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Our National Madness

Our National Madness

Fakery and trickery are not solutions; they are a form of self-delusional madness that destroys the nation’s ability to face reality squarely and choose real solutions, no matter how painful the choice and path might be.

The nation has lost its common sense, its soul and its sanity.Can we summarize the source of this remarkably pervasive madness?

Our efforts are now focused not on solving core problems but on covering up core problems, as if covering up problems is a substitute for solving them. Down this path lies madness, for this substitution of false narratives for reality erodes our ability to distinguish not just between reality and fantasy but our ability to distinguish between moral rights and wrongs.

The efforts of those in positions of power are now focused on obscuring the truth, marginalizing critics, blaming malevolent external forces, cloaking self-interest with virtue signaling and staking claims to victimhood. These are the five dynamics that are powering the nation’s descent into madness and dysfunction.

Consider Harvey Weinstein. Evidence is now emerging that Mr. Weinstein and his army of toadies, bullies, thugs, et al. put enormous effort and resources into obscuring the truth, marginalizing critics, and cloaking self-interest with virtue signaling. Next up for Mr. Weinstein’s team of apologists: blame the Russians (or an equivalently malevolent Other), and claim to be a victim of all those testifying against him.

This is the model for everyone in positions of power. The only variation is which of the five will be spewed as a first line of defense, and which will be held in reserve for the last-ditch defense against the truth becoming public.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Demise of Dissent: Why the Web Is Becoming Homogenized In other words, we’ll be left with officially generated and sanctioned fake news and “approved” dissent. We’ve all heard that the problem with the web is fake news, i.e. unsubstantiated or erroneous content that’s designed to mislead or sow confusion. The problem isn’t just fake news–it’s the homogenization of the web, that is, the elimination or marginalization of independent voices of skepticism and dissent. There are four drivers of this homogenization: 1. The suppression of dissent under the guise of ridding the web of propaganda and fake news–in other words, dissent is labeled fake news as a cover for silencing critics and skeptics. 2. The sharp decline of advertising revenues flowing to web publishers, both major outlets and small independent publishers like Of Two Minds. 3. The majority of advert revenues now flow into the coffers of the quasi-monopolies Facebook and Google. 4. Publishers are increasingly dependent on these quasi-monopolies for readers and visibility: any publisher who runs afoul of Facebook and Google and is sent to Digital Siberia effectively vanishes. The reason why publishers’ advert incomes are plummeting are four-fold: 1. Most of the advert revenues in the digital market are being skimmed by Facebook and Google, as the chart below illustrates. 2. Ad blockers have become ubiquitous. 3. Few people click on the display ads that are the standard in desktop web publishing; in other words, these ads simply don’t work very well, and much of the revenue being generated is click-fraud, i.e. bots not real people clicking on adverts because they’re interested in the product/service. As a result, advertisers are pulling away from these type of ads as they search for advert models that aren’t so vulnerable to click-fraud. 4. The web is increasingly shifting to mobile, which has fewer advert spots due to the small size of the display. In addition, major third-party advert services such as Google Adsense place restrictions on the number and size of ads being displayed on publishers’ sites. The systemic erosion of advert revenues for everyone other than FB and Google is evident everywhere: for example, BuzzFeed Set to Miss Revenue Target, Signaling Turbulence in Media Prospects for a 2018 initial public offering by the high-profile publisher now appear remote.

The Demise of Dissent: Why the Web Is Becoming Homogenized

In other words, we’ll be left with officially generated and sanctioned fake news and “approved” dissent.
We’ve all heard that the problem with the web is fake news, i.e. unsubstantiated or erroneous content that’s designed to mislead or sow confusion.
The problem isn’t just fake news–it’s the homogenization of the web, that is, the elimination or marginalization of independent voices of skepticism and dissent.
There are four drivers of this homogenization:
1. The suppression of dissent under the guise of ridding the web of propaganda and fake news–in other words, dissent is labeled fake news as a cover for silencing critics and skeptics.
2. The sharp decline of advertising revenues flowing to web publishers, both major outlets and small independent publishers like Of Two Minds.
3. The majority of advert revenues now flow into the coffers of the quasi-monopolies Facebook and Google.
4. Publishers are increasingly dependent on these quasi-monopolies for readers and visibility: any publisher who runs afoul of Facebook and Google and is sent to Digital Siberia effectively vanishes.
The reason why publishers’ advert incomes are plummeting are four-fold:
1. Most of the advert revenues in the digital market are being skimmed by Facebook and Google, as the chart below illustrates.
2. Ad blockers have become ubiquitous.
3. Few people click on the display ads that are the standard in desktop web publishing; in other words, these ads simply don’t work very well, and much of the revenue being generated is click-fraud, i.e. bots not real people clicking on adverts because they’re interested in the product/service. As a result, advertisers are pulling away from these type of ads as they search for advert models that aren’t so vulnerable to click-fraud.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Superhero Complex: Are We Incapable of Saving Ourselves?

