Joe Biden’s Shocking All-Time Record-Breaking Stupidity

Eric Zuesse

See this 4:35 video:

https://www.cnn.com/videos/politics/2019/09/04/biden-cnn-climate-crisis-town-hall-2020-democratic-candidates-vpx.cnn

During the CNN Climate-Change Town Hall Forum on September 4th, contestant Joe Biden — no less a person than the former Vice President of the United States himself — was asked by “Isaac,” a member of the audience, “Now, I know that you have signed the no-fossile-fuel-money pledge, but I have to ask, how can we trust you to hold these corporations and executives accountable for their crimes against humanity, when we know that, tomorrow, you are holding a high-dollar fundraiser, hosted by Andrew Goldman, a fossile-fuel executive?” Biden shot back immediately, “He is not a fossile-fuel executive.” Then, Biden launched into his standard string of autobiographical anecdotes that supposedly display how terrific he is.

Then, CNN’s host Anderson Cooper simply broke into that string of anecdotes, with “Let me just inform our audience about some of the details that” Isaac had referenced, and Cooper then closed with “Isaac’s question was, ‘Will you hold fossil-fuel corporations and executives who have lied to the public accountable’?” Biden promptly replied, “Yes, and by the way, just like we did the tobacco industry who lied to the public [for which NONE of them went to prison, nor was ever even investigated for possible criminal violations], and just like the opioids.” Cooper immediately responded, “How do you do that?” Biden said “The way you do that is you try to change the law.” But, of course, that’s not holding anyone accountable for lying to the public, nor for anything else.

So, from that response alone, we know that Biden was intending to give Mr. Goldman, and his ilk — like was given to those earlier executives — total immunity. It’s right there, proven in his answer to that question. Cooper just ignored it, and directly went on to “There is a question though about this fundraiser. There is a fundraiser tomorrow night. It’s given by a guy named Andrew Goldman. He does hedge funds and stuff, but he also has a company called Western LNG; and their biggest project, which I think was announced in 2018, is a floating facility for liquefied natural gas” to “provide Canadian gas to parts of northern Asia; so, what Andrew [actually Isaac] is saying is if you’re going to a fundraiser that’s being held in part by this guy who has a company that’s pulling up natural gas, are you the right guy to go after this?”

Biden — now finding himself finally trapped not only by an audience-member, but by a persistent program-host who had not asked the question but who now was absolutely demanding that it be actually addressed by the contestant — replied:

Well, I didn’t realize he does that. I was told, if you look at the SEC filings, he’s not listed as one of those executives. That’s what we look at, the SEC filings. … I’ve kept that pledge. Period.”

Cooper: “Are you going to [mumble]? Biden: “I’m going to look at what you’ve just told me and if that’s accurate, yes.”

Cooper then volunteered — on Biden’s behalf — an excuse regarding Biden’s seeking donations through Goldman: “He currently doesn’t have day-to-day responsibilities.” Biden promptly took it, and ran with that presumed excuse: “What I was told, by my staff, is that he did not have any responsibilities relating to the company; he was not on the board, he was not involved in the operation of the company at all.”

Biden was saying that to be a co-founder and lead investor, and perhaps even the controlling owner, of the gas-enterprise, is to be “not involved in the operation of the company at all.”

Then, amazingly, Biden directly continued that statement by his saying, “And if that turns out to be true, then I will not in any way accept his help.”

In other words, he finally had actually switched his position to: even if Goldman is “not involved in the operation of the company at all,” Biden won’t “accept his help.”

By now, in the video-clip, the left side of Biden’s left eye had become — during just this four-minute grilling of him — very visibly overtaken with blood-redness, replacing the normal whiteness there. Clearly, this brief event, a 4:35 verbal exchange, precipitated in his body a physiological danger. It’s, by now in the video, very visible, right there.

Biden is so stupid (or else such a liar) that he claims that it’s okay for people to be allowed to invest in fossil-fuels extractors. Amazing!

—————

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

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Pentagon Wants to Silence Critics by Burying Real News

Note: The paperback version of our book “Historically-Documented Admissions of False Flag Terror: A Concise Summary” – the first-ever book focusing solely on ADMITTED false flags, and documenting such shenanigans in 24 countries all over the world – has just been released. Thousands of hours of research went into the book, but we wrote it as concisely as humanly possible (the text itself, excluding endnotes, is only 30 pages). Or the eBook version contains clickable links, so you can easily go the source materials we cite.

