Enjoying Coffee at the Lodge with Jesse

ilene's picture


Enjoying Coffee at the Lodge with Jesse 

By Ilene at Phil's Stock World 

coffee at the lodge with JesseI have long been a fan of Jesse's Café Américain. Jesse is a brilliant writer and a deep thinker who uniquely transcends politics, easily seeing through lies and disinformation. He has a great feel for what really matters, and the courage to speak out about it.  Jesse and I have spoken before about the economy, markets and politics, and being at a crossroads once again, it was a perfect time to catch up. 


Ilene: Hi Jesse, since our last interview, I would guess that we'd both agree that nothing has been done to clean up the financial system - the banks and government interconnectedness, conflicts of interest, and out-and-out fraudulent activities.  Are things better or worse, or in line, with what you were expecting over a year ago?

Jesse: I think things are progressing in line with what I had expected, with the Fed and the government trying to prop up an unsustainable status quo by monetizing debt.  I am still a little shocked by the brazen manner in which the financial markets are being conducted and regulated, and the news is reported in the US. It is one thing to hold a theory that says something will happen, but it is quite another to see it actually happening, and so blatantly, almost without a word of protest.

Ilene: How do you view our financial system and the global financial system now, with no progress towards any kind of reform?

Jesse: The US is now being run by an oligarchy, with lip service being paid to the electorate in allowing the people to vote for the candidates that the parties and the powers will put forward.  There will be no recovery for the middle class until they assert themselves. I know I have stated this often in my tag phrase, “The banks must be restrained…” But it is the case.

There are areas of resistance to this trend on what one might call ‘the fringes of Empire,’ those client states which have been ruled by powerful cliques with the support and the protection of the US.  Although certainly not a great analogy, it does remind one of the freedom movements in the former Soviet satellite countries as that empire faltered.  The walls are coming down.

Ilene: You wrote an excellent article "Modern Monetary Theory: The Sophistry of the US Dollar" in which you countered points made by Pragcap (Cullen) who maintains that the Fed is not "printing money" and not causing inflation.  He makes an academic argument which I can't understand, and couldn't intelligently challenge, except that we see inflation in prices of necessities everywhere.  And other countries are revolting and overthrowing their governments, at least in part spurred by severe increases in food prices.  When theory (good as it may sound) is in conflict with what you see in front of you, it's hard to stick with the theory.  I thought your counterpoints were compelling and addressed the real situation rather than theory.  On this topic, which has been confusing me for months, here are some questions that might hopefully help non-economic types understand the mechanism of the Fed's QE2 program as it applies to the real world.

The Fed may not be really "printing" money, but it is monetizing debt, isn't it? Creating more debt, and more liquidity in the market based on debt. Can you elaborate?

Jesse: There are three basic ways that ‘money’ is created in this fiat system. The Treasury issues debt to support government expenditures and the markets accept that debt through the Primary Dealers and the Federal Reserve System. The second major manner is money expansion based on fractional reserve lending, in which the banks and other financial institutions can essentially expand the available money supply through using their credit facilities. And the third method is for the Fed to expand its balance sheet and monetize existing debt.  That is pure ‘hairy-knuckled’ money creation.  

The Fed does not issue debt per se, as it leaves that to the Treasury and to the financial sector.  But it legitimizes and regulates that money creation, and in extremis, will become the ‘lender of last resort’ and the money creation mechanism when the system falters. The Fed in a sense is always presiding over the money creation process in the US – that is what they do! But there are times when they must fall back on their own balance sheet to expand the money supply as the private sector has faltered, and is not able to support the credit creation process by the Treasury and the financial sector. 

I am not surprised when some people in the manner of talented amateurs distort the bookkeeping aspects of the banking system or the markets to promote theories that are not correct, to paint a picture that is false in support of policies that are hare-brained. But I am a little disappointed when professional people, especially responsible people in banking or the Fed, do this same thing promoting things like ‘the efficient markets hypothesis’ or some neo-monetary theory. 

No matter how one handles the accounts, the limits of the power of an economy to create money are the acceptance, the valuations if you will, of their bonds and currency, which these days are just bonds of zero duration, in a free market and holders exogenous to that particular economy.  If you want to know how an economy is doing, look to the sentiment amongst its foreign creditors.

By the way, I do not have a problem with the direct issuance of currency by a Treasury, instead of a debt financed system managed by private banks.  But no matter how one structures the financing, the limitations as noted above remain the same.

