International Forecaster Weekly

Thoughts on the End of Civilization

As a market forecaster, as someone that attempts to connect the dots and create a picture out of the results, I don’t much like being wrong. But this time I desperately want to be wrong.

James Corbett | August 20, 2016

And on the pedestal, these words appear:

My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings;

Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!

Nothing beside remains. Round the decay

Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare

The lone and level sands stretch far away.

     -Percy Bysshe Shelley, "Ozymandias"


Horace's carpe diem. Herrick's "To the Virgins." Service's "It Is Later Than You Think." There is no shortage of poetic reminders that time is fleeting and death is just around the corner.

But for my money Shelley's "Ozymandias" has always been the most evocative. The contrast between Ramesses II's words, inscribed in the pedestal for posterity, and his works themselves, lost forever to the sands of time, has captured my imagination ever since I first read the poem as a schoolboy. It is awesome (in the formal dictionary sense) to think of the wonders of a once-great civilization reduced to nothing but faded inscriptions on relics in the empty desert.

But it was only recently that I read Horace Smith's "Ozymandias." Smith was Shelley's (financier) friend, and in 1817 it was announced that the British Museum had acquired a large fragment of a statue of Ramesses II (the Younger Memnon which resides in the British Museum to this day). Hearing of the news, so the story goes, the two set upon a friendly competition to write a poem on the same theme with the same title. Shelley's poem is widely known, but Smith's poem, though less skillful, is even more explicit in identifying the angst we feel when contemplating these old relics.

Also written as a sonnet, but with a more traditional rhyme scheme and structure than Shelley's, Smith's closing sestet is particularly apt:


"We wonder,—and some Hunter may express

Wonder like ours, when thro' the wilderness

Where London stood, holding the Wolf in chace,

He meets some fragment huge, and stops to guess

What powerful but unrecorded race

Once dwelt in that annihilated place."


I imagine we have all daydreamed of an intrepid archaeologist of some future generation uncovering the relics and debris of our own civilization, puzzling over the function of a lifeless iPad or broken TV. Or, more likely, a mysteriously un-degraded McDonald's "hamburger" nestled in its original wrapping. But those thoughts must be particularly acute at this moment of world historical transition.

But our dis-ease does not come from the vertigo we feel when peering over the economic precipice that makes us think this way The punch bowl economy of the never ending stimulus and funny money bubble that has kept the economy afloat for the past eight years is the inevitable consequence of the powers-that-shouldn't-be's decision to not let the housing bubble (and the derivatives bubble that it underwrote) truly pop. Now Japan is circling the drain, Europe is not far behind and the "Everything is Awesome!" train has pulled into a station not seen since 1999 (i.e. the very end of the tech bubble).

Nor does it come from the transformation of the political landscape in recent years, though there is that, too. The seemingly fixed-in-stone nature of America's Republocrat/Democan system has been called into question by profound shifts in public opinion and outright voter revolts on both the left and the right (exactly as I pointed out years ago). This has led us to a Republican party elite uniting against its own presidential nominee and a mass of Democrats who hate their candidate so much they have pledged not to vote for her. Meanwhile in Europe politicians like Merkel who were so recently hailed as the "greatest leader in the world" are now openly despised, and the EU itself is now being openly called into question.

It is not even the socio-cultural turmoil that has led us to the summer of rage and the migrant crisis that disquiets us so. As I've been noting for the past year now, the divide-and-conquer of neighbor vs. neighbor which is being fomented from the top is beginning to tear apart our society. And as the fans are flamed the possibility of civil war in the metaphorical and all-too-literal sense becomes more and more likely.

No, none of these worrying trends by themselves makes us dwell on the end of Pax Americana and the end of this era of civilization. It is the fact that all of these problems converge on one (phony) solution: war.

War, we are told, can solve all our economic problems. Of course, this is a lie based on the worst kind of fallacious broken window thinking, but it is a popular and reassuring one.

War, we are told, is the answer to the political "gridlock" that people have been taught to complain about (without realizing that gridlock is the second best thing that could happen to our would-be ruling class). It will unite the nation around our valiant troops as they go off to conquer foreign lands.

War, we are led to believe, is the only way to resolve our social and cultural differences. The strong will conquer the weak and impose their order upon society in an unwitting mimicry of the way the ruling parasites conquer the rest of humanity and impose their order out of chaos.

And so, as if on cue, the drums of war start beating louder and louder once again. Battle lines begin to form and the world holds its collective breath. People console themselves with the idea that this is just a game, a ruse like the last big standoff. And maybe it is. But the doubt remains.

Of course we know war is not the answer. We know that in that direction only destruction lay. Not just destruction of so many countless scores of innocent lives, but, taken to its logical conclusion, the destruction of our civilization. The end of life as we have known it.

This is the feeling that is evoked by the viewing of Ozymandias' inscription. It does not even rise to the level of pity. It is disgust and anguish at all that could have been, but was so uselessly frittered away. All to slake the egos of bloodthirsty tyrants.

And for us here at the bottom of the power pyramid, all of this looks like it is taking place on some distant stage. Like the shadows on the cave wall that can only be seen and observed, but never changed.

Some cling to the brittle hope that the future archaeologists digging up the charred remains of a Chrysler minivan from under the nuclear rubble of Old New York will, in that moment of wonder, learn the lessons that we should have learned from Ozymandias.

But I? I console myself with a different thought: that of Ozymandias' slaves refusing to serve, all en masse.

Seize the day, my friends, before it seizes you.

What’s coming?

Every day there’s some new, strange situation for us to chew on. Make NO mistake folks, this election is the single biggest election of our lives. How can I say that? Easy. Look at the rabid way they’re trying to push Hillary into the White house. Look at the way they’re burying the Email scandal, and the Clinton Foundation scandal. Look at the way they’re vilifying Trump for every word the man says. This is out and out war like we’ve never seen.

