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The Day(s) America Died

The User's Profile Phil Denniston August 18, 2022
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Following our favorite alarmist and Info Scout, Dr. Chris Martenson, since 2008, you’d think I’d have crisis fatigue. But I sleep better, with less anxiety, when I know what Chris is thinking. Being early allows the PP tribe to prepare, predict and even profit. When COVID hit, the shelves in our home were well stocked […]

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Following our favorite alarmist and Info Scout, Dr. Chris Martenson, since 2008, you’d think I’d have crisis fatigue. But I sleep better, with less anxiety, when I know what Chris is thinking.

Being early allows the PP tribe to prepare, predict and even profit. When COVID hit, the shelves in our home were well stocked before the shortages. We had N95’s when no one else could get them.

The blow was further lessoned by a well-timed, highly speculative trade that rang the cash registers in our brokerage account. Thanks to Chris’ reporting, we knew what was coming long before the markets got a sense for it. My family watched his videos nightly, then talked strategy.

On Valentine’s Day 2020, I bought call options on the Volatility Index with March and April expirations. Unless you can predict the apocalypse with precise timing, this is akin to lighting your money on fire.

Note: Never, ever buy calls on the VIX.

Here is what happened next:

This unique set of circumstances – using an R-naught for COVID to predict market response precisely – was such a win, there were a few days while the world gripped fear that I was borderline giddy.

To be fair – and completely honest – I’ve had a lot of similar trades go to zero over the years. When I started reading Chris (and others like him), I was ready to short the whole godawful system, and did for a while, fighting a relentless Fed spraying credit from their money bazooka.

Once you realize collapse is inevitable – there is no “get-out-of-jail-free card”, only massive depression or hyperinflation, two sides to the same coin – the first mistake is to assume it’s imminent.

When everyone else sees what I do, it’s game over…

But everyone doesn’t see it all at once, and most still don’t see it at all. Call it a gradual awakening for some of us, while most remain dutifully plugged into the Matrix.

So, how will the world end? Not with a bang, but a whimper? Slowly at first, then all at once?

References to the great T.S. Elliot and Ernest Hemingway aside, Chris made an analogy a dozen years ago that stuck with me. It’s like a bowling ball trundling down a long, uneven staircase:

May 13, 2010 –,

I’ve got that sinking feeling…

My view of how all this is going to play out is heavily weighted towards the idea that we’ll traverse our way to a much poorer future through a series of short, sharp shocks, each followed by a period relative tranquility, if not a buoyant sense of recovery. Think of it as a bowling ball rolling down a staircase of irregular depth and rise. Clunk…clunk…….CLUNK….Clunk…. My sense is that we are at the lip of the next stair tread, ready to take another drop. Of course, it is also possible that the bowling ball might fall down a very big stair tread threatening the worst sort of disaster of them all: systemic breakdown.

America, the beautiful?

I spent 4th of July in a very small town (population 2,500) in the Eagle Ford shale region of Texas, visiting family three hours south of our primary home in Austin. Shopping for food at a local store, we overheard the clerks, two women in their late 30s, conversing about the holiday.

“I used to go all out celebrate Independence Day. It was my favorite day of the year. But my heart isn’t in it anymore. The direction this country has gone, it doesn’t feel like there’s anything left to celebrate.”

Those comments now resonate with most of the country, if you use Biden’s approval rating (28%), or American’s response to the question “Is the country headed in the right direction?”

June 30, 2022 – CNN
Polls find majority of Americans say country is heading in wrong direction
The vast majority of Americans across party lines are unhappy with the state of the US, a new set of polling finds. In an AP-NORC survey released Wednesday, 85% of US adults say that things in the country are headed in the wrong direction, with just 14% believing things are going in the right direction. That’s a more pessimistic reading than in May, when 78% said things were headed the wrong way and 21% that things were generally moving in the right direction. Currently, both 92% of Republicans and 78% of Democrats are dissatisfied with the direction of the country – the highest number among Democrats since President Joe Biden took office last year. Only 20% of Americans describe the nation’s economy as good, with 79% calling it poor, according to the AP-NORC poll. This sentiment, too, is relatively bipartisan, with both 90% of Republicans and 67% of Democrats describing the economy as poor.

