Wednesday, February 25, 2015

EWI State of the Global Markets (Full 53 Page Report) for Free

EWI State of the Global Markets Report 2015


FutureJacked Readers,

As you know, FutureJacked is an affiliate of Elliott Wave International. A key reason for that is the unique analytical tools they provide subscribers can give you an edge, not just in the arena of financial speculation, but in more strategic matters as well.

Right now they are offering access for free to their 2015 State of the Global Markets publication as described below. I cannot recommend it highly enough.

NOTE: If you follow one of the links below and choose to sign up for a free EWI account, it will record a small credit for my affiliate account. I want to be up front about that. If this is something you are not comfortable with, please use a search engine and bring up the Elliott Wave International website directly, then subscribe and take advantage of this offer. I don't care all that much about the affiliate credits. I do care that you take advantage of this offer. It looks like the world is on the cusp of big changes, and this report can be one of the tools you use to map out your planning and response.

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  • U.S. stocks have recently hit new highs, pushing technical readings to hit off-the-charts extremes;
  • Gold, silver and bonds are in multi-year bear markets;
  • Investors in major markets around the world are exposing their money to unprecedented risks;
  • Regional economies recently said to be "recovering" are slipping back into recession;
  • And despite the multi-year rally in stocks, Main Street is still struggling.
  • Politicians and central bankers worldwide reassure investors that the credit crisis of 2007-2009 is nothing more than a footnote in market history -- despite the compelling evidence that it never truly ended.
  • Europe remains in turmoil, and Asia-Pacific regions and emerging markets are charting surprising courses of their own.
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About the Publisher, Elliott Wave International
Founded in 1979 by Robert R. Prechter Jr., Elliott Wave International (EWI) is the world's largest market forecasting firm. Its staff of full-time analysts provides 24-hour-a-day market analysis to institutional and private investors around the world.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Nuclear Emergencies

Nuclear Emergencies
I am pleased to announce the publication of my newest work, Nuclear Emergencies.

In this Amazon Kindle e-book (hardcopy version to follow in a few months) you receive an overview of nuclear science and radiation safety, a discussion of nuclear weapons, nuclear reactor accidents, dirty bombs, and how disaster response to such accidents would be coordinated. This is followed by a review of how scientists estimate cancer risk after you've been exposed to excess radiation and a primer on how to better read articles and papers on nuclear subjects and see what they are telling you, what they are not, and how to figure it out.

A preview of the book is available, including a full table of contents for your study. This will allow you to see for yourself if you think this will prove a valuable addition to the resources you have gathered in preparation for dealing with what is facing us in the coming years.

The hope is that the wide range of topics (and the over 500 hyperlinks which take you to journal articles and scientific studies for your own further research) covered will allow you to be among the few who can realistically evaluate future nuclear emergencies. Let others deal with uncertainty and fear, reliant on mainstream media sources to inform them. You will be in a position to fact-check them and make up your own mind.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Extreme Outcomes (Part Two): The First Revolt Fails

A German revolutionary faces a firing squad after the failed Sparticist Uprising of 1919 (image from marxisttheory.org)
As the world, and more specifically, the West, stumbles forward to a far more violent future, filled with financial upheaval and political turmoil, let's take a brief moment to remember a Golden Rule that all wannabe Revolutionaries forget to their peril - the first revolt fails.

Violent revolutions against the established order, much more often than not, fail after the first revolt. As mood continues to darken, as factions polarize along the political spectrum, and as the breakdown of the existing financial order makes it more difficult for the Powers That Be to spread around the graft, jobs, and loot that keep them on top, the young and the desperate might decide at some point that a violent uprising against the Man is just what is needed. There will be no shortage of radicals (and government-paid agents provocateur) who will be able to convince a critical mass of men and women to arm themselves and overthrow the [insert name of currently-hyped Oppressor class].

Practically without exception, this will prove to be wrong and possibly fatal.

Some examples worth thinking about include:

The Revolutions of 1848
Reminiscent of the "Arab Spring," Europe experienced its own wave of idealistic uprisings against monarchies across Europe, mainly focused in the Central and Eastern part of the continent. While there was no coherent movement governing the uprisings, they were mostly focused on breaking down the last of the feudal structures which had held on, such as serfdom or in some cases absolute monarchy.

After some initial successes, the uprisings were crushed, one by one. Some of the political gains did manage to remain in place, but the "Revolutions of 1848" wound up being more inspirational mythology to later, more successful efforts at reform (most which occurred peacefully).


