Are You Infuriated Yet?

More and more, I’m encountering people who are simply infuriated with how our “leaders” are running (or to put it more accurately, ruining) things right now. And I share that fury.

It’s perfectly normal human response to be infuriated when an outside agent hurts you, especially if the pain seems unnecessary, illogical or random.

Imagine if your neighbor enjoyed setting off loud explosives at all hours of the day and night. Or if he had a habit of tailgating and brake-checking you every time he saw your car on the road. You’d been well within your rights to be infuriated.

Or to use a much more common example from the real world : When your politicians repeatedly pass laws that hurt you in favor of large corporations – that, too, is infuriating. Especially if those actions run directly counter to their campaign promises.

There’s a lot of be infuriated about in the world today, so go ahead and embrace your rage. By doing so, you’ll be in a better mindset to understand things like Brexit, Catalonia, and Trump, each of which is a reflection of the fury of your fellow citizens, who are finally waking up to the fact that they’ve been victims for too long.

An easy prediction to make is that this simmering anger of the populace is going to start boiling over more violently in the coming years. Welcome to the Age of Fury.

'Over The Top' Dumb

Do you ever get the sense that, as a society, we're being dangerously reckless? Perhaps so dumb that we might not recover from the repercussions of our stupidity for many generations, if ever?

There are economic and financial idiocies in motion that are, by themselves, unsolvable predicaments without a peaceful solution. But when combined with resource depletion and declining net energy, they’re positively intractable.

Take for example the hundreds of trillions of dollars-worth of underfunded entitlement and pension promises. Those promises cannot be kept and they cannot be paid. Everybody with a basic comprehension of math can conclude as such.

Yet we continue to operate as if the opposite were true. We comfort ourselves that, somehow, all the promised future payouts will be made in full – even though the funds are insolvent, their returns are much lower than the actuarial projections require, and payout demand mercilessly rises each year.

Spoiler alert: This isn’t some future disaster lying in wait. It’s unfolding right now.

Take these headlines spanning the past several years:

When it comes to broken retirement promises, the future is now. It will be with us for a very long time.

Why? Because the math simply doesn’t work. It’s broken, it’s been broken for a long time. You can’t put too little in the piggy bank at the start, then raid it over time, and still expect to have enough at the end.

And yet we, as a society, have preferred to pretend as if that weren’t the case. Which, it turns out, was a terrible “strategy.”

But if you think that’s bad, you’re going to positively hate this chart:

The pension liabilities now blowing up are contained within the thin green smear in the middle of this chart. Think on the nation's inability to handle that single crisis, and now reflect on how overwhelmed it's going to be by the far larger predicaments that lie elsewhere on the chart.

The Infuriating Plunder-fest That Is Health Care

The Medicare liabilities (the orange and largest band on the above chart) are immense, and will only become more so as our largest demographic, the baby boomers, further ages. But they become especially infuriating when seen in the larger context of the racketeering that drives the health care system in the United States.

Instead of doing anything constructive about the high number of IOUs building up within Medicare, Washington DC politicians are sidestepping the most obvious elements that contribute the most to the problem. Enormously wasteful, the “healthcare” system is entirely out of control and spiraling deeper into an abyss that threatens to literally destroy the most productive segment of the US social structure: the middle and upper middle classes.

That should be a topic of serious discussion in the halls of power. But none is being had.

Literally each day brings worse news on the skyrocketing costs of healthcare. But, as with most topics, the media mostly focuses on the symptoms (prices) rather than the causes of the issue.

The real culprits here are the insurance cartel and a hospital system that has the most unfair, incomprehensible, and inhumane billing process ever devised. One easy to grasp feature of both the insurance companies and conspire to pay the executives far more than they actually deserve or are truly worth.

Health care premiums for 2018 set to go up by as much as 50 percent

Oct 5, 2017

Several states have announced rates for health insurance premiums on the Obamacare exchanges for 2018. Topping the list is Georgia, with rates that are 57 percent higher than last year, while Florida said some premiums will be 45 percent higher.