This encounter got me thinking – on July 4th, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was ratified by the Second Continental Congress, and that’s as good as any for the day America was born. On what day, then, for these two clerks in smalltown Texas – no doubt raised on Stars and Stripes, Friday Night Lights, purple mountain majesties and amber waves of grain – did America die?

Perhaps it wasn’t a bang, but a whimper. The lights went out slowly at first, then all at once.

Some days in recent past that America died

Symbolic, not exhaustive, on these days in our 21st Century, America began her dying.

The dots go back much further – August 15, 1971 (closing of the gold window), November 22, 1963 (JFK assassination), December 23, 1913 (signing of the Federal Reserve Act), to name some big ones – but instead we’ll soon turn ahead to what days to watch for in the future.

Like a bowling ball trundling down a stepped veranda, each was another clunk on the shuttering of our values… Western values, American values. Feel free to add other dates in the comments.

July 1, 2022

Self-defense – clearly the right of every free citizen – took another hit when Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg choose to charge 61-year-old bodega worker Jose Alba with 2nd degree murder.

July 8, 2022 – Reason
Charging a Bodega Worker Who Stabbed His Attacker Isn’t Criminal Justice Reform
The man’s alleged crime: defending himself against an irate customer who had attacked him behind the cashier’s counter. Around 11 p.m. on July 1, 35-year-old Austin Simon entered the convenience store to confront the clerk, Jose Alba, after Simon’s partner’s payment declined to go through for a bag of chips. Simon then came around the counter to Alba’s workstation, at which point he shoved him, hovered over him, and appeared to try to drag him out from behind the cash register. As the latter took place, security footage shows Alba grabbing a knife and stabbing Simon, who was out on parole after assaulting a police officer. Simon later died from his injuries. Alba has since been charged with second-degree murder and criminal possession of a weapon.

What kind of society do we live in where this man would be charged as a criminal, sent up to Riker’s Island?

Where does that lead? What do our cities look like, if bodega clerks working the night shift cannot defend themselves, and cannot legally keep a knife on hand for that purpose?

Jose Alba should be applauded for defending his person. Anyone stupid and entitled enough to encroach on another American as Simon did should expect to get shot, stabbed, or knuckled down.

This act by the D.A. is a continuation of the madness in the Rittenhouse trial, prosecutors attempting to strip us of our right to self-defense, suggesting Kyle should have taken the beating he had coming.

The right to self-defense is as American as apple pie, and it’s under assault. If Kyle Rittenhouse were convicted, it would have been the final blow. Let’s pray Alba is similarly acquitted.

Note: Thankfully, charges were dropped on July 19, 2022.

May 24, 2022

Nineteen 4th graders and two teachers are fatally shot at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, by an 18-year-old lone gunman while dozens of officers, armed to the teeth, putz around for over an hour, ignoring the screams of dying children, without the courage, competence, or coordination to act,

In what other time period in American history – in what other universe? – would grown men sit idly, armed or not, police officers or not, while innocent children are slaughtered?

