QUOTES OF THE DAY

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Posted on 25th January 2015 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

“One of the privileges of the great is to witness catastrophes from a terrace.”

Jean Giraudoux

“There is a vision to remake the world’s economy according to the neo-liberal agenda, and to rule it with an ‘iron rod’ wielded by the US. It would be under the control, described as benevolent guidance, of an oligarchy of the self-proclaimed wisest and most powerful of the multinational elite. The key goal now is to subdue Russia and the Mideast, and to gain the full cooperation of China. They are attempting to implement their model of a confederation under central control in Europe.”

Jesse

GOLD HAS BROKEN OUT AND IS HEADED EAST

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Posted on 16th January 2015 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

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Guest Posts by Jesse

Gold Breaks Out – Whoomp, There It Is

In addition to the breakout, I have circled a potential pattern of which we might be mindful.

This breakout seems to have more power behind it, and is tied to the fail of a major market currency rig of the Swiss Franc to the Euro. And that may be a sign of further euro declines and troubles to come.

As you may recall the SNB put the Swiss-Euro peg on about the time that gold started the sideways chop and recent bear market.

But the markets have not suddenly become honest and transparent, and the currency war goes on.

So let’s see how gold handles this breakout, and the kind of follow through that we get.

But for now, whoomp, there it is.

Can you dig it? I knew you could.

China Takes 61 Tonnes of Gold Bullion From the Shanghai Gold Exchange In First Week of New Year

China opened the new year by taking 61 tonnes of gold bullion off the Shanghai Gold Exchange in its first week of operations.Slowly but surely, gold is moving from West to East, encouraged and subsidized by the gold – dollar currency rig of the Western banks.

WONDER WHAT THIS COULD MEAN?

10 comments

Posted on 6th January 2015 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

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Ignore the past. It has no bearing on today.

The Fed has our back.

Buy the dip.

The Yellen Put will always save us.

Valuations and fundamentals don’t matter. We have HFT computers.

Those who forget the past will buy at the top on margin.

What’s the worst that can happen?

I’ll get out before everyone else.

Don’t worry, be happy.

 

“As a dog returns to its vomit, so the fool repeats their folly.”

Proverbs 26:11

Via Jesse


A Further Response on the Weakness in Modern Monetary Theory and Modern Economics

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Posted on 6th January 2015 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

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Guest Post by Jesse

“A concept is a brick. It can be used to build a courthouse of reason. Or it can be thrown through the window.”

Gilles Deleuze

A reader ‘Joyce’ sent an email to me today, and rather than just provide a complete answer to her I thought I would take the opportunity to expand on this to further explain what I said about Modern Monetary Theory yesterday.

There were more responses from those from the fiscally conservative economic right, who support MMT as a rationale for eliminating the income tax. The progressive voices speaking out for MMT as a cure for austerity ought to think long and hard about this.

They would propose using MMT printing rather than progressive direct taxation. This is a more regressive taxation of currency depreciation, or monetary inflation, that would adversely impact those without resort to holding inflation senstive assets as a store of wealth. I might write something more about this later,

Joyce’s observations are in italics, with my reactions to them just below.

“I am just learning about MMT myself but I see that you are conflating the value of the currency with the use of the currency (no matter what its valuation is). MMT just describes the way money works in a sovereign country with its own currency. MMT makes no claims for the goodness of the politicians that are elected to the government that spends money into the economy.”

The method of how a currency is created and used is intimately involved with its valuation. As a medium of exchange and a store of value, the method in which money is created, distributed, and valued impacts every transaction that occurs within an economy, and in trans-economic (international if you will) commerce.

To say that assuming that printing money at will by the government without limit can have no effect on value flies in the face of historical experience. MMT seems to be based on this assumption and a few others that do not hold up well to practical examination.

“The government has to spend money into the economy in order for the public and private sectors to “save” or use that money. The people accept the currency that is spent into the economy because they use it to pay their debts, such as income tax, to
government. I suppose the valuation can change but it remains true that the sovereign government can afford to pay for anything that it needs or wants to as long as it is in their own currency and is available.”

The government manages the currency. It provides it to the economy under certain sets of economic rules. ‘Government spending’ is one of them. There are others. These are not particularly germane to my major objection to MMT, but they do serve to divert the discussion from it so I will let that go for now.

But it is not true that ‘the sovereign can afford to pay for anything that it needs or wants as long as it is in their own currency and is available.’ There must be an agreement on value for an exchange to occur between entities. This is easier to see if you assume that one of the parties is another sovereign government.

What troubles me about some of the unspoken assumptions in MMT is that individuals within an economy are not ‘sovereign’ or free actors. What comes out in discussions with MMT believers is that government rules by force, that individuals are compelled to accept the currency, presumably at some valuation well above worthlessness.

This is why I say that there is nothing particularly ‘modern’ about Modern Monetary Theory. It is the same old canard where the state sets the values, and dictates them to the people by force, whether it be official exchange rates, currency controls, or other draconian measure THAT hold whether the governing authority is abusive or not. If politicians were angels, it would not be such a worry that their power is largely unchecked by market forces in the MMT theory.

“Basically, the market is the people purchasing commodities or commercial dealings of companies and individuals; therefore, the market is the people.”

The market is not only the people, but the set of rules under which they act. The notion that there are no rules, spoken or unspoken, is romantic nonsense. A ‘society’ is a group of people with a common set of rules and conventions. The default condition of a failed society is that ‘might makes right.’

MMT is a theory and can only be dangerous if it creates a dangerous environment. How can a theory create a dangerous environment? It is a belief system. MMT tries to describe how money works not how bad politicians and appointees use it for their own purposes.”

If only this were true, if only these things were immutably decided for us. Well they are, but that is another theory. Theories and assumptions about values are the key to civilization if you think about it more deeply. And they have a tendency to create a dangerous environment where there are not checks and balances on power because, quite frankly, people are not angels.

“There are, of course, limits on the use of money which rest on whether or not the resources are available and on whether or not there are arbitrary limitations such as the periodic caps placed on the deficit by politicians.”

This I think is an oblique reason why some very smart people might find MMT to be attractive. We are in a very contentious period of political history. The current financial and political system is acting unevenly, unjustly if you will, and seeks to impose austerity on the unfortunate while subsidizing the wealthy and powerful with tax breaks and bailouts.