Among the reasons for these increases is the uncertainty about the future of the Affordable Care Act. President Donald Trump has vowed to repeal and replace the health care law, which was passed under his predecessor President Barack Obama.

Insurers are raising premiums in the face of repeated threats from President Trump to stop funding so-called cost-sharing reductions, payments to insurers that cover out-of-pocket costs for some low-income consumers. Trump previously referred to these payments as “bailouts” for insurance companies and threatened to stop making the payments so as to “let Obamacare implode”.


That’s the story the health insurers are going with: they have to raise rates because they’re uncertain whether they will get AS MUCH LOOT under the new rules being considered as they did under the utterly disastrous Obamacare provisions.

How much loot are we talking about? Look at this chart of the stock price of United Healthcare (UNH) since the passage of the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare):

If this chart showing massive near-4x gains in just 5 years, coupled with your steep annual premium increases, doesn’t infuriate you, you are just not getting it.

Even if your employer pays for your health care (somewhat obscuring the true impact of premium increases), the cost to you is fewer and lower pay increases, as well as steady yearly reductions in covered services along with higher co-pays and deductible amounts.

Still not infuriated? Ok, maybe this will do the trick. Here how much executive compensation at the major insurers was last year:


The average family health care insurance premium in 2016 was $18,764, meaning that Mark Bertolini from Aetna alone required 100% of the premiums from more than 2,200 families just to pay him in 2016. Of course, the “C-suite” of these health care insurers are loaded with other high-paid parasites who are just as busy gouging the young and old alike.

This is a complete travesty and joke. Congress and the Senate, sitting on their deservedly low approval ratings, pretend they cannot do anything about it. Too complicated they say. Bullshit I say. Go after the obscene pay packages and profits of the insurance industry as a first matter of business. Then make it a crime for hospitals to bill people differently for the exact same services.

That’s a no-brainer. Can you imagine if your mechanic had a secret pricing formula for every customer that was, literally, based on their maximum ability to pay? Nobody would stand for it, it’s disgusting that we tolerate this when it comes to something as vital and necessary as our health and even lives.

Fury, not tolerance, is what’s needed now.

Conclusion (to Part 1)

The future has arrived. The pension losses are here and just getting started and the future will have a lot more of those sorts of broken promises.

The health care insurance crisis has been with us for 20 years or so now and Obamacare just put some extra accelerant on that fire, which is now consuming middle class households by the tens of thousands.

Both the pension and health care crises are infuriating and self-inflicted wounds. We could have avoided them by making wiser choices in the past. We didn’t. We could limit their damage by making better choices today. We almost assuredly won’t.

Current conversations and proposals are thinly disguised sleight-of-hand movements whose purpose is to deflect attention from the thefts underway. Anybody who studies the system and its math comes to the same conclusion: the corporations have all the power and they are misusing it for private gain.

Why there aren’t more politicians willing to call a spade a spade and actually protect their constituents is a real mystery. But the next wave of populist candidates certainly won’t be. People are sick and tired of being asked to give more and more while corporations and wealthy elites keep taking more and more.

It’s simply infuriating.

But that’s not the worst of it. The mistakes we are making right now in terms of energy policy and ecological destruction are far more dangerous to your personal health, liberty and future prospects than a simple market crash.

In Part 2: It’s Time For Action, we uncover the hidden downside risks in today’s financial markets and explain how, as destructive as a coming market crash will be, the longer-term damage to society and risks to your well-being are rooted in the potential breakdown of the systems we depend on to live.

As with pensions and health care, we are pursuing similar dangerously misguided policies in our farming & food systems, extraction of industrial resources, and ecological management – to name just a few.

There’s an appropriate time for fury. And that time is now – provided we use the anger to spur us into constructive action. Get your fury on.

