Sunday, June 17, 2018

"True Learning..."

"Place yourself among those who carry on their lives with passion, and true learning will take place, no matter how humble or exalted the setting. But no matter what path you follow, do not be ashamed of your learning. In some corner of your life, you know more about something than anyone else on earth. The true measure of your education is not what you know, but how you share what you know with others."
- Kent Nerburn

"A Multitude Of Causes..."

"A multitude of causes unknown to former times are now acting with a
combined force to blunt the discriminating powers of the mind, and unfitting
it for all voluntary exertion to reduce it to a state of almost savage torpor."
- William Wordsworth, 1770-1850

"Trump’s Not Like Ike"

"Trump’s Not Like Ike"
by Bill Bonner

POITOU, FRANCE – "Friday came word that the European Central Bank followed through, just like the Fed. After $2.7 trillion in “stimulus,” it has officially taken its foot off the pedal. No more bond purchases by the end of the year. It follows the Fed in returning to “normal” monetary policy. The announcement scarcely made the headlines. The media knows what keeps the public engaged – reality TV and fake news, mostly. Not central bank monetary policy.

Trump Show: On the front pages, it’s the Trump Show, 24/7… and performances are always sold out. Many of our readers love it. They’re convinced that America’s president is a genius who will Make America Great Again. No need to read the back pages or wonder exactly how he’ll do it.

Typically, they write to say that we “don’t understand him.” Or that “he has done more in 18 months than Obama did in eight years.” Or that, since the other choice was Hillary, our only hope is to “get behind the president.” Or, “Finally, our side is winning… What’s wrong with you?” 

It must be as puzzling to readers as it is to us. How could we resist the charm of The Donald? How could we fail to fall under his spell? Some readers think that there must be a hidden agenda. “You’re a closet liberal…” wrote one. “You’re one of the swamp critters,” wrote another, while a third accused us of “being part of the Deep State.”

The puzzlement goes both ways. While they can’t imagine why we don’t see the halo over his head, we can’t quite figure out what they see at all. So to gain perspective, we put the old jalopy in reverse… and try to take another look. We’ll back up to those golden green days… of Gunsmoke and I Love Lucy… back when America really was great.

American Heyday: The real heyday of the American republic was the interwar period between the Korean and Vietnam Wars. The American economy was booming. It had the biggest trade surplus in the world… the strongest manufacturing sector… the strongest currency… and the highest salaries in the world. And the debt from World War II was being paid down.

Elected in 1952, Dwight Eisenhower ended the Korean War, balanced the budget, reduced U.S. debt as a percentage of GDP by nearly 15% (no subsequent president has even come close), and reduced government spending as a percentage of GDP from 20% to 18% (not even Ronald Reagan was able to do that). He cut defense spending by 20% in 1956 (though it rose later), the Dow doubled, and personal incomes rose 45%.

Eisenhower also resisted the temptation to throw his weight around overseas. When Israel invaded Egypt in 1956 – with Britain and France eagerly joining in – he refused to take part. Instead, he teamed up with the Soviet Union and threatened to sell British bonds if the UK failed to withdraw.

Of course, Eisenhower was no saint. Maybe he should have tried to undo Roosevelt’s New Deal programs. Maybe he should have disbanded the CIA. But the currents of history were running too strong in the other direction. Still, the hallmarks of his two terms were peace and prosperity, with relatively fewer win-lose deals imposed by the feds.

Ably Served: We should mention that Eisenhower was also ably served at the Fed by William McChesney Martin. Martin was a Latin scholar from Yale who joined the brokerage firm A. G. Edwards and made full partner two years later. He gave such a good showing of himself that he was elected to head the New York Stock Exchange at age 31. Then, when World War II broke out, he was drafted and served as a private.

Martin had a simple and modest idea of his mission at the Fed. He sought neither full employment, nor Dow 30,000, nor 2% consumer price inflation. He neither appeased nor sucked up, neither to Democrats nor Republicans. Today’s Fed model – based on “dynamic stochastics” – would have been Greek to him… or perhaps, merely ridiculous claptrap. Negative real interest rates… quantitative easing… and a $4.4 trillion Fed balance sheet – all would have been regarded like a quack, hair-growing elixir… with faint hope and much suspicion.

Instead, the ’50s Fed chief saw his role as simply to “take the punchbowl away” when the party got out of control. (Richard Nixon blamed Martin’s “tight money” policies for his 1960 presidential election loss.) Looking over our shoulders – back to when we were still riding a two-wheeler – whatever Eisenhower and Martin were doing, it worked.

