Don’t stand where the lightning strikes.

“When misguided public opinion honors what is despicable and despises what is honorable, punishes virtue and rewards vice, encourages what is harmful and discourages what is useful, applauds falsehood and smothers truth under indifference or insult, a nation turns its back on progress and can be restored only by the terrible lessons of catastrophe.”

— Frederic Bastiat, nineteenth century French economist and writer

“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

― Reinhold Niebuhr

This is part of a new worldview-based post series – intended for planning and action use by executives and managers. These posts offer an example framework that might be adapted to address particular needs and situations. This post continues the business case example of how a business might deal – proactively – with a serious black swan event: a sudden, unexpected loss of a major customer. Plus something completely different.

Rather than repeat the introductory sections in prior worldview posts, I’ll just provide links for those who are new to this case series:

Worldview 5 – the starting point for assessing vulnerabilities to black swan events within the context of a hypothetical business MedTechNorth (MTN).

Worldview 6 – begins the business case by introducing members of the small planning team and its initial working charter to prepare for a major sales loss.

Worldview 7 – adds a real black swan event – impending loss of a major customer – to the situation, which complicates vulnerabilities assessment.

Worldview 8 – the team enlarges its planning scope to include both the customer loss and the impact vulnerabilities focus in parallel.

Worldview 9 – the customer loss has brought into sharp focus a huge vulnerability: a very rigid and possibly outmoded business structure.

Worldview 10 – the team discovers a solution to their rigid business structure vulnerability, but quickly realizes that it will be very difficult to implement.

Worldview 11 – a simple and quick solution to the getting-started problem is found, giving the team a fresh enthusiasm and sense of direction.

And now for something truly completely different …

The prior posts in this series used this introductory section to highlight some of the current world’s craziness in full escalation. In the first of these (Worldview 9), I highlighted the apparent failure of WHO’s Pandemic Treaty effort, the escalating WW III mess, and the forever-impending financial collapse. In the second (Worldview 10), I took a brief look at something new (to me at least) – cognitive warfare. Most recently, I looked at quite a different take than mine on an increasingly ominous topic: surveil-and-control (Worldview 11).

These, unintentionally so far at least, seem to have a common thread: the evolving game plan of our very own powers-that-be-and-wannabe.

Things aren’t going at all well for this gang of nasty folks. Not only are their schemes and machinations not working out as planned, but also the timeframe for succeeding is getting desperately short. Pushback and alternatives are emerging, inconveniently.

What I see as their current game plan is summarized in three points, below.

This post’s introductory focus is the unexpected intensification of efforts by the West (U.S., UK, EU, …) to get a nuclear WW III going. Mutually-Assured-Destruction (MAD) of our post-WW II world no longer seems to be working. This could be very bad news for us since quite a number of the major players are obsessed, insane, incompetent, blind – or some unfortunate combination of these.

Something very big and deeply disturbing is happening on the WW III front

If MAD no longer works in practice, what might nations plan on, or even attempt, if they are believing in a strong likelihood of survival and even victory. Here’s one possibility:

“MAD, put simply, is the guarantee that one country will not use nuclear weapons against another country due to immediate nuclear retaliation and the destruction of both. Not to mention the nuclear winter that would occur and the annihilation of the human population. But what if MAD is obsolete and is no longer protecting us from nuclear war? I believe that to be true, but what does that mean to you and me?”

“Reconsideration of the reliability of MAD is particularly important at this moment in time. With the current geopolitical circumstances, we’re at a threat level equal to or greater than the Cuban missile crisis. The two most obvious threats emanate from the Russian invasion of Ukraine and China’s intention to invade Taiwan. The situation is exacerbated by the provocation of the United States and its imperialistic and, frankly, arrogant foreign policy.”

“How have the factors changed that have made MAD obsolete? First, Russia and China have surpassed the Western world’s nuclear capabilities to such a degree that the United States and its NATO allies are no longer considered equals. With hypersonic missile capabilities that our enemies possess and we do not, we’re no longer able to ‘mutually assure’ their destruction [emphasis added]. A missile that can travel at speeds faster than 10,000 miles per hour is unstoppable. Our missile defense system is useless against hypersonic nuclear attack, and we’ve allowed our enemies to advance their missile defense system capabilities to well exceed what we possess.”

“Second, under the Clinton administration, the ‘fire on warning’ protocol was changed. Prior to 1998, the U.S. nuclear response protocol was to fire on warning. The powers that be realized that it was no longer practical to fire on warning. The response took too long, and it put the world at risk over the likelihood that World War III might begin accidentally due to a false warning, which was occurring with some frequency. With the threat of hypersonic missiles, the fire on warning protocol is simply irrelevant. The time from launch to impact of a hypersonic missile launched from a Russian submarine targeting Washington is less than 30 seconds.”

“… Here’s how I believe this will play out. Without warning, Russia will target U.S. missile silos with hypersonic tactical nuclear weapons. These are low-yield, minimal fallout weapons, which will destroy our ability to significantly retaliate. They will also fire these weapons at our two primary submarine bases, where, at any time, half of our submarine fleet is at dock. This will all happen in just a few minutes. For good measure, Russia, North Korea, or China will fire a high-altitude electromagnetic pulse, or HEMP, weapon. This weapon would destroy the electric grid and leave the United States without power, water, internet, food supply chains, and fuel. Notice that with all these weapons, there’s no significant nuclear fallout, no nuclear winter [emphasis added].

“Next, President Joe Biden will get a phone call from Putin, and it will sound like this: ‘Mister Biden, your nation has just been defeated. I have spared your cities. If you should decide to retaliate with your small remaining nuclear capabilities, within three minutes, New York City and Washington will be reduced to smoldering rubble. I will at this time accept your complete and unconditional surrender.’”

Is this at all credible? Sure seems like it’s a real possibility, given the ability of the newest hypersonic missiles to evade defense systems. My question at this point is what might it take by way of provocation for Putin to decide on a first strike like this one. Scary thought, yes?

Who is going to do a first-strike first?

This seems like a pretty important question under the present circumstances. A rush to be first? Second-place in this race seems pretty nasty. Why then would the West (U.S.) be trying so hard to get Russia to respond to its escalating provocations?

It seems pretty clear that Putin will strike only when he feels that he has no other choice to assure Russia’s survival. And just when might this be? Under what set of conditions might Putin and his gang feel so threatened?

We are definitely getting into black swan territory with this, it seems. The real solution would be for both parties to back off indefinitely. Likelihood? Probably zero or less, given the current belligerence of the West. Why might they be pushing so hard to force Putin to act?

All that I can see here is an attempt to make Putin back down unilaterally, to demonstrate Russian weakness. I wonder what the chances are of this happening. Probably slim in reality, but who knows.

What is becoming apparent to me at least is that the WW III war situation has changed dramatically in recent months. There is no longer any deterrence in play, but only a matter of trying not to be the second one to try a first-strike. Good thing we have a huge 2024-selection process distraction at the moment.

My evolving big-picture outlook

The much-revised outlook from the prior post still seems to need yet a bit more revising:

  1. No big-nuke WW III, except by low-probability error or accident. All of the thrashing about by the-powers-that-be-and-wannabe is to scare and distract us. They don’t want to rule over a pile of radioactive, smoking rubble. They want to survive, if you can imagine such a thing.
    However: Today we seem to be in a zero-deterrence mode. MAD is no longer operative. The main belligerents are engaged in the dangerous game of trying not to be second in the race to a first-strike. Not a good situation.
    The next two points are therefore conditioned by an assumption of big-nuke war survival. A non-survival outcome is irrelevant.