Click here to read Part 2 of this report (free executive summary, enrollment required for full access)

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

I’m still waiting to hear about your anger at the climate denying orange moron running your country. Tick tock, tick tock … no balls?

I’ve been furious for so long already that I’m worn out of being angry. While I’m concerned about a huge swath of things including unfunded entitlements, increasing healthcare expenditures, possible nuclear war with North Korea, disappearing insects, approaching peak oil etc. what infuriates me the most is this relentless money printing conducted by virtually all central banks world over. No matter the asset class everything imaginable - except those few things deliberately manipulated downwards - is going to the moon, regardless of how crazy or overvalued. Since I started investing right after the original Nasdaq bubble, I used to make a comfortable 30% per year in the markets until I finally threw in the towel in 2011. I haven’t touched stocks or virtually any other investable assets since then. Nothing makes sense to me except through this stupid lens of endless money printing. These days I put all my extra money into paying down my mortgage (I don’t have other debt), buying short-term US bonds, and investing in small shares of selected local businesses. The reason, I think, I’m feeling depressed is both because of missing out on all these insane gains since 2011, and because I’m starting to seriously doubt my own skill and intellect. What if this thing just goes on forever and never ends? So what if they add 10%, 20% or 50% more money into the money supply every year - what if this just increases asset prices by a similar amount and nothing else is ever affected by this?

I’ve gone from angry to numb and depressed.
The insanity has been going on for decades and it only seems to become more absurd.
Talk about fake news. When the MSM talkes about it, they are talking about a specific piece of news.
What’s false is the universal lack of focus on issues of crucial global importance. We are feed endless daily articles on “news” such as Weinstein and virtually nothing on the global flying insect collapse. Global flying insect populations are down 75% in 27 years and we are supposed to consider Weinstein’s behavior to be more news worthy? It’s simply insane.

Here's the Dickinson, Tx website. Here's the grant request form/contract (while it's still up).

Well said, Stabu! I’m also in the “worn out” category. I know that I can only vote against 3 members of CONgress - 2 Senators and 1 Representative. Unfortunately, many in my State think these 3 people are doing great things for the State by bringing federal dollars home to do needed projects. I’m sure it is the same way in the other 49 States. When you add it all up, all 50 States are feeling that they’re getting more from the federal coffers than they are contributing in taxes. That’s why we have the federal debt. That’s why we have underfunded pensions. That’s why SS and Medicare are such a mess. No politician ever got reelected by proposing severe austerity. That’s what it would take to get the finances in order. It ain’t gonna happen. The system is doomed - eventually.
I still vote, but only to remove the incumbents. It’s not that I expect the person who receives my vote to do a good job. The system is too ingrained for a newcomer to fix. Reelection is always on a politician’s mind. They need campaign money for their reelection bid. The lobbyists offer great incentives and only ask for a teeny weeny loophole for the clients. Multiply that a few million times and we get the spaghetti legislation we get. Why should we be surprised?
It is best to focus on what is best for your loved ones and your eventual community. Figure out where it would be best to be while the system is intact and also when the system collapses. That advice varies for each of us. What is best for me may not suit your needs. If there isn’t enough local food and water available to the local populace, there will be huge problems when the system fails. Ask yourself what will happen when the trucks stop delivering goods to the stores? It won’t matter what causes the stoppage. People will help strangers only if the problem is perceived to be temporary - a hurricane, flood, fire, earthquake, etc. As soon as the problem appears to be permanent, attitudes will change drastically. Cooperation works best when bellies are reasonably full and hydrated.

