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The Fading Smile of a Dying Empire
Jim Quinn

“All that is human must retrograde if it does not advance.” – Edward Gibbon

“Woe, destruction, ruin, and decay; the worst is death and death will have his day.” – William Shakespeare, Richard II

We moved to our corner of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania twenty-seven years ago. We raised our three boys here. We spent hundreds of hours on local baseball fields, in hockey rinks, in school gyms for basketball games, concerts, plays and donuts-with-dads. It’s still a nice place to live, with virtually no crime, decent roads, and reasonable property tax rates. But I would have to say there has been a degradation in the overall quality of life in my community, which is consistent with the downward spiral of our society in general. When we planted our roots in this community it was still more farm-like than suburban. Family farms and open space were more prevalent than housing tracts, strip malls, fast food joints and cookie cutter commercial buildings. A beautiful farmhouse a few miles from our home, freshly painted white, proudly displayed the iconic yellow smiley face. It symbolized good times.

We’ve been driving on this road for twenty-seven years on the way to baseball games, hockey practices, the car dealer for service, and lately to our gym, as we try to fend off father time.  Driving by that barn in the early days would always brighten your day. A bright yellow smiley face against a white background represented a positive, happy view of the world.

We moved to this area in 1995 while Clinton was president, unemployment was 5.6%, CPI was 2.8%, GDP growth was 2.7%, the annual deficit was $164 billion, the national debt was $4.9 trillion, the Fed balance sheet was $500 billion, the U.S. population was 263 million, total household debt was $4 trillion, you earned 5.5% on your money market fund, the U.S. bailed out Mexico, the Oklahoma City bombing happened, and OJ Simpson was found not guilty of killing his ex-wife. The military industrial complex was being starved by lack of wars and the stock market soared by 33% as the beginning of irrational exuberance began under the reign of Greenspan and his Put.

A lot has happened over the last twenty-seven years and the faded, barely visible smiley face, on a now mold ridden decaying barn, is truly representative of a society, culture and economic system dying a slow torturous death, as apathy, technological distraction, myopic indolence, and the greed of powerful elites combine to ensure the eventual collapse of the short-lived American Empire. Much of this quarter century of decline is borne out in the change in economic numbers noted above.

The unemployment rate is reported as 3.5% today with 158 million out of 264 million working age adults employed. That leaves 106 million not employed, or 40% of working age adults not working. Back in 1995, 125 million out of 199 million working age adults were employed, leaving 74 million not working. Over a quarter century we’ve added 65 million people to our population, but only 33 million to the employment rolls. Either we’ve devolved into a nation of freeloaders on welfare/disability, or the BLS is lying about the 3.5% unemployment rate, or both.

The BLS currently tries to convince the ignorant masses inflation is only 8.5%, up tremendously from the 2.8% in 1995. Since the Fed/Wall Street induced financial crash of 2008, the government had been reporting inflation of between 0% to 3%, when in reality, as measured the way it was measured in 1980, it had been between 7% to 10%. Today’s actual inflation rate is 17% in case you were wondering. Revealing the true cost of living to the peasants might induce a revolting outcome for our overlords. The government prefers to treat the math challenged masses like mushrooms, by keeping them in the dark.

The corrupt Fed, feckless politicians, media mouthpieces for the empire, and Wall Street shysters were shocked I tell you by skyrocketing inflation after the Fed increased their balance sheet from $3.7 trillion to $8.9 trillion and the D.C. swamp creatures increased the national debt from $23.2 trillion to $30.7 trillion since the beginning of 2020. This generated inflation in financial assets for the global elite and their minions, while destroying the finances of the middle and lower classes. The rot grows like a cancer in this empire of debt.

The annual deficit of $164 billion in 1995 was racked up in 17 days in 2021. We have run annual deficits of $3.1 trillion in 2020 and $2.8 trillion in 2021, and the scumbags in Washington just keep passing $700 billion spending bills, writing off student loan debts for gender fluidity majors and sending billions in weapons to the most corrupt regime on the planet – Ukraine. The degradation and downward trajectory of this empire of debt, delusion and despair can be most clearly defined by comparing our GDP growth since 1995 to the growth of debt by both our government and the populace. Total U.S. GDP in 1995 totaled $7.6 trillion and today checks in at $24.8 trillion. That is a growth of 326% over twenty-seven years. The national debt has grown by 626%. Seems unsustainable, but why question our glorious leaders.

