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March 22, 2020 | Weeks Where Decades Happen

James Quinn has held financial positions with a retailer, homebuilder and university in his 30 year career. Those positions included treasurer, controller, and head of strategic planning. He earned a BS in accounting from Drexel University and an MBA from Villanova University. He is a certified public accountant and a certified cash manager.

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“There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen.”Vladimir Ilyich Lenin

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 “A Crisis mood does not guarantee that the new governing policies will be well designed or will work as intended.

To the contrary: Crisis eras are studded with faulty leadership and inept management—from President Lincoln’s poor record of choosing generals to President Roosevelt’s colossal blunders with such alphabet soup agencies as the AAA, NRA, and WPA.

What makes a Crisis special is the public’s willingness to let leaders lead even when they falter and to let authorities be authoritative even when they make mistakes.

Wars become more likely and are fought with efficacy and finality. The risk of revolution is high—as is the risk of civil war, since the community that commands the greatest loyalty does not necessarily coincide with political (or geographic) boundaries. Leaders become more inclined to define enemies in moral terms, to enforce virtue militarily, to refuse all compromise, to commit large forces in that effort, to impose heavy sacrifices on the battlefield and home front, to build the most destructive weapons contemporary minds can imagine, and to deploy those weapons if needed to obtain an enduring victory.” – Strauss & Howe – The Fourth Turning

The quote by Lenin has been reverberating in my conscience for the last few weeks. I believe the quote from Strauss & Howe provides context to what has happened and will happen as this Fourth Turning advances towards its climax. I began a new role in my organization two weeks ago, after only seven months in my previous role. I’ve been in non-stop crisis meetings, as this coronavirus pandemic has flipped everyone’s world upside down. As of Thursday, we were ordered to work from home.

Governor Wolf essentially shut down every business in the state, except for food stores, gas stations, and healthcare facilities. I await the imminent shelter in place order and the National Guard patrolling the streets. My wife and youngest son have been laid off from their restaurant jobs. My other two sons are in IT and can work remotely. As a virtual recluse, even when there isn’t a pandemic, my life hasn’t changed much. I’m saving 90 minutes of commuting per day and getting more exercise as we have been taking long walks every day.

I’ve been writing about our ongoing crisis for over ten years, so it’s not really a shock to me the shit has finally hit the fan. I certainly didn’t expect a global pandemic to be the catalyst for part two of this Fourth Turning. But, I’m sure most people didn’t see Hitler’s invasion of Poland leading to a world war resulting in 65 million deaths when they were just living their lives in early 1939.

It was ten years into the last Fourth Turning and the Great Depression was ongoing for average Americans, but the stock market had soared and GDP had been propped up by massive government stimulus and Federal Reserve easy money. Intense nationalism had begun spreading across the globe. Sound familiar? The specific events which catapult the world during Fourth Turnings are different, but the reaction of generations and leaders are eerily similar.

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I’ve felt like nothing happened in the last decade as the Fed and politicians in DC were able to issue tens of trillions in debt to postpone the inevitable consequences of living beyond our means for the last forty years. As my warnings about the future failed to materialize on the timeline I expected, I began to doubt my own reasoning and thought process.

As the stock market rose 400%, the Fed balance sheet quadrupled to $4.5 trillion, the national debt doubled to $23 trillion, student loan debt tripled to $1.6 trillion, credit card debt reached a new high of $1.1 trillion, auto loans reached a new high of $1.2 trillion, corporate debt surged to a new high of $10 trillion (50% higher than 2008 high), home prices soared above their 2005 bubble highs, and the Fed suppressed interest rates to inflate the everything bubble, I stayed on the sidelines – because I’m a stubborn SOB.

Those who didn’t stay on the sidelines were the executives of Wall Street Too Big To Trust banks, Boeing, the airlines, oil companies and virtually every mega-corporation in the S&P 500. They used the Fed’s easy money to borrow and repurchase $7 trillion of their own stock over the last ten years. The effect was to propel stock prices and valuations to all-time highs, resulting in obnoxiously outrageous pay packages and bonuses for the egomaniacal greedy CEOs and their toady kiss ass lackeys.

It also left most mega-corps with mega amounts of debt and no cash on their balance sheets. With the Fed having their back, no need to invest in old fashioned things like new facilities or research and development. Financialization cured everything and enriched the oligarchs. No need to prepare for a downturn, because the Fed had outlawed downturns. Yellen assured us there wouldn’t be another financial crisis in her lifetime. I guess she died in February.

