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.

If you would like to see how this started – an experiment, please refer to this initial post on my new direction.

A worldview-based planning and action process

We are living in very different times. Our world – both big picture and personal – has never occurred before. Learning from the past may be misleading, and possibly harmful. The past and elusive present are gone forever. We have only the unpredictable future to deal with, as it unfolds. 

The world, however defined, is now changing so quickly, chaotically, and hugely that it will greatly impact virtually everyone on earth. It will affect each individual differently, depending on their location, activities, resources, and luck. And, it will also affect every group, business, and organization differently.

A process for dealing with an unpredictable, often-chaotic future is very different from anything that we learned, experienced, or imagined. Responding to events and situations reactively may well be too late for effectiveness, and may ultimately prove disastrous.

Our recent COVID happening was an example of just such a situation. No warning, suddenly-imposed lockdowns, distancing, masks, testing … all kinds of completely new dictates and challenges. We were very fortunate that this mess mostly lasted for only a year or so. But we are still dealing with the aftermath in too many cases.

Will such a happening recur? It sure seems so, based on the picture summarized in these worldviews. With so little these days being predictable, we are forced to deal with a mostly uncertain, fast-changing future. What worked in a more stable, predictable past won’t work going forward. Very different approaches are essential.

What might these approaches be in practice? Answer probably is “nobody really knows”. I sure don’t, but I have in mind one process approach that may well be appropriate for such times and challenges.

Will it work? Well, I am using it personally today to guide myself through whatever is happening out there. I may also get the opportunity to help a few clients navigate the turmoil using their versions.

For those readers who are new to this website and its series of worldview posts, here are links to the original post if you are interested:

Agility, adaptability, and resilience – plus a guiding worldview

Business simulation modeling

Where to start?

A baseline worldview for planning, decision-making, and action

While the process in concept is quite simple, the devil as always is in the details.

If you have looked at the prior 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 – to “something” – 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 particular example 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 typically 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 group then set itself to meet a week hence to talk about whatever each was able to develop based on the impact map as a starting point. Doc expressed major angst about having to wait a whole week, but Phil assured him that this would be time well spent.

Doc Eckland could barely restrain himself from checking in with each of them daily to see how things were progressing. Fortunately, the team members provided Doc with very brief but regular updates.

Second planning team meeting

Doc: “You all may appreciate that I am more than anxious to hear about your significant progress over the past week. Your progress updates were helpful but not what I am looking for right now. Who wants to begin? Well, how about you Phil … wait one moment …

“Before we get going, let me bring you up to date on my ‘gut feeling’. It got a bit more concrete. A business journalist called me to ask whether I’d heard about one of our major customers and their latest adverse happening. I said yes, I had. We can get to this later, but it adds a special urgency to our planning effort here.”

Phil: “Thanks Doc. I stayed in daily contact with team members for all seven days. My purpose, apart from trying to record and understand any evident progress, was to develop some kind of a framework for impact analysis like this going forward. The customer loss impact is just the first one. Could we begin with Cat’s story? She has I think already captured something very important to the process itself.”

Cat: “Umm, I was hoping to be called on last, but here goes anyway. First, three of my top managers were brought into strictest confidence to assist me in thinking this impact through. No involvement of anyone else without Doc’s and Phil’s okay. We focused immediately on financial consequences of such a customer loss. Amazingly, to me at least, all three suggested two “likely-to-fail” big customers as our planning context. You all can easily guess who these are. “

“The impact map presently has 13 consequence boxes and two questions. Each has financial implications. So, our first goal was to prioritize these both in terms of impact magnitude and impact timing. Then, we started to dig into the top three (Phil’s favorite number). I’ll bet you can’t wait to hear what our top three are:”

“1. Cash flow loss imperils near-due credit facilities.

