Liberty Blitzkrieg: Scaling Politics

Michael Krieger at Liberty Blitzkrieg has a good article up about sovereignty and scope of governance. The scope of governance should decline as you add numbers of people governed rather than increase as it so often does. The individual should make the vast majority of decisions, the federal level almost none. Because your relationship to governance becomes less voluntary as it scales up, the higher the political unit the less authority it should have.

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

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

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

It’s important to note that the creation of a family by consenting adults tends to be a voluntary choice by which individuals agree to put some of their more selfish proclivities to the side in order to create a cohesive, expansive unit. Since the decision to form a family is in most cases voluntary, the decision to relinquish some measure of individual sovereignty is likewise voluntary. While it’s not romantic to consider the transition from an individual-centric lifestyle to a family-focused one in the context of politics and governance, it can be quite helpful.

After the family, the next major unit of sovereignty is found at the municipal or county level. At this stage, a significantly larger number of humans have been added to the structure, ranging from thousands to millions depending on where you live. Unless you reside in the smallest of towns, this unit will consist of countless people you don’t personally know and never will. Nevertheless, a common geography will almost always lead to some level of coordination and decision-making for stuff that applies to and affects the larger unit.

What this means in practice should be determined by those living in the communities themselves. As anyone who’s travelled extensively around the U.S. knows, distinct cities and counties tend to have very different vibes and attitudes about all sorts of life issues, and in some cases counties bordering one another even within the same state demonstrate dramatic differences. It’s important to accept this as perfectly normal and healthy, just as two neighboring families can have distinct views on all sorts of issues and still get along just fine. Each family runs their affairs as they deem appropriate…

Click here to read the entire article at Liberty Blitzkrieg.

Liberty Blitzkrieg: The 2nd Amendment Sanctuary Movement

Michael Krieger of Liberty Blitzkrieg has up an article about Localism in the 2020s and specifically discussing the effectiveness and importance of the Second Amendment Sanctuary movement.

…Before discussing the significance of all this, let’s address some thoughtful criticism of the movement from Michael Boldin of the Tenth Amendment Center. His primary point of contention is that the resolutions these municipalities and counties are passing — unlike immigration sanctuary ordinances passed in places such as San Francisco — carry no weight of the law.

Specifically, they’re not passing ordinances, but rather resolutions, which Michael describes as “non-binding political statements.” In other words, it’s all just talk at this stage and he’s frustrated that much of the media coverage makes it seem what’s being passed is more concrete than it actually is. Although I disagree with his overall assessment of the importance of what’s happening, he makes many good points and puts some much needed meat on the bone of this issue for those getting up to speed. He published an instructive video on the topic, which I recommend checking out.

Despite his legitimate criticisms, I believe the second amendment sanctuary movement is meaningful in the bigger picture of the nation’s emergent social and political evolution. Although it is indeed mostly just talk at this point, there’s nothing wrong with that. If you’re going to build a movement you need to start by talking and establishing some sort of consensus amongst your peers. More concrete steps can follow in the future. Don’t forget this is a learning process for many of the people involved, and many of those coming out to these city and county meetings likely never engaged politically in such a manner before in their lives…

Even bigger picture, the second amendment sanctuary movement should be seen as a manifestation of a core trend I except to grow considerably in the decade to come: localism. The people driving this movement aren’t petitioning Washington D.C. or even their state house, instead they’re looking to their friends and neighbors and taking a unified stand at the local level. Simply put, they’re attempting to take matters into their own hands as opposed to begging distant authority figures. This is in large part why their actions seem disorganized and unsophisticated; these are just regular people saying enough is enough, and in this case the line in the sand happens to be firearms.

This goes against everything we’re taught. We’re led to believe we have representatives in D.C. that actually represent us and we just need to elect the right people to have our voices heard. This sounds good, but we all know by now it’s a lie…

Importantly, this is how it should be. If we’re going to crawl out of the mess we’re in it seems clear we need a different approach. Pretending all we need to do is “elect good people” to Congress or the Presidency is a slave mentality. The system itself is so completely corrupt and so explicitly rewards criminal and evil behavior, we need to start thinking and acting differently, which means focusing on what’s closest to home…

Click here to read the entire article at Liberty Blitzkrieg.

Liberty Blitzkrieg: Monetary Looting

Michael Krieger of Liberty Blitzkrieg has written this article about the corrupt and predatory state of our financial system and Federal Reserve banking system – Monetary Looting.

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

Wall Street on Parade: Is the Fed’s $3 Trillion in Loans to Trading Houses on Wall Street Legal?

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

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

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

One of the main reasons big finance is able to pull off scam after scam in plain sight relates to the complexity, opacity and esoteric jargon associated with the industry. Repo is a perfect example. The market had a spasm in September and the Fed immediately rushed in with billions to bring the rate down without offering any transparency or a credible explanation of what was going on. Meanwhile, as the crisis continued over subsequent months and the central bank response grew larger and larger, we actually seem to be learning less with each passing day.

