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Shattering the Overton Window

Shattering the Overton Window

Aim your rocks at glass houses.

The Overton window is the range of policies politically acceptable to the mainstream population at a given time.[1] It is also known as the window of discourse. The term is named after Joseph P. Overton, who stated that an idea’s political viability depends mainly on whether it falls within this range, rather than on politicians’ individual preferences.[2][3] According to Overton, the window frames the range of policies that a politician can recommend without appearing too extreme to gain or keep public office given the climate of public opinion at that time.

CIA Wikipedia

Heaven forbid anyone appear too extreme. Our rulers keep discourse safely within the Overton window by allowing debate about the details of what the government does or doesn’t do. However, those who question the necessity of particular government agencies or programs, or government in general, are beyond-the-pale extremists and cast into the Abyss of the Unacceptable, one zip code over from the Abyss of the Deplorable.

The Federal Reserve has been much in the news lately, The term “repo” is shorthand for a repurchase agreement. The repo market allows those who own securities to sell them to lenders and repurchase them on a set day at a higher price. The difference between the sale and the repurchase price is interest to the lender. The repo market is huge, providing short-term financing for hundreds of billions of dollars worth of transactions daily, primarily in government and agency debt.

On September 16 the repo market blew up. Short term repos usually carrying interest rates of 1 or 2 percent required rates approaching 10 percent for the market to clear. The Fed stepped in, offering massive fiat credit to push rates back down. It wasn’t just a one-time glitch. Since then, the repo market has required substantial and repeated injections of Fed fiat credit.

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How’s That Alternative Reality Working Out For You?

How’s That Alternative Reality Working Out For You?

Two plus two equals four. Epstein didn’t kill himself.

At the end of 1984, Slavery is Freedom, two plus two equals five, and Winston Smith loves Big Brother. The Party has destroyed Smith’s mind, he embraces whatever narratives it promulgates. The fictive Party has solved the conundrum that bedevils any individual or organization seeking to exercise power: coercion can exact physical compliance and the desired verbalizations, but how do you compel the subjugated to think and believe as you want them to think and believe?

Our Party, the confederation of powerful people who promulgate the narratives that always point the same direction—more government and power for the powerful, less freedom for the subjugated—has yet to reach the mind control of Orwell’s Party, but not for want of desire or effort. We know the Party’s narratives: globalism, climate change, surveillance, incarceration, political correctness, open borders, free migration, fiat debt, central economic planning, socialized education and medical care, and wars on terrorism, drugs, poverty, any regime that refuses to toe the Party line, hydrocarbons, private firearms, individual rights, privacy, precious metals and cash, and socialized education and medical care. We know the Party’s institutions: governments, central banks and their central banks, intelligence agencies, military forces, police, permanent bureaucracies, multinational corporations, multilateral economic, political, and financial institutions, foundations, universities, nonprofits, and NGOs. We know the Party’s overlapping mouthpieces: the mainstream media, think tanks, government and intelligence agency propaganda organs, crony executives and their companies, Hollywood, and academia. And we know the figureheads who stock governments and their allied institutions, and the Party puppeteers who pull their strings.

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The Experiment

The Experiment

How much longer will the middle class politely tolerate its own destruction?

A middle class that outnumbers the combined poor and aristocracy is a relatively new phenomenon, dating back to around 1900. The rise of the middle class was the result of Industrial Revolution capitalism. It has been one of the most significant and epochal developments in history, yet the intellectual reaction for the most part has been to either ignore it or treat it with disdain. Now the project to destroy the middle class is well under way, with unpredictable and uncontrollable consequences that promise to be just as epochal as its creation.

Intellectual condescension towards the middle class is so common it’s a cliché. What’s rare are attempts to go back in history and see things through the perspectives of that despised group and its progenitors, the poor.

In 1800, virtually everyone was poor, living under conditions of deprivation and grinding poverty. Even being wealthy was no picnic; present-day poverty-line Americans live better. Life expectancy was an estimated twenty-nine years. Farming, the occupation of most, was dangerous, backbreaking labor from dawn to dusk. Most of those so engaged eked out a tenuous subsistence. There was no electricity, no running water, primitive sanitation and health care, and none of the machinery, gadgets, and appliances we take for granted. Only a few wealthy poets who didn’t have to wrest a living from nature waxed euphoric about its “joys.”

