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Seven Countries In Five Years: Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix

Seven Countries In Five Years: Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix

Part of the problem is that the most influential voices are people for whom the status quo has worked out well. Celebrities. Politicians. Pundits. Plutocrats. Meanwhile those who’ve been crushed by existing systems are voiceless. This creates the illusion that those systems work.

~

People often (correctly) cite General Wesley Clark’s famous “seven countries in five years” statement to show how evil the drivers of the US empire are, but I also like to use it to show what dumb, incompetent failmeisters they are. They really thought they’d be able to topple all those countries in five years. Nineteen years later and they’re still flailing. Don’t be intimidated by these assholes.

Humanity is more than capable of standing up to these sick fucks. They overestimate themselves and underestimate the rest of us. We shouldn’t do the same. A lot of people talk about elite manipulators like they’re these unstoppable, god-like forces when nothing could be further from the truth.

Our species is in its current situation because a few primates without functioning empathy centers got a little more clever than the other primates. That’s it. There are still vast forces in our universe and within each of us that can slap the empire away like a sand castle under a tsunami. They’re little kids riding a temporary wave through a universe that they do not understand. There are changes and upheavals coming that they won’t be able to control any more than a hang glider in a tornado.

Everyone with an ear to the ground has a suspicion that the elite manipulators are up to something big, but just because they’re planning something doesn’t mean they will succeed. There are forces bubbling to the surface right now which their sociopathic little minds cannot anticipate.

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

This Is How It Ends: All That Is Solid Melts Into Air

This Is How It Ends: All That Is Solid Melts Into Air

While the Federal Reserve and the Billionaire Class push the stock market to new highs to promote a false facade of prosperity, everyday life will fall apart.
How will the status quo collapse? An open conflict–a civil war, an insurrection, a coup–appeals to our affection for drama, but the more likely reality is a decidedly undramatic dissolution in which all the elements of our way of life we reckoned were solid and permanent simply melt into air, to borrow Marx’s trenchant phrase.
In other words, Rome won’t be sacked by Barbarians, or ignite in an insurrectionary conflagration–everything will simply stop working as those burdened with the impossible task of keeping a failed system glued together simply walk away.
If we examine the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Western Roman Empire, we can trace the eventual collapse to the sudden psychological shift from an assumption of permanence that found expression in denial (Rome can’t fall, it’s eternal…) or in the universal belief that life was unchanging and so everything was forever.
This psychological state was replaced by a shocked awareness that what was unimaginable, “impossible”–systemic collapse–was not only entirely possible, it was happening in real time. This change in consciousness arose in individuals in differing ways and velocities, but eventually everyone accepted that some adaptation was now necessary.
Correspondent R.J. and I have been discussing the consequences of the sharp decline in the value of labor which is painfully obvious in the chart below and the many other charts depicting the declining purchasing power of wages and the skimming of the majority of the economic gains by the top 0.1%.
In effect, it no longer pays to work beyond the bare minimum needed to survive as all the value generated by labor above this minimum is either skimmed by the Bezos, Buffetts, Gates, Zuckerbergs et al. or it’s paid in higher taxes to the government.

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

Abnormalize The Status Quo

Abnormalize The Status Quo

If we’d been living in a healthy society and then suddenly had this society’s sick, insane status quo thrust upon us by powerful people, we’d have all been out in the streets making life very hard for those powerful people in an instant.

We are in the same situation now. We are having a wildly insane status quo thrust upon us by the powerful and for the benefit of the powerful. Only difference is we’re not all out in the streets, and instead of thrusting this horrible situation upon us suddenly, they’ve been doing it this entire time.

Which is precisely why we’re not out in the streets. We were born into this mess, so we assume it’s normal and that things are supposed to be this way. But it isn’t, and they aren’t.

What is normal is health. Health is the normal default condition. If you wake up with a fever and stabbing pain in your abdomen you don’t say “Ah well I guess that’s normal now, you can’t expect to just not have a fever and stabbing abdominal pain,” you recognize that there’s an urgent problem and you take action to fix it.

Even if you’d been sick your entire life, you would understand that your situation is not normal. You would understand that the basic default condition is health, but some dysfunction in your specific system has deprived you of that normal state of being.

In order for us to begin pushing back on the dysfunction of our current system, we need to begin looking at it in the same way. We need to clearly come to see how spectacularly divergent it is from the basic default condition of health. How sick it is. How abnormal it is.

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

Seeds Of Awakening: Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix

Seeds Of Awakening: Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix

If we’re honest with ourselves, electoral politics has failed and we need a revolution.

