USA

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The US Government Hates Americans: Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 05/07/2022 - 12:13pm in

Tags 

america, USA, Politics, War

Listen to a reading of this article:

https://medium.com/media/1943fe6b94db16a5a9a8ee48410fe3ed/href

Best wishes to Americans this July 4th as you celebrate your great nation’s revolutionary transition from being ruled by a king to being ruled by corporations.

The US government views the American people as an annoying distraction from its real job of managing a globe-spanning empire. They couldn’t be more obvious about it. The only thing keeping Americans from seeing it are the media spinmeisters telling them daddy loves them all day.

America’s armed goon squad filled a man’s body with 60 bullets while he was unarmed and running away and the narrative managers are telling Americans to worry about Russia and China.

The governments of Russia and China are mobilizing as though the US-centralized empire is plotting to conquer and subjugate them because that’s exactly what is happening.

Find a government who loves you the way your own current government loves spending your money on a proxy war in Ukraine.

It is good that the last two US presidents have been slobbering idiots with holes in their brains. You never want the world’s most evil government to have a charming face.

Once you understand how much power is riding on Washington’s ability to maintain the political status quo, it doesn’t look the slightest bit paranoid or delusional to assume that all mainstream US politics and media are being deliberately tilted toward that end by the powerful. Like ooh yeah it’s so crazy and conspiratorial to think powerful people might be involved in manipulating politics and media in the hub of the most powerful empire that has ever existed.

It’s so fucking obnoxious how the US keeps pretending it’s following Ukraine’s lead in order to obfuscate the fact that it’s clearly the exact opposite. The western empire deliberately provoked this war, refuses to do anything to help end this war, actively discourages its puppet regime in Kyiv from ending the war, and plainly benefits from the continuation of this war. They’re destroying that country and then blaming it on the victim.

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The correct response to “Ah shit the ecosystem is dying” is not “therefore we’d better entrust ruling power structures with even more power so they can fix it,” it’s “therefore we’d better overthrow the ruling power structures whose madness created this problem so we can fix it.”

People are getting their life advice from chronically miserable freaks like Jordan Peterson and getting their foreign policy opinions from chronically wrong pundits who lied about the Iraq war. Don’t take life advice from miserable people, don’t take career advice from unsuccessful people, don’t take relationship advice from people who can’t maintain one, don’t take creative advice from people who don’t create, don’t take foreign policy advice from Iraq war supporters.

I wrote and tweeted about abortion for days after the Roe decision using the words “women” and “woman” the entire time and no one ever objected or told me to say “birthing people” or “people with uteruses” even once. The majority of my readers are leftists. This “women are being erased” culture war talking point seems to be a made-up crisis.

Most of what I do here is document propaganda trends and how they’re affecting the way people think and communicate. When propagandists get going I very quickly see their talking points regurgitated in my comments section. This simply is not happening with language about women.

A few liberal and medical institutions are using more inclusive language now, but it’s not affecting the way people think and talk about women so it’s silly to claim it’s hurting us. There are many, many obstacles and abuses women face in our society, but a smattering of trans-inclusive language is not one of them. Stop getting sucked into culture war brain quagmires.

People get so mad when I talk about what a sleazy propagandist Tucker Carlson is. It’s like they think I’m talking about their friend. Don’t form parasocial relationships with your mass media pundits, that’s gross.

Whenever the news cycle gets me saying lots of things my rightist followers object to I always get a bunch of hysterical reactions claiming I’ve changed or I’m losing my mind. Really it’s that they’d been following a leftist and agreeing with her the entire time without noticing up until that moment.

Human biology is not separable from this planet. In the future, if there is a future, the field of medicine will treat the entirety of Earth’s biosphere like it now treats the individual human. We won’t colonize space, we’ll enter a collaborative relationship with our ecosystem.

People would be faster to abandon the false hope of space colonization if they weren’t perceiving life through egoic consciousness which creates the illusion of separateness. We can send food and water into space, we can imitate gravity, but we can’t replicate the earth element in human anatomy. Without the separation illusion it’s clear that the biosphere is an energetic field, not a collection of separate things, and that snipping human organisms out of that field and putting them in space makes as much sense as taking a ripple from a pond and putting it in a fishbowl.

___________________

My work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, following me on Facebook, Twitter, Soundcloud or YouTube, or throwing some money into my tip jar on Ko-fi, Patreon or Paypal. If you want to read more you can buy my books. The best way to make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for at my website or on Substack, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. Everyone, racist platforms excluded, has my permission to republish, use or translate any part of this work (or anything else I’ve written) in any way they like free of charge. For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I’m trying to do with this platform, click here. All works co-authored with my American husband Tim Foley.

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Tucker Carlson Is As Much A Propagandist As Anyone Else In MSM

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 02/07/2022 - 2:28pm in

Tags 

Propaganda, USA, China

Listen to a reading of this article:

https://medium.com/media/8ec96c5296eb352c1366e9df51de3e9f/href

Fox News’s fabulously popular right wing pundit Tucker Carlson has ratcheted up his show’s anti-China propaganda yet again, introducing his interview with Brazil’s rightist president Jair Bolsonaro with a psychotic rant against Beijing that, were it about Moscow, would have looked perfectly at home among even the most demented mainstream liberal punditry at the height of Russiagate hysteria around 2018.

Before attempting to help Bolsonaro reverse his abysmal polling against his left-wing opponent Lula da Silva in a presidential election this coming October, Carlson led with the completely unevidenced claim that “China has been busy with its own agenda — taking over the world.”

All facts in evidence say that China is not working to “take over the world” (that’s what the US is doing), but is rather working to give rise to a multipolar world order that’s no longer dominated by a single unipolar hegemon. All the facts you ever see people citing to claim that China is attempting to supplant the US as unipolar hegemon are, when you drill down on them, in reality perfectly in alignment with Beijing’s stated agenda of multipolarism. China taking up more space on the world stage only looks like an egregious assault when viewed through the prism of a worldview which believes this planet is the property of the United States government.

Carlson’s claim that China has an agenda of “taking over the world” is also absurd on its face because it’s nonsensical to claim that Beijing has been watching the US empire crush itself under its own weight, burning itself out in a few short decades with its frenzied attempts to rule the globe, and thinking “Hey that looks awesome, let’s do that.”

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Carlson also made the even more ridiculous claim that “the Chinese have succeeded in re-colonizing the entire continent of Africa.” Carlson does not bother explain how Africa was “re-colonized” in its entirety by China while the continent remains dominated militarily by United States Africa Command (AFRICOM) and economically by the World Bank, the IMF, and western plutocrats and corporations.

Clearly the Chinese government is not run by self-sacrificing martyrs who gain nothing from Chinese infrastructure projects in Africa, but it’s absurd to put this on anywhere near the same level as the US dominating the continent with dozens of military bases and amassing proxy forces and the crushing neo-colonialism of the World Bank and IMF. Anyone who’s done any intellectually honest research into Chinese infrastructure development in Africa knows that it is far more mutually beneficial and far more ethical than the western systems of oppression which have been exploiting that continent for centuries.

