Saturday, November 12, 2016

Martin Armstrong Exposes "The Real Clinton Conspiracy" Which Backfired Dramatically


Submitted by Martin Armstrong via,


Meanwhile, Hillary lost not merely because she misread the “real” people, she decided to run a very divisive and nasty negative campaign, which has fueled the violence ever since. According to WikiLeaks emails from campaign John Podesta, Clinton colluded with the DNC and the media to raise what they thought would be the extreme right among Republicans to then make her the middle of the road to hide her agenda.


Clinton called this her “pied piper” strategy, that intentionally cultivated extreme right-wing presidential candidates and that would turn the Republicans away from their more moderate candidates. This enlisted mainstream media who then focused to Trump and raise him above all others assuming that would help Hillary for who would vote for Trump. This was a deliberate strategy all designed to propel Hillary to the White House.

The Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee along with mainstream media all called for using far-right candidates “as a cudgel to move the more established candidates further to the right.” Clinton’s camp insisted that Trump should be “elevated” to “leaders of the pack” and media outlets should be told to “take them seriously.”

If we look back on April 23, 2015, just two weeks after Hillary Clinton officially declared her presidential campaign, her staff sent out a message on straregy to manipulate the Republicans into selecting the worse candidate. They included this attachment a “memo for the DNC discussion.”

pied piper dnc email

The memo was addressed to the Democratic National Committee and stated bluntly, “the strategy and goals a potential Hillary Clinton presidential campaign would have regarding the 2016 Republican presidential field.” Here we find that the real conspiracy was Clinton manipulating the Republicans. “Clearly most of what is contained in this memo is work the DNC is already doing. This exercise is intended to put those ideas to paper.”

“Our hope is that the goal of a potential HRC campaign and the DNC would be one-in-the-same: to make whomever the Republicans nominate unpalatable to a majority of the electorate.”

The Clinton strategy was all about manipulating the Republicans to nominate the worst candidate Clinton called for forcing “all Republican candidates to lock themselves into extreme conservative positions that will hurt them in a general election.”

It was not Putin trying to rig the elections, it was Hillary. Clinton saw the Republican field as crowded and she viewed as “positive” for her. “Many of the lesser known can serve as a cudgel to move the more established candidates further to the right.” Clinton then took the strategic position saying “we don’t want to marginalize the more extreme candidates, but make them more ‘Pied Piper’ candidates who actually represent the mainstream of the Republican Party.”

Her manipulative strategy was to have the press build up Donald Trump, Sen. Ted Cruz and Ben Carson. “We need to be elevating the Pied Piper candidates so that they are leaders of the pack and tell the press to them seriously.”

This conspiracy has emerged from the Podesta emails. It was Clinton conspiring with mainstream media to elevate Trump and then tear him down. We have to now look at all the media who endorsed Hillary as simply corrupt. Simultaneously, Hillary said that Bernie had to be ground down to the pulp. Further leaked emails showed how the Democratic National Committee sabotaged Sanders’ presidential campaign. It was Hillary manipulating the entire media for her personal gain. She obviously did not want a fair election because she was too corrupt.

What is very clear putting all the emails together, the rise of Donald Trump was orchestrated by Hillary herself conspiring with mainstream media, and they they sought to burn him to the ground. Their strategy backfired and now this is why she has not come out to to speak against the violence she has manipulated and inspired.


This is by far the WORST campaign in history and it was all orchestrated by Hillary to be intentionally divisive for the nation all to win the presidency at all costs. She has torched the constitution and the country. No wonder Hillary could not go to the stage to thank her supporters. She never counted on them and saw the people as fools. The entire strategy was to take the White House with a manipulation of the entire election process. Just unbelievable. Any Democrat who is not angry at this is clearly just a biased fool. Wake up and smell the roses. You just got what you deserve.



‘We the People’ Against Tyranny: Seven Principles for Free Government


Time to vote with our feet” through sustained, mass civil disobedience!

“As I look at America today, I am not afraid to say that I am afraid.”—Former presidential advisor Bertram Gross

As history teaches us, if the people have little or no knowledge of the basics of government and their rights, those who wield governmental power inevitably wield it excessively. After all, a citizenry can only hold its government accountable if it knows when the government oversteps its bounds.

Precisely because Americans are easily distracted—because, as study after study shows, they are clueless about their rights—because their elected officials no longer represent them—because Americans have been brainwashed into believing that their only duty as citizens is to vote—because the citizenry has failed to hold government officials accountable to abiding by the Constitution—because young people are no longer being taught the fundamentals of the Constitution or the Bill of Rights, resulting in citizens who don’t even know they have rights—and because Americans continue to place their trust in politics to fix what’s wrong with this country—the American governmental scheme is sliding ever closer towards a pervasive authoritarianism.

This steady slide towards tyranny, meted out by militarized local and federal police and legalistic bureaucrats, has been carried forward by each successive president over the past fifty years regardless of their political affiliation.

Big government has grown bigger and the rights of the citizenry have grown smaller.

However, there are certain principles—principles that every American should know—which undergird the American system of government and form the basis for the freedoms our forefathers fought and died for.

The following seven principles are a good starting point for understanding what free government is really all about.

First, the maxim that power corrupts is an absolute truth. Realizing this, those who drafted the Constitution and the Bill of Rights held one principle sacrosanct: a distrust of all who hold governmental power. As James Madison, author of the Bill of Rights, proclaimed, “All men having power ought to be distrusted to a certain degree.” Moreover, in questions of power, Thomas Jefferson warned, “Let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.” As such, those who drafted our founding documents would see today’s government as an out-of-control, unmanageable beast.

The second principle is that governments primarily exist to secure rights, an idea that is central to constitutionalism. In appointing the government as the guardian of the people’s rights, the people give it only certain, enumerated powers, which are laid out in a written constitution. The idea of a written constitution actualizes the two great themes of the Declaration of Independence: consent and protection of equal rights. Thus, the purpose of constitutionalism is to limit governmental power and ensure that the government performs its basic function: to preserve and protect our rights, especially our unalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and our civil liberties. Unfortunately, the government today has discarded this principle and now sees itself as our master, not our servant. The obvious next step, unless we act soon, is tyranny.

The third principle revolves around the belief that no one is above the law, not even those who make the law.This is termed rule of law. Richard Nixon’s statement, “When the President does it, that means it is not illegal,” would have been an anathema to the Framers of the Constitution. If all people possess equal rights, the people who live under the laws must be allowed to participate in making those laws. By that same token, those who make the laws must live under the laws they make. However, today government officials at all levels often act as if they are royalty with salaries and perks that none of the rest of us are afforded. This is an egregious affront to the citizenry.

Fourth, separation of powers ensures that no single authority is entrusted with all the powers of government. People are not perfect, whether they are in government or out of it. As history makes clear, those in power tend to abuse it. The government is thus divided into three co-equal branches: legislative, executive and judicial. Placing all three powers in the same branch of government was considered the very definition of tyranny. The fact that the president today has dictatorial powers would have been considered a curse by the Framers.