The Superhero Complex: Are We Incapable of Saving Ourselves?

If we felt empowered in daily life, would we be so enamored of superheroes constantly saving our world from destruction?

It’s been widely noted that the U.S. film industry ably functions as a pro-global hegemony propaganda machine: even when the plot features evil rogue elements at work in a global-hegemony agency (Pentagon, CIA, NSA, etc.), the competence of the agency is never in doubt, nor is the agency’s ability to rid itself of the evil rogue element.

Evil conspiracies are revealed and the Good Guys/Gals win.

This depiction of official competence and the moral righteousness of patriotic employees is not surprising; these agencies have long “cooperated” with Hollywood on many levels.

More troubling is the recent film-industry depiction of our dependence on superheroes and their superpowers to set things right. The benign view is that Hollywood is always seeking new billion-dollar source materials for multi-film franchises, and comic book heroes are tailor-made for franchises: not only can multiple films be made about individual superheroes, but the potential for mix-and-match combinations of superheroes is practically endless.

The less benign view is that the popularity of superhero movies reflects a deep insecurity and worrisome desire for fantasy saviors, as if mere mortals can no longer save themselves with their pitiful real-world powers.

Psychoanalyzing the zeitgeist of films has long been a popular parlor game: much has been written about the popularity of monster films (often featuring nuclear radiation as the trigger of the mayhem) in 1950s Japan, and the meaning of the American Noir films in the 1950s.

Correspondent C.D. recently submitted an interpretation of Hollywood’s superhero movies: is our collective fascination with superheroes reflecting a sense that we no longer have the power to save ourselves?

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Mideast Turmoil: Follow the Oil, Follow the Money

Mideast Turmoil: Follow the Oil, Follow the Money

In this scenario, time is running out for Saudi Arabia’s free-spending royalty and state– and for all the other free-spending oil exporters.

While there are numerous dynamics at work in the turmoil roiling Saudi Arabia and by extension, the Mideast, one way to cut to the chase is to follow the oil, follow the money. Correspondent B.D. recently posited a factor that has been largely overlooked in the geopolitical / fate-of-the-petrodollar discussions:

Perhaps the core dynamic is a technical one of diminished oil production. Here is Bart’s commentary:

“I think the Saudis may be quickly running out of profitable oil to produce/export.

I think they tried to over-produce for a while to damage the competition… and they now have production issues resulting from that. (As has happened in the past)

I think they may have recently slipped over the event horizon for being the world’s swing producer of ‘cheap-ish and abundant’ oil. That has huge ramifications for the global markets ability to quickly respond to supply/demand fluctuations.

I suspect they’re no longer cutting production voluntarily … they are now in the grip of a technically driven decline in output. (Why else begin selling off ARAMCO now?)

I doubt that many national economies can handle $70+ oil for very long… price will be limited by the ability of the consumers to pay. What I assume should happen is relentless severe volatility in the absence of a big swing producer that can open up or shut in production with comparative ease.”

Thank you, B.D. Let’s start with what’s well-established about Saudi oil production:

1. The days of sticking a straw in the sand and oil gushing out are long gone. Oil production now depends on costly technologies such as pressurizing the wells with seawater, CO2, etc.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Where are Europe’s Fault Lines?

Where are Europe’s Fault Lines?

Beneath the surface of modern maps, numerous old fault lines still exist. A political earthquake or two might reveal the fractures for all to see.

Correspondent Mark G. and I have long discussed the potential relevancy of old boundaries, alliances and structures in Europe’s future alignments.Examples include the Holy Roman Empire and the Hanseatic League, among others.