Ilene: "Inflation" is an inconsistently defined term.  Different financial authors seem to define it in various ways which can be the difference in whether they will see it or not.  How would you define inflation? What would a situation be in "flation" terms when we have necessities - food and energy - and in this case stocks, gold and silver too - while the biggest investment many people have, their houses, are still falling in value?

Jesse: Inflation can mean many things to many people including a simple supply-demand imbalance, including a general slump in demand because of some business cycle fluctuation. But what is most problematic is a true monetary inflation. 

A monetary inflation is a condition in which the supply of money is expanding in excess of productive uses for that money and the organic growth of relatively riskless credit.  If the Fed were to double its balance sheet again tomorrow by buying stocks at a multiple of their closing price today, this would represent a monetary inflation.  The problem always comes down to measurements, definitions, and lag times.  I am not saying that the growth in real GDP must exceed 1:1 for each marginal dollar added, given the realities of investment and capital expenditure.  But when one is creating four or five dollars in a broad money supply for each new dollar in real GDP you know something is very wrong.

An expansion in the Fed’s monetary base does not immediately translate into an increase in money supply as more broadly measured in the economy, in something like MZM or M2.  (See Money Supply: A Primer.) 

And if they manage it correctly, and are also very fortunate, it may not to any significant degree. But the Fed is the locus of monetary inflation, the place where it originates.  At times it may be indirect, when for example the Fed fails to manage the credit creation and margin process and permits a stock asset bubble to form.  This is their job; this is why they were given the power to pull those levers. And it is a tremendous power for a small group of individuals to have.

They may make excuses, may say they did not know, but in point of fact subsequently released documents show that they did know, they knew exactly what they were doing.  And they did it anyway, and tried to bluff and hide what they have done by abusing their independent stewardship, which is another pretty invention that depends on a utopian vision of society, like the inherent goodness and freedom in markets without rules and regulations.

In a purely fiat system, monetary deflation and inflation are essentially policy decisions. And for a net debtor to choose deflation is tantamount to suicide.  But what the Fed cannot do is create a productive economy which requires labor, management, and investment.  And this is why my forecast has been for a stagflation to occur, roughly since 2002.  I think we would have seen it sooner but I underestimated the amount of cooperation which the US would receive from Japan and China in their ‘vendor financing’ arrangements.  I also underestimated the Fed’s willingness to create a massive housing bubble and turn a blind eye to systemic financial fraud. 

Ilene: We've been noticing that on POMO days (permanent open market operations, a tool to implement QE2), the stock market rises.  One way may be that as the value of the dollar falls, people (or high frequency trading machines) take their dollars and buy stocks so their dollars maintain some value as stocks go up but the dollar drops.  Because the market rises most on POMO days, we have suggested that the Primary Dealers who get the POMO money for selling Treasuries, are taking the money and throwing it into equities and commodities, driving these prices up (to the detriment of the world).  Would you agree with my assessment, or de-confuse me if I'm missing something? 

Jesse: I think this is a bit of a simplification but it is directionally correct. The Fed adds liquidity through the POMO facility, and that ‘hot money’ chases beta or higher risk returns in the markets, which remain broken in terms of efficient capital asset allocation.  This is a ‘bubble ready’ financial system, and will continue to produce bubbles until it is reformed. The financial sector is primarily a wealth transference mechanism. And with the productive economy foundering because of gross mishandling over the past twenty years or more, the sector is transferring wealth from the future of the economy in the form of Treasury debt to the monied interests on Wall Street in the form of asset bubbles, bonuses and fees.

Ilene: What are your thoughts on the markets, economy, commodity prices (oil, gold, silver) and U.S. dollar for the near future, and more distant future?

Jesse: I think that there are some significant policy and exogenous policy variables in there that will affect the timing of this.  What will China do?  What will Europe do?  In an ideal world according to the Fed, all of the world’s currencies would inflate and allow the US to inflate its dollar even more, to dilute the debts which are unpayable. Don’t laugh too much, because that is what has been done since the US rallied the rest of the world to this cause in 1971 with its unilateral dissolution of the Bretton Woods agreement.    

The central banks would like to have one currency, because this would make it much easier to engineer the financial system.  But they could not stop there; they would eventually have to become central planners in the manner of an autocracy because there are so many competing forms of wealth to their paper, particularly in troublesome commodities like food and real goods.

