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[Brazil] Doug Casey On Why Race Will Break The US Apart, Part I

Via CaseyResearch.com,

“America is a marvelous idea, a unique idea, fantastic idea. I’m extremely pro-American. But America has ceased to exist.”

Longtime readers will recognize this. It’s one of Doug Casey’s more memorable quotes.

I’m sharing it with you today because Doug said something last week that touched on this radical idea. He said the United States could break apart due to racial tensions.

Most people haven’t considered this possibility. After all, the U.S. is supposedly a “melting pot” where different races can coexist peacefully.

So, a few days ago, I called Doug to learn why he thinks this. Below is the first part of our discussion.

*  *  *

Justin: Doug, the last time we spoke, you said the United States could break apart because of racial tensions. Why do you think that?

Doug: Well, I used to know a guy by the name of Michael Hart. He would come to our Eris Society meetings in Aspen. Eris was a private annual event I ran for 30 years, for authors, scientists, and people who were well-known for something. It enabled people who might not otherwise meet to get to know each other and exchange ideas. Michael was a university prof, best known for his book The 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential People in History.

One year, he gave a speech about how the U.S. was going to break up into smaller countries, and part of it would be on racial lines.

I thought that unlikely at the time; it was about 1990. Now, I think Michael may have been right.

I’ll explain why in a minute. But we should first discuss the origins of democracy.

Democracy originated in 6th-century BC Greece. It was a unique and workable method of governance for city-states of a few thousand people. And in the case of Athens, as many as 40,000 people.

But these people all shared a common language. They worshipped the same gods. They were the same ethnicity. They had the same customs and beliefs.

They were like an extended clan with many similarities. Differences were among individuals, not groups.

When the U.S. democracy was started, it was much like that. It was very much like a Greek city-state, an extended one. Everybody shared culture, ethnicity, language, habits, and so forth, with just minor regional differences. People saw themselves first as New Yorkers, Virginians, or whatever, just as the Greeks saw themselves first as Athenians, Thebans, Corinthians, or many scores of other polities.

As you know I don’t believe in democracy, I believe in personal freedom. Democracy is workable enough in something like a cohesive city-state. But absolutely not once voters get involved in economic issues—the poor will always vote themselves a free lunch, and the rich will buy votes to give themselves more. Democracy always devolves into class warfare.

In ancient Greece, if you weren’t a landowner you weren’t respected. In the U.S., voting rules were determined by the States, and originally, everywhere, you had to be a landowner. That meant you had something to lose. But that’s not the case anymore.

Justin: What’s changed?

Doug: For one thing, anybody can vote. People who are penniless. Eighteen-year-olds who have no knowledge or experience and are fresh out of the indoctrination of high school. Lots of non-citizens, probably millions, manage to vote. Voting has become, as H.L. Mencken said, just an advance auction on stolen goods.

For another thing, today, the United States is multicultural. America used to have its own distinct culture; the U.S. no longer stands for anything.

Race is just the most obvious thing that divides people. You can see that somebody’s of a different race just by looking at them. The old saying about birds of a feather flocking together is basically true. It’s very politically incorrect to make that observation, of course. Certainly if you’re white. But it’s factually accurate. Most things that are PC fly in the face of reality.

If people are of a different race, it increases the chances that they’re not going to share other things. The key, for a rational person, is to judge people as individuals. Race, sex, religion, and cultural background are quick indicators of who a person might be. As are dress, accent, attitude, and what they say among many other indicators. You need as much data as you can get to help you judge what the other person will do, and who he is. It’s actually quite stupid to not discriminate among people you encounter. But then the whole PC movement is quite stupid by its very nature.

But, back to the subject, you can’t have a multicultural democracy. And you especially can’t have one where the government is making laws that have to do with economics…where it allocates wealth from one group to another group.

So, sure. The U.S. is going to break apart, and you can certainly see it happening along racial lines. The active racism among many blacks isn’t an anomaly.

Justin: I agree that racial tensions are rising in this country. But that’s clearly not the only source of tension. What else might cause the U.S. to break apart?

Doug: Cultural differences.

The Pacific Northwest draws people who like the idea of ecotopia. Southern California draws a very different type of person than Northern California does. People that live in Las Vegas are quite different from the people that live in Omaha, and very different again from people that live in New York.

The U.S. has turned into a domestic empire. It’s no longer the country that it was when it was founded.

And the constitution itself has changed at least as much. It’s a dead letter. Mainly window dressing. It’s been interpreted out of existence.

Sure, the U.S. is going to break up; throughout history the colors of the map on the wall have always been running. I don’t think the racial situation in the near term is going to get better. And the breakdown of the culture is definitely getting worse.

On the other hand, there’s more racial intermingling and marriage now than there’s ever been in the past. If we look down the road 1,000 years or so, racial distinctions will probably disappear. The average person will probably look like most Brazilians. Brazil, incidentally, is theoretically an integrated country—but there’s still a huge amount of racism. Go farther into the future, when homo sapiens has conquered the planets and hopefully the stars, and we’ll likely transform not only into new races, but new species. But I don’t think any of us are looking that far ahead.

*  *  *

Stay tuned for Part II of our discussion tomorrow. In it, Doug explains why the U.S. is “no longer a country”… And gets into all the problems that are bubbling to the surface…

Published:11/15/2017 10:49:12 PM
[Economy] Doug Casey On The Destruction Of The Dollar

Authored by Doug Casey via InternationalMan.com,

“Inflation” occurs when the creation of currency outruns the creation of real wealth it can bid for... It isn’t caused by price increases; rather, it causes price increases.

Inflation is not caused by the butcher, the baker, or the auto maker, although they usually get blamed. On the contrary, by producing real wealth, they fight the effects of inflation. Inflation is the work of government alone, since government alone controls the creation of currency.

In a true free-market society, the only way a person or organization can legitimately obtain wealth is through production. “Making money” is no different from “creating wealth,” and money is nothing but a certificate of production. In our world, however, the government can create currency at trivial cost, and spend it at full value in the marketplace. If taxation is the expropriation of wealth by force, then inflation is its expropriation by fraud.

To inflate, a government needs complete control of a country’s legal money. This has the widest possible implications, since money is much more than just a medium of exchange. Money is the means by which all other material goods are valued. It represents, in an objective way, the hours of one’s life spent in acquiring it. And if enough money allows one to live life as one wishes, it represents freedom as well. It represents all the good things one hopes to have, do, and provide for others. Money is life concentrated.

As the state becomes more powerful and is expected to provide more resources to selected groups, its demand for funds escalates. Government naturally prefers to avoid imposing more taxes as people become less able (or willing) to pay them. It runs greater budget deficits, choosing to borrow what it needs. As the market becomes less able (or willing) to lend it money, it turns to inflation, selling ever greater amounts of its debt to its central bank, which pays for the debt by printing more money.

As the supply of currency rises, it loses value relative to other things, and prices rise. The process is vastly more destructive than taxation, which merely dissipates wealth. Inflation undermines and destroys the basis for valuing all goods relative to others and the basis for allocating resources intelligently. It creates the business cycle and causes the resulting misallocations and distortions in the economy.

We know the old saw “The rich get richer, and the poor get poorer.” No one ever said life had to be fair, but usually there is no a priori reason why the rich must get richer. In a free-market society the sayings “Shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves in three generations” and “A fool and his money are soon parted” might be better descriptions of reality. We do not live in a free-market society, however.

The rich and the poor do have a tendency to draw apart as a society becomes more bureaucratic, but not because of any cosmic law. It’s a consequence of any highly politicized system. Government, to paraphrase Willie Sutton, is where the money is. The bigger government becomes, the more effort the rich, and those who want to get that way, will put into making the government do things their way.

Only the rich can afford the legal counsel it takes to weave and dodge through the laws that restrict the masses.

The rich can afford the accountants to chart a path through loopholes in the tax laws. The rich have the credit to borrow and thereby profit from inflation. The rich can pay to influence how the government distorts the economy, so that the distortions are profitable to them.

The point is not that rich people are bad guys (the political hacks who cater to them are a different question). It is just that in a heavily regulated, highly taxed, and inflationary society, there’s a strong tendency for the rich to get richer at the expense of the poor, who are hurt by the same actions of the government.

Always, and without exception, the most socialistic, or centrally planned, economies have the most unequal distribution of wealth. In those societies the unprincipled become rich, and the rich stay that way, through political power. In free societies, the rich can get richer only by providing goods and services others want at a price they can afford.

As inflation gets worse, there will be a growing public outcry for government to do something, anything, about it.

People will join political action committees, lobbying groups, and political parties in hopes of gaining leverage to impose their will on the country at large, ostensibly for its own good.

Possible government “solutions” will include wage and price controls, credit controls, restrictions on changing jobs, controls on withdrawing money from bank accounts, import and export restrictions, restrictions on the use of cash to prevent tax evasion, nationalization, even martial law—almost anything is possible. None of these “solutions” addresses the root cause—state intervention in the economy. Each will just make things worse rather than better.

What these solutions all share is their political nature; in order to work they require that some people be forced to obey the orders of others.

Whether you or I or a taxi driver on the street thinks a particular solution is good or not is irrelevant. All of the problems that are just beginning to crash down around society’s head (e.g., a bankrupt Social Security system, federally protected banks that are bankrupt, a monetary system gone haywire) used to be solutions, and they must have seemed “good” at the time, otherwise they’d never have been adopted.

The real problem is not what is done but rather how it is done: that is, through the political process or through the free market. The difference is that between coercion and voluntarism. It’s also the difference between getting excited, frustrated, and beating your head against a wall and taking positive action to improve your own standard of living, to live life the way you like it, and, by your own example, to influence society in the direction that you’d like to see it take—but without asking the government to hold a gun to anyone’s head.

Political action can change things. Russians in the ’20s, Germans in the ’30s, Chinese in the ’40s, Cubans in the ’50s, Congolese in the ’60s, South Vietnamese and Cambodians in the ’70s, then Rhodesians, Bosnians, Rwandans, and Venezuelans today are among those who certainly discovered it can. It’s just that the changes usually aren’t very constructive.

That’s the nature of government; it doesn’t create wealth, it only allocates what others have created. More typically, it either dissipates wealth or misallocates it, because it acts in ways that are politically productive (i.e., that gratify and enhance the power of politicians) rather than economically productive (i.e., that allow individuals to satisfy their desires in the ways they prefer).

It’s irresponsible to base your own life on what hundreds of millions of other people and their rulers may or may not do. The essence of being a free person is to be causative over your own actions and destiny, not to be the effect of others. You can’t control what others will do, but you can control yourself.

If you’re counting on other people, or political solutions of some type, most likely it will make you unwary and complacent, secure in the hope that “they” know what they’re doing and you needn’t get yourself all flustered with worries about the collapse of the economy.

*  *  *

Really, there’s no need to get worried or flustered. But you do need to act… now. We think there’s a strong chance widespread economic collapse is just around the corner. That’s why we’ve put together a timely special report, our Guide to Surviving and Thriving During an Economic Collapse. Click here to download your free PDF copy now.

Published:11/11/2017 3:28:52 PM
[8.5%] "It's Been Dismal" - Gold Coin Sales Slump As 'Bugs' Bounce To Bitcoin

Gold prices are rallying, but retail gold dealers and shops are struggling to survive.

As The Wall Street Journal reports, businesses that sell gold coins and other products made from the precious metal usually thrive during years like 2017.

Gold futures have gained more than 10%, boosted by a weaker dollar and by big investors looking for a haven during recent geopolitical tensions surrounding North Korea and Iran.

But despite higher bullion prices and solid demand from not-American-central banks, American Eagle Coin sales by the US Mint in October 2017 are down 87% YoY for gold and down 73% YoY for silver...

h/t @Gloeschi

The weak demand is taking a toll on gold dealers, some of whose sales have dropped as much as 70% compared with last year, according to Jeffrey Christian, managing partner at market-research firm CPM Group.

“It’s been absolutely dismal," said Peter Thomas, senior vice president of metals at Zaner Precious Metals, a Chicago precious-metals dealer.

 

“A lot of guys have been really hurting.”

And as WSJ notes, one reason for the declining business: A number of retail buyers are turning to cryptocurrencies like bitcoin to store money during periods of stress, some analysts say.

Bitcoin has “taken some of the dedicated interest in gold away from gold,” said Mohamed El-Erian, chief economic adviser at Allianz SE, who warned at a CME Group event in September that cryptocurrencies could pose a long-term threat to the precious metal.

 

While gold buyers historically have looked to the precious metal as a place to hide during a market selloff, some suggest that virtual currencies are a new “hedge against chaos.”

 

Mr. Thomas of Zaner Precious Metals said authorized gold purchasers who buy directly from the U.S. Mint have been getting hurt, too, because of waning dealer demand.

 

“They end up having to stockpile coins,” he said.

 

“You would expect gold to be rocking at the present time, but it’s not," said Ross Norman, head of London-based gold dealer Sharps Pixley.

Furthermore, small investors appear to be getting gold exposure though ETFs with more than $8.5 billion flowing into State Street’s gold ETF, the largest gold ETF, since the end of 2015, reversing three years of net outflows and marking the biggest period for inflows since 2009, according to FactSet.

Jim Rickards (and Goldman) recently opined on the Bitcoin vs Gold debate...

From my perspective, you might as well discuss gold versus watermelons or bicycles versus bitcoin. In other words, it’s a phony debate. I agree that gold and bitcoin are both forms of money, but they go their own ways.

There’s no natural relationship between the two (what traders call a “basis”).

The gold/bitcoin basis trade does not exist. But people love to discuss it, and I guess Goldman Sachs is no different.

Goldman Sachs has released a new research report that comes down squarely on the side of gold as a reliable store of wealth rather than bitcoin, which is untested in market turndowns.

Precious metals like gold are “neither a historic accident or a relic,” said the report.

It affirmed that gold is more durable than cryptocurrencies because cryptocurrencies are vulnerable to hacking, government regulation and infrastructure failure during a crisis.

Goldman also reminds us that gold holds its purchasing better than cryptocurrencies and has much less volatility. In dollar terms, bitcoin has had seven times the volatility of gold this year.

Since Goldman’s research department has not been notable as a friend to gold, the fact that they favor gold over bitcoin is highly revealing in more ways than one.

I don’t deny that bitcoin has made some people multimillionaires, but I also believe it’s a massive bubble right now.

I don’t own any bitcoin and I don’t recommend it. My reasons have to do with bubble dynamics, potential for fraud and the prospect of government intrusion.

So bitcoin evangelists seem to think I’m a technophobe. But I’ve read many bitcoin and blockchain technical papers. I “get it” when it comes to the technology.

I even worked with a team of experts and military commanders at U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) to find ways to interdict and disrupt ISIS’ use of cryptocurrencies to fund their terrorist activities.

I will say, however, that I believe in the power of the technology platforms on which the cryptocurrencies are based. These are usually called the “blockchain,” but a more descriptive term now in wide use is “distributed ledger technology,” or DLT.

So although I am a bitcoin skeptic, I believe there is a great future for the blockchain technology behind them.

I’m not telling anyone not to own cryptocurrencies, but you need to do your homework before you do.

*  *  *

Finally, this gentlement seems to sum up the general perspective...

“You can’t be parked in gold," said Casey Frazier, a government administrator in Woodstock, Conn., who used to hold nearly a third of his savings in gold.

He has moved some of his money into the booming stock market, and now his precious-metals allocation is down to 10%.

Published:11/1/2017 12:45:27 PM
[Alternative currencies] Doug Casey: How I Learned To Love Bitcoin, Part 2

Via CaseyResearch.com,

Today, Doug Casey continues his argument for why this cryptocurrency bubble is only getting bigger from here. He also explains what this all means for the price of gold. (If you missed the first part of this essay, you can catch up here.)

By Doug Casey, founder, Casey Research

In all of Africa, most of South America, and a great part of Asia, fiat currencies issued by governments are a joke. They’re extremely unreliable within those countries. And they’re totally worthless outside the physical borders of the country. That’s why those people now want dollars. But those are physical paper dollars. And governments everywhere are trying to eliminate physical currency.

I think, therefore, that the Third World will adopt Bitcoin in a huge way.

That’s not just because people who own cryptocurrencies are currently making money. They’re saving an appreciating asset rather than a depreciating asset. You’re on a Sisyphean treadmill if you try to save a Third World currency—but three-fourths of humanity has no alternative. Nobody in these backward places wants to save the worthless local currency—but, by law, that’s typically their only option. Billions will try to get into Bitcoin.

These coins are also private. They can transfer wealth outside of the country, which is very helpful. Kwachas, pulas, pesos, and such are worthless outside of the countries that issue them. Of course, governments hate that, and this will present a big problem down the road. Governments hate Bitcoin. It gives their subjects a huge measure of extra freedom.

The whole Third World is going to go to these cryptocurrencies. They all have smartphones in these countries. A phone is the first thing they buy after food, shelter, and clothing. Bitcoin will become their savings vehicle.

Sure, it’s a bubbly market. But soon billions more people will be participating in it. So, it’s going to get more bubbly. That’s my argument for the bubble getting bigger, and the prices of quality cryptos going higher.

But like I said, cryptocurrencies are just the first application of blockchain technology. I think they have staying power simply because government fiat currencies are bad, and will be getting worse. They’re not going away. But I view them mainly as a speculative opportunity right now.

How high is Bitcoin going to go? Bitcoin is kind of the numeraire. It’s the gold standard, as it were, of cryptocurrencies. John McAfee, who founded the cyber security giant McAfee, Inc., thinks it’s headed much higher. He thinks Bitcoin’s going to $50,000.

That sounds outrageous, but it’s entirely possible. Another 10-1 in a manic market is possible - although it brings up thoughts of tulip bulbs, of course.

Remember, Central Banks all over the world are printing up fiat currencies by the trillions, desperately trying to put off a collapse of the world economy. Many will issue their own cryptos - they’re trying to totally abolish paper cash as we speak. And they won’t want competition from private currencies like Bitcoin. Governments may well try to outlaw peer-to-peer cryptos.

That’s a topic worth exploring.

Governments are going to get into these currencies in a big way. But only their own versions, probably making private cryptos like Bitcoin illegal. With paper cash no longer available, they’ll then be able to track absolutely everything that’s bought and sold.

At that stage - which is in the near future - the blockchain tech will have gone from one of the biggest pro-freedom innovations to one of the most repressive. Like gunpowder—first a liberator for the average man, then a means to suppress him. That said, technology, in the long run, is eventually always a liberating force.

And there’s one more factor that few are considering in the crypto revolution. They’re very good for gold. That’s because they’re drawing attention to the nature of the monetary system. Something few people think about. At all.

When people buy these cryptocurrencies, even if they know nothing about hard money, economics, or monetary theory, they implicitly ask themselves, “Hmm, Bitcoin or the dollar?” They’re both currencies. Then they naturally start asking questions about the nature of the dollar… the nature of inflation… and whether the dollar has any real value, and what’s going to happen to it, and why. Figuring out the differences between currencies—as opposed to just accepting the dollar and central banking as if they were constants in the firmament, which almost everyone does now—is part of a monetary revolution.

People are going to start asking themselves these questions—which wouldn’t have otherwise occurred to them. They’re going to see that only a certain number of Bitcoin will ever be issued, while dollars can be created by the trillions, by the hundreds of trillions.

That’s going to make them very suspicious of the dollar. It’s going to get a lot of people thinking about money and economics in a way that they never thought about it before. And this is inevitably going to lead them to gold.

So, the Bitcoin and cryptocurrency revolution will prove extremely positive for gold. It’s going to draw the attention of millions, or hundreds of millions of people, to gold as the real alternative to the dollar and other currencies, after Bitcoin.