The Fed balance sheet has grown by 1,780%. Household debt has grown by 400%. Median household income in 1995 was $34,000. Today it is $73,000. That is a 114% increase over 27 years. With real inflation averaging between 5% and 10% per year during this time frame, average working Americans have seen their standard of living methodically decline, replacing the income with debt. The only beneficiaries of debt are the banking cabal and the mega-corporations selling their cheap Chinese crap to clueless dupes who believe driving a leased BMW and living in a cookie cutter McMansion with an $800,000 mortgage makes them wealthy.

The selfie generation is too distracted checking in on Facebook, posting pictures of their food on Instagram, doing a dance routine on Tik Tok or counting their likes on Twitter to realize how badly they’ve been screwed over by those pulling the strings of this society. The propaganda and psychology of fear utilized by the powerful interests has reached a level that would make Edward Bernays burst with pride, as manipulating the masses to believe falsehoods is a key requirement in implementing their Great Reset agenda.

This entire charade seems to be bursting at the seams, with raging inflation, a recession in process (despite Biden’s lackeys trying to redefine recession), a Green New Deal Great Reset agenda purposely creating energy and food shortages, government agencies running roughshod over the Constitution, and a tyrannical administration attempting to crush their political adversaries using any means necessary. Smiles are fading as we head into either a hyperinflationary depression or a deflationary depression, with some world war mixed in.

The economic decay is easily provable, but our cultural and societal degeneration has exceeded our economic deterioration. Just as the Roman Empire exhibited particular traits of a dying culture, the American Empire displays similar characteristics, such as: concern with displaying affluence instead of building wealth; obsession with sex and perversions of sex; art becoming freakish and sensationalistic instead of creative and original; widening disparity between very rich and very poor; increased demand to live off the state.

Of course, our dying culture has also been turbocharged by the climate cult attempting to destroy our fossil fueled economic system by purposely sabotaging our energy and food systems as the driving force for their Great Reset. Weaponizing the annual flu as a means to inject billions of people with a DNA altering, sometimes lethal, concoction is part of Bill Gates’ depopulation agenda. They have taken the sex and gender perversion to new levels of child abuse, grooming and mutilation. The rampant pedophilia and child trafficking by the global elitists is the most despicable aspect of our cultural degeneracy. Anyone with a conscious can no longer be proud of this country and should be desperately concerned about its future.

“A growing sense of unease presently pervades the American consciousness. Americans are no longer as confident in their nation and self-assured as they once were. A sense of frustration and anger underscores American consciousness. Americans are looking over our shoulder at other emerging economic juggernauts and wondering if we can still be world’s social, political, and economic leader when Congress cannot even manage to balance the national budget. The thought that we are diminishing in stature in the eyes of the international community constantly torments Americans. Faded glory strikes a crippling blow to the American psyche. Analogous to an aging beauty queen, America might still possess a golden crown, but she lost her luster. In an eroding empire, Americans feel like second-class citizens in the union of nations.” ― Kilroy J. Oldster

The terms modern and progress have become warped and used as an excuse for destroying localization, small businesses, what worked, what was good, and what benefitted society, replacing it with globalization, mega-corporations, complex technology, profits at any cost, and benefits accumulating to the few with suffering borne by the many. Two examples come to mind within a few miles from my home. Just a couple miles from the fading smile barn is a property that was once a thriving family farm. I snapped a picture last week as I was driving past.

The decaying abandoned farmhouse, dilapidated barn, and rusting farm machinery are being engulfed by weeds, as the memories of a productive useful family farm fade like that yellow smiley face. I don’t know why it was abandoned, but I’m sure the corporate farming conglomerates and the corporate meat processing plants were a major factor. When you can buy cheap meat at Wal-Mart produced in China or some industrial farm, why pay a little more for fresh non-GMO meat sold by a local farmer?