“So, why isn’t the New York Times writing stories about any of this?” Carlson asks of the horrors in Africa he just invented in his head. “You know why — because the New York Times is on China’s side.”

Carlson is lying. This claim of his, that The New York Times is “on China’s side,” reveals so much about the fraudulent nature of Carlson’s populism schtick. It takes nothing more than a quick search of the keyword “China” on NYT’s website to show that the outlet has been frenetically churning out articles that can only be described as aggressively critical of China, like this one, this one, this one and this one, just to choose a few examples from the last few days.

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Do you see how this works? Carlson portrays himself as an anti-establishment hero who’s sharing knowledge with his viewers that they’ll never hear from the elitists at The New York Times or those fat cats in Washington, then goes on to tell them things that are perfectly in alignment with the agendas of those establishment institutions. Do you see how this tricks viewers into believing they’re getting the inside scoop on what the powerful are really up to behind closed doors, while actually manipulating them into alignment with the long-term goals of the powerful?

I have some overlap with Carlson’s audience because I criticize some of the same things he does like the US proxy war in Ukraine, so some of my readers get confused and upset when I say he’s just as much a propagandist as the empire spinmeisters on CNN and MSNBC. But if you actually look at what Carlson does from day to day you start to notice that he only criticizes some imperial actions which are opposed by right-wing populist strains in the US while continuously sheepdogging that audience into supporting establishment agendas like the cold war with China, legitimizing two-party electoral politics, and keeping everyone fixated on vapid culture war bullshit.

There is no more important goal for the oligarchic empire than securing US hegemony by halting the rise of China, and there is no figure more effective in manufacturing consent for that goal than Tucker Carlson. He gains credibility by appearing to fight the power, then uses that stolen credibility to help manufacture consent for the most high-priority agendas of the powerful.

And that’s just the sort of behavior you’d expect from someone whose life has been full of highly shady overlap with the Central Intelligence Agency and who has actually admitted to having applied to join the CIA.

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Carlson introduced Bolsonaro as a leader who opposes “allowing Brazil to become a colony of China,” implanting the idea that this is a real thing in his gullible audience’s mind. China is taking over the world, and the powerful political and media elites want it to take over the world, so the best way to fight those elites is to support the fight against China. Never mind the fact that the fucking Pentagon says openly that China is America’s number one enemy, and that the entire political/media class is firmly in alignment with the agenda to stop it.

The propaganda campaign against China has been quietly heating up on the back burner while everyone focuses on Russia and Ukraine. Every so often I mention China on social media and the responses I get from those who listen to Tucker Carlson and his fellow “right populist” pundits are just appalling in their stupidity and their white hot emotionality.

I am really not looking forward to when the imperial crosshairs move to Beijing, partly for the self-evident reason that this will be extremely dangerous and economically disastrous, but also because getting swarmed by all these brainwashed dupes in my replies is going to be excruciating. They’ve already been made crazy, and they’re going to be driven a whole lot crazier as this propaganda campaign gains more and more momentum.

If you’ve fallen for this ruse, it’s not too late to step back and realize that you haven’t been receiving brave anti-establishment commentary from the single most prominent pundit in the Murdoch press. Anyone who tells you that the correct response to your instinct that things are messed up is to vote for one of America’s two mainstream parties, consume mainstream media, and hate your government’s enemies is very clearly working to deceive you.

___________________

My work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, following me on Facebook, Twitter, Soundcloud or YouTube, or throwing some money into my tip jar on Ko-fi, Patreon or Paypal. If you want to read more you can buy my books. The best way to make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for at my website or on Substack, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. Everyone, racist platforms excluded, has my permission to republish, use or translate any part of this work (or anything else I’ve written) in any way they like free of charge. For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I’m trying to do with this platform, click here. All works co-authored with my American husband Tim Foley.

Bitcoin donations:1Ac7PCQXoQoLA9Sh8fhAgiU3PHA2EX5Zm2

Ad Nauseum: Addressing America’s Advertising Problem

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 24/06/2022 - 12:41am in
by Haley Mullins

One of the biggest roadblocks to achieving a steady state economy is advertising. While seemingly innovative solutions to consume conscientiously are becoming more prevalent, most people aren’t Marie Kondo-ing their way through each purchase, stopping to question whether the item in their shopping cart will “spark joy.” But how much blame can we really assign consumers when they’ve been dropped onto a hamster wheel of coupons, cash-back credit cards, and “consumer confidence” indicators?

We live in the age of the internet, where we can purchase anything with one click on Amazon. Websites track our movements and preferences as we surf the web, offering us personalized advertisements so we can discover and buy more of what interests us. To put into perspective how expansive advertising is in the USA, China is the second-largest advertising market in the world, yet its ad expenditures are estimated at less than half the amount calculated for the USA.

Advertising and Growth

Super Bowl promotions in a grocery store, featuring doritos advertising.

Super Bowl Sunday might be better named National Advertising Day. (CC BY 2.0, JeepersMedia)

In 1941, right before a baseball game between the Brooklyn Dodgers and Philadelphia Phillies, the first legal TV commercial aired in the USA. It was just ten seconds long and only cost the company nine dollars. Forty years later, the standard for prime-time TV was 9.5 minutes of ads per hour; today, it’s up to 14–17 minutes per hour. The cost of advertising has skyrocketed, too, but marketers are still willing to pay big bucks to make buyers aware of the “Next Big Thing.” In 2020, advertisers spent an average of $5.6 million for a 30-second spot in Super Bowl 54.

Firms advertise to create demand and promote consumption. (I don’t know about you, but I didn’t want socks with my cat’s face on them until I saw a Facebook ad for it.) While firms compete against each other for our business, they rally around the goal of GDP growth. Wall Street and Madison Avenue aren’t far apart—figuratively or politically—and both have skin in the growth game.

Americans have a love-hate relationship with ads though. A typical American might understand the role of advertising in economic growth, yet—apart from Super Bowl Sunday—we detest ads and go to great lengths to avoid them. By 2021, 27 percent of U.S. internet users used ad blockers on their connected devices. Younger generations are particularly put off; 48 percent of Gen Z consumers and 46 percent of Millennials prefer to pay a premium than watch advertisements on streaming video services.

First Things First

Steady staters have some significant hurdles to overcome in the degrowth of the American ad industry, the first of which is the First Amendment.

Advertising falls under the First Amendment right to free speech and free press, the most cherished of our constitutional rights. However, even the sanctity of the First Amendment doesn’t guarantee the freedom to say anything. The circumstances are important, too. Reasonable restrictions of free speech are imposed most notably when public safety is concerned. The classic example of unprotected speech is yelling “Fire!” at the movie theater when no fire exists, as the welfare of people supersedes your right to yell “Fire!”