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“News is something which somebody wants suppressed: all the rest is advertising”

– William Randolph Hearst, publisher of the largest newspaper chain in America (many others have uttered similar sentiments).

Powerful people and institutions go to great lengths to suppress news which reveals their less-than-savory actions.

So Bloomberg’s recent article is not surprising:

The military research agency [the Defense and , i.e. the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency”Darpa”] hopes it can spot fake news with malicious intent before going viral.

One can only understand what Dapra means by “fake news” with a little historical context:

  • We noted 11 years ago that the Pentagon is using artificial intelligence programs to try to predict how people will react to propaganda
  • We explained 8 years ago that the Pentagon is doing everything it can to “fight the net”, i.e. the open-ended dissemination of information on the web.
  • We pointed out 7 years ago that the government is spying on social media to stifle dissent … not to keep us safe.

The government spends a great deal of manpower and money to monitor which stories, memes and social movements are developing the momentum to actually pose a threat to the status quo.  For example, the Federal Reserve, Pentagon, Department of Homeland Security, and other agencies all monitor social media for stories critical of their agencies … or the government in general.   Other governments – and private corporations – do the same thing.

Why?

Because a story gaining momentum ranks high on social media sites.  So it has a high probability of bursting into popular awareness, destroying the secrecy which allows corruption, and becoming a real challenge to the powers-that-be.

“Social proof” is a related concept.  Social proof is the well-known principle stating that people will believe something if most other people believe it. And see this.  In other words, most people have a herd instinct, so if a story ranks highly, more people are likely to believe it and be influenced by it.

That is why vested interests go to great lengths – using computer power and human resources – to monitor social media momentum.   If a story critical of one of these powerful entities is gaining momentum, they will go to great lengths to kill its momentum, and destroy the social proof which comes with alot of upvotes, likes or recommendations in social media.

  • The same year, we quoted an article in the Guardian stating:

The activities of users of Twitter and other social media services were recorded and analysed as part of a major project funded by the US military, in a program that covers ground similar to into how to control emotions by manipulating news feeds.

Research funded directly or indirectly by the US Department of Defense’s military research department, known as Darpa, has involved users of some of the internet’s largest destinations, including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Kickstarter, for studies of social connections and how messages spread.

***

Several of the DoD-funded studies went further than merely monitoring what users were communicating on their own, instead messaging unwitting participants in order to track and study how they responded.

***

The project list includes a study of how activists with the Occupy movement used Twitter as well as a range of research on tracking internet memes and some about understanding how influence behaviour (liking, following, retweeting) happens on a range of popular social media platforms like Pinterest, Twitter, Kickstarter, Digg and Reddit.

***

Unveiled in 2011, the SMISC [Social Media in Strategic Communication] program was regarded as a bid by the US military to become better at both detecting and CONDUCTING propaganda campaigns on social media.

“Through the program, Darpa seeks to develop tools to support the efforts of human operators to counter misinformation or deception campaigns with truthful information.” [“Truthful” as in government-approved? ]

***

Studies which received military funding channeled through IBM included one called “Modeling User Attitude toward Controversial Topics in Online Social Media”, which analysed Twitter users’ opinions on fracking.

***

“As another example, when anti-government messages are spread in social media, government would want to spread counter messages to balance that effort and hence identify people who are more likely to spread such counter messages based on their opinions.”

***

A study at Georgia Tech … concluded: “Breaking news stories and world events – for example, the Arab Spring – are heavily represented in social media, making them susceptible topics for influence attempts via deception.” [We can’t tell if the researchers were pro or anti-deception; but given that the U.S. and Britain have used Twitter to intentionally spread falsehoods in other countries, we can take a wild guess.]

***

One of multiple studies looking into how to spread messages on the networks, titled “Who Will Retweet This? Automatically Identifying and Engaging Strangers on Twitter to Spread Information” did just this.

The researchers explained: “Since everyone is potentially an influencer on social media and is capable of spreading information, our work aims to identify and engage the right people at the right time on social media to help propagate information when needed.”

  • We noted 4 years ago that the UK was launching a massive propaganda program:

The Guardian explains:

The British army is creating a special force of Facebook warriors, skilled in psychological operations and use of social media to engage in unconventional warfare in the information age.

