Seek Your Independence: Anything Else Will Destroy You


TDV

By Jeff Berwick

Many people think The Dollar Vigilante is a fear mongering, pessimistic blog.

If you only read our headlines, then I can see how you would feel that way.  But things are getting so bad that all we are doing is acknowledging the current state of affairs. The truth hurts.

After we began to analyze Shemitah and then Jubilee timelines, we became even more pessimistic because it was clear that even the deepest economic and military disasters were planned in advance.

Our lives are run  by a small group of psychopaths. At least to the degree that we react to world events. The only way out is to plan for ourselves.

But the world, certainly the West, offers us a plethora of solutions. And they get in our way.

Our society has been organized to take away your sociopolitical, economic and military choices. The latest manifestation of this deliberate promotion is the US presidential election.

Hillary is so obviously a tyrant-in-waiting that she is stampeding people toward Donald Trump who seems the lesser of two evils, even though when you examine his rhetoric, he’s no small-government candidate.

Trump is pro-police state, pro-tax (certain taxes), pro-war (certain wars) and generally pro-government. (That’s why he’s running for president after all.)

It’s true, Trump has been doing a courageous job of exposing some of Killary’s crimes and murderous approaches to utilizing political power.

He’s also mentioned how the Fed’s monetary policy decisions are predicated upon political expediency. He’s even suggested that Janet Yellen ought to step down because she is predicating her monetary decisions on boosting the stock market via low interest rates for the remainder or the election, and perhaps beyond.

Janet Yellen and her cohorts support the myth that the economy has recovered under Obama’s presidency – under which Hillary was secretary of state.

But government and central banks will always fail the people because that’s what they were meant to do. The word ‘Government‘ comes from the Latin verb gubernare which means: “to control,” and the Latin noun “mens” which means: “mind”.  In other words, the literal translation of the term is “mind-control”.

In order for the American people or any people for that matter to free their minds, they must first rid themselves of the notion that government is legitimate or in any sense useful. In fact, government never works, or certainly not above one layer.

There are literally millions of regulations and millions of enforcers in Western countries. The sheer size is impressive. But when you begin to examine actual operations, you find almost everything modern governments do is destructive, ruinous and even genocidal.

Anarchy works. Allowing the free-market to make decisions competitively about lifestyle and social solutions is both rational and useful. We live in societies that operate in exactly the opposite way.

Our controllers want that. They need government or they lose control. They put incredible effort into organizing society to remove our ability to control our own lives.

In fact, they don’t forbid it. They simply build a matrix around us that hinders our ability to think about our existence any other way.

Part of that is “voting” in a “democracy.” As if putting someone else in charge of decisions about the way WE ought to live is going to make our lives better. Invariably it doesn’t.

But  people will go to the voting booths this fall and vote for who they perceive to be the lesser of two evils… as if that’s how we are supposed to exist. Choosing one evil … or the other.

We’ve long said that Hillary has been preselected by the elites…  and therefore, barring a miracle, she will win. But, even if Trump were to win, hardly anything important would change.

The Federal Reserve, one of the biggest causes of today’s problems, will not be shuttered.  The War on Drugs, another of the biggest causes of problems in the US today will not end… in fact, it will likely be increased by either candidate.

The IRS will not be closed and all of its employees made examples of in the public square. It will continue its illegal reign of terror, extracting trillions from people who are already in debt because the economy has been destroyed by central bank monetary debasement.

The War of Terror will not end. Hillary wants to expand the war – which she helped start. If she has her way, she’ll position the US to confront Russia in short order.

Trump seems hell bent on “defeating ISIS”, but if he doesn’t know that ISIS is actually the CIA then he is stupider than he sounds.  And if he does know then he is just pushing forward the same militaristic aggression that has been going on for decades, destroying the world and bankrupting the US.

Just look back to 2008.  So many people thought Barack O’Bomber, the Nobel Peace Prize winner and first black President would solve all the racial issues in the US.  What has happened?  It is worse than ever as black people are basically shot for sport on the streets.

O’Bomber was championed as the one who would end war.  And what happened?  More wars than George Bush could even dream of, including additional conflict in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya… plus new frontiers of genocide in Syria, Yemen and, of course, Ukraine.

So, even if Donald gets in, would anything major change?  Nope.

The reason is that it isn’t one person who conducts all this mayhem.  It is an entire, deeply imbedded system that is never elected nor voted on.  It just continues to impoverish the US, create wars and imprison more people than any other country in the history of the world.

But, here is the optimistic part.

After Ron Paul was robbed of any chance at the Presidency in 2012, a great swathe of people turned their back on the entire system.  The anarchist/voluntaryist movement grew exponentially.  This can be seen in the growth of the world’s largest anarcho-capitalist conference, Anarchapulco (to be held again in February 2017 – click here for more).

Even after “feel the Bern” Sanders sold out his massive, uneducated following, many of them turned their back on the system – and Hillary as an alternative too.

Listening to Trump’s ever-changing rhetoric, it’s become obvious he’s not a small-government libertarian. If he wins, most people will realize nothing important will change. They may turn their backs on him as well as Hillary.

This is our only hope. A deeply rooted repudiation of politicians and the political system.  The complete dismantling of the US federal government, in other words, returning power back to the 50 states, for a period, before dismantling those too.

It shouldn’t stop until it has reached the optimal level possible. If something someone wants to do has an impact on your life or prosperity, you should have a direct say in it.

Why is the US federal government at war in Syria? Is this something you deem important? Do you want your children dying in Damascus?

