Thursday, February 28, 2019

Rumors Of War: 'Third World War Is An Extremely High Probability'

The "Disintegration" Of Global Capitalism Could Unleash World War 3, Warns Top EU Economist

A senior European Commission economist has warned that a Third World War is an extremely “high probability” in coming years due to the disintegration of global capitalism.

In a working paper published last month, Professor Gerhard Hanappi argued that since the 2008 financial crash, the global economy has moved away from “integrated” capitalism into a “disintegrating” shift marked by the same sorts of trends which preceded previous world wars.
Professor Hanappi is Jean Monnet Chair for Political Economy of European Integration — an European Commission appointment — at the Institute for Mathematical Models in Economics at the Vienna University of Technology. He also sits on the management committee of the Systemic Risks expert groupin the EU-funded European Cooperation in Science and Technology research network.
In his new paper, Hanappi concludes that global conditions bear unnerving parallels with trends before the outbreak of the first and second world wars.
Key red flags that the world is on a slippery slope to a global war, he finds, include:

  • the inexorable growth of military spending;
  • democracies transitioning into increasingly authoritarian police states;
  • heightening geopolitical tensions between great powers;
  • the resurgence of populism across the left and right;
  • the breakdown and weakening of established global institutions that govern transnational capitalism;
  • and the relentless widening of global inequalities.

These trends, some of which were visible before the previous world wars, are reappearing in new forms. Hanappi argues that the defining feature of the current period is a transition from an older form of “integrating capitalism” to a new form of “disintegrating capitalism”, whose features most clearly emerged after the 2008 financial crisis.

This system is now entering a period of disintegration. Previously, fractures within the system between rich and poor were overcome “by distributing a bit of the gains of the tremendous increase of the fruits of the global division of labour to the richer working classes in these nations.” Similarly, international tensions were diffused through transnational governance frameworks and agreements for the regulation of capitalism.

But since the 2008 financial crisis, wealth distribution has worsened, with purchasing power for the middle and working classes declining as wealth becomes even more greatly concentrated.

Great power conflict

Hanappi explores three potential scenarios for how a new global conflict could unfold. In his first scenario, he explores the prospect of a war between the three most prominent military powers: the US, Russia and China.

There are growing signs of heightened great power tensions which could erupt entirely by accident or unanticipated provocation into a global conflict that nobody wants.

The US-China trade war is escalating, while both powers tussle over technology secrets and argue over China’s growing military footprint in the South China Sea. Meanwhile Trump’s massive expansion of the US Navy and Air Force point to preparations for a major potential conflict with either China or Russsia.

Both the US and Russia have jettisoned a critical nuclear treaty established since the Cold War opening the way to a nuclear arms race. North Korea remains unrepentant about its ongoing nuclear weapons programme while Trump’s tearing up of the nuclear agreement with Iran disincentivises that country from complying with disarmament and reporting terms.

Small wars, global contagion

Hanappi’s second scenario explores the prospect of a series of “small civil wars in many countries”. The ingredients for such a scenario are rooted in the resurgence of both right-wing and left-wing populism. “Both variants — sometimes implicitly, sometimes explicitly — refer to a past historical national state form that they propose to return to,” explains Hanappi.

...the potential exists for outbreaks of national civil war between emerging paramilitary branches of right-wing and left-wing populist movements, in the context of either movement adopting state power and coming into conflict with the opposition.
Hanappi warns of the possibility of a regional or global “contagion” effect, if these breakdowns occur within a similar time-scale. In that scenario:

These need to be grasped and activated whether or not war breaks out. Further, we need to work to sound the alarm, relentlessly, at all levels to raise awareness of the true nature of the phase shift we now find ourselves in as a species. Whatever ultimately emerges, the end is not nigh – rather, we stand at the unknown dawn of a new beginning.

Netanyahu: Unfazed By Indictment - Charges 'Witch Hunt Meant To Bring Down The Right'

Netanyahu, unfazed by indictment, vows to be prime minister for years

Only the voters will decide if I remain in office, not bureaucrats, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said after Attorney-General Avihai Mandelblit announced on Thursday his intention to indict the premier on multiple charges of fraud and breach of trust, and one bribery charge, pending a hearing.

Netanyahu gave a very political speech from the Prime Minister’s Residence in Jerusalem, focusing on the timing of the charges and arguing that they are meant to bring down the Right, repeatedly using the phrase “witch hunt.”