***

Against a background of 24-hour news, smartphones and social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, the force will attempt to control the narrative.

Gizmodo notes:

A new group of soldiers, referred to as “Facebook Warriors” will ” wage complex and covert information and subversion campaigns,” according to the Financial Times.

***

These Facebook warriors will be using similar atypical tactics, through non-violent means, to fight their adversary. This will mainly be achieved through “reflexive control,” an old Soviet tactic of spreading specifically curated information in order to get your opponent to react in the exact way you want them to. It’s a pretty tricky trick, and the British army will be doing just that with 1,500-person (or more) troop using Twitter and Facebook as a means to spread disinformation, real war truths, and “false flag” incidents [Britain’s spy agency has admitted (and see this) that it carries out “digital false flag” attacks on targets, framing people by writing offensive or unlawful material … and blaming it on the target] as well as just general intelligence gathering. The 77th battalion will reportedly begin operations in April.

***

The United States and Israel have also long engaged in massive Internet propaganda.

So Darpa’s efforts are nothing new.  Instead, they are part of a decades-long effort to shut down critical information …

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Nonviolence Denial Is As Dangerous As Climate Denial

Persistent willful ignorance of necessary knowledge can be deadly. This is true of denial of climate collapse. It is also true of denial of the tools and power of nonviolent action. As evidence and knowledge pile up in each case, denial of the facts looks more and more intentional, reckless, and malevolent, or intentionally, recklessly, and malevolently manufactured by propagandists.

“We need to burn more oil or suffer horribly” is slowly being recognized as a vicious deception, as more and more people come to understand that we need to burn less oil or suffer horribly. “We need to dump more money into war preparations or suffer horribly” is the same type of statement. The notion that a population must be prepared to fight off an invasion and occupation violently or do nothing may someday be understood as on a par with “We need to eat the roasted flesh of livestock or eat nothing.” Some of us grasp that there are other things to eat. Refusing to grasp that there are other ways to resist a military is daily becoming a more irrational act.

Here is a collection of resources on this point. I’d like to highlight the two latest additions to it: Social Defence by Jørgen Johansen and Brian Martin, and Shut It Down by Lisa Fithian.

The authors of Social Defence define social defense as “nonviolent community resistance to repression and aggression, as an alternative to military forces.” They mean using rallies, strikes, boycotts, and all the thousands of nonviolent tools. Other names for social defense include nonviolent defense, civilian-based defense, and defense by civil resistance. This book provides the case against military defense, and a guide to training for and engaging in social defense. It also provides case studies of times when social defense has been used, and used with some success even without proper training and organization.

Needless to say, roughly half the world’s military spending is by a single country that is under no threat of being occupied but has, on the contrary, attacked and occupied numerous other countries. Yet, ironically, it is a U.S. audience that may most need to gain nonviolent enlightenment, since the propaganda of military defense supports the military spending which generates the distant wars of aggression. For these reasons, it’s important to study how military spending and preparations actually make countries into targets rather than protecting them, and how military propaganda about enemies distracts from the use of armed force to defend anti-democratic rulers from their own people. Not only is the U.S. arming three-quarters of the world’s dictatorships, but it has armed itself heavily against popular grievances at home.

Johansen and Martin address popular fears of mass slaughter by a foreign invader, by pointing out that most wars never involve any intention of genocide, and that genocides almost always happen within a country and with the support of military forces. Social defense both removes the need for a military and provides people with a means of resisting an attack. While two dozen small nations have abolished their militaries, no nation has replaced its military with, or even created alongside its military, a department of social defense. Nonetheless, people have spontaneously and haphazardly used social defense successfully, demonstrating its enormous potential. Studies of numerous campaigns resisting oppressive governments have shown nonviolence to be more effective than violence, to be the stronger tool to which one must “resort.” But most such studies do not focus on foreign occupations and coups. Johansen and Martin do.

Social Defence examines German resistance to French occupation in 1923, and Czechoslovakian resistance to Soviet occupation in 1968, making the case that these partial successes could have been more successful with advanced preparation.