  2. Stock price sure to take a big hit.

  3. Company will be regarded as over-leveraged.”

People – such an occurrence could prove disastrous near-term. I am now a bit terrified. Especially with what Doc just told us. ”

North: “Cat, I absolutely share your concerns – from an entirely different but related context. Our production plans, both current and future, would have to be seriously – perhaps even hugely – revised. And not one of my team seems to have any clear idea of what we might need to do. They are now digging – in great confidentiality – to develop some useful answers. We should have something to talk about within a few days. “

“It gets worse. We are in the middle of major contract negotiations at four of our big production facilities. These are extremely sensitive as we are trying to hold the line on costs. A big customer loss now or near-term would almost certainly set these negotiations back greatly. Layoff possibilities would be an instant show-stopper. ”

Doc: “I guess that I might as well interject my ‘big news’ at this point. It seems that our largest customer XYZ is in negotiations to be acquired – by our primary competitor ABC. A couple of sources suggest that this is far from a done deal, but could close within a fairly short timeframe. At the very least, we need to see what we can do about our high inventory of XYZ-specific production materials, WIP, and finished goods.”

Cat: “I heard something about this a while back, but it seemed like another one of those rumors that go nowhere. I’ll ask my new analyst Leticia, who is very sharp and just came to us from a London financial house, to see whether she can find out anything. Quietly, of course.”

Phil: “I think that we may be getting a bit off-track here. We’re focused on impacts, not on possible causes. Of course, having a potentially imminent big sales hit in reality might provide us with some valuable motivation.

“Keep in mind that we are also going to address a number of other potential impacts. Causes are not relevant except as a means to identify impact points in MTN. “

“Cat, I like your list of three financial impacts. Would it be possible to jump on these and try to get some early feedback – both on the impact consequence magnitudes and on their likelihood? ”

“My instinct here, to the extent that it is valid, tells me that this is where MTN’s greatest vulnerabilities might lie. I sense that MTN has some serious soft areas financially. Doc, do you agree?”

 Doc: “I do indeed. We have been growth-obsessed almost from the beginning. Or at least I surely have been. It seems quite possible that we have grown ourselves into a somewhat fragile state financially. We have been so successful that this possibility hasn’t even crossed my mind until now. ”

“Of course it doesn’t help things like this when we have bankers, investors, journalists, and Board members all cheering us on relentlessly. “

“Let’s you, Cat, and myself jump on this one instantly. I am now getting the feeling that maybe we should put most of our growth plans on hold for a bit while we build some reserve strength financially. But I need some real numbers here. Our Board needs to be informed ASAP if this is anything big. ”

“Phil, I recall you mentioning some time ago that you did some financial modeling in between your horse shows. I know that Cat is hugely overloaded right now so perhaps you could work with her on getting some kind of financial model scrambled together. Nothing fancy, just something quick that we can talk about. ”

Phil: “You have a good memory, Doc. That was from my rather distant past, when I was young. I thought maybe that I had escaped such hard analytical chores. Cat … would you like to get me involved on this, or do you have an internal resource who is available and/or better suited?”

“My suggestion here would be to get as far as we can before doing any modeling. Models can be really valuable when needed, but they are often not really needed. “

“Oh, and one more thought before I forget it: We are going to have a similar chore if we move along to tackle other impact areas. If we are going to model anything, it should be suitable for extension to other kinds of impacts. ”

Cat: “Actually, I am nearly drowning at the moment. Some help, Phil, would be most welcome. It would be good also to get some external input here. We are, I fear, getting a bit too far into groupthink lately. ”

“We might also want to think about adding one or two key people to our team. You probably know the individuals who I’m thinking of here. I’d like Phil to meet them first, however, to get her sense of their potential contribution. “

“… Also, I think that this may be the right time and approach to deal with our now-chronic staffing problem – particularly in a number of critical positions. We have several people that would be absolutely devastating to lose for any reason. Already this year we have lost two such key people: both relatively young. One died suddenly and unexpectedly. The other is severely disabled and can work only occasionally. I am afraid that we must expect to lose others on a fairly regular basis. ”

North: “Excellent point. Losing especially-key people can be crippling. But we can also lose production facilities that are critical. And we can lose suppliers for many critical production materials. Cause? There are so many possible causes, but it hardly matters. Our challenge is to deal with each one as it happens – or better yet, do some things now to minimize the impact consequences. Phil calls it being ‘proactive’, or maybe … ‘prepared’.”

“I’m getting some kind of echo from Doc’s current angst. It is truly crazy out there right now. Might it get worse? Probably. That’s just the way things work these days. We can’t change that, or fix much of anything external. We just have to be as prepared as we can for the impacts from whatever happens.”