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Just over three weeks ago on February 26, the conclusion to my article Spirits in the Material World was as follows:

“As this coronavirus brings our interconnected global just in time economy to a halt and millions once again see their 401ks evaporate, materialism will lose the admiration of the masses and people will begin to realize humanity can only survive and thrive if we adjust our priorities towards liberty, reason, responsibility, and doing what’s right today in order to leave a viable future for our children. The dark clouds of a monster storm on the horizon beckons. We will be forced to make difficult choices. Hopefully, enough people will make the right choices.”

This was before the authorities began to take the coronavirus seriously. On February 24, Trump gave his authoritative view of the virus and the stock market’

“The Coronavirus is very much under control in the USA. … Stock market starting to look very good to me” – Donald J. Trump – February 24

Two days later, he proclaimed the pandemic over in the U.S.

“When you have 15 people, and the 15 within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero. That’s a pretty good job we’ve done.” – Donald J. Trump – February 26

The titans of Wall Street believed the the president’s investment advice propelling the markets to all-time highs in late February, making my assessment appear wrong once again. Then it seemed like decades happened in the last three weeks.

We exited the eye of the hurricane and have seen our ship of state capsized, as an immense wave of reality has destroyed the delusions of millions and exposed the Fed as a feckless fraud, manned by reckless academics following the orders of a banking cabal and their corporate cronies. All while the corporate media propaganda mouthpieces of the oligarchy use panic, fear and misinformation to lead the masses towards their desired outcome – more governmental control and more wealth and power for the ruling oligarchs.

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So here we are, less than a month since all-time highs in the stock market, in the midst of the fastest bear market in history (down 32% in three weeks), with GDP in the 2nd quarter expected to be at least NEGATIVE 15%, unemployment headed towards 20%, restaurants and retailers shutdown, and large portions of the country on mandatory lockdown. Major cities resemble ghost towns.

Those running this country (and the world), whether elected, unelected, or invisible to the common people, have chosen to use this global pandemic to purposely create a global depression in order to “save us” from the 1% to 3% possibility of death. Their mainstream media messengers of the pandemic narrative declare we must follow the orders of those who never saw this coming and had no preparations in place beforehand. As usual, they use the tactics of fear propaganda to herd the sheep towards the slaughterhouse. Small businesses must go bankrupt and tens of millions must lose their jobs in order to stop this Chinese virus. But, who ultimately benefits?

I’m afraid Carl Sagan’s fears voiced twenty-five years ago are proving to be prescient. We became a service economy built on consumption, while outsourcing manufacturing to China (97% of our antibiotics produced in China), allowing corporate globalists and financiers to gain control, dumbing down the populace, and allowing ourselves to be controlled by invisible puppeteers using the corporate media to spew their propaganda. We are sliding into darkness.

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“I have a foreboding of an America in my children’s or grandchildren’s time — when the United States is a service and information economy; when nearly all the manufacturing industries have slipped away to other countries; when awesome technological powers are in the hands of a very few, and no one representing the public interest can even grasp the issues; when the people have lost the ability to set their own agendas or knowledgeably question those in authority; when, clutching our crystals and nervously consulting our horoscopes, our critical faculties in decline, unable to distinguish between what feels good and what’s true, we slide, almost without noticing, back into superstition and darkness…

The dumbing down of American is most evident in the slow decay of substantive content in the enormously influential media, the 30 second sound bites (now down to 10 seconds or less), lowest common denominator programming, credulous presentations on pseudoscience and superstition, but especially a kind of celebration of ignorance”Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark – 1995

The Strauss and Howe quote at the beginning of this article points out the new government policies used to address the Crisis are often not well thought out or implemented. But the Grey Champion leaders (Lincoln, FDR, Trump) use their overwhelming authority to ram through whatever policies, laws, or executive orders they believe will achieve their desired outcomes.

The U.S. Constitution is conveniently ignored when our leaders want something done immediately. Each Fourth Turning has resulted in less freedom and liberty for the average person and more power and control for the Federal government and those who control the Federal government. It is all justified as responding to a crisis created by the very policies they implemented, creating the crisis in the first place. In every case, the citizens are the losers and bankers, corporatists, globalists and bureaucrats are the winners.

The incompetence and overreach of our government overlords has never been more evident. The worst fears of the supposed “conspiracy theorists” when we were outraged by government thugs flaunting the Fourth Amendment and bursting into citizens homes during the Boston Marathon bombing debacle are now coming to fruition. That test run revealed to those in control they could lockdown an entire city and use paramilitary forces to enforce martial law.

