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Law of unintended consequences

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from zero hedge

Submitted by Brad Schaeffer

What Writing A Book Taught Me About Obama And Those Who Followed Him

My novel Hummel’s Cross takes place in pre-war (and wartime) Nazi Germany. In the course of writing the book I became fascinated by how a nation of such highly sophisticated and astute people as the Germans—who gave us Bach, Beethoven, Luther, Goethe, Schweitzer, Einstein, Handel, Nietzsche, Kant, Wagner, (and thrown in a few Austrians like Mozart. Strauss, and Haydn) etc. could be so easily led to their own destruction – taking much of the Western World with them – by a charismatic if empty man. I remember in the film Gladiator the observation is made that the Roman mob is fickle and easily led. Well, we have seen that in the case of this country in these times the mob is the intelligentsia in the media, the college campus, entertainment and some corners of high finance to name a few groups. In 2008, they looked to Barack Obama and like past societies feeling the need for guidance from on high projected upon him the their own needs, desires and (let’s be honest here) need to cleanse the sense of self-flagellating white guilt they continue to carry over a perceived racism in the country that is now more prevalent as a topic of media round-tables than it is a fact in day-to-day American life.

What gets me nervous is that they could project on him because this man Obama was and remains a mirage. An illusion. Someone whose greatness exists only in the minds of those who adore him for reasons they cannot even articulate because it is simply not rational.

Never has so much power been invested in a man about whom so little was known, over whose nefarious past associations was made or even questioned, and who presented so few real-world accomplishments as to not even have a resume worth note. But he possessed two key skills that come in handy during times of economic and social upheaval: 1) His ability to speak forcefully while offering little but platitudes to whip up an audience eager to be led; and 2) a ruthless pragmatism that would compel him to say and do whatever it took to present an image that would best gain him the levers of power. But that’s ok because Obama, knew what was best, even if the average Joe (except a certain plumber) did not, you see. A new golden age of top-down management of our daily lives radiating out of the central state in Washington D.C. for which we would eventually be grateful. All the people had to do was submit and get in line with the program. Many did willingly. Blindly. Fooled by a personality cult whose statist tendencies remained hidden by a fawning state media/propaganda complex.

By referencing Hummel’s Cross am I calling Obama “Hitler”? Oh stop. I understand the difference between an American president and a Nazi dictator so please do not belittle my concerns with such a knee-jerk accusation as you would be completely missing my point. We still have a long way to go down the slippery slope to hitting the sandbox at the bottom of the slide as Germany eventually did. It’s the lesson on mob psychology I’m talking about here. What I am saying is that a nation’s collective intelligence and level of sophistication is by no means no stop-gap to demagogues and dangerous men of all political stripes when the times are right for ‘hope and change.’

In the America of 2008, the times were right. I know a lot of bright, successful people whose opinions and expertise on so many matters I deeply respect who were passionately in the Obama tank even wearing his buttons everywhere they went—yet I noticed that they could never quite explain to me why, beyond uttering vague touchy-feely slogans or the deflective “he isn’t Bush.” Wow. As an independent-minded voter who grew up in Chicago and thus am aware of just what kind of pragmatic, even ruthless, ambition it takes to ascend the political ladder so rapidly there as did Obama, I needed more convincing than a cool campaign “O” emblem and Dave Matthews’ endorsement to earn my vote. Yet I found nothing but a paper thin image as the talking points. This vacuum of reasoning left me scratching my head. And the more I did my own research on this smooth-talking Cook County machine politician (as I would eventually conclude he was) the more anxious for my country I became. I realized that, for all too many, Barack Obama’s appeal to them was purely emotional. Nothing more. An exercise in collective self-actualization that may have had its place in a 1920’s München brauhaus, a plaza in 1940’s Buenos Aires or 1960’s Havana, but certainly no place in what I once thought was the most developed and wary of Republics.

We are a nation that should be skeptical of leaders. It has been a part of the American character for over two centuries. The Constitution codifies this suspicion of those who seek power with checks and balances that reveal a deeper distrust in human nature…one that is justified if the history of our species is any guide. As an American, it fills me with the greatest dread when I see
throngs of my countrymen searching for meaning to life and self-actualization not from within themselves but from a mere politician about whose biography they know far less than they do their favorite pop star’s.

In a way, having little enthusiasm for the McCain ticket, I found myself in 2008 observing in fascination from the sidelines as the two campaigns developed. And although he had his faults, no one could question who John McCain even was, or whether he had had served his country with honor. Obama, however, was a mystery…and in many ways still is. One who I saw protected by a praetorian guard in a media unable or unwilling to ask even the most basic of questions about what made him tick. That frightened me to no end. It still does.