Doc: “I am beginning to regret even bringing this whole matter up. The challenges at the moment seem to me to be almost insurmountable. Maybe we should simply deal with whatever comes along in real time, reactively. ”

“Phil, what are your thoughts on all of this? I’ll admit to being a bit discouraged at the moment. We have so much to lose after so many years of hard work and growth. I can hardly imagine all the things going on in our world today that could very well hit us hard, very hard – and especially where we are weakest. ”

“I don’t like to think of us as being ‘weak’ in any respect, but realistically we almost certainly must have a few places where a big bad hit could do immense damage. ”

 Phil: This is actually good. Not good that we are feeling overwhelmed, but good that we are in the process of doing something about it. There are many things that we can do once we have some idea of targets – our greatest vulnerabilities – and priorities. Things in MTN are going very well right now. This is exactly the right time to act. Or proact, I should say. “

“Let’s see what we can come up with for next week’s meeting. Maybe Cat and I can get somewhere on her three top concerns, aka impacts. Doc is visiting major customers in Europe all of this week, so perhaps we can surprise him with something concrete when he returns. “

Reality bites

There is no easy way to do what Doc and his team now see as necessary. Phil describes the challenge and situation correctly: Possibly just this one chance to act while most else in the company is behaving favorably.

And, if nothing bad happens during the next few years? Then maybe they just got lucky. Nothing in the set of worldviews below suggests that we are likely to escape at least a few major hits. All of us.

“In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.”

— Dwight D. Eisenhower, Commander-in-Chief of the Allied Forces in Europe during the Second World War and two-term U.S. President

Planning is a process. Plans are the process output. What I think Ike meant here is that planning is vital to allow you to prepare for whatever happens. Plans simply record what is to be done by way of preparation.

Preparation is the key. You want to identify weaknesses and act to strengthen them while you have a chance. This is usually not possible once the happening happens. All you can do then is try to cope and recover.

The next post (Worldview 8) will continue the case story. Complications immediately appear, just like in reality. In this case, the complications threaten to derail the vulnerability reduction efforts – preparation – just as they were getting moving. The trick here will be to address both reality and preparation together, and in an integrated manner as much as possible.

Reality often provides very strong motivation for action, with immediacy. Reality must be dealt with in a timely way, unavoidably in general. Here is where creativity becomes vital. What elements of the preparation might be implemented as part of the dealing-with-reality effort?

This simple trick can be extremely productive in many cases, but it does require serious creativity.

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 …

#3. Disease-X – Current: Yet another report on a possibly promising pushback effort regarding the WHO’s Pandemic Treaty threat.

#5. Digital IDs and CBDCs – Current: #5. Digital IDs and CBDCs – Current: Something entirely new on the money front: “De-Dollarization Bombshell – The Coming Of BRICS+ Decentralized Monetary Ecosystem” and “The Unit”.

#6. Economic Outlook – Current: Another warning that government debt eventually and inevitably leads to a major war. Is this time truly different?

#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:

“But for me, the MI6 angle is the first one to be considered in this attack [attack on the Crocus Concert Hall in Moscow], not the last one. And the keys lie in that very timeline. Because, as opposed to assuming that the US is the catalytic agent for events here — easy to think because [Victoria] Nuland is involved — reframing this as a distinctly British operation (with help from rogue elements in the State Dept. and CIA, of course) yields a far more coherent narrative.”

“Remember, we’re dealing ultimately with narcissists here. Then let’s remember cui bono. Because without assessing who benefits from this attack, we aren’t doing the analysis right. Moreover, I’m not trying to blame shift here away from the US. We are definitely a player here. But it’s defining who ‘we’ in the US is where the nuance lies.”

“What if Nuland was fired because knowledge of this attack finally reached the right people at State and the DoD? And they realized, rightly so, that an attack like this would make it nearly impossible for Putin to ignore and force his hand politically to escalate the war in Ukraine to a level that would justify to the people of the West that it was finally time for us to get involved over there.”

“… But, as I said, the real goal of this war wasn’t just getting Russia, they had to maneuver the US into a terminal state as well, through the costs of fighting a war we weren’t capable of sustaining. And that was the bridge too far for US interests not beholden to the ghost of Trotsky and the tears of Bill Kristol.”

