Wednesday, August 23, 2017

X22 Report, “The Old Economy Is Giving Way To A New Economic System”

X22 Report, “The Old Economy Is Giving Way To A New Economic System”

Musical Interlude: 2002, “Oceans of Life”

2002 (Pamela and Randy Copus), “Oceans of Life”

"A Look to the Heavens"

"Beautiful Nebula discovered between the Balance [Libra] & the Serpent [Serpens] ..." begins the description of the 5th entry in 18th century astronomer Charles Messier's famous catalog of nebulae and star clusters. 
Click image for larger size.
Though it appeared to Messier to be fuzzy and round and without stars, Messier 5 (M5) is now known to be a globular star cluster, 100,000 stars or more, bound by gravity and packed into a region around 165 light-years in diameter. It lies some 25,000 light-years away. Roaming the halo of our galaxy, globular star clusters are ancient members of the Milky Way. M5 is one of the oldest globulars, its stars estimated to be nearly 13 billion years old. The beautiful star cluster is a popular target for earthbound telescopes. Even close to its dense core, the cluster's red and blue giant stars stand out with yellowish and blue hues in this sharp color image.”

Chet Raymo, “The Cosmography of Myself”

“The Cosmography of Myself”
by Chet Raymo

“It was a common conceit of the Middle Ages and Renaissance to think of the human self– body and soul– as a microcosm, a little world made cunningly of elements and an angel-like sprite, a miniature version of the macroscosm, the universe. So-called "correspondences" linked the microcosm and the macrocosm. For example, each of the seven holes in the human head corresponded to a celestial body- Sun, Moon, or one of the five known planets. Astrology articulated a vast system of correspondences between the peregrinations of stars and human life.

In his book “Religio Medici,” Sir Thomas Brown gave full homage to the microcosm: “I could never content my contemplation with those general pieces of wonder, the Flux and reflux of the Sea, the increase of the Nile, the conversion of the Needle to the North; and having studied to match and parallel those in the more obvious and neglected pieces of Nature which without further travel I can do in the Cosmography of myself. We carry with us the wonders we seek without us: there is all Africa and her prodigies in us; we are that bold and adventurous piece of Nature, which he that studies wisely learns in a compendium what others labour at in a divided piece and endless volume.”

We are inclined these days to dismiss the idea of the microcosm as a quaint superstition, but it was not such a conceit after all. In a very real way, we contain within ourselves "all Africa and her prodigies." The DNA in every cell of our bodies recapitulates 4 billion years of evolution of life on Earth. I share anatomical identities and biochemistry with African elephants and giraffes, 98 percent of my DNA with chimpanzees. My body is a biosystem for bacteria as lush and teeming as the African veldt.

More, every elemental atom in my body, except hydrogen, was forged in a star that lived and died before the Earth was born. We are the very stuff of stars, the detritus of the big bang, the residue of cosmic burning. We are indeed compendiums. The flux and reflux of the sea echoes in our monthly cycles. The conversion of the needle to the north guides the migration of birds. The Sun controls the increase of the Nile and our diurnal cycles of sleep and wakefulness. The Curiosity rover on Mars, 160 million miles away, churns up with its wheels the dust of the Sahara.”


"The world is getting to be such a dangerous place,
a man is lucky to get out of it alive."
- W. C. Fields

"Conspiracy Theorists"

"Conspiracy Theorists"
In 1967, the CIA Created the Label "Conspiracy Theorists", 
And Ways to Attack Anyone Who Challenges the "Official" Narrative
By George Washington

"Conspiracy Theorists USED TO Be Accepted As Normal: Democracy and free market capitalism were founded on conspiracy theories. The Magna Carta, the Constitution and Declaration of Independence and other  founding Western documents were based on conspiracy theories. Greek democracy and free market capitalism were also based on conspiracy theories. But those were the bad old days …Things have now changed.

That all changed in the 1960s. Specifically, in April 1967, the CIA wrote a dispatch which coined the term “conspiracy theories” and recommended methods for discrediting such theories.  The dispatch was marked “psych” –  short for “psychological operations” or disinformation –  and “CS” for the CIA’s “Clandestine Services” unit. The dispatch was produced in responses to a Freedom of Information Act request by the New York Times in 1976. The dispatch states:

"2. This trend of opinion is a matter of concern to the U.S. government, including our organization. The aim of this dispatch is to provide material countering and discrediting the claims of the conspiracy theorists, so as to inhibit the circulation of such claims in other countries. Background information is supplied in a classified section and in a number of unclassified attachments.

