|“Wherever we’re headed, America is evolving in ways most of us don’t like or understand. Individually focused yet collectively adrift, we wonder if we’re heading toward a waterfall. Are we?”
Strauss & Howe – The Fourth Turning
Political leaders and the mainstream media have been blindsided by the sudden mood shift of the country in the last few years. The reason they have been blindsided is they believe world history is linear. Liberals have now begun referring to themselves as progressives. These people think the world only progresses. The facts indicate otherwise. History is cyclical. History is replete with grand empires like Rome, Spain and Britain. It is also replete with Dark Ages, depressions and wars. Strauss & Howe have established that history can be broken down into 80 to 100 year Saeculums that consist of four turnings: The High, The Awakening, The Unraveling, and the Crisis.
This isn’t some variety of mystical Nostradamus conjecture trying to foretell the future. Strauss & Howe have been able to link the human life span to generational shifts in mood. This makes logical sense. As generations progress through the four stages of life their attitudes and views change. When you are born within the four cycles will greatly sway the course of your life. History forms individuals and generations as individuals and generations shape history. In this age of individualism, Americans are highly insulted by being lumped into a generational category. The fact is that a generation is composed of individuals who share common experiences, music, literature, and economic circumstances. This shared time frame leads to recurring attitudes and reactions to events. Generations come in four archetypes, always in the same order, whose phase-of-life positions comprise a constellation. They are:
During a Fourth Turning, the constellation contains all four archetypes born in the current saeculum. We are now in the midst of the fourth Crisis period in U.S. history. The previous Fourth Turnings – The American Revolution, Civil War and Great Depression/World War II all required immense sacrifice and entailed great danger. There are only a few Americans alive who experienced and recall our last Fourth Turning. This is one of the foremost reasons the country seems surprised when the next Turning arrives. Just think about the response of politicians, mainstream media pundits, supposedly brilliant economists, and the elite thought leaders during the last five years. They have been blindsided by the housing collapse, worldwide financial crisis, election of Barack Obama, and furious rage of the Tea Party movement. This is because they prescribe to the belief the world only moves forward, never backward. They failed to identify the signs of Crisis. Threats that have been ignored and/or deferred for decades are now coalescing into a once in a lifetime emergency that will require public consensus, aggressive action, and personal sacrifice. Leaders who think the old way of governing will continue to work are learning a difficult lesson. This is why so many old time politicians like Chris Dodd are fleeing Washington DC. A maelstrom of government debt, unfunded liabilities, looming energy catastrophe, and consumer collapse is about to hit the United States. There is no politician in Washington DC willing to stand up in front of the American people and tell them the truth about the storms on our horizon.
Born Into Nixon
Born into Nixon I was raised in hell.
We are the [cries of] the class of ’13
Green Day – 21st Century Breakdown
The music of today best captures the generational shifts and attitudes that reflect the true mood of the country. Billie Joe Armstrong, the lead singer of Green Day, was born into Nixon in 1972 in the midst of an Awakening. This was a period of upheaval and passion. He was the last child born to a large working class family in Oakland, California. His reference to hell refers to the lower blue collar city he grew up in. Oakland was an awful place to be raised in, with drugs, gang violence and racial unrest. His Dad died when he was 10 years old, leaving his five older siblings to raise him while his mother worked the graveyard shift as a waitress. The family was on welfare and Armstrong’s childhood was disconnected and discontented. He fits the classic Nomad (Generation X) description of a tough, hard edged pragmatist who does not trust government or corporations. Armstrong’s lyrics have always reflected his distrust of traditional institutions. His description of their current album reflects his Nomad view:
“The album is a snapshot of the era in which we live as we question and try to make sense of the selfish manipulation going on around us, whether it be the government, religion, media or frankly any form of authority.” – Billie Joe Armstrong
The lyrics about the Class of 2013 reflect the fact that his eldest son Joseph will graduate high school in 2013. Born in 1995, he is part of the new Hero generation. This is the generation that will do the heavy lifting in the current Crisis. This cohort is known as the Millennial generation. This generation has been nurtured with increasing protection by pessimistic adults in an insecure environment. They will challenge the political failures of their elder leaders during the coming years, leading to a secular crisis. Armstrong’s son was born in an era of humility during the Unraveling. The Clinton years were a time of little action, with problems ignored and public civility declining. This generation has been raised by Generation X parents and will now be expected to guide the country through the desperate times ahead. If there are wars to fight, they will fight them. Since their elders have made impossible financial promises, the Millennials will have to make the sacrifices and tough decisions. Every generation will have their part to play in the current Crisis. Boomers will be the elder leaders who push the country to resolve the major issues of our time. They will summon the Heroes to make the ultimate sacrifice for the nation. Generation X will provide the tough resolute leadership in the midst of the Crisis, defending society. Let’s hope the country will produce Nomad leaders on par with previous Nomads – George Washington, Stonewall Jackson, George Patton and Dwight Eisenhower.
