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The Illusion Is Failing

Sometimes the magic fails.

The secret to the trick is accidentally revealed. The woman was always in the box.  The eye is no longer deceived. And there’s no getting the audience’s sense of awe back.

Just like a bungled illusion, once trust is broken, it’s gone.

For many during 2020, the loss of their jobs and businesses — in many cases due to incompetent government management of the pandemic — has been both a blessing and a curse.

Of course nobody likes being laid off or losing a business they’d carefully built up over the years.

But for a significant number of those people, however, they’ve now been given time (against their will, admittedly) to reflect and realize how much they hated their work in the first place.  For them, the illusion has been broken.

They won’t go back to pretending their former lives were acceptable or tolerable, and they’re actively looking for employment that better fits their values.  Time for something new.

Others have realized how much they really disliked what air travel had devolved into. With its demeaning theater of faux displays of ‘safety’– being groped by TSA agents and having to perform a striptease to get personal items through the security scanners.

I’m one of these folks.  I’ll be traveling a lot less in the future, no matter what happens with the SARS-2 virues. I’ll be content to stay local and conduct my business via Zoom calls as much as can possibly be done.  I won’t miss the pat-downs, delays, crowded seats, and cancelled flights.

Similarly, social media has now been revealed to be run by petulant sociopaths whose goal is for you to see exactly what content they want you to see, because that fits their profit incentive.  But they do so under the guise of “protecting” us from uninteresting or inappropriate material.

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

Can We Trust the Future at All?

QUESTION: What did Martin mean by gold having a 21 year high. I simply can’t see how it is possible for it not to go up from here as sovereign debt collapses and printing presses are on turbo

I’ll be getting the gold report when it’s out but…. I’m about to get my hands on a few million pounds and I just want it to vanish into the ether so they don’t tax it, gold coins seemed the obvious option

Cheers B

REPLY: The major low was 1999. We have to be concerned that this agenda does not seek to also regulate gold once again. They are manipulating the currencies and several countries are starting to buck the trend. The question becomes this assumption that gold will survive simply printing money. They have far more power than people realize.

Look at Andrews in Victoria, Australia. He has turned the place into East Germany. He is leading the way and setting an example of how to crush freedom.

They are trying desperately to retain power using this fake virus to justify suppression. They are moving to digitize all money. They will not tolerate free markets.

Julian Assange and the Conservative Press


Rembrandt van RIjn A Woman Standing with a Candle c.1631
To be honest, I didn’t think it would ever happen, even though it’s been so obvious for so long. But all of a sudden, the conservative voices questioning the Russia collusion narrative and all the investigations that followed from it, are finally figuring out that those behind that narrative and all that resulted from it, are the same people who have been chasing down Julian Assange for many years.

And that to get to the bottom of the hunt for Trump by the DNC, Clinton campaign, US intelligence and last but not least the media in their pockets, the NYT, WaPo, MSNBC, CNN et al, they will have to take a much closer look at what happened to Assange. If they don’t they will never understand. How do we know it’s starting to dawn on them? Look at this illustration at the Last Refuge site yesterday. More on them later.

Note: the mostly left wing Assange supporters would do good to consider the same thing: they in turn must look into the RussiaRussia Trump collusion stories, much as they may not like the president. Because those stories are why Assange has been chased down like so much roadkill. And because the right win of America is their best chance at getting him pardoned/released. The enemy of my enemy is my friend, to put it bluntly. Sometimes you need blunt.

As I’ve pointed out countless times, the Mueller investigation of the Trump campaign -and presidency- may have come up glaringly empty, but the report they issued maintained that “13 Russians” and Julian Assange were responsible for hacking DNC emails. There is no proof of this, but since none of the “accused” can speak out, the report make the claim, and did.