While advertising isn’t as directly harmful as in this example, the prevalence and effects of advertising—unnecessary consumption, growth, and environmental impact—have become increasingly harmful to public welfare. Advertising restrictions already in place substantiate our cultural awareness of advertising as a danger to the public. Under the law, claims in advertisements must be truthful, and cannot be deceptive or unfair. Additionally, there are restrictions on promoting harmful products like tobacco and alcohol, as well as advertising to children, who can’t interpret ads with a critical lens.

Society understands the power of advertising and the dangers it poses when used manipulatively. Thus, it’s poor reasoning to use the First Amendment as an excuse for “anything goes” in the advertising industry. So, what policies could we enact to moderate advertising, slow consumption, and (in the process) improve wellbeing?

Ad-equate Policies

Defenders of advertising argue the importance of the practice in aiding competition, a fundamental facet of a capitalist system to keep prices low and fair. As American economist Lester Telser once described, “If sellers must identify themselves in order to remain in business, then formally unless they spend a certain minimum amount on advertising their rate of sales will be zero. Regardless of price, buyers would not know of sellers’ existence unless the sellers make themselves known by incurring these advertising outlays.”

1960 Budweiser advertisement with four Black men holding beers and chatting in a kitchen.

Advertising: framing the consumption of market goods as raising one’s quality of life. (CC BY-NC 2.0, ChowKaiDeng)

Touché, Telser. Eliminating the practice of advertising isn’t practical, as people would struggle to discover necessary goods and services. But billions of dollars are spent annually on advertising, far surpassing the optimal scale of the industry. In 2020, U.S. firms spent $240 billion on advertising; all of it tax deductible, as it’s considered a necessary business expense to generate or keep customers. Herman Daly and Joshua Farley argue for advertising taxes in Ecological Economics (Second Edition), declaring it appropriate to tax advertising as a public bad because production should meet existing demand rather than create new demands for whatever gets produced.

But if we’re truly to curb overconsumption of market goods, merely reducing the quantity of advertising will only do so much in the aggregate. To change consumer habits, an alternative to market goods must be introduced. Thus, in addition to taxation, Daly and Farley suggest making media information flows more symmetric so that the public is equally exposed to nonmarket goods as they are to market goods. Essentially, we need a sort of nonprofit advertising to balance out the advertising of firms.

Nonmarket goods, things that are neither bought nor sold directly, do not have a readily quantifiable monetary value. Some examples include visiting the beach, birdwatching, or going for a walk. Perhaps, with more attention given to nonmarket goods, consumer culture might shift to better appreciate our planet and better understand the true cost of frivolously consuming market goods that come from the Earth and return to the Earth as waste. Our resources might then be reallocated to the preservation of invaluable nonmarket goods, a shift that may aid in transitioning to a steady state.

Redefining Ethical Advertising

Cartons of cigarettes with several different warning labels making it clear that smoking is hazardous to people's health.

Full disclosure: unchecked consumption kills people and planet. (CC BY 2.0, kadavy)

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) defines “ethical advertising” as “truthful, not deceptive, backed by evidence, and fair.” The FTC assesses the adherence of these principles through the lens of a “reasonable consumer” to determine whether an ad meets the requirements. However, some argue that the FTC has a responsibility to protect the ignorant consumer to the same extent as the reasonable one.

If the last several decades of celebrated economic growth are considered, I’d say the vast majority of consumers fall into the ignorant category—ignorant to limits to growth, at least. Is it not within the scope of ethics, then, to make the true cost of consumption for advertised market goods evident? Is it not deceptive for ads to display a price tag that fails to factor in the environmental costs of production? We have warning labels on tobacco and alcohol products that consumption may lead to adverse effects, so why aren’t we warning buyers of the consequences of consuming other goods?

If we don’t restrict the amount or reach of advertising, the least we can do is demand full-disclosure advertisements that detail the environmental cost of producing and purchasing the product. This would, at minimum, include estimated life-cycle emissions, quantity of natural resources extracted, and the energy required to produce each unit. Such disclosures would, over time, raise awareness of limits to growth and could, perhaps, be the catalyst that converts our culture of conspicuous consumption to one of careful conservation.

Haley Mullins, managing editor for CASSEHaley Mullins is the managing editor at CASSE.

The post Ad Nauseum: Addressing America’s Advertising Problem appeared first on Center for the Advancement of the Steady State Economy.

MBS Sullies Saudi Arabia’s Good Name With Plans To Meet US President

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 15/06/2022 - 12:05pm in

Tags 

News, Politics, USA

Listen to a reading of this article:

https://medium.com/media/fa399b84bb091dd095f51a401e1f980a/href

The White House has officially confirmed reports that President Biden will indeed be visiting Saudi Arabia in contradiction of his campaign vows to make the nation a “pariah” for its human rights violations, and everyone’s acting like visiting a murderous tyrant is somehow beneath the dignity of a US president.

“The President will then travel to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, which is the current chair of the GCC and the venue for this gathering of nine leaders from across the region, at the invitation of King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud,” the White House statement reads. “The President appreciates King Salman’s leadership and his invitation. He looks forward to this important visit to Saudi Arabia, which has been a strategic partner of the United States for nearly eight decades.”

The president will meet with the nation’s de facto leader, Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, to discuss what the White House calls “means for expanding regional economic and security cooperation, including new and promising infrastructure and climate initiatives, as well as deterring threats from Iran, advancing human rights, and ensuring global energy and food security.”

But what they will primarily be discussing is oil, as the US flounders in its economic war against Russia.

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This visit has ignited a lot of controversy, even in mainstream punditry where criticism of the US empire is only thinly tolerated.

“I wonder who will die because Biden decided to show the world that MBS can kill with impunity,” tweeted Project on Government Oversight’s Walter Shaub in reference to the Saudi leader’s assassination of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.

“I don’t understand why it’s necessary to go see MBS,” former presidential advisor David Gergen said on CNN. “Do you want one more big controversy? This one the left will come after him, because they think, the human rights crowd believes very strongly, and with justification, that the murder of Khashoggi rests heavily on MBS and the team around him.”

“His blood stain has not been cleansed,” Senator Tim Kaine told CNN. “And I get it that circumstances change. But what’s the fundamental issue in the world right now? It’s the authoritarians. You know, insistence ‘we’ll do it our way’ versus democratic ideals.”

“I have real worries about patching up relationships with the crown prince absent some real commitments for justice for political dissenters in Saudi Arabia and families that have already been the targets of a dizzying campaign of repression,” Senator Chris Murphy told CNN.

All this hand wringing about a US president visiting a Saudi leader overlooks the fact that the Biden administration openly acknowledges the presence of thousands of US troops in Saudi Arabia, and that the US already actively collaborates with Saudi royalty in myriad ways with immensely far-reaching consequences.

More to the point, though, the controversy over Biden’s meeting with MBS ignores the fact that the US is quantifiably a far more murderous and tyrannical regime than Saudi Arabia.

