Anti-fascist?

Taking a look into George Soros:

A very powerful many indeed.

Consider this: if this is the face of anti-fascism, can you perhaps better understand his supposedly fascistic opposition? By that I really mean nationalists whose aim it was to protect their nations from influence by globalists of his sort. People pledging allegiance to their own cultures and histories rather than embracing a globalizing agenda wherein they lose local power and control.

Is it so hard to imagine why people might object to the activities of someone like George Soros? The meddling by his international Open Society Foundations into matters of great consequences to the peoples of these nations? Question: Does Haiti appear better off today after years and years of intervention by Soros and the Clinton Foundation?

Russia and Hungary (the latter being Soros’ own home-country) have in recent times ousted Soros’ foreign-funded NGOs and, as a result, been labeled as backward, “repressive,” “xenophobic parties” and “authoritarian” governments that pose a threat to human rights. Soros has even decided to sue Hungary for their refusal to tolerate his extremely powerful influence there. Does he sound like he’s really in pursuit of upholding human rights when he refuses to allow a nation of people to decide national policies for themselves? In that instance having to do with rejecting the EU’s immigration quota.

I am not a fan of George Soros. Though that doesn’t automatically make me a fan of his opponents either. Partisan politics has never been my bag. But I find it interesting how his organizations have influenced media outlets and encouraged negative reporting against the Koch brothers for donating millions of dollars to colleges while his own Open Society Foundations have donated nearly as many millions (if not more) to institutions of learning (mostly abroad) — though it deserves to be stated that Soros’ main priority has been direct political funding and lobbying efforts, particularly to groups dubbed 527 organizations (less traceable; made publicly known through leaked documents). That’s a supreme bias, which I don’t doubt Soros would dismiss as boiling down to amoral competition among rival camps. Still, it’s interesting to note how dirty he plays in aiming to undermine those he opposes via smear campaigns, casting doubt upon their motives while protecting his own from as much scrutiny.

I say all of this as someone who’s been highly skeptical of the Koch brothers in the past but who now realizes I may have been swayed for the wrong reasons. Perhaps I should take another look into who they are and what they support instead of taking the word of media outlets paid to speak against their efforts.

Though, admittedly, I’m not too cool with this trend of billionaires dumping money into universities in an effort to impact curriculum in their own ideological favor, regardless of which side of the aisle they happen to belong to. Nor was I a supporter of the Citizens United decision for campaign financing. But I suppose these are the times we now live in…

Fascists?

This week a new figure has come across my radar whom I knew little about: Oswald Mosley.

To get a feel for his preaching style back in the day, here’s a portion of a documentary titled “Europeans”:

Relevant portion beginning 1:13:25 in.

I have yet to watch the full documentary, only that end portion. One could dismiss it as propaganda, sure, but that doesn’t drain it of its intensity and prescience. People are attracted to this sort of information precisely because European nations have once again come under siege, this time as a result of their own leaders, adherents to the EU policies, who insist in flooding the land with immigrants from outside cultures, many of whom express no desire to assimilate within these Western cultures. That’s a problem for those who appreciate and wish to protect their heritage, as most humans are wont to do.

That they employed fascism as a means of protecting these cultures historically continues to perplex and upset our modern sensibilities. Which is understandable considering how much propaganda we have been fed in recent decades that denounce such movements as anti-Semitic and barbaric. It’s difficult to argue against what we’ve been taught about the Holocaust as it being anything other than a destructive and dark force. However, I find it helpful to attempt to suspend judgment for a spell and to try to imagine the perspective of Europeans at that point in history. Were they truly little more than blood-thirsty tyrants seeking a scapegoat to blame? That appears to be an uncharitable interpretation of events leading up to one of the worst wars the world had ever known. Why would people be so willing to die for that cause? What were they feeling so threatened by that they’d be willing to lay down their lives to oppose it?

There’s more to the story than we’re typically taught, as is usually the case. The victors write the history books and the opposition are commonly derided as lunatics deserving to be discarded in the waste bins of history. And yet, we’re made aware that the problem has not since been rectified and that people continue to seethe with resentment for how their resistance has been treated and ridiculed and distorted in the decades since. Might be a good time to stop and listen to those we’re so eager to dismiss as “fascists” so as to understand that they too were human beings, not mere monsters bent on the pursuit of power for no purpose — that they too were invested in protecting their cultures and societies against persons and opposing ideologies seeking to overtake them.

What would we do when confronted with forces that threaten to unravel all that we are and have ever been? All of history laid low and diminished, reconstructed in the textbooks with the goal to demonize those who came before in an effort to usher in a new vision for humanity. Nevermind if that new vision is antithetical to what most people actually want and believe in. If it’s packaged nicely enough and sold to us as progressive and bound to improve our lots in life, we buy into it. Foolishly so.

What am I referring to here? What many refer to openly nowadays as the New World Order. It’s not a new concept, though it’s no longer shrouded in secrecy. It’s the goal set by powerful financiers and the like who believe their vision for humanity should be brought to fruition by any means necessary. This goal has been made abundantly clear by now, and it was in the earlier stages of development around the time of the World Wars. People then saw it as a menace just as people now are reawakening to it. And it has been winning.

This is not merely about Europeans of old and their resistance. This issue now extends to include us all, peoples of far-flung nations. Some say it began with the formation of the Federal Reserve system (ushered in finally in 1913 in the U.S. after many prior attempts to do so), though it appears to date back much further than that, though that definitely was a key moment in time worth wrapping one’s mind around. Who all is behind this global initiative and why? That remains a debated topic that there are no clear and easy answers to. Just know that life is incredibly strange and that much of what we’ve been taught is not wholly accurately. In fact, much of it is deliberately skewed so that we might misunderstand the events of the early 20th century and not seek to reanimate them in the present day.

Before we go any further, let’s look at an interview Oswald Mosley did in 1975:

Observe the interviews’ interest in trying his best to paint Mosley as an anti-semite through and through. Despite Mosley explaining that the issue he took was with some Jews, not all, and with Zionism in particular. That’s a tactic still proving popular today, where we’re accused of anti-semitism if we level any criticism at all toward Israel or toward famous and powerful bankers and financiers who happen to be Jewish (like George Soros or the Rothschild dynasty). Even if we critique Israel’s decision to not open its national borders to immigrants while encouraging other nations to do so we’re commonly caricatured as if we’re knuckle-dragging idiots who secretly detest all Jews and who wish to see Israel wiped off the face of the planet. That slippery slope form of argument is all the rage still today and it seeks to place Jewish people uniquely in a category above reproach. This is identity politics, yes, and it achieves its aims through shaming people into staying silent by threatening to label us with the dreaded anti-Semitic epithet.