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

Hoarding Cash

Hoarding Cash

The reason there is a shortage of cash developing around the world is rather straight-forward. The trust in the government is collapsing. Italy has just lowered the legal amount someone can pay for anything in cash from €3000 to €2000. Australia made it a criminal act to pay for anything with A$10,000 or more (US$7,000).  In Switzerland, the limit on cash you can withdraw from an ATM is CHF5,000. In Germany, the limitation is typically €1000. Greeks abroad will be able to withdraw up to 5,000 euros ($5,800) a month.

In the United States, the US Treasury says the pandemic has significantly disrupted the supply chain and circulation patterns of US coins. Additionally, the US Mint has been printing fewer coins to protect its employees from COVID-19. The World Health Organization (WHO) has not advised banning paper money, but it has stressed the need for handwashing after touching cash, which is a subtle caution that money should be limited. Some central banks are deploying measures to sterilize paper money with heat or UV light. Even the Fed began a seven to 10-day quarantine for United States dollars returning to the country from Europe and Asia.

It is very clear that governments are trying to paint money as dirty, and the solution is to eliminate physical money, despite the fact that it has been in use since about the 7th century BC. All of a sudden, it is a danger after 28 centuries. This plays nicely into the Socialist’s dream to control everything!

When Trust Evaporates

When Trust Evaporates

I thought I’d compare the current Wuhan zombie apocalypse bat virus to that of SARS and see what is similar this time around…and what is not.

Now, I’m not going to get into which virus wins the “I killed more faster”, (thus far, it was SARS with a fatality rate of 9.6% vs 2.8%). Or which is more infectious (SARS again, though Coronavirus can spread while still incubating). Or join the silly debate of whether we should eat bats (they carry the disease, so ummm…NO). Rather, I’m going to focus on what’s been different in terms of the reaction globally…and why this is important. Because let’s face it, statistically, you’re still far more likely to be killed by some dolt crossing the centerline while watching his Insta feed…and nobody is running around like headless chickens screaming…don’t drive, don’t drive.

The Difference This Time

When SARS arrived on our doorsteps, the world’s response was one of cooperation, collaboration and a concerted effort to help our fellow man.

This time, the geopolitical world is completely different. We’re going into this at a time when trade wars have been ignited, Europe is fragmenting (Brexit, EU disharmony) US political polarisation is really something to behold. That’s bad enough, but there is an accelerating sense of distrust between countries at a political level and of institutions by the public at a private level.

All of these factors combined explain why it is that amongst other things…

Russia, Mongolia and North Korea have closed their land borders with China, and even HK has restricted their border. Flights in and out of mainland China have been cancelled indefinitely, with planes arriving from China landing in many countries only to be told…no way buddy back you go.

Who’s To Blame?

…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…

Trust is On Trial in Europe and the World

Trust is On Trial in Europe and the World

“It seems that if there was any truth to our language, ‘trust’ would be a four-letter word.”

Joel – “Risky Business”

Trust is the most important aspect of human endeavor. Without trust there can be no interaction. No communication.

No friendship. No love.

No Commerce.

The key to understanding economics is understanding people. The basis for all human interaction is the basic trust that a trade once completed will be honored.

The global economy runs solely on trust. Without the trust that contracts signed today can be fulfilled tomorrow and disputes settled with a reasonable degree of amity, there can be no iPhones.

No Amazon.

No oil.

When politics become toxic, when the sides refuse to cooperate on the very basic functions of government, uncertainty reigns. And uncertainty filters down to the people getting up everyday, going to work and providing a home for themselves and their families.

It’s like that great scene in the classic movie “Trading Places” where Eddie Murphy talks about the guy who’s worried he won’t be able to buy his kid that “G.I. Joe with the Kung Fu Grip” for Christmas.

That guy was the barometer for the market. That guy knew something about trust.

I had one of those G.I. Joe’s as a kid. My dad rarely let me down in supplying the most important things on my Christmas list.

It’s part of the reason why I loved him and trusted him completely. He was very human, but he kept his promises and I always knew where the boundaries were.