GDP rose from $355 billion in 1950 to $487 billion in 1960. The rich got richer. The poor got richer, too. Jobs were plentiful. And an ordinary man with an ordinary job could support an ordinary family in a perfectly ordinary way.

(Personal footnote: Our father took off his khakis, got a civilian job in Ft. Meade, Maryland, borrowed $4,000 from a local bank, built his own house, and raised four children. Things went downhill soon after, but through no fault of the Eisenhower administration!)

Insolvent Phantom: So you’d think that if you were serious about making America great again, you’d want to emulate Ike Eisenhower rather than George W. Bush or Barack Obama. You’d want to end wars, not start them. You’d want to balance the federal budget, not run the biggest deficits in history. You’d want to reduce federal spending and cut the Pentagon budget, not increase them. You’d want less government, not more – and less debt, too, not more of it.

That is, you’d want to do the exact opposite of the Bush and Obama administrations. But when we look out on the comic splendor of the USA in 2018, we see neither Dwight Eisenhower reincarnated in the White House nor a William McChesney Martin redux at the Fed.

Instead, what we see is what Eisenhower warned us against on January 17, 1961 during the president’s farewell address: "As we peer into society’s future, we – you and I, and our government – must avoid the impulse to live only for today, plundering for our own ease and convenience the precious resources of tomorrow. We cannot mortgage the material assets of our grandchildren without risking the loss also of their political and spiritual heritage. We want democracy to survive for all generations to come, not to become the insolvent phantom of tomorrow."

What is today’s $21 trillion national debt? It is exactly what Eisenhower urged us to avoid – plundering the future… and mortgaging the precious assets of our grandchildren.

But the old general didn’t stop there. He also saw the Deep State taking shape: "In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together."

Divine Methods: Why did George W. Bush make up the “weapons of mass destruction” fantasy and attack Iraq after he had promised voters a more “humble” foreign policy? Why did Barack Obama continue the Middle East military misadventures even after he had pledged to end them?

How come Donald J. Trump – who repeatedly criticized America’s losing wars in the Middle East and promised a new “America First” foreign policy – has gotten fully on board with the entire Bush/Obama program, in which no sparrow can fall anywhere in the world without a push from the Pentagon or the CIA?

Why is the Trump government projected to run $1.2 trillion in deficits – in peacetime, during an economic expansion – anticipating total debt of some $30 trillion within 10 years?

Why is the Fed being run by a disciple of Bush/Obama era Fed chiefs – Bernanke and Yellen – rather than someone in the Martin tradition?

And why would the Pentagon budget be increased, when it could be cut in half and actually improve the safety of the Homeland?

Why? Because Donald Trump is such a genius that his methods are nearly divine… mysterious… inscrutable… and beyond the comprehension of mere mortals? Does he (and apparently many of our readers) see something we can’t? Or was it General Eisenhower who saw more clearly than any of us?”

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Musical Interlude: Moody Blues, "Don't You Feel Small?"

Musical Interlude: Chuck Wild, “Liquid Mind VI: Spirit - In The Spirit”

Music by Chuck Wild, “Liquid Mind VI: Spirit - In The Spirit”
Images courtesy of ESA, NASA, and The Hubble Space Telescope.
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s52o9_2pi1U&feature=related

"A Look to the Heavens"

“Following an ancient galaxy-galaxy collision 200 million light-years from Earth, debris from a gas-rich galaxy, NGC 5291, was flung far into intergalactic space. NGC 5291 and the likely interloper, also known as the "Seashell" galaxy, are captured near the center of this spectacular scene. The sharp, ground-based telescopic image looks toward the galaxy cluster Abell 3574 in the southern constellation Centaurus. 
Click image for larger size.
Stretched along the 100,000 light-year long tidal tails, are clumps resembling dwarf galaxies, but lacking old stars, apparently dominated by young stars and active star forming regions. Found to be unusually rich in elements heavier than hydrogen and helium, the dwarf galaxies were likely born in intergalactic space, recycling the enriched debris from NGC 5291 itself.”