When French and Belgian troops occupied the Ruhr in 1923, “The German government called on its citizens to resist the occupation by what was called, at the time, ‘passive resistance,’ namely resistance without physical violence. The key resistance tactic was to refuse to obey orders from the French occupiers. This was costly: thousands who ignored orders were arrested and tried by military tribunals, which handed out heavy fines and prison sentences. There were also protests, boycotts and strikes. The resistance had many facets. The French demanded that owners of coal mines provide them coal and coke. When negotiations broke down, the German negotiators were arrested and court martialled. . . . Civil servants resisted. The German government said they should refuse to obey instructions from the occupiers. Some civil servants were tried for insubordination and given long prison sentences. Others were expelled from the Ruhr; over the course of 1923 nearly 50,000 civil servants were expelled. Transport workers resisted. The French-Belgian occupiers tried to run the railways. Only 400 Germans agreed to work for the new administration, compared to 170,000 who worked in the railways prior to the occupation.”

When the Soviet military invaded Czechoslovakia in 1968, “There were huge demonstrations. There was a one-hour general strike on 22 August. Graffiti, posters and leaflets were used to publicise the resistance. A few individuals sat down in front of tanks. Farmers and shopkeepers refused to provide supplies to the invading troops. Staff at Prague airport cut off central services. The Czechoslovak radio network allowed synchronous broadcasting from many locations across the country. . . The Soviets brought in radio-jamming equipment by train. When this information was broadcast, workers held up the train at a station. Next it was stopped on the main line due to an electricity failure. Finally it was shunted onto a branch line where it was blocked by locomotives at both ends. . . . Announcers told how to avoid detection, harm and arrest, including details of when particular individuals were being hunted. To make the KGB’s job more difficult, citizens removed house numbers and took down or covered over street signs. . . . An effective part of the resistance involved local people talking to the invading soldiers, engaging them in conversation, explaining why they were protesting. Some soldiers had falsely been told there was a capitalist takeover in Czechoslovakia; some of them thought they were in Ukraine or East Germany. . . . For the invading troops, the combination of being met with strong arguments while being refused food and normal social relationships was upsetting, possibly leading some troops to be deliberately inefficient.”

What were the outcomes of these campaigns of social defense avant la lettre?

People nonviolently turned public opinion in Britain, the U.S., and even in Belgium and France, in favor of the occupied Germans. By international agreement, through the Dawes Commission, 95 years ago this week, the French troops were withdrawn.

Czechoslovakia’s Prague Spring lasted a week. “Dubcek, Svoboda, and other Czechoslovak political leaders were arrested and held in Moscow. Under severe pressure and without communication with the resistance back in Czechoslovakia, they made unwise concessions. They didn’t realise how widespread and resolute the resistance was. The leaders’ concessions deflated the resistance, so its active phase lasted only a week. However, it took another eight months before a puppet government could be installed in Czechoslovakia. The resistance thus failed in its immediate aims. However, it was immensely powerful in its impacts. The use of force against peaceful citizens undermined the credibility of the Soviet Communist Party. At this time, most countries around the world had communist parties, some of them quite strong and most looking to the Soviet party for leadership. The Prague spring changed all this. Many foreign communist parties splintered, with some members quitting or the parties splitting into old guard supporters of the Soviet line and supporters of the reform approach.”

In both cases, nations heavily armed and committed to intervening, and the League of Nations in one case and the United Nations in the other, did nothing — thank goodness!

Social Defence also looks at the use of social defense against coups in Germany 1920, France-Algeria 1961, and the Soviet Union 1991. The lessons learned are widely applicable, including in countries whose governments refuse to impeach or remove lawless leaders, and in countries whose buffoonish leaders suspend democratic government.

In Germany in 1920, a coup, led by Wolfgang Kapp, overthrew and exiled the government, but on its way out the government called for a general strike. “Workers shut down everything: electricity, water, restaurants, transport, garbage collection, deliveries. . . . Civilians shunned Kapp’s troops and officials, who could not get anything done. For example, Kapp issued orders, but printers refused to print them. Kapp went to a bank to obtain funds to pay the troops, but bank officials refused to sign cheques. . . . In less than five days, Kapp gave up and fled from the country.”

In Algeria in 1961, four French generals staged a coup. “There was even a possibility of an invasion of France. There were far more French troops in Algeria than in mainland France. There was massive popular opposition to the revolt. After a couple of days of indecisiveness, De Gaulle went on national radio and called for resistance by any possible means. In practice all the resistance was nonviolent. There were huge protests and a general strike. People occupied airstrips to prevent aeroplanes from Algeria landing. The resistance within the French military in Algeria was even more significant. . . . Many of them simply refused to leave their barracks. Another form of noncooperation was deliberate inefficiency, for example losing files and orders, and delaying communications. Many pilots flew their planes out of Algeria and did not return. Others feigned mechanical breakdowns or used their planes to block airfields. The level of noncooperation was so extensive that within a few days the coup collapsed.”