And what about monetary issues? Are you happy the Fed has debased the dollar to a mere two cents over its century of operations and bankrupted millions of seniors via ruinously low interest rates.

Get rid of government as much as is realistically possible. Just getting rid of modern, bloodsucking federal governments would immediately cause an economic boom of unheard of proportions as people throughout the West suddenly could keep most of the money they earned.

Hundreds of thousands of new job creating-companies would pop up – probably offering real goods and services instead of Barbie Dolls and velcro sneakers. Innovation would be tremendous. The entire citizenry would gradually recover from its current prostrate and bankrupt state.

Wars would cease. Peace would return. Money would become money again, with gold, silver and cryptocurrencies ensuring that price inflation would stop. We’d enter into a period of peace and prosperity that would forever be remembered as the beginning of a beautiful new era.

However, if that were to happen, the old, fasco-communist system in the US would have to completely collapse… and that will entail a massive collapse.

This collapse, in fact, is inevitable. It has been engineered via central bank interest rate destruction. It is only a matter of time until everything collapses around us except for wars which will rage more madly than ever.

Here at TDV, we are closely monitoring the madness that passes for our current civil society. We are tracking Shemitah Trends that persist even after the end date of the formal Shemitah and Jubilee.

Our research continues to show various optimal times when catastrophic collapses may occur, along with expanding wars that may lead to World War III.

We monitor Shemitah options on an ongoing basis and via our blogs and especially our newsletter where we alert you to the latest ruinous trends – and destructive possibilities. Not only do we alert you, but via the tremendous insights of our senior analyst Ed Bugos, we and our subscribers have profited tremendously.

If you want to subscribe, please do so HERE. Whether you subscribe or not, do whatever you can to increase your wealth and the resources you have access to including food, water, land and appropriate weapons for self defense.

Your entire society has been organized to take choices away from you. But don’t be lulled into thinking it is for your own good. Just look at where the world is today and imagine how much worse it is going to be tomorrow.

Don’t  participate. Gather your resources and live as independently as possible. It is literally a matter of life and death.

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Why Is Independence So Frightening To Some People?


twoicefloes

By Brandon Smith

(Cognitive Dissonance – I feel it is far more important to do as you say rather than say what you should do. In other words, action speaks far louder than any words could or ever will. With this in mind, the following piece by Brandon Smith posted over two years ago on September 4, 2014 never grows old and bears repeating.)

In past articles I have examined the nature of power and division in our society and have always come to the same conclusion, that there are only two types of people: the people who want control over others and the people who just want to be left alone. However, there are also subgroups that swim within the boundaries of each end of the spectrum. Often, psychologists and self-help gurus attempt to promote the idea that the defining quality of the average person’s life is whether he is a follower or a leader. I have seen this spectrum applied to every political and social organization.

Ironically, I have heard so-called “leftists” argue that the nature of their ideology makes them more adept at leadership and that conservatives are more prone to become followers (ostensibly because conservatives tend to be more religious). I have heard the same argument from people on the so-called “right,” only in reverse. The problem is that very few people in our society understand anymore what it actually means to be a leader. Most Americans today are followers, whether they know it or not.  And sadly, followers tend to also seek out control over other people, if only to make up for the lack of control they feel in their own lives.  That is to say, most followers tend to pursue petty opportunities for leadership.

The concept of leadership has become ridiculously warped. Many people feel that to become a leader, one must clamor his way through the system — be it government or corporate — and achieve artificial status, which others are conditioned to recognize and respect. One cannot become a designated “doctor”, no matter how personally skilled the individual, without earning the correct accolades from the establishment, accolades that are essentially bought at the right price or given as a pat on the head to those who excel at parroting the mainstream consensus. The same goes for scientists, economists, political authorities, etc. This creates a professional class, a percentage of the population whose opinions are treated with immediate reverence simply because of their titles.

The reality often ignored in mainstream thought, however, is that many “professionals” are actually more clueless than laymen, if only because they have been subjected to far more complex indoctrination.  How many Ivy League economists, for instance, completely overlooked the inevitable collapse of the derivatives market and the housing bubble simply because they were taught by the mainstream system that such things do not happen in American finance anymore?  The truth is, a glossy diploma from the establishment does not necessarily make one intelligent, nor does it automatically make that person a leader to be blindly followed.

Others in our culture assume that leadership is measured by level of influence. Influence, however, can be stolen, rather than earned. The number of fans and worshipers a person retains is not a measure of the real man or woman. Some people lie about who they are to gain popularity, while other people devour such lies because they are desperate for an icon to show them the path to an imaginary promised land. Celebrity — whether by aid of media, finance or bureaucracy — is almost always superficial.

Still other men and women believe that leadership requires empty gestures of cultural rebellion. Do our style preferences, body art, sexual orientations, musical tastes, obscure philosophical hobbies and elitist attitudes really make us different or unique? No, they do not. These things are an expression of our orientation to others, not an expression of our inner selves. One can live a life immersed in what we believe to be the wildly eccentric and still be an empty follower, devoid of originality and independence.  My generation in particular has become so obsessed with superficial expressions of artificial individualism I think future historians will one day avidly study this era in stupified wonder.  How many times a day do we log on to our social media website of choice or walk outside our homes only to ask other people to love and adore our looks, our cynical but smarmy sense of nihilism, or our wit, carefully crafted to please as large a portion of the collective as possible?