Instead of providing the public with the transparency it deserves, Fed officials run around pretending to be financial surgeons called in to perform an unexpected emergency operation on a patient after a freak accident. In reality, central banks are merely pumping billions into an already dead body while enriching connected and powerful individuals and institutions in the process. They know exactly what they’re doing and we need to stop pretending otherwise.

While I’m grateful to those who’ve spent time trying to thoughtfully explain the mechanics of the repo crisis and why it happened, I think that’s a sideshow at this point since nobody who really knows what’s going on is talking. Instead, we should focus on the absurd and unconscionable lack of transparency with regard to Federal Reserve actions. As far as I know, we have no idea which parties are taking up this expanded central bank funding. Think about how criminally insane that is. We have no idea if it’s driven by a troubled institution like Deutsche Bank, hedge funds with over-leveraged trades, treasury issuance, a combination of these factors, or something else.

We don’t know because they don’t want us to know, and they don’t want us to know because they don’t want the public thinking or talking about it. It’s at times like these when the totalitarian nature of central banking comes into crystal clear focus. What we have is government via unelected, unaccountable bankers. It’s the opposite of self-government, and understanding this simple fact blows apart all the myths about our so-called democracy and freedom. Nothing of the sort exists in reality, and when push comes to shove, you’re just a peasant living in an imperial oligarchy…

Click here to read the entire article at Liberty Blitzkrieg.

Liberty Blitzkrieg: Three Major Imbalances – Financial, Trust, Geopolitical

Somewhat related to yesterday’s article from Chris Hedges which touched on how no one in America trusts anyone in the D.C. establish at all any longer is this article from Michael Krieger of Liberty Blitzkrieg. In Three Major Imbalances, Mr. Krieger discusses the teetering financial system, the lack of trust in institutions, and rising tenstions between the U.S.A. and China, Russia, and elsewhere.

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.

It’s ten years later and central banks still can’t walk back anything they did over the past decade…

While massive and global, the financial system imbalance is just one of several. Another big one is a trust imbalance, which manifests as a widening disconnect between established institutions and the people living under them. As the ruling class has been forced to resort to increasingly desperate measures over the past decade to keep their gravy train going, they’ve exposed themselves more explicitly. What was once derided as conspiracy theory rapidly becomes conspiracy fact, and an increasingly significant number of humans have begun to simply assume (for good reason) that whatever comes out of the mouths of authority figures like intelligence agencies, politicians, mass media, corporations and think tanks, etc., are lies.

This situation isn’t getting any better either. It seems every day we wake up to new in your face revelations of how craven and dishonest the ruling oligarchy and its institutions really are. For example, this past weekend we learned how a Newsweek journalist quit because his bosses at the paper refused to let him publish about OPCW whistleblowers who dispute the official conclusion that Assad launched a chemical attack in Douma, an event that increasingly looks like a false flag event which led to the U.S. bombing Syria…

The trust imbalance between rulers and the ruled has become so massive it’s all but guaranteed to detonate in a variety of unexpected and consequential ways in the years ahead. The election of Donald Trump was just the first pubic manifestation of this well deserved lack of trust…

The other major imbalance I want to highlight is the geopolitical one. It’s something I’ve been writing about a lot lately as it’s come into clearer focus that the nexus of this tension will center around the U.S. and China. At the root of this imbalance is a U.S. national security state desperate to turn back to clock to the 1990s when the U.S. was the world’s sole superpower and could essentially call the shots on all matters of international significance with little to no pushback. Certain foreign power centers, led by China and Russia, have made it explicit they will not be rewinding the clock and are have focused their foreign policy around ushering in a multi-polar world. Like the other imbalances, the geopolitical imbalance becomes more volatile and less manageable with each passing day…

Everything being done today centers around propping up and extending a decrepit paradigm in order to further enrich and empower a ruling class that has lost the respect of the people. As the actions taken to sustain such a system become more desperate and mendacious (“this is NOT QE”), the more the veneer of credibility disappears. The more the veneer of credibility disappears, the more unstable these major imbalances become. Generational change is on the horizon, keep your eyes wide open.

Click here to read the entire article at Liberty Blitzkrieg.

Related:

Kunstler: Two for One Holiday Special

Hillary Clinton sure got her money’s worth with the Fusion GPS deal: it induced a three-year psychotic break in the body politic, destroyed the legitimacy of federal law enforcement, turned a once-proud, free, and rational press into an infernal engine of bad faith, and is finally leading her Democratic Party to an ignominious suicide. And the damage is far from complete…

Liberty Blitzkrieg: The Illiberal World Order

Michael Krieger of Liberty Blitzkrieg has some good words to share about our current political state of affairs, including how Trump’s election is a symptom of decades of corrupt D.C. practices rather than the beginning of some new era of debauchery and how the biggest problem is all of the people who do not recognize this.

