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Localism in the 2020s (Part 4) – Creating More Voluntary Unions

Localism in the 2020s (Part 4) – Creating More Voluntary Unions

Disclaimer: I don’t have answers to everything. In fact, I probably don’t have answers to anything at all, just some thoughts on what’s wrong with the structure of governance around the world (it’s too centralized and authoritarian) and some general ideas about what direction we should head in. 

Given the increased likelihood that all sorts of things about the current paradigm will begin to fail in a more acute and undeniable manner in the years ahead, well intentioned people capable of critical thought should begin contemplating how things could be as opposed to how they are. Ideally, this will lead to increased action and experimentation, particularly at a local level. Never forget, if we don’t come up with our own ideas and perspectives for how things should be, others will be more than happy to decide for us.

This piece should be seen as a thought exercise of how I would think about structuring things if presented with a blank slate opportunity. 

In Part 3 of this series, I outlined a framework of sovereignty beginning with the individual, progressing to family, municipality/county, state and finally country. Though the broadest scope of decision making should always reside with the individual, the reality of social relations means some individual autonomy is relinquished as sovereign units grow to include more and more people. It’s part of human nature to expand beyond ourselves and our families into larger and more complex social relationships, but far more thought should be directed at the dangers and uncertainties that arise as these units start to include increased degrees of geography and population.

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

Localism in the 2020s (Part 3) – Scaling Politics

Localism in the 2020s (Part 3) – Scaling Politics

Today’s post will outline a framework through which I’ve come to view politics, as well as life in general. It will identify and examine various units of sovereignty as they exist in the contemporary U.S., since that’s the political system I’m most familiar with. Nevertheless, the overall framework should prove useful to people living all over the world.

Let’s start from the beginning. The most basic and meaningful unit of sovereignty is the individual, followed by the family, the municipality/county, the state (California, New York, Texas, etc) and finally the federal government (Washington D.C.). It’s my view that within a healthy society the scope of governance should decline as you add more and more individuals to the mix. It’s at the most basic unit of sovereignty (the individual), where authority over most of life’s decisions should reside. This runs the gamut from the really big decisions, such as what sort of work to do, who to marry, what religion (if any) to believe in; to the completely mundane, such as what to eat for breakfast.

As a person starts to add more members to their daily life in the form of a family (spouse and children), a wide range of complexities are added to the equation which call for a more expansive approach to individual agency. You suddenly find yourself sharing an intimate existence with people who are not you, and who’ll invariably have conflicting views on a wide variety of subjects, both significant and trivial. Compromise becomes necessary in the pursuit of a harmonious coexistence amongst spouses, as well as within the larger family unit, and you start to relinquish a certain degree of individual sovereignty.

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

Monetary Looting

Monetary Looting

The United States has historically bragged about its free and transparent markets. But what the Fed is doing today is pulling a dark curtain around the financing of this so-called free and transparent market. The public has no idea which Wall Street firms have received this $3 trillion or why they can’t borrow it elsewhere. This kind of obfuscation by the Federal Reserve could actually stimulate distrust in the U.S. banking system. The Fed admitted as much in its most recent Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) minutes, writing that participation in the Fed’s loan program “could become stigmatized.”

– Wall Street on ParadeIs the Fed’s $3 Trillion in Loans to Trading Houses on Wall Street Legal?

The business model of Wall Street is fraud.
– Bernie Sanders

Financial services as currently structured is the most pernicious, predatory and corrupt industry on earth. Moreover, it’s the deliberately complex and opaque nature of the industry which then limits public debate when some problem arises and governments and central banks are called upon to take emergency measures to “save the system,” which is just a euphemism for enormous sums of corporate welfare being funneled to people and institutions who couldn’t survive otherwise.

It is systemic looting on a massive scale and the primary patrons of this ongoing and seemingly endless scheme are central banks. In the U.S. this means the Federal Reserve, which recently came back into the “market” with enormous new interventions in both the repo market and via renewed balance sheet expansion. I’ve read many of the smart takes on the repo crisis and still don’t feel confident I know precisely what’s going on. This is intentional.

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

Three Major Imbalances – Financial, Trust and Geopolitical

Three Major Imbalances – Financial, Trust and Geopolitical

But greed is a bottomless pit
And our freedom’s a joke
We’re just taking a piss
And the whole world must watch the sad comic display
If you’re still free start running away
Cause we’re coming for you!