This article from NaturalNews.com really says it all.  Even when putting on elaborate displays of their brilliant uniqueness through “selfies” and tweets, Americans today at their darker core are desperate for the approval of others.

Carl Jung, one of the few psychologists in history I actually find useful, once said that all human beings are in search of a particular treasure, a psychological or spiritual treasure that is unique to them and makes them whole. Many people spend the entirety of their lives searching for this treasure in the world around them, rather than looking within, and they end their days feeling mostly miserable and thwarted. They look for it in politics. They look for it in religious representatives (without ever understanding their true relation to the religion). They look for it in wealth and stature. And they always come up short. This is the life of the follower, a life of endless transference in which complete happiness is always outside of oneself, somewhere over the horizon or in the hands of others.

ducks

One might ask what any of this has to do with independence and liberty? But, consider the implications…

How many socialists and collectivists in the world think THEIR happiness is dependent on the taxation of YOUR savings and labor, YOUR acceptance, YOUR submission to their ideal society. How many collectivists seek to complete themselves by forcing others to participate in their philosophical fantasies? How many of them will call you a “narcissist” or a “terrorist” because you only wish to make your own decisions free from the social pressures of their arbitrary group? They do not look within; they look without. And if you happen to be standing in their field of vision, you might become a prop in their self-serving theater.

Also consider that such collectivists will never be satisfied with the control they find in the outside world because the perfection they seek does not exist.  Therefore, their efforts to force you to conform will only become more suffocating and demeaning to your humanity as time goes on.  Followers are a cancer that never stops growing.  They well eat up the Earth in order to diminish their fears.  They’ll say they are doing it for the greater good, but in the end, they are only self absorbed brats playing at being socially responsible adults.

On the other end of the spectrum, there are many within the Liberty Movement who also suffer from the follower’s disease. They are the relentless crybabies on message boards screaming: “We keep talking about the problem but when are YOU going to give us a solution!?” Or they ask: “When is EVERYONE going to stand up and do something about this!?”  Or, “When are all of you going to realize the magnificence of MY solution and follow ME?” Notice the inclusiveness of such statements.  What they should be asking is:  “What can I do myself to fix the problems I perceive?” These people are always waiting around for someone else to take action, while never taking action on their own. They are followers by default of their own apathy.

These are the folks looking for the next George Washington (or to become the next George Washington) on a white steed ready to charge into the center of D.C. like some ill fated Light Brigade.  They are the bitter pills that rage over the fact that movement activists didn’t support their favorite random silver bullet solution flavor of the week, be it Bitcoin to ‘Operation American Spring’.  They are livid because no one will march lockstep behind them into whatever halfhearted battle they envision.  They become indignant when activists move to support methods outside of their ideal. They want YOU to follow the plan and planners THEY follow, no matter how poorly conceived the plan is, and if you don’t, then you must be some kind of traitor.  They never consider that perhaps their ideal solution is actually destructive rather than practical, or that no one will rally behind them because no one has much faith in their abilities.

The point is, the fight for liberty is not a follower’s game.  It is a fight that begins with individuals taking individual measures first and foremost, and if anything, inspiring others through their actions, not demanding fealty for themselves, or their pet strategies.

What can be done to instill independence and legitimate leadership in Americans once again? The conundrum is that such values cannot be instilled; they can only be encouraged. Each individual must make the decision on his or her own to stop looking for the world to fix itself, or them. Each individual must take the first step toward the long journey of becoming a self-reliant and self-owned human being. When faced with this conundrum, I can do nothing but make suggestions:

Find a useful skill, something that you love, and master it completely. Try to become the foremost expert on just one thing — not to impress others, but to challenge yourself. When people assert the incredible effort required to master a skill, they grow their sense of self-worth instead of measuring their worth by the guidelines of hollow academia or the collective.

Never look for traditional leaders. Always look for teachers. A real teacher is someone who seeks to make each individual his own leader through knowledge and empowerment. A real teacher has no desire to rule others, only to help others so that they do not feel the need to be ruled.

Independence comes from self-leadership. As long as you are reliant on the system or its participating oligarchs to decide your future for you, you will never be anything more than a follower, even if the system has given you a “place at the table” and a title to make you feel special.  As long as you are vying for approval from the system or the collective, you will never be free.  When you can stand in front of a hostile crowd of people and give your viewpoint without fear of how they may respond, then you are on your way to self-leadership.

If you see a problem in the world, stop asking permission to fix it! Stop waiting for the establishment to police itself. Stop concerning yourself with the actions of others and take your own actions, however small they might be. Revolutions are sparked in the minds of individuals and implemented by the hands of the courageous few. There will be no mass awakening and there will be no grand march to glory, so stop holding your breath. If there is an unrelenting evil in the world, then you must fight it if you expect anything to change. If you are the only person who recognizes it, then you may have to fight it alone.  The potential for success or failure is irrelevant. It is the fight that matters.

If you are going to lead others, lead by example. Hopefully you have realized by now that true leadership has NOTHING to do with people actually following you.  Much more important is the ability to show people how to achieve something more by building something of your own. There are also far too many Americans who seek to falsely elevate themselves by attacking the achievements of others from the anonymous comfort of their computers, rather than doing anything constructive on their own merit. There was a time when Americans were respected as people of action, rather than talk. When you do talk, do so from a position of strength. Talk as someone who has actually done something worth talking about.

If you are going to join, do so with the intent to learn, and to teach. All organization must be voluntary if it is to succeed in the long term, and voluntary organization thrives when participants contribute their knowledge and skill sets without sacrificing their individual self determination.  The group does not outweigh the individual, because without the contributions of the individual, the group is meaningless.