The Illiberal World Order

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

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

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

Lying to yourself about history is one of the most dangerous things you can do. If you can’t accept where we’ve been, and that Trump’s election is a symptom of decades of rot as opposed to year zero of a dangerous new world, you’ll never come to any useful conclusions. As such, the most meaningful fracture in American society today is between those who’ve accepted that we’ve been lied to for a very long time, and those who think everything was perfectly fine before Trump. There’s no real room for a productive discussion between such groups because one of them just wants to get rid of orange man, while the other is focused on what’s to come. One side actually believes a liberal world order existed in the recent past, while the other fundamentally recognizes this was mostly propaganda based on myth.

Irrespective of what you think of Bernie Sanders and his policies, you can at least appreciate the fact his supporters focus on policy and real issues. In contrast, resistance liberals just desperately scramble to put up whoever they think can take us back to a make-believe world of the recent past. This distinction is actually everything. It’s the difference between people who’ve at least rejected the status quo and those who want to rewind history and perform a do-over of the past forty years.

A meaningful understanding that unites populists across the ideological spectrum is the basic acceptance that the status quo is pernicious and unsalvageable, while the status quo-promoting opposition focuses on Trump the man while conveniently ignoring the worst of his policies because they’re essentially just a continuation of Clinton/Bush/Obama. It’s the most shortsighted and destructive response to Trump imaginable. It’s also why the Trump-era alliance of corporate, imperialist Democrats and rightwing Bush-era neoconservatives makes perfect sense, as twisted and deranged as it might seem at first. With some minor distinctions, these people share nostalgia for the same thing.

This sort of political environment is extremely unhealthy because it places an intentional and enormous pressure on everyone to choose between dedicating every fiber of your being to removing Trump at all costs or supporting him. This anti-intellectualism promotes an ends justifies the means attitude on all sides. In other words, it turns more and more people into rhinoceroses…

Click here to read the entire article at Liberty Blitzkrieg.

 

Liberty Blitzkrieg: Algorithmic Feudalism (Tech Giant Evil)

Michael Krieger of Liberty Blitzkrieg has written another good article, this one on the dangers that the algorithms used by tech giants pose to our very ability to think. Are you sure your thoughts are your own when every interaction online is being used to present the ideas that are most profitable to those with the power?

Algorithmic Feudalism

…It’s important to note that while much of the recent focus on tech giants revolves around market dominance and anti-competitiveness, the real danger posed is far more extensive. Particularly since the post-election “panic of 2016,” these companies have begun to more earnestly morph into digital information gatekeepers in the name of empire and the national security state.

Day by day, tweaked algorithm by tweaked algorithm, and with each new thought criminal banished from major digital platforms, we’ve seen not only dissident views marginalized, but we’ve also lost a capacity to access information we’re looking for should tech company CEOs or their national security state partners deem it inappropriate. The powers that be have determined the internet permitted too much freedom of thought and opinion, so the tech giants stand ready to bluntly throw the hammer down in order to reverse that trend and regain narrative control. The algorithm will be used to get you in line, and if you don’t comply, the algorithm will destroy you.

More from TruthDig:

Stiegler believes that digital technology, in the hands of technocrats whom he calls “the new barbarians,” now threatens to dominate our tertiary memory, leading to a historically unprecedented “proletarianization” of the human mind. For Stiegler, the stakes today are much higher than they were for Marx, from whom this term is derived: proletarianization is no longer a threat posed to physical labor but to the human spirit itself…

Stiegler firmly believes that a distinction must always be upheld between “authentic thinking” and “computational cognitivism” and that today’s crisis lies in confusing the latter for the former: we have entrusted our rationality to computational technologies that now dominate everyday life, which is increasingly dependent on glowing screens driven by algorithmic anticipations of their users’ preferences and even writing habits (e.g., the repugnantly named “predictive text” feature that awaits typed-in characters to regurgitate stock phrases)… As Stiegler’s translator, the philosopher and filmmaker Daniel Ross, puts it, our so-called post-truth age is one “where calculation becomes so hegemonic as to threaten the possibility of thinking itself.” 

This is the true crux of what we’re dealing with, and so we find ourselves at a terrifying transition point in the entire historical human experience should we fail to correct it. As a consequence of their dominant market shares in core areas of our modern digital world like e-commerce (Amazon), human-to-human communication (Facebook) and information access (Google), tech giants now have the capacity to replace human curiosity and thought with opaque and ever-changing algorithms…

The internet was supposed to free information while connecting people and ideas across borders. This promise is being lost with each passing day, and rectifying the situation is one of the most significant challenges we face. Should we fail, we can look forward to a future where humanity consists of little more than digitally lobotomized automatons responding like lab rats to algorithms created by tech CEOs and their national security state partners.

Click here to read the entire article at Liberty Blitzkrieg.

Liberty Blitzkrieg: US Dollar as a Weapon

This article is from Michael Krieger at Liberty Blitzkrieg writing about how the USA has used the US Dollar and the global financial system to maintain political hegemony across the world and how that dollar hegemony is coming to an end.