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The United States is currently circling the planet with hundreds of military bases and waging wars which have killed millions and displaced tens of millions just since the turn of this century. Its sanctions and blockades have been starving people to death en masse every single day. It works to destroy any nation which disobeys its dictates by toppling their governments via CIA coups, proxy wars, partial and full-scale invasions, and the most egregious number of election interferences in the entire world.

Saudi Arabia cannot compete with those numbers. Riyadh exerts totalitarian control over its own populace and commits war crimes and funds violent extremists in its immediate surroundings. Washington does all of these things throughout the entire world. It is true that the US exports most of its tyranny and murderousness to other nations (though it certainly exerts plenty of it at home as well), but that only makes it less tyrannical and murderous if you believe non-American lives are worth less than American lives.

Saudi Arabia is not working to dominate the entire planet with an iron fist. Saudi Arabia is not threatening the life of everyone on earth by ramping up nuclear brinkmanship with both Russia and China. Mohammed Bin Salman had someone dismembered with a bone saw. Joe Biden manages a globe-spanning empire that is fueled by human blood.

It’s just so funny how everyone’s arguing about whether the single most murderous and oppressive regime on this planet should be sullying its good name by associating with a far lesser evil than itself. If anything, MBS should be embarrassed to be meeting with a US president.

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In truth the US is friends with Saudi Arabia not in spite of the Saudi regime’s murderousness and depravity but exactly because of it. The US doesn’t oppose tyrannical dictatorships; it loves them. A totalitarian monarchy which operates in an immensely geostrategically crucial region with complete control and zero transparency is the most perfect friend a globe-dominating empire could possibly ask for.

If you believe a meeting between Biden and MBS is any kind of transgression of the US government’s values, it’s only because you haven’t looked closely enough and thought hard enough about what those values really are.

___________________

My work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, following me on Facebook, Twitter, Soundcloud or YouTube, or throwing some money into my tip jar on Ko-fi, Patreon or Paypal. If you want to read more you can buy my books. The best way to make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for at my website or on Substack, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. Everyone, racist platforms excluded, has my permission to republish, use or translate any part of this work (or anything else I’ve written) in any way they like free of charge. For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I’m trying to do with this platform, click here. All works co-authored with my American husband Tim Foley.

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The world’s central bankers: running the economy as if they want a disaster

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 14/06/2022 - 4:57pm in

As the Guardian reports this morning:

Fears about a possible recession have pounded stock markets around the world amid reports that US Federal Reserve could raise interest rates by as much as 0.75% this week – its biggest single hike in borrowing costs for nearly 30 years.

As Wall Street’s benchmark S&P 500 index fell almost 4% on Monday into bear territory, prompting selloffs from Sydney to Shanghai, US central bank policy makers will begin a two-day meeting on Tuesday with expectations mounting that they will lift rates by at least 0.50%.

This is only the seventh bear market since 1945, so this is economically significant.

So too is the Fed's reckless path that is not stopping inflation, but is driving up the dollar, is threatening recession and will create massive poverty in countries that have debts denominated in dollars - about whom the Fed seems to be utterly indifferent as if running a reserve currency is an issue of no consequence for it.

Simultaneously, the Fed is providing cover for those on the UK Monetary Policy Committee seeking to impose maximum hardship on the UK when, once again, interest rises can only increase the economic problems that we face, and solve none.

It's as if some people wanted a disaster.

 

Our Real Enemies Are Not In Beijing Or Moscow: Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 14/06/2022 - 12:07pm in

Tags 

Propaganda, Russia, USA

Listen to a reading of this article:

https://medium.com/media/06c68388129339eafb2056c573271386/href

My enemies are not in Moscow or Beijing. My enemies are in Washington, Arlington, Langley, Wall Street, Silicon Valley, and Hollywood.

And so are yours. The only question is whether or not you realize it yet.

There’s a massive narrative management campaign geared toward convincing people it’s impossible to simply have a different opinion about Russia and Ukraine. You either fully believe what institutions who’ve lied about every war are saying or you’re a Kremlin agent or useful idiot.

The victims of this narrative management campaign can never really articulate why it’s so extremely important that everyone think the same thoughts about Ukraine. This is because it is not their own opinion; it’s something that was slyly inserted into their minds without their informed consent.

And of course if you’ve been paying attention you can very easily explain why it’s so important for everyone to think the same thoughts about Ukraine. It’s because otherwise the public would never consent to agendas which directly hurt their bank accounts and which could easily lead to a nuclear war which kills everyone they know.

If not for this narrative management campaign, Ukraine would be just another issue like gun control or abortion which you could simply have opinions about without being a secret agent or unwitting tool of a foreign government. And it would be much harder to enforce conformity.

The continually rising likelihood of nuclear war is the single most consequential and dangerous thing that is happening in the world right now, and the political/media class are conspiring to hide this reality from the people to prevent public outcry from interfering in imperial grand chessboard maneuverings.

This conspiracy of silence on the horrifying realities of the steadily escalating nuclear brinkmanship we’re seeing between the US and Russia is the single greatest scandal in the world. Everyone on earth has a loaded gun to their head right now, and these bastards are hiding this reality from everyone. They’re covering it up.

January 6th was a pretend LARP version of what the US actually did in real life in Ukraine in 2014 and in many other nations in recent history.

Anyone who believes Trump wouldn’t be throwing the US empire’s weight behind the Ukraine proxy war just as forcefully as Biden is a dopey partisan hack.

The people with the largest platforms are almost always the people who are least worthy of your attention. Celebrities, politicians and pundits have the most boring, vapid, homogeneous worldviews imaginable and seldom say anything you’re not already hearing from all the others.

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Any analysis of world power dynamics which doesn’t account for the US government’s unique, front-and-center role in worldwide tyranny and oppression is empty children’s entertainment.

One mainstream faction says you should consent to the oligarchic empire because oligarchy and empire are awesome, the other says you should consent to the oligarchic empire because of intersectionality and inclusivity. Their agendas are the same; only the justifications differ.

The fact that shitting on trans people is now the easiest way to piss people off in mainstream discourse doesn’t mean the right is the new counterculture. It just means real counterculture (shitting on the powerful) has lost all visibility in the echo chamber of mainstream discourse.

There’s currently no reason to believe AI will ever become conscious. Current science can’t explain or understand consciousness, and we don’t know that it ever will. No matter how “smart” it gets, there’s no reason to believe AI will ever experience itself as a perceiving subject.

They’ll make AI that can have intelligent conversations. They may even make AI that can perform complex psychoanalysis and create original philosophy. But none of that will mean there’s a conscious subject perceiving all that from within it. Human ingenuity is no closer to understanding how to do this than it was in the Stone Age.

The AI that’s stirring controversy about machine consciousness today is no more conscious than a calculator. I’m not saying it will never happen, just that we’ve not yet seen any evidence to believe it will. If it does, it will probably wildly alter our understanding of the universe.

