economy, it is the foundation blocks that remain when the proverbial house of cards flutters away in the wind, and these basic roots are what we should be most concerned about. While much of what we see in terms of economic news is awash in a sticky gray cloud of disinformation and uneducated opinion, there are still certain constants that we can always rely on to give us a sense of our general financial environment. Two of these constants are supply and demand. Central banks like the private Federal Reserve may have the ability to flood markets with fiat liquidity to skew indexes and stocks, and our government certainly has the ability to interpret employment numbers in such a way as to paint the rosiest picture possible, but ultimately, these entities cannot artificially manipulate the public into a state of demand when they are, for all intents and purposes, dead broke.
In contrast, the establishment does have the ability to make specific demands or necessities illegal to possess, and can even attempt to restrict their supply. Though, in most cases this leads not to the control they seek, but a sudden and sharp loss of regulation through the growth of covert trade. The people need what the people need, and no government, no matter how titanic, can stop them from getting these commodities when demand is strong enough.
This process of removing necessary or desirable items from a trade environment leads inevitably to counter-prohibition often in the form of strict cash transactions, barter markets, or “black markets” as they are normally derided by those in power. The problem for economic totalitarians is that the harder they squeeze the masses, the more intricate the rebellion becomes, especially when all they want is to participate in free markets the way our forefathers intended.
The so called “drug war” is proof positive of the impossibility of locking down a product, especially one that has no moral bearing on the people who are involved in its use. Only when a considerable majority of a populace can be convinced of the inherent immoral nature of an illicit item can its trade finally be squelched. During any attempt to outlaw a form of commerce, a steady stream of informants convinced of their service to the “greater good” is required for success. Dishonorable governments, therefore, do not usually engage in direct confrontation with black markets. Instead, they seek to encourage the public to view trade outside mainstream legal standards as “taboo”. They must condition us to react with guilt or misplaced righteousness in the face of black market activity, and associate its conduct as dangerous and destructive to the community, turning citizens into an appendage of the bureaucratic eye.
But, what happens when black markets, due to calamity, become a pillar of survival for a society? What happens when the mainstream economy no longer meets the available demand? What happens when this condition has been deliberately engineered by the power structure to hasten cultural desperation and dependence?
In this event, black markets not only sustain a nation through times of weakness, but they also become a form of revolution; a method for fighting back against the centralization of oppressive oligarchies and diminishing their ability to bottleneck important resources. Black markets are a means of fighting back, and are as important as any weapon in the battle for liberty. Here are just a few reasons why such organizational actions may be required in the near future…
The Mainstream Economy Is Slowly Killing Us
There are, unfortunately, some Americans out there who have not caught on yet to the grave circumstances in which we live. Obviously, the stock market seems to have nearly recovered from its epic collapse in 2008 and 2009, and employment, according to the Labor Department, is on the mend. The numbers say it all, right? Wrong! The numbers say very little, especially when they are a product of “creative mathematics”.
Despite the extreme spike in the Dow Jones since 2010, and all the talk of recovery, what the mainstream rarely mentions are the details surrounding this miraculous return from the dead for stocks.
One of the most important factors to consider when gauging the health of the markets is “volume”; the amount of shares being traded and the amount of investors active on any given business day. Since the very beginning of the Dow’s meteoric rise, the markets have been stricken with undeniably low volume interspersed with all too brief moments of activity. In fact, this past January recorded the lowest NYSE volume since 1999:
So then, if trade is sinking, why has the Dow jumped to nearly 13,000? Low volume is the key. In a low volume market, less individual investors are present to counteract the buying and selling of larger players, like international banks. When this happens, the big boys are able to trigger market spikes, or market drops, literally at will. Add to this the high probability that much of the stimulus that the Federal Reserve has regurgitated into the ether probably ended up in the coffers of corporate banks which then used the funny money to snap up equities, and presto! Instant market rally! But, a rally that is illusory and unstable.