Plus, I suspect future versions of Bitcoin, or Bitcoin 2.0, will be easily redeemable in gold grams. This is actually a big deal that most people aren’t looking at.

Published:10/30/2017 10:04:49 PM
[Afghanistan] The Legacy Of Reagan's Civilian 'PsyOps'

Authored by Robert Parry via ConsortiumNews.com,

When the Reagan administration launched peacetime “psyops” in the mid-1980s, it pulled in civilian agencies to help spread these still-ongoing techniques of deception and manipulation...

Declassified records from the Reagan presidential library show how the U.S. government enlisted civilian agencies in psychological operations designed to exploit information as a way to manipulate the behavior of targeted foreign audiences and, at least indirectly, American citizens.


Walter Raymond Jr., a CIA propaganda and disinformation specialist who oversaw President Reagan’s “psyops” and “perception management” projects at the National Security Council. Raymond is partially obscured by President Reagan. Raymond is seated next to National Security Adviser John Poindexter. (Photo credit: Reagan presidential library)

A just-declassified sign-in sheet for a meeting of an inter-agency “psyops” committee on Oct. 24, 1986, shows representatives from the Agency for International Development (USAID), the State Department, and the U.S. Information Agency (USIA) joining officials from the Central Intelligence Agency and the Defense Department.

Some of the names of officials from the CIA and Pentagon remain classified more than three decades later. But the significance of the document is that it reveals how agencies that were traditionally assigned to global development (USAID) or international information (USIA) were incorporated into the U.S. government’s strategies for peacetime psyops, a military technique for breaking the will of a wartime enemy by spreading lies, confusion and terror.

Essentially, psyops play on the cultural weaknesses of a target population so they could be more easily controlled or defeated, but the Reagan administration was taking the concept outside the traditional bounds of warfare and applying psyops to any time when the U.S. government could claim some threat to America.

This disclosure – bolstered by other documents released earlier this year by archivists at the Reagan library in Simi Valley, California – is relevant to today’s frenzy over alleged “fake news” and accusations of “Russian disinformation” by reminding everyone that the U.S. government was active in those same areas.

The U.S. government’s use of disinformation and propaganda is, of course, nothing new. For instance, during the 1950s and 1960s, the USIA regularly published articles in friendly newspapers and magazines that appeared under fake names such as Guy Sims Fitch.

However, in the 1970s, the bloody Vietnam War and the Pentagon Papers’ revelations about U.S. government deceptions to justify that war created a crisis for American propagandists, their loss of credibility with the American people. Some of the traditional sources of U.S. disinformation, such as the CIA, also fell into profound disrepute.

This so-called “Vietnam Syndrome” – a skeptical citizenry dubious toward U.S. government claims about foreign conflicts – undermined President Reagan’s efforts to sell his plans for intervention in the civil wars then underway in Central America, Africa and elsewhere.

Reagan depicted Central America as a “Soviet beachhead,” but many Americans saw haughty Central American oligarchs and their brutal security forces slaughtering priests, nuns, labor activists, students, peasants and indigenous populations.

Reagan and his advisers realized that they had to turn those perceptions around if they hoped to get sustained funding for the militaries of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras as well as for the Nicaraguan Contra rebels, the CIA-organized paramilitary force marauding around leftist-ruled Nicaragua.

Perception Management

So, it became a high priority to reshape public perceptions inside those targeted countries but even more importantly among the American people. That challenge led the Reagan administration to revitalize and reorganize methods for distributing propaganda and funding friendly foreign operatives, such as creation of the National Endowment for Democracy under neoconservative president Carl Gershman in 1983.


President Ronald Reagan meeting with Guatemalan dictator Efrain Rios Montt, who later faced accusations of genocide against Indian populations in the central highlands.

Another entity in this process was the Psychological Operations Committee formed in 1986 under Reagan’s National Security Council. In the years since, the U.S. administrations, both Republican and Democratic, have applied many of these same psyops principles, cherry-picking or manufacturing evidence to undermine adversaries and to solidify U.S. public support for Washington’s policies.

This reality – about the U.S. government creating its own faux reality to manipulate the American people and international audiences – should compel journalists in the West to treat all claims from Washington with a large grain of salt.

However, instead, we have seen a pattern of leading news outlets simply amplifying whatever U.S. agencies assert about foreign adversaries while denouncing skeptics as purveyors of “fake news” or enemy “propaganda.” In effect, the success of the U.S. psyops strategy can be measured by how Western mainstream media has stepped forward as the enforcement mechanism to ensure conformity to the U.S. government’s various information themes and narratives.

For instance, any questioning of the U.S. government’s narratives on, say, the current Syrian conflict, or the Ukraine coup of 2014, or Russian “hacking” of the 2016 U.S. election, or Iran’s status as “the leading sponsor of terrorism” is treated by the major Western news outlets as evidence that you are a “useful fool” at best, if not a willful enemy “propagandist” with loyalty to a foreign power, i.e., a traitor.

Leading mainstream media outlets and establishment-approved Web sites are now teaming up with Google, Facebook and other technology companies to develop algorithms to bury or remove content from the Internet that doesn’t march in lockstep with what is deemed to be true, which often simply follows what U.S. government agencies say is true.

Yet, the documentary evidence is now clear that the U.S. government undertook a well-defined strategy of waging psyops around the world with regular blowback of this propaganda and disinformation onto the American people via Western news agencies covering events in the affected countries.

During more recent administrations, euphemisms have been used to cloak the more pejorative phrase, “psychological operations” – such as “public diplomacy,” “strategic communications,” “perception management,” and “smart power.” But the serious push to expand this propaganda capability of the U.S. government can be traced back to the Reagan presidency.

The Puppet Master

Over the years, I’ve obtained scores of documents related to the psyops and related programs via “mandatory declassification reviews” of files belonging to Walter Raymond Jr., a senior CIA covert operations specialist who was transferred to Reagan’s National Security Council staff in 1982 to rebuild capacities for psyops, propaganda and disinformation.


Then-Vice President George H.W. Bush with CIA Director William Casey at the White House on Feb. 11, 1981. (Photo credit: Reagan Library)

Raymond, who has been compared to a character from a John LeCarré novel slipping easily into the woodwork, spent his years inside Reagan’s White House as a shadowy puppet master who tried his best to avoid public attention or – it seems – even having his picture taken.

From the tens of thousands of photographs from meetings at Reagan’s White House, I found only a couple showing Raymond – and he is seated in groups, partially concealed by other officials.

But Raymond appears to have grasped his true importance. In his NSC files, I found a doodle of an organizational chart that had Raymond at the top holding what looks like the crossed handles used by puppeteers to control the puppets below them. The drawing fits the reality of Raymond as the behind-the-curtains operative who was controlling the various inter-agency task forces that were responsible for implementing psyops and other propaganda strategies.

In Raymond’s files, I found an influential November 1983 paper, written by Col. Alfred R. Paddock Jr. and entitled “Military Psychological Operations and US Strategy,” which stated: “the planned use of communications to influence attitudes or behavior should, if properly used, precede, accompany, and follow all applications of force. Put another way, psychological operations is the one weapons system which has an important role to play in peacetime, throughout the spectrum of conflict, and during the aftermath of conflict.”

Paddock continued, “Military psychological operations are an important part of the ‘PSYOP Totality,’ both in peace and war. … We need a program of psychological operations as an integral part of our national security policies and programs. … The continuity of a standing interagency board or committee to provide the necessary coordinating mechanism for development of a coherent, worldwide psychological operations strategy is badly needed.”

One declassified “top secret” document in Raymond’s file – dated Feb. 4, 1985, from Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger – urged the fuller implementation of President Reagan’s National Security Decision Directive 130, which was signed on March 6, 1984, and which authorized peacetime psyops by expanding psyops beyond its traditional boundaries of active military operations into peacetime situations in which the U.S. government could claim some threat to national interests.

“This approval can provide the impetus to the rebuilding of a necessary strategic capability, focus attention on psychological operations as a national – not solely military – instrument, and ensure that psychological operations are fully coordinated with public diplomacy and other international information activities,” Weinberger’s document said.

An Inter-Agency Committee

This broader commitment to psyops led to the creation of a Psychological Operations Committee (POC) that was to be chaired by a representative of Reagan’s National Security Council with a vice chairman from the Pentagon and with representatives from CIA, the State Department and USIA.


CIA seal in lobby of the spy agency’s headquarters. (U.S. government photo)

“This group will be responsible for planning, coordinating and implementing psychological operations activities in support of United States policies and interests relative to national security,” according to a “secret” addendum to a memo, dated March 25, 1986, from Col. Paddock, the psyops advocate who had become the U.S. Army’s Director for Psychological Operations.

 

“The committee will provide the focal point for interagency coordination of detailed contingency planning for the management of national information assets during war, and for the transition from peace to war,” the addendum added.

 

“The POC shall seek to ensure that in wartime or during crises (which may be defined as periods of acute tension involving a threat to the lives of American citizens or the imminence of war between the U.S. and other nations), U.S. international information elements are ready to initiate special procedures to ensure policy consistency, timely response and rapid feedback from the intended audience.”

In other words, the U.S. government could engage in psyops virtually anytime because there are always “periods of acute tension involving a threat to the lives of American citizens.”

The Psychological Operations Committee took formal shape with a “secret” memo from Reagan’s National Security Advisor John Poindexter on July 31, 1986. Its first meeting was called on Sept. 2, 1986, with an agenda that focused on Central America and “How can other POC agencies support and complement DOD programs in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Costa Rica and Panama.” The POC was also tasked with “Developing National PSYOPS Guidelines” for “formulating and implementing a national PSYOPS program.” (Underlining in original)

Raymond was named a co-chair of the POC along with CIA officer Vincent Cannistraro, who was then Deputy Director for Intelligence Programs on the NSC staff, according to a “secret” memo from Deputy Under Secretary of Defense Craig Alderman Jr.

The memo also noted that future POC meetings would be briefed on psyops projects for the Philippines and Nicaragua, with the latter project codenamed “Niagara Falls.” The memo also references a “Project Touchstone,” but it is unclear where that psyops program was targeted.

Another “secret” memo dated Oct. 1, 1986, co-authored by Raymond, reported on the POC’s first meeting on Sept. 10, 1986, and noted that “The POC will, at each meeting, focus on an area of operations (e.g., Central America, Afghanistan, Philippines).”

The POC’s second meeting on Oct. 24, 1986 – for which the sign-in sheet was just released – concentrated on the Philippines, according to a Nov. 4, 1986 memo also co-authored by Raymond.

But the Reagan administration’s primary attention continued to go back to Central America, including “Project Niagara Falls,” the psyops program aimed at Nicaragua. A “secret” Pentagon memo from Deputy Under Secretary Alderman on Nov. 20, 1986, outlined the work of the 4th Psychological Operations Group on this psyops plan “to help bring about democratization of Nicaragua,” by which the Reagan administration meant a “regime change.” The precise details of “Project Niagara Falls” were not disclosed in the declassified documents but the choice of codename suggested a cascade of psyops.

Key Operatives

Other documents from Raymond’s NSC file shed light on who other key operatives in the psyops and propaganda programs were. For instance, in undated notes on efforts to influence the Socialist International, including securing support for U.S. foreign policies from Socialist and Social Democratic parties in Europe, Raymond cited the efforts of “Ledeen, Gershman,” a reference to neoconservative operative Michael Ledeen and Carl Gershman, another neocon who has served as president of the U.S.-government-funded National Endowment for Democracy (NED), from 1983 to the present. (Underlining in original.)


Carl Gershman, president of the National Endowment for Democracy.

Although NED is technically independent of the U.S. government, it receives the bulk of its funding (now about $100 million a year) from Congress. Documents from the Reagan archives also make clear that NED was organized as a way to replace some of the CIA’s political and propaganda covert operations, which had fallen into disrepute in the 1970s. Earlier released documents from Raymond’s file show CIA Director William Casey pushing for NED’s creation and Raymond, Casey’s handpicked man on the NSC, giving frequent advice and direction to Gershman. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “CIA’s Hidden Hand in ‘Democracy’ Groups.”]

While the initials USAID conjure up images of well-meaning Americans helping to drill wells, teach school and set up health clinics in impoverished nations, USAID also has kept its hand in financing friendly journalists around the globe.

In 2015, USAID issued a fact sheet summarizing its work financing “journalism education, media business development, capacity building for supportive institutions, and strengthening legal-regulatory environments for free media.” USAID estimated its budget for “media strengthening programs in over 30 countries” at $40 million annually, including aiding “independent media organizations and bloggers in over a dozen countries,”

In Ukraine before the 2014 coup, USAID offered training in “mobile phone and website security,” which sounds a bit like an operation to thwart the local government’s intelligence gathering, an ironic position for the U.S. with its surveillance obsession, including prosecuting whistleblowers based on evidence that they talked to journalists.

USAID, working with billionaire George Soros’s Open Society, also funded the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), which engages in “investigative journalism” that usually goes after governments that have fallen into disfavor with the United States and then are singled out for accusations of corruption.

The USAID-funded OCCRP also collaborates with Bellingcat, an online investigative website founded by blogger Eliot Higgins, who is now a senior non-resident fellow of the Atlantic Council, a pro-NATO think tank that receives funding from the U.S. and allied governments.

Higgins has spread misinformation on the Internet, including discredited claims implicating the Syrian government in the sarin attack in 2013 and directing an Australian TV news crew to what looked to be the wrong location for a video of a BUK anti-aircraft battery as it supposedly made its getaway to Russia after the shoot-down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in July 2014.

Despite his dubious record of accuracy, Higgins has gained mainstream acclaim, in part, because his “findings” always match up with the propaganda theme that the U.S. government and its Western allies are peddling. Though most genuinely independent bloggers are ignored by the mainstream media, Higgins has found his work touted by both The New York Times and The Washington Post, and Google has included Bellingcat on its First Draft coalition, which will determine which news will be deemed real and which fake.

In other words, the U.S. government has a robust strategy for deploying direct and indirect agents of influence who are now influencing how the titans of the Internet will structure their algorithms to play up favored information and disappear disfavored information.

A Heritage of Lies

During the first Cold War, the CIA and the U.S. Information Agency refined the art of “information warfare,” including pioneering some of its current features like having ostensibly “independent” entities and cut-outs present U.S. propaganda to a cynical public that would reject much of what it hears from government but may trust “citizen journalists” and “bloggers.”


A screen shot of U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland speaking to U.S. and Ukrainian business leaders on Dec. 13, 2013, at an event sponsored by Chevron, with its logo to Nuland’s left.

USIA, which was founded in 1953 and gained new life in the 1980s under its Reagan-appointed director Charles Wick, was abolished in 1999, but its propaganda functions were largely folded into the new office of Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, which became a new fount of disinformation.

For instance, in 2014, President Obama’s Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy Richard Stengel engaged in a series of falsehoods and misrepresentations regarding Russia’s RT network. In one instance, he claimed that the RT had made the “ludicrous assertion” that the U.S. had invested $5 billion in the regime change project in Ukraine. But that was an obvious reference to a public speech by U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland on Dec. 13, 2013, in which she said “we have invested more than $5 billion” to help Ukraine to achieve its “European aspirations.”

Nuland also was a leading proponent of the Ukraine coup, personally cheering on the anti-government rioters. In an intercepted phone call with U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt, Nuland discussed how “to glue” or “midwife this thing” and who the new leaders would be. She picked Arseniy Yatsenyuk – “Yats is the guy” – who ended up as Prime Minister after elected President Viktor Yanukovych was overthrown.

Despite all the evidence of a U.S.-backed coup, The New York Times simply ignored the evidence, including the Nuland-Pyatt phone call, to announce that there never was a coup. The Times’ obeisance to the State Department’s false narrative is a good example of how the legacy of Walter Raymond, who died in 2003, extends to the present.

Over several decades, even as the White House changed hands from Republicans to Democrats, the momentum created by Raymond continued to push the peacetime psyops strategy forward.

In more recent years, the wording of the program may have changed to more pleasing euphemisms. But the idea is the same: how you can use psyops, propaganda and disinformation to sell U.S. government policies abroad and at home.

Published:10/16/2017 2:00:42 AM
[FBI] Brandon Smith: A Tactical Analysis Of The Las Vegas Mass Shooting Incident

Authored by Brandon Smith via Alt-Market.com,

I set aside some time for more details of the Vegas shooting to emerge before writing this article. A few important data points have been released, but I have to say that this remains one of the most confusing terror incidents in decades.

The tactical and strategic thought applied in this attack denotes a sophisticated and experienced shooter, yet, we are told by Stephen Paddock's family and girlfriend that there was no indication that he had such knowledge or experience. There were some advanced tactical decisions involved in every aspect of the staging of the event, yet, there were also a few glaring mistakes that do not fit. Beyond this, there is evidence that Paddock (the alleged shooter) did not act alone, yet, the official mainstream narrative continues to tell us that he was a lone wolf.

Now, every terror event these days produces an endless supply of alternative theories, some practical and some ridiculous. I will be keeping my theories to a minimum here, because I don't think they serve much purpose in this instance beyond comfort for those that desperately want explanations. What I will be doing is presenting some questions and pointing out inconsistencies. My goal is merely to show that there is evidence which indicates far more complexity to the Vegas shooting than the mainstream media and federal officials are willing to discuss.

First, lets look at how the attack was staged versus what we are told about the background of Stephen Paddock.

Mass Shooter Psychological Profile

Psychological disposition is the root of tactical behavior.  It is important to note that mass shootings are an extremely rare occurrence despite the propaganda often poured onto the pages of the mainstream media. Psychological profiling of the people behind these crimes is difficult because the number of candidates is very small. There are, however, some common themes.

For example — many mass shooters are motivated by revenge or envy. Shooters often exhibit signs of sociopathy, a self-centered nature and a lack of compassion along with past instances of abuse and violence towards other people and animals. There is also usually a previous history of mental illness. In most cases there is a "triggering event" which leads to a psychological break and a reaction to violence.

According to the personal accounts from the people that knew Paddock, including his girlfriend, none of these attributes seems to fit. Marilou Danley described him as a "kind and caring man," stating that he had never taken any action which would have led her to believe he was capable of such violence. The only factor that stands as evidence of a potential psychological break is the fact that Paddock was prescribed the anti-anxiety drug diazepam months prior, which has been known to cause aggression when taken in larger doses.

Did Paddock take this drug because of unrelated anxiety and did it trigger his shooting spree? Or, was his anxiety caused by the fact that he was already planning a shooting spree and the drug was meant to "take the edge off" so he could more easily follow through with the attack?

Paddock was prescribed the drug once in 2016 and on June 21st of this year.  I have seen no evidence that he was using the medication in the days before the attack.  The meticulous planning that went into this attack, as well as possible evidence that Paddock was renting rooms adjacent to major musical events for some time, shows that this was not initiated by a psychological break. Rather, there was a considerable level of conscious critical thought and foresight.

There is also no available evidence of domestic instability or financial troubles. Paddock was a multi-millionaire with a successful real estate investment portfolio. He was a former postal worker and tax auditor, as well as an employee for defense contractor Lockheed Martin (I have not seen any statements by Lockheed on what exactly he did for them). It should be noted that Paddock, at age 64, was one of the oldest mass shooters in recent history.

Paddock's father, a bank robber on the FBI's Most Wanted list, was not present for the most of the early lives of the children according to his brother, Eric Paddock, which undermines the notion of poor environmental influences.

Eric Paddock claims Stephen also had no strong ideological or religious leanings and simply "didn't care" about such matters. Meaning, no apparent ties to extremist views. He had no social media profiles and police claim they have found nothing in his home computers or phones to suggest a philosophical or political motive. So far I have not seen a single concrete and verified piece of evidence proving Paddock believed in anything other than making money, gambling and traveling the world for fun.