Gone are the roadside vegetable stands and buying fresh meat from your local farmer neighbor. Maybe the patriarch of the homestead got too old, and his sons had been indoctrinated by the government schools to get corporate jobs in some of the commercial office campuses that have replaced open space and farmland. Whatever the reason, it provokes melancholy about a better simpler time whenever I pass by.

The governmental actions taken in the early 2000s still irk me to this day. The area around the intersection of Forty Foot Road and Sumneytown Pike in the late 1990s was still reminiscent of simpler times, before smart phones, hyper-consumerism, and proliferation of big box retail. Small businesses were important and viable. There was a family run diner near the turnpike entrance where all the locals ate breakfast and talked sports and politics.

Township police were friendly, driving older basic vehicles and housed in a small unassuming one-story township building. Nicely kept older homes lined one side of Forty Foot Road and the other side was an eclectic mixture of old-time baseball fields, with no lights and little to no ground’s maintenance, and the old Henry Sprecht grade school, built in 1909 to honor a long-time educator and local historian, which had been replaced by newer schools and creatively repurposed into a quaint antiques mall.

We spent many a summer evening watching my oldest son play little league baseball on those fields while trying to keep our four-year-old and three-year-old sons from getting into trouble. We loved wandering through that antiques mall as individual vendors selling all manner of antiques, hand crafted woodwork, baseball cards, toys, occupied nooks, and crannies in this ancient school. We bought a handcrafted cabinet by a local artisan for our kitchen, which we still employ today in our storage area.

My fondest memory was at Christmas time when it would become a Christmas wonderland and I would take the boys there to see the spectacular miniature train show, where local train aficionados would set up amazing displays. The kids were mesmerized. There was also a family-owned home center in Hatfield called Snyder’s that sold everything for your home and also had a great train display at Christmas for kids to enjoy. All this unpretentious delight ended abruptly in the early 2000s, as progress, commercialization, and greed took hold of the country and our little community.

As you may remember, Greenspan coined the term irrational exuberance in 1996 to describe financial markets, then turbocharged stocks by cutting rates, causing the bubble and responded to the stock market crash by cutting rates and causing the biggest real estate bubble in history, until now. These ephemeral paper riches caused local government bureaucrats to use phantom tax revenues to envision delusions of grandeur by building useless unnecessary projects.

This is exactly what the government drones running Towamencin Township did. They produced a grand master plan, gave it a fancy name, spent tens of millions of our tax dollars, and produced an embarrassing mess. They used eminent domain to acquire homes, forced the dozens of small business owners out of the antique mall and flattened the building, closed off the baseball fields to little kids, and closed Forty Foot Road for over a year to build a glorious $13 million bridge to nowhere. This bridge stands as a tribute to all those Chinese ghost cities, as it serves no purpose except as an example of government incompetence, wastefulness, and misuse of taxpayer funds with no consequences for the government drones.

Rather than wait for actual retail tenants to sign on to their glorious project, the government geniuses built the bridge knowing they would come. They never came. The real estate retail bubble popped. It’s now fifteen years later and those four baseball fields are still sitting there, untouched, undeveloped, and unused. They stuck a Walgreens where the charming antique mall once sat. No pedestrians cross the pedestrian bridge because there is nothing on either side. A four- story commercial building was built on spec a block from the bridge and stood vacant for five years.

The family-owned Snyder’s home store was driven out of business by the Home Depot and Lowes built within a few miles. There are now cookie cutter townhouses where Snyder’s stood. Another successful retail center in the 1990s up the road, anchored by a family owned Genuardi supermarket and a Sears Hardware, along with a pizza place, drugstore, Blockbuster, and kids play center has been vacant and rotting for over a decade, as bankruptcies, mergers, and the relentless downward economic spiral made it untenable.

In addition to wasting taxpayer money on the ghost bridge to nowhere, these financial government geniuses decided their police station built in 1975 no longer met the needs of their fast-growing police force in a township with no crime, because it is 88% white/Asian. They built themselves a complex three times the size of their old station. Lucky, because they now have a police force of 23 officers, all decked out with souped-up brand-new SUVs.

