To summarize, in just the last few years the world has invented a way to create software services that have no central operator. These services are called decentralized applications and they are enabled with crypto assets that incentivize entities on the internet to contribute resources’ – ‘processing, storage, computing’ – ‘necessary for the service to function. It’s worth pausing to acknowledge that this is kind of miraculous. With just the internet, an open protocol, and a new kind of asset, we can instantiate networks that dynamically assemble the resources necessary to provide many kinds of services. – From Adam Ludwin’s: A Letter to Jamie Dimon I’m actually pretty optimistic about the future. I know some of you might be surprised to hear that, but it’s true. This might not be the case if I had only five years left on the planet, but assuming I’m fortunate enough to stay healthy for another few decades, I think the world will be a much better place when I leave it than when I came in. The simple fact of the matter is this. For things to get substantially better from any situation, it’s always easier to start from a pretty bad place. When I write articles describing the U. S. economy as a rent-seeking, oligarch controlled swindle, I don’t do this to fill you with a sense of insurmountable dread. Rather, the purpose of those posts is to shake as many people as possible out of their slumber. There’s simply no way we can come up with appropriate and conscious solutions to our problems unless we can identify the various scams that govern so much of life around us.
For as long as I’ve been writing on this website, I’ve argued that the U. S. economy has become little more than a gigantic rent-seeking swindle where much of the wealth being ‘created’ isn’t being created at all. Rather, money is being shuffled around and extracted from the population at large via increasingly elaborate and preposterous schemes. Indeed, it appears much of the nation’s creative energy is being directed at discovering new corporate scams, versus the invention of new goods and services that benefit everyone. For the latest scheme we turn, unsurprisingly, to the pharmaceutical industry and Allergan in particular. The ploy was revealed by The New York Times last week, and its pretty grotesque. What follows are excerpts from the article, How to Protect a Drug Patent? Give it to a Native American Tribe: The drugmaker Allergan announced Friday that it had transferred its patents on a best-selling eye drug to the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe in upstate New York – an unusual gambit to protect the drug from a patent dispute.
Those of you who’ve read me for many years will have undoubtedly noticed a major transformation in the tone and content of my writing over the course of 2017. This shift has been the result of much personal introspection regarding how I had been doing things in the past and whether I was pleased with the outcome. In the June post, People Are Devolving Into Degeneracy and Violence – Don’t Join the Club, I noted: When times get tough people can unite and fight back against a common enemy, or they can be manipulated into fighting each other. Unfortunately, the latter has become increasingly popular amongst all sides in what has become an increasingly deranged, adolescent and counterproductive political environment. Meanwhile, the people who are truly powerful, the oligarchs of industry and their bought and paid for political minions are the ones who really benefit. The primary purpose of this website from the very beginning has been to highlight how power actually functions in imperial America with the hope that people across the political spectrum could unite and push back against the unaccountable rent-seeking practices of a common enemy. It seems I was extraordinarily naive.
I’ve spent much of my time over the past several years focused on trying to understand the world around me. The most consequential thing I’ve discovered over that time is that an enormous portion of the U. S. economy is little more than a rent-seeking racket. It’s everywhere you look. Throughout every industry, at ‘think tanks,’ and within government, there’s some elaborate scam happening that hurts the many while a handful of parasites win. This is destroying the social and economic fabric of our civilization. It’s basically become a rampant disease, and the recent release of court documents related to Monsanto further highlights the point. This is precisely why nobody trusts institutions or ‘experts’ any more. People aren’t being anti-science so much as they rationally no longer trust fraudsters acting like they’re doing work to inform the public. It’s not my fault for not trusting them, it’s their fault for being shady. Here’s some of what The New York Times reported regarding the Monsanto docs: Documents released Tuesday in a lawsuit against Monsanto raised new questions about the company’s efforts to influence the news media and scientific research and revealed internal debate over the safety of its highest-profile product, the weed killer Roundup.
