Category Archives: Cronyism

Cataclysm, by Robert Gore

Collapse generally comes as a surprise, even to those who predict it.

The USSR didn’t just fail one day, as does a person who dies of a sudden heart attack or stroke. It was more like a wasting illness brought on by an unhealthy lifestyle. A physician tells a morbidly obese patient: “Your daily consumption of twelve cocktails, three packs of cigarettes, and 4,000 calories, and your refusal to engage in exercise more strenuous than walking to the refrigerator will kill you, but I can’t say when.” For both individuals and governments, certain choices are incompatible with continued existence, and the Soviet government made plenty of those.

Very few people foresaw its failure when it was imminent, even purported experts. The small group who said Soviet communism wouldn’t work because it couldn’t work were disparaged right up until it didn’t work. However, the deck is always stacked in favor of those predicting this or that government will fail. Ultimately they all do because they all come to rest on a foundation of coercion and fraud, which doesn’t work because it can’t work.

There is both a quantitative and qualitative calculus for individuals subject to a government: what the government takes versus what individuals get back. Government is a protection racket: turn over your money and it promises physical security from invasion and crime, and adjudication and restitution in the event of civil or criminal wrongs. The quantitative calculus: am I getting more back than I put in? The qualitative calculus: what activities and people does the government help or hinder?

Need a good laugh before the shtf?

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Protection rackets are often indistinguishable from extortion rackets, the “protector” a bigger threat to the “protected” than the threats against which they’re supposedly protected. Such is the case with the US government, as it was with the former Soviet government. Blessed with naturally defensive geographies and huge nuclear arsenals, the chances of the US being attacked are (or were, in the case of the former Soviet Union) remote. The cost for actual protection provided by those governments has been a tiny fraction of what’s been extracted by force or fraud from their citizenries, the very definition of an extortion racket.

Freedom militates against stupidity; coercion compounds it. Competitive markets and a wide-open intellectual climate either kill the worst ideas or impel their improvement. Power corrupts so completely because those who hold it rarely face negative feedback or consequences. Critics are mocked, stifled, imprisoned, or murdered. The costs of failure are borne by the victims. The perpetrators blame those failures on lack of funding or authority and receive more of the same.

Nothing succeeds like failure in coercive systems. Just look at the US governments “wars” on poverty, drugs, and terrorism. For rational people in free, competitive systems an ever-expanding gap between shining intentions and dismal reality prompts psychological turmoil. The powerful salve outbreaks of cognitive dissonance with arrogance, which expands apace with their failing programs. Just look at Obamacare, which its progenitor hails as his greatest accomplishment.

As the protection racket and its sub-rackets expand, the “protected” receive less and less, but pay more and more. By now, both the quantitative and qualitative calculuses are clear to productive Americans: they’re being reamed by people they despise, who in their arrogance and willful blindness despise them. The government steals trillions directly, but still resorts to financial sub-grifts—debt, fiat money, and central banking—to feed its insatiable money-lust. Like the government’s debt, stupidity compounds exponentially and rational people wonder how long unsustainable rackets can persist. The racketeers, if they realize their rackets can’t last, don’t care; they’re going to milk them as long as they can.

With the world’s most powerful military, largest nuclear arsenal, and most intrusive surveillance apparatus, the ostensible power of the US government is daunting. Yet, if a tenth of the US population ran up their debts, withdrew their funds from the financial system, and then stopped making debt service payments for a few months, it would propel a run on the banking system, choking the government’s financial lifeline and exposing its worthless fiat debt scam. Thus, the government is hardly invulnerable. As stupidity compounds, so too do its vulnerabilities.

The foundation of the global economy and financial system is interlinked debt. Anyone paying attention during the last financial crisis recognized that it took surprisingly few defaults—debt markdowns that marked down the value of the corresponding credit-assets—in a highly leveraged and interconnected system before that system unraveled and imploded. Anyone with a modicum of analytic ability and intellectual integrity realizes that the “solution” to that last financial crisis—more government and central bank debt—was another instance of stupidity compounding itself. Now, there’s more craziness in the debt asylum than there was in 2007.

There probably won’t be a voluntary debt payment moratorium, although for anyone asking how “we the people” can throw off the burdensome yoke of “our” government that would be a fine place to start. There doesn’t have to be; the mechanics of debt implosion guarantee the same result. Most of the world’s financial assets are debt or equity claims. Equity has a lower legal right to a debtor’s assets than debt. A debt collapse will leave the world impoverished, and so too its governments. Many real assets will be tied up in creditors’ squabbles. Governments’ and their central banks’ vaunted abilities to drive interest rates to subzero, go further into debt, and exchange their pieces of paper or computer entries for other pieces of paper or computer entries will mean little in a world submerged in debt, worthless paper and computer entries.