If we’re really honest with ourselves, revolution will fail until propaganda is eliminated.

If we’re really really honest with ourselves, everything will fail without a mass-scale awakening.

~

The most revolutionary thing you can do is use your creativity to find ways of helping people see the insanity of the status quo with fresh eyes. Punching holes in the manufactured normality so that people can see beyond the bullshit they’ve all gotten used to and really grok just how ugly and disgusting things have gotten will do infinitely more damage to the empire than just listing facts and figures and talking about how things ought to be.

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Heinlein said “Man is not a rational animal; he is a rationalizing animal.” This is true of media psyops; people think they hate an empire-targeted nation/person because of reasons X, Y and Z, but really it’s because the empire targeted them, and then propagandists rationalized it.

If people were really honest with themselves, they’d say “You know I think I hate that Official Bad Guy of the Day because of reasons X, Y and Z, but maybe it’s actually because he began inconveniencing the empire, and for that reason the media started telling me to hate him?” But generally they don’t, because it’s uncomfortable admitting to yourself that you have not been thinking rationally; that you have actually been rationalizing the entirely irrational behavior of a depraved empire without realizing it, just because the TV told you to.

~

“Who benefits from my beliefs?”

“Is anyone who could have benefitted from my beliefs responsible for putting them in my mind?”

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

A Surefire Cure For Despair

A Surefire Cure For Despair

“I can’t go on. I’ll go on.”
~ Samuel Beckett

Sometimes it just gets to be too goddamn much. You just finished a soul-draining argument with a family member who insists that Putin controls all major world events because that’s what the TV said so it must be true, then you check the poll numbers for the upcoming elections in the US and UK and you see your favorite candidates just don’t have the kind of numbers they’re going to need, the latest revelation that the US and its allies deceived the world about what’s happening in Syria has been completely swept under the rug by the establishment news churn, Bolivia has been taken over by US-backed Christian fascists, and now you’re watching Mike Pompeo’s stupid asshole face spouting some made-up bullshit about Iran that you know the news media will never hold him accountable for.

And it’s just too goddamn much.

To become oppositional to the status quo is to enter into a long-term relationship with despair. It’s not a monogamous relationship; you’ll have the occasional affair with anger, a fling with fear, a rendezvous with rage, and every once in a while even a brief tryst with triumph. But you always end up drunkenly stumbling home to bed with the old ball-and-chain despair.

Every time you think you might have the bastards on the ropes, every time you see a shining crack in the cage, a glowing glitch in the matrix, it’s quickly covered up by some gibberish about Russia or empty shrieking about Donald Trump, and then everyone’s herded along into the next authorised imperial narrative.

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

Resistance

Resistance 

The status quo is always difficult to alter. Resistance is a normal reaction to change.  The current theatrics in Washington, DC are especially revealing.

Donald Trump is many things to many people. His supporters believe him to be a savior of the American system and way of life. His opponents see him as a threat, Both views are correct. From the beginning, I viewed Mr. Trump as a wrecking ball:

… there has never been an inauguration speech like this one. Contrary to Pogo, Trump defined the enemy and it was not us. This wrecking ball clearly differentiated between the average man and the parasites who inhabit Washington.

The speech was populist all the way. It was anti-establishment all the way.  Clear demarcation lines were drawn. I sense that war was declared on Washington, DC today. There will be no compromise. Either Trump will be destroyed or he will dismantle much of the Washington establishment.

This assessment has been validated by subsequent events. The winner of this existential battle is still in doubt. That itself is rather remarkable. What appeared to be a quixotic crusade now takes on heroic aspects, at least for many outside Washington. What once seemed impossible no longer does.

Don Quixote Trump still may not be favored in his battle against Goliath but the odds have shifted. The American people have been awakened to how the elites have exploited them. Whether Trump wins this battle or not, the Deep State has lost the war. They have been exposed as ruthless, lying exploiters. Don Quixote has suddenly become Goliath.

The peasants have been enlightened. The true nature of current American government has been exposed. No amount of polished rhetoric can undo this knowledge. Attempts to do so will bring out the pitchforks.

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

Once “Prosperity” Falters, the Legitimacy of the Status Quo Evaporates

Once “Prosperity” Falters, the Legitimacy of the Status Quo Evaporates

All we’re doing is waiting for the fake “prosperity” to crumble, and the resulting loss of credibility and legitimacy will follow like night follows day.

The citizenry of corrupt regimes ruled by self-serving elites tolerate this oppressive misrule for one reason and only one reason: increasing prosperity, which we can define as continual improvement in material well-being and financial security.