  2. Surveil and control is our almost certain future. The bad guys want to control the world in the least messy way possible. They also have to move fast, as more and more people are getting wise by the day. This means that whatever they do has to be done pre-2024-selection, or shortly thereafter. Too much can go wrong if they wait much longer. They may be conjuring up a polycrisis to allow martial law or equivalent, but now seem to be focusing on surveil-and-control machinations. As early as year-end perhaps, but more likely in 2025. Can we do anything about this? Probably not much more than just coping, at least for the moment.

  3. Perpetual war is a clear but mostly-obscured goal of the-powers-that-be-and-wannabe. This, for reasons, is aimed at achieving world domination by somebody. Perpetual war is both the objective and the process. World domination would be nice, but not necessary it seems. What is really necessary is somewhat limited forever-war to keep the MIC folks, whoever they may be, fat and happy.

And, I probably need to add as before, my systems-guy view is that it is impossible to predict what is going to happen, except in the most general terms, as I have tried to do here. We are experiencing a world system reconfiguring itself, painfully and unpredictably. What we see going on today is nothing more than how the world system is going about its reconfiguration.

For more on this, see “How Can You Fix a Broken System? You Can’t. It Fixes Itself.”.

If you have looked at the prior posts (Worldview 6-11 – links at start of this post), you will recall the starting point of a process example framed as a business case: MedTechNorth (MTN), a hypothetical company that manufactures, sells, and services a variety of high-end medical devices and related supplies. The first part of this case introduced a small executive team that was responding to the founder/CEO’s sense that a “something big and serious” might be impending. Nothing specific but just a very strong feeling that MTN needed to respond proactively.

Responding to whatperhaps an unknown event or situation of a black swan nature –seemed to be the immediate question. How might one deal proactively with a black swan event, which by definition and reality, cannot be foreseen in nature, magnitude, or timing?

The team’s coach Phil (Philippa Conroy) suggested that this apparent obstacle could be overcome by focusing on impacts from a variety of possible events and situations. The idea here was to quickly identify any major vulnerabilities in MTN and act now to eliminate or mitigate them. Making MTN much less likely to be damaged by impacts from whatever cause would be the team’s primary goal.

TN's Executive Planning Team
MTN’s Executive Planning Team

A sales impact example: sudden, unexpected loss of a major customer

This starting point impact allows the team to utilize and focus on what they do know very well: their own business (or organization or group). They may not have the full set of relevant facts and consequences at hand, but these can readily be developed.

Below is a chart of such an impact – an impact map – and its possible consequences:

A “simple” major customer loss can set off an avalanche of serious consequences.
Dynamics here are critical.

As you certainly know, none of these impact consequences is isolated or independent. They have many, tight, interdependencies. They roll out dynamically in ways that often cannot be understood until well after the fact.

In a real situation of this nature, the important set of consequences may be much larger. And substantially different.

Now to resume the MTN business case …

Here is where we left Doc, Cat, North, and Phil:

The first group meeting involved Doc’s creating the small planning team, giving it a charter, and setting up a first working session. (Worldview 6)

The first working session focused on the sales loss impact map draft (above) and how to get started on planning – aka preparing – for such an improbable event. Unlike anything that we normally plan for, this event was hypothetical and used only to focus efforts at identifying and strengthening points of significant vulnerability. (Worldview 7)

And then, to the sound of flapping black wings, the improbable impact event suddenly became very real and likely. In the second planning session, the team found itself struggling to prepare for an event that might very well take place before any preparation could be done.

As you are no doubt aware, this is the way the world works – inconveniently and marching to its own drum.

As the team’s third planning session took place, the prospect of a major customer loss became a virtual certainty. This black swan event now had to be dealt with in real-time while the team attempted to maintain its original effort to identify and mitigate MTN’s vulnerabilities from black swan event and situation impacts should such ever occur. (Worldview 8)

Addressing black swans in fact has to be done as part of business-as-usual (BAU). BAU routinely provides us with major unexpected happenings from known sources and situations – known because they occur all too frequently.

The fourth planning meeting began with North’s struggle to reduce cash burn as the XYZ customer sales loss was becoming real. Production capacity including workers would have to be reduced, at significant cost and pain. MTN’s capacity rigidity was identified as a major vulnerability. This led to the suggestion that a more modular business design might be better suited to the highly variable world of today.  (Worldview 9)

This meeting took place amidst companywide efforts to prepare for an orderly transition to the somewhat smaller business without its top customer XYZ. Survival was assured, but some costly and painful steps were essential to bring cash flow needs quickly into line with cash inflows. At the same time, the team wanted to keep pushing on its original charter of identifying and mitigating MTN’s major vulnerabilities.

North saw MTN’s production rigidity as one of its major vulnerabilities. This was made painfully evident by the harsh, difficult steps needed now to balance cash flow needs and inflows. He suggested that perhaps MTN’s business system design – quite monolithic – might not be the right one for a chaotic world. Instead, he suggested, might a modular business design work better.

In the fifth planning meeting, North reported that MTN had an already operating and very profitable modular business unit in Sweden. It’s entrepreneurial unit executive stated that he had no magic formula, but simply let his customers have locally what they needed. (Worldview 10)

After some discussion, the team seemed to have settled comfortably on the modular business unit concept. Significant problems, however, were quickly identified:

  1. MTN is at present a tightly-integrated business. Management, systems, and facilities would require substantial modification. This seemed likely to require a large and lengthy, not to mention highly disruptive and costly, effort.
  2. The company’s management was very effective and experienced at managing a monolithic, functionally-organized business. Few were thought to have any entrepreneurial experience or abilities.
  3. Where to begin seemed to be the immediate question. Cat emphasized that whatever was done must be rolled out with extreme care. At the same time, MTN’s reality of a major sales loss had to be dealt with.

The sixth planning meeting began with a strong sense of uncertainty about what to do with the modular business design idea. With the exception of Phil, the planning team could not see any clear way forward from MTN’s strongly monolithic structure. (Worldview 11)

Phil, however, was bubbling with ideas. She suggested a simple and easy way to get started. No risk. The first step was to develop a list of current MTN locations and their local capabilities. The second step was for Phil to develop a possible modular system design based on this list.

Doc, Cat, and North heartily welcomed this suggestion and set its results as the agenda for the next planning team meet a week hence.

Seventh planning team meeting

Unlike the previous meeting where he was uncharacteristically quiet, Doc could hardly contain himself in this one. He was pretty much back to his naturally-impatient and action-oriented self.

Doc

Doc: “Okay, let’s get moving on redesigning our business. I think you all know that the XYZ merger has finalized and we have begun the process of clearing out our various inventories of XYZ-specific materials, work-in-process, and finished goods. Sad effort but unavoidable. We are coming out of it relatively unscathed except for the cash flow hit. North and Cat are working hard to get our near-term cash outflows again in balance with inflows. “

“I should add that there are a number of unexpected consequences of the XYZ sales loss. More on this later if time permits. Now for our main attraction: Phil, could you let us know what you and your helpers have come up with? ”

Phil: “I must apologize up front for not sending anything along to you until now. Truth is, what you have before you today was not finished until very early this morning. Or very late last night. You will not be surprised at the reasons. It turns out that we have many more actual operating locations than our ‘official list’ indicates. Quite a number of these evolved from ‘temporary’ facilities that ended up being rather non-temporary, as in still-here, permanently. “

“Before you have a look at our real list, would you like to guess at the actual number of locations we identified? Doc? [Doc offered the ‘official’ count of about 25.] Cat? [Cat thought about 75 based on her billing locations database.] North? [North replied that his shipping system had nearly 100 customer locations.] “

“You are all quite low. It turns out that we have at least 150 active locations – ones with staffing, products, service parts, and much other ‘stuff’. Many of these are handled by our main locations and don’t show up in any of our summary operating reports. They are in effect invisible.  Cat?“