Philippine-American War
A fantastic example of a revolutionary movement allying itself with a larger power to overthrow the local bad guys, only to wind up under the heel of that larger power is the Philippine-American War. The Philippines in the late 1800's was a last outpost of the crumbling Spanish Empire. A revolution which had kicked off in 1892 had, after several twists and turns, and a bit of American help, landed the Philippine forces in a place where they had taken most of the island nation for their own and surrounded the remaining Spanish forces in Manila. A side agreement resulted in the Spanish surrendering Manila to American forces.

The lure of joining Europe in the race to carve up the world into colonial empires proved too great and the U.S. moved to crush the initial Philippine Republic which had been declared in the wake of the defeat of the Spanish.

Depending on who compiles the numbers, between 200,000 and over 1 million Filipinos died in this war. They had risen up and it looked like they had succeeded, but because of the presence of powerful outside forces, viewed as necessary to finish the job of the Revolution, the revolt wound up failing. The Philippines wouldn't see independence until after World War II and another round of agony during their occupation by the Empire of Japan.


Hama, 1982
Watching the Syrian civil war and the rise of the Islamic State and the bloodbath which has ensued, it is wise to remember a failed uprising in Syria from 1982, the infamous Hama Massacre.

In 1982, the Middle East was governed by entrenched secular military-socialist rulers in Syria, Iraq, and Egypt. In Syria a variety of tensions led to an uprising organized primarily by the Muslim Brotherhood. In this unsuccessful prelude to what happened thirty years later, the Syrian government forces reacted swiftly and violently. Hama was surrounded and the killing began. It is estimated 20,000 - 40,000 died, with many tens of thousands more driven from the city.

Instead of leading to a larger uprising and civil war, as blossomed in recent years after another series of Islamist uprisings, the Hama Massacre broke the back of the Muslim Brotherhood and provided multiple lessons - some of which have borne fruit in the current war and some of which kept a lid on sectarian violence for three decades.


Things to Consider

You will have your own list of examples and possibly even some exceptions that prove the rule (Mussolini's March on Rome comes to mind).

What you should keep in mind is that in practically all cases, these first revolts were painful learning experiences. In the preceding centuries of positive mood the goals and ideals of the revolutions could be pursued by peaceful means eventually. That said, those that got dead during the first revolts were not around to take advantage of that progress.

In an era of net negative social mood, massive debt overhangs, fragile energy supplies, and a lot of grudges to get worked out on the battlefield, we could see a series of bad things metastasize from the revolts we are sure to see. Bad as in Thirty Years War bad. Bad as in the era of Chinese Warlords in the early 20th Century. Bad as in nowhere to run to, nowhere to hide bad.

For those of you scoring at home here in the U.S., I give you my Top 3 list of places to watch for flashpoints that could easily be swept up into a failed revolt. Or worse, a "success" that ends up with a new boss worse than the old boss.

Hawai'i (read up on the Philippine-American War and when that Chinese or Russian "secret" funding starts flowing, think about the long-term consequences...)

Texas (at a minimum read up on the Nullification Crisis of 1832 and ponder the long-lasting ramifications - not just the crushing defeat of the Confederacy, but the continuing effects of the Nullification Doctrine itself, especially as it has been revived by both groups as diverse as marijuana legalization activists and gun rights activists...)

Aztlan (when the uprisings begin, various City of Los Angeles offices and police stations get trashed, and the Aztlan flag gets raised over the L.A. Memorial Coliseum make sure you've read up on the Revolutions of 1848 or worse, the current conditions in Ukraine...)

Most of us don't want this coming era of violence and upheaval. Revolutions often eat their founders and leave the world worse-off than before. We'll see what awaits us all, but I  might suggest, you sit the revolts out. Be a builder, not a breaker.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Odd and Ends

Here are a few items of note as we head into the weekend.

Ukraine

I continue to quietly freak out over the ongoing struggle in Ukraine. I regard the potential for NATO and Russia forces to end up in a direct shooting war as very real should the negative sentiment and lack of trust continue to build. 

US risks ‘colossal damage’ to relations if it arms Ukraine, Moscow warns

Dan McLaughlin, The Irish Times

Russia has warned the United States that arming Ukraine in its fight with Moscow-backed separatists would do “colossal damage” to already fractious relations between Washington and the Kremlin.

As German chancellor Angela Merkel and French president Fran├žois Hollande revealed that they were travelling to Kiev and Moscow to discuss new peace proposals, Russian foreign ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said yesterday his country was “seriously concerned” by possible western weapons supplies to Ukraine.