He and mom did what they could without making promises they couldn’t keep.

That example, despite the heartbreaks and the setbacks, shaped my approach to being a husband and a father. I don’t make promises to my daughter or my wife I can’t keep.

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

The Real Problem With Modern Monetary Theory

The Real Problem With Modern Monetary Theory

The Real Problem With Modern Monetary Theory

MMT supporters will point to 2008 and say, “Just look at QE. In 2008, the Federal Reserve Balance sheet was $800 billion. But as a result of QE1, QE2, and QE3, that number went to $4.5 trillion. And the world didn’t end. To the contrary, the stock market went on a huge bull run.We did not have an economic crash. And again, inflation was muted.”

Fed chairman Jay Powell has criticized MMT, for example. But its advocates say Powell and other Fed officials hoist themselves on their own petard. That’s because they are the ones who actually proved that MMT works. They point to the fact that the Fed printed close to $4 trillion and nothing bad happened. So it should go ahead and print another $4 trillion.

This is one of the great ironies of the debate. The Fed criticizes MMT, but it was its very own money creation after 2008 that MMT advocates point to as proof that it works.

Their only quibble is that the benefit of all that money creation went to rich investors, the major banks and corporations. The rich simply got richer. MMT advocates say it will simply redirect the money towards the poor, students, everyday Americans, people who need healthcare and childcare. It would basically be QE for the people, instead of the rich.

And it will go into the real economy, where it will boost productivity and finally give us significant growth.

When I first encountered these arguments, I knew they weren’t right. Both my gut feeling and my more rigorous approach to my own theory of money told me MMT was wrong. But I must admit, their arguments were more difficult to answer than I expected. I had a tough time uncovering the logical flaws.

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

The End of Trust

The End of Trust

I worry about America. When I was young, despite all its problems, America was greater than life, always beaming with optimism with a vision of a better future always ahead. Now that I’m getting older I’m very much unsure. Maybe I now know so much more than when I was younger, that is highly likely, but I’m not blind to seeing the changes over the past few decades.

When does a civilization recognize that it is in decline? When does it realize that its best days are behind it? It’s probably a much easier question to answer for historians with the benefit of a historical record and viewed through the lens of time, but much harder, if not impossible, for witnesses in the midst of history unfolding.

I ask these questions because it is hard not to worry about the state of the US or Western democracies in general these days. From my perch we are witnessing the end of trust, trust in government, trust in fairness, trust in each other. It’s not something that’s suddenly evolved, it’s been coming for a long time, but perhaps we’re just approaching peak realization. 50% of eligible voters already don’t vote in US presidential elections, they have no sense of stake or trust in the outcome. Nepotism and corruption appear rife in aspects of government and general success in life. I could list a myriad of examples, you can as well. The recent corruption scandal in college admissions being the latest example of many confirming an already prevailing sense that the world is rigged. Politics are getting ever more polarized and a common reality seems increasingly out of reach. 

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

Faith No More: America’s Trust in Mainstream Media Hits Rock Bottom

Faith No More: America’s Trust in Mainstream Media Hits Rock Bottom

Faith No More: America’s Trust in Mainstream Media Hits Rock Bottom

Gone are the days when US consumers looked to the nightly news and print media as a trusted source of information, and especially if they hold conservative views, according to a new poll by the Columbia Journalism Review.

Things are going from bad to worse for the US legacy media as its trust credentials have reached an all-time new low, as if that were possible. It has even achieved a lower trust rating than lawyers and members of Congress.

The introduction to the CJR poll provided the following ominous opening: “For decades, we’ve known that Americans don’t trust the press. What we haven’t known is how people view the makings of journalism, from the use of fact checkers and anonymous sources to the question of whether money skews journalistic decision-making. This new national poll for CJR answers those questions, and points to how big the trust gap remains.”

Indeed, the cynicism on the street should have every mainstream media purveyor in a state of absolute panic.

