I’ve now been running The Burning Platform blog for over ten years. It’s been over eleven years since I wrote my first article – Why We Need Ron Paul – in May 2008 during the Republican primaries. I really thought I could change enough minds through my writing to influence voters and help wake up people to the truth about our deteriorating financial situation. I would send op-eds to my local paper, and they would publish them. My articles on Seeking Alpha in 2008/2009 were the most read and commented on their site.
My assessment of the Wall Street banks, coming financial crisis and recession were accurate enough that I was being sought out by Glenn Beck on CNN, Neal Cavuto on Fox, and Maria Bartiromo on CNBC to be interviewed on their shows. I didn’t want that kind of attention, since it would likely have negatively impacted my day job – which actually supported my family.
I had already experienced negative blowback when I predicted the bankruptcy of General Growth Properties in one of my articles. It seems the CFO was a Wharton grad and large donor to the real estate department. He called the Dept. head, who called the Deputy Dean, who called my boss, the CFO. It was at this point where any mention of Wharton was forbidden on my part, or I risked being terminated.
The interesting part of the story was the General Growth CFO said none of my facts were incorrect and six months later General Growth Properties filed for bankruptcy. I sent a link of the announcement to my boss, who throughout his tenure defended my right to free speech whenever the Dean’s office received complaints about my articles. We had a good laugh about their bankruptcy.
During late 2008 and early 2009 I was driven to write at least two massive articles per week about the financial industry, the economy or the military industrial complex. My views were virtually identical to those of Ron Paul. The two sites who published all of my articles – Seeking Alpha and Financial Sense – loved me during the early days of their sites when they were trying to attract eyeballs.
But their goal was to become mouthpieces for Wall Street and make money, so articles critical of financial markets did not help them achieve their financial ambitions. I had no such ambitions, other than seeking the truth. They began to edit my article submissions. This really pissed me off. In early 2009 a Seeking Alpha reader offered to create a website where I could publish without fear of censorship. Jason created the Raging Debate website and in February 2009 I was live.
The intelligent, volatile, nasty, humorous comment stream, that has been a hallmark of TBP, began immediately, as Seeking Alpha fans followed me to the new site. I was eventually banned by both Seeking Alpha and Financial Sense, as they sold out to the establishment for money to pump stocks and regurgitate the fake Wall Street narrative. As the markets continued to fall and we experienced the deepest recession since the Great Depression, I was contacted through email by some guy saying he wanted me to be in his documentary about the financial crisis. I said no. I didn’t want to be in the public eye, and I was skeptical that it was a real documentary. I had done a number of phone interviews with various like-minded websites, but eventually began turning those down. I couldn’t risk my livelihood, as I was financially responsible for a wife and three boys.
The documentary filmmaker was persistent. He wouldn’t take no for an answer. He had read all my Seeking Alpha articles and insisted I be in his film. I finally agreed to meet him in NYC after work. I paid my own way to take an Amtrak train after working a full day at Wharton. I arrived at an office building and went up to the floor where they were filming. I expected to be asked questions and then answer.
Instead the filmmaker just asked me to start talking about how the housing market led to the greatest financial collapse in history. I talked for 30 minutes and about 20 seconds made it into the documentary. The documentary was Generation Zero, based upon Strauss & Howe’s Fourth Turning theory. And the filmmaker was a little-known man named Steve Bannon. It was a cool moment in my life when I was able to take my wife and kids to the world-premiere in NYC the following year. I think Bannon went on to bigger things.
Not having the chore of running the website allowed me to do nothing but write. I was pumping out one large article per week and daily posts about the various economic lies put out by the government. But, my penchant for scorning and ridiculing the establishment, the government, Wall Street and corporate America was at odds with Jason’s plan to convince a mainstream media outlet to buy the Raging Debate and cash out.
I had no interest in his vision. He began to censor my articles and tell me what I could and couldn’t publish. It got ugly and we both burned our bridges. He pulled the plug on me and I was left without a site. A good friend at Wharton had an Indian IT company and put his best guy to work on creating a WordPress site using a cheap server company to host it. I was up and running about a week later with version 1 of The Burning Platform.
The daily visitor counts averaged 3,000 in the early days. It was the wild wild west. The daily commenters (Smokey, Llpoh, Stuck in NJ, AWD, Davos, and a few others) would have epic shitfests over the smallest disagreements. During the OWS protests in 2012 the competing factions would fight with such vitriol and venom, we would abandon the site for days. I tried everything I could think of to increase visitors, including having Burning Platform business cards printed, and leaving them next to student computers across the university.
But it turns out the best way to increase traffic to your site is to write provocative articles and get them published on other more popular sites. I owe most of my site’s success to Zero Hedge for publishing every article I’ve sent them for ten years. But Lew Rockwell, 321gold, Dollar Collapse, Market Oracle, Steve Quayle and several other sites have also contributed to my increase in visitors.
