Tag Archives: Corruption

Twelve Tips For Making Sense Of The World, by Caitlin Johnstone

These tips will stand you in pretty good stead. From Caitlin Johnstone at medium.com:

In an environment that is saturated with mass media propaganda, it can be hard to figure out which way’s up, let alone get an accurate read on what’s going on in the world. Here are a few tips I’ve learned which have given me a lot of clarity in seeing through the haze of spin and confusion. Taken separately they don’t tell you a lot, but taken together they paint a very useful picture of the world and why it is the way it is.

1. It’s always ultimately about acquiring power.

In the quest to understand why governments move in such irrational ways, why expensive, senseless wars are fought while homeless people die of exposure on the streets, why millionaires and billionaires get richer and richer while everyone else struggles to pay rent, why we destroy the ecosystem we depend on for our survival, why one elected official tends to advance more or less the same harmful policies and agendas as his or her predecessor, people often come up with explanations which don’t really hold water.

The most common of these is probably the notion that all of these problems are due to the malignant influence of one of two mainstream political parties, and if the other party could just get in control of the situation all the problems would go away. Other explanations include the belief that humans are just intrinsically awful, blaming minorities like Jews or immigrants, blaming racism and white supremacy, or going all the way down wild and twisted rabbit holes into theories about reptilian secret societies and baby-eating pedophile cabals. But really all of mankind’s irrational behavior can be explained by the basic human impulse to amass power and influence over one’s fellow humans, combined with the fact that sociopaths tend to rise to positions of power.

Our evolutionary ancestors were pack animals, and the ability to rise in social standing in one’s pack determined crucial matters like whether one got first or last dibs on food or got to reproduce. This impulse to rise in our pack is hardwired deeply into our evolutionary heritage, but when left unchecked due to a lack of empathy, and when expanded into the globe-spanning 7.6 billion human pack we now find ourselves in due to ease of transportation and communication, it can lead to individuals who will keep amassing more and more power until they wield immense influence over entire clusters of nations.

To continue reading: Twelve Tips For Making Sense Of The World

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Declining and Falling, by Robert Gore

Are we destined for the same fate as that other empire?

At the end of World War II, the US enjoyed geopolitical supremacy unmatched since the Roman empire. Friends and foes had been devastated by the war: millions dead, thousands of towns and cities destroyed, commercial and industrial infrastructure decimated. The only conflict on US soil was Pearl Harbor. Total war casualties were comparatively light. The US had the atomic bomb. American industry was intact, could quickly be retooled for production of civilian goods, and would face limited competition in global markets.

Power corrupts in direct relation to the degree of power; absolute power corrupts absolutely. That leaves only one direction for the occupant of a summit: down. That would be the proper starting point for some future Edward Gibbon, writing a magnum opus on the decline and fall of the American Empire.

The New Deal was a motley menagerie of ineffectual statist nostrums, cover for a naked power grab. The government took control of the economy, credit, the financial system, agriculture, industry, and a much larger share of the gross domestic product. Notwithstanding its unprecedented call on American incomes, it ran record deficits. Opposition was demonized, cowed, or persecuted. The judiciary was reconstituted as a rubber stamp and the Constitution stretched beyond recognition. The New Deal paved the way for further expansion of government control during World War II.

At war’s end, America’s rulers had no intention of relinquishing that control. Conveniently, the Soviet Union, wartime ally but postwar foe, developed its own atomic bomb in 1949. Now the US government had the excuse it needed—the Cold War—to justify global interventionism as “leader of the free world,” and the military and intelligence programs and budgets needed to sustain that role. Leaving office, Eisenhower issued his famous warning about the “military-industrial complex,” but by then it was too late. The establishment would maintain its empire by fair means or foul.

To its “free world” allies the US made an offer they couldn’t refuse. The US would provide their defense and pay the lion’s share of the costs. Trade access would be granted to the US market, often without reciprocal access to the foreign market. In return, the ally gave up its sovereignty, its ability to conduct an independent military or foreign policy. The dollar was the reserve currency, and trade in oil, the world’s most important commodity, was to be conducted in dollars. Countries which ran trade surpluses with the US were expected to recycle their excess dollars back into US government debt.