3. Action. We do not recommend that discussion of the [conspiracy] question be initiated where it is not already taking place. Where discussion is active addresses are requested:
a. To discuss the publicity problem with and friendly elite contacts (especially politicians and editors) , pointing out that the [official investigation of the relevant event] made as thorough an investigation as humanly possible, that the charges of the critics are without serious foundation, and that further speculative discussion only plays into the hands of the opposition. Point out also that parts of the conspiracy talk appear to be deliberately generated by propagandists. Urge them to use their influence to discourage unfounded and irresponsible speculation.
b. To employ propaganda assets to and refute the attacks of the critics. Book reviews and feature articles are particularly appropriate for this purpose. The unclassified attachments to this guidance should provide useful background material for passing to assets. Our ploy should point out, as applicable, that the critics are (I) wedded to theories adopted before the evidence was in, (II) politically interested, (III) financially interested, (IV) hasty and inaccurate in their research, or (V) infatuated with their own theories.

4. In private to media discussions not directed at any particular writer, or in attacking publications which may be yet forthcoming, the following arguments should be useful:
a. No significant new evidence has emerged which the Commission did not consider.
b. Critics usually overvalue particular items and ignore others. They tend to place more emphasis on the recollections of individual witnesses (which are less reliable and more divergent–and hence offer more hand-holds for criticism) …
c. Conspiracy on the large scale often suggested would be impossible to conceal in the United States, esp. since informants could expect to receive large royalties, etc.
d. Critics have often been enticed by a form of intellectual pride: they light on some theory and fall in love with it; they also scoff at the Commission because it did not always answer every question with a flat decision one way or the other. 
f. As to charges that the Commission’s report was a rush job, it emerged three months after the deadline originally set. But to the degree that the Commission tried to speed up its reporting, this was largely due to the pressure of irresponsible speculation already appearing, in some cases coming from the same critics who, refusing to admit their errors, are now putting out new criticisms.
g. Such vague accusations as that “more than ten people have died mysteriously” can always be explained in some natural way ….

5. Where possible, counter speculation by encouraging reference to the Commission’s Report itself. Open-minded foreign readers should still be impressed by the care, thoroughness, objectivity and speed with which the Commission worked. Reviewers of other books might be encouraged to add to their account the idea that, checking back with the report itself, they found it far superior to the work of its critics."

Summarizing the tactics which the CIA dispatch recommended:

• Claim that it would be impossible for so many people would keep quiet about such a big conspiracy.
• Have people friendly to the CIA attack the claims, and point back to “official” reports.
• Claim that eyewitness testimony is unreliable.
• Claim that this is all old news, as “no significant new evidence has emerged”.
• Ignore conspiracy claims unless discussion about them is already too active.
• Claim that it’s irresponsible to speculate.
• Accuse theorists of being wedded to and infatuated with their theories.
• Accuse theorists of being politically motivated.
• Accuse theorists of having financial interests in promoting conspiracy theories.

In other words, the CIA’s clandestine services unit created the arguments for attacking conspiracy theories as unreliable in the 1960s as part of its psychological warfare operations.

But Aren’t Conspiracy Theories– In Fact– Nuts? Forget Western history and CIA dispatches… aren’t conspiracy theorists nutty? In fact, conspiracies are so common that judges are trained to look at conspiracy allegations as just another legal claim to be disproven or proven based on the specific evidence: Federal and all 50 state’s codes include specific statutes addressing conspiracy, and providing the punishment for people who commit conspiracies.

But let’s examine what the people trained to weigh evidence and reach conclusions think about “conspiracies”. Let’s look at what American judges think. Searching Westlaw, one of the 2 primary legal research networks which attorneys and judges use to research the law, I searched for court decisions including the word “Conspiracy”. This is such a common term in lawsuits that it overwhelmed Westlaw. Specifically, I got the following message: “Your query has been intercepted because it may retrieve a large number of documents.” From experience, I know that this means that there were potentially millions or many hundreds of thousands of cases which use the term. There were so many cases, that Westlaw could not even start processing the request.

So I searched again, using the phrase “Guilty of Conspiracy”. I hoped that this would not only narrow my search sufficiently that Westlaw could handle it, but would give me cases where the judge actually found the defendant guilty of a conspiracy. This pulled up exactly 10,000 cases — which is the maximum number of results which Westlaw can give at one time. In other words, there were more than 10,000 cases using the phrase “Guilty of Conspiracy” (maybe there’s a way to change my settings to get more than 10,000 results, but I haven’t found it yet).