– Conor Oberst, “Land Locked Blues”

It’s hard to believe 2020 is just around the corner. If the last ten years have taught us anything, it’s the extent to which a vicious and corrupt oligarchy will go to further extend and entrench their economic and societal interests. Although the myriad desperate actions undertaken by the ruling class this past decade have managed to sustain the current paradigm a bit longer, it has not come without cost and major long-term consequence. Gigantic imbalances across multiple areas have been created and worsened, and the resolution of these in the years ahead (2020-2025) will shape the future for decades to come. I want to discuss three of them today, the financial system imbalance, the trust imbalance and the geopolitical imbalance.

Recent posts have focused on how what really matters in a crisis is not the event itself, but the response to it. The financial crisis of ten years ago is particularly instructive, as the entire institutional response to a widespread financial industry crime spree was to focus on saving a failed system and then pretending nothing happened. The public was given no time or space to debate whether the system needed saving; or more specifically, which parts needed saving, which parts needed wholesale restructuring and which parts should’ve been thrown into the dustbin. Rather, unelected central bankers stepped in with trillions in order to prop up, empower and reward the very industry and individuals that created the crisis to begin with. There was no real public debate, central bankers just did whatever they wanted. It was a moment so brazen and disturbing it shook many of us, including myself, out of a lifetime of propaganda induced deception.

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

The Illiberal World Order

The Illiberal World Order

From a big picture perspective, the largest rift in American politics is between those willing to admit reality and those clinging to a dishonest perception of a past that never actually existed. Ironically, those who most frequently use “post-truth” to describe our current era tend to be those with the most distorted view of what was really happening during the Clinton/Bush/Obama reign.

Despite massive amounts of evidence to the contrary, such people now enthusiastically whitewash the decades preceding Trump to turn it into a paragon of human liberty, justice and economic wonder. You don’t have to look deep to understand that resistance liberals are now actually conservatives, brimming with nostalgia for the days before significant numbers of people became wise to what’s been happening all along.

They want to forget about the bipartisan coverup of Saudi Arabia’s involvement in 9/11, all the wars based on lies, and the indisputable imperial crimes disclosed by Wikileaks, Snowden and others. They want to pretend Wall Street crooks weren’t bailed out and made even more powerful by the Bush/Obama tag team, despite ostensible ideological differences between the two. They want to forget Epstein Didn’t Kill Himself.

Lying to yourself about history is one of the most dangerous things you can do. If you can’t accept where we’ve been, and that Trump’s election is a symptom of decades of rot as opposed to year zero of a dangerous new world, you’ll never come to any useful conclusions. As such, the most meaningful fracture in American society today is between those who’ve accepted that we’ve been lied to for a very long time, and those who think everything was perfectly fine before Trump.

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

Algorithmic Feudalism

Algorithmic Feudalism

 Stiegler insists, however, that authentic thinking and calculative thinking are not mutually exclusive; indeed, mathematical rationality is one of our major prosthetic extensions. But the catastrophe of the digital age is that the global economy, powered by computational “reason” and driven by profit, is foreclosing the horizon of independent reflection for the majority of our species, in so far as we remain unaware that our thinking is so often being constricted by lines of code intended to anticipate, and actively shape, consciousness itself. 

– Via TruthDigFighting the Unprecedented ‘Proletarianization’ of the Human Mind

As the share price of Google parent company Alphabet soared to new highs in the U.S. equity market last week, several articles were published detailing just how out of control and dangerous this tech behemoth has become.

First, we learned Google is in the process of secretly sucking up the personalized healthcare data of up to 50 million Americans without the permission of patients or doctors. This was followed by a detailed report in the Wall Street Journal outlining how the search giant is meddling with its algorithms far more aggressively than executives lead people to believe. Despite these revelations, or more likely because of them, the stock price jumped to record levels. This is the world we live in.


You, a peasant, steals a sandwich->Jail

Google, a tech giant, steals the medical histories of 50 million Americans-> We are raising our earning estimates for the current quarter.

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2019/nov/12/google-medical-data-project-nightingale-secret-transfer-us-health-information …

Google’s secret cache of medical data includes names and full details of millions – whistleblowerWhistleblower tells Guardian of growing alarm over secret transfer of medical history data, which can be accessed by Google staff

theguardian.com


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

Bolivia Adds to the Ranks of Global Political Chaos

Bolivia Adds to the Ranks of Global Political Chaos

Two days before Bolivian president Evo Morales was pushed out by the country’s military, Mark Weisbot of the Center for Economic and Policy Research penned a warning about what was happening, and what might unfold, in a Nation article titled, The Trump Administration Is Undercutting Democracy in Bolivia.

