The Corporatocracy, by Robert Gore | STRAIGHT LINE LOGIC

The interests of Washington and large corporations have merged so completely they are now inseparable.

America’s large corporations and its government have merged. Or was it an acquisition? If the latter, who acquired whom? Unfortunately, the labels affixed to purely corporate combinations lose their analytical usefulness here. While the two retain their own distinct legal structures and managements, so to speak, such a close community of interest has evolved that it’s no longer possible to separate them or delineate their individual contours. Political labels are no help; the ones most often used have become hopelessly imprecise. The Wikipedia definition of “fascism” is over 8,000 words, with 43 notes and 16 references.

However, the conjoined blob is so big, rapacious, and intrusive that akin to Justice Potter Stewart’s famous non-definition of obscenity, everybody knows it when they see or otherwise come into contact with it. This article will use the term “corporatocracy.” It’s less letters, dashes, and words to type than “the corporate-government-combination.” No serviceable understanding of either US history or current events is possible without close study of the corporatocracy. Unfortunately, such study, like entomology or cleaning septic tanks, requires a stout constitution. But take heart, entomologists grow to love their creepy crawly things, and septic tank cleaners say that after a few minutes you don’t even notice the smell.

Read More: straightlinelogic.com/2017/04/28/the-corporatocracy-by-robert-gore/

How U.S. Race Laws Inspired N@zis

 

James Q. Whitman’s new book is called Hitler’s American Model: The United States and the Making of Nazi Race Law. It is understated and overdocumented, difficult to argue with. No doubt some will try.

In cartoonish U.S. historical understanding, the United States is, was, and ever shall be a force for good, whereas Nazism arose in a distant, isolated land that lacked any connection to other societies. In a cartoonish reversal of that understanding that would make a good strawman for critics of this book, U.S. policies have been identical to Nazism which simply copied them. Obviously this is not the case.

In reality, as we have long known, the U.S. genocide of Native Americans was a source of inspiration in Nazi discussions of expanding to their east, even referring to Ukrainian Jews as “Indians.” Camps for Native Americans helped inspire camps for Jews. Anti-Semites and eugenicists and racists in the U.S. helped inspire those in Germany, and vice versa. U.S. bankers invested in the Nazis. U.S. weapons dealers armed them. Nazis borrowed from U.S. propaganda techniques developed in World War I. Admirers in the U.S. of Nazi Germany and fascist Italy attempted at least one coup against President Franklin Roosevelt. The U.S. refused to admit significant numbers of Jewish refugees or to help evacuate them from Germany. The State Department turned down Anne Frank’s visa. The coast guard chased a ship of Jews away, sending them back to their fate. Et cetera. We have known all of this.

We have known how the U.S. treated African Americans, Japanese Americans, and others at the time of World War II, how it experimented on Guatemalans even during the trials of Nazis for human experimentation, and continued to allow human experimentation in the U.S. for many years. And so forth. The good versus evil cartoon was never real.

Read More: www.washingtonsblog.com/2017/04/u-s-race-laws-inspired-nazis.html

Cataclysm | Zero Hedge

The USSR didn’t just fail one day, as does a person who dies of a sudden heart attack or stroke. It was more like a wasting illness brought on by an unhealthy lifestyle. A physician tells a morbidly obese patient: “Your daily consumption of twelve cocktails, three packs of cigarettes, and 4,000 calories, and your refusal to engage in exercise more strenuous than walking to the refrigerator will kill you, but I can’t say when.” For both individuals and governments, certain choices are incompatible with continued existence, and the Soviet government made plenty of those.

Very few people foresaw its failure when it was imminent, even purported experts. The small group who said Soviet communism wouldn’t work because it couldn’t work were disparaged right up until it didn’t work. However, the deck is always stacked in favor of those predicting this or that government will fail. Ultimately they all do because they all come to rest on a foundation of coercion and fraud, which doesn’t work because it can’t work.

There is both a quantitative and qualitative calculus for individuals subject to a government: what the government takes versus what individuals get back. Government is a protection racket: turn over your money and it promises physical security from invasion and crime, and adjudication and restitution in the event of civil or criminal wrongs. The quantitative calculus: am I getting more back than I put in? The qualitative calculus: what activities and people does the government help or hinder?

Protection rackets are often indistinguishable from extortion rackets, the “protector” a bigger threat to the “protected” than the threats against which they’re supposedly protected. Such is the case with the US government, as it was with the former Soviet government. Blessed with naturally defensive geographies and huge nuclear arsenals, the chances of the US being attacked are (or were, in the case of the former Soviet Union) remote. The cost for actual protection provided by those governments has been a tiny fraction of what’s been extracted by force or fraud from their citizenries, the very definition of an extortion racket.