As the nineteenth century progressed, primitive factories, mostly in cities, began producing goods of better quality, in more quantity, and at lower cost than had been possible by artisans handcrafting their wares. No doubt conditions in those factories were abysmal—long hours, pittance pay, child labor, dangerous and filthy conditions, and horrible accidents and injuries. All that has been well-chronicled and dramatized, but an important point gets overlooked. 

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DEBT is the Achilles Heel of the globalist establishment… and pulling your money out of the banking system is the way to deal a DEATH BLOW to tyranny

Image: DEBT is the Achilles Heel of the globalist establishment… and pulling your money out of the banking system is the way to deal a DEATH BLOW to tyranny

(Natural News) After U.S. markets peaked in September nearly two years after Donald Trump’s victory came with the promise (and delivery) of pro-growth policies, investors got a scare in December when several factors combined with interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve to drive down indexes.

The Dow Jones, Nasdaq, and the S&P 500 all finished the year lower than they were in September. Worse, there are predictions that 2019 could hit markets harder. 

Bank of America just polled 234 panelists who manage more than $645 billion in investments where they think global growth is heading over the next 12 months, and 60 percent said it will be negative. 

On top of this potential nightmare scenario is the fact that governments around the world comprising the largest economies have nearly all become debtor nations that are one economic calamity away from global collapse.

As noted by Robert Gore at The Burning Platform blog, France’s Yellow Vest protesters may have inadvertently hit upon a way to bring about the collapse of the fiat money and debt system that is sustaining the very governments which increasingly suppress the people they are supposed to serve.

Gore notes that in recent days the French protesters — whom, you recall, took to the streets in response to a massive gasoline tax pushed by President Emmanuel Macron to fund France’s contributions to combat “global warming” agreed to at the Paris Accords in 2015 — have advocated a run on the country’s banks. Such a run, if it occurs, could actually start a chain reaction that would spread to other ostensibly wealthy countries including the United States.

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The Yellow Vests Get it Right, by Robert Gore

The Yellow Vests Get it Right, by Robert Gore

Financial nuclear warheads.

The mainstream media has degenerated irreparably. Here’s a reliable rule of thumb: if it’s important it’s not covered; if it’s covered it’s not important. Stories in the American mainstream press about Yellow Vest protests have been few. One aspect of the protests, transcendently important, has received scant coverage.

The Yellow Vest protestors have called for a coordinated run on French banks. Whether they realize it or not, they’re playing with nuclear warheads that could annihilate not just the French, but Europe’s and the entire world’s financial system. Because inextricably linked to the ends of contemporary governments―how much they can screw up the lives of those who must live under them—is the question of means―how do they fund their misrule? The short answer is taxes and debt.

Since 1971, when President Nixon 
“temporarily” suspended international convertibility of dollars for gold (it’s never been reinstated), the monetary basis of the global economy has been fiat debt. Neither government or central bank debt nor currencies are tethered to any real constraint, like precious metals (see “Real Money,” SLL). Thus, politicians and monetary officials can create as much debt as they want: debt by fiat.

Government and central bank debt is at the apex of the global debt pyramid. The next tier is commercial banks that have accounts at central banks. Those accounts are bank assets and central bank liabilities, or debts. Central banks expand their fiat liabilities to banks in exchange for banks’ fiat government debt, an exchange called debt monetization, which is a bit of a misnomer since no “Real Money” is involved. The “monetization” is the central bank’s fiat expansion of banks’ accounts with the central bank in exchange for fiat government debt, which expands banks’ assets available for loans to governments, businesses, and individuals.

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Predators and Saprophytes

Predators and Saprophytes

They’re not your protectors if they’re eating you.

Bruno walks into a neighborhood shop and threatens the shopkeeper with unspecified “bad things” if the shopkeeper doesn’t fork over $200 a week. The shopkeeper pays. If Bruno runs a “legitimate” protection racket, bad things don’t happen.

You can skip a class, indeed an entire four-year program in political theory, if you realize that governments are everywhere and always protection rackets. Fork over money and personal freedom and the state will protect you from bad things, specified or otherwise. Sometimes the state aligns itself with a deity or deities, demanding not just money and obedience but worship, too.

What if the shopkeeper pays Bruno, but his shop is still beset with burglaries? What if he discovers that Bruno is the burglar? The shopkeeper faces the same quandary as billions of people who are subjugated by governments: they need protection from their protection rackets. The protector has dropped all pretense of protection and has become a predator.