The prime minister opened by talking about his recent meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin and comments US President Trump made overnight Wednesday, calling him tough and smart. He argued that he and the Likud have made Israel stronger than ever before.

"These connections are not to be taken for granted," Netanyahu said. "The Left knows they cannot compete with these achievements in the voting booth, so they put massive pressure on the attorney general to indict even though there is nothing, in order to influence the elections and put the Left in charge."

Netanyahu expressed confidence that most voters won't be influenced by the announcement, but said that even if it influences a few not to vote for him, it will bring the Left to power.

"I've never seen the Left so happy...They're sewing suits" to wear because they expect to become ministers, Netanyahu said.

As for the timing, 40 days before the April 9 election, Netanyahu said "every citizen knows this is outrageous and meant to bring down the Right.

"I am not being given the chance to disprove [the accusations] until after the election - and I will disprove them all," he added.

"It all began when they accused my wife and me of six cases of bribery. It's a house of cards that will collapse. Five of those six cases already fell apart, and the rest will too. They'll be like dust. They won't be remembered," he said.

The prime minister also referred to a letter from American jurist and Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz, arguing that the charges dealing with relations between politicians and the medai are a danger to democracy and that there is no precedent in the world of positive media coverage being considered a bribe.

"If positive media coverage is a bribe, why didn't they even consider investigating Yair Lapid?" he asked.

"There are rules for everyone, and other rules for Netanyahu and the Likud. This whole house of cards will fall," he said.

Netanyahu said he has "the strength to stand up to this witch hunt" thanks to his family, his knowledge that the accusations are baseless, and support from Israelis.

In a dramatic televised speech on Thursday night, Feb. 28, Binyamin Netanyahu pledged to serve Israel as prime minister for years to come after the charges against him collapse “like a house of cards.” Attorney general Avihai Mendelblit had just released his rulings on the three police probes against Netanyahu. All three accused him of fraud and breach of trust and one of bribery – favorable press coverage for the prime minister on a website owned by Shaul Alovitch, the largest shareholder in Bezeq telecom, in exchange for regulatory benefits for the company.

Before he gets his day in court to defend himself, or presents his side of the case to the attorney general, the prime minister faces an election on April. 9. This entire legal process could take months. Until then he is a “suspect.” However, the AG chose to publish the charges 40 days before the election, which Netanyahu’s Likud denounced as “flagrant interference” in the democratic process.  Netanyahu accused his enemies of long persecution and a witch hunt to bring him and his right-wing government down after failing to overthrow him at the polling booth.

Following the prime minister’s address to the nation, two of his leading opponents went on camera to demand that he step down forthwith. Former prime minister and Labor leader Ehud Barak accused the attorney general of dealing too leniently with the Netanyahu’s offences, while opposition Blue-White leader Benny Gantz, who is challenging the Likud leader for election, lavished Brutus-like praise but advised him to step down before he is beaten.

The AG’s 55-page document appears to criminalize the prime minister for choosing officials willing and able to carry forth his policies or any other kinds of machinations which are par for the course for politicians. In the case of Netanyahu, favors were dispensed but no money changed hands, in return for favorable press coverage. Will  this conduct stand up in court as criminal bribery? It would be hard to find any politician who has not solicited a publisher, an op-ed writer or reporter for favorable coverage with offers of benefits.

Trump called him a great prime minister and said he does a great job. Netanyahu returned from Moscow early Thursday after an amicable meeting with President Vladimir Putin in Moscow.

'Retail Apocalypse': 680 Store Closings In One Day

Another historic day in the retail apocalypse. According to multiple Business Insider reports, more than 680 stores closed today. Leading the pack was Tesla closing 378 storesGap 230 stores, Victoria’s Secret 54 stores, and JCPenney 27 stores.
In a surprise announcement on Thursday, Tesla said it was closing “many” of its 378 retail stores around the world as it shifts to an online-only sales model.
Gap, JCPenney, and Victoria’s Secret announced more than 300 store closures over the course of 24 hours this week, sending a clear signal that the fallout from the retail apocalypse is far from over.

Gap said Thursday that it would close 230 namesake stores over the next two years as it reported that the brand’s same-store sales fell 7% during the holiday quarter. The company also said it would spin off its Old Navy brand.

Earlier in the day, JCPenney said it would close 27 stores in 2019, including 18 full-line department stores and 9 home and furniture stores. The department-store chain said same-store sales fell 4% during the fourth quarter.
Victoria’s Secret’s same-store sales also fell during the holidays, dropping 3% during the quarter. The company said late Wednesday that it would close 53 stores this year, citing a “decline in performance.”