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They are now preparing to do the same across our entire nation. And you thought this could only occur in dictatorships, like China. Notice how the mainstream media is praising China for their brutal lockdown of Wuhan and now the lies about no more cases in all of China. They truly believe the gullibility of a dumbed down populace has no limits. They may be in for a rude awakening from the coming pushback. There are many critical thinking Americans who are not going to fall for it once again.

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I have read the views of dozens of critical thinking people I respect regarding this Chinese coronavirus. Their views vary widely, with the majority leaning towards the gravity of this pandemic. It most certainly started in China, either through an accidental release from their military bio-weapon lab in Wuhan or through their odd tastes for “exotic” food, like bat soup.

The most crucial fact is they knew about the outbreak in December, but covered it up, silenced the doctors who spoke out, lied to the WHO, and allowed infected citizens to travel around the globe silently spreading the virus. Eventually they used their dictatorial control to militarily lockdown Wuhan and other hotspots in their country. Their government-controlled media then went into high gear, blaming the U.S. for the spread and now lying that there are no new cases – completely believed and regurgitated by the propaganda fake news media in the U.S.

The virus is not a hoax. It is a serious illness that is killing people in every country in the world. The question is how far do we need to go in order to stop its spread and eradicate it. There is one side saying to just go on with our lives and accept that a large number of people will die, but the vast majority (95% to 99%) will recover. If 40% of the population is infected, the number of deaths in the U.S. would likely be between 1.3 million and 6.6 million. That is between .4% and 2% of our population.

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There was only one year since 1900 when the population of this country declined – 1918 – the year of the Spanish flu pandemic. Global death toll estimates were in the tens of millions. Approximately 28% of the U.S. population was infected and between 500,000 and 700,000 died, or .48% to .64% of the population. Our leaders did not shutdown the country. They stoically trudged forward, dealing with the negative consequences, living their lives, going to work, with the country experiencing a mild economic downturn in 1919. The virus suddenly disappeared as quickly as it had appeared.

This is not how our leaders will approach the coronavirus pandemic. Cuomo, Newsome, Wolf, and Murphy (all Democrat governors) have essentially locked down four of the biggest states in the country. Trump and the Federal government are fully supportive of shutting down every “non-essential” business in the country. Of course, they get to define non-essential. The Hollywood left wing lunatics are all over social media cheering on the government enforced lockdown. Now the corporate media is outraged at people daring to disregard the orders of their overlords, going to parks and beaches.

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Their goal is to turn the masses against each other – remember “See something, say something.” At first it was about terrorists, but now that the dumbed down masses have been indoctrinated, it will be reporting your neighbor to the authorities for leaving his house without authorization. We are now only days from martial law. This isn’t a crazy conspiracy theory. Your beloved government is drawing up plans as we speak. Just as the Patriot Act was already written before 9/11 and ready to be implemented, the blueprint for martial law is written, just waiting for the perfect opportunity to be executed. The time has arrived.

Strauss and Howe’s analogy of what a Fourth Turning would be like is very much apt to what we are experiencing at this very moment, just replacing blizzard with pandemic.

“Reflect on what happens when a terrible winter blizzard strikes. You hear the weather warning but probably fail to act on it. The sky darkens. Then the storm hits with full fury, and the air is a howling whiteness. One by one, your links to the machine age break down. Electricity flickers out, cutting off the TV. Batteries fade, cutting off the radio. Phones go dead. Roads become impossible, and cars get stuck. Food supplies dwindle. Day to day vestiges of modern civilization – bank machines, mutual funds, mass retailers, computers, satellites, airplanes, governments – all recede into irrelevance. Picture yourself and your loved ones in the midst of a howling blizzard that lasts several years. Think about what you would need, who could help you, and why your fate might matter to anybody other than yourself. That is how to plan for a saecular winter. Don’t think you can escape the Fourth Turning. History warns that a Crisis will reshape the basic social and economic environment that you now take for granted.”Strauss & Howe – The Fourth Turning

I would venture to say this Crisis is truly reshaping the basic social and economic environment we have taken for granted for the last few decades. This week, the same corrupt politicians who rammed through TARP and bailed out the criminal Wall Street banks in 2008/2009 and threw you under the bus, will pass a massive $2 trillion stimulus package written by banking and corporate lobbyists that no one voting on it has read – let alone the American public.

We were already running a $1 trillion deficit, so what’s a $3 trillion deficit among friends? Here’s how it will play out. The criminal bankers and connected mega-corporations will reap the benefits of their crimes. When this is over, millions of small businesses will be gone, and the mega-corporations will reap the bonanza over the carcasses of small business owners.

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March 22nd, 2020

Posted In: The Burning Platform

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