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 of emerging concern.

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.

Worldview 12 – just as the team begins a solid start to a modular business, another very serious black swan event interrupts the planning process.   

Something of emerging concern …

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. Next, I looked at quite a different take than mine on an increasingly ominous topic: surveil-and-control (Worldview 11).

Most recently was a look at the changing nature of a big-nuke World War III catastrophe. No longer MAD-ruled, but now first-strike-driven (Worldview 12).

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 (at the bottom of this intro section).

Our very fragile world – or is it really?

I have argued in past posts that huge complex systems are inherently fragile and behaviorally unpredictable. See for example here and here.

By “fragile”, the dictionaries tell us “easily harmed, damaged, or broken”. It is getting more common by the day to read claims that some part, or perhaps most, of our world today is “broken”. However, what I see is just more evidence that our world system is reconfiguring itself, in pretty much its own manner. Whether we like it or not. It’s just what very large complex systems do. Things of course get broken in the process – but not everywhere.

My sense is that we are today being reconfigured by the world system itself. Whatever we may be doing is, to this world system, nothing more than a bunch of largely random disturbances. It doesn’t much care what we do. It simply responds in its own ways.

Empires are collapsing, as they always have. Ours appears to be doing so right now. As I suggested in this post “The Breaking Point”, this is simply how human systems work. They are not fragile in any respect, but just go through rather predictable life cycles of roughly 250 years.

Human systems are anything but fragile. They are in fact amazingly resilient. See my post from the distant past on just this point: “Societies and Economies Have Been Collapsing Forever. Why Are We Still Here?”.

Experiencing a collapsing society or empire may be extremely nasty to participants, as history shows regularly, but humanity as a whole survives and even prospers in some places. Your vantage point of course matters.

Measuring “fragility”: the Fragile States Index

Today, we measure almost everything – even things that are in practice ‘unmeasurable’, that is, incapable of being measured. Let not such fine points deter our dedicated-to-measuring folks. You just knew that someone, somewhere, is merrily measuring our national fragility.

“Fund For Peace ranks (between 0 and 10) the following [twelve] factors to determine the overall status of a country on the index.

Cohesion

  • Security apparatus
  • Factionalized elites
  • Group grievance

Economic

  • Economic decline and poverty
  • Uneven development
  • Human flight and brain drain

Political

  • State legitimacy
  • Public services
  • Human rights and rule of law

Social

  • Demographic pressures
  • Refugees and internally displaced persons
  • Cross-cutting
  • External intervention”
Source: Wikipedia.
Source: Wikipedia.

Index values range from 0 to 120, with Norway (14.5), Iceland(15.7), and Finland (16.0) anchoring the least fragile, and Yemen (108.9), South Sudan (108.5), and DR Congo (107.2) topping the most fragile in 2023’s ranking of 179 countries. In case you might be wondering, the United States comes in at 45.3 (141st place) and Canada at 18.9 (173rd place).

Umm … might this index be a bit biased? Like so much else? No matter …

Although we are collapsing in so many ways, we aren’t fragile

Something is wrong with this picture, yes? Is this a contradiction? Why, of course it isn’t. And you know the reason: our world is not collapsing, but is in the process of reconfiguring into a new stable (temporarily) state. The world, to use Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s terminology, may well be somewhat antifragile.

Note: Nassim Nicholas Taleb is a Lebanese-American essayist, mathematical statistician, former option trader, risk analyst, and aphorist. His work concerns problems of randomness, probability, and uncertainty. Antifragile – which means “a system that benefits from stress, i.e., gets better or thrives in crises”. His most important work: “Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder.”

FYI, the related system states are:

  • Fragile = a system unable to cope with stress
  • Robust = a system that resists stress
  • Resilient = a system that recovers from stress

“Fragile,” in reality, is not a system state but instead a spectrum of states. Every country is somewhere along this spectrum, but probably not close to either extreme. The Fragile State Index seems to make sense in this context, assuming that the “measurements” are truly unbiased. Which of course they rarely are in anything political.