Terry James: This Race We Face

This Race We Face  
Terry James

Do you sense that time is moving faster than ever before? I must tell you that I sense that the rush of everything going on becomes more intensive by the hour.
We all have had the conversation that when we were younger, time for us seemed to move much more slowly. The older we get, the minutes, hours, days, etc., fly by at a much faster rate.
Maybe it’s just that as our age increases, everything slows down within our own physiology–within our capability to match the speed with things whizzing past us. The race of life in which we must participate, possibly, might simply overwhelm us, and we can no longer keep up. The perception, therefore, might be that time itself is moving ever faster, while that’s not really the case.

It has to be that the increased activities and events crowding in on our given ticks of the clock have colluded to alter our perception–to make it seem that time is moving more swiftly.

There is not much room for argument that in America today, for many of us, life’s pressures have seemingly compressed our given twenty-four hours. We are indeed racing toward our destinations–our destiny–at ever-increasing speed, it seems.

These columns, of course, are focused as much as possible on Bible prophecy. We place Bible prophecy as a template over the issues and events of this, what we believe to be the end-times, generation. We hope thereby to gauge how near human history is to the Second Coming of Christ.

For example, we have witnessed and analyzed the formation of the Gog-Magog coalition of Ezekiel 38 and 39 taking shape at a phenomenal pace. Russia, Iran (Persia), and a number of other entities that hate Israel are gathering.

There is a building world financial crisis that threatens to collapse the global economy. And, in that regard, the internationalist, new-world-order architects are going full steam ahead in their efforts to do away with national sovereignties and to instead bring the world back to Babel. We see the absolutely blatant all-out assault on the U.S.  president who opposes globalism and calls America back to the founders’ vision for this country.

Politically, we witness the fomenting of chaos in our nation by those who want America brought into conformation with the global blueprint. It is a luciferian plan being carried out by Satan’s human minions. The most recent former presidential administration took an active part in creating this chaos, through the Department of Justice (attorney general) actions and in other ways through international diplomacy.

The 2016 presidential race and things that transpired since have brought into focus just how determined the fallen one is to bring all mankind into its prophesied final form.

Prophetically, we are racing toward the time when the Lord will catastrophically intervene into the affairs of rebellious mankind. The Church–all born-again believers in Jesus Christ–will be removed and the most terrible time of all human history will begin.

Personally, we who name the name of Christ should all be engaged fully in the race to complete the Lord’s Great Commission while there is yet time to do His work here on earth. There are those in Heaven watching God’s children. They are cheering for believers who are running the race set before us. If you’ve read my book, Rapture Ready…Or Not, you know that I’m convinced with all that is within me that I met some of these heavenly observers on Good Friday, April 22, 2011.

Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1-2)

Pakistani PM Khan Warns India: 'Don't Take This Any Further' After Announcing Captured Indian Pilot To Be Released

India-Pakistan conflict: Imran Khan says Pakistan will free Indian fighter pilot, warns Narendra Modi not to "take this any further"

 Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan announced Thursday that his country would release a captured Indian fighter pilot on Friday "as a peace gesture." It was a major sign that the tension between the nuclear-armed Asian neighbors was easing at the end of a tense week that saw both carry out airstrikes and exchange fire across their disputed border.

Addressing the Pakistani Parliament, Khan also said he was ready to hold a phone conversation with his Indian counterpart, Narendra Modi. 

"I want to say it to India today: Don't take this any further, Pakistan will be forced to retaliate," Khan said. "I hope the international community will play its part to ensure the situation does not escalate beyond this."

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi didn't immediately respond to Khan's remarks, or comment on Pakistan saying Khan had tried to reach out to him over the phone on Wednesday. 

Indian fighter pilot Abhinandan Varthaman remained Thursday in the custody of the Pakistani Army. His jet was shot down by Pakistan's Air Force during a dogfight along the border in the region of Kashmir, which is split roughly in half. India controls one side and Pakistan the other, but both nations insist they rightfully own the full territory.

India on Wednesday demanded the "safe" and "immediate" release of the pilot and "objected to Pakistan's vulgar display" of the injured air force officer after videos emerged on social media of him being beaten by civilians during his capture and later interrogated. 
The signs of d├ętente came hours after U.S. President Donald Trump, near the end of his summit in Vietnam with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, said that he expected "reasonably attractive news" from the region.