In the long view, Europe has cycled between periods of consolidation and fragmentation for two millennia, starting with the Roman Empire and its dissolution. Various mass movements of tribes/peoples led to new political structures and alliances, and a dizzying range of leaders rose to power and schemed their way through an equally dizzying array of wars, alliances and betrayals.

Regardless of the era or players, security is a permanent priority: this includes defensible borders, alliances to counter potential foes, treaties to end hostilities and whatever is necessary to secure access to resources and trade routes.

When consolidation served these priorities, then fragmented polities either consolidated by choice or by conquest. When smaller polities served these priorities, then imperial structures fragmented into naturally cohesive territories that were unified by language, culture and geography.

Security is also economic, as people support structures that keep their bellies filled and enable social stability and mobility.

For the sake of argument, let’s say that the European Union is the high water mark of consolidation, and the next phase is fragmentation. Where are Europe’s natural fault lines? Much has changed in the past 600 years, but geography hasn’t changed, and that defines some basic security threats.

German Army Prepares For “Break-Up Of European Union” Or Worse

The Germans are making contingency plans for the collapse of Europe

 

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Big Reversal: Inflation and Higher Interest Rates Are Coming Our Way

The Big Reversal: Inflation and Higher Interest Rates Are Coming Our Way

This interaction will spark a runaway feedback loop that will smack asset valuations back to pre-bubble, pre-pyramid scheme levels.

According to the conventional economic forecast, interest rates will stay near-zero essentially forever due to slow growth. And since growth is slow, inflation will also remain neutral.

This forecast is little more than an extension of the trends of the past 30+ years: a secular decline in interest rates and official inflation, which remains around 2% or less. (As many of us have pointed out for years, the real rate of inflation is much higher–in the neighborhood of 7% annually for those exposed to real-world costs.)

The Burrito Index: Consumer Prices Have Soared 160% Since 2001 (August 1, 2016)

Inflation Isn’t Evenly Distributed: The Protected Are Fine, the Unprotected Are Impoverished Debt-Serfs (May 25, 2017)

About Those “Hedonic Adjustments” to Inflation: Ignoring the Systemic Decline in Quality, Utility, Durability and Service (October 11, 2017)

Be Careful What You Wish For: Inflation Is Much Higher Than Advertised (October 5, 2017)

Apparently unbeknownst to conventional economists, trends eventually reverse or give way to new trends. As a general rule, whatever fundamentals are pushing the trend decay or slide into diminishing returns, and new dynamics arise that power a new trend.

I’ve often referred to the S-Curve as one model of how trends emerge, strengthen, top out, weaken and then fade. Trends often change suddenly, as in the phase-shift model, in which the status quo appears stable until hidden instabilities cause the entire “permanent and forever” status quo to collapse in a heap.

The Bank for International Settlements (BIS) recently issued a report claiming that Demographics will reverse three multi-decade global trends. Here’s a precis of the case for a globally aging populace and a shrinking workforce to reverse the downward trends in inflation and interest rates: New Study Says Aging Populations Will Drive Higher Interest Rates (Bloomberg)

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

What’s Driving Social Discord: Russian Social Media Meddling or Soaring Wealth/Power Inequality?

What’s Driving Social Discord: Russian Social Media Meddling or Soaring Wealth/Power Inequality?

The nation’s elites are desperate to misdirect us from the financial and power dividethat has enriched and empowered them at the expense of the unprotected many.

There are two competing explanatory narratives battling for mind-share in the U.S.:

1. The nation’s social discord is the direct result of Russian social media meddling– what I call the Boris and Natasha Narrative of evil Russian masterminds controlling a vast conspiracy of social media advertising, fake-news outlets and trolls that have created artificial divides in the body politic, or exacerbated minor cracks into chasms.

2. The nation’s social discord is the direct result of soaring wealth/power inequality– the vast expansion of the wealth and power of the nation’s financial elites and their protected class of technocrat enablers and enforcers (the few) at the expense of the unprotected many.

Core to this narrative is the view that the elites and technocrats have engaged in a massive, coordinated official/media propaganda campaign of fake newsaimed at persuading the bottom 95% that their prosperity and financial security are expanding when the reality is they have lost ground they will never be able to recover.

This propaganda campaign includes official (i.e. gamed/distorted) statistics such as unemployment and inflation, a reliance on the manipulated stock market to “signal widespread prosperity” and a steady drumbeat of corporate media coverage promoting the Boris and Natasha Narrative as the primary source of all our troubles.

