I want my country back

I get accused of being a Russian agent or Putin fan but I just want my country back from the fucking neocons. I really have no feelings about Russia except that they are a country we need to get along with because a nuclear exchange between us will end life on earth. Duck and cover won’t cut it.

My real concern is with America. I understand what is at stake with the US proxy war against Russia in Ukraine. I know the corporate media is lying when they endlessly repeat the phrase “Russia’s unprovoked war of aggression”. I know that the American war party is responsible for pushing Russia to the decision that it made last February. That it is the war party that expanded NATO despite the promises, that arms Ukraine, that encourages the fanatics driving that country, that blocks all routes to a peaceful settlement, that encourages Kiev to squander the lives of its people.

The proxy conflict is just the latest in a series of disastrous foreign misadventures, brought to you by the bipartisan war party. I can’t remember when we weren’t at war. Can you?

What can we do? Voting doesn’t make much difference if both parties are complicit. The executive branch, since the Cold War, has amassed enormous power through endless war. The judiciary has proven to be in thrall to the national security state, as is the corporate media, who never saw a war they couldn’t enthusiastically support. The whole thing is predicated on fear, in scaring the hell out of the American public with endless villains.

Since the United States is now approaching a $1 trillion “war” budget for 2023, more than half  will likely go to private firms. The top five contractors alone — Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Boeing, General Dynamics, and Northrop Grumman — will split between $150 billion and $200 billion in Pentagon contracts. Meanwhile, they’ll pay their CEOs, on average, more than $20 million a year and engage in billions of dollars in stock buybacks designed to boost their share prices. The arms merchants and their congressional sock-puppets justify the enormous expenditure by telling the public that the spending is making Americans “safe”. 

Except it isn’t making us safer, just poorer and bereft of any sort of moral credibility, “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today”. An America of war all the time everywhere has brought us tent cities and full jails, open borders, disappeared manufacturing, poverty, opiates, misery and corruption. Instead of social programs and infrastructure, there’s austerity and war. An America with $100 billion to pour down the Ukrainian rathole but none to spend at home. A deep malaise that defines American society–the rage, despair and widespread feelings of betrayal and loss are overwhelming. The American empire is to blame, even if few can articulate it.

I can only see one way that the power of this internal enemy can be broken – complete and utter defeat. Defeat that cannot be ignored, cannot be explained away, defeat too big and too obvious for the obedient mass media to bury. And this is why I want Russia to succeed in the proxy war against the US and NATO. It’s because I see this as the opportunity for the humiliating defeat that will shatter the power of the internal enemy. As I stated last week–“the end of the American empire will require a disaster so profound that there’s no escaping accountability for the neocons and their fellow travelers among the elite political and media class.”

Unfortunately, the disaster may happen without any American noticing or acknowledging. I’m afraid that our society is no longer secular. We now live in a world of dogma, where believeing what you should believe, takes precedence over believing what is.

Update: Uber neocon, Michael McFaul has a new screed–“There are no innocent Russians”–where he exhorts Russian citizens to rise up against Putin and overthrow the Russian war party.

Talk about projection.

Caitlin Johnstone has the appropriate reply. “If the logic that “there are no innocent Russians” because the Russian people have a moral obligation to overthrow their warmongering government were evenly applied, it would also apply to Americans. Even more so, really, since their government is vastly more warlike than Moscow.

Putin would have to work very, very hard to catch up to the staggering body count of the US empire just in the 21st century. If Russians have a moral obligation to overthrow their government, then so do Americans. They have an obligation to topple the US empire, tear down the military-industrial complex, get rid of the false two-party system whose “two” parties support every war the empire architects call for, and create a peaceful country.”

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Gradually, then all at once

Empire’s decline gradually, then all at once. This is the dynamic underpinning collapse: slow at first, then suddenly.

Presently, the proxy war in Ukraine is signaling a last ditch effort, the outcome of which will determine whether the US can reverse its declining unipolar hegemony or if a multipolar-world-order is inevitable. These unprecedented stakes explain why such an astronomical sum of taxpayer funds has already been expended and the unprecedented propaganda campaign.

I’m sure that the purpose of the proxy war is to spread peace, democracy and freedom. At least I’m sure that’s what the average American believes. Americans are just so accustomed to being told the US and its allies are pure good and its enemies are pure evil that anything outside this basic arrangement is dismissed as Russian disinformation.

However, for the clear eyed analyst, it’s becoming blindingly obvious that geopolitical considerations are in play–the US is fighting in Ukraine to preserve its post-Cold War global hegemony. The true reason for this proxy war is to forestall a possible alliance between Germany (EU), Russia and China. 