July 12, 2022 – Austin American Statesman
Exclusive: Watch Uvalde school shooting video obtained by Statesman showing police response
The gunman walks into Robb Elementary School unimpeded, moments after spraying bullets from his semi-automatic rifle outside the building and after desperate calls to 911 from inside and outside the Uvalde school. He slows down to peek around a corner in the hallway and flips back his hair before proceeding toward classrooms 111 and 112. Seconds later, a boy with neatly combed hair and glasses exits the bathroom to head back to his class. As he begins to turn the corner, he notices the gunman standing by the classroom door and then firing his first barrage. The boy turns and runs back into the bathroom. The gunman enters one of the classrooms. Children scream. The gunfire continues, stops, then starts again. Stops, then starts again. And again. And again. It is almost three minutes before three officers arrive in the same hallway and rush toward the classrooms, crouching down. Then, a burst of gunfire. One officer grabs the back of his head. They quickly retreat to the end of the hallway, just below a school surveillance camera. A 77-minute video recording captured from this vantage point, along with body camera footage from one of the responding officers, obtained by the American-Statesman and KVUE, shows in excruciating detail dozens of sworn officers, local, state and federal — heavily armed, clad in body armor, with helmets, some with protective shields — walking back and forth in the hallway, some leaving the camera frame and then reappearing, others training their weapons toward the classroom, talking, making cellphone calls, sending texts and looking at floor plans, but not entering or attempting to enter the classrooms. Even after hearing at least four additional shots from the classrooms 45 minutes after police arrived on the scene, the officers waited. They asked for keys to one of the classrooms. (It was unlocked, investigators said later.) They brought tear gas and gas masks. They later carried a sledgehammer. And still, they waited. Officers finally rushed into the classroom and killed the gunman an hour and 14 minutes after police first arrived on the scene.

The institutions in which we believed – Federal, State, and local – are crumbling to the ground.

August 16, 2021

We should not have been in Afghanistan, that debate is now settled (we’re no longer there, spent $2 trillion, lost 2,448 U.S. service members with over 20,000 wounded, and didn’t accomplish anything).

But on this date, our hasty withdrawal was broadcast to the world, Afghans that helped us hung on to then fell from American military withdrawal planes, leaving behind allies and $7 billion of sophisticated military equipment. That was a permanent stain on the idea of American exceptionalism.

April 28th, 2022 – CNN
First on CNN: US left behind $7 billion of military equipment in Afghanistan after 2021 withdrawal, Pentagon report says
Approximately $7 billion of military equipment the US transferred to the Afghan government over the course of 16 years was left behind in Afghanistan after the US completed its withdrawal from the country in August, according to a congressionally mandated report from the US Department of Defense viewed by CNN. This equipment is now in a country that is controlled by the very enemy the US was trying to drive out over the past two decades: the Taliban. The Defense Department has no plans to return to Afghanistan to “retrieve or destroy” the equipment, reads the report, which has been provided to Congress. The US gave a total of $18.6 billion of equipment to the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) from 2005 to August 2021, according to the report. Of that total, equipment worth $7.12 billion remained in Afghanistan after the US withdrawal was completed on August 30, 2021. It included aircraft, air-to-ground munitions, military vehicles, weapons, communications equipment and other materials, according to the DoD report. The huge value of the hardware left behind will serve to refocus attention on the chaotic and hasty Afghanistan withdrawal that has been heavily criticized by lawmakers from both parties.

Let’s be clear, though: American exceptionalism was long ago corrupted and bastardized by a power hungry and bloodthirsty line of politicians bought and paid for by the Military Industrial Complex.

The exceptionalism America once held was rooted in our founding on the basis of liberty, individual rights, limited government, and the concept of natural law.

That made America the land of opportunity, exceptional because nowhere else did it exist. Like the National Association of Realtors coopted “the American Dream” to mean only home ownership, the war machine coopted “American exceptionalism”.

As Madeline Albright explained well, with a straight face no less, in 1998, “If we have to use force, it is because we are America; we are the indispensable nation. We stand tall and we see further than other countries into the future, and we see the danger here to all of us.”

That our own leaders don’t understand what made us exceptional, that shows the brand is dead. The myth of America’s might and unwavering fortitude, that died on August 16, 2021.

March 17, 2020

The day we began to allow mayors and governors to classify businesses as either essential or nonessential, forcing the latter – pretty much all small to medium-sized businesses run by individual Americans, not large corporate interests lobbying rule-makers, to close by stroke of pen.