There is no way to avoid this Crisis. It can’t be bypassed. Just as the seasons must progress from Spring to Summer through Fall and into Winter, a Crisis must follow an Unraveling. History does not have a rewind button. Secular Winter has arrived and the country couldn’t be less prepared for the challenges ahead. The government and the governed enter this highly dangerous period weakened and fragile. The short-sighted economic choices and deferred fiscal decisions will collide with peak oil and uncontrolled globalization to inflict a horrific resolution to this Crisis. The gravity of our situation cannot be overstated. As politicians and the mainstream media play pretend games of recovery and false optimism, the country hurtles closer to the abyss. The country had a chance to prepare for this Winter by:
You may have noticed that as a country we not only did not prepare for Winter, we proceeded like it would never come. No leader has emerged to bluntly speak the truth to the American people. Culture wars still rage. Government has expanded and our military has been depleted in useless wars of choice. All that is left is for individuals to prepare their families for the immense challenges ahead.
My generation is zero
21st century breakdown
Videogames of the tower’s fall
Green Day – 21st Century Breakdown
To comprehend what awaits us in the next fifteen years, the blizzards of 2010 provide a preview.
“Reflect on what happens when a terrible winter blizzard strikes. You hear the weather warning but probably fail to act on it. The sky darkens. Then the storm hits with full fury, and the air is a howling whiteness. One by one, your links to the machine age break down. Electricity flickers out, cutting off the TV. Batteries fade, cutting off the radio. Phones go dead. Roads become impossible, and cars get stuck. Food supplies dwindle. Day to day vestiges of modern civilization – bank machines, mutual funds, mass retailers, computers, satellites, airplanes, governments – all recede into irrelevance. Picture yourself and your loved ones in the midst of a howling blizzard that lasts several years. Think about what you would need, who could help you, and why your fate might matter to anybody other than yourself. That is how to plan for a saecular winter. Don’t think you can escape the Fourth Turning. History warns that a Crisis will reshape the basic social and economic environment that you now take for granted.”
Strauss & Howe – The Fourth Turning
The two principal political parties that control our government continue to act like we are in the early days of Autumn, anticipating a mild Winter. They persist in adhering to their conservative and liberal talking point agendas. They continue to push forth more policies like those that put the country in its current mess. They govern based upon weekly poll results, not upon what is best for the country. Big Government, big Military, and big Debt is the mantra of both parties. In his new documentary, GENERATION ZERO, director Steve Bannon scorches both parties and particularly the Baby Boom generation that now holds the reins of power in Washington DC and in corporate America. It is not a coincidence that 4 out of 5 CEOs of the investment banks that leveraged 40 to 1 and brought the worldwide financial system to its knees were Baby Boomers. George Bush, Hank Paulson, and Ben Bernanke are all Baby Boomers. Their greed, fiscal mismanagement and warped ideology led to the financial disaster.
“This film is about a crisis – one that is as profound as The Revolution, The Civil War, or The Great Depression and WWII.” The title ‘Generation Zero’ is ironic, as it refers to both the Baby Boomers and the generation born today: the one generation whose greed and fiscal mismanagement has destroyed the financial legacy and inheritance of the other.” – Steve Bannon
Anyone who doubts that Baby Boomers are most responsible for the current state of affairs just needs to review the following charts. These politicians have voted for bailouts of criminal banks run by Boomers, voted for hundreds of billions in pork projects for their corporate constituents, delegated their Constitutional duty of declaring war to the Executive branch, voted for the Patriot Act and creation of a Department of Homeland Security which have stolen freedoms & liberties from the citizens, and have deferred the critical cuts that must be made to entitlement promises they’ve made to the American public in order to get elected. These “honorable” politicians have doubled the National Debt of the United States to $12.4 trillion in less than 8 years. It took 213 years to accumulate $6 trillion of debt ($5.6 trillion added since 1971) and only 8 years to add another $6.4 trillion. These same politicians have approved current budgets that will add $1.5 to $2.0 trillion per year to the national Debt for the next 10 years. Progressives put forth the preposterous idea that piling on more debt will solve a problem created by too much debt. They have pressed the accelerator to the floor as we approach a turn on a mountain road.
U.S. House of Representatives
We are truly in the midst of a 21st Century breakdown. Armstrong’s lyrics twist the lyrics of the inspirational Amazing Grace psalm. The inspirational message is changed from:
“I once was lost but now am found, was blind, but now I see,” to “I was once lost but never was found, I think I am losing what’s left of my mind.”
These lyrics reflect hopelessness and frustration as the country approaches financial collapse. We are on an unsustainable fiscal path built upon an altar of debt. Progressives believe that debt is inconsequential and is necessary to the advancement of the welfare state. No politician will tell an American voter that their entitlements must be slashed. No politician will vote to reduce pork projects or useless programs or worthless Federal departments. No politician will vote for a reduction in Defense spending. Someone within the ruling elite must sense danger, based on their overt and covert actions in the last nine years. Allowing the government to monitor phone calls, emails, and internet messages along with stationing combat troops within the U.S. border is a warning sign of how government will treat American citizens during the current Crisis. The Department of Homeland Security has already issued reports suggesting that Tea Party members and returning Iraq War veterans are potential terrorist threats. The mainstream media has perpetuated these lies. Financial chaos will lead to social chaos. The recently signed Executive Order 13528 established a Council of Governors, an “advisory panel” chosen by the President that will rubber-stamp long-sought-after Pentagon contingency plans to seize control of state National Guard forces in the event of a “national emergency.” Would U.S. troops fire on American citizens? That question will be answered in the coming decade.