Fifth, a system of checks and balances, essential if a constitutional government is to succeed, strengthens the separation of powers and prevents legislative despotism. Such checks and balances include dividing Congress into two houses, with different constituencies, term lengths, sizes and functions; granting the president a limited veto power over congressional legislation; and appointing an independent judiciary capable of reviewing ordinary legislation in light of the written Constitution, which is referred to as “judicial review.” The Framers feared that Congress could abuse its powers and potentially emerge as the tyrannous branch because it had the power to tax. But they did not anticipate the emergence of presidential powers as they have come to dominate modern government or the inordinate influence of corporate powers on governmental decision-making. Indeed, as recent academic studies now indicate, we are now ruled by a monied oligarchy that serves itself and not “we the people.”

Sixth, representation allows the people to have a voice in government by sending elected representatives to do their bidding while avoiding the need of each and every citizen to vote on every issue considered by government. In a country as large as the United States, it is not feasible to have direct participation in governmental affairs. Hence, we have a representative government. If the people don’t agree with how their representatives are conducting themselves, they can and should vote them out. However, as the citizenry has grown lazy and been distracted by the entertainment spectacles of modern society, government bureaucrats churn out numerous laws each year resulting in average citizens being rendered lawbreakers and jailed for what used to be considered normal behavior.

Finally, federalism is yet another constitutional device to limit the power of government by dividing power and, thus, preventing tyranny. In America, the levels of government generally break down into federal, state and local branches (which further divide into counties and towns or cities). Because local and particular interests differ from place to place, such interests are better handled at a more intimate level by local governments, not a bureaucratic national government. Remarking on the benefits of the American tradition of local self-government in the 1830s, the French historian Alexis de Tocqueville observed:

Local institutions are to liberty what primary schools are to science; they put it within the people’s reach; they teach people to appreciate its peaceful enjoyment and accustom them to make use of it. Without local institutions a nation may give itself a free government, but it has not got the spirit of liberty.

Unfortunately, we are now governed by top-heavy government emanating from Washington DC that has no respect for local institutions or traditions.

These seven vital principles have been largely forgotten in recent years, obscured by the haze of a centralized government, a citizenry that no longer thinks analytically, and schools that don’t adequately teach our young people about their history and their rights.

Yet here’s the rub: while Americans wander about in their brainwashed states, their “government of the people, by the people and for the people” has largely been taken away from them.

The answer: get un-brainwashed.

Learn your rights.

Stand up for the founding principles.

Make your voice and your vote count for more than just political posturing.

Never cease to vociferously protest the erosion of your freedoms at the local and national level.

Most of all, do these things today.

If we wait until the votes have all been counted or hang our hopes on our particular candidate to win and fix what’s wrong with the country, “we the people” will continue to lose.

Whether we ever realize it not, the enemy is not across party lines, as they would have us believe. It has us surrounded on all sides.

Even so, we’re not yet defeated.

We could still overcome our oppressors if we cared enough to join forces and launch a militant nonviolent revolution—a people’s revolution that starts locally and trickles upwards—but that will take some doing.

It will mean turning our backs on the political jousting contests taking place at all levels of government and rejecting their appointed jesters as false prophets. It will mean not allowing ourselves to be corralled like cattle and branded with political labels that have no meaning anymore. It will mean recognizing that all the evils that surround us today—endless wars, drone strikes, invasive surveillance, militarized police, poverty, asset forfeiture schemes, overcriminalization, etc.—are not of our making but came about as a way to control and profit from us.

It will mean “voting with our feet” through sustained, mass civil disobedience.

As journalist Chris Hedges points out, “There were once radicals in America, people who held fast to moral imperatives. They fought for the oppressed because it was right, not because it was easy or practical. They were willing to accept the state persecution that comes with open defiance. They had the courage of their convictions. They were not afraid.”

Ultimately, as I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, it will mean refusing to be divided, one against each other, by politics and instead uniting behind the only distinction that has ever mattered: “we the people” against tyranny.

# # # #

John W. Whitehead, Newsbud Contributing Author & Analyst,  is an attorney and author who has written, debated and practiced widely in the area of constitutional law and human rights. He is the president and spokesperson of the Rutherford Institute. Mr. Whitehead is the author of numerous books on a variety of legal and social issues, including A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Arkansas and a Juris Doctorate degree from the University of Arkansas School of Law, and served as an officer in the United States Army from 1969 to 1971.


"The Economic Peace Is Over" - Get Ready, Change Is Upon Us


Submitted by Chris Martenson via,

“After four years of warfare that tore the world apart like never before, a peace was finally reached.  But it was a peace which one man in particular vociferously condemned — and that man was John Maynard Keynes.


In just two months, Keynes wrote the book that would make him a household name around the world — The Economic Consequences of the Peace.


In the book, Keynes was highly critical of the deal struck at Versailles, which he felt sure would lead to further conflict in Europe — describing the agreement as a “Carthaginian peace” — and with the passing of a surprisingly short period of time, he would be proven correct.”


  ~ Grant Williams in The Economic Consequences of Peace

After WWI, a particularly noxious set of treaties and economic reparations agreements were put in place that all but guaranteed a future WWII.   Mr. Keynes sniffed that out and, sadly, was proven correct.

The lesson from this is that, at certain times, it’s really not that hard to predict "what" is going to happen next after disastrously short-sighted and self-interested policies are enacted. Predicting the "when", with precision, is much trickier. But obvious misguided economic policies are destined to have a limited period of apparent (but false) prosperity, after which they end with a nasty Bang!.

We have entered just such a time. This isn't a Trump vs. Clinton thing; I'd make this claim regardless of who won this week's presidential election -- as our plight is much bigger than a single Administration. And my observation is that neither political party had much interest beyond some temporary election year lip-service to the economic plight of the middle class.

And by “middle class” I mean anybody not in the top 5% economic bracket. For those doing the math at home, that leaves the remaining 95% of us stuck in the meat grinder.

WTF Happened?

I know a lot of people who are suffering very raw emotional wounds from the harsh negativity and divisiveness of the seemingly never-ending election we just went through.  There will be a period of healing and adjustment for many, and I can fully empathize with how they feel.

For the Clinton supporters stunned that she didn't experience the victory so many predicted, here's a “what went wrong” post-mortem given by the brilliant British comedian Jonathan Pie that I think hits close to the mark (caution: it's a pretty heated rant):

Pie asks some very important questions, chief among them: Have we lost the ability to entertain alternative points of view? Are we ready to begin finally talking to each other again?

The Left has a lot of soul searching to do. As does the Right.  Because let’s be clear: Trump wasn’t the Republican’s preferred choice either.  They fought him tooth and nail. In terms of the traditional Left vs Right rivalry, both sides lost this time.

If we're to heal and progress from here, it's critical that we take the time to understand why.

The conversation has to begin here, I believe, with this excellent article that I ran across in Cracked – yes, the comedy alt-everything online outfit – explaining how it's the rural vs urban divide more than anything else that's pulling our society apart at the moment.

For those desperately seeking answers to Trump's surprise win, this article, of which I have reproduced only a small part, provides essential context. It's explanation has done wonders for everyone I have shared it with who was struggling:

How Half Of America Lost Its F**king Mind

Oct 12, 2016

[Note: please go to the article to read reasons #6 through #3 as they are very important for understanding the two I have snipped out below]



Reason #2:  Everyone Lashes Out When They Don't Have A Voice


[To a rural person] it really does feel like the worst of both worlds: all the ravages of poverty, but none of the sympathy. "Blacks burn police cars, and those liberal elites say it's not their fault because they're poor. My son gets jailed and fired over a baggie of meth, and those same elites make jokes about his missing teeth!" You're everyone's punching bag, one of society's last remaining safe comedy targets.