Why do we fear such epithets? Well, for one, it’s usually unwarranted and inaccurate. But, thinking beyond the box, does it not signal to wider society that we’re despicable persons? That we’re backwards and deserving of having abuse heaped upon us? For a relatively small minority on the planet, Jewish folks (or at least the popular ideology claiming to protect them in recent decades) have garnered immense power when this has become the case in all Western nations. Seriously think about that. We like to imagine we’re simply being protective of this group of people out of respect for historical atrocities that befell them, but is that really all there is to the story? A scratch of the surface demonstrates there’s more to it than that, but we’re strongly discouraged from speaking about it with one another publicly. To do so is to invite being labeled as a “fascist” or a “white supremacist,” with all the negative connotations associated with that. You’re automatically deemed illiberal, primitive and monstrously evil. Why must that be the case?

I personally believe in questioning everything. If someone says a topic is off-limits, I will investigate it out of stubborn rebellion. Because I strongly believe information channels deserve to remain open and that no vein of inquiry should be disallowed in our discussions and research. Because I prize protecting free speech and free thought over fitting in and following the herd. It helps to start off as an unpopular type, freeing you up to remain unpopular since you don’t know what you’re missing. Accusations and labels are par for the course. But that’s not to say such accusations don’t have teeth. Indeed they can. If you’re aiming to work your way up a corporate ladder, you’ll likely choose to keep such thoughts to yourself and to instead parrot what you’ve been instructed to believe is true. Luckily, the corporate world never held much appeal to me and I’m content with remaining relatively poor. There’s freedom in not being bound too tightly into the wider game, allowing more flexibility with fewer concern for consequences. And why should there be consequences to merely speaking words and sharing ideas? To investigating what really happened and why? Because powers-that-be actively discourage that and will try to make an example out of those who step out of line.

Imagine how much power that must entail to exert so much control over people, worldwide. This consideration unto itself demonstrates how entrenched it all is and how far back it spreads. The new normal. For an American to call upon our representatives to curb the amount of money handed over to Israel would spell out political suicide. Even to request greater oversight and accounting there will garner nasty insults and labels from elites and your brainwashed fellow Americans who don’t even know why they support what they do. It’s clear enough that we’ve been thoroughly programmed via our media and politicians to not only accept this way of life but to believe it to be right, beyond question. Beyond scrutiny. Does that not strike any of the rest of you as a bit queer?

We live in strange times that are growing stranger. To stand up against the EU is to be bashed and treated as an ignorant redneck best kept out of serious political conversations. Backwards — they love that word. Why? Because they see their way as the only right way forward. Is it? Well, if the Georgia Guidestones are any indicator I’d say that we’re all being played. In the end very few of us will matter. We’re mostly of value now in that we prove quite effective at keeping one another down.

Is all of this “conspiracy theory” mumbo-jumbo? Some like to paint it as such. And sure, there are plenty of people who will extend these ideas much further and incorporate all sorts of extraneous theories that can’t be proven or that seem so incredibly outlandish as to be little more than distractions. But because some lunatics exist says nothing about whether any and all conspiracies are fiction. Humans conspire. It’s what we do. We collude so as to protect what power we have and/or to acquire more of it. There are powerful persons in the world who operate behind the scenes in pushing agendas that many of us oppose. George Soros and his Open Society Foundation are a clear demonstration of that. It’s not even a secret any longer. And he was there back in the days of WWII, getting his start in first aiding the Nazis…but now look at what he’s up to. Is what he’s pushing today fascism? No. But it is a form of socialism of sorts. I’d argue it’s not truly going to improve the lives of most people and that really he’s sowing seeds of discord among us.

So what do we mean when we refer to fascism? National socialism? Is what we see unfolding in European nations and the U.S. truly nationalistic? No. Not anymore. Mussolini’s famous reference to fascism being little more than a fusion of government and corporations apparently had to do with nationalizing companies and guilds, bringing them under the power and influence of the ruling body of the time. Yet today in America we see major (global) corporations infiltrating and dominating our political system. In other words, the opposite scenario. Are we truly a capitalist nation? No, not since corporatism came on the scene and began dismantling capitalism (the origins of which stem back centuries). Are we a socialist nation? In some respects, arguably we are. Though the push to usher in more immigration and to ignore our borders is distinctly non-nationalistic in nature. Are we ruled by major corporate interests? To an extent, yes. And yet they have no loyalty to America and will abandon us when it proves most profitable to do so.

Is Israel nationalistic? Very much so. Is Israel socialistic?

Is this truly a battle between capitalism and communism playing out on the world stage? Not so much anymore. Dr. Erich Fromm wrote in one of his books about how capitalism and communism exist on the same continuum, whereas communism is what capitalist nations eventually have to look forward to. Not sure if he’s right about that, but it’s an interesting proposition.

I have no answers here. Only countless questions. I won’t guess at what the future holds since unforeseen variables can flip the script. But I do see us being forced to kowtow to narratives that aren’t serving us at present, and it seems a shame that we allow ourselves to be limited in these ways. It’s neither a position belonging on the political Left or Right to acknowledge these facts either. I just know that human life is messy and we should be cautious about accepting the claim that an entire people were monsters with no justification whatsoever for their actions, especially when they’ve otherwise generally proven to be high-minded, creative and well-educated. Such claims do not compute. There’s more to the story than we’re hearing. Question all narratives.

“The Land of my Ancestors” (my thoughts)

Isn’t this how it truly is? Inescapable truth collides with modern lofty idealism.

“Civilized” aspects of our being are always a veneer, something that is cultivated to allow us humans to build and prosper within civilizations. But it doesn’t run deep, nowhere as deep as the primitive portions of our being that call out for respect for shared blood, soil and sweat.

People like to dismiss such talk as “tribalistic,” as if it’s somehow avoidable. As if it’s a relic of bygone years that no longer matter, that no longer have a place at our civilized table. To those people, all I can say is that you do not understand human nature. Not deeply. And you will be in for a great disillusionment before all is said and done.

This is a topic that I ponder on often and am conflicted about. Not because I can’t understand but rather because I can. It is a bit terrifying to comprehend that so much of what we take for granted today may not withstand the turbulence on the horizon. Much of what we’ve come up dreaming about are just that — dreams, and little else. Wishful thinking. Naive and unrealistic.

The maternal side of my family (that being the genealogy I am familiar with) has roots in the South stemming back 250 years. Who knows when we first arrived on this continent from Western Europe? One record I looked at over a decade ago of a man sharing my Papa’s surname was brought over and directly placed in indentured servitude where he died. Unsure if he was part of my direct bloodline since so much has proven untraceable. Churches have burnt down, records have been destroyed. But he was the first with our name recorded on this continent, and he died as little more than a slave. My family records dating as far back as I’ve been able to locate have shown we were not slave owners either. Were too poor to be so. Arrived in Mississippi poor in the mid-1700s and managed to stay that way. And yet people blame us anyway, calling out our skintone as if that alone can tell you much of relevance about a people.