Dream, America Dream
My name is No One
I praise liberty
Dream, America Dream
Green Day – 21st Century Breakdown
The American dream has turned into a nightmare. Led by the selfish, materialistic, self-absorbed Boomers, the nation has degenerated into an individualistic society of wealth seekers. The country’s common good and attitudes of thrift, hard work, and self reliance have been cast aside for the corporate good, immediate material satisfaction, and entitlement attitude. America is no longer the land of opportunity. It is the land of corporate fascism, benefitting the few.
“The American Dream is that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement. It is a difficult dream for the European upper classes to interpret adequately, and too many of us ourselves have grown weary and mistrustful of it. It is not a dream of motor cars and high wages merely, but a dream of social order in which each man and each woman shall be able to attain to the fullest stature of which they are innately capable, and be recognized by others for what they are, regardless of the fortuitous circumstances of birth or position.” — Historian and writer James Truslow Adams in his 1931 book Epic of America.
This version of the American dream has been slowly fading away for decades. Those with ability who have earned a better life through their hard work, superior intelligence and integrity should attain a higher spot in the social order. Instead, government rewards those Americans who have taken unwarranted risks, made corrupt choices, and willingly chose a path of excessive debt to scale the social order. The game is stacked in favor of the elite, while middle class wages have stagnated for the last 40 years. Government bureaucracy strangles the entrepreneurial spirit of the people, while empowering those who want to control our every action.
Today’s aristocracy consists of Wall Street bankers, corporate chiefs, Washington lobbyists, the military industrial complex, and corrupt politicians, all engendered by the printing presses of Ben Bernanke and the Federal Reserve. The rich get richer and the middle class disappears, as their jobs are shipped overseas by corporate conglomerate CEOs who preach globalism as a benefit to society. It is a benefit to their country club elitist society. These elite Boomers have sucked the life and vitality from the American financial system. The three previous Crisis periods in U.S. history were all initiated by a financial related trigger based on excess.
The American Revolution Crisis was instigated by the colonist response to overly burdensome taxation by the English Parliament. This ultimately led to the dumping of English tea into the Boston harbor. Parliament’s response to the Boston Tea Party ignited a colonial tinderbox—leading directly to the first Continental Congress, the battle of Concord, and the Declaration of Independence. The Civil War Crisis had its roots in the issues of property rights and industrial versus agrarian society. The economic widening of the gap between slave and free states was symbolic of the changes occurring in each region. While the South was devoted to an agrarian plantation economy with a slow growth in population, the North had embraced industrialization, large urban areas, infrastructure growth, as well as was experiencing high birth rates. This boost in population doomed Southern efforts to maintain balance in the government as it meant the future addition of more free states and the election of a Northern, potentially anti-slavery, president. The Civil War began with a presidential election that many southerners interpreted as an invitation to secede. The attack on Fort Sumter triggered the most violent conflict ever fought on New World soil, with over 600,000 dead Americans. The Great Depression & World War II Crisis began suddenly with the Black Tuesday stock-market crash. The events leading up to the “sudden” collapse were caused by loose monetary policy by the Federal Reserve, Wall Street greed and corruption, and government incompetence. After a three-year economic free fall, the Great Depression triggered the New Deal revolution, and a vast expansion of government. The worldwide economic collapse led to the rise of Nazism and Fascism, a World War that killed 65 million souls, and mass destruction in Europe and Asia. The parallels with previous Crisis periods are eerily visible today.
The current Millennial Crisis which we are attempting to grasp was commenced by the combination of a housing collapse caused by loose Federal Reserve monetary policy, no regulation of financial institutions and corrupt greedy bankers on Wall Street. The depth and breadth of this financial disaster is being exacerbated by government borrow and spend policies and the free market globalism mantra of big business being sold to the American public. This fraudulent economy has been supported by a world awash in cheap oil. The American people have been scammed. Free market globalism didn’t benefit the middle class and the era of cheap oil is running out. James Howard Kunstler describes the scam perpetrated on the American people in his book The Long Emergency:
“Globalism had the same tendency to impoverish and enslave huge populations while enriching the elite who managed its operations. The American people were sold on it, even while it destroyed their towns, their landscapes, and their vocations. Globalism was primarily a way of privatizing the profits of business activities while socializing the costs. This was achieved by discreetly discounting the future for the sake of short-term benefits. Globalism was operated by oligarchical corporations on a gigantic scale, made possible by cheap oil. As Wendell Berry put it, ‘a corporation essentially, is a pile of money to which a number of persons have sold their moral allegiance …. It can experience no personal hope or remorse. No change of heart. It cannot humble itself. It goes about its business as if it were immortal, with the single purpose of becoming a bigger pile of money’.”