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

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

You can’t properly discuss the entrenched global paradigm without addressing the American empire, and you can’t have a conversation about empire without discussing the monetary and financial system that keeps it all in place. The last time I discussed this in any detail was last year in the post, The Road to 2025 (Part 3) – USD Dominated Financial System Will Fall Apart. Today’s post should be seen as an update to that piece, taking stock of where we stand a year and a half later.

Several assumptions were made in last year’s article that must be recognized in order to understand how I see the situation. The first is a view that we’re already transitioning into a multi-polar world, in other words, the U.S. no longer holds a position of total planetary geopolitical dominance similar to what it enjoyed in the mid-to-late 1990s. Despite proclamations to the contrary, history did not in fact end.

U.S. leadership became accustomed to getting virtually whatever it wanted around the world via overt violence, covert intelligence operations or economic coercion, but this is no longer the case in 2019. Although this doesn’t sit well with much of the foreign policy establishment, it’s nevertheless reality. The most recent evidence came just last week with Denmark’s decision to approve the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, something the U.S. was adamantly opposed to.

Tom Luongo offered an interesting analysis of why this is so significant:

For the past three years the U.S. has fought the construction of the Nordstream 2 pipeline from Russia to Germany every inch of the way.

The battle came down to the last few miles, literally, as Denmark has been withholding the final environmental permit on Nordstream 2 for months.

The U.S., especially under Trump, have committed themselves to a ‘whole of government approach‘ to stop the 55 bcm natural gas pipeline from making landfall in Germany…

In a sense, this pipeline is Germany’s declaration of independence from seventy-plus years of U.S. policy setting. 

The fact the U.S. foreign policy establishment sees it as our business to determine which country the EU should buy natural gas from and how offers a glimpse into the imperial mindset. It’s the same mindset that maintains Iran shouldn’t be able to sell oil to anyone without U.S. permission. It represents an attachment to total global control, a view that the world consists of little more than the U.S. hegemon and its client states.

Which gets us to the key point surrounding the unsustainable nature of the world’s monetary and financial system. Specifically, we already live in a world where several powers (namely China and Russia) have very publicly and clearly elucidated they will not function as U.S. client states going forward. They appear to be on the winning side of history because it’s much harder to maintain global empire than to frustrate it at this point, but the U.S. maintains an enormous advantage when making moves on the geopolitical chessboard. It’s not the ubiquitous military bases or advanced technology, but a more esoteric and stealth weapon — the U.S. dollar…

Click here to continue reading at Liberty Blitzkrieg.

Liberty Blitzkrieg: AG Barr Wants to Kill Privacy and Security

Michael Krieger of Liberty Blitzkrieg has written a post about US Attorney General William Barr who has come out very much against the use of encryption by anyone but the government in recent weeks. The government wants full access to everything that you do and say wherever you are doing it, no matter how personal or private. As usual, it must be done “to save the children.”

William Barr Wants to Kill Privacy and Security…’For the Children’

U.S. Attorney General William Barr, along with co-conspirators in the UK and Australia, recently wrote a letter to Mark Zuckerberg requesting he not move forward with a plan to implement end-to-end encryption across Facebook’s messaging services. A draft of the letter was published earlier this month by Buzzfeed, and it’s worth examining in some detail.

What immediately strikes you is the letter’s emphasis on “protecting the children,” a talking point universally used by authoritarians throughout history to justify both a reduction of public liberty and a transfer of increased power to the state. Though this tactic is transparent and well understood by those paying attention, it’s nevertheless disturbing to observe Barr’s disingenuous and shameless use of it (the words ‘child’ and ‘children’ appear 17 times in the course of this brief letter).

Here’s just one example from the letter:

Companies should not deliberately design their systems to preclude any form of access to content, even for preventing or investigating the most serious crimes. This puts our citizens and societies at risk by severely eroding a company’s ability to detect and respond to illegal content and activity, such as child sexual exploitation and abuse, terrorism, and foreign adversaries’ attempts to undermine democratic values and institutions, preventing the prosecution of offenders and safeguarding of victims. It also impedes law enforcement’s ability to investigate these and other serious crimes. Risks to public safety from Facebook’s proposals are exacerbated in the context of a single platform that would combine inaccessible messaging services with open profiles, providing unique routes for prospective offenders to identify and groom our children.

Barr and the U.S. government feign deep concern regarding the ability of bad people to “identify and groom our children,” yet this is the same guy and government who allowed Jeffrey Epstein to be suicided in a Department of Justice prison just a few months ago. It’s the same guy and government who can’t find or doesn’t want to find Ghislaine Maxwell. And it’s same guy and government that can’t be bothered to raid Epstein’s New Mexico ranch despite known instances of child abuse there…

Click here to read the entire article at Liberty Blitzkrieg.

Liberty Blitzkrieg: Humans Are Creating Their Own Narratives

Michael Krieger of Liberty Blitzkrieg has an article on how the US government, including the FBI and the military, are becoming involved in policing what you think and talk about because the government believes that conspiracy theories pose a domestic terrorism threat… Or maybe the government just wants more control over what you do and say to make sure that people can only hear the government’s own narrative. Here’s an excerpt from Humans Are Creating Their Own Narratives.