You need that level of manpower and firepower for all those speed traps, fender benders and writing tickets for illegal basketball nets. There hasn’t been a major crime in Towamencin in over a decade, but the taxpayers pay over $1 million per year to be harassed and pay for their donut budget This level of government waste is happening in every locality and state in America. And the Feds put them all to shame with their corrupt, wasteful, traitorous spending, bribing, and war mongering across the globe, to the tune of trillions.

The decline I’ve personally seen in my local community is not just a localized cancer but has metastasized across the land and around the globe. As our economic system accelerates towards inevitable implosion, either as a planned demolition or due to the hubris of central bankers, the fraying social fabric of our civilized society is unmistakable, as the moral state of our country has deteriorated to a level seen only in debauched empires on the brink of failure.

The global elite and their moral depravity have engulfed the world, as their ravenous greed, insatiable appetite for dominion over the masses, immoral deceit, manipulative use of propaganda, and satanic decadence have created economic, social, political, and military distress across the globe. As Toynbee and Solzhenitsyn note, the lack of morality and courage among those who profess to be leaders has permeated throughout society, leading to a dearth of citizens taking civic responsibility for the path of the country.

“Of the twenty-two civilizations that have appeared in history, nineteen of them collapsed when they reached the moral state the United States is in now.” ― Arnold Joseph Toynbee

“A decline in courage may be the most striking feature that an outside observer notices in the West today. The Western world has lost its civic courage. Such a decline in courage is particularly noticeable among the ruling and intellectual elite, causing an impression of a loss of courage by the entire society.” ― Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn

We are a lost society, ruled by emotions, captured by technology, misinformed, uneducated, indifferent, fearful, passively accepting of whatever government and media tell them is true, and entranced by materialism funded by debt. We are a sick dying culture where common community standards, self-responsibility, hard work, kindness, and manners have been superseded by the worship of abnormality, celebration of degeneracy, living off the government, spreading hatred, and waging undeclared wars across the world.

There is an empty shallowness to our civilization, with the vacuum filled with gadgets, pathetic displays of fake affluence, trivialities like social media, and superficial displays of virtue signaling regarding the latest woke craze shoved down our throats by those controlling the levers of society. There is an overwhelming feeling of hopelessness, fear, and foreboding mood of impending doom, as this Fourth Turning accelerates towards its bloody denouement.

The aura of pessimism about the future and fear that our superpower status, only in existence since 1946, is rotting from within permeates the psychology of those actually willing to think critically and see what is really happening. The existing social order will be extinguished during the waning years of this Fourth Turning. We are in the interval between the decay of the old and formation of the new, whatever that may be.

This transition will be one of uncertainty, turmoil, miscalculation, fanatical misrepresentations, war (civil & global), false prophets, bloodshed, and clear winners and losers. Decay and death of empires have happened for centuries and are necessary to expunge the excesses and abuses which always occur as empires expand and its leaders exhibit a hubristic arrogance towards their people and the world.

“Just as floods replenish soil and fires rejuvenate forests, a Fourth Turning clears out society’s exhausted elements and creates an opportunity.” – The Fourth Turning

It is hard to believe the prognostications of Strauss & Howe a quarter century ago, just after I moved to my community, could be so eerily accurate. But, when you are sure of the catalysts: debt, global disorder, and civic decay, the volcanic eruption of distress can only flow along certain channels, preordained by choices made over decades by our leaders and ourselves.

“Imagine some national (and probably global) volcanic eruption, initially flowing along channels of distress that were created during the Unraveling era and further widened by the catalyst. Trying to foresee where the eruption will go once it bursts free of the channels is like trying to predict the exact fault line of an earthquake. All you know in advance is something about the molten ingredients of the climax, which could include the following: 

    • Economic distress, with public debt in default, entitlement trust funds in bankruptcy, mounting poverty and unemployment, trade wars, collapsing financial markets, and hyperinflation (or deflation)
    • Social distress, with violence fueled by class, race, nativism, or religion and abetted by armed gangs, underground militias, and mercenaries hired by walled communities
    • Political distress, with institutional collapse, open tax revolts, one-party hegemony, major constitutional change, secessionism, authoritarianism, and altered national borders
    • Military distress, with war against terrorists or foreign regimes equipped with weapons of mass destruction” 