They take it hard. These are people who come from a long line of folks who took pride in looking after themselves. Where I'm from, you weren't a real man unless you could repair a car, patch a roof, hunt your own meat, and defend your home from an intruder. It was a source of shame to be dependent on anyone -- especially the government. You mowed your own lawn and fixed your own pipes when they leaked, you hauled your own firewood in your own pickup truck. (Mine was a 1994 Ford Ranger! The current owner says it still runs!)


Not like those hipsters in their tiny apartments, or "those people" in their public housing projects, waiting for the landlord any time something breaks, knowing if things get too bad they can just pick up and move. When you don't own anything, it's all somebody else's problem. "They probably don't pay taxes, either! Just treating America itself as a subsidized apartment they can trash!"


The rural folk with the Trump signs in their yards say their way of life is dying, and you smirk and say what they really mean is that blacks and gays are finally getting equal rights and they hate it. But I'm telling you, they say their way of life is dying because their way of life is dying. It's not their imagination. No movie about the future portrays it as being full of traditional families, hunters, and coal mines. Well, except for Hunger Games, and that was depicted as an apocalypse.


So yes, they vote for the guy promising to put things back the way they were, the guy who'd be a wake-up call to the blue islands. They voted for the brick through the window.

It was a vote of desperation.


#1. Assholes Are Heroes


But Trump is objectively a piece of shit!" you say. "He insults people, he objectifies women, and cheats whenever possible! And he's not an everyman; he's a smarmy, arrogant billionaire!"


Wait, are you talking about Donald Trump, or this guy:



Marvel Studios


You've never rooted for somebody like that? Someone powerful who gives your enemies the insults they deserve? Somebody with big fun appetites who screws up just enough to make them relatable? Like Dr. House or Walter White? Or any of the several million renegade cop characters who can break all the rules because they get shit done? Who only get shit done because they don't care about the rules?


"But those are fictional characters!" Okay, what about all those millionaire left-leaning talk show hosts? You think they keep their insults classy? Tune into any bit about Chris Christie and start counting down the seconds until the fat joke. Google David Letterman's sex scandals. But it's okay, because they're on our side, and everybody wants an asshole on their team -- a spiked bat to smash their enemies with. That's all Trump is. The howls of elite outrage are like the sounds of bombs landing on the enemy's fortress. The louder the better.


Already some of you have gotten angry, feeling this gut-level revulsion at any attempt to excuse or even understand these people. After all, they're hardly people, right? Aren't they just a mass of ignorant, rageful, crude, cursing, spitting subhumans?


Gee, I hope not. I have to hug a bunch of them at Thanksgiving. And when I do, it will be with the knowledge that if I hadn't moved away, I'd be on the other side of the fence, leaving nasty comments on this article.

The essential context is simply that rural residents are drowning under chronic economic blight. And when they dare to complain about it, they're castigated and humiliated by the dominant city culture that has no awareness of or sympathy for their troubles.

We've NAFTA'd away millions of manufacturing jobs (and those that served manufacturing communities) without providing the displaced labor a path to reskill and apply itself. Instead, we've left a patchwork of bomb crater communities across the heartland, where there are no employers and no prospects. To these rural folks, being cast as racist, misogynist, ignorant, or uneducated buffoons for being angry about their plight just adds kerosene to the fire that's been smoldering within theem. A fire which just conflagrated during this week's election.

So to reiterate: the cultural divide that's really in play here is not between the 'enlightened/progressive' people and their supposed opposites. Rather, it's Urban vs Rural.  

And as the rural dwellers have increasingly felt marginalized, demonized and otherwise unfairly treated, they are now angry enough at the perceived injustice to lash out against the status quo and roll the dice with an outsider who promises to shake things up. It's not surprising, really -- as I've written about before, we humans are wired to reject unfairness. This next short video is a favorite of mine, because it perfectly demonstrates how it's in our genes to become enraged when we perceive we're being unjustly treated:

To put in in monkey terms: since surbanites set the rules because they happen to outvote the rural people, and those same urbanites don't have to live with the consequences of their decisions, then it's cucumbers for rural people and grapes for the urban folks.

Adding to this understanding is today's article by our good friend Charles Hughes Smith, who validates the rage the downtrodden are feeling these days:

The Source of our Rage: The Ruling Elite Is Protected from the Consequences of its Dominance


There are many sources of rage: injustice, the destruction of truth, powerlessness.


But if we had to identify the one key source of non-elite rage that cuts across all age, ethnicity, gender and regional boundaries, it is this: The Ruling Elite is protected from the destructive consequences of its predatory dominance.


We see this reality across the entire political, social and economic landscape. If I had to pick one chart that illustrates the widening divide between the Ruling Elite and the non-elites, it is this chart of wages as a share of the nation's output (GDP): 46 years of relentless decline, interrupted by gushing fountains of credit and asset bubbles that enriched the few while leaving the economic landscape of the many in ruins.




The Ruling Elite once had an obligation to uphold the social contract as a responsibility that came with their vast privilege, power and wealth (i.e. noblesse oblige).


America's Ruling Elite has transmogrified into an incestuous self-serving few unapologetically plundering the many. In their hubris-soaked arrogance, their right to rule is unquestioningly based on their moral and intellectual superiority to "the little people" they loot with abandon.


Rather than feel a responsibility to the nation, America's Elite views the status quo as a free pass to self-aggrandizement. Much has changed in America in the past 46 years. Not only have wages and salaries declined as a share of "economic growth," but the wealth that has been generated has flowed to the top of the wealth/power pyramid (see chart below).




Social mobility has also declined drastically: Restoring America’s Economic Mobility, as has trust in government and key institutions.


As Frank Buckley, the author of The Way Back: Restoring the Promise of America observed: "In a corrupt country, trust is a rare commodity. That’s America today. Only 19 percent of Americans say they trust the government most of the time, down from 73 percent in 1958 according to the Pew Research Center."


The top .01% has seen its share of the household wealth triple from 7% to 22% in the past four decades, while the share of the nation's wealth owned by the bottom 90% has plummeted from 36% to 23%.

Look at that.  The share of the national wealth has been steadily, if not increasingly, siphoned away from the 95% and towards the 5%.  In reality, it's almost entirely gone towards the 0.1%.

The economic “peace” we’ve seemingly enjoyed over the past number of decades turned out to be no peace at all. It was the same sort of peace that existed between the Treaty of Versailles and the outbreak of WWII -- a crippling arrangement that overwhelmingly favored one side over the other. Germany eventually had no choice but to rebel.

Similarly, by failing to protect anyone but their cloistered and wealthy friends, the elites of both current US political parties has laid the fuel for the fire that now burns.

Bernie Sanders’ post-election statement had this to say about the economics that drove the result:

"Donald Trump tapped into the anger of a declining middle class that is sick and tired of establishment economics, establishment politics and the establishment media. People are tired of working longer hours for lower wages, of seeing decent paying jobs go to China and other low-wage countries, of billionaires not paying any federal income taxes and of not being able to afford a college education for their kids — all while the very rich become much richer.”