We’ve sold out America for cheap Chinese hair dryers, low-priced Chinese TVs, inexpensive Mexican apparel, economy packs of Fruit of the Looms from Indonesia and yellow smiley face stickers for our kids. As reward for gutting the American economy by shipping jobs overseas, American CEOs have enriched themselves at a rate 500 times higher than the average worker’s pay. Wall Street bankers were paying close attention to how corporate CEOs were able reap ungodly profits while socializing the costs. With a clear signal from Alan Greenspan that the Federal Reserve would save any moron on Wall Street that got in trouble, the gluttonous Harvard MBAs created exotic financial products and convinced the world they could spin gold from straw. The CEO’s of the five biggest investment banks (including Hank Paulson of Goldman Sachs) convinced the SEC to waive their 12 to 1 leverage ratio and leveraged their Wall Street gambling casinos at 40 to 1. This excessive leverage combined with financial products designed to confuse and bamboozle investors generated billions in profits for these banks and hundreds of millions in pay and bonuses for their Boomer leaders. When the crooked house of cards collapsed under the weight of lies and fraud, these banks were essentially insolvent. At that point Hank Paulson, who was now Treasury Secretary, along with Ben Bernanke decided to socialize their losses by having the U.S. taxpayer pick up the tab. Middle class Americans lost 8 million jobs and Wall Street bankers used the taxpayer bailout to generate billions in fake profits while paying themselves hundreds of millions in pay again. The resentment of average Americans is boiling over and will play a main role in the unfolding Crisis.
Scream, America Scream
I am a nation
The scars on my hands
I swallowed my pride
Scream, America scream
Green Day – 21st Century Breakdown
Progressives like Arianna Huffington clearly don’t comprehend what is happening. The anger and disillusionment of the population are seen as worrisome and disturbing by those who believe history is linear. The entrenched ruling elite should be apprehensive. During a Crisis existing institutions are torn down as the social fabric of the country undergoes wrenching changes. Those in power are rightfully fearful of the masses they have screwed for decades. President Obama, Ben Bernanke, Timothy Geithner, and the majority of economists and TV pundits are convinced the Crisis has passed and they have successfully maneuvered the country through the worst, avoiding a second Great Depression. History suggests otherwise. We have yet to experience the nastiest part of the Crisis. We can expect to encounter private and civic choices analogous to the cruelest ever confronted by ancestral generations. The recently submitted Obama budget, adjusted for reality, will add at least $12 trillion to the National Debt in the next ten years. That would bring the National Debt to $24 trillion in 2019. At a modest interest rate of 5%, the country would be paying $1.2 trillion per year in interest. The more likely scenario would be a 10% interest rate, resulting in annual interest costs of $2.4 trillion. The entire spending of the Federal Government was only $1.2 trillion in 1990.
Mr. Progressive, Paul Krugman, insists that worries about the debt are overblown. Despite the fact that our economy isn’t capable of growing more than 2.5% over the long term, he sees no problem growing our National Debt by 10% per year. It’s as if his Nobel Prize was coated in lead and he has been sucking on it. Only someone who is brain damaged would argue that doubling our debt will solve a crisis caused by too much debt. It’s as if Krugman wants to become the Irving Fisher of his time. One week prior to the Stock Market Crash of 1929 Fisher famously pronounced:
“Stock prices have reached what looks like a permanently high plateau. I do not feel there will be soon if ever a 50 or 60 point break from present levels, such as (bears) have predicted. I expect to see the stock market a good deal higher within a few months.”
The truth is our lenders will not allow our National Debt to reach $24 trillion by 2019. The U.S. dollar has already lost more than 80% of its purchasing power since Nixon closed the gold window in 1971. The amount of currency in circulation since that time has gone up by a factor of 16 to $800 billion. The result has been a stagnation of real wages for the middle class, while the ruling elite have seen their wealth soar to astronomical levels. The correlation between printing more of something and its relative value are as clear as day to anyone with a smattering of intelligence. Ben Bernanke is attempting to print his way out of this financial crisis. He is playing a game of chicken with our foreign lenders. He wants to devalue the U.S. dollar slowly to reduce the unbearable weight of U.S. debt. Foreign lenders from China, Japan and the Middle East know what he is doing. They will be the long-term losers in this scenario. At some point in the next few years they will balk at buying more US debt. A “Weimar Moment” will strike the United States like a sledgehammer. The veil of financial stability will be revealed to be a fallacy and the worldwide reserve currency will revert to its intrinsic value of zero. The chaos that would ensue as people’s life savings are wiped out would test the mettle of our country’s citizens, government, and military.
The dollar is likely to collapse just based upon current spending and borrowing trends. The unsustainable entitlement promises made by politicians over decades would have guaranteed a dollar collapse by 2030 anyway, so we will just arrive sooner. Not one politician from either political party has the courage to stand in front of the American people and tell them they will not receive the Social Security and Medicare benefits they were promised. Not one politician from either party is even willing to discuss the fact these promises cannot be honored. This train has been headed down the track since the 1960s, picking up speed, and no one is willing to apply the brakes. The Baby Boomers have sold their children and grandchildren into slavery. Their unwillingness to sacrifice entitlement benefits, guarantees a vastly lower standard of living for their descendents. How very egocentric and superficial of them. The most coddled, self absorbed, egotistical generation in history would rather crash the economic system than make any personal sacrifice for future generations. The $106.8 trillion of unfunded promises will not by paid, because there will be nothing left to pay. The country is bankrupt today. By 2030, half of all tax revenue would be needed to fund these programs. The Boomers will be forced to accept much less than they expected. The delusion of getting something for nothing will be put to rest during this Crisis.
