Monday, May 14, 2012

Structural Pliancy

Don't be fooled—it's flexible at the top.

A lot of people—and I am one of them—claim that personal and business freedoms are being eroded as never before. They show as evidence the roll-back of civil liberties, the over-regulation of business, the insistence on “compliance” by the various security agencies of every little rule, no matter how trivial—in short, the over-regulation of American life.

They are right: The U.S. government is guilty of over-regulating individuals and businesses—egregiously so.

On the other hand, a lot of other people—and I am one of them too—claim that certain persons and corporations act lawlessly as never before. They show as evidence the abuses of power of those in leadership—be it business, government, the military, or the intelligence/security aparatus—and they insist that something has to be done about it, some regulations have to be imposed.

They are right too: The U.S. government is just as guilty of under-regulating certain individuals and businesses as it is of over-regulating other people and businesses.

Obvious question: How can they both be right? How can it be that a few people, a few businesses, a few institutions are getting away with murder—in some cases literally—while most of us are under a crippling yoke of excessive, dishonest, petty and trivial rules and regulations that either serve no purpose, or actively pervert the welfare of our society?

Simple answer: Structural Pliancy.

Let me explain.

It’s no trick at all to find instances where the current regulatory environment being enforced on our society is so recalcitrant, so bloody-minded, so pig-headed, that it’s a miracle that America is able to exist as a functioning society at all.

Rather than pick a particular business, I’ll just point to a nightmare most of us have to deal with at least a few times a year: The security checkpoints manned by Transportation Security Administration personnel at all of the airports of America.

The regulations here are as rigid as a steel rod, yet at the same time as arbitrary and pointless as . . . actually, I can’t think of simile that quite captures the sheer ridiculousness of the TSA security protocols at the airports. The ridiculousness of those protocols are uniquely their own.

We all know the drill: You wait on an interminable line, and then finally when it’s your turn, you take off your shoes, you surrender all liquid containers with more than 100ml of fluid, you let your carry-on bag go through a metal detector (and then often as not be searched manually again), while you pass through a metal detector and a body scanner that is streaming God knows what kind of nasty radiation at your body.

Only after you’ve been dosed with radiation and humiliated good and proper are you then allowed into the boarding gate—as if travelling in a free country were a privilege rather than a right.

It doesn’t matter if you’re an elderly diabetic grandmother in a wheelchair—you have to walk through the metal detector and stand in the body scanner. It doesn’t matter if you are a five-year old girl—you’re going to get groped just this side of sexual assault, if you refuse to go through the body scanners. We have heard so many horror stories that there’s no need to enumerate any more of this lack of sense. I mean, c’mon: Is a five-year old child really going to stuff plastic explosives and an UZI sub-machine gun under her pink “Hello Kitty!” blouse, and then whip them out amid her cries of “Allah is Great! Allah is Good!” once the plane reaches cruising altitude?

It’s not only the lack of discernment on the part of the TSA workers at the airport—it’s a failure of imagination in the standing rules: The ridiculousness of so many of the rules and regulations, which add a layer of hassle and difficulty to the process, yet serve absolutely no useful purpose.

Likewise, businesses and industries all across America are burdened with regulations that make no sense, just like the TSA protocols make absolutely no sense. In every industry in America, there are stupid rules and regulations as ridiculous as any of the TSA’s rules: Rules and regulation imposed from Washington, without any regard for the practical realities on the ground. Rules and regulations that make business and life difficult for no other reason than stupidity—or worse, so as to give the illusion that Washington is “doing something” about this or that problem, while in fact doing nothing more than making something needlessly more difficult and complicated.

Notice: I am against stupid regulations—but I am not against regulations per se. On the contrary, only a fool would say we do not need regulations. For instance, traffic lights are a regulation to the free flow of automobiles: Who in their right mind would say that we ought to eliminate all the traffic lights in all the major cities in America, because they “infringe on our innate liberty to drive wherever we want”? Nobody, other than an idiot.

As a thinking man’s conservative, I recognize that government regulations are necessary for two reasons: One, to organize the relationship between any two entities in our society, so that their dealings with one another are free, easy, efficient and honest; and two, to safeguard the weak, the unaware and the general society from the actions of any individual person or entity who might seek their own benefit at the expense of inflicting harm on others.

In short, government regulations ought to be in place to safeguard us—the citizens of this society. They should not be in place so as to imprison us.

But that is increasingly becoming the case.

Worse still, rules and regulations are becoming the preferred way for the few to exploit the many—and exploit them not only with impunity, but with the full weight of government support.

Take the TSA full-body scanners. As I wrote about here, the full body scanners are unquestionably a health hazard, both to passengers and even more so to operators—TSA workers are already beginning to suffer health effects of the full body scanners that they are exposed to all during their working hours. They are furthermore extraordinarily expensive, inconvenient, inefficient machines, and worst of all, they don’t work, as a determine-minded terrorist can easily smuggle weapons on to a plane much as inmates smuggle shanks into a prison.

These reasons ought to be more than enough to make the implementation of full-body scanners highly suspect.

Yet they have been deployed—at tremendous expense (each machine costs over $100,000)—in most major airports in America.