This Congressional report helps illuminate American policies. “From a U.S. perspective on grand strategy and geopolitics, it can be noted that most of the world’s people, resources, and
economic activity are located not in the Western Hemisphere, but in the other hemisphere, particularly Eurasia. In response to this basic feature of world geography, U.S. policymakers for the last several decades have chosen to pursue, as a key element of U.S. national strategy, a goal of preventing the emergence of regional hegemons in Eurasia. Although U.S. policymakers do not often state explicitly in public the goal of preventing the emergence of regional hegemons in Eurasia, U.S. military operations in recent decades—both wartime operations and day-to-day operations—appear to have been carried out in no small part in support of this goal.” “Renewed Great Power Competition: Implications for Defense—Issues for Congress”. This 2022 National Defense Strategy also makes clear that the United States sees the subjugation of Russia as a critical stepping stone toward the conflict with China.

That’s correct. The US is not content to just fight Russia. Oh no. The US is determined to fight China too. And, let’s not forget Iran. The last gasp of American imperialism is more and more directly targeting Russia, China and Iran, which the US sees as impediments to its domination of the world island. US strategists have long regarded the domination of the Eurasian landmass, with its vast natural resources, as the key to this goal. None of this is new or even controversial. The only reason the corporate media can pretend the conflict in Ukraine is the result of Russian aggression and the sheer evil of Vladimir Putin is due to the historical ignorance the American people.

As an anti-imperialist, I’m horrified that we are ruled by psychopaths and surrounded by propagandized sheeple who mouth patriotic platitudes. I mean, what the fuck?–one of our congressional critters wants to display a bust of Zelensky in the capital.

But I’m also fascinated by the American way of empire, where instead of having a dedicated cadre of foreign service professionals to manage it we have instead  outsourced and privatized the process largely because neoliberal and neoconservative ideologues don’t believe in government.

It’s darkly humorous.

Maybe the empire got outsourced too?

Counting on the American political class to plot a course forward ignores both that oligarchs and corporations run the country, and that these are the same people who thought that outsourcing core manufacturing to China and deregulating Wall Street were great ideas that have worked out well. While there is no telling how much of the administration’s position is geopolitical posturing, there is also no hiding what a mess the political class has made of the US.

This dysfunctionality has been apparent in the ongoing war on terror disasters–Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, etc. Unfortunately, the can keeps getting kicked down the road because protecting the fragile psychology of our feral elite and their corporate media cheerleaders takes precedence over accountability. So what I’m saying is that end of the American empire will require a disaster so profound that there’s no escaping accountability for the neocons and their fellow travelers among the elite political and media class. This disaster is staring us in the face. As I write this, the Ukrainian frontlines are crumbling just as the US propaganda narrative is crumbling. What’s left is the looming prospect that the Russians are essentially on the verge of prevailing.

How will our political and media class deal with another foreign policy disaster? Once the propaganda spell is broken reality is sure to intervene. The Ukraine gambit is probably the most poorly-planned foreign policy debacle of all-time leading to the greatest strategic disaster in American history. This suppressed reality is why the US proxy war against Russia in Ukraine is so fraught with danger, as our feral elite are determined to do anything to escape long overdue accountability.

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I’m not crazy and neither are you

The latest revelations have confirmed what I’ve long suspected–I’m not crazy and neither are you.

Power is controlling what happens. Real power is controlling what people think about what happens. Our elite do this by exerting massive amounts of influence over the corporate media, Hollywood, Silicon Valley, think tanks, NGOs, and other organs of narrative manipulation.

The Twitter Files illustrate just how much effort our feral elite put into this narrative manipulation. These revelations are as significant as the Pentagon Papers, yet the corporate media has so far been able to minimize the damage from their revelations. There’s a reason for the frantic cover-up. What they show is the close involvement of Federal law enforcement, intelligence agencies and their corporate media handmaidens in curtailing and blocking Administration/Democrat-threatening lines of thought, such as interest in the Hunter Biden laptop or hostility to vaccine mandates. 

Matt Taibbi has a new article that describes the incestuous relationship. “Fact is, news consumers don’t know about the cozy partnership between big government and big media. If and when they think about such things, readers, viewers and social media consumers view news-gathering organizations as the natural enemies of politicians and bureaucrats — a relationship not unlike that of a cat to a mouse. In the movies, the medium that most exposes the inner workings of newspapers and broadcasting companies, reporters and their editors are invariably depicted as cynical, hard-charging outsiders dying to score Pulitzers and promotions by publishing blockbuster exposes about politicians on the take and priests on the make.”

He then makes a key point, one that I welcomed. “Sometime in the last decade, many people — I was one — began to feel robbed of their sense of normalcy by something we couldn’t define. Increasingly glued to our phones, we saw that the version of the world that was spat out at us from them seemed distorted. The public’s reactions to various news events seemed off-kilter, being either way too intense, not intense enough, or simply unbelievable. You’d read that seemingly everyone in the world was in agreement that a certain thing was true, except it seemed ridiculous to you, which put you in an awkward place with friends, family, others. Should you say something? Are you the crazy one?

I can’t have been the only person to have struggled psychologically during this time. This is why these Twitter files have been such a balm. This is the reality they stole from us! It’s repulsive, horrifying, and dystopian, a gruesome history of a world run by anti-people, but I’ll take it any day over the vile and insulting facsimile of truth they’ve been selling. Personally, once I saw that these lurid files could be used as a road map back to something like reality — I wasn’t sure until this week — I relaxed for the first time in probably seven or eight years.”