Chet Raymo, "Chimps and Cosmologists"

"Chimps and Cosmologists"
by Chet Raymo

"Lord Martin Rees, Astronomer Royal and president of the Royal Society in Britain, caused something of a flap by suggesting that humans may never be able to understand the universe. "Some aspects of reality may elude us simply because they're beyond human brains, just as surely as Einstein's ideas would baffle a chimpanzee," he said. Einstein used existing mathematics to develop general relativity, describing how gravity controls the universe on the largest scale. Dirac also used "off-the-shelf" mathematics when devising quantum theory, which describes nature on the subatomic level. After decades of trying, physicists have not been able to unify the two theories, maybe because the mathematical tools to do so are beyond our comprehension, said Rees. So too, understanding our own consciousness and self-awareness may require grasping aspects or dimensions of the universe where the human brain is not equipped to go.

Of course, Rees may be right. The universe may exist on scales and in dimensions that will forever elude us. Our brains are finite; the universe may be infinite. But I wouldn't be too quick to shut the door of progress. History suggests that every generation has had its "dream of a final theory," only to have the next generation take us to a new level of understanding. Yes, our brains are finite, but the future will almost certainly see artificial brains - not necessarily silicon based - vastly superior to our own.

So yes, complete understanding of the universe, or even a complete inventory of what exists, may be ultimately beyond us, which is why it is so silly to base arguments for or against the existence of God on the scientific theory de jour. But I would also suppose that a hundred years or two hundred years from now, our descendants will look back on the science of today with as much condescension as we look back at the science of the medieval university - or the cosmological thought of chimpanzees."

The Poet: Wendell Berry, “The Contrariness of the Mad Farmer”

“The Contrariness of the Mad Farmer”

“I am done with apologies. If contrariness is my
 inheritance and destiny, so be it. If it is my mission
 to go in at exits and come out at entrances, so be it.
 I have planted by the stars in defiance of the experts,
 and tilled somewhat by incantation and by singing,
 and reaped, as I knew, by luck and Heaven's favor,
 in spite of the best advice. If I have been caught
 so often laughing at funerals, that was because
 I knew the dead were already slipping away,
 preparing a comeback, and can I help it?
 And if at weddings I have gritted and gnashed
 my teeth, it was because I knew where the bridegroom
 had sunk his manhood, and knew it would not
 be resurrected by a piece of cake. ‘Dance,’ they told me,
 and I stood still, and while they stood
 quiet in line at the gate of the Kingdom, I danced.
 ‘Pray,’ they said, and I laughed, covering myself
 in the earth's brightnesses, and then stole off gray
 into the midst of a revel, and prayed like an orphan.
 When they said, ‘I know my Redeemer liveth,’
 I told them, ‘He's dead.’ And when they told me
 ‘God is dead,’ I answered, ‘He goes fishing every day
 in the Kentucky River. I see Him often.’
 When they asked me would I like to contribute
 I said no, and when they had collected
 more than they needed, I gave them as much as I had.
 When they asked me to join them I wouldn't,
 and then went off by myself and did more
 than they would have asked. ‘Well, then,’ they said
 ‘go and organize the International Brotherhood
 of Contraries,’ and I said, ‘Did you finish killing
 everybody who was against peace?’ So be it.
 Going against men, I have heard at times a deep harmony
 thrumming in the mixture, and when they ask me what
 I say I don't know. It is not the only or the easiest
 way to come to the truth. It is one way.”

- Wendell Berry

"You Think They're Nice..."

"That's why crazy people are so dangerous. 
You think they're nice until they're chaining you up in the garage."
- Michael Buckley

“A Man You’ve Never Heard of Saved Your Life”

“A Man You’ve Never Heard of Saved Your Life”
by George Washington

“On October 27, 1962, a man you’ve never heard of saved your life. It was at the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis, when the U.S. and Soviet Union were on hair trigger alert for World War Three. And an order to launch a nuclear missile against Americans was actually given by the commander and political officer of a Soviet nuclear submarine. One man stopped global nuclear war.

Edward Wilson explains in the Guardian: “An American spy plane had been shot down over Cuba while another U2 had got lost and strayed into Soviet airspace. As these dramas ratcheted tensions beyond breaking point, an American destroyer, the USS Beale, began to drop depth charges on the B-59, a Soviet submarine armed with a nuclear weapon.

The captain of the B-59, Valentin Savitsky, had no way of knowing that the depth charges were non-lethal “practice” rounds intended as warning shots to force the B-59 to surface. The Beale was joined by other US destroyers who piled in to pummel the submerged B-59 with more explosives. The exhausted Savitsky assumed that his submarine was doomed and that world war three had broken out. He ordered the B-59’s ten kiloton nuclear torpedo to be prepared for firing. Its target was the USS Randolf, the giant aircraft carrier leading the task force.