When the Soviet Union conducted its first successful atomic bomb test on August 29, 1949, it undercut the protection-racket rationale for governments. No one realized it at the time, but how can you run a protection racket if you can’t protect those you’re purportedly protecting from annihilation? Perhaps that wasn’t the case in 1949―the US still had a lead in nuclear armaments―but by 1955, when the Soviets detonated their first hydrogen bomb, it was clear that all either the Soviet or American government could offer its people was assured destruction of the other side, and most likely their own, in the event of an attack.

Of course neither governments’ rhetoric changed from the historical protection-racket justification. They said that escalating budgets for defense and intelligence, foreign intervention, and skullduggery were necessary to protect their people from the other side.

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The Empire’s Sea of Woes

The Empire’s Sea of Woes

The noose cinches.

Second-rate George H.W. Bush got a first-rate Washington send-off. For one day it interrupted the downtrend in equity markets. It may mark the US apotheosis of inflated grandiosity. Across the Atlantic, Emmanuel Macron, pretentious popinjay of Gallic grandiosity, has gotten a deserved comeuppance. Brexit, Trump’s election, and nationalist uprisings in Southern and Eastern Europe apparently insufficient warning to the globalists who would rule us, the French rioters are sending yet another wake-up call. If that’s not enough, so too are many of the nations outside the Euro-American welfare state asylum.

The crazies’ kings, queens, and courtiers face a dwindling inheritance and mounting debt, but spend lavishly to keep up appearances. Falling markets and rioting taxpayers are unwelcome reminders that the money’s running out, leaving behind a stack of IOUs that won’t be paid. The aristocracy wants to offload the pain to the peasantry, but the riots demonstrate that the peasantry has other ideas. Our betters also want to blame their sea of woes on Eurasia’s leaders, but Russia, China, Russia, Turkey, and Iran are having none of that. They are, however, delighted to see the West crumbling and will do nothing to stop it.

Empire is America’s noose, hubris America’s curse. Once upon a time it didn’t matter much to the American people or their politicians what happened in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, or even Europe. During the nineteenth century, for the most part we minded our own business, and what a business it turned out to be. America became the world’s industrial, technological, and commercial powerhouse.

Success may be the hardest human condition to endure. Few individuals withstand it. For empires, it’s always temporary. They fail and topple from the pinnacle with monotonous regularity.

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The Deadliest Operation 

The Deadliest Operation 

Choose your battles wisely.

One month to the day after President Kennedy’s assassination, the Washington Post published an article by former president Harry Truman.

I think it has become necessary to take another look at the purpose and operations of our Central Intelligence Agency—CIA. At least, I would like to submit here the original reason why I thought it necessary to organize this Agency during my Administration, what I expected it to do and how it was to operate as an arm of the President.

Truman had envisioned the CIA as an impartial information and intelligence collector from “every available source.”

But their collective information reached the President all too frequently in conflicting conclusions. At times, the intelligence reports tended to be slanted to conform to established positions of a given department. This becomes confusing and what’s worse, such intelligence is of little use to a President in reaching the right decisions.

Therefore, I decided to set up a special organization charged with the collection of all intelligence reports from every available source, and to have those reports reach me as President without department “treatment” or interpretations.

I wanted and needed the information in its “natural raw” state and in as comprehensive a volume as it was practical for me to make full use of it. But the most important thing about this move was to guard against the chance of intelligence being used to influence or to lead the President into unwise decisions—and I thought it was necessary that the President do his own thinking and evaluating.

Truman found, to his dismay, that the CIA had ranged far afield.

For some time I have been disturbed by the way CIA has been diverted from its original assignment. It has become an operational and at times a policy-making arm of the Government.

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The Broken Clocks’ Minute

The Broken Clocks’ Minute

Sometimes the reasons you’re wrong turn out to be the reasons you’re right.

Even a broken clock is right twice a day.

Old Wall Street adage

Anyone who has consistently sounded cautionary or outright bearish notes during the last nine years of relentlessly rising equity markets has been cast aside. Wall Street is bipolar. You’re either right or wrong, and wrong doesn’t buy mansions and Maseratis. Like that broken clock, the so-called permabears have had a couple of minutes when they were right, far outweighed by those 1438 minutes when they were wrong.