The wildcard within the current Fourth Turning is cheap easily accessible petroleum. Progressives and those who only view the world in a linear way, fail to recognize that easily accessible oil only came onto the scene 150 years ago and we have depleted the easiest to reach 50%. The implication of these facts is beyond the comprehension of linear thinkers. They trust our ingenuity and brilliance to solve the problem. A new form of energy will magically appear on the scene and save our industrial world. Brain power and human resourcefulness played only a small part in the economic boom of the last 150 years, produced by cheap oil. The industrial revolution began more like Jed Clampett shooting at some food and getting bubbling crude. The world benefited from a positive Black Swan event. In other words, we got lucky. Now the luck is running out. There is a finite amount of petroleum on the planet. Most of the remaining supply is trapped beneath deep oceans, within tar sands, in shale rock and in inhospitable countries. Cheap sweet crude is running out. New oil discoveries peaked in 1964. Worldwide oil production peaked between 2005 and 2010. As supply enters terminal decline and demand continues its relentless rise, prices will soar and the world will be transformed forever. This could even put a creak in America’s military machine that consumes over 150 million barrels of oil per year.
The deniers believe that technology will save the day. They don’t step back and think that their technology couldn’t function without cheap oil. The hardware and software are made in factories run by fossil fuel. The amount of energy that exists on the planet is a closed loop system. The sun’s energy created fossil fuels. The population of the planet has converted 50% of these fossil fuels back into CO2 and other byproducts. This is the process of entropy. Entropy is the movement of energy from complex, higher states to simple, lower states. Energy cannot be created or destroyed, only changed – entropy dictates that energy flows in only one direction, from being concentrated in one place to becoming diffused or dispersed and spread out; from being ordered to being disordered. After 150 years of profligate use of oil, we are within a few years of experiencing an unsolvable oil shortage which will affect transportation, industry, heating, plastics, fertilizers, pharmaceuticals and all the myriad products essential to our contemporary lives. Our energy-devouring civilization has been accelerating entropy. Kunstler sees this entropy leading to a crisis of epic proportions:
“We don’t really need to reach the end of oil to experience the disorder that accompanies entropy. The economic efficiency we praise creates one-industry towns that become simplified and vulnerable communities. Businesses evolve into big corporations that dehumanize and feudalize our lives. Our monocultures of specialization create ecological disasters. We poison our water, land and air using the justification that more and faster are always better. Mass production produces the homogeneity that deadens the spirit and vitality of people – they compensate by becoming hyper-consumers, fad-chasers, unsettled and disquieted beings in search of the meaning denied to them by a loss of complexity.”
The combination of debt, dollar devaluation, delusion and depletion will make this Fourth Turning the most challenging and dangerous in U.S. history.
The Five Ds of the Fourth Turning
DEBT + DOLLAR + DELUSION + DEPLETION = DECLINE
Every previous Fourth Turning in U.S. history was triggered by an economic conflict or devastating financial event. The current Fourth Turning was activated by the collapse of our housing market, the subsequent revelations of Wall Street fraud and excessive risk taking and the actions of politicians to protect Wall Street from their hubristic exploits. The choices by leaders after these triggers will have a dramatic impact on the future course of the Crisis. George Washington decided to fight and stayed on the battlefield for eight years before succeeding. Abraham Lincoln could have let the South secede. He decided to fight in order to retain the Union. The result was 600,000 dead and abolition of slavery. Franklin Delano Roosevelt decided to implement massive social welfare programs to keep Americans employed. These programs planted the seed for our current Crisis. He also committed 16 million American men in World War II, with 450,000 dying for their country and another 670,000 wounded. All previous Fourth Turnings began as financial episodes and eventually led to total wars of destruction. There is nothing about this current Crisis that would lead me to an alternative picture of our future.
I could propose a number of logical Crisis scenarios based on the facts at hand, but the truth is that no one knows how the next fifteen years will play out. We do know there will be much upheaval, worldly peril, and cataclysmic changes to the exiting institutional and social order. I believe the financial crisis will transform into a Depression as the layers of new debt piled upon the old debt ultimately collapse our economic system. It could be a deflationary collapse or an inflationary collapse. Both scenarios would lead to further destruction of the middle class. When the U.S. dollar is no longer viewed as the reserve currency for the world, America’s worldwide influence will wane. How global economic rivals like China, Russia, and the Middle East react to our economic and social weakness will determine the next phase of the Crisis. When countries are experiencing severe domestic problems, they seek out or invent a foreign threat. The likely flashpoint which could lead to foreign conflict would be a terrorist attack on U.S. territory and/or a clash over depleting worldwide oil supplies. Strauss & Howe explain the nature of Fourth Turnings:
“The ‘spirit of America’ comes once a saeculum, only through what the ancients called ekpyrosis, nature’s fiery moment of death and discontinuity. History’s periodic eras of Crisis combust the old social order and give birth to a new. A Fourth Turning is a solstice era of maximum darkness, in which the supply of social order is still falling—but the demand for order is now rising. It is the saeculum’s hibernal, its time of trial. Nature exacts its fatal payment and pitilessly sorts out the survivors and the doomed. Pleasures recede, tempests hurt, pretense is exposed, and toughness rewarded—all in a season.”