In the Soviet Union in 1991, Gorbachev was arrested at his dacha in Crimea. “Tanks were sent to Moscow, Leningrad and other cities, and plans were made for mass arrests. Strikes and rallies were banned, liberal newspapers were closed and broadcast media were controlled, so most of the country had no news of resistance. . . . The coup leaders seemed to have all the advantages: backing from the armed forces, the KGB (Soviet secret police), the Communist Party and the police, plus the Soviet people’s long acceptance of authority. . . . There was an immediate response, including protests, strikes and messages of opposition. Across the country, including at major industrial complexes, many workers went on strike or just stayed home. Some civilians stood in the path of tanks, whose drivers then took another route. Rallies were held; when the army did not disperse the crowd, this provided a boost for the demonstrators. . . . Within a few days the coup collapsed, almost entirely due to popular noncooperation.”

There are examples beyond those discussed in this book. To quote Stephen Zunes, “During the first Palestinian intifada in the 1980s, much of the subjugated population effectively became self-governing entities through massive noncooperation and the creation of alternative institutions, forcing Israel to allow for the creation of the Palestine Authority and self-governance for most of the urban areas of the West Bank. Nonviolent resistance in the occupied Western Sahara has forced Morocco to offer an autonomy proposal which—while still falling well short of Morocco’s obligation to grant the Sahrawis their right of self-determination—at least acknowledges that the territory is not simply another part of Morocco. In the final years of German occupation of Denmark and Norway during WWII, the Nazis effectively no longer controlled the population. Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia freed themselves from Soviet occupation through nonviolent resistance prior to the USSR’s collapse. In Lebanon, a nation ravaged by war for decades, thirty years of Syrian domination was ended through a large-scale, nonviolent uprising in 2005. And . . . Mariupol became the largest city to be liberated from control by Russian-backed rebels in Ukraine, not by bombings and artillery strikes by the Ukrainian military, but when thousands of unarmed steelworkers marched peacefully into occupied sections of its downtown area and drove out the armed separatists.” I would suggest also the one-time success of the Philippines and the ongoing success of Ecuador in evicting U.S. military bases, and of course the Gandhian example of booting the British out of India.

Yet governments are not investing in social defense, in part — no doubt — because there is no social defense weapons industry from which to make fortunes, and in part — no doubt — because an empowered population can hold a government accountable. So, Johansen and Martin propose another way of developing social defense, namely encouraging social movements to incorporate elements of social defense into their thinking and their campaigning. The authors remark: “The peace movement is the most obvious candidate to promote social defence measures, though it has mainly campaigned against war rather than building capacity for nonviolent action. The environmental movement, by promoting local self-sufficiency in renewable energy production, makes communities less vulnerable to hostile takeover. The labour movement is crucial: when workers have the understanding and skills to take over workplaces and operations, they are ideally placed to resist aggressors. This includes workers in factories, farms and offices. Government employees can play a potent role by refusing to cooperate with occupiers, so administering government operations becomes impossible.”

Social Defence even offers (page 133) an exercise that groups can try in rehearsing nonviolent resistance to occupation.

As a guide to using the tools of nonviolence in social movements, one could hardly do better than to pick up Lisa Fithian’s new book, Shut It Down. This book includes guides to planning campaigns and to staging all variety of actions in great detail, from how to plaster posters everywhere to how to relate to the police. This is a powerful resource because of the rules it lays out but also because of the examples it includes. The book is as much a personal memoir as a theory of social change, but the latter is its mission throughout.

You have power if you use it, and it’s not found primarily in voting or whining. That’s a central message. And it’s hard not to accept after reading about how much power people have created through nonviolent actions. A sample from the book:

“It’s at the edge of chaos where the deepest changes can emerge. In the dominant culture, the words chaos and crisis often connote violence and destruction, and are used to engender fear. But to me, the edge of chaos is not inherently violent. I have found that violent situations are usually counterproductive, generating fear and demobilizing people. By contrast, nonviolent actions that build strategic crisis can make people feel powerful while exposing the power brokers, convincing them that things have to change.”