I personally find this extremely hard to believe. Stephen Paddock, for all intents and purposes, was positively the perfect "Gray Man," a ghost that blended completely into the background, so much so that his own family and girlfriend had no idea that he was amassing the weapons and training needed to pull off the Vegas attack.

The Tactical Know-How Of A Nobody

This is the area which brings up the most questions for me in terms of the Vegas incident. As an avid tactical shooter and long distance shooter, I immediately recognized some strange factors. For instance, the choice of his perch, two adjacent rooms on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel, was rather effective for a number of reasons.

If you have the chance to study counter-sniping methodologies or talk with veterans involved in counter-sniping in urban areas, you will learn that the most successful snipers tend to choose mid-ground perches to take shots from. Meaning, they never choose the highest points nor the lowest points, and never shoot from the closest points or the furthest points. Well trained snipers can and do sometimes shoot from 1,000 yards or more, but they prefer to shoot from the "sweet spot" around 300-400 yards away at an elevated point from an expedient hide in the middle of a building or structure.

They do this because when people (including trained combat soldiers) are shot at, their eyes naturally tend to scan for the highest points in the background and the closest points in the foreground first. Choosing mid-ground positions makes snipers more difficult to pick out quickly and also harder for the average person to shoot back at.

I would note that average, untrained mass shooters are more likely to enter a crowd and start shooting at point blank range in order to ensure hits on targets. Paddock chose the position of a trained shooter, which you can see a photo of in this article by The New Yorker. It was NOT the best possible position, but a very good one.

Paddock's choice to fire from the position of a large occupied hotel gave a layer of cover to his attack; anyone attempting to suppress him with their own fire would risk hitting innocent people within the building.  Only a person with an understanding of counter-sniping and a scoped rifle would have the ability to stop the attack from outside.  Nevada is a very concealed carry friendly state and attacking a crowd at close range on the ground would be a high risk scenario.  Firing from the Mandalay was the shooter's most likely chance of a high body count without meeting opposition, as long as he had the proper training.

The first room Paddock used in the Mandalay is in the corner of the 32nd floor with a view of the concert area and the north. It has a diagonal range of around 400 yards and a linear range of around 240 yards. When firing from an elevated position snipers range targets and bullet drop according to the shorter linear range or "true ballistic distance" (base of the ground to the target) rather than the direct range from their perch to the target. This is because gravity only affects the bullet over the true ballistic distance and elevation in a scope must be adjusted to that distance. It is not as easy as it seems to hit targets from an elevated position, even with an "automatic" weapon.

It has been recently stated by Las Vegas police that the "note" found near Paddock's body was scribbled with calculations for bullet drop from his position. These calculations can be done with newer laser rangefinders, but Stephen apparently chose to do them on paper. Las Vegas Detective Casey Clarkson was on the grounds of the concert during the attack, and recounted "I'm like, how is he so accurate" (in reference to Paddock) in an interview with 60 Minutes. Yet another piece of evidence showing that Paddock (or someone else) had extensive shooter training.

The two adjacent rooms at the Mandalay offered extensive coverage of possible approaches for first responders. The first room gave the shooter good coverage of the concert and the north approach of Las Vegas Blvd. The second room gave the shooter a very wide angle of coverage to the south approach to the Mandalay as well as the main entrance of the hotel. More tactical know-how on display.

Finally, Paddock allegedly placed small surveillance cameras in the hall approaching his room. A valuable tool which a shooter could use to surprise law enforcement, maintaining a longer period of shooter effectiveness as well as possibly allowing for an escape. Las Vegas police are quoted as stating that it appeared as though Paddock had planned to evade capture. This fits in line with the rest of his tactical staging. His suicide does not.

Things That Don't Add Up

Again, I am not going to enter into much discussion on theory, here. I am only going to cite some instances of evidence and narrative that, for me, do not make sense.  Let's begin...

The motive: No apparent motive. Paddock led a life of near luxury, had a happy relationship with his girlfriend and gave no indication to anyone of any instability or ideological affiliation. He had no criminal record. He was also well beyond the average age range of people commonly involved in such crimes. He does not fit any of the characteristics of mass shooters.  Period.

The arsenal: Paddock put a substantial amount of thought and planning into the position of his perch as well as a potential escape. He had the knowledge and experience to calculate accurate shots from an elevated position at distance. But, for some reason the 64-year-old-man decided it was warranted to drag at least 23 guns and hundreds of pounds of ammunition in ten separate suitcases to his room at the Mandalay Bay. A person with the intelligence displayed in the planning of this event would know that most of these rifles were not needed in the slightest to achieve the effect desired. They are dead weight, and moving them into the Mandalay only presented unnecessary risk of discovery. Unless, of course, the original plan involved multiple shooters.

A strange year?: Family and acquaintances have mentioned Paddock's propensity for "disappearing" in the year previous to the Vegas attack. And, there is the fact that 33 of the 47 firearms Paddock owned were purchased in the last 12 months.

Security calls: Paddock called hotel security at least twice to complain about "loud music" on the floor below him the day of the shooting.  Why would a mass shooter care, or take the risk of drawing too much attention to himself?

The windows: Why, after so much careful planning, did Paddock expose his position by smashing two separate windows in his adjacent hotel rooms? There are other ways of providing a shooter's loophole with less exposure? Very odd.  Almost as if the decision to actually shoot was made suddenly, which does not fit the rest of the narrative or evidence.

"Unrelated" room alarm leads security right to Paddock: The Las Vegas Sheriffs Department indicates that security was originally led directly to the floor that Paddock was shooting from by a "door alarm" that was set off by someone three rooms down from him. Now, authorities have been forced to admit that this alarm and the confrontation between security and Paddock took place BEFORE he began his shooting spree.  This means that police should have been alerted to Paddock's presence and exact location in advance of the attack.  Who set off this alarm which conveniently helped to give away Paddock's position early, and why?

The surveillance cameras: Paddock had a head start on security, SWAT and anyone else that approached his rooms. He fired at hotel security through his door injuring employee Jesus Campos. He also had thousands of rounds of ammunition including .308 rounds which could easily be fired through several walls on the floor of his hotel room. Why did Paddock prepare for an escape, use his cameras to allow him to fire at hotel security through his door, equip rounds capable of annihilating any SWAT team that stacked up to breach his room, but decided to shoot himself instead before SWAT ever entered? Some people might argue that there is no logic to the mind of a "madman," but again, I've seen no evidence that Paddock was insane beyond the criminal act itself.  Also, the hotel had its own surveillance in the hall near Paddock's rooms.  No one noticed the man placing cameras about the area?

Multiple shooters?: Las Vegas County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo is quoted as saying that it was only logical to assume given the evidence that Paddock "had some help at some point" in the staging of the Vegas attack. To me, this is absolutely clear in the tactical planning.  Paddock does not appear to have the background or training to have chosen and staged the perch.

The report suggesting that a phone charger was found that did not belong to Paddock has since been refuted by police, as well as the report that his card key was used to access his room while Paddock was gone. Of course, hotel surveillance would prove this one way or the other and should be made available to the public.

Still, there are multiple accounts by witnesses that there may have been a second shooter, including the initial reports given by first responders on the scene, who were told a shooter was on the 29th floor as well as the 32nd floor.  All of these accounts have been dismissed as a result of "panic" and the fog of war.

The mystery woman: A witness on site at the concert stated that a woman (and her apparent boyfriend) approached people near the stage 45 minutes before the attack, telling them that "they were all going to die." She was later escorted out of the venue by security. Who was this woman? Was she trying to menace the concertgoers or warn them? Or, was it all coincidence?

Conclusion

In my view, there is simply no way that a man with Stephen Paddock's history and background committed the Vegas shooting alone.

There is no motive, no clear evidence of mental illness, no ideological markers and nothing to be gained. The tactical expertise displayed in most cases shows considerable training. Theories will abound.

It is possible that he was used. It is also possible that he was secretly radicalized and trained, as ISIS has continuously asserted since the attack. Or, perhaps he never pulled a single trigger and somehow ended up shot through the head in a room full of guns overlooking Las Vegas Blvd. and dozens of dead concertgoers.

The most disturbing aspect of this event and the mainstream narrative, though, is what it insinuates.

It insinuates that anyone no matter how seemingly normal could one day simply "snap" and murder crowds of people with impunity.

It is the anti-Second Amendment narrative personified, because if "anyone" is capable of such horror, and motive is nonexistent, then the mere existence of firearm access means that we are surrounded by millions of latent mass shooters.

That is to say, we are supposed to fear everyone around us at all times.

I will write about the solution to this problem in my next article. In the meantime, I suggest everyone ponder on the oddities of this event and continue to ask questions.

Published:10/11/2017 10:01:58 PM
[] Tuesday Overnight Open Thread (10/10/17) (Yes we are) ***** Quotes of The Day Quote I All the world's a stage and most of us are desperately unrehearsed. Sean O'Casey Quote II From this day forward, somebody propose it, liberals should not be allowed to... Published:10/10/2017 9:23:11 PM
[World] Mom Whose Daughter Killed by Illegal Immigrant: Congress and President Must Work Together to Build the Wall

Wendy Hartling's daughter Casey was killed by illegal immigrant from Haiti whom Immigration and Customs Enforcement had tried three times to send home.

Published:10/8/2017 12:39:04 PM
[Charles Schumer] Harvey Weinstein's Lawyer Quits After Two Days As Democrats Scramble To Distance Themselves

Harvey Weinstein's attorney Lisa Bloom cut ties suddenly with her "radioactive" movie mogul client in a terse Saturday tweet.

“I have resigned as an advisor to Harvey Weinstein,” wrote Bloom - ironically a women’s rights advocate - who was brought in after the Miramax Films co-founder was accused by the NYT of spending decades sexually harassing the women he worked with. “My understanding is that Mr. Weinstein and his board are moving toward an agreement.”

In a statement issued Thursday, Bloom said she was brought in to assist Harvey in using this “painful learning experience to grow into a better man.” The attorney also promised that “I will continue to work with him personally for as long as it takes."

Apparently, it took 2 days.

Bloom did not elaborate what the agreement involving Weinstein might entail. Weinstein, 65, was suspended indefinitely Friday by company officials, including his brother Bob, amid devastating allegations  of three decades of inappropriate behavior. Among those accusing Weinstein are actresses Ashley Judd and Rose McGowan.

According to Variety and the NY Post, brother Bob Weinstein was among those executives calling for his brother’s firing. Miramax also brought in attorney John Kiernan to conduct an internal company probe of Harvey Weinstein's conduct amid reports that fellow executives wanted him out.

* * *

Meanwhile, Democrats - until this week proud recipients of Weinstein's financial generosity - are rushing to distance themselves from the suddenly "radioactive" film producer.  According to The Hill, nearly a dozen Democratic senators, including Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and several potential 2020 presidential contenders, are pledging to donate the contributions they’ve received from Weinstein over the years to nonprofit groups advocating for women who have been the victims of sexual abuse.

The Democratic National Committee (DNC) will give the money it received from Weinstein in the most recent campaign cycle to a trio of women’s groups (although in retrospect, they should probably also spend some on server protection and antivirus software). However, the DNC quickly came under fire for only donating a fraction of what it had received from Weinstein over the years, and for giving the money to political organizations rather than those that support victimized women.

“The allegations in the New York Times report are deeply troubling,” DNC communications director Xochitl Hinojosa told The Hill. “The Democratic Party condemns all forms of sexual harassment and assault. We hope that Republicans will do the same as we mark one year since the release of a tape showing President Trump bragging about sexually assaulting women followed by more than a dozen women who came forward to detail similar experiences of assault and harassment.”

Meanwhile, the Democratic campaign committees in Washington are working with lawmakers and their campaigns to assess how much Weinstein — whose donations date back to the early 1990s — might have given to their candidates and organizations.

* * *

Weinstein’s association with the Democratic Party runs deep. He has long been one of the most prominent figures on the donor circuit that runs through Hollywood. Many Democrats expressed disgust that Weinstein would open the party up to the same attacks they’ve levied against President Trump, whose “Access Hollywood” tape broke almost a year ago.

“The difference between Trump, Bill Cosby and Weinstein — none,” said Bob Mulholland, a Democratic National Committee member from California.

The Democratic disavowal of Weinstein began quickly after the publication of the Times story.

  • Schumer said he would give $14,200 received over the course of several campaign cycles to women’s groups, his office told The Hill.
  • Elizabeth Warren will donate the $5,000 she got from Weinstein to a Boston nonprofit group called Casa Myrna, which aids victims of domestic violence. Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) will give $7,800 to the New Jersey Coalition Against Sexual Assault.
  • Al Franken is returning the most money — $19,600 given to both his campaign and a supporting super PAC — to the Minnesota Indian Women's Resource Center. And Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) is giving $11,800 — none of which was received in the most recent cycle — to RAINN, the nation’s largest group assisting victims of sexual violence.
  • Richard Blumenthal, Martin Heinrich, Bob Casey, and Patrick Leahy are among other lawmakers donating Weinstein’s contributions to women’s groups.

The amount of money the lawmakers received from Weinstein pales in comparison to what he has given to the DNC and the Democratic Senate and House campaign arms.

In total, Weinstein has given at least a quarter of a million dollars to the DNC over the years, with about $30,000 of that coming in the latest cycle. The DNC is giving the $30,000 to EMILY’s List, which supports women candidates that support abortion rights, Emerge America, which recruits and trains Democratic women for office, and Higher Heights, which supports black women running for office.

Weinstein’s influence went beyond his wallet. He was a top draw at Democratic fundraisers for former President Obama and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, where tickets could run upwards of $35,000.

In 2015, Weinstein and his wife, Georgina Chapman, a fashion designer, hosted a fundraiser for Clinton in New York City, along with Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour.  Weinstein had also teamed up with Wintour for at least two fundraisers for Obama in 2012, where a top-flight roster of liberal donors paid $35,800 to co-host and individuals paid $10,000 each to get in.

Spokespeople for Obama and Clinton did not respond to requests for comment.

Republicans hammered Democrats for the Weinstein connection, eagerly highlighting those who have yet to return funds he’s given dating back to 1993. "During three-decades worth of sexual harassment allegations, Harvey Weinstein lined the pockets of Democrats to the tune of three quarters of a million dollars,” said Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna McDaniel. “If Democrats and the DNC truly stand up for women like they say they do, then returning this dirty money should be a no brainer."

Democrats were in no mood to hear that from Republicans, pointing to Trump’s own controversies and those at Fox News, where former chairman Roger Ailes and former anchor Bill O’Reilly were forced out amid sexual harassment accusations.

 

“The entire Republican Party, from the grass roots to the establishment, stayed with Donald Trump after they’d been made aware about what he said on the “Access Hollywood” tape,” said Jon Reinish, a Democratic consultant. “They all went on Bill O’Reilly and kissed Roger Ailes’ ring. I don’t want to hear from Republicans because they don’t have a leg to stand on here.”

Still, Democrats were doing their own soul searching about whether they had turned a blind eye toward Weinstein’s behavior, which was long the subject of rumors in Hollywood.

“There’s no question that for a long time Harvey was a mover and shaker and presence around fundraising structure of the party at a high level, he brought star wattage,” said one Democratic strategist.

“When the rumors are out there, whether about Harvey or someone else, all too many times they’ve turned out to be true. We need to do a better job of being true to our values and looking at the full picture, not just what someone can do for our movement.”

Published:10/7/2017 2:03:39 PM
[Science] Fake news writer who duped Trump campaign officials during election found dead Paul Horner, 38, was found dead in his bed at his house outside of Phoenix on Sept. 18, said Mark Casey, a spokesman for the Maricopa County... Published:9/27/2017 1:20:21 PM
[Judicial Confirmations] [Orin Kerr] Sen. Casey returns a blue slip for Stephanos Bibas I blogged a while back on the good news that University of Pennsylvania Law School professor Stephanos Bibas was nominated to fill a judgeship on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit. Having flagged the nomination before, I thought I would add the good news that Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) reportedly has returned a […] Published:9/22/2017 9:51:42 AM
[Business] "You're Going To See A Rush For Gold" - Katusa Warns De-Dollarization Is Accelerating

Authored by Mac Slavo via SHTFplan.com,

Global strategist Marin Katusa is the New York Times best selling author of The Colder War, which details the geo-political power shift that threatens the global dominance of the United States. He’s also a well known resource hedge fund manager who legendary investor Doug Casey has called one of the best market analysts he’s ever worked with.

His prior forecasts noted that countries around the world would soon stop trading commodities like oil in the U.S. dollar, something we’re already seeing with China, Russia, Iran, and Venezuela, all of which are preparing non-dollar, gold-backed mechanisms of exchange.

This trend, according to Katusa in a must see interview with Future Money Trends, will only continue to weaken the U.S. dollar going forward and the result will be a massive capital flight to gold in coming years:

I think we’ll have a near term bounce on the U.S. dollar… then it’s going to be very weak… and then it’s going to go much, much lower… With China and Russia working together to de-dollarize the U.S. dollar starting with oil, which is the biggest market… and then all the other commodities.

 

You’re going to start seeing a massive unwind of these U.S. dollars in the emerging markets.

 

...

 

When that money comes back… which it will… and the world starts cluing in that the emerging markets need gold to convert the Yuan and the Ruble and all these different factors, you’re going to see a massive rush for gold.

Watch the full interview:

Katusa notes that he is preparing to “load up” on gold-based assets as the dollar strengthens and puts additional pressure on gold prices, but says that by next year major fund managers will start moving capital back into precious metals in response to dollar weakness, global de-dollarization and economic crisis:

Everybody wants to rush in when something’s exciting… but you take your position before the massive flow of money…

 

I think we have a near term dead cat bounce for the U.S. dollar… which will mean we’re going to have a little bit of weakness here in gold in the near term… the next six months is my time to load up.

 

…And when the funds flow come in… it’s going to be the equivalent of Niagra Falls coming through your garden hose.

The geo-political realignment taking place now stands to upend the financial and economic systems as we know them. This shift will not come without crisis and panic. The time to position yourself in gold-based assets is now.

Published:9/22/2017 1:51:59 AM
[Central Intelligence Agency] Ex-CIA Head Proposed Law That Would Make Reading Leaked Material A Crime

By Emma Best of Muckrock

     "We’ll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false.”

     - William Casey, 13th CIA Director   

Just months before the government’s first successful use of the Espionage Act against someone for leaking to the media, a declassified report written by then-CIA Director William Casey argued that just such an act would be irresponsible.

In the formerly SECRET paper, the Director stated that using the Espionage Act against media leakers was like “driving tacks with a sledge hammer” - grossly excessive. Months later, the government did just that, setting a precedent which is still used today. Two years later, Reagan’s war against leakers had pushed Casey into the even more aggressive position of threatening not just leakers with prosecution - but the Washington Post, the Washington Times, the New York Times, Time and Newsweek as well.

Far from minimizing the potential harm of national security leaks, Casey emphasized the damage that they could do. However, none of the five examples provided by Casey in his report resulted in any actual harm. Two examples “could have” resulted in adversary adjusting their techniques, though the language implies that hadn’t happened. A third and fourth example resulted in potential damage which forced the Agency to cut off contact with a human source lest that danger be amplified. While endangering human sources is never a good thing and disrupting HUMINT operations was unlikely to have been the intention, the report again indicates that no actual harm came to anyone. A fifth example placed someone in danger of being discovered, again a possibility which hadn’t come to pass, though it “could possibly have an adverse effect on U.S. relations” with an unknown group.

