Guest Post: Suicide is Painless

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Submitted bu Jim Quinn of the Burning Platform

Suicide is Painless

 

File:The Mash Suicide Is Painless single cover.jpg

Everyone has watched one of the best TV series of all-time – M*A*S*H.
You also know the tune that played during the opening credits as
helicopters delivered wounded soldiers to the 4077 Mobile Army Surgical
Unit. Most people have never heard the lyrics that go with the music.
The song is Suicide is Painless and the lyrics were sung during the  M*A*S*H  Movie.
As I watched the movie a few weeks ago, the lyrics struck home. Our
country has been slowly committing suicide for the last 40 years. The
movie and TV series were set during the Korean War. It is fitting that
military spending is one of the major causes of our suicide as a nation.
On an inflation adjusted basis, the US has doubled spending on Defense
since 1962. It is on course to rise another 20% in the next four years.
Dwight D. Eisenhower warned us about the military industrial complex in
1961:

“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.”

The fact that the US currently spends 7 times as much on Defense as
the next nearest country is proof that the military industrial complex
has gained unwarranted influence and a disastrous rise of misplaced
power has occurred.

                           U.S. DEFENSE SPENDING

File:InflationAdjustedDefenseSpending.PNG

When you critically analyze why we would need to spend 7 times as
much as China on military when there is no country on earth that can
challenge us, the answer can only be OIL. Our own military came to the
following chilling conclusion in their Joint Operating Environment
report, issued earlier this year:

By 2012, surplus oil production capacity could entirely
disappear, and as early as 2015, the shortfall in output could reach
nearly 10 MBD. 

A severe energy crunch is inevitable without a massive expansion
of production and refining capacity. While it is difficult to predict
precisely what economic, political, and strategic effects such a
shortfall might produce, it surely would reduce the prospects for growth
in both the developing and developed worlds. Such an economic slowdown
would exacerbate other unresolved tensions, push fragile and failing
states further down the path toward collapse, and perhaps have serious
economic impact on both China and India. At best, it would lead to
periods of harsh economic adjustment. To what extent conservation
measures, investments in alternative energy production, and efforts to
expand petroleum production from tar sands and shale would mitigate such
a period of adjustment is difficult to predict. One should not forget
that the Great Depression spawned a number of totalitarian regimes that
sought economic prosperity for their nations by ruthless conquest.

 

The U.S. military knows we are on the verge of an oil crisis. There
are no new supplies ready to come on line before 2015. The President and
his advisors know that an oil crisis is in our immediate future. We
have military bases in Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Kuwait. We have active
fighting forces in Afghanistan and Pakistan. We have a naval armada of
aircraft carriers in the Persian Gulf. Our forces completely encircle
Iran. Is this a coincidence when the countries with the largest oil
reserves in the world are noted?

  1. Saudi Arabia – 262 billion barrels
  2. Iran – 133 billion barrels
  3. Iraq – 112 billion barrels
  4. Kuwait – 97 billion barrels

The war on terror is a cover for access to the hundreds of billions
of barrels of oil in the Middle East. A 10 million barrel per day
shortfall by 2015 would be disastrous for a country that consumes 25% of
all the oil in the world. Our hyper-consumer society is like a drug
addict, dependent on its oil fix. If we are denied oil for even one day,
the withdrawal symptoms would be traumatic and harrowing.

There are 255 million passenger vehicles in the U.S. Our society will
collapse within weeks without a sufficient supply of oil. The average
American’s only concern about oil is when they get a card in the mail
from Jiffy Lube telling them it is time for their 5,000 mile oil change.
They stick a hose in their gas tank and fluid pours out, allowing them
to motor freely around mall dotted suburbia. Within five years they will
be paying over $5 per gallon for this fluid or they will be waiting in
lines for three hours to get 10 gallons of that precious fluid. Peak
cheap oil has been predictable for decades. The Department of Energy was
created 31 years ago. Preparing for peak cheap oil would have required
some pain, sacrifice and forethought. But, suicide is painless.

Visions of Things To Be

Through early morning fog I see
visions of the things to be
the pains that are withheld for me
I realize and I can see…

That suicide is painless
It brings on many changes
and I can take or leave it if I please.