The velvet-glove treatment for its friends doesn’t hide the iron fist. The US has ways of dealing with regimes it doesn’t like, and enemies of the regimes it does. US military and intelligence traffic in regime change, revolutions, direct wars, proxy wars, repression, subversion, sabotage, subterfuge, and espionage against “hostile” regimes, while propping up dictatorships, euphemized as “authoritarian regimes,” that toe the US line. The US provides its allies with arms; intervenes in their wars; trains militaries, intelligence agencies, and secret police; doles out “development assistance,” financing, and bribes; rigs elections; propagandizes on their behalf, and goes to bat for them in international forums.

Corruption’s silver lining is that it carries the seeds of its own destruction. Unfortunately, demise always takes too long.

Money backed only by a promise―always broken―not to manufacture too much of it is corrupt by definition. In 1971, Richard Nixon removed the reserve from the reserve currency, “temporarily” suspending the dollar’s convertibility into gold (it has never been reinstated). The empire was free to flood the world with its flimsy fiat currency and fiat debt. Its vendors and creditors at home and abroad could accept the paper or pound sand.

Or they could start tightening their terms. It was a long time coming, but interest rates probably reached a generational low on July 6, 2016. Only the machinations of its captive central bank had kept rates trending downward for as long as they did. In a world carrying a record debt load, plus an unsustainable pile of pension and medical care promises, with virtually every income stream pledged and asset mortgaged, creditors call the tune on the availability and price of credit. The US empire will find its debt increasingly costly, central banks likely the main buyer.

That the world’s “best” military hasn’t won a war since World War II is an important clue about what wars have become. They’re another welfare state scam. Defense and intelligence contractors, their lobbyists, pro-intervention think tanks, corrupt foreign governments, and their lobbyists are gravy train gluttons plumping for never-ending war. Winning would be tragic.

Welfare corrupts the recipients and the government doling it out. Evidence of corruption is ubiquitous. Washington area incomes are the highest in the nation. Cities and infrastructure crumble. The $20 plus trillion national debt climbs relentlessly higher. Educational and medical systems are failing. Opioid abuse, obesity, and suicide skyrocket. Much of the Middle East and Northern Africa lie in smoldering ruins from US-sponsored wars. Millions have been wounded or killed. Many of the US soldiers who survived those wars are broken and bitter. As legendary political analyst Ringo Starr once observed, everything government gets its corrupt hands on turns to crap.

When an empire is bent on turning the whole world into crap, there’s bound to be pushback. Russia and China have long chafed under US unipolarity. They have, for the most part, sidestepped the US’s inane interventionism and quest for global dominance. In part to counter US hegemony, they are reaching agreements with myriad nations in trade, finance, infrastructure, economic development, and military security. Not surprisingly, much of the world is more receptive to that approach than bluster, bribes, bullets, and bombs.

US vassals Europe, South Korea, and Japan are questioning their vassalage. Why should a currency its issuer can create at will continue as the reserve currency? Are Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran actual military threats? If not, why go along with US sanctions and trade restrictions? Why not seek access to those markets, and to Russian and Chinese-led development efforts? Why should Europe bear the brunt of terrorist and refugee blowback from the US’s Middle East and Northern Africa fiascos? Why not question the arrangements that have been in place for decades, especially when America has a president who is questioning them from the American perspective? Do we vassals have the fortitude to fend for ourselves and thus reclaim our sovereignty?

Donald Trump deserves credit for asking questions from the American perspective. What has the US got from its interventionism other than stalemates, carnage, and trillions of dollars down the drain? If such adventures in imperialism make no sense, does empire itself make sense? Perhaps there are gains to be had by reaching out to our adversaries.

As for our friends, Trump upset apple carts at the G-7 imbroglio when he argued the one-sided trade access the US has granted as a requisite cost of empire no longer makes sense. It’s partially responsible for the trade deficit, the hollowing of American manufacturing, and a loss of jobs. The countries enjoying the benefits of the US military shield are wealthy and can afford conventional defenses, even if, as likely, they remain under the US nuclear umbrella.