Moreover, as any attorney can confirm, usually only appeal court decisions are published in the Westlaw database. In other words, trial court decisions are rarely published; the only decisions normally published are those of the courts which hear appeals of the trial. Because only a very small fraction of the cases which go to trial are appealed, this logically means that the number of guilty verdicts in conspiracy cases at trial must be much, much larger than 10,000.

Moreover, “Guilty of Conspiracy” is only one of many possible search phrases to use to find cases where the defendant was found guilty of a lawsuit for conspiracy. Searching on Google, I got 3,170,000 results (as of yesterday) under the term “Guilty of Conspiracy”, 669,000 results for the search term “Convictions for Conspiracy”, and 743,000 results for “Convicted for Conspiracy”. Of course, many types of conspiracies are called other things altogether. For example, a long-accepted legal doctrine makes it illegal for two or more companies to conspire to fix prices, which is called “Price Fixing” (1,180,000 results).

Given the above, I would extrapolate that there have been hundreds of thousands of convictions for criminal or civil conspiracy in the United States. Finally, many crimes go unreported or unsolved, and the perpetrators are never caught. Therefore, the actual number of conspiracies committed in the U.S. must be even higher. In other words, conspiracies are committed all the time in the U.S., and many of the conspirators are caught and found guilty by American courts. Remember, Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme was a conspiracy theory.

Indeed, conspiracy is a very well-recognized crime in American law, taught to every first-year law school student as part of their basic curriculum. Telling a judge that someone has a “conspiracy theory” would be like telling him that someone is claiming that he trespassed on their property, or committed assault, or stole his car. It is a fundamental legal concept.

Obviously, many conspiracy allegations are false (if you see a judge at a dinner party, ask him to tell you some of the crazy conspiracy allegations which were made in his court). Obviously, people will either win or lose in court depending on whether or not they can prove their claim with the available evidence. But not all allegations of trespass, assault, or theft are true, either. Proving a claim of conspiracy is no different from proving any other legal claim, and the mere label “conspiracy” is taken no less seriously by judges.

It’s not only Madoff. The heads of Enron were found guilty of conspiracy, as was the head of Adelphia. Numerous lower-level government officials have been found guilty of conspiracy. Time Magazine’s financial columnist Justin Fox writes: "Some financial market conspiracies are real. Most good investigative reporters are conspiracy theorists, by the way." See thisthisthisthis and this.

And what about the NSA and the tech companies that have cooperated with them?

But Our Leaders Wouldn’t Do That: While people might admit that corporate executives and low-level government officials might have engaged in conspiracies– they may be strongly opposed to considering that the wealthiest or most powerful might possibly have done so. But powerful insiders have long admitted to conspiracies. For example, Obama’s Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Cass Sunstein, wrote: "Of course some conspiracy theories, under our definition, have turned out to be true. The Watergate hotel room used by Democratic National Committee was, in fact, bugged by Republican officials, operating at the behest of the White House. In the 1950s, the Central Intelligence Agency did, in fact, administer LSD and related drugs under Project MKULTRA, in an effort to investigate the possibility of “mind control.” Operation Northwoods, a rumored plan by the Department of Defense to simulate acts of terrorism and to blame them on Cuba, really was proposed by high-level officials..."

But Someone Would Have Spilled the Beans: A common defense to people trying sidetrack investigations into potential conspiracies is to say that “someone would have spilled the beans” if there were really a conspiracy. But famed whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg explains: "It is a commonplace that “you can’t keep secrets in Washington” or “in a democracy, no matter how sensitive the secret, you’re likely to read it the next day in the New York Times.” These truisms are flatly false. They are in fact cover stories, ways of flattering and misleading journalists and their readers, part of the process of keeping secrets well. Of course eventually many secrets do get out that wouldn’t in a fully totalitarian society. But the fact is that the overwhelming majority of secrets do not leak to the American public. This is true even when the information withheld is well known to an enemy and when it is clearly essential to the functioning of the congressional war power and to any democratic control of foreign policy. The reality unknown to the public and to most members of Congress and the press is that secrets that would be of the greatest import to many of them can be kept from them reliably for decades by the executive branch, even though they are known to thousands of insiders."