I’ve grown up in a society that speaks down about the U.S. South, denigrating us as a bunch of racists historically and presently. We’re taught this in our school curriculum, especially up north where the narrative largely goes unchallenged. We were taught to see ourselves as “rednecks,” “hillbillies,” “crackers,” and basically the scum of this country. The war fought for secession has forever been rubbed in people’s faces and used to vilify folks with the false claim that all was fought over slavery, that we were never about anything other than supporting and defending the plantation owners and their economic interests. It doesn’t make sense, but people repeat it, generation after generation, without questioning its validity. They continue to denounce us as racists despite the South remaining the home of the highest population of black people in this nation. You would think if Southerners were so racist that their descendants would’ve moved away over the last 150 years to escape the racial tensions — would’ve relocated to the Midwest where far fewer black people reside outside of the major cities. And yet they don’t. Blame it on stubborn pride if you must.

I personally know better. I’ve learned over the years how many people talk out of both sides of their mouths. How they pretend to care about people whom they would never agree to live near. How their politics parade as if concerned about those deemed to have the most unfortunate circumstances, when in reality they don’t give a damn. It’s just posturing. A way to make themselves feel good and look good to others. A reason to pat themselves on the back for being so “progressive.” Yet they don’t really want to know about the cultures and the history and what continues to bind people’s hands.

And now, these same types of people wish to push for and celebrate evermore “diversity” and “multiculturalism.” While they reside safely in their suburban cul-de-sacs and gated communities. While they secretly look down on us who they see as dirty, backwards, uncivilized. You know they are looking down on black people too. They just like to pretend the opposite is true. They look down on Hispanics also, feigning concern for them while reaping the benefits their “cheap labor” produces.

That’s what so much of this is really all about: economics. That was true in the days leading up to the Civil War and remains true ever since. Agrarianism versus the rise of Industrialization. The need to drive people out of small community-sustaining and self-sufficient or otherwise subsistence modes of productivity so that they would flee toward big cities and become cogs in some corporate system. This is what I mean when I keep repeating that slavery never ended, it just changed shapes. What was once called slavery is now rebranded as cheap labor. What’s the real difference? Now the workers are more expendable, more easily replaceable, and their employers are no longer responsible for housing and feeding them. Do you see that? Externalization happened. What was once the slave owners’ responsibility is no longer of concern to the modern employer.

People like to say that capitalism ought to be unregulated by the government, but if not for consumer protections fought for and enshrined in law working conditions would’ve remained terrible. When early capitalists could get away with working people to the bone, they did. No more concern about whether a person lived or died on the job because another person was waiting to take their place. Forever another person in waiting. The necessity to chase the all-mighty dollar fuels everything in modern times.

Hence why borders are being threatened once again. The desire for cheaper labor persists. Hence why American companies packed up and moved to Mexico and China since the 1980s where they can produce cheaper products with less government oversight and then turn around and sell those products back to us for a higher profit. Walmart destroyed many small towns in favor of this scheme, including my own hometown. And yet we’re not supposed to talk about that, lest we be labeled as socialists or communists.

The labels keep us from honestly reckoning with what’s happening around us and up over time.

But back to our blood bonds to our ancestors…  There is something within plenty of us that howls back toward history. Can’t escape its cry, its call for an awakening to where we’ve come from and where we stand now. We’re being taught to divvy up and see one another as problems and oppressors, when in reality we’ve all been played. Furthermore, why should we be made ashamed of our histories and our tribal instincts? Because we were not all on the same team didn’t mean that we were automatically enemies originally. But now we’re becoming so. Now we’re instructed to see one another as mere demographics, labels — a new form of tribalism, this time divided according to politics and class. But many of us remain in the same place we’ve always been, unmoved by these shifting tides. Still not far from the bottom, holding no significant claims to power, watching as we’re being whipped into competitive frenzies and encouraged to attack others in not much better positions than ourselves.

Plenty of us long for a simpler life. For simpler relations instead of being cast adrift in a sea of strangers and opportunists. People possess a need to create communities and to draw boundaries and to protect and conserve, yet all of that is being actively undermined. Though it’s not as if human nature changes overnight. Because we’re being forced into new circumstances doesn’t erase our primal needs. Because society and its expectations have changed over time says nothing about who and what we are and have always been and still remain. A culture or economy may “evolve,” but human evolution is much slower. It doesn’t become what we wish it would be. And I doubt all the social and genetic engineering we devise will be able to surmount that Truth.

Time for work.

AI, big businesses, and the future

Some food for thought:

We’ve all probably watched videos like these countless times in the past, yet many are prone to laugh off such information, or to opt to ignore it since it makes them feel uncomfortable. One hope is that such a transition will occur far enough in the future that we might not have to live to see much of it. In other words, let the future generations contend with that. Not our problem currently. Isn’t that what most tend to say? To say much else is to likely wind up dismissed as a “conspiracy theorist,” isn’t that also true? And nobody wants that since it’s then assumed that you’ve flown the coup and aren’t one to be taken seriously.

And yet, information keeps rolling in and questions continue popping up that we seem afraid to entertain. Or, instead insist on focusing on more “optimistic” positions, as if only one side of the coin could exist without its potential consequences.

That last clip was a TED Talk by Marc Goodman, former law enforcement officer and author of the book Future Crimes: Everything Is Connected, Everyone Is Vulnerable and What We Can Do About It, which I highly recommend. Listened to my own copy in audio format through Audible and found it to be one of the most thought-provoking books I came across in 2017.

Facebook weirds me out. Glad to no longer use that site. Though surely plenty of others might be just as bad — namely Google.

That’s enough for one post.

“Alain de Botton: Status Anxiety”

Food for thought for the evening:

Naomi Klein on Latin America, particularly Venezuela (2007)

Today I’d like to transcribe portions from Naomi Klein’s book The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism (2007). The reason being that I was introduced to this book by a close friend back in 2008 during my more “radical” years which involved both feminism and my 4-year stint volunteering within the local peace community (i.e. Left-leaning political circles). Libertarian-leaning as I’ve always been, still I too was attracted to various messages advanced by the Political Left during my 20s, so here’s one example of information I was presented with back then.

Beginning on page 446:

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Despite the attempts of everyone from Pinochet to Cavallo to Berezovsky to Black to portray himself as a victim of baseless political persecution, this list, by no means complete, represents a radical departure from the neoliberal creation myth. The economic crusade managed to cling to a veneer of respectability and lawfulness as it progressed. Now that veneer was being very publicly stripped away to reveal a system of gross wealth inequalities, often opened with the aid of grotesque criminality.