The back story of the Twitter Files is Trump’s surprise election which basically drove our feral elite around the bend. Russia-gate was the key element in the accelerated bludgeoning of the mass mind. It was eagerly taken up by the rest of the Democratic Party, the #McResistance media and powerful factions in the national security state. The documents lay out the scheme. You can see how the Russian cyber-threat was essentially conjured into being, with political and media pressure serving to massively hype something Twitter believed was negligible and uncoordinated to massive dimensions.

It’s only gotten worse.

My feel is that 2022 was the year political, economical and military issues discussed in the main stream media parted from the objective reality more than they have done at any previous time in my life. For example, the corporate media has completely rewritten the vast majority of their own reporting about Ukraine, reversing everything they spent the last eight years saying the minute Russia invaded back in February, engaging in one of the most brazen examples of the exact type of propaganda George Orwell’s 1984 was designed to warn about: Remember–“we’ve always been at war with Eastasia.”

I sometimes look into a mirror and think ‘well, maybe it’s just you. But it is not just me. Other analysts have come to similar conclusion. But, basically few to none of these dissident voices gets quoted in main stream media, nor are they afforded a venue to publish on these issues. No matter how true we already know many of these things to be, the Twitter Files have been vital in providing definitive proof and showing exactly how all of this was done.

This dynamic is the pleasure and pain of being an apostate. Once you see behind the curtain there’s a certain satisfaction from knowing the truth, unfortunately, there’s a tremendous cost to pay. As Terence McKenna says: “The cost of sanity in this society is a certain level of alienation.”

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Thinking for yourself

It’s illuminating that so many of the professional/managerial/class (PMC’s) are vilifying self research and critical thinking.  Mention that you’re looking into something yourself or making up your own mind, rather than believing the conventional wisdom approved by the corporate media, and you can be sure to be denounced as a communist, right-wing extremist, anti-vaxxer, or Putin apologist.

This is new. Not long ago it was still fashionable to pay respect to thinking for yourself and examining evidence, even though the unstated rule was that if you did so you had to come up with the same results as the talking heads on corporate media. Before that, I remember when the same pundits were insisting that liberal democracy was superior to all other systems because it thrives on free inquiry and the clash of competing ideas.

The reason that we’ve come to this point is complicated but it involves the psychological revolution of the early twentieth century. Edward Bernays took the ideas he gleaned from his service in the Creel Commission and put them to work in the field of advertising, more or less inventing modern public relations in the process. Bernays believed that most human beings are incapable of independent thought and will inevitably believe whatever they’re told, provided that the tellers use Freudian methods to tap into the psyches of their audience. 

However, the reality is that advertising, PR and propaganda have only a limited effect and are not a magic bullet for the powers that be. Trump’s surprising victory has demonstrated the diminishing returns of such policies. There were many other consequences, and one of them was an increasing nervousness on the part of elites and managerial classes alike about their ability to keep the masses in line. By 2016, decades of impoverishment, immiseration, and malign neglect inflicted on the poor and the working classes were already becoming apparent–the masses were becoming hostile and suspicious toward their supposed betters.  To the elites who were paying attention, again, it was becoming painfully clear that this could get much worse, and potentially imperil the survival of them and their PMC apparatchik’s.

That is to say, most people in this country understand that the authorities are lying to them. They have come to realize that the corporate media is nothing but propaganda disguised as dispassionate reporting. The increasingly strident attempts to bully people into believing what they’re told, when what they’re told is all too often an obvious pack of lies, has had the usual effect of such maneuvers–more and more people assume as a matter of course that the authorities are lying to them, even when the authorities happen to be telling some approximation of the truth.

Our feral elite is frantically trying to manage all of this as the Twitter Files showing that prior to Musk’s takeover, Twitter was basically a national security state propaganda operation. Recent Taibbi drops reveal that the heads of the FBI, DHS, and the Director of National Intelligence were regularly conferring with Twitter’s former chief censor, Yoel Roth, during the run-up to the 2020 election. It reached the point that Twitter was a de facto FBI subsidiary.

So much for the First Amendment. I’m convinced, as are many of you, that the so-called deep state is heavily involved in “guiding” the country, has been for decades, with the best of intentions, of course.

However, it’s not working

Now that the corporate-bureaucratic system has lost its legitimacy in the eyes of the public, and the parade of officially approved experts marching past the cameras of the mass media has become a clown show earning more contempt than approval, the unraveling of the current state of political affairs is approaching. It’s simply a matter of when the system runs into a crisis it can’t meet without the support of the populace, and the self-anointed masters of the world discover to their horror that the help in question will not be forthcoming.

None of this is new. Civilizations fall, according to Arnold Toynbee, when the formerly creative minority stops being creative and sinks into a rut. In Toynbee’s terms, it “changes from a creative minority to a dominant minority, and it settles for maintaining control over the society by force, fraud and surveillance because it no longer has the ability to inspire confidence and loyalty by coming up with effective responses to the challenges faced by society”. 

