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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U.S. Stock Market Hits a New Record High, but What’s Really Going On?

As Americans head off to Independence Day celebrations, they’ll be greeted with a plethora of headlines about record highs in the U.S. stock market. What I find most interesting about the latest bout of exuberance is the fact that in priced in gold, stocks remain far below last fall’s peak.

From my perspective, a real equity bull market is one where the stock market, in this case the S&P500, consistently hits new highs relative to what’s historically been the world’s politically-neutral monetary asset, gold; and U.S. stock market did exactly that from August 2011 until September 2018. Though equities in nominal terms bottomed in March 2009, we didn’t really get the all clear in my view until equities started rallying versus gold in late summer 2011.

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The Next Revolution by Murray Bookchin

We cannot content ourselves with simplistically dividing civilization into a workday world of everyday life that is properly social, as I call it, in which we reproduce the conditions of our individual existence at work, in the home, and among our friends, and, of course, the state, which reduces us at best to docile observers of the activities of professionals who administer our civic and national affairs. Between these two worlds is still another world, the realm of the political, where our ancestors in the past, at various times and places historically, exercised varying, sometimes complete control over the commune and the confederation to which it belonged. 

– Murray Bookchin, A Politics for the Twenty-First Century

Today, the concept of citizenship has already undergone serious erosion through the reduction of citizens to “constituents” of statist jurisdictions, or to “taxpayers” who sustain statist institutions.

– Murray Bookchin, Cities

In the spirit of my recent interest in direct democracy and the future of human governance, I finally got around to reading something that’s been on my radar for a while. It’s a collection of nine essays by the late political philosopher Murray Bookchin published together in a book titled:The Next Revolution – Popular Assemblies and the Promise of Direct Democracy. It did not disappoint.

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.

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FacebookCoin is a Trojan Horse of Corporate Oligarchy

ZUCK: yea so if you ever need info about anyone at harvard
ZUCK: just ask
ZUCK: i have over 4000 emails, pictures, addresses, sns
FRIEND: what!? how’d you manage that one?
ZUCK: people just submitted it
ZUCK: i don’t know why
ZUCK: they “trust me”
ZUCK: dumb fucks

– Leaked messages sent by Mark Zuckerberg to a friend at Harvard as he was building Facebook

Years ago, Mark Zuckerberg made it clear that he doesn’t think Facebook is a business. “In a lot of ways, Facebook is more like a government than a traditional company,” said Mr. Zuckerberg. “We’re really setting policies.” He has acted consistently as a would-be sovereign power. For example, he is attempting to set up a Supreme Court-style independent tribunal to handle content moderation. And now he is setting up a global currency.

– From Matt Stoller’s recent article: Facebook’s Undemocratic Currency

For a long time, I’ve maintained there’s no doubt the current system/paradigm we live under will collapse under its own weight, but that doesn’t keep me up at night. What keeps me up at night is understanding we still have no idea exactly what will replace it. It could very well be a more decentralized and free world, a world less defined by brute force, grotesque power concentrations and coercion, but it could also very easily go the other way. The coming out party for FacebookCoin (aka Libra) is in my view the first real indication the forces of corporate oligarchy are determined to ensure the new world reflects their vision and is under their control.

Though I’ve seen many thoughtful and important articles on the dangers of Facebook and a consortium of large corporations building a new financial system in broad daylight, I have yet to see anyone explain precisely what seems to be going on. I think the level of strategic long-term thinking happening here is more extensive than even the most cynical observer is willing to contemplate. This looks like a power play of monumental proportions.

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Direct Democracy Is the Future of Human Governance – Part 2

War is not a foregone conclusion or a national necessity. Each successive occupant of the White House only needs you to believe that in order to centralize the power of an increasingly imperial presidency, stifle dissent, and chip away at what remains of civil liberties.

– Danny Sjursen, retired US Army officer, The Pence Prophecy: VP Predicts Perpetual War at the West Point Graduation

Whenever I mention direct democracy, a certain segment of the population always comes back with a very negative knee-jerk reaction. Since this response tends to center around several concerns, today’s post will dig into them and explain how such pitfalls can be structurally addressed.

Minority Protection

The first thing that worries people is a fear there will be no protections for minority populations within such a system. Take the U.S. for example, where approximately 80% of the population lives in urban areas and only 20% in rural. If we moved to a system where direct popular vote played a meaningful role in deciding the majority of issues, rural populations would lose out every single time. It would end up being an oppressive system for people who live in less populated areas and would tear up the U.S. even faster than is happening now.

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Direct Democracy Is the Future of Human Governance – Part 1

Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority: still more when you superadd the tendency or the certainty of corruption by authority. There is no worse heresy than that the office sanctifies the holder of it. That is the point at which the negation of Catholicism and the negation of Liberalism meet and keep high festival, and the end learns to justify the means.

– Lord Acton

You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.

– Buckminster Fuller

If you’ve read anything I’ve written over the past several years, you’ll be acutely aware of my belief that human civilization is currently in a major transition period between two great paradigms of world history. The old world we all grew up in no longer works for most people, yet is being relentlessly propped up by the powerful and their minions who benefit from its parasitic and destructive nature. Despite their best efforts, a system so poisonous, decrepit and corrupt cannot and will not last. At this stage, it’s little more than a Potemkin village fraud barely kept standing courtesy of increasingly intense deception, manipulation and the sheer will of those who profit handsomely from it.