Make a list of your dependencies. Do you have the skills to survive without a job? Without money? Without on-grid utilities? Without consistent aid from others? Can you live without modern comforts if you had to? Do you have the fortitude to endure great hardship? Have you ever endured great hardship, or have you avoided it your whole life? The more self-sufficient you are, the less you will need to look to the system or other people to make your decisions for you. You will become fearless, and fearless people cannot be ruled.

I believe independence terrifies some people because it requires a human being to challenge the unknown and take responsibility for the consequences if he fails. Followers trade in their mental and spiritual freedom to governments, oligarchs and gatekeepers so that they never have to face these difficulties. Sometimes, they are simply lazy. Sometimes, they lack confidence in their own abilities. Sometimes, they are just cowards. In any case, the result is the same: a life of relative ease riding the tides in a vast school of self-serving minnows but always prey to the ever circling sharks. I say don’t be a minnow; man-up, and build something of your own.

You can contact Brandon Smith atbrandon@alt-market.com

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The 4 Stages of Life According to Carl Jung


iheartintelligence

As we wander through this journey that is life, we go through fundamental changes. Some people use terms like “quarter-life crisis” or “middle age” to define where it is we think we are in our lives along the way. To me, there aren’t destinations in life. There are milestones for sure, but we can often come back to the same places that we were before. That is what I love about Swiss psychologist Carl Jung’s 4 Stages of Life. As he described them, these stages have to do with who we are as people and our motivations. They have nothing to do with age or accomplishment, and throughout our lives we often move forward and backward from these stages. As Jung once said, “Thoroughly unprepared, we take the step into the afternoon of life. Worse still, we take this step with the false presupposition that our truths and our ideals will serve us as hitherto. But we cannot live the afternoon of life according to the program of life’s morning, for what was great in the morning will be little at evening and what in the morning was true, at evening will have become a lie.” These are the 4 stages of life, according to Carl Jung:

The Athlete

The athlete is the phase in our lives when we are at our most self-absorbed. There are people in our lives that have never made it out of this phase, or often revert back to it. Of the 4 stages, it tends to be the least mature. It is characterized by being obsessed with our physical bodies and appearance. For an example of the athlete phase, watch teenagers walk past a mirror. The athlete phase can be narcissistic, critical, or even both.

The Warrior

Moving forward in our lives, we reach the warrior phase. This is where we begin to take on responsibilities and get the desire to conquer the world. Well, maybe not the world for some of us, but this is when we become more goal oriented. All of the sudden we can see objectives that we want to accomplish and the vanity of the athlete phase begins to fade. The warrior phase is really characterized by the struggles in our lives that early adulthood can throw at us. The warrior phase is also the most common pshase that people revert back to throughout their lives as they “re-invent” themselves.
Read: 22 of the Most Insightful Quotes from Carl Jung

The Statement

When the warrior phase in our lives is coming to an end, we find ourselves asking: “what have I done for others?” Your focuses shift from your personal achievements to accomplishing goals based on forwarding other people’s lives. This stage is often correlated to parenting, because your focus becomes providing a better life for your children, and what it is you need to do that. The statement phase for many people is much more than a correlation to parenting, and more about leaving a legacy or a footprint in life. The statement phase is a time to reflect on what you have accomplished, and how you can continue moving forward – not just for you, but for the other people in your life. As far as maturity goes, the statement phase is a huge step forward from even the warrior phase.
Read: Which of the 4 Types of Introvert are You?

The Spirit

The final stage of life is the spirit stage. In this stage, we realize that we are more than what we have accumulated – be it money, friends, possessions, good deeds, or milestones in life. We are spiritual beings. We realize that we are divine beings in a journey of life that has no real beginning and no end. The spirit phase is characterized by a sense of “getting out of your own mind” and focusing on what is waiting for us beyond our physical beings. The philosopher Lao Tzu proposed a question over 2500 years ago that perfectly describes the spirit phase: ““Can you step back from your own mind and thus understand all things? Giving birth and nourishing, having without possessing, acting with no expectations, leading and not trying to control: this is the supreme virtue.”

 

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Martial Law Rolls Out Across the US As Jubilee Nears


TDV

This is a continuation of last summer’s Jade Helm seven-state military exercise that many in the area saw as a prelude to military occupation. After Jade Helm  came the US Army Special Operations Command’s Unconventional Warfare Exercise 16 (UWEX 16) that ran in Texas through June.

And now, after yet another police shooting in Charlotte, the city’s bus and light rail services ceased after midnight.  New Yorkers would recognize this kind of action as they have been exposed to their own occupation following recent Manhattan bombings. Tanks, humvees and other kinds of military vehicles and equipment flooded the city, leaving behind shocking pictures of a city under siege..

Much was similar, though one difference between Manhattan and Charlotte was George Soros, who has made a habit of funding the provocations that the government then responds to. He obviously had a hand in the Charlotte riots that were precipitated by Soros-assisted Black Lives Matter.

Back in June, we covered Wikileaks exposure of the elite’s pre-planned “summer of chaos” when whistleblowers provided numerous documents illuminating Soros’ role with dedicated agitation from BLM.

Remember Deray Mckesson? He was the former BLM leader who had two of his email accounts hacked revealing that the Soros-backed social justice group was working with the Obama regime. The idea, he suggested, was to create so much chaos that martial law could be declared and elections canceled.