You know that your society is run by a dominant minority when, no matter what the problem is, the people in power always insist on the same solutions. You also know that your society is run by a dominant minority when the same problems come up over and over again, because they’re never actually solved–they’re just swept under the rug in a frantic effort to insist that the same old solutions really will work.

The maniacal demand that people stop thinking for themselves or doing their own research is thus the endpoint of a long slow process and the beginning of a far more dramatic one. 

Look around: the tectonic plates of geo-politics and geo-finance are shifting–away from an increasingly flailing US. These are structural issues over which the tools of mass consciousness ultimately have but limited sway.

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Now we know, thanks to former German Chancellor Merkel that the Minsk Agreement was nothing but a stalling tactic to allow NATO to militarize Ukraine as an anti-Russian proxy and fortify it for an inevitable war. She recently publicly stated that the Minsk agreements, which were broken by Ukrainian and NATO, were never intended to be honored. They were simply designed to buy time to build Ukrainian forces to attack the ethnic Russians in the Donbas and perhaps Russia itself.

So much for the “unprovoked” invasion meme. Merkel confirmed exactly what Russia said was the reason for the invasion. This interview, which has hardly been mentioned by the neocons and their corporate media flunkies, is amazing and has reconfirmed that the EU was full collaborator with the U.S. project – not just to cripple Russia financially, but to have her bleed on the battlefield too.

So much for the endlessly repeated narrative of “unprovoked Russian invasion”.

On a recent interview with the Useful Idiots podcast, Noam Chomsky stated that the only reason we hear the word “unprovoked” every time anyone mentions Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in the mainstream news media is because it absolutely was provoked, and they know it.

“Right now if you’re a respectable writer and you want to write in the main journals, you talk about the Russian invasion of Ukraine, you have to call it ‘the unprovoked Russian invasion of Ukraine. It’s a very interesting phrase; it was never used before. You look back, you look at Iraq, which was totally unprovoked, nobody ever called it ‘the unprovoked invasion of Iraq.’ In fact I don’t know if the term was ever used — if it was it was very marginal. Now you look it up on Google, and hundreds of thousands of hits. Every article that comes out has to talk about the unprovoked invasion of Ukraine. Why? Because they know perfectly well it was provoked,” Chomsky said. “That doesn’t justify it, but it was massively provoked. Top US diplomats have been talking about this for 30 years, even the head of the CIA.”

It’s become more than obvious that Biden was brought to power by the national security state to launch a war against Russia. Biden was up to his neck in the US-led coup in Ukraine in 2014, was subsequently appointed to be the American prefect in Ukraine; and began preparing for war the day he entered office. From 2014 forward the US was arming, supplying, and training Ukrainian militias, including significant contingents of self-described Nazis, to fight in the civil war that the US instigated.

Essentially, the conflict was largely a US concoction aimed at using proxies to weaken Russia in order to achieve its broader geopolitical goals. These latest attacks confirm that the United States is committed to resolving this crisis through the use of military force. That means a negotiated settlement is not only out-of-the-question, but is seen as anathema to Washington’s strategic objectives.

The reason why the US provoked a war with Russia is first and foremost that the poor policy choices of the US political leadership over the last five decades ended American economic and political dominance somewhere around 2008. Starting in the 1970s, market fundamentalist ideology became the American tool of choice for extracting wealth from poor and working people and nations around the globe. The political class, acting at the behest of industrialists and Wall Street, believed the fantasy that “American exceptionalism” and not imperialist looting, had made rich Americans rich. 

And now that these fantasies have turned to be just that our feral elite have been left with war as the only means to maintain primacy. Going further, it’s obvious that while the Cold War against the Soviet Union ended, the “Cold War” against the “enemies” of the United States did not. Furthermore, there’s abundant evidence that the U.S. establishment is willing to risk nuclear winter—in other words, mutual annihilation—to hold onto economic primacy.

Our amazing Technicolor propaganda system is the primary reason the US elite have been able to initiate a new “Cold War”, but next week we’ll discuss how and why this regime is breaking down and becoming increasingly ineffective.

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High on your own supply

Reality consists of the stories we tell each other.

While this is not a new observation it goes a long way towards explaining the behavior of our feral elite who have bought into their own narrative to such a large degree that they literally live in a fantasyland.

And if you inhabit a fantasyland truth is the mortal enemy hence the frantic efforts at censoring any counter narratives.

The revelations on how Twitter suppressed the Hunter Biden “laptop from hell” is a case in point. It’s now been proven that executives at Twitter worked in concert with the Biden campaign to suppress the scandal in the run up to the 2020 election. However, it’s pretty fucking obvious that attempts to address the contents of the laptop will never go anywhere, because the entire liberal political/media class believes any and all actions to hurt Trump’s re-election odds were justified. After 2016 a consensus was formed among liberal US media that they should have actively worked to manipulate the public into voting for Hillary Clinton, rather than reporting on her numerous scandals at the time. Killing the laptop story was the manifestation of that consensus.

