Critical Thinking Has Never Been More Important

There are several reasons I spend so much time discussing and analyzing the current state of affairs. The primary motivation, aside from a drive to share personal opinions and spread awareness, is to encourage people to think critically. I don’t want readers to agree with everything I say, I want people to become inspired to think for themselves.

The ruling class doesn’t want you to think, they want you to simply accept the nonsensical stories they tell you. By contrast, I don’t want readers to blindly accept any of my conclusions, rather, I want my work be a case study on how to deploy independent logic and insight to a variety of topics and situations.

While I haven’t discussed the 2020 presidential campaign much here, I comment on it quite a bit over at Twitter, and people often ask why I discuss the circus at all. The reason isn’t because I expect a politician to come save us and make everything right again, but because the establishment response to populist-type candidates is so instructive.

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Financial Feudalism

“Happy 18th Birthday! Meet your new Daddy,” read one website advertisement. “Do you have strong oral skills? We’ve got a job for you!” cooed another.

A message on another billboard directed at the “daddies” was more blunt: “The alternative to escorts. Desperate women will do anything”…

SeekingArrangement was founded by Las Vegas tech tycoon Brandon Wade. Wade is apparently worth somewhere in the neighborhood of $40 million. His motto is, “Love is a concept invented by poor people”…

SA also markets itself as an antidote to student debt. In the U.S. and elsewhere, college students are enduring financial instability and hardship. Because of rising college fees and rent, and the lack of time available for work during studies, many women are extremely vulnerable to exploitation. “SeekingArrangement.com has helped facilitate hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of arrangements that have helped students graduate debt-free,” Wade boasts on the website. Promotional videos show young, beautiful women enrolled in “Sugar Baby University” — in classrooms, holding wads of cash, driving luxury cars, and discussing the pleasure and ease of being a sugar baby.

When signing up for an account, potential sugar babies are told, “Tip: Using a .edu email address earns you a free upgrade!”

TruthDig: Sugar-Coated Pimping

Watching politics unfold in the post-financial crisis era has been extraordinarily frustrating. While it’s been refreshing to observe the emergence of grassroots populism over the last few years, there’s a problematic lack of depth and clarity embedded in these burgeoning mass movements. Tens if not hundreds of millions of Americans now acknowledge that something’s deeply broken within the current paradigm, but we remain focused on identifying symptoms as opposed to understanding and rectifying the systemic nature of the problem.

https://twitter.com/LibertyBlitz/status/1229431242417852418

Of course, there are numerous complexities when it comes to the administration of an imperial oligarchy, and our system didn’t emerge overnight. Perhaps the most fundamental mutation of the post WW2 era came in 1971 when the international convertibility of U.S. dollars into gold was severed. This is when the country began its long transformation from a largely industrial empire to a financial one. I’ve often highlighted how the purely fiat USD reserve currency is the most powerful weapon ever invented, and how the U.S. control of the global financial system is the true backbone of empire, but it’s equally important to understand how the predatory financial system is also used to subjugate Americans in their own country.

In order to understand how this works we need to dig into the most fundamentally important four letter word in any modern economy: Debt.

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Zerohedge’s Twitter Account is Permanently Banished

Most of you reading this will be aware that Zerohedge’s prolific and highly popular twitter account with over 670,000 followers was on the receiving end of a lifetime ban by the Twitter politburo. This post won’t focus on the details of this specific ban, but if you want to read more about it, see the following: Zerohedge Suspended On Twitter.

It’s imperative not to overly focus on the individual victims of tech giant bans, and instead zero in on the bigger picture. Rather than debating whether or not you like Zerohedge, or whether you think it crossed a line, I want to highlight the dangerous implications of dominant social media companies wielding permanent bans as a weapon on freedom of speech in practice.

This post will cover three main issues. First, the fact that Twitter and other social media companies have essentially created a caste system when it comes to engagement on their platforms. Second, the question of whether or not a lifetime ban from social media platforms is an ethical concept. Third, the dangers of Twitter essentially throwing the entire timeline of a banished account into the memory hole.

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Localism in the 2020s (Part 4) – Creating More Voluntary Unions

Disclaimer: I don’t have answers to everything. In fact, I probably don’t have answers to anything at all, just some thoughts on what’s wrong with the structure of governance around the world (it’s too centralized and authoritarian) and some general ideas about what direction we should head in.

Given the increased likelihood that all sorts of things about the current paradigm will begin to fail in a more acute and undeniable manner in the years ahead, well intentioned people capable of critical thought should begin contemplating how things could be as opposed to how they are. Ideally, this will lead to increased action and experimentation, particularly at a local level. Never forget, if we don’t come up with our own ideas and perspectives for how things should be, others will be more than happy to decide for us.

More than anything else this piece should be seen as a thought exercise of how I would try to structure things if presented with a blank slate opportunity. 