History proves Ellsberg right. For example: One hundred and thirty thousand (130,000) people from the U.S., UK and Canada worked on the Manhattan Project. But it was kept secret for years.
A BBC documentary shows that: "There was a planned coup in the USA in 1933 by a group of right-wing American businessmen. The coup was aimed at toppling President Franklin D Roosevelt with the help of half-a-million war veterans. The plotters, who were alleged to involve some of the most famous families in America, (owners of Heinz, BirdsEye, Goodtea, Maxwell House; George Bush's Grandfather, Prescott) believed that their country should adopt the policies of Hitler and Mussolini to beat the great depression. Moreover, the tycoons told General Butler the American people would accept the new government because they controlled all the newspapers. Have you ever heard of this conspiracy before? It was certainly a very large one. And if the conspirators controlled the newspapers then, how much worse is it today with media consolidation?
• 7 out of the 8 giant, money center banks went bankrupt in the 1980's during the Latin American Crisis, and the government 's response was to cover up their insolvency. That's a cover up lasting several decades. Banks have been involved in systematic criminal behavior, and have manipulated every single market. 
• Governments have been covering up nuclear meltdowns for fifty years to protect the nuclear industry. Governments have colluded to cover up the severity of numerous other environmental accidents. For many years, Texas officials intentionally under-reported the amount of radiation in drinking water to avoid having to report violations.
• The government 's spying on Americans began before 9/11 (confirmed here and here. And see this.) But the public didn t learn about it until many years later. Indeed, the the New York Times delayed the story so that it would not affect the outcome of the 2004 presidential election.
• The decision to launch the Iraq war was made before 9/11. Indeed, former CIA director George Tenet said that the White House wanted to invade Iraq long before 9/11, and inserted deceptions in its justifications for invading Iraq. Former Treasury Secretary Paul O Neill, who sat on the National Security Council, also says that Bush planned the Iraq war before 9/11. And top British officials say that the U.S. discussed Iraq regime change one month after Bush took office. Dick Cheney apparently even made Iraq's oil fields a national security priority before 9/11. And it has now been shown that a handful of people were responsible for willfully ignoring the evidence that Iraq lacked weapons of mass destruction. These facts have only been publicly disclosed recently. Indeed, Tom Brokaw said, "All wars are based on propaganda."  A concerted effort to produce propaganda is a conspiracy.
Moreover, high-level government officials and insiders have admitted to dramatic conspiracies after the fact, including:

The admissions did not occur until many decades after the events.

These examples show that it is possible to keep conspiracies secret for a long time, without anyone “spilling the beans”. In addition, to anyone who knows how covert military operations work, it is obvious that segmentation on a “need-to-know basis”, along with deference to command hierarchy, means that a couple of top dogs can call the shots and most people helping won’t even know the big picture at the time they are participating.

Moreover, those who think that co-conspirators will brag about their deeds forget that people in the military or intelligence or who have huge sums of money on the line can be very disciplined. They are not likely to go to the bar and spill the beans like a down-on-their-luck, second-rate alcoholic robber might do. Finally, people who carry out covert operations may do so for ideological reasons — believing that the “ends justify the means”. Never underestimate the conviction of an ideologue.

Conclusion: The bottom line is that some conspiracy claims are nutty and some are true. Each has to be judged on its own facts. Humans have a tendency to try to explain random events through seeing patterns… that’s how our brains our wired. Therefore, we have to test our theories of connection and causality against the cold, hard facts.

On the other hand, the old saying by Lord Acton is true: "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power tends to corrupt absolutely." Those who operate without checks and balances – and without the disinfectant sunlight of public scrutiny and accountability – tend to act in their own best interests … and the little guy gets hurt.

The early Greeks knew it, as did those who forced the king to sign the Magna Carta, the Founding Fathers and the father of modern economics. We should remember this important tradition of Western civilization.

Postscript: The ridicule of all conspiracy theories is really just an attempt to diffuse criticism of the powerful. The wealthy are not worse than other people, but they are not necessarily better either. Powerful leaders may not be bad people, or they could be sociopaths. We must judge each by his or her actions, and not by preconceived stereotypes that they are all saints acting in our best interest or all scheming criminals."

"Mystery of the Fort Knox Gold"

"Mystery of the Fort Knox Gold"
by Brian Maher

"Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin winged off to Fort Knox Monday. Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell and two House representatives flanked him. Fort Knox is where dottering old Uncle Samuel allegedly stashes half his gold - some 4,582 metric tons, by rights. Mr. Mnuchin became only the third Treasury secretary in history to inspect the Fort Knox gold, and the first since 1948. "I assume the gold is still there," Mnuchin quipped upon his arrival. "It would really be quite a movie if we walked in and there was no gold." No doubt it would.