Here’s how Glenn Greenwald describes what our famous Forth Estate has become. “Liberal media employees operate as a hive mind, an in-group pack, reciting the same phrases on cue. They have no novel thoughts. They’re Democratic Party activists who unite as pack animals. These people – who demand the power to censor the internet to protect you from disinformation – are the most frequent and casual liars…Twitter lied when saying they censored this story because the docs were hacked by Russia. They know there was no evidence of this! The more big stories you break, the more these frauds – who just repeat what CIA and Google tell them to say – hate you.”

Essentially, to cover-up past crimes against the country by President Biden and other public officials, Twitter, pre-Musk, was a major accomplice and enabler of all that, and suddenly it’s not–to the horror of all of the deep state denizens who make up the administration. 

Then there’s the US proxy war against Russia in Ukraine. In what is likely to be seen in retrospect as the most egregious strategic intelligence failure of this era US intelligence and political elites promulgated a hubristic assessment that Russia was a backward, failing state. With such an erroneous claim, they created a genuinely-held conviction that massive sanctions on Russia and unrestrained psy-ops would unleash economic turmoil, followed by political upheaval in the Kremlin followed by regime change.

The magical thinking has continued unabated. The other day Avril Haines, Joe Biden’s Director of National Intelligence made the claim that Ukraine may have brighter future as Russia struggles to resupply fighting forces.

I want to know what she is smoking.

Apparently Ms. Haines is so deluded that she is unaware that it is Ukraine, not Russia, begging for more weapons and ammunition and most NATO countries are pleading poverty, with no more to send. Haines must also be unaware that Russia is in the process of sending more than 300,000 fresh troops to the frontlines at the very time that Ukraine is suffering catastrophic losses. You would think that the head of U.S. intelligence might know about that development. The reality is that Ukraine is exhausting its weapons and ammunition stockpiles and the United States and NATO lack the industrial base to produce new supplies to fulfill Ukrainian needs and restore their own stockpiles.

There’s also the inconvenient fact that Russia continues to destroy Ukraine’s electrical power transmission system daily even as we are lectured that Russia is running out of precision missiles. That mantra is being repeated almost every week by wistful Western intelligence analysts and pundits.

Greenwald made another point that’s worth pondering. “While it was once controversial for the CIA to attempt to manipulate what Americans consume in the mainstream media, nowadays these outlets openly hire “former” US intelligence leaders and officers as news analysts. CNN, MSNBC, Fox, and the rest of them all bring on “former” members of the intelligence services to tell Americans what to think. “Big tech censorship is a critical tool of the national security state. Whenever anyone tries to do anything about it these former people from the CIA and the Pentagon and the rest jump up and say ‘we cannot allow you to restore free speech.’”

In an ironic twist that George Orwell would appreciate, the greatest purveyors of “disinformation” turned out to be these former intelligence officers who formed a chorus to label the Hunter Biden laptop disclosures–“Russian disinformation”.

What all this demonstrates is that the moneyed interests behind the politicians and deep state operatives, take great interest in the outcome of this struggle. There has always been a significant group of elites in America who believe that individual freedom must be sacrificed to create a more orderly society. This dynamic helps explain why agents of the state have infiltrated the various platforms in order to use their coercive powers to shape a narrative that garners public support for unpopular, elitist objectives, like war and tax cuts for the wealthy.

Since the election of Donald Trump and the explosion of populism, censorship and propaganda have gone into overdrive. Elites have never been more determined to quash the free exchange of ideas on the social media sites and to transform the Internet into another rancid institution that reiterates the same false narratives and propaganda one hears daily on the cables news channels.

The belief that there are magical answers to real problems in the world is not new, but it has become much more powerful in recent years, as control and influence over issues of war and peace have passed increasingly into the hands of those who know little about either. We want our leader to be noble and international crises and conflicts to finish the way that Hollywood movies do, with the good guys winning, and we will go to extremes to suspend our disbelief, so to avoid facing up to reality. We want to believe that there are powers that will make things turn out as we want, whether they are super-weapons or superheroes. 

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Behind the curtain

Is it better to know the depressing reality or happily marinate in a warm bath of partisan propaganda?

I hate to break it to you, but we live in what political philosopher Sheldon Wolin called “inverted totalitarianism.”  Although I do understand why some cling to the “we live in a democracy” fantasy. Reality can be a real bummer.

What I’ve surmised is that most Americans prefer propaganda over reality because confronting the possibility that your whole life is a lie is almost impossible. The Matrix got it right with its portrayal of a simulation of reality that the average person welcomes. Of course it’s a different story for the professional/managerial/class who’ve internalized their own narratives to a point where where stupidity now defines much of US elite culture and ideology.

