There has been a lot of talk about the cause of the financial crisis. At the root of the crisis were bulk packaged real estate loans called Collateralized Debt Obligations (CDO’s). These securities were bought and sold in bulk traunches in private markets. Despite all the talk about financial reform, this is the way it is still done today.
Emerging from the rubble of the crisis was one of the primary financial weapons of mass destruction – the Credit Default Swap. The CDS can be used defensively, or offensively. The CDS can be constructed to insure or speculate against any kind of debt instrument including the CDO.
The credit default swap sounds complicated and mysterious, but it isn’t. It can be viewed as an insurance product or a speculative weapon…but it is an option. The buyer of a credit default swap is buying insurance that the underlying debt will not default, and ownership of the underlying debt is not required. So you can effectively insure or speculate against debt you don’t even own.
If a default occurs, the price of the credit default swap rises dramatically. The seller of a credit default swap is selling that insurance. This is what bankrupted AIG…selling improperly hedged naked credit default swaps and then having the underlying debt default or nearly default without the necessary capital to pay off the insured.
So all that said, the weaponizing attribute of the credit default swap is that you don’t have to own the underlying debt in order to buy or sell the credit default swap on that debt. This is a so called “naked CDS”. It’s “naked” because the buyer or seller does not actually own the underlying debt, is not using it as insurance or for hedging purposes, but purely for speculation.
Further compounding the issue, these instruments are traded in private, so despite all the talk in Washington about “transparency”, there is no transparency regarding who is buying, and who is selling.
So despite all the talk about the the importance of transparency by politicians, regulators and media pundits, it’s all still done in secret inside the corrupt, “too big to fail” entities that now call themselves banks. As a trader or speculator, if you have deep enough pockets, you can buy credit default swaps on debt of cities, municipalities, states, and governments without any position size limit.
Using the credit default swap as a speculative weapon to destroy…
Assuming you are a financial entity with deep enough pockets or maybe one of the “too big to fails” backstopped by the US citizens, you could buy credit default swaps on any city, state, municipality or even an entire country you wished to destroy, and just keep buying until you caused the price of the debt to be so low and interest rate so high that the entity is forced into default. You can do it all in secret too. Recently accusations have been made public regarding Iceland and Greece and the use of the naked CDS to destroy and plunder the countries by US banks and hedge funds. Furthermore, US institutions who helped Greece hide their debt are the same ones who have attempted to profit from its financial destruction.
This presents an ethical and moral dilemma, because large US trading houses euphemistically called “banks” backstopped by the public have the ability and the financial wherewithal to cause the bankruptcy of any entity they wish, including US cities, states and even the US federal government. All that would be required is by relentless buying of the credit default swaps until the underlying debt is forced into default. This clearly establishes the large US banks and trading houses as the ultimate power broker, able to demolish a city, state or national government by pushing buttons on a computer in secret with no oversight, and absolute power.
America has been bankrupted by this too big to fail organized crime ring that runs the banking system, the politicians and the media. So now what? The large proprietary trading houses that call themselves banks, the ones who are “too big to fail” and effectively are bankrolled by the citizens, don’t have to go down with the ship. Quite to the contrary, these institutions and the people behind them have tools available to profit from the demise of America (or Greece or any other country), and even to create the circumstances for that demise. Furthermore, they will do that while being backstopped by the American citizens. Meanwhile, the people’s representatives, bought and paid for several times over by these same big money interests, will act as passive co conspirators in the bankruptcy and destruction of America.
“And the banks — hard to believe in a time when we’re facing a banking crisis that many of the banks created — are still the most powerful lobby on Capitol Hill. And they frankly own the place.” – Senator Dick Durbin 2009
Filed under: Financial Terrorism, collapse, economy
Naked Credit Default Swaps Are “Like Buying Fire Insurance On Your Neighbor’s House — You Create An Incentive To Burn Down The House”
I have repeatedly argued that naked credit default swaps should be banned. See this and this. Savvy commentators like Wolfgang Munchau and Yves Smith are saying the same thing.
Banks Bailed Out By American Taxpayers Are Paying Us Back By Shorting Our States and Cities
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Americans bailed out the giant banks. So how do the too big to fails re-pay the American taxpayers?
By betting that American states and cities will fail.
v.tr.1. To commit (money or capital) in order to gain a financial return
When the Keynesian fractional reserve fiat banking model was sold to the public, the idea was that the citizens would accumulate wealth and prosper, furthering wealth and prosperity among the many and building the nation from the ground up. Using hindsight, we now know it was all a fraud.
The American Dream was sold on the idea that a citizen could work hard and save. You could “invest” your savings and earn a rate of return greater than the increase in the cost of living, thus increasing your real wealth over time with the magic of compound interest. That was the incentive to save. That was the basis for retirement. This could be easily accomplished by investing in government bonds which would yield a rate of return greater than the rate of inflation, plus a risk premium, plus a real return. The return could be calculated in advance at purchase time, and the only risk associated with the investment was a US default, which would have been called “impossible”. A retirement saver or a pension fund could calculate exactly how much the current investment capital would be worth at maturity. This provided certainty, stability and a sound basis for real economic growth, upward mobility and wealth accumulation by the citizens. This was called investing.
When we fast forward to 2010, we having a banking system that penalizes savings and provides incentives to borrow (from them at up to 30% interest) and to accumulate debt. We have a stock market that is artificially and covertly managed by the Government and the Federal Reserve. This sentiment used to be the bastion of “fringe bloggers” until recently when the CEO of Trim Tabs concluded that all data leads to Government manipulation of the stock market, something serious independent market watchers have all known for a long time. This revelation was met with a yawn by the corrupt, complicit corporate media.
We have short term interest rates held effectively at zero and we have a benchmark Inflation rate that is a contrived figure published by the Government to keep their costs down and artificially inflate the GDP. The officially stated rate of inflation, an important number that is used for all sorts of government payouts, does not correspond at all with the real increase in cost of living for ordinary Americans. Everyone who pays bills and lives in the real world knows this, and yet FED shill after FED shill are trotted out by the corporate media to take that number as fact without question. This is called fraud.
Furthermore, we have long term interest rates being artificially suppressed by so called “quantitative easing” program….selling debt out of one window and buying it from the other window…a classic ponzi scheme which always guarantees a buyer. Beyond that we have the banking system covertly and surreptitiously dabbling in any free market that dares to violate their policy goals. Various markets are regularly attacked by the few remaining large trading houses who have the deepest of pockets, and are backed by the taxpayers. These are not free markets, not in any sense, and not by any recognized definition. This is a financial attack on the American people by criminals who aspire for ever more wealth, ever more control, and ever more power at the expense of citizens and the nation.
We are told by the corporate media Wall Street cheerleaders including media personalities and pundits calling themselves economists and professors, that the FED is saving the economy, when in reality what they are doing is saving themselves and their friends on Wall Street. At the same time they are slowly, steadily and methodically bankrupting the citizens. This statement is reflected by the documented, increased concentration of wealth in America by a select few, and by the decreasing wealth and net worth of the many.
In the United States today there is no way to earn a guaranteed rate of return greater than the real increase in the cost of living. Today the opposite is true. As a saver, as an investor in US government bonds or other “safe” securities, the only thing that you are guaranteed is that you will slowly go bankrupt because the return on your money is less than the real rate of increase in the cost of living. This has the effect of being a wealth confiscation mechanism. It is a continuous wealth transfer from the people to the banking system and as that continues you would expect the middle class to disappear, which is exactly what is happening.
So what can a saver do?