The assault on liberty by these actions is akin to rape.

Secondly, the stupidity of disrupting and creating havoc in free enterprise – a logistical miracle that is the global supply chain, tasked with feeding, sheltering, and maintaining (if not growing) living standards for eight billion people – is as un-American as the feudal system or the monarchy.

Each of us on our own – especially in rich countries where most of our jobs involve pushing paper or the electronic equivalent – could accomplish very little.

Without free markets to function, the signals became completely crossed. That few in Washington or our State Capitols understood this better speaks to how little they know about anything, really.

The blind are now led by the blind, deaf and dumb. We are careening on autopilot towards societal collapse with no regard for the fragility of our systems and an entitlement mentality to boot.

While I picked one date to represent the COVID pandemic, there are many candidates: The dates on which the FDA ignored safety signals to push experimental, ineffective mRNA vaccines, when CDC claimed authority to override property rights and the sanctity of contracts by putting a moratorium on evictions, when science became “the science”, a consensus by authorities on what we are allowed to believe (i.e., the publication of the Lancet letter deeming anything other than natural origin theory as misinformation and conspiracy theory, and every day since), or anytime Anthony Fauci speaks.

The response to COVID-19 was an assault on liberty and property rights that has left America unrecognizable: the land of broken dreams, and the home of the chains.

The beatings will continue until morale improves.

July 21, 2008

At the precipice of the 2008 financial collapse, U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, former CEO of Goldman Sachs, held a secret meeting with the top 20 hedge-fund managers in New York.

Two weeks after testifying to Congress that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were “well capitalized” and hours after telling reporters the same, he revealed only to insiders the truth; that Fannie and Freddie would require an enormous, multibillion-dollar bailout, and shareholders would be wiped out.

November 29, 2011 – LA Times
The secret meeting between Henry Paulson and hedge-fund chiefs
Around the conference room were a dozen or so hedge-fund managers and other Wall Street executives — at least five of them alumni of Goldman Sachs Group Inc., of which Paulson was chief executive officer and chairman from 1999 to 2006. This was after the investment bank Bear Stearns had gone under — thanks to its bets on subprime mortgages — but before Lehman Brothers declared bankruptcy, and everyone was wondering what would happen to the government-sponsored mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. That morning, before the meeting with the hedge-fund magnates, Paulson held meetings with reporters in which he said that government examinations of Fannie and Freddie were likely to prove their health. At the hedge-fund meeting, though, Paulson sang a very different tune, according to an attendee who spoke with Bloomberg Markets reporter Richard Teitelbaum. The magazine says that Paulson told the gathered magnates that the government could, in fact seize Fannie and Freddie and wipe out their stock. Such information would be very valuable to investors because it would allow them to sell the stock short — or bet against it. Indeed, just a few months after the meeting, the government did what Paulson had sketched out and stock in both companies lost almost all their value.

On this date, it became official policy: There are two Americas, two sets of rules, one for us, and one for the well-connected. Justice is no longer sacred in America, but a mere platitude.

Now, join us for Part II, where we identify the signposts, the coming stair steps that lie ahead for a trundling bowling bowl picking up pace for the final leg down.

Looking for part 2?

Following our favorite alarmist and Info Scout, Dr. Chris Martenson, since 2008, you’d think I’d have crisis fatigue. But I sleep better, with less anxiety, when I know what Chris is thinking. Being early allows the PP tribe to prepare, predict and even profit. When COVID hit, the shelves in our home were well stocked […]

View part 2

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Phil Denniston joins as contributing author from BadDaddy Publishing, better bedtime stories for free-thinking parents. Titles include “Where does money come from?”, “Good-Debt, Bad-Debt, and the Big Green Blob”, “The Big Bad Business Cycle”, & “The Beautiful Bitcoin Book”. Save 40% and try us risk-free.