He noted:

Multilateral organizations like the Organization of American States (OAS) have a certain perceived impartiality because they are, in theory, controlled by a diverse group of nations. But sometimes a great power can wield a disproportionate influence. It could theoretically be a coincidence that both the Trump administration and the OAS have tried—without offering any evidence—to discredit Bolivia’s national election in the past couple of weeks. But it’s more likely that this dangerous, ugly, and destabilizing operation is being pushed by Washington.

This “destabilizing operation” came to a head yesterday when Morales resigned under pressure from the military amidst a wave of protests and violence. The situation is Bolivia is complicated, but one thing you can be sure of is anything you hear or read in U.S. mass media will be a heaping pile of lies and propaganda. Fortunately, I came across a really helpful thread courtesy of Kevin Cashman.


THREAD: If you haven’t been following the situation in Bolivia here’s a rundown. Briefly, the OAS, an emboldened opposition (which clearly is not the most popular party in the country), the media, and the Trump admin ousted a successful leftist leader. For the longer story:


Morales was barred by the constitution from running for another term, but he attempted to override this with a referendum which he lost 51% to 49%. The Bolivian Supreme Court later ruled that term limits were unconstitutional, so he decided to run again.

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

Our Currency, Your Problem

Our Currency, Your Problem

“Major movers” such as China, Russia and the European Union have a strong “motivation to de-dollarize,” said Korin, co-director at the energy and security think tank, on Wednesday.

“We don’t know what’s going to come next, but what we do know is that the current situation is unsustainable.”

–  Anne Korin, Institute for the Analysis of Global Security.

Irrespective of where you reside in the world, chances are you feel some sense of unease, a nagging concern for the future and a deep instinctual understanding that an era you knew and navigated your entire life is slipping away and won’t be coming back.

We’ve been witnessing widespread protest and unrest across countries with distinct political and economic systems, such as Hong Kong, France, Chile, Spain, Ecuador, Lebanon and Venezuela just to name a few. Those with vested interests and an ideological solution to sell insist it’s all because of socialism, capitalism or some other ism, but the truth is this goes far deeper than that. What’s actually happening is the geopolitical and economic paradigm that’s dominated the planet for decades is failing, and rather than address the failure in any real sense, elites globally are have decided to loot everything they possibly can until the house of cards comes crashing down.


This chart is almost as disturbing as the charts of negative yielding debt.
The entire financial system is a farce and a fraud. It’s all smoke and mirrors, a coverup machine for elitist looting.

Despite people with vested interests reassuring you this is normal, it is not. https://twitter.com/zerohedge/status/1189919094331588608 …


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

U.S.-China Relations in the Years Ahead: The Trade War Is a Sideshow

U.S.-China Relations in the Years Ahead: The Trade War Is a Sideshow

As President Trump has said many times, we rebuilt China over the past 25 years. No truer words were spoken, but those days are over.

The United States now recognizes China as a strategic and economic rival.

– Vice President Mike Pence during a speech last week at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars

The truth is that China is a strategic competitor at best that uses coercion and corruption as its tools of statecraft. (Applause.) 

We’ve reconvened “the Quad” – the security talks between Japan, Australia, India and the Untied States that had been dormant for nine years. This will prove very important in the efforts ahead, ensuring that China retains only its proper place in the world.

– Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a speech last week to the Heritage Foundation

I don’t take the U.S.-China trade war seriously, because I don’t expect a transformative deal to come of it. Specifically, I see the current trade charade as little more than a warmup to a far more serious, unpredictable and dangerous conflict between the U.S. and China in the years ahead.

Last December, in a piece titled Is U.S. Geopolitical Strategy Experiencing a Monumental Shift?, I explained how the U.S. was repositioning its foreign policy to focus on China, and how this would set off a long-lasting and enormously consequential feud between the dominant empire and the emerging power. The post concluded with the following thought:

I’ve now seen enough to seriously consider that we may be entering an entirely new geopolitical environment dominated by vastly increased tensions between the U.S. and China. If so, it will likely last a lot longer than you think as leaders in both China in the U.S. will be looking for a scapegoat as their crony, financialized economies struggle under unpayable debt and unimaginable levels of corruption.