Cat: “I am deeply embarrassed by this finding. I can only offer the lame excuse that we give our field people a great deal of operating freedom. Whatever they have to do to get people and products where they are needed. Some locations set up temporarily were simply forgotten about as new needs emerged. We have a quite bunch of these, I’m afraid. Phil has the current list for you. Leticia could hardly contain herself when she and Carla assembled the initial list. “

“I have not seen the list yet, being somewhat preoccupied with getting the remnants of XYZ taken care of. North, I believe, has also been rather busy with this vital closure process. North? “

North: “Cat is correct. I also haven’t seen the list yet or heard from Phil and her assistants. On the other hand, I’m really not surprised. Our rapid growth has made such heavy demands on us all that many loose ends were simply not followed up. Our profitability was sufficient to make these relatively minor costs of no real consequence. I guess I’m now surprised that there are only 150. But probably not more than 25 or so are of any importance. Cat, am I about right on this? ”

Cat: “Yes, to my chagrin, you are definitely right. I think now that there may even be a few more lurking about. Nothing big individually, but maybe big taken together. I’ll get some figures once I have a look at Phil’s surprise list.”

“You know, I’m beginning to see this as potentially another of our significant vulnerabilities. We should have been able to pull these locations from our systems almost instantly. These may well have to be disposed of in some manner before we can start figuring out how to become modular. Phil, I just know you have much more to this story than we’ve heard so far. Don’t keep us guessing … “

Phil: “Cat, you are of course quite right. And I’m so happy to hear that you also see this as a vulnerability. Just what is in these scattered locations? Are these locations being inventoried in any manner? The word Leticia got was an emphatic ‘… Of course not. They are temporary.’ And ‘… they are mostly like what’s in our delivery and service vehicles and trailers and …’ ”

“I wonder how much cash is effectively tied up in these. Is any of this still saleable? So much of what we sell has short sell-by or use-by dating. How much might have to be trashed – at considerable cost and paperwork? “

“I’d like to suggest that these locations and their contents be inventoried as soon as possible, along with any dating that may be involved. I am thinking here of a black swan impact that reduces our sales by 25%, 33%, and even 50% – as I suggested we think about a while back. Carla indicated to me yesterday that some of the materials may be restricted and we might be subject to fines if they were to get into the wrong hands. Apparently Oscar in Sweden has also asked about this. He maintains extremely tight control on everything in his operation, including tools and other items. “

Doc: “Phil, this is an extremely important finding. I’m going to get a special team assigned today – including someone from legal – to get these locations inventoried and immediately emptied and closed wherever possible. “

“I blame myself here. I’m not a detail guy, and we have been growing so fast that such thoughts never even occurred to me. These locations may not be important to us right now, but they sure could be if a black swan or two came our way. Phil, I am beginning to see why you are so insistent that our BAU planning and activities be closely connected to our longer-term view and needs. ”

“Working on a modular system design may be just what we need to tighten up our ship. Phil, I’d like to skip for the moment looking into your location list. I want to hear first about your second chore – developing an initial modular system design … “

Phil: “I thought that you might like to hear about this before we get into some messy location detail. My sense is that MTN has roughly 5 to 7 likely locations for modular units. I drew a map of customers by zip code for the U.S. and by country for our offshore customer base. Interesting result: customers are concentrated in about 7 locations. One is of course Oscar’s unit in Stockholm. “

“Another is our headquarters location in Cambridge MA. The others are Paris, London, Rome, Berlin-Munich, and Johannesburg [South Africa]. Then we have a set of smaller centers, seven of them. These tend to be somewhat specialized and different in terms of products and services. No idea yet about why. It seems possible that all of these will rationalize around our 7 major centers, each with one or more appropriate satellites. The complete system may end up with around 25 discrete operating locations, each being part of a modular primary unit with some number of satellites. “

“This system seems to fall out from our customer concentrations quite naturally. It needs of course a lot more study to confirm, but this much at least seems likely … “

Cat: “Phil, I’m sorry to interrupt but I must take an urgent call from Leticia. She has just heard something very important that we all need to know immediately. [Speaking now to Leticia …] Leticia, can I put you on the speaker? Okay, now tell us all what you have heard. It must be something big, I’m afraid … ”

Leticia [on the phone]: “One of my old financial world contacts just called me to say that there is a rumor out, a serious one she believes, that MTN is having big financial problems and may be seeking an acquirer. Check our stock price – it just took a huge dive overnight and so far this morning! ”

“It gets worse. My contact says that the source of this rumor may well be Kurt, CEO of XYZ’s acquirer. She is guessing that maybe Kurt is trying to put MTN into play so that they can make MTN a lowball offer quickly. ”

Doc: “I need to get on this immediately. Cat, please alert everyone on our list of primary financial contacts. Stress that this is just a rumor, and has absolutely no basis in fact. I’ll get our PR firm working instantly on a disclaiming press release. “

“Phil, sorry to cut this fascinating session short, but we may have a near-catastrophe on our hands. My XYZ CEO buddy Lin was acting kind of strangely in our last meeting, as if he was hiding something. I know him too well for him to fool me. I’m wondering if this was the reason.  ”

The planning meeting terminated abruptly at this point as attention focused on dealing with the black swan rumor. Despite being completely unjustified, Doc knew that the market would react further and that customers and suppliers would begin calling. He had to get the real story out as quickly as possible. Any delay could prove disastrous.

Doc also was getting a strong feeling that this rumor was not an accident, but intentional. The source was obvious. He also thought that North’s layoff plans to reduce cash flow needs might have been leaked.

Doc left the meeting in haste at this point …

Cat: “If it’s okay with you all, I’ll try to wind up our planning session constructively before I too must run off. First I want to thank Phil, Leticia, and Carla for getting back to us so quickly with some really vital information. With my CFO hat on, I’m getting very concerned right now about our visible financial stability. Like Doc, I’m sure that the ‘rumors’ are fully intentional. I’ll need to move quickly to help ensure that our reality is both solid and well-publicized. ”

“Phil, I’d like to talk with you about your ideas on this. Pretty clearly, we have a significant vulnerability in our financial situation. If such rumors can get any traction at all, then we – I – haven’t done our – my – job. This is separately very serious. Again, without this process of dealing with BAU reality alongside of addressing our growing array of vulnerabilities, we’d be in some very deep trouble at this point. My deepest thanks. And now I must depart. “

“Phil, please get closure on this meeting with North before he also gets called away by reality. And please also let us all know about what we need to do, if anything, for next week. I want so much to keep this process moving ahead. “

Phil: “Okay North, I guess you and I as survivors have to figure out what to do next, apart from responding in real-time to our evolving black swan-driven reality. In particular, I think that we have to add a new vulnerability to our stack: let’s call it ‘financial’ for the moment until we get a better idea of where to target our efforts. I am getting a bit concerned about spreading ourselves too thinly. ”

North: “We sure seem to be living in interesting times, Phil. Not only are we dealing with reality and two black swans, but we also now have a couple of serious – really serious – vulnerabilities to address. I had no idea when we started this effort that it might expand so quickly and extensively. These are all situations that we have to handle rather quickly and well. Quite a challenge, yes? ”

Phil: “Fortunately, our priorities seem pretty clear – to me at least. We have pretty much wrapped up the XYZ sales loss, although you have mentioned that quite a few adjustments are going to take a while to complete. Labor reduction, in particular. You have folks who are handling this for you, yes? Good. You and I have some work to do on higher-level matters. ”

“Let’s get specific about what our ‘some work’ might be. We can’t do much of anything on the financial situation until we hear from Doc and Cat. So let’s leave that one aside for today. I’m assuming that Leticia and Carla are still available to work with me on the modular design rollout. For next week’s planning meeting, I’m going to try to get our initial locations and capabilities list confirmed and completed. Then I’ll try to make a starting assignment of locations to a modular business with seven primary units – modules – and each with some number of satellite operations. I’ll shoot for roughly 25 operating locations in all. ”

“On the new ‘financial’ vulnerability, I want to see some numbers so I can get a handle on exactly what this vulnerability might be in practice. Right now, to me at least, it’s just an idea, a bad one. “

“I’m a bit concerned also that Doc’s new financial stability problem may be quite a bit more serious that the rumors are indicating. Just a gut feeling right now, so maybe things will turn out much better than gut is telling me. But my recent work for Doc and Cat suggests otherwise. We’ll see. I’ll have something for our planning group next week. Time to move on. “

The next post

In the next post, the MTN case concludes on a most happy note, despite riding in on another flock of black swans. You knew of course that black swans don’t always bring bad news. We tend to associate them with nasty events and situations, but black swans just happen – unforeseen and unforeseeable in nature, magnitude, and timing.