Those who scoff at the notion of cataclysmic collapse ignore ubiquitous signs of deterioration and recent history. Real economic growth and incomes have been trending downward since the turn of the century, even by official statistics. One has to question how much of the growth in either is the product of statistical legerdemain—government statistics leave much to be desired—and debt. If debt grows at 5 percent and the economy and incomes grow at 2, is the economy actually growing? Should some present value accounting be made of the fact that the longer debt growth exceeds economic growth, the greater the burden that debt imposes on the economy?

Some say the last financial crisis proved that governments and central banks can prevent a debt implosion. They’re drawing the wrong conclusion. It “proved” that massive injections of fiat debt defibrillated the patient, and it still serves as essential life support. However, not even life support will keep the patient alive the next time the EKG flatlines. All governments will then have are lots of weapons, worthless debt, millions of angry beneficiaries, and whatever loyalty they can still command, literally, from the police-military-surveillance complexes.

At which point, the calculus becomes intolerable for those long milked and bilked by governments, and offering them only further pain with no gain. Inevitably, they will consider their options: flight, secession, devolution, or revolution. Governments are only temporary arrangement and pendulums swing. Cataclysm should afford, for those inclined, opportunities—if they’re willing to fight for them—to live under arrangements more conducive to individual freedom and voluntary interaction.

THE PINNACLE OF OPTIMISM

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Mexico’s Economy Is Being Plundered Dry, by Don Quijones

Debt and corruption will be the ruination of Mexico. From Don Quijones at wolfstreet.com:

Debt is suffocating the economy, but where did the money go? 

The government of Mexico has a new problem on its hands: what to do with the burgeoning ranks of state governors, current or former, that are facing prosecution for fraud or corruption. It’s a particularly sensitive problem given that most of the suspects belong to the governing political party, the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), which ruled Mexico uninterruptedly from 1929 to 2000. It returned to power in December 2012 with the election of Enrique Peña Nieto. And it clearly hasn’t changed its ways.

Some of the accused governors were so compromised they went on the run. In the last few weeks, two of them, Tomás Yarrington, former state governor of Tamaulipas, and Javier Duarte, former governor of Veracruz, were tracked down. Yarrington, accused of laundering proceeds from drug trafficking as well as helping Mexico’s Gulf Cartel export “large quantities” of cocaine to the United States, was ensnared by Italian Police in the Tuscan city of Florence. He faces possible extradition to the United States.

Yarrington’s successor as governor of Tamaulipas, Eugenio Hernández, a fellow PRI member who is also accused of close ties with narcotraficantes and money laundering, has not been seen in public since last June.

As for Duarte, he was caught this week by police in Guatemala. Like Yarrington, he wasn’t exactly laying low. Among the accusations he faces is that of buying fake chemotherapy drugs, which were then unknowingly administered by state-run hospitals to children suffering from cancer. He and his cohorts purportedly pocketed the difference. He is also alleged to have set up 34 shell companies with the intention of diverting 35 billion pesos (roughly $2 billion) of public funds into his and his friends’ deep pockets.

In just about any jurisdiction on earth, $2 billion is a substantial amount of money, even by today’s inflated standards. But in Mexico, where neither the super rich (accounting for a very large chunk of the country’s wealth) nor the super poor (accounting for roughly half of the population) pay direct taxes of any kind, it’s a veritable fortune.

To continue reading: Mexico’s Economy Is Being Plundered Dry

Cernovich Explains How He Learned About Susan Rice, by Taylor Durden

The not-at-all surprising disclosure is that mainstream media had the Susan Rice story well before Michael Cernovich published, and sat on it to protect the Obama administration. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

Ever since Mike Cernovich dropped the bombshell report over the weekend outing Obama’s National Security Advisor, Susan Rice, as the person behind the unmasking of the identity of various members of Trump’s team who were ‘incidentally’ surveilled during the 2016 campaign (see “Confirmed: Susan Rice “Unmasked” Trump Team“), a report which was subsequently confirmed by Eli Lake of Bloomberg earlier this morning, everyone has been wondering who within the Trump White House or the intelligence community supplied him with such a massive scoop.