According to financial records and key players in the Ferguson Missouri protests, billionaire Soros donated $33 million to community organizers and organizations who helped turn the events there from a local protest into a politicized and televised race “crisis”.

Now there’s further evidence of George the puppet master along with his “open-borders” foundation, have been facilitating unrest.

Charlotte, North Carolina, is merely the latest riot-destination for his paid protesters, but one that comes with compelling evidence of his involvement.

About 70% of the rioters arrested had out of state IDs. No doubt they traveled to Charlotte in buses paid for by Soros.

In a CNN interview. Todd Walther, the spokesman for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Fraternal Order of Police, told Erin Burnett, “This is not Charlotte that’s out here. These are outside entities that are coming in and causing these problems. These are not protestors, these are criminals.”

Yes, criminals – funded by a criminal. The most ridiculous aspect of these “peaceful protests” as CNN and MSNBC continue to call them, is that they are not protests. They are riots.

The rioting is obvious. “Protesters” broke into the Charlotte Hornets’ team store to steal basketball merchandise. “Protesters” looted the NASCAR Hall of Fame. “Protesters” vandalized and destroyed buses, stores and homes in poor black neighborhoods.

That’s probably how Soros lured them. He let it be known that looting would be the main “protest” in Charlotte.

When it comes to globalism and globalists, we don’t rule anything out. To the elites behind all of this – and Soros is just an employee –  this is all a sick game. They actually enjoy controlling the sheeple and then laughing at their inability to recognize who’s manipulating them.

This is not going away with the end of the Jubilee Year in October or even with the end of 2016. It’s just getting started – and the false flags are growing more numerous. They feed the growing militarization around the country.

After the false flag shooting that occurred in Dallas, for instance, where the assailant was supposedly bombed by a drone before any information could be extracted from him, the NYPD was compelled to purchased $7.5 million worth of military grade protection equipment and weapons for themselves.

The NYPD officer from what Bloomberg called “the world’s 7th largest army,” even took pride in his force’s purchasing of these weapons and armor, saying, “There’s not a police department in America that is spending as much money or as much thought and interest on this issue of officer safety.”

Just what kinds of scenarios are these officers envisioning? If it weren’t for the camouflage it would be nearly impossible to differentiate between them and the actual military.

None of this seems to matter to Americans who don’t even bat an eye at these “troops” on their streets.  Many, dumbed down by the fluoride in the water and in government schools, and propagandized by the mainstream media television programming, actually cheer when they see their very own forces of occupation.

Most of them are unaware of the existence of Posse Comitatus – the part of their constitution that used to prohibit troops on their streets in times of peace – let alone it’s nullification back in 2006, which made declaring martial law even easier in the event of a “terrorist attack” or “natural disaster”.

Americans are too busy watching sitcoms and fake news to figure out the disaster headed in their direction. And the ones that do figure it out are supposed to be discouraged by people like Soros.

That’s why there are so many news reports featuring Soros. And that’s why he’s never been arrested, by the way.

They want you to understand all the bad things he’s doing. And they want you to be clear on one thing: He can keep on doing it with impunity. No one is going to stop him. He’s going to continue his agitations until chaos rises up around the world.

The elites behind this world-shaping gambit want you to be thoroughly discouraged. They want to emotionally paralyze you.

There is violence and strife looming and it’s all being planned to control you. The elites intend to steal your wealth and livelihood by any means necessary. Stay one step ahead of them by getting your money out the financial system while you still can. To help your family and yourself survive and prosper through the collapse of the dollar, check out my book Shemitah Trends on Amazon or become a subscriber and receive the book free here.

We are now exactly one week from the end of the Jubilee year.  Will something else happen before or on that date?  Perhaps not. But, as we’ve described all year, all the pieces for continued chaos have been put in place.

And it won’t stop after October 2nd either. In fact, it looks like it is just getting started.

