The archive is catalogued by 'Economics', 'Politics', 'Mockingbird', 'And in other news' and 'Thoughts on other things' 

MarkGB 

"Who controls the food supply controls the people; who controls the energy can control whole continents; who controls money can control the world" - Henry Kissinger

and yet...

"Sooner or later everyone sits down to a banquet of consequences" – Robert Louis Stevenson

The insidious nature of power

Originally published by Renegade Inc on 9th September 2017:

https://renegadeinc.com/insidious-nature-of-power/

“The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which” – George Orwell, ‘Animal Farm’

There have been several theories about the political ‘creed’ of George Orwell since he wrote those words.  The year was 1945 and WW2 was drawing to a close. Undoubtedly the tale was a scathing indictment of authoritarian communism and a caution about the rise of the Soviet Union; but at a fundamental level, Orwell’s metaphor is a warning about the insidious nature of ‘power’ itself. He repeated this warning in his final book ‘1984’, written three years later.  The message is as important now as it was then.

Our problems will not be solved by the victory of one party over another, or of one ‘ism’ over another - they are systemic: they arise from the centralisation of power and money in the hands of unaccountable vested interests, both governmental and corporate. Changing the lawmakers from ‘conservatives’ to ‘liberals’ or ‘liberals’ to ‘socialists’, or back the other way…without reforming how the laws are made…is like asking the orchestra to play a happy tune whilst the ship goes down. We need fundamental reform of the political and monetary system itself.

To fix this we need to address how we think. For those unable to think about complex issues without over-simplifying them with ‘labels’ such as ‘fascist’ and ‘anarchist’, any idea that challenges their particular variety of group hypnosis can be conveniently dismissed as leftist, rightist, pacifist, racist, ageist, sexist or ‘whateverist’…depending on the habitual ‘lens’ being looked through.

Through this blinkered thinking process we end up with a narrative that ‘analyses’ away each and every misdeed committed by ‘us’, and condemns each and every action committed by ‘them’ – both domestically and geo-politically:

- We can attack our opponents for ‘cronyism’, whilst loading up the pork barrel for our own ‘contributors’ without a trace of chagrin

- We can claim to be free marketers whilst trying to put our competitors out of business through government sanctioned ‘protections’

- We can ban speakers whose ideas offend us one day, and preach ‘tolerance’ and ‘diversity’ the next

- Our jihadists are ‘moderate rebels’, theirs are ‘terrorists’

- Ours are wars of liberation and democracy, theirs are wars of tyranny and territorial acquisition

- Our military build-ups are ‘exercises’, theirs are ‘dress rehearsals’

- Our media offers impartial ‘analysis’, theirs produces ‘fake news’ and ‘propaganda’

- We can rig other people’s elections with denial and impunity, but woe betide the Russians for not rigging one of ours

The irony bypass that such delusional thinking requires of its mental slaves has recently reached a pinnacle with cries of ‘Russian meddling’ that were first heard three days before Wikileaks released the DNC emails. I.E. When it became apparent that the Democrats’ attempted ‘coronation’ of Hillary had been rumbled, and a diversion was needed.

I could fill an aircraft hangar with examples of this bullshit…but I’m sure you can think of your own. Any intelligent life form observing this from space would conclude that we are experts at creating hallucinatory ‘differences’, but almost totally incapable of interacting with the real kind…and, not to put too fine a point on it…would probably bugger off somewhere else looking for an intelligent species to say ‘hi’ to.

Apart from the utter futility of dualistic thinking – I.E. it has never changed anything fundamentally, because it cements the problem – it also provides a useful distraction from the systemic issues that need to be addressed, and the vested interests that feed off them - organisations and individuals that for decades haven’t had to lose too much sleep whichever bozo happened to be in the White House…because they already owned them.

Whatever you think of Donald Trump, and I wouldn’t let him walk my dog, his election has brought into stark relief just how corrupt the system is, and just how frightened the ‘permanent’ members of the power grid are at the mere suggestion that he might upset the apple cart. This isn’t just coming from a few guys fearful of losing their place at the trough; this is about fear for the survival of the system itself. 

What do you think would happen if the truth came out about the ‘deals’ that took place during the financial crash for example? I can tell you what would happen – disembowelment of the Federal Reserve followed by months of Senate hearings televised on C-Span (if they could still find an honest Senator), followed by the delightful scene of charlatans like Paulson & Blankfein along with stooges like Geithner & Bernanke being led away to a federal hotel dressed in orange pyjamas. And that would be the tip of the iceberg – imagine how the corporate bean-counters at Halliburton and Lockheed Martin felt when Trump started talking about ‘draining the swamp’, and ‘an end to foreign interventions’…

Now…I am not suggesting that Trump will do those things. If he ever had any intention of doing them, it’s too late – they’ve got him. They’ve had him since the day they cornered him into firing Mike Flynn for ‘failure to inform VP Pence he’d been talking to the Russians’…what a crock…but I digress. That was game over for Trump – he was bagged & tagged. This was shortly followed by a false flag ‘retaliation’ and 59 tomahawks headed for a Syrian airbase. ‘The message from the neocons was clear: ’Very good Sir, that was very presidential…now just carry on like that and you might make it to 2020’

The press reached an orgiastic climax, led by the moronic Brian Williams at MSNBC, who was moved to abuse the memory of Leonard Cohen as he claimed to be ‘guided by the beauty of our weapons’. Even CNN suspended the Trump baiting for at least ten minutes.  But none of that would change anything…for Trump, for the US, or for the world.