“And now you have the ‘who benefits’ from this operation. The US saw no upside in brutally killing hundreds of Russian civilians, knowing full well it would be US doing the majority of the fighting. The UK and EU need the US to do this because if the US comes out of this war unscathed (like in WWII) then the current arrangement will continue, and their plans for domination will fail.”

If this isn’t world war via proxies, I can’t imagine what would be – apart from an escalation to a big-nuke version. For planning purposes, this suggests a lengthy period of localized fighting and terrorist hits by major player proxies.

Government spending will continue at ruinous rates, eventually leading to financial and economic collapse – probably first in the West. This in turn means high price inflation will continue as well. For those who are exposed to war zone and even troubled domestic sources, supply chain disruptions and shortages will probably become part of the “normal” business environment.

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:

From Alt-Market.us we have another voice anticipating WW III in a non-big-nuke form: “World War III Is Now Inevitable – Here’s Why It Can’t Be Avoided”.

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

“Iran’s unprecedented attack on Israeli military sites on April 13-14 signals a tectonic shift in the regional balance of power. While the media remains preoccupied with the number of outdated Iranian drones that were shot down during the onslaught, military analysts are far more focused on the way that Iran’s ballistic missiles cut through Israel’s vaunted air defense systems striking sites at the Nevatim and Negev Air Bases.

“What the operation proved is that Israel’s ‘deterrents supremacy’ is largely a fiction based on overly optimistic assumptions about the performance of their air defense capability. When put to the test, these systems failed to stop many of the larger and more destructive ballistic missiles from hitting their targets. This, in turn, revealed that Israel’s most heavily-defended and critically-important military sites remain overly-exposed to enemy attack.”

“More importantly, any future attack will not be announced days in advance nor will Iran attempt to avoid high-value targets or heavy casualties. Instead, they will use their most lethal and state-of-the-art hypersonic missiles to inflict as much death and destruction on Israel as is required to make sure that the Jewish state is unable to lift a hand against Iran in the future. In short, what Iran’s historic attack on Israel shows is that any future provocation by Israel will be met by an immediate and overwhelming response that will leave Israel battered, bloodied and broken.”

“… The failure of the combined US-Israeli defense systems in the face of a concerted Iranian missile attack exposed the short-comings of the US ballistic missile defense capabilities world-wide… This means that the US and NATO forces in Europe are vulnerable to attack from advanced Russian missile technologies which match or exceed those used by Iran to attack Israel. It also means that China would most likely be able to strike and sink US navy ships in the Pacific Ocean in the event of a conflict over Taiwan…. And that North Korea could do the same to US ships and forces ashore in the vicinity of Japan and South Korea… The global strategic implications of this stunning Iranian accomplishment are game-changing … Checkmate, Scott Ritter [former weapons inspector], Substack”

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.

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.

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 GOING TO BLOW…..SOON
Has anyone reading this wondered if this increase in terrorist support, happening in an election year, as the party in the White House is losing in swing state and national polls, with the Senate map overly brutal for Democrats heading into the November, is all by design?”

“Wonder no more…it is. The odds of this all being coincidental are statistically impossible.”

“With only one case against Donald Trump, the weakest we should mention,  playing out in the courts, and Trump ahead of Biden in the majority of polls, the scene is set for the powder keg that is the Middle East, to blow up right here in America.”

“Think about it. The October 7th attack against Israel by Hamas, only happened after the Biden regime released billions in funds to Iran, who backs multiple terror groups, including Hamas and Hezbollah, both attacking Israel from different sides.”

“Since the majority of court cases against Trump are likely not to move forward before the election, the timing of the release of funds, the attack against Israel, and the war in Gaza to root out Hamas, is suspicious as can be.”

“… As a nation we have multiple issues facing us, from the potential for nuclear war with Russia and China, to the over-the-top ‘next pandemic will kill millions’ crowd, to the escalation of civil unrest, and the speed said unrest is spreading, it could very well be the issue that gives the Biden regime the excuse to lock down the nation by declaring martial law [emphasis added].”

The 2024 elections are unlikely to resolve any of this mess. Elections seem mostly to provide periodic venues for opposing groups to shout at one another in the nastiest possible manners.

For planning purposes, it is the disruption that seems most important. We will be dealing with disruption consequences of great severity and scope.  This suggests focusing on vulnerability and resilience as a top action priority.