The banker bailouts of the 2008/09 period changed my life forever. I was working on Wall Street at the time, and the way in which the government rallied around the financial institutions that torched the world and left its victims in the dust threw my entire delusional worldview into disarray. Prior to that, I had bought into the absurd assumption that I was financially successful at a young age primarily because I was hard-working and talented. The ensuing bailouts and the government’s emphasis on obsessively rescuing some of the most degenerate people in our society made me realize once and for all how completely rigged and sleazy the U. S. economy really is. As you might expect, it only got worse under Obama’s oligarch-coddling policies and will surely continue to deteriorate under Trump (Goldman Sachs is not your friend). Ever since I left my cushy financial services job to do the challenging and often draining work of chronicling our ongoing crime scene, I’ve spent the vast majority of my free time trying to further educate myself on exactly how this system works. What I’ve discovered over and over again is that it is far more abusive than even I imagined. Today’s post highlights two important articles that came to my attention over the past couple of days. Both are extremely disturbing, and both should be seen as completely unacceptable in a remotely ethical civilization (which we are not).
This post was published at Liberty Blitzkrieg on Michael Krieger | Posted Wednesday Jun 21, 2017.
The wayfarer, Perceiving the pathway to truth, Was struck with astonishment. It was thickly grown with weeds. ‘Ha,’ he said, ‘I see that none has passed here In a long time.’ Later he saw that each weed Was a singular knife. ‘Well,’ he mumbled at last, ‘Doubtless there are other roads.’ – Stephen Crane, The Wayfarer When times get tough people can unite and fight back against a common enemy, or they can be manipulated into fighting each other. Unfortunately, the latter has become increasingly popular amongst all sides in what has become an increasingly deranged, adolescent and counterproductive political environment. Meanwhile, the people who are truly powerful, the oligarchs of industry and their bought and paid for political minions are the ones who really benefit. The primary purpose of this website from the very beginning has been to highlight how power actually functions in imperial America with the hope that people across the political spectrum could unite and push back against the unaccountable rent-seeking practices of a common enemy. It seems I was extraordinarily naive. When a writer and thinker such as myself is forced to admit failure, it’s a very tough pill to swallow. Writing this blog is in many ways a thankless task. I’m essentially doing volunteer work day in and day out because I passionately believe in the ideas I put forth, and to see them have little to no effect on the public debate can be very depressing. Rather than seeing human beings unite to throw off the predatory shackles that bind them as I had hoped, I see people who should be coming together punching and yelling at each other in the streets – and that’s on a good day. On bad days, people are getting shot or run over, from Virginia to London. Watching all this madness unfold while the truly powerful sit back and grin, more secure in their positions as ever before thanks to rabble fighting each other, sometimes makes me want to just stop doing this writing thing. After all, what’s the point?
Poverty demoralizes. A man in debt is so far a slave; and Wall-street thinks it easy for a millionaire to be a man of his word, a man of honor, but, that, in failing circumstances, no man can be relied on to keep his integrity. – Ralph Waldo Emerson, Wealth Liberty Blitzkrieg readers know that I’ve been extremely critical of our modern U. S. economy for nearly a decade now. I’ve used harsh, but entirely appropriate language, such as rent-seeking, parasitic and criminally corrupt to describe our current financial/economic system. These are not words I use lightly. I have absolutely no problem with wealth differences within a society, even large discrepancies are fine as long as the general population is benefits substantially from overall growth trends. This is not the case in today’s economy. I support a real free market economy where barriers to entry are low, and in which small business and competition thrives. Unfortunately, this is not the case in today’s economy. Rather, America has largely become a neo-feudal society where a mass of debt slaves are lorded over by government protected, monopolistic, rent-seeking oligarchs and racketeers. Societies work when people think the system is fair enough and have genuine opportunity for success and standard of living improvement. Societies work when the people who become fabulously wealthy are individuals who have created a product or service that benefits society at large. In contrast, people shouldn’t become wealthy by preying on their fellow citizens and driving them into destitution and debt bondage, but that’s precisely what is happening in many industries today. Our society rewards the worst sort of behavior, and as we observed in the aftermath of the financial crisis, protects and further empowers white collar criminals for destroying the global economy.
