In Part 1 of this article I discussed the catalyst spark which ignited this Fourth Turning and the seemingly delayed regeneracy. In Part 2 I pondered possible Grey Champion prophet generation leaders who could arise during the regeneracy. In Part 3 I focused on the economic channel of distress which is likely to be the primary driving force in the next phase of this Crisis. In Part 4 I assessed the social and cultural channels of distress dividing the nation. In Part 5 I'll examine the technological, ecological, political, and military channels of distress likely to burst forth with the molten ingredients of this Fourth Turning, and finally in Part 6 our rendezvous with destiny, with potential climaxes to this Winter of our discontent.
Technological & Ecological Distress
"Technological progress has merely provided us with more efficient means for going backwards." - Aldous Huxley - Ends and Means
The level of distress being produced by technology was probably underestimated by Strauss & Howe when they wrote their book in 1997. The internet, cell phones and e-commerce were still in their infancy, while cyber security was an unknown concept. Huxley would be shocked by how backwards we have "progressed" through the efficient distribution of iGadgets, creating millions of distracted, non-thinking, passive, easily pliable, willfully ignorant sheep who adore their technological servitude.
A vast swath of the populace never reads a book and can't go more than a few minutes without checking their iGadget to view the latest funny cat video, the latest update on Kim Kardashian's ass, Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner's courage, or Lamar Odom's latest whorehouse escapade. Our country is drowning in a sea of irrelevance as our infinite craving for diversions and triviality overwhelms any thoughts of confronting our oppressors. The adoration of technology has degraded our ability to think and allowed the Deep State to control the masses by amusing them to death.
The totalitarian Orwellian utilization of technology was exposed by a millennial with courage, intelligence, and love of his country - Edward Snowden. His revelations were very distressful to the felonious government apparatchiks who blatantly flaunt their disregard for the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution. The criminals at the NSA, fully supported by Obama and Congress, have made Big Brother look like an amateur, as they siphon up every phone call, text, email, and facebook entry made by each person in this country and for good measure the political leaders of our allies and enemies.
The failure of Americans to be outraged at this traitorous offense against their right to privacy and ludicrous belief that Snowden is a criminal is distressful to the principles of liberty and freedom upon which this country was founded. Sacrificing freedom for security is a false trade-off, as we become less free, less secure, and less responsible for our own lives. The implications of allowing an all-powerful surveillance state to use your private communications against you are far reaching and a dire moment for humanity. The one method left for citizens to communicate without the government able to decipher their messages is encryption. The government is now attempting to gain a backdoor to encryption with the recent terrorist attacks in Paris as their rationale. Every real or imagined threat is used to grow the Deep State.
They have failed thus far in controlling the internet, as it remains the only remaining avenue of free speech and truth, but they will stop at nothing in using the threat of terrorists to capture complete control over all communication outlets. Blaming Snowden for the complete and utter failure of the trillion dollar surveillance state to stop a bunch of amateur terrorists, living in France and using open cell phone communications, from killing 130 people divulges the desperate flailing of spineless incompetent government apparatchiks who are exceedingly good at taking away freedoms and astonishingly awful at ensuring safety and security .
The sophistication and complexity of computers, code, and networks is only exceeded by the brilliance of hackers working on their own, for groups like Anonymous, or on behalf of governmental entities. Cyber-crime, cyber-attacks, cyber-warfare, and cyber-terrorism could be game breakers during this Fourth Turning. The trillions spent on high tech military hardware, aircraft carriers, missile systems, spy satellites, and computer systems could all be for naught if cyber warriors are able to disable these systems with computer code.
Commerce at major retailers has already been disrupted by cyber criminals who have stolen millions of credit card holders' data. The next world war could be determined by which side can successfully disable satellites and key missile systems of their foes. The hypocrisy of an outraged U.S. government when hackers from China, Russia and Iran hack into government computer systems is comical, as they opened Pandora's Box by releasing the Stuxnet virus into the Iranian governmental computer systems. You live by the sword and you die by the sword, or in this case the computer virus.