- Invest in an artificially inflated, manipulated, overpriced stock market and hope it will go even higher? (the greater fool theory)
- Park your savings in a money market and have your wealth slowly confiscated as the return does not even keep up with the increase in the cost of living? (a certain road to serfdom)
- Invest in corporate bonds that yield a higher return but put the investor at greater risk of a default?
- Invest in long term government bonds at artificially suppressed yields and watch your live savings be transferred to the government and banking system through a continuous loss of purchasing power?
- Speculate in commodities, currencies or other risky and speculative derivative instruments that most people have no business speculating in?
None of these are viable alternatives for an “investor”. “Investors” are forced to speculate and we are all speculators now. We are forced to speculate that a manipulated stock market will move even higher . We are forced to speculate that the FED will continue to be successful in manipulating interest rates lower through the quantitative easing program. We are forced to speculate that one asset or another will move higher or lower amid imperfect knowledge about the future and manipulated markets corrupted by insider trading at the very highest levels.It’s like playing cards at a casino where the only thing you know is that the house is cheating. Why would anyone do that?
The law of large numbers and the laws of probability ensure one thing. The wealth of the citizens of the nation will be slowly, continuously confiscated by a criminal, privately controlled banking syndicate and cheerled by a corrupt, complicit corporate media. Say goodbye to the country you once knew. It’s time to be realistic. There will be no reform because the system has been corrupted, and the highly concentrated wealth now runs the show. It has the politicians dancing like puppets. It has the media in it’s pocket. Say goodbye to freedom and economic prosperity. We have something different now. Something dangerous.
Editors Note: A few decades ago, there were thousands of independent media outlets in the US. Today in America, six multi-national global media mega corporations run by six individuals control 96% of the content Americans see on TV and watch at the movies; read in books, magazines and newspapers, and hear on the radio.
- Time Warner
- Walt Disney
- News Corp
- General Electric
Click this link below to see the details of who owns what.
These 6 corporations own the major entertainment theme parks, movie studios, television and radio broadcast networks, cable and satellite channels, video news, magazines, book publishers, sports entertainment, integrated telecommunications and the communications satellites themselves, wireless phones, video games software, electronic media, internet, record labels and the music industry, and more.
Everything you believe, more or less, is delivered to you by a monolithic six individuals running these corporations. They play golf together. They plot and scheme together. They are members of the same clubs and organizations. These cretins see the people, the citizens… as donkeys or muppets who will believe anything. These demi gods decide in advance what the donkeys should believe and what attitudes they should have about everything.
Media Consolidation: The Illusion of Choice
Posted on November 22, 2011
by Jason (Frugal Dad)
“Our job is to give people not what they want, but what we decide they ought to have.”- Richard Salent, Former President CBS News. 12,700,000 Google References
“News is what someone wants to suppress. Everything else is advertising” – former NBC news President Rubin Frank 147,000 Google References
“For better or worse, my company is a reflection of my character, my thinking, my values” – Rupert Murdoch 297,000,000 Google References
“We are here to serve advertisers. That is our raison d’etre” – CBS C.E.O. Michael Jordan 308,000 Google References
“We have no obligation to make history. We have no obligation to make art. We have no obligation to make a statement. To make money is our only objective” – Michael Eisner, CEO, The Walt Disney Co 364,000 Google References
“We are going to impose our agenda on the coverage by dealing with issues and subjects that we choose to deal with.” – Richard M. Cohen, Senior Producer of CBS political news. 1,360 Google references
“We live in a dirty and dangerous world. There are some things the general public does not need to know and shouldn’t. I believe democracy flourishes when the government can take legitimate steps to keep its secrets, and when the press can decide whether to print what it knows.” – Katherine Meyer Graham, Washington Post publisher 41,500 Google References
“People shouldn’t expect the mass media to do investigative stories. That job belongs to the ‘fringe’ media.” – Ted Koppel – (American broadcast journalist, best known as the anchor for Nightline) 2770 Google References
“The Central Intelligence Agency owns everyone of any significance in the major media.”–William Colby, former CIA Director, quoted by Dave Mcgowan, Derailing Democracy 167,000 Google References
“I know the secret of making the average American believe anything I want him to. Just let me control television. Americans are wired into their television sets. Over the last 30 years, they have come to look at their television sets and the images on the screen as reality. You put something on television and it becomes reality. If the world outside the television set contradicts the images, people start changing the world to make it more like the images and sounds of their television. Because its influence is so great, so pervasive, it has become part of our lives. You lose your sense of what is being done to you, but your mind is being shaped and molded.” – Hal Becker, Futures Group think-tank veteran – 709,000 Google References
Following this brief introduction is an attempt to enumerate powerful propaganda techniques being used on the American public and the world population by the corporate or so called “mainstream” (MSM) or mass media.
Having familiarized yourself with these techniques, you will be able to spot them as they are being deployed against you. The best way to counter propaganda is to understand the techniques and how they are used.
Note: This guide is being routinely updated and improved to incorporate reader feedback. We would like to thank George Orwell for numerous contributions. We would also like to thank people inside the corporate media for contributions.
framing [or re-framing] the debate
Debate a legitimate issue, and ostensibly have both sides represented, but instead on the continuum of opinion, have one from the middle and one from an extreme view and thus contain the debate to meet your ideological framing and goals. Alternatively, have a strong debater for one side, and a weak debater for the point of view you would like to suppress.
Framing (social sciences)
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
A frame in social theory consists of a schema of interpretation — that is, a collection of anecdotes and stereotypes—that individuals rely on to understand and respond to events. In simpler terms, a person has, through their lifetime, built a series of mental emotional filters. They use these filters to make sense of the world. The choices they then make are influenced by their frame or emotional filters.
Alternatively, the power of the media can re frame the entire context of a debate if desired.
ex: a nuclear accident has occurred.
Instead of debating the effects of radiation release, float the idea using one of your “experts” or shills that radiation is good for you. Thus re frame the debate to whether or not radiation is good for you instead of how much it will take to cause cancer and disease.
ex: re frame a debate about torture by instead of debating the legality or morality of torture, debate the effectiveness of torture techniques.
programming the viewers attitudes
This has become a very widely used propaganda technique. Cover a story, complete with your ideological spin, and then follow up with interviews of “ordinary people” who support your point of view but frame it as the popular point of view or the only point of view. If you have to do 1000 interviews to pick 2, the viewer never knows. The viewer walks away with a powerful form of sub conscious attitude programming as they hear the propaganda point regurgitated by someone “just like them”. This same technique can be used on letters to the editor, emails to TV news hosts, or wherever else cherry picking of public opinion can be conducted without tipping off the viewer, reader or listener. This powerful technique which is basically fraud, if deployed for long enough with consistent messages, can change an entire culture over time.
Instead of covering stories that matter, cover irrelevant, trivial stories about entertainers or celebrities and blow them up into grand productions so you don’t have to discuss anything that really matters, or when something happens that you don’t want to discuss but ordinarily would be forced by popular opinion to discuss, generate a distraction of your own sensational making which you discuss instead. By using the volume and coordination technique, the media monopolists can entirely obfuscate or bury important stories and issues of their choosing.
TV programs often revolve around groups of people delivering the content or opinion because people programmed not to be able to think for themselves instinctively believe groups promoting a certain opinion more than one individual. They all nod their heads in agreement with whatever propaganda is to be pushed on you, and the idea is that you also will nod your head like a brain dead zombie.
This can all be punctuated by “experts”. The group of “experts” will collectively come to the “correct” conclusions for you so you don’t have to think for yourself, even if you still can.
guided Interpretation for the reader or viewer
In this technique, a journalist or anchorman will tell you what someone else said.