“Without a doubt, if such a decision is realised, it will cause colossal damage to US-Russian relations, especially if the residents of Donbass [Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk regions] start to be killed by American weapons,” Mr Lukashevich said. “This would not only threaten to escalate the situation in the southeast of Ukraine, but threaten the security of Russia, whose territory has been repeatedly shelled from Ukraine.”

The combination of the building negative mood with Russia's perception of very real national security interests in Ukraine and the West's insistence on pulling Ukraine into the Western orbit is the kind of thing that can make for a lot of dead people and, more importantly (as we saw in the aftermath of World War I), big wars destroy assumptions and let loose all sorts of crazy ideas of governance, art, and acceptable behavior which prior to the war would have been dismissed as lunacy.

For those of us using the socionomics model to guesstimate what the future holds, the final call on whether the top in mood occurred in 2000 vs. 2015 matters quite a bit, as Alan Hall's research in the February 2012 issue of the Socionomist shows.

U.S. Jobs Figures and the Waning Credibility of the Elites

This short video from EWI gives you a nice snapshot of today's job figures announcement - and the continued disconnect between what is reported by the governing classes and what is directly experienced by the rest of us:


If you are reading this, the information is nothing new. I bring it to your attention only because, as the kleptocrats in Greece recently found out, when your credibility is gone, dramatic changes can occur at the ballot box. And if they are prevented from occurring at the ballot box...

Monday, February 2, 2015

Nuclear Strike of the Month (February 2015): Target Khersones Airbase

NUKEMAP Depiction of a W-76 Air Burst Over Khersones Airbase

Welcome to a new monthly feature here at FutureJacked - the Nuclear Strike of the Month.

In this series I want to illustrate various ways attacks using nuclear weapons can play out.  I will be using Dr. Alex Wellerstein's online NUKEMAP tool to generate the estimates of the blast and follow-on effects.

My rationale is to show a wide range of nuclear attack scenarios short of all-out thermonuclear war. The idea is to give readers a feel for the destructive power of nuclear weapons, provide scenarios as thought experiments for your own planning, and to discuss what nuclear weapons can and (sometimes more importantly) what nuclear weapons can't do.

For a variety of reasons, it is my opinion we will see nuclear weapons used in warfare sometime between now and 2030. We might as well brush up on the basics.

Nuclear Strike of the Month: Khersones Airbase

This month we will review what a nuclear attack on Khersones Airbase in Crimea would look like.

The Scenario
Amidst a backdrop of collapsing oil prices, a series of currencies crises, and collapsing stock markets, tensions continue to rise in Ukraine. NATO sends in sufficient numbers of weapons, advisors, and military contractors which allow Ukrainian forces to begin marching eastwards once again, retaking areas lost to the rebels in late 2014 and early 2015.  The rebel militias are routed at the Donetsk airport and a breakout occurs at Mariupol, creating huge encircled pockets of militia fighters which suffer at the hands of famine and Ukrainian Punitive Battalions.

NATO tanks are spotted on the M04 headed towards Luhansk and significant numbers of military contractors are spotted in  Kharkiv. After an escalation in the war of words between Russian and Western leaders and a massacre of civilians outside of Luhansk (which each side blames on the other), President Putin appears on television to announce all measures will now be employed to ensure the safety of Russia and the Russian people.

Two days later, a nuclear warhead detonates over Diego Garcia. The Russian Foreign Minister then asks if the West is now ready to understand just how important Ukraine is to the Russian national interest.

There is a near total meltdown in the Western Press.  The Chattering Classes erupt in incoherent rage, the political classes in the West are united in their desire to punish Russia, and military leaders sweat over just where this will lead.  The U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff receive their orders to prepare a measured target for retaliation.

The Air Force is selected to deliver the blow, which will fall on a spit of land southwest of Sevastopol, Crimea, Russia.  The airbase at Khersones can easily be spun as a significant military target, hitting Crimea in punishment for its defection from Ukraine scores some points, and this retaliation delivered near a major port for the Black Sea Fleet is viewed by Western leaders as sending the message that freedom and democracy won't be cowed.

Eastern edge of the W-76 Blast Effects

The Attack
The stealth drone arced across the Black Sea. Pulled from the bowels of advanced weapons laboratories and painstakingly reviewed in its final checkdown at Sandia National Lab, the drone and its 100 kT W-76 nuclear warhead were never spotted on radar.

The attack was timed with dawn and the citizens of Sevastopol were caught between the rising sun to the east and a blast announcing a man-made sun springing to life in the west.  Homes, apartment buildings, and tidy little vacation cottages collapsed throughout the western Haharins'kyi District. Localized fires sprung up, but no firestorm was generated from the attack.

