Sunday, July 14, 2019

Epstein and the Explosive Crisis of the Deep State

Since the battle is for the legitimacy of the state, it must be waged at least partially in the open.
Speculations by outsiders must give Deep State insiders many opportunities to chuckle, "if only they knew." We don't know, of course, and public leaks are engineered to misdirect our attention from what's actually going on or "frame" our understanding in a positive way.
Decades later, history reveals a very ordinary mix of great successes and horrific failure in secret operations, caused by errors of judgment, faulty intelligence, poor planning and so on. In other words, life isn't tidy, either inside or outside the Deep State.
Nonetheless we can postulate a few things with some certainty. One is that the Deep State-- the unelected, permanent government which includes not just the intelligence community but a vast array of agencies and institutions as well as the top-level structures of diplomacy, finance and geopolitics--is not monolithic. There are different views and competing camps, but the disagreements and bureaucratic wars are kept out of sight.
Two, we know that at critical junctures of history one camp wins the narrative battle and establishes the over-riding direction of state policy. Put another way, one camp's understanding of the era's most pressing problems becomes the consensus, and from then on disagreements are within the broad outlines of the dominant ideology.
The end of World War II was a critical juncture. The proper role of the U.S. in the postwar era was up for grabs, and over the course of a few years, the CIA and other intelligence agencies were established and the doctrine of containment of the Soviet Union became the dominant narrative, a narrative that held with remarkable consistency for four decades until the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991.
This collapse was another critical juncture, and debates over America's role in this "unipolar era" were finally settled in favor of the geopolitical-activist ideology of neoconservatism (Neocons).
This globalist ideology led to a variety of policy disasters and is now discredited in many circles, and has been under attack within the Deep State for some time. This is the divided Deep State I've written about for the past five years.
The failures of Neocon globalism have ushered in another critical juncture.What is America's proper role in a multi-polar world that is fracturing across multiple faultlines? This critical juncture is a manifestation of a broader profound political disunity in America and many other nations.
The corporate media has obligingly portrayed this profound political disunity as a contest between "good globalism" and "bad populism," a clear attempt to smear all those who see the dark side of globalism as a threat to the nation and indeed the world. This bias reflects the continued dominance of the Neocon-globalist camp.
But the cracks are now visible. The mainstream "influential" press has recently been publishing critiques admitting the failures of Neocon globalism and agonizing about how to "save" the globalist agenda despite its failures.
I have long held that there is a camp within the Deep State that grasps the end-game of Neocon globalism, and is busy assembling a competing nation-centric strategy. There is tremendous resistance to the abandonment of Neocon globalism, not just from those who see power slipping through their fingers but from all those firmly committed to the hubris of a magical faith in past success as the guarantor of future success.
Michael Grant described this complacent clinging to what's failed in his excellent account The Fall of the Roman Empire, a short book I have been recommending since 2009:
There was no room at all, in these ways of thinking, for the novel, apocalyptic situation which had now arisen, a situation which needed solutions as radical as itself. (The Status Quo) attitude is a complacent acceptance of things as they are, without a single new idea.
This acceptance was accompanied by greatly excessive optimism about the present and future. Even when the end was only sixty years away, and the Empire was already crumbling fast, Rutilius continued to address the spirit of Rome with the same supreme assurance.
This blind adherence to the ideas of the past ranks high among the principal causes of the downfall of Rome. If you were sufficiently lulled by these traditional fictions, there was no call to take any practical first-aid measures at all.
The faction within the Deep State that no longer accepts traditional fictions is gaining ground, and now another fracture in the Deep State is coming to the fore: the traditionalists who accept the systemic corruption of self-serving elites and those who have finally awakened to the mortal danger to the nation posed by amoral self-serving elites.
The debauchery of morals undermines the legitimacy of the state and thus of the entire power structure. As I recently noted in Following in Rome's Footsteps: Moral Decay, Rising Inequality (June 29, 2019), America's current path of moral decay and soaring wealth/power inequality is tracking Rome's collapse step for step.
Enter the sordid case of Jeffrey Epstein, suddenly unearthed after a decade of corporate-media/elitist suppression. It's laughable to see the corporate media's pathetic attempts to glom onto the case now, after actively suppressing it for decades:Jeffrey Epstein Was a Sex Offender. The Powerful Welcomed Him Anyway. (New York Times) Where was the NYT a decade ago, or five years ago, or even a year ago?
Of all the questions that are arising, the signal one is simply: why now? There are many questions, now that the dead-and-buried case has been dug up: where did Epstein get his fortune? Why did he return to the U.S. from abroad, knowing he'd be arrested? Why was the Miami Herald suddenly able to publish numerous articles exposing the scandalous suppression of justice after 11 years of silence? Years later, victims recount impact of Jeffrey Epstein abuse.
Here's my outsider's take: the anti-Neocon camp within the Deep State observed the test case of Harvey Weinstein and saw an opportunity to apply what it learned. If we draw circles representing the anti-Neocon camp and the moralists who grasp the state's legitimacy is hanging by a thread after decades of amoral exploitation and self-aggrandizement by the ruling elites, we would find a large overlap.
But even die-hard Neocons are starting to awaken to the danger to their power posed by the moral collapse of the ruling elites. They are finally awakening to the lesson of history, that the fatal danger to empires arises not from external foes but from inside the center of power as elite corruption erodes the legitimacy of the state.
The upstarts in the Deep State have united to declare open war on the degenerates and their enablers, who are everywhere in the Deep State: the media, the intelligence community, and on and on.
Since the battle is for the legitimacy of the state, it must be waged at least partially in the open. This is a war for the hearts and minds of the public, whose belief in the legitimacy of the state and its ruling elites underpins the power of the Deep State.
If this wasn't a war over the legitimacy of the state, the housecleaning would have been discrete. Insiders would be shuffled off to a corporate boardroom or do-nothing/fancy title office, or they'd retire, or if necessary, they'd die of a sudden heart attack or in a tragic accident (if only they knew).
The cockroaches are scurrying, and the challenge now is to crush as many as possible before they find cover. Bullies are at heart cowards, and once the bullies who were untouchable due to powerful friends in powerful places are exposed to an accounting of their behavior, they will spill the beans on everyone in a craven attempt to lighten the consequences of their corruption and debauchery.
Power is a funny thing: when it dissipates suddenly, it dissipates completely.
All those who were confident they were untouchable might want to heed this sign: carefully fall into the cliff.
The hidden conflicts within the Deep State are emerging, and the resulting crisis will be explosive. Remember, the housecleaning must be public or the legitimacy of the state will go over the cliff. If the Deep State wants to retain its power, it must root out the corrupt degenerates before they bring down the entire rotten structure.