The primary driver behind my decision to walk away from a lucrative Wall Street career was my coming to terms with the fact that our financial system is largely a rent-seeking scheme designed to enrich parasitical, unethical behavior at the expense of the nation as a whole. As soon as I recognized this, I could no longer feel proud of my work and certainly couldn’t justify my large paycheck for being a compliant, highly productive cog in this machine. In the nearly decade since, I’ve come to understand that the financial system, while absolutely core to the propagation of the declining U. S. empire, is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to our problems. Not only is the financial system broken; the American political system is broken, healthcare is broken, policing is broken, intelligence agencies are broken, rules for engagement in warfare are broken. Pretty much everything is captured and broken, systematically designed to benefit the few at the expense of the many. In contrast, one of the few things that seemed to be working, at least relatively well, was the technology sector. Silicon Valley is the poster child for this industry, and while the ‘innovative’ nature of products coming out that celebrated tech hub have been declining for years, it still seemed vibrant and dynamic compared to the rest of the U. S. economy. I’m increasingly starting to wonder whether much of that was just an elaborate illusion.
When I first started becoming aware of how sleazy, parasitic and corrupt the U. S. economy was, I only had expertise in one industry, financial services. Coming to grips with the blatant criminality of the TBTF Wall Street banks and their enablers at the Federal Reserve and throughout the federal government, I thought this was the main issue that needed to be confronted. What I’ve learned in the years since is pretty much every industry in America is corrupt to the core, more focused on sucking money away from helpless citizens via rent-seeking schemes versus actually producing a product and adding value. Unfortunately, the healthcare industry is no exception. Today’s post zeros in on a particular slice of that industry. A group of companies known as Pharmacy Benefit Managers, or PBMs. Companies that seem to extract far more from the public than they give back. It’s a convoluted sector that is difficult to get your head around, which is why we should be thankful that David Dayen wrote an excellent piece on the topic recently. What follows are merely excerpts from his lengthy and highly informative piece, The Hidden Monopolies That Raise Drug Prices. I strongly suggest you read the entire thing.
The corporate media would have you believe that the key to resisting Trump lies in the embrace of heinous individuals and institutions such as themselves, George W. Bush, and the CIA, as well as clownish figures manufactured by neocons such as Evan McMullin (formerly of both Goldman Sachs and the CIA). Ironically enough, though Trump supporters see these nefarious outside forces as the biggest threat to his administration, I believe that if Trump’s Presidency goes up in total flames it most likely will be the fault of the ridiculous fossil he chose as Attorney General, Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III. Personally, I don’t think Trump cares one bit about recreational marijuana, but if he’s foolish enough to let Jeff Sessions run wild with his petty and moronic little Drug War, he runs a serious risk of having his administration destroyed from within. While the deep state and its various rent-seeking institutions are indeed very powerful, they are not popular amongst the American public for very good reasons. While they will continue to shamelessly and relentlessly target Trump for the most absurd of reasons (such as Russia conspiracy theories), I don’t think these tactics can bring Trump down. In fact, these blatant attacks tend to solidify Trump’s support amongst his base.
America grabs back #womensmarch pic.twitter.com/59UMkhkSb3 — Jared Polis (@jaredpolis) January 21, 2017
The best way to control the opposition is to lead it. I am of the strong belief that any administration which comes into power in the current environment of nearly unrestrained executive authority, a lawless and sprawling intelligence agency complex, and a debt-driven, rent-seeking rewarding fraud economy should be assumed to represent a serious threat to the civil liberties and remaining freedoms of the American public. This would’ve been true under Hillary, and it’s also true under Trump. Personally, I think Trump will be reacting to events outside of his control more than he will be controlling his own destiny given the extremely precarious point we are in during this geopolitical, cultural and economic cycle. This is a very dangerous period, and it will likely only get more dangerous as the years unfold. Not because of Trump, but because of the circumstances we have allowed ourselves to be boxed into as a people. As such, I fully understand and appreciate the role of non-violent protest and civil disobedience in the Trump era, just like I understood it and advocated for it during Obama’s transgressions. Trump’s administration got off to a serious bang with the Women’s March over the weekend, which were unquestionably large events. While I think protest is important, and I don’t want to minimize the achievement of getting that many people out in the streets, there were many aspects of it that left a very foul taste in my mouth. Let’s start off with some of the people actively involved.