Personally, I have grave apprehensions about the coming years. As a libertarian minded person I will not be happy, as it is highly unlikely that government will willingly get smaller. The last two Crisis periods resulted in a much more powerful Federal government. It is difficult for me to conceptualize how the country will come out the other side of this Crisis as a stronger society. The likelihood of the citizens rallying around the flag and following a Boomer Prophet into a world war seems farfetched to me. I fear the angry have-nots are more likely to rise up against the ruling elite, with potential dire consequences as the military may have to choose sides. My principal fear is that Crisis periods always rely on the Hero generation to make the greatest sacrifices. An entire generation of Heroes was wiped out in four years during the Civil War. A million Heroes were either killed or wounded in World War II. My three sons are all part of the Hero generation. I’m not prepared to sacrifice them for a cause that I do not believe in or agree with. The Boomer generation has been discredited in my eyes. Following a Boomer leader into battle seems out of the question today.
My guess on the end result of this Crisis is that Americans will need to localize. Reduced fuel availability will force people to depend on their neighbors and locally produced food. Forging closer relationships with family and neighbors will stand you in good stead during the remainder of this crisis. This Fourth Turning has only just begun. Strauss & Howe do not predict the outcome, only the challenges that await us and the hope that we will rise to the occasion.
Thus might the next Fourth Turning end in apocalypse – or glory. The nation could be ruined, its democracy destroyed, and millions of people scattered or killed. Or America could enter a new golden age, triumphantly applying shared values to improve the human condition. The rhythms of history do not reveal the outcome of the coming Crisis; all they suggest is the timing and dimension.
A Fourth Turning harnesses the seasons of life to bring about a renewal in the seasons of time. In so doing, it provides passage through the great discontinuities of history and closes the full circle of the saeculum. The Fourth Turning is when the Spirit of America reappears, rousing courage and fortitude from the people. History is seasonal, but its outcomes are not foreordained. Much will depend on how tall we stand in the trials to come.
Strauss & Howe – The Fourth Turning
Will America in 2025 look anything like the America of today? Will the country resemble a dictatorship? Will it resemble socialist Europe? Will it break apart into regions? Will it reaffirm its roots as a Constitutional Republic? Or, will it no longer exist? The choice is ours.
This is outstanding!!
Ten pro-democracy groups – Open Debates, Common Cause, Fair Vote, Judicial Watch, Democracy Matters, Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting, Rock the Debates, Personal Democracy Forum, Reclaim Democracy, and Essential Information – call on the Commission on Presidential Debates to make public the secret debate contract negotiated by the Obama and McCain campaigns.
Senator Lindsay Graham (R-SC) of the McCain campaign and Representative Rahm Emanuel (D-IL) of the Obama campaign have negotiated a detailed contract that dictates the terms of the 2008 presidential debates, including who can participate and the structure of the debate formats. The Commission on Presidential Debates, a private corporation created by the Republican and Democratic parties, has agreed to implement the debate contract. In order to shield the major party candidates from criticism, the Commission on Presidential Debates has refused to release the debate contract to the public.
“In denying voters access to critical information about our most important political forums, the Commission on Presidential Debates is more concerned with the partisan interests of the two major party candidates than the democratic interests of the voting public,” said George Farah, Executive Director of Open Debates.
“In a sound democracy, it is vital that voters have full access to information, including the rules that govern influential presidential debates, in order to hold the candidates accountable and to make informed choices,” said Bob Edgar, President of Common Cause.
A copy of the 2004 debate contract negotiated by the Bush and Kerry campaigns is available at: http://www.opendebates.org/news/documents/debateagreement.pdf
In order for your voice to be heard in this important presidential election, it is critical that this contract is made available to the general public before the debates. Here’s today’s task: Make One Very Important Phone Call!
Get your mind prepared to present a polite but well-worded message.
If the Republicans and Democrats refuse to open the presidential debates, they are nothing more than a propaganda event. Americans won’t be able to hear any alternative views on the issues facing each of us today. For your voice to be heard, it is crucial that you make this important phone call today.
The American Majority
The argument that the two parties should represent opposed ideals and policies, one, perhaps of the Right and the other of the Left, is a foolish idea acceptable only to the doctrinaire and academic thinkers. Instead the two parties should be almost identical, so that the American people can ‘throw the rascals out’ at any election without leading to any profound or extensive shifts in policy.
Carroll Quigley – Author of Tragedy & Hope
The coverage of the presidential election is designed to be a grand distraction. This is not new, but this year, it’s more so than ever.
Pretending that a true difference exists between the two major candidates is a charade of great proportion. Many who help to perpetuate this myth are frequently unaware of what they are doing and believe that significant differences actually do exist. Indeed, on small points there is the appearance of a difference. The real issues, however, are buried in a barrage of miscellaneous nonsense and endless pontifications by robotic pundits hired to perpetuate the myth of a campaign of substance.
The truth is that our two-party system offers no real choice. The real goal of the campaign is to distract people from considering the real issues.
Influential forces, the media, the government, the privileged corporations and moneyed interests see to it that both party’s candidates are acceptable, regardless of the outcome, since they will still be in charge. It’s been that way for a long time. George Wallace was not the first to recognize that there’s “not a dime’s worth of difference” between the two parties. There is, though, a difference between the two major candidates and the candidates on third-party tickets and those running as independents.
The two parties and their candidates have no real disagreements on foreign policy, monetary policy, privacy issues, or the welfare state. They both are willing to abuse the Rule of Law and ignore constitutional restraint on Executive Powers. Neither major party champions free markets and private-property ownership.