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Control What You Can


OfTwoMinds

Our society does not make it easy to control what you can control.
 freedom
One of the aphorisms to live by here at Of Two Minds is control what you can. We don’t control the erosion of our money from inflation, the state’s vast criminalization machinery, the nation’s foreign policies or the central bank’s free money for financiers policies.
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So what do we control? Amazingly enough, we still control a few things. We control what we eat (at least those of us who aren’t institutionalized do), what fitness/ stretching/ bodywork routine we do or don’t do, and we still control what we do with our surplus money: we can salt it away as savings rather than spend it, and we control where to invest our savings.
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Here’s a couple of thoughts on productively controlling what we can control.
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1. Don’t count on bailouts, debt forgiveness, debt jubilees, guaranteed minimum income or any other form of free money. The Federal Reserve, the Treasury and the Justice Department have made it very clear: free money is for financiers, banks and corporations, and bailouts are for too-big-to-fail banks and financial institutions.
As for debt forgiveness and debt jubilees: every $1 of debt that’s forgiven (i.e. written off) is $1 that’s removed from some investor’s balance sheet. If we jubilee $1 trillion in debt, that’s $1 trillion in assets that are destroyed.
As the saying goes, there’s no free lunch (except for friends of the Fed), and since every dollar of debt is someone else’s asset, don’t expect bailouts or debt forgiveness. If it happens, great, but there will will be catches–including Catch 22, 23 and 24.
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2. It’s tough not to self-destruct in Our Impoverished, Pathological Society. We all know extra weight is hard on our bodies and health, even if we’re fit, and so the fact that 70.7% of Americans 20 and older are overweight or obese indicates just how difficult it is to remain healthy in our “salty, sugary, fatty treats are temptingly everywhere” culture.
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Our diet, fitness and weight have enormous impacts on our health. The best estimates suggest no more than 1/3 of our health is the result of our genetic makeup; the rest is environmental/lifestyle.
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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that One in five U.S. adults meet overall physical activity guidelines, which includes both aerobic and muscle strengthening exercises:
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“…at least 2½ hours a week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity such as walking, or one hour and 15 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity, such as jogging, or a combination of both. The guidelines also recommend that adults do muscle-strengthening activities, such as push-ups, sit-ups, or activities using resistance bands or weights. These activities should involve all major muscle groups and be done on two or more days per week.”
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Between a third and half of adult Americans are meeting one of the guidelines, but only 20% are meeting both aerobic and muscle-strengthening guidelines.
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These statistics are self-reported, so we have no way of knowing the actual fitness level of the 20% who claim a high level of fitness. As a baseline, I use the Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT), which anyone can take themselves, as it measures sit-ups, push-ups and the time required to run two miles.
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(NOTE: Do not attempt the test if you have not been training regularly for at least a year and have not had a thorough check-up by your personal physician recently.)
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There may be other baselines of fitness that are less strenuous. The point is, choose an objective baseline and monitor your progress. Be patient and self-disciplined; overdoing it will result in injuries, not fitness.
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I personally aim to do the minimum required to stay fit, because I’m basically lazy. As fitness guru Jack LaLanne said, “I hate exercise, but I like the results.”
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Eating well is equally challenging, and Drew Sample and I discuss diet, fitness, weight and controlling what we can in this podcast: The Sample Hour with Charles Hugh Smith (1:30 hrs). (Drew is 31, I’m 62, so we cover quite a bit of ground in the podcast.)
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3. If you want to invest wisely, invest in what the wealthy own: they own enterprises, which are assets that produce income–unlike McMansions or “stuff.”
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Our society does not make it easy to control what you can control. Temptations abound, and we’re told we need expensive gym memberships, personal trainers, investment advisors, etc. to take control of what we can control. Various rules limit where we can invest our retirement savings, and reams of paperwork inhibit us from owning assets overseas.
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If we set out to design a society in which people feel poorly (due to poor diet, fitness and mental health), feel poorly about themselves, and are emotionally, physically and financially impoverished, you’d end up with the society we have now.
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It doesn’t have to be this way. Liberation starts by taking control of whatever we can control. Taking control of our health and finances is a darn good start.
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Charles Hugh Smith
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My new book is #6 on Kindle short reads -> politics and social science: Why Our Status Quo Failed and Is Beyond Reform ($3.95 Kindle ebook, $8.95 print edition)For more, please visit the book’s website.

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Self Control or State Control, You Decide

Free people are not subservient, but neither are they uncontrolled. They control themselves. Taking control of your life is an act of both freedom and responsibility.

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Self Control or State Control, You Decide


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“They [the holders of authority] are so ready to spare us all sort of troubles, except those of obeying and paying! They will say to us: what, in the end, is the aim of your efforts, the motive of your labours, the object of all your hopes? Is it not happiness? Well, leave this happiness to us and we shall give it to you. No, Sirs, we must not leave it to them. No matter how touching such a tender commitment may be, let us ask the authorities to keep within their limits. Let them confine themselves to being just. We shall assume the responsibility of being happy for ourselves.”

– Benjamin Constant, Political Writings

Each of us faces a great choice. Shall I quietly accept the system of state control or shall I stand up for self-control? Self-control offers a life of freedom and responsibility. It enables us to realize our dignity in peace and harmony with others. It is a life worthy of a human being. It’s the foundation for prosperity and progress. State control offers a life of obedience, subservience, and fear. It promotes the war of all against all in the struggle for the power to control the lives of others. Self-control is a clear and simple principle applicable to all: every person gets one and only one life to live. State control has no clear and simple principle and invites conflict as individuals and groups struggle to control the state, and thus each other, or to evade control by others.


Free people are not subservient, but neither are they uncontrolled. They control themselves.


 

Free people are not subservient, but neither are they uncontrolled. They control themselves. Taking control of your life is an act of both freedom and responsibility. In fact, the two are so closely connected that one cannot hold onto one without the other.

Dependent children tend to seek freedom without responsibility; independent adults embrace both. The life of freedom and responsibility offers satisfactions only available to those who take control of their own lives. The life of freedom and responsibility is the life of an adult, rather than a child; of a citizen, rather than a subject; of a person, rather than an object. Our own well being, our happiness, is not something that we can expect from others or that is delivered to us by the state. Governments are properly instituted among men, after all, not to secure our happiness, but to secure our right to the pursuit of happiness. We are responsible for being happy ourselves.

Responsibility and Freedom

Responsibility: For some the word conjures up images of old people lecturing young people about sitting up straight, doing their homework, and writing thank-you notes to elderly aunts. Unsurprisingly, we’re expected to think it’s boring, tedious, a diversion from our enjoyment of our freedom. The goal of freedom, the images suggest, is to escape responsibilities.

In fact, embracing responsibility is neither boring, nor tedious, nor a diversion from freedom. Being responsible entails at times doing things that are unpleasant or even great sacrifices, but embracing responsibility provides the greatest of human satisfactions. Embracing one’s own responsibility is in fact an adventure and an act of daring. We deserve to be free because we can be held accountable for our acts; because we can make choices; because we can exercise self-control. Responsibility is not a burden we must bear to be free; the awareness that “I did that” is what makes freedom a prize worth fighting for. Responsibility is the key to the realization of freedom.