In some cases, quotes will be taken out of context, but in many cases an entirely concocted version of what was said will be passed off as the truth to an unsuspecting reader, listener or viewer.
What was actually said will not be referenced, because if the viewer or reader has access to what the actual content was, it exposes the fraud. That being the case, this technique is dangerous, because if the reader or viewer does have access to the source, the propaganda becomes apparent leaving distrust.
fluff and ice cream cones
Everyone loves an ice cream cone. Run feel good stories about puppies and teddy bears. Regardless of what really happens or the actual state of affairs, convey the message that all is good, America is great, and things are the same as they always have been. If cities decay, just don’t shoot wide shots of those cities any more. Always project a disneylandish, cartoonish, surreal version of reality.
Leverage what people like and what people are compassionate towards to build trust and leave the viewer feeling happy and complacent. Most importantly, establish trust and goodwill in your enterprise. Do everything necessary to give it the appearance of legitimacy no matter how fraudulent it is. Always.
By framing the entire programming of the network, and by subtle editorializing over news stories, you can create an artificial reality, posing as the truth.
As a media mogul, you drive the programming and choose what to cover and how to cover it through your upper management, programming and editor selections. As a viewer, is is critically important to remember that every word read comes from a teleprompter, and the people who write, edit and select the copy are the ones actually delivering the content. The people who actually read the news to you are in that position because they are experts at reading propaganda and sounding convincing while doing it.
“For better or worse, my company is a reflection of my character, my thinking, my values” – Rupert Murdoch
good looking, likable, trusted newscaster:
“here is a story about someone who did the right thing”.
According to whom? The programming director?
Ex: xyz is a desired reality or propaganda point….
good looking, likable, trusted newscaster says on the most widely watched news channel in America:
“I believe xyz and I think the majority of Americans are right there with me”.
Not. This is pure propaganda in it’s most overt form.
“Never again will you be capable of ordinary human feeling. Everything will be dead inside you. Never again will you be capable of love, or friendship, or joy of living, or laughter, or curiosity, or courage, or integrity. You will be hollow. We shall squeeze you empty and then we shall fill you with ourselves.“ – George Orwell
In this method, a story is covered with the specific intent of a viewer walking away holding a desired point of view. The actual coverage of the story as compared to the truth could range from slightly true to entirely untrue. The story is merely a tool to achieve an end result.
special interest ads posing as news stories
In this technique, a special interest advertisement will be crafted as if it is a news story and presented as such. Only the astute viewer will be able to spot the fraud.
Video news release
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
A video news release (VNR) is a video segment created by a PR firm, advertising agency, marketing firm, corporation, or government agency and provided to television news stations for the purpose of informing, shaping public opinion, or to promote and publicize individuals, commercial products and services, or other interests. In this way, VNRs are video versions of press releases.
the big lie technique
Tell a lie so large that no one will question the authenticity because of the size of the lie. This is a time tested, proven propaganda technique and used by the most infamous of media controllers and propagandists.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
This is a simple, straightforward and effective technique. For news that doesn’t fit your agenda, or news that might cause your advertisers or special interest supporters to withhold support, for news that might not fit with the overall story line and talking points…just don’t cover the story. Alternatively, if a high profile person carries an opinion or message you would like to suppress, don’t ever invite that person as a guest. Since you and your peers didn’t cover it, it didn’t happen.
This very powerful tool combined with the volume and coordination technique gives a media mogul the ability to decide for everyone else what is and what is not important. Omission is often combined with the distraction technique.
volume and coordination
This is the opposite of omission. The goal of this technique is to create broad awareness of a propaganda point through a media deluge. This is often punctuated by many or all of the big six joining in unison to promote or hype the same propaganda point, idea or story. In this way, even a small or trivial item can be boosted to the forefront of collective consciousness. If desired, through TV, Magazines, movies and sitcoms, any point can be focused in the forefront of the mind of the population. This technique can be used effectively for short term or more importantly for long term results. As with many techniques in this guide, this technique becomes more effective the more consolidated the media becomes.
humanization and de humanization or personalization and de personalization
If you show dead bodies it generates a reaction. If you humanize a story, you generate sympathy for the victim. Alternatively if you avoid humanization or dehumanize atrocities or awful acts, you can avoid public sympathy being created. This technique is often used to report on war and decide on behalf of the viewer or reader who are the “good guys” and who are the “bad guys”. It doesn’t have to be used in wartime however. Propaganda pieces can be run to humanize bad guys or dehumanize good guys. This technique can and often does go so far as to frame a villain(s) as a victim(s) or vice versa. This is a very powerful technique which has been used with great effectiveness. Friends of the media are good. Enemies are bad.This technique alone can accomplish that goal when used by a skilled group of propagandists.
Repeatedly have as guests, people who strongly support your causes, or alternatively have weak debaters appear to represent causes you don’t support. A weak debater combined with a hostile interview can decimate a legitimate topic of debate or point of view.
Omit unflattering feedback and generate your own positive feedback. Dead people and historical events are a prime target for historical revision in news, movies, mini series, or any other venue where a fictionalized account of the past or a past personality can be configured as truth by the network, studio or publication.
“Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.” – George Orwell
winning the viewer
Attempt to foster goodwill and viewer loyalty by covering fluff stories using likable or attractive people and personalities in a way that ordinary viewers or readers can identify with. In this way, people are more likely to swallow the dope. This extends to using disaster and tragedy for shameless self promotion, ratings boosts, and leveraging of the media empire. Ideally, the consumers of your propaganda will love you as you program them.
“The ideal set up by the Party was something huge, terrible, and glittering—a world of steel and concrete, of monstrous machines and terrifying weapons—a nation of warriors and fanatics, marching forward in perfect unity, all thinking the same thoughts and shouting the same slogans, perpetually working, fighting, triumphing, persecuting—three hundred million people all with the same face.” – George Orwell
emphasis and repetition
Cover stories which match your agenda over and over and over……and over. People will remember repetition and will come to believe anything if it is repeated often enough.
Invite often, people with so called “credentials”, who pose as “experts”, “professors” or other lofty titles who support the network point of view as if it is the truth. Often, these so called experts will have a financial or career interest, or some other political or ideological affiliation regarding their point of view that is not disclosed. The Wikipedia entry below concentrates on “selling goods or services”. It is imperative to note that the “goods and services” could include a point of view, or an ideology, or a political, social or religious position.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
A shill is person who is paid to help another person or organization to sell goods or services.
Employ “trusted” personalities who pretend to be on the side of exposing media or government corruption and who represents the common citizen but who is in fact, dealing sophisticated propaganda.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
A gatekeeper is defined as someone who controls access to something. It also refers to individuals who decide whether a given message will be distributed by a mass medium.
repeating a lie
George Orwell along with many infamous propagandists have said that if you repeat a lie frequently enough, people will take it to be true.
telling the truth
If the media selectively tells the truth on points where an ideological agenda or sponsorship is not at risk, that opportunity can be used to tell the truth and gain viewer confidence. It is critically important to occasionally tell the truth in order to maintain credibility or legitimacy.
fogging an issue
Sometimes special interest groups or sponsors will have an interest in making sure that as few people pay attention to an issue as possible, or alternatively that an issue is of little importance. A good propagandist can write a long, nonsensical article or offer a confusing video segment for the purpose of confusing the viewer or reader and obscuring any real issues through confusion or lack of interest. This technique can be used when the story is too big for the distraction or omission techniques.