Why?

Because the former head of the Homeland Security Agency, Michael Chertoff, is aggressively lobbying for the full body scanners—because he is in partnership with the largest manufacturer of full-body scanners, Rapiscan Systems. Mr. Chertoff directly profits from each body scanner installed—which is why he has lobbied Congress and the public so aggressively. He is quite literally singing for his supper.

(By the way, this is why I was assigned my very own Homeland Security agent, and put on some sort of Terrorist Watch List: For pointing out this unwholesome, not to say immoral relationship between Chertoff, Rapiscan and Homeland Security. My first Homeland Security agent—I’ve counted at least three who have been or are currently monitoring me—was a man named James Ponder, out of their Gainesville, Florida offices. The guy first posed as a fan—then blew his cover when he mistakenly sent me a fanmail mash note from his Homeland Security e-mail! Good grief.)

This is an example of a needless expense that burdens our society as a whole—yet benefits a particular business and a particular person.

This is also an example of a lack of regulation: There is no rule that says that a former head of a government agency cannot join a private company and lobby the agency that he was leading. This revolving door is illegal in just about every other Western democracy—and I think it’s obvious to us all how immoral it is, to be lobbying your former employees.

Yet in the United States, what Michael Chertoff is doing is unregulated—and therefore legal.

Take the bank bailouts of 2008: What essentially happened was, the banks made bad loans, securitized those bad loans, then sold them to one another, creating an enormous house of cards—which eventually fell when housing prices began to tank and those loans turned out to be toxic.

Everyone in the financial industry knew what was going on—but everyone was getting so much money that they all fed at the trough for as long as they could. The toxic assets based on these dodgy mortgage loans were a ticking time bomb—everyone knew they would blow up. But everyone lived by the insidious IBG-YBG: I’ll Be Gone, You’ll Be Gone. As in, “I’ll be gone when this whole charade explodes, and you’ll be gone too.

If you or I did what the banks did—sell crap assets to gullible buyers, which is essentially what Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan and all the other Too Big To Fail banks did—we would be arrested on conspiracy and racketeering charges. We’d get sent to prison for about a billion years.

But that didn’t happen to the Too Big To Fail banks. What did happen to them? They got bailed out by the Federal government—and then they used the bailout money to pay themselves record bonuses! They did exactly what the gangsters in the movie “GoodFellas” did—they “busted out the joint”, to use the mobster parlance.

And what happened to banker gangsters—these banksters?

Nothing. Not a single one of them was arrested, or charged with anything, or much less went to jail. They knowingly bankrupted the nation’s financial system—and they got away with it scot-free.

Some people at this point might be reading me and saying, “Yo Gonzo! You are one naïve scribbler! The rich and powerful have always gotten away with whatever they’ve wanted!”

Maybe elsewhere—but it’s not the American Way.

The American Way is not the right of might—it’s the exact opposite: It’s the Might of Right. And one of the key tenets of the American Way is egalitarianism: The equality of everyone—be they ever so rich or ever so humble—before the law.

It is fair and right and good that, if I am a thief, raiding lower middle-class homes, stealing people’s flat-screen TV’s, then I ought to be tried, condemned, sentenced and punished.

But it is equally fair and right and good that, if I am a thief in a Saville Row suit, raiding the financial institutions that our economy depends on, carrying out practices which I know will lead to my bank needing to be bailed out, then I ought to be tried, condemned, sentenced and punished.

The guy who rips off a $300 flat-screen and the guy who rips off a $700 million municipal pension fund are the same: They are thieves. And they should be treated the same—they should be punished. And if their punishments are not commensurate with the cost of their crimes—because I think we can all agree that stealing a $300 TV set is a lot less serious than destroying the pensions of thousands of retirees—then at least their punishments ought to be the same.

But we don’t have this equality: The petty thief who made off with a $300 flat-screen gets 10 years in jail. The major scumbag who bankrupted a municipal pension fund is taking it easy on St. Bart’s with a couple of under-aged models named Jynyfer and Ambr on a sailboat most of us can only dream about.

This is not egalitarianism—this is not the American Way.

This is Structural Pliancy: The base is immobile and rigid—but the higher you rise, the more pliant the rules become.

If you’re at the bottom, the rules and regs are rigid—and they can and will crush you, if you fail to comply by even a micron. But as you rise up, the rules become flexible, negotiable, until finally—when you’ve risen high enough—they stop existing altogether: You can literally do whatever you want. Ask Dick Cheney, ask Michael Chertoff. Ask the banksters, who got bailed out by their good buddy Hank Paulson, and his toadying creepazoid follower Tim Geithner.

Ask the banksters now, the ones embroiled in the Mortgage Mess of illegal signatures and fraudulent foreclosures: They are slowly but surely getting themselves the sweetheart deal of the century—a cheapie settlement for all the crimes that they committed.

And for all those forged documents, for all those illegal evictions—evictions of some people who didn’t even owe money on the homes that they fully owned—the banksters won’t spend a day in jail, while those families will be sleeping in their cars tonight. The banksters won’t pay a single personal fine. Any “fines” that they pay will be minuscule—and to top it off, it’ll be our taxpayer’s money: Money that they got from government bailouts. Money that is ours.