Mr. Trump said the U.S. had been involved, "trying to help them both out" to "see if we can get some organization and some peace."
The long-simmering tension between India and Pakistan spiked sharply on February 14, when more than 40 Indian paramilitary soldiers were killed in a suicide bomb attack in Indian controlled Kashmir by Pakistan-based terror group Jaish-e-Muhammad.  

India accuses Pakistan of supporting the group, or at least allowing it to operate on its territory and carry out attacks on Indian forces. Pakistan rejects that, insisting it combats all terrorist organizations.
Speaking earlier on Thursday, Modi spoke in strong words against Pakistan, urging his nation to "stand like a wall" against an enemy he said "supports terror." 
"India will fight as one, India will win as one," Modi said. 

A Template For Global Instability: The Approaching Winter

The Approaching Winter: The Super-Cycle Has Turned

How would you describe the social mood of the nation and world?
Would anti-Establishment, anti-status quo, and anti-globalization be a good start?
How about choking on fast-rising debt?
Would stagnant growth, stagnant wages be a fair description?
Or how about rising wealth/income inequality?
Wouldn’t rising disunity and political polarization be accurate?
These are all characteristics of the long-wave social-economic cycle that is entering the disintegrative (winter) phase. Souring social mood, loss of purchasing power, stagnating wages, rising inequality, devaluing currencies, rising debt, political polarization and elite disunity are all manifestations of this phase.
There is a template for global instability, one that has been repeated throughout history…
Historian Peter Turchin explores the historical cycles of social disintegration and integration in his new book Ages of Discord.
Turchin finds 25-year cycles that combine into roughly 50-year cycles. These 50-year cycles are part of longer 150 to 200-year cycles that move from cooperation through an age of discord and disintegration to a new era of cooperation.
That we have entered an era of rising instability and uncertainty is self-evident. There will always be areas of instability in any era, but instability and uncertainty are now the norm globally.

Turchin’s model identifies three primary forces in these cycles:
1. An over-supply of labor that suppresses real (inflation-adjusted) wages
2. An overproduction of essentially parasitic Elites
3. A deterioration in central state finances (over-indebtedness, decline in tax revenues, increase in state dependents, fiscal burdens of war, etc.)

These combine to influence the broader social mood, which is characterized in eras of discord by fragmented loyalty to self-serving special interests (disintegration) and in eras of cooperation by a desire and willingness to cooperate and compromise for the good of the entire society (integration).
Rising discord can be quantified in a Political Stress Index. Do we find evidence of Turchin’s disintegrative forces in the present era?
1. Stagnating real wages due to oversupply of labor: check.
2. Overproduction of parasitic Elites: check.
3. Deterioration in central state finances: check.
Is it any wonder that political stress, however you want to measure it, is rising?

It is hubris in the extreme to think we have somehow morphed into some new kind of humanity far different from those people who tore down the Bastille in a great frustrated rage at prices for energy and bread they could no longer afford.

Based on the history painstakingly assembled by Fischer and Turchin we can thus anticipate:
— Ever higher prices for food, energy and water.
— Ever larger government deficits which end in bankruptcy/repudiation of debts/new issue of currency.
— Rising property/violent crime and illegitimacy.
— Rising interest rates (until very recently this was considered “impossible”).
— Rising income inequality in favor of capital over labor.
— Continued debasement of the currency.
— Rising volatility of prices.
— Rising political unrest and turmoil (see “Revolution”).
And there you have our future, visible in the 13th, 16th and 18th century price-revolution waves which preceded ours.
With this list of manifestations in hand, we can practically write the headlines for 2019-2025 in advance.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Erdogan And Kushner Meet To Discuss Mideast Peace

Turkey's Erdogan meets with Kushner to discuss Mideast peace 

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday met with US President Donald Trump’s adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner during the American official’s regional tour to discuss the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Erdogan regards himself as a champion of the Palestinians and Turkey has often been vocal in its criticism of the Israeli government and Washington, especially after Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and moved the US embassy there last year.
Erdogan said late Tuesday that the two men would discuss “economic and regional issues” at the meeting at the presidential palace in Ankara, although neither side said Syria was on the agenda.