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

We learned:

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

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

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

Before we dissect what’s really going on, allow me to point out the glaringly obvious, which is that politicians, pundits, mass media and the U.S. military don’t actually care about the societal harm of fake news or conspiracy theories. We know this based on how the media sold government lies in order to advocate for the Iraq war, and how many of the biggest proponents of that blatant war crime have gone on to spectacularly lucrative careers in subsequent years. There were zero consequences, proving the point that this has nothing to do with the dangers of fake news or conspiracy theories, and everything to do with protecting the establishment grip on narrative creation and propagation.

The above tweet summarizes what’s really going on. It’s a provable fact that the harm caused by some crazy person reacting to viral “fake news” on social media doesn’t compare with the destruction and criminality perpetrated by oligarchs like Jeffrey Epstein, or governments which destroy entire countries and murder millions without flinching. It’s the extremely wealthy and powerful, as a consequence of their societal status and influence, who are in a position to do the most harm. This isn’t debatable, yet the U.S. military and media don’t seem particularly bothered by this sort of thing. What really keeps them up at night is a realization that the powerless masses of humanity are suddenly talking to one another across borders and coming to their own conclusions about how the world works. You’re supposed to be told what to think, not to think for yourself...

Click here to read the entire article.

Liberty Blitzkrieg: Insiders Don’t Criticize Other Insiders

Here is a brief, but enlightening, article by Michael Krieger of Liberty Blitzkrieg about the political swamp and the difference between insiders and outsiders – Insiders Don’t Criticize Other Insiders.

Since leaving office President Obama has drawn widespread criticism for accepting a $400,000 speaking fee from the Wall Street investment firm Cantor Fitzgerald, including from Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. Only a few months out of office, the move has been viewed as emblematic of the cozy relationship between the financial sector and political elites.

But as the President’s critics have voiced outrage over the decision many have been reluctant to criticize the record-setting $65 million book deal that Barack and Michelle Obama landed jointly this February with Penguin Random House (PRH)…

While the Obamas’ deal is unique for the amount of money involved, outsized book contracts between politicians and industries they’ve benefitted has precedent. In a recent report issued by the Roosevelt Institute, the study’s authors, Thomas Ferguson, Paul Jorgensen, and Jie Chen, argue that the mainstream approach to money in politics fails to recognize major sources of political spending. Among the least appreciated avenues for political money, they argue, are payments to political figures in the form of director’s fees, speaking fees, and book contracts.

From the 2017 Naked Capitalism piece: The “Market Forces” Behind the Obamas’ Record-Setting Book Deal

Back in 2009, when the Obama administration was busy ensuring the nation’s financiers would become larger, more powerful and never serve a day in jail despite their historic crime spree, Larry Summers had dinner with Elizabeth Warren. During the course of that meal, he instructed her about how power really functions in the U.S.:

A telling anecdote involves a dinner that Ms. Warren had with Lawrence H. Summers, then the director of the National Economic Council and a top economic adviser to President Obama. The dinner took place in the spring of 2009, after the oversight panel had produced its third report, concluding that American taxpayers were at far greater risk to losses in TARP than the Treasury had let on.

After dinner, “Larry leaned back in his chair and offered me some advice,” Ms. Warren writes. “I had a choice. I could be an insider or I could be an outsider. Outsiders can say whatever they want. But people on the inside don’t listen to them. Insiders, however, get lots of access and a chance to push their ideas. People — powerful people — listen to what they have to say. But insiders also understand one unbreakable rule: They don’t criticize other insiders.

“I had been warned,” Ms. Warren concluded…

Click here to read the entire story at Liberty Blitzkrieg.

Liberty Blitzkrieg: The Next Revolution by Murray Bookchin

Michael Krieger at Liberty Blitzkrieg has a short review/discussion of Murry Bookchin’s collected essays published as The Next Revoltion: Popular Assemblies and the Promise of Direct Democracy. Bookchin believed that the ideal was for people to make decisions for themselves in public assemblies or municipalities.

…While there are numerous key points on which Bookchin and I would have disagreed spiritedly, that’s not the purpose of this piece. Aside from being a wealth of information and knowledge (he closely studied nearly every major revolution in the Euro-American world), his greatest service here is a framework through which to understand human governance and how and why it’s all gone so terribly wrong. Many of his themes cover ideas and realizations I’ve come to on my own, but the clarity with which he describes certain key concepts helped refine my thinking. The purpose of this post is to outline some of these ideas…

In The Need to Remake Society he writes:

To create a state is to institutionalize power in the form of a machine that exists apart from the people. It is to professionalize rule and policy-making, to create a distinct interest (be it of bureaucrats, deputies commissars, legislators, the military, the police, ad nauseam) that, however weak or however well intentioned it may be at first, eventually takes on a corruptive power of its own.

One would have to be utterly naive or simply blind to the lessons of history to ignore the fact that the state, “minimal” or not, absorbs and ultimately digests even its most well-meaning critics once they enter it. 