Detonating just shy of one mile over the earth, the blast caught most people in their homes. The deadliest portions blast radiation were limited to the airport. Ships and boats bobbing in Kozacha and Komyshova Bays were heaved onto land or shredded into floating debris.

As this was an air burst, fuzed to maximize the overpressure from the blast, the radioactive fallout was minimal and most of that carried out over the Black Sea.

The Aftermath

The initial hours were chaotic.  Russian sailors and local firefighters dug through the rubble of homes and businesses.  Tens of thousands of residents streamed away from the blast zone and several hundred thousand residents of Sevastopol began making their way to the north and east.

The final estimate of deaths came to 2,000, with those injured just over 30,000.
  
Russian sailors and officers looking south from their ships in Sevastopol Bay readied themselves for what the next ratchet up in the tit-for-tat game of geopolitics would bring.  U.S. planners were grimly satisfied their soldiers, sailors, and airmen at Diego Garcia had been avenged.

Thoughts and Plans

It is important to review the blast intensity and the layout provided. You will see a lot of narrow streets and buildings which one can assume use a lot of unreinforced masonry in their construction - the kind of building a 5 psi blast wave would shred in seconds.

How would first responders get to the scene?

Would the shoreline be an option for evacuation or staging of relief forces?

How soon would enough people be confident of the lack of fallout to even proceed into the area?

What sort of plans would be necessary to mitigate the worst of the effects?

Many people carry around in their minds that nuclear bombs are world-ending type devices.  The weapon in this scenario is roughly 10 time the power of the bomb which detonated over Hiroshima and optimized in its blast height for destruction, not fallout production.  The W-76, warts and all, is a big part of the U.S. arsenal and would be probably play a big role in a future nuclear war. The vast majority of the city is unscathed.  Much infrastructure would remain intact.  The loss of life would be bad, but not catastrophic.  In other words, what if we light off a few of these weapons in anger in the coming years, without it spiraling out of control into a total strategic thermonuclear holocaust, resulting in "acceptable" damage to both those dropping the nuke and those on the receiving end?  What if military and political planners find ways to use nukes in warfare and we erode the stigma associated with their use?  That is what worries me most about the potential for this new era we are stumbling towards.  That worries me a lot.

Clown Show Disclaimer

Due to the subject matter of this post, it will be necessary to provide the following disclaimer. Blog posts like this tend to bring out battalions of comment trolls ready to gin up the Clown Show of name-calling, knee-jerk willful misinterpretation, and angry discourse generating much sound and fury, but which in the end, signifies nothing.

I am not promoting nuclear war, nor am I attempting to paint any potential Russia nuclear strikes in retaliation for war in Ukraine as justified, nor a counterstrike in Crimea as justified.  I am attempting to provide a plausible scenario which might lead to the exchange of nuclear weapons and use that scenario to help you in whatever plans you may be putting into place to deal with this new era we find ourselves in.

While I do personally think the West is insane to disregard Russia's national security interest in having a Ukraine that is nominally friendly towards Russia, or at least not home to tanks and missiles of a potential enemy (NATO), I am not at the U.S. State Department, nor do I have any influence on my country's political leaders. Just as I would have agreed with President Kennedy's stance during the Cuban Missile Crisis that Russian missiles in Cuba were a no-go, I can intellectually understand why Russia would regard the current events in Ukraine as having far more importance to their long-term security than any interest the U.S. should have in Ukraine.  Just as the U.S. would be upset with Russian arms in Mexico, I can see why Mr. Putin, et al, don't want NATO forces on their borders. That doesn't mean I like Putin.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Extreme Outcomes (Part One): Forced Migrations

Escape by Hopedso
Working from the assumption that a powerful wave of negative social mood is reasserting itself as the prime driver Western world, this is the first in a series of posts where we'll look at Extreme Outcomes. These posts will cover mass actions of a kind most believe have been relegated to the bad old days, or at least the kinds of things that "can't" happen in Europe or the Americas.

Here in the fading twilight of the greatest era of positive mood and delusional thinking ever seen, it is time to think about how past tidal waves of negative mood and mass action have blasted apart communities and sent individual lives careening down very unexpected paths.

Put on your nitrile gloves and we'll flip through the bloodstained pages of history to get a feel for what we may see unfold in the coming years of the Great Collapse.