One of the most hyped channels of distress, and the one which humans have the least amount of control due to its complexity, is ecological distress. The extreme rhetoric surrounding the issue of global warming is deafening, and as with many issues during a Fourth Turning, there is no middle ground. The climatologists and scientists who depend upon the government for research grants allow their financial interests to dictate their findings. Whenever someone declares an issue as settled science, you know they are lying and pushing an agenda. Science is never settled. It requires constant questioning and exploration of new data.
When terminology like global warming is proven to be false and scientists are caught faking their data, they just change the terminology to climate change and start over again. No one can argue the climate doesn't change. It changes every day. Does the burning of fossil fuels impact the environment? I'm sure it does. So does cow flatulence and my breathing. So do the trees outside my window. So does solar activity. So does volcanic activity. The variables affecting our environment are limitless and no computer model can accurately predict the future with any reasonable degree of certainty. If computer models can't accurately predict the path and intensity of storms within a 48 hour window, how could anyone believe forecasts a decade or two in the future?
The facts do not stop the ideologues like Al Gore and nanny state government drones from declaring their position in-contestable. Anyone who dares challenge their facts, story-line or motivation is declared an ignorant right wing climate change denier. The vehement vitriolic fervor of the venomous environmental justice warriors is reminiscent of the angry pomposity of the bitter social justice warriors with their black lives matter, safe spaces, and feminazi agenda. They believe the louder and angrier they appear, the more likely the passive sheep will quiver and let them have their way.
The goal is always more control, more taxes siphoned from the remaining productive few, and less free and honest debate about the issues. The critical thinking, rational, courageous few who refuse to cower from the malicious meanderings of these climate sociopaths are the last barrier to allowing some world organization to tax and regulate us to death. The absurdity of believing a carbon tax levied on Americans will save the planet is laughable, as China, India, South America, Africa and the rest of the developing world ignore global environmental mandates. The technocrats controlling the developed world need more money to keep their power and dominion over the masses, and climate taxation is their last remaining method.
The planet has enough land mass to easily support the 7 billion existing people. The problem is the people are clustered into urban areas and the existing water and food sources are not distributed evenly among the population groupings. The hatred of free market capitalism in much of the world results in mis-allocation of resources and economic development, leaving large swaths of the planet living in abject poverty and starvation. Extreme poverty and hopelessness leads to the rise of dictators, extremist criminal groups, war and anarchy. Poverty is a driving force, along with Islamic religious extremism for the chaos in the Middle East, exacerbated by U.S. interventionism. As this Fourth Turning intensifies, the poverty, starvation, war and extremism will grow, adding fuel to the global wars.
Just like there is no avoiding the harsh winter gales of a Fourth Turning, there is nothing that can be done to bypass the consequences floods, droughts, water shortages, pandemics, seismic events, tsunamis, solar flares, or other unanticipated ecological events. The climate will change. If a solar flare does significant damage to satellite systems and the electrical grid the pandemonium and helplessness of our energy dependent civilization would be laid bare immediately. A devastating earthquake in California would have far reaching economic consequences to an already bankrupt nation.
The fear during the recent Ebola scare revealed how irrational the masses can act. Imagine the panic which would occur during a real pandemic. The Dust Bowl droughts during the 1930's exacerbated the already terrible economic conditions. A worsening of the recent droughts in California and Pacific Southwest could have far reaching impacts on food and water supplies. No matter what ecological distress is experienced, the answer from politicians will be more government control, further straining the relationship between the people and their rulers. The people of this country are so divided, there is little chance for compromise solutions. Will this division result in our desolation?
"Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand." - Matthew 12:25
"The average man will permit the oligarch, whether economic or political, to hide his real purposes from the scrutiny of his fellows and to withdraw his activities from effective control. Since it is impossible to count on enough moral goodwill among those who possess irresponsible power to sacrifice it for the good of the whole, it must be destroyed by coercive methods and these will always run the peril of introducing new forms of injustice in place of those abolished." - Reinhold Niebuhr
The channel encompassing the maximum level of distress at this stage in the Fourth Turning is the political arena. The initial trigger was the 2008 financial collapse, but the political actions prior to and since 2008 have been the driving force behind this ongoing Crisis. Politicians of both parties were bought off by financial interests to repeal the Glass Steagall Act, unleashing Wall Street to go on a ravenous greed driven bacchanal over the next decade, creating the worldwide financial implosion.