The legitimacy of every corrupt regime ruled by self-serving elites hangs on this single thread: once prosperity fades, the legitimacy of the regime evaporates, as the citizenry have no reason to tolerate their rapacious, predatory overlords.

A broken, unfair system will be tolerated as long as every participant feels they’re getting a few shreds of improvement. This is why there is such an enormous push of propaganda touting “growth”; if the citizenry can be conned into believing that their deteriorating well-being and security are actually “prosperity,” then they will continue to grant the status quo some measure of credibility and legitimacy.

When the gap between the propaganda and reality widens to the breaking point, the regime loses its credibility and legitimacy. This manifests in a number of ways:

1. Nobody believes anything the state or its agencies reports as “fact”: since it misreported economic well-being and security to benefit the few at the expense of the many, why believe anything official?

2. Increased lawlessness: since the Ruling Elites get away with virtually everything, why we should we obey the laws?

3. Opting out: rather than become a target for the state’s oppressive organs of security, the safer path is to opt out: quit supporting a parasitic and predatory Status Quo of corporations and the state with your labor, slip into the shadows of the economy, avoid debt like the plague, get by on a fraction of your former income.

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

Forget “Money”: What Will Matter Are Water, Energy, Soil and Food–and a Shared National Purpose

Forget “Money”: What Will Matter Are Water, Energy, Soil and Food–and a Shared National Purpose

If you want to identify tomorrow’s superpowers, overlay maps of fresh water, energy, grain/cereal surpluses and arable land.

The status quo measures wealth with “money,” but “money” is not what’s valuable. “Money” (in quotes because the global economy operates on intrinsically valueless fiat currencies being “money”) is wealth only if it can purchase what’s actually valuable.

As the world slides into an era of scarcities, what will matter more than “money” are the essentials of survival: fresh water, energy, soil and the output of those three, food. The ability to secure these resources will separate nations that fail and those that survive.

In a world of abundance, it’s assumed every essential resource can be bought on the open market. Surpluses are placed on the market and anyone with “money” can buy the surplus.

Things work differently in scarcity: “money” buys zip, zero, nada because nobody with what’s scarce can afford to give it away for “money” which can no longer secure what’s scarce.

Parachute into a desert with gold, dollars, euros, yen and yuan, and since there’s nothing to buy, all your money is worthless. Once you’re thirsting to death, you’d give all your money away for a liter of fresh water. But why would anyone who needs that liter for their on survival trade it for useless “money”?

Imagine the longevity of a regime which sold the nation’s food while its populace went hungry. Not very long once the truth comes out.

Having resources is only one component: consumption is the other half of the picture. Having 4 million barrels a day of oil (MBPD) is nice if you’re only using 3 MBPD, but if you’re consuming 8 MBPD, you still need to import 4 MBPD.

Water and soil are not tradable commodities. 

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

The Japanification of the World

The Japanification of the World

Zombification / Japanification is not success; it is only the last desperate defense of a failing, brittle status quo by doing more of what’s failed.

A recent theme in the financial media is the Japanification of Europe.Japanification refers to a set of economic and financial conditions that have come to characterize Japan’s economy over the past 28 years: persistent stagnation and deflation, a low-growth and low-inflation economy, very loose monetary policy, a central bank that is actively monetizing debt, i.e. creating currency out of thin air to buy government debt and a government which funds “bridges to nowhere” and other stimulus spending to keep the economy from crashing into outright contraction.

The parallels with Europe are obvious, but they don’t stop there: the entire world is veering into a zombified financial, economic, social and political status quo that is the core of Japanification.

While most commentators focus on the economic characteristics of Japanification, social and political stagnation are equally consequential. If we only measure economic/financial stagnation, it appears as if Japan and Europe are holding their own, i.e.maintaining the status quo via near-zero growth and near-zero interest rates.

But if we measure social and political decay, the erosion is undeniable. Here’s one example. Few Americans have access to or watch Japanese TV, so they are unaware of the emergence of the homeless as a permanent feature of urban Japan. The central state propaganda media is focused on encouraging tourism, a rare bright spot in Japan’s moribund economy, and so you won’t find much media coverage of homelessness or other systemic signs of social breakdown.

If you watch Japanese detective / police procedural dramas, however, you’ll find constant references to homeless people and homeless encampments: detectives seek witnesses to a crime in the nearby homeless encampment; a homeless man living in an abandoned warehouse is found murdered, etc.