I honestly do see your side of the coin, and yes, there are a boatload of people that will be screwed out of their pensions in the end. But there’s a flip side to the coin. I am in no way condoning what they do but really, why not take advantage of the never ending inflating that’s going on, because one day, it truly does have to end. Ride that market higher, ride that Bitcoin higher, keep stacking that cheap silver, hell, ride all of it higher while you can and reap the free money they are giving away.
Sitting around worrying about it will only put you further behind the curve…

paulanders wrote:
I honestly do see your side of the coin, and yes, there are a boatload of people that will be screwed out of their pensions in the end. But there's a flip side to the coin. I am in no way condoning what they do but really, why not take advantage of the never ending inflating that's going on, because one day, it truly does have to end. Ride that market higher, ride that Bitcoin higher, keep stacking that cheap silver, hell, ride all of it higher while you can and reap the free money they are giving away. Sitting around worrying about it will only put you further behind the curve...
Why become infuriated? Because along the way we are doing irreversible damage to the world's ecosystems and our future prospects. If we don't activate and change that trajectory, and console ourselves with Bitcoin gains and stock market returns, then we'll be majorly disappointed with what comes to pass. Now if said emotions are not rocket fuel for positive change, then by all means don't go there. Or, if you can achieve that same change while in a happy-go-lucky state, that seems better as well. But for most people nothing changes until we first confront the issue and go through the usual process of emotional adjustment. Why? because decisions and actions remain rooted in our emotional centers (the Amygdala), not our rational cortical areas. Biology still rules. As I noted in part II of this report, the flying insects in Germany have been recorded as declining by nearly 80% over the past 25 years. That really ought to worry the bejeezus out of everyone. I'm not sure that saying we should just sit back and enjoy the (illusory) gains offered by thin-air money printing while they last is really the best course of action here. We need to change the story and we need to do it really quickly. So the real question for me isn't should we be infuriated or Zen-like, but what's the best way to get people to (finally) pay attention to what really matters?
Stabu wrote:
I've been furious for so long already that I'm worn out of being angry.
Yep. I share that with you, along with a lot of other people. This has gone on so long that I have to wonder if they cannot keep doing this right up too the moment that it all is simply inescapably ruined. Their tactics involve complete control of the financial "markets" and distractive propaganda beamed at the populace 24/7. Its really hard to get people to focus on the important things via social media because that route supports a short attention span, twitchy reactivity, and is heavily infested with bots, unaware individuals, corporate shills,and government agents posing as ordinary people ready to deflect any real conversations straight into the nearest ditch. So it feels like there's no positive movement. But there really is. As the person holding the center of this site I am as weary as anybody, but I've got to keep going to see this through to the end, whatever that is. The podcast with Stephen Jenkinson had a powerful moment for me when he said this:

Samuel Beckett, great Irish writer. He has a book title. And the book title says what you and I are talking about right now. The name of the book is, I can’t go on, I’ll go on. Now, if you do not pay attention to how he has phrased it, you think what he is saying is I cannot go on; I can go on. But he doesn’t say that. See, that is hopeful and hopeless again. He says I cannot go on; I will go on. And at the risk of cheapening an elaborate and well accomplished book just by making a phrase of the title, I believe his title says this:

I have an obligation in a troubled time to go on, not being able to.

If you let that stand and you do not try to resolve that, and you recognize the inability to go on is no more predicting of the outcome than the ability to go on is. Neither one of these foreclose on what may yet come to pass. However, the depths of the trouble mean that there is such thing... there is such a thing as not being able to go on and you turn away from that at your peril. The recognition that you cannot go on is a real time in people’s lives. It is not a failure, moral or otherwise, it is not a collapse.

It is a true thing, and it takes courage to know that you are at a time when you cannot go on. And what Beckett is saying is, there come times in our lives when we go on not being able to. Where you are not obliged to choose between those two realities that both of them are your companions now; and I think the degree of trouble that we are seeing beginning to crest now, requires both of those skills. The skill of not being able to go on and the skill of doing so at the same time and not being obliged to choose between them. And pretending that because you read or watched Bucket List enough times, you know how to get on the other side of being defeated.