Freedom militates against stupidity; coercion compounds it. Competitive markets and a wide-open intellectual climate either kill the worst ideas or impel their improvement. Power corrupts so completely because those who hold it rarely face negative feedback or consequences. Critics are mocked, stifled, imprisoned, or murdered. The costs of failure are borne by the victims. The perpetrators blame those failures on lack of funding or authority and receive more of the same.

Nothing succeeds like failure in coercive systems. Just look at the US governments “wars” on poverty, drugs, and terrorism. For rational people in free, competitive systems an ever-expanding gap between shining intentions and dismal reality prompts psychological turmoil. The powerful salve outbreaks of cognitive dissonance with arrogance, which expands apace with their failing programs. Just look at Obamacare, which its progenitor hails as his greatest accomplishment.

As the protection racket and its sub-rackets expand, the “protected” receive less and less, but pay more and more. By now, both the quantitative and qualitative calculuses are clear to productive Americans: they’re being reamed by people they despise, who in their arrogance and willful blindness despise them. The government steals trillions directly, but still resorts to financial sub-grifts—debt, fiat money, and central banking—to feed its insatiable money-lust. Like the government’s debt, stupidity compounds exponentially and rational people wonder how long unsustainable rackets can persist. The racketeers, if they realize their rackets can’t last, don’t care; they’re going to milk them as long as they can.

With the world’s most powerful military, largest nuclear arsenal, and most intrusive surveillance apparatus, the ostensible power of the US government is daunting. Yet, if a tenth of the US population ran up their debts, withdrew their funds from the financial system, and then stopped making debt service payments for a few months, it would propel a run on the banking system, choking the government’s financial lifeline and exposing its worthless fiat debt scam. Thus, the government is hardly invulnerable. As stupidity compounds, so too do its vulnerabilities.

The foundation of the global economy and financial system is interlinked debt. Anyone paying attention during the last financial crisis recognized that it took surprisingly few defaults—debt markdowns that marked down the value of the corresponding credit-assets—in a highly leveraged and interconnected system before that system unraveled and imploded. Anyone with a modicum of analytic ability and intellectual integrity realizes that the “solution” to that last financial crisis—more government and central bank debt—was another instance of stupidity compounding itself. Now, there’s more craziness in the debt asylum than there was in 2007.

There probably won’t be a voluntary debt payment moratorium, although for anyone asking how “we the people” can throw off the burdensome yoke of “our” government that would be a fine place to start. There doesn’t have to be; the mechanics of debt implosion guarantee the same result. Most of the world’s financial assets are debt or equity claims. Equity has a lower legal right to a debtor’s assets than debt. A debt collapse will leave the world impoverished, and so too its governments. Many real assets will be tied up in creditors’ squabbles. Governments’ and their central banks’ vaunted abilities to drive interest rates to subzero, go further into debt, and exchange their pieces of paper or computer entries for other pieces of paper or computer entries will mean little in a world submerged in debt, worthless paper and computer entries.

Those who scoff at the notion of cataclysmic collapse ignore ubiquitous signs of deterioration and recent history. Real economic growth and incomes have been trending downward since the turn of the century, even by official statistics. One has to question how much of the growth in either is the product of statistical legerdemain—government statistics leave much to be desired—and debt. If debt grows at 5 percent and the economy and incomes grow at 2, is the economy actually growing? Should some present value accounting be made of the fact that the longer debt growth exceeds economic growth, the greater the burden that debt imposes on the economy?

Some say the last financial crisis proved that governments and central banks can prevent a debt implosion. They’re drawing the wrong conclusion. It “proved” that massive injections of fiat debt defibrillated the patient, and it still serves as essential life support. However, not even life support will keep the patient alive the next time the EKG flatlines. All governments will then have are lots of weapons, worthless debt, millions of angry beneficiaries, and whatever loyalty they can still command, literally, from the police-military-surveillance complexes.

At which point, the calculus becomes intolerable for those long milked and bilked by governments, and offering them only further pain with no gain. Inevitably, they will consider their options: flight, secession, devolution, or revolution. Governments are only temporary arrangement and pendulums swing. Cataclysm should afford, for those inclined, opportunities—if they’re willing to fight for them—to live under arrangements more conducive to individual freedom and voluntary interaction.

Read More: www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-04-25/cataclysm

Feudalism and the “Algorithmic Economy” – Basic income – Medium

Algo-Econ

Welcome to the Algorithmic Economy, a future which uses machines to determine how effective you can be and how little they can pay you in the process.

