I don't want to get all conspiratorial and everything, but things keep getting stranger.

The DOW dropped below 10,000, even after Washington passed "The Fleecing of American Taxpayers Act".  It's obvious - the markets don't feel the same about the package as Washington does.  I wonder ...

Why would an investor commit capital where if things go wrong, the government will step in and totally wipe them out?

The artificial credit expansion of the Federal Reserve over the past 15 years is reaching it's ultimate conclusion.  The massive technological advancements which have increased productivity, have only masked the run-away inflation we've experienced.  Instead of seeing large reductions in price and a healthier economy, the "money and credit" binge has put us in the position of potential disaster.  As measured by M3 (money supply in banknotes and deposits), the money supply has grown at an annual average rate of 10%.

In the short-run, artificial money expansion appears to be beneficial, but simply increasing the medium of exchange (dollars) does nothing to create real wealth.  First we had the stock market bubble, then the real estate bubble, and since it's quite obvious that the fall isn't over, you have to ask yourself ... what's next?

The federal government seems to be preparing for something. I can't say for sure what it is, but civil unrest is certainly on their minds.

As reported in the Army Times, troop brigades are being stationed at home (emphasis added).

The 3rd Infantry Division's 1st Brigade Combat Team has spent 35 of the last 60 months in Iraq patrolling in full battle rattle, helping restore essential services and escorting supply convoys.

Now they're training for the same mission - with a twist - at home.

Beginning Oct. 1 for 12 months, the 1st BCT will be under the day-to-day control of U.S. Army North, the Army service component of Northern Command, as an on-call federal response force for natural or manmade emergencies and disasters, including terrorist attacks.

It is not the first time an active-duty unit has been tapped to help at home. In August 2005, for example, when Hurricane Katrina unleashed hell in Mississippi and Louisiana, several active-duty units were pulled from various posts and mobilized to those areas.

But this new mission marks the first time an active unit has been given a dedicated assignment to NorthCom, a joint command established in 2002 to provide command and control for federal homeland defense efforts and coordinate defense support of civil authorities.

After 1st BCT finishes its dwell-time mission, expectations are that another, as yet unnamed, active-duty brigade will take over and that the mission will be a permanent one.  They may be called upon to help with civil unrest and crowd control or to deal with potentially horrific scenarios such as massive poisoning and chaos in response to a chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear or high-yield explosive, or CBRNE, attack.

The 1st BCT's soldiers also will learn how to use "the first ever nonlethal package that the Army has fielded," 1st BCT commander Col. Roger Cloutier said, referring to crowd and traffic control equipment and nonlethal weapons designed to subdue unruly or dangerous individuals without killing them.

The package includes equipment to stand up a hasty road block; spike strips for slowing, stopping or controlling traffic; shields and batons; and, beanbag bullets.

"I was the first guy in the brigade to get Tasered," said Cloutier, describing the experience as "your worst muscle cramp ever - times 10 throughout your whole body.

"I'm not a small guy, I weigh 230 pounds ... it put me on my knees in seconds."

The brigade will not change its name, but the force will be known for the next year as a CBRNE Consequence Management Response Force, or CCMRF (pronounced "sea-smurf").

Yep, things keep getting stranger by the day.

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