Pathfinding our Destiny: Preventing the Final Fall of Our Democratic Republic ($6.95 ebook, $12 print, $13.08 audiobook): Read the first section for free in PDF format.


My new mystery The Adventures of the Consulting Philosopher: The Disappearance of Drake is a ridiculously affordable $1.29 (Kindle) or $8.95 (print); read the first chapters for free (PDF)
My book Money and Work Unchained is now $6.95 for the Kindle ebook and $15 for the print edition. Read the first section for free in PDF format.


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Thursday, July 11, 2019

"Alexa, How Do We Subvert Big Tech's Orwellian Internet-of-Things Surveillance?"

Convenience is the sales pitch, but the real goal is control in service of maximizing profits and extending state power.
When every device in your life is connected to the Internet (the Internet of Things), your refrigerator will schedule an oil change for your car--or something like that--and it will be amazingly wunnerful. You'll be able to lower the temperature of your home office while you're stuck in a traffic jam, while your fridge orders another jar of pickles delivered to your door.
It's all in service of convenience, the god all Americans are brainwashed to worship. Imagine the convenience of turning on the light while seated on your sofa! Mind-boggling convenience at your fingertips--and since you're already clutching your smart phone 24/7, convenience is indeed at your fingertips.
It's also about control, and as we lose control of everything that's actually important in our lives, the illusion of agency/control is a compelling pitch. Imagine being able to program your fridge to order a quart of milk delivered when it gets low but not order another jar of pickles when that gets low! Wow! That's control, yowzah.
The Internet of Things is indeed about control--not your control, but control over you-- control of what's marketed to you, and control of your behaviors via control of the incentives, distractions and micro-decisions that shape behavior.
The control enabled by the Internet of Things starts with persuasion and quickly slides into coercion. Since corporations and government agencies will have a complete map of your movements, purchases, consumption, communications, etc., then behavior flagged as "non-beneficial" will be flagged for "nudging nags", while "unsanctioned" behavior will be directed to the proper authorities.
Say you're visiting a fast-food outlet for the fourth time in a week. Your health insurance corporation has set three visits a week as a maximum, lest your poor lifestyle choices start costing them money for treatments, so you get a friendly "reminder" to lay off the fast food or make "healthier" choices off the fast food menu.
Failure to heed the "nudges" will result in higher premiums or cancelled coverage. Sorry, pal, it's just business. Your "freedom" doesn't extend to costing us money.
Domestic corporate versions of China's social credit score will proliferate. Here is evidence that such scores already exist:
Then there's the surveillance. The Internet of Things isn't just monitoring energy use and the quantity of milk in a fridge; it's monitoring you--not just in your house, car and wherever you take your Personal Surveillance Device, i.e. your smart phone, but everywhere you go.
If you are a lookie-loo shopper--you browse the inventory but rarely buy anything--expect to be put in Category Three--zero customer service, and heightened surveillance in case your intent is to boost some goodies (shoplift).
Heaven help you if you start spending time reading shadow-banned websites like Of Two Minds: your social credit standing moves into the red zone, and your biometric scans at airports, concerts, retail centers etc., will attract higher scrutiny. You just can't be too sure about people who stray off the reservation of "approved" corporate media.
Your impulses are easy to exploit: since every purchase is tracked, your vulnerabilities to impulse buys will be visible with a bit of routine Big Data analysis, and so the price of the treats you succumb to will go up compared to the indifferent consumer next to you. Sorry, pal, it's just business. Your vulnerabilities, insecurities and weaknesses are profit centers. We'd be foolish not to exploit them to maximize profits, because that is the sole mission of global corporations.
Governments access the trove of surveillance for their own purposes.Monitoring phone calls, texts and emails is only the first step; privacy as a concept and a right has effectively ceased to exist other than as a legal abstraction and useful fiction. The Dawn Of Robot Surveillance: AI, Video Analytics, and Privacy.
Longtime correspondent Simon H. recently submitted a video link on The Internet of Things as well as a sobering and insightful commentary.