Well intentioned people see MMT as a wonderful methods of avoiding this conflict by asserting that money can flow without practical limit or consequence. It reminds me of the common talk about the ‘Trillion Dollar Platinum Coin’ that was proposed by some Very Serious People as a response to the budget and debt ceiling impasse.

Like so many attractive expediencies, it had some very serious unintended consequences attached. It would have signaled to the other sovereigns of the world, rightly or wrongly, that the US was willing to create money without regard to value in order to solve its own political difficulties. It would have sent a chill through our trading partners (and creditors whom MMT desire to reduce to helpless subservience like our own citizens apparently) about the reliability of the full faith and confidence which is the basis of a modern fiat currency.

It is a dangerous game, because once one loses that confidence, it can lead to collateral damage rather quickly, and provide a difficult situation that inflicts much damage and pain on many.

“MMT is not about justice and fairness. As far as I know, MMT does not have an ‘efficient market hypothesis.'”

All rules, particularly financial rules, are about justice and fairness. Justice and fairness are not abstractions that sit on a shelf to be pulled out now and then. Justice and fairness are a priori values encapsulated in the laws of the land, and reasonably well stated in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Men and women have given their lives for justice and fairness, which are inherent qualities of liberty.

We allow our choices to be limited by being members of a society. But in return we demand certain services and considerations for it.

A system that has not regard to justice and fairness is a tyranny, or quickly becomes one.

Now, I want to put a different meaning on what you said, that I think strikes a little closer to what you intended to say.

I think you mean to say that MMT merely describes what is, some natural occurrence, like physics or any other pure science. And this is one of the great fallacies that some promote about economics in general, that it is a pure science merely describing natural phenomena like the movement of the tides or the planets.

Economics is a social science. It is all about interpreting realities and especially theoretical realities or systems through a prism of assumptions and values. It is unavoidable for any macroeconomic system NOT to embody certain assumptions and values, whether they are spoken or just assumed.

And the whole point of my example about ‘efficient market hypothesis’ was that it ‘worked’ if one assumed certain qualities about people acting in groups that are not only incorrect, but radically so in the case of a persistent minority of the sociopathically inclined.

MMT does not have its own efficient market hypothesis. It is like the efficient market hypothesis in that it assumes an otherworldly goodness in politicians and government bureaucrats in using the assumed to be unlimited power to create and spend money only wisely and for the greater good. Try that idea out on any historian or political scientist and see how far it gets you.

And as a side note, politicians refused to regulate the shadow banking system that includes trillions of dollars of debt by banks and near banks, debts which can never be paid back should we have another recession.

I surmise that some of that QE money from the Fed was used by companies to create more wealth for themselves and I’m sure that some of it ended up in the shadow banking system where trillions of dollars of derivatives still thrive.

This is precisely my point The political class has been corrupted by Big Money. I write about this all the time. The bailouts were a clear abuse of power, especially in their collateral damage to innocents.

I do not think that MMT is a solution to the problem of ‘debts that can never be paid back should we have another recession.’ But I do think that this is the motivation for some who know deep down that MMT is founded on rubbish, but is the lesser of two evils in finding a way out of a bad situation.

My God, with our political class as corrupt as it is, would one wish to give them the power to create and spend money at will, under the assumption that they can never do it too much?

I will not muddy the waters here by getting into other solutions, but to willingly accept a belief system not founded in practical reality as a mean of escaping a dilemma does not encourage the rational person who has not given themselves over to the belief as a means of economic salvation.

Reform is the most viable solution longer term. We did it before and we must do it again. Reform is a continual struggle against the worst tendencies of people.

As Lord Acton said, “The danger is not that a particular class is unfit to govern. Every class is unfit to govern. The law of liberty tends to abolish the reign of race over race, of faith over faith, of class over class.”

In other words, no one is above the law, and their power is to be constrained by the restraints of the liberty of others, and therefore required to act justly and openly, under a system of checks and balances on their power.

One of the recurring myths throughout history is that a group of ‘better men’ are naturally equipped to rule. There is much in modern economics that assumes that very dangerous idea, of superior people of natural rationality and virtue being naturally able to rule wisely and benignly without corruption. And they may do so with secrecy, and independent of checks and balances, the better to serve the dispensation of their gnostic knowledge that is conflated by other mere mortals who simply cannot understand it.

And this is one of the major drawbacks with the methods of the central banks and the in particular Federal Reserve today. Economics is no science, but a branch social science that at best casts some light on public policy, but with absolutely no claim to pure scientific objectivity or the ability to dictate outcomes independent of choices based on higher values.

History is the story of the never ending struggle between tyranny and liberty, the individual and the state, right and might, anarchy and society, with most of the action occurring in the vast area between.

No system can guarantee freedom of the individual, or the rule of law over lawlessness. But some may provide the means and the methods of giving individual rights a more even footing with organized power, and organized society with the means to hold individual power in restraint.
I have come to believe that the most critical step for our sustainable recovery is not more laws, the gold standard, a new system of currency like modern monetary theory, or one political party or another.

The key to our return to a sound economy is to be found in meaningful reform. And so far we have merely struck uselessly at a few largely symbolic branches, and failed to address the problem with a serious commitment to our values. The heart of the problem is the power of the financial sector over the greater part of society, through the corrupting power of Big Money over the political process.


SAYONARA GLOBAL ECONOMY

121 comments

Posted on 4th January 2015 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

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“There is no means of avoiding the final collapse of a boom brought about by credit expansion. The alternative is only whether the crisis should come sooner as a result of a voluntary abandonment of further credit expansion, or later as a final and total catastrophe of the currency system involved.”Ludwig von Mises

The surreal nature of this world as we enter 2015 feels like being trapped in a Fellini movie. The .1% party like it’s 1999, central bankers not only don’t take away the punch bowl – they spike it with 200 proof grain alcohol, the purveyors of propaganda in the mainstream media encourage the party to reach Caligula orgy levels, the captured political class and their government apparatchiks propagate manipulated and massaged economic data to convince the masses their standard of living isn’t really deteriorating, and the entire façade is supposedly validated by all-time highs in the stock market. It’s nothing but mass delusion perpetuated by the issuance of prodigious amounts of debt by central bankers around the globe. And nowhere has the obliteration of a currency through money printing been more flagrant than in the land of the setting sun – Japan. The leaders of this former economic juggernaut have chosen to commit hara-kiri on behalf of the Japanese people, while enriching the elite, insiders, bankers, and their global banking co-conspirators.