Casey took the time to point out that aside from a lack of discipline and professionalism, some leakers had specific motives, such as pushing a particular program or policy over another one.

Far from painting the media as the enemies of the public, Casey acknowledged that they were conflicted between their duties. Nevertheless, he conceded that it’s the job of the media to inform the public.

This concession didn’t stop him from also arguing that journalists be prosecuted and held in contempt if they refused to divulge their sources.

Casey also cited a legal argument that journalists do not have any legal protections for privileged communications, unlike doctors, lawyers and members of the clergy. As a result, they felt that a journalist could be “brought before a grand jury, given immunity from prosecution and can be compelled to identify the source of classified information.” However, care would need to be taken “to avoid making a journalist [into] a martyr.” To this end, a daily fine should be levied against the publisher until the questions were answered, rather than the journalist themself, which Casey felt was “legally feasible.” Casey also proposed a special prosecutor, an idea which was being explored by CIA elsewhere.

Curiously, Casey felt that this would not be “directed at the media, but at requiring the cleared government employee or contractor to live up to [their obligations].” How a measure that would directly fine publishers would impact the leaker would remain entirely unaffected, Casey failed to explain.

Casey also proposed legislation that would make the mere unauthorized possession of classified material a crime. At the time, this would put at risk anyone reading a New York Times article that reprinted classified material. Today, it would put anyone reading The Intercept or WikiLeaks at risk of potential prosecution, to say nothing of those involved in the outlets’ administration or distribution.

Despite his desire to see new legislation created that would specifically target media leaks (an all around better solution than bending preexisting laws to fill a role unintended by Congress), Casey argued against using the Espionage Act to prosecute leakers. Unlike specifically tailored and debated legislation, using the Espionage Act to target media leakers was excessive the same way that “driving tacks with a sledge hammer” was.

Ideally, Casey felt that the new law should not require they demonstrate that a leak caused any actual damage to the United States. Instead, the question should be whether or not the information was passed to someone not authorized to receive it.

Despite his desire to see the media prosecuted for their role in publishing leaks, Casey was not of the opinion that journalists are less patriotic than other Americans, though he added that “a few are less responsible than they should be.”

A memo to CIA’s General Counsel from the Chairman of the CIA Director’s Security Committee, written just months before Casey’s report, argued explicitly that while a “narrow legal standpoint” could potentially justify prosecuting media leakers under the Espionage Act, specific legislation was needed to properly deal with the problem.

Another memo written a few months before for the Director of the Intelligence Community Staff flatly stated that “no matter how one views it, this is a different crime from espionage.” It adds that “we should not drive tacks with a sledge hammer.”

Nevertheless, it would not be long before the Intelligence Community was doing just that.

Despite the misgivings in Casey’s edited paper about using the Espionage Act to target leakers, along with those expressed in the memo to CIA’s General Counsel, it was only a few months later that the government did just that by targeting Samuel Morison. This successful prosecution turned into a precedent used for decades, resulting in what Senator Moynihan called an “erratic application” the Espionage Act, which has since been used to target leakers and whistleblowers alike - and used to threaten media publishers themselves. To date, however, no such legislative solution has been passed. Instead, Reality Winner is charged under the Espionage Act for leaking a document to The Intercept.

You can read Casey’s full report on Unauthorized Disclosures to the Media below.

Published:9/17/2017 8:50:09 AM
[Academic freedom] How Does Your State Measure Up On Student Free Speech?

Authored by Casey Mattox via Alliance Defending Freedom,

More than four decades ago, the Supreme Court made it clear that public college students do not sacrifice their constitutional rights when they arrive on campus, finding “no room for the view that … First Amendment protections should apply with less force on college campuses than in the community at large.”

Yet the reality of most students does not reflect the promise of the “marketplace of ideas.” Universities are regulating what students may say, when and where they can say it, and even who will speak for them. Increasingly, state legislatures are responding by enacting laws to protect student free speech.

We are pleased to release today a review of these state laws – highlighting the states that have protected free speech on their state-funded campuses … and those that have a lot of work to do.

The Problem

For decades, universities have enacted “speech codes” to regulate student expression. These policies limit what students may say and often take the form of “harassment,” “civility,” or similar policies that lump constitutionally protected speech in with true threats, harassment, and other unprotected speech. For instance, just last year, Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) successfully challenged an Iowa State policy that deemed speech “harassment” if other students thought it was not “legitimate” or “necessary” or “lacked a constructive purpose.” Despite these policies being clearly unconstitutional, they are very common.

In addition to restricting what students may say, many universities have also strictly limited when and where students may speak – often combining these limits with requirements that administrators approve student speech or literature distribution in advance. North Carolina State required students to notify the administration five days in advance of any oral or written communication anywhere on campus until we sued and a federal court ordered the policy changed. And one school has even arrested Young Americans for Liberty members for distributing the Constitution on their campus.

Finally, free speech is only free if students decide who speaks for them. Students regularly join together with like-minded students to advocate for any number of religious, political, or other causes, building community with one another and enriching the campus environment through their advocacy. Like all student groups, they seek to elect leaders who actually share the views that the group intends to promote. But some universities have tried to prevent religious and political student organizations from having that choice.

Why It Matters

Free speech on campus affects all of us. Today’s college students are tomorrow’s legislators, judges, teachers, and voters.

The lessons they are learning about how the First Amendment works will impact our future because what happens on campus will not stay on campus.

Indeed, the Supreme Court has even warned that if we do not protect free speech on campus, “our civilization will stagnate and die.” As dramatic as that sounds, when two-thirds of all Americans now attend college it is only natural that our broader culture will be shaped by what we learn about the value of free speech and religious freedom in those formative years.

How States Are Responding

While the First Amendment protects free speech, universities continue to violate these core constitutional freedoms. The ADF Center for Academic Freedom has litigated federal lawsuits against over a dozen colleges and universities in the last year alone. And we have a 90 percent success rate in challenging these violations of students’ First Amendment rights. If you’re a student, you should know your rights, exercise them, and ensure that your campus is respecting the First Amendment.

Appalled that their public institutions are suppressing rather than supporting free speech and association, states are increasingly enacting legislation to ensure that public universities affirm and protect those values. There are a number of model bills – all of which have their merits. But the American Legislative Exchange Council’s new “FORUM Act” would address all three of these threats to student free speech: ending speech codes, speech zones, and violations of students’ freedom of association. The legislation would also allow students to pursue legal action in state or federal court when their rights are violated.

As state legislatures consider ways to address the threats to free speech on their tax-funded campuses, we are pleased to provide this guide to current state laws protecting the rights of free speech and association on public university campuses. It is our hope that we will have to update this information frequently as more states join the fight to defend the First Amendment on our campuses, teaching students to know their own constitutional rights and respect the constitutional rights of others.

Published:9/16/2017 9:15:29 PM
[Air Force] High-Ranking CIA Agent Blows Whistle On The Deep State And Shadow Government

Authored by Aaron Kesel via ActivistPost.com,

A CIA whistleblower, Kevin Shipp, has emerged from the wolves den to expose the deep state and the shadow government which he calls two entirely separate entities.

“The shadow government controls the deep state and manipulates our elected government behind the scenes,” Shipp warned in a recent talk at a Geoengineeringwatch.org conference.

Shipp had a series of slides explaining how the deep state and shadow government functions as well as the horrific crimes they are committing against U.S. citizens.

Some of the revelations the former CIA anti-terrorism counter intelligence officer revealed included that “Google Earth was set up through the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency and InQtel.” Indeed he is correct, the CIA and NGA owned the company Google acquired, Keyhole Inc., paying an undisclosed sum for the company to turn its tech into what we now know as Google Earth. Another curious investor in Keyhole Inc. was none other than the venture capital firm In-Q-Tel run by the CIA according to a press release at the time.

Shipp also disclosed that the agency known as the Joint Special Ops Command (JSOC) is the “president’s secret army” which he can use for secret assassinations, overturning governments and things the American people don’t know about.

FBI warrantless searches violate the Fourth Amendment with national security letters, which Shipp noted enables them to walk into your employer’s office and demand all your financial records and if he or she says anything about them being there they can put your supervisor in jail or drop a case against themselves using the “State’s Secret Privilege law.”

“The top of the shadow government is the National Security Agency and the Central Intelligence Agency,” Shipp said.

Shipp expressed that the CIA was created through the Council on Foreign relations with no congressional approval, and historically the CFR is also tied into the mainstream media (MSM.) He elaborated that the CIA was the “central node” of the shadow government and controlled all of other 16 intelligence agencies despite the existence of the DNI. The agency also controls defense and intelligence contractors, can manipulate the president and political decisions, has the power to start wars, torture, initiate coups, and commit false flag attacks he said.

As Shipp stated, the CIA was created through executive order by then President Harry Truman by the signing of the National Security Act of 1947.

According to Shipp, the deep state is comprised of the military industrial complex, intelligence contractors, defense contractors, MIC lobbyist, Wall St (offshore accounts), Federal Reserve, IMF/World Bank, Treasury, Foreign lobbyists, and Central Banks.

In the shocking, explosive presentation, Shipp went on to express that there are “over 10,000 secret sites in the U.S.” that formed after 9/11. There are “1,291 secret government agencies, 1,931 large private corporations and over 4,800,000 Americans that he knows of who have a secrecy clearance, and 854,000 who have Top Secret clearance, explaining they signed their lives away bound by an agreement.

He also detailed how Congress is owned by the Military Industrial Complex through the Congressional Armed Services Committee (48 senior members of Congress) giving those members money in return for a vote on the spending bill for the military and intelligence budget.

He even touched on what he called the “secret intelligence industrial complex,” which he called the center of the shadow government including the CIA, NSA, NRO, and NGA.

Shipp further stated that around the “secret intelligence industrial complex” you have the big five conglomerate of intelligence contractors – Leidos Holdings, CSRA, CACI, SAIC, and Booz Allen Hamilton. He noted that the work they do is “top secret and unreported.”

The whistleblower remarked that these intelligence contractors are accountable to no one including Congress, echoing the words of Senator Daniel Inouye when he himself blew the whistle on the shadow government during the Iran-Contra hearings in 1987.

At the time Inouye expressed that the “shadow government had its own funding mechanism, shadowy Navy, and Air Force freedom to pursue its own goals free from all checks and balances and free from the law itself.”

Shipp further added that the shadow government and elected government were in the midst of a visible cold war.

So who is Shipp and is he credible as a whistleblower, does he have credentials for the CIA? Aim.org wrote:

Shipp held several high-level positions in the CIA. He was assigned as a protective agent for the Director of Central Intelligence, a counterintelligence investigator, a Counter Terrorism Center officer, a team leader protecting sensitive CIA assets from assassination, a manager of high-risk protective operations, a lead instructor for members of allied governments, an internal staff security investigator, and a polygraph examiner. He was tasked with protecting the CIA from foreign agent penetration and the chief of training for the CIA federal police force.  Mr. Shipp functioned as program manager for the Department of State, Diplomatic Security, and Anti Terrorism Assistance global police training program.  He is the recipient of two CIA Meritorious Unit Citations, three Exceptional Performance Awards and a Medallion for overseas covert operations.  He is the author of From the Company of Shadows–CIA Operations and the War on Terrorism.

Shipp noted he was working with former NSA whistleblower William Binney but didn’t state what the two were working on together. Shipp is highly credible and may just be the highest level whistleblower. This leak is huge. He has been previously mentioned in the New York Times for blowing the whistle on the mistreatment of him and his family when they were put in a mold-contaminated home. He is also mentioned in a WikiLeaks cable during the GiFiles that I was able to dig up. Is this the beginning of whistleblowers coming forward to end the shadow government and deep state? You can watch Shipp’s full explosive presentation below.

Published:9/15/2017 8:09:09 PM
[8403e2a7-a2a6-4651-bacb-ef1a32f43a8d] 'Game of Thrones' to film multiple series finale endings to avoid leaks, HBO exec says HBO’s programming president Casey Bloys said “Game of Thrones” executives would film several different endings to avoid leaks. Published:9/14/2017 9:05:13 AM
[Afghanistan] It's Time To Take Out "Freedom Insurance"

Authored by Nick Giambruno via InternationalMan.com,

Only a fool tries to survive by acting like a vegetable, staying rooted in one place, when the political and economic climate changes for the worse.

—Doug Casey

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that America is in turmoil. That was on full display recently in Charlottesville, Virginia.

But it’s not just Charlottesville. There have been deadly clashes in Ferguson, Charleston, Dallas, St. Paul, Baltimore, Baton Rouge, and Alexandria.

America is headed for a new kind of civil war.

And when it erupts, you and your family will want “freedom insurance” - the ability to get out fast and set up comfortably in a more stable country.

I recently spoke with my friend and colleague Chris Lowe about this, and I knew I had to pass along our discussion to International Man readers. Chris is the editor of Bonner & Partners’ Inner Circle. His publication shares insights from Bill Bonner’s personal global network of analysts and investment experts.

*  *  *

Chris Lowe: You’ve been urging folks to diversify internationally. Why is that message so important now?

Nick Giambruno: The US is becoming more and more fragmented, as I’m sure our readers have noticed. I’ve never seen it more polarized.

In fact, I’ve only seen this degree of polarization in countries that have gone through civil wars. It all feels eerily familiar.

I was born in the US, and grew up there. But I used to live in Lebanon, which went through a nasty 15-year civil war. More than 120,000 died. Thousands more lost their homes.

And I currently live in Colombia part of the year. The country has a 50-year history of civil conflict.

Chris Lowe: What’s to blame for this situation?

Nick Giambruno: Identity politics are a big factor.

That’s when your religion, race, ethnic background, and so forth are the most important thing in politics. You’re no longer an individual American. You’re part of some group, undoubtedly being victimized by another group.

This naturally leads to collectivism, tensions… and eventually violence between the groups.

Identity politics were a big factor in Lebanon’s civil war. And they’re a big factor in the US right now. This poisonous trend is growing, and it’s probably unstoppable.

The media is another big factor. Most Americans live in a partisan information bubble with these 24-hour news networks and partisan websites. That accelerates the divide.

I lived in Beirut, Lebanon’s capital city, for about three years. It reminds me of the media there. About 6 million people live in Lebanon, but it has about a dozen 24-hour news channels. Each one caters to a different political/sectarian/ethnic group. This allows each group to live in its own media bubble.

Lebanon’s bloody civil war happened in the 1970s and 1980s. But it’s still an extremely divided country. It wouldn’t take much for its civil war to start up again.

The media in Lebanon helps incubate tensions there. Today, the same thing is happening in the US.

I don’t mean to sound dramatic, but Americans hate each other right now. And it’s getting worse. We’re just a market crash… a recession… or some other extreme event away from more widespread violence. A new form of civil war is even possible.

Chris Lowe: We’re not talking a return to 1861—to pitched battles between armies and hundreds of thousands dead. But if you define “civil war” as a situation where you have widespread violence, a rejection of political authority, and the National Guard on the street, it’s easy to see how America gets there.

Nick Giambruno: I agree. I can’t say exactly what it is. But something does seem to be brewing. And it’s not good. That’s why Doug Casey and I urge our readers to internationalize their lifestyles.

Call it what you want, but American society is cracking. Like you say, it’s not necessarily just the political system, but society itself. And that’s probably more worrisome.

Doug and I have talked about this a lot lately. Doug is older than I am. He’s in his 70s. And he says he hasn’t seen anything like this in his lifetime.

This is why I urge readers to diversify outside of the US. The fracturing of society will create a lot of political risk. And that’s on top of the risks from money printing, higher taxes, and increasing regulations.

Chris Lowe: What do you say to folks who see the idea of an America at war with itself as farfetched?

Nick Giambruno: We’ve seen this movie before. As Doug has been warning his readers for years, it happened in Bosnia in the 1990s. It happened in Afghanistan in the 1980s. It happened in Rhodesia—now Zimbabwe—in the 1970s. It happened in the Belgian Congo in the 1960s… in Cuba in the 1950s… in China in the 1940s… in Germany in the 1930s… and in Russia in the 1920s.

It also happened recently in Ukraine, where Doug and I visited last year. There, it started with the downfall of a Russian-backed thug who was replaced by a US-backed thug. The country lost itself in identity politics—people who identified with Russia versus those who didn’t.

From there, it descended into armed conflict. So far, more than 10,000 are dead and many thousands more are wounded.

As Doug puts it, if you stay put in one place… and you don’t have options when one of these extreme events happens… you’re going to wind up a victim.

No matter where you live, international diversification can greatly reduce the threat your home government poses to your personal and financial wellbeing.

Chris Lowe: How does it work?

Nick Giambruno: You know the benefits of diversifying your investment portfolio. If you put all of your asset “eggs” in one basket, you could lose your entire portfolio if that basket breaks.

The same idea applies to political risk. If your home country fractures—and suffers the kind of civil unrest and violence we’ve been talking about—you could lose everything.

Most people have medical, life, fire, and car insurance policies. You hope you never have to use these policies. But you have them anyway. They give you peace of mind and protection if the worst comes to pass.

International diversification is the ultimate insurance policy. Think of it as “freedom insurance.” It frees you from dependence on any one country. Achieve that freedom, and it becomes extremely difficult for any one group of bureaucrats to control you. The results can be life changing.

Everyone in the world should aim for political diversification. But it’s especially critical for those who live under a government that’s sinking hopelessly deeper into financial trouble. That means most Western governments… and the US in particular, given what’s going on right now.

*  *  *

We recently released a memo that reveals the underlying source of all this political polarization and social unrest in America… and a troubling truth about America that no one else will tell you. Click here to read it now.

Published:9/13/2017 8:01:56 PM
[Community] Size Matters

Authored by Jeff Thomas via InternationalMan.com,

Recently, Doug Casey commented, in an essay, on the senselessness of giving to organized charities. I take a similar view. So, are we both heartless, having no concern for the well-being of others? Not at all.

Personal generosity is a laudable quality, but giving to a large organized charity is just plain foolish. At best, three-quarters of your donation will be gobbled up by the administration of the charity. If you genuinely wish to be of value to others, your generosity would be more effective on a local level, where you give directly to those who will benefit from it, and you’re more certain of the outcome. The larger the charity organization, the greater the certainty that much, if not all, of your donation will fail to reach those you hoped would benefit.

Similarly, the concept of community is that we surround ourselves with others, as this provides us with a better life. The concept originated before mankind even existed—lions hunting in a pride, monkeys shrieking at the approach of a predator, etc. Humans originally formed tribes for similar reasons. Then, the idea of community expanded as some individuals proved to be better at different tasks. One might have been a more proficient hunter, whilst another constructed a better shelter or made better tools.

This, in turn, developed into the idea of a fixed community, with some buildings being used as dwellings and others as places of business. The more people, the greater the diversity of skills and the greater the choice of whom to seek out, to fulfill tasks.

Hence, we develop the assumption that “bigger is better.” But, at some point, as a community grows larger, we find that depersonalisation occurs. We find that we have little personal relationship with the folks on the other side of town and our willingness to help them diminishes, as we come to realise that the favour is unlikely to be returned.

The effectiveness of “community” is based on the level of voluntary give-and-take.

This concept is reinforced in a situation where we live our entire lives in the same location, increasing the likelihood that we’ll be surrounded by family members, including in-laws and friends and associates with whom we develop symbiotic relationships over a period of years. The longer those relationships exist, the less immediacy we require on a return within the give-and-take.

The logical conclusion of “bigger is better” is city life, in which people come and go frequently and each individual becomes more solitary in his view as to what type of behaviour is most useful to him. The larger the population, the more the sense of “community” dries up.

Although a high-population community can function effectively, it tends to come apart in times of strife. If a riot occurs, your car is more likely to be senselessly burned by someone you don’t know and have never harmed. Likewise, during a food crisis, your neighbour is more likely to shoot you to gain the loaf of bread you’re taking home.  

