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Guest Post: The Stealth Coup D'Etat: U.S.A. 2008-2010

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Submitted by Charles Hugh Smith from Of Two Minds

The Stealth Coup D'Etat: U.S.A. 2008-2010 

The Stealth Coup D'Etat in the U.S. (called "The Quiet Coup" by Simon Johnson) was begun long ago, but the takeover reached fruition in the 2008-2010 timeframe.

Please read these brief excerpts from the 1968 classic Coup d'État: A Practical Handbook (by Edward Luttwak) and see if they don't remind you of the United States, circa 2008-2010:

Insurrection, the classic vehicle of revolution, is obsolete. The security apparatus of the modern state, with its professional personnel, with its diversified means of transport and communications, and with its extensive sources of information, cannot be defeated by civilian agitation, however intense and prolonged.

(CHS note: Luttwak referred to the May 1968 general strike in France as an example; by coincidence, the failure of today's general strikes in France to change Central State policy offers a more current example from the same nation.

Any attempt on the part of civilians to to use direct violence with improvised means will always be neutralized by the efficiency of modern automatic weapons; a general strike, ont he other hand, will temporarily swamp the system, but cannot permanently damage it, since in the modern economic setting, the civilians will run out of food and fuel well before the military, the police and allied organizations.

(CHS note: Napoleon famously dissipated a civilian uprising with "a whiff of grapeshot" long before modern automatic weaponry. Organized violence always has an advantage over informally organized violence.)

If a coup does not make use of the masses, or of warfare, what instrument of power will enable it to seize control of the state? The short answer is that the power will come from the state itself.

A coup consists of the infiltration of a small but critical segment of the state apparatus, which is then used to displace the government from its control of the remainder.

Luttwak's first point about the futility of direct insurrection informed my own Survival+ critique, which concludes that the only effective means to weaken the Financial Power Elites who have partnered with State Elites is to opt out and assemble voluntary non-privileged parallel structures which are independent of the Central State and its Power Elites.

As I have sharpened the Survival+ critique (with an eye on a future revision), I have come to see that the term coup d'etat is not cheap theatrics or an analogy for the capture of the Central State by Financial Power Elites, but the accurate description of a long, stealthy infiltration and dominance of the key ministries of the United States government.

In the popular view, a coup d'etat is a sudden event, over in a few hours or at most days, a drama played out in impoverished Third World nations. The stealth coup which has occurred in the U.S. is an entirely different kind of coup--one that has operated in stealth mode for the most part, a process of gradual infiltration and opportunistic grasping of key levers of dependence and control.

Simon Johnson, co-author of the recent book 13 Bankers: The Wall Street Takeover and the Next Financial Meltdown, also wrote the May 2009 article "The Quiet Coup". Here are a few key excerpts:

But these various policies--lightweight regulation, cheap money, the unwritten Chinese-American economic alliance, the promotion of homeownership--had something in common. Even though some are traditionally associated with Democrats and some with Republicans, they all benefited the financial sector. Policy changes that might have forestalled the crisis but would have limited the financial sector’s profits--such as Brooksley Born’s now-famous attempts to regulate credit-default swaps at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, in 1998--were ignored or swept aside.

The financial industry has not always enjoyed such favored treatment. But for the past 25 years or so, finance has boomed, becoming ever more powerful. The boom began with the Reagan years, and it only gained strength with the deregulatory policies of the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations. Several other factors helped fuel the financial industry’s ascent. Paul Volcker’s monetary policy in the 1980s, and the increased volatility in interest rates that accompanied it, made bond trading much more lucrative.

The invention of securitization, interest-rate swaps, and credit-default swaps greatly increased the volume of transactions that bankers could make money on. And an aging and increasingly wealthy population invested more and more money in securities, helped by the invention of the IRA and the 401(k) plan. Together, these developments vastly increased the profit opportunities in financial services. Not surprisingly, Wall Street ran with these opportunities. From 1973 to 1985, the financial sector never earned more than 16 percent of domestic corporate profits. In 1986, that figure reached 19 percent. In the 1990s, it oscillated between 21 percent and 30 percent, higher than it had ever been in the postwar period. This decade, it reached 41 percent.

The great wealth that the financial sector created and concentrated gave bankers enormous political weight—a weight not seen in the U.S. since the era of J.P. Morgan (the man). In that period, the banking panic of 1907 could be stopped only by coordination among private-sector bankers: no government entity was able to offer an effective response. But that first age of banking oligarchs came to an end with the passage of significant banking regulation in response to the Great Depression; the reemergence of an American financial oligarchy is quite recent.

Looking just at the financial crisis (and leaving aside some problems of the larger economy), we face at least two major, interrelated problems. The first is a desperately ill banking sector that threatens to choke off any incipient recovery that the fiscal stimulus might generate. The second is a political balance of power that gives the financial sector a veto over public policy, even as that sector loses popular support.

Though incisive, Johnson's critique fails to grasp several critical features of the Stealth Coup D'Etat:

1. Once you have control of the financial powers of the U.S. via the tiny Elites of the Congress, the Executive Branch, the Federal Reserve and the U.S. Treasury, then the rest of the government will follow.

To the degree that ownership of the Healthcare cartels is in the hands of the same Financial Power Elite, then the passage of the 2,300 page "Healthcare Reform Bill" in 2010 was simply another way for the Power Elite to expand its share of the national income.

The health of the citizenry or healthcare per se had essentially nothing to do with the passage of this monstrosity. The entire purpose was to increase the Elites' share of the national income by siphoning off an ever-greater share to the "healthcare" cartels.

2. This is how the Stealth Coup D'Etat works: the machinery of governance grinds through a simulacrum of democracy, but it's all for show; the theoretical structures are now completely different from the political realities. The citizens were against the bailout of Wall Street and the money-center banks 600-to-1; they were rightly ignored as inconsequential.

The citizenry replaced the political party leadership of Congress and the Presidency; absolutely nothing changed except the flavor of PR, spin and propaganda. The Power Elites and their Stealth Coup are apolitical. They don't care about the color of your uniform; whether you wear a blue shirt or a red shirt is inconsequential.

Some readers complain I over-use the descriptive word simulacrum, and I have tried to leaven this overuse with synonyms such as facsimile. But the key point to understand (and the goal here is always to reach an integrated understanding) is that there is a difference between formal structures such as democracy and free markets and their political and financial representations.

In other words, the "democracy" that was visible in passing healthcare reform (i.e. the diversion of more national income to a specific set of cartels) was a facsimile of democracy, a shadow of the real thing, a mere representation of true democracy.

This substitution of representation for reality is the key mechanism of the Stealth Coup D'Etat. In the financial fiasco now playing out, actual deeds to notes and property have been replaced with digital representations in a registry owned by the banks: MERS.

"Liberating" Iraq as a laudable goal of an enlightened State was merely a public relations facade for the occupation of a key geopolitical piece of a larger puzzle. The entire war has two components: the actual war on the ground, as revealed by 400,000 "liberated" documents, and the representation of the war in the Corporate Cartel Media and as presented by the Central State ministries.

3. The Stealth Coup can be traced by a simple dictum: follow the money. Once you control the money--the money supply, the manipulation of yields and bond sales, the budgeting and borrowing--then you control everything.

This is how a small Financial Power Elite dominates the vast, sprawling American Empire.

4. I use the term politics of experience in Survival+ (with a credit to its originator, R.D. Laing) to describe the manner in which the apparently depoliticized context of our daily media-saturated lives are shaped by political forces we rarely recognize.

In my critique, I invoke the term parallel shadow structures of privilege to describe the formalized but masked structures of power which operate behind the facades of democracy, free markets, and all the other PR bilge drummed into the minds of the the citizenry by a media cartel which itself has been financialized into a Corporatocracy.

Over time, Americans have come to believe that the current state of governance is "democracy" rather than a mere facsimile of democracy. They have come to believe (those still covered by insurance they don't directly pay for) that the U.S. "healthcare" system is "the finest in the world" when by some metrics it is the worst, most profligate, illness-inducing system imaginable. And so on.

Thus "homeownership" was elevated to quasi-religious status as a means of stripmining assets and income from a larger pool of debt-serfs. Earlier this year I asked a simple question: how much of your household's net income flows to cartels? That would include banking cartels (mortgages, second mortgages, credit cards, etc.), Central State-banking cartels (student loans), agribusiness cartels (fast foods, packaged foods, Monsanto, etc.), energy cartels, sickcare cartels (healthcare insurance, hospital chains, Big Pharma) and so on.

If we consider that much of rent payments flow to the same banking cartels (which is why the commercial real estate sector is imploding--too much debt, etc.), then most of us would find that the majority (or perhaps as much as 90%) of our money goes to a handful of cartels dominated by Financial Elites via the steady financialization of the U.S. economy.