Ilene: Speaking of real goods, this question is from Elliott, who writes Stock World Weekly. He asked if you have heard rumors of gold bars that supposedly have a tungsten core with a thick plating of gold. He writes: "To date I have yet to see anything that I could point to as a seriously credible source for this story. Supposedly the fraud was exposed recently when the Chinese had the bad taste to melt down some bars they got from London, and when they melted the tungsten cores popped right up to the top of the melt and were floating around. Anyway, that's one story of fake gold I've heard. Is there any truth to it? If so, where's the "smoking gun" and why isn't this being reported in a big way?"

I think this is probably more of a side issue and a distraction.   Why worry about tungsten bars when the US will not agree to an independent audit of Fort Knox in the first place?   When the silver market is so obviously leveraged with essentially fraudulent paper in the manner of a Ponzi scheme? Let’s worry about the possibility of some tungsten bars in the midst of wholesale looting. Distractions tend to dissipate energy from the critical issue, which is the lack of transparency and accountability in the financial dealings of the Wall Street Banks and the Fed in particular. 

Ilene: With the horrific news coming out of Japan lately, first the earthquakes and tsunami, and now the nuclear meltdowns, do you have any thoughts on the tragic situation over there?

Jesse: The markets are getting very mixed news on this, depending on the source. There are weighty papers from MIT saying the risks are minimal, and the US Ambassador in Tokyo issued reassuring words this morning.  A new statement from the US came out after the close of trading today which called the levels of radiation dangerously high and urged caution. Therefore traders are jittery because of the uncertainty regarding the quality of information being released from a variety of sources, and some are thinking that risk is being understated by the Japanese government and Tokyo Electric in order to avoid a panic. So the bias is to act first and fact check later.

This is what is called a "trader's market." Triple black diamond slopes IF you can handle them. Danger, une chute dans cette piste peut entrainer de graves lesions et meme la mort. Most people should stay off the slopes and enjoy their coffee in the lodge. 

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JW n FL's picture

The Majority of "We the People" are stupid.. and you just cant fix stupid.

I am all for educating the idiots.. and I try, day in and day out.

But at some point either we are going to have to do a better job of educating "We the People" so that the popular vote is with "restraining the Banks" or we will be working against the will of the broader populace.. regardless of how ignorant they are and regardless of how much it is for thier own good.. if we do not have the popular vote behind us..

I am all for any plan to educate and build consensus so that we the few may be the many.. more quickly, faster and / or now works for a time frame.

Sign me up, my time and brain are on board for any concerted effort to effect change we all can really believe in.

ft65's picture

JW n FL / ^TrInIty^ / HB Gary operator... Why don't you just switch sides to the elite or are they no longer recruiting mindless murderers? Get your meds. sorted. Sucks to be you?

Advoc8tr's picture

"When will we decide that educating the broader populace is almost impossible and move into the gray area? "


I think you are right ... there is a limit to how many can be reached unless the MSM apparatus can be infiltrated. I have often wondered why free to air television signals haven't been hacked into or studios hijacked and the like ... that few minutes with a well prepared, pre-recorded  message would reach untold millions whos curiosity would be aroused and they would then come looking for more.

I mean how hard can it be given they hack into defence systems, governments and private organisations all the time?


stephysat28's picture


I'm in!

People are scared!

linrom's picture

Billions of people with no practical skills must be fed, clothed, and housed


Congratulations, you just figured out what the real economy is all about---those are the people that make up the real economy.

thegr8whorebabylon's picture

Luv the Jesse.  Gentleman Jess.  He who sees the boot upon our face, the print, the trace.

Jesse's Cafe Americain http://jessescrossroadscafe.blogspot.com/

go get em cowboyz ;)

kevinearick's picture

Love, Compromise, & Negotiation

Loving another more than self and having that love returned in a feedback loop, as an example to children in a natural marriage, is the one and only path to economic profit. An empire redistributes the resulting wealth by establishing a self-reinforcing feedback loop between anxiety and addiction to temporary relief from anxiety, providing both demand (replacement of parental education) and supply (government), which fuels the nexus of corporate participants. At the peak consumption half-wave, nearly everyone is participating, locked into the gravity of, a collapsing empire.