So, somewhere between city living and “going it alone,” there’s an ideal size for a community, where neighbours are likely to help one another as needed, because they recognise the likelihood of a return on their “social investment.”

In the US, the Amish have arguably been more successful at this than anyone else. Whenever a community exceeds forty or so families, they begin the formation of another church district (community). This assures that each person benefits personally from the assistance of the others, even to the extent that the entire community gets together to raise a barn for a young married couple, without charging them. (At some point in everyone’s life, the favour has either been returned, or will be.)

The English country village has my personal endorsement as the most civilised form of community man has ever created, as it has one of every service that’s needed, but little more. But, although I’m British, I choose not to live in an English village, because they all fall under the aegis of a controlling and impersonal national government, within which I have no meaningful voice. Worse, at least for the present, that national government falls under the control of an even more dictatorial uber-government—the EU.

For a community to have an effective government, it would never grow beyond the level of the town hall—a meeting place in which each resident’s voice has a similar weight. (Even then, it would stand the risk of being more a democracy than a republic.)

But, as soon as a community grows beyond that size, the individual has an ever-decreasing say in managing his own affairs. In addition, he faces decreasing interplay between himself and his fellow citizens, leaving him ever more greatly exposed in those times when mutual respect and assistance may be essential.

Today, we’re approaching a period that will include the greatest level of social, economic and political change that we’ll ever face in our lifetimes. Whilst it will impact us all, the primary objective should be to minimize its impact on us so that we can come out the other side of it as undamaged as possible. (If we prepare ourselves well enough, we may even exit this period in a better position than we now have.)

In such a time, it would be wise to have the option to live in a small community, where we’re known and our involvement is respected. As conditions become more difficult, our voluntary participation in the survival and/or betterment of the community would be the glue that keeps its function ongoing. (And, here, I cannot stress the word, “voluntary” strongly enough. A community that has laws and regulations that demand contribution is a poor choice, regardless of its size.)  

For someone living in the UK, the odds of surviving well in, say, Winchcombe (population 4,500) are far better than in Manchester, a large, entitlement-conscious mill town of 2.6 million.

In the US, quiet, largely self-sufficient Jackson County, Florida (population 48,600) is a much better bet than Miami-Dade (population 2.7 million), a location that has considerable strife in the best of times and is only likely to worsen in a crisis.

But even a community that’s known to be peaceable may come under the control of a larger government. Central governments routinely regard small communities as being milk cows in the best of times and expendable in the worst of times.

In order to minimise such risk, there are two options.

The first is to find a small community in a country where the central government, however large it may be, is ineffectual—a community that largely ignores edicts delivered from the Capitol.

 

The second choice is to find a small country—a country too small to have a military and that has an appropriately small central government where the individual voice is easily heard.

Lastly, it’s important to note that, in the event of a global crisis, it will do little good to arrive in such a community after the crisis has already begun. This earns you a reputation as a refugee, running from a problem elsewhere.

Instead, it’s necessary to put down roots in such a community, even if it’s only part of each year; to gain acceptance during better times and to develop a genuine interplay between yourself and your community.

In choosing a community, size matters—especially during a crisis. A viable size dictates the opportunity of a good life during difficult times. The achievement of that good life is determined by how well you become a part of that community.

*  *  *

Doug Casey has spent more time and traveled to more countries than perhaps anyone else looking for the ideal place to live peacefully among like-minded individuals. Find out where your best chance at the good life is in Doug’s exclusive special report, Getting Out of Dodge. Click here to download your free PDF copy now.

Published:9/5/2017 6:38:27 PM
[Alternative currencies] The Three Faces Of Bitcoin

After plunging 20% in the last few days from its $5000 highs - following China's ICO ban, Bitcoin has bounced back to $440 today amid global turmoil...

As SHTFplan.com reported earlier, Rick Rule, the billionaire Chief Executive Officer of Sprott Global Resources, noted in his recent interview with Crush The Street:

Bitcoin to me is all positive… I’m a consumer of currencies and currencies are a medium of exchange… and the more competing currencies there are the better it is for consumers of currencies… I use U.S. dollars, I use Canadian dollars, I use gold, I use silver, and from time-to-time I use BitCoin.

 

The more competing currencies, the better the currency has to perform for the consumer.

But, Rule warns, just as we’ve seen historically with stocks, there will be bull markets, bear markets, bubbles and bursts. But astute investors who position themselves in the right blockchains or companies that operate them could see incredible gains. At the same time, however, he cautions that, at least for now, much of the market is based on speculation:

I don’t know [if it can go to $500,000 or $1 million per Bitcoin]… But I also think it’s possible for the market cap to go to zero if people lose faith in the algorithm… What happens in a market that goes from $450 where it was two years ago to $4500 is people only look in the future to directions gone in the past…

It’s an instrument of faith… Could it go to $10,000? Yes. Could it go to $100,000. I guess. Could it go to $0? Yes. Keep both numbers in mind.

Which brings us to the three faces of Bitcoin. As InternationalMan.com's Jeff Thomas explains, one of them is likely to prove to be the correct one and the reader should consider them all, as each has a valid argument in its favour.

Whenever we see an image of bitcoin, it’s not presented as a blockchain, as it should be, but as a gold coin, which it is clearly not.

Why should this be? Well, many of bitcoin’s staunchest supporters are libertarians, who revile fiat currencies as being of no intrinsic value. And they’re correct. Fiat currencies do not pass the Aristotle test of being durable, divisible, portable and intrinsically valuable. They, unfortunately, fail badly on the last requirement.

Unfortunately, so does bitcoin (and in describing bitcoin here, the same comments apply to other cryptocurrencies); hence the tendency to present it as a gold coin, something that does satisfy all of Aristotle’s requirements.

So, why are libertarians, who, one would think would be just as suspicious of electronic fiat currency as they would be about paper fiat currency, its greatest supporters?

Well, bitcoin has been presented as a currency that’s not produced by governments. It’s a blockchain, created by an unknown person or agency and is promised to be limited in its total production (as are precious metals.)  

Of course, libertarians, by their very nature, tend to be suspicious of such claims. Doug Casey has for years, quite rightly described the dollar as an “I owe you nothing,” a mere promise from a government that it will pay the bearer if it sees fit to do so. He has also quite rightly described the euro as a “who owes you nothing,” as it’s a mere promise from an uber government that controls individual governments that it will pay the bearer.

Following this line of reasoning, bitcoin is, (please forgive the double-negative) “no one owes you nothing.” There is zero evidence of who created bitcoin or whether there is any validity whatever as to the promise of limited production.

So, why on earth are many intelligent people so in favour of bitcoin? Well, if it  proves to be legitimate, it’s by far the most useful form of currency in an age when banks and governments are clamping down on the transfer of currencies and, in fact, are likely to confiscate the deposits now held in banks. Further, it might rival gold as a store of wealth. Therefore, if it proves to be legitimate, it is unquestionably the currency of the future for all those who value the freedom to do as they please with their own money.

Unfortunately, there is that nagging, “if .” And then there’s the recurrent argument that it has no intrinsic value, due to its intangibility. It cannot be physically possessed. Its existence is subject to the vagaries of the internet, without which it can instantly go to zero and remain there, as have all the other fiat currencies over history.

In my view, there are three faces to bitcoin. (Yes, a coin cannot have three faces but, again, bitcoin is not really a coin.) One of them is likely to prove to be the correct one and the reader should consider them all, as each has a valid argument in its favour.

Face #1: Bitcoin Is the Future 

Bitcoin is the currency of the Internet. It’s not produced by any government and is therefore a decentralised worldwide digital currency. It can be used to make purchases and other monetary transfers anonymously. It’s easy and cheap to use as, currently, no country regulates it. As other fiat currencies (paper currencies) become less trustworthy, bitcoin is likely to increase in value. As Governments around the world increase capital controls, it promises freedom from governmental control.

 

The IMF describes digital currency as the way of the future and has declared their intention of getting a digital currency in place by 2018 in what they describe as the “global economic reset.” Most international banks are establishing blockchain tech and cryptocurrencies into their business models. One, Goldman Sachs, describes blockchain technology as the “new technology of trust,” citing the fact that every single transaction remains within the blockchain “ledger.”

Face #2: Bitcoin Will Fail

The most important objective of those who control the world economic system is the coming re-set of the monetary system. The intention is to eliminate paper currencies and any other form of currency other than their own digital world currency. By so-doing, every monetary transaction, no matter how small, would be on record. Additionally, banks could disallow any type of transaction which governments did not endorse. Further, they would have the power to refuse access to and even confiscate deposits.

 

Bitcoin is the very enemy of that reset, as it would allow the world to simply opt-out of the world’s banking system. But, in retaliation, banks could disallow the conversion of bitcoin to world currency and could count on governments to classify bitcoin as “the currency of terrorists,” making the use of bitcoin a crime.

 

Governments have already been able to track bitcoin use and have arrested individuals who have made transactions that they disapprove of, but, for whatever reason, they’ve not pursued this tracking ability broadly as yet.

 

If the €500 note can successfully be eliminated under the pretense that it’s favoured by terrorists, there can be little doubt that bitcoin could be tarred with the same brush and made illegal internationally. If it became illegal to accept bitcoin as payment, bitcoin would quickly lose its perceived value and soon decline to its intrinsic value of zero.

Face 3: Bitcoin Is a Trap and Will Succeed

Globalists support the concept of electronic blockchain currency 100%. So much so, that that the world’s leading banks, have touted it as the way of the future.

 

Most people will accept the change to the new world digital currency easily, as it will be so easy to use. They’re unlikely to worry overly about the loss of control over their own money or their freedom to privacy when making transactions.

 

But the flies in this ointment are the contrarians, the libertarians who will do all they can to remain outside this system. Many hope to escape the coming world digital blockchain currency by using … a digital blockchain currency - bitcoin.

 

Bitcoin was created by the fictitious Satoshi Nakamoto, an admitted nom de plume that could be a cover for the Mises Institute or the CATO Institute, but just as easily could be a cover for the Federal Reserve or the IMF.

 

Neither of these latter entities is actively opposing the use of bitcoin. In fact, if it were their own system, they would have access to the record of all transactions that are presently assumed to be disappearing into the ozone.

 

Rather than fight those who oppose currency control, they would be wise to co-opt those who lead it and redirect them to lead the charge into world blockchain currency.

Each of the above is a valid argument and should be considered by the reader. To be sure, the concept of currency is about to change more dramatically than ever before in history.The jury is still out and more information is needed prior to coming to a conclusion as to where this is all headed. At the present time, bitcoin is highly useful for quick transactions and may be worth the risk as a short-term investment. As a store of wealth it remains a gamble. The best move might be to neither love nor hate bitcoin, but to wait and see.

But back to Rule to conclude:

"The truth is, a situation where six pimply faced 21-year olds in a garage can invent an algorithm and call it a currency, then paint that algorithm with a narrative and then turn it into money means that there will be an enormous proliferation of scams, just like there are in the penny stock business. Billions of dollars will be lost to unsupported narratives.

 

That does not change the fact that crypto currencies, and more importantly the distributed ledger, are an extremely important factor for our time and a factor that is absolutely for the good in aggregate."

Published:9/5/2017 5:06:21 PM
[World] Donald Trump Ends DACA Illegal Immigration Democrat Blasts POTUS

At a Labor Day event in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey Jr. (D) blasted President Trump on his plan to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.

Published:9/4/2017 12:28:20 PM
[American police] The Growing Threat Of The Police State

Authored by Nick Giambruno via InternationalMan.com,

 

Doug Casey, Jeff Thomas, and Nick Giambruno recently discussed a critical topic - the rise of a police state in the former “free” world.

Nick Giambruno: In my experience, the US has some of the most aggressive police in the world. I first noticed this when I started traveling many years ago.

I’ve also noticed that law-abiding citizens are more likely to encounter the police in the US. Both of these trends are accelerating.

What happened to “the boys in blue”—the friendly cop on the beat that everyone knew personally and trusted?

Doug Casey: The fact is that police forces throughout the US have been militarized. Every little town has a SWAT team, sometimes with armored personnel carriers. All of the Praetorian style agencies on the federal level—the FBI, CIA, NSA, and over a dozen others like them—have become very aggressive. Every single day in the US, there are scores of confiscations of people’s bank accounts, and dozens having their doors broken down in the wee hours of the night. The ethos in the US really seems to be changing right before our very eyes, and I think it’s quite disturbing. It’s a harbinger, I’m afraid, of what’s to come.

Jeff Thomas: Yes, this change has certainly been more prevalent in the US than elsewhere. And I don’t doubt that the black combat uniforms are intentional. Psychologically, combat gear is very threatening. It serves only one purpose—aggression. And blue is the color of officialdom, whilst black is the color of death. This, to me, was a very conscious change—maximum intimidation.

Nick Giambruno: Police training has also changed. The War on (some) Drugs and the so-called War on Terror have turbocharged police militarization. What are your thoughts?

Doug Casey: As a general rule, police are no longer trained as “peace officers.” They’re trained to be, and view themselves, as “law enforcement officers.” This is a very different thing. The police are a bigger threat to your property and your liberty, not to mention your life, than actual criminals. 

I started writing about the militarization of American police back in the 1990s, when it started happening in earnest. And it’s very disturbing, because the way a solider deals with the enemy is necessarily quite different from the way the police are supposed to deal with citizens.

The US has these numerous continuing wars around the world, so they wind up with lots of spare military equipment. And what to do with it? They bring it home and give it to the police because they think it might be helpful. And then, driving APCs and wearing body armor, the police get the wrong idea.

Furthermore, all the military vets—many of whom have extra Y chromosomes, as do most police generally—like the idea of wearing a uniform and like the idea of carrying a gun and giving and taking orders. They’re preferred hires for police forces. But they shouldn’t be, because you inevitably pick up bad habits, and inappropriate skills, hanging out in a war zone.

Jeff Thomas: Yes, this is very clear. Not long ago, I saw a training video where recruits were lined up, being drilled—punching their fists in the air, shouting in unison, “I have the power! I have the power,” over and over. This is the antithesis of the helpful neighborhood cop. It’s unquestionably Gestapo training and it’s borne out on the street. Police in the US, especially younger, recently-trained police, see the public as a threatening enemy and behave accordingly.

Nick Giambruno: So, what comes next?

Doug Casey: All these things compound upon the other. It’s a very bad trend. I see no reason why that trend is going to turn around. In fact, I expect it to accelerate, especially as the economy turns downhill and people become more restless and the Deep State feels that the plebs have to be kept under control. So, yeah, it’s a trend that’s been accelerating for several decades. And it’s going to keep accelerating until some type of a crisis blows it all up.

Jeff Thomas: The US government has consciously created a police state. Historically, whenever governments have done this, it was because they planned increased controls that they thought might incite rebellion. So the police state is created in advance to demonstrate that opposition to greater controls would be futile. We can therefore surmise that the controls that are on the way in the US are likely to be far more oppressive than at present.

Nick Giambruno: We’ve all travelled extensively. In fact, each of us currently lives abroad.

In your experience, do other countries have the same ultra-aggressive police?

Jeff Thomas: Certainly, every country now has riot police, but in many countries, they’re only trotted out in an emergency. I tend to rate countries based upon the ongoing presence of police in riot gear. The more prevalent they are, the less likely I am to want to spend a lot of time there. In the two countries where I spend most of my time, the cop on the beat doesn’t even wear a side arm.

Doug Casey: Here in Argentina, as blowback to the excesses of the military government 30 years back, the police and military are reviled or simply ignored by the public, relegated to a far more appropriate role as night watchmen. There is a very limited and nonthreatening police presence.

The average Argentine despises both the army and the police. This is a very good thing compared to, say, a country like Chile, where they actually love their army and police.

Jeff Thomas: Here’s an interesting point—I’ve spent a fair bit of time in Cuba over the years. This is a country that’s been characterized by the US government as oppressive in the extreme. But, even back in the early 90’s, I found the police there were, generally speaking, quite peaceable and even helpful. They carried pistols, but they could be talked to like anyone else. That’s still true today. It’s possible that, even today, if you yelled, “Kill Raul,” you might be escorted off to the hoosegow, but otherwise, you feel safe around the police. I can’t say the same about New York, Paris, or London. There, you feel… unease in the presence of police.

Nick Giambruno: The US has many vague, overly broad laws criminalizing mundane activities. It’s impossible for anyone to comply 100% of the time.

Many people think only major crimes like robbery and murder are felonies. But that isn’t true. Politicians have criminalized many ordinary activities through an ever-expanding mountain of laws and regulations.

It’s not that hard to commit a felony. Many victimless “crimes” are felonies.

A study by civil liberty lawyer Harvey Silverglate found that the average American inadvertently commits three felonies a day.

Today, there are thousands of federal crimes. The number is constantly increasing.

It brings to mind the words of the great Roman historian Tacitus: “The more corrupt the state, the more numerous the laws.”

On that note, civil asset forfeiture is one of the most corrupting practices. It allows government agencies to grab private property without warning… then dare you to prove they’ve made a mistake.

What are your thoughts?

Doug Casey: You can be accused of almost anything by the government and have your assets seized without due process. Every year there are billions of dollars that are seized by various government entities, including local police departments, who get to keep a percentage of the proceeds, so this is a very corrupting thing.

People forget that when the US was founded there were only three federal crimes, and they are listed in the Constitution: treason, counterfeiting, and piracy. Now it’s estimated there are over 5,000 federal crimes, and that number is constantly increasing. This is very disturbing. It’s becoming Kafkaesque.

All the repressive aspects of government—civil forfeitures are just one—have been growing and compounding for years. It’s not a conspiracy; it’s the natural progression of all living organisms. They all want to grow, exert more control on their environments, and become more powerful. The problem is that government has unusual powers, and no longer seems to have many limits. So you can expect this trend to accelerate.

I saw the other day the government steals more from the American people through confiscations than is lost outright to robberies and muggings. It’s been reported that in 2015 civil forfeitures exceeded the amount stolen by all robbers. It’s quite amazing and disturbing.

Whenever a police department confiscates things under these laws, they get to keep some percentage. It varies but can be 10, 20, 30, 50 percent of what's confiscated, and they love it because the money goes to the local police department in question. They can use it for buying fun cop toys, or for buying further educational benefits, or whatever, for themselves. So, they're profiting from this stuff as directly as the criminals do that steal things from citizens. It's a total disaster.

Jeff Thomas: Yes, the US police now have the legal authority to become the modern version of the highwayman of old. But, today, it’s done with the assistance of a badge. Any authority can seize all your possessions, including the contents of your bank account, and simply absorb the proceeds into the department—legally. Although it can theoretically be contested, no one who’s just had all his money confiscated is going to be able to hire a lawyer. And this is no small-time scam. The take nationwide for civil asset forfeiture annually exceeds the total amount taken in burglaries by badgeless criminals.

Nick Giambruno: That brings us to the big question. Where will things go from here?

I doubt the police will tone down their current policies and practices. So, what will the police state look like in a few years?

Doug Casey: As I said earlier, the trend is accelerating. And the entire country is now polarized. Even more than it was in the late 60’s and early 70’s. It’s not just a difference of opinion; it’s a clash of worldviews. It’s increasingly impossible, even dangerous, for leftists and rightists, Trumpers and anti-Trumpers, to discuss politics. It’s—as hard as it may be to confront—the kind of atmosphere that precedes a civil war. I expect lots of violent confrontations between antagonistic groups in the years to come. The State will necessarily increase its police powers to deal with the problem. Perhaps they’ll even set up some new agency to deal with civil disturbances. And—like the TSA and every other national agency—it will become part of the firmament. And will find reasons for getting more money and power.