Looking at the Rift

Much anguish and hand-wringing has followed in the wake of the killings in France. While I derided the response as being part of the Clown Show that seems to make up 90% of modern discourse on topics of governance and strategy, the rift it illustrates between a the dominant culture of France and an unreconstructed Islamist minority is worthy of the headlines and attention.

Looking at the situation in France, much of Europe, and the  United States using the lens of socionomics, tensions between factions within a larger nation-state can play out in several ways:
  • In positive mood eras, federalism and a booming economy can smooth over tensions and at times lead to the assimilation of various cultures under the dominant culture represented by the ruling factions
  • Simmering violence and occasional pogroms can erupt, channeling the tensions into "retail" incidents of violence usually managed with ease by the dominant elites
  • Pogroms can at times escalate to wars of extermination as a dominant group attempts to destroy a smaller group or groups which have either resisted assimilation or which have been selected as targets for political purposes
  • Civil wars of various scales can erupt if negative mood becomes deep enough and pervasive enough and the population base is sufficient to support long-term conflict
  • Removal of the revolting faction if the disparity between the dominant governing culture or group is far superior in numbers and resources to the minority group, but the complete extermination of the minority group is not possible or desired

It is this last point I wish to consider today. 

Forced Migrations

Whether it is the Trail of Tears, forced population transfers in the Soviet Union, or the expulsion of Jews from Spain and England, the decision to force the relocation of peoples at gunpoint has been part of strategic and political warfare for millennia.

Let's look at two types of forced migrations, one within the last century and one from just over 500 years ago.


Turkey and Greece Shift Populations after the Greco-Turkish War of 1919-1922

In the wake of the catastrophe of the First World War, the collapse of the Ottoman Empire and the rise of the Turkish state, the Greco-Turkish War of 1919-1922, and partially in response to Turkish efforts to crush minority populations which it viewed as a threat, Greece and Turkey agreed to forcibly exchange populations, mostly based upon religious affiliation.

This was a treaty between two functional nation-states. The effect on the populations was enormous and the consequences are felt even today.

Actions such as this are one reason nationalism has a far different connotation for many Europeans of a previous generation than it does for most Americans. The association of the nation-state with forced migrations, pogroms, and other mass actions against minority populations helped fuel the rise of the European Union during the post-World War II era of generally positive mood.

The Alhambra Decree and the Expulsion of Jews from Spain

In 1492, Spain decreed all Jews living in Spain must either convert or leave the kingdom. This was driven by political, economic, and religious reasons and culminated in the displacement of anywhere from 130,000 to 800,000 Jews.

Others chose to convert, some secretly keeping their faith and known as Marranos - a group we have discussed here at FutureJacked some years back.

Again, a strong central government pursuing a policy of creating a more homogenous society led to the death and disruption of huge numbers of lives.

Applicability for Today

So? Nationalism and authoritarianism are returning to the political scene. Many of us, especially in America and the Anglo world don't immediately equate strong nationalism with extremely negative actions such as forced migrations at gunpoint - but it has always been in the nationalist toolkit.

As we peer through the murky fog towards what comes next, do not be surprised if you see public discussion of forcible relocation of Muslim minorities in at least some European countries.

This short note is not written to support such actions but to warn you. If you are among a minority group which could become vulnerable, consider scenario-planning some worst-case developments and be thinking of a Plan B and a Plan C.

Most every group that has been forcibly moved has lost much, if not all, of its material wealth. What options would you have today to hedge against such a calamity?

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Litvinenko Revisited

Litvinenko, before and after, Edward Latham
In January of 2007 I launched Futurejacked. The second post I ever wrote was entitled "A Curious Death" and had been written at the request of George Ure over at Urbansurvival. George had been advised that Livinenko's death might not have been the in-your-face mafia hit that was being postulated at the time, but as a result of Litvinenko himself dabbling in toxic material as part of his ties to Chechen groups.

Being a bit younger and bit more naive, I took up the challenge with some relish and constructed a narrative loudly hinting that Mr. Litvinenko and the Chechens were working with Polonium-210 in order to construct a trigger for a nuclear weapon, possibly for an old Soviet suitcase nuke that had somehow fallen into the hands of a rebel group.

I stand behind the science, but the scenario has pretty obviously turned out to be false. The Chechens never detonated a nuke and never lit off a Po-210 dirty bomb.

I am trotting out this mea culpa today only because the U.K. is finally releasing the results of its exhaustive inquiry into Mr. Litvinenko's poisoning. Tthe evidence overwhelmingly points to assassination by radiation poisoning.



I just wanted to formally set the record straight that while the narrative I investigated and proposed 8 years ago had some compelling aspects, it turned out to be wrong.