Wednesday, July 13, 2016

"Bring It On!"

"Bring It On!"
by Robert Gore

“Five words are important now: failure, exposure, rejection, repression, and war. The status quo has failed on multiple fronts. Its failures and corruption are being exposed, its governance and legitimacy questioned and rejected. The response is all too predictable: repression at home, war abroad. The Clintons represent the toxic confluence, the maelstrom’s vortex, and Hillary Clinton will press the powers’ response.

Anything but free market economics is a redistributive shell game with a sell-by date. Government debt, spending, and programs, redistribution, and central bank debt monetization and interest rate suppression have passed their expiration, leaving mountains of IOUs that will never be repaid and prostrate economies in the first thralls of a deflationary contraction that will be one for the ages. Particular rancid: illusory, credit-based wealth has gone to a small, well-connected coterie who access microscopic interest rates for financial engineering and speculative fun and games. Left behind: honest producers and savers, who have seen their incomes shrink and the economy wither.

Not content to lay waste to their own countries, the powers have visited their destructive and murderous mayhem upon wide swathes of the globe. Seeking to impose order they have instead promoted chaos, failed states, refugee flows, and the spread of terrorism. Stuck in costly and inconclusive quagmires in second-tier states, the US war lobby seems intent on provoking decidedly first-tier Russia and China, with a concomitant escalation of negative consequences. You can’t get any bigger, or potentially more suicidal, than war with the second and third largest nuclear-armed powers.

Propaganda, indoctrination, a captive press, and widespread obliviousness and passivity will only take the incompetent and corrupt governing class so far. There’s too much to be swept under the rug. Eventually notice is taken of the telling details. The economy is going nowhere. The US has been in Afghanistan for fifteen years and in Iraq for thirteen. The capital is an overflowing cesspool; the Clintons being the most visible and malodorous turds floating by on that river of filth. The Internet has shone a light on failure and corruption, but even the mainstream media take note, if only in passing, before it exculpates those responsible.

Exposure and anger concern the powers—they threaten the façade of legitimacy—but outright rejection would be intolerable. Never has an aristocracy exercised such power, lived so opulently, and received such publicity, adulation, and deference. Popular discontent given full vent and expression would threaten all that, and could lead to prison, or worse.

Hillary Clinton embodies the power, wealth, and corruption of the aristocracy, which confronts the most serious threat yet to the world order it erected after World War II. It embraces her not merely because she is emblematic, but because she will implement naked repression and wage wars, its last resorts to hold on to power. She’s never met a “national security” measure or war she didn’t love. The FBI’s refusal to recommend charges despite Hillary’s obvious criminality appears to be the aristocracy’s take-off-the-kid-gloves moment.

In their folly, the rulers have isolated themselves from the ruled. Never underestimate the former’s stupidity, born of isolation and arrogance, nor the intelligence and resourcefulness of the latter. Resort to repression and war is weakness, not strength, and in so doing, the aristocracy is taking a gamble it cannot win.

It is a curious sort of tyranny that extracts its sustenance from the tyrannized, must borrow from them, and relies on them to accept its intrinsically valueless scrip as a medium of exchange. How strong can a tyranny be if it can be brought to its knees if the tyrannized were to stop working, lending, or accepting its scrip? If that seems farfetched, observe the frantic exertions the powers undergo to stop systemic runs on banks and other financial institutions. Why? Because all financial institutions are leveraged speculators, and if what they hold as assets decline in price sufficiently, their equity is gone and they are bankrupt. Bankrupts by definition cannot pay all their liabilities, and those liabilities are the public’s assets.

As we saw in 2008, once enough assets are meaningfully impaired (as they inevitably will be, again), the whole scrip-based financial system unravels. Ultimately governments backstop much of the financial system’s scrip-based liabilities with…scrip based liabilities! The only thing that gives those liabilities any value are people’s willingness to accept them and an implicit and often broken promise by politicians and central bankers not to create too many of them. Right now, they are breaking that promise and doing everything possible to undermine the value of their own scrip. That’s Alice in Wonderland, not 1984.

If the aristocracy’s dreams come true, they will destroy what’s left of the illusion of value of their scrip and consequently, destroy their ability to acquire resources outside commandeering them, or theft. That’s a one-off, as Venezuela has demonstrated. People stop producing; businesses close or flee. Totalitarianism isn’t free. Prisons, concentration camps, weapons, soldiers, surveillance, and police cost money, and the expense is only partially offset by slave labor, which, once all its costs are properly accounted for, confers very little, if any, economic benefit.

But, never underestimate the stupidity of the aristocrats. Let’s say the US government descended into full-on totalitarianism. This is the same government that couldn’t subdue Vietnamese in Vietnam, Afghans in Afghanistan, Iraqis in Iraq, Syrians in Syria, Libyans in Libya, or Yemenis in Yemen. Nevertheless, it will attempt to subdue Americans in America, who collectively are far better armed (thank you, NRA) than any of the insurgencies in those other countries.

Of course, many Americans are sheep so the resistance would be a subset, but the daunting math of fighting insurgents on their own territory, according to military expert Richard Maybury, is about 20 military personnel for each domestic guerrilla fighter. So even if only a million US insurgents resist, probably a low estimate, it would require 20 million government personnel to suppress them, not to mention what would be necessary to maintain order should any collateral chaos and violence, including racial and ethnic animosities, erupt. Currently, there are a little over 2 million active and reserve personnel in the military, and about 1.1 million in law enforcement, and some of both are administrative personnel who would not participate in suppression or combat. The government is stockpiling weaponry, but where does it find at least 17 million recruits to pull the triggers and drive the MRAPS, and with what will it pay them?

Pity the police and the military. They will be caught between the dictates of an aristocracy that couldn’t care less about them and an insurgency bent on killing them. They would be ordered to fire on fellow Americans: neighbors, friends, and family members. There are plenty of praetorian thugs who would do so, but some would quit. Some might join the resistance, providing expertise and leadership. Already retired police and military, disgusted by the current state of affairs, would be another potential resistance recruiting pool.

Incidentally, today’s command and control systems require computers. The Chinese and Russians have hacked sensitive government computers with impunity. If the US government went after its own people, would there be any shortage of home-grown hackers volunteering to bring down its systems?

To paraphrase John F. Kennedy, if the aristocrats make peaceful and necessary change impossible, they will make violent resistance inevitable. It’s not a war they can win, but if it’s a war they are too foolish and arrogant to avoid, bring it on.”

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