How much of your taxes flow to the same cartels via their partnership/control of State fiefdoms?

If you think the term Stealth Coup D'Etat is overwrought, I invite you to ponder the headline quote from the Freedom Guerrilla weblog: None are so hopelessly enslaved as those who falsely believe they are free.

From the point of view of a deconstructed politics of experience, then the events of 2008-2010 are simply the culmination of a Stealth Coup D'Etat which began with the overt financialization of the U.S. economy and indeed of its entire culture.


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Fri, 10/29/2010 - 08:31 | 685381 i-dog
i-dog's picture

Very interesting interview. Thanks for posting.

Fri, 10/29/2010 - 00:48 | 685164 Mr Lennon Hendrix
Mr Lennon Hendrix's picture

"Don't piss on my back and tell me it's raining."

Fri, 10/29/2010 - 00:42 | 685161 samsara
samsara's picture

Another CHS  post.  

Good Job

Fri, 10/29/2010 - 00:43 | 685162 halvord
halvord's picture

Where does the militarization of the domestic US, mostly during 2000-2008, fit into this critique? 

Fri, 10/29/2010 - 01:12 | 685193 Herd Redirectio...
Herd Redirection Committee's picture

The militarization started when the US entered WWII.  It continued with the Korean War, then the Cold War, then Vietnam, then Gulf War I...  Make no mistake, the takeover was firmly under way when George Bush Sr came in as VP.

The US needed a period of fear and patriotism, after the Tech Crash, which had the ability to get people asking all kinds of questions about the capital markets and large financial players.   "You're with us, or you're against us" is not exactly debate masterclass.

PsychoNews has a series on the Oligarchy going now, we are outing them one psycho at a time:

Fri, 10/29/2010 - 09:10 | 685474 G-R-U-N-T
G-R-U-N-T's picture

Appreciate the information and the site reference. Thanks HR.

Fri, 10/29/2010 - 01:43 | 685220 DavidPierre
DavidPierre's picture

The USSA Coup D'Etat is still very 'In Your Face'...

"Another Useful Crisis" 

A secret "Shadow government" under the highly classified...

"Continuity of Operations Plan" was installed on September 11, 2001.

Both "the war on terrorism" as well as the domestic war on freedom are consistent, from the point of view of Nazi/Fascist military planners, with the logic of Operation Northwoods.  

Civilian casualties are used as "a war pretext incident", to galvanize public support for a military intervention.  

Mentioned time and again by DHS Secretary Tom Ridge, a  "second 9/11 attack" is contemplated;  Al Qaeda, we are told, is preparing

 "...a large-scale attack in the United States in an effort to disrupt our democratic process."

What we are not told is that Al Qaeda is a creation of the CIA and that Al Qaeda remains a US sponsored "intelligence asset.

"The assumptions and rhetoric behind Homeland Security are nothing new. They echo an earlier statements by David Rockefeller to the United Nations Business Council in 1994:

"We are on the verge of global transformation. All we need is the right major crisis and the nations will accept the New World Order."

Similarly, in the words Zbigniew Brzezinski in his book, The Grand Chessboard:.

 "…it may find it more difficult to fashion a consensus [in America] on foreign policy issues, except in the circumstances of a truly massive and widely perceived direct external threat."

Fri, 10/29/2010 - 07:45 | 685335 New_Meat
New_Meat's picture


"Continuity of Operations Plan" was installed on September 11, 2001.

... er ... not at all.  Been underway in the U.S. since like 1789 or earlier.  Got really serious starting in 1945 when the Manhattan Project scientists examined Japan and other test results.  Feynman in a blue funk when he goes home and envisions a bomb going off in NYC.

Greenbriar, Camp David, Cheyanne Mountain, State of the Union speech with one cabinet member in a "secret location."  You get the idea.

- Ned


Fri, 10/29/2010 - 12:07 | 685909 Triggernometry
Triggernometry's picture

A good article and a good post, however none of this is new, I certainly appreciate the value of open discussion on these delicate topics. Northwoods was just a primer, and it was put into action in Vietnam(Tonkin Incident). Government action in the periphery of the Pentagon on 9/11 combined with the glaring discrepancy between damage to the building and cross-section of alleged impacting aircraft is a more recent example.

The article makes a good point on the futility of armed resistance against a better equipped opponent with vast stores of food and fuel. It would simply be a matter of time, as their supply lines would not be as vulnerable as they are in Af/Pak, and even there the disruption was barely consequential. The military already has plans to deploy on US soil against large scale civil disruption, just look up Operation Garden Plot.

Nevertheless, I remain optimistic on the success of large scale civil disruption; please note this is not necessarily violent, in fact greater success could be achieved without violence, as the resources required to imprison are vastly greater than those to kill. Our forces are stretched thin as it is, deployment of contingent reserves would further weaken them, presenting a highly tempting opportunity to a foreign entity. You can(and should) always bet on human greed, thus it is more reasonable to expect the elites to give up half of what they have to 300 million versus everything they have to 1+ billion. The elites may be multi-national, but they are not global; they will succumb to pressure which reduces or threatens their ability to make further gains at the global level.

Fri, 10/29/2010 - 08:39 | 685406 rwe2late
rwe2late's picture

Maintaining the petrodollar extortion racket requires control over resources.

The military provides that control in the Mideast and elsewhere.

That would be explanation enough, but there is more.

Militarism provides additional opportunities for Shock Doctrine profiteering, and allows dissent to be stifled by fostering jingoism and enacting “war emergency” legislation.

Stifling dissent becomes increasingly necessary as the domestic economy is sacrificed to “globalism“, employment to outsourcing, health and safety to “free trade” deregulation, Constitutional protections to endless wars, and the domestic government itself becomes subordinate to international corporations.

Barely noticed behind the flag-waving, the military also undergoes a transformation itself, no longer being a national institution protecting its citizens,...  but instead becoming a global enterprise serving the members of a global crime syndicate.

In fact the globalised military not only serves that syndicate, but shares major goals of resource domination and expansion,

if not to maximize profit, then to maximize the parallel goal of maximizing “full-spectrum” military security.

Fri, 10/29/2010 - 09:28 | 685516 pan-the-ist
pan-the-ist's picture

We should be more worried about the "privatization" of prisons.  This socialistic movement gives sociopathic corporations a vested interest in increasing the prison population.

Fri, 10/29/2010 - 10:06 | 685600 rwe2late
rwe2late's picture

Privatizing prisons a "socialistic movement"?


Privatization is a "corporatist" movement, transferring social wealth and power to private corporations and those who head corporations.

Fri, 10/29/2010 - 11:45 | 685829 pan-the-ist
pan-the-ist's picture

I know.  I was trying to speak the Tea Bagger language. =)

Fri, 10/29/2010 - 00:49 | 685169 ebworthen
ebworthen's picture

Yes, excellent.

The current harvest is that of assets; of the home equity, savings, and retirement and pension funds of the working/middle class.

It is cloaked in such compassionate terms as "healthcare" and "reverse mortagage" and "AARP" and "Social Security" and "Medicare" and "Rule of Law".

All either a blatant lie, a devious deception, or a lie that some of the liers themselves believe in.

Collapsing the system by cashing out any savings and investments to pay down debt and going to cash and hard assets is the only way.

That...or gallon upon gallon of blood in the streets and gutters.


Fri, 10/29/2010 - 01:16 | 685198 Herd Redirectio...
Herd Redirection Committee's picture

Cashing out, gotcha.  Paying off debts to these people?  Not so sure about that part. 

I don't advocate spending more than you earn, but first things first, right?

Fri, 10/29/2010 - 00:57 | 685176 Segestan
Segestan's picture

Mr Luttwak is a brilliant author and economist, ZH has taken one of his old writings out of contex. Perhaps someone on the ZH staff should seek his opinion on such matters?


Fri, 10/29/2010 - 08:37 | 685401 i-dog
i-dog's picture

"ZH has taken one of his old writings out of contex"

I gather that literacy is not high on your CV?! To help you out, here is the first line of the above article:

"Submitted by Charles Hugh Smith from Of Two Minds"


Fri, 10/29/2010 - 01:02 | 685181 RoRoTrader
RoRoTrader's picture

Lots of talent and brains pitted against one another.......and, the tough decison goes to the amobea........for whom to vote, or just fuck it all and live until death.

Fri, 10/29/2010 - 01:15 | 685195 Purely Anedoctal
Purely Anedoctal's picture

I like how douche bags want to feel how the rest the of the country is doing by their last  their last trip to Vermont. We all hate Yanquis! We actually have guns here in  the hinter land, and we know how to aim them.

Fri, 10/29/2010 - 01:20 | 685199 tony bonn
tony bonn's picture

"Insurrection, the classic vehicle of revolution, is obsolete. The security apparatus of the modern state, with its professional personnel, with its diversified means of transport and communications, and with its extensive sources of information, cannot be defeated by civilian agitation, however intense and prolonged."

“Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?”

i used to read luttwak when i was a neocon toady but he fell out of the good graces of norman podhoretz when his incessant calls for numerous and cheap weapons over against high tech and expensive weaponry was thoroughly refuted by gulf 1.

although i will cavil with the author on a couple of points, this essay is superb in many is absolutely true that a small cabal of plutocrats control the money and power - and in the delicious words of the author - are strip mining america into poverty...they are transnational citizens of the world whose goal is ever more control under a new world order - hitler's famous words of the third reich reiterated by the murderer bush-41. read tarpley about the nexus with britain on this matter.

yet the plutocrats have more than money at their disposal. indeed money buys security which is precisely in the hands of the cia - an unregulated, unelected, and unaccountable cabal of murderers who slew john kennedy in broad daylight because they could for sport. the cia is the 5th branch of government.

as fletcher prouty made clear, the cia took over the government by the end of the is at that point that they could appoint and dismiss presidents.....kennedy it murdered....nixon it exiled.

none of this is tin foil....and even it were it does not diminish its truth...the iron corset on america is the military industrial complex of which eisenhower is that unholy alliance anchored by the fed-cia - different sides of the same coin....the bush crime syndicate with the rockefellers, with the harrimans, bundys, soros',buffets, and whole slew of tyrannts control amerika and have done so for decades....

so of a truth the authors speaks of ersatz representations of the real thing....americans are deluded drunk with their own arrogance of democracy and impotence....they are but debt and consumer slaves to the great captains of lucre played like fools by their masters.

fuck the cia, fuck the fed, and fuck the plutocrats.

Fri, 10/29/2010 - 06:55 | 685315 fiftybagger
fiftybagger's picture

+ 300 million

Fri, 10/29/2010 - 17:37 | 686881 WaterWings
WaterWings's picture

You forgot the IRS.

Well, it's all the same I suppose. +1

Fri, 10/29/2010 - 01:27 | 685203 Sean7k
Sean7k's picture

Nice piece. Not exactly news to the ZH crowd, but might be something to pass on to our unbelieving friends and family...oh wait, they'll have to read more than a paragraph....carry on.

Fri, 10/29/2010 - 01:33 | 685213 StarvingLion
StarvingLion's picture

pass on to our unbelieving friends and family

and after reading such will say "shut up and get a job and earn a living like everyone else"....Duhhhh!

Actually thats their kind response.  If the gas stations close for some reason, the response will be, "you're mental and need to be put into an institution".

There's your family and friends fer ya.

Fri, 10/29/2010 - 01:28 | 685210 StarvingLion
StarvingLion's picture

Let me guess, this conman Charles Hugh Smith sells survival gear, right?  And besides all the cheap talk he spews, he'll no doubt advise his Gold-Toten Austrian Theory Crackpots to buy chinese solar panels, am I right?

Fri, 10/29/2010 - 01:34 | 685215 palmereldritch
palmereldritch's picture


This bar-b-coup was sparked on 9/11

Grill that frog   s  l  o  w  


Fri, 10/29/2010 - 01:38 | 685218 StarvingLion
StarvingLion's picture



Fri, 10/29/2010 - 01:44 | 685223 StarvingLion
StarvingLion's picture

Thats why I always hope a broad cancer drug is never discovered otherwise,

Prole: "Hello Doctor, how did my test results come back"

Evil Doctor: "I'm afraid to announce you have cancer, and that you will require this drug over here for the rest of your life"

Prole: "Thats strange, I seemed perfectly healthy until I walked into your office"

Fri, 10/29/2010 - 01:48 | 685225 StarvingLion
StarvingLion's picture

I think if they sing "Gold Bless SCAMerika" in the middle of every sporting event like they do in baseball, this "country" will be just fine

"Gold Bless Scamerica, my scam sweet scam"

Fri, 10/29/2010 - 01:51 | 685229 MrPalladium
MrPalladium's picture

If 50% of the middle class would simply cancel their cable TV, buy generic foods, and lock up their credit cards for 5 months, the system would collapse. There is no need for armed insurrection. Just free yourselves from your role as consumers and it is game over for the financial oligarchs.

Fri, 10/29/2010 - 02:10 | 685242 StarvingLion
StarvingLion's picture

and it is game over for the financial oligarchs

Thats when you find out who really owns those 11 (or whatever #) aircraft carrier battle groups.  A little Shock'n'Awe in your own backyard might change your mind.  See, you Austrian clowns can't grasp this simple fact:  "They won't bugger off"

Fri, 10/29/2010 - 02:19 | 685247 Eureka Springs
Eureka Springs's picture

You think the bastards described in the post would sit back and let you/us have access to what we need to survive (in food supply or anything else for that matter) quietly? If so, I think you either completely disagree with the post or are unwilling/able to comprehend it.


One excellent post, btw... i so wish this country (at least in most portions of the blogosphere) would discuss things in this manner. Outside of the two party cabal, one money box.

Fri, 10/29/2010 - 12:28 | 685978 Triggernometry
Triggernometry's picture

Agreed sir. The greatest dichotomy at play is that our participation in their rigged game is their very lifeblood. The casino can't make any money if its empty.

Fri, 10/29/2010 - 01:51 | 685230 anonnn
anonnn's picture


In order for a coup d'etat to succeed, it need only succeed [at first]...because the [new] government controls any investigation.

Recall the examples in your own lifetime.

Fri, 10/29/2010 - 02:07 | 685239 dark_matter
dark_matter's picture

If users are tired of simulacrum maybe you could use burlesque or travesty, both of which describe our democracy pretty well.

Fri, 10/29/2010 - 02:25 | 685251 cowdiddly
cowdiddly's picture

um Third world countries? The USA is a third world country. What like 40% living below poverty level and 43million on foodstamps. 27 million unemployed and climbing. At what point do we start to admit it? 

Fri, 10/29/2010 - 03:44 | 685270 Heavy
Heavy's picture

Nice. Very nice.

Fri, 10/29/2010 - 04:11 | 685276 Hook Line and S...
Hook Line and Sphincter's picture

As CD purports, it is our 'denial' that we are ruled by. Might I add a disturbing little side note...

By now, anyone having read CD's withering diatribes should now have an understanding that we embrace our conditioning, and dive deeper into that conditioning to escape cognition at the unacceptable levels of our recognition. But pointedly, in denial we must necessarily know the truth. Denial requires knowledge of truth. That said, unfortunately, everyone of us here felt-up and embraced the ponzi, the fraudulent exchange of value. We loved the self-stroking as we catapulted our ego and scooped up purchasing power stolen from others.

This somewhat regrettable epiphany slammed me hard. You see, when I was 18 I escaped the tyranny of church, but I mistakenly threw out it's works in entirety, and spat upon the valuable principles that lay dormant. 

Does anyone remember that line by Senor Jesus (whether it was attributed to him, real, is irrelevant), 'give unto Caesar what is Caesars'. It wasn't just a clever retort, it was much more, a clear observation and recommendation; if you want to rule this world, be prepared to swim in ultimate rebellion. The one that blinds, the one that turns the everpresent possibility into the eternal repeating nightmare.

You see, giving to Caesar what is Caesars is not defeatist, it is the way of the world. Unless you are prepared to become just like Caesar, then you better sure as feces be giving, and I mean generously. This world has one master, and one way of staying the master. Now and forever. 

Here then, it time for us to embrace the fact that we are an asset. An asset of the corporation of the U.S., whose shareholders own other corporations as well. The board of this corporation is small, the creamed corn of the crop, almost God-like in their tentative glory. The chairman sits with a few hundred other chairmen from around the globe. And for most of us, whether we fancy ourselves Christians, Muslims, Hindu, or Pagan, their stinky God is our God. We just don't know it, and for those who do, don't speak of it in polite company. 

And sometimes an asset becomes no longer productive, and therefore becomes a liability. From the Grand CEO's POV, ask yourself, are you a useless eater? Or, are you an asset? How better can you serve the beast, your beast? Do you think your complaining absolves you from paying patronage? Do you think you haven't already sold the majority of the rights to your soul? You know you have. What? You say you haven't? Well squeeze me lemons! Now thats our lover named denial at work! Choice exists, but is relegated to the realms of the micro-world. You can choose to smile, to feel the sun on your skin, have empathy for others, make light act as a particle or a wave, or do none of the above. 

Whatever conclusion you come up with now, you may want to ask yourself, how is the corporation changing right now, and what do they want? You may think its going bankrupt, but you are wrong. Only a small component is changing, but you believe it is the crashing of an entire system. The entropy is perceived only in your head. It is only the medium of labor value transfer that is being debased for the sole purpose of a new and improved modification. So understand, if you're bent on being the pollution, the solution to pollution is dilution.