vilification and character assassination
This is an important tool that is often used to keep politicians in line by fear and intimidation of what they know has already happened to people with the “wrong” opinion. People or personalities whose opinion or positions are to be suppressed are subtly (or not so subtly) vilified and sabotaged, usually by over blowing a trivial issue relating to something people are sympathetic to. Vilification is most effective when used subtly and over a long period of time, so the audience or readership becomes slowly programmed as to who is “good” and who is “bad”. A broad array of techniques can be used ranging from hiring investigators to “dig up dirt”, then using the volume and coordination technique. The “He Said, She Said” technique is also employed for character assassination. Using this method, the author or newscaster can cast the backlash to someone else and say something they know isn’t true, or isn’t fair, but they want to say it anyway. As a media moguel, your enemies become the people’s enemies and your friends become the people’s friends. You can eject a politician or shame a public personality. This is an extremely effective and important arena. See also “character assassination via the question mark” under “cooking the headlines”.
keep only team players
If a newscaster, commentator or journalist or editor has the wrong opinion, fire them and replace them with someone who has the correct opinion. The looming threat of un-personing acts as a powerful compliance tool for field reporters and editors. During the past several years in America, there have been a lot of high profile corporate reporters, anchormen and anchorwomen who have been un personed within 24 hours of uttering the “wrong” opinion. Media moguel pimps hastily un person rogue reporters because it has a chilling effect on the remainder of their stable of whores.
embedded editorial views in news stories
In Journalism, the editorial page is where opinion is supposed to be expressed, but editorial views can be subtly introduced into “news” to program the viewer or reader.
As a media consumer, look for opinions which are stated as if they are fact. Facts can be substantiated, opinions cannot.
Also, be on the lookout for subtle inaccuracies, or a dismissive tone. Alternatively, editorial views can be injected into news by subtly misstating a topic, often a serious one, and pretending any objecting or concerned view of the treatment of the topic is silly, unrealistic, or just not necessary. This can become related to deciding who is sane on behalf of the viewer or reader. The more subtly these opinions and distortions can be substituted for facts, the more powerful the propaganda tool of editorialized news. This technique can be punctuated or made more potent by keeping in line with your friends in Government who echo the same views as truth.
The largest and supposedly most respected media outlets in America today routinely sell editorial views as news. Corporate media journalism in America has morphed from informing the public, into something entirely sinister. In spite of this, most Americans remain in the dark as to the fraud and advanced PR techniques being hoisted upon them.
lies as truth
Run a story or headline that you know isn’t true to support your point of view. In a subtler form, mis translate or misquote to suit. Alternatively, publish or sponsor polls intended to give a desired result.
“From where Winston stood it was just possible to read, picked out on its white face in elegant lettering, the three slogans of the Party:”
- WAR IS PEACE
- FREEDOM IS SLAVERY
- IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH
deciding who is sane on behalf of the viewer or reader
Portray points of view you would like to suppress as extreme, crazy, dangerous or not legitimate. If necessary, call in one or more of your “experts” for emphasis.
This effect can be multiplied by ensuring that members of the audience, even though they may have all collectively come to the same opinion, if it is not the desired opinion, you ensure that each viewer believes they are crazy and alone in holding that point of view. This is a potent technique used to form “mainstream” opinion.
Furthermore, as one of the six media owners, you can leverage the “correct mainstream opinion” by “behavior placement” in your sit coms, magazine articles, and on the radio. In behavior placement, one out of your stable of celebrity actors holds certain behaviors, ideas or attitudes that are either condoned or maligned by the rest of the cast. This could be an attitude, an opinion they hold regarding anything, a product they use, ideas about religion or anything else.
Americans have become enamored with celebrities from decades of Hollywood propaganda. We have been conditioned to want to be like them. Celebrity behavior placement is a very, very powerful tool in the media owners arsenal.
advertising as news
Run goodwill stories about advertisers, or for that matter about your parent company, as if you are covering news or human interest stories. Effectively as a media mogul you can have free stealth advertising throughout your enterprise. If you own a theme park, have your news division do a “story’ about how great the theme park is. Punctuate that by cherry picking interviews and broadcasting them in the segment so viewers can hear it from others who are “just like themselves”.
the hostile or friendly interview
Interview people whose views you support in a friendly manner. Interview people whose views you would like to suppress in a hostile manner. This technique is most effective when kept low key.A variation of this techinique is to invite a guest for an “interview”, then have an aggressive personality talk over them the whole time and repeat as truth things they never said or things they said out of context.
A more advanced variation of this propaganda technique is to invite someone and label them as an “expert” or “professor” or any favorable handle for a “friendly” interview who does not well represent a cause or issue. The important distinction here is that the viewer sees a friendly interview and yet walks away unimpressed by the point of view.
humor as a propaganda tool
Feature comedians who support your point of view, ideological or religious agenda. As a media moguel, it’s easy to get the muppets to laugh as you deride and attack your enemies with so called humor from your stable of “comedians”. Use this “humor” for character assassination, vilification or to punctuate your propaganda regarding who is sane and who isn’t. If you tightly control your stable of prime time comedians, people will only laugh at what you want them to laugh at. If a comedian in your A list isn’t with the program, then they disappear forever into obscurity.
unflattering (or flattering) handles
Corral an entire group of people into a pigeon hole, by crafting handles that carry positive or negative connotations.
He is a “conspiracy theorist” (negative connotation) used to tar anyone who contradicts or attempts to expose the propaganda of the party line.
He is a “goldbug” (negative connotation) used to subliminally encourage the idea that someone favorable to owning gold is a kook or single minded extremist.
A “truther” – negative connotation label applied to any person who questions the government version of 911.
A “right wing (left wing) extremist” – to portray a given point of view as extreme, whether it is or not.
use the power of words to emphasize or de emphasize acts or information
The crowd was “peppered” with hellfire missiles.
trusted anchorman – “They criticize us for using enhanced interrogation techniques like waterboarding”*. MSNBC 2/22/2010
*Please note that waterboarding is currently defined in international law not as an “enhanced interrogation technique” but as torture. The United States put to death Japanese commanders accused of waterboarding. The public is not ok with torture, so you just re define it as an “enhanced interrogation technique”, and it’s fine.
collateral damage – when innocent people are killed in wartime, a suitable, soft term is needed. If an army accidentally inflicts collateral damage, even if that means killing scores, hundreds or thousands of innocent people, a simple two word term called “collateral damage” makes it ok.
divide and conquer
Create simple minded divisions between groups of people to keep them distracted and arguing among themselves over mostly trivial issues. Use black and white, good and evil, and particularly the faux left and right divide. Leave no room in the middle for discussion as if all opinions and issues are binary. When events happen, don’t ever discuss actual causes. As a media owner, you have your employees discuss the event, and make up the cause in your programming department.
using anonymous sources
Generate “news” using anonymous sources. This technique could range from mis quoting, to outright fabrication and lying. ie. an anonymous source that is entirely fiction and created to generate a certain reaction or artificial reality. Anonymous sources are used heavily in the US media to lay the propaganda groundwork and to manufacture the popular consent for wars of conquest and aggression.
using guided imagery
This is an advanced technique which is now pervasive in all PR, advertising and corporate programming as well as central banking. The idea is a takeoff on the idea popularized by George Soros which is that “markets influence events they anticipate“. By the same token, there is an assumption that if the people are told something as if it is true, then it will in fact become true. You could call this molding public opinion. An example of this would be saying as if it is fact, “70 percent of the country is in favor of xyz”. The idea is that this repeated, will have the effect of causing the public opinion to actually be that. Another would be “we have green shoots” or “the country is out of the recession”, with the idea being that if you state this as fact, then people will have more confidence and spend and it will become true.
using music, lighting and effects
Music and lighting effects can be powerful promoters of feelings and emotion. Both are heavily employed, and deployed against the public. For example, when promoting the party line, be sure to have the music set to create all the right feelings and emotions. Wave the flag. Set your color scheme to red, white and blue. Create emphasis by dramatic lighting or by talking loud and fast of soft and somber.