Jeff Thomas: I believe that, at some point, they’ll stage a series of false-flag events in which multiple killings will take place in public places in several states at roughly the same time. Maybe a church social in North Carolina, a daycare center in Chicago, a hospital in Nevada, and so on. The theme would be ordinary gathering places that everyone takes for granted as being safe. The attacks would be blamed on “domestic terrorists” and would be diverse enough to convince Americans that nowhere is safe from domestic terrorism and the government “has to do something.” After that, authorities will take action nationwide “to protect the public.” They’ll be above the law, and invasions will be considered unfortunate but necessary by the populace. It will be introduced as a “temporary emergency measure” but will become permanent. The US will be the leader in this policy, but the trend will be echoed in the EU and possibly elsewhere.

Nick Giambruno: Of course, someone living in the US or EU should plan to leave before that happens.

Jeff Thomas: Yes, that word, “before,” is the key word—one that many, many people overlook. Countless people have said, “Well, if it gets really bad, I’ll leave my home country for greener pastures.” Historically, this has proven to be a grave mistake. Once conditions are getting really serious, it often becomes illegal to exit without written permission. Additionally, if an exodus does begin, those countries that previously accepted expatriates suddenly pull in the welcome mat and lock the immigration doors. The time to implement an exit plan is prior to the implementation of intolerable controls. As to the US, that warning bell has already been rung.

Doug Casey: The most important first step is to get out of the danger zone.

Let's list the steps, in order of importance.

  1. Establish a financial account in a second country and transfer assets to it, immediately.

  2. Purchase a crib in a suitable third country, somewhere you might enjoy whether in good times or bad.

  3. Get moving toward an alternative citizenship in a fourth country; you don't want to be stuck geographically, and you don't want to live like a refugee.

  4. Keep your eyes open for business and investment opportunities in those four countries, plus the other 225; you'll greatly increase your perspective and your chances of success.

Where to go? In general, I would suggest you look most seriously at countries whose governments aren't overly cozy with the US and whose people maintain an inbred suspicion of the police, the military, and the fiscal authorities. These criteria tilt the scales against past favorites like Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and the UK.

And one more piece of sage advice: stop thinking like your neighbors, which is to say stop thinking and acting like a serf. Most people—although they can be perfectly affable and even seem sensible—have the attitudes of medieval peasants that objected to going further than a day's round-trip from their hut, for fear the stories of dragons that live over the hill might be true. 

I'm not saying that you'll make your fortune and find happiness by venturing out. But you'll greatly increase your odds of doing so, greatly increase your security, and, I suspect, have a much more interesting time.

Let me end by reminding you what Rick Blaine, Bogart's character in Casablanca, had to say in only a slightly different context. Appropriately, Rick was an early but also an archetypical international man. Let's just imagine he's talking about what will happen if you don't effectively internationalize yourself, now. He said: “You may not regret it now, but you'll regret it soon. And for the rest of your life.”

Published:9/1/2017 6:52:09 PM
[Science] Chuck Todd stokes Twitter debate over whether he called MSNBC colleague 'hon' "Hey, Casey. Nice work, hon. Good stuff." Published:8/30/2017 7:29:07 PM
[Science] Lou Barletta will challenge Bob Casey for Pennsylvania Senate seat Rep. Lou Barletta, R-Pa., announced Tuesday he would challenge incumbent Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., for his Senate seat next year. "Af... Published:8/29/2017 9:25:53 AM
[Capitalism] Capitalism - A New Idea

Authored by Jeff Thomas via InternationalMan.com,

Capitalism, whether praised or derided, is an economic system and ideology based on private ownership of the means of production and operation for profit.

Classical economics recognises capitalism as the most effective means by which an economy can thrive. Certainly, in 1776, Adam Smith made one of the best cases for capitalism in his book, An Inquiry Into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (known more commonly as The Wealth of Nations). But the term “capitalism” actually was first used to deride the ideology, by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, in The Communist Manifesto, in 1848.

Of course, whether Mister Marx was correct in his criticisms or not, he lived in an age when capitalism and a free market were essentially one and the same. Today, this is not the case. The capitalist system has been under attack for roughly 100 years, particularly in North America and the EU.

A tenet of capitalism is that, if it’s left alone, it will sort itself out and will serve virtually everyone well. Conversely, every effort to make the free market less free diminishes the very existence of capitalism, making it less able to function.

Today, we’re continually reminded that we live under a capitalist system and that it hasn’t worked. The middle class is disappearing, and the cost of goods has become too high to be affordable. There are far more losers than winners, and the greed of big business is destroying the economy.

This is what we repeatedly hear from left-leaning people and, in fact, they are correct. They then go on to label these troubles as byproducts of capitalism and use this assumption to argue that capitalism should give way to socialism.

In this, however, they are decidedly wrong. These are the byproducts of an increasing level of collectivism and fascism in the economy. In actual fact, few, if any, of these people have ever lived in a capitalist (free-market) society, as it has been legislated out of existence in the former “free” world over the last century.

So, let’s have a look at those primary sore spots that are raised by suggesting that collectivism will correct the “evils” of capitalism.

Prices Are Driven From the Top Down

This is unquestionably the case in the aforementioned countries, however, it is not so under capitalism. Under capitalism, each producer tries to get as much as he can for his product, but, as others are also creating the same product, those with the lowest price are the ones who will succeed. Therefore, the consumers effectively set the prices, based upon what they’re willing to pay.

But in any country where cronyism exists between big business and government, regulations can squeeze out the competition, allowing a monopoly for a given product. The definition of this marriage between business and government is “fascism.” The government makes it increasingly difficult, through regulation, for the small producer to compete with the larger producer (who gives kickbacks to the government).

Capitalism Only Benefits Those at the Top

Capitalism benefits those who produce the most, but it also benefits all others, as they have a free choice to purchase whatever products they wish, at a price they’re prepared to pay. If the producer demands too high a price, consumers instead buy his competitor’s product, putting him out of business. The consumer is therefore in charge of the price of goods. A producer only rises to the top if he produces the most affordable product (as did Henry Ford, 100 years ago, with his Model T. Through the free market, he lowered his price repeatedly and, in so doing, put America on wheels).

Capitalism Impoverishes the Masses

The free market offers more goods to more people at lower prices, which enriches the lives of all consumers, no matter how rich or poor. In so doing, it raises up the masses over time, providing them with more and better goods, education, health care, etc., enabling them to rise out of poverty. By contrast, overregulation and entitlements enslave those same people to poverty.

Capitalism Can Only Work if It’s Heavily Regulated

The whole idea of the free market is that it’s free from interference by others—most importantly, governments. If left alone, the free market will produce the goods the public are most willing to pay for, which results in an ever-self-levelling of products and prices. As soon as regulation enters the picture, the free market is compromised. What exists today is not a free market, as Adam Smith would have recognised it, but a bloated, dysfunctional socialist/fascist/capitalist mongrel of a system. Of course it doesn’t work.

Fascism is capitalism in decay.

—Vladimir Lenin

Quite so. Regulation is a cancer that slowly eats capitalism until it morphs into fascism.

Do not their leaders deprive the rich of their estates and distribute them among the people; at the same time taking care to preserve the larger part for themselves?

—Socrates to Adeimantus

What was true ca. 400 BC in Athens is true today. Fascism (or corporatist cronyism) results in 99% of the population coming under the diktat of the 1%, which is made up of government leaders and corporate leaders, working in concert, to the exclusion of all others. This is, in fact, the opposite of a free market.

The creation of new wealth is the only functional weapon against poverty.

—Doug Casey

New wealth comes from the bottom up - it’s as simple as someone building a better mousetrap, or building the old one more cheaply. In such a market, both the producer and the consumer benefit.

In a fascist system, the wealth gravitates to the top, eventually choking out the middle class and expanding the poorer class, and that’s just what we’re witnessing today. The solution is not to go further in this direction, but rather to try something new… or at least new to anyone living under the fascist system. Although it still retains some capitalist overtones, it is unquestionably not capitalism.

A last word—capitalism does exist today, but it lives in select countries that have not yet given in to overregulation. In those countries, the average person thrives and has opportunities far beyond what’s allowed in the former “free” world. Should the reader conclude that his present country is unlikely to go in the direction of capitalism, he may choose to vote with his feet in order to prosper the way his ancestors did 100 years ago.

*  *  *

Today, Washington’s dangerous fascist policies have pushed the US economy to the tipping point. Years of overregulation, corporate bail outs, manic money printing, and artificially low interest rates, have bloated and warped the economy. Now it’s about to unravel… That’s why New York Times best-selling author Doug Casey and his team just released an urgent video. Click here to access it now.

Published:8/28/2017 7:22:59 PM
[Entertainment] Casey Wilson Gives Birth to Baby No. 2 Casey WilsonOh, baby! Casey Wilson has given birth to her and husband David Caspe's second child, a son they named Henry Caspe. The exciting news was announced Thursday on her podcast, Bitch...
Published:8/24/2017 6:21:29 PM
[Bond] They're Using Bernie Madoff Math To Hide A Crisis

Authored by Nick Giambruno via InternationalMan.com,

Politicians are always generous with other people’s money… until it runs out.

Near the peak of the late-’90s tech bubble, California’s legislature passed the largest pension increase in its history.

Today, with as much as $750 billion in unfunded public pension debt, California has one of the worst pension situations in the country. But it’s far from alone.

Illinois has a staggering $250 billion in unfunded pension obligations. State pension plans in Connecticut, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and many other states are taking on water, too.

Unfunded public pension liabilities in the US have surpassed $5 trillion.

Taxpayers Are Stuck With the Bill

There used to be a simple formula for a secure retirement. American workers would work for a big company for decades. Then, at a certain age, they were eligible for a monthly pension check… for life.

Once common, pensions have virtually disappeared from the private sector. Today, less than 4% of companies offer them. It’s another vector in the devalued standard of living of the average American.

Essentially, only government employees get pensions now.

The government isn’t subject to the same constraints as the private sector. So it has no problem promising benefits it can’t afford to pay.

That’s because government revenue doesn’t come from the voluntary exchange of goods or services. It comes from taxes, which it extracts via coercion.

Politicians only care about the next election. So there’s no way to hold them accountable in the long term.

They automatically do the most expedient thing in the short term, like promising extravagant pension benefits. In the long term, their successors have to deal with the consequences.

Naturally, not one of the politicians who voted for California’s record pension increase is still in office.

It’s bad enough that politicians give themselves and other state employees extravagant retirement benefits and stick the taxpayers with the bill.

But the story gets worse…

Government pension plans use all sorts of accounting wizardry that would land someone in the private sector in prison.

Bernie Madoff Math

The single most important number for a pension plan is its assumed rate of return. This is the rate the plan’s investments are expected to make.

As in other areas of life, the government takes special privileges here. It uses accounting practices that the private sector can’t—not legally, anyway.

Essentially, government pension plans choose whatever rate of return they’d like.

Lawrence McQuillan—a senior fellow at the Independent Institute—says that government pension plans “work on the assumption that they’re going to generate returns 25% higher than Warren Buffett every single year into perpetuity.”

These assumptions are totally disconnected from reality.

Government pension plans overestimate investment returns using unrealistically high rates of return. They routinely pull numbers out of thin air.

The results they come up with are insane.

In effect, this artificially shrinks a pension fund’s liabilities, making it look more solvent than it really is.

In other words, the government is using Bernie Madoff math.

This lets politicians contribute less money than the fund needs to be truly solvent. That, in turn, frees up money to bribe constituents for votes, or do whatever else the politicians want.

On average, government pension plans assume about a 7–8% rate of return (even after years of underperformance).

False Assumptions

 

A recent study found that the average 2016 return for a public pension was an awful 0.6%, compared to an average assumed return of 7.6%.At those assumed rates, a dollar invested today would double in around nine years. This rosy assumption allows a pension plan to say, for example, that $25,000 in the fund today will cover a $50,000 obligation in 2026.

California’s public employee pension plan is the largest pension plan in the US. It recently voted to reduce its assumed rate of return from 7.5 to 7% over three years.

The move—which doesn’t go nearly far enough—generated enormous political controversy.

Lowering the rate of return to a more realistic number, if even slightly, means politicians would need to contribute more to a pension fund. That means drastic spending cuts or higher taxes elsewhere.

This is why, in most cases, it’s politically impossible for a government pension plan to stick with anything close to realistic assumptions.

The Biggest Financial Bubble in World History… and Pensions Are Still Broke

In the ’50s and ’60s, government pension funds were, on average, over 90% invested in bonds and cash.

Most importantly, they were structured so that assets matched future liabilities. It was conservative, and it made sense.

That’s not how public pensions look today.

Matching liabilities with safe fixed income investments has become impractical, thanks to the Federal Reserve and the historic bubble it’s created in the bond market.

The economy has been on life support since the 2008 financial crisis. The Fed has pumped it up with unprecedented amounts of “stimulus.” This has created enormous distortions and misallocations of capital, especially in the bond market.

Think of the trillions of dollars in money printing programs—euphemistically called quantitative easing (QE) 1, 2, and 3. In short, the Fed created trillions of dollars out of thin air and used them to buy up bonds, creating an epic bubble.

Meanwhile, with zero and even negative interest rates in many countries, rates are the lowest they’ve been in 5,000 years of recorded human history.

What’s happening in the bond market could not happen in a free market. It’s only possible in the current “Alice in Wonderland” economy created by central bankers.

This is not hyperbole. We’re really in uncharted territory. (Interest rates were never lower than 6% in ancient Greece and ranged from 4 to over 12% in ancient Rome.)

Allegedly, the Fed has done all of this to save the economy.

In truth, it’s warped the economy and turned the bond market into the largest financial bubble in human history.

This, of course, affects pensions.

First, today’s artificially low interest rates make it very difficult to match future liabilities with income from bonds at a reasonable cost. So pensions have had to turn to riskier assets like stocks, real estate, and alternative investments.

With interest rates near all-time lows, bond prices are at an all-time high. That benefits pension plans because it pumps up asset values and makes the funds look more solvent.

But, even with the bond market in a historic bubble…

Even with the stock market at all-time highs and more overvalued than almost ever…

And even with the Bernie Madoff math…

Public pensions are still insolvent.

Despite the eye-watering returns in the bond and stock markets over the past 10 years, pension liabilities have still gone up.

According to Moody’s:

The optimistic "best case" of cumulative 25% investment return would reduce net pension liabilities by just 1% through 2019 year-end because of past bad investment returns and weak contributions. Meanwhile, the "base case" scenario of 19% returns would see net pension liabilities rise by 15%.

This is an unsolvable problem.

Many public pensions are hopelessly insolvent. It will all be apparent in the next market downturn, which probably isn’t far off.

I think we’re headed into an enormous crisis.

Unfortunately, most people have no idea how to prepare.

I think everyone should own some physical gold. Gold is the ultimate form of wealth insurance. It’s preserved wealth through every kind of crisis imaginable. It will preserve wealth during the next crisis, too.

But if you want to be truly “crisis-proof,” there's more to do…

How will you protect yourself when this crisis explodes? New York Times best-selling author Doug Casey and I just released a PDF guide that will show you exactly how. Click here to download it now.

Published:8/23/2017 3:55:16 PM
[Entertainment] 5 Biggest Jaw-Droppers at the 2017 Teen Choice Awards Lili Reinhart, Casey Cott, Camila Mendes, Ashleigh MurrayIt was a night for dropping jaws! With performances by PrettyMuch, Louis Tomlinson, Bebe Rexha and Clean Bandit, as well as slew of celebrity attendees, we were pretty pumped about the...
Published:8/14/2017 12:14:50 AM
[18th century in the United States] Doug Casey On The End Of The Nation-State

Authored by Doug Casey via InternationalMan.com,

There have been a fair number of references to the subject of “phyles” in Casey Research publications over the years. This essay will discuss the topic in detail. Especially how phyles are likely to replace the nation-state, one of mankind’s worst inventions.

Now might be a good time to discuss the subject. We’ll have an almost unremitting stream of bad news, on multiple fronts, for years to come. So it might be good to keep a hopeful prospect in mind.

Let’s start by looking at where we’ve been. I trust you’ll excuse my skating over all of human political history in a few paragraphs, but my object is to provide a framework for where we’re going, rather than an anthropological monograph.

Mankind has, so far, gone through three main stages of political organization since Day One, say 200,000 years ago, when anatomically modern men started appearing. We can call them Tribes, Kingdoms, and Nation-States.

Karl Marx had a lot of things wrong, especially his moral philosophy. But one of the acute observations he made was that the means of production are perhaps the most important determinant of how a society is structured. Based on that, so far in history, only two really important things have happened: the Agricultural Revolution and the Industrial Revolution. Everything else is just a footnote.

Let’s see how these things relate.

The Agricultural Revolution and the End of Tribes

In prehistoric times, the largest political/economic group was the tribe. In that man is a social creature, it was natural enough to be loyal to the tribe. It made sense. Almost everyone in the tribe was genetically related, and the group was essential for mutual survival in the wilderness. That made them the totality of people that counted in a person’s life—except for “others” from alien tribes, who were in competition for scarce resources and might want to kill you for good measure.

Tribes tend to be natural meritocracies, with the smartest and the strongest assuming leadership. But they’re also natural democracies, small enough that everyone can have a say on important issues. Tribes are small enough that everybody knows everyone else, and knows what their weak and strong points are. Everyone falls into a niche of marginal advantage, doing what they do best, simply because that’s necessary to survive. Bad actors are ostracized or fail to wake up, in a pool of their own blood, some morning. Tribes are socially constraining but, considering the many faults of human nature, a natural and useful form of organization in a society with primitive technology.

As people built their pool of capital and technology over many generations, however, populations grew. At the end of the last Ice Age, around 12,000 years ago, all over the world, there was a population explosion. People started living in towns and relying on agriculture as opposed to hunting and gathering. Large groups of people living together formed hierarchies, with a king of some description on top of the heap.

Those who adapted to the new agricultural technology and the new political structure accumulated the excess resources necessary for waging extended warfare against tribes still living at a subsistence level. The more evolved societies had the numbers and the weapons to completely triumph over the laggards. If you wanted to stay tribal, you’d better live in the middle of nowhere, someplace devoid of the resources others might want. Otherwise it was a sure thing that a nearby kingdom would enslave you and steal your property.

The Industrial Revolution and the End of Kingdoms

From around 12,000 B.C. to roughly the mid-1600s, the world’s cultures were organized under strong men, ranging from petty lords to kings, pharaohs, or emperors.

It’s odd, to me at least, how much the human animal seems to like the idea of monarchy. It’s mythologized, especially in a medieval context, as a system with noble kings, fair princesses, and brave knights riding out of castles on a hill to right injustices. As my friend Rick Maybury likes to point out, quite accurately, the reality differs quite a bit from the myth. The king is rarely more than a successful thug, a Tony Soprano at best, or perhaps a little Stalin. The princess was an unbathed hag in a chastity belt, the knight a hired killer, and the shining castle on the hill the headquarters of a concentration camp, with plenty of dungeons for the politically incorrect.

With kingdoms, loyalties weren’t so much to the “country”—a nebulous and arbitrary concept—but to the ruler. You were the subject of a king, first and foremost. Your linguistic, ethnic, religious, and other affiliations were secondary. It’s strange how, when people think of the kingdom period of history, they think only in terms of what the ruling classes did and had. Even though, if you were born then, the chances were 98% you’d be a simple peasant who owned nothing, knew nothing beyond what his betters told him, and sent most of his surplus production to his rulers. But, again, the gradual accumulation of capital and knowledge made the next step possible: the Industrial Revolution.