“Robust” and “resilient” are different for human systems. They have meaning in the context of action or intent. While human systems may well have some inherent or natural degree of robustness and resilience, these terms seem to refer to fragility in practiceworking intentionally toward being “not fragile”.

Operationally, which is where I live, you must do something in order to become less fragile (better able to cope with stress), more robust (stress-resistant), and/or more resilient (stress-recovering). None of these happens naturally except in a largely random manner, as does the opposite (more fragile, less robust, less resilient, less antifragile).

Becoming more robust, more resilient, and/or more antifragile

These, to me, are vital action targets for individuals, groups, and organizations in our chaotic world today. Equally important, they are degrees along the path from an undesirable state of high fragility to a most-desirable state of antifragility. Note that this is different from driving toward a state of low fragility – at least as measured by the Fragile State Index.

Reducing stress that causes fragility is one thing. This seems likely to be mainly externally-directed and reactive. Becoming more stress-resistant or stress-recovering is internally-directed and proactive. Big difference.

Since we mostly can’t do much of anything about the stress and nastiness of our outside world, it makes most sense to me to focus our efforts on doing things internally and proactively:

  • to improve our stress-resistance – or to reduce our vulnerability
  • to improve our stress-recovering ability or resilience, our ability to survive impacts from whatever source or cause.

In the process, we might even become antifragile to some degree.

This, as you will certainly have noticed, is exactly what the MTN business case that follows addresses.

My evolving big-picture outlook

The much-revised outlook from the prior post seems to have reached a stable point, for the moment at least:

  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 6-12 – 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 whatan 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.

The seventh planning meeting began with a brief look at the locations and capabilities list, and then a start on Phil’s thoughts concerning a modular system design for the entire business. (Worldview 12).

A promising start was suddenly interrupted by news that MTN might be undergoing a predatory attack, possibly initiated by the CEO of former customer XYZ’s acquirer. This effectively broke up the planning meeting in order to execute a strong response immediately.

Phil then concluded the meeting, with only North remaining, to state her growing concerns about the newly-visible vulnerability. In Phil’s words:

“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 than 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. “

Eighth planning team meeting

This weekly meeting was delayed by efforts to quickly and effectively address rumors about MTN’s financial situation and by the possibility that these were part of an effort to put MTN into an acquisition play. Only after Doc and Cat had done everything possible to counter the rumors (and try to verify the possible involvement of former top customer XYZ’s acquirer) was it feasible to make time for the next planning meeting.

Doc began with a very brief updating on the rumors situation and his assurances that things seemed to be under control for the moment. MTN’s stock price had almost fully recovered from its sudden drop and MTN’s strongly-worded statements concerning its solid financial situation were gaining credibility.

Doc

Doc: “We seem to be a current landing place for black swans these days, are we not? Now that we appear to have the rumor-mill and possible nastiness dealt with at least for a bit, let’s get back to addressing our vulnerabilities. In a separate discussion with Phil a few days ago, she stated her concern that we may indeed have a significant financial vulnerability in addition to our business rigidity one. “

“The recent market and rumor situation I’m afraid has made this more – much more – than a concern in my mind. I believe it is not only real, immediate, and so-far unaddressed fully, but it is also seriously fundamental. Phil referred to it as ‘overextended’. You may recall that our going-in sales loss impact table had an ‘overleveraged’ box. ”

“I’m now thinking that this vulnerability, which Phil is correctly calling ‘financial’, is now our top priority. We can keep working on our system rigidity vulnerability as time and resources permit. Phil?”