The privilege of being a media mogul means having your personal points of view represented and delivered by people who are “just like” the audience to be programmed.
This technique is practiced by promoting as self sourced or repeating “evidence” that could range from non existent to fabricated. This could include doctored photographs to include, exclude or exaggerate information, audio recordings and video productions, as well as dossiers or written documents. Any or all of which promoted as “the truth” and may in fact have only some basis in truth or be entirely fabricated. It could in fact have been an entirely paid for promotion.
the pre emptive strike
A journalist, anchor or interviewer will attacks at the very outset of the article or segment with the “acceptable” view of the topic, prior to the topic. This is a brute force technique and is easy to spot. It usually involves some sort of angry tirade.
leveraging the media empire
The media empire can be used by the parent company for advertising, propaganda and goodwill. This is a very broad arena where subtle or overt techniques can be used.
As a multi national media mega corporation, you can use your music empire to promote your viewpoint or more importantly, eliminate alternative points of view. If the musicians on your record label step out of line, quietly retire them. Sign acts that for whatever reason, you personally like their message.
You can advertise for your theme park in the name of news. You can interview people who wrote books you published, or interview people who produced movies for a subsidiary. You can promote your ideals with a consistent message throughout your subsidiaries and enterprises. You can promote or demote points of view you agree or disagree with. You can use behavior placement in the sitcoms, movies and other programming arenas to produce a consistent message of your choosing. As media empires become ever fewer, ever larger, and ever more powerful, this tactic becomes more and more potent.
serialization of a related chain of events and the memory hole
This technique works to reconcile incompatible truths by deconstructing all events to a serial chain, and discarding all past information unless not doing so proves particularly useful. This is what George Orwell referred to as the “memory hole”.
If you remember the past version of the truth, then often the current version of the truth is not compatible with that version of the truth; therefore there should be no memory of the past unless it is a reverse engineered version. Otherwise, incongruences are generated. At least the news isn’t covering it. That’s the point.
You are supposed to forget the past and concentrate on what you are being told today. It’s all a serial chain of sound bites and propaganda intended and engineered to give desired current results. There are no causes and effects, only an unrelated serial chain of events.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
cooking the headlines
Headline tickers offer endless opportunities for revisionist or deceptive news and fast, efficient propaganda programming. There are more people reading the headline tickers than are following the actual stories. For example, hundreds of people in an airport may be just following the headline ticker….people receiving a news stream on the internet may be only looking at headlines. Therefore, if you can cook the headlines you effectively get “propaganda leverage”. Furthermore, people remember the headlines without necessarily following the actual story.
technique #1. – deceptive headlines designed to convey a certain message, but based on an actual event
technique #2 – false headlines ie “WMD found in Iraq”. Over 70 percent of the US population came to believe that weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq, and the reason is that headlines were running which repeatedly made that claim, although it was entirely untrue.
technique #3 – embedding propaganda as reasons in headlines, ie “stocks soared today because…(made up propaganda reason follows)”
technique #4 – overplay some headlines and underplay other headlines to decide on behalf of the viewer or reader what is important
repetition and trust
There are 300 million Americans in the United States and yet spanning the entire corporate media, the people invited on as regulars by the big six could fill a gymnasium. The point is that if “trusted” sources are developed and cultivated by the corporate media, people will come to believe what they say, regardless of what they say or how wrong they have been in the past.
Propagandists are held out by the corporate media to the public as “experts” who do not represent the centrist views of the majority of Americans, have been wrong about nearly everything they have ever said, and these people are never held to account. At the same time, people who have been correct or people who have views that represent mainstream America remain off the people’s radar, never or rarely invited as guests except maybe for a hostile interview.
In sum total this technique can be used to generate a heavy handed dose of artificial reality.
Anything you say while wearing an American Flag lapel pin is patriotic.
The topic of subliminal messages could probably justify a post in itself. In short, at the subliminal level, advertisers and the media like to link things together. In general, they want to link positive things, things you want to be, things you see yourself as, things you support, things you desire or desire to be, to themselves, to the dope they are pushing, or to their advertisers. Music, lighting or sounds can be employed to create subliminal hypnotic effects. Behavior placement can be used for subliminal effects. If they are doing their job well, you will never even be aware it’s happening.
re framing the question
By re framing the question or subtly altering the question, or even by the possible answers offered to the question, a media enterprise can move the discussion to a different realm or even change the answer. This technique is often used for poll results to be used as propaganda. It can also be used to alter the subject of a debate.
Using this brute force technique, camera angles, staged events and engineered real time and post production effects can be added to a video feed to dramatically alter the viewers perception. With the correct camera angle, a small crowd can be made to seem large or vice versa.
If your media company would like to minimize or maximize a protest to suit your ideological agenda, it can be covered using a camera angle minimizing or maximizing the crowd, along with a suitable dialogue which confirms the selected camera angle and desired viewer take away. This can be followed up using other techniques such as cherry picked interviews with participants to deliver whatever message is desired.
Using a laugh track you can program the viewers in terms of what is perceived to be funny. Other audio effects can also be added. Real time audio and video production techniques can augment or add elements to a video feed that weren’t present in the un doctored feed.
investigative journalism (or lack thereof) as a weapon or a tool
Using the guise of investigative journalism, corporate media can either bag a victim or let a friend off the hook. This can be used on politicians, people in the public spotlight, or anyone whose views are to be suppressed or promoted.
Of all the controversy surrounding 911, one of the most mysterious aspects is that there were very unusual large option bets placed prior to the incident which paid hundreds of millions, if not billions to the account holders who placed those bets. By law, every account holder who places a trade on a US exchange is known and can be easily traced by any federal law enforcement or regulatory body. To date, almost ten years after the event, these profiteers were never identified and there was never any effort by the corporate media using investigative journalism to force the disclosure to the American people, when there easily could have been. This is a glaring example of a lack of investigative journalism being used as a tool and corporate media complicity in nefarious, treasonous deeds.
“People shouldn’t expect the mass media to do investigative stories. That job belongs to the ‘fringe’ media.” – Ted Koppel – (American broadcast journalist, best known as the anchor for Nightline) 2770 Google References
leading the viewer or reader
This is a powerful, simple technique which is used pervasively to introduce editorial content into news. This works by leading the viewer or reader in a subtle way to a pre defined conclusion, or to make the subject look awkward for disagreeing with propaganda pre established by the host.
From the newscaster to the interviewee:
Don’t you think that (thing to be agreed with follows).
Wouldn’t you agree with (high profile “expert” who has never been correct about anything and returns every week to spew propaganda) that (xyz propaganda point).
I know I (propaganda point), what about you?
Most Americans believe (propaganda point) what is your opinion?
Fewer and fewer people (propaganda point).
Everyone wants (propaganda point).
The best case is (propaganda point).
planting seeds of doubt
Character assassination via the question mark. This is a very powerful technique which can be used for character assassination while avoiding lawsuits. The way it is done is to pose outrageous and libelous character assassination as a question, and thus plant seeds of doubt in the mind of the viewer or reader. This is best illustrated by example:
Ron Paul: Terrorist?
Token Equal Time
The goal of this technique is to create an appearance of fairness. it consists of an article or video segment written or broadcast with entirely one point of view, then at the end a meager statement from the opposing view is mentioned, then immediately refuted. In this way the reader absorbs the intended point of view while at the same time believing the topic has had fair treatment.