                            Suicide is Painless – M.A.S.H. Movie 

As I peer through the fog and attempt to see visions of things to be,
I see nothing but pain ahead. Anyone who can look at the following
chart and not conclude that there is much pain ahead for this country is
either a Goldman Sachs banker, a Federal Reserve Governor, or a bought
off politician in Washington DC. It is no coincidence that after Richard
Nixon closed the gold window in 1971 and allowed the Federal Reserve to
“manage” our economy that total debt outstanding in the US surged from
$2 trillion to over $50 trillion. GDP has risen by 1,300% since 1971,
while total US debt has risen by 2,600%. Now for the kicker. Real GDP
has only gone up by 292% since 1971. This means that 1,000% of the
increase in GDP was from Federal Reserve created inflation. Over this
same time frame, real wages have declined by 6%, from $318 per week in
1971 to $299 per week today. Inflation has been the American drug of
choice to commit suicide over the last 40 years. It is stealthy,
seemingly painless, and deadly.

File:US debt outstanding by sector.png

Inflation is the “painless” method through which the Federal Reserve
has decided this country will commit suicide. It is like turning on the
car in the garage and letting the carbon monoxide slowly put you to
sleep. The ruling elite are content that the American public is dumbed
down by the government run public schools. They count on the fact that 9
out of 10 Americans do not understand inflation. It is an
insidious scheme of robbing the working middle class and funneling it to
the Wall Street/K Street ruling class. The Federal Reserve has gotten
bolder in the last few years as they realized the public doesn’t
understand or care what they do. Bernanke has relished in the mainstream
media adulation that he saved the world with his printing press in
2008/2009. Even though critical thinkers know for a fact that it was
Federal Reserve policies that created the worldwide financial
conflagration in the first place, the corporate mainstream media and the
Wall Street beneficiaries have been cheerleaders of Easy Al and
Helicopter Ben. These men are traitors. They have purposefully
impoverished senior citizens and the working middle class in order to
enrich their ruling elite masters on Wall Street and in Washington DC.

Ben Bernanke on Wednesday afternoon will announce Quantitative Easing
Part Deux. This is a fancy name for Ben printing $1 trillion out of
thin air, buying US Treasuries and/or more toxic mortgage securities and
artificially lowering interest rates to convince Americans to spend
money they don’t have. Jeremy Grantham, in his recent quarterly letter,
issues a scathing indictment of Bernanke’s methods: 

“For
all of us, unfortunately, there is still a further great disadvantage
attached to the Fed Manipulated Prices. When rates are artificially low, income is moved away from savers, or holders of government and other debt, toward borrowers. Today, this means less income for retirees and near-retirees with conservative portfolios, and more profit opportunities for the financial industry; hedge funds can leverage cheaply and banks can borrow from the government and lend out at higher
prices or even, perish the thought, pay out higher bonuses. This is the
problem: there are more retirees and near retirees now than ever
before, and they tend to consume all of their investment income. With
artificially low rates, their consumption really drops. The offsetting benefits, mainly shown in dramatically recovered financial profits despite low levels of economic activity, flow to a considerable degree to rich individuals with much lower propensities to consume.”
 
  

The ruling elite in Washington DC and Wall Street decided that fraud,
misinformation and cooking the books was preferable to the pain of
honesty, orderly bankruptcy, and assets valued at their true worth. Ben
Bernanke ”saved the world” by putting the taxpayer on the hook for $1.5
trillion of toxic mortgage garbage he bought from his masters on Wall
Street. John Hussman describes the decision to choose painless suicide
over choosing painful medicine to cure our disease:

“Over the short run, two policies have been primarily responsible
for successfully kicking the can down the road following the recent
financial crisis. The first was the suppression of fair and accurate
financial disclosure – specifically FASB suspension of mark-to-market
rules – which has allowed financial companies to present balance sheets
that are detached from any need to reflect the actual liquidating value
of their assets. The second was the de facto grant of the government’s
full faith and credit to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac securities. Now,
since standing behind insolvent debt in order to make it whole is
strictly an act of fiscal policy, one would think that under the
Constitution, it would have been subject to Congressional debate and
democratic process. But the Bernanke Fed evidently views democracy as a
clumsy extravagance, and so, the Fed accumulated $1.5 trillion in the
debt obligations of these insolvent agencies, which effectively forces
the public to make those obligations whole, without any actual need for
public input on the matter.”

The Only Way to Win is Cheat

The only way to win is cheat
And lay it down before I’m beat
and to another give my seat
for that’s the only painless feat.

That suicide is painless
It brings on many changes
and I can take or leave it if I please.