The corporate media shares much of the blame for this sad state of affairs. Our founders envisioned a Forth Estate role where the press would hold the powerful accountable. Instead the corporate media has embraced a new business model where partisan propaganda is the product. This dynamic became turbo-charged after the election of Donald Trump and the efforts to defenestrate him that morphed into Russia-gate when the corporate media and secretive intelligence agencies realized they could lie about everything and suffer zero consequences.

Sometimes it seems like the only option is to wait for the Ponzi scheme to collapse. The anarchist side of me would enjoy watching this thing burn to the ground. However, I recognize that scenario means incredible suffering and a huge loss of life because these sorts of affairs don’t usually result in a Hollywood happy ending.

One clear advantage of being fully appraised of our dim situation is that you can tune out advertisements for products or political candidates that will solve your problems. “Hope and Change”, “Have it your way” and “fine Corinthian leather” are all empty, cynical advertising slogans that will not make your life better.

You are poor because since about 1980, the predominant policy in the US has been to immiserate workers, especially wage workers. This was possible because the New Deal and post-war eras had made workers well enough off that they had some surplus which could then be stolen from them.

We spend all of our resources on war because our leaders are sociopaths who seek to maintain the US empire in order to rule the world. Here’s a thought. Maybe the reason why the entire political/media/deep-state establishment was so obsessed with getting rid of Trump was because if Trump was still President, then he would never have given the go ahead for the US proxy war against Russia in Ukraine? 

Global weirding is accelerating because it’s profitable to regard the natural world as a resource that is inexhaustible.


I have a feeling that we’re getting close to the point where they are going to cease with the psych-ops and go full on authoritarian. Lately you can see that’s where we’re headed. It’s like Frank Zappa said: “The illusion of freedom will continue as long as it’s profitable to continue the illusion. At the point where the illusion becomes too expensive to maintain, they will just take down the scenery, they will pull back the curtains, they will move the tables and chairs out of the way and you will see the brick wall at the back of the theater.”

It will certainly be the end of the happy American shopping simulation as well as a bunch of other unhealthy illusions. There’s also a good chance radical events will force us to be citizens again instead of consumers. To put it into perspective–it’s evolution. Every species eventually hits a point where it either adapts to extreme situations or goes extinct, and as we accelerate toward nuclear war and the destruction of our biosphere it’s clear that that crucial juncture is right now.

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Pattern Recognition

I just finished reading One Nation Under Blackmail, by Whitney Webb, and the whole FTX thing is making my my spider sense tingle. As an author and internet sleuth I’ve come to recognize patterns of behavior over time. When you investigate a topic, you usually start by identifying these patterns and recognizing names and organizations and dynamics that you’ve seen before in a different context. 

Webb’s book uses the Jeffery Epstein child-sex scandal as a takeoff but is ultimately about the intersection of intelligence, organized crime and finance, with an emphasis on how the US deep state is able to carry out covert operations around the world by using hidden funds derived from the sale of drugs while blackmailing elites. Epstein, a prolific pedophile who was, by all appearances, running a “honeypot” operation on prominent men, was found dead in his US jail cell in 2019. The honeypot operation involved filming these prominent individuals having sex with minors.

Since WWII the US has carried out hundreds of covert operations using terror groups and criminals and paying them with money from drug sales, all largely without the knowledge of the American public, thereby keeping the whole messy business off the books. Drugs and US intelligence are intertwined to such a degree that it’s hard to tell where one ends and the other begins. The War on Drugs was always a dark comedy since the biggest drug lord is the CIA, who infiltrated federal drug law enforcement agencies and commandeered their executive management, intelligence and foreign operations staffs in order to ensure that the flow of drugs continues unimpeded to traffickers and foreign officials in its employ.

To utilize the drug money there has to be ways in which to “launder” it and move it into legitimate banks and businesses, and this is where the intersection of finance comes in. The dirty little secret is that many respectable banks, hedge funds and other financial institutions depend on money derived from criminal activities. For instance after the Wall Street Crash in 2008 many of the most respected financial firms stayed solvent through drug and other criminal proceeds.

It appears that the crash of FTX is exposing another angle in the deep state’s  ongoing operations–where crypto currencies are the tool of choice to fund US backed terror groups. Crypto currencies have also become a favorite of drug cartels, which, according to some journalists, are deeply intertwined with U.S. three-letter agencies, including the CIA. The reason is pretty simple. Crypto allows easy money laundering. Banks keep track of everyone who has an account and where they send their money, allowing law enforcement agencies to track transactions by criminals. Crypto’s like Tether Holdings checks the identity of people who buy coins directly from the company, but once the currency is out in the world, it can be transferred anonymously, just by sending a code. An intelligence agency or drug lord can hold millions of crypto in a digital wallet and send it to a terrorist without anyone knowing.

While mainstream media pored over the details of Bankman-Fried’s gargantuan crypto scam, not one single major outlet has investigated or even acknowledged FTX’s relationship with the government of Ukraine. There has been considerable speculation that the unregulated and unmonitored flow of billions of dollars of US taxpayer provided money through Ukraine’s notoriously corrupt government provided a perfect mechanism for large scale money laundering. 