Improving employment numbers are yet another financial hologram. As most of us in the Liberty Movement are well aware, the Labor Department does not calculate true unemployment in the U.S. Instead, it merely calculates those people who currently receive unemployment benefits. Once a person hits the extension limit (99 weeks in many states) on his benefits, he is removed from the rolls, and is no longer counted in the “official” unemployment percentage. While Barack Obama and MSM pundits are quick to point out the drop in jobless to 8.3%, what they conveniently fail to mention is that MILLIONS of Americans have been unemployed for so long that they have been removed from the statistics entirely, and this condition is what has caused the primary fall in jobless percentages, not burgeoning business growth.
Roughly 11 million Americans who are jobless have nonetheless been excluded from the statistical government tally because of a loss of benefits:
According to the Congressional Budget Office, over 40% of the currently unemployed have been so for over 6 months. It also points out that America is suffering the worst case of long term unemployment since the Great Depression:
More than 10.5 million people in the U.S. also receive disability payments, which automatically removes them from the unemployment count, making it seem as though jobs are being created, rather than lost:
Around 8.2 million Americans only work part time, meaning they work less hours than are generally considered to be necessary for self-support. These people are still counted as “employed” even if they work a few hours a week.
Combine these circumstances with the ever weakening dollar, price inflation in foods and other commodities, and rocketing energy costs, and you have an economy that is strangling the life out of the middle-class and the poor in this country. It is only a matter of time before the populace begins searching for alternative means of subsistence, even if that entails “illegal” activities.
Government Cracking Down On Freedom Of Trade
I was recently walking through the parking lot of a grocery store and ran into a group of women huddled intently around the back of a mini-van. One of the women was reaching into a cooler and handing out glass containers filled with milk. I approached to ask if she was selling raw milk, and if so, how much was she charging. Of course, they turned startled and wide eyed as if I had just stumbled upon their secret opium ring. Somehow it had slipped my mind how ferocious the FDA has become when tracking down raw milk producers. The fact that these women were absolutely terrified of being caught with something as innocuous as MILK was disturbing to me. How could we as a society allow this insanity on the part of our government to continue?
That moment reminded me of the utter irrelevance of petty law, as well as the determination of human beings to defy such law.
The Orwellian hammer has been thrust in the face of those who trade in raw milk, organic produce, and herbal supplements, while small businesses are annihilated by government dues and red tape. In the meantime, law enforcement officials have been sent strapped to shut down children’s lemonade stands (no, seriously):
Government legislation which would give the FDA jurisdiction over personal gardens has been fielded. Retail gold and silver purchases of over $600 are now tracked and taxed. The IRS even believes it has the right to tax barter exchanges, even though they do not explain how bartered goods could be legally qualified as “income”, or how they can conceive of ever being able to trace such private trade:
Want to choose what kind of currency you would like to use to protect your buying power? Not if the Department Of Justice’s Anne Tompkins has anything to say about it. After the railroading of Liberty Dollar founder Bernard von NotHaus, she stated:
“Attempts to undermine the legitimate currency of this country are simply a unique form of domestic terrorism…”
“While these forms of anti-government activities do not involve violence, they are every bit as insidious and represent a clear and present danger to the economic stability of this country,” she added. “We are determined to meet these threats through infiltration, disruption, and dismantling of organizations which seek to challenge the legitimacy of our democratic form of government.”
As our economic situation grows increasingly precarious in this country, more and more people will turn towards localized non-corporate, non-mainstream business methods and products. And, the government will no doubt attempt to greatly restrict or tax these alternatives. This mentality is driven in part by their insatiable appetite for money, but mostly, it’s about domination. They do what they do because they fear decentralized markets, and the ability of the citizenry to conceive of choices outside the system. Slaves are not supposed to choose the economy they will participate in…
A “black market” is only a trade dynamic that the government disapproves of, and the government disapproves of most things these days. Frankly, its time to stop worrying about what Washington D.C. consents to. They have unfailingly demonstrated through rhetoric and action that they are not interested in the fiscal or social health of this nation, and so, we must take matters into our own hands.