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

The Tech Giants Are a Conduit for Fascism

The Tech Giants Are a Conduit for Fascism

A second former Amazon employee would spark more controversy. Deap Ubhi, a former AWS employee who worked for Lynch, was tasked with gathering marketing information to make the case for a single cloud inside the DOD. Around the same time that he started working on JEDI, Ubhi began talking with AWS about rejoining the company. As his work on JEDI deepened, so did his job negotiations. Six days after he received a formal offer from Amazon, Ubhi recused himself from JEDI, fabricating a story that Amazon had expressed an interest in buying a startup company he owned. A contracting officer who investigated found enough evidence that Ubhi’s conduct violated conflict of interest rules to refer the matter to the inspector general, but concluded that his conduct did not corrupt the process. (Ubhi, who now works in AWS’ commercial division, declined comment through a company spokesperson.)

Ubhi worsened the impression by making ill-advised public statements while still employed by the DOD. In a tweet, he described himself as “once an Amazonian, always an Amazonian.”

– From the must read ProPublica expose: How Amazon and Silicon Valley Seduced the Pentagon

That U.S. tech giants are willing participants in facilitating mass government surveillance has been widely known for a while, particularly since whistleblower Edward Snowden risked his life and liberty to tell us about it six years ago. We also know what happens to executives who don’t play ball.

Perhaps the most high profile example relates to Joseph Nacchio, CEO of telecom company Quest in the aftermath of 9/11. Courageously, he was the only executive who pushed back against government attempts to violate the civil liberties of his customers. A few years later, he was thrown in jail for insider trading and stayed locked up for four years. He claimed his incarceration was retaliation for not bending the knee to government, which seems likely.

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

Humans Are Creating Their Own Narratives

Michael Krieger | Posted Tuesday Sep 3, 2019 at 3:47 pm 

Somewhere between the arrest of Jeffrey Epstein and his extremely suspicious death in a Department of Justice operated prison, the public learned that an FBI intelligence bulletin published by the bureau’s Phoenix field office mentioned for the first time that conspiracy theories pose a domestic terrorism threat. This was followed up last week by a Bloomberg article discussing a new project by the U.S. military (DARPA) to identify fake news and disinformation.

We learned:

Fake news and social media posts are such a threat to U.S. security that the Defense Department is launching a project to repel “large-scale, automated disinformation attacks,” as the top Republican in Congress blocks efforts to protect the integrity of elections.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency wants custom software that can unearth fakes hidden among more than 500,000 stories, photos, videos and audio clips. If successful, the system after four years of trials may expand to detect malicious intent and prevent viral fake news from polarizing society.

Recall that after the 2016 election, focus was on social media companies and we saw tremendous pressure placed on these platforms by national security state politicians and distressed Democrats to “do something” about the supposed fake news epidemic. Fast forward three years and it’s now apparently the U.S. military’s job to police human content on the internet. This is the sort of natural regression a society will witness so long as it puts up with incremental censorship and the demonization of any thought which goes against the official narrative.

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

Things Fall Apart

Things Fall Apart

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way – in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.

– Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

You’re not losing your mind, everybody else is. Things are crazy and getting crazier. Something must be done. Somebody, please do something.

If paying attention to global events overwhelms and results in a combined sense of dread, concern and bewilderment, you’re not alone. It’s not simply because humans have more access to more information than ever before that you feel this way, there does appear to be a quickening in the pace of the unfolding of humanity’s latest chapter. Things are genuinely falling apart, but things are always falling apart. Likewise, things are always being built and created. Governments come and governments go, as do global empires and monetary systems. Everything is dying and being born all at once, constantly and forever. This will not change.

That said, there are periods in history when the entire paradigm you’ve been accustomed to living under changes rather abruptly and for good. A change of this nature alters the entire game on a global basis and happens perhaps once in a lifetime.

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

U.S. Stock Market Hits a New Record High, but What’s Really Going On?

U.S. Stock Market Hits a New Record High, but What’s Really Going On?

As Americans head off to Independence Day celebrations, they’ll be greeted with a plethora of headlines about record highs in the U.S. stock market. What I find most interesting about the latest bout of exuberance is the fact that priced in gold, stocks remain far below last fall’s peak.