Japan is just the point of the global debt spear in a world gone mad. Total world debt, excluding financial firms, now exceeds $100 trillion. The worldwide banking syndicate has an additional $130 trillion of debt on their insolvent books. As if this wasn’t enough, there are over $700 trillion of derivatives of mass destruction layered on top in this pyramid of debt. Just five Too Big To Trust Wall Street banks control 95% of the $302 trillion U.S. derivatives market. The reason Jamie Dimon and the rest of the leaders of the Wall Street criminal syndicate commanded their politician puppets in Congress to reverse the Dodd Frank rule on separating derivatives trading from normal bank lending is because these high stakes gamblers want to shift their future losses onto the backs of middle class taxpayers – again. The bankers, with the full support of their captured Washington politicians, will abscond with the deposits of the people to pay for their system destroying risk taking, just as they did in 2008 by holding taxpayers hostage for a $700 billion bailout.

Only the ignorant, intellectually dishonest, employees of the Deep State, CNBC cheerleaders for the oligarchy, or Ivy League educated Keynesian loving economists choose to be willfully ignorant regarding the true cause of the 2008 implosion of the worldwide financial system. The immense expansion of credit in the U.S. from 2000 through 2008 was created, encouraged, supported and sustained by Alan Greenspan, Ben Bernanke and their cohorts at the Federal Reserve through their reckless lowering of interest rates and abdication of regulatory oversight, as their owner banks committed the greatest financial control fraud in world history. Total credit market debt in the U.S. grew from $25 trillion in 2000 (already up 100% from $12.5 trillion in 1990) to $53 trillion by 2008.

The bankers, politicians, mainstream media corporations, and mega-corporations that run the show lured Americans into increasing their credit card, auto loan, and student loan debt from $1.6 trillion in 2000 to $2.7 trillion in 2008, while extracting over $600 billion of phantom home equity from their McMansions. And it was all spent on things they didn’t need, produced in Chinese slave labor factories. The mal-investment boom was epic and the collapse in 2008 would have purged the bad debt, punished the risk takers, bankrupted the criminal banks, reset the financial system, and taught generations a lesson they needed to learn – excess debt kills. Instead of voluntarily abandoning the madness of never ending credit expansion and accepting the consequences of their folly, the world’s central bankers and captured politician hacks chose to save bankers, billionaires, and the ruling elite at the expense of the common people.

The false storyline of government austerity continues to be peddled to the public, but is nothing but pablum served to the mentally infantile masses, while the criminals continue to manufacture debt out of thin air, pillage the wealth of the working class, gamble recklessly knowing it’s with taxpayer funds, debase their currencies in an effort to make their debts easier to service, and enrich themselves and their cohorts, while impoverishing the little people. Consumer credit card debt peaked at $1.02 trillion in mid-2008. After hundreds of billions in bad debt write-offs by the Wall Street banks and shifted to the taxpayer, the American consumer has purposefully avoided running up credit card debt on Chinese produced crap, despite the urging of bankers, the mainstream media and politicians to revive our warped, debt laden, consumption dependent economy. Credit card debt is currently $140 billion BELOW levels in 2008, despite the never ending propaganda about an economic and jobs recovery. The fake Wall Street created housing recovery is confirmed by the fact mortgage debt outstanding is $1.4 trillion LOWER than 2008 heights and mortgage applications are hovering at 1999 levels.

Where Americans were in control and understood the consequences of their actions, they willingly reduced their debt based consumption. This was unacceptable to the powers that be at the Federal Reserve, in the banking sector, consumption dependent mega-corporations, and their government puppets on a string. The government took complete control of the student loan market and used their ownership of the largest auto lender – Ally Financial (aka GMAC, aka Ditech, aka Rescap) to dole out subprime auto loans and subprime student loans at a prodigious rate. The Wall Street banks joined the party, with assurance from Yellen and the Obama administration their future losses would be covered.

The Greenspan/Bernanke/Yellen Put lives on. So, while credit card debt is 14% below 2008 levels, student loan and auto loan debt has soared by 47%, up $769 billion from its early 2010 lows. The Fed and their government minions have desperately accelerated their credit expansion in a futile effort to revive our moribund, debt saturated, welfare/warfare empire of delusion. After temporarily plateauing at $52 trillion in 2010, the acceleration of consumer credit, issuance of corporate debt to fund stock buybacks, and of course the $5 trillion added to the National Debt by Obama, have driven total credit market debt to an all-time high of $58 trillion. In addition, the Fed expanded their balance sheet by $3.6 trillion through their various QE schemes, funneling the interest free funds to their Wall Street owners to create the illusion of economic recovery through a stock market surge. The .1% never had it so good.

Of course, the U.S. has not been alone in attempting to cure a disease caused by excessive debt by issuing trillions in new debt. It is clear to anyone not in the employ of the Deep State that central bankers in the U.S. are working in concert with central bankers in Europe and Japan to keep this farcical Keynesian nightmare from imploding under an avalanche of deflation, wealth destruction, chaos and retribution for the guilty. The Federal Reserve used every means at their disposal to hide the fact they bought over $400 billion of mortgage backed securities from European banks and in excess of $1.5 trillion of their QE benefited foreign banks. It was no coincidence that one day after the Fed ended QE3, the Bank of Japan announced a massive “surprise” increase in purchases of bonds and stocks. It wasn’t a surprise to Janet Yellen, as this was the plan to keep stock markets rising, record Wall Street bonuses being paid, and further enrichment of the .1% global elite. The Japanese stock market has surged 18% since the October 31 announcement, with the U.S. market up 10%. Now it is time for Draghi to pick up the baton and create another trillion or two to support the lifestyles of the rich and famous. Central bankers know who they really work for, and it’s not you.

With global worldwide debt now exceeding $230 trillion we have far surpassed the point of no return. There is no mathematical possibility this debt will ever be repaid. And this doesn’t even include the hundreds of trillions of unfunded liability promises made by corrupt politicians around the world. The level of total global debt to global GDP, at nosebleed levels of 210% in 2008, has escalated past 240% as central bankers push the world towards a final and total catastrophe. With U.S. credit market debt of $58 trillion and GDP of $17.6 trillion, the U.S. is a basket case at 330%. The UK, Sweden and Canada are on par with the U.S.