The notion that human freedom can be achieved, much less perpetuated, through a state of any kind is monstrously oxymoronic – a contradiction in terms…

In Cities, he explains:

But democracy, conceived as a face-to-face realm of policymaking, entails a commitment to the Enlightenment belief that all “ordinary” human beings are potentially competent to collectively manage their political affairs — a crucial concept in the thinking, all its limitations aside, of the Athenian democratic tradition and, more radically, of those Parisian sections of 1793 that gave equal voice to women as well as all men.

Bookchin was a huge supporter of direct democracy, in other words, of the people making decisions for themselves within their own communities. He envisioned this being done in a face-to-face manner within public assemblies. Like myself, Bookchin believed this sort of thing would only work properly (and resist statist tendencies) if employed at the local level. He understood that centralization leads to statism and vice versa.

So what did Bookchin see as the ideal political unit for self-governance? He saw it in the municipality…

Further, in Libertarian Municipalism: A Politics of Direct Democracy, he notes:

Today, with the increasing centralization and concentration of power in the nation-state, a “new politics” — one that is genuinely new — must be structured institutionally around the restoration of power by municipalities…it presupposes a genuinely democratic desire by people to arrest the growing powers of the nation-state and reclaim them for their community and region.

Importantly, Bookchin believed such self-governing, decentralized municipalities should be connected with one another in a system called confederalism. He defines the term in his essay, The Meaning of Confederalism:

What, then, is confederalism? It is above all a network of administrative councils whose members or delegates are elected from popular face-to-face democratic assemblies, in the various villages, towns and even neighborhoods of large cities…

What humans employ for governance in 2019 primarily consists of “states,” i.e. professional power, as opposed to people power. The general public is made up of electoral constituents, not free citizens participating in the governance of their communities. Bookchin was in favor of decentralized, local rule via direct democracy in contrast to today’s world governed by centralized mega states showcasing a facade of democracy in order to mask an underlying corporate oligarchy or bureaucratic technocracy.

One thing I didn’t expect to see in his work, but proved a pleasant though sobering surprise, was an admission that people themselves need to change in order to successfully implement the sort of governance model he advocates. Since the public is so used to being mere subjects, it’ll be a monumental task to transform them into actual engaged citizens…

Click here to read the article at Liberty Blitzkrieg.

Liberty Blitzkrieg: Arrest of Julian Assange Is Attack on Journalism, Liberty

Michael Krieger at Liberty Blitzkrieg has a nice article summarizing the ways in which the recent arrest of Julian Assange of Wikileaks fame is a bad sign for our liberty and western civilization.

A key quote is this: Americans are being taught, by repeated example, that there exists two main classes of people in this country. Those aligned with — in one way or another — the national security state, and those who are not. If you’re aligned with the interests of empire and are somewhat prominent, you will never suffer consequences for any of your actions.

Your career will flourish irrespective of how wrong you are, how many countries you destroy, how many civilians you murder, or how many lives you ruin with fraud and corruption. You are for all intents and purposes a member of the imperial royalty, and as such, completely and totally above the law. This isn’t speculation or exaggeration, it’s demonstrably provable reality. We’re being gradually conditioned to accept a society comprised of rulers and the ruled, of masters and servants. There’s no place in such a construct for self-government. You are a subject not a citizen. 

Click here to read the entire article at Liberty Blitzkrieg.

Liberty Blitzkrieg: US Media and Paid Foreign Agents

From Michael Krieger at Liberty Blitzkrieg, U.S. Media Refuses to Inform the Public When Its Commentators and Pundits are Paid Foreign Agents:

Unbelievably – Rothkopf has the audacity to criticize Trump for having “repeatedly shown great fondness for foreign leaders—even despots and known murderers, human rights abusers and criminals”, while Rothkopf himself is literally a paid agent working to disseminating propaganda for one of the most repressive regimes on the planet, one that does much of the Saudis’ dirty work for it in Washington. And the fact that the Daily Beast makes no disclosure of any of this is what makes this practice – having paid lobbyists and consultants for foreign regimes and corporations masquerade as objective and neutral analysts of the news – such a massive journalistic scandal and fraud.

– From today’s Intercept article: MSNBC and Daily Beast Feature UAE Lobbyist David Rothkopf With No Disclosure: a Scandalous Media-Wide Practice

Much of the American public despises mainstream corporate media, but rather than engage in some self-reflection and admit failure they just complain about Trump. It’s critical we recognize that mass media in the U.S. is very much part of the very same discredited establishment it’s supposed to report on, thus its response to justified criticism is likewise establishment-esque. Blame the readers, blame Trump, blame anyone but themselves.

This is why mass media’s gotten even worse since Trump was elected — not an easy feat. It’s been obsessed with a Russia-Trump collusion tale that appears to be going nowhere, while simultaneously cheering on Trump’s worst instincts such as when he bombs Syria. Moreover, one thing the U.S. media definitely seems to have no interest in doing is disclosing when its commentators and pundits are paid shills for foreign governments, defense contractors and other unmentionable interests.