In one particular finding, it was revealed that many news consumers believe that reporters, seemingly in an effort to push forward with a political agenda, are too quick to run with a story before knowing all of the facts. This has never been more true before than in the Trump era where anything goes, so long as it trashes conservatives.
 
We have just witnessed ample proof of that media tendency in several high-profile cases. This week, attorneys for Nick Sandmann, a student from Covington Catholic High School, filed a lawsuit against the Washington Post, seeking $250 million in damages for negligence.

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

MSM Begs For Trust After Buzzfeed Debacle

MSM Begs For Trust After Buzzfeed Debacle

Following what the Washington Post has described as “the highest-profile misstep yet for a news organization during a period of heightened and intense scrutiny of the press,” mass media representatives are now flailing desperately for an argument as to why people should continue to place their trust in mainstream news outlets.

On Thursday Buzzfeed News delivered the latest “bombshell” Russiagate report to fizzle within 24 hours of its publication, a pattern that is now so consistent that I’ve personally made a practice of declining to comment on such stories until a day or two after their release. “BOOM!” tweets were issued by #Resistance pundits on Twitter, “If true this means X, Y and Z” bloviations were made on mass media punditry panels, and for about 20 hours Russiagaters everywhere were riding the high of their lives, giddy with the news that President Trump had committed an impeachable felony by ordering Michael Cohen to lie to Congress about a proposed Trump office tower in Moscow, a proposal which died within weeks and the Kremlin never touched.

There was reason enough already for any reasonable person to refrain from frenzied celebration, including the fact that the story’s two authors, Jason Leopold and Anthony Cormier, were giving the press two very different accounts of the information they’d based it on, with Cormier telling CNN that he had not personally seen the evidence underlying his report and Leopold telling MSNBC that he had. Both Leopold and Cormier, for the record, have already previously suffered a Russiagate faceplantwith the clickbait viral story that Russia had financed the 2016 election, burying the fact that it was a Russian election.

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

Trust Is Failing on Both Sides of the Pond

Trust Is Failing on Both Sides of the Pond

Trust Is Failing on Both Sides of the Pond

I’ve been warning for a while now that we are pushing towards an inflection point in history.  With each passing week it feels like events are accelerating as change to the status quo is everywhere.

In Europe, the EU leadership and Theresa May are so desperate to stop Brexit they can’t stop lying about everything.  In one day we have May’s government found in contempt of Parliament for not releasing the full legal advice of her Brexit deal and the European Court of Justice pronounce that the U.K. can unilaterally cancel Brexit if they want to.

They are this desperate because there is a real probability of May’s horrific deal not getting the thumbs up from parliament. That said, the arm-twisting behind the scenes is likely epic as one by one May’s remaining cabinet members come out in favor of the deal because they see they have no other option.

At the same time France is literally on fire thanks to a good ol’ fashioned tax revolt, which reviled, unprepared and arrogant President Emmanuel Macron cannot fathom.  Macron’s handling of these protests has been abysmal, displaying a level of contempt for the French people so profound he may wind up more hated in the end than Theresa May.

Both of these odious people make no bones about their real loyalties and the more they talk, the more they try to sell their latest betrayal of national interests for Brussels’ the more the intensity of the hatred of them increases.

This is not a linear thing.  It’s the kind of situation that goes from murmurs and shrugs to outright violence in a matter of days.

Especially when you come out and tell the very nationalistic French people that nationalism is akin to evil.

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

Chuck Todd Blames Fox For Press Distrust, Urges Liberal Media To ‘Rise Up’

In what we initially assumed was a satire piece, NBC News’ ‘fair and balanced’political chief Chuck Todd has taken to the auspiciously open-minded pages of The Atlantic to pen an op-ed  explaining how we’ve all got it all wrong – it is Fox News’ Roger Ailes who is to blame for press distrust and in fact, it is time for the mainstream liberal media to ‘rise up’ and defend their work.