Were client holdings unaccountably and illegally funneled into the West’s proxy war? Or did the supposed aid FTX sent to Kiev find its way into the hands of Ukrainian scammers, corrupt warlords and illicit actors? The corporate media’s failure to explore these questions appears all the more perverse given Bankman-Fried’s flamboyant promotion of his intimate financial relationship with the government of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Then there’s the fact that in 2022 alone, Bankman-Fried lavished almost $40 million on Democratic candidates, campaigns, and PACs. The giving spree made him the second-largest individual donor to Democratic causes, behind liberal venture capitalist George Soros. 

So now, a politically connected crypto-billionaire who used a secret financial “back door” to fleece customers of ungodly sums of money has become the latest character in the saga of shady US aid to Ukraine. And though the collapse of his FTX firm is front page news, mainstream outlets are studiously avoiding the Ukraine angle. How does this scenario sound? Democrats vote to send funds to Ukraine, Ukraine invests in FTX, FTX cryptocurrency was funneled back to the same Democrats. Profit.

If FTX was indeed laundering funds for the proxy war in Ukraine, the slightest indication that regulators were investigating its operations would have triggered alarm bells throughout Washington – and by extension, Kiev. This may be why the Ukrainian government switched the Aid for Ukraine webpage with a dedicated website, and scrubbed the original entirely from the internet just days after the announcement.

The US maintains a textbook deep state, where intelligence, organized crime and finance freely commingle. This dynamic is why the whole Jeffery Epstein saga had to be about a pair of rogue sex fiends rather than a larger story about Epstein and Maxwell’s ties to intelligence. And why, ultimately, the FTX saga will turn out to be nothing more than some 20 year old drug-addled business incompetents who ran a Ponzi scheme.

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One of the most widespread and stubbornly pervasive myths told about US multi-party “representative democracy” is that the elected officials are accountable to the people. 

After the criminal invasion of Iraq we were told that the public will pass judgment on each of them. That the people who started the Iraq war have paid and will pay a political price. The US White House and Congress concocted and promulgated hundreds of enormous lies to justify the invasion and destruction of an innocent country, killing perhaps a million civilians–most of whom were women and children–while formally establishing the most evil torture regime in our history.

How did that whole accountability thing turn out?

Bush and his merry band have been rehabilitated thanks in large part to the election of Donald Trump where subsequently W. became a hero of the Resistance because he expressed misgivings about the interloper. And now war criminal George W Bush and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will be appearing at an event next week at the George W. Bush Presidential Center, in partnership with US government-funded narrative management operations Freedom House and National Endowment for Democracy.

Then there’s the Great Wall Street rip-off. With the 2008 financial collapse, the US government conspired with domestic and foreign bankers to perpetrate what was surely one of the greatest and most fraudulent thefts in history, and all members of both groups remained in power and were handsomely rewarded for their crimes while fully half of the nation’s middle class evaporated into the lower class and is now living on food stamps in a van down by the river.

Isn’t it wonderful how we hold our elite accountable?

Still, grifters gotta grift.

The sad truth of it is that in the US elected representatives are accountable to no one except their campaign funders. But certainly not to you and I. Our dear leaders have grown accustomed to being unaccountable and their main concern is grifting, as the US proxy war against Russia in Ukraine demonstrates. The US seems to be waging war in the way that it has become accustomed to as well. Make sure everything happens a long way from home, propagandize like crazy that this is all about “democracy” and peace, get other people to do most of the the dying, send awesome high tech weapons and bully everyone else in the world to be your ally. Create support by throwing money at local “client” leaders, enable the military/industrial/complex to get even richer from open-ended contracts and provide new career opportunities for the officer corps, think tank denizens and politicians. Then let the whole thing go on for ever until you are ready to move on to the next pork barrel opportunity.

Sorry, I meant the next crusade to preserve democracy. 

Let’s not forget the elite response to Covid 19. This YouTube video–How to Hide a Plague: How Elite Capture and Individualism Made Covid Normal, should be required viewing. “The US has experienced among the highest cumulative mortality rates from Covid-19 in the Global North. This lecture will argue that the failures of the US pandemic response were mainly driven by economic elites who used their influence to undermine public health protections. The initial phase of the Covid response was collective, including a massive temporary expansion of the welfare state, but this approach threatened the power of the capitalist class. In response, there was an abandonment of economic interventions followed by a wholesale reframing of the virus as an issue of personal responsibility and individual choice. This lecture will explore how the exertion of elite influence went far beyond lobbying politicians, extending to government bureaucracies and civil society institutions such as news media and schools of public health. This process of constructing a new, deadlier normal holds lessons that can be transferred to climate change and other collective crises of the 21st century.”

All of these calamities have a back story: elites being feted for epic fuck-ups instead of being held accountable, largely due to ideology. For the last 40 years, under the rubric of neoliberalism, both Republicans and Democrats have held this very same theory: regulations and laws only apply to the little people, while the innovators and entrepreneurs that create wealth should be free from such nuisances because their honor and reputation would keep their animal spirits in check.

