Oil & The Economy Collide

“There are too many ugly balance sheets,” warns one energy industry analyst, adding simply that “the group is not positioned for this downturn.” While the mainstream media continues to chant the happy-clappy side of lower oil prices, spewing various statistics about how the down-side of low oil prices is contained and the huge colossal massive tax cut means everything is awesome for America, the data – and now actions – do not bear this out.” – Zero Hedge

We all knew oil was an Achilles Hell. We all knew the economy was an Achilles Heel. Funny how we now see the two colliding. The currency war is really starting to come out of the shadows now.

The Federal Government Hopes You Get The Message

The FBI is asking for the public’s help identifying individuals who have traveled—or are planning to travel—overseas to engage in combat alongside terrorist organizations.” – FBI

It’s amazing that the Feds – using their vast domestic surveillance network – don’t already know this guy’s identity.

It’s even more amazing that they are asking the American people to listen to this ISIS propaganda video. It’s almost like leveraging the enemy’s propaganda for your own.

No matter the case, the American people have now heard the message, these Islamic State militants hate Americans and want to kill all infidels – yeah that’s you and me.

Side note: What most may miss is that this unidentified North American islamic terrorist says these men digging their own graves are Bashar al-Assad‘s men – you know the same president of Syria that the U.S. Government wants dead, or at least swapped out as president of Syria for a more western friendly politician. Ironic huh? ISIS is fighting Assad, America wants Assad gone and is openly funding the moderate opposition. So on one hand we are fighting the same people as ISIS while threatening a 30-year war with ISIS.

Looking past the basic fear mongering of using ISIS propaganda for our own and to help build the justification for multi-decade war – read closer between the lines. There is the very real possibility that these empty threats are not so empty. Maybe these psychopaths are headed here to take some heads too. It would be a savvy military strategy to destabilize the enemy – one that’s been very effective for American interests since World War II.

All I’m saying is… take these media stories with a big fat grain of salt, then look for the actionable hedge against the risk that might be on the table.

The trends I keep hearing, and boiling out of the sludge is that destabilization of America is on the horizon. It could come from Ebola, ISIS, an extended war in the Middle East, or even a confrontation with China or Russia. Who knows what combinations of things could come down the pike – but at the end of the day it doesn’t matter because the net effect is the same… destabilization.

What to do?

The real question we should be asking ourselves is… are we each prepared mentally, physically, and logistically for destabilization?

I think the cumulative answer to that question is a big fat NO, which sadly makes destabilization more likely.

So if you’re thinking what I’m thinking now is the time to get our heads strait, then build backup plans for riding through a storm.

How Can We (The People) Stop This New War?

I’m at a loss. Our government seems hell bent on destroying the Middle East. Logic tells us that they know this will inevitably cause a backlash on U.S. Soil. So does that mean they want war on U.S. soil?

The pessimist in me tells me that the events unfolding today are more like dominos falling at this point. In other words shear momentum is carrying this forward and there is probably not much that can be done to stop it from toppling that last domino.

The optimist in me hopes that the people of the world, who mostly don’t want war at any time, will raise their voices loud enough to stop this chain reaction.

Update: Seems the video I linked to has been made private.


Loving CodePink

A protestor with the organization CodePink demonstrates as US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel testifies on US policy towards Iraq and Syria and the threat posed by the Islamic State (IS) during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, September 16, 2014. (Photo: SAUL LOEB AFP/Getty Images)” – WTSP.com

Nice to see such public protests to this war. Learn more about CodePink.

Here’s the Trigger, Now Where Is That Finger to Pull It?

President Obama’s top military adviser said Tuesday that he would recommend deploying United States forces in ground operations against Islamic extremists in Iraq if airstrikes proved insufficient, opening the door to a riskier, more expansive American combat role than the president has publicly outlined.” – NYTimes.com

This is all playing out like a bad movie. It’s so easy to predict the next plot twist in a bad movie, isn’t it? But we like the suspense and surprise don’t we?

Perpetual War

As Senator Carl Levin lays out in plain language in this video, that these terrorist groups did not exists before America invaded Iraq in 2003. These terrorist groups grew out of a response to American military presence in Iraq. So ironically the proposed solution to this problem is to pour gas on the fire.