Bernie would have easily bested Trump in my opinion. It was a huge twin set of mistakes by the DNC to first hamper his primary efforts, and then fail to at least make him Clinton's running mate. 

Redistribution of money and power seem to happen peacefully only rarely among humans and virtually never in America.  Labor rights?  Fought and died over.  Women’s right to vote?  Fought and died over.  Environmental rights?  Brought kicking and screaming across the moats.  Racial rights?  Only partially achieved after the greatest amount of violence and bloodshed of all these causes.

Can we do better? Absolutely, in theory.  But so far we don’t a lot of better examples to point to inside the US.

So this battle is just getting started and will far outlive Trump and everybody reading this. Decades of ill-advised growth and financial squandering cannot be wished away -- we, and our children (and likely our grandchildren, too), will be cleaning up the messes of our profligacy for a long time.

And just as one can easily peer at Charles Hughes Smith's charts and conclude that eventually a rebellion of sorts is inevitable, there’s an even more startling chart you need to see. If you can truly internalize it, you'll understand why the new era of status quo rejection is just getting underway.

Promises That Can’t Be Kept

There's a lot of data I can provide here, but I’ll go with a single -- but critically important -- chart from Ray Dalio’s Bridgewater Associates, one of the largest money management firms out there.

I’m sorry that you have to squint a little to see this, but here’s all you need to know: when you add up both the debts and the liabilities of the US, those are more than 1,000% of current GDP:



One thousand one hundred percent?!?!?  As in eleven times GDP??  You might as well say eleventy gajillion because there’s no sense in any of these numbers.

Yep.  No country has ever dug out from under such a load. None have even come close.  The “prediction,” which is so simple it’s not really a prediction at all, that flows from the above chart is this: Somebody is going to have to eat the losses.

Massive, fabulously enormous losses. 

Trillions and trillions of losses in current dollars. Even if the economic elites don’t try to force all of those losses on the ‘little people’, the pain is still going to be so extraordinary that serious political and social crises will erupt.

You can count on it.

You can already see that larger future predicament playing out painfully around us. One example is how pensions are cutting back benefits, lowering expectations, demanding higher funding payments by taxpayers, and otherwise displaying signs of distress.

And this is with equity markets perched at all-time highs (at the moment of this writing, the Dow is at a new record).

So our recent decades of economic peace must end, given the thousand percent indebtedness predicament revealed by the chart above.

We got into that thousand percent predicament the exact same way the DNC lost to Trump: by failing to address things that plainly needed to be dealt with.  We proved to ourselves, yet again, that pretending something uncomfortable doesn’t exist doesn’t make it go away.

“Well, we might just grow out from under those debts and obligations” some might be tempted to say. My response is to ask you to go back and look at that chart again and note that it has grown from 700% to 1,100% since 2001.  If GDP had been growing at the same pace, the ratio value wouldn't have budged. It would have remained at 700%.

But it grew to 1,100%, which means the debts and obligations were growing much faster than GDP.

So for the past 15 years the “grow out of it” mantra -- which has been echoed ad nauseum -- has been a complete train wreck of a failure.  How many more years before we can all just admit the obvious?

Just as both the RNC and DNC opted to ignore the extreme damage their policies had been inflicting on the upper, middle and lower classes, sparing only the very tippy-top elites (but hand-feeding those elites peeled grapes it should be noted, because their lot improved wildly over the past decades), everybody in power has been steadfastly ignoring our massive debt and liability problems, too.

Those are going to shape the future, and that future is going to be plenty painful. The longer we wait, the more painful it will be. This has been our steady message at Peak Prosperity for a very long time, and we are actually hopeful that now, finally, we can speak about the unspeakable to those who had no willing ear for it just a short week ago.


The political upheaval of Donald Trump is best understood through the lens of economic erosion suffered by the vast majority of people.  If a democracy is measured in how well it serves the interests of the majority, the United States is not a democracy at all.

Of course, nearly everyone already knows this. But it's been all but unspeakable in polite circles to say so.

Now, it is finally becoming okay to voice.

Which is, admittedly, a breath of fresh air for us at Peak Prosperity.  Because not only are massive, obvious economic issues going to unavoidably visit the US in the not-too-distant future, but they'll be doing so at a time when many critical resources will be in decline.

Chief among those? Oil, of course.

To skirt the impact of a future oil supply crunch, we'll need an incredible effort of joined forces and strict prioritization to assure that whatever transition we can effect will be a smooth as possible.  Even then, we’ll be lucky to evade painful disruption.

But if we don't begin to view our future with clear eyes and a united sense of what the predicaments are, if we instead turn to another version of four more years of preservation of the status quo, then we will face a future of disruption so painful it will make the worst of post-election Wednesday for the most ardent liberal seem like a minor inconvenience (by comparison, I mean, of course). 

It will take an enormous amount of effort simply to stem the tide of economic erosion that now besets the land.  And that’s just as true for the US as it is for Japan, Europe and the UK.  The same forces are at play in all of these centers.

It will take another massive bowlful of effort to begin to address the debts and liabilities issues.  And yet another cauldron of effort to revamp our energy infrastructure in parallel with all the other challenges.  Put it all together and you can begin to understand why, if we're going to deplore something from the recent election, it should be the running of an intentionally divisive set of campaigns that have driven as large a wedge between people in the US as has existed in a very long time.

We need to be working together on the common predicaments that care not if we are liberal or conservative, religious or not, male or female, or which race or sexual persuasion best applies to us. Declining global net energy per capita. Our massive fiscal over-indebtedness. The collapse of too many ecosystems we depend on for food and drinkable water. The list is sadly long...

It’s not just time to heal; it’s imperative that we do. So that we stand united to deal with these predicaments as they arrive in full force.

There’s really not a moment to spare.

And for those looking to get a jump on what's coming, we need to better understand the implications of what just happened this week. The Trump upset has changed all of the probabilities that we track.

I've been keeping a running update of the developing situation in OK, Here's What We Think Is In Store After Trump's Win (free executive summary, enrollment required for full access). We'll be continuing to update this important assessment as new information filters in over the next few days.


Using Mindfulness to Cut Through Illusion



It is easy to be blinded by the webs of illusion woven by those skilful in the art of deception. Unlock the power to see more clearly.

The post Using Mindfulness to Cut Through Illusion appeared first on UPLIFT.


If Common Chemicals Harm Frogs and Rats, What Are They Doing to Your Children?


By Dr. Mercola

The TED Talk above features Penelope Jagessar Chaffer, director of the documentary film “Toxic Baby,”1 and Tyrone Hayes, Ph.D., a professor of integrative biology at the University of California, who has dedicated most of his career to studying the health effects of the herbicide atrazine.

According to Chaffer, the average American woman today has 30,000 to 50,000 chemicals in her body that her grandparents did not have. Many of these chemicals have been linked to the rapidly rising incidence of chronic childhood diseases.

Statistics Reveal Our Children Are at Grave Risk

In her talk, Chaffer cites the following statistics, which may well be higher today, since this talk was given six years ago, in 2010:

  • In the U.K., incidence of childhood leukemia rose by 20 percent in one generation
  • In Canada, prevalence of asthma increased by 400 percent in 20 years; 1 in 10 children is now diagnosed with asthma
  • In the U.S., childhood cancers have seen a similar rise as that of childhood leukemia in the U.K. Autism spectrum disorder has also increased by 600 percent in the past 20 years; incidence of autism rose by 57 percent between 2002 and 2006 alone
  • In the Netherlands, Rotterdam has seen a 400 percent increase in genital birth defects

Obesity and juvenile diabetes have also skyrocketed, and while a high-sugar diet likely bears the brunt of the blame, there’s every reason to suspect that endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) — many of which enter our system via processed foods — add to the metabolic dysfunction we now see.