Or maybe it’s all a matter of perspective, and it’s the last nine years that amounts to two minutes. In geologic time nine years isn’t even a nanosecond. Perhaps even on time periods scaled to human lifetimes and history, the last nine years will come to be seen as an evanescent flash that came and ignominiously went.

Markets don’t listen to reasons. They’re exercises in crowd psychology and crowds are emotional and capricious. That doesn’t mean that reason is a useless virtue in market analysis, quite the opposite. It’s reason that allows the few who are consistently successful to separate themselves from the crowd and capitalize on its emotion and caprice.

Reason identifies rising stock markets as one symptom of a sugar high global economy. Since 2009, staring into the abyss of debt implosion, central banks acting in concert have promoted furious debt expansion as the finger-in-the-dike remedy. Governments expanded their fiat (aka out of thin air) debt, and central banks monetized that debt with their own fiat debt. Not only did that create loanable reserves within the banking system—private debt fodder—it drove interest rates so low that yield-deprived investors were herded into the stock market. Borrowers won, savers lost.

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Avoid the Slippery Slope

Avoid the Slippery Slope

Everything government touches turns to crap.
Ringo Starr

Social media companies, search engines, and payments platforms are excising conservative, libertarian, and assorted anti-government voices. SLL argued in “The Friendly Faces of Fascism” that the largest and best known of these companies were essentially arms of the government. They are mechanisms for conveying information, opinions, and commerce between billions of people. Given their reach, importance, and ties to the government, should these ostensibly private companies be subject to the First Amendment’s prohibition of government restriction of free speech and the free press?

The First Amendment states that: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. By its terms, the amendment applies to one institution, Congress. By necessary implication, freedom of speech and the press must also be the freedom to choose what not to speak or publish.

In Pruneyard Shopping Center v. Robins, 447 U.S. 74 (1980), the Supreme Court held that California’s Constitution permissibly required a private shopping center to allow a group to express its political views on shopping center property regularly held open to the public. California’s Constitution created an affirmative right of free speech that the court reasoned went beyond the First Amendment, which is a set of prohibitions on the government, or negative rights.

Those who argue that the social media companies, search engines, and payments platforms shouldn’t be allowed to suppress viewpoints they don’t like hang their rhetorical hats on the Pruneyard rationale. These companies are virtual public forums or enable such forums, the argument goes. As such, they should be required to accept all viewpoints.

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Naked Emperors Don’t Get Much Respect

Naked Emperors Don’t Get Much Respect

What happens when most of your military infrastructure is suddenly obsolete?

The emperor was the last to realize he was naked. This is not unusual, emperors are the last to find out anything. Who has the fortitude to tell them the truth, especially an upsetting truth? And so it is with the US’s empire, the existence of which most of its citizens, media organs, and officials are unaware or won’t acknowledge. The truth is, the American empire, acknowledged or not, is over. It will be years before that’s accepted by the governing class. They’ll never officially inform their subjects, who are stuck with the tab for its immensely wasteful spending.

Empires are built on military strength. The American empire was no exception. Many Americans still think the US military enjoys the dominance it had back in 1946, a notion Vladimir Putin buried March 1. On that date he announced new weaponry which will render our naval surface fleet, ground forces, worldwide bases, and antiballistic systems obsolete (see here, here, and here). The US military leadership has grudgingly acknowledged many of Putin’s claims.

The unmistakable conclusion: most US military spending is the welfare state with epaulets. It pays for weapons, bases, and personnel whose uselessness would be revealed within half an hour after a non-nuclear war with Russia began. We have no conventional defenses against Russia’s new weaponry.

It’s cold comfort that US land installation, submarine, and airborne nuclear deterrents are still relevant. If Russia or anyone else launched a conventional or nuclear attack against us, we can annihilate the aggressor. The destruction we bore would be matched in kind, but the planet might be rendered uninhabitable.

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Our Rulers’ ChiCainery

Our Rulers’ ChiCainery

Iraq War Dead

John McCain is buried, may his philosophy soon follow.

Now they lay his body down
Sad old men who run this town

“Kings,” Steely Dan (Walter Becker and Donald Fagen), 1972

Novelists can align their stories with whatever deeper truth they’re trying to convey. Real life is seldom so neat, but the death of John McCain can neither be separated from nor understood without appreciating its symbolic elements. The mourning functionaries and hagiographic media that laid McCain to rest symbolically buried, without realizing it, the philosophy he so epitomized. Send not to know for whom the bell tolled, it tolled for what they so fervently believe.