That’s how it goes if you’re at the top end, in America.

If you are poor and marginalized? If you get caught smoking dope on a Monday, shoplifting a candy bar on Tuesday, and then failing to pay a parking ticket on Wednesday? Then you can potentially go to jail for thirty years to life before the weekend’s here—what’s known as the “Three Strikes Rule”.

Similarly, if you own a small business—say a dozen employees, eking out razor thin margins—and you fail to carry out any one of literally hundreds of trivial, needless, pointless regulations—rules and regs as dumb as the TSA rules, or as confusing and crushing as the regs of Obamacare—you find yourself bankrupt in short order, as the government regulators come down on you like a sack of bricks, looking to make an example of you and “send a message” to all the other small-fry like you and me.

But if you’re a big fish? If you’re, say, a big food processing plant—listed on the NYSE, your CEO getting his picture taken with the President—then you have no worries. The FDA goon will stop by your headquarters for a friendly chat and a cup of coffee—and that will be the extent of the government’s regulation of your food manufacturing plant. You can sell untested, unsafe, genetically modified food products with impunity. You can carry out monopolistic business practices on family farmers without a care, forcing them to buy your feed and your pesticide at exorbitant—usurious—immoral—mark-ups. You can basically do whatever you want.

Is this fair? Is this the American Way?

No it is not. It most definitely is not—but it is the way things are now. Call it “The New American Way”.

Structural pliancy: The higher up the structure, the more pliant it is.

So here we have the problem: A lot of these people who act with impunity—the beneficiaries of Structural Pliancy—are precisely the ones making the loudest noises about “ending all this red-tape and regulation”.

They sound like our friends. After all, we common folk want to live in a land with fewer pointless rules, fewer stupid regulations.

But don’t be fooled: These people who claim they want the end of regulations don’t want to help us—they want to exploit us.

By ending the few regulations still controlling their behavior, these people—rich people, with big lobbying guns behind them—want to be able to more fully exploit average citizens like you or me: They want to be free to rape us even more thoroughly than they already do—while hypocritically claiming that they are trying to “free America from needless red-tape!”

This is why I believe that we do not need more OR less regulations: What we need are rules and regulations that are applied across the board—equally.

In other words, I believe we need to get back to basics.

America is a nation founded on the notion of equality of opportunity—but also of equality before the law. The richest and the poorest, the most humble and the most high-flying simply must be treated with equality: Equality in their opportunities—and equality in their sanctions.

We have to draw the line. We have to discern. We have to end the Structural Pliancy that is corrupting our Great Republic. If we truly believe that a crime is a crime is a crime—regardless of the perpetrator—then we have to investigate, charge, prosecute and punish those who have most destroyed the shining promise of our great nation.

We have to regulate these high flying miscreants. And we have to free the common people such as you and I from the regulations that these evil people have imposed on us for their own selfish gains.

In short, we have to return to the single great quality that defines America:

Equality.

Over at the Strategic Planning Group, I’ve put together a Scenario about exiting America, if it ever comes to that. If you’re interested, check out the preview page.

72 comments:

  1. Brilliant summary of the problem and the solution. It applies equally to Canada, by the way.

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    1. And New Zealand. "Do as I say. Not as I do." is the mantra from above.

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    2. It appears to be an anglo-saxon thing because the UK appears to be further along this road than everyone else. In short, to exit this dance you have to go to a non-english speaking country.

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  2. Phenomenal insights as always, Gonzalo.

    The uneven playing field big corporations are allowed to create through manipulating rules is a major problem for societies the world over.

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  3. True but its Old news.. stale analysis.. and a parroting type of plagiarism

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  4. Hi Gonzalo,

    Perhaps, since it is, you would like to formally declare your blog to be a Belligerent Act?

    Please read: Belligerent Act

    and: Crash the System

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  5. Why do they do it? Why do they let Corzine get away with purjury and a 1.6 billion dollar fleecing of clients? Why do they let rampant mortgage fraud go unchecked and unprosecuted? Answer: Because they can. And that answer is based on the predictable answer to this question: What are you going to do about it? Answer: Maybe whine. Maybe moan. Maybe stand in the street with a sign containing a clever statement about corruption. But what you are really going to do about it is "Nothing." And they know that. And that is why it will continue.

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    1. It's about campaign contributions. Those big ole banker boys don't give multi millions to candidates for nothing like Obama got. That is how you get bailed out. Put them in office. One bank after the other would have failed gone bankrupt. You have a guy with absolutely no Biz experience any where on his resume. Never walked the talk. Just talks it. He's going to create jobs? Every near bankrupt company that he calls the future of the country can line up now that China Banks now rule the country and line up for a loan. Because in this country you are not credit worthy. Maybe China has lower standards what do you think comrade.

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  6. Hello,

    GL, give it up. You are not a "conservative" under the current definition. You're really more of a cultural traditionalist, which is not the same thing. And that's OK, within reason.