Besides legal trouble, there was another cloud on the horizon. The effects of the shocks that had been so integral to creating the illusion of ideological consensus were beginning to wear off. Rodolfo Walsh, another early casualty, had regarded the Chicago School ascendancy in Argentina as a setback, not a lasting defeat. The terror tactics used by the junta had put his country into a state of shock, but Walsh knew that shock, by its very nature, is a temporary state. Before he was gunned down on the streets of Buenos Aires, Walsh estimated that it would take twenty to thirty years until the effects of the terror receded and Argentines regained their footing, courage and confidence, ready once again to fight for economic and social equity. It was in 2001, twenty-four years later, that Argentina erupted in protest against IMF-prescribed austerity measures and then proceeded to force out five presidents in only three weeks.

I was living in Buenos Aires in that period, and people kept exclaiming, “The dictatorship just ended!” At the time I didn’t understand the meaning behind the jubilation, since the dictatorship had been over for seventeen years. Now I think I do: the state of shock had finally worn off, just as Walsh had predicted.

In the years since, that wide-awake shock resistance has spread to many other former shock labs—Chile, Bolivia, China, Lebanon. And as people shed the collective fear that was first instilled with tanks and cattle prods, with sudden flights of capital and brutal cutbacks, many are demanding more democracy and more control over markets. These demands represent the greatest threat of all to Friedman’s legacy because they challenge his most central claim: that capitalism and freedom are part of the same indivisible project.

The Bush administration remains so committed to perpetuating this false union that, in 2002, it embedded it in the National Security Strategy of the United States of America. “The great struggles of the twentieth century between liberty and totalitarianism ended with a decisive victory for the forces of freedom—a single sustainable model for national success: freedom, democracy and free enterprise.” This assertion, made with the full force of the U.S. military arsenal behind it, was not enough to hold back the tide of citizens using their various freedoms to reject free-market orthodoxy—even in the United States. As a headline in the Miami Herald after the 2006 midterm elections put it, “Democrats won big by opposing free-trade agreements.” A New York Times/CBS poll a few months later found that 64 percent of U.S. citizens believed the government should guarantee health care coverage to all and “showed a striking willingness . . . to make tradeoffs” to achieve that goal, including paying up to $500 a year more in taxes.

On the international stage, the staunchest opponents of neoliberal economics were winning election after election. The Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez, running on a platform of “21st Century Socialism,” was re-elected in 2006 for a third term with 63 percent of the vote. Despite attempts by the Bush administration to paint Venezuela as a pseudodemocracy, a poll that same year recorded that 57 percent of Venezuelans were happy with the state of their democracy, an approval rating on the continent second only to Uruguay’s, where the left-wing coalition party Frente Amplio had been elected to government and where a series of referendums had blocked major privatizations. In other words, in the two Latin American states where voting had resulted in real challenges to the Washington Consensus, citizens had renewed their faith in the power of democracy to improve their lives. In stark contrast to this enthusiasm, in countries where economic policies remain largely unchanged regardless of the promises made during election campaigns, polls consistently track and eroding faith in democracy, reflected in dwindling turnout for elections, deep cynicism toward politicians and a rise in religious fundamentalism.

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Pausing there on page 448 and picking back up again on page 453:

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In December 2006, a month after Friedman’s death, Latin America’s leaders gathered for a historic summit in Bolivia, held in the city of Cochabamba, where a popular uprising against water privatization had forced Bechtel out of the country several years earlier. Morales began the proceedings with a vow to close “the open veins of Latin America.” It was a reference to Eduardo Galeano’s book Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent, a lyrical accounting of the violent plunder that had turned a rich continent into a poor one. The book was first published in 1971, two years before Allende was overthrown for daring to try to close those open veins by nationalizing his country’s copper mines. That event ushered in a new era of furious pillage, during which the structures built by the continent’s developmentalist movements were sacked, stripped and sold off.

Today Latin Americans are picking up the project that was brutally interrupted all those years ago. Many of the policies cropping up are familiar: nationalization of key sectors of the economy, land reform, major new investments in education, literacy and health care. These are not revolutionary ideas, but in their unapologetic vision of a government that helps reach for equality, they are certainly a rebuke to Friedman’s 1975 assertion to Pinochet that “the major error, in my opinion, was . . . to believe that it is possible to do good with other people’s money.”

Though clearly drawing on a long militant history, Latin America’s contemporary movements are not direct replicas of their predecessors. Of all the differences, the most striking is an acute awareness of the need for protection from the shocks of the past—the coups, the foreign shock therapists, the U.S.-trained torturers, as well as the debt shocks and currency collapses of the eighties and nineties. Latin America’s mass movements, which have powered the wave of election victories for the left-wing candidates, are learning how to build shock absorbers into their organizing models. They are, for example, less centralized than in the sixties, making it harder to demobilize whole movements by eliminating a few leaders. Despite the overwhelming cult of personality surrounding Chavez, and his moves to centralize power at the state level, the progressive networks in Venezuela are at the same time highly decentralized, with power dispersed at the grass roots and community level, through thousands of neighborhood councils and co-ops. In Bolivia, the indigenous people’s movements that put Morales in office function similarly and have made it clear that Morales does not have their unconditional support: the barrios will back him as long as he stays true to his democratic mandate, and not a moment longer. This kind of network approach is what allowed Chavez to survive the 2002 coup attempt: when their revolution was threatened, his supporters poured down from the shantytowns surrounding Caracas to demand his reinstatement, a kind of popular mobilization that did not happen during the coups of the seventies.

Latin America’s new leaders are also taking bold measures to block any future U.S.-backed coups that could attempt to undermine their democratic victories. The governments of Venezuela, Costa Rica, Argentina and Uruguay have all announced that they will no longer send students to the School of the Americas (now called the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation)—the infamous police and military training center in Fort Benning, Georgia, where so many of the continent’s notorious killers learned the latest in “counterterrorism” techniques, then promptly directed them against farmers in El Salvador and auto workers in Argentina. Bolivia looks set to cut its ties with the school, as does Ecuador. Chavez has let it be known that if an extremist right-wing element in Bolivia’s Santa Cruz province makes good on its threats against the government of Evo Morales, Venezuelan troops will help defend Bolivia’s democracy. Rafael Correa is set to take the most radical step of all. The Ecuadorean port city of Manta currently hosts the largest U.S. military base in South America, which serves as a staging area for the “war on drugs,” largely fought in Colombia. Correa’s government has announced that when the agreement for the base expires in 2009, it will not be renewed. “Ecuador is a sovereign nation,” said the minister of foreign relations, Maria Fernanda Espinosa. “We do not need any foreign troops in our country.” If the U.S. military does not have bases or training programs, its power to inflict shocks will be greatly eroded.