You were all born within the corporation, and profited from the corporation, and raped along the side of the corporation because it was your duty. We complain about Orwellian doublespeak, when in fact we've had our own set of internal-doublespeak since we organized our own handy personal system of denial. You did as your were told. That part of you knew the truth. 

Don't you fuckin' lie to yourself now! You're all lamenting, just like me, because there's a new steam-engine in town, and its either time to step into the liquidation chamber, make yourself more useful to your master, or pretend that your version of 'fighting back' will change anything more than the relative/tentative condition. Now don't misunderstand me, by all means fight back according to your level of delusion. I surely will. There are a  lot of competing Wills out here that are eager to make the new rules. The absolute condition is bondage while our feet touch the soil, whether you're master or servant, shareholder or temporary human resource. 

If you don't integrate the fact that you are at war with yourself as well as those with competing Wills, don't be surprised if your soul spirals out of control to places that are very hard to return from.

Otherwise, your choice is quite bleak... physical death, spiritual death, or both. 

Fri, 10/29/2010 - 06:35 | 685306 Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance's picture

Wow, where to begin?

So I assume you're telling us to love our inner slave, to make peace with our place in the world because resistance is futile or even useless primarily because we are in denial? Strange that you would speak about spirituality while also talking about submission since in my view spirituality it the ultimate in freedom and self knowledge.

There is no doubt that I constantly return to the same refrain of knowing thyself. But here is where all similarity between us ends because I loudly proclaim that to know yourself is ultimately to free yourself.

Fri, 10/29/2010 - 08:56 | 685443 Bob
Bob's picture

Correction greatly appreciated, CD!

Fri, 10/29/2010 - 13:54 | 686285 Hook Line and S...
Hook Line and Sphincter's picture

Good call CD, I speak in whipsaw. I tell you that you can't escape your inner-slave. The mind does not accept negatives. 'Can't' is rejected. The message is 'street gestalt' to break the denial of the reader by acting as a bridge. It's a filthy, dirty job. The other voice is a purposeful weak hand of hope without active encouragement. Overt hope and reason without a slap in the face is what you provide CD...and a damn good job at that : )

Fri, 10/29/2010 - 09:14 | 685484 msjimmied
msjimmied's picture

Like CD said, WOW. I am almost speechless, a rare occurence. You would be highly useful, I would imagine. Trusted, no doubt! Head eunuch of the harem? You were probably born with the mark of imperial conditioning on your forehead. Did you ever figure out why the ladies don't gravitate towards you? You don't exude that alpha male pheromone...A little early for verbal castrations, might color my interactions as the day wears on, so let your imagination run free and imagine other things I could have said to you. Trust me, I have thought of way worse than what you can possibily formulate.




Fri, 10/29/2010 - 10:43 | 685693 CD
CD's picture

@ Hook Line and Sphincter

Kudos on the choice of byline. To plagiarize myself from another thread in response to another  user(name):

What an incredibly uplifting a message. Just out of curiosity, most days how DO you ever get the shoeshine off your tongue, though?

Fri, 10/29/2010 - 05:10 | 685287 merehuman
merehuman's picture

screw you!  You bring out revulsion in me. To give up on equal justice, to be come a "willing" slave?! No way.

Hook line and SINK already! I do not posess the eloquence to rebut you adequately. FU is all i can think of at the moment reading your request to submit has not endeared me

Fri, 10/29/2010 - 06:38 | 685303 Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance's picture

I have great respect for Charles Hugh Smith. He has been beating the drum of public awareness for years. He was, and remains, well in front of the curve. In addition, ZH and many other blogs and web sites continue to expose the Ponzi in all it's forms and permutations and they all deserve high praise regardless of whether you agree with their conclusions or not.

BUT unless and until there is a sustained and loud discussion about the psychology (and loss of spirituality) behind the consistent public submission to and acceptance of the Ponzi and of the mind control and propaganda techniques behind the control, we are all simply spinning our wheels in the mud.

To think that all it's going to take to end the Ponzi and the ongoing public overt/covert control is to awaken the population to their servitude is the ultimate in naive thinking and false hope promotion. We must understand why we do as we do just as much as we must understand what they do to control. Since these two dynamics are fused in the real world, they must be discussed as an interconnected entity in order to dismantle it. Otherwise we are simply chasing our tails and calling it progress. 

I have great hope we will prevail once we begin to recognize and publicly acknowledge all the aspects of our enslavement.

Fri, 10/29/2010 - 07:57 | 685347 RECISION
RECISION's picture

I have great hope we will prevail once we begin to recognize and publicly acknowledge all the aspects of our enslavement.

Who's this "We" white man?

Always really enjoy reading your comments, but this time I think I have to basically concur with Hook Line & Sinker.

Don't you fuckin' lie to yourself now! You're all lamenting, just like me, because there's a new steam-engine in town, and its either time to step into the liquidation chamber, make yourself more useful to your master, or pretend that your version of 'fighting back' will change anything more than the relative/tentative condition.

Fri, 10/29/2010 - 08:34 | 685392 Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance's picture

Who's this "We" white man?

The "we" is you and I and they and them and us. On a planet where for the foreseeable future we can not leave en mass "we" are all affected by what's going on. You're welcome to embrace your enslavement. I still have a little more fight left in me.

Fri, 10/29/2010 - 09:37 | 685536 Fearless Rick
Fearless Rick's picture

Well, I know it is sacrilegious to disagree with you, and while I respect your opinion and right to express it, I find little of what you comment on to be of any use.

Having a little fight left in yourself while you pore over the daily revolutionary screed accomplishes nothing in the long scheme. I suppose we should all aim for as much self-discovery as possible, practice Zen or other spiritual mechanics, but in the end we will still be subjects of the (insert negative nomenclature here) state.

Like it or not, gardening while the jets spray aluminum chemtrails, banking at credit unions and eating at Joe's Friendly rather than McDonald's is not going to improve our collective lots. We will still continue to spiral downward as a nation, a people, a culture.

Unless you're saying that this is a one-by-one, de-centralized resistance in which every man and woman must make up his/her own mind about what is right and how to proceed against our enslavers, then I might agree with you. Pointing out that our minds must be freed is well and good, but how to free the minds of others is more productive.

I would prefer your comments more if you would instruct and offer useful advice rather that stand on a stool of pedantic theory and murmur soothing cajoles to the assembled choir.

It is the 'unwashed masses' that need reforming, not the ZH crowd, already enlightened. To this end, we should speak plainly, or not speak at all.

Fri, 10/29/2010 - 09:57 | 685578 Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance's picture

Well, I know it is sacrilegious to disagree with you....

Careful. You're conditioned mind is showing.

....I find little of what you comment on to be of any use.

Then why pray tell would you waste your time replying to my useless comments?

Unless you're saying that this is a one-by-one, de-centralized resistance in which every man and woman must make up his/her own mind about what is right and how to proceed against our enslavers, then I might agree with you.

Well, actually that is what I constantly say, that it is each individual that must make the decision to free themselves and that this process must begin within. Clearly you have not read my articles that have been posted over the past 14 months. That's understandable considering you've only been here 8 weeks. I suppose you can gain a full understanding of any persons views after 8 weeks, but it might be helpful if you actually read my extensive thoughts before dismissing me.

It is the 'unwashed masses' that need reforming, not the ZH crowd, already enlightened. To this end, we should speak plainly, or not speak at all.

Now I know that you are either a disinformation specialist or a conditioned mind. Or both. Because I always speak plainly, clearly and to the point. I find it very interesting how this guest post by Charles Hugh Smith has brought out certain types. My respect and admiration for the irritation Smith is creating in the conditioned mind and the machine just went through the roof.

Fri, 10/29/2010 - 10:39 | 685685 Fearless Rick
Fearless Rick's picture

Then why pray tell would you waste your time replying to my useless comments?

To expose your sophistry and because I needed some amusement, which is almost always easily extracted from those who have high opinions of themselves, make great noise and say little.

You, my friend, have just as conditioned a mind as the rest of us. You responded to a challenge from an unknown and even went so far as to investigate my background. Did you bother to go beyond my ZH profile? You know as little about me as I do you, except I have had the advantage of reading your commentary for the past 8 weeks, which is almost non-stop, and generally along the same lines. You could plug just about any random comment by you into any discussion and it would say the same thing and have the same value.

Sorry to say, but you impress me as one of those types who claim great knowledge and aspire to leadership, but when the shooting starts you will most likely be back in the horde, developing "plans."

Not that I dislike you; I just find you boring as I do most people who come with the credentials of psychology. My personal view is that Freud never held a candle to Aristotle and Jung or the legion of his panting followers have nothing on Nietzsche.