The fuel is exhausted and the empire hits the wall when investment in the economic profit function is entirely shorted to the ponzi credit system rewarding consumption with lucrative make-work jobs, by Family Law. Civil marriage is nothing more than an exchange of property with a thin coat of desire called love, which, at peak degradation, is a mere exchange of bodies, never in union, replicating a movie or tv show, as the future is cast away to meet immediate practicalities, which are outcomes from the same decision habit in the last round.

There is much more to the story of Jesus than that agreed upon by a covenant of priests to form the Bible, which, like all religious texts, is an act of omission at best. That is why we have science attempt to prove that God does not exist, to identify the boundary of imperfect knowledge. God is unknowable; the closest thing to God on this earth is a natural marriage unfiltered by the false anxieties of empire economics.

For the kids with practical skills in quantum physics as it applies to motor control, the nation/state borders are artifacts of a world that no longer exists, and the empire is accelerating time to collapse by squirming to prevent the outcome already assured, when impulses from measurable habits were replaced by immeasurable habits. Many, many tiny sub-fulcrums support the visible empire mega-fulcrum. Within these unseen sub-fulcrums are connector sub-fulcrums, which are free to migrate at will.

The entitlement babies are free riders bred to seek out free, by a collapsing empire. Cops, firefighters, teachers, and doctors are all massive loss leaders under existing American enterprise system conditions, which is why the private middle class has disappeared and the economy is crashing. The new middle class will require many effective farmers, nurses, and electricians, to replace most of the existing.

Personally, I have already given up 2 wives, 3 daughters, countless jobs, 75% of my income, and all of my identification papers to a government of free riders, demanding more and more of my wealth, and telling me that I must work stupider and stupider, for stupider and stupider government money, while the legacy families turned non-productive real estate into atm machines to the end of liquidating the middle agents after they tried to liquidated me. The days of compromise and negotiation have concluded.

Billions of people with no practical skills must be fed, clothed, and housed to prevent a collapse of biblical proportions. Good luck with that.

Buckle up. Have a nice day.


ebworthen's picture


I hear you.

Short version:  the "forgotten man" will bring down the crystal palace.

The Bible speaks of Eve listening to the "serpent" (a penis besides Adam's) and ripping humanity out of Eden.

We are at the tail end of this meme, where Women don't respect men, and men devolve into the Baboon/Gorillas they tried to evolve beyond.  A sad downward spiral of Devolution.

Best of luck...


Matte_Black's picture

Personally, I think you're just trying to get out of child support.

anony's picture

I plan to be surprised.

blindman's picture

i enjoy your riveting style of writing,  the way you

make the words do their job rather than letting them

sleep their way through the ideas.  thanks

sellstop's picture

kevinearick, your real name is Art Robinson, right?


anony's picture

"...NOW being run by an oligarchy...."?????????


What, then, has been happening for the last 50-100 years?



CB's picture

Nice interview.  I read Jesse every day.

Cheyenne's picture

Me too. He's the one cat who keeps his grinding ax well hidden, as if there weren't one.

cranky-old-geezer's picture

I'm sure many people know what needs to be done to fix the system, we hear their constant whining like suday morning preachers.

The system isn't going to be fixed, period.

It's the way it is deliberately, intentionally, not by error nor stupidity.

I like ZH because it tells me what IS happening, not what should be happening.  I know what should happen as well as anyone else.  But I also know it's not going to happen.

I'd like to se TD kick all the system-fixers off ZH.  They're wasting bandwidth.

This article is wothless.

Barefooted_Tramp's picture

If we are not able to change the system I am sure 'our' system is going to change us.  It is actually doing it all the time. We are already changed. Maybe we slightly overrate what 'we' can do and underestimate what our little machines are doing to us. 

I am afraid the gimcrack we created can do much more in ten minutes  than we can do in ten lives. I fear they can even do much more than we ever can imagine.

Welcome to Fukushima....

WaterWings's picture

Oh, I get it. GW isn't around for you to pester at the moment.

cranky-old-geezer's picture

I don't limit my disdain for system-fixers to GW, though he is one of the worst here, he wastes more ZH bandwidth with his worthless this-needs-to-be-fixed trash than anyone else I can think of, except Leo K perhaps.

We should add wailers to that (black)list.  GW spends a good portion of his worthless trash wailing on about evil everyone here already knows about, months (or years) after the fact, again, just like those (worthless) sunday morning preachers.