                                             Suicide is Painless – M.A.S.H. Movie 

The
Federal Reserve has incessantly created new bubbles every time one of
their old bubbles has burst, since the elevation of Alan Greenspan as
Fed Chairman in 1987. The bailout of LTCM convinced Wall Street that
uncle Al would come to the rescue if their gambles endangered the
financial system. Greenspan cheered on the internet revolution and
flooded the system for the fake Y2K crisis. When the internet bubble
burst in 2000 and the 9/11 attack struck in 2001, Greenspan aided and
abetted the greatest bubble in history. He dropped interest rates to
historic lows, encouraged the use of adjustable rate mortgages, didn’t
enforce bank regulations, and pretended that he couldn’t see the bubble
forming. Jeremy Grantham explained the Federal Reserve, Wall Street and K
Street conspiracy to avoid the pain of dealing with our long-term
structural problems in his latest letter: 

“House
prices may often not be susceptible to manipulation. Low interest rates
may not be enough: they may stimulate hedge fund managers to speculate
in stocks, but most ordinary homeowners are not interested in
speculating. To stir up enough speculators to move house prices, we
needed a series of changes, starting with increasing the percentage of
the population that could buy a house. This took ingenuity on two
fronts: overstating income and reducing down payment requirements,
ideally to nil. This took extremely sloppy loan standards and virtually
no data verification. This, in turn,
took a warped incentive program that offered great rewards for quantity
rather than quality, and a corporation overeager, with aggressive
accounting, to book profits immediately.  It also needed a much larger, and therefore new, market
in which to place these low-grade mortgages. This took ingenious new
packages and tranches that made checking the details nearly impossible,
even if one wanted to. It took, critically, the Fed Manipulated Prices
to drive 
global
rates down. Even more importantly, it needed the global risk premium
for everything to hit world record low levels so that suddenly formerly
staid European, and even Asian, institutions were reaching for risk to
get a few basis points more interest. Such an environment is possible
only if there exists an institution with a truly global reach and a
commitment to drive asset prices up. In the U.S. Fed, under the
Greenspan-Bernanke regime, just such an institution was ready and
willing.”
 


On Wednesday Ben Bernanke will inject more poison into the veins of
a once great country. This country, at one time, dealt with its
problems in a realistic manner and was willing to sacrifice, cooperate,
and make hard choices. QE2 will not help our economy or solve any of our
problems.

Is It To Be Or Not To Be?

A brave man once requested me
to answer questions that are key
‘is it to be or not to be’
and I replied ‘oh why ask me?’

‘Cause suicide is painless
it brings on many changes
and I can take or leave it if I please.
…and you can do the same thing if you choose.

                                                     Suicide is Painless – M.A.S.H. Movie 

The leaders of this country, with the full support of a zombie like
disinterested distracted electorate, have chosen to ignore and
defer every tough decision regarding energy, spending, entitlements,
deficits, and infrastructure. The Federal Reserve has
allowed politicians to run the National Debt up to $13.6 Trillion by
imposing no limits on the printing of fiat currency backed by nothing
but promises. Based on Obama’s 10 year budget projections, adjusted for
the real impact of Obamacare and extension of Bush tax cuts, the
National Debt will reach $20 trillion in 2015 and $25 trillion by 2019.
This is truly a suicide mission. We will never reach these levels
because the sweet relief of death will overtake our economic system as
the final vestiges of QE2 painlessly bring about the end. 
  
  
 
Grantham warns that Bernanke’s actions on Wednesday are a desperate
last ditch attempt to fend off the pain of reality. It will fail.
 

“Thus, our current policy of QE2 is merely the last desperate
step of an ineffective plan to stimulate the economy through higher
asset prices regardless of any future costs. Continuing QE2 may be an
original way of redoing the damage done by the old Smoot-Hawley Tariff
hikes of 1930, which helped accelerate a drastic global decline in
trade. We may not even need the efforts of some of our dopier Senators
to recreate a more traditional tariff war. And all of this stems from
the Fed and the failed idea that it can or should interfere with
employment levels by interfering with asset prices.”

The only difference between Dr. Bernanke and Dr. Kevorkian is that
Kevorkian helped the terminally ill commit suicide. Dr. Bernanke and his
colleagues at the Federal Reserve have inflicted suicide on a patient
that was healthy and capable of living many more years. The suicide
concoction of fiat currency, debt, military empire, and delusion has
been painless for those in power, but painful for the working middle
class of this country. Dr. Bernanke fancies himself as an expert on the
Great Depression. He is destined to be remembered as the man who killed
America. Suicide is painless, it brings on many changes.