Those candidates who represent actual change or disagreement with the status quo are held in check by the two major parties in power, making it very difficult to compete in the pretend democratic process. This is done by making it difficult for third-party candidates to get on the ballots, enter into the debates, raise money, avoid being marginalized, or get fair or actual coverage. A rare celebrity or a wealthy individual can, to a degree, overcome these difficulties.
The system we have today allows a President to be elected by as little as 32% of the American people, with half of those merely voting for the “lesser of two evils”. Therefore, as little as 16% actually vote for a president. No wonder when things go wrong, anger explodes. A recent poll shows that 60% of the American people are not happy with the two major candidates this year.
This system is driven by the conviction that only a major party candidate can win. Voters become convinced that any other vote is a “wasted” vote. It’s time for that conclusion to be challenged and to recognize that the only way not to waste one’s vote is to reject the two establishment candidates and join the majority, once called silent, and allow the voices of the people to be heard.
We cannot expect withdrawal of troops from Iraq or the Middle East with either of the two major candidates. Expect continued involvement in Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Georgia. Neither hints of a non-interventionist foreign policy. Do not expect to hear the rejection of the policy of supporting the American world empire. There will be no emphasis in protecting privacy and civil liberties and the constant surveillance of the American people. Do not expect any serious attempt to curtail the rapidly expanding national debt. And certainly, there will be no hint of addressing the Federal Reserve System and its cozy relationship with big banks and international corporations and the politicians.
There is only one way that these issues can get the attention they deserve: the silent majority must become the vocal majority.
This message can be sent to our leaders by not participating in the Great Distraction—the quadrennial campaign and election of an American President without a choice. Just think of how much of an edge a Vice President has in this process, and he or she is picked by a single person—the party’s nominee. This was never intended by the Constitution.
Since a principled non-voter sends a message, we must count them and recognize the message they are sending as well. The non-voters need to hold their own “election” by starting a “League of Non-voters” and explain their principled reasons for opting out of this charade of the presidential elective process. They just might get a bigger membership than anyone would guess.
Write-in votes should not be discouraged, but the electoral officials must be held accountable and make sure the votes are counted. But one must not be naïve and believe that under today’s circumstances one has a chance of accomplishing much by a write-in campaign.
The strongest message can be sent by rejecting the two-party system, which in reality is a one-party system with no possible chance for the changes to occur which are necessary to solve our economic and foreign policy problems. This can be accomplished by voting for one of the non-establishment principled candidates—Baldwin, Barr, McKinney, Nader, and possibly others. (listed alphabetically)
Yes, these individuals do have strong philosophic disagreements on various issues, but they all stand for challenging the status quo—those special interest who control our federal government. And because of this, on the big issues of war, civil liberties, deficits, and the Federal Reserve they have much in common. People will waste their vote in voting for the lesser of two evils. That can’t be stopped overnight, but for us to have an impact we must maximize the total votes of those rejecting the two major candidates.
For me, though, my advice—for what it’s worth—is to vote! Reject the two candidates who demand perpetuation of the status quo and pick one of the alternatives that you have the greatest affinity to, based on the other issues.
A huge vote for those running on principle will be a lot more valuable by sending a message that we’ve had enough and want real change than wasting one’s vote on a supposed lesser of two evils.
RE-ELECT NOBODY! Worthy of your time and attention .. regardless of your Party Affiliation
By Charlie Reese –
Politicians are the only people in the world who create problems and then campaign against them.
Have you ever wondered why, if both the Democrats and the Republicans are against deficits, WHY do we have deficits?
Have you ever wondered why, if all the politicians are against inflation and high taxes, WHY do we have inflation and high taxes?
You and I don’t propose a federal budget. The president does.
You and I don’t have the Constitutional authority to vote on appropriations. The House of Representatives does.
You and I don’t write the tax code, Congress does.
You and I don’t set fiscal policy, Congress does.
You and I don’t control monetary policy, the Federal Reserve Bank does.
One hundred senators, 435 congressmen, one president, and nine Supreme Court justices – 545 human beings out of the 300 million – are directly, legally, morally, and individually responsible for the domestic problems that plague this country.
I excluded the members of the Federal Reserve Board because that problem was created by the Congress. In 1913, Congress delegated its Constitutional duty to provide a sound currency to a federally chartered, but private, central bank.
I excluded all the special interests and lobbyists for a sound reason. They have no legal authority. They have no ability to coerce a senator, a congressman, or a president to do one cotton-picking thing. I don’t care if they offer a politician $1 million dollars in cash. The politician has the power to accept or reject it. No matter what the lobbyist promises, it is the legislator’s responsibility to determine how he votes.
Those 545 human beings spend much of their energy convincing you that what they did is not their fault. They cooperate in this common con regardless of party.
What separates a politician from a normal human being is an excessive amount of gall. No normal human being would have the gall of a Speaker, who stood up and criticized the President for creating deficits. The president can only propose a budget. He cannot force the Congress to accept it.
The Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land, gives sole responsibility to the House of Representatives for originating and approving appropriations and taxes. Who is the speaker of the House? She is the leader of the majority party. She and fellow House members, not the president, can approve any budget they want. If the president vetoes it, they can pass it over his veto if they agree to.