But Japan takes the cake with total debt to GDP exceeding 500% and headed higher by the second. Their 25 year Keynesian experiment by mad central bankers and politicians enters its final phase of currency failure. Negative real interest rates, trillions wasted on worthless stimulus programs, and currency debasement have failed miserably, so Abe’s solution has been to double down and accelerate failed solutions. Only an Austrian economist can appreciate the foolishness of such a reckless act.

“Credit expansion is the governments’ foremost tool in their struggle against the market economy. In their hands it is the magic wand designed to conjure away the scarcity of capital goods, to lower the rate of interest or to abolish it altogether, to finance lavish government spending, to expropriate the capitalists, to contrive everlasting booms, and to make everybody prosperous. – Ludwig von Mises

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The Pursuit of Global Corporatism

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Posted on 29th December 2014 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

Guest Post by Jesse

The need for a third party in the US becomes more compelling every day. Or a bipartisan effort to stem the corrosive, anti-democratic influence of Big Money.

But I do not see the forces for reform cohering yet. The attraction and example of power politics and money is too embedded in the mindsets of those whose thinking flows from the status quo.

Even the reformers can fall quickly into a model of force and compulsion, and heavy handed techniques in pursuing a ‘freedom’ which they seek to define and control, too often ignoring history and reason.

The sign of this is the attitude that there is an elite who, operating in secret and with autonomy, can best decide the meaning of value, and the course of economic events. It is ironic to see ‘reformers’ eager to replace one form of oligarchic rule with another that they believe will be more friendly to their own policy decisions, but somehow more benign and resistant to corruption without firm checks and balances on power.

Sustainable good does not flow from more effective rules but from a better choice of and commitment to a priori values. Honesty, openness, toleration, justice and kindness are values. Right over might is an enduring act of balance in human affairs.

Watch what they do, and not what they say. If a ‘reform movement’ is quick to engage in censorship and deception, intolerance and harshness, creating more and cleverer rules and complex theories to achieve their ends, it is most likely another face of the same underlying problem of injustice, no matter what self-delusions they may choose to promote.

As historian Christopher Dawson noted, ‘As soon as men decide that all means are permitted to fight an evil, then their good becomes indistinguishable from the evil that they set out to destroy.’

In point of fact, complexity and ‘cleverness’ are often the very models of a false premise as much as the simplicity of the Big Lie. What is presented as new and modern is too often the same old thing wrapped differently. The truth is often hidden in between, but actions speak loudly.

It will be interesting to see how this situation develops.

TPP Is Not a Free-Trade Agreement

Dean Baker
27 December 2014

People in places like rural Kansas and downtown Washington, DC often have a misplaced trust in authority and elected officials. They are inclined to take their comments at face value, not realizing that these people often have ulterior motives.

The Washington Post gave us an example of this confusion in a front page article on President Obama’s effort to push the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which it repeatedly refers to as a “free-trade” pact. The piece follows the administration’s line in telling readers that:

“the president threw his full support behind the pact as part of a broader effort to rebalance U.S. foreign policy to the fast-growing Asia-Pacific region.”

This assertion makes little sense since the administration is simultaneously pursuing a similar trade pact, the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Pact, with Europe. What both deals have in common is that they are primarily about imposing a business-friendly structure of regulation on both our trading partners and the United States. The more plausible explanation is that President Obama is trying to get more business support for the Democratic Party…

Read the entire article here.

SHOULD YOU BELIEVE WHAT THEY TELL YOU OR WHAT YOU SEE?

80 comments

Posted on 11th December 2014 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

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Sometimes I wish I could just passively accept what my government monarchs and their mainstream media mouthpieces feed me on a daily basis. Why do I have to question everything I’m told? Life would be much simpler and I could concentrate on more important things like the size of Kim Kardashian’s ass, why the Honey Boo Boo show was canceled, the Victoria Secret Fashion Show, whether I’ll get a better deal on Chinese slave labor produced crap on Black Thanksgiving, Black Friday, or Cyber Monday, fantasy football league standings, the latest NFL player to knockout their woman and get reinstated, Obama’s latest racial healing plan, which Clinton or Bush will be our next figurehead president, or the latest fake rape story from Rolling Stone. The willfully ignorant masses, dumbed down by government education, lured into obesity by corporate toxic packaged sludge disguised as food products, manipulated, controlled and molded by an unseen governing class of rich men, and kept docile through never ending corporate media propaganda, are nothing but pawns to the arrogant sociopathic pricks pulling the wires in this corporate fascist empire of debt.

I’m sure my blood pressure would be lower and my mood better if I just accepted everything I was told by my wise, sagacious, Ivy League educated, obscenely wealthy rulers as the unequivocal truth. Why should I doubt these noble, well intentioned, champions of the common folk? They’ve never misled us before. They would never attempt to use two highly publicized deaths as a lever to keep black people and white people fighting each other and not realizing all races are now living in a militarized police surveillance state supported by the one Party. They would never use their complete control over the financial, political, judicial, and media organisms to convince the masses that voting for one of their hand selected red or blue options will ever actually change anything. They would never engineer the overthrow of a democratically elected government, cover up the shooting down of an airliner, and attempt to blame their crimes on the leader of a nuclear power in their efforts to retain a teetering global empire. They would never overthrow or wage economic warfare on countries that don’t toe the line regarding the continued dominance of the petrodollar in global commerce.

Sadly, I’m cursed with a mind that questions everything and trusts no one in authority or associated with the status quo. It’s the reason I don’t read newspapers or watch mainstream media television entertainment propaganda, disguised as news. It’s the reason I will never vote in a national election again. The lesser of two evils is still evil. I’m skeptical of every piece of data fed to the sheep by the government apparatchiks working for the state. The faux journalists being paid millions by one of the six corporations controlling the media and dependent upon the government, Wall Street bankers, and mega-corporations for their advertising revenues regurgitate whatever they are told by those pulling the purse strings. The mainstream media are nothing but propaganda peddlers for the Deep State and truth telling is prohibited in their world of deception, debt, and denial. Their job is to sustain, enhance, and further enrich the status quo by engineering consent through what they report and what they do not report. The true ruling powers who operate in the shadows behind the scenes are men of power, wealth, status and education who truly believe they are better equipped to consciously manage and manipulate the public mind to achieve their ends. They are disciples of the Edward Bernays School of deception, manipulation and propaganda.