Monday was also the first time outside visitors were allowed since Congress members inspected the vaults in 1974. But why the visit? And why now? Mr. Mnuchin has never shown great interest in the Midas metal - to the best of our knowledge. Perhaps Mr. Mnuchin was trying to hook a movie script? Or maybe there’s a more compelling reason...

Not everyone is convinced the gold is in Fort Knox. Many believe the government has sold it over the years, secretly. Some even speculate that the Fort Knox “gold” wears false whiskers - that it’s mostly tungsten bars jacketed in golden veneer.

In 2011, former Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) introduced legislation to audit the Treasury’s gold. It was a juiceless pursuit. Government officials sat on him as if he were an enemy of society itself... ‘Of course the gold is there. Do you question the full faith and credit of the United States government?’ Dr. Paul’s bill received no sponsors, and died in its crib.

No one’s taken actual inventory of the gold since 1986. The vaults were sealed shut that year - literally. The Treasury’s inspector general inspects the seals every year. Our agents assure us they haven’t been tampered with. But for the first time since 1986, the seals were broken Monday,  and the vaults thrown open.

What did Mr. Mnuchin and his Inspector Clouseaus find inside? Gold apparently. “The gold is safe,” announced the Treasury secretary, post-inspection. “All I will say is that it is freakishly well secured,” he further assured the American people. Be it so. We’ll have to accept him at his word. He provided no supporting evidence. But again, why the visit, and why now? We can only speculate, of course.

But a potential debt ceiling crisis hovers over Washington. The federal government runs out of cash Sept. 29. It can’t borrow any more unless Congress raises the debt ceiling. That means no money to keep the government in funds. Given Washington’s current... dysfunction, a deal seems a chancy thing. Maybe the man who signs America’s checks verified the gold to instill faith in the government and the coin of the realm. To prove the cupboards are fully stocked against hungry times, and that bills will be paid. What reassures more than 4,582 metric tons of gold?

Again, we speculate. Maybe there’s another reason Mnuchin wanted to make sure the Fort Knox gold was safe under lock and key. Jim Rickards has a bombshell thesis about gold and a potential “dollar reboot” that would reset the international monetary system. And it has to do with the Fort Knox gold. (Get Jim’s take here.)

After you’ve read Jim’s advisory, read on. Jim exposes “the truth about the gold at Fort Knox.” As you’ll see, it’s complicated."

"The Truth About the Fort Knox Gold"
By Jim Rickards

"One of the little-known items on the Fed’s balance sheet is a vital asset it received from the U.S. Treasury a long time ago. During the Great Depression, in 1933, President Roosevelt issued an executive order requiring anyone with gold to surrender it to a Federal Reserve bank or any member bank of the Federal Reserve system. The Federal Reserve banks also required the commercial banks to hand over their gold to the Fed. Now, suddenly, the gold went out of the commercial banks into the Federal Reserve Bank.

But under the Gold Reserve Act of 1934, the Fed was ordered to surrender all its gold to the Treasury Department. All the nation’s gold in effect came under direct government ownership. Now, this is key: The Federal Reserve is actually a private system, while the Treasury is an arm of the U.S. government. And the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution prevents the government from taking private property without just compensation. To get around that legality, the “just compensation” was a gold certificate the Treasury issued to the Fed in exchange for its physical gold. To this day, the Fed carries that gold certificate on its balance sheet.

The Treasury officially values its gold at $42 an ounce. That was the official gold price from 1973, two years after the U.S. abandoned the Bretton Woods system. Of course, the market price of gold today is almost $1,300 an ounce. But if you take the face value of the gold on the Fed balance sheet, divide it by $42 an ounce and then come up with a number of ounces and convert that into tons, it comes out to over 8,000 tons. That’s highly interesting, because that’s how much gold the Treasury currently owns.

The Treasury needs at least 8,000 tons of gold to back up that paper certificate it handed the Fed back in the 1930s to satisfy the Fifth Amendment. If you take the 8,000 tons on the Fed balance sheet in the form of this gold certificate, market to market at $1,300, that mounts to well over $300 billion. So the secret to the Fed’s balance sheet is its “hidden gold asset,” that gold certificate it received from the Treasury in the 1930s. Nobody talks about this or admits it. But our whole system is based on gold.

But what about the gold in Fort Knox? Is it actually there? There is a lot of confusion on this subject.

First off, Fort Knox was built in 1937 partly to house gold that the Treasury was scooping up after the Gold Reserve Act took effect. The gold had been kept it in vaults in the basement of the Treasury. But they ran out of space, so they built Fort Knox to house the gold. Many gold bugs and conspiracy theorists say there is no actual gold in Fort Knox. They say the reason the government will not audit the gold, for example, is because the gold is not there. But the truth is quite the opposite.

