Incentives Rule the World

Ryan Murphy, an economist at Southern Methodist University, recently published a working paper in which he ranked each of the states by the predominance of—there’s no nice way to put it—psychopaths. The winner? Washington in a walk. In fact, the capital scored higher on Murphy’s scale than the next two runners-up combined.

“I had previously written on politicians and psychopathy, but I had no expectation D.C. would stand out as much as it does,” Murphy wrote in an email…

On a national level, it raises the troubling question as to what it means to live in a country whose institutions are set up to reward some very dubious human traits. Like it or not, we’re more likely than not to wind up with some alarming personalities in positions of power.

– From last year’s Politico article, Washington, D.C.: the Psychopath Capital of America

One of the most frustrating aspects of modern American politics — and the culture in general — is our all encompassing fixation on the superficial. It’s also one of the main reasons I have very little interest in presidential politics, which basically consists of a bunch of billionaire friendly puppets auditioning to become the next public face of imperial oligarchy. Though I understand the desire for quick fixes, our focus on highlighting and mitigating only the symptoms of societal decay as opposed to the root causes, ensures we’ll never achieve the sort of positive paradigm-level shift necessary to bring humankind forward.

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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:

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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.:

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Believing Jeffrey Epstein Committed Suicide is the Real Conspiracy Theory

Is a murder committed more heinous than a suicide allowed? In its act, sure. In this context? NO.

An “unlucky accident” like this is the ONE THING that a non-corrupt State must prevent. It’s the non-corrupt State’s ONE JOB to keep Epstein alive for trial, and everyone knows that everyone knows this is their ONE JOB.

It is impossible to violate this common knowledge without premeditation and malice, without conspiracy and criminality aforethought. It is impossible to have an “unlucky accident” like this in a non-corrupt State.

– Ben Hunt, I’m a Superstitious Man

It’s entirely fitting that the death of Jeffrey Epstein is as disturbing, shady, bizarre and seemingly inexplicable as the rest of his life. It seems as if one could research this wretched man’s time on earth for years and still come up with more questions than answers. An unfortunate reality complicated by the fact we don’t have a mass media particularly interested in asking any of the big questions, such as:

  • Where is Ghislaine Maxwell? Why isn’t she in custody and was she a Mossad spy like her late father Robert Maxwell?
  • Explain the details of the relationship between Leslie Wexner and Jeffrey Epstein? Why does it seem as if Wexner helped set Epstein up with the appearance of extraordinary wealth, yet no one seems to know how Epstein actually came into all his money?

It appears sexually abusing children and accumulating associated blackmail on the rich and powerful was a full-time job for Epstein, so who was actually bankrolling/overseeing this operation? Was it Wexner, somebody else, or was it an intelligence agency as Alex Acosta claims he was told? Seems kind of important to get to the bottom of this.

I could go on and on, but then this would become a book. Rather, the purpose of this post is to highlight the outlandishness surrounding many of the details (or lack thereof) surrounding Epstein’s death a week ago in a Department of Justice operated New York City prison.

Indeed, what you’d have to believe in order to think this was a simple suicide is the actual conspiracy theory. 

Let’s begin with the initial attack, which happened three weeks before his death.

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A Few Thoughts on Jeffrey Epstein’s ‘Suicide’

Did you wear a black armband
When they shot the man
Who said “peace could last forever”
And in my first memories
They shot Kennedy
I went numb when I learned to see
So I never fell for Vietnam
We got the wall of D.C. to remind us all
That you can’t trust freedom
When it’s not in your hands
When everybody’s fightin’
For their promised land

Guns N’ Roses, Civil War

You know things are getting really weird when news of Jeffrey Epstein’s death in a New York City prison operated by the U.S. Department of Justice is the least surprising part of the whole story. Countless people, including myself, assumed this exact sort of thing would happen. Then, just like that, he’s gone.

I continue to think the players involved with Epstein in what appears to have been an intelligence-linked blackmail operation, as well as those at risk of being exposed in more detail, are simply too powerful and connected to the institutions that run this country (and others) for us to ever get real answers. It’s cynical and depressing, but based on what I’ve seen over the past couple of decades, it’s the most likely outcome.

Rule of law in America? Don’t be ridiculous. There are rulers and the ruled. Which bucket do you think you’re in?

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Things Fall Apart

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way – in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.

– Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

You’re not losing your mind, everybody else is. Things are crazy and getting crazier. Something must be done. Somebody, please do something.

If paying attention to global events overwhelms and results in a combined sense of dread, concern and bewilderment, you’re not alone. It’s not simply because humans have more access to more information than ever before that you feel this way, there does appear to be a quickening in the pace of the unfolding of humanity’s latest chapter. Things are genuinely falling apart, but things are always falling apart. Likewise, things are always being built and created. Governments come and governments go, as do global empires and monetary systems. Everything is dying and being born all at once, constantly and forever. This will not change.