The swamp’s most noxious denizens lurk in the empire’s military-industrial-intelligence backwater, swimming in their own excrement. Russiagate reveals the depths of their toxic and terminal corruption. The question is whether or not they’ll finish pulling the rest of the country into the sewage. Can America reject the filth and change course? The answer determines if America ever lives up to its founding promise, or if the present day is merely a middle chapter in The Decline and Fall of the American Empire.

You Should Be Laughing At Them!

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Good Week for the Deep State, by Bill Bonner

Grease is the word, it’s what keeps the Deep State functioning. From Bill Bonner at bonnerandpartners.com:

It’s been a good week for stocks… and a good week for the Deep State.

On Wall Street, it almost seemed like the good ol’ days, as the Dow rose to a seven-week high and inflation readings remained low.

Investors thought they saw more good things coming.

Deep State stocks were winners. Bank of America rose nearly $1.60 during the week, as of this morning. General Dynamics went up more than $6.50. Raytheon made a $10 gain.

Swamp Deals

Up on the Hill, meanwhile, Gina Haspel managed to dodge questions about her role in torture and the destruction of evidence.

In a better world, she would probably be swinging from a scaffold with a noose around her neck, not looking forward to a cushy job as CIA director.

But she is being promoted for her loyalty, her long service… and the fact that she seems ready to do just about anything without asking questions.

In Iran, Israeli prime minister Bibi Netanyahu and American billionaire Sheldon Adelson managed to turn up the dial on tension in the Middle East by getting The Donald to nix the Iranian nuclear deal. It was fairly easy; after all, Adelson was one of Trump’s major campaign donors.

We saw how the swamp works yesterday. You want influence; you pay for it.

Trump’s budget chief, Mick Mulvaney put it to the American Bankers Association straight:

We had a hierarchy in my office in Congress. If you’re a lobbyist who never gave us money, I didn’t talk to you. If you’re a lobbyist who gave us money, I might talk to you.

Naked Deep State

So now we see how a low-life lawyer like Michael Cohen brought in $4.4 million in consulting fees since Donald Trump was elected: He offered to fix things with his boss.

And we see Iran’s big mistake: It didn’t hire the best lobbyists… and didn’t contribute to The Donald’s campaign. If it had slipped a billion or so in Michael Cohen’s pocket, maybe the president would have declared Israel a rogue state!

But let us pull back the covers to take a gander at the naked Deep State itself.

 

To continue reading: Good Week for the Deep State

Our Protected, Predatory Oligarchy: Dirty Secrets, Dirty Lies, by Charles Hugh Smith

Anybody who thinks Harvey Weinstein is just an aberration needs to be put in a padded isolation ward for his or her own protection. From Charles Hugh Smith at oftwominds.com:

If you want to understand why the status quo is unraveling, start by examining the feudal structure of our society, politics and economy.

The revelations coming to light about Hollywood Oligarch Harvey Weinstein perfectly capture the true nature of our status quo: a rotten-to-the-core, predatory, exploitive oligarchy of dirty secrets and dirty lies protected by an army of self-serving sycophants, servile toadies on the make and well-paid legal mercenaries. Predators aren’t an aberration of the Establishment; they are the perfection of the Establishment, which protects abusive, exploitive predator-oligarchs lest the feudal injustices of life in America be revealed for all to see.
The predators reckon their aristocratic status in Hollywood/D.C. grants them a feudal-era droit du seigneur (rights of the lord) to take whatever gratifications they desire from any female who has the grave misfortune to enter their malefic orbit.
Anyone who protests or makes efforts to go public is threatened by the oligarch’s thugs and discredited/smeared by the oligarch’s take-no-prisoners legal mercenaries. (Recall the Clintons’ Crisis Management Team tasked with crushing any Bimbo Eruptions, i.e. any eruptions of the truth about Bill’s well-known-to-insiders predation of the peasantry.)
The dirty secret is that the oh-so-hypocritical power elites of Hollywood and Washington D.C. circle the wagons to protect One of Their Own from being unmasked. The first weapons of choice in this defense are (as noted above) threats from thugs, discrediting the exploited via the oligarchy’s paid goons and lackeys in the mainstream media and dirty lies about what a great and good fellow the oligarch predator is. The last line of defense is a hefty bribe to silence any peasant still standing after the oligarchs’ onslaught of threats, smears and lies.
Should the worst happen and some sliver of the truth emerge despite the best efforts of the thugs, corporate media, legal mercenaries and PR handlers, then the playbook follows the script of any well-managed Communist dictatorship:the oligarch predator is thrown to the wolves to protect the oligarchs’ systemic predation and exploitation of the peasantry/debt-serfs.