Note that a single black swan may bring grief to some while bringing joy to others. It depends which side you are on. In MTN’s case, they are on both sides as of the final case session.

Worldview Updates:

Below are links to updated sections so you don’t have to read through rest of the unchanged sections unless you want to …

#1. World War III: Current: Will this latest Crimea atrocity finally cause Russia to stop talking about “red lines” and respond physically, seriously?

#4. Ukraine, Gaza, … : Current: Yet another voice confirming the Ukraine as a proxy war for non-big-nuke war with Russia.

#6. Economic Outlook: Current: The combination of a debt-crisis and a hugely controversial 2024-selection process seems likely to end badly.

#1. World War III

➧ Preamble:
As I have argued in recent posts (see here and here), we are already in a world war in its early stages. It is so far at least non-big-nuke (i.e., not a world-ending catastrophe), and fortunately non-any-nuke. It is endless local and regional wars – as usual. The military-industrial complex is prosperous and happy.

Despite numerous warnings about imminent escalation, the reality seems to be just more small-wars-as-usual. This seems quite reasonable since the various warmongers – rulers-and-wannabes everywhere – do not want to dominate a rubble-filled, radioactive world. They want a fully-functioning world, albeit with many fewer annoying people out and about.

So far, things in this respect are going well for them. Their main problems appear to be nasty competition between and within major blocks of rulers-and-wannabes. We have the West – the U.S., UK, EU, NATO, Canada, Australia, … – battling in a proxy manner with the rapidly emerging Eurasian and Global South block of nations – led by Russia, China, and India (now called BRICS+ as a group).

The unipolar West has quite successfully created, and continues to bunglingly enable, the growing group of multipolar BRICS+ nations. The latter seem almost certain to prevail in their own realm, leaving the West to continue its purposeful and quite rapid decline.

Summary:

Current:

The underway WW III may lead up to a much greater WW III, as this article suggests:

If this isn’t world war via proxies, I can’t imagine what would be – apart from an escalation to a big-nuke version. It also reinforces my sense that nothing any government or its lackeys says is reliable. The truth in fact may lie in directions opposite to what these sources are saying. Here is an article that seems to agree:

Huge game-changing happening in the Middle East that will likely affect war strategizing globally:

This seems to mean that defensive systems, in the West at least, can no longer stop a serious military attack. Aggressive actions will have to be substantially toned down until nations in the West (and probably others) have been able to remedy the current defense system weaknesses. Which may take years.

My conclusion (in italics below) from the prior posts on this seems to be getting a bit trashed over the past week:

I think that the likelihood of any serious world war mischief escalations has been severely reduced as a result, hopefully for quite a few years.

Umm … maybe not …

Roberts is not alone in seeing some significant escalation in the war scene:

However, as I have noted near the post’s beginning, my thinking about the WW III threat has changed substantially. I now see a reduced chance of any big-nuke world war, absent error or accident. War efforts appear to be aimed at both the highly profitable perpetual war and the increasingly pressing need to implement surveil-and-control domination. Perhaps even as soon as pre-2024-selection.

Edward Curtin in a rather long article seems to favor the “perpetual war” situation:

  • Edward Curtin via The Burning Platform wrote on 6/2/24 a piece that reflects a war-hysteria-mongering in the context of forever wars: “If The Wars Go On”.

The following piece could fit into either the WW III section or the Ukraine section.  Believe that the Ukraine mess is in essence a kickoff for WW III with Russia, it probably belongs with the WW III notes.

Hal Turner in his usual cautious and softspoken manner on 6/24/24 suggested that the latest attack by ‘Ukraine’ with ATACMS missiles on Crimean civilians effectively brings the U.S. and allies into war with Russia: “Russia Declares United States a ‘Party to the (Ukraine) Conflict’“:

“The Russian Foreign Ministry has summoned the US ambassador to Moscow after Ukraine used American-supplied ATACMS missiles in an attack on the Crimean peninsula, resulting in numerous civilian casualties.”

“In a statement on Monday, the ministry said Ambassador Lynne Tracy had been presented with a demarche in connection with what it called ‘a new bloody crime of the Kiev regime patronized and armed by Washington,’ referring to the Ukrainian shelling of Sevastopol the day before.”

“According to the Russian Defense Ministry, the Ukrainian attack occurred around noon local time on Sunday, involving five ATACMS missiles armed with cluster munitions, which are outlawed in more than 100 countries. Officials said four rockets had been destroyed in mid-air, while a fifth was damaged by air defenses, veered off course, and detonated over Sevastopol. Local authorities say the strike killed four people, including two children, and injured more than 150.”

“In conversation with Tracy, Russian officials emphasized that the United States was ‘waging a hybrid war against Russia,’ and had become party to the Ukraine conflict by supplying Kiev with modern weapons, including ATACMS missiles with cluster munitions.”

“… For over two years, we have all heard Russia warning that the United States was becoming a ‘party to the conflict’ and nothing ever seemed to come of that.  The US certainly ignored Russia’s warnings, and kept right on doing what it has been doing which begot those warnings.”

“NOW . . . . buried in a story about an American-supplied missile – equipped with banned ‘Cluster Munitions’ — which hit a Beach on Crimea killing Russian civilians, are the words declaring the United States ‘has become a party to the conflict.’ [emphasis added]”

“The inclusion of this sentence in all Russian media coverage is almost not noticeable in the surrounding details about the missile hit; yet those words are probably the most important in the whole story.”

“If the United States is a ‘party to the conflict’ then the United States can LAWFULLY be militarily struck by Russia.”

“Lawfully”? What does this mean in a world where “lawful” is essentially meaningless in so many areas. Maybe Turner means that Russia now has a reason to persuade its government and people that the U.S.-led West must be stopped by far more extreme Russia responses. More words about “red lines” won’t do anything here.

War is much too profitable to the-powers-that-be-and-wannabe to risk having an actual big-nuke, world-ending, catastrophe that would leave nobody left to rule over. At the same time, there is a great short-term need for anything scary to persuade the perpetually gullible that they need more surveil-and-control, aka protection, safety.

Back to update list …

WW III (non-big-nuke version) is currently underway.
WW III (non-big-nuke version) is currently underway.

#2. The 2024 Elections

Preamble:

We are now in the thick of a major, even huge, election season. We can probably expect to see the very worst from both sides. There are no evident good guys in this escalating mess. The Uni-party will win and government will go on as usual. Very little will change except a few names.

The big uncertainty that I can see is one in which the election/selection results are not accepted by either party. This would involve many challenges, great disruptions, and huge protests. Government may effectively cease to function, assuming that it presently functions – see this post: “Trust. So Important. So Hard to Gain. So Easy to Lose.