“If we understand the mechanism and motives of the group mind, is it not possible to control and regiment the masses according to our will without their knowing about it? The recent practice of propaganda has proved that it is possible, at least up to a certain point and within certain limits.” Edward Bernays

The Nazis were pikers compared to the technologically savvy Madison Avenue maggots and Silicon Valley snakes who mold the opinions, tastes, and beliefs of the iGadget addicted, vapid, unintelligent, unquestioning, zombie-like masses who beseech to be led, told what to do and what to believe. A vast swath of the population don’t read books or even know how to read above a grade school level. They couldn’t write a coherent paragraph if their life depended upon it. But they can twitter, text, Instagram, and facebook at the speed of light. Try walking down any street in an American city without some iGadget distracted oblivious moron bumping into you. The addicting nature of today’s technology is being used by the ruling elite to monitor, control, and make you respond the way they choose.

Facebook, corporate media organizations, quasi-government organizations, and the NSA are creating a corporate totalitarian state where the slaves willingly sacrifice their privacy, liberty and freedom for mindless entertainment and distractions. The 21st Century totalitarian state captures your political beliefs, daily activities, habits, interests, spending behaviors, organizational associations, love life, pictures, psychological makeup, and fears from your own postings on the internet. With the right algorithms they can uncannily predict how you will react to different situations and messaging. They can also uncover threats to the status quo. Under the guise of keeping you safe from terrorists they are actually ferreting out subversives and radicals who refuse to conform to their idea of a good citizen slave. We will all be subject to our own Room 101.

Dan Kaplan in his recent article about Facebook as a tool for totalitarianism lays out the extreme threat to our future:

Today’s totalitarian demands a more subtle way to influence cultural and political sentiment. But if you got your hands on an algorithmically filtered newsfeed? One that could control the stories people see every day and influence their emotions across geographic, political and economic lines? You’d be in business.

But then there was the mood-influence study that scandalized us for a couple of weeks this year. Facebook changed the tone of content showing up in people’s feeds to test the impact it could have on their moods. The results, not too surprisingly, suggested that Facebook has the power to manipulate sentiment at scale.

Given how easy it is to scare people about the scary-seeming-but-actually-low-risk Ebola, and how dumb we all get when we are afraid, it is not crazy to think that under the wrong circumstances — like one or two more mass-scale terrorist attacks on major cities — modern democracy gives way to something akin to 1984.

If Big Brother were to seize the reins of power, sure, he’d use the cable news the way it’s being used today. But Facebook’s data maw, targeting power and sentiment-manipulation capabilities would be far more insidious. Whether this is what we become or not comes down to the future we choose to build.

The saddest part of this episode of mass delusion, mass confusion, and mass media collusion is that even though we are moving towards Orwell’s totalitarian vision of society, thus far, technology, triviality and an unending array of distractions have lured the masses into passive preoccupation with egotistical pleasures. We’ve been persuaded to love our servitude while drowning in a sea of irrelevance, diversions, and trifles. We continue to amuse ourselves to death while forging our own chains of debt and yielding to the direction of an all-powerful welfare warfare surveillance state that promises to protect us from phantom threats while actually abolishing our rights, freedoms, and liberties. No coercion necessary. We have been trained to love our servitude.

“A really efficient totalitarian state would be one in which the all-powerful executive of political bosses and their army of managers control a population of slaves who do not have to be coerced, because they love their servitude.” Aldous Huxley – Brave New World

Arrogance, Desperation, Lies & Truth

 “Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.” - Aldous Huxley

The level of data massaging by the government and their co-conspirators on Wall Street and in the corporate media is a futile attempt at a happy ending that will never come to fruition. The intensity and relentlessness with which the state and its quasi-state minions attempt to paint a false picture of economic recovery is equal parts arrogance and desperation. The arrogance is a function of successfully pulling off the greatest heist in world history from 2003 through 2008 with no adverse consequences, no criminal charges, no penalties for their crimes, and more power and wealth than they had prior to 2003. The only way to stop sociopaths is to throw them in jail or kill them. In our dystopian paradise of greed, they were rewarded with trillions in rescue packages by their cohorts in crime at the Federal Reserve and in Congress. They’ve paid themselves billions in bonuses for gorging at the Federal Reserve trough of QE and ZIRP. The desperation is borne from the fact that after $7.5 trillion of debt added by the Federal government and $3.5 trillion of debt created by the Federal Reserve since 2009, the Greater Depression for average Americans deepens by the day.

The men pulling the strings behind the scenes are drunk with power and their hubris allows them to believe their own infallibility and blinds them to the dire consequences for our country when their debt Ponzi scheme fails. But, as we grow ever closer to the day of reckoning, they will use every means at their disposal to paint a positive picture, regardless of the facts and reality for the average person. The examples of twisting, distorting and outright lying about the economic reality of our times are endless. These are some of the major false storylines peddled by our benevolent corporate fascist leaders:

The BLS reported 321,000 jobs added in November and the unemployment rate at 5.8%. Jobs are plentiful, based upon these statistics.

A skeptical critical thinking individual might ask a few questions or point out a few inconvenient facts the government purveyors of propaganda might not want us to ponder:

  • The non-manipulated, non-seasonally adjusted number of jobs in November FELL by 270,000. The BLS added 600,000 jobs as an adjustment to achieve the headline grabbing result.
  • If the jobs market is so good, why is the labor participation rate at a 30 year low of 62.8%?
  • Since 2007 the number of working age Americans has risen by 17 million, while the number of employed has risen by less than 1 million, but the unemployment rate is about the same.
  • Why would almost 14 million working age Americans leave the labor force since 2007 if the economy is booming and jobs plentiful, with 1.2 million leaving in the last 12 months?
  • Why would payroll tax receipts be flat with last year if millions of new jobs have been created?
  • If the country has really added 8 million jobs since 2010, how could real median household income FALL by 2.3%?

According to the government reported figures, the economy hasn’t been this strong since 2007. GDP has supposedly grown at greater than 4% over the last two quarters.

Anyone who is sentient knows consumer spending accounts for 68% of GDP. Capital investments that lead to long term prosperity continue to decline as a percentage of GDP from 20% in 2000 to 16% today. We’ve chosen consumption and financialization over savings and investment. This fact leads to some observations:

  • If GDP has actually grown by 20% since 2008 how does this correlate with a 6.9% decline in real median household income?
  • GDP has been goosed by a $69 billion increase in government spending, with the majority going to the military industrial complex. ISIS has been a godsend for our GDP and arms dealer profits.
  • GDP was increased retroactively by $500 billion last year based on a new way the government accounts for intangibles.
  • The surge in consumer expenditures over the last two quarters has been in the purchase of services. The higher costs for Obamacare are a boon for GDP. Are they a boon for your bank account?
  • The trade deficit has fallen as exports of petroleum products have temporarily provided a boost to GDP. The collapse in oil prices will reverse that trend rapidly.