And plagiarizing the name of one of America's greatest Founders insures GW occupies the #1 spot on that (black)list.

dark pools of soros's picture

right and you just want everyone to fix your faucet or something..  

cranky-old-geezer's picture


Can you explain how your comment in any way relates to my comment?

Hmmm.... didn't think so.

JW n FL's picture

I think we should start by rounding up all the old people who watched this happen for the last 60 fucking years and didnt do shit about it.. but now want to silence the bell ringers...


anyone spreading the word of what you useless fucks let happen for the last half fucking centruy is a good guy.. GW does what you lacked the balls to do you whole shit stained life..


how about you save me or someone else the trouble later.. and just shove a gun down your throat and off yourself..


Old fucking no one.. wants someone who works to educate everyone to shut up? why? you fucking embarassed of what you left us of the world?


I fucking hope your children die by fire.. in front of you.. slowly.

ft65's picture

Quoting JW n FL / Jason Lucas / J.E.W. / GLP ^TrInIty^ whoever you are...

just shove a gun down your throat and off yourself..

fucking hope your children die by fire.. in front of you.. slowly.


How about practicing as you preach. You'd be doing us all a BIG favour. You are a mighty nasty bit of work I must say.


anony's picture

I'm "Unjunking" you.

You're right, absolutely. 

It is totally worthless.

falak pema's picture

You guys are totally nihilistic. You don't understand that all despotic systems collapse under the weight of their own crimes since time immemorial. So for humans to survive, thrive, it is necessary to dream up Plan B, Plan C etc. Stop these dreams and this debate and you would never have another hard-on in your head. Just in your belly like every other mammal who humps like a camel, only more often.

Besides, Plato's ghost would junk you, Voltaire's would pee down your nostrils, and Picasso's would paint you with all your orifices wide open to toxic waste. You debase Western civilization's very Raison d'etre. Debate, then go and shag your wife. Pass me the chocolate please, I need a sweeter taste in my mouth after this diatribe.

sundarb's picture

The control of monetary supply is the crux of the problem.

As long as a central, monolithic body of private banks controls the money supply, in reality - they control everything. The only way the power can be restored back to the people is to let the money supply and choice of exchange medium be in control of free markets.

Amish Hacker's picture

And this is the point that deserves our focus, not some endless argument about what the definition of "inflation" is. Or, put another way, the richest person isn't the one who has the most money; it's the one who gets to decide what will be used as money.

dark pools of soros's picture

the money backed by the biggest bombs wins..  and we thought gold and oil meant anything

velobabe's picture

rated triple diamond ski run, bitchez†

Most people should stay off the slopes and enjoy their coffee in the lodge.

no jesse and ilene, the ones skiing aren't the enemy, these goobers that sip coffee at the bottom of the ski run are the bankstars. preening.

InconvenientCounterParty's picture


Open the aperature before it's too late. We are losing the social fabric beneath our feet. The biomass of the parasites is now 30x the host. The loss of basic values such as rule of law and justice is the deepest wound though. 

Forget asking how do I win under these rules? There are new rules coming... Where will the next "Tunisian torch" come from?

SWRichmond's picture

We are losing the social fabric beneath our feet.

We've already lost it, as you point out in your next sentence: The biomass of the parasites is now 30x the host.

falak pema's picture

Wengen is a place where the Valkyrie maidens always stayed in bed...awaiting their skiing Siegfrid's to come home from his mountain climbing expeditions only to then bang them into Valhalla like satiated butterflies fluttering around Odin's nose. It is the resting ground of Schweizer Deutsch in alpine wunderbar land. Don't get too entranced as if its like Alice in wonderland. As Sigmund Freud made it into head shrinking land... ask Zelda Fitzgerald...Pity they don't eat dried Buendnerfleisch meat and drink Blauburgender wine all the time, instead of counting white washed USD and Euros from all over the world... converted into Snow White Schweizer francs.

steelhead23's picture

One day, the peons will awaken, and see that the secrecy of the Valkyries is allowing the trolls to steal all their bread.  When they do, all of Odin's tricks won't save the Valkyries, Credit Swiss, UBS, or their bastard children.

BigJim's picture

It IS possible to be too cryptic, you know :-)

Arkadaba's picture


Edit: Love Jesse's site. Insightful comment and links. 

falak pema's picture

Allen Dulles loved Schweizer land...that should explain it...So do all big Pharma companies of the world, where they concoct their mystical Frankenstein formulae, (pardon miracle formulae)... and those swiss watch makers...whose handy craft art is more mysterious than ancient chinese silk making...