In the early days I was driven to write. I felt I could influence enough people with my views regarding the crooked politicians, terrible financial shape of the country, government lies, media propaganda, Deep State control, and how all of this would be impacted by the current Fourth Turning. My Fourth Turning articles even came to the attention of Neil Howe and we met for lunch to discuss how this Crisis might progress. As I kept writing, the visitor counts grew. I signed up for Google Ads and I started to make a few bucks. The revenue covered my server costs.
But my articles tended to piss off the establishment. It wasn’t long before Google pulled the plug after I wrote a critical article about their Orwellian tactics. Being a capitalist at heart, it was gratifying to earn a few bucks from my writing, but it is like getting punched in the gut when these left-wing goliath social media companies ban you from their ad platforms. Over the next several years at least a half dozen ad companies have abruptly pulled the plug on TBP with no warning and no chance to respond.
I can honestly say it is depressing when you work 365 days per year trying to keep a blog interesting and lively, and the rug is pulled out beneath you when the modest amount of income you were generating is gone in an instant. The goal of the SJW’s who complain to the left-wing internet media conglomerates about my site is to shut me down and shut me up. They don’t want dissent from their fake news narrative. They don’t want my site to infect too many people with the truth.
They are worried truth-telling, fact-based sites like mine will undermine the establishment and create resistance to their agenda of control. The undermining of my revenue streams has temporarily taken the wind out of my sails, but every time they have knocked me down, I’ve found alternative advertisers and my dedicated TBP family have picked me up with their generous donations.
As this Fourth Turning has progressed (or regressed is more fitting) I’ve found myself becoming more and more detached from the daily minutia. For years I would scour every BLS, BEA or Census report from the government apparatchiks and methodically and sarcastically skewer their fake data narratives. But, based on the lack of comment stream on these posts and me getting bored saying the same thing over and over again, I stopped analyzing the bullshit government reports. What good does it do?
Anyone who has followed TBP for a long period of time knows the government lies. The ignorant masses who believe everything they are told by their keepers don’t read my website. Trying to convince people who are already onboard is not necessary. The blog has migrated towards political and social issues because that’s what the readers want. This has required a shift in how I view my blog.
I decided it was no longer about me and what I had to say. I’ve resolved myself to the fact nothing I write or say will change anything in this world. We are on a path towards a painful future. I thought it had arrived in 2008/2009 and we’d be faced with a relentless onslaught of pain and suffering. I filled my storage area in the basement with water, food, and survival supplies. I bought some guns and took lessons to learn how to shoot properly. I had exited the stock market well before the crash and have stayed out for the last ten years of this bull market.
I could chalk it up to being early, but that isn’t any different than being wrong for a decade. I’ve made it a mission to use any funds from TBP to pay down my mortgage. Being completely debt free in the next three years is the goal. I’ve had a tumultuous work situation for the last four years that has sapped my mental strength. We’ve dealt with some serious medical issues in our household over the last couple years, which further detracted from my ability to think and write. Hopefully, the work and medical issues are resolving themselves, but you never know what looms over the horizon.
As my increasing detachment has led to less output on my part, I’ve encouraged my extremely intelligent readers to make their voices heard by writing their own articles. This has been a resounding success, as dozens of readers have found their voice and written outstanding, thought provoking articles. Many other bloggers have approached me as they try to get their blogs off the ground and asked if I would post their articles. I’ve done this gladly, as I remembered how ZeroHedge and Lew Rockwell helped me get off the ground.
Supporting like-minded websites is our only defense against the oligarchy, media conglomerates, surveillance state and leftist Big Brother agenda. Whenever I’ve found myself depressed or in a funk, it’s the commentary, courage, fortitude and not giving a fuck attitude of the TBP crowd that sustains me and keeps me plugging away. I’ve always been inspired by this Samuel Adams quote:
“It does not take a majority to prevail… but rather an irate, tireless minority, keen on setting brushfires of freedom in the minds of men.”
The readers of my blog are most certainly a minority in this warped, corrupt, decadent society. I met a few of them at Marc’s farm. We are irate. We are tireless. We love liberty and freedom. We coalesce on TBP because we want to be among others who believe in freedom from a tyrannical government, a manipulative media, an out of control military industrial complex, and a cabal of greedy evil bankers.
By committing myself to keeping TBP relevant and entertaining, I’ve become mostly a publisher of others, rather than a writer of my own stuff. It is grueling trying to find 15 to 20 posts every day, mostly done at night after work or early in the morning before work. When I start to feel sorry for myself, I think about what my life would be like without the people I’ve come to admire and call family on TBP.
So here we are, eleven years since the start of this Fourth Turning. It probably has close to ten years to go. I hope I’m wrong again about the intensity and amplitude of the coming hurricane of consequences brought on by our recklessness and foolishness over many decades. But I fear I will not be wrong this time. The mood in the country and across the globe continues to darken. Sides are being drawn. Enemies are being chosen by nations, politicians, and citizens alike. Simmering animosities are rising to the surface.