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Take a Deep Breath

Today’s post revolves around a subject I’ve been thinking about since early 2017, when I noticed much of the population separating into pro-Trump or anti-Trump factions that were becoming increasingly tribal, vitriolic and hostile. I wrote about it in the piece, Lost in the Political Wilderness, and things haven’t improved much since. Fortunately, around the same time I came across the theory of Spiral Dynamics which provided me with a useful framework through which to understand consciousness and the importance of guarding your mind and emotional state in a world that encourages fear, tribalism and anger.

Though we live in a time where more diverse information is available at our fingertips than at any other period in human history, we’re still presented with news and narratives via specific channels; whether that be an alternative media figure, a mass media outlet or a tech giant algorithm. The news and commentary that somehow gets in front of us on a daily basis shapes our view of the world just as it always has, and this in turn triggers certain emotions – joy, sadness, anger, fear, inspiration, etc. There’s space for all that in a human life, but the ones I’m most interested in for the purposes of this piece are fear and anger.

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The Jeffrey Epstein Case Offers a Rare Opportunity to Focus

Perhaps, at long last, a serial rapist and pedophile may be brought to justice, more than a dozen years after he was first charged with crimes that have brutalized countless girls and women. But what won’t change is this: the cesspool of elites, many of them in New York, who allowed Jeffrey Epstein to flourish with impunity. For decades, important, influential, “serious” people attended Epstein’s dinner parties, rode his private jet, and furthered the fiction that he was some kind of genius hedge-fund billionaire. How do we explain why they looked the other way, or flattered Epstein, even as they must have noticed he was often in the company of a young harem? Easy: They got something in exchange from him, whether it was a free ride on that airborne “Lolita Express,” some other form of monetary largesse, entrée into the extravagant celebrity soirées he hosted at his townhouse, or, possibly and harrowingly, a pound or two of female flesh.

– From the New York Magazine article: Who Was Jeffrey Epstein Calling? 

An honest assessment of the current state of American politics and society in general leaves little room for optimism regarding the public’s ability to accurately diagnose, much less tackle, our fundamental issues at a root level. A primary reason for this state of affairs boils down to the ease with which the American public is divided against itself and conquered.

Though there are certain issues pretty much everyone can agree on, we simply aren’t focusing our collective energy on them or creating the mass movements necessary to address them. Things such as systemic bipartisan corruption, the institutionalization of a two-tier justice system in which the wealthy and powerful are above the law, a broken economy that requires both parents to work and still barely make ends meet, and a military-industrial complex consumed with profits and imperial aggression not national defense. These are just a few of the many issues that should easily unite us against an entrenched power structure, but it is not happening. At least not yet.

We currently find ourselves at a unique inflection point in American history. Though I agree with Charles Hugh Smith’s assessment that “Our Ruling Elites Have No Idea How Much We Want to See Them All in Prison Jumpsuits,” we have yet to reach the point where the general public is prepared to do something about it. I think there are several reasons for this, but the primary obstacle relates to how easily the citizenry is divided and conquered. The mass media, largely owned and controlled by billionaires and their corporations, is highly incentivized to keep the public divided against itself on trivial issues, or at best, on real problems that are merely symptoms of bipartisan elitist plunder.

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Bombshell – Alex Acosta Reportedly Claimed Jeffrey Epstein ‘Belonged to Intelligence’

To appreciate the significance of what I’m about to share, you really need to go back and read yesterday’s post: The Jeffrey Epstein Rabbit Hole Goes a Lot Deeper Than You Think.

In that piece, I shared many lesser known, but extremely bizarre facts about Jeffrey Epstein and the people around him. I also noted that it appeared his real job was to run a blackmail operation to ensnare some of the most wealthy and powerful people on earth. I alluded to the possibility that he was collecting this priceless information on behalf of a third party, and then just today we learn the following via the Daily Beast:

“Is the Epstein case going to cause a problem [for confirmation hearings]?” Acosta had been asked. Acosta had explained, breezily, apparently, that back in the day he’d had just one meeting on the Epstein case. He’d cut the non-prosecution deal with one of Epstein’s attorneys because he had “been told” to back off, that Epstein was above his pay grade. “I was told Epstein ‘belonged to intelligence’ and to leave it alone,” he told his interviewers in the Trump transition, who evidently thought that was a sufficient answer and went ahead and hired Acosta. (The Labor Department had no comment when asked about this.)…

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The Jeffrey Epstein Rabbit Hole Goes a Lot Deeper Than You Think

Like many of you, I’ve been following the Jeffrey Epstein story with horror, disgust and open eyes for several years. While it’s always been a creepy, twisted and completely bizarre saga, I was unaware of just how inexplicable and strange it is until I did some more digging earlier today.

I put a bunch of information together in a Twitter thread, and rather than reinvent the wheel, here it is:

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