It seems inconceivable to me that a nation of 300 million can not replace 545 people who stand convicted — by present facts — of incompetence and irresponsibility. I can’t think of a single domestic problem that is not traceable directly to those 545 people. When you fully grasp the plain truth that 545 people exercise the power of the federal government, then it must follow that what exists is what they want to exist.
If the tax code is unfair, it’s because they want it unfair.
If the budget is in the red, it’s because they want it in the red.
If the Army & Marines are in IRAQ , it’s because they want them in IRAQ.
If they do not receive social security but are on an elite retirement plan not available to the people, it’s because they want it that way. (No longer true since 1984.)
There are no insolvable government problems.
Do not let these 545 people shift the blame to bureaucrats, whom they hire and whose jobs they can abolish; to lobbyists, whose gifts and advice they can reject; to regulators, to whom they give the power to regulate and from whom they can take this power. Above all, do not let them con you into the belief that there exists disembodied mystical forces like ‘the economy,’ ‘inflation,’ or ‘politics’ that prevent them from doing what they take an oath to do.
Those 545 people, and they alone, are responsible.
They, and they alone, have the power.
They, and they alone, should be held accountable by the people who are their bosses –
provided the voters have the gumption to manage their own employees.
We should vote all of them out of office and clean up their mess!
Charlie Reese is a former columnist of the Orlando Sentinel Newspaper.
What you do with this article now that you have read it is up to you, though you appear to have several choices.
1. You can send this to everyone in your address book, and hope ‘they’ do something about it.
2. You can agree to ‘vote against’ everyone that is currently in office, knowing that the process will take several years.
3. You can decide to ‘run for office’ yourself and agree to do the job properly.
4. Lastly, you can sit back and do nothing, or re-elect the current bunch.
YOU DECIDE, BUT AT LEAST SEND IT TO EVERYONE IN YOUR ADDRESS BOOK, MAYBE SOMEONE IN THERE WILL DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT
This is going to be a September to remember!
As the Republican National Convention gears up to nominate a candidate at odds with so many of the party’s traditional principles, and who promises us four more years of war, inflation, and financial ruin, we’ll be holding our Rally for the Republic in neighboring Minneapolis.
On September 2nd, at the University of Minnesota’s Williams Arena, the message of freedom and the Constitution will be shouted from the rooftops. We’ll hear from top-notch speakers, musicians, and organizations who share our message. (We’ve already revealed a few of them, with many more to be announced in the coming weeks.) We’ll stand up for the principles of limited government, individual liberty, and respect for the Constitution that were once the hallmarks of the Republican Party.
And we’ll have a great time.
Our program in the Twin Cities will be unforgettable. With your help, this can be the biggest event the freedom movement has ever seen.
At the rally we’ll also officially launch the Campaign for Liberty , complete with a multimedia presentation introducing the organization and laying out our short- and long-term goals. We’ll also hold workshops on how to organize and win in your precinct, district, and state. There are no shortcuts: this is the kind of knowledge we need if we are to translate great ideas into electoral victories.
But that’s not all: we also have exciting events planned for September 1st, the day the GOP convention opens. First, Ron Paul will hold a book signing for his #1 New York Times bestseller, The Revolution: A Manifesto, at 1:00pm at a Borders bookstore on the outskirts of St. Paul (866 Rosedale Center, Roseville, Minn.). That night, as a thank-you to all those who worked so hard on the campaign, we are pleased to announce the Ron Paul Nation Celebration , a free concert by musicians who supported Ron Paul.
Next week we will debut a new website dedicated exclusively to our events in Minnesota, including logistical support, information on performers, a working schedule, and promotional items to download and distribute. We’ll let you know as soon as it’s up and running.
In short, please come to Minneapolis if you possibly can. Urge your friends and family to do the same. Be a part of the grand culmination of Ron Paul’s historic campaign, and the official launch of his new one, the Campaign for Liberty. There is no better or more dramatic way to declare that we are here to stay, that Dr. Paul’s support was no flash in the pan.
Ron Paul has made incalculable contributions to the cause of freedom, and inspired millions with his message. Will you join us in standing beside him in September, at a critical watershed for the freedom movement?
The Campaign for Liberty Team
P.S. With the two major-party nominees rattling sabers at Iran and making phony promises with money that doesn’t exist, our message of peace and freedom needs a high-profile boost more than ever. Come to Minneapolis, and let’s make it happen!
P.P.S. We want to reach 100,000 members of the Campaign for Liberty by September. Can you lend a hand by signing up one friend or family member by the end of the week?
If you don’t learn from your past mistakes, you are doomed to repeat them. Some people do the same thing over and over again, but yet never do anything about the source of “why” they are doing them.
So guess, what, they will repeat them.
Now, keeping those quotes in mind, consider this…
- Huge expenditures from a massively expensive war are coming home to roost.
- The U.S. economy and stock market are stalling; unemployment is rising.
- In an attempt to pull the economy out of its funk, Washington is printing money like there’s no tomorrow.
- Inflation – our cost of living – has begun rising.
- Oil and gasoline prices are at all-time highs.
- Food and raw materials are in increasingly short supply and prices are soaring worldwide.
- Gold and silver prices are on a tear.
- Congress is already controlled by the Democrats and voters are set to throw the Republicans out of the White House.
Have I left anything out?
Wait. You think I’m talking about TODAY’S headlines?
Sorry. No. I was reading the above headlines 30 years ago – in the mid-1970s!