We do not deserve our freedom merely because we have desires or impulses. We deserve to be free – to control our own lives – because we are morally accountable: to each other, to God (for those who believe), and to our own consciences. As one of history’s most influential moral philosophers wrote hundreds of years ago,

A moral being is an accountable being. An accountable being, as the word expresses, is a being that must give an account of its actions to some other, and that consequently must regulate them according to the good-liking of this other.

– Adam Smith, The Theory of Moral Sentiments

Adam Smith went on to explain that the development of moral consciousness entails accountability, not only to others, but to ourselves, for what we seek is not merely to be praised, but to be praise-worthy, two goals that may resemble each other, but which “are yet, in many respects, distinct and independent of each other.”

As social creatures, Smith says, we seek to become praise-worthy, or “admirable,” but “in order to attain this satisfaction, we must become the impartial spectators of our own character and conduct. We must endeavor to view them with the eyes of other people, or as other people are likely to view them.”

Becoming impartial spectators of our own character and conduct enables us to earn our own self-esteem. As Smith noted, “The man who applauds us either for actions we did not perform, or for motives which had no sort of influence upon our conduct, applauds not us, but another person. We can derive no sort of satisfaction from his praises.” Such satisfaction is possible in no other way than by embracing responsibility.

Freedom: For some the word conjures up images of “anything goes,” of disorder, chaos, immorality, license. Unsurprisingly, they consider freedom frightening. As a consequence, many have believed that order and virtue must be imposed at the expense of freedom. They equate responsibility with submission to the commands of others. Some have even promised that such submission, although it may destroy what we ordinary people consider our freedom, promises a higher freedom, one far superior to what they dismiss as merely empirical or “bourgeois” freedom. They promise an ecstatic freedom that can only be found when our actions are directed by the wise and the good, or at least the powerful.

Freedom is not the same as license; responsibility closely connects freedom with virtue and self-command. The connection was made clear by one of history’s greatest champions of freedom, a man who was born a slave in Talbot County, Maryland: Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey, a man who achieved freedom for himself and for millions of others. He is known by the name he chose for himself: Frederick Douglass. Douglass wrote in his autobiography in 1845 – as a former slave who liberated himself – of the “holidays” allowed to slaves by their captors. Such moments of seeming freedom were portrayed as acts of benevolence by the slaveholders, but were in fact deployed as “safety-valves, to carry off the rebellious spirit of enslaved humanity.” The slaveholders sought to sink their captives in depravity, rather than offer them a respite from slavery:

Their object seems to be, to disgust their slaves with freedom, by plunging them into the lowest depths of dissipation. For instance, the slaveholders not only like to see the slave drink of his own accord, but will adopt various plans to make him drunk. One plan is, to make bets on their slaves, as to who can drink the most whisky without getting drunk; and in this way they succeed in getting whole multitudes to drink to excess. Thus, when the slave asks for virtuous freedom, the cunning slaveholder, knowing his ignorance, cheats him with a dose of vicious dissipation, artfully labeled with the name of liberty. The most of us used to drink it down, and the result was just what might be supposed: many of us were led to think that there was little to choose between liberty and slavery. We felt, and very properly so, that we had almost as well be slaves to man as to rum. So, when the holidays ended, we staggered up from the filth of our wallowing, took a long breath, and marched to the field – feeling, upon the whole, rather glad to go, from what our master had deceived us into a belief was freedom, back to the arms of slavery

For Douglass, freedom was found not in the drunkenness and vice encouraged by the masters, but in the dignity of self-assumed responsibility. He learned the measure of freedom when he, as he put it, “got hold of a book entitled The Columbian Orator” and was captivated by a dialogue between a master and a slave in which the slave refutes the master’s arguments for slavery and persuades the master to emancipate him. The effect of those arguments on Douglass was powerful: “Freedom now appeared, to disappear no more forever. It was heard in every sound, and seen in every thing. It was ever present to torment me with a sense of my wretched condition. I saw nothing without seeing it, I heard nothing without hearing it, and felt nothing without feeling it.”

Excerpted from Tom Palmer’s new book: Self-Control or State Control? You Decide



Tom G. Palmer

Tom G. Palmer is executive vice president for international programs at the Atlas Network and a senior fellow at the Cato Institute and director of the Institute’s educational program, Cato University.


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Malaysia the fragile federation


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31 August marks Malaysia’s independence. But not everyone is celebrating the federation, writes James Chin.


Today Malaysia celebrates Hari Merdeka or Independence Day.

But, the 31 August anniversary again raises the old debate about the actual date of independence and what the Federation means to the peoples of Sabah and Sarawak. It’s a discussion that has happened this time every year for much of the past decade.

Most banners in Malaysia have ‘59’, marking when Malaya became independent in 1957. The ‘53’ comes from 1963 — the year when the Federation was formed.

For many years, the federal government in KL/Putrajaya did not take the difference in years seriously. The situation changed in 2010 with the creation of another public holiday — Malaysia Day — to be celebrated annually on 16 September and commemorating the formation of the Federation.

The sudden acknowledgment by Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak was no doubt in part to the increasing assertiveness of leaders in Sabah and Sarawak. Before 2008 Sabah and Sarawak were seen as a reliable ‘fixed deposit’ for the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN). The number of BN MPs elected from the Bornean states gave the BN a two-thirds majority in parliament.