The new leaders in Latin America are also becoming better prepared for the kinds of shocks inflicted by volatile markets. One of the most destabilizing forces of recent decades has been the speed with which capital can pick up and move, or how a sudden drop in commodity prices can devastate an entire agricultural sector. But in much of Latin America these shocks have already happened, leaving behind ghostly industrial suburbs and huge stretches of fallow farmland. The task of the region’s new left, therefore, has become a matter of taking the detritus of globalization and putting it back to work. In Brazil, the phenomenon is best seen in the million and a half farmers of the Landless People Movement (MST) who have formed hundreds of cooperatives to reclaim unused land. In Argentina, it is clearest in the movement of “recovered companies,” two hundred bankrupt businesses that have been resuscitated by their workers, who have turned them into democratically run cooperatives. For the cooperatives, there is no fear of facing an economic shock of investors leaving, because the investors have already left. In a way, the reclamation experiments are a new kind of post-disaster reconstruction—reconstruction from the slow-motion disaster of neoliberalism. In sharp contrast to the model offered by the disaster capitalism complex in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Gulf Coast, the leaders of Latin America’s rebuilding efforts are the people most affected by the devastation. And unsurprisingly, their spontaneous solutions look very much like the real third way that had been so effectively shocked out of the way by the Chicago School campaign around the world—democracy in daily life.

In Venezuela, Chavez has made the co-ops a top political priority, giving them first refusal on government contracts and offering them economic incentives to trade with one another. By 2006, there were roughly 100,000 cooperatives in the country, employing more than 700,000 workers. Many are pieces of state infrastructure—toll booths, highway maintenance, health clinics—handed over to the communities to run. It’s a reverse of the logic of large corporations and losing democratic control, the people who use the resources are given the power to manage them, creating, at least in theory, both jobs and more responsive public services. Chavez’s many critics have derided these initiatives as handouts and unfair subsidies, of course. Yet in an era when Halliburton treats the U.S. government as its personal ATM for six years, withdraws upward of $20 billion in Iraq contracts alone, refuses to hire local workers either on the Gulf Coast or in Iraq, then expresses its gratitude to U.S. taxpayers by moving its corporate headquarters to Dubai (with all the attendant tax and legal benefits), Chavez’s direct subsidies to regular people look significantly less radical.

Latin America’s most significant protection from future shocks (and therefore from the shock doctrine) flows from the continent’s emerging independence from Washington’s financial institutions, the result of greater integration among regional governments. The Bolivian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA) is the continent’s retort to the Free Trade Area of the Americas, the now buried corporatist dream of a free-trade zone stretching from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego. Though ALBA is still in its early stages, Emir Sader, the Brazil-based sociologist, describes its promise as “a perfect example of genuinely fair trade: each country provides what it is best placed to produce, in return for what it most needs, independent of global market prices.” So Bolivia provides gas at stable discounted prices; Venezuela offers heavily subsidized oil to poorer countries and shares expertise in developing reserves; and Cuba sends thousands of doctors to deliver free health care all over the continent, while training students from other countries at its medical schools. This is a very different model from the kind of academic exchange that began at the University of Chicago in the mid-fifties, when Latin American students learned a single rigid ideology and were sent home to impose it with uniformity across the continent. The major benefit is that ALBA is essentially a barter system, in which countries decide for themselves what any given commodity or service is worth, rather than letting traders in New York, Chicago or London set the prices for them. That makes trade far less vulnerable to the kind of sudden price fluctuations that devastated Latin American economies in the past. Surrounded by turbulent financial waters, Latin America is creating a zone of relative economic calm and predictability, a feat presumed impossible in the globalization era.

When one country does face a financial shortfall, this increased integration means that it does not need to turn to the IMF or the U.S. Treasury for a bailout. That’s fortunate because the 2006 U.S. National Security Strategy makes it clear that for Washington, the shock doctrine is still very much alive: “If crises occur, the IMF’s response must reinforce each country’s responsibility for its own economic choices,” the document states. “A refocused IMF will strengthen market institutions and market discipline over financial decisions.” This kind of “market discipline” can only be enforced if governments actually go to Washington for help—as Stanley Fischer explained during the Asian financial crisis, the IMF can help only if it is asked, “but when [a country is] out of money, it hasn’t got many places to turn.” That is no longer the case. Thanks to high oil prices, Venezuela has emerged as a major lender to other developing countries, allowing them to do an end run around Washington.

The results have been dramatic. Brazil, so long shackled to Washington by its enormous debt, is refusing to enter into a new agreement with the IMF. Nicaragua is negotiating to quit the fund, Venezuela has withdrawn from both the IMF and the World Bank, and even Argentina, Washington’s former “model pupil,” has been part of the trend. In his 2007 State of the Union address, President Nestor Kirchner said that the country’s foreign creditors had told him,” “‘You must have an agreement with the International Fund to be able to pay the debt.’ We say to them, ‘Sirs, we are sovereign. We want to pay the debt, but no way in hell are we going to make an agreement again with the IMF.'” As a result, the IMF, supremely powerful in the eighties and nineties, is no longer a force on the continent. In 2005, Latin America made up 80 percent of the IMF’s total lending portfolio; in 2007, the continent represented just 1 percent—a sea change in only two years. “There is life after the IMF,” Kirchner declared, “and it’s a good life.”

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Stopping on page 457.

My thoughts follow. To start off with, I continue to have mixed feelings over such material, more so now than ever before, because I do take issue with the policies of the IMF and am aware and critical of Big Corporate excesses. There remains truth in concerns over externalized costs and the ongoing pursuit of cheap labor and cheap resources extracted from nations where few alternatives are available. One could argue, as my stepdad and others do, that these examples of corporate outsourcing for production of products brings much-needed money to these communities and provides more opportunities than they otherwise would have. Yes, but what is to become of them when these plants up and leave, headed for other locations where even cheaper labor pools and/or resources can be had? Appears to leave economic devastation in their wake, which we can also see in the U.S. where communities depended on businesses that moved their operations to China or Mexico (as occurred in my own hometown down South). Sufficient alternatives don’t tend to spring up in the vacuum left behind, leading to a rise in economic and social problems in those areas, which can then turn political. I remain perplexed over what can be done about this, though I grasp that simply shrugging our shoulders and expecting people to make do with what little is left isn’t much of an answer. But neither is trying to implement a communistic/socialistic model instead since that too will prove unstable, and likely even more so.

This conundrum has left me frustrated since either way we turn it appears we’re damned. Though capitalism offers the most promise out of the modern models we’re presented with, corporatism that has arisen out of it is proving extremely alienating and inhuman. As in it forces humans to adapt to it, yet it cannot adapt to serve the needs of humans. Globalized corporatism adheres to a different set of values than do most human beings, which then stokes strife that often enough does result in political upheaval on down the road. Somehow this matter must be addressed, yet neither leaders on the political Left or Right are willing (or able) to do so. What Naomi Klein refers to as “neoliberalism” is often enough used interchangeably with the term “neoconservatism” and is embraced by both major political parties in the U.S. For whatever differences may be ascribed to these two terms, what they each fundamentally share in common is political fusion with global (multinational) corporate and banking agendas. And it’s that unto itself a lot of us out here continue to take issue with.