There are no unions in this economy. There are no bosses to complain to. There are no people you can ask for redress. Because in this economy, the people doing the labor are considered the least important part of the machine and it’s best if they never communicate with someone living if it can be helped.

This is just like something out of a dark and dystopian science fiction novel, except its likely happening to you, right now. If it isn’t, unless you are very fortunate, it will be, soon. I write about the near-future in my speculative fiction. Often these are my most unpopular stories because they paint technology in a less-than-ideal light.

In a world in desperate need of positive imagery, a number of famed science fiction writers such as David Brin are recommending writers look at creating more beneficial, beneficent and Utopia-oriented stories, where people see the future as something to look forward to rather than promoting the more popular (and definitely easier to write) dystopias.

I have heard David Brin and know this work does need to be done, but having the extensive background in computer technology that I do, I still feel compelled to point out just how powerful and how much effect technology can have on our society now and in the near-future.

In “Dark Harvest” I point out the future of human trafficking improving its capacity to provide “slaves to order” using social media habits to gather intelligence on users making it possible to predict their behaviors and habits. Such technologies which I see being furthered by companies like Facebook, Instagram, and now Match.com are making it even easier to find, isolate and extract people from their lives without warning and without recourse.

In “We Now Return You to Our Scheduled Advertising” I posit a world overrun by “push” information technology being used to ensure advertising cannot be stopped from being heard by potential customers.

In our current world, television advertising is diminishing due to the power of DVR technology. As a result, smartphones (because they are harder to secure) are becoming a means of forcing users to endure advertising they don’t want in order to get content.

Companies are also learning how to hack your smartphone to send you content you did not ask for, by forcing your browsers to accept cookies, they can target you with specific advertising based on your search requests. Stores can, with the right software installed, direct information to your phone in order to influence your shopping decisions.

How long before such technology becomes part of the shopping experience you cannot opt out of? Recently it became possible to push an ad to speakers at remote locations using software technology. While it was immediately repudiated, it did not stop someone from discovering it could be done.

With recent laws being created, it will be possible to extract your data from an ISP and create profiles allowing advertisers to send information directly to you, no matter where you are.

THIS WEEK, THE House of Representatives followed the Senate in voting for a resolution that throws out Obama-era regulations that would have banned your internet service provider from selling your web browsing history to advertisers. What possible reason could Congress have for repealing such a consumer-friendly policy? The refrain on the House floor yesterday was “consistency.”

“What America needs is one standard across the internet ecosystem,” said representative Greg Walden (R-OR). If services like Google and Facebook can turn data into profit, the logic goes why can’t the cable companies?

But the House’s resolution doesn’t actually apply a single, consistent standard to the internet. It maintains the broken status quo, one in which internet service providers aren’t actually at a disadvantage to websites and apps. If anything, they’re held to a lower standard. (Wired.com)

Read More: medium.com/@ebonstorm/feudalism-and-the-algorithmic-economy-62d6c5d90646

America’s #1 Again (In Healthcare Costs Around The World) | Zero Hedge

Burns on Health Care

No matter what; for many years now, the American healthcare system has been flawed.

As Statista’s Feliz Richter illustrates in the chart above, U.S. health spending per capita (including public and private spending) is higher than it is anywhere else in the world, and yet, the country lags behind other nations in several aspects such as life expectancy and health insurance coverage.

Read More: www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-03-23/americas-1-again-healthcare-costs-around-world

A Matter of Mercy – KUNSTLER

Grandpa sees Death

Not so far back as last summer, a candidate named Trump un-ironically called for “an end to endless war in the Middle East.” The oft-applied policy of “regime change,” he said, was not working out in the various US-engineered failed states such as Libya, Iraq, Somalia, Yemen, Ukraine. About two weeks ago, I seem to recall, the State Department even declared explicitly that we had no brief for regime change in the case of one Bashar al-Assad over in Syria.

That’s how we roll in the national Alzheimers ward. Shit happens and then is promptly forgotten. Sometimes the shit that happens is forgotten so completely that it’s like living in universe where nothing happens. The auditors who once reported to work in your brain have left their stations — with no duties left after the smart-phone came on the scene. They are among the millions “no longer looking for work” in those BLS reports.

Maybe this is a manifestation of what used to be called “God’s mercy.” Now that we’ve almost succeeded in making the planet uninhabitable, we don’t have to remember how it got that way, or what will happen to us in the meantime, while we’re still here.

Read More: kunstler.com/clusterfuck-nation/a-matter-of-mercy/

EXCLUSIVE: Did Russia Shoot Down US Missiles in Syria? | RiskHedge

s400

In an exclusive video interview with RiskHedge, a long-time geopolitical expert says there is an alternate story making the rounds about the United States’ April 7 missile strike on Syria’s Shayrat Airbase in response to the Syrian regime’s alleged use of sarin gas on its own people.