In other words, as far as the terror groups are concerned, they have united to retake their lands from foreign invasion. That’s how they see it. As more fuel – weapons, airstrikes, foreign intervention – are dumped on this fire, won’t it only polarize their beliefs and rally more support? Yes.

What’s the alternative? Unfortunately this chain reaction is probably unstoppable at this late stage. There were probably points in time when it could be stopped, but at this point war will probably only escalate. An attack on U.S. soil – especially today, the 13th anniversary of 9/11 – would only seal this fate.

What to do?

  1. Recognize that perpetual war on the table and that it could come to American soil.
  2. Hedge against the risk of destabilization in America if ISIS uses that tool against us.
  3. Big wars end badly. Since this war will be fought over ideas – some religious, some socioeconomic, some political – it will only be won only when one side has been pounded into the ground. While that may be the fate of the people of the Islamic State, it may not come without wounds on both sides.
  4. War is like a fire, watch for its spread to measure risk. The tensions in the Middle East and Ukraine look like they have the potential for military fronts for America. We’re not exactly friends with the Russians anymore.
  5. Hedge against impacts to the dollar. The BRICS are making huge headway in uniting economically and moving away from the U.S. Dollar. A new war in the Middle East will cost America incredible amounts of money. The undermining of the Dollar by the BRICS and the added costs result in a strain on the Dollar. It’s simple math.

What’s interesting about the questions coming from the audience in the video above, is that they all speak to looking for ways of defusing this situation. This is refreshing to see that not everyone is banging on war drums. Maybe there is hope, but just to be safe, prepare for perpetual war.


U.S. Strikes Move West Toward Syria

The U.S. military took a unilateral giant step toward bombing targets inside Syria over the weekend as it swung its crosshairs west and began bombing Islamic militants in the western Iraq province that borders Bashar al-Assad’s war-ravaged country.” – TIME

Obama seemed to convey weakness (could also call it careful thoughtfulness) on Face the Nation this weekend – and then we get this news of airstrikes inside Syria. This is not going to end well.

Photo via LA Times.

The Acquisition Paradigm Ends When We Run Out of Things to Acquire

Of course, The Fed can just print some more oil or gold or uranium, right?” – Zero Hedge

This chart shows the reality of real resources, as opposed to things like paper money. It may also indirectly explain the war drums and why the BRICS are such a huge risk to western powers. You see the Eastern powers get it, and they get that we’re in our eyeballs up to debt – teetering on system failure. The West knows the East knows it – hence the chess game or currency & proxy wars we’ve seen so far.

What to Do?

  1. Build hedges to the risk of collapse. It may happen soon, or never, but it’s on the table. Some say this is silver & gold, others say it’s real estate, survivalists say it’s guns & ammo and a bunker in the woods… you decide what’s right for you.
  2. Consider placing balance over acquisition on your list of priorities. You may think this sounds like the hippie-dippie route, but then I’m so liberal some people sometimes think I’m conservative. Actually I think there’s a full circle there that the man behind the curtain doesn’t want you to see – so shhhhhh. (hint: left-right paradigm is a head trip)
  3. Prepare you mind for change… it’s the new normal.
  4. Consider building alternative income sources based on the value of your contribution to society. I’ll write more about this soon… but the short version is… think different about making money, avoid selling your time, and make it easy for other people to learn what you know to generate passive income. How’s that for a teaser?



Balance over Acquisition

In 2007 I woke up. I remember the exact moment. I was driving to work on a 100 mile commute and was stuck in traffic. The weight of mortgage debt and a crashing real estate market is what shook me from a deep sleep induced by a version of The American Dream.

Since then I’ve been processing, like an old CPU on limited RAM, but I think I’ve come up with a few answers. Not surprisingly the tiny house movement has been a strong force in shifting my thinking.

The American Dream is a convoluted thing, kind of like Christmas. At one time Christmas was about celebrating the birth of Christ, and for some people it might still be that. But for most Americans it’s about celebrating consumerism. The American Dream used to be about earning the freedom to make your own way and succeed – but now many people seem to think they are entitled to a lavish lifestyle built on debt.