According to the quasi-governmental mouthpieces at the Conference Board, consumer confidence is near a 5 year high, reflecting what should be robust spending.

So we are told by the representatives of corporatism that we are confident about the economy and the future. How does that measure up to the facts on the ground:

  • Black Friday weekend sales collapsed by 11% versus the previous year. As the pundits tried to blame it on on-line sales (10% of total retail sales), Cyber Monday also proved to be a dud.
  • If the average person is confident about the future and happy with their economic circumstances, why did they just vote to throw out the bums in November?
  • If consumers are confident, why have real retail sales, excluding subprime debt goosed auto sales, been flat for the last three months and up only 1% in the last year?
  • If consumers are so confident, why are credit card balances still $138 billion BELOW where they were in 2008? If all these new jobs are being created why is credit card debt lower than it was in mid-2010? Maybe consumers are so desperate they are using credit cards to pay utility and tax bills and not using them for frivolous Chinese crap at big box retailers.
  • The increased spending at grocery stores and restaurants is driven by food inflation, not foot traffic. Discretionary spending at furniture, electronics, and sporting goods stores is flat.
  • Department store sales continue to fall. Sears and JC Penney teeter on the verge of bankruptcy. Delia’s is liquidating and Radio Shack isn’t far behind. The major chains have completely stopped building new stores. The great bricks and mortar unwind relentlessly plods forward. In addition, online growth is stalling as states implement sales taxes.

According to the government, the deficit was ONLY $483 billion in 2014.

This is a real doozy. Obama has been touting how he has cut the deficit through his wise management of the budget. This is where government accounting is used by apparatchiks to mislead the public and obscure the truth. A few pertinent facts are always left out by the politicians touting deficit reduction:

  • Because of the budget impasse in 2013, the Federal government stopped updating the national debt on a daily basis, but we know from when they started counting again, the debt went up by $2.3 billion per day. Therefore, the national debt on October 1, 2013 was approximately $17.038 trillion. On October 1, 2014 the national debt was $17.875. Therefore, the national debt went up by $837 billion in 2014. Just a smidge higher than the reported deficit of $483 billion.
  • Interest is not paid on reported deficits. It’s paid on the national debt, so the massaged, manipulated and made over deficit is meaningless. The national debt was always slightly higher than reported deficits, but in the last few years the deviation has grown to a Grand Canyon size.
  • The deficit number has been artificially lowered by nothing other than accounting entry hocus pocus. The Federal Reserve increasing its balance sheet to $4 trillion out of thin air creates approximately $80 billion of phantom interest profits that are paid to the Treasury. Why don’t they increase their balance sheet to $40 trillion and eliminate deficits all together?
  • The biggest accounting scam is Fannie and Freddie. Just as the Wall Street banks have created fake profits through accounting entries regarding future losses, Fannie and Freddie have gone the extra mile in helping fake deficit reduction. These bloated insolvent government run pigs required a $187 billion taxpayer bailout in 2009. Amazingly, when you allow criminals to value their assets at whatever they choose, phantom profits flow like honey.
  • These two horribly run institutions of fraud “generated profits” of $129 billion in 2014 which were “paid back” to the Treasury. That is four times more than Apple or Exxon’s profits during a non-existent housing recovery. Why are their stocks trading at just over $2 per share if they are generating vastly more profits than they were in 2007 when their stocks were north of $70 per share? It’s because the profits are fake. Everyone knows it, but the Federal Deficit is reported $129 billion lower because these insolvent entities pretended to pay the taxpayer back. Accounting entries do not reduce deficits. Spending less than you generate in revenues reduces deficits.

According to the government, we’ve experienced a strong housing recovery since 2010.

The supposed housing recovery storyline continues to be beaten like a dead horse by the Wall Street media (CNBC) and the shills at the NAR. Anyone with a functioning brain (eliminates CNBC bimbos, hacks, and Ivy League economists) can see there has been no real housing recovery:

  • The 24% rise in home prices (Case Shiller Index) since the 2012 low has been nothing more than a Wall Street hedge fund/Federal Reserve scheme to elevate prices and make Wall Street bank balance sheets less insolvent. Wall Street banks withholding foreclosures from the market while Wall Street hedge funds (Blackstone) use free money from the Fed to buy up housing and rent it out to former homeowners has enriched the .1% while destroying the dream of home ownership for millions.
  • The percent of first time home buyers remains near record lows, while speculators, flippers, hedge fund managers, and rich Chinese businessmen make up a record number of purchasers. The fact this is a fake housing recovery is proven by mortgage applications to purchase a home sitting at 1995 levels and 30% below 2009 recession lows. Maybe the fact real median household income is also at 1995 levels, real wages keep declining, and labor force participation is at 1978 levels has something to do with real people not being able to purchase a home.

  • Even with the artificial hedge fund demand, existing home sales are lower than 2013 and languishing at 1999 levels. They are still 25% below 2005 levels, despite the lowest mortgage rates in history. New home sales are a disaster, with no appreciable increase in two years. Apartment construction has far outpaced single family housing construction. After a five year housing recovery, new home sales languish at levels seen at the bottom of our last six recessions. New home sales are 65% below the 2005 peak and at levels seen in the early 1960’s when there were 130 million less people living in the country.

According to the corporate media, the auto market is hitting on all cylinders with annual sales of 16.4 million, the highest since 2006.

Pretending to sell automobiles to people without the means to pay you for the automobile is always a good business idea. Of course, when you have Ally Financial and the rest of the Wall Street banking cabal doling out 7 year 0% loans and subprime auto loans like candy, it’s easy to move inventory. The temporary boost to GDP by issuing more bad debt always works out in the long run. Right?