Meanwhile we know it’s very possible that militarized AI will end up getting us all killed and other forms of AI can be used to oppress and manipulate us. We probably should pay a little more attention to that area of concern.

____________________

My work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, following me on Facebook, Twitter, Soundcloud or YouTube, or throwing some money into my tip jar on Ko-fi, Patreon or Paypal. If you want to read more you can buy my books. The best way to make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for at my website or on Substack, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. Everyone, racist platforms excluded, has my permission to republish, use or translate any part of this work (or anything else I’ve written) in any way they like free of charge. For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I’m trying to do with this platform, click here. All works co-authored with my American husband Tim Foley.

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The US Empire Acts Like A Textbook Manipulative Sociopath

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 12/06/2022 - 1:10pm in

Listen to a reading of this article:

https://medium.com/media/1da86812422e547f23e91483c7914d7b/href

One of the great sources of distress in people’s lives is that we don’t get to be the narrator of other people’s stories about us. That we don’t get to control what other people are thinking and saying about the things we do and the kind of person we are.

We’ve all been there in some way at some point.

“If he really knew me he’d like me.”

“If they’d understood what I meant by that joke they wouldn’t have gotten offended.”

“If she could see my heart and my intentions she’d understand why I did what I did.”

“No no, that’s not what happened; they’re getting it all wrong and it’s making me look like the bad guy.”

It’s pretty normal to feel misunderstood or mischaracterized by the people in our lives from time to time. But there are some people who take that experience to very unhealthy extremes and respond to it in very unhealthy ways.

People with an underdeveloped sense of empathy, like those with narcissistic and antisocial personality disorders, don’t experience other human beings the way normal people do. To whatever extent they lack empathy for others, they see them not as sovereign people but as tools to be used to get whatever it is they want, whether that’s power, wealth, sex, respect, etc.

This view of others tends to cause people who lack empathy to become manipulative, because their interest in others is not in connecting with them, understanding them and helping them but in using and exploiting them. However perceptive and clever they are will determine how skillful they can be in manipulating people toward that end.

For such individuals, the inability to narrate other people’s stories for them is experienced not as a sometimes painful but necessary reality but as an intolerable obstacle which must be overcome. Finding ways to manipulate the thoughts people think in their minds about the manipulator, about themselves, and about others takes on a central role in their lives.

This is one of the ways you can spot a manipulator who lacks empathy in your life: they spend an inordinate amount of energy trying to influence your opinion of them, your opinion of others, and/or your opinion of yourself. I’m this way and I do such and such. She’s such a bitch, she’s always blah blah blah. You’re defective in this-and-that ways. You need me for such-and-such reasons. You wronged me in such-and-such ways.

A virulent manipulator’s entire social existence revolves around influencing the narratives people have about what’s going on in their circle in a way that benefits the manipulator. Influencing the thoughts they think to themselves, and influencing the stories they’re telling each other.

A narrative is a story. Often when people hear the word “story” they think of a whole cloth work of fiction, something made up for the amusement of others. But the overwhelming majority of the stories we experience are about our own lives and the lives of others, both in our own heads and in our conversations with people.

“Joe went to the store” is a narrative, whether Joe did in fact go to the store or not. “Joe is a jerk” is a narrative, whether the arguments for Joe being a jerk contain factual claims or not. It’s a description of an occurrence or situation, whether accurate, inaccurate, or a mixture of both.

This ambiguous relationship between narrative and truth is where the manipulator lives. They spend their days weaving tall spires of language, framing reality in a way which benefits them using truth, half-truth, and falsehood as necessary. Filling people’s minds with a version of the world which consistently paints them in a sympathetic light and their targets in an unsympathetic light.

Because their lives revolve around manipulation, anything which poses an obstacle to their ability to manipulate is seen as a threat. Getting caught doing something gross which would make people less likely to believe the things they say in the future. Someone noticing that they are being manipulated and refusing to believe anything the manipulator says. Or, worst of all, everyone they know starting to talk to each other about what a dishonest and untrustworthy manipulator they are.

For the manipulator, being fully seen by everyone is one of the most frightening existential threats imaginable. You’ll often see them projecting this fear onto others, threatening to expose the secrets of people they don’t like, because for them that’s one of the most terrifying threats that can be made.

The US-centralized empire is a giant macrocosm of this entire dynamic. It pours vast amounts of energy into narrative control in the form of propaganda, censorship, Silicon Valley algorithm manipulation, government secrecy, and the war on journalism. It weaves nonstop narratives about how great it is and how horrible its enemies are. And it fears being seen more than anything in the world.

The vast globe-spanning power structure that is loosely centralized around the United States is a powerful military force and a powerful economic force, but its most potent weapon by far is its ability to control the narrative about what’s happening in the world. The use of oligarchic media, Silicon Valley and Hollywood to manipulate public thought and thereby control the way people think, act and vote at mass scale all around the world is unlike anything ever seen in any empire in history.

Propaganda only works if you don’t know it’s happening. Censorship only works if it doesn’t draw attention to the information being censored. The US empire’s nonstop campaign to control the world’s dominant narratives only works if it isn’t in the spotlight of public scrutiny. This is why those who draw attention to these things are smeared, demonized, censored, marginalized, imprisoned and worse by the managers of empire.

Manipulators hate to be seen, but if you ever find yourself in a relationship with one, your ability to escape depends upon your seeing them. This extreme clash of interests often brings up white hot rage in the manipulator which can be frightening and dangerous.

And I think humanity is entering that stage of the relationship with the US empire. A manipulator who’s just beginning to be seen by a few more pairs of eyes than it would like, causing flickerings of panic to begin to surface. Because once those eyes see what’s hidden underneath the veil of narrative manipulation, they don’t often look away. If anything, they tend to point and draw more attention to it.

It’s a scary time to be alive. But it’s also fascinating. Unlike anything that has ever happened on this planet before.

I look forward to finding out if we escape.

______________________

My work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, following me on Facebook, Twitter, Soundcloud or YouTube, or throwing some money into my tip jar on Ko-fi, Patreon or Paypal. If you want to read more you can buy my books. The best way to make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for at my website or on Substack, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. Everyone, racist platforms excluded, has my permission to republish, use or translate any part of this work (or anything else I’ve written) in any way they like free of charge. For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I’m trying to do with this platform, click here. All works co-authored with my American husband Tim Foley.

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Study US Foreign Policy By Looking At Oil Reserves: Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 10/06/2022 - 11:02am in

Tags 

News, China, USA, Politics, War

Listen to a reading of this article:

https://medium.com/media/67dad5ed5358dac49bbaa09ce07708ec/href

None of the world’s worst people are in prison. Most of them are fabulously wealthy and widely esteemed. Our systems are not set up to reward beneficial action and punish wrongdoing; at the scale that really matters, they are set up to do the exact opposite.

One of the main reasons it was necessary to rehabilitate the popularity of George W Bush was because otherwise it would be harder to get future presidents to do the kinds of things he did.

