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The Real

Scuttling Bad Trade Agreements














By Professor Steven Yates
October 20, 2013

[Author’s note: material is circulating on the Internet both about conceivably nasty events that could happen in the U.S. as soon as this month beginning on or around October 17 if Congress fails to extend the debt ceiling, or conceivably on November 13. What we have is too uncertain to serve as a basis for any firm predictions, of course, and this piece offers one possible scenario, not a prediction; but it might be useful to know that November 13 is the date we have for a mock “take down” of the grid in response to a mock “terrorist attack.” It cannot have escaped notice how many of these “drills” coincide with violent events, the most recent being the police killing of the unarmed woman in her vehicle in Washington D.C.]

Thursday: 9 pm EST (very early morning in the Middle East). The U.S. launches a surprise surgical military strike on Syria allegedly to take out a chemical weapons facility Syrian President Assad had kept hidden from international inspectors. Assad maintains that what was destroyed was a rebel site.

Russia and China are both present in the Mediterranean. It is unclear how they will respond. Russia threatens to dump its U.S. Treasuries, as the effect would be worse than anything that could be achieved militarily. China remains mum; the Chinese realize their own economy would tank if something happened to their largest market for cheaply made goods. The UN Security Council convenes an emergency session in the middle of the night. Despite razor-edged tensions, the Middle East falls silent.

Friday: 9 am EST. The Dow opens and immediately begins to drop. In a single catastrophic 15 minutes, stocks tumble 2,100 points! This shouldn’t have been able to happen, but it did! The most massive selloff in history continues. At 11 am EST, with the Dow now down 4,400 from its Thursday close, the federal government issues an unprecedented emergency order halting further trading. A panicked Wall Street applauds the move.

Interest rates have begun to move upward. That spells trouble as credit markets start to freeze up. No one will be able to get loans.

Those aware of what just happened have begun to show up at commercial banks to withdraw their money. Branch managers, scared out of their wits, telephone superiors for instructions. Some banks are already closing their doors. They know they don't have sufficient cash on hand. Employees of many branch banks leave from rear exits to avoid being accosted by irate customers.

Those with overseas investments and bank accounts are quietly booking flights online and making their way to airports. They note that security has been ratcheted up, and that fares to overseas destinations have quadrupled. They pay out of their foreign bank accounts, board their flights with their families while it’s still possible, and are gone.

Friday 1 pm EST: President Obama calls an emergency session behind closed doors with the Federal Reserve Chair Ben Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew. Rumored to be present are the CEOs of Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Citibank, Bank of America and Wells Fargo, although this isn’t confirmed. Obama emerges two hours later with an order closing all remaining commercial banks for the day. ATM machines have mysteriously stopped working. Angry customers have formed mobs outside many branch banks and local headquarters.

Prices of basic foodstuffs have jumped 30% during the day; gasoline has risen to $5/gallon in Greenville, South Carolina and is approaching $7/gallon in California. Local media are saying little. The Internet is abuzz with rumors. According to one, derivatives bubble is popping. Another has it that the U.S. has just defaulted on the national debt. Still another: Iran has scrapped the petrodollar. Nothing official is stated, though, so nothing is confirmed.

4 pm EST (1 pm PST): President Obama goes on national television with two announcements:

The first: all prices and wages are frozen. The president coldly warns of prison time for anyone caught price-gouging during this crisis. This stops the rise of the price of gasoline in Greenville at an average of $6.49/gallon and in California at around $9/gallon. It also stops food price increases.

The second: all 401(k)s & IRAs will be converted to U.S. Government Bonds effective immediately. The President tells the gasping audience that their money will be "safer" which is, of course, utter nonsense. An outcry against the move begins immediately via social media, though mainstream outlets are praising the move as necessary and desperately trying to reassure viewers that they haven’t just been Cyprused.

The dollar is falling against other currencies. Gold and silver have suddenly soared to new record highs: $2,107.40/oz. and $55.10/oz. respectively at their close for the day.

Drivers and truckers desperate to fill their tanks converge on gas stations nationwide, before the shortages begin. Gas lines stretch everywhere. Panic buying only hastens the inevitable. By 9 pm EST, there is neither regular gasoline nor diesel fuel to be found anywhere in many metropolitan areas; supermarkets and grocery stores, too, are running out of food. Tempers are beginning to flare as stations shut down their pumps and shutter their doors against those who have been waiting for hours, or stores as strangers begin fighting over dwindling supplies of groceries. Some truckers park their rigs, preferring to be stranded at the outskirts of a city instead of risking running out of fuel in the middle of nowhere—or in the heart of a downtown area! Reports are circulating on social media of both cars and trucks being attacked by gangs who are murdering their owners for gasoline; if there is food to be had, it is stolen. Gun battles are being reported; a dozen violent confrontations are uploaded to YouTube during a long Friday night.