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 getting virtually every nation on earth to sign up for its control agenda, 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

“This May 27–June 1, 2024, global elitists and world leaders from across the West will gather in Geneva, Switzerland, for the WHO’s 77th World Health Assembly (WHA). Attendees from all 194 WHO member countries are set to vote on major amendments to the International Health Regulations that would effectively strip all power away from sovereign countries and turn it over to the WHO’s global health board in the event of a pandemic.”

“If the ratifications are agreed to this month, the WHO will also be granted sole authority over what constitutes a pandemic.”

“As we have seen over the past years, just about anything qualifies as an ‘existential threat to public health,’ including, but not limited to, misinformation, parents protesting at school boards, free speech, and—of course—racism. The fact that the WHO is on the cusp of unrestricted authority to decide these measures should terrify every American.”

“What’s more, the changes also include plans for a mandatory and universal vaccine passport system that’s overseen by the WHO. In fact, the globalist organization has already contracted a German-based company, called ‘T-Systems’, to develop the technology.”

“… Now, 44 Republican senators have sent a strongly worded letter to Joe Biden, urging him to reject two forthcoming international agreements under consideration at the World Health Organization (WHO) that would compromise U.S. sovereignty. “

“Sen. Ron Johnson wrote on X, ‘Two international agreements are being considered at this month’s World Health Assembly that surrenders U.S. sovereignty to the WHO. [Biden] should reject them, or at least submit any agreement to the Senate as a treaty. The entire Senate GOP conference has signed onto my letter to Biden demanding just that.’”

“Sen. Ron Johnson wrote on X, ‘Two international agreements are being considered at this month’s World Health Assembly that surrenders U.S. sovereignty to the WHO. [Biden] should reject them, or at least submit any agreement to the Senate as a treaty. The entire Senate GOP conference has signed onto my letter to Biden demanding just that.’”

“Some good things happened this past week concerning the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Pandemic Treaty. In response to widespread public outcry, the WHO substantially revised its proposed International Health Regulations (IHR) amendments, dialing the tyranny back a notch [emphasis added].”

“According to the group Us for Them UK (@UsforThemUK on X), the changes represent a serious victory ‘for national democracy, free speech and human rights.’ Almost all of the substantive concerns presented to the WHO Working Group for the IHR amendments have been trimmed back, one of the biggest changes being that the WHO’s recommendations will be non-binding.”

“’Article 13A.1 which would have required Member States to follow directives of the WHO as the guiding and coordinating authority for international public health has been dropped entirely,’ Us for Them UK tweeted.”

“Another change is the erasure of a proposal that would have struck from the amendments wording that recognizes the ‘dignity, human rights and fundamental freedoms’ of human beings. ‘This proposal marked a particularly low water-mark, and should never have been suggested,’ Us for Them UK says.”

“If you are concerned about the WHO suddenly attaining dictatorial powers at the mere ‘potential’ of a public health emergency, worry not: the WHO will only be able to gain total control if it can demonstrate ‘that coordinated international action is necessary.’”

Kevin Stocklin via The Epoch Times and ZeroHedge on 5/13/2024: “WHO Makes Key Concessions Ahead Of Pandemic Treaty Vote”:

“The World Health Organization (WHO) has watered down some provisions of its pandemic agreements ahead of the upcoming World Health Assembly on May 27. Critics in the United States, however, say the changes don’t do enough to address the concerns over the policy.”

“Provisions in prior drafts of the WHO pandemic treaty and International Health Regulations (IHRs) together aimed to effectively centralize and increase the power of the WHO if it declares a ‘health emergency.’”

“’In most areas, and for all of those which most concerned us from a legal perspective, the interim draft reflects a major retreat by the WHO Working Group from the text of the original proposals,’ write English solicitors Ben and Molly Kingsley in an April briefing paper regarding the new amendments.”

“Some WHO-watchers remain wary, however. ‘Practically all the bad things are still there,’ Dr. Meryl Nass, a U.S.-based physician and vocal critic of the WHO agreements, told The Epoch Times. ‘The language is gentler, but since there is so much to be decided later it is not clear the gentler language is meaningful,’ Dr. Nass said.”

“’My best guess is that they are desperate to get something passed, so the options are likely to be either a vanilla version of the treaty … or a delay. But they fear delay because people are waking up.’”