Now, was Naomi Klein’s book biased? Yes it was. She put her own political spin on events based on her Leftist political outlook. Certainly can’t claim her to be politically neutral, independent, or nonpartisan in her delivery there. And I understand that nowadays in a way I didn’t 10 years ago. Everybody’s got an agenda, or so it seems. So let’s look at a current news stories on how Venezuela is faring these days.

An article from The Guardian (Jan. 21, 2018) titled “‘We loot or we die of hunger’: food shortages fuel unrest in Venezuela“:

Angry about empty supermarket shelves and soaring prices, some people are breaking into warehouses, ransacking food trucks and invading outlying farms.

During the first 11 days of January the Venezuelan Observatory for Social Conflict, a Caracas rights group, recorded 107 episodes of looting and several deaths in 19 of Venezuela’s 23 states.

[…]

There have been previous incidents of looting but analysts fear that the current wave could linger amid the Venezuela’s economic freefall.

President Nicolás Maduro blames the country’s woes on an “economic war” against his government by rightwingers and foreign interests.

But his critics say his government has disrupted domestic food production by expropriating farms and factories. Meanwhile, price controls designed to make food more widely available to poorer people have had the opposite effect: many prices have been set below the cost of production, forcing food producers out of business.

Meanwhile the government has less cash to import food because of its mismanagement of the oil sector, where production has fallen to a 29-year low. Hyperinflation and the collapse of the currency have put the prices of foodstuffs available on the black market beyond the reach of many families.

But rather than reforming the economy, the government has resorted to handouts and far-fetched schemes.

So somewhere along the way that experiment obviously failed, and within a mere decade of when Naomi Klein’s book hit shelves. What are we to make of this? Seems to me that while relying on the IMF indeed proved problematic, so did switching over instead to a socialist scheme.

To be delved in deeper at a later date…

“Bret and Eric Weinstein, Brothers Together at Last”

On the Rubin Report:

Hello darkness, my old friend…

Come to find out, Twitter can be bad for the soul. Only started checking it more regularly in recent months, previously barely caring about the platform. Didn’t have much use for it other than as a place to store articles and links. But now I check the feed typically daily and scan through all the political grandstanding. Ideologies gone wild. Some are completely in love with Trump, while others entirely despise him. Then they foam at the mouth at one another and get worked up into a tizzy. Rinse and repeat day after day.

Feels like watching a bunch of handicapped weirdos attempting to compete with one another. Which in that sense is kind of nice since it helps me to feel more “normal” by comparison.  lol

Then again, sanity is fast becoming a rare luxury — or curse, depending on how you experience it. What’s that quote about how it’s no testament of health to be well-adapted to a profoundly sick society?

That’s the one. Krishnamurti said it.

It’s like living within a clown car, or a clown bus. Everybody’s at each other’s throats, looking for reasons to get offended or trying to get a humorous slam in. We’re going to meme ourselves to death on such platforms.

Was talking to a friend earlier today on the topic of U.S. politics and how people are losing their shit over Trump every stinking day since he took office. My friend has been tuning out the news for the most part, but he too considers Trump to be batshit insane. Okay. Well, I’m not interested in defending the man. Just strikes me as kind of funny since I can’t see how Hillary Clinton (or Bill too, for that matter) or Obama or 75% of Congress are any better. It’s one big fucking circus. And if you’re still buying into the Left/Right paradigm and believe one party or the other has your best interest at heart, you’re a naive and/or willfully blind fool. That’s my position and it has been for a long time now. Can’t shake my distrust of either side, especially knowing that each “team” received the same Big Corporate backing, meaning they’re serving the same masters.

Apparently it’s difficult for most people to accept that our politicians don’t give a damn about us. But they don’t. And once voter fraud becomes less detectable they won’t even care about winning our votes. Will just lie to us and keep the shitstorm humming right along. It’s what they’ve been doing as far back as I’ve cared to take notice and only gone off the rails more so in recent years. Like their aim nowadays is simply to entertain us and keep us divided and at each other’s necks, thinking we’re waging battles with one another that matter.

Meanwhile the richest get richer along with their politician lap dogs, and our government grows more powerful and less concerned about the will of its citizenry. Not that any two of us can barely agree on any one point. We the people are a clusterfuck of chaos jabbering at one another…just as I am doing on here tonight. Not sure if it makes more of a difference than talking to oneself. Seems not to since so many knee-jerk away from hearing or reading opinions they don’t already hold.

We will indeed wind up with the government we deserve…

Listened to my friend today lament how there should be “more compromise” between these two political parties and their adherents. Compromise? I had to laugh a bit at that notion, as if being a centrist is any kind of stance to take between those nut-job extremes. Said to him that we’re confronted with Party 1 which is pushing socialism/communism with the endgame winding up being totalitarianism vs. Party 2 which is pushing corporatism masquerading as free-market capitalism, also destined toward its own form of totalitarianism eventually. Pick your poison. Ultimately looks like a choice between different forms of slavery to me. Soul-sucking either way we turn.

In moments like that I wish the Libertarian Party were up to snuff anymore, but it hasn’t been since the days of Bob Barr. Gary Johnson, though I voted for him twice, is not a strong leader who makes enough intelligent, relevant arguments. Just keeps pining away for legalized marijuana, as if that might solve this nation’s problems. Frickin’ joke. All of it is. Which then makes me a bit more curious how the Alt Right will wind up factoring into this scheme, especially since so many claiming that political badge are associated with disgruntlement toward Jews and promoting the study of “race realism” in furtherance of their goal of racial segregation and the formation of ethno-states. Not a fan of their plan either.

No country for old men…or this middle-aged woman in the political outfield, wondering where the fundamentals of our Constitution have gone.

People talk, talk, talk, talk. Argue, argue, argue. And where is it getting us? Who are we convincing? Too many of those who come to see our duopoly politics as a big scam wind up tuning out and growing apathetic, which is understandable to a point since fighting this mammoth (along with so many people ideologically possessed on both/all extremes) looks like a losing battle. Futile. Basically like begging to go down history’s memory hole as a “lone wolf” madman framed as being against society. And in a sense we are against society, or at least what it’s becoming.

But there are no brakes on this clown bus. We’re cruising straight to where we’re headed. My bet thus far has been on the Political Left loonies winding up with the power to impose their utopian fantasies on the rest. But who am I fooling? Global corporatism is a force to be reckoned with, and they buy (or at least strongly seduce and help corrupt) most politicians of any stripe. So we’re looking at a fusion of wannabe-Communism/socialism within a corporatism context. How do you figure you’re going to get around this inevitability? The Alt Right doesn’t differentiate itself as being in favor of regulating corporatism, so that way doesn’t offer a true alternative either.