Saturday: 9 am EST. The night witnessed an unprecedented epidemic of vandalism against banks and bank property, leaving smashed ATMs and destroyed drive-through facilities, along with broken front windows. SWAT Teams have been mobilized across the country. Some surround major banks; others have converged on now empty grocery stores. Doomsday Preppers is no longer just a TV show.

3 pm EST. The usual sports programs are interrupted to announce that a fire is raging out of control on an oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz, following an explosion of unknown origin. Iran is blaming Israel. The U.S. and Israel are blaming Islamic radicals based in Iran. Iran threatens to close the Strait; the U.S. vows to use force to keep it open. The entire U.S. military structure goes on high alert. The UN Security Council continues to work to prevent an escalation. For the moment, cooler heads prevail. The Strait remains open.

Saturday night is quiet. SWAT Teams and National Guard troops patrol the streets of major cities, which are largely quiet if extremely tense. Checkpoints have been set up on every major highway and street entering or exiting every major city and town. Nearly all restaurants, bars and nightclubs are closed.

Sunday morning: a lot of prayers are said. Sunday dinners are smaller than usual. People are wisely conserving food.

Sunday: 7 pm EST. Missiles strike the outskirts of Jerusalem, killing over two hundred. No one claims responsibility immediately. Israel blames Iran.

9 pm EST. Israel has retaliated with a devastating air assault against Teheran. Rumors circulate online that the city was destroyed by a nuclear weapon.

Monday morning: 8 am EST. A fatigued and visibly trembling Barack Obama confirms that Teheran has been destroyed and in the face of the Russians having surrounded Israel, begs for diplomacy over continued escalation.

The Rapture does not occur. Pope Francis issues a desperate appeal for peace and prayerful reflection.

Trucks remain parked. Many of their owners are standing alongside them brandishing loaded firearms. Roaming gangs are vandalizing cars and ransacking homes in private subdivisions in search of food.

9 am EST. President Obama declares an indefinite “bank holiday,” and that all accounts over $20,000 will be frozen. It is not clear whether it is this announcement that causes the streets erupt despite a continued SWAT Team presence, or whether it is the millions of Electronic Bank Transfer cards that have stopped working, meaning that none of the 50 million-plus people on food stamps can buy whatever food is left. As the SWAT Teams order people off the streets, they are pelted with rocks and garbage, and retaliate with mass pepper-spraying and batoning.

Tasers are out as well, but in insufficient numbers, and their use sometimes invites deadly retaliation: following a Tasering at a checkpoint west of Austin, Texas, two cops are thrown to the ground by an angry mob and beaten to death before reinforcements can arrive. Clashes are occurring all over the country between government forces and people (many of them jobless) who see themselves as having nothing left to lose. Many SWAT Teams find themselves firing into crowds, killing dozens of people. Some stop in horror, throw down their weapons and flee home to their families. Many police are doing the same.

9:54 am EST: downtown Atlanta: an explosion blows out one side of the large Bank of America building. A massive fire rages out of control, consuming vehicles and most of the city block within minutes. Firefighters cannot be located; they are also with their families. Other explosions are decimating banks not just in downtown districts but in suburbs.

With SWAT Teams losing their nerve, rioters are running amuck in dozens of cities.

Vladimir Putin had considered retaliatory strikes on Israel and against U.S. aircraft carriers both in the Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean south of Iran, but smiles as he thinks better of it. He doesn’t have to lift a finger to help the U.S. empire implode. He’ll deal with Israel in due course.

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10:29 pm EST. President Obama officially places the U.S. under martial law. The order grounds all commercial air traffic and closes interstate highways to non-government vehicles. The order puts in place a 7 pm curfew for all non-government personnel and provides a number for those with personal emergencies to call for government assistance.

The president doesn’t mention suspending the Constitution. The subject simply doesn’t come up.

Thousands of Homeland Security troops and foreign troops, previously undeployed, appear as if out of nowhere to enforce the martial law decree. By 1 pm., tanks are rolling down city streets all across America to restore order. They do not hesitate to fire into crowds that do not disperse on command. Loudspeakers are set up; all major media feature robotic voices ordering people to stay in their homes for their own safety until further notice …

� 2013 Steven Yates - All Rights Reserved

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Steven Yates, Ph.D., now lives in Santiago, Chile. His most recent book is entitled Four Cardinal Errors: Reasons for the Decline of the American Republic (Spartanburg, SC: Brush Fire Press of America, 2011).









The president doesn’t mention suspending the Constitution. The subject simply doesn’t come up. Thousands of Homeland Security troops and foreign troops, previously undeployed, appear as if out of nowhere to enforce the martial law decree.