Here is an overview by James Corbett of the totalitarian reach of the 5G IoT and a technocratic surveillance dictatorship. All delivered as an unavoidable facet of inevitable tech progress.
There seems to be an idea that the only reason we have historically had privacy, civil liberties and general freedoms is because in the past we lacked the technology to eliminate them.
The future does indeed seem to have globalist technocracy written all over it which is to be presented as a simple matter of embracing technological progress and celebrating new technological wonders. Don't think about the total surveillance taking place just marvel at the speed of your connections and the convenience of outsourcing all of your troubling personal sovereignty to machine assistants to make all of your decisions for you.
Anyone who resists this undemocratic future will be branded as a nostalgically foolish, technological Luddite. However, this new form of tech is completely different in nature to all of those that have preceded it. If we think in terms of macro and micro economics, then we can also look at current developments in terms of macro and micro sovereignties. This phenomenon is more pronounced in the UK than the US because of the sovereignty issues of the EU and Brexit.
Not only is our democratic sovereignty being eroded by supranational organization such as the EU, the IMF, the IPCC, markets and the central banking masters of the economic universe, etc., if we take surveillance capitalism, 5G and the Internet of Things (IoT) into consideration one can see that our sovereignty it is also under direct dual attack at an extreme and fundamentally personal level.
Against all of these things we are seeing extraordinary coalitions of resistance: Marxists, Anti-Capitalists, Anarchists, Austrian Libertarians and anyone of an old school left of right wing true liberalism who believe in the principles of democracy and sovereignty, freedom of speech, privacy and civil liberties.
The so called liberal progressives who support globalism and the technocracy are anything but liberal: they are imperialist totalitarians no better or less dangerous than the Nazis. We desperately need to strip them of their fake liberal and moderate claims and show them for what they truly are -- sociopaths.
Thank you, Simon. Resistance can take many forms.
One approach is to minimize surveillance by stripping out apps from your smart phone, leaving it in a drawer most of the time, and disabling wifi in all appliances and devices you buy/own. This approach isn't perfect, as surveillance is far beyond our control, despite Big Tech claims of transparency, privacy controls, etc., but nonetheless any reduction in data collection is meaningful.
Buy with cash and buy the absolute minimum. If you only buy real food--meats, vegetables, grains, fruit, etc.--you've effectively stripped out all the profit potential of our corporate overlords. Who is going to make a big profit offering you a discount on raw carrots? No one.
If your impulse buys are paid with cash, they can't be tracked. Whatever you buy in person with cash can't be tracked.
Limit your Personal Surveillance Device, i.e. your smart phone: disable its "always listening" and other capabilities; leave it in the drawer, etc.
Understand you're being played and gamed 24/7; ignore all the marketing, pitches and propaganda. Make it a habit to ignore all marketing pitches, discounts, coupons, etc. Become an anti-consumer, minimizing trackable purchases and pursuing a DeGrowth lifestyle of repairing existing items and making everything you own last rather than replace it with a new item (this is the Landfill Economy I've discussed many times, with thanks to correspondent Bart D. who coined the phrase to the best of my knowledge).
Don't buy wifi-enabled devices, and disable wifi if there are no non-wifi options available.
This subverts the value of the data Facebook, Google, et al. collect on you and sell to the highest bidder. If the data isn't useful in selling you something, then the buyers of the data will at a minimum weed the non-controllable consumers out of the data pool.
Since any deviance outside "normal" attracts scrutiny, game the system by logging a baseline of "normal" purchases and activities. Appearing minimally ordinary has its advantages. Trying too hard to leave no digital footprint is itself highly suspicious.
Advocate for digital privacy / Freedom from Surveillance and AI Bill of Rights.There is still a narrow window in the U.S. for protecting and expanding civil liberties and privacy. Here is an example of a proposed Algorithmic Bill of Rights:
Convenience is the sales pitch, but the real goal is control in service of maximizing profits and extending state power. "To serve humans" takes on new meanings in Big Tech/ Big Government's Orwellian the Internet of Things: To Serve Man (The Twilight Zone).