But, as it turns out, Cernovich didn’t need a ‘deep throat’ within the NSA or CIA for his blockbuster scoop, all he needed was some well-placed sources inside of a couple of America’s corrupt mainstream media outlets. As Cernovich explains below, his sources for the Susan Rice story were actually folks working at Bloomberg and the New York Times who revealed that both Eli Lake (Bloomberg) and Maggie Haberman (NYT) were sitting on the Susan Rice story in order to protect the Obama administration.

“Maggie Haberman had it. She will not run any articles that are critical of the Obama administration.”

“Eli Lake had it. He didn’t want to run it and Bloomberg didn’t want to run it because it vindicates Trump’s claim that he had been spied upon. And Eli Lake is a ‘never Trumper.’ Bloomberg was a ‘never Trump’ publication.”

“I’m showing you the politics of ‘real journalism’. ‘Real journalism’ is that Bloomberg had it and the New York Times had it but they wouldn’t run it because they don’t want to run any stories that would make Obama look bad or that will vindicate Trump. They only want to run stories that make Trump look bad so that’s why they sat on it.”

“So where did I get the story? I didn’t get it from the intelligence community. Everybody’s trying to figure out where I got it from. I got it from somebody who works in one of those media companies. I have spies in every media organization. I got people in news rooms. I got it from a source within the news room who said ‘Cernovich, they’re sitting on this story, they’re not going to run it, so you can run it’.”

“If you’re at Bloomberg, I have people in there. If you’re at the New York Times, I have people in there. LA Times, Washington Post, you name it, I have my people in there. I got IT people in every major news room in this country. The IT people see every email so that’s how I knew it.”

To continue reading: Cernovich Explains How He Learned About Susan Rice

Musktopia Here We Come! by James Howard Kunstler

Historians will look back and undoubtedly see Elon Musk as a symbol of our age. From James Howard Kunstler at kunstler.com:

It ought to be sign of just how delusional the nation is these days that Elon Musk of Tesla and Space X is taken seriously. Musk continues to dangle his fantasy of travel to Mars before a country that can barely get its shit together on Planet Earth, and the Tesla car represents one of the main reasons for it — namely, that we’ll do anything to preserve, maintain, and defend our addiction to incessant and pointless motoring (and nothing to devise a saner living arrangement).

Even people with Ivy League educations believe that the electric car is a “solution” to our basic economic quandary, which is to keep all the accessories and furnishings of suburbia running at all costs in the face of problems with fossil fuels, especially climate change. First, understand how the Tesla car and electric motoring are bound up in our culture of virtue signaling, the main motivational feature of political correctness. Virtue signaling is a status acquisition racket. In this case, you get social brownie points for indicating that you’re on-board with “clean energy,” you’re “green,” “an environmentalist,” “Earth –friendly.” Ordinary schmoes can drive a Prius for their brownie points. But the Tesla driver gets all that and much more: the envy of the Prius drivers!

This is all horse shit, of course, because there’s nothing green or Earth-friendly about Tesla cars, or electric cars in general. Evidently, many Americans think these cars run on batteries. No they don’t. Not really. The battery is just a storage unit for electricity that comes from power plants that burn something, or from hydroelectric installations like Hoover Dam, with its problems of declining reservoir levels and aging re-bar concrete construction. A lot of what gets burned for electric power is coal. Connect the dots. Also consider the embedded energy that it takes to just manufacture the cars. That had to come from somewhere, too.

To continue reading: Musktopia Here We Come!

The Phoenix Template, Part Two, by Robert Gore

The Phoenix comes home to roost.

Click for Part One

Intelligence agency is a misnomer, whether one defines intelligence as an ability to gather and analyze information, or as an ability to determine the salient and what it portends. Foreign CIA outposts are often stocked with so-called experts who don’t know the native language. They read translated documents and media reports, but the outposts are insular and agents miss on-the-ground intelligence and sentiment they would pick up talking with natives at a neighborhood bar. The locals they do talk to are often English-speaking collaborators with CIA-approved agendas, funded by US government and US-backed nongovernmental organizations. They tell the agency what it wants to hear. The CIA sees itself as a master manipulator, but it is often more manipulated than manipulating.