There is nothing on the other side of being defeated. When you lose, you lose. And what we have done to that which has sustained us, we’ve done it long enough now, that the losing has begun. That is a nonnegotiable situation. You can have as many politicians as you want try to get your vote from you by claiming they are going to make something great again. But there is no again to go back to, you see. That is what grownups know about a troubled time and that is... there is a degree of courage in that absolutely, but it is a courage that has no promise in it. That if you are courageous secretly, it is going to be okay.


So I'll go on.

Chris asked,

what's the best way to get people to (finally) pay attention to what really matters?
I ask myself this same question many times a day. My stock answer is that nobody will do anything serious until something breaks, but by then it'll be too late to do anything useful. I am not alone in this glum opinion. Some people complain about the lumpenproletariat and why must they be so lumpen, but it's not them: it's far more the lumpeneconomists and their acolytes, the lumpenpoliticians, who together are wilfully blind. (You MUST read the book of the same name by Margaret Heffernan; your education is incomplete until you do. Astonishing case studies of the emotional inability of highly-placed people to recognise and adjust to reality.)

Aloha! I understand central bank debt but debt is debt. Debt has been part of the American Empire on all levels. You want to buy a house then get into debt. You want a credit card then get into debt. You want a masters degree then go into debt.
Are central banks a reflection of society or is society a reflection of central banks?
The American Dream is a dream made on debt!
Condemning central banks? Look in the mirror!

What gets me the most angry is the institutional lying that is going on - and no one, well almost no one save a few, either point it out or object.
Look at this from the Wall Street Journal - does anything seem amiss, like the actual PE of the Russell 2000 and its estimated PE. The people paying attention do not object b/c they get rich by the system - justice and fairness be damned … the love of money is the root of the lies. I fear I have become a misanthrope over the past decade

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Chris, that is where you have it and I think me wrong. WE are not doing irreversible damage, THEY are doing the irreversible damage. GMO foods, vaccinations, insecticides (straight up poisons on your food), the list is long and will not stop at this point. I truly believe we are past the point of no return on this one so while it sounds like I don’t care, I do, it’s just that you might as well do what you can while you can. You of all people knows how the system works. It doesn’t change because it’s not right, or not working. First it has to bankrupt us, then fail us miserably, then fall off a cliff, and then lay there and smolder before somebody even mentions that maybe we should try another way (think Obozo care). All I’m saying is chances are a person will not have this opportunity again in their lifetime to make this money. Money that they will need no matter what the future brings us.
Keep up the good work, I do enjoy it!

I tried joining the cohort of small scale developers with the idea that we could build small infill projects, right after I got out of college. I wanted to build rentals and other housing that was at least affordable to the middle class. It’s not really possible in the cities that are ‘booming’ or seems insanely risky at this point. The instability of real estate in the last 20 years is crushing.
If this posts correctly, you can see we haven’t reached the insanity of 2005 when adjusted for inflation. Prices seem to be accelerating though and we’ll be back at crazy town in a year and half at the current rate.
It feels like the whole real estate industry has lost their minds.