If you wish to collectivize all of humanity under your psychological umbrella of "conditioned," then I'm afraid you are missing much of what has developed and is developing. While you may be right that 97% of the population doesn't "get it," you apparently have no means to determine who belong in the outside 3%, your natural allies and comrades.

Socrates posited, "I know that I know nothing." Try analyzing the conditioning of that sentiment. Meanwhile, I'll be deconstructing the Nicomachean Ethics in my spare time.

I so enjoy a friendly joust. Thank you.

Fri, 10/29/2010 - 10:57 | 685721 Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance's picture

So you haven't read my articles. Thanks for confirming.

BTW I come with no "credentials of psychology" nor have I ever claimed such. It's curious you would say I do when you also say that you know me so well.

Thanks for the friendly joust.

Fri, 10/29/2010 - 11:18 | 685767 Fearless Rick
Fearless Rick's picture

The psyche cred is implied by your moniker, CD, and I never said I knew you well, just that your prattle is pretty consistent.

BTW: I don't know how I let this one get by me:

Now I know that you are either a disinformation specialist or a conditioned mind. Or both.

You might as well have added, "or neither." I am an iconoclast, a meddler, a malcontent, an agitator, a skeptic, a disturbing enigma to establishment. I was born to disagree, with anything, at any time.

In many ways we are kindred. We could be friends, allies, but never enemies. Good to know there are still people like you, who can engage in somewhat rational argument without anger.

Our greatest enemy is apathy. It's what got us to this point. Gosh, I'm beginning to ramble. This site is addictive and I have work to do. See you later in another thread.

Fri, 10/29/2010 - 13:17 | 686154 Confuchius
Confuchius's picture

Little Round Eye;

You might give some consideration to the possibility of doing some travelling. The Empire's reach does not extend to infinity, nor does it extend to the entire planet. You, presumably, have two feet; and you would be well advised to put them to use.

It is completely un-necessary to place yourself at the mercy of the criminal kleptocrats in perpetuity. As a preliminary step you might well learn as many languages as possible, as that will free you more than you can imagine...

Travel light, and travel often.


Fri, 10/29/2010 - 06:57 | 685317 moregoldplease
moregoldplease's picture

Psychology is something the average citizen has no care for. The understanding of behavior through study might reveal something but it will take quite a while to finish. Why not agree that survival behavior is the first motivation and take it from there. Most of us have embraced the delusion of self importance at some time or other. This emotional disorder has been and is being exploited everyday through PR. We no longer know what is real. This lack of knowledge has spawned all the crazy philosophies that plaque society today.


Until and unless people can live uncomfortably and rebuild social structures without false needs for luxury behavior will never change.

Fri, 10/29/2010 - 07:47 | 685337 jus_lite_reading
jus_lite_reading's picture


It's a must see movie, if not just for Arnold.

There are 15 **markers** in the movie that are applicable to our day- its almost as if TBTB watched the movie and felt it amusing to create this very world- the movie is prophetic. Almost too prophetic.

Again, I suggest everyone watch it and see what you can take home.



THE RUNNING MAN                 

Fri, 10/29/2010 - 07:50 | 685341 John McCloy
John McCloy's picture

Amber: [after Richards cut Buzzsaw in half with a chain saw] What happened to Buzzsaw? 
Ben Richards: He had to split.

Fri, 10/29/2010 - 07:59 | 685348 jus_lite_reading
jus_lite_reading's picture

Ah, yes! The one of many one-liners that made this a great 80's movie! Now, can you pick out the 15 markers?

Fri, 10/29/2010 - 08:48 | 685425 bugs_
bugs_'s picture

sub-zero, now plain zero!  LOL

Fri, 10/29/2010 - 10:12 | 685614 jus_lite_reading
jus_lite_reading's picture

[as the gas pours out of the shoulder pack on Fireball's neck] Richard says: "Do you need a light?" [Flare is lit, thrown]


Classic 80's movie. I enjoy that period more than any other in film making. BTW, as they say in Hollywood- "the movie is the message."

Fri, 10/29/2010 - 10:15 | 685621 jus_lite_reading
jus_lite_reading's picture

[as the gas pours out of the shoulder pack on Fireball's neck] Richard says: "Do you need a light?" [Flare is lit, thrown]


Classic 80's movie. I enjoy that period more than any other in film making. BTW, as they say in Hollywood- "the movie is the message."

Fri, 10/29/2010 - 09:04 | 685460 CD
CD's picture

While the movie is also fun, I would recommend the book instead:

Lot more meat on the bone in the written version. Prophetic indeed...

Fri, 10/29/2010 - 10:07 | 685604 jus_lite_reading
jus_lite_reading's picture

I agree- the book has more meat and as the cliche goes- 'a totally different ending.' But visual impacts are easier to remember. The point was the same. A must read/watch.

Fri, 10/29/2010 - 07:46 | 685338 Sophist Economicus
Sophist Economicus's picture

Wow!    Another unbelievably insightful viewpoint.    All this time I had no idea that buying Rice Crispies, Bayer aspirin, and using Roundup was contributing to a coup.   

You think this idiot's navel is an 'innie' our an 'outie'? 

Fri, 10/29/2010 - 07:56 | 685346 jus_lite_reading
jus_lite_reading's picture

Do you mock this post? It's almost too inconceivable, too far fetched for our puny conditioned minds to even think such a conspiracy is true- I know that. However, a little research, beyond the surface scratching that most individuals do to prove or disprove a concept, will enlighten you on how, commericalism evolved. It has. Gradualism can be a dangerous thing.

Fri, 10/29/2010 - 07:53 | 685342 sumo
sumo's picture

DavidPierre wrote:

What we are not told is that Al Qaeda is a creation of the CIA and that Al Qaeda remains a US sponsored "intelligence asset.

This sounds preposterous, until you investigate the historical record:

Bin Laden trained and armed by the CIA, to fight the Russians ... check.

Bin Laden cornered in Tora Bora, but somehow escapes ... check.

CIA team, created to capture Bin Laden, has been dismantled ... check.

Numerous opportunities, for US forces to kill Bin Laden, were stymied by orders "from the top" ... check.

Bin Laden, Al Qaeda, and CIA use the same bank, BCCI ... check.


Fri, 10/29/2010 - 08:02 | 685352 jus_lite_reading
jus_lite_reading's picture

Once more, the issue of WTC building 7 is being raised. Timing is everything.

Fri, 10/29/2010 - 08:08 | 685356 Sophist Economicus
Sophist Economicus's picture

...And the poor  of the US are also US sponsored 'intelligence assets'


1.   Gradual redistribution of wealth from federal agencies regardless of complaints  - CHECK

2.   Increases in state and local government spending on transfer programs regardless of the financial stress it is placing on thos that pay the taxes - CHECK

3.  Laws and regulations aimed at harassing those who will not lend to idiots that cannot spell dollar, much less work for one - Check

4.  The complicity of Sovereigns (chinese, Eurpoe and Japan) to purchase massive amounts of USELESS US debt, allowing interest rates to stay lowand further enable theses transfer payments to continue, putting the very existence of the country  in question - CHECK

Wow!   I'm scaring myself...

Fri, 10/29/2010 - 09:09 | 685471 CD
CD's picture

1-2 please try to grasp the orders of magnitude in difference between these and the flow of cash/capital to controlling fin. interests.

3 - pls. check the amount borrowed over the last year, vs. amounts borrowed in previous periods. Then perhaps also reflect on whether borrowing (under the currently existing setup) is a good thing for those DOING the borrowing.

4 - What the hell makes you think that other 'Sovereigns' are any more sovereign?

Fri, 10/29/2010 - 08:11 | 685358 jus_lite_reading
jus_lite_reading's picture

I have no political affiliation whatsoever. I dislike the Republi-can-nots the same as the Demon-corps and Teabags. Nixon may have singlehandedly proven one thing if one thing only- the polticial system of the US was null and void already by that time.

Fri, 10/29/2010 - 08:30 | 685379 americanspirit
americanspirit's picture

When I was recently in a long winding line at the Denver airport waiting to pass through security someone started making low 'moo' and 'baaaaa' noises. At first the people looked nervous or angry, and then a few started making the same noises. Before very long the big hall was filled with people grinning and making very low "moo" and 'baaaa' sounds. Our 'protectors' got really nervous, stopped the lines, and began trying to sort out who was making these threatening terrorist sounds. Everything gradually faded away, and nobody was yanked out of line, but for the rest of the way through 'security' there was a lot of tension among the white shirts, and a lot of relaxed chatter and smiling among the heretofore isolated people in the line. I think this should be standard practice whenever any group of consumers, I mean taxpayers - wait - I mean CITIZENS are in any kind of enforced line-up. It isn't going to bring about 'the revolution' but it did make us all feel less isolated and it did make the 'homeland security' folks very nervous. Not thoughtful, as in "what the hell am I doing", but nervous. Kinda twitchy. Good thing.