Just last week, Glenn Greenwald highlighted how The Washington Post allowed Saudi lobbyists to regularly write opinion pieces, which subsequently led the paper to force these writers to break off financial relationships with the Saudis. Today, he’s back with an equally important piece about how mass media regularly invites foreign agents to discuss foreign affairs without disclosing that these individuals are in fact foreign agents.

It’s hard to put into words how despicable, unethical and pervasive this mass media practice is, but Glenn puts forth a valiant effort. He names several names, but the post focuses on a paid foreign agent for the UAE named David Rothkopf and the media outlets that enable him. The piece begins as follows:

On Thursday, the Daily Beast published an article about the Saudi/US relationship by David Rothkopf, a long-time member in good standing of the U.S. Foreign Policy elite. Until last year, he was the editor-in-chief of the establishment journal Foreign Policy, named to that position in 2012 when it was owned by the Washington Post. He’s also a visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and a visiting professor of international and public affairs at the Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs. He was previously deputy undersecretary of commerce for international trade policy in the Clinton administration and managing director of Kissinger Associates, the advisory firm founded by former U.S. Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger.

But, unbeknownst to Daily Beast readers consuming his commentary about Saudi Arabia, Rothkopf is something else: a paid lobbyist for the Saudi’s close ally, the equally despotic regime of the United Arab Emirates. Last month, Rothkopf formally registered as a foreign agent for the Emiratis.

Of course, it’s not just the Daily Beast. The article notes how MSNBC, PBS and CNN have all recently given Rothkopf a platform without disclosing his lobbying. Moreover, it’s not like he’s getting chump change for his extracurricular activities on behalf of the UAE, the contract he signed pays $50,000 per month. I don’t care who you are, this sort of money’s going to influence anyone’s public opinion. For media outlets to hide such a relevant fact from consumers is nothing short of journalistic malpractice...

Click here to read the entire story at Liberty Blitzkrieg.

Liberty Blitzkrieg: The Times for Which Bitcoin Was Made

Michael Krieger of Liberty Blitzkrieg has an article, These Are the Times Bitcoin Was Made For, in which he discusses Bitcoin and its role in evading the techno-censorship of the 21st century.

…There are two crucial attack vectors being targeted when it comes to punishing the transgressions of American thought criminals; money and communications, and we need to understand that Alex Jones is our cultural guinea pig. The tech giants started by kneecapping his voice by simultaneously deplatforming his presence from many of today’s dominant communications platforms. Now PayPal’s moved in to make payments more difficult, thus threatening his ability to earn money. You don’t have to like anything Alex Jones does to see how dangerous this is. What’s being done to him can and will be to done to others deemed undesirable by Silicon Valley oligarchs should they get popular enough. What’s emerging is a playbook on how to exert pressure and encourage self-censorship in the digital age and you better pay attention.

Money and communication are fundamental to our experience as humans here on earth in the early 21st century. As such, these things must be as neutral and permissionless as possible. The moment you have human beings in charge of communication and money systems you introduce bias and corruption. This is particularly dangerous in our current stage of human development considering the extent to which power and wealth have become concentrated in so few hands globally. You can bet the farm this small group of people will do whatever it takes to preserve the gravy train that is our current paradigm, including using tools of communication and money to prevent those who want change from influencing the conversation. This isn’t theoretical, it’s happening right now and will surely escalate from here.

Which is precisely why the emergence and continued success of Bitcoin is so fundamentally important to understanding the best way to challenge the forces attempting to bully us into an acceptance of their worldview. Unlike PayPal, Bitcoin is permissionless. There’s no central party, management team or CEO who can decide to stop you from using Bitcoin, something completely distinct from the likes of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, PayPal, etc. As such, we can clearly see the fundamental flaw of these platforms by comparison. Centralized money and communications platforms are ultimately not conducive to a free society, which we can clearly see now, especially with the recent suspension of James Woods from Twitter for the most trivial of reasons…

If we’re going to challenge the current way of doing things and create a more free and decentralized world, we need to create and use tools that reflect and promote those values. Bitcoin is an example in the realm of money, but we’re still sorely lacking in the realm of communications. If a government or some massive corporation can shut down conversation simply because they don’t like what’s being said, we simply are not free humans.

If we want to be free, we need to use tools that reflect and protect such values. We aren’t there yet, but the path forward is being built. These are the times Bitcoin was made for.

Related:

Fast Company: Tim Berners-Lee tells up his radical new plan to upend the World Wide Web. Berners-Lee is a “father of the web,” having invented the hypertext transfer protocol (http). He’s been working on a project to decentralize the web and put data ownership back in people’s own hands rather than in the control of internet mega-corporations.

Make Use Of: I2P vs Tor vs VPN A simple explanation of three tools which can vastly increase your internet security and privacy.

Finances Online: tope 10 Alternatives to PayPal Payments Pro

Gab – Free speech alternative to Twitter.