Black Market Advantages
If the events in EU nations such as Greece, Spain, and Italy are any indication, the U.S., with its massive debt to GDP ratio (real debt includes entitlement programs), is looking at one of two possible scenarios: default, austerity measures, and high taxes, or, hyperinflation, and then default, austerity measures, and high taxes. In the past we have mentioned barter networking and alternative market programs springing up in countries like Greece and Spain allowing the people to cope with the faltering economy. Much of this trade is done away from the watchful eyes of government, simply because they cannot afford the gnashing buffalo-sized bites that bureaucrats would take from their savings in the process. When a government goes rogue, and causes the people harm, the people are in no way obligated to continue supporting that government.
Black markets give the citizenry a means to protest the taxation of a government that no longer represents them. In a country stricken with austerity, these networks allow the public to thrive without having to pay for the mistakes or misdeeds of political officials and corporate swindlers. In a hyperinflationary environment, black markets (or barter markets that have been deemed unlawful), can be used to supplant the imploding fiat currency altogether, and energize community markets that would otherwise be unable to function. Ultimately, black markets feed and clothe the grassroots movement towards economic responsibility, and every man and woman with any sense of independence should rally around this resource with the intention to fight should it ever be threatened.
“Legality” is arbitrary in the face of inherent conscience, or what some call “natural law”. Without arbitrary legality, and unjust and unwarranted regulation, many federal alphabet agencies would not exist, including the FDA, the IRS, the EPA, the BLM, etc. These institutions do not matter. What they say has no meaning. What matters is what is honorable, what is factual, and what is right. Our loyalty, as Americans, is to our principles and our heritage. Beyond that, we don’t owe anyone anything. A black market in one place and time is a legitimate market in another. For now, private localized trade is able to flow with only minor interference, but there will come a day when even the most practical and harmless personal transactions will be visited with administrative reproach and vitriol. Alternative market champions will be accused of “extremism”, and undermining the mainstream economy. We will be vilified as separatists, isolationists, terrorists, and traitors. I believe it will be far more surreal than what we can possibly imagine now.
They are welcome to call us whatever they like. Honestly……who cares? Let the paper pushers do their angry little dance. The goal is freedom; in life, in politics, and in trade. If we do not change how this country does business ourselves, the results will be far more frightening than any government agent at our doorstep, and the costs will be absolute…
Tags: Black Markets, Brandon Smith, Cash Transactions, Central Banks, Constants, Disinformation, Economic News, Employment Numbers, Federal Reserve, Financial Environment, Foundation Blocks, Front Doors, Gray Cloud, House Of Cards, Intents And Purposes, liquidity, Necessities, Prohibition, Trade Environment, Two Worlds
Posted in Markets | Comments Off
Monday, January 30th, 2012
Submitted by Brandon Smith from Alt Market
Baltic Dry Index Signals Renewed Market Collapse
Much has been said about the Baltic Dry Index over the course of the last four years, especially in light of the credit crisis and the effects it has had on the frequency of global shipping. Importing and exporting has never been quite the same since 2008, and this change is made most obvious through one of the few statistical measures left in the world that is not subject to direct manipulation by international corporate interests; the BDI. Today, the BDI is on the verge of making headlines once again, being that is plummeting like a wingless 747 into the swampy mire of what I believe will soon be historical lows.
The problem with the BDI is that it is little understood and often dismissed by less thoughtful economic analysts as a “volatile index” that is too “sensitive” to be used as a realistic indicator of future trends. What these analysts consistently seem to ignore is that regardless of their narrow opinion, the BDI has been proven to lead economic derision in the market movements of the past. That is to say, the BDI has been volatile exactly BECAUSE markets have been volatile and unstable, and is a far more accurate thermometer than those that most mainstream economists currently rely on. If only they would look back at the numbers further than one year ago, they might see their own folly more clearly.
Introduced in 1985, the Baltic Dry Index first and foremost is a measure of the global shipping rates of dry bulk goods, mostly consisting of vital raw materials used in the creation of other products. However, it is also a measure of demand for said materials in comparison to previous months and years. This is where we get into the predictive nature of the BDI…
In late 1986, for instance, the BDI fell to its lowest level on record, then, began a slow crawl towards moderate recovery, just before the Black Monday crash of 1987.