Phil: “I agree completely, Doc. I just talked with Cat about this, and she also agrees. The ‘financial’ situation appears to be stable for the moment, but it may well be central to how things go with MTN from this point on. “

“Despite MTN’s solid profitability, it is almost certainly stretched pretty much to its limits by our amazing growth pace. A day of reckoning was inevitable, and it seems to have arrived. Fortunately, we are in quite a strong position to deal with it. Cat … could we get your thoughts on this? “

Cat: “I think that this may be a case of learning the hard-way, as Phil frequently reminds me. All too often, we learn the hard way because we haven’t proactively addressed a particular vulnerability.  “

“Fortunately, we may well have been black-swanned at a most propitious time. Like Phil, I’m of the opinion that our current position financially is strong enough to give us some much-needed breathing room. “

“And now for some brand-new amazing news that I have just received. You all are simply not going to believe this one. I am still stunned. Anyone care to guess? You won’t even come close, I’m afraid. Shall I go on? …”

“I see that we are back to nodding communications. That’s good. It works just fine for me. Here it is: I just got a call from Oscar, who you all know runs our Swedish modular business unit. He wants to buy a one-third interest in this unit, along with options to buy similar positions in any other modular units we create. I am getting some very stunned looks, which are quite appropriate. ”

“Here, as briefly as I can, is the story. Oscar invested the cash he got when his business was acquired by MTN quite a while back. Invested hugely successfully, in Oscar’s words. Far beyond his wildest dreams. He presently has a net worth of just under a billion dollars. ”

“He believes that MTN still has great growth potential, and he wants to help with that growth. And of course tip himself into the real billionaire category. And that’s not all – if you can believe it! He has asked to ‘hire’ my financial analyst Carla, who is Swedish, as his unit executive – in training. ”

“And, I hope that you will forgive me, but I’ve invited Carla to sit in with us on this meeting if it’s okay with you all. She is going to be a great modular unit head. Can I get some affirmative nods? Good, thank you all. I’ll ask her in … “

Carla: “Thanks so much for asking me to participate in your – our – planning effort. I am just so excited by all of what’s happening. Cat has been a wonderful mentor. Might I say a few things by way of introduction, although we have all met? Thanks … Cat filled me in on the nodding thing. ”

“You all know pretty much about my background as a financial analyst. Harvard Business School MBA, Wharton MSc in data analytics. What you probably don’t know is that I helped my father run a small but very successful mining supplies business while I was in school. Title was EVP. I learned so much from him before he died. ”

“Oscar has asked me to work with him to build up his MTN unit. He said that I’m in line for the unit executive position if I do a good enough job for the next year. Oscar wants to retire as soon as possible. ”

North: “Welcome, Carla. It is great to have you sit in with us while we plan for a future that seems to change dramatically by the day. I have to admit to being completely stunned by this new development. Black swan kind of, but certainly a most happy one. This is going to make a huge difference in our plans going forward. It could, at the very least, greatly accelerate our transition to a modular business design. Cat? You look very eager to say something … ”

Cat: “Yes, I am indeed. While I haven’t run any numbers yet, my sense is that this situation will solve a great many if not all of our ‘financial’ concerns. We are in an entirely new ball game, speaking technically of course. Phil, you look puzzled. I can’t recall you ever looking puzzled before. Anything but. Could you fill us in … ”

Phil: “I too am completely stunned by this most happy development. It truly changes everything. From what I know about Oscar, he is completely serious and most likely quite ready to move ahead. Carla, I think this will turn out to be a great opportunity for you. MTN has a wonderful future ahead of it. Especially now. ”

“Doc is smiling … rather knowingly, unless my intuition is wrong. Oscar has already spoken with you, Doc, am I right? “

Doc: “Your intuition is right on target. I have spoken with Oscar twice in the past two days. He wanted to give me a heads-up before the news came out through Carla. He also wanted to pass along his extremely high regard for Carla, despite knowing her for such a short time. He reassured me that Carla would be well-trained within six to twelve months. That’s Oscar’s timeframe for stepping back if things work out. “

Carla: “I’m not sure whether I should pass this along to you all, but I think that it may be important to your understanding of Oscar’s decision. As you may or may not know, Oscar lost his only child, his daughter Anna, to cancer about two years ago. Anna would have been about my age. I am afraid that I am becoming a sort of replacement for Anna. Oscar lost his wife also to cancer about the time he sold his business to MTN. That may have been his reason for selling. I hope that I’ve not been too forward, but Oscar appears to be on the path to becoming family with MTN and its people. ”

