“Those that fail to learn from history, are doomed to repeat it” — Winston Churchill
All is not what it appears
Why does most real change happen only after tragedies and disasters? Is it because the voices of those who are warning of future dangers are drowned out by special interests and those too pre-occupied to care? Such was the case in Chicago, November, 1903 as the much anticipated and highly luxurious Iroquois Theatre opened. The theater was dubbed “fireproof beyond all doubt” upon its opening by George Williams, Chicago’s building commissioner and fire inspector Ed Laughlin. It touted more exits than any other theater in the country and had an asbestos curtain to contain a potential fire.
At the same time, William Clendenin, the editor of a little read magazine; Fireproof, also inspected the Iroquois and wrote a much less sanguine assessment of the theater. He pointed out that there was no ventilating flue to carry flames away from the audience, or a sprinkler system over the stage, no fire alarm hooked to a fire station, and there was a great deal of wood trim throughout. His article and observations were dismissed by the theater owners and the Chicago Building Inspector and ignored by the public. Also, a Chicago Fire Department captain who made an unofficial tour of the theatre noted that there were no extinguishers, sprinklers, alarms, telephones, or water connections for fire hoses. Just five weeks after it opened its doors, it became a blazing death trap.
On Wednesday, December 30 in the afternoon, the Iroquois was featuring the musical comedy “Mr. Blue Beard,” starring comedian Eddie Foy. The theater was packed with around 2,000 people, mostly women and children. Midway through the second act, a defective lamp set a backstage curtain on fire. The flames quickly spread to props and scenery which were stored nearby. Not realizing anything was amiss; the audience thought the glow coming from behind the stage was part of the show.
The ugly truth however became apparent as sparks and ash rained down on the stage and one of the performers fainted. Eddie Foy asked for calm and ordered the orchestra “For God’s sake, play, play and keep on playing” and requested the asbestos fire curtain be lowered. Midway down the curtain stuck and pandemonium erupted as one of the performers rushed off stage with their clothes on fire.
The crowd panicked and rushed for the exits with those in the balcony finding the doors were locked, to keep people from sneaking down into the expensive seats. Those on the main floor found the doors to the street swung inward, and the crush of people made them impossible to open. The fire at this time was still contained above the stage until one set of exterior stage doors was opened and a huge draft of air was sucked in creating a massive fireball which roared through the entire theater engulfing those trapped in its flames.
It was over in 15 minutes. The interior of the majestic building was incinerated and 591 people were dead, many from burns but most from smoke inhalation or from being trampled. Over the next few weeks, another 30 people died from their injuries bringing the eventual death toll up to 602, including 212 children.
The nationwide outcry over this forced a complete investigation which exposed a number of troubling facts. Two unfinished vents of the building’s roof, which were supposed to filter out smoke in case of a fire had been nailed shut to keep out rain and snow. This caused the smoke to go back into the theater, suffocating those audience members who had not already burned to death. Other findings showed the supposedly “fireproof” asbestos curtain was actually made of cotton; there were no fire alarms in the building, plus the owners had decided that sprinklers were too unsightly and too costly so had never had them installed.
To keep non-paying customers from slipping into the theater during a performance the management locked the rear doors and installed gates at the top of the interior second and third floor stairway landings. Most exit lights had been shut off and all of the outside exit doors opened to the inside, which blocked people from escaping the death trap.
“The investigation led to a cover-up by officials, who denied all knowledge of fire code violations. They blamed the inspectors, who had overlooked the problems in exchange for free theater passes. A grand jury indicted a number of individuals, including the theater owners, fire officials and even the mayor. No one was ever charged with a criminal act though. Families of the dead filed nearly 275 civil lawsuits against the theater but no money was ever collected. The Iroquois Theater Company filed for bankruptcy soon after the disaster.” (Taylor, 2006)
Because of this tragedy, fire codes around the country and ultimately, around the world were changed saving many people from suffering the same fate. So, it is apparent that people can learn from tragedy. But why is it that in so many cases, we don’t?
Created in 1913, the Federal Reserve (or FED for short) was created by Congress in the shadows of the 1907 Depression to provide the nation with a “safer, more flexible, and more stable monetary and financial system.” (FRB, 2009) The FED however, is neither a Federal agency nor a reserve, but rather hybrid of private banks with limited federal control. “The FED has for one of its four stated goals to control the nations’ monetary policy by influencing the monetary and credit conditions in the economy in pursuit of maximum employment, stable prices, and moderate long-term interest rates.” (FRB, 2009) This certainly sounds like a good policy to follow and with almost a 100 year existence it is relatively easy to see if they have been successful in maintaining stable prices.
According to MeasuringWorth.com, if you bought a commodity in 1791 for $10.00, by 1913 you would pay $8.96 for same item which would largely be explained by the rapid increase of production the United States experienced during the Industrial Revolution. This is actually negative inflation of -1.04% for a 122 year span. This inflation rate happened during a period of time where the US had no central bankers running our monetary policy but instead was based on Free Market principles and a gold standard.
Also according to MeasuringWorth.com, if you were to buy something that cost $10.00 in 1913, it would cost you $233.74 today, that’s an inflation of 2237.4%. That’s maintaining stable prices? Unfortunately, most Americans have come to believe that inflation is normal. But for the first 122 years of our existence, it was not. The inflation we are experiencing since the inception of the FED is the cost we incur for allowing a privately controlled entity to control the nation’s money supply. Inflation by definition is: The overall general upward price movement of goods and services in an economy (often caused by an increase in the supply of money), usually as measured by the Consumer Price Index and the Producer Price Index. (WebFinance, Inc., 2012) What the FED is not telling the US citizens is that inflation is a silent tax on us as the dollar loses value every day.
Prior to 1913, the US had a gold backed currency which meant they could only print as much currency as the government had gold to back it up with. Since 1913 we have moved from gold backed currency to one backed by the labor, wealth and property of “The American People.” In other words, the US dollar is actually a claim against the assets of the American people. Every new dollar created is a debt created by the government in the name of taxpayers.
The US government issues bonds, which are promises to pay a certain amount in a certain future date. These are sold at a discount to holders who can in turn cash them in on the day they mature. The only thing the government has to guarantee those bonds are future tax revenues. So in reality, the expression that the government is creating money “out of thin air” is not technically accurate; it is actually promising your labor and assets if the debt is not paid. Let that sink in; you, your children, your grandchildren and everything you (they) own or will own is collateral for the National Debt.
If that does not outrage you then you have taken too much Prozac and you need to shake off the cobwebs. The time to do anything about this situation on a national level is long gone according to many experts. But there is still time to prepare yourself and your family for the inevitable economic tsunami racing towards America. I would suggest shutting off people like Jim Cramer and Suzie Orman who will only repeat the same advice they gave before the 2008 economic free fall we are still feeling. Instead, start reading and/or listening to people who predicted the economic crash before it happened, why we got there and what you can do to make it through the depression that’s coming.
My suggested list is: Ron Paul, Thomas Woods, Bob Murphy of the Mises Institute, Gerald Celente, Dr. Lawrence Parks (FAME), Paul Craig Roberts and Judge Andrew Napolitano. This is a great way to get up to speed on where we are and where we are going. For those seeking a deeper knowledge of the FED which is the greatest scam in world history, the iconic “The Creature from Jekyll Island” by G. Edward Griffin is the last word.
“If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their money, first by inflation and then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them, will deprive the people of their property until their children will wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered.” — Thomas Jefferson