    One of the problems plaguing us is that people all along the spectrum have given themselves over to some misbegotten "master narrative" of reality, be it progressive or libertarian. So progressives can't see how Obamacare is really a disguised bailout for the medical insurance industry, nor will they ever admit how oppressive the TSA is. If Barry wanted to end this TSA nightmare, he could end it overnight.

    As far as I know, Barry's the only executive of any Western Democracy who claims the power to kill his own fellow citizens without due process. (Even S. Harper's not that far along). And he feels he can blow up children half a world away with drones anytime - but, hey, at least Barry doesn't beat up bleached blond little gay kids and cut off their hair. So progressives had better vote for Barry over that brute and bully, Mitt.

    I wonder if Mitt took a lock of that kid's hair for himself? You know, just wondering....but I digress.

    On the other hand, there are the libertarians. The "creepazoid" Chertoff, a Republican, is just doing business, right? The banks are the life blood of our free enterprise job creators, blah blah, and so they should never be regulated.

    Oh, and GL, you need to get around more. I once read a libertarian explain how there should be no traffic regulation at all. I clearly remember how the traffic patterns in Istanbul (!) were described as “self forming, de facto free of regulation thereby having achieved the maximum in possible traffic flow efficiency.” The libertarian car drivers in Istanbul! What planet do these people live on?

    Dogma: Government produces nothing, it only redistributes your wealth. So when teachers in a public school go to work, they produce nothing, but if the same teachers go to work at the private school down the block, then they're suddenly productive. Government built roads only redistribute income, but the privately built toll road adds to the economy. Help me.

    Libertarians can't even see that some government regulation adds to the economic value of a product. Imagine: Let's abolish safety regulation in auto manufacturing in North America. Then we'll all put up some money and start a new car company called "Libertarian Motors". Think we'll sell any cars? Toyota and VW share holders will be very happy indeed with our new car company and the deregulation that made it possible. Our competition will market cars with the slogan "At Toyota, Regulation is Job One. Our nanny state regulation will keep you safe.”

    My point is that American politics has become a squabbling school yard of ideology drenched eight year olds while the big kids calmly steal everybody's lunch money.

    Regards,

    Unna

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    1. The labels that you're putting on people are a little misleading in my view. The libertarians that I know do not, in any way, approve of Chertoff making money the way he does, nor do they approve of banks defrauding people.

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    2. @ stonecoldlogic,

      Agreed. Libertarians do not approve of how Chertoff made money. But are they willing to regulate the people who lobby, or willing to pass any laws putting an end to the revolving door? Libertarian dogma prevents them from using the law to end this. Anyone for passing laws on limiting campaign finance?

      Sure. No Libertarian approves of bank fraud. But
      are Libertarians willing to fund a massive criminal investigation of the banks and toss hundreds of bankers into prison? Maybe. But as long as bankers contribute their unregulated private money to buy the congress, they don't get prosecuted, see John Corzine, no matter what Libertarians might want.

      Are Libertarians willing to regulate strict limits on bank size, leverage, or activities? Without those limits, the banks will blow up again. They'll ask for a bail out from taxpayers. Again they'll get it because libertarians won't do anything about regulating corporate money going to bought and paid for politicians who will vote for the bailouts even if people are against it 100 to 1.

      So it's not good enough to say, I'm against bank regulation and against bailouts using the "discipline" of the Market to prevent over leverage when you know the politicians have been prebought to do a bailout anyway.

      Please don't misunderstand, I like Libertarians. God, I love them because generally they're honest about what they believe. And they did vote out certain republican politicians because of the bailout which is more than any progressives did on the other side. As far as civil liberties are concerned, they're the only show in town, as opposed to the absolutely useless pro Barry progressives with few exceptions. Libertarians stir things up which is good.

      But Libertarian dogma deconstructs itself, for by not regulating private power, it allows private power room to grow to such an extent that it, in the end, buys government power which undermines the entire libertarian project.

      All concentrations of power of whatever source or nature, be they governmental, economic, religious, or private should be watched with a cold and cautious eye.

      Of course, progressives are no better, but that's a different story.

      Unna

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    3. Not that it makes much difference anymore, but the regulation you are seeking is supposed to be already enshrined into law. It's called the U.S. Constitution. The laws against the fraud and corruption and fascistic policies are there. They simply aren't enforced by any branch of government. I realize that the Constitution is nothing more than an old piece of paper now, and that it is essentially meaningless as a practical matter of U.S. law. But theoretically, when you enforce law, regulation simply becomes superfluous and a hinderance to the free market. Unfortunately, we don't have law enforcement against the rich and powerful in American today.

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    4. Gonzo article, spot on! Great analysis of the situation. Regarding Libertarians, the moment you identify with a group you have thrown away any chance of creatively dealing with the problem (read "First and Last Freedom" by Krisnamurti). I voted Libertarian in the last election because voting Republican or Democrat these days is clearly a wasted vote. A Libertarian might counterbalance that a little. But what we really need is a representative for "we the people", unbound by any dogma. Hopefully that is what will arise from the ashes soon to come. More likely though is the terrible opposite.