So then what? If people were going to stand up against this Machine, we’d have done it already, decades ago. The truth is that we’re too comfortable right now, too consumed in our own lives and the pleasure and curiosities new technologies bring. Many are also consumed with raising families — very energy intensive. Trying to earn money and then entertain ourselves to death, like everybody else is doing. Trying to learn life’s lessons and get our shit together. So no, most of us are in no position to do a damn thing about the trajectory we as a society are on. And as already stated, going up against this Beast, this Leviathan, would include going up against probably half the populace as well since they’re protective of this status quo (including the Progressives and so-called “radicals” who like to destroy shit). We’d all be lost without this convenient infrastructure, which would be severely damaged if enough tried going toe to toe with our current government. Would be viewed as treasonous behavior, unacceptable. Would mow you “patriots” down in the streets.

So what then? Vote? I’m so far past believing my vote matters, especially since I don’t vote two-party and most others do. Am a minority within a polarized/polarizing society.

Feels pretty pointless to keep bitching about it, but oh well. I’m going to anyway since that helps me keep my own sanity while observing what’s unfolding. This shit isn’t going to become functional — it can’t. It’s broken already, irreparably. Too corrupt — politicians, media, citizenry and all. We’re all already too dependent (no matter how independent you might like to consider yourself to be within this grid). And we’re too afraid. Rightly so, considering a true attempt at revolution would likely result in a bunch more of us locked in cages.

So what do we do? Pretending like it’s all okay isn’t an option for me. Nor is pretending that I don’t care. And don’t tell me to just go out and volunteer for some cause! Sick of that advice and already put in my time on that through the local peace community. Turned out to be a bunch of Leftist apologists for Obama, thereby not truly independent nor free from ideological obsessiveness. Hanging around with a handful of so-called “truthers” doesn’t sound too alluring either since unfortunately some of them are truly wackos.

Everybody frustrates me. This whole game irritates the hell of me. Try to tell myself not to take it too seriously, that perhaps we humans have to go through hell before we can recognize what’s truly of value. As humans before us have gone through over and over and over again. The lesson never sticks for long. Succeeding generations always wind up hell-bent on having to relearn it all the hard way, and perhaps it can be no other way. Technologies change our environments and lure us into thinking that this time if we try to play God it will work out for the best. This time we know something our predecessors didn’t know. This time around humans are more clever and innovative, talented and genius, plus connected through these amazing new digital networks. This time things will be different and we won’t all wind up victims to human fallibility and folly. This time we have precision, SCIENCE, on our side.

And this time we’re just as crazy and naive as any other time in history, albeit modern technologies allow us to take our dreams to greater heights that will lead to far greater destruction when our bubbles burst and cold, cruel reality sets in in the end.

Yeah, I’m the bringer of bad news. What optimism I reserve goes toward those speakers who do spread brushfires in the minds of many and get us dreaming outside of this box and reassessing what matters to us fundamentally. Never know what might prove to be a game-changer. Keeping an open mind for those unforeseen variables. “Nada es imposible.” So some like to say…

Feel like I keep writing this over and over again, year after year. Doesn’t change much, regardless of which political players switch positions. Just not sure what this perspective is asking of me. Seems to want to keep coming out, yet I’m no artist so I don’t know where to put it. Part of me says that what matters is the journey, not the destination. Because we may see a horrible crash up ahead is no reason to bow out of the game. If anything that should probably make us stronger, recognizing how little we have to lose in the end. But nations come and nations go. None are slated to last forever unchanged. If this is the future many of our fellow Americans want, then who am I to step in their way of having it? Don’t have any kids to leave behind in this nonsense. But it seems wrong to not resist the formation of hell on earth. Seems like that would be the ultimate calling for any of us, assuming we’re able to discern what’s what, which we tend to all disagree about. So we’re not going to be on the same teams, quite obviously, and so be it. It’s an individual endeavor anyway, regardless of what the collectivist ideologues would have you believe. Starts inside oneself.

We’re all dreamers…it can be no other way. To live and not dream is not to live. There will be no utopia in the end no matter which direction we choose to head in. Only approximations of hell, some better and some worse. Guess it’s a question of what suffering we’re willing to endure and for what, why. Because either way we’re going to suffer, you can bet on that. Most especially future generations once the public coffers dry up and more jobs are demanded to be provided by Big Government and its Big Corporate partners. In one sense this is history repeating, but in another this is a new phase with new challenges and new technologies very different from anything that came before. Greater likelihood for a far darker depth to descend into as well. In this age of manipulative psychology, global economics, and centralized power like never before seen.

It used to scare me, but I’m growing numb under its weight in recent years. Tired of being afraid of the unknown on the horizon. Also very tired of those who fancy themselves as optimists who are prone to freak out over my outlook, chastising me for viewing it this way, as if it’s simply a choice I make. Should we take pills and hide our eyes and cover our ears? Should we continue hiding in our addictions and drama and constant distractions? Is that truly the better way? Or should we learn to grow stronger in the face of these possibilities and set aside our utopian fantasy that we’re heading toward a fantastic future? Which seems like the most realistic and sane approach to you? Because you’re going to suffer either way, guaranteed.

The thought that keeps circling my mind this week is the fear of dying and the fear of living. So many of us fear both, and are thereby rendered paralyzed. So we stand idly by and watch what unfolds. Just another form of compliance since we wind up dragged along into the future whether we like it or not.

You would think such thoughts would be depressing, but I’ve been thinking along this line for so long now that they’ve actually transformed into something slightly reassuring. Perhaps because it forces me to view life in a day-by-day manner. Can’t change the past and can’t completely control the future. So we’re left with doing what we can with what we have right here and now. It boils down to how one lives his/her life. Outcomes be damned since that’s beyond our scope of power.

I do wish I had more answers than this. But apparently it comes down to one’s values, though I’d argue half the problem presently is that pet preferences have replaced values in our political arguments. Pro this and anti that is all we seem to hear anymore.

Getting tired so that’s enough journaling for one night.

My reply on the topic of the “Unnecessariat”

I was sent a link to an article titled “Unnecessariat” by a youtube commenter who has asked me on a couple of occasions to address what was written. Not sure if the commenter was the original author of that article, but I did finally get around to trying to comment on it today on that blog, but for whatever reason it did not allow my post. So, I will post my thoughts here instead:

_______________________________________________________

I was sent a link to this article and asked to comment on the condition of the unnecessariat (a designation I quite obviously belong within as well). Hmmm. What really can be said about all of this? It is true that times have changed and that nearly everybody wishes for a return to “the good ol’ days” but that it’s not going to happen (as the angry commenter above already explained). Is this a depressing reality? Sure. But must it lead us to drug abuse and alcoholism and completely giving up? NO.

Basically what you’re asking here is what’s the meaning of life, or what meaning can sustain a person through a decline with no end in sight. I guess the best place to look would be at the words of those historical figures who endured slavery and bitter poverty and the like to get an idea of what helped them to carry on. For many, it was a deepening sense of spirituality and connection with the Creator. For Stoics, it was adopting a simpler, more principled life so as to be able to appreciate the small pleasures that do exist despite the harshness of reality. That’s where I’ve been turning my attention in recent years.