Fri, 10/29/2010 - 08:57 | 685446 Bastiat
Bastiat's picture

Americanspirit:  Great story!!!  Fascists cannot endure humor--because it invoves a different perspective and they are one-dimensional when it comes to perspective, hysterically so.  Humor, from irony to ridicule, is a great weapon.


Fri, 10/29/2010 - 09:41 | 685545 Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance's picture

Yes, great story.

I see it as the (temporary) self liberation of the mind from it's self imposed straitjacket. For just a moment, as individual minds released their "victim" mindset and saw themselves for what they are, controlled and herded, they found humor in their insanity.

Better yet, the captured minds on the other side of the metal detectors became uncomfortably aware that they were extremely outnumbered and could easily be stampeded if the herd became spooked. For a few minutes there, the government was frightened of the governed.

Notice the tendency for self preservation by the government when it could no longer control the minds of the governed. Especially the frantic search for the instigators of the aberrant thought and action.

Possibly a taste of the future?

Fri, 10/29/2010 - 18:08 | 686913 WaterWings
WaterWings's picture

Fascists cannot endure humor--because it invoves a different perspective and they are one-dimensional when it comes to perspective, hysterically so

Yes! Very good point. Their mental resources are too busy figuring out how to control other people.

If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face - forever.    - Orwell

The rest of us are too busy thinking about the next time we can be with family and friends to realize that a certain percentage of our population is always scheming...

Fri, 10/29/2010 - 09:16 | 685483 Bob
Bob's picture

Very cool

It's amazing how little it takes to stir the police state representatives into uneasiness.  But once you do something so very simple as this you feel the weight of self-censorship lifted; the afterglow is reminiscent of the peace and relaxation following sex, except shared with an entire group of previously anonymous, isolated strangers. 

Try anything like this just a few times and you'll become much more aware of the enormous energy wasted by constantly policing your mind to operate completely within the cell of your de facto imprisonment. 


Fri, 10/29/2010 - 10:19 | 685631 jus_lite_reading
jus_lite_reading's picture

GREAT STORY! Years ago, "they" would laugh along with everyone and smiles and laughs would abound over that. Now, the situation is different. I would expect something like that in say Germany, or Switzerland but the US? C'mon!

Fri, 10/29/2010 - 10:34 | 685670 Bob
Bob's picture

The War on Terror was a misnomer--it was actually the War For Terror and it has been waged against all of us. The population has embraced a deep cold fear of stepping out of line. 

I thought the war had already been lost.  It's nice to hear that some folks remain secret collaborators in a Resistance.  It's nice that such small things can have such dramatic repercussions.

Wouldn't it be nice to see this become a public ritual at airports? 


Fri, 10/29/2010 - 08:36 | 685398 I am more equal...
I am more equal than others's picture

All this analysis and talk yet we continue to walk down the path to destruction.  For all the mocking of the sheeple and mass ignorance, all this knowledge is useless. All the anger is wasted energy. 

What, while waiting for your turn with the executioner you'll turn to the guy behind you and tell him 'I knew this was going to happen.'  That will be a great comfort. 

You may be able to protect yourself and your family but in the end if there is no society what you end up with is a David Koresh Compound - which will eventually be burned. 

Fri, 10/29/2010 - 08:56 | 685441 sumo
sumo's picture

All this analysis and talk yet we continue to walk down the path to destruction

What do you mean we, white man?

I've ditched my car years ago .. big oil can get fucked.

I stopped watching TV years ago ... MSM can get fucked.

My wealth is in PMs ... banks can get fucked.

Anything in my household gets worn or broken ... I repair it, or I build it, or I barter for it, or do without. And I'm teaching my children to do the same (5yo, and they amaze kids at school with toys they make themselves).

You, with your consumer culture and pathetic whiny hand-wringing, can fuck off. Get out of the way, you're just part of the problem.


Fri, 10/29/2010 - 10:19 | 685637 jus_lite_reading
jus_lite_reading's picture


Fri, 10/29/2010 - 14:44 | 686485 I am more equal...
I am more equal than others's picture

Summo, you are Koresh-like.  Have you rewritten the Bible too?  When celebrating Kawanza do you make an animal sacrifice?  You and your 5 yo will perish because you've adopted the 'invincible american' attitude.  Self-sufficiency is a myth and your narcissism is common. 

I've ditched my car years ago .. big oil can get fucked - do you mean it got repossessed?

I stopped watching TV years ago ... MSM can get fucked - do you mean your tube TV can't receive the digital signal?

My wealth is in PMs ... Post Menstral Syndrome?  What?  You're a tampon? - A used tampon?


Fri, 10/29/2010 - 09:14 | 685486 Bob
Bob's picture


Fri, 10/29/2010 - 08:54 | 685436 Slartibartfast
Slartibartfast's picture

While Marx is way, way out of fashion at the moment, the guy had a brain and understood one very simple premise: unfettered capitalism is its own worst enemy, will always over-reach, and will always sow the seeds of its own destruction.

The biggest, most diabolical anti-democratic 'coup' in recent history was so-callled 'Free Trade'. It's the lifeblood of today's rampant international capitalism. Free trade, GATT, the WTO and World Bank have all been used to permit large corporate 'formations' of capital to expand markets while freeign them of any responsibility to a nation-state, although they continue to portray themselves as being a 'US' or 'British' company.


Wanna stop it? The only defense is hardcore protectionism...triple the tax rate on large corporations while halving the tax rates for domestic-only businesses, force shareholders to divest and re-invest in purely domestic companies. Smaller returns, yes, and reduced profitibility but a huge boost to domestic employment and productivity. It's time that all western nations cut off the oxygen to these monsters. They've been catered to for decades now, continually off-shore while crying that their taxes need to be reduced to stay 'competitive'. And all the while they bought the government, while at the same time funding groups whose sole job is to blame the government for everything they themselves have coerced the government to do.



Fri, 10/29/2010 - 09:14 | 685487 i-dog
i-dog's picture

If there were no taxes at all then free trade wouldn't be a problem at all.

Tariffs, instead of taxes, would penalise offshore manufacturing for the local market. 

Income redistribution -- and overspending on military -- within states is the fundamental problem.

Fri, 10/29/2010 - 09:27 | 685510 Bob
Bob's picture

I think the thesis was that size and absence of real accountability which comes with such overwhelming power is the problem. 

What would removing taxes do about that?  Arguably just bring them all back home? 

I agree that they're simply too big to be a net force of good.  To say the least.

Fri, 10/29/2010 - 09:29 | 685523 Bastiat
Bastiat's picture

Free trade only makes sense when there is a level playing field--with respect to workers rights to organize and pollution laws, for instance--otherwise you get just what we got--production and jobs moving to the lowest (realized) cost locations. 

Fri, 10/29/2010 - 09:44 | 685547 Dr. Acula
Dr. Acula's picture

>Free trade only makes sense when there is a level playing field

Actually, free trade makes sense when A believes he will benefit from trading with B and B believes he will benefit from trading with A. If it doesn't make sense to a third party, i.e. you, then that sounds like a personal problem.

Fri, 10/29/2010 - 09:48 | 685556 Bastiat
Bastiat's picture

Personal problem?  Good one.  Incisive.  

Fri, 10/29/2010 - 10:01 | 685590 Fearless Rick
Fearless Rick's picture

Agreed on the level playing field concept. It never took a genius mind to figure out where globalization would take us: either our standard of living would fall or the rest of the world's would rise, when the reality is that both would take place simultaneously, and that's exactly what is happening. Chindia gains while the US slides, simple redistribution of wealth and resources, with extra skimming by the multi-nationals.

The power to fear is clearly in the hands of the corporations, for they rule the "governing." Getting to them is to find the path to freedom. While the bulk of the US may never re-achieve the standard of living that prevailed in the 60s through the 80s, we can come close to approximating that by formation of strategic alliances within the system.

I keep my cable TV because it gives me direct insight into the thinking of the elites. I mostly ignore it, but have been able to parlay some of that knowledge into my own profits. Am I as cleptocratic as the multis? Perhaps, as I have little use for the average Joe except to exploit them myself. Some day they may awaken from their slumber, but I can't wait that long.

The struggle for most of us - who are neither rich nor poor, genius nor moron, lies in managing the middle. Our fight is not only against the elite, but to a growing degree, against the impoverished and uneducated who will not listen. If they will not heed good counsel, for what are they useful. It is likely better for the middle class to exploit them before the elites do, to whatever extent we can without harming them (they do enough harm to themselves to be an impotent class and they are already significantly damaged) much.

Find the middle ground, claim it, own it and work against both sides.

Geez, I'm really on a roll this morning. Amazing what a good drunk and a good sleep can do.