There will be no compromise in the current environment. The unmistakable smell of conflict is in the air. We have entered the time of year when stock markets crash and those swimming naked are revealed. Debt, civic decay and global disorder are three category 5 hurricanes relentlessly moving towards a final denouement. The next decade will surely be perilous, but most people are wholly unprepared, mesmerized by their iGadgets and zombified by the relentlessly false mainstream media narrative.
“It is better to die on your feet than to live on your knees.” ― Emiliano Zapata
I simply cannot visualize a positive outcome to our current Crisis situation. Some people may say I’m prone to viewing situations from a negative viewpoint, but I think I view the world from a rational realistic point of view. The problem for people like me is the world has adopted a delusional, unrealistic, head in the sand perspective on the desperately irrational “solutions” put forth by our ruling class.
I’ve been wrong for ten years because I thought rationality would come back into style after the second crash in eight years caused by the Federal Reserve and their minions in Washington D.C. Instead, they double downed on their debt dependent debauchery. The world has gone mad and I’ve been left demoralized, depressed and now detached.
No one blinks an eye at $22 trillion in debt, trillion dollar annual deficits, 0% interest rates for ten years, $17 trillion of negative interest debt in the world, retro-active adjustments to GDP and savings rate calculations to make them more positive, 40% of the working age population not working – but unemployment reported as 3.7%, inflation reported at less than 2% when the average person experiences inflation in excess of 5%, corporations using their billions in tax cuts to buy back stock to boost their stock price, a military waging undeclared wars across the globe, an out of control surveillance state monitoring our communications, media companies using propaganda and censorship to push their new world order agenda, and $200 trillion of unfunded liabilities that cannot be honored.
Facts won’t matter until they matter. I wonder what historians fifty or one hundred years from now will say about this profoundly corrupt, aberrational, willfully ignorant episode in world history. How could we be so stupid, egotistical and disinterested in the fate of future generations by wasting the wealth of the unborn to live above our true means today? The selfishness, greed and myopia of those steering the ship of state, and the willingness of the masses to go along with the lies as long as they can be distracted and entertained by their phones is mind numbingly ludicrous in my opinion.
But clearly my opinion is not worth much these days. I guess that’s why I find it harder and harder to write articles pointing out the absurdity of everything going on around me. I think my time is better spent working in the yard, taking long walks with my wife, going to the gym, and just letting this Fourth Turning play out as it will, with an unforeseeable culmination and new beginning – I hope.
Whenever the feelings of demoralization and depression sweep over me and I wonder what’s the use of running my blog, I am sustained by the thoughts of the long-time virtual relationships I’ve formed, the community that has grown within TBP, the great people I’ve met in person, the knowledge there are thousands of people who read TBP every day but don’t comment, and knowing the establishment would like it if I shut TBP down. This is where defiance enters the picture.
The establishment has tried to shut me down with denial of service attacks, trying to get me fired from my job, cutting off my modest revenue stream, and trying to suppress my articles. They didn’t realize pissing me off is the exact opposite of what will work. It was my anger and outrage that drove me to start the blog. The anger directed inward results in depression. As long as I have enemies to fight, I’ll keep TBP alive and defying the forces I view as the enemy.
As my brain tells me the next phase of this Fourth Turning will be tumultuous, dangerous and bloody, my heart hopes I won’t have to face the tragedy and fateful choices that lie ahead. I doubt many people are mentally and emotionally prepared for tests on par with those about to be faced by Americans in 1860 and 1940. Note the 80- year gap. And understand 2020 is 80 years since the last major test of human fortitude and courage. I find myself pondering what trigger will ignite the next phase of this Crisis period.
A financial crash resulting in a bail-in from 401k holders to sustain the Wall Street cabal would push people into the streets (i.e. Hong Kong, Paris). A leftist president attempting to initiate national gun confiscation would provoke violence in the streets. Lastly, if the government tried to force my three sons to fight in a foreign war for oil, the gloves would come off and I’d take to the streets. I will continue to fight the establishment through the free thought allowed on my blog. It’s good ideas and freedom of thought which are the only hope for generating a positive outcome at the climax of this Fourth Turning. The gathering storm approaches. The tests ahead will try our souls.
“Men fear thought as they fear nothing else on earth — more than ruin, more even than death. Thought is subversive and revolutionary, destructive and terrible, thought is merciless to privilege, established institutions, and comfortable habits; thought is anarchic and lawless, indifferent to authority, careless of the well-tried wisdom of the ages. Thought looks into the pit of hell and is not afraid … Thought is great and swift and free, the light of the world, and the chief glory of man.” ― Bertrand Russell, Why Men Fight
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