Coincidence? Not a chance. From 2001 to 2002, a similar sharp collapse in the BDI preceded a progressive drop in the Dow of around 4000 points, ending in a highly suspect (Fed engineered) illegitimate recovery. In 2008, the index fell to near record lows once again just before the derivatives and credit crisis hit stocks full force. To imply that the BDI is not a useful measure of future economic trends seems like an astonishingly ignorant proposition when one examines its very predictable behavior just before major financial downturns.
This is not to suggest that the BDI can be used as a way to play the stock market from day to day, or often even month to month. MSM analysts rarely look further than the next quarter when considering any financial issue, and that is why they don’t understand the BDI. If an index cannot be used by daytraders to make a quick buck in a short afternoon, then why bother with it at all, right? The BDI is not an accurate measure of the daily market gamble. It is, though, an accurate measure of where markets are headed in the long run and under extreme circumstances.
Over the course of the past month, the BDI has fallen around 65% from above 1600 to 726. Mainstream economists argue that the BDI’s fall in 2008 was a much higher percentage, and thus, a 65% drop is nothing to worry about. They fail to mention that shipping rates never recovered from the 2008 collapse, and have hovered in a sickly manner near lows reached during the initial credit bubble burst. By their logic, if the BDI was at 2, and fell to 1, this 50% drop should be shrugged off as inconsequential because it is not a substantial percentage of decline when compared to that which occurred in 2008, even though the index is standing at rock bottom. Yes, the useful idiots strike again…
Looking at the rate and the speed of decline this past month, it’s hard to argue that the current 65% drop is meaningless:
Another subversive argument against the BDI is the suggestion that it is not the demand for raw materials that is in decline, but the number of shipping vessels out of use that is growing. A smart person might suggest that these two problems are mutually connected. An MSM pundit would not.
In 2008, many ships were left to wallow in port without cargo, but this was due in large part to two circumstances. First, demand had fallen so much that too many ships were left to carry too little raw materials. Second, credit markets had sunk so intensely that many ships could not find trade financing necessary to take on cargo. In either case, the BDI still falls, and in either case, it still signals economic danger. The only way that the BDI could signal a major decline in shipping demand artificially or inaccurately is if a considerable number of ships under construction were suddenly released onto the market while there is no demand for them. There have been no mass increases or extreme changes in cargo fleets this past month, or at all since 2008, which means, the BDI’s decline has NOTHING to do with the number of ships in operation, and everything to do with decline in global demand.
What is the bottom line? The stark decline in the BDI today should be taken very seriously. Most similar declines have occurred right before or in tandem with economic instability and stock market upheaval. All the average person need do is look around themselves, and they will find a European Union in the midst of detrimental credit downgrades and on the verge of dissolving. They will find the U.S. on the brink of yet another national debt battle and hostage to a private Federal Reserve which has announced the possibility of a third QE stimulus package which will likely be the last before foreign creditors begin dumping our treasuries and our currency in protest. They will find BRIC and ASEAN nations moving quietly into multiple bilateral trade agreements which cut out the use of the dollar as a world reserve completely. Is it any wonder that the Baltic Dry Index is in such steep deterioration?
Along with this decline in global demand is tied another trend which many traditional deflationists and Keynesians find bewildering; inflation in commodities. Ultimately, the BDI is valuable because it shows an extreme faltering in the demand for typical industrial materials and bulk items, which allows us to contrast the increase in the prices of necessities. Global demand is waning, yet prices are holding at considerably high levels or are rising (a blatant sign of monetary devaluation). Indeed, the most practical conclusion would be that the monster of stagflation has been brought to life through the dark alchemy of criminal debt creation and uncontrolled fiat stimulus. Without the BDI, such disaster would be much more difficult to foresee, and far more shocking when its full weight finally falls upon us. It must be watched with care and vigilance…
Tags: Accurate Thermometer, Baltic Dry Index, Black Monday, Brandon Smith, Corporate Interests, Credit Crisis, Derision, Economic Analysts, Folly, Future Trends, Global Shipping, Lows, Mainstream Economists, Market Collapse, Market Decline, Raw Materials, Shipping Rates, Slow Crawl, Statistical Measures, Wingless
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