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

Fight The Establishment’s Narratives By Getting Clear On Your Own

Fight The Establishment’s Narratives By Getting Clear On Your Own

Anti-establishment movements are a mess. Whether they’re left-wing or right-wing, whether they’re statist or anarchist, whether they’re organized or decentralized, whether they place emphasis on official or unofficial narratives, any circle of people who are interested in opposing the status quo on a deep, meaningful level almost invariably find themselves significantly bogged down by confusion, paranoia, infighting, and misdirected use of energy.

Every day, for example, I get people in my inbox and social media notifications telling me I shouldn’t quote or share anything from this or that lefty journalist or anti-establishment figure because they’ve said something “problematic” at some point or have some kind of association with some aspect of the establishment. Rather than simply using narrative-disrupting tools wherever they come from to fight the establishment narrative control machine, I’m encouraged to isolate myself to the extremely narrow spectrum of voices which agree with my exact worldview perfectly. This kind of paranoid, self-cannibalizing mentality is rife throughout most anti-establishment circles.

This happens for a number of reasons, including the fact that the ruling power establishment will infiltrate dissident movements that it perceives as a threat with the intent of sowing confusion and division. But the underlying reason anti-establishment circles so often find themselves getting crushed by their own weight is ultimately because life itself is confusing and difficult to understand.

Hardly anyone holds a lucid and steady awareness of just how much of society is comprised of mental narrative. Most people live their lives under the unquestioned assumption that when they are moving around in the world, speaking, acting, forming opinions, having ideas etc, they are interacting with something that resembles objective reality.

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

If We Can No Longer Tell the Truth, We’ve Failed

If We Can No Longer Tell the Truth, We’ve Failed

The Gulag Archipelago is not a distant memory; it lives on in every modern state, cloaked with modern-day technologies and the well-worn tools of suppression.

The last thing addicts want to hear is the truth: the only thing more terrifying than the truth is the possibility that they will lose access to whatever they’re addicted to: smack, Oxy, coke, alcohol, sex, porn, power, etc.

If we fail to tell addicts the truth, we fail them and ourselves. As long as co-dependents remain complicit in the addict’s destructive state, as long as those who know better keep silent because they don’t want to deal with the trauma, the addict is free to maintain the illusion that he/she is in control, that his/her secret is safe, etc., and manipulate those around them with lies and victimhood.

Not wanting to deal with the trauma of forcing those in denial to face up to reality is understandable: who wants to deal with the shock, denial, anger and depression that characterize facing up to a terrifying truth?

But we fail ourselves if we’re too weak to speak the truth and grind through the denial, anger and depression. If we opt for the easy way out, we’re just like the addict, who is also opting for the easy way out, i.e. finding refuge in the labryrinthine Kingdom of Lies.

The status quo is a Kingdom of Lies. “Raw data”, i.e. facts collected without regard to future interpretaion, are “processed” into the “right kind of data,” i.e. data that supports the status quo interpretation, which is that everything’s just fine thanks to the wise leadership of our self-serving elites.

The deeper you dig into the statistical foundation of GDP, the unemployment rate, trade deficits, etc., the more questions arise about the accuracy and agenda behind the headline numbers.

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

2019: Fragmented, Unevenly Distributed, Asymmetric, Opaque

2019: Fragmented, Unevenly Distributed, Asymmetric, Opaque

Add up Fragmented, Unevenly Distributed, Asymmetric and Opaque and you get a world spinning out of centralized control.

Here are the key dynamics of 2019: fragmented, unevenly distributed, asymmetric, opaque. Want to know what’s happening with inflation, deflation, recession, populism, etc.?

It depends on what you own, when you own it, where you own it and its relative scarcity and stability–assuming you have trustworthy information on its scarcity and stability.

By ownership I mean all forms of capital: cash, tools, skills, social capital, trust in institutions, etc. Whatever forms of capital you own, the returns on that capital and its relative stability depend on the specifics of context and timing.

Will there be deflation or inflation? The right question is: Will there be deflation or inflation in my household?. In a rapidly fragmenting economy and society characterized by opacity, asymmetric information and unevenly distributed results, generalizations are intrinsically misleading / false. The only possible answers arise in a carefully limited context: my household, my neighborhood, my industry, my company, etc.

Here’s an example I’ve mentioned in the past: healthcare costs. If you’re one of the lucky households with heavily subsidized healthcare costs (for example, a government employee with limited deductibles, low per-visit costs and modest co-pays), your healthcare inflation is likely negligible.

But if your household doesn’t qualify for subsidies and has to pay market rates, you’re very likely to suffer double-digit healthcare inflation.

2019 is the year that central banks and states lose control of the narratives, the economy and the social contract, all of which are dynamic complex systems which excel in producing banquets of unintended consequences.