Taibbi on Internet Censorship

Matt Taibbi at Rolling Stone Magazine has a decent article out titled Beware the Slippery Slope of Facebook Censorship which makes some good points and is worth a read.

…Facebook was “helped” in its efforts to wipe out these dangerous memes by the Atlantic Council, on whose board you’ll find confidence-inspiring names like Henry Kissinger, former CIA chief Michael Hayden, former acting CIA head Michael Morell and former Bush-era Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff. (The latter is the guy who used to bring you the insane color-coded terror threat level system.)

These people now have their hands on what is essentially a direct lever over nationwide news distribution. It’s hard to understate the potential mischief that lurks behind this union of Internet platforms and would-be government censors…

Way back in 1996, when mastodons roamed the earth and people used dial-up to connect to the Internet, Congress passed the Communications Decency Act. It contained the following landmark language:

“No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.”

Essentially this meant that Internet providers wouldn’t be treated like news organizations. In the eyes of the law, they were less like CBS or Random House than they were bookstores or newsstands.

The rule allowed platforms to grow exponentially without the same fear of litigation. Companies like Facebook and Google became all-powerful media distributors, and were able to profit from InfoWars-style programs without having to be liable for them.

This led to the flowering of so much obnoxious speech that the First Amendment acquired a reputation as a racist con, and online media distributors, instead of being sued themselves as publishers, began to be viewed as potential restorers of order, beneficent censors.

Now, at a moment of crisis and high political tension, the public seems unable to grasp the gravity of allowing the government or anyone else to use that power.

It is already a scandal that these de facto private media regulators have secret algorithmic processes that push down some news organizations in favor of others. Witness the complaints by outlets like Alternet, Truthdig and others that big platforms have been de-emphasizing alternative sites in the name of combating “fake news.”

But this week’s revelation is worse. When Facebook works with the government and wannabe star-chamber organizations like the Atlantic Council to delete sites on national security grounds, using secret methodology, it opens the door to nightmare possibilities that you’d find in dystopian novels.

The sheer market power of these companies over information flow has always been the real threat. This is why breaking them up should have long ago become an urgent national priority.

Instead, as was obvious during the Senate hearing with Mark Zuckerberg earlier this year, politicians are more interested in using than curtailing the power of these companies. The platforms, for their part, will cave rather than be regulated. The endgame here couldn’t be clearer. This is how authoritarian marriages begin, and people should be very worried.

Click here to read the entire article at Rolling Stone.

Related:

K of Combat Studies Group – Censorship As A Political Weapon weighing in on means to avoid some of this if you are a content provider.

Either Gab.io and other sites similar in content will have to start shopping for another hosting option (takes time and lots of money and there is no guarantee that the same thing won’t happen again) or they will have to take that unconventional approach. And let’s not forget that under the Obama administration control of ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names & Numbers) was relinquished from the US to an international body…..what could go wrong?

So, whats to be done? I’ll tell you what I told Infowars years ago….begin moving to platforms that are outside of their opposition’s control.

Michael Krieger of Liberty Blitzkrieg – Censorship Is What Happens When Powerful People Get Scared

Now that it’s been established that Facebook is in fact censoring based on advice provided by former spooks and other assorted establishment charlatans, let’s talk about what this means. I think there are two major takeaways.

First and foremost, the entire push to make arbitrary de-platforming by tech giants the new norm proves the establishment is scared to death. The very powerful folks accustomed to manipulating and shaping the world via narrative creation aren’t terrified about what Alex Jones says, they’re terrified that it’s popular. The establishment “elites” are in such denial about the consequences of the world they created, all they can do is spastically attack symptoms. Trump didn’t divide U.S. society and Alex Jones didn’t cause our widespread (and entirely justifiably) distrust in institutions; the status quo system did that via its spectacular failures. Trump’s election and Alex Jones’ popularity are merely symptoms of an incredibly corrupt and failed status quo paradigm, the stewards of which continually refuse to take a look in the mirror, accept blame and reform…

Paul Kersey of VDARE.com – Immigration Patriotism, Not Conspiracy Theories, Triggered Tech Totalitarians’ Purge Of INFOWARS’ Alex Jones

Alex Jones’  banning is clearly the precursor to the push to ban more and more Politically Incorrect patriot sites from social media…such as VDARE.com.  CNN let slip the goal when Pakistani journalist Rafia Zakaria [Tweet her] said: “The stripping of InfoWars from Facebook, Apple and other platforms is an important step in the recognition of nativist, nationalist and white supremacist hate speech as a form of terrorism.” [We need to talk about Alex Jones, CNN, August 10, 2018.

The Stream: So What is ‘Q’ … and Why is MSM Suddenly Targeting It?

Seemingly within minutes Wednesday, The New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN, The Hill and several other of the usual suspects all ran stories attempting to explain — and by explain I mean “mock/dismiss/deride” — an internet phenomenon known as Q or QAnon.

Here’s a good tip: Any time the news establishment in sudden unison jumps up and screams at the top of their lungs, “Nothing to see here! Nonsense, nonsense! Nothing to see!” it’s a good time to pay attention.