The reality the elites must mask is that the few (the elites) have benefited at the expense of the many. The rising tide of financialization, globalization and neofeudal-neocolonial neoliberalism has not raised all boats; the yachts have floated higher while the rowboats have either sunk or are leaking badly.

The Boris and Natasha Narrative is the primary propaganda tool of the ruling elites and their technocrat/ corporate media enablers.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

What the Kennedy Assassination Records Reveal: Uncontrollable Incompetence

What the Kennedy Assassination Records Reveal: Uncontrollable Incompetence

Imagine Harvey Weinstein wielding a “top secret” stamp to block any exposure of the uncomfortable truth and you have the FBI, CIA and NSA.

One way to interpret the intelligence community’s reluctance to let all the Kennedy assassination archives become public is that the archives contain evidence of a “smoking gun”: that is, evidence that the intelligence agencies of the United States of America were complicit in the assassination of the President.

I think the agencies fear something larger: exposure of their gross incompetence, their “cowboy” recklessness and their disavowal of elected-civilian control. Their fear of this exposure is based on one simple fact: nothing’s changed since 1963. They were unaccountable and incompetent then, and they remain unaccountable and incompetent now. The only difference is their funding has greatly increased.

We rarely get an insider’s glimpse of the intelligence community’s pettiness, hubris and incompetence. The Ministry of Propaganda is tasked with showing the NSA, CIA, FBI, et al. as super-competent, super-dedicated, and focused on defeating evil (which is always presented as unambiguously evil, i.e. anti-American.)

Although it’s 30 years old, I still recommend this account of a top MI5 (U.K.) officer, SpyCatcher: The Candid Autobiography of a Senior Intelligence Officer.

I’ve read many books on the intelligence community, but few (if any) reveal the inter-agency rivalries and bad blood that (as far as I can tell) still exist beneath a formal veneer of co-operation. The CIA and FBI were always envious of the NSA’s SigInt (signal intelligence, i.e. eavesdropping), and so they’ve attempted to create their own versions, with laughably incompetent results in the case of the FBI’s “Russians stole the election” inquiry.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

What Could Pop The Everything Bubble?

A crisis that can’t be solved by just printing more dollars

I’ve long held that if a problem can be solved by creating $1 trillion out of thin air and buying a raft of assets with that $1 trillion, then central banks will solve the problem by creating the $1 trillion out of thin air—nothing could be easier.

This is the lesson of the past eight years: if a problem can be solved by creating new money and buying assets, then central banks will solve that problem.

Problem: stock market is declining. Solution: create new money and buy, buy, buy stock index funds. Problem solved! Market stops falling and quickly rebounds as “central banks have our backs.”

Problem: interest rates are inhibiting lending and growth. Solution: create a few trillion units of currency and buy enough sovereign bonds to drop interest rates to near-zero.

Problem: nobody’s left who can afford to buy the new nosebleed-priced flats that underpin China’s miracle-grow economy. Solution: create new currency, lend it to local government agencies who then buy the empty flats.

Problem: stagnant employment and deflation. Solution: create a trillion in new currency, buy a trillion in new government bonds that then fund infrastructure projects, i.e. bridges to nowhere.

And so on. Any problem that can be solved by creating a few trillion out of thin air and buying assets will be solved.  The mechanism to solve these problems—creating currency out of nothing—is like a perpetual motion machine: there are no intrinsic limits on the amount of new money that can created at near-zero interest, as the interest payments can be funded by new money.

Even better, the central bank (the Federal Reserve) buys Treasury bonds with the new currency that generate income, which is then returned to the Treasury: a perpetual-motion money machine!

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Observations on Wealth-Income Inequality (from Federal Reserve Reports)

Observations on Wealth-Income Inequality (from Federal Reserve Reports)

There’s a profound difference between assets that produce no income and those that produce net income.

To those of us nutty enough to pore over dozens of pages of data on wealth and income in the U.S., the Federal Reserve’s quarterly Z.1 reports and annual Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF) are treasure troves, as are I.R.S. tax and income reports.

Allow me to share a few observations on family wealth and income drawn from my review of these documents:

Changes in U.S. Family Finances from 2013 to 2016 (42 pages)

Financial Accounts of the United States (198 pages)

Corporate profits clock in at $2.135 trillion annually, around 11% of the nation’s GDP (gross domestic product). (Page 10 of Z.1) This has changed very little over the past few years; corporate profits totaled $2.140 trillion in 2014.