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    5. There is a great deal of evidence that there are no terrorists in this country and probably very few abroad, except the ones we create with our immoral, illegal and highly provocative drone strikes.

      If there were terrorists in this country they could wait until they step into the scanner and then set off their vest bomb and/or they could set off their suitcase as it passes through the xray machine. Or they could do both in line.

      The TSA is a joke and does not prevent any terrorism rather it terrorizes Americans into giving up more and more rights.

      If there were terrorists (other than the false flag kind that work for government) in this country they could have set the entire west on fire with a few packs of cigarettes.

      If there were non-US backed terrorists in the world they could easily sink a 4000 passenger cruise ship in all kinds of places all around the world.

      Our government plus the Israeli government (and the Brits) are far and away the largest terrorist organizations on earth across all of history.

      Hat tip to Veterans Today for making this so obvious to me: http://www.veteranstoday.com/2012/05/24/phony-terrorism-through-the-eyes-of-one-of-us/

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  7. Good to see you're back, GL. When you hadn't twittered for 6 days I thought they'd tossed you in Gitmo! As an "example to others"...

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  8. Good insights as always, but I'm surprised at the hyperbole over the '3 strikes' law. This is reserved for serious, usually violent - felony offenses - not those you described. Which in my opinion, makes it a very reasonable law.

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    1. Depends on the state what he says holds true in California if the prosecutor wants to handle it thus.

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  9. Actually, there are cities in Holland that did away with traffic lights and stop signs. Unregulated traffic results in fewer accidents because everyone becomes careful. In a society of sensible people who are generally cooperative. To quote from one news report:
    "Strange as it may seem, the number of accidents has declined dramatically. Experts from Argentina and the United States have visited Drachten. Even London has expressed an interest in this new example of automobile anarchy. And the model is being tested in the British capital's Kensington neighborhood."

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    1. What? I live in Kensington and have never heard anything about reducing driving regulations. Of course they could drop the number of regs by thousands and still have more than they need, but I assure you that there's no such model being tested in Kensington.

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    2. Andrew not the SaintMay 23, 2012 at 4:25 AM

      Oh c'mon, wake up.

      Duh, sure it works in a small town with little traffic and a culture that's very big on organization/order. Do that in your average not-so-order-loving large populated city and see what you get - try driving in Jakarta for example. It is a nightmare for visitors (read: me) and the locals hate it too.

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  10. I understand the moral indignation, but find it naïve when coupled with the notion that "this is not what America is supposed to be about." America prospered in the nineteenth century on the appropriation of labour from Chineese coolies, black slaves, share-croppers, and millions in (often bereft immigrant) bonded labor or indentured servants. The idea that America of yore was all freedom-loving individualists making their own way on hard frontier is a very selective and mythical narrative.
    The law is an invention of the wealthy who exploit other segments of society: it gives legal title to the owners and protects creditors. It backs up possession of resources with the force of the state where there were originally only claims; it enforces debt when there were originally only promises. That is the purpose of law, not its perversion. The law is a colonization of what is just and right by the state.

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    1. one of the most realistic responses i have read. corruption is corruption is corruption. i even wonder at times if they are the type that wrote the bible. seems like alot of rules and regs to keep the poor and meek at bay, and then it says the meek shall inherit the earth. another saying to keep us from justly kicking the asses of the 1%.

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    2. Try READING the Bible and commentaries on it! Try READING how the Jewish Holy book along with the New Testament was used to form the basis of Western Civilization. Not knowing history precludes one from having any meaningful opinions. The Bible was written over 2,000 years by 16 different authors, yet miraculously meshes together seemlessly. It also gives correct scientific fact (such as the existence of air currents and sea currents) hundreds of years before humans could have known about these things! READ! Don't just regurgitate tripe from bigoted, intellectually lazy fools.

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  11. You lost me with the "american way" rants. How about he "american dream"? Everyone and his dog knows money is king in the US. If you have enough of it you can buy any justice or laws you want. It's been that way since the expulsion of the English and it still is, but maybe a bit more "in your face", as push comes to shove and the free food for everyone era is over.

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    1. Granted America had a revolution and it eliminated the rule by English monarchs of that time. Not so sure about the elimination of rule by self-apointed monopolists, that is still a battle in progress.

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  12. GL instead of getting off of their terrorist/no fly list encourage everyone to get on as many lists as possible. Have a campaign where you can send in your name to be included in their databases. If we are all in the databases they become worthless to them for data mining.

    What do you think will happen when no one is authorized to fly, use banking, etc..

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  13. Really enjoy hearing you talk.

    "I'll be gone when this whole charade explodes, and you'll be gone too" - Won't we just...at this rate. If we really contemplated there may one day be no "Winners" I think we would make very different choices, both individually and collectively, but it is like the Titanic;we just can't conceive of everything one day sort of "sinking".

    The depleting resources and dwindling patience of the Global populace will make things very interesting. You can forget the Equality. They have too much at stake! If I were them, I wouldn't be advancing anyone but myself either. No, the entire system is destined for collapse, just don't think we will blow ourselves to smithereens, but then again.