By stating we’re in the transition period, I want to make it clear I believe things are very much already being disrupted and altered beneath the hood of a world which appears indistinguishable from what it was a decade ago on a superficial level. Specifically, I think there are two core aspects of human existence that will be completely transformed in the years to come. First, within the monetary and financial systems that define how commerce, savings and entrepreneurship function. The emergence and continued momentum of Bitcoin offers evidence that disruption in this realm is already very much underway, albeit still in its infancy. The second realm I expect will experience massive transformational change relates to forms of human governance. We’ve barely scratched the surface on this one, but nascent signs have started to appear, and I suspect a push towards political systems more defined by direct democracy will become increasingly common in the years ahead. I’ve spent many hours writing about the financial and monetary system, so today’s piece will focus on what appears to be coming with regard to human political evolution.

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Macro Update – Gold, Bitcoin and the Gigantic Global Debt Bubble

Today’s the first day in a long time financial markets appear willing to at least consider the reality of the geopolitical situation on the ground for what it is, as opposed to what most people would like it to be. As I’ve noted for months, the “trade war” is just one battle in a much larger, increasingly unstable struggle between the U.S. and China for global power and leverage to shape the next paradigm of world history.

A failure to appreciate how big this really is explains why investors have been so willing to swallow unrealistic happy talk from both sides. The risk that needs to be discounted in the market isn’t a risk of higher tariffs, but the risk of WW3. The U.S. and China were never going to sign a trade deal and blissfully return to the ways things were. That world is over. We now find ourselves in the very early days of a historic struggle to influence the future.

Gold

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The Old World is Dying

Yesterday, Trump took to Twitter and unexpectedly threatened to raise tariffs on Chinese goods this coming Friday. This caught most people by surprise given incessant commentary over the past several months about how good trade talks were going and how close both sides were to signing a monumental deal. Although Trump’s tweet led to immediate turmoil in global financial markets, U.S. equities have gone up in a straight line since the market opened and are barely down as I write this. Investors appear to assume this is just theater meant make the U.S. public think he’s being tough, so that when he ultimately signs a largely meaningless sham deal with no teeth he can talk it up and pat himself on the back for being a brilliant negotiator. I’m not convinced this is correct, but it’s what markets seem to be pricing in. Either way, we’ll have answers soon enough.

More importantly, I continue to think the U.S. and China are on a major collision course irrespective of what happens with the trade deal. This charade will likely resolve either with no deal and an immediate dangerous ratcheting up of tensions, or we’ll get a deal so weak and irrelevant it’ll fail to fundamentally alter the U.S.-China economic relationship in any meaningful way, which was supposedly the whole point.

Many people still assume the “trade war” is actually about trade, when in reality it’s about geopolitical power. The Trump administration wants to knock China down a notch and consolidate global hegemony, which is why it’s been pressuring China on a variety of fronts. This pressure will not cease until China either rolls over and becomes a client state of a U.S. unipolar empire, or it fights back. My view is China will fight back.

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The Trump Administration’s Iran Policy Will Hasten Imperial Decline

There was a postwar order, but was it liberal?  Like most political orders, it looked much better on paper than it did in practice and to the core members of the order than those on the margins…

Liberal values were only remotely attached to the postwar institutions.  Sovereign equality did not translate into a liberal world order.  The postwar institutions were run by the most powerful countries, with middle and lesser powers either shunted to the back of the room or locked out altogether…Third World now comprised most of the world’s states, but it was on the outside looking in.  Western states enjoyed democracy and the rule of law, but the U.S. and the former colonial masters undermined rather than supported democracy and human rights elsewhere. Some Western states and analysts presumed that the global order must have some legitimacy because there were no great (or at least successful) revolts by the Third World, but they mistook coercion and the lack of alternative for consent…

The suggestion, then, is that if the international order is having greater difficulty creating rule-based governance, it might have less to do with the weakening of liberalism and more to do with the fact that the rules that have been in place for decades were overdue for an overhaul, and especially given a shift in power from the West to the East.  

– From Michael N. Barnett’s piece: The End of a Liberal International Order That Never Existed

A primary focus of my writing of late centers around the idea that the policies of the Trump administration, and the neocons in control of it, will hasten the decline of U.S. imperial power and more rapidly usher in a multi-polar (and possibly bifurcated) world. Today’s news regarding the elimination of waivers on Iranian oil imports provides another perfect example.

Specifically, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced earlier today that waivers which allowed eight countries to import Iranian crude oil without being subject to U.S. sanctions would expire on May 2 without extension. The eight countries included are China, India, Turkey, South Korea, Japan, Greece, Italy and Taiwan.

This move is an extraordinarily foolish and reckless act which illustrates the extreme hubris and short-sightedness of those running American foreign policy under Trump. What the U.S. is decreeing to the entire world with this action is that the U.S., and the U.S. alone, decides who gets to trade with who. The U.S. is telling China, the second largest economy in the world and home to over one billion people, that it lacks the sovereign authority to buy oil from Iran if it so desires. If the U.S. can unilaterally play boss on the trade decisions of foreign countries, national sovereignty does not exist in practice anywhere on the planet. There is only empire.

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