Atrazine Is a Common Water Contaminant

Atrazine is the second most commonly used herbicide in the U.S., and the most commonly found herbicide in U.S. ground, rain and drinking water. It’s widely used to combat weeds on golf courses, residential lawns and in commercial agriculture. For example, it’s used on half of all corn grown in the U.S.

Atrazine was approved for use in 1958, and its long history of use is often cited as “proof” of its safety. However, history tells us toxic chemicals can remain in use for a very long time before appropriate action is taken against them.

The European Union (EU) banned atrazine in 2005, as suspicions of health problems and environmental damage mounted. In the U.S., atrazine use continued unabated, in large part due to powerful lobbying efforts by Syngenta. In 2005, Syngenta spent $250,000 on lobbying in Minnesota alone, to keep atrazine sales going.

Hayes’ involvement with atrazine began when Novartis (which later became Syngenta) hired him to investigate the effects of atrazine on amphibians. His research showed that atrazine, even at the very low level of 0.1 part per billion (ppb), causes hermaphroditism in frogs.

Atrazine’s Effects on Frogs May Indicate Effects on Children

It turns males into egg-laying females by inducing an enzyme called aromatase, which causes overproduction of estrogen. Even more disturbing, it produced male frogs with TWO sets of each sex organ, meaning two sets of testes and two sets of ovaries.

The voice box in male frogs also did not develop properly, indicating that testosterone was not being produced at appropriate levels for development.

Normally, the male testes make testosterone. Atrazine “turns on” the enzyme aromatase, which converts testosterone into estrogen. As a result, the male frogs lose their testosterone; they’re essentially chemically castrated, and are feminized as a result of the excessive estrogen being produced.

Recent testing has revealed 85 percent of male smallmouth bass in 19 American wildlife refuges are now carrying eggs. Like amphibians, smallmouth bass are known to be very sensitive to pollutants, hence, researchers use them as an “indicator species” when evaluating the ecological impact of environmental pollutants.

In the case of water pollution with EDCs, the situation does indeed appear to be severe. The lowest incidence of feminization or intersex in the wildlife refuges tested was 60 percent. The highest was 100.2

From Frogs to Babies

On the whole, Hayes’ research raises serious questions about human health effects. Atrazine may be involved in the development of breast cancer, for example, since many breast cancers are triggered by the overproduction of estrogen and are regulated by the enzyme aromatase.

As noted by Hayes, aromatase is so important in the development of breast cancer, the cancer drug Letrozole works by blocking aromatase, which in turn blocks estrogen production. Ironically, Letrozole is also produced by Syngenta, the same company that brought us atrazine.

It should be obvious to anyone that “an ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure,” but instead of addressing rising breast cancer rates by preventing exposure to the aromatase-inducing chemical (atrazine), Syngenta is allowed to make large profits by selling an aromatase-blocking treatment (Letrozole) instead.

According to Hayes, recent research published by an international team of scientists, including himself, shows atrazine causes sexual reproductive problems in a wide range of animals, including mammals, birds and fish, not just amphibians, which was the focus of his earlier research.

One study also linked atrazine exposure in utero to impaired sexual development in young boys, causing genital deformations, including microphallus (micropenis).

The evidence3,4 also suggests atrazine exposure may contribute to a number of different cancers, specifically ovarian cancer, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, hairy-cell leukemia and thyroid cancer.

Elevated concentrations of atrazine in drinking water have been associated with birth defects, including abdominal defects, gastroschisis (in which the baby's intestines stick outside of the baby's body) and others.

Syngenta Suppressed Research Showing Atrazine Risks

In another interview (below), Hayes revealed that Syngenta initially tried to convince him to manipulate and misrepresent the data. When he refused, the company retaliated by refusing to grant him permission to publish the results. He also was not allowed to discuss the data outside a closed panel of Syngenta employees.

After cutting ties with Syngenta in 2000, he obtained independent funding to repeat the research, which was subsequently published. Since then, he's built an educational website dedicated to informing the public about atrazine.5

Atrazine Causes Fertility Problems

According to Hayes, atrazine:

  • Induces breast cancer in females
  • Induces prostate cancer in males
  • Male fertility is reduced by as much as 50 percent, as the chemical produces holes in the testicular tissue. This has been shown in fish, amphibians, reptiles and mammals
  • Retards mammary (breast) development in females
  • Induces abortion in female rodents

Peer-reviewed studies also support the notion that atrazine poses similar threats to humans.6 Among female rodents exposed to atrazine, spontaneous abortions are common. And when abortion does not occur, the surviving male pups have higher rates of prostate disease — they’re essentially born with an old man’s disease — and female pups have impaired mammary development.

When the surviving pups go on to reproduce, the following generation suffers impaired growth and development because the mother is unable to make enough milk due to impaired mammary development. Considering these generational effects, those of us who are exposed to this chemical today are affecting not only the health of our own children (predisposing them to obesity, diabetes, breast cancer and more), but also the health of our grandchildren’s grandchildren.

These chemicals not only cross the placenta, entering the baby while still in the womb, they also pass through breast milk. So whatever the mother is exposed to, the baby gets as well, even after they’re born. “We are, in effect, polluting our children,” Chaffer says.

Other Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals

Chaffer also touches on other hormone-disrupting chemicals, such as bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical so well-known for its estrogenic effects that it was even considered for use in synthetic hormone replacement therapy at one point. Despite this, and despite research showing it leaches from the plastic, BPA was used in hard plastic baby bottles and sippy cups.

In 2010, the EU banned BPA in infant products such as these, recognizing that dosing infants with estrogen is a bad idea. Around the same time, Canada declared BPA a toxic substance and use of it in baby products has been banned there as well. The U.S. finally followed suit in 2012, banning BPA in baby bottles and sippy cups.7 However, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) went on to reassert the safety of BPA in 2014, even when it comes into contact with, and migrates into, food.8

Based on the evidence, it is beyond irrational to conclude that this verdict is anything but the result of lobbying and the revolving door between the FDA and the chemical industry. Hence, BPA is still widely used in hard plastics, can liners, paper receipts and a wide variety of other plastic goods, so exposure continues to be widespread. EDCs such as BPA and BPS, dioxins, organophosphate and organochlorine pesticides, PCBs, phthalates and others, have been linked to:9

IQ loss and associated intellectual disability


Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

Childhood and adult obesity

Prostate and breast cancers

Adult diabetes

Cryptorchidism (undescended testicle)

Male infertility

Mortality associated with reduced testosterone

Male and female reproductive dysfunctions

Cardiopulmonary disease

Immune dysregulation

EPA Reassesses Atrazine

Syngenta and other atrazine proponents insist that atrazine is safe for the simple fact that it’s been used for over 50 years and even the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has supported its safety. However, that may soon change. On June 6, 2016, the EPA released a new risk assessment for atrazine,10 and it presents a far harsher view of the chemical.