The situation is markedly different now. The current Najib administration is holding on to power with a wafer-thin majority of 18 seats (as at July 2016). There are 47 BN MPs from Sabah (22) and Sarawak (25).  Najib would be out of a job without the BN MPs from East Malaysia.

To show his appreciation and to reflect the rise of East Malaysia, he appointed more than 15 federal ministers and deputy ministers from the two state. In fact, the second largest party in the federal BN is Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) from Sarawak, not the uni-racial Malaysian Chinese Association as is widely believed.

Najib’s perilous political position is made worse by the fact that UMNO does not have single MP from Sarawak. In fact, under a deal made during former Prime Minister Mahathir’s tenure, UMNO is not allowed into Sarawak.

Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB), the local Muslim party, is the defacto UMNO of Sarawak. It has ruled Sarawak since 1970 with a coalition that is beholden to it. PBB could easily rule Sarawak on its own, but the state’s diverse population requires it to keep a coalition government, the Sarawak BN, for political stability.

Unlike Sarawak, UMNO is in firm control of Sabah and UMNO Sabah’s boss, Musa Aman, is the state’s chief minister. His brother is Malaysia’s Foreign Minister.

The noisy debate in East Malaysia over ‘53-vs-59’ reflects the wider issue of Sabah and Sarawak’s status in the Malaysian Federation. Many Sabahans and Sarawakians are of the opinion that Malaya, Sabah, and Sarawak (and Singapore before its expulsion from Malaysia in 1963) were the original founders of the Federation. Hence the argument that Sabah and Sarawak should not be merely treated as one of the 13 states in the Federation but as one of the three founding states.

This distinction is important for Sabah and Sarawak nationalists as they like to argue that both states should enjoy more rights compared to others. These rights, as the argument goes, are part of the original promises made by Tunku Abdul Rahman and other Malayan leaders when they approached Sabah and Sarawak back in 1961 to establish the Malaysian Federation. They further argue that many of these rights, collectively called the ’20 Points’, have been watered down over the last half century.

Sarawak-YoutubeWith UMNO relying on East Malaysia to stay in power, Adenan Satem, the chief minister of Sarawak, has been especially vocal in demanding more autonomy for the state. Just in the past week, he met Najib to pressure Petronas, the national oil corporation, to implement a Sarawak-First policy in hiring its workers in Sarawak. Najib also promised to appoint a representative of the Sabah and Sarawak governments to the Petronas board.

Adenan’s move was widely applauded in Sarawak, so much so that Netizens are asking why Musa Aman, Sabah’s chief minister, has been keeping quiet when it comes to state rights. It is not lost on Sabahans that Musa belongs to UMNO Sabah and Najib is his party chief.

The firm push for more autonomy for the two East Malaysian states comes at a time when various movements are actively seeking a referendum on the future position of Sabah and Sarawak in the Malaysian Federation. Many of these groups, active on the social media, and especially Facebook, harbour dreams that one day Sabah and Sarawak will be independent states.

In Sarawak, some of these groups are covertly supported by the Sarawak BN. The Sarawak BN sees these groups as useful in helping to split the opposition vote and, more importantly, help Sarawak BN contain the threat represented by the opposition DAP and PKR. These two parties have some support among the local population and labeling them as ‘Malayan’ parties out to ‘colonise’ Sarawak is attractive rhetoric if you claim to be a Sarawak nationalist.

All four parties that make up the Sarawak BN — PBB, Sarawak United Peoples Party (SUPP), Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS), Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party (SPDP) — are local. They all claim to be Sarawak nationalists, despite the fact that on the very day they were established all of them joined the federal BN. But as they say, facts are irrelevant in politics; it’s perception that counts.

Until the next general election, we can expect Adenan to take the lead in negotiating with Najib to ‘take back’ some of the bureaucratic powers lost to Putrajaya during Mahathir’s tenure. Sabah will take a back seat for the simple reason that any deals for Sarawak will have to apply to Sabah as well. Both Adenan and Najib are hoping that Adenan’s ‘victories’ in securing more powers will lead to a massive win for Sabah and Sarawak BN in the coming general election.

At the grassroots level, the nationalists will be given a lot of leeway in promoting ‘Sabah for Sabahans’ and ‘Sarawak for Sarawakians’ as long as they are useful in painting the federal opposition as ‘outsiders’. In any other states in the peninsula, they would be arrested immediately for sedition.

The debate over state rights in Sabah and Sarawak could have long-term consequences for the Malaysian Federation. It is instructive to note that in the 1980s, Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) used the state rights appeal to win several state elections in Sabah. This tactic directly led to the establishment of UMNO in Sabah, and the state’s politics were forever changed.

While the likelihood of UMNO entering Sarawak is remote now, this situation can change with the results of a single election. UMNO is playing ‘nice’ now because it needs Sarawak to stay in power. When UMNO is strong, it will behave in an entirely different manner. Any powers given back to Sarawak can easily be taken away as long as the centre (Putrajaya) in the Malaysian federation is all powerful under the federal constitution.

For lasting state rights, the leaders of Sabah and Sarawak must come together and insert autonomy into the Malaysian Constitution. Otherwise what we have is merely a bureaucratic maneuver that is only good until the next state or federal elections. 

Professor James Chin is Director, Asia Institute, University of Tasmania. Readers who are interested in exploring this issue further can read the author’s recent book (co-edited with Andrew Harding), 50 Years of Malaysia: Federation Revisited (2014).

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