Pathfinding our Destiny: Preventing the Final Fall of Our Democratic Republic ($6.95 ebook, $12 print, $13.08 audiobook): Read the first section for free in PDF format.


My new mystery The Adventures of the Consulting Philosopher: The Disappearance of Drake is a ridiculously affordable $1.29 (Kindle) or $8.95 (print); read the first chapters for free (PDF)
My book Money and Work Unchained is now $6.95 for the Kindle ebook and $15 for the print edition. Read the first section for free in PDF format.


If you found value in this content, please join me in seeking solutions by becoming a $1/month patron of my work via patreon.com. New benefit for subscribers/patrons: a monthly Q&A where I respond to your questions/topics.

NOTE: Contributions/subscriptions are acknowledged in the order received. Your name and email remain confidential and will not be given to any other individual, company or agency.
 
Thank you, Rick L. ($50), for your splendidly generous contribution to this site-- I am greatly honored by your steadfast support and readership.

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Tuesday, July 09, 2019

Predatory "Green Capitalism" Is Monetizing the Air, and It's Going to Cost You

You want to reduce CO2? Then trigger a global depression that reduces global consumption of everything by 50% and destroys 95% of the phantom wealth owned by the global elites trying to monetize the air.
I recently asked What's Left to Monetize?, and longtime correspondent Mark G. provided the answer: the air we breathe, via carbon taxes and markets for trading carbon credits, i.e. financializing / monetizing Nature to benefit the few at the expense pf the many.
Here's Mark's commentary:
You asked, "What's left to monetize? It appears the answer is 'very little.'"
I respectfully disagree. The Biggest Enchilada of all is left. Air. Specifically carbon dioxide, CO2. We just have to figure how to get the yokels to agree to pay for that which was formerly free. Got it! First we browbeat them into believing its evil and that we have to tax it to save all life on Earth. Then, following in the finest traditions of the degenerate late medieval Catholic Church, we'll commission sellers of "Indulgences" to allow sinning at ever rising prices. a/k/a "Carbon Credit trading". This doesn't require any value added and the profits on "buy zero sell high" are limitless.
This is the specific outline and the very same agencies that so love financialization of all kinds, $2 trillion dollar student debt to sustain obscenely paid college administrators and academics, endless academic credentialism and huge Hipster Cities sitting on container ports and mediating the China Trade, are all promoting this financialization of CO2 as hard as possible.
This is why a nullity like the Paris Climate Accords continues to be pushed even after its proven every way possible that a) the biggest emitters like China and India won't adhere to them and b) even if they did the prescribed regimes will do nothing anyway.
And its why I "don't believe" in it. Or rather, its why I believe its just the next and biggest financial scam.
Thank you, Mark, for answering my naive question: of course Wall Street and the Davos Crowd are salivating over the hundreds of billions of profits to be skimmed from carbon taxes and trading. Not that corporations, financiers or billionaires will pay the carbon taxes; they will be passed on to consumers of everything that emits CO2, i.e. pretty much everything, including us of course.
Never mind that plant life needs CO2, and that planting trees could soak up the carbon at a fraction of the cost of neoliberal carbon taxes/credits; the goal of the "environmentalists" flying in on their private jets isn't to actually reduce CO2--it's to engineer a new source of rentier profits via monetizing / financializing CO2.
Here's the neoliberal fantasy that's being sold and sold hard: making a market for carbon credits etc. will magically cause those paying more for emitting carbon to emit less.
This is the Neoliberal Skim/Scam: privatizing what was once free and funneling the profits to the few at the expense of the many. Call it rentier, call it exploitation, call it predatory-- all are accurate.
So streets that once offered free parking now have parking meters that have been privatized to benefit private-sector corporations.