Intelligence whiffs are legendary. Individual members of the intelligence community and military undoubtedly realized that most Vietnamese saw the US as the latest in a long string of hated imperial powers, but that truism was never officially embraced. If it had been, history might have been dramatically different. In 1956, US puppet Ngo Dinh Diem reneged on a promise to conduct elections that would have reunified Vietnam. He almost certainly would have lost to national hero Ho Chi Minh. From that point on, the US was seen as just another subjugating power. That single fact doomed the US effort from the beginning, but it was rarely, if ever, mentioned in the voluminous intelligence and military reports, even ones that talked about winning “hearts and minds.” (A bizarre tenet of US government groupthink: foreigners have no memories. Thus, what was done in 1956 was supposedly forgotten by 1957. See also the history of Iran since 1953. The intelligence community never saw the 1979 revolution coming.)

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The biggest whiff was the dissolution of the USSR, which caught the military and the intelligence community by surprise. Some of this was denial rooted in self-interest. The end of the USSR meant the end of a threat responsible for billions in funding and thousands of well-paying jobs. It was also rooted in ideology. Although the US has a private sector, the government calls the shots and military and intelligence play significant, usually decisive, roles, just as they did in the USSR. The death of the Soviet Union’s command-and-control rule by the elite was a shot across the bow of its US counterpart. Finally, much of the military and intelligence community’s morally reprehensible tactics and actions had been justified as a response to Soviet depredations, always asserted to be even worse. Now another specious justification for evil had to be found.

And so it was, on September 11, 2001. Never underestimate the power of the government’s propagandists and their partners in the media. With the endlessly repeated videos of the twin towers collapsing, a few thousand Islamic extremists living in Afghanistan’s caves were transmuted into a threat on par with the old Soviet Union and “global communism.” The Afghanistan and Iraq invasions clearly confirmed, for anyone paying attention, what had been the reality of intelligence since Phoenix. Official intelligence had less to do with the gathering, analysis, and interpretation of information than the continued accretion of money and power to the intelligence agencies, military, and their contractors—the complex.

That intelligence whiffed completely on Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction was irrelevant. What was important was expansion of the complex and its global domination. By jingoistic “Yay! Yay! USA!” markers of success—instituting democracy and self-rule, protecting innocent civilians, squelching terrorism, and promoting peace—the US’s forays into the Middle East and Northern Africa have been abysmal failures. By the expansion and domination metrics, they have been spectacular successes. Foreign war is no longer about winning and leaving, the antiquated standards of the two world wars, but rather subjugating the locals, establishing garrisons, and installing US-compliant governments. In this light, the failure of Vietnam was not that US ally South Vietnam eventually fell to North Vietnam, but that domestic pressures forced the complex to abandon a quagmire they would have preferred to perpetuate in perpetuity.

Steps have been take to “correct” those domestic pressures. The press has never again been allowed the largely free reign it had in Vietnam; interventionist information flow is tightly controlled by the complex. The draft, a particular irritant of the antiwar crowd, has been suspended (but not abolished, it can be reinstated at any time). Most importantly, the Phoenix program as been trained on the US itself, with the same intended results: subjugation of the populace; maintenance of a front government compliant to the complex; continuing expansion of the complex’s resources and control. The US has become just another Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Somalia, Libya, Serbia, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Belarus, Myanmar, Moldova, Macedonia, Ukraine, or any of the nations blessed with US “democracy-promotion” and “nation-building” in the last few decades. Just as it has in so many of these foreign efforts, the domestic effort is supported by George Soros’s funding and coterie of organizations promoting his one-world, better-world vision.

All of Phoenix’s bag of tricks—plus new ones that would have made Phoenix operatives envious—are being employed. There’s the complex’s attempted regime change against President Trump and the mainstream media’s role as its leading propagandist. The war on terrorism’s eradication of civil liberties for people the government deems terrorists has inched towards inclusion of US citizens deemed “domestic terrorists.” One needn’t be a wild-eyed crazy to envision FEMA’s camps as interrogation and torture centers or concentration camps. Why do federal agencies and local police forces need all that surveillance capability, weaponry and bullets? Why does the intelligence community need to hoover up every American’s, including the president’s, electronic communications? Why the breakneck development of the internet of things with its recording and monitoring capabilities? Why have cameras and facial recognition technology become ubiquitous? How long before they become ubiquitous on drones? How long before drones are weaponized? Why all the interest in banning cash? Why all the interest in universal identification, leading eventually, we can assume, to human microchipping? How long before “See Something, Say Something” becomes “Achtung! See Something, Say Something…Or Else!”? (For an abundance of SLL and guest posts on vanishing civil liberties, click here.)