If the B-59’s torpedo had vaporized the Randolf, the nuclear clouds would quickly have spread from sea to land. The first targets would have been Moscow, London, the airbases of East Anglia and troop concentrations in Germany. The next wave of bombs would have wiped out “economic targets”, a euphemism for civilian populations – more than half the UK population would have died. Meanwhile, the Pentagon’s SIOP, Single Integrated Operational Plan – a doomsday scenario that echoed Dr Strangelove‘s orgiastic Götterdämmerung – would have hurled 5,500 nuclear weapons against a thousand targets, including ones in non-belligerent states such as Albania and China.

The decision not to start world war three was not taken in the Kremlin or the White House, but in the sweltering control room of a submarine. The launch of the B-59’s nuclear torpedo required the consent of all three senior officers aboard. Arkhipov was alone in refusing permission. It is certain that Arkhipov’s reputation was a key factor in the control room debate. The previous year the young officer had exposed himself to severe radiation in order to save a submarine with an overheating reactor. That radiation dose eventually contributed to his death in 1998.

PBS’ "The Man Who Saved the World", video below, adds details: “Just how close the world came to complete destruction during those dark October days has only recently come to light. “I now believe that it could have meant the end of humanity.” “I saw Defense Secretary McNamara take Dean Rusk to the side and said, ‘The sun is setting, it could be the last sunset we will ever see.’ And that’s when I got scared.”

“There is a specific signal that we have, and that is 3 explosions, grenade explosions, which means you have to surface. I don’t know what the Americans were doing, but it wasn’t three…” The American signal to surface is different from the Russians.
  
The commander and political officer of the Russian nuclear sub both command the launch of a nuclear weapon against the Americans. But Arkhipov said: “We don’t know that this is an attack – for all we know they are trying to surface us.” The future of the world now rests on Vasili Arkhipov’s shoulders…

Gary Slaughter, signalman aboard the American destroyer USS Cony: “God only bless the man because what would have happened after that?  We would have been in a nuclear war with Soviet Russia, and there would maybe perhaps not be a world.” We only avoided a nuclear war because one man – Arkhipov – put down his foot and said no.

“Secrets of the Dead: The Man Who Saved the World”

Postscript: We are also grateful to American military heroes – many of them anonymous – who have blown the whistle on things which could also have led to nuclear war. Unfortunately, Michel Chossudovsky documents In “Towards a World War III Scenario” that the U.S. is currently so enamored with nuclear weapons that it has authorized low-level field commanders to use them in the heat of battle in their sole discretion - without any approval from civilian leaders. Given that top Russians, Americans and Poles say that we’re once again drifting towards a nuclear confrontation with Russia, cool-headed, ethical commanders may be our best chance of preventing catastrophe.”

"A Stick In The Mud..."

“At this point I reveal myself in my true colors, as a stick-in-the-mud. I hold a number of beliefs that have been repudiated by the liveliest intellects of our time. I believe order is better than chaos, creation better than destruction. I prefer gentleness to violence, forgiveness to vendetta. On the whole I think that knowledge is preferable to ignorance, and I am sure that human sympathy is more valuable than ideology. I believe that in spite of the recent triumphs of science, men haven’t changed much in the last two thousand years; and in consequence we must try to learn from history. History is ourselves.

I believe in courtesy, the ritual by which we avoid hurting other people’s feelings, by satisfying our own egos. And I think we should remember that we are all part of a great whole, which for convenience we call nature. All living things are our brothers and sisters.”
- Kenneth Clark, “Civilization”

Musical Interlude: Jefferson Airplane, “White Rabbit”

Jefferson Airplane, “White Rabbit”

The Daily "Near You?"

Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. Thanks for stopping by!

"My Own View..."

“My own view is that this planet is used as a penal colony, lunatic asylum and dumping ground by a superior civilization, to get rid of the undesirable and unfit. I can't prove it, but you can't disprove it either. It happens to be my view, but it doesn't challenge any of the findings of Darwin or Huxley or Einstein or Hawking.”
- Christopher Hitchens

"A Hard Rain's a-Gonna Fall"

"A Hard Rain's a-Gonna Fall"
by Adam Taggart via PeakProsperity.com

"Après moi, le déluge."
~ King Louis XV of France

~ Bob Dylan (the first)

"As the Federal Reserve kicked off its second round of quantitative easing in the aftermath of the Great Financial Crisis, hedge fund manager David Tepper predicted that nearly all assets would rise tremendously in response. "The Fed just announced we want economic growth, and we don't care if there's inflation... have they ever said that before?" He then famously uttered the line "You gotta love a put", referring to the Fed's declared willingness to print $trillions to backstop the economy and financial makets.