“May Have” Technique
The words “may have” provide endless opportunities for programming a zombie audience. This is a form of character assassination and similar to character assassination via the question mark. As a media exec, you will be planting and cultivating seeds of doubt.
“Iran may have committed a cyber-attack on the BBC”
“AP: Iran may be cleaning up nuclear traces at military site”
“BBC News – Iran ‘may boost nuclear programme’, diplomat warns”
Now contrast to these hypothetical headlines:
“Iran MAY NOT have committed a cyber-attack on the BBC”
“AP: Iran MAY NOT be cleaning up nuclear traces at military site”
“BBC News – Iran ‘MAY NOT boost nuclear programme’, diplomat warns”
The original double-talk “may have’s” convey the LIES (but with plausible deniability):
As a viewer or listener, you should be acutely aware of the use of the words “may have” by the media propagandists.
Sex sells news
Pasty faced bimbos with silicone cleavage, bubbly personalities and enough botox to immobilize cattle… as fake as the half baked teleprompter propaganda they’re serving up to a nation of 300 million muppets.
It doesn’t really matter what they say, and no one really cares….because the men aren’t listening. This is why programs which cater to a male audience like financial news channels are stacked with stacked bimbos who couldn’t tell a debenture from a derivative.
Why else would anyone listen to a casino operator pimping their casino day in and day out? Men will go so far as to watch with the sound muted. It’s a cheap trick to gain viewers who otherwise would be disinterested in the endless, incessant propaganda and disdain for the truth pitch.
In total, when these potent techniques are used synergistically, the entire fabric of a society can be guided, shaped and molded. Your only defenses are awareness and even better, turning it off.
“Of course the people don’t want war. But after all, it’s the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it’s always a simple matter to drag the people along whether it’s a democracy, a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism, and exposing the country to greater danger.“– Herman Goering at the Nuremberg trials
“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the state can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie … The truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the state.”–Joseph Goebbels, minister of propaganda in Nazi Germany, 1933-1945
“See, in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda.” – George W. Bush 43rd US President
“The Media-Lobbying Complex”: Investigation Exposes Undisclosed Corporate Ties of Network Political Pundits
A four-month investigation into the covert corporate influence on cable news found that since 2007 at least seventy-five registered lobbyists, public relations representatives and corporate officials have repeatedly appeared on MSNBC, Fox News, CNN, CNBC and Fox Business Network with no disclosure that they are paid by corporate interests. We speak to journalist Sebastian Jones, who carried out the investigation for The Nation magazine.
Unplug the Signal: The Truth Will Not Be Televised
The fuel for this vehicle of mass deception is a technique known as perception management where an array of psychological techniques are used to alter the truth, leading the viewer to a desired conclusion. Some call this spin or propaganda while others know it as lying.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
A New York Times editorial (March 16, 2005) entitled “And now, the counterfeit news” affirms that at least 20 U.S. federal agencies, like the Department of Defense and the U.S. Census Bureau, produced and distributed hundreds of TV news reports since 2001 that were aired as if they were produced by the media. The same report says that this practice was also utilized by the Clinton Administration. Another report  details the use of this practice by the United States Department of Agriculture.
Edit: Add Miscellaneous quotes about media and propaganda
“Only the mob and the elite can be attracted by the momentum of totalitarianism itself. The masses have to be won by propaganda.” —Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism, 1951
Edit: Add George Orwell’s greatest hits
“The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power. Not wealth or luxury or long life or happiness: only power, pure power. What pure power means you will understand presently. We are different from all the oligarchies of the past, in that we know what we are doing. All the others, even those who resembled ourselves, were cowards and hypocrites. The German Nazis and the Russian Communists came very close to us in their methods, but they never had the courage to recognize their own motives. They pretended, perhaps they even believed, that they had seized power unwillingly and for a limited time, and that just round the corner there lay a paradise where human beings would be free and equal. We are not like that. We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power.” – George Orwell
“And I believe that totalitarianism, if not fought against, could triumph again.” – George Orwell
“All the war-propaganda, all the screaming and lies and hatred, comes invariably from people who are not fighting. “ – George Orwell
“Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them.” – George Orwell
“To see what is in front of one’s nose needs a constant struggle.” – George Orwell
“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.” – George Orwell
“At any given moment there is an orthodoxy, a body of ideas of which it is assumed that all right-thinking people will accept without question. It is not exactly forbidden to say this, that or the other, but it is “not done” to say it… Anyone who challenges the prevailing orthodoxy finds himself silenced with surprising effectiveness. A genuinely unfashionable opinion is almost never given a fair hearing, either in the popular press or in the high-brow periodicals“. — George Orwell, 1945, Introduction to ‘Animal Farm.’
“Freedom is the right to tell people what they do not want to hear”– George Orwell
“If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face – forever.” – George Orwell
“Power is not a means, it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship.” – George Orwell
“Sometimes the first duty of intelligent men is the restatement of the obvious.” – George Orwell
“The very concept of objective truth is fading out of the world. Lies will pass into history.” – George Orwell
“Whoever is winning at the moment will always seem to be invincible.” – George Orwell
“The Central Intelligence Agency owns everyone of any significance in the major media.”–William Colby, former CIA Director, quoted by Dave Mcgowan, Derailing Democracy
“There is quite an incredible spread of relationships. You don’t need to manipulate Time magazine, for example, because there are [Central Intelligence] Agency people at the management level.”–William B. Bader, former CIA intelligence officer, briefing members of the Senate Intelligence Committee, The CIA and the Media, by Carl Bernstein
“The Agency’s relationship with [The New York] Times was by far its most valuable among newspapers, according to CIA officials. [It was] general Times policy … to provide assistance to the CIA whenever possible.”–The CIA and the Media, by Carl Bernstein
“You could get a journalist cheaper than a good call girl, for a couple hundred dollars a month.”–CIA operative, discussing the availability and prices of journalists willing to peddle CIA propaganda and cover stories. Katherine the Great, by Deborah Davis
Zero Point Of Systemic Collapse
By Chris Hedges
12 February, 2010
Corporate Lobbyists and Public Relations Firms behind Cable News Outlets
by Sherwood Ross
Since 2007, at least 75 registered lobbyists, public relations representatives and corporate officials have appeared on cable news broadcasts “with no disclosure of the corporate interests that paid them,” The Nation magazine (March 1) reveals. Many of these people are “paid by companies and trade groups to manage their public image and promote their financial and political interests,” writes the magazine’s Sebastian Jones, a freelance reporter after a four-month-long probe. “Many have been regulars on more than one of the cable networks, turning in dozens—and in some cases hundreds—of appearances,” Jones reports. For example, Tom Ridge, identified as the former governor of Pennsylvania, appeared on MSNBC’s Hardball With Chris Matthews urging the White House to “create nuclear power plants.” What viewers were not told, though, is that Ridge since 2005 has pocketed $530,659 in executive compensation for serving on the board of Exelon, the nation’s biggest nuclear power company, Jones writes.
Fox News Exposed – Florida Supreme Court Approves Lying to Public
NBC’s ‘cynical’ mind-control games
The network admits it uses “behavior placement” on popular shows to encourage healthy, eco-friendly habits — and sell ads.
April 9, 2010,
Distrust In US Media Hits Record High, As CNBC (And Especially Mad Money) Viewership Drops To Multi-Year Low
by Tyler Durden
In today’s “less than surprising data point” category, the clear winner is Gallup’s analysis of people’s ever increasing distrust in the mass media. From 46% in 1998, the percentage of people who indicate they have “not very much/none at all” trust in mass media has grown to a stunning 57% currently. This is an all time record, as the general public perception toward the MSM has flipped over the past decade. Is it becoming increasingly more difficult to lie to the average American?