The Industrial Revolution and the End of the Nation-State

As the means of production changed, with the substitution of machines for muscle, the amount of wealth took a huge leap forward. The average man still might not have had much, but the possibility to do something other than beat the earth with a stick for his whole life opened up, largely as a result of the Renaissance.

Then the game changed totally with the American and French Revolutions. People no longer felt they were owned by some ruler; instead they now gave their loyalty to a new institution, the nation-state. Some innate atavism, probably dating back to before humans branched from the chimpanzees about 3 million years ago, seems to dictate the Naked Ape to give his loyalty to something bigger than himself. Which has delivered us to today’s prevailing norm, the nation-state, a group of people who tend to share language, religion, and ethnicity. The idea of the nation-state is especially effective when it’s organized as a “democracy,” where the average person is given the illusion he has some measure of control over where the leviathan is headed.

On the plus side, by the end of the 18th century, the Industrial Revolution had provided the common man with the personal freedom, as well as the capital and technology, to improve things at a rapidly accelerating pace.

What caused the sea change?

I’ll speculate it was largely due to an intellectual factor, the invention of the printing press; and a physical factor, the widespread use of gunpowder. The printing press destroyed the monopoly the elites had on knowledge; the average man could now see that they were no smarter or “better” than he was. If he was going to fight them (conflict is, after all, what politics is all about), it didn’t have to be just because he was told to, but because he was motivated by an idea. And now, with gunpowder, he was on an equal footing with the ruler’s knights and professional soldiers.

Right now I believe we’re at the cusp of another change, at least as important as the ones that took place around 12,000 years ago and several hundred years ago. Even though things are starting to look truly grim for the individual, with collapsing economic structures and increasingly virulent governments, I suspect help is on the way from historical evolution. Just as the agricultural revolution put an end to tribalism and the industrial revolution killed the kingdom, I think we’re heading for another multipronged revolution that’s going to make the nation-state an anachronism. It won’t happen next month, or next year. But I’ll bet the pattern will start becoming clear within the lifetime of many now reading this.

What pattern am I talking about? Once again, a reference to the evil genius Karl Marx, with his concept of the “withering away of the State.” By the end of this century, I suspect the US and most other nation-states will have, for all practical purposes, ceased to exist.

The Problem with the State—And Your Nation-State

Of course, while I suspect that many of you are sympathetic to that sentiment, you also think the concept is too far out, and that I’m guilty of wishful thinking. People believe the state is necessary and—generally—good. They never even question whether the institution is permanent.

My view is that the institution of the state itself is a bad thing. It’s not a question of getting the right people into the government; the institution itself is hopelessly flawed and necessarily corrupts the people that compose it, as well as the people it rules. This statement invariably shocks people, who believe that government is both a necessary and permanent part of the cosmic firmament.

The problem is that government is based on coercion, and it is, at a minimum, suboptimal to base a social structure on institutionalized coercion. Let me urge you to read the Tannehills’ superb The Market for Liberty, which is available for free, download here.

One of the huge changes brought by the printing press and advanced exponentially by the Internet is that people are able to readily pursue different interests and points of view. As a result, they have less and less in common: living within the same political borders is no longer enough to make them countrymen. That’s a big change from pre-agricultural times when members of the same tribe had quite a bit—almost everything—in common. But this has been increasingly diluted in the times of the kingdom and the nation-state. If you’re honest, you may find you have very little in common with most of your countrymen besides superficialities and trivialities.

Ponder that point for a minute. What do you have in common with your fellow countrymen? A mode of living, (perhaps) a common language, possibly some shared experiences and myths, and a common ruler. But very little of any real meaning or importance. To start with, they’re more likely to be an active danger to you than the citizens of a presumed “enemy” country, say, like Iran. If you earn a good living, certainly if you own a business and have assets, your fellow Americans are the ones who actually present the clear and present danger. The average American (about 50% of them now) pays no income tax. Even if he’s not actually a direct or indirect employee of the government, he’s a net recipient of its largesse, which is to say your wealth, through Social Security and other welfare programs.

Over the years, I’ve found I have much more in common with people of my own social or economic station or occupation in France, Argentina, or Hong Kong, than with an American union worker in Detroit or a resident of the LA barrios. I suspect many of you would agree with that observation. What’s actually important in relationships is shared values, principles, interests, and philosophy. Geographical proximity, and a common nationality, is meaningless—no more than an accident of birth. I have much more loyalty to a friend in the Congo—although we’re different colors, have different cultures, different native languages, and different life experiences—than I do to the Americans who live down the highway in the trailer park. I see the world the same way my Congolese friend does; he’s an asset to my life. I’m necessarily at odds with many of “my fellow Americans”; they’re an active and growing liability.

Some might read this and find a disturbing lack of loyalty to the state. It sounds seditious. Professional jingoists like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, or almost anyone around the Washington Beltway go white with rage when they hear talk like this. The fact is that loyalty to a state, just because you happen to have been born in its bailiwick, is simply stupid.

As far as I can tell, there are only two federal crimes specified in the US Constitution: counterfeiting and treason. That’s a far cry from today’s world, where almost every real and imagined crime has been federalized, underscoring that the whole document is a meaningless dead letter, little more than a historical artifact. Even so, that also confirms that the Constitution was quite imperfect, even in its original form. Counterfeiting is simple fraud. Why should it be singled out especially as a crime? (Okay, that opens up a whole new can of worms… but not one I’ll go into here.) Treason is usually defined as an attempt to overthrow a government or withdraw loyalty from a sovereign. A rather odd proviso to have when the framers of the Constitution had done just that only a few years before, one would think.

The way I see it, Thomas Paine had it right when he said: “My country is wherever liberty lives.”

But where does liberty live today? Actually, it no longer has a home. It’s become a true refugee since America, which was an excellent idea that grew roots in a country of that name, degenerated into the United States. Which is just another unfortunate nation-state. And it’s on the slippery slope.

Published:8/5/2017 10:02:56 PM
[Entertainment] Brothers FTW: How Ben Affleck and Casey Affleck Have Always Supported Each Other in the Toughest of Times Casey Affleck, Ben AffleckBen Affleck and Casey Affleck have been there for each other as they've reached great heights in Hollywood, Ben triumphing as a triple-threat filmmaker and Casey now the reigning Best Actor...
Published:8/1/2017 3:32:15 PM
[Entertainment] Summer Phoenix Files for Divorce From Casey Affleck Summer Phoenix, Casey AffleckIt's officially over for Casey Affleck and Summer Phoenix. The actress and youngest sibling of the famous Phoenix dynasty has filed for divorce from the Manchester By the Sea star,...
Published:7/31/2017 7:12:14 PM
[Economic collapse] The Race Against Time

Authored by Jeff Thomas via InternationalMan.com,

For decades, in discussing the ever-increasing hegemony of the world’s principal governments (US, EU, et al.), I’ve been asked repeatedly, “When will the governments understand that this obsession they have to become all-powerful is not in the interests of the people?”

The answer to this question has also remained the same for decades: never.

Although most all thinking people will readily admit that they regard their government (and governments in general) to be both overreaching and corrupt, they somehow attribute political leaders with a desire to serve the people. This is almost never true.

In my own experience in working with (and against) political leaders in multiple jurisdictions, I’ve found them to be remarkably similar to each other in their tendency to be shortsighted, self-aggrandising, and almost totally indifferent to the well-being of their constituents. Indeed, it’s a real rarity to encounter a political leader who does not fit this description.

Therefore, we should take as a given that all political leaders will continue to pursue their own power and wealth, at the expense of their citizenries.

This, then, begs the question: “If they won’t stop themselves in this progression, is there no other outcome than eventual total slavery to the government?”

Well, here, history informs us that this is not the case. All governments will tax the people as much as they can, regulate them as much as they can, socially dominate them as much as they can, and remove as many rights as they can. However, they rarely totally succeed and, even when they do, the clock is ticking against them.

In 1999, I began to warn that the US military would steadily increase its warfare against other nations and would only cease their military expansion if and when economic collapse made it impossible to continue the expansion.

In 2008, I began to warn that the US, EU, and other jurisdictions would eventually attempt to eliminate the use of paper currency, or “cash,” and force all people to rely almost totally on electronic transfers of money. (I had pictured plastic credit cards being used—I hadn’t imagined at that time that smartphones would make such transactions even easier.)

In addition to the above abuses, I projected that these jurisdictions would become more collectivist, would increase legislation to dominate their citizens socially, and would eventually come to resemble police states.

But, at the same time, I projected that, although I believed that all these developments would increase steadily, both in magnitude and frequency, they would reach a peak point, then begin to unravel—and would do so more quickly than they had been implemented.

This would happen for two reasons, and neither of these reasons come from some crystal ball. They come from history.

As has always occurred, for millennia, such rapidly expanding excesses cannot be created by governments without creating debt. The more rapid the level of change, the greater the debt necessary.

Today, we’re witnessing the greatest level of debt the world has ever seen. As always in history, this is a ticking time bomb.

The second reason is that such rapidly-expanding excesses cannot be created by governments without creating resentment. The more rapid the level of change, the greater the resentment.

Taken as a whole, what this means is that all of the increased hegemony, of every type, rises to a peak, then collapses—often all at the same time.

We can see the economic warning signs as the financial institutions have run out of new measures and are now relying on band-aid measures. This tells us that we’re entering the final years (or possibly months) of the debt mania. Consequently, the only remaining measures will come under the heading of abuse to the consumer within the system.

Militarily, we see the end nearing, as the world becomes ever more resentful of the US as the self-imposed world policeman. (This is particularly acute outside of the US, as those who live outside the reach of the US media understand that the US has, for years, been inventing its excuses for warfare where there was no real justification.)

For many years, I’ve said that we’ll know that the unravelling will be very near when the creators of the abuse begin to realise that the hegemony is nearing its end and is due for a reversal.

Recently, two events have occurred that suggest that this part of the process has begun.

First, the EU has launched public consultation to get the pulse of the people of Europe on their War on Cash programme (which they term, “de-cashing”).

The findings, even though the questions were phrased to make it difficult to oppose the concept, indicate that more than 99% of respondents see no benefit in de-cashing. Further, 87% regard the use of cash as an essential personal freedom.

Although the people of Europe have tolerated one hit after another from Brussels, de-cashing may well prove to be their Waterloo.

As this was occurring, across the pond in the US, the military performed a study to learn how much further they can push the world with their present level of aggression and have determined that “the status quo that was hatched and nurtured by U.S. strategists after World War II,” and has been dramatically expanded in recent decades, “is not merely fraying but may, in fact, be collapsing.”

It’s often assumed that empires tend to expand until a point at which they subside, but this is not the case. Very much like a market bubble, they tend to reach a dramatic peak just before they collapse. Almost invariably, those who are the last to understand that the end is near are those who are at the very apex of power. Therefore, rather than back off their programme of hegemony, they expand it right until economic collapse destroys it. Like heroin addiction, greater amounts of the drug are injected, right until the fatal overdose takes its toll.

What this means to the reader is that, although he may either live in or in some way be under the control of one of the current empires, his lot is far from hopeless, but he must be wise enough to keep his powder dry until the collapse is under way.

From the present day until the collapse, the empires will increase taxation, increase regulation, increase warfare, increase social dominance, and remove the rights of their people in ever more dramatic ways.

Those who seek to sidestep this process might well pursue international diversification as a bridge to freedom. In this race against time, nations will make it increasingly difficult to escape, and freedom will only be realized after the collapse. The greater the preparedness today, the greater the likelihood of coming out the other side in several years with wealth and freedom intact.

*  *  *

Doug Casey can show you how to protect and increase your wealth and freedom during the coming collapse. You’ll find all the critical details in our Guide to Surviving and Thriving During and Economic Collapse. Click here to download your complimentary copy.

Published:7/31/2017 7:12:14 PM
[Culture] Confederate: More Left-Wing Propaganda (John Hinderaker) HBO has announced that the team that produces Game of Thrones will, when that series concludes next year, take on a new project: a series called Confederate. The premise of Confederate is that the South prevailed in the Civil War, and now, in the 21st century, slavery still exists there. HBO’s initial publicity for the new program drew some criticism, so the network’s programming president, Casey Bloys, met with the Published:7/27/2017 9:33:13 PM
[Afghanistan] The Dynamics Of A Riot

Authored by Jeff Thomas via InternationalMan.com,

In my lifetime, I’ve had the misfortune of being present in two major natural disasters and one violent social crisis. Each taught me valuable lessons.

In the aftermath of a natural disaster, there’s the danger of the loss of shelter, services, and food. In most cases, people who experience the loss of shelter and services realise that “things are bad all around” and they tend to do the best they can, accepting that life will be hard for a period of time.

Food is a different matter. People, no matter how civilized, tend to panic if they become uncertain as to when they will next be able to eat. And, not surprisingly, this panic is exacerbated if they have dependents, particularly children who are saying, fearfully, “Daddy, I’m hungry.” As Henry Lewis said in 1906, “There are only nine meals between mankind and anarchy.” Quite so.

Intelligent, educated, otherwise peaceful people can be driven to violence and even murder if the likelihood of future meals becomes uncertain. This has been the cause of spontaneous riots throughout history.

But this is not the only cause of riots. In the post-1960 period in the West, a new phenomenon has occurred that has steadily grown: Governments and the halls of higher education have increasingly taught people that they are “entitled.” Governments have been guilty of this for millennia, beginning at least as early as the “bread and circuses” of ancient Rome. It’s a way for governments to get people to be dependent upon them and thereby to do their bidding. But, since the 1960s, it’s become a systemic norm.

And it always ends in the same way. The false economy of “free stuff” eventually devolves into overtaxation and economic collapse. When it does, people are more likely to riot, as the entitlements are “owed” to them. In today’s world, however, this condition has peaked far beyond what the world has ever seen before.

Increasingly, those who are angry that the free stuff they are receiving is not enough to placate them take to the streets. Typically, they throw rocks and Molotov cocktails, burn cars at random, destroy buildings, and loot stores. All of this activity, of course, does not make it more likely that they will receive more free stuff from the authorities who presumably owe it to them. Instead, it victimizes those who have lived lawfully and with less dependence upon the state.

Riots occur for a great variety of reasons.

The trigger can be something as absurd as in the 2011 Vancouver, Canada riot, in which locals became infuriated over the loss of a hockey game. Over 140 people were injured and over 5 million dollars in damage was done in a five-hour period. That last bit of information should be emphasized, as the fans had plenty of time to calm down after their team’s loss, but the rage, once ignited, became self-regenerating. This is one of the important dynamics of a riot that’s often overlooked. The riot, which may begin as a reaction to an event, becomes the event and is continued for its own sake.

In the same year, thousands of people rioted in London. The trigger was more serious this time: the shooting of a local man by a policeman. (Although the man had fired on police prior to being shot himself, this fact failed to deter rioters.) The riots, like most irrational retaliations, only served to cause more deaths and injuries. The riots lasted a full five days over a dozen London boroughs, then ignited further in a dozen other cities. Over £200 million in damages occurred, and over 3,400 crimes were logged.

There’s another dynamic that’s not revealed as it’s seen from the safety of our television screens, and that is the spontaneity of a riot. For anyone who has lived through a riot, as I have, the lesson is an indelible one.

Riots, on occasion, are planned and, once they begin, there are occasions in which individuals capitalize on them (such as the riots in Ferguson, Missouri, where hired rioters were bussed in). But, in most cases, they’re spontaneous. They begin as a reaction to pent-up anger. (In the Vancouver incident, the anger was building even before the hockey game had ended, but many riots, especially socially related riots, are often the result of many years of pent-up anger.)

The riot itself is generally a small spark that’s added to the existing anger and is often related to a specific event, such as the riots in US cities the night Martin Luther King Jr. was shot in 1968.

Once started, riots, for the most part, are entirely unplanned and rely on random acts of violence. Within minutes of the first violent act, entire neighbourhoods spontaneously ignite. As in the London riots, the same incident can spark off multiple riots, miles from each other.

A third often misunderstood dynamic is uncontrollability. Police can race to the centre of a riot and, in some cases, quell the rioters, but, as the riot is not “organized,” the rioters have merely to stop whatever they’re doing and, for the moment, they cease to be participants. If police move on to other riot locations, the rioters who had been temporarily inactive could begin to riot again. Even if police are successful in quelling all violent activity in a neighbourhood, they could receive a radio call directing them to a new riot location, just blocks away.

In my own experience, new locations of violence erupting seemed to be going off all around the city, like popcorn. Before one could be quelled, others would pop up. The incidents were therefore unstoppable by authorities.

Warfare has traditionally been approached from the standpoint that one army faces another and they fight until one surrenders. Guerilla warfare, however, has always proven unwinnable, as long as the guerillas are fighting on their home turf. Rioters have the same advantage as, say, an armed sheepherder in Afghanistan or a rice farmer in Vietnam. The violence only ends when all rioters have decided they’ve had enough.

Of course we’d hope that rioters would learn from their crimes, but this is rarely the case. In the London riots of 2011, rioters burned down the local Sainsbury’s in their own neighbourhood. The next day, the same people were on the streets, in front of the television cameras, angrily stating that their grocery store was now gone and their children needed food. They demanded that the government truck in free food as an emergency measure and, not surprisingly, that’s what they got.

This is exemplary of the fact that, in every case, reason is abandoned and anger rules the day. No lessons are learned by the rioters. In fact, months later, rioters have often been quoted as saying, “We showed ’em.”

So, what can we take away here? First, and most importantly, that riots are by their very nature spontaneous, mindless, and, for the most part, uncontrollable. Second, if an individual lives in or near a location where sociopolitical tension is on the increase, he is living in danger. The spontaneity of a riot means that he cannot prepare for it. If it arrives on his doorstep, or if he’s on the street at the time when it occurs, he may lose everything, including his life.

Since riots are mindless, rioters cannot be reasoned with. There’s no talking your way out of the danger, once it has reached you. Finally, as riots cannot effectively be controlled, the one and only defense against them is to conclude that, if one lives in an area where socioeconomic conditions indicate that the location (whether it be a neighbourhood or even an entire country) is unsafe, it may be time to move.

The key here is that the move occur before violence erupts. Once it has, it’s too late.

*  *  *

For months, we’ve been warning readers about the unprecedented global financial crisis that looms ahead. This inevitable crisis will catch the American masses unprepared… making riots a virtual certainty. Investors should expect chaos all around. New York Times best-selling author Doug Casey and his team can show you how to protect yourself. Click here for the details.

Published:7/24/2017 9:20:59 PM
[Politics] Dem Senator Won’t State Position on Single-Payer Health Care: ‘There May Be a Bill’

The post Dem Senator Won’t State Position on Single-Payer Health Care: ‘There May Be a Bill’ appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Published:7/19/2017 3:42:09 PM
[Asset forfeiture] Confiscation - The Second Half Of The Government's Pincer

Authord by Jeff Thomas via InternationalMan.com,

“Welcome to America, where your assets are literally the government’s business, and freedom is anything but free.”Claire Bernish, The Free Thought Project

For some time, I’ve been forewarning readers that, as the governments of the former “free” world unravel, they’ll introduce capital controls, both to continue to fund their failing policies and to limit the freedom of their citizenries.

I’ve envisioned this as a “pincer” of sorts.

First, it would be necessary to institute laws that allow authorities to confiscate the assets of anyone whom they “suspected” of a crime. (It’s essential to understand that an actual arrest is unnecessary, as that would allow the individual the opportunity to prove his innocence in a trial. No trial means he can never regain the confiscated assets.)

 

The second half of the pincer would be a law requiring the reporting of assets - a detailed declaration of all monetary holdings. (Of course, it would not be possible to keep such reporting thoroughly up to date, as it would be ever-changing. This would ensure virtually continual guilt through the failure to report.)