The revolving door between Washington DC and Wall Street is self-evident, with Goldman Sachs providing Treasury Secretaries (Rubin, Paulson, Summers), Fed Presidents (Dudley, Harker, Kaplan, Kashkari), and hundreds of other White House and regulatory agency operatives, as they have engineered an infiltration, subversion and silent coup of the Federal government. Goldman was the single largest contributor to Obama's campaign and is likewise, the largest contributor to Hillary Clinton. They buy off key Congressmen of both parties (McConnell, Schumer). That may explain why not one criminal banker was jailed after the crime of the century in 2008.
The oligarchy controlling the levers of power behind the scenes of our political, economic, and financial systems use their immense wealth, control over the propaganda media outlets, dominion over the regulatory and judicial structures, and legislative authority to siphon off the wealth of the masses, while leaving a withering dying carcass in their wake. The political process has been bastardized as candidates, hand-picked by the vested interests, are sold to an increasingly uninformed and uninterested populace like a bar of soap. They are bought and paid for by special interests before they ever reach Washington. It's a pay to play system, and the public aren't playing. The traitorous actions taken by politicians and their banker co-conspirators at the start of this Fourth Turning divulges their true constituency. And it's not you.
Ben Bernanke and his Goldman cohort Paulson proceeded to save their Wall Street benefactors and throw grandma and the rest of Main Street USA under the bus. They poured trillions of taxpayer funds into the coffers of criminal banks who took excessive risks, committed massive mortgage fraud, and used derivatives of mass destruction to screw clients, pension plans, little old ladies and the country. When public outrage resulted in 90% of Americans coming out against TARP, Congress initially voted it down.
Then Wall Street threw a hissy fit, Bernanke and Paulson lied to the country about the problem and threatened the spineless weasels slithering around the halls of Congress. Congress did as they were told (including presidential candidates Obama and McCain) by their real bosses and passed TARP. Paulson then used it in the opposite manner from which he sold it to the public. ZIRP, QE1, QE2, and QE3 have badly hurt senior citizens, savers, and middle class working families who have seen their real household income fall since 2007.
The congressional approval rating of 11%, down from 40% in 2009, and presidential approval rating of 44%, down from 67% in 2009, reveal the disgust Americans currently have for their politician "leaders". When the economy is doing well or when confronted with an attack from a foreign threat, the approval ratings of politicians jumps higher. The nonstop decline since 2009 exposes the much touted economic recovery to be a fraud. Average Americans know their standard of living continues to decline, despite the propaganda laden highly manipulated economic data shoveled by the government on a monthly basis. You would have to be brain dead or an Ivy League educated economist to believe the true unemployment rate in this country is 5.1%.
The reason only 25% of Americans think the country is headed in the right direction is because its current economic trajectory is collapse. The Fed can print fiat and enrich their owners, and politicians can promise free shit to voters until the cows come home, but someone will have to pay the bill - and it's a doozy. With an $18.7 trillion national debt, $200 trillion of unfunded welfare promises, $600 billion to $1 trillion deficits for as far as the eye can see, and no politician with the courage to tell the truth, Americans know deep down in their bones this farce can't continue. With a rapidly aging population, there is no mathematical possibility those bills can be paid by the younger generations.
The next financial earthquake will be far worse than the initial tremor in 2008, as bubbles in stocks, bonds, and real estate simultaneously pop, and the Fed already zero bound on interest rates. The retribution sought by the masses against those guilty of crimes against the nation could be bloody and swift. Our relatively peaceful society could go off the rails quickly.
With less than a year until the next presidential election, we have the front runners on the Democrat side running on promises of more free shit to their constituents in the form of free college, a $15 minimum wage, equalization of pay for women, free healthcare, and a bevy of other goodies. We've got the front runners on the Republican side promising tax cuts, building walls after kicking 10 million illegal immigrants out of the country, repealing Obamacare without offering an alternative, and expanding the war on terrorism.