The source of the transmutation stems from our prioritization of acquisition over all other things, especially balance. When people make acquisition their top priority they may become rich or terribly indebted, but they miss out on many more important things in life.

They also put themselves and their community at risk. Imagine if everyone busied themselves with acquiring all they could, and few focused on finding a true balance between themselves, the people around them, and the natural environment. Wouldn’t that society as a whole eventually fail?

Native Americans have many stories about greed and how it destroys. The wisdom in stories like these should not be overlooked because they are some of the only windows into our past that teaches what it truly means to live sustainably. Balance, giving, generosity, fairness are values these ancient and long-lived cultures held dear.

Other teachers of the harsh reality of greed can be in historic accounts of civilization collapse. The pattern seems to be that a civilization collapses when people collectively exceed their support system. Collapse also seems to come suddenly due to an environmental or human-made calamity.

Today we live in such a situation, and I think that’s the key motivator for war. It’s clear as day that the U.S. Government wants a global war to protect American National Security. In other words, they know our civilization is overextended and loosing its support system. Evidence of this is everywhere.

  • Economic Stimulus – The Federal Reserve’s economic policies of low interest rates and quantitative easing show that the U.S. Dollar needs propping up.
  • The constant drums for war from Washington D.C. and the funding of destabilization around the world create more wars.
  • The division forming between East & West.
  • The drive to centralize power, as opposed to decentralizing, shows a tightening fist of control.
  • Estimates that 1/3 of Americans are on some sort of financial assistance.

While many people focus on the symptoms, but I’ve learned to target the cause, which is how I landed on this whole Balance over Acquisition thing.

If we value balance over acquisition we still can find ways of making a living and making dreams come true, but we carefully maintain an equilibrium so as not to get too reliant on one thing. In other words, we adopt a diverse set of top priorities that we work to maintain in balance.

These could be things like family, work, education, travel/exploring, health, community participation, and so on. Many people already do this, although I’d argue to make things work in our society we all have to put the acquisition of money ahead of other things more often than we’d like.

If we extend this kind of thinking to our natural environment, resources, and consumption we then become a more stable part of our larger community. If the majority of people adopt balance over acquisition we build a stronger more lasting society.

But it would not be built to grow as fast as a society build on acquisition – which is what we’ve all become so accustomed to. Fossil fuels and technology have turned a little bit of greed into an enormous war machine capable of consuming vast resources. But it’s not built to last. It’s built to grow exponentially.

So when it runs low of fuel, like we are at this very moment, those best at acquiring pull out all the stops to avoid seeing all they have built disappear. This is the real reason for this coming war.

What to Do?

I’ve just described the problem, a solution, but no bridge to get there. Unfortunately I don’t think Americans want to wake-up, and can’t imagine the world moving at a slower pace. So attempting to wake people up is a bit of a challenge. A war would wake them up, but would refocus their attention on the need to acquire more to save their acquisition paradigm.

When this happens, it’s going to be a huge mess, and probably a dangerous time to be alive. If you are awake and open minded enough to consider that our civilization is overextended and fragile, consider building a bridge.

If some sort of collapse occurs many people will succumb to the torrent simply due to their unwillingness to see what is before their eyes. Others will react violently and grab what they can. Or maybe the current paradigm will continue through successful war after successful war.

In any event, your open mind and ability to adapt will be your guide through all challenges that come.


President Petro Poroshenko Portrays a Prime Puppet

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said Saturday his country is “very close to the point of no return” in its conflict with Russia, a point he defined as “full-scale war.” – CBC News

It’s like watching dominos fall. The West wants war so backs coup in Ukraine, and fuels proxy war with Russia. When it goes hot between Ukraine and Russia, NATO and the USA will join the fight and we’ll essentially be at war with Russia. Then watch the world will be forced to take sides divided East & West. The only question left is… will the Islamic State launch their strike on the USA before or after the Ukraine Russia war goes hot.

I sure do hope I’m wrong, but like I said, these events sure look like dominos and the momentum is strong.