If you are the Fed or the Treasury and you want people to think that gold is unimportant - which they do - why would you audit it? You audit things that are important. You do not audit things that are unimportant. If the Fed doesn’t want you to think that gold is important, it follows that they would not audit it. Auditing it pays gold too much respect. I am in favor of an audit, just to be clear. But the fact that the government does not audit the gold does not tell you that the gold is not there. They just do not want you to pay any attention to it.

But is the gold actually in Fort Knox? Let me say it right now: Yes, the gold is there. I actually have some evidence that the gold is there from military sources. Incidentally, most people think all the Treasury gold is in Fort Knox. But that is not correct. A little more than half the gold is at Fort Knox, but the rest is stored at West Point on the Hudson River in New York.

People will occasionally ask me who controls the gold. Is it the Fed or the Treasury? The real answer is neither. The U.S. Army actually controls the gold because both Fort Knox and West Point are Army bases. The Army has it under lock and key. But it technically belongs to the Treasury.

Now, some people like billionaire precious metals trader Eric Sprott argue that the gold could very well be at Fort Knox, but it’s been leased out to commercial banks. And yes, it could very well be leased. But leasing is a paper transaction. It doesn’t mean the government surrenders possession of the gold.

If JP Morgan, for example, leases gold from the U.S. Treasury, it does not mean that they back up a truck in Fort Knox and drive the gold away. There is no need for that. It is just a paper transaction. The gold could be sitting there on a shelf in Fort Knox and still be leased out and unaudited.

Now, once JP Morgan has the gold they will sell it at times 100 to gold investors who think they have bought actual gold. But what they really have is what is called unallocated gold. Unallocated gold is a euphemism for no gold. If you call up JP Morgan and tell them you want to buy a million dollars worth of gold, they’ll agree to it. And they’ll send you a confirmation saying you own a million dollars worth of gold subject to the contract. But if you read the fine print, it says your gold is unallocated. That means they do not claim to have any specific bar with a serial number or your name on it. In reality they have taken the same bar of gold and sold it to 100 different investors.

Now, that’s not a problem unless all 100 parties show up at once and ask for their gold. The first person may get the gold, but the other 99 people are going get their contracts terminated. They will receive a check for the value of gold at the close of business the previous day. But they are not going to get the gold they thought they were buying. That is when you discover that JP Morgan does not have the gold.

The bottom line is that I have seen no proof that the gold is not in Fort Knox; and I have seen proof that the gold is actually there. A lot of it could very well be leased out, and that leads to confusion about whether or not the government actually has the gold. But all the evidence tells me that the gold is in Fort Knox and at West Point. And if you were the United States of America, why would you let the gold out of your sight?"

The Daily "Near You?"

Coppenbrügge, Niedersachsen, Germany.
Thanks for stopping by!

"Our Revels Now Are Ended"

"Our Revels Now Are Ended"

"Our revels now are ended. These our actors, 
As I foretold you, were all spirits and 
Are melted into air, into thin air: 
And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, 
The cloud-capp'd towers, the gorgeous palaces, 
The solemn temples, the great globe itself, 
Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve 
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, 
Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff 
As dreams are made on, and our little life 
Is rounded with a sleep." 

- William Shakespeare, 
"The Tempest", Act 4 Scene 1 

"Above the Infinite Rest"

"Above the Infinite Rest" written by David Bergen.
Featured Painting: "Above the Infinite Rest" by Isaac Levitan, 1891.
Music track: "Surfing the Clouds" from the album "Empty Sky" by Deuter.

Musical Interlude: Deuter, “Uno”

Deuter, “Uno”

"How It Really Is"

"We Have Met The Enemy..."

- Walt Kelly, "Pogo"

"The Imperial Collapse Clock Ticks Closer To Midnight"

"The Imperial Collapse Clock Ticks Closer To Midnight"
by Mike Krieger

"As I noted in last Friday’s piece, "Donald Trump Finally Comes Out of the Closet", the firing of Steve Bannon represents the most significant event to occur during the Trump administration thus far. For the purposes of this piece, it’s important to review some of what I wrote: "Irrespective of what you think of Bannon, him being out means Wall Street and the military-industrial complex is now 100% in control of the Trump administration. Prepare for an escalation of imperial war around the world and an expansion of brutal oligarchy.