In An Economic Theory of the Criminal Law, 7th Circuit Judge Richard Posner states that the poor require criminal law to keep them within the confines of the “market.” “The major function of criminal law in a capitalist society is to prevent people from bypassing the system of voluntary, compensated exchange-the “market,” explicit or implicit-in situations where, because transaction costs are low, the market is a more efficient method of allocating resources than forced exchange.”

The flip-side of Posner’s theory was that unlike the poor, the wealthy required only tort law to ensure their proper behavior. “This means that criminal law is designed primarily for the non-affluent; the affluent are kept in line, for the most part, by tort law.” 

What’s become manifestly clear is that the managerial elite of our country are no longer trustworthy. The crimes they’ve gotten away with has only made them bolder and more reckless.

Update: Wow! Even I can’t even make this shit up.

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Remembrance Day

On Veterans Day we’re supposed to support the troops and wave the flag but as a veteran I say fuck that.

It’s the anniversary of the end of WWI, the supposed war to end war, commemorated on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. WWI brought modern industrial warfare from the Third World colonies to Europe and the shock and horror animated a generation of writers and artists who vowed never again. Of course, twenty years later the outbreak of WWII made a mockery of the sentiment.

In the US we celebrate it as Veterans Day but Remembrance Day is observed in the British Commonwealth of Nations. Celebrated since the end of WWI, Remembrance Day actually marks Armistice Day–the day on which the hostilities between the Allies and Germany ceased on the Western Front.

I actually like Remembrance Day. Veterans Day is another one of those PR constructs where instead of remembering the horrors of war and vowing not to repeat our predecessors mistakes we promote more war by pimping out members of our armed forces as useful props. And, as we saw with W. Bush’s administration–support the troops means support for American imperialism.

The American economy revolves around war, with endless conflict being seen as a lucrative business model for weapons manufacturers. Of course, they can’t just come right out and say that they need to slaughter a bunch of people in order to create value for shareholders, hence the need for advertising, PR and propaganda.

Since February 2022, we have been living through the worst propaganda campaign in my lifetime over the conflict in Ukraine. You can see this dynamic where in the post Russia-gate era, MSNBC-watching Democrats have been conditioned to promote confrontation with the Kremlin and dismiss political opponents as “pro-Putin” traitors. There is no room for even the mildest of dissent. For American imperialists, the answer is clear: a call for diplomacy with Russia is “appeasement” (Bill Kristol) and “appalling” (Max Boot). Taking these neoconservative naysayers’ side was none other than the former Democratic “Revolution” leader Bernie Sanders, who declared his opposition to any resolution to the conflict in Ukraine.

Give peace a chance? Hardly.

Republicans have historically been the more bellicose party but since the 2016 election of Donald Trump, Democrats have embraced fantasies about anything to do with Russia: a Manchurian, Kompromat-compromised president and the hope that Robert Mueller will prove it; Russian bots swinging elections and fueling anti-racism protests; Russia bounties on US troops in Afghanistan; Russian microwave weapons injuring US officials; Russia fabricating Hunter Biden’s laptop. Accordingly, Democrats have also embraced the national security state officials behind these deceptions, and the Cold Warrior outlook that guides them.

However, if you think Republicans, if they take over the House or Senate, will be anti-war, despite presumed new Speaker of the House, Kevin McCarthy statements about oversight in Ukraine, I have a bridge I’d like to sell you.

Instead, what members of both parties are going to do is to push for more weapons and more provocations, while talking about prosecuting President Putin at the ICC. They’re pushing policy recommendations that would plainly necessitate regime change in Russia but won’t admit it because the insanity of the proposition is self-evident. The wishes of the American people have nothing to do with such foreign policy decisions and their needs are routinely dismissed. The wisdom of spending trillions of dollars to overturn elections, invade foreign countries, kill disfavored people abroad, and build a police and surveillance state at home is rarely discussed.

The end of the Cold War gave hope that America could come home and we could be at peace. Rather than war we could put the vast resources to use on health care, education and public infrastructure. But for the military/industrial/complex (MIC) the idea of peace was horrifying and instead we got a war on drugs, a war on terror and now a new and improved Cold War against Russia and China.

The real problem for our country is that both parties are controlled to a large extent by the MIC, and to continue to prosper they and their financiers depended on a steady supply of enemies, existential threats and fear. Meanwhile, the MIC and their political sock-puppets have become diabolically gifted at selling war. The RAND Corporation, an influential member of the military industrial complex, published a report in 2008 advocating war against a major power as a way to stimulate the U.S. economy. The report did not specify the target, but at the time the main candidates were thought to be Iran, Russia, or China. Accordingly, the media and public relations industry close to the MIC launched a subtle marketing campaign to generate public consent for this new and improved idea.

Sometimes it’s not particularly subtle.

On this Remembrance Day we ought to remember how it is that the war to end war was just the beginning.

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