    Also too, I think it is a complete "hoot" re: your spy detail. Did admire them for a while, but swapping bags (in public), leaving devices under fake rocks and now basically telling you its them...That, and being willing to kill to maintain a warped Status quo makes me see sense..yet in their own way they are quite a giggle!

    There is no easy answer GL, and there will be no avoiding it, Humanity is heading for a Showdown, the "Banksters" will be no exception. In the meantime, just don't lose your sense of humour!

    There is a saying that roughly translates as:-

    "The Moon Runs, until the Day catches up"

    - hopefully it will.

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  14. GL, I am a fan but it seems to me that you are ignoring the obvious. The political structure and processes capable of restoring any sense of equality within our government have been stripped out of the system placed in a dumpster and replaced by a shell government run by corporations for the benefit of wealthy stakeholders. They have driven every statesman and honorable representative out of both political parties and replaced them with their own henchmen. They are winning big and everyone else is losing big. In addition, this beast is getting stronger with every election and trade agreement. The average American can't comprehend the road ahead of them. What can be done? That is what we need to be talking about.

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    1. soooooo true my friend. every time someone blows the whistle, they are blackballed, and anyone who cared about the system and a sense of fairness has been pushed out or retired because it is just too stressful to continue.

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  15. More regulation? Go for it!

    More regulation will hasten the demise of The Beast. This is because any bill advertised as leveling the playing field always contains language that further impoverishes the common person and enriches The Beast. The bigger they are, the harder they fall.

    The Beast has all the party leaders and all but 2 or 3 congressmen wrapped around its bony unpolished finger.

    But the finger of The Beast is gangrenous. It is rotting from the inside out.

    The Beast cannot survive. Its very corrupt nature is causing it to implode.

    The Beast is in its death throes. Its situation is so desperate it has stooped to using children to convey its message.

    Anyone care for popcorn?

    K Smith

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  16. Very well-written, perceptive, summary of just one aspect of what's wrong with America. But the writer is advised to take some time off and realize that the USA has always, repeat, always, been that way. Does he want return to the good old days of genocide--largest in history--of Native Americans? Does he want to return to slavery? Imaginable corruption? Wholesale oppression and murder of workers? A few suggestions:
    Upton Sinclair: The Brass Check / The Jungle
    Taylor Caldwell: Dynasty of Death / Captains and the kings
    Steinbeck, John: Grapes of Wrath
    Carson, Rachel: Silent Spring

    The list of books is indeed amazingly long. There is simply no place, no time, one would wish to return to in American history. We need to go farther, to the direct democracy of the Iroquois, perhaps, or of the Ancient Athenians. America was always environmentally destructive, exceptionally corrupt, greedy, belligerent, intolerant, conformist, economically stratified, and cruel. That is the American Way. To achieve environmental sustainability, freedom, peace, and social justice, we'll need to reinvent the USA and the world. We must look forward, or look to more inspiring historical examples than America.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. To paraphrase the venerable astral pioneer Robert Monroe writing about the "Earth Life System" (ELS):

      ELS is, has been and always will be predatory in it's nature and as such is a perfect school for the evolution of the soul. It might become an egalitarian utopia for a nanosecond in history but will always revert back to it's primary function as a predatory classroom.

      There are a ... "few simple rules: "Grow and exist as long as you can; Get what you need to exist; Maintain your species by reproducing."...Every participant is a predator and the process cannot be altered or changed as long as the ELS exists. Survival is difficult if not impossible without predatory action".

      So yeah these predatory behaviors have been going on for some time now. This doesn't mean one cannot try to reform the system, as it will probably promote your personal evolution. But if you're looking to create utopia I'm sorry to inform you but you incarnated on the wrong planet.

      Delete
    2. painfully true my friend. but we still must struggle on, as the good people have always done. maybe this is the part about the meek shall inherit the earth, who knows, but never give up the good fight.

      Delete
  17. I must say that I enjoy and look forward to your posts Gonzalo. You have that rare knack of being able to explicate what is explicable about our present condition in western civilisation. Your pyramid image of structural pliancy is wonderfully simple – no matter how ‘unchained’ the actions of those foul folk at the top are, they always rest effortlessly upon the solid ‘chained’ base of the 99%’s goodness and simplicity.
    Ultimately it’s not possible to establish what drives those at the top – so much of their world is hidden from view. Is the movement at the top driven by a ghoulish sub-sect of intensely powerful humans? Or is it a natural function of human nature? We are after all the planet’s most successful species to date, and any reading of history will suggest that much of our success has come from a ‘will to power’ which has arisen from within our corpus. As our ‘successful’ world has become ever more populous and complex, is what we’re seeing today simply an expression of the tendency of power to ‘out’?