This Fourth Turning has created tremendous distress in all four categories noted by Strauss & Howe. With over $200 trillion of unfunded liabilities, the country is already in default, but unwilling to admit it. The Social Security fund will run out of money in a few years. State and local pension funds are underfunded by trillions. With Powell and his minions in control, hyperinflation and deflationary depression are on the near-term horizon, with financial assets crashing once again, for the fourth time this century.

The social distress has been initiated and promoted by the global elite through their complete control of the media propaganda outlets. They are attempting to spur violent upheaval, as this will give them the excuse to disarm and electronically imprison dissenters and Great Reset resisters. Class, race, religion, and gender are all being used to stoke unrest.

The political distress is the biggest gaping wound in our national body today. If critical thinking individuals didn’t acknowledge the existence of a Deep State before, they surely can’t deny its existence now. It has existed for decades, but has been forced out into the open, as threats to their power and control multiply due to their arrogance, ineptitude, wickedness, and avarice.

Anyone who dares to deviate from their directives and threatens their fiefdom is either killed, neutered, or destroyed (JFK, RFK, George Wallace, Perot, Assange, Trump). Russiagate, two impeachments, J6 witch trial, and now the rogue DOJ/FBI raid on Trump’s compound has driven the political stress to heights not seen since 1860. The desires of the globalist elites for a Great Reset into a new world order where you own nothing, and they own everything is the goal of all this engineered chaos.

The military distress may be the most concerning and potentially most destructive aspect of this Fourth Turning as we enter the normally bloody phase. The flailing U.S. empire is provoking and stoking global conflict to keep feeding the Deep State military industrial complex. The Ukraine conflict was initiated by the U.S. in 2014 and is being used as a justification to fight Russia without getting our hands dirty.

Continuing to poke the nuclear armed bear, has the potential to escalate the conflict to a point of no return. Throwing fuel on the fire by provoking China over Taiwan’s independence is irrationally reckless and the mark of a desperate empire seeing the sun setting on its 76-year reign as the one global superpower, and willing to risk global war in a fruitless effort to remain king.

The U.S. can let its empire expire with a whimper (e.g. British Empire) or a bang. Based on their ham-handed, stumbling, absurd endeavors to maintain their dominance over the world, they have initiated global food and energy shortages, caused unbearable economic hardship upon the middle and lower classes, and have pushed the world to the brink of nuclear war with countries run by serious men. While we are supposedly led by an ancient fossil lost in a fog of dementia and unable to string two coherent sentences together, even with a teleprompter. Obama, the Deep State, and a plethora of diversity hire apparatchiks are really calling the shots.

The smile has faded on this empire of debt, delusion, denial, and destruction, just as it has on the barn near my house. The coming trials will require levels of courage, fortitude, and sacrifice which many might think they are not capable of summoning, but we have no choice. You can’t sit out Fourth Turnings. Sides will need to be chosen and life or death decisions made. The future of this country and the world hang in the balance.

Choosing your allies and forming local communities of like-minded people with the skills to survive and thrive in the world created after the coming conflict is resolved, is all you can do at this point. Preparation may not be enough, but not preparing guarantees a bad outcome for you and your family. Whatever you do, put absolutely no faith in any government solution to our predicament. They are the enemy and you can’t vote your way out of this.

I hope after this is over to see a fresh coat of white paint applied to that old barn and a brand-new yellow smiley face resurrected on the same spot, marking the start of a new High.


James Quinn has held financial positions with a retailer, homebuilder and university in his 29 year career. Those positions included treasurer, controller, and head of strategic planning. He is married with three boys and is writing these articles because he cares about their future. He earned a BS in accounting from Drexel University and an MBA from Villanova University. He is a certified public accountant and a certified cash manager. These articles reflect the personal views of James Quinn. They do not necessarily represent the views of his employer, and are not sponsored or endorsed by his employer. 

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