With an insecure narcissist in the Oval Office being attacked on all sides except by his ‘generals’…with Mike Pence, a God-fearing neoconservative stooge ready to take over should Mueller dig up something they can impeach Trump with…with Netanyahu under investigation for corruption at home, embarked on his latest quest to convince the world that Iran is months away from a nuclear bomb (he told Congress they were 5 years away in 1997 so clearly they’re not as keen as he suggests)…this is an extremely dangerous time. Oh yes…I forgot North Korea.

If that weren’t enough, with a growing amount of civil unrest on the streets of the US, and the increasing quantities of money being raised to organise it…civil war is also a distinct possibility.

But even civil war is not THE danger in my view. THE danger is that a civil war focuses our eyes on the symptoms, and takes our attention away from addressing the disease - the system itself.

A war between left and right, Antifa and fascists, anarchists and racists – whatever crude labels the combatants or the media put on it - will achieve little, other than creating the perfect conditions for the government to clamp down on dissent, restrict free speech, control free movement, and introduce ‘temporary’ security measures.  Governmental measures are rarely ‘temporary’ - remember the Patriot Act of 2001?  How about the Patriot Sunsets Extension Act of 2011, or the US Freedom Act of 2015?

In short, the process of increased state control is ongoing: the government has been militarising the police with Pentagon cast-offs for over a decade. And now this from ‘Politico’:

“Federal authorities have been warning state and local officials since early 2016 that leftist extremists known as “Antifa” had become increasingly confrontational and dangerous, so much so that the Department of Homeland Security formally classified their activities as “domestic terrorist violence,” according to interviews and confidential law enforcement documents obtained by Politico…

…Everybody is wondering, 'what are we gonna do? How are we gonna deal with this?'” said the senior state law enforcement official. “Every time they have one of these protests where both sides are bringing guns, there are sphincters tightening in my world. Emotions get high, and fingers get twitchy on the trigger”

http://www.politico.com/story/2017/09/01/antifa-charlottesville-violence-fbi-242235

As they say in Texas: ‘This ain’t my first rodeo’…many of us can guess how they’re ‘gonna deal with this’.

So…where does that leave us? Underpinning all this mess - the financial crisis, the endless foreign wars, and the growing civil unrest, sits a debt-based monetary system that, one way or another, will not stand.  It has to be reformed, and it will be reformed - that much is certain. When and by whom, is not.

Civil war, or the threat of it, provides the chaos (AKA cover) needed for governments and their cronies to refashion and reboot the system - in a fashion that suits the same vested interests as the system supposedly being ‘reformed’ I.E. bankers, politicians, global corporates and the military industrial complex.

So here’s a question for you (the royal ‘you’):

Would you like to have a say in whatever replaces our corrupt monetary system…or would you prefer to concentrate your efforts on fighting the opposing ‘ism’ while the real villains stitch you up again?

The naïve may think that the billionaire ‘philanthropists’ who provide funds for people to show up at ‘political protests’ - folks such as George Soros and the Koch Brothers - have an ideological blueprint for a sane and compassionate world, they may even believe that those folks care about them personally…but here’s a newsflash…they don’t. Here’s another one: when the riots start and the government cracks down…there will be no violence, no tear gas, and no asset seizures in the little old gated communities where those folks live.

I do not claim to have all the answers to what a new system should look like, but I do claim the following without any reservation whatsoever:

Reform of the monetary system will achieve nothing fundamental unless it is accompanied by political reform that addresses the distribution of political power – away from corporate elites, permanent bureaucrats and professional politicians – towards term-limited representatives of the people that elected them.

Or, to put it less politely:

If we leave the politics unreformed, we can expect absolutely nothing to change, as professional insiders like John ‘Neocon Poster Boy’ McCain & Chuck ‘I’m hot for the CIA’ Schumer are gradually replaced by the next generation of ‘stiffs’ in a long line of vacuous stooges, just aching to lick the hand that feeds them.

The following are ten systemic issues that I believe need to be addressed, whomsoever sits in the Oval Office. This is more than changing the way we create money – this is about a long overdue conversation about the role and scope of government

I have drawn these ideas from a variety of sources, such as the work of Steve Keen and Martin Armstrong.  They are suggestions for further debate, but having said that, they reflect my current and personal view of the reforms that are needed.

a) Monetary Reform

1. Reform the way the government raises its finances, removing the power of the Primary Dealer Banks to control government through the sale of its debt.