All the major candidates are itching for war with Russia and China, while promising more spending on the military. All the major candidates will again be on the take from Wall Street. Not one major candidate has any intention of cutting spending or balancing the budget. They know voters will not elect anyone who promises them discomfort, pain, or shared sacrifice. One year from now we are likely to have either a lying, corrupt, criminal, socialist president or a bombastic, pompous blowhard reality TV president. In either case, they will reside in the White House during the most intense and likely bloody phase of the Fourth Turning.
"History offers even more sobering warnings: Armed confrontation usually occurs around the climax of Crisis. If there is confrontation, it is likely to lead to war. This could be any kind of war - class war, sectional war, war against global anarchists or terrorists, or superpower war. If there is war, it is likely to culminate in total war, fought until the losing side has been rendered nil - its will broken, territory taken, and leaders captured." - Strauss & Howe - The Fourth Turning
As we've witnessed throughout history, when the ruling class loses control of their domestic situation, economic turmoil ensues, they begin losing the support of the masses, and attempt to retain control by producing a foreign conflict to rally the people around the flag. War serves three vital purposes for the establishment. The politicians in power gain support, as the masses decide it would be unpatriotic to throw the bums out in the midst of a conflict. Secondly, the military industrial complex increases its power, generating obscene profits for its constituent arms dealers. Thirdly, the Wall Street cabal finances the conflicts, reaping more riches, and compensating the politicians waging the wars.
The best wars from a government's standpoint are wars against concepts - like terror or poverty. They can't be won, so they go on forever. The government is free to invade or bomb any country they say are housing terrorists. The government can restrict all liberties, freedoms and Constitutional rights in the name of keeping us safe from terrorists. The concept can be utilized any time for any reason, without any proof required by the ruling class. The true terrorists are in Washington DC. They wear suits, hold hearings, give speeches, and accept bribes. These charlatans are terrorizing the world and the citizens of this country with their neo-con ambitions to rule the world.
Linear thinkers expecting technology and human ingenuity to keep our country and the world on a path of progress are badly mistaken. They ignore the obvious escalation of global distress, as history suddenly hurls us towards some cosmic chaos that defies all rational predictive models. To those not blinded by ideology or captured by the vested interests, it is plainly evident the world has become more chaotic and dangerous in the last two years. The initial economic chaos created the atmosphere and political conditions which are now leading inevitably toward global war.
American foreign policy, dictated by neo-cons of both parties, has purposely destabilized the Middle East and the Ukraine in an effort to keep the petro-dollar king and to ensure no regime in the Middle East could challenge Israel. As with most diabolically immoral plans, the unintended consequences will be far worse than the initial outcome. By overthrowing Hussein, Gaddafi, Mubarak, and attempting to overthrow Assad, the U.S. has unleashed thousands of Islamic fanatics and disaffected soldiers from the overthrown regimes to wreak havoc throughout the Middle East and now in Europe. Creating anarchy and chaos in countries previously living in peace under strongmen is blowing up in our faces.
The provocation of Russia by overthrowing the democratically elected president of the Ukraine, and friend of Russia, began the war phase of this Fourth Turning. Putin then annexed Crimea and civil war waged in eastern Ukraine and an airliner was shot down by the Ukrainian government in an effort to blame Putin. The U.S. armed any Muslim willing to fight Assad, in their effort to overthrow his regime and allow Saudi Arabia and Qatar to build a gas pipeline to Europe, further weakening Russia.
The latest terrorist threat to the world - ISIS - was created, funded, and armed by the U.S. The coordinated oversupply of oil had its purpose to destroy the economies of Russia, Iran, Argentina and Venezuela. The unanticipated deepening global recession has produced the unanticipated consequences of damaging the economy of Saudi Arabia, crushing the oil sands industry in Canada - pushing their economy into recession, and revealing the U.S. shale industry to be a debt enabled fraud - now in a slow motion collapse.