Phil: “Thanks so much Carla for confiding in us. Knowing this background will help a great deal as Oscar becomes our largest stockholder and I think benefactor. I have regarded him as very special since our first meeting quite a while ago. I now regard him as even more special. Since we are being so open at the moment, I’d like to offer a further thought on this amazing development.  “

“Doc, you have mentioned a number of times that you are actively looking for a strong assistant to help with some of your growing responsibilities. Oscar, I believe, wants to become actively involved in the full business as soon as Carla is ready to replace him. He feels that he’s much too young to retire, but doesn’t want anything full-time or too demanding. Doc … might Oscar be able to fill the role you need, albeit in a likely somewhat different nature? “

Doc: “Phil, you are a mind reader in addition to your many other talents. I was in fact hoping almost desperately that I might persuade you to come on board in a role of this nature. Even temporarily, perhaps for a year or two. This unspoken offer, now spoken, is still open despite Oscar’s welcome involvement. I must admit that all of this has greatly relieved my growing concern about our near-term staffing needs. The demands of the business have simply exceeded what I’m able to handle.  Cat? …“

Cat: “I cannot possibly tell how much I welcome everything that I’ve just heard. Like Doc, I’ve become increasingly concerned about our top-level staffing. We have many extremely good people, but the best of these I fear are rather young and not quite ready yet. They need a few years of targeted development. This is a perfect time to get moving here. ”

“I have started to build up a list of our most promising managers and executives, now with our new business structure fully in mind. My list so far is disappointingly short. Our strong people today are monolithic business managers, not entrepreneurs in any respect. I am pretty sure that we can fit them into our new modular structure in senior levels since several units are going to be both fairly large and rapidly growing. ”

“So, I don’t believe now that we are going to need to drop anyone. We are instead going to need not only them but also a bunch more like them. I am a very happy camper right now. “

Phil: “If I believed in magic, which I most surely do not, what has transpired over the past few days is about as close to magic as I can imagine. Count the blessings. First, our financial needs for continued growth will be more than handled by Oscar’s offer. We will become solidly stable financially. Current vulnerability there, now gone. Secondly, we will be able to move ahead much more quickly on shifting to a modular business design. A year or two is now my best guess as to a timeframe. ”

“We have however, a quite major and immediate need for a new role. To make all of these plans work, we must have someone in charge of the transition. Someone who knows our current business well, and someone who is strongly and proven creative. North, I’m looking at you here … ”

North: “Umm .. I hardly know how to respond. Up to this point in the meeting, I was basically stunned by so many wonderful developments. I guess I’m now doubly-stunned, if that makes any sense. And I can state without taking time to think it through that I would kill for a chance to lead this transition. Well, maybe not kill exactly, but close enough. I have in fact been thinking of making a pitch for doing something along these lines as my role in the transition we have been discussing. ”

“I have several really capable people who would jump at the chance to fill my position in each of our forthcoming modular units. This is simply perfect. Black swan perfect. I’m now a confirmed black swan fan … ”

Doc: “I can hardly believe what I’ve just heard and what has happened over the past few days. Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined any of this, let alone all of this.  ”

“My sense is that we have already begun our transition phase planning. If you’ll all kindly nod in agreement, I’ll unilaterally decide that this is where we are headed. I cannot wait to spring this on our Board and on quite a number of financial and press folks. ”

“Carla, you are officially Oscar’s new understudy unit executive. Cat will help you with whatever details must be taken care of here. Please try your best to move into Oscar’s job quickly. Think perhaps six months …?  “

“North, you in turn are officially transition executive and now EVP. Again, Cat and her people will deal with the messy details. Your new job starts right now. I’m going to call Oscar to see if he wouldn’t mind spending a few days with us here to get all of this moving immediately. My impatience is right up to ten. “

Carla: “I have heard from others that you tend to decide and move quickly, but I had no idea that you could move this quickly. I really like it. How amazing that so many pieces came together like this. It is a good omen. I will greatly enjoy speaking with Oscar and his staff in Swedish, which I’m starting to lose. Thank you all so much for this wonderful opportunity. ”

This business case closes on a happy note

With a bright future potentially ahead of them, our MTN planners go their way. Hopefully they will not awake any more black swans in the process.