They’ve dredged up any and everyone that sounds important to discredit Trump. Old retired Generals saying he’s not stable enough to command the Military. Old ridiculous economists that can’t predict day to day economic reports that say his plans will destroy the country. On and on it goes, and with a volume that NO ONE has ever seen before.

When that many high level people are in a panic, you know the Dark state is agitated. They know that a true investigation into the Clinton Foundation would spread to hundreds if not thousands of the worlds power players. Sunshine would be turned on in the dark closets. Skeletons that are never to see the light of day would emerge. Heads would roll. Important heads. Rich heads. Power heads.

Something is coming. I don’t know what. You can almost feel it. From this very moment until February, I think there’s the chance for a very significant event to take place. But what is it? Will NATO spark the war with Russia they apparently want? Now that China is involved in the Syrian situation, will something happen there that drags us into a shooting war with China AND Russia? Will some “test” go wrong in the South China Sea, and we have a Naval war there? Is someone going to try and assassinate Trump? Is Hillary going to be found medically unable to be President? Are the bankers going to implode world markets and create chaos? I could go on and on. But if you’re truly honest with yourself, you too feel it.

I asked some friends an interesting question the other day. What happens if Hillary is elected, but between November and the actual inauguration, her medical team declares that she’s got some brain clot troubles and can’t take the pressure of being President. What would happen? Technically she’s not President because she hasn’t been sworn in. They can’t appoint Keane as he to never got inaugurated. What the hell would happen? No one I know knows. It certainly doesn’t seem to have happened before.

Would Obama be able to just say “Stop the presses! in times of uncertainty, the standing President has the power to remain in office”. Could be. Likewise it is a FACT that if we were to go into a hot war with say Russia, the law allows for the Standing President to remain President. Could that be why NATO has pushed weapons to the very door step of Russia, almost provoking them with a “what are ya gunna do about it?” Could be.

The Alternative space went nuts a few days ago when it was discovered that Obama had signed some Executive orders concerning the Treasury. Executive Order -- Providing an Order of Succession within the Department of the Treasury. This can be found right here at the White house web site….

Here’s the important part…

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including the Federal Vacancies Reform Act of 1998, as amended, 5 U.S.C. 3345 et seq. (the "Act"), it is hereby ordered that:

Section 1. Subject to the provisions of section 3 of this Executive Order, the officers named in section 2, in the order listed, shall act as and perform the functions and duties of the office of Secretary of the Treasury (Secretary) during any period when both the Secretary and the Deputy Secretary of the Treasury have died, resigned, or are otherwise unable to perform the functions and duties of the office of Secretary.

Sec. 2. Order of Succession.

(a) Under Secretaries of the Treasury, in the order in which they shall have taken the oath of office as such officers;

(b) General Counsel of the Department of the Treasury;

c) Deputy Under Secretaries of the Treasury and those Assistant Secretaries of the Treasury appointed by the President by and with the consent of the Senate, in the order in which they shall have taken the oath of office as such officers; and

(d) the following officers of the Department of the Treasury, in the order listed:

(i) Chief of Staff;

(ii) Assistant Secretary for Management;

(iii) Fiscal Assistant Secretary;

(iv) Commissioner of Internal Revenue, Internal Revenue Service;

(v) Commissioner, Bureau of the Fiscal Service

(vi) Deputy Commissioner, Fiscal Accounting and Shared Services, Bureau of the Fiscal Service; and

(vii) Commissioner, Wage and Investment Division, Internal Revenue Service.

Notice the area I highlighted in black. “have died, resigned or are otherwise unable to perform the functions….” What’s up with that? Why is this Lame Duck President, who can’t take time off the golf course to go visit those suffering people down in Louisiana, taking time to sign out an EO outlining who would be in charge if the Treasurer were to quit, or die?

It’s a damn good question isn’t it? Indeed. Maybe especially in light of the fact that on May 6th Obama signed an executive order concerning the Facilitation of a Presidential Transition…..

So again I ask… what’s up with that? There was already a transition rule in place, why another EO? Why the new rules of the Treasury succession? Are they setting up for some type of big event coming our way, an event that might see our current Treasury step down for some reason?

I don’t know. What I do know is that Soros has been hacked and sure enough he’s been found to have given Al Gore millions to push global warming, he’s pushed Obama to accept 100K refugee’s, he’s been found to have been playing in virtually every major Government. I know that Hillary’s Clinton foundation has been behind a lot of “pay to play” concerning some very big name people. I know the DNC Email hack showed in all its glory how they rigged the Primary for Hillary. I also know…Trump has disrupted their nice quiet scams and they’re going to fight back. Hard and dirty.

As a market forecaster, as someone that attempts to connect the dots and create a picture out of the results, I don’t much like being wrong. But this time I desperately want to be wrong. I don’t want a war, I don’t want some “big time” event taking place, because the things that could happen will affect each and every one of you.

Maybe I’m just being paranoid? I guess it’s possible. But you have to admit, with all the hacking, with the war drums beating, with Hillary’s health exposed, with the Media’s attempt to portray Trump as a goof ball and discredit his every move, while at the same time trying to stir up racial unrest, with these weird Executive Orders, with the Iran “ransome” money, etc. etc. etc…. there’s a lot of dots out there.

I don’t think that it’s a bad idea to do some preparing. That’s both emergency ( Like hurricane preparedness) and financially. I think that we’ll chat a bit about that on Wednesday, because if there was ever a time to be prepared for “something”, these next 3 – 7 months are it. Stay tuned.