I actually own a few Bitcoin that I got for about $10 end of 2012. I accepted those reluctantly as a form of payment for minor debt. I’ve actively followed the crypto currency market since, but never purchased more, because the market has always felt overvalued. Fundamentally I object the anti-social way most cryptos are designed that majorly benefits early adopters. I also suspect that cryptos themselves will be less successful in the long-run for a number of reasons including a relatively slow adoption rate compared to other recent phenomenon such as the rise of Facebook. While crypto networks are pretty much undefeatable, cryptos come with other downsides, primarily the need to convert them into real money (e.g. dollars or pounds). If governments want to ban these things the only thing they have to do is to shut down a handful of exchanges. Pure information businesses with online only presence can work fine with cryptos, but businesses in the real world operate with supply chains that rely on real money in the end. Government fiat is still fundamentally based on the government’s assets, most significantly its ability to tax, while the value of cryptos is almost entirely based on the size of the crypto network. If cryptos catch on in a major way I suspect that they will be banned due to similar reasons authorities are waging a war on cash and on gold, and the reasons for banning cryptos are even stronger than for cash or gold, since conducting illegal activities with cryptos is far easier. My speculation is that the main reason this hasn’t happened yet is because governments would want to form their own cryptos in order to virtually seal their destruction of human liberty. All this being said, I’m bullish on the blockchain technology with it’s abilities for e.g. triple bookkeeping, but I believe it’s future is in private rather than public ledgers.
The problem with the stock market is that the PE valuations are simply insanely high and those valuations have gone up for quite a long time. Stock markets around the world are trading more in unison than ever before and hence it’s almost pointless to try to do any international diversification. I’ve found several natural resource companies, a few utilities, and a few consumer staples businesses that have fair valuation. The reason I’m not investing in them is because they are still part of a stock market and if any form of accident would ever occur, we could see these fair valuations to still halve overnight. The difference between a stock that’s lost 80% and a stock that’s lost 90% of it’s value is that the stock that’s lost 90% first lost 80% and then an additional 50% of it’s value. Therefore the only “safe” investments are small privately held businesses you can physically visit that have solid foundations and very few connections with anything financial (debt included).
So why not simply ride the stock market and cryptos higher? Well, even if we assume that this thing will go on forever, let’s say, doubling every single year starting 2018, continuing on 2019, then 2020 etc. etc. without a single crash, sooner or later - to Chris’ point - the financial markets will uncouple from reality. The longer this goes on and the more insane all valuations become, the larger and faster the uncoupling will likely be. I would not be surprised - but I would be very socked - if I woke up tomorrow to find out that land and every item in the grocery store cost 10 times as much as it did the night before. I’m not even sure if such a single uncoupling event could be characterized as a hyperinflation, since the revaluation happened literarily overnight and become to a halt soon thereafter. The process is fairly similar to what would happen when a country with fixed exchange rates suddenly decides to devalue the fixed exchange rate by, in this case, 90%.

Cases like this one are easy to find.

In the middle of the night in March of 2012, NYPD officers burst into the Bronx home of Gerald Bryan, ransacking his belongings, tearing out light fixtures, punching through walls, and confiscating $4,800 in cash. Bryan, 42, was taken into custody on suspected felony drug distribution, as the police continued their warrantless search. Over a year later, Bryan's case was dropped. When he went to retrieve his $4,800, he was told it was too late: the money had been deposited into the NYPD's pension fund. (Source)
And then the big boyz and girlz get off scott-free on major felonies while Goldman Sachs gets 100 cents on the dollar for blown CDOs that they themselves wrote and sold. These things matter...

Thank you to ezlxq1949 for mentioning Margaret Heffernan! I dedicate her video below to Chris who is daring greatly by asking questions and pointing out the silence.


“Ecological Armageddon”

Side note: I live in sunny/humid SW Florida and I can recall twice a year when “lovebugs” would make their appearance and you knew it because driving anywhere would result in a dirty windshield within minutes. I haven’t seen lovebugs in the last 5 years and that goes for butterflies. We have royally screwed up this planet and Elon Musk wants us to inhabit Mars? I say we first learn how to take care of our own planet before we screw another one up.

Seems somewhat appropriate, given our current global situation, not to mention the NYPD:

"a spirit of punishment, often represented as one of three goddesses who executed the curses pronounced upon criminals, tortured the guilty with stings of conscience, and inflicted famines and pestilences. The Furies were identified at an early date with the Eumenides.

At some point the whole perverse charade becomes a tragi-comedy. So now China’s government (via local governments tapping the infinite-credit machine of the central govt) is buying 24% of all those overpriced empty flats that constitute “the China miracle”:
China's Government Is Expected To Buy 24% Of All Residential Real Estate For Sale In 2017
In the current Mode of Production, TINA (there is no alternative) rules.
As I've noted many times: if you don't change the way "money" is created and distributed, you change nothing.