The removal of Bannon is the end of even a facade of populism. This is now the Goldman Sachs Presidency with a thin-skinned, unthinking authoritarian as a figurehead. Meanwhile, guess who’s still there in addition to the Goldman executives? Weed obsessed, civil asset forfeiture supporting Jefferson Sessions. The Trump administration just bacame ten times more dangerous than it was before. With the coup successful, Trump no longer needs to be impeached.

Here’s another prediction. Watch the corporate media start to lay off Trump a bit more going forward. Rather than hysterically demonize him for every little thing, corporate media will increasingly give him more of the benefit of the doubt. After all, a Presidency run by Goldman Sachs and generals is exactly what they like. Trump finally came out of the closet as the anti-populist oligarch he is, and the results won’t be pretty."

Of course, his cheerleaders will remain enthusiastically in denial about what’s happened to their hero, but Trump has been totally brought to heel, a fact that’ll become increasingly crystal clear in the months ahead. This is now your standard Wall Street and military-industrial complex run Presidency.

Last night’s announcement of a recommitment to the Afghanistan war is the earliest evidence that Trump has been completely castrated and will now play by status quo rules with little to no friction. This Presidency will very quickly begin to look like the fifth George W. Bush term (Obama was three and four), on every single issue of genuine importance to oligarchs. Wedge cultural issues will continue to be hyped up hysterically by the corporate media since people can’t help themselves from taking the bait. It’s the perfect way to divide and conquer the populace, while pushing through what they really want. Oligarchs could care less about the outcomes of social issues, which is why they intentionally and incessantly hype them up. They’ll do anything to prevent the public from coming together in opposition to war, Wall Street bailouts and elite criminality generally, and the public is very easy to manipulate. The quicker smart Trump voters wise up to what’s happened, the better.

If you haven’t watched Trump’s Afghanistan speech by now you really should. It’s not good enough to read anyone else’s summary, you need to hear it for yourselves. It’s only 25 minutes long. As I started listening, I sensed myself getting angry. It was the same empty, bullshit propaganda I’ve been hearing from U.S. Presidents my entire life. This broken record of disingenuousness has become simply unbearable, and even worse, I know it’s going to work on millions upon millions of Americans. We refuse to think for ourselves, and we refuse to admit the obvious. There will be hell to pay for this ignorance and denial.

Trump begins by explaining to the American public why he made a flip-flop that would make Barack Obama blush. He claims there are three conclusions he came to as a result of his grand introspection and wisdom. Let’s tackle the absurdity of each of them one by one.

First, he says he doesn’t think the U.S. should pull out because “our nation must seek an honorable and enduring outcome.” Let’s revisit a few facts. First, at 16 years old, this is already the longest war in American history. It was a war started after the most deadly terrorist attack on American soil, and near the height the U.S. imperial power. Nevertheless, the war’s been a complete and total failure. It was a failure under Bush, it was a failure under Obama and it will be a failure under Trump. To believe that Trump will usher in an “honorable and enduring outcome” in Afghanistan is to say he will succeed where his predecessors failed merely because…he’s Trump. Not gonna happen.

His second conclusion is that he doesn’t want to repeat what he deems to have been the big mistake made in Iraq; namely, that the U.S. left too soon. This is extremely telling. He doesn’t talk about how the war was based on a gigantic lie pushed by neocons and the “liberal” corporate press from The Washington Post to The New York Times. The biggest mistake in Iraq was starting the war in the first place. If we can’t admit such an obvious lesson from Iraq, of course all the solutions we come up will prove to be failures. The American empire is running on empty, fueled by never-ending insanity and a drive to vacuum in billions exporting weapons. There’s no vision, no wisdom and absolutely no exit strategy.

His third point revolves around how Pakistan has become a growing problem due to its harboring terrorists. He demands a change of course and increased cooperation. Guess which country he didn’t mention? The greatest sponsor of Islamic radicalization the world has ever seen: Saudi Arabia. This once again proves that Trump represents the same old tired thinking that’s been running the U.S. economy and society into the ground for decades. This is now a 100% establishment Presidency, which will be completely defined by establishment thinking. In other words, imperial collapse is coming.

Then towards the end of the speech, Trump says the following: "In every generation we have faced down evil, and we have always prevailed. We prevailed because we know who we are and what we are fighting for."

Unfortunately, here’s the cold hard truth: We have no idea who we are, and we have no idea what we are fighting for. We’ve become the very evil he claims to be fighting against as the nation morphed into a pernicious, destructive, and immoral empire. This is the heart of the problem - we are constantly lying to ourselves. Of course, we’ll never set things on the right track if we can’t diagnose the disease in the first place.