Civil Asset Forfeiture

In observing the US, we’re witnessing the completion of the pincer. The first half has been in place for some time, under civil asset forfeiture laws. It’s been described as a process in which law enforcement officers take assets from persons suspected of involvement with crime or illegal activity without necessarily charging the owners with wrongdoing.

That concept may seem odd to the reader, as, surely, if someone had committed a crime, the authorities would wish to charge him, then see to it that he was tried in court, so that he could be punished for his transgressions.

But what if the individual in question was not, in the traditional sense, a criminal; that a law had been written that would effectively define virtually all citizens as criminals? And what if the objective were not to prosecute offenders, but simply to rob them of their possessions?

In this light, civil asset forfeiture makes complete sense. First, the authorities decide that they want to take what they desire from others. Then they target an individual who possesses desired assets (i.e., home, car, business, bank accounts, wealth in a safe deposit box, etc.). They then detain the individual, state that he’s suspected of a crime (suspected drug dealer? Terrorist sympathiser? Possible tax cheat?) and seize his assets.

In this scenario, the authorities are actually advantaged by not charging the individual. He has no recourse, as he can’t demand his day in court for a charge that hasn’t been laid against him. Therefore, he can’t regain his assets, and they become the property of the authorities.

Although civil asset forfeiture never seems to appear on the evening news, it’s not because it’s a minor operation. Indeed, the total annual take now exceeds that of the annual total for burglaries by traditional criminals (those who rob others without a badge).

Declaration of Assets

Considering the severity of the above, it would be difficult to imagine that civil asset forfeiture laws are only half of the pincer, yet that’s exactly the case.

The other half is Senate Bill 1241, which is intended “to improve the prohibitions on money laundering, and for other purposes.” It requires that anyone travelling beyond US borders declare his assets in writing and in detail, plus provide ongoing access to all accounts held by the individual. In essence, it’s providing the government with a license to track your cash, cryptocurrencies, and other assets in perpetuity. Should, at any point, your declaration come into question as to its accuracy, the entirety of those assets could be seized, not just those that were unreported. In addition, you could face a prison sentence of up to five years.

The bill also seeks to curtail the individual’s right to travel outside the US. Whilst this may seem to be a less significant loss, as compared to the above, it serves the purpose of making it impossible for the individual to escape the clutches of his government by relocating to another country. He is, in effect, a trapped rat.

In addition, he’s a trapped rat who, having lost his assets to arbitrary confiscation, has been crippled economically. He can no longer defend himself, as he no longer has the means to pay an attorney.

How This Is Likely to Play Out

At present, asset confiscation is undertaken largely at a local level. Police go after many people at random. However, they also have the ability to target specific individuals that they know of, either for personal reasons or because they feel the haul would be substantial. Senate Bill 1241 places the robberies on a national level. It provides a database by which authorities can review possible targets, based upon their assets. It also allows the authorities the opportunity to go after those people who behaved in a manner deemed unacceptable to authorities.

For example, a national repository of information would allow authorities to target specific individuals who questioned the government or sought to live independently of governmental controls. Both Aldous Huxley and George Orwell described this concept as being central to the assurance that all citizens would be fully compliant with their rulers’ edicts, 100% of the time. One deviation from acceptable behaviour could result in a total loss of assets and freedom.

It would work like this: Like the FATCA legislation in the US, the premise is:

  1. An individual is required to provide a detailed report of his wealth (however small).

  2. The regulatory body chooses to regard the report as “in error,” or “incomplete.”

  3. The law then allows all the assets to be confiscated, including those portions that were correctly reported.

Of course, we’d like to think that no reasonable government would abuse power in this way. Unfortunately, history shows that any government that issues a license to itself to rob its citizenry, invariably uses (and abuses) that license.

The beauty of such a system is that it need not be enforced often. Once people understand that, at any moment, they could lose everything and have no recourse whatsoever, they learn to keep their heads down and be compliant.

From that point on, fear of government is a constant, and the population is effectively under house arrest.

In the late eighteenth century, American founding father Thomas Jefferson reportedly stated, “When government fears the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny.”

When a country degrades to the point that the government can grip its people in the pincers of arbitrary loss of assets, with no chance of recompense through the justice system, it’s safe to say that people can plan on henceforth living in fear.

*  *  *

The pincer’s grip grows tighter by the day... Unfortunately, the coming global economic crisis will only make the bankrupt US government a more aggressive thief. If you haven’t taken steps to protect your money, it’s almost too late. This is a frightening truth. But if you act now, you can still do something about it. New York Times best-selling author Doug Casey and his team can show you concrete ways to protect your financial freedom. Click here for the details.

Published:7/10/2017 10:54:13 PM
[Central Intelligence Agency] Have You a Positive Personal Practice?

Have You a Positive Personal Practice?

By

Cognitive Dissonance

 

 

Those who dive deeply into unmasking the Deep State Matrix (also known by many other names) and its various methods, operatives, sycophants and agents think they are enlightening themselves. And in some ways they are, if enlightening their lives is strictly interpreted as exposing the multiple layers of Imperial lies and deceit.

Rather than constructing a truth, arguably a somewhat more positive experience, what we are in fact doing is deconstructing a lie. Therefore by extension we are deconstructing our self, since our self is seamlessly intertwined and interchangeable with our worldview. We are taught, conditioned really, to identify ourselves in relation to how we perceive the world and our place within it.

Our family. Our community. Our work. Our company. Our town. Our government. Our leaders. Our nation. Our world. Our enemy. Our national debt. Our money. Our social problems.

We are conditioned from birth to closely identify with those people, places and things which we do not own, but in fact own us. Our actual personal problems are our own problems. No one outside our tiny personal circle takes any responsibility for them. But problems created by all those other entities are automatically our problems because we have chosen to align our self with external entities who care nothing for our own well being.

In fact, ‘they’ use our conditioned alignment to entrap and control us; though in reality we are willingly entrapping and controlling our selves. I am quite certain many people will choke on my use of the term ‘willingly’.

When we ask someone ‘What do you do?” what we are really asking is WHO are you? Our culture informs us the answer will be derived from our occupation, socioeconomic status, education and tribal ties all the way down to the clothes we wear and the words we speak. In turn, all these indicators are themselves derivatives of our overall cultural immersion…with millions of minor and major variations.

An integral component of our culture is the rules, and the rulers, who encompass it. Therefore when we begin to deconstruct (formerly) firmly believed ‘truths’ about ‘our’ cultural and socioeconomic systems, we are in effect deconstructing ourselves collectively and our ‘self’ individually.

External events which change our world view are treated quite differently than if we prompt the change ourselves though our own actions and inquiries, particularly if we can easily dismiss the external changes as entirely unforeseen or out of our control.

Let me give you an example. It would be extremely unusual for you to walk out the front door of your apartment building in Manhattan and find a black bear sitting on the sidewalk eating out of the garbage can.

But up here in the mountains of Southwestern VA, an occurrence such as this would not be unusual at all. And you would have been a fool in the first place to leave your garbage out to attract the bear.

Failure to adjust my worldview to account for the bears, bobcats, panthers, coyotes, copperhead and rattlesnakes we live amongst is sheer stupidity. We are short termers renting the place from an extremely long term Mother Nature who unquestionably rules the roost around here. But to consider these same creatures a serious and viable threat on the streets of NYC would also be stupidity, though a rabid dog is a definite possibility.     

We willingly moved up here, therefore we made the changes to our lifestyle which resulted in bears and bobcats. So while we might be startled to find Teddy munching on Mrs. Cog’s petunias one morning or digging out a bee hive, it would not necessarily be shocking. Thus our worldview would not be rocked to its core. But find bears on the streets of Manhattan and suddenly we are questioning the previously unquestionable.

 

Teddy

More than anything else, context determines whether something is shocking or not. And we determine the context.

Remember that when unfolding the lie.

 

Now suppose you’ve been told all your life there are no bears in Manhattan, only to discover via your own personal research (because an unknown stench originating from nearby was becoming unbearable) that the city keeps hungry bears in a poorly secured building next door and it’s only a matter of time before you become dinner for the bears.

Discovering this, one might at least begin to seriously question the local government concerning what else they’ve been lying about. While your overall worldview would change slightly, the portion focused locally would significantly diverge from previously accepted known knowns.

But then you unearth evidence of state and national political involvement in this seemingly local ‘scandal’. However, the city and national newspapers want nothing to do with the story and you suspect systemic corruption, or at the very least a conspiracy, is afoot.

Plus your apartment building neighbors, who are just as likely to be mauled by a hungry bear, just bow their heads and trudge forward, not wanting to cause trouble by ‘knowing’ the ugly details of this previously unknown fact.

Ignorance is bliss in all its ugly splendor.

Going several steps further, you eventually realize stinky bears are just the tip of the scat pile and all kinds of lies fester just below the surface. Very little of what you thought you knew about how the world works, especially the so called rules and regulations, is actually correct.

This is all quite unsettling, especially when those around us wish to remain deaf, dumb and blind and we are beginning to feel like the odd (wo)man out. Actual reality, meaning the facts as unearthed by us, remains not only unconfirmed, but disavowed by so-called ‘authority’ figures. And they are precisely the individuals and institutions we have been conditioned from birth to believe are the primary arbiters and qualifiers of truth.

Don’t believe me? Then why do the vast majority of ‘We the People” wait until authorities confirm what we already know, or at least strongly suspect, to be fact? I’ve witnessed this psychological phenomenon, both up close and from afar, too many times to dismiss it as anything but real and predicable.

Short of being swept away by the tsunami or run over by a Mack truck, meaning reality can no longer be successfully ignored or denied, it only becomes real when an acknowledged and official authority figure tells us it is real. By extension, if not acknowledged by an authority, something we know to be real remains not real in the hive mind of the collective.

Do not dismiss off hand the corrosive psychological damage wrought when one remains un-affirmed by the collective. While we may tell ourselves it is the price we pay for going it alone, unless we compensate for the damaging effects, it still takes its toll.

While we may intellectually know this journey of deconstruction is debilitating, knowing something doesn’t necessarily mean we fully comprehend all its ramifications. Based upon my own personal experience, as well as observations of others, it has become glaringly obvious to me we severely underestimate the damage done both to our psychological and physical systems.

And I haven’t even mentioned our severe spiritual wounding.

I rarely see any discussion in the alternative media of this debilitating phenomenon, so it isn’t surprising at all it’s rarely talked about even in the peanut gallery aka the comment section of the articles. We’re all just supposed to grin and bear it, brave little soldiers marching forever forward.

But even professional soldiers are psychologically and physically prepared for what they encounter and most certainly are affirmed and supported when they return, if only by each other. We, on the other hand, are isolated soul mates connected only by bits and bytes via some impersonal interwebby conversation. While this most definitely is a soothing balm, it is not a cure by any definition of the word.

So, have you a positive personal practice? Something you do on a daily or weekly basis that not just recharges, but replaces what has been dismantled and lost? Because as mentioned at the beginning, this is a deconstruction process of our self, of all we have believed in and constructed our lives around. One simply cannot remove this many bricks from the wall and expect it to remain stable for long.

Ultimately this is why so many collapse by the wayside, exhausted from the process and unwilling, or unable, to go any further. This inevitable attrition, this slow accumulation of casualties, is often hidden from view because new awakenings quickly take their place on the front lines, fresh fodder for the cognitive meat grinder.

 

The Face of the Fallen

So many fractured minds. It does not have to be this way.

 

And few talk about those left behind or why they fall in the first place. I’ve taken a few stabs at this subject and my meager contribution is listed below.

Collapse Fatigue

Waking Up Is Hard To Do

Where Have All The Zero Hedge Veterans Gone?

Dispatches from Occupied Territory – The Awakening

Seeking Calm in the Middle of Chaos

The Death of Hope and Belief

While some attempt to re-enter the Matrix and forget what they know, an impossible task in my view, most simply compartmentalize the information off to the side or under the surface and attempt to pick up the pieces of their lives.

“Yes, I know it’s all a lie. But I need to put bread on the table, salvage my marriage and work towards my retirement. I’ll do some long term prepping, adjust my investment portfolio to reflect what I know, patch things up with the spouse and kids and move on with my life. But I simply can’t do this anymore.”

I’ve witnessed people do this, so I know it can be accomplished. What I don’t know, and I suspect neither do they, is the extent of the short and long term damage done to their body, mind and spirit.

Some of us are simply more resilient than others are, capable of resisting, at least for a while, the debilitating psychological effects of a self disavowed truth that contradicts the officially sanctioned lie. I suspect some of it has to do with how deeply we believed the myth and how rigidly we structured our lives around the lie.

Many are devastated and never recover, while a surprisingly large contingent become addicted to continuously unfolding the big lie, convinced if they could just learn ‘the’ truth it will all finally make sense and the scoundrels will be jailed.

The truly Big Lie is there is no absolute ‘truth’ per se, just varying shades of gray. Beauty, and truth, is in the eye of the beholder and is determined almost entirely upon our perspective and belief system. A belief system, I might add, presently undergoing extensive renovations.

There could be a dozen sides to a conflict and all will brandish their ‘truth’ as the one and only God given truth. See, it was certified by God (the ultimate authority) so it must be the truth. Too often truth is conflated with carefully selected facts.

Just because I recognize a lie doesn’t immediately qualify the alternative as the truth. Ex CIA Director William Casey was quoted as saying “We’ll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false.” While the quote itself may be called into question, the process described cannot. This is how domestic ‘statecraft’ has been practiced for millennium and anyone who believes otherwise demonstrates the totality of their cultural conditioning.

Please do not be insulted by what I just said. Our conditioning has little to do with intelligence and everything to do with our early environment. A blank slate wrestled from the womb and filled to the brim with cultural beliefs and state mandated education is defenseless against the disinformation onslaught.

What makes the most effective disinformation campaign is the genuine sincerity of those conducting the actual conditioning. Initially this comes in the guise of family and friends, followed closely by trusted educators. Ultimately, when asked to accept something at face value, oftentimes the depth of our belief in the person promoting the information determines the depth of our belief in the information itself.

To one extent or another, we all suffer from Stockholm Syndrome. Only the coercion is more subtle than a pistol held to the back of the head. Then again, maybe not.

Critical thinking need not be applied. And often it is actively discouraged from being considered because we no longer understand what actual critical thinking entails. Unless (of course) we’re talking about ‘hard’ science. Since ‘science’ itself has been proven (by high priests in white coats) to be ‘truth’, science, and therefore by extension the scientists, has become its own authority.

See how that works?

A lie is only a lie if the person spreading it knows it is not the truth. Otherwise ‘it’ qualifies as a belief, albeit firmly held and quite persistent, requiring no critical testing and certainly no critical thinking to verify. All it takes is unquestioned faith and belief the presenter would never knowingly tell you a lie.

If it ain’t a lie it must be the truth, the ultimate in binary thinking.

When I closely, critically and continuously examine what I hold dear to me as fundamental truth, I discover much of it was passed on to me by parents, siblings, close friends and trusted associates. And, of course, the nanny state, along with its busy beehive of well intentioned, sincere and kindhearted disinformation disseminators.

At first I had no choice but to believe what I was told, since I was entirely dependent upon those close to me for nurturing. But the constant stream of uncomfortable, awkward and embarrassing questions spouted from the mouth of babes is the clearest indicator that much of our culture is at best nonsensical and at worst insane.

Once indoctrinated into the hive mind, there is little choice but to go along to get along. Basic survival instinct dictates we go with the flow or we go hungry. It’s usually all downhill from there. The tyranny of the hive is all encompassing and easily manipulated.

 

Hive Mind

One cannot fight the hive mind. But one CAN choose not to materially participate.

 

The net results can be deep wounds and scaring for life if we dare to tear at the bindings of the lies that tie our worldview, and therefore our self, together. And while we should never be admonished, nor dissuaded, from seeking to understand the lie, and therefore our self, only the unaware begins such strenuous labor unprepared and malnourished. 

There seems to be no widely disseminated information on how to proceed when digging through the lie, since the collective silence (heads bowed, eyes averted, lips zipped as a good slave citizen should) precludes even acknowledging the obvious truth about the bald faced lies. This only serves to further exaggerate the sense of isolation and abandonment felt by those brave enough to push through the initial layers of filth.

Ultimately the responsibility for our health and well being under any circumstances resides solely with us and our self. To obligate or expect any other person or entity to accept that responsibility is an abrogation of our own personal sovereignty. Of course, decades of conditioning tells us we are all victims and not responsible for our self, especially when we have just been…wait for it…victimized.

There are distinct benefits to being a slave. All you need to actually do is be helpless…and productive of course.

After reading this article, many will claim they are doing just fine; they suffer no ill effects from their journey through the foul sewerage of the big lie. And while it’s senseless to dispute their assertion since I do not know the individual making the claim, nor should they be challenged simply because they claim health and peace of mind, many who believe themselves OK are in fact not.

What I often see occurring, and I have done this as well, is a steeling of the self, a mental and emotional hunkering down to endure the long haul through the muck. Resigned to great drudgery for a long duration, one foot is placed in front of the next while great will is applied to the daily task of living in this self imposed hell.

I say self imposed simply because how we approach this, the manner in which we perceive the lie and our place within it, often contributes greatly to our distress. It does not need to be this way.

In fact, in a mistaken belief this is the only way to maintain our resolve, a near constant state of low level anger and righteous indignation is maintained, interspersed with brief flare-ups of rage when particularly vile or outrageous examples of the Imperial lie are uncovered.

This fight or flight posture is particularly debilitating if maintained for a long time. A constant low level infusion of stress hormones will slowly eat you alive.

Or a general state of apathy and resignation sets in when the full realization takes hold that one person cannot defeat the big lie, nor awaken a population who wishes to remain fast asleep.

There are a zillion variations upon the two general states of mind outlined above, including major derivations not even discussed. It doesn’t really matter if I have not described a specific state of mind, only that there is recognition they are abnormal and unhealthy.

In fact, this situation, this holding pattern, is far from OK and speaks of a terrible quality of life and a near hopelessly deflated spirit. And yet so many who choose to continue down the path of discovery know of no other way to continue.

So, have you a positive personal practice? Something you do on a daily or weekly basis that not just recharges, but replaces what has been lost.

In Chapter Two I shall discuss just what this might be.

 

07/09/2017

Cognitive Dissonance

BALANCE IS EVERYTHING!

Balance

Published:7/9/2017 9:16:28 AM
[International] New Details on the Plot to Kill Pope John Paul II

On May 16, 1985, President Ronald Reagan met with CIA director William J. Casey in the Oval Office. What did Reagan and Casey talk about? The official... Read More

The post New Details on the Plot to Kill Pope John Paul II appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Published:7/6/2017 3:55:44 PM
[A GHOST STORY] Imagined Dialogue For: ‘A Ghost Story’ “Imagined Dialogue For” is our series by the hilarious and talented Chris Scott—of Reviews of Movies I Haven’t Seen fame. Next up? Chris takes a stab at guessing what happens when the deceased get bored in the Casey Affleck/ Rooney Mara vehicle, A Ghost Story. Published:7/6/2017 12:25:18 PM
[Graphic novels] New graphic novel ‘Boundless’ illustrates the perils of seeking transcendence in a wired world
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FOR DECADES, Casey Kasem, the disc jockey and “Scooby-Doo” voice actor who died three years ago this month, would end his “American Top 40” franchise radio shows with a sign-off that seemed to suit both the long reach and relative impermanence of communication that floated along the airwaves. His 12 simple pseudo-inspiring words: “Keep your […]
Published:6/27/2017 3:10:49 PM
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