  • If the auto business is booming why have GM profits fallen from $9.2 billion in 2011 to $5.4 billion in 2013, and on course to fall to $4 billion in 2014? Record levels of channel stuffing produces sales gains, but no profits. Why is their stock 25% below its 52 week high and lower than it was in 2010 when it was IPO’d after being rescued by Obama?
  • If the auto business is booming why are Ford’s profits falling by 35% versus last year and lower than they were in 2010? Why is their stock price 16% below its 52 week high and still 20% below its 2010 price?
  • Auto loan debt is at an all-time high of $950 billion, up 33% since 2010 when the Fed, Wall Street, and the political class in the fetid D.C. swamp decided they needed new debt bubbles in auto loans and student loans to jump start our moribund economy.
  • There are 65 million auto loans outstanding, and the average debt now stands at $17,352. Over 30% of auto “sales” are actually leases. The rest are financed over an average of 65 months. Virtually all new car sales are nothing more than 3 to 7 year rentals. It’s amazing what easy money from the Fed can produce.
  • Over 31% of all new auto loans this year were to subprime borrowers. They now account for 36.5% of all outstanding auto loans. You become a subprime borrower by defaulting on previous debt obligations. In a shocking development, auto loan delinquencies surged by 13% in the last quarter, with subprime loan delinquencies skyrocketing by 18%. When has issuing billions of debt to subprime borrowers ever caused problems before?
  • Only a University of Phoenix African Studies major is more of a subprime risk than the millions of ecstatic Escalade drivers cruising around our urban ghetto paradises. The average student loan debt is now $33,000. Until the Obama administration went Keynesian, student loan debt was primarily in the private sector. When Obama entered the White House total student loan debt was $620 billion and delinquencies totaled $50 billion. There are now $1.3 trillion of student loans outstanding, with the Federal government accounting for $830 billion and guaranteeing a large portion of the rest. Delinquencies have skyrocketed to $125 billion, as another taxpayer bailout beckons.

According to the corporate mainstream media pundits, the plunge in oil prices from $100 per barrel to $61 per barrel is unequivocally good for the economy. The shale oil boom has worked its magic and happy times are here again.

Sometimes you have to wonder whether the highly educated spokesmodels on the corporate mainstream media are really as vacuous and clueless as they appear or whether they are just paid to look pretty and mouth the corporate line. They seem incapable of comprehending the unintended consequences of various events. The collapse in oil prices is one of those events.

  • There is no doubt that lower oil prices will lower the price of gas for the average American. Estimates say they will save $368 per year, which can be spent elsewhere. The highly paid shill economists who declare this will boost spending seem to be math challenged. Retail sales figures include gas stations. What isn’t spent there will be spent in another category, most likely healthcare or groceries as prices in both areas continue to escalate. It’s a zero sum game. No new spending will occur.
  • The worldwide supply of oil has only increased marginally over the last few years. The U.S. shale boom has been offset by declines elsewhere (Libya, Iran, Mexico). The reason for the collapse is the same reason for the 2009 collapse – worldwide demand is contracting. Europe is in a depression. Japan is in a depression. Russia’s economy is contracting. China is decelerating rapidly. The U.S. demand is flat. The implications of another global recession after five years of central banks printing trillions of fiat currency are alarming to say the least.
  • The cost to extract shale oil and transport it to a refinery capable of processing it is high. Honest analysts will tell you that a price of $70 to $80 is required to breakeven. Most companies don’t build breakeven into their plans. Bakken shale oil sells at a discount of about $14 per barrel due to the difficulty of extraction, transport, and processing. It is now selling for $47 per barrel. The number of permits for new rigs fell by 40% in November when oil was still selling for $75 per barrel. Do you think permits for new wells will fall at a price of $61 per barrel? Capital spending by the energy industry accounted for 33% of all capital spending in the last few years. I’m sure some other industry will pick up the slack. Right?
  • It seems the shale oil boom has resulted in a few jobs being created since the 2010 recession trough. In fact the states where fracking is prevalent have accounted for all the job growth in the nation. I wonder if a shale oil bust will have any employment implications. There are 9.3 million jobs related to the energy industry across the country. The plunge in oil prices created by Saudi Arabia in the 1980s created a depression in Texas which contributed to the S&L crisis. This plunge will reveal who has been swimming naked in the high yield bond market and derivatives market.

These are just a few examples among a multitude of lies. Others include: stocks aren’t overvalued, gold isn’t money, inflation is good for you, and ISIS terrorists are an imminent threat to your way of life. Every feel good story fed to the masses by the oligarchs running this shitshow we call America is no different than the propaganda doled out by other infamous totalitarian regimes throughout history. We believe things because we’ve been conditioned to believe them. The crony capitalist oligarchs are intelligent enough to invent theories to explain how the world should work, but not intelligent enough to interpret their models correctly. When they act on their theories (Keynesianism), their actions appear to be those of a lunatic. Despite all evidence refuting their theories, their arrogance and hubris lead them to destruction. The collective insanity of this world is almost too much for a rational thinking person to grasp. The extremely wealthy men operating in the shadows will use every means at their disposal to retain power, enhance their wealth, and crush dissent.

“Being a card carrying member of the privileged class means never having to say I’m sorry, much less ‘not guilty.’  Power is doing what you want when you want, and consequences are for everyone else. Or perhaps these titans of modern industry and the halls of power are at heart just good natured bumblers, who in a genuine belief destroy lives and crash economies, while pursuing insane ideological assumption put forward by vested interests, all the while stuffing their pockets, and crushing all dissent with the political skills of a Machiavelli and the ruthlessness of Al Capone.” – Jesse

The two party system is nothing but a ruse designed to keep the people believing they have a say in how things are run in this country. Both parties support the military industrial complex. Both parties support the militarization of police forces around the country. Both parties support the mass surveillance of its citizens. Both parties do the bidding of their rich corporate and special interest benefactors. Both parties favor deficit spending for eternity. Both parties believe the government should expand its role in our everyday lives. Both parties do the bidding for and protect the Wall Street interests who really run this country. No more proof is needed than what has occurred over the last five years, as criminal Wall Street bankers were rewarded for their malfeasance with trillions of dollars from taxpayers and their puppets at the Federal Reserve. While we were allowing ourselves to be distracted, amused, entertained, and indebted, the oligarchs were busy conducting a silent coup.

“Let’s be clear about this, the oligarchs are flush with victory, and feel that they are firmly in control, able to subvert and direct any popular movement to the support of their own fascist ends and unslakable will to power.

This is the contempt in which they hold the majority of American people and the political process: the common people are easily led fools, and everyone else who is smart enough to know better has their price. And they would beggar every middle class voter in the US before they will voluntarily give up one dime of their ill-gotten gains.