Fithian draws conclusions that can guide activism: “There are many ways to organize direct action, but I have found that action is most effective when it takes place within a strong, moderately dense, linked network of participant groups. This is a model of social movement organizing that involves self-organized local groups in a network using working groups, clusters, caucuses, assemblies, or councils as needed. These smaller groups are structures that serve as anchors or hubs in an ever-evolving network.”

These conclusions are based on numerous accounts of specific experiences over the decades and around the world, in the United States, Europe, Egypt, and elsewhere. Fithian was there at the start of Occupy and before the start of Occupy, though she couldn’t know what it would become. She was in Ferguson and at Standing Rock, and draws powerful lessons from each campaign. She got hooked on this work years before with early successes, and she recounts an amazing number of successes over her activist career. One of the earliest successes she mentions was pressuring Governor Michael Dukakis of Massachusetts in 1986 to refuse to send the National Guard to wars in Central America. A sit-in and a little public pressure can go a long way.

Then there was the 1987 shutting down of the CIA. Thousands of people blocked all the entrances to the CIA headquarters for hours as part of the “Pledge of Resistance.” The place re-opened, but a message was sent to the U.S. government, and to participants. The message to the latter was: you have power. Organizers with the Pledge of Resistance “trained tens of thousands of people, organizing them into affinity groups that coordinated with one another in local spokes councils. These processes and structures spread rapidly across the country, with each local network mirroring the other. The Pledge had an explicit structure and tons of flexibility to meet local needs. This is what I now call a hybrid structure, mixing national coordination with local coordinating committees, spokes councils, and affinity groups in an emergency response network. . . . The Reagan administration was never able to invade Nicaragua as they desired, and I believe this was because of the continuing, unrelenting public pressure.”

Around the same time, Fithian worked with Justice for Janitors in Washington, D.C., on a multi-faceted campaign that included blocking bridges. This seemed to work. “Within a few years of our first action at the bridge, 70 percent of the commercial real estate buildings in DC were under a union contract, up from 20 percent in 1987.”

Fithian was also part of the Battle of Seattle, and provides a valuable account of it and its educational and policy successes, as well as the new techniques developed. Fithian was in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina rebuilding and saving schools from destruction. Through these endless and varied struggles, Fithian recounts victories and set backs. A good share of the short comings in terms of results seem to have followed, not unsuccessful nonviolent action, but a failure by activist leaders to use nonviolent action sufficiently. This is a reluctance we simply must overcome.

Fithian embraces diversity and disagreement, humility and openness. She works hard to confront her own white privilege and to put it to good use. But she also offers an empirical, non-theoretical critique of the violent activism often labeled “diversity of tactics.” I recommend sharing her account of her experiences with anyone inclined toward violence. Violence creates problems related to secrecy, an inability to plan ahead, a susceptibility to infiltration and sabotage by police, and of course a problem appealing to the wider public. With regard to infiltration, Fithian concludes:

“In almost every situation over the past twenty years where people have been caught planning a risky or violent action, it turned out that a government infiltrator was in the mix urging them on. This occurred most infamously during the 2008 Republican National Convention protests, when three young white men, in two different situations, were arrested for constructing Molotov cocktails. During their trial it became clear they did not intend to use them, and it came out that an agent provocateur with the FBI had been goading them forward.”

Shut It Down makes a strategic, pragmatic case for the use of many of the tools of social defense. Fithian risks arrest and goes to jail for the sake of social betterment. But she also goes to jail for something else:

“If you’re white or affluent, incarceration might not affect your family at all. This is why I encourage white or otherwise privileged people to make the choice to go to jail for justice. The experience shows you what it’s like to lose your privilege. How easy it is to be criminalized. When they treat you like a criminal, you feel like one. You start questioning yourself, thinking of yourself as a criminal just because they say so. Experiencing this dehumanizing process can make white people understand more about what has been happening to Black and Brown communities for generations. Once you see for yourself how the state enacts violence and robs people of their freedom and dignity, you can never unsee it.”

For those looking for an opportunity to put the tools of nonviolence to work, there is a plan to shut down Washington D.C. for the climate of the earth on September 23rd. The people of DC are of course occupied by a colonial overlord known as the U.S. government, and they will never overcome it violently. Neither is violence a strong enough tool to save the health of this planet. But nonviolence might be.