Most people who follow financial matters closely probably know corporate profits have been around $2 trillion annually for awhile.

But how many know that proprietors’ income from small businesses ($1.375 trillion) and rental income of persons–i.e. not corporations–($740 billion) together equal corporate profits? ($2.115 trillion for small biz/rentals, $2.135 trillion for corporate profits.

How many financially savvy people know that proprietors’ income and private rental income rose by $189 billion since 2014, while corporate profits flatlined?

Clearly, the families that own the proprietorships and rentals pulling down $2.1 trillion in annual profits are doing a bit better than OK.

As the charts below reveal, most of this profitable business equity is owned by the top 10% of families. There are a few clues that suggest that family-owned business equity is distributed along a power-law curve, i.e. the majority of wealth and income is held by the top and the rest is distributed over the rest of the owners.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Stagnation Nation: Middle Class Wealth Is Locked Up in Housing and Retirement Funds

Stagnation Nation: Middle Class Wealth Is Locked Up in Housing and Retirement Funds

The majority of middle class wealth is locked up in unproductive assets or assets that only become available upon retirement or death.

One of my points in Why Governments Will Not Ban Bitcoin was to highlight how few families had the financial wherewithal to invest in bitcoinor an alternative hedge such as precious metals.

The limitation on middle class wealth isn’t just the total net worth of each family; it’s also how their wealth is allocated: the vast majority of most middle class family wealth is locked up in the family home or retirement funds.

This chart provides key insights into the differences between middle class and upper-class wealth. The majority of the wealth held by the bottom 90% of households is in the family home, i.e. the principal residence. Other major assets held include life insurance policies, pension accounts and deposits (savings).

What characterizes the family home, insurance policies and pension/retirement accounts? The wealth is largely locked up in these asset classes.

Yes, the family can borrow against these assets, but then interest accrues and the wealth is siphoned off by the loans. Early withdrawals from retirement funds trigger punishing penalties.

In effect, this wealth is in a lockbox and unavailable for deployment in other assets.

IRAs and 401K retirement accounts can be invested, but company plans come with limitations on where and how the funds can be invested, and the gains (if any) can’t be accessed until retirement.

Compare these lockboxes and limitations with the top 1%, which owns the bulk of business equity assets. Business equity means ownership of businesses; ownership of shares in corporations (stocks) is classified as ownership of financial securities.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Stagnation Nation: Middle Class Wealth Is Locked Up in Housing and Retirement Funds

Stagnation Nation: Middle Class Wealth Is Locked Up in Housing and Retirement Funds

The majority of middle class wealth is locked up in unproductive assets or assets that only become available upon retirement or death.

One of my points in Why Governments Will Not Ban Bitcoin was to highlight how few families had the financial wherewithal to invest in bitcoin or an alternative hedge such as precious metals.

The limitation on middle class wealth isn’t just the total net worth of each family; it’s also how their wealth is allocated: the vast majority of most middle class family wealth is locked up in the family home or retirement funds.

This chart provides key insights into the differences between middle class and upper-class wealth. The majority of the wealth held by the bottom 90% of households is in the family home, i.e. the principal residence. Other major assets held include life insurance policies, pension accounts and deposits (savings).

What characterizes the family home, insurance policies and pension/retirement accounts? The wealth is largely locked up in these asset classes.

Yes, the family can borrow against these assets, but then interest accrues and the wealth is siphoned off by the loans. Early withdrawals from retirement funds trigger punishing penalties.

In effect, this wealth is in a lockbox and unavailable for deployment in other assets.

IRAs and 401K retirement accounts can be invested, but company plans come with limitations on where and how the funds can be invested, and the gains (if any) can’t be accessed until retirement.

Compare these lockboxes and limitations with the top 1%, which owns the bulk of business equity assets. Business equity means ownership of businesses; ownership of shares in corporations (stocks) is classified as ownership of financial securities.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Which Rotten Fruit Falls First?

Which Rotten Fruit Falls First?

I predict the current investigations will widen and take a variety of twists and turns that surprise all those anticipating a tidy, narrowly focused denouement.
The theme this week is The Rot Within.