Presented with no comment (but some emphasis), here is Chuck Todd explaining that “It’s time for the press to stop complaining… and start fighting back.”

Via The Atlantic,

A nearly 50-year campaign of vilification, inspired by Fox News’s Roger Ailes, has left many Americans distrustful of media outlets. Now, journalists need to speak up for their work.

I’ve devoted much of my professional life to the study of political campaigns, not as a historian or an academic but as a reporter and an analyst. I thought I’d seen it all, from the bizarre upset that handed a professional wrestler the governorship of Minnesota to the California recall that gave us the Governator to candidates who die but stay on the ballot and win.

But there’s a new kind of campaign underway, one that most of my colleagues and I have never publicly reported on, never fully analyzed, and never fully acknowledged: the campaign to destroy the legitimacy of the American news media.

Bashing the media for political gain isn’t new, and neither is manipulating the media to support or oppose a cause. These practices are at least as old as the Gutenberg press. But antipathy toward the media right now has risen to a level I’ve never personally experienced before. The closest parallel in recent American history is the hostility to reporters in the segregated South in the 1950s and ’60s.

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

Facebook’s Secret “User-Reputation Score” Exposed

In a hideous reflection of China’s already-prevalent ‘Social Credit’ systemwhich is a rating assigned to each citizen based on government data regarding their economic and social statusThe Washington Post reports that Facebook has begun to assign its users a reputation score, predicting their trustworthiness on a scale from zero to one.

Under the guise of its effort to combat ‘fake news’, WaPo notes (citing an interview with Tessa Lyons, the product manager who is in charge of fighting misinformation) that the previously unreported ratings system, which Facebook has developed over the last year, has evolved to include measuring the credibility of users to help identify malicious actors.

Users’ trustworthiness score between zero and one isn’t meant to be an absolute indicator of a person’s credibility, Lyons told the publication, nor is there is a single unified reputation score that users are assigned.

“One of the signals we use is how people interact with articles,” Lyons said in a follow-up email.

“For example, if someone previously gave us feedback that an article was false and the article was confirmed false by a fact-checker, then we might weight that person’s future false news feedback more than someone who indiscriminately provides false news feedback on lots of articles, including ones that end up being rated as true.”

The score is one measurement among thousands of behavioral clues that Facebook now takes into account as it seeks to understand risk.

“I like to make the joke that, if people only reported things that were [actually] false, this job would be so easy!” said Lyons in the interview. “People often report things that they just disagree with.”

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

How To Beat A Manipulator

How To Beat A Manipulator

I’ve been busy working through some of my own stuff lately, while marveling at how closely my personal journey has been mirrored in the larger world. I wrote out the following as a personal exercise while meditating on all the similarities between abusive personal relationships with manipulators and our relationship as a species with the sociopathic plutocrats who rule us. I got a lot out of writing it, and it came out relatively readable, so I figured I’d publish it as-is in case anyone else finds it useful too. Here ya go!

~

Humans are hackable. Ask any conman. Our desire to think we have control over our lives often hides this from ourselves, but most of us are highly suggestible and hypnotizable. If you think you’re not, you’re in more danger of being hacked than someone who has humbled themselves enough to see how this works in them.

There’s no need to be ashamed of being conned. Realizing that you’ve been, or are being, conned will naturally bring up feelings of embarrassment, but it’s never your fault that someone’s taken you for a ride. Get clear: conning someone is the crime; being conned is being a victim of that crime. That’s how the law sees it in fraud cases. Manipulators would love you to think that it’s your fault for allowing yourself to be manipulated, but that’s just another manipulation isn’t it?

Manipulators use one of our most astounding, useful, and beautiful human characteristics when they con us — empathy. Our innately trusting nature is the reason why we’ve been able to collaborate on large scales to create and innovate in extraordinary ways unseen anywhere else in the animal kingdom.

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

Olduvai IV: Courage
In progress...

Olduvai II: Exodus
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