We’ve torched our national treasure and goodwill by running around the world trying to push everybody around, and simultaneously institutionalized a corrupt and predatory neo-feudal society at home. We’ve ignored our own people in a foolish and self-destructive quest to maintain and grow empire and the results will not be pretty. Finally, let’s end with a little something to contemplate:

“Deep State First”

“Deep State First”
by Bill Bonner

"Yesterday, Donald Trump, president of all the Americans, said his country would spend more blood and money trying to force the Afghans to do what it wants them to do, whatever that is. And so…a darkness covered the land.

From Sioux City to Savannah…a shadow passed between Earth and sun. Strange and fearful events were reported. A calf was born with two heads outside of Des Moines. Pomegranate trees flowered in Manhattan. An LGBTQQ+ person wondered ‘WTF?’ The people were sore afraid. Nowhere was the darkness deeper than in the nation’s capital. There, no light shone. No flicker of awareness…observation…learning…or reflection appeared.

Lighting a candle: Donald J Trump had promised to light a candle. But it was nowhere to be seen. Five years ago, he said, ‘Ron Paul is right.’ The Afghanistan adventure was ‘wasting our money.’ It was a ‘total disaster,’ he added. He asked, ‘What are we doing there? These people hate us.’ Then, a year later, he said, ‘We should leave Afghanistan immediately.’

And in his bid for the White House, he had offered something better. ‘America First,’ he called it. Instead of trying, fruitlessly, to build a better country in the Hindu Kush, he would try to build a better country at home! No more losing wars. No more strangling regulations. No more losing deals with the rest of the world. Even from the mouth of Donald Trump, these promises sounded good, good enough to win the nation’s highest office.

Democratic sham: You will recall, the election of Donald J Trump brought controversy to the Diary; many Dear Readers got very cross with us. Today, we back up to look at what the fuss was all about.

In the first place, we believe that democracy, as practiced in a big, degenerate empire, is largely a sham. Voting is a waste of time; we said so then.

In the second place, we thought the Deep State - the few insiders who really run the government - had either already made peace with Mr Trump or would soon do so, after the election.

In the third place, we identified a chief cause of America’s economic malaise (as well as many of its other problems): the fake-money system, which encourages the build-up of debt and enriches Wall Street while reducing the real output and wealth of the Main Street economy.

In the fourth place, this fake-money system is the source of funding for the Deep State. It cannot give it up, no matter who is president. As long as this system remains in place, the Deep State will continue to grow - by legislation, regulation, hook or crook.

In the fifth place, you can’t really build a decent economy on phony money, debt, and forcing win-lose deals on the public. Each day that passes adds more debt, more complexity, and more misallocation of resources. Sooner or later, the whole shebang is going to blow up.

Just hours after the results came in last November, our view looked basically right. The new president gathered in the two most important branches of the Deep State - the Gunmen (representing the military-security industries) and the Goldmen (representing Goldman Sachs and Wall Street). Obviously, a deal had been struck - or tacitly acknowledged. Wall Street and the Pentagon - ‘my generals’ - were already part of the team. With them in place, Trump could be Trump with no fear of disrupting the Deep State’s privileges and position.

‘No…he’s going to shake things up,’ readers protested. ‘He’s our only hope.’ ‘Give him time.’ But time and money are running out.

Ticking clock: Yesterday, under pressure from the generals, Donald Trump abandoned the promise of an ‘America First’ foreign policy. The US has lost 2,350 soldiers in Afghanistan, and spent $1 trillion. And now, even more resources will be brought to bear so that the longest, most pointless war in US history can continue. Trump himself may be in favor of change. But US foreign policy under the Trump administration is the same as it was under Barack Obama. It favors the Deep State’s military-security industries - as it has for at least the last 17 years.

There is no change to Obamacare, or any other significant domestic program, either. The Deep State’s zombie support/medical-educational-retirement transfer programs remain in place, too.

But while Trump and the media focus on Confederate monuments, Russia, North Korea, transsexuals, and whirlwind crises, the clock ticks. The feds have only enough cash for about six weeks of operations. Then, they will bump up against the current debt ceiling. The Deep State must raise the debt ceiling in order to keep the fake money flowing. But raising the debt ceiling may not be easy.

Conservative Republicans will want to know: ‘With the national debt already headed to $30 trillion, just where do we think we’re going?’ ‘We’ll agree to raise the debt ceiling,’ say the liberal Democrats, ‘but only if you leave O’Care alone.’ ‘Hey, what about that bridge in my district?’ asks the independent. And so, the darkness spreads. More to come…”