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The Terrorists Among US- Cyber Terrorists Publicly Expose Themselves 6

Eliot?

What happens when Intel community figures decide to make you an enemy of the state? How about if they aren’t satisfied with the elected government? Dive in and let’s find out.

Lawsuits and Jail Time

Continue reading

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Labor Day Reflections on Retirement and Working

Let’s start by stipulating that if I’d taken a gummit job right out of college, I could have retired 19 years ago. Instead, I’ve been self-employed for most of the 49 years I’ve been working, and I’m still grinding it out at 65.

By the standards of the FIRE movement (financial independence, retire early), I’ve blown it. The basic idea of FIRE is to live frugally and save up a hefty nestegg to fund an early comfortable retirement. As near as I can make out, the nestegg should be around $2.6 million–or if inflation kicks in, maybe it’ll be $26 million. Let’s just say it’s a lot.

You’ve probably seen articles discussing how much money you’ll need to “retire comfortably.” The trick of course is the definition of comfortable. The conventional idea of comfortable (as I understand it) appears to be an income which enables the retiree to enjoy leisurely vacations on cruise ships, own a boat and well-appointed RV for tooling around the countryside, and spend as much time golfing or boating as he/she might want.

FIRE retirees might opt for socially aware volunteer work or hiking trips in remote regions. Whatever the activities, the basic idea here is: retirement = no work = enough cash to do whatever I please.

Needless to say, Social Security isn’t going to fund a comfortable retirement, unless the definition is watching TV with an box of kibble to snack on.

Where do you put your expanding nestegg so it earns a positive yield? In the good old days, regular savings accounts earned 5.25% annually by federal law. Buying a house was not a way to get rich quick, it was more like a forced savings plan, as over time real estate earned about 1% above the core inflation rate.

But all the safe ways of securing a return have been eradicated by the Federal Reserve. The Fed’s “fix” for economic stagnation was to financialize the U.S. economy, effectively eliminating low-risk returns and forcing everyone to become a speculator in high-risk financial casinos.

As a result, the saver seeking a yield above zero is gambling that all the asset bubbles don’t all pop before he/she cashes out. If the bubbles keep inflating steadily for another decade, making assets ever-more overvalued and unaffordable, then maybe the saver can exit the asset bubbles with the desired nestegg. But what if the bubbles in stocks, bonds, real estate, etc. pop?

What are the chances that monumental bubbles in stocks, bonds and real estate will continue inflating for another decade? Most gigantic asset bubbles pop after five years of expansion. The current bubbles are in Year Ten of their speculative expansion, and it seems highly unlikely that they will be the only bubbles in the history of humanity to never pop.

If the current bubbles follow the pattern of all other speculative credit-driven bubbles, they will pop, without much warning and with devastating consequences for all those who believed the bubbles couldn’t possibly pop.

Which leads to another strategy entirely: focus not on retiring comfortably, but on working comfortably. Line up work you enjoy that can be performed in old age. That’s a much safer bet than counting on the bubble-blowing machinery of the Fed to keep inflating speculative bubbles that magically never pop.

Although nobody wants to talk about it, state and local government pensioners are dependent on bubbles never popping, too–not just asset bubbles like stocks but bubbles in the sales, income and property taxes that fund their pension plans.

What happens when these monstrous speculative bubbles pop? Trillions in phantom wealth vanish, pension funds go broke, states, cities and counties are insolvent, and nesteggs invested in speculative assets dry up and blow away.

To quote Jackson Browne: Don’t think it won’t happen just because it hasn’t happened yet.” 

Pathfinding our Destiny: Preventing the Final Fall of Our Democratic Republic ($6.95 ebook, $12 print, $13.08 audiobook): Read the first section for free in PDF format.

My new mystery The Adventures of the Consulting Philosopher: The Disappearance of Drake is a ridiculously affordable $1.29 (Kindle) or $8.95 (print); read the first chapters for free (PDF)

My book Money and Work Unchained is now $6.95 for the Kindle ebook and $15 for the print edition. Read the first section for free in PDF format. 

If you found value in this content, please join me in seeking solutions by becoming a $1/month patron of my work via patreon.com. New benefit for subscribers/patrons: a monthly Q&A where I respond to your questions/topics.

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