It is not expected to be finalized until 2017, but it may well lead to tighter regulatory limits and possibly even an eventual ban, based on the level of concern found. An EPA "level of concern" describes the threshold above which a chemical may be expected to cause harm.

The risk assessment concluded the chemical may cause reproductive harm to mammals, fish and birds, with the level of concern surpassed nearly 200-fold using real-world scenarios for mammals. For fish and birds, atrazine exceeded the level of concern by 62- and 22-fold, respectively.

How to Protect Yourself From Atrazine and Other Pesticide Exposures

According to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 75 percent of the U.S. population has detectable levels of pesticides in their urine, and unless you're a farmer, your diet is one of the most likely routes of exposure, along with your drinking water.11

Eating organic is one of the best ways to lower your overall pesticide burden. The largest study12 of its kind found that people who "often or always" ate organic food had 65 percent lower levels of pesticide residues compared to those who ate the least amount of organic produce. Organic produce also had, on average, 180 times lower pesticide content than conventional produce.13

If food budget restrictions require you to prioritize, refer to the Dirty Dozen list and buy organic as much as possible when you’re choosing foods that are listed as the most-contaminated. If you shop at farmers markets, which I strongly recommend, you can also ask the farmer directly about pesticide usage.

It's possible to find produce that is not certified organic that may still have a lower pesticide burden than typical conventional produce depending on the farmer. So if you can't find organic produce, look for a local farmer who has eliminated pesticide use (or uses a minimal amount of such chemicals).

Filtering Your Tap Water Is Important to Reduce Atrazine Exposure

Atrazine is the most commonly detected pesticide in U.S. water supplies, so I recommend filtering your tap water — both for drinking and bathing. To remove atrazine, make sure the filter is certified to remove it.

Fortunately, since it is a relatively large organic molecule it is easily filtered by a quality carbon filter. Look for a filter certified by NSF International to meet American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Standard 53 for volatile organic compounds (VOC) reduction.14 This will significantly reduce your exposure to atrazine and other pesticides.

Finally, if you know you have been exposed to pesticides, eat fermented foods like kimchi. The lactic acid bacteria formed during the fermentation of kimchi may actually help your body break down pesticides. In addition, there is some evidence that the antioxidant lycopene, found in watermelon, tomatoes, red bell peppers and more, may protect against some of atrazine's toxic effects.15

Other Tips to Limit Exposure to Toxic Chemicals

While it may be virtually impossible to avoid all chemical exposure, your diet, personal care and common household products likely pose the most immediate risk to your and your family’s health. This is particularly true when it comes to hormone-disrupting chemicals.16 To limit your exposure to EDCs, keep the following guidelines in mind when shopping for food, personal care and household products.

Avoid fast-food restaurant fare and processed goods. Eating a diet focused on locally grown, ideally organic and whole foods cooked from scratch will significantly limit your exposure to not only phthalates and BPA but also a wide array of other chemicals, including synthetic food additives and pesticides.

Use natural cleaning products or make your own. Besides phthalates, avoid those containing 2-butoxyethanol (EGBE) and methoxydiglycol (DEGME) — two toxic glycol ethers that can compromise your fertility and cause fetal harm.

Buy products that come in glass bottles rather than plastic or cans; be aware that even "BPA-free" plastics typically leach other EDCs that are just as bad for you as BPA.

Switch to organic toiletries, including shampoo, toothpaste, antiperspirants and cosmetics.

EWG's Skin Deep database17 can help you find personal care products that are free of phthalates and other potentially dangerous chemicals.

Store your food and beverages in glass rather than plastic, and avoid using plastic wrap as it too contains phthalates that can migrate into your food (especially if you microwave food wrapped in plastic).

Replace your vinyl shower curtain with a fabric one or glass doors.

Use glass baby bottles and drinking bottles.

Replace feminine hygiene products (tampons and sanitary pads) with safer alternatives.

Filter your tap water for both drinking and bathing. If you can only afford to do one, filtering your bathing water may be more important, as your skin absorbs contaminants.

Under the 1974 Safe Drinking Water Act, the EPA set a maximum contaminant level (MCL) for DEHP of 0.006 mg/dL, or 6 ppb.18

Note that the Safe Drinking Water Act regulates DEHP levels only for public water supplies, not for well water.

Filtering your water is also important to limit exposure to atrazine and fluorinated firefighting chemicals,19 both of which are common drinking water contaminants in the U.S.

Look for fragrance-free products. One artificial fragrance can contain dozens of potentially toxic chemicals, including phthalates.

Avoid fabric softeners and dryer sheets, which contain a mishmash of synthetic chemicals and fragrances.

If you have PVC pipes, you may have DEHP leaching into your water supply. If you have PVC pipe from before 1977, you will definitely want to upgrade to a newer material.

This "early-era" PVC pipe can leach a carcinogenic compound called vinyl chloride monomer into your water. Alternatives to PVC for water piping include ductile iron, high-density polyethylene, concrete, copper and PEX.20

Consider replacing vinyl flooring with a "greener" material. Also avoid soft, flexible plastic flooring, such as those padded play-mat floors for kids (often used in day cares and kindergartens), as there's a good chance it is made from phthalate-containing PVC.

Read the labels and avoid anything containing phthalates. Besides DEHP, also look for DBP (di-n-butyl phthalate), DEP (diethyl phthalate), BzBP (benzyl butyl phthlate) and DMP (dimethyl phthalate).

Also be wary of anything listing a "fragrance," which often includes phthalates.

Make sure your baby's toys are BPA-free, such as pacifiers, teething rings and anything your child may be prone to suck or chew on — even books, which are often plasticized. It's advisable to avoid all plastic, especially flexible varieties.

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Friday, November 11, 2016

We Finally Know Why Americans Spend More on Prescription Drugs Than Other Nations

prescription drugsThis explains a lot.


This Street Grows Its Own Food For The Entire Neighborhood


More and more, people are joining an initiative to grow their own food and in turn, are fighting the current corrupt systems. You may have heard of the popular Grow Food Not lawns movement, which has many people turning their front and back yards into gardens for growing food.

I mean when you think about it, it makes a lot more sense: what benefit do lawns provide us with anyways? They don’t attract bees, are a lot of effort to maintain, and generally require a lot of pesticides and fertilizers to keep the pests out and the grass growing lush and green. Surprisingly, in many States in the U.S. it is actually illegal to turn your front yard into a garden.

Two Australians have started the country’s first integrated edible streetscape after being upset over the grocery store price of a single lime. These folks are aiming to live a simple organic lifestyle that includes community and of course, fresh food.

Duncan McNaught and Caroline Kemp are the brains behind Buderim’s Urban Food Street. Picture: Harriet Tatham

Duncan McNaught and Caroline Kemp are the brains behind Buderim’s Urban Food Street. Picture: Harriet Tatham

Urban Food Street began in 2009 in the Queensland suburb of Buderim, and now sets a great example of what can be done with the great Australian nature strip.

“It started with us deciding to plant limes, and then it evolved into this notion that if we put the limes out on the nature strip, people could pick a lime for whatever they need it for,” graduate architect and one of the masterminds behind Urban Food Street, Caroline Kemp, said.

The project began with one street growing citrus and in just a short period of time has blossomed into an 11 street garden forest, with various seasonal fruits, vegetables herbs, and spices. This community encourages the growing, sourcing, and eating fresh organic foods.