Should most of this occur, it seems likely that someone will arrange for martial law, or equivalent lockdowns. Some, it appears, think that the COVID-19 lockdowns and related restrictions were a dry run for the real thing come 2024 election times. It probably doesn’t matter much.

There would seem to be a couple of rather likely outcomes:

(1) 2025 will be a year of internal fighting and disruptions. Probably not “civil war” in any major respect like 1860-65, but at least a serious breakdown of civil order. Kind of like today.

(2) Major cities will see the most intense and damaging confrontations. These may in fact be a trigger for lockdowns of some kind nationwide.

Will these cause financial and economic collapse? Not in the short term I think, but perhaps helping things along for more serious consequences in 2026 and beyond.

Summary:

Current:

Much as I might wish otherwise, some very useful information and insights appear in what may otherwise be regarded as political diatribes and worse. Here is a very recent example:

“Americans today are increasingly polarized, as if they constitute two separate nations.”

— Strauss & Howe, The Fourth Turning

Others are drawing similar pictures of how the election season appears to be getting set up for a martial law version of COVID lockdowns:

It is no surprise that election season turmoil is aggressively underway. This has been predicted for months if not years. The following article, however, raises the possibility that all of this is part of a big plan  – intentional rather than random.

Is any of this true? Nothing surprises me these days, so maybe my fears about the worst in government-Deep-State machinations occurring are valid. In this case, however, it is the U.S. bankruptcy and dollar collapse connection that is most worrisome to me. This may occur – rather sooner than later. Trump may well be selected to help expedite this. Just what we need.

Whatever can we do, if anything, about this selection mess? Vote for the lesser of two catastrophe-makers? Well, why don’t we just ask Josey …

  • From The Burning Platform on 6/6/24 we have some thoughts that may reflect the frustration of a growing number of people: “WHAT WOULD JOSEY WALES DO?”:

“Now remember, when things look bad and it looks like you’re not gonna make it, then you gotta get mean. I mean plumb, mad-dog mean. ‘Cause if you lose your head and you give up then you neither live nor win. That’s just the way it is.”

— Josey Wales

“As our political, economic, civic, and social structures continue to degrade, dissolve, and disintegrate before our very eyes, it is easy to become apathetic and surrender to hopelessness. There are relentless powerful forces actively trying to destroy the fabric of our society and force the masses into economic servitude while caged in an electronic gulag, controlled by an oligarchy of evil totalitarian minded billionaires and their lackeys in key governmental, political, banking, military, media, and corporate positions of power. We are in the same situation as Josey Wales in Clint Eastwood’s epic 1976 film – The Outlaw Josey Wales.”

Josey Wales, aka Clint Eastwood.
Josey Wales, aka Clint Eastwood.

“[Captain] Fletcher [Josey’s friend] learns the lesson that you can never trust the government, or the lackeys carrying out their mandates. They will lie and murder to accomplish their goals. Anyone who does not bow to their authority will be treated as an outlaw, with no acquiescence to the Constitution, decency, or simple human dignity.  Once decent men are pushed too far, they will push back in a more violent manner than the authorities will expect. Violence begets violence, and will create more Josey Wales type characters who will not surrender or ever bow down to governmental authority.”

“… The government needs a sedated, dumbed down populace who fear what they are told to fear and obey the instructions of their overlords. But the covid scamdemic and continuing death of loved ones from the toxic jabs, has opened the eyes of millions. The debt death spiral induced by Biden’s handlers, supercharged by the coordinated and financed invasion of our southern border by third world mutts, and resulting in raging inflation for average American families, has angered and infuriated the masses. We are approaching our moment of truth.”

Not trusting the government has a nice ring to it. George Carlin noted this as his first rule of living. For myself, it’s not first, but surely among my top rules.

Top 2024 candidates for President. Scary, both.
Top 2024 candidates for President. Scary, both.

#3. Disease-X

Preamble:

Disease-X, in case you have not heard, is a term used by the World Health Organization (WHO), a UN agency, to describe a surely coming but as yet unknown, devastating disease. Like COVID-19, even. I went into this whole mess in some detail in a recent post: “Who Is WHO? The Great Resetter, Maybe?”.

The main purpose of Disease-X, so far as I can see, is to help drive world domination by the United Nations (UN), the WHO, the World Economic Forum (WEF), the World Bank, IMF, and kin. The WHO has succeeded in persuading virtually every nation on earth to sign up for its control agenda (due in late May 2024), which conveniently supersedes any national policies and interests. It basically establishes a worldwide police force to tackle the ravages of Disease-X before it actually happens. Very proactive, yes?

Disease-X then, for planning purposes, is simply (well, not quite so simply) a means of achieving world domination by one set of rulers-and-wannabes. Unfortunately, they may well succeed, at least temporarily, but not without serious and powerful pushback. From whom?

From the rapidly evolving and strengthening, multipolar, Eurasian and Global South (aka Global Majority) nations led by Russia and China. This situation is indeed inconvenient for the West-driven world dominators, who detest competition.

While this global control contest is going on, we must be able to function in some manner regardless. It might therefore be reasonable to assume a Disease-X lockdown (or martial law equivalent) as a serious near-term risk.

Most of us have the COVID-19 lockdown experience to guide us in preparing for the next one. How did the COVID lockdown impact you? What would you have done to better prepare for COVID if you had advance warning?

Summary:

Current:

Disease-X sounds a bit vague and techie, yes? Much better to have something much more official-sounding. Like H5N1

The WHO is pushing very hard – and evidently much too hard for some folks – to get another pandemic scare underway. Pushback is becoming serious …

The troublesome role of the unelected and unaccountable World Health Organization seems to be getting worse by the day. No doubt this is due to the WHO Pandemic Treaty meeting underway in Geneva at this moment. Latest news on the meeting …

And then there is this recent article that alerts us to the likely connection between the WHO Pandemic Treaty and Disease-X, aka bird flu, aka H5N1:

This story seems to help confirm a very bad sense that I’ve had for quite some time that the “bad guys” (i.e., on all sides) need a major set of catastrophes to happen concurrently. Otherwise, their One World Everything machinations seem likely to fail. Soon.

Nevertheless, some good news seems to pop up just when things look the bleakest. The WHO Pandemic Treaty seems to have (temporarily) died:

While this seems like great news on the surface, it probably means bad news coming. If the UN and its WHO agency can’t obtain world domination through yet another useless treaty, they may well be forced to combine a bird flu pandemic alarm with a few other catastrophes, like WW III. They must be rather desperate at the moment.

One might therefore expect efforts to intensify on a catastrophe combo of some kind. People are getting wise, so the story is getting out, sort of, …

Limited Hangouts:
To present a ‘limited hangout’ is to put part of the information out there, in order to divert from other facts or activities you don’t want someone to notice. It is a sleight of hand, a way of getting ahead of damning truths that are too big to keep covered up, like the 1,637,441 Vaccine Adverse Event Reports (VAERS) connected to the Covid-19 injections in the US (It’s estimated that VAERS is largely underreported and represents only around 1% of actual adverse events.)”

“We apparently have reached a moment of communal introspection with regard to Covid-19 and our pandemic response, leading to increasing limited hangouts. The New York Times in a May 4, 2024 article informs us that some people have been injured by the Covid vaccines and implies, rightly so, that we should help them. The Brookings Institution report of 2024 commends us for saving thousands of lives by ‘slowing the spread’ of Covid through changing our behaviors (aka social distancing and masking) until we could get the Safe and Effective™ vaccines. Everyone from former FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock to former CNN reporter Chris Cuomo now acknowledges that maybe some things could have been handled better. But they all assure us, ‘We did the best we could with the information we had at the time.’”