Why end the case at this point? One major reason is that I have another case that has been bubbling up in my mind over the past few weeks. Another reason is that my intention with the MTN case has been largely realized. The case was not planned ahead, but simply allowed to flow each week from happenings – hypothetical – of the prior week.

What did the MTN case achieve? My sincere hope is that it made a strong argument for impact-based vulnerability identification and mitigation alongside your routine business planning efforts. These should be closely integrated, not pursued separately.

Black swan events and situations can happen at any time. You cannot plan for them because they are unforeseeable in nature, magnitude, and timing. You can prepare only for a range of impacts from causes that you can imagine. This is the only way that I can see to address effectively our chaotic, unpredictable world. Very different from our largely stable world of years past.

I hope that you found this business case to be both of interest and a source of ideas that you might use to survive and prosper in your own situation.

The next business case – dealing with our current reality, proactively

For quite some time, I have been puzzling over the best ways to deal with our chaotic, unpredictable, messy world. While it clearly will be different for each of us and our organizations, there must surely be some principles and approaches in common. What might these be?

This is the goal of the next business case: how to deal in real-time with whatever may actually be happening around us. Such as those situations sketched out in the worldview scenarios that follow.

The case will be anchored in our actual events and situations as they occur, despite the case being hypothetical. How might these examples of us real people handle what actually comes along each day in the real world?

The next post

Besides starting a new business case along the lines of the above, I hope to continue the current post structure that begins with a focus on a particular issue or situation. The “Our Fragile World” above is an example of what I’m trying to do here.

Then, there is the business case that attempts to illustrate what might happen in a real world group or organization. These cases are in essence teaching cases, despite being in a blog post context.

And finally there is the set of worldview scenarios, plus I now think, my current big-picture list from above. The scenarios seem to have stabilized for the moment, but I am confident that this breather will be relatively short-lived. Too much serious mischief and nastiness is going on for stability to be anything more.

Worldview Updates:

Below is where I have been putting links to updated sections so you don’t have to read through rest of the unchanged sections unless you want to … however …

For this week, nothing new of particular note … except for the incredible happenings in the 2024 elections, not just in the U.S. but in many other places. Is all of this noise and commotion just the usual election season hype, or is something bigger underway?

While the June 29th Biden-Trump “debate” on CNN seems to be dominating the craziness news at the moment, so much else seems to be going on amidst all the smoke and shouting. Exactly what, however, is unclear to say the least. Probably way too early to jump to any conclusions.

I have been expecting a chaotic 2024 selection season in the U.S. It is certainly getting a great start in that respect. The question that keeps popping up in my mind, and perhaps yours also, is whether this is something bigger – much bigger – than the usual array of insanities.

Rather than clutter up with uncertainties the 2024 Elections section in the worldviews below, it might be worth for purposes of this post to collect a sample of what is out there right now. I have just run across a great explanation by a solidly credible source, but its prognostications need some further digging.

Meanwhile, a taste of the election chaos as of this early point …

“No matter what carefully crafted sound bites and political spin get trotted out by Joe Biden and Donald Trump in advance of the 2024 presidential election, you can rest assured that none of the problems that continue to undermine our freedoms will be addressed in any credible, helpful way by either candidate, despite the dire state of our nation [source emphasis].”

Certainly not if doing so might jeopardize their standing with the unions, corporations or the moneyed elite bankrolling their campaigns [source emphasis].”

“Indeed, the 2024 elections will not do much to alter our present course towards a police state.”

“Nor will the popularity contest for the new occupant of the White House significantly alter the day-to-day life of the average American greatly at all. Those life-changing decisions are made elsewhere, by nameless, unelected government officials who have turned bureaucracy into a full-time and profitable business.”