To those of us who understand the entire status quo is rotten and corrupt to its core, the confidence of each ideological camp that their side will emerge unscathed by investigation is a source of amusement. The fake-progressives (fake because these so-called “progressives” support Imperial over-reach and a status quo whose only possible output is soaring wealth and income inequality) are confident that a “smoking gun” of corruption will deliver their most fervent dream, the impeachment of President Trump, while Trump supporters are equally confident there is no “smoking gun.”

One camp is confident that the wily Clintons and their army of enablers, from former FBI Director Comey on down, will finally be brought to long-evaded justice for their various perfections of corruption and collusion: pay to play, and so on.

Clinton supporters are equally confident that there is no “smoking gun” that will bring down the House of Clinton, and by proxy, the organs of the Democratic Party.

The implicit historical model each camp is anticipating is of course Watergate, which unfolded with a dramatic inevitability that in retrospect almost seems scripted: a minor burglary led to the hubris of cover-up which led to the destruction of the Nixon presidency.

Often overlooked in this history is the key roles played by insider informants (such as Deep Throat) and the wider political demands for greater transparency the scandal triggered.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

GDP Is Bogus: Here’s Why

GDP Is Bogus: Here’s Why

Here’s a chart of our fabulous always-higher GDP, adjusted for another bogus metric, official inflation.
The theme this week is The Rot Within.

The rot eating away at our society and economy is typically papered over with bogus statistics that “prove” everything’s getting better every day in every way. The prime “proof” of rising prosperity is the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which never fails to loft higher, with the rare excepts being Spots of Bother (recessions) that never last more than a quarter or two.

Longtime correspondent Dave P. of Market Daily Briefing recently summarized the key flaw in GDP: GDP doesn’t reflect changes in the balance sheet, i.e. debt.

So if we borrow money to pay people to dig holes and then fill them with the excavated dirt, GDP rises to general applause. The debt we took on to fund the make-work isn’t accounted for at all.

Here’s Dave’s explanation:

Once I learned about accounting, I figured out why the GDP metric wasn’t sufficient. What is missing?

The balance sheet.

Hurricanes are a direct hit to your nation’s balance sheet. The national income statement goes up because of increased spending to replace lost assets, but the “equity” part of the national balance sheet ends up taking a hit in direct proportion to the damage that occurred. Even if you rebuild everything just the way it was, your assets remain the same, while your liabilities have increased.

We know this because we use the balance sheet equation: equity = assets – liabilities. Equity is another word for wealth.

Before hurricane:

wealth = (house + car) – (home debt + car debt)

After hurricane, you rebuild your house, and buy a new car, using borrowed money:

wealth = (house + car) – (2 x home debt + 2 x car debt)

Wealth (equity) has declined by the sum (home debt + car debt)

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The United States of Weinstein: Complicity, Greed and Corruption Is the Status Quo

The United States of Weinstein: Complicity, Greed and Corruption Is the Status Quo

If integrity means more than any of these baubles, then prepare to fail.
The theme this week is The Rot Within.

The sordid story of Harvey Weinstein is being presented as an aberration. It is not an aberration; it is merely a high-profile example of how the status quo functions in the USA, a.k.a. The United States of Weinstein, in which complicity, greed and corruption reign supreme in every sector and in every nook and cranny of power.

The dirty secret of America’s status quo is that power and wealth are both extremely concentrated, which means there are gatekeepers who must be bribed, sated or serviced if you want to claw your way up the wealth-power pyramid. Mr. Weinstein’s alleged conduct and payoffs of those he exploited is par for the course in the corridors of power in the USA.

As a gatekeeper in Hollywood, Mr. W. could make or break careers with absurd ease.

Gatekeepers are the key functionaries in a rentier economy in which the few at the top skim the wealth of the many. Want to play in the big leagues of Hollywood, Washington D.C., the Pentagon, or the various HQs of Global Corporate America? You have to pay the Gatekeepers what they demand.

It might be the casting couch or a slice of the profits, or a vote in committee, but the price of admission will always include complicity–silence about the crimes committed and the endemic corruption, and a sacrifice of moral standards. This is the minimal price of “success” in the elite circles of wealth and power in America.

If you doubt this, dig deep into any concentration of power in America and see what you find. Outsiders won’t find anyone willing to talk, of course; that’s how complicity works.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Olduvai II: Exodus
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Olduvai
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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Olduvai III: Cataclysm
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