“An insightful individual who writes under the pseudonym of A Midwestern Doctor accurately describes the New York Times vaccine injury article as a piece, ‘sculpted to redeem the medical system’s reputation while admitting the absolute minimal amount of guilt necessary to accomplish that objective.’”

Widening the Overton Window
It’s good to see the Overton window concerning the pandemic response opening up a bit in the mainstream media and government agencies. But it’s important to be very clear that their concessions are largely a limited hangout, designed to deflect from their own failures. In addition, these limited hangouts are an attempt to distract from the continuing goal of controlling everyone through repeated use of ‘emergencies’ that require us to give up our freedom in order to be ‘safe.’ Or at least to be ‘good citizens,’ which was a powerful guilt-inducing motivator during the pandemic to gain compliance from people who weren’t actually afraid of the virus.”

“The Overton window is the range of policies politically acceptable to the mainstream population at a given time. It is also known as the window of discourse.”

— Wikipedia

Bird flu may very well be dead in the water at this point.

Agency of the United Nations
Agency of the United Nations

#4. Ukraine, Gaza, …

Preamble:

These wars are either local or regional disputes of the kind that have been going on at least forever, or they are proxy wars driven by major powers against each other. Most likely, both. Gaza, Yemen, and kin seem to be the former. Ukraine is very clearly a proxy war between the hegemonic West – U.S., UK, EU, NATO, … – and Russia (along with China and other Eurasian plus Global South nations) responding in a multipolar manner.

Local and regional wars are just part of our civilized environment. It’s just what we do. The current proxy war between the big guys, however, is of extremely serious concern. It is presently escalating steadily, and seems likely to break out into something major. This was dealt with above in #1 – WW III.

“In untangling the causal factors behind the many crises we face today, the trail of breadcrumbs always leads to the transnational banking cartel, led by the BIS, which has the determining influence in shaping the system of governance under which our societies operate. This network likely constitutes the very “monolithic and ruthless conspiracy” that President John F. Kennedy had warned about.”

The Power Behind the Throne and the Bankers’ Forever Wars.

“In the recent past, Ukraine was militarized and Nazified to strike against Russia with the same powers behind the throne pulling the levers.  As the US-installed Prime Minister of Ukraine, Arseniy Yatsenyuk spoke appreciatively in 2014, ‘… international bankers are ready to help us. … We would not have survived without their international assistance.’”

“The Western financial system, having operated globally over the past 80 years, is coming to an end, and in its place, the bankers will attempt to introduce a new global financial system based upon Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDC), Digital ID, and Universal Basic Income (UBI). The system will facilitate surveillance of the most intimate aspects of our lives and demand our absolute compliance. There is more to CBDCs than meets the eye …”

I thought about merging this one with the #1 WW III concern above, but I am still thinking that they are different – at least in terms of how each might impact us. “Bankers’ wars” are truly different.

Summary:

Current:

While I continue to see us as already in a WW III, with Ukraine, Gaza, … being used to some degree for quite different purposes, the article below has a quite interesting perspective. See my recent post on this: “World War III Is Underway – But Not As Expected”.

There is just no way that anyone can reliably predict what’s going to happen next in this chaotic war situation. It is not really a black swan since we can figure out general directions, but the series of events and situations that will actually occur are pretty much unforeseeable to us.

Perhaps wars and rumors of war have always been used to mess with people’s minds, on both sides. Perhaps this is what many of the local wars are about. Mind control.

My sense is that we can use reporting such as this to indicate where we might want to focus our attention on becoming more agile, adaptable, and resilient.

Here is a very recent report with considerable detail from a highly credible source — Scott Ritter:

“Scott Ritter is a former US Marine Corps intelligence officer and author of ‘Disarmament in the Time of Perestroika: Arms Control and the End of the Soviet Union.’ He served in the Soviet Union as an inspector implementing the INF Treaty, in General Schwarzkopf’s staff during the Gulf War, and from 1991-1998 as a UN weapons inspector.”

While I’m hesitant to believe almost anything dealing with war situations of any kind, this one has a strong sense of truth. My approach in such cases is to flag the report as potentially fact, and then to follow up by comparing what’s actually happening with the report’s predictions. Assuming of course that we can ever find out what is actually happening.

Here is another report from someone I currently regard as a trusted source: Pepe Escobar:

  • Pepe Escobar via the Strategic Culture Foundation on 5/25/24 offers an us an alert that Russia and China are through with the West’s provocations involving the Ukraine and Taiwan: “Russia and China have had enough”.

Russia has had enough? I wonder if this is even remotely likely despite huge efforts by the West to force Russia to act with more than words. Here is one of the latest views on this unhappy situation:

Brandon Smith writing in Alt-Market.us on 6/24/24: “World War III Is Now Inevitable – Here’s Why It Can’t Be Avoided”:

“If you’re getting the feeling like the globalists are really pushing hard for WWIII these days, you’re not alone.”

“In the past few months there has been multiple instances of European and US officials hinting at the possibility of a new military draft, the EU has talked openly about boots on the ground in Ukraine, NATO officials have stated unequivocally that they WILL NOT accept a loss in Ukraine to the Russians and the Kremlin has warned once again that nuclear weapons are on the table if western troops enter the war. The US government has recently asserted that Ukraine will be joining NATO, a red line in the sand for Russia.”

“… War with Russia will depend more on European involvement than US involvement. While the US has been the largest provider of armaments to Ukraine by far, the ultimate goal I believe is to integrate European troops into the Ukrainian front, which would be an automatic declaration of global war. “

“… Any major conflict in the Middle East will seal the deal and gas prices will explode. Inflation is not just going to be the death knell of Biden’s presidency (assuming presidential elections still matter), it’s going to be the death knell of the leftists and globalists overall UNLESS they can delay a larger economic calamity until they have a scapegoat, or, until they can start a massive war.”

“That scapegoat will either be Trump and conservatives, or, Russia and the BRICS (or both). If Trump replaces Biden in 2025 then a crash will be fast and assured and it will be blamed on conservative movements. If Biden stays in a crash will be slower but will still hit hard after it can be blamed on the widening wars. “

“… You could say that WWIII has already started, at least in economic terms. I also highly doubt that the end game for the globalists is a worldwide nuclear exchange; why spend decades building a massive control grid only to vaporize it all in seconds? I do think the danger of kinetic warfare is skyrocketing and that US and European citizens will be directly affected. It will take a sizable resistance movement to change the path we are being forced to follow, and things will get much worse before they get better. “

I must agree. No big-nuke catastrophic WW III, but something bigger in the forever-war category.

As I noted near the beginning of this post, I’m now pretty convinced that the-powers-that-be-and-wannabe are not aiming at a world war. They want perpetual war for financial purposes, and they want yet another “catastrophe” to use for scaring people into accepting their surveil-and-control domination aspirations. Russia and China, however, may not cooperate here.

The threat of world war, sufficiently hyped, may well provide a strong argument for a martial-law-type lockdown. Coming soon, perhaps even pre-selection if things go badly for them over the next two or three months.

Back to update list …

Is the Ukraine situation also being used by some folks to mess with our minds?
Is the Ukraine situation also being used by some folks to mess with our minds?

#5. Digital IDs and CBDCs

Preamble:

Digital IDs and digital currencies (CBDCs) are all about money and control. And what is “money”? Money is a tool for control. In a rather lengthy and rambling article …

“… There are three fundamental truths about modern banking [emphasis added]:

 The money isn’t yours.
 The money isn’t actually there.
 The money isn’t really money.”

This appears to be the essence of what is happening in our money world. The real powers-that-be want to dominate the world and they are well along on the path to doing so. Digital IDs and CBDCs are their tools.