The neoliberal predators have come up with a new sales pitch to cover their predation: "green capitalism," the notion that sending all the Bad Things to the landfill and replacing them with very costly (and oh so profitable to global corporations and financiers) Good Things will magically save a status quo dependent on "Growth" while also magically reducing CO2.
Wrong on all counts.If we measure the full lifecycle costs and environmental burdens of the Good Things (all electric vehicles, etc.), we find that replacing all the existing stuff on the planet will actually increase CO2 immensely--the reduction is trivial while the CO2 emitted in the extraction, processing, manufacture, transport and maintenance of the replacement stuff (i.e. "Growth") will vastly increase CO2, as will all the green capitalists' private jets.
As Mark pointed out, the majority of CO2 is emitted by nations that have no interest in reducing CO2, nor will they pay carbon taxes or play Wall Street's game of trading carbon credits.
So the net result of neoliberal "green capitalism" is higher CO2 and hundreds of billions of dollars of wealth skimmed from those who can least afford it while Al Gore and the rest of the Davos / NGO / philanthro-capitalist elites jet in for another "green" conference.
There is nothing remotely capitalist in the traditional sense in this Neoliberal Predation: no new products or services are created, no value is created, and CO2 isn't reduced; it's pure exploitation of the powerless who have been brow-beaten into believing the skim/scam is somehow "environmental."
Longtime correspondent Simon H. submitted a series of links for those who wish to know more about the hijacking of the environmental movement by predatory "green capitalism":
The global movement calling for action on climate change has captured the imagination and enthusiasm of thousands of people who care about the future of our world.
However, alarming evidence has emerged, suggesting that this movement is being manipulated by business interests who aim not to save the planet but to save capitalism, not to halt the environmental crisis but to profit from it, not to protect nature but to commodify it.
We don’t want the powerful positive energy of nature lovers and environmentalists to be shunted into the sterile dead end of 'green capitalism', used as a PR tool to make it easier for governments to raid our collective piggy banks and channel trillions of pounds and dollars into the pockets of venture capitalists who have leapt aboard the 'climate justice' bandwagon in the hope of getting very rich.
For this reason we have put together this page of useful links, so people can study the evidence and come to their own conclusions.
For those who prefer facts to hyperbole in service of predatory private wealth, here's a chart of China's energy production: dirty CO2-spewing coal is the primary source.
This mirrors the global reality: renewables are still signal noise, and carbon taxes and trading credits will do nothing to change this.
Plastic pollution tracks CO2 and a variety of related environmental burdens:The primary sources are in Asia and developing nations. So enforcing bogus carbon trading in North America and Europe will do essentially nothing to address the actual sources of CO2 and other industrial / consumer pollutants.
You want to reduce CO2? Then trigger a global depression that reduces global consumption of everything by 50% and destroys 95% of the phantom wealth owned by the global elites trying to monetize the air.

Of related interest:

Pathfinding our Destiny: Preventing the Final Fall of Our Democratic Republic ($6.95 ebook, $12 print, $13.08 audiobook): Read the first section for free in PDF format.


My new mystery The Adventures of the Consulting Philosopher: The Disappearance of Drake is a ridiculously affordable $1.29 (Kindle) or $8.95 (print); read the first chapters for free (PDF)
My book Money and Work Unchained is now $6.95 for the Kindle ebook and $15 for the print edition. Read the first section for free in PDF format.


If you found value in this content, please join me in seeking solutions by becoming a $1/month patron of my work via patreon.com. New benefit for subscribers/patrons: a monthly Q&A where I respond to your questions/topics.

NOTE: Contributions/subscriptions are acknowledged in the order received. Your name and email remain confidential and will not be given to any other individual, company or agency.
Thank you, Allison and Donna I. ($120), for your outrageously generous contribution to this site-- I am greatly honored by your steadfast support and readership.

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