The men were joined by Erdogan’s son-in-law and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak, according to Turkish presidency images.
Kushner’s visit follows from Trump’s shock announcement in December — welcomed by Ankara — that he would withdraw 2,000 American ground troops from northern Syria.
Ankara has called for a “safe zone” controlled by Turkish forces to be a buffer area against the US-backed Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) militia.
Trump last week indicated that a few hundred “peacekeeping” troops would remain in Syria despite intentions to withdraw by April 30.
There have been tensions between Washington and Ankara over US support to the YPG which has spearheaded the West’s fight against the Islamic State group.
Other issues remain between the NATO allies including the US failure to extradite the Pennsylvania-based Muslim preacher Fethullah Gulen who Turkey claims orchestrated the 2016 failed overthrow of Erdogan. Gulen strongly denies the accusations.
Kushner and Jason Greenblatt, the US Middle East peace envoy, met officials from the United Arab Emirates and Oman on Monday alongside Brian Hook, the US special representative for Iran. The officials were in Bahrain on Tuesday.

Middle East Peace Plan Not Liked By Israel Or Palestine

Neither Israelis Nor Palestinians Like Trump's Peace Plan

Officials from the Trump Administration already warned that neither Israelis nor Palestinian Arabs were going to be fully supportive of the American president's "deal of the century" peace plan.
They might have been understating local opposition to the scheme.
Earlier this week, US President Donald Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, hinted at certain aspects of the as-yet-unpublished peace plan while touring the Middle East. That was enough to elicit harsh criticism for the plan from both Israelis and Palestinians.
Israel Education Minister Naftali Bennett insisted that Kushner's remarks had revealed that Trump's plan will, like those before it, pressure Israel to make dangerous land concessions, possibly even dividing Jerusalem, to facilitate the establishment of a sovereign Palestinian state.
What's more, Bennett warned that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's close personal relationship with Trump will make it almost impossible to withstand this pressure should Netanyahu prevail in Israel's upcoming national election.
Running for Knesset for the first time as a member of Bennett's newly-established New Right party, columnist Caroline Glick said that she felt compelled to finally enter politics to help protect Israel during the perilous days ahead.
In an interview on The Land of Israel Network, Glick explained that as soon as Israel forms its next government, Trump will publish his peace plan, and Israel will immediately come under intense diplomatic pressure. There will have to be a sufficiently-strong opposition to Trump's plan in the Knesset to ensure that whoever is the next prime minister isn't strong-armed by the Americans into accepting the kind of concessions that most Israelis reject.
Israeli Arab Member of Knesset Ahmed Tibi told the Ynet news portal that Trump's plan, of which he, like everyone else, knows scant details, is "a terrible proposal." 
Tibi, like many of his Arab colleagues in Knesset, echo the Palestinian Authority in accusing the Trump Administration of being not only blatantly pro-Israel, but also anti-Palestinian.
The Palestinian Authority, of course, has refused to work with Trump since his surprise electoral victory in 2016. As such, it's little surprise that news of Trump's forthcoming "deal of the century" elicits little but scorn from Ramallah.
In fact, much like accusations of supporting Israel, acceptance of Trump's plan is now being bandied about as an insult between rival Palestinian factions. This week, Palestinian Authority negotiator Saeb Erekat cursed Hamas in a Voice of Palestine Radio interview by claiming that the terror group is in league with the American's agenda

Polls Indicate Lack Of Confidence In Government

Government Is The Main Problem, Say A Record Number Of Americans

Think of all the troubles in the world. Climate change. Student debt. Terrorism. Job insecurity. What’s the number one most mentioned problem, according to a recent Gallup poll? Government itself. Thirty-five percent of Americans put that concern above all others. It’s a record number, according to the pollsters who have been tracking this since 2001.

Not only that: there have only been a handful of times when any number one issue clocked in with this level of intensity: terrorism after 9/11, Iraq after the war began, and the economy after 2008.
When I saw the numbers, my first thought was that Democrats made up the margin of change. They don’t like the president. He drives them crazy. So it makes sense that they would more quickly name government as the leading problem — which in turn raises the question of why they would push so hard for government to exercise more power over our lives.
It turns out, however, that it is not movement among Democrats but among Republicans that is the most noticeable on the graphs.

Having Trump as their president in office, then, has not increased confidence in government. If anything, it has had the opposite effect, turning Republicans themselves against government as never before. But notice that the loathing is nonpartisan.
Other polls such as Pew Research report similar results, with only 18 percent showing confidence in government at all. This is down from 78 percent half a century ago.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that government is getting worse. It suggests instead a kind of rising consciousness about a problem that has been there all along, from Woodrow Wilson to Donald Trump.

Government is the least effective way to solve any social problem. It overrides the capacity of people to deal with their lives and problems in a way that is manageable and adaptable. It creates bureaucracies instead of solutions, wastes resources while everyone else is trying to conserve them, and entrenches rules that do not pertain in a world of fast-paced technological development.