    Regarding action, it’s hard not to agree with the commenter who suggests that we must look outside of western culture for leads into the future. Whilst there is indeed much to miss about the mid-late 20th century - as other respondents have suggested, our traditions and our success are fundamentally based on slavery and cruelty. We have extinguished and appropriated all that lay before us over the past 250 years, and there is clearly no going back for us now. It seems to me that the ‘reboot’ switch is now ominously close at hand. Whether prompted by economy, nature or war, I do believe that its coming will be characterised by both benign movements as well as catastrophic ones. It’s here that leads from the Iroquois and others may assist us. I have always been and will die an optimist, and now find myself ‘optimistically’ looking forward to the coming reboot. Even the filth that perch at the top of your pyramid have a wild-eyed look about themselves lately, as they finally realise to their horror that there are no more ‘kicks’ to be had on this earth and that ultimately they too, like all of us, must turn naked to face the light. Thanks again for your writing, Greg

    ReplyDelete
  18. This very good article, but
    - everybody want job big company
    - men want ferrari and go yacht with jynyfer
    - women want louis vuitton and husband very rich
    - children want iPad
    - Mr Barroso want big check retirement.

    I maybe think if we dont change what we want, we dont change what we get.

    Trader Yuri

    ReplyDelete
  19. Regulations are a form of fascism. They are unnecessary so long as: there is personal accountability; property rights are recognised and enforced.

    Bankruptcy laws and the corporate veil diminish personal accountability. Property rights have diminished steadily since the unCivil War.

    Regulations are encouraged by the largest players in order to impede or eliminate competition from the smaller players.

    ReplyDelete
  20. This reminds me of Licurgo revolution in Sparta and how the great motto of the rebellion agaisnt the Helade plutocrats that trigger ancient Greece explosion was "Isonomy".

    ReplyDelete
  21. You're dead wrong, Lira. Corporations act irresponsibility because governments limit their liability. If any Tom, Dick or Harry could sue (not through government - through dispute resolution organizations) PollutionCorp for every particle that ended up on their property - you know, the way things used to be - we'd have far less pollution. Period.

    We don't need the State, just like we didn't need slaves or oppressed women. The initiation of the use of force is immoral. Period.

    You're a Statist and a Theist, and these things limit you dramatically - ethically, intellectually, philosophically. If you can one day shake the scales from your eyes and banish these wind ghosts and thugs in costumes to the realms of fantasy and collective dulusion where they belong, perhaps you can actually start interacting fully in the real world.

    I won't be holding my breath, though.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I guess I’m just a “duluded” fool.

      GL

      Delete
    2. You nailed it, Anonymous above. But you forgot Egotist. "Thinking man’s conservative"? Ha ha! Superficial pompous ass is more like it.

      Delete
    3. I read Gonzo because he's an entertaining and controversial writer. It's fun to read and nice to see provocations hit home and hear the screams when toes are being stepped on.. Entertainment value is high, but it's no ultimate truth from some all-knowing guru and I don't think Gonzo intended it that way either..

      Delete
  22. America's dream was equality of OPPORTUNITY - not equality of results, that's France. Freedom to do what you need to, as long as you don't damage others - OK. Freedom to damage others with impunity - not OK.
    Now that the power-drunk control freaks run the country, it will inevitably crash - you only get total control with total immobility, and everyone starves to death then. Long before, the revolution will begin - and everyone will be appalled by the depths of rage lurking in every human heart, when driven far enough.
    Find a quiet place to wait it out, the fires won't burn for long - but they will burn fiercely, while they burn.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Summarize!!!! Your right, but Your Point could have been made in fewer words..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're right. What can I say—I'm a verbose windbag. Oh well.

      But hey: You read it anyway, so . . .

      Cheers,

      GL

      Delete
  24. Oh, that's precious! The &%#$!^@ DHS agent is so stupid that he sends you fan mail from his work account?!! There's a Mastercard Moment for you...Are you sure it wasn't just some idiot on food stamps and Section 8? Oh, wait...Those two are really one and the same...

    Dave

    ReplyDelete
  25. We are in this F*$@ing MESS because the government has too much power.
    The only solution is LESS Government....not more.
    LESS is better.
    LESS works.
    LESS is good.
    Society is already too complex....why do we need to regulate....to the ~ degree...???? Too much energy is being consumed and yet we are not advancing merely maintaining the status quo.
    UNCOMPLICATE EVERYTHING.

    ReplyDelete
  26. OK I'm the idot who thinks that traffic at many intersections actuallt flows better without traffice signals! We have many power outages over the last few years in my area. When the traffic signals are dark the traffic actually moves better through the intersection. People are polite, careful, and take their turn in an incredibly well syncronized way. I can't really explain how or why. All I know is that intersections that have traffic backed up by signals suddenly only have one or two cars in line to pass during the intersection during power outages.

    ReplyDelete
  27. @ Liquid power.
    we are in this Fucking mess because government has been hijacked by corporations. what I should call "the perfect sophisticate and orchestrated Cup d' Eta, since Reagan till present.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. AND the bigger the corporations become ...the BIGGER the GOVERNMENT that is required to regulate the "bastards". Lets face it....GOVERNMENT is a bureaucratic nightmare.
      They interfere with everything..unnecessarily.
      Ultimately, the structural pliancy that GL talks about becomes very narrow and acute at the pointy end....where decision making ultimately reverts to the Dictator under a Totalitarian regime. The President has the supreme power to veto all powers of government. In fact it is astonishing how far his power reaches (i.e. well beyond the shores of AMERIKA).
      These are makings of a new world, where everyone surrenders their rights to the State.