The ongoing saber rattling between the U.S. and Russia over Syria and the Ukraine, along with the increasingly provocative actions taken by the U.S., Japan and China over the contested islands in the South China Sea, are setting the stage for a showdown no one anticipates or actually wants. But, psychopathic politicians feel driven to prove their manhood by using their military assets to bully opponents they know cannot fight back. The U.S. and their feeble minded NATO allies were sure they could overthrow Assad, just as they had done with Hussein and Gaddafi, because they have far more firepower and unlimited funds printed by their central bankers.
Putin put a stop to those illusions, as he refused to let his only Mediterranean port fall under U.S. control. When Putin stepped into the Syrian conflict it immediately became apparent the U.S., Turkey, and the rest of NATO had no intention of defeating ISIS, as they allowed them to run refineries, ship oil to Turkey in thousands of tanker trucks and arm themselves with U.S. provided weapons. Continuous never ending conflict is good for American business.
Even though the latest American created evil terrorist threat - ISIS - has been wreaking havoc throughout the Middle East, they were fighting Assad, so we weren't going to eradicate them. Putin immediately began obliterating their command infrastructure, refineries, oil tankers, bridges, and other essentials an enemy uses to sustain them. This real war embarrassed the U.S., Turkey and NATO, while infuriating a desperate ISIS leadership.
Now we've reached a tipping point, as the swirl of accusations, rhetoric, provocations, miscalculations, egos, hubris, and luck will combine to produce a combustible mixture which could erupt at any time. The Islamic radicals (ISIS, the supposed moderates, Turks, Iraqis, Egyptians, French, Belgians and Muslims across the world) have lashed out in response to their betrayal by the U.S. in allowing Putin to actually fight them, by blowing up a Russian airliner, slaughtering 130 people in France, killing dozens in Mali and Tunisia, while threatening similar attacks in the U.S.
Hollande has thrown the French Constitution in the trash bin in his pathetic attempt to appear tough on terrorism so he doesn't get ousted in the next election. Nothing like a bomb going off in Rockefeller Center or the Mall of America to get an already fearful American public in the Christmas spirit and deepening the recession the 99% are already experiencing. In this tense global atmosphere all that would be needed to set off a conflagration would be for someone to do something stupid. And Turkey just obliged.
The shooting down of a Russian bomber over Syrian territory by Turkish F-16s, provided by U.S. arms dealers, and then the shooting down of a Russian rescue helicopter with a U.S. provided TOW missile by "moderate" Syrian rebels will have far reaching consequences. This was a deliberate unprovoked attack by Turkey as either retaliation for their cheap oil supplies being cut-off, a frantic attempt by Erdogen to boost his popularity before elections, or as instructed by those calling the shots in Washington D.C.
Putin is unlikely to do anything rash, but this event has solidified the fact Russia is considered the true enemy of the West, not Islamic radicals or Syria. The next decade or so will see Russia, China and some lesser developing countries confront the West economically, through currency wars, commodity wars, and militarily through proxy wars in the Middle East and Eastern Europe, with all sides armed with nuclear weapons of mass destruction.
This phase of the Fourth Turning seems surreal. History seems to be moving in slow motion. It reminds me of the eight months between Hitler's invasion of Poland and his invasion of Belgium and France in May of 1940, referred to as the Phoney War. The Western allies had declared war on Germany, but no one did anything. Parisians and Londoners went about their business, eating at restaurants, going to plays, enjoying the spring sunshine, and blissfully unaware of the tragedy, bloodshed, and horror which was gathering like a swirling tempest just over the horizon.
Americans today are blissfully distracted by their iGadgets, plotting out their holiday shopping strategies, leasing new cars, eating out, and buying advance tickets to the new Star Wars movie. They don't see the wicked winter squalls ahead which will try their souls. We are experiencing the lull before the storms, but the storms are surely coming. The potential for catastrophe is high and burying our heads in the sand is not a strategy.
"The risk of catastrophe will be very high. The nation could erupt into insurrection or civil violence, crack up geographically, or succumb to authoritarian rule. If there is a war, it is likely to be one of maximum risk and effort - in other words, a total war. Every Fourth Turning has registered an upward ratchet in the technology of destruction, and in mankind's willingness to use it." - Strauss & Howe - The Fourth Turning