In the interest of liberty and truth, here are a few uncomfortable truths about life in the American police state that we will not be hearing from either of the two leading presidential candidates [source emphasis]:

  1. The government is not our friend. Nor does it work for ‘we the people.’ Our so-called government representatives do not actually represent us, the citizenry. We are now ruled by an oligarchic elite of governmental and corporate interests whose main interest is in perpetuating power and control.

  2. By gradually whittling away at our freedoms—free speech, assembly, due process, privacy, etc.—the government has, in effect, liberated itself from its contractual agreement to respect our constitutional rights while resetting the calendar back to a time when we had no Bill of Rights to protect us from the long arm of the government.

  3. Republicans and Democrats like to act as if there’s a huge difference between them and their policies. However, they are not sworn enemies so much as they are partners in crime, united in a common goal, which is to maintain the status quo.

  4. Presidential elections merely serve to maintain the status quo. Once elected president, that person becomes part of the dictatorial continuum that is the American imperial presidency today.

  5. The U.S. government is spending money it doesn’t have on foreign aid programs it can’t afford, all the while the national debt continues to grow, our domestic infrastructure continues to deteriorate, and our borders continue to be breached. What is going on? It’s obvious that a corporatized, militarized, entrenched global bureaucracy is running the country. …”

“The more things change, the more they are the same.”

— Alphonse Karr, French writer, in 1849

“… Following President Joe Biden’s disastrous debate performance on Thursday, the world saw that his cognitive decline isn’t some right-wing conspiracy theory [source emphasis] fueled by ‘cheapfakes’ – and that the White House’s desperate attempts to cover for Biden’s obvious dementia were nothing more than propaganda.”

“… According to Axios, ‘The only way President Biden steps aside, despite his debate debacle, is if the same small group of lifelong loyalists who enabled his run suddenly — and shockingly — decides it’s time for him to call it quits. [source emphasis]’”

“’ Dr. Jill Biden; his younger sister, Valerie Biden; and 85-year-old Ted Kaufman, the president’s longtime friend and constant adviser — plus a small band of White House advisers — are the only Biden deciders. … This decades-long kitchen cabinet operates as an extended family, council of elders and governing oligarchy [source emphasis]. These allies alone hold sway over decisions big and small in Biden’s life and presidency.’“

There has to be something more than “extended-family loyalty” going on here. I smell a plan of some kind being rolled out.

  • Jim Rickards via The Burning Platform has a rather stark view of the debate: “Zombie Biden Blows It”:

“… The Undisputed Winner.
Trump won and Biden lost badly. It was so one-sided that if it were a boxing match, the referee would have called the fight and awarded Trump a technical knockout. That’s clear. The question is why.”

“Each of the candidates went through the usual talking points. Trump talked about the dangers of the open border, the disaster of the war in Ukraine and the impact of Biden’s inflation. Biden talked about the dangers of Russia winning in Ukraine and moving to attack Poland and other NATO members.”

“Biden talked about presidential scholars who rate Trump as the worst president in U.S. history; at the same time, Biden touted his student loan forgiveness and support for Black colleges.”

“None of this matters. We know the respective views of the two candidates. We’ve heard about them thousands of times. We all have our opinions. That’s fine; that’s what democracy is all about.”

“But the policies and views were the least relevant part of the debate.”

“A Stark Contrast.
What was most relevant was the appearance and carriage of each candidate. Trump had his usual orange tan and red necktie tied too long. But he seemed fit, energetic and mentally sharp. He may be 78 years old, but aging is not a uniform process.”

“Trump was Trump but gave no reason to believe he could not carry out the duties of the presidency for another four years. (He even mentioned the ‘green new scam,’ a phrase I originally coined. Thank you, President Trump!).”

“Biden was a funereal zombie. It was easy to tell he was heavily medicated because the usual ‘slit look’ in his eyes was gone (for one night) and his eyes were bugging out because of the medication he was pumped up with.”

“He was over rehearsed after spending eight days with 16 advisers in a Hollywood-produced set at Camp David. The problem with rehearsing your lines and not being able to speak extemporaneously is that if you get one fact wrong or even slightly confused you go off track and can’t get back on.”