“… On May 8, attorneys general from 22 states signed a letter to President Joe Biden urging him not to sign the WHO agreements, and stating that they will resist any attempts by the WHO to set public health policy in their states.”

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”.

“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.”

“Then there’s Israel and Gaza. I warned months ago in my article ‘It’s A Trap! The Wave Of Repercussions As The Middle East Fights ‘The Last War’’ that the war in Gaza would expand into a multi-front conflict that would probably include Iran. I also warned that it would be to Israel’s benefit if Iran entered the war because this would force the US to become directly involved. To be sure, Iran has already been engaging in proxy attacks on Israel through Lebanon, but Israel’s attack on the Iranian “embassy” or diplomatic station in Syria basically ensures that Iran will now directly commit to strikes on Israeli targets.”

“In other words, much like WWI, the situation is being escalated by the political elites despite the fact that the general public in the west is increasingly opposed to participating in the conflict. The globalists want to send us to war whether we like it or not.  Every decision they have made so far makes peaceful resolution impossible.”

There is just no way that anyone can reliably predict what’s going to happen next in this chaotic 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 random 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.

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:

[1] Paul Craig Roberts is an American economist and author. He formerly held a sub-cabinet office in the United States federal government under President Reagan, as well as teaching positions at several U.S. universities.

“… The private Federal Reserve tries to manage this process to prevent such crashes, but the reality of fractional-reserve banking is that there will always be booms and busts due to the corrupt nature of fiat currency, which is not real money.”

“What happened in the leadup to 1929 is once again happening today. The 21st century as a whole is marked by a long-term drop in velocity of circulation, which is currently at the lowest level on record.”

“Meanwhile, stocks and real estate have been driven up to sky-high prices well beyond what they are actually worth in real terms. When the bubble pops, it will be the biggest bubble pop ever, producing unprecedented dispossession and economic collapse.”

“’When after more than a decade of near zero interest rates, the Fed raises interest rates it collapses the values of financial portfolios and real estate and produces a financial crisis,’ Roberts says.”

“’As the authorities have set in place a system that bails out secured creditors with our bank deposits, stocks and bonds, we will have no money and no financial assets to sell for money. People with mortgaged homes and businesses will lose them, as they did in the 1930s, when they lost their money due to bank failures. People with car payments will lose their transportation. The way the system works is you lose your money but not your debts.’”

“You can expect more bank collapses, which will mean the loss of your deposits. The federal insurance program will not recoup whatever you lose because, as previously mentioned, all deposits have been turned into collateral for creditors.”

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:

From Pepe Escobar via ZeroHedge on 5/15/24: “Escobar: De-Dollarization Bombshell – The Coming Of BRICS+ Decentralized Monetary Ecosystem”:

“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.”

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

“’Why?  It’s called inflation, and it’s not temporary.’ [precious metals expert and financial writer Bill] Holter explains, ‘Foreigners are backing away from buying Treasuries…”

“That is the only thing that has kept the doors open, so to speak, is the fact we are able to borrow an unlimited amount of money because we are the world reserve currency. “

“Foreigners backing away from our debt is going to lead the Federal Reserve to be the buyer of last, and then, only resort.  So, you will have direct monetization between the Fed and the Treasury. “

“What that will cause is a currency that declines in purchasing power. It will decline in a big way, and it will decline rapidly. So, what I am describing is inflation that turns into hyperinflation.”

“But that is not the end of our problems.  Holter points out, “I do think it is going to get worse, and that means interest rates will go higher, and that will put on much more pressure…’”

“… The other wild card is war, and Holter says, ‘War is a way to keep the system propped up.’ In closing, Holter contends, what you are seeing is not a series of mistakes by incompetent people.  Holter says, …”

“’This is too stupid for it not to be the plan. . . .This is not a Republican or Democrat thing.  We are being steered directly into a brick wall because the globalists can’t take over the world with the US standing.’”

“They have to take the US down, and if they take the US down, so will the western financial system fall.  If that happens, the globalists can have their way.’”

‘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:

Interview with Martin Armstrong by Piero Messina for SouthFront and via ZeroHedge on 5/16/24: “’West’s Governments Need War’ Warns Martin Armstrong ‘Because Their Debts Are No Longer Sustainable’”:

“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.”

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.


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.

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.