Nine years later we see that Tepper was right, likely even more so than he realized at the time. The other world central banks followed the Fed's lead. Mario Draghi of the ECB declared a similar "whatever it takes" policy and has printed nearly $3.5 trillion in just the past three years alone. The Bank of Japan has intervened so much that it now owns over 40% of its country's entire bond market. And no central bank has printed more than the People's Bank of China.

It has been an unprecedented force-feeding of stimulus into the global system. And, contrary to what most people realize, it hasn't diminished over the years since the Great Recession. In fact, the most recent wave from 2015-2018 has seen the highest amount of injected 'thin-air' money ever:
In response, equities have long since rocketed past their pre-crisis highs, bonds continued rising as interest rates stayed at historic lows, and many real estate markets are now back in bubble territory. As Tepper predicted, financial and other risk assets have shot the moon. And everyone learned to love the 'Fed put' and stop worrying. But as King Louis XV and Bob Dylan both warned us, what's coming next will change everything.

The Deluge Approaches: This halcyon era of ever-higher prices and consequence-free backstopping by the central banks is ending. The central banks, desperate to give themselves some slack (any slack!) to maneuver when the next recession arrives, have publicly committed to 'tightening monetary policy' and 'unwinding their balance sheets', which is wonk-speak for 'reversing what they've done' over the past decade.

Most general investors today just don't appreciate how gargantuanly significant this is. For the past 9 years, we've become accustomed to a volatily-free one-way trip higher in asset prices. It's been all-glory with no risk while the 'Fed put' has had our backs (along with the 'EBC put', the 'BOJ' put, the 'PBoC put', etc). Anybody going long, buying the (few, minor) dips along the way, has felt like a genius.

That's all over.

Based on current guidance from the central banks, "global QE" is expected to drop precipitously from here:
With just the relatively tiny amount of QE tapering so far, 2018 has already seen more market price volatility than any year since 2009. But we've seen nothing so far compared to the volatility that's coming later this year when QE starts declining in earnest.

In parallel with this tightening, global interest rates are rising after years of flatlining at all-time lows. And it's important to note that our recent 0% (or negative) yields came at the end of a 35-year secular cycle of declining interest rates that began in the early 1980s. Are we seeing a secular cycle turn now that rates are creeping back up? Will rising interest rates be the norm for the foreseable future? If so, the world is woefully unprepared for it.

Countries and companies are carrying unprecendented levels of debt, as are many households. Rising interest rates increases the cost of servicing that debt, leaving less behind to invest or to meet basic operating needs.

Simon Black reminds us that, mathematically, rising interest rates result in lower valuations for stocks, bonds and housing. But so far, Wall Street hasn't gotten the message (chart courtesy of Charles Hugh Smith):
Click image for larger size.
So we're presented with a simple question: What happens when the QE that's grossly-inflating markets stops at the same time that interest rates rise? The answer is simple, too: Prices fall. They fall commensurate with the distortion within the system. Which is unprecedented at this stage.

But Wait, There's More! So the situation is dire. But it gets worse. Our debt that's getting more expensive to service? Well, not only are we (in the US) adding to it at a faster rate with our newly-declared horizon of $1+ trillion annual deficits, but we're increasingly antagonizing the largest buyers of our debt.

This is most notable with China (the #1 Treasury buyer), whom we've dragged into a trade war and just announced $50 billion in tariffs against. But Japan (the #2 buyer) is also materially reducing its Treasury purchases. And not to be outdone, Russia recently dumped half of its Treasury holdings, $47 billion worth, in a single fell swoop. Should this trend lead, understandably, to lower demand for US Treasurys in the future, that only will put further pressure on interest rates to move higher.

And this is all happening at a time when the stability of the rest of the world is fast deteriorating. Developing (EM) countries are getting destroyed as central bank liquidity flows slow and reverse - as higher interest rates strengthen the USD against their home currencies, their debts (mostly denominated in USD) become more costly while their revenues (denominated in local currency) lose purchasing power.

Fault lines are fracturing across Europe as protectionist, populist candidates are threatening the long-standing EU power structure. Italy's economy is struggling to remain afloat and could take the entire European banking system down with it. The new tit-for-tat tariffs with the US aren't helping matters. And China, trade war aside, is seeing its fabled economic momentum slow to multi-decade lows.

All players on the chessboard are weakening. 