Starbucks Chairman Howard Schultz has said of the upcoming Concert for Valor: ‘The post-9/11 years have brought us the longest period of sustained warfare in our nation’s history. The less than one percent of Americans who volunteered to serve during this time have afforded the rest of us remarkable freedoms – but that freedom comes with a responsibility to understand their sacrifice, to honor them, and to appreciate the skills and experience they offer when they return home.’ It was crafty of Schultz to redirect that famed 1% label from the ultra rich, represented by CEOs like him, onto our ‘heroes.’ At the concert, I hope Schultz has a chance to get more specific about those ‘remarkable freedoms.’ Will he mention that the U. S. has the highest per capita prison population on the planet? Does he include among those remarkable freedoms the guarantee that dogs, Tasers, tear gas, and riot police will be sent after you if you stay out past dark protesting the killing of an unarmed Black teenager by a representative of this country’s increasingly militarized police? Will the freedom to be too big to fail and so to have the right to melt down the economy and walk away without going to prison – as Jamie Dimon, the CEO of Chase, did – be mentioned? Do these remarkable freedoms include having every American phone call and email recorded and stored away by the NSA? – From the post: ‘Stop Thanking Me for My Service’ – Former U. S. Army Ranger Blasts American Foreign Policy and The Corporate State The U. S. presidential campaign in 2016 thus far has exhibited a dramatic and much needed public rejection of the status quo, aka ‘the establishment.’ While a majority of the commentary has been justifiably focused on anger about the economy and how a smaller and smaller group of ‘insiders’ have systematically accumulated more and more wealth via parasitic rent-seeking behavior, there’s another very important repudiation occurring. A total rejection of neocon, interventionist foreign policy.
Hillary is the candidate of the corrupt establishment. The status quo wants Hillary in the White House so the parasitic gravy train can roll on. DNC head and Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz is one of these people. She isn’t interested in reform, because reform wouldn’t advance her personal interests. She wants things to stay the way they are, because it’s working great for her. Genuine liberals are finally starting to see these people for the frauds they are, which is why the Democratic Party is currently splitting in two. On one side there are those who understand United States policy doesn’t need a tweak here or there – it needs to be hauled off to the emergency room immediately. The so-called ‘elites’ in the Democratic Party are just as disconnected and clueless as their Republican counterparts. Instead of accepting that paradigm level reform is required, they merely double down on their support of cronyism and rent-seeking. – From the post: The Democratic Party’s Civil War Escalates – DNC Chair Attacks Elizabeth Warren’s Reform Efforts Just in case you still harbored any doubt as to how the DNC, under the crony ‘leadership’ of Debbie Wasserman-Schultz rolls, let me introduce you to the following article published at The Hill:
Hillary is the candidate of the corrupt establishment. The status quo wants Hillary in the White House so the parasitic gravy train can roll on. DNC head and Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz is one of these people. She isn’t interested in reform, because reform wouldn’t advance her personal interests. She wants things to stay the way they are, because it’s working great for her. Genuine liberals are finally starting to see these people for the frauds they are, which is why the Democratic Party is currently splitting in two. On one side there are those who understand United States policy doesn’t need a tweak here or there – it needs to be hauled off to the emergency room immediately. The so-called ‘elites’ in the Democratic Party are just as disconnected and clueless as their Republican counterparts. Instead of accepting that paradigm level reform is required, they merely double down on their support of cronyism and rent-seeking. – From the post: The Democratic Party’s Civil War Escalates – DNC Chair Attacks Elizabeth Warren’s Reform Efforts I think Donald Trump is one of the most underrated presidential candidates in U. S. history, while Hillary Clinton is likely the most overrated. Democrats across America will very shortly experience extreme buyers remorse as Hillary melts into a puddle of Goldman Sachs checks in the face of the political hurricane that is Donald Trump.