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Ministry of Manipulation: No Wonder Trust and Credibility Have Been Lost

Ministry of Manipulation: No Wonder Trust and Credibility Have Been Lost

Now that every financial game in America has been rigged to benefit the few at the expense of the many, trust and credibility has evaporated like an ice cube on a summer day in Death Valley.

Here is America in a nutshell: we no longer solve problems, we manipulate the narrative and then declare the problem has been solved. Actually solving problems is difficult and generally requires sacrifices that are proportionate to one’s wealth and power. But since America’s elite are no longer willing to sacrifice any of their vast power for the common good, sacrifice is out in America unless it can be dumped on wage earners. But unfortunately for America’s elite, four decades of hidden-by-manipulation sacrifices have stripmined average wage earners, and so they no longer have anything left to sacrifice.

Enter the Ministry of Manipulation, which adjusts the visible bits to align with the narrative that the problem has been fixed and the status quo is godlike in its technocratic powers. All this manipulation doesn’t actually solve the problems, it simply hides the decay behind gamed statistics, financial trickery and glossy PR. The problems fester until they break through the manipulated gloss and the public witnesses the breakdown of all the systems that were presented as rock-solid and forever.

Let’s take three core fields of manipulation: cost of living, Social Security and the stock market bubble. Each is a key signifier of the status quo functioning as advertised, and so manipulating them to fit the narrative is the elite’s prime directive. Goodness knows what would happen if people were exposed to the unmanipulated reality, but it wouldn’t be good for America’s self-serving power elite.

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The System Isn’t There To Protect Us From Criminals, It’s To Protect Criminals From Us

The System Isn’t There To Protect Us From Criminals, It’s To Protect Criminals From Us

Listen to a reading of this article:

Iraq war architect Donald Rumsfeld has died. Not in a prison cell in The Hague, not murdered by bombs or bullets, but peacefully in his home, surrounded by loved ones, a week and a half shy of his 89th birthday.

The imperial media are giving their fallen master a king’s tribute, with headlines describing the psychopathic war criminal as “a cunning leader“, “a man of honor and conviction“, or simply as “Former defense secretary at helm of Iraq, Afghanistan wars“.

The cancerous Washington Post, who just the other day mocked the life of the late antiwar hero Mike Gravel with an obituary branding him the “gadfly senator from Alaska with flair for the theatrical,” describes the child killer Rumsfeld as the “influential but controversial Bush defense secretary” in its headline about his death. 

The New York Times wasn’t much better. Take the headline “Mike Gravel, Unconventional Two-Term Alaska Senator, Dies at 91 — He made headlines by fighting for an oil pipeline and reading the Pentagon Papers aloud. After 25 years of obscurity, he re-emerged with a quixotic presidential campaign.” Compare this to the headline “Donald Rumsfeld, Defense Secretary During Iraq War, Is Dead at 88 — Mr. Rumsfeld, who served four presidents, oversaw a war that many said should never have been fought. But he said the removal of Saddam Hussein had ‘created a more stable and secure world.’”

There’s been criticism as well, of course; online sentiments about Rumsfeld’s death have not been nearly as worshipful and hagiographic as they’ve been toward other disgusting war whores like John McCain…

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Space Colonization Is A Capitalist Perception Management Op

Space Colonization Is A Capitalist Perception Management Op

Listen to this article:

The world’s two wealthiest people are fighting over the moon, which just says so much about where our species is at right now.

Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos are in a dispute with NASA over whose private space exploration corporation will get the $2.9 billion US government contract to return to the moon. I gleaned this annoying piece of information by way of an obnoxiously sycophantic Atlantic puff piece titled “Elon Musk Is Maybe, Actually, Strangely, Going to Do This Mars Thing”, subtitled “From his private Cape Canaveral, the billionaire is manifesting his own interplanetary reality—whatever the cost.”

The mainstream press cannot get enough of these two unfathomably wealthy plutocrats and their outspoken ambition to colonize space, with Musk advocating Mars colonization and Bezos preferring to ship us all offworld to live in giant Amazon space tubes. They love it for the same reason they love war and status quo politicians: it fits in beautifully with the capitalist world order.

Space colonization is largely a capitalist perception management op promoted by the likes of Musk and Bezos to strengthen the narrative that it’s okay to continue the world-raping global capitalist principle of infinite growth on a finite world because we can escape the catastrophic ecological consequences of that paradigm by fleeing to space.

“Ecocidal capitalism is fine, we’ll just go to space before it kills us!” is the message we’re all meant to absorb. And too many do. A large obstacle to waking people up to the existential crises we are facing as a species is the blind faith that technology will save us from the consequences of our mass-scale behavior, and therefore we don’t need to change. Which suits the world’s richest men perfectly.

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

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.

~

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?”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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…

Olduvai IV: Courage
In progress...

Olduvai II: Exodus
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