TheMerryPrankster's picture

Plus you can buy Cannabis over the counter as an incense or sachet, every house is required to have a safe room that is avalanche proof and they own a lot of guns. The air is clean and you are close to Germany and Italy. If I had a million or two to burn through, Switzerland would be a great place to do it. And then there is the chocolate in its hundreds of varieties.

BigJim's picture


There are three basic ways that ‘money’ is created in this fiat system. The Treasury issues debt to support government expenditures and the markets accept that debt through the Primary Dealers and the Federal Reserve System....And the third method is for the Fed to expand its balance sheet and monetize existing debt...

Two methods, surely. Your first basic way money is created, The Treasury issues debt to support government expenditures and the markets accept that debt through the Primary Dealers and the Federal Reserve System, is either not creating money because the debt is being bought, or is creating money, if the Fed monetises it... in which case, why have you listed this latter money creation method as a separate third method?

Inflation can mean many things to many people including a simple supply-demand imbalance, including a general slump in demand because of some business cycle fluctuation.

A slump in demand would lead to deflation, surely? Fewer people chasing after the same quantity of goods... unless you mean, lower demand leads to lower production, so economies of scale are reduced, leading to higher prices?

robobbob's picture

my take on his references

1) issuance of Treasuries as debt backed directly by the USG. When demand is good the market absorbs them. When the TB is seen as junk, the Fed steps in and creates the market for them by "printing" 

3) is the purchase of private issues such as toxic MBS and the secretive purchase of equities that directly injects cash into the hands of the TPTB. Where did the cash come from? Maybe one day the magic audit will take place. I know what my guess is.

Psquared's picture

I like Jesse's website too although he pays too much attention to metals. What I want to know is basically simple. Is the FRB actually buying stocks on the open market? If so, how is the account setup and how are those stocks held? My guess is there is not a brokerage account at G.S. in the name of the Federal Reserve Bank of NY or some other related entity; rather, the stocks are bought via proxy in various accounts in the names of either fictitious persons or the brokerage firms themselves (house accounts) fbo FOMC.

Bernanke has been asked numerous times before Congress if the Fed owns stocks and he has consistently denied it. That may be technically correct if there is no account in the name of the FRB.

connda's picture

Oh look!!! Rahm Emanuel was elected mayor of Chicago!!! Suprise, surprised, surprise!!!  Who would have guessed???  Didn't see that coming...

God, if the sheep would only wake the F**K up!

sgt_doom's picture

Exactamundo, connda, exactamundo, my good citizen, and you have unfortunately proven an earlier comment of mine.

Those stooges who wondered how Adolph Hitler could ever have been elected need only gaze at the governors of Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Florida, and probably elsewhere.

What complete douchebags would ever elect Rahmo???

It beggars disbelief.....

dark pools of soros's picture

what's the next 75 year lease deal on the table??  he'll probably outsource breasts examines

penisouraus erecti's picture

quit rubbing it in...........

THE DORK OF CORK's picture

The system is dead  , long live the system.

tony bonn's picture

come on ilene!!! this was very good...thank you for a dose of truth...

SWRichmond's picture

There will be no recovery for the middle class until they assert themselves.

I'll take a shot at that. 

Each time we try we are called "racists," or worse.  Then we throw out the in-party and replace them with the only currently available alternative within the corrupt and co-opted phony two-party system, and they immediately ignore us, too.  We demand fiscal restraint, but we are outnumbered.  Much of the "middle class" you speak of is now made up of government employees, and they have no taste for government cuts.  They are all too willing to hang additional weights around the shrinking numbers of necks of the producing middle class.  They also have lots of vacation time and understanding supervisors who are willing to let them off to demonstrate, and accept falsified doctors' excuses.

It is not so easy for us to so this thing you call "assert" because we are not wealthy, we are too honest (unlike the left, who immediately transition to lawlessness when threatened as in Wisconsin), and we have to work to stay alive so we have little time for political activity.  The options we retain to do this thing called "assert" become more and more limited.  A society that undulges itself in overt abuses and does not correct them is doomed.  This is an all-hands-on-deck affair.  Everyone will suffer when this crash comes; groups will be pitted against each other in a last-ditch effort at hiding the real culprits.  The wealthy / media will attempt to cast it as the middle class against the poor; they will not get away with it.