Control of the narrative requires harvesting “the right data” and spinning an interpretation that supports the status quo.

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

Why I’m Hopeful

Why I’m Hopeful

A more humane, sustainable world lies just beyond the edge of the Status Quo.

Readers often ask me to post something hopeful, and I understand why: doom-and-gloom gets tiresome. Human beings need hope just as they need oxygen, and the destruction of the Status Quo via over-reach and internal contradictions doesn’t leave much to be happy about.

The most hopeful thing in my mind is that the Status Quo is devolving from its internal contradictions and excesses. It is a perverse, intensely destructive system with powerful incentives for predation, exploitation, fraud and complicity.

A more humane, sustainable world lies just beyond the edge of the Status Quo.

I know many smart, well-informed people expect the worst once the Status Quo (the Savior State and its corporatocracy partners) devolves, and there is abundant evidence of the ugliness of human nature under duress.

But we should temper this Id ugliness with the stronger impulses of community and compassion. If greed and rapaciousness were the dominant forces within human nature, then the species would have either died out at its own hand or been limited to small savage populations kept in check by the predation of neighboring groups, none of which could expand much because inner conflict would limit their ability to grow.

The remarkable success of humanity as a species is not simply the result of a big brain, opposable thumbs, year-round sex or even language; it is ultimately the result of social and cultural associations that act as a “network” for storing knowledge and relationships– what we call intellectual and social capital.

I have devoted significant portions of my books–

Survival+

An Unconventional Guide to Investing in Troubled Times

Resistance, Revolution, Liberation

Why Our Status Quo Failed and Is Beyond Reform

A Radically Beneficial World: Automation, Technology & Creating Jobs for All

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

Why Everything That Needs to Be Fixed Remains Permanently Broken

Why Everything That Needs to Be Fixed Remains Permanently Broken

Just in case you missed what’s going on in France: the status quo in Europe is doomed.

The status quo has a simple fix for every crisis and systemic problem:

1. create currency out of thin air

2. give it to super-wealthy banks, financiers and corporations to boost their wealth and income.

One way these entities increase their wealth and income is to lend this nearly free money to commoners at much higher rates of interest. I borrow from central banks at 1% and lend it to you at 4.5%, 7% or even 19% or more. What’s not to like?

If a bank is insolvent, it can borrow money at 1% from central banks. If Joe Blow is insolvent, the only loan he can get is at 23%, if he can get any credit at all.

3. China has a variant fix for every financial crisis: build tens of millions of empty flats only the wealthy can afford as second or third “investment” flats. If the empty flats start dropping in price, government entities start secretly buying flats to support the market.

4. Empty malls, bridges to nowhere and ghost cities are also a standard-issue fix in China. Built it and they will come, until they don’t. But who cares, the developers and local governments (i.e. corrupt officials) already pocketed the dough.

You see the problem: making rich people richer doesn’t actually fix what’s broken, it only makes the problems worse. So why can’t we fix what’s broken?

It’s a question that deserves an answer, and the answer has six parts:

1. Any meaningful systemic reform threatens an entrenched, self-serving interest/elite which has a tremendous incentive to squash, co-opt or water down any reform that threatens their monopoly, benefits, etc.

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

No Matter How You Vote, Politicians Don’t Represent You

No Matter How You Vote, Politicians Don’t Represent You

vote1.PNG

One of the most foundational assumptions behind modern democracy is that the elected officials somehow represent the interests of those who elected them.

Advocates for the political status quo flog this position repeatedly, claiming that taxation and the regulatory state are all morally legitimate because the voters are “represented.” Even conservatives, who often claim to be for “small government” often oppose radicalism of any kind — such as secession — on the grounds that political resistance movements such as the American Revolution are only acceptable when there is “taxation without representation.”The implication being that since the United States holds elections every now and then, no political action outside of voting — and maybe a little sign waving — is allowed.

This, position, however, rests on the idea that elected officials are truly representative. If taxation with representation makes government legitimate — as some argue — then we must first establish that the government’s claims of representation are believable.

On a theoretical level, Gerard Casey has already cast serious doubt on these claims. Casey draws on the work of Hanna Pitkin, who admits it is plausible that:

Perhaps representation in politics is only a fiction, a myth forming part of the folklore of our society. Or perhaps representation must be redefined to fit our politics; perhaps we must simply accept the fact that what we have been calling representative government is in reality just party competition for office.

After all, as Casey points out, representation in the private sector usually means there is an agent-principal relationship in which the agent is legally bound to attempt to represent the material interests of a clearly defined person or group of people.

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

Olduvai IV: Courage
In progress...

Olduvai II: Exodus
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