In Part 3 of this series, I outlined a framework of sovereignty beginning with the individual, progressing to family, municipality/county, state and finally country. Though the broadest scope of decision making should always reside with the individual, the reality of social relations means some individual autonomy is relinquished as sovereign units grow to include more and more people. It’s part of human nature to expand beyond ourselves and our families into larger and more complex social relationships, but far more thought should be directed at the dangers and uncertainties that arise as these units start to include increased degrees of geography and population.

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Localism in the 2020s (Part 3) – Scaling Politics

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

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

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Localism in the 2020s (Part 2) – Facial Recognition, Psilocybin and Beyond

Contrary to popular opinion, I think a loss of faith in Washington D.C. and its institutions is entirely rational and healthy. Maintaining faith in something due to tradition or the fumes of hope won’t lead to anything productive, rather, it’s preferable to honestly assess the reality of whatever situation you’re in and reorient your worldview and priorities accordingly.

Whether the issue relates to above the law criminal bankers, a Federal Reserve which systematically funnels free money to the already wealthy and powerful, the societal dominance of free speech and privacy-despising tech giant monopolies, or the national security state’s undeclared forever wars for empire, there’s no good reason to maintain any faith in the federal government and the oligarchs/special interests who control it.

Philosophically speaking, I’ve come to conclude the only way to truly have self-government where community life reflects the desires and needs of the people who live there is by concentrating decision making at the local level. I’ve become increasingly interested in the general idea of localism not just because I agree with it in theory, but because it seems more and more people will begin to gravitate toward this perspective and life strategy out of necessity and frustration.

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Another Stupid War

All I wanted to do this week was work on part 2 of my localism series, but circumstances quickly got the best of me. The assassination of Iran’s top general Qassem Soleimani was an event of such historical significance, I feel obligated to detail my thoughts on what it means and how things unfold from here, especially given how much of a role geopolitics and questions of empire have played in my writings.

First off, we need to understand the U.S. is now at war with Iran. It’s an undeclared, insane and unconstitutional war, but it is war nonetheless. There is no world in which one government intentionally assassinates the top general of another government and that not be warfare. You can argue the U.S. and Iran were already engaged in low-level proxy wars, and that’s a fair assessment, but you can’t say we aren’t currently in far more serious a state of war. We are.

Soleimani was not only a powerful general, he was a popular figure within Iran. Unlike other blows the U.S. and Iran have inflicted upon one another, this cannot be walked back. There’s no deescalation from here, only escalation. Even if you want to pretend this didn’t happen and turn back the clock, it’s impossible. This is a major event of historical proportions and should be seen as such. Everything has been turned up a notch.

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Localism in the 2020s (Part 1) – The 2nd Amendment Sanctuary Movement

Many of you probably have heard of the second amendment sanctuary movement, which consists of municipalities and counties across the U.S. passing resolutions pledging not to enforce additional gun control measures infringing upon the right to bear arms. The current movement traces its origins back to Effingham County in southern Illinois, which passed a resolution in April 2018 calling the county a second amendment “sanctuary”, essentially a vow to ignore gun control legislation proposed by Illinois state lawmakers. This particular tactic gained traction not just within Illinois, where 67 of 102 counties have now passed similar resolutions, but throughout the country.

The movement started gaining more attention over the past couple of months following the blistering momentum it found in Virginia after Democrats won the state legislature in November. As of this writing, 87 out of Virginia’s 95 counties have passed such resolutions and it’s important to note that virtually all of them were passed in the two months since the election. In other words, this is happening at a very rapid pace.

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Monetary Looting

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

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

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

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

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

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Three Major Imbalances – Financial, Trust and Geopolitical

But greed is a bottomless pit
And our freedom’s a joke
We’re just taking a piss
And the whole world must watch the sad comic display
If you’re still free start running away
Cause we’re coming for you!

– Conor Oberst, “Land Locked Blues”

It’s hard to believe 2020 is just around the corner. If the last ten years have taught us anything, it’s the extent to which a vicious and corrupt oligarchy will go to further extend and entrench their economic and societal interests. Although the myriad desperate actions undertaken by the ruling class this past decade have managed to sustain the current paradigm a bit longer, it has not come without cost and major long-term consequence. Gigantic imbalances across multiple areas have been created and worsened, and the resolution of these in the years ahead (2020-2025) will shape the future for decades to come. I want to discuss three of them today, the financial system imbalance, the trust imbalance and the geopolitical imbalance.

Recent posts have focused on how what really matters in a crisis is not the event itself, but the response to it. The financial crisis of ten years ago is particularly instructive, as the entire institutional response to a widespread financial industry crime spree was to focus on saving a failed system and then pretending nothing happened. The public was given no time or space to debate whether the system needed saving; or more specifically, which parts needed saving, which parts needed wholesale restructuring and which parts should’ve been thrown into the dustbin. Rather, unelected central bankers stepped in with trillions in order to prop up, empower and reward the very industry and individuals that created the crisis to begin with. There was no real public debate, central bankers just did whatever they wanted. It was a moment so brazen and disturbing it shook many of us, including myself, out of a lifetime of propaganda induced deception.

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