Edward Snowden: “Knowledge Has To Originate From Somewhere, And That Can’t Be A Classroom.” by Arjun Walia

Modern classrooms don’t produce alert, active, questioning minds; they produce the exact opposite. From Arjun Walia at lewrockwell.com:

In September 2015, Neil deGrasse Tyson interviewed Edward Snowden, the NSA whistleblower who revealed the mass spying program(s) used across the globe by multiple intelligence agencies, private governments, and more. His revelations had broad and immediate consequences for both the elite they exposed and the now-informed public, who, prior to the leaks, considered government surveillance a conspiracy theory. Leaks continue to expose government surveillance and the tools/technology they use via Snowden and other whistleblowers, document platforms like Wikileaks, and the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). As a result, distrust in our governments is at an-all time high, and on a global scale.

All of these leaks have brought the existence of Special Access Programs (SAPs) and Unacknowledged SAPs into the public consciousness. These are programs run by what’s become known as “The Deep State,” or a government within the government, which has also been discussed by multiple political insiders and academics,.

Here is one out of many examples we’ve used many times:

Political parties exist to secure responsible government and to execute the will of the people.

From these great tasks both of the old parties have turned aside. Instead of instruments to promote the general welfare, they have become the tools of corrupt interests which use them impartially to serve their selfish purposes. Behind the ostensible government sits enthroned an invisible government owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people.

To destroy this invisible government, to dissolve the unholy alliance between corrupt business and corrupt politics is the first task of the statesmanship of the day. (source)

To see more quotes like this, you can check out this article. And to learn more about the Black Budget, you can read this one that goes more in-depth.

To continue reading: Edward Snowden: “Knowledge Has To Originate From Somewhere, And That Can’t Be A Classroom.”

You Can Tell What Leftists Are Doing By What They Accuse Conservatives Of Doing, by Kurt Schlichter

The money quote: “Lying is what they do because that’s all they have left on the left.” From Kurt Schlichter on a guest post at theburningplatform.com:

Suddenly the Democrats are coming out against their classic moves like cavorting with Russians to hack American elections and perjury (like you need a link), so who knows which of their foundational principles they will pull a 180 on and betray next: Climate scams? Free money for deadbeats? Jane Fonda?

But they don’t really mean it – hell, without perjury they could never testify to anything. If you want to know what the liberals are up to, just listen to the lies they are telling about conservatives. They used to be able to get away with it too, but thanks to the interwebs Al Gore invented between buffet deep dives and sweaty masseuse gropes, the political playing field for liberal liars is now covered in rakes.

Lying is what they do because that’s all they have left on the left. They have no foundational principles except power. Their entire ideology is transactional – it’s not based on ideas but on payoffs to Democrat sub-sets. Here’s some dough for the baby crunching industry! We’ll hassle some Christian bakers for the SJWs! Let’s put a bunch of cis-het males of pallor who don’t even listen to NPR out of work in West Tennetucky, or wherever they grow coal, to delight our global warming cultist pals!

But today the Democrats hold no levers of power, and they can’t dispense goodies anymore. All they can do now is howl, whine, and lie, and try to mobilize the parasites burrowed into the federal bureaucracy to undercut the will of normal Americans. They do this by falsely accusing us and those who represent us of doing exactly what they are doing and what they intend to do once Trump is ousted. Their goal is to seize power again and permanently disenfranchise us – and they are happy to take the risk of literally ripping the country apart.

To continue reading: You Can Tell What Leftists Are Doing By What They Accuse Conservatives Of Doing

Buried Treasure, from The Burning Platform

https://www.theburningplatform.com/2016/12/16/buried-treasure/