John McCain venerated the state, of which he was a product. His grandfather and father were admirals in the navy. He was a graduate of the Naval Academy and spent his entire career working for the government. His philosophy was consistent: there are no constraints on the state. As was his ambition: the accretion of state and personal power. Championing government both at home and abroad, he achieved bipartisan splendor.

He never met a US war, actual or prospective, he didn’t love. (Although he sort of admitted after the fact that Iraq might have been a mistake, and he came out against torture.) His was the deciding vote against repealing Obamacare. That put him at the Olympian summit of uniparty bipartisanship: the indefatigable champion of the warfare state, the welfare state, the surveillance state, and anything else the state might want to do.

That is why the flags flew at half-mast, his body lay in state in the US Capitol, Democrats and Republicans issued gushing commemoratives, and the mainstream media flowed with his praises. Powerful people’s florid eulogies were the verbal equivalent of the military’s twenty-one gun salute. McCain was the exemplar of the uniparty’s only consistent principle: the expansion of government and its power.

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America’s Kristallnacht?

America’s Kristallnacht?

If the US government prosecutes Julian Assange and WikiLeaks, it will mark a point of no return.

We’ll never know what “average” Germans thought on November 11, 1938, the day after Kristallnacht. Perhaps a few recognized it for what it was: a turning point, an acceleration of Germany’s descent into hell. America’s Crystal Night looms, and if it occurs, only a few will recognize it for what it is.

The fate of Julian Assange is the fate of one man, but it is also the fate of one of our most important freedoms. There won’t be shattered plate glass from vandalized businesses littering the streets, synagogues smashed, graves unearthed, or people herded onto trains. But his prosecution by the US government would destroy an inestimable value, one enshrined in the First Amendment, for which generations of Americans have fought and died: the right of the people and its press to inform the people and to hold their government to account.

Aside from armed resistance and revolution, the one defense individuals have against governments is intellectual: the concept of individual rights. There is an argument as to whether those rights come from our Creator (Thomas Jefferson) or from our basic nature as humans and the requirements of our survival (Ayn Rand). Despite starting from different premises, both arguments lead to the same conclusion: individuals have inherent, inalienable, inviolable rights, and the only legitimate function of government is to protect those rights.

The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were explicit attempts to delineate a set of principles that recognized individual rights and tried to restrain government power. Though real-world implementation has fallen short, often far short, they were towering conceptual achievements.

In 1933, the year Hitler assumed power, the government began enacting laws that restricted Jews’ rights to earn a living, gain an education, or work in the civil service.

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The Eagle, the Dragon, and the Bear

The Eagle, the Dragon, and the Bear

Does Trump recognize the limits of US power?

Trump’s new world order comes straight from The Godfather. There are three global powers: the US, Russia, and China. None of these powers can militarily defeat either of the other two, and even an alliance among two of them would have trouble defeating the third.

Like Don Corleone, Trump is dividing up the larger territory into smaller, great-power controlled sub-territories. He is tacitly recognizing Russia and China’s dominance in their own spheres of influence, and holding them to account in their territories. The implicit agreement among the three is apparently that each power will, in their, “sphere of influence…enforce peace.”

Trump’s New World Order,” SLL 3/20/18

In one week President Trump confirmed that his first concern is the United States, that he has what may be a workable vision for its place in the world, and he loathes globalism and the globalists. A good measure of his efficacy is the outrage he generates. By that measure, that week was his finest hour…so far.

Europe won’t have a seat at Trump’s great-power table. Its welfare states are addicted to their handouts, deeply in debt, rely on uneven trade arrangements with the US, and have below-replacement birth rates. They are cowed by Soros-sponsored propaganda—Immigration is the answer!—and haven’t shut off the immigrant invasion. Refusing to spend on their own militaries, they’ve used what they save on defense to subsidize welfare spending and state bureaucracies.

They’re ignoring a lesson from history: nations that rely on other nations for their defense generally come to regret it. Instead, they’re wedded to the globalist acronyms: NATO, EU and UN. They have frittered away their power and their glory—Europe’s heritage and civilization—opting for overrun masquerading as assimilation by dogmatic and implacable foes.

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Declining and Falling

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

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

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

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

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

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Olduvai IV: Courage
In progress...

Olduvai II: Exodus
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