Address : <http://www.zerohedge.com/article/distrust-us-media-hits-record-high-cnbc-and-especially-mad-money-viewership-drops-multi-year>
Mainstream media losing its mojo
Government accused of manipulating science news
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
By Emily Chung, CBC News
Kathryn O’Hara, president of the Canadian Science Writers’ Association, writes that ‘openness is being held ransom to media messages that serve the government’s political agenda.’Kathryn O’Hara, president of the Canadian Science Writers’ Association, writes that ‘openness is being held ransom to media messages that serve the government’s political agenda.’ (Courtesy of Canadian Science Writers’ Association) The federal government engages in “unacceptable political interference” in the communication of government science, says the head of a group that represents both government press officers and science journalists. “Openness is being held ransom to media messages that serve the government’s political agenda,” wrote Kathryn O’Hara, president of the Canadian Science Writers’ Association, in an opinion published online Wednesday in the international scientific journal Nature.
Address : <http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2010/09/29/federal-scientists-media-government.html#ixzz111GZOPU6>
Collapsing Story of the Bin Laden Kill: Our Pathological Liars, the Govt/Media/Military/Hollywood
The truth behind the raid and the alleged assassination of Bin Laden is moving further away from the dramatic tale President Obama told the nation on Sunday night with each passing day. But that’s to be expected from a US military-industrial complex that has a habit of manufacturing fables to dupe the American public into accepting the delusion that is the “war on terror”. Take for example the gargantuan psychological warfare salvo that the US government launched against its own people in the immediate aftermath of the Jessica Lynch “rescue” In crafting the Jessica Lynch fable, “The Pentagon had been influenced by Hollywood producers of reality TV and action movies,” reported the Guardian, including Black Hawk Down director Jerry Bruckheimer, who visited the Pentagon personally on numerous occasions before the event to discuss how occupations overseas could be humanized for means of better mass consumption on behalf of the American public.
Filed under: media monopoly, propaganda, deception, advertising, public relations, fraud, media concentration, mss media, msm, corporate media, propaganda techniques examples
By Oliver Douglas
TinyURL for this article [http://wp.me/pOhuI-j]
I have received a number of thoughtful emails on the subject of self sufficiency and avoidance of a declining standard of living. I have also had quite a few comments regarding emigration. I’d like to address those questions and comments today. This is something I’ve written about extensively to EarthBlog subscribers over the course of the past few years.
We (our family) had considered emigration three years ago when it became obvious to me what was going on and what the future path was likely to be. We looked at New Zealand, with the idea that this was a stable economy, a natural resource producer and a beautiful place with nice, friendly people. To make a long story short, there became two major issues regarding emigration.
1.) The logistics of moving a family and extended family half way around the world to an unfamiliar place are overwhelming and pose a lot of personal issues
2.) Given an expected increasing level of uncertainty and Chaos, how can you be sure you are picking the right place in advance?
Furthermore, given that the US has had one of the highest standards of living of any country, was it possible that when all is said and done, the standard of living in the US will still exceed the standard of living in many places you opt to emigrate to?
So we thoroughly considered the emigration equation, and decided instead for an opt out strategy. It isn’t a perfect solution and I don’t think there is a perfect solution to the decay I see continuing.
All that said, I am not saying emigration would not be a good strategy. I’m just saying that for me, for us, it posed logistical problems. For example, If I spoke Italian and had family in a small town in Italy we might be there now. If my honkey skin could take the tropical sun we might be in Costa Rica. This is what I mean by saying there is no perfect solution and any proposed solution is different for everyone.
What exactly is an opt out strategy?
We currently live in a dense metro area and are completely reliant on other people, other institutions and other agencies for our standard of living. Given an expectation of increased disorganization, bankruptcy and even chaos, the idea is that if you can increase your own personal self reliance, then you can more effectively maintain a standard of living.
So what does this mean?
It probably means something different for everyone. My background is in engineering and I know enough to be dangerous in the realm of alternative power, construction and I can fix a car…that sort of thing. I understand how things work and I can fix things. I can wield a hammer or a soldering iron. So given my background, and our desire, we set out to find a parcel of land that we could develop as we wished with the idea that we would effectively have a self sufficient functional plot with few if any dependencies on external infrastructure, the government, or any other entity.
So two years ago we spent a lot of time touring the US to find a suitable candidate. We had a rough idea of what we were looking for….
1.) A beautiful place
2.) good climate and suitable conditions for farming and keeping animals
3.) we wanted out own water source
4.) we wanted low taxes
5.) we wanted a high degree of property rights, no deed restrictions and full mineral and energy rights below the surface
In short, we were looking for a desirable piece of land, in a nice place, fairly isolated from any large city and to be able to do whatever we wanted with the land.
We took a hard look at Northern California. We spent a week there. Northern California is a beautiful place, but we had issues.
1.) High taxes and a high cost of living
2.) A state we expected might go bankrupt (it subsequently did)
3.) A high degree of government imposed property ownership restrictions
So although nice, Northern California did not meet several of our key requirements.
We also toured Vermont. There were a lot of things we liked a lot about Vermont, but one thing we didn’t like. It’s very cold in Vermont and we were looking for an easier climate with a longer growing season.
To shorten this up, fast forward to the Appalachian foothills. We took a hard look in the southern mountain states, areas of low population density and areas with good fertile land. Two years ago we made a decision to narrow our search to North Carolina. We toured the area, and we located a Realtor with a set of requirements we were looking for and the basic geographical area we liked. Six months later we got a call regarding a 10 acre parcel that was not listed for sale but the owner needed to sell for financial reasons. This property offered what we were looking for.
1.) A private creek, which originated from a mountain spring 1/2 mile away.
2.) An area rich in natural resources which was formerly a part of the Carolina gold rush. The land was known to produce precious metals and gems had been found in the creek.
3.) Very low taxes
4.) No deed restrictions, unzoned land where essentially you can do whatever you want
5.) Wildlife, good growing conditions, and beautiful natural surroundings
6.) Relative isolation but good road access and nearby small towns full of friendly people
So we took some capital out of Wall Street and the banking system and purchased this land with the idea of developing a nice place to live, independent on what is going on in Washington or the rest of the country for that matter. There are two small towns within 15 miles, good access roads, and yet the property is isolated enough so that a lot of bad things could happen and unless you turned on a TV set, you wouldn’t even know about it. Late in 2008 when it looked like the financial system was coming undone, that property looked exactly the same regardless of what was happening on Wall Street or inside the government. We have bobcats and bears and coyotes and whitetail deer and any number of other animal residents, but the human population density is only around 50 people per square mile and the majority of the county is National Forest.
At this time, we have already done a lot; we have established a basic infrastructure with a good road, power, a well, a pond fed by the creek with fish in it, and we have built a large building and a cabin. We have a lot more construction to do, and our target is to have a place with a low level of dependency on any entity by 2012.
We had the good fortune to meet someone through our realtor, a local man born and raised in the county who was proficient with anything from an excavator and earth mover to a hammer. For anyone thinking about a project like this, there is no substitute for finding a competent and trustworthy local helper who can not only work for you, but probably grew up with everyone in the county who you have to deal with. It turns out that in areas like we are in, there are two prices for a lot of things…there is the price a local pays, and the price a tourist or outsider pays. You want to pay the local price. The people are predominantly poor in areas like this. They don’t have a lot to spend and their cost of living is low. During the course of our development so far, this has saved us six figures.