What these two years of political wrangling have shown us is something that will be unavoidable in the coming years. There will never be unified government, operating with a single goal, whether that proposed goal is a restoration of nationalism or the elimination of fossil fuels supposedly to save the planet. The vast gulf that separates the two parties, with extremes driving the ideological debate on either side, is what government now has to offer us. Which is to say: more division, more vituperation, more politics of dogs eating dogs.

Things To Come: 'The Former Free, Productive Society Has Been Whittled Away, It No Longer Exists And It's Not Coming Back

For some time, it’s been apparent that the former “free world” countries (the US, EU, Canada, Australia, Japan, etc.) have been on a downward progression - socially, politically and economically.

But, in the last ten years, the awareness of this has become increasingly pronounced. With each successive year, more and more people recognise that all facets of life in these formerly great countries are heading in a decidedly negative direction.

At this point, even those who don’t understand the decline intellectually, feel in their gut that this is not going to end well. Further, they feel it all around them and sense that when the condition becomes critical, it won’t just affect others. When it reaches the crisis stage, they’ll find it right on their own doorstep.

The average person in each of these jurisdictions already no longer trusts either the media, big business or the government and feels that, somehow, they’re all in this together and that they, the electorate, will be the ones who will be the ultimate victims.

So, is this a question of “collective imagination” gone haywire?
Not at all, I’m afraid. Their instincts are quite correct. 

Governments and big business alike have sold out the populace, regarding them as mere fodder in their pursuit of increased power and wealth. Governments in the former “Free World” have for decades become increasingly collectivist, promising ever-greater largesse to the hoi polloi, and the majority of voters, sad to say, have eaten it up.

And so, it shouldn’t be surprising that, as we get closer to the collapse of this house of cards, new candidates arrive on the scene, offering to take entitlements to Never-never land, promising universal free health care, free education through university and a guaranteed income without the need to earn it in any way.

Of course, when this happens, those who understand that 2 + 2 = 4, not 8 or 12, recognize that any government that attempts to deliver on such promises will cause the collapse of the system – not just the economic system, but also the social and political systems.

And, so those people who do understand that the numbers simply won’t work, ask themselves where it will all end. Typically they wring their hands, aware that their concern is the minority view. They recognize that they can no longer discuss their concerns freely, as their country is moving in the opposite direction – embracing the new, empty promises, with ever-more determination.
They search around for some form of hope and, in the majority of cases, whether they like to admit it to themselves or not, their hopes fix on the Freedom Fairy.
They vainly hope that somehow, the average voter will “wake up,” or that sitting politicians will come before the press to reverse the stance that they’ve always maintained – that big government will provide for all.
Unfortunately, that’s a vain hope, isn’t it? Deep in our hearts, we know that sitting politicians are not going to collectively say, “Whoops, we goofed. We’re sending the country into ruin. We’re going to downsize the government, introduce a free market system and then resign and get out of the way.”

And so, for the more ‘advanced’ voter – the one who understands that the political, economic and social system are spiraling downward, the most natural tendency seems to be to irrationally hope that the Freedom Fairy will come along, wave the magic wand, and send the country back to a time when most everyone worked for a living, took responsibility for themselves, paid their own way and built a strong, productive society.
It’s rare indeed for anyone who finds himself in that situation to honestly say to himself, “I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore, Toto.”

And that’s the tragic truth. The former free, productive society has been whittled away. It no longer exists and it’s not coming back.

Unfortunately, there is no Freedom Fairy, nor is there a Wizard of Oz, any more than there’s an Easter Bunny or a Santa Claus. When empires collapse, the worst thing that a voter can do is to vainly mark down on the ballot card the name of whoever he thinks the latest Freedom Fairy might be.He should, instead, toss his ballot in the dustbin and leave the polling place, in the knowledge that Mark Twain was absolutely correct.

And what, then? Well, that’s an even tougher question to deal with. Because, at that point, he must accept that if, a) his country has reached its sell-by date and, b) it’s going to take him down with it, his only hope is to bow out of the system that he realizes is on the verge of swallowing him up.

If he doesn’t wish to become collateral damage, his only choice is to pursue the freedom he cherishes in a location where it still exists. Just as the more enlightened German Jews found in 1938; just as savvy Cuban business owners did in 1959, the last opportunity to pursue freedom is just before it ends where you presently reside.