Fri, 10/29/2010 - 10:16 | 685623 Dr. Acula
Dr. Acula's picture

"It never took a genius mind to figure out where globalization would take us: either our standard of living would fall or the rest of the world's would rise"

Actually, Ricardo's Law of Comparative Advantage suggests we are wealthier with free trade, ceteris paribus.

But over the last 30 years, by some measures, our standard of living has fallen in USA. So is Ricardo's Law, an apodictically true theorem, wrong?

Or perhaps are there other things going on, say like massive government-sanctioned fraud, theft, and waste (e.g. military invasions)?

Fri, 10/29/2010 - 10:47 | 685702 Fearless Rick
Fearless Rick's picture

Bingo! And exactly why those of us in the middle (not on food stamps nor making more than $150,000 a year) have to fight with the underclass as well as with the elites. If there ever does occur another civil war in this country, it will be the middle against the elites, who will co-opt the underclass with a pittance and crumbs to do the fighting.

In fact, that's exactly where we are. It's the fallacy of the Tea Party that they hate the welfare state but ignore the root of the problem, concentrated wealth and power.

Fri, 10/29/2010 - 11:03 | 685731 Bastiat
Bastiat's picture

Agreed on the level playing field concept. It never took a genius mind to figure out where globalization would take us: either our standard of living would fall or the rest of the world's would rise.

Yep.  I remember when NAFTA was proposed and Ross Perot in the presidential debate talking about "that big sucking sound" of jobs leaving the US.  And MSM made fun of his squeaky voice, big ears and charts.  Putting aside whether he would have been a good president, he presented the consequences clearly, they would be huge and were ignored discussed--because of economists and their Panglossian "apodictic truths."

Fri, 10/29/2010 - 11:09 | 685746 Dr. Acula
Dr. Acula's picture

Hey Bastiat,

Since you dislike free trade, what do you think about this? It was written by the original Bastiat.'_petition

"The Candlemakers' petition is a well known satire of protectionism written and published in 1845 by the French economist Frédéric Bastiat... In the Candlemakers' petition, the candlemakers and industrialists from other parts of the lighting industry petition the Chamber of Deputies... to protect their trade from the unfair competition of a foreign power: the Sun."

Fri, 10/29/2010 - 13:33 | 686219 Bastiat
Bastiat's picture

Please show me where I said I dislike free trade.

Fri, 10/29/2010 - 11:11 | 685749 Slartibartfast
Slartibartfast's picture

Well said. The 'benefits' of free trade are being kept in the same place as the 'peace dividends' from the fall of Soviet Stalinism.

Fri, 10/29/2010 - 11:36 | 685805 Dr. Acula
Dr. Acula's picture

I am benefiting from free trade. I work in USA and my products are sold all over the world. I can buy all kinds of foreign foods at reasonable prices at certain grocery stores. Plus, I can buy cheap foreign goods from Walmart.

If you aren't benefiting, that sounds like a personal problem.

Fri, 10/29/2010 - 11:55 | 685868 pan-the-ist
pan-the-ist's picture

If you narrow your vision on any issue to a sufficient degree, you can always see benefits to a class of your choosing.  I benefit by being able to dumb my used motor oil in a swamp rather than paying to get rid of it.  The swamp ecology doesn't.   You sir, are an example of someone who dumps his economic motor oil in a swamp.  (To thine own self be true is a nice starting point, but adults must take a longer view concerning the effects of their actions to societies benefit.)

Fri, 10/29/2010 - 12:33 | 685988 Dr. Acula
Dr. Acula's picture

So you're saying that two people helping each other and benefiting is morally equivalent to agressing against and inflicting harm on a third party.

You're saying I can't fully benefit from trading with someone in China, because it's immoral unless you get a cut of the deal. If someone in China makes my shoes, then everyone in USA has the right to sue me for civil damages because I've immorally aggressed against them. In the "Land of the Free", I should only be free to buy certain kinds of shoes.

>You sir, are an example of someone who dumps his economic motor oil in a swamp.

And you sound like someone who lost their ethical marbles.

>but adults must take a longer view concerning the effects of their actions to societies benefit

Adults also educate themselves before speaking out on a subject. If you have doubts about free trade, then you need to understand Ricardo's Law of Comparative Advantage before speaking further. I suggest Ludwig von Mises' "Human Action" or Murray Rothbard's "Man, Economy, and State".


Fri, 10/29/2010 - 09:37 | 685539 pan-the-ist
pan-the-ist's picture


I disagree.  I have nothing against business, and I believe government, the state and taxation are all necessary.  However, I strongly believe that there needs to be a separation of state and business and laws (or stricter enforcement of laws) to separate them.

The MIC is an example of what happens when a cozy relationship develops between corporations and private industries and the government.  As I point out above, worse things, such as "private" prisons are cropping up which profit from increasing the prison population.  Any time a corporation is given a profit model it will do anything to exploit it as by nature they must seek to expand revenue.

Fri, 10/29/2010 - 21:52 | 687374 i-dog
i-dog's picture

Well, I am against the state and all that it implies:

 * Regulations that are set by unelected bureaucrats to serve their cronies.

 * Laws that are enacted by groups of elected representatives (ie. parties) to serve their financial backers (whether unions or corporate lobbyists). Meanwhile, individual representatives must attempt to serve a plethora of competing local interests with some kind of negotiated common denominator attempted solution that satisfies nobody. WTF?!

 * Corporations, by definition, being granted "limited liability" protection to set up a "privatise the profits and socialise the losses" system. It's not just the bankstas who have benefited from this.

 * The MIC is nothing more than an expected outcome of all of the above.

Remove the state and allow free trade between consenting adults -- under full commercial liability and without taxation (income redistribution) -- and society as a whole benefits. Keep the state and you are, because of all the above factors, destined to retain the MIC until Armageddon.

Good luck trying to separate *anything* from the state -- whether church or supervision or war (the MIC) or "business and laws"!!

Fri, 10/29/2010 - 09:39 | 685537 Dr. Acula
Dr. Acula's picture

LOL. You couldn't be more wrong.

>While Marx is way, way out of fashion at the moment

I'm not sure whether Marx is in "fashion", but his fallacies were thoroughly debunked by Ludwig von Mises 90 years ago.

>unfettered capitalism is its own worst enemy

Really? Any examples? FYI, USSA propping up zombie TBTF's isn't really capitalism. It's plain theft.

>[Free Trade is] the lifeblood of today's rampant international capitalism.

Yeah. Rampant creation of consumer goods. Rampant satisfaction of felt uneasiness.

>The only defense is hardcore protectionism

i.e. you don't understand Ricardo's Law of Comparative Advantage.

>triple the tax rate on large corporations

Good idea. That will really attract business to this country. And screw the rich. I can always just have a poor person hire me.


Fri, 10/29/2010 - 10:01 | 685589 Slartibartfast
Slartibartfast's picture

How exactly is free trade attracting business to western economies? Are you at all aware of real manufacturing employment? Are you saying it's gone up?


Free Trade was supposed to 'level the field' but didn't. In fact, there are no 'social' clauses in it whatsoever, and there are plenty of clauses that restrict the ability of nations and jurisdictions to enforce environmental laws (just as one example) against multi-national corporations. How exactly is this positive? It's no secret that the whole game was to neuter unions, drive down wages and eliminate all tariffs and penalties that would restrict the ability of corporations to manufacture elsewhere for much cheaper while maintaining ready access to the prime market. And now these same feudal-capitalists are directly funding protest groups whose sole function is to blame the government for basically everything that gets in the way of actually holding these 'entities' to any sort of obligation to the market they profit from. This was the real 'coup', and everything ellse since has just solidified the new structure.

Feudal Capitalism...that's where we've gone wrong. Thanks to woefully incomplete Free Trade deals, that we're also told are not allowed to be re-opened or re-negotiated, western economies have been gutted and governments no longer have the ability to directly influence economic development, unless it's (as we've seen with the Fed) to open the doors for them even more.

Fri, 10/29/2010 - 11:00 | 685672 Dr. Acula
Dr. Acula's picture

>How exactly is free trade attracting business to western economies?

Free trade is attracting business to those countries without massive government-imposed barriers and legal red tape. It's a farce that in the "Land of the Free", two adults have the freedom to not be allowed to exchange a certain amount of money for a certain amount of labor ("minimum wage"). Fortunately, Mexican immigrants help fill the economic reality that the government tries to wipe away by edict.

>Are you at all aware of real manufacturing employment? Are you saying it's gone up?

Manufacturing is only one kind of employment. And although changes in it are suggestive, it proves nothing whether it goes up or down. For example, if it goes down, one possible explanation is that we live in a Utopia awash in cheaply, efficiently manufactured goods (e.g. Walmart) and people can worry about things like services instead. Another possibility is that many people are like my friend, who has turned down many jobs because being on socialist unemployment proves to be the more attractive option.