The Timing Is Becoming Clear: Yes, the financial markets are currently still near all-time highs (or at the high, in the case of the Nasdaq). And yes, expected Q2 US GDP has jumped to a blistering 4.8%But the writing is increasingly on the wall that these rosy heights won't last for much longer. These next three charts from Palisade Research, combined with the above forecast of the drop-off in global QE, paint a stark picture for the rest of 2018 and beyond.

The first shows that as the G-3 central banks have started their initial (and still small) efforts to withdraw QE, the Global Financial Stress Indicator is spiking worrisomely:
Next, one of the best predictors of global corporate earnings now forecasts an imminent collapse. As go earnings, so go stock prices:
And looking at trade flows - which track the movement of 'real stuff' like air and shipping freights - we see clear signs that the global economy is slowing down (a trend that will be exacerbated if oil prices rise as geologist Art Berman predicts): 
The end of QE, higher interest rates, trade wars at a time of slowing global trade, China/Europe weakening, EM carnage - it's like both legs of the ladder you're standing on being sawed off, as well all of the rungs underneath you. Conclusion: a major decline in the financial markets is due for the second half of 2018/first half of 2019.

Actions To Take: Gathering clouds deliver a valuable message: Seek shelter before the storm. Specifically, it's time to:
Get liquid. When the rug gets pulled out from under today's asset prices, 'flat' will be the new 'up'. Simply not losing money will make you wealthier on a relative basis - it's the easiest, least-risky strategy for most investors to prepare for what's coming. "Cash is king" in the aftermath of a deflationary downdraft, when your dry power can be then used to purchase high-quality income-producing assets at excellent value - fractions of their current prices. And in the interim, the returns on cash are getting better for investors who know where to look. We've recently explained how you can now get 2%+ interest on cash stored in short-term T-bills (that's 30x more than most banks will pay on cash savings). If you're sitting on cash and haven't looked seriously yet at that program, you really should review our report. With more Fed tightening expected in the future, T-bill rates are likely headed even higher.

Get your plan for the correction into place now. In addition to your cash, how is the rest of your portfolio positioned? Do you have suitable hedges in place to mitigate your risk? Does your financial advisor even acknowledge the risks detailed in the above article? The last thing you want to do in a market downdraft is make panicked decisions. So if you haven't already put together a contingency plan for a 20-40%+ market drop, consider scheduling a consultation with the firm we endorse (it's completely free).

Nibble into commodities. The commodities/equities price ratio is the lowest it has been in 47 years. That ratio has to correct some point soon. Much of that correction will be due to stocks dropping; but the rest will be by commodities holding their own or appreciating. While it's true that commodities could indeed fall as well during a general deflationary rout, that's not a guarantee - especially given that many commodities are now selling at prices close to - or in some cases, below - their marginal cost of production. The easiest commodities to own yourself, the precious metals, are 'dirt cheap' right now (especially silver), as explained in our recent podcast with Ronald Stoeferle. And with today's bloodbath, they just got even cheaper. Here's a helpful free 27-page ebook explaining ways to purchase and store gold and silver in today's markets.

Assess and address your biggest vulnerabilities before the next crisis hits. Are you worried about the security of your current job when the next recession hits? Are rising interest rates causing you to struggle in deciding whether to buy or sell a home? Are you trying to come up with a plan for a resilient retirement? Are you assessing the pros and cons of relocating? Do you have homesteading questions? Are you trying to create new streams of income? Chris offers private consultations on these common questions, as well as many others. If you're wrestling with big life decisions like these, scheduling a consultation with him can prove valuable in helping you make the best choice.

We're lurching through the final steps of familiar territory as the status quo we've known for the past near-decade is ending. The mind-bogglingly massive central bank stimulus supporting asset prices are disappearing. Interest rates are rising. It's hard to overemphasize how seismic these changes will be to world markets and the global economy. The coming months are going to be completely different than what society is conditioned for. Time is running short to get prepared.

Our recent report, "The Breaking Point Is Upon Us", details how signs of collapse are now quickly accelerating around the world. The currency and bond markets of five major countries are now in the danger zone, as many more teeter on the edge. If you haven't already read this report, we recommend doing so now. It drives home how important the recommended steps above are.

Because when today's Everything Bubble bursts, the effect will be nothing short of catastrophic as 50 years of excessive debt accumulation suddenly deflates. A hard rain indeed is gonna fall."
Click here to read "The Breaking Point Is Upon Us"  (free executive summary, enrollment required for full access)
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