Dave Weigel retweeting a sexist joke has ignited more mainstream controversy about the Washington Post than the fact that the Washington Post lies about every US war and is solely owned by a plutocratic intelligence contractor whose interests diametrically oppose the public’s.

You can learn more about US foreign policy from a casual glance at a list of the world’s largest proven oil reserves than you can from a lifetime of consuming mainstream news media.

So to be clear, emails were leaked showing a major British media figure conspiring with an intelligence operative to subvert everyone to the left of Tony Blair, those emails were independently verified by that media figure, and in response to this you’re meant to get mad at Russia.

I have no idea who Grayzone’s source was, but if Russian hackers are indeed exfiltrating authentic documents about the powerful and leaking them to the public I say bully for them. It’s not like we can get information about their dirty secrets ourselves.

Authenticated private communications obtained by hacking are more trustworthy than public communications, not less. The latter only shows you what the speaker wants people to hear; the former shows you who they really are, and what they’re really about.

Mason’s leaked emails show him speaking with an intelligence contractor about using PayPal deplatforming to subvert empire-critical voices. Now two more have been deplatformed: Wyatt Reed and Jackson Hinkle. Empire managers know exactly what they are doing. This is a coordinated attack.

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Every government is comparable to Nazi Germany except the racist genocidal imperialist government who recruited Nazis after WWII and is currently arming Nazi factions to help it dominate the world.

A liberal will make fun of a conservative for doing stupid bullshit “to own the libs” and then immediately turn around and advocate World War Three to own Putin.

Liberals are fascistic tyrants and conservatives are whiny little bitches who run around looking for excuses to get offended.

The progressive Democrat strategy of slowly changing the system from within only makes sense if you (A) pretend you’ve got several centuries to gradually push for drastic revolutionary changes that are urgently needed right now and (B) pretend the system isn’t expressly rigged against change.

Royal families are just the descendents of whoever was murderous enough to take the throne from whoever had it before.

US intelligence is balls deep in Ukraine on every conceivable level and the imperial war machine is trying to pretend it doesn’t know exactly what’s happening in its own proxy war.

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I still haven’t found the right words to adequately express my disdain for people who act like they’re brilliant up-punching anti-establishment critical thinkers and spend all their time mindlessly regurgitating CIA lines about China.

Europeans set sail to conquer and colonize populations around the world. China built a wall. These are two very different cultures and values systems. The western assumption that China wants to take over the world and give us all social credit scores is based on pure projection.

This assumption is also premised on the absurd belief that Beijing has been watching the US empire rapidly burn itself out with its role as unipolar hegemon and thinking “Hey, that looks awesome! Let’s definitely do that!”

The belief that China wants to conquer and colonize a bunch of white foreigners is about as well-founded as the old belief that black people were trying to move into white neighborhoods to have sex with white men’s wives. Not everyone wants what you have, dudes. You’re not that enviable.

Empire apologists love conflating criticism of US malfeasance and recklessness in Ukraine with criticism of Ukrainians. I see it every single day. It lets them feel like they’re sticking up for the little guy instead of the very biggest guy. Pretending criticism of the most dangerous impulses of the most powerful and destructive government on earth is actually criticism of the victims of a brutal war reverses the real dynamic that’s happening where they’re actually siding with the most powerful empire in history.

We all kind of know our situation is unsustainable. On some level we all know it, whether we admit it or not. That’s why post-apocalyptic movies and TV shows have done so well. But people can’t face it directly, so they just distract themselves with nonsense and shriek about Xi and Putin.

_______________

My work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, following me on Facebook, Twitter, Soundcloud or YouTube, or throwing some money into my tip jar on Ko-fi, Patreon or Paypal. If you want to read more you can buy my books. The best way to make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for at my website or on Substack, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. Everyone, racist platforms excluded, has my permission to republish, use or translate any part of this work (or anything else I’ve written) in any way they like free of charge. For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I’m trying to do with this platform, click here. All works co-authored with my American husband Tim Foley.

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The NRA’s Kuznets Curve: Deadliest Mind Game on Earth?

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 10/06/2022 - 12:15am in
by Brian Czech

Herald readers were reminded last week of a concept called the “Kuznets curve,” named after the late Simon Kuznets (1901-1985) for his analysis of the distribution of wealth. Kuznets (rhymes with “whose nets”) found, more or less, that the maldistribution of wealth had worsened in the decades preceding the 1920s, and lessened afterward. He famously linked both trends to economic growth, noting different effects of growth before and after the 20s.

I say Kuznets found these things “more or less” because he plastered his 1955 paper with disclaimers. To wit, “trends in the income distribution should be explored—even though we have neither the necessary data nor a reasonably complete theoretical model” and “trends in the income structure can be discerned but dimly.” Kuznets warned that his results should be “considered as preliminary informed guesses” and came “perilously close to pure guesswork.”

Nevertheless, growthists glommed on to the guesswork like glazed raisin bread, and it was only a matter of time before someone coined the everlasting “Kuznets curve.” Could it have been the same salesman who came up with the cockamamy “consumer confidence?” Or the same PR pro who gave us the paean, “a rising tide lifts all boats?”

Whoever it was, somewhat of a growth industry (so to speak) in copycat Kuznets curves developed thereafter. The one that drives conservationists nuts—“Kuznuts” we might say—is the so-called “environmental Kuznets curve” (EKC). This is the hypothesis that economic growth initially causes environmental problems, which are eventually solved after the average income grows beyond a threshold level. The EKC turned out to be a fish story, resting on “a very flimsy statistical foundation.”

Fallacious is bad enough, but a truly nefarious Kuznets curve lurks in the town halls of the USA. It has to vie for the title of deadliest mind game on Earth. It’s the gun-violence Kuznets curve touted implicitly by the National Rifle Association.

The NRA and the Gun-Violence Kuznets Curve

Even when a Kuznets curve isn’t mentioned by name, Kuznets-curve logic may still be afoot. GDP doesn’t necessarily have to be the driving variable, either. The generic Kuznets curve can be stated like this: “When X increases, it causes Y to increase, but after a certain point, with different factors in play, X causes Y to decrease instead.” In the process, either a problem will be solved by that ever-growing X (a pleasant Kuznets curve), or a problem will appear and worsen (a nasty Kuznets curve). For example, as age increases, so does strength, but only up to a certain age. Thereafter, strength decreases with aging. That’s a nasty Kuznets curve.

Kuznets curve with gun violence on y-axis and gun owners on x-axis; NRA symbol with blood dripping under the curve.

The NRA’s gun-violence Kuznets curve: deadliest mind game on Earth?

Invariably, though, Kuznets curves proposed in the literature are pleasant ones, often intended to argue for the growth or proliferation of X.

Which brings us to the NRA and its gun-violence Kuznets curve. We’ve all heard it: “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” “We need more firearms on campus.” “Gun bans don’t disarm criminals, gun bans attract them.” Unlike the prudent and analytical Kuznets, the quotees (Wayne La Pierre, Donald Trump, and the late Walter Mondale, respectively) abide no doubt or compromise.