Currently we are planning to move there permanently in 2011, and to be off the grid (or at least tied to the grid but with zero net energy use) and independent by the following year. So far it has been a lot of work and taken a lot of time, but it has been very rewarding to watch our vision come together. This fall we stocked our pond with fish and we have been planting fruit trees for two years now.
I continue to believe that the best way to endure chaos is to remove yourself from the chaotic system as much as possible. We’re on track to do that, and if it all comes together as I hope it will, Wall Street or Washington could implode and it wouldn’t really matter so much to us.
If you are interested in following this adventure, I am in the process of creating a new blog site to discuss the details.
Maintaining a Standard
This essay will offer evidence supporting this claim from an introspective look at the future of America.
“During 2009, the leadership has taken actions which benefit the corporations and special interests who own them, while showing nothing but wanton disregard for the millions of citizens whose lives their sponsors have destroyed. What we are headed towards in the US if we are not there already, is a Straussian society of ultra rich, ultra powerful oligarchs and a serfish powerless population with no middle class to speak of.”
I would like to start with this chart from mybudget360.com
The key takeaway from this chart is that 0.1 percent of Americans are making more than twice what the other 99.9 percent of Americans are making, combined.
0.1 percent of Americans, assuming a population of 300 million equals 300,000 individuals, controlling more than twice as much wealth and power as everyone else put together.
An oligarchy (Greek Ὀλιγαρχία, Oligarkhía) (oligocracy) is a form of government in which power effectively rests with a small elite segment of society.
Ideally, in a healthy democracy, income distribution would have a bell curve shape with the vast majority earning a wage that can support a middle class lifestyle…as was the case in America for many decades This would be indicative of a healthy thriving middle class.
I would also like to point out that an oligarchical income distribution is typical of a communist or (other form of totalitarian regime) where you have the serfs (99.9 percent of the population) and the elite (0.1 percent of the population).
If you were to research who this 0.1 percent of people are, you would find that they are the same ones telling you through their media outlets how things are, how to think, what to believe and why you should continue to trust them.
Needless to say, when such a small minority are in control, there is no hope of democracy, or a constitutional republic or anything else you would like to believe this is.
Edit: Add Footnotes
Middle Class Becoming the New Poor as Job Losses Mount
By Mac Slavo
February 23rd, 2010
The American dream is becoming a nightmare for millions across the country as job losses continue to mount, unemployment runs out and new job creation is simply not happening. Millions are facing unemployment for years to come:
Income inequality in the United States
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Tour of the US Income Distribution, “The L-Curve”
Wealth, Income, and Power
The Distribution of Wealth in America
The Middle Class Two Income Trap – Two Breadwinners plus Extra Money to support the Banking Industry. How Middle Class Americans are losing Ground by Supporting the Financial Sector.
43% have less than $10k for retirement
By Chavon Sutton
March 9, 2010
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) — The percentage of American workers with virtually no retirement savings grew for the third straight year, according to a survey released Tuesday.
15 Years Ago, the Combined Assets of the 6 Biggest Banks Totaled 17% of GDP… By 2006, 55% … Now, 63%
Monday, March 1, 2010
Food for Thought: A Graphical Peek at Income Inequality in the United States
This essay will argue that the US debt is too large to ever be repaid. Not only is it too large, it is over an order of magnitude, a factor of 10, too large.
Following are remarks made by Richard Fisher, President and CEO of the Dallas Federal Reserve, in May of 2008. This was just prior to the bailout. His estimate including obligations which are promised, but not paid for, was 99.2 trillion dollars.
Storms on the Horizon
Remarks before the Commonwealth Club of California
San Francisco, California
Richard W. Fisher President and CEO of the Dallas Federal Reserve
May 28, 2008
Add together the unfunded liabilities from Medicare and Social Security, and it comes to $99.2 trillion over the infinite horizon. Traditional Medicare composes about 69 percent, the new drug benefit roughly 17 percent and Social Security the remaining 14 percent.
More at the Dallas FED website
Now following are remarks by Neil Barofsky, who was the primary person in charge of projecting the ultimate cost of the bailout. His estimate of the cost of the bailout was 23.7 trillion.
U.S. Rescue May Reach $23.7 Trillion, Barofsky Says
By Dawn Kopecki and Catherine Dodge
July 20, 2009 (Bloomberg) — U.S. taxpayers may be on the hook for as much as $23.7 trillion to bolster the economy and bail out financial companies, said Neil Barofsky, special inspector general for the Treasury’s Troubled Asset Relief Program.
more at Bloomberg
Adding 99.2 trillion to 23.7 trillion is 122.9 Trillion dollars.
So what is the income? The income is around 2.5 trillion. That’s probably being very generous. Whatever. Call it 1 or call it three trillion. When you are in the hole for 122 trillion, you are off by an order of magnitude in terms of ever being able to pay off the debt.
As stated in an introspective look, scaling these incomprehensible numbers down to size, this is like you taking home 200,000 a year and owing 12 million dollars. At 3%, the annual interest on 12 million dollars is 360,000 exceeding the income by over 50%.
If you estimate the annual tax revenues at 2 trillion and an average 30 percent tax rate, that would put the number at 6.6 trillion assuming a 100% tax rate. So 123t represents all of the peoples income for 19 years. While this figure is meaningless in itself, it serves to highlight the degree of unpayability of the obligations.
For the people who say the government can just print money to cover the shortfall, money is debt. When you print money, you increase the debt and the debt is already an order of magnitude too large to ever be repaid.
This isn’t very complicated, really. The party line…the corporate media groupthink... is that this is all well and good but an issue that will only have to be dealt with in the future. The future is here as our friendly Chinese creditors say “please payment now“. Payment in what? More tokens of an unpayable debt that some people are still pretending to be a currency?
the bottom 3 tiers of the pyramid always lose their money when the scheme finally collapses.No matter how large the model becomes before collapse, approximately 88% of all people will lose. If the scheme collapses at this point, only those in the 1, 2, 4 and 8 got out with a return. The remainder in the 16, 32, and 64 tier lose everything. 112 out of the total 127 members or 88% lost all of their money.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
No matter how large the model becomes before collapse, approximately 88% of all people will lose.
Ron Paul: The US Government’s Debt Can Never Be Repaid
This is your country. Take a look at Detroit. Detroit is one of many US cities which has lost it’s manufacturing base. Along with that comes a 50 percent unemployment rate.
Detroit’s Unemployment Rate Is Nearly 50%, According to the Detroit News
Officially, Detroit’s unemployment rate is just under 30 percent. But the city’s mayor and local leaders are suggesting a far more disturbing figure — the actual jobless rate, they say, is closer to 50 percent. As many have noted, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which culls federal unemployment data, does not account for all of the jobless in its widely-quoted national unemployment figures. Among those omitted: part-time workers who are looking for full-time jobs and frustrated job seekers who abandon their job search altogether.
A Tour Of Detroit‘s Ghetto (tags: third world, this is your country, things the corporate media won’t show you)
Detroit Housing Apocalypse (filed under: the “good” side of town)
Detroit– City in Ruins (tags: OMG, five star production, Iraq USA)
Detroit homes sell for $1 amid mortgage and car industry crisis
One in five houses left empty as foreclosures mount and property prices drop by 80%
By Chris McGreal, in Detroit
Tuesday 2 March 2010
Detroit wants to save itself by shrinking
Blighted city considers plan to turn large swaths of land back into fields
Detroit, the very symbol of American industrial might for most of the 20th century, is drawing up a radical renewal plan that calls for turning large swaths of this now-blighted, rusted-out city back into the fields and farmland that existed before the automobile.