A selection of the plentiful produce from Buderim’s Urban Food Street. Picture: Harriet Tatham

A selection of the plentiful produce from Buderim’s Urban Food Street. Picture: Harriet Tatham

Encouraging Community Participation

Co-Founder of the project, Duncan Mcnaught, said the re-envisioned neighbourhood has inspired some new forms of participation.

“One of the problems with cooking is you never have the herbs you need at 8 o’clock at night, but now we have the neighbourhood, and you just go down and you just take whatever you need for that meal,” Mr. McNaught said.

“That keeps a car off the road, makes it easier for the meal, and it’s also healthier because you’re walking. That’s what the neighbourhood is about: walking and engaging,” he said.

Not every house in the 11 street block participates in growing the produce, but the rule is that if you are a resident in the neighbourhood you are welcome to enjoy the benefits.

“Quite often the households that aren’t growing will provide a hose to water or some other skill — they might have a skill in jam-making and then that will go on tables at working bees and for people to buy,” Ms. Kemp said.

“We see contribution as a fluid thing.”

How amazing is that? Everyone can contribute what he or she wants according to the skills they have. Working together as a community can have many benefits for everyone involved, not to mention, in this case, the free food!

Starting out as just a simple way to cut personal food costs down and to have fresh, organic produce at their fingertips, Urban Food Street has been able to enter a semi-commercial realm based on the sheer volume they have been able to produce. In 2015 alone, the neighbourhood produced nearly 2000 pounds of bananas and 300 cabbages.

Duncan McNaught eats a kumquat on the side of the road. Picture: Harriet Tatham

Duncan McNaught eats a kumquat on the side of the road. Picture: Harriet Tatham

Location, Location, Location

The neighbourhood is perched on the Western side of Buderim, and Ms. Kemp and Mr. McNaught have said that the structural layout of the suburb has helped the Urban Food Street flourish.

“Buderim was historically cut with the grass growing right to the street edge. In terms of design that is 101 Sustainability because you’re actually capturing the water in the grass and it’s filtering and not ending up with sediment in our creeks,” Ms. Kemp said.

The Urban Street Food project is about designing whole neighbourhoods around the principles of permaculture. Hopefully, new developments will keep this idea in mind and other pre-existing neighborhoods will consider it too.

“It’s about neighbourhoods right across the country being designed in a structural manner that accommodates people being able to do this sort of stuff — providing the capacity for people to grow food in the public realm if you’d like to,” he said.

More Then Just Fresh Food, A Sense Of Community

According to the founders of this project, the real benefit to this whole thing was the genuine human connection that this project brought on. Encouraging people to come together for a common goal, get out of the house, and get to know the neighbours.

“Almost every afternoon, this street fills with the neighbourhood children. They ride bikes, they play ball. Adults will be sprawled on blankets across the lawn,” Ms. Kemp said.

“People now stop and talk or wave when they drive past. There’s a real sense of cohesion in this neighbourhood — people really do know each other,” Mr. McNaught said, waving to a passing neighbour.

“And none of these families desire a park because we’ve got one,” he added.

“There’s no additional cost, it’s just everyday living.”

“It’s spontaneity, just like the food.”


Is this something that you could try and put together in your neighbourhood? Just think of all the benefits it could have! Even just having your own garden can be a wonderful way to help the environment, cut costs, and provide healthy food for you and your family. Maybe you will inspire the rest of your neighbourhood to do the same. If you don’t have the space, you could even consider a community garden project. Get involved and take action!

Much Love


Thursday, November 10, 2016

The Unbearable Smugness Of The American Media


Submitted by Will Rahn via CBS News

The mood in the Washington press corps is bleak, and deservedly so.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that, with a few exceptions, we were all tacitly or explicitly #WithHer, which has led to a certain anguish in the face of Donald Trump’s victory. More than that and more importantly, we also missed the story, after having spent months mocking the people who had a better sense of what was going on.

This is all symptomatic of modern journalism’s great moral and intellectual failing: its unbearable smugness. Had Hillary Clinton won, there’s be a winking “we did it” feeling in the press, a sense that we were brave and called Trump a liar and saved the republic.

So much for that. The audience for our glib analysis and contempt for much of the electorate, it turned out, was rather limited. This was particularly true when it came to voters, the ones who turned out by the millions to deliver not only a rebuke to the political system but also the people who cover it. Trump knew what he was doing when he invited his crowds to jeer and hiss the reporters covering him. They hate us, and have for some time.

And can you blame them? Journalists love mocking Trump supporters. We insult their appearances. We dismiss them as racists and sexists. We emote on Twitter about how this or that comment or policy makes us feel one way or the other, and yet we reject their feelings as invalid.

It’s a profound failure of empathy in the service of endless posturing. There’s been some sympathy from the press, sure: the dispatches from “heroin country” that read like reports from colonial administrators checking in on the natives. But much of that starts from the assumption that Trump voters are backward, and that it’s our duty to catalogue and ultimately reverse that backwardness. What can we do to get these people to stop worshiping their false god and accept our gospel?

We diagnose them as racists in the way Dark Age clerics confused medical problems with demonic possession. Journalists, at our worst, see ourselves as a priestly caste. We believe we not only have access to the indisputable facts, but also a greater truth, a system of beliefs divined from an advanced understanding of justice.

You’d think that Trump’s victory – the one we all discounted too far in advance – would lead to a certain newfound humility in the political press. But of course that’s not how it works. To us, speaking broadly, our diagnosis was still basically correct. The demons were just stronger than we realized.

This is all a “whitelash,” you see. Trump voters are racist and sexist, so there must be more racists and sexists than we realized. Tuesday night’s outcome was not a logic-driven rejection of a deeply flawed candidate named Clinton; no, it was a primal scream against fairness, equality, and progress. Let the new tantrums commence!



That’s the fantasy, the idea that if we mock them enough, call them racist enough, they’ll eventually shut up and get in line. It’s similar to how media Twitter works, a system where people who dissent from the proper framing of a story are attacked by mobs of smugly incredulous pundits. Journalists exist primarily in a world where people can get shouted down and disappear, which informs our attitudes toward all disagreement.

Journalists increasingly don’t even believe in the possibility of reasoned disagreement, and as such ascribe cynical motives to those who think about things a different way. We see this in the ongoing veneration of “facts,” the ones peddled by explainer websites and data journalists who believe themselves to be curiously post-ideological.

That the explainers and data journalists so frequently get things hilariously wrong never invites the soul-searching you’d think it would. Instead, it all just somehow leads us to more smugness, more meanness, more certainty from the reporters and pundits. Faced with defeat, we retreat further into our bubble, assumptions left unchecked. No, it’s the voters who are wrong.

As a direct result, we get it wrong with greater frequency. Out on the road, we forget to ask the right questions. We can’t even imagine the right question. We go into assignments too certain that what we find will serve to justify our biases. The public’s estimation of the press declines even further -- fewer than one-in-three Americans trust the press, per Gallup -- which starts the cycle anew.

There’s a place for opinionated journalism; in fact, it’s vital. But our causal, profession-wide smugness and protestations of superiority are making us unable to do it well.