In the NRA’s Kuznetsian logic, yes, guns do allow for gun violence problems. However, the NRA’s solution is to simply have more guns in the hands of more people. Just like evermore money seeping out into different segments of society will supposedly solve the maldistribution problem, evermore guns seeping into different segments—especially good-guy segments like kindergarten teachers and church deacons—will solve the gun violence problem.

What a massacre of truth and logic, especially when coupled with the next lie in the NRA’s arsenal.

Guns Don’t “Cause”

The gun-violence Kuznets curve isn’t the only wicked logic pitched by the NRA and its loyal legions. They love to argue that “guns don’t kill people; people do.” With this argument they not only lay claim to an unassailable thread of logic, but usher in a whole school of red herrings to get the focus off guns.

White man with gun pointed at the camera.

Guy with a gun. Good or bad, gun violence looking likely.

Once the focus is on the “real” cause of gun violence, the town hall descends into irrelevant gibberish. Some aspiring Plato opines that people don’t really cause violence, either; societies do. Next, Jerry Falwell’s disciple says it’s not society, but the Devil, bent on destroying souls. But no, says the guy in the Darwin T-shirt, it’s neither people nor society nor the Devil, but evolution, which brought about violent tendencies especially in young men.

By now, if you haven’t noticed, guns aren’t even in the conversation. Mission accomplished for the NRA!

Meanwhile the unassailability of the NRA’s logic—yes, a gun on its own will just sit there, not killing folk—is a source of frustration for gun control proponents, and for people with common sense. It’s like the frustration caused by pro-growth interests who tell us that economic growth doesn’t “cause” environmental problems; rather it’s people and the technological choices they make that cause the problems. Which leads us back to arguing about society, the devil, evolution, aliens, PizzaGate…anything but economic growth!

NRA’s Argument Rests on Magic

For an argument to be “sound” (right in other words), two conditions must be met. First, the premises must be correct. Second, the argument must be valid, meaning that the premises must logically lead to the argument’s conclusion. If a premise is incorrect or the argument is invalid, the argument is “unsound,” or simply wrong.

Not that the NRA posits a deductive argument to begin with. They’re not arguing in classic logical form, “All guns are owned by good guys. Good guys never commit gun violence. Therefore, no guns are used in acts of violence.” That would be a valid argument, because if all guns were owned by good guys (and never stolen or commandeered by bad guys), and if good guys never did commit gun violence, then no guns could be used in acts of violence. Unfortunately, the first premise is patently false—plenty of creeps own guns—and the second premise wouldn’t be true unless we defined a “good guy” as someone who never commits gun violence, reducing the premise to a truism. The argument, in other words, is unsound, despite its technical validity. To put it more bluntly, it would be a stupid argument or an outright lie.

Wayne LaPierre

Wayne LaPierre, bad guy with Big Gun Money. (CC BY-SA 2.0, Wayne LaPierre)

The big-moneyed NRA isn’t stupid and doesn’t commit such an obvious lie. In fact, the NRA avoids deduction altogether. Their fallacious logic is more slippery to pinpoint, but self-contradiction is evident enough. They’ve told us that guns don’t “cause” gun violence. On the other hand, they’d have us believe that more guns would reduce—cause a reduction in—gun violence. They can’t have it both ways; can’t have their bullets and shoot them too.

Next, the notion that evermore guns in the hands of evermore people would lessen the incidence or impacts of gun violence is subject to some good, swift, valid reductio ad absurdum: If there were zero guns, we could have a whole society of Satan-worshiping creeps, and yet not a single act of gun violence could possibly occur.

What if there was one gun? Or ten? Still very little gun violence could transpire, and we wouldn’t need the billions of dollars of security equipment for safeguarding our workplaces, churches, and schools from bad guys with guns. (Yes, airports and political rallies would still need plenty of protection from other types of terrorism.)

Now if 100,000 Americans owned guns—especially AR-15s—we’d have to start taking notice and staying alert. A creep with an AR-15 can mow down as many people in one spree as all the gun-related homicides per year in countries such as Australia, New Zealand, and Netherlands.

Still, compare these low-gun scenarios to the level of gun violence we have today, not even with a population of Satan-worshiping gun nuts but with “regular” American citizens: 45,222 gun-related deaths in 2020, including over 19,384 homicides. That’s more than the number of people (38,824) that died in car accidents!

At what point along their gun-violence Kuznets curve does the NRA think the magical reversal will commence? We already have over 100 million armed Americans (32 percent of the population). What happens when we reach 100 percent gun ownership and have even more grotesque levels of carnage? What do we do then? Start cloning everyone so we can arm more people yet, chasing that ever-elusive inflection point? When do we have enough of this deranged social experiment? Especially given the utter lack of scholarly corroboration for decades now.

Sympathy for the Gun Industry?

To be fair to the NRA, we must acknowledge that they don’t say, “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is an even worse jackass with a gun.” Rather, it’s the “good guy” (and gal, and kid, and possibly soon robot) the NRA wants armed, preferably to the profit-maximizing teeth, locked and loaded and fully accessorized.  That alone undermines the gun-violence Kuznets curve, as it puts quite a limitation along the X axis, where “Gun Owners” should really be “Exclusively Good Gun Owners.”

On the other hand, given the extreme position of the NRA against gun control—even against expanding background checks—they must be assuming that all remaining unarmed Americans are already good. Otherwise, why wouldn’t they want to do a better job of discerning bad from good, so their modified Kuznets curve might have some validity? Well, you know the NRA; they always have an answer, such as following their advice and investing much more of our hard-earned taxes in mental health, so we can arm every man, woman, and child without bothering to discern. That way, just in case somebody falls back through the cracks into the bad category, we’re all prepared to shoot the hell out of them at a moment’s notice.

Until that glorious day, though, we have numerous other barriers to getting the guns from the factory floor into the hands of the good guys, and keeping them exclusively there. For example, guess what else (aside from gun violence) the bad guys are known for. I bet you’ve already arrived at the answer, because it’s such common knowledge. Yes, bad guys are known for stealing! Consider an annotated list of the top five crimes committed in the USA:

  1. Larceny/theft. Better not leave those guns out in plain sight (where they might have been handy for stopping bad guys with guns).
  2. Burglary. Keep those guns locked up tight, you good guys and gals. Guns are stolen “in staggering numbers,” especially from houses and cars and trucks. Speaking of cars and trucks…
  3. Motor vehicle theft. Once that vehicle is gone, it’s adios to the Glock in the glovebox. Chalk one up for the bad guy (one more gun that is), and cross one off for the good guy.
  4. Aggravated assault. If you’re the assaultee, you better hope it’s not aggravated and exacerbated by an AR-15.
  5. Robbery. If you’re not fast on the draw, or your sidearm’s been stolen, or your handgun is locked away for theft prevention…stick ‘em up! Otherwise your number just might be “45,223.”

