Great Graphs: Understanding where we are, how we got here and where we are going – Suicide is painless

SUICIDE IS PAINLESS (Featured Article)

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Everyone has watched one of the best TV series of all-time – M*A*S*H. You also know the tune that played during the opening credits as helicopters delivered wounded soldiers to the 4077 Mobile Army Surgical Unit. Most people have never heard the lyrics that go with the music. The song is Suicide is Painless and the lyrics were sung during the  M*A*S*H  Movie. As I watched the movie a few weeks ago, the lyrics struck home. Our country has been slowly committing suicide for the last 40 years. The movie and TV series were set during the Korean War. It is fitting that military spending is one of the major causes of our suicide as a nation. On an inflation adjusted basis, the US has doubled spending on Defense since 1962. It is on course to rise another 20% in the next four years. Dwight D. Eisenhower warned us about the military industrial complex in 1961:

“In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.”

The fact that the US currently spends 7 times as much on Defense as the next nearest country is proof that the military industrial complex has gained unwarranted influence and a disastrous rise of misplaced power has occurred.

U.S. DEFENSE SPENDING

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When you critically analyze why we would need to spend 7 times as much as China on military when there is no country on earth that can challenge us, the answer can only be OIL. Our own military came to the following chilling conclusion in their Joint Operating Environment report, issued earlier this year:

By 2012, surplus oil production capacity could entirely disappear, and as early as 2015, the shortfall in output could reach nearly 10 MBD.

A severe energy crunch is inevitable without a massive expansion of production and refining capacity. While it is difficult to predict precisely what economic, political, and strategic effects such a shortfall might produce, it surely would reduce the prospects for growth in both the developing and developed worlds. Such an economic slowdown would exacerbate other unresolved tensions, push fragile and failing states further down the path toward collapse, and perhaps have serious economic impact on both China and India. At best, it would lead to periods of harsh economic adjustment. To what extent conservation measures, investments in alternative energy production, and efforts to expand petroleum production from tar sands and shale would mitigate such a period of adjustment is difficult to predict. One should not forget that the Great Depression spawned a number of totalitarian regimes that sought economic prosperity for their nations by ruthless conquest.

The U.S. military knows we are on the verge of an oil crisis. There are no new supplies ready to come on line before 2015. The President and his advisors know that an oil crisis is in our immediate future. We have military bases in Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Kuwait. We have active fighting forces in Afghanistan and Pakistan. We have a naval armada of aircraft carriers in the Persian Gulf. Our forces completely encircle Iran. Is this a coincidence when the countries with the largest oil reserves in the world are noted?

  1. Saudi Arabia – 262 billion barrels
  2. Iran – 133 billion barrels
  3. Iraq – 112 billion barrels
  4. Kuwait – 97 billion barrels

The war on terror is a cover for access to the hundreds of billions of barrels of oil in the Middle East. A 10 million barrel per day shortfall by 2015 would be disastrous for a country that consumes 25% of all the oil in the world. Our hyper-consumer society is like a drug addict, dependent on its oil fix. If we are denied oil for even one day, the withdrawal symptoms would be traumatic and harrowing.

There are 255 million passenger vehicles in the U.S. Our society will collapse within weeks without a sufficient supply of oil. The average American’s only concern about oil is when they get a card in the mail from Jiffy Lube telling them it is time for their 5,000 mile oil change. They stick a hose in their gas tank and fluid pours out, allowing them to motor freely around mall dotted suburbia. Within five years they will be paying over $5 per gallon for this fluid or they will be waiting in lines for three hours to get 10 gallons of that precious fluid. Peak cheap oil has been predictable for decades. The Department of Energy was created 31 years ago. Preparing for peak cheap oil would have required some pain, sacrifice and forethought. But, suicide is painless.

Visions of Things To Be

Through early morning fog I see
visions of the things to be
the pains that are withheld for me
I realize and I can see…

That suicide is painless
It brings on many changes
and I can take or leave it if I please.

Suicide is Painless – M.A.S.H. Movie

As I peer through the fog and attempt to see visions of things to be, I see nothing but pain ahead. Anyone who can look at the following chart and not conclude that there is much pain ahead for this country is either a Goldman Sachs banker, a Federal Reserve Governor, or a bought off politician in Washington DC. It is no coincidence that after Richard Nixon closed the gold window in 1971 and allowed the Federal Reserve to “manage” our economy that total debt outstanding in the US surged from $2 trillion to over $50 trillion. GDP has risen by 1,300% since 1971, while total US debt has risen by 2,600%. Now for the kicker. Real GDP has only gone up by 292% since 1971. This means that 1,000% of the increase in GDP was from Federal Reserve created inflation. Over this same time frame, real wages have declined by 6%, from $318 per week in 1971 to $299 per week today. Inflation has been the American drug of choice to commit suicide over the last 40 years. It is stealthy, seemingly painless, and deadly.

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Inflation is the “painless” method through which the Federal Reserve has decided this country will commit suicide. It is like turning on the car in the garage and letting the carbon monoxide slowly put you to sleep. The ruling elite are content that the American public is dumbed down by the government run public schools. They count on the fact that 9 out of 10 Americans do not understand inflation. It is an insidious scheme of robbing the working middle class and funneling it to the Wall Street/K Street ruling class. The Federal Reserve has gotten bolder in the last few years as they realized the public doesn’t understand or care what they do. Bernanke has relished in the mainstream media adulation that he saved the world with his printing press in 2008/2009. Even though critical thinkers know for a fact that it was Federal Reserve policies that created the worldwide financial conflagration in the first place, the corporate mainstream media and the Wall Street beneficiaries have been cheerleaders of Easy Al and Helicopter Ben. These men are traitors. They have purposefully impoverished senior citizens and the working middle class in order to enrich their ruling elite masters on Wall Street and in Washington DC.

Ben Bernanke on Wednesday afternoon will announce Quantitative Easing Part Deux. This is a fancy name for Ben printing $1 trillion out of thin air, buying US Treasuries and/or more toxic mortgage securities and artificially lowering interest rates to convince Americans to spend money they don’t have. Jeremy Grantham, in his recent quarterly letter, issues a scathing indictment of Bernanke’s methods:

“For all of us, unfortunately, there is still a further great disadvantage attached to the Fed Manipulated Prices. When rates are artificially low, income is moved away from savers, or holders of government and other debt, toward borrowers. Today, this means less income for retirees and near-retirees with conservative portfolios, and more profit opportunities for the financial industry; hedge funds can leverage cheaply and banks can borrow from the government and lend out at higher prices or even, perish the thought, pay out higher bonuses. This is the problem: there are more retirees and near retirees now than ever before, and they tend to consume all of their investment income. With artificially low rates, theirconsumption really drops. The offsetting benefits, mainly shown in dramatically recovered financial profits despite low levels of economic activity, flow to a considerable degree to rich individuals with much lower propensities to consume.”

The ruling elite in Washington DC and Wall Street decided that fraud, misinformation and cooking the books was preferable to the pain of honesty, orderly bankruptcy, and assets valued at their true worth. Ben Bernanke ”saved the world” by putting the taxpayer on the hook for $1.5 trillion of toxic mortgage garbage he bought from his masters on Wall Street. John Hussman describes the decision to choose painless suicide over choosing painful medicine to cure our disease:

“Over the short run, two policies have been primarily responsible for successfully kicking the can down the road following the recent financial crisis. The first was the…..

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