Summary:

Current:

The preamble article referred to above really contains the essence of what is happening money-wise. Digital money is coming very quickly. Much of the necessary system infrastructure is already in place. It is a virtual certainty – rare in a world of so much uncertainty.

Timing of this transition is not clear, but what is clear is that the powers-that-be, aka bankers and assorted overlords, know that their time for succeeding is short. The longer the delay in execution, the more resistance will develop. Once it gets organized, the resistance will be fierce.

For us non-bankers and humble businesspeople, we can only accept this as part of our near-future reality. We can’t do much of anything to impede it or change it. We must plan to live with it – but our way as much as possible.

The action options are relatively few at this point. We have to figure out how this money (and surveillance) transition might affect us. Then we can devise some creative ways to minimize the hassle and potential problems. This will be easier to do today than if we wait until we are forced to act – to comply and obey.

In this regard, you might want to have a look at a recent post: “Why Are We So Obedient and Compliant?”.

The transition to digital money is well-advanced. As the article below states, it should be in place by 2030. My bet is that it will be much sooner – 2025-2026 timeframe:

I keep reading predictions that the U.S., and possibly much of the world, is heading for a “massive financial collapse”. Such a happening would likely usher in some kind of martial law or lockdown situation since the globalists are getting desperate to achieve their domination-of-everything objectives. For example:

Should this actually occur more or less as outlined above, we would be in a whole new ballgame. Somehow, I don’t see this being allowed to happen except in the context of driving martial law or equivalent into existence. Too many of the powers-that-be-and-wannabe have big money in banks.

Here’s something entirely different, and perhaps promising if real:

“Get ready for what may well be the geoeconomic bombshell of 2024: the coming of a decentralized monetary ecosystem.”

“Welcome to The Unit  – a concept that has already been discussed by the financial services and investments working group set up by the BRICS+ Business Council and has a serious shot at becoming official BRICS+ policy as early as in 2025.”

“The Global Majority has had enough of the centrally controlled monetary framework put in place 80 years ago in Bretton Woods and its endemic flaws: chronic deficits fueling irresponsible military spending; speculative bubbles; politically motivated sanctions and secondary sanctions; abuse of settlement and payment infrastructure; protectionism; and the lack of fair arbitration.”

“In contrast, the Unit proposes a reliable, quick and economically efficient solution for cross-border payments. The – transactional – Unit is a game-changer as a new form of international currency that can be issued in a de-centralized way, and then recognized and regulated at national level.”

“The Unit offers a unique solution for bottlenecks in global financial infrastructure: it is eligible for traditional banking operations as well as for the newest forms of digital banking.”

I have to believe that this effort is nothing more than a distraction from whatever is actually going on. Congress has proven itself completely useless, or worse, so many times that its well-earned credibility is zero, or less.

While attention seems to be focusing on CBDCs at the moment, here is a rather disturbing view on the stability of the dollar itself. If the dollar collapses, so will CBDCs that are fiat versions of this fiat version of real money.

“They could lower interest rates. They know very well what would happen. Smoldering inflation would flare up everywhere, again, and the cost of living would skyrocket. Again.”

“But there’s an even bigger problem…”

Higher interest rates are preventing a total collapse in the dollar’s value. [emphasis added]

“One final thing ‘investors’ and the finance media forgets: The U.S. dollar has no intrinsic value. None. Zero.”

“When the Treasury Department sells an IOU, they’re promising to pay nothing but dollars. And the Federal Reserve can, as Neal Kashkari famously said, can print an infinite number of dollars. An infinite number of dollars won’t improve our situation.”

“See, the Biden regime has been flooding the world with U.S. debt at a staggering pace. When Biden took office, the nation had $28 trillion in debt. Now, we’re at $34.6 trillion – a 24% increase! Not even counting his plans for the 2024 budget.”

“… Since the dollar has no intrinsic value, its global value is based on supply and demand. A 24% increase in supply, without an equivalent increase in demand, has one result: Lower value.”

“Maybe you’ve wondered why your purchasing power has declined 17% since January 2021? Well, now you know.”

“Obviously this is not a problem you can solve by making more dollars! The only reason any sovereign currency has value is an implicit promise that the issuer won’t engage in reckless hyperinflationary money-printing.”

Click image to enlarge. Use "Back" button to return to post.
Click image to enlarge. Use “Back” button to return to the post.

#6. Economic Outlook

Preamble:

As always, the official story is that the economy is fine and getting better. Based on the theory that anything the government and kin say is almost certainly false, this statement means that things financial and economic are bad and getting worse. In practice, we might want to proceed with great caution.

What is our own situation today? Good and getting better, or not so good and getting worse? Or perhaps just static and sort of okay.

Whatever our situation is reflects what is actually going on in our part of the world. It is valuable information about our actual operating reality. No matter what official and media sources say.

So, our first step would seem to be figuring out just what our operating reality is and, where possible, why. If we see things looking good and getting better, then we need to be very clear on the causes here. Are our markets growing solidly? Are we doing better competitively? Is inflation making our numbers look good? …

The underlying reality for most today seems to be one of continued real price inflation and broad customer-market weaknesses. This may mean that our good results are price-driven, not output-quantity-driven. Vital to know which.

My guess is that most individuals, businesses, and organizations are struggling, at least somewhat, or doing okay at best. Lots of dark storm clouds on the economic and financial horizon. Great uncertainty as to where things are headed.

Caution may be the best plan for the moment – surely until selection season is over.

Summary:

Current:

Well, at least the job market is growing nicely, so says the government and its lackeys. For example, this glowing headline in a recent article:

All job additions in this report are part-time jobs. This reflects a “good” economy? Sure doesn’t look so good to me. Why so many part-time jobs? As the article goes on to explain, people are working two or more jobs just to stay afloat, probably with their credit pretty much maxed out as well. This seems like pretty grim news. How might this situation affect your plans and actions going forward?

It is not just jobs data that is being misstated, here is what the real inflation situation is:

My takeaway from this unfortunate meddling with data is that inflation is indeed high and staying there, requiring many people to take on extra jobs part-time to make ends meet – despite what official figures are claiming.

See also my post on how consumer price inflation is being manipulated: “Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics”.

Some kind of serious economic crisis appears to be a certainty at this point. Here is another extremely serious concern:

  • QTR’s [Quoth The Raven] Fringe Finance talking with Andy Schectman, President & Owner of Miles Franklin Precious Metal Investments, about government spending and financing this humongous spending, via ZeroHedge: “Are We Destroying The Economy On Purpose?”:

“Where is the common sense in any of the policy decisions of this government and of this Federal Reserve? Or is it too stupid to be stupid? And I’ll leave that up to you.”

“Talking about the Treasury buying back bonds, and how that turns into pure debt monetization, Andy added: ‘They say, ‘And this is gonna happen in the next few days,’ but who will be the entity that will do the buying? Because the treasury is broke. It ain’t gonna be the treasury. So who is it? It’s the New York Fed. And they’re gonna have to conjure up cash to buy those bonds. And while a good portion of the world is shunning our bonds, and for good reason, keeping in mind that we do need to sell almost 14 trillion this year to retire 9 trillion and maturing at higher rates, plus the current bills. You know, who’s going to do it? And this is debt monetization. This is the beginning to Weimar Republic. The Treasury says they’re going to do it, but they’re broke. So it’ll be the Fed that will come up with the cash to do it.’”

Debt monetization, also called “printing unbacked-by-anything money”, is a sure path to disaster. As in post-WW I in Germany. It may well be so far along in the U.S. that only war can prevent ultimate default.

Schectman is not the only one sounding the alarm in this particular manner:

‘Too stupid not to be the plan’ also seems to say something about the likely capabilities of such planners: intelligent but not smart.