I did notice the sentence in the article about “why they’re shooting drugs and not dynamiting the Google Barge” and while I can understand the anger it stems from, you have to remember that people make their own choices. Fight technology why? Fight the major corporations why? And the author also disparaged entrepreneurship, dismissing it as “self-rescue with unicorns and rainbows.” So you’re really leaving nobody any out here. I personally am self-employed and it suits me. Will such a strategy work into the indefinite future? Who knows? More importantly, why should I care? It allows me to live a simple life and get by, which is enough for now. Is the goal in writing this to incite people to blow up Google, and do you really think that will stop human progress? Do you really think that might reset everything back to times we like to romanticize about being simpler and more predictable?

The past is gone. And if ever humans manage to knock themselves back into a dark age where we effectively do reset our civilizations and have to begin building again, you can bet that eventually we’ll arrive right back at this point once again. Because that’s what humans do. It’s how we’re driven, right or wrong. Trying to fight all of this can wind up being about as useful as trying to fight the wind. Life’s not easy and there were never any promises deserving of being taken to heart that this project in living would all work out great in the end. That’s our own expectations fucking with us. Adaptation and/or utilization of the current power structures so as to effect change are our best options. Blowing the place up will only create a vacuum wherein another group of ideologues will rush in to fill the void, likely resulting in even more dire results.

Not saying that to sound apathetic, but I do believe it comes down to a question of what it is we’re really expecting in this life. To live on forever and ever in peace? That’s unrealistic. To believe we’re entitled to green pastures into the foreseeable future? That’s utopian. Sure, it’s understandable to not wish to be screwed by those who’ve grown most powerful, and we can work toward booting those people out of positions of power and figuring out how best to protect ourselves from such exploitation in the future. Won’t be ushered in via socialist utopian fantasies, though, that much I’m willing to bet. So, yes, in a real sense it is a “damned if you do/damned if you don’t” scenario. Because we humans have a tendency to both strive toward power as well as become corrupted, and that doesn’t change under a socialist setup either.

My own decision was to not have kids. People love to scream about how horrible the future is bound to be, and yet they keep churning out more kids who will be forced to confront these job and resource shortages. Seems folly to me. Perhaps this is a terrific point in history to forego having kids and instead of losing ourselves in drug and alcohol abuse actually do our best to educate ourselves about what is and what all has come before. Just so we can become better oriented in this life and therefore perhaps better capable of handling whatever is in store.

“Why I Say F#ck No To BitCOiN!” (plus my thoughts)

TruthNeverTold’s video on the subject:

Hmmm. He’s echoing a few of my own concerns about bitcoin, particularly that it’s backed by nothing (a major issue with our fiat currency already),that it obviously isn’t limited since so many different types of cryptocurrencies are surfacing, and that serious pondering on the topic of financial anonymity (for everybody, including politicians and whatever shady shit they and whoever else are wanting to conceal) gives me pause. He brings up the interesting question: anonymous to whom? To one another mostly, or so it appears. If he’s right that a government agency is all up in that scheme, utilizing this technology to manipulate people into behaving as if they are truly anonymous online and preparing people for a switch to purely digital currencies — well, honestly that wouldn’t entirely shock me at this point. Sounds like modern life.

I’ve hung back from the bitcoin craze, initially ignoring it and nowadays looking around to get better acquainted with what’s going on. What I have heard on the matter makes me glad I didn’t have enough money to invest back before trading prices soared for bitcoin and similar cryptocurrencies, seeing as how the situation doesn’t look like it’s going to work the way many had hoped. It’s been interesting observing people throwing so much faith behind these new currencies, and I can understand their enthusiasm to challenge the status quo. But none of this smells right, ya know? It can’t be that easy to render the U.S. Treasury obsolete.

We’d like to wish it were a possibility, but how can it be? Money is no longer the true name of the game. It’s beyond that now. Or perhaps it’s always been beyond that, money merely being a vehicle for acquiring power. But once one’s firmly entrenched and the System is thoroughly corrupt, you wind up having to fight the System itself. Cryptocurrency alone is insufficient. You’re still locked into this grid and beholden to various major corporations, a number of whom contract with our government. Who’s side do you figure they’ll be on in the end? Helping free you from them? How would that suit their interests?

Cryptocurrency backed by nothing…  Except what? Mathematical computations? What stops a wealthy individual or group from buying up a vast amount of bitcoin? Bid the share price up, scare people over the threat of the bubble bursting to where they start selling when the market is way up, then buy up a bunch once the price drops? Nothing that I can find would prevent that from being a possibility. And then we’re right back into a situation no different than our current mainstream economic conundrum. Disproportionate amount of currency cornered would grant some much more power than most, and nothing is likely to stop that from occurring eventually.

But is it all another government con-job? Maybe. Probably. I won’t claim to know. Just wouldn’t surprise me if so. And I don’t know what you do about that either. It’s like we can run but we can’t hide and most likely will be caught. I don’t like it any better than the next person. And I wish I had an alternative to suggest.

This is why I get to thinking that we’re going into this dystopian future whether we like it or not. There don’t appear to be brakes on this runaway train. Corruption is real and it runs deep. Why? Because power and prestige is very enticing to humans. Control matters. For as innovative and daring as we are, we’re also very predictable in terms of group behavior. Marketing efforts have demonstrated this. We can be swayed and directed rather easily if you know what buttons to push, and the study of psychology has been all the rage for the last century. These are not stupid people running major institutions and agencies, and plenty of them probably honestly think they’re on the right side of history and that they’re protecting our nation and citizenry. Probably…

People often believe whatever they wish to were true. Facts are a funny thing — turns out not as stable and widely accepted as we like to think. What’s popularly assumed so often isn’t what’s actually true.

Don’t know when the shift in this direction occurred. Perhaps it’s always been this way on up through the ages, or perhaps societies always devolved into some version of what we’re experiencing. But what’s perceived by us  on the ground as decline heralds the rise of something else to those who stand to benefit. But really nobody truly benefits during dark ages, despite what power one may possess. At least that’s my thought on the matter.

I just don’t know that we can stop whatever’s coming. Not sure we can even reason with it at this point. It’s behaving like a force of nature by now. Prepare to be lied to and deceived. Utopia is not on the horizon, not in the foreseeable future.

Oh, and as for silver and gold — their true value is going the way of the dinosaurs so far as I can tell. Will retain some commercial value, but can it serve as currency in this day and age? No. (And, again, what stops a few from cornering that market? Nothing. Already happened before and will happen again, you can bet on it.) Many people are having a hard time wrapping their heads around such a claim, but I do believe it to be true. I guess time will tell…