      Delete
  28. I am so offended by the closing statement I had to comment:

    >>> In short, we have to return to the single great quality that defines America:

    Equality. <<<

    What the hell? Uhmm Native americans? Other minorities? Rich/Poor? Structural Class divisions? Literate/Illiterate?

    Exactly when was this equality a reality so that we can return to it?

    Oh riiiiight, I guess the author means return back to the ILLUSION of Equality noticeably held by the well-to-do middle-class.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. equality, such a confusing word. I think the type of equality Gonzalo speaks of would be an enviroment where everyone can grow. You, however, is where everyone is 6 feet tall.

      Delete
  29. To add some bits and pieces to the stuff Gonzalo taking about...watch this entertaining and eye opening movie: http://www.documentarystream.com/thrive-what-on-earth-will-it-take/

    ReplyDelete
  30. Gonzalo where is the hyperinflation you predicted would start in 2011? What happened to your forecast?

    ReplyDelete
  31. Great writing, better analysis. I would do a subscription but I don't know if you are writing more often for subscribers or what's the deal? One article every 2-3 weeks may not cut it for a subscription.

    Since you do it out of the kindness of your heart, I'm not entitled to bitch, but if someone cannot afford SPG, and wants to read you more often, is that an option?

    ReplyDelete
  32. The reason for all of the inane regulations in things like the Homeland security at airports is to have a "system" that can employ poorly trained individuals who are paid a minimum wage. It is all about a "system" in American society, and in American business in particular. They use "the best science" and in that way they protect the enterprise and their minimum wage employees from mistakes. If an employee follows the system they will not be at fault. If they use human judgement they will make the inevitable mistake and the public will call for their heads and the heads of the enterprise.
    Ask a doctor how much leeway he has to use his judgement in leiu of mechanical tests!
    It is the system!
    We demand it by our propensity to sue for damages.

    gh

    ReplyDelete
  33. "My point is that American politics has become a squabbling school yard of ideology drenched eight year olds while the big kids calmly steal everybody's lunch money."

    Outstanding!
    Quote of the year ... goes to Unna.

    PeteCA

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. @PeteCA,

      Thanks very much. But you realize now that you've only encouraged me to continue plaguing GL's Blog with my own questionable presence!

      Speaking of GL, I'd like to hear from him about this Spain bank bailout - oh, I mean Bank "rescue" - package, which, they say may, or may not, contain foreign fiscal impositions but does require the Spanish government, ie taxpayers, to pay back.

      Once again, politicians throwing their own people under the bus to save insolvent banks from the results of their own foolishness. I'd like to see GL lose control with some righteous anger.

      GL, post something about this. Your loyal blog followers await your word.

      Regards,

      Unna

      Delete
  34. Great article, but I read it quite some time ago. Why has Gonzalo Lira not written anything for nearly a month? Does anyone know why his publications have stopped?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, GL did make a pretty big prediction about Spain leaving the euro, if I remember correctly. So maybe he's a bit "gun shy" as they say South of the Border. (Do I have this right?) Well, he needn't be. And maybe Spain will still leave.

      Personally I don't mind GL making Big Fat Greek, or Spanish, predictions that are sometimes wrong. I enjoy his articles because even if he's wrong, they are informative and make you think. I've especially liked his interviews with Max Kaiser. They've helped "humanize" him, as a defense attorney might say about how she'll try to present her client before a jury in a criminal case.

      Hope he's not gone off the deep end and quit posting.

      Unna

      Delete
    2. Was it Bob Chapman or GL that died?

      Delete
  35. Umm. . . is there anyway we can check on whether GL is still alive, or hasn't been thrown in a Turkish prison or something?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yup. Has become a ghost blog. There's money to be made. AAAARh Cap't.

      Delete
  36. GL,
    Your silence is Golden.
    Never a truer word spoken.
    What can be said.....that hasnt already.
    God speed to you.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Face it. If you did have the nerve to crush Anitra once for all, you would be enjoying the company of the very people you are criticizing now.

    Anitra and her husband and child will enjoy their company. Not you. That's the only truth which matters.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Just letting everyone know, GL has posted a note in the SPG forum to say that he's been in a serious car accident, but he's getting better, and will be posting again when he can.

    ReplyDelete
  39. It did cross my mind that perhaps something could have happened to him. Life is risk. And we are all reminded of our own fragility. I'm very glad that he's getting better, and GL should take his time and let his body heal. I'll be sure to pour out a portion of wine to Asclepius.

    Unna

    ReplyDelete
  40. Gonzalo Lira. The boy that never finishes projects he begins.

    ReplyDelete
  41. Mr. Lira,

    Really enjoy your commentary! I understand you're recovering from a bad accident - best wishes for that. I sure miss you and hope you're back to blogging soon.

    A Fan

    ReplyDelete
  42. Surely your fingers aren't all broken.
    Two months mate.
    This is ridiculous, why would anyone subscribe to SPG when you can't keep your main blog updated.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your position is ridiculous. Why would GL update this FREE blog when he has obligations to his subscribers on SPG?

      Cut the man some slack!

      Delete

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