From my perspective, a real equity bull market is one where the stock market, in this case the S&P500, consistently hits new highs relative to what’s historically been the world’s politically-neutral monetary asset, gold; and the U.S. stock market did exactly that from August 2011 until September 2018. Though equities in nominal terms bottomed in March 2009, we didn’t really get the all clear in my view until equities started rallying versus gold in late summer 2011.

U.S. stocks continued to hit new highs via this ratio until the most recent high in September 2018. This represented a seven year equity bull market of historic proportions, but since last fall the ratio has consistently lagged nominal highs in stocks as you can see in the chart below.

What I find so interesting about the above chart is that both of 2019’s new record highs in the U.S. equity market came at considerably lower levels in the SPY/GLD ratio compared to last fall’s high. In fact, today’s SPY/GLD ratio is not just 14% below where the ratio was during last September’s stock market high, it’s also 3% below the prior equity market high in May.

So what does all of this mean? It’s too early to tell for sure, but what the chart tells me is there’s a high probability the economic cycle ended and started to turn down last September, and 2019’s nominal highs in equities (May and July) are sending false signals about what’s really going on. Combine this with the fact that gold recently broke out of a multi-year downtrend and the argument becomes stronger.

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

Macro Update – Gold, Bitcoin and the Gigantic Global Debt Bubble

Macro Update – Gold, Bitcoin and the Gigantic Global Debt Bubble

Today’s the first day in a long time financial markets appear willing to at least consider the reality of the geopolitical situation on the ground for what it is, as opposed to what most people would like it to be. As I’ve noted for months, the “trade war” is just one battle in a much larger, increasingly unstable struggle between the U.S. and China for global power and leverage to shape the next paradigm of world history.

A failure to appreciate how big this really is explains why investors have been so willing to swallow unrealistic happy talk from both sides. The risk that needs to be discounted in the market isn’t a risk of higher tariffs, but the risk of WW3. The U.S. and China were never going to sign a trade deal and blissfully return to the ways things were. That world is over. We now find ourselves in the very early days of a historic struggle to influence the future.

Gold

Back in January, I wrote a twitter thread centered around gold which ended up becoming very popular. It’s been around five months since then, so I want to provide a quick update.

I had outlined four reasons why I had become increasingly bullish.

 · Jan 4, 2019Replying to @LibertyBlitz

9/ U.S. equities have been in a historic bull market since then, and gold has done nothing but go down. I don’t think the next bull market in gold can really get going until this central bank manufactured 10 year asset bubble begins to burst, and I think this is now happening.

10/ Now I want to summarize why I’m becoming increasingly confident a gold bull market is on the way.

1) Market cycles turning (discussed above).
2) Geopolitics, emerging multi-polar world order.
3) Sentiment.
4) Trading action.744:19 PM – Jan 4, 2019

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

The Trump Administration’s Iran Policy Will Hasten Imperial Decline

The Trump Administration’s Iran Policy Will Hasten Imperial Decline

There was a postwar order, but was it liberal?  Like most political orders, it looked much better on paper than it did in practice and to the core members of the order than those on the margins…

Liberal values were only remotely attached to the postwar institutions.  Sovereign equality did not translate into a liberal world order.  The postwar institutions were run by the most powerful countries, with middle and lesser powers either shunted to the back of the room or locked out altogether…Third World now comprised most of the world’s states, but it was on the outside looking in.  Western states enjoyed democracy and the rule of law, but the U.S. and the former colonial masters undermined rather than supported democracy and human rights elsewhere. Some Western states and analysts presumed that the global order must have some legitimacy because there were no great (or at least successful) revolts by the Third World, but they mistook coercion and the lack of alternative for consent…

The suggestion, then, is that if the international order is having greater difficulty creating rule-based governance, it might have less to do with the weakening of liberalism and more to do with the fact that the rules that have been in place for decades were overdue for an overhaul, and especially given a shift in power from the West to the East.  

– From Michael N. Barnett’s piece: The End of a Liberal International Order That Never Existed

A primary focus of my writing of late centers around the idea that the policies of the Trump administration, and the neocons in control of it, will hasten the decline of U.S. imperial power and more rapidly usher in a multi-polar (and possibly bifurcated) world. Today’s news regarding the elimination of waivers on Iranian oil imports provides another perfect example.

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

Olduvai IV: Courage
In progress...

Olduvai II: Exodus
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