“Not all missiles made their target,” says Dr. Theodore Karasik, a senior advisor to Gulf State Analytics. “There were supposed to be 60. One malfunctioned on one of the ships. 36 made target, the remainder did not. And, there’s a question of where did they go?”

Read More: www.riskhedge.com/post/exclusivedid-russia-shoot-down-us-missiles-syria

India – Demonetization Pain Continues Unabated

USAID

Demonetization Pain Continues Unabated

When Narendra Modi announced on 8th November 2016 that he was demonetizing 86% of the monetary value of all currency in circulation, he gave three major reasons for doing so: to end corruption, to end terrorism and to eliminate counterfeit currency. Ironically, all three are now in far worse condition than they were previously, and even worse than the predictions I made in this series of essays (Part XI is linked here).

Many ATMs in India still dispense no cash. The economy is in shatters. This had to happen, as any new cash is rapidly moving under the carpets of the financial powerful that hoard currency. Small businesses are traumatized by the lack of access to cash – many are closing for good. People continue to avoid making non-essential purchases. Even food demand has failed to recover. Poor people very likely are still forced to go to bed half-hungry.

No-one knows whether there are famines in parts of India, as none of the  mainstream media are covering the issue. Not unlike North Koreans or the Chinese during the times of Mao, Indians today, particularly members of the so-called educated class, simply cannot see what Modi or their nationalistic paradigm does not want them to see.

Read More: www.acting-man.com/?p=49171

Charles Hugh Smith: Our State-Corporate Plantation Economy

Plantation Economies

We’ve been persuaded that the state-cartel Plantation Economy is “capitalist,” but it isn’t. It’s a rentier skimming machine.

I have often discussed the manner in which the U.S. economy is a Plantation Economy, meaning it has a built-in financial hierarchy with corporations at the top dominating a vast populace of debt-serfs/ wage slaves with little functional freedom to escape the system’s neofeudal bonds.

Since I spent some of my youth in a classic Plantation town (and worked on the plantation as a laborer in summer), the concept of a Plantation Economy is not an abstraction to me, but a living analogy of the way our economy works.

Wal-Mart and the Plantation Economy (August 24, 2010)

Colonizing the Plantation of the Mind (August 25, 2010)

We Need a Social Economy, Not a Hyper-Financialized Plantation Economy (November 12, 2015)

Loving Our Servitude in America’s Plantation Economy (February 10, 2017)

The Plantation Economy is extremely hierarchical. Corporations and the state are both extremely hierarchical.

In the Plantation Economy, the Company has access to nearly unlimited credit.Small businesses serving the employees and the employees have enough credit to live on but not enough to buy productive assets. As a result, the Corporation can always buy up any productive assets, expanding its monopoly.

The state also has an essentially unlimited line of credit which it can use to fund its favored cartels and state fiefdoms.

Read More: charleshughsmith.blogspot.com/2017/04/our-state-corporate-plantation-economy.html

The Rutherford Institute :: Death at Your Door: Knock-and-Talk Police Tactics Rip a Hole in the Constitution

Everything is Awesome

It’s 1:30 a.m., a time when most people are asleep.

Your neighborhood is in darkness, except for a few street lamps. Someone—he doesn’t identify himself and the voice isn’t familiar—is pounding on your front door, demanding that you open up. Your heart begins racing. Your stomach is tied in knots. The adrenaline is pumping through you. You fear that it’s an intruder or worse. You not only fear for your life, but the lives of your loved ones.

The aggressive pounding continues, becoming more jarring with every passing second. Desperate to protect yourself and your loved ones from whatever threat awaits on the other side of that door, you scramble to lay hold of something—anything—that you might use in self-defense. It might be a flashlight, a baseball bat, or that licensed and registered gun you thought you’d never need. You brace for the confrontation, a shaky grip on your weapon, and approach the door cautiously. The pounding continues.

You open the door to find a shadowy figure aiming a gun in your direction. Immediately, you back up and retreat further into your apartment. At the same time, the intruder opens fire, sending a hail of bullets in your direction. Three of the bullets make contact. You die without ever raising your weapon or firing your gun in self-defense. In your final moments, you get a good look at your assailant: it’s the police.

This is what passes for “knock-and-talk” policing in the American police state.

Read More: www.rutherford.org/publications_resources/john_whiteheads_commentary/death_at_your_door_knock_and_talk_police_tactics_rip_a_hole_in_the_constitu