But my model says that the oligarchs will continue to press their advantages, being flushed with victory, until they provoke a strong reaction that frightens everyone, like a wake-up call, and the tide then turns to genuine reform.” – Simon Johnson

The oligarchs have had a good run. The system cannot be reformed from within. The corruption runs too deep. The system is broken and can’t be fixed. There is no doubt in my mind that a collapse approaches which will make 2008/2009 look like a walk in the park. The anger, blame and retribution will sweep away the existing social order and replace it with something new. It will be up to the people to decide what happens next. We were warned two centuries ago by a wise man. Hopefully, we’ll get a 2nd chance.

“However political parties may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion.” George Washington

 

Rigging Justice: More Tales of the New Oligarchy and the Supreme Court

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Posted on 10th December 2014 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

Guest Post by Jesse

“The sad truth is that most evil is done by people who never make up their minds to be good or evil.”

Hannah Arendt

“Those who have crossed
With direct eyes, to death’s other Kingdom
Remember us – if at all – not as lost
Violent souls, but only
As the hollow men
The stuffed men.”

T. S. Eliot

The power of Big Money is often ostentatious, heavy with sanctimonious ceremony and media envy, but sometimes it is even more powerfully subtle.

The Supreme Court has a limited docket, and apparently a penchant for choosing certain lawyers of repute to bring cases before them.

So Big Money hires those lawyers.

The people tend to vote for the less repugnant of the choices that the two political parties in their elections.

So Big Money gets ahead of the curve and pre-selects the candidates from the two major parties.

How can you fail to win the debate when you frame the questions, pick the debaters, and control how it is reported and scored?

Where are the great minds, the outstanding leaders, the moral beacons? Has greed overwhelmed all virtue, leaving only shallow passions and self-deceptions? Have we become an audience of cynical voyeurs in a digital Colosseum?

We are becoming a nation of waiters, bankers, and corporate-sponsored intellectual bordellos. We can commit despicable, even heinous acts, and think we can rationalize and lie our way out of almost anything. Winning!

Death by cynicism and expediency in the latter days of Empire.

And justice, for some.

“The Reuters examination of the Supreme Court’s docket, the most comprehensive ever, suggests that the justices essentially have added a new criterion to whether the court takes an appeal – one that goes beyond the merits of a case and extends to the merits of the lawyer who is bringing it. The results: a decided advantage for corporate America, and a growing insularity at the court.

Some legal experts contend that the reliance on a small cluster of specialists, most working on behalf of businesses, has turned the Supreme Court into an echo chamber – a place where an elite group of jurists embraces an elite group of lawyers who reinforce narrow views of how the law should be construed…

The court generally has a conservative, pro-business majority, but even one of its most liberal justices, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, accepts the corporate tilt of the specialist bar that dominates the docket.”Business can pay for the best counsel money can buy. The average citizen cannot,” Ginsburg said. “That’s just a reality.”

Read the entire story at Esquire here.

Stock Valuations Outrunning Profits Growth – And the Band Played On

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Posted on 18th November 2014 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

Guest Post by Jesse

“We are still amazed by the chart [below], but it summarises the problem for those seeking to short stocks with fundamental weaknesses. In the last three years, the MSCI World Index has risen by 38% (11% per annum) whilst reported profits have risen by just 3% (that’s just 1% per annum!). As the events of last month attest, central bank actions–not profits–are driving equities forward.”

Andrew Lapthorne, Societe General

This quote is in reference to the first chart below that shows stock prices are outrunning profit growth. The second chart is the Shiller PE 10 Ratio for US stocks.

Beside the corrupting influence of Big Money on politics and academics, the other pervasive problem in our society is really quite banal, that is, mindlessly managing to the numbers.

Although incentives have always been an issue, in the last thirty years it has become quite fashionable in modern management theory to set a few relatively narrow metrics and judge the performance and rewards of a manager by them and them alone.

While this is not wrong in and of it self, such a philosophy provides a source of great mischief if the metrics are excessively narrow, and therefore obscure the bigger picture and the health of an organization, a company, or even a nation.

I think we are all familiar with how incentives badly designed can drive counter-productive, short term behavior that can actually be destructive of the values of an organization. I cannot think of a better recent example, other than the widespread fraud and corruption on Wall Street, than the manner in which the Central Banks and their governments are managing The Recovery™.

If employment is a metric, let us foster an economy in which a large number of jobs are created, that are low paying and part time. This addresses the metric of unemployment, while ignoring the real reason for it, ie, the availability of jobs at living wages which will spur aggregate demand.

If inflation is a metric, let us follow policies of money printing and distribution in order to raise the prices of goods, ahead of the ability of the broad public to pay for them through wage and income growth.

See, there is no deflation. It doesn’t matter to the model that the growth in prices is not only artificial, but is in fact increasing the misery of the people by diluting their already reduced incomes with which to purchase necessities.

Now, this would seem to make common sense. But in fact if you are a bureaucrat under pressure to please a powerful constituency, and are driven to pursue policies that really do not make sense by any reasonable estimation of ‘the public good,’ it is tempting to stand fast on your models, and insist that one cannot prove that you are not doing a good job of it. And it is all so easy to claim ignorance, or a lack of relevancy to your purview.

And you use discredited theories and perception management to quell those who are calling out the contrariness, at times to the point of madness, of your policy actions. Prove to me it is a bubble! Prove to me that people are not just lazy, or incapable of doing useful work!

But the bosses are happy, and your perks and prestige, and all important access to the halls of power, are ensured. At times your conscience is troubled by the thought that in some of your actions you may have gone too far, and committed acts that could be considered outside of the law, but you have done it for the good of the system, after all.

And in that you are above the law, a law maker, not a follower. But a bonus or promotion, or some visible reward quiets your conscience and concerns. You are only doing what must be done, as demanded by those who deserve to be followed and obeyed. You see the excesses, by the really bad ones, but you are not like them. Some day when you have the power you will set things right, but you must stay within the system to obtain that power. So you must steel yourself, and be practical, and do what must be done.

And that is easier to do, when there is no metric for human misery and suffering.

You work hard, and are only human after all. And for this you are a very important person, well regarded in the Capitol. You are making money for yourself and your friends, the people who really count. You are a success! And all is right with your world.

“When virtue is lost, benevolence appears, when benevolence is lost right conduct appears, when right conduct is lost, expediency appears. Expediency is the mere shadow of right and truth; it is the beginning of disorder.”

Lao Tzu

No one sits down one day and decides, ‘I shall become a monster, and do monstrous things.’

And the band played on.

h/t Zerohedge

 

Shiller PE Ratio