The drift is obvious, the “safety” and “for our own good” rationales transparently flimsy. By “Yay! Yay! USA!” standards, the descent into totalitarianism will be an abysmal failure. What’s left of democracy and self-rule will be “temporarily” suspended; innocents will be terrorized by the world’s most bloodthirsty and ruthless terrorist—the US government—and foreign interventions and wars will grow in number and intensity. By the suicidal, Strangelovian standards of our rulers it will be a spectacular success: the destruction of the United States…and perhaps life on this planet.

An inadvertant oversight, this acknowledgement was added after the original posting. Much of the background information for the Phoenix program in both Part 1 and Part 2 came from The CIA As Organized Crime, How Illegal Operations Corrupt America and the World, by Douglas Valentine. 

A BETTER TIME, A BETTER PEOPLE

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Racket of Rackets, by James Howard Kunstler

All bona fide rackets require care and feeding from a government. Modern medical care is no exception. From  James Howard Kunstler at kunstler.com:

If you thought banking in our time was a miserable racket — which it is, of course, and by “racket” I mean a criminal enterprise — then so-called health care has it beat by a country mile, with an added layer of sadism and cruelty built into its operations. Lots of people willingly sign onto mortgages and car loans they wouldn’t qualify for in an ethically sound society, but the interest rates and payments are generally spelled out on paper. They know what they’re signing on for, even if the contract is reckless and stupid on the parts of both borrower and lender. Pension funds and insurance companies foolishly bought bundled mortgage bonds of this crap concocted in the housing bubble. They did it out of greed and desperation, but a little due diligence would have clued them into the fraud being served up by the likes of Goldman Sachs.

Medicine is utterly opaque cost-wise, and that is the heart of the issue. Nobody in the system will say what anything costs and nobody wants to because it would break the spell that they work in an honest, legit business. There is no rational scheme for the cost of any service from one “provider” to the next or even one patient to the next. Anyway, the costs are obscenely inflated and concealed in so many deliberately deceptive coding schemes that even actuaries and professors of economics are confounded by their bills. The services are provided when the customer is under the utmost duress, often life-threatening, and the outcome even in a successful recovery from illness is financial ruin that leaves a lot of people better off dead.

It is a hostage racket, in plain English, a disgrace to the profession that has adopted it, and an insult to the nation. All the idiotic negotiations in congress around the role of insurance companies are a grand dodge to avoid acknowledging the essential racketeering of the “providers” — doctors and hospitals. We are never going to reform it in its current incarnation. For all his personality deformities, President Trump is right in saying that ObamaCare is going to implode. It is only a carbuncle on the gangrenous body of the US medical establishment. The whole system will go down with it.

To continue reading: Racket of Rackets

 

The Eyes: Windows to the Soul, by Uncola

Uncola at theburningplatform.com celebrates the demise of David Rockefeller and anticipates the coming battle between Trump and the Deep State.

I wouldn’t be surprised if the week of March 20, 2017, will go down in history as a Fort Sumter-like spark which began a cascading series of events that will soon spread like wildfire, engulfing the entire world with inescapable social and political ramifications.

On Monday, March 20, 2017, elite banker and rabid globalist, David Rockefeller, died at the age of 101. Whenever I think of this disturbing fellow, I picture him behind a mask at a party with Stanley Kubrick and Tom Cruise in that dark mansion from the movie, Eyes Wide Shut.

Although the mainstream media has mostly reported on Rockefeller as a philanthropist, he was, in fact, someone who the journalist and former LBJ aide, Bill Moyers, once called “the unelected but indisputable chairman of the American establishment”.

Rockefeller himself once said:

Some even believe we {the Rockefellers} are part of a secret cabal working against the best interests of the United States… If that’s the charge, I stand guilty, and I am proud of it.

In a 1991 Bilderberg group meeting in Baden, Germany, that Bill Clinton also attended, Rockefeller additionally acknowledged the mainstream media’s collusion with, and commitment to, the New World Order.

He said:

We are grateful to the Washington Post, The New York Times, Time Magazine and other publications whose directors have attended our meetings and respected their promises of discretion for almost forty years. It would have been impossible for us to develop our plan for the world if we had been subject to the bright lights of publicity during those years. But the world is now more sophisticated and prepared to march toward a world government. . . . The supranational sovereignty of an intellectual elite and world bankers is surely preferable to the national auto-determination practiced in past centuries.

To continue reading:  The Eyes: Windows to the Soul