Some say we in the West need war because it is the only way to deal with our colossal debts. Here is one example:

“The birth of the BRICS was caused by these people we call the neocons who engaged in ethnic racism and targeted Russia by removing them from the world economy under SWIFT. This woke up many in the world, realizing that the dollar was now being weaponized and was no longer a monetary instrument exclusively. Nations began to realize if they did not conform to the commands of Washington, then they too could be removed from SWIFT. Thus they have divided the world economy bringing to an end globalization.”

“… The sovereign debt crisis that we face has appeared often throughout history. It is unsustainable because governments act in their own self-interest and will always expand debt to retain power. Historically, these systems collapse when they issue new debt to pay off the old, and no one is there to buy the new debt. Once they can no longer continue to borrow new money, then inevitably, they collapse.”

“… It is unlikely that we can avoid world war. Governments need war because their debts are no longer sustainable. They will use the war as the excuse for defaults – as was the case for WWII. They will create Bretton Woods II with the IMF digital currency as the reserve.”

“… The wealth of every nation is its people. That has been proven with the rise of Germany and Japan after WWII. This is the essence of Adam Smith’s ‘Invisible Hand.’ But those in government prefer Marx, for he advocates that the state has the power to manipulate the people. So, Governments have forgotten it and reject Smith because Marx provides them with more power.”

Bill Holter via Greg Hunter’s USAWatchdog.com and ZeroHedge on 6/23/24 seems to confirm my sense that a polycrisis of some kind may be in the works: “This Is Going To Be Far Worse Than The Great Depression…

“Financial writer and precious metals broker Bill Holter has been documenting all the unpayable debt that has been building up in the financial system like cancer.”

“The latest black hole of default is coming from a big bank in Japan.  Norinchukin Bank is selling $63 billion in Treasuries and other sovereign bonds to stay afloat.  Then there is recent news announced by the FDIC that 63 US banks (the names are being kept secret) have more than $500 billion in losses, and let’s not forget about the trillions in losses sitting on the books of European banks ready to suck the world into a black debt hole.  This is just a few of many on a long list of destabilizing problems that can tank the entire over-indebted financial system.”

“… Add to that the $10 trillion in debt the US Government has to roll over by the end of the year.  Meanwhile, the US government piles on $1 trillion in new debt every 100 days.  What could go wrong?”

“Holter said the last time he was on USAW that there was a little less than a 50% chance we would even have an election.  Now, he predicts it is more likely there will be no 2024 Presidential Election.  Holter says: ”

“… They have to kick the table over.  They cannot allow the table to fall over on its own because then there is going to be finger pointing.  To avoid the finger pointing, they have got to kick the table over.”

“Kicking the table over” sounds rather weak in this context. A polycrisis including hugely-escalated wars is so much worse. But it seems quite likely that the 2024-selections will either not happen or, if they happen, will end up with results that are acceptable to neither side. Avoiding blame for a financial collapse, however, may well require a serious table-kicking.

Historically, wars follow debt crises. We surely have a debt crisis, with only question remaining is how long before it detonates. Even so, world war doesn’t necessarily follow, as I have argued. This time it’s truly different.

Back to update list …


Price inflation? Probably just another rumor, or maybe even a conspiracy theory.

Price inflation? Probably just another rumor, or maybe even a conspiracy theory.

#7 Climate Crisis

Preamble:

Much today is being done because of the so-called “climate crisis”. In the 1970s, it was global cooling and a potential new ice age driving the climate repair efforts. More recently, global warming seems to have taken over these climate mischief concerns. As a way to reconcile these two opposing causes, they are today merged into a catchall called climate crisis, or simply climate change. Whatever their current label, these are driving huge efforts to replace fossil fuels, to shift populations into 15-minute cities, and to reduce the amount of land available for growing food.

Despite the fact that over 1,600 scientists including Nobel prize winners have stated strongly that there is no climate crisis, an amazing number of people are on board with climate-change-prevention projects. Electric vehicles are one of the major results of climate crisis efforts. True believers in EVs are still many. Well, perhaps not so much lately.

I certainly can’t dispute what the 1,600+ scientists are saying. This means to me that the “climate crisis” is actually part of the globalist agenda. All of the big players here – WEF, UN, WHO, IMF, … – pretty much admit that, while carrying on the pretense of addressing climate-whatever.

People will believe what they want to believe. What’s important to folks trying to live their lives sensibly and to folks managing businesses and organizations is that this pretense is our operating reality. We can’t change it. In practice, we must deal with it as best we can, while ignoring any related disbeliefs.

See my post from a while back on this: “Beliefs and Stories, Not Facts, Actually Rule the World”.

Our operating reality is whatever the globalists are pushing for, regardless of their public rationale. The globalists seem pretty likely to succeed in major ways – near-term at least. This means that our challenge is figuring out how their climate-whatever efforts may affect us and our businesses, and devising ways to comply and obey – minimally and selectively – while protecting ourselves from the potentially most damaging aspects.

Summary:

Current:

Dealing with so-called threats like this does not in my mind involve opposing them – except as opportunities arise – but instead focusing on protecting ourselves and our interests. More power to the climate alarmists, as the article below illustrates.

The non-activist challenge involves identifying your points of vulnerability and seeking practical ways to strengthen and protect these. There may even be some ways to benefit from such globalist efforts, but with great care.

“The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicts July, August, and September will be hotter than usual. And for those who view warmer temperatures as problematic, that’s a significant cause for concern.”

“’Earth’s issuing a distress call,’ said United Nations secretary-general António Guterres on March 19. ‘The latest State of the Global Climate report shows a planet on the brink.’”

“Fossil fuel pollution is sending climate chaos off the charts. Sirens are blaring across all major indicators: Last year saw record heat, record sea levels, and record ocean surface temperatures. … Some records aren’t just chart-topping, they’re chart-busting.”

Umm …

The climate crisis agenda, especially by the UN, has been evident for quite some time. This report simply confirms what we mostly believed. It does not change the worldview for this concern.

However, there appears still to be some serious efforts toward persuading the vast majority that there is no climate crisis, but instead a very real climate-crisis-based UN agenda. Here is what John Clauser, 2022 Nobel Prize recipient in physics, has to say and where it leads:

“’That’s what’s boiling the oceans, creating these atmospheric rivers, and the rain bombs, and sucking the moisture out of the land, and creating the droughts, and melting the ice, and raising the sea level, and causing these waves of climate refugees,’ he stated.”

“United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres echoed these remarks at the U.N. Environment Assembly in February of this year, warning: ‘Our planet is on the brink.””

“’Ecosystems are collapsing,’ he stated. ‘Our climate is imploding, and humanity is to blame.’”

“Despite ubiquitous reports that there is an overwhelming consensus among scientists in support of this narrative, many scientists, like John Clauser, a 2022 Nobel Prize recipient in physics, see it differently.”

“Mr. Clauser stated in 2023 that ‘the popular narrative about climate change reflects a dangerous corruption of science that threatens the world’s economy and the well-being of billions of people.’”

“’Misguided climate science has metastasized into massive shock-journalistic pseudoscience,’ Mr. Clauser stated. ‘In my opinion, there is no real climate crisis.’”

“How can there be such a vast discrepancy on such an extensively researched topic?”

“Having studied the production of climate data for decades, physicist Steven Koonin said he has ‘watched a growing chasm between what the politicians, the media, and the NGOs were saying, and what the science actually said.’”

‘“Nobody has an incentive to portray scientific truth and facts,’ he told The Epoch Times.”

A 15-minute city for us soon-to-be-carless folks. Walking and biking are so good for our health as well.
A 15-minute city for us soon-to-be-carless folks. Walking and biking are so good for our health as well.