>"Thanks to woefully incomplete Free Trade deals"

Actually, free trade can be described in a couple of sentences. Hundreds of pages of legal documents is excessive and does not sound like free trade.

>"governments no longer have the ability to directly influence economic development"

Good. Their influence can only be achieved through violations of people's rights, e.g. through seizing people's earned wealth. Freely acting people are more than capable of developing economies:

And from a utilitarian point of view, I would rather entrust the economy to choosing consumers and entrepeneurs striving to satisfy them by seeking profit and avoiding financial losses. I would rather not trust the economy to clueless bureaucrats ignorant of the concepts of profit and loss, and corrupt politicians with a propensity to enshrine fraud and theft in the law.


Fri, 10/29/2010 - 11:07 | 685741 Slartibartfast
Slartibartfast's picture

"Manufacturing is only one kind of employment."


Yes...the one that arguably built the prosperous Western middle class after World War 2!!! I'm sorry, but you're sounding like the usual willing free-market pawn who just swallows whatever insipid bon mots that are thrown your way. 'Business/Commerce' are social functions, based upon societies and social paradigms. 'Free Trade' is always reduced to 'business' and not 'society' which is entirely wrong. Just like those mob films where they say 'it's not personal, it's just business', nothing could be further from the truth. All business is personal...people only say that to excuse themselves from the usual ethical responsibilities inherently expected in a society. 'Business' IS a social pursuit, which is entirely personal...that's what we've forgotten, or more likely conveniently excused ourselves from.


And therein lies the problem. Due to a rather obscure constitutional decision at the end of the last century, corporations received the same rights as individuals (free speech, etc.) but also went to great lengths to excuse them from the same responsibilities under the law that are demanded of an individual. Free Trade went even further, excusing trans-national corporations of even the most minimal of social responsibilities.


if corporations want the same rights as an individual, then maybe it's time that board members can be charged as they are individuals whose responisbility is to manage the business. Right now, NO western country holds business leaders to account for their behaviour. The system is so wildly stacked in their favour it's beyond ludicrous. It ain't capitalism, it ain't's feudal in that those with the most gold make the rules. Does this sound ;like democracy to you? I take it you approve of democracy, believe in it and understand the long history of its formation?

Fri, 10/29/2010 - 11:31 | 685784 Dr. Acula
Dr. Acula's picture

>[manufacturing is what] arguably built the prosperous Western middle class after World War 2

And in my local community, it is the creation of software the creates wealth. In Hollywood, it is the creation of entertainment that creates wealth. Are these things counted as manufacturing? The future economy may consist largely of virtual-reality services, not even services in real life. Yet people will still value these and be employed through them.

The market is ever-changing. Your obsession with manufacturing widgets has no theoretical justification. If gains in productivity mean that few people need to be employed in either manufacturing or agriculture, so much the better. Let them be employed in other ways that please consumers' insatiable and subjective tastes.

>"Free Trade went even further, excusing trans-national corporations of even the most minimal of social responsibilities."

Here, "Social responsibilities" is your euphemism for being subject to financial extortion, political calumnies, and arbitrary legal bludgeoning at the hands of politicians.

>"I take it you approve of democracy"

It depends. I'm a voluntary member of a democratic homeowner's association. But I can secede from it if I choose to - without having to physically move hundreds or thousands of miles.


Fri, 10/29/2010 - 11:42 | 685821 Slartibartfast
Slartibartfast's picture

Here, "Social responsibilities" is your euphemism for being subject to financial extortion, political calumnies, and arbitrary legal bludgeoning at the hands of politicians.


Who do you freakin' think funds the politicians? You are arguing that corporations have no responsibilities except to shareholders. So, you're saying that Prescott Bush's holdings in Nazi-era (and sponsored) German industrial firms was ok? So long as shareholders were ok with it, no one should impede such transactions? Society doesn't count? The government shouldn't try and help people find employment?


Sorry, chum, but you're everything that's wrong with Amerika. Corporations don't believe in 'e pluribus unum', nor 'the will of the people', and you're just fine with that. Money doesn't corrupt? Political power isn't derived from the concentration of wealth?


You're arguing eight sides, all of them inadequate to answer the realities we now face.

Fri, 10/29/2010 - 11:52 | 685858 Dr. Acula
Dr. Acula's picture

>So, you're saying that Prescott Bush's holdings in Nazi-era (and sponsored) German industrial firms was ok?

I think it's not much different from holding US government bonds, where one contracts to enslave third-party unborn generations and where one helps fund turning Iraq into a charnel house. I don't happen to own such investments, FWIW.

>Political power isn't derived from the concentration of wealth?

It is. Because most voters aren't innoculated against rhetorical propaganda and ignorance-spreading memes. The complete lack of knowledge of economics is one of the common signs.


Fri, 10/29/2010 - 12:19 | 685947 Slartibartfast
Slartibartfast's picture

"I think it's not much different from holding US government bonds, where one contracts to enslave third-party unborn generations and where one helps fund turning Iraq into a charnel house. I don't happen to own such investments, FWIW."

If such is the case, I salute you. You are most likely in the minority, however.

Pax and Amen.

Fri, 10/29/2010 - 09:40 | 685543 Skeebo
Skeebo's picture

"Insurrection, the classic vehicle of revolution, is obsolete. The security apparatus of the modern state, with its professional personnel, with its diversified means of transport and communications, and with its extensive sources of information, cannot be defeated by civilian agitation, however intense and prolonged."

I wonder if this is entirely true.  The tools available aren't the only thing that have changed with the modern military.  The concept of a "volunteer" military did not exist during prior insurrections against the state, the military was in essence a mercenary army that could be counted on, except in rare cases, to do what they were ordered too regardless of how abhorrent.

The modern US military soldier is a volunteer that has had browbeaten into them the concept of that if they feel the actions they have been ordered to do are unethical or against their oath they have an obligation to not carry out those orders.  That could create a great deal of discord in the ranks if they sympathize.

Fri, 10/29/2010 - 09:52 | 685567 gwar5
gwar5's picture

Nothing to see here folks, move along, watch CNBC & you'll feel much better.....

Seriously, palace intrigue has always occurred and this sort of thing has gone on since antiquity. Powerful people and/or entities are always vying for the levers of power - always!  No surprise that somebody has grabbed all the golden tickets for now.

I don't like it, but keeping informed to defend your own interests, individual or collectively, is all anybody can really do. That's why I like ZH.  

TPTB are ditching fiat for hard assets while lulling everyone to sleep. If everyone started buying an ounce of physical gold a month and opting out of the system as much as possible, the reaction would be worth the price of admission.

Keep passing the word, I see beads of sweat on their bald foreheads already.

Fri, 10/29/2010 - 12:43 | 686030 americanspirit
americanspirit's picture

Dear commenters on my "Mooo" "Baaaa" story - I especially loved the comment that this should become a public ritual at airports and in other government-imposed line-ups. All it took was one person to start it. Let's all try to be that one, every time we can. Moooove right along and don't look Baaaack. Sometimes all it takes is one, and then another one - and suddenly it becomes us. The government, besides being inherently evil, is really the ultimate in silly - let's keep that point right in their face.

Fri, 10/29/2010 - 15:42 | 686612 Bastiat
Bastiat's picture

I actually have done that--at Denver too--just not loud enough!  I will amp it up next time.  Thanks!

Fri, 10/29/2010 - 15:48 | 686624 midtowng
midtowng's picture

I think its wrong to tell people that there is no hope. There is always hope.

Fri, 10/29/2010 - 16:58 | 686777 americanspirit
americanspirit's picture

Cool Bastiat - go for it. Hey, how about slipping a few fresh cow pies into our carry-on. Wait till they try to confiscate those. The latex gloves the 'homeland protectors' wear would sure get a workout. EWE!

Fri, 10/29/2010 - 19:41 | 687147 Bastiat
Bastiat's picture

Cow pies? Bio-terrorist!  Off to Gitmo with you! 

Here's a TSA story--actually this happened at DIA.  Was moving out of state and my fiancee, returning home from a visit, took my 18lb tomcat on the plane.  So they pulled her into a closed room with the cat in the box.  And asked me to wait outside.  After about 7 or 8 minutes one of the TSAs comes out, looking all serious and slightly flushed and asks if I can help.  I go in and the cat's in the carrier on a table, the carrier door's open and the 4 TSAs are backed up at least 8ft away looking grim.  They wanted to pull him out so they could examine the pad on the bottom of the carrier.  Surly old bastard was growling like Satan.  Almost re-named him Osama after that.

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 11:47 | 687951 tamboo
tamboo's picture

gov't w/in a gov't= kahal

it's been going on for centuries.

see ch 14, the moveable govt.

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