“Biden did that time and again. He mumbled, he slurred his words, he tailed off into nothing and lost his train of thought. He stared off into space with a vacant stare. He looked weak and acted weak.”

And … and … why? Why is Biden appearing at all? Rickards observes the obvious, but doesn’t seem to conclude anything much. Many other similar articles without any insights, just obvious observations.

“Biden’s debate collapse was reportedly a set-up as part of a ‘soft coup,’ and a prominent replacement may already be waiting in the wings.”

“The Daily Mail spoke to Democrat operatives on Saturday who say Biden’s debate was part of a set-up to ensure he fell flat on his face so they could eventually replace him with someone younger and more competent.”

“’There has never been a debate this early before,’ a former Hillary Clinton aide explained to the outlet. ‘Traditionally, the debates are held after the Republican and Democratic conventions, which are in July and August.’”

“’There is a growing belief this was a ‘soft coup’ because they know he isn’t fit to govern and have known for some time,’ the aide continued. ‘They wanted to test him against Trump early while there was still time to replace him if he failed to rise to the occasion. Which, of course, he did spectacularly.’”

“Another aide told the Daily Mail that Democrat leadership knew for weeks Biden would fall apart but kept it secret for fear of being disloyal.”

“’Publicly, the Democratic leadership has been backing Biden because they can’t appear to be disloyal to the President,’ the second aide said. ‘But privately, there have been discussions going on for a long time that he’s too old to beat Trump.’”

“’There were whispers for weeks that ‘Joe’s going down at the debate,’ he added.”

“The Daily Mail also reports that Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer has made a significant move to launch a presidential bid potentially. It turns out she ‘secretly’ sent out an advance team to Washington DC weeks ago as part of the preparation.”

Umm … do you believe this? I sure don’t. Seems to me more like a planted story, but why? Perhaps to distract us from what’s really going on? This is my bet right now. Something else – much else – is going on behind the curtain.

Biden’s disastrous debate performance last week made it impossible to deny his senility, yet the Western elite is gaslighting they were supposedly oblivious to this until now [source emphasis]. Time Magazine published a piece titled ‘Inside Biden’s Debate Disaster and the Scramble to Quell Democratic Panic’, which was complemented by CNN’s about how ‘Foreign diplomats react with horror to Biden’s dismal debate performance’”.

“Both make it seem like Biden’s senility is a surprise for everyone who knew him.”

The reality is that they knew about this all along but covered it up by lying that any claims to this effect were ‘Russian propaganda’ and/or a ‘conspiracy theory’, all because they actually approved of the Democrats installing a literal placeholder in the White House who the liberal-globalist elite could control [source emphasis]. It was a refreshing change of pace from Trump, who was much too independent for their liking despite his occasional capitulations to their demands, and it also reassured America’s allies who disliked him too.”

“They both went along with the lie that Biden is in tip-top mental condition for reasons of political convenience, but now it’s impossible to keep up the charade any longer, hence why they’re all feigning surprise and shock. The elite shouldn’t be allowed to get away with their latest gaslighting and should be exposed for one of the greatest cover-ups in American history. The country is being ruled by a shadowy network of transnational and domestic elites that are united by their radical liberal-globalist ideology [source emphasis].”

“Biden was chosen as the Democrats’ candidate in 2020 precisely because he was already senile and therefore completely controllable. That party, which functions as the public face of the abovementioned elite network, wanted someone who’d do whatever they demanded on the home and foreign policy fronts. In particular, they sought to turn America into a liberal-globalist hellhole while ramping up NATO’s containment of Russia in Ukraine, but the second policy backfired after the special operation began.”

Umm … quite possibly explains why Biden was selected in 2020, and hints that Biden will be replaced (unselected) in 2024, but nothing much on how and why. Kamala is every bit as good as Biden, but unelectable (unselectable, credibly).

I’ll save for next week the one much-better piece that I’ve run across so far. There may be others of interest out there within a few days.

“In politics, nothing happens by accident. If it happens, you can bet it was planned that way.”

— Franklin D. Roosevelt

#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.

“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:

“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.”

“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.