 I'm a Teacher and you want to arm me?

Thanks to the NRA, U.S. teachers are pressured to arm themselves in the classroom. (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0, Adam Fagen)

I suppose it would be possible to have some amount of sympathy for the gun manufacturers under pressure, their attorneys, the NRA, and the NSSF. However, there wouldn’t be much left for them, not even empathy; not after thinking of all the innocent guys and gals—never before armed—suddenly faced with the heavy-handed and heavy-hearted responsibility of packing a sidearm. Homeowners, soccer moms, preachers, and teachers in certain school districts are facing this responsibility, feeling coerced to put in the time, money, and psychological effort for learning about guns, practicing shooting, and getting trained up for responding to a bad guy with a gun in unthinkable scenarios.

These everyday Americans are the good guys—exceptionally good Americans—and they’re good without guns. Sure, there are good guys with guns, too. (I like to think I’m one of them, with my .243 for venison.) We’re overlooking some bad guys with guns, though. The real bad guys start with the AR-15-toting NRA. They’re leading innocent people astray with their lies, they’re bullying politicians and school boards, and they’re abetting gun violence galore with the vilest Kuznets curve on the books.

You might say the NRA has a bright future, though. Where they’re headed, everyone will finally be toting an AR-15.

Brian Czech, Executive Director of CASSEBrian Czech is the executive director of CASSE.

The post The NRA’s Kuznets Curve: Deadliest Mind Game on Earth? appeared first on Center for the Advancement of the Steady State Economy.

You’re Only As Free As You Allow Your World To Be

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 07/06/2022 - 11:46am in

Tags 

USA, humanity, freedom

Listen to a reading of this article:

https://medium.com/media/77581f3cee49f8ed3bccca97eea1a218/href

The struggle to obtain power is the struggle to gain control over the people around you. Trying to gain more control over a romantic partner, a family member, workers, the citizenry; all of these things are an attempt to obtain power.

Gaining control over others gives us the feeling that we are making ourselves more safe and secure, because, to whatever extent we’re able to exert it, it seems like we are able to control what they do and prevent them from creating undesirable outcomes for us.

The assumption that more control means more safety is mistaken, and it’s what generates most of the suffering in our world today. It’s also what drives the impulse to obtain power.

The largest expression of that impulse is the agenda to control the entire world. The largest manifestation of that agenda is in the US-centralized empire. The people who run that empire continually seek to obtain more and more control over what humans do on this planet, with the official reason being that it makes the United States more secure and the unofficial reason being that it makes the empire architects more secure.

But in reality it does neither. It turns out that maintaining a unipolar world order requires constant violence and the constant threat of violence, and it also requires steadily mounting nuclear brinkmanship against countries who don’t want to be controlled which could easily lead to the death of everyone on earth. The assumption is that more control will bring more security, but the reality is that it creates more insecurity.

This is not just true at the largest scale; it’s a principle which scales all the way down to the innermost workings of a single human.

The more control you exert over your environment, the more your environment is destroyed. The more control you exert over your citizenry, the more likely they are to put someone else in charge at the earliest opportunity. The more control you exert over your employees, the more likely they are to want to go work someplace else. The more control you exert over your friends and coworkers, the more likely they are to turn against you. The more control you exert over your family, the more likely they are to avoid you. The more control you exert over your lover, the more likely they are to stop loving you. The more control you exert over life, the more likely you are to suffer.

The ego, by which I mean the psychological construct of a “self” character which is believed in and identified with by the human organism, arises from the human organism’s sense of insecurity in early childhood. Because our large brains relative to the size of the pelvic bone make it necessary for us to be born far more helpless and underdeveloped than other animals, we’ve got long childhoods which we spend in a protracted state of what generally feels like insecurity. We aren’t able to get our own food, keep ourselves safe, or use advanced thinking processes to predict what’s going to happen in a frightening world surrounded by traumatized giants whose behavior often startles and scares us.

The organism’s entirely understandable response to this sense of existential insecurity is to use the human brain’s immense power to create a “me” character whose interests can be looked after using thought and language. From the perspective of the psychological self construct, the world shifts from an ineffable mystery to something that can be known, and thereby controlled.

The primitive reflex of fear which the human organism inherited from its evolutionary ancestors is thereby eased. The emergence of egoic consciousness creates a sense of security, in the same way the emergence of the empire gave rise to a sense of security at the other end of the human behavior scale.

But both are equally illusory. By exerting control over life in this way, by creating a separate “me” which can be identified with and a separate “world” which can be understood and known, the organism senses that it is gaining more control and therefore less fear and anxiety. But really all it’s done is chain itself to the wheel of suffering.

What presents as a path to security is really the path to insecurity. The psychological creation of the separate self creates in the same movement a world of separate others who can pose all sorts of social and existential threats to us. It creates a personal history of failures and deficiencies and defeats and wounds. It creates this churning, babbling mental monologue about me and mine and they and them and what should I do and am I doing it right and oh God I did it wrong, didn’t I?

The overwhelming majority of human suffering is of the psychologically generated sort which arises from the process of egoing, and the overwhelming majority of what’s left (starvation, violence, untreated sickness etc) is born of human agendas to exert control and hoard wealth because of egoing.

Without egoing, it would just be human organisms peacefully existing on the planet they were born on until they died of natural causes. There’d be no reason not to collaborate with each other and with our ecosystem toward the common good and make sure everyone gets what they need, because there’d be no “me” whose interests need to be secured before those of “others”, no “others” whose wellbeing could be seen as taking anything from “me”.

And that’s what we are working toward here on this planet, in my opinion. A world where we ultimately wind up relinquishing control over each other, and over life itself, as we move from a state of confusion to a state of clarity, from a state of egoic contraction to a state of egoless expansion, from a state of control to a state of freedom.

It will probably be a sloppy, awkward process, with more control coming in at times and then being relinquished as it is seen as unnecessary, two steps forward, one step back. But I do think we’ll make it.

And the cool thing is we can begin this process ourselves, from right where we are standing, just by relinquishing the illusion of self and separation. There are many teachings and pointers out there to help anyone who wants to get started on this. All you really need is a sincere curiosity and a willingness to let untruth fall away.

Ultimately the path to ending egoing is the same as the path to ending empiring: letting life be as it is instead of trying to manipulate and control.

We’re only as free as we allow our world to be. In setting the world free, we set ourselves free. In setting ourselves free, the world becomes that much freer.

_________________

My work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, following me on Facebook, Twitter, Soundcloud or YouTube, or throwing some money into my tip jar on Ko-fi, Patreon or Paypal. If you want to read more you can buy my books. The best way to make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for at my website or on Substack, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. Everyone, racist platforms excluded, has my permission to republish, use or translate any part of this work (or anything else I’ve written) in any way they like free of charge. For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I’m trying to do with this platform, click here. All works co-authored with my American husband Tim Foley.

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