At the moment:

- Every penny that the government spends is born as debt, waved into existence by banks, whose sole purpose in life is to skim a slice off the top

- The government takes a slice off the top of everything you and I produce and then does the following: a) Pays interest back to the banks…b) Spends huge quantities on stuff that we have absolutely no interest in paying for - in my case foreign interventions and pork barrel schemes that reward corporations & the politicians who fix them in exchange for ‘campaign contributions’, and…c) Borrows even more money from the banks because taxes are never sufficient to cover a) and b)…and never will be…and so the cycle continues

Doesn’t that sound like the perfect scam if you’re a banker, a politician or a corporation with the funds to bribe your way to the Promised Land of eternal milk and honey? Personally, I think it makes the Gambino family look like a bunch of amateurs.

This system will collapse through the weight of it’s own corrupt nature. The radical reform that is required will not come from the banks or the politicians for the simple reason that turkeys do not vote for Christmas. Neither will it come from the Federal Reserve, which is not Federal, has no reserves, and just in case anyone is still in doubt - doesn't work for you. It works for the banks.

Neither apparently will it come from the majority of mainstream economists who appear to be either ignorant about their own subject, or complicit with the scam.  I say this because, as Steve Keen points out, they use models of the economy that do not include money or banking or debt, and talk as if banks act as intermediaries who take money from savers and lend it to borrowers.  They don’t – they literally wave money into existence through the magic of double entry bookkeeping. In the world I come from and have recently retired from – running a business – such a commitment to stubborn ignorance or calculated denial is frequently rewarded by bankruptcy or unemployment.

I think we should have much more debate about this. This piece is meant to help stimulate that. Personally, I believe that radical monetary reform is required but must also be accompanied by structural reforms to the political system.

2. Reinstate Glass-Steagall - put a wall between deposits and all forms of investment banking and 'casino' type activities.  Lending would be returned to the ‘relationship’ model where banks have skin in the game, away from the ‘transactional’ model – where they package up the crap, dice it, slice it, and sell it on 

3. Break up the TB2F banks – if you are too big to fail, you are too big to exist. Complete the job that creative destruction started before Bernanke and Paulson panicked and threw Main Street under the bus in order to save Wall Street

4. Scrap the micro-management regulations, such as Dodd Frank, which were created in an attempt to replace ‘consequences’ with ‘policing’.  If you get the consequential framework right (AKA 'the rule of law'), you do not need thousands of pages of control-freakiness. The deal needs to be: “If you go down, you go down. If you break the law, you go to jail. No more bailouts, no more moral hazard, no more bribes disguised as fines"

5. Abolish the Federal Reserve. Replace it with an organisation that reflects the Fed’s original mandate – a lender of last resort to commercial banks only - against sound commercial paper, at interest rates marked to market, not fantasy. No more back-door monetisation of sovereign debt. The new organisation should be ‘owned’ by the people, and should be answerable to a the reformed Congress (see below) – not the banks

b) Political Reform

1. Introduce Congressional term limits – i.e. abolish ‘professional politicians’ & jobs for life. Reform gerrymandered boundaries

2. Clean up campaign finance and the cess pit on K Street

3. Bring the resolution of financial crime out from the ‘boys club’ of ‘fines’ it has descended into, and place it back where it belongs – in the criminal justice system. In that respect the Justice Secretary and the Attorney General also need to clean up the court system in places like New York, which is rotten to the core, and rarely, if ever, rules against the banks

4. Close the revolving doors that exist between government regulators, the ratings agencies, and the banks (do the same with the Pentagon and the ‘defence’ industry)

5. Bring the CIA and the other ‘intelligence’ agencies under the control of Congress. The CIA was set-up under the National Security Act of 1947, accountable only to the President of the United States through the National Security Agency, a decision President Truman later regretted:

“There is something about the way the CIA has been functioning that is casting a shadow on our historic position (of freedom) and I feel we need to correct it” – Harry Truman, the Washington Post, December 22nd 1963

Congressional oversight is the only way to protect citizens’ rights, control the federal budget, and maintain sovereignty over foreign interventions.  The CIA has a long history of activities that contravene the bill of rights and international law.  If the US is serious about co-existing in ‘a community of free nations’, it needs to put its money where its mouth is. The CIA needs to be brought to heel, and if that proves to be impossible, it should be abolished.

I’m sure there’s more…but that’s a start. Finally - if anyone really thinks that tinkering with the monetary system, beating up a few fascists, or throwing Trump out of the White House, will get us through the mess that we are in…they should seriously consider asking the doctor to change their medication.

Orwell didn’t say this, but I’m pretty sure he’d agree:

“When government fears the people there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny” – Thomas Jefferson

In case you missed it - w/e 15th September 2017

The FT sheds its crocodile tears for Yemen