In writing Hummel’s Cross I tried to throw myself into the mindset of an intelligent if detached German watching almost like a spectator as his country, indeed a member of his own family, slowly falls under the spell of a politician who says the right things at the right time and thus is given a pass on most everything else. A man upon whom the hopes and dreams of a people are mass-projected to the point where they lose themselves. And if it taught me one thing, it is that any people in the right circumstances can follow the wrong leaders to their own destruction—either through fiery cataclysm or, more insidious, slow economic and social decay too subtle for a populace to even realize what has taken place until it is too late to turn back.

Written by anubis

June 18th, 2011 at 12:17 pm

Posted in Politics

On the brink

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Via Gerald Celente’s June 13, 2011 Trend Alert

Everything is not all right. And things are going to get worse … much worse. The economy is on the threshold of calamity. Wars are spreading like wildfires. The world is on a razor’s edge.
Not so, say world leaders and mainstream media experts. Yes, there are problems, but the financiers and politicians are aware of them. Policies are already in place and measures are being taken to correct them.

Whether it’s failing economies, intractable old wars or raging new wars, the word from the top always maintains that steady progress is being made and comforts the populace with assurances that the brightest minds and the sharpest generals are in charge and on the case. On all fronts, success is certain and victory is at hand. Only “patience” is required … along with more men, more time and more money.

As far as these “leaders” and their media are concerned, the only opinions that count come from a stable of thoroughbred experts, official sources and political favorites. Only they have the credentials to speak with authority and provide trustworthy forecasts. That they are consistently, if not invariably, wrong apparently does nothing to diminish their credibility.

How can any thinking adult possibly imagine that the same central bankers, financiers and politicians responsible for creating the economic crisis are capable of resolving it?

Yet even in the face of their proven failures and gross incompetence, anyone daring to challenge the party line or the conventional wisdom is dismissed as an “alarmist,” “fear monger,” or “gloom-and-doomer.”

…with the Dow on a down trend and the economic data increasingly pointing in the direction of Depression, Washington and Wall Street remain in denial. The only debate among the “experts” is whether or not a “double dip” recession is likely.

However, for the man on the street – pummeled by falling wages, higher prices, intractable unemployment, rising taxes and punitive “austerity measures” – “Depression,” not “recession,” and certainly not “prosperity,” is just around the corner.

Trend Forecast: The wars will proliferate and civil unrest will intensify. As we forecast, the youth-inspired revolts that first erupted in North Africa and the Middle East are now breaking out in Europe (See “Off With Their Heads,” Trends Journal, Autumn 2010)

Given the trends in play and the people in power, economic collapse at some level is inevitable. Governments and central banks will be unrelenting in their determination to wring every last dollar, pound or euro from the people through taxes while confiscating public assets (a.k.a. privatization) in order to cover bad bets made by banks and financiers.

When the people have been bled dry financially and have nothing left to give, blood will flow on the streets.

We’ve been saying it for over two years, and we maintain our position today – this is a depression. No amount of government machination is going to fix the fundamental problems within the financial, economic, monetary and political systems of our country. Nature will force balance one way or the other. And nature, as we have come to learn in recent months, can be very brutal.

Make no mistake. We are in as serious a time today as any in the last century. While we may not be directly engaged in a World War, it is not that far off. Analysts often speak of the engagements in the middle east as four separate wars (Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and now Yemen). We may be engaged in conflict across four different borders, but there is only one war – and it will soon expand. It’s only a matter of time before China and Russia get involved. Look at the middle east and you’ll clearly see this is a battle for resources and regional dominance. Chinese state owned companies have had to withdraw 30,000 employees from the Libyan oil fields. Ownership, it seems, has now been granted to the “rebels.” Similar activities, though hidden from the view of the masses, are occuring all over the world. How long before the Chinese, the Russians and others take a real stand – a military stand?

Even if we were to avoid global war, which is doubtful in the long-term, the fact that the super majority of the world’s population is broke and going hungry means that rioting, revolution and bloody civil wars cannot be avoided. If you still believe that the powers that be, those politicians who are in bed with the very financiers and military industrial complex that is robbing us blind and pushing us towards war, have your interests at heart, then you need to have your head examined. It’s time to be blunt. You either get it, or you don’t.

The United States of America, as well as the world, will be unrecognizable as it exists today within the next decade.

We offer the same advice that Mr. Celente has offered:

…it has to be treated as if you are preparing for battle; expect the unexpected and prepare for the worst, which in these perilous times could be a declaration of economic martial law. Banks may close, currencies may be devalued and deposit withdrawals may be imposed. Remember Gerald Celente’s basic survival strategy, “GC’s Three G’s: Guns, Gold and a Getaway plan.”

We’re in the middle of an unprecedented global crisis. Make preparations or suffer the consequences.

Written by anubis

June 17th, 2011 at 5:47 am

Posted in Epochal Collapse