Our theme now should be humility. We must become more impartial, not less so. We have to abandon our easy culture of tantrums and recrimination. We have to stop writing these know-it-all, 140-character sermons on social media and admit that, as a class, journalists have a shamefully limited understanding of the country we cover.

What’s worse, we don’t make much of an effort to really understand, and with too few exceptions, treat the economic grievances of Middle America like they’re some sort of punchline. Sometimes quite literally so, such as when reporters tweet out a photo of racist-looking Trump supporters and jokingly suggest that they must be upset about free trade or low wages.

We have to fix this, and the broken reasoning behind it. There’s a fleeting fun to gang-ups and groupthink. But it’s not worth what we are losing in the process.


Most Voters Expect Trump to be a Terrible President, But Thought Clinton Would Have Been Worse


New polling data collected over the final two weeks of the presidential campaign paints the picture of a weary, pessimistic electorate and makes a strong case for de-escalating the power of the presidency.

The Pew Research Center surveyed more than 3,700 voters (respondents had either voted already or said they planned to vote) between October 25 and November 8 to take the pulse of the electorate on a wide range of issues. There's lots of interesting data in the survey, including details on which issues were most salient to Trump and Clinton voters as the two candidates made their closing arguments. Trump scored highest, no surprise, with voters worried about terrorism and illegal immigration while Clinton had her biggest edge with those worried about climate change and gun violence.

The most interesting part of the survey is a series of five questions where voters were asked to imagine a hypothetical Trump administration and a hypothetical Clinton one.

For each candidate, voters were asked about five things: would they run an open and transparent administration, would they improve how government works, would they improve the United State's standing in the world, would they set a high moral standard for the presidency and would they use the office of the presidency to personally enrich themselves and their friends.

Trump got negative marks across the board. He scored "best" on the questions about running a transparent administration (the bar is particularly low on that point) and for improving how the government works. In both cases, 44 percent of voters said he would probably or definitely do those things. He scored worse on the "high moral standard" question, with only 38 percent of voters saying they believed he would achieve that.

As bad as Trump's numbers were, it's telling that Clinton scored worse on three of the five metrics. Only 34 percent of voters said they believed she would be open and transparent, only 37 percent said they thought a Clinton administration would improve how government works, and 57 percent of voters said they thought she would improperly use the office to enrich herself and friends (a majority, 52 percent, said they thought Trump would do that too).

From a political science perspective, the Pew survey helps explain why undecided voters broke towards Trump as the lesser-of-two-evils and why Clinton had such a difficult time dealing with questions of trustworthiness throughout the campaign.

More generally, guys, this is really bleak. The country just picked a new commander-in-chief who 57 percent of voters say is unlikely to improve the country's standing in the world and better than half say he will use the White House to enrich himself. Simple math says that at least some of those people voted for Trump, despite those misgivings, because Clinton was worse.

Neither major party produced anything remotely resembling an acceptable, electable presidential nominee this year. That's not news (we've been saying it for months), but when voters are this pessimistic about the choice they are being given, it makes you wonder why they aren't demanding more, better choices.

It also makes you think that vesting so much power in the hands of one man (or woman)—a man we collectively view as bad news—isn't a good idea.


Wednesday, November 9, 2016

The Source of our Rage: The Ruling Elite Is Protected from the Consequences of its Dominance

Please read my election note at the end of the essay.
There are many sources of rage: injustice, the destruction of truth, powerlessness. But if we had to identify the one key source of non-elite rage that cuts across all age, ethnicity, gender and regional boundaries, it is this: The Ruling Elite is protected from the destructive consequences of its predatory dominance.
We see this reality across the entire political, social and economic landscape.
If I had to pick one chart that illustrates the widening divide between the Ruling Elite and the non-elites, it is this chart of wages as a share of the nation's output (GDP): 46 years of relentless decline, interrupted by gushing fountains of credit and asset bubbles that enriched the few while leaving the economic landscape of the many in ruins.
The Ruling Elite once had an obligation to uphold the social contract as a responsibility that came with their vast privilege, power and wealth (i.e. noblesse oblige).
America's Ruling Elite has transmogrified into an incestuous self-serving few unapologetically plundering the many. In their hubris-soaked arrogance, their right to rule is unquestioningly based on their moral and intellectual superiority to "the little people" they loot with abandon.
Rather than feel a responsibility to the nation, America's Elite views the status quo as a free pass to self-aggrandizement.
Much has changed in America in the past 46 years. Not only have wages and salaries declined as a share of "economic growth," but the wealth that has been generated has flowed to the top of the wealth/power pyramid (see chart below).
Social mobility has also declined drastically: Restoring America’s Economic Mobility, as has trust in government and key institutions.
As Frank Buckley, the author of The Way Back: Restoring the Promise of Americaobserved:
"In a corrupt country, trust is a rare commodity. That’s America today. Only 19 percent of Americans say they trust the government most of the time, down from 73 percent in 1958 according to the Pew Research Center."
The top .01% has seen its share of the household wealth triple from 7% to 22% in the past four decades, while the share of the nation's wealth owned by the bottom 90% has plummeted from 36% to 23%.
As I described in America's Ruling Elite Has Failed and Deserves to Be Fired and Now That the Presidential-Election Side Show Is Finally Ending...., the economy is rapidly undergoing structural changes that tend to reward the top 5% class of technocrats and managers and the top .1% with millions in mobile capital, while leaving the bottom 95% in the dust.
Rather than address this rising inequality directly and honestly, the Ruling Elite has parroted propaganda and policies that protect their gains while obfuscating the reality that most American households have been losing ground for decades, a decline that has been masked by replacing real income with rising debt.
The ceaseless parroting of the Ruling Elite and the Mainstream Media that prosperity has been rising for everyone is nothing less than the destruction of truth. This propaganda has one purpose: to mask the inequality and injustice built into the American status quo.
The rapid concentration of wealth has also concentrated political power in the hands of a few who seamlessly combine public and private modes of power.
This wealth and power protects the Ruling Elite from the perverse consequences of their dominance. Their precious offspring rarely serve at the point of the American military's spear, they never lose their jobs or income when corporations shift production (and R&D, etc.) overseas, and they are never replaced with illegal immigrants paid under the table.
Rather, the Ruling Elite is pleased to pay immigrants a pittance to care for their children, clean their luxe homes, walk their dogs, etc.
This is why we're enraged: we bear the consequences of the Ruling Elite's dominance. The system is rigged to benefit the few, who use their wealth and power to protect themselves from the destructive consequences of their self-serving dominance.
This rage is as yet inchoate, sensed but not yet understood as the inevitable result of a broken system and a predatory Elite that exploits the system to maximize their private gain by any means available.
ELECTION NOTE: As I write this Tuesday evening, it appears Donald Trump may win the presidency. For those who cannot understand how anyone could possibly vote for Trump, please read the above essay again and ponder what people were voting against by voting for Trump.
They may well have been voting against the corrupt, self-serving status quo rather than voting for the individual Donald Trump.
There are very few opportunities for powerless non-elites to register their disapproval of the nation's Ruling Elite and the corrupt status quo. Voting for an outsider in a national election is one such rare opportunity.
As I noted in October, The Ruling Elite Has Lost the Consent of the Governed (October 20, 2016).
If you still don't understand how Trump could win, please read the above essay as many times as is necessary for you to get it: the status quo of corrupt self-serving insiders generates injustice and inequality as its only possible output.

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